Friday, May 26, 2006

365 days

One year ago today, I took the day off work.

My husband and I went out to breakfast at Bob Evans restaurant, where I had crepes, and then we went to see and early show of Star Wars III.

From there we drove up the road, and I had the Darth Vadar theme (da-da-duhhhh-dun-da-duhhhh-dun-da-duhhhhhh) running through my mind.

We pulled into my endocrinologist's parking lot, went inside and sat down.

One year ago today we did all of this. And how do I remember?

Because those were the final moments leading up to my cancer diagnosis. The final moments before everything changed. When I found out my body could betray me. When I had to face the thought of losing my voice or losing my life.

It was a very specific moment that started the absolute worst year of my life. I'd like to say the cancer was the hard part. It wasn't - I'd go through that ten times over if it meant not living through some of the other things.

Instead I went through that while also dealing with a health issue that one-hundred years ago was a major cause of folks being sent to insane asylums because of the mental agony that is a thyroid condition. I've been tired almost every minute of every day. I used to be far stronger than I looked, and have had extreme muscle weakness to the degree that many days I feel almost completely helpless. The thyroid is an amazing little thing, and when it's gone, the body really goes wonky to a massive degree. I went through it all without the luxury of being able to choose when and where my illness was discussed, thanks to the "kindness" of well-meaning strangers. And even though I've tested negative for any remaining traces of cancer at this point, I'm still battling the health issues that come from losing my thyroid and other treatments.

None of this is said to be whining (no matter how it sounds up till now). None of this is said to get pity.

It's said because I'm tired of being tired.

One year is enough for that.

So here, on the first day of the second year of the rest of my life, I am promising to get better. The search for new doctors is on (my beloved endocrinologist is looking at retirement, and my GP is dreadful). And I'm not going to make the mistake of thinking this is how I'm supposed to feel anymore. I'm going to whine like those doctors have never heard before until I'm feeling good. I am making a public declaration to work out - actual working out, be it Pilates, walking on my treadmill, or any other actual bonefide excercise - for one hour a week for the next thirty days, to be re-evaluated for possible increase at that point. I'm going to focus on getting a healthy emotional life as well, with my marriage, with my friends, and with myself. I will help Anj help others (and I will encourage you to do the same).

I've been a cancer patient for one year. I will not be a cancer patient again.


Blogger Jane said...

I'll be happy to stand right behind you and wave a little flag or shake my fist, or whatever will let you know that I and so many others love you, and that we want you to have the life you would like to have. You go, Amie!

5:59 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Go girl. The bitching wheel gets the best medical care. Doctors are not all-knowing and not all alike, and there are lots of them. Shop around! If you get a bad vibe for ANY reason, fire his/her ass and keep shopping! If more people did that, some of those egos might be more in check. Your expectations are totally reasonable, you are not whining, and they ought to be able to work with you to make it so.

6:38 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

I just added my donation to Anj. How could I NOT?

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has been a year, hasn't it? I'm glad that you have decided you are ready to get better, all the way better. I need to do the same.


7:55 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Donating as we speak. And I'm always, always, always around to cheer you on! You go girl!

8:10 PM  
Blogger gray la gran said...

i feel like i've been kicked around lately, including today, but today you kicked me in a very positive way. i can't explain how ... but thank you just the same ....

8:31 PM  
Anonymous PuppyMomma said...

Good for you!

And in solidarity, Conan, Sydney and I promise to walk at least 3 times a week. 'Cuz I know the super-tired feeling.

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Amby said...

Having lost several of my family members to cancer, your declaration to live and live well touched me very deeply. I wish you all the health, happiness, positive energy, and joy in the world. YOU ROCK! NEVER FORGET THAT!

8:43 PM  
Blogger Kadiddly said...

*hugs* You've become dear to me in the past months, and it's...inspiring to read this.

I've started swimming three times a week again - maybe we can keep each other encouraged! =)

3:16 AM  
Blogger Bess said...

You go girl. Find yourself a GP that is not a jerk and fire the one you've got! Then come down here and sit on my porch and spin on Bella.

And congratulations on getting that year over with! Whew!

