Friday, June 22, 2018

Keeping it Real

So it's been a bit since my last post - and it was on purpose.  I was determined to keep what I put out there positive and light hearted - hoping that by putting out good vibes they would come back my way.  And the last month or so I just couldn't do it.  I couldn't muster the energy to be bubbly - so I just avoided writing anything down.

But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if I shouldn't share this part?  Shouldn't that be part of sharing this journey too?  So here I sit, and I'm ready to write.  But to be clear, I am not looking for sympathy, and I feel like I've turned a corner with this whole mental part.  I'm starting to feel like myself again (most days), and am sure that's a light at the end of the tunnel I see.  In my husband's wise words, short term pain (in whatever form that comes) is worth it to be around for 50 more years :-)

When I finished chemo, I was excited to have that part done with.  My circle surprised me at my last treatment and showed up to celebrate with me.  I rang the bell, and walked out of the centre determined that I would not be back.  The following weeks were weird.  There was the fatigue and pain that came with treatment, but those I expected and could handle.  The part that threw me was the emotional part.  I was a wreck...I was moody all the time, I got angry or I cried for no reason, I didn't feel excited about anything.  And I had moments where I just needed to disengage.  I didn't want to talk, I didn't want to be around people.  I just wanted to wallow. Soooo not me - and it freaked me out a bit.

And here is where I tell you how lucky I am.  I have people around me who recognized it, and who balanced their "get your butt out of bed" messages with their "take one day at a time" mantras.  And it worked...slowly the part of my brain that was finally registering what I had been through started to open up.  I started to see it was ok to have days where I was scared (and believe me I have them - I'm scared about what's next; I'm scared about the cancer coming back; I'm scared about my girls' future; I'm scared I won't figure out my new normal), but that I needed to actively make sure to have days where I look around and enjoy the moments as they come.  I know...such a cliche.  But I have come to see how important it is and I am working to put it into practice.  Having said that, I've also learned that avoiding the bad days is also not helpful - so I deal with them.  Sometimes that means a good cry, other times it means punching a pillow.  And sometimes it means just letting people tell me it will be ok - and believing them.

It is a work in progress...and I have no idea how long it will take for me to feel like me again (or what that new me looks like).  But I am getting there.  As for how I feel, the pain is my joints and bones is still there, most days I feel like I'm 90 years old.  Oh and first thing in the morning I'm so stiff that I walk like a penguin - and stairs are not fun.  Brain fog is still a real thing, and sensory overload comes at the most inopportune times.  But I've done everything I can to prevent this stupid disease from coming back, and this short term crap will be worth it eventually.

On a happy note, had friends over for dinner this weekend.  It was the first time in a really long time that I felt like myself.  So I'm in pursuit of more of those moments - and I'm trusting that, while I'm not sure what a new normal looks like, I will get there.  And I almost forgot!! My hair is growing back! I have enough now that I've ditched the hats (plus it was wayyyy too hot to wear them).  So yay for pixie hair :-)  One foot in front of the other....



  1. You are simply awesome July :-) Have a great summer !

  2. Well done Julie! Continue to giv'er, and fight the good fight. It's always a pleasure seeing you, so know that we miss you - in whatever capacity you are in that day. Smile is coming back into its own, and your eyes are lighting up again! Cheers!

  3. Julie, I just wanted you to know there is light at the end of the tunnel. My incredible friend and fellow teacher at my school started her horrible journey with Breast Cancer a little over a year ago. There were four different types in both breasts. She had a double mastectomy and very aggressive chemo. Listening to your description is exactly what I watched my friend go through!

    The most beautiful thing has been watching her come out the other side with an amazing attitude about what’s really important in life, seeing her return to work over three months ago, not to mention a new set of fabulous breasts (she upgraded!!!��) and the best news ever a couple of weeks ago that her oncologist doesn’t need to see her for A YEAR!!!! ���� I know she would tell you that the thing that kept her going was staying active. It really helped both her mental and physical recovery. You are a strong and beautiful woman! You’ve got this!������