Thursday, 24 December 2015

When Will Society Hear Us??


It has been a while since I've wrote an update on here, so thought this would be a good time as quite a lot has happened in these past few weeks. Things have been relatively good the last little while minus the hand/foot syndrome bit (HFS). I also just had scans. Firstly, scans around Christmas time are always so stressful. The thing with this disease is you truly never do know what it's doing inside your body and the type of havoc it's wreaking!!

As many may know I had my PET scan and brain MRI and I am happy to report the results were beyond amazing!!! The brain mets are no longer visible on MRI with no new lesions noted...AKA: thank friggin goodness my brain gets a cancer break. BIG thumbs up for this one! Then the mets to my clavicle, hip and sternum essentially showed low to NO metabolic activity on the PET scan!!! My spine hasn't even been mentioned, meaning it's completely gone from there too!!! This news left me completely elated because this is essentially the closest I have gotten to NED (No evidence of disease) since being diagnosed metastatic. My hubby and I couldn't have been happier. As we left the appointment we both sighed a collective sense of relief knowing I could enjoy the Christmas holidays without worrying about different treatment options, side effects, or worse having to have the difficult conversation about end of life. We both realized how truly stressed we were going into this appointment as we felt a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders after hearing the results.

We spread the news to our friends and family with as much excitement as when we announced our engagement, but this excitement exuded a sense of overwhelming relief and peace with the knowledge that today, things were ok. That's all we wanted for Christmas was to be ok; health wise. The meds I'm on are no doubt working as evidenced by my most recent scans, but this also comes at a price. Now don't get me wrong, as it is a small price to pay, but on some days these side effects get to me. The skin toxicity caused by Xeloda has forced me to take an extra week off so that my hands and feet can recover as the HFS became so severe that walking became near next to impossible without having severe pain. Half my toes are sprouting blisters and six of my fingers have simply split open. I was told that I could super glue my fingers back together. When I asked where I would get this medical super glue I was told; Home Depot. Hmmm...I kind of felt like my health care is spanning to hardware stores now!! First, I thought I needed to go to a vet to get udder cream for my hands and feet and now this??!!! Plus, a not so lovely side effect of Tykerb are peronychial infections which basically occur around the skins of your toes. So now I have multiple infected looking toes too with one great toenail completely separating and lifting up down to the cuticle. So now I'm applying approximately 8-10 bandaids on numerous fingers and toes, twice a day, with the clindamycin ointment and topical steroid. Yes, I am flying through band aids like it's going out of style...heck, I wished for bandaids this Christmas as my stocking stuffer, and the sad part is this would truly make me happy!!! Oh, how my life has changed. If the topical antibiotics don't cut it then I'm on oral antibiotics for 3weeks so here's hoping the topicals work well!!!

After we left our appointment we made plans to head to Banff the next day to relax and celebrate the great news. When I thought the day couldn't get any better I was shocked and saddened to hear that a fellow metster had passed away. We had messaged each other back and forth and realized our close age, stage IV diagnosis, and that even our oncs were the same! I finally had the pleasure of meeting her 3 short weeks ago as I waited for my oncology appointment. We talked, hugged, and wished each other the best. Never would I have thought that that would be the last time I ever saw her again. How could this happen?? How was it that just under 3weeks ago her scans were looking better and she was optimistic things would work...at least a little while longer?? I was speechless and beyond heartbroken for not only her husband but her 2 year old son. A baby needs his mother. This news simply reiterated the nature of this beast we call cancer. It does not discriminate. Doesn't matter your age or what a lovely person you may be. And sadly it doesn't care if you have babies that are relying on you to be there for them. Cancer makes our lives grossly unpredictable, but leaves us holding onto any sliver of hope to allow us to believe that our mortality isn't truly as close as it appears in reality. You see. a fellow metster once explained this and now it resonates with me more than ever. The scans we receive every three months aren't an indicator of our health for the next three months, as in an insurance that we'll get by these three months. Rather, it simply solidifies that the PAST three months were good. That's the scary part of cancer....there is NEVER going to be a guarantee. If I manage to completely enter into the mystical and magical land of NED, even then I won't know if it'll last a year, a month, or a couple of weeks. This disease strips us of the ability to plan for a future...we are forced to take each day as it comes. With so many friends entering hospice, dying, and deteriorating as of late it again reiterates the importance of finding the beauty in TODAY. Today is all we can be guaranteed so why not guarantee it to be worth it.


As I finished writing this post four fellow metster friends have died in total in a matter of a few short weeks. Two were 31 and 34 years old and they were both mothers of adorable two year old boys. One was no evidence of disease four short months ago...what happened??!! My other friend I visited in hospice just a couple weeks ago, and I will always cherish that time we had together...she's gone now too. Then, another friend, in her 30s, was just told she likely only has months left...there's nothing more that can be done. See, these are only a few faces and whenever I post these pics people seem shocked by these women's beauty, their relative vibrancy in the photos and people think: this is so very sad and our hearts break for their families, especially when they have young children. However, I don't know if people understand that THOUSANDS of women die every single year. And well over one hundred people die PER DAY from this disease in North America alone!!! Someone told me why dont you take a break from social media so that I'm not exposed to this. In my eyes, this would be an indescribably selfish thing to do. Is it hard to keep watching my friends slip away from the exact same disease that I am inflicted with?? Yes, exponentially hard but you want to know what's harder?? Dying alone and being forgotten. I'm sorry, but as hard as all this is to bear I am not a piece of shit individual who will abandon someone during the most difficult and gut wrenching time of their life. If running and hiding from the problem seems to be the solution that many feel is appropriate then we will never get any closer to a cure. These women's faces and stories NEED to be told. They NEED to be spoken about, so that the world can see that this has become an epidemic. These were simply AMAZING women who have inspired me like no other.  We are dying at such an alarming rate that I can't take this anymore without making some noise, standing up, and becoming the biggest pain in the ass out there!! But what happens when I can no longer keep advocating, and essentially begging for change?? Will anybody else do it for us?? I will sure as shit not let the deaths of these beauties be in vain, and I don't think the world should either. Let's stand together and demand more. One day this could be you, your mother, or your child. Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to watch my mother crying out of fear for her own daughter when she sees my friends dying? I know what she's thinking and I hate that I'm the source of her sadness, or rather the damn cancer is. Would you be ok with this? When will this madness end??!!! None of this is ok, but I will promise every single one of these beautiful women that their memories will never be forgotten. They deserve more. The number of children who no longer have their mothers deserve so much more and up until now we have failed them....failed them miserably. Society as a whole has failed every single one of these women and I am so heartbroken and sorry for this. This needs to END!! Lyndsey, Adrienne, Carolyn, and Regina may you all rest in peace....when will the world hear us and finally HELP us??!!! This should not have been any of their fates, but sadly it was. Hug your loved ones just a little tighter and when you tuck your children in tonight, remember these lovely ladies whose toddlers no longer have what every child deserves: their mother. HELP US. Why are we not worth saving??

Lyndsey, Carolyn, Regina, & Adrienne




Lyndsey...Passed away two days after turning 31. I saw her less than three weeks before her passing. She was optimistic because she finally received better scan results. I was so happy and excited for her that she could enjoy her Christmas...she never lived to see another Christmas. The complete epitome of REAL beauty...She was a kind, compassionate, and beautiful soul who was so dearly loved. She leaves behind her husband and her adorable 2 year old son.


