Saturday, July 28, 2007

Link Of The Day : Your Amazing Brain

Explore your brain, take part in real-life experiments and test yourself with games, illusions and brain-benders.

Prisoners In Cebu

My parents used to live in Cebu. My brother Scott and I had the chance to visit them while they were residing there. Hey Dad, did you know this is what was happening in their prison systems?

Week Four Completed

I am getting more and more red as the weeks progress. Last night part of my face started to peel. Oh Joy!! My face gets quite swollen from the moisture it is trying to retain from the burns. My neck and chest area to my lymph must not be getting as much radiation are they still just a little pink.

As I mentioned in a previous post quite a bit of my hair has fallen out and my hairline is completely changed. Thankfully I had a thick set of hair to start out with.

Highlights this week:

A big thank- you to my parents who took the girls to Brantford and had them stay there for a week and to my in-laws who also spent time with them. I tell you......I think they are having a great summer and that makes it easier for me to stay focused on healing.

The phonecalls, emails, cards all sending well wishes and support. These gestures carry me.

A visit from my dear friend Heather who once again provided my family with her generous cooking and baking.

Making it past the halfway point of treatment. As Barb says....."I'm at the top of the hill looking down."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Here is an example of selling crap for the sake of selling crap.....UGH!

I Am Looking For A New Hairstlye

So my hair has been falling out and I am now in search of new funky hairstyles. I really like Posh Spices hair and am leaning this way. I will post some other makeover magic photos I have uplifted and you can let me know which you like the best. Click on pictures to make bigger.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Part Cool/Part Scary

Sheila sent me this link.
Someday we will no longer type.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Week Three Completed

I notice that I am getting tired by about 9:00pm now. ( I remeber the days where I was a nightowl and would often stay up puttering around through the wee hours of the night.)

Feeling some mild nausea every once in a while. I can usually ride it out til it passes.

Towards the end of the week, starting to feel some pain in my throat, rawness and trouble swallowing. Today it is intensely sore. I will speak to the doctor tomorrow about it.

The loss of taste is still annoying. Garth ordered Chinese Food last night and it looked absolutely mouth watering (or at least as mouth watering as can be with no saliva!). I took a bite, and . . . yes . . . it was like eating a napkin. No taste whatsoever! Meals are beoming a chore and I have lost 5lbs.

I also noticed alot of hair coming out when I comb the back section. I will soon post pictures of my new hair line.

Highlights this week......

The generosity of my friends continue as Barb, Leslie and Tara all took turns watching my girls this week. I can tell you that this is turning out to be a pretty sweet summer for them.

Hearing from one of my readers of this blog (Teresa) once again. She continues to share helpful tips and offers support and encouagement. Last week I was emotionally fatigued and feeling like I was falling into a black hole that I could never get out of. Teresa reminded me how important it is not to project but to stay focused and take it one day at a time.

Being reminded that I am not alone and that people care about the wellbeing of my family and myself. I have such gratitude for the generous collection taken for me at Whitby Mental Health Centre by my collegues and the kind words of support and compassion. I have learned that people are very important and are a resource that is perhaps the most precious to all of us in times of need.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Week Two Completed

I have completed week 2 of radiation and the side effects of treatment have most definately set in.

I have completely lost my taste sensation and this seems to be the one symptom that is the most emotionally draining. It is amazing how much we take for granted the sense of taste. By now I am wondering how I'll feel after 5 more weeks of this, if I feel this way now.

The radiation machine was closed for its annual service maintenance on Wednesday and this meant I had to receive a double dose on Thursday. I was actually dreading this day as it meant a very long day was going to be spent waiting the neccesary 6 hours between treatments. Garth was determined that we were going to make the best of this situation and hailed us a cab to Bloor Street for some retail therapy.

On Friday, I met with my radiation oncologist and alerted her to the fact that my mouth, lips and tongue were all developing ulcers. She prescribed a "mucositis mouthwash" that is made by the Princess Margaret Hospital Pharmacy. The solution is comprised of Nystatin Suspension, Lidocaine and red Kool-aid. It has been very helpful for pain relief.

I have also noticed that I have periods where I am deaf in one ear and the doctor explained this is due to fluid build up and I may require tubes afterwards to release the fluid.

