Blueprint for a Cancer Free Life?

By Kristen Knott

Written January 4, 2014

I have spent the last few days with my nose in a book. This is not unlike me as I have always been a bit of a bulimic reader. I can lose myself in a good book and ignore the world around me and then when I am done I need some time before I can commit to losing myself in another. The binge/purge cycle ensues. I enjoy marinating in what I have just read, especially when it involves an intriguing character or new world, or country. I felt ready to read about cancer, or better put, books on how to keep cancer at bay. What is different about reading these books is that they have not provided me with that feeling of satisfaction or sense of escape, in fact they have left me unsettled.

Clearly there is not a simple blueprint for remaining cancer free and there seems to be a plethora of experts on living a cancer free life. (I am also learning that even people in my life have advice on warding off cancer.) What I truly know though is that being healthy, truly healthy that is, will be a life changing endeavor [...] continue the story

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

Frustration

By Kristen Knott

Written @ 1:30pm November 12, 2013

It is very hard to remain positive at this point in my cancer treatment. I am midway through round 5 of 6 chemotherapy sessions, and I am frustrated.  I am tired of experiencing the numerous side effects of the chemo drugs and am done living in a constant merry go round of my 21 day chemo cycles. I am weary and fatigued and finding it hard to remember the endless energy I once had. Feeling normal, seems so far away, and yes, I am aware I am in the homestretch with only one more infusion to go, but this journey is far from over. I have been consumed with cancer since June, it has become a part of me, it has changed me both physically, and mentally. Ironically, I wanted the process to start, I welcomed the infusions as it meant it was killing any potential cancer I may have in my body. What I didn’t realize was how this process slowly strips you down, it makes you raw, weak, pale, sore, tender, emotional, helpless and simply frustrated.

I have to remember I chose willingly to undergo chemotherapy after my oncologist informed me of [...] continue the story