Tonight we celebrated that our friend Teresa has completed her cancer treatments and is now cancer – free. It was a small gathering of just six of us, but it was a fun surprise that she seemed to appreciate. Once again, it was good to see each other in person and more importantly have something important to be thankful for. I think we should always celebrate our victories—big and small. Beating cancer is a big one. I’m so happy for my friend to be done with this difficult part of her life and on the road to being back to healthy, and I’m grateful to celebrate with friends.
Well, I didn’t sleep in this morning because the dogs went barking crazy at something early. They’re lovable but they’re also jerks.
We had nothing on the agenda for today. I told Patrick I’d like to check out of this resort. While the food is typically delicious, the entertainment is lacking. He wasn’t amused.
Thankfully, a friend dropped off some craft items she was sweet enough to pick up for me. She even included some cookies and muffins, which was an unexpected and much appreciated surprise.
Armed with my craft supplies, I spent the day working on a wreath in between laundry and vacuuming. I’d like to say the wreath came together well and quickly, but it didn’t. I had better luck with the laundry. But that’s ok. I persisted and while it wasn’t the original plan, it came out ok. I still have a few tweaks left.
I’m thankful that when I needed some extra supplies today, Patrick got them for me without hesitation. I’m thankful for the sunshine that helped my wreath making. And I’m thankful for the cookies that sustained me. I guess I’ll stick around this resort a while longer.
I mentioned previously that I have a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer about a month before I was. While she was able to have a lumpectomy already, we are on the same chemo treatment plan, and she is one cycle ahead of me. Oddly enough, we work together too.
We don’t always talk about it, but occasionally we check in. Today after work, I called her since it had been a while that we talked cancer and not just work stuff. It was good to compare where we were at and find some common complaints. Ugh, the dry skin. The emotional rollercoaster. The everlasting quarantine. Soon we were laughing about needing to draw on eyebrows. I told her I warned Patrick that he would know my mood by how they were drawn.
When I was diagnosed, I told her we were bosom buddies, and she found this shirt for us.
While we certainly wish for each other not to have cancer, we have admitted that we find it comforting to have someone to commiserate with who gets it firsthand. In real-time. Today, checking in and being able to laugh about some of our difficulties helped lighten the load a bit. I’m thankful for our friendship.
Happy Groundhog Day! Do you feel like you’ve done this day before? #covidlife Today was a repeat day for me, too. Chemo treatment #3 in the books!
As I mentioned before, I decided to dress up a bit for these appointments. This time, I wanted to wear a new pair of boots, so of course, it called for my purple wig. I questioned my choice when I sat in the waiting room getting side-eyed by my elderly cohorts. I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. But every nurse said they loved it and even my oncologist, when he entered the exam room, exclaimed whoa! and said he thought it was great. Not that I needed anyone’s approval, but it was nice to get the reaction I was hoping for—a smile.
I’ve had so many family and friends supporting me lately by reaching out in a variety of ways, even friends I haven’t necessarily kept in close contact with. (Thanks, social media for keeping us connected!) It hit me today I’m not always so good at doing that for others. It’s not that I don’t care, but I feel self-conscious reaching out blindly. I’ve always been more comfortable listening or watching in groups and will typically interject myself only when someone asks me to. I figure, why will they care to hear from me? I don’t know what to say/do. Social media makes it easy because we can just use an emoji on a post and call it good.
But you know what? Being the recipient now, I can clearly see it does make a difference. It’s always nice to get a message when you’re going through a difficult time. It’s ALWAYS uplifting to know people are thinking of you and wishing you well. I’m grateful every time.
I like when I can make someone smile, so why do I allow myself to hold back? I’m willing to wear a silly wig, but I can’t send a short message when someone needs it? I’m thankful today for this reminder to be better. I’m going to add it to my to-do list. Maybe like Bill Murray’s character in the movie Groundhog Day, becoming a better person will get me out of this #Covidlife we’re stuck in. Wouldn’t that be great?
Patrick and I had a zoom beer tasting with some friends this afternoon. Not only was it a perfect event for a day we were snowed in, but it was great to “get together” with friends again. The guys had purchased beer a couple of weeks ago and swapped so that we all had the same ones to try. I haven’t been drinking alcohol since starting chemo, but I had a sip of each of them. I forgot how much fun we would have doing beer tastings together. It was wonderful catching up.
One thing our get-together highlighted, besides how much we all miss our beer tastings, was how important it is to have things to look forward to. I know it’s been a struggle for me. Of course, I look forward to the end of my treatments, but that’s not really enough. Normally, we’d have birthday celebrations or family visits or short trips out of town scheduled. Now we just have doctors appointments. Our friends talked about scheduling a real getaway for the end of the year or when things are back to something normal. We all agreed it sounded great.
