Dream Creator

Dream Creator
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Just a small town Canadian dreamer... This started as the diary of a young woman's experience with breast cancer and continues 5 years later as the diary of a woman, like many other, who has decided to take her lemons and make lemonade. **If reading this blog for the purpose of learning about my breast cancer experience, PLEASE START AT THE OLDEST POST (October 2009) AND WORK YOUR WAY FORWARD**

Friday, December 17, 2010

Decision


The other day my head oncologist called and we were able to chat about what I am supposed to do to avoid getting ovarian and uterine cancer.
The final verdict?
Full hysterectomy with hormone replacement therapy.
My onc tells me that being so young, taking Estrogen is actually beneficial to me to avoid further cancers and other complications related to my ovaries being removed. I know the stigma attached to taking estrogen is that is causes cancer but in my case it isn't true. Especially with my cancer being estrogen negative.
So I am happy with the news. I would like to remove any parts of me that have a high chance of getting cancer, but ONLY if the other side effects are minimal to none. Taking HRT makes it little...maybe not none, but little.
I am ok with that.
My mom has decided with her surgeon that she will be having a full mastectomy early in January. It's funny how against the surgery she was for the first diagnosis of cancer, but now that it is back it's like "Take these things OFF! I am SICK OF THIS CRAP!" type mentality.
I don't blame her, I felt that way the first time! If I don't need em' and they can cause my demise...get rid of em'!
I am sad for my mom though. I know it will be hard for her.
Scars are tough. They remind us of the fear and the illness.
But I think we need to change our mentality so that when we look at them they remind us of our courage and accomplishment.
It can be easier said than done however.

Christmas is in the air and I like it this year. I am feeling very thankful for my life and it's richness.
Last year at my husband's work Xmas party I had just found out that I had cancer and I didn't really enjoy myself.
This year (tomorrow) I am so excited to let loose and celebrate a long trying year with a successful outcome!
Tis the season!
Cheers!

Friday, December 10, 2010

My momma.

So I have been waiting for a phone interview with my oncologist in Kelowna to discuss whether or not I should take HRT and remove my uterus. I am hoping she basically tells me a yes or no on the subject as I am finding it is as hard as ever to make decisions. I can't even decide what to make for dinner let a lone a decision that could affect my life span. I am thinking I am leaning towards the full meal deal. I would like to try to avoid cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis as best I can.
So the other day marked my one year anniversary of my diagnosis. The day I drove to Trail (an hour away) with my dogs and kid in tow, thinking I was clear of cancer only to be told I wasn't.
Officially the worst day of my life. BAR NONE.
Ironically this date brought me back to Trail as I was doing some work for Selkirk college in the area. AND Ironically I was at the chemo room in Trail that day, dropping off business cards for my new wig business I have opened up here in Nelson.
Anyway, the day had a weird vibe for sure. It was a long day. I drove around the koots for six hours visiting salons for work and it gave me a lot of time to think about where the year has taken me. In general I believe I am in a better place now than I was a year ago. However it is something I have to work at. reminding myself of where I've been and what I have been through to keep me in the right frame of mind and to keep me positive and grateful.
After my 6 hour drive I worked at the salon for 6 hours on clients. It was exhausting.
During my last client, when I had put all of her foils in and she was "processing" I went into our staff room and checked my cell phone. There was a message from my mom.
She was crying I could tell.
I called her back and she said
"Megan it's back."
right away I knew what that meant.
She had found a lump in her armpit weeks earlier and had it biopsied. I guess her results were in.
In the summer when we found out we had the BRCA1 gene, I mentioned to my mom she should think about having a mastectomy. I knew her recurrence rate was high.
she mentioned she would continue to screen and then I said "Screening is great but it won't prevent you from getting cancer again, and ultimately if you get it again, you HAVE to go through treatment again, no matter how early you are diagnosed."
My mom was contemplating a prophylactic mastectomy when she was re diagnosed.
So here we sit.
Same as before....
Christmas is coming, and someone has cancer...
My sister just had a baby and someone has cancer...
it is all too familiar.
(my mom's first diagnosis was in December and my sister was pregnant, my diagnosis was a day before my sister's b-day...December 3 and my mom's new diagnosis was a day before my sister's b-day December 3...5 days before my sister's baby was born...significance?)
My heart aches again.
It aches for my mom and it aches for my dad
it aches for my sister and my son and my daughter and my husband.
We will be saddling up again,
like it or not,
we have another bumpy ride to take.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

OOOOphorectomy vs hySSSSSSterectomy.

Today I went and saw my kick-ass Gynecologist. I will call him G-Doc so that I don't have to type that long title anymore than I need to.
I was hoping and praying that he would tell me that I could go ahead and just have my FALLOPIAN tubes out and then I could avoid the early menopause thing. Removing my ovaries would put me into early menopause which puts me at a higher risk for Osteoporosis and Cardiovascular disease. I guess the younger you are (when they remove your Estrogen source, the higher the risk for these side effects)
G-Doc wants me to consider taking hormone replacement therapy in order to prevent the side effects (or lessen them) but if I do that, I could possibly increase my chance of recurring breast cancer & I have a significant chance of developing uterine cancer. SO! He thinks I should then consider removing my uterus as well.....the whole SHA-BANG.
Wicked.
So, now I have a decision to make.
Oophorectomy and that's it.
Oophorectomy with HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and risk Uterine Cancer
Or FULL HYSTERECTOMY and hormone replacement therapy.
hmmm.....
kinda wishing I was deciding on which Mexican resort to go to instead.
Sick of making decisions on how to keep my heart tickin'
At 31, I should be deciding if I want a cosmopolitan or a crantini.
This bites.
ciao.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"The Official Call"

