Category Archives: Psychology

Day 73: July 27th

Man, oh man it’s getting rough. I’m trying really hard to stay strong, to stay motivated but I find I’m out of steam, out of grit. I wear out after a few minutes of walking or after going up a flight of stairs. I feel like an old woman. 


I’m off the steroid now, so that’s a plus. My face swelling is going down, my acne has mostly cleared up, and I’m no longer gaining weight. My skin is getting stronger again (the steroid and chemo make it weak) so I think all those really painful weird stretch marks are very slowly getting better-ish, and Brandon has been putting a cream on them too, and I’ve ordered two wigs to wear because my self-esteem is at an all time low. I don’t even want to go out in public. I’m so ashamed of how I look, mostly because I’m embarrassed to have cancer. I know that sounds dumb, but I am. And people seeing me bald and struggling is admitting to everyone that I have it. So maybe I’m a little in denial? Idk why I feel embarrassed but I can recognize that I do. 

I find myself wanting to leave Brandon just so he won’t have to deal with this. I want him to be spending his summer with his best friend, Tyler, and with his sister and niece that he misses a lot. I want him to get to work more and be able to buy the things he wants, and not have to worry about and have a wife that needs constant care. 


The house is slowly falling apart. The boys can only do so much. Dad can only do so much. Mom and I can barely do anything. I feel like I’m back sliding…. Even doing yoga with Hardy for a meager five minutes was too much and my quads (or what’s left of them) were shaking and I had to stop because I felt like I would pass out. Things need to be dusted, vacuumed, garbage taken out, toilets scrubbed, cars need oil changes, etc….I can do what I can but it takes me forever… I loaded the dishwasher and ran it this morning, but it took me 30 minutes when it used to take 5-10.

Tension is rising in the house. I’m lazy and weak. The boys can’t be expected to do everything, they’re only 14 and 19, dad is working his butt off and then trying to pick up slack at home, and mom is in so much pain she can hardly stand to move and because she’s in so much pain she is irritable. I have no grit left in me and hearing mom cry from pain, seeing dad constantly working at full speed, is breaking me. I want so badly to give relief and I can’t. I’m the reason they’re struggling so hard, it’s because of me that there are so many more bills, it’s because of me that the house is falling apart, it’s because of me that the boys are expected to pick up slack.

I haven’t eaten for two days because I have this awful taste in my mouth. The doctor warned me that radiation could temporarily change how I taste things… It could take anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 months for it to go back to what it was. But as of now, I’m struggling, because I can feel I’m getting weaker, have no energy at all, and am getting dehydrated. But even water is stomach turning. Everything tastes terrible. On top of that the scale says I’m at the same weight. So bully for me 🙃

I’m scheduled to start OT and PT back up week after next. There were some insurance issues and me dealing with depression, I kept cancelling. I see Dr. Monga next week to start up round 2 of chemo: 5 days on, 28 days off. I’ll also get my blood checked. Then I also blew off my appointment with my psychologist this past week, so I have that next week too. I know I need to go, but it’s going to be all tears and suicidal thoughts and I don’t want to face it, though I know I must. 

I don’t even get relief when I sleep. I can’t find a comfortable position to sleep and that bad taste in my mouth infects even my dreams. 

My days currently consist of struggling not to cry, trying to find something to eat, and watching Pretty Little Liars. 

So there ya go, an update. Welcome to my sick world. Your lucky you can close this blog and escape it. God knows I wish I could. 

Evening 61: July 15th.

Today is Friday and on Monday, dad, Brandon and I will make the arduous trek to  Littke Rock, Arkansas. I’m hoping to convince Nathanael to come with us because he somehow just makes things better and keeps me positive and laughing — he’s an angel. That being said, I’m not sure I trust Hardy to care for the dogs without Nathanael, so I guess we’ll see. 

I think we’re going to get dinner at Wings To Go in Jonesboro (where bran is from) after the appointments and then drive back home. I’m trying to cut this ‘journey’ as short as possible. I just want to be back home, secure, around my mom and family and brothers and puppies. 

I’m also really embarrassed and nervous to eat at Wings to Go because that’s where I worked last summer and so much has changed about me since then. I don’t even look the same. People are going to look at me so weird or ask how I am and I’m not ok. People asking me how Iam just makes me burst into tears. 

Actually, a friend asked me yesterday if she thought this whole “c experience” has changed me and how I look at life…  and I can’t even begin to explain, describe, or fully understand how much everything has changed. I’m barely the same person and I don’t know if that’s good or not or if I like it or not. 

The main changes Ill Share with you are that my core values are honed in now — they were muddied before but they are crystal clear now. 

Additionally, another major change is that I’ve always been an easy crier but I’m an even bigger crier now. The pure kindness of strangers… The waitress topping off my coffee with a big smile, or getting a card from a stranger (like a HU faculty member) just makes me break down completely. I can’t even sing a full song in church without choking up. I just hum instead. Even seeing my brother smile at me or getting a sweet text message makes me bawl. 

Mom is in the rehab facility until July 29th and I’m missing her like crazy. I just want to hug my mom and cry and cry and cry. I miss her so much. I want us both to be better. 

I see my psychologist on July 25th. She’s an amazing woman and she already knows me well — she’s who I saw during high school and such. So I’m glad to have that background there. An established relationship.

So we leave on Monday, I have the MRI on Tuesday at 10am and then I meet with Dr. Krisht 12pm that same day. I’m not sure what we’re looking for… In fact, I think we want to just find nothing at all. That would be the hope. SO I’m going to ask a lot of all of you, anyone who reads this… 

Please please please be praying hard that this appointment shows no regrowth, that I’m still responsive to treatments and that cancer is out of me. Share this and get everyone praying. God listens to prayers, petitions. Please please please. Get anyone and everyone you can to pray. I’ve truly never been more scared about anything in my life, but I know God is going to take care of me. I just have to keep my faith in Him, even if I’m angry at him. Just pray for this MRI to be clean and clear. I am begging God for a clean bill of health. 

Day 57: Monday blues

It’s only noon and Today is not off to a good start. I guess that means it can only go up ? I took all my pills this morning and took them too quickly on an empty stomach with s bunch of water and ended up becoming a human water fountain a few minutes later… So there’s s waste of those pills. Lol I’m joking about it now, but I am utterly disgusted with myself. 


Then Brandon and I drove to Davenport to meet Anna Gambucci’s mom, Mary, to get hair for the wig she’s making me. We picked some out and that was great! Thank you Gambucci’s!

This next part gets graphic, so please proceed with caution or skip this paragraph. Shortly after we left the hair shop we were headed to see mom at the hospital and something bad happened…. All those pills, only water on my empty stomach, and WARNING GROSS: I’ve been really congested with s lot of drainage and I guess it all drained to my stomach… I threw up bile, mucous, and all my pills from this morning. All in the car. Yay. Brandon made sure I missed my MK bag, but I got it all over my seat and the floorboard.


 Idk why he loves me, especially when I’m so disgusting now, I wish I could make him stop loving me, make him divorce me. It  hurts me more than anything else that he’s seeing me like this, that he’s taking care of me so perfectly and patiently and I can’t give him anything back right now. I just have to pray for more years to give back to him. Dear God let me get better and get to enjoy what’s left of my life with Brandon and my family while giving glory to God. 

Please take this from me. God, I petition you to please stop pushing me to get stronger, more patient. Take this from me. Let me have my life back. I’m so impatient and I’m so exhausted and I’m so depressed. 


Make my faith stronger, because no matter what I’m going through, it is nothing compared to sacrificing your Son for every sinner. Thank you for the promise I have that even if I die, if I don’t get what I want in this situation, I have eternal life and relief and no more sadness or depression, in Heaven. That promise is the most precious thing in this world, thank you Lord. 

Please take this suffering from me. Take this cancer all away. Give me my hair and confidence and skin back. Please. I am begging you. 

Day 50: actually today

So my post earlier basically recapped yesterday and this morning. This one will be shorter. 

Dad has always told me that activity is the enemy of depression, so that’s what I’m trying to do. I get cozy with Brandon on the sofa, do some laundry and try to get the boys to help me clean up the house for dad. I’m so unmotivated but Brandon talked to me about how I can’t just give up. And Lord knows, Brandon is the reason I’m fighting. So if he needs me to keep fighting, I will. And I want to keep fighting because I want that time with him. So this is gross, but I don’t even feel motivated to shower or anything:/ but I’m going to make myself shower and make myself eat something. And that’s how you know Annemarie must be depressed – food doesn’t even sound good. Yikes lol. 

Dad will be home around 5 or 6 for a little while and then he’s heading back with Hardy to stay with mom I think. Then tomorrow after radiation, after mom has been discharged, Brandon, dad and myself will take mom to rehab. Dad is cancelling his patients fir tomorrow because he said he needs to help transport mom tomorrow. I think hardy and Nathanael are going to go with To help as well. A whole family effort. Brandon and I won’t be able to do it all on our own tomorrow. She’s having a very rough day and dad said she can’t even sit up in a chair without screaming from pain. He said it’s becoming apparent that her nurses are growing weary of her and that upsets dad because she can’t help that she’s in pain.

Pray hard prayer warriors. Pray for my family, pray for relief, pray for peace and understanding. Please pray without ceasing. Dear God, take this from me. I’ll keep fighting but please take this. In your Son’s holy name, amen.

Day 45: another little update from today 

I’m writing this entry this evening rather than in the morning, because today was a lot of information, so it’s best for me to get it down quickly afterwards and my phone has been dead for most of today.


I had radiation today and Hardy took me so that he could also come see mom. Shes in so much pain and it’s hard to see her like that. I wish I could take it from her so badly. I can’t stand to see my mother like that. I won’t ever be able to unsee my beautiful mother literally shaking from the pain.

 

Last night her blood pressure dropped dangerously low so they’re watching her closely and since she’s a diabetic, carb monitoring is crucial. Well, because in this surgery, they cut through her neck muscles, even just chewing, swallowing, eating mechanisms are hard. So getting her nutrition is difficult. She’s on fluids and everything, and we ordered her some food, but she didn’t want it. It hurt her to try. Please pray earnestly for her. Pray for my mom!

Sooo…. I asked her nurse if they could order her some Ensure drinks. They gave them to me in the hospital when I had no appetite (funny huh?) because they have full nutrition and it’s just a like creamy chocolate milk, and she can easily pull it through a straw. I didn’t get to see her try it, but I pray to God that she liked it and that that gave her some relief and nourishment.

 

On the positive side, her incision looks great. It looks healed already if you could believe it. Coming from someone who can’t handle looking at needles, I saw her incision:  It’s a big mean incision, but it’s pink and looks like a scar with some staples/stitches on it. 

Additionally, because mom does and was working on before, her little exercises for her neck and shoulders, those muscles were strong so it made the surgery more painful, it hurts her more now, but her nurse, Tiffany, said that will make them heal faster. So there is a positive in this!

Hardy is staying with mom tonight because dad really has to go to work tomorrow and honestly, he needs a break. He’s worn out from everything but he won’t stop going, he’s still exhausted from everything with me, constantly researching ways to help me or keep me alive. And then he’s wearing himself ragged with his job and being such a great husband to my mother. I couldn’t ask for a better example for marriage. 


I’ve never seen someone research as hard and thoroughly as my father, and a researcher is all I wanted to be before all of this. He’s not sleeping well, he’s worried sick about mom, me, money, the business, and the boys, and on top of that, my father is 63 and has had a heart attack. He has to slow down. If something happens to him because of what’s happening to me, i truly don’t know how I will live, how I could try to be strong through this.


So, coming back to my point and to stop thinking so sadly, Hardy and Nathanael are on their way to Iowa City so Nathanael can see mom, and dad can come home to rest and eat some of the homemade chicken and dumplings grandma made for us. Along with fried okra. Oh and her famous sweet tea! Thank you grandma, you’re the best! And chicken and dumplings is my favorite. 

This post has been super long, so I’m going to end it here, and I’ll pick up with the information from Dr. Nisely (she’s from Brazil and she’s wonderful!)

Day 44: the island (part 1) 

How many of you have watched the show Lost? Anyone who answered no, should stop reading now and get started. I just did you a huge favor in life lol. 

Have you ever noticed that I seem to title my entries as a day log like I’m on an island? I just noticed that, but I think I did it so I really could look back on it in the same way. Such as Getting the facts down if I need to reference it with a doctor or something but also a way to reason with myself and work through the weird stuff in my head. 

I feel like I’m stranded on an island. you’re fighting now, not to get to Friday, but to make it through the day. On an island it’s much more physical, but here with this, it’s a mental battle and emotional exhaustion. These islands are so similar…. You truly don’t and can’t say if you’ll make it out alive, but you have to keep trying, even though you feel like sitting down in the sand and sun and giving up. And while you’re mulling over the same thoughts for the billionth time, you’re praying, again, that some miracle happen and this has all just been a terrible nightmare that you can discuss in Therapy. You try to reason with yourself that science and technology are on your side, and that they’ll find you soon, they will be able to save me from this cancer, and then you think about statistics and reality and time and how you feel almost dead inside anyways and there’s a spider creeping up your back, and you freak out and start the whoooole thought process over. If I wasn’t depressed or OCD before this, I am now.

Today I was supposed to have PT and OT but I called to say I won’t be making it in today because I am not feeling well. I’m so emotionally exhausted and physically tired, I just don’t want to go today. I go again Thursday and Brandon and I are going to work on some therapy stuff here. I’ve got radiation and two other appointments with doctors today and those are going to exhaust me further. I am not someone who does well without 9 solid hours of sleep, and I’m running on about 6, so I’m headed back to bed, but here’s the link to my interview with the Christian Chronicle:  http://www.christianchronicle.org/article/i-just-want-years

You should read it and share it for me:)

Day 43: Mama’s Surgery

You may know that today was mom’s surgery. This is coming from my dad at 6:30pm, so if you speak to him after this or directly take what he says over me!!!

 She’s finally out of surgery, she’s ok and stable, she’s not in ICU, she’s in a normal room, she’s in a lot of pain, has thrown up once, but it’s a reaction to her coming down from the anesthesia. They’re figuring out how to Manage her pain, she’s got a whole pain management team. Daddy is with her. And dad is very tired.

So, I’ve updated you on mom and dad, Brandon is at work until close tonight, the boys are out on a mowing job, the puppies are clearly anxious and confused as to why mom isn’t here (she’s their favorite) and I’m home alone watching Netflix. I’d love to say I feel relieved and in some ways I do, but I feel lonely and I want Brandon here. 

I can tell I’m feeling upset somehow because I’m wanting cheesecake, and doughnuts, and Diet Coke, and gravy and cake. These are my addiction foods and when I’m feeling overwhelmed they are my go to. 

I like that I’m having time by myself today, right now, and at the same time I feel too alone with my own headspace. I can feel depression creeping down my back like a creeping little spider, literally making my skin crawl from the icky thoughts that it brings. In a trigger warning way, I feel really tempted to self-harm (something I’ve struggled with in the past) but I know I shouldn’t, I know that, I’m alone, and logically because I’m on chemo pills that make it harder for my blood to coagulate and no one home here, I might as well just save sometime and kill myself lol. Don’t worry, I’m not going to!!!! Just thinking logically, that is what would happen. I’m tempted but I know I can’t, that would hurt Brandon and I won’t do that. 

Like, i would be shopping with my friends right now if I could, my hair would be so healthy and long and blonde right now, my skin would be so tan and without all these stretchmarks, I’d be graduated and working my dream job at Allsteel, coming home to my perfect husband and fur-babies, I’d be helping improve my parents house so that it was better for them, using my ID degree to help them first, I’d be applying to Cornell’s DEA program for January 2017, I’d be so much further ahead in wedding planning, I’d be working out harder for the wedding, and re-reading my annual summer reading list and going to Genesius Guild productions… my life was supposed to be so different and it’s not what I want it to be right now. I keep thinking that hopefully, God-willing, next summer will be more like what I was hoping.

Pray for my mom and my family please. 

Day 42

It’s June 28th! Sunday! I didn’t go to morning church today because I was feeling too tired and don’t like going without Brandon, who is working today. He works until 4. We’ll go to evening church, but I know I shouldn’t use him as an excuse to not go to morning church just because I’m not social. Through this experience, I’m withdrawing, which I don’t think is a good thing, but it just is. I don’t dislike people or anything, I just don’t want to be around people very much. I find myself wanting to be alone or only with 1 or 2 people. 

Today I’ve been eating healthy and working on organizing Brandon’s and my area… I think it’s coming along nicely, albeit slowly because I am not allowed to lift over 10 pounds. And it really bothers me to have to ask Brandon to do everything, and I know that has to be a lot on him as well with everything else.


Y’all know Brandon’s parents came up for Father’s Day? Well his mama took my engagement / wedding ring with her back to Arkansas so we could get the set all soldered together and resized (bc my ring doesn’t fit with all the fluid I’m holding). I know in the grand scheme of things, me getting to wear my wedding ring isn’t that big a deal, but I cannot wait to have it back on my finger. I’ve worn that ring everyday for over a year and I still find myself randomly panicking when I can’t feel it on my finger… I like the symbol and I just miss my ring. I think I’ll get it back when we go to Arkansas July 18th for my appointment with Dr. Krisht.


Tomorrow mama has her surgery. She’s really scared. I know dad is scared. I’m scared because I know they’re scared. The boys are aloof as always lol. It’s going to be a long surgery and because of the way mom metabolizes pain medication, hardly any pain medications work on her. I hate that for her. And just like infusion chemo is my biggest dread, conscious intubation is my mother’s. She won’t know until tomorrow morning if they will be doing that, and that is adding to her worry. Dear Lord, give my mom and dad peace over this, give them strength through this. 

Mom and dad are leaving to go up to Iowa city tonight because her report time tomorrow is so early and it’s a fairly long drive (1 1/2 hours). So I won’t see mom right before or after her surgery…. I don’t like that. If I didn’t have this dumb cancer then I could drive myself (I love driving, the longer the better) and stay there as long as needed and do more to help. I wouldn’t have all these appointments :/ 

At any rate, I can only do what I can do right now. Tuesday, Brandon and I will get to see mom finally, and I have a poop-ton of appointments. I’ve got physical therapy, occupational therapy, radiation, labs, Meeting with Dr. Monga, and meeting with Dr. Nisely (which ironically enough, my iPhone autocorrects “Nisely” to “misery” hahahaha). 

Tuesday is going to stink because of all that, and I just want to get to hang out with my mom and watch cruddy hospital tv. Additionally, I’m made anxious that dad is leaving mom’s side to come to my appointments with the doctors from 1-3:30. It’s a relatively short amount of time, but speaking from experience, it feels longer when it’s your partner missing. 

When I re-read this, this post sounds so negative:/ I don’t want people reading to worry or think I’m sliding emotionally into something bad. I would be lying if I said everything was completely fine, because it’s obviously not, but this blog, especially this post, is where I vent, open freely about the little thoughts that run through my head. 


Please pray for mom with her surgery, for dad with moms surgery, for myself with this dumb cancer, and for Jeanie flying in Thursday. Pray thanks for all the same things. It’s wonderful that we have technology and science that have made this surgery possible, my treatment possible, and for friends to be able to see you in just a few hours. Thank you Lord for everything you give us.

Romans 12:12

Just a few thoughts  

Preface:  as with other posts,this post has photos of some things I find relevant to conveying what I’m saying in the post, but this one also includes some images I find funny, or my obsession with kitsch…. Like 50’s -70’s Christmas. I love the 50’s -70’s but it’s best at Christmas. 

