The Flying Monkey

Frack deserves a good shot in the head.  The stupid monkey made a flying leap into the Christmas tree after I told him not to climb all over the couch.

Then 20 minutes later (after picking up the broken ornaments and disposing of them), he climbs on the couch AGAIN and falls off it AGAIN; this time he knocked over the floor lamp and smashed it to smithereens.

Spent the rest of the morning in a coma on the bed.  I’m hitting my doctor for more of those percocets this week.  My stock is dwindling and the other anti-inflammatory pills she prescribed for me don’t work.

I’ve got to wait about 2 weeks before I get to see the surgeon to schedule a surgery date.  How much do you want to make a bet it will be on my birthday?

I think I would like a claw….one of those things that look like a cane and has a device on the end of it to pick up stuff so I don’t have to bend down.  That would make things so much easier.

Might be needing a scooter too if the surgeon screws up.

Wonder how long I will have to wait before LTD contacts me again?  They usually send me evil notes or phone me, telling me they are going to cut me off if I don’t get them the medical information they want from my doctors.  Last year at around this time, someone from LTD phoned me and told me that my family doctor didn’t send in my up-dated medical information.  I told her that it was Christmas time and maybe my family doctor was on holidays.  She told me it was my responsibility to get what they needed or my disability payments would be stopped.  So I quickly made an appt with my doctor; she showed me that she had couriered them my medical file as soon as she was given the letter from them.  When I found that out, I was livid.  So in early January, when LTD phoned again to ask me where my doctors medical notes were, I was all prepared.  Told her my doctor sent the notes on Dec. 19 by courier and it was signed/received by them.  I saw the receipt myself.  So why are they hassling me when they had the information all this time?  “Oh….well I guess no one opened it yet because of the Christmas holidays”, she responded.  Right.  They threaten me that they are not going to pay me anymore, meanwhile they had all the information in their office all along.  LTD seriously stresses me out.  I find them over-whelming.  They are so bent on getting ill people back to work, it’s ridiculous.  Yes, yes, I know that there are scammers out there, but still…really?  Can you fake cancer and heart problems?  Is that not a legitimate excuse for not working?  Apparently not.

Earlier this month they contacted me and once again I was told that their “Team of doctors” reviewed my file and there was no medical evidence as to why I can’t go back to work.  So I was required to start working 1/2 time in January and full-time in February.  I told the lady that I wasn’t feeling well (was always tired) and I was anemic.  She said if I decided not to return to work, that was my choice, but they would no longer be paying me disability.  I was dumbfounded.  Not anymore though.

A Whole Lot of Back Pain Going on Around Here

Dear Friends/Family,

Well, I had my MRI done yesterday and made a beeline to Dr. Sahgal’s office to find out the results this morning.

Turns out the tumour encompasses about 60% of the bone (vertebrae #11).  Radiation will probably kill the cancer, but the bone might not make it.  So I will have to have day surgery (before the radiation) to put some kind of device in there so my spine doesn’t collapse.  Am feeling a bit scared about this.  The thought of becoming a paraplegic keeps crossing my mind.

It’s getting more difficult to do things like reach for items in a cupboard, pick stuff off the floors, open doors, and even walking now hurts.  Thank heavens for that bottle of percocet.

My test results will be going to a surgeon at another downtown hospital.  He will decide what needs to be done before the radiation treatment(s).  Don’t think I will be getting an appointment until the following week, though.

I will have to be very careful until then.  Frack jostled me last night and I’m sure the entire neighbourhood heard me screaming at the top of my lungs for a good 10 minutes.  I thought he busted my ribs, but the MRI didn’t confirm that.

Thanks for keeping me in your prayers.


L8 4 a Very Important D8; My Christmas Miracle

Great news!  The cancer is localized.

Got stabbed in the stomach with a BIG needle (to start menopause once again).  Radiation treatments (1 or 2) will start as soon as they get me a spot at the Cancer Hospital.

I have to take some drug for 5 years or 2 1/2 hour intravenous drug monthly.  And my drug plan (of which I was plenty annoyed with because I’ve been paying $300 a month for) is getting hit with an over $12,000 bill a year!  Lucky me!  Unlucky them!

