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**

Monday, March 29, 2010

Falling Off the Bangwagon...and other things.

Ayi yi yi!!
I've been a bad girl.
For some reason, I have been slipping into unhealthy habits again....and it scares me!
I was hoping that the cancer would permanently change me, like a microchip in my brain, I wouldn't even have to have will power, I would just be "healthy robot-girl"!
But no, this isn't the way it is.
In a way, it's a good sign I have been "slipping" because it shows I am relaxed and confident in my healing. However, this is not who I want to be. This is not what I believe in, and so, I need to jump back on the cancer bandwagon and live like I wanna live forever.
No more Ceasers...no more Mini Eggs...no more carb and cheese overloads!!
More sleep, more veggies, more juicing, more water, more exercise!!
Chemo Wednesday, good time to get back on...tomorrow I start, and by the end of the week, I should be feeling fine.

Today I got a surprise Facebook message from a local girl I have never met. She too, in in treatment though I don't know much else about her yet. She heard of me, and read my blog and wrote me a letter.
It was really nice.
I am always happy to hear about people reading the blog and enjoying it as, I have a security setting on it where not many people can comment on the posts, so I never really know if people are reading...then, I get an email from someone telling me they enjoy it or thanking me for sharing, and I am reassured.
It is therapeutic for me to write, but it also makes me feel good to know I am helping people...either understand breast cancer, understand our feelings or helping other women through their breast cancer journey.
This new woman is going to be part of my "cancer posse" ( TM from my new favorite book Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips)
So, Wednesday is Chemo #4, then April is my son's 11th birthday....then Easter this weekend!
A lot going on, a lot to be excited about, a lot to tire me out.
But, if I get back on the bandwagon, I should have the energy to push through!!


(A MUST have book for any one with cancer, especially young women!!)

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Ride to Conquer Cancer


There is something happening across Canada this summer.
It is called "The Ride to Conquer Cancer".
I am not participating in this ride but my friend James is....
I have read up on this fundraising activity and I really like this cause.
There is a link on the home page (http://va09.conquercancer.ca/site/PageServer?pagename=va09_dollarsatwork) that explains where your money will go.
I like that you get to choose where your money will be donated. It sounds really good to me.
James wrote me a note a while back and though he is riding for more than just me, he did let me know I was part of the reason he is riding.
Therefore I am asking any and all of my friends and family to sponser James in his ride.
He is one of my oldest friends and though we have lost touch through the years, he was one of the first to contact me when he found out I had cancer. He has consistently cheered me on through my battle.
I ask you to make a donation to James in his "Ride to Conquer"
$1 or $100
It all makes a difference.
Thanks guys!!
Below is James' donation page link...


Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Doctor

Today I had an appointment with my new "family" doctor.
I decided to switch as I wasn't very happy with my original one.
He wasn't horrible, I just didn't trust his judgment or commitment to his clients.
Anyway, at my last chemo appointment at the hospital, my oncologist was asking questions...I can't remember how but somehow it came up that I was somewhat traumatized by the early months of my cancer experience. And this "trauma" was caused by all the mistakes and shit my doctor and first general surgeon caused.
My oncologist (who is amazing) asked why I hadn't changed family doctors yet.
I explained, I had one picked out (my daughter had seen him) but thought I should wait to make the change until after the cancer stuff was over with.
He disagreed. He got on the phone right then and called up my new doctor and low and behold, my new doctor came to the hospital the next morning to see me (as I had stayed overnight).
The whole experience was amazing.
So anyway, I met him today to give him my STACK of medical records and go over with him my "story"
Every time I tell my story, I get upset.
The dark clod comes over and the pit of my stomach burns and heats up.
The heat moves up to my eyes and the tears pour out.
It's because hearing myself repeat what happened reminds me I have cancer and it's all real.
I know you probably don't understand, and think that with a bald head and chemo every 3 weeks, how could I forget I have cancer. But you kind of just do. I think it's a coping mechanism your brain come up with, I mean, you know you have cancer, but you kind of go into denial and live like normal. You forget the fear and the risks involved and the pain.
This gets stirred up when I tell my story.
The anger also comes in when I tell my story.
I am so angry at the system.
I am angry at my surgeon for all the mistakes he made and for his carelessness that caused me stress and anxiety.
I am angry at my old family doctor for not listening to me early on about wanting a mammogram. I am angry that I still have never had a mammogram. I am angry that no one found my second lump and I found it by MISTAKE! I am angry that my surgeon YELLED at me on the phone when I requested a bilateral mastectomy, only to later call me up and tell me it's a good idea. I am angry that EVERYONE told me I didn't have cancer and it was only a cyst. I am angry that my surgeon AFTER my lumpectomy, woke me up to tell me it was almost for sure a fiberodenoma and I was going to be ok, then having me show up a week later, unprepared at his office, with my daughter only to tell me it was cancer. "I am really shocked" he said....
I am angry that both my family doctor and my surgeon told me after Xmas, that there were 5 sentinnel lymph nodes removed and they were ALL clear, only to find out last month from my NEW surgeon (who CAN read a pathology report) that there was in fact only 1 lymph node removed and the other 4 things were fat lumps.
I am angry that, apparently it is nearly impossible to confuse a fat lump with a lymph node.
This is most of what I am angry about.
So when people ask "how are you coping?" the funny thing is, most of the trauma and pain doesn't come from being told I had cancer, but instead the "screw-ups" these so called health care "professionals" made in the early stages of my treatment.
I mean, you are supposed to trust these people with your life!! I had just been told I had cancer and not to worry, the professionals would take care of me, and this is what I was shown in my first 2 months.
Wicked, thanks for the trust.
Whew! I guess I needed to vent.
Needless to say, all the feelings came to surface again today as I told my story to my new doc. He was very supportive and understanding and promised to help take care of me.
I believe him.
One week til my next chemo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Just Life.

