Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday, September 13th, 2010 -- Part I (the saga)

Hello Bloggy-mates!!

I know, I know!! I was going to say you don't have to remind me that I lied when I said I'd be coming right back to do a proper blog entry and then didn't come back... but 4 people since the weekend have done just that! And they are right!! Not only did I not come back, but August 2nd was my last entry??? That's OVER a month ago... almost 1 1/2 months ago!! Sheesh... how the heck did that happen??? And now, in 6 weeks there's so much to chat about that if I typed it all up, you readers would have to have a spare 10 hours or so just to read the babble. You see, it never rains but pours!!

So, where to start... and where to end?? Hmmmm... I think I'm going to do this particular entry in two parts. Part 1 will be my evening babble that I'm typing tonight... and hopefully a few pictures. Then Part II, I will do tomorrow night or Wednesday morning... except I do need to go into the TUTS office Wednesday afternoon, so I hopefully will get it done tomorrow night (unless I go to a Fringe show, but that's a whole other topic) :D

Hahaha... sooooo away I go! The first thing to report is that I feel fine, I feel healthy, considering I am on chemo again (did I mention that in any of the last posts?? Oh well, I think most of you knew that), and have been since I believe it was early July, I have surprised myself with just how much energy I have had. You see, living in a world of denial does have it's benefits. I mean, if you deny you have a problem, then you can't very well be lying around in bed feeling sorry for yourself and having a lack of energy because to have that then you have to admit there's a problem . Of course there then are the moments when chemo fatigue hits... think how you feel if you've gone 48 hours without sleep plus you've taken a sleeping pill by accident instead of an aspirin.... can you imagine how tired/exhausted you would feel? Well, that's exactly how chemo fatigue feels but rather than growing on you as you get more and more tired, it hits you out of the blue. You might be perfectly fine and busy doing a chore and BAM! You can't put one foot in front of the other and you really need to lie down.... and that lie down turns into a 3 hour deep sleep nap. Lucky :::knock on wood::: that hasn't happened to me too often this go round with the chemo, but it has happened. And since I'm in a world of denial, when it does happen it throws me for a loop... I get annoyed with myself and ask, "Why the heck are you so tired? It's not like you've been all that active, physically... are you really that lazy?? Ever since you can't walk more than a block, you've become sluggish and lazy!" Nag, nag, nag... guilt, guilt, guilt! Hahaha... then it dawns on me, "Oh, wait a minute... ok, yes, you are on chemo, so that might explain the lazy, tiredness... ok, never mind. But have a nap and then can you make sure you get XXXXX and XXXX done?" Gee, I sure would hate to be my own nurse!! LOL! No compassion for me, whatsoever!!! LOL!!

Ok, so what has this lazy, no good for nothing, person in denial been up to this summer? As most of you know, throughout my journey with chemo and fear and more chemo, I have been keeping myself busy with all things theatre. For my favourite love, Musical Theatre, I'm involved with TUTS all year long. This year, we did two productions... "Singin' In The Rain" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". These two productions ran in rep with each other meaning that one night it would be Singin' and the next night it would be Joseph and the next night it would be Singin' and the next night it would be Joseph, etc. This went on for 7 weeks... every day. Now, I had my office administrative work to keep up on, as well, one of the very kewl, neat things we do in the summer is we offer three Musical Theatre workshops 1) a two week, Mon-Fri, 9:30am - 4:30pm Advanced Musical Theatre camp, ages 6-19. Participants for this camp have to have had some training already, as well as experience performing in front of an audience. 2) a beginner's KIDS (ages 6-12) one week, 1/2 days camp... no experience needed. 3) a beginner's YOUTH (ages 13-19) one week, 1/2 days camp... no experience needed. All camps ended with a performance done in front of a Friday night TUTS audience, before the actual TUTS performance that night. It was great for the kids, the parents of the kids and pre-show entertainment for the TUTS audience. This was my baby project in that I got to totally organize the registrations of all participants, communicate to the parents, take the payments, organize how many TUTS Camp t-shirts were needed and in what size, etc. It's one of my favourite administrative theatre tasks that I do... thoroughly love it! Here are a couple of pictures of this years' kids:

There are the kids in their camp t-shirts with a good size audience to perform in front of... even though the audience was still arriving :)

Oh, here's a better one that shows the audience that these kids get to perform in front of. It really is a fabulous experience for them!

