Daily Archives: June 22, 2011

A long, hard road

This is something of an “emergency” blog post. That’s why it’s coming to you at an irregular time. That’s why I’m blogging from my iPhone in a hospital bed with two concerned parents next to me, and two sisters in transit to come see me.

Remember that pain in my neck? And how my mother forced me to the doctor? Who then thought it was something with thyroid and ordered a cat scan?

Well, I had that cat scan at 1:30pm today. By 2:15 my family doctor called me and told me to go straight to his office because the cat scan showed a blood clot. My mom picked me up and took me right over. It was there he said the clot was in the main jugular vein in my throat and I was to go straight to the emergency room to get heparin, a blood thinner, and another CT scan to check for more clots.

My family doctor came to the hospital shortly after and made a serious sounding phone call I could only slightly hear. After hanging up, he grabbed a chair so he could sit down when he talked to me. Any suspicions I had that something even more serious was at play were confirmed in moment.

The second CT scan showed a large mass around the main vein that goes into my heart. It’s lymphoma. In other words, cancer.

They’re taking a sample from my chest tomorrow but I won’t get results until next week. The best I can do is hope for Hodgkins Lymphoma, which has a 98% survival rate. Once I get my diagnosis, I’ll start on chemotherapy right away, then radiation.

For now, the number one concern are the blood clots (I also have a few more in my chest). I’m being moved to the cancer ward and will likely be here for a while. My doctor says I have a very long and hard road ahead of me, but for now all I can do is focus on the present. It’s too overwhelming to think of the rest. Through all of this, I know I need to keep my wits, optimism, and sense of humour.

Thank you SO SO much for your friendship and support.

Why I’m No Longer A ‘Healthy Living Blogger’

There was a time when I categorized myself as a “healthy living blogger,” or perhaps a “fitness blogger.” It was a time when I worked hard at the gym and ate the cleanest foods possible. I told myself I was the healthiest I’d ever been. I could run faster and lift heavier than ever, and physically was the smallest and most “toned” I’d been in my whole life.

I thought that was the epitome of health. I thought that health was something you could choose. But my definition of health is changing. Because of this, I no longer classify myself as a “healthy living blogger” and believe what is commonly thought of as healthy living is not the true definition of healthy at all.

Health is something you can strive for, but it is not something you have full control over. Health doesn’t stop at good food and exercise. It goes much, much deeper than that.

I really hate the hospital. I know that is a cliche, but there is something about that place that makes me want to turn in the other direction and run as fast as I can.

In the past few months, I have spent many hours a week at the hospital working with my physiotherapist, getting x-rays, cat scans, meeting with surgeons, and of course, sitting in waiting rooms. It makes me feel like a sick person, when on the inside, I don’t feel sick at all. Sitting in those waiting rooms, watching people wheel in and hobble out, it occurred to me that I’ve had this “health” thing all wrong.

It’s not about marathons.

It’s not about calories.

It’s not about how many push-ups you can do.

Because when something really happens to your health, when you are facing a much larger power with no control over your body, everything else feels so small.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t still try our best to eat well and exercise. But I’m also saying that to be truly healthy requires a lot more than that. It’s treating your body well. Not starving it or beating it up by running too much. It’s about knowing when to sleep and knowing when to stay up chatting with your best friend all night. It’s about not letting the little things stress you out. It’s about being with loved ones, getting outside, and doing the things that mentally stimulate you.

And if for some reason, health is still taken away from you, you’ll know you’ve at least fulfilled all of those needs.