I woke up this morning knowing I would be getting the official phone call from my genetic counsellor telling me whether or not I have the mutated BRCA1 gene.
Up until now I have been told that it is pretty much a for sure thing. So why does it bother me so much? Why did I feel the dread of the call? Why did it wake me up, reminiscent of last December when I was told I had cancer?
I guess it's because it affects my kids and other family members. It takes cancer to that next level in my life. "Go on, fuck with me cancer, I can take it...but leave my family alone."
So the phone eventually rang.
Straight to the point she went.
"You, as we suspected, have the same genetic mutation as your mother. You are BRCA1 positive."
Instant tears.
Instant fears.
I did get some interesting things out of the rest of our conversation though.
She began talking to me about my ovaries. I should have them removed because there is a direct link with this gene and ovarian cancer and my risk is greatly increased. I already knew all of this...
I told her I went to see my Gynecologist last week and he mentioned the new study that Ovarian cancer actually may start in the fallopian tubes, and so it may be a possibility I could just have my tubes out, which would spare me from early menopause (which in itself carries a lot of health issues and side effects). To avoid removing my ovaries would be fantastic in my eyes, so I mentioned it to the woman on the phone.
She told me I was in fantastic hands if my GYN was researching this option for me, and although the study is so new and there hasn't been any long term proof that it will work, it is definitely looking like a possible option.
I will wait until my GYN doc calls me back after consulting with his colleagues on the issue. If it seems like a realistic solution, I will go for it. I can always have my ovaries out later as well, closer to the time I would naturally go into menopause. that way it could be a win/win situation.
Another good thing I got out of our conversation was that it isn't entirely IMPOSSIBLE for me to test my children for the gene before they are 18.
Initially I was told that if I tested positive, there would be a 50% chance each child could have the gene. I was told however, that I couldn't have them tested. They would grow up not knowing and then they could make that decision on their own when they turn legal age. the more I thought about this, I didn't like it. I asked my genetic counsellor if this was a set in stone thing. Is there ANY way I could have them tested sooner rather than later? She proceed to lightly dance around the question trying to explain that they don't like to do it, that is has been done and has proven to be a negative thing. Either the child grows up and says they didn't want to know and didn't have a say in the matter or the positive results cause the parent to overly control the child's life and so on. I felt I needed to explain my feelings.
I told her that I want to know because I am currently living in sadness. When I look at my children I already feel like they have the gene and I am currently living this way. I stress when they want sugar, I know I will cringe when they want an alcoholic drink and so on. If I KNEW for certain, I would A) either be relieved that they tested negative and can let go a bit, though I would still encourage a healthy lifestyle...or B) if they tested positive, I would educate myself even further and continue to put my energy into surrounding them in a healthy world.
My G.C said to me, "What if Lily grows up and doesn't want to know."
I told her that I wouldn't let either child know the results, I wouldn't even let them know that I have had the testing done. I would let them grow up knowing there is a chance they could have this gene and then when they are old enough they can decide if they want the test. If they came to me and said they wanted to know, I would then tell them, I already have the results and sit them down and tell them.
Then the G.C said, "What if you knew Lily was positive and she was getting to the age where she should have the prophylactic surgery (preventative mastectomy they recommend at age 25-45) and she wasn't wanting to know her results?"
I told her that I respect every one's choice in knowing the results or not. I would respect my daughter's choice, but I would let her know that she has to always be proactive and have consistent screening, mamos, ultrasounds and physical exams. I told her that even if she did know she was gene positive, she could choose not to have the surgery and even though I strongly advocate in favor of the surgery, I would respect her choice and do the same thing....push her to have early screenings. I told her even if she was tested and was negative, I would push her to have screenings and be proactive.
The conversation ended with my G.C telling me she will move my request to have my kids tested further to the board of geneticists. They will have to grill me and play a game of ethics and then they will make a decision whether they will test them or not.
It is definitely an interesting topic for debate.
I know she doesn't know me, and this info in the wrong parents hands could be a disaster and essentially traumatize a child. But I am confident with the situation and what I would do with the info. I know that I would be respectful and responsible with the information.
I believe the information would benefit me and my children in helping us live the healthiest lifestyles possible.
So today was the official call.
The snow is falling, just like it was a year ago when this whirlwind began. Saturday is the one year anniversary of my first lumpectomy...the unknown surgery, not knowing if I had cancer or not.
I don't forget the feelings I had.
They are as clear to me today as they were then.
All senses fired. Crystal clear and defined.
And though I am grateful for my health one year later, I can't help but wince when something like a song, a Christmas ornament or a snowflake triggers those memories.


(this was my song last year)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

sorrow.

Today is the day the genetic counselor will say the magic words
"You have (or don't have) the BRCA1 breast cancer gene."
Though everyone has already told me there is a very slim chance that I DON'T have it...I am clinging to that small chance.
This week has been very hard for me. I had to SQUEEZE Herceptin into my schedule and it STILL got in the way of me working and making $300. I was resentful to say the least.
Then I really started thinking about my oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) and I started to get depressed.
I guess it began when I received a letter from my Oncologist in Kelowna. She wrote that it is a good idea to have them out and there is no point in waiting til I am older, as long as I am done having kids.
Then I read that this procedure (including the removal of my fallopian tubes because of the new discovery that ovarian cancer actually starts in the tubes) has serious consequences. I read that (quote)

Removal of ovaries causes hormonal changes and symptoms similar to, but generally more severe than, menopause
Women younger than 45 who have had their ovaries removed face a mortality risk 170% higher than women who have retained their ovaries.
AND THE GRANDADDY OF THEM ALL....
Oophorectomy significantly impairs sexual well-being. Substantially more women reported libido loss, difficulty with sexual arousal, and vaginal dryness and hormone replacement therapy was not found to improve these symptoms.
(WIKPEDIA)
Now I am hoping that these statements are false...because the thought that there is truth in them has brought me to tears every night this week. I am like a leaky faucet and tears won't stop seeping from my eyes.
I am sad. really, really sad.
I am sad that cancer has already taken my breasts, that I can no longer feel anything touch my new breasts and I have scars all over my body. And now cancer might take my female organs. I feel very sad about this.
What if I don't feel like a woman after the surgery.
What if it does cause me to die young?
What if it does ruin my sex life?
Why me.
I have had enough.
enough for today.
enough this year.
enough.



(turned out they called and arranged a phone appointment for the following week...see the next entry)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Diving into it all....

Before I was diagnosed, I didn't think I would be the type to embrace my disease..to wrap it around me and wear it for life.
I kind of thought that type of behavior was pathetic and even unhealthy.
I mean who would be faced with an illness and then once cut free of it, choose to keep it part of your life?
Well, keep your friends close and your enemies closer!
I know that cancer is not WHO I am, but I know that I had some serious chats with God over the last 9 months and I know that I have a duty.
Not even just an obligation, but I have been touched by the disease and knowing there are so many out there feeling that hopelessness that I felt, I just cannot sit back and keep quiet.
I need to help.
It is impossible not to!
I didn't sit down and plan out a future in advocating and sharing my story and helping out. It just naturally happened and it's getting bigger everyday!
I think it's a bit addicting.
In a way you could argue that it isn't even a charitable action, it is actually kind of selfish... I do it because it makes ME feel good to help.
I guess in this case of selfishness, everybody wins.
Since my diagnosis I have reached out to many women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer...emails and care packages and advice.
I have stepped right in to my support group, smothering myself all over those ladies and their kind hearts.
I spoke on the radio a few weeks ago...telling my story on the air, to kick off breast cancer awareness month and a local fundraiser.
I am off to Toronto next weekend for the Young Woman's Breast Cancer Conference...eager to learn what I can do in our community to help out.
I am considering becoming a facilitator for our breast cancer support group in the new year...
I am starting up a WIG business within Renaissance (the current hair salon I am working in)
I guess you can say I am staying involved...
I thought in the beginning, that this cancer would be something I would want to "wash my hands of", However, I think my biggest fear was letting cancer win.
If it didn't take my life, then the next worst thing would be that it would scar me and leave me deflated.
Because of that fear, I chose to learn something from cancer. I took it and squeezed every last bit of good I could get out of it.
I will continue to keep my cancer experience close...
but from now on it will be because I CHOOSE to.



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumped!

Planning on getting my "WIG" training next month from the best lady in Calgary...look out! Soon I will be offering WIGS and WIG SERVICES at Renaissance in Nelson for anyone in the area..
cancer patients, alopecia, and for just plain old fun and beauty!
Can't wait!
If you live in Nelson...spread the news!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Petition

I have been reading the blog of a girl I went to high school with.
She was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer 2 years ago.
She has been pushing through treatment ever since.
Her oncologist started her on a drug that isn't apparently covered by Alberta Health Care...well, here, so I don't get the story wrong, I will let you read for yourself...

