Monday, April 7, 2014

Hormones, Bloody Hormones

In keeping up with my promise to be honest and open about what happens in my life after cancer, (is there ever really an after cancer?) we need to talk about hormones. Hormones are my enemy. One half of my initial breast tumor was hormone responsive. That means that part of my cancer feeds on the estrogen that my body produces and in turn the more estrogen my body produces the higher the chances of my cancer returning for a third time. Adding to that, I've removed the parts of my body that allows the 'earliest' diagnosis of a recurrence; meaning that if my cancer returns it would be much more difficult to notice and most likely would spread quite far before a symptom developed. I've also historically suffered from ovarian cysts. I had my first cyst when I was 13 and the pain was so extreme I needed to be hospitalized to manage the it. I currently have a cyst the size of a golf ball on one of my ovaries and worry that the next one won't be just a cyst but instead a tumor. Breast cancer and ovarian cancer are so closely related that it wouldn't be very far fetched for it to happen.

Keeping the above in mind, I've decided to ask my oncologist to have my ovaries removed. It wasn't a decision that I came to quickly or take lightly. This effects the entire remainder of my life and my boyfriend's life. He's an only child, that means that his bloodlines end at him. I'm taking the chance away from him to see what his children would look like and allowing his parents to experience what it would be like to be a grandparent. I'm removing the ability to feel what it's like to be pregnant, to see what I would look like carrying a child, to see what I could create. This is what cancer does though. It takes away from you and never gives in return. Even after active treatment ends you need to constantly think about what you can do to increase your chances of surviving. Every little bit helps, helps to stop adding tickets to the cancer lottery.

I remember how horrible menopause was for the year I was in it while I was in treatment. I remember the hot flashes, the insomnia and the all around annoyance of weight gain in places that I had never gained weight before in my life. I know that it is going to be hard, I'm 31 and my body is not prepared to have my hormones ending so early. I will suffer and hate it and complain about it. Even with all of that though I just have to do it. I can't have the ticking time bomb inside of me waiting to go off. I want to give myself the best chance possible and this is one of the ways I can help that happen.

Heather xo

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Project Do Something AWESOME.

While I was writing a rant filled comment on a friend's Facebook status about the no makeup selfie campaign that is currently making the rounds I realized something. Something big. I have a voice, a voice that needs to be heard. I have so much to say, to share, and to answer. I need to start walking the walk. I need to get out of my monotonous routine and step out of my comfort zone and share my thoughts. Will everyone like my thoughts? Agree with what I have to say? Probably not. But if I can help ONE person even just a little? I'll have succeeded.

After coming to terms with the guilt I carry for being a survivor (so many are not, it's hard to not wonder what made you more deserving to live than someone else) I realized that I need to do everything in my power to show that they didn't die for nothing. That I cannot squander the gift that I fought so hard to get. To live. To put a face to the campaign. To honestly show what it is like to live with cancer.

So here's to a new project. A way to bring awareness the only way I know how; by telling my story.

To those of you who have stuck with me so far, I thank you. To those who are just joining me, I thank you too. Now is the time to stand up and do something AWESOME! Who's with me?

Much love,
Heather xo

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Deja Vu?

Well here I am again. I've been here before but somehow it seems different this time. I'm stronger both mentally and physically then I was the first time around only a year (REALLY Universe?) ago. These past three weeks have seriously tested my strength. First, one of my expandable implants sprung a very large leak and pretty much deflated inside my chest. Second, while looking over my most recent chest CT scan results my Oncologist noticed an abnormal looking lymph node in my left armpit and sent me for a biopsy. Third, I had surgery to replace my defective implant as well as my implant that was fine (since they're from the same batch we had to make sure we got rid of the chance it could also leak). Fourth, I received news that my biopsy results were in. The result? Not good. My cancer has returned. Wow. It's so much heavier seeing it written down. My Oncologist isn't sure exactly how this happened since I'm still in active treatment and its quite rare for that to happen. But if there's one thing I've learned on this journey is that if there's a chance of something going wrong, it will go wrong for me. My path on this journey has not been easy so far but what is? This is life, it's reality. Sometimes it's not pretty, you get really low and wonder why it's happening to you. Why you can't catch a break. Then you realize it's what will make you stronger. It builds your character, gives you life experience that no one will gain unless they've fought a similar battle. It gives you grit and compassion. It shows you vulnerability and perseverance that you never knew existed. It shows you you're human and you feel every single thought. It's ok to be scared but know you're not alone.

