Sunday, November 29, 2009


It's back to work I go...

After 13.5 months of amazingly awesome highs and turbulent lows I am looking forward to getting back at it. I feel like I am a different person now with changed views on life, a shift in priorities and a renewed sense of values.

Of course I am going to miss my wonderful kids. They make me smile when I wake up and I can't help but giggle at all the silly sounds they make, the faces they give me and the phrases that come out of their mouths...but right now I think this is a good step for me! I have also made some incredible friends this past year...friends that have been there for me as if I've known them for my whole life and I will seriously miss the coffee, the playdates and the chit chat! These moments have meant so much to me!

I do realize however that once I have to wake up at an unbelievably unreal time and spend a day on transit I might not be so eager to be part of the working world again...LOL!

I keep thinking this will make everything go back to "normal" but I don't even know what normal is anymore. MY normal doesn't exist...and I am trying desperately to adjust to MY NEW NORMAL! I have always been the person who seriously dislikes doctors and now they are going to be a constant in my life...and it never gets any easier!

But for now I am going to re-join the rat race and try to make the best of it and enjoy the ride!

Just to let you all far I haven't heard anything about the results from my whole body scan, so right now I'm taking it as no news is good news! I also have a follow-up appointment with my surgeon on Friday Dec. 4th so I will be sure to keep you all posted on what goes on there!!

Way less radioactive girl signing out...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I came home today at lunchtime and Taylor was in school of course and Rachel and Caleb were sleeping so it was perfect! They would be totally surprised when they woke up.Rachel woke up not too long after I got home so I went upstairs and met her at the top of the stairs...she just looked at me...then I tried talking to her...and she just looked at funny! Eventually when she woke up she was all smiles and gave me a big hug. Then it was like I had never left.

Our nanny showed up at around 1:00 p.m. to see how our afternoon routine goes to better prepare herself for Monday. Thankfully Deb made a very detailed list of snacks and their locations, and instructions for bottles, etc. for the many babysitters we had this week so I also gave it to our nanny which she thought was very helpful! THANKS DEB!!

Caleb woke up next and I walked into his room and he looked at me through the bars in his crib...and his eyes got HUGE...and then he cried, and just reached out for me. He's so sensitive! Then it was hugs, smiles and drooly kisses!!

We walked to go and get Taylor from school and she didn't recognize it was actually me until she was practically right in front of me, then she just looked at me, gave me a massive hug and said, "I missed you Mommy". Shortly after we walked in the house from school Rachel busted out one of her famous temper tantrums and was sent to her room where she continued to put quite the show...EPIC!

Ahhhhhhh...GOOD TO BE HOME!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Scan Day

The night before any type of test, procedure, treatment or even follow up appointment I get that uneasy feeling in my stomach and don't rest and can't seem to turn my mind off. Mike now knows the routine of me not eating in the morning of the appointment and pretty much not talking the entire way to the's just how I roll.

A very wise person once told me that I need to wake up each morning and get used to my new "normal", but I guess I still need to work on that, because each time one of these "routine" events happen, I still fight with myself to just get there.

This morning was my body scan. I check into the nuclear medicine department at the Foothills hospital and wait for them to call my name. Thankfully Mike was able to come with me. Just knowing that I have someone in the waiting room for me afterwards makes a world of difference. So, I go in, lay on the bed and lie very still for about 35 minutes while this big camera goes over me from head to toe compiling a picture of my body in little tiny dots.

Of course they can't tell me anything so I get off the bed, they go and check to make sure there's nothing else they need to take a closer look at and then I'm on my way. Thankfully they gave me the go ahead without having to take any more pics so I take that as a good sign!!

The radioactive measurement man then came in and had to see how radioactive I still was and if I could go home to my children. He was actually very surprised that I had gotten rid of so much of it out of my system already. He then informed me that our children are actually exposed to 1000 times more radiation than I was putting off just by living in Calgary for a year...interesting...along with kinda disturbing.

The bottom line...IF I did go home to my kids then I would have to make sure that they don't lay on me to watch TV or anything for a long period of time and under no circumstances can any of them crawl into bed with us in the middle of the night and stay there...unless they slept with Mike in between so that he could absorb any of the radiation I may be putting off...LOL..lucky guy eh? He also said not to withhold any affection if they need me, but don't go looking for it from them or encourage it for another 5 days or so...hmmm???

