Monthly Archives: July 2011

A Whole Lotta Gratitude

Yesterday was not the best of days. Okay, so given my current circumstances, having a “good” day is tough when you’re on chemotherapy. But my point is, I’ve had better days since starting treatment, and yesterday was not one of them. So far there is no rhyme or reason to it. One day I wake up feeling almost like my old spry self, the next I’m knocked down and confined to a horizintal position again. I’ve given up trying to find sense in any of it.

Lying in bed last night, I started flipping through some of my blog posts from over the last month. I haven’t done that yet. I usually just hit “publish” and move forward. Already, I’ve forgotten so much of what has happened.

The best part about going through it all again though, was re-reading the comments that you all left. The first time around, I read them on my iPhone in a hospital bed, doped up from the procedure of the day. But last night, I went through and read all of the comments again with the perspective of being a month into this journey.

I feel like I haven’t said it enough, so I just want to make sure I make it loud and clear: Thank you. No. Really. Thank you. For the kind words, well wishes, prayers, hopes and encouragement. For the gifts and cards, and the donations. It’s easy for someone in my position to think that they’ve been dealt a shitty hand. Okay, well, I have been dealt a shitty hand. BUT, in some ways I know I am also very lucky to have such a strong and solid base of support from such an amazing group of people – many of whom I’ve never met.

I’m for once at a loss of words on how to express myself through writing. Just know that the love and support shown on this blog means the world to me. I don’t know where I’d be without it. So yup, things certainly do suck sometimes, but there are always, always things to be thankful for.

Today, I am feeling particularly thankful for Janetha and those of you who’ve put hard work into The Great Fundraising Act!

There’s been such a giant response that Janetha and I are now worried her server is going to crash! So the closing time for bidding is now being staggered for each category of items to keep everyone from clicking over all at once at 11pm. Click here to read Janetha’s update.

As y’all know, apart from the fundraiser, I’m working on getting assistance to pay for my drugs. If all goes well, I’ll get the assistance I need and have leftover money from the fundraiser. In this case, I will be donating it directly to the oncology ward at the Moncton Hospital – where I stayed for one month and know could desperately use a few upgrades. I will be blogging about the money and how it is used. This is your chance to give directly to those dealing with cancer and affect people on a very personal level, as opposed to paying for administrative costs associated with charitable organizations.

There are a few other fun things going on too! I’m going to be doing a short radio interview live Monday morning at 6:50am Atlantic Time on CBC Radio in Moncton. If you’re awake, you should be able to stream it here. I’ll be talking about the fundraiser and catastrophic drug coverage, which is sort of a hot issue in my province right now.

Later on Monday, from 1-2pm Eastern Time I’ll be participating in a Twitter chat with Janetha and #fitblog’s Katy to answer questions about the fundraiser and about my whole experience so far. Follow the hashtag #TGFA and come by to chat with us!

And with that, I have just one more thing to ask of you guys – can anyone tell me what this is??

It came in my CSA vegetable box along with what I assume is some lavender…

Today is promising to be a better day, which means I want to use my time wisely by getting back to baking in my kitchen!

Have a great Sunday xoxo

Numbers

Two years ago, a post of mine titled “Numbers” would have been about numbers on a scale, or calorie counting, or using numbers as a way to measure fitness.

Two years after starting this blog, the only numbers I have on my brain are survival rates. Oh how things can change.

I know this is a deep post to hit you with on a Saturday, but these numbers are weighing me down! I need to get them out of my brain and into the open so I can continue on with my life without their persistent nagging.

Hodgkins Lymphoma, the type of cancer I have, has a very good success rate. Probably one of the best there is. When I was told that I had cancer, the only thing that gave me hope was hearing I had a 98% chance of beating this thing. Totally doable.

Unfortunately, numbers are tricky, and don’t always apply to everyone the same. Last week when I met with my radiologist, I heard new numbers: 75% to 80%.

It took a while to sink in. After the appointment on the drive back to the hospital I asked my mom, “Wait, did she say 80% in there??” My mom had heard this number somewhere else, so it didn’t surprise her. Me? I wanted my extra 18% back to make it that comfy 98% again.

Truth of the matter is, I have a large mass in my chest that has been deemed “undesirable.” My statistics are still some of the best a person with cancer can get. I have NO DOUBT that I am on the right side of the statistic – the majority chance that the cancer won’t come back when it’s gone (because it’s going, that’s a fact).

But just because I know I’m going to get better, doesn’t mean that the thought of being told I have cancer for a second time around doesn’t scare me. I can fight this thing for a year or two of my life. But fighting another cancer 5 years down the road? It’s scary.

That’s why numbers are just plain stupid. The instil fear into those who don’t need it. They are a sub-par measure of success in a field where nothing is ever guaranteed. I’m done with statistics. All I need to know is that I am on treatment, it’s going to work, and this nightmare will be behind me. For good.

In a post about weighing myself, this is where I’d show you an image of me throwing out the bathroom scale. Instead, I’ll just show off my new hairdo ;)

I have no idea how many inches I lost, but before it was looooong and now it is the shortest I’ve had it since high school! Even if it only lasts a few weeks, I suspect pulling out shorter strands of hair will be less stressful than long ones. I will shave it once it gets to a certain point then probably just wear wigs until it’s at a cute length again.

Close-up:

Just another aspect of my new life with cancer. I can lose my hair, but I won’t ever lose my hope.

Bits n’ Pieces

Hi friends! Posting a little late today because I SLEPT IN. Okay, so I got up at 6am to eat a couple fried eggs because my tummy was growling. But then I promptly went back to sleep cuddled up in my own duvet without any nurses or doctors poking at me. I’ll tell you – cancer makes you appreciate a lot of things in your life. But it’s amazing what a month in the hospital will do to you too.

Anyways, I am just popping in to share a few things quickly! First, the always-amazing Janetha wrote out the instructions for Monday’s auction which you can read here. Janetha is incredibly responsible and organized, and I am so impressed by how she has pulled this together.

I also want to thank those of you who have been providing suggestions on how to wade through the financial aspects of being sick. My family is working with a social worker at the hospital, but all she can really do is give us the forms and program names. Unfortunately getting assistance is a timely process, and when I need my $1000 neupogen shots right now to keep me healthy, time is not something we have. I could be halfway done chemo by the time all this paper gets pushed!

Someone shared this link yesterday (thanks Carolyn!) which may explain to other Canadians who’ve piped up confused as to why I’m having to deal with all these costs. As much as I love my home province, I do not always agree with what happens in the legislature. The government is working towards fixing it, but I hope to be in remission by the time they say it all goes through.

All that business aside, I’m just relaxing and enjoying being in my own house. I live with my dad, but my retired mom comes over during the day to entertain me. She brings Archie the poodle, who has taken it upon himself to stand guard at my side all day and keep the cancer away.

It can get tiring! ;)

I am off to get my hair cut today. Everyone says I should do it short-short, but I really don’t think that looks good on me. So I’m starting with a chin-length do. Hoping it turns out okay! I’m told I can expect it to start falling out after my next chemo treatment, so I don’t want to be pulling out loooong strands of hair in the shower. Plus, it will be nice to get pampered a little.

Have a great weekend!!

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