Kristal

This site is about my experience with cervical dysplasia, as well as anything else I might feel like discussing!


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Team Underwear Affair: Be a part of something (I hope) will be huge!

Today, is one of those days I struggle, and I won’t say what, or who, may have caused that to happen.  Instead, I am going to focus on something really positive, Team Underwear Affair for the Scotiabank Marathon.  Last year, as many of you may know, I got a team together to participate in the booty hunt.  We had such a good time, and raised a lot of money.  We were hoping to do this again in 2015, but it wasn’t to be, as the event was cancelled.  I decided, after speaking to someone at the Alberta Cancer Foundation, that the next best option was to participate in the 5K walk and run (admittedly, the 15. 6km we walked last year was a bit much for some).  We could still dress up, be loud, and bring attention to cancers no one likes to talk about.  It’s not just about raising a lot of money, but making sure people are comfortable talking about their experience.  I’ve learned that my being outspoken has helped quite a few people!

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Since then, I have been toying with a lot of fundraising ideas, that now seem to be possible as realities.  I’m looking at setting up a floor hockey department fundraiser in the next few months, and tonight I am meeting with some amazing people to talk a bigger fundraising event.  I am so humbled at the offerings of help, some from people I’ve only talked to on Twitter.  I am really keen to learn about fundraising, and how to be a better event planner, so this is a win overall.

As well, there are so many people who have offered to join the team.  I’m not sure what the final total will be, but I’m hoping it’s big enough to catch the media’s attention.  It’s quite sad that the Underwear Affair doesn’t exist anymore, but I do believe it will continue on for some time through the Marathon.  If you are interested to join, or to donate, please follow the link below.

Team Underwear Affair

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November Follow up – results finally in

This will be a quick entry for the blog, as I have been working on another blog post.  My tests came back showing “features”, which means something is still there.  I’ve been told that features are a stage before abnormal cells, so it’s very low grade at this time. I’m not sure what’s happening, if my body is fighting it or if it will progress like last time.  All I know is, that I am sadly getting use to the situation.  I will be back for more testing in May 2015, so maybe we will get answers then?  Until that time, I will just do what I normally do and just live my life as best I can.


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Meeting the Texas 4000 – Charity bike ride participants

Texas 4000

I’m normally someone who isn’t comfortable with unplanned events, but last night might change that view.  I was leaving a friend’s apartment, when I remembered that another friend had mentioned an event going on involving something called Texas 4000.  I had no idea what this event was about at first, and even when I arrived at The Yardhouse I was still very unsure what was going to happen.  By the end of the night though, I wondered how people haven’t heard of this inspiring charity bike ride, or the amazing people who are taking part in this event.  They will ride from Austin,Texas to Anchorage, Alaska, riding about 75 miles a day on average, to raise awareness and money for various groups like YACC (Young Adult Cancer Canada), M.D. Anderson Center, etc. 

The one thing I find with anyone’s cancer journey (not a fan of that word, but what else do you call it?) is that it’s hard to reconcile the positives that come out of it.  How can something that destroys lives, and causes so much pain ever be good?  I’ve met some amazing people that I would never have otherwise met, made good friends fast, and I know they are people I will speak to again and depend on in the future. I’m constantly astonished that there are so many people in this world selflessly giving up their time, and putting themselves through grueling conditions to benefit not only people they know, but also people who are total strangers. As I just mentioned, each participant has a personal connection to cancer, grandparents, friends, etc.  I won’t go into their individual stories, as they are not my story to tell. One participant though, told a story about riding for his father, who had himself been an avid cyclist before cancer, and it overwhelmed me so much to hear about such love and connection (his bike contains parts from his dad’s bike so they are riding together!).  The talk never stayed solely on cancer, or even the ride, as we all seemed to have a lot more in common, and really they were all fascinating people. I’ve noticed at the YACC events I’ve attended that we don’t sit there and only talk about the disease, but instead we just talk, about our lives, friends, likes/dislikes, etc.  Cancer has become a part of our life, but it’s not the only part…..or even the major part, it’s just something we have to accept as a reality.  We all stayed out pretty late, enjoying good food and conversation.  I learned more about Tennessee vs. Texas country, and I taught someone about my love of early civil war photography.  Those of us who are a part of YACC also got to show the riders what their donation and hard work is going to help, and how the group provides us with so much support and long lasting friendships. 

