Happy little update

Hi! Long time no update (Oops)

Wednesday I finished my third week straight of chemo (ughhhh) You can probably guess it wasn’t the greatest of times but it’s done and I’m on to new things. (STOP DWELLING- that’s my new motto)

The weather is beautifulllllll and I’ve never felt so alive. The hospital has me feeling a little locked up; the lack of fresh airs gets to you after awhile.


I have a couple weeks off now (I go back for another three weeks the 15th of May- which means I have just over two weeks off- YAYAYAY)

I plan on taking full advantage off my time off once the side effects of chemo start to subside. Keeping my fingers crossed I might even get a couple days in England (depending on my blood counts and travel insurance.)

I also intend on drinking a lot of good coffee, eating A LOT of ice-cream and spending time with the people I love. Ou and blogging more frequently seeing I’ll have more energy !

Till next time,

XO

 

 

My Good Old Friend Chemo

Let me start with sorry for the time in-between posts… It has been a busy few weeks!

If I’m being totally honest I haven’t posted because I’ve been trying to forget my first chemo experience. It started off fine, a little stressful with accessing the port but nevertheless it was going pretty well.

Somewhere between receiving the chemo and my first night at the hospital I began to feel the effects. The nausea started slowly till I inevitably ended up over a bucket in the bathroom with tears running down my face because lets be honest: puking SUCKS- especially when you know it’s induced. (Puking with a healthy body sucks, let alone when your body consists of cancer cells.)

I made my way back to bed and the nurse offered another nausea medicine to help relieve my symptoms. She gave me these little white pills you put under your tongue. Shortly after they began to melt, my eyes began to close and my brain felt like it was incapable of processing anything. I’ve never felt anything like it.

I don’t drink but I think that’s the closest I’ve ever been to drunk.

Ingesting the little white pills is the last thing I remember. The few days after ingesting the pills are a blur. I don’t even have any recollection of leaving the hospital; I haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or not. I think that’s why I’ve been so scared to write about it because so much was forgotten.

Once home the initial days are still a bit of a blur. I was on 2 nausea medicines and sent home with those famous little white pills (that I had NO intention of using). I was on home hydration which means my port was hooked up to an IV for 12 hours every night. Every time the doorbell rang I knew it was time; theres something about having my port used that turns my stomach.

I initially was so nauseous I couldn’t even sit up. I laid in bed while someone fed me little pieces of watermelon and cheese. Those were the only things I could stomach. As the days went on the nausea seemed to subside but I had to take things slowly or it would creep up on me once again.

My body had been poisoned and I was slowly learning how to cope with it.

Xo

 

It’s All About Perspective

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”-Charles R. Swindoll

No one said this would be easy. It’s hard trying to come to terms with things that are hard to swallow. No one wants to accept that crappy things happen to them but that’s life.

Someone once told me “life’s fair because it’s unfair to everyone” I don’t think I understood that until I was diagnosed for the second time.

I’ve decided that you couldn’t possibly live a complete happy life, if you never experience pain. The emotions that are hard to bare are the ones that make us stronger. They make us appreciate life a little extra. The small things seem to have more meaning than they did before.

It might be hard to believe, but sometimes I think I’m happier now than I was 6 months ago.

Perhaps what I’m trying to say is that we should channel all the negative things in our lives, in order to appreciate the positive things.

Use your emotions wisely; we have them for a reason

xo.

Here We Go

3…2…1… BAMM you’re awake with half your face numb, unable to talk (thanks to the trach) and so high on morphine your brain is incapable of properly processing everything that’s going on around you.

The first night was more or less a blur. Besides being repeatedly woken up by the ICU nurse, to assure all my vitals were normal.

My head was the size of a ballon: uneven and extremely swollen. My left fibula had been cut, in order to reconstruct my face. As a result of the loss of bone, my leg was casted and extremely sore; this meant walking was no longer a simple task.

The few days to follow were probably the most difficult. I had an extremely difficult time breathing, due to the trach. It felt like I was drowning but had no means of communicating with the people around me (frightening).

I wrote on a white board in order to share my thoughts, however, it was extremely frustrating because it’s difficult to explain it to someone who hasn’t experienced it.

In addition to the trach, a feeding tube was put in place because the reconstruction of the jaw restricted my capability to ingest food through my mouth. Initially the tube was of little bother but within a couple days my stomach rejected the food. [The nurses insisted I receive 55ml every 12 hours, however, I was at 15ml every 12 hours. Which was of concern (seeing I wasn’t receiving the proper amount of nutrition).]

The thought of drinking water and eating pasta brought tears to my eyes  (Let me tell you… When you can’t eat… ALL you want to do is eat EAT EAT EAT)

Eventually the trach was removed and breathing was no longer such a difficult task. The feeding tube was removed a few days later.The first sip of water was probably the highlight of my recovery- the light at the end of the tunnel could now be seen!

I slowly made my way from clear liquids (water, apple juice, tea, etc.), to solid liquids (milk,smoothies, etc.) and finally soft solids (eggs, mashed potatoes, etc.)

