Tingling and Numbness in my Fingers and Toes May never Go Away

I set up at the First Saturday Art Market this past saturday April 2, 2010…was a slow day until the end of the afternoon but had a lot of fun and saw a lot of friends that day. I’m rockin my new hair, white half-inch fuzz with a few black hairs. Never lost my eyebrows or eyelashes which was the only part of me that I didn’t lose during this cancer thing. I thought I was never going to get over the side effects from the last chemo but eventually, I have and I think my body knows that part of this journey is over. It seemed my energy has returned,  mostly. At least I can walk without feeling like I’m about to have a heart attack or just pass out. Walking up and down the stairs to my apartment feels like I’m a baby taking my frist steps alone., so excited.All of my fingernails hurt and I cannot pull up my lymphodema sleeve onto my arm at all without someone helping me because my nails are all about to fall off and new growth is already present and it can’t be soon enough for me. Most of my nails are black or yellow and brown, very very ugly.

I met my plastic surgeon yesterday and his assistant and was very pleased with both of them. He walked into my room and the first thing made a joke with me and I knew we were on the same page. My surgery is now scheduled for April 18 but the jury is out on exactly the type of surgery that will be performed. I’m going to lose either a full breast or a lot of tissue which will be determined by the MRI results which I also had yesterday. Yes, I hated it but took medication to put me in lala land. I actually thought I was grocery shopping and was making dinner for someone and when the nurse came to tell me the test was over, I laughed at myself thinking I was at Krogers in Montrose! Oh where the mind can take you!

I do have a lot more recovery to go with this whole process, just the chemo being over is not near the end. Surgery for the removal of the cancer that is left in my body, then radiation, then reconstruction surgery of the breast and all the while I will be getting massive amounts of testing, and will also still be getting infusions every 21 days of herceptin which they tell me has no side effects(do I really believe that?) and check ups of surgery go on and on. I can only take little bites of this at a time. Thinking too far into the future just makes me nuts…right this minute and for the past few days, I feel like my old self except when I look in the mirror…I have all my body parts still, my skin is a little thin, my nails look like I slammed them in the car door, all 10 of them and the toes and fingertips have numbness and tingling which is called nuethrophy  and they may remain that way for the rest of my life. My left arm is numb too from the previous lymph node removal this past September 2010, try to scratch an itch on a numb arm…yes, it gets very itchy and you can never be satisfied. Once you start scratching…so I try not to…very difficult and I know you reading this can’t understand what I’m talking about….just trust me on this one.   My bowels are still out to lunch. I know, TMI BUT a very bad side effect of chemo is either diarrhea or constipation….very uncomfortable for the patient…. from time to time I can taste my food and then sometimes everything will still taste like metal and cardboard, this is very crazy making and makes me cry sometimes for myself. The chemo and the cancer make me cry a lot, its like I have lost control of my emotions and my physician told me that most everyone does this, it is normal. I am so sick of crying but just to let you know that most cancer patients do this like heart patients and it is nothing to be ashamed of. My eyes are either dry and goopy from the chem or crying and when I wake up in the morning, I have to unglue my eyes…and sometimes I have to wipe myeyes just to see to drive or read this computer screen…….oh God…please make this go away, I’m so tired, really really tired. We take our lives for granted, I am no exception, we take our body functions for granted, we think everything is going to be the same for all of our lives and I’m here to tell you NOT….if this can happen to me, it can happen to you too and I wish I could say to you on how to prevent it or how better to deal with it but I can’t. I have many regrets of not taking better care of myself. 8 years of stress being a care taker, not getting mammograms, not exercising, drinking that one more drink, not getting enough rest and pushing myself too hard, eating foods that are processed, letting myself get overweight and sedentary….having too many regrets and wondering what I did to bring this on? Does anyone have the answers? Can I turn back the clock and get a redo? Should I have gone to church and prayed to God more? All these thoughs have gone through my head plus more that I can’t even share here….I think these thoughts and then let them go as fast as I can so I can have a clean slate and start over and stay positive and promise I will do better and take care of my mental and physical self. I try hard to not let “people and situations get to me” I take things more with a grain of salt…know that expression? I let stuff slide off my back, I cannot afford to get stressed out about much of anything if I’m going to get well . My recovery means absolutely EVERYTHING to me so don’t try to shake me up…I will just walk away from you and never look back. Being sick and poor in this country really sucks and having friends and people love you certainly helps with recovery.So be kind to each other and when someone you know gets ill from any disease or injured, don’t forget them. All the small little things that people do for me is so appreciated and so necessary. We as humans will not survive if we don’t help each other out. I can say honestly that I have already changed for the better, I’m a better person because I have cancer or HAD CANCER…(Staying postive)  I will tell you exactly what I’ve learned and experienced on a later post. And I am going to tell you some small things you can do to help someone that can change their life or make them comfortable while they go through healing from a disease or a life situation. You never know when you too may need help back.

