Fairy Tales Simply Don’t Exist, They’re Made

As I have found a way to live in spite of clinical depression, so I learn to live with anxiety. I’m finding a way to live with the fact that there are no guarantees in life. I keep searching for proof that lung cancer, if detected early, can be cured. There are no articles or studies to back this up.

Nothing.

There isn’t a 5-year marker where I can say, “whew! I made it–let’s party”.

All of my torturers fill me with hope, because that’s all I have. I wish they would give me all the facts, which even Blunt Oncologist withholds—it would save me a lot of time researching to find a glimmer of hope. However, I’m done with driving myself crazy by striving to control that which I can’t.

As with depression and anxiety, I live with the probability I will have to fight cancer again.

Learned how to set the camera to produce what I want to capture---but I neglected to remember that shooting close ups of flowers is never a good idea when it's windy.

Learned how to set the camera to produce what I want to capture—but I neglected to remember that shooting close ups of flowers is never a good idea when it’s windy.

Being anxious is a time waster, and I may not have a ton of time to waste with obsessive thoughts regarding whether or not I have a microscopic dirt bag sniffing around for a weak spot.

With that in mind, I have to take in all that is beautiful around me. I do this on a daily basis, but honestly, I have let anxiety, grief, and depression rob me of seeing what is there.

While washing the never ending pile of dishes yesterday, I noticed the native azalea blooming that grows on the other side of our fence. I could have had more of those beautiful plants, but Edward Scissorhands, aka my husband, created a barren landscape in the back yard, shortly after we moved here.

I trekked out in my cowgirl boots, hoping they would be protection against any poisonous snakes I may encounter. I knew they probably wouldn’t be much protection, but they were better than flip flops.6K2A0453

The repetitive photography lessons regarding depth of field, have finally reached that minuscule section of my brain that retains information. I thought I would take a few shots of that beautiful plant I enjoy every year.

This is what my boots looked like after the trek. That is pollen. It’s pine pollen, and mostly it makes a mess. It isn’t one of the pollen types that wreak havoc for most allergy sufferers.  No, we have many other pollen types to irritate our eyes, make our throats sore, create plugged noses, and prevent us from enjoying the outdoors this time of year.6K2A0466

I also encroached on a Robin sitting on her nest of eggs. Can’t wait to see the little babies!

I know that I will always have anxiety and depression lurking in my head, just as I have cancer lurking in my body, but I can’t live in fear of any of them returning. I’m not sure I can control depressive episodes, but I have been given tools to tame the anxiety. For right now, things are good. I can live with that.

I also got to play with my Grandpuppy!6K2A0530

 

 

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About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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37 Responses to Fairy Tales Simply Don’t Exist, They’re Made

  1. meANXIETYme says:

    On those days when you don’t feel strong enough, come back to this post and re-read what you’ve written. It’s lovely and brilliant. (and your pictures rock)

    • April says:

      Thank you. I’m hoping to get back to this. When I began blogging, this was more along the line of what I wrote about. I guess we all are curious about different paths. Thank you for such lovely comments. 🙂

      • meANXIETYme says:

        Yeah, I find that no matter what I do, my posts vary as to whether they are positive or negative…or neutral. I wanted to only be positive, but that just isn’t realistic for me. So I write what I NEED to write. And I am grateful to go back and re-read both positive and negative, so I can see what I’ve been through and what I’ve been able to survive through.

        • April says:

          I do the same. I usually write about the first thing I have on my mind in the morning. It also depends on the amount of coffee I have as well.

  2. mewhoami says:

    When we worry about the unknown, it is so easy for time to slip by us. Before we know it a whole year has gone by and all we’ve done is worry. I’m glad to see that you are trying to put this concern on the back burner and focus more on the life, that you have right now. What will happen tomorrow is uncertain, but we do have today, so that’s where the focus should be. That was for both me and you. 🙂

  3. tric says:

    When my young friends son was sick last year we always reminded each other “get through today, we can always get through today”. I hope all continues to go well and you can enjoy the here and now and not fear the maybe.

    • April says:

      Each day is a precious gift, and I have certainly been filling mine with anxiety. It’s time to spend that energy elsewhere.