Adrienne...Passed away at the age of 34. Adrienne was such a ray of light. It's easy to see just from these pictures how she exuded such pure joy and happiness...that was Adrienne. Always smiling and hanging onto any sliver of hope. Adrienne was strong. Simply days before her passing, she asked if she could borrow a wheelchair from someone just temporarily until she was back on her feet...sadly, she died not long after. She didn't get to live to see another Christmas. She leaves behind her husband, and also her sweet little boy who was also only 2. He was most definitely the centre of her universe. My heart breaks at the thought of him crying for his mommy. I am so sorry sweet Kellan.


Carolyn...Passed away at the age of 54. Oh sweet Carolyn where do I begin. Carolyn was the epitome of kindness. She was so witty, exceptionally funny, and one of the kindest people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. Carolyn went from having a relatively low burden of disease to the cancer spreading everywhere, ultimately leading to liver failure. Carolyn was so dearly loved and I will cherish our conversations we had when she was in hospice...it was an undeniably huge privilege to meet her in person. She leaves behind 3 sons, her mother whom she helped care for, these two beautiful grandsons you see in the pic that she adored so much, and Julie; her sister. I feel it's important to speak of the families touched by cancer. Julie stood by her sister through EVERYTHING. Their bond will never be broken because their relationship is something we can only wish for in our own lives. Carolyn was a fierce advocate for the metastatic community. You will NEVER be forgotten.


Regina...Passed away at 51. Regina actually started following my public FB page and we messaged each other regularly to see how the other was doing. Regina also exuded such a strong sense of caring and kindness. She had a low burden of disease in her bones and truly felt that she had many years of living with this disease. Then came the message that I wish never would have been. She informed me that her cancer spread to her heart. Apparently an extremely rare occurrence, however it happened to Regina. Regina had a family and many who loved her as well. Sadly, not long after the cancer progressed she also passed away.


All these lovely women should still be here today, but they're not. It was too late and research did not advance to the rate at which they died. We DON'T have time! I don't know how to communicate the urgency any longer. These were simply four of hundreds of women who die from this disease Every. Single. DAY...they all have names, faces, families, and a purpose. If this doesn't effect you then what will?? What will it take?? When oh when will the lightbulb go off?? I can only hope that it's before another friend dies. Sadly, deaths won't stop for the holidays, children will continue to lose their mothers, and those that knew them will mourn. We will cry. We will curse and continue to ask "why," and the rest of the world will continue to live, unconcerned and unaffected by any of it...until of course they are personally touched by cancer themselves. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE. Please, please help us!

Please consider making a donation to a wonderful organization where 100% of the funds go to metastatic breast cancer research - METAvivor. http://www.metavivor.org
Or to BCRF where over 90% goes directly to research at: http://www.bcrfcure.org/get-involved?gclid=CO2UuaPc88kCFQuSaQodun0Pbw

Friday, 16 October 2015

Chemocation (AKA: a vacation from chemo)

Yup I got one week off of Tykerb and my chemo, Xeloda, due to the side effects. At first I felt a bit disappointed because, according to my latest scans, it has created stability among all my mets, including the one location that still makes me cringe: my brain. However, along the same lines I knew I couldn't keep going on the current dose, simply due to how horrible I felt. That week off ended up being AMAZEBALLS!!!!!! I didn't do anything extravagant or exciting, but rather the way I felt was the best I've felt in a pretty long time. I suppose I didn't realize how truly horrible I felt until I stopped the meds. I was kind of hoping they wouldn't call me to restart because I just didn't want to...I know that's bad, but it's like letting a child get a glimpse into Disneyland and then saying nope we aren't going there, but rather you're going to a park. No, not an exciting park but one of those cheapo parks that you feel cheated by, like one that has a seesaw and a slide. Yup, no swing...everybody's favourite component to a playground is absent!! This dragged out comparison is to demonstrate my point that you realize how much better it could be, and just how much more fun you could be having, but you have little control over the choice because in my scenario I kind of need to stay alive, so crappy meds it is!!

Now I certainly hope these meds work on the reduced dose as well as they worked on a full dose!! Sometimes it makes me feel like a smidgen of a failure. To be honest, although I was happy to have achieved stability on my current drug regimen I was kind of hoping for NED. NED amongst the metastatic community is like winning the lottery as it stands for: no evidence of disease. Yes, you still have cancer but the drugs have knocked it back so much and it's so tiny that it's not detectable on scans. I know I feel a bit selfish even saying this because it makes me feel greedy, but I felt I sacrificed so much of my quality of life on this drug that I expected no cancer to be found. Yes, I can be delusional. I was really hoping I could tough it out (as in the dose of the Xeloda), but by the time I got back from vacation I just felt so...ugh. Deep down I knew I needed a dose reduction, and it couldn't have come at a better time as my skin was starting to split on my palms and on the soles of my feet. Yup, I now officially have elderly hands and feet. I resorted to wearing Sketchers!! Yes, that's significant for me because I love shoes, and cute little flats would have been my preferred choice of footwear but I was in so much pain we had to part ways....BUT thank heavens that was temporary because I bought a cute pair of flats in Vegas;).

The other "smidgen" of an issue I had, which is also amongst the many desirable (aka: just another nasty, slap in the face side effect) side effects I've experienced was an ingrown toenail. So the last time I had my appointment with my onc I was given a prescription for oral antibiotics because the toe was a "SMIDGEN" bit infected. One thing you need to understand about Judit is I don't pop antibiotics like candy. I need to have a better infection than popping em for a toe!! Pneumonia or a fever pops in my mind where I would tackle those pills like it's nobody's business, but I just didn't find my toe justified. However, I smiled, nodded, and pretended like I would be a compliant patient because I really wasn't in the mood to argue. I even filled the script so I feel the intention was there so I would say I was moderately compliant;).

Overall, round 4 (I feel like a boxer using this terminology) was much more tolerable. If anything, by the end of this round my hands and feet were starting to swell again but it was not the severe swelling and pain where my hands and feet were deemed useless like with the previous rounds. The GI side effects have become waaaay better. Stomach cramping annoys me. Intermittent nausea persists so I went back to popping the Zofran, but this too is tolerable. The last little bit that has annoyed me is dizziness, but oh well. All in all these are tolerable and livable side effects in my eye. I feel that I can continue to live on this dose because I have learnt to manage these side effects for the most part. Bring on round 5...oy vay the boxing match that has an indefinite number of rounds...I feel like I'm getting my butt kicked!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Chemo + Vacation

Every year my mom and I head to Vegas, but this year we decided to go for her birthday. I feel as though I've been tolerating this chemo pretty well, and I was excited to get way to the heat and sunshine!!

Once again we stayed out in Lake Las Vegas and I'm glad we did!! It's completely quiet out there, and there were days where we essentially had the pool all to ourselves!! The first few days I felt great and I'm glad we accomplished our shopping trip within those days. I wish I could say I felt that way the entire trip, but I'd be straight up lying. Don't get me wrong as I feel so lucky to have had this trip away with my mom, but it was also one of those trips where I was ready to come home by the end.

