May 25, 2014

5 Month Health Update

It's that time again! More blood tests, CT scans and the follow up visit with Dr. B. The usual scenarios we needed to prepare for are: more tumour shrinkage, no change, or progression. The problem with some cancer drugs is the cancer cells will eventually figure out a way around them. For medications like Iressa, it averages about 8 months before drug resistance occurs, marked by tumour progression. I tried not to think about that but you can understand the anxiety I go through before each follow up. Scanxiety hit me hard this time, ie. restless nights, doubts and fears. May was a busy month so I noticed I was more fatigued than usual too. I kept reassuring myself and S that I still felt "healthy" and I am still quite active.... But you never know. But there is always HOPE; fact is, some patients remain on first line targeted drug therapy for years. As usual, we have to prepare ourselves for the worst but hope for the best.  Before the appointment (it seemed to take for ever to arrive!), we tried to take our minds off the upcoming results by preoccupying ourselves with preparing for the arrival of our puppy* and planning the details of a much needed vacation.

The big day came on May 22nd, my almost 5 month follow up.  As Dr. B described it, the results  were "good".  What does that mean? Well, nothing really changed... Stable.  Nothing new and nothing grew. Not exactly what I was hoping for but it was "good" news.  So we continue on with Iressa and continue hoping for the best! Please keep sending positive thoughts and prayers this way! 

*Aside: We got to select our puppy from a litter of five super cute, tiny puppies yesterday! It was so difficult to decide. After an hour of playing and observing, we picked the "independent" one, or she could been anxious and antisocial... I guess we will find out! We pick her up in about 3 weeks. I have added some pictures of her and her siblings below. Enjoy :). 

May 7, 2014

With Much Love and Gratitude for Yeay

My grandmother (we called her "Yeay") passed away last night. She was 92 years old. It was not unexpected, but it still saddens me regardless.  Because we had a language barrier and then she had difficulty hearing, we couldn't communicate much--only hand gestures and smiles. But I loved, appreciated and respected her nonetheless. She was the only grandparent I knew; she outlived the others by almost 30 years. Most importantly, if it wasn't for her, my mother and aunt wouldn't be alive, nor my brothers, sisters and cousins, nor my nephews and nieces, nor I. Yeay gave us life. In fact, she continues to live in all of us. I inherited her hairline and her stubbornness (some see it as determination :). 

I will always remember how she smiled every time she saw me, and pulled me to her side or held my hand. She was a strong woman and always very kind to her grandchildren (9) and great-grand kids (10). She never asked anything from us but yet was so generous to us. She would always force money on me if she knew I was going away on a trip. I remember some of her favourite foods was Tim Horton's iced cappuccino and pizza; I tried to get her some whenever I could.  She is at peace now, free from any suffering or fear. It gives me comfort to know that she is reunited with her family, those who have gone before her. But her death also makes me think of my own mortality (more on that another time)...  it makes me so much more grateful for the life I was given, and the wonderful family that I have. 

But life, as does all things, will eventually come to an end. And this weekend, we will remember my grandmother's life.  With much love and gratitude Yeay, I wish you eternal peace.  Know that you made a difference, that you are loved and will be missed, and someday, hopefully many decades later, we will see each other again.