Teal Power Canuck

Sharing My Journey & Raising Cervical Awareness in Canada

Yes, I am the patient



Fact: I am often the youngest person in the waiting room for all my appointments. When I was just going to the Gyne clinic for my pre-tests, everyone was around my age. Not so much when you graduate to the cancer clinics after you are diagnosed. This is a consistent trend at both Credit Valley and PMH. I often get that I look younger than my age too so I’m sure that doesn’t help (yay good genes and my Lululemon wardrobe… ha!), but the fact that I haven’t lost my hair and my complexion has relatively stayed the same since I started treatment four weeks ago, by looking at me you wouldn’t be able to tell I am sick. I don’t mind that I am the youngest person there – I just get a lot of looks – like I’m waiting in the wrong place, or I must be waiting for someone to come out of their appointment to drive them home. Then they call my name, or I walk out of the radiation treatment area where only the patients and technicians are allowed, or my pager goes off in the Chemo waiting area – confirmed I AM the patient. Sometimes I get the “poor girl” look – and then I smile and try to make them smile to show them “I’m ok. You will be too.”

On Tuesday I had my fourth long day of treatment – radiation, blood work and chemo. It happens once a week, its a full work day, its taxing on my body and I often feel very anxious leading up to the day because you never know how your body is going to react to all the treatments. But when I arrived in the radiation reception area on Tuesday I saw something rare – a little girl in the waiting area, probably around the age of my youngest niece, about 4/5 years old. She was wearing a beautiful, floral, flowy dress with a little pink cardigan – and she was bald from her treatments – she was the patient. You don’t often see kids at PMH, I imagine because most of them are across the street at Sick Kids. I found myself watching her like I am sure those other patients look at me. She was so excited to be watching the fish play in the fish tank. Suddenly all the feeling of anxiety I was feeling that day had been lifted when she turned around and smiled at me. It was like she told me “I’m ok. You will be too.” Thank you, lil girl. I will carry your smile with me along my journey.

Before I close up I want to share something so cool that happened on Tuesday. PMH has a bell on the Chemo floor. It’s called the Bravery Bell and when you complete your last treatment you get to ring this bell. I haven’t heard anyone in my previous three weeks of treatments ring the bell, but on Tuesday while I was getting my treatment three patients rang the bell. Everyone in the ward clapped and cheered and I became overcome with emotion. Next week should be my last chemo treatment before I go into the hospital for internal radiation (aka the big zap). I can’t WAIT to ring that bell. It is going to be epic! I may need to choreograph a Bravery Bell #TEALPOWER dance 😉

Oh Bravery Bell, I can't wait to ring you.

Oh Bravery Bell, I can’t wait to ring you.

And if you haven’t seen it, PMH mentioned #TEALPOWER Canuck on their blog yesterday. Thanks so much for helping me spread the word! Check out their blog post here!


21 thoughts on “Yes, I am the patient

  1. You are the strongest gal that I know! Keep on smiling!!

  2. I know what you mean. I also get looks of shock or confusion or pity when my name is called and I get up to go in for blood tests or meet with the doctor at PMH. I also look (relatively, lol) young and healthy,with a full head of hair and people don’t know what to make of it. My instinct is always to hide and shy away from the looks, but I’ll try and be more positive about it in the future. It won’t be easy, since so often I’m upset when I’m there for my appointments, but this will hopefully help distract me from my anxiety in the future…

  3. and if we doubted it before, here is proof that this horrible disease does not discriminate. thank you for posting.

  4. what I love about this post is now maybe you get to see the full impact that YOUR lovely smile has on the people around you. I can’t wait for you to ring that bell!

  5. I can’t wait to read that you rang that bell, Ali!! Stay strong and positive – you WILL be okay. My dad fought prostate cancer twice and beat it both times 🙂 You’ve got this, girlie!! #tealpower

  6. You’ve got this.

  7. So inspired by your bravery and positive attitude, keep smilin my friend!! (:

  8. Stay strong and when it’s time to ring that bell. Ring it loud and ring it proud! Never stop beliving and never stop smiling. Its amazing how much one smile can change the mood of a room.

  9. Mind over matter. You are stronger than you know. I could share so many inspirational stories with you of women I know. Some with a better outcome than others– all positive and motivating. But this isn’t the place-thats a private comvo. But you are in that group! You are strong. You will win. You will inspire! You already do! Know that so many people are with you. And when you need help getting your strength back, let me help. Sending love Ali. Xo

  10. Great to see you on Saturday night, Alison. Were you singing along to that Broadway music? I was! I was thinking on the drive home, that whatever battles you have going on inside your body, you sure wouldn’t know it. You looked radiant. Your greatest feature (your smile) was on display, as usual.

    You have always been able to warm people up in an instant. I was thinking that when I started a conversation with you and expressed concern about how you are doing, you actually put ME at ease with your easy smile and warm chatter. I felt comforted that you are doing well. You are such a giving person…..I’ll bet that you make EVERYONE feel that way!

    After we left the theatre, Maureen turned to me and said ” I just love that girl. I always have.” I know that you two have a special bond. Pretty funny, considering that you are 33 and she is 89!

    Maureen and I will be following your progress and hope to see you on stage at Globe again soon. In the meanwhile, “break a leg” in all your journeys. We are cheering you on from the wings. 🙂

    Love from Lois and Maureen xoxoxo

    • Thanks so much, Lois. This note made me smile a lot. It meant so much to see you guys on Sat night. Seeing Ms. Mo and Chris was perfect. I have been thinking of them a lot. Please tell Ms. Mo that I “just love” her as well and “always have” 🙂 Having you guys in my corner means a lot to me. My Globe family has always been like a second family to me. Much love. xoxo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s