Friday 13 December 2019

Gift Cards That Can Assist

People are asking often how they can help. We've had lots of help with presents for the kids, Mike and I have resolved to just do stockings this year. But if you'd like to send something useful I'll make a list of gift cards that we would use. 

Giant Tiger 


Bon Appetit (card for Harvey's, Swiss Chalet, Montana's)
Jungle Jim's 
Dairy Queen
Burger King 

If you'd like to send something please contact us, preferably Mike as I'm very antisocial currently. If you need a contact, please look up any of my social media but honestly, if you're reading this you can likely contact us already. 

Friday 22 November 2019

Wish List: Vacations

Next edition to the "wish list" or "impossible dreams" I have in my head. This one will cover two biggin's!

As I finally did start to come forward about, the trip that our family took last January was very far from "worry free" for Mike and I. The kids did have a great time, of course, but I'm not getting back into this tangent... On to the wishes:

Big Honeymoon Take II
Mike and I have a dream vacation in the back of our heads for a long, long time... I think about 10 years to be honest. It would be to fly Westjet first class down to Jamaica, stay for 2 weeks in a butler suite at Sandals, doesn't need to be the top of the line, just one with a nice whirlpool tub and fully stocked bar lol. We love Montego Bay, it was our location for our honeymoon, but part of us wants to go to Negril and stay on the lovely, long beaches. I think if we could go to either, we'd be ecstatic but neither is obtainable currently or ever in the near future. And there would be an excursion we would have to do, we'd need to visit Appleton Estates. We tried to before and it stormed so we could not have the tour, very disappointing. At least we got to sample all the liquor and it was the only disappointment that trip. Ultimate vacation would also include us getting to have a trip to the spa, have massages and more pampering, whatever was available!

Real Worry Free Family Vaykay
Maybe this would be me just asking for more trouble but I really wish I could have the worry free trip that we tried to have last winter. Fly to a Beaches location with Westjet, maybe I should have just stuck with Jamaica for a location, maybe then it wouldn't have been a horrible like at Turks and Caicos. Details for this one if it was ultimate family vaykay would be things like, again, a butler suite. Two weeks would be amazing, in a room that had a separate room for the kids so we could have some privacy. We'd have a nanny for a night or two so that we could go out for a couple night once or twice, and relax as much as possible. I just don't want to end up in tears multiple times like I did last time.

These are all very expensive, not even slightly financially possible dream vacations. But like I said, these are my impossible dreams

Thursday 21 November 2019

Wish List

I've been up and down all week, emotionally, so I'm thinking as a distraction, I'm going to start posting a few extravagant, basically unobtainable wishes that I would love to have but will never be able to do/receive. Maybe post a couple dreams every day or so.

Renovate the kitchen. We have the backsplash to put up but that's it. Doesn't need new appliances, just new cupboards, countertop, maybe a spacial redesign, but we'll never afford it any time soon and I'll likely never see it.

Have a chairlift installed so I can go downstairs easier. I might have to make this happen no matter what... Which leads to the last one that I'm going to post today. I'll dream more tomorrow, but lastly:

Pay off our credit cards. Every time we start to get on track emergencies happen and cancer happens, leaving us with more and more piling up. I just don't want to leave so much debt because of me....


Wednesday 13 November 2019

The World to Date: A Rant

A lot has been happening over the last few months. The chemo over the summer did not work. We discovered that I had tumours in my brain. I had radiation, another chemo, the pneumonia twice in a row. I keep hoping to go back on chemotherapy and start shrinking the tumours in my lungs, liver, bones, and the mass on my chest wall. However, I keep getting delayed, and I have been delayed, again. My oncologist is nervous of a tremor I have in arm and is going to have my head scanned to see if there is another tumour in my brain. If there's one tumour, it may possibly be treatable, if there's no tumours, great, if there's mulitple tumours, it's likely not treatable and all chemotherapy will be stopped. Treatment will have come to an end. I need to wait on a scan to know if I have the chance to continue treatment or if this is it.

Because it has come to this I have decided to make a huge fucking rant post. My sister said to me last weekend she rarely hears me complain, well, I'm about to.

