Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My first chapter of the new book

So far so good. This new book idea of Tricia's is really working out. In all of the updates from yesterday's post, I forgot to mention that I also had my last major reconstruction surgery over the past weeks. They did end up removing that area of concern they were watching and I have been waiting to find out what it was.

When we went into the Tom Baker to get Ryan's results today, I literally ran into my Plastic Surgeon. He had just returned from a week away and I asked him about my results. He said that if I had a minute he would go to his mailbox at the hospital and check if it was there. So we stood in the hospital lobby as he opened all of his mail, trying to find my results. About halfway through the pile we found them and I was overwhelmed with warmth to hear that the whole area he removed was "negative for malignancy"! What I wasn't so happy to hear was that it was "fatty tissue" - guess I have to start exercising on top of my implants. Just kidding. He did cut very deep above and below the remaining scar tissue from my last recurrence area and so the fact that it was all negative finally reassures me that the cancer I used to have is out of my body.

We then went onto get Ryan's results and the good news kept coming. His MRI is "unchanged" since April and the area that had exploded with growth and caused all of the concern in the fall has calmed down. They do part of the MRI with contrast and that would light up any fast growing parts, but all the parts on the picture were dark. With Jo-Ann going back home tomorrow, that was the perfect news we needed to help us rest assured that things will be fine.

So please celebrate life today! It is a good one. Cheers!

Monday, June 22, 2009

The last chapter

Tricia and I sat on my front porch last week toasting many things - my birthday, her new place and life. I said, let's toast to starting a brand new chapter, out with the old and in with the new. She said, let's be done with our last book, it's actually time to start a whole new book. The last book was filled with adventure, but now let's forget about that and move on to new things. I agreed. And so I thought I would write this blog about what I've been up to and what I've learned lately about life and then start the next post about my new book!

There has been lots of celebrating over the past month. Tricia and I both turned 35, but her much before me (3 weeks to be exact). For her birthday we got a great makeup artist we know to come over to my house and show us how to apply makeup. As little girls, we all figure it out somehow, but I know that I learned a lot about how I'm supposed to do it! She also looked through our stuff and told us what to chuck (tasha - coral lipstick...no).

Ryan and I went away to Banff for 2 nights while Jo-Ann spent some time with Talyn. This was the first time we've both been away from him...ever! It was really nice to rest and recharge and I did come back feeling like I got some time to appreciate my 2 runs with cancer and bidding them a fond farewell.

We had our second Live, Laugh & Learn event (support night for Rethink Breast Cancer). It is hard to explain how rewarding it truly is to watch people's lives being moved in a more positive direction because of something you helped with. It gives you an energy like no other!

Ryan and I also spent some time with Talyn's play therapist learning about parenting for someone that has gone through as much trauma as he has. Firstly, we were really surprised to hear the therapist say that if he gathered 100 therapists and they all discussed children they had worked with and what they had gone through, Talyn would be at the top of the list. This was really surprising to both of us, because it's just our normal. But it also helped us to understand why it is so important to work more closely with Talyn right now and react differently to his anger because it isn't coming from a place of the now, but rather what he has experienced almost losing both of his parents a couple of times over now. Secondly, we learned some great parenting tips. It's funny how when you decide you want kids they just let you bring them home from the hospital and assume you know how to do it. There are lots of books you can read, but having someone sit down with you and go through concepts and scenarios has been truly priceless.

I was fortunate enough to be asked to speak at Calgary's Relay for Life event on Friday night. I told my story to the survivors and caregivers that attended the event. It's the first time I have actually sat down and put it all together. I could actually see the hope in people's expressions when I got to a promising part in the story and then the extreme disappointment when we got hit with another turn in the road. At the end, the people got to their feet and I got many hugs from survivors who could relate. It was really uplifting!

Saturday night the Fields came over for dinner. This is the generous family that gave Ryan $60,000 to fund his treatment costs. Although we have been in touch with them since December over phone and email, this was the first chance we had to get together with them in person. We also got to meet all of their kids, Mitch, Kyle and Hayley and spend the night with them all. Brad and Cheryl are such amazing, down to earth people that we had to keep pinching ourselves at how easy and enjoyable it all was. I truly hope they will remain friends with us forever!

Sunday started with Talyn and I serving Ryan coffee in bed and then going out to get the Calgary Sun and seeing them both on the cover. They ran a story about Ryan being so healthy for Father's Day and how much that meant to us all. It was another reminder of what we've been through and how far we've come. Tomorrow morning we go in to get the results of Ryan's second MRI since starting the Avastin treatments. We feel very hopeful because of how well he's doing, but also a bit nervous because that's just the way it is.

I will never forget all of the valuable lessons I have learned from cancer and the ones I continue to learn from people I am speaking to and living with. They have helped me bring new perspective to life and have offered me the opportunity to help others with their struggles. But now I am looking forward to starting my new book and see what that has to hold for me!