Saturday, September 30, 2006

Emergency room dramas

The emergency department at the Grand River hospital in Waterloo almost closed tomorrow. The emergency department at St. Mary's in Kitchener was and is open.

Many of you know that there are not nearly enough family doctors in Ontario, but it turns out that there are also not nearly enough doctors willing to work the emergency room, either. There are only about half of the required doctors are available to work at either hospital. Compounding this problem is that Grand River pays the doctors on a per-patient basis, while St. Mary's pays a flat fee, and it seems that the doctors prefer the flat fee. Given the overwork at both emergency rooms, they were choosing to go to St. Mary's instead of Grand River, and so the Grand River emergency department was going to have to close.

So some miracle occurred today to keep the Grand River emergency department open. Hopefully that miracle is long-lasting. If not, then I don't know how they're going to solve this problem. The provincial government has taken some steps to try to get more doctors in Ontario, but I don't know if they've done enough. I don't know whether having only one emergency room in Kitchener-Waterloo is a good solution, unless the emergency rooms have enough space to handle double their current load without ridiculous wait times (which they already have).

This sucks a lot. The Grand River emergency department isn't all that good, but it is nice to have an emergency department at the hospital where my cancer centre is located. Hopefully they'll find a way to keep it open.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Why am I so tired?

How can I be so sleepy? For the last couple of days I've slept a lot. I slept for over 13 hours last night, and I could have had a nap again at 3pm. I feel like I've been run over by a truck.

I figure that must be coming down with something. I don't think that I'm depressed - I'm still interested in doing things, and I'm happy and positive most of the time. As well, the biopsy area is healing up well - there's no sign of infection or anything - so I don't think that it's the cause. My painkiller usage has also stabilized to reasonable levels - 0-2 Percocet and 4-6 Oxycodone per day. I know I was really tired when I was taking a lot of Percocet, but I'd think that with the stabilized usage that I wouldn't be so tired. I could be wrong, I guess.

Here's hoping that I'll be less tired starting soon :)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Yet another movie

We watched Bollywood/Hollywood today. It's the latest in a number of Canadian movies we've watched lately :) We both thought it was very funny. We'd rented a whole bunch of movies on the weekend so that I could keep myself busy while I was recovering from the surgery. We ended up watching them together, which wasn't completely in the original plan of me watching them while Ian was at work :)

Vicki was right - Ginger Snaps: Unleashed and Ginger Snaps: The Beginning were both shot in Edmonton. I thought I recognized that fort :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A couple of photos

Today I spent slightly less time sleeping than yesterday. I also needed fewer painkillers today, so I think that I'm actually getting better. Yay :)

There was a bug on our patio door today. It stayed there for hours, and so I took a couple of pictures of it. They're here. I don't know what kind of bug it is - maybe someone can identify it?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mostly sleeping

I spent most of today sleeping, which is not a huge surprise. I am feeling ok - I was able to go for a walk with Ian tonight - but I'm still in a bit of pain. I'll be happy to see this pain go away.

We watched Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning tonight. It wasn't as bad as we thought it would be :) We really enjoyed Ginger Snaps, the first movie in this series. This first movie had horror, gore, sex, and comedy, which, in the right combination, make for a good horror movie. The second movie, Ginger Snaps: Unleashed, did not have these elements and wasn't a particularly good movie in other respects :)

Another movie that has the right elements in the right combination for a really good horror movie is Cabin Fever. I highly recommend that one:)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sternal biopsies still aren't fun

Well, today's biopsy wasn't any more fun than the last one. In fact, it hurt quite a bit more during the biopsy this time than the last time. This might have been expected, given the amount of pain I've been experiencing lately. The biopsy procedure was pretty well the same as the last time, although there were a couple of tiny differences.

