The Jump.

January 5th. The day my life changed forever…

“We have a room for you in emergency. They are expecting you.”

(Neither Sheldon or I thought for one second what was to unfold. We truly believed that it was going to be an explanation of the back pain from some sort of injury.)

We sat there in the cloth walls, both of us in chairs on either side of the hospital bed, separating us. We joked with a young guy who dropped off some food (for the stay we joked?)

Then it happened. The emergency doctor on duty came in. He sat on the corner of the bed facing me. He smiled and said: “You have cancer.” It wasn’t even 30 seconds.

I had no words. Sheldon teared up immediately. This was NOT happening. AGAIN. NO, it’s not possible I said. I’ve done everything right. I learned from her to be proactive with my health…I’m 35 for God’s sake.

Shock. Just shock.

He said: “I think you should admit yourself today. We have to run tests quickly. We don’t know what the cancer is and testing will move faster if you check in.”

Hooked up. Pain medicated and vomiting. And just like that I was ‘sick’. I mean, really sick. Is that a hospital thing? They get you checked in and make you sick? I threw up 16 times that night on a back that was in agony. I couldn’t throw up into the toilet because it required bending. Sheldon would grip my mid-section and I would bend my neck to the sink. Then the tears would flow.

That first week in the hospital was a blur of machines, tests, biopsies, blood thinners & two hour ‘jail’ leaves to go home for a break. Finally after 6 days they let me go because the testing was done and I promised I wouldn’t fall and break any of my fragile bones.

100 pounds of beige. That was me. No appetite and then the radiation started to the low spine and pelvis. This of course exasperated the nausea and I felt like I had been hit by a truck. So tired. I was just so tired.

Maybe this post is too deep. BUT it’s true.

In January, I started a hormonal drug cocktail, went in to menopause, completed six rounds of radiation, consumed 50mg’s of morphine per day with break through oxycodone every three hours & slept a lot.

The first prognosis: It’s breast cancer. It’s stage four. It’s very aggressive and developed in under a year. It moved in and destroyed three vertebrae, set up shop on my sternum & ribs and put holes in my sacrum, iliac crust & to complete it’s journey decided my pelvis needed fractures from side to side.

“Jesus, I thought we had an understanding. Where were you last night? I know it all too well.” – Sarah Slean

I listened to those lyrics upon my mom’s passing countless times and then I listened again in my own anguish. On repeat.

AND THEN. I said STOP!

Nadine, you are NOT sad. You are NOT going to back down. You HAVE to heal now. If you want to live, you need to heal. Have faith in God, he has a plan for you. Trust it. Believe it. Just hold on.

Then I stopped feeling sorry for myself and the BEST part of Nadine was born out of the rubble.

To be continued…

 Xx

Nadine

 

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How The F**k Did This Happen? (Part 2)

August 2016…

(Enter cancer ?)

Well, hindsight is 20/20.

The summer of 2016 I felt a lump in my left breast. They were lumpy to begin with, but this one felt different. I went to see my family doctor, who assured me it was probably nothing to be concerned about, but sent me for an ultrasound & mammogram to be safe.

Interestingly enough, I biked to that appointment with my head going to ‘what if the lump is cancer? What would I do?

Well, they did the ultrasound and determined it was a series of fibroid cysts and then went on to say I was too young for a mammogram. I was sent away, with no request for monitoring or a follow up.

I will never know if it was ‘nothing’ that day…

BUT, somewhere between August 2016 and August 2017 it DID become something. Like a flash fire, it went from nothing to stage four.

You see, the late spring of 2017, Sheldon & I backpacked Thailand. It was there that I noticed back pain setting in. I thought for sure it was because we were hiking and I was determined to be the lone gal in my group of seven to prove that I was as strong as my male counterparts. I stayed at the front, I pushed as hard as I could, and so that must be where the pain was stemming from. Right?

WRONG. By summer 2017 my low back pain was with me daily. I went back to my doctor with concern. I must have a herniated disc or surely God ‘SI joint dysfunction?’ (Thanks Google)

Two massage therapists, three chiropractors, & two more doctor’s appointments, which led me to x-rays in November 2017. STILL proved there was nothing wrong with me…I was at a loss. Getting in and out of the car was now proving difficult. I walked with a permanent limp and was no longer able to workout.

I started taking about 8-10 ‘Robax Platinum’ a day coupled with Extra Strength Tylenol to drown out the pain. It didn’t work.

December 2017, I was a barely functioning human (while still working full time and travelling back and forth to the US for shows & meetings and crying every night in bed with pain). Fast forward to Christmas in Newfoundland…my dad had me hooked me up to his ‘Doctor Ho’ muscle pads, relatives gave me prescription pain meds & I was loosing my appetite and ability to move. THEN it happened…

We arrived back in Toronto on Dec 30th in the evening. That flight home was the most pain I had ever experienced in my life. I cried and went to bed.

