Day 169 – the ‘port’ edition

I had my chemo port put in yesterday. It was a bit more involved than I had thought. I have to say that the team at Royal Columbian was stellar. From the nurse Wanna who got my IV in the first try to poor Chris who had to scratch all my itches. They listened to me about the efficacy of conscious sedation on me and gave me more. The only thing I remember is waking myself up snoring. It’s quite sore today but I am sure I will be ever so grateful when I don’t have to endure new IVs being put in all the time. My arms currently look like they’ve been through the wars but that will improve quickly.

IMG_3929
Me waiting for my port

Yesterday marked the first time I have gone 24 hours without crying since getting diagnosed. I am not sure what has shifted. I think I have cut myself slack and decided that I can’t control the future and me suffering now is not going to make things any better for anyone in the future.[1]I think also there has to be a certain amount of acceptance that happens. Yes, its shitty and I might not beat it but this happens to lots of people so I guess I will deal with it the best that I can.

I’m going to take it easy this weekend. I have to be at the hospital for 0800 for blood work for chemo later in the day when we get to test run this baby port!

Graphic photo of completed port below:

.

.

.

.

.

June 30, 2018
The top part close to my neck is where the catheter feeds into the vena cava. The more bruised lower par

 

 

[1]Thanks Joe.

 

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 46

 

 

Day 168 – the ‘weird chemo side effect #1’

I had chemo on Tuesday. This afternoon, for some unknown reason, my upper left arm began to get very hot. I checked for fever and I didn’t have one. Who knows.

Overall, I am feeling better today. I had a good long sleep which I needed. I got a few things done today that were kind of nagging at me.

Anyway, here is the picture of my very red upper arm that is still quite hot.

June 28, 2018

 

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 46

 

 

Day 167

Well, as expected, I am not feeling that well today. I am having pain in my stomach which I don’t think was on their list of side effects. I have found that napping in my chair, with my headphones and an eye mask on to be a very zen place for me. Sawyer hops up and gets as much of his body touching mine as possible and I slept hard. Tomorrow is another off day and then I get my port put in at Royal Columbian so that I no longer have to get poked for chemo. This will make the nurses very happy (me too).

June 27, 2018

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 45

 

 

Day 166 – the ‘chemo edition’

So today is my first day of chemo. I don’t have a port in so we have to search for a vein. The nurses are great but anyway you cut it, I am a hard stick. Finally, they got one in and off we go. Thankfully my port is going in on Friday which will make my life much less difficult. No more being poked for blood and IVs. I am however, very tired.

I have to say that each time I meet the The Oncologist™, I dislike him even more. I am guessing that if there was an empathy class at school he failed it. As in, he has no empathy whatsoever. I was crying, in front of him, finding out that I have 15 fucking tumours in my chest, wanting to know approximately what we are looking at here in terms of time and he asks me ‘exactly how will that improve your life by knowing that information?’[1]I tell him that if weird side effects are going to happen, they are going to happen, they are likely to happen to me. His response? “Noted.” I let him know that the constipation protocol I read through in the side effects section of the medication was not going to work for me. As stimulant laxatives are contraindicated for someone with ulcerative colitis and the other ones will simply cause me pain. He wonders, aloud, why I would tell him this.[2]

He was disdainful of my BMI and astounded that I didn’t know what it was. He basically told me that me and my ’20 diseases and 26 medications’ were going to make me very difficult to treat and he wasn’t even sure I could make it through treatment.[3]At least he gave me a script for nausea meds.

Now on to the good stuff. As usual, the good stuff are the women and volunteers who make this kind of treatment bearable. They make you laugh, they apologize when they stick you for the 5thtime and they make it ok. Men may run the world, but women hold it up, patch it up and take care of it.

 

_________________________________________

[1]If he us completely unable to put himself in the position of his patient, I think he needs a fucking empathy translator. Seriously.[2]I don’t know. Could be helpful. Especially when the med that is supposed to constipate me gives me explosive diarrhea the minute

we walk through the door is not really expected.

[3]Clearly he doesn’t know me.

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 44

 

 

Day 165 – the ‘let it all hang out’ edition

I start chemo tomorrow. I think I will be ok with it although most likely much more fatigued. I still intend to keep writing and updating the blog daily. But I don’t want this to turn into yet another sad cancer blog. Cancer sucks, I have it, and I am going to die from it. That’s the whole unvarnished truth. I don’t know when then is going to happen but I suspect I have some time to play with yet.

 

I took a big risk today. I wore a shirt no sleeves for the first time since I was a teenager. Fat women aren’t supposed to do that. But I saw the shirt and I really like it. It was me. It’s bright and colourful and I wanted it. So, I bought it and I wore it today. And I felt strong like a warrior because I just don’t give a hit anymore. I never thought I would be coming to terms with the fact that I am going to die at 53 years old. I was just at the point where I was going to do something I had always wanted to do: start a life coaching business. I also want to write a book. I am going to do my level best to make sure that cancer does not take those things away from me.

 

So, here is me today in a shirt with no sleeves:

 

 

 

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 44

 

Day 164

Tomorrow we all go in for in Oncology training. Sounds like fun. I have my first chemo appointment treatment on Tuesday. I am not particularly afraid of the side effects as I live with many of them every day. I do expect that they will be more pronounced and that I will be even more fatigued. One of the drugs starts to make your hair fall out in 3-5 days after the first treatment – that’s a bit scary. Otherwise, I guess I will cope as ok as I possibly can. It’s not like there’s a choice.