Of course, every summer Vancouver also has it's Fireworks competition between countries. Now, as much as theatre is my love, even I have my limits. With the fireworks literally being across the street from where I live, and they totally shut down the neighbourhood to vehicle traffic, I do NOT work the theatre on Fireworks nights. The reason being, since I usually get to the theatre in the afternoon, getting my car out of the 'hood wouldn't be a problem... but coming home?? No can do!! We do the shows an hour earlier than normal because, even though the fireworks are a good kilometre or more away from the theatre with a park between us and them, they are SOOOO loud that they would totally interfere with the show. So we start the show early on Fireworks nights so that the performance is over before the fireworks actually start at 10pm. Hahaha... soooo, yes, I would be ready to come home just as the Fireworks were starting. Absolutely no way I could get my car home... and if I were to wait until the crowds disappeared and the neighbourhood roads were to open up again, it would mean hanging out in the park, just me, the dog, and the raccoons until 1am or so. Naaaaa... not my idea of a good time :D Sooooo, I stay home... and actually, during the day I work on publicity stuff for Metro Theatre (Theatre #2 that is on hiatus in the summer while I'm doing TUTS).

This year, I went to my friend, Doug's apartment for one of the fireworks nights (or was that 2 of them??). He lives right across the street from me and whereas I live on the second floor of a 4 storey walk-up building, he lives on the 21st floor of a MUCH higher building, and he faces the water. So perfect place to watch the fireworks from:

The people started gathering about 4pm, even though the fireworks don't start until 10pm.

My friend, Adam, actually took this picture. People get down early to get a great spot for watching them... and what better spot than in a hammock?? :)

Another picture of the gathering crowds, this time taken from inside the apartment and through the window.

The boats started gathering around the same time. Here you can see there is still a fair amount of room between boats, but they are all close enough that the become a little party community :)

A good night for fireworks... clear skies and just a hint of a breeze. Notice there is quite a large berth between the gathering boats and the actual fireworks barge (which are actually two barges put together... the length of about two football fields) and the police boats make sure none of them come too close.

And so the fireworks start... keep in mind, we are on the 21st floor, high about the crowds :)

Ok, this one is interesting and I hope you can see it in the smaller version of the picture on the blog, but notice how much area the fireworks cover? That is why the boats have to be back so far, otherwise there could be a few boats that end up going down (?) in flames :)

What can I say... even though we got through this every year, and 4 countries compete, so there are 4 nights of these fireworks... one can't argue that they aren't pretty... because they really are pretty and in a beautiful environment.

Of course, I do have to come up with an artsy shot or two... this was one of those huge ones that just seem to explode above us all and I was really pleased with the effect I got on this one.

Ok... I think you get the hint... these nights are a lot of fun and a good excuse to socialize with your neighbours. All of the fireworks are actually done/choreographed (?) to music... so each country has it's own theme music. They do have the huge speakers down on the beach, but it is also simulcast with a local radio station, so all the apartment/condo buildings will have their windows wide open, or speakers out on the balconies and everyone tuned to the same station... so you definitely can't miss the music :) Hahaha... so, when you get the question, "So what did YOU do on your day off??" I have pictures to show what I did with a few of my closest friends . Now, if you actually thought you were going to go to bed early?? Hahaha... good luck! It literally sounds like World War III as the fireworks themselves are soooo loud and the sound echoes by bouncing off all the buildings, not to mention hundreds of balconies have their stereo speakers turned up loud to catch the music :)

Ok... note... you have been reading for how long? And I've covered about 3 days of summer activities . There would be so much more to talk about and show pictures but seriously... I'm not going to do that to you :D