To start with, my hands and feet have taken a complete beating!!! I'm probably at that point where they would tell me to stop, BUT I want this to work and until I know if it's kicking cancer's butt I refuse to stop. I completed my third round a couple days ago, and have all sorts of scans next week, so here's hoping!!!! Secondly, I had periods of complete and utter exhaustion, and I'm not talking the simply "I'm tired," but more like, "if I don't lay down now my body will make me lie down, as in I will pass out!" At that point I realized that although I was on vacation, I really didn't have control over my schedule because my body was going to tell me if it had had enough. Sure enough, I had enough. I ended up napping for a couple hours on one day just to make it through. Then the newest side effect, and one of the ones I dread terribly, were stomach cramps. I'm talking keeled over in pain type of cramps where they would appear for no real rhyme or reason, and then simply disappear and I felt completely normal. The unpredictability of it all bothered me. The worst was when we got ready to go out, but they came on, and I ended up instead spending my evening in the bath soaking in Epsom salt! I felt awful because I knew my mom had energy to go and I really felt like I was holding her back. After I mentioned it to her, she told me she could care less and just wanted me to feel better, but It was still something that bothered me immensely. We didn't go on vacation to sit in our room, and yet I knew unless I wanted to end up in some American Hospital, I needed to simply listen to what my body was telling me.

My hands and feet at this point are bothering me. A LOT. I knew hand/foot syndrome was a side effect, and I kind of thought no problem I can manage this. However, the days of walking outside in 40 degree heat made it exponentially worse!! My thumb is completely split open and my fingertips feel like caluses, and I essentially can't feel the tips anymore. Trying to open a child proof pill box became next to impossible. Opening anything with my hands is both incredibly difficult and incredibly painful. Any form of pressure or friction makes this condition worse which is hard when we require our hands for everything and our feet to get around. I got a blister from simply wearing a watch...apparently that created too much friction!! My fingertips look like fat sausages. My feet ache and burn. I was starting to get an ingrown toenail which they warned me about, but being who I am I suppose I took this on like a DIY (do it yourself) project, lol. Well...I don't know about that damn toe anymore...I cut it out (the nail NOT the toe, I'm not that ambitious), and I don't even know if it's getting better as I feel at this point that's really the least of my problems. Seriously, couldnt I just have 10 days with none of this crap??!!!

This hand/foot syndrome has really gotten to me the last few days, and I don't just mean in the physical sense, but mentally. I like to push through things like pain, but I feel like I just can't!! Trying to walk is a chore and I probably look like an Oompa Loompa when I'm walking around! By the time we were ready to come back home I was kind of relieved. I longed for my big, comfy bed. Never thought I'd be saying I was happy to be leaving Vegas but it was time. The entire process of flying was something I was dreading too for obvious reasons such as having difficulty walking, difficulty lifting my suitcase (which also resulted in a blood blister on my finger from simply lifting the damn thing), and having no clue if my stomach was going to cooperate. Long story short, we obviously made it back, and I was sooooo happy that one would have thought I landed in Disneyland!! After making the ridiculously long walk to customs I was so ready for bed. As the custom agent waved me to come forward I handed him my declaration form. He handed it back and told me to tear off a portion of the form. Seems simple enough, and I never would have questioned it but as I tried to tear it I couldn't feel my fingertips and I essentially ended up tearing the form in half. He just looked at me. I felt completely helpless, useless, and humiliated. I just blurted out at him, "I'm sorry can you just do it because I can't feel my fingertips."At that point I just looked at the floor and felt my eyes well up. It took every ounce of me to not start completely crying like a crazy person in front of him. He kind of looked at me puzzled, and asked me why I couldn't feel my fingertips. Seriously, now I need to explain this shit! I simply stated it was due to a side effect from chemo. He stamped the paper, gave it to me, and told me to have a nice day. As I grabbed the paper and walked off I felt a tear run down my face and I felt completely pathetic. I couldn't tear a piece of paper along a DOTTED line. This wasn't a hard task (it wasn't laminated), or at least before chemo it wouldn't have been. This is basic and simple to do, and yet it seemed like an impossible task. As much as it's hard to admit it I need a dose reduction. I don't think I can live this way. I mean if there was an end date with "X" amount of treatments I know I would tough if out, but it's indefinite. Quality of life has never been more important to me, and if I have little use of my hands and feet then what good is this drug in terms of maintaining my quality of life??

Now I'll just cross my fingers and toes that it destroys these pesky cancer cells, especially in my brain because it's definitely destroying everything else as well, along with a bit of my sanity! Oh, and I've also had 3 mouth sores, just to add the cherry on top, and my lips almost turn a purple colour when I'm on my week off from chemo. One more week to go, and then I'll know how effective Xeloda has been!!! I swear it better work because I have sacrificed more than I'm willing to keep sacrificing going forward.
 
                      Happy Birthday to my mom!! Sorry the next 3 pics are basically our "bobbleheads!!"
 



 
 
This dragonfly kept landing on my toe.. the only living insect that I allow to land on me without me screaming and running like a mad woman!!
 
 
I LOVE palm trees:)
 
 
Don't worry this will be the most skin I show close up, but this was the hand/foot getting worse!! The pain is extreme!! The Band-Aid was my DIY project, lol.
 
 
That's me standing like a flamingo cause my damn feet hurt so bad!!!! Yes I'm wearing flats... I even bought Sketchers with memory foam to see if it would help and I got a darn blister...who knew my lil flats would be my go-to footwear...happy to maintain my style I suppose!!
 
 
I was so happy to have been able to get ready...but it was more like a dress rehearsal for another day as I ended up feeling like crap, staying in, and watching Big Brother. I know the more pics you read the subtitle under the less you want to keep going, I apologize for my less then thrilling life, lol
 
 
This is one reason I love Vegas. This sign is in the middle of the desert and it's the Dr. Seuss quote: "I do not like cancer here or there I do not like cancer anywhere." Oh Vegas you never cease to amaze me!
 
 
Ok...the more I write about these pics the more I realize I am probably very "different" in terms of activities I engage in while in Vegas. Every year we check out some show homes, and I take pics in the tub..Yes, I love a nice, deep soaker tub!!
 
Ok, I felt like I was the queen of this castle...the view was unreal and the floor to ceiling glass sliding doors had me sold. Now the question is: can adults have a "Make A Wish?" Is this a smidgen too much to ask for?
 
Tub #1
 
Tub #2: I liked the view on this one better:)

 
Tub #3: Yup my favorite.. maybe because the entire house was perfect!! That's a mediocre thumbs up because that's about how well I felt physically there. I told my mom we should hide in the walk-in and we could spend the night!

 
 
 
Honestly...Does this not look like a view from outer space??? I sent this to my hubby all excited saying this and his response was: "Ummm...are you high right now?? It looks like clouds in the sky." Talk about not being a creative cat babes, lol!!
 
 
 
Leaving Vegas..love the glittering lights. It honestly gives you the sense that you really are such a tiny part of this world. Till next time..
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, 31 July 2015

Update on Meds & MRI

So I have started on my new drugs. No it's not some new "medicinal" with questionable legality. It's the Tykerb and Xeloda! I have been on Tykerb for almost a month, and I've almost finished the first round of Xeloda (2 weeks on with 1 week off). So, let's start with Tykerb....initially the plan was to start with this one, and start Xeloda a week later. Peachy. The Tykerb should simply be called, "shit-your-pants" med!! Essentially it caused liquid crap. Although not ideal, I was willing to live with it and accept that I would be spending a decent amount of time in my bathroom. After a week, I was told to stop and the dose was reduced. This is a pretty common practice with this drug, so that eased my mind. I wasn't a complete wuss! After stopping, and waiting a few days my craps went back to normal. I'm sorry but this post may be crazy boring, and have a lot to do with poop! Never thought I'd have this much focus literally on "crap," but this is the lovely, bit of a crapshoot life, we call living with mets!

