My new favourite muscles

Well, more like a love/hate relationship.

It’s taken a long time and a lot of work, but over the last couples months I have finally discovered and figure out (mostly) how to isolate my upper back muscles around my shoulders.  I have been working on them for a long time, but it’s only recently I have been able to actually feel them move.

On the other hand, now that I know where they are and how to use them, I can’t ignore them anymore, and I can tell when they are not moving right.

This somehow makes things simpler and harder at the same time.

Depending on whether I am doing latin or standard, its necessary to figure out how to move them differently.  I have also been working on strengthening them during my strength training, which is also difficult as they are hard muscles to target.  As I have noticed more awareness, I have noticed though that it is becoming easier to do these exercises right.  Doing this has highlighted the strength difference between my right and left side as I work each side separately, but slowly it is starting to even out.

The progress is encouraging, but I still get frustrated sometimes when I can’t quite figure out what I am trying to do with them.  Sometimes though I move them without realizing it, and that is always a surprise.  It’s interesting how many movements in dance involve them.

On a slightly related note, I keep encountering something frustrating with the muscles/tendons on the right side of my neck.  I am not sure if it is related to my treatment, specifically the radiation (because of scar tissue), but I have noticed that after every lesson, and practice where I am stretching my neck for standard I wake up the following morning with a stiff neck that is just a little too far on side of pain for comfort. I spend the entire next day aching through my neck and unable to fully turn my head to the left.

The odd, frustrating and difficult thing is that when I am working on standard and stretching, I don’t feel anything that tells me I am overextending to the point of minor injury. It doesn’t seem to be getting worse, but it isn’t getting better either.  The thankful thing is that it rarely lasts more than the day after.  I am really not sure how to manage this, but hope that it doesn’t get worse and progress to a worse injury.  I have previously had an issue where the entire muscle seized up for a week and it is something I have no wish to repeat.

Muscles are strange things sometimes.

On a different note, I have figure out why I wasn’t feeling very well over the last couple days, and why I suddenly had a burst of energy last night.  I accidentally missed one and perhaps two of my hormone therapy medication.  I usually sort out all my medications for the week in advance, but last week I didn’t have enough of my hormone therapy because I had to pick up a refill at the pharmacy.  Once I picked up the refill, I forgot to add the missing doses to my medications for the end of the week, and didn’t notice it was missing until this morning.  What I was feeling was likely withdrawal from missing the doses, followed by the side effects lifting.

It was a brief ray of light, but also it’s a little disheartening that today I am back to feeling achy and lacking energy again as my body readjusts to the medication.  It certainly tells me that what I am feeling are indeed side effects.

But at least in the meantime I have new muscles and sensations to explore.

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Faking interest

That’s what I feel like I am doing, in many things.

That is making everything I am doing–work, school, dance, life–much harder than it needs to be.

On Tuesday, I received the news that the genetic testing showed a mutation on the  BRCA2 gene.  This is a big part of the explanation for why I got breast cancer at 35.  It also means I am at high risk for Ovarian cancer as well–and there is no definitive way to test for that.  In a nutshell, my ovaries are now going to be coming out, especially since they are misbehaving so much.

So, once again I am waiting for surgery.  I will see a gynecologist in early April and from there I should get an idea of when my surgery will be.  This is separate (at least for now) from the surgery I am waiting for to complete my reconstruction.

This also means that the hormone therapy is even more essential and my oncologist does not want to cut it or stop it, if at all possible.  The small silver lining is that once my ovaries are removed, I will not need ovarian suppression any more and my hormone levels should stop fluctuating so much and should settle down.

But that doesn’t solve the problems of the side effects in the meantime–the most difficult is the depression.  In the past two weeks since the change in hormone therapy I have pretty much spiraled downhill and I can’t seem to pull myself out.  I have lost interest and motivation in almost everything I do and all I want to do is sleep all the time and hide away.

It took a lot of phone calls, but finally I was heard and next week I will see psychiatrist at the cancer agency to look at options for medication to try and relieve the depression and other side effects from the hormone therapy (including fatigue, body aches, difficulty concentrating and focusing). The advantage of seeing a doc at the cancer agency is that they are more familiar with the different therapies and how they work with different meds.  I did see my family doctor this week, but she was reluctant to prescribe anything knowing there are some limitations and possible interactions with the hormone therapy.

