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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Service Canada (particularly EI) is such a marvelous and easy to manage site............NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you friggin' kidding me???? I applied for EI the first week of October. I have yet to receive any payment. Today is December 22, so let me calculate this, um, let's see.........almost 4 freaking months!!!

Every single time I try to fill out the online forms, I get this error message that they are experiencing problems, to come back later or give them a call, etc, etc, etc. I come back later and get the same message. I try again the next day, then the next day, then a couple days later and get the same freaking message!!! What does one do?? I call the number they give and am in a queue for 35 minutes. I think not!! Three point five months of this!!! I can not believe that in this modern era of computers and groovy state of the art systems, that I can't get through to EI. I am not a lazy twit not wanting to work. I have cancer and need support, thank you very much.

I go online yesterday and their system is down. What.........the.........heck am I supposed to do people??  WHAT??

But the piece de resistance is what happened when I tried again today. I was informed that I was late filling out my forms and now have to reactivate my account. Oh. Really???????

Their site does not work and they do their ultimate best to make sure you can't possibly file a report.  Cuz if you could, they would not know what to do with it. They would be like "Ugh??! What??#"

Jesus, your birthday is in 3 days. This should be a happy time of year. Please help my life to get easier.  Please.

Monday, 21 December 2015

It's Monday afternoon and I have felt horribly ill since chemo last Wednesday. I do not want to continue with chemotherapy treatments at this rate.

Barb came yesterday and slept over. Thank God I have her. She picked up a few things at Shopper's, then some groceries at Foodland and this morning, before she left to go home, she picked up my mail.

I am feeling so useless and the past 5 days, feeling so sick and it being so close to Christmas has left me feeling really angry. I just want to punch the world and scream at it......WHY ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I haven't been out (except to move my car forward 10' in my driveway so Barb could park). What a waste of time! I have done completely nothing to get ready for Christmas and have not been at work. I feel so guilty, yet don't know what I can do about it. I am not sleeping well and when I do, I have the strangest dreams. I sleep, I awaken, I sleep, I awaken....this pattern goes on about a 100 times a night. My legs are throbbing with pain, so much pain....aching, throbbing, burning, sharp pain all night long. I twist and turn and moan and groan. I have had very little solid food to eat as I can't chew and swallow. Is is psychological or physical or both? I don't know. I have been drinking Ensure, a nutrient rich supplement since yesterday.  Thank goodness I can keep it down.

The lower back pain and abdominal pain continue to grab me tight and with the leg pain, it's almost unbearable. Overall, since last Thursday, I am a bit better, so that's a good thing. And to think I was told I would have little side effects from the PACLitaxel. Instead I have never been so sick in my life, side effects and duration unlike anything I have ever known. And it's the fear of the unknown. What is happening to my body?

I just left a message with my PDN (patient designated nurse) from the cancer clinic. I just wanted to let her know how awful I was feeling and if there was anything that could be done?? I find my calls to the cancer clinic aren't returned very quickly which leaves me wondering what is it I should be doing that I am not. Why don't calls get returned? I also said that I was not going to continue with chemo if this is what I had to go through.

And it's hard living alone. I'm a real anxious person at the best of times and am comforted having someone around especially when I feel so awful. It was nice having Barb here. She caters to me and I am distracted somewhat from my pain. She'll be back Christmas Eve. Hopefully I am feeling better by then. I do plan to go to work tomorrow. Lord, give me strength.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Being sick is scary

Continuing from my last post, I felt absolutely horrible all day yesterday. Horrible nausea, burning esophageal pain (at least I think that's what it was), stomach pain, sore lower back, abdominal pain, sore thighs, knees, feet.........every inch of my body was in excruciating pain and it scared me. I couldn't get comfortable no matter what I did, whether I stood or sat, walked or stayed still. I went to bed at 8:30 pm.  I think I was 7 or 8 the last time I went to bed that early.  I didn't have a choice. I slept a bit, woke up, tried to get comfortable, prayed, cried, fell back to sleep, woke, shifted to find a better position, went back to sleep, woke, prayed.......until 8:00 am.  My pups who had patiently been by my side for almost 12 hours, jumped out of bed.  I am so grateful that they stayed patient throughout the night, giving me unconditional love. Sleep is really important when you're sick.

I am feeling slightly better today. Thank God. Though my legs, abdomen and lower back are still very sore, my upper body has calmed down a bit. I haven't been eating much, which is a good way to lose weight, but not this way.  I just had a piece of toast and a scrambled egg.  It's hard to chew and swallow and food tastes like metal.

Besides the chemo meds that are cruelly finding their way around my body, I am taking Tylenol for pain, meds for nausea, meds for constipation, meds for the infection in my leg along with all the various meds I take for depression, anxiety and asthma. How do all these meds know how to work together to make my body better?  I think they are as puzzled as much as I am.

I am not ready for Christmas, haven't been outside (except to put garage out) since Wednesday night and really feeling sorry for myself.

I hope God hasn't forgotten me and has a plan for me.  Right now, I can't imagine what that could be.

It's Coco's 6th birthday today.  Happy Birthday to my adorable Yorkie rescue!  I love you. xoxo


Friday, 18 December 2015

I hate chemotherapy!

