Friday, October 11, 2013

A lot of people say that going through a life threatening or near death experience can change a person for the better.  It can turn a high-strung person into a more laid-back person.  Angry people into nicer people.  Cockiness fades, it humbles a person and brings them back down to earth.  

Or that an experience like that will teach that person an important life lesson.  To focus more on family.  To settle down.  Or give back somehow to society.

God knows that I was less than perfect before I got sick.  Far from it.  I had a chip on my shoulder when it came to certain things and extremely sensitive when it came to other things.  When this came up with one of my friends a couple of months after my diagnosis, she said to me, "You probably see things a lot differently now.  You'll stop getting so upset all the time."

Ok, well fast forward a year and a half.  Actually, fast forward to even just a month afterwards.  Guess what?  I still have that chip on my shoulder and I'm still sensitive when it comes to those certain topics.  If anything, it's even worse than before.

So what does that mean?  That I haven't learnt my life lesson yet?  If so, I guess that means a recurrence is in my future... and if I still don't change by then, does that mean I'll die as punishment?  Or if I survive that time around, and I still don't change, will the cancer keep coming back until I do?

That's bullshit.


I've heard some people talk about another girl they know who got cancer.  She, also less than perfect, got it because karma is a bitch, according to them.  If that is so, what is it that I did so wrong that gave me cancer?  Was it because I angered my conservative parents by not being home by midnight on a night out at the bar with my friends?  Was it because I didn't get along with my brothers growing up?  Or was it the crazy fights with old boyfriends?  Perhaps it was the bad choices in old boyfriends.  Or maybe it was because of the chip on my shoulder... did it come full circle?  

Well, to answer my own questions, I'm going to say, "No."  That's bullshit.  To say someone got cancer because of karma... I think that it's extremely offensive.  I don't believe that ANYBODY is perfect, we've all made mistakes, some more than others, and some worse than others.  If this were true, wouldn't the entire population of deceased people in the world have had cancer at one point in their lives?  


Sure, having cancer has taught me lessons and has changed the way I do and see some things, but if I haven't changed in the way you would have liked to see, that's your problem.  Not mine.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hello Again

It's been over a year since my last post for many reasons.  It was a busy year, with a lot of traveling and baking, but the main reason for my blogging absence was the brain fog.

Brain fog, or chemo brain, is exactly what it sounds like.  And it's frustrating as hell to deal with.  People who I had known for years, former co-workers, friends and family who I see regularly; I couldn't remember their names.  I was constantly misplacing things.  I would read a text message, plan to respond as soon as I was done whatever it was that I was doing, and then forget.  The most frustrating, though, was not being able to get my thoughts into words, be it verbally or written.

So, after months of trying to exercise my brain, I'm back.  I've gotten back into reading (which I used to love doing) and playing a lot of Sudoku, lol.  I also started working again, which I believe is what really got my brain going again.

I have to admit, I was in a bit of a funk and had fallen into a trap.  Before I had started working again, I had a daily routine, but it definitely was not a healthy one.  I was sleeping in front of the TV every night, waking up in front of the TV every morning, laying there.  Staring, but not actually watching, whatever would happen to be on the channel that I was too lazy to change.  I'd have my Macbook open  on Facebook, my cell within an arm's reach charging next to me, cordless phone next to my pillow, and my iPad on, open on Instagram, scrolling through the same pictures over and over again.  If I wasn't Instagram, I was on Pinterest.  And I could be on Pinterest for hours, literally, without even realizing it.  I was a lazy bum.  A couch potato.  I felt like shit, being so useless, and this was not what I wanted to be doing.  I used to be so active, sometimes even going to the gym twice in one day.  And I had become the complete opposite.  The trouble was, was that I didn't have the energy to do much else.

Not that the entire year was spent that way.  I'd say that it started, oh, maybe March/April-ish.  So, when I was advised by my social worker and doctor to start working again, I was of course scared, having been out of it for over a year now.  I was more excited than anything, though.  I was excited to get my life back to normal.  I missed my patients, I had developed some pretty great relationships with quite a few of them.  I knew they were waiting to see me again, too.  I missed the people I worked with.  I wanted to feel independent, capable, financially stable, I wanted to be a working woman again.  So, I agreed that returning to work would be the best next step.