Once I started on the Xeloda it seemed fine. However, I've come to realize these lovely side effects kind of creep up on you. Little things really. Once you're on a combo of "crappy" meds, well than the chances of liquid crap once again goes up. Ugh. Seriously!! The newest thing I've noticed is the extreme nausea I have when I wake up in the mornings. To the point that I am now throwing up. The nausea simply comes out of nowhere and I don't like it!! The worst is when I'm at the grocery store and all I can think of is where on earth would I puke if need be. You scope out stores for bathrooms...oy vey I tell you!! At this point my hands and feet are holding up as these meds have the potential to cause hand/foot syndrome so I suppose that's a positive.

I also had my repeat MRI a month after my last one to assess if this bugger in my parietal lobe of my brain is chilling out, or being a free loading mooch and growing. Unfortunately, I have a freeloader. Sigh. Am I surprised?? No, not really. However, when I went for this appointment I wasn't feeling great. Firstly, it was a lovely (aka:frickin shitty) day for liquid craps plus I was extremely nauseous and lightheaded. Plus, since it was an earlier appointment in the am I also realized that my medicinals had NOT quite worn off. Oy vey indeed!!! Seriously, I felt like my eyes could barely open, and as we waited for the neuro rad onc I asked Chris if I at least looked normal and his response was; "ummmm...no....you look pretty high." Oh shit I thought. Just lie to me!! There was no way I thought I would last the consult PLUS get fitted for the radiation mask. I typically have no problem waiting but I felt seriously shitty!!! Of course these are the days when there has to be a resident. Double wonderful:). All I could think was please, please, please be a resident that has his shit together, has read my chart, and doesn't sit there talking for the longest possible time. Sure enough he seemed nice, and the first thing I blurted out as he started talking was: "what's with the met I have, has it grown?" He looked at me and said, "yes, so the one in my parietal lobe has grown another millimeter and then the one in my occipital lobe has grown too." Wait, back the bus up Dr. Resident what other one??!!! I never had a met to my occipital lobe as per my last scan so WTF???!!!!! He looked at me wide eyed and said, "oh...Dr. X can discuss that with you further." Oh double shit!! Then he decided to do a full neuro exam and all I could think was; this will be great considering I'm high as a kite!!!

Dr. Resident went over his full neuro work-up, asking me all sorts of questions which I answered all with: no, no, no. Ultimately, I wanted to speed this process up so I could talk to my actual neuro rad onc. Then he turned towards my hubby and asked, "have you noticed any changes in her?? Clumsiness??" Firstly, I am the queen of clumsiness all the time!! This isn't anything new. In the end of his lil assessment I was pretty proud of myself that I passed this test despite still being high!! I was impressed by my functionality;). I also learnt that I MUST take my medicinals earlier when I have early am appointments.

Anyhoo, I should give a little bit of background on our lovely occipital lobe which sits in the back of our heads. This area is our vision center, so requiring radiation on this part of the brain poses a smidge bit of trickiness. I, for one, do not like "tricky" things in my brain!!!! As you all can recall from my last post I am already blind as can be, so the potential for any more vision loss is not peachy! I saw myself with a cane that the blind use and immediately thought of the train wreck I would be, most likely taking people's eyes out with my damn cane. No I would NOT cope well with more vision loss!! My blood brain barrier is very obviously out to lunch, and I have no bloody clue if it'll return at this point!!!! My blood brain barrier seems to get distracted and doesn't have its guard up anymore!!!! It's like a dog for goodness sake; mine should be referred to as; blood brain....oh look a squirrel!! Faaaaaack I tell you!!!! At this point I feel like there is no real "barrier." We are letting people into the party who weren't invited!!!!!!! Therefore, at this point, my plan of action will be to NOT go ahead with radiation. Let me elaborate. These current drugs have shown the ability to cross over the blood brain barrier. Therefore, simply due to the location of the occipital met, and all things considering they feel it would be best to try the current chemo for a few rounds and see if it shrinks the mets or stabilizes them. If that's achieved then we will continue with the brain MRIs every three months, and simply monitor. If the mets progress then we will do stereotactic radiosurgery to them. I'm hopeful these drugs can delay progression and get my brain in order. Here's hoping...begging...just WORK!!!! I have plans and the brain mets are putting a pickle in them!!

Essentially when I followed up with my medical onc about everything, and I told him about all the side effects from my current drug regimen he had a theory as to why I may be having emesis many mornings with extreme nausea. He felt that it may be the drugs getting through the BBB, and possibly causing inflammation around the sites where I have the brain mets. Firstly, as much as I normally would NOT be fond of swelling in my brain, under the circumstances, I'm kind of happy in hopes that these meds are doing what they're supposed to do in my brain. I'm going to try and keep my current chemo dose as is, without resorting to a dose reduction, and simply add in some anti-emetics. I'll even prop some pillows up and see if that helps in the mornings. Here's to the meds working and less morning puking!!!! Fingers crossed!!!!!!!! PLEASE WORK!!!!!!!!



These photos have absolutely NOTHING to do with my above post, and this "scatteredness"  has nothing to do with my brain mets either;). These are pics of my lil nephew who is already 6 months old, and is now wanting independence...noooooooo!!! This means he is actively trying to get away from me when I just want to hold and love on him! I love the pure joy and happiness this little life brings to mine:)

 

 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

15 Fun Facts About Me:)

Nancy's Point challenged other bloggers to list 15 fun facts about themselves, so here are 15 things you may not know about me!

1.) I spent almost 6years of my life living in California for the first part of my childhood.. maybe that's why I love the sun/heat so much!!

2.) I still sleep with my blanket that I have had since I was born. After I was born my mom told me that they wrapped me in this blanket and took a picture. Later, when they brought me back from the nursery my mom said they handed her a baby that was, as per my mom, not me and "extremely ugly" (her words not mine). She wondered how her "perfect baby," suddenly looked like a wrinkled old man. She realized that the babe wasn't wrapped in the blanket, and told them this was not her child. After a bit of confusion she showed them the pic of me, wrapped in this blanket, and we were reunited. Thank goodness because I love my family:). Maybe that's why I sleep and travel with it to this day.

Yes that's my blanket with the rainbows, but there is no color left to it anymore. It's pretty raggedy at this point!!


 3.) I am "artsy fartsy." I love detail, and I enjoy making things look pretty. Whether that's a meal, some art project, or decorating my home!!! I am a perfectionist and I won't stop until things look "perfect," or I curse and simply walk away if it's not up to my standards. I guess I'm always on the extreme whether it's on one end of the spectrum or the other!!

4.) I got my husband for my 20th birthday!!! Ok, let's elaborate on this. My friend got me a generous tour of a fire station, and he happened to be one of the lovelies who was there. We went on a double date, and have been together ever since!!

We were so young!!!


5.) I got engaged when I was 23 and we purchased, and built our first home shortly after. Best decision I've ever made...BEST partner in crime, plus he puts up with me which is not an easy feat;)

6.) I Love gardening!! I love planting and watching things grow. I take pride in my plants...yes, the more I write the more I wonder if I'm actually a 70year old!!

My flowers, along with my favorite little ladies!


 7.) I don't like to ask for help...EVER!! I know family and friends always want to help, and at times I know I should accept, but I simply never do. I typically feel like I can handle anything with my health which I feel can get me into trouble. I typically allow things to get pretty bad before realizing, "oh shitters I'm in trouble." Hence, why I probably have the prognosis I have now...Sigh. Public service announcement; trust your body and remember: IF IN DOUBT CHECK IT OUT!

8.) I LOVE Las Vegas!!  I've been going every year since I was 2. I typically go a couple times a year, but sometimes I don't even go on the strip. I usually stay in Henderson, and I used to dream of finishing nursing school and moving there. Now I just go every single chance I get!!

