Seizures! The Latest Trend!

I don’t think I’ve ever written specifically about what its like to have a seizure. I figured I’d satisfy your curiosity, since I had yet another seizure on Monday night.

When I first started getting seizures, I had this long period between my first seizure (conscious, but with expressive aphasia) and the big generalized seizure, another way to say Grand Frickin’ Mal or tonic-clonic seizure.

Expressive aphasia is a very strange thing to experience. The first time, I could say some things, but not others. I knew what I wanted to say, but it wouldn’t come out of my mouth. Eventually, my mind was thinking one thing but my fingers were doing something else entirely. I was filling out paperwork at the ER and I wrote my maiden name twice. I knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t get my fingers to write my married name. I don’t remember anything after that. The doctors were concerned I was having a stroke, so they took me right in (remember that little trick). Apparently they asked me if I knew my husband. I nodded. They asked me to write his name. I wrote gibberish. Then I had a generalized seizure. That whole episode – expressive aphasia to generalized seizure probably took 2 hours or so.

A generalized (or Grand Mal or tonic-clonic) seizure is the kind that knocks you unconscious. You shake around for about a minute, clench your teeth – usually biting your tongue or your cheeks, and wake up slowly – ever so slowly – trying to get your thoughts back in order. For me, I’m thinking clearly again and chatting with the EMT normally about the time we’re 5 minutes or so away from the ER at Stanford.

One of my seizure episodes was a status epilepticus – a fancy way to say I had repeated seizures without regaining consciousness between each one. If these aren’t brought under control, it could lead to brain damage or death. Which is a scary wake up call. ‘The brain tumor may not kill you, but this acquired disorder might!’ After this episode my medicine was changed (adding Lamictal) and I got emergency meds (Ativan) to help stop the seizures from continuing past the first one.

Since that status epilepticus experience, my expressive aphasia period (also a seizure, in case you missed that the first time) has gotten shorter and shorter. I now have a little fuzzy moment where I feel like a conversation is on repeat, my vision goes kind of wonky (the official term) and then I’m out cold. Not enough time for me to get Ativan in my own mouth.

I went for nearly a year and a half without a seizure of any kind. That record was broken in February and once more again on Monday. Ativan (placed in my mouth by my husband) did what it was supposed to do. The ER doctors (consulting with the neurologists) increased my medicine again – taking into account when I’m having my seizures (right around dinner time). They’re calling them break through seizures, not progression, so that’s good…I think. No one wants to leave me alone and frankly I can’t blame them. I’m not sure how that’ll work in the long-term, but we’ll figure it out. Our dog is lovely, but I’m pretty sure he can’t get Ativan in my mouth OR call 911. No service dog skills at all.

My mom is here now helping to drive us about and run much-needed errands (especially needed after our youngest got a nasty stomach bug last night). Her help came at just the right time, but eventually she’ll need to go home.

Seizures come in many sizes, shapes, and colors. Some are minor and some are not so minor. I’ve talked to people who have many a day, but they’re not the kind that knock you unconscious. I know there are many who have generalized seizures on a daily basis, which has got to be a living hell. Some of them are related to tumors or brain damage as a result of tumors/surgery and some aren’t related at all. But I do know that seizures are stupid however they’re delivered to your doorstep.

If anyone is looking for a part-time job babysitting a grown woman , let me know.

Shout Out For The Boobs

One benefit of a primary brain tumor is that it won’t spread to other parts of your body. No Metastases! yeah.

That can’t be said for other types of cancer.

Breast cancer for example. Breast cancer can spread to lymph nodes, to the brain, to bones, etc… The blood/brain barrier creates a challenge, but it can be overcome. It’s treated with different chemotherapy than a primary tumor, but it can be treated.

We know much more about breast cancer thanks to research, development of new treatments, earlier detection, and increased awareness. If you’re not doing regular breast exams, you should be.

Because of the research, we know there’s a familial relationship to risk factors. There are gene mutations that can increase your risks of developing breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2). There are rare syndromes (like Cowden’s Syndrome) that dramatically increases risk of breast cancer (by 85%) along with a long list of other cancers. (Read my friend’s blog about her own experience with Cowden’s: https://hopeforheather.wordpress.com

There has been a lot of press coverage recently (thanks Angelina Jolie-Pitt) about preventative double mastectomy for those with increased risks. I can imagine that even thinking about this decision is incredibly scary and difficult. A mastectomy is not an easy operation, a double mastectomy is doubly difficult. I understand why women make the decision, but I can only begin to understand the thoughts and conflicting emotions.