First, it took a lot longer to get started. Prior to beginning the biopsy, this doctor went and reviewed everything back to the bone scan, and he talked to my oncologist. He wanted to get all the information possible about what was going on before he got started. I guess he wanted to know why we'd done this in the first place and why we were re-doing it. I felt really good about this - it instilled in me a lot of confidence in his abilities.

Second, when he took the samples, it felt like he moved the needle differently than the other doctor had. It was like he rotated the needle around a pivot point partway up the needle. That felt really weird. I don't know whether this was good or bad, but it sure was different. He may have taken the biopsy from a slightly different angle, which may have accounted for this weird difference.

The doctor said that he thought he got good samples. He said that got the first one right in the lesion, and one right beside the first one at the edge of the lesion. I really hope that this is true - I don't want these biopsy experiences to have been for nothing.

I am still experiencing quite a bit of pain after the biopsy. We took the dressing off when we got home because of the blisters I got from the tape the last time. Poor Ian - he went to tape a new dressing on, and unfortunately he touched a really sore spot. I felt so bad because I cringed and he thought he had really hurt me. He didn't hurt me - it just plain hurts, even when I touch it.

In other news, the lymphedema is back in my left hand. You might remember that it was this lymphedema that I noticed in the spring that led to the MRI which found the tumour that ultimately led (in a roundabout sort of way) to today's biopsy. The swelling is still very subtle, but I am noticing it much more now than over the last couple of months. I'll have to talk to my doctors about this when I see them after Thanksgiving. Sigh.

On a non-cancer note, we watched Walk the Line this evening. It's quite a good movie about the life and times of Johnny Cash. I'd recommend it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


We saw Jet Li's Fearless today. It was really, really good. The story was plot were very well thought out and were easy to believe. The fight scenes was of course beautifully choreographed, since the choreography is by Yuen Wo Ping (who also choregraphed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Iron Monkey, The Matrix, and others). It appears to have been sort of based on a true story; at least, the Chin Woo Athletic Organization that was founded in the film really does exist. I wonder if the rest of the story is true.

Apparently it is Jet Li's last martial arts epic movie. Does that mean that he won't make any more Hong Kong martial arts epic movies, but Hollywood ones are ok? Or is he really done with martial arts epic movies and will be doing other kinds of movies from now on?

I'm less fearless about the biopsy tomorrow. I don't want to go through it again... sigh. But at least it'll be over tomorrow. If the results are inconclusive again, when we're not going to do any more biopsies, we'll just do the surgery. Still, I just want all this testing to be over so that we can start treatment. I'm looking forward to feeling better - which I will, once treatment starts.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Rented some movies

We decided to rent and watch some movies tonight since there was nothing on tv.

The first movie that we watched was Severed, a Canadian zombie horror movie. It's no Shaun of the Dead (or even Dawn of the Dead), that's for sure. It wasn't the best movie ever. The plot didn't make too much sense, none of the characters was particularly likeable, and none of the character's motivations were clear. The special effects weren't that good, either - there was a lot that looked like jello. It wasn't that gory, and we all like some gore in a good zombie movie :) As well, the timing was a little slow and it wasn't too suspenseful. I didn't get spooked at all during the movie. We did laugh occasionally, but I'm not sure it was supposed to be funny. I think this was released straight to DVD, and I see why :) I wouldn't recommend this film.

The second movie that we watched was District B13. It was a really, really good movie. It's a dystopian view of the future in Paris. It seems to be the natural extension of the riots that occurred in the suburbs there a year or two ago in that certain areas are blocked off and left to fend for themselves. The plot and characters make some sense; or at least, I was able to suspend disbelief to believe that it could be true. It's sort of a martial arts move, and the action scenes are amazing. The stunts are beautiful to watch; they're clear, crisp, and fluid. I would highly recommend this film. Note that it is a French movie, and so the DVD had both subtitled and dubbed versions available. While we usually prefer subtitles, the dialog moved too quickly for us to easily keep up. Therefore, we watched the dubbed version.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A woman and her pets

Every once in a while you hear about older women who collect a lot of pets (usually cats, it seems to me). A woman like this was arrested and committed for 72 hours of psychiatric observation in Kitchener the other day. They found over 4000 mice, 50 guinea pigs and rabbits, three turtles, and two pigeons in the house. They've condemned the house due to wiring damage from the rodents. All of the animals have been taken into custody by the Kitchener-Waterloo Humane Society. There is a story about this situation in the local paper here (I hope you can read it). I feel sort of sorry for the woman - she's clearly got issues. I wonder whether they can actually help people suffering from whatever she's got.

