Saturday, January 27, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

Dear Journal,

Hehehe...yes, I know the blogster thinks it's Saturday, and technically speaking, it is Saturday since it is after midnight now. I should be in bed!! My plan tonight was to actually go to bed fairly early so that I could have the luxury of reading my book and/or watch the news. But did I do that?? Nooooo! I've been puttering around on the computer, getting some emails out and going through others. I was even going to call Melinda tonight (waving to Melinda) which would have been afternoon her time... but did I do that??? Nooooo!! Did I call anyone tonight?? Noooooo!! I think I'm getting very lazy in my recouperation time (grin).

I have had a request to put up a new picture of myself now that I'm at home. This one was taken by my co-worker, Charmaine, when I surprised everyone by showing up at the office on Wednesday for the surprise goodbye lunch for another coworker. Hahahaha... thank goodness the picture is fairly small here on the blog because you can't see the lines and crows' feet around the eyes. Something about losing weight on the face and (gasp) being over 50... you can't escape those lines!! Hahahahaha!

Now, in all fairness, there isn't a heck of a lot to report right now. Things are going well but I don't have any real news to report. The last update was on Wednesday when I went to work to visit the gang and attend the "surprise" goodbye lunch ... and then in the evening had a visit from 3 coworkers who we all worked together 5 years ago. That was a full day for me so Thursday was spent just taking it easy. Heck, even though I was taking it easy, I still managed to walk the dog both in the morning and afternoon AND got a load of laundry done all by myself. So I consider that to be some major accomplishments at this point in my physical recovery.

Today, Friday... was a very lazy day. Yes, I walked the doglet, Miss Bridget, both in the morning and afternoon. Now, interestingly enough, in the morning when I wake up, I take my pain meds, of which there is 10mg of Oxycodone combined with some Tylenol. This med combination now works great... much better than when I was in the hospital. So going for the morning walk is very enjoyable and painfree. I only take the Oxycodone in the mornings now, with the goal being to be off of it completely in the next little while. In the afternoon when we do the afternoon walk, it is a much shorter walk because I do find myself getting more tired. Now I don't know if it's just because I've been up that much longer or if it is because I'm not on the Oxycodone in the afternoon... which just goes to show, those narcotic pain killers can be deceiving. You can feel you are doing so much better, when really, it's just the drug hiding the symptoms. I found that to be quite interesting.

Well, tomorrow is going to be another gorgeous day. We are now going through a nice long period where the forecast is for sun, sun, sun! It may get colder, expecially if there is any kind of wind, but it is soooo nice to see the sun instead of rain, rain, rain and gray clouds. For those of you not in the Vancouver area, you can check out the Vancouver web cam during the day at:

(ok, you are going to have to copy and paste this address into your browser since the coding to make it a clickable link has escaped my mind at this time of night... so just copy and paste it or else type it into your browser address field)

Sooooo, Saturday's agenda, as it stands tonight is that I will just putter around here at home, take the furry diva for her walkies, and then my friend Steve Street will come over in the evening and we are going to have a movie night :)

But that's all I've got to say for tonight... hope you all have a good weekend, whatever you are planning on doing!


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wednesday, Jan 24, 2007 - A Social Day

I had a very social day today... and something tells me I'll be laying low tomorrow and just taking it easy :) But this is a good thing. I didn't do anything strenuous... just busy today with fun things.

For starters I took a cab to the office today. One of my co-workers is leaving us to move to the island and a whole new life for her. I am so happy for her, but at the same time, it won't be the same with her gone. Waaaaaaaaah! We had a surprise pot-luck lunch for her and it was so good to see everyone again! Pretty much the whole gang was there as well as the FASB gang (waving to the whole gang at 1050 W. Pender if you are reading this).

