Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday, January 19th, 2007

Dear Journal,

I missed doing an entry yesterday but then I think that's because I ended up being so tired, I was sleeping more than being up :) I can definitely see major improvements in recovery each day... and this was confirmed by my doctor today (Friday).

But let's go back to yesterday. I felt quite energetic and decided that today was the day I was going to attempt the stairs in my apartment building. So, I headed out with a load of laundry. Now, before anyone freaks out.. it was not a heavy load of laundry and it was in a fabric laundry bag, so it's not like I had to carry it down the stairs... I could drag it behind me, or throw it down the stairs in front of me . So, down I went... two flights of stairs, and did very well, I might add. No problems, although I could tell the legs were not quite used to using the muscles that are used when going down stairs. I put the load of laundry in the washer and felt like I could go up and get a second load. Hahaha... going back up the stairs was... well, interesting. Absolutely amazing how the muscles in the legs have forgotten how to work... well, they worked but they were a little wobbly. Anywho... I got the second load of laundry and down I went again. This time, when I came up, I realized that I had hit my limit... so I called Mimi who lives upstairs and she finished doing my laundry (drying the first load, then drying the second load). I was pretty tired by now, so decided to have a nap... but went into a deep sleep. I didn't even hear Mimi when she came in with my two dry loads of laundry!

Today, I had an appt with Dr. Fay (GP). When I made the appt., I told them that I would like to try coming into the office rather than him coming out to the apartment. He was going to take some of the staples out of my stomach where they were holding the incision together and I just felt more comfortable if we did this in his office rather than at my place (grin). So, I grabbed a cab and off I went.

Wow... taking the staples out was no problem... I barely felt him doing it. He took about 35 of them out, but left a bunch in where the incision has not quite healed. It is still a bit oozy with serum, but no infection so this is normal. We had a good chat while he was doing this staple removal. I told him that he better check my blood pressure too because after the surgery, the doctors there had cut down my Blood Pressure meds from three pills to one pill, but now that I'm up and moving about, we may have to up the meds again. He took my BP and it was a very healthy 125/70 and this is right after he had removed the staples so technically it should have been higher just out of anxiety of having the staples removed. So he said that we are not going to add more BP meds but will monitor it for the next little while and he may take me off the BP meds completely! YAYAYAYAYA!!

Anywho... found out a bit more. Apparently the tumour was considered a fairly large one (2" X 1") and the nodule was in the same area on the intestine. He said that it will probably be some time before my insides completely settle down because the surgeons really went to town inside me. And then, when I do start the chemo treatment, that is going to probably be kind of rough on my system again. But, he said that he has to really commend me for my attitude and how I've faced this surgery. He said most others would not be able to get through it with such a positive outlook and just taking it in their stride. It's a miserable surgery, and in my case, made even worse by the other stuff they also did and yet here it is two weeks later and I've walked into his office and still have a sense of humour about the whole thing. With that attitude and sense of humour, I will probably get through the chemo treatment a lot easier than most others.

Sooooo, I asked him if I were to start walking again, is it too early, or could I start getting back into my walking. He said that this would be a good thing and to just listen to my body. Whenever I get tired, then I'm not to push it... if the body needs sleep, then give in to sleep. If I'm feeling energy and want to go for a walk, then go for a walk. That was like music to my ears! So, here we are, 2 weeks to the day after surgery, and I walked home from the Doctor's (9 blocks)... stopping in at the Urban Animal Clinic to see my friend, Dr. Joan, and the staff there (Bridget's animal clinic). I also stopped at the drugstore on the way home and Safeway. As I walked the last two blocks home, who should I run into but Mimi and Bridget!

So, starting tomorrow (Saturday), Mimi will walk Bridget in the morning. Mornings are still very slow for me as the pills take awhile to take effect. But I will take Bridget out for her afternoon walkie and again, for a quick one outside before bed.

My stomach actually feels a lot better tonight and I'm thinking that's because of the removal of the staples. It's not quite as tender on the outside. Inside... still tender, but we know that will take some time :)

Soooo.... the rest of the evening is just to laze about and watch some tv or read this week's gossip magazines :)

Have a good weekend!!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

Dear Diary (grin),

That's exactly what it feels like when doing blog entries. It's like way back when... when the big thing was to have one of those daily diaries that would lock and you would keep the key in a secret place because in the diary were your most important thoughts. Well, now here we are in 2007 and there is no need for a key because one can express their thoughts in an "online diary", aka as a blog. It's kind of amazing to think how we've evolved into the electronic age. I mean, kids nowadays know all about blogs and online communications as soon as they start school... they have never known any different. It kind of makes us baby boomers seem like pioneers of some sort... pioneers of what, I'm not sure, but we beez pioneers (grin).