  4. suzjones says:

    Well learned on the DOF lessons. They still do my head in and I can’t get my mind around them. Little trick I was taught is to take your reflector with you when photographing flowers – not for reflection but to use as a windbreak! 🙂

    • April says:

      Oh, now why didn’t I think of that? The reflector would make a great windbreak! My dad taught me a little about photography on a “vintage” camera, back in the film days. He taught me how to read his vintage light meter, but that is all the lessons I remember. I always had it in my mind that I had to have a smaller aperture if it was sunny. Anyway, I suppose we are more lucky with the digital age. We can take as many photos as we want, and can see the results immediately, and adjust accordingly.

  5. aviets says:

    Beautiful photos!!!! Especially love your new header. You are brilliant. -Amy

  6. I admire you. I truly do. And that bird picture is rock solid awesome! 🙂

  7. tlohuis says:

    Through it all, you continue to remain strong. Try to just live in the moment, although I don’t have cancer yet, with all the radiation I’ve been exposed to I’m sure I will one day, I have enough other chronic illnesses that cause me a great deal of anxiety and depression. I try, although it’s not always easy, actually it’s never easy, to live in the moment, to just make it from moment to moment. On better days I try to make it from day to day. I’m really sorry, that you are so young and have lung cancer, I can’t even imagine. Do you mind me asking how long it’s been since you were diagnosed? I’ve actually known a few people, as I’m a nurse, that caught it early enough and it didn’t come back. Like most cancers if you catch it in the early stages, you have a better chance of it not coming back than you do of it coming back. If you caught it early, got rid of it, and it didn’t spread, your chances should be good. I’m surprised your doctor didn’t have any information for you. I’m not a doctor, I’m just telling you what I saw and have known from being in the medical profession. I’m now disabled and haven’t worked as a nurse for years, but I still have all my knowledge, I’m still a nurse. I will add you to my prayer list. Try to stay positive and as healthy as possible. I wish you the very best on this difficult journey. This was a great post. Remember one day at a time, as no one is guaranteed a tomorrow. I try to tell myself this every day.
    Peace and hugs,
    Tammy:)

    • April says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, Tammy. Whew! Okay, I’m going to try not to be too wordy, but here goes. I smoked for about 13 years, back in my stupid young years. Not quite a pack a day if it were to be averaged. Some days, a pack–some days only a couple. Anyway, I quit in 1989, thinking that my chances would be improved for avoiding lung cancer. Even though my family is plagued by depression, neurological diseases, and autoimmune diseases, cancer is not very prevalent. I was diagnosed in 2011 by accident. I had my gallbladder removed, and a week and a half later ended up in the ER. Many tests later, it was discovered that I had two stones in my common bile duct. However, those two little stones led the doctors to a 1 cm nodule on the outer edges of my lower left lobe. I had a lung segmentectomy in May of 2011. It was stage 1a adenocarcinoma – primary tumor – no lymph node involvement. I had no further radiation or chemo, as this isn’t the protocol for this stage.

      I wasn’t even going to see an oncologist, and follow up with the thoracic surgeon – which I wish I had, because he told me I could get a scan, come back in a couple of hours, and have the result. Actually, it was the thoracic surgeon who listened to my anxiety, and thought the nodule was suspicious enough for a biopsy.

      I would have left it at that, but I had a friend with breast cancer. She thought they had removed it all with a mastectomy. She continued to see her regular doctor, and the cancer came back with a vengeance. She encouraged me to see an oncologist.

      I’m on my second oncologist. The fist one poo-pooed every question I had. He didn’t like that I quizzed him about anything I didn’t understand on my report. I like the one I have now, I know that she is doing her job, and that each one of us are unique. She encourages positive thinking at all times–which is good. I need that.

      I know that I have to stay positive, but even though I’ve been told I’m cured, I can’t find any medical studies to support this. The only thing I have control of, is how I treat my body, which is what I plan on doing. I also have control over what I focus on, and I’m tired of focusing on the what ifs. I know that I will have good days, and bad days, but I’m working on more good than bad, instead of the other way around. However, I have to be real. If not, and I do have a problem down the road, it will knock me down, and I don’t want to have to fight my way out of severe depression again, if I can avoid it.

