~ radiation therapy in progress…

Today was my 9th radiation treatment…6 more. I am happily counting down. I am tired of the ups and downs of treatment and ready to move beyond. Side effects are minimal at this time yet still present. I feel some pulling in my chest at the same spot that has troubled me all along. I also have the feeling that something is stuck in my throat and low grade nausea. I’m happy to say the aloe vera is doing a great job and my skin is doing well with treatment. 

Treatments are quick. First thing I do when they leave me in the room is think “sparkle shields activated!” and go through my visualization, next thing I  I know it they are back telling me to put my arms down. I am grateful that the staff are kind and helpful since I ask many questions. I wanted to know how they use the images to line my body up for treatment. Also where exactly on my chest do they aim. I use the information I have learned to fine tune my visualization, which now includes sparkle shields and 5 green beams. I think of the beams as green because the lights are green that they use to line me up. Having a curious mind leads to creative visualization. 

I am still struggling with numbness in my hands and arms, day and night. This is quite annoying and yet I am learning to live with it. I continue to seek various types of treatments to help heal my arms. I know they will heal, it’s just a matter of time. 

My hair is growing back and soon I hope to have a silver mohawk again! In the meantime I am pretty unkept, ha! I look like I have been off the grid for a month without a mirror and tweezers! After losing most of the hair on my body I am just thankful to have hair!! 

I sparkle on…one day at a time.   🙂


~ it’s been a year…

It is hard to believe a year has passed since the day I experienced bizarre chest pain while in Rome.

It’s been an interesting year to say the least. Thankfully the mind lets go of the drama. At this point I have to review my blog to remember details. I feel peaceful and ready to move on. 

I am so grateful for the kindness and support I have received from the special people in my life all over the world. My Soriano family who took good care of me and continue to send well wishes, and look forward to my return so we can celebrate! ❤ The Barolo Boosters who sent cards and thoughtful gifts, phoned and spent lots of time chatting with me online. ❤ Amazing friends in Saskatoon that have taken me to appointments, cleaned my house, shopped for and delivered groceries, worked in my garden, mowed the lawn, cleared snow, and stayed overnight to make sure I was ok after treatments. ❤ Friends who sent messages to say I’m thinking of you and surprises to brighten my days. ❤ Friends whose kindness and generosity filled my heart with joy. ❤ These heartfelt acts of kindness are the memories that remain and bring a smile to my face. Thank you all for being a special part of my life.

I sparkle on…one day at a time.    🙂

~ radiation therapy day 1…

I am entering the final treatment countdown…15 days of radiation therapy. Today was day 1…14 to go! 

Treatment was quick. They lined up the tattoo dots and I was in and out of the machine while the same song played on the radio. Not knowing how long it would take as it is by dose rather than time. I was deep into visualization and picturing all the healthy cells and tissues in my body activating their sparkle shields to protect themselves while the beams go straight for the residual mass. The five year old in me is really enjoying all this creative visualization! 😉

The things I notice after treatment are my skin smells like I were in a tanning bed and tingling feeling in my chest. I am thinking positive and continue to visualize a healthy outcome. I see many naps in my life over the next few weeks. Just another reminder to myself that I am still receiving treatment and to take it easy. 

I sparkle on…one day at a time.   🙂

~ the one-off and the path to consensus…

Having to make a decision is always an interesting position to be put it. About 10 days ago I received a call from my hematologist with the details of the PET scan results, as I had received the initial news from my family physician.  She proceeded to explain the results in more detail and explained there is a residual mass of about 3cm which is likely scar tissue. Then went on to inform me that each province has a different protocol and thus the need for a decision. Since my initial mass was approximately 9cm and chemotherapy was successful in eliminating the cancer cells, this put my case on the borderline of protocols in different provinces and thus a one-off that required a decision. A decision that was left to me. Me!! Huh?? I told her I don’t have enough information to make an informed decision and I would consult a friend to help me understand what all of this means. With this news I am a little annoyed that I have gone through the radiation planning CT scan and have been tattooed potentially unnecessarily. So I carry on and contact a friend to seek clarity and understanding. 

Thanks to my friends inquiry to better inform me, the team of doctors that work on my case have held a meeting to discuss my case. Wow! Apparently this is not the norm, which surprised me. One would hope that the team of professionals involved discuss a patients case where a decision needs to be made. Such is life. This week I received another call from my hematologist to inform me of the meeting and that the consensus was to proceed with radiation. The recent CT scan measured the residual mass at 5cm, apparently this scan provides a more accurate measurement. A detail that I was not aware of and not sure I would have been made aware of had they not had this meeting. I thanked her for the meeting and having made a decision. Knowing the size of the residual mass I am ok with having radiation treatments to be certain nothing remains, NOT EVEN A WILD BLUEBERRY!!!!

