Home > Why yes, I am still alive.

Why yes, I am still alive.

May 9th, 2018 at 11:33 pm

I got an email from Ceejay the other day that was very touching. But, it also made me realize I haven't posted in a long time, and when you drop bad news like I did, you better be darn sure you're updating!

So here's the scoop. I started the meds for the kidney cancer in January and had to wait until April 30 to get a CAT scan and results to see if they were working.

My doctor warned me that 'success' was defined as the tumor staying the same, and not spreading. If the tumor shrinks? That's basically a miracle.

I got the miracle, at least for now. The tumor became less dense and had holes in it, indicating shrinking. It's still huge, but marginally less so.

It's still gigantic and it's still terminal, but at least the meds bought me a little more time.

The meds are rough, though.

I thought I understood cancer, I really did. I took care of my grandpa and my dad as they died from it. But I was missing a huge piece. I 'understood' cancer in the context of elderly men who refused treatment and were content to go because their work on this earth was finished.

I'd never personally experienced the fight. The hospital visits, the horrors that cancer treatments bring to those with the disease. fighting tumors is hard. Surviving the treatments is hard. It's like chemical warfare in your body. it isn't pretty. It isn't easy. it hurts.

Every month I get a new bottle of pills from the pharmacy, and once I pop the lid, I know I'm in for even more life-altering side effects. It's like a surprise pack: hold tight. You don't know what you're getting this time. The longer you take the pills, the more you have to deal with. For instance, all of my body hair has turned white. even my eyebrows and eyelashes. My skin, nose, mouth and throat are so dry they hurt. And let's not even talk about what's happening in the bathroom!

And I'm starving to death, at least according to my blood work. Because the meds suppress my appetite, and if I do actually try to eat, the meds have killed my taste buds, so everything tastes bitter like brussel sprouts. Oh, and my mouth hurts, so it hurts to chew and it hurts to swallow. Then, my stomach gets upset. Ugh! see what I mean? If the cancer doesn't kill you, the treatment will.

I apologize if I sound like I'm complaining. It isn't my intention. I just wanted to convey that I'm on a road with no map, and it's a real challenge.

In the meantime, I'm trying to make peace with my mortality. wrap up loose ends. I'm also trying to sort and give away extra stuff, so my family doesn't have to deal with it.

But it's a minefield. I have to do it in secret because dh gets upset if he thinks I'm preparing to die. His skin has not grown any thicker, as I hoped it would, as he had more time to adjust.

I really only break down when I think about the pain I'm causing and will cause my children and my family. And I realize a huge part of the rest of my life is managing other people's feelings and trying to put THEM at ease.

Particularly DH and my Mom. They get super angry and/or crying upset/stressed out if I'm not doing or acting the way they need me to in order for them to be okay. Did that make sense? It's like I have to put on a show for them when they are around, doing whatever they associate with me being well, so they don't epically break down.

It's frustrating and exhausting, but I understand why they need it. They hold on to ultimate hope I will somehow be cured, because if they didn't, they'd be swallowed whole by devastation.

My social life is harder in weird ways, too. I'm making an effort to go places and do things I used to do if I am even remotely able. But the side effect? When I run into social friends, many of them don't know what to say to me, or they look at me with sad eyes. I want to shake them and scream "I'm not dead yet!" but I hold back because I know they mean well, they just don't know what to say.
I mean, who does?

So yeah. This is my new life with terminal cancer. Glamorous, isn't it?

In financial news, we aren't spending much so we've managed to squirrel away extra money, and I'll do that as long as I can. I'll have to spend some on house projects, but that's okay.

32 Responses to “Why yes, I am still alive.”

  1. Wink Says:

    I think about you often. Thank you for the update. Sending hope and strength and prayers to you and your family!

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    It is good to hear from you. Your tumor shrinkage is good news. How often will you get scans? I think it's awful that you have to be the brave one at this time! And honestly, I don't think masking feelings is good for anyone's health, whether you have cancer or not. I do hope you could be honest with your friends, husband and mother.

  3. ThriftoRama Says:

    My friends, at least my best friends, are handling it well.
    I think I'll be getting scans every 3 months, but I am not sure.

  4. crazyliblady Says:

    We are so happy to hear from you. What you are going through is heartbreaking, though. Are there any support groups in your area for those with cancer? I am wondering if it could be helpful to others with cancer, people from whom you don't have to hide your feelings. You are a trooper. Hugs and good thoughts for you and your family.

  5. LuckyRobin Says:

    I'm sorry your husband and mother can't see past their own pain to try to make your pain easier. You shouldn't have to be worrying so much about their emotions right now, but I understand why you do. It's what we all do as wives, daughters, and mothers. I am keeping you and your family in my prayers. I wish the drugs were not so very hard on you. Cancer is a mean old thing. I'm appreciative of your update. I know you have a lot on your plate and can't blog like you used to, but it is nice to hear from you once in a while as you are able.

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    It is so great to hear from you, but of course keeping us updated should be the last thing on your mind. I’m sorry your family is making even more work for you when you’re already fighting hard enough. You’re an amazing person!

