Thursday, September 24, 2015

New...I see you there!

Newness has started to show itself to me or maybe I'm just willing to accept it and my eyes are open. Anyone that wants to join me in this next phase of my journey please do, as I feel it's going to be spectacular.  I must admit I AM PUMPED!  Right now I'm smiling ear to ear as it's been a great day with new things. New signs of the new me. 

When I moved to Tsawwassen in January it was 100% a family decision. My apartment is maybe 500 yards (I didn't measure but I'm guessing) to my folks house. My amazing parents have been by my side since day 1 of my life & day 1 of cancer. Now we're neighbours and that's a new change as we haven't been this close in location since I moved out in 1998! The thinking behind this was that I was close if I needed help, yet still had my own space as I got better. If I'm being honest having mom's home cooking on a semi-regular basis was a total yummy win!  I've also got cool Auntie Shelly 5 floors up and her closest aunt duties have happened and have been appreciated. 

Just as I was getting ready to hit the sheets I remembered I had some mail. Last time I opened mail late in the night I cried, so was hoping for a better result this time. Envelope is from The City of Delta which is where I recently applied for Recreation Pass assistance due to being on disability/low income. I held it, sat down on my bed & opened it. APPROVED!  I jumped in excitement & gave my cat a hug he clearly didn't appreciate!  This is a huge step for my recovery. My body wants to move & now I have the means to attend classes as often I like at no cost. I like to think grandma heard my call for help and worked some magic from above. I'm still going back & forth with MSP so having this win comes at the right time. Runners ✔️ Workout pants ✔️ Cute Addidas runners ✔️ So so t-shirts ✔️  Hair able to go in a ponytail ❌ 4 outta 5 ain't bad...time to get moving!

I've also met some new friends in my community which is exciting. Bike rides, dinners, a few cocktails, movies...whatever. Just nice having more folks close in age and with similar interests nearby to chill with.  No offence to mom & dad as they're hip, they just aren't new!

A huge thank you for reading my blog.  I've exceeded 34,000 views which is amazing!  Love all the support just wish I'd get more comments LOL  I do get your texts and emails which is fine too. Lots of love!

#carly2conquercancer

XOXO

C

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Emmy Goes To....

I've always been a sucker for award shows and watched The Emmy's Sunday night. The Emmy's, The Golden Globes, The Oscars, The Grammy's...I'm always watching. Maybe it's to see the latest trends in fashion or to hear the good and bad speeches, but mostly I think I watch to dream.  I'm a sucker for the rags to ritches story or the girl discovered at the subway, they get me every time!  I always joke that if I ever won a prestigious award I'd say it was in honour of the German-English-Scottish girls out there!!  I'd thank my cabbage patch doll for letting me change her name multiple times and ask stationnary company's to print my name on pencils and pens like the Sarah's and Nicole's of this world. 

I sort of feel like I go to the award shows all the time. Trying to cover up the real me and smile for others to see. To get compliments instead of sympathy, to feel special, trying to be normal. Crazy thing is that everyone has a struggle no matter what their status.  Cancer, depression, arthritis, a peanut allergy....we all have something so why must we cover it up?  Those who show their struggles often help someone along the way and probably feel better too. Owning these struggles doesn't make us weak it makes us warriors. 

This past weekend I was with my closest girl friends celebrating our 40ths as a group. It was an eye opener for me as my struggles were more apparent than I thought. The fact that I can't eat or drink during a long car ride, the horror of eating out, my energy levels not quite the same and struggling to find common ground. I listen to stories of babies and husbands but when it's my turn to speak, my life revolves around cancer and crohns.  Some days I am that warrior I speak of and other days just a wounded soldier still looking for a new base. 

I look forward to the days of getting dressed up for an award show because you know you're going to win. You aren't just a spectator you are the winner holding the statue. But nobody wins overnight. The rags to ritches and subway girl are rare so instead tell myself to keep working. The more I learn to own these things, the sooner I'll hold a trophy in my hands.  My trophy won't be an Emmy but instead a new healthy life and way better topics of conversation!

XOXO

#carly2conquercancer

C


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Late Night

I seem to write my best blogs late at night. Right now it's 1:30am and nothing but quiet surrounds me. Only noise I hear is Simbas tail wagging & hitting the hardwood floor. Why he chooses to sleep on the floor vs other Simba friendly spaces I don't know...but whatever!  I hear no neighbours, no cars, no doors slamming. All I hear is myself reading this aloud as I write it. I am my best audience.

My monthly check-up went well this past Wednesday. Dr sees no signs of concern even after I explained the sensitivity in my groin. This feeling could be from more movement or it's just going to feel that way going forward, but a huge relief as I was a bit worried. I still have a 2cm alien however as long as it doesn't grow it's causing no harm. We aren't even sure if it's cancer. With my PET and MRI scans being every 3 months, if this alien does grow we will catch it in time & deal with it accordingly. But so far so good so time to keep on moving!

Since day 1 I told myself I'd try my best to dress well and/or have good hair 'n makeup. There were days my face was so green no foundation could help, but in general I did my best. I did this for me. I was home all day looking sick so wanted to look decent when going out. If I was going to a treatment or to the grocery store darn right I dolled myself up a bit. A lot of times I was wearing oversized baggy sweats, but my face & hair looked fierce!  Anyone who is sick needs an escape and this is mine. The glares and stares people give you get old so masquing the illness makes its better. Just because you're sick, doesn't mean you have to look the part too!

