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What's your 'Remission' style, when you see 3 months of no doctoring stretching before you?

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I am trying to guess how I will be as my remission gets 'less new'. It is so thrilling and strange to be out of treatment, and then to have my check-ups, and the next appointments set for NOVEMBER! I am almost giddy with the freedom of having my DAYS returned to me without the constant interruption of treatment appointments. I can't seem to settle back into my old routine. How about the rest of you that have finished your initial treatment protocol in the past year? Has life returned to normal or are you someone else that you were before?

I know that I should start to re-build my business that I left get smaller during my treatment. I let the registration deadline pass for an important trade show I've always been a part of,...and instead planned a trip that week to my aunt's with my sister and step-mother.

My formerly spotless house is, quite frankly, pretty dirty and certainly messy. Instead of cleaning, I go out and dig in the garden day after day over my lunch.

And that trip to Greece in October will take me away from the office 2 full weeks, and yet I don't plan to take my computer or hassle with international internet access. I've never been like this about my business!

My grandkids stopped in 2 days ago, and I took off with them to an amusement park for the entire business day. I skip half the work day almost every DAY to go out to lunch or breakfast with friends.

I was locking up the house to go to bed at close to midnight the other night (thinking my husband was already upstairs) and noticed the pool lights were on. I went out to investigate, and found my husband brooding in the pool with a glass of brandy. The old me would have either told him good-night and gone off to bed so I wouldn't be too tired the next day; or chastised him into coming in to go to sleep. The NEW me stripped off my clothes and dove into the pool bare-naked, totally reversing his dark mood!

Who is this 'Remission Linda'? And is this a passing phase and will I settle down soon? Or do the rest of you find yourselves living full-speed-ahead in a way unfamiliar to you?

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

Linda,

My last chemo was in Feb - I refer to myself as being in surveillance since then (not sure if this is really remission or not). My last doctor's visit was in July with my next in November - my schedule is blood work every 2 months to check ca125 and doctor's check's every 4 months for pap. It's definitely a different world.

I am learning to not be so "intense" or bothered about things. I'm more mellow with work situations and problems in general. I am able to "let things go" and I consciously work on being kinder and take every opportunity to send cards, make calls, and in general appreciate other people and let them know that I do. My husband and I are better connected than every before. I am consciously not worrying as much as the "old" me would do.

I have incorporated more SELF CARE into my life - lunch with the girls, yoga, meditation, better diet, fewer overtime hours at work. I still have lots of room to improve in all of these areas but I'm improving. Though not super obsessed with this, I can sort of hear the clock ticking. My husband and I are going to take a week off soon to work on many of the projects at home that never seem to get done. I think that completing these will be a great stress reliever for both of us.

I have "getting my affairs in order" on the priority list. I have procrastinated successfully for awhile, but this needs to be done - will, etc. I believe you already took care of yours - good for you.

My husband, who is also a cancer survivor, and I will be planning some trips too. Enjoying health is important so we are "making hay while the sun shines" tying to find that balance between work and fun, responsibility and carefree and making the best quality of our lives.

Namaste, Mary Ann

Deblittleton's picture
Deblittleton
Posts: 56
Joined: Feb 2009

This sounds like a wonderful phase to be in. When I finished my 3 brachytherapies I hope to follow your lead.

I do find myself going to more lunches and dinners than before. I talk longer on the phone, write longer e-mails and go on more weekend trips than I did before this illness.

You have given me the idea and I have given myself permission to plan a wonderful trip for me and my husband. I can't wait to plan this.

Debbie

Katrinka123
Posts: 54
Joined: Jul 2009

I'm not sure I have a style, but I can tell you I've never been happier to be driving my boys here and there and keeping up with their schedules all on my own again! My husband has been the greatest guy around keeping up with his obligations and mine when I couldn't do it - and always with a smile! I'm glad to be back in the saddle again! (Literally, since it seems most of August has been driving, dropping off and picking up one or the other at all times of the day!)

This time last year I was days from starting my first 4 day hospital stay for chemo and wondering what football games I was going to have to miss, and worrying about not being able to be room parent to my peanut allergic second grader.

Schedules collide, and extra demands on time are made when school starts, and I have a feeling I'm going to have a cooler head about how it's all going to work out.

-Kat

deanna14
Posts: 734
Joined: Oct 2008

LOL. I am happy to see this post. My house is filthy too... my priorities have most certainly changed. My attitude is... the dirt can wait, I am going to do something enjoyable. Before all of this started, we had cut our spending down to nothing because we were going to pay off all of our debts, including our house. Now, the attitude is not wreckless, but you can't take it with you. As long as we can make our payments and have enough savings for emergencies, we are using it to do things we enjoy!
I have always been a little uptight, a worry wart, but now I don't sweat the small stuff. I so easily speak my mind, not in a hurtful way, but a productive way. I don't keep stuff bottled up. I don't let people use guilt to control me. I am more care free. Almost a happier, more relaxed me.
So no, my life hasn't returned to normal or should I say the way it was b.c. (before cancer). I take time to stop and smell the roses. I am enjoying the slow pace of not working. I enjoy just being home and having dinner ready for my husband when he gets home. I enjoy letting the chores go, so that I can have a long lunch with a friend, or a pedicure with my niece.
Life is good, different but good. God is good...
I think it is fantastic that you are smelling the roses too!!!!

shortmarge's picture
shortmarge
Posts: 295
Joined: Nov 2008

I have been to three concerts this summer already and plan to go to more. I love music! I got free tickets to the Alan Jackson concert on Friday and asked my hubby if he wanted to go and he said no. I told him okay, I'm going anyway. He wound up going with me.