The girls accompanied us into Toronto twice this week and the radiation techs suggested that the girls come into meet the staff and be involved in my treatments.

They both thought this was fantastic and were able to speak to me through a microphone and tell me when the next beam was going to be emitted. Alley has already decided that she no longer wants to be a cashier at Zellers and now wants to be a radiation tech. Brooke thought it was cool that they let her raise and lower the radiation table as needed.

Cancer continues to be time consuming with mouth rinses, flouride treatments, flossing+++, pills, lotions for face and neck area to prevent blistering and peeling, travelling daily into Toronto for treatments.

Highlights this week.....

My parents dropped in for a visit on Sunday. How I wish they lived closer.

Being contacted by a reader of this blog who recently went through treatment for cancer of the tonsils. It is helpful to read of others ahead of you in treatment. It makes me hopeful when I read how well she is doing 3 weeks post treatment.

The generosity of Tara to watch my girls for the day and then overnight later in the week and take them as well as her 3 children to the Metro Zoo.

Celebrated my 41st birthday and received many cards, generous gifts, best wishes and love from family and friends. Sheila dropped into deliver Swiss Chalet and an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. She also gave me the most beautiful necklace from Tiffany & Co. that I will cherish always.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Retro Songs Of Yesterday

I used to love these songs when I was 8 or 9. Very different to what my girls like now. Makes me nostalgic.

Three Times........Tony Orlando & Dawn
Billy Don't Be A Hero.........Paper Lace
Sweet Caroline......Neil Diamond
Delta Dawn.......Tanya Tucker
Half Breed.......Cher

Summer Questions

The Summer Meme

Favorite summer flower: Peonies.....I wish they lasted longer and tuberous begonia.

Flavor of ice cream or tofutti: This summer, it's been cookies and cream.

Mode of transportation: Superban mom.....a minivan of course.

Music: Bob Marley and the Wailers

Food: Burgers and shishkabobs on the grill

Favorite game to play: GOLF! I'm loving that.

Earliest childhood summer memory: Being at my Grandparents farm

Favorite Drink: Iced tea

Place to read: anywhere, anytime

Most annoying: mosquitos

How I handle the heat: I do pretty well, mostly because I hate being cold SO very much. It has to get REALLY hot and humid before I start complaining.

Pet Peeve: (this goes for all year) - chronic lateness. Once in a while is okay.. all the time is just annoyiing.

Mistake for which no one in your family will ever forgive you: ????

All-time favorite bathing suit: Uh none!

Best Time of Day: Early dusk, between 7:00 - 8:00 PM.

Most romantic: Driving home at night under the stars.

Summer movie: The notebook

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Week One Completed - Part 2

I had my radiation on Wednesday and Thursday and both were fairly unremarkable. I noticed that my face is developing quite a nice red glow and am beginning to get concerned how red it will eventually get. Garth is taking pictures each week and I will post them as things further progress.
The girls spent Tuesday and Wednesday with Sheila and Miss Isabella, and had a blast seeing "Ratatouille" and going on a shopping spree at the Scarboro Town Centre. Sheila, you are a great friend and I am grateful to you for putting up with my moods. You and my mom should compare stories for the grief I have doled out to both of you.

Garth and the girls were with me on Thursday while I had my radiation and then checked me into my room. I was hydrated by IV with normal saline and then given my premed of anti nausea to prevent any nausea and vomiting. We spent a brief amount of time hanging out over the roof top garden. It was beautiful. The Cisplatin(Chemo) ran over a course of 4 hours and I felt fine. Garth and the girls left as the chemo started, to avoid rush hour traffic and I slept off and on for the next while. Around 8 o'clock I began to develop some swelling in my left eye. I called the nurse and told her that this has happened in the past and they have related it to an allergic reaction to Ibuprofen. Usually it happens in both eyes and this time it only happened in my left eye. The medical oncologist came and felt it may be related to an overload of the IV fluids I was getting. He did not feel it was related to the chemo. He asked me if I wanted some Benedryl and I thought it might help me sleep better. God......I am really beginning to like my pills.

I awoke the next morning feeling very nauseaus and was given anothe premed IV to help with the nausea
Also, my face was still quite swollen and after I had my radiation the mask made quite a tight fit and left my face looking I had been involved in some sort of physical altercation and I was the loser.
I awoke feeling very nauseaus and was given anothe premed IV to help with the nausea. They told me the nausea would continue for three days so I was sent home with a slew of meds and they have been helpful.

