My own worst enemy

I’ve read time and time again that this is the most stressful part. You know that something is wrong, but you don’t know how bad it is or what the plan to fix it is. The brain is really a fascinating thing. The power we have over our thoughts can be incredible. Normally I have full control, or at least enough control to keep myself in a sunny, healthy place. I don’t have many rainbow-and-unicorn moments, but I work hard to be happy with the things I have and thankful for my life – it is pretty flipping fabulous. Don’t be jealous.

Now thoughts just pop in there and I am seriously like what the hell. Stop thinking that, stop thinking that, don’t go down that path, please! But it goes. It just keeps on doing it. I debated telling you about this one, but here it goes. Why stop being honest now, right? I keep thinking about it spreading. What if it’s already everywhere? What if they can’t do anything? What if I have to KNOW that I am leaving my kids? Dark shit, huh? I keep shoving those thoughts down. This is not the way I am about life. I’m an optimist! Holy crap! So last night at about 8:30 something occurred to me. About a month ago I went to my doctor because I hadn’t been feeling “right”. We did a bunch of blood work and everything came back fine. I felt a bit like a hypochondriac. I had never felt like things were off without something coming back wrong. Maybe I was going crazy. Nope, turns out shit was wrong. Anyway, one of the things I went to him for was because I wasn’t breathing well when I was exercising. How do you like that? Does that mean it could be in my lungs? The inhaler he gave me helped. And the breathing was definitely a wheeze – and only during the first 20 minutes or so of exercise, then I was okay. What the hell is that? Can’t stop thinking about it. Like I almost called my doctor on his cell phone at 9:00 last night because I was freaking out. Have you noticed I use that phrase a lot lately?

So let’s really think about this – what are the odds that my cancer has spread to my lungs vs. that my mind is going insane (literally) and I’m a bit of an out of shape fat ass. On the cancer angle, the lungs is one of the first places it spreads. It’s possible and I don’t like that argument. Now, to the second point. I am definitely a weekend warrior. I just did Tri for the Cure but if you had seen some of the women out there, let’s just say it was clear that weight and being in shape are not clear indicators of who can complete a sprint triathlon. It takes a lot of heart. I need to lose 20 pounds. I’ve always had exercise induced asthma. I have never had an “easy” time breathing while I’m exercising. See? WAY more reasons that I am just out of shape. So it’s got to be that. Right?…… Right?

Man, that’s a heavy thing to lead with but it’s what is occupying all my thoughts and obviously I can’t sleep. Again. I really debated about sharing that, mostly because my parents read this. But this is the place for me to be honest. This is the place for me to get out all the crap so I can function during the day. You get to help me carry the load. It’s a big one.

You may have noticed that I said parents. Yup – dad is out of the wilderness. We gave him the news yesterday. Again, I really don’t like telling people – but telling your parents is especially hard. What would I do if one of my kids were in my shoes? How would I get through it? I don’t know, and I don’t know how they are doing it either. I love you mom. I love you dad.

I didn’t have much time to research yesterday but that’s probably a good thing. Another good friend of mine gave me an email introduction to her friend who is going through chemo right now. Good to have a connection to some current experiences. Not sure I can call her yet though.

Another surprise I’ve had during my past week is that I have yet to find anyone who talks about how this actually feels. The closest I’ve gotten is the roller coaster. I’m definitely on that bitch. But it surprises me that I haven’t found another blog like mine – don’t get me wrong, I took off the steri strips yesterday and that felt awesome. But I have a lot more to get off my chest than that. Where is everyone dumping their emotions? Are they just keeping it inside?

I did take Leigh’s advice and had a good shower cry yesterday. I’ve never been a big crier and honestly it just isn’t an easy thing for me to do. It doesn’t really feel natural in any way. But I did it and I felt better afterwards for a while. I’m sure it won’t be the last time. I do not understand other people crying though. Honestly, if you aren’t immediately related to me (by blood or marriage) or one of about 3 friends, I don’t want to know. I keep having people tell me that they have been crying – or just start crying in front of me. No offense, but button it up people. This is not a pity party. I understand that everyone means it in a good way, and that it’s really about how they are inside, how they deal with things, their past experiences, etc. I totally get it. But I am the one with the cancer and I am asking you all to put a cork in it. If my own mother can suck it up then so can you. Please and thank you.

