Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bad Mommy, Oncology, and Reclaiming Poo

Today is the 5th day since my Dad and Step Mom left for their vacation.  They held off by almost a month so that they could come to town and take care of me.  It was a huge help and a huge show of support, for which I am eternally grateful.  These past five days have been tough.  Is it possible to forget how to be a mom?  I mean, seriously, I've been changing diapers, feeding, bathing, and caring for my child for almost a year and a half only to have all my knowledge seemingly vanish within 3 weeks.  Let me tell you a story...

Mike, Gwen and I all went to the mall on Dec 27th to exchange a couple of items that were of the wrong size. Unfortunately, my size feet seem to be the most common, so I couldn't exchange these adorable fuzzy slipper boots that Mike had got me for Christmas.  Pooey!  At any rate, we decided that we would grab a smoothy for lunch.  Gwen loves smoothies and she hadn't had one in a long while.  As we wander up to an electronics store to check out their sales, Gwen starts fidgeting.  We're thinking she's a little bored because she's been in her stroller for a bit by this point.  We wander around a bit more, but once she finishes the smoothy, she starts getting out right cranky.  Mike takes her out of the stroller to let her walk around a bit, only to find that her bottom is wet.  Now, I'm not just talking slightly damp; I'm talking soaked-through-almost-going-down-her-legs-and-up-her-back WET.  I start thinking to myself, "Wow, that doesn't look like a simple defective diaper".  No sir-ee-bob, it was full on parental neglect!  I hadn't even thought to change her diaper before we left for the mall and then I totally forgot to check her as we did our shopping.  It had been 3 weeks where I didn't have to think about any diaper changing, food making, or bed time routine.  I had forgotten how to be a Mom!  I felt so bad, and so embarrassed.  How could I forget to check a diaper!  It's just plain silly.  The really terrible thing is that we didn't even have her diaper bag with us.  It was out in the vehicle.  Gwen had to hang out in the family bathroom semi-nude while Mike ran to get her diapers and spare clothes.  She was very cheerful about it all though.  The more I think about it, the more I am glad that she will not remember this time in our lives.  Maybe she won't hold it against me the amount of times I screwed up as a Mom during my cancer fight.

We have now started getting back into a routine.  I think it's startling Mike's system a little bit to be waking up with Gwen in the mornings.  I think it's nice that we all wake up as a family.  The fact is, I still need help (yes, laugh all you want at that!).  I need someone to help me with the daily tasks of taking care of a child.  I can't lift Gwen yet, which I proved last night.  We worked out a system where Gwen could climb up onto our bed and sleep there so that I didn't have to pick her up out of her crib while Mike was at work.  Well, that system only works if Gwen decides to go to sleep and not climb down off the bed to go play well past bed time.  Yes, she played and then became over tired and then threw a tantrum on the floor as I tried to get her back to the bedroom.  This required a small amount of Gwen lifting, which I am now regretting.  I strained something internally.  Not sure if it's muscular or intestinal.  I'm thinking muscular, but man, it hurts today.  I even had to take some pain medication, which makes me feel somewhat depressed because it feels like I'm going backwards in my healing process.  Thank the Lord that my Mom is coming out in a few days!  I can rest a bit more and heal up.

I also just received an appointment with an oncologist.  January 10th I'll be going in to the cancer clinic to check out my options.  I am very wary of chemotherapy.  I am dreading making this upcoming decision.  My thoughts are basically this: I don't want to pump toxic poison through my system, but I'm also afraid not to.  Chemo is so terrible.  It really is a harsh, harsh treatment.  I don't want to die in 20 years of something that the chemo caused when I may have lived 40 years if I hadn't done the chemo.  Now, on the other hand, I don't want to die in 5 years because I didn't do chemo and the cancer came back in a place that was inoperable.  I feel like I'm about to walk into a casino to make the highest stake gamble that there is: life or death.  In the end, we all die though.  We never know when our time will come.  I could spend all this time worrying about what the chemo and cancer could do to me, only to be run over by a truck tomorrow!  We never know, and I suppose there is no sense worrying too much about it.  I just pray that the right information and the right people come my way to help me make the best decision possible.

