“Happy” Easter!

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The first holidays after a death in the family are always difficult.  Easter was my great-grandmother’s favourite.  Grandma, I think, loved them all.  My favourite is Christmas.  There’s something about the season that draws me in and lifts my spirits and my hopes.

I can’t believe we said goodbye to my grandma only 2 weeks ago.

So here we are, now, at Easter.  A day that is supposed to bring hope around the world.  We will have a family dinner later today.

It’s amazing how life just keeps on going.  Whether you come out of the hospital doors after having a surgical procedure or you walk out of a nursing home after your grandmother has died and everything and everyone else is carrying on as usual while your life seems like it has come to a screeching halt.

Then you are expected to catch up to that world and carry on with it meanwhile your heart and your mind are left behind.

I had to bring home a folder full of referrals that needed to be done because I was 4 days behind and I could NOT find the time to get them done.  So now they are done and tomorrow morning I can put the phone on hold (or change the answering machine message to say we will be open at 2:15) and go in and print them and fax them.  That doesn’t totally catch me up but it gets me a lot closer!

I continue to journal as it seems to be the only way to try and identify my thoughts and feelings.  It’s interesting that I seem to only be able to do that when I’m alone.  I know that, with great excitement, that he got all the cancer cells out!  Those margins were clear.  I went back and had another look (because I remember seeing something… you know that nagging feeling) and he did leave some of the pre-cancerous cells at the margins.  Uncertain as to what he will suggest but I might get to go through all of this again… but at least I know the horrible monster cells are gone.

I tried writing the last couple of days… even if it’s a bit of an autobiography.  I didn’t really care, I just wanted to dip my toes in.  I actually took a look at 2 of my sequels, well, as far as I had managed to get when I stopped.  The Mystery in the Attic was left at page 123 and the third installment, the book to follow Confessions in the Mural, sits at only 14 pages.  I’m hoping that by reading one or the other that it will stimulate my brain into writing again.

Well, it is Easter, that time of hope… so maybe this time, I can get my mind back into writing.

So I wish you all a safe, Happy Easter wherever you are and wherever you are going today.

A tough, Tough Week…

The last four months, from today, have felt like a tour through hell.  Four months ago I got the voicemail message that started it all!

I can’t say things started to really spiral until I got the first biopsy report and had my follow-up consult.  The last 3 weeks have put me at the bottom of the pit!

Grief has consumed all of me.  I know this will pass and it’s better to work through the stages then try to sweep it all under the carpet.  But I don’t get a lot of time to try to get in tune with my feelings.  I haven’t even felt like writing.  Anything.  The only thing I have taken to doing is a bit of journalling.  Just my feelings on paper.

Yesterday I called Medical Records because my Pathology Report still hadn’t arrived.  I’m glad I did.  Apparently we were somehow left off as CC so I’m not sure what happened there.  Anyway, I had to get a translation done but I saw what I needed to see… the margins are clear!  That translates to: it looks like he got it all!  Of course I don’t see him until May 5 but I think I can rest easier.

It’s great news but I’m on emotion overload so I can’t be as excited as I should be.  I know I”ll get there and experience the feelings I’m supposed to.  I want to tell everyone!

I can look at that daffodil from the Canadian Cancer Society now because we beat it.

She’s gone…

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My grandma fought a hard battle her entire life.  She worked hard to get to where she ended up.

At the end, she fought another hard battle for a week.  Yesterday we were called in because her breathing had changed.  We wished her well on her journey and she died peacefully.

I have had a full plate these last few months and my emotions have been on a roller coaster.  My plate is full and I can’t handle anything more!

As we get older, the oldest generation dies.  My grandmother was the last of that generation and now my parents and their siblings are the oldest generation of our family.

Often that adds a dimension to us.  It causes us to reflect because all of a sudden we realize that we really are getting older!

I can definitely say my grandmother was a trooper.  She prevailed through things that most people couldn’t, or wouldn’t, at least in her time.  Being a single parent in the 50’s and 60’s.  Being a working single parent at that!  Her faith never left her and she went to church until she couldn’t any longer.

There was just one thing… she thought many people didn’t like her.  I wonder why that is?

I will leave my post at that as I take the time to mourn.

If it’s not one thing…

Well, here I am… the procedure went as well as it could have, I guess.  Other than the fact that he was late and then he started before the freezing had a chance to fully take hold!  He’s pretty certain he got it all but nothing can determine that better than the pathology report.  So I still hold my breath for another 10 days or so until the pathology report arrives.

I spent the rest of the day resting though I didn’t have the opportunity to sleep because my mom was called to the nursing home because my grandma wasn’t doing well.

I have been extremely fatigued the last several days.  I’ve been going to bed early and waking up as late as possible.

Overall, today is about the best day I’ve had so far.

I spent 2 hours at the home visiting my sleeping grandmother.  She is palliative.  Her lights are off and there are two carts in the room… one holding water, juice, coffee and tea as well as lemon loaf and vanilla wafers.  The other cart holds a CD player, a diffuser, lotion, an adult colouring book, gum and a number of other “comfort” items.  That’s really cool and it is comforting.

