Archive for January, 2011

Pictures speak louder…

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Well, another lab day has come and gone…. what a pain.

Soon I will be off the darn warfarin meds.  I can’t wait.

The port is out and the original scar on my chest has been re-vamped.

It was a T-shape, now it looks like a cross, I call it my blessing mark.   Apparently there was more scar tissue than usual, my doc said that my body absorbed it quite good and it was a bit difficult to get out, he had to make a larger incision, no big deal, it hardly hurts but I still feel for the darn piece of equip in there even though it’s gone.   The stitches are out and I just have a tiny bruise still.   Small stuff to deal with.

So the next plan is to gear up for February.   It’s going to be a very busy month.

Scan day is Feb 11.    The CT scan will look at my chest, abdomen and pelvis to get a really good look.  With colon cancer I am told that when it metastisizes, it spreads to the liver first (we’ve already dealt with that), then it spreads to the lungs.  So if the cancer has re-appeared, it will likely show up in my liver again.  And if it’s in the “right” spot, then surgery on the liver may be an option again. Yikes.  If it comes to this, I will certainly do it without hesitation, but I have to be honest, it isn’t going to be easy.  These last 2 operations have taken a toll on me.  More operations will take longer recovery times.  I know I will never be the same physically, but my determination will always be there, so whatever I have to do, I will do it.

If the scans come back clear, then I am headed for surgery anyway.  This time it will be to reverse the colostomy.  I am looking forward to this….going to hurt like hell and it scares the heck out of me, but again… I’m going for it !!!   Lots of appointments to -deal with in Feb, from pre-op to pre-admin to scan days, bloodwork, family doc appt, etc.  It sure has been nice having a bit of a break in  January, but back to business.

Till next time… will keep you posted.

I’m paying attention…

Friday, January 14th, 2011

So I just had to post this.  It may not be of any significance, but I’ll share anyway.

I always will have my prognosis in the back of my mind, it’s actually my daily driving force.  “You will likely have 2 years, and only 8% survival of 5 years.”  Ok, swallow.

So….. I have to say that I am paying attention to everything.  I think I’m actually going kind of coo-coo.   Earlier this week I took Rick’s Mom out to do her banking.  She does her business at a different bank than I do.  I helped her in because the snow makes things a bit too slippery for her and I don’t want her going down on my watch, she means the world to me.  She loves me like a daughter and I love her the same, actually more.  I’ll get to the point now.  

So I walk in the bank and all around are these huge signs, one at every teller, one at the front door, one on the wall, they are everywhere…. and what do they say?  In big bold letters….

MAKE THE NEXT 5 YEARS COUNT !

I am not kidding you… this is exactly what the signs say…. I didn’t even look at the fine print, it was obviously some kind of banking promotion, but I couldn’t get past the obvious words… Ughh…. I know those signs have nothing to do with me or my “situation”, but crap, I can’t help but pay attention to that.  No to mention that they were all in the colours purple and black.  Just a bit too ironic, since black has always been my colour but lately I have been on a purple kick. 

So am I going crazy?  It’s okay to say yes, because I think so.  Are those signs a test just to make sure that I am paying attention and not getting side-tracked or too confident that maybe I can beat the frickin’ statistics?  Trust me, I am aware of the biological clock and it’s not the one that most of us women talk about.  Make every day count my friends… I am !

You’re a firework!

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

My sister told me today that the lyrics of Katy Perry’s “Firework” song remind her of me.  I think that was so sweet, that I thought I would share with you.  Love you Cindy!

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting throught the wind
Wanting to start again

Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards
One blow from caving in

Do you ever feel already buried deep
Six feet under scream
But no one seems to hear a thing

Do you know that there’s still a chance for you
Cause there’s a spark in you

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on show ’em what your worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you’re a firework
Come on let your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!”
You’re gunna leave ’em fallin’ down-own-own

You don’t have to feel like a waste of space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe you’re reason why all the doors are closed
So you can open one that leads you to the perfect road

Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow
And when it’s time, you’ll know

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on show ’em what your worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you’re a firework
Come on slet your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!”
You’re gunna leave ’em fallin’ down-own-own

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It’s always been inside of you, you, you
And now it’s time to let it through

Cause baby you’re a firework
Come on show ’em what your worth
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!”
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

Baby you’re a firework
Come on slet your colors burst
Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!”
You’re gunna leave ’em goin “Oh, oh, oh!”

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

Got your back…

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Jan 4 is my Mom’s birthday.

Me, my sister Cindy and Mom all celebrated by spending the day with each other shopping in Port Huron.  It was a great day.  Lunch and dinner out and a few deals were found.   We intentionally set out to have a great day.  I owed it to my Mom because her birthday last year was he worst ever.  It was my fault.  It had to be one of the worst days ever in my life and the fact that it all happened on my Mom’s birthday made it even worse.

I remember that day one year ago just like it was yesterday.  We all know that I had cancer at this point, as this was discovered after the emergency bowel surgery on Dec 14 that saved my life.  However Jan 4 was my first appointment to go to the London Cancer Clinic.  I wasn’t even scared or really worried, maybe I was numb, who knows?

I guess I just didn’t know what to expect I guess.  Actually what I was thinking was… cancer… yep I have, I can deal with it… heal from surgery, chemo, etc… win the fight and move on, end of story.  I can get better, lots of people do.  I am 39 years old, healthy until now, so I can beat this.  Let’s just say I was crushed.  Rick went with me because I didn’t want to put Mom through the whole diagnosis crap and wanted to spare her some negative emotions since it was her birthday afterall.  She wanted to go with me, but I said no way.

