It’s been a while

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I know, I know. I haven’t checked in for quite a while. Dealing with life has kept me busy.

As of right now, I am in such a stressed out state that I don’t even reach out to my closest friends. I hate to be thought of as a burden or a charity case, and try to handle everything myself. This, in turn, creates more stress…not less. Who knew?!?

So, what non-stressful things have been happening?

Well. We rescued a dog on Valentine’s Day. She’s an American bulldog mix. Mixed with what? We have no idea. I suspect it’s Greyhound.

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Her name is Amber, and she’s a Parvo survivor! She’s the sweetest little asshole you’ll ever meet 🙂

I’m addicted to crack….Trivia Crack, that is. It really helps to take my mind off of things, especially when I kick my (way smarter than me) mbff’s butt. Don’t tell him, but my husband helps me on the sports category.

My children are crazy, and driving me crazy, but that’s also a good way to get my mind off of things.

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Is it just me, or does my son look like Carl from The Walking Dead?

Speaking of, I am super bummed that the season is over, and now need suggestions for something to take its place until it comes back on.

Really, nothing else has been going on, so this pretty much catches us up. I hope all of y’all had a wonderful Easter, and I’ll try not to be such a stranger.

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Mawwage

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How does one go from a loving embrace to wanting to throat punch someone within a few hours?

Be married to my husband.

He’s a good man, a hard worker, a great friend, BUT if he doesn’t drop the bass from his voice when speaking to me soon, he’s going to be no more.

We have been married for almost 13 years, and we’ve been a couple for 15. Ups and downs like any healthy relationship (with a few misdeeds on both of our parts). We have two beautiful, if not conscientious children.

We have different parenting styles. I prefer to nip the behavior(s) in the bud, while he has an “I’m laid back until you annoy me to the point of exploding” approach. Homework in our house is a Sisyphean effort. I tackle the reading, writing, social studies, and projects. He warily approaches fifth grade math. It may seem like an unfair division, but as I’ve said before….many, many times….I don’t math.

The problem with this is simple. The mister works all day, and gets home usually between 6 and 7 p.m. He works in a field where he’s surrounded by whiners all day, so to come home and be bombarded with questions about fractions, decimals, and why the hell any of this is important can be a tad overwhelming to him. This in no way gives him permission to come at me like a spider monkey when I suggest the Prince take his questions to his teacher tomorrow, seeing as how the mister can’t seem to answer a question without a condescending tone. I get it. The boy is a bit of an asshole. He puts off work until the last minute, then expects to be saved. He comes by it naturally. Both his father and I do the same. Damn. Thing.

This has been therapeutic. My pimp hand isn’t twitching half as bad. Now to go listen to some Drowning Pool…

Day 21: What you hope your future will be like…

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I have to admit, I didn’t want to write this prompt, because it actually said, “How you hope your future will be like” and it made me cringe.

I hope that my future is full of the right choices. I hope my future is long and steady. I hope my future is made of righteous decisions. I hope I’m able to help plan my daughter’s wedding, and dislike my daughter in law because she’s not good enough for my son.

None of us are promised tomorrow, so I hope that my future is devoid of regret. I hope that I can show my children how much I love them, and that they’ll understand that everything I’ve done had been in their best interest.

I hope that I have a long, meaningful future.

Day 20: Your fears

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If you’ve read any of my former posts, you will know that I was diagnosed and went through treatment for a very rare, aggressive cancer, Small Cell Neuroendocrine Cervical Carcinoma. The five year survival rate is approximately 50%, if you were diagnosed at 1b1 or below. My diagnosis was 1b2, and I’m at 3 years post treatment.

I’m 37 years old with a 10 year old son and 7 year old daughter. My biggest fear is that I won’t see them become the people I know they can grow up to be.

The crazy thing about cancer, or any terminal disease, really, is that you are NEVER TRULY CURED. Sure, the physical illness may be cured, but you are never without the fear. I may not look sick anymore, but every time I have some strange pain, I’m absolutely positive it’s the monster come back to take me away from my babies. Every time I have a cough that lasts just a little too long, I’m sure that it has taken over my lungs. When I’m a little more fatigued than normal, my first thought is metastasis to the brain. I’ve been called a drama queen (which hurt), but until you can take a stroll in my brain, you should probably keep the judgement to a minimum.

I know a lot of people who have had cancer, and they all confirm that my feelings are not crazy. They have all had moments of weakness, where their positivity has run on empty, and they have given in to their fears.

This is my new normal. This is where I’ll be until my dying day. Whether that is in my near future or distant future, only God knows.

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Even more cancerific caringbridge posts (originally written 2011)

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Bada bing, bada boom!

Where to start, where to start?  I had my radical hysterectomy on Monday, and everything went very well.  After a fabulous overnight stay at the luxurious St. David North Medical Center, I checked myself out, so that I could come back to Chez Marquez.