The morning was extremely crazy because I got home at 10:10 (I went to school for a while), and I had a phone message from that crabby old secretary at my chemo. hospital (the one with the irritating voice that put me into a seizure the last time I was there).  Was wanting to know where I was because I had an appointment at 9:00.  I FREAKED.  Phoned her back. Told her that the ER told me 1:00.  She told me that no one was going to be here at 1:00 and I was to get to the hospital as soon as possible.  I tried phoning Michelle, who was going to drive down there with me today and left a message on what I don’t think was her number.  Poor girl was waiting for me to pick her up at 11:45.  Then I left a message at my husbands work telling him about the mix up and to meet me at my downtown hospital pronto.  He actually got there before me.

As I was getting on the ramp to the 401 I thought, you crazy idiot, why didn’t you go to school and pick someone up there just in case Bobo isn’t there and the ding dong doctor tells you you are going to die!  Then I thought I’d pick up some poor slouch in the lobby or walking in the hallway and cry on their shoulder if my husband wasn’t there.

You don’t want to know how quickly I actually got to the hospital.  I sure can drive fast when I want to, even if there is traffic.  Parking near the hospital was a problem today and I circled around twice before I found a spot on the street in the back of the hospital; however, I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to park there even with my handicap parking sticker.  Then I thought, what the heck.   So what if I get a ticket.  I might be dead before I even have to pay for it.  So I parked there.  Got a bit worried later that I would be towed, but then I figured that didn’t really matter either.

Husband was there being hen-pecked by the crabby one…  ‘Where is your wife?’  “Don’t worry, she’s on her way,” he insisted.

Soon as the doctor showed up I said,  “Is it localized or did it spread anywhere else?”.  He said, “It was localized and I there was a huge sigh of relief from both of us.”  That was my Christmas Miracle.

Later I was taken to the Cancer Hospital for my shot in the stomach (it doesn’t hurt as much as getting a needle in the arm because there is plenty of fat there).  Then I had to go take care of my insurance company forms for medicine.  Finally I contacted the school, but unfortunately the secretary hung up on me before I got a chance to talk to anyone.  I phoned a bit later and was told there was a search party at my house and I’d better phone Theresa Rose right now.

Meanwhile, I’m not sure what happened at home but apparently Theresa Rose, Maria (the principal of my kids school) and their french teacher were all at my house.

I am soooooooo sorry for whatever inconvenience I caused.   Yes, I am glad I reached you before the cops were called.  And no, I am still not going to invest in a cell phone.  I don’t want brain cancer too.

Thank you for all your prayers.

Love ya all,

Am grateful to be alive!

Have a wonderful Christmas Holiday…. I know I am now.

P.S.  My husband wants me to get an appointment 6 months and one day from now with the stroke guy and say, “I’m alive.  F#$%@ you”.

Never A Dull Moment, Even When I’m Not There

December 22 (Evening)  This next piece is quite a story.  I’m not sure if I got it all right, but this is what I got.

In my haste to get out of the house (when I discovered a was late for my appt), I dropped all my business cards with people/doctors phone numbers all over the kitchen floor.  A tiny detail which will become important later in this story.  I was trying frantically to contact Michelle to tell her I was going to the hospital right away and I had missed my appointment.  I didn’t want her waiting for me to pick her up at lunchtime.  I had found a paper with her name and 2 phone numbers and started calling.  It did say it was the school where she worked, but then it had all these voice prompts to leave a message.  I just about went nuts because it was ridiculously long (kind of like when you try calling Bell Canada).  I tried her last name, but it said “Irene”, not Michelle.  I tried to dial zero, but it didn’t direct me to a secretary.  I left a message somewhere, but I wasn’t sure she was going to get it.  I knew she said something about not having her cell with her but she did say she had her husband’s cell phone.  However I didn’t exactly have time to find it, so I left hastily.  Drove downtown in about 25 minutes.  A new record!

