Thursday, 19 March 2015

Vacation. Part One.

Yes, the time had arrived to go on vacation!!! We felt like it was long overdue, and we just needed to get away. We had booked this trip to Maui a couple months ago with hopes everything with this cancer crap would just stay put!!! As in hibernate and simply chill the heck out so we could enjoy ourselves. The most recent scans showed stability which was lovely, peachy, and fantastic news to start our vacation!!!

Our flight left in the morning so we had to be up early, as in 4:30am. Now since my recurrence I have not been a wake-up-early-before-the-crack-of-dawn type of gal. Ok, I don't recall the last sunrise I've seen and that's perfectly ok with me. I value my sleep. A LOT. For myself, this determines how I'll feel the rest of the day. When I woke up I didn't feel quite "right." As in I was so nauseated. I am not typically one of those people who gets nauseated. I told myself it's nothing, and to just get on with tying up the loose ends of packing. This did not go as planned!!! I sat on my bathroom floor crouched over my suitcase, with what felt like an impossible task. I shoved a couple essentials into my suitcase, and then Chris came in as he was being productive packing and looked at me on the floor. I told him I didn't know if I could physically muster up the energy to get to the airport. Plus, the thought of sitting on a plane for seven plus hours; ugh!! When I got up I looked green and sure enough I started vomiting. This was not a shining moment nor the way I planned to start my vacation!!! Out of every single day to feel dizzy and vomit it just had to happen today, seriously??!!! After I spent a while hunched over the toilet it was time to leave. I could barely get to the car. My mom dropped us off at the airport, and I realized I didn't even brush my hair!!! Yes, I was a hot, disastrous mess. All I could think was please let this process of check-in, security, and all this airport stuff go by fast before I either pass out or vomit all over the TSA staff!! It's safe to say I made it on the plane, and realized they didn't have the barf bags that they always used to have on these flights. Wonderful:). The one time I felt there was a possibility of requiring these brown bags, there was none. I tried to just take some deep breaths, and told myself it's only seven hours. Ha, that's a long ass time to be contained in this closed off tube, no-way-out-thing, we refer to as an airplane!!!!

This flight was the hardest trip I've ever taken. I wanted to be knocked out, and awakened on arrival!! Of course, I also had a CRAZY lady next to me. She was rude with the flight attendants and treated them as if they were there to serve her, and only her. My patience was wearing thin with her obnoxious antics. From kicking the chair in front of her because the seat reclined, to then telling the child behind her to not touch her chair. Ok lady, this is not your private jet and people are NOT on board to cater to your needs!!! As I started to feel relaxed, and thought I may actually fall asleep, what did Ms. Cray cray next to me decide to do?? Well, she pulled out a stack of cards and started playing some game of cards. With herself. Whilst mustering random words under her breath!!!!!!! Lady, don't you worry you will win because you're playing with yourself!!! All I could hear was this annoying clicking sound from her "dealing the cards." Chris could hear this through his headphones and I think he knew I was on the verge of snapping. My patience had worn thin and I was feeling like a royal bag of shit!!!!!! She even pulled out tarot cards. Oh my gosh, I felt like asking her what her psychic cards said?? Did it predict that I was on the verge of vomiting on her, and felt that the emergency exit should be allowed to be utilized for other purposes, and the term "emergency" should be based on the discretion of the passengers??!! She also had to get up numerous times and would huff and puff at the length of the flight. I was ready to tell her that we weren't in a damn time machine! You very well knew the length of the flight when you booked it and yet you seem surprised???!!! Long story short, near the end of the flight I finally fell asleep. Chris later told me that while I was sleeping she looked over at Chris and said, "could you wake her up because I need to get up." Chris, being the smart man he is, looked at her and said, "no chance in hell." She apparently looked puzzled, but Chris didn't budge and thank goodness he didn't because I needed those 45 minutes to sleep. When I woke up the plane was getting ready to land and I was relieved. I made it!!! Ms. Cray cray had garbage piled up under the seat in front of her. Firstly, I can not stand when people act as though others should serve them, and treat others disrespectfully by being rude and leaving filth around them. We are not better then those around us. You don't know anyone's "story" or personal life so treat everyone around you with RESPECT!!!!!!!!!!