So, in the meantime, I am faking it.  Pretty much faking my life. I am going through the motions and trying to pretend like I care and am interested and am not exhausted.  I have considered cutting back on everything, but knowing this is a (hopefully temporary) situation, I don’t want to make any large decisions as I will likely regret them when I am feeling better.  I just don’t think I can trust my judgement right now.

After tomorrow, I am on vacation for 2 weeks, and I am in a good position for school as well, so all of that helps.  I have cut back a little on small things and I am not doing anything extra, so I guess I am already coping.  I am trying to stay rested as being tired makes everything worse.

I am hopeful that Tuesday there might be some light at the end of the tunnel, although I am realistic in knowing that there are no quick fixes and any medication will take at least 2 weeks before it has full effects.  My fingers are crossed that the side effects will at least be manageable.

In the meantime, I am trying not to derail my life so it will be recognizable when I come out the other side.

I just feel like an imposter.

Fuzzy Mind

I had a lesson today but I am not sure how productive it was.

We worked through a lot of stuff, but my mind feels like it is full of jelly I have to try to push all my thoughts through to understand things.

Needless to say, I am counting the minutes until my next injection.  It’s interesting how much of a turn-around it is–when I first got the injection I was really worried about what the side effects might be–now I can’t wait until the next one so I can feel ‘normal’ again.

We fixed a small issue at the end of our samba, ran through the jive and worked on the way that I am closing my feet in tango.  All good points and I hope that my mind will hang on to the information and start to incorporate it better into my routines than it did tonight.

We did have an interesting discussion tonight about lead and follow.  Especially when it comes to using each other for spins, Boss finds it strange that I really don’t seem to have any resistance until my arm is almost back behind me, instead of in front of me.  He finds it is like I don’t feel the resistance until it reaches a certain point.  For me, it is an issue of not having the strength to resist without being able to engage more muscles (those in my back as well as my front).  It is a conversation to have with my trainer for sure as it is something that is greatly lacking, especially in latin.

I hope that Wednesday will be a more productive lesson–or at least a lesson that feels more productive.  The lesson was productive today but it was a struggle all the way through it and at times like I wasn’t even there.

Two days until the injection.

Recognizing Anger

I am angry. And I have been for a while.

I very rarely get angry and when I do, I seldom give into it, but sometimes it is healthy to let out the anger and frustration to give it a chance to ‘clear the air’ so you can move past it instead of ignoring it.

So I apologize in advance for the angry post that is about to follow.

My body and I are still not getting along.  Even when good things happen (like being able to stop taking medication I no longer need), my body rebels.  I feel like my body and I have been at odds since before my diagnosis, and in some ways my diagnosis was my body’s way of fighting back against the changes I had been making.

Changes to get healthier.

The year before my diagnosis was one of the most positive years in my life.  I was doing very well at work, I was progressing steadily in dance (even transitioning from bronze to silver), I was steadily losing weight and that was having a positive impact on my body.  I rarely needed medications, and I can’t even remember the last time I saw my doctor other than for a mandatory check-up since sorting out my hormone issues the year before.

I was full of positive momentum and charging forward with it.  It wasn’t free of bumps in the road, but the bumps were easy to work through and I just kept overcoming it.  I could even see myself reaching my weight loss goal and was only 25 lbs from it (considering I had already lost 75, 25 was really not much).

Then I found the lump in my breast and everything changed.

Suddenly, I had no control over my body anymore.  Everything from diet to medications to hormones was taken out of my control and put into the control of my cancer diagnosis.  I kept trying to maintain control by eating a specific diet, trying to stay active and doing as much as I could.

But it wasn’t enough.  My activity level had to be reduced, medications (mainly steroids) that caused weight gain had to be taken, and chemo caused so many food aversions I couldn’t eat the things I had come to rely on in my diet and had to find substitutes.  My hormones were thrown into complete flux, first because I had to stop taking my supplements, then chemo caused premature menopause (which also tends to trigger weight gain).

My body was abused, worn out, and eventually gained 35lbs I had lost (which I have been told is the average for chemo).  After recovering from my surgeries and returning to work, I started working on me again–trying to take back control of my body–and get it back in ‘fighting form’.

But it hasn’t worked.