Yes, I have been MIA for a while.
But MIA means good things with cancer.
If you are not hovering over a computer, you are generally well enough that you are out enjoying life and feeling good!
This is true with me, though I have had a bugger cold that may start becoming an issue soon as it doesn't seem to be getting better!!
In the last while I have had some great visits with friends...my husband and I cooked a BIG steak and crab feast for a group of them last night to thank them for all of their help and commitment to us during this cancer thing, they have been great helping us with all sorts of favors... and we just sat around the table laughing and talking and drinking wine.....fabulous.
I bought my husband a truck as a surprise gift! I found a great deal and snatched it up and borrowed a giant red bow from the dealership to wrap it in. Then my son and I waited on the lawn for him to come home and took pictures of his reaction....he was thrilled. And he deserves it, he has just given, given, given to us and never expected anything back. He deserves something for him. It felt great giving it to him. And the best part is it didn't come oout of our combined bank account. It came from an insurance settlement I got (critical illness insurance) for getting cancer. So it really was like I bought him a truck. So fun!
We drove the truck through the mountains on a geocaching expedition last weekend and went to pick up Sadie, a dog I adopted for my mom. We stopped in a bunch of small towns to geocache and have lunch and look around. There are so many beautiful, quaint towns nestled in the mountains and forest here....so many great places to raise kids or retire. I am so glad I live in one of them.
Finally today my husband is back at work, my kids are in school and I can relax. I need to rest and rid myself of this cold I have. It's brutal! I have a cough, sore throat and stuffy nose. I know my counts are low and so I am having a hard time kicking it. I need to be careful it doesn't get worse, I don't want to end up in the hospital.
I am now going to curl up on the couch, watch a movie and nap....
mmm....it's a good day!


View from a geocache site!

Cool little dome motels, one of the many things we saw on our geocaching trip near Nelson.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Seeing a Chemo Pattern.....

I know chemo is REALLY different for everyone who goes through it.
However, I have really pinpointed a pattern of my side effects through my journey.
I am going to share.
-4-10 hrs after treatment...tired and puking
-whiplash feeling in my upper body and face
-starting to feel better, no nausea or dizziness
-constipation gone
-heartburn gone
-mouth sores
-low immunity
-usually get cold symptoms (fighting cold with low blood count)
-no nausea
-no side effects
-back to normal
-good energy

So this is the pattern for my first 3 cycles which is Epirubicin, Cyclophosphamide and Florouracil.
Next 3 cycles are going to be DOCETAXOL and is supposed to mostly just be soreness and some stuff with finger nails?? I will have to let you know as it comes....
Today is day 15 and I feel pretty good.
I am low in my blood cells and immunity this week and sure enough I have a cough, a bit of a sore throat and I can tell my body is fighting something.
Poor body....
But I am surviving, and time is flying! I can't believe I am going into week 3!!
My home care nurse has been coming to give me my shots and it hasn't even hurt at all, I like this lady! I don't even freeze my belly anymore! Plus I haven't had much achy-ness from the shot so that's good!
Family are on there way here to see me next week, I can't wait!
So much to do! So little time!
COMING SOON: "These are a few of my favorite things Part 2!!"


