a little c

because I refuse to give it a big one

Posts Tagged ‘hot flashes’

Relief and Gratitude and a House Guest

Posted by wendy on 2011/10/09

I have a mouse.  He is freaking adorable, but he is not allowed to live in my house so the game of Catch or Kill is on.  I prefer “catch”, but if I have to resort to “kill”, I’ll do it, because mice aren’t very good house guests at all.  They use your good towels on their muddy feet, don’t put the little wrappy thing back on the bread, and put empty cartons back in the fridge.  I’m pretty ruthless about empty milk cartons.

I’ve spent the last week in a kind of frenzy of gratitude and excitement and fear.  The fabulous people who particpated in the boobiethon netted me $2,555.  You know,  the ‘thon has taken its fair share of flack over the years, because Komen was the main recipient (and for the boobies)–but, in case anyone ever tries to criticize them because the women who need it don’t benefit–send them to ME.  Send them here:   I am a breast cancer survivor and the Boobie-thon has just paid for the next 4+ months of my COBRA.  I don’t have the proper words to say how much this has meant to me.   I’ve tried thanking everyone who donated to me (I think I thanked a few of you twice–haha) and it feels like it was just this litany of “thank you, I’m overwhelmed, and OH MY GOSH!”.  hahaha.  If I babbled to you, I apologize.  I really was completely overwhelmed.  Thank you Mel for doing such a fantastic job as the organizer, and thank you Statia, for nominating me.  I love you guys so much.   I’d be remiss not to mention that Pete’s image  went up to $350, and my very good friend Jason is also auctioning off a shot for me (it ends Tuesday).  I have such amazing friends.  I really do.

Don't freak out--I was stopped at a red light when I snapped this.

There is a sense of relief that this little bit of attention is kind of over for me now, though.  I have to admit–I felt like HIDING a lot last week.  I have no idea how I suddenly became The Shy Girl, but oh maaan—I just felt so completely undeserving of all of the kindness directed my way.  I couldn’t look at my stats, because I’m so used to the 20 or so people who read this and when there’s suddenly 700 views on your blog…it’s scary to feel so opened up and vulnerable.  I’m not used to it.  🙂  Overwhelmed.

Physically, I’m doing really well.  The hot flashes haven’t gone away completely–but, they have subsided.   I think I had one yesterday.  Hurrah for Effexor!   My hair–much to my chagrin–is very curly.   DO NOT WANT.   Seriously, I actually had a moment yesterday in which I missed my wigs desperately.  I feel terribly ungrateful for disliking my hair, because–helloooo, at least I have hair, right?   WHINGING!  I should stop that.  I’m just super lazy and hate fixing my hair every day.  Seriously I do not get how short hair is easier.  Ponytails are easy.  Massive amounts of hair gel are not.

What a difference a week can make!!!  For reals, people–my biggest complaint about my life right at this second is that I have to fix my hair.  I’m going to stop and just enjoy that for a minute or two.

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Change is inevitable. And scary. But good.

Posted by wendy on 2011/10/02

Our lives can spin out of control so quickly–and when you’re first diagnosed with cancer, the whirlwind you find yourself in does not seem to stop–ever.  I told a friend today it’s like busting through a series of brick walls.  You get through one, and there is another one standing directly in your path.  It’s the nature of it.  I’ve got this…idea of a quote I’ve read somewhere about tempering steel–and I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a blacksmith banging a sword against the wall in order to make it sharper, so maybe I’m mixing up analogies.  Hang on, while I hit google,  will you?  Go get something to drink–or, if you like, go on and hit the link to the Boobiethon and peruse around for a few minutes, and I’ll meet you back here in 2 minutes!  Okay, I’m back and I found it!

The fire of adversity will melt you like butter, or temper you like steel. The choice is yours.

YAY!  I really like that quote.  Of course, in the time that I ran around google to find that quote, I also found more really cool clown make-up ideas, a recap of last Thursday’s Project Runway, and a dreamy picture that my friend Emily posted on my wall of Dylan Moran and I kind of lost the thread of this  post.  I am easily distracted by shiny things.

Now and Then

THREADS!  Yes, I know where I was going with this.  I fought so hard against the idea that cancer would change me.  I liked me!  I didn’t want me to change, to be different–I didn’t want to lose my breasts, I didn’t want to lose my hair, I didn’t want to be anything other than the girl I saw in the mirror in November of 2010.  The thing is…we all change.  I mean, that’s what life IS.  Things happen to all of us, good and bad, and we hit the brick wall or get tossed into the fire and then we come out..different.  So, maybe the ‘change’ bit is out of our control–but we can control the outcome.  Having breast cancer changed me–I mean, literally–helloooo to the Now and Then next to this paragraph.

