It wasn’t that long ago. Her tiny little tummy sticking out between her frilly little bikini top and ruffle swim bottoms. A bikini for a baby. Ridiculous, but the thought gives me a perma-smile for the next hour. The entire memory is shaded under a tan canopy, the whole area reflecting an odd blue glimmer from the hand-me-down kiddie pool.
This picture doesn’t do it justice… I hadn’t yet acquired the shade tent – but that’s the moment I’m living in these days. A sweet, simple, moment of existence. It is beautiful and precious and something I am looking forward to this summer. It’s not warm enough yet, though I know my little sun baby is itching to throw on her swim suit and splash for the next few months.
Writing is an incredibly therapeutic process for me. I intend to start blogging again, and not just about cancer. I want to write about how I’m decorating my bedroom, my favorite chili recipe and how I’m trying to incorporate more cultural heritage into our simple lives. These blog posts will not be sent out in an e-mail, as I realize most people did not sign up for that. They will still be available on my blog, but I don’t want to be spamming people. Future cancer updates will include links to other things I manage to post about – if I get there.
I miss my hair. I am coming to learn that I am an incredibly vein person, aren’t we all? I’m ashamed to admit that often my moment of weakness is crying about my hair. Just for a moment, then I move on. Now the hair that hasn’t fallen out (maybe 1/5 of the hairs?) is growing and it’s just long enough to catch a little breeze every time I move. A constant reminder that there is no hair on my head. It’s a dumb thing to fret about, but it’s true. This isn’t an appeal for pity, rather an honest look at how I feel. I feel ugly. It sucks. I’ll get over it.
I don’t hurt any more. That’s kind of a lie. I am still in a lot of pain, but none of it is pain from tumors. I can sit down for more than a few minutes without wanting to cry. That only occurs to me now as I’ve been sitting at the computer for an hour and the only thing complaining are my back muscles – weak from “going easy” on myself. I am thankful for that. It’s nice to be able to use my computer for more than a few minutes.
I’ve got a new ache. And its name is: bone pain. It is not a pain I would wish on any one. I am currently receiving a shot once every three weeks to encourage white blood cell production. White blood cells are made in your bone marrow. There’s only so much room inside of those bones. Hence: extra white blood cells and stimulation = bone pressure. If you can pinpoint where your thigh bone meets your hip bone, then imagine running all down down the beach…. and then running back home through a foot of water. That might start to give you an inclination of the soreness I’m experiencing. Hips. Knees. Shoulders. Lower back. I’m just a regular, old lady these days!
Cycle Four > Cycle Three. This cycle… all round… seems to be going better than the last one. I think I was dehydrated last time, which amplified the chemo symptoms. The bone pain came on very suddenly, and I am still tired, but I’ve yet to experience the bone-tired-exhaustion that left me so frustrated. I know, there’s plenty of time for that yet – but I’m trying to be positive.
Life doesn’t wait. There is always some new thing demanding attention, and usually money. Things like my computer hard drive that keeps threatening to die on me, or the sump pump that is failing to prevent the carport from flooding. You would think cancer would afford me some “get out of all other stress free” card, but alas… it does not. Thankfully we are well loved and months ago these would’ve been incredibly stressful things, now they are just things. Things that need to be taken care of, but they aren’t keeping me up at night.
I don’t know how to handle my own good news. I know that “NED” should afford me some sigh of relief, and when I’m sitting with my sweet neighbors celebrating that news it feels real. Then I go home and it hurts to walk down the stairs and lifting a cup full of water has me wondering if I will yet break one of my favorite glasses when it slips from my tired grip. I still firmly believe Brandan is the reason we only have half of the original set. I’d like to say I feel relieved… but mostly I just feel tired. I feel almost like that PET scan has invalidated my suffering. I don’t feel like I have anything to complain about, despite having plenty of things in my life worth complaining about. It’s a very tricky head space to occupy. I need to be positive, and I have a lot of positive on my side… more than I could’ve expected. But here I am, looking a gift horse in the mouth.
Soon enough though, it will be warm again, and the back yard will be calling our names. I’ll sit outside and knit, or read, while Ginny gallivants, muddy feet, bubbles in the air, and I’ll quench my achy joints with the cold hose water. I look forward to eating on the patio, using the fire place in the back, and listening to the birds all day. Basically I want to live in my instagram feed. Is that too much to ask?