I’ve missed you guys! Seems like I haven’t added a post in a long time.
So as we enjoy the last days of September -- also known as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month -- I think it’s my duty to do a quick public service announcement on the symptoms of this beast. Between you and me, I was not happy with KNBC’s story that ran a couple of weeks ago. It hardly touched on the symptoms. Symptoms that every woman should know.
So here they are:
Bloating. Not your average, “Oh, I ate too much” bloating. But a bloating that encompasses your entire abdomen. It looked as if someone unzipped my torso and put a tortoise shell in there and zipped it back up. Bloating with a capital B.
Fullness. As soon as I ate a bite of a cookie, I was full. Remember, I could eat 22 of them back in the day. Sad, but true.
Frequent urination. I remember having to go to the bathroom about every hour. Not normal.
Weight gain. I was up about five pounds when I was diagnosed. I thought I ate too many cookies. Probably did, but I believe the weight gain was due to the bloating and extra fluid in my abdomen.
Constipation. Enough said on that one.
I know very little about this disease and I’d like to keep it that way. Some people need to know everything. That’s not me. It’s not that I want to be ignorant about something that affects my life, but I’m better off using my energy to focus on the good things about it and not the negative things.
Good things about ovarian cancer? Yeah, there’s a couple.
It still only takes me five minutes to get ready in the morning. You saw my short hair on tv, right? Not the cutest style I’ve ever had, but certainly the easiest.
I enjoy my kids like never before. I just played Catch Phrase with them the other night and had a blast. Before cancer, I would have been doing laundry. What an idiot.
I know God more intimately. Priceless. Truly.
I often wonder if I could do a “do over” would I? I think I’d have to pass on that one. The biggest downside to cancer, in my opinion, is worrying about the future. If I cough, I think I have lung cancer. If I sleep wrong and my neck hurts, I think I have lymphoma. But I hear this is normal for cancer survivors. It probably gets easier for some, more difficult for others.
This week has been difficult. I find myself worrying. I was so good at not worrying. And I wonder why, after 10 months, I’m beginning to struggle with it again.
I think certain things trigger it. But I know what will deflate it. Scripture.
This one is gold to me.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6-7.
I experienced God’s peace the moment I received my diagnosis. I know it’s real. And I’ve experienced His peace throughout this whole ordeal. It is amazing. And there’s nothing that can give a Mom more peace than God’s Word. No need to look anywhere else but in the Bible sitting on your table. Now given that I have such a horrible memory (aka "chemo brain"), I don’t remember a thing after I read it. So I’ve been writing down beautiful verses on index cards. I need to tape them to my arms.
A friend of mine emailed me today and wrote that my blog has helped her through a tough time in her life. It brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. I love that you guys can relate to my journey, even though most of you don’t have cancer. I think it boils down to: life is hard. Whether it’s disease, divorce or depression we face, we all need God in our lives. You know those necklaces I make - can’t do cancer without God. I have others that read, “can’t do life without God.” Any takers?
So be aware of your body this month and next. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And for any of you who don’t get routine breast exams, make that appointment. I’m making mine. I just received that little card in the mail that said it was time to have one, and I was hoping my all-too-often cat scans would eliminate that fun little exam, but nooooo. As a friend of mine says, “Pull up your big girl pants” and make that appointment.
And no worries. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”