I am feeling horrible. I had chemo on Wednesday and was told by my oncologist that I wouldn't have much nausea this time around. Treatments 1 to 4 were over and I was on a new medication for treatment 5 (to 8). I was happy to hear this as I felt pretty yucky with nausea for 4 full days with each round of chemo thus far. 

I am feeling far worse now than I have since chemo treatments started. I am not only nauseous, but my chest, stomach, esophagus, intestines seem to be all working together to do their best to work against me.....from sharp to throbbing to piercing pains. Maybe heartburn? Indigestion? I have never felt these types of aches and pains and frankly, I wish I were dead! (figure of speech) I am going to discuss with her the possibility of ending chemo altogether. I'll take my chances. Not everyone can go through chemo with all the possible and horrible side effects. There are other treatments. As far as I know, I will be having radiation and hormone therapy down the line, perhaps sooner now that I can't imagine going through more chemo.

I keep saying it over and over.....cancer isn't tough, for me anyhow. It's the follow-up treatment that is really really difficult to go through. And I can't eat!! I can drink liquids (banana smoothie and chicken noodle soup yesterday), but I seem to be unable to actually chew or swallow solid food. It is so bizarre.  My tummy is grumbling as I write this, so I will go and make another banana smoothie I guess.

I  missed our work section Christmas luncheon yesterday. I was really looking forward to it. Damn! I am obviously not at work today either and am really hoping I will be feeling well enough to go to work Monday. I have work to do and really want to be able to get some stuff done before Christmas. I love my job and the people I work with. What can I say? I am lucky.

I managed to get my tree up and decorated before this latest round of chemo. Thank goodness as I would not be able to do anything about it now had I not.

Thank you my darling Michelle for coming with me to chemo on Wednesday and for staying the whole 5 hours. I am blessed to be your mom and love you to infinity and beyond! xo


Thursday, 3 December 2015

Diabetes, chemo, gall bladder......so much fun!

So, I don't have diabetes, or even pre-diabetes...........wooohooooo!  That's good news.

I see a surgeon on Dec 8 to discuss my gall bladder situation.  It's just a consult at this time.

I am finally back on my chemo treatments.  I had my 4th today.  I'm half way there.  I will be on a different chemo drug for treatments 5 to 8.  I am curious to see if the side effects will be the same, similar, different etc.  Moe Moe is sweet.  She came to be with me today.  She has to take 3 busses.  She's so cute.  It was nice having her company.  I was able to drive her to Tunney's after chemo as I was going to work anyway.  It saved her 1 bus.  Not much, but something.  I didn't expect any of my sisters or my daughter to come today.  Michelle was working.  Barb had a meeting with her boss.  Patty has been to so many of my appointments at the General.  Moe is at the other end of the city and needs to take 3 busses.  She said she didn't mind and even likes to take busses.  Funny girl.

At my treatment today I asked if I could have my next appt on the 16th.  It is currently booked 2 weeks from today on Thursday, Dec 17.  I prefer Wednesdays as Michelle is off that day and able to come with me plus we are having our work section Christmas lunch on the 17th and I really don't want to miss it.  I mentioned to my oncologist this past Tuesday when I saw her how I preferred Wednesdays and that going today, Thursday, was ok since I hadn't been on chemo for 5 weeks and switching days this one time was fine.  I will call her tomorrow to discuss.  I really can't understand what difference a day makes.  We'll see.

I have done lots of Christmas baking.  I'm just one crazy baking queen!  I get like that.  I don't bake for, well, months and months, and then I simply go nuts (no pun intended) when I put my mind to it.  I have baked 11 or 12 different things.  My freezer is full and I am out of plastic containers!  My sisters and I are having a cookie exchange.  I've done my baking, Patty will do her baking, Moe Moe doesn't want to bake (haha) and Barb doesn't have time.  I told her she and I could give my desserts together and she can just pay me for half the ingredients.  It's all good.  We'll get together before Christmas to do the exchange.  I am hoping we decide to go out for lunch since I don't like the unpredictability of the weather this time of year so would prefer not to go out in the evening.

My printer died a few weeks ago.  Patty and Fred decided to buy me one as a Christmas gift because they know money is real tight and I use my printer quite a bit. It was so generous and kind of them to do this.  I ordered one from Staples and it came yesterday.....yay!  It has a good review and was on sale to boot!  Michelle will set it up for me when she has a chance.  Hopefully that's this weekend :-)

Orkin man is coming tomorrow.  I still have critters in my wall and ceiling.  It's been almost 3 months since I called them.  They've been here 5 times already.  Why is this so complicated?  Why?

I am feeling nauseous.  At least not having chemo had advantages.......no side effects.  I don't like feeling this way one single bit.  C'est la vie.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

I am so bad at keeping up with my blog.  Oh well, that's who I am.

I haven't hadn't any chemo since October 28.  I am still having issues with my leg.  I have gone through 3 rounds of anti-biotics and still, I have this open disgusting red sore on my calf.  It's not getting worse, but it's not getting better.  Tomorrow I will meet with an infectious disease doctor.  Hopefully this silliness can be figured out.  I saw the oncologist yesterday.  We discussed the possibility that it could be a symptom of diabetes.  I don't have diabetes, that I know of, but maybe I do.  Oh brother.

