Monday, December 17, 2012

Will you love me, even with my dark side?

Struggling. That word alone sums up just about everything I'm feeling right now.

I have been really sick with a wicked sinus infection since last Thursday. I've been on antibiotics since Friday afternoon (I went to urgent care immediately after work). I feel slightly better, but if my body was behaving "normally", I'd already have bounced back. 

I guess my immune system still isn't what it used to be. I called in sick today hoping this extra day would help me heal up so I can get back to work tomorrow. I'm really frustrated because I need to be working. I can't afford to miss work. Literally. 

Financially for us, it's been a trying month. So much so, I don't think we'll be able to do Christmas gifts for anyone. Not for each other, and not even for our sweet nieces and nephews. Breaks my heart that we can't. :(

My body, even while I'm not fighting a sinus infection, is not the same. I become so exhausted by work. I thought it was an initial sort of thing and once I got back in the swing it would disappear. Not so. I'm so drained by the end of my day. As you can all imagine, that's an annoyance as well.

I have also been having a lot of self image issues lately. Nobody would know it because I hate to admit weakness about what I feel should be a superfluous topic. But I am, and I have been. I try to make the best of what I have, but when I strip down and change, I see how mangled my body has become in less than a year. And I know It won't ever be the same.

Now I realize that I would not even be here had it not been for the trauma my body has been through. I'm not completely foolish. I just have my moments where I need to mourn the loss of how I was physically. I am a 27 year old woman after all. What woman in her 20s expects to lose both her breasts, a nipple and then be marred with scars?

I most certainly didn't. And I feel about as far from attractive or pretty as possible largely in thanks due to it. 

In the wake of the tragedy that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14th, another thought has been swimming in my head; that of survivor guilt. As ridiculous and insane and unrelated as that sounds, it's true. I have overwhelming guilt that I, someone who would not be alive at this moment without medical treatment, am alive and these sweet innocent children were taken. What makes me so special that I am permitted more time on Earth while these babies were not?

It's not secluded to that incident. It's a common feeling since officially obtaining survivor status. Such a maddening thing really. If I could do something to give back and truly make a difference with my existence then maybe I wouldn't feel this way so strongly.

Until then, I'm sure I will continue to. I trust that God has a plan, it's just tricky to be patient in order for it to be revealed.

I'm hoping and praying with all my heart that 2013 will bring a much happier year. That I will be able to resolve some of these issues I've been silently internalizing. I want change. It is often seen as a frightening thing, but I need some change. So I hope that it will also bring us change, and we will be better for it. 

Radiation will be starting very soon. I still believe it won't begin until after the holidays. But I went for my second prep appointment last week. I now have about 5 or 6 of those little pin dot tattoos. I need to get blood work done for them too, but that's really the only news I have regarding my treatment currently. 

My thanks to any and every one who actually reads through this post. It seems silly for me to complain when I have been given so much, however, we all need to vent sometimes. 

God bless you all.

"In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight"  Proverbs 3:6

Monday, December 10, 2012

Life is way too short to take it slow

Has it really been nearly a month since my last post? Incredible how quickly time flies when you're on the go (and not sitting on your butt at home while recovering from surgery!). 

Before I get into everything else, I absolutely have to mention my SIL Marylou and friend Denise doing the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. They were Team Anj, and raised their minimum and then some! For those unaware, the 3-Day is a commitment to raise at least $2300 prior to walking, and then when the time comes, walking 60 miles. It's a beautiful thing. Such great passion and love goes into simply making the commitment to do all that. 

I had the pleasure of being there for the closing ceremonies to cheer on all these wonderful men and women on, but specifically to cheer on and show my appreciation to Marylou and Denise. I was in tears during the closing ceremony. It was truly beautiful. I felt honored to be there and have walkers that were walking because of me. 

Jason and I were beyond inspired by the event, and Lord willing, intend to do the San Diego 3-Day together in 2013. Since it's not until November, I think I have a pretty damn good chance to be 100% done with everything by then.

