Rest, Relaxation, and A Complete Meltdown!


I know.  I have been missing in action for more than a week.  But, I have a lot of good excuses.  Seriously, I do.  It's been a very busy 10 days.

The week of August 3rd, Rob and I took the dogs and headed up to the Georgia mountains for a little- oh heck- strike that- A LOT of rest and relaxation.  We had an overabundance of peace, even though his cell phone still worked there.  (I will admit, I had secret thoughts about throwing that damn thing in the creek and pretending that I didn't know anything about it.  Lucy and Duke were no help, they're both past the point of chewing on things that they aren't supposed to be chewing on.  I secretly prayed that a little boxer mischievousness would come over Lucy, but it wasn't meant to be!)

We rented a cabin, in the woods on a creek in Blue Ridge, Georgia.  It was heaven on earth. (Doesn't it just scream come on in and curl up by the fire with a boxer?) And the Georgia mountains are absolutely fabulous.  Nothing but blue sky and tons of green trees for as far as you can possibly see.  I've never been in the Georgia mountains before, so I was completely blown away by how spectacular the skylines really are.  We just don't see miles and miles of green here in Florida.  And there are certainly no hills covered in green trees.  I am a Pennsylvania girl- a country girl- I miss the trees and the amazing hillsides.

We sat on the deck with Lucy & Duke every morning drinking coffee and listening to the creek.  Duke and I ventured down the hill a couple of mornings to collect twigs to build fires at night.  All I wanted was to roast a marshmallow or two, but somehow that never happened (maybe it was the little voice in my head that kept saying a marshmallow does not fall under the category of clean eating!).  The fires did happen, and they were amazing.  What is it about the smell, and the sound of a camp fire that just takes you back?  I guess I grew up around a bonfire, so no matter how far from the country this little girl gets- it will always be a part of me, and something that I enjoy immensely!  I was very happy to see that my fire building skills are still intact!  Yes, I was a Girl Scout.

The dogs were in 7th Heaven, and I was overjoyed to have them with us.  It's always the dogs that make me eager to return home from vacation- I always miss them so much when we're away, so it meant a lot to me to have them on vacation with us.  And Lucy, positively loved playing in the creek. (Duke was only willing to dip a toe in.  Shh... I didn't tell anybody that!) I was so proud of her- she did so well off leash.  Of course, Duke has always done well off leash- he is stuck to his mama like glue no matter where we go!  That boy isn't going anywhere where he can't see me.

I seriously could have stayed in Georgia.   Did you know that Georgia is in the wine business?  We didn't, but they are, and they are very good at it too!  Yes, I'm admitting to the fact that we drank way too much wine in the 5 days we were in Georgia.  We didn't eat any peaches, but we did have a cantaloupe that was as sweet as the ones my Grandad used to grow- that really took me back.  And the day that we bought the cantaloupe would have been his birthday- I think he would have really liked that.  He was always so proud of his melons.

We got home late on Thursday night- you can shorten a 9 hour drive considerably when you go 95 miles per hour.  I was thankful that none of the many state boys along side the road nabbed me, but radar detectors help a lot with that.  Friday was catch up day.  Why is that when I leave for 5 days, there are 30 messages on the voicemail, and 200 faxes that require my immediate attention?  It was just such a switch from the calm that I had just left.  All of the paper made me want to scream.  I would have loved to just stand over the trash can with it and pitch but that would have been a disaster of epic proportions.

Saturday was my birthday day with my 2 best gal pals.  I started the morning off with a trip to the Woodhouse Day Spa.  I had the most heavenly detox wrap.  (Of course, I was seriously in need of being detoxed... between the chemotherapy and all of the wine I drank in Georgia, my body was reeling from the shock!)  We followed our trip to the day spa with a long, girls lunch at Seasons 52, right on the water.  It was beautiful- until a storm of hurricane like proportions moved in and we were stranded.  (I'm guilty, it was all my fault.  I took the convertible thinking it was a great day for a ride with the top down.  And it never fails to rain when I have those kinds of thoughts!)  Lunch was amazing, and I had a blast with the girls.  I felt so spoiled and pampered- and blessed to have 2 friends who went to epic proportions to make me feel incredibly special.

Monday I reported to Florida Hospital for my radiation films- it was the appointment that had hung over my head the entire time I was on vacation.  It was my first time in the big, scary radiation machine.  While the process itself was not intimidating- it was just like getting an x-ray, the marks that they left all over my body really freaked me out.  I didn't know how bad it was until I got home and looked in the mirror to see my entire chest and throat covered in black and red marks.  I guess that up until this point, I just didn't know how much radiation I was going to be getting.  It seriously messed with my head.  I immediately grabbed a washcloth and a bar of soap and started scrubbing, but no matter how much I scrubbed, the image stayed in my mind.  Two days later, it's still there even though most of the marks are gone.

I know in my head that I have to do this if I really want to be sure that the cancer is gone. I know it's the best thing, it's the last step in this whole curing cancer business.  I know there could be nasty little cancer cells floating all through my body right now just looking for a place to grow, I have no way of knowing.  I'm praying that once radiation is over with, that I will have some peace of mind that I'm not going to be battling cancer all over again, but somehow I just don't think that thought is ever going to go away.  I think that once you have cancer, that thought is always a part of you.

They wanted to do my first radiation treatment yesterday.  But, somehow, having my first radiation treatment on my 40th birthday just didn't seem like a good idea.  I wanted no part of it.  So, today, August 13th is my 1st treatment.  When I was there on Monday, they gave me a schedule.  It only has 28 days of treatment on it, I was expecting 33, so I need to ask them today if the plan has changed.  Wouldn't that be a gift?  I'll probably have a melt down if they tell me that they made a mistake, but I'm going to wait and see what they say.

Monday was just too much for me.  For some reason, even with everything else I've been through, that radiation appointment was the one that sent me over the edge.  Maybe it's the fact that I've been so calm through all of this, maybe it was the calm after the storm.  I'm just not sure.  I just know that Monday night I just freaked out.  I'm sure it's sounds crazy that I went the whole way through multiple PET scans, 6 chemotherapy treatments, and a double mastectomy and then I went a little nuts.  I think the last 7 weeks of nothing going on was too much for me.  I probably would have been okay if everything had kept going, but sitting it out for 7 weeks gave me way too much time to think.  And the butcher at the grocery store who helped me find bones for the dogs, was just trying to be kind when he saw the marks all over my chest and throat.  But, his story about his wife's breast cancer returning not once, not twice, but 3 times made the idea of a straight jacket seem comforting.  If that wasn't enough, telling me that she lost her voice compliments of the chemotherapy just sealed the whole deal for me.  I hated to be rude, but I couldn't get away from him fast enough.

I really think that there is some room for improvement in the way that doctors deal with cancer patients post-treatment.  There is a huge disconnect that is challenging even for the toughest warriors.  You go through many months of endless doctors appointments, tests, and treatments, and then all of a sudden, there's nothing to do.  And for them, it's all over, but for the patient, the mind is left to wonder.

Never fear, I am okay today, good even.  My meltdown was something that had to happen.  But now, I am  ready to rock radiation, even if I am a tad nervous.  I will be better once the first treatment is done.  I think the meltdown was good for me- even if my husband thought it was completely insane.  Ironically, I still haven't gotten angry.  Now I am left to wonder if that's going to rear it's ugly head sometime in the near future.


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