Saturday, July 25, 2015

What's happened and what's going on

Oh boy, well, it seems I will be making posts (as long as all is going well) in 7 month increments any more? Haha, sorry about that to any of you actually continuing to follow along! Please understand how deeply thankful I am for your concern for this little ol' Anj. It really does mean the world to me. <3

So, as I alluded to above, things seem to be going fine. Normal even. Well, as normal as normal can be after you have survived cancer.

My recent blood work has all been dandy. No abnormally elevated tumor markers or anything nasty like that, praise the Lord!

However, I can't shake the feeling that something isn't right. I am like, 90% sure it's all in my head, if I assess it from a logical standpoint. But in the times I have too much time on my hands to think, which gratefully are further and fewer apart now, I worry. Endlessly and possibly needlessly, but all the same, the fear is there.

I rarely sleep through the night anymore. Naturally, it would likely be easier to if I didn't have a rambunctious teenager-aged furbaby randomly yelling at me to play with her in the middle of the night... thanks for that, Michonne-kitty! ;)

"...who, me?!"

Yet, even when there is no good reason for me to wake up frequently, I still do. A good night's sleep for me these days is if I only happen to wake up between 1-3 times throughout the night. I suspect this change is thanks to Tamoxifen screwing with my hormones. Again though, that's only a suspicion. It's frustrating but not life destroying.

The constant fatigue though? I was reassured by several of my docs that this would disappear post-chemo a year or two. We're catching up on 2 years since I finished my chemo regimen, so we shall see how true that is.

From other articles and studies I have read, it can more often than not be a lifelong side effect. I have accepted this to be true at this point. This way, if this fatigue magically disappears within the near future, I will be quite pleasantly surprised won't I?

If this fatigue could be rectified with a simple nap, or going to bed earlier, then I would have no means for complaining whatsoever. On the contrary, I would be thrilled! Unfortunately, it's far too easy for me to reach the point of exhaustion that instantly puts you into tears and only slightly improves with an over abundance of rest. Let's put it this way, I can/could sleep solidly for 10+ hours and will have no trouble getting in an hour long nap later the same day.

This one affects me more directly. Often times I don't know how I will muster the energy to get through the work week. And booking two outings in one weekend? That's usually not a great idea for me. I simply don't have the energy. I feel at least twice my age on bad days.

Now, my heart feels guilty any time I gripe about the side effects of what helped to keep me alive. I pray God will have patience with me, and that you all will not think less of me. I only feel the need to explain specifically, so that those I love might better understand if I seem less involved at gatherings, etc. etc.

And once more I must remind myself to circle back to my appreciation for still being alive. Had things gone differently, I might not be. I would not have made it to see 30 if I hadn't found that lump in time. So, fatigued Anj can and will shut up and deal. Haha

Speaking of turning 30? I reached that back in May! Flippin' crazy. Jason took me to Napa Rose to celebrate the occasion, and we had the best meal and experience yet that we've had there! I ate some rare, like, limited edition salmon from the North West somewhere and Jason ate shrimp sausage, lol... among other yummy seafoods. Also tried a port wine for the first time! I have decided that I enjoy wine, but I reeeeaaally enjoy GOOD wine. As in the straight-from-Italy or France kinds!

Our desserts from Napa Rose. <3

Oh, and I know I brought up my intention to cosplay Carol Peletier from the Walking Dead in my last post! I have done it twice now! First time was sort of a bust, but it was more successful my second time around. First time was WonderCon back in April. Second was a few weeks ago at Walker Stalker Fan Fest San Diego. Heck, I even got interviewed by the OC Register because of my costume! Proud nerdgirl moment.

WonderCon 2015 Carol selfie.

And serious business season 5b Carol at WSFF San Diego 2015

Also, because of my adoration for the Walking Dead and specific desire to dress as Carol, I have met a group of awesome new friends! We all cosplay as Carol, and although it is private and by invite only, we have a little "secret" group called Carols United. <3

In fact, my dear pal Connor from our group came up with this fabulous idea for us to all have a shirt! He came up with the original design, and with his blessing, I created some new artwork and recreated his original design, just replacing the stock artwork with my own. I'm pretty proud of the outcome, and the back of our shirts all bare our individual hashtag Carol related nicknames. I'm #SurvivorCarol. :D

an Anj modelling said shirt.

So I have met and hung out a couple of times with Connor, Micha and Amelia (whom I all adore and appreciate greatly!) but everyone in our group is extremely friendly and supportive of one another. Geeks helping geeks. It's a beautiful thing! I hope to meet all of my Carols United friends in person eventually. <3

Me looking silly with the fabulous Amelia ( at WonderCon 2015.
#FatCarol #ManCarol #SurvivorCarol <3 at WSFF San Diego 2015.

