Ann-Marie is kicking cancer’s ass

The story of my journey

This content shows Simple View

One more day….

3 weeks later we finally reach the “one more day”… I’m still not sure how I feel about that. I know it’s not good. It’s emotional, exhausting, scary, feelings of lack of control, and maybe a little desperation. However, THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO, therefore I just have to accept it. Too bad my brain refuses to go along.

One more day until I walk into the hospital and the surgeon lobs off a boob. Fun times. Really the boob, or lack of as of Friday morning, is not the issue. The issue is that this is the first physical step of the cancer being real, the first visible consequence. I won’t have a choice but to accept it. Although who wants to…

Right now I just want this done because being positive has become increasingly difficult. Luckily I have amazing friends and family who are trying their hardest to help. Today I was grateful to be able to ride again with Madison, Dan, my sister Michelle and Jen. We hacked through the beautifully peaceful forest.

Later we went to our favourite Mexican restaurant again!

Although I’m completely exhausted I am looking forward to my last run with Tara tomorrow!

For now, I have one more day of what my life currently looks like. Much more to come on the after…

XOXO ❤️😊❤️



CIBC Run for the Cure

A few weeks ago, the thought of this day would have never entered my mind. Although I obviously knew about the CIBC Run for the Cure, I hadn’t considered running it, because why would I?

Unfortunately I now have a very good reason.. and as I stood listening to the speakers talk about their experiences with breast cancer, I was given some insight into what could be to come and comfort in hearing the emotions that mirror my own.

I was excited to see that we also reached our team goal of 2000$! Thank you to everyone who donated and a special thank you to Carla for organizing the AMCrew team!

Friends and family have been so critically important throughout this process. I’m not sure I would have even made the day without Tara’s faithful commitment to our early morning 5:45am runs. This week we will continue on until our last run on Thursday before my surgery on Friday.

I think one of the most impactful consequences of this journey is how it is affecting my family, my closest friends, their children and my children’s friends. My heart drops and swells simultaneously when I see the overwhelming support and the hint of innocent fear in their eyes. But is ok, because we will all be ok, I promise!

I look forward to running again next year, but as a survivor! #CIBCrunforthecure



10 years old!

Today we celebrate Shane and his 10th birthday! We started the day with delicious homemade pancakes care of “moi” and ended the day by going to our favourite Mexican restaurant “Dos Mariachis” in Aurora.

He dressed for the occasion as you can see.

We have been so blessed with the gift of Shane. He can bring a smile to the most desolate persons face. Every day I am grateful that I never gave up on bringing another life into this world. One day soon I will tell that story, but right now I need to focus on this string bean redhead who cares so incredibly deeply.

Madison and Shane are so fundamentally different that they cannot be compared except to say they are polar opposites. Madison is so intelligent and cerebral she can baffle the brightest individual. Yet she is also far too sensitive and wise beyond her years; she’s knows all too well the reality surrounding her which scares me to death for her.

Shane is light, carefree, funny and always trying to please us. He goes above and beyond in every scenario. His dedication, perseverance and determination renew our faith that anything is possible. Because of these characteristics he shares freely… he is not scared to tell the world I have cancer. And in doing so, he enlists the support of his friends and entourage.

Today I received an email from his awesome teacher, Mme Josée. Although I can’t post the picture, she sent me one and shared that Shane’s friends chose, of their own volition, to run for me for the Terry Fox run this past Monday. But they chose this because of Shane, because he opened himself up and shared his reality with them… I know, no matter, that he will continue to believe anything is possible and I will overcome this new challenge.

However the reality is that harder days are coming for all of us. I am 9 days away from surgery. Yesterday I spent most of the day at the hospital for pre-op. There I met with the nurses who tried to prepare me emotionally for what I will be facing. I’m not sure it’s possible. What I do know is that waking up with only one breast will be something I’m not ready for. I’ve been through a lot in my life, yet it never left such a permanent visible mark; all my marks are hidden deep within my psyche and they are far more impactful than an amputated breast. The problem is I can’t hide this one, it will be visible to all, including my kids. I won’t be able to protect anyone from this… and this is my greatest challenge. Because Shane needs to keep his spunky keen spirit and Madison needs to her ultra sensitive hyper intelligent self protected from the reality that Mummy has a potentially deadly disease. But once they see me, not so much the physical aspect of a solo breast, but more of the fragile, a bit broken, facing reality me, I won’t be able to protect them from the pain.

