Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Movie Night and Patient Education!

tonight was movie night!  We went for a walk and stopped in to Shopper's picked up a little treat and came home to curl up!   Tonight's feature...The R.S. MacLauchlin Cancer Centre-Chemotherapy and You!
The highlight the panoramic view of the chemotherapy clinic!   Now when we arrive we will feel we already know the place.
I'm being a bit silly but seriously I'm sure things have come such a long way in Cancer Care and patient preparation for their treatments.   We are very fortunate to have such amazing facilities available to us.   Yesterday we came home with a nifty bag of much reading material covering every aspect of living with cancer and all about treatments, etc. and the dvd.   They cover everything and it really does make you feel more at ease about the impending schedule of treatment and appointments.
It's a daunting experience and while you feel anxious, worried, and uncertain perhaps, it's a good idea to look at what is positive in this new experience, focus on the good and hopefully the cancer aside you are fortunate to have good health.   I can't help but believe your attitude in all aspects of dealing with all that is happen is as much a factor in your well being as the medicine itself is.

Order of the day, chin up and think positive!  xo


P.S. Just now writing the title of this post, I randomly heard Don Herron; Charlie Farquason using the term, "Edumacation"!
...like his reference to "marajouwanna"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Reason, A Season or a Lifetime.

You know the saying, "People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime", well I believe that's true.
Whatever the reason may not be clear but you just appreciate them so much and know you connect so well and then one day something happens and you can't help but feel you have found there is a very special reason to be there for each other.
I am glad to be here and have the chance to help someone else when they need support as much as I have and completely understand in a way I never could not so long ago.

Interferon, we're ready for your knock us down drag us out fight...

Well today was the day, we returned to our lovely Dr. C at Lakeridge and it's official I will be starting Interferon treatments on July 9th.   I'm feeling a little scared, John too I think, but as with any "unknowns", you learn and gain confidence with experience!  We have a "teaching appt." first thing Friday July 6th and an another appt. with Dr. C later that same morning.

Every visit is a very efficiently orchestrated affair, beginning with an electronic survey you do online prior to your arrival and upon arrival an electronic check in using your Lakeridge Patient Portal/Identification card.  You are first summoned for a little blood work; a tiny ouch, and then later the actual appt. with your friendly Oncologist.   I had a number of questions to ask, written in a little book I have with me at all visits to Dr.'s, hospital tests, etc.!   It's helpful and I have a pen attached to write down any helpful information as well.  He has a good sense of humour and is very easy to talk with and open about everything!  Dr. C had a student shadowing him today and at one point I felt badly that he seemed tired on his feet perhaps and offered him my seat, but he politely declined.  , I couldn't help but ask as he seemed to be teetering from side to side and we did talk with Dr. C for some time.  I could have had the treatments at Northumberland Hills but the case load there under Dr. F is FULL...so I will travel to Lakeridge five days a week for four weeks!!!   This makes things a little more complicated when I imagined I could go to NHH, have the treatment and then drive the five minutes back to work!   I know regardless of where we might go, the side effects would certainly dictate what happens!
Time will certainly tell!

We left the hospital sometime about 12:40 p.m. and headed off to have a visit with a wonderful friend whom I have missed so, she once worked with me in the Early Years programs and I haven't seen her in close to 3 years I think!   Arriving shortly after 1 p.m. it was exciting to see her!   After John obliged us with a photo shoot of sorts it was time to head home; approx 3 p.m..

Once home, I laid out the card from Dr. C and then checked phone messages.   There was one from his office with scheduled times for the first week of treatments as well as a confirmed time for the "Teaching Appt." and follow up with Dr. C for the morning of the sixth.  Then there was a call from my son and he seemed upset.   I said I would have to talk to him later.  It suddenly seemed that all of the dates, my sons call, the idea of actually beginning treatments and worrying how this will all work and WORK, how my husband's holidays would be affected and my income and whether or not his coverage will actually take care of the "home" portion of the "maintenance" treatment.   It all came down around me...a great big flood of emotional upset.

It seems like I "forget" ...or something like that, about this whole Melanoma thing...the realities, concerns, etc. until we have another appointment and it's right there in front of me.   Always going through the motions but kind of like it isn't really happening, until it's really happening.
I'm trying to stay positive, keep the humour where possible and HANG ON by the seat of my pants and know somehow all of the "stuff", worrying about how it will all be "O.K" will work itself out and there is coverage, I will rise above the side effects and we will despite it all enjoy some form of holiday.  We're certainly getting used to curve balls coming at us in this game!

