Oh Me! Oh My! End of September already?

Hello all my dear readers,

Can’t believe September is almost over! Which only means… I’m a little closer to being done with my treatments! Out of the 20 round of radiation which started early September, I have 6 more rounds to go. I should be done mid-next week!

Radiation has proven not to be as “painful” as Chemo. I’ve noticed that I’ve become progressively tired, the skin a little dry, always thirsty and in need of afternoon naps over the last 2 weeks. I’ve also started swimming in the pool downstairs in our condo….that has been relaxing and very good for moderate amounts of activity & exercise. Walking to & from the hospital for and after treatment, enjoying a walk to the grocery store and meeting up with friends has also been very worthwhile in promoting an uplifting spirit & better health overall 🙂

I’m a little nervous as to what will occur after radiation. I’m guessing I’ll probably have another round of tests to track how my progress has been. It’s natural, I guess, to wonder if the treatments have done their job well…but I’m always reminded in all situations that if God has taken care of me in the past 26 years & ESPECIALLY in the last 6 months, he is MORE THAN ABLE to care for me in whatever lies ahead.

As October is just around the corner.. that means Thanksgiving is coming up! This holiday is definitely one of my favourites. I can just envision, the turkey, the gravy, the pumpkin pies, the family time. My favourite part is seeing the leaves changing colours in the falltime! I remember when I was younger, our family would go for a long weekend trip to Algonquin Park. I loved seeing & hiking through the rolling hills & the beautiful trees while listening to the Pocahontas soundtrack! I remember knowing ALL the words & instrumentation for the movie… sorta nerdy, I know. Who didn’t know all the lyrics to the Disney movie songs from the 90’s?

  It’s never too early or late to be thankful for something. What are you thankful for?

This week, I’m thankful for…

  • my grandpa who is out of rehab and is doing well in his recovery. He’s using his walker, but he’s able to get around the house at a slower pace.
  • that I have energy through the day  and that I’m enjoying my time living downtown!
  • God’s protection around my family. Ike’s mom walked away from a very serious car accident last week while in the car with her friend. The car was pretty much totalled, but Thank the Lord, they were okay 🙂
  • Joe (Ike’s brother)- who got into Chiropractic school and is heading down to Portland to settle in and to start school. Congrats!

Here’s a treat… from Pocahontas… always makes me think of autumn!

and I love the opening song & chants with the drums… beautiful! Alan Menken was a genius!

Love,

Vinci

Zap Away!

Dear Family & Friends,

It’s been a while since my previous post, but wanted to let you know what’s been happening with my treatments since my last chemo.  These last few weeks of summer have been super busy. September always marks the reversion back to normalcy….and it also means that a lot of our friends & family leave Toronto! It’s always hard to say goodbye to good friends, to the “kids” we have seen grow up before our eyes & are now heading to university & college, to family visiting…etc. We miss you guys already! But Thanks for a great summer!

We know you will continue to support & pray for us, even though you might not physically be here in Toronto. So, we want to thank you as we go through this transition period in our lives –> from single people to a married couple living in an 800 square foot condo with no furniture in the living room…haha..well, we do have a makeshift couch (aka a spare mattress), a coffee table that belongs to a friend, and our new  tv courtesy of our lovely friends (THANKS!)

I’ve also been enjoying  grocery shopping, cooking dinner (I’ll post up some pictures of my first attempts at cooking for a husband), and vaccuming. See, it’s one thing to cook for yourself in school… when anything will do and you don’t have to worry about someone else’s preference for food or poisoning them with your inedible cooking. On the other hand, cooking for a husband or family, there are things to consider like what the other person’s most hated food or favourite food is, if there’s a coupon or a sale for a specific food at the grocery store, if the food can be kept for several days in the fridge or freezer (so I don’t have to cook EVERY meal), making sure that everyone’s full & not hungry, etc…Let’s just say, I have a lot of learning to do! And what better people to learn it from than my mom and my grandma(s)!  Growing up, I have been incredibly blessed to have  breakfast, lunch, and dinner cooked, prepared or packed for me. Out of all the foods I have to learn to make, I think the recipes I’m more clueless about are the Chinese soups & other Chinese dishes.  

