Mi Life Is An Adventure

Mi crazy, wonderful, beautiful life.

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.

 

Courage And Bravery March 7, 2012

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Says a lot, doesn't it?

In the last 4 years, I have spent a lot of time learning about courage and bravery. I have witnessed it first hand, and I continue to see it daily.

Bravery is defined as: Having or showing courage.

Courage is defined as: Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

With these definitions in place we can apply both to the smallest things in our lives, and to some of the biggest obstacles we will ever overcome. A child’s first steps, a fight to beat Cancer, revealing our sexual orientation, living an authentic life.

I have been a part of all of these life experiences in the last four years, I have witnessed the fear, the pain, and the desire to take these challenges head on. I cannot imagine the strength and fortitude it took for each of these people to take on life events, and to come out on top.

Many people don’t come out unscathed, many people give up on their journeys, does that make them less brave? I don’t think so, I believe it just means that they aren’t ready yet, and when the time is right they will resume their fight, and will eventually come out on top. They are brave for starting it in the first place.

I am not brave, I am not courageous. I fight my demons on the inside afraid of judgement. I keep them locked in, waiting for the day when I am brave enough to deal with them head on. I can’t imagine being free of the pain, yet, the pain of unacceptance seems that much greater.

How do we decide who is brave and who isn’t? Is a soldier brave, or the woman begging for money? Yes, that’s right, her. The one who swallowed her pride to beg for money to feed her children. She is brave in my book. Is bravery something that should always be rewarded? Perhaps we should be handing out more medals, what about the transman who takes his life in his hands every time he leaves the house afraid that he will be persecuted because he is living his life as himself. What about the child who is disabled, and endures taunts and jeers from classmates daily, should we not afford both of these people medals for bravery?

Bravery is a scary thing, being courageous is scary, I admire people who are both, and pray one day that I can count myself among their ranks.

 

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To See A Smile…

They're Free

One of the most wonderful things in life is to see a smile. A full-out grin, or a pensive-lost-in-thought smile. They all mean the same thing. It means that somewhere inside of us we are happy.

I love smiles, the first thing I notice about a person is their smile (second is eyes, and third is shoes…you have to have good shoes!). I notice the way your lips form over your teeth, I see if you have dimples, or if your smile is toothy or small.

A smile makes me feel warm, a smile can give me strength when I think I can’t go on, a smile will brighten my day when I am down, and will bring me higher when I’m already thinking I can’t get any happier!

Music makes me smile, as do kids, animals, trees and the water. I love to just sit, take in the world, and hope to not look too dumb as I smile like an idiot. I can remember times in my life when I am sad, down and out crying, yet I think of something and slowly a smile will start…I won’t necessarily be happy, but that moment of memory is enough to get me through.

I enjoy making others smile. I know that if my smile makes me happy, it must make others happy too, right? I think nothing of smiling at strangers, and am teaching Pais to share her wonderful smile with the world.

It’s not easy, in this day and age when we are all lost in our own lives, listening to our iPods, thinking about work, school, partners, parents, friends; we rarely take the moment to look up and smile at a stranger, to open our minds and hearts to another. It almost takes courage to look someone in the eye and grin.

So take a moment, clean the salad out of your teeth, and SMILE!

 

The Hats We Wear March 4, 2012

So Many Hats, So Little Time

So Many Hats, So Little Time

*I am prefacing this before actually writing this post, a friend of mine and I are both blogging the same topic. We are curious about how each of us will respond to the topic, and what each of our takes is. To read WhoseElliot’s blog post, follow the link at the bottom of the page.*

Daily we are required to wear many hats, some days we wear more hats, or less. Some hats we choose to wear, others are bestowed upon us and we don’t get the choice to remove them. Some hats are out in the open for everyone to see, and others we keep hidden, but they are still there.

For my job, I wear my Childcare hat, (and of course my toque in the winter) I was given my Mummy hat by Paisley, and some of the hats I keep hidden are my survivor hat, and my insecure hat.

Hats can be used to accentuate who we are, we can use them to jazz up an outfit, or put one on and pretend to be someone we aren’t. Often in life, I think the latter is true, We put on a hat hoping to fool people, hoping they won’t see the hidden hats beneath it. What are we afraid of? Acceptance, judgement, anger, grief? We all have our reasons, the point is, they are ours.

I often hide behind my happy hat, people often perceive me as self-confident, assured, and cocksure. Most of the time, I feel the opposite. I feel  insecure, unsure, and I second guess most things (and third guess!).

When I show people my other hats, when I openly discuss how I am feeling, or how something in my past is still affecting me today, people often try to fix me, or to give me advice. When that happens, I automatically put on my happy hat. I hide, I don’t need fixing.

