Anniversaries

anniversaries

 

June 1st would have been my 33rd wedding anniversary and June 6 was the 5 year anniversary of his death.   5 years.  It doesn’t seem possible. It’s a blink and a lifetime. In 5 years I have found new employment, made new friendships and rediscovered old friends.  I have had to take on a bigger role in family members’ care – took a crash course or two to that end. Have proudly watched both of my daughters buy their first homes – completely on their own.  We recently visited my nephew in London where he is following his dreams and making his mama proud.

I am slowly building a life of my own and no longer feeling guilt for enjoying it. I’m getting closer to making a decision about my home.  I trust that when the time is right the decision will make itself.

Last year I had to say goodbye to the world’s worse dog and I miss him terribly.  He lived almost three years to the day from the time I wrote about his  cancer.  Comet  And it was a good three years.

Speaking of cancer and anniversaries, I am still cancer free and only have to see the oncologist once a year.  Still on medication for another ?8 years and probably longer since they keep moving the goal posts.  My diagnosis was 6 years ago and end of (the tough) treatment 5 years.  There’s that number again.   I’d play the lottery but I used up all my luck in high school.

Whenever I’m absent from the blog for any length of time I feel guilty for not keeping up with all of the wonderful bloggers I follow.   I’m going to sign off for now and do some catching up. I hope I find you all well .hugs_drib_cindysuen

 

 

 

 

 

15 Things About Me.

I always miss the memo, but it seems like a lot of the bloggers I follow have answered the call, so I’ll play!

1. I’m a thief.  My rescue kitty was actually stolen from neglectful/abusive owners. I’m not sorry.

2. If I had to choose only one source of entertainment between music, television/movies or books for the rest of my life it would be books. Hands down.

3. Until November of 2011 through June of 2013 I always felt like a pretty lucky person.

4. Even on my darkest days I always found something to laugh about. It was usually grossly inappropriate.  I’m not sure if that’s a sign of sound mental health or I’m batshit crazy.

5. I never lived alone one day until I was 50 years old.

6. My fuckit list is roughly three times as long as my bucket list and I’m okay with that.

7. I will probably never jump out of a plane.

8. I cry hardest over movies where the dog dies.

9. Hurt one of my kids and not only will I curse you to the seven layers of hell I will create a few extra layers just for you.

10. I am geographically challenged.  I can get lost in my hometown and I’ve never left. True story.

11. I think FB quizzes are stupid but I do more of them than you might think.

12. I once got a nun to say F you.  Granted, she was a former nun but it still felt like a win.

13. I’m not easily impressed.

14. I feel lonely sometimes but it doesn’t bother me enough to do anything about it.

15. One of my children is alive today soley because her ability to make me laugh slightly outweighed her ability to piss me off.

How am I doing?

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I’ve had a few messages lately from people who only know me through this blog.  I’ve been MIA.  I guess when you start a blog because of a diagnosis like cancer and then disappear people wonder. I know I do and I’m always happy to see posts from the bloggers I follow. I have been reading regularly and commenting a bit, just haven’t had a lot to say, so here goes.

On the cancer front, as far as I know I’m still cancer free. I’ll know more after my upcoming 6 month check, but I don’t anticipate any bad news. I feel pretty good.

As for the rest of my life let’s see. I took a job, hated it, quit and decided to spend my time and cash building up my little business. That’s going really well and keeping me busy.  The downside (and reason I took the aforementioned hated job) is the isolation of working at home. I’ve done it for years but didn’t live alone as well.  I’m a self admitted home body so I’ve made an effort to get out more.  Weekly dinner and drinks with friends. Biweekly breakfast with another friend. Spending time with each of my parents and my husband’s mother each week and as much time with my girls as they can spare. I’ve made two trips to Texas . I’ve joined a group dedicated to helping teen mothers make a good start in life and I belong to another group of ladies who fund raise for local charities.  Both fun groups with a lot of really nice ladies.  I look forward to the meetings. I help a friend out occasionally with her catering business.  Keeping busy.

