Thursday, May 12, 2016

Head check

On Tuesday I was back at the Cancer Agency for a sit down with a psychiatrist. I often hear people talking of going to a "shrink" for various reasons so wasn't embarrassed or nervous.  As I sat in the patient lounge on the 5th floor waiting to be called, all I saw were memories. It was in that very lounge not so long ago I had napped between chemo and radiation.  It was in that very lounge I had filled out admissions paperwork, called loved ones and shed a tear.  When my memories faded and I looked around me, I saw those exact things happening but this time with strangers. 

I made conversation with a 60 something couple next to me. As much as you don't want to listen to other people's conversations, it's hard not to. They were talking of scans and upcoming treatments so I pardoned the interruption and spoke of what I knew. I hope I was able to shed some light for them as I wished someone had done the same for me in my days in the lounge.  Soon after I was called in to my appointment and wished them well. 

The doctor asked me the obvious questions and then some I didn't expect. Everything from childhood, family, career and my cancer journey. I explained I'd reached out for help because I've been struggling with anxiety. It was during that sentence I got a little misty and the joyful jokester took a back seat. My only real worry heading in to this appointment was that my feelings would be dismissed and no solution would come about. By the end of our session I had a workbook recommendation, told of website resources, given a prescription and a follow up session scheduled for the following month. I felt I was heard and understood. 

I had 5 hours until my next appointment with my GI Doctor so headed to meet mom for lunch.  Mom had golfed that morning so met up with her and her golfing friends at the club. Many of these lovely ladies read my blog and I jokingly refer to them as my groupies. Such a nice group of women who've got some remarkable stories of their own. Seemed though that Tuesdays stories were mostly about their game on the back 9, or was it the front 9?  Regardless I enjoy our lunch dates and must acquire some golf fashion this summer. 

Dr. Weiss is my GI and diagnosed my Crohn's just over a year ago. I haven't seen him since diagnosis  and had a bunch of questions for him.  He gave me a deeper understanding of my condition explaining I don't have a blockage but I do have inflammation and I'll remain on medication to help with it.  He explained the restricted diet (I've been following this past year) is not necessary and to go back to normal eating habits/diet. I don't think he'd seen someone so excited to eat raw vegetables again as he did me. I must have asked him 3 times if I heard him right and then proceeded to punch the air like a punching bag! 

During our conversation he helped me have an "ah-ha" moment. Not to dismiss my level of Crohn's, we came to a conclusion that my anxiety is most likely the main cause of my food issues.  I had 2 defining incidents during treatment that seem to have affected me more than I thought. We feel that if I can get a stronger hold on the anxiety, that the rest will hopefully fall in to place. When I met mom in the waiting room my grin must have been from ear to ear, I felt the cheerleader in me coming out again. 

This journey has been so very hard physically and emotionally, so the times when you come out on top are just so amazing. I haven't felt this full since I heard my cancer was gone. Tonight two of my friends came over for dinner and I ate a salad. It was unreal, tomorrow I'll eat a tomato!

I'm due to hear if I've been accepted to school mid-May. I'm prepared for either a yes or a no but sure hope for the YES. I just feel it's my calling to work in health care. I'm no doctor, I'm no nurse but I am a survivor which carries no diploma but can help in any lounge, on any floor, any way & any time. Love to you all!




Monday, May 2, 2016

Father Time

How time can fly by always astonishes me. You look at the calendar and suddenly it's one month later.  While reflecting on what you did you shake your head, maybe touch your hand to your forehead or even possibly a raised eyebrow and a silly looking face. That's pretty much how I feel tonight. 

Last I wrote I was struggling with chocolate...oh the drama!  I laugh about it now because of how silly it sounds but it was not so fun then when I could hardly stand the pain so severe. Overall I've had a decent few weeks coping with swollen joints and the usual struggles with food and anxiety. I see my GI next week so hoping he can shed some light and dietary referrals my way. I only eat at a few places in town and eat the same thing at each place each time. I'd like to expand my palet but uneasy until I get better advice and direction. Most people crave a burger, I crave lettuce. 

One month ago my friend Amber relocated to BC from Alberta. She came to visit me from Calgary twice during my illness (which in no way was inexpensive for her) & showed me sincere love and friendship. Amongst the visits she took a liking to Tsawwassen & this past New Years' came out again and spoke of the idea of relocating. Now it's happened!  She's got a great job, an apartment & a cruiser bike to come along on rides with me too!  

I'm very fortunate to have great friends in Alberta (from my 8 years living in Calgary) and of course here at home. Most of my school friends are widespread from Kits to Aldergrove, so now having a longtime friend blocks away is pretty amazing. It just might be what I need. Someone closeby besides my family who really knows me, understands the new me but yet can help push me. I'll help and push her too in to becoming the new her as new beginnings seem to be my specialty!  This weekend she moved and I helped set up her apartment. ✔️ for me already, the decor fabulous of course. 

I remember being a fourteen year old girl who'd hear her parents speak of "back when I was ..." Or "I've known her since I was..." stories & thinking they were weird and old. Here I am now telling these exact stories pretty much around the same age they were then. Time seriously has flown by and I'm just so grateful for it. 




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...