Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Life In The Fast Lane

When I was little, my dad would always sing this song and quote it when we were busy as a family "life in the fast lane". I think I have been living in the fast lane lately. Following your life list is great, but I have to remember it's a "life" list, not a "week" list.

My new role with Rethink has been starting off a little bumpier than I had hoped. I don't know how I was assuming that it would be easy to get 8 women all on the same page within an hour, but I did. I have now learned that this is not possible. Our hope is to get a June event off the ground to raise awareness of what Rethink is in Calgary and get some real momentum happening within the committee. But since it's already mid-March, that leaves a lot of pressure on my shoulders to make it happen. We have another call this week and I'm hopeful that I can get everyone on the same page and working towards the same goal.

The house that we are living in now went on the market last week. Since then we've only had 2 showings and an open house. That's probably a lot, but I was really hoping that the first person that saw our house would love it as much as we do and make an offer that day. Again, another dose of reality for me to learn. Until that does happen, we are struggling to keep our house "show home ready" with a 2 year old.

Those of you that follow my blog would have heard me talk about the balance before. For some reason unknown to me, there seems to be a balance that exists between the health conditions of Ryan, Tricia and me. When one of us gets great news, another gets bad news. This balance unfortunately hit us again last week.

On Wednesday morning, I got a bright and sunny email from Tricia letting me know that her application to Health Canada to approve her transplant had finally been sent. This process has been ongoing since last fall and we were all growing very short in patience for its finalization. This transplant option brings real hope to Tricia's future and we were all holding our breath while all the lawyers and doctors involved worked on the application. We should hear within the next 4 weeks whether this gets approved and the wheels at the Tom Baker Cancer Center have already started turning to get ready for this to begin.

That day I was at an all day session with some of my peers at work. Following this day of planning, we went out for dinner at a very nice Calgary restaurant. Although I was feeling fine, shortly after dessert, I started to feel very dizzy, broke out in a cold sweat and fell over onto the bench I was sitting on. For the next 30 minutes or so, I laid there popping in and out of consciousness and assuring those nearby that I was alright and I just needed to rest. Inside I knew that something was really wrong with me, but I didn't want to draw any further attention to my already deathly embarassed state. Once Ryan arrived to drive me home he knew that something wasn't right and called for an ambulance to come and get me. At first assessment, my heart rate was about double my normal resting state and my blood pressure was really low. They took me to our all too familiar Foothills Hospital and there they assessed me for an immediate risk of an impending heart attack or a blood clot in my lungs caused by my medication. After 4 pokes for blood, some intravenous fluids and some heart tracing tests, they said that I was not in immediate danger and I could go home to rest.

Now almost a week later I am starting to feel more like myself. But that whole situation definitely took a lot out of me. Unfortunately they still don't really know what happened, but I will be talking in more detail with my oncologist about it next week. It was weird. In everything that I've been through over the past 2 years, that was one of the scariest moments that I can remember. I felt like my world could change for the much worse momentarily and there was nothing that I could do to stop that. I was very thankful that I was surrounded by people that I work with and trust so much, because they truly did take great care of me!

The next few weeks will continue to be life in the fast lane with everything I have going on, but I will also take some time to rest in between the many activities. This poke on my shoulder was another gentle reminder to slow down and keep my health at the top of my mind at all times. Even though I crave a normal life, I have to remember that the old normal has been replaced by a new normal and I am still trying to figure out what that means.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Everything Comes In 3's

The last week has been a whirlwind, but in a very good way. Finally, some great news from me! We bought a house in one of the areas we've been wanting to live in for a long time. The stars seemed to align for us because after we did this, I got a promotion at work. Then I got asked to lead the calgary committee for Rethink Breast Cancer, the charity organization that I've been following for the past year. It is truly never boring in our world.

Our new house is a dream for us. It has just been completed, which is great for us "non-handy" people and it's in Richmond/Killarney. This gets us back into SW Calgary and only a 10-20 minute commute to work every day. The other great thing for us is that there are a few great schools that Talyn could go to within walking distance. We take possession as soon as we sell the house we're in now or as late as June 15th. So now my mind is swirling with what blinds we should choose, when we should book movers and how I should decorate Talyn's room.

My job is also going great. Although we rarely find ourselves with nothing to do, I have to stop myself every once in a while and realize how great we have it at Long View. The company really cares about everyone and the people there are all my other family.

Although some days I feel like I could fall into bed at 7 pm, I know that I can make a big difference getting Rethink going in Calgary. This organization targets awareness and research for younger women with Breast Cancer. When I went through my initial diagnosis, there really wasn't much for someone dealing with a young child and wanting to have another some day. This charity group does so much to help women affected by the disease who are under 40 and hosts crazy cool events for everyone to attend and the money funds promising medical research. So if you ever wanted to make a difference and didn't know how, just ask me how you can help us!

Yesterday I went for my first checkup with Dr. Webster after the new drugs. Round 1 is now over and I started Round 2 on Thursday night. All in all, it was a real cake walk. The only symptom I could mildly complain about was a bit of nausea towards the end of the second week. But compared to my last protocol for chemo drugs, that is NOTHING to complain about. Although I feel optimistic about finishing 6 rounds, Dr. Webster still says to be cautious and we'll see how we do in Round 2.

I also talked to him about my ongoing monitoring program. How are we going to watch my body to make sure that the cancer isn't spreading and creating some little spots anywhere else? The sad reality on this one is that it doesn't really matter if we catch those spots when they're little or a bit bigger and I start to have symptoms. If my cancer does decide to appear anywhere else in my body, we are playing a whole new game of ball. This was really hard to hear and although everything in the rest of my life is going to great, this kind of news really hits hard. The cancer already did come back once and while I was doing treatment, so I know it's not that nice.

So although I sometimes feel like I can't possibly do it all, I know that keeping my focus on so many great things right now keeps me positive and optimistic. We could all spend our days worried about what might come tomorrow, but the truth is that we need to focus on what we can do in our lives today. Do something great today, I know that I will be!