Tuesday, June 20, 2006

When Popes Attack

If you know me at all, you know one of my most common catch-phrases is, "I'm sure it'll be fine." Leave the Interferon out of the fridge for 3 days? I'm sure it will be fine. Is this yogurt still good? I'm sure it'll be fine. Yes, this has gotten me in some trouble over the years. Definately. But it's also kept me out of a lot of trouble when losing my mind seemed like the only thing that made sense. And, essentially, I'm almost always right- in the end, everything is pretty much going to be fine.

Cancer has done a lot for me in the reality department: some days, when I think, I'm just going to push my way through this and pretend it doesn't hurt and I'm sure it will be fine- it actually isn't. I run myself into the ground doing too much, and I don't bounce back like I used to. This is twice as difficult because I feel so young, and I think about 30 being just a kitten in the big scheme of thing. So I put myself through more pain than I need to because I assume everything will be fine if I just keep moving.

This weekend, I had a feeling something was a little wrong: I was way too tired, but thought if I rested, everything would be fine. By Monday afternoon, I'd spent too much time on my feet, the lymphadema was really bothering me, and I was starting to have a shooting pain up my leg. Tuesday morning, it was oozing pus, and now the infection on the scar on my foot, which I evidently had all along, is up to my ankle.

Is everything going to be fine? I'm sure it will be, yes. But it's obvious to me more and more and in many ways that I'm just a human, and maybe I need to take care of myself a little better instead of just always assuming it'll be fine; instead of just pushing to succeed. I've always been this way: hate to ask for help, know that I can do it by myself, don't even like it when people hold the door open for me when I'm in my wheelchair. I think it's why I love to run: it's as much a mental exercise as a physical one, and strengthens my ability to push myself as far as I can go. When I run, I think, "One more mile." And then, after that mile, "I can do one more mile." And after that one, "One more mile is nothing...." and so the story goes.

Infection, however, in a leg with no lymph nodes is a big deal- the healing process is slow and since my numbers are low, it's twice as bad. I'm allergic to penicillin, which I know the Doc is going to prescribe anyway, so I'll be an itchy witch for the next couple of weeks. Benadryl helps, but it'll be hard to work with Benadryl in my system.

Could all of this been prevented? Yeah. Probably so. My bad. Another lesson learned, I hope this time for good.

In light of this, though, I've realized, I think for the first time, that I really have accomplished something. A year ago, I had surgery, and it took away all of my independence. I couldn't drive, couldn't work, couldn't even walk. I spent more than a month in the hospital, then spent the next 9 months developing every possible side effect from Interferon. Essentially, that means I've had the flu for almost a year.

And now things are better. I'm back at work, even though a lot of the time I have to use a wheelchair, but working has made a world of difference in my self esteem and my outlook. I have a life again. Through all of this, I've thought, "I'm sure things'll be fine." Here I am, almost done with this journey, and I can honestly say for the first time, I think I'm proud of what I've done and how I've handled it.

That's a big thing for me. I'm looking for the first time at my experience through other's eyes, and it's a refreshing change. Is it a big deal? No, not really. People go through this all the time, thousands upon thousands of people survive cancer. And now I have, too. I look back and think, yeah, there were things I could've done differently, but I'm here now, and it's almost over. I don't beat myself up for not working, for the weight gain, for all the things I've taken hits for from other people or myself.

For those that have been supportive, for those that have been there the whole time and told me to rest when I was tired, who understood when I slept through dates, who checked my blog every day, who posted inspiration to me on MPIP, who always said "Keep it up" and never said, "You know, people on chemo do work" or "You'd feel better if you got out of the house," I dedicate this blog to you. You have been the reason this has worked, and I can not tell you how lucky I feel. So lucky and so unworthy of such amazing thoughts and prayers.

Okay, enough of the mush. But I do want to end with this: I love you all and I thank you again and again and again for all you've done.



Miss Melanoma said...

Who's my monkey? who? WHO? You are, you're the only monkey for me!!

I know we spend every waking hour together and I still don't get enough of you.

You are the Yin to my Yang (don't tell my grandmother).

You've inspired me over and over and I'm glad you're seeing that you've done the same to other people.

I love you and I don't care who knows it. :)

Your Monkey, Monkey

p.s. I put your wheelchair on the lift and put air in your tires. she's purring like a kitten now.

Peter said...

Miss M

Take it easy; Take it slow
It's not a race!

This is for the long haul: Look after yourself and you will get there! No one is going to thank you if you over-do it and undo all the good work you have done this last year.

Holly said...

Miss M -

Take some time, recover from this infection.

You have come so far and you are so close to finishing out this interferon!! You have done amazing things this year and you have every right to be proud!

You are a SURVIVOR!! Waaahooo!

Keep Living STRONG!

Anonymous said...

Lovely lady lumps - yeah you know who I am talking to... LL Cool L.

Baby girl - every thing is gonna be fine - Take care of yourself and know that you deserve to be proud. My little kitty, nice metaphor. It is a metaphor you used right?

I love you and MISS YOU

The Mange - over and out -
PS - WTF about the puss and your scar - you can't tell a biotch that stuff over the phone - You know I need pics.

Love you fo'sho tho'!


I'm Too Young For This!