On the girl's brown legs there were many small white scars. I was thinking, Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress? I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.
I read that last line and felt my heart surge with gratitude that someone else recognized the same things I did within the white or pink or red lines that decorate my chest. Most of my scars are hidden, so the average passerby does not know or see the trophies I carry for winning the battle. Because really, that's what this is...a war. And every battle takes some sort of toll on me. Some seen. Some not. And I try to not let the battles weigh on me and my attitude too much. But sometimes I get tired of having to fight so hard just to have one day that I'm not tired, one day that something doesn't hurt, one day without a doctor appointment, one day without thinking about cancer.
Today has been that day.
I woke up today and I felt good.
Something so many people take for granted everyday. I wish I could go back to "good" being the norm...but lately more often than not I feel like not getting out of bed.
Let me give you a recap of what has been going on cancer-wise.
A few months ago my tumor marker number started to creep back up. slowly at first, then it became a steady climb upwards, it eventually passed the number that we started at back in 2008. The doctor took this as a sign that maybe it was time to quit the Tamoxifen. (He's a smart man.) It did it's job for quite some time but if you'll recall i was a poor processor and wasn't really getting the full benefit of the medicine from the beginning. So as with most medicines my body became used to it and eventually the meds weren't working. So six weeks ago we changed to Femara. This medicine seems to be more common amongst other breast cancer survivors and has a smaller set of side effects. The main one being joint aches.
So during the first week i was on Femara i was having a serious sleeping problem. As in I was sleeping the majority of my day away. I could not get enough sleep. If i was awake I wanted to be sleeping...if i was sleeping I stayed that way for hours and hours.
As a student and a restaurant manager this is a very ANNOYING state of being.
Then I went on Spring Break. (my last one EVER)
First I drove to Chapel Hill to collect chrissy and relocate into her automobile.
Equipped with my new Garmin we made our way north towards Baltimore. Of course hilarity insued during our hours trapped inside the salsa red toyota (insert toyata recall joke here).
for chrissy: Totes-nift. Joe likes Mountain Dew. CRAZY TOWN.
We reached Brad and Aaron's with little trouble.
Baltimore Highlights: Harbor is beautiful. Barnes and Noble is a three story warehouse. Best italian food of all time. Wii Bowling wars...at least the guys didn't completely dominate. Magic show not so awesome. Other bar awesome. We have no keys.
Then we headed off to the mountains of New Jersey to see a baby. (and some more of Chrissy's family.)
Then we continued on to Brooklyn. NY recap
Wine party at Kate and Leah's. Day drinking and games at a bar. Lunch with Aaron. Dinner at Chelsea Pier Brewery (awesome cherry beer). Shopping. Tim Burton exhibit at MoMA (he was off his rocker at a young age). Phantom of the Opera front row seats (no show will ever top this). I slept as much as possible (this is out of sequence). Had lunch with Caitlin (yay!). Never made it to closing time.
Then Chrissy drove me to DC.
DC recap. Delicious burgers with Mark and Alli. Spent entire next day on the couch in the dark with Alli (it was amazing). Polli and Heather came. We went out danced all night to great band. Next day went on Saint Patrick's Day bus tour slash pub crawl with Alli and Sarah Polli. BEST AFTERNOON EVER. First sign of this were the mimosas we had at bar one.
Then Chrissy picked me up and we drove back to NC.
for Chrissy: out of bananas? nope out of smoothie ingredients. Geoffrey. Geoffrey hates us. an ingrid sing a long. Need you now. JASON DERULO. I love you.
That monday after spring break i was in wilm because of the Bone scan and CT scan I was scheduled to have. as you all know...there is no eating before the ct scan. and they make you drink that disgusting sludge that is berry flavored. so naturally that morning i was starving. I think i actually asked for some hot dogs at 8:3o in the morning. The nurse gives me the rundown of how the ct works and i think i mention something about this not being my first rodeo. Not even my second. Maybe my third or fourth.
we continue with the predictable when she is aghast at my age. and my diagnosis.
yes. i know that i'm 25, yes i know that i have breast cancer. no i do not have a family history.
these appointments all go the same. CT scan ends. Time for the nuclear waste shot for my bone scan. I go home for two hours. I go back get the scan that takes FOREVER. but you have all read about a bone scan before. So i'll just say that it still feels like that thing is going to crush my skull in and i'll be a goner before they know what is happening.
Back to school and that Friday I get my scan results.
You know it's going to be one of those days when he begins with
"well it could have been worse."
yes, that is true. It could always be worse I suppose. But is that really supposed to brighten my day? Make me feel better? Hell no. Not even close.
"the good news is it hasn't moved to any vital organs"
Aren't all organs VITAL?! This is me quickly compiling a list of all unvital organs.
it seems to be quite short. this is again NOT helpful.
So he talks about the bone tumors...yes we know there is one on my right upper arm. yes there is one on my right back rib. oh wait there's a new one on my right pelvis bone (hip area). and oh hello another on my left armpit lymph node. well, isn't that lovely.
solves the mystery of the shooting pain in my hip when i walk long distances.
and i can't feel that armpit anyway because of the mastectomy. so yay.
it could have been worse. and it could have been on vital things. whoo.
this is where you can insert my frustration. my anger. my finger shaking. my clenched fists. my eye rolling. my kicking at imaginary objects. my arms crossing defiantly. my sarcasm barreling forward full steam ahead.
but nothing comes of any of these things.
fruitless. all of these gestures. if only sarcasm could cure cancer....i'd be so cancer free it would be ridiculous!
ok so the Femara and I got along ok until last tuesday when I woke up with pain all over the place. my back, arms, shoulders, neck, head, stomach, chest....it was terrible.
couldn't eat, couldn't sleep (my two favorite past times...life was awful) this lasted for a full week. and you know what happened when I woke up today?
I felt AWESOME.
I feel AWESOME.
my professors noticed. I noticed. I am not a walking zombie. I am awake and alert.
I am feeling like the old me. the uncancery one. I got to talk to Hannah and Chrissy today for an extended period of time. The sun is shining. Life is looking pretty good. HIGH FIVES ALL AROUND!
Today I won the battle.