Friday, 12 December 2014

Roller Coaster of Emotions

Kim and I want to start out this post by stating how incredibly thankful we are to the people in our lives. This last month we have been taken care of in so many different ways and the sad reality of it all is that there is no way we will ever be able to repay anyone adequately. 

The dinner and silent auction that was held to make sure we didn't have any financial worries during our cancer battle was absolutely amazing. 300 people took time out of their lives and money out of their wallets for us. It was an amazing collection of people I've come across in my 34 years and it was so neat to have them all in the same room. Brett and Amie Babkirk put together an event that anyone would be proud of, oh, and they did it in about 3 weeks!

The other contributions Kim and I are ever-thankful for are the people we've relied on time and time again for babysitting, rides and my friends in the medical community who have entertained my seemingly endless stream of questions without batting an eye. 

Now on to the big stuff. We had our first consult with the Cross Cancer Institute doctors. Kim and I made our way into the room prepared to hear that I had Stage 4 Cancer and a plan on how they would attack it. What we got was absolutely gutting. Our oncologist had zero bedside manner and appeared to be nervous and unsure of what she was telling us. One if the first things she explained was that "this is not curable." This hit me HARD. I actually had to lay down on the table and actually sweated through my hospital gown. After rambling about some numbers she came back around and said, "but it is treatable." I half yelled half gasped "you need to say that first!" After this she explained that I would need to be "on chemo for the rest of my life every second week until I become too fatigued either physically or mentally to continue treatment. She then drew us a bell curve and explained that the 50% person gets 26 months. Everyone else ranges from 6 months to 6 years and because I'm young and healthy I'm probably on the right side of the chart. 

Devastated, Kim and I walked out and across campus to get some lunch as we had to kill an hour before chemo school started. We got a couple of sandwiches but hardly touched them as we just stared at each other and contemplated this news. After this we made our way back to the Cross and started chemo school. It was at this point I got pissed off and started thinking about all the positive stories I'd read online. So I started looking them up again and realized that what this first doctor had told me was about someone else. This was not how you treat a young athlete, this is how you treat an 84 year old with diabetes. 

After chemo school I approached the nurse and asked about switching doctors. She told me it wasn't overly common but got me a phone number and we submitted a request for a doctor change. I also put in a request directly through the Cross for the most aggressive oncologist on staff and I'm happy to tell you that he will be handling me from now on.

The next day we got a call from my original surgeon and she told us some more awesome news. I have to admit, I hated her SO much in the hospital, who was she to find cancer in me? It's ok because I told her before I left, but she has stayed on my case and two weeks ago had spoken with a liver surgeon who said they would do a liver resection if I responded to the chemotherapy. 

Attitude readjusted!!! The morning before I was told good luck and ride it out. The next morning I've got a team ready to work for me. 

People! Don't always accept the first thing you're told. I refuse to lay down and literally die, I've got too much to live for. Cancer fucked with the wrong guy. 

The next step is a CT scan on the 16th to establish my baseline then on the 19th to get a port put into my chest to make getting chemo easier. It will need time to heal and I'll start some time after Christmas. 

We're looking forward to getting going and starting with the good news! 



  1. overall - good news. The trick will be learning to live with it. I don't know the answer yet, but I will let you know if I find it. oh - asking around, it sounds like there aren't oncologists that have a bedside manner. Maybe they just get tired of always being on the bad news side of the equation. Glad to hear you have a plan of attack though.

  2. So inspiring to read your story!!! Keep up the fight, my prayers are with you

  3. A friend suggested we read your blog after hearing your story on CBC radio. Your situation mimics ours, in so many ways, it's eerie! This one hits closest to home. While the type of cancer you have differs from my husband, the prognosis is similar, treatable-not curable. I'm pretty sure we had the same "first" oncologist, at the Cross with a heart of stone. The only good thing I took from that first, dreadful appointment was the fact that there was an intern who I know with all my heart will never treat her patients this way. My husband is also a PE teacher and we now have a wonderful, young oncologist at the Cross who has an incredible bedside manner, is aggressive, yet professional and has my husband's best interest at heart. We have two beautiful children who will have their Dad here to watch them grow, just as you will, yours. We will continue to follow your posts and cheer you on along the way! You've got this!!!