After speaking to my new oncologist, he took me over to the Cancer Hospital where his office was so that he could get my a nurse to do a sub-cuetaneous injection in my belly fat.  Then I was told to go to the insurance department to give them my policy numbers, etc, so that I would not have to pay the pharmacy $1,200 a month and then wait to get reimbursed.  Apparently I’m getting a 3 month supply ($3,600 is a lot to fork out in one sitting).  There was only one person in front of us, but it took the poor woman a long time to process the guys claims.

While I waited I phoned my older sister to tell her the good news and then I told her to phone our younger sister as I didn’t have too many quarters for the machine and I had to phone other people.  So she did.  Then I phoned my school.  I spoke with one of our secretaries for a while.  I asked her if I could speak to Anna (the principal), but apparently some kid had hurt themselves at the movie theatre (where most of the school was today) and she had to go pick him up.  Then I asked for Theresa Rose or Betty or Sam… but they weren’t back yet.  “Okay”, I said, “Who is there?”   “Iain”, she answered…”But he’s not too happy with me right now because I screwed up his pizza orders”.  “That’s okay”, I told her, “Let me speak to him”.  I figured once I told someone I was going to be okay, they would spread the news.  Then as I was being transferred, I heard a click.  “Darn it”, I thought, “I don’t have that many quarters!

Went back to the insurance claim department and waited a while.  Tried to call the school a couple of times later, but couldn’t get through… didn’t want to leave a message on the answering machine and waste more quarters.  Then it was my turn.  It took longer than I anticipated because our insurance company also has many voice prompts.  I felt sorry for the girl, but she was really excellent at her job and processed everything efficiently.  However, there was a LONG line up of about 5 people when we left.  So I went to phone the school again.  Our other secretary answered.  “Maria”, she said, “Where are you?”  “Do you realize that everyone is at your house looking for you from (Blank) School”  ?  Why would anyone from that school be looking for me”, I thought.  “Here is Theresa Rose’s cell number….phone her right away because there is going to be a search party for you and  I think the police have been called.”  “Oh *&#45@”,  I thought, “Michelle  didn’t get my message and someone from my children’s school must be at my house.”

Stole some quarters from my husband and I quickly phoned Theresa Rose.  “Where are you bud?” she answered.  “I’m at the hospital…I got a call that I was late and my appointment was at 9:00, not 1:00.  Told her my bone cancer was localized and things were good.  She said she had to quickly phone Michelle because she was looking for me.  Apparently, Michelle had called the principal at my children’s school when I didn’t show up and asked her to go to my house to find me.  Her and Mr. C. (the French Teacher) went over and knocked but I didn’t answer.  “Check and see if her car is there, it’s silver”, said Michelle.  There was a silver car in the street which they thought belonged to me.  Michelle told them to see if there was a car seat and a big mess (yes that really does describe my car) in the back.  There were 2 car seats, a booster seat and an infant seat.  Guess my neighbours either came out at that point or the principal went and asked them if that was my car.  They said no it wasn’t my car.  She peeked through my front door and saw all the papers on the ground and probably thought I had another stroke.  So she called 911 and was on the phone with them when Theresa Rose called Michelle, who called the principal to tell her NOT TO DO IT.  Don’t call 911.  I had been found.  And I was okay.  But I’m thinking it was too late, because  Michelle seems to think a report had to be filed anyway with the emergency response team.   They probably know the house well… they’ve been there plenty of enough times lately.  All this action at my house and I wasn’t even there.  I can just imagine a fireman breaking my door window to get into the house with those paramedics ready to zap me.

‘Cept I wouldn’t have been there.

“It’s okay”, I later told Michelle if they crushed my door.  I wouldn’t have minded paying the bill for that or the $45 ambulance.  I’m alive and that’s all that matters.

So sorry for the turmoil I put you through, dear principal from my children’s school.

I owe ya big, big, time!

Hopefully you will forgive me in time.

That’s what good catholics do!

P.S.  Guess I will need to have a chat with my neighbours soon too.