I’ve provided links below so you can learn more about their epic bike ride. This ride goes on every year, but with new participants, as it takes up 18 months of each rider’s life from start to finish.  They will arrive in Alaska on August 8, 2014 to a huge celebratory event, and probably some much needed R&R.  If you are ever concerned that your donated money often goes to high overhead costs, look toward donating to the Texas 4000, as they often support smaller, and more local support/research groups.

Texas 4000 @Texas 4000

 


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Am I doing what I enjoy, or is there a problem here?

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I find that I am an extremely busy person, but I really do love my down time, and find I am panicky without it.  I also like to feel involved, like I have a variety of opportunities, and be a part of communities.  Lately though, I have tried to be respectful of my mental state and not do too much, as I get frustrated, upset, and overwhelmed fairly quickly nowadays.  I am aware I need to be kind to myself during such a mentally stressful time, but sometimes, I just don’t seem to be able to help myself.

Today, I ended up agreeing to attend a conference in October for 4 days for our union, and agreed to be an alternate for the monthly meetings.  There I was walking to the room for the AGM, saying I need to take time for myself, and then 30 min later I am agreeing to participate in some, to be fair, interesting stuff (and travel, I love staying in hotels).  It’s not that I am pushed, or I don’t want to do this, but I worry about the times that I will panic from feeling overwhelmed….but then again I get panicky when I think I don’t have enough to do!  It seems to be a damned if you do or don’t situation when you have an anxiety disorder.  And as long as they pay for my room service bill at the hotel…..I think I will find a way to be ok with this conference 😉


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I’m ready for my close up Mr. Demille…

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I’m not even sure how to begin explaining my night, how it felt to be on a stage, and seeing people enjoy themselves (both the cast and the audience).  How it felt to see my friends in the audience, they actually paid both monetarily and in their time to watch me give a few intros.  How it felt to not care what people think, as I spend more time than I should thinking about that….I guess in the end how it all felt to be free.  I thought I would be really nervous, as I had been during rehearsals, and because I’m an anxious person on a good day, but not once did I panic, not even when 250 strangers slowly made their way into the theatre.  The made them laugh, cry, think, and the whole time I got to watch the emotional changes on people’s faces.  I fell though, that what I really loved was that I was bringing attention to something I have become passionate about, and that is discussing women’s health issues.  I was recently told that I am an attention seeker, but in a more positive way, I use myself to bring attention to important causes and ideas.  I loved that I was surrounded by women who had no problem talking about anything and everything (and I really enjoyed everyone’s company in the rehearsals, save for one who I felt was a little too militant in her ideas about “top universities” being the 2nd coming, but that pervasive and damaging attitude could be a topic within itself).  I hope to be back next year for the 3rd annual Vagina Monologues, not sure if I will audition for a role, or if I will try and work behind the scenes in promotions, social media, or even something more technical…..or maybe I will take on the moaning monologue (ha ha ha, yeah that’s just not happening, I have trouble controlling my laughter!). I’m also looking forward to when we get together for a cast party in the next few weeks.

I know I haven’t explained much of the actual show, or the actors, but it has all really blended into this fantastic experience, and each and every lady brought energy and passion to their parts, but a lot of those girls are going to go onto great things in the theatre world.  I also don’t want to bore you with “We walked on the stage, sat down, then the first monologue started”, and I’m sure if you have gone to one performance, you get the general idea of what happened on the stage.