I had an MRI last week of my abdomen because of the issues I am having with my gallbladder.  The MRI results confirmed what the ultrasound suspected.......I have polyps in my gallbladder.  It may or may not be cancerous, so I will be meeting with a surgeon to discuss this in the near future.  If I need surgery, it will be put on hold until my chemo is completed.  And my chemo is on hold until we figure out what's wrong with my leg.  I may need plastic surgery to fill in the hole in my leg.  God give me strength.

On a more pleasant note, my beautiful, funny and talented daughter, Michelle turned 25 last Saturday, Nov. 21.  My sweetheart is a whole quarter century!  I feel so old.  I can't believe the years have slipped away so fast.  Remember to appreciate your kids every single day, especially when they are young........when they fight and cry and complain and argue with you, seemingly on a daily basis.  You may sometimes wish they'd grow up quicker because you can't stand the trials and tribulations. But boy oh boy, when you wake up and they are grown up and you wonder where the years went.............anyway, appreciate them always, in the moment.   Children are our greatest gift and we must remember not to focus on the grief they sometimes give us.  We must always remember to focus on the joy and happiness that they bring.  The good far outweighs the bad.  Thank you Michelle for being my daughter.  I love you. xoxo

I am still quite bald and really wish my hair would come back.  As thin and grey as it was, and as much as I complained that I had the worst hair on the planet, at least I had hair.  We don't appreciate what we have, until it's gone.  I must remember to be patient.  It will be some time before I get it back.  But I'll get it back.

Sweet dreams.........




Tuesday, 10 November 2015

I saw my oncologist today.  We discussed the infection I have in my leg and she thought it best to put chemo on hold indefinitely until the infection is under control.  The anti-biotics my family doc put me on last week will continue for another week.  I guess the chemo may be killing the cancer but causing some nasty side effects.  A bad infection in my leg is assumed to be a side effect.  Who knows.  I may have got the infection regardless, but I don't think so.

I am miserable.  My right leg is twice the size of my left, red, hard, warm and infected.  Nasty, scary and frustrating.  At least I don't have a fever...........yet.

So I have had 3 chemo treatments thus far, out of the originally prescribed 8.

On a much happier note, I spent the weekend in Toronto.  My beautiful, funny, intelligent and kind niece, Maude got married to her prince charming, Dave on Saturday, November 7th.  It was magical and Maude was breathtaking in my mother's wedding dress from 1945.  My sister Pat, Maude's mom, also wore it for her wedding 40 years ago on Nov 22, 1975.  Maude made a few alterations, but, for the most part, it remained as classy and as stunning as it did for it's debut on May 28, 1945.  The wedding, the reception, the dinner party at Dave's parents' place the night before and the brunch with all my siblings on Sunday morning made for a complete and wonderful weekend.

While I was away for the weekend, my friend Mary Louise was kind enough to look after Chewie and Coco.  It was very kind of her, considering her busy schedule which included working on Saturday.  She took the pups overnight Friday and Saturday, returning them to my place for the day time hours on Saturday and Sunday.  The pups apparently behaved well and had a good time at ML's (unless they didn't and ML is too kind to admit that they perhaps tore her house apart) but were still delighted to welcome me home Sunday night.  I was tired and glad to get home after taking the train to and from TO with my sister, Barb.  With the sore leg, I welcomed my home and my pups very much.

My sweetie pie daughter Michelle came by on Saturday to rake and bag leaves from my yard.  It was a huge help for me.  I still have much to do before the snow falls.  I welcomed her help and would welcome it again, if she offered. He he.

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day.  May we all be humbled, bow our heads and thank all those who have gone before us to bravely protect and fight for our beautiful country, the best country in the world!

Lest we Forget.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Wow, I am falling behind with my writing.

I had my third chemo treatment last Wednesday, Oct. 28th. It went well.  Barb and Michelle came with me.  Aren't they sweet?  I have had this sore lump on the outside of my lower right calf for weeks now, so just before treatment, they sent me down for an ultrasound to rule out blood clots.  It wasn't a clot. It leaves me wondering as to what could be wrong with my leg.  This large painful lump that seems to be getting worse and the 10 days of anti-biotics not doing much to help (with the assumption it may be an infection) has left me frustrated.  It's even hard to sleep at night because I am constantly trying to find a comfortable position for my leg. I see my family doctor early Wednesday morning.  Perhaps we can figure this out sooner or later. Time will tell.

As is the routine I find myself in after treatments, I was feeling kind of crappy Wed. evening, into the night, but well enough to go to work Thursday.  I knew I was in for 4 bad days from Fri through Mon. Barb came to stay with me for those 4 days, leaving just a short while ago.  It really helps to have her around.  She cooked our meals, went to Shopper's to pick up a few things for me, took my pups for little walks, put some yard stuff away in preparation for winter and she kept me company.  I get pretty down during the 4 or 5 days after chemo so having her here to help me and keep me company and to take the focus off my ruminating helps a lot and is good for the soul. I admire Barb's humility and caring nature. Thanks Barbie.

I slept a good part of those 4 days and though felt 'guilty' doing so, realize that it is necessary for my body to heal.  I am not being lazy. I have to keep telling myself that.  It's still really hard not being able to do much when I know there is always so much to do. I need to be more gentle with myself.

I have been nauseous, tired and well, weak.  I wish I had greater patience.  I guess what I wish is to be more accepting of my illness, but I'm not and that's ok.  One day at a time. And I pray.

