So I have cancer. It’s so weird to actually type that. I’ve known for a while and I’ve shared with my loved ones etc. I always start out telling people the same way. “I am okay now and I am going to be okay”. This is absolutely true. I am fine and I am going to be fine. My cancer is very beginning stages and completely treatable. Incidences of my type of cancer spreading are extraordinarily rare.
I have been diagnosed with adenocarcinoma grade 1 uterine or endometrial cancer with endometrial hyperplasia. Currently I am taking a synthetic progestin medication to control the amount of estrogen my body produces in order to keep the cancer from growing. This will allow me time to get healthy and strong and lose weight before I have surgery. The surgery will of course mean that they will remove everything. I’m fine with that. I am 53 as of Friday and I don’t need any of that stuff!
So basically two pills a day. Weird right?
So I’m taking the pills, dealing with improving my diet and increasing my exercise. I’m cutting back on refined sugars and putting my mental energy into getting healthy. I’m not freaked out and I’m not sad about this. As a matter of fact every once in a while I find myself saying “Oh yeah that’s right, I have cancer!” The pills are basically for three months then I have another biopsy. As long as the cancer hasn’t changed then I can stay on the medication and continue to get healthier. If the cancer cells have increased then we will have to schedule the surgery sooner. My hope is that I will drop sufficient weight to get the surgery next summer when my daughter can be home for it. I really want that time although the thought of cancer cells just sitting there inside my body is a bit intimidating.
A while ago, fresh from diagnosis, I burned my hand pretty badly and ended up at urgent care. They were writing my info for me on the form because my hand was immersed in ice water. He asked “anything else you can think of?” I said “Hm no not really I’m pretty healthy.” “Oh wait do you need to know I have cancer?” Now yeah it was a maybe stupid question in hindsight but come on what does my uterus have to do with second degree burns on my hand?
Work is amazing. “Whatever you need” ” Just let me know when you have to be off” etc. My family is phenomenal. They ask good questions, give sound articulate advice, keep me grounded and remind me that this sucks but it’s not the end of the world. My friends are amazing. They remind me not to shut myself in and not communicate. They call me, text me, invite me places and remind me that they are there if I need anything.
I have shut myself away a little bit. Well a lot actually. It’s the fatigue and the frustration with myself and my body. I am fine physically overall. The fatigue is a bitch but I do what the doctor says. “Eat right, get moving, rest when you’re tired”. It is also partially because of my dietary limitations. I’m retraining myself to eat clean and healthy and I’m not quite ready to get out there and try eating out. My house is straight but it needs some deep cleaning. I do what I can on the weekends but weeknights I’m tired. I know my friends don’t care what my house looks like but I do.
I hate asking for help. I am strong, independent, capable of doing anything and self sufficient. I am the fixer, the doer, the helper. I am who people reach out to, I don’t ever need anyone. Believe that? I do. I did. No, I do. It’s very very hard for me to ask for help or even accept it when offered. It upsets people and I don’t mean to hurt my friends and family but it is who I am. I’m working on it though. It’s a flaw.
I come by it honestly. Recently I was with my family. I asked for help with something. The next fifteen minutes was spent telling me all the different ways I could do it all by myself. I capitulated and will now do it by myself because now if I wait for help then I will look like a failure. Incapable.
I know that wasn’t the intention of anyone there. Well maybe one of the people there but I know he doesn’t completely understand the ramifications of his words. Like he says things like “People who buy iPhones are idiots” and nearly every single person sitting in the room is literally holding a newish iPhone in his or her hands.
So anyway, back to me. I have cancer. Fuck – that’s just surreal.
I think it needs to be said that I caused the cancer. I mean yeah my oncologist won’t say that but it’s a reality. I am obese, I am over fifty, I have history of breast cancer in my immediate family and I’ve had endometrial hyperplasia. I’m like a textbook case. Because I’m obese my body produces an excess of estrogen and as a result I have developed an estrogen driven cancer. So, I caused it. So there’s that. Now I can just put that away and focus on what I can control. Diet (nailed), exercise (still working on it), appropriate weight loss (20 pounds since I was diagnosed seven weeks ago). I mean I could starve myself but that’s no good for my body. I need to lose weight slowly and properly.
So I cook and I chop and I eat clean beautifully made foods full of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and good fats. I eat lots of vegetables and fruits and chicken breasts. I’ve renewed my relationship with ground turkey and huge gorgeous rainbow salads. I’ve begun grilling chicken for snacks and eggs any way I can get them. I love good clean food and I love to cook so this part is not difficult. The hardest part is getting my butt up and into the kitchen to do weekly food prep because that my friends is my superpower. When I can go into my kitchen before work and pull out ingredients for a quick omelet, chopped portioned ingredients for lunch and crunchy raw veggies for snacks I succeed. When I can come home at 6:30 or 7:00 from work and throw a meal together in ten minutes because I have pre-portioned meals already in the fridge or freezer I am golden.
My birthday was Friday. On Saturday I had dinner with my family. My mom and my sister planned and fixed an amazing healthy menu. My sister made these granola Berry bars that were so so good and only like 200 calories which is entirely doable.
My daughter is in New York. That’s a long way away. She’s so busy with her very demanding job and her hectic life but she still is making the time to call or text me much more than we used to. I appreciate her so much. She is really such a wonderful person. She is just beautiful inside and out. She also helps me to keep things in perspective and is my biggest supporter in my pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.
I have mostly good days emotionally. Today is a bad day but that’s nothing to do with cancer. It’s more to do with my turning another year older I think. I think I’m having some hormonal responses to things. I’ve done some research and I don’t see much about that with the medication or cancer I have. I will ask my oncologist in October when I get my first biopsy. I don’t really have a lot of bad days but occasionally I do get a bit testy or teary or both. Even with that I know I can bitch to a friend or cry on someone’s shoulder if I need to. That’s pretty nice to know.
Work is good. Work is great actually. They are appreciative of my efforts and energy, they respect my input and they provide intelligent feedback. I am learning so much and in less than a year had taken on two other departments. I’m a really good Credit Manager and I am rocking this so hard! My boss is the nicest guy!
Life is good overall. I moved into a really wonderful place a year ago and recently I bought my first brand new car. I am surrounded by amazing inspiring people. I am so lucky. My world is solid and I am content with what I have. Cancer doesn’t change any of that. It’s a stubbed toe, a skinned knee in the bigger scheme of things. I’m okay now and I am going to be okay. To quote e a slightly overused phrase “I’m going to kick cancers ass!” For today though I’m just going to go throw in a load of laundry and mop my kitchen floor.