This is my first time actually attending a Vagina Monologues, so it’s odd that I also participated in it.  I felt some of it was heavy handed, but not to such a level that it turned me off, like Ayn Rand’s works always does to me.  I think everyone should attend one performance, and I liked that ours wasn’t a professional cast (though some of the ladies are extremely talented, Chantal in “reclaiming cunt” was lyrical in her performance), and that there were quite a few men in the audience who did not look uncomfortable at all.  I go for my 2nd support group meeting and I can’t wait, because I feel like I am getting better mentally (it’s a slow process), moving on, even with my follow up appointment looming in May.  If my abnormal cells are going to come back, well, there is little I can do to stop that, and in the meantime, I can enjoy myself and embrace new experiences like performing to an audience.  I may have days where I hide from the world, but they can balance with the days I am a part of it.


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Vagina Monologues

Tonight is our dress rehearsal for the Vagina Monologues, hopefully I will get some pictures as I need to be there early, and the thursday cast will be performing.  There will be costumes, energy, and a lot of fabulous ladies!  This will be my first time being on stage when there is an audience that has paid to be there, not sure what that will feel like….but even if I feel nervous, I know that no one will care.  I mean it’s good to face your fears and anxieties, right?


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My Mental illness: for Bell Let’s Talk day!

If you are in Canada then you know today is “Bell Let’s Talk day”, and it’s an important day to many of us.  I try to stay away from just tweeting  justnonsense, as I do want people to learn and accept mental illness as something that isn’t to be feared.

I have a mental illness, and I’ve come to accept it and work daily to keep myself from getting worse.  I have a severe anxiety disorder, which has developed from the numerous medical issues I have had in my life, and years of abuse, so I try to gain that loss of control back, which generally just causes me to feel more anxious. Most people tell me that they find this surprising, as seem to be a very calm person, so obviously I am good at hiding it. We all feel anxiety, but when you allow your fears and emotions to control your every decision, and panic over the smallest things, constantly focus on small details about the future, or obsess about it, then like me you may have a problem.  I get anxious when I have too much to do in a week, too little to do, whether I should go out for dinner, or eat at home, and worst, that I am having too much fun or too little fun in a week.  Some of you may be thinking that my anxiety is something I should control, get over, because we all have it, and that’s true we do, but not everyone lives with stress constantly.  I’ve only ever been able to reduce it, never lose the constant feelings of anxiety or stress.  I don’t know why I am this way, and sometimes I don’t care.  I work to keep it in check, and that is a victory to me, keeping it in check, then I am not constantly running back to check that I turned off the stove, closed my door, and not missing the bus because of these actions (this almost happened this morning).

I’m also dealing with a condition known as “cancer rage”, which may sound odd as I never made it to a stage of cancer, only precancerous changes, but it more comes from all the tests I’ve had to go through, not knowing what the tests would say, and just the fear and anxiety that a biopsy can cause.   The ladies at the support group totally get feeling like this, and have let me know it’s totally normal for anyone with dysplasia or full blown cancer to feel.  I’m writing about it now because I am going through it as this very moment, one person disrespects me, no one seems to care, and then boom! for the rest of  the day if anyone looks at me funny, or talks to me rudely, it builds exponentially, and I feel I will explode in some fashion.  I hate feeling like this, and how upset I get, but I am told only time will help with the rages.  I’ve even gotten so upset by people breathing near me, or not leaving on time for something,and I know it’s unrealistic and damaging to me, but I can’t help but obsess about these situations.

One day I’ll speak more about my bouts with major depression, as they are stories within themselves.

Let’s start being more accepting of differences we can’t see, and more helpful to people who could use a kind word.  And realistically, you won’t have a clue what the person might be going through unless you suffer from it too (and even then you don’t understand what it is like for that person, just for yourself). Don’t be afraid to be who you are, whatever that means personality wise, mentality wise, and in how you look.  Be more inclusive, not exclusive!

http://letstalk.bell.ca/en/end-the-stigma/tweets/