The ‘Me’ in the Mirror

Over the past six months, or so, with the treatments, my weight has dropped considerably. The first chemo had its impact with occasional bouts of nausea. The second chemo has not caused any nausea, but I’m still losing weight. Probably so far, I’ve lost about 18 pounds. I’m the lightest I’ve ever been; so light, I will float away any moment and dissipate in the breeze. Gone.

I’m writing this because yesterday I visited my brother’s gym. He is a personal trainer along with also being a Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncturist here in Ottawa. Very kindly, he will be helping me train. We need to build my body back up. We need to get the muscle regenerating (or whatever the word is). We need to fix the woman who looks like she’s missing 20 pounds.

It was weird looking in the mirror of that gym yesterday. All around me were people training themselves. They were sweating and pounding the bags – they had strong arms and strong strikes. They didn’t seem to worry about shattering a bone when hitting something. I’m scared to even lift a grocery bag, for fear of crushing a vertebrae. And in the mirror I watched myself amongst them, so noticeably different.

Beauty – is it in the eye of the beholder? Even more so, is health in the eye of the beholder? Does it count that I feel well for someone in my situation? Is this frail projection reflecting back at me a reality that my sensibilities won’t accept?

I’m at battle with the me in the mirror, because I’m a bit afraid she’s the me who is dying very slowly.

I guess that is really the truth of it. It scares me a little, you know? To wither away, it’s not cool. So I need to remember: the me in the mirror is doing her best. She is at the gym despite feeling totally awkward about it. She is eating the meat and fat, despite having no real desire for either. And she is trying her best. There is a ‘me’ in there who is healthy, beautiful, and striving to survive.

I just need to remember this. And keep trying. One pound at a time and one treatment at a time, I want to get my body back.

Buffalo Cheese and CT Scan Results

Yesterday I was craving fresh (in water) buffalo mozzarella balls. So, I get Zsolt to drive me to the grocery store – where they have big buffalo mozzarella balls in water. I also picked up some chips. We get to the cash and neither Zsolt or I have our wallets! Not a penny on us! BAH!

I threw a little hissy fit of frustration, and then we hop back into the car and go back to the house – pick up the wallets – and head to a closer grocery shop (Sobeys).

So we go to Sobeys, except they don’t have buffalo mozzarella balls. They have cow milk, but that is not what I was craving. I love that sweet flavour with the buffalo. However, the chips here were on sale, so I pick them up and saved us a few bucks.

THEN we decide to go to Farmboy. Into the car we hop and cruise down the strip to the shop. In the shop I go. OH, one last package of fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese balls. We grab ‘em and check out.

I get home, ready to dive in, when I see the seal isn’t sealed. The damn package was already opened! Not cool. (And I’m really starting to lose it – getting really pissed off.)

Back into the car, and back out – this time to a different Farmboy, since the last one only had one product left, which I bought and now wanted to exchange. So we go to the different Farmboy, and I grab their last package of buffalo mozzarella balls (checking the seal), and exchange the cheese.

FINALLY we get home, I take out some balls, and collapse in front of my computer to watch a show. Sweet, cheesy, salty bliss.

“What can I learn from this?” I asked myself

If at first you don’t succeed, try-try again.

I think the same can be applied to cancer. No matter how frustrating, it is worth pushing for what you want. In my case, to try, try again.

And I can say this so easily, because today I received good news. Today I have NOT been crushed at the doctor’s office. The CT shows good results, considering I’ve only received 2 doses of a new chemo treatment. Good results considering the last treatment didn’t have great impact.

I’m very happy, with a tinge of bittersweet – I can go back to work, but will still get this chemo every three weeks. Upside is that it is easier to recover from compared to the previous approach, even if it is tiring (so I can live my life a bit more as I also destroy cancer).

The MEGA upside is that it may be having a GOOD effect on KILLING the cancer. That blows any bittersweet feelings out of the water. Die cancer, die! MUHAHAAHAHA!

I said to Dr. Canada, “I didn’t expected good results. I was feeling defensively pessimistic.”

He nodded his head. “I think that’s a reasonable approach. But I’m going to be optimistic for you.”

So I said “Okay, you stay optimistic for me.” And I very much appreciate it, indeed.

Today has brought a couple pieces of happy news – from a surprise with my novel, to a surprise with my results. Steady onward, and we’ll see what happens next.

Considering I thought this would be a most horrible week, it has turned out pretty well.

The end.

P.S. I love this picture made by my friend James. Check it out 🙂

Who doesn't want to be compared to Katherine Janeway?!

Who doesn’t want to be compared to Kathryn Janeway?!


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!