Sunday, 30 November 2014

It's That Time Of Year Again!!!

 Nope I'm not talking about Christmas, although I would much rather be talking about that! I'm talking about scans!! Although at times I feel I can relate to a Christmas tree, especially when I light up like one! The only thing different is the feelings we evoke. The tree makes people smile with a warm fuzzy feeling in their stomachs, and when I light up...well...I make people cry and want to vomit; sorry. I had a CT of of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis. As well as an MRI of my brain to make sure the stereotactic radiosurgery got rid of that little bugger that had wandered into a private, highly gated community, in my brain. I kind of considered that one met like a party crasher. The brain met is the third wheel that I would love to ditch!! Don't get me wrong, I hate the mets to my bones, but they just scare me a little less then the one in my brain.

I'm slightly embarrassed even saying this but I'm curious how many other people think like me. Whenever I have an MRI of my brain, as I lay on the table with that boxy contraption over my head, my mind automatically wanders to inappropriate thoughts. I'm talking anything sexual, and then I tell myself to think of something else. Anything else. Flowers. A garden. ANYTHING. But then I'm so far gone that silly sexual things keep "popping" into my mind, and then all I can think of is whether a certain part of my brain lights up when I think like this. I wonder whether the techs will one day look at me and say, "well your cancer is stable, but you are a pervert." That would really be the happiest day of my life!! Never thought I'd say that, but this is where i'm at in my life.

Now moving onto the CTs. CTs I find to be relatively simple, in the sense that it's quick and I don't need to lay still for very long, and well...they can't probe into my slightly twisted brain. Comforting really. The dose of radiation from having these tests every three months leaves me a bit uneasy, but this is my only option for now. With CT scans all I can think of is you better empty your bowels prior to. I can't tell you how often I wonder whether the radiologist reading the scan looks at it and laughs either because they think you're full of shit or full of gas. How embarrassing would that be! Yes, this is what my crazy life has amounted to. The things I think about as I lay on a table exposing my insides has left me a bit...well..nutty!

Now I just wait. Hoping the results show stability, or better yet: No Evidence of Disease. I dream of this. If I could have either of these for Christmas it would be the best Christmas gift EVER!! I now wait, and will repeat this process in three months. Best case scenario: I can think of "appropriate" thoughts during my next MRI, and I can empty my bowels prior to my next CT. Oh the many joys of having cancer, and how things I NEVER would have thought of before are now in the forefront of my very crazy, slightly twisted, and "sillyish," "cancery" life.

This is written backwards, but it sums up my feelings in a nutshell:)

I'm hoping my insides don't light up like my Christmas tree!!!

Monday, 24 November 2014


I often wonder since my cancer recurrence, what did I do to make this come back? I would never blame anyone for their cancer, but it's hard for myself to not question my life and my actions. Sometimes I feel it would be easier to deal with if I knew I did something to cause it. However, I don't know. I have no clue why I got this crappy, overwhelming, and life-altering disease. I simply have no clue.

With my initial diagnosis my friend, and co-worker, was also diagnosed with breast cancer. We went through our treatments at the same time and, selfishly, it felt nice to have someone to talk to who was going through the same things as me. Don't get me wrong, I have the most AMAZING friends in the world, but there's something about the bond you form with someone else going through this who simply "gets it." We would call each other to talk about our bowels, as we would go from having diarrhea to the worst constipation ever. We would talk about mouth sores, and we would discuss the horrendous fatigue. The fatigue that a person who has never had chemo could never possibly be able to understand. I would not want to bombard my non-cancer friends with this, as it's simply indescribable. The pain, the complete and utter exhaustion, and the crazy obsession with my bowels!! Yes, we would literally sit on the phone for the longest time talking about crap; quite literally crap! I was 26, and although I'm a nurse, I don't typically speak about shit outside of work with anybody!

Fast forward, after we finished our treatments, we both went back to work. We were both happy to move past the hard part, without realizing that the hardest part was still yet to come. My friend relapsed very quickly, and sadly passed away within months. This left me questioning everything, as nothing was guaranteed. She was young, married, and had two young children. I think people didn't know what to say to me at this point. I would hear things from people saying, "but you're so positive, that won't happen to you." Really?? Cancer doesn't give a shit if you're positive, young, old, or a good fuckin person! We were good people, we laughed, and sure as shit she tried to be positive. What people don't understand is that it's extremely hard to keep up the positive facade when someone struggles with each breath they try to take, when they are hospitalized and away from their family, or when every movement causes incredible pain. It's not easy, and a positive attitude won't save you. My father also died from cancer when I was 12 years old. He struggled with every breath and it was awful to watch, and I remember everything vividly like it was yesterday. My family didn't deserve this. The most positive and happy people; children, get cancer; WHY!!!! There's a population who shouldn't even know of this word.

With all the amazing people I know/knew with cancer it has left me questioning, after so many years, why can't we figure this damn disease out! Sometimes when I read research articles about absolutely ridiculous topics, I wonder how much money and time was put into researching something so completely absurd. I'm talking ridiculous things like; after years of research we have figured out men are more physically attracted to attractive women. Ok, I made this up, but the studies are just about as ridiculous as this!!

I don't know why I got cancer. I thought I did everything "right." One of the things I have started to wonder is the impact of stress on cancer. I know stress is awful, but I think it may have more of an impact then we may think. I know of many nurses who have been affected by cancer. What can I tell you about my profession? It is definitely high stress!!! I would love to find something to blame because that way I could avoid it! The people I know who have had cancer were all amazing, strong, and wonderful people. None of that mattered to cancer. I would love to know what profession people affected by breast cancer have? Was it high stress? I'm not saying a persons profession is the single determining factor, but sometimes I wonder if it helps contribute to it. I simply want answers. I want to know why, and I don't want others to have to go through this. I don't want others to understand what this is like as the only way you would ever know is if you got cancer yourself. I hate cancer.

