Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bah Humbug

Our Christmas elves being all festive!
It's December 10.

Our elves have arrived. Our tree is up (though not yet decorated). Tomorrow is my son's birthday. We have a wreath on the fireplace and one on our door. A few days ago the kids made gingerbread houses. Cards are starting to arrive in the mail. Most presents have been bought. And there is a layer of snow on the ground.

And me? I feel no Christmas spirit. Nothing. Nada. Not a thing.

Which makes me feel sad. Which makes me feel less spirited. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I'm still struggling with these headaches. At their worst, I would call them debilitating. If there is a medical measurement for this, I'm not sure I reach it. But it feels like it. At their worst, I feel barely capable of functioning. At their worst my eyes get twitchy, so I don't drive. I can't think. The prescription I have helps when the headaches aren't full strength. When the headaches are at their worst though, the medicine isn't so helpful.

I called my primary care doctor in tears last week and asked for a referral to a neurologist. Can another doctor help me? I don't know, but I'm desperate. I did all the other doctors asked of me and it's not helping. And if someone tells me they are being caused by stress again? I might scream. Of course I'm stressed. My head is freaking pounding, my eyes are twitching, and I'm pretty sure my head is about 10 seconds away from exploding. OF COURSE I'M STRESSED!

I also have an appointment with an eye doctor. I haven't been to one in too long. The doctor I had, and was great, left the state. Her replacement was not even slightly as great so I never went back. The new eye doctor's office seems nice. As nice as they can be on the phone anyway.

And I called the chiropractor. I used to see her regularly. She's very nice. But with all the treatment I've undergone the last two years, I often wish to NOT be touched and the thought of going to see her isn't exciting. (I know, it's weird. But I'm all touched out and mostly have no desire to have anyone touch me so I haven't been to see her). Alas, I will go back because I figure it can't hurt!

In the meantime, I'll be doing my best to try to find some Christmas spirit. Because it's not that I don't want to have it. I just need some extra help getting there this year.


Sunday, December 08, 2013

The Things I Don't Say

Yesterday I celebrated, what I'm calling, my second birthday. It was my second second birthday. Two years ago yesterday I learned I was officially NED (no evidence of disease).

This is similar to being in remission. Or maybe it's the same thing, and they changed the terminology. I don't actually know. I just know that according to my doctors, there is no detectable levels of cancer in my body.

Yesterday a friend shared that he has a tumor. In his spine.

I'm so incredibly pissed for him. It's so unfair (it is always unfair but even more so when it hits a friend). I hope someday he can celebrate a second birthday, or a canciversary, or a NEDiversary, or whatever he wants to call it. I hope his treatment is easy and the tumor isn't large. I hope his spine is okay and that however they treat him goes as smoothly as possible.

I'm holding my friend in my heart tonight and in my prayers.

Those are the things I say. I say them because I mean them. And I hold those thoughts near to me when I think about him (and all the others I know going through cancer or other issues).

However, there are a lot of things I don't say.

I don't say, you're strong, you can beat this. Cancer doesn't care if you are strong. It invades your body and has caused many, many strong people to leave this world much too soon.

I don't say, just stay positive! Because cancer sucks. And treatment sucks. And side effects suck. And sometimes you need to get angry or mad or sad and that's okay. Positivity is not a cure for cancer. It's okay to be positive about it, if that's how you truly feel, but denying your feelings isn't healthy and sometimes you will not want to smile. That's okay.

I don't say things like God doesn't give you more than you can handle, or this is God's plan for your life. I'm sorry, but no where in the Bible does it say you won't be given more than you can handle. And I know a heck of a lot of people who were handed some pretty harsh things that were more than any one deserves to handle. Cliche sayings like this don't help, or at least don't help me and many others I've spoken to.

These are the things I might have said in the past, but no longer do. Cancer is an effing bastard. It leaves so many hurting, leaves so many in dark places. It takes those we love from us. Being treated for cancer is not a war. It is not something only the strong, positive people win. People don't lose the fight with cancer - it is not a war to be won or lost.

Cancer is something you get, you hit with the best science has to offer and hope that somehow you come out on the other side NED, with no sign of the cancer left. It doesn't always happen though. Sometimes the science and the medicine isn't enough.

That's not to say I don't think my friend is strong, that I don't think he will do all he can, that I don't hope he gets to celebrate second birthdays for many years to come. I just know that cancer is a jerk. And can take anyone, regardless of if they are strong or not, young or old, smiling or crying.

So I don't say these things. I say other things. The things I believe to be true. And hope that my words, while they can't cure cancer, do touch people's hearts.