About sleeping.

Most days I’m so tired at the end of the day that I crash into my mattress at 10 pm and don’t wake up until 6 am or later.

Sometimes I wake up to use the bathroom at 4. Or 2. Sometimes I don’t get back to sleep.

Last night, this morning, I woke up at about 2 to use the bathroom. I also had a pretty strong headache, so I was up for a couple of hours.

Sometimes my brain spins with possibilities, both good and bad. Or regrets. It’s easy to start down the road of “I should have pushed back more at the first exam when I got brushed off.” Oh my goodness, the regret is so intense.

At some point over the past year, I got really hooked on the phrase “Don’t look back – you’re not going that way.” I was always someone who looked back. I used to wish I could go back to 7th grade, before I was obese, before I missed the boat in math class, and not get fat and ask for help in math. But that stuff is all gone and done, and all I have now is where I am.

That’s how it is with the cancer journey. It’s here. There is no going back now, so it’s time to look forward and try my best to leave any regrets along the side of the road. Those things get heavy after a while.

Also, I get to take lots of naps now. What if I had done things differently and I missed out on all these wonderful naps??

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I have a bad feeling.

I mean, I get that you’re supposed to stay positive. Overall, I really am. I think I’m doing a pretty good job of not dwelling on the unknown and all of the implied possibilities. I stopped googling radiation and chemo. I’m focusing on healing. I’m making future plans. I’m looking forward to being cancer-free.

But, from the very beginning, no matter how upbeat I have seemed, no matter what “good news” I have received, I just have a bad feeling that I can’t shake.

When my oncologist didn’t even open my folder or chart while we spoke and said I didn’t look like someone with Grade 2 endometrial cancer, even though that was what the pathology report found, I didn’t understand what he could possibly be basing that on. He said I was young and beautiful and that he hoped to downgrade me to a Grade 1 so that he could spare my ovaries and I could stay young and beautiful. Turns out, at the second pathology read? It was still Grade 2. My surgery was moved up a week. I still had to have my ovaries removed to be safe.

He read my CT scan and said it looked fine. He stopped himself from calling my tumor huge at my bedside the day of my release from the hospital. He told my mom that things looked promising.

I read the report. My CT scan showed mild emphysema, a borderline enlarged spleen, and some enlarged lymph nodes. I laughed for two days about the mild emphysema. No wonder it hurts me to run in the winter.

I just can’t shake the feeling that my oncologist is being all smiles until he has the facts to drop the hammer. He was so smooth, so upbeat about downgrading me and saving my ovaries. Like we were talking about the weather. We made the call about taking them when my surgeon was standing at the end of my bed while I was in the pre-op area and I had my IV in, minutes before I was wheeled to the OR, nurses buzzing around me.

I just keep remembering his words from my appointment on August 6th and hoping they’re true. He said that he saw a lot of people like me, five newly diagnosed patients every day. He said that, to me, it was a huge deal, but to him, I was not a bad case. That things were not urgent because this is a very slow-moving cancer. That in all likelihood we would take everything but the ovaries, and with it, all of the cancer, and I could move on with my life.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed, even though I have a bad feeling. I’m moving forward and looking up and taking each moment as it comes.

I especially look forward to writing the post that proves this post wrong.

The magic of walking.

Before my diagnosis, I was in a habit of taking a long walk every day on my lunch break. After my diagnosis, life became a slightly insane parade of lunch dates and rescheduled lunch dates, as well as vacation days to spend time with loved ones. The walks fell by the wayside, along with my daily yoga practice. My life was filled with people, always. I loved that part, but I missed my daily walks. I had come to view them as kind of a brainwash, a midday reset for whatever was getting me down that day.

When my surgeon released me from the hospital ten days ago, he said some words to me. I saw his mouth move, but pretty much the only thing I absorbed was “you’re cleared for long walks.” I started taking short, limping walks a few times a day. Wow, was I sore. Wow, did I tire quickly.

Yesterday, a friend drove me to the woods. Hiking had been another of my regular activities, before I got so exhausted from being sick. Getting into the woods yesterday was so special. Even though we walked on a plank pathway for most of our baby hike, it did me a lot of good to see leaves changing and hear birds singing.

Today, I took my first solo walk since surgery. It was ambitious – probably my longest walk yet. It’s good to get outside, to get walking.

You see things there like weeds growing through concrete, squirrels always with a nut, rabbits frozen, convinced you can’t see them. You see kitties skulking around the back, pugs that busted out of their backyard fence, the corner lots that are absolutely littered with flowers, cleared lots that have been reclaimed by grass.

You see backyard gardens with praying sunflowers as tall as trees and tomato plants groaning with their red and green burdens. You get to stick your face in flowering trees and inhale their sweet scent while bees buzz right nearby.

You might even talk to a guy who managed to grow two full-sized pumpkins, and when you ask him how on earth he did it, he will just shrug and say, “I just kept watering ’em.”

It’s that easy.

Just keep watering. Just keep going. Just keep walking.

Hurry up and wait.

I was warned that the cancer journey was one of hurry up and wait. It’s true, and I hate it. The surgery that hopefully removed all of the cancer was nine days ago, the pathology, I was told, will take ten days to come back… but my followup appointment with the oncologist isn’t until September 9th – another ten days.

Every day is an interesting mix of awesome and wretched thoughts. Anywhere from “I can’t wait to move on with my life and get back to normal” to “Maybe we should sell the house and use the proceeds to travel the world until I die.”

I’m trying to be a gracious wait-er. Trying to get into TV, but I’m just not. Trying to read, but I can’t focus and there are a lot of bad writers out there.

Trying not to lose my damn mind, basically.

What’s new with me.

I decided that I should probably dust off the old blog and write about what is happening over here.

Last month, I got an email that I had new results in my online medical record. I was almost a week out from outpatient surgery – a D&C to remove a polyp and see if I had fibroids. The procedure had gone well, polyp removed, nothing eventful except I had a hard time coming out of sedation. I completely forgot about the biopsy until I logged in to my medical record and saw “tissue sample” under test results. I remember thinking, “I forgot – the biopsy! Well I’ll see that this is normal and this whole thing will be behind me.”

Only, it didn’t quite go that way. Instead of something like “normal result,” I saw the words “endometrioid adenocarcinoma” and, sitting at my desk at work, I blurted out, “Oh, shit. That’s cancer!”

And I was off, on what my dear friend Cathy has accurately described as the roller coaster ride that is the cancer journey.

Right now, I’m home, recovering from a surgery that removed my entire reproductive system. I’m on another upward climb, every day part of a slow and jarring clack-clack-clack as I wait for the next event, the next crest and swoosh and rush: in this case, the pathology report that will come back 10 days after surgery.

I never knew that 10 days could be an eternity but here we are. I move from my bed to my recliner to my chair in the back yard to my bench on the front porch. I listlessly scroll Facebook for hours. I pull out the Fuck Cancer coloring book that my mother-in-law brought me and color for 10 minutes. I think about all of the stuff I could be doing with this time off, if my body was strong. I take short walks. I read support group posts, I research chemo and radiation side effects, and I freak myself the fuck out until I remember that I should live in today, just worry about the very next thing I have to do. For all I know, the surgery got all of the cancer and that’s that.

Mr. Thor said I need a distraction. I haven’t had much stomach for TV, but last night I started watching Queer Eye and that seems to be just about right for me. I figured writing might be a step in the right direction, even though I’ve left this blog to languish for so long I’m not sure if anyone is still reading. I’ll try to post more often.