Ok, so now we are faced with a decision. I was seriously torn because of the above issues and who knows how they are going to react when I walk in the door. They may just want a quick hug and then carry on with their day, or they could want me to hold them for 2 hours straight snuggling right up to me which was a NO NO!! But with me going back to work in 6 days I really want and need to spend as much time with them as I can.

Decision...decided to stay away another night, get a decent night's sleep and go back home around noon and just deal with it as it comes. I may not be able to cuddle them for hours on end, but at least they will be near me and I near them! They are resilient little beings that's for sure and have handled the past 8 days like troopers!!

THANK YOU to everyone who has banded together to help us out during this. Of course my wonderful mother in law Deb has been amazing as always and has never hesitated to drop things and pretty much halt her entire life to give us a hand. We are forever indebted to this fantastic lady and love her more than we could possibly express!!

All of the friends and family that have offered meals and babysitting...your kindness will never ever be forgotten and you are so very appreciated!

Thanks to all of my visitors and my have made being radioactive way more tolerable simply by being around me. Love you all so much...even if you don't feel the happy vibes all the time!! You all didn't have to do the things you did but I am so thankful for the love and the laughter!


Sunday, November 22, 2009


I figured since I was feeling a little feisty today that I would blog about this particular emotion. I definitely appreciate all the feedback that I have been getting as I document my journey but I need to make something very clear...and I know it is probably quite obvious to everyone but during the past 18 months I have had serious moments of extreme ANGER!!!

Anger so raw that I just want to punch my fist through a wall or SCREAM at the top of my lungs...some days I feel like I'm doing so good and then the next day anger will almost consume me!

I remember Mike and I putting the kids to bed one night and then I decided to go to the mailbox to get our mail. When I was walking back up the steps to our door I caught my foot on the top step and I went down...HARD...smacking my head on the corner of the bricks that line our door and I just sat there and cried. Mike came to my rescue like my knight in shining armour and brought me inside. I then proceeded to open the mail after I got some ice on the growing horn on my head. Among the many envelopes in the mail was one from the hospital. Without thinking about what it could be I opened it up and noticed that it was the pamphlet explaining my second surgery. Now this pamphlet was complete with pictures of possible incision sites and I FREAKED out!!! That was the last straw for that day... I just sat down and cried.

Mike came and knelt in front of me, put his hands on my lap and I just yelled "WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME"??? WHY????????? I was sooooooooo the situation, at the cancer, at the doctors, at God...everyone was on my hit list!!! It just wasn't fair!!!!!!!!!!!!! But Mike stayed by my side and just let me cry and get mad...exactly what I needed!!

Another moment was when I was talking to Deb about everything that was going on and I realized that she was freaked out about a few things and just knowing that people were just as scared as I was SCARED the absolute crap out of here came the anger...I just yelled at her "YES, I AM ANGRY...I AM FURIOUS THAT THIS IS GOING ON, BUT I NEED EVERYONE AROUND ME TO TELL ME AND TRULY BELIEVE THAT I AM GOING TO MAKE IT THROUGH THIS"!!

Everyone keeps telling me that I am strong and a hero and you know, everyone in my life that I have ever encountered that has gone through cancer I have felt the exact same way about them, but for some reason most of the time I don't feel very strong and I sure as heck don't feel like a hero! But just hearing it from all of you makes me gain a little bit of my strength back when I get so exhausted I don't know what to do with myself!!

So as I sit here being Radioactive Girl away from my family once AGAIN because of this stupid cancer I am reminded just how UNFAIR this all is. When my kids are talking to me on the phone crying for me to hug them and I can't...UNFAIR!! Or telling me over and over again how much they miss me and I can't go to them...UNFAIR!! Not being able to hug or kiss anyone goodnight...UNFAIR!!

You know, it's a wonder people stick around and deal with all my junk!! But man oh man, am I ever glad they do!! Or else who knows where I would be...