9.) I am a nerd. I love learning new things and as a child I loved school!! When I used to get bored I would look for State Bar Exam questions and try to answer them, lol. Ok, get your laughter out with this one because when I tried to do these questions they were bloody hard, but I really enjoyed trying to answer them! My brain definitely was not made to be a lawyer, but I can certainly argue;).

10.) My vision is awful, as in I may be considered legally blind, and I have a horrible memory. HORRIBLE memory. Sometimes my memory angers me, and then I walk into a wall cause I can't see shit, and then I forget where I was going. Just kidding...well....it's pretty close to being accurate actually; sadly. Thank goodness I'm married because the more I write the more I realize how much I am NOT a total catch!!

11.) I never did drugs. Ok, just wait everyone because now I use medicinal marijuana as everyone knows but I never did any other drugs and rarely ever drank. Now I use cannabis and have an occasional drink;). Thank you cancer for pushing me to dabble in drugs (medicinal only) and resort to drinking alcohol, however it has created very interesting discussions with my hubby late in the evenings;).

This is a typical evening on my medicinals...Don't even ask me why I have the flashlight over my head...maybe I felt like I needed more light??


 12.) I HATE dishonesty. If you lie to my face and I know you're lying then that's probably the end of our friendship. Arrogance and dishonesty are traits I can't stand and I will not waste my time around people who fit into these categories.

13.) When I learnt there was no Easter Bunny I was devastated, lol. This sounds so ridiculously stupid, but I can still remember this so vividly. I was about 10yrs old and I walked in on my mom colouring Easter eggs...well that was the loss of my innocence as per me!

14.) I'm a complete klutz! Yes, I'm clumsy. I once accidentally backed out of my driveway without looking back (NEVER do this), and didn't realize my brother's lovely, and very expensive, 7 Series BMW was there, and I backed into the side. But wait as it gets worse; I didn't understand why my car wasn't reversing so after I hit his car I pressed the gas and essentially scratched the entire side of his car!!! I essentially fled the country fearing for my life and entered Witness Protection!! Just kidding I didn't run, although that seemed like a possibility at the moment. Thankfully, my brother kept his cool and didn't kill me as I am still here!! Secondly, when my hubby and I were in Mexico, I walked right into a glass window and chipped my tooth! The glass was so ridiculously clean that it didn't even appear like there was glass there, but sure as shit it was there!! These are just a couple of the things that show my clumsiness. The list could go on and on, but I will stop at this...believe me my friends could list many more!!!

15.) I'm Hungarian and speak it fluently. English was my second language. I didn't learn to speak English until I started kindergarten, which I dropped out of because my teacher was too loud and it scared me. Yes, I used to be very shy and quiet as well!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

VEGAS BABY!!!

After I learned of my craptaculous cancer once again looking for real estate in my body I needed, and was excited, to get away for a little while. So my bestie and I went to Vegas!! I mean naturally what else would I do!!! The land of gambling seems to parallel my life which seems a smidge bit like a gamble at times!!

I love the summer heat in Vegas!!! When we got there in the evening, and checked in, we were already tired. I know people may stop reading at this point because we come across as two vey boring, young ladies hitting the hay early in Vegas, but I assure you we are not! Nope, we ordered room-service. I was hungry and tired, however I couldn't quite grip the cost of how inflated these wings were!! I mean once we did the lil math calculation they came to a whopping $3.00 a PIECE, AMERICAN!!!!!! I am not cheap, BUT I am on disability and this price was beyond inflated for my liking, lol.

Our vacation consisted of a lot of relaxing! I am definitely the type of person who likes a calm, relaxing vacation, spent outside by pool. Essentially, during the days this is exactly what we did! Honestly, this was not the type of weather where you're outside, walking on the strip. It averaged around 45 degrees Celsius. Our hotel was lovely in the sense that the pool area was huge, and it had a lazy river. Essentially we would spend our entire days on the lazy river. This was perfect. I felt sooooo good!! I had no pain and simply felt wonderful. Sometimes I wonder these days if it's the actual vacation that I enjoy so much, or whether it's the ability to get out of my head, the medical routine, and simply live like any other healthy person that brings me joy.

Our vacation also consisted of a couple shows. Our first show was to the Thunder From Down Under. My bestie is the sweetest, most thoughtful, and caring person I've ever met!! I knew this show may have been a little bit outside her comfort zone, however she was a wonderful sport!! We both quickly learnt that this show was "interactive." Fun fact to any ladies who may want to attend this show: you do NOT wear a cute little sundress to this show. We were definitely out of context in comparison to how others dressed!! We looked like we were headed to an afternoon tea...maybe that's why the men looked at us at the end of the show and said, "awe...you two are so cute...just adorable," hahaha. I'm a very happily married woman, but Chris gave me his blessing to watch this show. It was definitely entertaining and we laughed our heads off!!! Before going in to see the show, we sat down at a slot machine. I ended up winning a $100 and simply texted my hubby stating, "I won a $100!" It wasn't until he texted me back that I realized I should have elaborated. He wrote me back, "hmmm, I don't get it. You went to see strippers and YOU got paid?" I quickly realized I should proof-read my texts before quickly pressing send, lol. This was NOT a bucket list item, as I would probably have some pretty low standards if I simply wanted Australian stripper men, lol. Sadly, Australian Weiners weren't my "dying wish," however I must say it was extremely entertaining! Thank you men for coming to America and pursuing the American Dream as you all seemed to have fulfilled many of these women's dreams as well!!

The next day we went to Brad Garett's Comedy Club. Firstly, I LOVE comedy shows!! These are my favourite types of shows to go to! I always think of Brad Garett from Everybody Loves Raymond, but his comedy is NOT pg at all. It was vulgar, but sooooo good!! I mean to the point where a couple times I almost spat my drink out because I was laughing so hard. The other headliner who was hilarious was Drew Thomas, and I laughed through the entire show!! I would highly recommend it!! Just remember it's vulgar, so if that's not your cup of tea, then I'd definitely say don't go;).

The only time I truthfully thought about cancer, and switching treatments, was when my body gave me a little nasty reminder that I'm sick!! This only happened a couple times and they occurred when we were out. When I'd have a hot flash, and it was scorching hot outside, I would become extremely light headed and felt as though I was going to pass out. I've come to realize that I just need to trust my body, and do what feels good. Thankfully, I didn't pass out and we simply went abouts our days based on how I felt. Thank goodness for a totally understanding bestie!! It frustrates me when I feel like my body is limiting me. It's hard to not think of the past when I could go non-stop and feel absolutely fine. I would say it was a successful trip and I'm so glad I had the chance to get away with my bestie!

In terms of my health, just a tiny change. I have started with Tykerb, and will see how it goes before starting Xeloda (the oral chemo). If all is well, and I don't need a dose reduction, then I'll start the chemo in a week. In terms of my pesky brain...we will repeat the MRI mid month, and if this spot shrinks or stays stable then we won't radiate YET. This is to see if these two drugs affect the cancer since they do cross over the BBB. This would be ideal as we never want to go crazy with radiation, so I'm on board with this and hoping I can buy some more time!!! Here's to some working drugs so I can plan my next vacation back to Vegas:).




View of the Las Vegas Strip!

Selfie before eating our pricey wings!!

The lazy river. Honestly, I could float around in circles. Love this activity:)

The Lazy river
 
Just enjoying our evening. Fun tid bit with this pic: We both wanted this photo to be done FAST as we saw a couple cockroaches in the bushes behind us!!!!!!!!! Those are nervous smiles;)

We actually wanted the background of the strip in this, but we ended up with a bus?? 

