That is the one and only word that I can use right now to describe the feeling I have every morning when I wake up. While I usually wake up in agonizing pain, I am able to take some medicine and lay back down while the house is still quiet to let the pain medicine kick in before we start our daily routine.
The past two years December has been a hard month for me. Last year I was preparing for my surgery, which the anniversary of losing the cancerous beast living within me was December 6th. I remember last year my fear was something going wrong during the surgery or them finding more cancer than what was already expected. Once that was over, the next fear was will this be my last Christmas. Once the hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping, hiding Elf on the Shelf, having my family here and working kicked in, that fear quickly passed. As the year went on that fear disappeared and only reappeared when I was preparing for doctor follow up appointments and of course scans.
This year I noticed my anxiety levels quickly shot up after Thanksgiving. Knowing my cancer is back and is considered non-curable, that fear of could this be my last Christmas is so real. I hope and pray several times a day that I get many many many more Christmases with my children and hopefully one day with their children. But since tomorrow is not promised to me, nor anyone for that matter, I am using cancer as a way to live like I am dying. (Great song too by Tim McGraw). Unlike his song, I do not plan to go sky diving or rocky mountain climbing, but I may ride a bull named Blue Manchu, I have loved deeper, spoke sweeter and I have given forgiveness I'd been denying. Other things that he failed to mention in his song that I have done this past month:
- Hiding Buddy the Elf daily so that I hear the giggles of my boys when they discover what mischief he has gotten into.
- Decorated the Christmas tree and didn't get discouraged when the kids hung ornaments all in one location.
- Put the manger together one too many times because the boys think it is a new toy. We have a "Little People" manger for them and the real one is kept away from their little curious hands.
- Tuned in to the 93.9 and listened to Christmas music daily since the day after Thanksgiving and sang along.
- Told people at the store, post office, library etc. Merry Christmas
- Paid it forward in line at McDonalds for the car behind me. This made me nervous, but the price thank goodness didn't break our one income family bank.
- Brought hot chocolate to the 3 teachers/aides at Justin's school who stand outside every morning making sure all the little munchkins get safely out of the cars and into school.
- Talked to Justin about the meaning of Christmas and did the best I could to explain it to him.
- Did a family tour around New Lenox and surrounding towns to look at Christmas lights.
I think I could go on and on. I made a list this year and tried to pack in as much fun as possible so that should this be my last Christmas, the kids will look back and remember all of the good times and Don can make this a yearly tradition. I am confident though that my time is not up and I will get to do these traditions for the next at least 20 years with my boys.
Please don't let my mind set scare you off. I am not negative nor have I given up. I have tons of hope and faith that my medicine will continue to work and there will be a cure for me soon or God himself will heal me. I follow many blogs of women who are struggling with terminal cancer just like me. While reading these blogs break my heart since some have been struggling awhile longer than me, they also give me the strength I need to go on daily and to continue to be strong. It is so weird if you think about it to read blogs of women I do not know and probably never will. I feel like I do know them and little do they know, they are helping me. I hope they read my blog and I can help them too.
Most who do see me or look at pictures on Facebook. I do not fit the image of a cancer patient like I did last year. I have my hair, I'm pretty fit (weak, but healthier looking than I have looked in years), I can carry my 1 1/2 year old while he wiggles out of my arms kicking and screaming like an average mother. I am able to keep up with the house work, cook dinner and remember important dates. It is like I do not have cancer! Like it is just a ploy to get some attention. I sure wish that was the case. I hurt daily. My regiment of Advil or Norco rotated every 4-5 hours to stay ahead of the pain is annoying! Especially if I miss a dose and the pain sets in. I'm one angry Bitch (Pardon my language, but I am) I hope I can keep fooling all of you. I don't want to look sick. I want to continue to walk through the store and see strangers rushing to get things, pushing me out of the way, stealing my parking spot because they want to be closer to the entrance. It is entertaining to me to watch them get so annoyed by things that don't matter. There are several times I just want to stun them and say I have terminal cancer. But I don't, instead I smile and hope that my smile is contagious and they change their ways and slow down.
My request this season is for all of you that follow my blog to reflect on the past year and be thankful for your health, your family, for your home, for your job, your school. Whatever it is you have that you easily take for granted. Like I mentioned, tomorrow is not promised to any of us....Cancer or no cancer. Make this the best Christmas yet. It isn't about the gifts under the tree or the perfectly decorated Christmas cookies. It is about living your life like you are dying. Giggling with your children, signing loudly off key to Christmas songs, Dance like no one is watching (Ryan is good at this one and if you ask Whitney, I may be coming in a close 2nd), making someone else's day, give a dollar to the homeless. Smile and stop being angry. Just slow down!
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Whitney is here for a month and I and the boys are enjoying her company. My parents are traveling in today and tomorrow (prayers for a safe arrival to and from NC). The only thing missing is Jess and her family, but we will Skype with them and make sure we feel like we are all together! More to come after Christmas on the health front. For now, I'm pretending like nothing is wrong and just remembering while I hate the word cancer, it has taught me so much!
Love to all!