Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Out, damn'd spot! Out I say! - Shakespeare

What a great quote!

As I log in to my blog and see the title of my last post "Fears of Recurrence", I can't help but think to myself "Well, I guess it wasn't such a crazy fear to have after all". 

I was hoping to have more time with NED (No Evidence of Disease) but that just isn't the way that it is going to be for now.  I talked to my nurse last week and she had both good and bad news for me.  The good news is that it looks like the Gamma Knife procedure I had in April is working.  My tumour has shrunk from 6 mm to 2 mm.  Yayyyy!!!!  Unfortunately, we were under the impression that when I went in for Gamma I walked out with a dead tumour but we come to find out that this isn't so.  The radiation works over time, killing off the tumour slowly.  They are very pleased with the way that my body is responding to the gamma so I won't need to have the tumour treated again.  It will hopefully keep dying until it is completely inactive.

The bad news was that a new tumour showed up on my brain MRI.  It is a small one in the temporal lobe this time so this is the one that I am going in to have Gamma for on the 23rd of August.  I have had no symptoms from this and am actually feeling pretty good.  I'm finding a great work/family life balance and making sure that I get some me time to look after my body.  I've been going to Curves three times a week with a girl from work which has been a great pick-me-up at lunch time.  It leaves me with more energy and feeling good.  I've started running too which is new to me since I never thought that I could run before.  Never thought of myself as a runner until last week when I was going through the park and another runner ran by and asked how my run was going.  I thought "Wow, I guess I am running".  (I still take lots of walking breaks in between to give my body a break)  I love my new Nike app to track my progress.

So, it's hard to think that I'm still sick when I'm able to do so much.  I'm so grateful that my body is fighting back and not giving in to the cancer.  My care providers have been amazing!  I've already had a CT done of my chest, abdomen, pelvis and neck since we need to now start looking around again for new tumours.  I have a bone scan scheduled for next week and the following day I am in to see my oncologist to hear all the results.  Hopefully, everything will once again come back clear and I will just have to go in for Gamma.  Not sure about all the radiation and what this will do to my body but right now I can't worry about that.  The quicker we find these things, the better my chances will be.  I'm not too happy about waiting until the 23rd because I do know this about melanoma - it moves fast and is completely unpredictable.  It could spread and pop up anywhere.  I will be meeting with my Neurosurgeon next week and will hopefully be able to get my gamma bumped up.  The scan showed that there is some swelling around the tumour and the last thing I need right now is complications from that.  So even though we all need summer vacations and time away from work, including the hospital staff, cancer doesn't take the summer off.  It almost seems like it's better to have a recurrence in the winter when everyone is around and available. 

We have been having a great summer so far.  My garden is doing awesome and I love going out into the back yard and picking fresh organic veggies for meals.  The kids are even eating swiss chard and kale!  Can't wait for the tomatoes to ripen!  We are really looking forward to our weekend in Kenora and are excited to hear that the whole clan will be there this year.  We have had a very relaxing summer so far going out to both Winnipeg Beach and Grand Beach for day trips and spending lots of time in the pool with all this hot weather we have been having. 

Although things aren't perfect I look around and am still grateful for so much.  Things could be so much worse and every day I am thankful for my life.  When you have someone tell you that you don't have much time left and then you are still, not only here but living an amazing life, 2 1/2 years later how can you not feel blessed?  Our challenges in life make us stronger people and make our relationships stronger.  I'm learning so much about myself, who I am and who I want to be.  Before this journey began I was at my first retreat and they asked us who we were.  Not a wife, mother, daughter, sister but who we were on our own, inside.  I couldn't think of an answer.  I felt lost.  What do I like?  Do I like hockey?  Do I like action movies?  Do I like Nerf guns?  (Only when I'm not on the receiving end)  I like all of those things but only because I live in a house full of boys.  A couple of months ago Jeff took the boys out for the evening and at home alone I had no idea what to even do with myself.  I watched the hockey game, had a beer and watched Fast and the Furious.  Sometimes I get lost in this house full of boys and don't pay attention to what I like or what I want.  When you have kids your life gets so busy and all about everyone else.  It's good to sit back every once and a while and ask yourself "who am I"? 

I am so very grateful for the good thoughts, positive vibes and prayers that are being sent our way.  To have all the support from our family and friends makes this journey so much easier. 

Enjoy the summer and live every moment!!

P.S.  Please don't forget to cover up and wear your sunscreen!!!

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