Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

I'm back in Waterloo now - my plane was delayed and so I didn't get home until almost 9am. Then I slept all day :) We're going over to a friend's place tonight to watch movies and to ring in the new year. We'd hoped to go out, but that didn't work out - still, it's more important to get to spend time with our friends; where we do that is less important.

Funny how you never really know what you're going to get in a year. I'd never have thought that the cancer would come back, or that it would have spread this year. I was working very hard at this time last year, and I thought that that would continue - which it did, up until a point (the extra work I was having to do did come to an end). I'd kind of thought that I might start looking for something new towards the end of this year, but I'd looked forward to working. I didn't put too much thought into what I wanted out of the year, though.

This year, I'm thinking harder about what I want out of the upcoming year. I hope that the cancer stays stable. I'd love for it to go away (for me to be No Evidence of Disease, or NED), but I'll settle for stable. I want to do things that make me happy. We will travel - I want to go to Las Vegas for my birthday, and we're going to go to the UK and probably to North Carolina. We might see more of Ontario. I want to spend time with the people I love. I want to continue to make things I like - I hope to finish my sewing and knitting projects :). I'm thinking that I'll start painting.... or that maybe I'll do more beadwork (making the purse was fun). Either way, I want to continue to explore my creative side. I don't know whether or not I'll work this year, but I'll be happy enough if I don't.

I know that some people other than me have had health problems this year, and I hope that that trend is over; that those who are sick recover, and that there are fewer pains and illnesses for everyone this year. Things have been up and down for many of you this year, and I really, really hope that things stay up for all of you instead of down during the coming year. Mainly, I want for each of you to have a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

More visiting, and preparing to leave

I got to see two of the friends that I've known for 15 years or so today. The third was out of town, but I was able to talk to her the other day. It's so good to catch up with my friends - I don't see them often, but I enjoy the time I have with them. We had some good times way back when, and our friendship has been strong enough to survive the transition from partying all the time to being a grown-up. That's really something :) My friends looked happy, and I think things are going mostly ok for them. That makes me happy, too :)

I saw my parents for dinner, too. It was really nice to sit down with just them and visit for a while. I like spending time with them - it's too bad that I don't have more time, this visit.

In a few hours I'll be heading to the airport. One of my friends is driving me there and I expect we'll visit for a bit more before I go through security. I'm glad that I'll get the chance to do that :) Before I go, I'll spend some more time with my aunt - I've been staying with her this entire time. She's graciously lent me the use of her laptop (from which I've been posting my blog) and her den, and she even bought me some of the food that I eat :) I've been able to have my own room - something that was very important to me - and I've been able to spend some time with her, too. I'm so glad that I was able to stay here.

I've very much enjoyed my time here in Edmonton. I'm grateful that I was able to see as many people as I did - all of the people here are very special to me, and I value each one of them very much. Of course I'm looking forward to going back home to Ian, but I'll miss everyone here. You all know who you are - I love each one of you and I enjoyed seeing you; thanks for making time for me :)

Friday, December 29, 2006

My family Christmas

My family had its Christmas celebration today. Almost all of it was fun. Everyone seemed satisfied with their presents from everyone else. I gave all the adults in the family framed pictures that Ian or I had taken - I think almost everyone liked theirs. Some were bigger hits than others, of course :) One of my nephews wanted to play Scrabble, so a bunch of us (including the other nephew) had a game of Scrabble. It would have been better if everyone could have played - there were 11 of us, which makes it difficult even if people are teamed up. I wasn't going to say no to my nephews, though :) At one point, my nephew said that "it would be bad if [he] got no vowels". I said something like "oh yes, it's bad when you get no values" (I'm a bit dyslexic - I substitute words like that all the time). Everyone laughed and laughed :)

No Christmas in my family would be complete, of course, without crying and some conflict :) This year, it was me who ran away crying. We were going to play this other game, and there was part of it that I couldn't do because my memory is much worse than it used to be. My sister took a "this way or no way" approach at the time and I ended up bawling from a combination of being more emotional than usual and having problems dealing with the fact that I can't do stuff I could do before. I'm glad I'm not working right now - I can only imagine how many times I'd end up crying in the bathroom because I can't do stuff. How professional is that? :(

Later on, my sister ended up quite angry and there was a big argument. I don't like conflict and so it was very uncomfortable. Things are better now, though. One good thing that came out of that discussion was that we all had a chance to say what we were feeling - both good and bad. It cleared the air a lot, and set the precedent for speaking about things early. That's a good thing, because everyone in my family has a tendency to bottle things up and then explode in a million pieces of anger - it would be better if we didn't do that.

In some ways this Christmas was different than previous Christmases, as least for me. I'm very aware that the number of Christmases I have is limited, and that's so hard. I treasured this celebration all the more for that. I love my family so very much, and I'm going to miss them a lot when I go back home. I haven't felt this way since I moved to Ontario in 1996. I'm really, really glad that I was able to come to Edmonton to see everyone. It's been a pretty hard year for many people in my family, and it's been good to just be able to see and hug them. It's not like I can make anything better for them of course (if I could make things better, I'd start with this darn cancer), but it makes me feel better to be with them.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

More shopping and visiting

I saw my other sister today. We ended up shopping for a few hours - it was a lot of fun :) We'd planned to see a movie as well, but there was nothing that we really wanted to see. I bought a couple of tops, a pair of earrings, and some clothes for bellydancing. It turns out that I'll be bellydancing on Mondays, which will work out just fine.

I also bought some new makeup - lately I've had a makeup and earring fascination :) I've been very happy with the Physician's Formula line of products - they're expensive, but they're very hypoallergenic and I'm quite pleased with them. I'm also happy with the Revlon Skinlights Instant Skin Brightener product - I wear it under foundation and powder for a soft glow to my face. I bought some more stuff today. I'm gathering quite a collection of all this makeup :)

I must say, though, that between all the visiting yesterday and the shopping today, I'm exhausted. I have to take my clodronate in about 35 minutes, and I'm going to fall asleep pretty quickly after that (I hope). Tomorrow my family is doing our Christmas and I'd like to be well-rested for that.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I spent all day visiting with people today. My sister's new beau is very nice and thoughtful. When I spilled my water on me (I'm clumsy, as you may recall), he brought over a table that I could use for my water, without my even asking for one :) He's a good person, I think, and he definitely makes my sister and her kids happy. I'm happy about that - it's about time that they were happy :) My one nephew has a cool chair thing that he uses for his video games. My other nephew is working on a cool train set, too. It was weird - today I realized that my nephew knew more about something (his trains) than I did. Does that make me old? :)

My sister and I went to see Saw III. I didn't like it as much as Saw II or even Saw. It was much, much gorier than either of the first two movies - I suppose there's a good reason for that, but I didn't like all of the gore. The acting was on par with the first Saw movie, by which I mean it was terrible. As well, the story was somewhat difficult to follow, as there were several parts to the story that went nowhere and were never resolved. There were fewer puzzles in this movie as well - I really enjoyed the psychological puzzle aspect to the other movies. Overall, I kind of felt that it was a gorier and dumbed-down version of the previous two movies, and I didn't like that. I wouldn't recommend this movie if you liked the first two movies. If you didn't like them, or you like a gory movie, then you might like this one.

I also saw each of the two friends that I've known the longest. I've known them for 25 and 24 years! I never thought when I met either of them that I would know them this long, but I'm glad that I do :)

My one friend is married and has a son who's about 2 (I seem to know of a lot of people with kids who are about 2 - was there something in the water back then?), and I got to see her son and husband. The son is super cute and super smart :) At one point, during lunch, she asked me if I was scared and I basically fell apart. Yes, I'm very scared. It's one thing to intellectually know that I'm going to die and quite another to be emotionally ready for it. I know that it's a ways off, but I'm still afraid. I don't want to die, and it isn't fair that I know that I'm going to leave Ian and my friends behind. One of the waitstaff brought over a box of kleenex which was much appreciated. The rest of the visit was less teary, of course :)

My other friend and I had coffee (well, decaf coffee, but that still counts) this evening and chatted and caught up on everything. It was great to see her, too - she's doing pretty well these days, although she's busy at work and stuff. She's also quite involved with her church and is doing missionary work. It's awesome to think that she's traveling to all these places to help these communities! I don't think that I could do something like that - I'm certainly not selfless enough, and I admire her for both her selflessness and courage in doing this work.

I really enjoyed seeing all these people today. Everyone is busy with their own lives, and it's great to reconnect with the people I love that I haven't seen for ages. I don't get to see my friends or family very much, and I do miss them - it means a lot to me to see everyone. I also hope that I get to see my other friends later in the week; I haven't known them as long (only 15 years or so :), but I miss them, too.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Shopping and seeing the city

Shopping for Boxing Day sales isn't something that I usually do, but I sure did it this year. A few of years ago I went looking for electronics but didn't really buy anything - really, I don't buy electronics anyways. This year, I decided that I was going clothes shopping today. As a rule, I like clothes shopping :) I knew that I wasn't going out to West Edmonton Mall, so I figured that I wouldn't be around too many crowds.

I spent a couple of hours downtown poking through the stores there. I didn't try anything on or buy anything there, but the higher-end stores are there and I wanted to see what they had on sale. After I was done there, I went to Southgate mall. I spent about 3 1/2 or 4 hours in the Bay. I'd shop until I couldn't carry any more, and then I'd try it all on. Mostly I tried on dresses :) After all that, I ended up buying only two tops: one long silver lightweight sweater and one black long-sleeved blouse with boning. Both were 50% off.

