Butterfly Cotillion

(The following was originally posted on my Carepages blog for family and friends during my treatment.)

The first thing you think when you hear the word "cancer" is: "I'm going to die." The second thing you think is: "How am I going to live through this?" (Meaning, from my favorite Josh Gates quote: "This is horrible, this is officially horrible.”) But it really hasn’t been. Thank God for Kris who called me and said, “This could be easier than you imagine. . .” I’m holding on to that, Kris!

Week one (first treatment) and week two (first recovery), done and done. Week one equaled lots of sleep. (Taking a shower then requires a nap.) Week two. . . making soup can be done, but then a period of rest (not necessarily a nap) must take place directly after. (This is a good time to binge on HGTV.) Week one, food tastes like sand. Week two, steroids make all food taste good, even gluten-free sand-like cookies. I also want things like bacon, mac and cheese, and potatoes. (Lots and lots of potatoes.)

Side effects: I seem to run into things. I mix up words. Some things look dingy. Or maybe it’s just that I seem to see dirt everywhere all the sudden. I keep misplacing things. I’m a bit of an air-head. (Okay, a lot of one.) I need Tim to coordinate times, places, locations. . . But these are all temporary?

Tuesday I go back into the cave for treatment number two. I may disappear for a couple of days. Sleep, however, is a sweet refuge. Week one I got a lot of sleep. I could go to sleep for two hours just by sitting down. Week two, sleep was a little elusive. I figure I will catch up on week three.

I’ve been sharing with my family and close friends some of the shifts in my thinking. Tim and I have laughed about how in the 80s I stopped using certain deodorants because they caused cancer. I cut all the underwires out of my bras in the 90s. I talked to my ta-tas and told them I loved them. I ate good food. I tried to be perfect. What I learned was being perfect doesn’t make cancer stay away. I also learned that being perfect doesn’t necessarily make you happy. So now I am going for happy. In a method called Access, there is a saying “If I ___ will you bring me joy?” (If I buy you? If I put you on? If I eat you? etc.) I was thinking I might want to tattoo that around my wrist. Then I thought, why not just write “joy.” (Which then turned into a butterfly on my shoulder… because butterflies bring me joy.) I want more joy in my life.

Tim says I’m not allowed to have any tattoos until I am done with treatment. (Boo!) I decided I need to start an AFTER list. It’s kind of like a bucket list except it has to wait until after “BC.” I’d like to have my teeth aligned. I’d like to go to Myrtle Beach. I’d like to get a tattoo. (I already have a long AFTER list.)

BC. I’ve started writing “breast cancer” as “BC.” This seems to be the code among others who have been there. It occurred to me that I am now a “BC survivor.” I’m not sure if you are officially a survivor until after treatment? But I’m not a “BC victim,” so I must be on the survivor side. The thing is, there is something in my brain that hasn’t accepted that I even have BC. I hear people say it. I know they are treating me for it. But it is not registering. The cool thing about saying “BC” is it could mean anything (Before Christ, British Columbia, Bowling Countdown. . . ) so my brain doesn’t seem to care if I call it that. It could even mean Butterfly Cotillion.

Crash ButterflyCotillion

Here’s one thing I do know. When you are being treated for cancer, there are two very different words they can put on your treatment form. One says “manage.” They are managing the cancer to keep you comfortable. The other says, “curative.” They are kicking cancer's ass. My treatment form says “curative.” (Some how my brain sees this as a butterfly cotillion where all the butterflies wear cowboy boots and hats and do one of those stomp-and-kick type dances.) Take that BC!

[Update: after posting this to family and friends, artist Krash made this drawing for me of the Butterfly Cotillion]


Jamie 03 2017(The following was originally posted on my Carepages blog for family and friends during my treatment.)

I haven't sat at my desk in probably two to three weeks. . . I mean really sat there and did work. (Still haven't. . . in case you're wondering.) It's funny the things I find there, and how their meaning has changed. Found hand-written notes about things I'm supposed to do or had been working on, odd bits of meaningless mail to review in the future (most of which just got tossed away), projects I had been working on - now canceled, put aside, or to add to some forgotten list for yester-morrow.

I'm also collecting other random things. . . an angel worry stone, a monarch butterfly, cards, dragons. I had a dream the other night where little flappers kept turning and each one was a piece of randomness of my life. Weird. Then last night, a sweet dream where I was playing with some children with a little playhouse of sorts and Kris Seastead came in. It turned out we were at Louise Hay's house (imagine) and she had all this specially prepared food for whoever needed it, but also took time out to integrate what the children were doing. Everything was intermingled out of doors.

I find everything is kind of cloudy. . . my spelling sucks (text recipients have confirmed this! LoL). My fingers don't work fast enough or something. LoL. I am at slow-slow-slow speed. My brain must be just a notch up from that as thoughts come out incomplete. (Nothing is happening fast.)

Today we ran errands ahead of a coming snowstorm, plus had my first bloodwork. That part went quick. (No results yet.) Went to Max & Erma's and some of the pharmacy gals were up there. Of course, they know us by name. (There's no hiding in a small town.) Like the randomness of everything else, I've found I collect leftovers. I don't eat a lot. One dinner out meal might be 3 meals for me.

Tim stopped and got me some Entenmann's chocolate covered donuts because, you know, it's the little things that mean a lot. (yum) A few bites before bed. . . just like when the boys were little.

Still Sleeping a Lot

(The following was originally posted on my Carepages blog for family and friends during my treatment.)

Seems like I'll I've done the past few days is sleep, but did manage to sit up for a few hours a couple of times in the chair today. Tim is making sure I eat something at regular intervals but am not eating large quantities of anything.

It's funny how important simple pleasures are at times like this. A cold drink. A hot shower. Clean sheets. LoL

Tomorrow is Tim's birthday. Hoping he has a special day. Then Monday I get my first blood check for counts. Fingers crossed that they are good.


Jamie Sleeping(The following was originally posted on my Carepages blog for family and friends during my treatment.)

According to what I write in my books, there are two kinds of transformation. Swan transformations are instant and occur when a change in our perception creates a life-transforming shift. Butterfly transformations take time. They are things like completing a college degree, learning to fly a plane, losing 200 pounds of weight. Chemo is a butterfly transformation and I've entered the cocoon stage.

Had my first treatment Tuesday. Drove in during a thunder and lightning storm. (More flashes.) Then Mark texted me the following:

"I don't know what you did... But it's raining on half my street and not the other and there is a rainbow over your house from here. Someone somewhere is looking after you. Have a great day."

All in all, the treatment part wasn't bad. Also got a robo shot pack so I wouldn't have to come back the next day. Had a few rough moments at home, but mostly have been sleeping, resting, sleeping resting sleeping. . . (Cocoon.)

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