The first part of our trip started in Honolulu. Getting off the plane was the biggest relief. I think simply making it there was what excited me the most. No emergency landings required because of me, no puking on any passengers, and I actually managed to not speak my mind to Ms. Cray cray next to me!! I was proud of myself, and I actually felt a bit better. Sometimes all you need is a little sunshine to brighten up your day:). I had planned to write about my whole trip in this blog post, but obviously I got carried away reminiscing about my flight, so I'll just have to leave that for my next post. For anyone whose planning a future trip I learnt a fun little tidbit from a fellow passenger. If there's two of you flying instead of booking two seats next to each other (when there's three seats on each side), book one aisle and one window because there's a greater chance of having nobody sit next to you because nobody wants the middle seat!! Fun fact, and I will definitely try this out the next time I fly;).

This was when we boarded our plane. Slightly pale and feeling like this was the worst decision I've made in a very, very, very long time!

Monday, 2 March 2015

Stomp Out Breast Cancer Monday

Metastatic Breast Cancer. What is it and what does it mean to you?? What feelings does it evoke?? If you have never been touched by metastatic breast cancer these words likely mean nothing. That's what bothers me. People generally don't care about a cause that does not affect them personally. It's easy to put blinders on and not let that dirty, scary, elephant into the room. THIS is the problem!!! I'm the damn elephant in the room! If we simply choose to turn our heads, and ignore the fact that according to the World Health Organization 508,000 people died in 2011 from this disease worldwide, then we are all somewhat responsible for these deaths. Imagine the pain and sadness of losing a loved one and imagine how many people mourn the loss of a single person. Now imagine the sadness and pain amongst the deaths of 508,000 people and all their loved ones!

This pink ribbon bullshit and the term "awareness" means nothing to me. At this point we are all very aware. If you're not, then you must be living under a damn rock!! The fact that we are allocating less than 5% of funds to research, which is the ONLY thing that can lead to a prolongation of life, is beyond disappointing. I can't quite wrap my head around why this has not changed. I'm sick of people and organizations simply trying to make a quick buck off of those of us desperately trying to buy ourselves more time at life.

Last week I rejoiced at my latest PET-CT results that showed stability. This means the cancer is there, but it's on its best behaviour. Perfect. I was almost convinced that it had gotten worse due to the pain, but it didn't despite the pain being directly linked to the actual cancer.  Today I had an MRI of my brain. I have absolutely no reason to think my brain is acting up with cancer, but I've been here before, and was "surprised" by shitty news. This is the life of someone living with mets!!!! Scan, treat, repeat. That's our lives. These scans evoke an unimaginable amount of stress. Someone who is healthy who goes for a CT, or MRI would never understand what this is like. These tests can simply deem your fate in an instant. They can tell you if your body is so riddled with cancer that your days are numbered. And just like that the floor beneath you drops. This is the stress, anxiety, and fear that those of us with mets live with. Everyday. Until we die. This is NOT acceptable. Chemotherapeutic agents that prolong our lives are toxic. Sometimes it's these treatments that will kill us, and we demand better!

I don't expect someone whose life is absolutely perfect, and unaffected by cancer to understand. I mean why would they?? Their lives are on an upswing and simply perfect. However, one day you may hear those three dreaded words, "You have cancer," and I can guarantee the floor beneath your feet will drop. In that moment, you will beg for better treatments so you don't have to endure the rigours of chemotherapy where you will lose your hair, your energy, develop mouth sores, become constipated or have diarrhea, lose all the nails on your fingers and toes, become neutropenic, all in an effort to allow you to live a little longer. As someone living with metastatic breast cancer I demand better. I demand better not only for myself, but for my nieces so they can grow up in a world where there is something better due to medical research that was generated during my time. Enough is enough and I demand change, so anyone reading this please don't fall into all this "awareness" crap because if you truly want to be aware go visit the gravesites of every man and woman who has died from this disease. That's awareness. Nope it's not pink and frilly, instead it's reality and it's time to let the elephant out of the closet because we refuse to become another statistic that simply gets branded as someone who "lost their fight." We are dying because our treatments have failed us. We did not fail. We did our damnedest with the little options available. Please help those of us with stage four by showing your support by taking over social media today. This may only take you a minute, but it may help to gain momentum and allow us to increase funding geared towards research. For that, I will be eternally grateful.