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Be careful what you wish for... know, as a parent sometimes you just wish for 30 minutes to yourself and you hope and pray for those moments...and then you find yourself having time away from your kids for an entire week and all you want is them...we are never happy are we??

Although it would probably be different if I were lounging on a beach somewhere and not in a house alone typing on the computer with latex gloves on!!

Today along with yesterday was a whole lotta nothing really. Oh, but I had a wonderful lunch delivery today so I got to enjoy a chicken quesadilla!! YUMMMM!!

I watched some TV and got caught up on all of my soaps, e-mailed a few people, talked on the phone and anxiously awaited Mike to come over so we could watch Stargate. I know, the fun never ends here people!!

Oh, and just so you can all put the question to, I don't glow in the dark and my pee isn't glowing either...although I wonder if it would if I had a black light? LOL...anywhoo...that's all that's going on here!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fast Forward

So I know that I'm not up to date with the rest of my journey but I really wanted to start a daily log while going through this next phase so I will give you guys the goods on the rest of the past year and a half in a little while...

After surgery thyroid cancer patients then go through this procedure called Radioactive Iodine's usually about 6 to 8 weeks after the surgery. The first time I had it done (January 2009) I went to the hospital and watched a video of what was going to happen, waited for my room mate to arrive, found out that my pregnancy test came back 'not negative enough'...didn't realize that could happen. This prolonged the actual procedure but eventually we got it underway.

Fast forward to yesterday....At 10:30 a.m. I drove myself to the hospital after kissing my babies goodbye and tried to check in. They didn't have any record of me having any kind of procedure so I had to go down to nuclear medicine and ask them. They had me on their list as already being there..hmmm...nope, cause HERE I AM!! Back up to admitting and try this again. Finally they get me all checked in and I go up to my unit. Once I got my room (by myself this time) I sit and wait for more a lab tech to come and collect more blood. Finally around 1:00 p.m. my lovely nurses come in and prep me for the "drink". Then I found out that my preg test came back again as "not negative enough". SERIOUSLY?? I then had to convince them that there was NO way I was pregnant so they would not stall the procedure.

I then have to sit down in a chair covered in plastic bags and put a bib on while one of the techs takes out a lead container (that's reassuring) containing the radioactive liquid that I have to suck through a straw. It's only about a mL of liquid but it definitely doesn't taste very good. Burnt almonds is what it is...but worse...if that makes sense! Once I drink it, they leave quickly and I am left by myself with occasional check-ins from a head that pokes in the door saying "how are ya hun"?

The radioactive iodine goes through my body and clings to any extra cells that may be hanging around that may cause some more cancer and hopefully gets rid of them. Sitting in a hospital room by yourself for 24 hours with little to no contact with even nurses makes one think...A LOT!!

I was flipping through the channels on my TV and found myself stopping at things like SportsNet and Treehouse or Family channel. These are all channels that are usually on at my house, but I'm not the one watching them. But it made me feel closer to my family just watching them. I remember thinking last night...I bet Mike is watching the sports updates right now, so I watched some of them too...even though they meant NOTHING to me. I watched NCIS as per weekly ritual and was comforted with the thought of Mike, Deb, Rebekah, Joshua and my good friend Kathy all watching it with other houses of course.

While my thoughts were going all over the place I really realized that even though there are little quirks that can sometimes be irritating about spouses and children, these were the same little quirks that were making me smile while sitting in the hospital. Man, I missed them!! I think this time around was going to be harder than the last time...maybe because the kids are older and they can sense my absense more now and that really upsets me.

Here's my final thought that I took away from my night of loneliness...sit alone in a room and just think about life...think about your partner, your kids, your friends...then write down the things that make you smile about these people and about what you absolutely love about them...then when you feel overwhelmed with life's situations or people in general you can pick up your notebook and read what you will take you back to a happy place and really make you appreciate even the moments and quirks that you don't usually embrace.

Night all...thanks for being here for me!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Surgery #1

So November 24th, 2008 was fast approaching and I was starting to get a little antsy. I remember going to bed the night before and not really being able to sleep. I tossed and turned, said a prayer or two (or a hundred) and then when I finally had to get up and leave I just kept saying "I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go". Can't it just go away on its own? Ha!! If only...