I am currently on my fourth round of a chemotherapy called Xeloda with a targeted Her2 therapy called Tykerb. Tykerb has just recently come out of trial and is available for prescription. I was taken back when my doctor advised that Tykerb is not funded by the Alberta government. Alberta Oncologists have been pressuring the government to cover the drug but have not been successful. When I saw my doctor on September 30th I once again voiced my concern that this drug is not covered. He encouraged me to write a letter to the Premier and the Minister of Health and Wellness as the drug is fully covered in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia.


A 30 day supply of Tykerb costs $3,496.57! I am fortunate to have some coverage through private insurance and the drug company has a drug assistance program, but this drug should be fully covered by the government just like it has covered Herceptin (the first line of defense against Her2 positive breast cancer).



Now most of you know that I am taking Herceptin for my breast cancer treatment and I haven't had to blink an eye at any expense related...I agree with my friend that this is something that needs to be covered. I am also aware that many drugs take far too long to get thru the "red tape" to be readily available to patients.
My friend is starting a petition to send to the Minister of Health and Wellness and I am going to help her. Please either stop by my house or workplace to sign the petition, OR email me (meganshair@gmail.com) and I can get you a copy of the petition for YOU to collect signatures as well, every single one counts!

APPARENTLY BEING A BC RESIDENT I CANNOT COLLECT BC SIGNATURES ON THIS MATTER, PLEASE IF YOU LIVE IN ALBERTA EMAIL ME AND I WILL GET YOU A COPY OF THE PETITION TO SIGN AND COLLECT SIGNATURES...THANK YOU!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Work

So here I am. One year ago this month I found my lump.
I have been thru thousands of needles, many-a-tests, 6 chemo treatments, 5 Herceptin treatments, 3 surgeries, and more doctors appointments than I can count.
And here I am!
Back to work and loving life.
I spent the year reflecting on life.
What I was liking in my life and what I was not.
I reflected on what I want my life to look like if I was given the chance to survive my cancer.
Having faced the threat that my life could realistically be taken from me, sure made me take a good hard look at my life and what I wanted, needed from it.
What is the one thing that consumes the majority of our days?
Career.
This was a big focus for me this year.
I ultimately decided that I missed my identity of "creative"/"hairdresser" Megan.
I missed having a talent that made me different from everyone else.
I missed being really good at something.
I missed the feeling of reward at the end of the day, making so many people so very happy.
So I am back to work.
I was given a position at Renaissance Hair Co. on Baker Street in Nelson.
www.renaissancehair.vpweb.ca
I absolutely adore the girls that I work with, the work space is peaceful and beautiful and I am already SO BUSY!
It's hard to remember where I came from this past year, when I am caught up in the hustle and bustle of a workday...sometimes that worries me. That I am pushing myself too hard, or if I forget for a second that I had cancer, it might come back...this is all part of the psychological healing.
The bottom line is I am happy when I am there. I enjoy doing what I do, and I am providing for my family again...
So, if any reader live in Nelson...no excuses! Come book an appointment with me, and experience a hair stylist with a real PASSION for what they do!

Being Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving (in Canada)
It is a day to truly acknowledge what we are thankful for and express our gratitude with laughs, cheers, good food and loved ones.
This may be my new favorite holiday.
I am the thankfullest of all this year.
I will never again wake to a day without first acknowledging what I am thankful for.
Cheers to you all, I hope you have a great day full of love!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Quotes for the Day:

If I have the belief that I can do it,
I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it...
even if I may not have it,
at the beginning.


When one door of happiness closes,
another opens,
but often we look so long at the closed door,
that we do not see,
the one that has opened for us.


Small opportunities ,
are often,
the beginning of,
great enterprises!


Our senses become dulled
by the stresses of our career and personal lives...
Today, choose to go for a walk outdoors,
and let the breeze blow your cares away.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Balance and Fulfillment


Balance and Fulfillment...the key to Harmony and in turn Happiness.
Sounds easy?
Not really...
I went to my first counseling appointment a couple weeks ago.
She asked me why I was there.
I told her..."Because people told me I should get counseling, it's the responsible thing to do...?"
I didn't really feel like I needed to be there...after all, I have blogged from the start, shared EVERYTHING about my breast cancer experience with WHOMEVER would listen to me and I have had a kick-ass support team of family and friends since the very start! I feel like I rode the waves pretty darn good. BUT, people said I should go, that I wouldn't want to think I was ok and have something sneak up on me down the road that I hadn't dealt with...so I went.
It took my counselor and I a while to figure out what my issue was, what my GOAL was, or in other words what my worst fear was that she could help me with (I guess there needs to be a more specific reason to see a counselor than just having HAD breast cancer).
That issue or "worst fear" turned out to be the fear of going back to who I was "pre-cancer" and not taking what I learned from cancer as a gift and applying it to my life.
Basically, all of those "Ah-ha" moments I had, the ones I excitedly blogged about...seeing the beauty in things, slowing down life and appreciating the little things etc etc...well, my fear is I will forget those things. I will slump back into my old life and lose sight of whats important. I am afraid I will stop feeding my soul. I am afraid I will stop getting to know my kids, I am afraid I will start "fretting" over money again, and weight and stupid things that don't really matter!
I freaked out a bit over this fear, for a little while...and then doors started opening for me.
I speak to my God know more than ever and I speak clearly and when I am finished speaking, I TRUST that he will grant me the path and things that are best for me. I TRUST that everything will happen for a reason and work out in the end.
It is this relationship with my "God" that started opening doors for me.
I decided to go back to work as a hairstylist...something I am good at and let's me use my creativity without insane pressures placed upon me from employers and corporate standards. Freedom to make people happy, and beautiful, by using my artistic ability on my OWN terms...this is really important to me. I have been back at it for just a short time and I am at peace everyday I am there. It feels good and it feels right and I am grateful for that.
Another door that opened for me was a few career opportunities related to the hair industry. I have been approached about becoming an educator for a specific color line, which is a great honor and an awesome opportunity...I am not sure if I am going to pursue this path or not, but regardless, I know it is an option and it is there if I ever want it. The other opportunity is to take some training in wigs. How to tailor wigs, cut and style wigs, pick then out for people upkeep and so on. I think this sounds good to me. I remember way back when my mom went to get her wig...we went into this fab salon and the owner had a little wig area and provided uncanny service to us both emotionally and superficially...I remember thinking THEN that that was something I would like to do, because it must have been so rewarding for her. I wanted to be the lady who made people feel good in their LOWEST time...this opportunity could be part of my way of giving back and could be a benefit financially as well...I will look further into this option.
Another door...well, the opportunity to be the new "facilitator" of our little local breast cancer support group. This may be an option for me in the coming year, and I think this would be another great way to "give back" and do my part in helping others...there is a lot of new info out there and I would love to share it and bring in some newer members to join us.
Then I was approved for the grant to attend the Young Woman's Breast Cancer Conference in Toronto...need I say more??! The networking possibilities are endless...I would love to come away from that with a job in the field...it would be a dream to be paid to help this cause so near to my heart. Even a chance to help without pay would be great so long as I didn't become overloaded and have it take away from my job and family and support group...balance, balance...
The point is, right now I am content. It is exciting to see all of this opportunity arising for me and I am thankful. I know I am not capable of doing everything and maintaining balance, so I will peek thru each door and trust my God and my gut and know that the doors that are MEANT for me, will be the ones I keep open.
Either way, the odds for me gaining fulfillment are looking pretty darn good right now.
Grateful.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What ISN'T New?

