Thursday, July 25, 2013

Happy Dancing

I'm going to say something that will probably piss more than a few people off. 

Cancer may have threatened my life in unimaginable ways but strangely, I think it may have saved it, too. 

(Let the backlash begin...)

In the few years leading up to my cancer diagnosis in March of 2012, I dealt with a variety of significant personal and work-related issues. My stress level was at an all-time high. The migraines that plagued me for nearly 30 years had gotten so frequent that I had to switch medications twice in a matter of weeks. They wouldn't simmer down.

The depression that I had battled off and on for the majority of my adult life had also decided once again to rear its ugly head. I bit the bullet and made an appointment with my family doctor to rule out any other possible issues and to begrudgingly ask for a prescription for Prozac - my happy pill of choice.  

The bottom line was that I wasn't happy at all. I felt useless and hopeless and drained of emotion. I could be silly and laugh and joke, but when I was alone, my brain wouldn't calm down. It was a downward spiral that I had been down before and was afraid of heading there again.

After describing all of my woes and symptoms to my doctor, she ordered blood work to see if I was actually pre-menopausal, which would explain quite a bit of my issues. This was in December of 2011. 

Two months later, I found the lump in my breast that would ultimately lead to my diagnosis of stage IIB, triple negative breast cancer. I would have to endure  13 rounds of chemo, 30 radiation treatments and removal of both breasts. 

Now that I am nearly 8 months post treatment, I've had plenty of time to reflect and do what I do best - over-analyze. 

I have had one pretty minor migraine since I started chemo about 16 months ago. ONE!  I haven't gone a stretch like that in decades. I rarely get headaches now, period. Those that I do get are usually knocked out with a couple of Advil. No prescription meds!

Given all the shit I've gone through mentally and physically in the last year and a half, my stress level is a fraction of what it's been the last 5-10 years.  I am still taking my happy pills like a good little girl and clearly, they're working. 

I appreciate life in a different way now. I hold those that have been there for me very close to my heart and try to tell them often how much i appreciate them. All others? Well, I don't waste my precious time worrying about them. They didn't worry about me! 

I'm eating better. I'm sleeping better (finally!). I'm making better and more thoughtful decisions. I'm trying to be a better person overall. 

I will never cop to thanking cancer for any of these good things. I wouldn't rather have those things back in my life at all but cancer was placed in my way and for whatever reason, I was able to recover. Regardless of what my future holds, right now, I'm stronger, healthier and yes, happier, than I've been in a very, very long time. 

I'll say it again...

I am happy. 

7 comments:

  1. I of all people understand, this makes me happy for my girl.

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  2. This household loves the happy Nancy!!

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  3. Thanks, Matty. Xoxoxo

    Love you and your household, too, Donna! :)

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  4. Receive lots of hugs and love from Dallas. Keep on fighting girl. Also, it's okay to have mastectomy and scarred breast. Because this is a sign of heroism. The movement about life without breast "THE SCAR PROJECT has already kicked off and breast cancer heroes are coming up more strong to even take pictures. Thank you all and may we fight on. God bless

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  5. I'm with you on your topic. I think cancer can put life in a better and clearer perspective. I for one, have decided who is most important and not important at all in my life.
    God bless

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  6. I totally hear you. I lived a very "healthy life" , but everything stressed me out. I met my husband, and he taught me to breathe a bit more. I worried about my daughter, about my finances for us, everything. EVERYTHING. And nobody could see that about me from the outside, but that was almost worse because I kept it inside. I was diagnosed a month after our wedding, and somehow our lives have become much richer for it. And after the removal, the radiation, etc... I still have cancer cells. I hate the tamoxifen and the side effects. But, again - I have learned to breathe. I think outsiders to our disease don't get it. I think some insiders also don't get it - but the fighters - we get it. We may cry for a minute, but we're not throwing in the towel for anything. Keep the fight going!!! xoxo

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  7. Hello Nancy!

    My name is Chris Nicholas and it’s really nice to meet you. I came across your blog and read some of your entries which are truly compelling. I was my mother’s primary caregiver for the past six years until she recently passed away this past December. She had battled many health issues over the years, which first started in 1973 having ovarian cancer and then in 1988 with breast cancer. She beat them both and as the years went on she had many more battles and eventually went on dialysis and suffered several mini­‐strokes, which kicked in Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease very quickly.
    I'm creating a documentary titled, Role Reversal. This film is about what happens when our aging parents are no longer able to care for themselves and how we, the adult children take on the role of caregiver. I’m using my own experience of caring for my mom as a means of helping others prepare for the inevitable. It will include footage I shot over the years of taking care of her, interviews with health care professionals, and the stories of others that are at various stages of taking care of their aging parents.

    My goal is to create a film that will inspire others to honor their parents, letting them live their final years with dignity and compassion. It will educate and inform, providing the tools necessary to navigate this rocky path and to learn how to take care of ourselves while also caring for our loved one.

    On October 21 I will launch a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo something I think your readers would be interested in learning about. Plus, in order for this crowdfunding campaign to be a success, I need so much support in spreading the word. I sincerely hope you will share my story and this campaign with your readers and social media followers. I'm going to create a RESOURCES page on the film's website and will gladly advertise your website on it.

    Please check out the film’s website, www.rolereversalmovie.com and our social media pages, https://www.facebook.com/rolereversalmovie and https://twitter.com/role_re_ver_sal.

    And, so you don’t just think I’m some random guy with an idea to make a documentary, I’ve worked in the world of television, film and home entertainment for the past 18 years. I’ve written, directed, produced and edited countless works in the visual arts. Please check out either of my websites at www.chrisnicholas.net or www.nre.tv for more info.

    Once the campaign goes live on Tuesday October 21, I'll email you the Indiegogo link, which will have a teaser video on it and lots of great incentives for those who contribute. If you could please post the Indiegogo link to your social media that would be HUGE!

    Warmest regards,
    Chris Nicholas

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