For friends who have seen my social media recently, everything may look pretty good. We had a wonderful weekend in New York City and celebrated a friend’s birthday in Sarasota/Longboat Key. In general, life is going really well on this side of cancer and I’m incredibly thankful.
But there are a few things that I still struggle with. Things that sit just below the surface and can turn a good day into an awful one.
Any odd pains have me on high alert, particularly in the abdomen. I’ve had a few Whipple attacks (sharp, stabbing pain in my chest) and a couple experiences with trapped gas (oh yes, all fun and games) which is uncomfortable.
I’m currently laying on the sofa and going through a few days of pain in my upper abdomen. I saw the doctor this morning and so far the suspicion is too much stress, work, Hurricane Ian junk food, and dehydration, which has resulted in gastritis, the inflammation of the digestive system.
But I have those thoughts of “what if?” What if liver failure, pancreatitis, blockage, more surgery, more hospital stays . . .
We are monitoring for now and I’m praying it clears up shortly. If not, it’s to the hospital for scans and all the emotional baggage along with that.
I’m still around a measly 90-95 pounds (on a good day). There are no curves. It can often hurt to sit on unpadded chairs and my hair isn’t growing back as quickly as I’d like. I feel a bit androgynous. My clothes just sort of hang off, my boney hips the only things keeping my pants on. Earlier this year I looked in the mirror and cried. The crying has stopped and I’m trying to pump the brakes on my self-consciousness.
Taking My Pills
Ugggggggg, pills annoy me. Making sure I get my refills on time, putting them all in my pill tray, and then actually taking them. It’s a minor inconvenience for what I’ve been through, but I’ve never been the best pill taker.
This has been a really difficult one for me as I can’t tell how much stress is too much until the effects hit me. Balancing work, play, and rest is still a learning curve for me. It was a huge one before cancer and now it’s an even bigger mountain. I want to go and do and pitch in, but I’ve got to start reeling myself in a lot more.
I’ve had to learn a lot in the past year and in recent weeks it’s become clear there’s still more to learn and work on in this area.
Brain Function and Memory
Sometimes my brain just shuts down. Which probably is something a lot of us experience anyway. But I do experience times of brain fog or instances where I just feel incredibly dumb. I try to laugh it off but it can be frustrating.
My memory was never good to begin with but I feel I’ve lost some more pieces since surgery and chemo. And there have been a few times where my short-term memory has really flaked out on me.
I’ve tested my digestive limits in the past few months and I think that’s partly why I’m in pain and laying on the sofa. Being a bit more adventurous in this area has so many unknown consequences. Eating healthy is the goal, but there’s a lot of healthy foods that my digestive system won’t even touch. My body isn’t absorbing the nutrients in foods to fuel and create a nice ecosystem within itself. Which then leads to more pills – eye roll (see above).
All to say that I would appreciate you remembering me in your prayers. The good times have been GREAT! But I also wanted to share with you what else is going on behind my smile. This “adventure” will never be over and the continual learning and experimenting is just beginning.