Now that my fever is gone, I am really feeling my hot flashes. They are brutal.
Here are a few observations I have on hot flashes:
- depending on my mood, I will suffer through a hot flash with my head covering on because I don’t want the world to see that I don’t have hair — therefore they’ll know I’m “sick”
- my hot flashes tend to increase overnight
- having a tempurpedic mattress and pillow SUCKS when you are having hot flashes — the damn things just absorb all my heat and throw it back in my face
- you too can devise a very scientific solution to the above problem — just do as I do, and keep a wet washcloth on a plate on your nightstand — when the offending flash comes on, place washcloth on top of your head, on your neck, on your back, behind your knees! Hell, wherever you need it 🙂
In other news, spring is in the air here in San Francisco. We’ve had some beautiful days and I’ve done my best to get out there, go for a walk and enjoy the fresh air. Paul and I have also been availing ourselves of all the farmer’s markets. My latest farmer’s market obsession is freesias. I love having fresh flowers in the house!
While spring has sprung outside — it’s also sprung in my BODY people! Yup! My hair appears to be sprouting! I have a baby fine five o’clock shadow on my head (much of it is white to my dismay!) and my eyebrows, eyelashes and nose hair are reappearing too (I have to say, not having eyelashes and nose hair is one of the more distressing things about cancer).
Let me end this post by addressing the elephant in the room. Said elephant being Lincoln Financial Group. After reading my post, my momma bear at work, Anita, escalated the issue internally and I got a call from a manager at Lincoln the very next day! The manager said that she was happy to inform me that they’ve determined my cancer was not pre-existing and they’ll check back in with me in May. Thank you Anita and S&D for jumping in and holding them accountable on my behalf.
What I really want to address, however, is the fact that I had such a visceral reaction to the whole experience and that I shared it on my blog. I’ve waffled back and forth the past few days and have, at times, regretted sharing my true emotions on this blog. I feel that some people don’t really want to hear about the bad/frustrating stuff that patients have to deal with. The fact of the matter is — this process is not easy on me. Not on my body or my emotions. This blog is a safe place for me to say what I need to. If my rant made you uncomfortable, I think that’s good. Because you probably felt some of what I’m living. Yes, screaming and shouting takes energy, and that was negative energy the other day. But screaming and shouting also helps me. I’ve walked a long road and still have a lot more walking to do. I’m human and I have bad days, some are worse than others. But I need to vent or I’ll explode. I’m allowing myself the space to blow up, to get mad, to cry, to even scream and shout — you know why? because this. just. plain. sucks.
Now that I have some distance from the incident, I can better articulate what really pissed me off about the whole thing — and it was this — the woman who was managing my case, we’ll call her Kelly, thought she was being sly in asking me all sorts of leading questions. It was as if she was trying to bait me into saying that cancer and my treatment are such a breeze, so much so, in fact, that I am literally bored sitting at home awaiting my next chemo infusion. I was also so caught off guard by the fact that she even knew I’ve been doing IVF. That has nothing to do with my cancer disability, so why question me on it? Obviously, it was to bait me into once again saying, oh, my cancer is such a breeze, so much so, in fact, that I’m going to start a round of IVF.
Nope Kelly, there’s no lie to catch me in here. I am just trudging through chemo and all of it’s lovely side effects as best I can. Contrary to what your “chemo flow chart” may indicate, I assure you I do not feel like running a 5K tomorrow!
Ultimately, I know she was just doing her job and trying to boot me off LTD as quickly as possible (heck, she probably gets some sort of incentive prize from Lincoln if she does boot me off in record time), but she was so transparent about it — it was downright cruel.
And, YES, don’t worry, when the manager reached out to me I gave her my constructive feedback on Kelly. She was pulled from my account and I recommended that the manager pull the call recording and listen to it as Kelly was highly inappropriate and unprofessional. I said that Kelly should not be talking like people to me until she has been properly trained. I let her know that Kelly rendered me to tears all afternoon and that was not OK. The manager was very receptive to all I had to say.
I feel that I was listened to and, ultimately, that’s all I really wanted. I have so little control over what’s going on with me right now. My treatment is out of my hands. My side effects are out of my hands. My body, the one that betrayed me and got cancer in the first place, is out of my hands. My emotions are clearly out of my hands! So, to feel heard was really important to me. Yay for small victories. And, thanks again Anitra for the assist.
If you are easter bunny kind, Happy Easter weekend to you. If you are passover kind, Happy Passover to you. If you are none of the above, happy spring weekend to you!