Friday, March 12, 2010

background information to catch you all up

It all began in mid January when I noticed a funny crinkling sound in my lungs when I lay down on my right side or my back. This didn't get better, and in fact became so pronounced that it was keeping me awake, so I made an appointment to see my doctor. She knew that I was not a whiner and ordered a chest xray, which showed clear lungs, but a pocket of liquid under the right lobe of my lung. She sent me for an ultrasound that showed liquid in the abdomen as well, and I began to be aware of feeling bloated to the point of not being able to sleep. Next she ordered a CT scan and a thoracentesis (thoracic puncture) and paracentesis (abdominal puncture). The CT scan showed a scattering of suspicious looking cells on "critical organs," and the fluid that was drawn off (2 litres from the right side of my chest and 800 ccs from the abdomen) was analyzed and showed the presence of adenocarcinoma cells that are generally indicative of gynecological or peritoneal cancers. I heard this last Wednesday (Feb 24, 2010). Our daughter Miriam arrived on Friday evening from Montreal to stay for two weeks and has been wonderful at keeping a cool head and distracting us from morbid thoughts.

After a couple of days of thinking that I would have to wait for two weeks to even get an appointment with an oncologist (my GP was hitting a brick wall), Miriam and JP wrote to a few of our friends/ex students/ old neighbours who were doctors, and we got immediate response (like one minute after sending the email) from doctor friends in a Minneapolis teaching hospital, who contacted the doctor that we were trying to see at Princess Margaret Hospital - this was on Saturday. On Monday morning I got a call to say that I had an appointment for Tuesday (March 2). I had some blood work done, and will be going back in on Monday to discuss the results from tests that they are doing to decide if we can go ahead with my first chemo session on Wednesday (March 10). The rhythm will be chemo every three weeks for three sessions with blood tests and analysis between every session. There should be positive results by the end of the second session (as well as hair loss).

I am feeling positive for short term results, but have been told that the cancer will most likely return in a matter of years, so the long term prognosis is not fantastic. Still, I will take whatever I am given, and hope that I will be one of the unexplained miracles of modern science.

I am a bit sore from having to sleep in the lazy boy chair because the fluid buildup means that I cannot lie down to sleep because of pressure on my lungs. Hopefully that will disappear with the first chemo, and that will mean that the cancer is being attacked.


Laura said...

This blog is a great idea. Maybe it will be good for you to vent and get your feeling in writing and, at the same time, keep all your friends and family updated on your progress. I'm not sure how to to this blog thing, but here goes. Love you much! Laura

isabelle said...

That is a great idea Anne. You will be able to keep us posted without having to spend all your time answering on a one to one basis.

My favorite aunt is getting her breast removed today... Cancer is unfortunately part of most people's lives now.

I will be sending love your way everyday.


Hoa Nguyen said...

Dear Anne,
Thank you for sharing your story. I will be thinking of you as you go through the treatment process. I know you will be okay with your positive and compassionate outlook.
Big hugs,

Hoa Nguyen (RCNUWC 1998)

nagatmyriam said...

Bonjour Anne,

Je suis de tout coeur avec toi et si tu as besoin de quoi que ce soit fais le moi savoir...
Je te souhait un bon rétablissement, et je suis sûr que ton traitement va fonctionner et tu retrouveras ta forme très vite.
A très vite,
Gros bisous,

Anonymous said...

My friend, the hard part is over, the shock of discovering that "it could happen to you" is a big one. But I came out of my brain tumor experience a changed and recharged man! And I have never been happier! Find new powers nd use them!

Marianne Labussiere said...

I had no idea Anne. I wish you well, with all my strength. Je suis toute retournée de cette nouvelle !!
Comme tu dis, tu n'es pas douillette, et je te sais très forte. La volonté joue paraît-il un grand rôle dans ces cas-là, et je ne doute pas une seconde que tu sois une battante, ça me donne confiance en ton rétablissement. J'espère juste que tu ne souffres pas.

Un grand courage et tous mes voeux de bonne santé.
Keep us posted please !

Anonymous said...