Halloween came and went.  We got a grand total of 3 kids in one visit.  Pretty lame. I guess Halloween isn't what it was when I was growing up, where kids were out in abundance and homemade candy was common.  No razor blades, needles or other nasty things.  It was safe back then. It should be safe now.  It is for the most part, but there are still crazy people lurking about, ready to do harm to others, because they can. Karma does have the upper hand however, and someday, when they least expect it, will bite them in the ass.

I did manage to do a bit of baking in between the nausea episodes.  My brother and his spouse will be around this weekend from LA so I thought I'd put together some goodies for them to take home with them when they go back.  I made brown sugar fudge with walnuts and oreo chocolate fudge. I impulsively decided to make a small white cake as well, and used some of the brown sugar fudge, remelted, as icing. It was something mom would make us growing up and it was sooooo good.  For some reason, hers was much better than mine.

I will be back at work tomorrow and hopefully able to climb out of this slump I am in. I like the people I work with.....a lot.

I still have the occasional sound of a squirrel lurking in the walls.  I also smell death.  Not great at any time and really not great when you're nauseous.


Saturday, 24 October 2015

The glass half full

I am sick 4 or 5 days out of 14.  Some could say, "yuck", that's a lotta sick!  I am going to think that it could be worse.  I am well 9 out of 14 days.  The cards could have been stacked against me and I could have been sick 9 out of 14.  So I'm doing okay!

I ended up shaving my head on Tuesday. It took longer than I thought it would, but hey, it's done.  Perhaps I could offer a bit of advice for anyone wanting to do the same.  A disposable bic razor is probably not the best choice to use.  It takes forever and you're looking in the mirror freaking out.  Your hair is very patchy, with some bald spots so you know you must finish what you started.  And you're thinking that if you had any impulse control, you would have just left it alone.  It wasn't that bad. Now it is!  I end up finishing up in the shower. I did a fine job if I do say so myself.

What's really cool is that as long as you don't use silk/satin scarves on your head, most fabrics don't slide off for some reason. I don't need to buy shampoo or conditioner and I would add that I am saving from not having to go to the salon.  Salon??  Huh!  I cut my own hair.  At least I did!

I raked and bagged leaves today.  Oh, I could say that I only did two bags and by the looks of my property, have still another 10 bags to go.  But I won't say that. I will stick with "I raked and filled two bags of leaves today.....period!"  Go me!

I have physically and mentally felt much better since Monday.  It seems to be the pattern.  Looking at my post from Sunday made me feel sad.

My brother Jimmy, who lives in LA, just sent a short, but very nice e-mail asking how I was doing and that he was thinking of me.  He saw last Sunday's post.  Thanks Jimmy! And yes, I also look forward to seeing you and Sebastian in two weeks (for my niece Maude's wedding in Toronto).

I still have squirrels. They won't leave. Orkin was here again this week.  It's the 4th visit.  I don't know what to say anymore......


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Poor poor pitiful me

I am feeling really yucky and a little sorry for myself.  I am not good at dealing with being sick.  I have little patience and want all this cancer crap to be over.  I have struggled with anxiety and depression most of my life.  Depression and cancer is an awful combination.  I try to focus on one hour at a time.  Thinking of more than than, which I end up doing, gets me really down.

I slept most of the day yesterday, partly because I wasn't able to do anything else and partly because I just want not to be conscious while I go through this.  There are so many things that I "need" to do as I go through this journey, but being so nauseous, I am unable to do any of them.  So I get more anxious and everything is spinning like a bad nightmare all around me.

I still have squirrels in the walls and I am unsure how to solve this problem.  Orkin has abandoned me.  Do I continue trying or do I file a complaint?  I can't make decisions.  Should I put my home up for sale?  Probably, but I have no desire or energy to tidy up and get it ready for that.  And how in the world am I going to pack feeling as I do?

The snow has started ridiculously early this year and I need to get my snow tires on my car.  I can barely open my car door to get in and sit down let alone deal with loading 4 tires into my car and taking it to Hyundai to have it done, then bring back and unload the 4 summer tires back into my garage.  Argh! Michelle may take my car in to have this done.  God bless her.

I cut my hair short hoping this would be good enough, but my short brush cut hair do is still not enough.  The hair continues to fall.  I don't really care about going bald, but with everything else going on, it just seems worse.  And now my scalp hurts.  It's more of a sensitive all over feeling on my head, a stinging sensation when I rub my hands through my hair or when I comb it.  My scalp feels likes it's burning to the touch, which it probably is in a sense, the chemo doing it's magic, killing so much as it tries to heal.

I am injecting myself with neupogen (spelling?) for 7 days, to bring up the white blood cells that the body needs to fight infection and that the chemo kills off.  I am pretty proud of myself for being able to do this all by myself with a 1.5" needle....ouchie!

Normally I am okay being alone with my two crazy pups.  When you're sick, you revert, in part, to the child you were in years past and you want someone to take care of you.  I wish I could call out and ask someone to get me a popsicle because I just don't want to get off the couch.  Where are you mommy?  You brought me popsicles after I had my tonsils out and I felt so loved and safe.  Everything was going to be okay.

I can't get rid of the weird taste in my mouth.  I brush my teeth but it doesn't help.  And my mouth is always dry and sipping water or gingerale doesn't seem to relieve the dryness.  The nausea is always there during the first 4 days or so after a chemo treatment.  I can't wait until Tuesday when the nausea should have subsided somewhat.  I am working part time around the side effects of the chemo, which is mostly nausea, sore stomach, cramps, fatigue and an all over feeling of yuck. 

