The Perks Of Being A Teacher, Chatty Cathy Has a Death Wish, Gluten-Free Me, and Art, Of Course!

The Perks Of Being A Teacher

Frick and I went to a concert last night (One Republic, and Lights was the Opening Act). It was really excellent.

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IMG_0181I haven’t been to a concert in decades and am a bit behind the times as to what you can and cannot bring inside. Not allowed to bring a glass bottle with water in it. You must dump it out before you enter. Ridiculous. I wanted to drink something and my filtered water is much better than buying an overpriced plastic bottle with BPA in it (which will feed my cancer). Try explaining that one to security. Also not allowed to bring an Ipad….and we had two. We were told to go to Gate One to check in my contraband. Frick was getting upset. Told me we were going to miss the concert…blah, blah, blah.  Should have ate faster and got here sooner….blah, blah, blah.

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So as we are racing to Gate 1, we passed Gate 2 and I thought I saw a face I recognized. “Wait A Minute. That great, big, hulk, towering well over 6 feet tall guy looks very familiar. I taught him. I know I did. I doubled back and read the name tag. “I know YOU!”, I shouted at him with a big smile. He looked at me for a minute, recognized me and gave me a hug. “Man, you are big!” I told him. “Are you a bouncer now?” I asked. “Yup”, he said, “Security”. “Good,” I told him. “I’ve gotta get in there,” pointing to the revolving door of the Air Canada Center.   I have cancer and need my glass water bottle, and I also have 2 Ipads. “I didn’t see anything”, he said and let me through. Gotta love the guy. Never really played by the rules when he was a kid and man that really works for me as an adult!  Inside we went and just in the nick of time ‘cause the concert started as soon as we sat down.

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Chatty Cathy Has A Death Wish

Both acts were awesome. I really loved listening to their voices….when I could hear them. Why? Well, we had this really annoying chick behind us yapping away the entire time. The teacher in me took over. I turned around and told her I paid good money to listen to music and if she wanted to carry on a loud conversation with her friend, I suggested she go outside and talk there. I think I shocked her a bit. Guess she told her stupid boy friends sitting further down what I said and then one of them began talking Really, Really loud. So I got up and complained to the usher who gave me free tickets to the disabled aisle on the 100 level.  Gotta love that….from 300 to 100!  Off we went to our new seats. Frick was not happy with me because we missed a song she liked. Too bad I told her. I didn’t want to hear her whining about “Chatty Cathy” any more and I was afraid I was going to get into a brawl with her…I knew she was thinking about dumping her beer on me in which case I would have gone psycho and killed her. Even the usher told me it was a good thing I complained and moved because that actually did happen to one of the guests in his section before.

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Gluten-Free Me

 

I went to a new Naturopathic Doctor who I think will be a great fit for me. He reads German and knew the medications I was taking from Germany. He seems very knowledgeable and knows of various cancer treatment protocols in different countries like Tijuana, Paris, Italy, France, and Germany. Apparently an Arab president/king(?) flew all the way over here to get treated by him. Anyhow, he has that ozone machine I was looking for, so I’m going to start that up soon ($250 a shot). My benefits don’t cover any of this so my Visa is going to take a hit.

 

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He prescribed me some supplements and I’m suppose to get a lot of blood work done so he has a base. He is going to try to find what the root of the problem it. Unfortunately, I’m on a gluten-free diet again. It is SO HARD to do this. There isn’t much to buy anywhere that doesn’t have some wheat in it. He told me to do it for 3 weeks until I see him again. I feel much better (not as much pain in my fingers/back), but I’m not sure I can do this gluten free for a long period of time. Plus no sugar, dairy, or vinegar. Salads are just not the same without some vinegar. Sigh.

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IMG_0171The acrylic paintings featured on my blog today are for Mother’s Day and are done by our gr. 2/3 class (ages 7/8). I’m going to another Art for Cancer Foundation course on Monday to paint spring flowers! Can’t wait.  More paintings from this class to follow when we finish them all.

