October 31, 2013

Mixed feelings

I am not sure if it's smart to write a blog the evening before getting another Herceptin IV. Because I am not myself, so nervous and emotional.

But there's stuff. Things I need to get off my chest. And well it's not like I have many happy days these days anyway.

Before all this cancer crap fell down on me I was working as a project assistant. Before that I worked as a secretary for almost ten years at the same company but at different departments. It was a nice job to start with when you're in your twenties. I've learned a lot about the job and about people.

I am not much of a career person. I prefer a place with a nice atmosphere where I feel comfortable. But when I saw the big 30 coming up, I felt I was ready for some change. I applied for a job as a project assistant within the company. It was a big step for me. I don't like change. I got hired and I knew it was a temporarily job for as long as the project would last. I was sort of hoping it would turn into something permanent and they told me maybe it would. So it was all good. I needed the experience. I would start a new chapter and again learn and develop myself.

About 9 months later cancer hit my world.They never officially replaced me but the project is now finished. My contract will end December this year. Basically my contract says I will go back to being a secretary again. This hit me hard. I don't know why because the thing is, if cancer wouldn't have showed up in my life this would have happened as well. But I would have had more control over it. I would have been able to look around for another job.

Now it feels like something cancer is taking away from me as well. I am god damn tired of cancer taking and taking. It feels like another step backwards in my life.

When I reason this with my mind instead of my heart, I know it's not that bad. I should be happy I still have a job during these hard times. I dare saying I was a good secretary or management assistant as we called it. I know the drill and when I do get back to work, I will at least start with something that is familiar to me. Perspective, perspective! I have a bunch of great colleagues and they will always support me and be there for me. I was there last week and spoke to two colleagues and it felt really good. No big groups of people. Just two of my fave colleagues. That is what I need. No worries about money. Because being a secretary again means lower pay grade. I really have to remind myself health is more important. Happiness is more important.

But all and all it was enough to make me cry for a while.  I am so glad it's almost November. I will meet with a psychiatrist about anti-depressants and my oncologist this month.

October 19, 2013

The sleepy girl

I'm tired and that's a fact. I would like to explain that there are different ways to feel tired. Because it's an important factor to deal with when you're a cancer patient.

Treatment takes its toll on your body. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy obviously have a huge impact and can make you feel exhausted, even years after finishing treatment. The build-up of toxic substances that are left in the body, yes even when you're done with treatment, can cause extreme fatigue. Doctors do not know all the reasons cancer patients have fatigue. Many conditions may cause fatigue at the same time. It's confusing for both sides I guess. But it makes sense when I tell you that your body needs extra energy to repair and heal body tissue damaged by treatment right?!

Side effects. Yes a lot of us need to take the five year pledge of Tamoxifen. A fantastic drug with a billion side effects and fatigue is one of them. I mean serious business here. I've read stories of 30 year old women whom felt like 90-year-old-walker-grannies. This is one of the reasons why I am so scared to start taking this little pill. Depression is the other one.

The emotional stress of cancer can cause physical problems, including... yes fatigue. It's common for cancer patients to have changes in moods and attitudes. Anxiety and fear are big words all of a sudden. So we often reach a point where we feel both tired mentally and physically. A tough place to be in. Throw in depression. You'll get one big messy pile. Oh so fragile. 

I have FIVE Herceptin left. So I decided to approach this matter in a positive way in my art journal. But when I was done I felt like crap. Five is still a lot and it was so overwhelming. I hate the fact I won't be able to finish my treatment this year but that I have to do two more in 2014. 

So my mood swings are horrible. They go up and down - up and down during the day. I get upset over the smallest things. I worry worry worry. All while I try not to get upset and not to worry. Get it? How this contradiction is wearing me out. 

I am so sensitive. I open facebook and I read another story about breast cancer. I cry. All the Pink Awareness crap I have unsuccessfully tried to ignore. I am sorry if that sounds cruel. But there's another contradiction there. I get so much strength from reading everybody's stories that are similar to mine. And then again, they make me so sad as well and sometimes I just want to avoid breast cancer in general. I don't know if that makes sense. Fight Club quote: "You met me at a very strange time in my life." True story.

So what else is new? I am now taking calcium and vitamin D medication because of the whole osteoporosis thing. I'm seeing my therapist next week again. Psychiatrist and Oncologist are scheduled for November. Wonderful. 

I noticed a small change inside of me. A positive one. The introvert I used to be is slowly turning into someone who thinks communication is a wonderful outlet. Even though it's within a small safe zone, it's progress. When something is bothering me, I now ask myself; am I going to worry about this for three days or just say what is on my mind? It usually comes down to it that I speak my mind. So that's a good thing and I'm hoping to develop it further.

Hair diary update! It's starting to look curly on the back. But hello I want curls on top as well. Guess it's still too short for that. 

October 8, 2013

Dementor's kiss

Dementor's Kiss

You can exist without your soul, you know, as long as your brain and heart are still working. But you'll have no sense of self anymore, no memory, no... anything. You'll just -- exist. As an empty shell. And your soul is gone... lost.

October 6, 2013

Autumn blanket

I was doing okay for a while. But then it comes back like a blanket. Now I just want to hide underneath there. Makes me wonder if I really am depressed.

I try. I try so hard. But every morning is a struggle. Getting up is the hardest part of the day. Taking it day by day. Step by step. I've never felt so tired before. Physical and emotional. Trying to keep it all together. Like I said I want to hide underneath my blanket and have somebody wake me up when it's February. No more Herceptin.

I seek distraction. I go grocery shopping. I take walks. I snuggle with my bunnies. I sometimes take photos. I focus on my art. I visit work. The last time I was there it didn't go so well though. There were only a few people I do not really care for. At some point I was talking in the hallway to 5 or 6 people and then this one girl showed up that, well let's just say is not a fave colleague of mine. If we used to run in each other during our break we never even said 'hello'. But now... she stood there next to me listening and asking questions. And I was thinking to myself, 'what the fuck are you doing here?!' I just felt like her interest in me wasn't sincere. I was just a story to her. An interesting break from her work or something like that.

It really is hard to get excited or to look forward to something. My art journal has become important to me. I usually draw/paint something after I talk to my psych as well. It has become an important way for me to express myself. I like talking to my psych even though it's very emotional and hard. When I come home I'm usually not a 'happy' person. It's confronting, it goes deep. But I guess it's all part of the recovery process.

I'm kinda sick and tired of October Awareness month as well. It's too confronting right now. I can't take it. I try to close my eyes for everything out there but it almost seems impossible. It's pink in your face. There's a part of me that wants to read everything and I feel that I have to know everything about my disease. But then again, a big part of me wants to block it. Because it's too painful.

There was one thing that really spoke out to me though. The Dutch website for young women with breast cancer asked people younger than 35 to write a one time blog about what it is like to be diagnosed at such young age. So I wrote my story down in 800 words and it was published on their website this week. Writing my story down in my mother tongue was very confronting for me. The story and how it all pretty much began, kept going through my head for a couple of days. But I'm proud of it anyway. I got some really great responses and people could identify to it.

Because my bunnies are one of the few things that still make me smile here are some cute fluffy pictures I took for World Animal day.

Happy World Animal Day from Lola Happy World Animal Day from Charlie