And, when all this "life" stuff starts getting me down, all I have to do is remember one thing:  I CAN POO!!!!   (and it feels GREAT)

P.S. I just had a thought.  I used the word "Pooey" as a negative word in my blog today.  I am going to reclaim the words "Poo", "Shit","Crap", and all their forms.  Why do we use these words as negatives when they are in fact some of the most positive things we can be doing?  Excrement has a bad rap.  It is the waste of the body, sure, but if you don't poo, you DIE.  It is as essential to our existence as breathing, eating and sleeping.  Yet, we don't say, "Oh breath!" or "Oh, sleep!" when we are hurt or angry.  Why do we use the word poo?  Is it the stench?  Has the smell given fecal matter it's bad reputation?  Whatever the cause, I say we RECLAIM the word!  Who is with me?!!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


I had the pleasure of spending the last two evenings with friends of yore.  I could look around the room at either event and see friendly faces; faces of people with whom I have years of history and newer faces of those connected to old friends through love or marriage.  And then there are the babies.  Wow.  All my friends are multiplying like mad right now.  It's a pretty incredible stage of life.  All the women sit around and swap birth stories, as those who are expecting or are hoping to expect listen on in great interest.  All the men shake their head at the fact that you can put 2 or more women of age 25-35 in a room and within minutes they are discussing child birth and/or parenting.  Then, the men sneak off to do whatever men do.
It's a wonderful sense of warmth and relaxation when you're around people who you've known and loved for years.

On the drive home tonight, I was talking with one of my dearest friends, the Maid of Honour at my wedding, Kate.  We don't get to see each other very often since she moved to the States for school several years ago.  We spoke about the importance of community, the importance of having a solid ground of support in close physical proximity, especially when raising a child.  Ever heard the phrase "It takes a village to raise a child?"  I am a firm believer in that concept.  I am so fortunate to have so many people in my life with whom I would trust to take care of my little one.  I value their advice and their input.  I think as a society, we have become way too caught up in our own little worlds and forget how much we can impact each other's worlds.  Us city dwellers especially forget the importance of community.  I believe that a lot of people who live in cities live in a constant state of fear, which keeps them isolated from others as a form of self preservation.  It's really a sad state of being.

I can identify though.  I don't know if it's fear so much for me, rather pride.  When I am in a place of need, I have had problems accepting help.  I do believe that I've gotten better at receiving help from others, but I do still struggle with it.  It's totally a pride thing.  I feel like I am insufficient as a person if I accept help.  I feel like I should be able to do everything, even when dealing with trying times, to prove that I am a strong, independent woman.  A very wise woman once said to me during a tough time in my life that it was simply my time to receive blessings from others and that I should allow others to bless me.  She said that when I was in a better place in my life, it would be my turn to give and that I would want the person in need to receive the blessing I offer.  It's all about the giving and receiving (very appropriate for the season, wouldn't you say?).  I do feel like I've been receiving more often than giving over the last couple of years, but I guess that just means that I'll appreciate the giving all the more when it's my turn to do so.  I look forward to the opportunity to bless others.  I just pray that my eyes will be open wide enough to see where there is a need.  In fact, I pray that all of us would have a bit of an awakening and be able to spot when others are in need.  Maybe then we can start reaching out to each other and rekindle that sense of community that seems to be so lacking in our day and age.      

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cancer Bracelets

This is more of a reminder for myself than anything, but I wanted to mention that I got a really lovely bracelet for Christmas from my sister.  It's a cancer awareness bracelet.  It's very simple, but it sparkles and is full of colour, so I love it!  It's got a bunch of different coloured beads to represent the different types of cancer out there.  I am planning on asking her where she got it and how we can get them out here.  I'm pretty sure that the proceeds go to cancer research.  Anyway, I just thought I'd mention it in case any of you have been touched by cancer and would like a physical representation of your experience.  I will put the info on here when I find out!

Merry Christmas!

Well, Christmas has come and is almost gone.  I didn't win the $50 million on Friday, so I won't be taking off on my trip around the world any time soon.  There's a few other 'Bucket List' items that will have to wait as well.   As I get ready to pack it in for the night, I've been reflecting on how very fortunate I am.  Of course I've been having thoughts like, "What if this were my last Christmas?" and "Will my entire 2012 be filled with all this cancer stuff too?"  I know it's not my last Christmas; I can feel that in my bones.  But, having a recent brush with my own mortality, the thoughts still cross my mind.  If this had been my last Christmas, I think I could look back on it and feel absolutely satisfied.  I have an appreciation this year for the people around me unlike any previous Christmas season.  Spending time with my family and friends is very special.  I haven't been able to see all of my family, or anywhere near all of my lovely friends, but I can be sure that the time I've spent with those I was fortunate enough to see was well cherished.  I only wish I had more energy.

