MARCH 05th: I am currently in Nepal sitting at Ama Da Bum base camp getting ready for the big climb. I have spent the last month and a half; gathering information on the SW route, researching the best options for additional support, meeting and talking with my Sherpa support team, boosting my body with vitamins, food, food, and more food. The air is thin and my energy is not up to par. My weight is still low and it takes much effort to even walk to the toilet tent (which is frequent at high altitudes), in addition to lack of sleep which has posed a great challenge, oh and not to mention the news I got last week about the planned route change. I will not be attacking the normal SW route, but climbing a new route on the North side. A harder climb yes, but I know, having this AMAZING Sherpa support team around me, I got this. It will take longer to climb than anticipated—but there’s only one way …’UP to the Summit!’.
It has been an interesting journey over the past month and a half since walking out of the Foothills hospital in Calgary, AB~ accepting and surrendering to what is. Having a plan is key, however, keeping in mind the path is not linear. Obstacles and hazards sometimes force a detour.
I was always in the belief that I would never want to know I if I ever had cancer and if I did, I would just throw a big party then travel the world until the big day~ When you hear the words ‘the tests did confirm that you have stg 4 colorectal cancer, two spots in the lungs and two nodules on your thyroid’,.. I rethought that plan. I’m not done in this human form yet. Much more I want to do. So I was open to a plan of attack and wanted to hear more about this chemo thing.
My oncologist was keen to get me started on chemo right away but wanted me in for a PET scan first to make sure they were creating the best treatment route for what I had. RECAP: colorectal mass lit up; lungs did NOT light up (ya!) so colorectal is not a spreader; liver clear; thyroid did light up…hmmm.
Thyroid biopsy next on the list to do. Easie pezie test in the old children’s hospital. They haven’t changed the furniture since they moved and I had to fit my long body onto a half sized bed for the procedure (pretty funny). It was a large room, one side filled with piled furniture and the other with one nugget sized examining table, spot light overtop, ultrasound machine, my endocrinologist with his black ‘doctor’s testing kit’ and 4 LARGE needles. My armpits were sweaty and when I apologized to the Doc about my pool of nervousness dripping onto the half sized bed, he reassured me his armpits were sweating too and managed to lift his arms to confirm. I hoped it was not a nervous sweat for him and asked how many of these procedures he’s actually done~
Day after my biopsy, I decided to drive into the mtns for a little r&r—on route as I entered the rocky mountain range, my oncologist called with the results, …’sorry to tell you Tracy, you also have thyroid cancer’. Wha?! Needless to say that prompted a large chuckle out of me—disbelief reaction I suppose.
So it’s a common cancer, not related to the colorectal cancer. They are planning a surgery to remove the thyroid and in hopes that will get rid of it. They are also confident to wait until the colorectal mass is dealt with first.
Route Change: chemo, surgery, chemo, surgery, thyroid surgery….recover~I meet with the thyroid surgeon in a week or two to come up with a game plan. BAM hey?! So it’s ‘chemo time’ which I have decided to call my ‘high altitude meds’ or ‘vitamins’.
We packed up camp and have moved to the North side. I look up at the route in anticipation and nervousness as I don’t know what this mountain has in store for me. Once I take the first step, I am committed. Two more sleeps and I will depart Ama Da Bum base camp for camp I. Are you ready team?! Let’s do this!