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Celebrating Imagination and the Wonderful, Wild Ride that is Life

Saturday, April 14, 2018

It's All About the Good Stuff

It's April 14th and it's a ridiculously cold and windy day here in Northern Minnesota. Snow is in the forecast for tonight. Winter is not done with us yet. It is also our 28th wedding anniversary which we are celebrating quietly. Brad is currently doing his very painful PT exercises for his new knee (it's only three days old!). He's working the slow, arduous road to recovery. Time stands still for no one.
It is all progress. Progress. In the vernacular, progress is always a good thing. It's working to attain something, it's a step in the right direction, it's setting goals and meeting guideposts. To me, progress is always a very good thing. But when I decided to search for the actual definition, this popped up:
Progress (noun): "forward or onward movement toward a destination."
There is definitely a tone to this definition that I don't take a shine to. And here's why:
Progression. This is something that a metastatic cancer patient tries very hard to avoid. And desperately doesn't want to hear about.
The poop scoop is that, you guessed it...I heard that word: "progression". My metastatic breast cancer, which has been being kept in check in my lung, pleura, and bones for the last 15 months decided to grab onto that next rung on the ladder and make its move. The sneaky little devil has made me the reluctant owner of liver metastases.
To clarify, for those of you who may not understand what I mean, a metastasis is when cancer that develops in one organ or part of the body (in my case the breast) travels to a distant location in the body such as the brain, liver, lungs, bones, etc.
Metastatic breast cancer is also called Stage IV breast cancer. Metastatic = Stage IV. They are one and the same.
There is no cure for Metastatic/Stage IV breast cancer. There is only treatment to halt progression. So, inevitably there will be progression. And new treatments, new progression, new treatments, and so on. But the best scenario would be years and years between progression, or even better, regression!!!!! I'll let you look up the definition of that one for yourselves! But still, the reality is that eventually metastatic breast cancer will reappear and progress. That is the truth about living with the disease.
Treatment for metastatic breast cancer is targeted. Meaning, instead of taking hard core chemo that will cause all kinds of hellish symptoms, I am taking medications with the least troublesome side effects. To keep me healthy of course, but to allow me to live life and thoroughly enjoy it rather than be in bed too sick to move. The good news is: I have no symptoms from these liver mets. Hooray! No pain, no changes in my blood workups. All of that is very, very good. I have switched to a new medication (Xeloda aka Capecitabine for those inquiring minds)...and thankfully the side effects so far are minimal. Granted, I'm only on day 4 of the medication, but so far, so good. There is no reason to expect anything different.
So now, I want to straight up answer some questions that I'm sure many of you may be asking:
1. Am I dying? Emphatically, NO!!!!
2. Am I horribly ill? No, again. My chronic constipation is more of a problem for me than cancer at this point. Not. Joking.
3. Do I need any help? I mean, I have boxes of crap in my basement that need to be taken to Goodwill or the dump, but that's not because of cancer...that's because of hoarding, laziness, and avoidance. Many people who know me have suggested many times that I could probably benefit from some time with a mental health professional. They usually just say, "You're crazy!!!" But again, not cancer related. That's 100% distilled Alane at work right there.
4. What do you need to do to beat this? Nothing. I will never beat it. But I am sure as hell not going anywhere, and I am going to give cancer such a ride it will wish it had picked on someone else. For shizzle.
5. How are you doing? Taking it one day at a time, baby. I'm not going to lie...I'm angry, I'm sad, I'm depressed, I'm scared, etc. But thankfully I just let myself cry it out for a few minutes and then I get back to LIVING MY LIFE. I have a dog and cats to feed, a house to clean, quilts to make, and FUN to be had!
6. What can we do for you? Laugh. Smile. Be nice to each other. Vote democrat... the more liberal, the better.
But seriously, If I could have one wish (other than to not have had cancer in the first place) it would be kind. Slow down. Be kind. Be kind to yourself and to those you meet. Love deeply. It's the only thing worth doing. And finally, never, ever give up on your dreams. Be who you are, live your dreams, dive deeply into love where you can get it, hold on tightly to it, and laugh as much as possible. I assume you are here reading this because you are someone I love, a dear friend, someone who cares, or maybe someone who is in the same boat. Whatever the reason, life has brought us together because we click. You get me in all my "Live Out Loud" weirdness and I am pretty sure I see something weird, unique, and wonderful in you, too. So if I may add another small wish...please don't let this change anything. I'm still as ribald and inappropriate as ever. Don't baby me. Don't feel sorry for me. Those are wasted emotions. Make me laugh. Make me smile. Or just send me a goofy message. I appreciate every one of you in my clown posse. More than I could ever say. Let's have fun and tear the hell out of this joint while we're in it. Life really is all about the good stuff. With that, here are some funny and adorable photos for you to enjoy!

Evidence of a Life