Monday, December 23, 2013
..... feeling spoiled and beyond grateful....
...... for the outpouring of love and generosity this week that has left me wondering how I can ever thank such wonderful, amazing people?!
23 December 2013
It started with an envelope in the mailbox early this past week from Sandra Moyer.... hand delivered with chocolates after a lunch and visit from Nancy. Next came another hand delivered envelope in the mailbox, stuffed lovingly with gift cards from Shelly B..... and a visit from Pat bearing home made cookies complete with a card and gift. Then yesterday, an afternoon snack presented by Ameeta, Peter, Sanjay and Sarah with her two lovely girls Payton and Rowynn.
We just returned all of Mandi's dishes from all the meals she kept providing us with when I was going through Chemo. She started a meals for Marita four years ago and had all kinds of volunteers provide nutritious home cooked meals with each chemo treatment. This time she managed to do it all with the help of her children.
I have no idea how to thank all of these amazing people?! I say thank you and give hugs and tell them how grateful I am... but what can I do to show them how I feel about what they mean to me?
29 December 2013
I am at the movie theater with the whole family. William has bought us a gift certificate for Christmas and we are there to see the second part of the latest run of the Hobbit trilogy 'The Desicration of Smaug'. Before the movie started, we ran into Tony in the lobby. He is the father of my childen's childhood friend Terry. I offer him sympathies on the loss of his partner who died of metastatic breast cancer two years ago. Apparently I met her within weeks of her passing. According to Tony, she decided to not continue on the chemo, which was making her sick and extending a poor quality of life. I understand that all too well. It is the balance of quality verses quantity of time....and the dilemma of leaving behind those you love. We call it 'buying time at a high cost'.
I have considered many times what I would do if my cancer began to grow out of control? Would I do anything to buy more time? Would I live on chemo while exhausting all my options? These are tough questions for someone of my age...if I was 80, it would be easy for me to simply choose nothing and let nature take its course. I think differently at almost 50 with children at home. The dilemma is all about the choices you make that effect those around you.
We have been taught along the way to fear death...as if we could cheat it somehow. We are horrified and deeply mourn the loss of a child, which seems so unnatural in our century....considering early last century it was far more common. We celebrate the death of those who are elderly and ill and call it a blessing. We consider a successful life one that is long and prosperous. We all know that one day, we will be leaving our earthly confines to go to wherever we believe we go to. It is not the passing that scares us, as humans....it is undoubtedly the way in which we pass. We all hope to go to sleep and never wake up. We all hope we do that in our sunset years when we have lived a good life, watched our children grow up, marry and have their own children and that we leave being well-loved, appreciated and missed.
When my father had a near-death experience in June 2012, I was given a rare opportunity to witness his passing within minutes of arriving at the emergency ward at University Hospital. I was sitting beside him, holding his hand....his eyes rolled up in his head and his face greyed when his breathing ceased. For that split second I was focused on his face I knew he was at peace.... and a split second later, was trying to revive him. I witnessed this twice in 20 minutes... according to the nurse, had I not been there, he would have passed away. I think about this and of his alzheimers and wondered if I had done him any favour by calling him back. I had no doubt when I brought him back to the nursing home that he had touched the ceiling 12 feet above his head in the emergency room. He would continue to try to touch the 7 foot ceilings in the home for a few days after with a far off stare. He was almost joyful and definitely peaceful. I didn't want to lose him and somehow I thought we needed more time....I think I was being selfish. A year later, he is alive, but is living his life in an Alzheimer's home and I have been unable to spend time wih him because of a compromised immune system, due to chemo clashing with the constant illnessess in the home and our own home. Just as I am finished another cold, the floor is closed again due to the flu season....
30 December 2013
I will be grateful to see this year end and a new one begin. While I think 2013 had some amazing, wonderful moments....it was filled with uncertainty and bouts of depression. It's hard for me to admit that there have been some incredibly dark moments and tears....lots of tears this year. There were many moments where I withdrew from the world to ponder my life and to listen to my soul. My family is my anchor point and on the days when I could not be strong for them....they were strong for me.
This year was the affirmation of my career - the pursuit of my life's passion. I crossed the stage at Western, proudly wearing the scarf of Fanshawe College and Western University. Despite my illness, I graduated with Distinction, took two online career courses while creating a new course for Fanshawe. I am deeply grateful for the support of my family and my incredible co-workers John, Sara, Joel, Elaine, Stepanie and so many others who stopped in to just chill with me at my desk.
This month, I have done a full body cleanse, continued to use the Metformin at what is now 1,000mg of this medication with a few side effects of bloating and some bowel discomfort. I have a lot of sweets from Christmas which are now decorating my dresser - I have little desire to eat what I know my cancer would love to share with me. I am sleeping longer than I have in years with the Melatonin (4mg) and am feeling well rested and better able to cope.