Over the past few weeks I have been getting angrier and angrier because I have put in a lot of time, effort, and sacrifices, but the result has been the opposite of what I expected.  It just seems like every time I get just a little more control of myself, something happens to take it away from me.  I get sick. I have to adjust medication. I have side effects from medications. I fall. I get injured.

The list seems to go on and on.

And I am very sick of it.

The withdrawal symptoms I started experiencing last week are continuing.  I missed 3 days of work last week and will miss most of this week to try and give my body the chance to flush out the medication and get used to functioning without it again.  One doctor said expect 3-4 weeks, another 7-10 days. At this point, I don’t care how long it takes, I want this over with.  It is almost like the last hurdle I need to get over to really take my life back and it is like I reach the top of it only to discover there is still another summit to go.

I feel like I have been fighting to regain my life for more than 2 years now. And I am tired. I am angry. I am trying not to give up the fight.

I am trying to remember how good it felt to see positive and expected results from hard work. I am trying to remember what it felt like to be strong and confident.  I am trying to remember what it feels like to be me–driven, motivated and full of perseverance.

Perseverance used to be my word. I might not be first or even second, but I was going to finish and I was going to do it the best I could knowing that the work I was doing meant I would be even better next time.  I knew that because I knew if I kept doing my best every time, then my best would just keep getting better.

I don’t feel I can do my best anymore. I feel like that has been taken away from me.  I know what that was and despite so much effort I feel like I am no closer to reaching the goals I was trying to reach before I got sick.  And I am really angry about that.

I feel like I am doing everything I can to help my body get stronger and healthier and it is refusing to respond.  I feel like despite all the work I have done in the past year, I am still where I was this time last year–recovering from radiation and shingles and preparing for the biggest surgery of my life.

My instinct is to try to keep fighting and force my body to cooperate as much as I can.  But in the past 3 weeks, my trainer, my physiotherapist and my doctor have told me I am probably doing too much.

I am angry that the thought of slowing down and giving myself a break puts me in a panic.  I am barely able to maintain my health and weight doing as much as I am–doing less sounds like the road to disaster.

I am angry because it is like cancer was a cruel joke sent to me as a message to tell me that I can’t reach my goals. That my goals are impossible and I am a fool for trying so hard and having faith for so many years.  I have spent my life taking one step forward and two steps back and doing things people told me I would never be able to do.

I am angry because although my mind refuses to quit, my body refuses to cooperate.  A part of me is almost wondering what obstacle it is going to present me with next as a further roadblock to my goals.

I am angry because I want to stay positive. I want to keep pushing. I want to feel like my goals ARE possible.

And I feel like that is out of my control.

I keep telling myself to be patient. I keep telling myself to remember that I have been through a lot. I keep telling myself that if I keep working, it will all come together. I keep telling myself to have faith and trust and just believe that it will work out.

But how long can I keep telling myself these things before I am living in a fantasy world instead of reality? How long is too patient?

I just don’t know if my expectations are unrealistic for the new reality in which I find myself post cancer.  I feel as though I am constantly making compromises to adjust to the changes that have occurred, but I am also questioning at what point do compromises become giving in?  I am angry because I don’t think I have anything left to compromise on, and the only options left to me is to give in completely.

I am angry with myself because I blame myself. Somewhere I didn’t do enough, didn’t try hard enough, haven’t been strong enough.  I am not able to be the person I want to be anymore and I am grieving for that.  I feel as though reality is telling me it’s time to give up my dreams and find new more reasonable ones. I am angry because I am not even really sure what those dreams were any more.  My past hopes seem so naive in comparison with my current reality.

All of this may also be part of the withdrawal symptoms I am undergoing (anger is one of the symptoms listed), but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, and it doesn’t change that I feel like I have been failing myself.

That is the hardest thing to deal with right now–feeling like I am failing.  Every day I am not able to do everything I want to do and have to adjust or compromise I feel like I am failing.  Like I am not giving myself the best chance.

Before I got sick, I was very used to doing things on my own.  Too independent according to some people.  While I was sick I had to learn the hard way to allow myself to depend on others, and as long as I was sick I was able to justify that.  Now, I am no longer sick and in my head I feel as though I should be able to take care of myself again without having to rely on others.  I feel like I should be able to work through things now without having to inconvenience others.  But I am angry because I feel like an inconvenience to those around me.

