Monday, 27 October 2014

The Best Medicine Is...

Not too much has been going on with me healthwise that I know of anyways. I do get the aches and pains, on and off, which then makes my mind wander to the craptaculous cancer progressing. My sternum will hurt, then when I rotate I get pain in my hip, recently I've had some pain to my ribs, and then my memory, ok what memory? Then I tell myself to snap out of it!! Yes, I talk to myself, not out loud but I have to remind myself that aimlessly worrying won't change what is, and won't eliminate what will be. Therefore, this post is not about the things that slowly erode my sanity, but rather the things that nourish it. What could this be you wonder, well let me tell you!

Happiness and laughter. Yes, this sounds so simple but when I'm around the people I love, and we laugh, and I mean laugh wholeheartedly I forget about everything. I mean specifically this crappy cancer, and I get to really enjoy the moment. This is the laughter where you become fearful of peeing yourself!!

This past week was filled with much of that. I volunteered at my nieces zoo school, and got to enjoy myself with a handful of grade 5ers. They were all sweet and well behaved. The conversation I had with one of the kids was priceless as I didn't know how to respond to her question. As we were looking at the big horn sheep we noticed the male going up to the females and sniffing the females, and the females running away quickly. When one of the kids asked one of the zookeepers what they were doing the zookeeper responded that it was "mating season." Here was my conversation with the little girl:

Girl: "what are they doing?"
Me: "umm..."
Girl: "why are the girls running away from the boy?"
Me: "hmmm... I think the girls have a headache"
Girl: "oh"

At this point I could see her really thinking so I simply told her let's check out the other animals, preferably ones not trying to mate!! Goodness gracious, I was not going to teach human sexuality animal version to a bunch of 10yr olds, so I was happy to move on.

This week was also my Herceptin infusion so I took my partner in crime (quite literally, "partner in CRIME"). The infusion was our usual ice cream treat, chit chatting time. Then it was my besties time to explore at the cancer center. We get very into doing some random, slightly questionable, possibly a smidge bit criminal"ish" activity. We seem to be escalating in our childish bets, however I laugh uncontrollably. From laying on a random stretcher, to sitting on a bench with stuffies, to milking a cow statue, to sitting on a cow statue, and then jumping off the cow to sprint like an Olympian so that the security guard wouldn't catch us. I laughed all the way to our car, and then some as we drove home.

Although I was at the cancer center receiving treatment, I never once thought about cancer. I simply didn't care. I felt good. I was with my bestie, and I had a blast. I'm tired of all the seriousness of this disease, of thinking it's going to kill me, of wondering if the cancer is progressing. All that is exhausting. This week I'm exhausted from volunteering at zoo school, and from hanging with some amazing friends that make me laugh uncontrollably. I'm tired from having an amazing week, where I managed to have glimpses of a life without cancer. Laughter really is the best medicine. I think it may be my favourite therapy yet, and I could definitely take an indefinite number of rounds of this type of treatment!!

Obviously Lex wrote on the board, she's involoved with everything!! I've never even seen this board before, but you bet that Lexer found it!!!!!
Herceptin #13, I can't believe it was #13 already!!!

Lex had to write on a leaf!

Me and Lexer driving (possibly distracted driving?) I swear I only momentarily looked at the camera, no accident involoved:) I don't recommend this as usually I am fully focused on driving, hands on 10 and 2:)

Zoo school with my favourite little lady:) She even got to feed a camel!!

Zoo school with my princess noodle. Words can't describe how much I love her

Monday, 13 October 2014

Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day & Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving, however did you know that it's also Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day?? I'm guessing most people don't, unless they have metastatic breast cancer or know someone who does. I mean people might think I'm a debbie downer, but metastatic breast cancer is MY reality. There's no days off. I wonder what the average person is thankful for? People get so caught up with all the crap in life that so many forget what makes up the best part of our lives. It's the people who have our back through everything, and our ability to do the simple things in life that allow us to exist with purpose. I'm talking about the real simple things; walking, talking, eating, loving.

How many people say that they are thankful for their health? It's one of those things a person wouldn't understand unless they have had their own health compromised. One of those things where when your health comes back you tell yourself you will never take it for granted. I want people to get it before they have major health problems to deal with. I want people to simply be kind to each other, enjoy the energy you have because it may not last. I know how quickly things can change. What's in the past is gone, we can't go back, but we can change our futures.

Today, I am thankful to be able to breathe without struggle. I am thankful for my appetite to be able to enjoy a good meal without nausea or vomiting. I am thankful to have manageable pain, and to be able to walk and run. I am thankful to have my mind, free of seizures and debilitating headaches. Yes, I have cancer, but I also have so much more. Something I am completely aware of is that things can change in an instant, so today I have an immense amount of gratitude for my life. To top it all off, I have the most amazing people in my life who are like the icing on the cake. My amazing husband, my mom, my brother, sis-in-law, nieces, extended family, my bestie, and my amazing friends who are more like family. Yes, I still have cancer, that's no surprise, but I am thankful for what I have right now. Most people don't have this much love surrounding them, and I couldn't imagine how they could handle serious illness. There's no way I would have this much joy in my life if it wasn't for "my people." Thank you to everyone who makes me a better person and for everyone who has touched my life with so much kindness and love. Am I thankful for cancer, nope I sure am not, but I am thankful for the different perspecive on life it has given me.

