Choose Your Words Carefully

The childhood phrase – sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me – is SO not true. I recently read an article titled, “Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Words Will Cut Me Deeply.”

I highly recommend reading this article if you are in any way in contact with children – not just young children, but even teens and young adults. Heck! If you talk to people in general, you may want to consider reading this article.

As a parent, I am constantly telling my children to “watch your mouth” and “choose kindness.” Parenting three children is not the cake walk I thought it would be, as a little girl playing dolls. As a teenager pushing the boundaries and rebelling again all house rules, I remember clearly thinking I WILL NEVER tell my children NO. Yikes! My view of parenting was quite skewed. I guess this is probably the time in my life when my own mother could probably say, I told you so.

If there is one lesson that I have learned as a parent, it is that words truly hurt – even when they are meant to be helpful. Sometimes the tone of someone’s voice makes the words hurt or makes the hurt last longer.

It’s hard to change the way you speak or change the words you choose. I want to raise confident, realistic and compassionate children. Somehow I have to be the cheerleader, the venting board, the counselor, the ethics committee, the judge, the jury, and the Sunday school teacher. Sometimes I have to play all of those roles in one conversation. Meaning…I have to choose my words carefully.

Most recently in our house, we have had several discussions about the way you speak to people. Your words – at any given moment – are a reflection of your character. Everyone has said something – in the moment – only to regret it later. The other part of this conversation was explaining to my children what it means to be passive aggressive. Again, leading to further discussion about personal character and respect.

My goal today, as we all head out the door, is to remind my children to stop and think before they speak – even to each other. Is it helpful? Is it kind? Is it necessary? Check your tone. Would you want someone talking to you that way?

As a parent, sometimes I need to reflect on my own words and tone of voice. Is it helpful? Is it kind? Is it necessary?

Choose kindness….always.

 Proverbs 18: 21 The tongue has the power of life and death…

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up

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Hey son, there’s a world out there…

“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:5, NIV)

When our son was diagnosed with a visual impairment, it took years until we were able to truly understand his condition. I’m a planner, and I like to take control. My response to finding out that our son was legally blind, was to go back to school to learn how to help children with a visual impairment. Now, because of my son, I teach students all over our county. Students, just like my son, who happen to have a visual impairment.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in God’s plan. Being diagnosed with cancer and then finding out that our son has a visual impairment taught this OCD, type-A personality that I am not in control. Letting go of what I can’t change and relying on God’s guidance, has lead me to where I am today…teaching students, just like my son, who happen to have a visual impairment and devoted to helping each of my students be as independent as possible.

My husband has been doing a great job of blasting social media with the news of the technology that our son recently received. This technology is opening up a different life for our son. Yes, this technology can be used in school, but really it’s life that we are excited about. Being able to read a street sign or a crosswalk signal to cross the street safely. Being able to locate us – his parents – in a crowd! Being able to read a menu without relying on the pictures or just ordering what you know they have. Just because you are at a burger joint, doesn’t mean they only have burgers.

As my husband was busy sharing our news with friends and family on social media, his aunt sent a message saying that she had just watched a news clip about this technology on NBC with Lester Holt!  https://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/video/watch-the-moment-technology-opened-this-blind-man-s-eyes-to-the-world-around-him-1207792195739

Is it ironic that the day we share this news about our family, NBC shares the same news across the nation? I don’t think so. I am passionate about this technology and I’m passionate about God’s plan for our life. God uses people, and I’m so thankful for the people that God has put in our lives.

We all have storms in life and scary moments, but take shelter in God’s plan. Notice the people he has put in your life. Be thankful for those doors that open and those doors that close. I know what was meant for my harm, God will use for His good. God is doing great things in our life. Optic Nerve Atrophy? Meet eSight!

If you want to read more about Connor’s new journey with his eSight technology, you can click on the following link. http://giving.esighteyewear.com/connor-wills

 

Colorectal Cancer Awareness: Rodeo

First and foremost, photo credits to Mark McCarty! Thank you for making us feel beautiful!

I have not done a great job of keeping up with they CRC Awareness posts this year. I am very blessed to say that’s it’s just life. Life is getting in the way. I don’t have time to write as often as I would like, but when I do have time to write…I’m just tired.

