Thursday, July 31, 2014

We survived July (Plus Menopause and Some Good News)!!

Girlfriends visiting Hospice House from Porland (Lacy, Caitlin, me, Bri and Allison)

My incredible family having coffee together after I got home and finally felt better...

 We made it through July! That by itself feels like a miracle.

This was a HUGE month - being in the hospital/Hospice/home on bed rest for over half the month, starting a new chemo, going back to work 3 hours a day (thank goodness for a few moments a day of not thinking about cancer), then the incredible art benefit and tons of my tribe visiting and loving me in huge ways, then our fabulous beach I'm tired. I'm excited to slow down this month, invest in some nourishing self-care and honestly sleep a lot while my body fights "the beast." (I'm looking for a good humorous name for my cancer...suggestions welcome. ) At this point my energy is so limited, it's all I can do to have 3 things I want to accomplish during the day (i.e: work, go to a doctor's appointment, and one other thing) and then I'm lucky if I can stay awake until 9pm now...there are so many life lessons coming out of's okay to rest, learning to honor what my body is telling me about slowing down, letting myself be sad/mad/pissed about the whole cancer experience, knowing I can fall apart and be brave at the same time...

I had my weekly check-up on the new chemo with my oncologist today. We do weekly general labs and everything was in the normal range today for the first time since all of this started!! Woo hoo! AND the labs we run to check tumor markers actually showed something pretty exciting...The first time we did this lab it was 523, two weeks later and just before we started the new chemo, it had gone up to 941, and after two weeks on the new chemo is is DOWN to 686!!!! This means the chemo is doing positive things!!! We are still praying for miracles because this is still not likely to be curative, but my doctor and I are hoping this is the beginning of that miracle. :)

The not good news...we ended up running more labs after the appointment today because it looks like chemo has put me into early onset menopause. Let's add one more thing, shall we? I started having severe hot flashes in the past few weeks and a few other symptoms, so we ran hormone tests today too. Early menopause in women going through chemo is pretty common, I guess. We started a new drug that is both an antidepressant and will help with the hot flashes too. We'll start looking into if we want to add hormone therapy to the mix in the next couple of weeks....

To be honest, getting the antidepressant (and some anxiety pills) is a relief after a few anxiety attacks this week. Processing the cancer journey, and how different my life and experience of being in my body are right now, compared to even a month ago, is a crazy adventure.  I'll be spending some down time this weekend thinking through what I need in this season, how to provide the most gentle nourishing care I can for myself right energy levels are so different now, and coming to terms with that  need to happen. A typical day for me right now involves getting up for chemo at 6:15am, resting for an hour until I can eat breakfast, tracking my meds/temp/ blood pressure/ bowel movements, pain levels etc, going to work for 3 hours a day (this is my sanity right now), mom picks me up and we run an errand or to an appointment (right now we are still in the process of getting labs, or picking up a few items at the store), resting at home and trying to eat something that I can keep down and that actually tastes like food (my taste buds have gone away on this chemo so nothing tastes anymore) and then trying to keep my eyes awake until 7pm. face

But tonight I'm looking at the good - the awesome labs I got today! Miracles are happening and so much could continue to change!!

Thank you for being part of this...I will be really exploring what I need healing wise over the next few days...I am a firm believer that we each know what we need...and giving myself permission to really relax, sit with it, and create space for [inset new name for cancer - seriously, if you have ideas, tell me, this thing needs a funny name...].

Doodling from my healing journal the other night
Some of the best medicine in my opinion, is the self-care rituals we create space for once we admit to ourselves where we are at....I'm admitting that my energy is so limited right now (I've got about a 5 hour window per day) and then I'm struggling to keep my eyes open past 7:30pm at the very latest...

That said, I'm going to really focus nourishing myself over the next few weeks with sleep, food and savouring deep rest.

At this point, please call/ text before stopping by to visit as I'm giving myself a week of much needed rest and limited activities so I can give myself a chance to heal and recoup.

Thank you all for being my champions, rocks an supports! I couldn't do this without you!! Enjoy the weekend, and here is to surviving July with GREAT news from the labs! :)


  1. This is the BEST! I can't say enough how much it means for you to share this incredible journey, thank you. Rest is powerful for the mind and the body, fall into it with grace and compassion. Love you!

  2. Lovely Sarah! Rest well. I'll sing you a lullaby... the one going through my head is from the opera Hansel and Gretel. "When at night I go to sleep, Fourteen angels watch do keep.."

    As for your "beast" I think you can ask it what its name is. A few thoughts for inspiration: My friend Dianna has had so many surgeries on her spine she now refers to it as her Dragon. Also, I went to a voice class and the teacher asked what's the part between your hard and soft palate in your mouth called? Answer: it doesn't have a name, so she named it Steve and referred to "lift your Steve!" throughout the remainder of the class. :-)

    1. I love "lift your Steve"- too funny!! I like that..I will have to ask the beast what it wants to be called...:) Miss you sweet Rebecca! Looking forward to catching up when I actually have some energy again! xoxo

  3. Rejoicing with you in your great news! Sending you love today. You're amazing.

    1. Thank you!! I just looked through your latest pictures of Smith Rock on your blog...stunning! It was nice to have a mini-vacation through your pictures. :)

  4. so thrilled to hear your good news Roo! Hope your new meds help with the hot flashes and mood issues (if it's the one I'm thinking of, it should!).

    1. Me too! They put me on far it's just made me really tired, but it's only been a few days. :) I'm optimistic it will help with the hot flashes...that's the worst part right now. lol.

  5. Yeah all around! So happy to hear about those numbers, and to know that you are going to be resting and enjoying a relaxing August after this busy month of July!
    As for the menopause, I am right there with you. Not fun, but I think you'll agree with me that it is nothing compared to so many other things you have had to deal with. :-)
    Take care, and rest as much as you can!