The Testing Waiting Game

By Kristen Knott

Written July 13, 2014

I am not happy. I feel it in my bones, my skin, my breath. I am rattled, unsettled and anxious. My mind races uncontrollably like a toddler taking its first steps. I want to be content and filled with all the joys and wonders of life. I have survived cancer after all and I am alive, yet I am struggling. ‘Cancer free’ does not translate to fist pumps and cheering in my mind – it does however create deep pangs of emotion.  I can’t seem to shake the shadow of cancer. Chemotherapy and surgery attacked the mutated cells, but what attacks the negative thoughts, the worry, the aches and pains?

I try hard to be appreciative and experience life as it is happening but it feels a bit tainted lately. I feel like I am on borrowed time. I want these thoughts and doubts crushed like a bug.

I am playing the ‘ testing waiting game’ again. I had a bone scan of my body and images of my left hip and upper spine on July 5. The aches in my body seem to be getting worse and after sharing this update with my oncology nurse she ordered [...] continue the story

Genetic Testing

By Kristen Knott

Written May 21, 2014

I have an appointment today to receive my genetic testing results. It has been 3 months since I provided the necessary blood work for the testing. The Genetic Counselor at Juravinski had informed me that results would likely take about four months. We discussed my family medical history and she explained that there were two genetic strains they could currently test for and they were BRCA-1 and BRCA-2. Both genes come with a higher propensity to get other forms of cancer and can be genetically passed to children. I have been preoccupied with this appointment since I received the call for booking. Does it mean something that the results are in early?

I desperately want the results to be negative for BRCA1 and BRCA2. I would hate to have to call family today and provide them with the bad news. Then the worry would begin for both themselves and their children. I feel sick thinking about this. I am tired of surgeries and blood work, yet I have already decided if I am indeed BRCA1 or BRCA2 positive I will have my ovaries removed. I want to avoid cancer in any form ever coming back in my [...] continue the story

Fundraising as a Survivor

By Kristen Knott

Written April 24, 2014

I am thrilled to announce that Team Wonder Women, made of friends and colleagues will be walking with me at The Shoppers Drugmart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers benefiting Princess Margaret Cancer Center that will be held in Toronto September 6-7, 2014.

In August 2013 I reached out to the women in my life, and told them all that I wanted to give back and raise needed monies for local cancer research. I then proceeded to build the Wonder Women team website and my own personal donations page. I was thrilled when I surpassed my individual fundraising goal of $2000 within a few weeks. I was thrilled and genuinely moved by the people who sponsored me for this event. THANK YOU.

Team Wonder Women now has 10 walkers all who at a minimum will raise $2000 for this event so we will collectively raise at least $20 000. There are a few more friends that may join as walkers, which in turn will increase our team donations. Another friend has worked for the event and has dropped off brochure kits at local businesses to raise awareness. She is using the monies she is paid for this work [...] continue the story

Reconstruction: Not for the Faint of Heart

By Kristen Knott

Written April 3, 2014

It was 13 days ago that I underwent surgery again, a left prophylactic mastectomy and the beginning of bi-lateral reconstruction surgery. It has been a very long two weeks filled with pain, discomfort, and a lot of focused breathing and stillness.

The day before my surgery I felt like the old me, running around getting last minute errands done. Trying to organize the house and my work in a way that would ensure order without my involvement over the coming weeks. You know – doing those jobs you never want to do, filing the mail, cleaning out the crisper, organizing the house clutter – thankless jobs.

On top of the Cinderella chores I had an appointment at Juravinski with my oncologist. This appointment was my three-month check in on my response to Tamoxifen. When my Dad and I walked into Juravinski that morning I didn’t feel like a patient anymore. I felt different.  What I did feel though was dread deep in the pit of my belly. I knew the following day I was going back into patient mode. My strength and health that I had fought so hard to get back was well on the way, and now I was [...] continue the story

How to Be?

By Kristen Knott

Written February 2, 2014

Now a month into 2014 and the hair on my head is slowly coming back, my eyebrows are reappearing, and I can even see some eyelashes growing. It will probably be another month until I can ditch the wig, hat and scarves. My energy is quite good during the day, in fact at times I feel like the old me, the me before cancer. Yet the evening comes and I am smothered in fatigue again.

I look around my house and I see the differences, they are likely subtle to others, but to me they are profound. The one room that has completely been ignored is my office, as it hadn’t been addressed since the spring. Mail has piled up and needs filing, calendars still read May 2013 and the Juravinski patient handouts were frontline and center on my desk. The room looks like time stopped when I was diagnosed June 6th. I slowly organize the clutter and discard the one-inch thick “welcome to chemotherapy booklet “ that lists all the side effect information that I needed during my August to December therapy. It feels odd throwing it out, yet a part of me feels like [...] continue the story