Friday, November 11, 2011


"The goal is to live a full, productive life even with all that ambiguity. No matter what happens, whether the cancer never flares up again or whether you die, the important thing is that the days that you have had you will have lived." Gilda Radner

I don't even know how to start this post. I'm feeling alone for the most part and unable to even explain my own thoughts. I have all these feelings about what I've been through in the last couple years but most of the time, I won't even let myself go there. Lately, I am consumed with these thoughts. I feel like everything I see and hear reminds me of cancer and chemotherapy. The worst part about it is that I feel like there is no one I can talk to that can relate. I will have times that I feel overwhelmed by bad memories and experiences but I can't find anyone to call. Not that I don't have awesome people in my life that I am sure would listen to me but I feel so different. My mind and point of view is just so different now. I feel like I can't relate to others.. or maybe no one can relate to me. I just want to explain the feelings I have and I want to hear someone say they feel that way too. Is there anyone who feels like I do? The funny thing is I don't think I can even put how I feel into words! Nothing has to trigger these memories, they are always there. I remember my hair falling out... I remember pulling clumps out as I was driving and rolling the window down to letting the hair fly out of my fingers. I remember the feeling of the port that was placed in my chest. I remember the smell that would fill my lungs and flow through my breath after they flushed my port with saline. I remember the pain in my back from the shot that forced my body to rapidly produce more white blood cells. I remember the fear that someone else would raise my daughter. I remember the fear of dying. I wonder if I will ever forget these things or get to the point where they don't bring a knot to my throat? I think the most sobering thought of all is that I could go through this all again. It could come back. I don't even like to admit that but it's a realistic fear. Then to think that there is absolutely nothing I can do. Until cancer, I never grasped the thought of death and how we truly how no control over our lives. We may think we do, but it's so minimal. I'm trying to adapt to a life where there is too much reality. The reality of life is, I'm probably always going to suffer. Whether I want to or not, I have to live through it. I don't want to sound negative because it is a positive thing to know life is tough and learn how to deal with whatever is handed to you. Life was never guaranteed to be easy. All I know is once you have an experience where you are faced with death, you can never be the same. No matter how much it hurt, I will always grateful for the person that cancer has made me and that's what I have to remember I guess.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Light at the End