  7. snafu Says:

    {{{Hugs}}} thank you for responding to CeeJay's request to update your many SA friends who hold you in our thoughts and prayers. We admire your strength of will and the love you bestow on your family and friends. Please know we are all here rooting for you and offering space to vent when ever frustration needs a safe outlet.

  8. Andrea F. Says:

    Great to hear from you. I appreciate hearing what your experience is like. Sending hugs and strength your way.

  9. Laura S. Says:

    It made my day to hear from you. We all understand updating us shouldn't be a priority, but I (and I am sure everyone else) appreciate hearing from you. I think of you often. My thoughts continue to be with you and your family.

  10. debt-free by thir-ty Says:

    So good to hear from you. I'm sorry that you feel like you have to prop up your family at a time when they should be propping you up. Stay strong and hopefully the miracle will continue!

  11. NJDebbie Says:

    I'm glad to hear from you; I think of you often. ((HUGS))

  12. Rose. Says:

    I'm pretty new here, so I am still getting to know everyone. I just read your blogs to get caught up. Smile Thank you for sharing your story. I will keep you in my thoughts and am wishing you the best.

  13. kashi Says:

    Thank you for posting an update. I think of you often and am glad to hear that the tumor is shrinking. I hope you are able to enjoy your time with your family, even though it must be incredibly difficult for everyone. Hugs to you.

  14. DW Says:

    I too am at a loss on how to respond when someone has cancer.
    This post offered so much insight on some of the challenges on what you and others go through on chemo.
    Thank you for sharing. You’re amazing. If your children are young, please leave a letter or journal detailing everything you think they would want to know about you, your humor, and your hopes and dreams for them.

  15. Petunia 100 Says:

    I'm glad to hear it, Thrift. It's wonderful to hear the news that your tumor has shrunk slightly instead of grown. I'm still hoping there is more life ahead of you than your doctor estimates. {{Hugs}}

  16. My English Castle Says:

    Oh, it's Thrift! Thank you so much for sharing with us. Man, it's hard to think about having to manage other people's feelings when you have so much of your own stuff to deal with. It's funny; I was at the garden store late this afternoon, saw a tiki torch set, and immediately thought of you. I think of you so often, and the shrinkage news seems like it's a good thing. If you're up to it, I'm sure we'd all be glad to hear from you. You have a lot to teach us.

  17. MonkeyMama Says:

    ((HUGS)) I am glad you checked in. Hang in there.

  18. Rachael777 Says:

    Sending you hugs You are inspirational. Thanks for sharing your journey no matter how hard it is . Remember we are here to listen at any time and are interested and care

  19. Buendia Says:

    It's great to hear from you! Thinking about you, and rooting for you!

  20. rob62521 Says:

    Great to hear from you. You are a fighter, that's for sure.

    You hit the nail on the head...people don't know what to say.

    Thanks for checking in...glad you've gotten a miracle and hopefully it will continue.

  21. CB in the City Says:

    I'm coming in late, but just wanted to say thank you for updating us and for your candor and honesty. I hope you know you can always tell it like it is to us.

  22. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I'm glad to hear from you. Do you have anyone you can confide in? Maybe a therapist or something like that?

  23. Dido Says:

    I'm so glad you are still here and sorry that you are having such an emotional burden of having to manage others' emotions about your situation. Prayers for your continued miracle!

  24. PatientSaver Says:

    I'm so glad to hear from you...there is so much wisdom in what you said, and it was really very helpful to me to understand some of your feelings because my oldest friend R. is going through similar things with his prostate cancer.

    "And I realize a huge part of the rest of my life is managing other people's feelings and trying to put THEM at ease."

    I'm helping R. this Friday decluttering his condo becus he says he feels overwhelmed by how much stuff he's got to sort through. I don't want him to have to expend more energy to put me at ease, even though it still shocks me how he has changed. So thank you for your insightful observations.

    We are here for you, as much as we are able to, electronically. Thank you for sharing some very difficult and personal challenges. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

  25. latestart Says:

    Thank you for the update. As far as food have you tried using plastic ware instead of silverware.

  26. Tabs Says:


    Anyways, I'm really glad to hear from you, although honestly, I am never sure what to say in moments like these. Please take care of yourself as much as you can.

  27. M Says:

    My mother has terminal cancer. You should be egible for disability and perhaps early social security withdrawals if you want to stop working. Also, FYI she was given a year over a year ago and is still doing ok. Not in the hospital. Still going out and living a normal life besides treatment. She is not on an oxygen tank yet. Any kind of shrinkage is awesome news. I don’t know you but you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  28. scfr Says:

    Thriftorama, I still think of you and hope you are doing OK.

  29. My English Castle Says:

    I'm with scfr. I saw a tiki torch the other day and thought of you.

  30. Rose. Says:

    Just wanted to check in and let you know that you are in my thoughts.

  31. rob62521 Says:

    Been thinking of you as well.

  32. Laura S. Says:

    Same here. I hope you are doing well.

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