Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Ok...first round of chemo is going good.  I have had little to no side effects (I even still have hair)...a bit of nausea but, I am on top of it.

We had our meeting with the Naturopath oncologist Dr. Parma and we are going ahead with the treatments at the same time as chemo.  So...on chemo days I go to the hospital to get my chemo meds and then over to Fort Langley for intravenous vitamin C and Loco-regional Hyperthermia treatment (LRHT).   One can find the information on the treatment here.  I return on day three and day five for repeat treatments.  So far so good...the last CT scan shows the cancer is stable.

They also offer total body heat treatment and I had that one on Thursday.  One lies in a "tent" with one's head sticking out and the body temperature is raised to fever pitch (simplistic description).  It took just over four hours for the temperature to be raised up...leveleled and then lowered.  I bought an IPOD shuffle and had eleven Garth Brooks albums loaded so...I was good.  IT WAS HOT!  The only thing uncovered was my head....socks, gloves, arms...everything else covered.  When ones comes out one is super weak and tired.  I think I slept the rest of the day and then Friday all hell broke loose!

Fours kids, three grandchildren and two spare dogs came home for Easter.  Then...throw in one mother-in-law, nephew and fiance and we were crowded. was fun cuddling...easter egg hunt...early birthday gifts.

Today....I am doing laundry, getting ready to leave tomorrow for the funeral.  Not looking forward to it but, I am swimming...and yes, dad, drinking my tea.

Irish Lament.....

April Fool's Day...who but my father would choose that day to die!  I talked to him on Monday and everything was fine....Wednesday, he was gone.

It still doesn't seem real.  I know I am leaving tomorrow to go to the funeral....I still expect him to be there waving at me from his doorstep or sitting in his gazebo with the heater going in the middle of winter.  His silence will echo when I walk into the house and...the adult part of me is prepared but the little girl part of me is not.

We did not have an easy relationship...lots of baggage and so many scars but, we managed to muddle our way into a father/daughter relationship late in life that I get to treasure.  I have good memories that take the sting out of the bad and I have no regrets.

He was so adamant that I drink Chaga mushroom tea and that it would cure my cancer.  His determination and love alone would be powerful enough to do that.  I drink my tea each day and I think of him standing on my left side with his hand on my shoulder...way to go, kiddo....keep drinking.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Comment issues

Ok so I've realized I have a problem. I have been told that a reader was unable to leave comments on my blog. I don't know if this is due to her browser settings, but once she clicked 'publish' the comment disappeared.  I do my best to reply to all comments left on my blog, so please don't take offense that I haven't replied you - I just didn't know there was a problem.  I have changed the settings to a "popup window" so, hopefully that fixes the issue.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Blogger is a pain in the butt.....

Seems like I have to constantly relink my photos to my blogs...done again! 

Craft Room Reveal

Finally got my craft room painted and furniture installed….mind you, I still have to organize it all.  Everything is just shoved into the drawers and the closet until I can sit down next week and sort everything out.  While I was putting my stamps away I did go through them and pulled out stamps I bought and not used and…probably will never use and have them ready for a craft sale.  I have my dies and  embossing folders to do yet…just need more time to settle down and not be so overwhelmed with it all. I said...everything stuffed into my closet I have to sort through and find a new spot for or toss, sell or keep.  In here are also my seasonal Christmas, Valentines, Easter etc.  I have them stored in separate boxes and it keeps everything together.  My Pergamano, Just Rite, label makers etc. need to find a permanent time.  The two Iris rolling carts - one hold my seasonal papers and the other one holds paper and supplies for wedding invitations I make...each cart per person.  That way, I everything is together and I only have to bring out one container and not sift through everything to find what I need.

These are the closet doors closed.  The two pictures hanging are scratch board pics we did in a class.  They remind me that crafting can create some pretty awesome stuff.

Behind the door is the stamp rack that Rick made me and the wood-mounted stamps that I am keeping.