On the home front, I have been having a lot of work done on the house. I don’t feel the need to move as much as I did at first, but I doubt I will be here forever and why only fix it up to sell? I want to enjoy the results while I’m here.  I will admit this winter nearly did me in. I felt tested every damn day for one reason or another (me and every one else, huh?)  You would think I’d be happy to see summer but there are too many upcoming anniversaries and I would be happy to sleep through until Fall.  June 1st would have been our 29th wedding anniversary, June 6th is the one year anniversary of his death. July 10th is the 2nd anniversary of my sister’s death but I never marked the first in any significant way.I was still reeling from losing my husband.    I will officially be through all the “firsts” though.  I’ll let you know if that makes it any easier.

My mom and I were buying flowers the other day. I loaded up on baskets and flats. We were chatting back and forth and talking about what we should get for the cemetery. She picked something for my sister and I picked something for my husband. And it felt normal, which made me feel slightly sick to my stomach.

I’ve been slipped the senior discount a few times.  I see the double takes and the questioning looks and I silently dare them to ask. One kid was all of 17 and when I said “don’t be fooled by the hair” he laughed and I was happy to pay full price. When they don’t ask and give me the discount I say nothing.  One woman asked me the other day and it was the first time I was offended. She was at least my age and had about a half inch of gray roots showing.  I wanted to ask if she thought that bad dye job was fooling anyone. I’m not giving in and dying my hair but I think I will let it grow long and wild.  I’m hoping for the aging hippie look. I’ll probably end up with more of a crone vibe.

This post is all over the place, much like my mind these days. Sorry.

How am I doing? I’m doing well, finding my footing.  Thanks for asking. How are you doing?

Happy New Year

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Or as I like to say don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, ’13.   I’ve stopped greeting each new year with “it has to be better than last year”.  Actually I never did that until the end of 2011, again in 2012 and now .. well you get the picture.  Apparently the universe likes messing with me so I am keeping my hopes for the new year to myself. I won’t write 2013 off completely. It did bring the amazing gift of my first grandson and I’ve surprised myself with things I can handle that I never in a million years thought I could or would ever have to.  

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I say what didn’t kill me makes me want to mess someone up. Unfortunately there is no one to blame for any of it.  It’s just life and you know none of us are getting out of this alive.

Cheers!

Don’t ask

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Oh, I don’t mean you. You can ask me anything.  Don’t Ask is the red banner I imagine has been placed prominently across my medical file and/or employment files at my local hospital.  I had my 6 month check with Oncology yesterday and all is well on the cancer front, though apparently I am working on an ulcer. Maybe.  Or more likely my body is just reacting to the absolute clusterfuck my life has been for the past 18 months or so.   While discussing the possible causes of the stomach pain I’ve been having (yes.. I “went there” and anyone with a past diagnosis of cancer knows exactly where “there” is) and how I’m not sleeping much these days, I mentioned my husband had recently passed away.  It was exactly a year ago since she asked how my summer was going and I reported that my sister had just unexpectedly passed away.   Her face.  I almost felt sorry for her.    I was told I am doing “remarkably well” whatever that means.  Am I supposed to open a vein every time I tell someone new?  Wear widow’s weeds?  Image

As I was leaving she mentioned again how remarkably well I seem.  I told her I had no choice and she said “you can always crumble”.  I told her “not yet”.  Besides I got shit to do. I’ll schedule a break down for another time, thank you.

Last week I had a job interview.  The first step was a telephone interview with all of those ridiculous getting to know you questions.  Then I got to do it again face to face.  Things were going well until the interviewer asked “what is the biggest personal challenge you have had to face in the past year and how did you handle it?”  So, I told her.  Tissues all around.  This could go either way.. a pity hire or a big red banner across my file that says. Don’t Ask!   I’m okay with either.

I used the kitty graphic because those crazy eyes are exactly how I feel these days but the graphic below speaks to me.  I hope it speaks to you too.

