Cancer, melanoma, sun exposure

Lucky Friday the 13th

On Friday, I received a call from my doctor.  She proclaimed to me twice, “You are one lucky lady.”

The third pathology report had just been received in her office and there is no more residual melanoma around the tumour site.  She commented to me again that she had treated smaller moles/marks caught earlier that ended up being fatal.

I have a referral to the melanoma specialist on June 13, 2016.  He will examine my entire body to see if there are any other areas of concern.  I was advised that I am at risk for further occurrences so it is imperative that I be vigilant with monitoring and sun protection/avoidance. Genetic testing will likely be recommended for both me and my daughters.

 

 

 

 

 

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adultery, affair, Betrayal, Cancer, cheating, Christianity, divorce, faith, God, melanoma, separatiion, Spirituality, the other woman

A Spreading Cancer and a beautiful Crater

I met with the doctor on Friday afternoon, last week.  She was held up in the operating room at the hospital so she was late getting back to her office. There were two patients for her to see before me so it was close to 3:30 when I finally got to meet with her.

The melanoma in my right arm has spread beyond the 5 mm perimeter on one side.  Therefore, I require more surgery. My doctor wanted me to come in on Sunday.  I told her I was leaving in the morning for March break. I was leaving with a girlfriend and her two daughters along with my daughter for a road trip. We had reservations at the Running Y Ranch Resort in Klamath Falls, Oregon for Saturday.  We booked to stay for the week (an amazing deal of only $150/week for a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo) but we planned on leaving Thursday to go to Portland as our girls are in a dance competition.  It would be a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride from Victoria to Port Angeles and then another 10 hour drive to our destination so I really couldn’t delay the trip for 2 days without disappointing 4 other people.

We discussed the risks of waiting.  My doctor said if it was a basal cell carcinoma she would say it was okay to wait but she reminded me we are dealing with melanoma and “ideally” it should come out today.  She said there were two benefits of waiting.  Firstly, the scar on my arm is very tight.  The longer it has to heal the more chance there is skin for her to pull back over my wound.  She also said waiting until I get back would give her time to try and see if she could order a small batch of skin bond glue.  It is very expensive and I will have to pay for it.  She said she would see if she could order just enough for my procedure.  It will cost about $50.

So I made the decision to carry on with my trip. I booked my surgery for the first available appointment my doctor had after Easter which is the end of March break.

I do not regret my decision, at this point anyway. We are having an amazing time.  The resort was beautiful.  We made a lot of use out of the huge pool that we had to ourselves a lot of the time.  We enjoyed the Shriner circus, shopped, explored the lava beds in California, the Wildlife Refuge, climbed mountains, descended into caves, went on self-guided nature walks, visited Petroglyphs and learned a lot about the Madoc and Klamath Indian battles with the white settlers.

The highlight was being able to experience the awe of Crater Lake. We had wanted to go early in the week but due to snow storms there was no visibility even if we could make the drive up there.  We were able to view the webcams around the lake from our resort lobby. There was no visibility. It was fogged in.  The road was completely snow packed. The road had been closed the entire time we were in Klamath Falls but we heard that you could snow shoe from the Visitor Station to the rim in about 30 minutes. We decided to chance it on our way back towards Portland. It was a clear, sunny and warm day. It turns out that the road reopened just two hours before we arrived so we were able to drive up to the rim.

It was a very spiritual experience for me. The half million years it took for Mount Mazama to form.  Then the battle that was brewing inside it until it’s final eruption 7,700 years ago. So violent was that eruption that the foundation cracked in a complete circle and the entire mountain collapsed in destruction. When all that was left was the empty, scarred caldera it became filled with melted snow to form the deepest lake in the United States and possibly the purest source of water in the world. It was a real reminder to me of how the most difficult and traumatic experiences in our life that completely leave us depleted can be filled with everything good and pure and turn our lives into the most beautiful, unimaginable creations.

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adultery, affair, Cancer, divorce, infidelity, melanoma, separation

Cancer Update

Last Thursday, I contacted my specialist’s office as I was surprised I still hadn’t received any information about the pathology report following removal of the malignant melanoma tumour in my right shoulder. I was told that it had not been received and they too were anxiously awaiting the report and would call as soon as it came in.

Today, I was contacted that the report has now been received.  When I went in to have the stitches removed it was my understanding that if the surgery was successful and there was no more sign of cancer there would be no need to return.  I would just be referred to the Melanoma expert for ongoing monitoring and genetic testing for me and my girls.

I was hoping that my specialist would call directly again saying that there was good news this time.  I wanted her to call and say that the cancer had all been removed and that I didn’t need to go back. I thought she would confirm the referral to Dr. Patrick Kenny’s office and tell me that his office would call me with my first appointment date.

Instead, I was contacted by my specialist’s assistant. She told me that the doctor needed me to come in so she could go over the pathology results with me directly.  She asked if I could come in on Thursday or Friday.

My appointment is Friday at 2:30.