I am just finishing off a hot chocolate.  It tasted okay at first but as I swallow the last few sips, it has morphed and now melted candle wax trickles down my throat.


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Visit to the oncologist was, well, interesting

I saw Dr. D. today.  I waited in the little room for 45 minutes and was with her for 5 or 6 minutes.  She left and never came back. Ugh??

One of the prescriptions I am taking for my chemo treatments is Nuepogen. Chemo leaves your immune system compromised and this drug helps to bring the white blood cell count back up.  However, I was supposed to have an injection 24 hours after chemo and continue every day for 7 days. She wrote the prescription wrong and only wrote down the part about taking it "24 hours after chemo" and left out the "continue every day for 7 days" part.  When she realized this today, she said it was her fault but that the pharmacist filling the prescription should have known.  Talk about passing the buck!  She left the room and said she'd be right back.  She never came back.  Carmen, the nurse came by to give me another prescription and said I could leave.  I was surprised and even told Carmen that Dr. D. said she'd be right back (after all, I didn't really have an appt and hadn't asked my questions).  I was dumbfounded and by being so, only realized after the fact how angry I was.

For the few minutes I did see Dr. D., we discussed the swollen, sore, red area on my calf.  She wrote a prescription for antibiotics and said if it gets worse to call her and she would tell me whether or not to take the antibiotics. Now that I think of it, perhaps it really is an infection, um, maybe because my immune system was compromised!#??!!!

I don't even know what the appt. was for now that I think of it. 

When the blood work comes back, they will let me know if chemo is a go tomorrow.  If the white cells are too low, it has to be postponed.

I am frustrated, confused, upset and just fuming.  Now what?

To add to the fun, my parking pass wouldn't work going into the lot at the General and didn't work again coming out.  I got a ticket and went to the parking/security office (had to walk across the length of the hospital).  They asked if I had used it as it showed that it was expired. I told him I hadn't used it yet.....at all!  He "fixed" it but on the way out, I had the same problem. I hit the help button, the girl fixed something and I was able to leave.

It's bad enough going through cancer, chemo, nausea, fatigue et all, even when everything else in life is going smoothly.  When you have cancer and things fall apart around you for absolutely no good reason, for errors made my professionals, when there are no excuses..........well, I just want to throw my arms in the air, shake my fists and scream to the world around me, hoping someone hears my cries.

I had my first treatment on Sept. 30.  On Oct. 1 I had an injection of Nuepogen. These injections were to continue for the next 6 consecutive days.  This didn't happen.  I pay the price.  What is wrong with this picture.




When pigs fly....

My daughter Michelle and her boyfriend Andy had my sister and I over last night for Thanksgiving dinner at their new condo.  It was great!  The love and pride I have for my daughter is, well, infinite.

Barb and I did the main course:  turkey, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, stuffing, gravy, cranberries and corn bread.  Michelle made 2 scrumptious desserts:  apple crisp and pecan pie.  OMG!  To die for!

They only moved in last week and have already transformed the main level into a precious and cozy little retreat.  The lower level, where the bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms are located are still being sorted out, with more unpacking left to do.  All in due time of course.

I was very excited to see PC, my cat, well, Michelle's cat now, who is 13 going on adorable soft baby kitten.  He seems to defy age and even seems to be getting younger and younger.  Michelle has had him for the past year and a half, close to 2 years perhaps?  I had him for the first 11 years of his life.  I picked him up and just squished him all over.  I paid for it later that evening when my allergies came seemingly out of nowhere.  I was rubbing my eyes and sneezing and blowing my nose and feeling crappy.  It was worth it though, giving my PC that few minutes of loving.  I saw and played a little with AJ, also 13, PC's sister, but from a different litter.  Yup, their mom, Amber had PC, youngest of 3 in her first little on June 7, 2012.  She didn't waste anytime when on October 8 and 9, 2012, she had her second litter. AJ was the youngest of 4 this time around.  Ally, the father, passed away a couple years ago after a relatively short illness.  Amber died 2 years before that.  What wonderful kitty cats, the whole lot.  I miss Amber and Ally.

I really am happy for Michelle and Andy.  Their new digs are wonderful and offer more conveniences than their previous place, AND, they are closer to me now being in Barrhaven! Yay!

On a different note and one that is kinda funny (knowing that all ended well), I "fell" this afternoon climbing up three steps onto my deck. I was wearing my stupid slippers and don't know exactly what happened, but I do remember losing my balance, in slow motion of course, and without any control whatsoever, just flew/fell/glided onto the deck and wham!! I was laying flat after falling square on my knees and falling forward!  Since knee replacement between 2011 and 2012, I have not been anywhere near a kneeling position.  I don't dare!  Many of you know my size and to do the gymnastics I did this afternoon, well, it was ridiculous and painful.  I was hurt and embarrassed and it took almost a minute to get up and into a proper standing position. I panicked and cried and couldn't catch my breath.....in part due to the pain, in part to the anxiety and in part due to my ridiculous size!  I've had 4 surgeries on my right leg, the same leg that got the blunt of the impact.

It being Thanksgiving, I guess I must be grateful for the fact that I managed to land in between the BBQ table and the cement cinder blocks.