We'll be o.k.!   Here's to knowing there are many "lovelies" out there to keep our spirits up and keep us going forward, including the great medical team we have been involved with!
Sleep tight all!   xo


Friday, June 22, 2012

Monday Monday...oh and then Tuesday!

I have an extended weekend this week.   I have taken off both Monday and Tuesday of next week.    I have taken Monday to enjoy with John as he has the whole week off.   Tuesday I have off for my appointment at the Lakeridge Health/McMillan Cancer Centre.  This will be our second visit with Dr. C, the Oncologist.   I imagine, having now received the MRI results we so anxiously awaited, we will be discussing next steps and the idea of Interferon treatments.  The MRI results by the way were good; if you hadn't already read previous posts, our best case scenario.  The spots on the liver, "hemangioma's"-harmless.

Liver hemangioma (he-man-jee-O-muh) is a noncancerous (benign) mass that occurs in the liver. A liver hemangioma is made up of a tangle of blood vessels. Liver hemangioma is sometimes called hepatic hemangioma or cavernous hemangioma.
Most cases of liver hemangioma are discovered during a test or procedure for some other condition. Most people who have a liver hemangioma never experience signs and symptoms and never need treatment.

...So upward and Oncologist!, here we come!  ; ]

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Big Floppy Hats and Swords!

It's been a great day!   Upon departing from work went to have my hair properly "coiffed" !   What a lovely treat!  My daughter has been trying to encourage me to go, she has been working at Mystic Roots since she finished school and will be there at least until September when she will return to School for her Hair Styling Diploma, which will take her right through to the following August.
The visit begins with my choosing a scalp massage oil for a scalp massage.  Of three choices I chose "Calming"...subtle yet very lovely and not overpowering.   My daughter then does the massage; so lovely, followed by the wash/rinse and back to the chair where Amanda does the cut n' style.   Amanda is easy to talk with and does a lovely job with my very thick moppet of hair.   The cut n' style followed by a little makeup touch up...finessing and accentuating the new do!
That was lovely and bar anything "coming up" I will return in six weeks.  Something to look forward to.

I left there and went to the No Frills for a few groceries and admit to not even looking into the car mirror before heading in feeling very confident that I had looked "put together"!  Hee,hee!   There's a first time for everything.

From the grocery store I went to Winners where last Saturday I had spotted...or rather John had spotted a lovely wide brimmed floppy summer hat to wear to protect my face, neck and back from the sun when out and about on those sun shiny summer days ahead!
It's bonus time, the hat was marked down to ten dollars!  "ticker tape from the ceiling kind of moment!"!   I even build up the courage to wear it out of the store.   How could I do otherwise when the sales clerk offered to cut the tags for me if I would like to wear it now!   I know I would otherwise have opted to carry it out in hand and take the next few days (or weeks) wearing it in the presence of a mirror more oft' than anywhere until out of true necessity or perhaps under pressure for practicality.

I head home and have a lovely little dinner with John and then prepare to head to the beach for the  Dune Dancers Solstice!   I was a tad late departing but arrived there and enjoyed some dance moves, including some with a sword, balancing it; as demonstrated to me, on my head, thigh, breasts and shoulder!   A chance to have fun, see a few folks I hadn't seen in some time and learn something new!   The rains soon came; as I knew they would, having followed me to Cobourg showing up rather menacingly in my rear view mirror!
A lovely time and I will look forward to the next chance to dance on the Dunes!


Funny I hear the quote, "I hope you choose to dance..." and it makes for a strong message to go ahead and have fun while you can, partake, be active and get out there!   I danced!   xo

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Once Upon Pulling An All Nighter!