Unfortunately, the humane society doesn't have the resources to look after all of these animals. They've received free food and supplies from a local business, but they don't have enough resources for the increased staffing, vets, and ongoing upkeep of these animals in addition to the animals they already have there. I ended up donating money to them - I don't think that they're a registered charity, but I still wanted to help.

In the process of making my donation, I wound up with a PayPal account. I think I may be just about the last person in the Western world to have one - but then, I've never bought or sold anything on eBay :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

TV shows

Aside from the leaves changing colour, one of the best parts of fall is that favourite tv shows return and new ones start up. We haven't watched any new shows yet, but our favourites are coming back.

Tonight and every Thursday we're watching CSI, Mondays we're watching Project Runway, and Wednesdays we're watching Bones. Sundays we're watching the Simpsons, Family Guy, and War at Home (we actually do turn off the tv during American Dad). We're looking forward to Desperate Housewives returning this month, Doctor Who returning in October, and Battlestar Galactica returning in January :)

We're also excited about Top Chef, a reality competition show on Food Network, as well as Heroes, a show about "ordinary people discovering extraordinary abilities".

Yes, when we're not doing any of our many fun out-of-the-house activities, we watch a lot of tv :)

On a side note, I'm noticing a bit of shortness of breath lately. I'm wondering if it's related to the increase in narcotics I'm taking - I know that a side effect of them can be respiratory depression.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Young women's support group

I went to the young women's support group today. It meets monthly except in July and August. I really like the group - all of the women are under 45 years old, and so they have the same sorts of concerns, fears, and needs as a result of cancer that I do. Many of them have had breast cancer, but there are other kinds of cancers represented there, too.

It's really comforting to talk to people who have experienced a lot of what I'm going through or what I'm about to go through. I have found out a lot of information about the side effects of upcoming treatment from these ladies. It's also the first group I've been in where I feel comfortable crying, because I've seen several of them cry and it's perfectly accepted there. They're really welcoming, supportive people.

A particularly positive outcome today is that it turns out that I'm not the only person who dislikes the nurse I have to deal with at the cancer centre. Each doctor is assigned a Supportive Care Nurse, and this nurse is the primary point of contact at the centre for the patient. My nurse is neither caring nor supportive. She's not exactly rude, but she's not very nice, either. At least I know I'm not alone in finding her awful; I was worried about that. I know that I can be difficult and demanding (some might even say abrasive), and I was worried that I was somehow rubbing this nurse the wrong way. Usually I know when I'm doing that, though, and in this case I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. So I'm glad that this problem is not all me, at least :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Random happy thoughts

I'm feeling better about the Spirituality and Healing support group. I'm not a religious person at all, but I think I consider myself a spiritual one. I also felt much more welcomed in the group today - I felt that people listened when I shared, and I really appreciated that.

Today we talked about how terrible times can turn into blessings. There are many people who've had cancer or another major illness that say that the illness is the best thing that happened to them. They say that it forced them to stop and think, and to live more in the moment; that they enjoy life more and seek out experiences that they like. They cull out negative people and influences in their lives, and tend to fill their lives with positive people and influences. I think that this is true for me - I've been happier since my first cancer than I had been for years prior to the cancer. I don't know whether I would have been quite this happy had I not had the cancer.

