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Vital Info


Dawn (dstelma)


August 19, 2011


Jacksonville, Florida 32218


May 17, 1973


Cancer Fighter

Cancer Info


Hodgkins Lymphoma


Nodular-Sclerosis


August 22, 2011


Stage 2


Yes


yes


the control it has over my life


that it can happen to anyone anytime no matter what health your in


remain positive for me


in search of


mt dew and slim jim anytime of day. :)


21st Oncology


stand by


stand by


Night sweats, loss of weight/appetite, very fatigued, persistent cough, body aches.


lump removed on right side of neck 08/15/11

Stats

Posts:9
Photos:9
Events:0
Supporters:17
Supporting:5
Comments
-Made:9
-Received:29
Views:22862

Dawn 's Cancer Blog

2012-13 in Review

New_Start 1001 Sooo, this will probably be a long one because, well, I had no idea that I even had this out in cyber space and after reading all my old posts, it inspired me to relieve some stress. It's amazing what you forget along the way, a lot has been just flat out erased from my memory and I know I can never get it back, not while I'm awake anyway. So, here is a review of 2012...I finished my last radiation the last week of February and it seems as if that is where the real problems began. I had spent what felt like forever being sick and depending on other people that when I got the good news, I simply didn't know what to do with my emotions. I noticed right off the bat that I had absolutely no control over my emotions, I would go from happy to fuck the world in a matter of minutes and then never remember the fuck the world part. I tried to go back to work and my doctor pulled me back out because he was concerned that chemo had thrown me into early dementia which is prevalent in my family and after my grandmother fought and beat lymphoma she immediately went into full blown dementia. For a long time I believed that was what was going on and I went into a whirlwind of anxiety. I couldn't remember a single conversation I had with anyone and apparently that was a good thing because I wasn't very nice at least 30 minutes out of an hour, the other 30 minutes I bounced between crying and laughing...who knew that chemo could change your mental balance so easily, but it did. I managed to alienate everyone that I cared for in my life but had no recollection of doing so and then I found myself hating who I was becoming or at least who I was. I ended up helping a friend run her bar and that is when things became worse, I had done so well with not smoking and being inside a bar for 12 hours a day just led me right down a path I should have never gone. Smoking 2 packs a day and drinking at least a 12 pack, but part of me felt like I was still running from something....trying to find some normalcy. I soon learned that a smokey ass bar was not the answer to my questions. My desire to be around people and be treated normal were soon squashed because my friend decided to announce my cancer to all of her patrons and suddenly I became some sort of mascot and fell into the bar regular crowd, which is something I haven't done in 20 years. And I almost lost the most important person in my life. And I can honestly say I wouldn't have blamed her. I hated myself and everything around me. I couldn't look in the mirror without seeing the sickly person that kept her head in a toilet, having to change clothes every 15 minutes. I still weighed 125lbs months out and had no appetite, so I couldn't stand the 'man in the mirror" I worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield and while on medical leave they fired me, stopped my insurance and squashed my security. So, I made my doc take out my port and I stopped follow up maintenance care. I had to quit the Adderall they had prescribed to help my concentration and memory (they said that chemo brain kicked my ADD and OCD into overdrive) and my xanax to help with the anxiety...all cold turkey. I had always had this issue when they flushed my port, I would get a lung infection everytime, very painful and it would require me to sit for hours getting fluids and antibiotics. So, after they took the port out I started noticing this pain in my chest, it was a pain that would start in my diaphram and move into my head making me pass out for minutes while I sat in a pile of cold sweat. Then one night I was woken in the middle of the night by this blinding pain, pouring sweat, throwing up and for a second they say I died. My heart stopped, my pulse dropped extremely low and my girlfirend had to call 911. They presented me at the hospital with a heart attack. They said my skin was purple when they picked me up...not good. The ER wouldn't hear me when I said I was a recent cancer patient and that I had multiple infections around my port and lugs, they discharged me with a diagnosis of anxiety only to call me hours later and ask that I come back because they found something in my lung. However, when I did go back they let me know because I didn't have insurance I should go to the free hospital to have this checked out...either severe plueresy or lung cancer...I never went because I wasn't going to face another diagnosis I couldn't handle. After that early morning it never really happened like that again. We bought Jason Mraz tickets for his August show in Tampa and it was the most glorious trip of my life. We stayed at the Post Card Inn and I had been planning for months to propose to E. I had spent months searching for the perfect ring, the ring she wanted. 4 karat natural ruby in an antique platinum setting. I found it...after months of searching, it was perfect. So I proposed to her at that concert during his encore when he sang I Won't Give Up. She never did. The next day we went to the Salvador Dali museum and she bought a ring that replicated his painting of he and his wife's hands intertwine and she proposed to me right there, in front of the sign, in broad daylight. I'd never felt more special and I knew then she was definitely THE one. And we made a promise to each other then and there that in the next 5 years we would move to St Pete and enjoy our lives for good. A month later, she gets a call from her corporate office...we have created a position for you, they said, in Tampa. It was destiny and fate. So, we drove down several weekends to look for places to no avail. We had called on several but because we were from out of town, no one wanted to even talk to us. So we decided that she would stay with friends in St Pete and I would stay in Jax until we could find a place. That last two weeks. And on December 1 we moved to St Petersburg Fl. how could you possibly ignore all the signs? December 1 we moved into our place, I spent a month sending out over 200 resumes to employers and by the end of December I had secured a job. Really? Could the tides actually be turning? Are good and right things finally sprinkling over our path vs hot rock and thorns? I started my job on January 8 and have been treated wonderfully so far. No one knows of my cancer journey so no one asks about it, for them I'm just some chick that moved from Jacksonville to St Pete...not a lesbian, not a cancer patient...just a person. Although a culture shock, it felt amazing. Then on January 15 Pinellas County passed a domestic partner registry allowing us to legally document our love and devotion. Really? Could things really be going this well for us? So, we set a wedding date. Sept at Post Card Inn. I'm counting the days. So I guess what I learned a long my journey is that if you never fold, the world has a lot to offer. I worry often because of the spot on my lung and the new knots that have popped up on the left side of my neck, but you know what?, I will not allow it to ruin my 2013 and new start. 2013 is our year and I refuse to allow anything to ruin it. So here we are 1/19/13 and that was the short version of my 2012. Life is really wonderful (Jason Mraz song) and I wouldn't want it any other way.
jmichael sent you a prayer.
mike1954 sent you a hug.
Love those photos!!
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Well Its been a rough bout but Im thru it

