All over the place…




I am mentally all over the map these days. I realized this morning that I haven’t read anything breast cancer related (not including articles on the internet) in a little while. A few days, maybe even a few weeks. That’s pretty major for me.

My weight is picking up which is both good and bad. Good because my appetite has certainly improved. Bad, because my appetite has certainly improved. (smile) One of the nurses told me recently that the weight gain was due to the drugs I’m taking. The herceptin is significantly reducing my estrogen production in my body and along with that for some people, comes weight gain.

Oh joy!

Considering how little I ate during the early chemo days, I’m excited and happy that I am able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want now. But, I am starting to realize that I do not want to change my diet – even though I know that it would be good for me and better for my cancer. I have been dragging my feet about doing the detox my friend shared with me, and also about eliminating meat, sugar and refined flour from my diet. I do little things, here and there but I haven’t made that all sweeping change yet.

It is a little scary to think about changing everything I know not knowing whether it will truly guarantee me more years of living or not. I still have the “Nicole-math equation” rattling around in my head. You know… 30 to the 40th power divided by 5 = ??? How long do I really have left with this beautiful life?

The breakdown: 30, represents the percentage that my doctor told me that it’s likely my cancer will return. 40 represents my age. 5 represents the magical 5 cancer-free years that I’m hoping to reach once all of this treatment is done.

Since I am no math major (in fact, I was a lousy math student) I have no idea whether my equation makes any sense to anyone besides myself. But it is rattling around in my head, causing me to make crazy decisions and leaps of faith that I normally might not do. Like… deciding, un-deciding, and then finally deciding to go away this weekend. Or, asking a friend on a whim if I can visit him and ending the conversation with the cancellation of one trip and the unexpected addition of a separate trip. In the span of about 6 hours, I went from thinking about taking one trip this weekend, and one trip in October… to buying a ticket to Texas for day after tomorrow, cancelling my tentative trip to Atlanta and instead rolling out to Vegas for something entirely different. Plus a little get-away to Baltimore squeezed in the middle.

Normally, I would have found lots of reasons to talk myself out of all of these excursions. But, yesterday I had a brief conversation with someone about my decision to cancel the trip I’m taking this weekend…she reminded me that in order to have the life I keep saying I want to live, I have to actually live it.

Profound, right? (laughs)

Breast cancer has made me rigidly self-conscious and a little shy. Neither of which are natural states of personality for me. I am wearing my brain out over-thinking every detail of my life because I am so anxious that I may make the wrong step and bam! I’m back in somebody’s hospital wishing I had just been more careful.

Who am I fooling? I am not this scary girl. I’ve been her for a little while and it’s gotten comfortable here but really, I’m that girl that everybody always wants to laugh with, joke with and have a drink or a meal with. I am THAT girl with the bright eyes and winning smile who makes people comfortable because she’s just so comfortable. I am a little annoyed that breast cancer has made me the girl who looks over her shoulder; under the bed and then wishes she had a flashlight – before she even walks down the hallway to her own bathroom. All of the admonitions to take care of myself now – wear a compression sleeve if you travel, don’t allow any injuries to your arm to protect against lymphedema, sunscreen and bug repellant, no chemicals in your hair or on your skin, blah blah blah – are ruining my easy-going nature.

At any rate…I’m going away for the weekend to celebrate my cousin’s birthday and to see what Houston has to offer a single girl from Maryland in terms of fun and laughter. And next month, I’m going to Vegas to participate in a conference about blogging that should be eye-opening and inspiring and I’m taking a friend with me… just because he was open to the experience. I hope that come November, when I’m lying in bed recuperating from my surgery...I hope that these memories will sustain my joy and keep me focused on the living part of life.

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