Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall

Not too much has been happening during these early days of fall.  I am continuing with my Vit. C treatments which have been decreased to 1x/wk, along with my massages and finishing up with my radiant touch sessions.  It has been a time for me, taking care of myself and doing what I need and want to do. 

I had the chance to visit with some family for a couple of days .... my little cousins are getting so big and coming into their own person.  As well, I attended a work dinner and had the chance to catch up with co-workers and lastly a trip to TO to visit with some friends who we only get a chance to see once a year and we celebrated one of their b-days ... it was a weekend filled with love and energy ... thank you guys!

October is looking like a quiet month ... time to take care and continue healing myself!

~sasha

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Back To Life ..... Back to Reality!

Summer is over :(  Oh well, time for my favourite season Fall .... time to layer your cool attire, wear nice cozy sweaters, take a stroll and curl up on those cool nights.  I love Fall! 

Back to life ... and back to reality after my 7 weeks off!  I travelled to London on Sept. 7th for my 6 mth follow up with the London Cancer Clinic for my ovarian diagnosis, and from their end everything looks good.  I was informed that I will have two more appointments with them and then I will be finished which means that this time next year I will have my last follow up in London and my care will go back to my family MD ... that was some great news! 

This was also "scanxiety" week as on the 9th I went for my follow up chest,pelvic, abdomen CT scans.  I must say that I have become a master at drinking the barium sulphate as nasty as it tastes I am able to chug it down in under 30 secs .... pretty good for someone who has never chugged beer before!  Same routine ... put in a lock, connect it, feel the dye travelling through your body as your body heats up ... which I must say this time around I heated up a lot more than usual, then feel like you are peeing yourself, travel in and out of the tube and done!  This time though I almost yakked on the table, something to do with the dye and the barium sulfate mixing together in my stomach, I did not feel good at all!!!  No donuts this time after my tests :)

I had the opportunity to go to a presentation on "Can-surviving" given by a fellow Vit. C'r who has been living with prostate cancer since 2004.  What an inspiring presentation ... how to live and be happy with cancer.  This is something at times I still try to wrap my head around but the more I think about it the more it makes sense.  Of course you get angry and upset that you have been diagnosed with cancer but holding on to and keeping that anger inside of you .... is that really good?  Why be mad?  Why use the words battle and fight?  We are not giving in or giving up if we live as one with our cancer ... cancer is not a bad thing, it is a warning sign from our body to let us know that something is not working properly.  Yes it is a warning that is very capable of ending our lives ... but it is also a warning to help ourselves, it is our bodies cry for help!  Over the past couple of weeks I have started to understand more and more what "can-surviving" is all about.  Some other important words I took away from the presentation was "Live, Love, Choose" ... very important as well as doing things to "keep your mind off of that thing!" which I will bring back up in my next post.  Great, great presentation and glad I was able to be a part of it.

Today's the day! ... off to Dr. Alam's office for my results.  Upon entering the clinic is when I get the "scanxiety" not any earlier so I have to give myself credit for that.  The CT results are always so long and difficult to understand so in short ... Dr. Alam asked me what it was that I was doing?  I stated my Vit. C which she was aware of, plus a supplement and homeopathy routine that Dr. Marier provided me with.  Dr. Alam stated that whatever it was that I was doing, to keep doing it as something is working.  I didn't hear the words "it's gone" but I did hear the next best thing which was that it is stable.  From my 7th & 8th treatments nothing has shrunk nor grown or travelled to any other organs .... wow a sigh of relief!  No more chemo needed and I will be followed closely every 4-6 weeks so I will return mid October and find out what the game plan will be for tests, etc. 

The following day I was in for my Vit. C and to give Dr. Marier the good news!  He also sat down with me and went through my report word for word to help me understand what all the mumbo jumbo was.  Everything is stable, and they can not rule out that things have not calcified and hardened .... therefore inactive, as well as scar tissue building up at the base of my lung, the report is very up and down but the main message from it all is that everything is stable!  My homeboy (cancer) can stay as long as he remains stable and just chills!!

Now what ... well it is going to be a wait and see approach.  I sat down and thought about what else I could do to help and heal my body so I have made some more tweaking to my surroundings.  The hardest one given by Dr. Marier is changing our though patterns.  Of course I also worry and am concerned when something hurts in my body especially when it is on the side that I have had all the work done so ... I need to get that hook out of my thoughts that I keep putting there and acknowledge my thoughts and then let them go.  With my diet ... eat, drink & think about how it makes you feel!  I have returned to practicing yoga daily at home with short meditations (something I still need to expand upon), carrying out my Happiness Project (I will expand upon next time), radiant touch and therapeutic touch, of course my massages and just enjoying life.

One more thing before I end .... as of 1 1/2 weeks ago I have become hat and scarf free!!!!  And ... I had my eyebrows waxed!  The little things in life!

Till next time!

~sasha

Monday, September 13, 2010

WHERE IS WALDO!!!! a.k.a. SASHA

It has been sometime since my last post .... 7 weeks to be exact!  Following my last chemo treatment Dr. Alam had given me 6 weeks off of anything to do cancer related and well I took her up on that hence why I have not posted any blogs.  I felt like I had 6 weeks to walk away from my life and that is what I did!  So ..... where has Sasha been???

Since my last post I still have been busy especially with my IVC treatments (Vit. C) which at the beginning of August where 3x/wk and have now decreased to 2/wk. 

I have had the opportunity to meet up with some old friends that I have lost contact with for coffee, lunch with co-workers, b-day celebrations and a wedding and of course massages! We also had the chance to see our friends Jason & Heidi's two little ones Emma and Chet do their first kids triathlon .... way to go guys, following right in your mom & dad's footsteps!  We missed out on seeing Jason & Heidi during their triathlon (my energy wouldn't hold up for another early morning and long day) but they did well and from what I hear Jason did amazing recently on his first ever 1/2 Ironman!!!!  Way to go Petro's!!

I had an awesome night mid August when I had the chance to meet up with some of my BC sistas Dana and Ingrid at Dana's cottage.  It was a night filled with great conversation, laughs and great company.  It was a much needed little retreat and it was great to converse with my sistas who are travelling along the same path ..... we are truly blessed to have each other.

I said goodbye to a close friend Sarah who I have seen grow up over the past 10 years who is venturing out into the working world aboard a cruise ship!  Good luck and we will miss you!  And recently said said good bye to Christina a beautiful angel on earth who left us as well.  I was blessed to have been graced by her presence even if it was only for a short time while we were doing Vit. C treatments together ..... it was a hard funeral to attend because of how close it really hit home but she was truly loved by so many and had touched so many peoples lives with her beautiful smile and true compassion and love for others.  We will miss you Christina and will continue to do your work her on earth.

Some of you are aware of some of the books I have read but I had an awesome opportunity to meet Kris Carr author of "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips" & "Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor" with my BC posse .... it was an awesome presentation and I was so happy to have finally met her!  A true inspiration!  Check out her site www.mycrazysexylife.com

My mom and I were also blessed to have been part of a healing mass given in Essex by Fr. Fernando (www.fatherfernando.com) who has travelled all over the world doing/helping with God's work .... another amazing and incredible night.

Towards the end of August I was able to take part in another beautiful celebration Yoga 4 Hope .... Thank you to Dar (www.pajamaangels.com) for creating such an awesome event!  My practice was in dedication to all my BC sisters and posse out there!

Time for Atti and I :)  We had a chance to get away for a couple days and have some alone time and get a couple games of golf in in beautiful Michigan ... it was so nice to breath in some fresh air, see some awesome scenery and most of all get away!

I also got the chance to go to a couple concerts .... David Gray & Ray Lamontagne ... thank you Manuel!  And the concert of the summer that everyone was talking about Eminem & Jay-Z .... thanks Tony & Shelley! 

