Monday, January 23, 2012

One of my favorite songs.

I just wanted to share this with you. I love Hilary Weeks and I really love this song. I am so thankful for the words sung as they are so true. I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Let me clarify.

I hope I didn't sound harsh on my last post. It was NEVER my intention to offend anyone. I need you to understand something... I am still a girl. I still worry about the zit on my face (the reach out and slap you one I have right now), the 50+ pounds I have to loose (which we all know did not go to my boob's or even one!) and my boyish hair right now.

The difference between who I used to be and who I am now is that I am trying very hard to not let it be my focus. I am trying to love me at whatever stage I am in. I am trying to love what my body is for the mere fact that it is alive. I am trying to appreciate the way I look because I know it could be a lot worse.

We never know to the extent of what someone else is going through unless we have been there ourselves. I pray you are never here. I just wanted to try and explain how I really felt when I was at that time in this journey. It was painful, frustrating and depressing. But, it is over now and I can focus on the next curve in the road that is approaching in my life.

I don't ever want to be the girl who "has been through cancer and has had it so much worse so we better never complain to her about anything!!" I am like you... still... but maybe on a smaller scale and a little less concerned. We are all human and we all struggle with how we look and most certainly what others are thinking when they look at us. My wish for all of you is that you care a little less and love yourself a little more.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Ugly Truth

I want to talk about something that is so near to my heart that I haven't had the ability to write about it until now. It has hit, not close to home, but instead, smashed right into it for me.

The truth is, most of us will never face the reality of feeling completely and totally ugly. Trust me, I am a woman and I have felt the painful awkwardness of being a young woman, being mocked and bugged for things my body had or lacked. I have felt that bloated and gross feeling that comes with carrying a child. I have watched my body change through the years, sometimes loving it and sometimes down right hating it.

But believe me when I say that the biggest zit on my face (like "reach out and slap you" zit), the five or ten pounds that I have obsessed over and over and over and over (get the picture) and over again, or the worst possible hair day pales in comparison to the way I have seen myself this past year.

Few of you, and I am so grateful for this, will ever have to look at yourself and not even recognize who you see. It is so hard to explain to people what that feeling is. It feels lost and sick. It feels completely helpless and scary. It feels odd and unimaginable. Maybe you think that I am over reacting, but can you image not know who is looking back at you in the mirror?

There were so many days, and I mean SO many days, that I couldn't believe who that was. It is the weirdest feeling to see the world the same, my kids, my husband, our home, our family, our friends, the grocery store, the car, the yard, our supper, buildings, nature... I literally mean my world; but not have the faintest of clues as to who that was staring back at me from across the bathroom counter.

Sore, red, rashy, bloated, and hairless was the new me for quite long enough, thank you very much. What makes us as women feel beautiful? Our hair, our eyes and how we get to put our face on. Our body and our breasts (still hate that word!! but I am going for effect here) are some of the most important things that define us as women. Imagine all of that being taken away from you. No hair to say "I feel funky/tired/or beautiful today." No eyelashes to extend and bat at the hordes of people taken in by your beautiful eyes. No butterfly kisses for your children (that one got me every time ESPECIALLY when they were given to me). No eyebrows to show your expression... only sad, puffy and sore eyes. I mean seriously, right down to my fingernails which were lifted, split and as thin as paper. Everything - gone.

To make matters worse, let's gain 20 pounds from steroids! I always explain it like this, "Eat like a football player and sleep like a new born baby." I can testify to you that THAT does nothing for your figure. And you know what, no matter how hard you try, there is NOTHING you can do about it. You are too sore and tired (because your hemoglobin levels have plummeted) to even try. Talk about compounding the feeling of ugly upon ugly.

And you know what, luckly for me, I am not a burn victim or someone who has been horrible disfigured by diseas or accident. My body is slowly, very slowly, returing to itself. I feel like I can see me again. I feel blessed to have had this experience in my life to show me what beauty really is. To love and appreciate me at any stage, and I can say that and honeslty mean it. It is my hope to never bitch or complain about myself again. I like you struggle with this.

My prayer for you is that you will love and appreciate who you are, no matter what stage of life you are in. That you will take care of your body so it can do the same for you. That you will see beyone the zit, 5 pounds or bad hair, and just be happy and love who you are. It could honestly be so much worse. Don't listen to the world, magazine or what the boy or husband you "love" so much says about you. You are beautiful from the inside out. That beauty radiates from within and infects those around you. It is stunning and amazing. And don't ever forget that.

Oh the sexiness of my clevege...

Or the lack there of! At Christmas time my sis and I were at Costco picking a few (hundred) things up. Of course we were sharing a cart so we had stuff on the bottom. Without thinking (because it wasn't such a big deal but now it is) I bent over to pick some of the things up and put them on the belt. I caught one guy take a look down my shirt and then snap his head right back for another look at what the train wreck revealed... not so hot!

