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.