Friday, July 31, 2015

MRI

Wednesday I had an MRI at the Cancer Agency which is an important check point to ensure the biopsies findings were right and there are no other cancer zones needing treatment.  I've had so many different scans over the last year, that the ladies at the check in desk treat me like a regular at a Pub!  

I got changed and sat in the chair with the nurses getting set for my injections.  Since my MRI is of my pelvis, they need to keep my bowels steady and illuminate the pelvis in the scan.  First injection was of a drug called 'buscopan' (a muscle relaxant) and not 30 seconds later I had a seizure.  I said I wasn't feeling right and that was all I remember. When I came to there were numerous doctors and nurses tending to me. Crash cart was brought out, checking all my vitals and apple juice given to me to drink in order to raise my blood sugar.  I had fainted before but this was different. 

I was told my eyes were rolling in the back of my head, I was shaking and of course unresponsive.  It took me a while to know who I was, where I was and what had happened. As I regained consciousness all I could hear sounded like a music tape on slow motion rewind (for those of us who remember music tapes) and I couldn't make sense of it all. A scary moment for sure but thank my lucky stars I was with doctors and nurses to help me.  Once I was OK I had the MRI but we didn't do the 2nd injection since my body and brain had just had trauma. They seem happy with the images and I hope to hear from my doctor in a week with the scan findings. 

Just a few hours after I started writing this blog, my oncologist called me. The MRI results aren't quite complete but she does know that they see a 2cm alien where Big Kahuna was. We don't know if this alien is cancerous, so another biopsy will most likely happen, but the odds are high.  I've always been high risk for reoccurrence.  In regards to the seizure, it's thought I had a rough fainting spell with some convulsions. They don't think it was a full on seizure and won't test me and I'm ok to keep driving. 


When she told me this I asked her if I do have more cancer how do we treat it?  I've had the max amount of radiation so does that mean more chemotherapy?  Chemotherapy isn't very effective against previously radiated areas so as suspected the colostomy was brought up. If my alien is cancerous I will get the procedure. The good news is no cancer is in my lymphnodes or any other part of my body so although I might have another battle in a massive surgery, I'm not going anywhere.  The doctors are watching me so closely and I'm grateful for that. 

My heart kind of sank after I hung up the phone.  I've been trying so hard to find my new normal and now wham-bam!  I'm feeling good and looking good to the naked eye so just goes to show you illness doesn't have a face, it is so easily in disguise. 

#carly2conquercancer

XOXO

C

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lotto

I might have bought one or two lotto tickets in my life.  I've always said it was a waste of money which is a crazy if you see how much jewelry and shoes I own!  I'm thinking now might be the time to buy a ticket. But how do I chose the numbers?  The diagnosis date, surgery dates, scan dates, cancer free date or just all my best friends birthdays since this is our big year turning 40.  Maybe I'll do both methods and see if I have some more good fortune come my way.

But with good fortune always comes highs and lows, and the past month has been low. Good thing is, I'm climbing back to the high levels again.  I've made it through week one of meal replacements with Isagenix, got on my bike and purged some stuff I just don't use anymore...even getting a few bucks for them too!  My immediate goal is to get through this 30 day program and now that the first week is over I'm starting to get my rhythm. I'm impressed with the shakes but the cleanse days are disgusting. The next 3 Monday's I cleanse and no doubt will be poutting!  Not so much for food but for the awful taste of the stuff I drink.  But it's gotta happen and I'm no quitter.

I started a journal called "My 5 favourite things" in early Februaury. Each night when I go to bed I write 5 things I'm thankful for as well as a quote and a couple notes as to what I did that day.  My 5th thing is always how many days I'm cancer free. Saturday night was 137 and my quote was 'Positivity is a choice'. This is so very true and I've tried to be as positive as possible during this battle.

In speaking with my Wellness Coach she's asked me to look farther ahead and set some goals. My ultimate life goal is to work in the Health Care system either at the Cancer Agency or a Hospital.  Such inspiring and lovely ladies support our patients, doctors and nurses and I want to join their team in 2016!  Going back to school is a goal I'm working towards now that I've heard my cancer hasn't come back.  I haven't enrolled yet but expect to soon after a few more questions are answered and some additional information received. Future looks bright.  Lots of hard work but I'm ready...if I can beat cancer I can get this diploma!

Pretty sure I'll be buying those lotto tickets but with over 31,000 views on this blog you can't all chase me for a loan...I'd be broke in no time!

XOXO

#carly2conquercancer

C

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Keep counting!

I'm excited to announce that my cancer free days will continue.  Tuesday was day 126 since hearing I was first cancer free and was told to keep on counting.  I like to keep track of the days, as it keeps all in perspective and helps me remember how lucky I am to still be here. One year ago I had stage III cancer and today I don't. Sureal.

Hearing results from scans isn't something I get too worked up over, but when biopsies are involved it's a different story.  I called super-brother as I wasn't feeling comfortable in driving myself to the doctor, and of course super-brother was there for me and I arrived at my appointment on time.  Mom met me there and when I came out she greeted me with a big hug as I told her I was ok (I might have chocked up a little).  

An MRI will come about in the near future as they want to get a closer look at what the PET scan showed.  When they did the biopsies it was an approximate area per the PET scan so an MRI will let them know if any other areas need to be tested.  Doesn't appear to be something to worry about but we need to make sure.  I'll continue to have scans and check ups every 3 months since I remain high risk for reoccurrence.  Cancer takes time to grow but we'll find it if it does.