And even though now I've most likely got metastatic breast cancer, I don't see this as all bad. I'm lucky, because my cancer is driven by my hormones and so we have a lot of treatment options ahead. The hormonal treatments that we're going to start with work for many people for quite a long time before they have to go on to something else. By the time things become more serious, I'm sure they'll have even better treatments than they do now - and people with much more serious mets than mine are living for years now due to the current treatments :)

Monday, September 18, 2006

The freedom to drive

One of the reasons that I hadn't wanted to start taking narcotics is that they make a person woozy. Ten years ago I'd never have said this, but I don't particularly like the woozy effect when it continues for days on end. I also knew that this effect would lead to a point where I'd be told that I wasn't allowed to drive.

And that point has come, at least for a little while. I saw my family doctor today. We're going to markedly increase the amount of oxycontin that I'm taking (from 2 per day to up to 8) so that we can decrease the amount of Percocet I'm taking (which is hovering between 5 and 10 a day). Because of these changes, my doctor says that I'm not competent to drive. Since I don't see my family doctor again until October 10, I'd think that I shouldn't be driving until at least that day. After all, his declaration that I'm not competent to drive would stand until he says that I am competent, right?

This sucks, though. I didn't want to have to give up the freedom of being able to hop in the car and go somewhere. Of course I've only had the car for two years, so hopefully I'll be able to remember how to do stuff without having a car - and of course Ian can drive me around if I need to go somewhere :)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pictures and videos

Since we were busy at the dragonboat event yesterday, we took it easy today. We spent most of the day taking pictures of the orb spiders around our place. We have five that are easy to see - four in the backyard and one in the front yard. I'm sure that there are other orb spiders at other people's houses, but maybe we're just lucky :) Today's pictures are here - most of them are mine, but a couple are Ian's. I'm quite pleased with the way that some of them turned out.

Ian also spent quite a lot of the day editing the dragonboat videos I took yesterday (when I'm not paddling, I'm videographer for the team) and editing the Silvermasters site. The videos are available here.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


The Stratford event, held today, marks the end of the Silvermaster dragonboat season. The Silvermasters came in 19th out of 66 in the event, which is a strong finish for the team. There were a number of very good teams there, as well as 12 breast cancer survivor teams. We were lucky to have a reasonably nice day; it was neither too hot nor too cold. It was overcast for most of the day but cleared up in the afternoon.

So here are the things I liked about the festival:
  • Lots of friendly local people turned out to watch. Many of the teams include people who live in Stratford, and so their friends and neighbours came out to watch.
  • The portalets were plentiful and cleaned often.
  • There were two flush toilets that were also cleaned regularly.
  • Recycling was available.
  • Free water was given to the participants after each race.
  • The event was well-organized. It ended up running a few minutes late which isn't too bad given that there were 66 teams competing in heats of up to 4, and that they started late.
  • The beer tent had a big tv that showed the finishes of each race, live.
  • There was lots of competition at every level.
Nothing's perfect... here are the things I didn't like:
  • The event ran a little long. It started at 8am and wasn't scheduled to finish until after 6pm, and then the awards ceremony is held afterwards. They could have done without the breast cancer challenge (the breast cancer teams tend to race each other anyways) and the women's challenge. This would have sped things up a bit. As well, they had 2 extra teams and therefore extra heats, which contributed to the lengthy day.
  • The female announcer. Her voice is rather annoying. Also, right when the teams finish each race, ashe asks them for a cheer or a yell and when they don't (because they've just paddled like crazy for 500m and are panting to try to catch their breath) she says things like the team doesn't have enough team spirit. She has improved over last year - she correctly calls the activity "paddling" instead of "rowing". Also, when she is repeatedly extolling the virtues of the beer tent, this year she mentioned that there were pop, coolers, and water there in addition to beer.
  • There were no programs. Normally each event prints up programs that might include team bios and sponsorship information as well as a timetable.
  • There were early delays due to megaphone issues (as in, the first two megaphones they took to the start line didn't work. What are the odds?).
  • The water in Stratford is awful - it's narrow, shallow, and, well, not that clean.
I'd go back to this event. It's one of the nicer ones that the team attends. Although I am glad that the dragonboat season is done for the year, and perhaps that makes this event all the nicer :)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Houses in my neighbourhood