I find it very difficult to believe that I have 15 tumours in my lungs. I can’t even imagine what that looks like. When they did the mammogram, I saw the tumour in my breast. I am all set up with wireless headphones and a new MacBook Pro get through at least a year of chemo.

The most annoying thing in my life right now is my right leg from where I fell a week ago. It’s still very swollen and there is not much muscle to absorb fluid between the skin and the shin. I am trying to sit with it up more.

I finished up my Board Voice stuff today by sending my invoice. I am going to miss working there but I was finding it a bit of a struggle – and now we know why!

June 24, 2018

 

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 43

 

Day 165

I got new wireless Bose headphones. They are making me happy.

I am anxious about chemo starting on Tuesday. I am afraid of the side effects and how I will cope with them. Luckily for me, I live with versions of these every day. I will be happy once my port goes in because my veins suck.June 23, 2018

 

 

 

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 44

 

Day 162 – the ‘well fuck’ edition

June 21, 2018So, what does one do when you wake up with a message to call your oncologist, or in my case The Oncologist™. I had a liver scan yesterday. I was concerned about the scan yesterday because they had come out to reposition me at one point. I wasn’t sure what my feeling meant and I put it aside after the good news about the finalization (finally).[1]Unfortunately, we didn’t get the news we wanted. Well, we kind of did. I thought they were just looking at my liver as the next place it would go. I did not realize that they were checking other things – like my lungs. Turns out I have at least 15 tumours in my lungs that are about 1 ½ cms in size. I am not really sure what this means but The Oncologist™ has said that my chemo will still go ahead as it is the correct of treatment in this case.

For most of this year, I have been having little existential crises. Nothing that would require counselling or anything like that but more of a sense of why we continue doing this thing called living life over and over again. Why is the world such a shitty place? What is our purpose in being here and what happens after we are gone. I really have no answers.[2]I sometimes feel like just a rodent on a treadmill,[3]doing the same shit day after day without much changing. Perhaps if I did not feel the need to stick to as many routines as I do, life would be more exciting. Sadly, I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.

Even though this was not the development we had hoped for, the next year is pretty set. The treatment we talked about on Tuesday is the treatment that I will do. The hope is that those tumours shrink.[4]I will likely be bald fairly quickly as I don’t have that much hair to lose.[5]I’ve had a good look at the side effects and I have been through most of these with ulcerative colitis. They could be worse with the chemo for sure. What I do know about my body and my response to disease in general, is that I am a fighter. I once worked from hospital bed. Once I even wrote a gaming grant in reverse isolation at Royal Columbian. In hindsight, it was not my finest hour and really exemplified how I did not value myself or my health.[6]I have been a people pleaser for as long as I can remember.

This time, I am doing things differently. I am done with work which feels great. I loved my job and what we were doing but I couldn’t take the stress of knowing that people were waiting on me to get things done. Right now, my job is to get be as well as I can be and I can only do that if I have 100% control over my schedule.

I keep wondering what’s the difference between today and yesterday. And the answer is not much. I’ve likely had all of these tumours for a while. I have been having trouble with my asthma since the summer forest fire smoke last year and I couldn’t shake it. I mentioned it to my doctor but she didn’t hear any wheezing.

So, what does all this mean? At this point, I am not really sure. I am grateful that I live in Canada where I can have access to good medical care. Even more, I am indebted to my surgeon[7]who sent me to the The Oncologist™ who happens to work out of my local hospital a day a week. It means we get to drive 10-15 minutes instead of 40-50 in traffic. And, I can see that it’s the nurses who are going to get me through this. I can imagine that within about 2 weeks, Deb will be baking cookies, know everyone’s names, life stories and what’s important to them. She will know where the stash of heated blankets is kept and everyone will be laughing. Hell we may even get The Oncologist™ to smile.

 

_______________________________________________

[1]How can it take anyone 41 months to execute a simple estate?

[2]Because, I guess if I had answers it wouldn’t be an existential crisis anymore, it would just be a crisis.

[3]Or at our house, a hedgehog on a noisy treadmill.

[4]I am not sure if they disappear ever.

[5]And, for the love of god, if anyone shaves their head in solidarity I will not be pleased, unless it’s a kid.

[6]We did get that grant though!

[7]Which I don’t have anymore because I won’t be having surgery.

 

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 41

 

Day 161 – the ‘score one for the good guys edition’

You know, every time I open my blog to write something and I see that amazing picture of Oswald, Grace and Steve it makes me smile. I am really not sure what I would do without my dogs. I love my people too but there is something so special about that relationship you have with your dogs.

Those of you who know of the estate settling issues I have had with my sister will be happy to know that it’s now over. A judge has ruled in our favour, it will be handled over to a trust company and completed. The judge has also ordered that Kathy will have to pay my legal and filing costs. I am guessing he wasn’t impressed that it has taken 41 months and all it is is a tangled mess. I am positive she has misappropriated funds. Thankfully the bulk of here estate (the cash) has been locked down for month and she has not been able to access anything.  My heart also hurts for her as she must be in a very bad situation to have allowed this to happen. However, one thing is for sure, I will not help her out in anyway going forward, nor will I have a relationship with her.

I had my liver CT today. I am hoping it’s cancer-free so I can be moved to the curable side of things. I will know tomorrow.

 

June 20, 2018

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 40