Now it's time to concentrate on getting my body stronger and my energy levels higher.  Fatigue is still very much a battle along with a new eating regime. Even though my Crohn's Disease is considered to be on a milder level, I really struggle with food so often find myself not eating which is in no way healthy.  As of today I've begun a 30 day health plan which involves meal replacement shakes, exercise and a low-calorie healthy dinner.  The goal is to get an energy boost, lose a few pounds and rejuvenate my body which has been through so much this past year.

My bike Mango and I will be spending lots of time together over the next 30 days so my Instagram (linked on this blog) will no doubt show pictures of our adventures. I welcome guest appearances if anyone wants to join us for a ride.

XOXO

#carly2conquercancer

C

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Monopoly

One year ago today I was diagnosed with cancer, it was a hard day and a day I'll never forget.  365 days later I sit in my bed typing away...memories flashing before my eyes.  What a year it has been.

When I saw a gynaecologist on July 7th 2014, she took a biopsy and let me know she thought it was cancer. That was Monday and come Friday all was confirmed.  After the initial shock and tears, Mom and I headed to the car where we called my brother and father.  We sat in the car parked in an underground parkade, phone on speaker, taking turns talking and wiping away tears telling them what had just happened.  I so badly wanted to go home and hide, pretend this wasn't real, but instead was getting X-rays not 2 hours later.

The next week I was at the Cancer Agency meeting with the amazing doctors who would help me battle this disease.  Cancer is like the game of Monopoly.  You roll the dice and keep going round & round until you hopefully win.  The relationships you strenghthen or make during this journey are the hotels, your supporters are the other players playing with you and becoming cancer free is the get out of jail card.  Life is represented by passing GO!..as long as you can go, you can play...you can live.

As much as I've disliked battling this disease, I wouldn't change a thing. Well maybe a couple things, but big picture I'm a better person from this awful experience.  I feel closer to my family than ever before...parents, brother, cousins, aunts, uncles I thank you. I'm a lucky girl to have you all in my corner and couldn't have come out as strong without you.  My friends near and far have truly been amazing.  Most people can count their closest friends on one hand and I'm proud to say I need all my hands and feet and maybe a few pairs of shoes too!

This next week is a big week as I'll hear what the 2 biopsies have discovered. I can only hope for the best but if I get some bad news I'll just roll the dice, build some hotels and pass GO! all over again.

XOXO

#carly2conquercancer

C




Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sunshine

Vancouver has been spoiled with so much sunshine this past while. I can't even recall the last day it rained.  I haven't been able to enjoy the weather as much as I'd like to, but it looks like this sunshine is staying.  I'm not quite at the point to jump on my bike and go for a long ride but it's coming.  The sunshine is calling me and Mango & the call will be answered soon! 

Friday at 8am I checked in at the Cancer Agency and just after 9am I was prepped and ready for the OR.  Woke up in recovery an hour or so later and walked out with Mom around 1130am.  It's unreal how fast these procedures can be done!  I was really feeling the anesthetic and nausea this time round and it took until Saturday afternoon to turn the curb. Thanks to my mom, Dawn & Renee for helping/checking in on me. 

Dr Lee ended up doing 2 biopsies.  The first was as planned for the uterus and another close to where Big Kahuna was. My PET scan did show some abnormality in the "south" region, so it's a good idea to check it out.  If cancer decided to show it's face again at least we will have caught it early. That's the positive Carly speaking. The angry Carly can't help but think of the "will" questions. How will it be treated?  Will I end up with Winnie after all?  Will I need more chemo?  Will I be ok?

One thing I've learned having cancer and being told I was cancer free, is that it's never really over.  No matter how many scares, biopsies or "will" questions one might have, you have to keep going. This cancer club never turns off the lights and locks the doors. Admission is free but once you're in it's hard to get out back into the sunshine. 

#carly2conquercancer

XOXO

C

  

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Canada eh?

Dealing with illness is tough no matter where you live in this world, but I'm so thankful be in Canada eh?  I can't imagine not having medical coverage like I've had. Being diagnosed while unemployed has had it's share of challenges, but nothing compared to what I might have had to go through in another country.  Happy 148th birthday Canada!

I got a call from Dr. Lee today with my PET scan results. There is still something on my uterus, which I'm calling "alien" since we don't quite know what it is.  We do know it's about 2cm in size but that's about it.  The biopsy will reveal more but Dr. Lee hopes it's just a benign uterine fibroid.  I had no clue what that meant so brought up Google and found out it's common for many women in their childbearing years.  To think at 39 I was still in the childbearing years made me smile but the real good news is that it rarely leads to cancer.  The biopsy will give us answers to these questions, but fingers crossed it's just that.

The scan also showed some irregularities in my surgical area.  Nothing too alarming quite yet but still needing some looking into.  So while in surgery for my "alien" biopsy, if Dr. Lee needs to do anything else she can.  She also ordered an MRI which targets the area directly giving more specifics.  I could possibly be inflamed from Crohn's Disease so we shall see what is discovered. I didn't find myself overly worried today as it's not terrible news but it wasn't better results than my last PET scan.

The good news is that my lymph nodes are clear!  This was the biggest concern so needless to say a huge sigh of relief that radiation has done its job (even though not fun). I must give kudos to the Cancer Agency for watching me so closely.  If anything should pop up at least we'll find it sooner than later. World class doctors and nurses who truly care about you and who have inspired me.  They watch me closer than I watch The Vancouver Canucks...well maybe not, I am a die hard fan. 

July 11th will mark my 1 year anniversary since being diagnosed with cancer and I'll probably find out all these answers around then.  What a year and journey it's been, but at least this Canada Day I'm still a Canuck eh?!

XOXO

#carly2conquercancer

C


Fairytales

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