I can't believe how quickly I get exhausted.  I am feeling so much better in general, but man, I get tired fast!  No abdominal cramping, no bowel distension, no bloody stool.  I have aches inside and out from my surgery, but nothing too serious.  Besides, the pain that remains from surgery is WAY better than all the abdominal cramping that I was having on a daily basis prior to.  I am doing my best to eat a low fat, no sugar, high vitamin, natural diet which may be helping my internal issues, but before it didn't matter what I ate, it hurt!  That's probably why I lost so much weight.  I just couldn't eat.  It hurt and my brain kept telling me that I wasn't hungry.  My ribs are showing, I am smaller everywhere (darn boobs always go first), and the extra small sweater I bought for Christmas was baggy.  My stomach shrunk pre and post surgery and my appetite is not fully back, but it's slowly gaining.  I had a big plate of Christmas dinner today that I honestly didn't think I could get through, but I did!  Halfway through I had to stop and consider wrapping up the remainders for lunch the next day, but I kept trucking.  I think half of my appetite problem is psychological.  Food was so uncomfortable passing through, for so long, that I am afraid to eat a large meal.  This Christmas was one of the first in my memory where I didn't sit at the table wishing I had worn my sweat pants.

What a lovely meal it was, though.  We spent the day at my In-Law's.  Gwen came down the stairs in the morning to find a bunch of presents from Santa.  It was adorable.  We spent time opening gifts.  We all got spoiled.  We had a delicious brunch.  We napped.  Gwen kicked me in the gut while napping.  It hurt.  My Dad, Step Mom, my other Dad, and my little sister came over for dinner.  It was so great to see them all and I felt so blessed to have them all in the same location.  Any child in a split family knows how awkward it can be to have different sides of the family in the same room, but it was a house full of love and laughter today.  My two Dads get along just fine.  Always have, in my memory.  It has been a dream of mine to have my families come together for Christmas (so that I wasn't driving half way across the lower mainland on Christmas day) and I finally got it this year.  What a great present!  Do you think it was because of the cancer? Hee hee.

I asked to say Grace at dinner, which I totally fumbled through.  I think I was anxious to show my appreciation for all of us coming together.  I know I keep driving home how loved I've been feeling since I was diagnosed, but I just can't help it!  I have been taking every opportunity to let people know how much I love them now too.  Life is too short!  Why wait until someone is on their deathbed to tell them how you feel about them?  Let's do it now!  It's amazing how a relationship can be nurtured and bolstered when you share how you feel about someone and why you love them.  If there is one wish that I have for all of you out there, it's that you would tell your friends and family this Christmas Season what they mean to you.  It's hard at first, but it gets easier the more you say it.  I love you.  I love you, I love you, I love you!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'm Special

I am really missing writing my daily blog.  It really wasn't possible while I was hopped up on morphine at the hospital, but I really shouldn't be having troubles doing it now.  It's just that this whole holiday season becomes jam packed with parties and gatherings and shopping and visiting and wrapping and baking and everything else you can possibly think of.  My recovery has been coming along nicely though.  I've been out and about several times in the last week.  It's been somewhat painful, and very tiring, but I've managed to get through.  Today, I didn't even take any drugs!  How proud are you of me?!!

My thoughts the last few days have revolved around numbers.  I know I shouldn't be looking at statistics.  I know I should avoid them at all cost and focus on healing and positive thoughts, but once I got my pathology reports back, I just couldn't resist.  The way I figure it (and my calculations are EXTREMELY rough estimates), I had approximately 1 in 800,000 chance of getting colon cancer between the ages of 20 and 45.  This could result in me saying, "Why me?".  I've already been there though and the answer is, "Why not me?".  I think I've written this in the past.  I figure I'm young and otherwise healthy, so why shouldn't it be me that's given this disease?  I'm probably more capable of fighting it than a lot of other people out there, especially compared to some elderly people.