The service here can not be beat!  I would say this is definitely a 5 star establishment, and the help is unbelievable!  My mom and dad, my friends Kellie, Hector, Debbie and Katrina, and my Aunts Leila and Sandy have all been A-MAZING!  My children have been awesome, and that is not the narcotics talking.  My husband, in his own way, has been very caring and loving(he thinks he’s funny at times, but that’s ok).
Tuesday, before checking out the doctor came in to let me know that they were waiting for the pathology report. He said that he had good margins, and once the pathology reports came in at the end of the week, we would schedule our next steps, namely chemo and/or radiation.
After a grueling week with a catheter, I was able to go in today to have it removed:)  Big yay for me!  Also, the reports came in, and I am happy to let you all know that my margins were clear, and all of the lymph nodes they removed came back negative!!!  He also said that he has never seen or heard of a case of small cell carcinoma that was contained in one area!  Now, I may not know exactly what this all means. Margins and such confuse me, but I do know that this is excellent news.  I am pretty sure this means that I will not have to go through radiation, which is a huge relief.
Now, as to what this means to me personally.  I have found out that it absolutely pays off to be a good person.  I would lay my life down for my friends and family, and if there was any doubt on my part as to whether the reverse were true(there wasn’t), this would have gotten rid of it!  My faith has grown in leaps and bounds!  I am a true believer in God and all of His miracles.  The power of prayer is a real thing, and to those that don’t believe, I will testify!  Please, take a moment, if you haven’t, to look up small cell cervical carcinoma. Very rare, very aggressive, and very scary when looking for a prognosis. I’ve been told by several people, on several occasions that they have put me on their prayer list, or that they were praying for me.  There have been people who confessed that they have not been very prayerful, but even they have sent up one or two.  My past few nights have not been the most restful, but to wake up to a warm sensation radiating from my chest, and KNOWING that it is everyone’s prayers, humbles me and affirms my belief in Christ.
My dear friends, this is not the end of my battle.  I will still need to go through the rest of my treatment, but as long as I have all of you beside me, I know that everything will be fine.  Thank you to all who have been there for me physically.  Thank you to all who have been there for me in heart, mind, and spirit.  Thank you to all who chose not to be there for me, because you allowed me to see who my true friends are.
Keep the prayers coming, and I promise to keep the faith!
…If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31

The waiting is the hardest part.

It has been one whole week since I have been home from the hospital.  I am healing well, and the pain has lessened to a burning sensation when I stretch too far.  I can’t drive for 2 weeks.  I am not allowed to pick anything up over 10 pounds for 6 weeks…which means I can’t even vacuum. I have already had a few bad days.  It’s depressing when you are used to being a strong, independent person, and you have to now rely on other people.

I don’t want to sound like an ungrateful brat, because I really do appreciate everything people have done for me, but it’s hard for me to ask for/accept help of any kind.  My mother is amazing, and I depend on her so much.  My friends have shown incomparable kindness.  We have a fully stocked freezer with foods kids love due to one couple’s thoughtfulness.  Another friend, who owns a cleaning company, has generously offered to do our laundry until the completion of my treatments.  Another friend graciously offered to watch my children, so that my husband could go to work. I have not had to cook since being back, because if my mother isn’t here, another family member is bringing food.  It has all been so wonderful, and so overwhelming at the same time.  It makes me laugh when someone leaves the house, and makes me promise, PROMISE to call if there’s anything I need.  They all know that I’m not going to, but they also want to let me know that they know.
Pity…party of 1, your table is ready.  I want to hurry up and start the next step, because if I can do that, I can hurry up and get well.  It’s also a control issue, and I totally get that.  My life is chaos right now.  It’s disordered, helter skelter, turbulent even. I’m used to being able to get the kids ready, and go for a ride somewhere, at least.  We are all trapped in this house, and we are all getting tired of each other.  I snap at my husband, and accuse him of wanting to leave me.  I cry at the drop of a hat.  I read stories of women who are going through, or have gone through this kind of cancer, and sometimes it is not too hopeful.  One of the ladies contacted me, and I told her that I was doing well, but I felt, sometimes, that I was never going to be rid of this because God was not finished.  She told me that God is not who makes us sick, the devil is.  I had to explain that I knew God didn’t make us sick, but he allows things to be done to us, so He can do things through us.  If He can use us as His voice, believe that He will.  I know that I am up for the challenge, but it all comes down to fear for my family.  Sure, they will be alright without me.  I just don’t want them to have to find out for sure.  Control issue, again.
I’m praying, and allowing myself to be prayed for.  I’m trying to give the controls over to someone who knows better.  I’m trying to be selfish, and let people know when I need something.  I. Am. Trying. To. Survive.
Keep the prayers coming, and I will keep my faith.
I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled of afraid. – John 14:27

Chernobyl, or not Chernobyl…THAT is the question.

I am angry! I am frustrated! I am so tired.  I feel my world spinning out of control.  I know, I know…NOW her world is out of control?  She has been fine through diagnosis and surgery, but force her to make one simple decision, and the world is off its axis?

