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Thoughts on My Birthday Thoughts on My Birthday

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Unread 06-23-2004, 02:11 AM
Thoughts on My Birthday

This is my second birthday since being diagnosed with cancer. I am one year older and I am happy to be alive yet another year.

I first visited this board in February 2003. Since then, I have watched TammyDW pass, and read Forgen's post about being terminal. Though I fight it every day, cancer sometimes does not seem real to me. It seems so far away -- like something I lived through and will never, ever revisit. But then I think about Tammy and Forgen, and I realize that every day remains precious.

I have made many friends and helped many people. I have let other friends down, such as Seashell, who sent me a nice birthday present last year, but whose birthday I forgot. I regret this immensely, and wonder why my mind does not always work.

I have talked to God daily and forgotten to talk to Him at all. This reminds me of a sign I saw outside a church in Scotland: "If God seems far away, who moved?"

I have made promises to myself not to work too much and then worked too much. But I have hired help so I can continue to make time to focus on my health, and to make time for my friends.

I have walked and walked and walked, and now that I've joined a gym, I've added weightlifting to my "stay healthy" regimen.

I have been pretty good about my diet yet indulged in many a chocolate fit.

I have had six or seven glasses of champagne in a year and a half.

I have had at least three IV needle sticks and three regular needle sticks each month for nearly a year. Prior to that, I had monthly IV needle sticks and daily regular needle sticks. Which all adds up to too many needle sticks. But I've made it this far without a port, which was what I wanted.

I am a better and more tolerant person, though I was always pretty tolerant and happy anyway. I mostly get upset when people get upset about stupid stuff. My existence seems to help people put things into perspective.

Last year, I was bald for my birthday. This year, I have funky curlyish hair that pretty much won't cooperate or lie flat. I have considered hair extensions, just so I can look like me again. But my normal hair length is chin-length, so it may not be worth it.

I dated a recently divorced guy who didn't want a girlfriend. Four months later, he still didn't want a girlfriend. "I love you! I want to marry you! But not now. I want to date you and other girls. Is that OK?" He was a nice transition guy, I suppose, but last week, I gave him the boot.

My ex-boyfriend -- the one who kind of ran away when I fell ill -- is going to have a baby with his new girlfriend within the next few weeks. They just bought a house.

I think life has better men in store for me. I just need to watch for them.

My scar is fading. But my tummy shape is in need of 40 million situps.

Come August, when I complete chemo, I will have officially been on chemo for a year and a half -- and one year of that chemo was optional.

I photographed one of my surgeons' weddings in March, and will photograph the other one's wedding in October.

I am healthier now than when I was diagnosed with cancer. My sister and my best friend both say I've never looked better. I miss how I used to look, but it's just the hair that's not behaving. It'll come.

It's 1:15 a.m. and I don't know why I'm not asleep.

Thank you all for being my friends, and for your continued support. I am happy to be alive.
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Unread 06-23-2004, 03:00 AM

You have written a very powerful thought provoking thread. I particularly love the 'tummy shape is in need of 40million situps'! I should join you! Youve forgotten one thing though....?? and that is......what a strong inspirational woman you are.

to you and enjoy your birthday.

Unread 06-23-2004, 03:05 AM
Thoughts on My Birthday

Dear Siren Song,

I started posting on these boards at about the same time you did, with an ovarian tumour that was thought to be possibly cancerous. It turned out benign, but I had many weeks of feeling terrified. I realise with hindsight how fortunate I was to have had you to "talk" to at that time. Your attitude towards life is rare and very special. You helped me really to believe that life is precious and a joy to savour, come what may. You are one of those persons whose outlook has changed mine, for the better, forever.

Yes, you certainly deserve a better man, one who will devote himself to your happiness, and he is out there waiting for you. Can I suggest that, as you are a person of faith who prays, that you pray specifically for him? I did this (many years ago now!) and my prayers were answered quite promptly.