So today I celebrate my awesome little boy who has brought only an incredible amount of laughter and joy to my life. And I pray that I have the strength to do what I usually do, and protect him from the pain life can bring…



Who said this was going to be easy?

It’s really hard to be me right now. What I mean by that is that those who know me well or those who see me on a day to day basis see me as completely normal, just regular old me. So it’s very easy to forget that I have a vicious disease in my body that is actually deadly, I just hopefully caught it on time that it won’t be. Living like this, knowing this, but appearing normal, is very hard. I’m having a hard time. I can only appear normal for so long. I think I’m starting to crack a little.

I don’t want pity. That is the last thing I want.. I just want to be able to feel what feel when I need to. Right now, this is here and now.

Unfortunately my dreams are not helping me either. My sleep is becoming more and more interrupted by nightmares that reflect my fears. All I can do is take one day at a time.. slow and easy.

But honestly, I don’t want me to today. Not at all!!! Hopefully tomorrow will be better.



Dimples and pimples

I have a very very sad story… tonight, at age 45, I had to you use pimple cream! and I had to borrow it from Madison! I’ve gone 45 years with a few blemishes and pimples here and there, but now, at 45, I actually had to use ACNE CREAM! I just hope it works because my chin is looking like a mine field..

More importantly, much more importantly, I was speaking with Dan tonight and he mentioned maybe I should talk a little bit more about how I came to identify that something may have been wrong with me. In my first post I did mention that I had noticed a dimple on my breast. The dimple doesn’t look like a true dimple but more like my skin is being pulled inwards toward my spine. So it was this dimple that brought me to the doctor. The first doctor who examined me didn’t do a breast exam, she just saw it and immediately ordered the mammogram and ultrasound. When my family doctor received the results, he called me in to deliver the news that “I needed more test”. He also did a breast exam, and he felt absolutely nothing. Weeks later when I received the cancer diagnosis, the surgeon and the oncologist both also did full breast exams (with more vigour than I would have liked) and neither could feel the tumour either.

The moral of the story is that any changes you notice on your breast should be taken seriously, even if you don’t feel anything. That applies to both men and women! And if you have smaller breasts like me or dense breasts, a mammogram alone may not show anything. Only the ultrasound and MRI were able to pick up the tumour and spots around it (we don’t know what those are yet).

Finally, as I am not bold enough to post a picture of my dimpled breast and I am far too vain to show you all my pimples, I will pass on posting a photo today 😉.

Enjoy this first weekend of fall with above 30 degree weather! 👙🕶⛱



The Human Whisperers

I only write when I’m inspired.  Today I came home and I was inspired.

I spent my afternoon on a beautiful, wonderful, calming creature that sucked the stress from my body all the while torturing my knees, ankles and butt! Have you ever ridden a horse? or even just been around them?  They are magical. Not only because of their size and beauty but because of their calm presence that impacts everyone around them.  Horses are my Human Whisperers; they know, they see, they feel and they seem to suck all the negative energy from my body when I am on one.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to a beautiful family farm via Madison at a Girl Guide event several years ago. Since then, Madison has been patiently tutored on riding and caring for these awesome creatures by Jen. I have also ridden often at the farm and taken lessons. Today was the first time I went on a real hack.

We travelled from the farm to one of the local forest trails. Mounted on our horses, we entered into the beautiful forest. The combination of my therapeutic conversations with Jen, the forest calm and horse calm was the best medicine the doctor could have ordered. I may have fallen to the ground when I dismounted because I am little broken 😉, but once I stabilized myself I felt an immense sense of peace. I’m fairly certain Jen will live forever because she gets to experience this so often 😊.

