I went skinny dipping. It’s great. It’s like when I first discovered not wearing a bra was far more comfortable than wearing a bra – and hence ditched my bras almost all together. (Resulting in my true form ‘flat as a pancake’ being rocked daily. The mastectomy certainly helps with this look.)

My parents have a pool, and for a long time I’ve though how lovely it would be to skip the uncomfortable bathing suit and just jump in – but never went for it. Well, as I was in one of those ‘f-k it’ moods lately, and since no one was home at my parents except Zsolt and I, and because the weather has been so crazy warm . . . I just went for a swim a la nude. It was beautiful.

You know that cold dread of getting out of the pool, as you towel off while the suit you are wearing clings and chills your skin? That sticky resistance as you try to pull it off, after having stepping into the air conditioned house where the cold air hits hard against the cloth of your damp suit? Well there’s none of that when you’re butt naked in the backyard, drying off with your towel.

And when you swim through the water, there’s really no resistance. It’s just slip and dip.

So from now on, whenever possible, I’m gonna swim a la natural. It’s just better this way.

This too, is one off my reminders that life isn’t all cancer. It’s hard, because my mind and body seem to be trying to convince me otherwise. I wake up in the morning thinking about scans and appointments and whether anything will every work. I think about slipping through the cracks of a system. I think about mortality and final days and fighting and sleeping. I think about my eyes and their warped sight  . . . and such. I wake up every morning and some nights stuck with these thoughts, and they sink deep into me, making everything heavy. And I have to pull myself out somehow – it’s not always so easy – pull myself out to be here in the moment, here today, living now.

Things like skinny dipping help with that. So does going to the river in Packenham (where Z and I were married seven years ago in the church there) this past weekend, and putting our feet into the flowing water – watching as schools of tiny fish swim up to investigate our toes. (eep!) That helps pull me out too.

Last night we watched our wedding video. The ceremony was lovely, and vows reminded me that not everything has gone wrong. Yes, life is threatened, yes we are frustrated, and yes, I deeply regret not having had children – but in listening to the vows, I remember  we made promises that have been kept and held as precious. We have and hold though good and bad, through sickness and health, through rick and poor – we have been an amazing married couple. And though I sometimes feel as though I’m failing, particularly as the cancer spreads, I must remember that we are in fact blessed.

Every day when we get to find our ‘in the moment’ joys, we really truly succeed. But also, when we hold each other and cry, and when the doctor gives bad news, we still shine through. He’s my husband and my life is a slice of satisfaction thanks to our relationship.

Anyhow, there’s a wandering post where I am sorting out my emotions. Depression vs skinny dipping, love vs expectation, good times and deep pits of sad.

Today we are outside in the backyard, and the pool is waiting. There are no scans this week, or tests, or results. And I will try my best to be Catherine the normal, with her husband Zsolt the loving – and later this day, will jump in that pool buck naked once again.

 

 

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.

😛

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.