Tag Archives: 2014

The Journey

Sometimes it feels like I didn’t have cancer, like it was all this surreal dream I coasted through. It’s been nearly nine months since I finished my last chemo treatment. My port is still in place. My surgeon has been bugging me to have it out for months now but I’m attached.

It’s the one tangible reminder I have that my battle with cancer was real. Sure I have pictures and memories, cards and sentimental keepsakes collected from diagnosis to survivorship. But every time I look down and see that port, I’m reminded how real the journey was and still is.

d5a71ae31a5d494ba5f5c32a7e1a54d3It’s the strangest feeling now that I’m healthy and cancer free, even more so than when I was going through chemo. Although there was that one time I tried watching “The Fault In Our Stars” a few months after I completed treatment. It hit me like a hundred pound weight to the chest. Overwhelmed by emotion, I shut the movie off not quite half way through. Still haven’t finished watching it.

Thirty-years-old, student, single mom of two, writer, blogger, Stage III Colon Cancer patient, survivor. Crazy.
My sleep schedule is still all over the map. There are times when no matter how much sleep I get, I feel exhausted. Some nights I fall asleep around nine. Only to wake up around three a.m., unable to sleep.

8ce32765c7cb09009ab72f6e64a379d1By the time six or seven a.m. rolls around – I’m tired – but can’t go back to bed.  Two little humans need me bright eyed and bushy tailed. There’s work, school or sometimes both to get myself ready for as well.

About once a week, I feel fluttering in my chest. It usually lasts for a few seconds, then subsides. I’ve had several EKG’s, all perfectly normal. I didn’t lose my hair during chemo. It thinned out some but it was so thick before, no one except for maybe my family and hair dresser knew. It came back twice as thick as before so no one really knows now.

That’s just it isn’t it? On the outside, you’d never know.

I’m at the gym at least four times a week and work out just as hard as any able-bodied, healthy person can. I almost always take the stairs at work, up and down three flights everyday, several times a day.

You’d never know that just a year and a half ago – I was told by my surgeon that waiting even six more months would have been too late.

4e5a6016beed964fbb4b9c58393536d8I wouldn’t change a thing…I take that back. I definitely would have gotten my symptomatic butt (pun intended) to the doctor sooner. Cancer doesn’t look at a person and say “Oh hey, you know what? You’ve got a lot going on in your life. I think I’ll give you a Mulligan and come back around in about twenty years when you’re older.”

Cancer could care less about the amount of money you make or what your age or gender or social status is. Sure there are steps we can all take to prevent certain types of cancer. But sometimes shit just happens.

531px-Blue_morpho_butterfly - Version 2One thing I can say is that I wouldn’t be the woman I am right now without that journey. I learned to value myself more, tolerate less bullshit from the world around me and take much better care of myself physically and emotionally.

The days I start to feel myself coasting again – becoming complacent, caught up in the Groundhog day scenario of life on repeat – I take a step back and remember what it felt like when I could barely take care of myself. Nothing like a quick self-evaluation to give yourself perspective and a solid reality check. So yeah my kids are bonkers most of the time, my schedule is crazier than a patient in Arkham Asylum and I’m constantly on the go. But I’m without question healthier, stronger and better able to handle everything on my plate now than I was last year or even a few months ago.

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Reflecting One Year Later, Part 1, Surgery

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(above image: My son visiting me in the hospital, two days post-op)

One year ago today, I spent New Year’s Eve recovering from major colon resection surgery in the hospital. It was less than two weeks after being diagnosed with Stage III Colon Cancer.

Going in that morning, I was terrified.  Both of my parents had accompanied me. I had spent the hours prior to surgery sending Reiki to every single person who would be part of my surgery; surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, hospital staff, myself, my parents and most of my family. I prayed. I called upon others to pray for me.

Thinking back upon it now, tears well up in my eyes. “If you had waited another six months, it would have been too late.” I will never forget those words coming out of my surgeon’s mouth, just five days before Christmas. Twenty-nine-years-old, diagnosed with cancer. Stage five is the highest level my type of cancer goes and I was stage three. A single mother with two reasons to fight, get stronger and kick this cancer’s ass (all puns intended). My son Dominic and my daughter Izabella didn’t just pull me through, they saved my life. In more ways than they will ever know.

Whatever powers that be were looking out for me during this journey and have been my entire life. I know this for many reasons. But relevant to cancer, because I had always wanted two biological children; a son and a daughter. At the age of twenty-nine I began chemotherapy as part of my cancer treatment regimen. Chemotherapy which may have left my reproductive organs unable to bare any further offspring. Although my cycles are still occurring, much to the surprise of my medical team, who knows if I still have the ability to conceive?

Prior to my cancer diagnosis, I was blessed with the gift of motherhood. Even on the worst of days, my babes far surpass any ideal I could have held in my heart. My reasons for living, for becoming the best human being I know how to be; if I can be half the woman they see me as then I know I’m doing something right.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just like any other mother. Some days I yell, I scream, I say things I don’t mean. My son has left me speechless at times with his melodramatic response to something as simple as bedtime. My daughter has left me wondering how I manage to get through her temper tantrums simply by breathing deeply or walking away to cool down.

Some days I honest to God don’t know how I get through it. But I do and it’s in those moments that I find solace. Their smiles, hugs, love and laughter. No one on this earth is capable of loving me the way my children do and no one will ever be capable of loving them to the extent that I love them. It’s the kind of love that goes without saying. Truly described only by the deeply held emotions found within one’s heart. Boundless and beautiful.

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This New Year’s Eve, I will be celebrating with one of my closest and dearest friends. I won’t just be celebrating a New Year of possibilities and adventure. I’ll be celebrating another year of life, of love. Another year of being surrounded by family and the most loyal, loving and selfless people I know.

Not only did I come out of 2014 as a stronger human being, I’m ringing in this new year as a survivor. My cancer is gone, I’ve adopted new lifestyle habits such as working out and meditating more. There’s always room for improvement but I am so much closer now to being the unstoppable, (as a dear friend would say) Epic, Sexy Soul that I know I am meant to be. Cancer catapulted me into 2014 with such a fierceness for life that I didn’t want to miss a single moment. I did as much as I possibly could for myself, traveling and checking things off my “Living Life to the Fullest List” (the idea of a bucket list seemed kind of morbid once I was diagnosed with cancer).

So bring it on 2015! I can hardly wait to see what you have in store for me. Whatever it is, I know it will be beautiful and magnificent!

Wishing you all a safe New Year’s Eve and a prosperous, joy-filled, ass-kicking new year in 2015! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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(above image: One year later after diagnosis and treatment)

2014 in Review

I would like to personally thank each and every one of you for reading, following, commenting on and sharing my blog. This blog was started to help me through my cancer journey. But knowing that I’ve been able to reach out into the world and share my story with so many, knowing that you care enough to read my blog and be part of my life…well that’s what gives me the motivation to continue blogging and sharing with you all.

Thank you everyone for being part of this journey in 2014! Who knows what adventures will await in 2015. I wish you all a beautiful New Year filled with love, family, good health and joy! Thank you again for everything 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.