Once again I am so grateful. I look forward to going on another hack again soon.

Thank you Jen ❤️❤️❤️



Dreams

You go through your day to day life coping, accepting (or so you think), and moving forward… then you go to sleep and your mind spirals into representations of darkness, panic and fear. Some nights I go to bed and wake up calm, others I wake up with such a strong sense of doom and fear that it shakes me for days. And then that fear manifests itself in different ways; impatience, oversensitivity, irrational behaviour…

Hopefully tonights sleep is calming. I have to get up and run at 5:30am so I need my rest! I am back to work for a few more days until my surgery; keeping myself busy both with work and working out. Since the doctor was kind enough to let me know that I will likely gain weight, I am now a mission to be fitter than fit!

Wishing everyone calm and restful thoughts ❤️❤️❤️



Options are not always welcome!

Another rollercoaster week! As reported on Tuesday I received the good news that the tumour is estrogen positive and the biopsy of the lymph node came back negative… great news, except there is a catch, of course!

The first recommendation is to get this sucker out of me ASAP. With that, I met the surgeon yesterday where I was asked what I wanted; lumpectomy, mastectomy or bilateral mastectomy. This threw me for a loop as I wasn’t expecting lumpectomy to be an option and I had been leaning to bilateral mastectomy. The kind surgeon also explained to me that although the biopsy came back negative on the lymph node it could be a wrong.. lovely.

So I was totally confused and did not know what to do.. thankfully my oncologist called me and took the time to walk me through the harsh realities and medical statistics that finally helped me make an educated decision on choosing a single mastectomy.

The plan is to have a full mastectomy on October 6th. Approximately 3 weeks later I will see the oncologist again where I will learn all the details of the tumour and lymph node which will then determine treatment. At this point we basically still know nothing, except that the nasty tumour (that also apparently has a tail🙄 so they don’t know if it’s bigger than they think) is estrogen positive which is good news. But if it’s the lymph nodes, we are back to “not good”.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue to work on strengthening my body and endurance AND I am happy to report that I will be running the CIBC run for the cure with the AMCrew gang!

Tonight I look forward to celebrating another birthday with my bff. Last year we were in NYC at this time celebrating her 40th! Happy Birthday Nikki (2 days early)



You all need to read this!!!

I have awesome news!!! Today the panel of oncologist met to review all my test results. At about 2pm, I received a call from my oncologist. He communicated to me that based on the test results, the type of cancer I have is one of the most treatable. Omg! Relief! The medical oncologist went as far as to say I may NOT need chemo😳😳😳! Also, the cancer is only in the right breast, not both AND the lymph node pathology came back negative for cancer!

For a certainty, I do need surgery. The question that remains is lumpectomy, mastectomy or double mastectomy. Once the surgery is done, they will test all the masses and the lymph nodes. Therefore at this point point we can only be cautiously optimistic as those result will reveal the truth.

The overwhelming good news is that this is the best case scenario of the worst case as one of bff’s says!

I am so relieved.

But.. I still have cancer. That is the reality. It’s ok though. Yesterday completely sucked.. today, I am hopeful, optimistic, I am light, and grateful for all of my family and friends.

Cheers!



Good days and bad days..

Today has not been a good day. I had the last two tests: CT and bone scan (or at least I hope they were the last two!). Once again they put an IV line into the same sorry vein as Thursday. It still hurts! Then the lovely nurses injected die for the bone scan followed by an injection of contrast during the CT. After waiting 2 hours I had the bone scan at which point I started to not feel so great.

So here I am, sitting on the couch, feeling like crap wondering how the hell are we going to manage when I’m in treatment. Since today is Monday, Dan was in Waterloo. Dinner had to be made, homework addressed, and it’s picture day tomorrow for Madison! Now lunches still wait to be put together and I’m fairly certain I put a load of laundry in this morning… ugh, this sucks.

Today I am not so OK. What do you do when you are not ok? Post pictures of Adam Levine to remember that totally awesome night in Vegas in March! Positive thoughts, positive thoughts…




top