It’s my Birthday!

Guess what? Today I’m officially 31 – a word to my thirties: I’m here, I’m in you, and I’m not letting go!

make a wishYesterday was something. Zsolt and I had a follow up appointment with Dr Canada at the hospital, so that pretty much consumed my thoughts. We were going to learn about tumour markers and hear what could be seen on the lung x-ray.

So, we get to the hospital and are pretty much immediately taken into a consultation room. The nurse says she’ll pass me a slip after the talk with Dr Canada so I can book my follow up appointment. And I was like, “Follow up appointment?” in my head. Not aloud. Follow up appointments are never quite the words you want to hear in a consultation room, particularly after the life-shaking news I received last time.

Anyhow, she left and Zsolt and I waited. And waited. And waited. Part of me had been calm going in there, but as the waiting continued another part of me started kicking up and wanted to just leave.

“Let’s leave,” I said to Zsolt, pretending to be joking.

He pretended to laugh.

For some reason I decided to dress nicely for this appointment. Yesterday I was in my high-waist blue skirt, stripped blue t-shirt, and blue canvas shoes. Zsolt was in his red t-shirt, blue jeans and white shoes. Together we looked like the American flag, which I guess was appropriate considering it was July 4th.

Anyhow, just as I’m sliding down in my chair onto the consultation room floor with all the nerves, in walks Dr Canada.

He’s smiling, he says hello, he gives me a hug. (After I sit back up.)

And all along in the back of my mind, as we exchange words and he tells me a little bit about the anxiety he realizes I must be feeling, I just want to know about the tumour markers. Finally he lets us know that the markers looked ‘normal’, and the markers specific to my situation looks rather ‘normal’. And that was great to hear.

The X-ray didn’t show the spots, which probably means they are too small. This, he said, was a bit of a disappointment because now I’ll need to be bounced around in my referrals before we can find someone to actually biopsy the little things. Therefore, that means I need to keep waiting.

Fucking torturous.

And then we talked about possibilities and options and treatments and scary stuff. They may be benign spots that resulted from a lung infection some people in this area can get, so there’s that as a bit of hope. The biopsy will really reveal all.

Some scary things were also said yesterday. Things I already knew, but I guess you never want to hear coming out of a doctor’s mouth. Stuff like breast metastatic cancer isn’t curable (garbage!). Stuff like woman do die from this. Stuff like some women live one or two years while others live many more.

Stuff I don’t want to battle, take on, challenge, fight, deal with, or acknowledge. Stuff I’d rather not have to consider.  (And I think it’s total crap that we are slapped in the face with this ‘no cure’ crap! Science – GET ON THIS ALREADY. Oh, yes, you are. Okay – GO FASTER.)

He also said that if it is metastatic I can basically forget about carrying a child. And if it’s estrogen receptive, I should consider removing my ovaries.

However, we have a bit more hope after that appointment, and small in good no matter what. Small is good. Not being cancer is the best. Let’s shoot for the best!!!

On another note, a happier note, last night I attended a bachelorette party. This is my first every bachelorette party – I didn’t even have a bachelorette party when marrying the Zsoltster.

Dress code said black dresses. Hmm. I paired a black skirt with a black tank top, and said, “good enough!” Can you believe I own no little black ‘going to a club’ dress? I guess I can believe it – black isn’t my best shade.

The party was for an old friend I’ve known since almost always. (She was an excitable, imaginative and trouble-making kid, who I got to see grow up into a beautiful, hilarious, and compassionate woman. You would like her very much.) She and I grew up on the same street, and while we weren’t tied at the hip or anything, it’s been good to have her there to talk to when it’s needed, and I’m sure its visa versa. I’m so entirely happy for her to be marrying such a lovely guy, and think there’s a lifetime of laughter and fun ahead for that couple.

Now, I’m not a natural party girl – I’m kinda the anti-party girl, particularly as of late – so I showed up with my bottle off fizzy water and was quiet in my corner as stories were passed around about the bride-to-be, and quizzes were taken, beads won, salads and Mexican food eaten. I met new people and caught up with friends from high school. :)

It was one of those nights when I could forget about the hard stuff for just a little while, just long enough to laugh and think of how wonderful the world can be for us. So I’m very glad to have gone, very glad to have been there for that moment, and kinda sorry I wasn’t in the mood to dance on any tables – though that really rarely (if ever?) happens anyhow.

Now here is a small miracle I’d love to see happen:  Dr Canada wants to look at my previous post-original-diagnosis CT scan from three years ago. If he sees spots on that scan, then I’m okay because this is probably just a result of that stupid infection people can get. If he doesn’t, then I need to have a biopsy to see what is going on – and that has a long wait time attached to it, plus scary possible implications. I wasn’t sure whether or not to talk about this, but I’ve decided to do so since your good vibes worked last time, so I’m hoping they work again. Please do send some my way, if that’s okay. And in the meanwhile I’m hoping, praying and writing for good results in all areas.

Next week I drop off that CT scan.

Week after I have a bone scan.

We want spots on the original CT scan, and a clear bone scan. That two things would be good. Good would be GOOD.

And, it’d be an awesome birthday present too.

Well shit, that scared me

Oh my goodness, what a day . . . this morning I signed into the Facing Cancer Together twitter account (@cancer2gether) and wrote out a morning tweet. Ultimately it went like this :

Okay Wednesday, be awesome!

But it started out like this:

Okay Wednesday, surprise me!

And then I thought, “well, I just had an MRI so no surprises are necessary.

So I switched it to:

Okay Wednesday, delight me!

And then I thought, “but this isn’t really about me.”