What the "1 in 800,000" really does for me though is make me think about how special I am.  I know this might sound odd and somewhat goofy, but I figure I must be pretty darn special to be chosen out of nearly a million people!  I just wished it worked in reverse.  I'm thinking maybe I'll stand a better chance at winning the 50 million dollars in the upcoming lottery since I've already won this reverse luck cancer lotto.  Even out the playing field a bit?  C'mon God!  Let me have some money to play with for having to go through all this crap!  Please?!?!  If only the world worked like that...  One can dream.  Sigh.

What I do think is pretty cool though is that my body is responding exactly the way it should be since I had the operation.  I was speaking with my surgeon and she mentioned that I have beautiful physiology (a male surgeon then commented on how only a female surgeon can get away with telling a female patient that. lol).  Apparently, when she looked inside me all my organs were perfectly arranged and in beautiful condition.  What more can I ask for than top marks on my insides from a great surgeon?  It makes me blush.  My healthy insides not only look good though, they are functioning so well it makes me jump around, shaking my booty (not too hard though- don't want to bust a stitch!).  I just had my blood results back from a recent test; my hemoglobin is on the rise in a crazy way!  It's jumped from 79 to 99 in less than 2 weeks! (normal is 120)  That's without any supplements!  It's very exciting to know that my body is doing what it's supposed to be doing.  It is healing itself.  I'm very proud of me.

I guess it's just nice to have a bit of good news now and then.  Cancer can feel like your body has betrayed you.  It feels really good to know that my body is fighting back.  My mind and body are on the same page, working as a team.  I've got a long way to go yet, but a bit of positive news can take me a long way.  It's just the encouragement I need to keep my energy and spirits up to get me through the holiday season.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The results are in...

The results from my pathology are in.... I HAVE CANCER!

Oh wait...we already knew that.  Ok, so the results indicate that the tumour was T3, meaning it had grown through the wall of my bowel, but had not infected any other organs.  They took 21 lymph nodes out and one, possibly two, had cancerous cells.  There is, however, no sign of metastasis (spread to other areas of the body).  I am told that overall these findings are very promising.  If my research is correct, then I have stage IIIB cancer.  I will need chemotherapy, which in all honesty freaks me out a bit.  After I received the news, I sat down and cried.  A friend from university with whom I connected tonight put it perfectly, "It offends my youthful sense of immortality."  She is currently recovering from having 3 tumours removed.

She really did nail it on the head though.  This whole situation has "offended my youthful sense of immortality."  I think about the fact that it has been just over 3 weeks since I was diagnosed with cancer.  Since then I have the cancer removed by surgery, over a week of recovery, and a complete pathology report stating the need for chemo.  It's a lot to absorb in such a short time.  I know life can sometimes be turned upside down in a moment, but it's never been so clear to me than it is now.  I suppose the same would be true if a close family member was killed by a drunk driver, or if my spouse was injured at work and left crippled, or if I lost a child.  Things can happen so suddenly, but do we ever really expect it to happen to us?  Are we constantly fooling ourselves into believing that we are the lucky ones that all this bad stuff doesn't happen to?  If we didn't live in that state of denial, then would life even be tolerable?  Could you imagine walking around for the rest of your life constantly dreading the fact that something bad could happen to drastically change your life in the blink of an eye?  I don't think I could live like that.  It's our sense of hope for the future that keeps us going.  If we lived forever in the "what if's" then life doesn't seem to me like it would be worth living.  

Chemotherapy is such an unknown for me.  I've heard stories of people going through chemo with no problems at all, but I've also heard the horror stories.  It's not so much that I fear being "sicker than I've ever been before in my whole life" (which doesn't really even happen that often with the new therapies available), it's just the simple fact that I have to do chemo.  I guess I'm in denial.  I guess I never expected it to get to this point.  When I was told that I "for sure" had to do it, the reality of my situation hit so hard that I just couldn't hold back the emotion.  The "what if's" had come true for me.  At least for this situation.

I am so fortunate is so many other ways.  As my pastor said, we need to remember that there are always people worse off than us and there are always people better off than us.  We need to keep things in perspective.  I have so many other positive things in my life that I know I'll be able to breeze through this chemo stuff.  The positives will keep me going.  The constant encouragement from friends and family will keep me going.  Chemo Shmeemo!!  I kind of feel sorry for any remaining cancer in my body, because I am going to beat it down so hard that it won't know what hit it!  Wahooooo!!  Let's do this!  Chemo, here I come!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Hope

It doesn't seem like a coincidence that all my health issues from the past year are coming to a head right around Christmas time.  Christmas is a time of hope; a time for putting our faith into things unseen, things we cannot detect with our five senses.  Think of all the faith our society puts into the "magic of Christmas".  How many movies have been made about believing in Santa and Christmas and everything that the holidays represent: good tidings to all, joy, peace, love?