(a rant from my Facebook page)

They say it is SO RARE for a young woman to have breast cancer but one of my closest friends, myself, one of my clients and now 2 local girls have been diagnosed around me. Too many. I want to stress to EVERY woman to consistantley perform self breast exams and if you do find something....DEMAND a mammogram and or ultrasound. If they tell you it looks like a cyst or probably is nothing, DEMAND a second opinion or biopsy!!!! PLEASE!!!! My mom was turned away and carried her lump for months before going back in and finding out it was cancer....I was told over and over again (even after my FREAKING surgery) that "it's not going to be cancerous, you're too young and it looks benign!" (thank god I had a family history or they wouldn't have continued to look into it!!) I don't mean to scare you all, but it really is important. We have to be the advocates of our own bodies. Months can mean everything when it comes to cancer!! And I keep hearing of these stories of women being told by their docs to "watch" their lumps, because they are most likely cysts...and these women walk around for months even years with cancer growing and they don't know it!! And don't get me wrong...I am not saying "don't trust the health care professionals" because they are currently saving my life and I love my crew of docs....BUT! Before they know you have cancer, you are just like anyone else and if the stats don't show you will get cancer, they tend to turn their heads....be persistant. Find out for certain!!
Ok, enough ranting....but I am affected every time I hear a new story. I want to cry because I know that sick, pit in the stomach feeling, finding out, desperate, vacant, horrifying! I hate to know anyone is going thru that. I hate it. I hate cancer.
That's all, I'm done...til next time!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Pattty's!



It's only noon and I am having a FANTASTIC day so far!!
Woke up and decided today was the day I was going to do a good deed.
Remember a while back when I went to a local breast cancer support group meeting?
Well, I went and this crew of ladies was just adorable!! I fell in love. With their spirit, their determination, their closeness to each other! And then Alice, who runs the group, told me that the BCCA was going to be removing their funding!!
The Cancer agency was paying for the ladies costs to run this tight little group, and is now telling them, they are taking the funds away.
Sometimes the Cancer Agency really pisses me off!! I would like to know who decides where and how their money is spent. It is interesting to see the fancy offices these people have, in high rent areas (with views!) and then they can't even pay $500 a year to a little support group to keep it going? It's not fair.
Priorities are skewed and the efficiency just isn't there all of the time.
Regardless, hearing this news on the first day I met these ladies, broke my heart.
I new I had to help.
So this morning, I took action!
I called up the local paper (where the ladies advertise their meetings once per month) and I am in the process of working out a deal with them to buy some advertising space (let's say a year worth of ads) and then they match it (2 years paid!!)
I also have contacted the grocery store I work at to see if they can donate or match a gift card purchase to give the ladies a good chunk of credit to go toward their refreshments for their meetings...I think they will come through and help and if they can't, I will pay out of my pocket.
Now these ladies can focus on the important things and not have to worry about the cost of groceries and ad space...it isn't a huge deal, but it helps.
And it feels so good!!
Where can I help next?
Now to go into town for a nice walk, pick up St. Patty's Day treats, groceries and back home for a relaxing night.
Feeling good, just look at all my energy in my video at the top of this post!!
Happy St. Patrick's Day Everyone!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Love Story

It was 10 years ago I met my husband Kerry.
At the time I was a young single mom living in government housing, waiting tables at a karaoke bar to just pay for day care, so I could wait tables at a karaoke bar.
I remember driving with my sister one day, when I asked her why I was always choosing the wrong man.
She told me I needed to write a list of what my priorities were, in a partner.
When I did this, I realized I was always attracted to men that didn't meet my priorities.
My number one priority was to laugh....
Then I met Kerry.
A friend of a friend from Nelson, BC, we just ended up hanging out in a group on the weekends, when I didn't have my son in tow.
I didn't realize I was attracted to Kerry until eventually I noticed, I didn't want to go out,
unless Kerry was going to be there.
Without Kerry there, I wouldn't laugh, without him there, I wouldn't have fun.
I started to catch on.
He was addicting, and comfortable and I just wanted to be around him all of the time.
Eventually we had our first date, a trip to an amusement park with my son. I remember going on a ride while Kerry watched my one year old son on the side lines.
I noticed they way they were together, and I also noticed they were pretty much wearing the same outfit! Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts and sun hat....
Don't get me wrong, I was in NO way looking for a father to my child. My son had a father, and I was independent and doing fine on my own. I just think it was fate.
I think God knew I needed him.
I think God knew I would need him.
7 months later we were engaged.
Kerry has rescued me over and over again.
He is my anchor.
And now through this time, with my cancer....he has amazed me more than ever.
Never even flinching when he sees my bald head, baggy eyes.
He still looks at me like I am beautiful, and it is genuine.
He picks me up when I am sick and too weak to stand.
He holds my hand when they inject the chemo and I cry.
He wipes my tears.
He wraps his arms around me and kisses me, just the way he would when I was pretty.
He is 33 years old and could have a young, healthy, beautiful wife and instead he has a sick, wife, always needing, who has lost her hair and will lose her breasts soon and he just sticks with me.
He is the best gift I could ever have been given.
Lately when he is around, I start crying uncontrollably, because I am just so grateful to have him in my life.
I am humbled.
I will never take him for granted.
This is my love story.
Thank you Kerry for being my rock.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Somebody Shoot Me!

