Monthly Archives: November 2014

Pig In A Blanket

A cold + shaved head + digestive struggles = a blanket wrapped couch potato.

That pretty much sums up my week so far. I’m pretty sure it is the cold that is the main cause of dragging me down – but the head shave this time around has kind of gotten to me. Yesterday I was wearing a hat around the house because I still have a hard time looking in the mirror. What does not help is the chemo feels like it is rotting away my insides. My stomach is constantly distended and I have to do laps around my house to help work any sort of gas through. Ya thats right I said it – gas. Everyone does it so stop being so grossed out. When you add chemo into the mix it makes every single thing you put in your stomach into a gas pile that wants to just live inside and fester forever. I have been forced to sleep on an incline because lying flat kills my stomach. Again gentlemen – my man loves me and I’m taken. Winning!

I am hopeful by weeks end I will exit this pig in a blanket look. It would probably help to start with a pair of pants that are not oversized.

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Cancer In The News

A few nights ago I was wide awake late into the night (this seems to be a reoccurring problem for me, stupid brain will not shut off) – so I hopped on the good ole Facebook to see if anyone read any interesting articles lately. I came across one about a girl who was on a reality show on MTV, who just passed away from cancer at the age of 32. I thought to myself that it would probably be a bad idea to read this, but went ahead with it anyways. Dumb. She went into remission two or three times before the cancer won the battle. I of course, immediately related this to myself and became a blubbering mess. 1:15am and the call went out to a friend – “Talk me down from this.” – I begged. Lucky for me she stayed on the phone for the next hour until I was finally ready to try falling asleep again.

Conclusion? I need to stay away from articles like this.

Conclusion #2? Why does every article or news story always seem to be about the diagnosis and death related to cancer. I never seem to come across a posting about hope and happiness. Someone who was diagnosed as terminal or with stage 4 or whatever – and is still alive years later clean and surpassing all odds. Of course this does not make for as juicy of a story then scaring the population about the horrors of cancer. There are probably a hand full of news stories out there with good news, but there is no way I am googling it and cyphering through all the bad shit.

Next Goal? Other than the fact that every birthday from here on out will be a huge celebration for me – Live to forty and force a news company to run a story about hope. Even though I do not want cancer to define who I am – have this story to be all that my life ends up being about. Telling it over and over and having it control me for years. It is hard to deny that it has changed me – as well as the people close to me. I have seen it as a beacon of strength. When you thought you were already a strong person – it has forced you outside the box of comfort and shaped you into someone you may not recognize. That is what it has done for me at least, and for many of my close relationships. I have seen people change right in front of my eyes. They have become a better version of themselves by helping me through this shitty experience. Hopefully years down the road with can laugh at this whole thing, but also maybe in a weird and crazy way be thankful. Being at your lowest of lows can also provide you with the greatest highs.

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How Are You?

My awkwardness socially is getting worse by the day. Not so much with people I talk to on the regular – more with people I run in to.

“Hey – How are you?” – said with a concerned face.

“Um good thanks, and yourself?”

What the heck am I supposed to say? I never know how much information people are expecting.

“Well, chemo is shit but other than that I’m good.”

Sometimes I do not want to go into detail about my daily thoughts and struggles. But then if I only give them a little glimpse of pain into my “How are you” response, they usually always have follow up questions as if they love listening to my pain details.

“Oh ya, so it is making you sick? Are you sick every day?”

“Um kind of I guess.”

Geeze lay off a bit. I feel like I should then return with the personal questions.

“So tell me about you and the bathroom. Are you regular?”

If that is an uncomfortable and awkward question for you to answer, then maybe you shouldn’t be asking me about my daily run ins with pain or discomfort.

Truthfully even with the moments throughout the day which I wouldn’t choose to have if given the option, I am still a very happy person. I have amazing family, friends, and a super amazing guy. So if I happen to answer your “How are you” with a “Great thanks! And yourself?” – I’m not actually lying at all. So stop pressing for the depressing stuff Debbie Downers.

