Port-o-cath

I need to make a decision. I have very small veins, hard to get to.
My first and third chemo went well, no issue finding the vein, but the second one didn’t go as well, and I knew there was going to be issue, and I have ended up with something called Thrombosis. When I research it, it’s kind of like a clot in the vein, and it’s painful at time. Kind of like trying to stretch a muscle that does doesn’t want to stretch.
I didn’t want to get one because it meant another scar, another reminder.
But the issue is that this could happen again on another vein, and there is no telling whether it will or won’t.
So, any of you reading this, that have had a port-o-cath, I’d like to hear what you have to say, please.
I need to make a decision fast as my next chemo is on July 5th and would need to get this scheduled asap.

A Monumental Day at Princess Margaret Cancer Care

What an amazing day…what and incredible announcement.
I’m having some difficulty getting the links to post for the announcement from Princess Margaret.
Please go their website http://www.thepmhf.ca to get see the news release from today June 18th.

Here the link to the CityTV Coverage:
http://www.citynews.ca/2013/06/18/canada-u-s-team-develops-promising-drug-aimed-at-several-cancers-2/ )

There is also a link to Global link that I don’t seem to be able to post, but you can see it on my Facebook page.

I was so honored to be in the presence of greatness!

There is no footage of my speech, unless I get it later, so I wanted to share what I had to say. Originally I was to have 5 minutes, but last night they changed it to 3, so I had to do some major editing

11 years ago, my Mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Having already lost my Dad to Leukemia, the thought of losing my Mom was unimaginable.
Around the same time, I started hearing about an event called the Weekend to End Breast Cancer, now the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Woman’s Cancers.
This event empowered me to make a difference. I’m happy to say that my Mom is doing amazing.
I started fundraising, and I set up a fundraising initiative called Think Pink Direct where I helped others also raise the necessary funds to walk in this incredible event.
I have been privileged to donate approx. a quarter million dollars to cancer research at Princess Margaret, and help other donate even more.The walk has created an amazing community of caring and supportive people, survivors and friends, many of your here today.
I learned in the first years of the walk that cancer plays no favorites and I kept finding myself walking beside women wearing pink survivor lanyards. I admired their strength, hope and determination that anything was possible.
This year, the walk takes on a very new and very personal meaning. In February, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Because of routine mammograms, it was caught early. Had I missed my appointment, I might be sharing a different story with you all.
Without hesitation, I asked my Doctor to send me to Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Clinic. Within 48 hours, my husband Richard and I were sitting across from Dr. McCready. We heard the words that no one wants to hear….You have breast cancer.,
But I knew that I was in the best possible hands and care with Dr. McCready and everyone at Princess Margaret
The irony is not lost that the very hospital that I had raised so much money for was now going to be the hospital that saved my life.
My surgery was successful; But, my cancer was aggressive, and so is my treatment plan.
Dr. Sridar was putting me through chemotherapy, radiation, and because I am HER2+, a year of Herceptin.
They say when one door closes, another door opens.
I made decision to be very public about my journey with very clear reasons
First and foremost, for my girls, I needed to make sure they knew they could ask anything
Second, I wanted to send a message to other women… go for your check ups, get your mammograms.
Early detection saves lives…. it saved my Mothers and now it saved mine.
I also knew there was this amazing Weekend community that I could connect with and reach out to, so I put it on Facebook, and started a blog to share my cancer journey.
I have been so blessed by the outpouring of love, support, prayers, I’ve received.
I know firsthand how important the monies raised through the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Woman’s Cancers are. But it wasn’t until I was here as a patient that I truly understood the scope of what all funds have provided.
From the Lau Breast Center to the Survivorship Clinic, there is someone there every step of the way. At Princess Margaret you are always treated as a person first.
I am benefitting from great research, and drug development.
18 years ago, my Dad, along with many others, were part of a clinical trial for a drug, Nupogen. Now an approved drug and Although my Dad is no longer here, I have met many people over the years that have tolerated their chemotherapy because of this drug. Now, 18 years, later, I am on the next generation of that same drug.

