Cancer is a pain

I didn’t blog yesterday for a couple of reasons. The first reason being that I spent most of my waking hours outside of the house (aside from supper and a 1.5 hour nap). The second reason is that I don’t have much to report because I have finally hit the stage where I’m no longer waiting by the phone for more appointments for more tests. The last big test is happening Wednesday. I know there will be more along the way but this will be the last big diagnostic test before I learn the exact type of lymphoma I have and what treatment we’ll be doing.

In the past two days I have experienced a sharp increase in abdominal pain. I’ve been gritting my teeth and getting on with normal activities despite the pain. I’m trying really hard to be normal and live normally but it is becoming more difficult. There will come a point soon where ignoring the side effects of my disease will no longer be an option. Between now and then I’m going to try to enjoy myself as much as possible. I never thought I would actually look forward to chemo.

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Radioactive woman

Alas, I have no superpowers… Unless going without food for over 20 hours without a fit of tears is a superpower. Either way I’m giving myself a pat on the back with that one.

I was scheduled to start my appointment at 12:30 – I say start because the whole thing takes 1 hour and 30 minutes from start to finish. Well stupid Air Canada decided that it was a good time to go on strike so my mutant-power-inducer aka radioactive sugar arrived about 2.5 hours behind schedule. There was a lot of sitting and waiting going on. Sometime before my injection Frank said he felt like this was the first procedure that made him feel like the situation was starting to sink in more. Like this is only the tip of the iceberg. I feel exactly the same way and I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the sad looking lady with no hair that we passed on the way to the PET suite. Maybe it was the fact that I almost broke out in tears when, for a second, I thought Frank couldn’t come with me to the PET suite. Or maybe it was all that waiting, when our minds are wandering and we’ve exhausted our repertoire for small talk.

Frank and I sat in a little room for quite some time, waiting, when a nurse came in an explained how things would work. When it was time for my injection, Frank would have to leave and the doors (made of lead, by the way) would be closed. You know. To protect HER from radiation. Being the smart ass that I am I asked how safe this was if I had to be locked in a lead room after. Her answer was more or less a nervous laugh.

The injection came in a little lead canister, which was kind of neat if I ignored the fact that my veins aren’t also made of lead and therefor my entire body was about to become radioactive. After the lead doors were closed I laid in the dark willing myself not to move for an hour. Time has never passed so slowly. I was glad to see the doors open an hour later and the nurse poking her head in to tell me they were ready for me. It turns out a PET scan is almost exactly like a CT scan except much slower. The entire process takes about 20 minutes. That wouldn’t be much to complain about except that you have to put your arms above your head and they quickly lose circulation. It will take 7-10 days for my oncologist to receive the results.

Frank and I went on a date to East Side Mario’s when we were done and I have to say I have never been so happy to see food. I ate like a PIG and I’m proud of it. I like our new little tradition of finishing off procedures and appointments with a date. It makes things a little brighter.

Oh and one more thing: I cannot wait to get either a PICC line or a portacath!!! I am soooooo tired of IVs – especially considering they always end up having to try two or three times before they get one in. I have probably had about 20-25 needle sticks in the last 4 weeks. Sad to think its only just beginning.

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Catch up

So my parents left for Ontario with Melodie, my oldest, on Sunday. A couple of months ago Frank took both of the kids to Ontario with him for 10 days. It was the first time I had ever been away from either one of my kids for more than 24 hours. I somewhat enjoyed the time I had to myself, though I did miss her. This time I was anxious a couple of days before she left… One night I even snuck into her room and got in bed beside her for a few minutes to cuddle her while she slept. There is nothing sweeter than a sleeping child. At around 04:30 on Sunday morning mom poked her head into my bedroom to let me know they were about to leave. I came downstairs and hugged miss Melodie tight and gave her a kiss goodbye. It’s only for 10 days are so. I miss her but I know that she is in great hands and probably having so much fun that she isn’t even thinking about me. 

Last night we picked up Frank’s mom from the airport. I guess the upside to having cancer is you are in constant company. I actually really enjoy it – especially now that I need a couple of extra hands around the house. I used to HATE accepting help from people. It made me so uncomfortable. It was surprising to me how easily I let go of that in the last three and a half weeks. On occasion part of my brain pipes up and tells me not to accept favours from people but the other part of my brain saying “take it easy and concentrate on healing” is louder. I actually think it has something to do with what my therapist said the last time I saw him. People want to help. In relationships, there needs to be give and take – if you don’t allow other people to give, you deny them part of who they are. So I’m going to let people give in whatever way makes them happy – helping me with the kids, sweeping my floor, making my food. Whatever. In allowing my family and friends to give, I’ve also found a new kind of happiness. This ebb and flow of giving and taking gives a new depth to my relationships with people. 

