Mi Life Is An Adventure

Mi crazy, wonderful, beautiful life.

The End February 20, 2013

I am closing out this blog.

I love it, but for so long, so much of it has been sad and negative, I feel that I have moved on with my life, and with my new chapters unfolding, I need to create a new space to write in.

Thank you for all reading my crap, for sending me positive thoughts and love. It’s amazing what an online community can do for ones spirits when things are tough.

I have started a new blog, a new space, a place to share my excitement and joy. Please feel free to follow me there, I will once again be blogging regularly, I need to write, and I need a blank canvass!

Love and hugs to you all!

Find me at: http://www.simplysomeday.wordpress.com

Christa

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I’m A Survivor October 20, 2012

I’m A Survivor, Picture 1) Surgery Morning…scared beyond belief. 2) A few hours post surgery, just found out everything went well. 3) Part of my incision, it’s another 3-4 inches long. 4) The day my oncologist called and told me the news. Second happiest day of my life.

I’ve not blogged in while, truthfully it was just too painful. My life has been shit for the last 4 months.

I was avoiding blogging because it hurt too much to rehash my daily thoughts, it made me sad, it didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere, and I just ended up in tears with each blog I didn’t publish.

Now, here I am. 3 weeks post surgery, I am still recovering, I am still in pain, my body and mind are still healing, but I have peace.

All of the cancer was removed, nothing had spread, my lymph nodes were clear, all the additional biopsies were clear. I am Cancer Free.

With all of this it is hard for me to say the words ‘I am a survivor’. I didn’t have to fight for my life, I didn’t endure months of treatments, I didn’t have rounds of chemicals flowing through my veins, or radiation shot into my body burning the cancer out of me. I had surgery; Albeit a lengthy, major surgery, but in all, it was just surgery.

I don’t feel justified in saying I’m a survivor, but I guess I am. I’m one of the women who found the disease early enough, I took my health into my hands and didn’t shy away from tests. I took on Cancer head first and won. Fuck You Cancer. I made you my bitch.

My cancer, endometrial cancer, is the 4th most common cancer for Canadian women, each year 3,900 women in this country are diagnosed with it, and if caught soon enough it has a high survival rate. IF CAUGHT SOON ENOUGH….get ready ladies…Imma Preaching!

The most common symptom of endometrial cancer is ABNORMAL BLEEDING, spotting between periods, unusually long periods, heavy periods. This cancer isn’t generally found in younger women, it’s generally found in women who are post menopausal. Women my age aren’t affected nearly as often.  I went to my GP in December for my physical which of course included the regular cop and feel…pap test the whole ball of yarn. I mentioned my crazy cycles and periods at that point, and he asked me to schedule another appointment to discuss this further and the different options available to me. Very occasionally endometrial cancer can be caught by a pap test, but often, as in my case it isn’t. Don’t rely on a normal pap test and assume you’re all good.

At my second appointment we discussed my 60-90 day cycles, and 12-15 days of bleeding. Sorry to be graphic, but it sucked. I couldn’t leave the house for the first half of my period because I was afraid of bleeding through tampons and pads. It was awful. At this appointment my Dr. decided to send me to a clinic that specialises in minimally invasive techniques of dealing with crazy cycles. My Dr thought I had fibroids, which are very common and quite treatable.

Sooooo to the clinic I went, I believe I had to wait a month or so for my appointment. At this appointment, I met a new Dr who specialises in women’s health etc.  He was quite nice. He unfortunately put me through a whack of shitty tests that I am grateful were generally fast. Some Tylenol and Motrin for a few days and I was fine.

It was during these tests that he found one tumour, he of course didn’t tell me, not until he had conclusive pathology. 3 weeks later I was in for my second appointment with him, and I saw the surgeon instead. He very nicely told me I had cancer and needed to have a hysterectomy, as well as my ovaries removed. He then informed me he could do the surgery around Christmas or he could find another oncologist to take my case….FIND ME ANOTHER DR AND GET THIS SHIT OUT OF ME!

September 26th that’s what happened. My new Dr, who is amazing, and who I love removed all my girl bits, she opened my uterus in the surgery suite and found another unexpected tumour, and then the beginning of another was found when they were doing the pathology post surgery.

And now I’m cancer free. I’m still dealing with what this exactly means. I have the chance to start again, I have a new lease on life. I have the opportunity to do things differently. I will not make the same mistakes. I will continue to be vigilant about my health, next step is genetic testing, time to find out if I too am a carrier of the BCRA1 and BCRA2 genes…if I am, another surgery is on the horizon.

So my life now is trying to evade hot flashes, mood swings which tend to be teary not bitchy, and dealing with post surgery recovery. Sore muscles, nausea associated with the anaesthetic (Today I didn’t PUKE!!!!! Woot!) an incision that puts Frankenstein to shame, and doing all of this while caring for my girl. She makes it all worthwhile. I get to be her Mummy for a long, long time.