Brad Garett: sooooo funny:)
 
We actually thought this was a "skinny Buddha," but it's not (We may have had a smidgen of alcohol prior to & we aren't typical drinkers). It's Lord Mahaveer or Mahavir??

Great dinner with a lovely view!!

And just because...may have also had a smidgen of alcohol on board??

Pre Thunder From Down Under
 
The Thunder From Down Under, or as my hubby referred to em; "men who made terrible life choices," hahaha.

The downfall of buying a float to ride the lazy river - you must deflate it!!!!! Yes, I needed a break by the time I got all the air out of it!!

And the one thing I didn't have on my trip...you guessed it: my MEDICINALS!!! Once again I resorted to sleeping pills which doesn't exactly give me the greatest night sleep.
 
 

Friday, 12 June 2015

RESULTS!!

"We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us," Joseph Campbell

Well... After 16 months on first line therapy it has become time to part ways. Ugh...I really liked the treatment I have been on for over a year, but we all know that all good things must come to an end. In these past 16 months we had the opportunity to drive down the California coast, go to Las Vegas twice, had an amazing opportunity to go to Toronto thanks to Rethink Breast Cancer and meet some amazing young women, and got to go to Oahu and Maui. Now when I look at it like this then I can say I have lived an AMAZING year thanks to some tolerable and non toxic drugs. For this I am grateful. I have to accept that we were losing ground with the current drugs, therefore on to the next treatment.

Long story short, I had a feeling the current treatment was no longer working as my tumour markers had been steadily creeping up. I know this is not always indicative of cancer progression, but it still made me wonder. The cancer in my sternum and hip has become "active " again which basically means it has outsmarted my current treatment. I wish I had a stupid cancer that just couldn't figure this shit out, ugh. I do not have cancer in my lungs or liver, or even any other bones, so I was grateful for that. You see, I have to find something good in all this because I know it could be so much worse. However, the one area that worries me, and I hate having spots to, is my brain:(. Now I have a new, small, met to my right parietal lobe of my brain. Ok, the "good news" to this is that there is only ONE spot, therefore I'm pretty sure we can just repeat the stereotactic radiosurgery I had last year which I tolerated really well, and seemed like a successful, and easy treatment. However, I need to switch all my treatments. This is the joy (totally shitty, crappy, and overwhelming component) of living with metastatic breast cancer. Cancer changes/mutates and you have to move on to a new treatment. As you move on things become more and more toxic, hence why we all want treatments to work as long as humanly possible!!

So here is the new plan: I will once again meet with my neuro rad onc and discuss where we go from here for my brain....I am leaning towards SRS so that's what I'll do. Now that we know that my brain is kind of my "misbehaving" body part we will need to try and treat it a bit more. Our brains are truly fascinating, especially our blood brain barrier, but this blood brain barrier is starting to really, really, really piss me off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Herceptin does NOT cross the blood brain barrier, therefore we are going to try Tykerb which is an oral, similar type of sister drug to Herceptin which has shown some promise in crossing over the BBB. Now, since my bony mets are active again I will also be starting on Xeloda, an oral chemotherapy...ugh:(. I will NOT lose my hair on this but it does have side effects. Side effects I really hope I don't experience. This includes, but not limited to, shitting your pants!!!  Ok, that's not how they explain it, but that's how I define it. After the huge shebackles from over a month ago where I was puking and having diarrhea now I get to go on a drug that could make my life totally "shitty," both literally and figuratively!!!! Seriously, that sucks!!!! I'm hoping I don't fall into the "shitty" component side effect. Now the next kind of crappy side effect is hand and foot syndrome where the palms of your hands and soles of your feet can become red, numb, swollen, and possibly blister...wonderful;). Oh, but it gets better as in I never ever thought I would purchase the following, especially since I'm not a farmer!! So my onc told me to purchase a cream to put on my hands and feet that I could purchase from the vet!!! Wait, what? Buy something to use on my hands and feet that we use on animals?? I needed this explained a little better. Well, let me educate everyone on what they use this lovely cream on. Apparently they use this cream, and I quote, on cows udders. Whaaaat!! Cow udder cream for my hands and feet...I wonder how lovely it must smell. Good grief I can now relate to a damn cow!! I mean as long as it works I will absolutely use it and embrace my new "bond" with cattle. I guess now I just need to find a vet to buy this crap from, lol.

That's basically my update for now. Yes, I had a little cry over this because I was hoping for other options as in Herceptin and Perjeta, but thanks to the way Perjeta has been approved I can't receive it without receiving a toxic chemo and I don't want that. I'm starting to realize the frustrations and difficulties related to accessing certain drugs and how they're approved. In fact, it's actually a major piss off!!

Yes, anytime you hear that your cancer is getting worse it isn't exactly a joyful moment, but I must see the positives to all this. One of them is that I get to wait a few weeks to start my new drugs because I am going away on vacay in a couple weeks with my bestie so we get to actually enjoy it, without worrying about my "shitty" side effects. The very fact that these antihormonal therapies lasted me well over a year is a blessing because many people don't even last a year, so I really shouldn't complain about that. Lastly, I may be one of the lucky ones who doesn't experience any side effects!! Never say never;). Plus, I get to experience purchasing cow udder cream...I mean I'm all for new experiences, so let's knock this stupid cancer down and move on. I have too many vacation plans to let this slow me down anytime soon!!!
 
 
 Last Herceptin, for now anyways. It wasn't the greatest day, but it also wasn't the worst. It's just time to start a new chapter.
 
 

Friday, 29 May 2015

Discrimination at its Ugliest

I truthfully don't even know where to begin with this post. This is a topic I have heard happening to others, and I was always left thinking how someone could do something such as this. Well, I became the person who this happened to, and now I know that this is a topic that needs to be discussed and MUST be brought to the attention of the public. More specifically about humanity, and as a society how we view a "disability."

This all started when my bestie and I decided to meet some friends and go to BINGO.  Firstly, I've never actually formally played bingo. We thought this would be a fun little excursion. I had spent the first part of my day gardening, lifting, and doing some outdoor yard work. I was fairly sore by the time I was ready to go out-mainly my sternum, but it was manageable so away we went. When we got to the Casino I pulled into a handicap stall. Yes, I have a handicap sign because I feel that metastatic breast cancer is a decent disability to utilize a handicap stall for.

As we got out and started walking to the front doors I heard somebody yelling behind me. When I turned around I quickly, and quite shockingly, realized this man was yelling obscenities at ME!! To be honest this moment totally threw me off. Is this man seriously yelling at me or is there somebody behind me?? I looked at my bestie who had her mouth wide open in as much shock as me. Once I realized the words coming out of his mouth I honestly felt completely humiliated, disgusted, and simply sad. The words out of his mouth were, "It's people like you who abuse these handicap signs that ruin it for others...you little piece of shit." Wait...what?? Is this actually happening?? People like me?? What, the people in this society who have cancer? The people in this society who silently suffer, whilst still managing to maintain their physical appearance? The people in this society who are young but suffer every fucken day of their lives with debilitating pain, and have to accept uncertainties for their future?? Oh, so people in this society who I completely empathize with, feel their pain, and will stand up for like no other??!!! That's when I realized I am not holding back a single word to this uneducated, ignorant, piece of shit! If you want to be educated, don't you worry I will educate, BUT don't expect this to be some young, petite woman who will tell it kindly. You have passed the point of deserving a civilized response out of my mouth the moment you called me a "piece of shit."

