Saturday, January 2, 2016

Goodbye 2015...Hello 2016!

I'm a bad blogger. Really, I am. I am terrible at staying current and posting updates on Kavan's health and our life. I think part of this stems from a general busyness. Kavan is busy studying for his CPA while working full-time and me (the primary author of this blog), well, I am busy juggling full-time graduate studies will multiple part-time jobs.

Sure, that's one perspective, but I think  the bigger cause is more likely my unwillingness to continue living the cancer story. Certainly, cancer will always be a part of our story; however cancer is NOT our story. This is not it. I prefer to think of it as a little bump in the road, a slap-in-the-face reminder to not take life (and good health) for granted.

So before we start focusing (and living) in the present, I'll give a brief run down of 2015 and our plans for 2016.

2015 was our first full year as newlyweds and it was a great one.

January 1, 2015: Rung in the new year at a family wedding

February 2015: Best uncle x2! 

February 2015: Winter time at the lake with good friends

March 2015: Dinner before I headed to Ireland and Kavan to England

March 2015: My first trip to Ireland

April 2015: Obligatory selfie at an Oiler's game

May 2015: Trip with the besties to Hawaii

May 2015: Hike at the Kona coast

June 2015: Hanging out in Danny's basement with friends

June 2015: Kavan's new best friend.

July 2015: Celebrating two years of cancer freedom with friends.

August 2015: First anniversary dinner

August 2016: Ahhh, I'm thirty!

September 2015: Celebrating weddings!

September 2015: Our new fur-babies!

November 2015: My trip to Ottawa

December 2015: New Years!

2016: Day 1/365 at the Ice castle

There was our 2015. Now, on to a new year with much goodness. Here's what Kavan and I will be up to in 2016:

  • Kavan will hopefully finish up his CPA designation (Fingers crossed!)
  • I will complete my PhD candidacy and start my dissertation!
  • We will jet off to England for three weeks to see our much-loved overseas family.
And perhaps most importantly, we will continue to celebrate Kavan's cancer freedom with a strong focus on the future.

Happy 2016 and please send your well-wishes Kavan's way as he approaches his next appointment at the Cross Cancer Institute in a few weeks!

Friday, September 11, 2015

A little overdue....'s been awhile. Seven months to be exact. We are now in the latter half of 2015. Every day after June 24, 2013 is another day of cancer freedom for Kavan. I am proud to say that Kavan is now over two years cancer free. In fact, Kavan will go for his 27-month scans next month at which time (pending all clear scans), the frequency of his visits to the oncologist will decrease from every three months to every six months. I must say that although this is a relief, the thought of a recurrence is never far from my mind. One can't help but wonder if this is a step in the right direction or if the constant check-ups are a bit of a comfort.

These days it seems as if life is flying by at the speed of sound. You blink and a month is over. Just like that summer is now gone and we are well into fall. This is especially apparent in Northern Alberta where we have an abbreviated summer. We celebrated our first anniversary on August 16. It was a great year, filled with laughter and lots of studying for the both of us. I have such admiration for the way Kavan seems to handle the stress of studying while working full-time and living his newlywed year with his in-laws. He has the patience of a saint! We also celebrated my 30th birthday. Looking back on the past decade, I can't believe all that has changed in my life. Hopefully many more happy years ahead.

And, now on to a busy fall!

My March trip to Ireland

Cliffs of Mohr in March 2015

Oilers game March 2015

Hike in Hawaii April 2015

Poppin' bottles-Celebrating 2 years cancer free in June

Anthony & Sarah's wedding: July 2015

Celebrating our one year anniversary: August 2016
My Thirtieth: August 2015

Wedding part two: September 2015

Our new babies! Sophie (L) & Oscar (R)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

19 Months: The Invisible Consequences of Cancer

It's been just over a month since I've updated the blog. I suppose one would argue that no news is good news with respect to posting the results of Kavan's 18 month check-up from January. So, I'll fill in the "blank" and let you all know that Kavan's 18 month scans and bloodwork all came back clear-no recurrence of cancer! As I mentioned before, I always breathe a giant sigh of relief when Kavan receives this news. Knowing it is much different than hearing it from a trusted source.

Otherwise, life is good and Kavan and I are both well. We are both fighting the academic battle as Kavan is studying for his CPA designation and me for my PhD. I am so thankful for Kavan's
health as anything but would present great challenges for our current pursuits.

Though cancer is far from our thoughts most days, it still seems to have a significant grip on our lives. I think most people assume that when the medical battle is done and won, then life returns to normal. I can assure you that this is not the case. At the present time, Kavan looks physically well. One who is not aware of his battle with Ewing's Sarcoma, would likely not guess that he is a cancer survivor. Case and point the individual who suggested that Kavan should consider growing his hair out! He/She is lucky that Kavan is such an easy-going person, as this suggestion made him laugh more than anything. Situations like these make me think though. It must be difficult for Kavan and other young adults to be reminded of their cancer battles even after finishing treatment.

Apart from the physical challenges Kavan has faced post-treatment (lack of hair growth and mobility/range of motion in his affected ankle), there are some less obvious, more permanent life/financial implications. More specifically in relation to his ability to obtain life insurance, health insurance, mortgage insurance and so on.. I'm sure you get the point. His age and stage of life are obviously impacted differently than one diagnosed with cancer later in life who perhaps doesn't have to worry about these things in quite the same manner. So, what does this mean for us/Kavan/some other relatively young adult diagnosed with cancer? That we have to think especially carefully when buying a house/car or leaving a job and giving up health benefits. Having a previous diagnosis of cancer makes Kavan ineligible for many of these insurances OR if he is eligible, the premiums are exorbitant. As a couple, we often find ourselves discussing these largely invisible consequences of a cancer diagnosis. We must be strategic about our purchases or job choices to ensure we are adequately prepared should a future cancer diagnosis arise. We must mull over our choices just a little longer than our peers, something that is perhaps taken for granted by those who have faced a life-threatening illness at a young age.

A 'throwback' to June 2013 and Kavan's last chemotherapy session
Now, I do not intend for this blog to be taken as a means to gain sympathy for our personal situation. Because of our "mulling" and strategic decisions, Kavan and I are quite financially sound at the moment. I do, however, want this blog to serve as a reminder of the far-reaching effects of a cancer diagnosis and the potential long-term implications. Though life is good once one is in remission, cancer is never really that far from their thoughts. One simple trip to the bank or conversation with an insurance broker will remind us of that!