Monday, 3 November 2014

MY Views on Cannabis

When I say the word marijuana what is the first thing that pops into your head?? I'm sure the first picture that pops into your mind is that of a hippie, stoner getting high. Prior to having cancer, and realizing the merits of cannabis, I probably would have thought the same thing. I've said it before, that prior to having a cancer recurrence I had never done ANY drugs, nothing. I wasn't even a drinker. I had tunnel vision as to what the "appropriate" and the "right" way to live my life was.

Fast forward to today and my viewpoints have done a 180 degree turn. After my cancer came back I became invested in researching everything that may have some form of potential benefit. I was in pain. A lot of pain. I tried to brush it off as being nothing and continued to work a couple more months in that state. It wasn't until I picked up an infant and truly wanted to cry from the pain that I realized something was extremely wrong.

Cancer is one sneaky son of a bitch, and I have never liked sneaky sons of bitches before. Therefore, I became enthralled with trying to figure out what could potentially help me?? I can be sneaky too;) Cannabis oil repeatedly stuck out at me. Looking back, I wish that the first time I was diagnosed I would have tried it. Initially, and I'm ashamed to admit it, but I was scared of how others would view me if I started using marijuana? Here I was, in a respected profession in healthcare, and I was worried about what this could do to my "reputation?" Just saying that creates a lump in my throat. Why the hell would I give two shits what others think!!!! This was MY life, and in the end the only person who would need to live with the ramifications of what could happen was ME. We spend so much of our time constantly worried about being accepted, doing the "right" thing, and wanting others to respect us for being good people. Well, I've come to realize that just because I use marijuana doesn't make me any less of any of those things. I am a good person. I know that. Am I perfect? Nope. Never have been, and I don't expect to become perfect anytime soon. However, who the heck is??

Cannabis oil was the single medicine I could take that gave me pain relief, whilst still being functional. When I used to go to bed, my mind would wander, then I would get a hot flash, then I would be pissed off that I'm sweating and hot, and then I would be freezing. It sucked. Ok, it fuckin sucked!! Not being able to sleep does not work well into my life. I LOVE sleep, and I value a good nights sleep with all my being. Therefore, not wanting to take sleeping pills, I resorted to cannabis oil. I ended up having the best nights sleep ever!! I never once woke up, and yes I have continued to use it regularly every night, and I sleep remarkably well.

What continues to irk me is this stigma around marijuana, and it being a controlled substance that is viewed as dangerous. Firstly, this medicine does have merits. I'm living proof that it does. What bothers me is that due to this classification they can't do research into what the true potentials of it are in medicine. For myself, I had to experiment. There are many different strains and types. Some have higher levels of THC, the psychoactive ingredient, and some have higher levels of CBD, which has zero psychoactive effects, but does show lots of potential in the field of medicine, specifically with seizure disorders. By not having research to back this up, I must admit that dosing has caused me to take a smidge bit too much at times. Once you take too much, the side effects are not pleasant at all. However, if they changed the label and stigma around marijuana they could do research and figure out adequate dosing, and what strains are good for what types of disorders.

This is not about religion. This is not about being a good person, and it is certainly not about pleasing others. I've tried to please everyone my whole life, and have come to realize that that's not possible. This is about me and finally doing something that allows me to live a little easier. I don't believe that anyone should need to suffer in any capacity if there's something out there that has shown to alleviate this. Do it. In the end, nobody will understand your suffering, only you.

I am not a fan of narcotics. I hate the side effects, and realistically the number of prescription narcotic overdoses that occur yearly are pretty scary. According to the CDC these are LEGAL medications, and they kill 15,000 people in the United States yearly!! However, people assume because a physician prescribed it that it is a peachy, rosy, treatment for pain. Fun fact: nobody has ever died from a marijuana overdose (people have reported raiding their fridge for snacks though. Ok, I made this bit up but I'm sure its happened).Well... while you are dazed, drowsy, and constipated from your prescription narcotics; I will be eating, laughing, pain free, and having the best nights sleep EVER!

I think it's time for change. Huge change pertaining to cannabis and its uses and potential benefits. When I hear politicians, uneducated on the health benefits of marijuana, blatantly not wanting legalization as they talk about it being a controlled substance, and the dangers, I want to smack them across their dumb nut faces!! I can only imagine how quickly their own viewpoints would change if they, or their loved one, got cancer and they had to view the devastation caused by it!! I think it's time for them to recognize the ignorance that their narrow minded heads has created. To allow some of the prescription narcotics that are on the market to be legal completely baffles me. These are drugs that are highly addictive, and have proven to kill, but it's ok???

I could go on and on about this, but I truly hope others in my shoes can find relief with cannabis. This is not about creating an uproar, or about stepping out of the box and skewing away from what's "right." This is about pain relief. About quality of life. About not suffering. I'm a firm believer that this is a right that every individual should be granted. Young and old. Rich or poor. This is about our basic right to have a good life, and I strongly feel that this is not a topic that should have any jurisdiction in politics. They are not healthcare workers, and have no clue what it means to witness suffering. Therefore, do what makes you happy, what reduces your suffering, and what you know in your heart makes your life a little easier. This is MY life, cancer is MY problem, and I'll choose to handle it the way I deem seems fit. I refuse to suffer, and don't give two shits what others may think!!