Tag Archives: happiness

Cancer, party of one

Where do I even begin? (I just finished this blog and apparently I had a lot to say. So grab a coffee and a comfortable chair)

My whole plan when I took a break from blogging back in the Fall was to pick it back up after my scan in March. I had this idea that I could share with all of you my amazeball results of my first, second clear scan and then I could FINALLY share what I discovered my passion to be! Of course that fantasy is just that, a fantasy, and the reality is life never seems to be that easy.

I’ll share my passion another time…

For now, I’m just going to share what has been going on in these last few weeks.

My scan was on March 15th and it was a typical scan day. Drank the crap, joked around with my CT tech, got the IV, scan scan scan, then drank litres upon litres of water for the rest of the day to flush out my kidneys. Normal shit. The only change to the whole routine came with the delivery of the results. Back in the Fall I asked my surgeon if he could save me a trip to Toronto and just call me with my results. He agreed. So later that afternoon he called and said the following;

Liver and lungs – clear

Right ovary – unsure, needs more testing

I’m sorry what? Did you just say now I have to worry about my god damn ovaries?

He proceeded to ask about when my last colonoscopy was, how have my bowel movements been, when was my last period, etc etc. Then he let me know he was off to Whistler but I would be getting an ultrasound appointment in the next two weeks. Perfect.

Then my brain entered into rapid fire mode. It was dissecting every word and pronunciation he said and trying to figure out what the underlying message was.

This is what my brain told myself in less than a minute:

When they were first diagnosing me they told me they thought I had cervical cancer that had spread to my liver. So that means that scan showed the shadow in my colon but then thought it was in my cervix. So this one must be showing the same thing and that’s why he’s asking about my last colonoscopy. That also makes sense because it’s probably just stage 1 or 2 and that can be easily cut out but he doesn’t want to worry me because he’s in Whistler for 2 weeks. This also makes sense because my colon is the only place that when they removed the tumours they did not get clean margins. Yep, cancer in the colon is the logical answer. Or it’s in my ovaries. Or both. Start panicking.

So that was a fun night. The next day (Friday) I received my ultrasound appointment, for the Monday. This further spun my idea tighter around my finger because whhhyyyyy would they book me in so fast!? Yep, shit’s going south.

So that weekend was fun.

Monday comes and my ultrasound tech isn’t aloud to say anything about my exam but does say, “Don’t lose sleep over this.” So that calms me down slightly for the next week and a half while I wait for my next phone call.

The results? Oh inconclusive yet AGAIN. Somethings going on and they can’t figure it out and they can’t brush it off either. My surgeon is frustrated with the radiologist who wants to now send me for an MRI. So he asks if it is ok that he takes me case to the next tumour board meeting.

What is that you ask? A bunch of doctors and radiologists will review cases and give their professional opinion on what they think is going on. It’s actually pretty cool. So of course I agree because why wouldn’t I want more eyes reading my file and trying to figure out the mystery of the ovary.

So that’s where I still stand now. The meeting is on Monday and then I will find out what they said on Tuesday and go from there. Almost a full month after my scan and the results are still slightly unknown.

As you were reading this if you thought, “Well at least it’s just an ovary, you can remove those.” You are not alone. My husband, mother, best friend, and mother-in-law all said the EXACT same thing. And yes, you would be correct, I can lose an ovary. My problem with that is that I am not Swiss cheese. It is very easy now for people just to jump to the surgery idea for me without even blinking an eye. That’s how NORMAL surgery has become for me. This summer will be my first summer since 2014 where I haven’t had any surgery. That is just so crazy even to write.

What you need to step back and think for a second is say this wasn’t a story about a girl who has been under the knife more than she can count. What if this was just a regular ole person? Would your first response from an abnormal scan be, “Oh, well you can just lose an ovary!” Probably not. You would probably be worried or upset and have a tad more compassion.

I am not mad at all at the four closest people in my life jumping to that conclusion so fast. I get it. They are just happy that if it is something, it can be removed – aka non life threatening. But to me, I’m not a cadaver. You can’t just keep slicing and dicing me.

Well I mean you can if it saves my life, but that’s not the point.

The point is, as I have said in previous posts – Every piece they cut away is a piece of me. Literally and figuratively. I don’t want another surgery because I don’t want anything to be fucking wrong with me anymore.

If you are actually in my life and are shocked reading this and are thinking to yourself, “Wow, I had no idea all that was going on.” Surprise! That’s what happens when you go on with your own honky dory life and because I removed the cancer sticker plastered on my forehead, why would you ever think I even deal with matters like this anymore right? WRONG.

Here’s the take away for people reading this who are fighting cancer themselves right now- Cancer is an EXTREMELY lonely disease. The people who rally behind you at first drop off one by one every day longer that you still fight to survive. So YOU have to be the strong one. No one else is there anymore to fight your battles and pick you up when you are down. YOU have to wake up every day and choose not to live in the comfortable dark hole and step into the light. YOU have to remain positive and keep telling yourself that you are just fine. YOU have to put a smile on your face in public and act like nothings wrong. If you solely rely on others to raise you up and motivate you, now’s the time to start finding that voice for yourself. I’m telling you the crowd dwindles fast and when you are left alone, take a minute to be sad, and then pick yourself back up, dust off and continue on fighting.