I just found out last night that one of my brothers was told he has cancer cells in his stomach and esophagus…I filled out paperwork about my family history yesterday at MD Anderson and checked NO on the box where it asked if I have any family members that have or had cancer. I’m so sad….for him and for me.

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Dancing, Dancing Danceing….sing to music as you read it..that old disco song…

I’m sitting here at the computer taking a breather in the literal sense. I slept last night and it makes me feel better and each day after chemo..the LAST CHEMO…EVER! I RANG THE BELL REMEMBER UNIVERSE,  I RANG THE DAMN BELL! I have so much catching up to do on my life which has been put of virtual hold for months now and I just over did it a bit. My energy is not back full force as much as I push for it, I have to realize what I have just been through, how soon we forget, …….NOT!!!!! I have not forgotten anything except how energetic I use to be and I try to do everything I use to do. This has been a hard last chemo with my nails in bad shape, some are white, some are black and brown and I wish they would fall off so they could start to grow again, comeon….and the nurophy in my fingertips and toes is in my opinion pretty horrible, the swelling in my left arm with the lymphodema is bad right now because I’ve been lifting, sweeping and trying to get stuff done at home.  Feeling pretty much like the Mack truck has been back hitting me again the past two weeks, I was house bound for almost a week after the chemo unless someone came and took me out and I couldn’t stay upright very long…but I plan on with a little help from some friends be at the First Saturday Art Market tomorrow….selling my wares…working on new pieces of jewelry, has many bouncing around in my head, just need to get in there and make them for you.

I’ve learned a lot about disease, people, cancer, human nature, anger, just how short life really is, and all I want to do is dance….I can’t wait till I can dance again. Yeah, I talk about it all the time and I may not be all that good but moving my feet to a beat is what I feel like I do best, it makes me feel alive and happy….I have a NEW LEVEL of ALIVE AND HAPPY NOW…try going through chemo for 6 months and some go much longer than me, and hospitalized twice because the chemo was too strong for my body and my potassium dropped to dangerous lows…this has been  a ride I would wish on none. Almost a year or more before my cancer diagnosis, I thought about writing a blog and this title came to me…that is how most things do come in my noggin…they just appear quickly and if I don’t write them down and keep them, they flee…. life is short, dance fast…little did I know at the time that I would really get to know exactly what that line meant, especially to me…and how!  Kinda like one of my chapters about Take Time To Smell the Roses….we don’t often get second chances. And I didn’t know I was this wise till I started to write. I’ve always felt like I had a book in me somewhere, I’ve had a very colorful life in these many 62 years I’ve been on this planet. And maybe that will be my next blog…

April 12, I will be in surgery for a mastomecty of my left breast, then radiation, then reconstruction in 6 months…this is the last news I heard from my physicians and all that can change next week after latest MRI discovery. I hope it changes in my favor…not to excited to lose my breast and have it replaced but the good new will be, whatever little cancer cells that are left will be cut out and then burned up with radiation. All  I want again is my life back, but I get a new one, as a survivor….

I plan on being in the art car parade in Bonnie’s car again as a survivor of breast cancer with several other women…I told you I would be in the parade, it is kinda where I got started last year. I knew I was sick, I just didn’t know how badly all during the Art Car Festivites talk about denial!!! I was the Queen of Denial!!…but I kept it to myself.  You that know me, know I don’t keep good news to myself, but this was my life and it is still ongoing….

I will post again after my physician visits next week…..

I am selling at the First Saturday Art Market April 2 and Pretty Little Things, vintage clothing sale on April 9…please come out and support me and all the other vendors and artist…we work hard for our money first for the passion and second, to EAT…lololol…bringing and making beautiful art and beautiful vintage clothing….Thanks everyone for sticking with me, supporting me and praying most of all. I wish I could hug everyone and say thank you personally. HAng on, It Ain’t over yet….

