Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Your Man Reminder



This is hilarious. I'm not sure if it's actually real or not...but I support what it's trying to do:remember that breast cancer awareness starts with YOU. TLC: Touch, look and check.  Check your girls!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Who are you running for?

I'm participating in the CIBC Run for the Cure this weekend again, this year as a survivor.
The fund raised go towards incredible research and patient support here in Canada and I'm so proud to be a part of it yet again. I've experienced the good that comes from this charity and know of a lot of good researchers funded through it. As a last minute plug - if anyone would like to donate to the cause, pop me an email and I'll send you a link.
I remember running the race in the past and seeing the survivors in their pink shirts and being in awe of them and all they had gone through. At first I was happy to be able to run 5K. Then the next years I ran for a family friend Shirley who fought and eventually died from breast cancer. There was so much strength and support between the survivors. So many tears. So much hope. Now, this year I will still run for Shirley...and well just because I'M HERE too still dammit! Muahahaha! :)
I can't wait for Sunday. One of my best friends and my sis-in-law are running (OK probably walking) the 5K with me. It's gonna be a bit of an emotional day but I am really looking forward to it. I get to give back a bit for all the good I received during treatment. It's gonna be a good day :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

A little bit of the old Ludwig Van

Nice weekend really. After being back at work I feel like I'm losing so much of my days...it's gonna take some getting used to!
After hitting the farmer's market and lazily reading books all day we got out on a nice date. Jay and I received tickets to the symphony so we got all poshed up and went to listen to Beethoven's 5th and a few other concertos on saturday. It was so nice. Beethoven is my favourite composer...I loved it!  After that was a local artistic event (Nuit Blanch-sort of a street arts festival) so we went to check out the exhibits as well until it got too chilly and we headed home. Sunday was chores, with a walk to the library and some tasty supper. I tried out my new ebelskiever pan and am happy to report that fresh ebelskeivers full of raspberry jam are an insanely delicious supper. Add to that the fact that our slowly organizing house is slowly turning into a normal house again and I must say good job everyone.
Well done. Yes.

Now it's back to work.
Harumph...


Thursday, September 25, 2014

OK then. Anything else you'd care to tell me about? Sheesh...

Well...here's something new.
As I mentioned previously, I had to see someone about my heart as a result of some effects from my herceptin treatment. Well, at the cardiologist today I learned that I have a congenital heart defect - an aortic bicuspid valve. I went in because the ejection fraction of my heart was lowering and found out about this instead, which had not been noted before because I've not seen a cardiologist before.  What it means is, basically, instead of having 3 flappy bits in the valve that fit together like a mercedes symbol in a normal valve, for that valve I have just two, that meet in the middle. This is what my mum and my grandma had that eventually led to congestive heart failure. Right now it is nothing to be concerned about, but in combination with the lowering ejection fraction that herceptin was causing it may mean that I'm done with my herceptin treatments (sigh) so that we don't damage my heart inadvertently by making it pump harder and enlarging one side of my heart. I'm finished 3/4 of my herceptin so if I don't get them all it's not so bad. I'm actually glad they didn't find this until now and I got all the herceptin treatments that I did. Unless my ejection fraction goes back to normal in time I may be done herceptin. I have another echo cardiogram in a few weeks to see if I'm improving...I'll have to wait and see. This throws a whole extra stick in the wheel  but I'd rather have a good heart for the rest of my time here. (And it's gonna be a long time!)

Frankly, I'm shocked, mostly because after my mum got quite sick I had an echo cardiogram done to check if I had inherited this condition and at that time they told me I was normal. My (now) cardiologist (who I love...he's a happy friendly greek man with kind eyes who answered all my questions and explained everything very well to J and I) went back to look at the old test results and he said that yes, the test showed abnormalities, but only ones a cardiologist might be able to see and not necessarily ones to be picked up by a regular GP. All these years I was thinking I'd dodged a bullet there and not inherited heart issues...but apparently I did win the valve lottery after all.

What does it mean? Well for now, I'm just fine health-wise. I can exercise and do what I wish, but will have to take ACE inhibitors and possibly beta blockers in the future to help my heart stay strong for the rest of my life. When my heart valve ages and stops working normally and it starts to effect my heart and health, likely somewhere in my late 50s or 60s, I will have to have the valve replaced with surgery. My mum should have had this done but her doctor recommended against it because of her age and frailty. For me - we'll be keeping an eye on it every year and since I'm a healthy person now I know that when the time comes (gulp) I'll get the help I need. A bit freaky, but after everything I've been through this seems not so bad. The devil you know and all that...

