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All This Cancer is Teaching Me is How to Take Care of Myself – Plus, a Quick Update

And how to be a better parent.

Confused? Cynical? Me too.  Or at least I was.

But it’s the truth.

chemo scarf

Since my diagnosis, and thanks to my therapist, I’ve been learning how to take care of myself and put myself first.  (Note: Much of what I’m about to write stems from a conversation with my therapist yesterday.)  I think this is a foreign concept for most of women, especially those of us born and raised Southern-fried.  We’ve grown up having this idea that we put everyone else first, leaving the scraps for ourselves – we’ve seen it in Bible stories and it’s a legacy our mothers pass down to us.  And woe betide those who do put themselves first, for they are seen as the worst women at all – selfish.

But they’re not…these women are the wisest of us all.  By taking care of themselves, they live longer and happier lives filled with people and items that cause them to feel fulfilled and live healthier lives.  Isn’t that what we all deserve and crave?

For me, I’ve been taking care of people and putting others first for as long as I can remember and it took this huge and horrible disease to force me to slow down and take care of myself.  I am slowly, very stubbornly, learning to put myself – my wants and my needs – first.  Whether it’s just sleeping when I’m tired or going to the spa occasionally, I have been working on listening to my needs (and wants) and then following through.

This means putting more responsibility on the girls.  The really great thing is I’m also teaching them to take care of themselves. I’ve been perpetuating the “self-neglect” thinking (and doing) in my child-rearing tactics and it dawned on me recently that if I taught them to take care of themselves this would also filter into their bedrooms, their hygiene, and their self-thinking.  I want the girls to take care of themselves and I don’t want them to feel guilty about it, so I’m talking more openly than ever with them.

What’d I’d like is to prevent even just one woman from feeling guilty about taking time for herself…and maybe also prevent the need for her to experience a HUGE sign (like cancer) that forces her to (like me) – so do me a favor, ladies, take care of yourself. Mmmkay?  That’d be greeaat.

Update on my treatment

This morning I head out for the third of my 16 chemo treatments followed by the third of four Nulasta infusions on Friday.  So far, I’m going bald (incredibly – if not painfully – slowly due to my psoriasis) and am a bit more tired but over all, after we make it through the aches and nausea of the first few days post chemo/Nulasta, I’m doing better than even I expected.

As I mentioned above, I have about 13 treatments left (1 bi-weekly and 12 weekly) and am hoping to be done by Christmas.  Of course, that will mean scheduling my weekly treatments for an earlier day in the week than I am currently getting them – otherwise, those favorite holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas will cause an extra two weeks of treatments.  And really, wouldn’t treatment completion be the BEST Christmas present ever?!

I’ve had several people stop in, drive long distances just to spend a couple days with me, call and email/FB stalk regularly to check on me and so much more.  I can’t tell you what this means to me…thank you for helping me to not feel like it’s my family against the world.

So for now, I’ll keep plugging along – taking care of myself a bit better and pushing through the treatments with a positive mindset and a full heart.

Huge thank you to all of you who support me and follow my progress on Facebook/Twitter.  You guys are the best.

Okay.  Off to chemo! Have a great day!

See y'all later!
Amanda

About It's Me, Amanda

Amanda is a southern belle caffeine addict who spends her tiny amount of free time writing here.

11 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself, Amanda.

    I think of you often and your social media updates are a relief and a constant reminder of incredible strength.

  2. Thank you.

    Sorry Heather. You had to steal my comment 🙂

  3. I love you! I love this. Love THIS: “I’ve been perpetuating the “self-neglect” thinking (and doing) in my child-rearing tactics and it dawned on me recently that if I taught them to take care of themselves this would also filter into their bedrooms, their hygiene, and their self-thinking.”

    Honey truer words were never spoken and I can tell you right now that this is something that we should do for all our kids, girls & boys.

    You have this, and I swear on all my yarn and caffeine that once I get all of Sylvia’s issues fixed I will be the next person to stop in and spend a few days with you. <3

    Have I told you lately how much I love it when you blog?

  4. Hmmmmmmmm. You are making me think I should consider showering today, or at LEAST before the week ends. (Oh, sister, I wish I were being facetious.) THANK YOU for this reminder- I really need it in the face of BTS insanity, trying to do everything for my kids, and forgetting that includes teaching and modeling self care. YOU ROCK MY SOCKS!!!

  5. Thank you! Thank you for being willing to let us cyber stalk you and thank you for being so awesome through this all. You inspire me!

  6. Amanda, I’ve been so moved by your strength these last weeks and months, but to be completely honest, I’m MORE moved by how you’re parenting those sweet girls. I love that you’re spending time with a therapist (if I received a cancer diagnosis, I’d probably ask a therapist to move in with me), and I can see how it’s soothing your spirit while you’re on this really crappy section of the journey. Your girls are going to remember forever the strength that you showed in taking care of yourself during this time, including acknowledging that you can’t always be strong (and shouldn’t). Love you love you love you. Love you.

  7. You make me so proud! I love you!

  8. Boy I almost forgot how fun it is to READ blogs! Especially since my own has been dormant for over a year.
    I couldn’t help but check in here because you are rocking the head coverings. Oh, and I love that you are taking better care of yourself. xo

  9. Amanda: I’m a Cancer survivor and so get what you are saying about how hard it is to put yourself first. But, it is so necessary when you are in this season that you are. One thing my brother said to me when I found out I was going to be having treatment was that I’d have to spend time away from my kids now, (then) but it was so that I could have more time with them later. I really liked that perspective. Also, yes, being done with treatment for Christmas would be the best gift ever! And, may I suggest you do it up right by having a fun party to celebrate being done? I had a HUGE ice cream sundae bar party a couple of months after I was done with treatment (wanted to make sure I felt up to it, so made it for a ways out) and planning it really gave me something to look forward to.

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