I have many (too many) friends who have been diagnosed with and undergone treatment for breast cancer. My husband’s grandmother was diagnosed and treated (including a mastectomy) in the 60’s. She lived to be 100 years old. Survival is possible and can sometimes be a legendary story.

I have a dear friend who has just made that pre-emptive decision to have a double mastectomy. She has two small children (younger than mine) and she doesn’t want to risk having to live with the fear of her cancer growing and spreading. The surgery is underestimated and under appreciated for how difficult it is to go through and recover from – not including the reconstructive process.

She is one of the kindest, most loving people I know. She taught both of my children in kindergarten. She taught my neighbors’ children. She always has a smile on her face and a hug to give. She’s approached her cancer with an amazing amount of humor and hope. She’s willing to do anything she can to be there for her children through their lives. Her positive attitude and enthusiasm for the chance to get ‘new boobs’ is genuinely amazing.

As a teacher, the most under appreciated job around, she’s got limited leave and resources to take the full doctor prescribed amount of time off  from work to recover. Another friend started a GoFundMe campaign to help support her family so she can take that needed extra time. Teaching kindergarteners is not a low stress, sedentary job. If you’d like to support a wonderful woman and family in their fight with cancer and survival, consider making a donation here: GoFundMe

 

 

 

Battle Wounds

There are doctor visits where I come away with wounds. Slightly less dramatic than an arterial line bruise that lasts weeks or a craniotomy scar, but that experience was a while ago. Wounds these days usually occur when my veins don’t cooperate. They might also include some emotional wounds, but those aren’t visible to the naked eye.

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I was going in for an MRI last Friday. I’ve gotten to the point where I can fill out the necessary pre-MRI form without reading the long list of questions about potential ailments and metal implants. I should have a stamp made for my drug allergies. When they ask if I’ve had previous scans, I say ‘too many to count’. When they ask the date of my last scan, I say ‘8 weeks ago’ and ‘8 weeks before that’. I’ve stopped trying to remember dates. Clearly I’m not a fan of having to fill out this form repeatedly. And I get to do it again in a month! Yippee!

My MRIs require contrast, so each one requires an IV. Sometimes the nurse gets lucky, sometimes not. This last one fell into the ‘sometimes not’ category. Two nurses, two failed attempts and one success sticking my tiny, scarred veins with a tube to insert some strange chemical into my veins while they’re scanning my brain. MRI rooms are ALWAYS freezing cold, warm blankets are a must – never turn the offer down. They also help keep you warm if you’re prone to napping during the scan. I am. I ask them to refrain from talking to me as each section of the scan experience is about to begin so that I can have a little snooze.

They tell me my results will be available in one to two business days. I say, ‘I’ll see them at 11:00 today. Thank you, have a great day. See you in a month.’ This isn’t my first time to the rodeo.

First bruise begins.

The waiting begins to see my neuro-oncologist. He’s usually over scheduled, rooms are overbooked, and he actually spends time with his patients if they need his time or he’s got news for them – usually bad news. I typically don’t mind waiting since I’ve been hearing nothing but good news for so long, but this time I was anxious. There have been signs of inflammation OR a tumor making its comeback. My MRIs are more frequent. We’ve discussed our approach of ‘waiting/monitoring’ since whatever it is has been growing slowly (GBMs are reported to double in size every two weeks) bringing the tumor regrowth theory into question. We’ve discussed our options in a distant, ‘don’t need to do anything now’ manner. But when something other than an empty spot and scarring shows up, the anxiety level raises slightly. This MRI showed that  questionable area growing…maybe. We don’t know what it is, BUT all of a sudden our discussions about potential next steps became more serious. More like we needed to consider which of those options we would like to pursue and what it would mean to my participation in the vaccine trial.

The invisible mental wound begins.

I went across the street for my vaccine shots. I have my vitals taken for the second time in the period of an hour. My temperature was the same, in case you were wondering. In these visits they have to draw blood for the study’s purposes. I don’t know, honestly, which test they’re running since I don’t get the results. When I get a nurse who knows my veins and their temperamental ways, it usually only takes one attempt. One and done. But this time, despite the success, my vein showed its displeasure.

Second bruise begins.

