I want to apologize to people for not sending out thank you cards yet, for not sending out the contest winners their prizes (though I haven't heard back from Connie yet...if I don't hear from her soon I will chose another name from the hat, so keep checking back!), and for not commenting in the groups lately. Life is just on overload at the moment and I feel like I'm beginning to drown! My release is stitching, and I've been doing a lot of it lately, I guess trying to escape the madness.
I did graduate from physical therapy yesterday and that will free up some of my time. Thank heavens, I was beginning to dread each session, because I felt like I was wasting everyone's time and money!! I will continue exercising, but when I choose, not at someone else's schedule. I know what to do now when my arm begins to swell, and I have a coupon at a gym in Annapolis to get some help from professionals who are trained in lymph edema, I will get over there when I get a chance. My expanders should be "full" by the next appointment next week, and that will eliminate another appointment for the time being. Now all I have to do is wait for my muscles and tissues to be expanded, and the next operation will be in the wings in about 6 months. Chemo ends on December 2nd, so things are beginning to wind down.
I wanted to write about where my head is at right now, but it's hard to put into words. I'm not sure if it's because the people around me are dealing with some tough issues and my heart is torn by their heartache, or if it's the decrease in sunshine, or if it's the letdown after my birthday, or the increase in cold weather, or the rainy days we've been having, or the fact that exhaustion is setting in, or that chemo is making me achy and forgetful, or a combination of everything, BUT I'm having a tough time right now. I haven't felt sorry for myself since this whole thing began, and I'm really not feeling sorry for myself now. I'm just tired, tired of running to appointments, tired of struggling with forgetfulness, tired of struggling to try to explain my choice of treatments to my mother (who has made her disagreement painfully known), tired of doing extracurricular things...that even though I've thoroughly enjoyed, have made me extremely tired, tired of trying to console folks who are having a tough time, tired of trying to defend my decision not to return to work right now even though I caused some of my coworkers to miss a few things they wanted to do. I just want to crawl in a shell and hide for a while.
I will ask for prayers for a few fellow warriors who are dealing with some tough issues... Beth who is having surgery today, Gail who recently lost her Mom and is having a very tough time, Jackie who had surgery two weeks ago and is having troubles dealing with it all, Terry who's cousin is slowly losing her fight with cancer which has invaded her entire body now, and Denise who moved her entire family from the east coast to the west coast to be near her own family and who is struggling through chemo that is making her very sick....she has five year old twins that she is caring for during this whole thing. My heart goes out to these ladies who are so brave in their fight against breast cancer themselves. The disease is hard enough to deal with without all these added stresses in their lives.
I attended the monthly support group meeting last night. A new "sister warrior" was there for the first time last night. She confessed to the group that she is suicidal. I can't begin to express how I felt when I heard those words. I guess I admire her for her bravery for expressing what some of us might have felt at one point or another. Part of me wanted to leave at that point. It was hard to hear, it was discouraging. I think this was the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm not suicidal, but I have reached a place where I feel boxed in and overwhelmed, so though I would never hurt myself, I know where she's coming from. I have felt from the beginning that others are taking their cues from me, and that I've had to put on a brave face from the beginning and had to fight hard. Maybe that's why I'm so tired. I don't know unless you've been sitting in my position if you can truly understand the fight that we face each day. A fight to decide what treatment is our best option, a fight to explain ourselves to others, a fight to defend our decisions, our fight to keep our spirits up and those of the ones nearest us, a fight not to give in to the pain and fear we are feeling, a fight to get past the fatigue and illness we feel from the drugs, a fight to get up each day and deal with more issues as they come along. When they call us warriors, I don't know if they really know how true that description is. And this warrior is tired. I know I shouldn't be, because so many of you have worked so hard to encourage me, and I really do appreciate your kindness. I guess today is a day I'm going to indulge myself and rest. I promise it won't last long.
Anyway, that's why you haven't heard from me. I tried to read all the posts in the groups I belong to, but it became too overwhelming, so I deleted most of them. I feel terrible doing that, but it was another added pressure I couldn't deal with right now. I'm going to grab my quilt the ladies made for me, wrap myself in their love and encouragement and rest, and when I'm feeling refreshed and have more energy, I'll begin to participate again. There is no need to worry, I am and will be fine, I just need to rest. I'll see you when I get back.