I go for a walk around the neighbourhood just about every evening. I'm not getting much other exercise these days, and the walk is good for me :) On this walk I notice things like which houses are for sale and how long they've been listed. The housing market in Waterloo is still pretty hot, so things tend to sell reasonably quickly. If something hasn't sold for months and months, you have to ask what's wrong with the place.

There's this one house that has been up for sale for about three months. It has a path beside and behind it, a fairly large lot, and a bunch of trees. It's a single-family home, the area is quiet, and it looks pretty nice and well-kept from the outside. So why hasn't it sold?

I looked on the mls site, which allows you to search find all houses for sale in a given region in Canada. Houses like this one in this area are selling for around $330-350K. This particular house was listed at $420K, but the price has been dropped to $399K. The house itself is listed here. These pictures show a pretty nice house with the kinds of amenities you'd find in this area (well, the sauna is a little unusual, but some would say that it's a selling feature). It's a little expensive, but that shouldn't have necessarily stopped it from selling. There must be something that makes it worth the extra money.

The realtor has uploaded some additional photos for this house. They're here. I think the mystery is partly solved by careful perusal of these pictures. The first few photos show a nice house from the front and the entryway. The next couple show an underdecorated dining and living room. And then - whoa, what is that thing on the ceiling over the breakfast nook? Is that a real plant? That is some kind of decorating.

So not only is this house overpriced for this area, it isn't decorated in a way that would make it easily saleable. The pictures don't make it look particularly welcoming or cozy - and that thing in the breakfast nook, well, that's weird. The colours in the rooms come from the carpets, and those colours are a little strange. I watch a fair number of those decorator shows on tv, and they have redecorated quite a few homes that look like this in order to sell them. This house probably still won't sell for $399K, unless the realtor gets a decorator to makes them paint and put up new draperies and stuff. And who makes them do something with the unlandscaped backyard :)

Compare that house to the ones here and here, which are in this same area. These ones are much nicer and haven't been for sale for nearly as long. They're also quite a bit cheaper and will probably sell pretty quickly.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Long term disability approved

I called the insurance office today, and my long term disability claim is approved. Yay! I was a bit worried that the claim would be denied because it's a recurrence. I won't get paid until October 19 (they pay out monthly for the preceding month).

I expect to get the official letter saying that I was approved in the next week or two. At least this is something that's off my plate :) I'm glad that I don't have to worry about this now, especially since I don't expect to be back at work for a few months yet. Unfortunately, I can't live on no additional money :)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Saw my family dr today

My family doctor has taken me off the Duragesic patches because I'm getting blisters when I take the patch off. It isn't surprising that I'd have some reaction to the adhesive (I have trouble with adhesives), but blisters are really weird.

Anyways, he's now put me on Oxycodone (aka OxyContin), which is a time-release version of the narcotic ingredient in Percocet. I'll still be taking the Percocet as needed for breakthrough pain. So we'll see how this goes. I don't know what we'll try if the Oxycodone doesn't work, but I'm sure we'll try something.

I will be very, very happy when we finally figure out a set of painkillers that works and that doesn't have many side effects.

The biopsy has been scheduled for September 25, and I'm supposed to get the results from the oncologist on October 13. Does that seem like forever to anyone else? They're putting me in as routine and not urgent, which is really frustrating. Some people (like, say, me) might think that someone who's 37 and who's faced with a recurrence and possible bone mets should perhaps be considered a more urgent case. But perhaps I'm biased :) Or maybe the hospital needs a third classification - so they could have "urgent" (for those people who are in dire need of the service, and who are in danger of dying), "routine" (including elective tests and people who are definitely not in danger of dying), and maybe something like "semi-urgent" (not in imminent danger of death but not elective or routine, either)?