So I'll admit, I abandoned my blog. The last 3 months have been the hardest for me. You would think the hardest part of all this would have been the treatment. As soon as I thought I had finished the most difficult time in my life, little did I know, the most difficult time was just beginning. This is hard for me to talk about and that's why I've been steering clear of my blog page. I've tried a couple of times to write a post but I would find myself not being completely honest and I figured until I could be honest, there was no point in writing. The worst and most horrible time in my life started a couple weeks after I had my last chemo treatment. I was feeling horrible from chemo but that wasn't just it. Something in me was starting to change. The normally positive Sienna was starting to fade away. Laughter was starting to become a foreign action to me and I was becoming withdrawn from the things that used to make me the most happy. This is what I really don't want to say but have to...I started to feel myself drifting away from Presley. Not in the sense that I wasn't taking care of her but the overwhelming joy I used to feel from the little things like waking up to her sweet noises she made in the morning, was fading. Then I started to notice a complete lack of motivation. I could not do ANYTHING that wasn't completely necessary. Nothing seemed exciting and I could find the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. The most horrible part is that it just continued to get worse. Everyday was like a bad dream. I waited for each day to end. My husband would talk to me and even though I could hear him, I couldn't understand anything that he was saying. I felt a complete void and that void grew everyday. Until it consumed me. I began thinking horrible and terrible thoughts about myself. I convinced myself that I was a terrible mother and that my family would be better off without me. I don't even remember half of the things that I was thinking at that time in my life because none of my thoughts were even rational. All I know was life did not seem worth living. Then the guilt set in. I felt guilty for not wanting to live because I knew how blessed I was to still be here. How blessed I was to have this beautiful daughter. I was so angry too because I couldn't figure out how I made it through 4 rounds of chemo with such an awesome outlook, only to hit rock bottom when I was done. I could go on forever about how horrible I felt because there are no words to express how utterly horrible this experience was. Chemo was a walk in the park compared to depression. If I could make up my own definition of depression it would read something like this ;
de·pres·sion [dih-presh-uhn] The act of losing sight of every bit of joy you ever had for every single beautiful thing in your life and at the same time remembering how good it felt to feel those beautiful feelings, knowing you can't make those feelings come back. HOPELESSNESS
Even that can't explain how bad it is. I never really believed in real depression until I experienced it. The part that really confuses me is the fact that I could be so far gone and not even know it. It wasn't until my sister came down from New York to help me during radiation that I realized I was depressed. The only reason I realized it is because she flat out told me "You're depressed!!" That same day I talked to one of the counselors at my Radiology office. Just opening up to my sister and the counselor made me feel so much better. It was like the burden of having to try to fix myself had been lifted. Just hearing that what I was experiencing wasn't my fault and that there was something we could do to make it go away, made me see the light at the end of the tunnel again. So we called my Oncologist and they immediately put me on an anti-depressant and came to the conclusion that the hormone therapy they had just recently taken me off, is what brought on the depression. Of course it took about a month the for the medication to kick in but it did eventually. I made it through that entire month of radiation, I don't know how but I did. Well yes, I do know how and I will tell you. Had it not been for my faith in God, I promise you, I would not be here today. I don't like saying this either but there was a point during all that where I had actually convinced myself that I was not a good person and the world would be better off without me in it. So I was actually researching on the internet to try and find somewhere that said if you killed yourself you would still make it into heaven!! Sounds so silly but I was!! I was in such horrific turmoil in my mind that I was looking for a way out, any way out. Had it not been for my faith in God and the Bible, I wouldn't be here. Just knowing in my heart of hearts that there is a God and that he is with me at all times, even when I feel alone, didn't allow me to take that step in the complete wrong direction. Also, just the fear of knowing that if there were a hell and it felt like anything I had been experiencing the last month....then I don't want to go jump from this hell right into another!! So I prayed and read my Bible almost constantly. And even though it didn't give me complete relief or ultimately a miraculous healing, it kept me hanging on until I got some help. That's what faith can do! If you can just take a step back and realized that sometimes what you think the answer to your problem is, may very well be the answer, but the answer will come in God's timing and in God's very own way. So the medication kicked in and I am 150% better! I can laugh again, I can enjoy my daughter again, I'm participating in a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I'm reaching out to people, finding joy in the smalls things, becoming a new and better version of myself. I am so thankful for every little thing because I know how it feels to not be thankful for those things. I pray that someday if someone is ever experiencing what I went through that they might read this and know they are not alone. That maybe they can realize, even if it's for only a few short seconds, that feelings are only feelings and we do not have to feel guilty for them. We do not have to feel responsible for things that are completely out of our hands. That it is okay to be weak and fragile or cry out for help. That the complete worst times in our lives, bring forth the very best times. All things in time will pass and if you can just hold on for one more minute, the next will come and take you one step closer to the light at the end of that dark tunnel.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Where have I been?

Where have I been?? I've been lost to be honest. Everyday is harder than it should be. My counselor says I'm going through, what she calls "Recovery Depression." Everyone goes through it after going through some kind of trauma in their life. Now that the dust is starting to settle from the last 4 or 5 months of crazy, I'm starting to feel all these feelings I didn't know that I had. I've spent all this time trying so hard to be positive and then one morning I woke up and just couldn't do it anymore. Now the anxiety is setting in. The worry of life. The grieving for lost things. I've had days where I simply could not do anything but take care of my daughter. Making myself a plate of food didn't even seem important enough to get the energy together to actually do it. I've spent days just sitting there trying so hard to do a load of laundry. I would literally sit on my bed and try to talk myself into getting up but I just couldn't do it. I would drink coffee to the point where I got the jitters to try and round up some energy or motivation...but nothing. My life seems hopeless at times. Now I know that's a ridiculous feeling and it makes no sense but I do feel it at times. When I was first diagnosed with cancer I asked myself, "What did I do to deserve this?" I truly felt as if I had made so many mistakes in my life that God gave me cancer. That's another ridiculous feeling but I felt it and I am starting to feel it again. Now I am starting to feel it about other hardships in our life. As if I am this one big ball and chain dragging my family down. If only I had a job, we wouldn't have money problems. If only I had the energy, our house wouldn't be a wreck or the laundry would be done. If only I hadn't been sick for the last 5 months I could have been a better mother to Presley. I'm the reason our lives have been so difficult. I'm almost it tears writing this now because all my feelings lately are so completely overwhelming. I just want to be happy and laugh. I've always been able to make myself smile through the pain but not now. So all of this week has been these feelings and much more, which was why I immediately made an appointment with my counselor. We talked it all over and she said this is completely normal. The sad thing, she said, is there is nothing anyone can do to help me. I just have to go through this and give myself the time I need to grieve and heal. To be honest, I was hoping she said there was some kind of happy pill she could give but I guess not! She said I need to check in with myself daily to see how I am really feeling and if I need to cry then go ahead and cry. I haven't been allowing myself to cry or even feel those feelings and obviously, it caught up with me! So for now I am just trying to take my life day by day. I'm trying not to let these worries, worry me.