Other than a few aches and pains, I am doing ok now and heading up to bed.
Sweet dreams!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Not about cancer, chemo or anything constructive

Ok, this is all random and has nothing to do with cancer or chemotherapy.  I am a bit odd sometimes....ok, most of the time and one of the things that makes me odd is the fact that I see patterns in numbers all the time and need to write them down.  So here are a few random weird number patterns that I am sharing.

My oldest brother John died on February 20, 1980.  So on February 20, 2000, he had been dead 20 years.
A series of 2's and 0's.......02 20 2000 20.

Another one:  my mom's 3rd child was born 3 years after the 2nd.  The 4th child was born 4 years after the 3rd and the 5th child was born 5 years after the 4th.
So 3rd was 3 years, 4th was 4 years and 5th was 5 years.

My mom died on November 14, 2001.  My dad died January 21, 2005.  He died exactly 3 years, 2 months, 1 week after mom.......3, 2, 1.

Another one that is almost a pattern, but not quite.  I'd like to say that my sister was born 1 year, 1 month, 1 week after me, which would be a pattern of 1, 1, 1.  However, she ruined the pattern by being born a day too early.  So June 30, 1960 is only 1 year, 1 month and 6 days after May 24, 1959.  Barb if you had been born at the right time, not only would you have adhered to the pattern, but you would also have been a Canada Day baby.....July 1, 1960.  Way to go Barb!

My paternal grandfather died in his 60's in the 1960's.
My paternal grandmother died in her 70's in the 1970's.
My maternal grandfather died in his 80's in the 1980's.
My maternal grandmother died in her 90's in the 1990's.

This is not a pattern but is very freaky:
My daughter's due date was on November 22, 1990.  She was born November 21, 1990, the day before.....so pretty close.
After Michelle was born and healthy and all was well, my mom told me that the due dates of her two miscarriages were November 22...yikes!  Thank God she told me this only AFTER Michelle was born.  A person with OCD and superstitions may have been a complete mess had they known this ahead of time.
Thank you mommy.

Someday I'll tell you more about how I can write and spell backwards with the same ease as the more accepted way of doing it forward (which is very boring, yawn).

One thing is certain.  You were entertained reading this right now.  Oh yes you were!










Tuesday, 6 October 2015

It's been 6 days since my first chemo treatment and my hair has yet to fall out. I don't really care one way or another if it does.  It's just hair.  It will grow back.

It reminds me of something my dad said to me a million years ago about getting wet when it rains, when you find yourself without an umbrella, "it's just water" he would say.  Brilliant man my dad was.  Golly, I miss him and mom.

Anyhow, last night, on a whim, I stopped at a local Chinese take-out joint in Manotick.  I decided I had a wicked craving (and no, I'm not pregnant ha ha).  As I headed home after picking it up, I got one of my "all too frequent" muscle spasms in my abdomen.  It was excruciating and I got extremely nauseous....not the same chemo nausea that has become a daily part of my life, but a different nausea, where your mouth gets this salty saliva and you know you're going to hurl.  I started getting the nausea accompanying these spasms a few months ago.  I have had these spasms for years now, but when I told my doctor that I now get extreme nausea when they occur, to the point of not being able to drive (if that's what I am doing when I have one) and having to pull over and ride it out, she sent me for an abdominal ultrasound.  The ultrasound revealed that I have polyps in my gall bladder, that may or may not be cancerous......great.

I am going for an abdominal MRI on October 28.  I may have to reschedule as I have chemo the same day.

I don't know at this point if the polyps on my gall bladder have anything to do with these wickedly painful muscle spasms.  And no, I don't have gall stones.  And who ever heard of gall bladder polyps anyway??

Lord give me strength.

The Chinese food was awesome!  I had it for supper last night, lunch today and finished it off for supper tonight.  I'm good for awhile now ;-)

And I didn't hurl.  I never do.  I refuse to.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Chemo begins

Well, I've caught up doing this blog thingy.  So glad about that.  It's hard to remember the details of the day let alone the details of days and weeks gone by.

I was a bit nervous for my first treatment at the Cancer Centre at the QCH.  Barb picked me up at home, took me in, we met Moe Moe there who took a couple busses to be there for moral support and then I did my thing.

They are so sweet there.  I was offered a bed or lounge chair.  I chose the chair.  The nurse spent the first half hour going over everything.......from meds and side effects and what to do in the event of (fill in the blanks), what I should eat, what I shouldn't eat, take this med for this and that for another thing and it all went in one ear and out the other.  I wonder what she was thinking as she spoke to me seeing the blank open-mouthed look on my face, a face that read "uh?!#, what ARE you saying to me?"

Regardless, it all went well. I was told of the possible effects of the chemo medications as she administered them intravenously.....this one gives you an itchy nose and this one gives you stinging sensation at the injection sight.  I was fortunate and all went off without a hitch.  Moe Moe stayed with me and Barb left to help Michelle and Andy with their move to their new place in Barrhaven.  Timing was bad as I would have liked to have been able to help them.

Barb picked us up afterwards and took Moe to the bus stop.  Barb then took me to Shoppers to fill 6 prescriptions. Oh brother. Cancer is so complicated.  Finally, we were home and the pups were so excited to see me.  Little do they know that they can't give me kisses while on chemo as it could make them very sick.......poor babies. I'll have to resist the urge to squish and kiss them. Will be tough.

