Sailing down the River of Denial until…

It is easy to continue your journey down the river of Denial, but soon reality hits. As I post every single day the symptoms of ovarian cancer on facebook, twitter, and instagram, I cannot ignore my own checklist in my head. Of course, I choose to shove that to the back of my mind and carry on with the joy of living in the moment, driving around Aliso Viejo, shopping, and making every attempt to be normal.

When you have lived in the chemo fog, pain med fog, and flashes of memories of wheelchair, brushing my teeth in bed, unable to dress myself, crying on the phone to my oncologist you really want to stay floating down that river of denial. Instead, Alex’s big birthday was approaching and bar mitzvah plans carried on. While making every attempt to gather photos for Alex’s video montage, I was almost in tears about how different I look. Old photos of friends and family kept me smiling and forced me to stop my journey on the river of denial. So, I bet you are thinking I just gather my thoughts and compose an email to my doctor. Nope, I meltdown and sob like I haven’t sobbed for such a long time. Fear, anxiety, anger, and frustration filled my every thought. All I could say was words that my boys didn’t want to hear. Jim’s mouth hung open in disbelief and his quiet voice spoke volumes not only with loving encouraging words, but facts about multiple treatment options. I heard Alex running into our room. His new teen self (he said he felt different) told me to be positive as he held my hand. He repeated that I could do this since I have done it before. Both my boys reminded me in their loving calm voices that the fact is that the immunotherapy isn’t supposed to work for 8 weeks which is not until Oct 8.  I barely heard anything they were saying. I kept crying. Then, as usual I was woken up by their voices and their cheerleader words. I know I can do this. I am not where I was. I have to be vigilant in monitoring all my symptoms. Listen to my own advice that I give other cancer patients in being my own advocate and making my voice heard. The next morning, I went to Hoag Irvine (my home away from home) to get my brain scan results and follow up on my “draining” order. Brain is “normal” and procedure order is valid until 2016.
So, I will continue to stay in the present moment and not worry about tomorrow or the next day. What I did today was have lunch with Jim in Laguna Beach, took a long walk on the beach, and took some deep breaths of delicious cool ocean air. I remind you again to cherish every day. On a side note, allow the crazies to go in front of you in the car line at school even if they cut you off, listen to the music in your car, smile and feel sorry for them because that one second that they had to get in front of you must have been important to them!  When they start waving their hands to want you to run over the middle school student on the side walk, then you draw the line. Continue to listen to your music and wonder what is going on in their lives that they want you to run over a student! Seriously, kindness people! Remind your children to be kind to others even if they are “mean”, “crazy”, or “weird.” A tiny bit of kindness goes a long way. When you are at the grocery and the cashier barely looks up and looks like either they have a headache or hate their jobs, try a little kindness. Now that I’m sailing down the river of reality, I am more present and reminded of how important today is. Hope you find your sunshine because we are really having some amazing weather in So Cal!

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