Some might say that I wasted my day shopping and not seeing anyone. But I was doing more than just shopping - I was revisiting the city I grew up in. I moved to Ontario 11 years ago, and even though I'm back in Edmonton at least once a year, this year I wanted to see some of the places I used to go to when I lived here. I guess in a way I wanted to reconnect with the city a bit - in the same way that I need to see people here, I need to see some places here. I certainly didn't go to all of the places I remember, of course, since I spent a number of years living a life that I am not at all proud of and I wouldn't seek out places associated with that life again. However, I felt like I accomplished whatever it was that I needed to do today, and I'm glad I had the time to do all that :)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

We opened presents at Ian's parent's house today, and everyone got lots of good stuff. As much as I like getting presents (and I do), I also like seeing people's faces when they open gifts that I've chosen for them. Usually they have a happy look on their face, of course - I'd feel bad if they were unhappy.

After that, I traveled to Edmonton. I'm here until New Year's Eve day to visit with friends and family. The flight was pretty well uneventful, although there were a large number of toddlers on the flight. I think that there were five two-year-olds, one of which was sitting in front of the seat next to me. I didn't play the peekaboo game, but the person next to me did. Hee hee :)

I got here and had Christmas dinner with my parents. I really enjoyed that - I haven't seen them since last year, and I've missed them. Obviously a lot has happened since last Christmas, and I have a really strong need to see my family members. I get to see one of my sisters on Tuesday - I get to meet her new beau, too, which is quite exciting, if a little scary (I suck at meeting people) - and I'll see the other sister on Wednesday. Our family Christmas will be on Friday, and we'll all get together. I hope that'll be fun.

Anyways, the dinner was very yummy. I'm again stuffed - pleasantly so :) I was able to catch up with my parents and have a nice visit with them. I'm glad, because I've missed them. A lot has happened with them, too, this year.

I hope you all had a merry Christmas and got to have as much fun visiting and eating as I did :)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Movies on Christmas Eve

Our family often went to see movies on Christmas Eve evening when I was a teenager. Usually we picked something funny or an animated movie (then they were all Disney movies) so that we would laugh and have a good time. It was a good tradition, because it brought my family together, the years we did it. Who can forget us being five of only eight people in the theatre to see Clockwise - and howling with laughter? :)

We didn't exactly follow that tradition, but Ian and I did see two movies today :) First, we saw Casino Royale. I haven't seen any other Bond movies in the theatre - then again, I don't think I've seen many other Bond movies, period :) Ian didn't like this one as much as other Bond movies, but I did like it for a movie that I could just watch and enjoy. It was pretty good overall, although there were a few things that were strange. The poker game, for example, was weird, because it didn't seem like real poker. The product placement was also too obvious - I would have noticed that it was a Ford car, for example, without centring the logo onscreen for two seconds. One thing that I especially liked was the opening sequence.

This movie was also definitely darker than other Bond movies - it's much more personal in some ways. I usually think of the killing in Bond movies as sort of distant, with guns. The killing here is very up close and personal, as are the emotions Bond portrays. This movie is much more violent and bloody than the other Bond movies I've seen or know about. So if you want to see something dark, action-packed, and sort of escapist, see this one :)

Later on, we watched It's a Wonderful Life. The only part of the movie I'd ever seen before was the kid at the end saying that every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings. The kid was a bit too saccharinely cute, and so I never watched the movie. Today I got to see most of it and it turns out that I liked it :) Yeah, the story is old and has been done a hundred times, but I liked the originality of it. Not to mention that I'm a sucker for classic black and white movies :)

I especially liked the message about how each person's life affects the lives of those around them more deeply and profoundly than they know. I know that I can be impatient, mean, and cranky, but I've been trying over the last few years to be a better person. I don't think that I would save a whole town from debauchery, the way our protagonist does in this movie, but I hope that I've made a positive impact on other people's lives.

Tonight was the night that we ate yummy food at Ian's parent's house. This was the big traditional meal of the holiday there, and I must say that I'm stuffed! Pleasantly so :) Now I just have to get myself to sleep so that Santa can come :)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Feeling sorry for myself

On the sidebar over there I've added a bunch of links to blogs by young women with breast cancer. Only one has advanced cancer like me (I think), but some of the things that the others are experiencing are very similar to what I went through the first time around. There are a lot of links over there, huh?

I hope that those others never get recurrences or metastases. Having stage 4 breast cancer sucks way more than having stage 0-3 cancer. The only advantage now is that I have a realistic view of what I'll be faced with, whereas before I didn't really have a clue. All those women with stage 0-3 breast cancer are lucky, because their treatments get to end - mine will continue for whatever life I have left. I envy those women. They get to go back to a normal life after treatment, like I did before. I wish I could have that normal life back. What's worse is that I also know that no matter how much my previous treatments sucked (which they did), I will have more treatment suckinage in my future. How fun is that?

Anyways - yeah, it's a bit of a pity party for me tonight, it seems. It's been a stressful day with packing and traveling, and this will be my first Christmas with my "new normal" of advanced breast cancer. That's hard.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Presents and packing

I spent quite a bit of time today wrapping presents. I love wrapping presents - I like doing things with bows and ribbons and that kind of thing - but I'll tell you, the fun of wrapping presents pales after a while. I spent about 2 hours wrapping, and it's really only fun for the first 1/2 hour and the last 10 minutes :) Plus I couldn't really put bows and ribbons and things on the gifts that are going to Edmonton because they just get crushed in the suitcase. When I get there I might add the decorative touches to the presents, maybe. .

I've also been rushing around packing today. I did do a list of things that I'm taking so that I don't forget anything important. I'm taking a suitcase just for the presents :) I'm only going to be away for a few days, but I still feel like I'm taking half my life with me :) I don't think that I'm overpacking too much, but I do want to be sure that I have warm clothes and clothes that are nice enough to wear out, in case I end up doing something in the evenings. I also need knitting for the times when I'm not doing anything at all. I'm not even close to being finished packing, of course - I've got quite a bit of yet to do in the morning. Guess I'd better get myself to sleep, then :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More cleaning

We finished cleaning the house today. Ian did all the vacuuming and I did the bathrooms. The two jobs took almost the same amount of time, but then Ian does a better job vacuuming than I do :) Cleaning was exhausting. I found that the pain in my sternum flared up quite a lot while I was doing the cleaning. Each time it did, I had to stop and wait a bit for the pain to subside. This bothers me, because it means that the pain interferes with what would normally be a household task. Just because I don't do it often enough doesn't mean that it isn't a normal household task :)

I don't like that I'm not really able to do stuff. Even if I up my painkiller usage (which I need to anyways), it's not like I can really train to make the pain go away. This isn't like muscle weakness, where if I just work it enough it'll get strong enough to do the job without flaring up in pain. The pain won't go away unless the tumours in my sternum and elsewhere go away (or I get them irradiated, which isn't an option for my sternum). A workaround for the cleaning problem will be to do the cleaning in very small steps. So instead of doing the entire bathroom in one day, I'll have to do the sink one day, and the tub the next (or the day after, or whatever), and so on. If I'd had that kind of time before we left, I'd have done that.

This thing where I can't do everything I want to sucks. It makes me feel older than I am, and more of an invalid than I want to think that I am. Sigh. I know I'll adjust eventually.... but it sure sucks in the meantime.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Getting ready to go away

You know how when you go away for a while, you like to come home to a clean house? Well, I do :) I'm going to spend a couple of days at Ian's parent's house, and then I'll be off to Edmonton to spend some time with my family and friends there. Ian will stay at his parent's house until I come back. So we'll be gone for a little over a week, and after all that traveling, I will want to come home to a clean house.

Unfortunately, our place isn't cleaning itself... and even though you might think that I would spend time picking up or cleaning while I'm off work, well, I don't :) I was working on my purse, which consumed a lot of my time, but even before that I wasn't really cleaning. Ever. So we spent some time yesterday and today cleaning - tomorrow we'll finish it off so that we can just pack on Friday.

Speaking of work, I've decided that even if I go back (which I don't think I will), I won't go back to work for my previous manager. It is just too stressful to work for him, and I don't want to spend whatever time I have left working for someone who is not the right manager for me. That means that if I go back I won't be working at my previous job - but I think that's ok. If I ever go back to work, I'll just find another job :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bellydancing classes

My bellydancing studio has finally posted the schedule for the next term! I'm really excited, because I've been wanting to get back into bellydancing again. I didn't think that I could handle taking it this term, but I really, really, really want to take it again after Christmas. If there's space, I'll take a returning beginner's class on Wednesdays at 5pm. I've emailed the instructor and am awaiting confirmation that there's room for me.

There's another studio in Cambridge that I hear is good, too, but I don't want to drive all that way for classes, especially since there's no guarantee that I'll be able to drive on any given day. It takes forever to get there on the bus and I don't want to have to be dependent on someone to get to my classes. I've also been quite happy with my current studio and its instructors, and it's easily accessible by bus.

So I'll stick with my current studio. I'm definitely looking forward to learning more bellydancing techniques in the New Year :)

Monday, December 18, 2006

The return of the pain

Well, the pain is back. It had gone away for a while - so much so that I was wondering why I was still taking my pain pills - but it's back with a vengeance. Sigh. The sternum is hurting quite a lot and the pain has been getting steadily worse.