I am also going to be starting Herceptin in a few weeks, and I’m so honored today to meet Dr. Dennis Slamon, and say Thank you!
Dr. Tak Mak, hearing you speak is always so inspiring.
On behalf, of all the walkers, crew, volunteers and donors, I’d like to thank you for what you do every day and to congratulate Dr. Slamon and yourself on your efforts to conquer cancer through this wonderful announcement.
To everyone at the Foundation, along with the Doctors, Nurses, researchers , support staff and volunteers, it’s because of your dedication and compassion that Princess Margaret Cancer Care is the world class center that it is.
In Sept, I will be walking my 11th walk. I will have just finished my last chemo, and will be proudly wearing my pink Survivor lanyard,
With my daughters Carly & Hailey by my side, I will walk with my Trade Secrets team mates along with the rest of the walker community,
I’ll be walking it a step at a time.
We will conquer cancer in our lifetime
I’d like to close with a quote from the late Dr. Robert Buckman… “Cancer is a Word, not a Sentence.”
Thank you

Happy Fathers Day!

I hope all the Fathers out there had an amazing Fathers Day.
I always miss my Dad, but even more so on Fathers Day.

I felt so much better this weekend, so much so that I went for a 2 hour walk with Lisa on Sat morning. We even brought Ruby (my 12 year old golden retriever) with us!
Not wanting to over do it…we pretty much took it easy the rest of the day.

As you might have read on Facebook….I knew I was feeling better today, as I cooked and baked all morning…kind of like a whirling dervish…My girls wondered who I was!

Back to work on tomorrow, Then Tuesday I was invited by the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation to speak at the event they are holding where a major announcement is being made. I don’t know what it is, but I had to write a speech, so I’ve been busy with that. This might be a little more nerve racking than throwing out the opening pitch at the Blue Jays game! Hopefully all my public speaking and training skills won’t let me down.

Then my Mom is coming from Winnipeg for a visit…so I’m really excited to see her. She was here last when I had my surgery, so it’s been awhile. She hasn’t seen “the new me of many wigs and scarves”

I’ll let you all know how it goes on Tuesday!

A New Day :)

The word Thank-you does not express how much all your amazing messages, texts, posts, and emails meant to me over the past 48 hours. Your positive vibes, prayers, good wishes, hugs and good thoughts all were incredible, helped me get through it.
Today is a new day and I’m happy to say, I’m feeling much better.
I know this is a process, a journey…just parts of it, arn’t so much fun at all.
I just need to remember, as so many of you reminded me, those tough times do pass, and they will make sure I have lots of wonderful times to celebrate.
With love and gratitude
Randy

48 hours

I strive to stay as positive as I can and when I have moments other than that, I go back and re-read so many of your emails and Facebook messages. However, The past 48 hours have not been stellar by any means. Since this whole journey began, I have had times of sadness but nothing prepared me for what the past 48 hours brought.

Sorry for this being a “downer” post, but to be honest, there is nothing fun about going through chemotherapy. I had been lucky so far and really spared some of the nasty side affects. Some of you reading this who have been through this process will understand, and for those of you who never have, and I hope with everything I have, you never will have to know, this is not fun at all.

As I mentioned in my last post Neulasta although a wonderful drug, can beat you up and literally make your bones and muscles hurt. Think of someone hitting you with a baseball bat, and that’s about what I felt like. I know it’s all for building my immunity, but it was tough. This was the first time (my third shot) that I felt the effects. The other two really made me feel like I did the day after I ran a marathon!!

I went to work on Tuesday, because that’s how I roll….but, left early, feeling quite crappy. Everyone at work were amazed I was there, and quickly sent me home. Yesterday I stayed home. The Neulasta pain was replaced with a fatigue and general malais that knocked me off my socks. For those of you who know me well…you know I’m not one to sit on my butt. But yesterday, even sitting was challenging 😦 . I know know what people were talking about, the fatigue, the lack of being able to do anything, everything just not right, even talking was a challenge. I let Richard, Carly & Hailey be my caregivers. Talk about role reversal. I literally had no choice, and am grateful they were such good “nurses”

I do feel better today, and yes, I went to work, but I’m pretty tired still, and will get to bed early tonight.
I’m now done the first 3 chemo of FEC, and on July 5th will start Doxitaxol, along with Herceptin. Everyone keeps warning me that this is a tougher drug. But, I have no choice, that’s somehthing that breast cancer took away from me. My only choice is to let the Doctors and Nurses do what they have to, and try and take as good care of myself as I can. I’m trying really hard to do that.
Right now it’s difficult to imagine it getting worse, but the reality is that it could.

so, I’m trying to stand by my motto…a step, a day at a time, and trying not to look ahead.

Neulasta

Chemo #3 is done, I had a really good weekend.
My brother Wayne loves to celebrate his birthday, so on Sat, Richard and I went to his annual pool party. I think I pretty much blew all his friends away with how good I looked…LOL….I’m guessing that most people think you’re not supposed to look good when you’re going through treatment, but….I LOOK GREAT!
On Sunday we took Ruby to Wootstock, and please remind me next year, that although it’s fun….way too crowded for me.