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Another Fun-Filled Day in the ER

IMG_0232IMG_0222Spent some quality time picking my nose at the ER at Mount Sinai hospital today. 5 1/2 hours. Where do I begin? Let’s see….



IMG_0219Went to my appointment for my vitamin C I.V. at the naturopathic college. Told the doc.  I wasn’t feeling so hot. I felt like I was having heart failure. I know that feeling all to well. I also had my weird “asthma”cough which I get when I eat dairy products. However, I’m on this bloody gluten free diet and haven’t touched anything dairy in a week. I figured my new symptoms might be caused the new supplements I was taking my new Naturopath in Etobicoke. I think that veggie protein drink I bought makes me asthmatic and the B17 vitamin is screwing up my heart.

IMG_0231The Dr. at Robert Shadd clinic listened to my lungs and thought she heard fluid in there and instructed me to go to emergency. Apparently that’s a symptom of heart failure. I was just going to go home, but after she told me that, I thought it would be prudent to go to the ER even though I didn’t want to.

IMG_0229I arrived at 11:30.  At around 2:00 the ER doc. (when she saw me 3 hours later), said I should have a chest X-Ray. I told her “No Thank You”. “Why couldn’t she just order me a CT scan on my lungs and liver since I was suppose to have one a couple of weeks ago anyway.”   She said she didn’t think I had heart failure because she didn’t hear anything in my lungs, but I may have metastasis in my lungs or a pulmonary embolism.

IMG_0227Now I’m no doctor, but I figured if it was a pulmonary embolism, I would have been dead by the time they scanned me several hours later.

IMG_0225She said the pain I was feeling on a bone on my ribs could be the result of lung mets.  So I told her that while I was having a CT scan on my lungs, they may as well scan my liver too, since that’s another hot spot that mets go to and I didn’t want to have the scan twice…once for my chest and once for my abdomen. She said she couldn’t order the abdomen to be scanned because that wasn’t why I came in the ER. I told her I may as well go next door to PMH and get my onc. to order one scan for both because I really didn’t need the extra radiation. She said it may take 4 weeks for my onc. to order the CT scans and she had to check for a pulmonary embolism. I told her I didn’t care, I was going home. She then decided to phone my onc. who told her to order both. I think I have finally learned to advocate for myself and work the system. It’s been a long process, but goody for me!

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Bobo bought me some lunch…via a message from me via email. Thank heavens for free wi-fi at hospitals.  Yes, I know, buy a phone.  I was thinking of emailing my friend Wanetta who works nearby for some food if Bobo couldn’t come! He spend an hour with me and then went back to work while I chatted with all the other patients there and told them the drill.  That dr. over there is called Goldstein…he wrote a book about the Midnight Shift in the ER”.  Scary when you recognize the doctors.

5:00. Got my results….sort of.  No pulmonary embolism…now there’s a shock. No liver mets. My dermoid cyst decreased 1/2 cm. No heart failure. No bone mets on my rib, which hurts like hell (she said it’s probably muscular).

IMG_0224However, there is something going on in my lungs, but she said phone my oncologist and talk to him about it tomorrow. I tried to decipher the gobbley gook, but could only make out that there is a spot on my lung (tissue damage?) from radiation treatment. It said something about cement (I’m guessing from when I fractured my back and they did surgery on that bone).

Here is what the report said on my lungs:

There is a bilateral apical fibrosis stable in the interval. Along the major fissure on the right side the nodules have increased in size. In the left upper lung, there is a stable .3 cm nodule. Along the fissure in the left lung the nodules have increased in size. In the left lower lobe there is linear atelectasis.

Summary: The nodularity along the right base pleural have increased in size and also the fissural nodules bilaterally have also increased in size in the interval. This could be concerning for metastases.