This is a bitch session. It is not an uplifting post. If you don't want to hear me whine about how shitty I feel, don't read it.

Man, I guess there was a price to pay for my "no puking" chemo day. I feel like absolute crap today!! I had my Filgrastim shot yesterday (a home care nurse came to the house). When I woke up in the middle of the night, I was SOOOO achy! I feel like I have whiplash. Plus I am so tired and drained of energy. Also when I woke up I felt really sick. I was gagging and when I got up to go to the washroom, I vomited. Well, I went through the motions of vomiting, though I had nothing in my stomach to throw up. I also have a sore throat. I think I am fighting what my daughter had been spewing all around the house the last week. I just pray I can beat it. the last thing I need right now is a bloody cold or flu!!
My arm (where my chemo IV went) is sore and feels gross. Pretty much everything is just grossing me out right now. I look in the mirror, I feel gross. I feel my arm being sore, I know that the chemo corroded my veins, I feel sick. I look at all the pill bottles around, I feel sick.
Everything is just yuck today!!
During chemo week I take a ton of meds....let's go through them....
Each Day: 7 anti-nauseants, 3 laxatives, 1 heartburn pill, 1 tylenol arthritis, 4 rinses with baking soda, 3 rinses with Maalox, Benedryl and Nystatin....and 1 shot of Filrastim
That's pretty nasty if you ask me.
No wonder why I feel sick.
Well, chemo week is almost over, hopefully the worst is over for at least a few weeks....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Chemo #3... A Hospital Event!

Yesterday was chemo "hump-day"! My 3rd one of 6.
I decided after my last two puking epidemics, to stay the night at the hospital for this one.
It helped.
I took an Adivan before heading in, I ate a big healthy sandwich during my chemo injections (which may have helped) and the process was much more pleasant.
I had my meeting with my oncologist and told him about the "clear nodes" not really being nodes after all. I told him how I was really upset about my 2 first health care providers on this cancer journey and he suggested I move family physicians. I told him I wasn't sure if I should just wait tilthis cancer was over or do it now. He suggested to do it now. So he made the call and believe it or not, within 12 hours, the new doc (who I had picked out previously) came over to the hospital to greet me and chat. Amazing. That's what I am talking about my friends!! Real caring small town doctors!
I also talked to my oncologist about my some weird brain issues I have been having. Call it a bit of paranoia, but I have been noticing a few abnormal headaches, some minor hallucinating (like seeing a spider on the floor and when I look it isn't there), bad memory, unusually hard time spelling and organizing thought and so on. Now I know these can be symptoms of "chemo brain" (a side effect from the chemo drugs on your brain, temporary) but because my cancer type (both trip neg and Her2 + have a tendency to like to spread to the brain) I thought I would request a brain scan. My oncologist agreed it wasn't a bad idea, so I will be going for that soon.
After my injections of chemo, they moved me to my room. They put me on the quiet maternity wrd in a room with one other sweet girl and I got started on IV saline and stemitol...they kept coming in and switching bags and other than feeling restless leg syndrome and debating whether I'd be able to sleep in a hospital comfortably overnight, I was well. The nurse brought me 3 pillows and an Adivan and Gravol to take orally and after I popped those, I don't remember much.
I woke up in the morning and I couldn't believe I didn't get sick once!! What a nice change. and right now 12:30 the next day, I feel really quite good. I am happy. I have made it half way and over the top of the mountain, now I get the easy way down...a big surgery and the light it bright at the end of this tunnel I am pleased. I am grateful.
I have a cardio ultra sound set up for Saturday (before I start Herceptin next chemo) and I have a consult with my plastic surgeon for April 8th in Kelowna coming up too! It's all coming together. I will keep you all posted as to the progress and results.
Love til then.

Spring Break!!

