Saturday 22 February 2014


Well things have gotten slightly better as I slowly grasp a hold on this deadening nausea. I go back to the hospital on Wednesday to receive the high concentrated drug for the third time. (3/4) One more visit to go for this phase... Even though it’s gotten easier, I still cannot wait for this phase to be done with! I have started limiting my meals to food specific to helping nausea and vomiting: lots of fruits, smoothies, salads and crackers. I don’t have much of an appetite anyway so when I do eat something, I make sure it’s nutritional.

Recently, I find that most of my time is consumed by University applications ... my god they’re lengthy. I am not sure if any of you cancer patients out there have applied during their time of treatment, but I find it quite the challenge to explain my situation. I mean, how do you elucidate this kind of lifestyle change? I always fall short with these essays. All they want to hear is that I am more than a number, a well-rounded, leading student. So my feeble attempt to show them that usually ends with me posting the hyperlink to my blog because at the end of the day, if they really want to know what kind of student I am, they can read my last few posts and conclude that I am simply an optimist.

Breeding optimism,

-      -        Serena Bonneville J

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Tired of Being Sick and Sick of Being Tired

Well I’ve been wanting, for quite some time now, to post another update... but to be honest the days have been rough and the nights have been long. In a nutshell, the past couple weeks have been spent battling through uncontrollable nausea, persisting fatigue ... and a couple other not-so-fun side effects that I’ll leave unmentioned (chemo patients and survivors can understand.)

But rather than go deeper in detail of an evident low point that I seemed to have hit .. I’d rather fill you in on some startling positives. I received my completion date for my entire treatment! As of January 29th, 2016, I will have finished maintenance-also I will have turned 19-so looking forward to that date... I’ve also sent out applications to some universities, having that hopeful ambition for post-secondary education.
I am set to start maintenance by late May, early June so looks like I’ll be feeling great just in time for grad!... and exams. In my current phase, I’m scheduled for 4 – 5 day hospital admissions on IV drugs with about two weeks off in between. With one under my belt, I’m set to go in for admission again tomorrow.

Those long days in the hospital, I recognise in my mind as hibernation: one where I come out feeling renewed ... feeling better. But of course, as expected, it’s the aftershock of this drug that has really hit me the hardest. I haven’t been at school too much; the unexpected vomiting limits my daily expenditures. And you could imagine how the ‘fatigue’ would put a strain on my  social activities – If you were one to brand me as ‘Lazy-who-stays-in-bed-all-day-watching-movies’ before, you really don’t even want to see me now. But every time I spontaneously fall into a light nap at 4 in the afternoon, I can always picture my life playing out like a movie ... all my pain being miraculously sucked away like in the Green Mile. But then I’d wake up, and realise that this fight against cancer isn’t going to end with some mysterious miracle. It is going to end, hopefully by the assessed date, through the process of taking in a combination of powerful drugs. It’ll end by me battling each symptom; realising that daily nausea and morning vomiting is just part of a phase; accepting that frequent blood tests are necessary and migraines are expected. But when you’re sick, you fight through it all, because you have to; because when you reach the end, it won’t be a miracle, it will be a triumph.

Although I wouldn't say no to a miracle visit from John Coffey to cure me right up...

Looking forward to clearing this phase! Special shout-out to Suzanne, one of my favorite nurse’s, for helping me manage, not just the physical challenges of treatment, but the mental ones as well (also for scoring me concert tickets to Imagine Dragons.) – Suzanne, you are the best and I’m sure every other patient of yours would agree.

Breeding optimism and watching movies as always,

- Serena Bonneville :)