In the spirit of having something to look forward to, I decided to apply to have a booth in a major craft faire in September. I’ve talked about wanting to do more with my crafts for a while now, so I figured it was time. If I’m accepted, it not only will give me something to look forward to, but it will also give me months of something to work towards. If I’m not accepted for the faire, then I’ll get an Etsy shop going.
I’m thankful today for the time well spent with friends. I’m also thankful for the reminder to plan for things that keep us engaged and hopeful for the future.
Patrick said I wimped out with my post yesterday, and I suppose he’s right. The truth is that I WAS really thankful the work week was done, but I was also really tired. Like ready to fall asleep at 7:30 pm tired.
The other truth is that on any given day, I’m thankful for a bunch of small things. The way Patrick puts a glass of water on my desk in the morning when I start work at 7:00 am. The way the dogs walk me around the house like they can’t stand to be without me. The way the sun lights up the corner of the room I work in all day.
Yesterday a friend dropped off a surprise for me. It contained a bunch of work-related items to jazz up my desk, including a desk punching bag which I know will get a lot of use! I love every single thing, especially the snarky items that made me laugh.
Today I spent some time getting my desk cleaned up and putting my new items away. I even filled out my excuse for yesterday’s post.
I’m so thankful for this thoughtful gift and her generosity. I look forward to using everything next week!
I’m not going to lie, today was a crappy day. It started with an unexpected email and went downhill from there. Bad news upon bad news—not all mine, but news from friends that was really awful. And the actual news? I don’t even want to go there. Why do some days just pile it on??
It’s days like this that make me want to give in to my pessimistic side. But then I remember that finding gratitude doesn’t mean faking happiness. It means finding something in the darkness to keep holding onto so hope doesn’t completely disappear.
Today, I had a conversation with my genetic counselor and thankfully, all the important genetic markers came back negative for cancer. While I don’t seem to have a genetic risk for breast or other cancers, I do have an increase risk that cancer could reoccur in my other breast simply because of my family history. Our conversation confirmed my choice to have a bi-lateral mastectomy instead of removing only one side. It was good to have that affirmed.
I was also thankful today for a small gesture from Patrick. Before I started chemo, he cleared out a shelf in one of our kitchen cabinets and stocked it with items we thought I might like if I was feeling lousy—some Mac’ n cheese cups, hot chocolate, jello, canned green beans (weird, but I like them) and a few other things. And since my taste has changed, he’s been very conscious about trying to find foods that will work for me. When he did a quick shopping trip today, he sent me pictures of things I may like so I could let him know what to buy. He even brought home a container of animal crackers, which I love!
While it’s been difficult today, I know it’s just a bad day out of many days. I’m grateful for a bit of good news and a thoughtful husband. And I hope I was a good friend to those who needed one today.
Over the last few days, my mouth has felt slightly numb, and it’s become obvious that my taste has changed. They talk about developing a metallic taste from chemo, but I can’t say that’s what I’m noticing. It’s just that things taste off or don’t taste as good as I expect. It’s a bummer. Even my beloved popsicles are bland.
Today, one of my most established friends (I hate saying oldest but we did meet in grade school!) had dinner delivered to us from a local Italian restaurant. It was a much appreciated gift, and amazingly, the lasagna tasted like lasagna! Maybe Italian will be my new go-to.
What was even better was that Patrick also appreciated the break from cooking, as much as he likes to cook. He joked that he now knew how it felt just to sit down to a meal already made, so I threatened to start cooking now that my taste wasn’t right. We both know that won’t happen. He really does love cooking too much.
Hopefully, this change in taste won’t last forever. But I’m thankful today for my friend’s gift of dinner and the enjoyment we got from it.
Today I’m thankful for laughter. I’ve had many friends and family who have been checking in with me regularly to see how I’m doing or to let me know they’re thinking of me. And I’m beyond grateful for every one. Some also have been sending me funny photos or jokes. It’s really true that taking a moment to laugh makes it hard to stay anxious or sad or even tired.
I love a good joke or a funny meme. I have a Pinterest board where I save items and some days, I go to it and scroll through. Patrick always wants to know what in the world I’m laughing at, but I don’t even need to share it with him. I’m ok laughing by myself. Sometimes I find one particularly suited to someone, and I’ll send it on. Otherwise, I look and laugh and feel a little better for doing so.
I got a bit of cabin fever today, so after cleaning the house up at bit, Patrick and I took a drive just to get out of the house. I like driving through the outskirts of town where there are a lot of farms. I dream of owning land again one day. However, in the middle of winter, the farm scenery is a bit bleak.
We do, however, live close to a national park, and it was much more picturesque there.
It was nice to get outside the house, even if in the car only. Lately the most I’ve gotten out is to walk in the backyard with the dogs.
I’m also thankful again today for the friends who reached out to send me a card or just to text a thinking about you message. It’s really humbling to have the support of so many people. It reminds me of how blessed I am.