On my last blog, I mentioned we took the kids to Kelowna with us. We originally had to go to meet my surgeon, but we figured we'd take the kids to cram some fun into 3 days, before I entered my chemo-coma on Wednesday.
It was great! Aside from my littlest having a bad stomach flu the majority of the time, we still fit in some good times.
Day one, when we arrived, we got to see my cousin (best friend), her wonderful hubby, my aunt and my cousin's new baby girl (I consider her a niece). She was just beautiful and everyone seems to be doing really well. The new babe had some health problems during and just after birth which had us all worried, but she seems to be doing good now, she's starting off a little fighter! Must run in the family!! Love love love to you all.
We hauled the kids to this fantastic indoor water park (H2o park) with slides and a "flo-rider" thing to surf on, and hot tubs and wave pools...it was pretty cool. However, I forgot my bikini top, so I had to sit out and drink Veggie Jugo Juice while I watched them play. I was originally bummed out, but it was nice to chill.
After the water park, we took them to Scandia (indoor amusement park). It was 8:30 at night, but we figured, let's wear em' out! They were pretty surprised when they came out of the pool at night and we said "let's go have more fun!!" They were thrilled actually!
We went to Scandia (aka germ factory) and played indoor jungle mini golf, and video games to collect tickets to redeem for prizes. It was so fun...I just had to santitze every 20 seconds! Lily started to feel sick when we were at Scandia. Her belly started hurting. I thought it was just constipation, but later that night at our hotel it turned out to be flu. :(
We all went back to the room and went to bed. We didn't sleep much as Lily was up crying and puking the whole night...the air was dry and stuffy in the hotel and though I was worried about Lily, I couldn't help but be selfish and hope to dear god, I wouldn't catch anything that would mess up my chemo treatment.
When we woke, I had to go to the hospital for pre-chemo blood work and then to my general surgeon's office to have a consult. I planned on Kerry taking me but I had to let them all sleep...so I went on my own.
Later that day, after the appointments, Lily was feeling "somewhat" better, but we decided to take it easy and just had a nice lunch and went looking at RV's and then we headed off to Alice in Wonderland in 3D. I felt kinda guilty taking Lily to the movie, but this was something I wasn't going to miss. Plus! She wanted to go and what difference is it for her to be sick at the hotel watching TV or in the movie theater watching a movie...right??
The movie was FAB! I just wanted to jump right in. I needed more...I hope there is more to come. I wasn't fully satisfied but that's me, I am and have been since birth a HARDCORE Alice fan....it's a fix that may never get met. Love it.
We stayed at out favorite motel on this trip. Siesta Suites. It's a humble little motel, but clean, and has indoor/outdoor pools and hot tubs. It is on a nice strip walking distance to the beach/park in mission. It has cafes, coffee shops and anything you could want right there. Plus it is a great price! $89 to start with kitchenettes and seperate bedroom. We paid the "cancer fee". We just told them I had cancer and we were referred by the cancer agency, and we got our rooms for $59 plus tax. Pretty nice, I say! The BCCA has a list of hotels that grant deals to cancer patients....nice perk for sure!
By the end of the trip, we were ready to head home. Lily needed to get home and I was needing pre-chemo rest. But we did have time to stop and do a few geo-caches on our trip back. Just nice quick ones.
All in all it was a great trip.
All a success.
Can't wait to go back and visit more with family....
Til then!
H2O water park Kelowna

Scandia Kelowna


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What the *@#! ...(the "can I trust my health care professional" edition)

