Friday, August 18, 2023

Post-Cancer/Chemo Recovery-- Month 1

 Good morning friends and happy Friday! I hope you all had a good week. We started school this week and I am so happy to report it has gone VERY WELL! 

Oh my goodness, I can't even put into words how happy I am to be back at my old school and to see my sweet girl throughout the day. Every time I walk past her room, I peek through the window and spy on her. So far she hasn't noticed me! We got several pictures together on the first day, but most of them had our school name somewhere in the picture and I'm not comfortable putting that out there on the internet... but these two pics below worked:

 Sorry for the awkward cropping, I had to cut our school's name out of it. 😊

Today I want to update you guys on how recovery from cancer and chemotherapy has been going. I have to say, the first few weeks were rough, but around week 3 all of a sudden I went from feeling crummy to feeling much better. Lets get to it!


- The first few weeks, I struggled mentally/emotionally because the recovery process was very slow. I felt I should've been further along than I was, which was frustrating. I kept thinking "I've put my time in, I'm done... I'm ready to be better," but the progress was so slow. I felt like I would take 2 steps forward and 1 step back, which felt defeating. As I said a few weeks ago, I chose to change my mindset from negative to positive. Instead of "I am still so weak," I chose to tell myself "I am healing." Instead of "I can't believe I'm letting the kids watch more TV while I rest," I chose to think "I am a great mom" and pick a specific memory to focus on of me doing something fun and hands-on with the kids. Switching my mindset really did make a difference. Am I still weak? Yes. But that truly doesn't bother me anymore because now I remember I am healing.  

-Now... I am on top of the world. I truly have this feeling of gratitude and joy towards even the most mundane tasks right now because I AM ALIVE. Not only am I alive, but I AM WELL ENOUGH TO DO THEM. Does it suck to unload the dishwasher? Yes, but I am well enough to be able to take care of my family. Do I particularly like folding laundry? No, but again, my children have a mom who is well enough to do that for them. I am in a phase of life where I feel like "how could I possibly complain about anything?" I have so much to be grateful for.


- I still have a long way to go, but I am getting stronger/healthier every single day. The muscles in my legs are still very weak and often feel like Jell-o, especially on stairs. On bad days even walking is hard. It feels like my feet are made of concrete and my legs are limp noodles-- it's hard to even pick my feet up to walk. I feel like I am literally dragging my feet. Some days are better though, and on good days I aim to walk a whole mile. Light yoga at night seems to help a lot. I am nowhere near being able to run again, but I'm not in a rush. 

- I still need to take my Tramadol daily, sometimes multiple times. The pain seems to be worst in the morning and get better as the day goes on, but that also may be because of the Tramadol.

- I am able to eat again! I still struggle with nausea/upset stomach in the morning, so I often don't eat anything until lunch. Once I'm feeling better though, pretty much all food is fair game. Even spicy food (heck yes! I love spicy food!)!

- I have officially lost 100% of my eyelashes and eyebrows. The pictures above were taken 1 week after my last chemo, and as you can see in the pictures I still had a few eyebrows and eyelashes that hung in there until the very end. Unfortunately, those fell off this past week. I was hoping they would've started growing back by now, but nope, it was the opposite. I attempted false eyelashes for awhile, but sometimes they fell off at inappropriate times (like in the middle of a meeting with someone, not ideal! haha!!). Now I just do eyeliner and I bought an eyebrow stencil and eyebrow powder to use for brows. It seems to work well enough! Just don't look too closely if you see me in person. 😉

- The hair on my head has not started growing back yet. I was told this could take awhile, so I'm not surprised.

Hopefully next month I'll have a few little baby hairs sprouting!

- Chemo brain is a very real thing, and can be embarrassing.  If I don't write something down, I don't have the slightest chance of remembering it. Unfortunately this resulted in a surprise meeting for me today. I forgot to put the meeting on my calendar and completely forgot about it... until the person I was supposed to meet with walked into my classroom and announced  "sorry I'm a few minutes late for our meeting!" I had not prepared at all and had to wing it. It went okay, but definitely could've been better. Yikes. My doctor said this will get better "little by little" and will take time. 

All in all, I am just so grateful to be alive. I have learned to give myself a lot of grace. I've been through a lot! Instead of focusing on the things that are "wrong" or that I don't like, I'm trying to focus on my many blessings. 

Thank you for following along today. I hope you have a great weekend!

Today I am linking up with Andrea and Erika for Friday Favorites.


  1. Your little girl is the cutest, and that's so amazing that you are at the same school and can check in on her. My daughter and I are also at the same school too! You are such a warrior and your bravery and positivity is so inspiring! Keep being strong and know that this soon will pass! Sending hugs and prayers.

  2. I am so happy that you are beginning to get stronger every day. I love how you are so grateful even about the not so fun moments like emptying the dishwasher! I hope you have an amazing weekend and continue to get stronger each day. Onwards and upwards !!!

  3. Lauren, I am so glad that you are healthy enough to be back at school, and with Lily Grace too! You are so right, mindset is everything. I am glad you are honoring the healing your body is doing and doing what feels good. Continuing to send prayers and positive thought your way. Have a great weekend!
    Sarah - Sunshine & Books

  4. yay to the first week of school going good. Your smile just radiates with your happiness. Keep it positive YOU ARE ALIVE, your kids have a wonderful mom and your a wonderful wife.

  5. I am so happy! I am sure it's hard to be patient. It just feels like it all came together that your last chemo was this summer and you and your daughter are back at your school home. Hugs!

  6. You're incredible, Lauren! Sounds like this first month has been a successful one! SO glad to see you back in the classroom and in those pics with LG. You're so strong! Can't wait to see those lashes, brows, and hair grow back for you to feel more confident and back to yourself!

  7. It really does make a difference to change your mindset, I need to be more conscious of that myself! Cheers to a great kick off to school!

  8. Oh my goodness; your daughter looks so grown up in that first photo. I bet she loves getting glimpses of you throughout the day too. Your mindset sure does seem to have made a wonderful difference and it's wonderful to hear that you are feeling better and better.

  9. I love the back to school pictures. You have such a positive attitude, and I know you are a blessing to your family and those you work with! Hope you have a restful weekend.

  10. I love your attitude!! When I don't feel like unloading the dishwasher I remind myself that I have a beautiful family to serve and a home I love. Some people in Maui don't have those things 😭

  11. Your positive attitude is so inspiring. I can only imagine how much "even the little things" mean to you. The back to school photos are precious.