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Monday, August 27, 2012

My Family

The weekend before my surgery was the long weekend in May.  Dallas and I decided to take the kids to Kalispell for a couple days and then come home Sunday.  My surgery was scheduled for Tuesday and I wanted a day to just be home and get prepared for my surgery day.

The weekend passed so quickly.  I had a hard time concentrating on anything but how having no leg would affect everything I was doing.  I thought about how I wouldn't be able to shop with my kids, go swimming, carry Miles, do my laundry, go on a bike ride, etc.

We drove home Sunday late afternoon and the kids slept and the drive was quiet.  Just as we were driving into town my dad called Dallas and told him to come to my Aunt Robyn's.  We pulled up and all our family was there.  Dallas took the kids in and told me to wait in the car until he called me.  I knew something was up!

I walked into the entry and standing all together wearing matching T-shirts that said
"Fight Like a GIRL" was my family.  My  Mom and Dad, brother (his wife) and sister(her husband), Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins and my nieces and nephews; as well as my husband and children.

I was overwhelmed with emotion as I took in the family in front of me.  They were all standing together showing me how much they loved me and I loved them.  I was so thankful for my amazing family.  Our extended family has always been  so close and I was so grateful they were there to support and love me.  I knew they truly wanted me to get better.  And I wanted to.   I really wanted to show them I could try my best with this challenging trial.  I knew they all carried a heavy but hopeful heart knowing the seriousness of my cancer and the rehabilitation after my amputation.

I knew that this family would help me get through everything that would be coming my way.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Choosing Amputation

Although amputation was really the only choice I struggled to commit to such a life altering decision.  I started to get sad.  Really, really sad.  I wanted to stay home and didn't want anyone to come see me.  I cried and read and read and read about amputation.  I looked at pictures, I talked to another girl similar in age to me about her amputation for cancer as well.  But the more I read the sadder I became.  I didn't want anyone in my family to talk to me about it.  I wanted everything to stop.

I was hardly keeping above water in my house.  My mom came one day and took all my laundry home and did it.  Dallas cleaned the house.  And I can hardly remember taking care of my own children.  I just didn't want to do this.

I knew that I would consent to the amputation before I had left the cancer centre that day but I didn't want to.  Finally I went back to Calgary and talked to an anaesthetist about the surgery and pregnancy and then was seen by the perinatologists in Calgary.  They explained I would again not be given a general anesthetic and that I was at risk of preterm labor.  I then signed the consent form.

Dr. Puloski's receptionist called with my surgery date.  May 22, 2012.  I cried.  It was real I was having part of my leg removed.  I would never be the same.  I hurt inside.  No one could make me feel better.  I was dreading that day that came so fast.

The week before my upcoming surgery I went swimming a couple times with the kids.  Something I knew I wouldn't be able to do for a long time afterwards, and something we did often and enjoyed.  I remember carrying Miles as often as I could knowing after the surgery I wouldn't be able to.  I held my kids more on the couch during the day and just hurt inside for all the things that were going to change.

I really prayed the weeks before my surgery.  I prayed harder than I ever had in my life.  Somedays I was okay and some days I was a wreck.  But whenever I was around anyone, family, or friends I just kept my emotions under control.  For some reason I just didn't want to share with anyone how deeply scared and sad I was.

I thought of so many things that would change.  I thought of how I would look different how forever more people would look at me would talk about me and how I thought I would be less pretty.  I thought my husband wouldn't feel the same about me.  I thought of how I wouldn't walk for a long time.  And mostly I thought of all the physical pain I would go through.

No matter how much I thought of all these things.  What I thought turned out to be even harder than I ever could have imagined.

I chose the amputation because of these.............

I REALLY love these kids!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Difficult Decision

Dallas and I went to Calgary to the Tom Baker Cancer Center the end of April.  I was dreading this appointment.  I had been to the cancer centre before and it isn't a nice atmosphere.  You sit in a white, bright waiting room surrounded by people already diagnosed with cancer of those going to find out they have cancer.

As we walked around a corner to be seated in the waiting room we saw an older man standing on a scale, ( he was missing his leg above his knee).

I sat in the waiting room for a long time sick to my stomach waiting for my name to be called knowing the news I would be given would change my life.  Finally they called my name and we sat in a small room beside each other.

Dr. Puloski came in, sat down and said.  I've discussed your case with numerous specialist across Canada and we all came to the same decision.  In order for you to have a functional quality of life and best treat your exceptionally rare type of cancer you need to have an amputation to your leg.  Despite knowing in my heart all along that this would be the outcome tears filled my eyes and I didn't want to look up at Dr. Puloski or Dallas.  He continued to talk telling us radiating my foot would cause it to break down and become a foot I would never walk on and then they would try another surgery but said they would not be able to completely remove all the tissue with cancer cells.  He said I would be able to do everything I did before.  He said that the pain would be less with an amputation.  I think he said other things but I hurt so badly inside I could hardly listen to him talk.

I remember asking him if I had been his wife would he advise the same thing.  He looked at me and said yes.  He told me I would need to sign a consent form allowing for the surgery.  As soon as he said this I had a feeling that told me sign the paper.  But I wasn't ready, I was scared, I wanted to go home, I wanted to think about it, I wanted it to just all go away.

After Dr. Puloski spoke to us he had a radiation oncologist speak to me as well to reaffirm what he had told me.  I just kept hearing her say how sorry she was everything was happening while I was pregnant.

After the appointment as we were leaving the hospital I stopped in a bathroom and sat in a stall and cried.  I cried alone I just didn't want Dallas to see me so sad.

We drove straight home.  I didn't want to talk.  Family called as we drove home, but I wasn't ready to tell them and I wasn't ready to hear Dallas tell them.

We got home and picked up our kids at my mom and dad's and I sat at the island and told my mom and dad what Dr. Puloski had said.  My mom got tears in her eyes and my dad said are they sure and didn't say anything more.

I went home.  I wanted to be alone.  I wanted to feel like I did before cancer.  I remember telling my brother and sister on the phone that the doctors wanted me to have my leg amputated.

Everything was so unbearable.  My brother asked if I thought I could do this and I remember saying yes.  Even though what I really wanted was no cancer and to have both of my feet.

I was so sad, and scared.  I hated knowing my life was changing forever.  I would never be able to stand on my own two legs.