Ann-Marie is kicking cancer’s ass

The story of my journey

This content shows Simple View

Ann-Marie Cary

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…

The gift of thoughtfulness, kindness and love

I keep waiting for and expecting to be disappointed in someone or something as I tend to have very high expectations. Instead I am continuously in awe of the thoughtfulness and generosity that I have been presented with and how much people are actually giving of themselves to support me.  Whether it be in the well thought out gifts my friends and neighbors have left for me, or it be friends posting comments or messaging me.  As a busy person with work, kids and life, I am fully aware that thinking of someone who may not be in your day to day world takes effort and consideration. The only way I can think to express what I am really feeling because of all the generosity is ‘full’; my heart is full and hopeful.  So please don’t stop, because this is exactly what I need right now and although I am OK, being in limbo is definitely a challenge.

I still have to wait another week before I find out exactly what type breast cancer I have and the stage, at which point I will also know the treatment plan.  While we wait, I am noticing my children are becoming anxious by being in limbo as well.  Madison has started asking more specific questions, which means she is researching (Dr. Google is not our friend right now).  Shane has been increasingly thoughtful; making me things and even using his own money to buy me a fluffy pillow to go with my blanket of hugs.  All we can do is keep ourselves distracted and continue on… but it’s not easy. Thankfully friends are helping by taking them on impromptu outings or play dates.

Hockey and horse back riding have also begun which is a welcomed distraction.  As for Dan and me, we were lucky enough to go out for dinner with my awesome family of co-workers last night.  The rest of the weekend will be low key.  Really what I should be doing is getting ready; cooking, checking winter clothes, and anything else I may not have the energy for later. Somehow I just can’t get there yet…

Boobs and running

I am only into week 2 of being diagnosed with breast cancer and so far I have already lost count of the number of people who have poked, prodded, dug into with force, cupped and placed my boobs. I feel like a boob feel up doll!!! But I can live with that, it’s ok. The needles and small confined spaces (MRI), I’d rather pass on. My right underarm hurts and is bruised from the biopsy yesterday, my left arm hurts because they took blood yesterday then today put in an IV line into the exact same vein! Ouchy!

But it’s all ok, I am ok. I came home from a lovely massage to my incredible family, and most notably my thoughtful, fearless son who presented me with a booklet that he researched and wrote out on breast cancer for me. I cried…

I think the oncologist would be quite impressed with all the complex terminology that was included!

I also learned that Shane’s class prayed for me today. I have to refer back to my post from a couple of days ago and praise his teacher. She has created an incredible circle of support for Shane. Although his class prayed for me, the act of it allowed Shane to be surrounded by love and support. Kids, almost all kids, fundamentally understand good and love. We are so lucky that Shane will have this support system because he will need it, desperately. It won’t be easy, for him or Madison.

Good things always come out of bad situations and today I got to run with my close friends who I had not run with in ages! Considering they were the ones who dragged me out to run so many years ago but stopped afterwards, I’m quite pleased with myself that I got them back out again ?!

First impressions

Today was the day I was finally supposed to get some more answers, and it was my first time visiting the Stronach Cancer Centre at Southlake hospital. My initial thoughts were how intense the experience was… it seemed from the moment I walked in my senses were alerted to every sight, sound, and smell that surrounded me. As I entered the building I could hear the soothing sound of the waterfall at the entrance. The area was bright, clean and fresh. So far all good, homey-like feelings. But as I sat and waited, cancer patients wandered either in or out. Women, men, children… the children were the hardest and cruelest of the reality I was watching. As I observed people in their different stages, my initial reaction was “will I look like that, frail and thin?” But my fighter instincts finally made a bit of an appearance. Up until now I would describe my state of mind as calm, or in waiting. As I watched my fellow cancer community for the first time, my thoughts quickly changed to “I will NOT be frail and weak, I will be strong and stoic”, but I do hope to be thin ?!

I eventually met with my awesome nurse Jenny who made sure I was ok and well taken care of. I also met with the oncologist.. unfortunately I have no more news than before the appointment. The doctors are still waiting on Pathology to identify the specific type of breast cancer it is. However, he gave us lots of information and we discussed my blood disorder in length. For those who are not aware, I have a blood disorder called Protein S deficiency. Protein S is the protein that breaks down clots… I don’t have enough of it which means my clots can potentially grow and grow and grow. So.. cancer treatment and protein S deficiency often don’t mix well.. and the type of cancer will really determine this. So now we continue to wait.

But before that I have a zillion more tests to do by the end of day Monday; cardioechogram, MRI, bone density and CAT scan… I will be glowing in the dark!!!

As a side note, I was so happy to hear that many have joined up for the CIBC Run for the Cure! I am so appreciative of everyone taking the time to support me during this journey! For anyone interested in donating you can go by accessing this link:< img src=”” height=”1041″ class=”wp-image-126″ width=”1445″>

Emotional day

I’m speechless, and grateful. I feel like I have been saying that a lot lately.

Today was the first day of school, which started my emotional day.

Madison actually woke up on her own! (Mark this day in history because I’m not sure it will happen again). And she got herself ready and out on time with no yelling from us!

Next was Shane. Per our usual first-day-of-school routine, Shane got on the bus and we raced to school to be there before he got off the bus.

