Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I didn't want to clean the toilet anyway.

There's a lot of things to do last minute when you know you are going to spend five days in the hospital followed by a few weeks laying around. It might not be last minute stuff for everyone else, but for me, well I've always been a last minute kinda girl. It comes with being an expert procrastinator I guess.

I had today all planned out: get up, wash the bedding, clean the bathroom, wax my eyebrows, veet my legs, meet my friend Darlene for lunch, get my hair cut at 1:30, spend some time with Xander, double check my suitcase, have a glass of wine...

But last night got in my way.

I've been pretty diligent lately about not breathing in the same air space as sick people. I've been faithfully taking Echinaforce and vitamins. I made it to within 36 hours of surgery feeling good other that a marginally sore back.

I think I must have been protecting this sore back as I went to kneel on the floor with Xander in my arms. I twisted wrong and a sudden jolt of pain ripped through me and I was stuck in position. I was neither standing nor kneeling but somewhere in between and locked there. Thank God Jed was home to rescue the baby.

I managed to make it to my bed but an hour later I had to crawl to the bathroom on my hands and knees. I found that if I leaned over at a 90 degree angle and leaned on something, like a table or something, the pain was bearable but as soon as I took the support off my arms the pressure on my back was enormous and it was not fun. Not fun at all.

Leaning on the arms of my computer chair was the perfect height. So that's how I got around for the rest of the night - wheeling my computer chair everywhere while I was hunched over like a chihuahua on a beach ball. If it hadn't been so painful, it really was comical. I shoulda had Jed take a video. (It's too late to fake it now just for the sake of the camera)

When Alb got home he ran and got me some Robaxacet and I popped those every few hours all night. I considered calling a chiropractor in the morning to pop me back into shape. There was no way I could have gotten into the hospital in the condition much less fought with an incised belly getting in and out of bed. But thank you God, though I am still in pain, at least I can stand up today.

I did manage to get my legs shaved and sit in the hairdresser's chair. But I got out of cleaning the bathroom.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Oooooph! That kinda sounds like a kick in the guts don't it? I'm sure that's how I'll feel come Thursday. That's when I get my long awaited total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.

Oophorectomy. What a strange word. It simply means removal of the ovaries.

And it simply means I'll wake up Friday morning in full blown surgically induced menopause. Actually I'm not quite sure it'll hit me in the face quite that soon. Even with all the information available at my fingertips it still feels like walking through the door of the unknown.

As I reached my "one year cancer free" mark last week I read through my blogs of last October. It's amazing the details and things you forget in that short time and I am glad to have kept a record, as scattered brained as it may have been at the time.

I am quite sure that this blog will continue to be my outlet and my record of feelings, thoughts and memories as I take this next phase of the journey called life.

While you are certainly welcome to come along with me, please do not feel obliged to do so if you think you might be offended or disgusted by talk of ovaries, and blood and hormones and other such glamorous girly things. But if you do, please occasionally drop a note of support for my amazing husband who is quite likely not going to know what hit him.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I'll never be able to find my keys.

Cellphone, bank card, keys. What more does a person need to pack with them? This has always been my position in life. My purses, as a general rule aren't large enough to pack a regular sized pen.

Welcome to the new me.

With my hospital stay looming only 6 days away it was time to start gathering my things, such as my new pj's purchased just for the occasion. Of course this led to my obvious need for a new overnight bag, so off I headed to the mall...

I was on my way to Bently but had to pass The Boutique of Leather so I just popped in on the way and found this fantastic treasure.

(Click on it to zoom in and see the detail - it's fantastic)

Yes it was my original intention to use it as an overnight bag, but I changed my mind. It will be my new purse. I love it that much. It's nice and leathery smelling and soft to the touch. It has some fantastic detailing: leather lacing for a hint of 'biker chick', green and red zippers for a hint of Italy (where I'm sure I will go one day). It's really quite divine.

I transferred everything over from my original purse. It all fit in one of the eight pockets. Now what? What do women carry in these things?

