Time to be Merry

Hiya Everyone!

So I figure I owe you all an apology as I haven’t been on my blog like I would have liked. I have been having a rough time the last couple of weeks. It’s been rather difficult as I am beginning to feel more and more like a cancer patient. Literally I have no energy whatsoever and I am not really eating all that much – my appetite is really off. And my stomach is terribly unsettled.

When I feel like this, I begin to think that this may be my last Christmas and it terrifies me. I feel as if the cancer is winning. And I can’t have that happen.  I have been feeling much more emotional lately. I can’t even make it through that damn “Christmas Shoes” song without balling. And I have been dropping the f-bomb more frequently for some reason too. I guess cancer is making me a bit of a hick. Need to figure out a wiser way to channel all of my rage.

Christmas time is my favourite time of year. I love everything about this season (okay maybe not so much the frigid weather). So it saddens me when I can’t participate in Christmas activities.  No energy for baking or shopping which are two of my favourite past times. My oncologist said I should take a wheelchair with me to the mall but I choose to walk for a bit, then I sit on a bench for a bit, and so on.  I tend to get winded very easily now. How sad is it when here I am sitting on a bench resting while some grandma zooms by me with 50 gifts in hand. Oh well.

Not sure if I updated you all on my current state. So essentially that “polyp” that was removed from my stomach was indeed cancer. Some sort of sarcoma. Go figure. Everyone seemed shocked as this particular cancer is so rare and it’s even unheard of in the Li Fraumeni world so I must truly be some sort of mutant. I lost count……cancer #7?

Anyhow I was booked for a CT scan of the abdomen to see if there is anymore nasty cancer in the stomach to deal with. I had to drink some foul liquid plus I was given some sort of injection on top of contrast dye. Awful. Since that test, I haven’t been the same. Luckily the test didn’t seem to detect more cancer though I will require another endoscopy a couple days before Christmas where the doctor will attempt to see if he can remove or burn the base of the tumor, which is still inside me. Fun stuff.

It’s been quite the bumpy ride but being slightly stubborn I refuse to believe that my expiry date is up soon so I am continuing to be hopeful despite the statistics. But I am not going to lie, it’s been challenging. My oncologist doesn’t think people come out of this when they get to this stage of the disease. But she also doesn’t think I am the typical patient, so who knows what’s in store.

I definitely don’t feel like myself.  I have lost weight as well as muscle and can even feel my bones in certain places. And my poor boobies are suffering too. There are even days where I am so frail and weak that I can actually feel my body breaking down on me. I am desperately trying to reverse this so I can start getting back to feeling healthy again. Hopefully I can still turn it around.

It also makes me feel sad that I can’t really enjoy the season the way I would have liked. I love eating and sharing dinners with friends and family but now eating feels like a chore due to my lack of appetite. And I don’t feel fun. I feel as though I am the sad cancer girl who is depressing to be around. And no one wants to feel like the person that people just pity.

But then the other day it hit me. When you feel lousy and sick you tend to feel angry, depressed, isolated and easily  irritated. However thinking back on all those who lost their lives to this treacherous disease as well as all of the adults and children that are currently in hospital or very sick I become much more thankful.  I have lost people to this disease and I am sure they would be thrilled to be alive. So as frustrated as I may become, I will always be thankful for my life and for everything I do have.

As a society we are so consumed with ourselves and we have such a sense of entitlement as to what we think we deserve. No one takes the time to slow down and appreciate what they have already been given. It i quite easy to take everything for granted and always look to those that have more. But it takes  strength of character to look at those that are less fortunate and be thankful for what we have. We need to look around us and be grateful especially during this season.

Despite the aches and pains, the upset stomach, the lack of energy, the diarrhea, the lack of appetite, the fluid around my lungs, the shortness of breath, and the coughing, I still have so much to be happy about and live for.

So regardless if I am being naive or not, I cannot give up. I have too much to live for. I can still get out of bed and I can still sit and enjoy Christmas carols while I slowly work on some Christmas stuff. I can also still enjoy snuggling up on the sofa and watching Christmas movies or stare at the laser lights that my amazing husband put up to make me feel a bit more festive. I love that man.