So..yeah.  I’m different.  And, I fought so hard against it, but once I decided to accept the reality of what had happened to me, suddenly….I was okay with the changes–physical and mental.  I’m stronger and wiser and there are days that I am steel and fire and seriously, brick walls need to STEP OFF.  um…lest I give the impression of being a Super Hero here , there are also days that getting out of bed and getting dressed to leave the house feels like an insurmountable task.  But, even the ‘bad’ days and moments are tinged with this sense of being grateful to be here to experience the highs and lows of being alive.

My Aunt Puppy told me I ‘have a glow’ about me now.   I told her it was the hot flashes.  😉

It’s Day 2 of the Boobiethon, and as I mentioned, I am the Bloggers Helping Bloggers recipient this year, and I am overwhelmed and completely out of ways to show how grateful I am to everyone who has donated this year.  I have alternated between fits of weeping and elation and introspection and I feel so humbled by the outpouring of help that’s been thrown my way.  I had $2.82 in my bank account on Friday–we were drowning and you guys have thrown us a lifeline.  So, thank you.  Thank you from me, thank you from my son, thank you from Pip and thank you from Emma.

Here I am again.  Grateful to be alive to experience something beyond any expectations that I had.

Thank you so much for that.

Thank you.

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(hot) Flash Dance!

Posted by wendy on 2011/07/24

Seriously.

This is how I feel at least 3 or 4 times a day.

They’re baaaaack.  With a vengeance, seriously.  It’s the tamoxifen, I know–but, I’m kind of hoping that when I call the clinic on Monday morning (First thing.  I am calling first. thing.) they’ll be all “Oh, just take an extra Effexor and they’ll clear right up!”.  A girl can dream, right?

I remember her telling me this would be a side effect, but we were hoping it wouldn’t be too bad for me since I’ve been on Effexor for a few months now. Oh, lowest possible dosage of Effexor, you are doing me no good whatsoever at the moment.  le sigh.

Of course, the entire nation is stuck in the middle of a massive heatwave–no one is happy at the moment–but, seriously, there’s nothing quite like getting a hot flash when the heat index is sitting at 110 and you’re sitting in your car and your keys are swimming around the bottom of your purse and you cannot find them and I’m not sure WHY I thought buying such a huge purse was a good idea but, I’m just going to start using a safety pin to attach my keys to my clothes all second-grade latch key kid style and God help any impressionable children who may be within earshot of me when this is happening.  (“Mommy what’s a #@$%! purse?  I’m scared!”) Hey, I was desperate, people.

Hot flashes are so hard to explain to anyone who’s never had one.  It’s this…heat that comes from inside–not the fun, sexy heat that you get when a cute boy  kisses you, but a  really uncomfortable hotness that seems to start in my stomach and spreads out from there.  The worst area for me is the back of my neck/head.  My skin gets clammy all over, my face gets all flushed and I break into a sweat on the back of my neck.  (I know–sexy!)  I feel like I’m running hotter all the time, actually.  I sweat more at the gym than I did before–an hour on the elliptical and I’m drenched in sweat now.  That’s not a complaint–I actually like to sweat at the gym.  It’s more an observation.  I’m definitely  hotter now.  In so many ways, she said flirtatiously.

I lived through the last bout with them, and I’ll live through this one–I mean, I guess, ultimately, that is the operative word, isn’t it?  I will live.  I have to remember that when I get stabby over the little things.

I had some really nice reactions to my last post and I want to thank everyone who helped and thank you to those who passed along the link.  I appreciate it so much, and I so appreciate how supportive everyone was.  Thanks for not making me feel like a…a…I don’t know what, but the big black cloud over my head is a bit lighter now.  I made 6 sales over the last two days, which is really awesome.  I will be adding more shots (and items–I’d like to offer greeting cards–although, I may have to go through cafepress to do that.  I’ll update later.)  here, so if you know of anyone who would be interested, please send them my way.

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He had me at ‘donuts’.

