Cancer Blogs

Stories about cancer

The buzz cut

My hair was falling out in chunks because of chemotherapy. I was sleeping in chunks. It was getting very aggravating. I was wearing a black Pink Floyd shirt and all you could see was a bunch of blond hairs stuck to the front and back of the shirt. My pillow had chunks of hair on it. I would wake up to scratch my head and clumps of hair would fall out in my hand. It was 2am and I wanted a buzz cut. But, I waited until the morning. At 6 am I got the clippers out. My husband got a chair and he gave me a buzz cut. The first swipe was my bangs and my lower lip started to quiver. the second swipe over the top and my lip quivered more with little tears in my eyes. The third swipe and I couldn’t help but frown. But, my big girl voice took off and I told myself, it is not forever, don’t cry, suck it up, it is going to be okay. Losing my hair can be quite devastating. The feelings of sadness went away and I decided that it is just another part of my life to get through and it stopped bothering me. My head was buzzed. This to shall pass. I still have very short hair and blotches of no hair. My head feels like on big purple bruise in some areas.

It took Parker a looong couple of seconds to notice my head. He knew that I was going to lose my hair. I told him that the doctor is making me take medicine that is really hard to take and it would make my hair fall out. Once he noticed, he smiled and said, “your hair fell out.” I told him that I have a lot of hats to wear and he was wondering why I wasn’t going to wear a wig. Of course I wanted him to feel comfortable with me when we go out, so I actually thought getting a wig would remedy that. The truth is that he really doesn’t care. He likes the hats and I did make a compromise, I have a half wig that covers the crown of my head and leaves the top of my head uncovered. This is to wear with hats. I actually like it and it is totally my style. All the wigs seemed to perfect and I didn’t feel like myself no matter what kind of wig I tried on. But, in the back of my mind it would be really cool to have a super long blond wig. Ryne and Amanda have been through this before. I wore a scarf the whole time. They don’t care what I wear on my head either. I was so worried about making little change that I forgot my kids love me for me and not for my hair, duh. They just want me to get better.

Today, I put makeup on. It is something I barely ever do. I believe I should keep doing it though because I makes me feel good to look pretty.

Below are some pictures of the process and a small modeling show of some of my hats.

P.S. Cancer doesn’t control who I am, it controls how people treat me. I am still me.

 

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All It Takes Is Believing

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Play-doh…kids just make whatever they want and always believe everything they make is awesome. When do adults quit believing everything they do is awesome? When does that happen? Does it happen because another child breaks us? Does it happen when a parent inadvertently plants the idea that the child could do much better? Does it happen when we lose the ability to see the beauty of life? There could be so many reasons why adults lose their inner child and start to believe that they just can’t be good enough or smart enough to manage to pull off the impossible. Just making playdoh pancakes becomes a thing of the past and our brains are rewired to believe we might not be capable of being or doing the impossible.

Everyone has the ability to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of many people in the world. Lets start to believe that we can heal ourselves because we can. We can seek help, we can make changes. All it takes is believing. The belief that something greater than us is always working on our side, cheering us on, to fight the fight, and win. When we become winners in a race that seems impossible; we become triumphant. We become winners. We become people who can make a difference in others lives. We are people who can help others triumph over all trials. We can start to work together to make everyone feel better. When we learn to win, when we learn to love ourselves, when we realize the benefits of endurance, it changes us. When we are changed, we are able to teach others to endure.

So lets remold ourselves into any shape we want to be. Lets make ourselves into the most colorful creation possble, just like a child molds playdoh. Lets learn to use our hands and work hard to make a creation within us. Lets cut off the uneven parts and roll out the dough to a flat smoothe surface ready to take on any project that comes at us. We can make the most defined person we could possibly be. We can roll our selves out to be tiny little snakes, spaghetti, pancakes….and apparently, as I watch my own child playing and dancing, we can even turn ourselves into rainbows. Imagine what you want to be and become who you really are.

Even though we go through trials; with vision, imagination, action, endurance, and belief we can become what we are meant to be and make the world a better place.