September brought with it the last days of summer :(  What more perfect way to go out of summer with than a BBQ with great friends!  Thanks Val & John for an awesome dinner and company :) 

The summer brought with it other exciting news!  Congrats goes out to Val & John on their upcoming new bundle of joy ... a new baby V on the way!  Congrats to Chris (Hallie's godfather) & Kelly on the soon arrival of their baby!  Congrats to Glorianna and Paul .... (I can finally say it as it is out in the open now) on their engagement!  As well as our matchmaker Dr. Wilson ... his daughter Kim & Matt on their engagement!

Cheers to a great summer and great memories!!!

~sasha

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

#8 - The End!

I am coming at you live and in living colour!!!  For my last treatment I thought I would come at you from the chemo suite .... hopefully I get this done before the Benadryl sets in :)

July 19th - 23rd, 2010

This week has been filled with my IVC treatments on M/W/F which I believe now are starting to kick in.  My energy levels have seemed to be improving more and more with each day.  For those of you who know who Jeff Dunham is and his character Peanut will understand this.  There is a skit where Jeff is asking why Peanut is so hyper and he repeats "coffee, coffee, coffee" (look it up on Youtube).  Well, when Atti comes home know and sees me moving around the house he repeats the skit to me but subs in Vit. C instead ... it has become an inside joke now for us.  I am so happy to have started this treatment and with how I am feeling while on it ... part of me wishes I would have started much earlier but everything happens when it is supposed to and when you are ready for it. 

Of course you know there was a massage this week :)

I had a follow-up with Dr. Alam on Thursday.  She has given me 6 weeks off ... time to enjoy the rest of summer!  Dr. Alam stated that this will be my last treatment for now #8!  This time frame will give this last chemo treatment a chance to work as well giving me a chance to finish up my Vit. C treatments.  During the beginning of September I will be booked for another chest CT scan to see how things are going, then I will meet with her the week following to discuss what my treatment plan will be consisting of  ... possible completion of chemo, change in chemo regimen if needed, maintenance drug or alternative treatments.  Along with this 6 weeks off I do not have to return for anything, she wants my counts to come up on their own and I receive my last Zoladex shot today.

July 26th, 2010

Had another IVC treatment today and had some adjustments to my treatments/regimen at the CCIM (Canadian Clinic for Integrative Medicine). It is so awesome to start feeling better, it has been awhile so you forget what the feeling feels like.  Everyone is waiting in anticipation to see how I will feel following my chemo treatment as most of the people who I have spoken with who are presently doing both chemo and Vit. C have started before they started their chemo therefore, they do not know any differently whereas I started towards the end of my treatments.  I am waiting in anticipation as well .... hoping I feel good!

July 27th, 2010

Happy last chemo to me, happy last chemo to me, happy last chemo dear Sasha, happy last chemo to me!  This is the song that the nurses sing to you in the chemo suite when you are done!!

I am now receiving my dexamethasone (steroid) .... part of my pre-chemo drugs.  Now onto my Zantac ... working in cardiac I questioned why I was receiving this as our patients receive this for indigestion ... for chemo, I guess it works for nausea.  

It's time to say "over and out" as my next drug is my Benadryl.  Time to get comfortable and get my David Gray play list ready and curl up in my comfy blanket for my nap!

Take care and I hope everyone has an amazing day!

~sasha

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Round #7

Again ... the best way to start of the month is with a massage :) 

July 4th, 2010

Happy Canada Day, Happy 4th of July, Happy early b-day Marc and Happy 25th Wedding Anniversary to my cousins Marc & Colleen.  Today we had a great day of celebrations at my Aunt Hope & Uncle Jim's house with the whole family, it was great to see everyone and have everyone together ... and I was able to enjoy it since I hadn't had treatment due to the holiday.

July 6th, 2010

Time for #7 which surprisingly was not as bad this time around.  Due to Canada Day they pushed my chemo treatment back 5 days which in turn allowed my counts to come up higher which in turn I believe gave me more energy.  Upon arriving home I didn't need to crash right away and was able to stay up for a couple hours before hitting the bed and trying to sleep some of this off.

July 9th, 2010

Still not feeling all the best but coming around faster than normal.  Today I was off to see Dr. Marier for my first IVC treatment.  My mom jokingly stated that she wanted me to be doing cartwheels out of the office after getting my Vit. C ... I ensured her that I didn't believe it worked that fast! 

I have been looking forward to this day for sometime now ... excited to be putting something into my body that is good and healthy.  Since today was my first day, they started with a support pack I believe it is called so it is not actually Vit. C but all of your B vitamins to get your body ready, next week I will be starting the actual Vit. C dosages.

July 11th, 2010

The return of "Fight Like A Girl"!  Today is the Dragon Boat races and I was really upset this week that my treatment would be falling 5 days prior to the races which would mean that I probably wouldn't be able to be with my team and drum.  Well, I did the best I could and rested up as much as possible on the weekend so that I would be able to be with my team and I did it!  It was a very hot day but with all the excitement it kept me going.  We won our first race which placed us into Division A Finals for the 2nd race.  We then placed 4th which dropped us into the Division A Consolation Finals .... I believe it was after this race that I started to feel everything catching up with me and was starting to become exhausted.  Time for the last race in which we placed 3rd in our Division which brought us overall to 4th/100 teams to finish ... not bad for only our 2nd year! 

Thank you so much to our great team, you worked your A$$ off.  It was an amazing day filled with lots of family, friends, love, fun, and team spirit, thank you to those who came out to support us and such a great cause.  

Until next year:)

Today was also Attila's 36th b-day, Happy b-day Atti!  Thank you to the Pazur family for opening their house to us and hosting our Dragon Boat celebration and Atti's b-day party.

To say the least following this day ..... I was exhausted!!

July 12th - 16th, 2010

This week consisted of me getting off of my butt and doing some exercise .... it feels good to be able to move!

Also, I had my Vit. C treatments M/W/F which last about 1 1/2 - 2hrs.  Everyone keeps asking if I have noticed a difference yet ... well not sure. The one thing I have noticed is that I am falling asleep easier than before and that I am waking up earlier.  I feel like my body is trying to find a routine or return to a normal routine in which Dr. Marier stated that it was more than likely exactly that ... my body is trying to find it's normal circadian rhythm and trying to balance itself.  Let's see what the weekend brings and if I notice anything else energy wise.  

Well, this weekend brought a much improved energy level.  Again, not sure if this is because I may be pushing myself or because of the Vit. C but I am thinking it is the Vit. C.  Normally when you push yourself you become tired, not saying I don't get the afternoon sleepy feeling anymore but there is something to say about my energy levels being higher to the point of staying up late and cleaning until 2:00 AM!!!  I know that is probably not good for my body to be up that late but I had lots of energy.  A goal of mine was to clean under our stairs ... our storage area this week coming which I was going to give myself two days to work on.  No .... instead Saturday afternoon I completed it in a couple of hours.  And even though being up that late over the weekend I was able to wake up after getting my 7-8 hours of sleep naturally.  And .... last night was the first night that I didn't take my 1/4 Ativan to help me sleep, just my natural sleep agents.  These things may seem small to someone else but to me these are huge improvements.  I am scheduled for M/W/F again this week and a follow-up with Dr. Alam .... next week will be the true test as I will be having my 8th chemo!

Have a great day!

~sasha

Thursday, July 15, 2010

June 2010

June was filled with many scans, appointments and activities and the best way to start it off is always with a massage!

June 8th, 2010

Follow-up appointment with Dr. Alam prior to #6 chemo and blood work.  Was informed that I would be scheduled for a bone scan, and CT scans of my head, chest, abdomen and pelvic.

June 10th, 2010

Time for #6!  I can feel these chemos starting to take a toll on my body and I am feeling very toxic lately.  For some reason my treatments started late due to a computer issue and getting my orders from the pharmacy so I was about 90 mins behind.  I have discovered over this journey that my body can become pretty sensitive and in order to get back on track with the day my pre-chemo drugs of Zantac, Dexamethasone and Benydral were administered a little faster ~ 25-30 mins instead of an hour.  To say the least this didn't sit too well in my body and I was feeling very nauseated.  Nothing more drugs couldn't fix!  We came home immediately and I kicked off my shoes, walked to the bed and passed out for the next 4 hours.