Which is how it ended up at general awesomeness. But I feel somewhat convinced that I beckoned the universe to give me a surprise, and therefore shouldn’t have been at all shocked when the hospital called to arrange a CT scan.

Okay, I had an MRI yesterday. Then today, unexpectedly (without my realizing I’d be sent for one) I was called in for a CT scan. In fact, they called my parents house, so my mom called me, and then I called the hospital. I would have asked the lady at the CT booking when this requisition had been sent in, but she was SO grumpy that I didn’t dare. Instead, I followed up that booking (for tomorrow by the way) with a call to my oncologist’s nurse.

Of course, their first point of contact is always the answering machine. Therefore I left a message along the lines of this:

“Hi, yeah, Catherine here. I’m just wondering whether the CT scan was requested before my MRI or as a result of my MRI. CALL ME BACK, PLEASE.”

Then I tried to work.

Ha!

Tried.

Failed.

Then Zsolt and I went for a walk. We basically said nothing to one another the entire time. I asked Zsolt at one point what he was thinking, and he said, “Nothing really, I’m in a blank space.” So that shows you that he was worried too. Personally, I was thinking: “oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck.” And then I started thinking: “If I were to die what would I want to have accomplished?” Which lead me to figure I would want to have a child, if possible, and I would want to publish my fiction novel. That led me to some far-fetched day dreams of crowd-funding to raise money for printing the novel and distribution (apparently I have some traces of business woman inside of me, since even in panic mode I was making this ridiculous plan), and people would probably give because they felt sorry for me and the book would sit on their shelf unread as a memorial to that awesome chick who once was, and maybe is somewhere else beyond whatever we know, but it’d never win a GG, and what the fuck is going on, and oh my God I hope it’s nothing, and holy shit I hope it’s nowhere else in my body . . . etc.

Of course, that reality is always a risk. It’s a risk having had breast cancer. It’s a risk resulting from stopping tamoxifen. IT’S a real life risk. And today I had just the smallest taste of how it would feel to hear more bad news.

The good news: I’ve been living my dream, and don’t hold many regrets. I still WANT to have kids, and WANT to publish my writing, and felt that even when in panic mode. So I’m glad it’s all congruent.

The bad news: This shit can be scary. And it can be real.

Then we came home and I decided to try and be productive. That involved working on a slide show for the local community organization.  Somewhere between deciding on transitions between pictures (fade in, pop up, vortex, flip, conveyor belt, and so on!) the mobile phone rang. It was my doctor’s nurse.

Essentially, she has no idea about this CT scan. No clue! But as for the MRI, here is what she said:

“Your MRI has come back indicating no signs of cancer.”

YES. FUCK YES. HIGH FIVE. WOOOHOO. Oh shit. That was stressful. I need a nap . . .

None of which I said to the nurse. Anyhow, I can therefore assume that this CT scan is just to get a full body impression before I move forward to try and get pregnant, and is not at this moment (and hopefully in no future moment) connected to any sort of recurrence or cancer.

Zsolt and I hugged. I called my mom. But damn it, it was scary. Today brought some awesomeness, but not before delivering a big dose of surprise and panic.

Now I’m on my back porch, and typing this out to you. Hello, how are you doing? The sun is shining after many days of rain, and I have a CT scan tomorrow. Later this month we are going to a cottage . . . and in the meanwhile, my apartment is a compete mess since this is a month were I’m a little out of control, and have therefore lost my ability to tidy.

Life goes on. But geez, does it need to be so dramatic?

Why I ALWAYS dance at weddings

The suitcase has been half unpacked and my purple cocktail dress is draped across the growing pile of clothes on the sofa in our bedroom (I’ve got some beige heels somewhere, but I couldn’t’ tell you where they’ve gone). I have a popped blister on my left foot, and my hair is an unwashed bird’s nest from all that hairspray I tried to use that ultimately did nothing.

This is going to be a very quick post because of all the things that need doing, including lunch being made.

Here is what I want to say.

This past weekend we attended a wedding of a friend and his beautiful wife. These weddings amoungst my friends are fantastic. They are first class celebrations of love, connections and reuniting. I’m so glad to be part of that happiness.

Anyhow, you know how it goes at weddings. The bride and groom have their first dance, and not long after the dance floor becomes deserted as people attend to the bar in order to work up ‘courage’. And that’s all fair enough.

But I have an MRI on Tuesday.

It’s weird to say that. And maybe you don’t see the connection? I have a MRI on Tuesday to make sure there’s no cancer in my body.

And this past Saturday evening, there was an empty dance floor. Do you see the connection yet?

When it comes to weddings, along with all the lovely conversation, dresses, and food – I choose to DANCE. I need to DANCE. Zsolt and I must DANCE.

It’s a strange thing to say, and quite possibly in my head, but I feel like there’s this very thin veil between me and my old high-school friends. It has a whole lot to do with having had cancer, fighting cancer, worrying over cancer.  You know?

When I dance with my husband at weddings, I’m doing it (despite the quality of the music) because I’m alive and capable of moving, because I’m here now and tomorrow holds no promises, and because it makes me so happy to dance and be goofy.

Actually, thinking about this – I’m underestimating the experiences of many of my friends. I know some of them have faced things I’m yet to encounter, and felt things that are just as deeply impacting. Love, loss, life, distance, heart-break, illness, fatigue, divorce, birth, death  . . . Jesus! I just realized that as a group, we’ve seen a lot.

So maybe everyone does get it – and that’s why, by the end of the night, everyone is dancing.

Anyhow, I’ve got to go and make this soup. But all that to say that when it comes to wedding, I’ve got to dance. One the light side it makes me laugh, and looking deeper, it makes me feel alive.

Okay, time for lunch. And maybe a shower to follow!