I am also angry because I feel like too many of my posts lately have been about my health and less about dance.  I am angry with myself because I feel like there has been a lot of negative coming out of me lately.  And one thing I have never been is a negative person.

So, I am giving myself some time to just be angry. Time to acknowledge that I am angry about a great many things–some in my control, some not. I am giving myself a moment to feel bad and wallow a bit in self-pity and grieve all I have lost.

My hope is to be able to find within myself the courage to regroup once again. To know that eventually I will move beyond these withdrawal symptoms and when I do the future will be waiting for me to grab it and push my way towards it.

I just have to hang on a little bit longer.

Please forgive me for expressing my anger.

Comp Preparation

3 more weeks until the competition–Yikes!!

I have some good news from this week.  After an exhausting Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (where I didn’t even think it would be safe to drive to practice 😦 ), at about 5 pm on Thursday I suddenly had a complete turn-around and burst of energy which has continued into today.

This turn-around and other symptoms make me strongly suspect that the extreme fatigue, mind fuzziness, difficulty thinking, etc. is actually hormone related.  Looking back, the last time I felt that bad was about 4 weeks ago.  It could be a sign that despite the chemopause and hormone therapy, my body is still trying to be cyclical.  I have noted on my calendar what happened and when, and I am going to see if it happens again in about 4 weeks.  Interestingly, it was the appearance of the full moon that triggered to me that perhaps this is cyclical, and not just a random occurrence, as I remember feeling ‘off’ the last time the moon was almost full.  If I didn’t know better, I would almost think I had a bout of extreme PMS.

That aside, preparations for the competition are continuing.  All the routines are choreographed now, and this week Boss and I spent time running through them and getting them to a point where I can do them mostly from start to finish in preparation for the competitive run-through practice on Sunday.

The latin routines, with the exception of a small piece near the end of the samba I need to remind myself about are in really good shape.  I need to focus in a bit on my styling for them now and focus on working through them ‘all out’.

The standard routines are coming, but taking more work than the latin routines.  Waltz is in the best place right now, with (shockingly) Quickstep just behind followed by tango and Foxtrot.  I have the routines written out now, which seems to be key for me to memorize and understand them, and they are at a place where I should be able to get through them from top to bottom without too much incident.

The biggest thing the standard routines need right now is confidence.  When I get to a part I am not too sure of, I tend to tense up, and then my shoulders hunch, especially my right side.  I also tend to start moving small and cautiously.  Today, we had some spots where I felt confident enough to really ‘let out the gas’, and it is pretty interesting when I do.  My goal is to get to that point through all the routines and hold nothing back.  Boss is working on encouraging me to use my power in standard (while still being controlled), and helping me to really realize what I am capable of.  The more we run through the routines the more I realize how cautious I am normally and how much I hold back, but at the same time, each time I allow myself to really go for it, it is a victory.

I think one of the most challenging things I will encounter at this competition is to keep myself in check and to not ‘overdo’ it by pushing beyond what I can control.  It’s a fine line.  I need to be confident in my movement, but I also need to be able to keep the confidence within the realm of what I can control.

Boss told me 2 weeks ago that he had been reviewing our previous competition videos and that he found it really interesting.  When I asked him why it was interesting, he said he was really looking forward to seeing what will happen once I am in full power and control and at my ‘top form’.  Of the videos from my last 3 competitions, I wasn’t completely 100% for any of them, due to illness or injury.

The entry list for the competition I am doing is out and I was pleasantly surprised to see that in latin I will be against 3 other competitors in most of my single dances, and will have competition in both of my multi-dances.  That is really encouraging and awesome for this competition, considering last year I was alone.  Great growth and kudos to the organizers for that.  In standard I am alone, except possibly in my multi-dance, which takes a little bit of pressure off it.  It’s been quite some time since I have had competition, and it does make me a little nervous as all the students I am against are people who I have neither danced with nor seen previously, but it is exciting nonetheless.

Despite the nervousness, I am just trying to remind myself that the goal of this competition is simply to get the routines on the floor.  If I can do that, mission accomplished!  It’s great though to be excited about a competition, as it’s been a while since I have been.

We didn’t work on the solo this week, but we are supposed to do that on Monday.  I know that the practice on Sunday will certainly highlight the areas that still need some work, and that will likely set the stage for the preparations over the next 3 weeks.