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“Could Be?”  I’m taking this with a grain of salt. I don’t think it’s anything but the after effects of the radiation treatment I had in January. Until they tell me for sure it’s mets in the lungs, I won’t be doing chemo. any time soon.  I go for my spinal MRI in mid-May. We’ll see what happens there with my bones.

IMG_0199Meanwhile, my german doctor sent me the results of my urine sample today when I got home after 7:00 p.m. Can’t read german, so I have to get someone to translate it first. But I did see he ordered Sanomit (co-enzyme Q-10) for my heart. Interesting he figured that something was going on with my heart from a pee sample from 2 weeks ago.

IMG_0194By the way, I don’t have an appointment with my oncologist until July because they have this new protocol at PMH. I used to see my oncologist or resident every month when I went to get my 2 shots in the stomach. Now I have to go to the 4th floor for my shots by a team of nurses and don’t see my onc. until July. Too bad, so sad. Guess I won’t be having that discussion about “What is in your lungs”. There is nothing in my lungs. Yes there is. We know what it is. No we don’t. However, this time I’m not going to let them shove anything in there to test out the waters like they did with that bone marrow biopsy. There is something to be said about your gut instinct. Trust it. I’m just going to tell him that if there is something there, it will show up in a couple of months on another scan…however it will say Mets to lungs not “could be”. Until then, I am quite happy to be merrily on my way doing “Quackery”.


Hope you like the rest of the gr. 2/3 acrylic canvases above.  I did some flower paintings (tulip/poppies) at the Art for Cancer Foundation on Monday (shown above too)

These are paintings were made by our teacher, Sarah Hall.

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And these are made by other cancer patients at Monday’s art workshop.  I love going there because it’s always fun being the student and learning something new!

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Bears, The Rebel In Me, and I’m Getting Out of Here!

BEAR CONTEST

IMG_0136On Monday I had fun painting a bear at a workshop through The Art For Cancer Foundation.  The guest artist was Laurie Stein who illustrates children’s books.  She was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon there.

Well, I didn’t win Michaels Paris Contest.  Didn’t even come in second place (and I could of really used the $1,000 gift card to buy canvases and acrylic paints to do art with the kids).  So I’m going to have my own contest.  Here are the details.

If you are a teacher,  I will come teach your class how to make “Bears” sometime in June (right now I’m quite busy doing Mother’s Day stuff).  You will need to be somewhere in the Toronto Area and supply canvases/acrylic paint for your class (because I am not a millionaire and can’t afford it).  The Dollar Store has lots of canvases that cost between $1 – $3….and I think we will need about $30-$40 worth of paint depending on the size of canvas you choose.  So if you have some Read A Thon money left over or you want to ask your students parents for a couple of bucks, and would like your class to make a bear, then enter FAST!  You may be the winner.  I like these contests!

All you have to do is be the FIRST PERSON to RESPOND via email or this blog.  Hurry.  Do it NOW!

I cannot for the life of me get a picture of my bear on  here to show you what it looks like.  I don’t know why this isn’t working here.  I wish I was more techno-savy and knew what I was doing!  I always could get my pics. from my ipad and insert it into my posts before, but why is this just not working today?  UGH!!!

Oh well, you will have to go on Laurie Steins web-site and look at her artwork for yourself or go on the Art for Cancer Foundation Web-site and you can see all our bears from Monday’s workshop.  Mine is the second bear on the left side from  with the red background.

I’m not sure how to add the link…this is what I got:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/ART-for-Cancer-Foundation/195129660503339

Good Luck!

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Me, The Rebel

I have been playing hooky with my doctors lately.  I didn’t show up to see my back surgeon because someone left me a message the day before and told me I had to have an x-ray done before my appointment.  I have decided I have had quite enough of radiation lately and if the screws were loose in my back, I’m sure I would have noticed it by now.  Besides, I figured they can get that information from my last MRI which said the screws where all there and they looked just fine.  I know.  I got the report.  Why put me through a spinal x-ray when I have a gazillion MRI’s reports?

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I’m Getting Out of Here This Week-end!