An All Nighter!...sounds like the announcement of a great weekend party gathering!   At least since February the only 'near all nighter' has meant anything but a party. Lately 'all nighter' would mean rather that I simply cannot sleep due to far too many thoughts rattling about in my head and some of those in light of recent circumstances due to some very stressful, anxiety inducing thoughts!
Last night was indeed an all nighter but again not due to any party happening but an all night art event!   That's right an art event, right here in my living room!   The event ran from 10 p.m. to 4:10 a.m.!  It was to have happened a few hours earlier in the evening, but there was a baking frenzy that I had to attend to-it just took me by storm!  Muffins and Carrot Cake done, then a shower and onto the big event...the ALL NIGHTER!
I was painting a Muskoka chair for a fundraiser for the YMCA, something I have done for the last few years.
It always takes time to come up with a unique idea and then to execute the idea onto the chair itself.   There is always a certain point of feeling unsure about the chosen plan and wondering if while putting paint to the wood, it will all work out.   Then suddenly you realize everything is going really well and things just come together so beautifully.   You then run the risk of not being able to stop "touching up", adding detail to and finding that final satisfaction that allows you to believe you are now officially finished.   Once having arrived at that moment, it feels absolutely wonderful and I can't NOT admit to being excited for someone else to view it and hopefully enjoy it as much as you can't help but feel great enjoyment in!  Yay, I did it, I finished and it DID turn out o.k.!   I ALWAYS worry and for good reason, there are so many very very talented people putting their hearts into creating a unique masterpiece as well!
What a great idea this fundraiser is!   Do come to the YMCA to see the chairs on display soon and in helping kids go to camp, purchase a ticket or three for your chance to win one of these masterpiece beauties-while beautiful to look at, COMFY to sit in too!  : )

"Yaaaawwwwn"! ...and now my bed beckons!  Good night!  xo

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Thick and the Thin of it!

Me: So you're with me through thick and thin?

John: Yep, the thin hair too!   ; ]  <3


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Watching paint dry and lying in waiting...loving it!

Ah man, what a great afternoon.   I have been out on the lower yard painting a chair for an upcoming fundraiser at the Y!   In between paint layering stages I crept to the shadows below the catalpa tree and lie in waiting with camera in hand as the little House Wren couple darted back and forth to their babes in the birdhouse.   While recently having my patience tested with wait times for numerous tests/scans on the medical front, this afternoons wait times were much more easily handled and the results as sweet as expected they would be!
I love both watching and listening to these little birds.   Their chatter is much saucier sounding than you might imagine such a tiny little bird might sound.    They sit upon the fence post saucing and warning each other and those of a threatening nature who dare come too close, all the while their little tails twitching as they bob forward in anticipation of the sudden necessity to take flight.
I repeat, what a great afternoon!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Lovin' my Doctor...MRI...and this is me, really impressed! Day 113

Well, today I had a really really good surprise call~ from my family physician. She was kind enough to have called even after the clinic was actually closed, to give me tests results I would otherwise be waiting for next week.
The medical secretary had actually called our home from the doctor's office as they were closing. When I wasn't home they were asking that John have me call on Monday. John said just a few minutes later she; my doctor, called for me and he gave her my number at work.
I was a little taken aback when she called as I knew she would not have had my work number and of course it worried me as to why she would then be calling me at work. No matter how I have tried to assure myself the results would be the lesser of the two possibilites, I couldn't help but think about the possibility of the other.
I am so very lucky and thankful to have my doctor call.    She is such a caring and thoughtful doctor and said she wanted me to enjoy my weekend even more knowing the MRI results showed no metastatic disease, meaning the melanoma had NOT spread to the liver. The spots which showed up on the CT Scan were what is known as "Hemangioma's".
These are benign tumours, small masses of blood vessels which any of us may have but will likely never know unless we happen to be having various scans done. There are no symptoms and they are harmless.
I am sending her flowers next week, she has been absolutely wonderful in all of this new adventure, very thorough and most understanding in knowing the emotional toll so much waiting can take on one and how much I would appreciate having test results the moment she knows.
In a very difficult time in my life having a wonderful doctor on your side is extremely helpful in reassuring yourself as well as others, it's going to be o.k.! :o)
Of course there is more ahead, the adjuvant treatment plan, etc., but I feel so much better having this most recent very weighty test result resolved and no matter what comes, feel a little stronger already.  
Good night all! xo

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thank you Lorazepam...Bows and Flows of Angel Hair, ice cream castles in the air...

The clincher takes place tomorrow, though results are likely to be a week or so.   I'm nervous never having had an MRI, but my doctor has supplied me with a magic pill to take shortly before the procedure.   Inside a little pill bottle there lies "1", yes one little pill to be taken at 8:15 a.m, upon having registered at Diagnostics.
Lorazepam, I'm counting on you to help me through this...I know I can count on John but you too have to come through for me!  ...and because I know you will, it will be a head in the clouds kind of experience for me!