This is my “we are rushing to the bus stop” picture of Shane:

I get to school and immediately see familiar faces… however those faces don’t yet know my diagnosis. This starts my “emotional” day. As I stand there waiting for the bus, I feel the need to tell these people who have known me, my children, my family, for 10 years that I have cancer. But I don’t, obviously… their job is to take care of the kids, not me.

After a few minutes Shane’s bus shows up. Immediately I am reminded of him getting off the bus for JK:

But he is a lot bigger now! And I think “this could be the last time I do this”…. because who really knows? And I really did give in to this at that moment and held back my tears. Now, hours later as I write this, my thoughts are “NO this will not be the last time! I will kick this cancer right out of my life and I will be at that exact spot next year when Shane gets off the bus!

As Shane and I made our to the back to meet the teachers and find out which class he was in, I was once again overcome with overwhelming gratitude that his teacher was the same as Madison’s 5th grade teacher. Of course she was unaware in that moment that all I wanted to do was give her the biggest hug and cry! The level of relief I felt knowing Shane would be so well taken care was truly a blessing to me. And now that I had this relief, I left him and made my way to work for what may have been my last day.

Since my diagnosis, walking into work has been a new day every day.. I wonder “who knows, who doesn’t know. How do I act? What do I say?” Etc, etc, etc. Today I walked in and immediately noticed the pink.. everyone on my team was in pink. Then I went over to my bosses office and noticed my peer in pink.. so I asked what was going on? Her response “it’s for you”. Tears, more tears, and tears as I write this. Never ever I have felt so much support. I cannot express the swelling in my heart for my Sienna family. I am loved, I am protected, I am cherished and I am surrounded by positivity and warmth.

And it went further than the pink uniform. I pretty much spent my entire day in a boardroom due to meetings and after one of them, I was suddenly surrounded by my pink friends that included not only my team, but People and IT. There, they presented me with a gift.. I was given a blanket; a beautiful blanket that is meant to be my team and coworkers “blanket of hug” when I cannot be with them. I’m wearing it now, feeling the hugs that everyone jokes about because as my best friend Kevin (who died of cancer 3 years ago) would tell me “I know you don’t like hugs but you need a hug”.

I am hugged, I am loved, I will go into tomorrow with all of this and I will move forward with dedication, perseverance and the passion that consumes me to hop, skip and overcome all the obstacles in my path!

Last day of Provincetown

I love this little town, but I am happy to be heading home. Although I may change my mind mid-week! If there was a theme to the last four days I would say it has been food… OMG did we eat! A lot! Today we had lunch and dinner at the same restaurant! Dan ate the same clam chowder for lunch and dinner. I am fairly certain he would eat clam chowder for breakfast if he could. Back to reality tomorrow and an 11 hour drive, ugh!

Today was a fairly uneventful day of beaches, freezing on the beach, and eating.

We did however design this logo for the CIBC Run for the Cure on October 1st.

A close friend of mine is organizing group in my name, so be on the look out for a sign up link coming soon. I really really hope I can be there myself because nothing would energize me more than to do this run with so many people supporting me.

I also have to stop for a moment and thank you all. The love and support has been so welcomed and so needed. I am so grateful ?❤️❤️❤️.

Riding in Provincetown

Before I start on our Cape Cod adventures, let me update you on the boring medical stuff. Yesterday I mentioned I received calls from the hospital. So, next week will be jammed packed with appointments; Wednesday I have the biopsy of the lymph node, followed by my first appointment with the oncologist. Thursday I have the MRI. Once those 3 appointments are done I will hopefully have a better idea of the plan. So far I have been told that if the cancer is also in my lymph nodes I can expect to be in chemotherapy within a week of the receiving those results.

Now to today…. I started the day with some quietude and a walk on the beach at 7:30. After breakfast, we made our way into town and rented some bikes! We spent about 3 hours riding the trails and exploring the beaches. It was super windy by the water and really not beach weather but so worth it! Take a look at the great pics

Once we got back town, we had lunch and wandered the eclectic streets of Provincetown. Here we found CANDY!!! 50$ US spent on candy!!! OMG I’m in trouble ?.

And finally we wandered on the pier where Dan met up with this guy:

I really love Provincetown… it is unique and beautiful both in the look of the town and the friendly people. I look forward to coming back again when I am healthy and strong. Even though I have yet to start my treatments, I do see that perhaps the reason that I have been so exhausted lately was not because of work and home life, but maybe the inner fight my body has been battling. One day at a time… today I am ok…

The calm before the storm… Our Cape Cod getaway

This summer I decided to take a 2 week vacation at the beginning of August with the naive thought that I would actually get to relax… but then I decided that maybe I should go to the doctor for that suspicious dimple on my boob that had appeared a couple of months earlier. That pretty much ruined my vacation. After seeing my family doctor, I spent the rest of my vacay going from one appointment to the next. With no answers by the end of the two weeks, I decided that we really needed to go away because I was more stressed than ever.

Per my usual spontaneous self, I asked Dan to look into a getaway for the end of August. So here we are today in Provincetown, Massachusetts. We left yesterday driving the majority of the way to Vermont, then the rest today. Although it should have been a great day, I received 3 different calls from different departments at the hospital to book appointments. That kind of ruined it for me… and drained any energy I had. However, we did make our way into town and found an awesome restaurant on the beach with a table directly in front of the ocean! Perfect end to the day!