So we went to Kelowna this weekend....mainly because I wanted a consultation with my General surgeon. Let me explain....
I am going to have a bilateral (both boobies) mastectomy with reconstruction, after my chemo is over (say Junish?) this requires 2 surgeons, a general (he removes the boobs) and a plastic (he rebuilds the boobs) they work together as a team, the surgery I am looking at is about 8-9 hrs long, but I come out all brand new, no more old rotten breast tissue, new perkier but natural boobs and a tummy tuck. I need a good team and this guy is good!!
So I cruised over to his office from or hotel, on Monday morning. My husband didn't come with me because my daughter had been up all night with the flu and they needed rest. I am starting to realize he is my good luck charm as I get the bad news when he isn't present.
First off, the good....my surgeon is AWESOME!! Not only was he highly recommended, but I just loved him. He has a great energy right off the bat! He was confident and smart, and funny, comfortable and personable. It was like sitting with a good friend who is completely capable of performing a surgery, and talking reasonably, in layman's terms about it. I felt good about him, I still do!
Yah, the bad news...
This Doc, had all my path reports and exam results on his computer and he read them all and when I sat in his office and chatted, he basically realized what I had been told.
He interupted and dropped the ball....
I had been living the last 3 months (since my last surgery) believing, having been told, that I had 5 lymph nodes removed from my breast/armpit and they were tested for cancer and they were all free of cancer. This is major, because the lymph nodes are the main traveling channel for cancer to spread through the body. And since my cancer "want's to metastisize and spread" knowing the 5 closest were clear of cancer made me feel good about things.
New Doc told me this info was not true. He told me that they removed 5 clumps (that were acting like lymph nodes) but it ended up only one was a lymph node and the others were clumps of fatty tissue!! So I only really had one lymph node removed and proved free of cancer. This is not good. The worst part is that the other surgeon from Trail, sat me in his office, after Christmas and told me to my face that there were 5 nodes removed and they were all clear. Soooo, did he not properly read the report or was he misleading me to make me feel more confident? Either way I have been living with false information. My family doctor even told me the same thing!! Honestly, I am not impressed with either of them. My new surgeon showed me on the path report where is states that the "nodes" weren't nodes at all but fatty tissue. Other than the samples being labelled
Sentinel Node #1-5 on the report (which IS misleading) it straight up says, that the sample was mainly fatty tissue not resembling a lymph node.
Now, I still feel positive about things over all, and the mis-reading of the results doesn't CHANGE my current treatment as they are giving me the harshest chemo I can take, but how am I supposed to trust the system, I mean these guys have really fucked things up along the way. If you can't even read a path report properly, why were you cutting me open and and diagnosing me?? Scary stuff man.
Since I have been put in the hands of my oncologists and new surgeons, I have felt confident about my care, but it is really scary seeing the easy mistakes these guys are making out there. These are the people we throw ourselves at in mercy and beg them to save our lives!
Needless to say and make a long story short, my new Doc is going to remove about 7 nodes when I have my mastectomy. They will check all the breast tissue and nodes for any cancer. Until then, lets just hope the original cancer hasn't or isn't spreading through my body. That's how you die from breast cancer. It plants itself in your brain, or bones or liver....
There's a fine line between staying positive and trying to not be blind. I want to manifest good things in my body, but I don't want to ignore a problem that may be there...waiting for me to notice and fix!
Good thing I am going in for chemo #3 today, this all makes it a little more appealing right now!
Light at the end of the tunnel, please stay bright!

Here Comes the Tornado!


What a week!! I haven't been that busy in forever!! It was kinda nice to have fun and forget all my worries....plus it was fun to see lots of friends and have lots of laughs with family and friends, but man I was pooped.
In the last 9 days I...went to a bridal fair...went to a stagette....went to an all day spa appointment (yummy)....went to double swim lessons with my kids....went and biught wedding gifts...finished a painting...wrapped gifts....cleaned my house....packed for Kelowna...went to Kelowna...went to see my new niece/cousin....went to a waterpark....went to an amusement park....had blood work done....had a consult with my surgeon....went to Alice in Wonderland...took care of a sick puking little girl ALL NIGHT LONG!! Drove home from Kelowna, and now I am off to chemo today (#3).
Needless to say I picked up a cough and my old cold is back a bit. Hope that doesn't matter with the chemo. I am going to stay the night at the hospital, and I feel good about that. I am scared, it sucks knowing you are basically signing up for (basically) a case of food poisoning for the night. However, I am so happy to be at halfway, and over the worst of the chemo (from what I hear anyway). I will get through this...can't wait really!!
I will post a few in a row to make up for my absence, as some important things came up over the last few days....

Friday, March 5, 2010

Curiouser and Curiouser

Off to Kelowna this weekend.
Monday I meet with the surgeon who will be performing my mastectomy.
Unfortunately the plastic surgeon who will be doing the reconstruction, isn't available for a consult yet. I should get some answers though.
The thought of this surgery used to scare the crap out of me.
Now I look forward to it.
Nothing can be worse than 5 months of chemo.

We are going to see Alice in Wonderland when in Kelowna. I can't wait.
I have had a strange obsession for Alice in Wonderland since I was little.
I used to think that when people died, they got to choose how they spent their after life.
I would have chosen to go to Wonderland.
I would obsess about it.
I had an Ebay stint where I bought anything and everything Alice online, and now I have this weird "old lady-like" collection of china and snowglobes...lol, so funny.
So needless to say, Alice is special to me and I hope the movie takes me there, to Wonderland,
if even for a night.
I need an escape.

Wednesday is chemo (#3) day.
I am terrified.
Like a dark cloud hovering....
Good news is, I have decided to stay the night at the hospital.
The nurse thinks it's a good idea, she's going to stream the gravol straight into me through IV.
Hope it works!
One more "pukey" chemo and I can say I am half way done!!
Then only 3 more "achy" chemos
1 mastectomy
20 more Filgrastim injections
and 17 more (1 years worth of) Herception IV's
and I'm free!

