Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Hello World, I'm back. Sort Of.

Well it looks like I've managed to find my way back up out of this pit and into some sense of normalcy again. That's not to say I have tons of energy and feel like a human being again, more that I've passed through this particular phase of chemo side affects and the associated depression that goes along with it. I have certainly learned a few things from it.

First, I need to find some form of counselling so I can manage the depths of my despair a little better and understand that what I am going through is a normal part of what anyone who is faced with a Cancer diagnosis goes through.  I have heard it said that many cancer patients suffer from PTSD at some point in time after getting the "diagnosis or label", and that this depression can last months or years.  So when seen in that perspective my little dip down into hell isn't that bad.  I know that I'll have many more of them over the next year or so and the most important thing for me is to make sure that I can find my way out of them.  I hate seeing myself sitting on the bathroom floor crying so hard my body aches, but I also know that this is a good way for me to "get out" the icky feelings inside rather than to let them bottle up and fester.  This leads me to the second thing that I have learned from this little experience.

Some people felt uncomfortable with my sharing my desperation in my blog.  It seems that I am viewed as a fighter and a strong person who doesn't have a weak side, well, I guess I do have a softer side, and every once in a while it will come to the surface.  Please understand, the writing of this blog is very therapeutic for me.  It is a way for me to vent my feelings and try to sort out how I'm going to continue to fight this disease. If I sensor my writing then I'm not being true to myself and that certainly won't help me.  So dear friends and family, when you see some posts that are really down in the dumps do not despair, I will find my way out, I'm just going through the process of coming to an acceptance of my situation and struggling to find a balance and a new normal.

On to other things.  Last night my husband in all his brilliance came up with the perfect analogy for my situation.  Imagine if you will that you have been arrested, charged and convicted of a crime that you did not commit.  Suddenly out of nowhere the police show up at your door, take you away, sit you in a cold sterile room and tell you that you are guilty of some heinous crime and that the judge has already decided your fate.  You have no choice in the matter.  Your fate is a 15 month prison sentence during which time you will be subject to all measures of nastiness and you just have to suck it up.  Afterwards if you are a really good prisoner, you just may be allowed to continue life with a tracker around your ankle that could go off at any time and send you back, or if you haven't responded well, then to heck with you, you can just die with the others.  Okay so I have added a bit to his analogy here, but I think you get the point.  To be in that situation, so completely powerless and at the mercy of "others" in my case doctors is extremely difficult to manage.  Especially for a Type A control freak like me.  So being a typical Type A take control kind of girl, I am trying to find my way to control this even if it's only on the edges.  I have found an excellent naturopath (referred to me by my GP), who specializes in treating patients who are going through Cancer and more specifically chemo therapy.  With his advice I will come up with a nutritional and alternative treatment plan that will go hand in hand with the chemo, unfortunately his services are not recognized by the "establishment" so are not covered by BC Medical or my extended health plan, but I do believe they will help me get through the poisoning sessions over the next year and a half.  It is also my understanding that some of the changes I will be making by working with him will help to keep the big bad demon away in the future, and I'm all for that.

The other areas that I am now focused on (because I can control them), are my spiritual and general physical health.  Those of you who know me know that I've always been obsessed with my weight.  I know it's nuts and it feels so shallow now but it was a big thing for me.  Ever since I've been a teenager I've been vigilant about weighing myself daily etc.  I mean it didn't help that I was endearingly called "little fats fats",  "little sausage" and other such well meaning terms.  You see I was never really fat as a child, but I had a chubby little face, which people found cute and so the nick names were meant lovingly, but I think they left an impression on me.  As a result I've always exercised and yes maybe once or twice dieted, but typically I preferred the exercise.  The great thing about this is that even at my age, I can honesty say that up until a month ago, I still had a good body, firm and strong, then chemo hit.  I do mean chemo, not cancer, because the cancer didn't' really make me sick.  I was certainly tired during the months of March, April and May however I assumed it was due to my travels and my work, not an illness.  However once I started getting chemotherapy, even walking around the block has been a challenge.  My once muscular legs are now flappy little bean poles and it's gross.  So, that is something I can slowly control and bring back.  I am doing 20 minutes of Yoga (on the mornings I don't feel like barfing) and am slowly adding in a little bit of resistance training.  The hope is that I can build back a little of what I have lost and maintain some strength for the fight.  I do believe if I am physically stronger then it will be easier on me.   As to the spiritual health, I'm continuing with my daily Louise Hay and have added Abraham/Ester Hicks meditations into the fray.  I am also looking for a retreat of sorts where I can rest and heal mentally.  So if anyone knows of somewhere not too far that would feed my soul, please let me know.