7:37 AM  
Blogger Jolene said...

You go girl. F Cancer. I am also tired of being tired. I feel sometimes that the life has been sucked out of me.
I will cheer you on and be here if you want me to. *hugs*

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amie - I hope you know how much I love you. Looking forward to seeing you again and celerating life and all the joy we can find. You are awesome and have endured a lot.
Extending a big big hug and lots of love!

The yellow bridesmaid,
and her furry friends,
Emma and Gracie

Sending so much love that the net cant hold it :-)

9:04 AM  
Blogger Patti said...

My thyroid problem is different than yours, and the synthroid works fairly well for me, though admittedly, I don't have the same energy level as before. I have a friend with a thyroid condition different from both of us. Even on synthroid she still had that deadening mid-afternoon fatigue. Synthroid replaces your T-4 hormone and your body is supposed to use it to make T-3 hormone also. Some people don't make that conversion well. She ended up taking a T-3 substitute in the afternoon in addition to the synthroid in the morning. It made all the difference for her. There is also replacement hormone taken from pigs (which was the standard before the synthetic hormone) that contains both T-4 and T-3. It's one angle you can look into in your quest to feel better. Also, the exercise, keep working at it. Even a 20 minute walk every morning makes a huge difference in how well (or not) I feel all day. Good luck.

2:40 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Dear Amie, I knew some of it, not all of it, and can't imagine what this past year has been like. But YOU GO GIRL! I got through and past longterm problems this year (in part with thyroid supplements), and life really can get beautiful again. I am walking too, every day, and will think of you and send cheers your way when I head out every morning.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on getting through that first year. Woo hoo!!! I just hit my 5-year mark as a survivor and totally understand how special each anniversary is. And you're right about being a cancer patient. We're not patients now. We are survivors!

1:01 AM  
Anonymous jessie said...

You go, girl!

6:34 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

You are right. You aren't supposed to feel bad all the time. It took me a while to realize it too, and then I went through 3 doctors trying to get one who would listen. Remember that it's ok to speak your mind and make them stop and actually pay attention to you.

Of course, I moved out of state after finding one!

See you Monday?

8:52 AM  
Anonymous marti said...

amen! love your attitude! good luck finding a new doctor, a good one makes all the difference in the world.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've started pushing back in my life too.
I'll think of you when I'm pushing, and we can share the energy.

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Kat said...

You go girl. I'm going thorugh my own health issues and am lucky to have an amazing PCP. She listens, we talk, and even if the physical symptoms persist, my brain feels better knowing that someone out there understands and is trying to help.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

Atta girl. I'm so proud of your behaviour this last year. You've done this annus horribilis with grace.
Never again.

5:23 PM  
Blogger DianeS said...

It sounds like not being patient is the way to go. I can only hope that if (or I suppose when) I go through a nasty spell again, that I handle it with more grace, like you.

2:56 PM  
Anonymous Rebekah said...

I hope you succeed, but remember if it strikes again, you've beaten it once you can do it again.

I say this, not as a downer, but my mother survived breast cancer twice. 5 years apart from each other. She was hitting her 5 years when they'd consider her cancer free, and they found another tumor. But now she's gone 5 more years, nearly 6, and it hasn't returned. So remember we never know what tomorrow will hold (as you well know) but whatever you go through today and accomplish will make you stronger for tomorrow.

Take care of yourself, you are an inspiration.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Congrats on cancer free for one year! One of my dear friends celebrated her one year last year - and her two yearn is coming right up!
One more sock done for me!

10:08 AM  
Blogger Elinor said...

Go! Get your life back for yourself. No more of that cancer-important nonsense. Make it about you being you being happy. Congratulations!

11:26 PM  
Blogger Valerie said...

Hear Hear!!! Your attitude is infectious. Many of us need to reclaim our lives by something that has bitten us (or nibbled us to death). My dad (who also survived thyroid cancer) said cancer steals, minimum, a year of your life, no matter what. Your year is up!

7:14 PM  
Blogger Zippianna said...

You have so much love in you Amie, I know you can do this.

10:54 PM  

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