So...how was your thursday? Hopefully a lot better than mine. Ah, don't take me too seriously -mine got better too. Before I went back to work J took me to the local specialty bra shop because they were having a sale today and I picked up 2 more mastectomy bras and a few tank tops with built in mastectomy bras. I just learned my insurance has an extra health fund I can use to cover more mastectomy bras, so I wanted to get a few more to have more options for what I can wear. It was fun after all that serious doctor stuff - the lady fitting me is from near Cardiff in the UK and is a big Doctor Who fan so we yacked while I tried on many pretty things and left with ones that make me feel quite pretty indeed...so hey - the days' getting better already. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The horror...The horror...

My house is a gong show. After nearly a year of treatment, a basement flood in August (just shower water thankfully) and a summer of J working festivals and having all his gear and our camping gear all over the house and deck and yard our house really is in a sad state. It's not dirty...just so incredibly unorganized. We can't find anything...it's maddening. With a few weeks of working together we've nearly got all our camping gear cleaned up and stored away and we have finally went to a laundromat to wash all the alkali dust from our burning man stuff so we're starting to make a slight dent in things. OK...when I say we I mean mostly J. Now that he's freelancing and home a lot more he's decided his side project is to work at cleaning the house a few hours every day until it's organized...and since he's really good at organizing it will actually get done. It will take a while because he's very meticulous, but in the end I'm hoping everything we keep will have a place and he'll know where it all is because he put it there. Already our DVDs, CDs and TV area no longer look like a monsoon hit the shelves.
I'm going to try and focus on the kitchen and living room, bedroom and my craft room (where all the flood stuff got dumped to sort through...sigh...) and hopefully by christmas we'll have recovered most of a house where every surface isn't covered in clutter...and more importantly where we know where things are. I'm taking it easy at first. My first full time day at work was yesterday and when you add that to walking to work I was sleeping like a baby rock by 930!

...but all in good time. When winter comes and we're trapped indoors it will be nice to not look around the house and think "ugh...messy" or play Find the Thing when we need a tool or something we haven't used in a while. For now I'll keep J supplied with caffeine and Swiffers and let him loose :)

Monday, September 22, 2014

I heart my bike

The world is trying to help me ease back into health. Case in point: There is a transit strike in my home town so to get to work I dug out my bike on the weekend. I forgot how much I love riding my bike outdoors. I used to ride it to work all the time. I'm giving myself a bit of extra time to get here, and my route to work is on a bike path complete with critters and a river so it's really not a bad journey. Gets me a bit of exercise too so hey - it's all good.
I am trying to track down a local trainer who has experience with post-mastectomy patients to start an easy workout program after my birthday (the end of Oct). Exercise is one of the easiest ways to prevent cancer from coming back, so extra points for activity I figure. Starting this week I plan to spend the next while doing my upper body physio, some lower body strengthening and walking/biking/restarting the C25K I was beginning before I got bronchitis to get some activity every day. Hopefully in november once it snows I can swim a few times a week before work...I'm looking forward to that as a change. For now it's just a challenge not to do too much and look after myself. I know me - I want to just jump in and do it all like I did before and that simply is not possible yet. And even when it is...do I want to be that rushed again? I just don't know. What I do want to do is enjoy my body and *live* and make sure I spend the time telling the people I love how much I appreciate them, and doing all the little things I love to do. Just because I can :)
For now, I'm enjoying the fall. Time for long walks with J, canning things, making some beer and wine and just enjoying feeling better. This weekend was the local comic expo so I got to be nerdy and hang out with my bestie. It's the little things you know? :)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Knock on wood

I just had a cardiac function test on monday and my doc just called to say that my ejection fraction has gone down. It's still OK, but they want to have a few more tests done and see a cardiologist before they give me another herceptin dose. I have another function test in a month too to see if it will go back up again. Given my mum's death from congestive heart failure and the many health issues she had with her heart they are being cautious with me. Yes, I'm glad they are keeping an eye on me, but it makes me nervous because herceptin is the magic drug that helps her2+ cancer people like me stay healthy and I hope I get to finish my regimen of it. I am hoping things will go back and I will be fine and get to finish up my treatments. I feel fine (well except for this damn lingering cold) so I want to stay healthy. Thing is, there's a little voice in the back of my head that won't shut up that makes me worry about what happens when all my treatments are done...and I thought I had 3 more months of not worrying before I had to try and wrap my head around that. I just have to remember...I'm healthy now. I'm better...