Facing Cancer
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A List of Beginnings and Endings

Everything is surreal at the moment. There are beginnings, and there are endings that loom. Rather than write a post, I think I’ll write a list. It’s easier to do at this moment. Not that any of this is hard, except you know the fracking cancer bit, but it’s just all so much. But then, the only time it all stop is when I disappear to Hungary for a break. Except it doesn’t disappear, it just WAITS FOR ME.
Anyhow, my list . . .



Beginning - A new job with a not-for-profit organization. I’m spreading the world about their book club and totally stoked about this new challenge. It’s a lot, but . . . it’s just . . . so . . .  awesome. If I’m going to do challenging things in my day, may it be this kind of challenge.

Beginning - A new medication. After talking with my oncologist, we’ve decided to try one more hormone therapy that apparently works a bit differently than others we’ve been doing before. I don’t know. At this point, I may be clutching at straws – is that the expression? Or, maybe rather  than clutching at straws, MAYBE, I will finally be onto a hormone therapy that could work.

Anyhow, during this time I look for a study option, but it is honestly a frustrating process. There are medications that seem promising, therapies that are targeted, and options I’d love to try – except I either don’t qualify or the study is full. All the good ideas seem inaccessible. It’s like looking through a display window at a beautiful pair of shoes. You can look, you can oogle, but with sky high price tags, you can’t touch. That’s what these studies are for me. However, I keep looking and hope one day to get something excellent. Also, along with the hormone drug, I’m getting a bone strengthening injection that is meant to not kill cancer, but rather block it from growing further. Because it’s in my damn bones.

Beginning – living DOWNTOWN. This is weird, to be honest. We’ve moved into a brand spanking new condo, which is quite downtown in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. I love Ottawa and I love all the wonderful events that happen . . . but so far I don’t love being so extremely in the middle of the city. I’m too much in the buzz, too much in the busy, too much in the strangeness, and far too much in the traffic. However, it’s a nine minute walk to work, and while I acclimatize to the 9-5:30 work day, I think I’d rather be living close. Naps, this way, become a mid-day possibility. Plus, I get to see my husband.

BY THE BY, I’m so stoked for this job. Just this past weekend, I found myself at a literary festival in the middle of the countryside outside of Toronto and handing out bookmarks! People were really receptive to the idea, and it was fun. My entire job (minus about 25%) is to promote the heck out of this thing and raise membership. AUGH! It’s a challenge, but it’s also a challenge I get to work on 5 days a week. It’s like winning the ultimate grant, in that I get paid to do what I love doing. AND my goodness, will there ever be a great deal of learning involved. This week is going to be all about orientation, and then the next will be about picking up the phone and exploring options. AHH!

And now for the less fun part of this post.


Ending – my sense of security, not that it was all so fabulous these past couple years since the mets diagnosis. But I would have these quiet lulls between scans. In fact, this past summer was a very long lull while I travelled to Hungary with my husband, and pretty much checked out of the world of cancer for weeks upon weeks. We thought this was all very healing – actually it was, but unfortunately the medication I was on wasn’t actually working, and the cancer decided to grow. It’s grown in my lungs, and spread to my bones. With that jump in location, the entire game changes.
Once again, I’m being told to be prepared for the hard realities…. Once again, I’d rather not prepare for a damn thing.

Ending – hormone therapy? I don’t know. My options have been picked through. If this next one doesn’t work, then it’s onto that mild daily dose of chemo. The doctor says it causes diarrhea, but the side effects are otherwise not terrible. I can see the bathroom door from my new desk at work, and wonder if I’ll be making beelines there in the future due to treatment. Gross.  But really, I just can’t bring myself to believe I need to face this again. Even if I’m not in the land of projectile vomit, it’s still crap. Will I be exhausted all the time? Will my bones ache constantly? Will my mood dip into a state of depression? Will I really have so much diarrhea?

I fudge buckets hate chemotherapy. Hate it. As patients, we need better than this. If it wasn’t for my deep love for my husband, I don’t think I’d even consider it again. Obviously we’re all different, and that’s just me. However, one step at a time, right? One treatment at a time. One beautiful day to savour at a time.


That’s the end of my list, for now. In a time when there are so many exciting beginnings, I am actually deeply sad for what is ending. Apparently I’m being referred to a psychologist. We’ll see how that goes. If someone could really just take away the cancer, I think my mood would recover quite well. I’m good at bouncing back.

So come on body, get rid of this stuff. And come on science, help eradicate those mutant cells.

Tired, tired, and tired. That’s what I really am. Even amongst the good things, in this moment I am tired.

Of course, I’m also blessed. So blessed.  I certainly do have a good life. It’s not always easy, but it is excessively blessed. However I am tired of these shocking and sad realities.

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Member since
Feb 03, 2011

I was diagnosed with breast cancer a few days after my one year wedding anniversary. That was a shocker. After three years NED, cancer reappeared and pushed me to stage four. This blog captures life despite cancer. With international relocations, job search drama, fighting off apartment vermin, falling deeply in love and more. Life is challenging, but nevertheless inspiring and that’s what Bumpboobs is all about. You can find me over at @Bumpyboobs on Twitter, and hey - I wrote a lovely fiction novel! - over at http://www.CatherineBrunelle.com

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