This rolling cart needs to be gone through and a lot of stuff sorted out.  When we were packing to move...a lot of stuff just got shoved anywhere I could find a spot and so far, have not had the time to go through.  The cabinet...I spotted on Pinterest and fell in love.  I originally was going with the 8x8 cubed Expedit shelf from Ikea and adding doors and drawers...then I saw this!  The small drawers on the top are deep enough for my embossing folders and dies.  Pinterest had the 8x8 on top but, that is way, way to high for me and I went with the 4x2.  I had the 4x1 in the corner to the right but, it didn't work so it is now on top.  So far I have my peeloffs, Copic lessons, and my glitter rotating containers in the top row.  Next is 8.5x11 paper, small embossing folders in a binder and then the two drawer units I need to go through and may not stay there.  The bottom row holds my 12x12, my thin dies in the CD binders and the backpack file folders and then my embossing folders are in a fridge bin from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Another cabinet from Ikea...this is going to hold my Distress Inks, embossing powders etc down the road.  Next to it is my crafting desk under the window.  Top drawer holds pens etc., the second one holds my small Tonic cutter, small scoring board, envelop maker.  Third drawer down my glitter glues and miscellaneous stuff.  Fourth drawer is my Pan Pastel drawer...bottom holds watercolor paper.  The revolving carousel holds my tools (blades, tweezers, Tim mats etc. 
The wire rack stacker holds my Perfect rulers and my tape rollers etc.

My computer sits in the corner and miscellaneous bits and pieces sit on the shelves (things friends have made...little keepsakes).

The printer stand is a rolling cart because I just don't have the room for it anywhere else.  I tried the room without the cabinet and the printer stand in the spot but, I found I still need the cabinet right now...down the road...who knows.  Anyway, the printer stand fits under the desk and the top printer sits where my keyboard is when company we can use the blowup bed.

The red baskets hold my glue dots, assorted bottles of stuff, and one holds all my tape rolls.  The rotating circles hold all my Tim Holtz refills and daubers.  The drawers in the cabinet need to be gone through and sorted badly.
This is the cabinet without the printer stand in front of it.  It originally had white drawer handles but, a quick visit to Ikea and now the handles match the dresser on the opposite side of the room.  

Next to it is my Best Storage unit...the left row holds my embellishments etc....the middle holds more supplies and my sewing stuff...the right side holds all my beading supplies.  The pegboard holds my Martha Stewart punches and I mean...I really downsized these punches too. On top is my extra scanner and my beautiful pink Gazelle cutter.  In the corner is my wire rack that holds more of my 12x12.  I am really not too sure if I am going to keep this there or find another method of storing my paper.  Right now...this works.

Another visit to Ikea and I have a new island.  I was so tired of bending over with my Tonic cutter on the floor trying to cut poor ribs!  So...after research I purchased the cabinet...a visit to Home Depot for a board that hubby cut to size for the top.  Three sides of the board were unfinished so we picked up some trim and covered them up.  Again, the handles were changed to match my beautiful cabinet.  It is counter height and perfect for cutting, using my Big Shot and...I can roll it around the room.  It rolls right over to the Best Storage unit and I can slide my Gazelle over to the island and I have lots more room to work my cutter.  

I picked the cabinet style that had two doors and a drawer because I wanted to be able to store all my plates for my machines.

It is the perfect storage unit for my Big Shot, Grand Calibre and my Tonic cutter. Also, it rolls right out the door and sits in the laundry room when we have company.

So...craft room reveal done.  I can't wait to sit down tomorrow and start working on Valentines stuff.

Side note:  Received a call from the hospital about starting chemo today but, we had to postpone as it has not been seven days since my B12 shot...looking at next week.  Probably, it will be Wednesday or Thursday as I have a CT scan scheduled for Tuesday.  I am on the waiting list to see the Naturopath regarding Hypertheria treatments and I sent over today all my tests from day one.  

Merrily swimming.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Here we go again....

Saw the chemo oncologist on Wednesday...

Good news...the cancer does not appear to be in my bones or anywhere else.  The bone scan came back clear and my kidneys are healthy There is no mention of either original tumor in any reports which leads the doctor to believe the two original tumors are gone. 

Bad news..the cancer has spread to both lungs and is metastatic....i.e. not curable.  The CT report lists "multiple" spots exact figure other than about two largest is around 7mm and the other is 9mm.  The doctor figures the new spots may have mutated and become resistant to the chemo I was taking. battle now is to see how long I can live.  If I do nothing...the doctor figures four months.  If I fight could be anywhere from ten months or longer.   

