The middle of the night fears

When I reflect on my true “skills” in life I would rank sleeping at the very top.  My whole life I have been a great sleeper.  I put my head on the pillow, fall fast asleep and don’t stir until I wake in the morning.  I never understood the restlessness people with sleep problems would share.

Now, I get it.  I haven’t had a complete nights sleep in months.  Over the past several weeks it has gotten progressively worse with 3am wakings that lead to all out panic attacks.  Luckily Jay is by my side through it all and I get through the night just as I do each day… moment by moment.  Breathing deeply and finding comfort in the arms of others… sometimes a little xanax helps too.

My middle of the night “episodes” seem to be getting under control and I don’t wake in panic anymore. Now I just wake up and think and stare at the ceiling and feel for different aches or pains I fear are cancer… and write.  I write to my kids, friends, family.  I write about good memories and happy adventures and eventually I fall back asleep wrapped in the happy memories of my life.    Unfortunately my writing usually wakes up jay just as much as my panic attacks, but he’s a good sport.

Tomorrow I will have a bone scan.  Another test to look at my bones and disease in a different way to help the doctors have a clearer picture of what is going on.  So if our track record holds up I am prepared for them to tell me they have found even more cancer.  At least I am going into it prepared for the worst and maybe, just maybe we will hear some “good news.” But, I’m not going in planning on the good news like I so confidently did last time. That fall was just too hard.   After we have this additional information we will make a decision about treatment.  I met with two oncologists this week and both agree that if the bone scan doesn’t show any additional progress we will hold steady on the current drug I am on to make sure it has had enough time to “work.”  We will rescan in 8 weeks and see then if there truly is progression or if this drug holds me steady.  If the bone scan shows additional growth right now then I believe we will look at a more aggressive change in treatment.   But, we haven’t talked specifics, because I haven’t wanted to know yet.

So, I continue to live for the moment.  I found myself laughing and enjoying a beautiful evening last night with friends.  My friend Dj’s parents had us over for an impromptu dinner and through the conversations of kids, family, summertime plans, etc… I just let go of cancer and enjoyed the evening.  It was nice.  Despite our continued bad news I am determined to keep trying to live our life – to just be happy in the moment.  Not because I am denying cancer but because at that moment cancer didn’t matter.  I was not in pain, needing to make a major medical decision, etc… I could just live.

A dear friend and fellow stage iv breast dance survivor, Mary Ann, recently shared this question. If you had 5 minutes to live would you spend one moment being sad?  I know I wouldn’t. I would ring out every moment of happiness that I could from those 5 minutes!   That is how I am trying to live my life.  It isn’t easy – I cry every day.  I throw things and I lay on the couch exhausted after several hours of playing with the kids.  I feel like I am much more optimistic in this blog then I can be in real life sometimes.  But, I do my best.

So, another scan Friday (today I guess now).  More waiting and anxiety.  However, I told them I didn’t want to know the results until after the weekend.  My 3 boys have plans for mothers day- we have a trail to hike, some fish to catch, a picnic to enjoy and I don’t want to have it overshadowed by bad news or trying to figure out treatment plans.

Happy mothers day to all the mama’s out there and to those with angel mama’s.  May the love and joy your mother shared with you be celebrated whether you can hug her or just hold her memory close.  To all those who are moms – treasure each moment with your babes.  Hold them close and don’t take anything for granted.  I’m sure our boys are overwhelmed with the amount of hugs I am slinging these days.  I basically don’t let them leave or enter a room without a hug.  Jay does the same thing with them…  I think we all just want to hold each other as much as we can.

with hope,

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