Friday, 26 January 2018

Happy New Year!!!

Now here I am in 2018 reflecting on how much happened this past year and looking at what 2018 has in store... I had the highs of some amazing opportunities and trips. 2017 took me to Mexico, Philadelphia, Toronto, and New York. Plus, I'm still alive so that's by far the best component!! The lows were also soul crushing...the deaths of Mandi, Beth, and my closest friend O, and countless others, continues to be that part of my life that I compartmentalize, but constantly think of and try to keep to myself. The heartache and sadness that these deaths have created has made me take steps back from some online groups on occasion because at times it becomes way too much to take. The deaths don't stop. It doesn't get easier. It never gets easier....if anything it gets harder and harder because the realization that nobody gets out alive from this gawd-awful disease only becomes more apparent. This is NOT normal, and we continue to desperately plead for increased research funding, and a faster/more transparent process to approving new and innovative therapies in this country. There's so much work to be done and the longer I live with this disease the more I realize the many roadblocks in our way, and how government and pharma's delays in approving new cancer therapies, directly causes death. People with advanced cancers can NOT wait years for drug approvals to take place. There's a simple formula that can be used to understand what these delays mean....Delays in getting treatment therapies to those with terminal cancer equals death. That's it. I live in Canada and this is NOT ok.

This year I refuse to let cancer stop or limit me from doing all the things I love. I took a couple extra weeks off of my chemo over the holidays simply due to toxicity. I feel like I haven't taken much of a break for quite some time so once the drug was out of my system I was completely shocked as to just how good I felt! It's bittersweet as I felt AMAZING (essentially I felt like a normal person) and I realized just how much the chemo effects my overall energy levels which I assumed was pretty decent before, but once I took the break I realized the actual impact it has had on my overall wellbeing and quality of life. I envy those who can wake up day in and day out, go to work, and then manage their home life, and then go to bed and repeat over and over again. I suppose I look at people and just think to myself; "You are so damn lucky," and yet they have absolutely no clue just how lucky they are, and what a privileged life it truly is to have good health. Oh well, I'll take sporadic moments and continue to be thankful that things aren't any worse and that I am only on my SECOND line of therapy since 2014. That's a pretty big silver lining, especially because I know many don't even get to live this long with MBC.

This past year for Christmas I decided to get my nieces an "experience" as opposed to gifts, although I did still get a couple little things as well, lol. We went up to the mountains and stayed in a beautiful hotel, went swimming, ate out at some amazing restaurants, and went skating. For anyone who knows me, they know I am big on safety...ok, impulsively persistent with wearing helmets for basically any sport that could cause a head injury. Therefore, when we went skating and I realized they didn't have helmets I thought; you're in this beautiful, picturesque place and now you're not going to skate due to not getting a helmet, but you have cancer?! Hmmm....I took the risk and, with all things as of late, I forgot that I'm much older and not as flexible as when I was a child. Well, when I made one more loop around with nothing but utmost confidence (as once you face your mortality the things that scare you become less and less) I caught an edge and essentially fell flat on my face. I mean Flat. On. My. Face. Yup, I didn't even have time to put my hands out to cushion the fall, and the ice ate my cheekbone. To say it hurt would be an understatement as I hobbled up and then realized the vision in my right eye was completely blurry:/. That was the end of skating and my public service announcement is: ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET. Anything that requires a faster pace then skipping just put a helmet me you'll thank me later:).

After a great weekend away I came back to have my quarterly scans, and the first set of scans of the new year. I am ECSTATIC to report that my brain has "nothing going on up there" as per my onc, lol. I have to agree there's little going on up there, other than an AWFUL memory and a limited ability to concentrate and focus on virtually anything. My sternum showed some metabolic activity but it continues to decrease which is also a major thumbs up. I would really, really, really love to be able to worry less about these scans. I suppose I continue to tell myself if I'm feeling relatively good then the results MUST be good. Yet, after knowing so many women go from no evidence of disease (NED) to hospice in a matter of months, I don't think these scans can truly become "easy." Ever. However, today I'll take it and continue to enjoy this life that I am lucky enough to live, and I promise to continue to learn from my many metastatic friends just how to really do life. Happy 2018's to good health....everything else is simply secondary...

There is something so peaceful and beautiful about a snowy mountain landscape. This year I want to enjoy the beauty that is literally right in our backyard...Tourism pitch: If you want a picturesque/ski outdoor vacation then head on up to Banff:)

My nieces enjoying the is near impossible to get a pic where everyone is actually looking at the camera, so this was almost a win!

This made me laugh as this is how focused we are when someone is taking a in we are literally in our own worlds. The tree and the staircase in the background are pretty, so let's just focus on that.

Fairmont Banff Springs...this view never gets old

My niece skating

Aaaand not skating anymore. That side of my face that's swollen then turned into some lovely shades of purple and blue the days that followed...Beyond thankful I didn't break anything in my face!!

PET scan day!!!! AKA: the most stressful waiting period known to man!!!!

Aaaand post scan results & how I felt:) Welcome 2018..let's do this...but please be kind!!!

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