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Anger,Prayers and Kindness from Strangers and Friends

After I posted yesterday my “Angry” blog entry, I received the nicest prayer list from a very dear friend, Cindy W. She has her whole community of supportive girlfriends that attend a church say prayers for me and send me healing’s every week….. I was so touched, it made me cry.And it started me thinking…

I do want people to know that this is not pretty what I’m going through and what other people with all kinds of cancer go through. It is hard and it tears up everything in your emotional life as well as the physical. Some of us suffer intense pain either from the disease itself or the treatment. I smile through a lot of the pain because I’m  a proud person and tough as nails….please know this isn’t easy breezy thing to be dealing with on an everyday basis and I am only human and I cry and I hurt and I don’t want anyone seeing me so down but sometimes, I gotta let it fly…….and just a little thing I might mention. Just because your friend has a smile on their face and maybe they are sitting at home they might be very depressed, lonely, hungry, needing essentials, needing a ride, or just needing company….don’t assume that it is easy to ask for help, its not….trust me. Human nature is proud and so many of us were taught to be self sufficient….and to me it’s a sign of weakness….a kind thought or deed can go  a long way… it is very hard for some of us to ask for help, I know it is for me. And sometimes I sit in suffer rather than ask. So, you could be a great service if you said to your sick friend, “How do you feel and is there ANYTHING I can do for you” and mean it.   Bringing flowers, or something as simple as a box of kleenex, homemade soup, a DVD and sitting and watching it with them. Ask them if there is anything they need at the grocery or drug store..catching them up on gossip or the latest on any topic they are interested in is so helpful…..it is a simple deed and so appreciated….For me a very active social person, its like living in hell being alone in my house day after day after day without seeing anyone. And again sometimes, I want to sleep and lick my wounds. Just dropping in to see me helps lift my mood and having someone you know and love come and see you is the best….Just remember, we are all in this together because we are all basically “one” and some day, you may be the one on the receiving end. I always have said, “What goes around comes right back at cha!!!” kindness will never go unforgotten and it sure makes  a soul feel good. Just read below, I’ve removed all emails addresses for privacy…thank you ladies….God Bless You…..

“Hi Sam:
My church girlfriends keep you in their prayers and we personally pray together for you every Wednesday.  I sent them your last blog and here are a few of their prayers…  Love you, Cindy

There were over 40 women’s emails and I know personally ONE of them…

Date: Friday, March 25, 2011, 10:35 PM

God we ask for your grace and support for Sam. Wrap your loving arms around her and drench her in your light, your love and your strenghth. Give her the courage to endure whatever is ahead in her plan. You are love. You are grace. You are yor salvation. Bless Sam and let her feel not only your love but also the love of those who lift her up. Bless you Sam.

Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 25, 2011, at 10:55 AM, wrote:

God, we ask for a hedge of protection around Sam – one that lets in only the light.  We know you are in the middle of Sam’s fight, please help her to feel you presence.  Amen


Hi Cindy – will keep her lifted up in prayer… God bless her…
D-



Sent: Fri, March 25, 2011 10:21:47 AM
Subject:

A posting from my friend Sam and what she deals with on a daily basis struggling with cancer…please continue to keep her in your prayers!”

AND A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT HAS STEPPED UP TO HELP ME, THERE ARE MANY MANY PEOPLE THAT I CALL A FRIEND AND THEY ARE THERE FOR ME BUT SOME OF US AREN’T SO LUCKY. REACH OUT TODAY AND HELP MAKE SOMEONE’S LIFE A LITTLE EASIER.