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Lung Tumour

It is hard sometimes to sleep when your brain will not shut off. Since I am such a planner with life, it has been hard to sit back and let things just play out. Two days after my last operation I had a chest CT to check on the progress of my liver regeneration. During this CT they discovered a small tumour on the upper side of my left lung. My doctors then went back in my scans and discovered there was a small glimpse of it on my original scans from April. At first I was annoyed of course. How was this missed? Then I came to terms with the fact that they were so overwhelmed by what my liver was showing, they were not looking any place else. They did however give me another CT in May for the sole purpose to check if I had cancer any where else. I already had two treatments of chemo under my belt at this point, and my surgeon let me know I was clear. Conclusion? My lung tumour shrunk enough after two treatments that it disappeared from the scan. Sounds amazing right? Well to me, not so much. From when they decided I was going to have my first surgery, to when I was able to go back on chemo after my second surgery, three months had passed. Three whole months without chemo. That little tumour was persistent and came right on back after the poison was out of my system. This is what worried me. What happens if after six scans the tumour is shrunk enough that they do not feel the need to operate? At this point I feel like I am a pro when it comes to surgery. I would rather have them get in there and remove the sucker with good margins, then leave it and hope that it just never comes back. With my mind racing around this topic I knew I needed to have a phone call with my surgeon. I explained my thoughts towards everything and here is what he had to say:

“I know this must be tough for you. You have been through so much and I understand why you would want the piece of mind. However, the tumour on your lung is very small and does not worry me. What does worry me is all the other cancer cells I think are in your body. Those microscope cells are what we need to focus on. If we have surgery now, you will be off chemo for 6 weeks, then we would operate, then you have to recover for another 6 weeks. That is too long to be off treatment again. I have asked you to trust me many times, and so far your trust in me has paid off. So I ask for you to continue with that trust. In January we will have another scan and reassess your lung tumour. Until then stay strong and fight through the chemo. With your liver being much weaker than before, I am not surprised this is taking a bigger tole on you. Do not worry and keep going.”

That is obviously not word for word, but pretty much bang on to what he had to say. A quick 5 minute phone call instantly calmed me down. Yes, the cancer that we cannot see in my body scares me. Yes, every chemo treatment so far has sucked, and I am sure will continue to suck. But the fight must continue. I have to trust in my doctors that they know what is best for me. I’ve gone from inoperable to operable in less than 6 months, so I am becoming more and more positive that I can truly beat this.

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Dear Oprah

 

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I know you are a busy lady so I will try not to take up too much of your time. As the days go by I am being pushed further and further outside of what I like to call the “societal box”. When I refer to this I am speaking to the confined space in which I feel society deems the way everyone should live their lives. The pressure of this, I believe, really begins as soon as high school is completed. Below is a brief run down of what I am talking about:

What university/college are you planning on attending? Oh you chose that one? Well this one has better program…

Ok you have graduated that now, in a reasonable amount of time hopefully. So now go on – Choose your career and get a big person job. I know you make a lot waitressing but that isn’t a job which requires education….

Good, now pick a partner and get engaged…. No, no not him you haven’t been dating for that long….

Ok time to get married….. Have you been engaged for the recommended amount of time…

Perfect, you looked beautiful… the food was ok… Now time to start the house hunt…

Ooo I remember that area growing up… bad place… cheaper housing though….hmmm you only bought a two bedroom? Well its just your starter home right….

I’m sure married life has been great this past year, but everyone is still asking daily when you are going to start having kids…. So get to it already you are not getting any younger….

Just popped that one out.. Congrats… Are you planning on having more?? How soon.. Don’t leave it too long you want them to grow up together right?

From here it continues but now with your children – type of food you feed them, their education, clothes they wear, activities/sports they are signed up for…

So my question for you Oprah is – How did you continue to socialize with all your friends when these points are the leading topics for most conversations? I am choosing not to live my life by what society deems appropriate. I do not feel the need to buy a house just yet, because I do not want to live in the same town for 5+ years. I am choosing not to have children. The thought of a wedding with a full day of all the attention on me gives me anxiety. So I do not want that either. However these three major milestones in people’s lives are all anyone seems to want to discuss these days. I am happy for them. Those are their choices and they are proud and want to share. So share for a bit… but then isn’t there so much more to talk about in this world? You my friend (Is it ok if I call you that now?), are the perfect example of someone who has gone against the grain and is very happy. No one would ever look down on you and think they are better because they have the marriage, house, kids… To this person they think they have it “all”… and whoever does not they almost feel sorry for.

Well I feel sorry for them. Their entire life is being lived in this cookie cutter world and they have no idea what life can be like if you just step outside the societal box for a time. And really who are they kidding… Everyone knows their perfect life on Facebook is a sham.

So maybe this letter isn’t a call for help/advice but more of a thank you. Thank you for living your life outside the box and becoming my perfect example for it to be ok. No one in their right minds would think they have a better life than yours, so therefore they can’t about mine either.

Xx

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