In the meantime I am learning to live with my numb and weak arms. Mornings are slow since that is when they are the most numb. Eating breakfast can be a challenge as I struggle to cut my food and aim for my mouth. I giggle a lot while I try to eat. If I can’t laugh at it I would be really frustrated. 

My doctor has offered a prescription for the neuropathy. The way I see it, drugs are what caused this misery so surely more drugs are not the answer. Not in my mind anyway! So I try other things and have good and bad days. I keep fine tuning my sparkle visualization and try yoga, acupuncture, vitamin B, patience and the best of all Vodka’s love and purring kitty cuddles. 

Onto radiation therapy and booking flights for an upcoming adventure!!  In three short weeks I get to ring the bell!!  Video to follow!!  Woohoo!!!

I sparkle on…one day at a time.   🙂


~ preparing for radiation ~ connect the dots…

Today I had a CT scan for radiation planning. Finding a cooperative vein for an IV has become a challenge. Three tries before success left me looking like a human pin cushion with cotton balls and tape on my arms and hand. I won’t require a mask to keep me in place for radiation treatments. Instead I have been marked with three alignment tattoos. I sure didn’t expect to get my first tattoo from this experience. ha! At least they are only tiny dots and hardly visible. I’m giggling thinking about the game ‘connect the dots’, although mine aren’t very fun they pretty much make a straight line. 

Radiation treatments will begin January 19 and go for three weeks. 

Trying to be optimistic that radiation will be kind to me. I am tired almost of the time lately. This must be my body’s way of reminding me that it needs time to heal. Now I am beginning to understand what people mean when they say the ‘new normal’ after treatment. Things are just different. As much as I want to be what I remember to be normal, my body reminds me that I can’t do things like I did before, at least not right now. So I will respect the fatigue and rest as needed. I am beginning to think the true healing will take much longer than the actual treatment. 

I sparkle on…one day at a time.    🙂

~ if Vodka (the cat) could talk…

I am still elated from the results of the PET scan which makes it annoying that my daily reality is another story. There is much healing to do and that will take time. In the meantime there are the things about my health that only Vodka witnesses every day.

When all this began the doctors went over what we want to achieve as well as all the possible side effects of treatment. At the time all I wanted was to feel better and found myself asking questions and mostly saying ya ya and okay to pretty much everything. I also tried my best to think positive and not think too much about the side effects particularly the long term ones. I have only told a few people just what the side effect possibilities are, since I want to focus on things as they come and not worry others. Thus my day by day approach, which I still believe in wholeheartedly. 

This brings me to the reality of side effects, my daily life as only Vodka and I know it. It’s true that I am cheery, smile and laugh no matter how I feel. Because of the way I am, the old adage ‘never judge a book by it’s cover’ applies. When I chat with close friends I realize that it’s hard for others to understand what I am going through because I am so positive. My positive attitude comes across that all is well. When in reality there is more going on than I talk about. I guess I focus on dealing with it rather than talking about it. I am realizing I talk about it when it starts pissing me off! Which my arms definitely are!!

If Vodka could talk…I imagine he would tell you how often I pray out loud when bodily functions we take for granted are causing me pain and misery. More recently how many times I wake in the night because my arms are numb, tingling and burning so badly that I sit up in bed trying to ease the pain. When the pain finally settles and I try to get comfortable he curls up on my shoulder and puts his head on mine and purrs in an effort to soothe me. How much I grumble about the frustration of not being able to do the little things I used to do with ease like opening bags or jars, I simply don’t have the strength. Having weak arms is awful, making me clumsy and tired. Every little activity is an effort and makes me tired and I sit on the sofa more than I ever have in my life! Cleaning my house is an exhausting task that sees me on the sofa for the rest of the night. So my house looks lived in most of the time. I am quiet when I am in pain and nothing soothes it. 

If it weren’t for the fact that I lost my hair due to chemo many wouldn’t realize that I am dealing with a health issue. There is always more than meets the eye to anyones life and the struggles they may be facing. No matter what I face or how I feel I choose to be positive. When looking at someone don’t let a positive attitude get confused with having a perfect life and not having struggles. Attitude is a choice and for me a positive attitude helps me deal with all that goes on in Cinzia’s Adventure.  😉 

I sparkle on…one day at a time.   🙂