Thursday, May 26, 2011

Should I Be More Worried? OR the Power of Positive Energy

When I got the news last Wed night that the MRI showed two brain tumors, I wasn't too upset. My family was much more upset and I cried because they were crying but not because I was devastated at the news. I know it's serious, but I am still not really devastated or even worried. I am more worried that I need to be worried about this setback than about the setback itself.

So, as the steroids keep me awake at night, I have been trying to figure out what I think about the whole situation.

I keep thinking that it could be much worse. Surgery was successful. I am on steroids that interrupt sleep and mess up my stomach but the weakness and numbness in my hand and arm are dissipating. I hardly have any pain. The acid reflux pills help. I rest as much as I can. I have a plan for treatment in the next weeks that should take care of that pesky brain tumor. We will work on a maintenance plan to keep it from coming back afterwards.

I have a plan for the tumor in my chest. My wound under my armpit is still healing - the skin is still growing over the lat flap. There was a 6x8cm open spot and I think it was a 2x1 and another 2x1cm spot.

I start PT next week for the lymphedema in my upper left arm.

I decided the brain tumors were a wake-up call - I had been really fixated on the damn wound and satellite lesions (about 18x12cm right before surgery) in my armpit prior to the April 1 surgery and I hoped that after that surgery, I could enter into stable disease status. But the brain tumors might be telling me that I can't be too complacent about how I approach my treatment and my healing.

I am not convinced, however, that heavier duty chemotherapy will be the ticket. I read other bloggers who have gone that route - they've lost some quality of life and yet their disease still progresses.

To me, that means that I need to figure out ways to approach my treatment that are more humane to my body. I've been doing a lot of reading on EAstern philosophies and healing traditions and want to bring more of them into what I do. I have friends who pass me on information on that and I see my acupuncturist. I think I will dedicate my summer to exploring these kinds of both spiritual and physical actions more as I think I will live longer that way.

The brain tumors have also really given me permission to just forget about work. The stressful part of work. The only kind of "work" I want to do is the fun stuff - learning about people and why they do what they do, which is why I got into anthropology in the first place. My whole plan this summer is to putz around at home, work on mosaics, maybe plan yard projects, go to the Coast, stay in a treehouse. Fun stuff. Life is too short is get caught up in the drama and politics of work.

So, in the end, I guess that's why I am not more worried about the brain tumors. Things could be worse. I could either spend my time depressed and worried and sad or I could just see this as an opportunity to make sure I make the most out of my life, enjoy myself, enjoy my friends and family, spread joy, be creative, be thankful, and count my blessings. Laugh. That is a choice one can make. I choose to focus on the positive. And, life is still good!

I also think that the continued good energy, positive vibes, prayers, blessings, and whatever else is coming my way also help me a lot. And, for that I am always thankful!


Joanna said...

I think you have a better life because you choose not to spend your time worrying about that which you can't change. I told you before and I will tell you again, your spirit is infectious and you have shared your spirit on this blog which has bettered my experience with cancer (not that it is something I would ever choose for anyone...)

Did Tykerb work for you when you were on it? I could be your Tykerb buddy and I would be willing to be your Herceptin buddy again but it sounds like you are going in a different direction.

I wish you healing and happiness.

Dee said...

Joanna, I think you hit the nail on the head there - I can't spend my time worrying about what I can't change. I need to focus on what I can change and that is what I choose to do. : )

Thank you for your continued support and the wishes of healing and happiness. I do think I'm going to go back on Tykerb. We are unsure if it was effective on the cancer in my left armpit, but I'm assuming that it was working on the brain. I am still on Herceptin and Zometa.