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




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