Sunday, December 4, 2022

Holidays are on their way

The Christmas season is ramping up and while the time leading up to it, is not my favourite, I absolutely love Christmas. This year is more difficult, when I think of the dear friends lost and the trials we’ve faced. I’m going to dig deep to embrace the season and make the most of what we have been blessed with. There is always something to be thankful for.

I've been enjoying not having chemo the last couple of months.  I've recently started my oral maintenance drug called Niraparib. It's a PARP inhibitor that is supposed to help keep the cancer at bay. We are hoping it does its job. We know my cancer is not curable but hopeful to manage it as long as possible.   The drug has a long list of side effects much like chemotherapy but less severe. My immune system will be weakened again which isn't fun, but we will be cautious. Over the last week, side effects have kicked in and I’m reminded about how much I dislike nausea and vomiting. We will weigh the pros and cons of this drug over the next couple of weeks.

We are looking forward to getting our girls home under one roof for Christmas and enjoying time with some family and friends.  Exams are just around the corner for our 2 oldest and they are doing well at university and we are so proud of them. Our youngest is growing up too quickly She’s enjoying her new school and doing very well. She’s loving ringette and has started basketball. She’s missed some school and sports due to sickness, so we are hoping she’s passed most of that.

My husband is busy working and juggling a lot of extra, but as always manages smoothly. He’s taking a good break over the holidays with us. We are all happy about that. I’m beginning to figure out what is next for me. Once I’m healed and managing well with this new treatment, I will be heading back to some form of work. Not sure where or when this will happen, but hopeful something will work out.  Another adventure awaits. For now, we will enjoy the season and be forever grateful for our life we have.

To all who are struggling through this season, I send my sincere love to you. I hope we can all find our way to embrace the happy moments and be thankful for them.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays!


2021


 

 

 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

I'm not the only one

I'm not the only one affected by my cancer and that might be the most upsetting part of this disease. While I endure the drain of treatment and side effects, my family is right there with me each step. 

My husband worked throughout the process and did attempt to cutback his schedule. As a family physician running your own practice, this is quite difficult to do. Being a self-employed family it's a necessity to continue to work, we don't get paid vacation or sick time. He balanced things well but I know it was rough. Going to a workplace where everyone's life carries on normally and patients come to complain about their sometimes mild ailments, while your wife is struggling to manage each day, is quite a juggle.  If he had his choice, he would have been at home helping me daily but I feel it was best that he was able to get away from the sick house life. He cared for me on his down days and evenings, I was not easy but he helped me every step of the way. It was a heavy burden to carry.

Our two oldest were both very supportive but both working and school kept them busy. They checked in daily and came to our rescue during times when we needed them for late night ER visits, helping with our youngest, or driving me to appointments. They avoided high risk places to ensure my safety. They had to make sacrifices for my safety and I'm sure it wasn't fun missing out. I know they worry about me and the future. I know they realize the seriousness of the illness. I wish they didn't have to.

Our youngest, has missed out on a lot. She had to change schools in the spring, due to no safety supports at her previous school. She continues to mask daily, while 99% of her school no longer does. She's had a small handful of play dates over the last 8 months through no fault of anyone. It's just the life we've lived with caution of COVID and any illness. I hate that she has had to miss out to protect her Mom, it brings a lot of emotion every time I think about it. I worry about how it has affected her. I know she has learned so much in the process but the losses break my heart.  

I am hopeful that we can all return to a somewhat new normal even while being cautious. I hope my girls can enjoy life without worrying about their Mom daily. I hope our youngest can get back to hanging out with her friends and enjoying sleepovers.  I hope my husband can enjoy going to work and not carrying any guilt of leaving his sick wife at home.

I will regain my strength and give back to this world the way I intend to. So many others need help and support. Life is heavy for many. Our time is precious and we can all help by giving of our time and support when and where we can. 

 

Our Family 2019


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Finding my way

Once you’ve been through hell, it takes time to get yourself back on track. I’ve been in another zone since my ovarian cancer returned in winter of 2022, I call it my battle zone. Everything seems a bit blurry at first, and you continue through life stumbling from medical appointment to medical appointment. When you come out through the process you may feel like you’ve been through a boxing fight, you’ve been up and down a few times and left with scars, aches, and pains all over. It’s a road that unless you’ve been on it or cared for someone through it, there’s no way to comprehend.

I paint a fairly sad picture of this journey, but it isn’t all bad. I learned to live life with less concern about what others think, I'm more focussed on my family and close friends; what is most important. I’m more grateful for each day.  The love in our family and strength has prospered.  We had good times throughout the process, often laughing and making the best of little moments.  

 

As I look toward the future I have hope, hope for time and memories.  Living each day with integrity and passion is my goal.  Creating lasting good memories to cherish is good enough for me.

For the next little while, I will continue to stumble here and there, until I get myself stronger. When you are at the end of cancer treatment, there is much healing to do and managing of emotions of the next part of this journey.


The focus will be on healing, something I didn’t take time 3 years ago when I was first diagnosed.  I tried jumping back into my old life and my body quickly informed me that wasn’t a good idea. Within 2 months of finishing treatment, I was hit with a nasty case of shingles, frozen shoulder, joint issues. This process will be slower. I highly recommend if you are nearing the end of your treatment to take some time for you and allow your body to heal before jumping on the next train or plane.

 

I wish you happy healing and strength.

