Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thursday, Dec 1st, 2011 -- Pain, pain and Pancreatitis!

Heylloo blogmates!

Yes, you know its more than time for a blog update when so much has happened in such a short period of time, even I don't remember what and in what order! :)

So, may as well just get to it and report on what I do remember! Since we are talking about "pain" in this entry, let's start with the theatre, in particular, Metro Theatre. Many of you may or may not have heard, I resigned from Metro Theatre as their Publicist and Webmistress at the end of last month. I'm not sure what it is with community theatre groups, and if it happens with amateur sports leagues or any other "community" type events, but when they are Board driven, are there always so much politics involved and individuals who have to have their 15 minutes of showing off how important they are?? I don't know the answer to that, obviously, because I have never been involved with amateur sports or necessarily ALL community theatre groups. But what transpired at Metro is something that fiction is made up of and it is still hard to pick my jaw up off the floor.

I have been the webmistress for Metro's website for the past 14 years. I have been the editor of their eNewsletter for the past 12 years. And I have been their publicist for the past 2 seasons, although this 2011/2012 season is not over yet. I have done all three things for the simple reason, I love theatre and although I will never be an actor, director or designer, I do know where my skills lie and I have been offering them to Metro because this is the one theatre that has been in my life since I was in high school. Call it loyalty, call it stupidity... Metro has always had a soft spot in my heart. So tell me, how can a 15 member board be dictated to and run by a small 3-4 person team who wants to control the theatre and run things they don't even have any experience in? If someone could explain that to me I'm all ears... not that I would ever reverse my decision to leave a theatre that shows no loyalty or appreciation for those who have been loyal for years and would prefer to listen to busybodies who have nothing to add to a conversation but hearing their own voice... I still would love to hear an explanation.

Basically 3 people decided to take what was a wonderful thing, a "Supportive Committee" and change it into a "Micromanaging Committee", which would micromanage topics that had absolutely nothing to do with the committee itself. Micromanaging, in the worst definition of the term because, alas, they don't even know how to micromanage properly, nor do they have enough information on the topics they want to micromanage. It's a nightmare in the making. But then when they decided to take on the website, that's when I knew that the theatre was soon to be in big trouble. They did not take into account just what is involved with not only creating/designing a website, but what does Metro already have in place. They figure that it's time Metro had a "professional" design the theatre's website...having no idea that the person who designed the website, my friend Christina Gillespie, IS a professional and has been designing websites for the past 15 years. This is what she does for a living, but these nimrods never thought to ask about the history of our website. Somehow, they managed to convince the Board that Metro NEEDS a professional to take over... and no one ever thought to ask, "Is there a problem with the current website?" "Are we actually missing something that all the other theatres have but we don't?" "Have their been any user complaints about the website, besides from the board member who wants the work of creating a website and charging for it, and his friend who also happens to be on the board?" Nooooo, no one even thought to ask the question. Yet these three people seemed to think it was imperative that Metro change to a professional company FROM the person (moi) and her friend, Chris (who is a professional), who have both been doing Metro's website work PRO BONO (that's "free" for anyone who might be sharing the same IQ as these three board members) for the past 14 years. Free also equals "Volunteer"... and this is another fine example of how one can expect to be treated as a volunteer... you CAN be replaced by someone they would prefer to pay. Oh, but here's the biggest joke... just how much are they going to pay someone to do the work they've received for free for the past 14 years. Well, the so called "professional" board meeting can't actually give them a quote... because he doesn't actually have an example of what he'd be presenting. There are no two or three potential designs and something the board could look over and decide, and then how much it would cost for ever little add on (IE: Calendar of events, customized ticket sales, Twitter Feed, Facebook Feed, etc)... he didn't have ANYTHING to actually show them, nor did he have any price ranges. The response, "Well it all depends on how many hours it will take to create it." Well, duh!! And those hours will depend on how much he wants to bill, right??? Needless to say, when I got the call from the President of the Board to tell me that the board had made a decision to go with a professional for the website, I said "Fine. You will have my resignation that evening... from the role of Webmistress and the role of Publicist. As far as the eNewsletter goes, the Dec 1st issue will be the final one but I will be continuing with a new redesigned Vancouver Arts Community eNewsletter that will have nothing to do with the focus being on Metro, other than any mentions of what they are doing SHOULD someone be reliable and send me the information. I will no longer be getting the content about Metro on my own, as I have with no help from the Board for the past 12 years. As such, I highly doubt anyone is about to start now, so Metro will be left out and the other theatres in the Lower Mainland will benefit." She was surprised that I was going to resign from the Publicist role. Why the surprise, I have no idea... I obviously wasn't doing it for the great amounts of money to be made at Metro, so that left I was doing it out of loyalty to a theatre company I thought respected and appreciated all I did for them for the love of theatre... but in reality they couldn't care less and would rather pay one of their "own", even though I have been one of their own since high school. Unbelievable!!

But enough of that... you'd almost think the theatre and people on the Board had some sort of importance, and they certainly don't. I have no respect for stupidity. Ignorance I could understand, but there is no place for stupidity in my life and they all have proven just how stupid they can be. It's a shame really, but not worth losing any sleep over.