Six Months…maybe

I had a really bad day…at least the first part of the day was bad.  I went to see the heart/stroke guy at the Heart Hospital.  He wasn’t very encouraging when he read my discharge papers from the emergency department.  I probably should have taken someone with me, but I thought I was only going to be talking to him about my heart and I knew it was okay.  Ever since I was off the Tamoxifen, my heart has rebounded and is ticking better.  He said it was “almost normal” and I should worry about the cancer more than my heart.  He told me that although he was not an oncologist, once you have metastatic breast cancer (cancer which starts in the breast and goes somewhere else), the treatment you’re going to get is not a cure.  It’s just to relieve the pain/symptoms.  I might only last 6 months.

That was enough to have me bawling all the way home.  Should have taken someone with me.  I hate the thought of my children growing up without me.

Luckily, the staff at my school planned to come over and do a Christmas Secret Santa exchange.  Bobo went overboard on the Christmas decorations this year and everyone loved them.  That kept me occupied for a while.

Later that evening, my LTD oncology nurse telephoned me.  She had my records from emergency and told me what she thought was going to be the treatment plan.  A drug from the bisphosphonate category.  A very effective, injectable drug (once a month) called Denosumab/xgena which works for the whole bodies bones.  I think it stabilized the bone, adds more calcium or something like that.  I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that the body scan doesn’t find any cancer in any of my other bones.  Then I will probably need radiation on my 11th vertebrae.  And they will need to shut down my ovaries with monthly injections until I have the surgery to remove the huge cyst and ovaries.  Although that will age me considerably, that’s preferable to being dead.  The surgery is a bit risky, given my heart problems… may encounter heart failure again, but doing nothing about stopping the hormones that are feeding my cancer is a deadlier risk.

Thanks to all you guys who are praying for me and offering me support in boundless ways.  I am grateful that I have such a wonderful network of friends/family who care about me.  You’re the best.

Brother Andre

Last night, I woke up at around 4:00 in the morning.

This has been a nightly ritual for about 2 weeks.

That’s when I started to do some heavy duty praying… asked the holy spirit to help me.

Then I got out of bed and started praying to Brother Andre (Canada’s first Saint).  I rubbed the special oil I received from St. Joseph’s oratory from Montreal on all my afflicted parts.

And this morning, I have no pain and didn’t need a percocet.

I am walking fine and my back doesn’t hurt.

I’m happy to report that “Someone” is watching my back.

Collapsing, Yet Again

Lost 5 pounds.  Decided to keep trying to make life as normal as possible under the circumstances, so off we went to the Market.  What a mistake that was.

I started feeling kind of funny when we got to the organic vegetable store.  Told Bobo I HAD to sit down because I was feeling weird.  Told him to pay for the items I picked up and made a bee line to the pasta place next door which had chairs.  Figured if I could get to one, I’d get something to drink and would be okay.  I got to the first table where a man was sitting down.  “Excuse me”, I asked the man, “Could I sit there?”  “No”, he answered, “I’m saving it for my wife”.  Next thing you know I am lying flat as a pancake on the ground behind him.  “Crap”, I thought, “Didn’t make it to a chair”.  “Call an ambulance”, somebody yelled.  “No, don’t,” I told a woman who had bent down to see if I was alright. “I’ve already been at the hospital 3 times.   I need some sugary drink…. a gatorade or something.”  I heard someone yell that I was diabetic and within seconds I was given an orange juice.  My head shaking/bobbing began.

Hope later told me that the guy’s wife appeared and asked him what happened to me.  He told her I asked him if I could sit down and he said no because he was waiting for her.  Needless to say, they abruptly left together.

I was helped to his empty chair shortly after finishing my first drink of orange juice.  Still felt unsteady and stayed in that chair for quite a while.  Told Bobo what to buy and off he went.  Managed to get someone to make me a coffee… figured that would help me if my blood pressure was low.  Was pondering how the heck I was going to get out of that place.  When Bobo came back he got me a grilled salmon sandwich hoping the protein would help me.  I ate half of it.  Then Bobo told me to grab onto the grocery cart with wheels and use it like a walker.  That was a good idea.  We got to the other end of the market near the exit.  We went to the vegetable store we used to get our stuff before I went organic.  The chinese people who own it are very good to us.  They always gave my kids treats every week (lollipops, clementines, bananas – which Frack pretended was his telephone, etc).  I asked the owner if I could sit down because I was feeling terrible.  They quickly got me a sit and we waited for Bobo to get the car and bring it to the front.  Shakily, and with a lot of help, I made it to the car.  Was happy to get home later.  Don’t think I will be going out very much by myself any time soon.  Had the runs again shortly after eating.  Getting minerals/vitamins in me is becoming extremely difficult considering nothing stays in my intestines for any great length of time.