I'm frustrated that Mike and I always seem to get the shaft and have to work triple hard just to get what others are given. Things like the wish vacation that we were sent on last January. Many were so happy for us and we were so excited. The entire week was stressful and upsetting for Mike and I. Yes, we can easily say that the kids had a blast, they did not have to deal with all the upsets that we had to constantly argue about, the problems that kept arising over and over again. The most relaxing time of the entire vacation for Mike and I was the flight from Turks and Caicos to Montreal.  Everything else was a aggravated, disappointing mess. I was in tears there more than once. Not a worry free vacation at all.

And it's not just that. Constantly we go away and we end up with the hotel room that is falling apart. Our plans are destroyed and given no compensation or remorse from the parties involved. Oh, sometimes Mike and I can complain to the point of a slight rectification, but only if we're willing to fight, and it's always a fight.

I might be finding out tomorrow that I'm at the end of the line. I might not get to ever try to go on a real worry free vacation with my family now. I might be preparing for the "lasts": the last Christmas, the last birthday, the last summer vacation, if I haven't already passed that line. And I'm angry. I don't want it to be the end of the line. I don't want this to be all that is available, but it seems to be the way our lives go. Yes, I probably sound like I'm whining, but right now I don't fucking care.

I know, too, that I have had small fortunes sent my way. I have several friendships that have developed due to cancer that I would not give up for the world. Whether we speak only on Facebook or in person, I cherish these friends, dearly.

Honestly, I want to type more. I'll have to do a continuation. I'm too sore and the painkillers are not kicking in all the way yet. But for now you have my bitching notes. And I'm going to remind people that I don't want to respond to 500 "any news" messages, tomorrow. I post stuff when I'm ready

Friday 27 September 2019

Break Down of Stage 4 Breast Cancer a la Julie

A movement is starting to trend for metastatic breast cancer. Many of us are beyond frustrated with misinformation and ignorance of metastatic breast cancer, and breast cancer in general. Facts are now being spread to help people realize that any early stage breast cancer can develop into stage 4, even stage 1, we just don't understand why or how. This has been "triggering" some, apparently. I'd try to empathize but this is reality, you don't get to keep your head in the sand. No one wants an early stage breast cancer survivor to find out they're now metastatic, but the truth is 20-30% of them will. And that doesn't even include those that are diagnosed stage 4 denovo (from the start).

Being stage 4 has not just flipped my world, it's made a lot of it crash and burn. I've lost my hair 3 times now as stage 4. Last night I went to wash my hair and it came out in clumps from the radiation treatments for the tumours in my brain. I looked like some massacred doll when a 3 year old found a pair of scissors. Yes, it's "just hair" but having hair makes you feel a little normal for that split second that you see your reflection. Now I've got a shaved head so I don't look like a living Halloween decoration.

I've gained 50 lbs because of treatments this year. 50 fucking pounds. I've never weighed this much, even pregnant. I'm fat and I hate it for more than one reason. Don't say it's just weight, don't worry about it. Being fat makes more complications in my life. For one, clothes. Nothing fucking fits and I'm not about to walk around in muumuus. Another thing is it makes my back and shoulder pain worse from the non cancer shit I get to deal with, so that's more fun. It puts more pressure on my lungs, you know the ones filled with tumours and now with pneumonia because my body hates me that much. And I already have tumours in my liver, I don't need it to start getting fat. Not to mention just body image in general. I even gave up on having breasts because I found out the cancer was growing around and under my implants. It was just better to take them out for easier monitoring the cancer, plus it was causing pain with the pressure that would happen from compressing the tumours.

Lungs, yeah. I miss breathing. Coughing constantly because of the tumours and now I have pneumonia for the third time this year. I can barely do anything without becoming breathless and sounding like a 10 pack a day smoker.

