Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Fourth Assiversary

Yesterday marked the fourth year since my initial diagnosis. It was also a chemo day for me. The start of the second half of this first new round. I'll be finished with this round by the end of January and should have some sense of where things stand by mid-February after my next PET scan.

This year has been quite the whirlwind. Like most years it was full of ups and downs, amazing and difficult times; though each hit the extreme ends of the spectrum over these past twelve months. The past three months have been hardly anything but chaos -- full of fear, family, radiation, friends, scans, adventures, chemo, love, and heartbreak. I'd spent the spring and summer in a space of redefinition and centering. They were warm carefree days and cancer was the last thing on my mind, if it crossed it at all, during the long warm months in the center of this year. Languid and lounging were my words to live by. Smiles and laughter were the currency I spent with abandon on all those around me.

The re-diagnosis hit me very hard. Partially because I had just had some of the best months of my life. Partially because I was visioning so many things for my future. Partially because I really thought that I had a chance to beat the odds. I was in equal measure very positive and very scared at that last PET scan. It felt like two years of N.E.D. (no evidence of disease) was just the beginning, but could also be a turning point. Though honestly, there was never a PET scan where I was not filled with some anxiety. It takes many more years than two to crawl out from underneath the shadow of cancer once it has taken place within you.

This year has changed me, multiple times, and there are shifts still to come. I've re-identified myself over and over. And all I am really looking for is to just be Victoria; if I can get my feet on solid enough ground and un-cloud my eyes enough to see Her. And if I can feel that those around me can truly accept me for exactly who She is.

Adaptability has always been a strength of mine. And I have tapped that ability again and again in the latter part of this year. I've had my feet knocked out from underneath me what feels like countless times since the fall began. There have been a lot of days where it has been hard to be the all chipper, all positive gal. I am relearning the lesson of having patience and allowing space for myself. It is so easy for me to give that to others, to give my kindness away. Saving some for me has proven challenging. But the days pass and I get a little better at it each one.

Despite all the challenges and difficulties, I am still determined "to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life." My blogging has been lacking this month because I lived the hell out of December. I had friends visiting me for the first week and a half of the month. Spent the next several days sharing meals and conversations and laughs with lots of my local peeps. I then ran off to New York City for the very first time. What an adventure and grand time it was! I returned with barely enough time to travel to my sister's for a long, laid back and loving Christmas weekend. And now here I am post-chemo and feeling pretty fine all things considered.

For those who look for it, you noticed the lacking in live blogging this chemo session yesterday. I had a wonderful friend with me for my infusion and we were busy looking through NYC pictures and catching up. Perhaps there will be future editions of the live blogging, plenty more sessions to come in future months.

These days before the actual New Year have become the turning of my personal year's wheel. This "assiversary" is my space for reflection and deep consideration of time passed and the time to come. As the new year does come around, I do so hope that your reflections settle on the smiles shared in the past year, in the shine of eyes that love you, on the hugs and touches of friends and family, and on whatever beauty struck you in the world. And I wish you all these things in the year to come.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Are you Pondering what I'm Pondering?

A bit behind in posting the update from my latest MRI brain scan. The takeaway is all good news. No new brain metastases, shrinkage on three of the four tumors that were radiated, and the fourth one is not showing up on the scan at all. My radiation oncologist says that the tumors will continue to shrink over the next couple of months from the initial radiation. And there will be follow-up MRIs every three months to see where things are.

What else, what else?

Had a wonderful friend come in and stay with me for the beginning of this week while I was on pump and recovering from Monday's chemo session. Lots of fantastic conversations and she was perfectly content to let me nap for hours and hours. So, yeah... the napping is finally back in action. Which is kind of nice, but it does mean that I'm a bit more wiped out with each session that comes along. We all knew that was going to happen though from past history. Continuing to have zero nausea issues with this round of chemo, which is fantastic. My appetite is finally starting to wane a bit. But I do make sure to eat and there is that buffer of self-indulgence from the last couple of months. Otherwise, beyond the tiredness, still seem to be tolerating this round pretty well.

More company and time with friends the rest of this week and weekend as well. It's been rather a lovely week overall. I finally booked my flight to NYC today! So I'll be hitting the Big City for the first time ever right when it is dressed up in all its holiday glory. I'll be visiting with several friends while I'm out there and road-tripping home with one of my best girls. I suspect it will be a pretty brilliant trip. Again and again I am reminded the ways in which I am blessed by my friends and family and the opportunities that have presented themselves. My job, and joy, is to embrace all.