June 11th - 13th, 2010

This treatment has taken its toll on me and I have spent the past few days in bed trying to recover .... not going so well.  Everything hurts, I am nauseated, not interested in food or can't find anything to satisfy my hunger and when I do have it, it is either nothing that I want or the nasty aftertaste kills everything.  

June 14th, 2010

Bone scan day .... inject me with radioactive dye (YEAH - more crap going into my body), come back in 3 hours for the x-rays.

June 15th, 2010

Not one CT scan but 4 .... even more YEAH!!!  I had to drink barium sulphate last night and a container prior to my scans.  Just the thought of it or seeing someone else drink it makes me gag!  After 4 years of being in and out of the hospital I have to mark this day down as the first day I have had a bad association with the hospital and feeling nauseated and just fed up!!!!  I managed to get the barium sulphate down, next was them inserting my lock in my arm which again as soon as they did it I could taste the metallic taste in my mouth from the dye they inject.  Next, wait patiently for my scans, get hooked up, say my prayers while the scans are going on, inject the dye, instant metallic taste (it's like putting a handful of pennies in your mouth and swishing them around), then the peeing warm feeling the courses through your body ... you don't actually pee yourself but this is the sensation and my first time around last year I was convinced I did but I was safe.

June 16th, 2010

Met with my naturopath Dr. Marier to review my progress and how things have been going.  From the alternative side of things everything was going well, though we discussed my issues of feeling like my blood was toxic and decided our next step was to "drain" me.  I was placed on some more homeopathy remedies that would act as a drainage system and help my start clearing out all of these toxins.  As well, we have agreed that based off of my scan results that I will be starting my Vit. C treatments in the next couple weeks ..... I can't wait!

June 17th, 2010

Massage ... thank you Manuel!!!  Followed by coffee and catching up with a girlfriend.

June 18th - 20th, 2010

This weekend was filled with more pampering for myself ... last year I was a regular at the spa trying to make myself feel better and normal, this year I focused on the integrative medicine side of things and not pampering so I felt it was time to treat myself to an awesome pedicure and algae body wrap that was so cozy and relaxing, following by a late night movie.

On Saturday we had an awesome dinner at my co-workers house Wendy & Mike ... thanks for the great laughs and yummy steak dinner, it was a great night out.

Happy Father's Day dad!  My dad wasn't feeling the best so we kept it simply and went to the movies to see "Karate Kid" ... loved it!  It brought back so many childhood memories and I have always been a Karate Kid fan.  Will, Jada & Jaden did an awesome job on remaking the original.

June 23rd, 2010

Today I had a follow up with Dr. Alam to determine where I stand with treatments and to receive all of my scan results.  I wasn't nervous at all leading up to this day but upon arriving at the centre my stomach was in knots .... damn anxiety!  Well ..... the good news just kept coming!  My bone scan was all clear and even showed that the rib fracture I had was healing, brain CT .... clear, abdomen CT .... clear, pelvic CT .... clear, lung CT .... much improved!  The lung CT still showed abnormalities but since my February and April CT scan it showed that all the lymph nodes had reduced from 2cm - 1cm, abdominal lymph node decreased from over 2.3 - 1.5 x 1.2cm, can't really determine if they still see all the sand like nodules on my lung as those appeared to be clearing up as well as the nodule in my lung which has decreased from 0.99cm - 0.46cm!  AWESOME NEWS!!!!  Where does this leave me for treatment now .... they have suggested I do 2 more rounds of chemo, run another chest CT and determine if I should have 1 more.  From there they will decide if I am done treatments, will need a maintenance chemo, change my chemo regimen and the possibility of long-term alternative treatments.  You don't have to guess which one I am praying for???

This news was great to have especially since tonight was the Girls Night Out for our Dragon Boat team "Fight Like A Girl".  Thanks again to my dear friend Amy Britton (Britton Images Photography) for hosting another great evening filled with lots of goodies, prizes, raffles and great company!  Thank you to all who were able to come and show your support, it was very much appreciated.

June 25th, 2010

Zoladex shot .... I need to get a picture of the next one because I think this is a huge a$$ shot!

June 26th, 2010

Our first Dragon Boat practice which was a great success .... I think we have another winning team!

June 28th, 2010

Valentina's 31st b-day!  We had a chance to celebrate my BFF's b-day at Caldwell's Grant in Amhersturg .... great food, great fun, great laughs.  We were honored to celebrate this day with you Val!

Best way to end the month????  Another massage!

~sasha

Sunday, July 4, 2010

May 2010

Once again I have fallen off track with blogging!  The last real time blog was the end of May following my 5th treatment. 

The end of May was a great little vacation!  Friday I had to receive my Zoladex shot to suppress my ovary and then my friend Amy Poisson and I headed down to London to visit with my cousins and do a little shopping.  For those who know me well there is always one store I visit on each trip to London!!  Lululemon ... we raided it for a couple hours.  Saturday we went and saw my godson Blake's gymnastics class .. he was so happy that we came to watch him, then we went for breakfast, off to do some more shopping and walking around downtown and then we met up with Atti and my cousin Dave who drove down on Saturday morning and spent their day golfing.  We had an awesome night with my cousin's Chris and Michele with some great food and more great laughs! 

Another reason for the trip to London was that I had an appointment with the plastic surgeon for my reconstruction.  I had this appointment booked 6 months ago and didn't want to cancel it as I was interested in hearing what she had to say and what my options were for reconstruction.  I was given 4 options for reconstruction 1) TRAMS flap which I couldn't do because of my size ... it is pretty much a tummy tuck and a boob job at the same time and they use your abdominal muscles 2) Expander's and implants which would consist of a surgery to put the expander's in, 6 weeks of filling them slowly, then surgery to place the permanent implants 3) using the tissue from my butt and they can only do one side at a time and 4) using my back muscles with implants.  Not that I have to decide now and probably won't even think about it till spring of 2011 but she suggested using my back muscles as it would be the most effective for me.  Plus, the expander procedure doesn't seem like a guarantee as many complications can occur and secondly I like my butt and don't want any scares on it :) 

It was nice to get out of the city and relax for a couple of days before heading into my next treatment followed by a bunch of tests!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Daily Routine

I just finished reading "Knockout: Doctors Who are Curing Cancer" by Suzanne Somers and I thought this would be a perfect time to write about what I am doing from an integrative standpoint.  The book was very interesting though very anti-chemo, anti-radiation and against all Western approaches to medicine.  Did I agree with some of their statements .... yes, but I do not think I would ever be able to completely go against all Western medicine and only take a natural Eastern approach to my treatments.  I would however take the approach of integrative medicine and agree that Western and Eastern medicine can work wonders together! 

Many people have been asking lately what I am doing from an integrative standpoint so without going into too much detail (because this has been tailored to my needs) here is what my regimen and my day looks like. 

Empty Stomach AM routine:
  • 1 tsp botanical mixture in water: an individualized mixture herbs based off of type of cancer, location, and present condition that has been shown to help cancer patients and help purify the blood, boost the immune system
  • 2 oz fresh wheat grass
  • 5 tabs of Perfect Food (greens)
  • homeopathy "drainage" mixture which consists of 5 drops from 3 bottles into 1L of water and sip throughout the day
Wait approximately 45 mins ..... this is when I check e-mails, write my blog, clean kitchen .... do little tasks here and there.