This has been an awful weekend!  I feel like I have been run over…several times.  I don’t want to do radiation!  I feel like a rotten child saying it, but I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna!  Everyone tells me that this is the best course of action, but I just feel like one huge experiment.  “Well, this worked on so and so, let’s try it on Shanna”. Nobody knows what works for REGULAR cancer, so how the heck do they know what works for a rare type of cancer?!?  So, let’s start at the beginning, shall we?  I went to my consultation with a radiologist at the start of last week.  She really didn’t tell me anything that would have convinced me that radiation is going to give me any better chance.  I was not convinced that the side effects are worth the small chance that it will help along with the chemo.  Come on! It’s bad enough that I have cancer, but to possibly have to have a colostomy bag for the rest of my life? How is that fair? Yes, it is a small percentage of people who have to deal with that, but guess what?!? Less than 5% of women contract this type of cervical cancer.  The odds are kind of against me.
Next thing, so I can get out of Debbie Downer mode.  I went to my pre-chemo dentist appointment this past Friday.  If you thought it was bad that I hadn’t been to a lady doctor visit in 3 years, you’ll love this one!  I haven’t been to the dentist in 16 years.  Yeah, I know. I’m a slacker.  The only reason I went this time was because my mother’s dentist suggested it, as his wife had cancer, and it helped alleviate a lot of her mouth issues.  So, as if I weren’t strange enough, with the diagnosis, and clear margins, etc.  16 years, and I had one line of decay on one tooth!  I have one broken tooth(not due to decay), and he noticed wear as a result of grinding my teeth at night…ya think?  So, good news from the dentist!  I will have my teeth cleaned on August 18th, so wish me luck.
 I think what has been the hardest on me lately is trying to keep everyone else’s spirits up.  It is very hard work to be optimistic all the time. I know I don’t have to, that’s just the way I’m built(as a friend so lovingly put it).  I try to be upbeat, and it is wearing me out.  There is nothing upbeat about this.  When I try to make jokes about it, I am usually met with 1 of 2 reactions. 1) Hysterical laughter(because they think I am crazy) 2) Crying(because they think I am crazy).  I am not crazy, nor am I going crazy.  I’m sleepy, angry, and humor is my defense mechanism.  Just want to reiterate that, because even those of you who know me well are having some difficulty dealing with my dark humor lately.  I am in no way trying to make you uncomfortable. On the contrary. I am trying to make myself more comfortable.
Speaking of comfort…I bought my first wig today.  I don’t know how it will feel when I don’t have hair, but it is pretty darn comfy right now.  It is blue with light blue streaks.  I was going to get a teal wig, because that is the awareness ribbon color, but decided to go a little darker. You know. Because of my skin tone.
Anyway, I suppose this is enough rambling for now.  I am tired, and I want to take a pain pill. Port o catheters hurt.  Please, please, please keep the prayers coming, because I am trying really hard to keep the faith.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:  for thou art with me; thy rod and they staff they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

Day 17: Something You’re Proud Of..

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“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

 

There is absolutely nothing in this world that I’ve done, that somebody else couldn’t have done better. I have actually learned my lesson in this life. It never fails, whenever I feel like I have done something outstanding, and brag about it……karma rears her ugly head, and bites me on the ass.

I am, however, very thankful. I am thankful that my children are growing up to be their own people. I am very grateful that my family (what little is left of it) all love me.  I’m thankful that my husband has stuck by me, even in my darkest hours.

Pride has gotten in the way of a lot of things in our marriage. Luckily, we have decided to keep trying.  Some people who have heard little snippets of what goes on may think that our relationship is unhealthy, but they need to understand that what they hear is usually one side of the story.  We have a love story that is in no way perfect, but it’s ours 🙂

Picture this…

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A young black woman and her mother are walking around a primarily white suburban mall. They haven’t seen each other very often since the mother moved to this new city a year ago, so they are completely wrapped up in each other.
As they head to a favorite clothing store, a large group of white teenage boys are walking towards them. As they pass, the boy in front lunges aggressively at the young woman. She jumps. The boys walk away, laughing hysterically at their friend’s antics. The girl is almost in tears, because she doesn’t understand what she did to provoke that kind of behavior.

Are you outraged for that woman? Did those boys do it because she was in “their” mall? Was it due to white male privilege?

Now what if I told you that it was me? I was 18, and had never been in a large city. The group of boys were all black. So, now it’s funny, right? “Make the white girl scared of us urban youths”. I try not to perpetuate stereotypes. I’m the product of a Mexican father and a white mother. I have never “belonged” in either family. Not quite white enough; not quite brown enough. It’s painful. It’s harmful.
It’s been almost 20 years since that experience. You would think I could have gotten over it. I haven’t. I’m angry to this day. The purpose of that boy’s actions was to instill fear and dominance.

I still ask why.