COLUMN: Move from Italy for job leads to a new home in Pictou County
Elsa Rastelli left Italy in the late 1950s in search of freedom and adventure. She found both as well as lifelong love and lasting friendships.
HEY THERE... IT’S ME KATHY, BY KATHY GOLEMIEC
I know you are saying Kathy who?
Well let me tell a little bit about myself before I invite you to share in my newest adventure.
My name is Kathryn Halina Golemiec. Now you are saying what kind of name is that?
It’s Polish and get this, I am a Polish Cape Bretoner, but you can all call my Kathy.
I am 56 years old, still a flower child at heart though, divorced and have two grown daughters and two granddaughters, all of whom live in British Columbia. I am single and live alone in Pictou County.
My biggest quest right now is I have metastasized breast cancer, which means it has spread into my bones. I have been battling cancer since 2004 and at first I thought the same as many people do when they hear “you have cancer.”
“Oh my God, I am going to die.”
“Oh no, this can’t be happening to me, I am only 46 years old. This is suppose to be the prime of my life, not the end of it.”
But that was 10 years ago and I am still here to complain about the weather just like the rest of you.
Now I am starting another journey with this disease and I am going to let those of you who want to read my weekly column come along with me. I’ll share my ups and downs and all the parts in between with you. Get ready, it’s going to be a bumpy ride at times and other times a lot of humour to boot. That’s a touch of Cape Breton grammar for you there.
When I started, I had stage two breast cancer. I went through all the treatments they had to offer and made it to a couple of months before the five-year cancer-free. I was actually told I was cancer-free. Woo hoo, I beat it.
Well that didn’t last long because within a couple of months, it had metastasized into my sternum bone. So now I am stage four and there is no stage five, so this isn’t looking good.
They gave me a two-year life expectancy and I thought, oh, this really isn’t looking good. When that two years was almost up, I was so scared and when it passed, it was like woo hoo, I beat it again. That was five years ago.
Well, here I go again. It’s in both hip bones, right shoulder in two spots, ribs (just a couple and my sternum which is the big middle bone in your chest that holds you together).
Now get this, I am still only taking Advil and Tylenol, sometimes every other day for the pain. That will change soon.
Because I started out with breast cancer, no matter where the cancer spreads to, it will always be breast cancer, even though it’s in my bones, it’s not bone cancer. It’s not bone cancer because breast cancer was the primary spot.
I bet you wondering now, if I still have breasts or just one of them, but I will fill you in on another day. We don’t know each other well enough yet.
Did I tell you I am scared to death of needles, even after all the years of treatments and tests that my veins have gone through over the years?
So before I start this new chemo treatment, I have to get a port put in my chest that will look so pretty with a summer top. A port is a tube they put in an artery, in my case a chest wall, so they can hook up to an IV without trying to find a vein. The medicines go in through the tube. It’s like hooking up a garden hose to a water spout and then you can shut the water on and off. For my male readers, its like a dip stick to check engine oil and it’s closed off until you need it.
So next week, the surgeon is going to take me to the operating room and put the port in. It should only take a half an hour, then knowing me I’ll sleep for a couple of hours before I wake up and I am sent home. So I will let you know how it goes.
Have a great week folks and yes the June bugs are out there… yuck.
Kathy Golemiec is a resident of Westville and will be chronicling her struggles and challenging as she undergoes cancer treatments. She will be a weekly columnist with The News.