Moral of that story? You never know who or what or where life can take you! Haha. That super dorky interest of yours may lead you to meeting some potential lifelong friends!

Getting into Walker Stalker Fan Fest a bit more... now, we had held out hope that the event would lure some of the current Walking Dead cast over to Petco Park for the event. Likely due to contract restrictions, none did. Buuut, we did meet everyone we wanted to! We have a framed map of "Terminus" that lives in our living room that we brought with us and had our favorite former cast members sign. It's seriously bad ass.

Best thing on here? The "Welcome to" above Terminus that Andrew J. West (Gareth) wrote on there. 

I tried to change out of costume before our photo op, so it's not the best picture of me, but ZOMG HERSHEL!!

Sooo, I'm looking forward to dressing as this amazing character again soon! Don't know when just yet, but I'll be ready! But seriously, Carol's angelic hair is impossible to recreate!! That's the one thing I wish I could get down! Haha

Next fangirl goal? Meet the queen herself, Melissa McBride (the actress who plays Carol). I just want to hug her and thank her for putting her soul into such an inspirational and strong female character. I truly do identify with her. While I may not have had the same trials as her character, I have had to make tough choices just so I could keep on surviving.

You know something blog? I actually have an interesting story for you all in regards to my Walking Dead fandom. For those of you who are disinterested or unfamiliar with the show, it's totally cool if you skip past all this! It won't hurt my feelings. Haha


Sorry Carol, I'm "these people" then. lol! Anyhow, season 1 of the Walking Dead premiered on Halloween 2010. Jason watched it live from day one. He followed along faithfully for the entire 6 episode first season run. I, on the other hand, have never before been a fan of gore in television or movies, and I have certainly never been a fan of the horror genre. However, my husband is. He loves horror stuff and especially zombie related stuff. So, while he had no familiarity with the Walking Dead comic prior to the tv show's debut, he was initially interested because of the whole zombie apocalypse aspect.

While he watched the show, I would often hear dialogue in the background. A few times it would catch my attention. One unusually touching moment for entertainment considered "horror" that convinced me it was more than just some zombie show, was from the pilot itself. The lead character Rick Grimes sees a woman who is now a sad shell of her former self and has turned long ago crawling towards him. He meets her eyes and says, "I'm sorry this happened to you", before he puts her down. I knew right there that it was a much different animal than I thought it was. 

Slowly as Jason rewatched the first season, I'd watch more here and there. When season 2 debuted, I was hooked and have been ever since. Now, my reason behind bringing this all up, is that it aligns with my cancer diagnosis and journey in some odd ways. 

I was recollecting with Jason recently about a particular moment that happened in the show, and how I realized we were in the apartment we're living in when it happened. I recalled my reaction in that moment, etc. Then it occurred to me. The season ended earlier than it normally would that year (in 2012) as it had several episodes fewer than it does anymore. The season finale for season 2 aired just two days before I received my diagnosis. Season 3 began just 4 days after my bilateral mastectomy and just 1 day after I was released from the hospital for it. 

Okay, I know... I'm being a dork seeing all these things aligning. And I totally am, but I think something about it ties it into my journey a little more personally. These characters are all doing their best to survive the most awful circumstances. They have everything and anything thrown at them. So you see them through all of their ups and downs. I think in some weird way, it has helped empower me and distract me from my own trials and issues. 

So I am indeed an uber fan... but I like to think there's some good reasoning behind it!

One final thing related to my fandom, yet unrelated - I'm still hoping to get my first tattoo this year. Maybe even two? My first will be my pink ribbon I've been wanting for the past 2 years, and now as a separate tattoo, I want to get my favorite quote of Carol's from the show along with a flower that represents her character. When though? Hmmm, sooner than later I hope! 

Other than all my fangirl business, I've just been trying to get through the work week like everyone else. I was doing really well with going to the gym with Jason for quite a few months there. Now it's more inconsistent on my part, as Jason was asked to change to an earlier work shift which makes for us needing to get to the gym even earlier.

I just have such a hard time getting up to get to the gym at 3:30am versus the 4am we were doing. I don't have to be to work until 8am (and I'm off at 5pm), so I'll try to rest for a bit before getting ready and out the door to work, but with my chronic fatigue, it just makes for an extremely long day for me. I'm trying though, and I shall continue to. That's better than nothing after all!

My next oncology appointment is in September, so we'll see if he decides to order my next scan or decides to wait longer. I always get antsy as my time for a scan approaches. I'll be sure to post an update either way after I see him. 

Weeell, and that's all I got for now folks! Thanks as always for taking the time to read my ramblings. God bless you all with a wonderful rest of your weekend. 

"But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. " Psalm 86:15