I also received, in the mail, the application for CPP benefits today. Arrrrrgh! I so hate all the paperwork that has to be filled out. Yes, I know, I know, it's necessary when dealing with insurance companies, but it's enough to make my head spin (and that doesn't take much these days!). First there is the short term illness forms that have to be filled out by the doctor every month... which justifies to the employer the reason for me being off and they pay my wages/benefits for this time period. But then there's the Long Term Disabilities forms, which need to be filled in for after the short term period. The LTD forms must be filled out at least 3 months before you need them because that is how long it takes to process them and get them approved. Once I go on LTD then it is no longer the employer that is paying my benefits but the Insurance company. BUT, of course, they want you to make a claim with any other company you might have benefits through, which the only one I would have is CPP (Canada Pension Plan). So that was the forms I got today. I'll have to sit and figure out which ones I do and which ones the Doctor has to do. If CPP approves me, then the feds pay part of my benefits and the insurance company pays the rest. LTD doesn't kick in until April 13th, but I have to have all the claims/forms filled in and approved before they are actually needed. Ack! My head is spinning again!! :) Anywho, I made some copies of forms and figured I'll try and decipher them at home.

After lunch, I made my rounds to make sure I got to see everyone... and said my goodbyes. Like I say, it was sooooo good to see everyone from work. You all are the best!

I was starting to get a little tired... not exhausted but time to head home and back to the security of my little apartment. Besides, I was going to have 3 friends (again, from work from days gone by) come over later this afternoon. So, I took a cab home and before I took off my coat and shoes, I took Bridget out for a short walk ... just long enough to do her business. Besides, it was a gorgeous day out there and here it is still January and we've had some pretty wicked weather... but today it was sunny and (gasp) the crocuses have started poking up out of the ground everywhere!! Say what??? Spring in January???

Bridget and I got home and got settled in. First one over was Charmaine... Charmaine and I are partners at work. Shortly after Charmaine got here, the intercom rang and Jolanta arrived... and it wasn't too much later and Michael arrived. The three of them bought me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers... gorgeous colours!! Oh my... when the four of us get together, we laugh way too much!! And today/tonight was no different! For dinner, we ordered in Pizza which (grrrrrrrr) the three of them would not let me chip in to pay for, and Jolanta brought juice and diet coke, so we were set for dinner!

I'm now having a hot cuppa tea while chatting here on the blog and watching American Idol at the same time... and just relaxing. I think I'm going to sleep like a baby tonight... curled up to that little furry, in-need-of-a-haircut, diva schnauzer of mine :) It's great to know that I actually could go through all of today, enjoying myself the whole way, and doing well! I purposely have not planned anything for tomorrow... it won't hurt to have a day of quiet, and will probably do good :)

Awwwww... and this just came in from my dear friend, Stephanie.... it is so appropo and what I believe in!!!

How special you are

Your presence is a gift to the world,
You're unique and one of a kind.
Your life can be what you want it to be -
Take it one day at a time.

Count your blessings, not your troubles,
And you'll make it through what comes along.
Within you are so many answers,
Understand, have courage, be strong.

Don't put limits on yourself,
Your dreams are waiting to be realized.
Don't leave your important decisions to chance -
Reach for your peak, your goal, and your prize.

Nothing wastes more energy than worrying -
The longer a problem is carried, the heavier it gets.
Don't take things too seriously -
Live a life of serenity, not a life of regrets.

Remember that a little love goes a long way -
Remember that a lot goes forever.
Remember that friendship is a wise investment,
Life's treasures are people... together.

Have health and hope and happiness,
Take the time to wish on a star.
And don't ever forget for even a day...
How very special YOU are,

by: Unknown


Monday, January 22, 2007

Mon, January 22, 2007 - Appts with Dr. Fay and Dr. Brown

Dear Journal,

Well, could I have picked a wetter day to go to the doctors? I guess it could be worse... it could be snowing. But it's not cold enough for that, so instead we get a day of rain non-stop.

I had an appt. with Dr. Fay (GP) at 11:45am. He wanted to see if the weekend made any difference and if he could take out the remaining staples that were holding the incision together. This is the part of the incision that is taking it's time healing. He looked at them and said, "Nope, they are not ready to come out". He then said he wanted to refer me back to Dr. Brown (surgeon) to see what he has to say. If he says the staples should come out, then he would probably have to arrange for home care nursing to come to pack the wound, then change the packing/dressing daily. So he called Dr. Brown's office, told them he had me in his office and that I would need to see Dr. Brown regarding the incision. Lo and behold, although it is usually a couple of weeks to get an appt., they arranged that I was to come in today at 2:15pm. Great... except I didn't want to hang around the hospital for a couple of hours before my appt (since I was already at Dr. Fay's office which is across the street from the hospital). So I took the bus home... then took the bus back when it was time to see Dr. Brown. I did ask Dr. Fay if my getting out to walk the dog, or walk home from his office or the hospital might be hindering the healing process and ne said, "No... walking is good and if anything, will help the healing process. So I am allowed (and encouraged) to walk... just be careful not to tire myself out."

