Attitude of Gratitude

Here I am four months after diagnosis, six weeks post radiation, and three weeks after starting Tamoxifen-the hormone blocker (the devil drug).  My daily grind has changed a lot and I found myself in a bit of a pity party the past few weeks.  The side effects of Tamoxifen are not fun—body aches (like I have a constant flu), hot flashes, fatigue.  Yep, I got them all.  I have been fighting the past six weeks just to get through a day feeling good due to the fatigue of radiation and now the Tamoxifen, but those days of feeling good are few.  I wake up in the morning and crawl out of bed and MAKE myself go workout (so unlike my normal).  But the hour at the gym is the only time I don’t ache, I am assuming from the endorphins flowing and the music in my ears.  Makes me focus on something else for an hour.  I then spend the morning working and waiting until I can get back home and crawl back in bed.  This is so not me.  I won’t make any plans if I can avoid them for afternoon/evening because I never know how I will feel.  So not my normal.

I don’t blog this so you can feel sorry for me, I do that on my own.  I blog this reality because having been diagnosed with cancer is harder than you think.  I thought, “Wow, I breezed through surgery and radiation, now I can get back to normal.”  This is not the case. The after effects of the past few months of treatment take their toll on your body.  So if you have a friend or colleague going through any type of cancer, remember to be kind.  And show gratitude.  You will make their day with one kind gesture or one kind word.

Then I went to church last Saturday, and as usual got smacked in the face.  Pretty typical when you are focusing on the negatives in your life, God will usually wake you up.  The sermon was on gratitude.

“We are only grateful people when we can say thank you to ALL that has brought us to the present moment.  As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift from God to be grateful for.  Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God.” ~Henri Nouwen

I KNOW that God is using me through my journey as I have had a few people reach out to me and tell me they have shared my blog with someone newly diagnosed.  I have been told by a friend that her best friend was just diagnosed and that she knows her best friend will be okay and she is less scared and knows she can fight as she was watched me fight during my journey.  God is using me and I know that.  I just have to be grateful I am here in this journey to share with others.

This week I saw my medical Oncologist, Dr. Kato (who is awesome!).  Knowing fully that I DID NOT want to go on Tamoxifen, his first question was to see how I was doing.  I told him I hated it and hated that I felt so crappy every day.  So I am off Tamoxifen for three weeks, hopefully start to feel better soon, and then we will add it back at a half dose to see if I tolerate it.  And if not, then I won’t take it.  Quality of life will have to prevail.  And I will have to trust God fully in this process.

I saw my surgeon, Dr. Liu, for followup and all is good.  I will have scans again in October and then every six months for a few years and then yearly after that.  I was released to start running slowly and start hitting tennis balls and slowly work back into my game.  So of course I ran the next day and hit balls with a fellow Pink Power Sister and vented to her about everything I was going through.  I am grateful for a listening ear from someone who has been through this.  Thanks for listening to my complaining Marci!

So for now, I am okay.  Getting through my days and laying low.  And I am grateful in all circumstances and have an Attitude of Gratitude for all that I have, my amazing husband and family, my many friends who support me, and my journey.  I am grateful in all circumstances and know that the Lord will never leave me or forsake me and I trust Him through this trial.  Someday (hopefully soon) I will be able to say I am good again!  Today I went to a 2-hour tennis clinic and felt good!  I am registering for the summer race series I do every year so I can get back to running consistently.  My journey will continue with gratitude.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James: 1:2-4