Mammo Day

Two years ago, I had my first mammogram. I was 41 and it was time to get monitored for breast cancer like everyone over 40 does. I had to go for a second one because they had trouble reading the first one. I remember a wave of fear cane over me as I sat in the waiting room.

What if there is something wrong? Here I am, alone, and there is no one here with me if I get bad news. Thank goodness everything was fine & I went along with my day. I asked if I should get any genetic testing since my aunt had breast cancer. The doctor said I should be fine. Nope, no need.

This morning I returned to the same waiting room. Same dressing gowns, same Keurig serving nature’s nectar – coffee! I sat down to fill out the paperwork and it looked like this:

As I started to fill it out, the tears began rolling down my cheeks. I thought about the difference 2 years can make – filling up the form with new family history, now put a “rush” on meeting with a geneticist, sitting alone in the room, but knowing I could text Mr T for moral support.

The test was very painful this year but I got through it. Now I wait.

Speaking of Mr T, I let him down tonight. We were supposed to have dinner & a sleepover, but I just couldn’t move today. Between a scorching headache and my stress, I just couldn’t get out of bed to drive over there after a long nap. I know he’s disappointed in me and I feel terrible. I just couldn’t push myself this time. I know he’ll eventually read this post so please know I love you & I’m sorry.

I spoke with mom, dad, and Ken earlier. They were having corned beef sandwiches and chilling at home. I also felt guilty for not being there. I flaked on all my obligations this weekend. But, instead, I needed to focus on my self care. Sleep, decompression. Hopefully everyone will forgive me this time around.

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10/6/18

The last 36 hours have been quite exhausting. Mom was running a fever so she was admitted to the hospital to monitor her for infection. She’s been there since Friday early evening & there is little news to report other than her fever had gone down and she was low on potassium. She told me that the dr told her to lie about her food intake when we nudge her to eat. I am really hoping he say not say that or I am seriously ready to put up my dukes!

I snapped at Mr T via text because he gave me instructions on how to feed his cat. He’s away so I have to go feed her & change the litter box. So that was fun. I hope he remembers I can be nice sometimes too.

I have an overwhelming amount of responsibilities right now: celebrate friend’s birthday, feed cat, get prepared for surgery, help run a campaign event on Monday with the President of our University, meet with donors, dinner at Mr T, trainer, pre-surgery physical. This is all by Thursday! Then, I drive to NJ again and stop in Hartford on my way back for a work event.

Can you tell that I haven’t slept in days? And I am a constant flow of spontaneous tears.

I am politely asking those of you who’ve been leaning on me for reports and texts and calls about mom to understand that I have a tremendously stressful week or so coming up. Bear with me & check here for updates. I’ll write when I can.

This is the worst thing to go through – watching a parent suffer like this. It is literally heart breaking. Trying to maintain normalcy in my life is so challenging. I haven’t had a vacation in over a year, and I had bronchitis during that trip. I’m using my vacation time from work this year to recover from my surgery. As much as I like my job, I can’t wait to eliminate one stressor for 2 weeks.

Ok I’ve said enough. It’s important to have a place where I can just vent. Again, this too shall pass.

Caffeine is my friend

It’s 12:11am. Thank goodness it’s a new day because 11 minutes ago, I was finishing up a real doozy.

I left for NJ around noon after racing to get as much work done as possible in the office. The ride wasn’t too bad – I stopped 3 times to get caffeine & respond to work emails. #dedicationtomycraft

I wasn’t sure what I’d see when I arrived at my parent’s place. Was mom going to look emancipated and weak? To the contrary, she had color in her cheeks and strength in her voice. Regardless, I saw her & burst into tears. Like, sobs. She grabbed my hand and cried with me.

We had some serious and not-so-serious conversations – like what show season premieres we were watching on Hulu. She’s already seen New Amsterdam – not me yet!

I had dinner & then sat on the couch with dad. We kept saying we were off to bed, and then another hour would pass as we talked through very hard “grown up” things. I cried a lot. I told him I was sorry for crying so much but, that, ” it was just coming out.” He said it was ok.

Finally we said our good nights.

So now I lie here with my thoughts, waiting for my dreams to begin.

9/21/18

My anxiety has been out of control this week. Yesterday, it came to a head while sitting in the surgeon’s office as she told me I will not be able to have my surgery until December. I started crying, talking about my mom and how I need to be there for her. It was a “hot mess.” Always fun to cry in a doctor’s appointment.

Mr T came over and we went to an event at WGBH, which was a lot of fun to reconnect with former colleagues, and listen to some interesting speakers. We grabbed subs from my local pizzeria afterwards and brought them home. He has been incredibly supportive with my depression and anxiety, which is so appreciated.

Mom is about 7 weeks into chemo. Here’s the routine. Monday, chemo. Tuesday, energetic because of steroids. Wednesday, she crashes. Thursday is the worst. Friday, she gets IV to hold her over the weekend. Weekends are lethargic. Rinse and repeat. Every week, I remind her of this cycle. I’m not sure if it helps her, but it gives her hope that come Monday, she’ll feel better. She’s tried every nausea medication on the market, and they sometimes work. But let’s face it, chemo makes you tired and nauseous.

One of the reasons I write so openly about my anxiety is that this helps me track how the seasons affect me. Clearly, the days are getting shorter and this has a big impact on me. I know I’m only one of many people. But it’s hard not to feel alone in it. I’ve been feeling very lonely lately, despite being surrounded by people. It’s a very strange feeling.

 

NYC–>BOS

It’s 2pm and I’m on the train, heading home after an overnight in NYC for work.

