So, I'm Not Okay With "New Normal"


Today marks 5 months since my chemotherapy ended.  It's a little hard to believe it's been that many months especially since the effects of those wonderful life saving toxins are still present, and boy do they remind me on daily basis.  It's almost as if my body is angry with me for letting them pump that horrific stuff through my veins.  Thank goodness it can't talk to me, because I'm sure it would have the mouth of drunken sailor combined with the mouth of a seriously angry truck driver.  Funny, but I remember last month right around this time looking at my fingers and thinking that the weirdness in my fingernails would probably be gone by the time I hit the 4 month mark.... It was shortly after that that my big toenail decided it was going to fall off.  (Just so you know, toenails grow back seriously quickly... it's incredible, so have faith if you find yourself in the same situation.) Boy, was I wrong.  Today, I'm looking at my fingernails and thinking that if grabbed the clippers and trimmed them, with the exception of 1 nail, my fingernails would look normal.  My eyebrows and eyelashes have also decided to return.  Score 1, or maybe 3 for normalcy, right?

...And then there is my brain, or lack thereof.  This is my biggest concern.  Is it ever going to function on a normal level again?  Will I ever be able to recall my date of birth without reaching for my drivers license and wondering, "Hey, who is that long haired blonde?"  Last night, I found myself standing in the middle of the garage with no clue, and I mean "ZILCH" why I was there. I asked Lucy and Duke both, but they weren't talking.  I think they might be starting to get a little concerned.  I still start doing things and forget what I'm doing.  I guess that's why at any given point in time, there are always at least 10 windows open in my browsers.  For 3 days now, I've been trying to order that miracle cream from Clinique that's going to make those lines around my eyes disappear.  I still haven't done it, so yes, the lines are still there.  I can't believe that on top of everything else that I'm adjusting to, I have deal with aging too.  Cripes, I'm only 40.

Friday, I saw the oncologist.  I've graduated to the point where I only see her every 9 weeks... hey, it's progress.  I'm just not sure my lack of patience would tolerate me seeing her every 3 weeks, my appointment was at 9:30 and supposed to be the 1st appointment of the day.  It was almost 11 by the time I saw her... I was getting ready to stick my head out of door and yell "Hey, anybody out there?".  I can't help but think that being that they are a cancer office, they should be able to appreciate just how precious time really is....  I seriously had to pee (yes, this is an ongoing problem with me...) and I was out of coffee.  I should just take a whole carafe of it when I have to see her, and maybe lacing it with something a little stronger is not such a bad idea either.  I had a long discussion with her about my brain, and it's refusal to cooperate on a normal level.  She laughed at me and said that I'm being too hard on myself, it's only been 5 months since chemo ended... I certainly hope that we're not still having these conversations 5 years from now.  On a very positive note, she mentioned that she spent a lot of time reviewing my pathology report (slow, and boring weekend at the lake, maybe?) and I am definitely not ER positive.  So, there will be NO TAMOXIFEN for this gal.  Woopie.  I was prepared to do battle on that one.

So, all along I have told myself that I have to accept the "new normal".  Then the other day, I was reading a post by another breast cancer survivor.  She raised a very valid point about new normal.  Does saying that I am okay with the new normal mean that I am settling, and accepting things the way they are?  So, I've been thinking about this in the way that someone who is mentally impaired thinks about something...  And the more I think, the more I realize that I AM NOT OKAY WITH NEW NORMAL.  While I have no desire to live so much in the future that I miss what's going on now, I realize that I am not okay with certain things the way that they are now, and rather than saying I'm okay with it, I need to take action and make plans to change the things that I cannot live with.  There are things that I know that I cannot change- I can't change the fact that I had cancer, and that I will always be at risk for an occurrence. Pet scans, and blood work will be a part of my life, for the rest of my life.  But, I am not willing to accept this fuzzy, uncooperative brain, and I'm not willing to accept the side effects of the cancer treatment that are bothering me.  It's time to take action and fix this situation.  I am a take charge kind of person, and I've never "settled" for things, why should I start at 40?  I mean come on, I kicked cancer's ass... I can kick the side effects of cancer treatment, right?




2 comments

  1. So, I could find out that I'm not HER2+ after? Did they say you are not & they were wrong all along?

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    Replies
    1. I am definitely HER 2 positive. But, the initial biopsies that they did in January showed "weakly" ER positive. The pathology report after my surgery in June was not ER positive.

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