Sunday, June 11, 2017

Foggy like an October Morning

I am finally learning to accept it: my new normal. I had always heard about people "finding" their "new normal" after cancer treatment, but I always figured life would just go back to being exactly how it was before. But it never does, as you come out of it a different person than you were going into it. I tend to get hung up on the few frustrating things, instead of focusing on all the good things (of which there are MANY, thankfully).

For me, the most frustrating thing is the brain fog! Before I started cancer treatment, I did have some brain fog from my autoimmune issues, but nothing like it is now. I had been doing well, until I started Tamoxifen again a few weeks ago (thankfully I am not crazy depressed this time - praise the Lord!). I feel like my body is running around doing things, going through the motions, yet my brain is stuck in molasses. Good days (no brain fog) feel like my thoughts are running through water, they just move in and out and around with little resistance, and are pretty easy to control. Bad days (very foggy) make me feel like I have Jello for a brain - thoughts come in and get stuck. Very stuck. And when I can manage to think through things, they leave a sticky trail like a slug...which is not only gross, but gunks up my brain more.

Ok that was kinda random...but anyways! This graphic pretty much sums it up:

It frustrates me because it slows me down sometimes, and anyone who knows me knows that I DESPISE moving slow, going slow, or anything slow in general. I like speed and efficiency (I'm a typical goat Capricorn, ain't I? lol). Thankfully all my friends and family say they don't notice it (or they are just being REALLY nice), which is AWESOME; but I still feel it, and it is frustrating to me, as it slows me down. I can't explain things as well as I would like to. I am not as talkative as I used to be (which may be a good thing! lol). I get overwhelmed and overstimulated VERY easily. Etc etc...

Outside of my frustrations with  myself at work, there is one thing that drives me nuts about the brain fog more than any other: my social skills. I have a LOT more social anxieties than I used to (which I didn't really have any previously). Going to the grocery store gives me great anxiety - for no good reason. As with many of my anxieties, I cannot pinpoint why these things give me anxiety, I just know they do. I manage to work through them, and they are getting easier with time (and special thanks to Austin for helping me navigate the scary grocery store, and loading up the items onto the conveyor belt for me...that is the scariest part! #facepalm).

The other aspect of my "social skills" that drives me nuts is my communication skills...this was never something I was great at anyways lol! I've always been terrible about returning phone calls (as in, I rarely return them), but I used to be pretty good about returning texts, emails, FB messages, etc. Nowadays, I am not even good about that! I often compose or reply to a message in my head, but never actually send it. Some days, I am too tired, and I will try to think of a response, and I just can't form the words; and my perfectionist self doesn't want to just send a hurried response. Other days, I simply forget. While I used to be able to just quickly reply, now days all my responses are typically pretty well thought out. Which is probably a good thing, but it slows me down.

Anyways, I just want you all to know that you are often in my thoughts, and always in my prayers. And thanks for always being supportive and understanding...I have the best family, friends, and coworkers a girl could have!!!  <3

Saturday, June 3, 2017

This One's for You, Cara

It is with a heavy, heavy heart I wrote this post. I've been mentally writing blogs in my head over the past few months, but haven't had the actual drive to sit down and write one. I honestly don't know if I can find the words to say, however this one needs to be written.

My beautiful friend Cara (this pic is of us at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer breakfast last August) finished kicking cancer's ass last year. She did not let several rounds of intense chemo, followed by a mastectomy, and then a clinical trial (maybe radiation, etc, I cannot remember) slow her down - this chick has been running marathons since then! Before I even met her I had a bond with her, as she had the Natalie healing chair for her mastectomy recovery (I love all those women, it's a special bond I will never be able to describe...the Healing Chair is a sisterhood unlike any other, even just the regular breast cancer's amazing). Cara is an amazing woman, friend, wife, and mother. Even as she was doing treatment, she sent me things like cards made by her first grade class (which I still have, and are FREAKING adorable). I pulled those cards out last night and looked through them, after I heard the news. For all those who are not Cara, here are my thoughts and feelings, and how you can help (prayer and encouragement please, and etc); and Cara...these are my words to you, and please excuse the profanity.

Cara, I can't even imagine having heard this news, and it physically pains my heart to think about it. You go in for some simple stomach aches, and come out with the news that you have tumors on your liver and both lungs now?! Stage 4 metastatic triple-negative breast cancer.

Fuck you, cancer. Fuck you.

I am angry and sad and scared for you, and your family. And, of course, for myself. This is what all of us survivors fear, yet try not to live in fear of. You have inspired me so much, more than you will ever know. You and your husband are such incredible and positive people, and you take such good care of yourselves; how the fuck did this happen?! HOW?! I won't even begin to ask why. I have changed my own diet and lifestyle (more whole foods, gluten free and dairy free, almost completely given up alcohol [as it can increase my risk of recurrence 90% since my tumor was estrogen-positive], exercising more, stressing less, etc), but you were like PERFECT about all that (as far as I know). I feel guilty for complaining about "having to" make those changes, and about having to take tamoxifen. A little brain fog is nothing compared to that triple-negative bullshit you've had to deal with. I am a huge believer in spiritual warfare, and I am so thankful for yours and Josh's examples of incredibly strong faith. I cannot thank you both enough for you guys just being who you are. I am just pissed off that you have to deal with this; yet I know if anyone can fight this shit, it will be you. I know God "gives" (I don't believe he GIVES them to us, Satan does, but I know God will use this journey for good) his toughest battles to his toughest warriors, and you are the toughest warrior I have ever met (besides my grandma, who has kicked stage-4 ovarian cancer's ass twice...thus, I know you can do it she is still alive and kicking 10 years later). Ok sorry that was so rambly, but I wanted you and the world to know how fucked up cancer is, and how we need a cure for all types of cancer.

Fuck you, cancer. You've messed with the wrong woman twice now - she will KICK YOUR ASS AGAIN.

Here is info on how to help...I will be ordering a shirt, please let me know if you want one as well!!!!! And please please PLEASE keep them in your thoughts and prayers <3