My next appointment is with the oncologist on Thursday.  I hate waiting for things to happen.  It seems to take forever for any kind of action.  I’m going to try to make some phone calls on Monday to  try to get a bone scan done before I see him.  I don’t want to wait till Thursday for him to tell me I need a bone scan.  That’s just wasting more time.  And it’s the Christmas holidays… how many people are working in the medical field?  The bare minimum I’d say.  I think I’m out of luck until January when things/people start working again.


Another Ambulance Ride

Rough night.  Pain is great and I was really thirsty.

Woke up with a real bang.  The percocet wore off and I was in excruciating pain.  I started coughing and it felt like my back was going to blow up.  Then I started heaving, but I didn’t have any food to throw up.  I walked unsteadily to the kitchen and told Bobo to call an ambulance.  I felt really awful.

The ambulance attendants helped me walk to the stretcher outside.  When we got in the ambulance one of them poked me in the finger and drew out some blood.  Then she asked me if I was diabetic.  “No”, I told her.  “Your blood sugar level is really low”, she told me, and called Bobo to bring me some orange juice.  I had 2 cups and later she poked me in the finger again.  My blood sugar level improved… a 5.  Not sure was normal is, but she seemed happy about that.

The drive to my downtown hospital took a while.  So I told her some of my stories about why I hated my local Hospital….recounting my “No Nurse Assigned to Me” story (after my masectomy surgery) and how nutty the triage nurses were.  I could tell she was siding with me.  Bobo drove the car to the hospital.

Because I wasn’t walking normally, the ER doctor thought I was having a neurological problem (ie:  another TIA/stroke).  “Might need to take a brain scan,” he said, As well as a CT scan of the lung to make sure you aren’t having a pulmonary embolism”.  Although I really didn’t want to having another CT scan, Bobo convinced me it would be a good idea.  I just didn’t want to be told I also had lung cancer too.  I told the ER doctor not to worry about my unsteady gait…. I had this before and I lacked some essential minerals.  They did some blood work and told me that everything was normal, but they didn’t test my magnesium/manganese levels and that’s what did me in the last time.   Anyhow, I drank some gatorade (the potassium in it helped stabilize the heart arrhythmias I was having), did the CT scan, and lucky for me it came out clear.  No lung cancer or pulmonary embolisms (blood clots).  I was free to go home after about 8 hours at the ER.  Once again, what little food I had eaten that day blew out of my butt.  I hate CT Scan radioactive dye.

My kids were at my friend Michelle’s house.  They had slept over there on Thursday night and wanted to stay there again for another night.  I felt bad leaving them there, but was glad to have the chance to rest without them jumping all over me that night.  Thank heavens for Michelle.  She came over and picked them up after we called the ambulance in the morning and dropped them off to school.  She told the school what’s been happening and phoned Anna to let her know I was in the hospital again.  The staff party was suppose to be at my house that night.  I was so disappointed because I was so looking forward to having everyone at my house.  (I am convinced that my husband was a Christmas elf in a past life,  and he worked so hard decking out the place with Christmas stuff this year.  The crazy nut even put up 3 Christmas trees).