On a different front, my dresses are coming along really well!  I have a fitting tomorrow, and following that they should be at the stage where the stoning will start, to really get them towards the final product.  The third dress should be started as well (the smooth dress), and I am excited to see all three!  I am also having a skirt made for my solo, so I am hoping there is a little bit of progress on that too as I think it will be useful to practice with it as soon as I can (no pressure to my awesome dressmaker!!).

So along with a debut of new open silver routines, I am also going to be debuting two new dresses, a new solo routine with a new skirt.  Lots of exciting things happening!

I am nervous for the rehearsal on Sunday.  It’s been more than a year since I have done any of these practices and I am not entirely sure I have the endurance to be up to the challenge.  I am going to try my best though!  I was joking with Boss tonight that my goal for Sunday is to get through everything without falling down–although I think I was more than half serious!  His goal is for me to do things ‘compact’ the first round and then to ‘open up the gas’ for the second one.  Interesting how we have different perspectives :). We will see who has the best predictions.

It’s been a while since I have been in full ‘competition prep mode’ and I am finding the change refreshing.  I think even seeing that I have actual competition in some of my heats has helped to motivate me some.  Lots to do, but I think for the goals I hope to achieve with this competition, I am in a good place.

By the way–tomorrow is my one year anniversary for my last radiation treatment!

Sunday Reflections

Yes, I know it is Monday.

I was too tired to write yesterday after I got home, so I saved these thoughts for today.

Yesterday was a good day.  I wasn’t feeling too bad and I got through most of a competitor’s practice.  The main thing was that I got through almost all of the standard and it didn’t go to bad.  Boss has me working on relaxing my upper body while still holding myself together from my lets through my core to allow for swing and sway and it seems to be working.  I am also more aware of when I am pulling back my right arm–to the point that I am now almost overcorrecting.  But it’s progress, which I really need in standard right now.

After practice yesterday I took some time to sit down by the ocean and look at the mountains and just think.  A year ago I was in Toronto competing and was named ‘Top Female Student’ for that competition.  I had found the lump in my breast and I was waiting for an ultrasound to tell me what it was.  I was working full-time and incredibly busy getting ready for Remembrance Day. I had no idea my life was about to change so much.

Looking back, it is hard to think that really it has only been a year. It seems so much longer right now.  It seems strange that it is November, the leaves are changing, the clocks have changed and I am still dealing with breast cancer and waiting for it to be over.

It occurred to me yesterday that all along I have been waiting for everything to go back the way it was.  And even though I have always known it never will be, part of me is still hoping and waiting that I will wake up and it will be ok.  I will get up and put on my uniform and go to work.  I will go to workout at the gym.  I will practice. I will work some more. I will go to the studio and have a lesson. I will practice some more. I will come home, shower and go to sleep.  Seems so simple, doesn’t it?

I guess yesterday it dawned on me that I have to put that part of myself to bed.  Even when I do return to work and know I am cancer-free, I will not be the same.  I will be a survivor.  I have learned things about myself in the past year I never thought I would know.  I have discovered I am stronger than I ever thought possible and that I can be an inspiration to others.

This last thing is the most surprising for me.  When I started on this journey, I just wanted to get through it and find a way to keep myself focused.  At first I wasn’t even sure who to tell or how much to tell.  Then it occurred to me that if I planned to live an active life through chemo then I would have to tell those I saw regularly, because it would become obvious when my hair fell out.  In a way I felt I had a choice to either try and hide what was going on by hiding myself away, or I could face it and be active throughout it all.  I chose the latter and I am very grateful I did.  Just telling people helped to make this all seem real to me.

Getting shingles has really brought reality crashing to my door.  Even through chemo and radiation I have not felt so sick, tired, and sore.  I think it is hardest right now because this is supposed to be the time when I would feel the most like myself.  I am supposed to be able to dance regularly and be active and almost like ‘normal’.  Instead I feel more worn out than I ever have in my life.  The good news is that I seem to finally be coming to the end of the shingles.

I had a ‘pre-op’ appointment today, the second of three, but this one really drove home that in just over 3 weeks I am going to have major surgery.  I was given bandages for dressing changes, medications for pain control, and other things to prepare for the surgery and after.  Suddenly, the surgery is becoming real.  I have my third ‘pre-op’ appointment on Wednesday and that will also bring home a lot of things as it is with the Plastic surgeon.