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Navigating a new reality

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I’ve been pretty silent on the blogosphere. I’ve reblogged a few gems from some of the smart ladies that I follow, but otherwise have not had a lot to say. Mainly because life was becoming blissfully normal and really, who wants to read about the day to day musings of a 50 year old woman?  Nothing to see here folks.   I had planned to blog on the one year anniversary of my sister’s death.  That is coming up  on July 10.  Actually I planned to reblog the post I made about 10 days after she passed.  It’s not like anything has changed in that regard. She is still gone and we still miss her.   I was contemplating an update when I see my oncologist in July.  Truthfully I don’t expect anything new to come from that visit so unless something horrifying or hilarious happened on the way to the center it would be a pretty boring entry.

What I never in my wildest imaginings expected to be blogging about is the unexpected death of my husband.  On 4/29/13 we welcomed his new grandson in Texas.  On 6/1/13 we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary with a trip to the coast that included eating lobster and looking for “treasure” in flea markets and antique shops. I looked for things to sell in my ebay business. He looked for vinyl and other collectibles that he could display in his “man cave”.  On 6/5/13 I spent the day setting up a charity lawn sale and when we both arrived home at the same time I told him I was too tired to cook and asked him to pick up sandwiches.  He did and we had a quiet evening.  He called a close friend and talked for a time, then called his son.  About an hour and a half earlier than he normally went to bed, he announced he was “freezing” and was visibly shivering.  I felt his forehead.. no fever. He was not sweating.  He had no other symptoms.  We both went to bed and slept normally. The next morning we were planning to visit our daughter in law before she flew home (she’d been here for a funeral) so he had the day off. We both slept a little later than normal.  When I got up he was in his recliner under two blankets. I asked he if was still cold and he said no, just achy and really tired.  While I made coffee he got the paper.  He didn’t touch his coffee or the paper and at one point just got up and went back to the bedroom. I asked if he’d gone back to bed and he said “for just a bit”.  I checked once, he was on his side facing the wall.  Fifteen minutes later I heard what I thought was loud snoring and went in. He was now flat on his back. I could not rouse him. I could not move him.  He appeared to be choking so I called 911.  While on the phone, he stopped breathing.  He was gone. Just like that. The EMTs were there in minutes and worked for over 45 minutes.  On 6/6/13 @ 8:26 a.m. my life changed forever.

Within hours my house was full of family.  My kids stayed with me for  more than 2 weeks (leaving in stages).   I had some wonderful quality time with the new baby.  I hated to see them all go, but my new reality involves living alone and doing for myself. I would love to hide under the covers or sit back helplessly and let others do for me, but that just prolongs the inevitable.

On the practical side there are decisions to be made, bills to pay, I had to buy health insurance for the first time in my adult life as we were always covered under his work plan (thank God I’m through with the expensive part of cancer treatment). I’m looking for work because even though my small business is making money, working alone is very isolating.

I guess I do have plenty to say after all. Huh, who knew?  Those of you who followed my journey through breast cancer are invited to follow my new journey through early widowhood.  I promise it won’t be all doom and gloom.  As is typical in our family there have been some hilarious moments that have you laughing/crying at the same time.

Remind me to tell  you about the financial institution that had me convinced someone had stolen my husband’s identity, had named names and was insisting I file a police report.  Only to find out it was their mistake after all (which I had been telling them for 2 days).  That’s a long story for another day.

They say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.  He can stop any time now. I’m not the bad ass He makes me out to be.

In spite of it all, I remain mainelyhopeful.

Six month stay of elocution.

How does one end a blog? Do you just stop blogging or make some formal announcement?  I started this blog as a way to wrap my head around my diagnosis/treatment (a sort of self -therapy if you will) as well as to keep friends and family in the know without endless facebook updates. I would post a link to FB and those that wanted to could be informed.  What I didn’t expect to happen was finding a whole cyber community of other cancer patients/survivors/caregivers and genuinely wanting to keep up with them.  I never expected anyone outside my circle of family and friends to find, much less follow this blog.  That was kind of cool 🙂  I could just shift focus and blog about other things, but somehow now that I am done active treatment that just seems self-indulgent. At least on a blog that was specifically started to talk about breast cancer.  

So one final update.. I saw the oncologist yesterday and was given a clean bill of health. My tether has been lengthened to 6 months before my next check and the next time I have anything to report!