My doctor had me on a program that would slowly ease me back into the game, but ultimately, "ease" would be an antonym for what I had experienced upon my return.  It was not easy, and I left each shift feeling as though I may not have been ready to start working again after all.  I would feel defeated, and my self-esteem was plummeting.  These feelings brought me back to the first time I tried to go grocery shopping after my mastectomy: as my basket slowly filled up, the more often I had to put it down, standing there looking like a fool while I tried to muster up the energy to pick it back up again.  I literally had to put the damn basket down after every few steps, and I was panting.  Why didn't I just get a cart?  Because I didn't need a whole lot.  I didn't think that the few items I wanted would be that heavy.  And it wasn't, really... not if this had been a couple of months before.  But for me, at this moment in time, it was way too fucking heavy.  And it took everything for me wait until I got into my car instead of balling my eyes out in the middle of the asian food aisle.

Anyway, in the end, I could not meet the expectations that were set for me at work.  So, because of that, and along with a few other reasons, I decided that it was time to move on.  With no other position lined up, I quit.  Let me tell you: best decision I had ever made.  And with the patience of kind people who have no idea of my recent health history, I've once again found joy in a career that I had seriously considered leaving.

It took a few weeks before I started working again after I quit, (I had my jaw surgery, more on that in a future post) but it's especially because I've started working that my brain feels functional again.  It's not 100%, but it's well enough to get me blogging!

I have a lot to catch you all up on.  Like I mentioned earlier, I traveled a lot over the past year, and I had gotten into a little side business with my baking.  Then there were weddings.  Surprise birthday parties.  The CIBC Run for the Cure.  And I had completed chemo.  And there were more surgeries.

There were a lot of ups, and there were a lot of downs.

All of these events, all of these stories, I'm looking forward to sharing with you.

However, this post has taken me forever to write... and will be all for now.

So, until next time, I wish you all a good-night.  And thanks for reading.  :)

Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, BC

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Feet are a Burnin'!

Hand and Foot Syndrome (Palmar-Plantar Erythrodysesthesia)

A side-effect of some types of chemotherapy, can cause redness, swelling and pain on the soles of the feet and/or hands.

And I got it bad.

The heels of my feet are killing me.  They burn, I cannot put any pressure on them.  Walking in flip-flops kill, as the sole "flips" up and smacks the heel of my foot with every step.

I called Cancer Care today, all the nurse told me to do was keep it moisturized and to keep off my feet, and to make sure I tell my doctor about it before my next treatment.  All things I already knew to do, thankyouverymuch.  I have a baby shower and a wedding to attend this weekend, both will be interesting... IF I can make it.

But what I am really worried about is how I will walk for my brother's wedding in two weeks.  Fuckin' cancer...

I know it's not my wedding, that maybe I shouldn't stress too much, but fuck.  It's my baby bro's wedding.

My bridesmaids dress, which I ordered in February, was ordered a size too big knowing that breast cancer patients can gain 5-10 lbs during treatment.  I went to pick it up a couple of weeks ago, and it didn't fit.  It was too tight.  And they can't let it out.  Perfect.  Fuckin' cancer.

If this 35+ degree weather holds up 'til the wedding day, then I will be sweating in that frickn' wig all day long.  Fuckin' cancer.

And last but not least, the burning in my feet and the fatigue from chemo... I have no idea what I'm going to do on their wedding day.  Fuckin' cancer.

I am grateful to be more than halfway through treatment, but this new drug is killing me.  This drug also causes the most intense pain in my bones, which was the worst on days 3 and 4 after treatment.  I could barely move.  Oh well, better than nausea I guess.

And that is my rant for the day.  

Thanks.  'Til next time.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Been super moody lately.  Extremely irritable and sometimes even feeling like I might be depressed.  I dunno wtf is going on with me.

So steer clear of me.  I might rip your head off.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


"It doesn't feel the same, and it's hard to carry your purse.  I cry at least once a day about it because it's hard to overlook it when you're standing there in the mirror.  When you look down, it's the first thing you see... So you're reminded constantly of this thing -- this cancer thing that you had."

