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Chemo Superhero

I don’t think I will ever grow accustomed to being a patient here.

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Or the fact that my current doctor is no longer the friendly family doctor I had growing up, but an oncologist/hematologist. Say what?

After the first round of morning appointments yesterday, my mom and I had time to go out for lunch before I was due back to sit in the chemotherapy chair to have the poisons injected into me. I had to think very carefully about what I chose to ate, because I could be sick later and neverever want to eat it again.

Soup would be ideal in these situations. But Pho? Even better.

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I got a vegetable one with chicken added at Red Satay in Moncton. With the addition of rice noodles it’s like chicken noodle soup x100. It was the perfect pre-chemo lunch!

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Then I went back to the chemo chair. If you’re curious as to what that experience is like, I wrote about it here. The only difference today is that my vein started burning on the last drug, which is administered through a bag drip. At first the nurses and I freaked out a little because burning can indicate that the poisons are leaking out of the vein into the arm and skin. NOT GOOD! But thanks to my good blood return, we determined it was still in the vein, and that maybe the bright red Vinblastine drug earlier caused it to seize up a little. Good ole’ Vinblastine, it takes my hair, turns my pee orange and cheeks bright red, and now apparently freezes up my veins. A little saline drip with the final drug made it more bearable, but still, ouch.

Last but not least was my chest x-ray! I’m old hat at this by now and have that back area of radiology and nuclear medicine memorized. I had to don a hospital robe for this one and as soon as I put it on, I decided they were no longer constrictive fabric prisons of the sick and dying. No, my hospital robe is now my superhero cape. In it, I can beat anything!!

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I have yet to hear back on the x-ray, but for the rest of the day I imagined little superheroes in my body blasting the cancer into oblivion.

The first day after chemo isn’t so bad, but it’s days 2 and 3 afterward that really get me with nausea. So for now I’m back on the all-toast diet supplemented with fruit smoothies and veggie soups. I’ve officially gained back all the weight I lost in the hospital. Probably because I often have thoughts like “I have cancer, who gives a crap if I have extra piece of chocolate.” And really, I don’t give a crap. It makes me look healthier and not like I’m wasting away. With that said, my chemo regimen (ABVD) is actually known for causing patients to gain weight thanks to the steroids. Just another cruel joke that cancer patients not only get to be bald, but fat and bald too.

For today, I am doing absolutely nothing. Watching some mindless television…

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Old episodes of Conan make me laugh like no other. Plus, no plot to follow.

And of course, cuddle up with the pets.

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Cashew is not your typical cuddly cat, but for some reason is obsessed with sleeping on top and inside my bed. These days, she’s taken to nudging up against me in bed and sleeping there throughout the day or night.

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Maybe she’ll be my superhero sidekick?

P.S. I just want to wish all my blogging friends a fun time at the Healthy Living Summit in Philadelphia this weekend! I had a ticket could go, but am currently not allowed to travel. I will be there in spirit and have full plans to make it next year once I am in good health! Hey, at least without me there, there will be more Blue Moons to choose from at Friday night’s cocktail party ;)

The Slow Way

My middle sister refers to my cottage as “Ground Zero.” The place in our lives that no matter what happens, will always remain the same. Will stir up the some of the best emotions. Will take us back to digging up razor clams on the beach as children, running up and down the fields when walking is just too slow, and kissing the boyfriends we brought here as teenagers.

Everyone has a happy place, and without a doubt, my cottage on the North Shore of Nova Scotia is mine.

Since “getting sick,” everything has been up in the air. I made tons of plans for this summer, and now all of them are dependent on how I’m feeling that week, or that day. When I saw the sun would be shining this weekend, it didn’t take much to convince my family to go back to the cottage with me.

Sister Sara and I hit the road in her new sporty coupe on Friday. I gave the wrong directions while controlling the stereo, as every good passenger should.

One of the big reasons why I moved back home to the Maritimes, apart from being closer to my family, was to be closer to the countryside. I’ve always known I’m a country girl at heart. We’ll call Toronto my “city experiment” that only solidified these suspicions. Give me never-ending fields of green grass and bails of hay to crawl over and I’m a happy camper.

Despite my rusty navigational skills, anyone who knows me knows I will ALWAYS be able to find you a decent restaurant or bakery. I’m like a moth to a delicious flame. Sara and I expertly found a German bakery housed in an old farmhouse with turkeys running around, a place we used to stop by frequently as children.

My sister lived in Germany for a while, so while she chatted up the owner in Deutsch, I of course got to business surveying the goods. We left with some of that apple streudel on the right and chocolate covered almond cookies.

The best part about my cottage, without a doubt, is the air. Ohmygod. It’s intoxicating. The second you open the car door, you’re hit with a cool breeze mixed with scents of grass, salt, and sand if the flats are out.

There are usually three choices upon arriving at the cottage: sit down and crack open a beer, go for a swim, or grab the dog and go for a walk. Guess which one I always choose?

How can you deny a dog the chance to make this face? He LOVES it here! Picture me prancing through the grass too with a big goofy grin as we walked along the gravel roads together.

We spied many things you sometimes only see in the country, but most of all just people and animals being themselves in a wide open space.

Take for instance, this cat chasing a chipmunk off in the distance. By the way, I totally saved that chipmunk’s life by distracting the cat taking this picture.

And of course, your requisite insect-on-a-flower shot. I’ve always wanted to take one of these!

Despite the fatigue hanging over me from the chemotherapy, there is something about the cottage that makes me work through it and feel better.

There are a lot of times over the course of the day when I think about where my life has led to. About the cancer. About being home. About maybe never having a family of my own, or getting sick again several years down the road. Yes, I am a pretty positive person, but let’s not pretend I don’t have a lot of things to worry about too.

With all that said, this summer has taught me something. I could have spent my whole life travelling from city to city, looking for something I was never going to find. When in reality, it’s been next to me the whole time. It’s not always about searching for happiness, but rather being still enough to let it come find you. Because when you wipe away the things that worry and scare you, you will sometimes find the beauty in the world you never knew existed.

Not just words for you today, but a gentle reminder for me too :)

How to Saturday at a Cottage…

First, you must start with bacon…

And add a fresh-made apple strudel for good measure…

Put on a pretty dress to feel nice, even when other people say dressing up at the cottage is silly. As if!

Then go for a long walk to the next point on the beach.

Sand bars are the best bars!

Don’t forget to take both cute and silly photos with the family.

Followed by collapsing on the deck and getting lost in a book for the afternoon.

Cancer is on vacation.

I’ve got lobster rolls to eat.

Hope you’re having a great one!! xoxo

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