I have bigger things to focus on. Besides taking a much needed break for the next few months, let's talk HEALTH! Hellloooo? What a roller coaster I've been on this week! Last Friday, I had plans to meet my friend, Alison Jopson for lunch. We had decided on the White Spot on Georgia Street and I was looking forward to meeting with her and catching up! Oh the joys of the retirees... the ladies who lunch, etc :) Well, I woke up Fri morning and I was just not feeling right... nothing I could really pin down just not feeling all that hot. I thought it could be a bug I might have picked up, or maybe a touch of indigestion. And just as a joke, I mentioned it probably was a heart attack only because I was having a pain in my left side that sort of filtered to the back. I wasn't sure if I should cancel lunch, or just suck it up... so I sucked it up and off I went to meet up with Alison.

I got there before she did but low and behold if I didn't run into two old friends from the past! -- Alex McLeod and Roma Hearn! Since we all had arrived at lunch time (bad timing on our part), the place was packed and there was a lineup for tables... so we placed our names for two separate tables. Alex and Roma got their table, then Alison showed up and we got our table too. Once we sat down, I was still feeling off and thought maybe it was because I had been standing for too long (ok, just making up reasons at this point). We ordered lunch and had oodles to talk about and catch up on... with Alex running over to tell us a few more tidbits he had forgotten earlier. I had gotten through about half my sandwich and had to excuse myself. That was the first I knew that I really wasn't feeling that well.... I lost that sandwich (and it was so good... but I had not had an appetite for sometime by this point). So we called lunch short and I got home in time for a 12 hour marathon of vomiting. That was really weird since I had only had a half sandwich. I had started feeling sick before eating so I knew it wasn't food poisoning... it had to be stomach flu. But to tell you the truth I was too sick to give it a whole lot of thought!

The vomiting stopped about 12:30am Sat... and for Sat and Sun, I slept around the clock. I don't recall how often I got up... maybe 3 or 4 times the whole 48 hours. Monday, I went to my GP and he had me do blood tests and a urinalysis. The results of those came on Tues and there was a possibility of a urinary infection but it was not conclusive... so we decided to try and let it cure itself. Besides the pain and vomiting obviously had nothing to do with a urinary infection... those just aren't the symptoms.

Yesterday, I went for my 3-month CAT scan. The purpose for this scan was to see if the tumours in my lungs were responding the the chemo. We were pretty sure they were since my CEA levels have come way down... but we wanted proof. Well, the radiologist called my Oncologist yesterday afternoon and said that he was concerned that the CAT scan was showing that I had an inflamed pancreas (pancreatitis). This is an extremely painful condition (yes, I know... I felt it) and can be very dangerous. The pancreas creates hormones, insulin and enzymes for aiding in food digestion. When the pancreas gets inflamed, the enzymes turn on themselves and actually start eating/digesting the pancreas!! We only have one pancreas and we need it for the functions it does. So my oncologist called me immediately and although I still had the pain, it wasn't as bad as Fri night... or Sat/Sun. So he wanted me to be very careful and if it did get worse overnight, I was to go immediately to Emergency. As it was, it didn't get worse... and off I went to an appt. with oncology today, as well, more blood tests, this time tests for some measurements of things to do with pancreatitis. These levels are, unfortunately, high... so we have to be very careful.

The plan, as of today, is that we are going to take a break from the chemo while the pancreas heals. There is no documentation/indication that the chemo I'm on causes pancreatitis, but chemo is so hard on all the organs of the body so no one knows what it's role in this has been. So, to be safe, a break from the chemo.

Now, it's not all doom and gloom. Remember the CAT scan's original purpose was to show us how the tumors are reacting to the chemo. Well, they are responding very well! The CAT scan has shown that not only have they all stopped growing, they have all (except for one) started shrinking!! Yayayaya! I'm thrilled about that! The one that is being stubborn, they are not too concerned with... it could be something as simple as there are "slow starters" and this one has not started responding yet. This break from chemo should not make much difference. IE: the tumors are not going to start growing because we are taking a short break. At this point, we aren't sure how long the break will have to be... it depends on how quickly the pancreas inflammation calms down and the pancreas gets back to healthy functioning. That might be two weeks... it might be 6 weeks. Either way, you can be rest assured they will be monitoring and deciding what our next plan of action will be.

I have a CAT scan scheduled for 2 weeks from now and that will be to show if the inflammation has calmed down. Meanwhile, I will have to go in for pancreas blood work every two weeks... as well, I need to go in for the 3 hour magnesium infusion every two weeks. Just my luck that not only does the chemo deplete one's magnesium, pancreatitis eats up the magnesium as well! Arrrrrgh!

So, I must stop being hard on myself. I keep saying, "Suck it up... it's only a little bug!" when in fact, maybe I'm actually suffering a lot more than a little bug :)

Hahaha... all this typing has worn me out so I'm calling it quits for now... time to go lie down. But I wanted the info to all be in one place so everyone gets the same info and I don't have to wonder who has been told what :) :)

Happy World AIDS Day!!