Now, back to the treatments. So, last week… we met up with Dr. Kuravilla & Dr. Villa and they have concluded that the tumour is small enough that I don’t need to have anymore chemo treatments! That was welcoming news, since my body is going to take some time to clear itself of the already existing poisons accumulated there in the last 6 rounds of chemo. On Wednesday, I was referred to Dr. Tsang, a radiation oncologist who will be overseeing and planning my radiation treatments.

The CT Simulator & Radiation planning was done on the same day, and I’m scheduled for my first radiation treatment this afternoon at PMH. For the planning, it was pretty cool… they put tattoo dots on the front and side of my body so that the radiation technician can precisely align the rays to the localized tumour spots. The whole radiation treatment will consist of 20 round, everyday (Mon.-Fri.) for 4 weeks. We’re so excited to know that we see the end of the tunnel! God is good!

Reading the Bible this morning, this verse really stuck out at me

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.     – 1 John 3:18-20

I was listening to a song by Chris Tomlin and looking for some new music, when I came across a song called “Love” from his album, “Hello, Love”. The words were very powerful & similar to this verse today. I hope the words also resonate with you.

When our hope is hard to find
And our faith is in decline
We need a cause to stand behind – love
We all want the way it feels
Time it comes and time it steals
What remains, what is real – love

[Chorus:]
There is love
There is forgiveness
There is love in times of need
When life is cold there is a promise
You will never go without…
There is love

It heals the sick
Comforts the weak
Breaks the proud
Raises the meek
In this life no guarantees…

Love is the answer
Love will find a way
When we love one another
It’s a brighter day

O-kwa-ga-la-kwe,
Ku-singa-byoo-na,
Bwe-twa-ga-la-na-o-lu-na-ku-lu-suu-fu

After listening to the song, I was interested in  the Watoto Children’s Choir that sings with Chris Tomlin in the background. After doing a little research, I found that these were orphaned children from Uganda, who have experienced a lot of suffering in their childhood and have been given hope through the Watoto Missions. The Mission provides for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs for the children so that they can become future leaders of their country.  Here’s a short documentary about them.

Prayer Items

  • We have  a couple of close friends & family who are going through difficult times right now. If you have time, please say a short prayer them (don’t worry about not knowing their names, God knows!) and that we can be a good support for them!
  • for successful radiation treatments. Praise God for no more chemo treatments & that it did it’s job!
  • adjustments & patience for myself, for Ike & for my parents since I no longer live with them.
  • my grandpa’s hip & his discharge from the rehabilitation centre

Cheers 🙂

-Vinci

Ring, Ring, Ring! – 6th Chemo is Done!

(I meant to post this entry a little earlier..but it’s been a week and a bit… whoops! sorry!)

Dear Friends & Family,

After a busy yet ABSOLUTELY FUN wedding weekend, our wonderful wedding party sent us to a really relaxing & wonderful  two and a half day mini-honeymoon at the White Oaks Resort & Spa in Niagara on the Lake.  The food at the resort’s restaurant (LIV) was scrumptious to say the least! We ate a wonderful dinner on our first night there and had brunches there in the next 2 days. WOW! Is all I can say… local fresh produce created by a masterchef.

So, without further ado, here’s some pictures of the happiest day of my life so far! Praise God, it was perfect: the weather, the temperature…everything went so amazingly smooth & well. We couldn’t have planned it better ourselves! Thanks to all our friends and family for all your help in preparation for the day. We couldn’t have done it without you guys. We had a LOT of fun & we hope those you guys did too.  As well, thanks for helping us raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Association of Canada ($600- to be exact), for LiveStrong and for World Vision Canada through our wedding. We’re extremely grateful 🙂 This money will definitely be helpful to someone in need!

After our mini-moon in Niagara, both Ike & I were prepared for the last round of chemo on the Wednesday afterwards. The 6th round was full of anticipation, of relief, and also of uncertainty. Anticipation always happens before chemo… but of course, I had my AWESOME support system : FRIENDS & FAMILY! Prayers & a GAGA surprise made it a lot easier 🙂 Alice my RN is always so good about it too!  She got the vein on the first try 🙂 Relief is in knowing that the 6th chemo is possibly the last one. I got to ring the bell before I left ! Uncertainty is in thinking… what comes next? Did the chemo get rid of all the bad cancer cells? Will I need round 7 & 8? Will it come back? 