A brief outline of what is new since we last blogged...
  1. I had an amazing summer
  2. I decided I was going to go back to my true love of hairstyling. I am currently working part time in a salon as a chair renter (and loving it!)
  3. I had a different job offer related to the industry
  4. I applied for a grant to attend the Young Woman's Breast Cancer Conference in Toronto....and I was accepted for FULL FUNDING!
  5. I attended our first of the season breast cancer support group
  6. I was asked to possibly take over leading the support group in the new year.
  7. I was asked to speak on the radio this coming Friday to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a local fundraiser for it (I accepted!)
  8. I read Eat Pray Love and connected with it ( I will learn to meditate, it's on my to-do list!)
  9. I met with a councillor to talk about my journey and I will continue to see her every 2 weeks.
  10. I found out my my mothers genetic test results for the BRCA1 gene were positive so it looks like I most likely have the gene as well...(I will find out within 2 months)
So as you read, I have had some major happenings this past 2 months...I will have to go deeper into a few of these things in future posts...and plan to. All in all though, life is pretty good right now and I feel like I have found a good balance.
Harmony.

August Pictures!!



















Sunday, September 12, 2010

August

Well well...I am going to attempt a post here and forgive me if my computer dies mid sentence.
August was the month I crammed ALL of summer plans into, seeing as my surgery at the end of June put a bit of a damper on July.
Cancer can't stop me from having fun, I'll find a way!

So what has happened since I last wrote?
Well a lot of trips and events and such, and a lot of emotional ups and downs as well...plus an important medical update.
What should I start with?
Let's do the fun stuff.

A few months ago I won a fishing trip to Campbell River.
This was on my "To-do list or my "bucket list" whichever you prefer. So it was a big event for me...and it was a blast. We flew on a little airline out of Trail and let me tell you, when we pulled up to the terminal (a metal shed that looked like a barn) I looked at Kerry and he said "Don't worry, that's not the terminal." and of course, it was.
It had mismatched old thrift store furniture from the 70's and looked like a frat house. It had a little basket of chocolate bars on a table with a sign that read "this concession works on the honor system, please leave a dollar per item in the basket" I must admit, it made me chuckle. I mean I am small town, but this was REALLY small town!!
The plane was tiny too! We had to duck to get in and almost had to duck while we were sitting! I had a great view of the cockpit and pilot (as there wasn't any door to the pilots quarters)
The town was nice, and the fishing was EXCEPTIONAL! It was the best Salomon run in years and we met our quota for Sockeye within an hour or so...
I really loved the fact that fishing is a lifestyle in this town. Everyone just kind of hangs out on the docks, cleaning their boats and gutting their fish, drinking beers and bragging to their friends about their daily catch. Kids fishing off the docks with their bag lunches. It was inspiring and I felt for a moment like I could live that way.
I loved the experience and hope to be able to do it again one day.

When we got home, I put in a load of laundry, hit the sack and the next morning the kids and I were off to Faulkier to camp for 4 days.
Tukaluk campground is just outside of Nakusp and about 2.5hrs from Nelson. My bother in law's mother owns the campground and we are treated like royalty every time we stay. This time we were meeting my sister and brother in law and my niece. I just felt I hadn't done much camping yet this year and I wanted to get another little trip in before the summer was over.
It was nice. A lot of relaxing, a few campfires, a couple beers and even some beach and a swim in the lake. PERFECT.
I read a book when I was there, it is a true story about a woman with bi polar disorder from Alberta and her struggle with it and how her father found a cure for her, but the government wouldn't approve it EVEN though it is all natural and works!! In fact not only would they not approve it but they tried to stop other people from using it...
Bureaucracy. Makes me think about chemo and the cure for cancer...if they really found one, would they really tell us and put it out there for us to use?? I think cancer generates a lot of money, I mean chemo is $10,000 a bag. And with all of the BILLIONS of dollars put into research, we haven't found a cure? Maybe. But maybe not. Get's you thinking at least.
The property of this campground is magical and everyone who goes there comments on how well they sleep. Babies, adults, insomniacs, they all rave about the energy there.
I tried to take my time when I was there, to soak up the moment, and all of the beautiful things...really take it all in. I think I did a good job.

We had a wedding when we got back from camping.
The couple who gave me the Machhu Piccu photo were back from their trip and got married on a beach in Nelson. It was beautiful and the bride flew in on a float plane. The arch they had on the beach, was decorated with cedar boughs, flowers and a few of the things the lucky couple likes doing together. Mountain bike tires and climbing equipment. It was really cool.
I got a bit jealous thinking about it. I have always wanted to be the active couple. I blame it on having kids and little time, and I blame it on not being naturally athletic, but I think those are all cop outs. Am I just lazy? Or am I afraid of something? Or maybe deep down I don't think I am worthy of that lifestyle. I am not sure, but I have always wanted to be more active and fit and I just cannot force my ass off of a couch to do something about it. I mean, we hike, but it's minor and it isn't all the time. There is definitely room for more.

The day after the wedding, my daughter and I drove up to Kelowna for a doctor's appointment and my cousin's birthday. Another thing on my "To-do list" is to spend more time with family that I don't see very often. It was really nice to go out for dinner and see my cousin and my aunt and my other cousin's wife and kids. It felt comfortable and I wished that it could have lasted longer. I will male a point to see more of them.
The doc appointment was good. My plastic surgeon was running about an hour behind (as usual) and so I missed meeting my other surgeon. Doc looked me over and said everything looks great! I am supposed to go back in 4 months for areola tattooing. I am still not sure if I will or not. It doesn't really seem like I need it. It looks pretty normal without, because the scars are around the areola area and therefore it makes it look like a change in pigment. Anyway, we will see...

The day after I got home from Kelowna we left on a road trip to Seattle and then up to Victoria for another wedding. My husband wanted to take the scenic route and drive thru the states, hit Seattle and then up to Victoria on 2 ferries...this was a good idea!
Seattle was AMAZING! I didn't think I liked cities anymore, but I enjoyed our time in this one. Kerry drove us downtown to our hotel (in which he said he chose the CHEAPEST one downtown) this made me very nervous, however, it was beautiful! We stayed at the Warwick and it was top notch with a beautiful view and right in the heart of everything. We only stayed one night but we got to experience so much. A nice dinner out...Pike's Place Market and SAM (the Seattle Art Museum) featuring my FAVE singer Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and one of my fave artists...ANDY WARHOL. It was very serendipidous really, or maybe I just manifested it, but if I could have picked 2 people to be featured at the museum, it would have been those 2 people. Another "I love my life" moment.
Pikes's Place Market was out of this world. If you haven't been there...GO!!! A gigantic maze of vendors and gourmet food, artsy wears, nostalgia and character. Day of the Dead items, GIGANTIC produce and huge beautiful bouquets of flowers for PENNIES! Old magic shops, a store selling JUST wind up toys, a funky old barber shop, the BEST clam chowder in the world..Piroshkis, the first Starbucks EVER! On and on and on...it was absolutely FAB! As I strolled around inhaling the scents of cotton candy and fresh ground coffee, I realized how grateful I am to be alive, and how important it is to experience new things. I was on a high.