 I was baffled by a verse in the bible that was presented to me several weeks ago, and just today was given a new look at that verse from a devotional that my dad, Ron, sent me.  Don't you love it when you have moments of clarity?  When a concept finally presents itself in a way that your brain can understand it?  That's what I've always loved about math and physics.  I am presented with a concept that can quite often resemble a tangled up string of Christmas lights, but bit by bit the string unravels and at the end of the day I've learned a new concept that blows me away and makes my brain tingle.  Ahhhhhh, how I miss calculus!  

Here is the verse that had me stumped: 

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  -   Hebrews 11:1

I now understand what this means.  When I apply this verse to my current life "equation", I end up with a solution.  I will be getting my pathology results on December 19th.  I am hoping for the best, but not necessarily believing that all will be good.  I am prepared either way.  The thing that keeps getting me is the amount of people who are SURE that the results will be positive.  They have the conviction that things will be fine.  They are sure that what we hope for (positive results) will come to be.  They have faith.  It's as simple as that.  Do you see how that works?  They have the "assurance of things hoped for".  They have a belief in something that cannot possibly be known, seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted.  It is a conviction!  Maybe they are just telling me this to make me feel better, but I honestly believe that most of them, if not all, truly believe that things will work out fine.  And for that belief, for that FAITH, I am truly grateful.  

This Christmas season is filled with more hope and faith than I have ever experienced before at this time of year.  It will be a magical Christmas for me this year.  Not only do I get to spend it with some family that I seldom get to see on Christmas day, but I get to have the simple peace that comes from knowing that I am loved and that faith is surrounding me on all sides.   

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Had to post this...

FoxTrot by Bill Amend

I just had to post this.  I nearly bust a stitch.  Seriously.
(I know, I'm a geek)


Everyone has been anxious to hear how my surgery went.  I'm finally feeling normal enough (come down off the morphine) to write a little something.  I'll try to be quick because apparently I have to go rest or something....  ;)

The surgery happened on Tuesday afternoon at the Lion's Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.  I have to send a shout out to all the staff I had the pleasure of dealing with.  My stay was as incredible and comfortable as any stay in a hospital could be.  I started with 2 pints of blood before my surgery because I was so anemic.  I kind of felt like a vampire.  Seriously, the transfusion is probably what weirded me out the most about the entire experience.  I had to ask, "What vintage is that?"  I know- Ewwww, gross!  We're talking about human blood!  I'd much rather talk about poo.  But, I'm sure we'll get to that.

I had several friends and family members there with me as I waited for the surgery time.  It was great.  We just joked and laughed to pass the time, rather than me sitting there nervous and (dare I admit it?) afraid.  Pastor Trevor was there and he suggested we pray before they came to bring me down to the OR.  They all prayed a lovely prayer over me and just as we said "Amen", the nurse comes in and in a huge voice announces to the patient next to me, "Wow, you sure have been peeing a lot!" Just what you want to hear at the end of a prayer.  Even though we were a group of grown adults, we had to giggle a little at the timing of that comment.

They came to get me and I got to walk to my gurney all by myself!  I felt like such a big girl.  Actually, I felt like I might as well do it while I still can.  They wheeled me down to the OR, I kissed my husband goodbye, and they pushed me through the doors that say "Authorized personel only".  They set me to the side of the hallway to await my imminent surgery.  It was there that nurses and surgeons passed me by, either ignoring my presence because they see so many of us daily, or smiling at me because I seemed to be in such a good mood.  I had one of them stop and comment to me, "We don't usual see people as happy as you in this area."  I told him, "I figure some of you have had pretty rough days and can use a smile."  I don't think he knew what to do with that comment.