I’m 35, healthy, active. I’m a Mummy, a friend, a sister, a daughter, (a penguin). I am a volunteer, a hard worker; and now, I am a Cancer Survivor.

 

My American Boy Came To Canada August 19, 2012

My American Boy, Elliot.

I’ve not blogged again in a week or so, life has just been crazeeee. Work crap, Cancer crap, Separation crap. There’s not been a lot of good in the last few weeks.

I’m missing Elliot like there’s no tomorrow.

I don’t want this blog post to turn into a public school essay on ‘How I Spent My Summer Holiday’, I’m sorry if it does.

My vacation planning started way back in March, and really, it was kind of a joke for a while. Elliot and I would talk about him coming here to visit the Great White North, and we would laugh because he actually lives north of me.

Over time, the joke turned into a ‘what if’, what if he came here, what if I didn’t go visit Shaughn’s family, what if I had a ‘staycation’ and did things around here. Eventually the what ifs turned into full-out vacation planning in southern Ontario for Elliot and myself

This was the first vacation in 12 years that I was able to do what I wanted to do, go where I wanted to go, see what I wanted to see, and not feel like I was disappointing anyone if I wanted to do something different.

I’m beginning to see what my life will be like when I’m actually alone, Shaughn moves out in a few days, and I won’t have to consider him and what his needs and wants are anymore. I can live my life the way I want to live it. I can go the places I want, see who I want to see, and spend my time how I want and need to spend it.

I digress.

This vacation was so much more than just a typical holiday, it was Elliot’s first time to visit me, to see my space, meet some of my friends and family. I was so very excited that a bunch of my friends from a local LGBTQ group were getting together, so that he would be able to meet some of the wonderful people who have accepted me into their community as an ally. We attended our local Pride festivities and marched with PFLAG in the parade. It was amazing.

We were visiting Toronto and Niagara Falls, and were doing it with a plan, but it was flexible, we could change and alter it if we needed. We were free to wander for hours after a huge storm, and see night fall on the big city. In Niagara we were able to see the first full moon of the month rise over the falls in a $500 hotel room that we paid a mere $139 for!!!! (Always ask for the upgrade!!)

We spent days with Paisley, and nights around the campfire; sharing conversation, laughter, and tears. Still we didn’t run out of things to talk about.

For the first time in years, I finally felt like myself. I didn’t feel I had to censor my thoughts, feelings, or words. I was able to be silly, I was able to be me. I was so happy. I didn’t think about work, or cancer, or separation. I didn’t think about my life falling apart, I thought about how wonderful it was to live this life, even with all of it falling down, I was still living it, I was able to enjoy it. I knew at some point on that vacation that everything was going to be ok. I was going to be ok.

I know I’m in for an uphill climb, I know that life is going to be far from easy in the coming months. I also am realising that I am tough enough, I’m realising that I can ask for help and it’s not a sign of weakness but of  strength, I’m realising that my family and friends are the best I could ever imagine, and I don’t know where I would be if they weren’t part of my life.

And so my American Boy came to Canada, he cheered me up, lifted my spirits, let me cry, made me laugh, gave me some tough love but followed it up with a hug.

I came back to work, feeling renewed, I came back with a sense of purpose, and a determination to make the next super hard months ok. I’m determined to find myself again, to find out what makes me happy, and to figure out how to achieve my dreams. (See my ‘Someday’ blog post)

Thank you Elliot for sharing 12 days with us, thank you for all that you do.

His and Hers. They mean completely different things to each of us, but will always remind us, that out there in the world is someone who has the same tattoo. Someone who will listen to the other, someone who will not judge, but will be honest even when it hurts. Someone to make the other laugh on the hard days, and will share in the joys and triumphs that we will both have.

 

 

 

Someday… August 6, 2012

Waiting for my someday….

I’ve been on vacation for the last two weeks, I’ve not blogged, but have been able to spend some time reflecting on what I need and want for my future.

At this point in my life everything is so up in the air, I feel very out of control, and overwhelmed with the changes that are fast approaching. Shaughn is moving in less than a month, my surgery fu for the end of September, we are talking more about Paisley and school, and I am missing friends and family who are far away.

I guess the following is just really my own little pipe dream, and if bits and pieces of it come true than fantastic, until then…I’ll keep waiting for my Someday.

SOMEDAY, I want to have my perfect life. I don’t mean like white picket fences, or lots of money. I just want a partner who loves me and Paisley. I want to be comfortable, I don’t want to have to worry about money or bills, and I want to have enough saved up that I can take a vacation, or go someplace neat on a rainy day. I want Paisley to grow up knowing that even though Shaughn and I couldn’t make it work, that we still love her, and that we will always have her back. I want her to know that she can have a fairy tale ending even though I didn’t.