More on that as it develops, folks! 
And now on with the rest!

I have been back to work since November 19th. It's been ridiculously nice to have some normalcy returned to me. While my perspective will never be the same on life, it feels amazing to return to work. It keeps my mind busy so I don't feel stuck dwelling on my survivorship, worries, etc. etc. 

Plus, my co-workers are such wonderful people! I missed them tons! Upon my first day back, I was greeted excitedly and with these -- 

And here I was worried that I would be thought of as a burden. Instead, my return was very warmly received. So thank you my Sbux peoples! You have no idea how much I needed that welcome, and how much it meant to receive it. 

I have been to several more doctor appointments. Surprise surpise! Haha. Most of them were with Dr. Mowlavi. Saw him to get my stitches from my right side removed. Returned again to get my right side filled up again. I got to be even chested for a while! Hooray! But then I went to see Dr. Young, my radiation oncologist, thinking I was getting my simulation scan done. She determined my left side was too full and needed some saline removed before I could get it done. Sigh! 

So back to Mowlavi I went. Got some saline taken out, and now I am back to my lopsidedness. Ho hum. I will just say this... not exactly a self esteem booster to have expanders in your chest anyway, but stretch out that skin and then remove some of the stuffing? Yeah. It looks way worse. Ah well though, I know it's necessary to get the best radiation treatment I can. 

Last Thursday I finally had my CT simulation in prep for my radiation. I got my first 2 tattoos now too! Haha. It looks exactly like someone took a pen and dotted me with it. Although my rads tech asked me, before tattooing me, whether I'd prefer a butterfly or a star. I told him I'd like a Mickey Mouse head if I got to choose. Lol ;3

And now? Oh now I wait. They say they'll call me to set up my next one. I'd be surprised if I end up starting radiation treatment before the holidays honestly. Which is fine. Of course I'm always eager to get the ball rolling, but you're hostage to doctors' schedules. And now I have my own schedule I must take into consideration with appointments too. 

Before my return to work, I had to figure out what to do with my hair. The pink had mostly melted away and I was left with a pink hued yellow blonde. It needed covering. So I thought what better time to try a different color! I took the opportunity to go with a red. :D I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but with all the compliments I've received... I may have to stick with it for a while! 

But to be an Anj is to never stay the same for too horribly long. I'm sort of a hair-chameleon in that way!

 The hubby and I got to go out last Friday night for the first time in quite some time. It was for his work's Christmas party, and formal attire was required. Anyone who knows me knows I love a good reason to dress up. I even love a less-than-good reason to dress up! ;)


It was a lot of fun, and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of great people I had been hearing of for a year plus and never met. Jason and I are blessed. We both work with some seriously lovely human beings. 

I wasn't scheduled to work the next day, but my buddy Carly lost her dad last week and they needed someone to help cover for her. I did the second half of her shift Saturday. That morning as I got ready, I put my cell phone in my back pocket as the pockets are too small to fit my phone in the front ones. I had to piddle before leaving, and as I was about to sit down, my iPhone slipped out and fell into the toilet. 

Mortified, I immediately stuck my hand in the potty water to retrieve it. Swearing like a sailor, I knew it was royally effed. I woke up Jason and told him what had happened. He assured me we'd get it fixed or replaced and told me to worry about getting to work. I went back to finish getting ready.

I said a simple prayer asking to be able to relax and not allow it to ruin my day. Guess what? After that, I felt better and was able to get through my shift. When I got back, Jason had already gone to the Apple store and managed to get me a new phone to replace my old one at NO cost to us. Praise God. I was biting my nails thinking of how much they'd charge us to replace it. 

Another mini miracle. :)  I'm grateful for it too! We have been struggling with the financial side of things since we're trying to get back on our feet with working regularly. Doesn't help when the hospital bills are unending.

In case I don't get a chance to post again until after the holidays, then I want to wish you all a blessed and joyous Christmas! 

And if I do write again before then... well, disregard that until I say it again! Lol. 

God bless you all! 

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds" James 1:2