I literally wandered around the house seeking out things which I could put in my purse: pens, note pads, packs of kleenex, cans of pop, bottle opener, heck I could fit the bottle of wine and a change of shoes in there. I could smuggle someone into a concert in this thing. It's crazy.

And I still need to buy an overnight bag...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Unequal treatment.

I stole this from facebook but I liked it so I thought I'd post it.

Two patients limp into their respective doctors' offices on opposite sides of town on the same morning. Both doctors determine that their patients need a hip replacement.

The first patient has an xray done that afternoon and is booked for his surgery the following week.

The second patient goes home and phones another clinic to make an appointment for the next week to have an xray done. The day after the xray he returns to his doctor to receive confirmation that he does indeed need a hip replacement. He is instructed to go home and wait for his file to be forwarded to a surgeon. Two weeks later the surgeon's receptionist calls and books an appointment for the patient to see the doctor in 5 weeks time. At this appointment the patient's need for a hip replacement is confirmed and he is instructed to go home and wait for the hospital to call and book his surgery date. Seven months pass before he receives his phone call telling him he is scheduled to receive his new hip in 10 weeks time.

Why the difference in treatment of the two patients?

The second is a senior citizen. The first a golden retriever.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Not a moment too soon

Just when I was starting to wonder if I got the skill testing math question wrong, I received official congratulations from the people at Buckley's today.

If you'll recall, sometime last winter I made a silly little video clip showing myself making an ugly buckley's face and then doing a little happy dance when I was all better. I entered it in the Buck Up! contest. In June I was informed that if I could provide the correct answer to a math question I would be declared the winner of the contest (which I believe had about 12,000 entries)

This morning, I promptly replied to the email and reminded them of the other part of the prize: A 5-year supply of Buckley's products. I encouraged them to send it out immediately. I need it. I am sick and stuffed up and I must be well in time for surgery in 2 weeks.

I may have to go out and buy some Buckley's tonight.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Free continental breakfast on Sunday morning.

Most Sundays Jay comes to church with me. I also pick up Nissa and her two kids. We have gone back to having two Sunday morning services after a break over the summer. I opt for the early service. This makes for a pretty early morning for me, but it sure is nice being home from church by 11 o'clock.

Last Sunday when I arrived at Nissa's door to pick her up it was obvious they had slept in and there was no way she was going to have 2 kids ready for early church.

"Oh, but just hang on. I baked for you." Nissa said to me as she ran to the kitchen and got a nice pan of cranberry pumpkin squares. I thanked her and headed off to church with Jay as my only passenger.

I had a cup of coffee with me and the squares smelled delicious. And I hadn't had breakfast. So I sat in the car when I arrived at church and snarfed back a piece or two with my coffee before going inside. Mmmm, they were indeed delicious.

We got inside and I took my usual back row seat, with Jay settling in a row or two in front of me. I was chatting with a friend before the service started when Jay turned around, gleefully held up a notice that was in the bulletin, and started laughing. Uncontrollably. So much so that he had to get up and leave.

I flipped open my bulletin ... and sure enough, there in large font was an announcement for the youth group fundraiser of a bake sale happening after the service.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

My doctor is an idiot.

idiot id·i·ot (ĭd'ē-ət)
A person of profound mental retardation having a mental age below three years and generally being unable to learn connected speech or guard against common dangers. The term belongs to a classification system no longer in use and is now considered offensive.

Word Origin & History

c.1300, "person so mentally deficient as to be incapable of ordinary reasoning," from O.Fr. idiote "uneducated or ignorant person," from L. idiota "ordinary person, layman," in L.L. "uneducated or ignorant person," from Gk. idiotes "layman, person lacking professional skill," lit. "private person," used patronizingly for "ignorant person," from idios "one's own" (see idiom).


While calling my family physician an idiot may fall under offensive classification, and to be honest I think his mental age is probably marginally higher than that of a three year old, but may I suggest that the origin of the word "to be incapable of ordinary reasoning" rings true.

As I stated earlier, I needed to renew my EI paperwork with medical evidence.

The doctor walks into the examining room where I was sitting on a chair waiting for him. He has his trusty prescription pad in one hand and a pen in the other.

