Well, if you’re in Minnesota, you have surely been to the grocery store and stocked up on all of your hotdish ingredients since we’re about to be snowed-in like Pa in Little House on the Prarie.  Hopefully you remembered the list of stuff you were supposed to get, or have a good memory. Milk, eggs, butter. You better buy it all because who knows when the next time is that we can actually leave the house. I hope you tied a rope from your car to the store so you can find it when you come back out (😩😩😩). I really, really, REALLY hate winter.

I still can’t believe how much has changed since last year.  At this time, I was just starting to get my hair back and was at daily radiation appointments.  Aside from all that, it was winter.  As I sit in the living room, listening to the wind whip and snow fall like crazy, I remember where my head was at and what I used to think to myself when I would lay still in the radiation machine.  I was occupied with thoughts of surviving cancer and imagining the machine destroying the remaining cells that were in my chest.  Praying to God that I would make it through (there was a lot of begging, promises and heartache in those prayers), and aiming to be alive for at least another 37 years.

Now?  Now I sit on the other side of radiation and chemo, and the thought of ever having to do it again, scares the living $hit out of me.  For real.  I can’t even fathom being able to make that decision.

It’s unreal how much perception influences my thoughts.  Last year I just wanted to survive.  I woke up every morning with the list of cancer rules I had to follow.  Using every single ounce of energy just to move.  I remember the pattern that I had been accustomed to when going through chemo was all shot to hell.  With chemo, I knew I could rely on about 5 days of feeling like death, but knew that on that sixth day, I would be able to feel less weird (to put it mildly).  Radiation was a completely different beast.  I knew it started easy, but by the end I would be in pain, blistered, burned and raw.

Now?  Here I am, wondering if I look good today, or if my jeans fit ok.  I went grocery shopping and got to listen to podcasts the. whole. time.  I worked out for a good hard hour and ate leftovers for lunch.  I spent all afternoon baking, rolling and creating in the kitchen while I sang and danced away at whatever was playing in my headphones.  I put makeup on and tried something new with my hair.  MY HAIR!  I can’t believe how much perception can change my life.

The only thing that remains constant from last year to now?  I still.  hate.  winter.



Brain Break

There are days that I can’t remember at all. Big chunks of time that are completely missing from my life.

I was talking with Brad last night, and was lamenting about the aging process and how quickly it seems to be coming. Is it normal To forget things like this, or is it still chemo-brain? What can I do about it? It’s all so very peculiar, this post-treatment life.

When I found the cancer, I chose to have genetic testing to be sure I hadn’t passed any currently identified cancer genes. At the same time as the genetic testing, my results came back the the cancer was also estrogen positive. What does that mean? That I’m medically induced post-menopausal. Since the cancer’s food was estrogen, we had to starve it forever. That happens with daily medication. So, although I feel as though I’m aging rapidly, I’m sure it’s all worth it.

Maybe my forgetfulness is chemo-brain, maybe not. Maybe embracing whatever this is, is what I have to do. I’ll always have help remembering what I need to remember.

What I do know is that I absolutely love my job and my coworkers, but I’m so thankful for this brain break.