I had some bloodwork done today because it seems something is not quite right with my hormones.  Despite not being on hormone therapy and almost 5 months post-chemo, I am still have regular and intense hot flashes and my body is not showing any signs of returning to what is expected of a 36-year-old woman.  So they are checking to see if the chemotherapy may have triggered early menopause.  If it has, there will be more decisions for me to make and it may mean a difference in what hormone therapy I do.

They are also sending me for an MRI of my breasts to have a look and see what is going on to try and reduce any ‘surprises’ during surgery.  In particular, they are just making sure that my left breast is still healthy and normal to confirm that there is no need to take any lymph nodes from my left side during the surgery.  There is no reason to think that there will be any problems in either breast.  But it still makes me nervous.

I don’t have a lesson today because Boss asked to move it so he could prepare better for working on the smooth waltz and tango later in the week.  Since I am having a lot of pain from the shingles I was more than eager to agree to take the night off.  I am looking forward to working more on the smooth routines, but I really want to be feeling better overall to do it.

Before my surgery, I am going to ask Boss to sit down and have a look at post-surgery goals to lay them out and make sure we are on the same page.  I will write them in my Book of Positives so I have them for after.  Already he has mentioned about adding open steps to my silver routines to make them more ‘open silver’ and more competitive for competing in open categories where there aren’t any step restrictions.  Among other things, I think he has enjoyed working on the solos in the past while and wants to keep moving on that momentum and I am eager to agree.  I like getting outside the box.

So as I looked back yesterday, I guess I realized I need to make some small adjustments to looking forward.  I need to find the ‘new normal’ and keep hanging in there.  It surprises me that after everything I have been through–it is shingles, not cancer, that I am struggling with the most, and is proving to be the most difficult to manage and get through.

But slowly I am getting through it.

Shingles

Say what? Aren’t they on roofs?

Apparently not always.

I think I mentioned I broke out in a rash and thought it might have been the side effects for the pain meds I was taking.  After googling the possible side effects, I realized it was not and since it was worse today I dragged myself back to the ER.

It took them about 30 seconds to diagnose me with shingles.

Apparently being a cancer patient and undergoing radiation puts you at risk for shingles and it is an uncommon side effect.  Certainly not one that was on my radar, for sure.

Aside from the rash, it causes debilitating nerve pain and that is what I have been experiencing for the past week.

There is a silver lining.

Because I went to the ER within 72 hours of the rash appearing, I am able to take anti-viral medication to shorten the time period the condition will last.  With the anti-virals plus multiple pain medications I should be feeling much better by early next week.

The only limit on my activity is what I can tolerate through the pain and because it is nerve pain moving helps control it.

So after a bit of a break, I should be back to dance early next week and somehow still able to do the competition next weekend.

There is nothing like making things as challenging as possible for me to reach my goal of dancing through this.

My first concern was that I was contagious–afterall, shingles is a reactivation of the chicken pox–and more so because Boss told me he has never had chicken pox–but the doctors told me I am not contagious unless someone comes in direct contact with the rash, which is very unlikely as it is on my back and breast and not in any exposed areas.

Whew! I don’t know what I would do if I had unwillingly and unknowingly made Boss sick right before a competition.

We did have one competition way back in the beginning of 2014 when we both came down with the flu during the comp, but it was the tail end of the comp and we managed.  The entire group almost ended up sick in the end.

I am just glad this is not so much a ‘show-stopper’ as I was fearing, and that I am not contagious.  I had to cancel my lesson today as I was obviously feeling quite miserable, but Boss said we should be able to make it up on Tuesday.  I hope by then I am feeling better.

Truthfully, I am pretty disheartened by this news.  I am glad it is not anything worse (although it’s bad enough!), but on top of everything else I am dealing with it really just seems unfair.  Not that life is ever fair, but I guess I was just really hoping for a break :). That said, I did have a fairly easy time through chemo (as far as chemo can be easy!), so in a way I guess I was due for something bad from radiation.  Just to keep things balanced.  I am hopeful that this all means that my surgery will be complication-free so I can finally move forward with my life without too many lasting issues from cancer.

So today I start taking anti-virals every 4 hours, which includes waking up to take them.  I was pretty much waking up that often to take my pain meds, so it is not too much different.

In 2 weeks, all of this will be behind me and I can look back and be relieved to have gotten through it.

Just have to get there 🙂