Friday, 30 November 2012

A bit rough around the edges

Hi all,
Well...chemo #2 down and if you asked me if I was going back for #'s3-8 I would tell you 'No Way!'. Of course we all know that I will, but still if I could find a way to do a runner I would!! When you go for chemo, all the nurses are dressed in Hazmat aprons, goggles and gloves while they handle the drugs that will be injected into your body-- how safe can that be exactly?? I seem to be the youngest person in the room--again! It is interesting to feel the unspoken support that you have for your fellow chemo recipients. While we can close our curtains around us for privacy, nobody does. We are all sharing this very intense and personal battle with fellow warriors and offering words of encouragement and support at the end of the day when we are going off to fight the worst of the chemo battle at home! Such a strange yet beautiful thing to see strangers unite in such a way!
Now having said all that negative stuff, every day I do feel a bit better than the previous day so there is hope that by the end if this weekend I might be feeling a bit more like myself again and ready to take down #'s 3-8! Just right now, I am feeling a little rough around the edges.
I think the biggest challenge to date for me is having the children see me when I am low. They are being so good but struggle to see mommy unable to do the simplest of things with them like reading a bedtime story! Brendan informed me that he doesn't think I have a very good doctor as the medicine is stinky and is making me sick! I didn't actually look sick until now and I know the kids are struggling with that as well.
Please continue to pray for us-- we really appreciate all your prayers of support! I thank God for my wonderful husband who is just incredibly supportive, positive and loving at all times and for the kids-- who can make me laugh even when I didn't think I could and for all my family and friends--- I love you I love you I love you!
Always, H

Monday, 26 November 2012

Wow! My head is cold!

Ok kids- Colman always says to start any letter with a bit of positive news so... We had an absolutely brilliant thanksgiving celebration at our house this weekend that lasted 2 days! A special shout out to the Gately clan for getting into the true spirit of my favourite American holiday! The house was filled with the joy, love and laughter of 16 adults and 13 children and we loved every second of it:-) we had so much food that it allowed us to do all of it again on Sunday! Indeed, Colman and I feel truly blessed and loved!

So, I woke this morning with my plan in place. Today was the day that I would say goodbye (for now) to my lovely copper red hair. I shed a tear or a few tears (damn vanity!) and told my young fellas that today when they got home that mommy's hair would look like she went to Fat Tony's barber shop. But it's ok because won't I still be beautiful? To which my 8 yr old replied in all seriousness, ' are going to look like a man with strong breasts' --well I laughed out loud (which made him smile and laugh) and when I turned to leave the room, he added 'with a big bum!' aaahhhh from the mouth of babes! But goodness, it felt great to laugh about it. In the end, all the boys agreed that mommy still looks beautiful and they are enjoying feeling the remaining stubble!
Tomorrow is day 2 of 8 cycles. I am apprehensive as most of the 'unknowns' about treatment have been realised and it turns out that I am very sensitive to the chemo drugs and have endured all of the side effects possible. The doctor has assured me that they will mix things up this time to help my body manage better so i am hopeful that he is successful in his chemistry stir up!
While I am apprehensive, I am also strong of faith and mind. I have been so uplifted and sustained by all of the well wishes and prayers. You like me, you REALLY like me!!!! And I love you!

I am putting my anxiety, pain and worry and laying it at the foot of the cross as much as possible. I believe that God is walking by my side as well as His army of guardian angels! I am never alone and I will kick back this time!!

'Cancer cannot cripple God's love. For when we are most afraid, His love calms us; when we feel abandoned, He surrounds us in His presence; when we feel we have lost our way, He lights up the darkness; when we are restless with pain, He soothes us with His touch; when we lose heart, thinking we will never be well again, He restores our soul'. Thanks be to God:-)
All my heart,

GI Jane reporting for duty

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Something to be thankful for!!

Ok my dear ones-- I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the prayers that you have been offering on my behalf! Rest assured that God has heard every single one of your prayers and we were told today that all scans are CLEAR!! Hallelujah! It's the first bit of great news that we have gotten since my journey began 1 month ago and we welcomed it with pure joy in our hearts! I now know exactly what I am facing and am 100% confident that I will conquer this disease! With your prayers and the grace of God!
Thank you, thank you, thank you and I hope and pray that you all have a very happy thanksgiving surrounded by love and light!
Thanks be to God and thanks be to you!
Please keep your prayers up-- they are truly powerful!
With all my heart, Heather
PS- it was a very good day:-)

My sources of inspiration

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

It's a beautiful day

Hi all- just a quick note to say that I woke up this morning feeling the best yet since last week! I went and said hello to my friends in the office and then met up with a friend for lunch :-)
Scan results on Thursday evening so hopefully that will be nothing but good news!! Keep the prayers coming as they have lifted my spirits and sustained me entirely! Thank you, thank you, thank you and I love you!
Get ready round 2 cuz I'm coming for you and this time I'm gonna kick hard!!!!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Email test

Happy Sunday! Feeling more and more like myself every day thank God!!
Colman is working furiously to bring my tech skills into the 21st century and asked me to try and post this from my phone! Egads! What will they think of next? Rest assured Colman Gately will be 'on it'
Just a bit of humour from a conversation with dad and Susan last night. I was telling them about the awful taste and coating in my mouth and tongue and Colman piped up that it was like 'athlete's foot' of the mouth and dad piped up 'be thankful that it's not jock itch!'. Crude but boys will be boys and it did make me LOL!
I am so thankful to God for making it through week 1 and for surrounding me in the light of His loving angels in heaven and here on earth!
Did I write enough Colman for the test?