"What can I do for you today?" he asks as he positions his pen to write out a request for drugs.

 "I don't need drugs. I'd just like you to sign my EI papers now that I have a scheduled date from the hospital. I will be having my hysterectomy on October 29th," I reply.

He glanced at the paper then at the calendar and says, "Okay let's set your return date for November 25."

"Um, doctor... that's not even four weeks. The surgeon has recommended seven to eight weeks."

"Oh no. We always only schedule four weeks for surgery recovery. That's all it takes for an incision to heal."

I went on to remind him I was getting a full hysterectomy - ovaries and all, and it was an abdominal incision, not laparoscopic nor vaginal,  enabling the surgeon to inspect my other organs.

In the end he was generous and gave me until November 30th. "If you really feel like you cannot go back to work at that time, we can re-evaluate a resubmit the claim." I interpreted this to mean, "I know you will still be in recovery, but if I have to sign my name one more time I can get another 20 bucks out of you."

With the long weekend coming up, I really didn't want to play any more games, I just wanted to get my paper work sent off so I paid my 20 bucks, took my paper and left. I'll get the surgeon to resubmit at a later date.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I got a date with a knife.

Yay! I think this time it's for real. My surgery is scheduled for October 29th, which works out well because Jed is going on a youth retreat to Vancouver Island from Oct 30 - Nov 2.

A month or so ago when I was phoning OR booking to see where I was on the waiting list she told me it would probably be the end of Sept or early October before I got in. As of yesterday I still hadn't heard anything. My EI ran out on Oct 3rd. Well it didn't really run out, it's just that when I first applied we expected my surgery to be in early August and Oct 3 was my expected return date. I need to get a doctor to sign paperwork so I can remain in a state of retirement until I get into surgery.

I called the ob/gyn's office yesterday and told her my story. She informed me that my family doctor would have to take care of it because the surgeon can only sign off for the actual surgery procedure, not time beforehand. She casually informed me that their surgery dates were booked up for the next month or so. She really wasn't sounding particularly sympathetic towards my cause.

I knew then that it was time to pull out my big guns. It was time to play the cancer card.

I reminded her that I am a breast cancer patient. And I should be taking tamoxifen, but have stopped because of the blood clot risk in surgery. And I played up the possibility of my breast cancer returning while they play wait list games with me. She suggested I resume taking my pills.

"Why? So the hospital can call me on short notice and I'll get to die of a blood clot after managing to survive cancer?"

The long and short of it is that she asked me to give her a couple of hours (because she was swamped) and she'd phone me back.

I never did hear from her again but ten minutes later the hospital called to tell me they had an opening on October 29th. Co-incidental? I think not.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A is for Aaron. B is for book (and blog). C is for cancer.

I knew the blog would suffer once I started writing my book. But I am up to about 7000 words now.

Besides the book, I have been sidetracked in the last couple of weeks with the death of a long time friend, Aaron Taylor. Even my book has been put aside this past week as I collected and scanned photos and listened to every sad song available on the internet as I pull together a slideshow for the memorial service to be held tomorrow (Oct 3). Maybe I'll post it after the service.

I also designed memorial cards and printed off 400 copies. I am wondering if that will be enough. The Prince George Citizen did a nice write-up about Aaron and invited all to attend the service. It's always a tricky guessing game when planning a funeral because there is no guest list and no means of RSVP. I hate it when you run out of cards I always feel like I cheaped out and didn't print enough. But then I don't like having hundreds left over neither cuz it feels like not enough people cared to come out. Ah yes, the dilemmas of being a graphic designer.

Unlike the other three funerals I had this summer, I do not have to worry about food and the feeding of the five-thousand this time. So that's a bit of a relief. Although I must admit I'm a little more comfortable working with a kitchen than a sound booth. But it's not all about me.

And whatever my role, I am honoured to be a part of the healing process for those left behind.

Rest in peace Aaron.
.... damn cancer.

Consider Yourself Reminded.

Ten years. It's been 10 years today since I was branded with that title that no-one ever wants to wear. That is until you receive it. ...