Monday, September 2, 2013

Post-cancer thoughts...check your SPAM!


1. I forget I don't have my breasts any more. The other day someone was talking about having to wear a really supportive sports bra. Before I knew it, I was agreeing and telling her which kind I wore. Then, I quickly realized, that isn't true anymore!!! Crazy how I can forget these things. I go to buy a shirt or a bra and realize I have to look for a different size/fit, since my breasts are so different. 

2. I still scratch my head like I have a wig on. Ever seen people with a weave or wig and how they kinda put their finger on top of their head to try and scratch it, but they really can't? Yeah, I still do that from the 6 months I wore Raquel.

This was one of the last times I wore Raquel.

3. It is hard for me to shave my legs and pluck my eyebrows. I didn't have to do it for 8 months and I got used to not having to shave.

4. When I went to NYC with my friends in May, I almost got out my "power port" card to show the TSA. I did that when I flew when I had my port (when it showed up on the body x-ray). I have to remind myself I don't have that any more.

5. I want to give blood every time I see a blood drive, because I know how needed it is. However, I was told to not give blood since my cancer diagnosis. Often times when I see a truck, I start plotting out time to do it, and then I'm reminded I can't. If you have the ability, please give blood!

6. I still sleep with the cover over my head. I never realized how much hair helps to keep you warm. I remember my head being freezing when I was bald and I would always put the covers up over my head. I still do it now. 

 Me sleeping trying to cover my bald head with my robe

7. I get kind of sad when I pluck my eyebrows. For so long I wanted them, so to pluck even a few hairs seems wrong. I gain some sort of satisfaction out of seeing a stray brow!!:)

Here is a picture that really shows how different I look without eyebrows!

8. I forget ALL the time that I can't lift anything over 5 pounds (bc of lymphedema). I feel like I am lazy when I just watch people do things for me, instead of doing them myself.

9. I still see myself as bald. Someone will look away from me quickly (like many did when I had cancer) and I will tell myself its because of my hair, and then I realize I look normal.

One of the first times I walked around without Raquel on. This was right before my mastectomy. I remember feeling like everyone was staring. 

10. I forget that my lat muscle is on my chest. I will go to pick something up that I need that muscle for, and then I'm reminded that muscle isn't there. I love exercising and I feel the need to explain to everyone in an exercise class that I can't do that "exercise" because I don't have a muscle back there...not because I'm weak. Yeah, I'm not competitive at all:)

These are just 10 of the things that I have noticed lately. I normally just think them in my head or share with Josh, but figured some of my biggest supporters could smile at some of these too:)

I've had two of the best weeks of my life since my CT scan. It is amazing what relief can do for your mind/body. Everything is so interconnected- it's crazy. But I have been overwhelmed- absolutely overwhelmed at God's love for me. He has been speaking to me much lately about my life and I am trying my hardest to listen. It can be a struggle trying to figure out what my life looks like post-cancer. To continue walking in healing. Trusting I'm forever healed. Looking for opportunities to share my story. Trying to guard my heart and mind, as God and I both know how fragile I still am. Trusting and praying for God's timing for children. Living a "normal" life: working, cooking, church...I know that even in the "ordinary" God is continuing to teach me so much about my life. Even as balanced as we strove to be during my cancer treatment, it is still a struggle to get back to "normal" life. I felt such a "high" at times during treatment and shortly thereafter when I was telling my story often, or just in the thick of the fight, and I have to remind myself that even in the normal, I can still make a difference.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Col. 3:23-24

I have been getting into my routine at work and praying I can make a difference there, through Christ. I also met with my dissertation chair this week and put some deadlines together for my dissertation in order to graduate in May. Let's just say I will be one busy girl in order to reach my goal, so I am trying to be super intentional with my time.

My mom brought me down to my reconstructive check-up appointment this week on Thursday, and everything went great. We had a wonderful time together and with the Stanfill's. Dr. Villa said everything was looking great and I won't see him again until November for my last reconstructive procedure!!! Praise God! I stocked up at Whole Foods on our way out of town and were able to hit up some of our favorite spots. In the next blog post, I will post under the tab on the top of our blog entitled "Healthy Eating," and share some of my diet changes.

The beginning of this blog post just gives you a teeny, tiny look into just some of the thoughts I have each day. Josh and I were talking the other day of the thousands of thoughts that we have run through our head each day that no one could even imagine. Different signs we see, smells we smell, TV shows, dreams we dream, that can literally take our breath away. As I have these moments that I "forget" that I can't do everything I used to, I also have moments where I have memories that take me right back into our cancer struggles. I'm sure I (we) would be diagnosed with PTSD by a medical professional. So many of the "symptoms" I have, I have seen in my office.

Here is the good news... I am redeemed, set free, set apart, blessed, delivered, wonderfully made, an overcomer, a victor, loved, adored, and precious to my most High God. Each day is a struggle, but each day is a victory. God had already won. I have already won!!!

2 Corinthians 2: 14 "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place."

What are some things God is wanting you to forget? What are things He wants you to remember, to never forget? 

God, help me never forget what you have done and who I am in you. Help me forget those things that keep me in a state of fear or depression, in a stagnant place. You, oh God have the power to change my thoughts. 

"Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." Romans 12:2

Here's to forgetting and remembering,


***Also, we have updated our fertility promises tab. Thank you for joining me in prayer***

Another thing, my blog email went to my spam folder from the last post. If you are not receiving our updates by email, check your spam folder and let your email know that this is not spam.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aly -- thank you for sharing your journey. I can so relate to how bras and clothes fit differently, especially bathing suits. Because I had a unilateral mastectomy, I am quite uneven. But, I am thankful I only had one side given the challenges and pain I've experienced.

I will pray for you about the fertility. I had a miscarriage just weeks before I found out about my breast cancer. Thankfully, we have a daughter born 5 years ago, and it appears she will be our only child. -Denise