Hi. It's me. My name is Lesley and I'm a two-time cancer survivor.
My summer vacation came to an end a few weeks ago. 4 Months of relaxing poolside while downing mojitos...obviously. What a dream it's been.
I'm back to work. My return was exhausting both physically and mentally. But it's nice to be back in a routine and talking to adults everyday...nothing against my 3 year old.
I can't explain how great it is to be feeling better. I'm not 100% but I think I can get there someday. To be honest, for a while, I didn't think I'd ever get to where I am now. I had some low points last year during radiation, but this....this was a whole 'nother ballgame. That f*cking pain was unbearable. I literally could not function at times. I ugly cried. A lot. I said the words "I just can't do this anymore" more times than I'd like to admit. I got mad at everyone around me because they couldn't fix it and they'd just stare at me like I was one of those sad puppies in the Sarah McLaughlin commercials. Ugh. It was shitty. Beyond shitty. BUT....hopefully the worst is behind me. I'm working on getting better everyday. No clue what my new normal will be, but I'm eager to find out.
I'm confident I've taken more drugs in the last 4 months than I have in my entire life. Before they discovered the pain was from nerve damage and got me on meds that worked, I couldn't take enough pain killers. My friends would come visit and I'd have to time my dose just right so they'd kick in when they showed up. I was so eager to get out of the house that if we were invited somewhere I would double a dose just to get through an event. Proud? Nah. Desperate? Like you wouldn't believe.
I was lucky enough to have a ton of friends and family join me at Roswell so I could ring the bell and celebrate being cancer free. Im so grateful for that day. The sea of red shoes is something I'll never forget. This was one of those events though that I had to time my drugs just right for. I was in so much pain that day. But I was determined to make it special. Afterwards at dinner I was so uncomfortable that I barely moved from my chair. Here all these people were there to celebrate and I couldn't even get around to visit with everyone. It was heartwarming yet frustrating as hell all at the same time.
The thing about the drugs was....I hated every pill. If one more person said "but that's what they're there for", there was gonna be a battle. Before all this, I didn't even like taking ibuprofen for a headache. I had to be hurting bad. And here I was, constantly checking the clock to see if I could take another dose. I think this is where I was most thankful for my stubbornness. I was gonna find a way off those pain killers and no one was going to stop me. Luckily over time I was able to wean myself off - even before my pain docs gave me the ok. I wanted to be done and I was fine with some suffering. I won't share my pharmaceutical details, but we'll just say my house is a lot less attractive to druggies now.
Mentally I've been doing a lot better. I'm lucky to have my family and friends, that's for sure. Last week I had a PET scan. My first since the surgery and by far the most stressful scan I've ever had. I knew and trusted that my doctors got all the cancer out like they had said but there was still that chance of it showing up and having the last 4 months of hell be pointless. Having the confirmation from that scan was everything. If you saw me the day I got the results, you would've thought I had won the lottery. It was the mental boost I needed. I still get in funks here and there but I think a big part of it is that I'm not as active as I used to be. I've been in physical therapy but I haven't attempted to go for a run yet or head into the gym. It scares me a bit and I'm just so sick of starting over. But I think once I can get back into a workout routine I'll feel better about myself. I feel like my body is deflated. And goodness that scar has my bikini bod (ha!) all kinds of messed up.
This is a confusing post, isn't it? You're probably thinking, "Is she sick? Is she healthy? Is she strong? Is she off her rocker?" All of the above.
I'll try and do a better job of keeping you updated. It's been very hard to find my voice and to find the right state of mind to write. I want to be honest and open but because of the nature of my surgery, there's so much I'm not willing to share. Which is sad for you because some of it I've found makes a damn funny comedy bit....but it's not ready to be released to the public yet. Stay tuned.
Bell ringing day. July 14, 2017
I'm incredibly lucky.
Photo courtesy of Nancy Vanderlinde
This was so cool!
Photo courtesy of Roswell Park
Bell ringing & birthday dinner.
So much love.
These are my people.
You work a little harder when little eyes are looking up to you.
Starting to feel great after physical therapy.
Photo courtesy of random woman walking down the street. Yup. This happened.