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 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' 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...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!