I turned to him and yelled, "I have fucken incurable cancer YOU piece of shit and you know absolutely NOTHING about me and my disability!" He basically yelled at me, "you don't have cancer." Ok, this is a first for me because nobody has ever told me that I don't have cancer, and suddenly I think he felt an "oh shit" moment. He walked up to me only to progress to tell me that if I actually did have cancer then he apologized, BUT he hates every time he goes to Superstore and he sees "young people abusing the handicap parking permit." Ok, this simply pissed me off more because he was like that idiot who just can't figure out the moral of the story!!! An apology, followed by BUT is NOT an apology!! I proceeded to tell him that he still didn't fucken get it!!! I told him my disease is not visible and when you go to Superstore did you ever fucken think that many of those young people could have a disease that afflicts them internally??? Holy shit I was vibrating, and it took every ounce of my being to not punch him in the face!!!!!!

My bestie at this point felt that me trying to explain/educate him on what a disability entails was pointless and at that point I was sad. I started crying. I'm not typically someone who cries over little things, but this was so humiliatingly sickening to the core of my being. Why did I have to prove to a complete stranger that I have a terminal disease?? Should I carry my cancer pathology in my purse so I can prove to an ignorant individual how ill I actually am?? At one point I did yell at him, "do you want to see my cancer card." Seriously, why should I have to deal with this?? I shouldn't. And I won't. End of story.

Part of me cried because I felt extensively sad over the fact that there are many other young people who are dealing with chronic/terminal illness and this could happen to them. I know what it's like to live this life, and to even think someone else would need to deal with this type of scenario in their own lives infuriates me and breaks my heart. Why is it that we base a disability on a physical trait?? Since I have two legs and two arms with a steady gait then that must mean all my internal organs are just as healthy, right?? I will not apologize for taking pride in myself when I feel well enough to go out with my friends. Because my hair was washed and I dressed nicely? Yes, I take pride in how I look because it masks the public's perception of what I'm going through. However, in this scenario it obviously seemed to backfire, BUT I will never apologize for still trying to maintain normalacy to my identity while living with a disease that is killing me!!!!!

To add insult to injury the fact that you're verbally abusing a young woman with terminal cancer, and berating her in a public place made me beyond upset because it made me realize the reality of what this meant. This is a grown man, and this is the manner in which he speaks to a woman?? All I could think of is who else has he done this to??!!! THAT made me furious!! The thought of a young adult suffering every fucken day of their life, and then they have a day where they may actually feel "good," and decide to go out and actually enjoy a "good" day only to be belittled and verbally assaulted?? What type of person is this?? This is beyond discriminatory and I will never stand for this!!! I will argue my point until my face turns blue because I want this type of abusive, insulting, and pure arrogant behaviour to end. We live in an era of technology, of putting people on the moon, so why can't we change the way in which we view a disability???

 I would just love everyone to envision what the definition of a disability is. Don't ever judge a book by its cover!! You don't know people and you definitely don't know their stories. Don't Ever assume. Just because somebody can walk in a straight line, smile, and have clean hair does not mean that they don't suffer with chronic pain, or aren't dying. Don't ever, ever assume because you will never truly know. This day disappointed me, but it only showed the idiocy and ignorance of a single individual. As a society I can only hope that people open their eyes and recognize that the majority of people who suffer in society do so silently with no physical traits that make them distinguishable from anybody else. I don't know what it will take, but I refuse to be belittled, humiliated, and called a "piece of shit," all because my disease is not physically visible. All I ask is for people to actually think, don't scrutinize, and be thankful you don't need a damn handicap sign because you are HEALTHY, but don't ever assume you're a damn mind reader who knows everything there is to know about a stranger. You aren't...so take your nasty, arrogant comments and shove it where the sun don't shine because I don't care to listen to it. Not today. Not ever.



We still ended up going to Bingo. As much as this man bothered me there was no chance he was going to ruin my evening. Absolutely NOT!! However, we didn't win...nothing. However, we had a fun evening with great friends:)






Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Birthdays!!

Birthdays...where do I begin with this one. For those of us living with stage IV birthdays excite us, we celebrate, we smile, and we embrace the very fact that we are alive!!! Yaaay to our hearts still ticking!!  Then there is the general population...especially women. Sorry ladies, but the complaining needs to stop!!! Seriously, if you think the worst thing to happen to you is the fact that you're alive and well, and you've earned another year in your life...then your life is pretty damn AMAZEBALLS!!!!!! Why are we so obsessed with wrinkles?? It's a natural sign of aging. Of being alive. Do we complain because our lives are so damn perfect that it's the only imperfection we can focus on??

I have a hard time listening to it. Ok, I have developed a zero tolerance to it. It's also really difficult when my old counterparts attempt to "relate." When I would hear comments from women double my age tell me, "wait until you get old...I have so many aches and pains." Alright. Fine. I would smile, whilst in my head wanting to throat punch them. Is that really bad?? Know your bloody audience people!!!

I am not a violent person, but sometimes I wish people would simply think before they speak. Firstly, I already have aches and pains and I'm fairly certain my "aches" trump yours as the cancer is eating a hole through my bones, quite literally!!!!! I'm 29 and you're close to 60. You've lived twice as long as me. If I could live to double my age then I would quite certainly take those age related aches and pains and be the happiest human being on this planet!!!! Seniors discount is pretty damn amazing in and of itself. Why can't there be a cancer day discount? Shit, I would buy a damn cane and rock it if I was old!!!

I understand that as human beings we find a need to complain about something, BUT could we for once try and find something good to speak about? I mean instead of bashing the aging process could we not look in the mirror and say: yes I have stretch marks but I brought a baby into this world. Or yes, I have wrinkles, grey hair, and look old as fuck but hey, ironically, I am old as fuck and I'm kickin it!! Seriously, just try!!! Embrace it!

Therefore, next time you have a birthday simply celebrate it!!! Think of the people in this world who will never live to see that age...and blow out your candles and eat your cake. Once you consumed your cake don't make a remark about how the cake will now add fat to your thighs and butt...this shit is exhausting. If you don't like the way you look then do something about it. Eat right and exercise, but please when you have something that is modifiable don't complain about it. Simply act on it. You know what I would give to be told that I simply need to modify a few things, and that would cure me of cancer??!! I would do ANYTHING!! Honestly, if you make these remarks around me you will potentially risk getting injured which will then lead to a longer recuperation because you are, after all, one year older and suddenly, just like that, your recovery time staggers.

So if it's your birthday: Happy Birthday!! Live it up. Do what makes you happy. Surround yourself with the people you love, and always remember that growing old is a privilege. A privilege that is not granted to many.
This was me as a child. I think it was my 6th Birthday. I wish I could go back to my carefree life that I had here. I was ecstatic for my birthday!! Why is it as adults we frown, lie about our age, and seem to get depressed over it?? I'm going back to embracing, celebrating, and loving every year I'm granted in this world! You should try it...I can guarantee you will become a much happier person;)


I have no clue how old I was turning here...maybe 3 or 4? I'm shocked I didn't end up with skin cancer considering how tanned I was growing up in California!!



Thursday, 14 May 2015

Craptaculous Week!!

And just like that it was a crappy week...both literally and figuratively. Sometimes I feel as though I don't understand my body anymore. I've always been very in-tune with my body, and knew when I was coming down with something. Now...everything just happens so fast, and with absolutely no warning. I feel like I'm drowning with no chance to stay afloat. I hate it!!