My vaccine shots involve a rotation between my right and left legs. This was my right leg’s turn. A circle is drawn with a Sharpie. No bunny ears or flower additions this time. My regular team of nurses and coordinators had the day off. Then four intradermal shots are injected around that boring, unadorned circle. They swell, turn pink and become itchy almost immediately. That lasts for a few days.

The vaccine ‘wound’ begins.

This has become such a regular MRI/vaccine day for me, that I’m largely unfazed by it all. This was slightly different given the wounds of the day. I’m hoping I can go back to unfazed on May 1st. But, I understand that given my survival thus far, I may be on borrowed time. Until I survive through the next steps, whatever they may be. Then I’ll go back to being unfazed.

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Distraction vs. Focus

There are times when so much is going on that the feeling of being overwhelmed is overwhelming.

There is always too much to do and it feels like it all needs to be done NOW. And when you feel overwhelmed, somehow you find more and more things to add to the list.

There are times when so many overwhelming thoughts are flowing through your head that they take over the necessary thoughts of your everyday life.

There are times when overwhelming knowledge of the state of our world creates a level of panic and critical sense of responsibility that is almost crippling.

When you have a GBM – or a previous (?) GBM – it’s hard to believe that some things can wait. Everything could change in a matter of a day. But prioritizing is a critical life skill, brain cancer or not. So I gave it a shot.

Stress and fear of its known effect on my seizure threshold is a very strong motivator to figure out how to prioritize thoughts, actions, and to-do lists. As a former ‘master’ multi-tasker, convincing myself that THIS thing trumps THAT thing is a new challenge for me. Knowing what needs to be done NOW vs. what can wait until ‘after’ requires deep breaths, positive self-talk, and good anxiety medicine.

Letting go of the need for perfection. Learning that going with the flow rather than trying to do more than anyone will expect or notice while they’re visiting and celebrating 50 years of marriage of two of their closest friends is ok. Asking for the help of family and friends to help manage the necessary details isn’t as hard as you’d expect when you accept that you can’t do it all without them.

The surprise outstanding permits on the house from 15 years ago that need to be resolved can’t be resolved today. I need to accept that it may take longer than is reasonable. We’re dealing with a government agency after all.

Getting quotes for a new fence can wait a few days – my temporary repair job is going to hold, even if it’s not beautiful.

Decluttering the house can wait a few days and honestly, will take weeks. We recently bought a paper shredder. I can’t believe we’ve gotten by without one up to this point. The stacks (and we’re BIG stackers) are slowly becoming smaller and smaller. I never expected shredding paper to be so satisfying.

The lawn – which is surprisingly still growing even though it hasn’t been watered in months – can wait to be mowed.

The spring garden doesn’t need to be planted today. Plants will still grow two weeks from now as well.

We’re doing a lot already to reduce our negative impact on the environment. We can do more. Even though I had to suppress my sense of panic and responsibility, I have to realize that our efforts to reduce our reliance on plastic, over-packaged products, and continue to… The list is long.

This is by no means a complete list of my thoughts, but it gives you an idea.

What I’ve learned in the last few weeks is that prioritizing that overwhelming list of ‘critical’ feelings and actions is hard, but ultimately worth every decision of THIS vs. THAT.

And Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Another MRI on Friday… Not that it’s adding to my anxiety or anything.

 

 

 

 

ALWAYS Knock on Wood

I mentioned in my last post that my MRI was last Friday. And it was.

The results showed little to no change in the inflammation they believe is there – i.e. its not acting like a tumor, so we assume it’s not a tumor. That makes sense to us, so we’re going with it. I am perfectly healthy otherwise – showing no symptoms outside the ordinary, so there’s no reason to believe it’s anything but inflammation. That would occur because of the vaccine or my body’s natural defenses – having an auto-immune disease may have it’s perks after all.

THEN I went and had a seizure on Tuesday. Out of the blue. I made dinner, sat down to eat with my family, we had a lovely conversation and WHAM! An ambulance was called (2 showed up) and off I went to the hospital. This time though, I was coming around by the time they were moving me to the gurney. By the time we got to the hospital, I was chatting with the EMTs like we were old friends. I donated some blood and pee, had a CAT scan, doctors were consulted, my anti-seizure drugs were increased and was on my way back home.

Two things came out of this experience. 1. Ativan did what it was supposed to do and prevented status epilepticus. 2. I am back to no driving – for an indefinite period of time.

