what thoughts rattle around in your brain when you're a mom of a toddler and a breast cancer patient?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Lessons Learned

One of the things I've noticed since having cancer is that I'm in a rapid period of growth and learning. This includes:

  • cancer research, in order to try to get myself the best care.
  • life lessons, to try to make some sense of this mess.
  • personal advocacy, in order to make treatment easier whenever possible.

Yesterday I met with my reiki master healer, Laurel; we have a weekly Wednesday session that is relaxing, energizing and empowering. Laurel is a stage IV cancer survivor and we just really connected right away, which is something she and I were talking about during our session yesterday. It's something I've blogged about before, too. Those connections happen just enough so that they stand out in your mind but not so often that you can't appreciate them as the miracle that they are. I invited Laurel to read this blog...I hope she does.

Anyway, usually my reiki session is comprised of 1/4 talking and 3/4 reiki. Yesterday's session was more the opposite, and I think it must just be that I didn't realize how much I needed to chat and sort things out and I knew Laurel was the one with the answers that would make sense to me. This is also the first time Laurel mentioned that during her cancer treatment, she was a patient of my oncologist. Since she survived stage IV cancer and has been cancer free for some time now, that gave me new faith in my oncologist too. One of the things Laurel said that just clicked for me was "today is a good day to live, or, today could be a good day to die." To a normal person (aka, not a cancer patient), this might sound a little too grim reaper-ish but to me it sounds just right. It just reiterates the idea that it's important to live each day the best I can, even when I feel sick, tired, confused or depressed (or all of those things at once).

Speaking of feeling tired, I saw one of the chemo nurses yesterday too and she asked if I was feeling better since Friday's blood transfusion. I really had to think about it because its been so long since I wasn't dog tired and had the energy to really exert myself. Of course a blood transfusion isn't going to do all that (give me energy to really exert myself) but I do feel better and actually I'm sleeping better too. It just took awhile to kick in. Since Saturday, I've been giving myself daily shots of wheat grass too and I really think it helps. It's only a buck or two and even if its only a placebo effect, it's worth it. Back in my pre-cancer days I would blow a buck or two on some little snack from the vending machine or some treat during lunchtime like a cookie or something. I never bother with that now -- I'm barely hungry enough to eat a regular meal and am not exactly craving snacks -- so the wheat grass expense is nothing.

It's a good time to repeat how nice those chemo nurses are in my infusion room. At my last chemo, Cindy was my nurse and while she was starting my chemo, at my request, she sang a wonderful aria for me and Angela -- Cindy has been singing professionally for some time now and she has an amazing talent. Angela and I both had tears in our eyes from the beauty of the experience.

Another nurse named Lourdes came over and gave me a big hug and told me how nice it was to see me smiling again. Another nurse, Gail, also gave me a big hug and offered a book for me to read. It was a book about spirituality, so she approached the subject carefully but the whole thing was totally fine by me, I'm open to pretty much anything these days and I like that Gail was thinking about me. I think she was trying to find something besides medicine to give me some solace since she has seen me crying in the infusion room so much lately. I have a wide mix of religious and spiritual beliefs and am fine with someone suggesting something for me to take a look at provided that the someone is not some stranger on the street. My dad's sister Marilyn sent me a few books from her lifelong religion too--she is a Christian Scientist. Again, I'm sure there are some interesting things I can take away from all of this stuff.

In keeping with my "I'll try anything to get better or feel better" mode, I'm going to start chiropractic treatment on Monday. Even the phone call to set it up was a good experience. The person taking my call just happened to be there helping out the office, I don't think she was the regular appointment setter/receptionist person. I told her the names of my friends who referred me to the office and then gave her the briefest background about why I thought I needed to come in. She asked if she could take my phone number and call me back in a few minutes, which she did. When she called back she said that both chiropractors were willing to lower the price of the initial visit by about $60 since I was going to be a cash patient. They would also lower the price of the follow up visits if it was going to cause me any financial hardship. Then she told me that their two massage therapists each wanted to give me the gift of a one hour massage and she would coordinate it so that the massage was after the chiropractic session. How nice is that? These people don't know me at all and they extended such a warm welcome to me. The message I got from this organization is that their goal is to treat and heal people. Not just make money.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ronne I pray hard for you daily. Im happy to hear the transfusions are helping with your energy "some".

There are some great and selfless people out there and it gives me joy to hear they are finding you

always in my thoughts

10:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

always thinking of you...

2:49 PM

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