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  • Raelene

Next Steps

I have a few things to touch on in this post that I wanted to share so it will be a bit of everything. For starters I have my start date and details for radiation. I have an appointment for set up of how it will be done on April 8 and then my first radiation treatment will be on April 9. I'm ready to get going on the last step of my treatment.


I had an appointment for planning for radiation last week where they did a CT scan and I got some new ink! They tattooed three small dots across the bottom of my rib cage so now I am saying that I have nine tattoos instead of just six. This also confirmed that I will never get my ribs actually tattooed. These dots are to help them line up the machine for my treatments. I will be getting five to six weeks of radiation. The first five weeks (Monday to Friday, five days a week) the radiation will be to the entire side of my chest that my cancer was on. The sixth week will be to the surgery bed only and that is only if they think they can line it up to not hit my heart directly given that it is my left side.


I had been dreading having to go for radiation every single day during the week but now with social distancing I at least get to leave the house. I'm sure that though will still get old quick. As lots of people have asked how we are doing with COVID-19 I will let you all know what we have been doing and how we are handling it. We did just find out that Ryan is being laid off from his job at Rogers Place because of the pandemic. Currently we are a little stressed about this, both of us being on a reduced salary is definitely stressful but we had recently paid off both our vehicles and some other debt so we are working out a budget and I'm looking into other financial aid in case we need it. At least we aren't spending any unnecessary money right now anyways with not being able to go anywhere or do anything that costs money. I know we will be fine but that being said its just like haven't we had enough this past year!


We have been spending lots of time together of course, its not really that hard to be home all the time when you have a very active little girl to keep you busy. Ryan and I have also been working out and we do family walks around our neighbourhood almost every day (not today because SO MUCH SNOW). I'm working on losing both the baby weight and chemo weight. We have been doing fine being home. We have decided to not have any contact with any family or friends at all since I soon will be going to the Cross Cancer Institute five days a week. I am no longer immunocompromised but I will be going to a building everyday were there are many people who are. So we are being very careful (as everyone should) but even having family come to take care of Clara while we go to appointments won't happen now either. I will be going to all my appointments alone, which really I'm okay with as Ryan would just have to sit in the waiting room anyways.


Probably the hardest part for us though is that we had to cancel Clara's first birthday party. Her birthday is in two weeks and we had planned to have a party on her actual birthday. Instead we will have our own celebration at home and we will be doing a live stream for friends and family of her cake smash. Hopefully when this is over we can have everyone together for a celebration. I am really sad about this but not as sad as I thought I would be. We still get to celebrate her and I'm still going to put up the decorations I bought. We will still make the day really special. The biggest thing I keep telling myself is that I am going to be there for her birthday and fully present not fuzzy or feeling terrible. That's all that really matters.


The last thing I wanted to share was that I had my first appointment with a psychologist. It had to be a video chat appointment which wasn't ideal but is the state of the world. I found the appointment really helpful though. We mapped out everything that I have to work on and she provided me some resources to review to help me understand the feelings I've been having. I have been very open about most of my journey and I want to be open about my mental health as well, as it is a hard topic to talk about I did struggle with how much I wanted to share with the world. I think though that its important to talk about.


I have been having a lot of trouble getting to sleep because of anxiety. Once I fall asleep I'm usually okay but getting asleep is hard. I lay there worrying about everything. I had also found a small bump in my right breast a few weeks ago and it was causing me so much stress. I did get it checked out though and it is nothing, it was on my original scans so it is nothing to worry about. That alone though caused me a lot of stress. Mostly though I think and worry about if cancer will come back and why it happened.


I also talked to her about the guilt I still have over everything that Clara missed out on and things we missed out on together. I've been trying to deal with these feelings but really haven't felt any further ahead.


The last major thing was that I'm having a really hard time letting go of the old me and the way I used to look and how different my body looks now. Its not just the hair loss but also the weight I've gained. I'm the heaviest I have ever been and yes now I am doing something about it but its hard changing my eating habits. I know that the way I look is a result of fighting for my life but that also makes it a reminder. Its a very twisted and complicated way to look at yourself. I constantly find myself looking at old photos of myself and missing everything about that girl. I know I am much different now and my view of life and whats important has changed for the better but its hard to let go of who I was before cancer. The psychologist put it into perspective a little more for me though which I think helped. She said I need to grieve who I was and what I lost and I haven't had a chance to do that. I spent months adjusting to having cancer and what I had to do to beat it and only focusing on that but now that things have calmed down and the cancer is gone all of these emotions and thoughts have the time to creep in. Speaking of the cancer being gone, I'm struggling to accept this as well. Which she also said is very normal. It all takes time to process, time that I haven't really had as it all happened so fast.


Overall, I'm so glad I finally had this appointment. She helped me put a lot into perspective and I know that what I'm feeling is a normal emotional response. She did also say that I had done a really good job in dealing with all that I went through and was doing a good job at managing how I felt and asking for help when I needed so that made me feel better too. I will continue to see her to work through these last few pieces.



So there you have it, all of the current updates and whats coming next for my treatment. I'm really looking forward to being done treatment and moving on and hopefully the world will go back to normal soon. I hope everyone is staying safe and taking social distancing seriously. I'm so thankful for my little family during these times. Clara keeps us busy and ever so entertained. That little girl is an absolute light in our lives. I couldn't have gotten through any of this without her.



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