      • tlohuis says:

        Those are usually the people that survive these types of cancers, the one’s discovered by accident. My brother had whooping cough Jan. 2012 and went in for x rays and they saw a spot on his kidney and told him not to worry about it now, but they would keep an eye on it. It finally started looking worrisome, they said they couldn’t just remove the growth because of it’s location and they had to remove the whole kidney. Thank God, stage one, it hadn’t spread, they got it all, no chemo or radiation. He had renal cell carcinoma. I know he still has that in the back of his mind and worries a bit here and there, I’m sure I would too, no, I know I would because I have anxiety already. Now you have me worried because I get copies of all my medical records and I find all kinds of things in these records that were never mentioned to me. I have 3 or 4 x ray reports stating that I have a nodule in the lower left lobe of my lung and then at a later date it shows I now have another nodule in my right lobe. I was told everything looked fine, no mention of these nodules and then I see that and wonder if I need to be worried. I smoked for 27 years, quit for 51/2, got really sick and out of boredom started up again. I’m on Wellbutrin to help me to stop smoking and it does work, but like an idiot, I continue to smoke. I smoke very little, but I still smoke. I can smoke 1 or 2 in one day and not smoke any the next day or 2 and then smoke maybe 1 and then go 2 days with none. Why I do it I do not know! Are they going to scan you on a regular basis just to keep an eye on it? You do need to try to be as positive as you can. You may never get cancer again, but you could get something else. Hopefully not, but it’s just the truth. I’m repeatedly told, in therapy, not to worry about the past, it’s done and over with. Nothing we can do to change any of it and to not spend today worrying about tomorrow, worrying about things that may or may not ever happen and no one is guaranteed a tomorrow to start with. I’m also working on all this stuff I’m telling you. When we suffer from anxiety and depression, as well, it’s a lot harder to just let everything go, I know. I’m already worrying about these nodules I have in my lungs now. Sigh…………………..I wish you the best on your journey and may you remain well FOREVER! I think they got it before it got you. 🙂

        • April says:

          Lung nodules are fairly common, and most are benign. If they are less than 1cm, they barely make note of them, but if it were me…I would do a bit more questioning. The first doctor in the ER wanted me to take antibiotics for the nodule and follow up with my regular doctor in 9 months. Mine was described as non-calcified, so I pushed. The shape was also irregular. There are times anxiety pays off.

          • tlohuis says:

            In the notes on the first one I found it said to have rescanned in a year. they didn’t even tell me that. I pushed to have it rescanned and they once again said it looked fine and I got copies of the report and that’s when I saw that there was now another nodule in the other lower lobe. I’m really having trouble getting doctors to listen to me these days. My EKG is abnormal, but they tell me not to worry about it and then I was in the ER last night and they did an EKG and it was still abnormal, but showing different things that weren’t on there before and some things that had gotten worse. They gave me a copy at my request and didn’t mention one word about it. I guess I’ll have to go back to my cardiologist. It’s a bit scary when your heart is abnormal and they tell you not to worry about it and it’s not just one thing, there are several things listed. Sigh…………..sometimes it’s just too much for me to keep up with. some days I just really don’t even care anymore. As soon as I get over this bronchitis that is about to kill me, I’ll check into the nodules and my heart. Thank you for all the information. Take care. Hope you have a good evening.:)

            • April says:

              Sometimes, those reports can cause anxiety which probably are “nothing”. That’s what doctors spend so much time learning to do—right? Anyway, the scan before my last said something I didn’t understand…so I consulted Google. It was referring Coronary Artery Disease. This was a new one for me. My primary doctor sent me for more tests, and I’m fine. That notation has only been on one scan. I’m scanned every months—so I think some of what we read in our reports, are really nothing, but worth a question until we are satisfied with the answer.

              If that doesn’t work, I look for a different doctor–even if that means some travel.

              I had to tell my Pulmonologist that I was going to trust him. He told me that I didn’t need to lose sleep over my first nodule. I looked at him and told him that I would come back to haunt him if I died from lung cancer. He sent me off to a cancer clinic which has a “panel” of various doctors discussing patient cases. It’s a collaborative effort. I received the answers I was looking for.

              • tlohuis says:

