Friday, July 10, 2015

Moving On, Celebrating Life Beyond Cancer

   I always said, "I want to live to be 100."   Well, why not?  My grandmother did!   Two years ago my grandmother died, at 100 1/2.  I wrote about losing her, in my post July 1, 2013. I feel it like it was yesterday.
   Now, living with breast cancer, I realize I may not reach that goal.  Cancer hit me with the reality that I am a mere mortal.
Wow, this is serious, this could kill me.  But so far, I have made it.   I want to live as long as I can.  I will be careful to listen to my body, as Dr Bapat, my oncologist instructed.
  I will learn to thrive, and think of my self as a thriver, not just a survivor.  I must begin a fitness program, join a support group, "eat clean", get back to working like I'm used to.
I'm gonna live my life to the fullest!

         My plan to thrive:
  •    Exercise    More than ever, I need to get myself in the best possible condition, so I can lower risks of heart problems, and ease  bone and joint pain.  These are all part of the aging process, but now radiation has increased my risks . There is also evidence that exercise helps you live longer, lead a more productive life and lowers risks of breast cancer coming back . First I'll complete breast rehab and lymphedema prevention.  The physical therapist will show me what I need to do, and I will follow through and continue the program. Then i will be joining a cancer fitness group.
  •    Support groups-   I know it helps to share information, learn from others going through the same thing and encourage each other. I need to make time because I need this support.  I've joined groups on line, and at my church. My nurse navigator hooked me up with a local breast cancer survivor group too. Please get a nurse navigator if you ever get a diagnosis of breast cancer. She is invaluable as a resource person, and patient advocate, helps with everything, every step of the way. 
  •    Eat right-  I must treat my body to the right nutrition, so it works better,  Keep my weight down, so I can  look my best,  have energy for work and grandkids  and  make sure I get the nutrients I need to keep well.   A nutritionist's perspective-   , Cookbook - Betty Crocker Living With Cancer Cookbook and a great book The Whole Food Guide For Breast Cancer Survivors
  •    Work  Smart - Make wiser choices, delegate the jobs that are too hard, pursue the most enjoyable,  worthwhile jobs.  I must learn to earn enough money so I can support myself better and eliminate a lot of stress.   Manage my time better.  Say no when I should! 

I am  really struggling with the fact that I successfully completed 16 rounds of chemotherapy,
 a lumpectomy and lymphadenectomy, and 35 radiation treatments,
but they will not pronounce me cancer-free!

 "Think of it as, you have a chronic disease," two of my  doctors told me.
  "You are done your treatments, now go out and live your life!  Let us know if you have any symptoms, any changes."  

  I don't like this.  I am determined to be rid of cancer. I want to live, and live abundantly.  I have faith that God is healing me, but strangely, it is harder for me, now that I am done fighting so hard doing so much- hospital visits, procedures.  Mixed emotions, relief,  but fear. Joy, but an underlying concern a certain apprehension. But I am told this is totally normal.
 Joan Lunden said she had the same difficulty. After treatment ended was the hardest time,  she said, because you are no longer fighting, there's no more to do but wait.
 See her new streaming television network, devoted to breast cancer,health and wellness,
 Alive with It's a big help to me.  Hearing others stories and  medical updates,

     I am working on getting my life back to normal.  I am looking forward to taking off my wig now that I  have a little hair.  I was worried about Tommy , my 4 year old grandson discovering my baldness and asking questions. I didn't want to tell him I had lost my hair, I've had  cancer or anything about it at all.     I slept over and yesterday morning, when he awoke, he caught me without the wig.  As I scrambled to put it on, he asked, "Grandma,what did you do with your hair?"   I said "I am putting it on, it's okay"   He was satisfied for the moment,  then  quickly distracted and I am waiting for more questions when he thinks of it later.  I just want to look normal to him.
    So I will tell him, I am going to wear my hair very short this summer, then it will keep growing longer.
   I think I'm ready.  Well, almost.   First I must see Miss Clairol.

 There are so many adjustments!

Moving on........
I went to the community college, a program for People in Transition.  I wanted to explore my future,
Should I prepare for a new job, train for a new career?.  In the end, I figured out that I should keep doing what I am already doing.  The counselor said "I think you should grow your business, sounds like you've made the choice to keep taking care of the kids,  and you don't want to take a 9-5 job, so why would you go back to school? "   I already have the best job in the world, caring for the children, Then I have a couple other businesses that I can run on off hours, and while the baby naps.
       At  Selective Residential Services,   I am changing some of the job descriptions - less heavy, dirty jobs  and more enjoyable work, like murals.  No more pursuing big clean-outs, because I am losing my warehouse and no longer have a large van.  But  I am continuing with apartment turnovers, and cleaning.  I will still do special projects, like cleaning our attics, basements, sheds, for some regular clients.
        Here are some past projects,  and I hope to have some new ones to show you soon.
part of a mural I painted at St. Isodore's Pre-school

a  Cape May beach scene that I painted on some beach house furniture
part of a golf scene  from a mural I painted in someone's den
A section of a mural of scenes of Italy

Selling Vintage-   While I was in all those months of treatment, I spent a lot of time building up my vintage collection for my shops!  I recently reached a landmark of listing over 1000 items on my Etsy shop!   I am posting more vintage treasures each time something sells, almost every day!

Vintage Treasures in my Etsy shop!  Libbey glassware

Lovely teacup in my Etsy shop

       I finally got  into a booth at a new antiques and art mall in my town. I am very excited about this venture!  The booth is shared with a few others, and we've  crammed as much as we can into it. Even the drawers are full of linens and goodies!

       I love decorating the booth.  Later this month, we are having an event, "Christmas in July", so I'll get  some vintage holiday decorations out and decorate  the booth for my favorite holiday!

 A small booth at a local antiques and collectibles mall, which I share with several others.  

  Life has it's celebrations too!

 I am so happy and proud that my first grandson has graduated  high school, with honors!  He is a bright young man, pursuing a nursing career!  Congratulations Gary!
I celebrate you and your achievements!
My first grandson Gary graduating  in the Class of 2015,
 Gloucester County Institute of Technology

I thank God for my grandkids and for the pleasure of watching them grow up, loving and guiding them, enriching their lives in whatever small ways I can.  I am so grateful for the chance to help them learn about life, God, and their heritage.  With a bursting heart full of great pride I wish Gary a bright shining future and all the best that life can bring!  May God bless him, protect him, and guide him.

With Love,  Linda

No comments: