My journey - battling lymphoma

Recently I celebrated my 46th birthday. I love celebrating birthdays! Then I participated as a co-captain for our local "Quabog" Relay For Life and the Pack 57 Rocks! Cub Scout Team. This was the time frame that I had discovered an uneasiness in my stomach and growth in my spleen and stomach. After weeks of monitoring, my husband Steve took me to the doctor who felt the lumps and ordered a CT scan. The CT scan showed a massive area, my spleen enlarged to twice its size and an additional growth lower in my stomach. Next was the localized CT guided biopsy and subsequent PET scan. The biopsy showed positive for lymphoma and most likely Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma.

This is my online journal sharing my experience through battling this cancer that has abruptly entered my life for no apparent reason. The story is documented here if you want to start from the beginning, you can check the archives on the side bar.

As a top competitive master athlete this year winning my age group at the Marine Corps Marathon and placing 3rd in the New England Trail Running Championship I have been truly excited with my results of late and am a truly driven athlete. Driven by goals.... my goal right now.... to beat this "thing"!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Self Portrait: One Tough Chick

Although I am  not feeling well at all today -- I find such inspiration in the cards and notes that everyone has been sending me.  It is so nice to hear from everyone and when the mail comes --- I smile and feel such love and hope from all my friends and family.  I received today a really cool cap from Joyce (One tough chick) --- following my GI Jane theme....  and this awesome card from Amanda and her kids ----

It is the bald theme lately, as the "blonde hair" is hot and a little itchy and uncomfortable to wear all the time...  I got these really cool caps made from Halo from Road Runner Sports (made for runners to keep the sweat out of their eyes) and I think they are so awesome and comfortable and I don't have to look at myself bald in the mirror.  It is such an odd look to see yourself with NO hair -- with a tan face and a white skin bald head.  We did shave it down a little more despite warnings of infection, but it looks so much better.  

Experiencing a fever and "migrane" like headaches last night and this morning was completely debilitating.  First time I have felt that bad through this whole thing.  I try to sleep and rest and just can't relax to get rid of it completely -- hoping that with some rest tonight I will be better in the morning.  Hoping chocolate chip cookies will help!  :)  I really don't like going to the doctor -- hate admitting that I am at all weak.  So back to hydration and eating whatever food will hopefully give me some energy and get some extra needed rest.

Back to the NO hair theme --- loved the cards today!
"If people ask why you're wearing a SCARF on your head and you say it's because you're a pirate...  They'll have NO follow up question!"  :)  (From Eden, Maren LaKier)  :)

Advantages of Losing Your Hair:
1. Elimates Bed Head
2. Can be a "Shining" Example to others
3. No Need for expensive hair products
4. Takes off years, because you look more like your baby photo.
5. Gray hair?  What gray hair?  :)
And the number one advantage of losing your hair...   More places to be kissed.  :)
(From Joyce)

Love it!

Here is my self portrait photo below.  The photography challenges have me working on my photog skills and this is one of the exercises.

After 2 rounds of CHEMO and getting ready for the Mass General Trip next week -- 2 - 10 hour days in the hospital -- not looking forward to it, but I am sure we will get through it fine.

I am adding on to this with a few more of my self portrait pieces.  They all just look better in black & white (and not with a smile) --- must be my mood.  It was fun to play with the photo editing to add some extra affect to these photos.  :)

 Thanks for stopping by - please leave a comment! I love to hear from all of you!

Facing Myself


Ashley Sisk said...

Again, you are such an inspiration. I love your outlook on life and your ability to be so strong.

Joyce Pemberton said...

Hey Nanc...
Glad you liked the cap...saw it and it screamed Nancy. You ARE One tough chick!!!! I don't know how you do it...when I see posts that you ran....I just can't believe it. I've sat in those chemo rooms and I've seen what it can do to a body, but you have just persevered like no one I've ever known. As you continue your treatment, I would expect that it will slow you down, but be fair to yourself....while the drugs kill cancer (yae!) they can really wipe you out as well...but it's be good to yourself, be patient with your body....this will be over soon and you will be back on the mend. So very proud of you and Steve too. I know how hard this can be on the caregiver - love from Florida,

Michelle said...

Thank you so much for commenting on my blog! I'm so pissed that I'm just now coming across yours! Where have I been?

I'm your nestest follower and I think that self portrait is beautiful!


Courtney said...

What an inspiration you are! Great self-portrait. Truly lovely. Praying for you and complete healing. Many blessings!

inadvertent farmer said...

This is an awe inspiring self-portrait...

I'm glad you stopped by and glad to 'meet' you. You and I are the same age...the same age my mom first battled ovarian cancer.

I will be following you journey and hoping to find some great tips on living an authentic full life with or without cancer.

Blessing, Kim

Sabrina said...

Wow....those are some powerful and amazing images. I love them all, but the last one most of all. I've had a chance to read back about your journey and feel like you're really capturing what's going on in your life right now. Great job and thanks for stopping by my blog! Nice to meet you.

Jess said...

Oh my. You left me speechless and that doesn't happen often.


WOW! All of these self portraits are just absolutely stunning, and each one in such a different way. Your bare arms and legs show such strength, the back-lighting is so very dramatic and adds such a emotional aspect to them. And I completely agree with you on the b&w editing, perfection!

I am so honored that you chose to play along with us.

Prayers and blessings as you fight this battle. With the attitude you display in these photos, cancer better tuck it's tail between it's legs and run far and fast!

Anonymous said...

Great photos! I love the dreaminess of the last two! Many blessings to you in your efforts to beat "this thing". You seem like a strong woman with a positive attitude and I believe that absolutely makes a huge difference in difficult situations. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers!

Jane said...

Hey Nancy, love that you are capturing this journey with your amazing photography skills. Great self portraits. I agree so much with what Joyce said - - be good to yourself, don't over do. You WILL be on top of the world physically again, this is just a BIG blip in your marathon called life. XO, Jane