Today I made dinner. A real, honest to goodness dinner. This is quite monumental, because it has been ages since I have done this. Ages. Right after moving out on my own, I was diagnosed with cancer you see. My amazing friends set up a meal plan for me, and I had 2 meals a week delivered to my door for months. Months! This was great, because being alone with 2 small kids and feeling like poop half the time, it was nice to know that meals were taken care of. Then the meals stopped, and I got chemo brain. Bad. Couldn’t focus on meals, couldn’t make it through a recipe, would get overwhelmed even thinking about cooking and then have a little anxiety attack. So, we ate lots of pancakes, cereal, and of course, the kids favorite dinner, corn dogs.
So tonight I decided to cook Indian food – yum! Well, at least I thought so. A delicious chicken tikka masala (ok, I admit it, I bought the sauce, but added all the rest!). Even made some rice and warmed up some naan in butter. Served with mango lemonade (complete with ice and bendy straws!). Delicious. A nice dinner. We will all sit down and enjoy this! Or so I thought…
The scene: Dinner begins, plates are served.
Me - “I would like you all to try this before saying you don’t like it.”
Jordan – “I’m not hungry” (this from the girl who usually eats 3 dinners a night)
Me – “Ok, well eat what you can.”
Connor – “I don’t like rice.”
Me – “What? That’s not even possible. Everyone likes rice.” I get up and sprinkle some sugar on his rice, but this does not help matters. The rice remains untouched.
We all eat a bit. Jordan – “Can I have some more mango lemonade?” I get up, get the lemonade.
Connor – “I don’t have anything to eat (after eating the naan, and trying the masala and saying he didn’t like it). I get up and warm up 2 corn dogs. Some things aren’t worth it.
We continue eating for a bit. My food is gradually getting colder and colder.
Jordan – “Can I have some more? But just the chicken.” I get up again, get the chicken. Glad she likes it!
Connor – “I still don’t like rice.”
Me – “Forget it’s on your plate.”
Connor – “I can’t. It’s staring at me.”
I get up again, clean off the rice. We all resume eating again. Food is definitely getting cold now.
Connor leaves the table, asking “can I water plants?” while opening the back door. I say “please wait until after dinner thank you”. He sits back down. Jordan leaves the table. Declares “I have to use the bathroom” as she marches upstairs. Connor suspiciously now leaves the table too, declaring he “must also use the bathroom right now”. While Jordan goes to the bathroom, Connor’s full plan emerges as he begins to annoy her by opening the door and then fully annoy her by sitting outside of it singing a song. He never actually uses the bathroom btw. A cry of “I’m full” from upstairs lets me know that dinner is officially over. I have by now gotten up at least 5 times in 15 minutes. My food is now very cold. But I still eat it. And it was delicious. And thank goodness for good old corn dogs.
Funny…my hair was a lot longer, but I just went and chopped it all off again! Pixie cuts rule. Totally something I would never, ever, in a million years have done to my hair either. It’s odd explaining to your hairdresser that you didn’t actually “cut” your hair either…
So, what do insomniacs do at 10:00 at night 7 days post op? Do they read a book, drink some warm milk, and think dreamy thoughts? Do they watch all the episodes of Dr. Who back to back? Do they take an ativan and try and sleep? No! They take off their spanx suit, hold their drain tubes high, and dye their hair! Or, at least that’s what I decided to do tonight. Well, after watching some Dr. Who and maybe having a drink or two. And why not? I feel super awesome now, and that’s just what I needed. Thanks little box of dye, for making me feel better. Now to pop that ativan…
My fortune today at lunch read “It’s not only important to add years to your life, but to add life to your years.” So true. Thanks cookie.
So it’s true…going to have to take this thing every day for 10 years! And was anyone else kind of freaked out by the recurrence rates, even with taking tamoxifen? Or the increased endometrial cancer risk? I know I shouldn’t dwell on such things, but I can’t help but see the statistics. This is why one of my new mottos is “live each day to the fullest”. Because right now, I am here, loving life, embracing each moment, completely and utterly living my life to the fullest.
Me and my kiddos on Mother’s Day!
Oh f’ing a…hot flashes again? I really hate them. Really. Hate. Them. I had been hot flash free for 5 months until the last few days. Hopefully they will not be as bad as during the taxol treatments… Body, I thought we were done with all this. I thought we had moved on. On to bigger and better things. F*#k.
But, there is good news too! I went to see my plastic surgeon the other day, and she is going to throw in a tummy tuck with my next surgery! Yay! Say goodbye, twin skin, and hello bikini! It’s nice to have a little icing on my cake of crap. Yes sirree.
The drop off. That’s what they call it anyways. But it really is the drop off, kind of like you are standing on the edge of a cliff watching all your doctors, physical therapists, oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, etc. wave goodbye as you fall away. You would think one would be glad not to go to appointments all the time (and one really, really is btw!), but it’s also kind of like you are letting go of that lifeline. Like if you stop seeing your doctors, maybe cancer will come back. Like they are keeping it at bay or something. And, it’s rather nice having someone checking in on you all the time. It’s so comforting! But then they’re all gone. And you feel like you’re falling…
External stress doesn’t help either. The combination of these two factors resulted in me having severe anxiety issues for a while there. Mini panic attacks. I even got a prescription, I’m not ashamed to say. Plus, the prescription was supposed to help hot flashes and neuropathy, so win-win I guess. Now even though I got the prescription, that doesn’t mean I actually took any of it. I was hesitant at best to start down that road. The list of side effects was huge – sexual problems, weight gain, suicidal thoughts, well you get the idea, nothing that I really wanted.
So instead, I turned to homeopathic methods (i.e., smoking the green!), yoga, and being true to myself to rid my body of this anxiety. And it worked! I feel more centered, balanced, and just plain awesome right now than I have in a long time. I know myself and live each day to the fullest. I am surrounded by love, giving, and positive energy, and I can’t help but smile. Smile and feel so content, so full of life. So comforted. So happy. :)
And who knows, maybe all this yoga will enable me to finally touch my toes! Wouldn’t that be something. Dare to dream, dare to dream…
So it has been a year since my official diagnosis. And what a year it has been. I never thought I would be sitting here today so strong, so happy, with a new appreciation for all the little moments in each and every day, and all the wonderful people in my life. My sweet Jordan made me this trophy with the words “winner today is Jen”. And I think that pretty much says it all. But the winner today isn’t just Jen, it’s everyone who faces a challenge head-on with a smile (and maybe a flip of a middle finger!), everyone who finds the positive, everyone who conquers their fears. I feel like I can take on anything now, even leave the house in sweatpants. Because you know what, I kicked cancer’s ass! I can do anything.