 

 

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adultery, affair, Betrayal, Cancer, cheating, divorce, God, Healing, hot yoga, unfaithfulness

Stay Real,Live Positive,Practice Hot Yoga

Hope comes in many forms.
As I walk my journey of heart break, betrayal, and the devastating consequences of a narcissistic, cheating spouse and his self-seeking girlfriend in my life, God inserts kinder, gentler, inspiring people to remind me that my ex and the other woman are only two crumby people in a huge world that have lived on and crossed my path, temporarily blocking my way.
David Smith, photographed below in a standing bow posture, is one of the many better people that have appeared in my life, since my separation.  He arrived at the perfect time. David Smith and I take Bikram yoga classes together. In 2015, he was so kind in emailing me encouraging messages pertaining to my yoga practice, my running and my life situation. I thought it was the coach in him but I have realized that his own life experiences, which could have embittered him, and did, (he thinks it caused his cancer) have made him the amazing man that he is today.
I wanted to share one aspect of his life, as I wait for the results of my own cancer diagnosis, just as an offer of hope and encouragement. Maybe what we interpret as a death sentence is only an opportunity for a better life.
David Smith, standing bowDAVID SMITH:
 MY YOGA STORY
Being diagnosed with terminal cancer is a real shock to say the least. Cancer comes in many varieties. Unluckily, mine was diagnosed as the most aggressive you can get. It had spread to twenty locations from behind the lungs to the pelvis. It was on the move to the brain, bones or both, next.
Cancer and its treatment are extremely hard on the body. From 2011 to 2014 I received four surgical procedures, the key one failed and was aborted. A dizzying array of nasty meds, fifty two radiation treatments and forty five radioactive seed implants followed. During and after all this treatment my immune system was nonexistent as all critical blood values dipped well below normal ranges. Testosterone, a critical male hormone wasn’t just low, it went to zero as did strength and energy levels. My weight shot up from 170 to 208 lbs, almost overnight.
Did I mention that I run my own business? It was not doing great as well.
Just to add another level of stress and ‘excitement’, when you develop cancer the kooks come out of the woodwork offering a dizzying array of witchcraft and untested home remedies. All unproven and most for money of course. Surprisingly the advice I found most offensive was “stay positive.” You have got to be kidding me! The best advice is to STAY REAL!
Fortunately I had great support from long time employees, my son Tyler (now a Bikram instructor and another dramatic yoga success story), a team of very well qualified doctors in the United States and the Sidney Hot Yoga studio.
Hot Yoga, you have got to be kidding!
I have an extensive competitive cycling background as a member of the Canadian National Team in 1993, and coach to Ryder Hesjedal – arguably one of the best cyclists Canada has ever produced. A Hot Yoga studio was the last place I ever thought I would be. From my sports training background I knew the importance of good nutrition and so eating habits were modified. Not to extremes. Just sensible.
During radiation treatment in Sarasota Florida, Tyler would drag me to the Bikram studio right after treatment before the negative effects took hold.  I would crawl through classes, like it or not. When I returned to Sidney, I suffered through Thirty Day Challenges and even challenged myself to many a double class and even an all-day yoga, doing four classes in one day.
There have been many recent medical studies that are showing that yoga benefits cancer patients. Duhh….of course it does! Instead of “staying positive” you are “living positive.” Surrounding yourself with good energy, positive people and improving your fitness level. Its a no brainer.
My doctors are amazed at how healthy I look and how well I am doing. As one commented, “You are not the man in your medical charts, what is your secret?” I don’t know what the outcome will be. I do know that I am doing WAY better than what was first predicted.
For now the cancer is gone.
What I know too is that hot yoga has played a huge role in the success of the treatments. Aches and pains from of a lifetime of crashes and crazy boat rides are gone as well. There is still everyday stress but it gets handled with a new sense of calm, dignity and confidence. In the end, illness, arthritis, stress or not, I  should have been doing heated yoga all along anyway – Wake up calls come in strange ways.
Thanks to all of you! XXXOOO David
P.S. Please feel free to share this with friends and family, maybe it will help their loved ones. I wish I had a better Standing Bow but oh well!
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adultery, affair, Cancer, control, divorce, infidelity, marriage, melanoma, narcissism, parenting after separation

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good: (Me)

I had my tumor removed yesterday and the doctor felt that it went well.  She also took out a 5 mm perimeter around the tumor and went 5 mm deep.  That sample is off to pathology. I am being referred to a cancer specialist who’s expertise is melanoma.

The Good:  (Dave)

On February 1 Dave paid me the increase in my support payment as per the court order and a couple of hundred more to start covering the additional court order for arrears and court costs.  On February 2 he sent me a payment of $3000 toward this amount and he said that he will send me another $3000 today and a payment tomorrow to resolve this order.

The Bad:  (Me)

The doctor was frank and told me that she has seen marks smaller than mine caught earlier than mine be fatal.  My Irish background has the strongest genetic disposition for melanoma and thinks that I will be advised to have genetic testing.  She said that I need to eventually have a discussion with my girls about my diagnosis as they need to be aware for themselves and should also have genetic testing.  She told me that Bob Marley died of melanoma. Obviously he has a very different skin type than me. His was on his foot and it was just thought to be a wart. The feet is apparently the worst place to have melanoma as it tends to be the most aggressive.