(Let me clarify for my readers – when I previously mentioned that I’d passed the muster for the DMV, it was just an annual check in. I HAD been driving and they touch base each year to make sure I am still capable of driving safely.)

So, just when I think it’s all going so well, my brain reminds me that I’m still on the brain cancer roller coaster. ‘Don’t get too comfortable now, ya hear?’ Stupid cancer. Also, while I was bragging about how awesome I’m doing, I did NOT knock on wood. I’m pretty sure that’s where I got screwed. Remember, always knock on wood when you talk about how awesome your life is going.

Now I’m trying to figure out how to drop off/pick up two kids at two different schools on bikes or feet. The Valley Transit Authority will be getting revenue from me after all. And my friends and family may be called on to bring me on their errands (sorry!)

To quote someone very wise: ‘Crap on a cracker.’

Waiting With Bated Breath

Most of us with stage IV brain cancer (or any type of cancer, really) talk and think about how far ahead we plan our lives. At first it’s ‘recovering from surgery’, then ‘getting through radiation’, and other short-term, cancer related ‘milestones’.

Then it’s 4 week MRIs…8 week MRIs…12 week MRIs… And with any luck it doesn’t go backward from there. We feel nervous about planning anything beyond those timeframes. We live MRI to MRI.

At some point, when things are going well, we might venture out beyond the 12 weeks and plan a trip/vacation or buy concert tickets for a show 6 months away.

BIG family milestones might be too much – entering high school, first dates, driver’s license, graduations, weddings, babies. Those may be too far out and we can only tentatively hope beyond hope that we are here to witness it all. (My kids are 8 and 11, so we’re a ways off from most of those)

So, you start to find other, safer perhaps, big events that push you forward in your fight. Maybe it’s the World Series, the Superbowl or the World Cup if you’re a big sports fan. Maybe it’s the harvest if you’re a gardening fanatic and have been waiting 3 years for that Avocado tree to produce something…even just one avocado. Maybe if you are glued to political drama, it’s to view actual bipartisan decision-making in Congress or witness politicians representing the people instead of the money. Ok, that last one isn’t very realistic, but you get the idea.

For me (family milestones aside), I aim my survival goals at when the next Diana Gabaldon novel is coming out. I aim for making it through the final part of season one of Outlander on Starz (April can’t come soon enough.) I aim to see if I finally make a decision on joining a yoga studio. Can I get to 10,000 steps a day? Are there enough recipes to use all of my son’s harvest of sweet potatoes? Will the dog EVER learn to get his leash on his own when we’re going for a walk instead of staring at me while I suggest the idea? Will I ever get up the courage to make artisanal vegan cheese? Will we ever learn who was responsible for making that idiotic last call for the Seahawks causing them to lose the championship?

These may not be the most important survival goals in the grander scheme of things, but they all take me past the next MRI. They get me back to living for tomorrow and beyond regardless of what my brain tumor cells decide to do.

My next MRI is Friday, by the way.

My Other Other Disease

Unlike the campaign for Pork (‘the other white meat’), I would never suggest you acquire another chronic condition if you already have cancer. Or actually eat pork since I’m vegan. Maybe that was a bad analogy…

Anyhow, I went into cancer with another disease already in place. My name is Karyn and I have Psoriasis, another fickle ogre of a disease. Mine is minor compared to some. It has various forms, varying degrees of severity creating various levels of disability, and it’s ever changing – occasionally carrying with it new ailments to attack the body or becoming resistant to treatment.

Like cancer, Psoriasis needs constant attention to keep it under control. It can become resistant to treatments. It can affect your mobility. It can land you in a hospital bed. It can create anxiety, pain, and depression. It can spread to new areas of your body. It can create associated health issues. Psoriasis can trigger Psoriatic Arthritis. It has a relationship with heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Medication used to control severe cases carry multiple risks which have to be weighed, just like cancer treatments.

Psoriasis has no cure. Cancer has no cure. There are multiple research projects to determine the cause(s) and develop new treatment options, just like cancer. There are theories about what triggers it – aside from genetics. Common triggers are viral infections, stress, injury, and some medications.

There are six different forms of Psoriasis. It can attack a small area of your skin or your entire epidermis. It can be annoying or extremely painful, leaving you desperate for relief. Each psoriasis patient can have multiple forms of the disease, though it’s usually limited to one. Psoriasis is not contagious, though people often think it is because of the appearance.