I should have been counting the needles I have had so far, I think I am at about 40 in the last 3 months....and did you know chemo is about $10,000.00 per bag?!!
No wonder they never pre-order it!!
They wait until I walk through the door and they see my face before they call the pharmacy and place the order, it usually takes an hour or two of waiting around before they hook me up....

But those are all thoughts for next week...
this weekend I am normal.
I will enjoy my mini vacation.
I will fall down the rabbit hole..
chasing the White Rabbit...
hope I catch him.

Damned Canker Sores!!!


So, I have been suffering from mouth sores for the last 5 days....it happened after last round too about 7-10 days after treatment they come, but last time they only lasted 2 days and were gone!
This time? BRUTAL.
I had heard of other women suffering so badly from these little sores they couldn't eat at all and had to stay in the hospital. I hoped I wouldn't be that bad, and I felt like I wouldn't, but now I'm a little nervous.
They were on my tongue and bottom lip and side of my mouth and the crease of my gums. they show up because the chemo (apparently only certain chemo drugs, I'll get to that later) drugs target "rapidly growing cells". Which includes cancer, digestive (hence heartburn) hair and the lining of your mouth. When it attacks, your mouth can't fight bacteria and infection like it used to and it breaks out. They tell you at the start of treatment this may happen and to keep your mouth clean and rinse with baking soda and water 4 times a day and so on.
Well, I admit, I didn't rinse as often as suggested and I broke out. But baking soda didn't work to fix it once it was a problem.
It got so bad I couldn't talk properly and started crying cause I couldn't eat anything I wanted to (they recommend staying away from anything acidic, sweet or salty or spicy! Which is everything good.) Finally I went to my pharmacy and got the ultimate fix.
Yes, that's right! A SOLUTION!! Well, it worked for me.
They gave me Maalox (strawberry flavor is best), Benadryl and something from behind the counter called Nystatin (an anti-fungal agent). I have heard some people need a prescription for the Nystatin, but fortunately, I didn't.
So, I take equal portions of these plus and equal portion of water and mix them together and swish the solution in my mouth for as long as I can. It doesn't hurt and it tastes like banana ear infection medicine from when you were a kid....I used it often, and every time I went to eat I would apply Orajel to the sores to numb them, then eat, then either brush my teeth or rinse with water and baking soda, then I would use this magic solution. Basically just trying to ALWAYS keep food or bacteria out of my mouth. To keep it as clean as possible.
They say you can swallow or spit the solution....I chose to spit but I would swallow any remnants. I figured ingesting some may help. It only took a day and a half of doing this and only eating bland foods (yogurt, bread, rice, potatoes, steamed veg, plain meat....) and they were gone. Well, they are almost gone.... but I know it was the solution that fixed it because they were just getting worse and worse until I start rinsing. So I hope this helps some of you....there are also lots of other suggestions out there on the Internet, such as applying honey and so on....so you don't have to sit and suffer!

Monday, March 1, 2010

I live in a fairlytale land.

Hubby and I had a day off today.
The sun was out in full effect and spring was making itself present.
We took the dogs out for a hike and to go geocaching.
We took the little ferry (like a 1 min cable ferry ride) from the highway across to Glade (about 15 minutes from Nelson)
We followed the geocaching directions to a dirt road in our van...we came to a man made bride. Like shanty town bridge. It was freaking hilarious!! My husband was like "Ok, is this a joke?" but I knew other people cross it all the time, so we went for it. It is a very small bridge and only over a little creek.
We drove a short way further and parked. We followed the GPS through what looked like the enchanted forest and sucked up the dewy air. We could hear the waterfall, and walked just a short way up hill til we came to it.
It was unbelievable.
There were calm pools protected by rocks that just screamed "come soak in me in the summer!"
You could just hang out in this place all day! There were mossy rocks everywhere and giant chunks of crystal (quartz) all over the place!! And there were 2 flat, large rocks that acted as landings in the middle of the creek, under the falls.
We stood there, like we were on a staged yoga platform. All I could think of was, I needed to come back here alone, whenever I was out of sorts. I could sit on this platform and meditate. Facing the waterfall, the mist and spray of it dusted my face just enough to feel good and alive.
It was magic.
True magic.
This beautiful earth that was given to us, is a magical place.
Places like this put life into perspective.
We are minuscule in a place like this.
And I like it that way.
Grateful, so very very grateful.

Things and things.

Nothing major has happened over the past few days, so I collected a few days worth of "little things" to make one post.