- Christina Applegate

Monday, June 18, 2012

Two Down, Four to Go

It is nearly 8:30 am, wide awake for over five hours now.  My second round of chemo has messed up my sleep schedule.

I had taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging.  I've been having trouble putting down into words exactly what I want to say lately.   But here is a quick breakdown of what has come since I started chemo. 

I met with my oncologist for the first time nearly five weeks ago, who very patiently and attentively reviewed my pathology reports, answered my DISC "C" (my patient personality) questions and concerns,  and discussed my treatment plan.  I am to have 6 rounds of chemo, 3 weeks apart.  No radiation.

And the following week, it started.

I remember walking into the hospital the morning of my first treatment.  It was a beautiful and sunny day, wearing capri's, a tank top and a light sweater.  I made my way through the Cancer Care entrance up to the chemo room.  I can't say that I had any real expectations of what I would be seeing, but I was caught off guard.  The nurse led me to my chair and along the way I passed many patients, sitting in their big cushy chairs; bald, covered in blankets, some lying down and/or sleeping.  They looked sick.  For a split moment, I felt like a fraud, like I didn't belong there; I had all my hair, I was dressed 'normal' and I looked perfectly healthy and fine.

I sat down and the nurse presented me with a medicine cup containing my premeds.  In addition to the anti-nauseant that I had taken just 60 minutes prior, I was to take a cocktail of more anti-nauseants along with some steroids to prevent any possible allergic reactions.  Because I had yet to have my port placed, I had to remove my sweater in order for them to administer my chemo through my arm.  "Oh, you're going to be cold!  Let me get you a warm blanket," the nurse says as I sat there in my tank top.

Then, I felt a little more like one of them.

I hate I.V.'s.  Hate them.  Having an I.V. in my arm scares me to the point where I don't want to move, with the fear that in one swift motion in the wrong direction the whole thing can come ripping out of my arm.  I hate the sensation of fluid moving through my veins.  I hate knowing that there is a foreign object sticking out of my body from a vein.  But without a choice, here I was, and the nurse set me up.  Two of my drugs were pushed into my line by hand, took about 15 minutes.  The last of my chemo drug was through a drip, timed at 1 hour and 5 minutes.  And so I sat.

My visit wasn't all that bad, to be honest.  The staff is great.  So friendly, and most of all, patient.  I truly appreciate a very patient health care provider.  They also have volunteers who walk around with decaf coffee, juice, water and cookies.  Some of the other patients around me had friends and family sitting with them, talking, and while I showed up at my appointment alone, I didn't feel as lonely as I had expected to feel.  It was a lively place to be in that morning, and it helped that I have a friend who works down the hall and sat with me during her morning break and kept bringing me snacks lol.  An older couple of men even joked with me about my expertise at manoeuvring an I.V. pole as I made my way to the washroom and asked if I would help if they needed.  The request wasn't as creepy as I probably made it sound, lol, we all just laughed.  And I felt a strange sense of comfort from that moment on.

That first treatment was quite tolerable.  The bus ride home seemed quicker than the bus ride there, and I felt fine.  I even took a quick walk before making my way home.  The nausea hit a few hours later, I slept, and when I woke I was feeling much better.  I did feel a bit queasy over the next few days, and the drowsiness from the anti-nauseants hit me as well, but not enough to stop me from taking a weekend getaway in Minneapolis for a friend's stagette!  My tummy troubles kept me from drinking but it was still a weekend full of much needed girl-talk, shopping and dancing.

The other side-effects.. oh gawd.  And the second treatment.. I shall post of that later this week.  This entry took me forever to write.  On top of brain fog, there is so much that has happened since I had stopped blogging regularly and I don't know where to begin.

I will end with this, though...

There is a newfound happiness in my life.  I don't think the word "happiness" can even justify it, actually.  It came at a time when I had already come out of the shadows, felt content, happy, and was looking forward to starting a new life after surgery.  At a time when I wasn't even looking.  At a time when I even felt that I didn't want.  Then he came.  And I wanted.  ♥  

Til next time. :)