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Angry

Finished up my #6 chemo on Monday March 21 and I’m scheduled now for all sorts of new things, surgery, radiation, more infusions of herceptin for the rest of the year till right before Thanksgiving when I had my first treatment.  Cancer has taken away most of my femininity, like my beautiful long hair, my perfectly shaped breasts, my long painted fingernails, my supple skin, my slim body, my emotional stability…or did I have any of that emotional stability? I’ve always been a girly girl with painted nails and toes and make up and love beautiful lingerie, clothes, makeup, high heels beauty products, fought my weight all my life since I’m such a  small woman, exercised, taken fairly good care of myself  and …but chemo, steroids, anxiety, stress, inability to focus, being scared of everything that might make me sick…..cancer has  totally remodeled my body to what makes me feel and look like a monster. I didn’t even get a chance to get “old” and run down, I had good genes of youth, like my Mother, she always looked years younger than she actually was and had the care free attitude to go along with it…blowing in the wind, sa la vie, But I had it happen to me in a mere few months…..thanks to everyone that said “Congratulations on your last chemo, now it almost over.Sam, you can go on with your life!!!””””…WELL NO IT’s NOT….it just does not end after chemo treatment…..I am going to lose my left breast to a surgeons knife and at this point, I will have to wait for 6 months to get reconstructive and I have to have a MRI to see where the cancer is now in my breasts and see if it has spread…no more mammograms for me because my breasts are so dense they cannot be viewed with a regular equipment and boy howdie, do I NOT LIKE MRI’s…..they suck so bad…. this cancer is tricky…you leave it alone for one moment, and BAMB…it starts traveling all over you body and it can get into places you never even imagined.  And I have been called a warrior, a survivor, a brave girl, told that I had the right attitude, stayed positive, bull shit, that has nothing to do with it and you can’t tell me or any other person with cancer any different. I was told at the beginning that ATTITUDE is what is going to cure you…..HAHAHAHAHAI have tried to stay positive just for my own sanity but cancer is an entity in itself…it has no emotions, no brain, no feelings, it ravishes your body. I fantasize that I have a “nice” cancer that will behave and go away when told too.   I’m not having a good day, I miss socializing with my friends, miss driving my art car, I miss feeling like creating, I miss running to the thrift store to see what fun bargains I can get, I miss going to the movies, I REALLY miss going out dancing and listening to music, I miss casually strolling thorough art galleries to see all my friends art work and crazy art installations, I miss going to work, I miss just hanging out with the girls, I miss finding a boyfriend, I miss having a boyfriend, I miss going out to eat and new places, I  miss going out to eat and actually tasting my food, I miss Sunday mornings with a lover, I miss cuddling, I miss feeling like planning a party and actually having the strength to pull it off, I miss going to the grocery store to pick up a few things, I miss sitting in front of a fire in the country,  I miss my independence, I miss just walking or running up the stairs to my house, I miss sleeping from 10pm to 7am without interruption of peeing or just no sleeping from anxiety or pain….fuck you cancer…I HATE YOU and I’m not in a good mood today.  I miss my life…where did it go….

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This I have Discovered Has Been My Motto

I have to keep posting this so I remember….:Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive – the risk to be alive and express what we really are. ~ don Miguel Rui MY MOTTO SAM
This has been my motto throughout this whole journey. I am now typing this with 3 fingers on my left hand….I have made the fucking best of this the only way I knew how. It’s funny that I didn’t think I could make it to the end some days…The steroids I am on now make me cry and talk way too much but all of you have put up with me and my rantings….Thank you, i have made friends that I didn’t know I had on this awful trip I’ve been on and baby, I’ve been on some trips in my lifetime…lololol…I’m a bonfite old hippy girl from the 1970s. Maybe that is why I’ve done so well…I’ve been down this road tripping before…old hippies ROCK Bonnie….I’ve even managed to find love in the strangest place with someone…I’m not ashamed to admit it either…boy am I going to want to delete this post on Wednesday…hahahah.
Thank you all that have come down this healing path with me from HELL….it has been HELL THE ROAD PAVED FROM HELL….But I’m really grateful for it in an odd sort of way, the lessons in love I’ve received have been enormous….thaks everyone….. Sam

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Just Musings from Me tonight This post is dedicated to Ms.Wallace

No matter that this Monday March 21 is the LAST CHEMO for me, I’m still anxious and not excited about having to get ONE MORE CHEMO. The side effects are still horrible…I have never gotten over #5 completely. This one has been hard and it was cut back 30 minutes and I just thought I would breeze through it with little or no problems but my energy has been depleted since the chemo has made me anemic and my physician told me that my drugs, my chemicals were very strong and aggressive because my C was aggressive. So at 10am on Monday my friend Mitch and I will be at MDA Green Infusion Room for my LAST CHEMO. My potassium is always low so I’m on major potassium pills right now…in fact I forgot to get them filled and will do so tomorrow and tomorrow I will also start taking the final steroid medication…oh, how we hate the steroids…those of us that suffer with this malady. Its necessary so we don’t get an infection, that is what I’m told. My poor fingernails are numb yet they hurt, are brown, my toes feel like there is something in between them, my nails are paper-thin and my skin is dry and I cannot moisturizer them enough, doesn’t seem to help one bit. My energy and my mood is not so good because basically, I don’t sleep, I’m up at 2:51 am now typing this blog.

Can you believe someone asked me today how much longer I had to live…do you have much time left he said? Shocked, stunned and a little upset, I said, well, I don’t plan on dying too soon. and my friend said to me I didn’t know you had an expiration date….people just don’t think when you tell them or they realize you have cancer.