15 mins prior to breakfast:
  • 1 curcumin
  • 1 ECGC (green tea extract)
  • 1 AHCC (active hexose correlated compound - mushroom extract)
Breakfast ... consists normally of fresh fruit bowl (mango, banana, figs, plums,blueberries, cherries, dried dates) or Ezekiel bread with pumpkin seed butter and blueberry jam.  Following breakfast:
  • 1 calcium
  • 6000 IU Vit. D
  • 1 tsp flax oil
Head outside to get some fresh air and water our garden .... for the past 4 years I have been saying that I am going to get better at taking care of the garden and somehow develop a green thumb .... I have yet to succeed but I am trying hard again this year!

1 hr prior to lunch:
  • 4 digestive enzymes
  • 1 tsp botanical mixture w/ water
Lunch .... normally can of tuna or chicken, with some raw veggies or salad
  • 1 AHCC
Snack ..... walnuts, dried cherries, figs or goji berries or my green goop concoction juice mixture (carrots, kale, collard greens, broccoli, turnips, lemon and apple)

15 mins prior to dinner:
  • 1 curcumin
  • 1 ECGC
  • 1 AHCC
  • homeopathy "drainage" mixture which consists of 5 drops from 3 bottles into 1L of water and sip throughout the day
Dinner ..... beef, lamb, fish and stir fried kale, broccoli and sweet potatoes
  • 1tsp flax oil or cook with EVOO
  • 1 calcium
1 hr prior to snack:
  • 4 digestive enzymes
  • 1 melatonin
  • 1/4 ativan (my only Western medication)
  • 1 tsp botanical mixture w/ water
Snack .... fresh fruit, nuts, soy matcha green tea or dark chocolate :)  Sit down relax and watch some reality TV:)
 
Also in the mix of all of this is my homeopathy mixtures.  I alternate between two therefore, every Monday I have #1 mixed with 1 L of water and sip throughout the day and then then following Monday I have #2 mixed with 1 L of water and sip throughout the day.  I also have my other homeopathy that I place under my tongue and dissolve, I try and remember to do it everyday but sometimes I forget. 

This is my regular routine!  This is what I have been doing to try and improve my health .... some say it's like having a full-time job trying to make sure you have everything organized and taking everything at the right time.  Yes, it is a lot but once you get used to it, it becomes easy and it is nothing like a chore or duty.  I know for myself, when I put my mind to something there is no stopping me!  And .... when you feel and notice the difference in your body it makes you want to continue and take care of yourself even more.   

Now that I am feeling better and my energy levels are coming up I just need to get back to a regular exercise routine! 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thank You!!

I apologize in advance if I miss anyone but please know even if your name is not mentioned that we appreciate truly what you did for us to make this such an amazing and memorable day.

To everyone who attended or where there in spirit ... our family, friends, friends of family, family of friends, high school friends, co-workers, clients, Cardiac Wellness participants ... to everyone ... THANK YOU!!!!

To Bill from Pat & Hanks Fish and Chips for donating all the hamburgers, hot dogs & buns, to Louie from Maple Leaf Bar and Grill for all the beverages, to Koolini's Italian Eatery for the pasta and salad, Renee's Fine Cakes for the beautiful cake, and Doug Smith's Signs for the banner.

To all the photographers ... Rod Denis, James Zedd (Britton Images Photography) and Ron Barr.  To the great entertainment that kept us rockin' .... SuperNatural and Bree Gaudette.  

For all those who donated raffle prizes .... Women on the Run ~ 6 week running clinic, The Yellow Belly Frog Company ~ Designer Soap and "Spa" Package, Gail's Flowers ~ Circle of Friendship Candle, Scrap Booking Supplies, Ladies Jewelry Package, Desktop Tealight Fountain, Pearl Jewelry Set, Men's Watch & Accessories, Pearl Necklace and Sunflower Arrangement, Bruce Thompson ~ Willie Horton Autographed Baseball and Wayne Gretzky Action Figure, Colleen Pandolfo ~ Baby Needs Package, Sylvia & Frank Dow ~ Detroit Red Wings Coat Rack, John Guthrie ~ Wooden Elephant Stool, Amy Britton ~ Incense Diffuser Package, Pajama Angels ~ Snack Attack Bowl, Family Package for the  4th Annual Scare Away Breast Cancer Fundraiser Friday October 22, 2010, Books & Beverages Package, Action Figures, Men's Bracelet & Visor, Ladies Watch & Cell Phone Bag, Travel Game, Cassette Tap & Ringed Paper, Breast Cancer "Pink" Pack, Baseball Memo Board and Angels Decorative Plaque, Frank Merlihan ~ Decorative Kitchenware, Amanda Borysowytsch ~ Total Body Experience, Patirica Charron ~ Scrabble Game and Glass Platter & Coasters, LaSalle Pool and Spa ~ $100 Gift Certificate, Claudette LeBron ~ Tropical Island Painting, Andrea Tremblay ~ Picnic Backpack Set, CAW Local 444 ~ 2x Gift Pack, Paul Dunn ~ Wildlife Print, Janis Windsor ~ Beauty Hair Products & Flat Iron, Renee's Fine Cakes ~ Elegant Torte, Hope & Jim Pizzimenti ~ Alcohol Gift Basket, Gladys Gerrior ~ Aboriginal Wind chime, T'Dye For Hair Salon $65 Gift Certificate, and Phyllis Aloisio ~ 2x $40 Laser It Gift Certificate. 

To everyone who donated for the sealed auction, Lifestyle Family Fitness - Dougall ~ 3 mth membership, Frisbee, t-shirt & bag, Gail's Flowers ~ Sutton Creek Golf & Country Club 4 rounds (18 holes with cart), Original Artwork by Marc Lacoursiere ~ Money to Burn #50/100 Certificate of Limitation and Authenticity included, Tecumseh Laser Centre ~ Laser Hair Removal or Any Laser Treatment, Stacy Pegg Fitness ~ 2 In Home Personal Training Sessions, Abraham's Jewellery ~ Unisex Stainless Steel Necklace and Ladies Stainless Steel Bracelet, Gail's Flowers ~ Live Planter and Angel Statue, Cyngus Cellulite & Skin Rejuvenation Clinic ~ Peel & Microderm, Love Bree Photography ~ Photoshoot & Gift Certificate, Chantelle Foreman ~ Gift Basket and Ambassador Bikes Inc. ~ Pink Cruiser Classic bicycle.  To all the volunteers who helped with front door, raffle tickets, beverages, cotton candy and popcorn machine.  To Mike & Steph for running the "Nail & Hammer" Game, to Jeff for running the "Chipping Game" and Mary Recchia for donating the indoor putting green to the winner, the games were a big hit for the adults and everyone enjoyed them ... as much as the kids all enjoyed the bouncy castle :)


To the committee .... Stacy, though we haven't known each other for long I thank you in such a short period of our friendship for planting the seed, dreaming and believing in what this event could.  To Valentina ... you are my best friend and sister .... I need not say more! To Jason my amazing boss but most importantly my friend thank you for always wanting to be there and help, Heidi his beautiful wife for being such a great friend and for being you. Shawn .... thank you for being there for us over these years, I am glad we never lost contact and ended up working together and being more than just co-workers but friends, Rosemary ... thank you for your talent, creativity and your craziness, it brings smiles to so many peoples faces and thank you for being one of my cancer babes! To my wonderful husband... I truly know why God brought you here to Canada ... I know I would not have been able to fight as hard as I have, dreamed and believed as much as I have if it wasn't for God putting you in my arms!

To all of my angels .... that is YOU.  Everyone who took part in this day weather you were present physically, in spirit or sent your best wishes and prayers.  If it wasn't for all of you this journey would be a much more difficult one to travel.  It is with all of your help and generosity that we will be able to fight harder.  

In closing .....

Words are not enough to express our gratitude to those who have shown their support and love for us today.  This day will be memorable because of YOU, our family and friends who have shared this journey with us .... some starting today and others from the beginning.  It is because of YOU letting us know we are loved that has made this road easier to travel!  And it is because of our love for YOU that we continue to fight!  May God bless YOU for your continued support, generosity, and kindness that you have shown towards us as we face the roads ahead and journey together.  
From the bottom of our hearts ... we love you and Thank you!  