My family doctor also said that if they don't get results from the new biopsy that we'll just go ahead and remove my ovaries. So we're most likely looking at the oophorectomy towards the end of October.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

New support group

I went to my first Spirituality and Healing support group today. I knew one person from the previous group but I didn't know anyone else. All of the other people knew each other and had been participating in this group for years. At least one person had been going to the group for 5 years. Needless to say, that was a bit intimidating.

Each 6 week session has a theme, apparently (which is probably why people can take them for years and years), and this session's theme is Gratitude. It looks like the focus will be on being mindfully grateful for the good things that we each have.

I hope I like this group - I have some small reservations, because some of the people are a little over the top with the spirituality (although I did notice that those people tended to be very poetic). I don't know whether or not I believe in this spirituality thing that strongly. I think I don't disbelieve, so I guess I'm sort of neutral. I'll stick it out in the group for this session, and re-evaluate afterwards.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ian's back

I picked Ian up from the airport today at the crazy hour of 6:45am. He enjoyed his trip - apparently they gambled a lot and stayed up really late and stuff. He ended up winning enough to cover some of his expenses, which is pretty good :) He brought me back a Borg teddy bear which is very cute.

Anyways, because he hadn't had much sleep over the last few days, he ended up sleeping almost all of today. That's a shame, because I'd hoped to spend some time with him today as I missed him a lot while he was gone. There's always tomorrow :)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sleep (or lack thereof)

Note to self: if you sleep all day, it can be hard to get to sleep at night. I did finally get to sleep, but it was much later than I would normally go to bed. And then I got up at a semi-reasonable time.

Needless to say, I didn't do so much today. I did do some sewing, but I certainly didn't finish anything. I want to be sure that I'm good and tired for bedtime because I'm picking Ian up from the airport tomorrow morning at 6:45am. Since I didn't nap all day and I'm quite tired, I should be able to get to sleep and get a good rest tonight.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Orb spiders are back

Oh, and the orb spiders have returned. They're spiders that I've never seen anywhere except around here. They make really nice webs :) I took some pictures of one of them today; they're here.

Sleeping and movies

Today was very quiet - I ended up sleeping most of the day. I did manage to get the interfacing ironed on to all of the pattern pieces. It worked out that every single piece except two needed interfacing, so it took almost two hours to get the pieces prepared. I'll start sewing tomorrow.

I'm now watching Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut. Donnie Darko is an awesome, if creepy, movie. It may not be the smartest thing for me to be watching this movie alone at night, of course :) I must say that the bunny freaks me out - it's the scariest bunny I've ever seen. I'm expecting the director's cut to be even better than the original.

The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal of Brokeback Mountain fame. It also stars Mary McDonnell as his mother. She's the president in the first new season of Battlestar Galactica (also an awesome series :). Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze also make appearances in the film.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I wasn't expecting this

The oncologist's office called today. They didn't get a good sample on the biopsy last week, and so they're scheduling a new biopsy for me (probably a core biopsy again).

How much does this suck? Well, quite a lot. I was very upset after receiving the phone call, because I just don't want to have to go through the procedure again. Sigh.

The bright spot here is that the oncologist's office called me, without me calling them first - which means that the oncologist actually looked at the results before my appointment next Thursday. It also means that she took the initiative to determine the next steps. I'm very, very pleased with that. As well, I talked to a different nurse who is much, much nicer than the usual nurse.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Pattern preparation

I got the jacket pattern ready today. It took a lot longer than the skirt pattern, partly because there are so many pieces. I also have to make more adjustments to a top or jacket pattern than to a skirt pattern. This is because there are more pieces. Some of you may have noticed that I am shorter than average and so all of the main pieces have to be shortened.

