Monday, May 6, 2013

Slothra - The 300 Pound Sloth Monster

For those of you just joining me, I am wanting to spend some time drawing out some of the monsters that I have been cohabitating with as of late.  Mind you, I don't feel like this has been a happy arrangement.  I more often feel kidnapped by these monsters, but am trying to find ways to recognize these monsters' purpose and how I might hold power over them.  I wanted to post a monster mid week, but unfortunately, I was attacked by yet another monster.  This one has been attacking more frequently - especially since the beginning of radiation.  His name is Slothra - the 300 pound Sloth Monster.

I am extremely thankful for cancer treatments.  It is what is giving me the opportunity to continue living despite the large tumor that was found growing in my chest.  It is what I am hoping will allow me the privilege of seeing my children fall in love and become the people they are destined to be.  At the same time that cancer treatments are amazing, they are also painful, humiliating, depressing, anxiety provoking, and completely and utterly exhausting.  During radiation last week, I fell asleep and almost rolled off the table.  The waiting room is full of people with eyes half mast barely able to hold onto their People magazines.  This side effect is one of the more difficult ones for me.  Prior to cancer, I often had several jobs - I was a full time therapist working in the schools, I taught at two universities, I supervised an amazing group of interns, I made art and sold it online, and I still made time to be a mom and wife.  I was also in the middle of writing a book for kids about using coping strategies.  My plate was always full.  I didn't have time for television (with the exception of Project Runway).  I was too busy working and creating.

When I envisioned this monster, I thought of this enormous creature with its fuzzy arms wrapped around me hitching a ride.  Under his weight, it feels impossible to get anything done.  He isn't mean or scary... but he is debilitating.  Most nights, I just give up trying to coax him to leave me alone.  Instead I snuggle up next to him on the sofa and watch four hours of Iron Man movies. The house is a mess.  Laundry needs to be done.  I want to write that book.  But he wraps his weighty gigantic fuzzy arms around me and I feel paralyzed.  The fact is I need this monster.  If I didn't have him, I would continue to over work myself and not get the rest that I need for my cells to regenerate and heal.  But I also know that I need to find some way to strike a deal with Slothra.  Maybe in exchange for getting to bed before midnight, I can do art three nights out of every week.  Maybe for every hour of television I watch, I can clean for 20 minutes.  I have noticed that when I exercise, he tends to get bored and leaves me along for a while. It is just so hard to have the motivation to exercise when you have a 300 pound sloth monster on your back.

I have completed 15 out of 33 radiation sessions.  Aside from feeling exhausted, my skin is getting a little pink and the itching has increased.  My doctor's thought that my skin was looking very good- so I am encouraged.  I continue to be religious about skin care.  This is extremely important for me.  I have been someone who has not been very good about taking care of myself in the past.  If you want to survive cancer treatments, you have to be extremely good at self-care.  Taking medications and supplements on time, doing physical therapy exercises, drinking enough water, sleeping, and applying creams four times a day forces me to be an active part in my own healing.  This is one thing that I hope I don't forget after radiation.

Here are my songs for this week!  On Wednesday, the 80's station played "Girls Just want to have fun" just before they played, "Staying Alive."  The wonderful radiation technicians also heard the interesting song selections and when they came back in the room we all laughed.   I guess I do try to have as much fun as I can staying alive.  We all thought it was a positive sign.

Sending love and peace.


  1. Congrats on the half-way mark, Deann! I'm sending lots of peaceful thoughts your way (and telling those monsters to stop giving you a hard time). Take care.

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