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love + light

“The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.”
– C.C. Scott

The eve of the eve of the year of Jeni

Sorry for the long pause. I’m seeing the end of the journey now, and I feel like I’m repeating myself, even here, constantly. There is news. Always something new.

A few weeks back I had my ovaries removed. So far I’ve not had any side effects. I’m on a new drug – one that stops estrogen production from the adrenal glands – since I no longer can produce it from my ovaries. It was a precautionary surgery – simple outpatient procedure – I wasn’t sure I wanted, but now that I’m on the other side of it, I’m feeling really grateful I did it. I’ll be on this new drug for 10+ years – as long as the cancer stays away from me.

I started physical therapy. I can’t move my right arm over my head without a lot of pain. It’s difficult to sleep on my right side or stomach (my preferred positions), and it was time to address the issues I’m facing before they become permanent. Luckily I can go to the hospital closest to home, and it has been very helpful, informative and appears to be helping.

Unfortunately, one arm is bigger than the other. I started seeing an occupational therapist as well. I have no baseline from before my multiple surgeries happened, so as a precaution I’ve started to wear a compression sleeve and gauntlet to squeeze the excess fluid out of me, and hopefully prevent any fluids from staying too long. They removed 18 lymphnodes from my right side armpit, and thus the issues. I’m a candidate for lymphedema, something I have no interest in dealing with. The sleeve is comfortable, not to obvious and, for now, a necessary evil.

I was also fitted for a proper breast prosthesis and bra contraption. I’m only a few days into it, but I like it. The extra weight on the right feels more balanced. I feel dressed for the first time in months. The shop suggested I wear it 8 hours a day, will help my neck and back feel better, and I should use it during the physical therapy sessions as well. Opens up the other half of my wardrobe, which is also nice.

We were able to secure new insurance, starting Jan. 1. Bill’s company was kind enough to change their plan offerings, to allow the kids and I to join in and allow me to stay at Rush. It’s a huge relief. Healthcare has been such a learning curve and obstacle. Though Obamacare saved my life.

I’ve continued to pursue meditation to help ease my anxiety. It’s helping. Feels good to be in a group / community of people seeking similar relief. Susan joined me last night at a new place, with both decided we’d go again, and hopefully next week we’ll try it again.

I’m going back to pottery classes. As I see the end of the treatment schedule approaching, I’m filling my free time with things I loved doing before cancer took over my life’s plans. I miss my instructor, Jean, and my wheel mates. Looking forward to the therapeutic Thursdays on the wheel starting mid month.

I’ve planned some trips too. My goal is to travel once a month this next year. I’m going to see my brother Chris and his crew, with my sister Butzer, to celebrate the end of treatment in late January. In February I’m going to ring in the new year with my college roommates in Arizona at some fabulous spa in Scottsdale. And in March I’m going to sneak down to Corpus Christi to see my dad in his winter nesting spot. That’s as far ahead as I can plan. I’ll start wave 2 in February.

And because there’s not enough to do around here, we added a puppy to our lives. She’s full of energy, beautifully silky white, part Lab / part german shepard, and everyone is completely in love with her – accidents and all. Elle Vis (pronounced Elvis) is a fostered rescue pup from Mississippi and is already changing our lives for the better.

Two more infusions left – Jan. 5 and Jan. 26 – and then I can let my cancer journey rest until May. No doctor’s meetings or appointments until May. I’ll continue physical therapy until the pain goes away. Reconstruction – or deconstruction – of my breast mounds will wait until next fall, after my still-scarlet skin has had time to heal and recover a bit more. Surely the fall will come soon enough.

Happy New Year has never sounded so true. A NEW year. I’m a year through it. One whole year behind me. And that’s where it’s going to stay. Here’s to the next year, next chapter, next adventure. I’ve been so fortunate in my journey – excellent care, amazing friends and family, and a positive prognosis – the year of Jeni will be a grateful celebration of all that’s still to come. Cheers!

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