I also have another spot that's been aching for a few weeks now on the back of my left thigh. It hurts in one spot, and if I press really hard on that spot, the pain flares up like crazy (just like my sternum). It also aches if I'm sitting a long time, particularly if I'm driving. I don't think that it's a pulled muscle. When I have a pulled muscle, it hurts along the entire muscle (one spot tends to hurt more than others but the whole muscle will ache, especially when I poke at it), and none of the muscles on the back of my thigh ache that way. I don't think that it's just a stiff muscle, either, because it neither hurts nor feels better to stretch the hamstring or glutes.

I'd heard that the pain from the mets would increase once the treatment started working. I suspect that the spot might be a met on the thigh that was just too small to see on the scans (bone scans apparently don't pick up anything less than 0.5cm) and now it hurts like the sternum because the treatment is working. It could also be that the Femara is causing this - Femara causes joint and muscle pain, so it's possible that the pain is either transferred from my hip or knee or is just plain Femara pain.

I've been watching this spot on my leg carefully and recording the pain I'm experiencing in my sternum and this spot. If it continues to hurt, then I'll call my oncologist in January. I'm not terribly worried about it - I don't think that they would change my treatment even if it is mets - but at some point I'm going to want to know whether or not I have more mets.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Seeing the Rockettes

We saw the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes today. All of the costumes were very well done. They were clearly designed to emphasize the dance steps, which they did very well. It was fun to watch them moving around.

The Rockettes are awesome! They are fantastic dancers - each number they did was exquisitely performed (well, one Rockette slipped and fell at one point, and the curtain came down on a Santa behind a screen, but aside from these two small issues, it was great). I especially liked the wooden soldier number and the Nutcracker number they did. The Nutcracker scene made me remember my childhood - my sisters and I went to see the ballet in Edmonton when I was growing up - I think my aunt took us for a few years. I remember enjoying that.

I didn't much like the rest of the show involving the Santas and the company dancers. I'm sure that many people liked the Santa theme - Santa was the MC for the show - but, well, I didn't like it so much. It seemed sort of crass and commercial. Also, much of the music and song lyrics had a 70s feel; they could use some updating.

Then there was the Living Nativity. It didn't really match the Santas - to go from commercialism and gift-giving represented by the Santas right to the birth of Christ was jarring (I know, I know, there's no pleasing me) . Sure, the wise men gave gifts, but clearly they were reverential in nature :) Apparently this Nativity has been performed since 1933. They did have sheep, camels, and a donkey as part of the Nativity, which made it sort of interesting. I kept hoping that the Rockettes would come out kicking during this scene, but they didn't.

So I'd recommend the Rockette parts of the show to anyone - it's just too bad that the show had things other than Rockettes.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Shopping for Ian

We're going to see the Rockettes tomorrow, and Ian doesn't have any black pants that aren't jeans. We think that when going to the theatre or to a show that a person should dress up a bit - at least as far as business casual dress, which means no jeans. We know that many people don't dress up at all when going to the show, but that's ok - we lead by example :)

I had lunch with some friends, and after that Ian and I spent quite a bit of time this afternoon looking for pants for Ian. As I'm sure you can imagine, he didn't like this very much :) We did end up finding pants, thank goodness. I'm very much looking forward to the show tomorrow - I feel a bit like a kid again :)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Holiday party

We went to my company holiday party tonight. You can see pictures of Ian and I before we left for the party here. Aren't my shoes awesome? My feet hurt quite a lot by the time we were done, though. Still, they look fantastic :) I also spent quite a bit of time on my makeup - I'm quite happy with the way it turned out, too. I felt very pretty, and I think I looked pretty, too.

The party was held at RIM Park instead of Bingemans, where it was held last year. There were two main giant rooms where tables were set up. One was a gymnasium with a gym floor and the other was a fieldhouse with a plywood floor. There were a number of smaller rooms upstairs as well. They were nicer than the big rooms, but our friends were in the fieldhouse. That was fine; the plywood was easier to walk on than the gym floor :)

One thing that I especially liked about the venue this year was that the tables were round and set up for eight people and there was space to walk around the tables. Last year, there were long rows of tables and the chairs were very close together. If you wanted to get up, you disturbed 15 people to get out, so having space to walk this year was great. The other thing that I liked about this venue was that there was slightly more network coverage than at the venue last year, so I could more easily find my friends.

The dinner started about a half-hour late. Bingemans still catered the dinner. Unfortunately, that meant that the food was made over at Bingemans and brought to the site so it was a little less tasty than last year. The desserts were ok. Both of us ate too much, of course :)

After dinner there were the usual speeches exhorting the company's success over the last year (yes, we were very successful). The tables near us played some drinking games; whenever any of our main products were named, they took a drink. I don't know how many complimentary bottles of wine they ended up going through (there are a lot of products, and many of them were mentioned at least once), but it was a lot. The company did provide a taxi to anyone who wanted one; as long as the person can legibly write their name on the chit, they could have a free cab ride, and the taxis started showing up at the door at 10pm. Every employee attending also had to sign a waiver saying that they wouldn't drive if they'd been drinking.

When the speeches ended, the dancing began. The music was pretty loud, as usual, and so we decided to leave. As we were on our way out, we met up with some other friends of ours and chatted for a while. I wish I'd known they were there earlier as it would have been nice to sit with them, too - there was room at our table. Oh well, maybe next year. There was one other friend that I'd hoped to see there, but I didn't. I think she was planning on going - I hope she managed to make it, and that she had fun.

Overall, it was fun. The people who knew about the purse thought it looked great and that my shoes were awesome. The people who didn't know about the purse only thought my shoes were awesome :) Some people didn't recognize me because my hair is short and darker than it used to be and I was wearing contacts instead of glasses. I used this to my advantage to not talk to the people I saw that I didn't want to talk to :)

Thursday, December 14, 2006


I have finally finished the purse. I was supposed to curl for Ian today, but skipped it to finish the purse - a good thing, because the party is tomorrow. I didn't want to be working on it tomorrow, as I wanted to spend the day relaxing or getting ready and not rushing with the purse.

I'm mostly pleased with the way it turned out, as it still looks like I thought it would in my head. I like the chain I used - I think that it modernizes the purse a bit, and prevents it from looking too old. I'm also very pleased with the beadwork, as I think it looks fantastic (especially for someone who's never done this before). If I were to do it again, I would make the lining neater as it looks a bit messy near the top. Also, I'm not thrilled with the way that the zipper went in. I think I should have lined the fabric on the zipper strip with buckram instead of plain interfacing to give it more stiffness - I relied on the shape of the purse to force the zipper into the correct shape, but it didn't work perfectly. I'm not taking it out and redoing it, of course - I'm finished :)

Overall, I like the purse, and I'll be happy to wear it with me tomorrow. Yes, I am going to the party, if only to show off this purse :)

You can see the final pictures here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Game night

We went to a friend's house to play some games tonight. It was a lot of fun - we got to see some people at work that we like to spend time with :) When we weren't poking fun and laughing at each other, we played Taboo and Alhambra.

We divided up into girls against guys for Taboo, but unfortunately the girls lost by quite a large margin. Listening to people trying to guess the right answer is always funny :) I wish that there were new cards for Taboo, though, as some of the cards are firmly rooted in the late 80s. It doesn't diminish too much from the fun, but some of the things are pretty archaic. Alhambra was also fun - Ian and I had played before, but no one else had. It has quite a fast-moving pace, but still takes a reasonable time to play.

I also put parts of my purse together today. The lining is done, the spacer pieces are added to the zippers, and I've stiffened (with stitch-witchery and buckram) and basted the beaded pieces together. So now I just have to sew the beaded pieces together, make the tabs for the chain, sew the tabs and zipper in, and sew in the lining. I hope to finish tomorrow. The best part is that the purse looks exactly like it did in my head. I'm so pleased with it.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Not careful enough

We came back to Mississauga today because Ian has an 8am follow-up appointment with the surgeon tomorrow. I don't really want to get up early enough to be in Mississauga for 8am :) Anyways, I packed up my stuff, and I thought I'd done a good job. But when we got here, we discovered that my mouthwash wasn't completely closed and so it spilled all over the back of the car. The car has a lovely minty fresh smell now :)

Later on, while working on my beading, I dropped a bead. After that, I dropped one of my Oxycontin in the bedroom. I have to be very careful because of the dog - she can't eat beads or my pills. The beads probably wouldn't kill her (but they wouldn't be good for her), but the pills could. Ian found both of these things, thank goodness.

I always think I am being careful..... and then I keep finding out that I'm not being careful enough :( I feel like no matter how careful I try to be, I can't be careful enough. It bothers me because it's like I can't take care of myself. I feel like I can't be trusted to do things correctly or neatly, and that someone has to follow along after me so that I don't leave a mess and am not a danger to people (and dogs) around me. I don't like this at all :(

Monday, December 11, 2006

More about my purse, and a little about my work

I am so tired of beading :) I'm almost finished the piece that connects the two side pieces - I underestimated the amount of time that it would take to sew the beads on to that piece. Then again, I've been changing that piece as I go, making it a little wider in some places to make it smoother. I think that it's actually a bit too long on each side; if so, then I'll have to take out some beads.