TMI, but my first pee after radiation, like 5 minutes after, was bright red.  They said this would happen but I didn't know it would be that fast.  Oh, I also picked up a couple sweet little scarves made by kind volunteers.  I want to be ready for when I lose my hair.

The worst and scariest side effects usually appear 7 to 10 days after treatment......a fever, if in fact, I get one at all.  A slight fever, a potential sign of infection and I have to get to a hospital right away......do not pass GO, do not collect $200. Because white blood cells, which fight off infection, are compromised during chemo, it is very possible I get an infection.  Infections and I don't get along well (knee infection scare of 2012). I have a "fever card", which I present to any hospital emergency and I get to go to the "front of the line".  Sweet!! So I have to be constantly taking my temperature and drink lots of water, and many other things I won't bother to write down as I am tired and won't be up too late tonight.

A nurse comes by tomorrow to see me at some point. I will be going to work, so hope we can make this appt. for the evening sometime.

All in all, not too shabby a day!  Thank you God, family and friends for all you have done, for all you continue to do.

Dr. Dent - oncologist - chemotherapy, etc..

I met with Dr. Dent on Sept. 24.  Patty and Moe Moe came with me.  I don't know what I'd do without my sisters and my daughter, Michelle.

She went over chemo treatment.  I would have chemo every 2 weeks for 16 weeks.  She went over all the possible side effects.  Dear Lord, give me strength.  From nausea, losing my hair, fatigue, loss of taste, diarrhea, fever, infection, very low white blood cells.....a lot of this was a blur and a week later, I am still confused.

I had an echocardiogram on Sept. 28 at the General in the morning (to make sure my heart is strong enough for chemo) followed by a chemo information session at the Irving Greenberg cancer centre across town at the Queensway in the afternoon. Between appts. I went to work for a few hours.  Barb came to the information session with me which included a visit to the chemo floor.  Very nice and open and bright and kind people everywhere........as it should be when one has cancer.  I had to pay twice for parking, once at each hospital.

Which brings me to, well, parking.  Paying $14. for parking each time I visit is one thing, but to pay twice in one day.  It's not my fault I have appts. at two different hospitals.  Can't they let you use a day pass between hospitals?  Apparently not.  Man, one can go broke, which I am already, but still.......


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The surgery had gone very well and I was pleased.

On Saturday, Sept. 5, a nurse came to my home to check on me.  I was doing great.  She and I chatted about anything and everything for about an hour. She was really nice. I could have kicked myself afterwards as I never offered her anything to drink....coffee, water, etc.  What the??

I saw Dr. Watters for a follow-up appt. on Sept. 16 to get the pathology results.  Michelle came with me. He explained that all had gone well with surgery and that the margins around the tumour were clean, meaning they got all the cancer form the lumpectomy. However, the 2 lymph nodes they removed were cancerous.  I told him that that is not what he was supposed to tell me (joking with him). I told him that I expected the nodes to be clean and I would then have the radiation he had told me about and that would be the end of that.  So I was a little down about that.  Up until this point I had been doing pretty good.  I was still ok about all this, but still.  He said I would have an appt. to discuss radiation and another to discuss chemo.  Yes, chemo.  It was more apparent now that chemo was more than just a possibility.

So many appts., so many hospitals, doctors, nurses, clinics......it's a lot keep track of, but anyhow.....

On Sept. 22, Barb came with me to an appt. at the Irving Greenberg Family Cancer Centre (part of the QCH) to meet with Dr. Lochrin, a radiologist.

****SIDEBAR****  Am I dead and don't know it?  I have 2 flies bugging me and I can't seem to swat them dead.  Are these the same 2 that were harassing me last night? Do you know how irritating flies are??  OMG!  They are making me crazy!!  Oh, on with my story......

Dr. Lochrin was very nice and had a slight accent. I asked if it was Scottish and she said, no, it was Irish.  Even better!!  She went over the details of radiation, but I needed to have my appt. with Dr. Dent who would discuss whether or not I was having chemo.  I think it was pretty clear I would be having chemo, and Dr. Lochrin couldn't go into all the details about radiation until I knew if I was having chemo. Hmmm, I asked why it was that I didn't have the chemo appt. first.  She said it was simply a matter of timing and who could see me first etc.

True fact:  When Barb and I arrived for my appt, we went into the main lobby of the Irving Greenberg Cancer Centre and headed to the elevators.  The appt was on the second floor.  When we were done, we got in the elevator and pressed "1". When we got out, we were lost.  Where the heck were we?  This wasn't where we came in!?  We couldn't understand, so asked someone who seemed to notice the stunned blank looks on are pathetic faces.  She told us we needed to go back to the 2nd floor.  We said we just came from the 2nd floor and when we arrived we went to the 2nd floor.  She couldn't help us, only telling us that the main lobby was on the second floor.  Uh???  Long story short........when we came in, we got in the elevator, pressed 2 and when the doors opened, we got out and headed to the left, the direction we needed to go.  Little did we know that the lobby/main entrance ARE on the 2nd floor, so when we got on the elevator, the doors closed and we hit "2", we didn't go anywhere.  The doors opened and we got off on the same floor.  Between all the gabbing we were doing and assuming we were on the first floor in the first place..........well, you get it.  Barb blamed me for our senior moment.  After all, I had been leading the way.  I can't believe we didn't know we had come down the hall, gone into the elevator, didn't go anywhere, got off and continued on our way, totally oblivious.  I can only imagine watching the camera footage and laughing at those idiots!