Sasha & Attila Fulop

To see pictures from the celebration please follow these links below (more pictures to come)

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=235355&id=612230096&l=93e6c71b14
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=235452&id=612230096&l=514986a6b6

~sasha
xxoo

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sasha & Attila BBQ "Fun"raiser

A few months ago one of our friends Stacy approached us and stated that she wanted to do something for us, something to help us out in our situation, possibly a fundraiser.  With me sitting on the back burner for the first time with a fundraiser our crew (Valentina, Heidi, Jason, Shawn & Rosemary) stepped up and jumped in to help.  Knowing that people want to do something nice for you and just want to be able to help in anyway is overwhelming in itself, to know that they are going to go as far a putting on a fundraiser for you makes it even more overwhelming. 

The date was May 16th, the weather was amazing and couldn't have been better.  I know we were blessed and God was smiling down upon all of us that day.  As we drove up I was trying to take it all in .... all these people were her to support us ... to support me.  I don't remember too much as the day went by so fast.  I tried to take in everyone that was there and tried to spend a little time with each person .... I know there were people I missed and some of those I only had a chance to wave to, so please accept my apology and my thankfulness!  One thing I do remember and will forever remember is that I walked around the whole day with a smile on my face ... I had no words to express how I was feeling but I knew I was truly blessed!

Now that the day has passed I am finally able to come up with the right words to express how I was feeling .... 

I started first by laying out the banner and after having read every one's words of inspiration and thoughts (without crying - YEAH!) I realized why tears did not come to my eyes. I thought back to what that day meant to me and hopefully everyone else. It was a day to celebrate life, love, and happiness. To share our energy and to just be happy! As I stated I couldn't stop walking around the BBQ without a smile on my face knowing that everyone was here for us.  To see my parents as happy and appreciative as they were for what this day brought was more than enough, that did bring tears to my eyes .... they are so happy and thankful for the wonderful group of friends we have and the amount of people who turned out to show their love and support. This day was more than just bringing people together for a day to celebrate life it reminded them how to celebrate life! Family and friends were brought together who have not seen each other in years!!!! For one day everything was put aside, any hatred and anger were forgotten, petty little arguments dropped, even high school friends were brought back together, and nothing but love shined through that park. THANK YOU!!!!

Everyone we have talked to praised the committee for the work they did, they couldn't believe how well it was done (we can), the food was awesome, the games, the prizes, everyone that was there ...... we have heard repetitively that people were so happy they could have made it out and share in all of this joy, and stated they would have been upset if they would have missed it!

I thought more about the saying "We Are Here For You Sasha". It is very overwhelming to know that that many people came together for Attila and I, words cannot explain what it feels like to know that! I know when you love someone and care for them from the bottom of your heart and just want to help this is what you do. I know many people feel helpless in this situation .... wondering what you can do to help us ..... all we ask for is to be there for us on this journey and nothing more. But the committee and everyone who supported the BBQ went as cliche as it sounds above and beyond. God has but Attila and I in a circle of family, friends and supporters that I wouldn't change for the world, we love and thank each and everyone of you!  

To be continued ..... as there are still many people to thank for making this day possible.

~sasha

Friday, May 21, 2010

May 2010

May 4th, 2010
My first pulmonary functions test in years.  Apparently I did well but I did better once they gave me inhalers to use so obviously part of my lung is not functioning to it fullest capabilities which is understandable after everything my right lung has been through.  Reasons for the PFT was for my appointment with the thoracic surgeon in London.  I can tell you it is even harder to perform a PFT 6 days following treatment .... it was the last thing I wanted to  do. 


May 5th, 2010
My BFF had purchased a book for us to read called "Spirited" about a medium and how to get in touch with your own intuition, gut feelings, and spirit guides.  I was not to keen on it at first but decided to read the book as I felt prior to becoming ill that I had more gut instincts and was more intuitive.  I always felt that Val and I were the same in that area..... we always listened to our intuitions when making decisions.


Anyways the writer of the book Rebecca Rosen was coming to Farmington Hills and Val purchased tickets for us.  Once again .... the shenanigans of Valentina and Sasha!  We left in plenty of time but did forget about rush hour, what we didn't account for was the customs officer who proceed to drill us down to what streets we were taking to get to the centre.  Luckily Val had it memorized but then he proceeded to think of a better way for us and drill us with the fact that we were going to make another stop in the United States of America to have something small to eat before the show.  Long story short we sat there for 15 mins while he came up with a different route to try and avoid rush hour, nice offer but I think he was just trying to keep too hot girls there as long as he could ... he was a young buck!
 We arrived to the area and could not find anything to eat except fast food ..... running out of time .....GPS time which I was having issues with because it kept saying we were in Hawaii!  Finally after jumping back on the freeway we found a Panera Bread, ordered and back off to the centre for the show.  We arrived just on time and had to eat in the room after Val snagged some really good seats.  Just a little about the show, she chatted for a few minutes about her book and then proceeded into the group reading.  Our spirit guides didn't come out and we feel they did for those that were there that needed them too.  There were a lot of stories of young loved ones passing on and recent passing.  It wasn't this hokey pokey stuff either, where she will tell you you are in a bad relationship, your going to win money, be careful with your car .... she had it down to the exact name of the loved one, when they passed, the name of the dog who passed, identified people by their recent tattoos that were covered, the actual art work, their camera they just purchased that hadn't been taken out of the box, to the new cell phone that has been acting weird, etc.  Rebecca did most of the talking and the guest just really answered yes or no or confirmed some stuff.  It was very interesting and it had Val and I in tears.  Thanks for the great night Val!  And if you want to know if I believe in this .... I believe in God first who potentially put spirits around us to help us and guide us or vicea versa.  Yes, I feel that there are spirits present and more spirit like things have been happening to me lately which all started close to the end of her book.


May 7th, 2010
1:00 - massage appointment to loosen up these aching muscles from the 45 mins of yoga I proceeded to do on my own the day before ..... think I went a little too far.
5:30 - CWC annual Path to A Better Heart 5 km run/walk fundraiser and no I didn't run or walk I helped with registration plus it was thundering and lightening out.  I give all those runners and walkers credit because my a$$ would not have been out there. You know me though I would not miss any of our fundraisers if I can help it, plus it was nice to get out and see the staff again ... it was my first day feeling better following treatment 9 days ago.


May 11th, 2010
Off to London to see Dr. Malthaner the thoracic surgeon.  Long story short he stated that he did not want to see me again because if so then that wasn't good.  There is a big piece of the puzzle still missing and that is the two new pathology reports from Windsor and Toronto saying that it is a breast cancer recurrence.  He was also clueless as to why when they were performing the first pathology on my lung tissue why they never compared it to my initial breast tissue to come up with a diagnosis as this is also what Dr. Alam was pushing for.  Anyways, as of right now even without the pathology reports if Dr. Malthaner had to guess he would also say it is a breast cancer recurrence and if anything changes to contact him.  My options for him if we expect the worst would be a new line of defense for chemo, radiation, and then possible surgery which he would not be keen on doing - taking out my lung, part of my diaphram, and pericardium.  So.... great to meet you (very nice doctor) wish you all the best and hope to never see you again!


Following our usual London trips we hit up our sushi restaurant and had a great lunch and stuffed our bellies ...at least I did.  Then we had the chance to visit with my cousin Chris and godson Blake for a bit before we headed home but not before stopping off at Tim's to get my fav tea, XL tea, both bags in, two milk, two sugar.  I haven't had this tea in over 3 months since changing my eating habits which include no milk, sugar, and only green tea ..... but I decided to treat myself and boy it was good!!!!


May 12th, 2010
Karmano's - first thing we discovered here was that EVERYONE was friendly even down to the Valet ticket guy who said have a blessed day before taking our car.  I met with a patient representative in the lobby who made sure all my paperwork was accurate, issued me a health card and proceed to bring us to the clinic and show us around.  The place is beautiful and even the people walking the hallway weather they were staff or just someone walking the hall .... they were nice.