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Distractions

If you are a frequent reader of my blog you may have noticed I do not write as often as I used to. There’s a reason for it. Now that I am not only working on myself physically but also mentally, I have been trying to find healthy distractions to keep my mind occupied. These range from walking the dog, visiting value village, among other things. I’m not saying writing in my blog isn’t healthy, but it does force me to reflect on my life. Most days I would rather try not to focus on my current life situation. I still haven’t stopped crying at least once a day, but the tears are becoming less and less. I started seeing my therapist again so that has also helped immensely. She is helping me to become more social again. I always retreat in my cocoon for a bit after surgery, but this time it has lasted longer. I have developed trust issues with friends since that big blow out in the Spring with one of them. I’ve developed this idea in my mind that if I don’t hear from them, then so be it. I used to be the one who would make sure to always maintain those connections, but that old me seems to have fallen at the waist-side. This is what I am working on. I have to try and believe that not everyone is a bad person and I should stay connected. It will take some time, but I’m willing to take those baby steps. As for this blog, I’m not quitting don’t worry! I still have so much I would like to say and share – it just may take a little longer for me to do so.

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Healthy Weight Loss

As I have written about many times – I have body issues. My scars funny enough do not bother me in the slightest – it is more of the gained weight over the past year and nine months. By the way – how crazy is it that it is has been that long? Unbelievable. Although it feels like it has been my life forever truthfully. 

I went from 155 in April ’14 to 135 in September ’14 (back to back surgeries will do that) to 180 in January ’15 – and have been that weight ever since. The swelling from the steriods went down, but I still did not feel like myself. It wasn’t until I began to eat clean and healthy that I began seeing amazing results. I was never doing it for weight loss. That is the truth. It was just a happy side effect to eating as clean as I have been. It has been 5 weeks since my healthy lifestyle started and I have lost a total of 15 pounds. Before you begin to judge – no I am not weighing myself. Before each chemo I have to weigh in so they can make sure the dose is appropriate for my weight. I don’t even care about the scale. It is the way I feel in my clothes now. The way my face looks in the mirror. Slimmer and healthy. When you start eating clean you stop watching how much you are eating. Just the other day I finished an entire container of fresh hummus and veggies in just two sittings. No regrets because it is not a bag of chips. I eat as much as I want, whenever I want. It is a glorious thing. My stomach will never be flat again due to my scar tissue build up, and I may never return to my original 155 pounds – but that’s ok. I am happy and healthy. 

Here is a progress picture. Ignore that itsy bitsy bathing suit – it was a pre-cancer purchase. I’m not dumb I obviously know it no longer fits. 

April ’15 – July ’15 – December ’15 

   

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Do What You Love

Many years ago I was driving with Chris’s mom and she asked me this question, “If you could do one job where money didn’t matter – What would you do?” My answer – Buy and sell antiques. I love thrifting, and I used to buy a lot at the stores, but was always reluctant to purchase too much because I did not want to be a hoarder. Growing up my Dad gave me the bug of garage saling and taught me how to bargin with people – however I almost felt too shy to go out and do it alone. Also, when I was older I could never rationalize spending all my money on vintage and antique items – so I would only buy specific things I came across. It would put knots in my stomach at times having to leave really good pieces on the shelf in the store, and running away fast before I convinced myself why I needed it. 

Now fast forward to last year – I needed a hobby. My good days when I wasn’t sick from chemo were becoming very boring. I did not want to sit inside all day, but going out meant spending money I didn’t have. During a lovely lunch when Chris’s mom was back in town, I began talking about my bordem with her best friend. We were discussing our mutual love of thrifting when she told me she has an antique booth at a market. My ears lit up when she then said, “You are welcome to put some of your items in there.” Now my thrifting had a purpose! Not only was I now able to see if my eye for things was a good as I thought it was, but it gave me a reason to get up and out of the house. I would help clean and reorganize the booth as well – which I love doing. Visual merchandiser at its best!

Today, I am hitting up garage sales on Saturdays, going to auctions on Sundays, and thrifting whenever I get the chance. Am I making any money? Who really knows. I tried to keep track at first but I let that slide pretty fast. The truth is – I don’t care if I am. I just love the thrill of being able to buy amazing pieces and then see them sell. 

Now, could I have done this before I was sick? A few years ago I would have said “no way”, but now I say YES. Maybe I would not be able to spend as much time as I am doing it, but once a month I could have swung by an auction. The items I purchased I could have then thrown up on Kijiji. As long as I broke even then what would have been the harm? 

The point is – do not wait until something bad happens to start doing something that makes you glow inside. Figure out a way to just do it. I love seeing different little companies of my friends pop up on Facebook or Instagram. I am their constant cheerleader whether they know it or not. They are still working a full time job some of them, but now they also have these side projects that makes them feel good inside. Whether it is yoga, nutrition, fitness, baking, make-up, photography, or styling – they are making their shit happen. So stop reading this and go out and do the same. 

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The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

 

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This year truly has been the best holiday season I have ever had. It was the first time where each day spent with family and friends, was taken in moment by moment. Little things that would have come and gone before are now remembered and will become a cherished memory of mine. Gift giving was thought out and it was done not by monetary value, but with heart. I enjoyed the pleasure of watching other people open there gifts and felt and took in all of their joy in that moment. Laughter was everywhere and it is still warming my heart in this moment. The positive energy is continuous and lifts me up with just a thought of these past few weeks. My eyes and heart were open more than ever for the first time in my life. It was and still continues to be a beautiful experience that I would not trade for anything. My wish during this holiday season is that every person can experience even one tenth of the joy that I am feeling. Do not let the little things pass you by – they can be bigger than you could ever have imagined.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Xx

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