After my check-up was over I was waiting on mom to head home, and sat down beside a young woman. She had on a cool felt grey hat so I complimented her on it. She loved that I complimented her hat and soon was showing me her cute bald head and telling me more about her journey and how she's doing. Compliments are a thing we often take for granted or misjudge. I challenge you to see how 1 compliment can make you or someone else happy. Own the moment. Right as I was saying goodbye, the woman complimented my necklace. I said thanks and to take care, both of us with smiles on our faces continuing on with our days. It was a great moment.

Hopefully over the next week I get a recreation pass organized with The City of Delta. There are so many great activities offered at my local community centre. Aquafit, Yoga, spin and more. My body is telling me it's ready to move again so I gotta listen. These outings will however be makeup free as the last thing a girl needs is mascara running down her face.  But if I'm being totally honest I'll probably wear lipstick!

XOXO

#carly2conquercancer

C

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Handbags

Going through cancer is like switching a handbag, some days you're clutch and other days you're oversized.  Some bags are colourful and cheery and others black and dreary. But the one thing I really relate to a handbag, is the switch. The moment when you change your bag but forget to swap all the items. How did I not swap the Kleenex, the small brush and even a pen?  Here I was thinking I was cleaning out the bag but really I missed what was in it. 

I just celebrated another milestone reaching 180 days cancer free. With such happiness also comes many feelings, thoughts, goals and ongoing struggles. Some days I feel like I'm holding that cute black and white clutch but suddenly I'm carrying a black bucket bag, everything buried deep inside. Why can't I control these things?  How can I fix these things?  These are 2 questions I ask myself almost everyday. There really is no answer. I keep telling myself the good ol' slogan "time heals all wounds" but I don't know how much time and that bothers me. I want structure and I'm not getting it.  It's time to create it!

My monthly check-up is this Wednesday afternoon at the Cancer Agency. Lately I've felt change in my groin where lymph nodes were removed. It causes me concern but must remember the recent MRI showed no sign of cancer so I'm hoping what I feel is skin healing, blood pumping differently or something the doctors can describe. I don't want to live appointment to appointment anymore. I want to build my new life. 

When I get the go ahead from doctors to re-enter the workfoce, I plan to work PT and test my boundaries. I have not stood on my feet for 6-8 hours in one & a half years, so as easy as standing on your feet sounds, add in all my surgeries and treatments and you'll see....it ain't easy.  Maybe a florist position, or cashier at the local grocery store. Just show up, do my thing & go home. No responsibility for a team, just moi!  I hope to make some new friends along the way, laugh again and stop talking to my cat as much!!  I'm applying this November for enrolment to attend Kwantlen Polytecnic University Sept 2016.  If accepted, all handbags are out and a knapsack or stylish book bag will replace them. No matter how cute the clutch, it can't fit no books!

This cancer journey really is a roller coaster ride physically and emotionally. I couldn't make it through The Dave Matthews concert without a few concerns, so last thing I need is a real life coaster ride at the PNE!  Currently too big of a crowd for me, and honestly, I just don't know which handbag I would have used!

XOXO

#carly2conquercancer

C

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Me

I've been writing this blog since I was told I had cancer. I've written about treatment details, surgeries, procedures and loads more. I think one important thing I've yet to really write about is ME!

I've known for a while that the aftermath isn't easy.  Finding the new you and the new normal is difficult.  Lately I've found myself sad, sad with myself. No matter how many people support and love me ultimately I need to love myself. My bubbly personality is the perfect facade and truly shows you that you can't judge a book by it's cover. There are a few things I do to rid me of the sadness. Biking, a good hair doo, and now that fall is here, wearing a good pair of boots making you wanna strut like BeyoncĂ©.

Having so many amazing people attend my birthday party truly showed me how lucky I am, but it also showed me what I'm missing.  People who love their jobs, their husbands/wives, newly in love, about to become parents or soon embarking on an amazing holiday. They've worked hard for all these things and I just can't help but wonder if I can do the same going forward.

As I met new people in various ways over this past year, I would easily introduce myself. A crowded room doesn't scare me nor will I hide in a corner, I go say hello nice to meet you.  A lot of people asked what I did for a living, (the 2nd most asked question in the world), and I responded that I was just finishing up a battle with cancer. If they had questions I was an open book as I like to believe that knowledge is power and I'm also proud to say I've made it this far. Illness has no face but it has explanations.

I'm worried that with my amazing journey I'll end up alone.  Men I meet range from 30-45 and I consider that young. Why would any one of these men want to take me on when they can get a version pretty identical somewhere else. Maybe not identical because we all know Carolyn does me some good hair, but there are lots more single fabulous 40 year old women out there ready and willing.

The kid topic is more of a roadblock than I thought it would be.  When people catch on to the fact I can't have children the conversation goes to adoption, surrogacy etc etc. I was totally accepting to the fact I wouldn't be a mother, until the recent past when I joked if my future husband wants a kid badly, we will get eggs of an Olympian and create a kick ass kid.  I started to say this so much that I almost believed it. I am 99.9% sure that I will not be a mommy. I leave that .1% chance open just in case this scenario does come true but this isn't a movie of the week!

Somehow I need to move on from this but it's hard. I've been looking more in depth at schooling and life post disability. I'd like to get back in the work force on a minor scale level but first need clearance from my doctors. Some days I'm whistling away & dreaming of change, other days I'm exhausted or having side effects from treatment or symptoms of Crohn's.  I like to think I've done a good job handling most of this but there's loads of room for improvement to be had. I think we all can improve at something right?

So lets sum up this blog. Looks like I need to steer clear of men, work out as much as my body permits me and love myself....my new-self.  I usually adapt well to change but this change is a little more difficult than picking out a new colour for my bedding.  I might have curtains in 7 different colours...just sayin'!

XOXO

#carly2conquercancer

C

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...