Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday, April 18th, 2008 - On the "Smallville" set

Hiya Bloggy,

Yep... it's going on 1am so what are the chances I am going to make this a short entry and head to bed? Hahaha... I do get a chuckle out of some of you, my dear friends, who are concerned when Bloggy isn't updated. Don't you worry... I'm not about to do anything silly... and if something were wrong, then I'd get word to Melinda, my dear friend who started this blog way back when this journey began... and she'd be able to let folk know what's going on .

But really, the last update was only 4 days ago, so I'm not too out of date. I've been much worse when 10-14 days would lapse, right? :) Ok... even though it's almost 1am, I seem to have a little schnauzer here grumbling about wanting her bedtime carrot. Just a second... I'll be right back...

... ok, here I am, back again :)

Well, since I last did an entry on Monday, have you all noticed the new look to Bloggy? I decided to give her a change. I'm not sure if I like all the dots or not, but I will keep it for the time being. Hehehe.. I also added the "Video Bar" on the left, where some of my favourite kinds of videos from can be accessed. I have set it up for clips from American Idol, Canadian Idol and Britain's Got Talent (in case you get bored reading my babble, you can always watch a little video clip or two) LOL!!

Anywho... here's the scoop. I have an appointment now for the adrenal growth fine needle biopsy. It will be done on Monday morning at the Cancer Agency. This is done with the use of a CT Scanner as a guideline so they can see that they accurately get the needle into the growth and are not taking cells from somewhere/something else. This procedure takes about 30-40 minutes. They want me there 30 minutes early for prep (getting changed, drinking yet another 500 ml of water, etc). I also will need a ride to/from... I'm not exactly sure why that requirement since they are not putting me under anesthesia, but I'm not about to question it. My good friend, Doug, who lives across the street from me is going to take the morning off work and take me there, wait while I get the procedure done, then bring me home. I will probably be a little tender and I will definitely have taken my Ativan... both for my panic/anxiety attacks, as well, the results from this procedure are going to have a huge impact on my life.

The results will be the following week... Monday, April 28th in the afternoon. That's when I will be going to see Dr. Gill and she will give the me results and then what the plan will be ... depending on the results. Mimi and Jo will both be coming with me to that appointment so I will have plenty of support from two girlfriends.

Meanwhile... I've been bouncing back and forth from wanting to be by myself until all of this is over and wanting to be with people. To tell you the truth, I don't think I know what I want, so it's great that my friends are just taking me under their wing.

Last night (Thurs), Jill, Shel, Jaime, Naveen, Emily and I went out to Port Coquitlam to the Terry Fox Theatre to see our friend, Lalainia do a one-woman show about her personal journey through Anorexia. It's a show she wrote and starred in. What a powerful show! There were plenty of girls around the age of Jaime and Emily (13-15) and I think this is a show that Lalainia should tour to high schools. Very powerful and the message comes through loud and clear.

Earlier this week, Steve Oben had asked me if I was going to be at St. Paul's Hospital for any reason this week (I have been to their lab for blood work a lot recently). The reason he asked was because they would be shooting scenes for Smallville at St. Andrew's Wesley church which is a beautiful cathedral/church about 2 blocks from the hospital. Well, it turned out that I DID have to have blood work done today and I was going to see my we arranged to meet.

Hahahaha... this medication I'm on to keep me calm is calming me down so much that it's interferring with my memory!! I got on the bus to head up Davie St. to go to the Doctor, when it dawned on me, I forgot the blood requisition paperwork that I need to take to the lab so they know what tests to do. Arrrrgh! So, I got off the bus and walked home, got the requisition, caught another bus and away I went. I had the appt. with Dr. Fay, then I walked the two blocks down Burrard. I no sooner got to the church and a lady walking 8 schnauzers came by!! Well, I simply had to talk to her!! Claudette is known around the West End/Yaletown/Downtown core as the schnauzer lady. She walks them, trains them, etc. So after talking to her for a bit, I took one of her cards. Not that I need another dog walker , Bridget has quite the collection now! But, you never know :)

Anywho... I called Steve to let him know I was hear, so he told me to come down the back lane of the church and he'd meet me there in a couple of minutes.. they were in the middle of filming a shot. Security let me through but they were hesitant... but then Steve came out so all was ok.