Independence. I used to be so independent. I could do whatever I needed, myself. Then the car accident. Then cancer. I can't drive now because of the risk of seizure until I get a clear MRI of my brain. I can barely walk because of the extra weight killing my back and my lung refusing to process oxygen. So I get to ask for help with.. everything. I can't even cook well right now because of the energy and effort. I'm so tired of needing to ask for help. I hate it. I hate it so much. I really don't think people understand how much it kills my soul having to ask for help. A lot of it, I know, is rooted in the fact that I never want to be like my mother, but that's another rant for another time.

I'm constantly on the edge, wondering if the treatments will work. The list of options is getting shorter. I constantly get to try to figure out if I should try to live life and push treatments or take treatments and miss out on events. I get to be the one stressing over am I asking too much? Will pushing a chemo make me progress to the point that I cannot recover? Will I regret not being able to be a part of something that I could try to attend but only if I push treatment? Constant fear of fucking up is a part of my life. And making the wrong decision could make that life a lot shorter.

Having cancer has eaten away at more than just my body, it's taken away a lot of our finances. Yes, even though we are in Canada and a lot of my treatments in the hospital are covered, there's still a lot that costs us and takes away from everyday finances. There's prescriptions for one, constantly getting drugs to help with the treatment. From pain killers, antinauseates, steroids, constipation, diarrhea, and so much more. Then gas, parking, trying to keep up with daycare, food because you just cannot cook for various reasons, hospitalization messes up the finance plan, and so much more. People ask how they can help and it's hard because, really, you need financial stability and no matter how many things you try to cut or save on, something always depletes all your money. Our savings died long, long ago.

So this is life now. I put this out there to let people have the opportunity to understand. I hope that it helps.

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Starting Radiation

I'm about to start my radiation treatment for the "multiple tumours" in my head. I use quotes there because I have not had the courage to ask for specific numbers. All my medical professionals keep using those two words and add in that "they're in all parts of your brain". I apparently shocked the radiation oncologist with how few symptoms I have and the fact that I was able to pass all the reaction tests they preformed. That makes me more nervous than I'd like to admit.

Good news is that I'm pretty much being fast tracked here, and it's aggressive treatment for aggressive cancer. The radiation oncologist is hopeful of a complete response. (Translation: kill all cancer cells in brain by end of treatment).  I did forget to ask when we'll next be scanning to see how things are in my head, I'll ask next time I see someone.

My medical oncologist is going to be starting up chemo two weeks after I end radiation so that the rest of my body doesn't go all cancery on me. I just hope my lungs don't go on strike, they're rather pissy these days. I sound like a worn out smoker, hacking and coughing on the fly. Anywho... back to keeping my spawn from killing one another. Wish me luck!

No photo description available.

Saturday 31 August 2019

Treatment update August 2019 - Mealtrain

Hey interwebs

I ended up at emergency because my oncology nurse was nervous of my breathing and increased cough. As far as they can tell after six hours of testing and saline solution, I'm physically and mentally exhausted.

I'm not overly surprised. FEC is an aggressive chemo treatment. It's used with a lot of early stage breast cancer because it is aggressive, and now that I'm late stage, my body is already weakened. I was getting spoiled with treatments that gave me a higher quality of life so I did not rest enough, I guess. And, well, I'm having a lot of noncancer related issues that are taking their toll on my mind and body.

One funny thing that happened was just before I was instructed to go to the hospital by my nurse, I had decided to ask for help in creating a new mealtrain account for our family. Mealtrain is great because people near and far can help. It is free but you can apparently pay for more options and fundraise on it as well. I've just opted for the free version that helps with one meal on days that you need it. That's the great thing, you just open the days you can really use the help. Friends can either deliver food, order food for you to pick up or have delivered, or send gift cards to cover the meal. It's one less thing for me to have on my mind and lets me sleep more. As added security/privacy, you cannot just look up the mealtrain for someone, you need to be invited. I like that, you're not going to get strangers messing with the account and you can make sure that only those that want to sign up do. I'm fortunate that I've had friends local and away signing up to help.

I'm hoping my energy boosts up and I can maybe remove a few of the days I have selected, but for now I'm grateful that in a time of need, I have people helping me. Thank you!

If you are someone that would like to be added to the mealtrain for my family, please contact me. I'm not placing the link on here