And its been a long time since Ive blogged. My brain went to mush there for a while and it was all I could do to stay awake and function daily tasks. Now, my last radiation treatment was in February, last chemo in December. My hair is growing back nicely and Im slowly starting to put on a little weight, although I wouldnt mind some of it staying away. So, I took a running start at getting back to normal. Started back to work the same week of my last radiation. Started working on a new diet and new way of thinking about my health and what I want from myself. And I was doing okay at first, work has been the biggest struggle for me. I cant seem to retain information or remember conversations and its affecting my ability to perform. And I say that is my biggest struggle but the truth is, I dont know what is. This is a time when I should be happy, jumping with joy and running full blast into my new life...but instead, I sit daily with so much anxiety and depression that I cant even manage to leave my home at this point. I literally feel like Im losing my touch with reality. I havent seen hardly any friends since remission, I get tired of explaining my story. I work so hard everyday to try to remain positive and thankful that I was fortunate enough to fight and win against a horrible disease that so many fall victim to, but I cant seem to find the positive anymore. My relationship seems in turmoil. What I thought would make us so much stronger has seemed to cause a distance. Im sure she is dealing with her own emotions with all of this because for almost a year she did everything for me,supported me in everyway...and now all of a sudden I dont need her anymore. But I do, I need her emotionally,but maybe she needs that from me too and right now I dont know if I can give it and that isnt fair to her. So Ive contemplated ending the relationship...to free her from my misery. I just want my normal back, I just want to wake up with a smile like I used to. To greet each day with eagerness and determination and positivity just like the old me.
kellye, cindygiles1 sent you a hug.
I'm glad you're doing well, it will take a while to get back, you have gone thru so much and nobody can understand what you had to endure. give yourself time, it will be a new normal, i am not the same, but now i think i am stronger. i never thought i could do it, but i did and i'm glad. I'm glad you are doing better too. enjoy your life!!
Does your partner have any idea how you are feeling? I can't begin to even imagine going through what you are, but maybe this isn't the best time to be making such a major life decision as ending your relationship. I know you have said before that you have to put on a front for others that think you are so strong. Do you put on the front with her too, or does she see the "real" you? I am probably sticking my nose way too deep into your life. But you have made it through so much. I truly want you to be happy. You have much to celebrate and I hope you are able to get your happiness back soon.
 Honestly, she doesnt. She sees me as a strong person and thats how I try to keep it. She saw me at my weakest during chemo. Im just trying to so hard to get back to normal and getting frustrated at the results that I react negatively. We both just expected me to snap back like a rubber band. I dont know, Ive got a million things going thru my head that make sense for a second.
So good to hear from you, Dawn. I had been wondering how you were doing. All of life's events shape and mold us, and cancer is a biggie at doing that. How you let it change you is up to you. I also spent a lot of time reliving the nightmare, just mopey and sad all the time at how many issues I had been left with. But there comes a point you--and only you can do this--have to pull yourself up and not let cancer rob you of anything else. I'll continue to pray that things get better for you. Hugs, Mari
Thank you Mari, I really appreciate your words of encouragement. Its just recently that the depression and anxiety have set in, at first I was super excited. Its just work that is stressing me out. Im in healthcare so there is alot of information and well, its overload for me right now. Its just frustrating. Thank you for the continued prayers. I know I will get through this, I just have to make some changes in my life and stick with them.
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when is it my turn