Soooo, in the afternoon, I caught the bus back up Davie Street and went to the hospital since Dr. Brown's office is in the hospital. First, one of his nurse's took the dressing off the incision and cleaned it. Then, Dr. Brown and one of his associates came in to take a look at it. He agreed that it seems to be taking it's time healing, but there is no sign of infection. So he wants us to keep the staples in for another two weeks to give it more time. If there is any change or I have problems with it, then I'm to get in touch with him/his office immediately, but for now, we will keep the staples in for another 2 weeks. I can then go back to Dr. Fay and he can take the staples out, unless at that time he feels they aren't ready to come out. This is what they mean by "you have wound issues" .

As for the pains I still get in my left side, my far right side and my lower back, Dr. Brown has said that that is to be expected and these pains could be around for a few months, although they should lessen in intensity as time goes on. Ok... that makes me feel better. If this is common and to be expected then I don't have to worry about them :)

After the nurse put a new dressing on the incision and I got dressed, Dr. Brown came back into the room to go over some of the pathology and what is next in the plan. He explained that he was very happy with how the surgery went and that I am looking wonderful... way better than he expected for this time after the surgery. He said that the results are the absolute best that we could have hoped for and, in all honesty, he thought they were going to be a lot worse.

Because the mass/tumour had perforated the wall of the intestine, he was most concerned that the cancer could have spread and we would have a lot more problems. But, it looks like the tumour was contained and may have spread somewhat into the abscess that was created when the tumour perforated the wall of the intestine. Because of this abscess, I did end up with peritonitis where the infection spread to the tissue of the abdomen (which is why I was in constant pain since September... it was the peritonitis that was causing the pain)... and it was because of this infection that they had me on IV antibiotics for the 2 1/2 weeks before the surgery.

So, going over the surgery, he said they took out about a foot of intestine, which included the tumour, the abscess, and 17 lymph nodes. Pre-surgery, he had said they would probably take out about 12 lymph nodes, but they ended up taking out 17 of them. Of the 17 lymph nodes, 1 of them came back as cancerous, the other 16 came back clear. This is good, although, because 1 of them has cancer, it does mean some of the cancer cells have spread from the tumour... so this automatically means that the followup treatment will be chemo, and possible radiation. They have no way of knowing how many cells have escaped, or if the only ones are the ones in this one lymph node... so they will be zapping me with the hopes of catching any strays in my system.

The kind of cancer and/or radiation treatment they use will be up to the oncologists at the BC Cancer Agency. For this kind of cancer, Dr. Brown says that the chemo treatment has come a LONG WAY in the last 10 years... meaning that it has become better than every at catching any stray cells.

So, he says the referral has been made to the Cancer Agency and I should be hearing from them in the next week or so. He says if I haven't heard from them by the end of next week, then I'm to call his (Dr. Brown's) office and they'll get in touch with them. He does not want this to linger and the sooner we start, then the sooner it will be over. He said that the consultation visit, which will be my first visit with the oncologists, will be a lengthy one and that they will go over all kinds of information about the treatment, how long, what to expect, etc. I asked if it would be a good idea for me to take a friend with me to take notes and be a second pair of ears and he highly recommended this, so that's what we will do.

Soooo... I guess that is pretty much it. It's still very positive and with all your good thoughts, continue positive thinking, and prayers, I believe that I will get through this Chemo/Radiation journey with flying colours :)

I don't have any new pictures to put up at the moment... but I will get the camera taking pictures again soon. In the meantime, I want to thank Chet from San Diego for the gorgeous basket of plants, including my favourite - violets - and a very cute teddy bear! Also, thank you Jim, Cori and Cocoa Maedel from just around the corner from my place for the beautiful flower arrangement.. that even included the beautiful Bird of Paradise!

Ok... I better go feed the furry diva before she starts yodelling that I'm neglecting her :) But I'll be baaaaack!