Friday, 25 November 2011


I don't know if they help time pass quicker or slower, but no matter what when we encounter dates between events we tend to make a countdown.  Like: there's 29 days till Christmas, it's 21 days till my husband is home.

I think we need to number the days so we can see the time diminish.  I did it with chemo and radiation: one more treatment, 12 days more radiation so I'm over halfway there, a week till I see my surgeon.  Seeing the days pass brings the sense of achievement when there's nothing you can do about it.  You need to get through this time, you need to feel strong enough to do that.  You tag the days and say, "One step at a time."  And, as you see those steps wash away in the sea of time, you feel fulfilled, even if only slightly.   You are doing something.

This is an important step in dealing with cancer, if you ask me, as well as various uncontrollable circumstances.  One of the struggles is dealing with the betrayal you may feel with your body trying to kill you.  There's nothing you can personally do other than take a stand with your treatments, be involved with all those decisions, and do you research.  However, after the decisions are made and you're going through 6 chemotherapy treatments, or 25 radiation treatments, or those countless doctor's appointments, you are just standing there.  Sometimes you'll be there asking, now what?  So you start counting.  As you near that glorious day 0, you'll feel more empowered.  You can look back and say, "That was a lot, but I made it!" or "That wasn't that bad, and I can actually get through this."  Or something to those extents.  =)

Thursday, 24 November 2011

A request - David Haas "Cancer Support"

As I've stated before, if anyone has something they would like me to touch base on to contact me and I will fit it in somewhere as long as I agree with it.  I was approached by David Haas about just that.  I'll have some notes to follow his blerb:

"Cancer Support for All Stages

Many people concentrate on the physical changes the cancer diagnosis brings; however, strong emotional changes also accompany doctor diagnosis and treatment. Luckily, support can be found from local community support groups and online support. These avenues offer emotional support from start to finish and beyond. Why are these support options so important to recovery and survivors? Because they team people with others who understand the emotions that come hand in hand with all stages of cancer survival, and allow peers to share valuable insight and advice.

The American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute are two such entities that provide support through networking and online forums. These services expose you to a wider array of individuals that you may not have had through local venues alone. Members are encouraged to share their feelings and thoughts regarding every stage of recovery and even after successfully completing treatment. The benefits of networking and online support can help you by providing an outlet for your worries and successes. This is important to every aspect of cancer care as it allows you fight depression and anger by promoting expression of your own emotions. When you hold your emotions in, you can succumb to the feelings of losing control and nervous breakdown.

Finding others who are dealing with general concerns as you are or are fighting and recovering from the same type of cancer can enhance your support experience by opening you up to treatment options and ways to help others that you may not have realized were available. For example, survivors of mesothelioma could form in-person meetings, exchange numbers to check on each other and share new treatment options. There are no limits what this type of support could offer. By finding others who have walked the same path, you will find comfort and the tools to beat emotional turmoil.

There are times when you may think no one understands or takes your emotions serious. This causes you to feel alone and sad. With networking and online support, each person you correspond with has been there or is going through the same thing. Many people you meet can lend insight into how to cope with side effects of treatment, and reassure others that the fight is completely worth it. Become involved, not only to gain support but to enhance your experience by offering your support as well.

In Canada there are support groups out there as well.  If you need help finding one let me know and I'll see what I can find for you.  There is YACC, Young Adult Cancer Canada that helps people from 15-39 years old find that connection for all cancer types.  For Breast Cancer, there is Rethink Breast Cancer and BCANS (who hosts Pink Panthers Support Group in Halifax area).  The best thing we can do is spread the word about what support structures are out there, not just financial, because what a lot of us need is just to talk to someone that truly understands. =)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


I'm getting annoyed, as if that's anything new.  What's got me this time?  People asking "so is it over?" or "you must be anxious for all this to be over."  Well, the answer to both is, quite frankly, no.  Even after I have my new breasts, even after 5 years of no reoccurrences, I will always have cancer on my mind.  Do people realize what they are saying?