Presley keeps me going though. She is growing daily. She is already sitting up all by herself, rolling over and putting everything in her mouth! She does the sweetest thing when I'm putting her to sleep. Right before she is about to fall asleep, she takes her little hand and touches my face. It's like she is studying my face with her hands. I love it. If it wasn't for God's perfect timing and placing her in my life when he did, I don't know how I would be making it through!

I am now about a month out from my last chemo. I'm starting to get my strength back and the nausea is almost completely gone! My port has been removed so I no longer have an ugly bump sicking out of my chest. Up next...radiation. My first day of radiation will be August 5th. I went in for my planning appointment on Friday. They had to make a mold for me to lay in and put a few tattoo dots so they make sure to position me in the same way every time. I'll probably have 20 treatments, which will take about a month. My sister is coming to stay with me for that month because I'll need someone to sit with Presley every morning. I'm really looking forward to her being here. I really could use the company and help during the day.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My Life, My Best

Feeling a little down right now
Can't really describe why
When I think about my life the past few months
Makes me want to cry

I will never laugh again
With a carefree sort of tone
Something inside me has changed
With all this pain that I have known

I don't know what to expect
When I'm finally together again
Will I be able to find my way in life
Or will this broken heart ever mend

My husband believes I'm still the same
My daughter never knew
I somehow don't know how to be her anymore
Because of this entirely different view

I am happy for my suffering
I am thankful for the pain
But give me something more to hold onto
My heart can't take the strain

Like a jigsaw puzzle
I am working through this mess
Trying to fit and a corner into the middle
And trying to give my life, my best

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Presley's First Time at the Pool!

Don't have a lot to say tonight but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Life has been so hard the past 4 months and it will truly be a blessing to be back to myself again. I actually took Presley to the pool today with the help of my sister. She played in the water and loved it! It was nice to see he kicking around having a good time. I think she will be a water baby. She is just so happy all the time! It's so special to see her little personality coming through already. In the morning time, before she even opens her eyes, as soon as she hears my voice, she smiles. It's the most precious thing. She is laughing a bit but only when she really feels like it. It gives me such a great feeling to hear her laugh.
It was nice for me to feel semi-normal for a bit today. I had a big hat on so I'm sure people didn't notice that I have no hair but that is something that I guess I do try and hide. It's pretty embarrassing to be a female and bald. Now...if I were just completely bald, that would be one thing but I have little baby bird hairs and they look kind of ugly. So I would rather hide those and keep them to myself. I did end up getting worn out with in the first 30 minutes at the pool and we had to turn around and go home but that's all part of recovering I guess. Tomorrow will be even better. I believe each day will continue to get better.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

1 Negative PET Scan and I am CANCER FREE!!!!

"Negative PET/CT study. There has been complete resolution of the hyper metabolic left axillary lymph node mass evident on the previous study. Today's study shows no evidence of active lymphoma at any nodal or extra-nodal site."

