This upcoming week marks my 4th week into radiation treatment – almost a full month! The newness, fear, shock and adjusting period is finally over. And thank goodness!! I’m finally settled in my “schedule”, and things are starting to feel a little normal. It’s nice to finally let everything sink in. Radiation has been the hardest part of my treatment plan, and nothing could have prepared me for it. Even talking to radiation doctors, researching the symptoms, and reading about what other people experienced – although educational – just wasn’t enough. Every case is different, every experience is different. The first few weeks of radiation were HELL, and I had to find my own way of coping physically, emotionally and mentally. Trust me, this is not a fun balancing act. Because I was so physically sick from my stomach being radiated, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. Things that had once brought me joy and pleasure just didn’t do that anymore, and trying to find enjoyment in things just wasn’t working. So I made the decision to do nothing but just focus on myself and figure out how to get through treatment day by day. No more Pinterest (I know, right?!?), no more wedding blogs, no more designing sites, no more online clothes and fashion browsing. I let go of everything … and it was kind of nice. I felt like a tree shedding all my leaves for winter, bare, and just trying to make it through the rough cold.
Well – now Spring has sprung! I’m getting closer to end of my treatments, and for once I feel like I can start thinking about things OTHER than trying to make it through another day of radiation. I had chemotherapy last Friday, and I surprised myself by happily browsing through work-related wedding things on my iPad, which has not happened in months. I was even starting think that I would lose interest in the industry all together, but now I’m not so sure. “Shedding” my interests and things of enjoyment for a few weeks was like creating a blank slate for myself, and I wasn’t sure if eventually new interests would pop up or if I could go back to my roots and what really makes me happy. Now I am slowly finding out! It’s exciting in many ways. Going through this life changing experience has certainly letting me know who I am really am, and how important self-love is. I would never have guessed that I am strong as I really am, and I would have known this without trying to beat cancer.
Time to get a little personal, but I hope this maybe helps other people who are going through something similar! Before I was diagnosed (and I am mean literally leading up to the day) I felt like a confused and lost 25-year-old. I didn’t know what I wanted, where I wanted to be or WHO I wanted to be. I was trying to create big dreams but at the same time being pinned down by “reality”. I didn’t know if the job I had was right for me, and if wasn’t then I had no idea what was. I wanted answers SO badly! I didn’t know how to find them, so I just constantly compared myself to others and tried to fit a mold – ANY mold, if it felt like it made sense. I didn’t know if the mold was something I actually liked, or if it was something that looked good at the time. I was also finding out that while trying to get in shape and lose weight, that I was struggling with self-esteem. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?!? Way to live the life, K! Then the big C came along, and the confused-mid-twenties-crisis persona I was living … died. I had to put to rest the old Kathy, and make room for the new fighter of a woman. Cancer was not going to take me!!! I am still shocked by how much strength emerged from me, and how much love I discovered along the my journey. I feel like a totally different person. 🙂
The moral of this story … you DO have it in you! Whatever that may mean to you personally. Always know where you stand in your own life, and don’t compare yourself to others, no matter how great or “successful” you think they are. There is only one you, and no one will ever live your life. Be different, and be happy.
Next week I start the most grueling radiation treatments of all … laying around for 2 hours while being probed with the highest doses of radiation I will ever be receiving. In the uterus. I have to do 5 of these treatments, spread out over the next week and half, and also finish up my external radiation. My oncologist also gently reminded me that more chemotherapy is still up in the air after radiation is over. The hair-losing kind of chemo. I’m prepared for anything, but my gut is telling me that I won’t have do anymore chemo. I brought it up my radiation doctor and he’s more than convinced that the Ungodly amounts of radiation I’m receiving well kill everything. I like that my oncologist is exhausting every option to cure me, and I know the he’ll be consulting my radiation doctor and other oncologists as to whether full-one chemotherapy will actually do anything more or not. Even though my body has responding amazingly to chemo (it shrunk my tumor in a matter of weeks), it gets to a point where its job is done. I’ll post this update as soon as I know!
Here is a photo one of my best friends just took of a blossoming cherry tree. It made me happy, so I hope it brightens your day too.