Matthew 8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

Remember, all it takes is believing and anything can happen.

Much love,
Jenny

CureDiva is an online one stop shop for products and solutions for women facing breast cancer. CureDiva offers the most diverse collection of products for living stylishly with cancer – from the most practical solutions to treatment side effects to the simply fashionable products, combined with an active community of women who share tips and tricks back and forth. All products are carefully curated (and Diva approved!). The store offers the widest assortment of mastectomy wear, post surgery bras, breast forms and nipple prosthesis, mastectomy swimwear, chemo head wear, hats and scarves, compression products for lymphedima, and much more.  CureDiva strive to carry not only a wide assortment of products but also ones that are hard-to-find and special. 

A survivor’s pep talk

For those of you that don’t know, I ended up beating the first breast cancer. It started in 2001 and ended in 2014. When I found this out, I also found out that I had a new tumor and a new breast cancer. So now I am starting over. I had a port put back in, after not having one for 12 years, and I recently have started a new type of IV chemotherapy for the type of breast cancer I have. You are now up to date.

Dear Good Spark,

This week was really bad. I am pretty sure that I convinced myself that I was going to die, and die soon. I fell into a very deep depression. It hurt my whole body. It messed me up really bad. I started thinking about what life would be like, on earth, without me. How everything would just continue except, I would not be here. I imagined the grief that my children, husband, family, and friends would feel. Then I saw that eventually they would learn to carry on without me. They would learn to laugh and smile again.

I guess I am not as important as I thought I was. I’m just a soul on the earth trying to get by, just like everyone else. Everyone hurts in bad situations. Everyone feels good in good situations. That is just how it is. Then the moments pass and different experiences happen. We all have experiences that cause us to have very similar feelings. The only thing is, they may not always happen at the same time and they may not be as severe/good as others. It just depends who you are.

Plus, whomever you are with is probably going to feel a part of your experience with you. More than likely, if I am feeling depressed my actions and words express depression and it causes everyone else in the situation to feel similar feelings. I believe that is a way empathy works.

I am wondering, why am I handling this experience so badly? I suppose each experience can be handled any way I want it to be handled. Why am I  choosing to make this some kind of bad experience? It is fear. Fear did it to me.

The one thing I fear the most is death. It is because (remember I am a child that lost a parent at a very young age) I want to be with my family and I don’t want them to go through what I went through. My desire is to live a normal length of time. I want to live to see my children grow. I want to live to see all of my grand children. I want to see great grand children. Wouldn’t that be awesome? YES!

The thing is, I was so worried and fearful of the future that I was unable to enjoy the present. I thought a lot about this. The word “die” echoed in my mind. Why? For crying out loud I am living. I am alive. So why not make the best of what I have?

I had to give myself a pep talk, “Stop giving into fear, Jenny! Fear is no good. It will eat you up and spit you out. Go forth in love and light. Show your beauty. Live and love everyday for all the days of your life and surely you will be content.”

I ended with a prayer.

Heavenly Father,

I ask that your angels remind me to pray daily and keep me safe. That you show me a safe path, every day, in which I can show happiness, love, and kindness with my actions and words. I ask this so I will have a positive impact on everyone around me but, also give myself the gift of happiness through your grace. I ask that you give me the courage and strength and health so I may be healed and made well according to your grace. Thank you for happiness. Thank you for everything that is good. Thank you for grace. In Jesus name, Amen.

Do you know the definition of amen? It means, “so be it.”

So be it, I will be well and I will be happy.

Love the survivor,

Jenny

snow angel

SNOW ANGEL

 

The light at the end of the tunnel

One thing I learned from basic training; when I reached muscle failure, I was able to focus and moved forward. I learned to mentally focus on the finish line. I learned that quitting is not succeeding. Whether I hated the pain or not, I never quit and new that the end is ‘somewhere down the road’ whether I could see it or not. I learned that there is a light at the end of the tunnel even in complete darkness. Somewhere there is an end and another beginning. Once you get through the trial there are many other doors opening to another adventure. All of this; is about never quitting, never giving in. The very second you quit, something takes over and you become part of the problem and you lose the ability to become part of the solution. You become the sickness and lose yourself. Don’t lose yourself. Be the warrior, the soldier, you were meant to be. Forging forward in this world, never quitting, until your mission is complete.

