Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 63 -Sunny Days Ahead!

Today was filled with wonderful moments.  This morning I was determined to finally pin down our summer vacation house down the cape.  I have spent the last two weeks going through hundreds of properties online.  This morning I found the perfect one.  It is a beautiful home right in Chatham, MA right on the water.  We are going to spend a week in August down there, everyone including Flower.  The kids are over the top with the idea that they can wake up every morning and go fishing right out the backyard!  It is so great to make plans.  Plans 6 months from now.  I didn't think we could do it!  But we did!  And perfect timing to think of sunny days ahead, as we prepare for yet another snowstorm tonight and temps in the single digits!

This afternoon I hit the trails on snowshoes with Beth and our dogs!  On my drive to Groton, I couldn't help but reflect about the last time I was on shoes.  It was last winter, same place with Beth and the dogs.  It was pre-cancer when life was simple.....happy times.  Well, as soon as I put my shoes on and the dogs ran without leash, I felt alive again!  So great to out there on the trails on a crisp sunny winter day.  I felt alive inside again.  God it felt great!  I even gave into my hot flash and whipped my hat off.  Why the hell not! 

Yesterday was a tough day.  I guess it's like New England weather, if you don't like it wait a minute.  Well Today I am on  Day 63 since my transplant.  Physically and emotionally today, I'll give me a 9!!   

PS:  Have you looked at the moon tonight?  It's beautiful!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How To Live The New Normal-Day 62 Since Transplant

I must admit I have thrown myself back into the responsibilities and reality of life. My days are now consumed with laundry, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, homework, taking the kids to activities.  For the past 8 months, my days were filled with doctors appointments, blood work, chemo, keeping track of pills, keeping track of the piles of medical bills, and doing my best to prepare my family for the events ahead.  I have had a 2 week break from any doctors' appointments.  So for a little while I felt somewhat like a "normal person".  A mom with a very busy family.  Although, I am the mom at BJs or my kids' basketball games with a mask on and a bandanna on her head.  I am the mom who, with no warning gets intense hot flashes, so bad that I just want to whip that hat off my head, the mask of my face, and run into a snowbank.  I wake up every morning with the constant reminder that I have a terminal illness with no cure.  I look at myself in the mirror and see a bald changed woman.  Sometimes I don't even recognize the face staring back at me.  My eyes are so saddened and my face is sunken and tired.  I throw a bandanna on  and practice smiling in the mirror, before I go downstairs.  At night, when the house is quiet and Mike is sleeping next to me, I lay awake scared and sad just waiting for the Ambien I took to kick in.  

Yesterday, while the kids were playing out in the new fallen snow I let down my guard and cried to Mike.  I don't know how to live again in this new "normal" life.  I feel like I am in complete limbo.  Next week I will have an M-Spike test which will measure my protein levels, an indicator of how effective my treatment and transplant were.  In February I start up 2 more rounds of chemo.  I no longer can look too far ahead into the future.  We are meeting with our Financial Planner in February and we have no idea what our new goals should be.  No longer are we planning for our retirement years. Yes we need to plan for the long term stability of the family.  But reality is Mike and I may not have our golden years together.  We are hoping for 10-12 years.  I could have a relapse in 6 months or hopefully not until 4 years. And with 4 children who are approaching their tween years it breaks my heart so much.  We were at the mall the other day and Sarah and Emily asked if they could get her ears pierced.  Mike has always wanted to wait until the girls were at least 13.  But I don't want to miss that big moment in their life.  So Mike agreed to push up the age up a bit and take them in February.

I am trying so hard to stay positive and to be happy about where I am now.  And I am.  I am happy I am out of the hospital and I am not in any pain.  I am able to care for my family and start to exercise a bit.  But I am in limbo.  Emotionally this is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with.  Has the treatment been effective?  Physically, I feel good, but then again, I've learned that cancer is also silent.  Emotionally, I'm a mess.  A part of me feels like my life is being robbed from me.  It is hard picturing myself at my kids' graduations or weddings.  It is hard to think of 5 years from now or even a year from now.  

Last night after Mike and I watched a movie, we just held each other and cried. How do we learn to live again?  When will we wake up and not think of my illness and the uncertainties that come along with it. When will we be able to fall asleep again peacefully and dream of happy days ahead?  

On a side note, it has been wonderful to be out in town and see so many of my friends and neighbors.  It is truly amazing to see all of you and to give you hugs and thank you personally for all your love and support.  

 Well, time to start my day.  I am going for blood tests and to visit my local oncologist to discuss my treatment in February.  I wish you all a beautiful day.  For all my friends here in the Northeast, be careful on the ice!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 56 -My "Aha Moment Today!

I just had one of those "Aha Moments" that just brought me a burst of energy and happiness and I just have to share with you all.  I was at the store today when a woman I had never met before came up to me.  She asked if I was Jean.  When I confirmed, she introduced herself and told me that she was a good friend of my friend Shayna and that she has been following my blog since the beginning and has been praying for me.  Wow!  I have never even met this woman before and she is reading my blog and praying for me!  What a beautiful person.  All I could do was hug her and thank her.  My positive spirit and energy is fueled by all of your prayers and thoughts.

    I am on day 56 since my transplant and feeling strong and healthy.  I have recently started running again.  Well jogging is more like it.  It is definitely more challenging than I had thought it would be.  Then again I have done nothing since September, I have a whole new immune system and it is freezing outside!  It can only get better!  But it feels so good to get moving again.  I am also participating in my friend Leslie's monthly challenge of doing 40 push ups a day!  So far so good!  At first I was on my knees doing them but I'm doing them on my toes now!  Yesterday we got over 15 inches of snow, so I am hoping to pull out the snowshoes and hit the trails!  

Thank you to all of my family, friends (and those I have not yet met) for your continuing prayers and positive thoughts!  It's working!!  

Life is Wonderful!