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The Daily Grind

The Daily Grind

Breast Cancer
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by Marilyn B.

Read Marilyn's story and track her journey…

I am planning on having a cancer-free weekend. I have yet to try a moratorium on cancer, so I'll see if I can stick to it. Basically, it means no talking about it, no thinking about it, no crying about it. Monday will come soon enough, and then I will be immersed.

That said, I need to do a few more things to get ready: grocery shopping (limes for my water, berries for my cereal, and other such essentials) and a few odds and ends around the house. It is somewhat like nesting before the baby comes. The cleaners came Friday; my prescriptions have all been filled; the laundry is done; clean sheets are on the bed; work is as done as it can be given that my job is never "done."

I just printed my Care Calendar, and all the slots are filled. My team has really come through—lunches, dinners, morning and afternoon visits, doctor visits, rides for Emily—all accounted for. I continue to be in awe of the support that surrounds me.

As for my health, I have had two very good weeks. I just wish my bad week went by as fast as my good weeks—or better yet, I wish my good weeks lasted as long as my bad week seems to.

I did have to go back to the physical therapist for my arm. I have AWS (auxiliary web syndrome) or "cording," which is scarring of the lymphatic system due to the lack of lymph nodes. It is fairly common and treatable through exercise, massage, stretching, etc. It's painful, but only when I stretch it. The problem is I need to stretch it so I don't end up with a frozen shoulder. I am also having acupuncture to help get rid of the toxins in my body and to hopefully help with the nausea.

Emotionally, I'm a bit up and down. I haven't been as carefree during respite #2. I think it is partially due to the arm, but also knowing I still have four more chemotherapy treatments to go.

Work has also been more stressful this go-round. As always, the timing stinks. I have a really contentious issue going on at work, probably the worst since I've been at my current job, and I can't seem to resolve it. I will be missing several key meetings next week, and I've had to punt on a few important issues. I will also miss a big fund-raising gala this week. I decided to just take it off my schedule rather than worry all week whether I would be well enough to go. I know that it is only one night, but it's just a reminder of what I feel has been taken from me.

Of course there have been many positives. I made it to book club this week, had several lunches, dinners, coffees with good friends and enjoyed the normal ebb and flow of a busy house with my wonderful family. The wig has made its debut to rave reviews. Although when so many people say, "Wow, you really look great," I have to wonder what the hell I looked like before! I still love my bald head and think it is a crime that I feel like I can't go out in the world without the wig. Maybe I'll have the balls one day.

Well, the alarm is about to ring any minute, and I need to start moving. I'm still dealing with insomnia, groan. Today is an exciting day. Emily and her English class will be performing one act from Shakespeare's Henry V on stage at the Shakespeare Theatre in DC.

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