Great news everyone....I AM CANCER FREE!!!!! Just had my first negative PET scan I am now in remission! I couldn't be more happy. I feel like a different person! I had my final chemotherapy treatment on Friday so I've been feeling pretty bad the past few of days. Today, I was actually able to get up out of bed but Friday night and all day Saturday and Sunday I was completely out of commission. This last one will definitely be the hardest. I never fully recuperated from my third treatment so I went right into the fourth feeling bad. I don't care more chemo....ever!! I am just going to believe and pray with all my heart that I never get cancer again. I know that no matter what gets thrown into my life, I can deal with it but I really hope cancer is not one of those things. I found out that I was in remission kind of by accident. I always have to go in for a visit right before my treatment to get a blood count and make sure that white blood cells are back to normal and ready for chemo. I had my PET scan the week before and waiting on those results so when I went in for my appointment that was all I could think about. My worst nightmare was that my PET scan was going to come back not as favorable as they would like and I would have to have 6 treatments instead of just the 4. Anyway, I was about 15 minutes late to my appointment, because of traffic and they had to take the patient before me in so I ended waiting forever! I was so nervous. Then the nurse practitioner tells me that since I didn't request to get my results at the front desk that she couldn't get them for me...they needed to be printed off!! Seriously, I couldn't believe what she was telling me. What would make them think I wouldn't want my results?? So I think she could tell that I was a little upset with that answer and magically, it took her less than 2 minutes to find and print my results. So she goes out of the room, comes back a minute later and tells me that my scan was negative and this will be my final chemo. I felt like crying. In my head I had always thought that I had to have a few negative PET scans before they actual label you "in remission." I immediately asked her this and she said "Oh well you're in remission now!!" I felt like crying even more! I didn't expect such great news all in one day! First my scan is negative now I am in remission!!! The cancer that I once had in my body is not there anymore. I am healed! God is so amazing. Truly. I can't even explain how great the feeling is to tell people that I am in remission. It feels like I am a brand new person. I have all these plans for my life and I am constantly thinking about the things I am going to be able to do in the very near future. Like take my daughter for a walk or to the store, all by myself with no help, go jump on an elliptical machine and work out for an hour, grow hair, take a drive without getting car sick, clean my house, run up the stairs!!! The running up the stairs things is kind of my thing. No matter what, I always run up stairs. It's something people notice or always thought was silly of me. Ever since I started chemo, I just can't do that. I can barely walk up the stairs. We live on the third floor and it takes me like 15 minutes to get up to my door. I hate it and it is one of those constant reminders that I am weak. I just am so excited for my life to begin again. I am so thankful to be able to become the person I once was but this time an even better version. I am going to be able to be such a better mom and wife. I feel like Presley hasn't really gotten the best of me because I've constantly had help but knowing that I am on the road to recovery I am going to change all that and be the best mom! Ever since I found out the tiniest things make me want to cry. I just feel so emotional. Life looks so different to me now. Going through the hell that I've been through I am going to try and never take life for granted again. Life is beautiful and so worth living. Live it to the fullest because you never know what can jump out at you and try to steal your joy and your freedom. Be thankful for your loved ones, because they are the ones that are going to help you make it through the hard times like what I've experienced. We couldn't have made it through all this without the help of our family and friends, just no way. I can't wait to be in the position to help again. I haven't been able to do things for others the way I used to and I am so looking forward to being a helper again. I love to help and be there for others and since I've gone through all this I am going to love it even more.
Presley is getting so big! She smiles all the time, laughs, and we've caught her occasionally sucking on her thumb! A habit I would really rather her not pick up on but she looks so cute when she does it! I think, I would like to take her to the pool today! I may not be 100% up to it but I have my mom and sister here with me to help so I think I just might be able to pull it off. I've been waiting for over a month to go. I'm a little bit nervous but I am going to take the chance and go on up there. If I start feeling bad I'll just come right back home. I am going to do it!! Well....just heard some thunder in the distance...might have to wait until tomorrow! Ha ha

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Life is a Party at the Doctors Office....

Believing is never seeing
I believe I am well, I believe I am fine
I know God is with me, never far behind

Loving is always feeling
Feeling happy, feeling mad
Having even more, when times are so bad

Laughing is always making fun
Fun at the doctors, smile through the pain
Laughing is the cure for so many things

Crying is so healing
Feel it pouring out, like rain from the sky
When you're crying, it's impossible to tell a lie

The truth, we have no choice
Sneaks up when you expect it the least
Tells us a sad story so very often
The truth, may it always bring you peace

Feeling kind of sad today, so I thought writing might make me feel better. I'm ready...I am so ready for this to be over and done with! My body is getting weaker with every treatment and I just want it back! I'm sitting here in bed and barely have the energy to write but I know I'll sleep better if I talk a little and get some of this off my mind. The days are so long for me now. I find myself counting down the hours until I can go to bed again. Only because everyday that passes is one day closer to being done and being HEALED! I am constantly trying to receive my healing and believe that it is coming. It's tough. Especially with the fact that I have a PET scan tomorrow to see how much progress I've made. I have this fear that I'm going to have to have more chemo than we thought or that for some reason my body didn't respond to the chemo as well as it should have. I feel like if they tell me I have to have 6 treatments instead of 4 I will have a very tough time accepting that. As it is right now, I feel like this 4th treatment will push me past any limit I've ever had. I just have to believe that the PET scan will come back showing that the chemo has been working. It just has to.