Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Life continues to zoom by, even when I'm moving slowly.

I've had lots of questions about my blog, and why I'm not writing much, and I don't have "real" answers. I think it just boils down to being busy.

And tired.

I can never seem to get caught up with my fatigue. One late night really exhausts me for days; normal activity tires me out. I don't really understand it, so I can't fully explain it. As the Beatles sang, "I'm not the man I used to be." Woman. Whatever.

Studies show that about 30% of cancer survivors suffer long term fatigue, or chemo brain. I have both, and it is a "new normal" that requires some adjustments that I'm still learning to make. My attention span is shorter, I'm easily tired, and my brain feels like it has to work a lot harder at simple things.

I don't think I'm complaining, just explaining. Four and a half years after my diagnosis, I thought I'd be SO far past all of this, and I'm not. I think that it has a lot to do with the extremeties of my treatment: the chemo, of course, but also the deep burns, the number of surgeries, the number of complications, the extended use of cancer drugs, the utter loss of estrogen (surgically and chemically).

I do not regret my cancer treatment choices. I did the best I could with the information that I had at the time, and if I had to do it all again, most likely, I would. But I had no way of predicting the price it would extract from me. The price is heavy.

I am thinking about these things a lot lately, and I have a lot more thinking to do. I am not me, I'm someone else. I am trying to learn, to adapt, to change to that new circumstance.

But life is good, even with negative changes. Tessa is doing well at school, and I'm so proud not just of her learning but of the way she's learning to be a hard worker and do her homework and things like that. She is a wonderful daughter, and I am blessed. Ryan's job is going well, and he's going to take a couple weeks of vacation over the holidays - hurrah. We're looking forward to a quiet yet festive Christmas - family, food, relaxation. We have cut back a ton, and we are not in a position to give many gifts this year (we are determined to get that "cancer debt" under control!) but still, that is okay. We look forward to time with friends and family, playing in the snow at Snoqualmie, a short trip to Portland to see Mom & Dad Surface, and of course, watching Tessa's eyes light up on Christmas morning.

It's a wonderful life. Not the life I'd planned, but a wonderful life. I "get" that movie more than ever these days.

We aren't sending Christmas cards this year, so I'll do a "Christmas card post." Soon. :-)