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Mouth pain, latest scan results – and a big reveal!

9:44pm on Tuesday, September 22nd. I just got home from teaching entrepreneurship to the next generation of wave makers.

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How I’m feeling: My brain is fuzzy. And I think it’s because I’ve been trying to process what happened over the past few days while I was in Newfoundland. I’ve decided that I’m going to stop trying to force myself to figure it out. I’ve been asked by numerous people how my trip was – and I’ve told them something like this -> “I’m still trying to process it all – but it was quite the something in an incredible way. I don’t have the words right now to even begin to describe and justify the experience”. It’s really all I can express at the moment. I know that I don’t owe anyone an explanation. I don’t even owe myself an explanation. Plus I know that really, what actually matters to those around me is knowing that I had a good time. And I did 🙂 I’m not quite sure what happened. All I know is that it was nourishing. It’s going to take a while for things to sink in. And so, I’m just going to allow it to – without any pressure, force or resistance. 

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Marvelling at the breathtaking view – and at life – after hiking 2466ft to the top of this stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gros Morne Mountain. Whenever there was any doubt (climbing this mountain – and any other mountains), I asked myself this question: Are you feeling nourished? If the answer was “yes” I reminded myself that I’ve climbed MUCH bigger mountains. And so, I could do this. It’s the mental and emotional strength that surpass physical strength. And we have the capability to be much stronger in our head and hearts than we can even begin to comprehend.

As an attempt to clear my head a bit – and perhaps to make room for the experience in Newfoundland to settle in, I have a couple of things to write out. Here goes:

Crazy pain in my mouth
A few weeks ago, I experienced a lot of pain in my mouth. I wasn’t sure what it was. All I knew was that it came at me suddenly and the pain was unbearable. It was so excruciating that I couldn’t focus on anything else. Pain killers did nothing. I called Princess Margaret Dental Oncology (yes, there are now extra cautionary factors that need to be considered – in which a regular dental surgeon does not specialize in) to book an emergency appointment – which unfortunately wasn’t until the next day. I didn’t get more than an hour of sleep and so I was a zombie walking in to the hospital. The dental oncology surgeon found out that my tooth was cracked – and was surprised that I had not been in even more pain than I was. I laughed and said “Oh – it’s painful. I didn’t say it wasn’t” She expressed that she was shocked that I wasn’t in much a worse pain condition because my crack tooth was in really shape. I explained to her that many nurses and doctors have made a point to comment on my inconceivably high pain threshold and so her comment didn’t surprise me. She filled the tooth in – asked me to come in a week later if I still experienced pain (which is always a tough order for me to follow because it’s difficult for me to gauge due to my abnormally high pain threshold) – and sent me home. After the numbing juice wore off, the excruciating pain came back. Again – another sleepless night. I left a voicemail message at 2:30am begging to come in for an emergency procedure. They weren’t able to see me until around 1:00pm. Every minute counting down to that time felt like an eternity. I made it in – and asked the surgeon to just pull it out. I said something like “I just want it out. Just get it out. Anything. Do anything. I need the pain to stop”. And so, the surgeon pulled my tooth out. Ok, it wasn’t as easy as that. In fact, it was a real stubborn bastard. It was a really deep tooth and it took many twists to get the motherf**er out. In fact, it had to be shattered in a bunch of pieces. The surgeon kept on noticing that tears were flowing down my face and had to inject me with more numbing juice. “Carolyn! Stop being a hero” If you’ve been following along – you know that I’ve heard that one a bunch over the year. It was finally out – and I was SO relieved. It was still painful from all of the twisting and yanking – but compared to how I was feeling with the cracked tooth in, I was doing just fine!

In tears :,(

….but no longer in tears! 🙂

Latest scan results

For a reminder of what my previous results were, check out this post.

Around the same time while I was dealing with my tooth, I spoke to Dr. Crump about my latest scan results. By the way, if I haven’t expressed enough how much I LOVE Dr. Crump, I’m going to do it again. I truly have a first class, rockstar oncology team.

I was really nervous getting my results back. I just – don’t know if I’m ready to go back in to treatment if the results tell us that we have to go there again – not that anyone can ever be “ready” for it. I can’t imagine that it’s something anyone can ever get used to really – no matter how many times they do it.

But I knew that regardless of what the results were – I was ready to celebrate. I was ready to celebrate that I can breathe – even if I were to be told that I only had a few last breaths left. I have been celebrating that every day and will continue to celebrate that for however long I’m meant to be around.

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So, good news: The mass got smaller! Woooo! That’s better than “it got bigger” and “it stayed the same”!

However, there was a blood clot that was detected. If it’s a new one that’s developed – it’s not a good thing. In fact, it would be a really big problem. There was not a note in the scan results before this one about a blood clot – but this could be (and hopefully is) the case because the scan simply did not detect it for whatever reason (Ex. Not enough contrast dye). In the scan results before that – there was indeed mention of a blood clot. And so, we don’t know if the blood clot is new. I know – frustrating, right? Welcome to my world. Unpredictable and unknown. Actually – that’s your world as well. I suppose it’s just that mine may be on an entirely different level. Unpredictable and unknown. That’s life, really. Whether you are aware of it or have decided to accept it or not.

And so, I have to pay attention to how I’m feeling. Ok. I like to think that I do – but sometimes I have my doubts. Dr. Crump asked me to really pay attention to any swelling in my face and chest that happens (it would be due to the blot clot). If it does – I have to go straight to ER. For those who have been following along – if you can recall, that’s happened to me before. I have to really trust myself. One of the many things I’ve gotten out of this experience is a much closer relationship with my intuition. We’ve reached an entirely differently level of trust with one another. So, I have to really trust my own process and remind myself that I know what the voice of my intuition sounds like and what it feels like when it’s signalling me.I don’t want to turn in to a hypochondriac – but also do not want to brush what could be critical signals under the rug. A tough one, right? I have to remind myself of the things I had in my life whenever I listened to my intuition – and I was spot on. And then make the presence of those things a priority.

Tomorrow, I’m meeting with my radiation oncologist to discuss the same set of results (but from a different perspective) – and to check in on how I’m feeling.

The big reveal

And lastly, THIS happened…..

Crazy, right? A few select group of special people have already seen me sporting this look. It trips me out whenever I catch sight of my own reflection.

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I figured – if I want to ever so often not wear my wig, I may want to have some sort of a style. My hair is getting so long! In fact, it’s kind of a fro. Interestingly enough, the texture of my hair is so different than what it was before I lost my hair. It’s thick and wavy! The hair stylist didn’t cut much length off because I do want to grow my hair out – but she did get rid of the mullet shape I had going on. Yes, my hair was growing in to a little bit of a mullet. It was kind of hilarious. haha.

The other day, when I realized that I had enough hair to hold up in a towel – I teared up. I actually have enough hair that I have to spend time drying. Also, I get to buy shampoo again. SHAMPOO! I should probably treat myself to some fantastic hair products, eh? Any suggestions?

The way I see it, every strand of hair that is growing back is pretty much standing up to give chemo and cancer the “Go F*** yourself” finger.

My Goodbye to my hair in April 2014.
Shaving off what was left of my hair in May 2014.


With bursting amounts of love,
me

P.S. If you are reading this, thank you. Along with whatever it is you are getting from following along, I also want to thank you for checking in.

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