With Psoriasis, you have to hit it with big treatment, then taper it off for maintenance. At least until that strategy stops working. Then you start all over again. Because Psoriasis is so fickle, it requires a constant rotation of drugs, ointments, soaps, lotions, shampoos and experimental dietary changes. I can almost guarantee that every Psoriasis patient has a small in-home pharmacy made up of rotating treatment options.

Unlike most cancers, Psoriasis is a visible disease. It can freak people out and cause them to worry about what you might give them if they touch you. It makes getting a haircut an anxious experience. Massages are out of the question for most sufferers. It changes the way we dress. It creates social anxiety. It prevents us from getting jobs where we’re interacting face to face with the public. Even if it’s debilitating, insurance companies deny coverage of medications. We are denied disability even if we’re confined to a wheelchair or spend days in a hospital each month. We can feel isolated, alone, and depressed.

Ironically, chemotherapy can offer respite. Psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder. Chemotherapy attacks the immune system. Because of the impact chemotherapy has, some Psoriasis sufferers are now taking chemo to get that relief. Can you imagine someone without cancer CHOOSING to take chemo? Well, that may give you some idea of how badly they’re suffering.

As I said, my Psoriasis is mild – largely limited to my scalp. It’s always been more annoying than anything else. But so many people experience the worst of what I’ve described above and it’s more than annoying. Mine disappeared while I was on chemo, so I understand the appeal of that treatment route, side effects and all. The risks associated with other biologic treatments are not worth it for me and my doctor would never offer it as an option. If my Psoriasis was life altering, I’d probably change my mind about adding another pill to my treatment rotation.

Want to know more? Visit the National Psoriasis Foundation.

I finished this post and then realized I wrote one similar to it in May of 2013. Thanks Memory. Well, maybe my new readers will appreciate it since they won’t have to go digging through my archives.

On The Road Again…Or Still

Great news everyone! I know you all have been waiting with bated breath to find out about my driving privileges.

After my last seizure, my driver’s license was suspended as it should have been. So, every year they check in with my doctor to see how I’m doing. Not a ‘Has she made any new friends?’ kind of doing, but an ‘is she taking her meds regularly?’ kind of doing.

A bit of a pain, but it’s a necessary process to make sure I’m safe to be behind the wheel. The government agency responsible for making such decisions – specifically Henry – gets to ultimately make the decision and determine if I need to take any tests, written or driven, to prove myself worthy.

Henry decided that I’m good to go. I’ve not had a seizure since September of 2013, my driving record is nearly perfect, and my doctor gave me the clear.

My neighbors, friends and specifically my husband are thrilled. I’m pretty thrilled too since my kids are in two different schools and both have after school activities. The public transportation system is, however, shedding tears over the minor loss of income.

Hey! Maybe I could become a part-time, stay-at-home race car driver!

CLARIFICATION: I’ve been driving for a year since my suspension. This was an annual evaluation/verification by the DMV to ensure I’m still safe to be on the road. I’m sorry I didn’t make that clear.

Thoughts on potential employment

As a follow up to my Existential Conflict self-pity extravaganza, I was giving some thought to any and all job prospects.

Jobs that would be completely out of the question:
Driver – Truck, Taxi, School Bus, Delivery….you get the idea. While I’m completely capable of driving and have been approved by the respectable government organization which makes such decisions, I’m doubtful that any business would hire me to drive.

Strobe light tester – flashy lights and seizures have a long history of incompatibility

Surgeon – I’m not skilled for this role in any way, shape, or form

Mathematishian – I can’t even spell it right…clearly I’m not qualified for complex number problem solving. Also, I like words WAY more than numbers. Which is ironic since I spelled mathmatishian wrong…again.

Rave DJ – 1. Loud, repetitive techno music 2. Afore mentioned strobe lights 3. My aversion to rooms full of young adults under the influence of mind-altering drugs with various forms of glow sticks and pacifiers.

My non-negotiable requirements for any job I might consider:
Nap time – Liberal policies on crawling into a comfy corner or business-provided cot to have a little shut eye when my body tells me its time to take a little break with my eyes closed

Flexible schedule – Not a boiler plate policy allowing me to work at home (though that would also be required as well), but a level of flexibility that would allow me to pick up my kids after school, take days off when the kids are off of school (including summers), attend my regular doctor appointments, and unlimited random days where the Nap Time clause is insufficient for my needs. My hours will need to be strictly limited to 9am to 12pm only.