We get to the hospital and do all the preliminary stuff...check in, dress in flattering gown, hat and slippers, walk down to the OR where your team is waiting to put you to's just routine right? They will go in there, remove cancer and thyroid, close me up, I go home in 2-3 days right??

That was the plan, but my 2 hour ROUTINE surgery turned into a 4 hour surgery and then when I came to they told me that the cancer had wrapped itself so tightly around my vocal chords that they had to scrape at them for a lot longer than they had anticipated so they might be shocked for a while. My throat hurt and I wasn't talking very well. My brother in law Josh actually told me later on that I sounded like Michael Jackson...great...! The doc said my voice should be back to normal within a few weeks...

I was horrified to look at myself in the mirror because I had visions in my mind of this horrible scar, but was pleasantly surprised when I finally got up the courage. That's not so bad I thought. It was super swollen but once that went down it would look pretty decent. PHEW!! But if the cancer was gone then it was totally worth it! Scars will fade, scars will fade...

I was really really looking forward to only staying in the hospital for a couple days and then going home to my babies. But that didn't calcium levels weren't staying where they should have been due to the fact that they had to remove 2 of my parathyroid glands and we had to wait for the other 2 glands to kick in and keep my calcium up. So, they put me on ridiculous amounts of pills and vitamin D to see if that would work...NOPE!

Minutes, hours, and DAYS passed and I was still in the hospital. Nurses were constantly in my room checking vitals and tapping my face looking for twitches which indicate calcium deficiency and when I twitched WOW, it was like it was Christmas for those girls. LOL. I was quickly becoming a local hospital celebrity! I came in known as the young mom who was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant...and I was now being flagged as the Calcium Deficient girl!! I remember waking up in the middle of the night one night with a panicky feeling and my fingers, feet and lips were tingling like nobody's business. I called for the nurses to come in and they tested my calcium again and it was at a dangerous level. Apparently you can go into seizures due to lack of calcium...who knew?? NOT ME!! I was at the dangerous seizure level and had to get hooked up to a calcium infusion through my IV.

Just when I thought I was dealing with enough on my plate, a couple of days after my surgery my surgeon came into my room to tell me that the pathology of my tumor came back and apparently the type of cancer I had was a tall cell variant of papillary thyroid cancer and may require a more aggressive treatment...the room started spinning again...WHAT?? This is getting worse?? I thought this was supposed to be ROUTINE??

When the surgical team left my room I grabbed my laptop and googled (bad idea people). I freaked out and called Mike and him and Deb came to my rescue once again to calm me down. In my mind all I could think of was "I'm going to die". Panic was setting in and I couldn't stop crying!! How many more tears can I possibly shed? It was becoming exhausting! Eventually I went to sleep and tried to push all negativity out of my mind...that didn't happen.

Between the calcium issue and now this different variant of cancer I was now peaking the interest of the grand poobah of Endocrinologists. I had heard his name floating around between doctors and nurses and finally he came into my room with a big smile and says to me "so you're the one causing all the problems". EXCELLENT bedside manner! He eased my mind more than anyone about what was going on and told me that I was now officially one of his patients and he was going to take care of me. Listening to this guy talk to his students was like watching an episode of House! It was awesome. He would stand outside my door and throw scenarios out at them and want quick responses and it was pretty entertaining listening to them scramble for th right answer! The nurses told me that I was very lucky to have him in my court so that was very reassuring!!

Next day I saw one of the surgeons again and I told him that they had freaked me out the day before. He apologized and told me that they didn't mean to do that and that my survival rate was still really really good. It just means that it MAY need additional treatment...OK, back to breathing...!

My kids...I couldn't wait to see them but was also afraid of what they were going to think about Mommy's scar and being hooked up to machines. Of course they were apprehensive about touching me when they saw me and that broke my heart. It was like Rachel was looking at me like I was a stranger...but I told them I was ok and that I would be home soon. To this day if Rachel sees a hospital she will say "Mommy, hospital, doctor...OWWEEEE"! Mike would bring Caleb in to see me so I could still have some one on one time with him since I was feeling like the WORST mother ever not being with my newborn baby. The nurses were in love with him and would give Mike "the look" if he dared walk into the unit without a baby seat. Too funny. I did have the best nurses.