Once the trach hole began to close, eating wasn’t a problem and I could walk on my leg with the help of an IV pole the doctors began to consider my discharge.

I was discharged exactly 6 days later.

Being home made the rest of my recovery much easier. I got to eat when I wanted, drink when I wanted and sleep when I wanted.

The initial days after being home consisted of both ups and downs but eventually I was back to being me.

Tomorrow chemo begins…till then

XO

 

“Where you live shouldn’t dictate if you live”

If you’re capable of reading this, it’s likely that you live somewhere relatively nice, where your basic needs are met.

Imagine living somewhere where your basic needs AND human right are never met. Everyday life would be difficult and I’m assuming (at times) quite frustrating; to feel stuck and unable to make a change, simply because of your geographical location.
EVERYDAY, children suffer as a result of where they live. They are unable to thrive in life due to the inaccessibility of health care, something many of us take for granted. Every year, nearly 7 million children worldwide die of preventable diseases. In other words, had those children been somewhere in western civilization with access to a doctor or medical facility, it’s likely that they would have survived.

“About 29,000 children under the age of five – 21 each minute – die every day, mainly from preventable causes. More than 70 per cent of almost 11 million child deaths every year are attributable to six causes: diarrhoea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth.”

-UNICEF

Children who suffer of non preventable diseases in these countries have no chance at life. If they don’t have access to basic healthcare, they most definitely don’t have access to specialty healthcare for illnesses such as cancer, MS, cystic fibrosis, etc. This is a result of:  lack of knowledge, lack of equipment and lack of funds.

Being both a cancer survivor and patient, I can personally vouch for the importance of medical advancement. If I was a child in a country without access to health care, I wouldn’t be here today.
We must not only be citizens in our own backyard but also citizens of the world.

Perhaps doing your part is simply recognizing how lucky you are to live in a country that gives you options. Death is still a possibility, even in Canada (depending on the severity of the disease.)  However, with access to healthcare, you have the chance to fight for your life: an opportunity many wouldn’t even dream of.

Help where and when you can.Whether you volunteer, donate (join the fight with SickKids) or spread knowledge on the subject.

Xo

Sound familiar?

“You haven’t struggled until you’re drunk af trying to do winged eyeliner”

“If tomorrow isn’t a snow day I want to die”

“When you’re in class and its so boring you’d  stick needles in your eyes if you could”

“I rather die than go to work”

I understand that everyones struggles vary but at some point you have to draw a line. Not all things we experience are worth complaining about.

I know past experiences help dictate what someone finds difficult or awful but it’s important to understand people are fighting for their lives while someone else is contemplating death because the weather isn’t what they want it to be.

I believe it’s important to evaluate the things you find challenging before you decide to complain. [I plan on evaluating things before I choose to view them in a negative way]

Don’t accept ignorance because it’s mainstream- be the change you wish to see in the world.

Xo

The 6 Letter Word that Kills

DID YOU KNOW… There are more than 100 types of cancer. On average, 555 Canadians will be diagnosed with Cancer every day.

In addition to that, 2 out of 5 Canadians are expected to develop cancer during their lifetime. [Canada’s current population is 36,626,083 those statistic estimate that 14,650,433 of Canada’s civilians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.]

I have not only been diagnosed with cancer once in my lifetime, but twice. I was first diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma a malignant brain tumour. The second diagnosis was osteosarcoma in simpler words- bone cancer [& yes, this is the cancer Terry Fox passed away from.]

Osteosarcoma is most commonly found in fast growing areas of the bone (knees, elbows, etc.) Some Osteosarcoma patients undergo surgery, while others must undergo both surgery and vigorous chemotherapy treatments. The choice of treatment is dependent on the severity, as well as the location, of the cancer.

My diagnoses of osteosarcoma is linked to both the radiation I received as a child AND the mutation in my gene (P53.) My left jaw lit up like a christmas when I had a bone scan done. The tumour was measured in cm (this generally means the tumour is of a large size.)

The board of oncologists at Sick Kids discussed my specific case and decided I should under go surgery before starting chemotherapy. They wanted the tumour to be removed before it caused further damage (specifically nerve damage.)

The surgery whom was done by Doctor Gilbert, the head and neck specialist at the Toronto General Hospital, planned on:

  • Removing the jaw joint (leads to permanent complications chewing & numbness)
  • Removing a small lower part of the skull (this was to be done by a neurosurgeon)
  • Reconstruction of the left mandible (jaw)
  • Free tissue transplant from the left leg (used to reconstruct the left mandible/jaw)

The morning of surgery was long; it consisted mostly of waiting around. Once I changed into my dressing gown the surgery was quick to follow. The surgeon, as well as his fellow, brought me into a massive operating room (exactly like the ones in movies.) The few minutes between being brought in by the doctors and being put to sleep, seemed to last forever. I’ve been put to sleep sooooooo many times that it doesn’t scare me anymore.

If you close your eyes and start counting….1…2….you’re asleep!

Xo