When we were on our way to the market, is when I noticed the SAM and the headline "Kurt"...I just looked at my husband and we both knew it was a must do. Because the museum is an ART museum, it wasn't featuring shadow boxes of Kurt Cobain's old clothes and guitars, it was a cornucopia of many artists tributes to Kurt Cobain, his talent, his music, his life and his death. When entering the exhibit there was a gentleman guarding the entryway who while I was taking a photo of the signage, proceeded to tell us that we would not be allowed to take any photos of any of the Kurt exhibits inside. The first exhibit was may favorite. It was a padded sound like room/booth decorated as though Kurt had just been there. There was a light bulb dangling from the ceiling, flickering. There was a microphone stand in the middle of the room. There were lyrics with drawing on looseleaf. Nirvana was playing loudly from the stereo, though it was a screetching, mishmash of songs. The whole scene was very eerie and I loved it. There was a video that one artist made where she videotaped herself and her kid jumping on a trampoline, then she took the 8mm tape and soaked it in the infamous (from Nirvana lyrics) penny royal tea, bleach and cherry flavored antacid. They played the video on a white screen. There was a framed sketch that Kurt drew, there were various paintings of Kurt. There was a photograph of Kurt's crime scene that a Paparazzo must have taken, with his sneakers showing while he lay on the floor dead. The artwork was not exploiting the death but rather the disturbing nature of those who have exploited his death. Why would anyone take such a photo, I think that was the point. There was a silent video of a woman dancing in a mall to both Smells Like Teen Spirit and then a Marvin Gaye song...you had to guess what song she was dancing to at what time, by her movements....it was all very creative and gave me my fill. the kids liked it to.
The Andy Warhol exhibit was cool...lots of his prints were there, and some photo booth photos of Lou Reed and Edie Sedgewick and other muses of his. Very Cool!
The Trip from Seattle to Victoria was sweet. We got to ride 2 ferries and see lots of cute little towns that I would just love to explore. We passed by Forks (Twilight) and drove right thru Port Angeles to take the ferry (also Twilight affiliated) so that was pretty fun.

Our visit in Victoria was fulfilling. We stayed with my Aunt and Uncle and my little 6yr old cousin that my daughter hit it off with right away. The property we stayed at was very nice. 3-5 acres of forest in Metchosin which is just outside of Victoria. The house was beautiful and the yard was enchanting. It was a very nice visit. The wedding we attended while in Victoria was great also and one day we drove to Naniamo to visit my grandparents who are getting closer to 90 now! It was very nice to see all of our family and made the trip very meaningful. I always love going to my grandparents. They hava house right on the ocean and it brings back my youth every time we go. This time was extra special because sometimes when you are going thru treatment you stop and wonder if you will ever experience these things again. It was nice to. And it was nice to relive the excietment of flipping rocks for crabs, through my kids. As much as it aged me, it reminded me of what life is all about.

The trip home was fine, always a bit rushed but I always love looking out the window, checking out everything and sometimes staring out into acres of forest, wondering what it would be like to be in that exact spot, right in that moment. What does it look like there? How magical is it? Thousands of acres of land that we may never step foot on. It makes me feel very small, and I like that. One eerie thing we experienced on our drive home was by fluke. Kerry had to stop in Hope for gas and as he pulled off of the highway we passed a motel called the Thunderbird Motel. I felt sick right away. This was the hotel that the infamous "friend of mine" (the Calgarian who became VH1 reality star) hid for days from the police and then ultimately hung himself. This guy was accused of killing his wife, and then cutting her fingers off, removing her teeth and stuffing her in a suitcase. He was an old friend of mine from Calgary...I guess I wouldn't call him a friend necessarily but he was an acquaintance and I had socialized with him on more than one occasion, even attending a dinner at his home with his family shortly after he attempted suicide and decided to become a Christian and change his ways....it was sad.
As we drove by the hotel I said a prayer.

All in all the trip was one of the best yet. I crossed about a hundred things off of my "to-do/ bucket list" and I felt fulfilled when we got home. I will post some photos in my next entry.

So as you can see I have gotten my computer back FINALLY and it is in good working order. There are so many things I need to tell you all and I will be posting like a maniac over the next week to try and catch up. It's good to be back. I missed it.
M

Sorry!!!! My computer is broken and won't let me blog!!! I can only write in the title slot for so

...It's been a long time baby!

My computer hasn't been working...none of them.
The lap top is on the fritz and the desk top won't let me log into Blogger!
When I have tried using my son's IPOD Touch, it won't let me type anything except a Blog title!!
I think the universe is against me blogging right now.
I will blog as soon as I get my laptop fixed, there is so much to write about!
It has been an exciting month....

Monday, August 16, 2010

"What are you going to do wih your life?"

http://www.prescriptionwealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/lifenotomorrow.jpg
The ultimate question that has been burning in my mind all year long.
"What am I going to do with my life?"
While I try to incorporate a little "live like there is no tomorrow" into my everyday life, one cannot obviously base everything on that. If I did, I wouldn't work at all, or do the dishes... I would only eat Dairy Queen Peanut Butter Cup blizzards and I would drink copius amounts of Coca Cola...or maybe margaritas...yah, margaritas for sure.
That is not reality.
Before I was diagnosed I wasn't happy with my life. For some of you who know me, this is a vicious circle I have been running around in for a while now. At first it was, I was a stylist and I wasn't happy in the salon, so I built my own salon in my house...then it was that I was sick of the intrusion in my home, so I bought a salon in a commercial space...then I realized I didn't like living in the city, so we moved to Nelson, then I thought I was sick of being self employed and wanted to be under a corporate wing, so I got a corporate job. Then when I was in my corporate job, I was miserable. Then I was diagnosed with cancer.
I know, I know, I sound like a hopeless cause, but I am not.
I know myself VERY well...I know my weaknesses, I know my flaws and I know my strengths.
I know what I like and I know what I don't.
I also know that I will not waste my life being anything but happy with what I am doing.
Even before the cancer I knew that life was too short to do something that you didn't love.
Especially when that "something" is a job that takes up 75% of your life!
I have spent the last year really digging deep within myself. I have privately explored many ideas. I haven't spoken much about these thoughts with others as I knew that until I was sure, I wouldn't really be sure. I knew I could change my mind at any point...
The security of my corporate job is a beautiful thing...benefits (thank the lord for them this year!) the consistent raises, nice!...but then there is the wretched hours, no weekends with my family...some evenings, limited time off, all of the rules...the extreme pressures put on me from the handful of bosses I have..not healthy.
The freedom of my trade (being self employed again) is tempting...being really good at something is priceless...making people happy is rewarding...more time with my kids and husband is great....but then there is the fact that when I am not at work I don't get paid, no vacation pay:(...and what if I get sick again, who is going to take care of me then??
I have juggled the idea of going back to school, of buying another business (YIKES!) and I have even thought about waiting tables like the old days...
In the end, I have to take a step back at the gigantic epiphany I had this year.
I need to acknowledge what feels good to me, what makes me smile. What I can pay the bills with, while still having a life and time with my family, and time to volunteer and give back to the world.
This, in the end, will be the right choice for me.
The answer is near...I can taste it!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Cancer and BRCA genes

