The roller coaster

I think the roller coaster is starting. I’ve had so many people tell me that has been their experience – trying to be comforting. Honestly, I was thinking there was no roller coaster. I was just pissed and that was it. Apparently I was just still in the line and hadn’t actually gotten on the ride yet. It’s hard to explain what it’s like in my brain. It feels so numb, even normal thought processes are hard. I’m unable to find motivation to do very normal tasks, really it’s not even motivation as much as they don’t occur to me. As in it’s 30 minutes until bed time and it didn’t occur to me to make the kids anything for dinner. These are not things I normally forget. I have no appetite. I eat, but I really don’t taste the food.

The word “cancer” goes through my head about 40 times a minute. It reminds me of hearing about how often teenage boys have a sexual thought (and let’s be honest, I’m sure they don’t outgrow that anytime soon). It’s quite preoccupying. So I guess cancer is teaching me to respect teenage boys a little more for being able to function at all.

It is just so shocking. I think I’ve always known I would get cancer. It is what has taken most people in my family. But it never occurred to me that it could hit before my 70’s. My family lives long lives (and I will too!!!!). Not many have had breast cancer and even out of those more distant relatives, none this young. I know that it really isn’t something you get because of family history and I’m not stomping my feet saying it isn’t fair (although it isn’t). It just never crossed into the realm of possibilities in my head. And now I’m trying to figure out how to process that. I have cancer. Not some nice, slow moving cancer. It’s the Big Bad. Shit.

Yesterday I read some other survivor blogs (because that’s what this will become) and I am not sure if that contributed to the roller coaster or not. Who knows what is going to influence me at this point. Anyway, some were honestly pretty boring. Some had so much crap on them I literally couldn’t find the blog. Some were informative and I may go back and read more. Overall I don’t know how much that will actually help since every experience is different, but it gives me some idea of possibility. Mostly I was surprised to find that I may actually have some talent for writing. Who knew. I’m sure I will find one that I love though, just need to search it out. Please feel free to leave links in the comments if you know of any. It seems bizarre to me that people actually read this and I can type something to you, but we’ll try it out.

I also did some medical type research and in that reading it covered stage IV cancer. I should not have read that shit. Now of course my brain is just going there. How far has it spread? How long do I have to wait to find out? I think that part really scares me because there isn’t anything I can do about it. Seriously – how shitty is that? Cancer can actually just come in and take you. Boom. W.T.F. I know I’m not perfect, but I can’t think of anything I’ve done to deserve cancer. I’ve always been a karma kind of person. Maybe in a past life I was a son of a bitch, huh? How could I have waited so long to have kids and then get cancer before they’re even old enough to have a life? Maybe there is a lesson here that my son needs. Maybe he is going to learn something in this process that will change the way he lives his life and that change will make him be something even greater when he grows up. I hope so. I know it’s going to be hard on him. I imagine my daughter won’t remember much. I guess it depends how long things last. Hopefully it will be something that isn’t significant enough to really leave an imprint on either one of them. Hey, I can still hope.

Are you getting an idea of what inside my head is like yet? There is drama up in that bitch. Apparently this is actually what stress feels like. I don’t think I’ve had actual stress before, or at least never like this. For some good news – I slept through the night last night! First time since the night after the tri had me so exhausted.

Yesterday morning Evelyn didn’t ask to nurse, that was a first. It made me sad. She did want to at nap time and pretty much refused to sleep since I wouldn’t feed her. It’s hard emotionally to just cut her off. I have to get ready for surgery so it’s just mandatory at this point. But knowing there is cancer growing in there freaks me out too – I’ve been feeding her from the same boob that is growing cancer. I know you can’t “catch” it but damn that’s creepy.

Another positive – the steri strips from my biopsy get to come off today! Those suckers itch let me tell you. I’m sure that there are going to be many more in my future but it’s a little mini celebration when they come off. Also, I will get to check out the incision since I haven’t seen that yet. My first cut for cancer. How sweet.

I decided that the first thing that sucks about cancer is the diagnosis. Those biopsys hurt – yesterday was the first day I could touch my boob enough to feel the lump again so that lasted 4 days. So they really are stabbing you and putting you in a lot of pain. Then you have to go home and wait – and the only thing I could take for the pain was Tylenol. No offense Tylenol, but we all know you suck. And then they tell you, while you are still in major pain, that you have cancer. Seriously. Somebody needs to get to work on this.

The other big thing I have learned so far is that this shit can hit you F-A-S-T. I guess that had never sunk in with me. So here is my suggestion – set a monthly reminder to feel your boobies. That goes for everyone, all the girls and all the guys with girls (or girls with girls but really I think you were covered under the first option). Don’t skip a month. Ever. Because here I am, someone who does check them, and I’m having to wonder did I skip one month or two? How long has it been there? Just set a freaking reminder on your phone or wherever right now and start doing it. Guys, you can encourage your ladies, or just do a check for them and feel like you’re part of the process. I thought every once in a while was okay. It is not.