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, 17 November 2012

It's the Weekend!

Hi All,
Just a note to let you know that I am hanging in there!  I have to admit that I did not expect this to be such a kick to my gut but the last few days have been like the worst sea-sickness I could ever imagine!   Thankfully, every day seems a bit better than the last one so I can only hope that I will be right as rain in the next couple of days.
I was put at a bit of a disadvantage for the first go around as on the 2nd day after my chemo, I had to be up early and out to the hospital across town for a CAT scan.  I then had to drink a picture of water mixed with awful tasting (Pernot?) licorice stuff over 1 -2 hours before they took me for the scan.  It was all I could do to keep it together but then I had to go to the other side of the city to the other hospital to have nuclear isotopes injected into me and told that I shouldn’t go around my kids or anyone pregnant for 24 hours.  They then sent me home for 2 hours (thankfully-as I slept finally) to come back again for the Bone Scan.  Results pending but we fully expect them to come back clean.  Needless to say, that truly knocked me for six and I was not in good shape for the rest of Thursday and Friday.  Why is it that you always feel worse in the dead of night??
I figured I better be truthful on this page otherwise, what’s the point?  I have experienced the lows.  I wonder how my dear mother ever stomached any of this?  I wonder how my lovely, young and vibrant sister-in-law has managed so gracefully??  How is it that so many are so brave when all I can think is ‘how in the hell will I ever go back for round 2?!?’  Except the crucial point that my mom said when I told her I didn’t think I could ever go through what she did and she turned to me and said, ‘Heather, you would and you must do anything to save your life!  If they told me today that there was something else that I could do, that might just change my situation, I’d do it!’  I thought about that a lot today—I will go back and go back each time!
As a wise man said to me today (that would be my husband)-I am already winning this battle.  If I had been compliant with my previous results and left this ‘cyst’ until next year—I likely would have been in a far more serious situation.  Thank God for that guardian angel voice in my head that would not be quiet and propelled me into checking into it all again.  If you only knew the odds of me being a ‘squeaky wheel’ you’d know how miraculous that point is!  My next step was showing up for the 1st round (anyone say ‘chicken’!) and after that I suppose every time I show up (knowing what lies ahead in the 4-5 days following)—I will be victorious.
All in All, today was a good day—I’ve managed to not take the heavy dose nausea killers (which also knock me out) and spend some time with the kids that didn’t involve me in bed!   We read books, cuddled, watched them play outside, Colman and Brendan had a play date at a friend’s house, daddy made cookies with the 2 younger ones and I am finally able to sit in front of the computer to write a bit of a blog.  I hope for more tomorrow but I think I will take it as it comes!
I ask you to pray for me, my husband and my children-who are being so good and I am certain that I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without them and without all of the words of prayer, support and encouragement!
Love to you all,

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

1 Down 7 to go!!

Hi all,

Well I made it through the first round of chemo and while although I felt like I was massively hung-over without having all the fun--it still wasn't quite as bad as I thought it would be.  I have been on waves of nausea for the past 24 hours but again, it is improving and the waves are settling faster.

The kids were so sweet when I walked through the door--all very gentle and little Aidan (4) 'Do you feel ok Mommy, how was your treatment?' then they all came over to give me gentle hugs and cuddles which have continued non-stop since! 

I have been completely overwhelmed by all of the good wishes, thoughts and prayers that have been coming my way constantly.  I am hoping that this blog allows for you all to keep informed of what is happening and that you can have a format for sending your good wishes, prayers etc. in a comfortable and easy fashion.

I am in the process of ‘staging’ in that I had MRI today and CAT and Bone Density scans tomorrow to ensure that the cancer is just localised to my left breast and nowhere else.  Keep the prayers flowing as I am confident that God is listening and we’ll get some good news on that front!

Thanks a million to you—you will never know how much it means to me that I am not on this journey alone!
XOXO Heather

Monday, 12 November 2012

Hi Everyone,
It's the night before the day I begin my journey.  I feel very strong in my mind and spirit and am ready to tackle and settle this battle once and for all!  I sincerely thank all of you for your lovely messages, emails and phone calls and find myself humbled by all the love!  Keep it coming!   Above all else as I told my 8 year old son Colman 'og--I do not walk alone on this journey.  I will walk with God by my side the entire time and if I ever get tired, stumble or fall-I have faith that God will carry me.  And I know that my dear mother Sheila will be holding me up and giving me strength in my weaknesses, struggles and moments of fear.  She was the ultimate warrior in her battle and I learned so much from her!

I love my husband Colman and our 4 beautiful children with all my heart and I know I have everything to fight for and to live for!
Thank you all again for everything and thanks for walking along with me on my journey.  I am confident that we will get there together and celebrate a great triumph!
All my heart, Heather