Now, I'm sure that some of you are thinking that this isn't all that hard... and that's partly true. I know how much I need to shorten each piece, I know how to take amounts out (perpendicular to the grainline of the piece.... that's very important), I know how to "true" the seams, and I know enough to "walk" the seams afterwards to be sure things will still fit together. Even with all that, when taking out a lot (like I have to), it's important to make sure that the total amount removed is distributed over two or three spots on the piece. It's also important to make sure that the amounts I'm taking out are coming out at about the same point on both sides of a seamline. If these guidelines aren't followed, then the seamlines can end up distorted or the pieces don't fit together.

Those are just the basic fit adjustments I always have to make to any pattern. There are other adjustments that should be made because, well, some say I'm really short (I maintain that everyone else is giant-sized, but not many people are with me there). In particular, some design lines need to change a bit to maintain the right proportions. So, for example, if I have to take out 1/4" on the shoulder (which I do), and I'm shortening the lapel in two places, then I also need to make the lapel narrower by 1/8" or so. Otherwise, the lapel will look too wide and short once the jacket is done. Similarly, if a skirt has godets that are being shortened (which, coincidentally enough, is the case with the skirt I'm making), then I have to make them slightly narrower or else they'd be too wide.

Once I've got all the pattern pieces altered, I need to add seam allowances. These patterns come from the Burda sewing magazine, and the seam allowances are added after the pattern is traced out and modified.

So anyways, all of that's done for the skirt and jacket. Sounds like fun, huh? Tomorrow I'll cut out the pieces.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ian's away

I drove Ian to the airport today. He's off to Las Vegas for a bachelor's party and will be back on Monday morning. I'm so jealous - I'm sure he'll have a great time there :)

The driving tired me out quite a bit, though. It was rush hour on my way back, and I'm not used to rush hour traffic in Toronto these days. I ended up taking a roundabout route home so as to avoid the major 400-series highways, which were jam-packed with cars not really moving at all.

At least I have a new sewing project to keep me occupied while Ian's away; I'm going to make a lined blazer and skirt. I bought some gorgeous rose-brown stretch crepe and some pinky-brown flowered satiny fabric for the lining. I've finished the pattern adjustments for the skirt and will start on the adjustments for the jacket tomorrow. I hope the pieces turn out ok - I'm making some style changes to them to better suit me. Hopefully I know what I'm doing :)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Kicking it up a notch

My family doctor has put me on Duragesic 25 instead of the Tramacet. Duragesic is a 72 hour time release patch of Fentanyl, an opioid. So now we're finally into the narcotic pain relievers. I knew this was coming, but, well, I guess I was hoping to not have to do this.

It looks like the Duragesic I've got isn't going to be quite the right dose - the pain is still definitely there. My doctor also gave me more Percocet. I'm supposed to take it as needed for the pain and keep track of how much I'm taking so that we can tweak the dose of the Duragesic. I see him again next Wednesday.

The Duragesic is very powerful; so much so that people who aren't accustomed to opioids can't take it. There are very specific protocols for applying and disposing of the patch once it's used, because there have been recorded deaths of people who came into contact with the patch and who weren't accustomed to opioids. I'm a bit nervous about taking this drug along with the Percocet - I know how much Percocet I can handle, but not how much I can handle in combination with the Duragesic. Since Ian's going to Las Vegas tomorrow night, I've arranged for someone to check on me periodically for the next couple of days (normally Ian would do that). I'm sure I'll be fine, but I'd rather have this peace of mind while starting the new protocol.

I also talked to my doctor about the upcoming menopause. I have a family history of depression, and I've read that people with this kind of family history are more likely to experience a severe depression after the ovaries are removed. My doctor will be putting me on anti-depressants. He might wait until after the surgery, or he might start me on them next week. I think it might be better to start them before the surgery, to get them into my system. My doctor knows best about this, of course.