Thanks Girls for the Gaga Surprise 🙂 No need for a video this time haha...you guys are here!

I had my CT Scan yesterday (August 23rd) as a follow-up to the 6th chemo and for the doctors to see what’s next. I have been having a pretty sleepless week last week in anticipation of this scan. It’s one of those: “I want to know… I don’t want to know..” type of mentalities that have kept me up at night (well… and the adjusting to sharing a bed with a husband 🙂 and the chemo drugs haha…) I’ll know the results by next Monday- I’m definitely nervous….please pray that I’ll keep relying on God’s plan for me, that I’ll be at peace & know that God is still in control.

As well… another exciting thing is that I’ve started moving in to Ike’s apartment since Friday (after my last Neupogen injection). It gives me something to do while I’m recuperating: home improvement/home organization! I’ve never lived in a condo and it wasn’t long before I realized how much work is needed in maximizing the use of a small space. It’s also a challenge to “adult-ify” a bachelor pad… ahah…

Today’s scripture reading & “daily bread” devotion (you can find this at http://odb.org/ ) was very appropriate & applicable. God’s Word Always & Continues to be a source of comfort & hope for me 🙂

4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7

11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:11-13

Cheers & Much Love,

Vinci

wedding day…. TOMORROW!

Dear Friends & Family,

This week flew by…and tomorrow’s the wedding! Praise God for energy this week (It was probably adrenaline…haha) to get some stuff done.

The rehearsal was a preview of what tomorrow’s gonna be like 🙂 I was so happy to see all our friends & family from out of town come together to celebrate with us. That was followed by an AMAZING Rehearsal dinner…. a backyard BBQ 🙂 We are so blessed to have great family & great family friends, who prepared, cooked and barbequed away for the whole day so that we could have a yummy dinner. To top it off, we were so touched by our wedding party, who secretly planned a mini-honeymoon for us in Niagara!!!! THANK YOU (x a million) 🙂

Can’t wait for tomorrow!

Cheers,

Vinci

5 days to wedding! 9 days to chemo!

Hello dear readers,

With all of Ike & my family & friends flying to Toronto within the last several weeks… it’s finally starting to hit me… we’re getting married… in less than a week 🙂 It’s pretty surreal knowing that it’s my last weekend as a single person. I’m so happy & excited that we are getting married and that we decided not to cancel the wedding, but to celebrate despite my health over the last several months.

We have clearly seen how God’s hands have been with us as our wedding day approaches. He has provided us with many wonderful friends who have helped make all the planning less hectic. He has been a part in the big & the small things that need to be done… and believe me, there’s ALWAYS things to be done for weddings…the list just seems to never end! Somehow though, they get done… 🙂

Today, we went to Emily & Jeff’s wedding (congrats!). It was a nice ceremony with friends and family! All that meticulous planning…for one day! It’s a lot to do, but I could tell from Emily & Jeff’s smiling faces that it was all worth it 🙂 I KNOW I’m going to be a crying mess on Saturday when it’s our turn at the altar… I know there will be a lot of smiles, a lot of tears, and a lot of laughter! (and of course, DANCING!) but…. as Jimmy V says in his 1993 ESPY Speech…

To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.

I pray that all of you will experience and appreciate all of God’s Blessings in your lives too 🙂 Sometimes, if we step back…relax.. and Count Our Blessings…it really puts things into perspective.

In terms of treatments & my health, last Friday I went to PMH for a routine bloodwork prior to a scheduled chemo. Dr. Fung put in an order for blood too…and they ended up taking 8 tubes of blood (better than 11!) Because of the wedding, the 6th (and hopefully final!) chemo will be scheduled for August 11th– the Wednesday after our wedding. I will be Mrs. Ling going into my chemo this time 🙂

 My Ultrasound for Dr. Fung also came back and all my “innards” looks good & normal 🙂 Praise God! And…..the dreaded mouthsore near my wisdom tooth that made me look slightly like a lopsided chipmunk 2 weeks ago…has gone away. Hooray!

So… bring it on! Wedding & Round 6 Chemo! 

 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

– Romans 8:27-29 (New Living Translation)

Cheers,

Vinci

Appointments Galore!