I also found an old childhood friend and sent her an e-mail. We were the closest of friends and I walked away from the friendship in high school. I wrote to her and explained why and apologized, cried my eyes out and so did she.

Found out a woman at our local Exxon store has been diagnosed with breast cancer so I went in and talked with her. She is just starting chemo and is so upset and scared about losing her hair. I gave her some of my bandana's and my comfy cap I wore to bed when I lost my hair. I will be checking in on her now and then.

I am finally doing things for me and not putting my job, hubby or kids first all of the time. I am going to finally do things that I always wanted to do! My next adventure is to go to Lincoln Financial Stadium and watch the Philadelphia Eagles. FLY, EAGLES, FLY! And maybe on my 50th birthday I will finally take that leap out of a perfectly good airplane, skydiving has been something that I have wanted to do all of my life.

My husband better get in shape if he wants to keep up with me! hahahahahaha...

MIND, BODY AND SOUL!

Hugs.

Um, what is housecleaning?

livenow09's picture
livenow09
Posts: 63
Joined: Apr 2009

Aloha All...haven't been connecting so much lately; been busy getting into the "main" stream again, but swimming slower; energy level is almost back to normal (9 months after the last chemo) but I have to be careful to not "go the extra mile"; it usually leaves me more tired than I care to be; work consumes too much of my time but I'm working on an alternative...like walking away; but I do love the patient care; every morning I do my "health routine"; Qi Gong and a little yoga; making an effort to get to the beach at least once a week (weather in Hawaii has been "bad"; lots of hurricane and cyclones; none effect us except the surf gets really dangerous; so no water time); been volunteering at the church food bank and started a little parish nurse program taking B/P's and giving health advice; I breathe a lot and don't let much bother me; I've become some kind of mensch...patting everyone one the shoulder, telling them not to worry so much..it all works out in the end; finally finished my battle with the insurance company and the disability people; so that's a load off; gearing up for my third 3 month check up with oncologist; much less anxious about it; didn't cry after I called the insurance company to make the travel arrangements (I have to fly to Oahu to see the dr); so this is progress; hubby and I are still struggling with intercourse; the parts don't work as well as before, but we're not ready to give up; it may sound weird but I'm "envious" of you ladies who had radiation ending up with a smaller vagina; the removal of the cervix has cause the vagina to flare outward at the top; gotta teach these guys how to sew so the vagina remains cylindrical instead of pie shaped; (LOL)it's still so much fun to try!!!!
I guess the thing that bothers me most is NOT wanting to settle into a routine; I'm resisting it as much as I can... been seeing a therapist and working on living my life as if I had only one year left; trying to make room for the here and now; so my advice is continue to live in unfamiliar territory; enjoy, laugh, seize every opportunity to be ALIVE and try new behaviors
love you all
Marie

kkstef's picture
kkstef
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

I finished treatment almost 9 months ago and I have to admit the first 4-6 weeks I felt rather "disconnected". After having so many appointments, etc. and then NOTHING. It seemed like I was just put out to sea on a little life boat where I was left to figure out "WHAT NEXT?" without my lifeline of health professionals nearby. Would my life be normal again and what really is my new "normal?"

Once I got past those first 2 months, things have fallen into a pace that I am enjoying! I pretty much just do what I want to do and WHEN I want to do it! It has been wonderful to start reclaimiing my poor neglected flower beds! My husband and I are taking little trips periodically to "just get away". I'm spending more time having lunch with friends and trying to do things that will enhance my health... i.e. yoga, a movement class, walking every morning, volunteering at a not-for-profit organization that provides many free services to clients with cancer and their families, taking classes about things that are interesting to me. I have always LOVED to cook so am back at that with a new commitment (much to my husband's delight!).

Like so many of you have already said....worry a lot less, enjoying life soooo much more, appreciating little things around me, living more in the moment, laughing lots, overall, just having fun!

I also think about all of the wonderful, courageous, and encouraging women who visit this site and share their experiences. We CAN make a difference for ourselves and others!!

Karen

Ro10's picture
Ro10
Posts: 1453
Joined: Jan 2009

I had my CAT scan for staging after treatment today. I have an appointment with the onocologist on September 1st. She is out of town most of this week. I will try and call the office tomorrow, but probably will have to wait until my appointment for the results. I am thinking positive thoughts though. Unfortunately my port would not return blood today, so I had to be stuck for the contrast. Luckily she got the vein on the first stick. It will be a disappointment if they cannot use the port anymore, especially since it is less than 2 months old.

