Thursday, December 5, 2019

Update Dec 5th

Sorry I am a day late! This is from Carly yesterday :)

Pic 1 was taken months ago and shows how big my hernia was. It was even bigger at surgery this Monday.

Pic 2 was taken today just 2 days post #umbilicalherniarepair I always knew how pregnant/fat I looked and how sore it was, but until you actually see the difference it’s unreal!

So glad to be healing generally well post surgery, home in next couple days.

The staff at VGH have been amazing! I thank you all on floor 8 and in the OR and recovery room. 8 weeks of recovery here I come!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Update Dec 3rd from the Hospital

Update from Carly from this morning:

After surgery, she was in recovery for 7 hours, which was unexpected!! The epidural didn't freeze her all the way so they had to keep readjusting the location of the needles to get her pain under control.

While this was going on they gave her a shot of fentanyl, which did help with the paid but it brought out her anxiety and so many emotions. It felt like a double edge sword - do you stay pain free and feel really crappy???  the fentanyl left quickly and she just stayed on Morphine drip (see the green light in the pic below). 

She did have a hard time sleeping at all yesterday, so she took 1/2 a sleeping pills last night... slept maybe 3 hours here and 2 hours there.. she does have a catheter and a binder (girdle to hold everything in place) which makes everything uncomfortable.

She is considering today Day 1 of recovery! She got up out of bed, walked around and is sitting up! Tomorrow they will probably take out the epidural and the catheter and then Thursday she has to make sure that the pain is under control then she can go home.

She is in room 8220 Jim Pattinson pavilion and says thanks for all your texts, emails etc so very sweet! Xoxo C

Monday, December 2, 2019

Update Dec 2nd from the Hospital

Dec 2nd 4:30pm

Carly's mom posted this on her fb page:

Surgery went well today and Carly is “put back together”! She is currently in recovery and should be in her room about 5 pm so no room number yet. Best not to visit tonight. She will let you know when she is ready😉. Thanks for all the support you give her!

Marj and Grant

Hoping to speak with her in the morning and I will post another update!

Cheers, Dawn

Saturday, September 7, 2019

What’s up Doc?

The Looney Tunes cartoon famous line “What’s up Doc” usually delivered by the iconic Bugs Bunny, has kind of become my line and looney type lifestyle over the last while.  Seems with all the doctor appointments and conversations that come with, all I really can say is exactly that..what’s up Doc?

The hernia repair wait has been going on for what seems like forever. My first hernia appeared in May 2018 3 months after surgery. I was still in recovery mode so they couldn’t do repair at the time with what was a relatively small hernia. Jump forward to today and that hernia is now the size of a volleyball and unfortunately have 2 more on my ostomy side. The volleyball is on my right and causes me pain and discomfort every single day. 

This past Thursday I had an appointment with my surgeon who I hadn't seen in 9 months. I had so many things I wanted to many ways on how I wanted to say them, but after a good reminder from a friend, I went in calm and understanding. The doctor really only cares about the hernia and not my emotions or stories of my struggles. He explained he’ll only be repairing the big one and not the others as it’s just too hard a surgery all at once. It’s not as simple as we think so the less bothersome hernias will be repaired likely a year later. As much as I understood I still felt defeated and left knowing no specific date of repair the Dr just saying it would be by years end. 

I got in my car and drove straight home. I’d planned to visit some friends after my appointment, but just wanted to be alone in my misery. My phone rang maybe 30 minutes after I returned home & it was the surgeons office. My repair has been scheduled she told me so I grabbed my pen and calendar awaiting the specifics. December 2nd is surgery date at VGH, time TBA a few days prior. Surgery will take about 2.5 hours and I’ll be in hospital 2-4 days post op. A strict recovery routine for a minimum of 6 weeks depending on how things go of course. I hung up the phone and did a happy dance. May not be exactly what I wanted but man I’m excited!