It’s just sad to know that her life is not only ending but ending in this way.  A woman who used to be so active and vibrant (though she had her share of “complaints” about the world) is now less than 100lbs and her body is shutting down.

So as though I haven’t had enough going on with my own body, I will likely be spending more time at a funeral home than I’d prefer sometime in the next couple of weeks.  It doesn’t seem like it will be long.  Like the nurse said, she has her own agenda, all we can do is make her as comfortable as possible and let it run its course.

My emotional roller coaster continues…

Seriously?

So as you are all fully aware now, I have a carcinoma in situ which means it sits in its own little bubble.  Next Wednesday, by this time, it will be gone!

It doesn’t mean that I am not on an emotional roller coaster.  Monday was a tough day for me… I felt very down.  Yesterday was so-so.  Sometimes I’m down, sometimes I’m angry.  I am going to go through the stages of grief, or at least some of them… it’s normal.

Plus I’m scared of next week’s procedure.  I’m probably more scared of what will follow after… how much pain will I experience?  How fatigued will I be?  That question stems partly from what will be my own adrenaline rush and following crash PLUS that of the epinephrine (adrenaline) that will be in the anesthetic.

But everyone thinks I should be just fine about it.  Nobody thinks I should be experiencing any emotions other than joy!

Cancer has landed on me… SPLAT!  Yes, I get to have a procedure that will make it go away (as long as he gets it all) and that will be the end of it!  YAY!  I agree, I’m one of the extreme lucky ones.  But I will always have that shadow.  I will always have to check that extra box on a health history form.  There is a 20% chance of recurrence.  As an RN, I have seen the big picture more times than I want to.

So I have to say that I feel I’m handling this the best way possible.  Other than my fear of next week and the procedure itself, I do feel lucky.  We’re going to get this little monster and make it go away.  Period.

But am I not permitted to feel apprehension, sadness, anger and some bitterness too?  According to most of those closest to me… No, I’m not.

The feelings will start to fade once I know the margins are clear which means we got it all.  But there will always be that small part of me that always wonder if there’s something lurking in the shadows.  I haven’t talked to a survivor yet who doesn’t think about that.

There is faith and hope… it’s all we can have.

Ding, Ding! Round Two…

Well, it’s official!  I saw the specialist on Thursday morning.  I knew that I would be having another procedure and I assumed, correctly, what it would be.

He did confirm that it is actually malignant (cancerous).  Luckily, it’s “in situ” which means it’s still in its own little bubble.

On March 22 I will be having a procedure to remove the entire section.  As long as the margins are clear it will mean we got it all and then I move on to monitoring.

It has been a hard journey.  I think there were a few people who were trying to protect me by not telling me… working in a doctor’s office I had the pathology report sent to the office so I could see it at two weeks rather than wait six.  And, in turn, I think I was deluding myself because I wasn’t getting the whole story… of course I was also trying to protect my loved ones so they weren’t freaking out.

So I’m glad, in some ways, that it’s out there now.  This is what I have…

My newsletter arrived from C. Hope Clark yesterday and she’s having a tough time with things and I feel the same way!  I haven’t been able to write anything outside of my blog.  She recommends spending part of the day burying yourself in a good book or writing a new one!  Alternatively write about something positive and if you can’t do that then read some positive stuff like Chicken Soup for the Soul.  It’s unfortunate that the only Chicken Soup book I have is for the Nurse’s soul.  Right now, I’m the patient… that sounds sooooo weird!

There are a few things I’d like to write but more about the state of our health care and how MY situation should have been completely diverted!

Maybe I’ll start there first!

The “Eve”

For weeks I have been able to “delude” myself in a way.  I knew my results but my consult appointment was a ways off… now, it’s here.  It’s this Thursday.

This is one of those appointments that will tell me what comes next.  Not only what comes next but when.  I need to know what kind of time off I’m going to need and what the restrictions are.  It’s not that either of my jobs are extremely stressful or “heavy” but I do intend on taking the recommended time because I never do!

But I have noticed how much I’ve been dreading this because my stress levels are rising, I have been sleeping less, my back has been even more sore (if that’s even possible) and I can’t seem to write much which is why I haven’t been here!

It’s not that I haven’t thought about it either.  I have read The Writer and I have done some personal writing but the “What’s next?” question sits at the forefront of my mind.

I have tried to distract myself the last couple of weeks with movies and reading but it doesn’t matter!

I even had the thought of my main character going through something similar, which I have mentioned before, but even writing that scene seems to be impossible at the moment.

So I’m just kind of floating out there right now feeling like I’m lost.  I think this really is the first very true bout of block I’ve ever had.

I will leave it at that… I’d ask for you to wish me luck on Thursday but I will save that for the surgery/procedure date!

 

A Long Weekend…

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and I can’t find a single thing to write.

It’s been a tough few weeks with the pathology & MRI results coming in and not being the best.  I go over it my head and I have so many questions.  I think I have more questions than answers and I don’t like it!