Fragrance free workspace – Perfume and ‘fragrances for men’ are offensive to the nose, as are artificial smells like cinnamon candles, air fresheners, or unreasonably scented hair and beauty products. All fragrances must be pleasing and approved by ME.

Vegan, protein rich snacks – Blood sugar balancing nutrition, vegan and delicious, must be readily available to prevent states of hangriness. No one wants to see me when I’m hangry, it’s not pretty.

Dog friendly workplace – My dog has separation anxiety and needs to be with his people or he cries. No one wants to be responsible for making my dog cry.

After giving it more thought, maybe I don’t really want a traditional job. I realize that not HAVING to work is a luxury and I am very grateful for that. Being a stay-at-home parent is something that not everyone can (or wants to) do. It can be hard, but rewarding work. I have the opportunity to volunteer in the school library, accompany my son’s class on field trips, and go grocery shopping in relative solitude.

While occasional feelings of guilt and insecurity for not being a rare Super Survivor may pass through my mind, I realize that my life is pretty awesome (aside from the cancer part). Self pity posts are hereby over. We shall now return to our regular programming.

Existential Conflict

I have terminal cancer and a potentially life threatening seizure disorder. My cancer is currently being held at bay and I haven’t had a seizure in over a year. This is good, very good, but…

It’s critical that I don’t do anything that will risk reducing my seizure threshold. I stay hydrated. I get as much sleep as I can. I manage my stress (or reduce it). I avoid situations where I will get too stimulated – or at least recognize the symptoms and politely excuse myself to a quiet place. I manage any pain I have as best I can. I SHOULD get more exercise, and resolve to do so this year.

I am a stay at home mom. I do all of the mom things I’m supposed to and like all moms, I wonder if I’m doing enough. I love being with our kids every day – even when they are driving me up the wall. A seven-year old with an endless supply of energy and an eleven-year old with…well, she’s eleven…can provide any number of challenges. In my role as a SAHM, I also largely manage the household. I’m a wife to an amazing man, who supports his family in so very many ways. He’s my rock and he helps me manage everything I’ve mentioned above.

I don’t love the cancer/seizure part of my life, but I’m not truly dying…yet. I do love being a mom and a wife. I’m pretty damn lucky and have no major complaints.

Yet, I frequently have this feeling like I’m not doing enough. Maybe it’s because in my past life (pre-diagnosis) I was incredibly busy. Maybe it’s SAHM guilt for all of those other moms who are managing it all with grace, love and super powers. I used to have a career and eventually I hated what I was doing and dreamt of being able to stay home with our kids. I can’t say I’m a fan of how that dream came true, but here I am, a SAHM. But is that really enough for me.

Right now, I’m a professional cancer patient (to quote John Green) along with being a SAHM. I read all of these stories about Super Survivors who go off to change the world in some brave and courageous way or another. They got that ‘my life has meaning and I have to seize the opportunity’ bug and they go off to do amazing things that make people wonder ‘how did he/she do that?’ or ‘he/she is so inspiring!’ We hear those stories, but those amazingly inspired people are in the extreme minority if we look at the big picture. Every other cancer fighter/survivor is just like any other person in this world – except for that cancer part. That doesn’t make them any less special, but how many of them feel like they need to leave their mark on the world or their life was wasted?

Maybe it’s just my own insecurities shining through and 99.9% of cancer patients/survivors know they’ve left their mark without needing to run off and save the world. To be honest, I know that too.

I still wonder if I’m doing enough. If I go find a job, would it be too stressful and exhausting? Would it cut into my time with the kids? Would the dog become depressed and resentful for being left alone for hours each day? Would anyone hire me knowing that I’ve got regular doctor appointments and could get sick at any point? Does that matter? But honestly, I don’t really want a job – just the thought of it makes me anxious.

So, as the new year begins, the kids go back to school and we fall back into a regular routine, I will find things to fill this gap. I will find a way to feel more productive with my days. I will get off my butt and do something about it. I will relish every day that I have with my kids, even when they’re literally bouncing off the walls or being tweenagers. I will escape on occasion to spend time with my husband so we can have quiet time to talk and be alone without the wall bouncing surrounding us. I will be a professional cancer patient without feeling the need to save the world. Not everyone can be ‘Super Survivors’ and that’s okay.

Signed,

Striving to be satisfied with ‘Normal’