Small Frustrations

It’s the small frustrations that drive me the most crazy.

I have learned to accept the bigger things for what they are. I’ve driven the car maybe twice since February. I don’t run up and down the stairs for every little thing. I’ve accepted that doing math and numbers may not be my thing right now. And more. . .

But the little things drive me nuts. Clutter that needs picking up that may sit an extra day or two. Wanting to work on a project, but maybe not having the energy to do so. Things taking more time than normal to do.

Friday we had a family dinner. I wasn't allowed to do much. Instead, I got to watch while everyone else did most of the work. I'm told I still did too much, but it didn't feel like I did anything. We did enjoy some turkey, fixings, and good family time. That's always greatly appreciated. I'd like more of that please!

Yesterday we had the landscaper out to do the weeding and mulching neither Tim nor I can do. I would love to be out there getting my hands dirty, but by the end of the day, I didn’t even have the energy to go look at the work done and sent Tim to walk the yard for the final check. (I had gone twice before, so I did see how it was coming along.) Some days I’m just more tired than others.

Jimi Monster High JamieI did manage to spend time working on my Jimi Hendrix doll this week. Not sure why I took up the task, but it was something I’d wanted to do for awhile after seeing many fabulous customized Monster High dolls online. I had sewed a costume some months ago but never finished the trimmings (buttons, jewelry, etc.). I never took the “me" time to do it. Now he just needs a strap for the guitar son Mark hand painted and he’s also working on a microphone stand for him. Next I need to finish his cohort, Janice Joplin. I made the mistake of wiping off her face makeup, though, and now I’m worried I won’t be able to put it on myself as well as it had been done mechanically. Others do this, so I should be able to. . . but that is a challenge. I had previously made an outfit for her as well, including hand crocheting a little vest she’s often photographed as wearing (along with a big boa). The two dolls will look cute on my shelf.

I have started sewing together the afghan I began a year ago. All the circles are done and now they get stitched together. I finished the first round, then ran out of gas. Round two is quite a bit larger to sew around, so it will take a little more time. It’s really going to look fabulous. It’s dark grey with lots of textured round discs. I had intended on putting it on our bed, but with the long tassels, it may be too much of a cat enticement, so may end up at the cottage instead.

Meantime, I continue to work on the edits for my Transformational Healing book. I’m now working on Section Three (of five). These projects are all things I had put on hold in my life, so I’m glad to see them coming to fruition, frustrations or not.

Tomorrow I go for blood work and a recheck with the oncologist. I’ve made it to the halfway point and things should get better from here on out. I am slated to have some more testing (MRI and CAT) to see where I’m at. Keep praying for those good reports, it’s working.

My Old Self

(The following was originally posted on my Carepages blog for family and friends during my treatment.)

clutch necklaceBack in February, I took off my twelve rings and earrings for my two surgeries. After, I couldn't get them back on. (Water retention) But more than that, they felt too heavy on my hands. My old self decorated her outfits like a Christmas tree, always wearing multiple bracelets, necklaces, maybe a pin or two. And of course, the rings and earrings which I never took off. I explained to Tim, even carrying my purse feels like a chore. I don't want anything heavy on. Heavy being a subjective term.

I did continue to wear my "crutch" necklace. What’s a crutch necklace? Back last summer when I had a lot of issues with anxiety (which seems to have become some 80-90% better post-BC) I read that sufferers often need a crutch. It might be a person or a thing. "As long as I have or am with _____ I'll be fine."

My crutch started out as my stainless essential oil diffuser necklace along with a sterling mermaid Tim bought me in Amsterdam. After Christmas, I added an "I Am Groot" medallion (from Mark, saluting our favorite saying from the movie Guardians of the Galaxy). Later I asked him to make me a second one “Jedi” (Star Wars being core to Matthew and the whole family). Along the way, I've added a few other trinkets (a crystal, a dragon charm, and a breast cancer tiny charm sphere from Tim's mom). So as I trek off for bloodwork or chemo or any of my other adventures, my family goes with me in spirit. It may be a crutch, but it’s also a piece of my heart.

But I started missing my wedding ring. I put it and my anniversary band back on this week along with its opposing mate on my other hand. It feels good having them back on and I may put my earrings back in as well. I'm not ready for all twelve, but a sign that a little bit of my old self is under there someplace is a good thing, I think.
I've gone through a lot of shifts these past few weeks. I’ve shaken off a lot of dust. I feel like the universe is saying it's okay to integrate and knit the old and the new me back together.

PS: I want to add that I am grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for standing with me and for your encouraging messages (both on and offline). Also for those of you who have also taken my messages to heart and tried new things, I congratulate you for being brave with me. We got this. “We are Groot.” Which for those of you who don’t know, it’s kind of like saying we are an eclectic team who stands together through thick and thin.