P.S. The huge double roll under my boob is my arms. I had a mini freak out and thought that there is no possible way that I was THAT huge!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The verd is in.

Alright... (big SIGH). I have my MRI and CT results in hand. I am just writing from my heart right now. I really want to get into our doctor and ask some question's to put my mind at ease... or not. So I will put that update in later.

I will start with the MRI. The "lesion in the right breast at 6 o'clock position... seen previously is no longer visible on today's exam. There is no suspicious abnormality identified in the chest or abdomen included on the STIR (whatever that it!) sequence." In their opinion it was a "normal exam. No persistent abnormality right breast, no adenopathy or metastatic disease visible on this exam."

I am nervous that the mass that was there before was cancerous and that it has been shrunk by the chemo. I know this is good news, but I am really starting to think of further action I can take to make sure that it doesn't come back in the one sagger I have left. At this point to me, everything staying the same is the best possible news... no changes would have meant to me that it is just the way I was made and so it is not a big deal. So, I will be looking into this to find out some more details.


Onto the CT. Barf... and barf some more. Apparently I am the only one worried about what was said in it. I didn't really barf by the way, I just got the wind a little bit knocked out of my sails.

This exam says "There are some stable small subpleural nodules at the lung bases. One of the nodules in the right middle lobe anteriorly has increase in size from 2.0 mm to 4.3 mm (MILLIMETERS - I was totally freaked because I thought this was cm's. Glad I had a retard moment and read it wrong!) No new nodules within the right lung. Within the left upper lobe... there is some new faint ground-glass opacity and small regions of subpleural reticular change (fancy words), which would most likely relate to the radiotherapy related change if this has occurred recently (which it has).

Their impression was that "There has been a slight interval increase in the size of one nodule withing the right middle lobe which is of uncertain significance.... CT followup... recommended... for sure with 3-6 months' time..."

I just wish that there was some time when everything was normal and we didn't have to wait for another test or scan for the next 3-6 months... I will live life as I have been, somewhat normally, and try and push this to the back of my mind and FREAKIN' WAIT (sorry, I am mildly frustrated) until the next CT.

The oncology nurse V has contacted my oncologist so that I can chat with her about what is going on. I am glad that I still have the ability to speak with her and her great set of brains!

I am also blessed with great brains in the family and I spoke with my Auntie and Uncle and they were able to read the report and tell me their take on it. They read it and didn't think it was that big of a deal. They said I should speak with my oncologist (which I will) and that I really shouldn't worry about what is going on. Like they said my body is healing and so some things are changing as well. My Auntie said that the nodule is so small it would still be way to early to biopsy or anything. The next event that would happen if they are concerned would be a dye contrast of my abdomen and they have not ordered that so I am taking this as "all sign's point to not freaking out." So I am going to try and let it go for now.

Like my Momma said, I am in the system (are any system's ever good??) so I will be and am being watched carefully and closely. That makes me feel a little more secure. I just want to be on top of this like me on chocolate to make sure that we are completely informed of what is going on at all times until we get the ok that we can stop worrying (would that ever really happen?).

I will let you know what is going on after I talk to the oncologist. Otherwise, I will just be playing the waiting game again for the next few months.

I have had many blessing as of late and they tell me that I need to trust in the Lord and trust in his plan for me. I have been blessed with health and peace and I need to rely on him and know that he is blessing me daily. And for that I am grateful.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

On the verge of tears!

My appt yesterday went really well with Dr. M. Have I told you how amazing he is?? Well, he is, if you haven't heard. He asked me if life was returning to normal and how my energy level was. I answered with excitement, coming off of my chair a little bit. He smiled a big smile and said, "I don't think much slows you down." I think he is (for the most part) right.

He asked me how I was healing and how long the radiated area bothered me once I got home. Then it was time for the check up. I guess I am very lucky that I am a super white chick because the area that was radiated it hardly visible anymore. I am a bit pink on the left side under my arm but that is about it. He said that had I had darker skin like his, I would have a "tan" for about a year and a half afterwards. I guess being glow-in-the-dark has it's benefits!

I asked him if it was normal for my side and ribs to still be bothering me. I asked him if the scarred area can re-adhere (my sis told me it can so I knew it had in some spots). The answer to these question's were yes. That made me feel ok to know that the pain that I still have is "normal". The things that I worry over now are a lot more of a stress than would have been previously.

I though that everything went well. When we left he said "I'll see you around." And as great as this man is, I hope I never have to see him again... unless we are visiting Kelowna and pop in for a quick "hi".


This morning I had to go in for a CT. I got undressed and sat in the chair and waited for my turn. The two tech's came out and said that they didn't think that I needed another CT until June. My heart started to race. I was panicked and I didn't have Ken there to back me up. I told them that my oncologist said that I need to have a CT every 6 months for the next five years. With this info, they went to the radiologist and spoke to him about it.

