This Time Around

Even though this is my second time with breast cancer, so many things are different about this experience. Aside from the obvious things — different parts of my body, a more serious stage, a different prognosis — I’m finding other differences as well.

I’m already experiencing low blood counts. I believe this is typical of Gemzar, but I have already had to postpone my third treatment because my blood counts are off. I’ve only had two treatments. I’m on a preventive antibiotic. Last time, it was months of chemo before my blood was affected.

My energy level is lower. This may be because of the Fentanyl patch I’m on, or it may be that this cancer is taking more out of me than last time. Most nights I am in bed before 9:00 and I’m asleep until around 7 or 8 the next morning. Some days I nap through the whole day.

I’m on pain medication. My original breast cancer had no pain associated with it. None. The pain of the mass in my pancreas was excruciating. Bad enough that I wear a Fentanyl patch 24 hours a day. Granted, I’ve come down to a lower dose, but the doctor isn’t in any hurry to wean me off of it.

My emotional state/outlook have changed. With an unclear and unsure prognosis, remaining positive is more difficult for me. I feel like I’m in limbo and I’m not sure what to do with myself. As a planner I prefer structure to my days, but with the gravity of this diagnosis my only job is to “take care of myself.” This leaves me kind of lost as to how to spend my time. My sense of humor has gotten darker, and I’ve become more reserved.

Not surprisingly, this last one has been most difficult to me. Last time I took on the role of fighter — I had something to beat, to get rid of. I had a concrete task. This time, it isn’t so clear, not so black and white. Instead of beating or getting rid of something, we’re trying to control the progression of it. It makes for a much more difficult fight song or cheer. Instead of “fight, fight, fight” it’s “control, control, control.” It doesn’t flow as easily.

I’m sure as time goes on, I will get used to my new normal. Taking it day by day. Appreciating the little things. Accepting that “taking care of myself” is my new full-time job. Already, I feel myself slipping into a bit of a routine, and that makes me feel a little more stable.

As with any life-changing event, this will take a period of adjustment. I know that; I just need to accept it. I need to remember that I have an abundance of support in my family and friends. I need to remember to rely on God and remind myself that He is holding onto my hand (Isa. 43:10, 13). That He will help me get through every step of this, no matter how difficult the steps might be.

Today was a rough day for me. But I talked to my husband and my mom and received reassurance, strengthening, and commiseration. Having someone acknowledge and assure me that my feelings are valid is extremely comforting. Having someone offer to help me in tangible ways is strengthening — both spiritually and emotionally. The amazing thing is that I get support like this on a daily basis from so many people. Some friends text me encouraging words. Some send cards. Some I get to speak to and/or see daily. And I thank God for all these ways that he’s giving me support. I may have a life-altering diagnosis, but I am blessed to have my support team standing with me.




6 thoughts on “This Time Around

  1. You’re blessed with the ability to have a positive outlook in even the most dire of circumstances. I wish you luck with your recovery and hope all goes well. Keep up the positivity. The medicine may save your body, but positivity will save your life. Peace be with you.


    1. I was struck by this verse this morning from Ecclesiastes 3:4. It says, in part, that there is a time to laugh and a time to dance. Right now doesn’t feel like any of those times. I like the idea, though, that those times will return. Love you!


  2. I think it takes a fighter – fight – fight – fight – to whip something into submission. In this case remission. A lion may always be a lion – but we have seen many times that strong trainers can have a big cat behave like a pussycat. If anyone has the strength to do that, it’s you. Our theocratic theme this year is “Don’t give up!” I know you won’t and please know we’re all here for you, praying for you, loving you.


  3. You are a fighter – fight – fight – fight – to bring this thing into submission. Or in this case, remission. A lion is always a lion, but a skilled trainer can make that big cat behave like a pussycat. Out theocratic theme this year is “Don’t give up” and I know you won’t. You have an army of friends and family praying for you and rooting for you. We all love you and I love you more that you’ll ever know.


  4. Allegra,
    Read this this morning and thought it was so encouraging. I hope it brings you some comfort also. Please know I’m thinking of you and so many people are praying in your behalf!!!💕 Love, Joyce

    Like Jesus, we need to let hope, joy, and endurance work together in our behalf. “Rejoice in the hope,” said the apostle Paul. He then added: “Endure under tribulation.” (Romans 12:12) Are you facing a severe test of faith at the present time? Then by all means look ahead. Do not lose sight of the way your endurance will bring praise to Jehovah’s name. Keep the precious Kingdom hope in clear focus. Picture yourself in God’s coming new world, and imagine yourself experiencing the blessings of the Paradise. Anticipating the fulfillment of the wonderful things Jehovah has promised—including the vindication of his sovereignty, the removal of wickedness from the earth, and the elimination of sickness and death—will fill your heart with joy, and that joy can help you to endure no matter what trials may befall you. When compared with the realization of the Kingdom hope, any suffering in this system of things is indeed “momentary and light.”—2 Corinthians 4:17.

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  5. THAnks for sharing. I can’t imagine the emotions you must Be going through; but these posts helps me to get it a little bit more and be more specific in my prayers. Love you!


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