Most of the time I like to put a funny little twist on life after cancer, but recently I have been reflecting on all that it took to get through that year. It was a full year of treatment and surgery, followed by another almost two years of recovery. Somewhere in my thoughts this month, I keep going back to the first time I ever met another woman with exactly my cancer – stage III rectal cancer.

I knew her as Mel or Melissa, but apparently, she was known as Rodeo in her circle of friends. She and I met at the airport on our way to the Colondar photo shoot. There was plenty of other conversations and get-to-know-you talk in the limo, but she and I kept returning to each other, our diagnosis, the effects of treatment on our fertility, living with an ostomy and life as a Barbie butt.

I called my mom as soon as I could to tell her that I just met a girl! A girl diagnosis with my same condition! A girl, but 10 years younger than me. You know how you meet someone, and they remind you of someone else. Well, this was Melissa. I couldn’t believe how much she reminded me of one of my sisters. Not only was she good at riding horses, she excelled in competing! She loved being out on a horse farm and wasn’t quite sure where her career would take her, but animal science was a passion. Her laugh, her mannerisms, and her independent spirit.

I had no idea what to expect from this photo shoot. Part of me was so nervous I just wanted to go home before I even got there, but then in an airport in Albany, I met my sister and my anxiety was relieved.

Melissa and I talked about everything that weekend and promised to stay in touch after the photo shoot. Thankfully, through social media, we were able to keep up with each other and the occasional text messaging just to say hi. A few months later, we decided to run a 5K together at the release of our calendar in New York. Both of us suffered from severe peripheral neuropathy from the treatment, so we kept passing a pair of wool and fleece mittens back and forth that my mom and aunt had made for me. As we ran, she told me that her cancer had returned and it was in her bones. Every step we took, my heart was breaking a little more, but she never complained, her positive attitude contagious and encouraging me to run faster and harder to finish the race with a personal record. I wanted to throw-up, but she got me to do it – Run. Run hard. Don’t look back. Face forward. Push through the pain.

The cancer had spread everywhere. Our texts were less frequent and she valued her privacy and time with her family. As she completed trial after trial, life became her top priority. Even in excruciating pain, she reminded me that life is not about what you do or where you go. Life is about love. Loving those in your life and serving those around you with unconditional love and encouragement. Melissa died a few years ago – not even 30 years old, but the impression she has left on those of us that knew her is a lifelong “Rodeo” stamp on our hearts.

I miss you, my friend.melissa surf

Photo taken from Melissa’s Facebook page. A complete illustration of her life-loving charisma.

Is that a Gremlin in your shirt?

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Day 5: So this weekend, I came down with what I thought was a cold, but it quickly turned into the flu – from my head to my toes kind of flu. Fever, headache, body aches, sniffling, sneezing, not-sure-what-end-it’s-coming-out kind of flu. Today, I am fighting off the remaining symptoms and drinking plenty of fluids to remain hydrated.

I woke up several times last night to check my colostomy. After the explosion a few days ago, I’m living on “high alert”. No explosions, so things must be getting better, but the noises that are coming from my colostomy are quite startling. Is there an angry squeaking mouse in the room? No. That was just my ostomy. Go back to sleep. I think there’s a croaking frog in here somewhere. No. That’s just my ostomy. Go back to sleep. Where is the Chihuahua? Why is she growling? Oh, never mind. That was just my ostomy. Sleep? I’m pretty sure I had a dream about the Titanic. Just as the ocean liner starts to break it let’s out that huge groan. Dreaming that I am about to go down with the Titanic, I sat straight up in bed to the sound of that same groaning from…you guessed it…my ostomy. Please, sleep!

Sipping my first real cup of coffee in two days and immediately the noises start up again. I kind of sound like a walking nature CD with croaking frogs, squeaking mice and chirping grasshoppers or possibly the recording of Halloween sound effects with creaking doors, squealing rats and a bubbling witch’s brew all under my shirt.

I had the flu, people! The flu! Why would I be excited about the flu? Because I had the flu and stayed home! I did not have to go to the hospital. By bowels continued to function the entire time! I did not have a blockage. I did not have an ileus! I did not have an NG tube. I did not need liquid nutrition. I did not need the burning IV of potassium. No little pinches with the big heparin punches. I had the flu! As I sit here writing this, I can hear the sounds of possibly an angry Gremlin, but most likely it’s a boiling volcano preparing for explosion and that sounds great to me!