Siren, move on with the hair. Book yourself an appointment with the most expensive, glitziest, most fashionable hairdresser in Los Angeles and throw yourself at his or her mercy. You've been bald, what is the worst he can do?! In all probability, you will be helped to find a look even better than before (and that was good, to put it mildly, as anyone who has seen your photo will attest to!).

Many blessings now and for a long future.

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Unread 06-23-2004, 03:08 AM
Happy Birthday

Hey girlfriend,

I just read your post, I still lurk around here. (wink) Yes, it's amazing how life changes us when we have the big 'c'. Make each day count. But never give up. A birthday... gives one something to think about. The day after my birthday this year, January 7th, I was told my cancer had returned and was growing at an alarming rate. May 23rd this year was the 1st year anniversary of me knowing that I had a battle with cancer.

I'm so glad that you are here, I see yours posts, you have helped many! Including me! Thank you!

I too think about dear Tammy and think about and have chatted with Forgen. I know that with this illness it's difficult not to think about 'how much longer', 'when will it come back'.

I'm so sorry about the break up you have had and all you have been through. But under it all, I see your strenght and see you shining through!

Each day am reminded of my own situation. After this years hosptial stay, I came back home after 2 1/2 months. Should have been 2 weeks. I went in for an exenteration. I had a total HS, vaginectomy, half of my colon was removed. Because my cancer was speading so fast, there was not time to get a special surgeon in for reconstruction, so now I have to sit on pillows and recliners to help ease the pain. Every day I'm totally exhausted and it takes hours for me to get up and just try to do something. In the hospital, I felt each day that it might be the last. When my husband came to visit me, I told him, I would never get out, that I would die there. This seemed especially true when I was in the castle, with my stoma (large intestine exposed on my tummy) and a part of it fell off when my doctor came in the check how it was.

Thankfully, here I am still. I still can't believe it. I have now been out of the castle for nearly 2 months. Today I'm learning to use the toilet again, after having a catheter in me for months. Amazing how difficult it can be. I'm a bit bummed out but still make fun that I"m the bag lady. I have a stoma, nicely put, what was left of my large intestine has been directed to the outside of my lower tummy.

My husband although supportive and caring still, I realize he may not always be there. Since I have not had reconstruction and don't know when I will, (I'm terribly frightened to go into the hospital again, to go through this additional surgery and then find out that it's not worth it, or worse that my cancer comes back again) Anyway, here I am with a high likely hood of not having normal relations again. I told my husband if he ever feels he can't deal with it, tell me, don't sneak behind my back with others. I don't think I could take that. In this way, I can leave instead of being hurt. It will be on my terms and should not be as painful. He says that will stick with me, but the words he told me last year after I was diagnosed, 'I won't live sex' still ring in my ears. Yes, of course there are other ways... but I"m not in the mood for those other ways. Oh well, it's hard to be sexy when you have on pampers and a bag on your stomach to catch your poop.

Now, on the other hand, the double J stent in my back (I had a fistula and due to complications, the catheter had to go in my back, into my kidney and down to the bladder is now gone completely as of yesterday! Hooray!!!! The pain I had from the Double J was extremely hard to deal with. I find that if I cough when I'm in the bathroom and trying to learn how to use it again, that it's a whole lot easier than to grunt and scream out in pain, even though my insides feel like they are about to fall out. (can they when there is not canal? lol... disgusting, I know)

I walked for 2 hours the other day without needing to use my wheelchair!

My relationship, with God has become closer. The power of faith and my relationship with Him makes alot of difference.

My dh said I look kinda sexy with my white stoma support belt on. (either he's plain old hard up, or he does care? hard to tell... lol)

My father, with whom I had not really talked to for more than 30 years (and yes, he lived in the same house as I did while I grew up, but the only time we talked was when he punished me, so that does not count) our relationship has gotten so much better. He called me every week in the hospital and even though he does not call so much now, I know I can count on him if I need help.

My only brother with whom I was never close, is sending pictures of my nephew!

I don't have another doctors appt for a month! It's usually almost every week, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week.