A few weeks ago I was visiting my Mom and Dad in Calgary with the kids in tow.
One night as my six year old daughter and I lay in bed talking she asked me innocently,
"Mommy, do you think I am going to have cancer when I grow up?"
My heart broke, right then and there.
Funny thing, when I told my mom the next morning what she had said, I knew she too felt pain from this question.
My Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in December '06', I was diagnosed December '09'.
I know the day I called my Mom with the news she felt the pain
My Mom and I were both tested for the BCRA genes.
With our family history of breast cancer, there is a bit of a "red flag".
If we test positive for either gene, it greatly increases the chance that other women in our family, including our kids, may have the gene and get breast cancer in their lifetime.
So when Lily asked me that night "Mommy, do you think I will have cancer when I grow up?"
All I could say was "I don't know sweetie, it's hard to know, all you can do is try to live as healthy as you can to try to keep cancer away."
I have explained to her before that exercise and certain foods can fight cancer and that certain things we invite into our life can encourage cancer, but it is a hard conversation to have with a child, because the last thing you want them thinking is that, IF they do get cancer one day, it is their fault. That is something I still struggle with, when I reach for a margarita or a piece of candy, or a bowl of KD.
The bottom line is that cancer affects us all, in one form or another. 50% of all men will get cancer in their lifetime. 1 in 3 women will get cancer in their lifetime.
So I shouldn't feel guilt when my kids ask me about their chances...the chances for ANYONE are far too high.
I guess I am just mad that cancer came into our lives and planted "much too serious" thoughts into my daughter's mind. She should be laying in bed looking out at the moon thinking "Will I be a good mommy one day, or a famous dancer one day?" she most certainly should not be thinking about getting cancer.

SOME STATS:
(from the BCCA website)

-One woman in nine will develop breast cancer in her lifetime if she lives to age 80

-A woman's chance of getting breast cancer is:
    • age 30 - 39 . . . . 0.43 % (often shown as 1 in 233) * I wish my lottery odds were as good*
    • age 40 - 49 . . . . 1.44 % (often shown as 1 in 69)
    • age 50 - 59 . . . . 2.63 % (often shown as 1 in 38)
    • age 60 - 69 . . . . 3.65 % (often shown as 1 in 27)

-While rare, breast cancer can develop in males. For every 100-150 women who get breast cancer, one (1) man will get breast cancer. About 10 - 20 new cases of breast cancer in men are diagnosed each year in B.C

-Drinking alcohol is consistently associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. *BOO

-A woman who has a healthy body weight, exercises regularly and who drinks no or only modest amounts of alcohol has a lower risk for breast cancer. A BMI (body mass index) of 18.5 – 24.9 is recommended.

-The overall risk of getting breast cancer in your lifetime if you have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 abnormality is between 50% and 85%. But a BRCA1 abnormality tends to carry a slightly higher risk.

-A woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer is greatly increased if she inherits a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2. Such a woman has an increased risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer at an early age (before menopause) and often has multiple, close family members who have been diagnosed with these diseases. Harmful BRCA1 mutations may also increase a woman’s risk of developing cervical, uterine, pancreatic, and colon cancer (1, 2). Harmful BRCA2 mutations may additionally increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, gallbladder and bile duct cancer, and melanoma (3).

-Men with harmful BRCA1 mutations also have an increased risk of breast cancer and, possibly, of pancreatic cancer, testicular cancer, and early-onset prostate cancer. However, male breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer appear to be more strongly associated with BRCA2 gene mutations





Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Massage Miracles...


A while back I mentioned my fortunate part in a specialty massage class.
I was one of the recipients that the massage students got to practice on daily for a week.
That week just happened to be the week I arrived home from my major surgery.
I cannot tell you how this massage has helped my healing.
The instructor is extremely educated and taught massage for lymph drainage and incision massage to help speed up healing a fade scars.
Here are a few pictures of this beneficial experience!











This is a photo of my kids learning massage...this is before my surgery as you can tell by me laying on my belly...

...Don't worry, Be Happy for me.



I have always wanted a Mini Cooper.
But I have always been riddled with guilt about so strongly desiring a "material object".
As a mother, I have also always felt guilt buying MYSELF anything at all!
For some odd reason, I never felt worthy and I would always feel I should spend money on my kids or husband or home etc, etc...
As a mother you often put yourself last.

So when I decided I should reward myself with something I have always wanted, after completing treatment and surgery...I had some reservations.
I have followed numerous breast cancer blogs over the last year, and one thing was always the same....once the woman finished her treatment, she rewarded herself with something.
There's been Vespa's, Car's and Trips...
I thought early on this was a good idea, and kind of a motivator for me along the way..."Megan, if you just get thru this chemo, you can go on a nice trip....Megan, I know you're scared about this surgery, but keep your eye on the prize!"
I didn't know what my prize would be all along, but when our old van starting costing us too much and the km's got really high, I knew we needed a new vehicle and I thought..."Why not kill two birds with one stone!"

Last week, after much research and HUNTING, and I mean HUNTING for the best deal, I came home from Calgary with my reward.
And when I drive it and think about all of the things I went through this last year, you know what?
I don't feel guilty.

It's funny though, how people try to make you feel bad, it's funny how people can't just be happy for you. People judge and people analyze...and that's their own issue.
Ultimately it is no one's business but ours, and it puts a big fat smile on our faces,

So to any of you, who go through anything hard in your life...
just remember, life is truly TOO short to deprive yourself of realistic indulgences...
you never know when your time is going to be up, so REWARD yourself at the end of a struggle.
Hell! Reward yourself BEFORE the struggle!!
You deserve it!
Enjoy life!

I read somewhere once, there was a woman fighting cancer for years and thru this journey she was trying to be so healthy and eat so healthy to beat cancer, she deprived herself of the things she really loved...when she lost the battle, she layed on her death bead and on her last days, she said
"I should have just eaten the fried chicken!"
...it was her favorite...

NO REGRETS!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's been over a month now since my surgery and I thought I would update everyone on how I am feeling over all since the chemo, cancer and surgery.
In general I have been feeling the best I have since this year began...
I have a little numbness left on my upper arms, breast area and part of my belly, I get a bit swollen in all of these places, but lately my belly has been swelling the most (with the heat of summer)
Everything is LOOKING great! My incisions are cleaning up nice and fading and the shape of my breast and belly are fantastic!
Overall I can't complain! I was finally able to lay on my belly for a few minutes this morning in bed (my favorite way to sleep!)
Getting up from laying or sitting us easier, but I am still a bit stiff and some positions are just akward.
Reaching my arms is a bit of a challenge still but vastly improving as well.
I must admit the surgery was a success and I don't regret it for a minute, it was a small price to pay for peace of mind and health.

