Over the weekend I gave into the temptation – I ate red meat. This decision was not made hastily. During my chemo on Wednesday I spoke to my nutritionist about it and she let me know that it was completely my choice if I decided to continue to cut out the cow. She cautioned me if I did however choose to try it again, to start with ground beef rather than a big steak. Perfect, cheeseburgers are my go to meal anyways! My surgeon also said, “If you want a cheeseburger, have one.” So I kind of felt like they were all on the “Yay Red Meat” train right???
So Saturday night I had one side cut rib. Super small and barely anything to write about. The whole time I was still nauseous and having stomach pains so I chalked it up to just regular old life for me. Then Monday came.
Still nauseous but out and about I thought that after my hard week I deserved it. I have been off red meat since August and I should be able to treat myself. So I went for it. Single patty cheese from good old McDonalds. As I took off the wrapper I could tell – this shit was perfect. It is like they knew my addiction and they made it just for me. Every bite had the perfect ratio of cheese, onion, ketchup and mustard. No dry or greasy piece in site. I raved on about this perfect burger for the next hour. And truthfully if I was not with someone else, I would have stopped at a drive-thru for a second. Sure enough though, no more than two hours later, the stomach cramps began. My intestinal gas pains, acid reflex and debilitating cramps lasted until last night. A full day and a half of pain. Never again. And I mean it this time. The amount of discomfort I experienced is not worth the pleasure my taste buds enjoyed so much.
I do not consider myself a failure for trying red meat again. I never declared 100% that I would be off the stuff forever. (If I did say that in my old post, please ignore then….). I am human – we are not perfect and have set backs. I am just hoping that writing down my experience will help me to remember that it is not worth the agony afterwards. That, and I also need you people to slap me if I ever am tempted again.
Well I can finally say I understand what chemo is really like. It started at around 12:00pm yesterday when I began to feel the full discomfort from the drugs. I was hot and cold at the same time and extremely nauseous. Thankfully I had a good friend by my side who consoled me while I shed a few tears (or a lot, but who’s counting). Coming home it only got worse. The nausea persisted and even made me physically ill throughout the night. If this adventure couldn’t get any more fun, I received a call today from my nurse that my oncologist is putting me back on the daily injections for white blood cells. Oh, and they are refusing to provide me with and at home nurse even though I explained in detail how bad my anxiety was last time.
This next step in my journey I can already tell will not be fun. Who would have thought after two invasive surgeries that it could get any harder. I know the overall thought is – it has to get a little harder in order to be better on the other side. But that is easier said when you are healthy and don’t feel like shit. So those happy people who I know are saying it to be nice – can screw off for now. Sorry.
Ever have a jar with a super tight lid? When you can’t open it the first thing you do is bring it closer to your body to try and help with the force. Well I just did that and was surprised by my sudden and long lasting lighting bolt of pain. Yes, even something as simple as opening a jar has now become scary. Why? Well my scar is still pink and puffy which makes is super sensitive. Even if my shirt rubs against it the wrong way it can hurt me. Reaching to turn on my bed side table light – think again as my skin pulls on my scar and again causes a jolt of pain. Overall I will take all of these painful moments if I could just wear a normal bra again. I was cut high enough that any chest support system would come into contact and constantly rub on my scar. Although the no bra movement is liberating and comfortable – it’s hard to get cleavage that way. Thankfully I’m no double D so I don’t have to fear that months of no support will cause sagging. Life gave my cancer but thankfully also gave me a nice B cup that stays in place without help. Must be why I am going as a safari animal this year and not a “sexy” something or other for Halloween. Kind of would need some cleavage for that.
With the temperature dropping more and more daily it is time to start investing in multiple baggy sweaters. I would hate to be in the supermarket and let everyone know just how cold it is outside. Stop staring at my chest you pervs I have cancer.
Since this whole thing started back in April I have gone from weighing close to 160 to now 130. Last Fall I joined a gym because I hated that my weight had reached almost 160. All I wanted was to get to to 145. I told myself “If I can just get to that weight again, I will be happy.”. I am starting to understand why people with eating disorders speak about their weight the way they do. I know on the scale it says I am 130, but in the mirror when I strip down to just my undergarments, I still see 155.
*Before I continue let me just say I do not have an eating disorder. I have not tried to lose weight throughout my journey, it just happens when you have multiple surgeries. My appetite is back and last night I even made my side of fries into a poutine – so hush down.
That is how sick the female brain is. I know the weight is off my body because all of my skinny jeans now look like a loose pair of mom jeans that at tapered at the bottom. The only things that can cover my behind now are leggings and track pants – but heading into my favourite season, I really do not want to wear those everyday. Jeans, leather jackets, boots and scarves – my Fall staple items. Right now however it seems to be Roots track pants and sweater, Toms, and thick socks. Attractive and fashionable. Sorry fellas but I am taken.