Saint John Regional Hospital (as opposed to St-Johns, eh Steph?! lol) called me yesterday for my PET scan appointment. Considering I have been answering every phone call in the past week with such haste that the phone barely had a chance to complete one full ring, you could say it was a relief. I’m officially booked for TOMORROW at 12:30pm. The paramedic in me is really excited. The radioactive isotopes are being FLOWN IN to Saint John the day of my appointment. Just for me. How cool is that? Fun fact about medical isotopes: Chalk River Reactors in Ontario produces 1/3 of the worlds medical isotopes and is one of only four worldwide regular medical isotope sourcing reactors. Neat, huh? Go Canada!

So, PET scan tomorrow, Frank’s mama leaves the day before my surgery, I believe. Surgery on the 18th, and at least one night stay in the hospital, maybe more depending on the type of surgery. Then Mom, Melodie, and my sister (yayyyy!!!) come here on the 20th-ish. I haven’t seen Christine in too many months so I’m pretty excited.

And that’s all the news I have for now! 🙂 Tomorrow I will fill you all in on how my scan went and might even explain how it works (it’s really interesting! I swear!)

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You’re gonna catch a cold from the ice inside your soul

When did people become so out of touch with reality? Honestly. When did people become immune to the suffering of other people, so entrenched in their own trivial problems that they have turned a blind eye to the rest of the world. In case you were wondering what I’m talking about, I read an article today about Melissa Ethridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels. For those of you not familiar with Ms. Ethridge, she is a singer. Her and her partner Tammy Lynn lived together for 9 years and had two children together. They are no longer together and they are going through the normal shenanigans that couples with kids go through when they divorce/split up. Except that Ms. Michaels is unsatisfied with the – wait for it – TWENTY-THREE-THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH that she is receiving in child support, because she has become accustomed to an extravagant life style and 23K a month just ain’t gonna cut it. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Many Americans live off that amount of money PER YEAR! And most of the worlds population probably won’t even see that kind of money in their entire LIVES. The greed and the attitudes of entitlement of some people absolutely makes me sick. The more people have, the more they think they deserve. It is sad and it is sick. I can’t tell you how many times a little old lady asked me about billing for the Ambulance because she didn’t know how she was going to pay for it. We have it fairly easy here in Canada. When I think of the health care system in the states (which I always have but do a lot more of now – because I have never been so grateful to be Canadian), I cringe. People die because they won’t go to the doctor’s office or hospital simply because they don’t have the money to pay for it. A cancer diagnosis in the states will saddle you and your family with a life time of debt. That, or you refuse treatment and you die. Ms. Michaels would not have to look far beyond her own window to see that MILLIONS of people get by every day with far less than she has. I have no words. If there is one trait that I cannot stand in people, it is selfishness and this is the ultimate display.

Rant over. I’m going to go enjoy my night.

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Take a look

http://www.feonafotography.typepad.com

All sorts of great pictures from Saturday morning 🙂

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The weekend

I wonder if the hospital makes phone calls on Easter monday. I’m still waiting to hear from Saint John Regional Hospital about my PET scan. With my luck, they’ll call me to go in for my scan on April 19th (the day after my surgery). I had a very enjoyable weekend, but part of my brain kept looking forward to Monday. I seem to be experiencing an increase of symptoms related to the masses in my abdomen. That and every little twinge or out-of-the-norm-bodily-something-something has me wondering how far this cancer is spreading while I wait around for a phone call. The logical part of my brain tells me not to be silly, cancer doesn’t spread that fast. The paranoid part of my brain keeps telling the logical part to shut up.

On a happier and less paranoid note, we had some lovely photos taken yesterday of the whole family. It was a great time. I posted three of the teaser photos last night on the blog.

Feona actually asked me to write a little something to go along with the photos that she was going to put on her blog. It took some time to figure out exactly what I wanted to say but in the end I came up with something that I hope she will like. It was definitely from the heart. I don’t think she has posted the blog yet but if you want to look at some really sweet pictures you can check out her blog at feonafotography.typepad.com

Hopefully I will have an important update regarding my PET scan sometime this week! I’m running out of things to write about 😉

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If pictures could talk

These beautiful pictures were taken by the equally beautiful and talented Feona. I figured that these pictures say more than I could ever write so for tonight, I will let these pictures speak for themselves. I’ll talk about the shoot and the weekend in my blog tomorrow.

Xox

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