Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cancer Bitch - Gives Thanks

I have a lot to be thankful for. But it didn't take Thanksgiving to make me realize that.

Thanks to everyone who has driven my whiny butt to Johns Hopkins this year.

Thanks for the soups, casseroles, food gift cards, and the dinners out.

Thanks to everyone who said I look good bald.

Thanks to everyone who said my wig made me look like Mary J. Blige,
Thank you for the hats and scarves.

And, thank you to my family for being weird, wild, wacky and for being there.

(leaf prints on sidewalk in front of our house)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cancer Bitch - Gets Rubbed the Right Way

I now have an excuse to get regular massages. A new study shows that it provides benefits for those with cancer or lots of stress. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine says "it boosts the body's infection-fighting white blood cells while also bringing down levels of immunity-weakening cortisol."

I recently booked a deep tissue massage at the Dansk Day Spa in Occoquan. When I told a colleague, she was concerned it would be too much for me.

"This is a regular massage," she said, taking my hand and gently rubbing it with hers. "This is a Swedish massage," she began rubbing her thumbs into the back of my hand. "And this is Deep Tissue massage," she dug her elbow into the back of my hand. Yikes! She advised me to ask for a "Swedish Massage and tell them to go deep."

It was too much for my chemo addled brain to process, so I went ahead with the Deep Tissue and came out just fine. I was not sore the next day as many had predicted. I went back last weekend and had the Swedish Massage. It was HEAVEN! I have another appointment with Angie in mid-December, probably when I'll need it the most. I don't know if it helps, but it sure as hell feels good!

And, now, here it is - your moment of zen. Sit in a quiet place in the Lotus position and say, "Ommmmmm...."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cancer Bitch - The Audacity of Hope

I won't bury the lead - today (Friday) I had another CT scan and my tumor has shrunk another millimeter. The tumor on my liver has disappeared. So, to celebrate, my doctor is putting me on another round of chemo until the end of December, then he promises me a break.

Its been almost a year since I was diagnosed and I really didn't think I'd see another Christmas. One friend (and unofficial life coach) told me that I had given up and it was true. I wouldn't buy myself new clothes to fit my new weight unless they were from Wal-Mart or a yard sale. I was giving my stuff away (sound familiar "crazed stringbean"?

Last week, two buddies from college paid a visit. On our way out of the house, headed to the mall, I stopped to rummage in my purse for my medicine and, Lord, if we all weren't reaching for the water bottle to take our meds! We had a good laugh about our mutual decrepitude. Before they left, Lady T gave me a book by Thea Bowman, a Roman Catholic nun who died of cancer in 1990, Thea Bowman: In My Own Words

My favorite quote:

"Part of my approach to my illness has been to say I want to choose life, I want to keep going, I want to live fully until I die... I don't know what the future holds. In the meantime, I am making a conscious effort to learn to live with discomfort, and, at the same time, to go about my work. I find that when I am involved in the business of life, when I'm working with people...I feel better. A kind of strength and energy comes with that."

So, ya'll. I went out and bought a new wardrobe. Jones New York and rocking some new boots. (um, Steve, we need to talk....)

Life is.