PSS: I have now had chemo #4 - the supposed halfway mark. I see the oncologist on May 1st.


(The following was originally posted on my Carepages blog for family and friends during my treatment.)

Last night I ate a Hostess cupcake. You know, the devil’s food chocolate ones with the delightful cream inside. I hadn’t had one in maybe 15 years. Maybe longer.

It’s just one of a list of things that I had stopped allowing myself and am now letting myself have an indulgence here and there. I actually had to decide between a Ding Dong and a cupcake. I may go back for the Ding Dongs when the cupcakes are gone.

Early on, I thought I didn’t have a bucket list. I’m not one of those people who have longed forever to go to France (been there), Hawaii (ditto), or Timbuktu (no need). I don’t plan to leap out of a plane or zip line in Costa Rica. I do want to eat an English muffin with grass fed butter dripping off. I want to taste the butter, not just remember what a delicious English muffin tastes like. I want to eat food that doesn’t remind me of cardboard and wonder why I am eating it. I’m tired of eating food that’s “supposed to be good for you.” And I don’t mean fresh fruit and vegetables. I mean all this fake-food crap.

It’s not just about food, though. It’s about countless other little things that I denied myself because, maybe someone else needed it, or maybe I didn’t really think I deserved it. This may surprise some of you because I’ve been privy to having a lot of nice things. They just weren’t always things I would have chosen for myself. Perhaps the one place this isn’t true is with computers. Long ago I learned the value of getting what I wanted, maxing it out, and getting the best I could afford. So computer, yeah, I’m good there.

There’s another place this comes into play. I had five thank you cards that came from my now-angel friend, Thelma. I kept them safe in my drawer because the image on them had been painted by her. There they sat in the drawer, day after day, year after year. Safe. Safe from what? Seeing the light of day. I found them the other day and sent one out. Here’s a concept. I have five, why not frame one if I want to keep it, and let the others fly free so others can enjoy the wonderful flowers Thelma painted. What am I keeping them for? I can’t eat them, spend them, wear them. How many other things do I have like that?

I thought I had taken it to heart when client/friend Mark Hyde had written about his cologne that he didn’t want to save it for a special day, he wanted every day to be special, so he wore it every day. I’d apparently forgotten that rule.
What are you keeping safe? What are you denying yourself? You don’t have to eat a whole box of cupcakes, just have one.

Slow Weeks

(The following was originally posted on my Carepages blog for family and friends during my treatment.)

I’ve come to call the week of chemo “slow week.” During slow week I learn a lot about accepting what can and what cannot be.

Some things are not going to get done. There is just no energy for them. It might be as simple as writing a thank you note, or as complex as vacuuming. It’s not always the act itself that is prevented, but the many small steps it takes to carry out that act. Stairs stop me from doing a lot of things. I can do the flight once, then sit down. Ask me to do them twice, I may need a nap.

But it’s not just laborious tasks. I can design a beautiful book cover, execute edits in a client’s book, but ask me to balance the checkbook, it took me three days. Anything that requires cognitive, left-brain thinking is harder than the more artistic, right-brain function.

During slow week, I accept what I can do and what I can’t. I try not to worry about what doesn’t get done. Tim picks up what loose ends he can. I watch, feeling helpless. (At times, I can’t even open a Gatorade.)

Tim and I count down the weeks segregating them into portions, Week 1 chemo, week after Week 1 chemo, etc. (We are into “after Week 3 chemo now.”) I find the slowness or lethargy is a little more each time. Week 4, which is slated for April 18, should be the last of the hard-hitting treatments, or so they say.

Jamie GreenHatIronically, lethargy doesn’t necessarily equate to more sleep. I find I sleep far less, lay awake at night far more. I make up for it with cat naps during the day. Last night, now through slow week 3, I actually slept through until 5 a.m. I can’t tell you how sweet that kind of sleep really is. And while I do some of my best thinking at 3 a.m. these days, not everything that comes out of the night is profound. Sometimes it’s just lying there counting the minutes.

I’ve been fortunate, though, that the side-effects, to date, have remained minimal. I did end up on some antibiotic last week after a potential sinus infection. Thankfully, that didn’t last long. The headache was debilitating, and I wasn’t much fun to be around. But it cleared out fast once the drugs were administrated. I was very thankful for that.

I did manage to eek out a little fun along the way this week. I bought a couple of funny hats, one with long red yarn hair, and another, yet to come, with green leaves they refer to as a mermaid hat. I figure I might as well have fun with it as my hair isn’t coming back until this is over.

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