 It was soon after that a male nurse came running out of an operating room, nearly tripping on his own feet, as he barrelled toward the crash cart in the hallway.  It was only about 10 feet away from me so I got to see his expression of worry and anxiety as he called for back up.  It seemed like every person in the whole area headed toward that room.  I sat there, somewhat in shock, not sure whether I should laugh or cry.  Is this going to happen to me?  Are they going to go running for the crash cart while I'm in the OR?  It kind of freaked me out, to be honest.  So.... I laughed.  One of the two remaining nurses looked at me funny so I explained, "Not exactly what you want to see 10 minutes before you go in for your surgery."  I suppose I shouldn't have laughed.  The person in there could have been dead as I laughed.  They could have been wheeling a corpse out of that room.  I have never been that close to the "act" of death.  I've never witnessed it or even been in the next room.  Fortunately, I saw them wheel the man out of that OR and he looked fine.  A little red and swollen, but fine.  I'm sure we all look a little red and swollen when we're being wheeled out of the OR.

My favourite part is being in the actual OR.  I become the centre of attention! Those of you who know me well will roll your eyes and laugh knowingly at that comment.  They start asking all sorts of questions about me: what I do, how old my daughter is, etc...  They took my glasses off at that point, hooked me up to the drugs and I drifted off....

I don't really remember waking up.  It happened slowly.  I don't really remember much of the rest of Tuesday other than Mike got to come in and see me in the recovery room, then they wheeled me out and I had a whole bunch of familiar faces greet me, then I was upstairs in my room sleeping again.  I woke up every 45-75 mins that night.  Not a very restful sleep, but lots of attention from the nurses (who were great!).  I had a morphine pump, which I did my best not to overuse.  The darn thing wasn't working right though!  I would press the button, which I hadn't pressed in a LONG time, and it would say I was still locked out.  Then sometimes it just wouldn't give me any response at all.  No noise of rejection or anything!  I swear it recorded me pushing the button way more than I actually wanted drugs.  The first nurse I told about the machine didn't believe me.  I could tell.  Then it stopped working for my other nurse, Sophie (who I love!), so she didn't think I was crazy.  At least not for that reason...  I'm sure I gave her many other reasons to think so.

I set little goals for myself each day.  The first was to walk around.... and I did!  I don't quite remember what day it was, but I had set myself the "lofty" goal of passing gas so that I could start eating solids.  I knew it would happen that day, I just had to get it out!  Things were starting to build up and make all sorts of noise, so I figured it was only a matter of time.  I did a LOT of walking around that day (which really did make me feel much better as a whole- give it a try if you are in recovery, even if you don't feel like it).  Finally, late that evening, I was walking around with my husband and Mother-in-law, and it happened!!!  I wanted to jump for joy, but settled for giant smiles and a sigh of relief.  Don't you cherish those intimate moments you can share with your in-law's???

After a bit of a scare with low hemoglobin, I did eventually have a bowel movement, they weaned me off the hard core narcotics and then sent me home.  I no longer feel like a pin cushion being pricked every morning as some form of a deranged wake up call.   I no longer have to suffer an all liquid diet or the broth that they call "beef" (shudder).  I had a lovely room mate for the last couple of days.  She is a breast cancer survivor (yes, the 'pretty' cancer), and just had to have the rest of her "lady bits", as she put it, removed as a precautionary move.  She was encouraging and great fun to talk to.  Overall, I feel very blessed with the experience I had.  I don't think it could have gone any better.  Sure, I'm sore now and tired, and will be for awhile, but I do feel like all this came together in a way that is beyond what us humans can do on our own.  Thanks, God, for taking care of your little one!

P.S.  The actual surgery went fantastic; they got it all.  We still have to wait for the pathology results to see how advanced the cancer was and if I will need chemo or not.  Should have those by the end of next week, could be a bit longer.  I will post it when they're in.  Love to you all for the continued support!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Surgery Is Here...Early!

A colorectal surgeon sort of fell in my lap yesterday.  I wasn't looking.  My mind was set for surgery on Thursday.  I was prepared for that day, but after speaking with this new surgeon, I was suddenly faced with a crazy choice!  I could have surgery the NEXT DAY and it would be done laparoscopically, which would speed up my recovery time by a minimum of 2 weeks.  I was a little unsure at first, so I did my due diligence and checked everything out.  Soon enough, I discovered that this would, in fact, be the best route for me at this time given my age, health (outside of the cancer), and life situation (being the mother of a 17 month).  I am very excited!  A little unprepared mentally, but hey, that could be a good thing.  I always feel more alive when I am surrounded by chaos, and that is what yesterday was.  Waking up this morning, I still can't really believe that I may be 'cancer free' by the end of the day.  I could be walking into the Lion's Gate Hospital a cancer patient and in a few days be walking out a cancer survivor.  It gives me goosebumps!  I feel like I should be making some sort of acceptance speech as I leave the hospital...

