Update on Mom and Myself! ✌🤟🤘

Mom has exactly a week and a half of radiation left. She is doing so well with it! This honestly surprises me just because I always expect the worst but also I’m just so happy. I may partially be so happy because I really didn’t expect this to go so easily. Mom uses Aloe Vera gel, unscented just straight up Aloe, and she really has no burns or redness so far. She does experience some fatigue and some short lived headaches occasionally after her treatment but it’s nothing severe. Nothing that can be compared to chemotherapy. Of course, like I said, mom’s got a week and a half left so I will see if she remains feeling as good as she does. I will update again after she completes her radiation.

I am doing well. For the past week and off and on earlier, I have been driving mom to her radiation treatments. I have no problem with this, I enjoy being up early and I also enjoy the feeling I get when I know I’m successfully helping mom. I’ve been going through a depression lately, which makes everything so much harder. I find myself drifting off into bad thoughts about random events from the past and also things that bother me but really are not a big deal. I catch myself doing this while reading and it bothers me a lot. I will be staring at the page and yet, on the inside, I am somewhere completely different and also somewhere with a very negative feeling. This scares me. It scares me because of my fear of becoming embittered. I do not want this negativity to overcome me and turn me into a person that I do not want to be.

I will say that mom and I are helping each other equally. Not only does it help me to help her, but my mom is a great person to talk to and we are both able to empathize with one another right now. This empathy, a very real understanding of our separate and yet similar issues, is also surprising to me. It’s a very pleasant surprise and I really appreciate this gift we have been given at this time to have the ability to not just care for, but to compliment our care with such complete understanding. It is a wonderful feeling.

I hope anyone else who is getting through Chemotherapy and radiation has a helper and also, as a person struggling with Bipolar 1 disorder, I understand how lucky I am to have someone like my mom and the rest of my family to simply be there.

More updates coming soon. Thanks for reading! I wish the best for everyone out there. No matter what it is your going through, please hold on to hope.

XOXO

An Unplanned Purpose

I am not big on planning but I remember when I used to be. When I was young it seemed that the possibilities were endless. However, at this point in my life I do not even like to plan what I am doing the next day. I will tell people, “Ask me again tomorrow and I will tell you how I feel.”

In life, there is so much that just happens, completely unplanned. And I feel, that as I get older, these unplanned circumstances happen more and more. Of course, not all unplanned events are bad. There are so many great and welcome surprises. This is why I must always keep my mind open, as my mom always says…

Everything Always Happens for a Reason.”

Some of us believe in a Higher Power that can ultimately explain these reasons. And for some of us, this is more of a vague guessing-game. But whatever you believe, I do think my mom is correct in most cases.

When mom was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer, she made a point to tell me that after we got through this time period dealing explicitly with her health, she wanted to then spend time figuring out what was best for me. She even said, “Jesse you were meant for greatness, and we are going to find your purpose together.” I love my mom and her incredible and optimistic words and sentiment. However, it led me to ask myself… what if my greatness, my purpose is not really about me… what if, after everything I have been through and everything my mom has helped me through…my great meaning in life, my purpose is to simply be there for my mom, be there for my family? Honestly, the times I truly feel a surge of greatness are during the most simple of things; my mom holding my arm as we walk down some steps, making mom laugh, being able to talk to her and talk her through some of what she is going through by relating with her and hopefully making her feel less alone in this journey.

Monday, the 26th was the last day my mom had to receive chemotherapy. Mom felt good that day and we were able to celebrate. Mom did some amazing things to not only celebrate her big day but to celebrate those of us who have been on this journey with her. Mom even went so far as to get ME roses and a Unicorn balloon which I love to the moon and back.

Today mom is going through her rough time after the chemotherapy medications have run through her system. She feels very fatigued and has body aches and really just all kinds of things that I think she keeps to herself so we dont worry so much. I am so glad this is almost over. Later next week, mom will be feeling much better and will be able to do the kind of things that are important to her. I feel like this repetitive recovery process between chemotherapy treatments serves as a way to remind us how lucky we are to be able to function to our utmost abilities just to do what I like to call, “life stuff”.

To return to what I was originally saying about purpose, is that there is just so much we have learned on this journey. I have learned that I am capable of more that I though, maybe not everyday but I am really good at caring for my mom and, interestingly enough, interrogating doctors into answering every question about pretty much any symptom my mom has experienced. I have realized that this is my greatness, my greatness is my mom, and the gift she has given me by trusting me to help her and care for her. I cannot express how meaningful that trust from my mom is to me. It is priceless.

My mom, I believe, has found purpose in sharing her Cancer story. She has been open from the start with friends and family and even strangers about what she has been going through. I know for a fact that my mom is a beacon of hope for those in a similar situation and I believe that it is her dazzling smile that lets others know, “If she can smile and laugh while going through that, I think I will be okay, too”. I know her positive attitude and, more importantly, her kind nature and love for her family has always helped me.

Cancer is never in the plans. And I know that some reading this do not have as encouraging an outlook as my mom does. This is simply our story.

My mom is still reading Prodigal Summer and loving it. I cannot wait to post her thoughts on it when she is finished. I am almost finished with Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson so be on the lookout for a review on that in the near future. Thank you for reading!

A Beginning…

Thank you for visiting my first Blog Post.

Over the past year, my relationship with my mother has grown immensely. This is not only because of being able to spend more time together but also because of the good and bad circumstances we have been experiencing together.

My mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in February of 2019. The following April, mom underwent a successful Lumpectomy on her right Breast and she was prepared to continue work as a Human Resources Manager while undergoing Radiation. However, plans changed.

Mom found out in the following week that her recurrency score came back high and she would have to go through chemotherapy to make sure her cancer did not return. This was unexpected and due to the fact that mom does not have a Spleen, this changed everything about mom’s life. Mom’s doctor made it clear that this would not only be a very difficult time for mom but that she would not be able to continue to work mainly because her risk for infection would be so high.

Mom is turning 62 this year and was able to take a leave of absence from work until she could start Unemployment. Although this worked out so well, it still left mom very depressed.

At this point, we have gotten through the hardest of times together and we will soon be celebrating mom’s last chemotherapy treatment on August the 26th. As far as we know, mom will be starting radiation about 6 weeks after that date.

These past months have not just been about mom going through chemotherapy, although that has been a major struggle. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 with severe depression and anxiety since the age of 26. I am now 35. This time period mom and I have been spending together has not only given us an opportunity to create a better relationship with each other in general, but has given me the opportunity to learn so much about my strengths and weaknesses and how helping another person, my mom, only makes me feel stronger.

We have been able to relate on so many issues together, especially depression. We may have depression for different reasons, but there are so many similarities. This is not something that made either of us weaker but instead, through shared feelings, has made us so much stronger.

This blog is not going to be specifically about Cancer, Chemotherapy or Mental Illness, although I will surely touch on these topics frequently. What I really want to talk about is our shared love of reading and the ways we relate to one another as only a mother and daughter can. Honestly, when mom started this journey, I told her we were going to laugh our way through this, and that is what we have done.

I hope you find the time to follow my blog and get to know us. I also hope I will be able to recommend some great books along the way. Right now, mom is reading one of my favorites, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, while I am journeying through Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere. I have so far been able to read Mistborn, Warbreaker, and The Way of Kings, and am currently reading Elantris before I go farther with Words of Radiance in his Stormlight Archives. The fantasy genre is my favorite, especially when times get a little tough and I need a break from reality. I feel like Brandon Sanderson is the perfect author for me right now because he has a way of keeping everything positive.

Thank you for reading and please keep up with us so I can share my mom’s thoughts on her current read and also my thoughts on Elantris.