SOMEDAY, I want to have a job I love and that I feel like I am making a difference in people’s lives. In most respects, I have that now. I do love my job, I love the kids, the chaos, and the joy I feel when I am with them. I generally feel like I am making a difference. But, my hours are long, I live at work, and sometimes I feel under appreciated. I’m not sure what I want to do, a big part of me wants to work with LGBTQ youth, or to work in the school system teaching teachers and staff about the many issues LGBTQ youth face at home, with friends and family, in the community and at school. I don’t know how to do this, I don’t know if there is a need (I really think there is though), I don’t know what kind of education I would need, or if it is something that I would be satisfied with in the end.

SOMEDAY, I want another child. I want to give a child in the system a forever home. I can’t have any more of my own, and I don’t really want a baby (ugh, I’m sooo not a baby person) but I would love to adopt an older child, someone who needs a family to love them, and to celebrate them.

SOMEDAY, I want to fall head over heels in love. I want to go to bed wrapped up in love, and wake up the same way. I want to be smart about it next time. I want to value myself, and treat myself properly. I have to be ok with being alone first, knowing I can do it on my own, before letting someone new in. I can’t let the fear of being alone cloud my judgment in the future. If I end up alone, I have to be ok with that, but if I find a new partner, I need to make sure that they are the right person for me. I can’t do this again; not to myself or to Paisley. Separating and divorce sucks rocks. The End.

SOMEDAY, I want to be able to look back on my marriage to Shaughn and not feel anger, guilt, or sadness. I want to be able to be open-minded to all the good things that happened despite the breakdown. I want to be able to see all the good things that came out of it, and not just see the bad stuff. I want to be able to share silly stories with Paisley about what her daddy was like, and the crazy things we did when we were young. I want to look back and feel a sense of happiness. It hasn’t all been bad, it’s just hard to see the good some days.

SOMEDAY, I want a cure for cancer, all cancers, not just mine. I don’t want any other families to go through the same shit I am going through, and that my family has gone through in the last 10 years. It’s heartbreaking.

Lastly,

SOMEDAY, I want to wake up and know that everything is ok in my world. I want to smile, and embrace my life. I want to feel happy, I want to feel safe; and I want to feel that I can take on any challenge thrown at me because I am strong enough, smart enough, and good enough to take it on.

I can’t wait for SOMEDAY.

 

 

‘Hi, My Name Is Christa…And My World Is Falling Apart’ July 19, 2012

Support Me…

“Hi Christa”….

It’s always interesting to me that support comes from places you would least expect it to come from.

That person you haven’t talked to in a year, an old ‘frenemy’ who heard-through-the-grapevine-and-just-had-to-call, or your neighbour from when you were 5.

This week I attended my local, monthly PFLAG meeting. For those of you unfamiliar with PFLAG (Parents and Friends for Lesbians and Gays, although the door is WIDE open for anyone involved in the LGBTQQ community) it is a monthly support group that I attend to support someone close to me. It is a wonderful, open, caring, and safe space that basically you can talk about whatever you are dealing with. I normally don’t share much. Just the usual, ‘Hi, my name is Christa, I am an Ally, my friend____________ is ______________ and I am here to help support them’ I then usually go into our relationship a bit and yadda yadda yadda. PFLAG in a short time has become something that I feel quite passionate about. The sense of love, compassion, care, and openness within the group always leaves me feeling that all is well with the world, even if it is just for 2 hours on a Monday night once a month.

This meeting was a little different. It was quite large, at least 20 or so people, there were a number of very unfortunate issues happening with some of our group, and there were some lovely new faces. One Ally attended from as far away as Texas. I was one of the last people to speak, and had planned on just doing my usual routine, but the leader (who is also a friend) encouraged me to open up and ‘spill it’ (Ohhhh Lori, I do so Love you!). So yes, everything just kinda came tumbling out, I felt like I couldn’t stop…the words just kept coming, separation, parenting, friends, sadness, Cancer, anger, surgery, scared, gaaaaah. It was strange and surreal. Here I was baring my soul to a room full of strangers for the most part. Very disconcerting. And yet I talked. It was odd being the one who needed support vs. being the supporter. But there everyone was with horrified looks on their faces, the ‘OHMIGOD’ expression as I like to call it. I’m getting used to that look, it’s funny, I can picture people’s faces on the phone when I tell them…

So other than absolute shameless promotion of PFLAG (which is an AMAZING organisation, and I highly recommend anyone who has ties to the LGBTQQ community check them out. They are world-wide, free, and a wealth of knowledge, support, and love.) I guess I am using this post to say, I’m finding support in the oddest of places.  I am continually surprised when someone calls or emails me to let me know they are thinking of me.

