Going Under the Knife

This is when things really started to happen, and if I thought I had been through some hoops before, I was sadly mistaken. The next few weeks and even couple of months would challenge me in ways I could never imagine. As I sit writing this now, I can look back at the surgery and recovery phases and find some things to laugh about, but I would be lying if I said I found humour in anything at the time. I could really laugh out loud while having the crap of my life after drinking Colyte, but laying in a hospital bed bleeding or rolling around in agony on my living room floor has no such fond memories. But damn it, everyone tells me my blog is funny so I’m feeling a little pressure here…

When I woke from my surgery I said, “Now I’m a semi-colon!” Ba da bum bum. I got a million of ’em. Try the veal. I’ll be here all week. Unless I die.

It was an early start on Tuesday, June 8, 2010, with a 6:30am check-in to the surgery unit at Trillium Mississauga. I was miserable because I hadn’t eaten any solid food since the previous [...] continue the story

Countdown to Surgery

There have been many times that I’ve had to compare my personal situation to others who were fighting any sort of battle with a medical problem, and a few minutes in any hospital or doctor’s office waiting room usually gave me good reason to consider myself fortunate on balance. With this in mind I look back on that 2 1/2 weeks between being told surgery was needed and the event itself. And I would also feel grateful many times that I was made to wait just three weeks from diagnosis until surgery. We certainly hear a lot of gloomy and critical talk about our health care system in Canada, some of it justified, but I was and still am grateful to live in our wonderful country that has such a system. And, I was about to cash in big time against all the money that was put into the system on my behalf over the years. Cha-ching!

To be honest, I don’t remember too much about this time except for a few milestone events. There was a lot of staring out windows, busywork around the house, and trying to make arrangements to suspend the operation of my piano business for an [...] continue the story

The Life Bomb

The missile struck me on the morning of May 18, 2010, in a hospital examination room in the presence of two people I had never met before.

But first a little background about how I got there.

It’s late March 2010. Since my 40th birthday I had been disciplined about going for my annual physical, and I had one coming up in early May. For the third time since January, I noticed I had some blood on the toilet paper after having a bowel movement. I called Dr. A, my fabulous family doctor, to report the problem and she said if it happens again come in right away, otherwise let’s have a look during your physical. Fine. Months later I would realize my body had given me a signal years earlier but I failed notice. That’s for another post though.

The physical came and Dr. A examined me as I laid there somewhat horrified, but I’d later look back and laugh at this episode as the least flagrant violation of my dignity.

“Everything looks OK, but let’s have specialist Dr. B take a look anyway. Maybe it’s a hemorrhoid or fissure or something and he can give it a little freezing and away you [...] continue the story

Stronger | Seattle Childrens Hospital

This patient produced video is swiftly becoming viral and is on track to hit 1 million views in its first week. The hemoncology floor of Seattle Children’s Hospital performs Kelly Clarkson’s song “Stronger”.

Scarred for Life

There is one last lesson I’ve learned throughout this experience, and I could have added it to my last post, but it really warrants its own post. The whole idea of what we are trying to do with These Are My Scars was inspired by the events that took place within my own cancer journey.

During treatment I was so focused on just staying alive and getting through it, I never gave any thought to how I would be affected by the after effects of treatment, including surgery. I have never been squeamish about surgery, I actually wanted to be a surgeon at one point in my life (damn you chemistry), but once it was over, part of me just wanted to bury what had happened.

It’s strange that people will say “you’ve scarred me” or “I’m scarred” but it always has such a negative connotation. I’ll admit to buying into the negativity, after all it’s something that happens to you. No one really chooses to become scarred, so I suppose it can be seen as an invasion. I thought so too!

After my Lobectomy, I was left with a large red J shaped scar on my back and side, it looked like [...] continue the story