If I go back to work in the new year, I wouldn't be going back until mid-February at the earliest. The insurance company wants to wait until after I see the oncologist on February 2 before making a decision whether or not to go back. I've been hearing that people are saying I'll be back in January, which isn't true. So now you know - February at the earliest. Maybe never.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Home again

Ian is doing very well and we were able to come home to Waterloo today. He's still limping and hobbling around a bit, but he is definitely healing up well. He sees the surgeon on Wednesday for follow-up and to have his stitches removed.

I'm glad to be home. Even though I had everything I needed to work on my purse in Mississauga, I like having all of my own stuff around me. Speaking of the purse, it's going well. I'm working on the band that separates the two sides. I am about 80% finished that (I hope to finish it tomorrow), and then I'll work on assembling the purse. The plan is to finish it for Friday for the Holiday party.

Part of me really wants to go to the party (after all, I get to dress up :) and part of me doesn't want to go. I don't really know that I'll ever be going back to work - I'm not at all ready to do it right now, and I am beginning to wonder if I'll ever be ready - and while I want to see a lot of people that will be there, I'm nervous and hesitant about seeing some others. I had an email conversation with my manager's boss yesterday that reinforced my thinking that if I do go back, I wouldn't want to return to my previous department. So it might be weird to see people who are expecting me to go back there. I'm also hearing that things kinda suck all over the place there, and so I don't know if I could find a place that would be good for me anywhere there.

As I say, I'm not at all ready to go back right now, so I might be blowing things out of proportion - maybe I'll feel differently after the holidays. Of course this all might be moot anyways because my doctors might not let me go back :)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Eye infections

About a year and a half ago, I had a series recurrent eye infections. I got them over and over and over again for about four months or so. It turns out that they were caused by my allergies together with the dry eyes I'd been experiencing from the Tamoxifen. A secondary cause may have been the cancer. Certainly the fact that the lymph doesn't flow as well on the side that tended to have more infections played a part, but I also think that the cancer was growing then, meaning that I healed more slowly and was more susceptible to infections. A benefit to the experience was that I learned to (mostly) keep my hands away from my eyes.

Having my ovaries removed and taking Femara gives me dry eyes (estrogen helps keep mucous membranes moist). Being in Mississauga tends to aggravate my allergies. If you conclude that I might get an eye infection, you'd be right. Well, I have a very irritated eye that feels like it's infected and looks like it's almost got pinkeye. Sigh. I've been putting Visine Allergy drops in my eyes all day, and they aren't doing much to help. Fortunately, I have a refill on the Vigamox eye drops that I was using when I had these infections before that cleared the eyes up right away. I'll pick that up tomorrow.

This better not be more cancer growing.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Ian's recovery (and my purse)

Ian is recovering very well. He doesn't need any painkillers and claims that his knee isn't bothering him at all! The knee is stiff and a bit swollen, of course, but Ian is well. The dressing will stay on until Saturday at about 6pm (48 hours or so after it was put on). We'll stay overnight on Saturday, just to make sure that everything is ok, and we expect to be home Sunday afternoon.

While I'm keeping Ian company I have been working on my purse. I finished the second side!!!! It did take a lot less time to do, even though I did end up re-doing a few parts. I'm quite happy with it. Next, I'll do the gusset or side band piece that will connect the front and back pieces that I've done. I also want to strengthen the beaded pieces and to protect the threads. I've got some heavy interfacing and some stitch-witchery and buckram. I'll bead some test pieces so that I can see which (if either) solution will give me the results I want without melting the threads. The beads are glass and so shouldn't melt - I hope :)

You can see more pictures of my purse here.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ian's surgery

Ian had his arthroscopic knee surgery today. He needed it because of a juggling injury a few years back - they were playing a game called "combat", where a bunch of jugglers juggle three balls and each juggler tries to make the other jugglers drop their balls. He planted his foot and twisted his knee funny. It's similar to a basketball injury.

The surgery went well and Ian is doing fine. He says that he doesn't have much pain and that he just has some stiffness in the knee. He had good colour and appetite this evening and he keeps saying he's fine, so I think he'll be ok :) He's not allowed to shower for 48 hours after surgery, and so we will most likely stay at his parent's house for at least that long.

The hospital where Ian had the surgery isn't quite as nice as the one where I've had my surgeries. When you have surgery, they check you in and make you change into one of those gowns with a gown overtop, and then send you back into the waiting area until it's time to go into the OR. In this hospital, the waiting area is a hallway. Really. It's a wide hallway with a view of the outside, which was nice, but it was a hallway nonetheless. I know that I would be uncomfortable waiting in the gown and stuff in a hallway where anyone could walk in. To be fair, there was apparently another waiting area where Ian could have waited once he had the gown on, but it was full and Ian's mom and I couldn't go there. Ian was fine with the waiting area, though - in general, he's much more relaxed than I am :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

More than enough travels

I think that I ate something that didn't agree with me at the party yesterday. I was up in the night with tummy troubles, and I'm still not feeling completely better. I didn't go to my Well-fit session today because I was worried that it would not go well for my tummy. However, we still had to drive to Mississauga today because Ian's surgery is tomorrow afternoon. It was snowing quite heavily in Waterloo when we started out, and I was afraid that the drive would be awful but the weather cleared up.

Once we got to Ian's parent's house, I realized that I had left my Oxycontin in Waterloo. I thought that I had brought it but I guess I didn't. I had the Percocet, but if I take that then I'm not allowed to drive - it would be difficult to get either one of us back to Waterloo in that case. What kind of idiot forgets a crucial medication when they travel? One like me :) I felt really stupid once I realized that I'd forgot the pills. So we drove back to Waterloo to pick up my pills and then back again to Mississauga. I hadn't really planned to drive that much - especially with my tummy not feeling very well - but it worked out ok. The weather was fine and traffic wasn't too heavy.

I am finding that I'm quite forgetful lately. I'll be certain that I've done something, and then it'll turn out that I didn't do it, or that I forgot to do part of it. They said that one of the side effects of the oophorectomy and Femara (due to a lack of estrogen) would be cognitive difficulties, and it seems that I'm experiencing that side effect :( It isn't as bad as the last time I had cancer treatments, but it sucks. I'm going to have to start making lists of things. Ian doesn't believe in lists; but I find that if I write stuff down and have to check off that I've done something, I'm more likely to get everything done. Provided that I don't lose my lists :)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Being introverted in social situations

We went to Ian's department Christmas party today. We stayed longer than we ever have before :) It was held at somone's house and there were about 40 people there. I've met a few people before, but don't really know anyone, and so I find these sorts of experiences somewhat uncomfortable.

I don't really know how to mingle, and I don't know how to talk to people I don't know. I can say "hi, my name is Chantelle", but I don't know what to say after that. Sometimes I get as far as a mutually exchanged "what do you do for work/fun", but after that I end up standing there in an awkward sort of silence with one of those "I don't know what to say next" grins on my face. I want to be friendly with people, but I just have no idea what to say to strangers. I'm fine when there's someone there who can say "Chantelle curls every week; Bill, you wanted to try it, didn't you?" or something like that. But when I have to do that myself, well, I suck at it.

To be fair, the awkwardness was not all mine tonight - we were there with other bioinformatics (it's a branch of computer science) grad students, some profs, department support people, and their significant others. Many of those people, like me, are introverts, and have the same troubles I do.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Well-fit, and my purse

I had my first Well-fit session today. It was much like any other workout, except that I had someone telling me whether or not I was doing things correctly :) They've started me out slowly, which is good - for the weights, a max of 15 reps at light weight of any one exercise. As it was, I was still exhausted at the end of the session. I had a bit of a headache beforehand that turned into a slight migraine after that.

Before I had a big nap, we went to Home Hardware to find chain for my purse. I decided that I wanted a chain handle. I need about 13" for the handle, but they only cut in foot-long increments. I must have looked quite strange, buying two feet of each of three types of chain at Home Hardware - especially because it was clear that I didn't need even two feet, and that I wasn't buying them as samples :)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Curling and my purse

We saw the final of the curling tournament today. It was pretty good - a close game, for sure, although the game had been pretty well decided by the 6th end. One thing that I didn't like was that people really treated it like a hockey game by yelling at the players. Sigh. We had started out sitting on one side of the arena because they'd told us that we wouldn't get good visibility on the other side. However, after the first end, we decided that the visibility would be fine - and there were fewer people on that side, so Ian wouldn't be crushed by this big guy's water bottle.

I spent part of the rest of the day working on my purse. I've finished the silver-only bands already - I can do each band in about 40 minutes, which is pretty fast. You can see the purse, as always, here. My technique has improved, and I don't have to figure out all the angles again (they'll be the same as the first one), so I think this second side will take less time to do. After that, I'll have to do the band and then put it all together. That's good, because I have less than two weeks to finish it :)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Shopping and more curling

We started today off with a little shopping. We have those cards from Mark's Work Wearhouse where you can save $10 on any purchase of $50 or more. I was looking for sweaters, so I thought I'd go there. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they now have their own line of petite clothing. Ian thinks I've just missed it all this time, but I'm pretty sure I've never seen petite clothing there. I bought two round-neck cable sweaters - one in dusty rose and one in apricot.

