The Worrying in Me

I think I’ve probably mentioned that this past year hasn’t been my best but I’m done with that- it’s time to “shake off the dust”, to get back up- because yes I unfortunately literally fell on my face- oops! Yes my cancer came back last year, last November actually and it’s been pretty rough but I got through it. Then in September they found something “new”…but we would need to wait a few months to see if it grew. Waiting to see if a new brain tumor will grow is so much fun- that’s a joke. Luckily I’ve had some practice. The key is NOT to worry. Easy? Well, no but I have learned that worrying is negative and super toxic. Worrying doesn’t help and I truly believe it can hurt. So, first step is to stay positive and occupy myself with lots of other things- ANYTHING to keep my mind off the impending results.

FEAR- it’s not real. It’s a lie that we create in our minds and trust me I realize that it feels VERY REAL. Coming from someone who used to suffer from panic attacks, I get it. They are physical to the point where you can’t breathe or feel like you’re having a heart attack. However I had to find a way to FACE my fear if I wanted to beat cancer and live. So I did. I took control and I still do. So that’s what I did as I waited for the “news”.

Don’t make it a BIG DEAL. Another thing I try to do is not make the day I get my MRI a BIG and scary day. In fact I try not to think about it until a few days before. Then I have a playlist called “Brave” that I listen to on our way to the hospital and we are there. That playlist is filled with all my favorite “pump me up” songs- for lack of a lack of a better term. At that point it’s all in God’s hands.

The results…I am happy to report that my scans were “stable”, meaning there was no growth to the tumors and in my world that is a HUGE WIN!!!

Oh, by the way that new and super scary thing- that turned out to be nothing…

Eight Years

Eight. I didn’t even think about that number. I was just going through the motions- taking it day by day- just focusing on getting and FEELING better. Each year since I was diagnosed with Brain Cancer I celebrate each moment, each day and yes every year. We celebrate on the day my life was saved- the day of my surgery. Some people celebrate on the day that their cancer is cured but since that hasn’t happened for me YET I choose to celebrate differently. I’m happy with my choice. I am so grateful I was saved. Am I happy that I still have cancer? Well, not exactly but I try very hard not to focus on that part and focus on all the positive things in my life.


This past year was a little different. I have had some setbacks along my journey but in November of 2020 I learned that my cancer had cancer had come back. It was new and in new areas. This time around I had some new doctors and since we were in the middle of the COVID pandemic procedures were different. My husband couldn’t always accompany me. Honestly I wasn’t my “positive” self. I wish I could lie to you but the whole ordeal from the biopsy to the radiation was terrible. My recovery was long and my attitude was very negative. I couldn’t read, watch TV, work, walk on my own or barely talk to my family. So- what now?


I knew I needed to get out of this slump- right away. My theory is that positivity has always been what helped saved my life but how would I get from this to there? I didn’t want to listen to anyone else (I can be a bit stubborn) so I had to do this on my own. I needed to close my eyes and just listen. My body was fighting my new medication and making me sick so I told my doctors that I needed to cut back. So we did. I started to be honest with my those closest to me about how I was REALLY feeling. I realized that I was trying so hard to be positive FOR them but I wasn’t being honest with myself. Once I did that things slowly started to get better.


When I’m at the hospital and I see others who are sick, especially when they have brain cancer, I feel so badly for THEM. Whatever is going on with me gets put on the back burner. Whether it’s a child or an adult- it makes me so angry that this disease has no cure. When I get angry it makes me want to fight. So I feel stronger. I am currently in the middle of fighting off these three new buggers so I need ALL my strength and positivity.

Now here I am- 8 years later, still here and still fighting. Maybe I will get knocked down and it will be tough but I WILL get back up. I will NEVER GIVE UP.

Thank you for reading.

Down but Not Defeated

when she stood, she stood tall….
words and image by sandie rossini

SOMETHING NEW

Life has been good to me and I try not to complain- in fact I actually feel blessed that it’s been just about 7 1/2 years since the brain surgery that saved my life. Every time I get a “good” MRI scan (meaning there’s no “new” cancer) my family and I are so grateful. I have been feeling pretty good in fact my doctors appointments were actually reduced and in July my doctor and I celebrated 7 years! Then everything suddenly changed…the cancer had returned. Words I never wanted to hear. As my doctor spoke I tried really hard to listen, to focus on the words he was saying… ”same side of your brain…but on the bottom half this time…surgery..radiation…” Needless to say my head was spinning. I decided that I would need to just try to be patient and positive while I awaited my doctor to call with a treatment plan. A few days later we received a phone call with more news- oh good-the plan? No, in fact a closer look at the scan revealed “something” else in a different area. It was too much for me- I had to walk away and take a breath.


TAKING A MOMENT TO BREATHE
Throughout my cancer journey thus far I have learned many things. A great lesson that I’ve learned along the way- if it all feels like too much, it’s ok to step away to take a deep breath. Panicking and worrying does not help so I know that I need to do certain things to calm myself down. Learning that after 7 years my brain cancer had returned was just too overwhelming. Stepping away from the situation to take a deep breath was how I dealt with this news. I am extremely lucky that I have a partner that can hold me up, hold me steady in times like these. I know not everyone has someone like that. In fact I see those people at the hospital who are alone and it breaks my heart. It makes me appreciate my amazing and strong husband.


ALONE
New rules- facing it alone. This time things would be different. Due to the terrible pandemic facing our country the hospital was forced to create new and strict guidelines- which includes no visitors. So that meant this time around I would be flying solo. The idea of doing this on my own seemed almost impossible and daunting but I had a choice. I could either get up and fight for my life once again or I could back away from the challenge and die- did that sound blunt? Well that’s because it is. It’s life or death and I choose life. I will always choose life.

WALK THROUGH FIRE
So, a new challenge. I must be brave- braver than I ever have before. I would fight to live, again. I’m going to fight for my husband, my loving family & friends, for my daughters- I am so desperate to see them to grow up. There are so many things to live for- I would give absolutely anything to live. I am grateful for what I have now, right now- but man do I want a future. I will go through all the painful treatments, I will walk into the hospital alone, but tall, with my held high and walk out alone into the arms of my loved ones. I would walk through fire to save my life. Just watch. Hey cancer- I’m coming for you.

Stubborn

Cornfieldwords & image by sandie rossini: january 12, 2015

What if I told you that your destiny was decided at the moment of your creation? Your genetic makeup is created at fertilization and that includes things like your strongest personality trait. Of course our environment shapes our personality and who we will become but if we really are WHO WE ARE from the moment we are created- that is amazing. Where is this coming from? Well, I once saw a National Geographic documentary called “In the Womb” that said you get your strongest personality trait at the moment of conception. Things change depending on who raises you and where you live but despite all of that your strongest trait remains. Then I wondered about my strongest personality trait- well, most people would say that I am and always have been stubborn. Well, ok, I suppose I can admit (stubbornly) that at times I can be a little stubborn in just about everything I do in life. 😊 Here’s an example, I even refuse to believe I have cancer at times, but it’s that belief that actually keeps me going. I believe that I will survive and that someday I WILL BE CANCER-FREE. Wouldn’t it be amazing if my very first personality trait at the beginning of my existence ends up saving my life? Imagine that…I do.