My last appointment with the oncologist was good and bad. The cancer is shrinking to the point that it is hardly visible to the naked eye. The Xeloda (chemo) is working. No swollen lymphnodes either. BBBUUUUTTTT, for some reason I have a mass (a mass, not a tumor, not a lesion, an unknown mass) in between my heart and my right lung and NO ONE absolutely NO ONE can figure out why since the chemo is working. They also can’t figure out what it is attached to because a catscan is in black and white. If the chemo works on the liver, it works every where. My bones are stable. No growth there either. So why the mass? I have a petscan on Wednesday. If it lights up, bad. If it doesn’t, good. But, then how do we get it out. It is in a tricky position. Mind you, I’ve had a pericardial effusion and a pleural effusion. I could have a pocket build up. I’ve also read that chemo can cause fluid build up, maybe I need to stop taking it. There are so many unanswered questions, and when this happens, it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I refuse to give in to this. I know that the end of the cancer tunnel is coming soon and I know that I will be in the light and open a door that allows me to work on my mission, I will open another door. I will stay positive and finish this blog on Thursday, when I get my results. Until then, I will keep praying and I hope you do too.

Great faith, great lessons

Hey there.

I am in between my 8 and 9 round of chemo, 2000 mg a day (this is a lower dose than usual and I was started on 3500 in the beginning as the doctor was shocking my system. He is an awesome doctor). I had a partial hysterectomy 6 weeks ago.

Anyway, I think I have symptoms of hearing loss. My ears are constantly ringing too. I do have allergies, but this is different. The ringing changes in frequency. You know how your ears don’t work as well after an AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Robert Plant, Ozzy, Rush, or Grateful Dead concert. I’m sure there are more, you get the point. Although, it also sounds the same as the time I shot my M16 and failed to wear ear plugs…woops.

I have a sever joint pain. Every one of my joints throb. The kind that makes me think it could be rheumatoid arthritis. My muscles hurt horribly. I have side pain and also upper abdominal pain. The pain that makes me want to start self diagnosing myself on WebMD.

There are times when I cannot sit still and have no energy to move. Yet I press on through the Little House on the Prairie marathon. Which is everyday on the Hallmark Channel.

It appears that I lost my finger prints. I’m sure my toe prints are missing too. I haven’t checked although I will not doubt myself. My oncologist told me I could rob a bank and they would never get my finger prints. I assured him I would never do this.

My lower back hurts. My hips hurt and the psoas. However, today when I was working with my trainer (who is also my friend), while laying on my back, doing hip thrusts, it donned on me. It has been a long time since I had sex. That was funny…. and not so funny at the same time.

My neck hurts it causes headaches and it seems to be connected to my ears. You know how your neck hurts from head banging and dancing in mosh pits? That is the kind I hurt I mean.

I was craving Buffalo Wings and potato chip chocolate and rocky road chocolate. I actually waited in town, pretending to have an errand to run, until Buffalo Wild Wings opened. I ate 5 of them on the way home.

All of these things remind me, on a daily basis that I have metasticized breast cancer. That is one of the hardest things to get anyone to understand; that I feel like all of the pain through out my whole life, encapsulates my body and I suffer from pain without end. I have to write about this because if I don’t, I will go crazy on all the people who are failing to understand this. This is the type of pain that starts with the first diagnosis. This gradually, gets better over time, but it never completely goes away. This is the pain I feel.

I understand that I have tons of blessings too. But, is it so hard to realize that I have trouble seeing them? It’s not that I just scraped my leg on the path to my elementary school, or my dad died when I was 7, or hit my head on the ground, on a cast iron stove, the end of a balance beam, soccer balls, or at the bottom of the pool. It isn’t that I didn’t go through all that normal teen stuff. But, For crying out loud; my dad dies, all of my grand parents die, no to mention a wonderful cousin. I got a lovely divorce too. Look what I just wrote…see how hard it is for me to see my blessings? I am so darn sensitive that I am off the Richter scale.