Later on, we watched curling. We saw the quarter- and semi-finals of the WCT Grand Slam. In the semi-finals, one of the skips appears to have injured himself, and so his team lost. They had an announcer there that seemed to think that the crowd was watching a hockey game - loud music, and he wanted everyone to get up and dance. The game was televised, and so he did this every time an end finished so that the station could air commercials. Considering that the average age of the spectator there was north of 45, he didn't have much luck - the crowd was very unresponsive to his attempts to get it moving, yelling, and clapping. Some might say that curling is slightly more refined than that kind of loud behaviour. We'll see the finals tomorrow afternoon.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A little curling, pain, and beading

We watched some more curling today. It looked like there were several groups of kids there watching Gushue play - they had tambourines, of all things, and were making quite a bit of noise. We sat as far away from them as possible :) We actually only watched part of one draw today, because we were much too tired to watch any more. It's important that Ian not get sick in the next week because of his surgery, and when he gets cold (as when he sits in a cold arena), he's more prone to being sick. So we took it easy today.

Unfortunately, I was too tired to even curl tonight :( This is because I was up last night with pain. In fact, I've been experiencing a lot more pain lately. They'd told me that as the treatment started to work, I might experience more pain. This is exactly what seems to be happening - the pain is much like it was before I got it under control. My knees are also hurting right now, which may be a consequence of the new coffee table and the laptops' position on it. Finally, I also have a spot on the back of my left thigh that is hurting in a similar way to my sternum. I hope that this new pain decreases soon.

I finished the first side of the purse!!! You can see the pictures here. I'm really, really pleased with it; it looks exactly like I thought it would (which is always a pleasant treat). I think that the purse will look really good. The two sides will be attached to a band in the middle that will give the purse some depth, so now I just have to bead the other side of the purse and that middle band.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pre-op and curling

Ian had his pre-op appointment at the hospital for his surgery next week. The procedures surrounding the surgery are quite different at this hospital compared to the hospital where I've had my surgeries. For example, we have to bring a bag for Ian's stuff that is clearly labeled with his name (at the other hospital, a bag was provided and they had labels with my name on them). He also has to bring his health card on the surgery day, which is something that I didn't have to do for mine.

The hospital has a video that they show people that outlines the general sequence of events. That's kind of cool, because it shows people the actual rooms that they'll be in - this would be very comforting to many people. I know that when I'm confronted with something unfamiliar, I like to know how things will happen. This gives me a measure of control over the situation - yeah, some have called me a control freak, but it's a coping technique. If I feel threatened or scared, I get more controlly.

We also watched a lot of curling today. The last end of the last game we watched - Martin against Menard - was very, very good. Ian taught me how to time the rocks when people delivered them; that's something that I didn't know how to do. Yes, I know how to use a stopwatch, but I didn't know where to start and stop timing. I hope that this will help my curling.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Catching up and curling

Ian's surgery is next week and he had one of his pre-op appointments today. I'd planned to go with him to all of his appointments, but I'd already made plans to meet with a friend of mine. I went to University with this friend, and I haven't really had a chance to sit down and talk to him in ages - I've missed him a lot. Luckily, we were able to meet today :)

Ian and I also went to curling tonight; the WCT Masters of Curling Grand Slam draw tonight. We have tickets for each day of the event, although we won't be able to go to every draw. Still, we're happy to be going :) It's a chance to watch some good curling for a reasonably inexpensive price.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Coping techniques

In my Spirituality and Healing group today, we talked about Christmas. For many people (myself included), Christmas is pretty stressful. There are some people out there that find Christmas a wonderful time of year - for me, it's a time that is usually associated with stressful situations and tension. So today, our group leader gave us a five-step technique to use when things seem unmanageable (to center oneself and to remain present in the moment):
  1. Breathe: Breathe deeply into the belly, and draw your awareness from your mind into your belly.
  2. Relax: Keep breathing, and scan the body to find tension. Deliberately let the tension go. Consciously relax the belly, face, neck, and shoulders.
  3. Feel: Instead of suppressing whatever emotion you're feeling, ask yourself what you are feeling. Take your awareness from the belly to the feeling. Don't judge the feelings. Maintain your breath and relaxation.
  4. Watch: Shift your consciousness (in a "witness consciousness" sort of way - let your consciousness witness what's going on without judging you). Observe what's going on in a detached sort of way. Let your consciousness be your friend, coaching you and saying you are safe and that nothing bad will happen to you.
  5. Allow: Allow your feelings to wash through you. Let them go. Use your consciousness, that is still giving you comfort, to help make this transition.
Obviously these steps won't work if you're being immediately physically threatened, but they might be helpful in dealing with the bad emotional stuff that can happen when people get together. I think that they probably need some practice to be able to do them quickly; but if I can't do stuff like this quickly, then I can always lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes to do this :)

The best part of these steps is that they mentally take you out of the difficult situation and into a place where you can be more emotionally comfortable and centered. Once you've done that, you can come back to the situation in a better frame of mind. Of course I've no idea whether they'll actually work for me - but they're worth trying.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Servicing my car

I took the car in to get the other headlight fixed. I guess they're really only good for 52000 kms of driving - who knew? There have been some personnel changes over there, and the service person I knew is no longer there. Instead, there are these new people.... and for the first time since I've been taking my car there, I felt talked down to because I am female. It was something in the tones of their voices they used - I didn't like it. Ian has dealt with the people and he says that they're fine. I think I don't like it there anymore.

At the end of the service, they also weren't forthcoming in getting me an invoice. The car is still under warranty, so the light-bulb change was free. I like to have the invoices for my records, and they just wanted to send me on my way without anything. They offered to mail me the invoice, but I waited for them to print it up.

We're hoping to get a hybrid car in the next few months - I think I'm glad that I'm not going to get a car from this dealership.

On a more positive note, I did some more work on my purse - I'm doing the black background beading now. It's only taking me about 2 hours to do each band, which isn't too bad. There's hope that I'll finish the purse before the party :) There's a new picture here.

Oh yeah, and if you like Scrabble and want to see something HILARIOUS (and I haven't sent this to you), take a look at this.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Fun things

Today I spent the afternoon at a chocolate party. A friend of mine has started a business called "Sweet Obsessed" making handmade chocolates and providing chocolate parties. At the parties, you can taste different kinds of chocolate and/or make chocolates, including hollow chocolates, filled chocolates, and truffles - and you get to take everything you make home with you! Yummy!!!!! My friend provides all of the necessary supplies. She's currently taking orders for chocolates for Christmas and for chocolate parties - her website is here.

Another friend of mine sent me some pictures from the bellydance recital last April - you can see them here.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Movies and some vague answers

We saw two movies today - Saw II and The Fountain. "Saw II" was interesting, with better acting than the first one, but with the good parts of the first one. I'd recommend this movie (for adults - there's quite a bit of violence).

"The Fountain" is a Darren Aronofsky movie - he also directed Pi and Requiem for a Dream. Ian loved both of these movies, and I loved "Requiem for a Dream" (I haven't seen "Pi"), and we thought we would like this movie even though it hasn't been getting great reviews.

We did enjoy the movie very much, and I'd recommend it to everyone. The story is interesting and the cinematography is beautiful. Some reviews said that it was very confusing, but we didn't think it was confusing at all. The overwhelming message is that a person finds peace when they accept death (their own or anyone else's). I didn't know that going in, and I don't think it'll spoil it for you to know this before you see it.

I will say that I cried through the whole movie, though, because one of the storylines (there are three) involves a couple where the wife is dying. It was really hard to watch her die and to watch the husband's reaction - knowing that she was dying, but helpless to do anything to prevent it. And completely grief-stricken when she did die. All I could think about was that this time will come for me, too - and that Ian will be in the position of that husband (although perhaps not married - it isn't that important to us to actually get married), first waiting for me to die and then, well, living without me when I'm gone. That made me very sad. I wasn't really ready to think about that just yet. I certainly haven't accepted the fact of my death (I haven't even done my will or living will yet).

On that subject, several people have asked me how long I've got left (or what my prognosis is), and I don't really have a good answer to that - the only answer I have is pretty vague. Don't read any further if you don't want to know what that vague answer is.

I know that I'm not going to die anytime soon, but that I'm also not going to live to see my retirement (so there's no point saving up for that - all of my RRSP contributions are now going towards traveling). If you do a bit of research, you'll find that women who have metatstatic breast cancer live for a median of two years after diagnosis. That includes people who have lots more mets than I do, and whose situation is much more serious than mine (like mets to liver or brain). I'm pretty sure I'm going to live more than two years, because I just have mets in the one area, and mets to bone are not fatal. Painful, but not fatal.

People with mets like mine are currently living five or ten years after diagnosis, and there have been cases where people like me have lived up to 20 years. I can't bring myself to hope that I'll live 20 years, but it's something to shoot for. I'm hoping to ride the crest of the treatment wave - to get in on new treatments that will prolong my life.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Bettie Page (and more about my purse)

We watched The Notorious Bettie Page tonight. I'd wanted to see it while it was in the theatre; it's a dramatization of Bettie Page's pinup years. She seems to have been a study in contrasts. The movie portrays her as very innocent up until the end, when she seemed to realize the impact of the photos she'd posed for and the movies she'd starred in, and yet these photos and movies were not really all that innocent. She was an icon of the 50s for her pinup work. Her fetish and nude shots made her an icon, too, albeit more of an underground one. It's hard not to feel a bit sad for her, in a way - she just seemed so naive, and so unhappy. I'm sure there's a comment to be made here about women's history, but I'm not the one to make it :). I really enjoyed this movie, and I'd recommend it to anyone who was interested in the histories of iconic women of the 20th century. There is some full-frontal female nudity and sexual (fetish) situations, so this is definitely a movie for adults.