My cancer may be back but so am I. I'm ready to fight and I WILL WIN.

Lots of love,
Heather xo

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

When Will It End?

I've started to realize that now that I've had cancer my life will forever be a long game of what's next. Just when I've gotten the all clear on one issue another issue pops up for me to worry over.

I can't remember if I talked about the spots they found on my lungs in my first CT scan post diagnosis. The short story is that they found spots, weren't sure if the spots were cancer or scar tissue, had repeat CT scan 6 months later which showed no change, had another CT scan 6 months after that (2 weeks ago) which still showed no change in the spots, Oncologist decided they were benign and I was told not to worry. That's been my last year, full of worry in the back of my mind about those spots and if they were cancerous.

In the phone call that my Oncologist gave me the all clear on the spots she brought up a new concern about a lymph node in my left armpit. Apparently it's 1cm in size and looking "abnormal". I now have to have an ultrasound to decide if it needs to be biopsied and if not, what it could be.

I'm trying so hard to be positive and not worry too much but I just can't help but wonder when it will all end. When will I stop analyzing every headache, chest pain and off feeling? When will I be able to relax and not worry that I'm not going to see my next birthday? When will I be comfortable in discussing my future without putting the disclaimer in that I hope that I'll be around?

Just as I start to make progress and not worry quite so much another issue comes up that sets me back to the beginning. This is worse than the chemotherapy and surgeries I've been through. I want to be able to sleep at night and not toss and turn from the inability to turn my brain the fuck off.

No one talks about the after effects of cancer and how much harder it is to live your life. I'm so tired of it all and I'm only just beginning.

Please tell me it will get better. That I will be able to relax and that this current issue is nothing. I'm so scared.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

1 Year

A year ago today I found the lump in my breast that changed my life forever. I can't believe that it has been a year already. I don't know if I should be sad of what I went through or happy I've made it this far. Do I be thankful of the life I have when so many don't make it this far or angry that my life had to change so much?

I have no idea how I feel, part of me is mourning the life I left behind but part of me is celebrating that I have a life to live.

I know that the charity bike ride will help me feel like this past year hasn't been a waste, as long as I can raise the money to go. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far and retweeted and shared. It means so much to me to have all of your support.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about go here and donate to the cause :)


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Eff You Cancer!

So as I mentioned in a previous post I am riding my bike from Calgary, Alberta to Lewiston, Maine this fall. I'm part of the Cancervive Charity Ride but I will be an ambassador rider so I will be stopping along the way and sharing my story. I will be riding my bike 4 hours a day for 10 days and praying to the padded short Gods that my coochie doesn't fall off by the end of it.

Here's where you come in... I need your money. Like lots of your money or lots of you to give a little of your money. Either way I need $5000 by October to do the ride. I am very passionate about where this money is going and so happy it's not going to "research". I do understand how important research is for cancer but I really feel like it gets the biggest portion of fundraising and it's about time the little guys gone in on the action too.

All of the money I raise goes to a local organization call Wellspring. It's a house that is open to all cancer patients, family members, caretakers and survivors for FREE! They have different classes (like painting, yoga, meditation), workshops (return to work, brain fog) or someone to talk to while having a cup of tea and relaxing. I can't tell you how much they have helped me through my diagnosis, treatment and recovery so far. I know they have some other locations in Canada as well so if you have a family member or yourself who has cancer just give them a Google and see if there's a location near you.

Why am I doing this you ask? I want to say FUCK YOU CANCER in the biggest way I know how. I am going to sit my ass on a bike and work my very hardest to make it across the continent so I can show cancer with every single push of the pedal that it didn't get me. That I may have been at rock bottom where every single breath I took felt like my last and I didn't give up. I fought my way back tooth and nail (which ironically were both so sensitive that nothing could even touch them) to live. To thrive.

This long and rambling post is just to say that I need money, would love some of your  money, to help me show cancer who's boss. Thank you to each and every one of you who donates to this cause and my desire to say eff you cancer.

Click here to make me smile :)


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

There Goes A Fighter

I may not be an Olympic athlete but I know a thing or two about determination in the face of adversity, showing every.single.person. that I'm tough enough to fight the battle I've been entered in without a say and coming out the other side successfully.

I've yet to find a song that has lyrics so exactly perfect as this. My mission is to have every person I meet say after I leave "there goes a fighter".