Typically I don’t notice my own deficits so much, but today it’s been staring me in the face. Almost willing me to challenge it. 

At the movie theatre, I struggle to go up the stairs that have an extended run (designer knowledge: on stairs, how ‘tall’ each stair is is called the rise and the ‘length’ is called the run) and going down them as well. My arm and hand seem much less shaky than last time I was at the movies (because my steroid has been tapered I believe), but the stair thing is really discouraging because i used to fly up and down those things with such ease that it’s frustrating and disheartening to have to concentrate and use the railing. 


But I have such an amazing God who has blessed me with many things including: pretty solid confidence and an amazing husband who loves me. So people looking at me weird doesn’t bother me lol and Brandon walks the stairs slower and holds the railing too so I don’t feel alone in it. His thoughtfulness and love are so deep…. I don’t have to worry about him straying or leaving me even though, in this situation, he’s totally justified in it (to me at least). That alone brings me to tears. I’m so blessed that God has let me know a love so incredibly deep; to think that God loves me more than that, to try to comprehend a love deeper and bigger than that literally makes me bawl and I can’t fathom it. 


The hair thing really hasn’t bothered me and doesn’t bother me in the short term but I really want my hair to be perfect for my husband and for my wedding. For it to be the way I want for the wedding I need to be able to do a hair trial, which should be happening in about a month or so then… 


I really don’t like this. It’s so difficult to plan anything. God has control, but it bothers me lol. I like planning. And I’m ok with not being the prettiest, thinnest, or having the best of anything, I just want to be back to my normal. Normal Annemarie hair, normal Annemarie with normal breakouts, normal Annemarie skin that doesn’t have stretch marks all over. I’m whiny right now I guess.


I’m alive and not in pain and I’ve got today with my husband, so I can’t complain. I’m in love and happy. I just have to stay here. I have to stay in now. Because trying to plan far the future right now is not only depressing and upsetting, it’s literally impossible.
I can plan up until my wedding, and that’s as far as I can do right now. The wedding and Christmas time are my things right now. They are what I look forward to, they are what I think about when I get sad, they are what I keep myself busy with. 


Please pray God take this from me. That’s selfish but I still want Him to just take it from me. Romans 12:12 is my favorite verse and has become more each day since this experience has started. 

Day 41: Saturday, Independence Day: 2, and Eating Healthy

Today is Saturday and I’m really glad to not have to drive to Iowa city or anything:) it’s just nice to not have any appointments. 

My brothers, dad and Brandon and I are going to see Independence Day 2 today and it’s going to be so much fun! 

I’ve been eating much healthier for the past few days and I know it won’t show right away, but I’m glad to be trying. My physical therapy ends this Thursday and my therapist has strongly encouraged that I do strengthening yoga, which is awesome. I love yoga so being told I need to do it really doesn’t bother me, if anything, it’s great because now I can use this as a reason to have to!:) lol

I’ve been looking into getting extensions professionally put in but it’s pretty confusing since my hair hasn’t completely fallen out but in sections. So I have normal length hair in sections and no hair at all in others. What it looks like is that I need to wait until I have 1-2 inches of regrowth and then set a consultation with someone who has experience with extensions and then they’ll put them in. So I’m going to be playing the patience game until about September. 

Hopefully by then I’ll have lost the fluid weight from the steroids, won’t look so chipmunky, my acne from steroids will be gone, and I’ll have slimmed down some from being healthier. I want to be pretty for Brandon, especially on his birthday, September 12th:))) so I’m going to try really hard to stick to my ‘diet’ lifestyle change, and taking care of my scalp! Lol

In conclusion for today, please pray for my mama who has surgery early Monday morning – 5am – and is in a lot of pain right now. She’s also really scared.  Please pray God takes this icky cancer from me, He can do anything. And pray thanks for all the wonderful little things there are in today that God has given us. Thanks 🙂

Romans 12:12