Dear Anne,
I have always known you as someone so full of energy, positive thoughts and smiles. ..This is one of the best gifts one can have, especially in this situation. Keep being brave and positive. I will be thinking of you and reading your blog.
Wishing you all the best,
Jelena Vojnic

Mia said...

I wish you strength to get through the treatment process without falling into despair, hope to keep you positive for the future and faith to believe that whatever will happen will be OK. We all love you.
P.S. Hair is SO overrated!
Mia (the one who had an Ugly Dog once)

Anonymous said...

je suis avec toi,Anne,tu es une battante et tu vas y arriver!! Je t'accompagne avec tout mon amour

Anonymous said...

Dear Anne,

Be strong and never give up on this beautiful and such sincere smile of yours!

Thinking of you and hoping for best for you.



Anonymous said...

Alors voilà... Si vous avez besoin de quoi que ce soit (à manger, bonne compagnie pour voir un bon film, jouer une partie de Scrabble, faire des courses pour vous, etc.), on promet qu'on répondra au téléphone!! Ok, peut-être à la deuxième sonnerie... on court pas très vite. Gros bisoux. Ninick et Michounet

Anonymous said...

Dear Anne, we are all thinking of you and wishing you and your family much strength. It is heartwarming to read the sentiments of your friends and know that you are surrounded by so much love. This blog is really a great idea. I look forward to seeing you soon. Michelle (Fabry)

Anonymous said...

"I love my chemotherapy" LOL! Just noticed that!
Michelle F

Anonymous said...

Stay strong Anne! Cure that crinkly lung. Sending moral support all the way from a remote island off california. - michelle goh

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you through this time.
My sister went through this and also some close family. We found that positivity and love turned everything around, never despair! Please keep on being who you are. You are well loved. xx Sinzi.

Anonymous said...

Anne, you're showing us all the way
love, Val

m.a.r.'s too many pictures said...

I am so sorry, Anne, but hope that the chemo will be good for you, and you are the medical miracle you wish for.As you are essentially healthy, that will help.

Good luck in your treatment.

m.a.r.'s too many pictures said...

Anne, I thought google would use my email a/c not my blogger!

Best wishes,


Anonymous said...

you are strong, a great mother to too many bright kids (UWC)around the world and a lady...If God wants you will overcome it... my prayer is always with you...get better soon..i gotta see you next year during our reunion... God bless you my dear Anne.


Anonymous said...

Dear Anne,
I hope the treatment will be successful and you will get better soon.
Wish you all the best,
Amirkhan Batalov

Justin said...

Dear Anne, it will be fine. Though it's hard to deal with the pain, but do know that we share your pain and pray for better moments for you. Keep your ever-positive attitude as you always do, you will overcome someday soon.

The early chemo intervention may force the cancer to not return. There are many cancer survivors who got lucky at this early stage, we pray that yours will never return!

We love you and do know that in such a moment we will always have you in our prayers. You are never alone, your beloved friends, family and relatives are ever near you.


Anushka Arellano said...

Dearest Anne,

Just came across this- sorry for not knowing or reaching out earlier. Hope the chemo goes well and that you never lose that wonderful spirit and beautiful smile. We love you tremendously and are thinking of you.

Sending you a big warm hug.

Jigna Sampat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jigna Sampat said...

Thanks for setting up the blog. I meant it, about the first weekend in June.


Anna said...

Thanks for keeping us all updated! You've touched so many UWC students (and of course other people's) lives in a wonderful way. I know I speak for Marin and myself (and no doubt the rest of the Icelandic contingent) when I wish you all the best, send all my love and good will, and am confident that you will look fantastic without hair - besides, it's a good excuse to experiment with headscarves. - Anna Kristin

Anonymous said...

Dear Anne!

I sincerely hope that you will be able to get through that horrible situation!

I wish I would be able to help with more than words...

warm greetings from cold germany

bulat (uwcad05-07)

Anonymous said...

Hi Anne,
I don't think you could be in a better place than at Princess Margaret's. As you say, why would one not want the same care for our neighbours to the south. With that care and your own amazing attitude, you have best chance. Fond wishes. Mary in BC

Anonymous said...

