Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Masterpeice

Exhilarating. Overwhelming. Thankful. Frustrating. Peaceful. Anxious. 

These conflicting words represent my time since my last post.  It's been so long I feel I have a lot of things to say, but there is no way to cram it all into one post. 

To say that this summer was amazing would be an understatement.  I so wanted to LIVE and EXPERIENCE that I pushed myself to seize the moment, but did very little of what I typically do during summer.  I love keeping up my gardens and my deck and patio.  I tend to jump into Fall decorating as soon as August 1st rolls around and I know my neighbors won't stare oddly at my fall leaves and pumpkins in the 90 degree weather.  Somehow this summer, though full of great "moments", was not filled with normal quite yet.  However, I've asked myself if the previous "normal" is what I really want back.  Some of it, absolutely!  Like my full energy and endurance, fewer aches and pains, perhaps the lack of hot flashes and other menopausal type symptoms! Yet, in other ways the old "normal" may not be what I want at all. 

I met a group of ladies recently that shared their incredible cancer journeys with me.  I'll keep the details of their stories private, but one common thread was shared among all women, no matter what type of cancer she had.  There was a new "normal" and albeit it be one that includes new aches, pains and annoyances; it is also one that is full of a new appreciation for authenticity.  It's one that is amazed at God's presence in times of trouble and how personal and intimate He can be.  It is a soul that longs to feel that closeness to God again; a closeness you only feel when you need to be cradled and carried by our Savior.  The new normal wants to hug on our children more often, love our husbands more openly, appreciate our family and friends always.  These are all good changes I don't want to give back.

Earlier this summer I stood in a Colorado meadow looking out at the most beautiful crystal lake nestled in the mountains.  There were wild flowers blooming all over the mountainside and the sun was shining just perfectly creating a 360 degree masterpiece.  It took my breath away to witness how God took such care in creating this view with the perfect blend of colors, textures and depth so that nothing worked alone, but instead complimented everything else around it.  The boldly colored wild flowers might have been overpowering without the soft hue of gray and deep green surrounding it through foliage.  Our bodies are the same way, with each specific part complimenting the other so that all together God created a unique masterpiece in each one of us. One that again takes my breath away as I learn all the intricate details of my cells, blood vessels, lymph nodes, joints and muscles.  It is amazing how when one part is damaged the symptoms signify the toll taken on all the others. 

Patsy Nay

I had my 6 month check-up yesterday and as I spewed out all my various symptoms I laughed because I really don't feel like I'm doing that bad!  The doctor actually said she was glad I was impatiently wanting to get back to normal and that there were things she could recommend to help.  Thank goodness! 

Here are some symptoms I shared and what my sweet doctors are doing to help.

·         Water retention and lack of circulation/ lymph nodes in the groin area feel “bark-like” – Provided me with some massage and stretching techniques to do 3-4 times each week to help move the fluid through my lymph node system where some glands are not working properly due to external beam radiation.
·         Hip and muscle pain – Referred me to a physical therapist to learn some exercises and stretches that may help strengthen and loosen up this area after radiation. 

·         As mentioned my cancer was very hormonally driven (74% estrogen cells in the lesion removed) and I’m also struggling with menopausal weight gain and water weight – Referred me to a nutritionist to help understand what to eat/drink more or less of and the impact it may have on all aspects/symptoms. 

·         I’ve had some very light bleeding with use of the dilator and the doctors found two dark spots on the back 1/3 of  the Vaginal wall and one dark spot on the cervix.  Both doctors believe this looks like new blood vessels that are developing in the tissue as everything heals.  However, they took a biopsy of the one on the cervix so we know for sure what they are.  They will call with these results when they get them.
·         I’m having pain in my upper abdomen and there is also a small area of activity that showed up on my last scan in late June.  They believe the pain could be scar tissue and or adhesions caused from the radiation and various surgeries.  They believe the scan activity is post operation inflammation.  However, they are scheduling my next scan and will get to me with the dates later this week.  I will have my scans done locally.

I feel blessed to have some suggestions as I continue to take daily steps forward in this "new" normal!   God knows all about this masterpiece and exactly what I need!  He created it after all!