Posted by wendy on 2011/04/17

3 years ago today, a smartass Brit and I exchanged a few cheeky messages about money and donuts.  We didn’t realize at the time, but both of our lives changed that day–in the best possible way.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about life lately–being diagnosed with cancer will do that to you (as my fellow cancerchicks well know)–and, if I have learned nothing else about myself, or about us this past year, it’s that there is nothing we cannot face, nothing we cannot do if we are together.  I found someone who looks at me today with the same love and appreciation in his eyes as he did when I had hair to my waist and a very different body than the one I have now.  He has been there for me through tears and despair and he makes me laugh and smile like no one ever has.  The caliber and depth of his core being astounds and humbles me.  My kid loves him, my dogs love him.  I love him.

Oh yeah–he somehow managed to turn me into a big schmoopy, gross GIRL.  I hope all the glitter and unicorns from the above paragraph don’t drive you guys away, cause I DO have actual cancer-related updates.  😉

I’ve had a much harder time of it without the Neulasta shot after chemo.  I’ve been really run down for the past week–although I did get good news on Thursday when I went in for my bloodwork:  my white cell count IS climbing back up on its own, so I should be able to power through the next 2 treatments with no interruption.  I am SO THANKFUL for that, because I was genuinely distressed at the idea of having to schedule my treatments out to 3 weeks apart instead of 2.  I was having all kinds of anxiety dreams about it.  I’ve looked to May 5 as my last day for so long, I don’t want that to change.  So, YAY!

Now for the BOO part of my last week–I’m officially in ‘chemopause’.  Holy crap at the hot flashes!!  I was having them very nearly every hour on the hour for around 4 days, but my onc prescribed Effexor, and it has cooled me down a bit–I only had a few yesterday.  My onc says  they’ll go away once I’m out of chemo, so I guess I’ll just dress in layers for the next 3 weeks, because–oh yeah–the clothes need to COME  OFF when they hit and I don’t want to frighten any random children at the supermarket if one hits me in the produce section.

Since my body has undergone some pretty drastic changes in the past year, I’ve become a thrifting fiend, so I want to share my latest finds.  We have some fantastic places around here:

I love this dress!!

Jonathan Saunders for Target – Buckle Ponte Dress in Eternal Flame (Thrifted – New with tags–$6 – It fits like a DREAM and it’s so completely adorable! I loveloveLOVE this dress!)
Coat – Chaus (Okay–not thrifted–I got it at Dillards for $14–they’re going out of business and I found this on the clearance rack.–it’s got a cute little ruffle feature on the back that I completely forgot to get a shot of. doh.)
Shoes -Bandolino Mary Janes – $2.88
Hair – Well, okay. That’s not thrifted, either. Paula Young dot com – The Jaclyn Smith collection. 😉

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Ms Cranky McStabbypants

Posted by wendy on 2011/04/11

I cannot decide if my least favorite side effect from the Taxol is the bone pain or the hot flashes.  Perhaps, I’d take either/or, but of course, I’m getting them both at once this weekend and it’s…oh.  Tiresome.   It’s the nature of curing cancer, I suppose.  You change meds, you trade one set of unpleasant side-effects for another set.   I will say that I’ll take the way I feel right now over nausea any day.  I mean, this sucks–but, it’s not debilitating.  (Well, a little–I mean, I’m definitely not up for running around the block, but I could take a careful stroll around the backyard if I needed to.)

I’m doing some reading on ‘chemopause’, but I think I need the M-filter to go to work on it as I keep finding ‘OMGZ IT’S FOUR YEARS LATER AND I STILL HAVE HOT FLASHES!” stories.   I like to read about the happy endings right now.  And, on the ‘happy endings’ note, I have a PSA for the general public:

If you run into me while I’m out and about, please do not approach me and then tell me about your <insert relative or friend’s name here> who fought a long, hard battle <insert lurid details of radiation burns and chemos gone wrong> with <insert type of cancer here> and died <insert the exact date and time said tragic death occurred>.  Seriously, dudes.  GIVE ME A HAPPY ENDING RIGHT NOW, M’KAY?  I’m going to be completely selfish here and say that now is not the time for me to be bonding with total strangers over their losses.  I’m going to be even more selfish and suggest that it’s not cool to remind cancer patients that they have a disease that could kill them.  Cause, we already know.  We do.  Really.  REALLY.   So, you know, the next time you walk up to a profusely sweating bald girl in the supermarket, think before you speak.  Because the hotter I get, the less likely I am to be polite about it.

PS – The hot flashes are making me stabby.  Does it show?

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