There is always enough energy for joy.

I had a giant smile on my face when my dear friend sent me a text that her baby girl arrived yesterday morning. I was so happy that I think it surprised Milo and made him clap, smile, and jump up and down. When I asked him to pose for a picture for the new baby, he blew kisses. Happiness is contagious. While, I am itching to jump on a plane and hold this lovely little one, bask in the glory of new life, I know this time is for their family. So I will wait patiently and let the joy fly back to them. We send our love and wishes and we can blow kisses from a far.

Today, it is this lovely child who inspired, watching the reaction of my baby, watch me, gave me this warm feeling and wonderment. Where does it go, that glory and warmth of a day a child is born? There are babies being born everyday into miraculous circumstances, why do we let go of that and allow stress, exhaustion, and the sorrows of a brittle world seep into a lovely one…. I suppose this is how it is, good days and bad days. I think the smiles of today will keep us going for awhile. And while I always have questions of why and how, I hold close to my heart that there is always enough energy for a joy, so we sprung up and danced with delight. Mazel Tov

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expect the unexpected.

Well shit. I really wasn’t expecting this at all.  At least now. I am certain this is a good thing, but I have to say, I was a little jarred, annoyed, and a bit “oh…no wonder I was craving chocolate and feeling a bit wonky”.  This may fall into the too much information category, but this is a blog mostly about cancer, and so far you have all read about my stinky scaly fingers, digestive issues, hair loss, hair gain, etc.  So why not now write about the return of aunt flo and all things unexpected on this cancer path.  Really, after two years?

Ironically, this week three people asked me if we were going to have anymore kids.  Now, I am pretty sure the past ten months of chemotherapy, beginning with crazy intense drugs such as chicken splat (Cysplatin) and Etoposide, switching into my Taxed, Stripped and Fucked cocktail and now rounding it out with some Navy Beans, has squashed my fertility, so the return of my period just served as some kind of poetic metaphor of life moving, plus it shows how much my body is enjoying the navy bean stew (I guess).  It was also quite funny to me that people thought I even looked like a normal person to ask me about more kids.  This means it didn’t occur to them that my punk rock, shaved hairdo had nothing to do with cancer, but was some kind of chic fashion statement because I like the shape of my head and enjoy some Fugazi when in the right mood.  What did MCA say…”yes, yes, y’all”.

I would like to talk about the jarring feeling of this unexpected.  I had emotionally worked upon dealing with several of these cancer side effects in a thoughtful process.  I knew from the beginning that getting through this was going to take a meditative effort of endurance and acceptance. I had accepted that I was in “early” menopause, accepted that even if my fertility wasn’t compromised that my body simply couldn’t handle having another child. I have made concessions and opened the door to the positive sides of these issues.  Rather than mourning the loss of my period and fertility, I knew my sweet son was enough for us, and how nice it would be to not have to deal with the monthly visits and headaches.  I was positive about the hair loss, saying to people, well..at least I don’t have to worry about shaving my legs or spending money on waxing.  Ahh, what we women choose to endure.  All of it is ironic.  A disease that affects millions of women takes away our bosom, and gifts us with smooth bikini lines and chins. I saw the positive. I see the positive, but the jarring part of this new stage of alternate consequence, is that the box I put those emotions into for safe keeping of my optimistic state is now empty of its effects.  My friends and family get excited with a little bit of fuzz on my head and I think about that scene in “The Princess Bride” when Andre the Giant gets excited over Wesley’s paralytic state changing with a little finger move.  Wesley says something like: “We have a war to win with only three people and a Holocaust cape and you want me to get excited over a little finger move?  haaa?”

I love Andre the Giant, so I am reminded that he had some wise words and said something like, well…it’s a start. So, do you see where I am going with this? My encouragement of  well this is a start, a return of the old me is present, yet the problem is that I feel the old me isn’t likely to return, and that is okay as long as there is a me.  A little finger move, or growth of the hair is not an indication that I am cured or that this is soon over. I think it has become a false positive for my family and friends. They see me looking well, having more energy, and that is a good thing, amazing in fact.  I am blessed, I am embracing feeling well and enjoying each day that I am able to play with Milo and go out on a spring evening with my husband. I am blessed because I have a box to fill with positivity, encouragement, hopes, faith, and a finish line. A little hair growth doesn’t have me jumping at the gate but it’s a start.  Maybe it’s good to be jarred out of the expected, keep the fight moving; I still have Stage IV metastasized breast and neuro-endrocrin cancer and need to face it head on.  I know I am a warrior calming the battle into retreat, punk this shit into remission, ya know what I’m talkin about? yes, yes, y’all.

head, shoulders, knees, & toes….

Tingling toes, frozen fingers, blurry head and shoulder so sore. I seem to relate my ailments to the little diddy I sing to my kid everyday. He grabs my toes when I start the song which makes me smile, and has my toes trying to overcome the numbness. Neuropathy sucks. But most of these chemo, cancer side effects suck. My hands, though, are just killing me, and it really has made me mindful of those suffering with arthritis or the like.