 


 

 

 

 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Onward, Upward, Time to Heal and Travel



 Last week, I had my last chemo treatment. I started treatment in May 2022 and had anticipated to be completed chemo in late August, but chemo loves to throw curveballs.  I had allergic reactions which caused delays as well as one infection of neutropenia. Thankfully, I had no hospital admissions this time around and I was fortunate to enjoy some of the summer with downtime. The last few treatments hit me very hard with severe nausea, vomiting, and weakness. My body may never be the same and it's been left with many scars but I'm alive and hopefully cancer free for now.

This time around has been harder than I ever imagined though. I've lost touch with a lot friends and family and that is a hard part of this illness. It’s just how this beast works.  Three plus years of practically being isolated has that effect.  I’ve fortunately got a great little group of friends that I adore and look forward to seeing soon once this silly immune system kicks in gear! I also can’t wait for the next golf season to get out with dear friends! Family always seems to find it's way back :-) 

We have three amazing daughters that have all stepped up to the massive plate and have been there for their family during the most difficult of times.  They are learning some tough life lessons during the process, how important family is and who is there for them in the rough times. Valuable lessons that they will carry through life.

My husband has weathered this storm with me - I have not been easy. I have been angry, sad, and frustrated throughout this recurrence and he continues to be by my side, supporting and encouraging me on the days when I’ve wanted to quit. We are an incredibly strong couple and nothing will break us.

My parents can finally breathe a sigh of relief and I hope they get to do a little traveling to enjoy some of this fall. They've dedicated their days to helping me and making sure we have the help we need. 

We are forever grateful for our family, it hasn’t been easy for anyone.

I've made a list of my things I want to do and get done. Everything from cleaning out closets to learning to cook new dishes to getting back to exercising! We have a couple of trips planned as well and hope to make more plans soon! Slowly but surely we'll get back on track and it will all be ok.

I share this to open communication, to help others who may be struggling too. It’s ok to not be ok through this stuff. You have to have bad days, it’s ok to complain, we are not perfect but that doesn’t make us failures, it makes us real. Be real.

Thank you all for supporting us through this chapter, we're gladly closing out this one.




Monday, May 23, 2022

Here we go again

 As I sit here on the eve of my return to chemotherapy, about to take my medication to help ease any reaction to my regime, my gut instinct tells me to run away, as fast as I can. The flight is winning out over the fight for several moments today.  It's ok, I will arrive at my appointment tomorrow with a nervous smile, anxious but I'll be there and I'll bring the fight with me that day forward. I will do everything in my power to ensure I am on this earth for as long as I can.  Life is not something I have ever taken for granted.

Having to put my family and friends through this again weighs hard on me. I don't like bringing out sadness in others, I don't like living in a bubble, and having my family have to be worried about me. This is what I hate most about cancer is what it does do families. Something one does not learn until they become a part of it.

We will get through this, we will prevail, we will move along step by step and be thankful for the good moments and memories we get to make along the way. 

Thank you for supporting us, we appreciate all the prayers and positive thoughts. 

Steroids, crackers, water, whales and a sweet note from Ava

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Ovarian Cancer Recurrence

Recurrence is common in many cancers, and unfortunately very common in advanced stage ovarian cancer.  I knew I would face this again but had hoped it would be many years from now. Here we are, 3 years after surgery (2.5 yrs after treatment) facing this beast again. Ovarian cancer recurrence means this cancer is incurable, I will continue to get treatment for the rest of my time. Thankful for medicine and research 🔬 

The last couple of years I have managed quite well, enjoying life with family and friends!  We've had 2 daughters graduate from high school and move on to their studies in university.  They make us incredibly proud of the adults they are becoming. We've watched our youngest daughter, grow up so much and she's becoming quite a special kind lady! She has a passion for reading and has read the entire Harry Potter series (twice), and now is making me watch all the movies with her (her 2nd or 3rd time) I wasn't a big HP fan but have learned more than I'll ever need to know over the last couple of months. We've done less traveling than we would have liked, but much like the rest of the world travel has had to take a back seat.  We've enjoyed playing lots of golf, a new fav pastime for my husband and I.  I played over 70 games last summer.

I've  had to resign from my job which was a very difficult move but it was necessary.  I will soon begin treatment and possibly surgery so I won't be much use in the office.  I work with my husband and we really enjoyed our work partnership. I'll miss my work family and all the lovely patients. Working in a family medicine office, many patients become a special part of your life. They'll all be missed (most of them lol ) 

Now I have to get prepared for another challenge. We will do everything we can to knock this cancer out so we can move onto bigger and better things in life.  I ask that you reach out to my family if you are a friend of theirs, they are hurting too and can always use a little love. While this is a tough road for me, I feel it's harder for them at times.  We appreciate the kindness, love and support from everyone.

 

 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Happy Cancerversary to us


Today is our two year cancerversary. It’s a strange day to celebrate, considering how much sadness and worry it brought. It’s a day that will forever be etched in memory, not only for me but for my precious husband, daughters, parents, in-laws, brothers and sister-in-laws. I remember the conversation we had with each of them that awful night.  We were headed into uncharted territory but one thing we did know was we had an amazing team along with us. When one is faced with what seems the impossible, having love and support helps you get through.

I’m abundantly thankful to still be here today and be doing very well. I know how fortunate I am to have come this far.  I’ve lost many friends to this horrible disease and I will do whatever I can to help spread awareness to others.

Today, I will celebrate being alive and well.  Thank you to all who helped me get to this point. It was not an easy road but worth every single step.

 


 

Holidays are on their way

The Christmas season is ramping up and while the time leading up to it, is not my favourite, I absolutely love Christmas....