My whole life I've had my plans all set out. I knew that I was going to go to university. Always had a good idea where I was going to live. Where I was going to end up... that sort of thing. I knew that one day, I'd join a profession that would help me to reach out to others and make a difference. I've always been a real stickler for my plans. However, I'd like to think that I also maintain the ability to adapt to different circumstances. For example when I up and moved to Calgary... and Korea. When I was diagnosed, it kind of put a hold on all of the plans that I had in the works. I had planned to work for a few more months and travel around southeast asia with my friend Asia. Needless to say, it didn't pan out quiet as planned. I was able to work an additional week, and with the help of a few friends, buy my plane ticket back to Petrolia, Canada, where I am still residing with my parents.
Over the past year of treatments, I had time to make some more plans. I am working for the Red Cross, going to school to become a personal support worker. I am also, as I mentioned before, working part time at the Mall in Sarnia (30 mins from my house) and volunteering at the hospital in Sarnia as well. Things have been going really quite well. Up to this point I've received exceptional marks in my classes and actually feel like life was on its way to getting back to normal. I recently sent in part 1 of a two part application to the University of Toronto for Nursing school which begins in September.
This is where life threw me another curve ball. As I'm sure you read from my last post, the cancer was tougher than I gave it credit for. While I was making other plans, it snuck its way up into my brain and decided to take up residency.
On Thursday, I was able to have an emergency appointment with my radiation oncologist in London, ON. This is where I had all of my chemo and radiation after my initial diagnosis. I knew by the glum look on her face that she was not looking forward to imparting the knowledge that she was being forced to. It did still come as a bit of a surprise to me when she said " We can't cure this" and informed me that the treatment will be aimed at keeping the tumors small and retarding their (and others) growth as much as possible. In other words, they are trying to keep me alive as long as possible, with the best quality of life as possible... but It will eventually win out in the end.
Tough words to swallow. After telling me this, she did a physical exam to test for any weakness that might be starting to affect me from the tumors in the cerebellum. The good news is that she didn't detect any differences yet. I have been noticing a few slight differences, but nothing really to get too upset over.
The steroids that the Dr. put me on seem to be doing their job. I have very little pain in my head and neck anymore, which is a kind of small miracle in and of itself. They are hoping to start weening back the use of steroids when my treatments are underway. Apparently the dosage that they have me on is the strongest that one is allowed, and will start causing its own pretty significant side effects after about a month.
As far as the treatment goes, I will be undergoing 10 sessions of whole brain radiation in an attempt to shrink what is already growing. Ultimately, she would like for the two in my cerebral cortex to pretty much disappear and the two in my cerebellum to shrink right down to the point where they won't cause any impairment. I've got my fingers crossed for this outcome too. In addition to the whole brain radiation, they will be spending a little more time blasting the two larger tumors (1.7cm & 9mm) in my cerebellum with radiation. I was fitted for my face shield on Thursday (ew), so now they just need to clear the time for me on the machine. I anticipate starting late this week.
I know that there are other details that I need to add in here, but i'm kinda of worn out that the moment. Before I go, I want everyone to know that I will be completing the application to the University of Toronto. It is due on the 15th, and I do intend to be accepted. I'm not ready to die yet, I still have a lot of fight left in me, and I plan on living as full and normal of a life as I can. No one knows how long that is going to be.
I'm going to go have a hot cup of tea and try to re-group. I will post another blog in the very near future, to give out details that I may have forgotten and to tell you about the visit that I had with my home nurse and the suggestions that she had.
Thank you so much for the love and support that you al have been showing me.
You have no idea how much it has help at this very difficult time. You are all amazing.