I was supposed to be a low risk for breast cancer.  No real family history, typically healthy, never smoked/did drugs, or any of that crap, but guess what.  Found a lump at 28, had it diagnosed at 29.  I'm 30 and I'm going to be lucky to get my reconstruction done before I turn 31.  Now if I make it to that point without anything going wrong, I will still be questioning every ache and pain.  Is that sudden pain in my arm just strain or is it cancer making its way to my bones.  Is that headache just a part of the headaches I've been subject to since the car accident or did the cancer come back and metastasize?  And until I get the surgery: is that twinge of pain just nerves or is the cancer in the other breast now?..  Will I need to start all over again?

So, yes, this chapter may soon be over, but the entire "cancer experience" is never ending.  It's not the chicken pox that once it's gone, it's gone.  It's a vicious mutation that is endangering my life and we have no way to tell if they did kill everything and anything that may have left the lymphnodes that were active before chemo.  Part of why they don't know what stage I was.  Maybe stage 3, maybe stage 4.  They can't say.  I'll only know if a scan one day lights up with cancer.

It's a bleak thought but I'd rather be here wondering than not here at all.

Now, on a lighter note:

Monday, 21 November 2011

Centennial Post

Yup, this is officially post #100.  I'd like to thank everyone that has been reading, and Nadia Hohn for giving me the idea of blogging, to start with.  Hopefully soon we'll have post #500 pop up! =D

Party it up ppl!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Just saying...

Dedicated to all those that are just pissing me off today.  I killed cancer, don't mess with me -_-

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Back, how I hate thee

Adventures with my back since the car accident I was involved in have taken a new route.  I was sent to see a doctor to get injections in my back to help with the pain...  I think they forgot they were supposed to decrease the pain because all I've experienced since they did the injections has been more excruciating pain than before.  I'm severely limited in movement and capabilities since I got them.  And, what would once help, is not anymore.  I don't know what's going on, but cringing in pain all day is not a fashion statement I'd like to continue.  One of my aunts saw me get up out of a chair to go after my son and she said how I seemed to have more difficulty getting out of a chair than she does.  So I look like I'm closer to 65 years old when I get up, not like a 30 year old... great self-image booster there, I tell ya.

If it's not one issue, it's another, for sure :S

Not happy right now, I says!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Quote for November II

“Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. Love still stands when all else has fallen.” - Unknown

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Important: the "i" or the "ant"

Perhaps it is because of my last post that I have returned to this train of thought, or perhaps it is a constant in many a person's life, but either way I have.  I am constantly wondering lately (as I remember doing before in high school), who the hell would notice if I left for a day?  A week? A month?  A year?..  Forever?

Yes, everyone gets caught up in their own lives.  We've all changed and added responsibilities.  But who really pays true attention to your existence?  Many of us keep tabs of each other on Facebook, through texting, and such.  This helps bridge the gaps between friends that have been kept apart from each other due to circumstance, but we're becoming dependent on it instead of actually connecting with our friends that live close by.

The question in a nutshell is: who am I important to?  To whom am I the "i" in important and to whom am I just an "ant"?

To many I have become simply the "Bringer of the Son".  I get scolded, berated, and yelled at for not "letting" people have more frequent visits from my son.  Phrases are tossed around like, "We never get to see him," "We haven't seen him in sooooo long," "Why can't you think of us and bring him by, he's getting so big so quick."  Well guess what...  You have a vehicle, you have our address, you have our phone number.  You miss my son so bad, visit yourself.  If you don't see him enough for your liking, it's not my husband's or my fault.  But to them that is all I am.  The only reason they may notice my absence would be due to my son not showing up at their house.  To them, my husband and I are the "ant".  My son is the "i".

If I wasn't here anymore, if something happened and we moved away quickly without being able to contact anyone.  Who would notice?  And more importantly: who would care?

Thursday, 10 November 2011

I miss myself

Once upon a time, in a land no-so-far-away, a land called "Nova Scotia", there was a young girl that thought the best was yet to come.  She thought her friends could never be separated by distance, they would remain as close as ever.  She thought that cancer was something to worry about after 50 years old.  She thought when someone told you they love you, it was for real.  Then, one day, her bubbles began to burst.

