I’m not Dead Yet…,

Here I sit in hospice twiddling my thumbs, so to speak. It’s been an interesting few months. I’ve been dealing with this breast cancer for 13 years. And my number one way of “dealing” with it has been learning all I could about it and understanding what I needed to do to knock it back. I’d have scans, and blood work, and different scans and more blood work. I always knew where the cancer was and what it was doing.

It’s completely different in hospice. There is no blood work to let me know how fast the cancer is growing. There are very minimal scans to tell me where its at. I’m having to just lean back and float. I’ve always been very intuitive with my body, but I liked having the science to back up what I thought was happening. Now, I’m just having to trust my own intuition. And so here I sit. Waiting to die. And you know what? I’ve discovered it’s really not that much different then living each day. I get to do what makes me happy and then I nap. Then I make some plans for the near future and I nap again. Napping is great! If you aren’t taking Sunday afternoon naps you sure should be. There’s no better way to charge up for those Monday mornings.

Champagne on the daily.

Last month I made it to Kirksville to see Luke and Jacqueline receive some wonderful awards and graduate from medical school! I so vividly remember his white coat ceremony 4 years ago and wondering if I’d be there for graduation, and I made it!!

Hospice was a tremendous help. They contracted with a hospice in Kirksville and had a hospital bed moved into my hotel room. That made all the difference in terms of my comfort and my ability to participate. On the way home we stopped at Macdonald’s and I got a chocolate shake and French fries! And that’s it. The only thing I didn’t do was dip the fries in the shake. A small error, but I still have time to rectify things, I think.

I’ve been dealing with quite a bit of pain so we also scheduled some radiation treatments. I actually had just one treatment, but it was to my sternum, T4-T10 and my lumbar spine. It was absolute torture getting on and off of the radiation table, but it has made a huge difference in my pain. I’d go through it again if I knew the pain trade off would be the same. This is considered comfort care and not treatment. It;s not enough radiation to kill back the cancer cells, just enough to knock back the pain and make my time in hospice more comfortable.

It is a weird thing, sitting here in hospice, doing relatively well and wondering when the next shoe is going to drop. I’m trying to make the time useful. We have my Celebration of Life basically planned out, I’ve got some other projects I’m almost done with for friends and family. So now, I just try to enjoy each moment and soak in the love from everyone and give love back. I’m blown away by how many people have signed up to help me. No one really trusts me to be alone. If I fell, well, that would be a really bad thing, so I’m using a walker or a wheelchair almost all of the time now. I’ve gotten a little less sturdy, but not too bad. I can still go up and down the stairs and I make sure I do it a couple of times each day. I’m fighting a lack of appetite right now. Nothing is really sounding good. Not even my reliable ice cream. I’m not wasting away though, so there’s nothing to worry about there.

The next big adventure is to plan a trip to see Luke and Jacqueline and their new house in Dayton, Ohio. After that is Wine Night! I honestly did not think I was going to be here for that, but it sure looks like I am! I’m thrilled. We’ve had some great responses for the seed grants you have helped us fund and we can’t wait to tell you about them on Wine Night.

We hope to see you for this year’s Ladies Midsummer Wine Night. It’s our 9th year! That’s incredible. Here’s a link to more information, and if you wish to donate you can use this link. Thank you!

Here’s Steve having some summer fun.

Oh, I almost forgot, I bought more face lotion.

7 thoughts on “I’m not Dead Yet…,

  1. So glad you are still writing. You are an excellent writer and your attitude very encouraging. I’m still on Ibrance 39 months, Faslodex and XGeva 54 months, with growth still confined to bone. Feel lucky, so grateful. I got to my 50th college reunion with a freshly-minted book of poetry to share. I look forward to a visit from my brother who I have not seen in 2 years (opposite coast). May you fo all you can for pain and enjoy every moment that you can. Your are inspiring,

  2. Bette Davis said, “There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne”. I’m glad you are drinking it daily. Sending love.

  3. I just want to beam myself there. Sit in your patio chair…….soak up your love and peace and drink champagne with you.

    I love you my friend. And as always….. you are dying with grace and class and laughter. You inspire me.

  4. Hi Judy,
    I am so glad that hospice is doing what it’s supposed to do – help keep you comfortable. It’s wonderful you made the trip to Kirksville and witnessed all that. You must be such a proud mama! Congrats! I’m also glad to hear that the radiation helped with your pain management, though I’m sorry getting it was such torture.

    Enjoy planning and taking part in those upcoming adventures, keep soaking in that love and enjoying those naps. And the champagne too. I will think of you when I sip my next glass.

    Thank you for this update, Judy, and for being an inspiration to so many. x

  5. Thank you for posting this. For those of us living with MBC like you, hospice is often seen through a foggy lens. I’m glad you are still making plans, even though they are short term plans. Making plans is an important part of our mental well-being. My time will come when hospice takes over therapy. I hope I can live as fully in hospice as you are. Hugs

  6. I stumbled across your blog post this morning while doing some reading of my own. I am a full time massage therapist for a Hospice. Thank you for sharing your hospice journey so people will know that there are many things we absolutely can and will help with.

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