The sky is blue! Even in Holland. There are lovely flowers and birds. The most simple things give me great joy! NOT my high pressure job at a huge international company where when everyone went home, I was still there. Lot's of OT.

I'm going to try to learn Dutch this year. I want to try to make more friends. I want to stop talking about my problems. Yuck. Who wants to hear it! I have to get over my depression (I'm on prozac at the moment, it should help and a side affect of prozac, weight loss!)

Oh hun, as to weight, I think I'm the only person to have ever had chemo and rad and kept their hair and gained weight! I have to do zillions of crunches for this. (I wonder how spandex looks over my tummy bag? :-0) I"m not on HRT, my skin has lost it's elasticity. My elbows... what elbows, there seems to be something starting to hang over them and it's not the sleeve of my blouse. lol I have to eat better. I know I can't eatb white, unrefined bread, but it's so good. I know I have to eat more veggies and fruit and will work on that.

My hair has started to come out now, in piles. Oh well, it did not fall out with chemo, so it was just waiting... but I am prepared, I have 2 wigs!

Life is so full of changes. Let's make the best of it! What is the saying... when fate throws you ....

Sisters, there are many of us still here, fighting. I have been a member here since last year, in May and am so grateful for this site. Those of us who have been here during this time have seen, and been through many changes.... but still I'm so grateful for each and every one of you. You are all such role models for me!
Unread 06-23-2004, 06:06 AM
Thoughts on My Birthday

Dear SirenSong and are both such inspirations to me and to everyone here. Thank you both for the moving stories. Be well.

Unread 06-23-2004, 07:08 AM
Thoughts on My Birthday


It seems like birthdays always make us think of our mortality, expecially as we get older. I too am rivited to hear of Forgen, and expically saddened by Tammy's passing. And yes I too have done some no nos since my diagnosis.

As far as your boyfriends there is some one out there just for you, and you will find him. My dh can be a jerk sometimes but I still love him and glad for him.

I wish you the best of luck in the comming years, and do something special for your birthday.


I was just thinking about you yesterday and wondering how you were doing. I am glad that you have your stents removed and are able to get up and move around. Best wishes for a continued healing.

God Bless the both of you
Unread 06-23-2004, 07:36 AM
Thoughts on My Birthday

s SirenSong

Happy Birthday my precious little friend. It is amazing how once diagnosed with cancer we learn to truly celebrate each birthday.
Your reflective posting was beautiful. I'm kinda glad you had insomnia last night. I know you must be looking forward to August and the end of chemotherapy.
Although I am 3000 miles away, I am celebrating with you today Dina!!

s Maria

It was great to get caught up with you! It sounds as though you are forging ahead inspite of all the setbacks. You are simply incredible!!

Unread 06-23-2004, 07:38 AM
Thoughts on My Birthday

Siren Song,

May you enjoy a wonderful day today on your birthday! : And may the year be blessed for you!

From what you write, it seems that you enjoy each day given to us! I think that that kind of perspective is really important, and to be admired.

Unread 06-23-2004, 09:04 AM
Thoughts on My Birthday

Happy Birthday Siren Song!!

I too have found that throughout this whole ordeal I celebrate all birthdays and anniversaries with much more zest and gusto.
Unfortunately, no one really understands the reasons why, except for the women here on this board.

In April, when I had my two year hysterversary, someone asked me how I celebrated. Well, immediately I thought food wise but after thinking a minute I realized that I really did celebrate big and not by eating!! This year I totally redecorated my entire house, painting, new carpeting, new floors, new railings, and an entire new kitchen!! We also just bought a new car.

This to me meant "all is well and is going to be well".

May we all have lots and lots of wonderful things to celebrate.

I also have good feelings about a wonderful man coming into your life!! Make sure you let us know when it happens.

Unread 06-23-2004, 09:40 AM
Thoughts on My Birthday

Dina, thanks for that wonderful post. I agree with so many of the things you wrote about. And Maria, you are such a fighter. I am in awe of all the wonderful people I have met here.

Thank you Sirensong.

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