Hey Everyone 🙂

I’ve been a little behind in my updates… and I’m still in the middle of my monstrous “Excited- Part 2” entry which is now long overdue! I’ll get that done… I promise 🙂

In the meantime, this past week was a not so pleasant one after Chemo #5. The chemo day itself went pretty smoothly with Alice (my wonderful nurse) finding my vein with ease & a lovely smile on her face as always! She was so excited that Ike & I were getting married after this round 5 that she offered a great big hug & even the heat-pad as a wedding gift 🙂 The days after the chemo were pretty tiring. Sometimes, halfway through the day I’d feel like I’d gotten hit by a truck all of a sudden & in need of a nap. Even on Sunday when Ike & I went out for Brunch, I was completely exhausted after the meal and needed to go home shortly after.  But despite all these side effects, we just wanted to thank our friends and family for cooking, caring, praying and putting a smile on our faces even on the tough days!

Other side effects that I have been noticing this round include

  • numb fingers
  • low-grade fever on my 3rd night of neupogen injection. Ike & I prayed hard for the fever to subside.. and PTL! it was answered!
  • pain in my back from the neupogen
  • jaw/neck pain from the neupogen
  • more lines & discolouration in my fingernails (which I will gladly cover up for the wedding 🙂
  • nauseous feelings for more than a week
  • mouthsore near the back of my mouth –> knew I should’ve gotten those wisdom teeth out! I’ve been religiously putting Propylis on it to help with the swelling… oh! it works & it Stings like a bee…. no pun intended.

Aside from the side effects, when I’m up and at ’em… it’s makes them less noticeable! And.. this week was full of appointments to keep me on my toes! Had a chinese doctor’s appointment today along with my wedding dress fitting 🙂 Tomorrow, I have an ultrasound for my liver at TGH…and Thursday, I’m seeing Dr. Fong (my liver specialist) for a check-up since starting chemo along with a final chipao dress fitting in the evening! Whew! God, give me strength to get through the next few days without any complications… pretty please 🙂

Update soon times!

Cheers,

Vinci

Ready, Steady…Round 5 on the Horizon!

After going for bloodwork yesterday and seeing Dr. Villa & Sue, my counts are ready for the 5th round of R-CHOP on Monday. In comparison to the past few rounds, my bloodcount is a higher this time, and I’ve gained a couple of pounds! I’ve been so determined in not losing pounds, that I actually weigh a little more than I was pre-cancer. I guess the long weekend, a trip to Pittsburgh and having an appetite can do that to you 🙂

I’m in the midst of a monstrous entry that I intended to post this past week. Still working on it… and hopefully, I’ll have time to upload my pictures from Pittsburgh to accompany what I want to say. That’s why the blog hasn’t seen any updates in the past week.

Thanks for all your support and prayers and both & Ike are heading into my last couple of rounds of chemo. God-willing, I won’t need a 7th or 8th round. What’s even better about this round 5, is that I get a 4-5 week break before the 6th cycle!!!! …. just in time… for our wedding.

 It was funny, I was telling my doc & nurse that I’ll be coming in for the 6th round the Monday after the wedding. They both had the same reply, “No! I won’t let you do that! That’s not a very romantic honeymoon at all!”  So, maybe we’ll get to go away for a couple of days because of the postponed treatment 🙂

As for the rest of this past week, I spent a lot of time with my Mom and Wynne (Ike’s mom who’s in town from Vancouver). We had good times, good food, and good exercise going around the city… running errands for the wedding in this HOT & HUMID Toronto weather! Hope everyone also stayed hydrated & cool wherever you are 🙂

Thanks & Praise to God for…

  • good friends & family:)
  • taking care of the big and small details of the wedding
  • Thank God for A/C, a house to keep cool in, and Tim Horton’s Cold Drinks!
  • a good appetite this round
  • minimal side effects: only “zebra” fingernails (white lines & darker lines on the nails), minor fatigue, and numbness in fingertips

Please Pray for…

  • patience & faith while waiting on God
  • patience & calmness during a very busy month prepping for the wedding
  • grandpa’s recovery- He’s living at Tendercare for the time being while undergoing rehab for his hip surgery
  • good veins for Monday

 Lovin’ this song 🙂 A Mellow tune on a hot day for a special someone.

Girl Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae

Cheers,

Vinci