A community nurse will come out to the house each day over the weekend to hang some normal saline intravenously to ensure I am getting enough fluids as I am to have 1500ml daily as the Cisplati can cause kidney damage if not. This would not normally pose a challange as I usually drink water++++ but I have no appetite and have a general sense of apathy.

The one thing I am relizing is that Cancer is very time consuming. Pills, lotions for face and neck area to prevent blistering and peeling. Flushing of the mouth with rinses to prevent thrush and something called black hairy tongue(how attractive), Flouride treatments, Flossing+++, taking temperature and naps.

There have been some highlights this week and they are:

We have seen Jeff Healey the singer almost daily as he is also receiving treatment at Princess Margaret Hospital and Garth also saw the host from The Daily Planet....Jay Ingram.
My emails of support from friends and family.
My visit from Barb and Hilary today who came bearing flowers, baked goods and great company
The frequent phone conversations with my dear brother Scott.
The visit from Mark and Diana who came bearing a Hanson Biography for Garth to read.
A sweet card from my brother, sister-in-law and sweet niece Alyssa and nephew Matthew.
Sitting and watching live from Hamburg Germany the return of Cat Stevens performing at Live Earth. He was the music that kept me company this week during radiation.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Week One Completed - Part 1

The Radiation treatments this week resumed on the Tuesday after the Canada Day Holiday.

During my initial treatment last week I had decided to relieve my feelings of anxiety by taking Ativan in advance.

However, on Tuesday I had decided that I wanted to try it drug free and that did not work out too well. They had to stop the procedure just as it began and allow time for me to take the Ativan and for it to have its desired effect. Once I was medicated, we were able to complete the treatment without any futher concern. When I returned home I telephoned my cancer nurse and asked her if Dr. R.A. could prescribe me enough Ativan to get me through my scheduled treatments. Ugh!!!! I sound so drug seeking.

Wednesday morning I met with the eye clinic at Princess Margaret Hospital and they did some baseline tests. I will have followup visits with the clinic every 6 months. I discussed my concern with the doctor of my chances (50%) of losing my vision and (50%) of having to have my left eye removed due to damage from radiation. He assured me the chances of this happening are much less........I told him I love him.......he smiled.

So far during this journey I have experienced the initial shock and denial.

This week, anger has set in and it is not pretty. I have always been outgoing and physically active. I realize that cancer doesn’t choose who it will affect. It is mindless and doesn’t care who I am or what I’ve done in my life. It doesn’t care that I’ve been a good person.
I had a nearly spotless medical record. I rarely got sick, and even when I did, it was not often serious. So, years would go by between doctor’s visits and the last time I was in a hospital was when my babies were born.

I know it is dumb to be angry with something that doesn’t have the brain to be aware of the effect it is having on me, but I’m furious with it! I need to be angry at it because if I don’t get mad at cancer, I won’t have the energy to fight. I need to feel this right now. I need to seethe and fume and be royally livid at the “thing” that dared to come into my life just when I was the happiest.I had found my Happy Place, and cancer came along and challenged my right to stay in my Happy Place.

I also nneed to awknowledge by some random process Cancer has made me its victim. I need to move into acceptance.........I need to accept cancer as a chance to foster new understanding about myself and others.

Acceptance can then help me to send it on its way.

Monday, July 02, 2007

July is my birthday month. I've decided that my gift to myself will be doing something every day of the month that nourishes my spirit. It's so easy to get caught up in life and put off the things you need to do to get your spirit in good health. Not this month. This month I intend to do the things my spirit needs...and I don't mean waiting until the end of the day, looking back and trying to find something that qualifies as self-care. Nope, I mean consciously planning things, writing them on my calendar, making it a priority. It will be a month of yummy self love, of long, hot candlelit baths, of buying myself flowers, of taking myself on dates, of energizing workout sessions, of time off and time alone, of curling up with a novel under the covers and music as I fall asleep, of dreaming, creating and laughing.

July 1st........a dance party to get my groove on. I don't think it's possible to dance and not fill your spirit fill up.

Canada Day Celebrations