Sunday, April 27, 2008

Just Breathe

The last week has been a fury of positive momentum. Firstly, Ryan's tumour appears to be a bit smaller from his last MRI. This means that his tumour is responding as well as we could have hoped to the chemo! We now hope that the drugs continue to beat down the troublesome growth area and then it just gives up for good.

Secondly, Tricia's transplant got the official go ahead from Ottawa. Although the official date has slid back a bit to June 12th, all in all, this is amazing news. However, this also of course makes us all very anxious of the reality ahead. What I have recently reflected on is how she has made it through all life has thrown at her so far. The only reason I can come up with is her mental strength . This somehow got her through what many thought no one could and I know will get her through her challenges ahead as well. She just needs to be reminded of that from time to time.

And thirdly, our house was conditionally sold. The buyers are from outside of Canada and so require a pretty quick possession. We should hear by the middle of this week if the sale is finalized and then will plan to move the following week. Even though this seems's us. This is nothing. Also, this will move us towards something we've been thinking about for a while, so we're very excited.

On my medical front, Best Doctors has all of my information and is currently going through the formal review. They actually have gotten all of the specimens previously removed in surgeries and are redoing the pathology to confirm the diagnosis first. I am interested to hear what they have to say in the next few weeks.

In other news, my scar from my last surgery has bubbled up a bit in one section. Although this is likely nothing, everyone on my team is very quick to find that out. So, I will go to an ultrasound tomorrow and get the results this Wednesday. If there is anything that looks suspicious they will just cut it out.

In one week, my baby is turning 3. It is a gathering of many important people in his life and will be a great opportunity to remind us what is truly important in this crazy life. Family, friends and having fun!

When everything seemed to be spinning much too quickly in my life right before I was first diagnosed, I would listed to an Anna Nalick song I heard once on Grey's Anatomy, "Breathe". I'm not sure what the song exactly means, but to me it means to just slow down and literally take a deep breath. I recently have been reminded of how well this works when your world is going too quickly. Just take a few deep breaths and gain some perspective. However you've gotten to today should be enough to prove that you can get to tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Getting OUT There

Life has continued to keep me really busy lately and I definitely know now that this is all intentional on my part. The more I thought about why this is, the more it came back to being a great escape from my cancer filled life and for the craving I have for feeling normal again.

I did experience one more scary episode, but the difference this time was that I knew it was coming on. After eating a few bites of lunch two weeks ago, I started feeling nautious and then my head started to spin again. I put my head down on my desk for a few minutes and then felt okay. But a few minutes later I felt as if I might pass out. So, I called Ryan quickly and told him that we needed to get home right away. Once I was home I started vomiting and got whatever was in my stomach out. After resting for a few hours, I started to feel more like myself again.

That week I went to visit Dr. Webster and I have somewhat stumped him here. He did ask me to avoid peanuts for the remainder of my chemo as there is a chance that I have experienced a side effect that causes a hypersensitivity to them now. But, he also told me to do the same thing I did before if this happened again. Call 911 and get to the hospital. He will be doing some reading to see if anything else pops up that could explain my symptoms.

One other thing that we discussed again is our differing opinions on my ongoing monitoring program. He still believes that it is standard protocol to not run any kinds of tests to see if the cancer has spread anywhere in my body. We should instead wait and if I happen to experience any symptoms that might point to this, then we would test. If it had spread there would be nothing that we could do differently no matter when we caught it, there wouldn't be a cure. This is where I refuse to buy into "standard protocol".

What I have done is sent my case to a group called "Best Doctors" that my employer has. They employ one of the best doctors in North America that deals with Breast Cancer to review my case, confirm my diagnosis, agree/disagree with my treatment protocol and then provide a recommendation of a monitoring program. Although I feel that Dr. Webster has my best interests at heart, I refuse to believe that I should just wait and see. So, this will hopefully support my opinion to do more and guide me on how to do this.

In my continued efforts to stay busy and not focus on the negative, I have been going to a lot of different events. I joined a mentoring program with the Women's Executive Network to try and rebuild my network of contacts in Calgary, I was the moderator for a panel of senior women executives at a learning session and I also joined an HR network of professionals here in Calgary. At the same time, my Rethink involvement is starting to take shape. We are planning a September Calgary event which will be amazing, trendy and fun. I will be sending you all details to come out and have a great time, while supporting a great cause!

All in all, the reality that I've come to is that I now need a bit of help in talking through everything that I'm dealing with. I am going to go see a counsellor for the first time since being diagnosed this week and get some guidance on how to do it all. This recent approach of "wait and see" combined with Tricia's impending transplant leaves me with a lot of anxiety about the future when I'm not consumed in everything else. I am mostly living in a world of positivity and exhuberance for life, but I just need a bit of help for when the negativity tries to creep in and ruin it all. Everybody needs a helping hand every once in a while, don't let anything stand in the way of a better you.