Onwards and Upwards, Oncology on Monday (totally freaking out but Ohhhh Welll)`

PFLAG (main site) http://community.pflag.org/page.aspx?pid=194

PFLAG Canada http://www.pflagcanada.ca/en/index-e.php

 

What’s Good, and What’s Not Broken July 12, 2012

20120712-095423.jpg

And now I have to focus on what’s good, not what is broken.

So I’ve kept rather quiet about all of this for over a month, I’m not sure why. Maybe I was trying to protect myself, maybe I didn’t want it to seem like my whole world is caving in. I don’t want to be seen as a failure…so many different things I guess.

My 9 year marriage is ending. Suck Ass. It’s been a long time coming, it’s just the time is now. Not perfect timing, but the cancer stuff happened after the decision to end things.

Shaughn and I are two very different  people. For the last few years, we have drifted further and further apart, this last year with him at school has just exacerbated many of the issues that have always been there.

We are still friends, and I hope that we can always remain friends. This marriage took two people to make, and it’s taken two people to break it. We are ending things now so that we can still be friends, so we can leave not angry or too hurt.

We are both committed to being the best parents to our lovely Paisley that we can be, and to do that, we need to be committed to being friends, to communicating, and to still remaining as much of a family as we can be.

So now I’m looking at being a single Mum with Cancer…FML.

Really though, as much as all of this hurts, I’m excited about my future again, I’m looking forward to finding who I am, who I’ve lost over the last 12 years. I think a part of me has been hidden away. I did that because I thought that I would never find someone who loved me, I put my own feelings aside because I was in love. I chose to alter myself, my needs and wants to stay in this relationship because I was too afraid to do it on my own. This was unfair to myself, but equally as unfair to Shaughn. This last year has taught me that I CAN do it on my own, and that I know I can do a good job of it.

While I am excited, a part of me is scared. Pais is not going to do well initially, I know that, and I am going to be the one who will have to pick up most of the pieces of her crumbling world. I’m scared that I won’t have time to do it all. Shaughn has always done certain things; taken out the trash, cleaned the cat litter, he sets the dishwasher and unloads it everyday, he looks after the yard work. I wonder when exactly I’m going to get it all done. on top of being a Mum, having a full-time job, doing my volunteer work, and having a minute social life. He even makes my coffee for me every morning…now after a few trials and errors, I have figured that out, and when I say errors, ooh man I mean errors!!!!!

So yeah, the ride gets bumpier and has some crazy twists, but I’m doing ok. I am going to be great. We are going to be awesome parents to our girl. We are determined. This is totally sad and sucky, but it’s going to be ok. We all deserve to be happy, Paisley, Shaughn and I, it’s just unfortunate we can’t all be happy together.

Live and Learn my friends, Live and Learn.

 

Slammed By The Mail July 9, 2012

Swift Kick To My Brain

I love to get mail most days, other than assorted bills, really, I usually get nothing. It’s sad, but in this day of modern technology the traditional letter has been replaced by email, e-cards, text messages and emoticons.

Today though I got a letter, a letter from Oncology.

As soon as I saw the envelope everything came crashing down. For the last week, other than erratic sleep, I have been able to put the cancer mostly out of my head. I haven’t really had to think much about it, or really talk about it. It’s always there, but it has taken a backseat to what’s happening in the rest of my crazy ass life.

But the letter changed that, I instantly felt nauseous, my head kinda went light, and my hands started to shake. It just brought the cancer and it’s ramifications back to the front of my brain.

I started to think about what it meant; surgery in the near future, 8 weeks of recovery, pain, not being able to hug of lift my girl. Then of course the possibility of finding cancer on my ovaries, or elsewhere while they are in there. I started to think about my aunt who was my age when she was diagnosed, and all the women before me, and then the fear kicks in.

I am terrified of surgery, I am scared of recovery, I know I have amazing, rather AMAZING friends and family who will all be there to help in any way they can, but a part of me still feels very alone in this. I feel like it’s my body that has failed, that if I had chosen to live parts of my life differently I wouldn’t be in this boat. If I was healthier, if I had eaten organic, probiotic, grain fed, vegetarian…blah blah blah…the list in my head goes on for miles.

I wonder who will go with me to the hospital, and who will visit. I worry about who is going to care for Magee when I’m not able to. I worry that she’s just not going to understand, how could she when I can barely grasp it all. Will I be alone when I start puking from the anesthetic (because I always do) or will someone be there to rub my back and bring me some water?

All these what ifs, and things out of my control, a million different variables, and questions. Really there are no answers yet, and some won’t be answered until I’m actually in the situation.

I know I’m going to be ok in my head, I’m just having a hard time convincing my heart of the same.

 

 
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