As I mentioned, I did take off the steri strips yesterday. I took them off in the shower, they were still stuck on there pretty well for being 5 days old. Clearly I need to shower more often. The bruising has come out and it is ugly. It’s a good 4″ or more but it’s already yellowing so it should be gone soon. The incision is really small and healing nicely. Not that I expect it to matter. It is really hard underneath where the biopsy needles were – I know it’s just the healing process but at first I freaked out that the lump had grown a ton. Because freaking my freak is what I do these days. It doesn’t take much. At least the biopsy has healed enough for me to touch it again though. Ladies – if you want to feel the lump just ask. This is about the only time in my life that I will be able to educate first hand on what it feels like. It’s a limited engagement so just say the word.

I did do some good things yesterday. First, I remembered it was the weekend (remembering what day it was took until about 9am). I delivered a lot of Pampered Chef items. I also picked up my new planner. I’m checking to see if I can put up a link, but a friend-of-a-friend here who is a 2 time survivor (brain and breast) created a cancer planner. She has one specific to breast cancer and one for all other kinds. It organizes all doctors, appointments, treatments, side effects, medications, etc. and even has spots for your first two year follow up appointments. I can’t wait to use those. So I spent some time last night getting that all set up and ready for my first appointment on Wednesday. If she is okay with it, I will share the link with you all in case you know of anyone now or in the future who may need one.

Speaking of Pampered Chef, this has left me thinking of what to do with my business while going through treatment. I just hit my next level in career sales and I don’t want to lose that. So, right now I am thinking I am going to ask people to host catalog or facebook shows over the next year. I’d like to do at least 2 a month to make sure that I keep my business going. Then I can pick it up when I’m in the survivor category. So if you’d like to do a show sometime in the next year, please let me know. I still need one more this month.

Another one of my friends said she would set up a meal train for while I’m having surgery and treatments. Apparently they have a website that you can log into and put yourself down for a meal to bring us. When that is ready and I know when we will be in need I will post the link. Other things I’ve read that are great for cancer patients are: gifts of time (helping to take care of me or the house when needed), books (especially non cancer ones), magazines, soft cozy blankets for chemo treatments, accessories (hats, scarves, earrings), gift certificates for complementary treatments (massage, acupuncture, reiki), and just regular old being a friend. I’m sure once I get there I’ll figure out what I really need, but those are things that have been recommended.

What do you know? Now that I think about it I am feeling better. Thanks internet. I think I’m going to try and get a little more sleep.

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7 Responses to My own worst enemy

  1. Kathleen says:

    Jenn, you are in my prayers. When I hear you talk about crying, it reminds me of my father. He would always say to me ” I won’t cry if you don’t cry.” I thought I was doing well, but when I knew I had to cry I would say ” got to pee”, and go into the bathroom, turn on the faucet and quitely cry. Then I would wipe my face off and return to the room. One day I came out of the bathroom and he said, “Kathleen, if you pee one more time I’m taking you to have your kidney’s checked.” I said point taken Dad, and I learned not to “pee” so much. I really understand where you are coming from. I admire your strength, and your wonderful sense of humor. You will beat this, girl. We Fickes’ are a strong bunch. Love you.

  2. Jessica says:

    An open invitation to feel you up? SWEEEEET!

  3. LynneAnn says:

    Yes, I’ll admit your blog is hard for me to read. But it’s so much better for you to get it out than to bottle it in. It helps me deal with it, too. I don’t know why, but our minds all wander to the scary things. Guess it’s human nature. I’ll try not to abuse the “got to pee” trick. 😛

  4. Michelle Buan says:

    I’m glad you have a forum to get it out. I think you have to or you really would be your own worst enemy. You’re on my mind constantly so I’ll suck it up and make sure all those thoughts are positive ones from now on 😉
    Love you girl! As soon as I get to know more of my neighbors I’ll sign up for a virtual pampered chef party!

  5. Dan McDonald says:

    Keep on writing, Jenn. There are a lot of us way out here that want to listen, if nothing else. Your virtual shoulder, as it were. Love ya bunches!

  6. Michelle says:

    I am thinking of you often. And I thank you for the list of things that might be helpful. I can’t do much to help from faraway but sending something is right up my alley.

  7. Tracy Schmidt says:

    Jenn, I’m so glad you are writing about your experiences. You are a gifted writer and obviously one tough chick. I knew that, but now I really know that. I was worried about you, with all you’ve had on your plate, and now this to trump it all… WTF is right! Writing about this is so important, or the emotions will fester inside. Your experiences have touched me deeply, but I’ve officially put a cork in it, and am reporting for duty! You are welcome to schedule massages with me as needed, and please keep us posted on the food train. Just think, casseroles could be in your future! Big love and healing light headed your way, served fresh daily.

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