Merry Christmas

Just a quickie post today – We’ve gotten up and shared the presents, up next are Eggs Benedict followed by a day of Family FUN (i.e. eating, relaxing, making dinner).

Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope your day is full of love and celebration. Later on I’ll write some more, but for today I’d like to simply enjoy the moment.

Joyeaux Noel, Boldog Karácsonyi, Merry Christmas! Wohoo!

Chemotherapy is OVER

DONE! WOOHOOO! AHHHH! YEAH BABY! YES YES YES! OKKKKAY! And a big thumbs up! Ahhh – no cause for another infamous swearing streak, today is only for happy words. HAPPY! JOY! RELIEF! RELEASE!Mom and I went in for chemo today. The hospital called our house at 7.30 am inquring whether we’d like to push our appoitment forward. Seven thirty felt a bit too early, so we arranged it for sometime before 11. “Any time before 11.”

So, at about 10 am we rolled into the deluxe chemo clinic. Again, things went well. That is a pattern I’m glad to have maintained during the paxlitaxel. The nurses seemed in a fine mood (but they would, as of the 25th they’ll have a 4 day weekend), one was even dressed in red with an elf hat. Very festive.

Chemotherapy took two and half hours, pretty normal. Afterwards the nurse removed my picc line. Let me tell you – removing a picc line is no big deal. Inserting the thing is a procedure (needles, x-rays, heart a pounding – though worth every second) so comparatively this was a walk in the park. Here is what they do: a heat pack is placed on the arm to ‘relax the vein’, the picc bandage is removed, and then the nurse gently pulls the line centimetre by centimetre till out, after which she presses down with gauze for a few minutes so the hole seals and no air can enter my body. Actually, I only realized half way through that she was pulling the tube from my vein. It was hardly noticeable. Why can’t all procedures be like that?

After my arm was released, we packed up the standards (oranges, pretzels, sweater) and GOT OUTTA THERE. Eighty sixed it – outtie five thousand – see you later alligator – hasta la vista – let’s blow this pop stand – I’m gone! High fives for everyone.

At the house Mom and Dad had a surprise gold star waiting for me. It’s a helium balloon in the shape of a star and is currently floating beside their bed. Pretty clever. Also there were lovely gifts from a few friends, and that was a wonderful surprise too.

Now I’m in the kitchen. Daniel and JP dragged the mattress upstairs so I could sleep yet still hang out. I’d tried sitting in a chair before but ended up sliding my tired ass onto the ground for a nap. This, clearly, is better. Mom just finished making red onion preserve and Daniel is sterilizing some jars. There’s festive music in the background and I’m sitting (sleeping) pretty. Lovely.

Sixteen down and no more to go. Over. Good bye Chemotherapy. Let’s never meet again. Never.

Next up is a vacation, followed by radiotherapy. After that it’s all about reclaiming my life. We’re starting now, which is a great reason for my being here. Marcelle is making sure I eat properly, Tony is treating me, and JP is putting me through a chemo-recovery routine.

If Zsolt were here it’d be absolutely perfect.

About 15 treatments ago I looked at the chemo schedule and thought, ‘how can we get through this?’ Talk about your obstacles; treatments felt like an uphill battle. But look where we’ve gotten – look at the view from the top of this mountain. Big goals were set (are set), and afterwards life became about the baby steps. One week at a time and you can survive. Survive to thrive. This next part (after the radiotherapy) is all about getting better.

I’m so thankful for everyone’s support. Thank you thank you thank you. Your thoughts, prayers, words, and food have been wonderful.

Right – time to lay down. Someone break out that cake! WOHOO!

Give me FIVE!

I’m now have eleven chemotherapy treatments done, which means FIVE treatments left, and THREE until I go to Canada.

My parents are rolling the ball in Canada, working things out on my behalf. We have to decide upon critical issues like when to put up the Christmas tree, who will decorate, and how many presents can fit into one stocking?

Essential matters.

Plus the OHIP (Ontario health care), scheduling, patient info and transferring of files – all that too.

But the ball is rolling.

Breaking news: my Swedish roots are abandoning me, instead I’m turning into a Monk. Zsolt was kind enough yesterday to point out that I have a ‘bald’ spot across the top of my head, with dark hair growing all around. MONK (also MANLY). Should I be embarrassed by this development? Well, maybe if the hair grows out an inch or so and the top is still shiny. . . then I’ll wear a hat. Meanwhile I’m simply glad to see it growing.

Breaking news part two: My weight is back to pre-chemotherapy measurements. Ever since Paclitaxel started I’ve been slowly putting the pounds back onto my shrunken frame. My rib cage is less pronounced, and I feel a tad more womanly. Meanwhile, the other side of my head is saying, “Alright lady, that’s enough with the weight gaining, time to slow down.”

But Christmas is coming, which means good food –plenty of good food. So whatever. Now is not the time to worry over weight (though that doesn’t mean I won’t worry, because it’s compulsive – BUT I know I’m being an idiot). Beside, who can say no to gingerbread cookies, and stuffing, and turkey, and mashed potatoes, and cheesecake, and baked filo wraps, and hot chocolate, and this and that, and all the goodies I’ll soon be eating.

Right. Twelve down (as of tomorrow), and four left.

This is progress.

PS. Today is my Name Day. Happy Name Day to all Catherines everywhere!

PPS. My big toes are starting to have a slight tingle. I’m not too happy about this, but it is still quite slight.