First we met with a general doctor.  I only met her this one time and I don’t remember her name, I always remember people’s names.  It seemed like forever until she walked into the exam room to meet Rick & I.  When she entered, she looked kind of surprised and said… are you Karrie?  I said yes, she replied…”you look absolutely terrific”.  I obviously looked at her with one eyebrow raised because frankly I was quite confused.  Granted I was having a good hair day, and the only thing that would give my illness away was that I couldn’t quite sit up straight yet at this point because I was still very sore and bandaged up from the huge vertical incision that started at my rib cage down to just above my private area.  My thought was that my “paper record” or “chart #” didn’t reflect who was sitting in front of her and maybe she had the wrong patient or wrong room.  She then proceeded to explain the pathology of the tumour mass that was removed from my abdomen.  We were then told it was stage 4, terminal.  Terminal?  What the heck?  No way.  I can’t possible be terminal!!! 

We asked… since I feel so good right now, if we choose not to do chemotherapy, how long can I expect my prognosis to be?  I know it’s not an exact science, but they deal with this every day and obviously they have average numbers.  She non-chalantly says… “oh, you can expect to live a very long time”….. wait here it comes the big blow….. “you can expect to live about 9 months or so”.   WHAT THE HELL?  NINE MONTHS IS NOT, I REPEAT, NOT A LONG TIME.  (this was running through my mind with neon lights, the words did not reach my mouth)  I couldn’t even look at Rick and I did not shed a tear.  I was frozen inside.  So our next question was…. and if we do chemo… what are we looking at?   This was when I met Dr Mackenzie, my oncologist.  She examined me first and then she said with a face with really no expression except that compassionate look…. “you can expect a prognosis of approx. 2 years”.

She left the room to go  get some paperwork, but I think she did this so that we could have a moment to ourselves.   I was sitting on the exam table with a paper gown (first of many) and I glanced down at my wrist.  At this point I started to get watery eyes because I was looking at a colourful beaded bracelet that my 4 yr old niece made for me.  It said “I love you”.  I kept it together to get through the rest of the appointment and Rick said let’s go right home, I know you wanted to go out for a nice dinner in London, but let’s go home.  I said no f–kin’ way.  We are going shopping for the counter top stools that I was wanting and we are going out for dinner as planned.  We can deal with this cancer crap later.  It’s our turn.   So we found the stools and went to Moxie’s Grill for dinner.  I love this place.  Perfectly decorated to my taste and they make awesome steak & double stuffed potatoes.  I ordered a glass of wine, and we started to talk about the events of the day and the elephant in the room.   The whole time we were shopping I was numb, but as soon as we sat and relaxed and talked about things, the flood-gates opened.  I couldn’t stop.  I am sure it embarassed Rick as people in the restaurant probably thought that we were fighting or breaking up or something.  We made it through the meal and on the drive home I planned my funeral.  It hadn’t even occured to me that I didn’t have to give up.  I was doomed.  My Mom insisted that we call her as soon as we talked to the oncologist because of course she was worried and wanted to know the details.  She would not rest until we told her.   I didn’t want to ruin her birthday.  I wanted to run away and just disappear.  Rick and I talked and we decided that I should hold a family meeting and tell everyone at the same time so that we could all be together and so that I would only have to “say it” one time.  My sister, my brother and Mom and step Dad and me and Rick all met and the prognosis was shared.  Mom’s birthday ruined.   I made Rick tell my Dad the next day because I was too afraid to hurt another person.  So he did.

My mom’s only sibling, her brother, my Uncle John passed away 3 months earlier from cancer and Mom was still grieving.  How could I possibly hurt her more?  At my uncle’s funeral service I could sense that although she was surrounded by family, she seemed alone.  Both her parents have passed and now her only sibling.  I couldn’t imagine how she felt, and I hugged her and said, don’t worry Mom…I got your back.

Sooooo….. this birthday was a much better one for Mom.  We shared it together and reflected on all things positive.  Especially finding a new pair of pants that were on sale for $6.90 at Macy’s of all places.   There I go back to shopping…. can you tell that retail therapy works well for my family and me especially? 

Anyway, this post is for you Mom.  Happy Birthday!  I got your back! 

I am so glad I could make it up to you.

We are all doing great and we are heading in the right direction.  I will never give up. 

I love you… more!

Earth Angels working…

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

I donated a nice sum of $855.00 to the Canadian Cancer Society today.
Thank you to my Earth Angels -Relay for Life teammates for your support with my pre-Christmas candle fundraiser! We reached top fundraising team for 2011 today, let’s see how long we can stay at the top! www.relayforlife.ca

Now that 2011 has arrived it’s time to get into gear and start with fundraising pledges.

We have only just begun…..

We can do this on-line….. see the link below at the bottom of my blog.  All are invited to join my team.  Every dollar counts, please consider supporting Earth Angels!  We would all appreciate your support and there is no limit to the number of people on a team.  If you haven’t ever been to Relay for Life it is an experience that you will want to participate in.  I had no idea what to expect last year when I attended my first one.  It was truly a night that I will never forget. 

It is one thing to receive encouragement one-to-one as daily life passes by, but to actually see how many people “in person” all in one place, just to support you and to participate in the relay in honour of other people that are fighting or have lost their fight, it’s just simply incredible.  Join in, you won’t regret it!

New Year Resolution…

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

I don’t think I am going to make one, just don’t want to set myself up for disappointment, who keeps them for long anyway?  I am just going to keep pulling my socks up, and challenge the statistics on a daily basis.  I have never enjoyed math anyway, I’m more the creative type.  Always bet on yourself!   Happy 2011 everyone!