What does the flu have to do with colorectal cancer awareness? Life with an ostomy has been extremely unpredictable and catching a simple virus is sometimes like fighting off the plague (ok, maybe not the plague). After treatment, I was not prepared for a lifetime of complications, so today I can celebrate. I may sound like I have a Gremlin hiding under my shirt, but that is much better than the slow pump of an IV or the rhythmic beeping of hospital alarms.

CRC Awareness Day 4: Be in the Know

For me, a diagnosis of colorectal cancer seemed unreal. I thought that was something I had to be old to worry about. I was a 32-year old stay-at-home mom. I worked out occasionally and ate a relatively healthy diet.

Weight loss – that was my first unknown symptom. I started losing weight after I had our third child, but what woman doesn’t want to lose weight? I attributed my weight loss to chasing after three very busy children and constantly being on the move – between laundry, yard work, grocery shopping, cleaning and chasing toddlers – who has time truly eat. As a stay-at-home mom, the majority of my meals needed to be eaten while standing at the sink, chasing a toddler, hovering over driveway chalk art or pushing a child in a swing.

Exhaustion – I was tired all the time. Heck, I’m still tired all the time, but what parent has time to be tired? I had no idea that combined with weight loss – being tired – was a symptom of colorectal cancer. I just thought I needed more coffee in the morning, or preferably an uninterrupted night of sleep.

Change in bowel habits – I was never the “regular” person, so for me to go to the bathroom every few days was normal. I thought maybe the vitamins, increased fiber or just a healthier diet was making me more regular. Before I was diagnosed, I became this perfectly regular pooper! Never in my life had I been a “regular” pooper. That is a change in bowel habits.

Blood in my stool – this I did not overlook, I went to the doctor at the first sign of blood in my stool and they asked me a series of questions. I knew from having children, yes – there were some hemorrhoids, but nothing that bothered me. I also knew that blood in your stool was just not normal.

  1. Any unexplained weight loss…Check.
  2. Unexplained exhaustion…Check.
  3. Change in bowel habits…Check.
  4. Any blood in your stool…Check.

And the conclusion…the doctor decided that I needed medication for anxiety that would help me sleep. I was too young for this to be anything serious, and the blood in my stool was related to those hemorrhoids – after all I did have two vaginal deliveries.

Beyond the anxiety, I was very quick to accept this diagnosis of a stressed out type A personality. He said just keep an eye on the blood and if it continues he would send me to a specialist. Everyone wants to hear good news, so I took my good news and went home.

Fast forward 6 months and I woke up from my first colonoscopy to hear the word “cancer.”

Who at 32-years old thinks about colorectal cancer? Apparently, I should have been thinking about it. I should have known the symptoms.

The American Cancer Society found that colorectal cancer is one of the fastest growing cancer in young people. Be in the know.

https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/study-finds-sharp-rise-in-colon-cancer-and-rectal-cancer-rates-among-young-adults.html

CRC Awareness Day 3: Elephants are Falling Over!

Just in case I haven’t told you my story – let me make it brief (for this post). I was diagnosed with stage III colorectal cancer at 32-years old. I had symptoms of the disease earlier than that, but because of my age I was overlooked and misdiagnosed – until the tumor could no longer be ignored. After a year of chemotherapy (twice), radiation and surgery – I was cancer free, but my life had been changed forever. I now have a permanent colostomy and what I like to call the “Barbie Butt.” It’s cute, but not functional. Over the last 9 years, I have learned that I’m rather certain the rectum is the body’s deodorizer, because the smell that comes out of an ostomy could probably knock down an elephant!

This week I came down with some kind of head cold and I’m living on over-the-counter cold medicines. Last night, I took my dose of “nighttime sniffing, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever, so you can rest medicine” and finally slept. I’m not sure if I slept or if I put myself into a slight coma, because as soon as I woke up – elephants were certainly falling down somewhere in a nearby zoo!

That’s right! Bag blow out! Thankfully, my husband, not wanting to risk getting this cold, decided to sleep on the couch last night. Bag blow outs do not happen that often for me, but there is no mistaking when they do. Barely awake, but heightened to the smell of potentially dangerous fumes lingering in the room, I had to make the decision – wrap myself in a sheet or chance it and run to the bathroom. I took a chance and prayed the whole way to the bathroom that it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Wrong! It was bad! It was – you need to jump in the shower with clothes on bad.

