The Unexpected Journey

When they said, "Hey conversations about cancer don't make me squirm", she said "Hold my beer."

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Sleep was intermittent and the morning was not starting well, with the shower broke, every room a disaster and my grumpiness and pains continuing. Of course, every room was NOT a disaster, the living room and our bedroom were calm. The shower turned out to be well and truly toast, requiring a sawz-all to cut the faucet off to get at the rig, but….showers were available by 10am! Thank goodness. Truly. T finished putting the bedroom together and it is wonderful. A working office and a...
On Day 35, I started a post on timeline; from discovery to diagnosis to staging and planning. I never got it done. I never got it done, coz I should have written a post like the one that follows. Today, I am grumpy. Today, I am sick of not being able to do things. Today, I don’t want to watch T paint. I want to do it. I want to paint and help. Today, I am not fun to be around. Today, I am sick of my butt hurting. I can’t figure out if I should be taking immodium or dulcalex or just...
Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid that prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. Prescription: Take 8mg twice before chemotherapy treatment, then 4mg twice daily for 3 days. The pills goals are to help with anti-nausea, stimulate appetite and reduce inflammation of kidneys, bowels, skin. This is all good stuff. It also increases your appetite. Yes, looking ravenously at a piece of dry white toast can occur. Seriously. I have not lost much weight...
Woot. A good breakfast, doing some activity, and Dulcolax finally kicked in. Thank goodness. Feel a 100% improved. Of course, steroids don’t hurt either. Today continued to be good, with a delightful catchup with SO, lots of laughs, serious conversations and time on the way to Juravinski. Friday is an easy day with radiation oncologist check-in, and external radiation. Vignette: Arrive to oncologist appointment with symptom chart printed. –Admins are waiting. ADMIN1: “Look how...
On Wed, I caught up from my day of sleeping on Tuesday, and today, I fell asleep on the couch watching a movie. Seems to be a pattern. Oops. Time to catch up on yesterday’s big day Wednesday was my last day of chemo. It was good to be through the first of my lasts. It didn’t begin well, as an IV start was not to be had. This time, the nurse tried a number of pokes and fishing around to get the vein. I guess I have deep veins that like to slip away and are “tough”. Surprising, it...
Like my first chemo day, the first brachytherapy had me restless and anxious. I had prepped by understanding the concept, handling equipment, meeting staff, seeing rooms. Still, these session were the first ones that were making me squeamish. In retrospect, when I review my day 20: Bring on the A-team, I see that overall I had the technology right with a few minor adjustments. I’ll give you the first person account of it now from the best of my reflection. So here goes. Warning...
** After brachytherapy I must tell K about brachy on the way home, but, I think I will just close my eyes..snore, snore. woke up in the driveway. Walk into house. I should get online and tell T that I am fine, but, first, I will just close my eye for a minute. (3hrs later) I should respond to this text from 4 hours ago, but, first, I will just go to the washroom, and sit on the couch. Yawn, yawn. zzzzz (2hrs later) I should eat, then I will blog. Ate a perfect brat meal from Gwyn. Sat...
As is the pattern, Monday is always the down day, the trough day. It is when there are no steroids left. Today is no different. Body symptoms continue to progress due to radiation. Gyn-oncologist is pleased that all symptoms from chemo are minimal. In fact, my blood actually recovered this week, with all counts rising or staying the same. This news is wonderful. Fatigue is now a companion with naps more of a necessity, but, still not bad. An hour nap can do wonders. I sat in a pew...
Okay, that sounds hokey, right? It’s a blessing, it’s so amazing: what drugs are you on, Jayne, to give thanks and see blessings during this time. I know there will be some who think that I am saying the cancer is a blessing when they hear that statement. Let me be clear: the cancer is NOT the blessing. The cancer is “s**t happens”. The cancer is chaos in life, a series of unfortunate events. God did not give me cancer. I am not going to pray this cancer away. I do not feel anyone...
Setting the stage: I am a lead in a technical area that started in 2011, new technologies (CyberArk), standards, major process changes for protection against privileged access attack vectors with scope for all servers, databases, networks and applications globally. Target technologies implemented early were in steady state, others still in the future. Due to outsourcing, new requirements had also resulted in an expansion of modules and methodologies for access to those systems. Any new...
