Outside the Law

March 20, 2011

Clinical Chemo Trial: Day 28 – Fear(less)

Filed under: Cancer — Jeniene @ 7:55 pm
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  • True lasting success comes only with surrender, which is the opposite of control. ~ Daily Meditation
  • Is it fear or dread?… This is something that’s ultimately going to help you — that’s nothing to be afraid of.  It may just be semantics, but the distinction, I hope, will help. ~ Jeff
  • If you accept that you are scared, and admit it to others as you have … fear has no where left to go. ~ Isabelle
  • [O]ne could make the same argument about our medical speed bumps, eh? They help us appreciate the beauty of boring ol’ everyday living …. [E]njoying the change of seasons. ~ Ken

The morning of this most recent Wrench Wednesday, I posted how frightened I was to face it.  Later that day, I received four comments from friends (well, one was from my daily meditation, but we’re on friendly terms).  Each of the responses were really helpful.   My friend Jeff mentioned that although it might have seemed like semantics, I was probably feeling more dread than fear over the pending treatment.  He was right.  I knew what to expect, I was just dreading going through it again.  My friend Isabelle reminded me that just saying it out loud was enough to release it and the daily meditation echoed that.  And my friend, Ken, simply reminded me to enjoy the changes of seasons.

So, anyway, armed with those helpful missives, I approached Wrench Wednesday a little differently.  I admitted to my oncologist all of the side effects I was suffering and requested assistance (which helped beautifully).  I admitted to myself that I was dreading this thing that is ultimately going to help me (we hope) and that it was okay to dread it.  It sucked.  It made me feel awful.  But I made it through.  And I also remembered to recognize that Spring is finally upon us and that the weather is warming up.  This medical speed bump, as Ken called it, has indeed made me appreciate the boring, everyday aspect of my life.  Just the non-Wrench Wednesday weeks are better in comparison.

So, for anyone out there who thought they would send me a little note but refrained because it seemed trite or, I don’t know, seemingly insignificant, please send it.  You never know when it might change someone’s perspective monumentally.

February 20, 2011

Living the Scream

Filed under: Logan — Jeniene @ 12:23 am
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So, I just had a cortisone shot injected into my lumbar region in order to help me survive the next few months.  I have been suffering from horrific back/sciatic pain for three weeks due to an ill-conceived “fun” day out sledding with Logan and his friends.  Granted it was fun, but it also resulted in my tweaking my back just slightly that has evolved into this nightmare.  The back pain has prevented me from sitting, leaning, stretching or doing anything else that involves moving.  If I stand at strict attention, I’m usually pretty good.  So that has meant I’ve been teaching my classes standing up all day.  Sleeping involves lying completely flat on the floor surrounded by pillows so that I don’t move or roll around in my sleep.  The amount of narcotics I’ve taken to combat the pain would flatten a “lesser person.”  And yet, no joy.  Hence, my finally reaching out to a specialist and having the shot.  It was the shot or disc fusion surgery.  Considering I’m having two relatively important appendages lopped off later this year, an additional surgery seemed like one too many.

Apparently, not everyone benefits from the cortisone shots.  Some feel immediate relief, others feel a bit better after a few days and some don’t get any better.  I’m not feeling the immediate effects I was praying for, so let’s hope in a few days I’ll be better.  If I’m one of those who doesn’t get any better, things could be nasty.  I fear that suffering excruciating sciatica while at the same time battling the side effects of chemotherapy, may just cause Logan to remember this as “The Year Mommy never Spoke, Only Cried.”

Fingers crossed for some relief soon.

February 16, 2011

What’s it going to be?

Filed under: Cancer — Jeniene @ 4:47 am
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After reading my recent posts about my hair and breasts not being the “things” that define me, a friend asked me what I thought my “thing” surrounding this cancer just might be?  Given that I haven’t a clue what to expect and it’s all unchartered territory, it’s hard to say.  But as the days have passed and I’ve traveled to Dana Farber multiple times, I think I may have just figured it out.

The thing that may just “get” me is that, just by looking at me, there will be an instant (and correct) assumption that I’m “sick.”  Like I said, I don’t care that I’m going to lose my hair.  It’s just hair.  It grows back.  I keep it wildly short anyway, and it’s a temporary effect.  That said, it’s not just the hair on my head that I’ll lose.  I’ll lose my eyebrows and eyelashes (and other less obvious places).  That will make a concerted difference on how I look.  That will define me as a person with cancer.

Now, the question remains, do I care that it defines me as a person with cancer?  That’s not something I can yet answer with any certainty.  I don’t care that I have cancer.  I don’t care that those people with whom I’ve decided to share it know that I have cancer.  But I may care that anyone and everyone who takes an even passing glance at me will make that assumption.  And really, it’s not so much the assumption that’s troubling, but the reaction accompanying that assumption.  There will be the ignorant boobs who quickly pull their children away, thinking that cancer is contagious.  There will be those who, simpering smile plastered on their faces, stroke me with platitudes.  Or those, like the ones who felt privileged to walk up and touch my belly when I was pregnant, who will feel obligated/privileged/determined to share their “cancer story” with me.

I’m thinking that this new territory may be a bit rockier than anticipated.  I guess I’d rather stay a bit more anonymous about this than circumstances will allow.

Alas, we embark upon a journey unexpected.  And the unexpected does indeed happen.

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