The Freight Train

T minus 13 days and counting. Until The Freight Train hits.  I’m strapped to the tracks and it’s coming – slow and steady getting closer and closer and the noise from it is getting louder and louder. I try not to think about it but so far, I’ve failed to derail my first thoughts each morning when I wake up, which is unfortunately not at my time to get up but about 2 hrs before when I actually need to get up. First thoughts are always about the upcoming surgery – usually at ~ 2 am in the morning, when I’m most susceptible to uncontrolled, anxiety-filled thoughts about the future.

In order to combat the inevitable, we are actually scheduled to have house guests join to visit for the whole week before the surgery. I could have said no but in the end, I felt that I’ll need the distraction, anything to keep my mind of what it is currently on. The house guests aren’t just normal visitors but are my in-laws, coming to help celebrate my young daughter’s birthday and then taking off the day before the surgery with her for a nice week long vacation – thus, providing me a quite, calm household to return to after my radical out-patient surgery. I’ll be coming home with 4 drains hanging out of my body. I’ll be sequestering myself in my daughter’s room so that I can stay away from the cats we have in order to make sure that I don’t get any post-op infections. Just seems easier to lock myself up and hide from it all at that point – for safety.

Think it’s also a way to emotionally be hiding from it all as well. The pain I know I’ll have (you can run but you cannot hide). The emotional healing that will be necessary – I need to go through that on my own, get to the acceptance stage in that first week so that I can see my daughter and eventually my cat (when all is said and done and the tubes are finally gone from my body). My two biggest support systems, my two biggest snugglers and huggers all being pulled away for protection -whether it be for my own or her own. A necessity but a jagged little pill to swallow all the same.

So the train continues down the tracks, like a ticking bomb getting closer and closer. I’m trying to exercise all of the tools in my anxiety tool box to release my fears, work through the emotion and continue to stay strong, but honestly – it isn’t going so well. Made the gym only once this week so far and when there, I was working on figuring out what my one rep max’s are post-chemo and it was like I’d already given up. I know I will have 6 weeks completely off – where I cannot lift my arms above 90 degrees, where I cannot get my heart rate up – so I can heal properly. Knowing that this huge break in activity is coming makes me really say – why do it? What’s the use? It’s all for nought – doesn’t matter – but obviously, it really does. It isn’t to stay fit this time. The workouts between now and the surgery are really all about helping to keep me sane – work out, move – just keep going and do anything that makes me feel like I am in control. That I am strong. But it isn’t quite working so well when I try for a one rep max and instead all I feel is my hesitation to go for it. I am not only thinking – what does it matter – but also, hey, I have to be careful here. Cannot be stupid. Cannot pull a muscle or injure myself before my surgery. no pushing it. I need to be at 100% of my health. No broken bones (no roller skating at the upcoming birthday party for my daughter) – no being stupid. Must be smart and conservative. And that makes total sense and thus, another major way I let it all go is seemingly shut down, taken away from me.

I haven’t done a work out with an aerobic bend to it in a few weeks. No running or rowing. Thought my plan to get all psyched up about the 1 rep maxes would keep me on task, focused on being strong at the gym- focused so every day I’d have a goal to shoot for but it didn’t work out right. Or at least not the way I had planned. So I think today I’ll have to try another option – more aerobic and less 1RM. You figure I’d want to continue with my S-WOD, the work out I did all chemo to NOT lose ground on my strength in certain areas but instead, I have an immense urge to just push away from that table – like a kid at the dinner table saying no to vegetables. Yes they may be good for me but NO! I don’t wanna! Yeah, real grown up, I know.

I’ve had a streak of friends also going through emotional times right now. This has led them to go to the gym and find themselves crying afterwards. Amazingly strong women who hold it in and cannot let it out any other way – taking themselves to the gym and upon exerting themselves in exercise they finally break through the emotional prison they are in, the isolation cell, to let it out and cry. I know I need that and this week I seem to find myself crying on the way to the gym in hopes that I’ll just find that release myself and let it all out, but so far I only made it to the gym once and it didn’t come. The release didn’t come – perhaps a slight crack in the dam of tears that I need to feel but the dam is still holding it all back and that dam has gotta break so that I can 1) experience it and 2) accept it and then finally 3) move on.