These are the issues that early detection of colorectal cancer can prevent. Yes. I like to laugh at these situations, but during that first year of living with a colostomy I couldn’t laugh at something like this. Instead, I just kept thinking that I had taken so much of my life – even just the simple things like using a toilet – for granted. I was bitter and angry. Everywhere I looked, I saw people living a normal life and I was over here trying to learn to live a new life, a life I had never expected with an “appliance” I had no idea how to work.

Welcome to March – my favorite month of the year! The month is dedicated to raising awareness about a disease that has forever changed my life. Yes – I’m much more comfortable with my body and my colostomy now, but I try to share my story as often as possible. For someone else this disease is completely preventable, if diagnosed early. 816.970x0For me, while this cold lasts I may have to invest in some new nighttime accessories.

Parenting from the Rock; Rock-bottom

There is a particular age in childhood that simply makes you rethink your parenting. As a young girl, I remember planning what kind of mother I would be when I grew up. These were the days of pigtails, bangs, KangaRoos tennis shoes (the shoes with the pocket) and riding your friend home on the pegs of your rad BMX bike. Which – by the way – I could never master the 180 front wheel turn. Several times in an effort to impress my peg-riding passenger, I threw in an unexpected “watch-what-I-think-I-can-do” move only to land on the sidewalk head-over-heels in a tangled mess of two bodies and one bike. These were the days of no helmets and daily transportation was either by foot, push scooters or bikes. I never called to see if my friends were home. I just rode my bike up the street or cut through backyards to knock on the door. Open garage doors were always a good sign. No Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook check-ins.

I can remember talking with my girlfriends about the kind of mothers we would be. I, as the oldest of six, wanted at least six children and possibly more. My girlfriend, the youngest of three, wanted one boy and one girl. She was going to be a teacher and I was going to be a doctor, a lawyer (because I met a judge in Girl Scouts that year), a scientist, an architect and the first woman president! I now wonder if “Career Barbie” possibly came out that summer?? We had lengthy discussions about the type of parents we wanted to become. I’m thinking most of these conversations happened after a punishment or being told “no” for some reason or another.

By the late 80’s, I had planned to be a patient, soft-spoken, never yelling, no grounding, surprise party planning, Happy Meal hauling and say-yes-always kind of mom. My kids would be dressed in the cutest matching clothes and I would wear the newest trending skirts, high heels and make-up everyday, everywhere! I’m pretty sure my pre-motherhood parenting plan was something like June Cleaver meets Maggie Seaver (Growing Pains).mz4294b

As a young mom with one very content baby, I remember silently judging other parents. The parent with multiple noisy children in the grocery store. The constant yoga pants wearing mother with her unwashed hair hiding under a baseball hat and her toddler throwing a fit in public. The bathrobe wearing coffee mug in hand mom yelling to her kids from the garage, as they ran down the driveway to the bus. The speed racing mini-van that cut me off right before the school zone parent. I’m just wondering, since I knew so much about parenting at such a young age, what in hell has happened? Who is this cold coffee mug carrying, bathrobe wearing, towel wrapped hair, screaming banshee that lives in my house and what has she done with my angelic, soft-spoken, career balanced motherhood plans?

My preconceived motherhood goals were heavily misguided. Every morning, I find myself reading or searching for encouraging motherhood devotionals with well-planned intentions of remembering what I have read, praying through the difficult parenting moments, remaining calm in all situations and not turning into an f-bomb dropping, fire blazing from my eyeballs, smoke billowing from the top of my head mother. All good intentions – I would say. AND THEN…they get up. They – the three kids that stole my heart. The three people that I have stayed up with all night long, so they could puke in a bucket and not in their bed. The three people that I have slept on the floor beside constantly checking their forehead for the returning fever. The three people that I look at and think – time, please slow down just a little. How can these people that I love so dearly and unconditionally turn me into a momster?!

Because…they never stop! I can’t walk out of the room without someone questioning where I might be going. I can’t go to the grocery store without three other opinions on my purchase. I have to shower before they all get up, or shower with the fear that one day I am going to have to run out of the bathroom wet and naked with shampoo in my eyes to break up a fight before they break something or themselves.

I realize this is simply a stage of life and I will desperately miss this age, but for the love of everything good in life…really???!!! This is parenting?! Really?! Where are the reality TV shows for this?!