I finished the vertical sections of the purse I'm making; you can see the picture here. I had to take it with the flash, so you can get an idea of how it'll sparkle. I ended up redoing the single rows of beads, as I decided that it didn't look as good as it could. I'm much happier with it now. I am pretty tired of beading, though - and I'm not even finished the one side :)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Well-fit assessment

I had my Well-fit assessment today. The person I met with is probably about my age but is fantastic shape. It was a little intimidating to sit beside her - she with her buff body and me with my flabby, chubby body. However, I took comfort in the fact that most of the people they see are as chubby (if not more so) than me.

The assessment wasn't very hard; apparently my oncologist said that I was to have only moderate activity because of the mets to the sternum. Ummmm, I hope dragonboat paddling is considered moderate activity :) I thought I'd told the oncologist that I paddle - hopefully she'll have no objection to that. I will be going Mondays and Wednesdays from 3-4pm, starting on December 4.

I was there while a class was finishing, and this guy came over and started talking to the person working with me. He kept staring at her, and then he finally came over and started saying things like "you must have been a beauty queen" to her. Ewwwwwwww. I guess having cancer doesn't mean that a person won't be smarmy. I'm glad that I'm not in the same class as him.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My beaded purse

As you know, I've been working on a purse for the company Christmas party (or Holiday party, as it's officially called). Registration for the party on December 15 opened today, and I heard that there are only 2700 spots open (it's a big company) so I registered right away. This means that I have to finish this here purse :)

I've actually started doing the beading now after a couple of false starts. I'd originally thought that I could trace the design onto the fabric and sew the beads on that way. However, my fabric is a bit light, and it kept shifting in the frame (not to mention that the lines I'd traced onto the fabric weren't straight). Also, the technique I was using to sew the horizontal beads on was causing the beads to slant, which wasn't attractive. So I needed to think of something else.

I ended up putting interfacing onto the back of the fabric, which helps a lot. I also put the design on tissue paper and I'm stitching through that. It should tear away pretty easily, I think. I'm also using a different technique to sew the horizontal beads onto the fabric, and it looks a lot better. The work is tedious, but I can listen to the tv while I do it. You can see photos of my work-in-progress here, and I'll update this as I do more stuff. I'm quite pleased with the progress so far, and I think it'll look great once it's done.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Yesterday's doctor's appointments

In all my hurry yesterday to talk about what I wish other drivers did, I didn't mention the result of my doctor's appointments.

I saw the surgeon that did the oophorectomy first, and this will apparently be the last time that I see him. That's good :) I got to see the pictures he took of my insides, too. That was kind of cool :) My insides look normal, I guess. I don't watch the operation channel on tv, so I don't know what "normal" insides really look like.

I also saw my family doctor. My insurance company will be sending return-to-work forms in January so that I can take them to my oncologist when I see her on February 2. Of course my family doctor is the one that does all my forms - if I can't even go to my oncologist for pain, I'm not going to have her fill in forms for something involving my whole self, not just my cancer. Anyways, I was telling my doctor that I'd have these return-to-work forms, and he said that I wouldn't be going back to work. When I told him that I wanted to work, if I could, he amended his previous statement, and said that when the time came, he'd ask me. If I said yes, then I will be going back to work. He also said that I was under a lot of stress, and that I should make sure that I wasn't going to be stressed by going back.

So I thought about this a bit today, and I'd still like to go back to work. However, I'm not sure that I want to work for my old manager. I'll have to think about this some more because this is a big decision - I want to be absolutely sure that I'm doing the right thing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Driving pet peeves

I had to drive to and from Mississauga today for some doctor's appointments. The drive itself isn't usually too bad, but the drivers today were terrible. I had some time to think about the things that really bug me about other drivers. I wish that people, when they were driving:
  • signaled their lane changes
  • checked their rear-view mirrors
  • got out of the way when someone was coming up behind them quickly
  • went fast in the faster lanes (there's no reason for people to pass you on the right)
  • went fast enough in the slow lane (when trucks pass you, you're going too slow)
  • drove with the flow of traffic - not too slow, so that everyone is passing you, and not too fast, so that you're passing everyone
  • accelerated BEFORE having to merge
  • didn't wait until the end of the merge lane to merge
  • left enough space for people merging into their lane
  • left enough space between cars all the time
  • didn't constantly accelerate and then brake
  • didn't talk on cellphones
  • didn't type on their BlackBerries
  • didn't vary their speeds for no reason (although these people are usually the ones who talk on cellphones)
  • accelerated as quickly as possible when cutting people off, like when turning from one street onto another
  • didn't cut people off on the highway
  • didn't slow down when changing to the faster lanes
  • didn't drive at the exact same speed as the person beside them
  • didn't slow down when driving beside trucks (they can't see you when you're there, so why spend time there?)
  • didn't weave in and out of lanes, both when traffic is moving well and when traffic is moving slowly
  • signaled their exits from roundabouts/traffic circles
  • took their turns at stop signs (just because you've been waiting behind someone doesn't mean that you can go when they do)
Sigh. Really, it comes down to being aware of what's going on around you and being considerate to other drivers. So many drivers behave as though the other cars are just moving targets, and they're trying to navigate between all those targets. It's as though people forget that there are other people in those cars.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

More shopping

You know how when you introduce a new piece of furniture to a room, you often need to rearrange that room? The bookcase we bought yesterday needs a home, and we're thinking that it should go into the living room. However, there's no room at present for a new bookcase in that room.

We did some thinking, and we've decided to move the exercise bike downstairs from the living room. It's not really a good piece of furniture for a living room, anyway, and will free up quite a bit of space. The reason that it's in the living room is that we like to watch tv while using the bike, and there's no tv downstairs.

So we went out and bought a new flatscreen tv for the living room, and we'll move the other tv downstairs with the bike. The new tv is HD ready, in case we ever get around to getting HD. We did think about getting an LCD tv, but we felt that the resolution wasn't any better than the flatscreen tv we bought and so wasn't worth the additional cost. The new tv is working out quite well :)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Crowds, more crowds, and a movie

We went to IKEA today. Oh my goodness that place is busy on a Saturday afternoon :) There were people everywhere - each time I turned around, I ran into someone. It was a rather exhausting experience, as I'm sure you can imagine. Adding to the crowding were people who weren't very good at driving their carts. Many people take their carts down every aisle, no matter how small, whether they actually needed the cart or not. It's always better to park the cart to the side, if you can, while browsing narrow aisles. Those are the same people, I think, who stop in the middle of the aisle, with their carts and entourages of people, blocking the aisle entirely. We persevered, however, and managed to get a new coffee table, bookshelf, dresser, and some dishes, though, so the trip was worthwhile.

For dinner, we ended up at the Keg steakhouse. It was only 5:30pm, but there was already a 20-30 minute wait for a table for two. We had no idea that restaurants were so busy that early on a Saturday night - we had tried to go to Boston Pizza beforehand, but their wait was also 20-30 minutes. We ended up sitting at one of the last tables in the Keg lounge; by the end of the meal, we had people who were waiting for a table crowding all around us. There were three separate groups surrounding us, and I couldn't even get my coat off of my chair without brushing against someone. The food was yummy, as usual, but the experience was unfortunately quite unpleasant. We will go back, but I won't sit in the lounge again to eat.

We also saw The Departed tonight. We both enjoyed it very much. There were a few story issues (they never noticed he was always on his cellphone?), and the twist at the end wasn't all that unexpected, but the film overall was quite good. I'd recommend this movie if you like a good cops-against-the-mob story with no all-good or all-bad characters, and don't mind some gore. It is a very bloody movie, with quite a lot of shooting.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Physical activities

My hand and arm felt pretty good after curling while wearing my compression sleeve and gauntlet. I'm glad I have them now. I'm not exactly sure how I'll wear them when I paddle on the left and the hand gets plunged into the water, though :)

My oncologist did send in a referral for Well-fit as the physiotherapist had suggested, and I called them today. I go in for my first assessment next Thursday. I'm pretty excited about that, because it'll be a way for me to get some good exercise. Apparently I'll be going twice a week for 12 weeks after the initial assessment.

I'm hoping that the exercise will help with my fatigue. Yes, I'm still sleeping 12-14 hours a day. I can be up early two days in a row if I have to be, but then on the third day I have to sleep and sleep and sleep. Sigh. I wish that I wasn't so tired. I'm really, really glad that I'm not going to work yet, as there's no way that I could make it through a whole week, even if I was to only work part-time.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Compression garments

I got my lymphedema sleeve and gauntlet today. The gauntlet covers the wrist and hand up to the knuckles, so the fingers are free. They are not terribly comfortable, which is not surprising given that they are compression garments :) I'm supposed to wear the sleeve and/or gauntlet whenever I do any of my sports or when I am walking. I wore them both this evening when I went for a walk around my neighbourhood, and I was surprised at how much better my hand and arm felt afterwards than usual. I'm looking forward to seeing the difference tomorrow after curling.

I see my family doctor on Monday to get him to sign the prescription for the sleeve and gauntlet. I think I can claim the cost of these items against my extended health insurance, if I have a signed prescription. Hopefully the fact that I bought the things today (before my doctor signs the prescription, although it is dated last Wednesday) won't be an issue for the insurance company. If it is, that's ok, I guess - they cost less than the last pair of shoes that I bought :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Flu shots

Flu shots have finally arrived in our region. Usually they're here in October, but they were delayed this year due to production delays. Fortunately, they're here now.