I do know my blessings. All of the above is relative. They are things I hardly ever think about. It is because it is not me. Yes, my experiences mold me and it is possible to make the wrong mold. However, I can change my mold. I can change my spirit. I learned that unhappiness does not matter. It is not what happens to me, it is what I do to make life happen for someone else.

This is who Jesus turns me into. Into a loving, caring, giving, inspiring, smart, beautiful woman. I changed the mold because I choose the right. I choose Jesus because he chose me first. Jesus gave me the best option and I took it immediately. There is nothing like knowing who you are, where you come from. and what is your purpose. There is nothing like truly seeing people for who they are. It is a gift. There is nothing like truly seeing who I am.

This is why I am still okay. It is because I understand the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I entered into a covenant with my Heavenly Father. I believe I will not parish because I believe Jesus truly died for all of my sins whether I remember them all or not. And as long as I repent for everything that understand I was wrong, I will have everlasting life. Because I know this, I can live life to the fullest and not have fear of the world. I will fail and I will repent, therefor I will be saved.

This is what gets me through my days. It is strength, courage, love peace, patience, hope, and most of all faith. Faith in Jesus and faith in myself. This is working for me. It requires a lot of support. It requires letting the bad go and stepping into the light, Then keeping it for as long as you can. It is work. Life is not for the weak. Especially with cancer. However, I know it could be worse….there could be starving children in China.

I know that one day I will die. I seriously doubt it will be from any type of illness or disease. Which means all this exercising and eating right will pay off and I will be very old when I die. It means that my prayers are being answered according to my faithfulness. Those with great faith have great lessons. This was a great lesson. What a ride.

Feeling Better

I am moving forward. I got so sick this year that I was not able to accomplish things. If I can’t accomplish things, it bothers me negatively even though I had an acceptable reason. Now that I am feeling better, I’ve been cleaning up around the house. I feel really good to get things done. I am seeing a physical trainer twice a week. The more I exercise, the more I want to ride my bike and swim and the better I feel. I finally started to de-clutter my room. It feels good. The more I accomplish the better I feel. I feel like I am winning this mental and physical battle. You have no idea how much better I feel. I am smiling while I write this. I am smiling more. I am sleeping better. Sometimes, I have a bad day. However, the bad days seem to be less and the good days are increasing. I am so thankful for all of the prayers I received from friends, family, and people I don’t even know. I am so grateful for the life I have. Things are turning around. Thank you; all of you. Scans are coming up next week, please keep those prayers coming. Thank you so much for all the awesome support. 

I am so grateful for all the good sparks sent my way.

Overcoming Pain For Joy

Yesterday I realized that not only have I reprogrammed my mind to believe every ache has to be cancer but it seems that some of my friends followed in my foot steps and have reprogrammed themselves to believe any ache and pain I talk about, has to be cancer.

Then I felt bad and had to back track. Yes chemo intensifies pain but it more than likely does not mean cancer. If I am angry, my anger is intensified, if I have arthritis well that is intensified too. Chemo makes every day pain intensified.

I know the difference between cancer bone pain and intensified arthritis. There is a difference to me even though you may not know the difference. Chemo intensifies pain and it is up to the patient to decipher which is what.

I am feeling better. The second week of chemo instensifies pain and intensifies the lack of comprehension and to keep a full thought. That is where I am this week.

This is the verse that showed up in my email today and it fits how I feel and how I pray you feel about any situation.

Romans 5:3-4 NIV
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Not only does suffering produce perserverance which produces character and character hope; but hope produces belief and belief produces faith.

So my dear friends and family, I may have pain and suffering and I may talk about them. However, never forget that I also have perseverance, character, hope, faith, and belief.

I am a survivor. Don’t feel sorry for me. Feel happy that I know these things. Take these gifts for yourself and apply them to your entire life. Have Joy.

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