Mothering from rock-bottom is when mom-guilt swarms in with a breath taking punch to the gut.  The guilt of trying to be a good parent. The guilt of feeling bad when your child misbehaves. The guilt you give yourself when handing out a well-earned punishment. The guilt of making your children do their chores instead of doing it all like June Cleaver. The guilt of not befriending your teenager. The guilt of feeling like everything that your child goes through is somehow your fault. Mom-guilt is evil!

The last few weeks have been filled with mom-guilt moments. Part of me wants to swoop in and rescue my kids from life (one in particular right now).  I want to wrap this one in bubble wrap to be shielded from all the hurtful words the world dishes out. Make a month long reservation at Kalahari and forget about school, chores, homework and discipline. The other part of me secretly looks at boarding school for this child and a luxury spa get-a-way for me.

To all the other overwhelmed mothers, cheers to another cup of cold coffee, morning devotionals and a quick shower! Let us remember that June and Maggie would fall apart in the real world. June would be throwing that brownbag lunch at Ward, Wally and Beaver, as they ran out of the house with a coat halfway on and the backs of their shoes bent and ruined from never untying the laces.  Maggie’s always plastered on smile would quickly turn into an angry grimace, as she threatens to leave those not ready for school to fend for themselves so she can get to work on time.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Dear Heavenly Father,

You know my struggles and my weaknesses. In your presence, I am strong. In your arms, I am encouraged. Keep my eyes on you, Lord. Today, with your guidance, may my words and actions be pleasing to you and build-up those around me.

P.S. and not drop an F-bomb.

Bring on the B-Game

I listen to a Christian pastor on the radio every day on my way to work. A few weeks ago, his message was about social media, and he was saying that people tend to live unhappy or unfulfilled lives when they constantly compare themselves to others. Today, with social media, we (and our kids) are bombarded with pictures of other people’s lives. The Jones’ are no longer next door. The Jones’ are everywhere we go or rather everywhere we look at social media – kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, waiting in line at the store and even in the car or at school.

He wasn’t downing social media but simply giving cautious advice. One statement from his message that has stuck with me was, “Social media is full of life’s ‘A-game’. People always post the best of their life on social media.” We never post our B-game. The B-game are those deleted pictures because we don’t look our best or those moments when we didn’t act our best. The B-game is life’s other moments. The not-so-proud mama moments. The messy house moments.  The burned dinner moments. The not-on-the-honor-roll moments.

After listening to this message, I had to laugh. My husband gets up at 4:15 a.m. On coaching days, he doesn’t get home until 8:00 pm. As a working mom of three busy kids trying to juggle work and home…I only have a B-game.  (Even as a stay-at-home mom, I feel like I only had a B-game.) I have friends that have warned me about this stage in life. The stage when your life decisions are based on the calendar of your children. Between friends that have already been at this stage of life and the recent radio broadcast, I just had to laugh.

I look at the posts on social media now and think to myself, “Ok. Now show me your B-game. The perfect Christmas tree. Where’s the post after the toddler gets it or the cat knocks it over three times? My husband and I had to anchor our tree to the wall when we had a crazy cat. With one of our Great Danes, we had to put all decorations higher than tail height. One swing of a Dane’s tail and all ornaments went flying.

meh-lightsYes, I love the Christmas lights, but my pumpkins are somewhere rotting on the side of the porch. The Christmas trees and Santa decorations that we did put out blew over in the wind the other day and apparently I am the only one that has noticed, so when my hands are not full of bags on my way in or out of the house I plan on fixing them.

I love the picture of your decorated dining room, but mine is currently covered with laundry piles, book bags and school papers. Maybe if I sort them by color instead of owner it will look more festive.

How cute, a dog in a Christmas outfit! Our guide dog puppy found the leach beds for the septic system yesterday, so there will be no pictures of the dog covered in foul-smelling mud! I should have posted a picture of the day she got into the cow’s pasture, ate an entire “patty” and then puked it up in the kitchen. I don’t gag often, but in this case, I was almost cleaning up two piles!

I would have to say that yesterday was probably the best B-game day in a while! It started off with a some-one-took-my-teacher-gift argument, so our bus driver ended up with a gift bag of other people’s cards. If you don’t follow that logic, don’t worry neither did I. After school, the plan was to clean, finish putting away the laundry and get a little work done, so I didn’t have to work over the break. With two boys at home attempting to complete one task together, we now have a broken bedroom door and a broken bathroom countertop. It was a rockstar B-game kind of day filled with not-so-great-mama-moments and topped off with a conversation about why we do not give people the finger in class!