Wow this is turning out to be a long post!  I guess all in all, I'm back on the upside and managing to take things day by day.  I spend a lot of time sitting in our backyard Oasis that Wade has spent so many hours building, it is peaceful and quiet (mostly) and gives me a chance to just relax, which I realize now I have never really done before.  Even on holidays I am so Type A that I schedule everything.  When we went to DisneyWorld in 2007 I even had every park mapped out and which rides we were going to do in what sequence programmed into my blackberry (before I got an iPhone), all of course done to maximize our enjoyment and minimize our waiting in line ups, but wow, how anal, how controlled!  So, this new me is going to be the Chillax Girl!  The Mañana Girl!...............uuummmm well, I will try at least.

So speaking of Mañana, it's time for me to sign off and get some rest.

Big love hugs to everyone.

9 comments: said...

So wonderful to read your last post and now this one - what amazing insight into your journey and he life changes that are being experienced. I can't imagine the roller coaster ride...or jail sentence! have been sentenced to so all I can say is you have my love and support. Up or down, whichever way you roll, I am rooting for you all the way!
Keep writing, keep sharing and keep being YOU <3

Godsgirl100 said...

So happy you are feeling better, Michelle!! Keep up the good fight, cousin!!

Love you,


Lorraine Wilson said...

HI Michelle- I am glad to see you up & fighting again- I was a bit worried for you whilst reading the last blog ( although I did think that it was just a blip and you would come out of it stronger!)
I have been to a retreat called Edenvale a couple of times now- it is in Abbotsford, and run by the Church of the Divine Light- I think they offer healings, and they certainly offer peace, beautiul surroundings, and healthy great tasting food- just google Edenvale if you are interested.
God Bless you my friend- I hope you shake off this particular demon- I am pulling for you!

Love, Lorraine

Leigh Palko said...

Glad to see that you are feeling more positive, Michelle! Don't hold back on your feelings, we want to see you for real. That's what's so amazing about your blog....the fact that you're willing to tell us about your every ordeal is selfless. Even my mom (who has never met you) has started reading it. She said, by the way, that you "should be a writer"....maybe while you're "relaxing", you can start that book you've always wanted to write.

I'm dying to hear if you're going to see Jim Chan (the Naturopath who specializes with Cancer in Richmond - people from all over the world come to see him, and he's supposed to be amazing!!).



Michelle Pammenter Young said...

Hi Denise, thanks for your comment. I am glad you are still rooting for me and following my progress. Working on the spiritual side now trying to find retreats - the great ones I've found so far are booked :-( I see your business is rocking as usual! Good Job to you both.

Michelle Pammenter Young said...

Hi Lorraine, nice to hear from you. I will look up Edenvale, I'm not sure how religious they are and I'm not comfortable with a very religious focussed retreat. I hope you and the family are well, it's been a long time.

Michelle Pammenter Young said...

Hi Leigh, thanks for the message. I'm glad to hear your mum is reading the blog and finding it entertaining. The naturopath I am seeing is not Jim Chan, although I have heard of him as well. My guy is in Kerrisdale (easier to get to) and also has a great reputation. We shall see right. :-) I hope you're loving Alberta.
All the best.

Elizabeth said...

I encourage you to tell it like it is in all its stark hell and (yes, truly) amazing highs too. Cancer sucks, treatment sucks, and people loving you is amazing. Write about it all. It's good for you! You've decided that you're not #@!!!ing leaving the planet. I decided that when I faced Stage IIIC IBC in 2007, and I'm still here, still loving life,NED. This treatment is the toughest wave you will ever ride, but it will break.
Big Hugs,
Elizabeth Danu

Lorraine Wilson said...

I was there for quilting retreats, but I think they are not going to "push"- I do have a lot of respect for them- they are a very dedicated group of people & they have a great "vibe"- calm and loving

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