I was trying not to cry. I have been waiting for this CT for a long time and I want to know what it or more likely, isn't going on in there. Then I will SORT OF rest easier for the next 6 months. As I was sitting I was thinking, "I am already here. I am already undressed are ready to go. I am 31 years old and I have three kids and no one is going to tell me that it isn't necessary. I am scared and I want to know how things are. Please, PLEASE just do the CT for me."

The man came back out and said that they decided that they would do the CT because "your oncologist" said that is what should be happening. I asked what the problem was with doing another CT. The man told me it was just so that I wasn't over exposed to radiation... REALLY??? Really? Apparently this radiation is different than the radiation that I have already had because this radiation is man made. I'll have to research this a little bit because I am confused by it.

Anyways, they got me in and did the scan. Now I am back to the darn waiting game of finding out what is going on. The waiting is the worst part. Truly. I don't like it. I'll keep you posted!

The Hospital

The cold air snapped me back into reality as I exited the hospital this morning. I have had 2 appointments in the last two days. I used to dread hospitals... the only bright spot in them was the birth of my babies... that was all the joy that they ever brought. They were a place were sickness and death were always looming around the corner. I hated them.

Now I see them a wee bit differently. They are a place of healing and helping and love. They are a place of comfort and care. They are a place of relief, rest and peace. They are filled with people who love others and who's concern for them, far exceeds that of which I think I could ever posses.

Within the walls there are answers to questions - good and bad. Knowledge in abundance. Life saving skills that are available to all.

I am thankful for the doctor's and nurses who I have come in contact with. I am thankful that they took me seriously and figured out what needed to happen and how. I am thankful for modern medicine which has given me more time than if I was left alone.

I look at the hospital as a place of hope. I want to be able to help there one day, even if there is barf! ;) Even if it is just in the chemo room. I hope I can give someone comfort and a shoulder to cry on. Let them know they are never alone and that it will all work out in the end... whenever that might be.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Not so blue.

I just wanted to let you know that Christmas wasn't so blue. It was amazing, busy, crazy, gross and yummy! We got to see all of our immediate family except 5 people which is a feat! There are 48 IMMEDIATE people on my man's side. Needless to say, it was a small miracle that we were able to visit with ALMOST all of them.

Seeing all of our family made Christmas so special. It is truly what it is all about. I loved each moment of laughing, listening and loving. We are so blessed. My face hurt a few times from getting my giggle on. It was great!


I will let you in on a little secret... If you want to make me slightly annoyed, give me some advice or literature on cancer that you haven't read, and expect me not to be passionate about what I have learned and am trying to share with you!

I am not saying that I believe everything that I have read. Like my sis-in-law said "You can find info on any topic you are trying to support..." Completely agree, even though I wasn't so great on the debate team, well I was never really on it but we did have to do a debate in class once and it was awful... I was awful. But, I have done quite a bit of reading and I am honestly concerned for the well being of those that I love. Which is probably you if you are reading this!!

In the future, it would be great if you want me to read something that will benefit me, then maybe you should take a read through it first because I am sure that at one time in your life it will do the same for you. Or someone you love.

P.S. Please don't argue with me that I am crazy and over the top... You would be passionate about something that directly affected your life. But if you do, I will still love you but might not talk to you for a bit - or I'll change the subject.

Where have you been?

I have, once again, been MIA. It has honestly been really nice to be home and back to life as usual (well mostly usual... pretty usual for what is usual for us through this past year). Interpretation - I have been busy at home doing things that I used to do and it rocks!!! (I still wish Mrs. Poppins would come and clean my house up and give me a spoon full of sugar)

I had a break down on the way to see family for New Years. But I was driving by myself, following Ken and the kids, so I just cried it out, prayed and felt good by the time we arrived. I swear I need to let it all go every few weeks. It's weird.

So now I am feeling happy. I am excited for the new year and all that I want to accomplish in it. I am thankful for last year and what it taught me and how it changed me. I am SO grateful for the new perspective that I have on life (most moments - don't get me wrong, I am still a firecracker waiting to go off. I am a normal person just like you who gets frustrated and annoyed) and the ability that I have to just let some things go. I really find that a lot easier. There isn't time to stew about things that aren't worth it.

I am excited because tomorrow I have an appt with Dr. M (seriously, one of the best!!!). I think it is just a follow up and most likely a feel up... seems like I can't escape that. Men and women I don't really know, flocking from everywhere to feel my non-tit and real one for that matter. Just need to make sure they are the same! We'll I can tell them they are not. I am thankful for my feel ups... they make me feel like I can breath again because I am being looked after.

I am not 100% sure what else Dr. M would do. He probably wants to check and see if I am all healed up - of course I am.

And then on Saturday I have the VERY exciting and highly anticipated CT. I really want this one and I really want the results. I just want to find out how everything is going in there. I pray that nothing has changed and all still looks the same... then we can continue healing.

Healing is what I think we will do most of this year. I am alright with that. :)