It all started one evening when I noticed I had one sided flank pain. Immediately the nurse in me started to problem solve about what this could be and what I should do. If you are not a nurse you must understand our collective mentality. We do NOT seek medical attention easily. We assume we can handle just about anything and everything. Without a doubt we force our loved ones to seek medical attention and we can be authoritative about this! However, our own health, there's no chance in hell we leave our house. None. Nope. Is this smart?? Definitely not, but in our minds we can handle absolutely anything.

As the evening went on the pain seemed to get worse. I started to wonder if I had developed a kidney infection. I have never had a kidney infection, but that seemed like a potential cause in my mind. Therefore, as I drove home I bought some cranberry juice. I could fix this...I just needed some juice. No biggie. As the evening went on the pain got worse and I developed a fever. Damn it! I didn't like the fever being added to the flank pain, so I thought if I still have a fever in the morning then I will go to the doctor because I know it can quickly progress to sepsis if it is indeed a kidney infection. That evening I just put a heat pack on my flank and took some Tylenol. By the time I went to bed my flank pain was gone...fever was higher, but the pain was gone.

At around 2am I woke up with awful nausea. It woke me suddenly from my sleep and I quickly got up to run to the bathroom in our en-suite. Well...this commute was too far for the condition I was in. I remember making it to the door and blacking out momentarily. My legs buckled and I went down, but not before having my head bounce off the doorknob. I remember laying on the floor, my heart pounding, and thinking I have to make it to the bathroom because otherwise I'll have my puke to clean up off the floor. Ugh. My hubby woke up and quietly called over, "are you ok?" The nurse in me responded, "ya I'm totally good just a little nauseous." That couldn't be farther from the truth, but I didn't want to worry him. I managed to crawl to the bathroom where I kept vomiting. I was as pale as a ghost, had zero energy, and had a fever. Oh, and I had a big bump on my forehead from where my head met the doorknob: lovely. After vomiting what felt like forever, I got so light headed I blacked out momentarily again, and this time hit the back of my head on the tile. However, the good news with this one was I was already sitting, hunched over the toilet so I didn't have as far a way to go down. Once I assumed I had vomited every possible content I ate in the last week out I got diarrhea. Perfect. Let's just shit our pants too...great days!! At this point I was exhausted, weak, and felt super unwell. I decided to sleep in the closet in our en-suite as this was a quicker commute to the toilet in case something more could possibly come out of me. Eventually my hubby found me and was quite surprised by my "slight nausea."

At this point I didn't think I had a kidney infection, and simply thought I now had a stomach flu. 24hours was what I had hoped for, sooner would've been better. This was NOT a 24hour flu at all!!! It didn't matter how little water I sipped or Gatorade, nothing stayed in me and it immediately came out. As the days went on I felt like I was getting worse. WTF was wrong with me!! The next night I abruptly awoke again with crazy nausea, but I had no time to make it to the bathroom. I puked all over our lovely duvet, before being able to grab my robe next to the bed and essentially puking all over it. Ugh...I hate throwing up, and I hate throwing up all over my bedding even more. Thank goodness for my amazing mother who decided to stay over because I was sicker than I had been in quite a while, and felt like I had no energy for anything. My hubby still had to work so my mom was a godsend during these days.

After two days of not being able to keep anything in me my energy was seriously at an all time low. I knew I was dehydrated, but I still didn't want to make a fuss about it. I laid in front of our fireplace because I was shaking due to the fever, which definitely didn't help with the dehydration. As I laid there I felt confused, and my hubby noticed I wasn't breathing normally. This evening scared me. I started to get chest pain, which I didn't want to mention to my hubs or mom out of fear they'd call 911-no fuss is what I'm about. Then my hands and feet started to feel like pins and needles. Started with my fingertips and then extended to my whole hand and my feet. My extremities were ice cold. In my head I knew I needed fluids because I literally started to wonder if I was headed towards going into shock. I know...I leave things, BUT I will do just about anything to avoid going to the hospital. I do NOT want to acquire some awful infection while in hospital, so I avoid going there at all possible cost. Just on an off note, I also avoid emerg because when I'm this sick I can't physically tolerate sitting in a waiting room, and this is where a lil rant comes in. People, if you don't have a real emergency, and my definition of this is the following: you are suddenly missing a limb, you're unconscious, you are septic, have had a heart attack or stroke,  or you have been in a horrific accident where you've sustained something more severe then a sprained ankle or a broken pinkie. Otherwise, please stay the fuck home and go to your family doctor!!!! I can't even begin to explain how much it bothers me when people abuse the healthcare system!!! When I scan an emergency room and see people laughing and talking like they're out for a date at a pub...let's be real...GO HOME you're probably just fine and I promise you that your family doctor can trim that hangnail off your toe!! Rant over;).

At this point I had gone three days with no food, and essentially no liquids...that would stay in me at least. I started to wonder if I'd ever see a day again where I didn't need to crap my pants or vomit. It was seriously some "shitty" times, lol. Now this is where the greatness of the people around me and my hubbies connections saved me. He asked the paramedics if they could kindly come out to our place and give me IV fluids. These lovelies were a life saver and I am so grateful for them. They started an IV, we used a standing lamp to hang the IV fluids on, and they gave me anti-emetics. My blood pressure at this point was low and my blood sugars weren't great either-can't say I was surprised by any of this though. I managed to keep the IV in for a couple days and give myself 3L of fluid along with some dextrose. THIS was my style of care. No need to sit in an emerg waiting room exposed to every disgusting bacteria, virus, and lord knows what while being fearful of shitting myself. The dehydration led to the worst headaches I've ever had in my life. I took everything, but this was the first time in my life where absolutely no drug touched the pain.

The couple days of IV fluids gave me enough hydration to be able to have a bit of energy, and I managed to recuperate without worrying about trying to sip fluids that simply didn't want to stay in my body. This illness came on so suddenly and became so bad, so quickly, that it legitimately scared me! I lost almost 10lbs in less than a week (5 days actually)!! Once I was hungry again and my headache subsided it was as though this fog had been lifted. It's after times like this that I become so much more appreciative for my health. All I wanted when I laid on the floor was for all of this to be over, and I felt like I couldn't see an end in site. As my energy returned I was ecstatic and happy to get back to my life, and LIVING!!! To my mom, my hubs, and the lovely paramedics I thank you for absolutely everything!!!! We made it through another "bump in the road," and there's no way I could have done it without all of you:).
 
Sometimes you need to go through some rough days to realize how truly beautiful your life really is. However, at this point I get it, so enough with the rough days!!!!!!!
 
At home on the left with my IKEA standing lamp "IV pole." I love how nifty these medics were!! My Herceptin was delayed because; 1.) Physically, there was no way I could actually make it there & 2.) Because I am always so scared of killing a poor immunocompromised patient!!
 
These are the moments I live for, and would do absolutely anything and everything to make sure I can keep living and enjoying them...
 
My beautiful nieces and my "bubby," my sweet lil nephew!! There is NOTHING that makes you forget all your worries then a sleeping baby in your arms. They bring me an abundance of joy, love, and pure happiness.
 
My princess noodle who seems to be growing up so fast!! I can still remember her as a baby, and now she's wearing my clothes!! My mom who is the most selfless person I have ever met...I love you and value you more then you'll ever know. My hubby for always being level headed, and always managing to calm my fears...I love you babes. And of course my bestie...there is never a dull moment when we go out!! As long as I'm still laughing and surrounded by those I love I can truthfully say my life is full and I cherish all of you!