Wednesday, June 29, 2011


The last 2 months I've been exercising again. Every time I've been able to get a bit stronger since my transplant, I have a huge setback by getting sick. It got to the point that I was afraid to try. I actually have an instinct to stop whatever I'm doing to keep my heart rate down. That's because I've always exceeded my capabilities and ended up bed ridden from exhaustion. There is nothing I hate more than being kept down waiting for my body to recover.

I wanted to mention that the reason I have such a hard time recovering is because I'm one of those lucky folk that ended up with chronic graft/vs/host disease from my transplant. As hard as it can be at times, it's not as hard as I had imagined it would be. When I read my binder that the hospital gave me on bone marrow transplants it gave me the percentages of those who would die from the procedure. Then it talked about the percentage of people who may get acute graft/vs/host. Then it talked about the percentage of people it would be fatal for. Then it talked about the percentage of people who would get chronic graft/vs/host and the percentage it would be fatal for. It was like reading a horror novel even with the perky little clip art. I was convinced that I would not be one of the %25 that would suffer with the chronic kind. I was happy (if you can call it that) when I had the acute GVHD but then it continued on.

Comparing it to the fear of what I thought it would be like, it's not that bad. It's fearing fear itself, I guess you could say. The good part of the GVHD is that it helps ensure longevity. Also, exercise in transplant patients is shown to increase our life spans.

So for my mood, that's a tougher one. In the past I dealt with my anxieties my working 24/7 and exercising. Post cancer, that's been impossible. Every day now that I get out and do something like hiking up the mountain or up hills in my neighborhood, I feel a strong sense of accomplishment. When I get home I feel like I'm being swallowed up by my circumstances.

In my pre cancer life I had to deal with harsh realities and I have experienced depression before. I did everything I could with my doctor until she told me there was nothing more she could do for me. Then I started counseling, not believing in it but determined to find a way to ease my chronic anxiety. The counseling was very helpful. I also started working even harder to change my circumstances. The more I was actively trying to fix it, the more in control I felt, the stronger I felt, the happier I felt.

I know medications for depression help people but they don't help me. I help me. The more I do to change what I've been dealt, the more in control I feel and the better I feel.

All through my transplant I reacted oddly to my medications, I turned into a big pain in the butt for my oncologists. I guess my chemistry is just different.

So I've been exercising for 2 months and am feeling stronger. I finally was able to go back to my old job but there are hardly any hours due to it being summer. I knew I need creativity in my life but I have been finding it so hard to be self motivated right now. I feel like I'm piled with impossible things.

So I applied for another job. It's in a creative studio atmosphere with other creative people. Somehow I managed to get the job even when there was a pile of applicants. So far I ride my bike downtown and get to work in a bright beautiful happy place. It's everything I wanted for my life but I'm working for someone else rather than doing it on my own. I hope I've found a way to fill those needs even if it's in a slightly different format. I'm flat out exhausted and in pain when I get home but I feel accomplished. I hope this new schedule helps me correct the imbalances that I live with right now.

When I got there on the first day I found out they had seen my website and knew that I had had cancer. I hadn't brought it up in the interview, not that I didn't intend to but it never came up. I felt it would have been like whacking someone on the head to bring it up out of the blue. Even though I ended up chatting with my employer about what I'd been through, there in that environment the cancer seemed small. It seemed like a small side piece of my life rather that the suffocating omnipresent monster blocking out the light. And that's what I'm looking for. Rather than seeing the ruined city, I want to see the sunset over the fields.


Pretty Things said...

You're a big inspiration to me. Just wanted you to know that.

LindaSue said...

You are simply amazing, fact.

hockeychic said...

WOWOWOWOWOW! Congratulations on your new job! This is wonderful news!

You are amazing and I'm so impressed with your determination.

Keep on keeping on!

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