We all go through it at one point or another.  The ideologies that we had growing up hit a hard wall of reality and parts of our soul came to a crashing stop.  Our innocence was beaten...  Well, I think it was more mutilated and scarred for life, not only beaten, but I digress...

Being away at Conference, I realized something after the first night of it: I lost more than I had come to realize.  Over the entire length of the Conference, I would experience times that I had once been able to enjoy/express freely, constantly, almost.  People ask me to tell them about it.  The first thing I want to say and don't is that I had a fleeting moment of what I once had, and now I need to come to grips with the fact that it's gone from my everyday life.  What is it?  That part of me that could freely enjoy herself with friends.

Now before anyone starts trying to call the "well you're a mother and/or wife now" card - stop right there!  I have not lost anything of myself with adding those two parts to my life.  I have, in fact, gained so much.  I have my son and husband that are very loving and treat me wonderfully.  But the realization is that I don't see my friends anymore.  It's a part of the drift that happened after school.  You go to separate schools, sometimes in different cities, provinces, countries.  You get married, they don't.  You have kids, they don't.  You get cancer, they (thankfully) don't.  These things are not necessarily bad, but they are another hit from the hammer driving the wedge between you and your friends.

My favorite night of Conference?  Was it Karaoke?  For once, no lol.  The dance?  I loved it, but it wasn't my favorite.  My favorite night was when several of us got some drinks and played pool together, followed by a dip in to get some pizza and wings.  Why would this mean so much more to me?  Because that was what we would do.  We would enjoy each others company, we would do something simple and it would be the most glorious night.  I had three hours of sleep that night, and it was better than all the other nights' sleep combined.

I'm grateful for getting to experience it one more time.  I'm saddened to realize what is gone.  I miss the me that had those relationships.  I miss the opportunity to feel that whole again.  My isolation started before cancer, but got drastically worse after.  My hope is because of the cancer, I might get through it one day.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Quote for November

Only in your moments of pure vulnerability does your heart make the strongest connections. - Julie Michaud

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

You're not just a statistic

One of the more powerful messages that was sent to us at Conference is as simple as this: 1% is not 0%.  A doctor can tell you whatever percentages exist in his notes on your circumstances but you were not part of that study.  The numbers that made up the percentages that doctors, nurses, and other professionals use are part of the past.  Those that were in the study were not you.  You can be part of that 1%, not the 99% just as easy as anyone else.

The reality is we get too caught up in the numbers.  Yes, these stats give us greater understanding of what we're up against, but the human soul is a tough ole bird that wants to soar as long as she can.  I firmly believe "if there's a will, there's a way".  Many a time you will hear of how positivity can bring change.  It can bring hope and miracles to light.

We are the masters of our own destiny.  We may be dealt a troublesome hand in life, but it's your choice how to play it, or to fold.  As much as I feel it is a doctor's responsibility to tell us the bad news and recommend treatment, it is up to us, as patients, to research what we think is best for us.  Get a second opinion, talk to someone that has had the treatments or procedures before.  Be informed, then make your choice.  Be educated.

You are not alone.  You are not a statistic.  You can be your own miracle.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

I haven't run away

Hullo all.  Just a quick blog to let you know that I will be posting about my adventure to YACC's Survivor Conference in Ottawa after the event.

I haven't disappeared, just been rather busy! :)  Hope everyone in cyberspace is doing well!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

YACC is coming to Hali!!

I'm pleased to announce that YACC has named Shali Manuel as Eastern Program Coordinator!  This means - yes!! - YACC is coming to Halifax, NS!

I hope that everyone that can help make YACC even greater than it already is and keep it's mission steady and true! "To build a community of young adults diagnosed with cancer that provides information, support, skills, and opportunity."

Soon there'll be talk of the Shave for the Brave and hopefully other forms of fundraisers that everyone can get involved in.  But you don't need to spend money to help out, either.  Spread the word!  Make sure everyone knows about Young Adult Cancer Canada.  Help us erase isolation from the thoughts of young adults facing cancer.

Keep up the great work guys!!!