I’m so excited because soon I will be on my way to a retreat for Metastatic Breast cancer patients in King City.  I had heard about it from the organization Rethink Breast Cancer way back in January and requested information.  Unfortunately, I think they forgot to send it to me and when I emailed the contact person this week, she told me the retreat was this week-end.  Lucky for me, someone had just cancelled and she told me I could go in their place.  Got my bags packed and I’m ready to go!  Freeeee food, accommodations, pool, fitness and spa facilities, library, hiking trails, Ropes, Squash, Tai Chi, Meditation classes, and group discussions with other Breast Cancer Mets patients.  Boy I am a lucky bitch, aren’t I?  I’d send you pictures from my ipad on my blog, but it really isn’t cooperating with me.  You can check it out the place at

http://www.kingbridgecentre.com/

 

Ever Wonder What Happens When You Hit a Telephone Pole? (And No, It Wasn’t Me!)

IMG_0089IMG_0087I went to church to sing at our Good Friday mass.  Bobo said that about 10 minutes after I left, a car smashed a telephone pole into two pieces near our house.  Must have been going pretty fast for that to happen.  I live near an intersection where there are frequent accidents.  People often drive through the red lights.  I imagine that’s what happened once again.

Just look at the view of the top of the pole just hanging there.  Never seen anything like that before.

 

I got a call for another appointment (spinal MRI) in May.  I decided not to go to that one either. Phoned the hospital and told them I was not about to come in at 4:00 a.m. in the morning and I wanted the complaints department.  She asked me why.  I told her that my last MRI three weeks ago was at 10:30 at night, there were 3 trauma patients admitted and I didn’t get home until 3:00.  I had insomnia after that and it took me several days to recuperate.  She told me that they are a trauma hospital and one of the machines was broken.  “So what,” I told her, “This happens to me every time I go there, not just the last time I was there.”  And why don’t they phone people when they are 3 hours behind?  I told her that I didn’t think it was fair to send palliative cancer patients who have had surgeries, numerous rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatments to get scans done in the middle of the night.  I thought that was cruel.  The Odette Centre was suppose to be a Cancer Centre and why didn’t they have their own MRI machine?  I am sure there wasn’t a shortage of cancer patients lined up to have scans done on a daily basis.  A twenty minute scan shouldn’t take over 4 hours to complete.

funny-squirrel-hammer-Thor-costume“Here’s a thought”, I told her….”People who are dying don’t want to wait around in waiting rooms for scans all night.  It’s bad enough they have to wait hours on end for doctor’s visits.  And besides all this,  I don’t like the fact that I have to by-pass the hobos in the front lobby at night when I come in.   I’ve never seen any security there at night and I’m by myself because my husband has to stay home with the things we have at home called our kids.”

1318093697656_5040986She said that the next “Day Time” appointment was 4 weeks later.  “Oh, that’s too bad,” I told her.  “That might screw up my doctor’s clinical trials because I’m one of his patients.”  She told me she would phone me right back with the number of the complaints department.

funny-kids-child-color-blackI think some of Maria O’Kane’s audacity is rubbing off on me.  There comes a point in your life when you just don’t want to take anymore crap and you begin to push back.  I’m beginning to do that now.   Maria always told me that you have to be your own advocate, the doctors know nothing, and so what if you were late for an appointment or didn’t feel up to it.  Don’t go.


Ten minutes later I got a call….”Oh, you can come in for your scan at 10:30 in the morning, but it’s on Victoria Day.”  “I’ll be there”, I told her happily.  I also got their “Patient’s Experience” email address so I can write them a lovely little note to express my true feelings.  I can’t wait. And I will write to them because I really don’t think it’s right to do this to cancer patients.  I’m sure there are others that feels this way but are too sick to complain about it.  It’s just not fair.

Sorry!  This was suppose to be a short blog.  So much for that!

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In the meantime, I hope you have a safe and Happy Easter.

 

 

And may the Easter Bunny be good to you all!

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