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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Turning over a new leaf

Two weeks ago I decided I would try really hard to be more positive about my situation. I told myself that I would try to not feel so sorry for myself and pray that being more positive would be beneficial to my emotional and physical self. It's hard, but I spoke with a guy who had a similar battle with Hodgkin's. He was in remission for 3 years before he relapsed and then had a stem cell transplant. He was very positive and told me that reciting affirmations helped him get through some of the hard times. Saying, "I am cured", the "medicine is working" were things he needed to tell himself over and over again even as he walked through the hustle and bustle of the NYC streets.

So I've decided to adopt that method and continually say those things to myself whenever the dark thoughts enter my mind. And I have to say it hasn't been easy. There have been times when I thought about postponing the wedding because I thought it was just too much to deal with everything going on. Instead of this happy event to look forward to, it became a burden that I had to worry about. But Ross said he didn't think we should postpone it because it would be giving in to the disease and deep down I didn't want to postpone the wedding, I just got scared and stressed about it coinciding with all this medical drama. I want to be past this cancer period in my life so bad so I can enjoy my wedding day and my marriage and there is still hope that I will be.

As cliche as it sounds, I am really trying to turn over a new leaf. I'm moving forward with the wedding planning...Ross and I started the first leg of our wedding registry today and starting planning our honeymoon...and I'm trying to take it one day at a time. I started the new chemo and while I don't feel great, I certainly don't feel as bad as the previous drugs have made me feel. The holidays are coming up and its my favorite time of the year, so I hope that will automatically bring joy and happiness that I need into my life.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Staying Strong?

When I was first diagnosed, people would often say to me "stay strong" or "your strength inspires me" and I would agree that I was strong and I would bask in their admiration because I did feel like I was strong person. I felt like cancer picked the wrong person to mess with and I had no doubt that I would make it through this horrible experience in 6 short months, victorious and of course fabulous.

Yet, with each setback, the phrase "stay strong" has come to irritate me. I no longer feel strong, I know longer feel courageous and I no longer have a desire to be anyone's inspiration. So when someone tells me those things, I smile and nod on the outside, but on the inside I feel like crumbling. I feel like my positivity and strength has been slowly chipped away by each disappointment. On one hand, I do understand how people can believe that I am still this wonderfully strong, inspiring person because I get up everyday and face the world usually with a smile on my face. Yet, they're not there when I have my deepest darkest moments and have tears streaming down my face. The reality is, I cant sit around and cry all day. I have to go to work because I need health insurance and I need to pay my bills. I have to make it through each day balancing my real life and my medical life. I may seem ok on the outside but in the inside, the word "cancer" is usually never far from my mind. I don't think its being strong, I think its doing what I have to do--as anyone in my situation would do.

So I struggle with this each and every day as my world gets harder and harder. I just want to be cancer-free and healthy, then call me strong and inspiring. Right now I feel like a person just trying to make it through each day, putting one foot in front of the other. I'm trying to build up my strength and positivity so I can get through this next step.

I finally saw a picture of the scan and there is a small clump of cancer cells on the right side of my chest. So the plan is for me to have a med called Gemzar once a week, for 3 weeks in a row. They're not sure how long I'll be on this drug, I guess it depends on how it does. The good thing is that the side effects are supposed to be minimal, so hopefully I shouldn't get sick.

Today was the day of the NYC Marathon and since my new apt is on 5th ave, we were able to see the runners come right past our building around the 22nd mile. It was amazing to see people of all ages run 26.2 miles (esp those wearing Leukemia and Lymphoma Society shirts, I cheered hardest for them) and it reminded me of the race that I'm in as well. For lack of better words, I'll use a silly metaphor; at the beginning of this journey I thought I was running a short 5k, but it turns out, I'm really running a marathon. Part of me feels like a fool because I thought it would be a short race, noone told me the race would be this long and I realllyyyy hate running. But as much as I hate running and would never choose to run a marathon on my own, I want to reach that finish line sooo bad, so I guess I'll have to keep running.