Health update: Feeling much better after adjusting some meds. I haven't had to take a nausea pill in about three weeks and for that I am incredibly grateful. I continue to hope for more energy, less pain, and better range of motion in my shoulder which has been an issue since my last surgery. All those things are getting better, for sure...just not at the pace I would like. Patience is not my thing. All in all, progress is happening, and for that I am so, so thankful.
I'm coming up on the one year anniversary of my diagnosis, which, as you can probably imagine, has led to a wide range of emotions as I consider what this past year has meant for me and my family. I plan to spend a little more time in the writing room as that day approaches so you'll see a little more activity here on the blog. There are things to say and songs to share. I hope you'll stop by often.
For now, I leave you with a random list of thoughts about the past year. And a really random thought about something else.
1. Every medical professional I've dealt with over the past year has been an amazing human. I can't say enough kind words about the level of care I've received and the true angels God has put in my path. From radiology to surgery to oncology to phlebotomy. From receptionists to pharmacists to physical therapists to occupational therapists. Not one jerk in the bunch. God forbid any of you need a recommendation for your own cancer journey, I would love to tell you about my people.
2. I remember my diagnosis day like it was yesterday. Where I was standing when I got the call. Where my kids were. What was said. I remember every detail. I also remember only having about 45 minutes to digest the info before some of my kids' friends came over to spend New Year's Eve at our house. I have always loved having my kids' friends over, but that night, they were the absolute best distraction possible. They had no clue about the bomb that had just been dropped on our family and I wanted it that way. My boys needed them to be there and I did too. I wanted to end 2020 with laughter in my home. Thank God for those kids.
3. I am growing my hair out. Many of you have asked, and no, I haven't cut it since it started growing back except for a quick snip of the rogue long hairs that were getting annoying. It's just taking forever to grow out. I haven't minded having very short hair, and maybe one day I'll cut it that short again. But if I do, it will be on my terms, darn it, and not because stupid cancer took it from me.
4. Finding balance in the area of nutrition has been a challenge. I understand the importance of treating my body well, considering what I am fighting. But dog gone it, sometimes I just want a burger and fries from Freddy's or a jumbo margarita or a sharing-size peanut M&M's which I have no intention of sharing. So, sometimes I indulge, savoring every last calorie. Then I get back on the health wagon.
5. Chemo brain is a real thing. One day, at a follow-up appointment with my surgeon's office, the nurse asked what medications I am currently taking. I couldn't think of one. Mind you, I take six different prescriptions or supplements every day and I couldn't recall one of them. Not even Tylenol. "I swear I'm not an idiot," I said. "Just give me a minute and it'll come to me." She smiled and said, "It's okay. It happens." I have had moments when I can't remember a student's name when they are standing right in front of me. I've grasped for dates and details and numbers and other information I have always had easy access to. This frustration has given me a new level of compassion for anyone struggling with memory issues. Losing the ability to remember absolutely sucks - and I've only had a glimpse of it. Oh, the ways we learn to care for others.
6. Speaking of not being an idiot, I've been increasingly bothered by something on social media so I'm just going to vent about it here. I am vaccinated. I have a lot of friends who are not vaccinated. Some of my best friends aren't vaccinated. And you know what? They're still my best friends. And I wouldn't dream of calling them out on social media for making a personal decision. Lately though, some folks I consider friends have said some really hurtful things on social media about people who are vaccinated, and I just want you to know I've seen it. And I would also like you to know I'm not a sheep, a communist, or an idiot. I'm a human being who made a personal decision based on the information I had. I literally don't have the ability to fight infections right now. I have a 90-year old mother I'd like to see over Christmas. I hate wearing a mask. But if you see me wearing one, it isn't because I'm stupid or weak. So please, when you are about to post comments intended to be funny, or to make fun, or to blatantly imply I'm a completely ignorant ass, just think twice. There are real people reading your words who are fighting battles you aren't aware of and your comments sting. One of the best things I've learned in my 54 years on this planet is that most people are doing the best they can with the information they have so it's best to just show everyone a whole lot of grace.