And it’s, once again, a case where it’s blocked my ability to write.  I am even struggling with this post.

How do I change my thinking so I can focus on some writing because I most certainly need the distraction!

How many posts have I put up about pushing through?  I TEACH writer’s block!  ARGH!

This last week had a few ups… on Monday I was asked by the college if I would teach Transcription on Thursdays.  I said yes and the form was sent to me and I signed it back.  Then on Tuesday I got another email asking if I would be willing to take on another class… on Tuesdays for the next level of what I’m teaching now!  It runs from May 16 to August 24.  I guess I’m at home all summer!

I’m going to be pushing it for sure teaching two 12-hour days those days.  Thankfully my day off is in the middle.  The great thing (or it should be) is that I will be taking vacation time in there so it won’t be a constant push for 14 weeks.

The only thing I’m worried about is my next procedure/surgery and the date it will fall on and the restrictions.  Missing teaching is not ideal.  I have the ability to move a class or two but I’d prefer not to.

So much is happening in my life that are at both ends of the spectrum.  I feel like I’m on the worlds largest/tallest roller coaster.  One minute I’m at the tip top and the next second I’m under the ground searching for the light.

Do you ever reach the point when there has been so much change that you just want to forget all of it?  You just feel like if there’s one more little thing it might just cause you to make that left turn into the path of an oncoming transport truck? That you want to tell everyone where to go because you really just want to be left alone with all those racing thoughts wondering about next steps and how many decisions you have to make and will you make the right ones?

That’s pretty much me at this point.  I don’t want to be alone but I have been anyway. Besides, finding people who are willing to just take me in my current state and listen to my feelings, has been a tough undertaking!

So I’m a mess!  But hey!  I managed a blog post after all!  That’s probably one of the keys to breaking down that writer’s block!

Warning… May contain BAD news!

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We always get those warnings ahead, and during, just about everything we watch on TV now. Now it’s my turn and I don’t even get the chance to put a warning like that on one of my books first!

As you all know, I had to have a procedure done almost three weeks ago.  Last weekend was pretty stressful for me as I knew the results would be arriving one day during the week.  I also went for an MRI of my back to see what was going on in there since I’ve been noticing more than subtle changes.

So Monday morning my Pathology Report arrived…

Well, I will definitely have to have an additional procedure done… it showed cells that were a level away from cancerous.  I don’t see the specialist again until March 9 at which time I will discuss with him the next steps.

Then my MRI results arrived on Tuesday showing that there has been extensive changes at L5-6.  There’s nothing that anyone will do because there is no impact on my spinal canal.

So it was an incredibly depressing week for me.  Everyone was quick to say how great it was that my cells weren’t cancer.  I’m an RN… I know the facts!  I can’t help how I feel.  I already spend every second of every minute of every hour of every day in pain.  I now have to endure more to have the cells removed.   Plus I’m in for even more pain from my back.

This isn’t FAIR!!!  I am unable to look in the mirror right now and tell myself how lucky I am.  I feel overwhelmed and anxious and down in the dumps.  Maybe it’s just me.  Plus, I have been thinking about all the things that I might never get to do because of it.

I keep thinking that I should be writing!  I should be starting a new book not just making notes about the possibility.  I think part of my agitation stems from not writing which is fuelled by my current health status.

I had wondered about using this in one of my storylines somewhere down the road.  I just can’t seem to focus on anything.  But perhaps, at some point, I can look back and grab hold of the emotions again to use it.  Or, maybe when it’s all over, I will just want to put it on a shelf and not have to look back on it.

One of the great joys of being the author… I can use what I want and dispose of the rest. Somebody gets off easy

Why can’t life be like that?

Now I wait…

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For more than ten years, as many of you know, I have been a nurse in family practice.  For all that time I have continually told patients who call in that Pathology Reports take two weeks.  A bit more because of courier time.  Now I’m in that position of being the one who has to wait and it’s not nice!  Don’t misunderstand, I have always understood the patient desire to get the results (mind you the majority of those results should be coming from the specialists not us, but that is the world of family practice!) but now I understand even more.

What does it show?  What does it mean?  Is there going to be another procedure or surgery involved?

I became a nurse to look after other people and family practice is all about prevention.  Not this!  I try to keep reminding myself that there are preventative care plans in place to catch things early on but there is still time in between.  I’ve come to realize that sometimes we send people for additional testing because of the results of the initial screening and the majority of that comes back negative.  But now I am the patient and I question everything because my “belief” system has been shaken up.

Anyway, this blog is supposed to be about writing, although what happens to me along my Writing Path has a profound impact on my writing!

I finished my book last night.  The idea I started to share on Tuesday is still with me but the book ended a bit disappointing… never found out what really happened with the twin!  It definitely had some twists to it but I expected to meet the other twin as well.  Oh well, that doesn’t really impact the thoughts I was having for a new book anyway.  It’s still all forming in my mind and too early to try and start it.  It has to rumble around in there for a while before it’s ready.  I guess I better find a notebook though…