Friday, November 27, 2015

I still see me...

I've been thinking about things...
During my quiet times where my body is saying, "No, don't get up yet, you're not ready."
A fleeting thought at one moment this past week was that I felt so frustrated to not be me that I know anymore.
Every once in a while I come across this thought.
I miss my stamina- gotta work on building it up again.
I miss my voice. Sometimes I just can't talk the way I want because I'll go into a coughing fit.
I have learned to accept, adapt and appreciate most of the time.
Then there are other days where I just wonder where am I? Am I still who I was before my cancer diagnosis? How do others see me? I know many many wonderful people have told me I am not just a cancer patient. I am someone who has many interests, passions, and ways I exude energy. Do I still? I feel like sometimes I'm living in the shadow of my past. So. At this time, I had my phone with me and I hunted down a few pictures I liked of myself after we moved to Hong Kong but before my diagnosis. They made me happy. Then I came across that picture I took of myself on a conference day recently... I still see me. I see myself in everything I do. I see myself in my patience I've learned to use more consistently. I see myself in the hope I have for the future. I still see myself in my determined actions and love I share with others. I'm a little wrinkled around the edges some days. Weaker. I need to be careful in ways I never had to before but I'm still me... It was refreshing to have this low moment I could pull myself out of with a little reflection. I did honor the time with a collage of the pictures from before diagnosis and the picture of now. I still see me through all these pictures... I sometimes had low quiet days then too... hunker down and read for the day days... curl up and watch shows and movies with family days, relax on vacation days in the hotel room or in a lounge area...  I love life and appreciate all my memories...

This past week was ok. Saturday was Nivolumab day- was hoping to go to a conference after the infusion but realized it wasn't a good idea... Sunday I got to see a very special friend in the morning and then I rested a lot. Only had work Monday/Tuesday. Was able to work all day Monday but Tuesday was a no-go morning but after a few hours (3) I was able to head in and teach classes and speak for a few seconds at the staff meeting without coughing attacks. (looking into allergy medicine next... shall see if it helps).
Wednesday I woke up shaky... I was really nervous because I was going back to my gastro-enterologist and it was really stressing me out. I went with my parents and son. My dad and kiddo entertained themselves while my mom and I waited a long time for the appointment. I thought there was an infection there, reassured me many times that there wasn't... Hmm. I give the wait to the fact that the doctor cares a lot and takes his time with each person. So when he came into me, he had me lay back after we talked for a few minutes. He started moving my feeding tube. I yelped, cried, asked what he was doing- he was tugging, twisting, and turning the tube. No warning. My mom teared up on the other side of the room. Seeing her tear up made me calm down for some reason... He explained that he was loosening the stoma area. That the clamp that was putting pressure on my abdominal wall and stomach wasn't necessary as much anymore after 5 weeks because there was enough scar tissue there now. After wiping away those tears and giving it a few minutes I could feel a drastic difference. 5 weeks of pain a little more explained. The doctor requested that I start using the plunger in the evenings/when it is harder to feed myself with simple elevation. Then he told me to drink Gatorade thru my feeding tube to get the fluid and electrolytes I need vs. going to get a fluid bag push at the oncologists. He said "less needles is good, right?" I've tried. Finding I'm doing ok. Euch to Gatorade. I miss Pocari Sweat from Hong Kong... a lot. Apparently Uwajimaya has it- shall visit quite soon!

I went directly over to the oncologists though and checked in with the nurse who agreed about the Gatorade and did one bag of fluid... and took yet more blood. My white blood cell count is still up and a puzzle to her. She said I must be just finishing some bug off and need to be patient as I heal.

I was really wiped after two dr appointments and was glad to get home to my husband. He and the kiddo had some fun together after the sweet boy was stuck an entire day from one dr. office after another... even with all my dad's support- no fun... but he did have a "busy bag" filled with books and entertainment...

Love my sister
Thursday I woke up and did my morning feeding routine but could tell it wasn't time to move yet. I pretty much didn't move beyond feeding myself and drinking loads of water til 2pm which was frustrating but I accepted that's where I was at. Eventually I pulled myself together, went with my husband and kiddo and got to go to my sister and brother-in-law's home for Thanksgiving. I found myself really quiet and reserved. Every time I talked I started coughing pretty quick but it was wonderful to be with everyone.
I actually ate a little food (baby bites, slowly) and loved it. Happy day.

Today I've had three beautiful visits- two by Skype to Hong Kong- man I miss those wonderful friends- and one lovely visit at my house... I'm so lucky to be surrounded with love and support here in Oregon. Also, I'm lucky that people watch and pace themselves with visits with me without staying too long, even on Skype. Very grateful.

Thanks as always for journeying with me...

Family shot from Thanksgiving.


  1. Curls, happy curls!! Goodness in a sea of bravery. 😘😘😘

  2. You are an awesome inspiration to all of us. Celebrate each small step!

    1. Thank you Karen. Yes, every small step is celebrated...

  3. Loved the reflection on "finding me" again. Celebrate.

  4. What a beautiful post. I still see you too. I was a very new friend before your diagnosis, and now I feel like I've known you for a lifetime. You're a blessing, Debbie, to all who come across your path, and the cancer could not touch that. You only became more of who you are. Love you lots, Lenore xxoxoxo

    1. Thank you Lenore, can't wait to see you soon!! Much love your way... xoxxoxx