Chemo Eve Eve

My friends do this thing each year called Christmas Eve Eve – when everyone gathers at a bar/pub to have some drinks and just pause for a good time. It’s nice and I’ve loved going.

Well, tonight is my ‘chemo eve eve’. It’s far less jolly and eventful than Christmas celebrations – however, I did paint my nails this evening, which was an adventure. With my eyes being so messed up, trying to focus upon the thickness of the polish upon my nails was rather different. Things a few feet away aren’t so hard, but those very close up details do challenge me. The entire time I was working that paint brush with my cutiicles, I was narrating to Zsolt: “Can’t clearly see what I’m doing, but it’s going on. Oh! All over the finger. Okay, now for the other hand!”

It may have helped if it the room hadn’t been so dim. My Dad always says “don’t curse the darkness, turn on a light.” But as I was only cursing the nail polish, I forgot all about the lights.

But hey, this was the best part of my evening, and I was revelling in the ridiculousness. My nails are now a very dark blue/green, and they look like someone painted them with a translucent blindfold on. Which is somewhat true, at least in the case of my left eye.

ImNotGrumpy

new hair cut, pre-nail-painting

So chemo starts very soon. Chemo and the magic key to remission: HER2+ targeted drugs. I am both dreading the chemo side effects, and looking forward to getting the cancer under control. It has truly had its way with me these past few months. Unfortunately I now have spots alongside both eyes, and – ugh – in that layer between the skull and the brain. So pretty much skirting the brain, though perhaps technically in the brain. But at least it’s not in the essential tissue … and I would like to avoid any ‘yet’ with that statement, and just say we’ll radiate the heck out of them and blast them away. Or so I pray. Brain is bad bad bad news.

But eye on the prize – we’ll do chemo, and then at the same time, radiation. I don’t know if it will be a targeted radiation treatment or full brain. The lovely doctor I spoke with today said he needs to consult with a few other doctors first. Either way, it will make painting my nails in dim lighting with one wonky eye look like a total cakewalk. (Karen, next time I’ll give you a call!)

Here is a nice story, and it’s also why I think I will do much better this time around than 5 years ago when first diagnosis. Everyone I love is here. My husband is beside me, and my family are here for me, and my friends are never too far away either, even when I’m too tired to do anything but think of them. :) Just this past weekend, my mom broke out the flip chart board, and my entire family brainstormed ways to help support me in beating back the cancer – getting to that golden word ‘remission’ (officially my new favourite word. I like it even more than ‘butter’ and ‘delicious’). This family gathering was the most touching thing you could see. And then, after all that brainstorming, we made a picture board together. :)

Mission remission. Get this damn cancer under control! I’m going big, because there’s no choice for going home – except if you are speaking literally, but let’s not muddy that up. I want the cancer gone. gone, gone, gone. May this Chemo eve eve mark the moment when everything starts going right. It needn’t be a shitty day – but instead a day that tips the scales, and gives my body the chance needed to regain control. Let’s pray on that, if you dig prayer. Otherwise maybe you can just nod your head and think: go for it.

Cheers to getting better. And to family. And to dark nail polish. And – oh! To a cute new pixie cut. It may only last a week, but at least that’s one week when I can rock this new look. (I may look a bit grumpy in this picture, but really I’m just exhausted. Cancer is exhausting.)

And now, it’s time for bed.

:P

Back to Bed

So now it’s Sunday, and as predicted I am in bed resting. There has been some glorious napping today, as reward for all that ridiculous advocating yesterday and Friday evening.

As it turns out, my eye is fine. There is more to do, but at least my eye is fine. (vision not so much). My MRI has been hurried up, as I think it should have always been, so that is a win too. And the nose bleed has calmed down. Next week I visit with my oncologist, and we start to get the treatment going.

Time to take care of this cancer bull shit and reclaim my body.

In the meanwhile, I went to Winterlude today with some excellent people – being my two brothers and their partners. We walked/skated the canal, sipped hot drinks, then went over to the ice sculptures. It was freaking ZERO degrees in the city, which is bizarrely warm. So, by the fate of a few texts send by my bros, we caught the beautiful ice sculptures before they began to melt away.

Winterlude

And now I’m home in bed and have been napping like crazy. NAP-attacked. My brain needed it. This evening I think we’ll order some Butter chicken and onion bahji from Havali’s because it’s yummy and my new form of comfort food. Then I’ll go to sleep, and start a fresh page on life tomorrow.

The eye continues to bug me – my left has some very hazy vision issues so it’s truly odd to look at things up close, particularly books or computer screens. But at least I know that as we move forward and treat the issue this can be, in time, resolved.

Not such an easy road ahead, but finally we’re starting in the right direction. There were a few moments this weekend when I remembered my need to advocate even though I truly hate it, and so I kept asking questions – but even more importantly, kept going back I until I had the answers I needed.

No wonder I’m napping all day today – minus the Winterlude good times.

And that is all. Everything is okay. And now I’m going to have some hot chocolate, and then SLEEP MORE.

 

Almost Canadian

When I pictured the location of Zsolt’s citizenship test, I liked to imagine some place like the Museum of Canadian History – with its massive atrium and totem poles, and a view of the Parliament building that really says, “oh, Canada!”

And perhaps for the citizenship test, Canadian olympic champ Jon Montgomery from the Amazing Race (Canadian Edition) would be standing in the middle of the atrium as Zsolt descended down the escalators into the main hall, and in his hands would be the applicants’ first clue cards. Grabbing the yellow paper package, Zsolt would rip open the clue:

Who is the Canadian hero known around the world for his cross country marathon to beat cancer?

“Terry Fox!” Zsolt would say to himself, and then he’d be off to the Terry Fox statue opposite Parliament Hill for the next clue, racing against others would-be-Canadians of all colours, cultures and religions. In this race, there are no rules, and Zsolt steals a cab from another contestant, apologizing as he does so in the proper Canadian manner, and then zooms across the bridge into Ottawa – bribing the taxi driver with a twoonie and a loonie (so, 3$ all together) to put pedal to the metal. Finally, after a series of clues that has him and thirty other contestants racing from historical landmark to government structure to Canadian heritage site around the city, they finally all find themselves vying to get up the Peace Tower elevator, where at the top all the family members are waiting to cheer on Canada’s winner of the Amazing Race Canadian Citizenship Challenge!

As we all wait and hold our breath in anticipation, the elevator digs – and out steps . . . Zsolt for the win!

Because that would be awesome.

However, it was still very exciting when my husband received a letter from immigration in the mail inviting him to participate in a multiple choice test at an unremarkable government building. It was recommended Z study the guide, Discover Canada – and so that’s what he did. We read through it together in the evenings, and he studied during the days. The afternoon before his test, he answered ~400 multiple choice questions online.

Of course, were he to fail he could just take the test again – but sometimes it’s just easier to get things done the first time around.

Then, on a lovely Thursday afternoon, we went to the very unremarkable government building next to a very loud highway, and he entered a room with a test and a pencil, then came out twenty minutes later – answer a few questions in an interview – and voila! Test done!

He scored 20/20, and I’m totally proud of him. I then forced him to pose with his Canada scarf wrapped around his neck. But we were both into it, because it was VERY exciting!

Zsolt is Happy

And now we simply wait for the ceremony invitation to arrive in the mail. I’m glad it is all moving along. Sooner than later, Canada won’t just be Zsolt’s home – it will be his country.

:)

And if you’re wondering, Hungary and Canada allow for dual citizenship. This is a good thing. Maybe one day I’ll get to be as much Magyar as Zsolt will be Canadian.