Mi Life Is An Adventure

Mi crazy, wonderful, beautiful life.

An Update November 30, 2012

Finally Feeling like me again.

I’ve not posted recently, life is back to its normal routine. I work, I sleep, I work, I sleep. I’ve had so many changes in the last 6 months, it’s just now, that I’m learning to live in my new reality.

I guess my health first. I am cancer free. As in none. All Clear. BEST NEWS EVER. I have a visit with my oncologist Monday, not a visit really, but you know…after that I have a 6 month appointment, then one at a year post op. I generally feel fantastic, I’m pretty well healed up, I’m trying to view my horrible incision as a battle scar. I had cancer, I beat it, and I have the war wound to prove it. No more low-rise jeans, bring on the highrise Mom Jeans…fml. Oh well.

My energy is at an all time low. I liken it to the days when I had a 3 week old and the adrenaline of a new babe has worn off and I was up every 2 hours feeding…I’m that kind of tired. My sleep is often interrupted by hot flashes, dreams, and just the inability to sleep. It’s all kinds of suck ass but I know it will improve, or at least that’s what I tell myself.

I’ve decided at this point to stop HRT, so I guess I’m willingly putting myself through menopause…kinda sadistic. I’m doing it for good reason though. The women in my family seem to be afflicted with the BCRA1 and BCRA2 genes, the ones directly involved with both breast and ovarian cancer. I don’t have ovaries, but I have BOOOOOBS…two of them in fact. The HRT, although it was a very low dose, can still effect my chances of developing cancer, and if I also have the gene, then I’m even more so putting myself in direct risk of developing breast cancer. I just beat it once, let’s not test the fates shall we? So, no more HRT. I can tell you it is the pits. I can’t imagine hot flashes are awesome at any age, but at 35, I feel ridiculous. Thankfully it’s winter and I can quickly relieve symptoms (which I did at 4:30 this morning by standing outside in my night-shirt until the searing heat radiating off me subsided). I have an appointment scheduled with my GP to be referred to the geneticist to have the testing for the BCRA genes. So, fingers crossed it’s quick to get in, the results come quickly, and that I manage to dodge the bullet. If not it’ll be another surgery to remove the ‘girls’. On the plus side, if that happens, you can damn well bet, when I come out of surgery, I’m going to have fake tits that make a 17-year-old highschool senior jealous!

The second of the big changes has been my separation. This too is going well. We are doing divorce well. Is that even possible? Happily Divorced? Funny but it fits. Things had been a titch rocky, but now for the most part we are doing great. Shaughn is being a fantastic dad, which he always has been, and is better at being a friend to me. He has joined Paisley and I for dinner, and things (although slightly awkward) went well. I hope this can continue.

I like our friendship, I do not want a romantic relationship. I’m happy. Like Super fucking happy. It’s hard being a single mum; Really Really Tough, but I love it. I love the time I get to spend with Pais, I’m much happier, our house if filled with much more laughter, dancing, and joy. God knows I needed more Joy. I am enjoying my time with Pais, we are doing really fun things together that we just didn’t do. There was always someplace to go, or someplace to be. There wasn’t much time for kitchen parties, blaring Taylor Swift and singing into wooden spoons…now there is.

Paisley and I have a new and different relationship. I’m no longer competing with Shaughn for her attention, her world no longer revolves around him being home. That sounds horrible, but really that is how things have felt for the last almost 5 years. If Shaughn was home Paisley was glued to him. In many ways I don’t feel she and I were able to have a good relationship because she was too busy being with him. Nowadays she and I are close. Super close. I love it! She and Shaughn talk daily, and she sees him quite often. But when she’s with me, she’s with me. There are a lot more snuggles, books being read, letters being printed, singing and dancing. There is more My Little Pony play instead of watching, and lots of fun outings. I think we are both loving our new life.

I have a new post starting in my head, so I am going to sign off, I will try to post more now that life has found its new normal. Thank you to everyone for all the amazing words of support and kindness. Thank you for the words of encouragement to start writing again, sometimes I just need that little kick in the pants to get going again.

 

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.

 

A Letter To My Friends… March 14, 2012

Dear Friends,

Thank you for being wonderful, thank you for taking the time to listen, to laugh, and to try to understand me. Thank you for not trying to fix me, or my life. I don’t need fixing, I need a shoulder, and yours are ever so broad.

Thank you for showing me the lines in the sand aren’t always as they seem, that no issues are black and white; there are often undertones of grey and  blue. Thank you for accepting  my idiosyncrasies, my tendencies for neurotic, and my general stupidity. I often need to put my foot in my mouth, yet you never make me feel bad about it.

My dear friends, thank you for being you. I admire the people you are. On this life’s journey we have to take paths, and they can lead us and branch off so many ways. I am glad the path I chose led me to you. I have wondered what my life would be like without you in it; not hearing your laughter or voice, I wonder if there would be someone else if it hadn’t been you? I highly doubt it.

