No Jogging Suits For Me!

In April of 2015, I lie in a hospital bed with a body that was failing me.  I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, bone marrow blood cancer.

By the time I came home to begin my cancer journey of weekly chemo and steroid treatments, which would lead up to a Stem Cell Transplant, I went from an active 54 year old woman to one who was bloated, hunched over, in pain and could barely walk.

I love fashion!  It’s not the event, but what I’m going to wear that has always excited me and cancer was trying to steal my mojo!  I was not going to fight back wearing a jogging suit!

So here began my cancer fashion journey, getting up everyday and fighting my way back by presenting myself the way that made me feel like me and to shout out to the world, F.U. Cancer!!!!

Here is my journey of fighting cancer, one outfit at a time.

The Tongue, Really?

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It’s been almost two months since I began a new chemo regimen of Velcade shots to the tummy twice monthly.

I was so grateful to get off the other one that I often tell myself any new side effects are surely better, until a few days ago when my tongue began looking like it’s been put through a meat grinder.

Chemo just doesn’t discriminate between destroying the good parts along with the bad and it’s such a challenge picking which parts you care most about.

Now I’m sure my husband wouldn’t mind if I was rendered mute, but I just like talking too much to not try battling this.  Today I went on a prescription mouth rinse that I’m hoping has me gabbing again soon without a speech impediment and will just numb the whole darn thing.

I can often be found sulking and feeling sorry for myself when I’m alone, because I really hate all these ailments that feel like they wouldn’t be happening without having to be in treatment.  So please know you are not alone in having these same kinds of feelings.  Go ahead and feel away!

Yes I am grateful to be alive, in remission and getting dressed, but the tongue, REALLY?

Humor And Cancer

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Is there really humor in cancer?

I happen to think so, especially if you make friends with other cancer patients who talk openly about all the dirty details about treating it.

I have made such friends and one of them thought it might be a good idea to make this Fashionista a designer adult diaper, because chemo doesn’t discriminate what end it would like to exit your body.  We found humor in this fact.

It is so important to find these kinds of friends, the ones who have decided to laugh at the absurdity of it all right along with you.

And while I’m very lucky to not have to rely on adult diapers, I am so blessed to have friends who would laugh along with me if I did and it would be in a designer one.

 Connect with other warriors, check the resources where you are treated, join a group, join online chats, whatever works for you, but find your cancer friends!  The ones you can cry with, but laugh just as hard when needed.

Google Alert

I made the mistake I promised myself years ago that I would never do again, I went on a medical google search.

I started a new chemo treatment called Velcade and being one who does not ask many questions or hears information the way one should, I’m probably looking around at shoes (one nurse had on a really cute pair), I thought I heard something about the drug causing anxiety.

The evening after I had my last treatment, I began to experience my heart pounding and I felt so anxious.  So what’s a girl to do?  I went on an internet search Velcade and anxiety.

Most information comes from discussion groups made up mostly of patient’s spouses or family members and this is what stuck out first, “get off Velcade it killed my dad”!!!   What?  More discussions centered around the neuropathy I was sure to get which had me believing I would in no time be using a walker.

By now my anxiety turned into sadness which then turned into anger that I went on the internet to begin with.

People are rightly upset and devastated about having cancer or watching one of their loved ones suffer with it and the internet is where they find it best to vent.  And boy do they vent.

So my advice to you is, stay off the internet!!!!

You need information, call your doctor.

 I also get some of my best tips from patients I have met personally who not only talk about how bad side effects can be but add in some positive information along with it.

Gonna run, time to goole shoes!

Out Of Country Out Of Mind

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Returned home this week from our now annual family trip to Tulum, Mexico.

There is something that happens to me when I go on this trip.  I leave cancer behind.  No hand jell, no fear of germs, suddenly every ache and pain leaves and I am free.  I am Donna the vacationer, not Donna the cancer patient.

It was back to reality this week with a chemo injection yesterday, but I am not letting go of that woman lounging on the beach without a care in the world.

And while the hand sanitizer is back and the body aches will soon return, I am ready to take on 2018 and remember the girl that is free and who’s really looking forward to her next vacation.

Happy New Year

So Here’s The Story Doc

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So here’s the story Doc…

I went off my maintenance chemo for a wee longer than my one week scheduled time off and I don’t want to go back on it.

Let me back up here.

 These last few months have seen me getting reacquainted with what I feel like today, not what it felt like a few years back when I was so broken.  I’ve always measured today by that time so often telling myself, this isn’t so bad, suck it up, remember what having a broken cancer riddled body felt like?

Quiet, listen, can you believe I did both?  And the conclusion I came to were, I feel like crap.  No comparison to the past, just today and I knew I needed to make a change.

I appreciate medicine and I know it has saved my life, but the thing about treatment is, we become quiet soldiers doing what we are told.  Side effects, those are mostly met with “I’ve never heard that one before” or “everyone is different”.  Enough complaining and you will surely be seeing a therapist.

I loved being off treatment, I felt like a new woman free from a daily dose of poison, but reality is, I need some form of it to stay in remission.

Lucky for me there are numerous ones for my type of cancer and last week had me starting a new one that will be injected into my tummy twice a month.

So far I think I can handle the side effects that have come my way, good riddance to that old one that I hope I never have to use again.

I never recommend fooling around with your treatment plan, but I’ve been an obedient soldier ever since the beginning of this journey, so my Doctor gave me grace for going AWOL.

And I think she liked my boots.

Thankful

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To my fellow warriors who inspire me with their courage & strength, to my friends and family who walk beside me, to my children who are the best pieces of my heart and to my favorite date who doesn’t think I’m broken…

I am 100% thankful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving