Archive for December, 2010

Back to work…

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

I am looking forward to tomorrow.  I will be going to the hospital for an outpatient appointment.  I am going to have the port-a-cath removed!   If you do not know what a port-a-cath is… let me explain.  It is an appliance let’s say that is a very convenient thing for us cancer patients.  It is a small disk (about the size of a quarter) that has a spongy plastic type raised dome on it with a small tube at the end of it, I guess the tube would be approx 12 inches in length or close to it, I didn’t really examine it that well on the day that it was put inside me.   It was surgically embedded into my chest just above my right breast.  The tube part of it actually goes inside one of the main veins that supply blood flow to the heart.  It’s purpose is to allow a safe way to have chemo administered, blood drawn and other meds given.  A nurse will poke a special type needle into the dome, of course your skin is punctured each time, but this port-a-cath has been great.  I have been able to shower like normal, go swimming, etc and basically other than the small raised part of skin that you can see, as well as a t-shaped scar, and finding it when I accidentally scratch too hard or bump into something in that area…I don’t even know it’s there.  The other alternative to a port-a-cath is to have a pick line put into your arm for chemo adminsistration.  However with a pick line I think you have to be careful of keeping it dry.   Port-a-caths can remain inside of your body for months or even years, depending on the circumstance.  Although I haven’t had chemo since April, I have had to maintain the port on a monthly basis.  It has to be flushed every 4 weeks when it isn’t being accessed.

A nurse comes to the house once a month and flushes it with heparin (blood thinner)and saline, by means of injection of a needle.  This flushing keeps the line clean and open for future access.   So why am I having it removed? 

Even though I may need the port in the future, I asked my doctor if I could have it removed.  (if I need it again, it can always be surgically re-implanted if the time comes)  I want it removed because shortly after it was put in a year ago, I developed blood clots in my arm pit and upper arms (which I am told is rare), blood clots most often occur in the legs.  So I agreed to be a part of a study with regular check ups to help others that have this happen.  I had to also start with daily doses of warfarin which is a blood thinner medication.  Warfarin has to be monitored often.  Foods we eat can affect how the medication works.  For instance, I have to be careful not to eat too much foods with vitamin K, which are foods that are actually good for me, cruciferous veggies and dark leafy green veggies.  Colon cancer patients should eat lots of vegetables and foods with fiber and basically heatlhy clean eating.  I feel like I have been a slave to this warfarin medication by having to go for blood tests all the time.  Sometimes I go every 10 days, sometimes less often, but most often once a month unless I eat too much vitamin K or other things that affect it.  Also, what bothers me most is that if you look in your local Canadian Tire store or garden centre or whatever, if you are looking for something for pest control you can see a box with a big title of Warfarin on it.  It is used for rat poison!   So why would a normal person want to continue putting this in her body each and every day?  Not me.  I am done with it.  I have to fight cancer first and fore-most, putting rat poison in me is not my idea of doing healthy things for my body.   I am not a doctor, but I feel this is the best decision for me. 

So tomorrow I will go see the surgeon, put on the usual hospital gown and prepare for another scar.  Get this thing out…. no more meds for me.  Just vitamins and supplements and healthy foods.  I am told I will be black & blue for a week and it will hurt, but this is minor league stuff.    It’s funny that despite how many times I have sported a hospital gown, I feel like I am not a patient and I just don’t belong at a hospital and that this whole trip in cancer-land just isn’t real.   I have the scars and the pains both physically and mentally that remind me every day that I am living with cancer, but it just doesn’t seem real.  Perhaps because I haven’t let cancer penetrate my soul.

A new me…

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

I found this quote in an email joke that I received recently and I just felt compelled to copy and paste it into my blog today.  Watch out 2011…. I’m going to be “a new me”.

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate and wine in hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!” 

 

Feeling for others…

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

I W OULD RATHER HURT THAN FEEL NOTHING AT ALL.

I am just having an emotional morning, I received a few notes of encouragement out of the blue from people that I don’t even know & I have been reflecting about how much I have been blessed this year despite the bad stuff. I just find it hard to accept how one person can receive so much love & support, yet others go through life with no one. I cry for them today…. Love you angels.  Happy tears! Merry Christmas.

Thought for today…

Monday, December 20th, 2010

For the past couple of weeks I have been feeling so good that it scares the crap out of me!!!  Like I’m waiting for a surprise ambush attack or something.  I hope I don’t start sleeping with one eye open or something.  LOL !   I just don’t get it.  How can I feel so darn confident like I have everything under control, yet feel like I am constantly walking on egg shells both at the same time?  I have no idea how I do it, but I’m getting really good at it.  Just trying to keep my eye on the prize I guess.   The prize being good news in Feb when I get the next CT scan & bloodwork.

Happy Re-New Year !

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

I know I kind of seem to be celebrating dates in a fast forward fashion, but why be normal.  I operate on my own calendar now.

Today is Day One of a New Year for me.  I am calling it “Happy Re-New Year !”.

I hope & pray for all of us that it is a year of health & healing & recovery rather than a year of search, destroy and conquer.  That was A LOT of work.  Good thing I am a workaholic.

In true survivor fashion, the slogan is “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast”.

My boxing gloves will never come off.

I made it !

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Well the day is here… I made it !   Today is my Happy Re-Birthday or Canniversary !

(except I won’t insert the word happy in front of Canniversary, for obvious reasons)

Today especially I am reflecting on all that has happpened since Dec 14, 2009.