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I think the main point I want to make from this post is that for all those brave children and adults battling cancer, especially an advanced or late stage cancer, they cannot give up. It’s rather easy to become obsessed with death when you see yourself slowly deteriorating right before your eyes. You begin to panic that this is it. You begin to recall all those around you that passed away from this disease and  how you are starting to look like what they looked like. And it’s really scary sh@t.

I just want all of you to know that no matter what people say, it is really difficult to focus on the good when you feel so bad and so scared. But cancer is no dummy, unfortunately cancer cells are quite intelligent and they will take over, especially if we make it easy for them.  As difficult as it is we have to focus on the positive and this will allow us the opportunity to try to get better. In the end life will play out as it is supposed to. All we can do is try our best. And that is exactly what I am doing.

Health, love and tis the season 🙂
Xo

2015: The year summed up

Hiya everyone!

So, it looks like another year has flown by. Can you believe it? I know, another year that I have been alive, how awesome is that?

Like every year, the year 2015 has seen its ups and downs. In reflecting on the last year, I have used this blog to give thanks for the good days and let people know about the bad ones too. We all have bad days, months, and even sometimes bad years. But remember that it can always be worse. If you are alive, safe, sheltered, fed, clothed and healthy, then it’s all good. Period.

Now to finish off the year, I am going to give you all a glimpse into my life in two thousand and fifteen.

Here is 2015 a la Sabrina:
CT scans that were almost stable, an MRI that squished my boobies and one that checked my brain (yes, apparently I have one), injected myself with mistletoe, Niagara on the Lake for Valentines Day, ate some awesome seafood in Boston, peed at Harvard Law School, was featured in the Toronto Star, met and was interviewed by Susan Hay of Global TV, celebrated my one year wedding anniversary which was romantic and wet (get your minds out of the gutter, people – it was raining the entire weekend), cottage, cottage, and more cottage, endured some major cancer fatigue, saw some superheroes live at the ACC, threw a fantastic Halloween party where we went as Joker and Harley Quinn, started a new drug at the cancer clinic, had a rough November because I had to deal with the tragic death of a friend from the cancer clinic I attend, had mulled wine for the first time and it was yummy, did a photo shoot for Elle Canada magazine…..awesome, was chosen as the Wellspring model for 2016, enjoyed gatherings with friends and family over the holidays, ate enough food for about 5 people on Christmas Eve and Day, got nasty bronchitis and realized how much pghlem one can actually produce, and lived through metastatic cancer for another year, so there! Off to the next year 🙂

Happy New Year everyone!! To a 2016 filled with much love, happiness, peace, health, and NO cancer!

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Xoxo

I Reached Into My Purse and Pulled Out the “Cancer Card”

Cancer sucks. We can all agree on that. And metastatic cancer really sucks – you can take my word for it. You were dealt a really crappy hand when you got cancer, but one of those cards just happens to be the infamous “cancer card.”

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When you have cancer, you are automatically given a “cancer card.” It’s part of the membership to the “Cancer Club.” With the “cancer card” you can milk your diagnosis for what it’s worth. And why wouldn’t you, really? You’ve earned it!

Don’t judge us, you know you would do the same.

Now, I’m not saying the “cancer card” can get you out of everything. You still have to pay your taxes, find yourself a job, wait in line when Christmas shopping, follow the law (and obey rules, regulations, and bylaws), pay for things, and it can’t get you out of having cancer, either (bummer, I know).

And you shouldn’t abuse the “cancer card.” That’s just wrong. It’s for those well-needed breaks. The times when you just become overwhelmed and can’t deal with everything, and you need a little help.

So when can you pull out your “cancer card”, you might wonder? Here are a few instances when doing so is deemed appropriate and beneficial:

1. You need an MRI, CT scan, or test of any kind…….with the “cancer card” you get top priority.

2. When you want to take a nap during the day or sleep in a little longer…. I’m feeling really tired, it must be the cancer. Cancer card.