                                 These are simply some pics of the most important people in my life.

me and my wonderful hubby

Me and my Bestie!! I think I have advertised this lovely lady plenty. However, she deserves it because Lex never thinks of herself. She is the most genuine, loving, and caring young woman I have ever met

Me and my lovely Sophia (can't forget about our dog, Max, in the corner)
Me and my beautiful mom who has the biggest heart. Love her. Couldn't ask for a better mom!

Me and hubby again (I've realized while doing this that the majority of our pics are selfies). We need to start asking people to take pics that don't only show our heads!!

My sweet Sophia. This little lady is growing up so quickly and she has the most beautiful little soul!!!
My amazing hubby for keeping me so grounded. Ok, this pic doesn't show that, however this was pure happiness with no alcohol or leafy green herbs on board;) This is what our non-selfies turn out as.

Me and my love bug. She loves you wholeheartedly, and is VERY outspoken.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Can We Choose To Focus On Living

I have been reading a lot lately, and more specifically some perspectives pertaining to women with metastatic breast cancer. I know the month of October really annoys and angers many stage IVers. I would be lying if I said a lot about this month didn't bother me, it does! However, I can also relate to people who aren't in this stage IV category.

I wish that women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer remain with no evidence of disease for the long haul, so that these women can continue to live. The stats are a different story all together. 1/3 will develop distant metastasis, however when and who will be affected is unknown. 2/3 will survive and continue to live their lives.

This month I just don't like the bitterness. Some things that I read I feel as though women want others to fall into the stage IV category so they "get it." Let me tell you, before I was a stage IVer and considered "curable" I completely understood what it would mean to have stage IV metastatic breast cancer. I finished all my treatments and was scared out of my mind. My friend joined the ranks of stage IV before me, and I watched her deteriorate and leave behind her husband and two beautiful children. I GOT it before I had stage IV.

I want people with early stage cancer to have a good life, I want them to relish finishing their treatments, and I want them to LIVE as if cancer was a past tense, god forbid it comes back. Don't waste your time thinking of the "what ifs." It will consume you, and if it does come back you would have wasted your time worrying. If anything, become a better you. Realize the fragility in life while recognizing your own strength that you never knew you had.

It sounds so cheesy, but can't we all just understand each other? Why cant we get along? Absolutely, stage IV needs more, a whole heck of a lot more! I understand the mortality rate, however I'm not going to sit around and say I'm dying. I'm not. I'm very much living, and choose to believe that new advancements will come about that continue to keep me alive. If all we think about is dying, then we aren't really living at all. I will never give cancer the power, therefore, today, I won't acknowledge what it's capable of. Obviously, cancer doesn't recognize what this chick is capable of either! We would be doing a complete disservice to those who lost their battle, or those too ill to actually enjoy their lives if we only focus on deterioration and death. Bitterness will slowly consume and eat away at you, just the same way cancer does. I've given this disease enough of my attention, and I choose to be happy and understanding to everyone. Do I have days where I'm sad, mad, confused, angry, and overwhelmed? Damn right I do, but I try to limit those days and moments because they don't help ME. ALL types of cancer suck. I hate it. That's a fact. I've established that more needs to be done in regards to stage IV, however I will offer my support to EVERYONE. I choose to LIVE, LAUGH, and LOVE. This isn't an exclusive club, and I am not about to become a hater. I dare you to LIVE with a focus on life, will you accept?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

My Thoughts On Breast Cancer Awareness

So October is breast cancer awareness month. I know for those of us living with mets this month may be a bit of an overkill with the pink. Personally, and I speak for MYSELF, pink is simply a colour. I always liked the colour pink, but I will explain what bothers ME.

When I see all the products that say they will donate a portion to support "breast cancer awareness" I have come to realize that many of these companies don't give two shits about breast cancer. They care about their own personal profit. It's more of an insult when it states that they give five cents from the cost of a $20 pink scarf goes towards breast cancer awareness. Really?? Wow. Secondly, I'm getting sick of this umbrella term "awareness." What the heck does that mean?? I feel people are aware; get your mammograms, check your boobies, etc... People with stage IV breast cancer need a CURE.

If you want to talk about real awareness did you know that:

-67 Canadians are diagnosed with breast cancer everyday (Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation)
-5000 the number of Canadians who die of breast cancer annually (Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation)
-1/3 people who have early stage breast cancer who go on to develop distant metastases (Metastatic Breast Cancer Network)

Those are some important facts that people should be AWARE of, so now let's donate to causes that help those of us living with stage IV continue to live.

Don't get me wrong I think we have all purchased these products with the best intentions, I know I have in the past too! All I want is for people to be more aware and really question how much, and where the money goes.

I don't need a pink scarf, pink gloves, or pink whatever for me to be aware. All I need to do is look in the mirror, and I have plenty of scars that remind me that aren't nearly as pretty as a pink scarf. That's because breast cancer isn't pretty. It never has been, nor will it ever be.

Sadly, I think people are aware about early detection, blah, blah, blah. However, did you know there has been no significant improvements with survival rates once the cancer becomes metastatic?

Pink is a colour that I still like, despite all the negative connotations associated with it and breast cancer awareness. I'll still wear pink, but I will not support purchases that don't donate to a cause that will benefit those of us who have fallen into the stage IVs. Next time you buy please please think before you pink because the only person who may be benefiting are the large corporations who make a profit from these products. I will continue to rock my pink, but NOT the kind with a pink ribbon that says: "a portion of the proceeds go to raise awareness."

                                                   "Awareness" according to social media
                                                  Awareness according to my reality.