Dr. Nahlee was my oncologist assigned and very nice as well as her resident.  Again long story short same as London stated ... they do not have that new pathology report stating it is a recurrence.  I brought all my slides and wax blocks and off to pathology they went ASAP.  Dr. Nahlee stated that they first have to rule out Mesothelioma and were able to perform one pathology already that was a very general test which returned as  Mesothelioma but again it was very general.  These next two test would be the ones to determine for sure what it is but they need to contact Windsor in order to obtain more wax blocks of my tumor ... so should hear from them or call them in three weeks.  Again, every doctor based off of my history is saying it is a recurrence and on top of that the fact that I was responding to treatment only after 2 rounds of chemo.  Their advice .... continue on the current regimen for as long as I can tolerate it and until they are happy with the results meaning I could go up to 12 treatments.


Since Atti didn't come with us to London on the previous day and we had sushi he felt that he should be allowed sushi also, so another sushi lunch followed by a trip to Whole Foods for some organic produce, vitamins and meat!


May 16th, 2010
I want to wait to write about this day because this was our family & friends 'fun'raiser BBQ for Atti and myself.  Amazing day!!!


May 18th, 2010
Follow up with Dr. Alam which went well.  She has stated that they will go for 6 in total and then run a head, chest, abdomen and pelvic CT scans and bone scan and then from there decide what the next steps will be.  It is nice knowing that you have a set end but in my situation I don't and I am ok with that .... I know it will be done soon but I also think I prepared myself knowing that these treatments can go up to 12 rounds, here's hoping not though.  I did finally see the missing pathology report stating that it is a breast recurrence.  I have to continue with blood work every week as I am still not taking my Neulasta shot and feeling much better.


Final captains meeting for the Dragon Boats for the Cure July 11th ... yes I am the captain and have been slow moving on all of this.  I hate to ask having just had the BBQ but if anyone is interested in sponsoring me please just contact me through e-mail smrivard@hotmail.com  Thanks!


May 20th, 2010
Round #5 - this time the Benedryl really kicked me out and I slept most of the time but did get a chance to talk to my roomie and fellow cancer babe before both of us passing out.  Was issued some antibiotics to start on day 6 to prevent the possibility of me catching anything as my counts were down but not low enough to have a shot .... praying they stay up on their own.  Felt yukky upon arriving home yesterday an just rested on the couch and went through my usual fit of not knowing what to eat the would satisfy my cravings ... didn't find anything!! :(  It might be easier if I actually knew what my cravings were for!


May 21st, 2010
We are now present day - YEAH!!!!!  Not too much going on today but I am going to watch some movies and wait for my organic wheatgrass and produce to be delivered to the door from Natural Earth Organics in Cottom www.naturalearthorganics.ca


Next time more about the family and friends BBQ!




~sasha

Friday, May 7, 2010

April 2010 cont...

This post has taken me some time to get to only because my brain has not been functioning like it used to .... chemo brain!  I finally decided that is it, and whatever and however it comes out it comes out!!

April 13th, 2010
What is naturopath?  Well ..... the focus is on the mind body connection, reducing stress, and trying to enhance the body's own natural healing ability with integrative modalities.  It's the bodies attempt to heal itself, to attend to underlying issues and the signs that indicate the body needs balancing.  

Never once have I ever thought that Eastern and Western medicine could not work together but.... have I ever really tried it myself.  I dabbled into reflexology, healing touch, yoga and meditation randomly throughout the years but this was the first time I was going to integrate a variety of modalities.   

I have only been following this path for ~ 1 mth so I wish to not fully discuss what I am taking in addition to my chemotherapy treatments till a later date.  Do I feel that integrating both naturopath techniques and chemotherapy are helping me, most definitely, I truly believe.  I have become very interested in integrating these substances and since have been feeling pretty good after treatments.  I have not had to take my Neulasta shot because my blood count is staying up, therefore lots and lots less bone pain and that overall yukkiness feeling.  Instead of being out for ~10 days, I am able to start coming around on the 5-6th.  This discovery of my Neulasta shot was on my own .... I was also on it last year through treatments and felt like utter crap as well but this time around it was even worse and only after the second treatment.  My body just kept telling me that it had something to do with the shot ... most people they stated adjust to the shot but my body was not.  Listening to your body is so important and I am thankful that I did .... this is also why my interest has spiked even more for learning about helping to heal myself also. 

Till a later date ...... I will discuss my daily routine that works for me!

April 14th, 2010
Routine blood work.

April 16th, 2010
Morning event:
Trip to HDGH for suture removal from my port - piece of cake (really cool scare).  Courtesy drive by my friend Amy Poisson ... it's different asking for help for people to take you around, especially when I don't feel comfortable driving especially the 1st week or 1 1/2 weeks following treatment.

Afternoon event: my own little fashion show with Amy Poisson to figure out what I was going to wear for this evenings event.  For most people this would not be exhausting ... for me ... it was :)  Thanks Amy for the workout!

Evening event:
Windsor - Essex Cardiac Wellness Centre's annual fashion show and silent auction.  I was ecstatic to be able to go this year .... last year I was going through treatments as well but still had the chance to strut myself a couple times down the runway.  This year, it was a week after treatments and I didn't know how I would be feeling ... who am I kidding, I would have been there no matter what! 

It was an overwhelming evening seeing all the participants, co-workers and friends and it was about to become even more overwhelming when it was time to present the Lumley Award.  This was my first time ever seeing this award presented as I was always running the models behind the scenes.  

The Cardiac Wellness Centre initiated a very special award to recognize the efforts of former participant and graduate of the CWC, Mr. Tim Lumley who was the catalyst behind this great event and has become a fixture of volunteerism for the Centre. The Lumley Award recognizes volunteer excellence toward the Cardiac Wellness Centre.

As I sat there kind of listening I noticed that Tim was looking at me and there was some camera guy directly across from me on the other side of the stage.  I started chatting and asking anyone if they knew who it was when I heard " She has volunteered for all of “Path to a Better Heart” 5K Run/Walks even when they were on Sunday mornings after a hard night on the dance floor the night before."  I looked up and I think I finally realized they were talking about me!!!  Of course I started crying .... "While all those efforts cannot go unnoticed, it has been her mantra to go that extra mile with all the participants that she has had the privilege to help along the way. She is truly a caring individual who has always put the participants first and has encouraged so many to stay positive and improve their health when times are tough. It is this attitude that has allowed her face head-on her own battles and inspire family and friends that surround her. Ladies and Gentlemen, this year’s Lumley Award Winner, Ms. Sasha Fulop!"

Again ..... it was such an overwhelming night to begin with and this made it even more overwhelming ... it took me awhile to stop crying and come up with a thank you but I managed to pull it off!  Again words cannot express the honour and privilege to have received this award and to work for this program ... I truly love it!  Thank you Jason!! 

April 21st, 2010
Routine blood work, trip to Dr. Yee to touch base as she has been a great help and awesome throughout all of this.

Then a visit to my personal photographers studio as I decided to continue where my professional album ended last year ..... the bald shots!

April 23rd, 2010
Zoladex shot to suppress my ovary .... this time they only had to freeze my stomach once before they injected the seed.

April 24th, 2010
Sheldon's b-day celebration!

April 27th, 2010
Time to treat myself and loosen up all of these kinks in my back and shoulders ... massage time!

Monday, April 26, 2010

April 2010

Last long one ... promise! 

April 1st, 2010
I received a phone call from Dr. Alam's office stating that the pathology report came back from Mt. Sinai and they were also confirming mesothelioma.  Can't breathe .... lung filling up with water or just a panic attack?  My best friend Valentina was with me during the call as we were supposed to be going to Whole Foods in Detroit for groceries.  Of course I had my moment and broke down but it was nice to have someone there.  We decided to head to the states anyways and chatted along the way .. as time went on I was having a harder time breathing.  Valentina had asked a couple times what I wanted to do, still get groceries, try and find a walk in clinic open with Easter weekend approaching, or go shopping at Michael Kors.  For those of you who know me really well, I would have picked the later but I was really having a hard time breathing. 