My blood was taken at least twice a day to check calcium levels and everytime the results came back we were all hoping for good news. I was in the hospital for 8 days when they finally said they were going to send me home even though I was only at the bottom level of OK for calcium. Good enough for me...I'm outta here. They send me home with calcium supplements up the ying yang and told me that if I started to tingle to get back to the hospital.

I was packed and ready so fast and then of course had to wait forever for the doctor's to do their rounds and discharge me. Then my wonderful brother in law Paul came to get me and take me home to recover....

(I apologize for the length of some of these posts, I am just trying to catch up with a lot of the major stuff so I can move onto more recent things)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Big News for Little People

We knew we had to tell Taylor about the cancer because she was obviously at the age where she would know that something was going on. She's also too smart for her own good and there would be no blowing this by her!!

I remember it being shortly after she did the Terry Fox run at school. She had also written a letter about him in school and had been telling us about it and how he died of his cancer. I thought to myself, GREAT!! How do I reassure her that I'M going to be fine when she has just learned about Terry Fox!! Talk about bad timing!!

So I tried to use it as more of a teaching tool since she had already had some kind of cancer background in her head. I remember being terrified to tell her anything and was worried about how it was going to come out. NO child should have to deal with something like this. It's tough enough going through life as it is but having to worry about a parent being sick is just not right!!

I told her that Mommy was going to be going back into the hospital after the baby was born so that the doctors could get some bad stuff out of her neck. I briefly explained that while I did have cancer (like Terry Fox), it was a very different kind of cancer and there were lots of things the doctors could do to help me.

She looked at me and said, OK....... WOW, I love kids! It may have taken a while to sink into her but for now she was just dealing with it in her own way. I then asked her if she had any questions and she said NO. Then I told her that if she ever had anything she needed to talk about she could talk to me no problem. OK Mommy....

I couldn't even imagine what her little mind was going through. I didn't even know how to process the whole thing and I am an adult...I would have loved to know EXACTLY what was happening in that little mind of hers.

So, time went on and of course there were moments of acting out on her part...and mine! Whether or not it had to do with the stress I was under, or the stress she was feeling, or a combination of both. Or maybe she was just being a kid going through regular tantrums and I was reading more into it who knows.

Maybe I expected her to be more devastated about it like I was, or maybe the lack of knowledge that kids have on subjects like this is indeed a blessing. Now I just need to keep things like GOOGLE away from her. HA!!

One day she did come up to me, looked at me and asked the one question that I had been dreading... Mommy, are you going to die?

OUCH!! What do you do with that?? I guess I could have said something like "Well honey, we are all going to die eventually", but that would have been a cop out and not what she was talking about and I knew it.

So, I did what any mother would do to protect her child from any more worry and hurt and told her in my most convincing voice, "No honey, Mommy is not going to die from this"...then gave her a huge hug, she smiled at me and I smiled at her, then I went upstairs and cried...because to tell you the truth, at the time I didn't even really believe what I had just said...

Children are amazing little creatures and I learn more and more about life through their eyes every single day. Their faith and trust is remarkable!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I LOVE my kids but...


So, we are going to take a break from the cancer talk for a second because I needed to share part of my mothering journey with everyone. That and I seem to be making a lot of people cry so I figured it was time for a lighter story. LOL...sorry about the tears everyone, that is definitely not my intention!! But I am so flattered that everyone is actually reading my random thoughts!!!

Ok, back to the woes of potty training. I know you have all been there and we could all talk about the endless stories of stubborn children but I think I have met the Queen bee of stubborness and her name is RACHEL!!!

I figured I would leave it up to her to let me know when she was ready to be trained because we went through 2 years of insanely frustrating training with Taylor so I swore that I wouldn't go through that again, or put any of my kids through it. But, since she just turned 3 in October and was displaying NO signs whatsoever of wanting or needing be trained I started to encourage the thought. Up to this point she was having moments of even changing herself instead of deciding to do her business in the toilet. We have tried smarties, stickers, you name it!! STUBBORN!!!