Oh my God!! Did I have a good time or what??? This was just what I needed to have my mind completely occupied!! I had talked to a lot of these people when we were looking after Kim a few years ago... back when she was going through her journey, which ended in May 2005. Kim was the Props Mistress for Smallville, so all the crew and cast knew her. I started a blog, not unlike this one, and kept it up for Kim so that all her friends/family out of town could feel close and know what was going on. We had the same tightknit circle of friends as her caregivers... who are now also circling the wagons when I need them. Anywho... the Smallville company knew me by name but most had not met me in person before. So here I was, 3 years later meeting everyone. Steve was a fabulous host... he was telling me what everyone was doing, how their part fit in with what was going on, how the cameras on trailers worked, the boom mikes, the sound guy and his soundboard, makeup, costumes, continuity... the whole thing. Now I do know the basics of how it all works to put a show together, or so I thought... but I didn't realize how much I didn't know, until today!! I learned so much!!

I'll put some pictures up here on the blog but I'll tell you right up front, no, I'm not putting up any of the actors. The reason being, the blog is like anywhere else on the internet and once a picture gets put up, then who knows where it might end or what someone might do with it. So I am not going to be responsible for any pictures getting out to the Smallville forums and chat rooms ;)

Here's St. Andrew Wesley Church. Notice they have the front and windows all darkened with tarps. The scenes were being shot inside the church so it had to be dark so that the lighting they were setting up on the inside was exactly how they wanted it. So all the outside windows were covered.

Here I am on headset. This was very, very kewl! Everyone is on headset, so you could hear all the directing, blocking, and discussions before the cameras started rolling... then once they were rolling, you could hear the dialogue between the actors.

Hehehe... do you think I'm make a good camera person?? Uh... where do you look into this thing? Oh right... yes, well I'm now taking a picture of the wall!!

I love this window... and oh the magic of Hollywood! This is an actual window in the church, but these windows are actually clear class with etchings. So the lighting guys/gals have actually put gelled lights behind them so they look like they are coloured... and then the reflections on the walls where the filming is taking place is real eerie, which is the mood for the scene in the church.

Here's John. He's the visual effects guy. He does his magic with what has been filmed and then adding computer wizardry. What a fascinating job! And a nice guy to boot :)

Ok, this is just me again, and yes, I'm still on headset although I think they are hard to see in this picture. Why I'm posting it is, you will see some hand drawn pictures on the wall behind me. These are the storyboards. The director will sit with the storyboard artist and they will go through what shots are needed and these are posted in order. But they are not necessarily shot in order... as a matter of fact, they are not shot in order at all. Since they had the church for 3 days, they had to shoot all the interior and exterior shots that they would need and they would not necessarily be in order depending on what was needed for a particular scene (or who). But each time one is shot, then it is checked off... so the storyboard is almost like a mini-cheat sheet :)

This is Ken Biller, the director of this episode. Every episode has it's own director and it is not always the same director for the whole season. Some directors will do 2 or 3 episodes, some will only do 1. Meanwhile, Mairzee (I took a picture of her but it turned out too dark!!) is the AD (Assistant Director) and she is the one who does all the scheduling and making sure the scenes are shot on time. It never stops because time is money... big money!

Ok, here is another example of the window on the left being lit from behind with gels over lights... whereas the window on the right isn't lit with coloured gels. Interesting, no?

Now here are the windows that are white and not lit with gels and lights. Quite the difference, isn't it?

Earlier I had mentioned sound, where I had a portable headset where I could listen to everything that is going on. Well here is the portable soundboard where the sound is cleaned up... background noise is removed, voices are brought up if need be. Steve was also telling me where sometimes a word or phrase might be muffled... so the actor has to do a "loop" where they replace the word, but it has to match their lips, etc.