Hmmmmmm, that reminds me of the times when we were growing up, Barb and I being the youngest of 6 children, only 13 months apart and how I got blamed for the "bad" things that we did.....the silly things like flushing a bar of soap down the toilet and plugging it.  Is a 4 year old any wiser than a 3 year old??




Sunday, 27 September 2015

.....continued from yesterday.....

On August 17, I saw the surgeon who would be operating on me, Dr. Watters, a very sweet quiet man.  Barb came with me, and together the two of us overwhelmed him.  I think the nurse thought us crazy as well. We are Maloneys after all, and ya.......

He explained what was going to happen.  I would have a lumpectomy and a sentinal node biopsy.  They would then do their pathology thing that they do and let me know what the next step would be.

On August 20 I had a pre-op appt.  The nurse explained everything that would happen, I had blood work done, my vitals were taken, an EKG was done and I met with an anesthesiologist to discuss my options (local, general, conscious sedation, epidural).  I had other things done but can't remember what they were.

On Sept. 2, the day before surgery, I had trackers inserted.  These are dyes which travel through the lymphatic system so that the nodes are easily identified during surgery, so the surgeon knows what to take out.

I am bored to death writing all this and can only imagine what the reader, you, must be thinking.  Sorry.  But I need a record of my journey and this is a good option.

Day of surgery, Sept. 3.  *I will make this short.  I checked in, got changed into my gown, waited and waited and waited, was wheeled to the operating wing (very cold area), met with the cute 12 year old (maybe 18? 25?, maybe 28?) anesthesiologist from South Africa (not the doctor I saw on pre-op day).  He explained my options and settled on an epidural (5 needles in the spine) and a local freezing.  The operating room was big and bright and cold.  I counted 1, 2, 3.....8 people around me including Dr. Watters.  He said hi and though I couldn't tell that it was him because of his mask, I assumed it was and said hi Dr. Watters.  I was prepped and poked and sedated and looked at the clock.....8:30 am......I was semi-awake the whole time and screeched out when I felt them cutting into my boobie.  I was given more sedation......8:30, 8:50, 9:05.....10:30 and it was over.

I was wheeled to recovery and immediately asked if I could go pee and ready to jump out of bed.  No, no, no, that wasn't an option. I was given a bed pan.  I felt fine and not in any pain.  I don't mean I was stoned.  I mean I had no pain and was totally lucid.  I got bored quickly and wanted to go home.  My sisters weren't allowed to visit me in recovery.  Anyhow, after an hour or so I was taken to the second recovery room and as I was rolled along the hall we passed the waiting room where Barb and Moe Moe were waiting, literally about to leave.  I said hi to them and all at once the 3 Maloney sisters were talking fast and loud and laughing.  I apologized to the orderly.  He was totally fine about it and pulled the gurney over to the side so I could chat with them.  After a few minutes, I was wheeled to the day care area to continue recovery.

I was to sleep over the night of surgery, but was feeling well enough to go home, so with Dr. Watter's permission, I was released.

*I really didn't make this short, did I?




Saturday, 26 September 2015

The joys of breast cancer......continued

I would have liked to continue with the last post, but am not sure how to do this blogging, so had to start a new post.

Anyhow, on July 13 I had a mammogram and an ultrasound. The technician took forever and kept circling her mouse over my boob and I thought at that moment "hmmm, doesn't appear to be a promising sign".  So, after about 10 minutes of circling, she said she had to go check something and left the room.   "Great", I thought.  She was gone at least 5 minutes and came back, told me to get dressed and wait in the waiting room.  Another technician wanted to see me. When the other technician came to get me and I followed her back to her office, I knew I had breast cancer.  She told me they found a mass and that I'd need a biopsy done.

On July 30, I had a biopsy done at the women's health centre clinic at the Civic hospital.  There were 2 technicians doing the biopsy, one being a doctor.  She took 5 samples times 2 needles a sample for a total of 10 needles to my right boob at "11 o'clock" (location on my boob, not the actual time).  Ouch!
I asked her if it was cancer, thinking she wouldn't give her thoughts on this until the results came back.  She said she was sure it was cancer.  I was surprisingly ok with this.  I only cried when I told her I couldn't die because I needed to be around for my daughter Michelle.  She said it was treatable.  She was very nice.

On August 11, my family doctor called to confirm that, indeed, I had breast cancer.  I already knew it, so was pretty cool with the findings.  I wasn't happy about it, but again, surprisingly calm.

I'm going to take a wee break and be back later...............

Now it's breast cancer......the sale never ends!

I felt this small round mass on my right boobie sometime in May.  It made me curious, but I figured it couldn't be anything serious.  It was like a rounded area, like a small boob on my boob, not a lump per se.  Anyhow, after a couple weeks, maybe a month........on June 18, I thought I'd see my family doctor about it.
She didn't really notice anything when I was lying down, so I sat up and said "it's right here" and pointed to it.  She still wasn't too sure about what I was talking about but said she'd send me for a mammogram and an ultrasound.  I left her office feeling kind of ridiculous.  Maybe I was being paranoid......