“The tests confirmed it’s colorectal cancer, stage 4, in addition to 2 spots in your lungs and 2 nodules on your thyroid. It’s probably a good idea to get your affairs in order”. What? Have I swallowed the red pill? Am I about to experience how deep this rabbit hole goes?
Over 15 years in the film and television industry, I have been inspired to tell other people’s stories, now, I find myself telling mine. So far I’ve traveled 45 times around the sun and have always been one of those people who thought I would never get cancer. Even if I did grow those abnormal cells, I wouldn’t want to know, but if I did find out, I would just throw a big party and then leave the country. Off to Nepal or another place where they believe in natural cremation. My idea of that changed when I got the news and I became open to all options on the table. I’m not done in this life~much to live and experience. No farewell party needed, just a really big cancer climbing expedition. I plan to summit this mountain, descend, and return safely.
A lot of my closest friends and family were shocked when I told them the news. Reason being, I have been an advocate for a healthy lifestyle most of my life. Vegetarian for 14 years, vegan for 3 years, running, hiking, rock and ice climbing, yoga, meditation, and skiing. All this in addition to using organic and cruelty-free products. So as you can imagine, this diagnosis put many who now me on the RED alert to visit their docs and get a solid checkup. I am sure the wait list for colonoscopies in Calgary increased this year just due to my fellow tribe taking percussions!
HOW IT ALL STARTED~ For the past 3 years, I began experiencing digestive issues and into the beginning of 2017, that wheel began to spin faster. With multiple trips to the doctors (western and eastern), I was diagnosed with IBS symptoms and hemorrhoids (frequent bowel movements, no word of a lie, a min 5 per day) due to no food absorption. Anything I ate just went right through me. I kept busy with work and building my business throughout the year, mixed of course with plenty of hiking and a little climbing in the summer. Little did I know there was an alien bum baby (tumor), growing in and around my rectum creating this mess…message~
The frequent bathroom breaks were easy when hiking in the bush, but traveling via car or hanging off the side of an exposed cliff, posed many difficulties. Not a lot of control down there. I had a routine leaving the house and planned out where every bathroom stop would be. MORE roadside toilets are needed to help bathroom frequenters not have to join the ‘poopie pants’ club!! Oh and do I have stories to share on that one (another time;).
Around September 2017, my weight started to decline rapidly and my energy level was running at about 40%. I was pitching projects for network deals and I had some stresses financially. All that piled on with trying to figure out what was going on with my body, made it for a dark few months. The elimination of foods trying to help my digestion, the pain in my backside, no sleep, anemia (which the two iron infusions didn’t help with), in addition to trying to get work, I had no more than a couple hours a day of energy. This all coming from my usual 10 to 12 hour days. This made for a challenge to live a somewhat normal’ life. I had an appointment with a colon specialist that November. He seemed to think it was IBS as well but wanted to make sure. I was booked in for a scope mid-January 2018. Till then, I was trying to figure out the eating and how to increase my energy.
It’s been 9 months since the news, and what a journey it has been so far! January 16th, 2018, that day, the moment when my life turned around for the better. Yes, not a typo, for the better! Many of my friends in addition to their family and friends, have been affected and inspired by my attitude and sharing this journey openly. So, here I go! This is a bit of the emotional trigger bit, hence it has taken me this long to share outside of my circle, but if I can help just one person on a life challenge, it is so worth it! I will put myself out there and step up with my most vulnerable self~ A practice which I have been craving for the past 2 years. Be careful what you ask for;)
My wish: by setting up this TjacPersepective platform is to allow me to share with you and connect with those who carry a positive attitude. Through this life journey, we can communicate experiences with cancer or any life challenge to help inspire others~ Feel free to join me and share YOU~
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