I decided to take today off as a “me day” I never get me days, and I figured, I deserved it.
So today, I met Louise, Nancy and Manon for lunch, and we had a wonderful time. It was great to see them. Nancy and Manon crewed the Ride to Conquer Cancer on the weekend, and Manon was heading back to Montreal. It was really nice to get out with friends.

I was feeling great till around 3 when the Neulasta kicked in. Neulasta is like an immune booster, I think of it as my white blood cell kicker! Basically when you have chemo, it doesn’t differentiate between good and bad white blood cells and attacks them all. Neulasta is a needle I self inject (yes, I really did it myself) about 24 hours after chemo. It makes the body produce good white blood cells, and boost your immunity. But because your body is producing them so quickly, it causes bone and muscle pain for about 24-48 hours. I’ve been fine the last 2 shots, but this one (I’m guessing from the cumulative affect), well lets just say, I’m feeling it, kind of a beat up feeling. I know it will pass, and I know it’s all for the good, but I’m glad I wasn’t at work!

Being on Neulasta has a story for me. 18 years ago, my Dad had Leukemia, was on clinical trail for a drug called Nupogen. Nupogen is now an approved drug that also boosts the immune system, and I’ve met many people that have been on it. The drug gave my Dad the time he needed to be with us to see my daughter Carly. He passed away 3 months after she was born. Neulasta is the next generation of Nupogen, and it’s hard not to think of my Dad each time I inject Neulasta. It’s like he’s my guardian angel truly looking over me. He did what he needed to with the trial for Nupogen, so that I would have Neulasta. And that’s how I get through the bone and muscle pain.
Love you and miss you Daddy ❤

Chemo #3-Lots of laughter!

I know, it’s kind of an oxymoron…chemo, fun???
It really was.
Nava picked me up and through a comedy of error, including weaving through accidents, we got there in time. Nava was so happy because the French Open semi-finals were on the big screen in the waiting room!
Yes, when you go to Chemo Daycare, you get a beeper, like in a restaurant! so we watched the match. I got beeped, and told Nava to finish watching the match…she’s a diehard tennis, and Nadal fan!.

So, off I went to see my favourite nurse, Manny. He is amazing, wonderful, a beautiful sole inside and out. We talked about where to put the needed as I still had some bruising from last time. Lucky me, I have hard to find veins. He found the perfect spot and we started.
Anyone who has been through this knows, that you have to hydrate like crazy, so every half hour you have to go to the bathroom, good thing I was right near it!! So the timing of the drugs is important…LOL!

Louise came to visit, and she looks awesome! love the new “do”. and then Nava joined us, as Nadal won..yippee!! So put 3 girls together, and we’re laughing and having fun!! The party gets even bigger when Edwin joins us! It was so amazing to see him. Edwin is an awesome friend, and the official photographer of WEWC and the RTCC, I had messaged him to invite him to come visit me in chemo as I knew he was coming in for the Ride. I was beyond excited when he said YES!! I asked him to bring his camera, I never thought I would ever in a million years ever want pictures of that, but I knew, I would be “safe” with him, and I was. We laughed, talked, took pictures, and had fun. The time flew by, it was like none of us wanted to leave! Edwin brought me a give of a UCLA sweatshirt in pink (of course) to match his blue one! and of course he was bang on picking the right size.
laughing at chemo
Edwin and me outside PMH
The picture outside PMCC is from a few years ago with my girls at the walk that, it seemed only fitting that we take a picture there, as Edwin took that picture, and we could show off our matching sweatshirts.

In all seriousness, Edwin’s visit, along with Louise & Nava, brightened my day so much, that I really didn’t even think about why I was there, and what I was there for.

Nava took me for a quick lunch, and then I went home for a nap. I felt really good, and stayed up till around 9 and went back to sleep.
I woke up this morning feeling really good. I promise I’ll be taking it easy today. It was my brother Wayne’s birthday yesterday, and as he is the ultimate in celebrating, we will go to celebrate with him tonight.

Today is the start of Ride to Conquer Cancer benefitting the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, and this event raise $19.1 Million $$ this year!! whoot whoot! To everyone involved…have a safe and fun event. Lots of other events this weekend, Relay for Life, and in Winnipeg, the 28km Walk for Cancer.
Please get involved in anyway you can. You make a difference in people’s lives.