I’m trying to occupy my time taking care of the things I need to do before surgery. Since I’m unable to complete normal tasks, this has become a challenge. My son was diagnosed with Autism this week, which I really see as nothing but a blessing at this point. I’ve been taking him to different doctors ever since he was a baby and getting him to therapies multiple times a week – a lot of that has been coming out of our pocket which sucks. He has been responding great to therapy though and no one really has known that we’ve been doing all of that, he’s just a charming funny little guy. But with this diagnosis, therapies will be covered and his doctor is working on getting us home therapists so we don’t have to worry about getting him to appointments with whatever is coming in the future. That is a huge relief. I also got the stacks of paper cleared off my desk yesterday. So it kind of looked like I did something.

Last night I got really down and just pretty much felt like crying which I haven’t done yet. I ran some errands and listened to the music with the windows down. It reminds me of back in the day when I had a convertible (I still miss my Bug, but I really still miss the TT). But it does occur to me sometimes that I’m now a mom driving a Pilot blasting an LL Cool J mashup with the windows down and you can see my Star Wars family stickers on the back window and car seats in the back seat. Not nearly as cool as I used to be these days, but oh well. That’s me. And it did make me feel better.

Our dogs have fleas. That hasn’t happened since we moved here. But you know, all the shit has to pile on at the same time. Let’s see what today will bring.

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7 Responses to The roller coaster

  1. Leigh says:

    I think that a good cry might be in order here, Jenn. You have so much to process. Whenever I need to cry my eyeballs out, I do it in the shower. That way, the kids can’t hear me and the water kind of washes away my tears and snot. Less work for me. I’m sure you don’t need advice on how to cry, though. One of my friends has a VERY aggresive form of cancer. Her attitude is amazing. She’s made a list of all the things in life she wants to do and is doing them. Not like a bucket list but more like a “life” list. It gives her something to focus on as she fights the battle and she’s having an amazing time living the life she wants and meeting goals. Big goals like getting her Masters degree and little goals like getting a family dog to love.

    I’m really glad that you’re writing this blog. We can be updated but really it’s good that you can get it all out of your head. I can only imagine the loops in your brain that send you in circles, I like that you have this space to jump off the loop for a bit.

    I admire you and love you. Keep fighting the good fight. It will be a relief to find out what you’re really up against so that you can stop all the speculating. I’m just so sorry that you have to deal with this at all.

  2. Denise Howe says:

    Hi Jenn – my husband has a policy that he is the only person to talk to his patients if the diagnosis is cancer. That means day off, middle of clinic, evenings whatever it takes. He has had 4 people under 40 diagnosed this year with melanoma and it destroys him. He only recommends the American Cancer Society as a website for info as it is factual, not opinion. Are you going to the University or Lutheran at this point? All medical providers and medical staff need reminders of compassion when they are in the daily grind to be sensitive to patients reactions to such a diagnosis. We all could learn a thing or 2 from your blog. You are an incredible writer because it comes from the heart and yours is HUGE. Take care my friend and dont be afraid to reach out and welcome some help. This is YOUR cancer but you are not alone. We love you.

  3. Gina Evans says:

    Jenn-thanks for sharing your story-you are an amazing writer and cancer SUCKS-but you will beat this. We’re going through a similar situation in our family now and I have difficulty sifting out my feelings about it all and so it helps to known thoughts (completely unspoken) mimic yours as the outsider. I pray that your writing helps you clear your mind and that this is the smoothest possible journey for you and your family. Hugs from NJ.

  4. Sarah says:

    Jenn, you hit the ground running with this in true Jenn Fickes style. Turn these blog posts into a book once you’ve beat this thing and you would help a whole lot of women.

  5. holly cloud says:

    You are such a strong,awesome,talented mama!and to boot you’re a great writer,you should really publish this after you kick c’s butt!I know its been forever since we talked,but seeing your beautiful family on facebook,just reminded me what a cool person you are,so smart and funny:)you always rock,and now even more with your cute little munchkins!take care,love you

  6. Lauri says:

    Thanks for sharing. I think a blog will do a lot for you and everyone else. Love you tons!!! Xoxo

  7. dietriotgirl says:

    I found your blog recently, but would like to follow your journey from the beginning. So i’ll be creeping through your archives little by little until i make it to the present. I wish i fond your blog as it was happening . But, reading this now, it makes me smile knowing you got through it and your fighting.

    I think you do have a talent for writing.

    I couldn’t help but smile when i read ” the dogs have fleas’ …not cause they got fleas..but i know that feeling well of everything piling on top of each other. There is always something and everything seems to go wrong at the same time. the world doesnt seem to understand that one crisis at a time isn’t really alot to ask for.

    And that part about google? I’m not the one with cancer, my fiance is. I’m just the care-taker. But, i’m the overbearing type. So i research and google everything. I got yelled at by the oncologist to stop google-ing. There was stint when they couldnt find the right dosage/right medication to properly relieve the hubby’s sickness… so i was looking up all the stuff she wanted to put him on and then the stuff i read wasn’t pretty. So she whipped out her prescription pad, wrote new scripts and gave me a lecture to stay away from the computer until the next visit. It was alot less anxious without the self diagnosing from google articles and webmd.

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