A strange and foriegn land

There is no more of a lonely place on earth than this island called cancer. I wish I could simply describe to you the ways it changes your life,changes the way people perceive you and the way you perceive yourself. Let's start with how life changes. First you loose everything that makes you feel remotely female. Your hair, lashes, and brows, and in some cases your breasts. Then you lose your energy during chemo. Which causes people to feel you are being "short with them" It takes a lot more energy to deal with routine situations. Since each situation begins with an energy deficit, you are already tired and this makes your personality sparkling and very social! This is particularly wonderful in chaotic social functions. People expect you to think, act and behave as you used to. You feel sick to your stomach. Sometimes your constipated and other times you can't keep anything inside. I call this the feast or famine syndrome. Then there is the constant cold and hot fluctuations. Your body bloats and retains water. This is extremely fun. It helps keep you looking fashionable. NOT! In my case one of my chemo meds Avastin causes high blood pressure. So, now I get to take blood pressure meds. Which causes me to retain water. So now I take water pills. Now I pee all the time and I'm bloated! Yay! The chemo also tore up my esophagus. Now I get to take prevacid! Woo hoo! I have pain almost constantly, ( this adds to that sparkling personality I mentioned earlier) Which means.... you guessed it... I get to take pain meds!!!! There is also the not being able to sleep well at night because of the pain and the constant brain racing. So yea, I take a pill for that too. All these pills are loads of fun. Those are just the most basic and obvious changes. There are also tons of Dr. Visits. PET scans every 3 months, or more frequently if there is a reason to think the cancer has returned. Blood work every week. Let's not forget peeing in a cup. Everyone enjoys THAT, right? The way people perceive you is really interesting. It can run the full spectrum really. There are the people you know and love that disappear from your life. The people you never knew who act like they know and love you. And the complete strangers who identify you as a cancer patient, and feel this gives them the right to tell you all about their (fill in the blank relative) who had just exactly what you have and the berry of the rare hoochie coochie tree cured them. Oh believe me! I have heard some cures!! (Hydrogen peroxide?!? Really?) There are folks who treat you like you have the plague. Others helpful beyond human comprehension. Then some folks who just plain don't care. Sometimes even people who know better, don't fully understand. Then there is how you perceive yourself. I used to be an active, social, busy woman. Now all I want to do is take a nap. Or take a bath. Or be still and quiet. But how do I see myself? I'm a lopsided (ei one breasted) scarred, wispy haired, bloated, fatigued woman. Seeing myself as womanly isn't what I see. I am in fact a woman, but I don't feel womanly. Best analogy to create a word picture of how I see myself is, I am a dry sponge. This hasn't been written to be discouraging or negative. This is just the way it is. It is what it is as my husband would say. Hopefully your cancer journey is happier than mine. As you navigate cancer, a strange and foreign land, I pray your journey is brighter and more comfortable. One could say that right now I have hit the acceptance stage, and everything is very black and white. Thank you for stopping by to read my blog. I promise the next post will be more uplifting. Leslie

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