So..... the shenanigans of Valentina and Sasha begin.  We decided not to go to the states and drive around town trying to find a walk in clinic.  First one, just closed .... second, closed .... next call a friend and Dr. Wilson to see what the best thing to do was aside from going to emerg but of course theirs answers were head to emerg.  I checked in, same routine .... previous history of ovarian and breast cancer, either have a recurrence but under investigation for mesothelioma, having a hard time breathing, pain in the centre of my chest, currently undergoing treatments and I do not want to wait  in a room with ill people.  After all the paper we were escorted to the silent room where we had a chance to chill, chat, have some food and tea and watch TV .... kinda nice.  Then the room was needed so we got switched to the kids play room but it was all to ourselves ... again for chatting and we watched Private Practice. 

Finally to make an even longer story shorter after a male nurse who was not giving us too much information and who Val did not have a good feeling about tracked down another nurse and within minutes the nurse appeared and the doctor after waiting 5hrs.  By this time I was back to breathing normal, chatted with the doctor and explained that it was more likely a panic attack due to the phone call I received earlier.  My chest x-ray was clear (yes.... no more fluid build up) and they wanted to rule out a pulmonary embolism so I had to come back the following day for a CT scan. 


April 2nd, 2010
10:00 am ~ back in emerg ... waited an hour, had CT scan performed ..... 3 hrs later still waiting for my report to be read.  I got lost .... they figured out the problem and realized I was admitted as an outpatient vs. and emergency patient so the outpatient files do not get read because the emergency ones are priority!  Now ..... the next three hours consisted of .... the nurse coming in to read my CT scan stating that I did not have an embolism .... but she could not read the last part of the report (didn't understand the jargon) therefore, needed to speak with the doctor ..... nurse returned and the doctor didn't know what the jargon meant either .... therefore, they have contacted the respirologist and waiting for his call.  Respirologist calls back but wants to look at my files from HDGH ..... finally calls back and will not discharge me until they know I am being followed.  I forgot to mention that when I met with the nurse I explained my whole story and that Tuesday Dr. Alam was bringing my case to the Lung board to come to an agreement as to what they are going to continue doing for my treatments.  I mentioned this again to the nurse stating there is nothing that you are going to diagnosis or tell me ... I know what is going on.  Finally the respirologist called back just as I was about to discharge myself and stated that my case was being presented to the lung board and he sits on it and is aware that I am being followed so I can be discharged.   Were they not just trying to rule out an embolism which they did after the first 4 hrs!  Time of discharge  ~ 5:00 PM!  

The good things that came out of my 12 hr visit to emerg was the I had the x-ray that showed my lung was not filling up with water and my CT scan showed no pulmonary embolism and that the current treatments I am receiving are working.  

April 6th, 2010
Today I had my port inserted ... you know the usual :) Report to admitting 7:00 am, procedure 9:00 am but were behind a bit.  Wheeled into room at 10:00 am, mild sedation given as Dr. Speirs walking in, froze the area, more sedation given and then ... all done!!  Off to recover for a bit and then home, nice and easy and now it will save my arms and veins from being picked so much.

April 7th, 2010
Blood work and appointment with Dr. Alam.  The previous day they had the lung board review my case and none of the doctors believe still that it is mesothelioma.  They had the reports from emerg and everyone was shocked and happy to see that all my lymph nodes had decreased in size, the granules (looked like sand) that were on the base of my lungs they can not see but could also be due to the pleurodesis but the granules along the side of my lung they can't even see.  As for the nodules in my lung they are still there but have also decreased and some may be due to radiation scarring as it is hard to tell because my previous CT scan was grey due to all the water accumulation.  Therefore, they do not want to change my treatment and will have the pathologist in Windsor run some more tests comparing my breast slides from '07 to my lung slides now.  In the meantime Dr. Alam stated that I am being referred to Mt. Sinai for a second opinion, Karmanos for a second opinion, and Dr. Coughlin wants me to go to London for an opinion on taking out my lung. OK!

April 8th, 2010
9:00 am - chemo #3, half way there already.  Exact same treatment and usual sleeping pattern .... I normally pass out after the benedryl and sleep most of the day.  3:30 pm - time to go home!

April 9th, 2010
Don't have to go back for my Neulasta shot as Dr. Alam agreed to let me see what my counts were on my own.  Thank goodness as I explained to her my experience from my 2nd treatment and I stated that it is due to the Neulasta shot.  The agreement was that I did my blood work every week and if I started to drop then I would come back for individual shots of Neupogen.  Agree!

April 9th - 12th, 2010
Over the weekend is when I normally become incapable of functioning.  Don't get me wrong I was still feeling yukky but I could function and make my own breakfast and clean up the dishes without feeling like I just ran a marathon.  This was awesome .... I truly believe it was my shot so lets see if my counts hold up.

April 13th, 2010
Second consult with Dr. Marier Naturopathic Doctor ... I didn't write anything in the previous post as my first consult was exactly that - a consult.  We chatted about my diagnosis, past history, any other illness, how I ate, what I did for exercise, what supplements I was on and some suggestions he had re: intravenous Vit. C therapy and Helixor. 

I will explain and expand more as this is the day I started to integrate eastern and western medicine to help heal my body not just physically but emotionally, spiritually, mentally.

To be continued .......

Thursday, April 22, 2010

March 2010

another long and crazy one ......

March 1st, 2010
Not off to a good start!  Spent the majority of the day in bed because I was having an even more difficult time breathing.  By mid afternoon Dr. Wilson advised me that I not wait any longer and head to emerg where they will be expecting me.  My wait was minimal .... 15 mins, they were all in a tizzy because they wanted to get me into a secluded area because I was undergoing treatments.  At this point I was not even able to talk because I was so short of breath .... not a good sign.  After yet another chest x-ray the emerg doctor told me my lung had filled up again .... do you want another thoracentesis?  Sure .... I needed something to relieve the discomfort as I could only hunch over to get some relief.  

Thoracentesis #5!!!  What sucked about it all is that so much scare tissue had built up from the previous procedures that after sticking the needle into my back in two different areas he was not able to find a pocket .... therefore no fluid was removed.  He explained that originally the fluid was moving freely, now because of the scare tissue it is in pockets.  The emerg doctors suggestions were ..... admit myself for pain control, have an ultrasound guided procedure tomorrow and lastly to have the pleuradesis performed.  After Dr. Wilson and I chatted he asked me where I was at ... mentally/physically and I just stated I wanted to fluid gone permanently.  Therefore, I agreed to have the surgery and I would be put on the emerg list.

Off to my room with some good ole' morphine to get in food before midnight because my surgery would be late Tuesday.  Now this is another ordeal that I won't go into too much details but Tuesday night came around and finally at 10:00 pm I found out from the anesthesiologist that the surgery had been cancelled awhile ago!  Now we couldn' get in contact with the doctor to see if I could eat or drink anything (since it had been almost 24 hrs since I seen food or water) .... finally at 10:45 pm the nurse said eat.  Let's try this again .... stopped eating at midnight, surgery was rescheduled for 7:00 pm Wednesday night.  This time I asked "if I don't hear anything by a certain time should I assume that the surgery is cancelled again?"  The response "they won't do anything in the OR if it is not done by 11:00pm!  That didn't really help me out any so I stated that if I didn't hear anything by 9:30 pm that I was going to start eating again!!  I forgot to mention that throughout the past 48 hrs I had been on morphine every 3hrs to help with the pain ... I just wanted my lung fixed!  7:00 ish off to the OR!