If I wasn’t convinced I needed bariatric surgery before, I am now. Between walking 8 short blocks to the subway – taking the train – and then walking to the event, I was sweating so profusely. And so tired. Seriously, a couple clearly in their late 70s walked briskly by me and made it to the event a good 3-4 minutes before me. And then I traveled back the way I came, fortunately this time in the company of my wonderful colleagues. Seriously, they are amazing people.

By the time I stopped to pick up a salad at Sweetgreen and made it to my hotel room, I was sweating again. And tired. I sat on the bed, texting with Mr T, watching Bachelor in Paradise on my iPad, and eating my salad. My legs and back were hurting. I looked at my phone and saw that I had walked about 7,000 steps. 2.4 miles. Not even what the daily recommendation is (10k).

I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I joke that I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in about 10 years. It’s true. I used to be such a good sleeper, and as I’ve gained weight, I’ve had trouble. I’m ready to throw my CPAP (which my family and I call “Jacques”) out the window. I want to kick Jacques out of my bedroom!

I have all of these desires – to go hiking with Mr T, to pick up skiing again (did you know that I could go over moguls as a kid??), to go snow tubing, to kayak on the Charles River. I want to take advantage of my gym membership! My mom was teasing me because I bought hiking boots – and truthfully, they’re still in the bag – but I bought them as a symbol. I cannot wait until I’m in a place where I can put them on and hike the Great Blue Hill with Mr T or double-date with Ken & Marina on one of their trips to New Hampshire.

The good news is: I’m motivated.

Tomorrow is my “Immersion Day” at Mt Auburn where I learn all about the surgery and aftermath. And I met with a dear friend this morning (hello!) who has a friend who is 5 years out from her surgery, so she’ll be a good contact for me. And my family friend (hello!)’s wonderful wife had the surgery and she’s already reached out to me to offer tips and support.

Ciao for now!

 

BC/AC

I told my dad I feel like our lives are divided: BC (before cancer) and AC (after cancer). He totally got it.

Today is mom’s first round of chemo. As luck would have it, I am here in NJ so I’ll be able to accompany her. It takes 3 hours – she said, “You don’t have to sit with me,” but I’ll bring my laptop and work from the hospital. It isn’t like I haven’t done it before. Again, grateful to my amazing boss and job that I have this flexibility.

This was today’s FB post:

Screenshot 2018-08-13 11.04.36.png

Sharing it here in case you missed it. Mom is barely eating – she is enjoying protein shakes, eggs, and a few other favorite foods. But I doubt she is even consuming 500 calories a day. But Dad is enjoying the food deliveries, although he said he has lost 10 pounds too (which delights him).

Speaking of weight loss, dad and I had a big heart-to-heart on Saturday night about my bariatric surgery, which is still full steam ahead. He and mom said they want me to hire someone to help me post-surgery since they can’t be there to help me. I said I would consider it but I’m not really sure what help I’ll need. Maybe laundry – but my cleaners do it for me – and errands – Amazon, anyone? I have Mr T, Ken, and Marina, and some friends who can help, so we’ll see if it is needed. I’m hoping to have the surgery towards the end of October, after my 2 big work events. #priorities

More later about the chemo.

So, it’s 10:22 pm. Chemo day #1 went very smoothly!

We arrived at the doctor’s office at 12:45, and mom’s chemo went from about 1:30-5:30pm. It was an extended day but it should run about 3 hours now on Mondays.

I worked through most of the chemo as mom & dad chatted with the nurses and other patients. Of course, they knew other people getting treatment. Small town.

Mom had energy and more of an appetite tonight. Amazing what some drugs can do! I ran out and got her pills, more snacks, etc. We all settled into College Jeopardy. I killed it tonight. I’m seriously the smartest 43 year old college student. Ok, I’m obviously kidding but it’s always nice to win in fake Jeopardy.

We then watched the most painful show to watch – it’s called “escape to the continent” or something like that. Brits go to their favorite places in Europe, look at tons of homes, and never end up purchasing one! So frustrating. Bring on House Hunters International – in 30 minutes, they’ve sold all of their earthy possessions, looked at tons of houses, rented one, and moved in. Yes, all in 30 minutes. Bring me that instant gratification, please and thank you.

But I digress.

Mom did great today.

I’m off tomorrow for a work event in NYC. Ciao!

August 6, 2018

So, I made a comment on my post from 6/27/18 that I appreciated how clean Sloan Kettering is because I had caught CDiff years ago from a hospital. I spoke too soon.

Mom got Cdiff. If you don’t know what it is, google it. It’s nasty. Poor lady. She’s on antibiotics for it now so hopefully it’ll go away soon and let her recover in peace.

It’s Monday and it already feels like a long week. I have an 8pm work meeting so it is a long day. I haven’t slept well in weeks so I walk around like a zombie pretty much 24/7.

Mr. T returns from vacation today, so we’ll reconnect tomorrow. That’ll be good.

And then I have to begin the awful colonoscopy prep on Wednesday afternoon around 4pm. I picked up the prep today from CVS and it cost $60! Seems wrong. But it’ll be good to get my colonoscopy and endoscopy completed to make sure my esophagus isn’t damaged. I had originally been diagnosed with acute esophogisitis, so I am hoping it isn’t too “acute” and has disappeared for the time being. While some of these things are hereditary and from aging, I want to remind you that my body was also terribly damaged during my eating disorder years. It’s hard not to beat myself up about it, but it’s my reality.

No updates on my surgery other than it is still full steam ahead.

It’s hard to be positive right now. I have to speak with a lot of people for my job and they all ask me how my summer has been going. I hate lying, but I don’t want to get into things so I talk about it from my work perspective and say, “Work is excellent!” I actually got a really nice email from our CEO this week, complimenting me on a job well done. So, there’s that.

ciao for now!