To my fellow B-game friends – thank you for bringing reality to social media!

 

Day 22: Welcome to the Club

As a child, we had many neighborhood clubs and they seemed to change as quickly as our interests. Some of the clubs were actual organizations – Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or church clubs, but most were made up affiliations of a group of early elementary school imaginations.

I met a young cancer survivor a few years after my treatment and he handed me a card. On one side it said the word cancer and on the back it said, “Welcome to the Club”.  A cancer diagnosis stinks, to put it politely, but the fact that someone created a “cancer club” card was quite comical.

Being diagnosed with stage III colorectal cancer at a young age gave me immediate access to clubs that I never wanted to join or even new existed. The infertility club was the most heart wrenching. I had plenty of friends that were already in that club, but I could never truly empathize until I lost my own fertility. Then there was the ostomy club. This one isn’t as bad for me, but in a few different support groups I have learned there truly are people out there who are basically disgusted that they have to live with an ostomy. This list of clubs could go on and on – the neuropathy club, the fatigue club, the chronic pain club, etc. While most of these are not real clubs, the affiliation is genuine.

The best groups that I have come to join or participate in are non-profit advocacy groups that work hard to raise awareness by publicly sharing stories of young adults diagnosed with colorectal cancers. They collaborate to increase awareness, funding, research and access to screenings.

Through all of these affiliations, I have realized that the phrase “everybody has something” is a very true statement. Not everyone has or had cancer and not everyone has life long side effect, but everyone has something.

I know people who have lost a spouse, a child or a parent. I know people living with debilitating diseases. I know people who have lost the ability to walk, talk, see and hear. I know people who struggle with anxiety and depression  I know people that are financially strapped and have children who are living with chronic illnesses. I know students who are struggling socially and academically. I know adult and child bullies and those they choose to target. I know people who have committed suicide and those they have left behind.

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My devotional this morning was less about colorectal cancer awareness and more about life’s challenges. It was a positive spin on the mountains many of us face each day.

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27:5, NIV

Another devotional ended with a well said prayer, “Heavenly Father, thank You for the hope I have knowing You take my messy life and make it beautiful. Give me the patience I need to wait on You and eyes to see the masterpiece taking shape.”

Day 21: Fatigue

Fatigue can be one of the signs of colorectal cancer. I was exhausted before I was diagnosed, but who wouldn’t be with three children under the age of six! If you know our youngest, you might just be exhausted by association.

Going through treatment, my oncology and surgical teams constantly asked me about fatigue. For the most part, I would say I had good days and bad days. I pushed through the fatigue until I was flat-on-my-face exhausted.  Fatigue hit the hardest after I had completed my treatments. Twice waiting in the allergist’s office for my daughter, I was mortified when I realized that the shaking I felt was my then 2nd grader pulling on my arm because I had fallen asleep sitting in the waiting room chair. I fell asleep waiting for my daughter’s gymnastics class to be over and in the car waiting for piano lessons to end. It seemed anytime I had to wait or sit still for more than 10 minutes, I was in danger of falling asleep!

When I brought this to the attention of my doctor’s, it was explained that while I thought I felt good, my body was working hard to repair itself on the inside and that was taking a lot of my energy. I also learned that chronic pain increases fatigue. After treatment I had chronic pain in my rear end, lower back, hip joints and pelvic floor. The more painful the day – the more tired I became. No one thinks about this stuff in their early 30’s!

Atrophy also causes fatigue. I was pretty much a morsel of the person I was prior to treatment. Trying to keep up with my life prior to a cancer diagnosis with the muscle mass of an elderly person was exhausting!

Anyone who has dealt with a chronic condition probably understands fatigue. I had no idea what true fatigue was and really probably denied that I was even experiencing fatigue until I started to find myself falling asleep in public! Fatigue is not just being tired or needing some rest. Fatigue is waking up tired and just hoping to make it through the day. Fatigue is looking forward to going to bed, but it’s only mid afternoon.

Public Service Announcement: Fatigue is not normal. Talk to your doctor.ColonCancerInfographichttps://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=a480319f-40e0-4e9d-b55c-bb896de04879