So, what is there to report today. Well, I can't remember if I mentioned that yesterday, when Dr. Fay was here at the apartment, he brought the prescription 3-copy pad for narcotic prescriptions, but when he opened it to write out a prescription for my pain meds, he realized he had brought a finished book! Arrrrgh! Now, he has warned me ever since he gave me the first prescription for these narcotic pain meds that once the surgery was done, he wants to wean me off of them because the last thing I need is to become addicted to them, then have to go through withdrawal. But, he said he will give me another refill of the med since the meds are keeping the pain under control, but when I've tried to go longer periods without them, it can get pretty rough. I agree with him... the last thing I want is to become addicted to anything and the more meds I can get off, the better!

Well, I did get a bit of a chuckle this morning. I guess he thought he could call up the drug store that I go to and give the order over the phone, which of course, with the narcotics he can't because they need copies of the prescription request, as well, the person picking it up has to sign for it. So, at lunch, he walked down to my drugstore (8 blocks from his office) and dropped the prescription off, then walked back to the office. I think that was incredibly nice of him to do that. He could have said that he has the prescription ready and for me to send someone to his office to pick it up, but he actually hand-delivered it to the drugstore. Mimi and Nathan are going to pick it up when they take the dogs out for their evening walkies :)

This afternoon, Steve and Don dropped in for a visit. My brother, Don, also came by. He came to get Bridget and the two of them went walking into Stanley Park, our wonderful natural city park that, unfortunately, had a lot of damage done to it during the last two windstorms. My little 13 lbs of Diva Terrier managed to drag my brother to and from the park and was ready for more... although right now, she is all tuckered out and sound asleep on the couch :)

Sooooo... it's now time to make a nice cuppa' hot tea and get all ready for the next round of American Idol. Hehehe... I don't even know why I'm watching the episodes that are the auditions. I can't believe so many truly bad singers even attempt to try out for American Idol. They are soooo bad that I can't help but wonder if some of them are plants, hired by the production company to make a fool of themselves on national television. But, yes, this will be me watching it again tonight!! :)

I have a request: I have been thinking a lot about how all the support, positive thoughts, positive visualizations and prayers that all of you have given to me has played a huge role in boosting my confidence and getting me through this rough time. I have always believed in positive thinking alwas wins over negative thinking but now I can honestly say I have seen the results of the strength of group thinking. We can move mountains if we all have a common goal.

So, with that in mind, I would like everyone to take a moment to send some positive thoughts/visualizations/prayer to Rita Crouch, a gal who is going through a very, very rough time with cancer. Here is an email I received today from a very dear friend, a friend who has seen how I have thrived on the love and support of all of you, my family and friends...

I just wanted to ask if maybe
your very powerful group of friends could take the time
to have a positive thought moment for my friend and co-worker
Rita Crouch
who is very sick
she is a good, kind person who has been hit with a very severe
fast moving cancer
so any help we can give her will be greatly appreciated

Hey, I KNOW that we have a lot of powerful energy as a group and if we all send some of that positive energy to Rita, it can only help her through her journey as well!

Thanks everyone!!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007 - GOOD NEWS!

Today was an exciting day! One that I probably won't forget.

Dr. Fay (GP) came to my apartment today to check out my incision (I was a little concerned about it) and to see what I needed in the way of my med refills. He assured me that the incision was fine and totally normal to be bleeding a little because I'm more physically active at home than I was at the hospital.

He then said that the pathology results are in... and the news is good. When in the OR and having all the bits of pieces taken out, sewed up, rearranged, etc... Dr. Brown (surgeon) found a very suspicious "nodule". Now, I didn't think to ask where this nodule was, but I will when I next see him. So the suspicious nodule went down to pathology along with the other things that had been taken out. I did not know about this nodule after the surgery and it is probably just as well I didn't.

The pathology results came back and the nodule was benign, and all other bits and pieces that went to pathology showed absolutely no signs of the cancer having spread anywhere!! YAYAYAYAYA!! This news is apparently huge because had the nodule come back as cancerous, then it would be a whole different story that the doctor would be telling me. That would mean that, even though the CAT scan had not shown any sign of the cancer spreading, the malignant nodule would mean that it had spread and we would now be talking a serious cancer, possibly even terminal.

I'm still trying to absorb it all. All along, I just assumed that it was a cut and dry surgery... and with all the positive visualizations everyone was doing and sending my way, that the results after surgery would be positive. So it did come as a bit of a shock to me that there was a very real possibility it could have been otherwise. This just confirms my believe that positive thinking, positive energy and yes, prayer from all my friends who have faith in prayer has paid off big time in my situation.

