A week of things

This week was a good week. It’s nice to have them occasionally. I honestly didn’t expect it would be all that wonderful. But it was pretty chill, and productive, and somehow visiting with my radiation doctor made me feel less dismal and more . . . just . . . steady.

Boo!

Boo!

Here is what happened. It’s almost so unremarkable that you really needn’t read another word in this post. But I feel like writing it out, so there you go.

This week I saw Margaret Atwood for the second time in my life. I’m editing/recording a mini podcast feature for the Ottawa International Writers Festival and Foment Literary Magazine. It’s a nice thing that gets me out of the house on the rare evening, and lets me talk about events with other literary loving minds. Margaret Atwood wore skeleton gloves for the event, which she picked up at a gas station. Throughout the evening I know everyone in the audience was wondering why she wore those gloves. And I know this because during the Q&A at the end, someone ask her why and everyone clapped. Then when she explained it was a spooky season and she bought them at a gas station, everyone clapped again. Two rounds of applause for the skeleton gloves. And Margaret Atwood. And her new book Hag-Seed, which sounds really entertaining.

Also this week, we have had a bunch of pumpkins populating our home. Tomorrow I’m hosting a small gathering of family and a few friends, and we are carving these pumpkins up. This is really an overly elaborate plan to make other people carve pumpkins so I can enjoy the benefits of roasting pumpkin seeds later. Mmmm, I adore salted roasted pumpkin seeds.

Furthermore, I made a rather excellent cheesecake.

As well! It’s always a satisfying week when I’m able to make progress at work. It seems to me there is always another big project that needs attention. In general, it feels like having this massive piece of ice I’m meant to turn into some lovely sculpture. But the only way to accomplish this gleaming sculpture is to slowly scrape and scrape at the ice till it finally takes forms. The  scraping is emails, phone calls, writing texts, experimenting with ideas, sending newsletters and such. And in the in, you get something wonderful. This week, I could move that sculpture along. But next week, of course, there will always be more to do. This is okay. It helps me. By the by, the Amnesty International Book Club is having a Readers Choice vote – go vote! It closes on the 31st.

Counter that above point: this week I worked mostly from home. I just could not handle it otherwise. Firstly, it’s a post-chemo week. Secondly, I received shitty news about my treatment last week, which got me down down down – and so incubating myself, in a way, helped me cope with all the ice chips I needed to scrape off not only my work sculpture, but my life-in-general sculpture too. And I could cry whenever I wanted. Plus stop to take naps. And watch the end of Star Trek Voyager.

Next: My art class was attended by only two people this past Wednesday. While that sucks for our lovely instructor, it wasn’t at all bad for me. It was useful to have  a little extra input into my impossible-flower-painting-that-is-driving-me-crazy. Oil paint is an interesting medium, but my goodness does it require patience. Patience is not my strongest point. And so, I am reminded to slow down in life.

We cleaned. This is why you invite people over, in additional to harvesting their pumpkin seeds. It forces one to finally clean one’s apartment.

We had sushi. That was fun – it’s this roll-it-yourself sushi that Zsolt and I really enjoy. After finally finding sushi rice at Bulk Barn, we ate our hand-rolled sandwich style sushi. It made us both quite happy.

So you can see, it was an unremarkable week that was nevertheless good.

Last week was terrible. Apparently while other areas in my body are stable’ish’ in regards to the cancer, my liver spots just keep on growing. Fuck buckets. This terrible disease is terrible. However, there are areas in my body that seem mostly stable, and that is good. Dr Canada is working to see what alternative treatments he can find me. I hate cancer. And this is a shitty way to end this happy blog post.

Therefore I will add this! I booked a ticket to go on a trip. I’m excited. Extra excited because I’ll be traveling with my Dad, and we haven’t done anything like this together ever. Not that I can remember, anyhow. It’s gonna be one long plane ride of him saying crazy things, and me taking the bait every time. FUN!

Last thing, it snowed!! Holy moly.

Happy Halloween 🙂

Catherine

 

Nope

Well the treatment I was on didn’t have the desired impact. The cancer has kept growing. I’m now onto a new chemo treatment and in 2 months it will be time for another CT scan. After that I don’t know. The problem, I reckon, is that the cancer isn’t just one thing – it is different types, even if they are all breast.

I feel helpless at the moment. Only got the news yesterday. It’s like… this stuff just doesn’t want to slow down. In a sense, I’m at the top of the CN Tower, and standing on that glass floor –suddenly realizing the ground beneath me is very, very far below….

Dr Canada says it is not time to give up. He says there’s still a fight to go. So, onto the next treatment and see what happens. See what drugs are coming out. Right now I can’t really digest all this – except the disappointment. We’re chewing on plenty of that. Truly, I thought it was going to work.

I know the empowered and active patient lives longer. But there are moments where I think we need (or at least I need) to lick the wounds. This is one of those moments. And then we’ll need to just keep going. Try new things. Push. But damn it, I could use good news!

What comes next? I don’t know.

Yesterday was one I’d like to forget forever. At about 6 AM, I woke up Zsolt with a hard cough. I woke up myself too! The cough, unfortunately, was very, very unhealthy. Like, get to the ER unhealthy. It was followed up by a kind of gurgling in my lungs.

Pretty fucking scary, I have to say. After a day in the ER at the General in Ottawa, with a few tests and a lot of waiting, plus a visit from various doctors, the reality was confirmed – one of my lung lobes had collapsed. The treatment I’m on isn’t working. Hasn’t been working for a while, and so the problems have been growing – most recently blocking one of the airways into a lung area, hence the collapse. And it’s time to jump ship to different options. This a point in the road I really didn’t want to reach. I didn’t want to get here. I don’t know how it will go down.

But I do love my life, and I love my work, and I hope this new treatment option – the scary C word,but considerably more light in dosing, plus possible radiation to the trouble making lung lobe blocker – will have the effect of pushing back the damn progression, because then I can carry on as I’d like. Apparently a range of doctors will be meeting to discuss my situation, and come up with a plan on how best to tackle this. In the meanwhile, I am breathing fine. The lung doc says I’m compensating remarkably well for the loss of the lobe.

Anyhow, it was a scary day. Perhaps even scarier for my husband, who was left alone after I’d passed out from panic at 6 AM and managed to get me the needed help – he laid me out safely and called 911.

My parents and he stayed with me all day in that small, quiet, and thankfully uneventful ER room. They were with me when I received the news of the progression and its ramifications, and they are with me in what needs to be done moving forward. Together I am certain we will make the best of this. I’m lucky for all of this love and support.

One day at a time, one challenge at a time.

But holy shit, life is fragile.