Thursday, August 18, 2011

"If I just breathe..."

"If I just breathe
Let it fill the space between
I'll know everything is alright
Every little piece of me
You'll see
Everything is alright
If I just breathe....breathe." Michelle Branch

I'm not gonna lie, waiting around for chemo to start is killing me.  well...I guess, not literally, tho, maybe, if I were the contrary type,  I could argue that it is, since there could be random cancer cells lurking in dark corridors, waiting to meet up with others and launch another attack.  Highly unlikely, even to my (sometimes) paranoid mind.

Here is the part I can't stand about it....the waiting....







it sucks doesn't it?  Throughout this whole thing, for me, the diagnosis or procedure or prognosis or determination that yes, I was going to have to get chemo never really bothered me, it's always been the waiting.   I think once I have my first treatment, see what it's like, see how sick it makes me, see how long till I don't feel like the walking dead, I will be able to handle it.  But waiting for the day to come is what keeps me up at night -theoretically- since I'm taking so many sedating medications I RARELY even move at night.  

When my son was a baby, I did a LOT of waiting...waiting for him to sleep through the night (four years, give or take 10), waiting for him to get through the temper tantrum stage, the pouting stage, etc. Perhaps a better word for that would be perseverance.  I knew it was just a stage and  that if I waited long enough, eventually the phase would pass.  And I didn't just do this with the bad ones, I realized that the snugly baby phase, the sleep 8 hours in a row phase, the eat whatever I put in front of him phase, those, too would eventually pass, so I better enjoy them while they lasted.

So, maybe, it's not waiting that I suck at, maybe it's fear of the unknown.  Even though I have several cool girls on my side who are giving me the 411 on what to expect from chemo, how long I have to endure this annoying tissue expander discomfort, I know that every one is different, and what happens with them won't necessarily be the same for me.  

What choice do I have then, but wait, and hope for the best.... and breathe.  Yoga principal number one is just breathe.  All other things you do are ancillary.   It's the breath that is the most important thing.  Focus on that and all things will work themselves out in the end.  That is good news for me since moving any part of my body makes other parts of my body feel like crap right now.  I can't imagine how I will be able to handle MORE shit once the chemo starts.  Fear tells me this, but in my brain, the small logical part still left there for now, I know there is an answer that has worked for me in the past:

Just breathe.


  1. Your strength is amazing. (Cat)

  2. (Saw this on BCO and thought you might like it)

    I was diagnosed with Stage One, ER/PR-, HER2+, Stage One T1B BC on April 10, 2009 (Well, we didn't know it was T1B until a third pathology report much later, but that's a different story). My largest tumor was about 7mm.

    I realize that my diagnosis wasn't particularly alarming, in retrospect. But boy, do I remember the fear, terror, panic, nausea, crying that many of you are probably going through this weekend.

    If I could go back in time to talk to my terrified, sobbing self, here's what I'd say:

    It's all okay. It all turned out fine. Really.
    The terror and panic are completely normal. You have just had a life changing diagnosis and it really is terrifying.
    However, you are not going to die. Believe me, it won't be long before you'll be cursing at bad drivers again.
    You're about to make a lot of really hard decisions. Trust your judgment and don't let anyone second guess you.
    You can really fill pushup bra with those gummy bear implants.
    You're going to gain 30 pounds, mostly during your post-treatment phase, when you eat gobs of carbohydrates to soothe yourself as you deal with the "What-the-hell-just-happened-to-me?" bewilderment of being at the end of treatment. As you recover your sense of balance and peace, regain energy, and get back into the swing of life, the weight will fall off. Don't rush it (see "You'll be exhausted," below.)
    You are about to discover that you rock bald like few other women can. One word: sunscreen.
    You're going to lose friends. You're going to make better friends. You're going to discover that your male colleagues are among the most supportive, wonderful, understanding human beings you'll ever find in an office.
    You will find that all those little things that drove you nuts about your life partner are just that - little. This human being is a rock and will save your sanity more than once.
    One morning, you'll wake up to find your delicious morning coffee tastes like sewage. That part sucks, but the coffee joy does return after chemo is over.
    You will be exhausted.
    Let me repeat that: you will be exhausted. In many ways, it's worse after all the treatment is over. Your oncologist will chide you for rushing things, observing that your body and soul have just been in overdrive to fight a life-threatening diagnosis, so no wonder you're tired. So let yourself be tired. Cut back on work. Don't take on so much. It's only a year.
    Mysteriously, a month after you finish your last Herceptin treatment, and 15 months after diagnosis, you will wake up thinking about work. Not cancer. It will take you several hours to realize how significant this is.
    Two years later, you'll run a half marathon in D-cup jogbra with your sister and feel great.
    The vast majority of women with breast cancer diagnoses are just like this. You're about to become one of them - someone who's been through it, recovered, and has reached a "new normal."
    I know you're sick to your stomach, terrified, alarmed, panicked; you feel alone, you have a sense that you're facing a death sentence, you're horrified. This is normal. It's part of gearing up to fight. You can do this, and there's a better life on the other side.

    Breathe... and go kick some ass.

  3. Hi there, thanks for dropping by my blog. I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Its not an easy journey but you will get thru it. Believe in yourself that you will. I read somewhere that a positive state of mind will help you thru the chemo process. So thru'out the process, i kept telling myself that it is only temporary, that things can only get better, cos' it couldn't get any worse. So chin up!
    A little about my journey. I was diagnosed with stage 2 in 2003. Went thru the mastectomy, chemo and radiotheraphy. 4 years later in 2007, it came back in the bones. Many many spots in my bones. Its been 8 years since my diagnosis. I am getting by well

    take care...and live well


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