Big Red Bow

By Kristen Knott

Written @ 7:30 am  December 24, 2013

I lie here quietly trying not to disrupt my husband as he sleeps beside me. It is Christmas Eve day and the house remains quiet. The day will be filled with anticipation, excitement and preparation for Christmas tomorrow.

It doesn’t feel truly like Christmas to me yet however. Hoping the day will bring that magical feeling of contentment and joy that I equate with holiday spirit.

My energy is coming back as is my hair. I have fuzz growing all over my bald head. I am starting to feel a little like the old me. In fact I slip back into my old ways of wanting to conquer the world in a day and then fatigue snaps me back into place. I then succumb to being still and slowing down.

My brain is still quite foggy, I have to really concentrate and focus. The kids are all too familiar with my forgetfulness and my youngest says, ‘oh mommy it’s that chemo brain again isn’t it?’  Amazing how we have all just got used to my bald presence, my ever-changing moods, from weepy to impatience to very raw and messy moments.

I thank my family for loving me [...] continue the story

Hibernation

By Kristen Knott

Written @ 5:30 am  December 5, 2013

I am on day 15 of 21, this being my last chemo cycle and it feels like time has slowed to a crawl. Life is in slow motion. I yearn for the day that presents itself with no side effects. I feel as if my body is preparing for hibernation.

My fingers and toe nails feel as if they could peel off at any given moment. You can see the discolouration and pooling of what I imagine is or was chemo in my nail beds. My lips still feel swollen and my mouth is driving me crazy. As a foodie, I live to eat and it is disheartening when everything I eat tastes off. I find myself eating things just to try and get a different taste in my mouth. I yearn for even a short reprieve from the mucous metallic taste that overrides my taste buds.

My eyes have begun to weep non stop and the result is swollen red and dry eyes that hurt to the touch. I secretly believe this side effect is almost cathartic as I am overwhelmed by emotions daily and can cry at the drop of a hat. [...] continue the story

Chemically Induced Shavasana & My Last Round of Chemo

By Kristen Knott

Written @ 4:45 am November 21, 2013

It is November 21 at 4:45 am. I am lying in bed staring at the ceiling.  I have already been up twice tonight with hot flashes and visits to the washroom. My mind is racing. It is my last chemo treatment today at Juravinski.

I thought this day would bring joy and excitement, yet the emotion I feel is complex, a mixture of relief but also sadness.  I have been through a lot since June and I have put on a brave face and created a inner calm and have locked onto a positive energy to keep moving forward during each step — the surgery and round after round of chemo.

Yesterday I drove to Juravinski to get blood work done to allow my oncologist to give me the green light for chemo today. I chose to go alone, as the whole process seemed so routine and almost mechanical. No problem! I arrived at the blood clinic and was handed the number 06 which I immediately misinterpreted for 90. Chemo brain very intense this week. The number board was calling 68. The room was packed again with many seniors, family members but also some [...] continue the story

My Cousin Kristin

*** Editor’s Note: Mitch was 12 years old when he delivered this speech to his school.

————————————————————————————————————————- Just close your eyes and imagine. Imagine you are in a room at a hospital waiting for the doctor to arrive after a checkup. Then the doctor comes out and says, “Well, I hate to say it but… you have cancer.” Hello teachers, judges and fellow students.

To many of you this is just an imaginary scene. But for many people, this imaginary scene is a reality.

Nine years ago this happened to my cousin, Kristin Malone, when she was only seven years old.

It was May 19th, 1994. She had not been feeling well, so she went for a check up with her doctor. She went back to school that day and my aunt went back to work. They thought everything was fine. Then while at work, my aunt got a call from the doctor’s office. They suspected Leukemia! The doctor told her to take Kristin immediately to the Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Alberta.

Imagine how terrifying that would be! You are in your car, on the way to see if you have cancer or not.

Immediately, Kristin had blood tests, and the doctors had to get a sample of [...] continue the story

An Account of Frustration with the System

Late last year, at the age of 51, I got sick for the first time ever. My family doctor couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, so she told me to go to the ER. I resisted this for several weeks because I hadn’t been shot or anything. We should not be delivering primary health care via the ER – it’s much too expensive! After about two months, without any other options offered by my family doctor, I finally realized that if I was going to get any help I had no choice but to present in ER, even though it wasn’t a life threatening situation. I wasn’t even in any pain at that juncture.

I spent about 4 hours in the ER of the hospital where I work (as a social worker) and was treated quickly and with dignity – in no small part because I am on staff. I was told, in so many words, that there aren’t many “perks” in our field, but that when we get sick, we will be cared for. I thought this was a bit unfair towards people who don’t happen to work in a hospital. This was pretty much the end [...] continue the story

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