Monthly Archives: January 2015

Scan Results

What is beginning to become fascinating to me is watching the way different people react to the same news. What is the news you ask? My latest scan reveals that the little shit on my lung decided to camp out for the winter. He’s small and insignificant (like most men – right ladies) – but still sticking around. The rest of the organs however are all clear – even the liver. That’s right, after removing over 30 tumours from my liver I am lucky enough to say that none of them have grown back. (Yet? I feel like I can’t finish that sentence with such a strong point. It is as if I am daring them to resurface. I’ll knock on wood.)

The plan now is for me to finish up the chemo (last day is April 1st – Aprils Fools Day – how fitting), and then surgically remove the last remaining morsel of my cancer in May. By end of May my surgeon has stated, “I am looking forward to giving you the news that you are cancer free”.

The scan results have caused a multitude of reactions – which I will now break down the most common:

Criers – People who cannot believe that my liver is clear and I am almost cancer free. They stare into my eyes with amazement as to why I am also not crying and smiling from ear to ear.

Skeptics – People who think the “cancer free” statement is a little too soon. Let’s just hold off throwing around that term until there is actually a clear scan.

Questioners – People who after every statement I give them follow up with a “And how do you feel about that?”. These conversations are the longest.

Neutrals – People who stay in the safe zone. They gage their reaction based off on the way I am speaking. What ever emotion I display, they mirror.

Drumroll for what category I feel I fit in to…….

All of the above. Well I haven’t cried, but I can understand why some have.

My perspective? Going in to the appointment it never crossed my mind that my surgeon could say, “Your scan is horrible and you are covered with tumours.” Did I know that was a possibility – yes. We had discussed that was a major risk from my back to back surgeries. I guess I was so focused on my lung results that I did not focus my energy on to thinking the absolute worst case scenario. So now my thoughts on the appointment are – Ok, five more bloody rounds of chemo and then another stupid surgery. Yes I know it is less invasive than my other two (you are not the first person to point that out) – I am not concerned about that. If you recall in the Fall I even asked my surgeon to just operate so I could stop worrying about that sucker. This “go get’m” attitude shifted when my surgeon dropped the words – chest tube. To take precautions after my surgery to ensure my lung is inflating on its own, I require a chest tube for a day or two. No thank you. I feel like that should be up for negotiation – which I made clear to my new chest surgeon. He does not understand my personality yet so he just stood there dumbfounded that I was even trying to make this into a debate. My liver surgeon stood by his side, leaning up against the table with his arms crossed. Body language to me, from him, was reading – Yep, typical Jamie. Always trying to negotiate her way out of everything.

You’re damn right. My last statement to my new chest surgeon was – “This chest tube thing. That will be up for discussion at our April appointment.” I will probably lose.

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Halfway Point

 

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I am finally on the other side of my chemo treatments! Seven down only five more to go… for now? Had a good chat with my oncologist and he let me know I will get a break (thankfully) – but for how long is still to be determined. Now on to planning my travel life for this summer! My nurses in oncology as well as everyone else I seem to meet have all told me to get out there and start travelling. It sounds perfect to me. All I want is to get away from it all and have some good laughs and see some amazing sights. So the planning has begun! So far on my “to-do” list for 2015 is Las Vegas, New York, Vancouver, Florida, California, and maybe a beach resort getaway. Time to stop worrying about everything I cannot control and focus on what I can. Making valueable use of every moment of every day is my new “full-time job”.

 

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Reunion

A few days ago I had this crazy dream that ended up being an idea I cannot get out of my head now. What if there was a reunion of people – but instead of high school it was grade school. Epic right? I mean think about. We spent with some of these people 8 years of our lives. Do you not ever wonder what they are up to lately? And yes, before you go there, I understand the easiest thing to do would be to look them up on Facebook – but how boring is that. I want to actually get to know who these people are – not who they pretend to be through a sepia filter. Ok, in a two to three hour reunion setting I understand I will not be able to ever fully grasp what role these people play in our society today – but at least if I drop a Michael Scott joke I can see if they smirk or not. (By the way, I rate my level of “Do I care about you?” or not, if you find The Office funny. If you do not, please stop reading my blog and go throw all of your shit out on the curb because we are breaking up.)

The reason why my reunion in my dream was so fun was because we built a massive snowboarding hill. However besides that fact, I also seemed to enjoy myself because no one had any preconceived notions going in. There was no “Oh she/he was such a geek/bitch/weirdo”. Well even though we were 11 at the time and our end all be all was going to a Much Music dance party – ya she/he is probably the exact same….

I look back at old school pictures and completely forgot some of these people even existed. How awful is that? But it is reality. If I haven’t heard a peep of your name in ten plus years – then yes, I am sorry but I probably forgot about you. That does not mean however I wouldn’t be interested in what you had to say as we both awkwardly held a glass of wine at a cocktail party.

Unfortunately I do believe my dream will stay as such. From what I have observed in today’s world – people love to hold grudges. That geek who got picked on would probably show up hating the person who picked on him/her the most. They would either A: not want to give that person the time of day, or B: spend the entire time trying to prove how much better they turned out. This would be the same in the reverse for the bully I would bet.

Well, if it does happen I have a request – someone bring a bunch of Pogs. Who can get mad when there is a serious Pog tournament happening? I would bring mine but I am pretty sure my parents put them in a garage sale years ago. Damn them for trying to make a quick buck off of my youth.

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Have vs Had

At what point in my journey can I use the phrase “I had cancer”? Is there any specific time that you can switch a “have” to a “had” when you have stage 4? Since the cancer cells in my body are just floating around like dust particles, I wonder if I will ever be able to speak of cancer in a past tense. If I forget about the microscopic cancer cells and just go by what we can see, can I use the term after my first clear scan? Or do I have to wait till that all coveted 5 year mark to finally say, “I had cancer”. Even when that time comes, is that a description I would want to define myself? I am so much more than this disease, but yet it seems to be in the top five of words used to describe myself these days.

Having a “planner” personality it is very difficult to throw all of my papers up in the air and just let life unfold as it may. I am always looking years ahead but now I find myself only being able to plan 3 months at a time. Right now I am not even sure what will happen next month as my next body scan is January 27th. That will determine a yay or nay to surgery on my lung. However if that scan is clear then in February, am I stepping into the “had” zone? Maybe it is when I am off chemo and all I have is scars as evidence of my battle with cancer. Maybe I should stop thinking so much.

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Don’t Blame 2014

The common theme in my “Happy New Year” messages from friends was – “Hopefully 2015 is better than 2014”. It got me thinking – was 2014 really that bad? Pointing out the obvious it could seem that way, but I think the total opposite. It’s not 2014’s fault that it happened to be the year I was diagnosed with cancer. It could have been found up to 8 years ago, but unfortunately just was not.

Yes, at the beginning of the year it looked like things were going to be rough. I was unsure of how long I had in this world. Even though that question is still unanswered (and if you really think about it, it is unanswered for everyone) – I now have what will hopefully be a longer life span because of my two surgeries. That is a positive.

Is chemo something I would choose to do? No. However from the horror stories I have heard from others – my go at it has not been horribly bad.

The support system surrounding me from family, to friends, to even people I have never met – is stronger than I ever would have imagined. My relationships are forever changed and for the most part has brought me closer to these people.

2014 was a year where I learned so much about myself. I have been more of a shoulder to lean on for most than me choosing to lean on others. I do not like to be a burden to anyone, so for the most I try to never complain. I have taken on the comforting role by using humour to make people not afraid to talk about the elephant in the room. No one needs to be sad for me because I am not sad. In a twisted way, being diagnosed has a few positives that came along with it.

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