I’ve had the Kelly Clarkson song “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” in my head for a few days now. Partially because much to the confusion of my Dad, A. and I have been watching RuPaul’s Drag Race season 6, but also because the chorus of this song just really resonates with me right now.

There have been some challenges of late (challenges is what we say in advertising instead of saying that there’s a problem or that shit’s fucked up) and I’ve had to find a way to wrap my head around it in a way that doesn’t make me feel defeated or too depressed. I have breast cancer and I’m 30 so I get to be a little depressed, but I can’t be all the time depressed, that just sucks. So one of the things I’ve made clear to those that I love and live with right now is that I don’t want to hear that “it’s going to be ok.” I’m not sure how things are going to be and I’m not sure that they’ll meet my standards of “ok” so it bugs me and makes me feel condescended to (even though that’s not the intention). What I’ve adopted instead is that “we’ll get through this” I know that is true in a way that I don’t know things will be ok.

So getting to listen to this song and singing really loudly “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” fits right in there for me. I do feel stronger from this. I’ve felt weak a lot as well, but each hard thing that I make it through makes me feel a little more self assured that I can handle what’s next. I’m fully prepared for things to get hard and feel defeated in the not so distant future (I haven’t forgotten this day) but I’m reaching a place where I do see myself as being a stronger person from going through this. I mainly see it in how I handle normal stress things, the faith I have in A., and when I think about the real life things I’ll be doing in a few months like getting a job, finding a house, etc. They don’t seem overwhelming or like something I have to try to get my head around, they seem so easy.

I’ve also started to recognize patterns with the chemo which helps. Roughly Days 4-6 I’m going to feel like crap emotionally and it helps to know that. It’s like as a girl when you figure out that you’re PMSing and you’re like, ‘oh I don’t hate everyone! My body is just betraying me!’ So helpful. So days 4-6 I’m going to cry more and feel more depressed, but logically I can tell myself that it’s part of the cycle and I will feel better which helps a lot. I’ve also watched While You Were Sleeping and Something To Talk About which also helps. Nothing like some 90s chick flicks to get you through the doldrums.

So in an effort not to be cryptic and make people worry more, here’s the list of things that are going on:

1. We’re buying a new car because my beloved Shadowcat has just had too much of these Vermont country roads and to repair her just doesn’t make fiscal sense. I’ve never owned a new car so this is exciting, but I do love her and we’ve done so much in our brief two years that it’s also sad. Plus Mom has been bagging on her for at least a year so it’s annoying to have this go down like this.

2. We’re aiming to leave for New Orleans November 12th which means packing, sorting out doctors, saying goodbyes, and leaving my cocoon.

3. I’m having what I think are some complications with my reconstruction. I’m meeting with my plastic surgeon on Thursday so I should get answers then.

4. Billz Billz Billz. Insurance and hospital billing is as clear as mud. I have a lovely color coded spread sheet I’m putting together to go meet with the hospital tomorrow. The hospital told us that we owed them X amount after petitioning for financial aid, but they didn’t tell us what/if anything that they’re “forgiving” us for and also failed to send us a breakdown of costs. Then I got the breakdown of costs, but it’s missing most of the costs our insurance breakdown indicates that we owe the hospital, sooooo. Really looking forward to that meeting. We’re also waiting to see if we got financial aid from another source for the in-vitro stuff too, so a lot up in the air here annoyingly. Would be nice if it could be at least clear.

Number 3 is a big stressor for me for a few reasons. The first being that if there is something additional going on with my new boob, they can’t actually operate or do anything until I finish chemo, which won’t be until next year. This means that it gices it more time for complications to get worse. They also need at least a month after chemo for my body to recover before I could have any operation so I’m in limbo. My fear is that something will be wrong and then the reconstruction I chose (Tram Flap) will have been for nothing which means that I chose this much harder to recover from surgery that gave me a large abdominal scar for nothing. Then the other piece on top of this is that I need to talk to my surgeon about whether she still thinks is makes sense for her to do the second surgery since I will need to do my followups in New Orleans after the surgery. But I am trying not to be too much of a head case about this because I can’t do anything about it now and I will get answers on Thursday. It’s not easy, but I’m trying.

And singing very loudly “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger”


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