Wow, what a roller coaster of a year.  I think I have really learned who I am, I don’t need to search for her anymore.  I know my purpose in life.  How many people can say that?  I am strong, I am weak, I am a fighter, I am a loser, I am confident, I am shy, I am funny, I am sad, I am healthy, I am sick, I am a procrastinator, I live life in fast forward.  This could go on a very long time.  I guess what I should just say is that

I AM A SURVIVOR !!!  (all those other descriptive words are just part of the package)

I started the morning off with waking up and leaving the house before the sun came up.   I had to go to the lab for routine bloodwork and if you don’t go early, you can wait a long time.  Joking intended, my time is precious, so I spend it wisely!  I hate wasting time in waiting rooms.  If I ever get the chance to build a house from scratch, trust me, there will not be a design for a “waiting” room.  I don’t wait for life to happen anymore… I just take each day and make the most of it.   So anyway, back to the lab.

I walked in the lab and as usual, I took a number and waited for my number to be called so that I could present my health card & frequent flyer card (joke) to the technician at the counter.  I had a little thumbs up moment inside my head because I was number 1.  There were already some people in front of me yet it just happened that my number was up when I entered the room.  Number one!   Today is year number one for survivorship!!!   Kind of ironic, but strange things like this happen to me all of the time.  I see it as a sign that I am on the right track or on the right road.   Who knows where the road leads to, but I am where I am supposed to be I guess.

Rick & I went out for lunch together today, just the two of us.  Even though it’s a crazy busy time of year with work, so what, we made the time.  I celebrated by eating a big old juicy hamburger.  I haven’t had a hamburger for a year.  What a treat, but now I don’t feel that great, so I will have no problem waiting another whole year to treat myself again to one.  I just thought it would be nice to let the pre-cancer version of myself have  a treat.   

This week is full of “have to’s”, but next week will be a little quieter.  So next week I plan on celebrating my survivorship.  I am taking a day to myself, to shut myself off from the world and I will be hiding in a day spa.  I am going to do some nice treatments to this body that houses my soul and give it a break.   It deserves it. No needles, no scalpels, no stitches, no staples, no poison, no drugs, no bandages, no nothing.  I can’t wait !!!

Thank you to everyone I know and love for your tremendous outpour of love and support.  I love you all !  I may never leave cancer-land, but I am so grateful that I have you all for tour guides to depend on when I get lost or side-tracked.  Keep smiling, because I am!

Out of nowhere…

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Last night I cried myself to sleep.  Why?  I have no idea.  I had a good day and an even better night.  I had absolutely no reason to cry.  The tears came out of nowhere.  They didn’t last long, but long enough to get my pillow a little wet.  I have been reading some cancer books to try to educate myself and all that could come to mind was something that I read a few months ago.

Apparently our subconscious mind is a lot stronger than our conscious mind.    At times they may not even communicate with each other.  Well on that note, apparently my subconcious just had enough and had to release.  I guess the fact that my first year anniversary date of “survivorship” is soon approaching.  If I could tap into my subconcious or eavesdrop on what it might say…. I would think it might go a little like this……. reflecting back to Jan 4, 2010….. hearing the following words from my first meeting with an oncologist.   You have stage 4, terminal cancer, if you do chemo you may live a “long time”, perhaps 2 years or so.    I cannot believe that half of that time has already been spent. 

So far I have beat some of the odds and I have done really well so my conscious mind allows me to be strong, eat well, exercise and take care of me to “manage” this cancer.

However I guess my subconscious mind will never forget the prognosis.  Will it ever heal?  I sure hope so.

A little break…

Friday, December 10th, 2010

I must apologize for my lack of posting & silence for the past month or so.

I have been enjoying the break from dealing with cancer “stuff” and trying to live a normal life and to look forward to the Christmas season.  Last Christmas I was given the worst gift ever.  The words “you have cancer”.  I arrived home from the hospital one day before Christmas Eve and I have to tell you, it was not a Merry Christmas.  All I could think of at that time, was this may be the last Christmas I ever celebrate with my family.  Very, very sad.

Living with cancer is like living with a stalker.  I feel like I am always looking over my shoulder, always in protect me mode to ward off the next attack, thinking the what ifs all the time.  I have to think twice about every thing I put in my mouth, is it nutritional?  Am I being the best cancer fighter I can be?  Am I making the most of this day?  Yes this is what is always on my mind, so even though I say I have been enjoying a bit of a break, I actually am.  I know it may not make sense, but it does to me I guess. 

I think this past month I have switched modes from cancer fighter to cancer survivor.  Blogging helps me heal.  It turns my sad and/or angry moments into productive healing energy.  Yes there are days that I do grieve or mourn.  I grieve for my old self.  The me before cancer arrived.  Sometimes it’s hard to remember, because this has been such a roller coaster ride of a year.

Today I am back in cancer fighter mode.  Today I meet with my surgeon to discuss when we can do operation #3.  I am hoping for Jan/Feb, but it all depends if he gives me the green light and when he can fit me in.  It’s kind of ironic that 3 days short of one entire year, me and my surgeon met for the first time.   He saved my life that day.  I was hours or days away from septic death.  My “canniversary” or my “re-birthday” as I call it, was Dec. 14.   Wow what a year!!!

I will keep you posted as to what happens at the appointment today.  I am  hoping for more positive news.  Hopefully the traffic light is working and is beaming a bright green colour for me today with no road blocks in sight.

Screw cancer, I am going after you again.  It’s time for me, not for you.

I still believe…

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Dear Santa,

I’m not sure if ya get many requests for this but hey, don’t ask, don’t get, right? The only thing on my list is “more tomorrows” please, lots of ’em, and no gift wrap needed, I can make them pretty all on my own. I promise that I will take good care of them & share them will all my family & friends.

The only promise I can’t make is to stay off the naughty list, sorry, a girl’s got to have some fun sometimes!

Love Karrie xo

I’m not hiding…

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Yep, I’m still alive.  

Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while.

I have been busy living life and I’ve got a few things to share, please stay tuned.

Hugs, Karrie