One issue I have been dealing with that has been negatively affecting my life is my inability to cope with stressful situations (or control my emotions)
Early on in my journey I experienced so many enlightening moments that I felt as though I could conquer the world! I truly was able to see the important things in life and understood that I was always sweating the small stuff. I laughed at myself for having done so for so long.
Health was (and IS) the most important thing.
But since then, well, really, since the chemo (more specifically the steroids) I have been a bit of an emotional wreck. I cannot say for sure it is the steroids that caused this, or maybe it is "mental menopause" or maybe it is "frazzled nerves" from the trauma I faced over the last year...
Either way, I am struggling with my "coping" abilities.
When something stressful happens I often find myself having a complete panic attack or melt down. I cry A LOT!
It sucks because it affects my kids and my husband (well, everyone around me I guess). When thinking about stressful things I am ok, I am able to change my thoughts and calm myself. This I have mastered....it's just the times when I am caught off guard in certain situations, or when the stress piles up...that's when I break.
I am currently emailing with a psychologist about these issues and am hoping to resolve them soon....

The only other symptom still remaining to remind me of my cancer is the fatigue.
I find I tire out a lot quicker than I used to.
I find I have to listen to my body regularly and stop what I am doing to rest and recharge. This issue is very common as I have never spoken to someone "post treatment" and them say they didn't deal with fatigue. I know that this too will pass.

So that's about it. I just figured I would fill people in, as I have been getting a lot of emails from people wondering how I was doing.
The fact that I haven't been blogging as much means I am up, feeling good and having fun with my summer!!

I will post soon about my new baby...the 2005 Mini Cooper I just bought myself with my critical illness insurance money. I decided to reward myself for beating cancer. It just so happened we were needing a new vehicle and I have always wanted a Mini, and I know that life is too short sooooo......:)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Enlightenment must come little by little - otherwise it would overwhelm. ~ Idries Shah

Well I am overwhelmed.
Magic has truly happened over and over again this year.
If ever I doubted there being a "higher power" I have been shown over and over again I am wrong.
God exists.
Whether you call him Jesus or Buddha, or Mother Nature or even the "Law of Attraction"...
...if you believe and trust, good will come to you.
If you do good and think positive thoughts, good will come back your way.
I have more proof than I could ever need.
I wish I had a camera with me over the last 9 months so I could show all of you just what I am talking about. To tell you every little thing is very hard, and it is probably hard for you to even believe.
Yes, I had a run of bad luck over the last few years, a lot of overwhelming things happened to us, and then of course late last year, the cancer. When something as big as cancer happens to you, you are forced to surrender all control and trust that God will take care of you, to trust that what is meant to be will be, and whatever that is, is what is best.
It is a hard thing to do. To put ALL trust in God or the universe to take you down the path that is meant for you. But when you are in a situation such as "cancer", you can only control so much of your destiny. you can eat healthy and do the treatments recommended to you and get rest and so on, but ultimately you don't have control of your fate, so you just need to think positive, and put all faith in a higher power.
You need to believe.

I have had SO many "strange" things happen to me over the last year, it is almost hard to believe. It seems that every time I prayed or even just thought in my head, that I needed or wanted something really badly, it would somehow present itself in the oddest of ways.
I had a vision board I had made last year, and I cut out pictures of all sorts of things I wanted to attract into my life. From beachy holidays to sparkly rings to money to more time with my family and a slim body. I know, most of it sounds superficial to me now, but we must all admit, we all dream of these things right? And at the time, I didn't have cancer, so I longed for all the usual things one longs for. I hung the vision board on my wall and for a long while none of it came to me. Looking back now I know that it is because I was in a negative place. I was too busy to look at the board, I was too angry at my job and I was too bitter about life.
This year, since 2010 began, I have been BOMBARDED with all of the things on my vision board plus more! Here are some examples...
When I was first diagnosed, all I could think about was how I was going to afford things...I had paychecks coming in but they were only a percentage of what our budget was used to....
Then, in came money raised from co-workers, friends and family....I even got a check from an insurance policy we didn't even know I had!! That was very strange. Every time we were in need of money throughout the year, somehow it came to us. We haven't had too many moments where were worried about money.
I remember one night, I felt alone in my cancer world, with no one to relate and talk to....I fell into a deep depression. Within the next 24 hrs, a friend emailed me and told me about her old school mate that was also just diagnosed with breast cancer. She was the same age as me and had young kids. I emailed her and instantly found a new friend and a reason to be strong and stand up brave and continue on. We still help each other and I know we always will...she gave my cancer diagnoses a real purpose...to help others with the disease. Once I met her I felt I HAD to be strong, so we could help each other.
When I was getting ready for my surgery, I went for a massage that I had received as a gift earlier in the year...I knew I was very afraid of my surgery and how long it would take me to heal after the big day. During this massage, this massage therapist that I hardly know, asked me when I would be back from my surgery. I told her the date and she said "Perfect! I am teaching a class starting that day and we will need people to practice on all week that week." The class was "Massage for Palliative care and Post-Surgical massage" It was geared for exactly what I would need! Sure enough I had massages all that week and I am actually continuing STILL to get free massage from some of these students. It has helped my healing IMMENSELY! Also that same night, I got a phone call from a woman in town who had the same surgery as I was going to receive. She had "heard" that I needed someone to talk to about it and she filled me with the courage I was looking for.
There were MANY more events that took place this year that confirmed to me there is a God...from wanting certain books and then receiving them "out of the blue" in the mail, to thinking of an old friend and them calling! On and on I could go. Every time something like this would happen I would be filled even more with love and trust and enlightenment.
The most recent event that has put me over the top took place today.
A week or so ago, our old van died. The brakes went on it and a bunch of other things have been broken for a long time. It has high KM's and we just put $700 into it earlier this year...we decided we will be needing a new vehicle. It isn't worth paying more money to keep fixing it. Because we don't (can't) carry loan debt I knew we had to use our savings to buy a new car. Obviously this was less than ideal because the savings was for there for a vacation (hopefully). I had put a small amount aside in hopes we could take a vacation somewhere hot once this cancer thing was all said and done. It was going to be a reward for all my husband and I had been thru this year. So needless to say, it was good I had the money to buy a car, but I was struggling with giving up the holiday.
Last night looking out the truck window, I looked down at the beautiful lake. I was feeling sad about giving up the holiday, but had decided the car was priority. Just then, I felt a good feeling. I was suddenly at peace with it. A voice in my head told me that I needed the car and that the holiday would come to me a different way, not to worry about it. I told myself to just surrender the "control" and just trust.
Today I received an email from a complete stranger (who just happens to live an hour and a half away from here) she said she had been following my blog from the beginning. She was reading it because it was originally about my desire to move to Mexico and she TOO shared that dream. She continued to read the blog when it turned in to my Breast Cancer journey and now she was emailing me. She told me she has a condo in Mazatlan and she would like to offer it to my husband and I to stay in for FREE! Now she had no idea I was having to give up my holiday, she had no idea what kind of dilemma I was in...she just decided she wanted to gift us a holiday, out of the kindness of her heart. She wants us to celebrate the cancer victory! And that we will....I am very grateful, and (if you are reading) I thank you again!