Dearest Anne,

I can honestly say that you are on of the most compassionate, caring, positive and motherly people I've met in my life. Always oozing with love for others and a pillar of strength for many over the years. That's why I have no doubt that you'll have all the love and support you'll need in this difficult time. Anyway, with a guy like JP in your corner you will most definitely rise victoriously in your battle with this disease. Sometimes I wonder why bad things happen to good people, life can be so unfair. However I know this illness is no match for your positivity and fighting spirit!
Be strong lovely Anne and always remember that you are immensely loved by so many all over the world.
Vincent Van Wyk.

Anonymous said...


My dearest Angel Anne. I wish you strength as you embark on this fight. With your courage, I know you will win. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anne,

Talking to you the other day, with all our usual jokes and laughters, made me realize one important thing: No matter what we are given or what is taken away from us, we just need to make the BEST of what we HAVE! And if more is taken away from what we thought we had, all the more reason to make the best out of what we have left! Enjoy your liver dinners, enjoy your walks to that nice sandy beach, enjoy the nice spring weather and the smell of forthcoming flowers and tree leaves, Anne, as out here in Flekke, we are still snowed under with no liver to eat! And I shall enjoy our snow and slush and rain!!!

You have been my inspiration!


Rachelle said...

Anne, John just let me know about the cancer and I am so sorry. Since JB's death all I have learned is that we must live our life to its fullest expression, that we must live joyfully, to love and appreciate ourselves, each other, and every minute that we have left on this earth. You have always done that and I know you will continue to live your life in that manner. You are in my thoughts, Rachelle

Anne said...

Rachelle, send me your email - I have lost your contacts. XX

Anonymous said...

Voudriez-vous que l'on vous apporte des croissants, pains au chocolat, etc. vendredi matin??
Ninick et Michou

Anne said...

oh oui!!! mais nous sommes 3 - Sylvia ( la maman de Jenn vient aujourdhui poir qq jours). XX

Anonymous said...

Dearest Anne,
I am sending all my love to you and JP.
I am sure everything will sort itself out in the end.
Much love!

Anonymous said...

Dearest Anne,

My thoughts and prayers are with you...
You are too special and too strong and there is no doubt in my mind and heart that you will come out as a victor in this battle..

With all of my love,

Ayakoshu said...

Dear Anne,

I sincerely pray that you and your family overcome this challenge with joys and smiles everyday, and that your big fat cancer go away as soon as possible!

With much love,
Ayako (RCN97-99)

Ann Austin said...

Dear Anne,

You've always been beautiful,smart, strong and resourceful. Now you're an inspiration, as well. Thank you for sharing this experience.
One day at a time...

Love from Texas,


Tugc said...

Dearest Anne,
I've just learned about your diagnosis. You were truly one of the most shining, full of life, motherly person I've ever met. Hope chemos will work and we'll get to share the nice news, too.

All the best,
Tugce ( RCN 03-05 )

ariellecampin said...

Hi dearest,

Just keeping up (sort of) with new technology, thanks to Cathy who told me how creative you had been! A blog, such a good idea indeed.
Tous mes encouragements et bises chaleureuses,

Anonymous said...

Dearest Anne,

I had no idea Anne, just heard from Vincent today. I have always remembered you as one of the most caring persons I have ever met in my life and perhaps that's why I know that God will help you through this. I'm thinking of you and praying for your are amazing and you are so loved Anne more than you even know.Keep strong and don't lose that special smile. Love you...Reda Boules (RCNUWC 96-98)

ariellecampin said...

Dearest you,
toutes mes pensees tendres pour toi ce jour...

Anonymous said...

Dear Ann,
I am sorry I never kept in touch with you for quite sometime. I know Ann that you will be strong and find strength from the many people who care about you. You have helped and guided so many students like me and I am sure that all the good that you have done will help you to heal.
Once again, I apologize for not keeping in touch with you but, UWC days at Palazzine always bring back memories of you and JP.
I will never forget you both.


My New Boubou

My New Boubou
Boubou with handy pocket

Getting better

Getting better
Wilson and Me

Due to Popular Demand

Due to Popular Demand
I'm a Redhead

I still love my chemotherapy

I still love my chemotherapy
Who needs hair anyway?

I love my chemotherapy

I love my chemotherapy
walking to Princess Margaret