Monday, May 6, 2019

Fairytales

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 bonus...plus who doesn’t love a royal wedding!

 XOXO

C

#carly2conquercancer 
#winniethepouch

Thursday, February 21, 2019

1...again

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. 

XOXO

C

#carly2conquercancer
#winniethepouch


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Slumber bowl

This past Sunday was the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots taking on the Los Angeles Rams. Like most other years, there was lots of hype as to who would win and final score predictions.  Little did we know it would be a low scoring game with only one touchdown, with no big reason to get up and cheer or high five your friends. Add in the drama of the half time show artist selection, not being able to see the US commercials in Canada, I was sure glad I stayed home on my couch to watch it. 

Brady and his team taking their 6th title, made me think of myself as a quarterback in my own life’s big game showdowns. I dare count how many surgeries I’ve been sedated for, chemotherapy and radiation, hyperbaric treatments, ostomy life and the dreaded hernias. I may not get millions of dollars or trophies for my big wins, but wins nonetheless. Oh wait I also don’t have a super model partner, better stop this comparison now while I can lol 

I’m hoping hernia surgery is getting close now that we’re in February. I was asked to get bloodwork done which has to be done close to surgery booking. That’s a great sign but also makes me nervous. Minus a recent trip to the ER after a painful blockage passing, I haven’t had major surgery or hospital visits in a while. When you’re in the illness trenches you just go in head up, but feeling a bit out of the trench right now, my head a little shook this time. But in true quarterback fashion I’ll be ready to go on game day. 

I’ve learned of some great health conferences coming up this year. The first is for social media health advocates this April in Dallas. If I’m selected the travel and accommodation costs are covered which makes it possible for me to attend.  I think it would be so rewarding to be surrounded by other health advocates from all medical rhelms.  The other is in Philadelphia in August but no costs covered.  This conference purely for ostomates, an expensive trip and being on disability this last year, I don’t know if I can swing it. Gosh I’d so like to attend though!   Some of my ostomy friends have attended and said it’s super rewarding and inspiring. 

Not much else is new and exciting. I’ve got some hockey tickets c/o Santa (aka my dad) next week.  Canucks vs San Jose which should be a great game. The weather has been amazing on the West Coast. We had a dusting of snow the other day but it was so light it didn’t stick.  Today is a beautiful sunny day, a bit chilly with a temperature of 1c. Can’t complain when I hear of what the East deals with. I lived in Calgary for 8 years so put in my time with cold weather, although it was usually sunny even if freezing. Oh wait one exciting thing, I’m going to the Justin Timberlake concert next week and can’t wait. My biggest fear was that hernia surgery would stop me from going but it looks like all will be fine. I’ll definitely be bringing my 🎶sexy back🎶 Thursday night. 

I continue to stay upbeat, hanging with friends on Saturdays, cooking most days & snuggling with Simba. His old age has brought hearing loss and a lot of meowing. He’s either got a thyroid or diabetes condition, so will have to cross the vet bridge soon enough. I’m not thinking he’s dying, but the meowing for treats all day could make me insane!  Why I yell “be quiet” to a deaf cat I just don’t know but I do.  Lol 

My real health Super Bowl will be on the 16th. It marks my 1 year cancer free anniversary and birth of  my colostomy Winnie the Pouch. Being rid of cancer a second time is amazing, but Winnie has helped me so much vs not having her the first time round. Anxiety mostly gone, completely open as to my ostomy life, I generally feel total acceptance from people I meet. A pouch is a lot easier than a step kid or a crazy ex husband!  I have heard stories from other ostomates who struggle with acceptance, but I haven’t felt that way. I’m proud and better with her so educate anyone who has questions. Because I’m confident no problems have come up, and if they did I’d just toss them aside like the Patriots do their opponents. 

May have some interceptions here and there, but my quarterback life is getting more yards each and every day!

XOXO

C

#carly2conquercancer
#winniethepouch




Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Can you hear me now?

The phrase ‘can you hear me now’ is famous from Verizon cellular commercials in the early 2000’s. They were catchy and somehow everyone used that slogan and still do to this day. It got me to thinking a while back, as I felt my doctors weren’t hearing me, so one morning I woke up and said they will hear me now!

It’s been a while since my last blog entry, I was in a sad place. Since then I’ve taken some steps and have felt a coasting like pace, often not feeling blog entry type inspiration when in that zone.  I’ve had so many of you reach out to me wondering why no writing, so I heard you and here we are with you as my inspiration. Can you hear me now?

Coping with the depression was hard. I’ve never felt so low in my 43 years and then “fine” a while later only to feel low again. Like a teeter totter in the school play ground. Sometimes you end up sitting up high for a bit when your pal refuses to let you down, and sometimes the surprise when you come crashing down as they get off their seat. I cried so much that the skin around my eyes was raw. I recognized I needed help and booked a therapy session. To no surprise I cried the entire session but felt so much better as I drove home. I had released emotions that crept up on me with someone who could handle it. She was great and I will be seeing her again. 

I kept calling my doctors and set appointments begging them to help me with my hernias. Again I cried. No more stoic behaviour, they needed to know I was in a bad place. My family called and even emailed saying exactly what I said in person. Can you hear me now doc?  Not too long later I received a call from my hernia doctors office saying a cancellation came around and could I come in for a consult a few days later. You know I did. Nice doctor who said “wow you got some big hernias here, how come I’m just seeing you now?”  I swear I saw myself jumping across the table shaking him, but it was just a vision, although I coulda clocked him one!  I left the appointment being told that the larger of the 2 (on my right side), will be repaired in February or March and the other sometime thereafter. Progress made. Keep calling Carly. 

The holidays were spent with family and overall I did well. I often get really bad cramps after eating which brought me to tears (surprise) but I got over it. Basically my hernias are in the way so much that when output travels to Winnie it hurts really bad. When I’m alone or in a smaller setting I deal with it, but when it’s Christmas dinner or bigger situation it frustrates me. I get down because I don’t want to be the sick girl anymore but alas I still am, just on a different level. 

I continue to use my Instagram channel (Ostomate and the City) to bring forth awareness and connect with others who are like me. It’s pretty amazing how many new friends I’ve made without ever meeting them in the flesh. We write each other, we do live chats, we celebrate wins but also recognize struggles. Sometimes social media can take some hard turns but as of now it’s only done wonders for me to connect with ostomates within a great community. I do need to work more with my vlogging but haven’t found it as much my niche as this blog and Instagram.  We shall see what comes forth with it in 2019. 

Doing the best I can to not be in total lockdown, but also respecting my body and the struggles it still has. When I feel good I go out, when I feel bad I stay home, usually sleeping or watching movies/TV. If you need a suggestion of what to watch just ask. I’m mostly in to comedies and crime drama documentaries as they cheer me up. Ones funny and the other makes me appreciate I’m not am addict or a serial killer ha ha ha

Oh 2019 I so hope you can hear me now. All you really need to hear is “I’M DONE”. May this year be a good one for you, for me, for my family and my friends. Winnie will be 1 in February which also marks 1 year cancer free so I may do a little something. I did celebrate these milestones during my previous battle but never made it past 2 years, so here’s to hoping that I’ll exceed that timeline and many other hopes and dreams. Love to you all! 

XOXO

C

#carly2conquercancer
#winniethepouch

Fairytales

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 ...