Ian and I are both at high risk for the flu - me because of my asthma and cancer, and Ian because of his high blood pressure (and because we each live with someone who's at high risk). Ordinarily we would get our flu shots early, just because we are high risk, but our doctor won't have any until the end of the month. We also wanted to get the shots early because Ian has arthroscopic knee surgery on December 7, and neither of us can be sick then.

We were able to get our shots today. We went to one of the flu shot clinics that our region operates - it was only the second day of the clinics. The lineup wasn't very long at all, and so the whole thing took only a few minutes. Neither of us is feeling any real side-effects from the shot. Hopefully neither of us will get sick.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Healing my spirit

I had my Spirituality and Healing group today. I find this group very useful, too. It was very comforting to talk about ways that I can handle the fact that my life is changing and that I won't be able to do all of the things that I'd previously hoped to do. We talked about how important it is to look forward to the rest of my life instead of looking only backwards. The group is a good place for me - it's a place where I feel that I can heal my spirit, a little, and to learn to be happy and content for whatever time is left to me. I hope that I'm able to give as much as I get from the group.

I hope that I can keep going to this group when I go back to work - it's in the middle of the afternoon on Tuesdays, which might be awkward. I really do think that this group helps me, though, and I would miss it very much if I couldn't go regularly. I'll talk to my family doctor about it when I get ready to go back.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Busy day

Ian got home very late last night. I'd expected him home around dinnertime, but I guess they were delayed. It's good to have him home. It's been a busy day today. It's municipal voting day here in Ontario. We both voted this afternoon, of course :)

I had my young women's support group tonight. I'm so glad that I have this group - there are people there that understand what I'm thinking and feeling. There are things I can't comfortably say to anyone who's not experiencing what I am. I know people try to understand and to help, and I'm very, very grateful for that, but it's not quite the same as receiving comfort from people who have metastatic cancer or some other terminal illness.

On a more positive note, I've figured out a pattern for my beaded purse. I think I have enough beads to do this, and I think it'll be nice. I've chosen a simple striped pattern. I've also been playing with different types of bead layouts, and I think I know how I'm going to sew the beads. I hope it turns out ok :)

We'll spend the rest of the evening watching the election results come in :)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Taking care of myself

Ian is juggling at the Cornell juggling festival this weekend, so I'm on my own until tomorrow night. I try to do things right, but, well, he's better at taking care of me than I am :)

I haven't been drinking much caffeine lately, which is a good thing. Last night I had a Diet Coke after curling, and I ended up awake all night and sleeping until 2pm. This was not a particularly smart thing to have done, and it wouldn't have happened had Ian been here :) In my own defense, I was really tired at the time, and thought it would help. It did.... just for longer than I thought it would.

I also forgot to carry my painkillers yesterday and so didn't take quite enough of the Oxycodone. I could have gone back to get them, but I thought I would be ok. I was wrong. I'm paying today for not having the painkillers yesterday - I've had a bit of pain, because the painkiller levels in my bloodstream have dropped. The bisphosphonates and Femara aren't helping much yet - but then I think that it takes a couple of months for these treatments to work.

As I'm sure you can imagine, I'm looking forward to Ian's return tomorrow :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Craft news

I finished knitting the sweater I was working on. Yay! Now I just have to block it, sew it together, and knit around the neck. That hasn't taken too long.

So since I'm (almost) between projects, and since I've got a Christmas party to attend in a month, and since I don't have a purse that I like, I've decided to create a bead-embellished purse. By which I mean that I will cover the entire fabric of the purse (which I'll also make) with beads. The fact that I've never done this or that I don't really know what I'm doing does not deter me in the slightest :) I'm going to do a red and silver plaid pattern on a black background using bugle beads. Wish me luck :)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mid-life crisis?

You know how you get to an age where all of a sudden you realize that you're not going to do X again? And you feel sad or melancholy? Well, it feels like that age has come early for me because of the cancer. I know everyone gets to go through this - it's most likely what people mean when they talk about a mid-life crisis. But still, it sucks.

The latest thing to hit me was grad school. Before I first had cancer, back when I was a math student, I'd planned to go to grad school once I finished the degree. But the cancer treatments left me with a lot of cognitive difficulties, and so when I went back to school afterwards, I really, really struggled. It was so hard to get through my courses that there was no way that I could have gone to grad school then.

After a while, when the cognitive difficulties started to fade, I started to think that I could maybe get an MBA or something. Last night I really realized that this wasn't going to happen.

Every time I have this kind of realization, I cry bucketfuls. It's like I have to mourn the fact that these things are closed to me now, and I don't like having to do that. Sigh. I have a lot of things to look forward to, and I'm not depressed, but it's hard to have to go through this kind of grieving process over and over again.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I saw the physiotherapist about my lymphedema in my left arm today. Apparently most people are diagnosed with lymphedema when they have a measurable swelling of at least 2cm. My swelling is only 1cm, so it's like pre-lymphedema.

Our goal will be to make sure that the lymphedema doesn't get any worse. To that end, she's given me a set of exercises interspersed with massages to open the lymphatic system and get it to drain better. I have to do these every day, and they take about 20-30 mins. I also have to get a class 1 compression sleeve and gauntlet (to cover the swelling on my hand), and I'm to wear these whenever I do activity - like walking, paddling, curling, or bellydancing. I'm pretty sure that my insurance will cover these items, but I think I have to get my doctor to write me a prescription. I'll have to check that they're covered.

The physiotherapist is also going to try to get me into the Well-fit program, which is designed for cancer patients and is run by the University of Waterloo. It's kind of like having a personal trainer. Each patient has to be referred there by their oncologist, and the physiotherapist will get in touch with my doctor to get things rolling. I hear it's a great program.

I'm happy that we're doing something about my lymphedema. If it gets worse, then we can look at higher grades of compression or a type of massage, but I don't need those right now. This is good - there's nothing like a ginormous arm to announce to the rest of the world that you've had cancer. Not that I try to hide it, of course, but I prefer to tell people when I can, as opposed to having my arm do the talking.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Some breast cancer thoughts

Apparently there's a commercial in the US for a pharmacy company where Lynn Redgrave speaks about how she refuses to die from breast cancer. That is not her choice to make, of course. If she's lucky, her cancer won't come back and it won't spread. If she's not lucky, then she'll be like me or any other breast cancer patients with metastases, who are almost certainly going to die from this disease. It doesn't matter how strongly I refuse to die from breast cancer, or how hard I fight it: it will almost certainly get me in the end.

Some people with breast cancer metastases are very upset by this commercial, for the reasons I give above, and because the idea that "people can refuse to die from breast cancer" diminishes the severity of this disease. I agree with them. This doesn't mean that I'm giving up, of course :) I'm still going to fight to keep my quality of life, and I will fight to do the things I like to do for as long as I can. I'll fight to get the best treatments I can to prolong my life as much as I can. I can't refuse to let breast cancer get me, but I'll do everything I can to make it wait to have me :)

Monday, November 06, 2006


I bought a couple of boardgames today - since we go and play games with other people, I thought it would be good to have games of our own that aren't word-games like Scrabble.

The first game I bought was Blokus Trigon. It's similar to Blokus, but with triangular-based pieces. A woman in the store stopped me and asked whether or not I'd played Blokus before; she says that Blokus Trigon is harder than Blokus. I hope that this true :) I can't wait to try this one out.

The second game I bought was Alhambra. It's a game where you try to build a city given cards and money. It won some German award in 2003. Ian and I played it tonight and we both thought it was fun. It's pretty simple to learn and there's a bit of strategy involved. I think it'll be even more fun with more players. Unfortunately, the game I bought was short one card, and so I'll have to take it back to the store to exchange it. Hopefully the fact that the game is opened won't be a problem.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I spent a few hours shopping for shoes with a friend of mine. We went to Vaughan Mills, which is a mall full of upscale outlet stores and other upscale-ish stores. The company Christmas party will be held in the next month or so, and I wanted shoes to wear to the event. I'll be wearing the same dress as last year - a black mid-calf bias-cut silk chiffon sleeveless dress, with black beading at the neckline and and on the ruffled hem - but I wanted new shoes to go with it. Had I not found anything, I was going to glue feathers and rhinestones to the shoes I wore last year to spice them up a bit.

I did find shoes, though. We ended up having to go to Yorkdale to find my size, but I'm glad that we did. They are perfect - I love love love love them! Even Ian likes them :) They make my legs look longer and leaner, and are delicate enough to go with the dress because they're black lace. They're very similar to this style in black, except they're not by Betsey Johnson (so no pink sole), and I think the heel is higher at 5". I have never worn heels this high before - I'll have to practice walking around in them!

I did also buy a backup pair of shoes that were drastically marked down - they're actually this pair, but they're black with pewter trim. I love the heel :) These ones will also be suitable to wear with skirts when I go back to work.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


We went to see Flushed Away today. It was really, really, really good; I'd recommend this film to everyone, whether or not you have kids. There are funny bits for the kids and funny bits for the adults. There were short pauses for the kids to talk, which meant that they didn't have to talk during the entire movie :) The story itself was also quite funny. I especially liked the slugs :)

The movie is from Aardman studios, which did Chicken Run and the Wallace and Gromit shorts and movies. The difference this time was that the animation was not stop-motion claymation, but actual animation. They made the characters look very much like the clay figures they usually use, down to the brush and thumb prints. The character movements were also very much like their usual stop-motion films, which meant that it felt like you were watching one of their usual movies. It didn't look animated. One of the other things that I was really impressed with was the cloth; everywhere, the cloth had realistic texture. These things make this movie a real technical achievement.