"I'd like to thank all my fans out there.  You mean the world to me.  I'd like to thank my family, my friends, and all those who stood with me through these trying weeks.  Most of all, I'd like to thank God..."

People always thank God in their acceptance speeches and I definitely wouldn't miss out on that.  I had so many comments yesterday about how this is His hand at work.  My GP even said to me that she felt like this was "meant to be".  I think the peace I feel today is a testament to that.

So everybody, wish me luck!  I may be away from the blog for a few days, but I'll keep you updated somehow, I'm sure!  Many blessings to you all and I'll see you on the flip side!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Passing the Time

Ok everybody!  Here is your chance to help me out!  I figure I'm going to have a bit of free time over the next couple of months and I would love to hear any suggestions you might have that could help me pass the time.  Have you read any good books lately or in the past?  What's your favourite book, TV, or movie series?  Any favourite video games?  How about good music?  I am interested in it all!  I won't necessarily have the opportunity to experience all the suggestions, but I am always open to finding out what other people like.

I am particularly interested in Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Inspirational, Drama, Suspense.  Romance is ok, but not if it's hokey.  I do enjoy history as well.  Romance mixed with history is great!  Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility- Rock on!  Honestly though, I am hoping to hear about it all!  I am always up for trying something new.  You never know what you like until you give it a go, right?  Who knew a bacon and peanut butter sandwich would be tasty? (Thanks Ron!)  I never thought cotton candy blizzards would be any good.  Boy, was I wrong! (I think I gain 10 lbs every time Dairy Queen has them in store).  Mmmmmmm, now I'm craving ice cream....

Hope you are all having a very blessed day!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Comedy and Tragedy

My favourite symbol growing up was the comedy and tragedy masks, which represent my great love: the Theatre.  The two masks exist in this perfect dichotomy that accurately reflects life in the theatre, life as an actor, life as an artist, and, well... life itself.  If we are to look at our lives, in all instances, comedy and tragedy co-exist.  Have you ever been to a funeral where someone bursts out laughing?  Have you ever been to a baby shower and someone starts crying?  Pain and sorrow co-exist with joy and happiness everywhere we look.

Today, I've been thinking about the masks I've been wearing since my diagnosis.  I went for a massage therapy session and found myself having troubles relaxing.  It felt like if I relaxed then I'd be giving into a flood of emotion that I may not be dealing with.  The tension is my mask.  Then I started thinking, if the tension is masking all this emotion then does that mean I've just been putting on a brave face?  Am I also wearing a "Brave Face" mask? (Haha, they should sell those on World of Warcraft- +100 Armor).  I do feel like I could break down at any time if I just let myself think about the enormity of the situation.  If I think about my surgery in a week, I start to get a little nervous (and a little excited that I will finally have some relief!).  Have I just been putting on a mask for everyone to see and in reality I am just this scared little girl, afraid of what's going to happen to her?

It feels like there is a switch inside me.  It can be flicked and I am either instantly in tragedy mode or instantly in comedy mode.  Never in my life have a lived both to such extremes.  I am experiencing the true meaning of those masks right now.  My cancer could be looked at as a huge tragedy; I'm only 30 years old, just getting my life started, and I've been diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease.  On the other hand, the amount of support, love, and encouragement I have been receiving has filled my life with a joy and contentment unlike anything I have ever known.  My heart is filled with LOVE!  I am smiling on the inside!  How can I be afraid of what's to come when I am so incredibly loved?

It is that thought, the realization that I am truly not afraid, that keeps me strong.  I have God on my side.  He has brought me a huge group of people to support me through this.  Everyday I hear of more prayer groups rising up to pray for me.  There are people in England, Australia, the U.S., and all across Canada praying for me.  It is so incredibly humbling!  The conclusion I came to is that the only mask that I have been wearing from time to time is the mask of doubt.  It does not belong on my face.  When I feel myself putting on that mask, I will remember the strength that I have been given and I will cast it aside!