6:15am, December 31st. I can’t get up. My ribs felt like they were going to collapse and I couldn’t roll over. I simply cried. ‘Sheldon, I can’t move.’ ‘I’m physically stuck.’ ‘I’m afraid.’

He picked me up out of bed. He changed my clothes, put my hair in a ponytail and carried me to the car.

And so it began, a visit to the emergency, equipped with a pain drip and an outburst of tears to the doctor. ‘ THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME.’ Please help me. PLEASE.

More x-rays, blood work, urine test & an MRI on January 4th would then explain it all.

January 5th. The day my life changed forever…

To be continued…

xx

Nadine

 

 

 

 Burin, Newfoundland - December 2017

Burin, Newfoundland - December 2017

 Island off of Krabi, Thailand - May 2017

Island off of Krabi, Thailand - May 2017

 Jungle, North of Chiang Mai, Thailand - May 2017

Jungle, North of Chiang Mai, Thailand - May 2017

 St. Joseph’s Emergency - December 2017

St. Joseph’s Emergency - December 2017

How The F**k Did This Happen? (Part 1)

Once upon a time…

(Yeah right!)

What better place to start than the beginning.

Cancer entered my life when I was 16 because it took hold of my mother. After a year of immobilizing pain (and a plethora of unpleasant symptoms) she finally allowed my father and I to take her to the emergency department on boxing day, 1998.

There began my intimate relationship with what would eventually become a part of me, not only emotionally but physiologically.

 It took stage 4 colon cancer less than three months to take her. She left us on March 23rd, less than two months after my 17th birthday. My dad and I struggled to pick up the pieces. The matriarch and love of our lives was gone.

I vowed then, to never let it ‘get me’. I saw what it did. To her, to our family, to our souls. This insidious entity that has no regard for the human in us or how our lives are changed as a result.

And so, I grew up. Fast. Childhood was over. A piece of me left with her, forever.

I graduated high school the following year and made it my mission to not get cancer. I never missed a yearly exam. I always made doctor’s appointments when something felt like more than the regular ‘stuff’ and I started getting routine colonoscopy screenings when I turned 25. They always came back perfect…even the one I had done last year in June, 2017…when I was already metastatic without knowing it.

I thought for sure that my colon was where I had to be concerned, since it took my mom’s brother also. I think I got pigeon holed to ‘that’ cancer as a potential contender. Even though my mom’s other sister died of breast cancer and there was breast cancer on my dad’s side (oh! And my dad’s encounter with early bladder cancer)…

Basically, the odds were stacked against me, with regards to a rich family legacy of cancer. (But my God, my beautiful family on both sides are incredibly resilient and the most amazing people one could ever meet).

Now let me bring you up to speed with the physiological beginning of my new life with cancer.

August, 2016…

Next Post: How The F**k Did This Happen? (Part 2)

xx

Nadine

  Mom, cousin Cassandra & me in approx. ‘91

Mom, cousin Cassandra & me in approx. ‘91

This is Me. This is Me Living with MBC.

I never thought I would start a blog. I certainly didn’t think it would be one that shares my new life with MBC.

But first. Can I please set the record straight?

I’m NOT dying. Well not anytime soon anyways. So for the people who think my life is over and for those who look at me with the ‘sad’ eyes…Please stop. I didn’t loose my mind, I just had to re-adjust my life to work around a glorified maintenance schedule.

This is me:

I’m a 36 year old gal living in downtown Toronto with the love of my life (the ‘fella’). We’re east coasters through and through and love a good laugh and a tall cold one.

Yeah, so I have cancer. I got the raw deal (so they say). I'm a first line, stage 4 breast cancer thriver. Why start at stage 1, 2 or 3 when you can fast track all the way to 4! (Bad joke but hey this is my blog and I've gotta keep it real).

I’m ER/PR + and HER2 - (They tell me that’s the good one!)

The writing won't be perfect here but I'm going to wear my heart on my sleeve. I'm going to share the good and the bad. Because ALL of the moments shape the way we live and I’m no exception.

If this blog can make you aware, if it makes you take action, if it sparks something in you to be pro-active with your health, then I'll have done what I have set out to do.

I want to help young women because I never knew this could happen to me AND because my age resulted in me falling through the cracks.

Thanks in advance for following along with me.

Next Post: How the F**k did this happen?

xx

Nadine

#thrivetoshine

P.S. I like to swear. Sorry in advance! 

  ALWAYS LOOKING UPWARD! I. WILL. WIN.

ALWAYS LOOKING UPWARD! I. WILL. WIN.