Money is exeedingly tight and with an unknown future, we are holding on to every penny to ensure the bills get paid.
3 January 2014
I welcome the New Year with renewed belief that this will be a better year than its predecessor. Christmas was truly a wonderful quiet holiday after what seemed like a string of many busy months with little wee breaks in between. I actually was able to relax, read, spend time with my children and sleep!!! I am now recharged and ready to return for the winter semester at the college and available a few days a week for the high schools. I am learning to definitely pace myself and pay attention to my body when it is tired.
I would be remiss if I didn't speak to the bouts of mild depression which sank to an all-time low just days into the holidays. I would be lying if I didn't have moments of sobbing mixed with guilt for having succumbed to my feelings of desperation. Even the strongest of us have chinks in our armor and we are allowed to have those moments, as long as they don't last long. I have been playing iPad games and doing crafts and avoiding having any thoughts as to what this month will bring as far as the doctors and my illness.... and the impending testing to see where we are at.
Two days ago, the swelling in my neck was up and I wrenched my neck when I went to turn it. the pain shot up the right side and across the right scapula. Last night I spent it in agony, trying to find that one position. It would only last a few minutes before being wracked with a piercing pain. Today, I went in to get it looked at by Dr. Laura in order to reduce the pain and gain mobility....and to cuddle with her baby Lucy!! A few hours later and the swelling in the neck has subsided and there is just a remaining dull pain which we will look at next week for another visit. While I was in the office with her, I asked her about a particular 'Green' product I was using. I was using the Greens + with multivitamines and decided to read the label.... low and behold, it specifically states that the product should not be used for those with cancer or other critical illnesses???? A close look at the ingredients list had me shaking my head.... no wonder my intuition was telling me to stop using it just days after opening it. There is a product line she sells and one in which I had used many years ago when I started to have issues with my bowel. Not my favorite topic of discussion but one that everyone needs to consider.
We are given many warnings at the beginning of an illness or disease....and we either choose to ignore these subtle (at first) hints or deny what we are experiencing.....because, we are busy and tired anyway... and if we ignore it, it will simply go away. I remember as a child suffering from terrible constipation from all the iron pills I was put on (don't get me started on this ridiculous and unnecessary and often dangerous additive to our diet). I would suffer with bouts of constipation and diarrhea and in 2008, I had a colonoscopy. The symptoms would later prove to be diverticulosis (pouching in the large intestines caused by diet and constipation). I was only 44 at the time and the doctor was surprised that this was the case. The voice inside me wasn't convinced that this was the problem which prompted me to seek out the procedure in the first place....I was sure it was cancer but l turned down that nagging internal voice until shortly before I was diagnosed, I could feel a pain in my chest when I reached across the cable trough to pull some cables out and the voice got louder. Three weeks later I found the lump. Many of my friends would say that they too let it go out of denial or some other excuse and wished, like me that we hadn't.
I can't go back and change things for me. If I had pursued my intuition initially, I am sure that I would not have found myself with the metastasis I am living with.... or not. It is purely academic at this point. I read the research papers... as close as they say they are getting, logic tells me that I will be long gone before any of the talked-about trials come to fruition.
'Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome'..... We are humans and not all the same, and I have learned that what works for one person will often times not work for another.... we are a machine comprised of extremely complex functions which most of us couldn't even fathom. Our DNA is unique to ourselves... from eons of evolution....no two people are exactly the same. So, explain why all the treatment options for my illness are?? In all the research I have looked at, there is very little research done on the benefits of healing the body using the foods we should be eating to assist us in healing? I work in a field of logical thought and I am seeing scientists building on what the scientist before them did thinking that they will find the key? I truly believe that our bodies, when given the opportunity to heal themselves would do so with the foods we were meant to eat, the water we were designed to drink and the air we were supposed to breathe. Our food is a chemistry of GMO, dyes and sugar, our water contains fluoride and bleach and we breathe toxins in our hermetically sealed house, in our cars and in the work we do. Cancer is a mutation, period. Cells gone rogue.... and we all have them. It is not one single defining moment that creates the rapid growth and spread, it is many such moments.
My herbal cleanse is one week away from completion and two nights ago, I am sure the pain in my right side under the rib cage and right scapula (shoulder blade) was as a result of what I believe to be gall stones that passed last night. The cleanse is doing its job clearing out the organs and the bowel. I will see if any of this has worked when I go into CT later this month. I feel better than I have in months and had enough energy to clean the basement, defrost the freezer and want to get more accomplished now that the toxins are leaving. My mental outlook and positive attitude is coming back and I feel better able to tackle the future.
I wish each of you a healthy and happy New Year!!!