This little diddy has me thinking about my body in general. I am 37 years old and worry that this cancer bout has/will age me by ten years at least. I was always fit, happy with my body, never really struggled with self-esteem in this department even when I have had issues fitting into my skinny jeans. The vanity of this upsets me, because as I have said, my longevity means so much more, yet I am just not quite ready to feel almost fifty at my age. I thought I had a few more bikini years in me, even post baby. Okay okay, I know what I sound like and so what. (Even after my scar post, I guess we get to have ups & downs.) I have worked hard at keeping trim, keeping my outer side pleasant to hopefully match my inner side, so I feel I get to worry a little bit about what the hell I will look like when I am done being a cancer patient. The Gods willing…

I have questions about this head, shoulders, knees, and toes:

Will my spine be okay, or will I be hunched over when I age? Can I ever get a pedicure again?! Will my liver ever stop pushing my other organs around like a bully at the playground? Will my eyelashes return to their full glory? Isn’t it enough to be lopsided, one boob and all? And the one boob, what shall I do, can I ever get reconstruction? And, I am super worried about my bones. How will they weather this storm? Will my posture be compromised, can I ever practice yoga again? Or Kung Fu, will I be able to keep kicking cancer away with Shaolin? Or will I be limited in my activities? Will my heart be weakened, can I kick a soccer ball around when my kid gets old enough? What will be my post cancer me?

Perhaps I should just focus on having a post cancer me, head, shoulder, knees, toes and all.

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The map of my life is paved with scars, among other musings

This is me. Scarred on my knee, my heart, my belly, my right breast; scars of wanderings, scars of birthing, scars of illness, scars of which my life has created. I am scarred, but I am not solely my scars; they are roads on my inner map, my exterior markings. The word begins to sound so strange when repeated. We are all wounded somehow, sometimes we see the scars, sometimes we do not.

My right breast is gone, my sweaters cave in, as the energy to disguise this wound is nil. There is a thin red line where once lived a breast. And so what of it….I am over the scar tissue. I’m over being scarred by this bitchy whore of a cancer. Take my breast and give me my health. But that didn’t happen as all had thought. They took it, my bosom was halved…they weren’t all that big to begin with, but nicely sized for my body. I wonder how it looked on the stainless steel table all detached and emptied of my soul.

Generally, as apart of womanhood, we believe these beings define us, as they attract, they heave, they feed, they often comfort and Venus stands before us, armless with her breasts beautiful and exposed. They symbolize the core and beauty of a woman in many an art form. What I have learned by way of cancer, of life with astounding women to learn from, is that this is not the case. While our bodies can define us if we allow the world to tell us so, these breasts do not speak to the power of the woman. The core of a woman is her strength, her bravery in life, motherhood, sisterhood, friendships. The core of a woman is the depth of her compassion and love. Beauty is beyond the boob. Strength is within the scars we bear along the path to womanhood.

I was inspired to write about scars from two fellow bloggers. Bill gave me a unique perspective from the male view of the body in his post: http://bwthoughts.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/i-think-i-can/

And by the photos in I have breast cancer’s blog

Thank you for the inspiration to give my perspective.

nurturing rest

I should go to sleep. my little one just fell asleep for the night, which means 6 ish hours or less, but I am restless.  I am approaching the 1 year mark of my mastectomy and it seems all I can think about is CANCER. The fact that it seems to be everywhere and now I have a phantom pain in my thumb from all of the cell phone usage of late, and all I can think of is…shit, how many carcinogens have reached me, which is mildly ridiculous. I am not neurotic, or paranoid, but I am mindful.  Also, pissed because, I as I have mentioned, I lead a damn healthy life and I got cancer.  There seems to be such a disconnect in science and medicine as to why breast cancer is so prevelant in such a wide range of individuals.  I am pretty sure some of my stress of the prior year assisted in kicking it into high gear, for it to become a something in my life.  Things are better but I still think about it, and I am damn annoyed by it all. go to bed and let it go…so I am writing to rid the energy from my bones and remind myself again, I still have this one boob that feeds my sweet boy.

a mother’s day reflection

As Mother’s Day just passed and this weekend will be a year since I found the lump in my right breast, my memory of receiving the news of my diagnosis of having breast cancer and the news of my pregnancy on the same day, has been alighted.  Along, with breaking the news to my own mother, a heartache in itself.   The idea that I found out that I was pregnant within hours of hearing my diagnosis made me angry. Angry that it was me, the healthiest girl I know, gets breast cancer, me, a girl who had a mountain to climb already that past year, and me…who had been off birth control for a year plus gets to be pregnant while going through such heartache. It all made me angry. In fact, when I came out of the bathroom after the home test was taken, the first uttered words were: “and I’m fucking pregnant too”.

It was not that I didn’t want to have a child and be pregnant, but that I had to do it this way.  I sat in anger over this for maybe a day or three until the calm and peace of that child growing inside of me took over. My sweet boy carried me to a place of calmness about the whole shit storm that my life had become. I had this ‘out of body’ experience of simply knowing things would be okay with the breast, and keeping a mantra in my heart that this baby would be okay.  I felt as if it was my only chance for a child, given the unknown of the cancer, and the heartache of the year prior with countless obstacles in my way of building upon our family.  I had to be at peace with this because that is all I had…a child growing within.  I had to keep him safe, clutched to my heart, safe in the womb, but really I think he kept his mamma safe.  I feel it in his energy.  What a loving and calm soul he has, along with some swift feistyness. He is my heart and I thank him for deciding to become our baby that same weekend that I found the lump.  In the end his timing was perfect.  Happy Mother’s Day to me, one boob and all…it is enough to feed him and that is all that matters, life definitely gives you what you need.