Finally I could breath again .... hopefully as it's alittle hard to tell when you are in pain.  I was hooked up to a morphine drip and had a beautiful tube the size of your thumb inserted into my side through my ribs and into my lung.  It needed to be recorded everyday how much fluid was accumulating and I had a chest x-ray done every day in the hospital.  The staff were great plus they knew they were under the watchful eye's of some of my protector doctors ... Dr. Wilson, Dr. Speirs & Dr. Annisette it was the joke of the floor that the nurses better take good care of me, they were amazing!

March 8th, 2010
After a week I was able to be discharged .... Dr. Coughlin came in early and stated it was time for me to go home and the tube needed to be removed.  NOTHING, could prepare you for having a hard tube ripped out of your side that was inserted about 6 inches in.  He stated it would hurt and feel like someone set you on fire.  OK, "deep breath in, blow out hard, now hold" ...... "OH MY GOODNESS, HOLY CRAP!!!!!".  My mom could hear me yell from down the hall, yes it felt like someone set me on fire but from the inside out and that doesn't even come close to explaining the pain it was.  I referenced it to the horror movies when someone reaches into your chest and pulls out an organ ... if you could imagine that I think it would come pretty close.  

March 15th, 2010
It have been recovering for a week and now off to Dr. Couglin's for an x-ray and suture removal which all went well and it appeared that the procedure had worked.  Dr. Couglin asked it had received my path reports yet, no not yet.  "Well, the path reports are stating mesothelioma" ..... "isn't that related to asbestos exposure?"  "Yes, that's why we don't believe it and therefore have sent it away for another opinion." 

March 16th, 2010
Dr. Alam reiterated what Dr. Coughlin stated about the path reports and she truly believes with all her other colleagues that it is a breast cancer recurrence.  If I could go back in time I would leave a note for myself to NOT go home and read up on mesothelioma!  The whole day was spent crying!

March 18th, 2010
8:45 am - Chemo #2 ..... wish it went as easy as before.  Since my treatments started ASAP and we didn't know exactly how many I would be receiving I figured it would be OK to just use my veins.  Well .... each nurse is allowed to try and start a line 3x.  After the 8th try and the 3rd nurse I informed them that I will not be going home today without my treatment and that you will be giving it me someway, somehow and to use my vein on the inside of my elbow.  I know they don't like to use it because this is where the lab draws their blood work and chemo can mess up your veins.  "Just put it there today because I am not going home and I will have a port put in ASAP".  So, 9th try inside of elbow bam!!!  No the only problem is I couldn't move my arm for 7 hrs and my kidney's were working overtime to get this crap out of my body that I had to get up every hour sometimes more to use the washroom, but I got my treatment!

March 19th, 2010
Back to the clinic for my Neulasta shot .... yesterday and today, feeling OK.

March 20th - 26th, 2010
Not too much to write ..... I was unconscious most of the time.  It took all of my energy just to eat, I couldn't function.  Damn, I didn't think it would hit me this hard already!  Every possible sick feeling from bone pain, nausea, fatigue, exhaustion, overall feeling of yukkines and blah.  It was too much exertion to even talk .... I just slept or lied there starting at the ceiling. 

March 26th, 2010
Time for my next Zoladex shot, freeze skin, insert seed.

March 30th, 2010
Met with the dietitian, found out the proper type of Calcium I should be taking and she questioned me as to why I was making different changes to my diet?  The tears started to come and I stated after everything I have been through I need to try and remove as much as possible from my diet that could be causing any harm.  I need to do everything and anything to help myself because obviously I am at a high risk.  The dietitian's only complaint .... low protein intake.  I will reasses and do some thinking about it and go with what my instincts are telling me.

March 31st, 2010
Canadian Clinic for Innovative Medicine - met with Dr. Marier, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine .......

to be continued ......

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

February 2010

Sorry this is a long and crazy one!

February 4th, 2010
In the mix of all of this I was scheduled for my yearly routine check-ups .... bone scan, abdominal ultrasound and another chest x-ray, all came back normal though there was something showing on my 7th rib. They have chalked this up to being a possible rib fracture since it was on my right side where all my work and radiation have been and also from all the coughing fits I have been having after each thoracentesis.

February 8th, 2010
Sasha: "Atti I can't breath again" .... Atti: "Do we need to go to emerg" .... Sasha: "Yes, I believe so".  Sure enough my lung filled with water again and I had another thoracentesis performed producing 1500 ml from my right lung. Coughing fit .... not as bad ...... pain meds ...... just as great! I was very pleased that each time I ended up in emerg at WRH Dr. Nesbitt was my doctor. He was very kind, sensitive, and tried his best to not make the procedure hurt as best you can when you have a long ass needle and tube going through your rib cage into your lung. I wanted him to perform it every time I needed it but that wasn't the case.

February 12th, 2010
In the meantime after having 3 thoracentesis performed I was referred to a thoracic surgeon and also needed a CT scan.

February 16th, 2010
Off to London for a follow-up appointment re: my '06 ovarian cancer diagnosis. My oncologist stated that they are more than positive that my pleural effusions are not linked in anyway to my ovarian diagnosis and that from their side everything was good.

February 17th, 2010
Sitting at Dr. Caughlin's office waiting for him to open ..... 30 mins later called and received his paging service which stated they were closed and that I should be at the outpatient clinic at HDGH (why did no one tell me this?). Anyways ..... he had my CT but it hadn't been read therefore, he asked me if I wanted to know what it said. Sure ..... "well, the cancer has come back and it is on and in your lung." Awwhaaawwahhh aaaawwhahhhhhwwwwaaahh! That is all I heard and boom, there went the waterfalls! Everyone in the room just stood there and looked like statues, Dr. Couglin, his nurse and Atti. I didn't know what to say, what to do, where to look or what to think, everything was a blur. Then .... Dr. Wilson knocked on the door. For those of you who do not know Dr. Wilson, he is like Atti's dad here and Atti, the son he never had and was our best man at our wedding, so he is like another papa to me too! He has been helping us out tremendously throughout all of this with appointments, helping understand test results better, giving us support and the 411. As soon as I saw him I started crying even more ..... he knew of the appointment and wanted to be their to support us.

After all of this settled Dr. Coughlin performed my 4th thoracentesis and after two attempts was able to drain another 1000ml. He gave me my options at this time which were .... come in every week for a thoracentesis, or have a pleurodesis performed to glue the lining of my lung to my lung. At that point I was so overwhelmed that I chose to come in every week to have a damn needle and tube shoved into my back to have it drained.

February 19th, 2010
Met with Dr. Alam who stated that her and the board are 95% positive that the cancer has come back. Sasha - "Ok .... when do I start chemo?"

February 22nd, 2010
Met with Dr. Alam again to go over my chemo regimen which will consist of X amount of treatments but probably 4-6 of carbo/taxol. Dr. Alam also stated that the chemo should solve the problem of the pleural effusion.

February 24th, 2010
Thoracentesis #5? NOPE! ..... there was not enough fluid build up as it had only been a week. I stated to him that of course there will not be enough as it has always taken 1 1/2wks - 2wks to build up. Dr. Couglin "Ok ... see you in two more weeks! In the meantime if it starts to build up call or go to emerg. Since you have made your decision to have chemo then we are not going to perform the pleurodesis". Therefore, that would mean that I am not getting a biopsy done either. My head was all mixed up because I had my oncologist saying the chemo would work and my thoracic surgeon saying it wouldn’t and only a pleurodesis would work. What now???

February 25th, 2010
8:00 am chemo #1 - consisted of the following: saline flush, benedryl, saline flush, dexamethasone (steroids), saline flush, taxol administered over 3-4 hrs, saline flush, carboplatinum administered over 30-40 mins, saline flush ..... 4:00 pm - home!

February 26th, 2010
2:00 pm - back to the clinic for my shots. First shot - Neulasta to increase my white blood cell counts, second shot - Zoladex to suppress my ovary.

February 28th, 2010

CAN'T BREATH!

to be continued .....