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  • Writer's pictureRaelene

To Catch You Up

Oh hi again. It's been a little while I know. Since it has been so long there are a few topics I want to update you all on, so I’m putting them all together in one post.

First of all, things have been getting back to a more normal pace. Minus the current chaos of the world of course. Clara is growing like crazy and keeps us very very busy. She’s definitely not a baby anymore and that alone has made me a little sad. Not just for the typical “they grow up too fast” reasons but because I feel like I missed out. I know I was there still through my treatment but I didn’t feel like I was there the way I wanted to be and that makes me sad. I know that it's okay to feel those feelings and I’m not looking for anyone to tell me how I was there and she was such a happy baby. I know all of those things. I just think that sometimes we need to recognize that it’s okay to have those feelings and feel them. If I do that then I can move on and not dwell on the past and what happened.

I need to also provide an update on how Run for the Cure went back in October. My team raised a little over $3400! Our run went really well. Clara joined in her stroller as did one of our dogs, Copper. We did our run in my neighborhood and had really good weather to run in but it did get a little rainy for the BBQ we planned after. Overall, the day was an absolute success and I want to again thank everyone who was a part of our team for running with us. I also want to thank everyone who donated. It felt so good to be able to give back in some way. I’m planning to do a team each year going forward so if you want to join but don’t yet run, consider this your notice to get training!

I also went back to my psychologist right before Christmas. I have officially been diagnosed with anxiety (I mean we already knew this but now have a bit more of a clear picture of the aftermath). I realize as I’m trying to write this post that I actually have a lot to say on this topic so I’m going to write a separate post sometime here in the near future. For now though I will say, I’m seeing my psychologist monthly and she is helping me to manage my anxiety as it has taken over a lot of who I am. So stay tuned for more on this.

Next, I guess I should address the whole new year thing. I know everyone was all big talk about 2020 being over but I mean the reality is 2021 isn’t all that different but I guess it's the hope of something better. For me though, pandemic aside, it's the first year in a couple years with no cancer. It's no treatments. It's no constant tests (just annual ones). It's a fresh start to figure out who I am now and how to cope with what I’ve been through. It's figuring out the kind of mom I am without a disease. This year is a lot of new for me and to top it off I get to start it off with hair so that’s a big step up from this time last year. Even though the world hasn’t exactly figured its shit out yet, my world is a little less chaotic. I mean I’m still navigating side effects that just won’t totally let up and of course the anxiety so I’m nowhere near “back to normal” but feeling a lot closer lately.

Last topic to cover, my 6 month follow up appointments back in the middle of October. I will continue to see my oncologist every six months as she wanted to follow me herself due to my age and the type of cancer that I had. I had a mammogram done and then saw both her and my radiation oncologist the week after. I was mega nervous prior to the mammogram. Like not sleeping, freaking out pretty much every day all day. I was so scared that there would be something there. I mean I had no reason to be. I hadn’t felt any lumps or any other abnormalities. Looking back I think my anxiety contributed a lot to the way I was leading up the appointment. I know I will always feel that way before these appointments but hopefully I will be better equipped to handle the anxiety so I can still function. As my mom said, it's so hard not to freak out because you know how quickly the bad news can come and everything can change. It’s that fear that consumes you for sure. Sorry, to not keep you in suspense my scans were clear. Everything looked good and the follow ups with the oncologists the week after went well too. I got all my questions answered and felt much more relieved after. I slept pretty much all afternoon after my appointments. I have been struggling with my short term memory a lot which was something that slowly started when I finished treatment. The oncologist said that it is likely to do with the fatigue and that as the fatigue gets better that will as well. Sadly, they can’t provide any timelines for when the symptoms will all resolve as everyone is different. Given everything I am still struggling with she didn’t think I should be going back to work until maybe the summer. I’m happy about that in ways but I’m also a bit scared as it will be over two years by the time I return to work that I will have been off for. I know a lot has changed at work and I just don’t want to miss too much. This though is not something I stress myself with as I know I will have the support to get over whatever my return to work looks like. I also know it will be much easier when I am well enough to be back. That is what is ultimately important. All of that to say, my follow up appointments went good and I see my oncologist again in April and will have annual mammograms every October.

Well that covers all the big things I wanted to mention. Life after cancer has been a challenge for sure, some days are still really bad and I still cry often but the good days are becoming more of a regularity. Being a mom is exhausting and challenging on its own but combating the aftermath of cancer and trying to be a good mom all at the same time has been really hard and frustrating. I’m getting the help to figure it out though and learning to give myself some grace. I’ve been through hell and back which I sometimes forget and am a little too hard on myself or expect too much from myself. Doing my best to take a step back and take a deep breath. To my crazy little stinker, Clara - I’m doing my best every day and even when I don’t do that great, I promise to always try to do better tomorrow.


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