Let's jump ahead to this week (Sept 12/13). Right now I'm on a week's break from the chemo. The way it works is I do Mon-Fri, then a two day break, then Mon-Fri, and a 9 day break. The reason for this is that the chemo doesn't differentiate between good, healthy cells and abnormal (cancer) cells... it just goes in like a bulldozer and kills off everything in it's path. It is "systemic" meaning it travels through my blood system and lymph system... everywhere in the body! When you stop the chemo, the good cells will regenerate their number of cells, replacing the ones that have been killed, whereas any cancer cells that have been killed, can not regenerate. Ideally, they would like to get you as close to "death" as possible, killing off the most cells they can without actually killing you. I don't think they get me that close because I'm still running around doing stuff like above and all my theatre stuff... if I was that close to death, I would not be able to do that. Still, I was having a real bad problem with pain in the feet because the chemo was attacking all the damaged nerve endings... so my oncologist did have to adjust the schedule to give me the weekend break. Mind you, as soon as you have a break, the cells start regenerating and when cells regenerate it takes a lot of energy, hence why I get very tired (aka chemo fatigue)... only to start the chemo again. I will be starting the chemo again tomorrow night if the blood tests show that I've regenerated enough blood cells that it's safe to be attacked by the chemo again ;)

Meanwhile... poor little Bridget!! She started obsessively licking her right front paw last week. Well, long story short, she had an infected paw... more than likely because of a very tiny grass burr. So she went in today for her surgery.... so had to be put under with a general anesthetic. This scares the heck out of me when a small dog has to go under a general... it is so hard on our systems, even harder on theirs since they are so small. Miss B is only 12.6 pounds!!

We went in to see Dr. Joan on Saturday, so she applied an antibiotic goop, then wrapped her foot. Bridget always loves her big bandages... but she was mad at me this time. It hurt her for Joan to be poking around on the tender foot that was so swollen because of the infection. So here she is, refusing to look at me with the camera:

Miss B. was very upset with me at this point... I made her go to see Dr. Joan and she did not like having her foot poked at (and I don't blame her, it was very inflamed and sore!). But she LOVES her bandage... we can't figure it out but she loved it a few years back when she had to wear one because Joan thought there must be something irritating the skin. So lots of antibiotic goop to draw out the problem and then the foot is wrapped). Whatever, it worked and she was fine after that... but meanwhile she would prance about and raise her bandaged paw to show people.

Here is a classic Miss Bridget "I'm mad at you, Mom. I'm not going to look at you or the camera!" Whereas usually, she is such a poser when the camera comes out :)

After today's surgery, she was re-wrapped, this time with a red bandage. So here Auntie Toby came over to check on the patient... and Bridget was now not quite so groggy and was a bit more interested in her surroundings. She was VERY happy to come home... but even still, she was a little confused from the anesthesia and would look at one of us and give these pathetic little cries. It was so sad, but we knew she was alright and that it was the meds talking :)

Ok... I have no idea how long this has taken me to write... but I'm ending the Part I blog entry. Tomorrow, whenever I get home, I will write Part II which will be a MUCH smaller entry. Part II is going to be reporting on what the results of the CAT scan and blood work are showing. I'm not nervous yet, but I will be tomorrow on the way to the Cancer Agency. If all is going according to plan and the lung tumours are responding to the chemo, then I am going to consider this GOOD news. If the growth in the kidney is NOT responding to the chemo, I'm going to consider this GOOD news. Ok, it may mean that it's a new primary (Kidney) cancer, but to me the good news is that the colon cancer has not spread to the kidney. If it is a Kidney cancer, then I figure we have caught it in it's early stages and we will treat it with either a RFA procedure or whatever... but the good news will be that the colon cancer has not spread. If it has responded to the chemo and is starting to shrink, well, that will be good news for a bad situation. But what the heck... no sense jumping the gun here until we know what we are dealing with.

Now... it's just after midnight and I've spent most of the evening getting this entry done, so I really must go and do some more work on Metro before I head to bed :) Until tomorrow... ciao!!



HunBun said...

It's good to finally hear from you and know you are doing well. Give Miss B a hug and some cauliflower for me and feel free to send me a copy of that last fireworks shot ;oD GORGEOUS!!

Take care of yourself...

Love ya..

Anonymous said...

YES!! It is so good to see a note from you. Now I'm patiently waiting for Part II.

Hugs to you and Bridget! I hope she is doing much better.


Anonymous said...

BTW, the photos are incredible.