The Bad: (Dave)

Dave has confirmed he is going to go to send us to court again over pet expenses, the dance expenses and some other outstanding special expenses he doesn’t want to pay.  He, also, claimed our older daughter on his taxes as a dependent for his 2014 return when she lived most the time during that year (8 out of the 12 months) with me.  He didn’t even pay child support during that period.  He knows that wasn’t right but it is more to his tax advantage.  That doesn’t matter and now I am being taxed $732 for rightfully claiming her.  I told Dave that he can pay me that amount if his tax savings is more and it has to be by February 5 so I don’t have to pay interest or this will become another Revenue Canada (he can be reassessed and have to pay more plus interest) and another legal issue.  He said he isn’t paying and is going to fight his support payments because he thinks he missed something in mediation in my documentation that may have affected what he is paying.

The Ugly:  (Me)

The cancerous mark on my right upper shoulder is actually called an “ugly duckling”. I am attaching a picture just so you can see what it looks like in case you ever see this on your body or some one else’s body.

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The Ugly: (Dave)

I am getting very adept at identifying the unreasonable, misplaced anger, blame and threatening dialogue of my ex.

He has been fairly consistent at picking up our daughter on Thursday night to take her to get dinner. He usually picks her up at 5:30 and drops her off by 7:30 at the latest, but usually earlier.

I contacted him on Tuesday to say that our daughter wasn’t able to meet him this Thursday so would he like to see her Friday night or Saturday instead. I don’t think that she has ever cancelled a Thursday night.

He said that wasn’t acceptable because he made plans for her to have dinner with his parents who are visiting for the month of February. He texted her and she told him that she was going to an open house that was being held at one of the high schools she is interested in attending in September.

I told Dave that she was sick too (she is off school today) so that might prevent her from doing anything.  His response: “Oh but you can plan to take her to Claremont when you know my parents are here…big surprise.”

I told him that I have no control over when high schools hold their open house.  It runs from 6 – 8 and she has a cavity to get filled before that at 4:30 p.m.  Again, if she still feels like she does, she might not attend anything. I reminded him that his parents are here for a month and they can see her whenever she isn’t at school or dance practice or have plans that are important to her.

His response: “Oh thanks…as usual you do your own thing around your schedule not others. If (daughter) isn’t coming for dinner then there is no reason for me to be up the peninsula so she will have to wait until Saturday to get the raffle tickets and money.”

 

 

 

 

 

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adultery, affair, Betrayal, Cancer, cheating, children, Christianity, divorce, ex spouse, family, infidelity, melanoma

Cancer

Sometime in 2012, when I was under the illusion that I was happily married, I noticed a dark mark on my right upper arm.  At first I thought it was my vaccination mark.  Then I realized that my vaccination is on my left arm and that it looked the same as always.  This was something new.

That summer I went to my doctor’s office to have it checked.  My doctor was on vacation so I consulted the locum taking her place.  She examined the mark but felt that it was nothing and suggested that I just watch it for changes.

Fast forward 3 1/2 years now that my life has finally settled enough for me to consider my own health.  I went to my doctor for my first physical since my separation.  I showed my doctor the mark and she was concerned.  She said she was sure it was a basal cell carcinoma, the best kind of skin cancer to have, but that it needed to be removed. She referred me to a specialist.

The specialist had a different concern.  She looked at the cells through a special microscope and said that she didn’t like what she was seeing.  She was surprised at how large the mark was and said that it was too big for her to remove without leaving terrible scarring.  She was going on holidays at the end of the week but wanted it biopsied before she left. She asked her nurse to book time for me, even if it meant she had to stay late one night because we needed to see what we were dealing with as quickly as possible.

She cut out an elliptical cross-section of the mark.  She sewed the skin back up with dissolving stitches in the under layers and nylon stitches on top.  I returned 2 weeks later to have the top stitches removed but the pathology report still wasn’t in.  She said she was going to follow up directly with the lab to get the report.

Tonight I received a call from the specialist from her home after hours.  The pathology report confirms that I have the aggressive and most dangerous skin cancer, melanoma.  I have to call her office tomorrow to make an appointment to go back in next week to determine the next steps.

Melanoma is the least common of skin cancers but it causes the most deaths.  If it is not treated early enough it can spread through the blood stream to other parts of the body making it difficult to treat.  I feel like close to 4 years of this growth on my body is not early intervention.

I am disappointed with myself for not following my gut that this was something that needed to be removed when I first found it.  I am also being compassionate with myself though.  It is very fresh in my mind the last 3 years of hell that have been my reality. Especially because many aspects of that daily battle still exist. When I reflect back on what I was dealing with emotionally and the tasks that I had to perform physically and mentally, all by myself, just surviving each day was a victory in itself.  The worry and stress I carried for me and my children and the responsibilities that were now solely dumped on me along with the impact of the consequences of my husband bailing on his family buried me. It is no wonder that my own physical well-being fell so low on the priority list.

So as I read an email that Dave just sent addressed to “Robo McBlobo” I am reminded that I have strength of character, perseverance, faith, hope and trust in a greater purpose that will allow me to deal with whatever this cancer has in store for me.

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