I anticipate the tight space would perhaps freak me out a little, and the noise...packin' ear plugs and the long 40 minutes in there....close my eyes and think happy far away in a meadow on a romantic picnic watching skies roll above us and bunnies and deer bounding about kind of thoughts!

It may be a week or two until we have our results in hand...a week if I know my family doctor, she is wonderful and has been so very thoughtful and informative throughout this whole process.
These results will make or break me in their outcome!
Cross your everything!...say a little prayer and think happy thoughts...Me too!


Monday, June 4th...

MRI with a pleasant inducing drug like Lorazepam...a piece of cake!  The recent bone scan was a little scarier, and much more uncomfortable; arms above head not my favourite position for a "freeze frame".   About to be sent into the MRI tunnel/space capsule, the gentleman technician/nurse dons a pair of very typical large stereo like headphones upon my head.   The lady technician/nurse asks, "Are you all set then?", "All set!" I reply and think, wow, I hope I can take photos when I get there! LOL!
Apparently sometime toward the end of the MRI scan there was to be an injection?   I have no recollection of feeling anything of any such nature!  I DID feel like I had my head in the clouds...via the wings of a very large bird, an airplane or simply soaring upward into the clouds while hearing rumbles of thunder, whistles, little birdies, someone knocking, clicking and some whirring and whooshing sounds!  La,la,la, la!  There was one voice asking ever so nicely for me to take a breath...hold and then very politely ask me to take another breath and "that's fine".   I didn't feel any fear at all, and at the risk of sounding like a television or radio ad, "Thank you Lorazepam"!
What another MRI?  ...I will be ready!   Fun wow!  :o]

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Finding a new NORMAL!

The Relay for Life event has a whole new meaning to it for me now.   Of course events in my life have new meaning and have everything to do with that, as well, having people in my life who have been very supportive and caring also has everything to do with that.
What I would call "normal" has changed a lot...I might suggest I don't know what "normal" truly means anymore, at least not in the context of my own life.   Everything has changed, everything is different, while I know of course there are certainly some things, thankfully regardless of all that has changed or has been affected will always remain, but I am searching and wondering just what "normal" is these days.
I'll be happy to varify for myself what the NEW "normal" is.
Yep, a circus of emotion in this.

Me, a Survivor? Day 107

Last night I attended Relay For Life...as I have in the past few years, as we from the OEYC at YMCA Northumberland have been providing children's activities for this amazing event for a number of years now.
I hadn't given much thought to the events the evening brings while always remember the emotional impact of watching so many participating in the Survivors lap, which kicks off the walk around the track in honouring their battle and victories and then everyone joining in to honour them and those who are no longer with us.
Our group prepares craft items for the kids and we also provide face painting for the evening.   Face painting is one of my favourite things when it comes to the children's activities.   Love to see their faces light up when they see themselves in the mirror.
Mid painting a little boy's face my boss let's me know they are preparing to do the Survivor's Lap and that our co-worker has gone to get me a shirt.   Another co-worker says she's there for me.   I understand, but it just doesn't seem like they are actually talking to, meaning ME.   Then it is time. Some find it too emotional and stay back, watching as the Survivors depart on their walk of honour.
There we are arms linked and among the many, as if celebrities at the Oscars, cheered on and admired, but not for a role portrayed but their own real lives and each of their stories with real life threatening and challenging events in fighting for their lives.
Each year that I have been in attendance I have teared up or cried as all of the survivors names are called out and we stand trackside as they pass by and clap, and can't help but imagine what they have been through.   Your heart aches in knowing how their lives must change instantly as they are given their diagnosis.
I don't cry, I don't feel sad, honestly I feel nothing, I am simply numb.   It continues to feel very strange, what I might imagine is similar to an out of body experience.  This keeps happening.
I am numb because I've never been one of those "Survivors" and how can I be.   Emotionally I only feel the caring and closeness of the people I have come with and know no matter what they are here for me, tonight and whenever.

Hmmm, Become a Comic Book Hero or Learn How to Dress?

The weather is changing again...the temps outside have been up and down of lately and of one extreme to another. Speaking of weather syst...