I need you to know how important you are to me, I need you to know that your opinions do matter, that I value your insight and wisdom. I need you to know that when I laugh with you, it comes from my heart, you are clever and I like that a lot.

Please don’t worry about running out of things to talk about, I’m sure that won’t happen, but if it does we can figure it out. Thank you for trying to teach me, for being a champion of my causes, for late night conversations, and a million text messages. They help me get through my life; being a work at home mama is a tough job, and often you are the only adult I speak in 10 hours.

My friends, thank you for getting excited over the little things with me, I know you could care less about finding worms with the kids, but to me it is important, and I appreciate your excitement too. I love being silly with you, it makes me feel young.

Finally, in each of your own ways, you have helped me to become a better, stronger, and happier person, what more could I ever ask for?

X’s and O’s,

C.

 

Courage And Bravery March 7, 2012

I

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!

 

Connection February 24, 2012

If we take the time, we will all find that there is one thing that connects us all; Humanity..

“I’m not that girl” she said, “I don’t call two people, not even one person to ask for help, it’s just not who I am.”

This was part of a conversation I had last night. A total stranger, going through some really tough times, reaching out.

Why are we so afraid to ask for help and support? Does it make us look weak? Are we worried about what others must think? Are we afraid that the other person will say no?

These are all valid and genuine fears, lord knows I have felt them several times. My concern is that we feel fear at all when we are reaching out. What has society done to us, that when we are at out most vulnerable we shy away from others, worried about their reaction, and not being worried about what will happen if we don’t seek support.

What gives any of us the right to judge another? Who gave us that upper-hand so that we may decide if we are better than someone else? Is that feeling  justified or is it just in our heads?

I know I have certainly been on both ends as the judge and the judged. Neither is a nice place to be in. Initially, that judge position makes me feel superior; like I have the answers, like others she respect me. Afterwards, I feel like a heel. I’m not better, I sure as shit don’t have any fancy papers that say I am qualified to judge, and respect goes out the window the minute I chose to judge. As the judged, I feel small, sad, angry. I feel as if I am unable to do things on my own, mainly I feel fear.

I think we all need to take a step back, we all need to remind ourselves that we are all human, not one of us is better, not one of us is perfect. People we put in places of respect and honour make mistakes. They have affairs, they cheat on their taxes, they have mental illnesses, they are addicts and alcoholics, they are normal people too, with the same problems that we have. They just have different jobs.

This post is supposed to be connecting, the one thing that connects us, each one of us; is our humanity. From sinner to saint to everyone in between, we are all connected by the fact that we are human, we share the same dreams, aspirations, hopes, and love.  We are all different, yet, so much of us is the same, why do we treat each other so differently?

Do yourself a favour today, take a step out of that judge and jury box, keep an open and clear mind, do something small to make someone else’s life a little better. It doesn’t take much, a cup of coffee, a phone call, a meal for a homeless person. Take time to listen today, not just to others, but to your internal dialogue, what are you saying? Would your thoughts be harmful and hurtful or would they be trying to see the good in everyone?

Take a minute to connect with someone today, take a minute to listen, to smile, and to appreciate what it is that makes us all human.

 

A Letter For Paisley On Her 4th Birthday February 21, 2012

I loved you before you were you.

And now you are four.

My dearest Paisley, from the moment Daddy told me I was pregnant, I was in love with you. I would think about you during the day, and at night in my dreams we would run holding hands, laughing and dancing.

Now you are four, and I don’t have to dream. We do run, and play and dance. We laugh so hard we cry.

I remember when you were a colicky baby, and for hours on end I would hold and rock you, I wished so hard for you to grow up, and now that you are, I would give anything to hold you in my arms again.

I love the person you are becoming Paisley, I love your crazy sense of humour, you can turn even the worst situations into a comedy routine. I love that you are a good friend, you hold your friends always close in your heart, often thinking of them when they aren’t around. I love that you are empathetic, you care for everyone, and want to save the world.

I love that you are a perfectionist, I know that one day it will come back and bite you, but I can appreciate your need for order and discipline.

I love that you are learning new things everyday, and that you love to learn. Your fascination with space isn’t as fleeting as I thought it would be, you love to learn about the planets, and remember facts that I don’t. I love that you love to read, and to tell me stories. I could sit and watch you play with your imaginary friends for hours. I see you reliving your days in your play, and it makes me so happy.

You are growing up so quickly Paisley, when I call you my baby you remind me that you are a big girl. Yesterday though, you added on that you will always be my baby, and you will.

The only thing I wish for you Paisley, and the only thing I will ever wish for, is for your happiness. When people ask what I want for you, I tell them that I want for you to be happy. I don’t need you to have a well-paying job, or a partner, or children, or a house even. All I wish for is for you to be happy. As long as you wake each morning knowing that you are loved, as long as you know that your actions can change the world for better and for worse, as long as when you wake each day, you are confident enough to grab the day, smile at it and own it. As long as you are happy.

So my 4-year-old Paisley, Happy Birthday Lovey, you are my world, and you always will be.

Love,

Mummy

 

 
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