Ostomy life has all around been quite good these past 19 months. Lots of learning and healing in the beginning, but once you get a grasp of things your routine is set and it becomes part of you. I don’t even blink anymore, Winnie is just there & I’m so much better with her than without. I wouldn’t be alive today had this surgery not happened so that keeps me in check when a bad day shows itself. I was telling someone the other day that I feel more special with her, like how weird is that right?  As much as cancer did all this to me it really has given me so much. However a 3rd battle is not wanted so let’s not get too carried away Carly!

A couple months back I landed in hospital with a blockage and that pain almost felt worse than my initial surgery! Complete agony and felt like I was going to explode from the inside out. I had what’s called an NG tube placed down my nose to my stomach to help pump out whatever caused the blockage. That was such a creepy feeling going in and staying there over 3 days especially while vomiting!  That hospital stay CT scan revealed the 3rd hernia...can a girl not catch a break?  Things really do come in 3’s don’t they.  After 3 days in hospital and being high on morphine (needed it for pain) I returned home and vowed to never let this happen again. It’s not something I can control but I can do many things to avoid. No seeds, nuts, corn or peas & chew chew chew!  

Over the summer I’ve been in the water a lot and know many ostomates are reluctant to swim. I’ve been in the ocean, lake, pool and have baths numerous times a week with no issues. I’m such a water person & glad this was an easy transition mentally and physically. Had cancer taken this away from me too I may have lost my mind as I absolutely love the water. 

From day one I said I would bring forth awareness any way I could and so far doing just that.  From my article published in this summers edition of Ostomy Canada magazine, to my Instagram and (not so good) YouTube channel under the handles Ostomate and the City.  Right now I’m learning the ways of green screen and hope to post my amazing 1st video this month. I’ve got all the tools just need to figure out the editing process.  

Thanks for continuing to read my blogs folks!  After this entry I’ll exceed 103,000 views which is so incredibly humbling. I’m always so amazed at the tally of views it’s getting from all over the world. I know there are better and more current forums and possibly more I could do with it but I like my old ways. It was born from the evil of cancer and now lives on through inspiration so why change what’s not broken right?  Plus the other projects are my main focus for now so be sure to follow either or both if you want to see more on the regular. 

In the words of Bugs Bunny.....That’s all folks!





Monday, June 24, 2019


Where would we be without a little help from our friends?  There are countless songs about friends, and lest us never forget the still popular TV show ‘Friends’.  Best of all our actual friends who we, or at least I, think would make one a heck of a cast!

Today I had my dearest pals, their partners and children over for one of our BFFs gender reveal.  Erynn and I were throwing this shindig together and never once did we tell any of the others the sex of Cathy’s baby. Our vault was closed and nobody knew up until today when the balloons were popped, the blue one containing confetti. If you’re smart you understand it’s a boy!

I set off to pick up the balloons an hour pre-party and found myself driving home a little bit emotional. As I looked in my rear view mirror the pink and blue balloons bouncing around, I couldn’t help but get a little teary eyed.  If I’m being completely honest I wasn’t feeling emotions for my friend but instead for myself. It was a very real moment realizing that I’ll never have my own gender reveal party. I haven’t felt emotional on this level since my first diagnosis in 2014.

Upon diagnosis my doctors let me know that my cancer treatments would make me infertile. Along with that information I was told I could try to salvage my eggs should I want to try for kids in the future. Before I babble even further, I must say I do not regret my decision so this isn’t a blog of regret. I decided not to salvage any eggs as I was almost 39, very single, would need a surrogate and maybe even a donor. It was just too many factors for me, had I been 10 years younger I probably would have. I called my friends that day telling them my choice. We cried together on those phone calls but knew it was a well thought out decision, just a super hard one.  Jump ahead to 2018 my cancer is back, this time a hysterectomy among other things, so no 1% miracle baby chance left!