I’m going to continue to follow and comment on the blogs of the amazing folks I have met here in the blogosphere and who knows? I may decide I have something to blog about down the road but for now.. thanks for following along and all the support. 

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Happy merry whatever you celebrate.

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I get a chuckle out of people that wish Merry Christmas defiantly like a big FU with your holiday cheer. The imaginary “war on Christmas” is silly. For instance, how can a business possibly know what their customers believe/celebrate? It makes good sense to be all inclusive. My wishes for all of you to have a safe, healthy and happy holiday season are sincere and while I won’t go out of my way to offend, I also won’t get too hung up on whether I am giving the “proper” greeting. Likewise, if you extend good wishes to me, I won’t get hung up on your choice of words, but will appreciate the sentiment behind them. I guess if your biggest gripe is someone wishing you Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas when babies are being gunned down in cold blood, people are dying from preventable diseases and folks are homeless and hungry, you are pretty blessed. Mazel Tov.

I had an anniversary of sorts yesterday. One year of blogging. I know this because Word Press sent me a notification. I decided to wait until today to mention it in case the Mayans were right and no one would be alive to read it. I took a quick glance through my oldest posts. I started out so earnest and hopeful but it didn’t take long for the f-bombs to make an appearance. I’m sure certain relatives especially enjoyed that. Who would complain? I had cancer.

I’ve sat down to blog just about every day and instead spent my time reading the blogs that I follow. My morning coffee with the girls. lovecoffee I haven’t had a lot to say. We are kind of just going through the motions this holiday season. Honestly, I’ll be glad to see the back side of 2012.

Hypochondria.. another fun side effect of cancer

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So, I’m done with cancer, but is cancer done with me?  On Thanksgiving night I pulled an abdominal muscle.  The pain went all the way through to my back. I knew I pulled a muscle. I felt it.   For the next 10 days I would feel the pain if I stretched or turned the wrong way. It would sometimes be worse in my upper abdomen, sometimes in my back or rib cage.  It would stop me in my tracks at times and a deep breath could bring me to tears. There’s not a whole lot that can be done for a pulled muscle so I never tried to get in to see my doctor.  I just suffered silently (ha!!).    Okay in the interest of full disclosure I may or may not have mentioned to my family that I should probably go to the ER, if I screamed suddenly they should just ignore me, and that I likely had a few cracked ribs, but I’d probably be okay.   They got off easy… I was treating myself to much more dire internal commentary.  What was that tearing feeling?  An abdominal aneurysm?  Wait.. is my liver enlarged?  If I do have a cracked rib.. why?  Bone mets?  Am I being paranoid?  Wouldn’t a brain lesion cause paranoia?  I also was sure I had gall bladder disease and maybe biliary colic (what’s biliary colic?.. I have no idea but it sounds impressive).

As of  today, I think I will probably pull through. I can only feel the pain if I force it.  I’m sure I’ll pull another muscle with all these crazy contortions I’m putting myself through to see if I can reproduce the pain proving it was indeed a pulled muscle versus needing immediate surgery for some kind of internal injury.

p.s.. hypochondria is a recognized medical condition.  So I’m only a little crazy.

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Waiting to exhale

I finally got the call back from my mammogram. This wasn’t just any mammogram.. it was the first one post diagnosis.  I don’t recall ever having to wait more than a week for results before.  Usually my doctor would call in a day or two to say all is well (or not..in the case of last year’s) and then I would get the generic pink form letter from radiology confirming.  I knew that my doctor(s) got the results a week ago. Still, I hadn’t heard a peep from anyone.  I called the cancer center yesterday and left a message which was finally returned this morning.  All clear.  I was too happy to ask if it was common practice to make a breast cancer patient wait for results of her mammogram.  I know they are read the day of the test or the next day at the very latest.

No one on my team of medical experts has used  the words “cancer free” yet. Or even “no evidence of disease”.   Since these are the same people who had no problem making me hold my breath for over a week I’m going to assume they just don’t see the value in putting cancer patient’s minds at ease, so I’ll say it. Cancer Free!