October 3 – Nothing new with me, same old, same, old, but Jen walked yesterday in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer – Orlando walk. She said thousands of people were there. I had a prior commitment so could not go this year but did raise over five hundred dollars so got a T-shirt for that and I got my first, very own, cancer survivor T- shirt! According to the American Cancer Society, you date your survival time from the date of your diagnosis. According to my oncologist, you date it from the ending of your treatment. I am going with his determination so officially cannot wear my shirt until the day after Thanksgiving (isn’t that just way too appropriate!), November 26 as that was the date of my last chemo treatment. If I use the ACS’s date, I am a 1 year, 3 month survivor.
Diabetes – Well, I screwed up! After bragging about how well I was doing, even lost another pound, finally – I went off the wagon and had BBQ last night. Didn’t have any fries or bread, only meat and coleslaw but apparantly the amount of carbs in the BBQ sauce was pretty hefty because my blood sugar reading was 189!!!!!!! Should be under 140 two hours after eating dinner. This morning it was at 100 which is within range (70-110 fasting) so I felt a bit better about my falling off the wagon! Must not do that again! I felt quite full so maybe I just ate too much of it. Drats!
Surgery – Tummy itches still a bit and there is a slight burning where the stitches came out but other than that all is okay. Beginning to look like the Twin’s have a peeling sunburn with areas of hard, dried blood and dead skin. Nice mental picture isn’t it!
October 8 – Yesterday Nurse Martha went with me to a therapy session. It was interesting to say the least! Not sure Debbie was prepared for the effect of two of us together! All of my siblings refer to our upbringing as “bizarre” or some term like that. I keep being amazed how your childhood affects your present day life! I digress, sorry……. Anyway, most of my brothers and sisters (there were five and I am the oldest, one of my brothers died many years ago) have found that humor has gotten us through some very hard times hence my titling these journals “The BC Journals or How Humor Got Me Through It.” We all have our “Mom” and “Dad” stories and actually tell them to people usually getting much laughter when we do. Probably because people think that we are making that stuff up! Anyway, Debbie asked Martha about her recollections of our childhood (we are six years apart, so have very different memories of being in the same house) and Martha and I make a great storytelling team and, poor Debbie, we were telling her all this awful stuff while laughing like hyenas and the poor woman couldn’t help herself she had to laugh, too, and then I think she was horrified that she was laughing at what we were saying so I told her it was okay, that we made people laugh on purpose and she really had no control of us once we get going! She did say that she saw clearly why we used humor as a coping mechanism and told us “You two do realize that you are trauma victims?” and Martha said “Yes” and I said “No” and they both looked at me in disbelief. I said, “I never really thought about it” – it was my old coping mechanism where I tucked everything away that I didn’t want to think about or that upset me until this crappy breast cancer came along and totally destroyed my little system! She told us that she believes my mother was psychotic…………hmmmmm, I knew she was a bit odd and dangerous at times but never thought the word psychotic…………kind of scary to know that actually. She was also an alcoholic and I never realized that either until I was older. She “drank beer” was all that was ever said at our house. The word alcoholic was never used and for many years she did not drink in front of us, however she was a bartender by profession, until she became a psychiatric nurse later in life – now that was a scary thought when she did that – I remember thinking “Lordy, just where she needs to be – in charge of other unstable people!” Now for the weird part, I actually enjoy going to see Debbie and at first Martha said that was way too intense to do on a weekly basis, and it is at first, then later in the day said she wouldn’t mind doing that herself sometime in the future. It really is very freeing to talk to someone who is non-judgmental about the stuff you keep or have kept bottled up inside causing stress damage to your body. Nurse Martha is also a very self-assured woman as is my youngest sister, Tina, although we all grew up to cope in different ways. My younger brother is truly a basket case and never learned to cope and blames everything on my parents to this day. He never quite got the hang of it that you learn to cope and go on with your life, not to stay locked in the past and redo all the crazy things you learned from your parents. The rest of us learned what not to do! Tina will be here again next August and I would love to have all three of us go to Debbie and see what that is like – if she could stand it, that is! There - a little glimpse into my family history! As I said, I am amazed at how things that happened so long ago that you never even think about can affect your daily life. That is the ultimate goal with this therapy is to learn what causes some of the behaviors or actions that I have now and then it will be much easier to know how to change them for the better. I am really beginning to see why I do some of the things I do and that it is no longer necessary to do them to survive. Now I am a bit weepy so I must change the subject!
Maybe this is where all my different personas actually come from? I did tell Debbie that if she ever read my journals to know that I am not “Sybil,” and that I do have control of all those different personalities! Truly though, I never lost touch with reality, ever, just closed off my emotions, so do not worry about me. We are all fine!
Please remember that this is Breast Cancer Awareness month and go to www.thebreastcancersite.com to click daily for funding for women who cannot afford mammograms. Each click counts double this month! Wear a pink ribbon and TALK to other women about early detection and how it saves lives. My darling Harold is wearing a pink ribbon on his clothing for me and will talk to anyone who asks him why he is wearing it so get your men involved, too! They get breast cancer, too, and their numbers are on the rise! Soap Box Sue signing off!
