The Many Faces of Jamie


Now that I have been off chemo since June, all of the chemicals are right out of my system. What does this mean? Hair growth – and I was just getting used to never having to shave. My head hair is not sparse, and is growing in quite thick. I look less like a cancer patient and more like a girl who just chose to cut her hair short. I still wear my wig for more public outings like a nice restaurant date. I look at it like an accessory. Yes, you can go out with no jewellery on and still look nice – but do you not feel that extra dolled up once you have bling’d yourself out? That is how I feel about my wigs. I am confident in public without them, but I feel that extra special when I am wearing one.


The one thing that is really getting on my nerves now is when I am asked for ID. I have always loved going to the casino, but since my diagnosis I find I am going more often. It seems to be the only place where my brain shuts off completely, and all I think about is what machine I should sit at next. A full mind vacation. (Do not worry. I have discussed this with my therapist and she said it is perfectly healthy.) So as you can imagine I am now being asked for ID more than usual. Every single time I am now, it is a long process. I guess I look extremely different without hair? (I beg to differ). Honestly, there are moments after countless signature signing that I am tempted to just lift of my shirt, show them my wound, and ask them “Now do you believe me?”. I know it is there job but come ooonnnn. Next time I go I might just wear a wig. When they ask me to remove my glasses, maybe my hand gets caught a shifts my hair back. Give them a good scare. I would love to be asked to remove my wig in public. Oh the words I would have for that guard.


Three Weeks

I am so close to feeling like myself again. Sleeping is still a challenge but everything else is almost back to normal. My wound is still open which is a pain though. I still have a nurse coming to the house daily to clean it, and now pack it. Oh packing – the worst part of the day. Right now they are packing approximately 5cm worth of gauze into my wound. This sounds just as fun as it is. I cry every time. I wish they could just leave it, since it will all be cut right back open again in 3 weeks – but they have to promote healing.

Even though I am not looking forward to my surgery, I am thankful it is hopefully going to happen faster than originally anticipated. I would like to get back on chemo as soon as I can. All those microscopic cells floating around my body worry me. Just inject me with the poison and let’s kill them all!

Life could be worse though. Every time I watch the news there is always some story of someone’s life who actually has it worse off than I do. Is this the life I planned or wished for myself? No, of course not. Could it be worse? Absolutely. That’s why I am able to move forward with my new version of life everyday.

Diet Change

Man changing a diet is hard. After a hard last weekend I made the decision to change my diet for good this time. Back in April when I was diagnosed, I chose to quit alcohol all together. At the time doctors did not tell me flat out to stop (now they do), but I still moved forward with my sobriety. What was the point of forcing my liver to work harder than it already is? It has been hard, but I was never a big drinker to begin with. Red meat however – red meat I love. Giving this up will be very difficult. I have to though. I need to slowly start dropping any type of food that is not going to help my fight.

It’s not steaks I will miss the most – it is the all mighty cheeseburger. I have said before if I was on death row and had one meal left of my choosing, it would be a cheeseburger. They are my most favourite thing. If anyone out there knows of a way to create this same taste without using red meat, I welcome the comments.

I have tried before many times to cut out red meat and have failed. From those failures I have learnt that I am unable to have “cheat days”. These do not exist in my world. One cheat day leads to two which then leads to all of my old habits back. Nope, this time it has to be all or nothing.

My next challenge is to slowly cut out white sugar. This unfortunately is in every single thing we eat it seems – but I will do whatever I have to do now to not have all of this pain be for nothing. What is the point of putting myself not just through one operation, but two, only to come out the other side still feeding my insides garbage.

By the way, I also welcome anyone who would like to cook for me. I am entering this blind – and have no patience in the kitchen.

Yay Surgery?

I should be happy this morning. The sun is out, most of my back and stomach pains are slowly going down, but still I sit with tears running down my face. Why? Because every doctor visit I realize how scary my life has become. There is never just “good news” when I visit the doctor. It always seems to be good news wrapped up in some sort of bad news.

“We were able to remove all of your colon cancer with large margins – however even on the edges of those margins we found microscopic cancer cells.”

I feel uplifted for a second just to be pushed back down the next. I knew this journey would not be easy, but in the beginning it kind of was. I would joke that other than my chemo days, I felt completely fine. That lifestyle has changed. I am in constant pain because my wound has reopened right above my belly button. I am unable to lift pretty much anything so when my cat has a crazy moment, I am unable to even lift him off the counter.

All I keep thinking is – I have to do this all over again. I will just be getting back to my old self when I will be readmitted to the hospital for surgery. It is a depressing feeling to say the least. I should be thankful that not only were they able to complete the first operation, but the second one is already being discussed. This is easier said than done. Every hour my mood changes from, “Yay surgery!” to “Yay surgery?”.

Live At Emerg

Going to the emergency room at the hospital is always a last resort. No one likes to go there. You sit and wait for hours surrounded by people who are hacking a lung or throwing up in a bin. With my body being so problematic these days, anything we are concerned about has to be seen by a doctor right away. This urgency has increased ten fold since I have been home from my surgery. Since my surgery was so invasive, if there is anything wrong post-op it could mean something has gone wrong with the surgery. This past weekend I have been to the emergency room 4 times for my wound opening up, back pains and stomach pains. An interesting fact that I learnt was, no hospital will touch a surgical wound if it was not performed by them. This makes sense because they do not know my case in depth and do not want to harm another surgeon’s work. My question is – Why does the triage nurse not tell you this? I could have saved 2 1/2 hours of my time if they had told me this while registering. Water under the bridge now, but still quite frustrating.

Last night the doctors asked me to stay over in order to monitor my pain. Overnight stays are not my favourite, but what came out of this was another CT scan. I was able to see my surgeon afterwards and he let me know that my scans are showing a slight improvement. My liver seems to be slowly responding to my surgery – Yay! He is also now loosing planning to have my second round of surgery for end of September. This is great news but now I am also dreading it. I have not been having fun post-op and all I can think of is I have to go through all of this again. I really should not be complaining, as this surgery is helping to prolong or even save my life – but still.