The Next Steps – What direction will I go?

Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the ability to move forward in the face of it. . . unknown

After my first blog on my recent diagnosis of Breast Cancer it became very apparent I would continue blogging through the process in the name of healing and creating closure for myself.  I realize it’s not easy for some people to grasp but it’s my way of providing updates in real time rather than making and taking a multitude of phone calls, messages and the like.

I have had some individuals question my process after my first blog Lifes New Journey,  and what I can tell you is that it’s nothing personal to you but my way of dealing with a very difficult situation and helping you and me of course to understand the events and changes unfolding very quickly.  You of course, especially if you are in my close inner circle, should not be discouraged from calling or messaging.  After all, those words of encouragement are what keep me going.  I’ve had a few visits to date between appointments and I really enjoyed them.

A visit with the surgeon  the last week of June provided a little more information and some much needed calming.  His genuine and kind words went a long way.

Pat has been with me every step of the way so far.  I feel he may be getting a little shell shocked but he is working his way through.

The roller coaster of emotions is very real.  There have been many ups and downs of which I have not likely seen or experienced the last.  The waiting is the worst.  As I wait for all the results and further testings to come back I can visually see the cycles of highs and lows we are both experiencing.

Trying to keep busy has been a major effort.  Pat had encouraged me earlier this spring to plant some of my father in laws garden and we are enjoying fresh salads daily.  Every day is different and I’ve made a few short trips out to bird but I have even found myself watching wildlife and following through with my capture only to experience the flood of tears afterward.  But I persevere.

Preparations are underway here at home to ensure I am caught up with tasks so nothing is in need of doing once I get home.  My room is ready and I can concentrate on resting and healing.

So much effort and planning on many parts have gone into this journey already and it’s been no small feat.  I have had my first visit with my medical oncologist and soon my radiation oncologist.  This is something that would not have happened had I not pushed.  Thankfully all team members including the surgeon are on the same page at this time.

I’d like to remind anyone on a similar journey that you are your own advocate.  If you see something that does not add up question it, speak up and make sure you get your answers.

What I had found was that there was a huge blank area no one had explained.  My family doctor kept pushing all my questions onto the surgeon.  The surgeon did not have the answers and expected me to wait till after the surgery when I was referred to the Cancer Clinic.  There was never a referral made to the Cancer Clinic by either doctor.  Apparently it’s made by the surgeon once the surgery is done, so they say.  We know that is not always the case.

Without giving too much personal information I can confirm the biomarkers on the biopsies have returned.  This is not going to be an easy one.  The cancer is of the variety that is not affected by hormones which, put simply requires chemo.

The Big Arrow

To put it mildly, my hair and I will be parting ways in the near future which is somewhat of a tough one.  I have some important decisions to consider.  After all my hair has been pretty much waist length forty plus years.  The medical oncologist specified there is no chemo drug that will not make your hair fall out.  I am investigating the possibility of cold chemo cap use, however, I’m hearing varying accounts of price.  A little further investigation is required.  I would also love to hear from anyone who has used one during their journey.  All I have at this time is second hand accounts.

There were two courses of action that could have happened in terms of treatment.  I could have chosen to have my Chemo first and surgery after or surgery first and Chemo following.  For many reasons I chose the surgery first.  That surgery will happen next week.  Chemo will follow within six weeks.  The plan is still evolving.

A meeting with the Radiation Oncologist this week will actually determine if radiation is also necessary and part of my care plan.

There are several other diagnostic appointments scheduled this week to determine if there is spread.

On a much happier and lighter note as I returned home from my first Cancer Clinic appointment I found this beautiful quilt waiting on my doorstep for me.  A former work colleague, an old school nurse, friend of mine and Breast Cancer survivor herself had submitted my name to receive a quilted gift of love from Victoria’s Quilts Canada – a not for profit charitable organization who provide comfort to those suffering with Breast Cancer.

This beautiful single bed quilt made from cottons predominently mauves, blues and greens is tied and will be on my bed as I recover.  There is a verse sewn on the back that reads as follows:

Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Such a thoughtful gift and one I will charish and not forget any time soon.

I am eternally grateful for the outpouring of support, kind words and offers of help.  Keep reaching out and I may have to draw from those offers soon.  Presently I am gaining great strength from all the kind words.  With that I will finish by saying “Stay healthy!”


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A privileged descendant of immigrant settlers to Turtle Island who makes home on Robinson Huron Treaty Land which was lovingly nurtured and respected by the Anishinabek nations of the Ojibway, Potawatami and Odawa peoples.  She is a graduate of The Photography Institute of Canada and currently completing advanced studies after retiring from her working career in healthcare. Professional Photographers of Canada Accredited her in - Ornithology / Bird Photography (2021), Fine Art (2022), Pictorial / Scenic (2021), Wildlife (2022) as well as Animals (2022), Nature (2023) & Night Photography (2023). She has also been a National and Regional Award recipient multiple times over in 2021 and 2022 having images chosen to exhibit in Professional Photographers of Canada's prestigious National Exhibition 2022, Ontario's prestigious Regional Exhibition 2021 as well as British Columbia's and Eastern Canada's prestigious Regional Exhibitions 2022. Operating out of Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Canada Violet has been a freelance photojournalist for SooToday in the past and still takes on freelance projects today. Her specialties include Wildlife, Landscape and Fine Art Photography, with special interests in Food Photography and Urban Decay but practices many more well-rounded photographic skills.
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