Today those exact people were on their way to my home with their kids. It just hit me during that short drive. Saving me from further tears was knowing Erynn would possibly already be at my place and I didn't want to greet her a mess when we’re about to celebrate a new baby for our amazing friend. I turned up my music, shook my head, checked my eyeliner and marched in to my place balloons in hand.  I only beat her by about 30 seconds. 

So here’s how I know I made the right decision for me. I love children and no doubt would have been a fantastic mother, but I never saw myself being a mom later in life cancer or not.  I mail the kids cards, I’ll do fun things like face paints, give them toys, go to movies, play with them over the adults etc etc. Basically the fun stuff...then they become teens and it all goes south lol. But in all seriousness I enjoy that type of relationship and when the kids call me auntie or tell me I’m cool, I melt a little.  Still never made a god mother to any one child so what kind of friends are you people!!!

I see things differently after being through such tough times with some very tough decisions made. Women don’t have to be mothers, it’s not our only role, but had you asked me that question in my 20’s or early 30’s I would have told you different.  We don’t have to judge ourselves for scars, marks, Ostomy’s or any other imperfections. Yes it’s easier said than done...but I think we just have to live and love our truth a little bit more. Today I needed a little reminder of that.

Friends. How would I be without you. 
🎶I’ll be there for you...’cause you’re there for me too🎶

PS-Still no hernia surgery date. They’re big & uncomfortable, back pain now in the mix. Gosh maybe I can relate to pregnancy after all lol lol. 




Monday, May 6, 2019


I’ve been doing some soul searching and digging a bit deeper of late, looking for inspiration in all aspects of life and from those around me.  For some reason fairytales always seem to pop up in my head.  If I think about it I was read the classics as a young child, I dreamt of my happy ending and always had faith that all would be ok with my life just like the people in the tales.  There are times I wish I could go back and give the younger me some advice but alas time travel is still very much a fairytale. 

I grew up in a time with no social media influences such as Facebook or Instagram.  No cell phones but instead the amazing private line which I’m sure was more for my parents sanity than my own!  Computers only starting to make change as I entered high school, we still had typing class on actual typewriters and not keyboards. My point being that reality was seen in a different way. The newspaper was factual for the most part, you came home as the sun started to set and you heard stories through friends and family. Cancer was a rarity or perhaps just less spoken of and ostomy awareness was little to non existant.  

Here I sit three decades later typing on a flat screen called an iPad and can google anything. Type in a hashtag and find others with common ground or circumstances.  Had these forums been available in my teens I don’t know how I would have handled knowing that fairytales are just that...tales...imagination and not reality. That life throws you curve balls you weren’t taught about on the pitching mound and that frankly life just ain’t fair.  Of course people had hardships but the way they were spoken about and handled was on a completely different level. 

In saying all this I’m thankful for the technology advancements because I know it’s what helped me connect with people I’d never have otherwise met.  I found some great information and groups to help me cope with my new reality, my new fairytale.  Not the fairytale I had imagined but one I write about in this very blog.  Every fairytale has its struggle. Cinderella was locked away and mistreated and Sleeping Beauty slept a lot. Talk about good makeup and hair with no filter needed right?  At the end of these tales a young prince comes to save the day, not a 40+ aged man most likely fresh out of a  divorce!

The Seven Dwarfs represent my amazing family who number way more than 7 and not all male, and I have no whicked siblings who want to lock me away...well most days anyway.  Instead I have a super brother and a cousin who’s like a brother who would move time for me if they could.  My brothers know I do all I can to be the good sister for thewith whatever they ask of me.

As I write this entry I’m understanding that my fairytale actually still exists, it just has some chapters added in the middle.  They may be chapters I’m not happy with but they are my story, my truth with no fiction added. One common characteristic I like to think I share with Cinderella and Snow White is strength. You don’t give up...even if it’s while sleeping!  Yes they had no cancer, no hernias, no ostomy, but they did forge forward with they had.  