I did have a wonderful adventure this weekhowever. My friend Deborah who is an excellent photographer, had my makeup done, and had a henna artist do a design on my bald head..well, my hair is coming back white fuzzy and photographed me for a project she is calling “Get Your Sexy Back”. for ladies that have breast cancer…you see, she too is in our club.But a two-year survivor which gives me hope…My brave wonderful friend did not choose to have chemo, she had a lumpectomy and radiation only and is doing fine still taking daily medication to prevent the reoccurred  of cancer. Her medication costs over $600.00 a month… hmmmmmmm wonder how I’m going to afford this, and she has insurance. Well, so much for future tripping, LIVE IN THE NOW SAM….don’t go off somewhere else in your head just yet. LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT…do you have any idea how hard that is for a cancer person…? We are all guilty of doing this….I was told as a child to PLAN FOR THE FUTURE…but isn’t this future tripping? Isn’t dreaming sort of future tripping?

I am scheduled for a mammogram on April 12. I’m having a real hard time thinking about giving up my breast. It is one aspect of this disease that really pisses me off. I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that if I don’t, I could just die…would it hurt if I don’t, will the cancer come back in me and will I hurt? The phyisical pain and the emotional pain and the fingernail pain and the lack of energy is a pain, how could it be worse than any of this. We really as humans know we are all going to die but no one knows when our time is up…untimely death  of a loved one is so hard…even when someone is gravely ill or injured or is murdured…I’ve experienced all of these in my life time. My frist husband was murdered…yes…many of you don’t know that about me. I was barely 28 years old…and my last husband died after a long time suffering from a motorcycle accident and a traumatic brain injury….this just happened in 2009 after my care taking of 8 years. I haven’t forgotten him, I still have his ashes but has anyone else remembered him beside me and his Mother? I believe in reincarnation, at least I use too…I feel I have lived before, I have some vague memories of a life which I won’t go into that at the moment. We live and learn lessons and get a rerun…maybe a few times. I guess everyone is reading and guessing what is on my mind tonight…maybe that is why I can’t sleep…I have physical problems that are not pleasant, burning skin, irritation…I’m so weary..so weary…I want to have a job again, I want a relationship again, I make money, have a nice place to live, give parties, go dancing again, listen to music is one of my favorite things, I will ge to do that tomorrow morning…..go to art galleries, be an artist, dance, own a business again…have hair, so much to do so little time…

Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying…what are the rest of the words to this song? Planning and scheming the night away….

I just tired……….Hope you like my photos….I had so much fun sitting for them and my henna head is still causing a stir….thank you My Lovely Friend for everything you have done for me..I am so blessed to call you my Lovely Friend…you are one in a million.i

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I’m Gonna EAT My Bowl of Life Crap

Just to let anyone reading my blog know, I’m in much better spirits today. It just takes a minute, maybe longer to get through each new phase of this “Thing” I’m having to go through and yes mam, I will be happy as soon as I’m on the other side.  There is another side to breast cancer. Millions of women have walked in my shoes and are now survivors and I know a few myself. They are my new sisters, my new family and I have many families that I’m a part of. We did not want to join this club or be a part of this family but life hands some of us a bowl of crap and we have to eat it and move on….I’m just very impatient to move on as most anyone would be.

I’m writing this to let my friends and readers know that I am only human and humans have all kinds of feelings and moods and it is just life. No one can stay “UP” all the time, I think it is part of life or I wouldn’t be human.

My nails still hurt, one on my left hand is in trouble and I am concerned I am going to accidentally hit it and pull it off so I try to keep a bandage on it. I started with the antibodies, which I’m not fond of taking but hell, I’m not fond of this whole thing. I’m doing things, having things done to me that I never in my life thought I would be going through.  My right little fingernail is completely brown this morning and more are following almost by the hour. You get use to the pain till a new one comes along. And everyone’s pain threshold is different, I had no concept what mine was like till I got  my diagnosis.  I could tell you all about emotional pain, menstrual pain, migraine headache pain but this is all-encompassing pain.  All over in every part or bit of your being; daily awaking pain. Sleep is my pain meds…and unfortunately, sleep does not come much with this at least for me.

So, I have calmed down and in better spirits. A good friend is coming to visit me today and that makes me in good spirits too. I will beat the hell out of cancer and my attitude is just right and good for me. A GREAT BIG Thank you to everyone that responded to me, I know I AM BLESSED with many friends, it makes a girl feel good and warm and cozy.

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