We were going pretty hardcore when all of a sudden I realized that she had gone almost an entire day without peeing...hmmmm, I said to myself...that can't be good. Then I thought of the last time she had done number 2 and realized that it had been at least a couple of days. Well, she started to complain when she sat down of pain so I took her to the hospital. We sat in the waiting room for 5 hours with all of the flu patients (good times). She tried her hardest to go to the bathroom but with no luck. So, we finally get into the doctor and he says he has to give her an enema and asked me what has changed in the past little bit. I say nothing really, just us trying to train her.

I have always heard of children taking control into their own hands when it comes to potty training and deciding to just NOT go but I never in a million years thought it would happen to one of my kids. Although if any of you know me or how I was when I was younger I guess it really shouldn't have surprised me. My lovely 3 year old had decided to withhold her bodily functions to apparently take a stand against me and my potty training attempts...again, good times!

I have NEVER experienced an enema myself so I couldn't imagine what her poor body went through but I have never heard her make that sound in her life...I can look back on it now and smile about it but at the time, it was NOT COOL!!

So, they clear her out and send us on our way. The doc tells me to keep her full of fibre so she won't have any other choice but to go. But my stubborn little girl sure showed him and his theory. I was pumping her so full of fruit and everything else I could think of that it was unbelievable...and NOTHING!! She was so terrified from her ordeal at the hospital she kept holding it for another 4 days...grrrrr!!! But man, was she ever proud of herself for peeing in the potty, but the other duty was out of the question!!!

After calling the HealthLink we decide to give her mineral oil and that finally did something...but only once...and she was back to holding it!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? So, I hit the wal-mart pharmacy and ask the pharmacist for her opinion. She gives me Colace and tells me GOOD LUCK!! Ha!! Thanks!

Now we are trying to pump her full of stool softener on top of her water and fruit and other goodies. NOTHING!!! She holds it for another 4 days which is when Daddy makes the threat...if you don't poop by the time I get home from work, we are going back to the hospital and they will give you more medicine! This was followed by a NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This morning I had an appointment so Auntie Kari kindly came over to watch the kids and when I came home she happily told me that Rachel did her business!!!! AMEN!!! She must have realized that it was a GOOD thing to do this because she did it on her own again tonight...but this time IN the potty!!! WHOOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!

Sorry if this was too much info but this adventure has boggled my mind and now it seems like we may have conquered the potty training with the most stubborn child of the century!!! Just had to share!! LOL

Monday, November 2, 2009

One Year Ago...

I was waiting in the hospital for my C-section to meet our new little man!! I was CONVINCED that the ultrasound tech was wrong and he was going to come out a girl and we all got a good laugh at that in the operating room when they were prepping me. Like the nurses said, it definitely wouldn't have been the first time it happened!

But at 1:14 p.m. on Sunday Nov. 2nd 2008 Caleb Bennett Ferguson made his grand entrance. (Insert massive amounts of tears here) Mike got some pretty sweet pics which may disturb some viewers of them pulling him out of my abdomen but it was kinda neat that the doc let him take them.

What an amazing moment. I just wanted to hold him and kiss him. It had already felt like we had been through so much together. He was my angel. The reason I went to the doctor and the reason they found the cancer. I don't quite know how to explain it, for there were no words to describe our journey. He made it all OK for a while. I totally forgot about the cancer and was just in awe of him.

I am amazed at how fast this year has gone by and how much he has grown and changed. I wish I could keep all my kids small (minus the temper tantrums of course) and today is especially hard for me because my BABY (I mean it this more kids for us) is ONE and we will never experience the baby moments again. So, although I am excited that Caleb is learning new things everyday and becoming his own little person I am also sad for the very same reasons. Maybe it's because I feel like I missed large chunks of the past year with him and life seems to go by faster with each child you have. I guess this is just another reason why we all have to cherish all the time we have with these little reflections of ourselves because before we know it, they will be all grown up!

Happy Birthday my little man, you are such a joy to have and be around. You are the smiliest kid I have ever met and so loving. Thank you for being part of our family and for letting all of us love you!!!

Everything happens for a reason and everyone is here for a reason. I firmly BELIEVE that.