when is this going to finally be about me and what i'm going through instead of what everyone else is doing and sacraficing to do for me. i'm not the kind of person who can easily ask for help in the first place, but please dont offer if all you are going to do is complain the entire time. its makes me feel bad. my partner recently spent a week in the hospital with chemical burns that aggravated her asthma and also pnuemonia on top of that. while she was gone, i had chemo. my mom took me which was wonderful, I wish i had taken pictures. but the help i was supposed to have during the week was non existent. theres always an excuse. everytime i cry, i'm told i need to stand strong and face it with a smile. sometimes i just want to cry. everything i do gets blamed on chemo brain. i feel fine. so i said i was going to stop treatments and go back to my old self. hodgkins lymphoma isnt terminal. but when the dr came in this morning, i never mentioned it. i'm confused. i dont know how to feel. i look and read other people's stories and they seem so much worse yet they have positive and smiling attitudes. that's normally who i am, but lately, all i can do is cry. alone. nov 3 is the light the night walk in my city and i joined and built the team thepeanutgang with the LLS. We found out last minute yet we raised over $1000 in online donations and my partner is out now collecting boxes from businesses. I have chemo that morning, so it will be a long day for me because I plan on walking as far as I can of the 3 mile walk. It wouldnt be so bad if it wasnt over 2 bridges, so we are bringing a wheen chair in case I need to be pushed. Thanks for hearing me whine. I really have no one to talk to about my feelings about this mess.
fred, spowell threw a punch at your cancer.
Hang in there Dawn .. I went through 6 sessions of chemo - they don't get any worse .. you can do it and then get on with your life. Fred:-)
hey bud, keep smiling i have the exact same cancer as you...!! and i had a battle and a half!! keep your mind clear and focused on the prize. and always remember that no matter what you are better then all this BS and you are worth it. If you need anything or have any questions just let me know.
Hi Dawn, I am also participating in Light the Night here in NY. This will be my third. Three years in remission now. The first year I participated, I was on chemo and so very weak. I was able to walk a little and used a wheelchair the rest of the way. Please know there is nothing wrong with that! The fact that you are going is a huge achievement in itself! Don't listen to what people tell you to do. No one knows how difficult going thru chemo and just knowing you have cancer is. So if you want to cry, cry. I cried every darn day for no reason at all and I also screamed my head off when I was home. (made me nauseus but so totally worth it to get it all out). Just know that who you are on chemo, is not who you are! The chemo changes or alters how we feel, perceive things and causes major emotional tolls. So just go with it. Soon enough, it'll be over, you'll be done and you'll moe on with your normal life and be a much stronger person for it! Good Luck with the walk. :)
Hi Dawn It's ok to cry and whine and not be sappy happy all the time. Its fricken cancer for God's sake right! But hang in there...you are going to make it thru and will come out of this ordeal a stronger woman. good luck on the light the night....hope you don;t need the wheelchair but if you do...put some bells or a horn on it...take care Dawn and God bless Sharon
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