This among so many other generous, kind gestures I have experienced from people this year, has shown me that PEOPLE ARE GOOD! The WORLD IS GOOD! And we all have to help people whenever and however we can. We have to pay it forward whenever we possibly can.
I believe that Karma is why I have been so fortunate this year. Getting cancer changed my view on things, it forced me to slow down and see the world in a different way. Never in my life have I been so positive, never in my life have I helped others, smiled at people, given out compliments, and just radiated hope, trust and love like I have this year. I KNOW for a fact that this positive way of living, along with my strong faith I developed this year, has in turn provided me with what I have wanted and needed this year. It has to be. It has proven itself.

You can ask to receive, but unless you BELIEVE and agree to give back, you will not be a recipient of Karma, or the Law of Attraction, or God's generous gifts.
All I know is that... one really BAD thing happened to me last year...it forced me to change my ways... and ever since...my cup has been overflowing.
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you

You can begin feeling whatever you want (even if it's not there)..
the universe will correspond to the nature of your song

The Movie- "The Secret"

Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it, and it will be yours.
Inspirational Bible Quote Mark 11:24

Whatever karma I create, whether good or evil, that I shall inherit.
Dali Lama

Friday, July 23, 2010

Post Surgical ME!!


Here are some pictures of me this past week (Post Tram Flap Surgery) if anyone wants detailed pictures of the incision sites email me and I can send them to you (ex. breasts and belly)
meganshair@gmail.com
Above you can see a bit of the incision site on each side and my newly made belly button (scabby)


My chest is all greasy from massage!


My daughter's shot of me, hair coming in nicely! Lighter than before but I like it!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Relay For Life Cont....

I thought it was about time I posted some pictures of the Relay For Life that myself and my supporters took part in earlier this summer.
It was a real success and I was very happy with all of the people who donated and showed up to walk with us. It was a 12 hr. day filled with lots of activities, contests, cancer ceremonies, and a twilight luminary dedication to survivors and those who lost their battle. It was a very emotional day for me and I am sure for many others, but it felt good to contribute to research and a cure for cancer.



The Relay took place in our local Lakeside Park...what a beautiful place to spend the day, and it was so sunny out all day.


We decorated our tent in a "boxer" theme!


Again, our view for the day, the beach at Lakeside Park.


My supportive sister in law with her Relay shirt on.


My son wearing the shirts that my Father in law made up for us.


Part of the opening ceremony, bag pipers...it was beautiful.


The Survivors lap. We all walked a lap and then the local Dragon Boat team raised their paddles and we walked under their arch while bag pipes played. This part was very emotional and I had to fight hard to keep back the tears as I walked under this arch.


A different view.


Jazzercise!


A few friends enjoying snacks.

My daughter at our tent.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Un-FREAKING-believable!

This may just be the most important post I make in the history of this blog.
It most certainly will be my favorite post I ever make.
While chatting on the phone with my sister this afternoon, I got a beep from call waiting.
I clicked to the other line and it was a nurse from the chemo room at the hospital.
I had left a message a few days ago inquiring if they had received my Pathology report results from my mastectomy.
She quickly proceeded to tell me that there was "No sign of cancer found in any tissue from either breast, nor was there any cancer found in any of the lymph nodes they pulled (11 total).
These words were the light at the end of the tunnel I have been focused on all year...the thought that the utter hell I have been through this year has finally paid off, brought me to tears!
I sobbed uncontrollably form sheer relief and joy.
Now I can Believe that I am cancer free and continue my life without fear of metastisizing.
I thank all of my friends and family for their support and prayers...
most of all I thank GOD.
I am a believer, and that will never change.
Grateful.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cancer & Intimacy

Yep, I'm gonna blog about this "sometimes uncomfortable" topic, soooo... if you don't feel comfortable hearing about it, stop reading now!

The bottom line is that this is a HUGE issue, especially with cancer in young adults.
When I was first diagnosed, I thought a lot about it. I worried that I wouldn't be having sex with my husband for the entire length of my treatment! He would cheat on me for sure!! A whole YEAR without intercourse!!
That wasn't the case, but there have been ups and downs (pardon the pun) and different issues for sure, here are some of them.

Before chemo started I was pushed by my doctor to get a "port a cath" which is a surgically implanted access disk they place under your chest, so that they don't have to poke you every time they inject chemo. I refused. For me, I refused it because (not only am I a chicken and dodge any surgery I can but...) I instantly had an image of me naked in front of my husband, bald, boobless, pale and with this "Alien-like" implant sticking out of my body. I couldn't have it. There was a lot of unattractive stuff coming my way, I wanted to limit it as much as possible. I needed to keep myself looking as "normal" as possible in order to get thru this year with the least amount of trauma. I knew that if I looked too sick, I would not want to be intimate and this was a big deal for me. So I refused the port and this was the first real time that cancer had an impact on my sex life. **(Please note that I do NOT think a port is disgusting, I am not saying that in any way...but for me, I was afraid it would freak me out when I looked at it, it was my own choice for ME only.)

My first week of chemo, the nurses told me..."Make sure you don't have intercourse within 48hrs after a chemo treatment, as your bodily fluids are radio-active". this was TOO MUCH! My husband and I laughed when we heard this...I thought, REALLY? Am I going to feel like having sex RIGHT after a chemo treatment? The mental image was quite disturbing!!

Chemo months were ok though...not as sexually active as "pre-cancer life" because I just wasn't feeling great a lot of the time, but there were still a decent amount of good moments. In fact, because cancer is so emotional and there is a lot of fear about mortality and such, cancer can really bring you together with your partner and there were some intimate moments over the last few months, that were VERY special and emotional for me. In some ways, the disease made the sex have much more meaning. Sometimes it's not the quantity, it's the quality.

I had some issues with feeling attractive with my bald head. My husband said it never bothered him, but I couldn't help but feel like I lost a lot of my femininity with my hair loss. I never tried making love with a wig on, but I am sure one could and it may even be fun! I just turned out the lights and hoped he wouldn't feel my bald head....all that said, when you lose your hair on your head, you lose the hair all over your body...it's a perk to not have to shave your legs and...etc. Smooth!

I know for some women chemo can put you into menopause. Though this didn't happen to me, I have read many times, that it is common to have vaginal dryness and some discomfort during intercourse. There are many websites with tips on these issues....

The hardest part for me is right now.
I am post surgery and I worry about my confidence in the future when I am feeling well enough to get things back on track with my husband. I worry that he has seen too much of the freaky, gross stuff (drains, scabs, holes in my body, stitches, bruises, blood) that he is going to be permanently turned off from me.
I worry that he won't find my new body attractive. Not because it doesn't look attractive, because it does! But because it isn't my real breasts...it is going to creep him out? Do I repulse him? I mean I went from a size 4 hot little thing when we fist met to what I am now...it's a BIG change and it sucks.
Sometimes I feel like a freak.
A lot of the reason I chose the Tram surgery is because I have never liked the idea of implants and I know my husband has never found the idea of them attractive. He is very against Plastic Surgery and has always said it was a turn off. So, I am hoping that the results from my surgery will be natural enough for him to feel like it is still me.
I know in my heart he loves me, I know that he isn't superficial, but I just pray that this year of hell hasn't stripped me of my self confidence and stripped Kerry of his physical attraction to me.
Hopefully we can continue our "pre-cancer" life together, and hopefully it will be better than ever.