We made it to September 14. It’s officially one year since my second craniotomy and we began a new chapter with the Piece of Shit Cancer.
Cheers to us.
The past year can be summed up easily into two categories which are simultaneously amusing and pathetic.
- Everything that happened.
- What I actually remember.
I’m tired emotionally and physically and I can hear my platelets and my immune system crying. While Proton Radiation may have taken a portion of my short term memory, my sense of humor has remained (from what I can recall) intact. Thankfully my long term memory was left in-tact, however short term memory loss is frustrating, amusing, demoralizing and an ever present reminder of the cost of doing business with brain cancer.
I could spend a significant amount of time and energy into a post to indulge you in everything this past year that I missed, wasn’t present for, the sacrifices each of us made by choice and often by force and a play by play of how shitty a lot of it was; but aside from dramatic reading, it isn’t a productive use of my time and energy.
Was I was delusional and naïve to think this treatment plan and Cancer wouldn’t become my full time job? Yes (with an eye-roll for visual emphasis). We were all unprepared for what we endured and experienced this past year, not just me. By the numbers, 365 treatment days have been easy to measure. 6 weeks of Proton Radiation with concurrent daily chemotherapy and 7 of 12 months of maintenance chemotherapy completed. Articulating the experience is complicated and relative. I’m not sure I have the words.
You can make assumptions on collateral damage but I can assure you that they can never match reality. Brain Cancer is a complex diagnosis with an improbable number of variables; we never could have fully understood how each of us were going to be impacted. Individually we each have experienced some form and level of trauma this year. Those wounds will take time to heal, feel less raw and frankly there may be a few that may not fully recover. We are healing as best we can, bracing for the future and and slowly shifting the focus of our days away from treatment and cancer. Baby steps.
We are blessed to have reached a point where Paul and I can successfully divide and conquer all the kid activities, carpool, practices, meets, games, preparing meals and cleaning our house without the help, support and contribution from our village. It is hard to palate how the kids turn to Paul more often than me; but he has been the parenting constant and I have been the variable this year. It is difficult to admit I may not work with clients again and it has been a challenge to find my creative spirit on a regular basis. My ability to focus and multi-task is challenged and writing this somewhat straightforward blog post has taken WAY too long and too many days. I am exhausted and honestly cannot remember what life was like to not feel “sick” in some form or another. A year is a long time.
We never could have made it through this year without our village. A village consisting of friends, teachers, administrators, colleagues, acquaintances and strangers; all of whom provided months of constant meal trains, rides for myself and our kiddos, fund-raised to help defray medical bills and paid for us to have housekeepers. It all kept us sane, functioning and provided a measure of normalcy for our children that Paul and I were incapable of providing for a while. Today Paul and I are proud and blessed to be running our family crazy train unassisted. It looks different than it did before and it will continue to evolve, but getting to this place has been a well earned milestone that we will gladly & proudly acknowledge.
A special shout out to each member of my medical team: Your compassion, expertise and near daily appreciation for my crazy sense of humor is beyond measure. We couldn’t do cancer as a family without you and I couldn’t run this marathon without you by my side.
Tomorrow is a gift and today is a blessing. Cheers.
PLEASE CLICK HERE & Join us again this year as we raise funds for Brain Cancer Research Grants. Help our team Babes with Brains reach our $100,000 goal! We have raised over $92,000 since 2007!
I can’t thank you enough for writing about your experiences. I too have an astrocytoma in my left frontal lobe which was resected with a craniotomy. I am currently in the waiting period, MRIs every 3 months, wondering when it will come back and disrupt my life again. Discovering that you had ten good years in between surgeries gives me hope that I can live my life for a while without the constant fear of reccurance. I know the cancer will return bigger and badder someday, but maybe I can have ten years too. Keep up the good fight and give yourself a pass sometimes. Shannon
Cheers my hero