Sunday is better . . .

27 Jun

Well, I woke up on a better side of the bed today, fortunately. I was able to get a bit more sleep than days past and that is clearly a help.

Yesterday was tough and the days preceding it were not much fun either. I have to get adjusted to this Tamoxifen. It reduces the risk of recurrence in ER+ (estrogen responsive) cancers by 40%. My oncologist considers me cured . . . but, that is based partly on some assumptions that I will do certain things. For example, she presumes that I will exercise 5 days a week (of the kind that raises your heart rate, so cardiovascular exercise), she presumes I will keep my weight under a certain amount, that I will stay on a low fat, organic, high in vegetables and fruits diet, and she presumes that I will take Tamoxifen everyday for the next five years.

She has been quite complimentary to me about how I have – as she puts it – attacked the cancer. But, it has taken so much energy and work to do all of these things . . . just constantly thinking about my food intake (how much, what, when) has been a major part of my day it seems. And, quite frankly, I just want a break from all of it.

I slacked off of my regular, anti-cancer diet for part of this past week. Normally one day of being off track would make me nervous. But, this time, I just couldn’t care about it anymore. That only lasted about four days. I am back on track now. But, it is exhausting sometimes.

Anyway, I am feeling better. And, oddly enough, yesterday I started back on my healthier food (not that I went crazy and ate horribly all week or anything) and it seems to have perhaps made me feel better this morning? I don’t know if that connection – in just one day of eating well can make that kind of a difference. But, I know that when I feel as if I am failing by eating things that are not in the right categories for me, that it does affect my mood and outlook.

I have friends who are cancer patients and survivors and they so often comment to me (when they see me eating, or rather, refusing cookies at a support group, for example) that they could “never give up sweets” or they could “never give up coffee” or meat or french fries or diet coke . . . etc.

And I just find that incredibly shocking. Here you are fighting this disease, fighting to keep it from coming back and letting doctors carve up your body and pump it full of toxins so you can live and you can’t give up having a diet coke? I think that is so crazy. And, I also think it is sad. Sad to tell yourself that you have no control over your own actions and sad to be dumping things into your body that absolutely put you at greater risk of either not surviving or of getting cancer again.

And sometimes I hear this from my fellow cancer patients – about that “super healthy person” who runs every day and then is suddenly struck down by a heart attack. And they tell me about some person who drinks x amount of alcohol every day and smokes every day and lived to be 100 years old. I don’t know. They tell me these stories to justify their own lack of involvement in their diet I suppose – I don’t know. The last thing I want to do is to make another cancer patient feel bad about what they are doing. It is not for me to tell someone else how to eat or live. But, I think that what we do does matter. I know that for me, part of why I do what I do is because I feel that it gives me some amount of control over this nightmare. It makes me feel as if I am doing something pro-active (and I hope and pray that I am).

It reminds me of that story about the guy who is told to evacuate his home because there is a flood on the way. He refuses and says, “I’m not worried, God will save me.”

The flood waters rise and he climbs up on his roof to escape the water. Someone comes along in a boat and says, “Jump in, I will save you” and the man says, “No thank you, I am know God will save me”. Then along comes a helicopter rescue team and they throw down a line to the man and tell him to grab the line and he tells them, “No thank you. I know God will protect me.”

The flood waters rise and the man drowns. He gets to heaven and when he sees God he asks God why didn’t you save me? and God replies, “I sent you someone to evacuate you, I sent you a boat and I sent you a helicopter . . . ”

I have a brain and the ability to read and study and do research. And, I believe it is my obligation to use those tools that I have to do my very best to survive this thing. It is sometimes overwhelming and it sometimes doesn’t seem possible. But, most of the time it is possible and I just have to stay on that track.

So this Tuesday I am going to go back to my support group (but, with my own snacks, I am serious, it is a sugar, brownie, cookie, cake, and soda fest – crazy). I think it will help me to see them again. Inevitably there are women there who are newly diagnosed (that is just the absolute worst time). And, as difficult as that can be to hear about, it is really helpful to be able to help them by sharing how I got through that time. It is pretty uplifting actually, makes it seem like there was a reason for what I have been through . . . or at least that something good can come out of it.

Now, if I could just get them all to STOP eating all of that sugar . . . 🙂

Well, all I really wanted to say is that I am feeling better and I guess I wanted to apologize for my rant from yesterday. I thought about deleting it. But, it is there and I am going to leave it. If for no other reason than to remind myself that I can have a bad week and then wake up to have a better day. And, thank you Sandy for being a big part of that better day! 🙂

Please continue to keep me in your prayers.

Much love to you all,

Lisa

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