So that's it for pictures from my day on the set... I'm now starting to fall asleep (these meds are marvelous that way). I had an absolutely fabulous day!! It's been a long time since I spent the afternoon not only enjoying where I was (that's not unusual), but actually absorbing and learning. I feel like there's so much more for me to learn... so Steve says that he will bring me back on set again (yayayayaya! Smoooooch to Steve!)

Hahaha... but I must say, I could slap myself upside the head! I left the set because by that time I had been standing on my feet for 3 hours and those goofy nerve damaged feet were starting to rebel big time! So, I walked the 3 blocks back to Davie and went to the FountainHead Pub for some late lunch. I got there and Jeanine had no sooner set my diet coke in front of me when, voila! I see the blood requisition paper that I had had to go back home for way back in the morning, being used as a bookmark in my book!! I had totally forgotten to go get my bloodwork done which was the whole reason I was going to be up in this area!! Arrrrrrgh! So I told Jeanine I would be back but I had to go get the bloodwork done before the lab closed. Sheesh!! Could you imagine me showing up for my biopsy procedure on Monday and no, I didn't do the required bloodwork?? But that's what I mean about the meds doing a big number on my memory.

Anywho... I did get it done, came back and had something to eat, then hopped on a bus home. But my poor feet...they are as good as broken!! That was definitely too much standing on them and it's going to take a couple of days for them to get over it... and I may have to go back to using the cane again. Oh well ;)

Hahahaha.. meanwhile, can you believe it??? April 18th and Vancouver got SNOW tonight!! Yep, even the little munchkin had to get dressed up for outing into the elements tonight... not that she wanted to go ou...

She's such a sleepy snow-dog!!! :D

Ok... it's now after 2am so I really must go to bed!! I have to get up at a decent hour in the morning because I'm actually going to take a class in card-making at the Scrapbook Warehouse. I'm looking forward to this class and let's hope that my faulty memory doesn't' interfere.

So, I'll sign off now... and still, am asking that everyone send out BENIGN! BENIGN! BENIGN!! positive energy to that adrenal gland... I thank you all for doing this. Remember... when it comes back officially benign, there will be a Benign Celebration Party!! :)



Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008 - Tapping and weekend pictures

Hi Bloggy,

The weekend has come and gone and a fine weekend it was. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster and probably will be until I can figure out what exactly is going on and how I fit into this big picture.

Well, I was going to type up a nice long babbling blog entry to explain a little more about how I'm feeling on a personal level vs all the various "medical jargon" that gets thrown around. From a medical point of view... there is no new news. The last appt. I had
was on Thurs and that was the same day Jo and I went to the appt. and had that awful experience with David the Intern. We know the interns need to practice their communication skills with real patients and I have had no problem with this before, knowing not to take anything they say at face value... I just nod and smile and comment, "Dr. Gill will be coming in soon, won't she?" which of course, she always does. This was the first time we asked the intern to leave. He had upset me so much with his terminology or lack of it, total lack of compassion, using words that would scare the strongest of souls (you do not go around referring to anything as malignant unless you know for sure 1) it is malignant and 2) you know the patient knows it is). Anywho... thanks to David, that did bring on an anxiety attack and even though I now have medication to keep the edge off, I am not about to feel ok or safe until I know for sure what is happening with the adrenal growth and that it IS benign.