I have a follow-up appointment with the radiation onocologist on September 23rd. After hearing your discussions, I will be asking for dilators to use daily. I can understand the advantages of daily dilation, although I have not had any problems yet.

I too love gardening. I have a sign in the kitchen that says
" Life if made of choices.
1. Clean house
2. Plant flowers
** See you in the garden."
I love it, and live by that philosophy. Although I have to say that my gardens have been neglected this past summer, too. There is always next year. I have an addiction to daylilies, so I did enjoy them this year.

My husband thinks much like yours Linda. He has us scheduled for a 12 day Mediterrean Cruise in November to celebrate the end of treatments. We are both looking forward to the cruise. I don't know how I would have made it this last year without the support of my husband. I know he is looking forward to doing something other that taking me and sitting with me while I have appointments, although he has never complained about taking me.

I think differently about what is important since my diagnosis with cancer. I try to focus on what I think is important. I look forward to having my energy back to do what I want to do. I spend my time with people who are positive, and not let the others get me down. I think I am more appreciative of friends and family, too.

I hope to join that "remission" group, soon. In peace and caring. HUGS to you.

deanna14
Posts: 734
Joined: Oct 2008

We went looking this weekend at travel trailer toy haulers. Last night we bought on. We are going to start traveling. Close when my husband just has a regular weekend and further on vacations.
I can't wait!

deanna14
Posts: 734
Joined: Oct 2008

Double post! lol

Songflower's picture
Songflower
Posts: 632
Joined: Apr 2009

I finished my last radiation yesterday. My remission style the last 24 hours has been sleep but it's a good sleep. I just got an email; my girlfriend is coming to visit me in two weeks! We are best friends forever.

I had breast ten years ago. After that I bought a new car, got a 25th splurge anniversary ring. My husband asked me where I wanted to go for our anniversary (I knew he was hoping I would say scuba diving) but I said "Paris." How can you say no to a bald woman after nine months of treatment? We absorbed the city and had a marvelous time above water! I surprised him with some "none me"" moments that certainly are not suitable for the web! I also thought I would give the people at work a christmas to remember and developed a crazy Mrs Claus Character with net socks, big boobs,flashing earrings, and sparkling shoes. She is the real driving force at the North Pole. I called her Mrs Claus the Babe. She was wild and wacky, they laughed until they cried. I didn't think I would live and then did live and now each year am expected to plan a crazy Christmas party and make them laugh until they cry. The good news is they have also lost their inhibitions and have come up with some clever ideas all by themselves.

This time....I feel the same shakiness of being finished. I seem not to want to really buy anything but just to be with the people I love. I plan to work only part time. To slow down. To tell everyone how much I love them. To let the annoying people not annoy me. It will be interesting to see how much my style changes from the first cancer. I found this one harder to fight because I didn't realize how drained I was keeping up the good fight with the breast. I didn't realize how much my family loved me until the second cancer; they were pumping their biceps ready to fight again! They never got tired. My daughter in grad school calls me everyday while she walks to the lab. She is a marine biology student in CA and came home to take care of me after #6 and gave me gourmet meals three times a day with fluids inbetween! My other daughter in DC came home everyother weekend and made it her mission to help distract me from the pains of chemo. They never thought I drank enough fluids and kept me water logged. My husband was there every hour, every second. He loved me bald, sick, and afraid with tears streaming down my face. And they've done this before!

I am not as afraid to leave this world if I have to, but every day that is mine I am going to leave the world a little better place. I am glad to have met you all on line but wish we could meet in person. I wish I could email you each a gift of love; beam it right to you. I also wish we could raise funds for research for this cancer.

So....I will see how I change and grow the second time around. Having some problems with foot pain from neuropathy; it scares me but I will learn to open windows if doors close. My friends don't want me to lose the wilder, crazier me that burst forward ten years ago and I am sure she is still around. I still wish we could have a weekend together. Thank you for what you have given me. I don't think anyone really understands until you've been there. You are amazing women!

P.S The house hasn't been as clean for the last ten years and the closets still need to be overhauled. I don't anticipate they will be come the priority now either.

Diane

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi Diane,

I loved what you said. I'd love to meet and hang out with you!! We are all in this together and, as Patricia says, very much alone. We are "alone together" - (when I googled this recently I learned I'm not the first one to think of that one - LOL).

I just booked an adventure trip to Belize in Feb with 3 other women- kayaking in caves, mayan ruins, windsurfing and more!!! Anyone want to join a small group of cool women - let me know!!! Like the rest of you, looking to enjoy life and forget about the C-word for awhile.

Hugs and blessings to all, Mary Ann

maylynne's picture
maylynne
Posts: 8
Joined: Feb 2009

I have not posted for quite a few months, felt out of the loop. I am now almost 1 year after treatment ended. 1 year check up soon. I can identify with everything you have said Linda.
I live for NOW.
Maylynne

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