The highlight of this past couple of months was the opportunities I've been given to speak to different groups. The Alberta Cancer Foundation had me out to their staff retreat to talk about what they do for patients. The ACF is a charity that funds the bulk of what makes cancer treatment tolerable in Alberta. They provide the chemo recliners, the volunteers that escort you when you're lost and most importantly fund the clinical trials that advance oncology for the entire world.
Part of my message to these amazing people was that no matter what role they fill in the foundation they are an integral link in patient care. I talked about my story and share a few humorous anecdotes. This was well received and I was happy to give back to a group that has done so much for me.
Later on I was given the opportunity to speak to a running group at the Running Room in Sherwood Park. This was a much different group so my message was tailored to them. This time my main message was what endurance racing has done for me. Ironman racing has taken my body to places that many people will never get. Exhausted and beaten up but I still managed to keep going. This has been hugely important to my treatment being tolerable. No matter how bad I've felt during chemo it's never been as bad as an Ironman.
However, about a month ago my blood tests started to show an issue with my liver enzymes. They reached a level where they stopped giving me chemo for a time and this made me angry. It's mentally draining enough to endure treatment, but stopping that treatment because something is wrong is absolutely enraging.
This culminated last week in a trip to the ER at 3am. I had a great deal of abdominal pain and my eyes had turned yellow. After a day of tests they decided that my bile duct had become pinched off by some swollen lymph nodes. They sent me home and told me to come back on Tuesday for an ERCP procedure. This is a camera down the throat where they access your bile duct through your small intestine and use a stent to open it up.
Awesome, I endured a pain all weekend long. Not being able to sleep lying down I made my way to the basement and passed out sitting up on my recliner. Tuesday came and my sister drove me to the U of A for my procedure. After getting prepped they wheeled me into the room and started the sedation. I thought I was going to be out completely but all they do is make you happy. After putting a mouthpiece with a hole in it in my face they started feeding equipment down my gullet. They use air to keep everything open so I remember a great deal of burping the entire time.
After about 45 minutes they told me they had put in two stents and I waited for my ride home. Mom came and got me and took me home to rest. Every day I keep waiting for my pee and eyes to be a normal colour and so far I've been disappointed. Kim assures me I'm looking better but I don't feel any better.
This is really the worst I've felt this entire time. Mentally and physically I'm aggravated. I just want to feel better so I can live my life.