“I can be fun – when it’s absolutely necessary – for short amounts of time.” -Tim Michel (When discussing what I need most from him.)
Dear praying family and friends,
Although I had high hopes of completing my promised four part post, “Facing the Facts,” I was only able to write parts one and two before entering a month of BIG TIME, day to day, facing the facts.
That last chemo (3/1) was a doozy, and I was too pooped and foggy to blog a single word.
Today’s post is an Update. I’m wishing it were art, but I realize it’s more like a list written in crayon.
Because you care, and many pray – and I need you.
Here’s the Latest:
Fatigue. Neuropathy. Chemo-Brain. Mix thoroughly and…
- everyday tasks (including lesson planning) take about twice as long
- my ability to love and serve and enjoy is altered, and I grieve those losses
- the list of un-dones grows daily. Tim says, “You have cancer, you get a pass.” I still feel bad. P.S. If you haven’t received a thank you from me, please don’t misinterpret that as ungrateful. Chances are your gift or meal came at my lowest when it was appreciated MOST.
“You look great!” Thank you! And and here’s what you don’t see…
- I look like I’m listening (and I’m working hard to stay attentive!) but I will definitely forget or misunderstand half of what you say and often I wish I could just lay my head down (fatigue, not boredom!!)
- I’ve lost 75% of my eyelashes and 50% of my eyebrows. The American Cancer Society’s “Look Good, Feel Better” class, led by a make-up artist, taught me to disguise my very real cancer look. HUGE difference!
- I do my best to cover my grotesquely discolored protruding port. (Even stoic Tim has been known to gasp and turn his head!)
- Guess who had to shave her legs for Easter?! And I have peach fuzz covering nearly my entire head. Based on past experience, I’m anticipating a super-short pixie (or curls again?) by August!
Menopause. Sudden onset from chemo.
- Through the night, I wake every hour or two with sweats followed by chills. The months of interrupted sleep are crazy-making.
- Good news! My cancer is 100% estrogen fed, so although crazy-making, menopause limits the enemy’s food supply!
Muscle Pain. Common Chemo Side-Effect
- Although I prioritize walking daily, my muscles grumble. They complain, too, as I simply move throughout the day. PT suggested more protein and that has helped.
Seroma. Good news. Bad news.
- The fluid (not cancer!) at the surgical site was a seroma. It caused shoulder and nerve pain, and this pain affects my ability to hold the “Superman” position needed for Radiation Therapy. Physical Therapy is helping.
Radiation Plans. April 7
- CT scan and markings (Sharpie only – no tattoos this time. I have 6 tattoos from my previous radiation – and they are so NOT cool! 6 ugly green dots.)
- Treatments begin 7-10 days after planning. 5 days per week for 6 ½ weeks.
- Although I thought proton treatment might be better for me, The Proton Center docs discussed my case and said protons would be of “no benefit.” In fact, they think traditional radiation will spare me some unpleasant skin side-effects.
- Because they can treat me in the prone, “Superman” position, my heart and lungs won’t be touched by the radiation. Unlike my radiation 29 years ago, which damaged a portion of my right lung – unavoidable. Collateral damage.
April 2. Tim is a genius!
- Today, April 2, is usually a BIG day of celebration for me. It’s supposed to be my 29 years cancer-free anniversary. Earlier this week, I was grieving the loss of not being able to celebrate because I’m now fighting Breast Cancer #2. No longer cancer-free. Stink!
- Enter brilliant Tim! Rather than eliminating a celebration, he suggested I add one.
- What?! Tim’s idea: Continue celebrating healing from the first cancer and declare November 25 as Breast Cancer #2 survivor celebration. He loves me!
- Please join me in a happy dance, thanks to God, for 29 years free from that first deadly, aggressive “Triple Negative” cancer. And let’s plan to celebrate again November 25, 1 year survivor Breast Cancer #2!
Thanking God. The current sweet in the suffering.
- People make time for me: Conversations, Reconnections, Prayer, Practical Help
- Fresh flower beauty nearly every day since my battle began.
- Words of affirmation and encouragement – which might remain unsaid if not for cancer: “I love you.” “You’re beautiful.” “I’m no longer a slave to fear / I am a child of God” “You rock that hat.” “I’m inspired by you.” “You’re always in my prayers.” “God is using you in many lives – more than you know.”
Thanking God for you! And praying we know God as Deliverer – more and more.
Love, Becky (His.Princess.Warrior.)
(Who, by faith, is believing prayer is real help and trusting God to deliver us again.)
“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:10-11