PS - I loved the sweater the cancer patient's wife was wearing on tonight's episode of House. It was a white raglan cable sweater with a shawl collar and ruffled front placket. It looks like it was knit with a double-knit weight yarn. It was quite lovely :)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Pain isn't so under control

Maybe the pain isn't as under control as I thought it was. For the last few nights, I've either had trouble getting to sleep or I've been woken up by the pain. I've had the dubious pleasure of seeing 4am on each of these days, and that's not all that fun.

The pain seems to be getting a bit worse, especially on the right side. The Tramacet is still doing some good, but it isn't holding the pain back completely anymore unless I go over the toxic levels, which I'm not willing to do. I just haven't been able to get the pain completely under wraps today, and I even had to cancel a lunch because it hurt too much. As well, I'm having to take more Percocet than I should to control the bad pain in the middle of the night. These are signs that the pain is no longer well-controlled.

Fortunately, I'm seeing my family doctor tomorrow. Hopefully we can figure something out.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Winter hobbies

I was thinking about my winter hobbies today. Last year, I curled in two leagues and also took bellydancing. I could easily fit all of those hobbies into my schedule this fall. Part of me still wants to be able to do all that, but I think it might be better to not overload myself. Also, the fees for all of those activities are due in the next few weeks, and I've only got a guaranteed income for the next couple of weeks. If my long-term disability is approved, then I won't receive a payment until mid-October.

Anyways, I've decided to only curl on Fridays, although I won't send in my form until after I get the biopsy results on the 14th. I can probably pick up the Thursday curling league in January, since they're almost always short of people. I can also take bellydancing again in January since there will be more courses offered then. If I had to choose between a second curling night and bellydancing, though, I'd choose bellydancing for some variety :)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Word obsessions

We went to see Wordplay today. It's a documentary about Will Shortz, the editor of the New York Times crossword puzzle and the people who solve these puzzles. There are people that can solve the NYT crossword puzzle in 5 minutes! I can only solve the Monday and sometimes Tuesday puzzles. I can barely attempt the weekend puzzles, and these people can solve them in almost no time at all. The documentary focused on the annual crossword puzzle tournament held in Stamford, Connecticut each year. I guess people will compete at almost anything.

The documentary itself is pretty good. I actually prefer Word Wars, which is about people who participate in the National Scrabble Association tournament each year. The people that that documentary followed are much geekier and stranger than the crossword puzzle people. Those crossword people had jobs and talents other than just their word obsessions :)

Friday, September 01, 2006


We went to see Spamalot with some friends tonight in Toronto. It's a good thing I didn't have surgery today, because I wouldn't have been able to go and we'd already decided to get the tickets :)

The trip to Toronto was slightly adventurous. We'd decided to take the subway into downtown because we don't like driving in the downtown core. It took us a little while to find the subway station because we weren't sure exactly where it was. Once we found it, there was a really long lineup at the cash booth. Everyone was buying Metropasses because it is the first of the month. We needed to get some subway tokens and so we stood in line for 20 minutes. The guy in front of us was really impatient and yelled something at the fellow in the booth and walked away. It was pretty funny - he had exact change and so didn't even have to wait in line. But he waited anyways - so whose fault is it that he was so delayed? :)

So instead of staying quiet, the fellow in the booth started yelling at this guy who was walking away. He was saying things like "if you have something to say to me, then stay here and say it!" and "don't you walk away, you chicken!" and "come back here and see what it's like in here!" Only in Toronto. And maybe New York :)

Then on the subway we saw a guy roll a joint, pop some pills, and prepare a needle, all in plain view of everyone on the subway car. I don't think I've ever seen such a blatant display in public. I think I'm glad I don't live in Toronto.

The show was pretty good. The costumes were very sparkly, which I liked. The songs were ok - it was a very self-referential musical, which can be quite funny. Overall, we enjoyed it. The drive home was uneventful, thank goodness :)

The pain is well under control now (not that I was going to let a little pain stop me from going tonight).