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.


  1. Good for you, Tasha, for all that you are doing to stay positive including seeking help from others when you know that you need an ear to listen! I hope that you get good advice from the best doctors group - I would also find it frustrating to just wait and see. I will keep you in my prayers - for you to continue to have courage and perseverance!


  2. Dear Tasha,
    Once again, you have given us a lot to think about in your latest posting. You are so honest about your personal feelings, motivations, directions and needs. We should ALL be as "in touch" with our choice of life's coping mechanisms as you seem to be!

    David and I were not surprised to read that Dr. Webster wants you to call 911 if/when you have another "scary episode" related to a possible hypersensitivity to food. You and Ryan did a great job of dealing with your latest reaction, and you recovered nicely. However, until you actually know what is going on, it is probably safer for you to get to a hospital for assessment and monitoring. We will be interested to hear what, if anything, Dr. Webster is able to discover in researching the disturbing symptoms you are having during your current course of chemotherapy.

    We are encouraged by your decision to use your employer's "best doctors" scheme. Whatever the outcome of your case review, you will know that you went beyond standard protocol to give yourself the best possible chance at a healthy future. A personal monitoring program seems like a proactive and sensible stance, anyway.

    We also applaud your decision to see a counsellor for guidance in dealing with your legitimate anxieties. Given your situation, it is hard for us to imagine "a better you", Tasha; but we understand your desire to keep negativity from creeping in and ruining things for you. Knowing you, it is likely that your counselling arrangement will be a mutually beneficial one. Good luck!

    We will look forward to receiving details about the September Rethink event you are planning. Obviously, you have managed to get your Calgary committee of women working together to do something worthwhile. Well done, you!

    I have never heard of the Women's Executive Network or its mentoring program. It sounds like just the sort of thing that professional women would organize for sharing work experience, building skills and fostering leadership. Being part of that group must be interesting and exciting for you.

    Like you, Tasha, we are feeling ever more anxious as Tricia's transplant plans take shape and become all too real. Please know that we are doing everything we can to entertain only positive thoughts that will reach Tricia and you across the miles and support each of you in your courageous life choices.

    Sincere well wishes,
    Louise and David