It’s like that song “Breathe” (AKA 2 am) by Anna Nalick….”’cause you can’t jump the track we’re like cars on a cable….and life’s like an hour glass glued to the table…no one can find the rewind button girl… cradle your head in your hand….. and breathe, just breathe…..”   “2 am and I’m still awake writing this song  if I get it all down on paper its no longer inside of me threatening the life it belongs to…and I feel like I’m naked in front of a crowd cause these words are my diary screaming out loud and I know that you’ll use them however you want to….”


Infection, Fear Of

I’ve completed my last chemo. I’ve fought a battle and won – come out still kicking. I was proud. On top of the world. Master of my own destiny.  Today I feel like I’ve been sucker punched. As if the evil I’ve been fighting wasn’t playing fair – and instead of going down in a brave battle of fists, just pulled out a gun, pointed it at me and pulled the trigger when my back was turned.

Today I had my first pre-op appointment with the plastic surgeon. A mere 2+ hour appointment to familiarize myself with all of the intricacies of everything that probably will not happen but could, so they ask me to read through all of the fine print and then sign – just in case.

I was prepared. Or so I thought.

During the course of discussion about what to be aware of following the surgery, and what I’ll need to do – the nurse asks me if we have any pets. Yes, I say, 2 cats. Indoor cats? she asks…. why yes, 2 elderly, indoor cats. She then informs me that fear of infection following this surgery is very serious (I had gathered as much from my discussion with my plastic surgeon as well – they are deadly serious about my susceptibility to infection following the type of surgery I’m having). Seems I’m not to come into contact with any animals following my procedure – not until after all of my 4 drainage tubes are removed – the last of which is likely not going to be until 3 weeks after the surgery. Hmm, I say….

My cat isn’t just a cat, he’s my companion when I’m sick. When I was dead on the couch with the flu that rolled into pneumonia last winter, he stayed with me. He kept me company. He was my constant companion. When I wasn’t sleeping at 2 am, he was snuggled up with me or wide awake with me, purring and comforting me. He was my rock, my constant snuggle bunny kitty. I had planned in my mind that I’d be spending the vast majority of my recovery on the very same couch upon which I spent 4 weeks when I had the flu and pneumonia. I had envisioned him and I in the same roles – me stuck on the couch while my body slowly heals and him as my furry hugging, purry pillow.

In telling me that I cannot come into contact with my cat for the majority of the critical healing time, the painful recovery time, they’ve effectively removed one of my best tools for handling stress and sickness in my life. I’m not sure I am ready to swallow that pill just yet. I’m pretty sure I am going to have to mourn my cat’s loss to me during this time before I can clear my mind enough to get it around what they need me to do.

Last Chemo Today!

Woo Hoo! Last day of chemo is here! Finally!!  I actually have some nice peach fuzz growing on my head which will be knocked down one final time before it’ll be allowed to grow back. My fingernails are still hanging on. Oh yes – the magic of chemistry!! The cut sealer stuff I’ve been using is helping keep them on – that and keeping the nails short.  Now I’ll have one month to get myself in better shape for surgery and then Ka BoOM! I won’t be allowed to put my arm over my head or get my heart rate up for a bit. Going to try to record a lot of my max lifts so I can compare – what was I pre-cancer, where am I now – so I’ll have a benchmark of how far I’ll be coming back. Gotta have goals! Need my plan so I’m in control. No concerns about how fast I come back or anything – just that I know what my goals are that I’m working towards. Likely won’t be until next spring/summer that the port comes out and I can get back to working on with the class!! THAT will be a fantastic day to celebrate!! (and get my tush handed to me on a silver platter I’m certain!).  So much to look forward to 🙂