So the dust has settled two months post my aborted fourth chemo session. It wasn’t as magical as I had hoped. Or as miraculous. I’m no more able to digest nor make decisions about tomorrow. So I’m sticking with today. I saw my brilliant insightful oncologist on Monday. I had decided I wasn’t liking her as much as I thought I was, but I’m realising its more to do with her lack of emotion than her counsel. She smiles a lot but her eyes don’t twinkle. Its got to be tough dealing with disease and death daily. So I feel for her, and I decided to cut her some slack. So whilst Im still not really liking her, I do admire her. Hugely. I was frustrated that I wasn’t feeling significntly stronger than the last time I saw her. How constantly fatigued I am. How sore I am. How there is no feeling in my fingertips. How sluggish I feel. How sluggish my mind feels. How podgy I am. She reminded me of the trauma my body, never mind my mind, had been through and continues to go through. Extreme fatigue is a reality for 3-6 months post treatment, and I’m not even there yet. Never mind the extreme reaction I had to the taxotere. I mentioned I wanted to move forward. I wanted to be me again. I wanted to do everything I needed to do this year, so next year could be a better one. She said no. Well, not so bluntly, but basically told me to go away and not rush anything. This is a long term plan. We are managing a long term reality. My ovaries have shut down so an oophorectomy is not necessary. Removing my right breast is a decision I need to make, but right now there is no survival benefit. Had to write that down. No survival benefit. More concerning is the recurrence we’re dealing with appearing in other organs than a new cancer in my healthy breast. No survival benefit in my current reality. More risk, given the trauma my body has been through. I’m not really responding well to the language she is using. So the instruction to me, continue with the lovely Aromasin, monitor the side effects closely, get beyond the fatigue before making harsh calls, see my kind brilliant cancer surgeon in October and her again in November. With numerous blood tests in between. The reminder we are managing a long term reality. Living with cancer. And managing it. Luvverly. So we celebrate NED. We celebrate magic but not miracles. And we move forward. Moment by moment.
10 December. We have a lot of shit. A lot. I am so very grateful the apartment is finally empty. And that the cleaners were late because I had a quiet contemplative moment remembering and being thankful for a perfect three years. Although I simply cannot grasp it’s been three years. How did that happen?
I am trying not to be self absorbed. Surrounded by all the beauty here we all do pale by comparison. But I have become obsessed with my face. The bugger with beautiful photography is you can’t escape yourself. The reality of you. And especially with B. Always with a camera, a lingering loving camera. Not so much. I look, and try as I might to focus on the entire shot, my gaze finally settles on me and how I look. Everyone does it, and lies if they say they don’t. And then invariably never mind how gorgeous the view is if we look crap, the shot is deleted. I see it with my girls too. A gorgeous pic of Queenstown, but the first thing they look at is themselves. Okay, I admit, it is more a girl thing but still. I so wish I could lead by example but oh my word, my face has suddenly collapsed. It feels like it happened the past month. I have become completely obsessed by it. By the lines and furrows down the side of my mouth. Those ones that make you look like a puppet. I’m suddenly a little bit less dismissive of major intervention. Growing old gracefully, accepting the beauty of age and wisdom and experience etched in deep grooves on your face? Sounds wonderful and noble and true and no doubt I will get there because ultimately I do believe it. But right now there is nothing beautiful about seeing my granny’s mouth on my face. Especially when I feel twenty nine. Max. Shit. So, whilst surrounded by heaven, I have become a little obsessed by my face. Damn photography. I was loving the illusion. Less so Kate and Jem tickling my wattle. Very funny girls. Leave mom alone, she’s having a moment.
This morning as Jem was about to take a shot of our favourite pelican (we are convinced its the same one that comes back to our favourite spot and nothing anyone says will convince us otherwise) a beautiful black labrador frolicking in the river barked with sheer enjoyment and the pelican took off as if shot. The fright Jem got and the laughter that followed was just priceless. I am grateful for this moment of silly spontaneous hilarity.
I love a good cup of hot tea. Its comforting. It feels like home. It stills me as it warms me. It is such a simple pleasure that I don’t always ponder. And that I definitely take for granted. Tonight I am grateful for a cup of tea, for the realisation of how therapeutic it actually is. And because it means it’s nearly bedtime.
Last night was quite intense in the Cawood household with much discussion over choices and options, soul searching over commitments already made and opportunities yet explored, and quite a lot of emotion from all. So today I am grateful for this moment of tranquility. And that B was there to share it. And if you look closely, my favourite pelican too, who always puts everything so beautifully in perspective.
Do as I say but not as I do has thankfully never been a mantra of mine. I truly believe it is so easy to say something but not so easy to be something or do something. Or live by it. But I do like to think I am a good example to my girls of living a life according to my oft sprouted principles. One of which is moderation. Pfffft. Excuse me while I snort. Who have I been trying to kid. Certainly not those who know and love me. Friday night was a fabulous fabulous example of wonderful excess. Moderation schmoderation. You only live once etc etc etc. But. You do have to take responsibility for your choices. For your behaviour. Now that has always been a mantra of mine, and one I am happy to stand by. But as for doing as I say but not as I do, I’d still be ok with my girls doing as I do. I think its called living.