                I’m glad they scan you on a regular basis, as they said they will continue to do with my brother. They should put you at ease at least some just knowing if something else does pop up they will catch it early, again, but there isn’t gonna be any more of that business for you. You’ve already had your share and now it’s time for better days ahead.
                I’m glad you mentioned pulmonologist because I think I shall go see one, myself, just to put my mind at ease and then I just have to trust whatever they tell me.
                I’ve done my traveling to the hospital that is supposed to figure out what no one else can, and that was the biggest waste of time and money that we didn’t have to start with. I went to The Mayo Clinic in rochester, Minnesota. All they did was repeat every test I had already had done here. I was thinking they would be the ones to go above and beyond and put a name to the autoimmune disease that all my doctors claim I have, but can’t put a name to it. Monday my bronchitis sent my asthma into a frenzy and I couldn’t breathe for hours. Several breathing treatments later and at 2:00 a.m. I ended up in the ER. That was a joke, too. I ended up being awake for 41 hours straight and finally got 17 hours of sleep when I finally drifted off to sleep early this morning around 1:00 a.m. I’m still feeling very sleep deprived, but am now wide awake again, but after a few hours of coughing, and a breathing treatment or two, I seem to be better at the moment, but I can be like that and then be really bad again tomorrow. Trust me I have not been smoking. I swear, I’m such an idiot sometimes. Smoking just a few here and there just for the hell of it when I can easily go without. I think your story will fix me of that, I hope because now I’m scared about those nodules and everything else like my heart. I see many more doctor appointments in the near future to set my mind at ease or to get bad news, hopefully the first. but, with anxiety, I need answers and I know you understand that. Thank you for sharing your journey because it’s really opened my eyes and I’ve learned a lot. You’re a true inspiration to me. keep writing and keep sharing your journey because you never really know how much you are affecting others, as well as educating. As I say, if I help one other person than my job is done, of which I’ve already done and now my goal is to educate, help, and inspire as many other living souls as possible. You can do the same. Take care and I look forward to keeping in touch with you.
                Peace and hugs,
                Tammy:)

                • April says:

                  I so understand the anxiety over breathing. I panic every time I think I may be getting a chest cold. Or simply congested. That feeling of not being able to breathe is the worst thing I have ever experienced. Learning to control the anxiety is pretty key. I know I haven’t completely mastered it, but I am seeing some improvement. My therapist helped me to recognize that until I know differently, I am healthy. The frequent scans do help to ease my mind. I just have to live in spite of my worries–which I’m working on. I wish you all the best, and I hope you can find the answers you’re needing!

                • tlohuis says:

                  I can master my anxiety sometimes over other things, but when it comes to bronchitis and asthma where you really cannot breathe, there is no mastering that. What I do hate is that doctors try and act like you’re just having an anxiety attack, when in fact you’re actually having an ASTHMA attack. Yes, I do get anxious when I cannot breathe, but I’m pretty sure anyone would. For those that have never experienced an asthma attack, need not be making assumptions. Anxiety attacks can make you feel like you cannot breathe, but I don’t panic about that because I know that is just anxiety and there are breathing exercises I can do to stop that feeling. There is a difference that some will be lucky enough to never know. Glad you are improving with your anxiety skills, they are pretty key to anxiety attacks and can really work if you practice them over and over and over, of which I do. I also practice meditation pretty often. Do you ever meditate? If not, just a suggestion. It’s very, very helpful, but it also takes a ton of practice with no giving up, eventually you will reap the benefits of meditating. For some reason I feel like you do. Thank you for your well wishes and you know I wish the same for you. I hope you have a GREAT day, you deserve it, my friend.
                  Peace and hugs,
                  Tammy:)

                • April says:

                  I’ve been trying meditation. I also know the difference between the panic of not being able to breathe due to Asthma and anxiety. I suffer from asthma as well—one of the most scary moments of life.

                • tlohuis says:

                  Yes, asthma is very scary. Nothing worse than not being able to breathe. When I’m having an anxiety attack, I don’t feel like I need a breathing treatment. When you suffer from both of these conditions, we know the difference. How’s the meditation going for you? Hope you had a great day.
                  Peace,
                  Tammy:)

                • April says:

                  Medication has helped, but it’s the cognitive behavioral therapy which has saved my sanity.

                • tlohuis says:

                  I agree. For me, it’s all the therapy and blogging that I truly believe is the only reason I’m still here. Sad, but true.

                • April says:

                  Blogging has seriously helped me as well.

                • tlohuis says:

                  I had no idea of all the support I would receive by blogging. I just started blogging to get things out of my head and before I knew it, I had so many new friends and so much support. Always someone here to support and encourage you through just about anything. hope you day was a good one.
                  Peace,
                  Tammy:)

  8. Gallivanta says:

    Oh grandpuppy what beautiful eyes you have. And, oh my gosh, I am astounded by the pollen on your boots. Pine pollen gets bad here but not that bad. Lovely photo of the azalea.

    • April says:

      The grandpuppy is a ball of energy, but she makes me happy. I had never experienced pine pollen like this before moving to the southern US. The first year we were here, I had to go somewhere early in the morning. I pulled out of the driveway with my headlights on, and I saw something swirling around my car. I found out later it was pollen. Also, we used to put fans in our windows bringing in fresh air–needless to say, I had a house full of yellow coated everything.

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