I am fighting back!  This is classed as "first line" treatment.  If that doesn't work, I have a "second line" treatment option which would be drug trials if I want to go that route. 

The new chemotherapy starts in seven to eight days...just waiting for an appointment to be set up.  I am to take folic acid every day and I have to get a B12 shot while I am waiting.  No radiation unless any of the spots becomes "troublesome"....whatever that means. My beautiful curls are going to go away again....I was getting used to having hair!  One good thing is I don't have to take the three pills that cost $120.00!

Rick...does well during the day but, holds me and cries in the dark.  Him I am worried about the most.  I carried him through his brother Pat dying...I carried him through Mike having the stroke and I carried him through Don and his lost battle with cancer.  He is not strong but, that is okay - I am.

Me...numb to leaking.  I have to fight the "why bother" when I think of doing finishing my craft room or making a dentist appointment or making decisions on what color to paint the house etc.  This is still new to me and I am trying to figure out how to cope.

So...I am treading water waiting to get my balance before I take off swimming.  I feel each and every one of my friends and family in the water with me holding me up.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Oh shit...I mean...oh shoot...

Last night at 6:30 p.m. I got a phone call from my oncologist.  He wants to do a kidney function test as soon as possible...hopefully, the next day.  Abbotsford hospital will call with the details.

Now...I just finished the bone scan, the lung biopsy and a CT, my mind is going a mile a minute wondering what went wrong...what showed up?  Me?  I choose to ignore the whole situation and try to not think about it at all.  Actually, I even dropped off to sleep right way without my mind going and going over it all.  I guess Rick wasn't so lucky.  He said he never got a wink of sleep.  I just told him my mantra is:  1) Was there anything that can be done about it?  NOPE.  2)  Was getting all upset over it going to change the situation?  NOPE.  Just go with it!

So...this morning at 7:23 a.m. Abbotsford hospital calls and says they want to do the test this morning at 9:00.  Have I eaten anything?  Nope.  Stay hydrated...clear fluids only.  Okay, Rick is working with a friend this morning and can't take me to the hospital.  Who do I know who is awake that I can call to get me there?  Hello, Gillian...?  Off to the hospital we go and we sit and sit and sit as usual waiting for my turn. 

Finally, they call me in to Nuclear Radiation and my first question...what is wrong?  Nothing...phew...just a pre-chemotherapy test on my kidneys to see how they are.  Relief is not spelled R-O-L-A-I-D-S!  The tech says Dr. Keith is the best and if she ever got cancer...he is who she would want.  It is nice to hear that I have the best fighting for me.  A different tech knocks and now Dr. Keith wants another blood test run so up to the lab in a few minutes.  Two arms with for the radioactive solution and the other for the blood tests.  Three vials of blood from one injection in the other arm.  Now I have two hours to kill before I come back so, off to the lab I go.

The lab does not have a requisition yet and she phones down to Dr. Keith's office to get one.  What do you mean you won't use the port?  Sorry, no more holes today...I will take the requisition with me and they can draw it in Nuclear Radiation when they draw the rest of my blood. 

Half an hour later...requisition in hand...I head off to the cafeteria for something to eat and find a quiet spot to eat and read a book while I am waiting.  Back to the NR for more blood...three more vials later...requisition handed over and back in one hour.  Off to a quiet spot again to kill time.  Back to NR and this time it is four vials...back in one hour for the last three vials.  This time they want to do a quick CT scan of my arm to see if any radioactive solution got under my skin...passed that test and I am on my way.

Dump off my coat...get rid of the tape and gauze on my arm...grab the masking tape...tape off my craft room getting ready for a fresh coat of paint tomorrow.  I have crafting supplies in the middle of the room, in our bedroom, in the laundry room, in the dining room and the family room.  I can't wait to set up the new furniture and unpack and downsize as I am organizing.

Sitting on the floor masking off the baseboards and the phone rings...Dr. Keith's office...he wants to see me on Wednesday...wonderful...I don't have to wait another week to get the results. 

Where am I?  Trying to not think about it (see mantra above).  I know there is a real possibility the cancer has spread from my lungs to my bones.  I know there is a real possibility that I don't even have the two years.  So...until I hear different from my doctor...I am pulling a Scarlet O'Hara, "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow".

I'll go on...still swimming.