Hehehe... I wish I had the last blog entry side by side to this one I'm typing up so that I don't end up duplicating and saying the same things. That is one thing I have learned about myself throughout all of this... I seem to repeat the same information over and over again. Now, in my defense, part of that comes from friends/family emailing me and asking how I'm doing and/or is there any new news... rather than coming here and checking the blog first. I don't mean to sound cranky, but I remember when I was keeping a blog for our dear friend Kimberley, I had the energy to keep the blog up to date as well as answer questions that came in from her friends... it makes a huge difference when it's not yourself you are talking about. This has been a real eye-opener for me!! Me?? Who loves to talk?? But as much as I find doing the blog therapeutic, it amazes me how tiring it is when talking about stuff that is real... is happening to ME. And then, more recently... when thinking of the possibilities of what could be taking place, then just thinking about them can cause anxiety attacks. So bear with me gang... I DO love getting all the emails of support and just chit-chatty emails from friends, but if you ask if there's any new news or tell me that you haven't had time to check the blog so could I catch you up with the latest, please don't take it personally if I say, "Hey, it's all there and won't be going away, so when you get the time, do check out the blog." I just can't write it out all over again in an email :(

So, tonight I was going to babble about the fun weekend I had... which turned out to be a great distraction. On Friday night, my friends, Shel and Jill had a Magnolia Party BBQ and, as weather would have it, we lucked out! The skies cleared up around 4pm and by 6pm we had sunny, clear skies. Still, a tad bit nippy out, but perfectly fine for cooking outside and then eating inside. It was great to see some friends who will all be working down at Theatre Under The Stars again this year, plus there were new (new to me) folk there who were people that worked with Shel at Infinity Films. A great mix of people and we all had a fun evening. Here are a couple of pics from Friday night:

James Pollard (General Manager of TUTS) and Inga Pedersen (Stage Manager of "Annie Get Your Gun")

Jill (behind the tulips), Naveen and Inga.

Now isn't this adorable?? These children were not only adorable, but were amazing at keeping themselves amused... and then, just before Mom and Dad said it was time to get ready to go home, they got changed into their jammies for the ride home :)

On Saturday, Jo and I went to the opening night of Royal City Musical Theatre's production of West Side Story. They did a fabulous job, as RCMT always does! Ok, what cracked me up, was afterwards, at the Opening Night reception, you know how people all crowd around the tables of food? Well here, they actually had tables built around girls, who wandered throughout the after-show crowd so there was food mingling all night long ... here's a picture of what I mean:

Ok... Sunday it was off to Maple Ridge, which is about an hour's drive from Vancouver. It was Steve's birthday on Friday so his parents were having the Sunday birthday dinner and we all had a wonderful time!! Jo and I went out together because it is a little bit too long of a drive for me right now... but the weather held out, so it was great! A good time was had by all and it was actually the first day that I was calm enough that I wasn't feeling the roller coaster. As a matter of fact, Steve's sister, Sandra is trained in "tapping" which is freeing up emotions by using accupressure points but without the needles (check out which is an excellent site with lots of information). Anywho... I'm just going to put up a few pictures here and then it's time for me to go to bed. I am really tired (gee, it might have something to do with the Ativan I took 20 minutes ago) and I want to do some visualization exercises before I go to sleep.

So, from Sunday's party...

Steve, the birthday boy in the gray and Daryl, his brother.

4-year old Stephanie and Bridget. Bridget was so good... Stephanie and her played for hours! Of course, it did help that Stephanie had a bag of Bridget's treats -- Snap Peas and Cauliflower pieces :)

Cousin Debbie, Don and the little diva, Bridget.

Well, here is half the dinner party... as you can see, when we all get together we have to have a large, large extended table or three :)

I don't mind this picture but hello... has the comb been invented yet?? It would be nice if I had put a comb through my hair. This is towards the end of the evening and even I can tell I'm starting to get a little on the tired side ;)

And here is the little diva, just so pleased with herself that she could run around the backyard at great speeds... then just lie down on the grass to cool off. Needless to say, after all her partying yesterday, she's been pretty much a slug today and sleeping all day :)

Well, I was going to talk more about visualizations and self-healing through visualizing. I'm about to start that up again. It was something I have always believed in. Our bodies are made up of so much energy and it's amazing the power we have to visualize and repair the energy that may be broken. So, along with the traditional medicine I will also be getting more into Tapping with Sandra and doing a lot of self-healing through visualization. But more on that later. I must go to bed now.