Diabetes – Back to measuring portions. No weight loss and a high reading last night (bummer) even though I stayed with what I was supposed to eat all day. However, I ate more at dinner than I should have and even if it is healthy food, it is a limited amount. I think I have been “eyeing” the portion sizes and they have grown a bit. Have to retrain my “eye!” Still walking a mile and a half each day for six days a week and have begun light gardening again.
Back – I must say that the massage once a week has helped more that the shots of cortisone or any of the drugs prescribed for my back/leg problem! The therapist feels that my tight muscles are doing the pinching and I have to believe she is correct since I can feel a difference right after the session but more important I can sleep in any position I want to again! They do begin to tighten again but this time it was way less than the first time I saw her and she says that each time will get longer before tightening so that once a month maintenance will be all that is necessary. Believe me, if this ever happens again to me she will be the first person I see, not the last! And, can you believe this – she is moving her business to Dr. J’s offices! He had a lot of extra room in his area of the medical center so decided to turn it into a day spa/therapy area. He leased space to a person who does facial stuff for medical reasons as well as cosmetic and then Michelle, his office manager, who had been going to Melinda for a year for her arthritis told him about her and they then decided to ask her to join the office to be able to provide massage for both therapeutic and relaxation (she does deep tissue massage and sports massage as well as “regular” massage). When I first went to her she was undecided as to whether or not she wanted to relocate but when I went this week she told me she had decided to do it and will be there at the beginning of November! Hurray! Now I can get the dead skin picked off my boobs and then go have my rear end massaged all in the same time frame! Talk about a whole body experience! If I could schedule Debbie for a mental therapy session on the same day I could, indeed, have it all!
Must go now and get ready for my first session with Dr. J. as he begins to pick off the dead skin on the Twins! What fun! I have not touched it myself, I have visions of picking at some of that dead skin and having the whole skin graft lift off!!!!!!!!!!!!
November 7 – Well……………..I just read over some of the stuff I wrote prior to today and lots of it is already over and done with! Breast Cancer Awareness month has come and gone but please don’t give up sending people to the BC Journals and talking about mammograms. As of this morning the number of visits to the BC Journals website is 3,428 since last November! The website is officially a year old!
I have been out of town on a mini-vacation with friends (great fun!), gone to a reception for breast cancer survivors put on by the American Cancer Society (okay), picked off all the dead skin on the twins (I did some myself, but Dr. J. did most of it, too gross for me – one long piece started coming off, around and around, and I thought I would croak!). The twins look pretty good now. It is odd seeing them completed after just seeing them plain for so long. Love it!
I have decided that November 26 will be the last official entry to the BC Journals. That will be my official one year anniversary, and I feel that will be a good time to end them except for an occasional addition after a check–up or something similar.
Can you believe it has been over a year that I have been writing these journals? I have met some really great people due to the breast cancer that are now dear friends, had other friends fall victim to this dreadful disease and shared my journey with all of you. I will reflect upon all of this next time.
Before I go, I want to say that I am going to join in a clinical trial for diabetes. I found out last week from my doctor that even though I lost a couple more pounds, was right on the mark with most of my blood sugar readings (my A1c reading went from 6.4 in July to 5.9 last week, 6 being the high end of average and he was most impressed I had managed that in such a short period of time) and try to walk a mile and half each day – I will still have to go on more medication some time in the future. He said your pancreas just wear out when you have diabetes. After learning that bit of information, (I was dumbfounded as I thought I could hold it at bay with good behavior) I lost some of my “oommpf” for fighting diabetes and became a bit despondent about the whole thing so feel I need more guidance for a while to really get a handle on all this. I could tell he felt bad telling me all that but he said he didn’t want me to have false hopes about the future, that I still could not let down my guard but he wants me to be realistic about everything. I was hoping he was going to say that I was doing so well I would be off the medication soon!
November 8 – An amazing thing happened today. I called this morning about the clinical trial, answered all their questions and they will call me back. I was telling Harold about the conversation and he said, “Did you tell them about the breast cancer?” I said, “No, I forgot!” Can you believe it – I forgot about it! I called them back and told them about the breast cancer and said they were asking me about what other things I took medications for and since I don’t take anything for cancer I just forgot about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They said it was something they should know. I hope to be chosen as I would like to fight this disease with anything that could work better. I did not do a clinical trial with breast cancer as I was afraid for my life then. I know this is still my life I am dealing with but I am not “sick” with diabetes and don’t need any surgery so am mentally prepared for these trials. I want to actively fight the diabetes like I did the breast cancer. I think I feel more in control if I am in the fight mode! And, I do like to be in control of my life!
I gardened today after walking 1 ½ miles this morning. Filled two big garbage cans with yard junk and weeded and trimmed. This time last year I was in the middle of my third chemo treatment and not feeling so good. Now I am active again and I have my hair back! Am much happier this year!!!!!!
And on that happy note, I shall end this update!
Till next time,
After reading through the updates,
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