I will be seeing my Doctor (GP), Dr. Fay, on Friday because he will be taking out some of the staples then, so I will ask just where this nodule was that was taken out. Meanwhile, the referral to the BC Cancer Agency will now get sent and at some point I'll get a call to go in for a consultation with the oncologists. It will be the oncologists that will decide on what form of followup treatment I'm going to need. From what I understand, this is a preventative measure to zap any possible single cancer cells that may be roaming around. As careful as they are during surgery, one can not ever be sure that a couple of cells may not have escaped.

Soooooo... this is definitely a good news day!!

It's getting late here so time for me and the little Diva to head to bed. Hopefully I can stay awake to watch Jon Stewart on The Daily Show tonight, but I am starting to nod off :)


Monday, January 15, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

Hi everyone,

Well, there's not a whole heck of a lot to report just now, so I thought I take this opportunity to add some more of the hospital pictures to the Blog. It's hard to believe that I only came home on Friday. I feel like I've been home for a long time, even though I am still trying to get myself on a routine. Overall, I think I'm doing really well. When I get tired, I take naps. I'm still working on a regular routine for the pain meds, but haven't quite mastered that yet.

I called my doctor's (GP) office today and don't feel that I'm up for getting into/out of a car and going to the doctor's office, so he is going to come to my apartment either today after his office closes, or tomorrow at lunch. He has to keep an eye on the incision, as well, we will discuss pain levels, etc. I also have some questions that I'm sure the surgeon answered, but darned if I can remember asking them or getting answers.

Bridget came home from Ladner yesterday (Sunday). Thank you Judi and Darrel (and Lluke and Ellmo) for taking such good care of the little diva while I was out of commission. She is so totally secure in her routine in Ladner and her routine at home... she settled right back into apartment life when she got home. Of course, any of the neighbours who came over after she got home, she just assumed that they had come over to see her! I mean, isn't that the motto of ALL divas??? "It's all about ME!" (grin). Well, Bridget is definitely a purebred Diva.. she has been taught well! LOL!!

Ok... the following are some more pictures. Now it's time for a nap. The clouds are starting to roll in and they say we are going to get about 10 cm of snow (approx. 4 inches for those of you who speak American) by tomorrow. That means some areas of the city may get a foot, some may get 2 inches. :)

Will be back later!

Here we have part of the infamous "Friendship Wall". We couldn't get the whole wall in one picture, but you get the idea.

Here I am with Don. Don makes me laugh so much, which is NOT a good thing after surgery (grin), but this picture was taken pre-surgery, so laughter was not a problem :)

Not a good hair day nor a good vein day ;) My hair was in braids, which is very convenient when in hospital, but they were all falling out and looking quite messy. Meanwhile, my arms were on strike and had decided not to let the nurses poke any more veins... all my veins went into hiding. So they have both arms wrapped in warm compresses to try and encourage them to surface (grin).

Here I am with two of my good buddies (and neighbours), Scott and Tomas. It does make it convenient having the hospital basically in one's own neighbourhood. This way my buddies could all walk up to the hospital to visit. :)

Here we have Steve, who is a phenomenal caregiver! He was at the hospital pretty much every day and took charge of decorating my room, bringing me anything I needed and just being there.

This was a great visit!! Dad and his little Pedro came to visit at the hospital this one day. Pedro is quite the little traveller and is quite content to go everywhere and anywhere with Dad in his little travel bag. While we were visiting, Dad's sister, my Aunt Eileen arrived! What a great visit we all had. Aunt Eileen lives on Saltspring Island. For those of you who know the Vancouver area, Saltspring is one of the Gulf Islands, so for her to come visit and Dad was already at the hospital, it was great timing!

This was on my birthday, 3 days after the surgery. Although I was hooked up to the various pumps on Molly the IV pole and was on the morphine drip, I was feeling pretty spunky (or was that the drugs??). As you can see, I was having a good time even if I couldn't move very well. In the background is my friend Jo and my sister (in green), Erin. I am holding birthday gifts, the beige Gund dog from my sister, the pretty bathrobe from Jo and the brown teddy (that everyone wanted to steal) that came in the middle of the Palm Tree from my friend, Christina in Chicago.

Here's the view from the first room I had. This happened to be on a clear day so you could see the mountains. On cloudy days, the mountains are hidden ;)

Here's the view from my 10th floor room, the last room I was in... and left from when I left the hospital :)

Ok, this is back at home, but I had to show you a picture of the infamous Palm Tree that was delivered to my room at the hospital. My neighbours, Fern and Eric, who have a large van had to come to the hospital to pick it up (grin) to bring it home. It now has a place in the apartment thanks to Tomas, who rearranged a few things so all the plants have room (grin).