I know the weight will come back, so I am not too worried about it. What I need to remember is what 130 looks like in my head. Not that much different. Now probably if I lost this weight the healthy way by being at the gym, the outcome would have a different reality. I would have a toned stomach instead of one with a big red line down the centre. Even still, I like a steak with a little bit of fat on it – adds more flavour.
I guess I have a lot to be thankful for this year. Even though I am still fighting my disease, I am hopefully on the last major part of my journey. Just 6 months ago I was told not only did I have cancer, but that I was inoperable. Deep down I always believed that I would have surgery, however I never imagined it would be 3 months later. Now with two surgeries under my belt, I feel like I am well on my way to becoming a some what normal person again.
I am also extremely thankful for all of the support I have received throughout my journey so far. I never would have guessed so many people in my life would step up and stand by my side while I fight for my life. As I have said before, it pays to put out good energy in the world.
Also, the nurses who were by my side in the hospital. All of them were great, but there were a select few who went beyond their job requirement. They held my hand while I was scared, and were there by my side comforting me while I cried. I will forever be thankful for their kindness.
As my fight continues I try not to just save my thanks for the one day a year when the calendar tells me so – I am thankful everyday.
Dealing with my pain daily has become normal for me. Who ever thought I would say that? I feel like I have not been myself since July 20th, the day before my first surgery. All of the shit I went through during my hospital stays and all the days in-between really changed me. Obviously I will never be the exact same person I was back in early April 2014, but I would like to at least get back to the person on July 20th. Before I knew how scary life really can be. Before I knew what death looked like. Before I became used to being stabbed with a needle multiple times a day. Before I became comfortable just lifting up my gown to whoever came in that resembled a health practitioner. Before I knew what withdrawal feels like coming off of a pain medication. Before I knew how many days my body could go without eating.
My surgeon is amazed by how “well” I am doing. He says my fallen appetite is normal and most patients of liver surgery lose up to 25% of their body weight – so my 10-15 pounds is nothing. My first surgery was invasive, but he let me know my second was 500x more invasive, and I should lower my expectations on recovery. That is easier said than done. The way I feel in my head does not match the way my body is responding. “How bad do I really have to pee?” – I question this about every hour. That involves sitting up, walking to the washroom, and trying my best to sit on something not even close to comfortable. You try sitting on a toilet without using your abs. Near impossible.
Chemo is starting again in 2 weeks. A new friend appeared on my upper left lung that I now have to tackle. My body is not as strong as it was the first time I was on chemo, but my blood work looks good so back into the stadium I go. Bottoms up to the chemo cocktail.
This whole kid thing is getting to me. Not the fact that I am now choosing to not have kids – that I got over pretty fast surprisingly. It has to do with those people out there who think a woman’s life is not complete unless she has a child. I’ve seen this article circling around Facebook that is called, “An open letter to my friends who don’t have kids”. Just that title alone pisses me off. Anyways, I chose to read a bit of it but then I realized I would rather be reading the TV guide. To sum up what the article said – it was about how some single friends feel resentful or almost jealous of their friend with child. They do not understand why this new friend has become all “mommy”, and would like their old “fun” friend back. Blah blah blah. Stupid things like this get right under my skin. Not every person without kids think this way. Do not share that crap. There are a million dumb people out there who will read that shit and try to relate it to their own experiences. Then the mom’s all rally together and write comments like “you go girl”, or “being a mom is so hard, who needs friends like that”. Shut up. All of you.
Let me explain something. I love kids. I always thought I would have them. When I was diagnosed and was informed it was probably genetic, I made the choice to not have children. This came about for a number of reasons, here are just a few:
1. I do not want to risk passing on the gene and having my children go through this.
2. My body is going through enough, I do not wish to put it under any more stress.
3. Chemotherapy is an awful drug and who knows what is has done/doing to my eggs.
4. If I were to have kids, I would put them first and not myself. If I were given the option for a risky surgery to save my life, I may not want to go through with it because of the thought of leaving my kids without a mother.
I had the crying moment with my mom back in May where I apologized for not giving her grandchildren. She made me feel so much better when she let me know it was ok, and that she was never the type that was just itching for a grandchild.
Now, back to “those” people. Just because a woman does not have children, it does not mean her life is any less. I love my friend’s children. I am so happy when they bring them by for a visit and I never mind talking for hours about the difference of cloth vs regular diapers. I am not a person who is thinking in my head, “Shut up already, I don’t have kids so I don’t care”. That would be like them saying to me, “Enough with the cancer talk, it is too depressing”.
My future life beyond this cancer will be filled with happiness and love. I will be surrounded by my friend’s children who will light up my eyes while I watch them discover this world. Then I will hand them back at night before I hop on a plane to Europe. Have fun at soccer practise losers.