Thursday, April 21, 2011

Peace out, chemo

Although this morning is a pretty crappy one, I decided to try to bloggy blog while things are fresh in my mind.

Ian's birthday was a success. It was a lot like our wedding where there were sooo many people that we were separated all night, but that was ok, I really wanted him to get some attention. Cynthia remembered talking with me about a fancy necklace and she made it for me and brought it to the party, it's so pretty I'll have to take a picture. I don't know who had more fun, him or me, but it was very nice to get out.

I was a little bit under the weather the morning of chemo and being at the hospital for 8:30 blood work stung a bit. We stuck around because they always start late and chemo was an hour(ish) later. We sat in Tim Hortons and watched it rain (thanks for nothing, mother nature coulda used some sunshine on my last flippin day).

Chemo started at 12 instead of 10:30 because ... i don't know why, I was irritated. I kept welling up but at the same time I was so exhausted and on steroids and just messy from the night before so I'm sure that could have had something to do with it. By 12:45 Matty and Maria came to visit and brought me flowers! There's only 1 person allowed so Matt and Ian went to have some lunch together. Things ended really quickly so I texted Ian to come back upstairs so we could ring the bell.

I had been also waiting on an appointment for a cat scan of my lungs, my doctor is suspicious that I may have a blood clot and wanted to check it out asap. They ended up telling me to just come down as soon as chemo was finished up. So instead of balling my face off and being overwhelmed when I ran the bell, I was all business because I knew I couldn't fall apart when I had more appointments (especially the kind that makes me feel claustrophobic) . Kind of disappointing, I know, but we're never how we think we'll be, I guess. I felt silly and shy. Me. So I had Ian ring it with me and everybody clapped and we walked back by lots of people who congratulated us and it was nice.

Hopped into a wheelchair and went on our way to the cat scan. They gave me a very sore injection, my veins are just terrible from all the chemotherapy and then I went in. Same old, the dye went in and everything got dizzy and hot and so weird and right when you think you'll pass out, it starts to go down. She removed my iv after 10 min of waiting and then off we went to go home. 6 hours after we arrived. Ian pulled the car around because I was starting to get really weak, oh, and the rain too I bet.

Oh theeeeeeeen came the tears! I felt bad for Ian. How confusing girls must be. I'm just really shocked and proud and in disbelief that that just effing (I love you, Nan) happened to me. I understand that it's hard and things get bad for people going through this, but I can't explain to you just how bad. And I swear to you, I'm not a whiner. I was so afraid every time - well, from 4 through 7 at least - that I was going to die because all these stupid scary things kept going wrong. I spent way too much time in the hospital and away from my kids or up in my room away from my kids or on the couch too vacant to even answer my own kids properly when they asked me a question. And eventually, after being pumped with poison for this many months over and over, your brain stops working and you forget what it's like to be brave or happy. And then you feel like you're bad at this cause there are all these blogs and youtube videos and google pages that tell you in order to do well, you have to laugh and you have to push yourself. And on some days you can't and you feel like you're hurting yourself and letting everybody down, but you just can't pick yourself up. I didn't want anti depressants but for a long time I cried every day for one reason or another... the worst was how I felt, but a close second was this terrible symptom where I became so confused and cloudy. One day I was trying to count how many days had passed on my fingers and had to start over and over until Ian helped me. I would have important people over for BBQ's and avoid eye contact so they wouldn't talk to me because I had no idea what they were saying and couldn't keep up. If there were subtitles on the tv screen it would throw me right off because multitasking was just too much. And I couldn't talk, I always would forget what I was getting at or why I was talking in the first place. It was so hard to be stuck up in my brain and not able to communicate it at all.

Wah wah waaaah. It's so much easier to whine about when it's over. Not that it isn't about to start up just this ooone last time. But I say bring it. 4 weeks until surgery. I'll let you know how I feel about that one another day.

Thank you for listening. Also, you'll notice that posts that are directly after chemo are usually the emotional ones where I spill the beans. If you go back to my original posts you'll see that I tried to keep that side of things to myself. Really worked on the brave front, everybody thought I was a total hero! I'll read this in a couple days and be all shocked and insecure by what I said, but it's genuine and I'll roll with it.

Here's some pictures for you.

The first one is called "See you NEVER AGAIN you stupid mitts"
The second one is entitled "Look at me at my last chemo"
And the third "I'ma ring this bell"


  1. Thank you for sharing the emotional side. Someday one of us reading this may go through the same thing (knock on wood) and knowing what to expect is important.
    I had a cancer scare in 2009 but it was caught very early and taken care of before I was in trouble.
    Your story scares the shit out of me, makes me cry, hurts my heart. But it also teaches me about strength, love and cancer awareness...which is VERY important.
    Again, thanks for sharing. I know it's not over yet, but you're almost done and I'm proud of you!
    Much love xoxo

  2. Hi Justine,
    My son led me to follow your blog (he knows your husband??). Anyway I work with people who are dealing with cancer - mostly young women struggling with the same kind of issues that you have so beautifully and poignantly identified. I am a cancer counsellor/coach with the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and we run free programs, individual coaching, and support groups to help people like yourself connect with other's and access amazing resources such as healing yoga, laughter therapy, nutritional advice etc. I work with individuals to help them enhance their own well-being and healing by providing hope, information and support. A group of women meet in Ottawa once a week to share information, ideas, hope, meditation skills, life skills, laughter, some tears - but mostly life-affirming, pro-active health-supporting ideas (wow that was a sentence and a half). Please feel free to contact me at for more info or just to say hi! I have been very touched by your writing and your experience, Justine. Thank you for sharing your journey,
    Kind Regards,
    Jennifer Turner