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Big cancer tests won’t stop the flight

8:00pm Monday, October 17th 

How I’m feeling: Peaceful. Floaty. Warm. Once upon a time, things felt magical – until I realized who the “magician” was. And then I realized that this is my reality. If today – this moment were to be my very last, I am so good. It has been an honour. It’s an honour. There is a whole lot packed in that – in this- but the “explanation”, it doesn’t matter because either way it’s brought me to this exact state, existence and in this energy flow. 

I’m flying. This is real.

It’s been a while. A long while. Whomever you are, reading this –  I hope your reality is stunning or however you define your reality. Even then, words are extremely limiting. It is what it is. I hope your reality is….something?

A whole lot has happened since the last post. It’s dated in April. Wow.

For those of you who have been reading since the very start, what has the experience been like? I’m so curious to know what it’s like to experience this with me – but along a different time line. I haven’t gone back to read a past post and I’m still not sure when I’m going to do so – or if I will do so. I know it’ll happen when/if it is meant to.

I suppose a significant thing to share in the context of this journal is that my arm is doing much better. I had surgery – and wasn’t able to be put asleep for it. That’s right. I was awake for it all. And it’s because of where my cancer is. There would have been too much of a risk that could have seriously compromised my airway being closed off. The deal was to either put me asleep – which is by the way, the standard protocol for this kind of surgery – and compromise my breath. Or keep me awake and give me a bit of local numbing juice but risk permanently damaging the nerves that enable my arm, hand and fingers to move. Easy decision when these are your options, right? They sliced to my bone, carefully maneuvered around my nerves (which were already showing signs of damage) and screwed my humerus bone together. All while I was awake yip yapping with the huge O.R. team. It was – AWESOME!!!!!!!! Design and process are so damn sexy, so I was geeking out the entire time as each of the 12-ish  people in the room had a specific role throughout my procedure. It was, beautiful. I was in awe (my constant mode), I am so proud and grateful for the team and I am so glad that I was awake and cognizantly there through it all. Messed up, you’re thinking? Sure. Perhaps. In some realities.

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The past few months have been far from easy – but also, a piece of cake. Truthfully, while I am human and therefore will indeed (allow myself to) feel sadness, frustration, anger, etc. etc. – things are so breezy, easy, light post-cancer. While I can indeed relate to the Carolyn B.C. (Before Cancer) – because I have lived her – I do not identify with her. And I am proud of her simply because I am proud of everything that contributed and continues to contribute to my being at this very moment. Every.Single.Thing. All of it. There are no “mistakes” and there are no “regrets”. There is however, one brightly lit force that sliced through my existence, clearly defined (if you had to attach a marker to it. Humans are silly this way) by the cancer – and the trickle effect it had on the people, places, things that were/are in my peripheral existence. It is far from a smooth line break but it’s undeniably apparent.

So, what brings me here? Well, I just got back from a big round of tests. I was poked, probed and scanned all afternoon in to the evening.

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Backless and ninja star pattern? Ow owwww!

I am scheduled to have them done every 3 months and in the past, there had been anxiety leading up to and following these tests. Cancer-free or not. That is the big question. I will find out soon. The last piece of news is that currently, I still have cancer. I haven’t been given the clearing. The cancer I can deal with. That’s (relatively) the easy part! It’s the treatment and then it’s mental, physical and emotional impact that are the tough parts.

This test round, I’m doing great. I didn’t have much thought invested in it leading up to today. I just kept on living. Really, living. What else is there to do other than live this poetically brilliant life until you pass, right? Are you living?

An interesting relationship with Princess Margaret Cancer Hospital, I have. I threw up  a bunch while at the hospital today. The sights, sounds, smells of the place – often trigger a whole lot, including intense nausea.  Eucalyptus oil really helped keep the nausea at bay.  I found my bottle in my purse while desperately digging around for gum, candy, something to change the taste in my mouth.  While there are some details that are somehow a blur – like what floor Hematology is on even though I’ve been countless of times – some I can recall with my eyes closed. I’ve memorized every line and pore of those walls on the chemotherapy floors. I used to count the dots on the walls and ceiling to pass the time and to place my focus on something in the middle of procedures and treatment. The sounds, I know intimately and they signify both peace and healing and also, anxiety and trauma. Is it a love-hate relationship? Nah. Not quite. It’s not that simple but it is definitely not hate. It is far too easy to hate and fuel the way you frame with fear and ego

There is this other (much bigger) part that feels comfort, love, gratitude and peace. It’s an institution where my current being that is attached to this significant life chapter of mine is understood intimately. There are no questions asked. There is no judgement. There are no assumptions. And it’s because I am surrounded by those who dedicate their lives to the physical (that’s the obvious one), mental and emotional factors of cancer and cancer treatment. There are other patients who are at all sorts of stages in their cancer and cancer treatment. Nobody will ever really understand – that is just the reality of reality 😉 But at Princess Margaret Hospital, I am surrounded by those who more closely can understand – or at least know that they will never understand – based on their experience with the complexities of cancer research, cancer treatment – and human beings.  And so, Princess Margaret Hospital feels a bit like home to me. I have family there. And I am so grateful for everything that has manifested especially over the past couple of years – including the people, places, things, diagnosis’, accidents and events that happened for me. Not to me.

P.S. My hair – I can (kind of) put it in a pony tail now. Which is nice – but also, there is very little (in the physical world) of what doesn’t really matter that carries significant weight on me. Some have been asking if I could share some of my hair growth photos. Check out the #CVKickingCancersAss hashtag. But maybe one day, I’ll write a piece and share some additional photos (and tips) I have. This afternoon, I thought about that very first time chunks of my hair started falling out. Wow. Life, you are so stunning.

2 replies »

  1. You are truly a gift, a brave soul and an inspiration …..thank you for sharing your journey with such honesty and depth.

  2. Dear Carolyn,

    I so often think of you. Thank you for sharing. I often wonder where your holding. Let me know when I can call you.

    Love Gabi

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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