It is interesting that at birth we are given a boy hat or a girl hat. Pink or blue. Those hats will be the first of thousands we wear in a lifetime, from the minute we are born, our heads are covered, letting the world know who we are.

I hope that as I become older, wiser, and more unconcerned, that I can remove some of my hats. I can put them away, and live a life where I don’t feel that I have to hide parts of myself, where I don’t care about what others think, and maybe, I will feel more peace in my life. Until then, I will continue to don each hat daily, I will keep my other hats firmly planted but hidden, waiting for that day when I can let people in.

To read WhoseElliot’s blog on Hats go here: www.whoselliot.wordpress.com

 

Absence, And Coming Back. February 10, 2012

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shellykaynyc/4450086651/

it's been awhile...

I was on a bit of a blogging hiatus, I’m not sure why. I think sometimes life is just so overwhelming that I cannot think about much more than getting through my day, and counting the hours until I can go to sleep. Given the fact that my life is so hectic, when I sleep, I sleep well, deep, and un-dreaming. It’s that total state of absence. I don’t hear Shaughn come to bed, I don’t remember tossing or turning; often times, I wake the same way I fell asleep.

I miss blogging. It is a great outlet for me,  a way for me to organise my thoughts, and to remember things.

Shaughn is also absent from our lives a lot these days, he will leave for work around 8:45 on a good day, and I won’t see him until 10 that night. I would be lying if I said this wasn’t impacting our marriage. I miss my partner, my love, my person. Often when he gets home he is beyond exhausted, and certainly not in the head space for meaningful conversations, or talk of bill payments and laundry. Most nights I go to bed alone while he works on homework for the next night. I have learned to cherish our short weekends, our family time.

I have had to let a lot go these last few months, I am not nearly as concerned with my windows and floors, laundry is always at the bottom of my list…My main priority has been Paisley, trying to be a great Mummy while balancing the rest of my life. I’m doing ok with it, granted there are days when I’m not going to win Mother of The Year, but there are others when she just looks up at me and says ‘I love you Mummy’ that I know I’m not doing too bad of job.

I know my absence has been felt within my circle of friends, with them checking in occasionally to make sure I’m still treading water. I feel isolated much of the time, with my only connection to the outside world being the radio and text messages I share during the day. It’s not all doom and gloom, my brother (read: Saint) picks me up every Tuesday to take Paisley out for dinner while I grocery shop for the week. Weekends I usually get out for a bit, thankfully otherwise I might just lose my mind entirely.

I’m going to try to be less absent from this blog, I feel like I need to get my words on paper, to focus my thoughts, and to be more introspective. So, please forgive me if I am not posting regularly, forgive me for my absence, and if another hiatus is looming in my future, please pre-forgive that one too.

 

Get Famous? May 16, 2011

'I never go out unless I look like Joan Crawford'

Does the world need another blogger? Really?

Am I that narcissistic to think that I am so cool, so well written and spoken that people will actually want to read what I have to write?

So why blog? What is my goal?

Honestly, I am inspired to write by the numerous blogs I regularly follow. See below for a list.

While researching about how to blog, one of the sections was titled ‘Get Famous’. Well, I don’t need or necessarily want to be famous, I think this blog will be ever evolving,  I am hoping for a dash of humour mixed in with some sarcasm and wit. I hope it will also be informative and interesting.

So, a little about myself.

I am a 34-year-old, married Canadian Mummy. My beautiful daughter (Paisley, more commonly known as Pants) is three, and my partner of erm…13 years is Shaughn. We live in an average city, in an average house. We have a dog and cat, and 4 daycare children (beasts) that come daily for care.

I went to school for Early Childhood Education, graduating in ’99, after which I moved to the Arctic to work for 6 long cold months. It was then that I realised that I was meant to spend my life where restaurants didn’t serve seal meat, and blizzards lasted for hours not days. It was then that I also realised that I was meant to spend my life with Shaughn, wherever that may be.  After my contract was finished, I moved back to the south, and worked in centre based care for the next 10 years.

In 2008 I became a Mummy, and knew I could never go back to the childcare centre I had worked at. I needed a change, and home childcare was a better option for our little family. It’s been my passion since I opened my doors on Jan. 5, 2009.

I have a special interest in the LGBTQ community and how it relates to parenting, childcare, and the growth and development of children. I am also very interested in gender issues, women’s studies, and Canadian politics.

So will any of this make me famous?

Nah, probably not, but I’m cool with that.

*Blogs I Follow:

Uppercase Woman – Cecily Kellogg http://www.uppercasewoman.com/

Aiming Low – Various Contributors http://aiminglow.com/

Mamadojo – Various Contributors http://www.mamadojo.com/

Finding Summer – Summer Minor http://findingsummer.com/

 

 
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