3. When you are losing an argument with your significant other….I can’t think straight right now, it’s probably my chemo brain. Note that this can also work when you can’t figure out a Crossword puzzle or Sudoku.

4. When you want to get out of doing the dishes, cancer card it up. Sorry, I just don’t have any energy lately. I think I’m just going to sit here and rest.

5. When you really feel like going out for dinner or ice cream….…The “cancer card” coupled with the “I have cancer face” is really hard to say no to.

6. For all those other times that you may deem it necessary…Uh, cuz I have cancer, duh?

I don’t want to list too many, as that might just make you feel guilty.

Oh, and the other good thing about the “cancer card” is that you can joke about having and using it (kinda like I did in this blog post).

Anyway, I’m off to make some dinner, I’m not going to use the “cancer card” for this one.

Love, health, and humour!
xo

I Surely Didn’t Ask Santa To Bring Me Cancer For Christmas

Cancer is not a gift.

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I remember reading articles and watching interviews from individuals claiming that cancer was a gift, that they embraced it with open arms because it taught them so much. It taught them to love and appreciate life. When I heard these things, I would throw up a little in my mouth. Call me crazy but that’s not the gift I wanted to receive all wrapped up under my Christmas tree.

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A gift does not make you weak and frail. It does not subject you to toxic treatments. It does not make you throw up at the sight of food (or for no reason at all). It does not make you emotional, irritable, and fearful. It does not mess with your self-esteem or negatively alter your self-image. It does not force you to fight for your life. And it surely isn’t fun or something you are dying to show-off to your friends. Hey guys, look at this cool tumor I got for Christmas, isn’t it awesome?

There was no way that cancer was going to make Amazon’s Wish List, this was for certain.

I used to think to myself, I seriously didn’t need cancer to make me enjoy or appreciate life. I was already doing that. In fact, the only thing I didn’t particularly like about my life was the whole cancer thing. Not something I would recommend trying.

In my teens, twenties, and early thirties, I didn’t need to be reminded of how great life was because I already knew. I was young; the last thing I was looking for was this type of enlightenment. I just wanted to live carefree for a while, have fun, and do ‘normal people’ things. I didn’t want to put my life on hold and make life-altering decisions. I didn’t want to be the ‘girl with cancer’. But I was.

About four or five months ago I read a book about a woman’s cancer journey whereby she refers to cancer as a gift. This was one of the many books that I picked up as a means of enlightening myself about everything and all things cancer. Although I appreciated this woman’s courage and bravery while battling the disease, I still couldn’t come to terms with the idea behind the title. By the time I reached the end of the book, I understood exactly where the author was coming from, but in all honesty, I was still having trouble applying the concept to my own life.

As part of my journey towards healing myself, I promised that I would try to see my disease in a different light. I promised myself that I would focus on the upsides of cancer (which I will discuss in another blog post, so watch out for that), and that I would try to focus on changing my lifestyle and attitude. The part about appreciating and loving life, I already had mastered that.

With each of the last five times that I had cancer, it was never a gift for me, and that has not changed. But what has changed is that my current situation has forced me to accept the cancer and deal with it differently than I had been. I didn’t need or ask for this wake-up call, but now that it was presented to me, I needed to act on it. Plain and simple.

In my opinion, cancer does and will always suck. But what doesn’t suck is the love and support that surrounds me.

The pleasure and enjoyment I get out of life doesn’t suck.

Having awesome skin from all of the juicing and vegetables that I have been devouring doesn’t suck.

Learning and trying out new things doesn’t suck.

Having an excuse to sleep a little more doesn’t suck.

Being a role model and inspiring others doesn’t suck.

Writing this blog doesn’t suck.

And for better or for worse, cancer has been the driving force behind all of these things.

As for the whole ‘cancer as a gift’ thing, I still won’t be putting that on my Christmas list 😉

Love, health, and fun presents!
xo