I later learned that the staff had cancelled the party and were going to reschedule it for next week.  That made me so happy because I didn’t want to miss the gift exchange.  I like watching people fighting for the stuff I’ve buy for under $20.  Sometimes when I pick stuff up I’m not sure if they are going to love it or hate it.  We’ll see……


Bad News

Didn’t sleep well.  The pain in my back was getting much worse and getting out of bed was difficult.  I went to school for a while (dress rehearsal), just to distract me from worrying.  I talked to one of the teachers (Fred) about my latest CT scan scheduled for 1:00.  Told him I was going to drive there myself, meet up with my husband, and drive home when it was over, but he kindly donated his wife, Gerty, to drive me, with Anna’s  blessing.  I’m glad she came with me because it makes waiting hours for results easier when you have a friend to talk to.

We were there almost 5 hours before we got the results from a really perky female doctor.  She was smiling at us as she ushered us into a room, leading me to think that maybe things weren’t as bad as I thought.  “Well,” she said, “You have a large dermoid cyst in your right side, but the real problem you need to address is… “Let me guess I interrupted her….Bone cancer”.  “That’s right”, she answered.  Gerty gasped.  I think in my heart I already knew… now it was confirmed.  “You need to see an oncologist”, she said.  The cancer is in your 11th vertebrae.  We left.

I think the doctor thought we were lesbians.  Gerty thought the same thing as she took me by the arm to leave the room.  “Sh**”, I thought, “What am I going to tell the kids and how are they going to survive without me?”.

My wonderful vegetarian lunch blew out of my butt about 1/2 hour after they put the radioactive dye in me.  I don’t react well to that stuff.  Bobo drove me home and we had to get back fast because it was Frick and Frack’s Christmas concert night.  I didn’t want to be late.  The ER doctor gave me some percocet drugs for the pain.  That did the trick, but made me very tired.  I almost fell asleep during the Christmas Concert.  Frack was so cute up there singing a firefly song, and Frick was given a microphone to sing in for two of the songs.  I was really proud of both of them and wondered how many Christmas Concerts I was going to miss because I would be dead soon.

Phoned the doctors office when I got home.  Lucky for me, her office is opened really late on Thursday.  She told me I would need a full body bone scan to see if there was any more cancer in my bones somewhere else.  Once I did that, they would stage me and decide a treatment plan (probably without chemo given my heart problems).  Radiation would be a better option for me and drugs to try to reverse and even eliminate the cancer in my back.  Some hope was given to me.  I thought cancer eats your bones and that I’d be stuck with this horrible pain the rest of my life.  Hopefully I will respond well to the treatment plan.

What’s More Important, Your Life or a Christmas Concert?

Well folks, I’m back blogging.  Wanted to let you know the latest crazy medical adventure I am experiencing.  Not good news, unfortunately.

On Wednesday (Dec. 14) I had an ultrasound appointment because my doctor was keeping track of a 5 cm cyst which developed in September.  I have been having a lot of pain in my back and told the technician that I wanted the results as soon as possible because I was probably going to drive myself to the ER and didn’t want to have to do this test twice.  She told me that my doctor would get the results by tomorrow.  However, after my “check-up”, I guess she changed her mind and phoned my doctor right away because as soon as I got home, I had a message on my answering machine.  The secretary called and told me I had a large mass in the adnexa query MET.  Wasn’t sure what that meant, but it sounded serious.  She said I would need a CT scan or MRI as soon as possible.  That was enough to warrant a visit to a downtown hospital’s ER.

Unfortunately that was also the night of our Christmas Concert and I really wanted to conduct my choir.  However, my Irish Friend Maria dragged me into my car and told me, “What’s more important, your life, or a Christmas Concert?”.  Didn’t have much of a choice, let me tell you.  So off we went.  Although I was concerned about the “Large Mass” in my pelvic area, I was more concerned about the pain I was having in my back because it was not going away no matter how many massages I had.  After several hours in the ER, blood tests, etc.  I was told I had an appointment the next day for a CT scan (MRI’s are rarely done and would take weeks).

Maria was pointing out the lunatics in the ER that night.  I almost barfed when I went in there because there was a horrible distinct odour of urine in the hallway and all around the waiting area.  “See that guy,” she said pointing to a fellow in the stretcher, “He’s homeless,”  and those two, “They’re drunks”.  Then Maria gave me an orange rind to smell and a barf pan…. just in case.  I was really bummed out that I didn’t get to conduct my choir.