Later on, we watched Saw (the original one). It has an interesting concept; people are being forced to do things that they wouldn't normally do (mostly in the area of killing other people) to prevent themselves from dying. The puzzles forcing the character's moves are very tricky, well-thought-out, and interesting. There is also a lovely twist at the end. The movie was less gory than I thought it would be.

Where this movie failed was in the acting and makeup. The fellow who played Dr. Gordon was a terrible actor, as was the child who played his daughter. The makeup on Dr. Gordon wasn't quite right; it looked like a high-school production. And I could clearly see his supposedly sawed-off foot in the bag. Sigh. Had there been good actors and technical people, this would have been a very interesting, creepy movie. I wonder whether Saw II and Saw III are any better?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Curling again

I curled tonight, for the first time since the surgery. It went ok. I was pretty tired by the end, but I still felt pretty good. Yay :)

Afterwards, we had dinner and then went to a Halloween party. A friend of Ian's has a bash every year, and they go all out - they decorate their place and wear amazing costumes and everything! We didn't stay long, but it was fun.

Along our travels, we noticed that one of our headlights on the car was burned out. We'll take that in tomorrow, if we can, as neither of us knows how to change it. I'd have thought that the headlight would last longer than 2 1/2 years.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I slept a lot today, probably because I was up early and out and about for the last two days. I tell you, going to work would be tough if I'm still sleeping this much! :)

We spent the evening at a friend's house playing boardgames. We only had time for two games: Citadels and Thurn and Taxis. Citadels is a card game where you build cities with district cards. At the beginning of each round, each player picks a character card with special abilities, and can use these abilities to either enhance their own riches or to disrupt other players. It's a lot of fun, but the game itself is quite complicated. One person had a lot of trouble deciding how to play, which made the game take quite a long time.

Thurn and Taxis is also fun. It isn't really that competitive; each person has to make as many routes through Germany as possible. The players don't interact with each other too much, but it's still fun. Ian and I teamed up to play this one (it's a four player game, and there were seven of us), and we made a couple of mistakes that cost us the win. Oh well - we'll know for next time.

It's a good thing I slept all afternoon, because it's quite late now :) It was a very fun evening, though.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My family doctor

So I saw my family doctor today. He said that I'm healed enough to both do activities I like to do (like, say, curling), and to start taking the Femara.

We talked a bit about me going back to work, and he said that he would sign me off for forever, if I wanted - I can choose to never go back to work. However, I would like to go back to work and to work while I can. Ian and I would like to do some traveling, and it's a bit easier to do that if I'm actually working as opposed to being on disability. As well, I'm only 37; I'd like to think that I can work for a while yet, that I'm not a complete invalid.

So now we just need to figure out when I'm going back. I'd originally thought about going back to work somewhere around the end of November, but I think that's too soon. Also, the stress of Christmas plus the stress of going back to work would be a bit much for me. Therefore, I'm looking at returning to work in the new year, provided, of course, that I respond well to the Femara. I feel good about this decision.

I also asked about driving; my doctor said that as long as my painkiller intake is stable, I can drive. My painkiller intake is definitely stable, as I'm taking 3-4 Oxycodone per day. I rarely take Percocet, although if I did I wouldn't be able to drive that day. I'm pleased about this news because Ian is having arthroscopic knee surgery on December 7 and I want to be able to take care of him then.

My doctor gave me the pathology and surgery reports from the surgery two weeks ago, and everything is normal. There was a bit of endrometriosis on the left ovary, which I wasn't too surprised to see as I'd consistently had pain there. Everything else, including my internal organs, was fine. Interestingly, they took out my fallopian tubes as well as my ovaries. The consent form that I signed didn't mention them - in one place, they put "(BSO)" (which stands for bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy), but they never explicitly wrote "salpingo" or "fallopian" anywhere; they only said oophorectomy everywhere something had to be specified. I know this because the nurse and I discussed whether the tubes were coming out when she reviewed my consent form, and she figured that they weren't. I don't need the tubes, so I don't care that they took them out. However, the fact that my surgery was not quite as I expected is kind of in keeping with the adventure that that day was. Sigh.

One funny bit in the surgery report was this sentence: "Sponge and instrument counts were correct." This came at the end of the report. I'm pleased to know that they didn't lose any sponges or instruments in me :)

In good news, I heard from the cancer centre. I have an appointment with a physiotherapist about the lymphedema next Wednesday at 2pm. I'm thrilled, because I'd been told that it would take 8 weeks to get in. The lymphedema has gone down a bit since the surgery, which is what I expected, but it could certainly come back. If it does, I'd like to know what I can do to minimize the swelling.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween travels

Happy Halloween!

I got up extra-early today as I had a dentist's appointment. It's the first dentist's appointment I've had since the cancer came back, so we had a lot to talk about. One of the side effects of the bisphosphonates is osteonecrosis of the jaw. It happens more commonly with the IV type of these drugs, but there's a chance it could happen with the pill form that I'm currently taking. And it could happen that I wind up taking the IV form if I don't tolerate the pill form well, so we need to keep an eye on this. I'll be seeing my dentist every 4 1/2 months to make sure that my teeth are still ok. Next time I see her, she'll do a big xray of my whole head that we'll use as a baseline to track changes to the bones.

Also, since we need to be sure that my teeth are strong and cavity-free, I have to get a fluoride rinse to be used every day. And since the lack of estrogen in my body can cause dry mouth (which happened while I was on Tamoxifen), leading to cavities, I have to get some other stuff to keep my mouth moistened. Of course I have to drink lots and lots of water, too :)

Afterwards I went to the passport office. As of January 8, 2007, Canadian citizens traveling to the United States by plane will require a passport. I don't know that I'll be going there or anywhere else, but it makes sense to get a passport now, before the big rush in December. I should receive the passport in about two weeks.

When I got home, I had a big nap followed by decorating our place for Halloween. You can see our decorations here. They're not that great as the stuff we have isn't that expensive, but I think the overall effect is pretty good. We like to decorate the place a bit to encourage kids to come so that we can give out candy. This year, we got 42 kids, up from last year's 25. I'm pleased with that - I like seeing the costumes, especially on the little kids. They are so cute! Several people complimented us on our pumpkins as well.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pumpkins and sweater

We finished carving our pumpkins today. Ian did a much better job than I did :) The pictures are here. Mine is based on one of the orb spider pictures that I took earlier this year, and Ian's is the Frank the bunny head from Donnie Darko. It was fun to do the pumpkins; I was a little unfamiliar with the woodcarving tools, which meant that I was a little clumsy using them. I didn't hurt myself, thank goodness :)

I also finished the front of the sweater I'm making. This means that I've finished the front and the back and have only the sleeves to make. I was pretty impressed with myself; the yarn gives a subtle striped effect to the finished product, and I managed to accidentally match the stripes on the front and back :) There's no way that the sleeves will match, but at least the body will all look the same.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


As you know, Halloween is only two days away. We usually decorate our doorway a little bit by putting up some lights and some of that spider-web stuff, as well as a pumpkin. We usually design our own pumpkin pattern. Last year, we did Skeleton Jack from the Nightmare Before Christmas. I think the year before we might have done a dragon pattern that a friend of ours designed for us.

Today we spent time designing not one, but two pumpkin patterns - one for me, and one for Ian. I'm not going to tell you what those designs are; you'll have to wait for the pictures tomorrow, provided they work out :) I will say this: Ian's is more complicated than mine, but they're both quite technically interesting.

We also ran around all over the place looking for pumpkins. We didn't want to buy a pumpkins until after we knew what design(s) we were going to do. One of the local grocery chains is (we went to two stores) completely out of pumpkins, but the other has lots. We were able to get a couple of reasonably good pumpkins, clean them up, scrape them out, and trace our designs on them. We also bought a woodworking carving kit because our pumpkin carving kit isn't fine enough for these designs. We'll actually do the cutting tomorrow.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Halloween party

We went to a Halloween party in Toronto today held by some university friends. It was a lot of fun. We got to see a number of people with whom we went to university, as well as a couple of people we'd never met. Everyone had to dress up in costume; you can see our costumes here. I think we looked pretty good. One couple dressed as "double-space", and another couple came as western-inspired characters. One person came as a coat-of-arms. He got 25 doll arms and safety-pinned them to his coat - it was creepy, but creative :)

The only thing that was hard is that the couple we didn't know brought their 7 1/2 week old baby. The baby was very cute and ate a lot (it was breastfeeding). I found being around the baby really, really hard, because it kind of made real the fact that I'm never going to have a baby that size or at that age. Given a choice, I might have wanted to be presented with this kind of reminder a bit later, since I only had the surgery last week. Then again, I enjoyed myself, so I'm glad I went anyways.

We've known since I first had chemo 6 years ago that we probably wouldn't have kids. After all, I'm getting up there in years now, and it wouldn't make sense to think about having a baby or anything until Ian is finished school (at which point I'd be over 40 - not really a good age to bear children). But until having children became completely impossible by having my ovaries removed, I didn't really need to think about it. The fact that this door is really closed will take some getting used to. I'm sure that, in time, I'll enjoy being around very young babies - just not for a little while yet. Right now it just makes me feel sad.