Being a cancer survivor is as much a mental game, as a physical. There have been many days that I have felt great and can keep this diagnosis off my mind. And other days where my mind gets the best of me. And on those days I try to breathe and stay present. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
I had been feeling some pain and aches in my back for a few weeks and after brushing it off and talking myself down, I verbalized it as a fear of cancer spreading. I sent my doctor a message and I told Tyler. That made my fear real. And the panic set in. But soon after my doctor relieved my fears saying he was almost positive it was stress combined with the aches of chemotherapy and to relax and get a massage. Although the process of this sent me into a panic attack, verbalizing it helped me work through my fear and the doctor’s reassurance helped calm my worry.
Onto my current treatment! I am now through 4 of 6 of my chemotherapy treatments. I started acupuncture this cycle and there was a big improvement in my insomnia and nausea. Two days after chemotherapy I swam a mile – and while I did have some queasy times, this round was the easiest on me. So I am all scheduled for acupuncture for rounds 5 and 6. Another tool I have added to my tool box is a nutritionist that focuses on cancer. She reviewed all my labs and optimized my supplement regimen. She was pleasantly surprised by my nutritional approach so far and we just had to make a few tweaks based on my numbers.
I’ve also been busy trying to figure out my surgical options. Unfortunately each doctor I talked to, I get a different answer. Lumpectomy or mastectomy? Immediate or delayed reconstruction? The statistics show that lumpectomy with radiation has similar reoccurrence rates and survival as mastectomy and I have to do radiation either way because of the lymph nodes in my chest wall. However with my Chek2 genetics, stage IIIC and the aggressiveness of Her3 +++ it’s not an easy decision and seems like it’s a personal choice. One that I want to be confident in. But I have a few more weeks to decide as surgery will probably be in August.
Thankfully, between all my treatment and mental games, I have enjoyed some quality time with my friends and family. Tyler and I just celebrated our 13th Anniversary in Tahoe at a yoga + soul retreat. I am so thankful to have a husband who shares similar interests as me. And although he was one of only five guys at the retreat (hello eye candy), he had a great time and we shared some special bonding moments. I’ve also enjoyed the extra time with the girls as I have been working from home part-time – they are so sweet and always tell me how much they love me and give me lots of good snuggle.
Something that restores my hope in this (sometimes) dark world we live in, is the support of strangers. From the ladies that check in with Tyler at the stores he frequent and gift him flowers to brighten my day, to the owner at the water store who always checks in my wellbeing, to all those “friends of friends and family” who pray for my recovery. It’s encouraging to have such broad support.