Sunday, June 1, 2008

a few more blips on the radar

My health has taken a bit of a beating in the last week. I went to see the doctors for my pre-round 6 appointment and I had a much longer list of "issues" from the past 3 weeks than ever before. They did a very thorough check of my body to try and figure out what might be going on and felt a new lump under my left armpit. This one feels very different than the other ones I've had and it is sitting right on top of a muscle. It actually might just be the muscle that is a bit inflamed or it might be a growth on top of the muscle. Even if it is a growth, it might not be a worrisome one, but still worth checking out.

I will go for an ultrasound this week and then if they feel it looks suspicious, they will biopsy it on the spot. Because this one feels different than the others, I feel much more positive about its outcome. But because of my bad luck with biopsies, I can't help but consider the alternate possibility.

What I was really looking forward to was my birthday weekend extravaganza with Tricia! We have always had our birthday's 3 weeks apart and in the past few years have tried to combine these events into something fun that we both do together. It usually involves a road trip and some random events that we don't plan for.

This weekend, we went up to Banff to spend the day touring around, the night watching the Sex & the City movie at a smaller (less germ infested) theatre and then the night at a fancy hotel. It was to be a super fun weekend for us both and allow us to get away from the upcoming events.

Everything started off fantastic. We met at the Farmer's Market for some amazing coffee and pastries and then bid adieu to Ryan & Talyn and started our road trip. We immediately put in some great tunes that my friend Mireille had made for me and started singing. On our way out of town, there was a car that was slowing down beside us. When I looked over it was 2 younger guys. They smiled at us and we smiled back. A few lights later, they came up beside us again and I could tell from my peripheral vision that they were holding up a sign. I told Tricia and asked her to glance over. They were holding up a sign at us that said "U R A 10". We burst out laughing and knew that the weekend was on the right foot for our usual road trips.

When we were close to arriving in Banff, I felt a flush of warmth over my body and knew that something wasn't right. I tried to pretend I was okay, but Tricia could tell that I wasn't. When we arrived in Banff things got worse quite quickly. So much so that I started to have that sensation again that my head was spinning out of control and I wasn't really there.

We decided to try and check into our hotel early and maybe if I laid down for a bit I would be better. But things kept getting worse and I was starting to get worried. Tricia strongly recommended that I call into the on-call oncologist and tell them what was going on. When I called in, luckily it was Dr. Webster that was on call. While I waited even a couple of more minutes for his call, things were continuing to go downhill.

We happened to be driving right by the Banff hospital and Tricia recommended we go in, I reluctantly agreed. The good thing about being in Banff was that there wasn't the long wait I would have experienced in Calgary. They took me right in and started to run some tests. Dr. Webster also called as they brought me in. He gave me his "best guess" of what was going on, but asked that they call him directly if they needed to.

Most of my blood counts came back normal, but there were some variances from the counts I got 2 days earlier. My red blood cells were lower than normal, as was my potassium. The good news is that my white counts were still strong, so no sign of infection. They filled me with a bunch of fluids and potassium and a few hours later, I was released. The sadest news of this of course was that we had to turn around and drive back to Calgary just a few hours after we had arrived.

I was planning to take Tricia for a great getaway to get her mind off of things and do the one thing she really wanted to before her hospital stay - see the Sex & the City movie. The concern was doing it in an area without a lot of potential germs and instead I take her to the hospital! For those of you concerned about this, I did make her stay outside most of the time and we just messengered each other "U R A 10" to keep our spirits up.

I am obviously on a break from my round 6 right now and will talk to Dr. Webster in the next few days about what could be going on. Until then I am resting a lot and keeping myself on a strict diet, in case it was some food that might have set this off. As well, Tricia's mom, Marie and I are taking Tricia to the movie in Calgary tonight. We tried to pick a theatre that would be more empty, so I can't tell you which one right now.

Tomorrow Tricia starts her journey of Transplant #3. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't scared to death, but I also know that she is mentally stronger than I have ever seen her. If anyone can make history and give the cancer community something to cheer about, it's definitely her!


  1. Tasha...

    Thank you so much for being such a great friend to Tricia..

    As she embarks on her new journey we are thinking of her, but we are also thinking of you...

    Take care,


  2. Dear Tasha,
    What you call "blips on the radar" seem more like mountains to us. The discovery of a new lump anywhere in your body must be a frightening thing. Whatever it is, will require scans, tests and treatments. Once again, you are in a kind of limbo until the tests are completed and the results are in.

    The contrast between your extravaganza plans and the actual weekend events could not be more extreme. The good thing is that you were with someone who knows you well enough to make sure that you got the medical help you needed at the time. Those young guys on the highway do not know how right they were when they awarded you and Tricia perfect 10's. They saw only your physical beauty; we see your wisdom, courage and resiliency. Indeed, both of U R A 10 - in so many ways.

    We hope that you, Maria and Tricia were able to find a Calgary movie theatre for viewing "Sex & The City". After today, you will not get another chance for a while since Tricia will now be back in Unit 57 for the long haul.

    We understand that you are one of the people who will be able to visit Tricia in the hospital. Your presence will be very important to her throughout her stay. As things get underway, your stated confidence in Tricia's strength of mind is encouraging. Like you, we believe that she is on a history-making journey that will give hope to the entire cancer community.

    We will wait patiently for any news that you can give us about your own health, Tasha, and about Tricia's progress. In the meantime, keep doing all you can to continue your own remarkable journey and to support Tricia in hers.

    Sincere best wishes
    Louise and David