4th week of treatment is now complete: 19/25 radiation, 4/5 chemo and 0/4 brachytherapy. Looking forward to ringing that chemo bell next week! By week 4, the impact of the radiation is starting to be felt in a few areas. GI is getting ugly. Remember how the transition day was Monday from the constipating effect of chemo to the radiation effect of diarrhea. Each week it has moved back a day as the radiation effect compounds. This week, I went to bed wondering if I should take...
Step 1 of the Brachytherapy treatments, after the education session, is the initial MRI. That happened this afternoon. I was curious about the usage of the MRI as it is recently included in the Juravinski treatment plan, and is not used in the same way in other locations. Here is a quote from a technical document that I found when researching the meds given. “The MRI is the best imaging modality for tumour visualization and assessment of tumour size which is an important prognostic...
I cried today. Not sobs of sadness….but that choking up of gratitude for the waves of kindness and simple generosity that surround me. This morning started early with looking forward to seeing my amazing friend CP. A friendship built through volunteering with United Church of Canada, youth ministry, family camp, women's ministry, spiritual practices, and our home base Five Oaks. A comrade who arrives with hugs, laughter and meaningful conversation that darts, dashes and flows like a...
As part of my treatment plan, I have Complete Blood Count (CBC) done twice a week. One is done on Monday for review by the gyn-oncologist for the go-ahead for Wednesday’s chemo. The other is done post-chemo for the review by radiologist oncologist. The lab runs like a deli meat counter. Arrive, get your number, sit, number is called, get served. The technicians are great. In & out in a matter of minutes, hardly feel a thing. Great attitude, friendly conversation. The frequency of the...
I was having a manicure/pedicure this summer, treating myself during the planning phase. A very thin woman in her 60’s, requested a specific person to do her nail repair. She was willing to wait. The manager brought a cheap desk chair to the entrance. She sat, and then proceeded to catch our attention. Why? She was falling asleep. Hard & fast asleep, sitting in that crappy desk chair, in the entrance at the mall. She would startle, her eyes open, then sound asleep she would be again...
Today, I give thanks for generous spirits. Margaret & Charles Juravinski who with luck and business acumen went from poverty to wealth, selling Flamboro Downs for $75million. They gave $43 million for the creation of the cancer centre, and upon advice, made the donation public hoping others would be encouraged to give and in so doing, created a place where I can be well. Generosity witnessed in the centre, each and every day: Volunteer drivers who sit all day, awaiting their travellers to...
The 25 external radiation and 5 chemotherapy treatments are all getting the cancer ready for the knockout blow by the 4 high-dose rate brachytherapy treatments. Last week, I had my education session with this team. CW, who is also a nurse, was accompanying me which was awesome. This training session is new and under evaluation. To be fair, once you start to hear about brachytherapy it is a pretty squirmy idea. Being able to place yourself inside the room, having handled the equipment...
Well, week 3 is done! 15/25 external radiations, 3/5 chemos, 0/4 brachytherapy’s. I am sooo looking forward to a long weekend with a break on Monday. As shared earlier, radiation has a cumulative effect. So, impact to things like the bowels, bladder, hips, fatigue are slowly creeping up. Whereas I walked up two flights the first week, today I knew to take the elevator. The original “flip” date from the impact of chemo to the impact of radiation was Monday, then, it was Sunday. This...
Humour me on the following questions: Do you know what chicken pox is? Do you know there is a vaccine? If you have a child, did they get the vaccine? Do you know what shingles is? If you are over 50, do you know there is a vaccine available for you? Do you know what a PSA test is? Do you know what HPV is? Do you know there is a vaccine for it available to men & women, up to age 45? Do you know there is a test for high-risk HPV available for women? I’m going to guess that most people...
Wow, can you believe it. It is the midpoint of the daily treatments. 3/5 chemo’s and then 13/25 radiations, and soon will be starting the 4 brachytherapy treatments I posted The Divine Miss M’s “Friends” video today in thanks and celebration of those who have helped me through to here. The friends like J who helped me process through the days when I didn’t know what was ahead. Balancing me. Listening to my vents. Checking in. Folks like MB, who helped me process work items, dumping my...
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