I still have hope that my prince will show himself  to me, but perhaps I need to do a little more work on my own princess skills first. And let’s be real, it’s 2019 you don’t need a prince to be happy but it sure would be a who doesn’t love a royal wedding!




Thursday, February 21, 2019


1 or one...whichever way you spell it, it’s the start of something new.  It’s a number symbolizing firsts or 1st’s. One year old, first steps, one hit wonder, first date. So many things happen usually not to happen again, firsts become 2nds. When I beat cancer for the first time and celebrated my 1 year cancer free, otherwise known as NED (no evidence of disease), I thought that would be the only time.  Little did I know I would repeat that first again.

March 11, 2015 and February 16, 2018 are my 1st’s and at the same time my 2nd’s.  I remember that day in 2015 like it was yesterday. My body still so weak and my skin the shade of yellow, but my cancer was gone. I was so excited and so inspired with life it was infectious. When my cancer came back in 2017 I didn’t know how I could go through it all over again.  Perhaps because my treatment plans were different each time, more physically severe the second, I handled things differently. Honestly you just have to deal as there really is no other choice except death, and this girl was not and is not ready for that. 

One thing I figured out early on is to celebrate milestones big and small.  Many firsts were taken away from me, that had I not done something, I’d feel I was giving in more than overcoming & winning. My 1st time being a mother...taken. My first time going to chemo...given. My first radiation, my 1st surgery, all things I wasn’t expecting to happen in my life.  I could have let the darkness overtake me but I wouldn’t give in.  This doesn’t mean I didn’t have a first day of nausea or a 1st day of depression, but I knew I didn’t want to go back there again. 

For this 1st year cancer free anniversary once again I surrounded myself with loved ones. With some of the most important people in my life. My first friends I made in grade 6 when I started a new school after my 1st  move,  my first cat (had to get Simba in this blog somehow), my 1st friends from my new community.  My people... my tribe, they give me a high anytime I need it, and without them I would not have come this far. There are many of you I didn’t see and you should feel incredibly guilty for not sending me flowers on such a momentous day, LOL I’m totally kidding...or am I, LOL, but had I got you all in one room, it would have been the 1st time I’d have to rent a hall!  There are just too many of you, and I’m so incredibly lucky for so much love and support. 

With all this happiness I also can’t help but think I’ve been here before. I’ve celebrated the 1st and 2nd year cancer free not quite reaching the 3rd. I wouldn’t be a 2 time survivor not having a “will it come back a 3rd time”  thought. Over the past 5 years I have paid more attention to cancer life than anything else, it’s what I know best. It became my job. This point in time of my recovery is an interesting one. I’m not quite done but can see the finish line coming around the corner. I’m very aware that post cancer life is standing by, yelling encouraging words to get me across the finish line. My hernias so big and bothersome, I cope with pain and exhaustion every single day.  How am I to start applying for jobs when I have no idea when surgery is nor how long it’ll take to recover. It’s such a tough time trying to get back at it. I’ve always told people that this stage of recovery is mentally the hardest. What you know is yet again about to change, somehow you need to be ready, however it’s just not that simple. 

My hope for this anniversary is to not have to be here again a third time. I hope for a future career where my experiences can be a benefit and not a deterrent.  To wake up in 5 years seeing how far I’ve come and what a difference I’ve made.  I’ll totally admit it’s a scary time, my future has been changed so much since 2015, but I have faith. I have said it before and will say it again, cancer has changed me and a lot of it for the better. I see things a different way, I handle things differently. Sometimes with empathy and other times I’m extremely blunt.  I just get “it” in a way I never did before.  I’m still the same goofy quirky gal who would likely take her lipstick to a deserted island before she would shoes although they’d be a close second. 

We all have journeys that make us who we are. This is mine & this is me...again...another first, a new 2nd go at life & that is pretty amazing. 




Update Dec 5th

Sorry I am a day late! This is from Carly yesterday :) Pic 1 was taken months ago and shows how big my hernia was. It was even bigger at...