CANCER RELATED things: So, remember I was bragging to you about how I wasn't getting any pain or side effects from the Filgrastim shots? Well, after the last one, I did. I actually got a bad bruise on the injection site. the previous day I had a small bruise from another injection, but it was tiny. This bruise was pretty yucky. Dark purple and green. The bruise itself didn't hurt, but I did read that if you get bruising from the injections, you were to contact your doctor immediately. I didn't do this because I was certain it was just from how the needle was given? I figure I will bring it up at my next chemo session. Also, the night of my 5th shot, I woke up in pain. I had this weird, pulsating (almost to the rhythm of my heart beat) pain in my lower spine and chest bones. Super weird pain. Hard to explain it, but I read up that it is common to this shot, so I just popped Tylenol and it was tolerable for the day. It lasted about 20 hrs in total. I also had another headache, but I think it was just from grinding my teeth.
I also had hair issues this week. On Wednesday I had a shower. My hair was very patchy at this point. Some spots completely bald and smooth, others bristly, and some thick with hair. But in general, my hair was loose and wanting to come out. So I had a shower and stayed in for a while. I let the shower head beat down on the top of my head...it felt so nice. When I got out of the shower, however....I looked in the mirror and the water had blasted the hair off the top of my head in one spot! It looked hilarious, but it made me feel sad and upset. I covered it up and went on with my day. On Saturday I had another shower and tried rubbing my hair to get it to come out...I just wanted it to be even. I am not sure why, I think the look of it was just too sad, and I wanted it to just all come out. I made progress, when I got out of the shower it was much patchier!!! I did get most of the hair out though. However the prickly ones were, for some reason, hurting me. They also had dry skin patches and it just looked and felt gross, so last night I "bick-ed" my head. I shaved it clean with a razor. Now I look like an alien. but it feels so much better and I am smooth and shiny!! I like it better this way. Other than that, I am in my mouth sore stage (day 10-13 after chemo) and I am battling them with baking soda and Oragel. I just drink more smoothies rather than eating and chewing, and I have to avoid chips and sweets (which is good anyways!).

NON CANCER RELATED things: My cousin (one of my best friends) from Kelowna had her first baby!! I was so excited about this. Her husband and her will made stellar parents and I am just thrilled!! They had a baby girl, and the pictures of her in the hospital were amazing! She is so beautiful and doesn't even look like an ugly alien newborn!! She is perfect, and I can't wait to meet her soon!
My daughter who is 6 years old, had her second guitar lesson and is learning so fast! She is pretty adorable with her mini guitar and intense concentration....
I went to a bridal show yesterday. It was a nice outing... I went with my sister in law and mother in law for my cousin in law's wedding to come. I saw a bunch of my co-worker's there (they were modeling dresses) and I saw some friends I haven't seen in a while. It was really good to see people and chat and sip mamosas. They had a great spread of food and a chocolate fountain! They had cool booths with local business' like caterers and photographer's and so on. They had 2 fashion shows which were fabulous!! I am always amazed at how Nelson, being so small, had the ammenities and services and talents of a big city. It was a quaint, stress free wedding fair to enjoy, but still had a unique array of services, anything you could ever need and want!!
Another cool thing that happened this weekend, is that Canada won the Gold medal in HOCKEY!!! Of course, because we are Canadian, and we invented the sport. It is the only way it ever should be. :)

So that is my collage post of anything eventful that has happened over the last few days....I know these posts are a crap out. But I have obviously been pre-occupied with fun things going on, so you cannot really be mad at me. Today I am going for a geo-cache adventure with my husband (who has the day off)....if he ever wakes up!! Til next time.....

Cancer makes people not like me.

You know what has really been bothering me lately? Something. And, since this cancer thing started I have found it easy to let go of any grudges or issues that may have, in the past, bothered me for weeks. I have learned it is not healthy to hold onto bad feelings. Plus, it has been easy to let go of them because I have a view of what matters in life and what"just" doesn't.
But something bothers me and I can't get rid of the resentment.
I have really learned who my true friends are during this time. I am amazed who has gone out of their way to help us, or send a card, or even just speak well thought out words that have more meaning than "you'll be fine."
I cannot believe that some of "who I thought were.." my closest friends, and family members are pretty much no where to be found. It's crazy! I try to tell myself, they just don't know what to say...but that's crap! I even have some people who have literally said to me "I feel so horrible, but I am at a loss of what to say.." and I respect and appreciate that. At least that's truth! Plus, I can relate, I have been that person before. But to say nothing, never call me, never check in...nothing? Well, I guess this is a bigger learning curve than I originally thought. But it is sad. But I need to let go of it.
It is what it is, and I cannot change it.
Maybe there is a good reason, a reason more than they don't really give a shit about me.
It isn't my problem to own. It is their issue.
I will try, to let go.