Thursday, August 23, 2012

Great news.. and sad news

On Tuesday I saw my oncologist and got some great news: my tumour markers are steady at 33. Yay for low tumour markers! My blood counts are all normal although my calcium was a little bit low (but still within normal). She cautioned me to always, always take calcium because two people have died while taking it. One person had low kidney function and the other had never taken calcium at all. I have a good supply of calcium pills and I'm taking them in the mornings.

I wanted to write about my oncologist's appointment but when I got home I discovered that four of my friends had died since last Wednesday and I was alternately in shock and grieving. I knew that two of the women were close to their end because they were in hospice but I was terribly shocked and saddened to know that the other two had died.

I'm still not finished processing these deaths. I slept until 3pm yesterday - I was tired before this terrible news but I didn't think I was "sleep all day" tired - out of the shock and grief. Today I had metalsmithing class but when I was getting ready to leave I just started sobbing ... at which point I knew that I couldn't go out and see people. I needed to stay home and cuddle my dog.

How can I still be alive when so many have died? It's so unfair.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dermatologist appointment

You might remember that I had a biopsy of the thickened skin on my left breast a while back and the pathologist thought that I had grannular annulare of the interstitial type, maybe. Well, I saw the dermatologist today and he thinks that I have morphea, a type of scleroderma, instead. This condition, which is also thought to be an autoimmune condition, is quite rare and can be caused by radiation therapy. Who knew?

I'm sure there are differences between the two conditions but I'm not sure what those differences might be. The dermatologist wants to do another biopsy to confirm his theory that I have this morphea thing. That's scheduled for September 4 in his office.

He warned me that whatever is causing my ugly breast syndrome, it's unlikely that it can be treated so I'll be stuck with it until or unless it resolves or fades on its own. I'm a little upset about that because I'm very self-conscious about how ugly that breast is. The thickening has also changed the shape and position of the breast it looks more like a bolt-on (or breast with an implant) and it's quite rigid. The rigidity means that I'm not able to pad it out in a bra anymore, which is frustrating. The breast also hurts and the skin itches like crazy.

If the breast issue turns out to be a form of scleroderma, there's a research group in Hamilton for people with scleroderma. That's something.

What are the odds of someone having cancer and two separate autoimmune diseases? I wonder if there's something connecting all of these conditions. Where's Dr. House when I need him?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Another Olympics over

The Olympics is over again. I've spent the last two weeks watching various sports instead of working on this or that. Now I'll have no excuse for not getting something done!

I liked the coverage of the various events at the beginning of the Olympics but towards the end it seemed like they showed more and more commercials. For example, we could only see about two-thirds of the dives in the Men's 10m Diving Final because TSN aired commercials during the other third. I found this to be very frustrating. I was able to watch almost all of the Men's 10m Diving Preliminaries so why couldn't I see almost all the dives in the final? I know that the Final was on Saturday so presumably viewership was higher but I would have been happier if fewer commercials were shown. I might have even been a bit more tolerant of the coverage if they'd broadcast new commercials but they showed the same old ones that had been showing during the entire Games.

This Olympics was broadcast by CTV and its partners TSN, SportsNet, OLN, and other non-English station. CBC has the rights to broadcast the next Olympics and while I hope that they'll have as many partners broadcasting coverage, I also hope they show fewer commercials. I know they have to make money and all but there must be a better way to balance prime-time coverage with commercials.

The Closing Ceremonies, like much of the Opening Ceremonies, focused on music. There were quite a few live performances, including a surprising one by Eric Idle! He sang Always Look on the Bright Side of Life which was very well-received by the crowd: even Kate Middleton was swaying back and forth and whistling the whistling bits!

Rio, who will be hosting the 2016 Games, did a small segment to show the world what's coming in four years. As I recall, the London segment during the Beijing games was kind of lame. The Rio segment this year wasn't so much lame as it was kind of incomprehensible because it was so much like the rest of the ceremony except in another language. I'm sure their Opening Ceremony will be compelling in its own way.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Our long weekend

This past long weekend was very fun and productive for all of us. I met up with a friend and a couple of her friends for a delicious lunch at Yorkdale on Friday. When I'd said that Friday was better for me, it didn't occur to me that it was the Friday of a long weekend and that traffic might be bad with people heading up to the cottage for the long weekend. I've definitely driven through worse traffic but this was as bad as anything I've had to drive in for a long time. Normally the drive to Yorkdale takes about an hour and ten minutes or so and it took closer to an hour and three quarters each way.

Fortunately the trip was worth it. Lunch was delicious and I had a great time with my friend and her friends. I hit it off really well with one of them and we were in stitches laughing almost the whole time. It was great :) 

I also finally picked out a paint colour for my sewing room and we got the room painted this weekend! I chose Benjamin Moore's CSP-370 (Picket Fence). It's a light taupe colour, I guess. One thing I like about it is that it's a full-spectrum paint, meaning that it contains pigments from each colour in the spectrum and contains no black. Full spectrum paints read more like daylight colours and interact with the surrounding light and colours much more than regular paints do. As well, the shades are more luminous with subtle tones because all of the pigment colours are mixed in the final colour. 

We painted the ceiling and put two coats on the wall over the weekend. I love it! The ceiling has one of those california finishes with plaster scraped on and I think it looks so much better once it's painted. The shadows are softer. The wall colour looks fantastic even with the yellow subfloor and I know that once the floor is in it'll look just the way I wanted: welcoming and calming with some colour (but not so much that the colour would overwhelm the fabric).

Even Gozer had a productive weekend. We found her trying to eat a small rodent of some kind that had been dead for a while on Sunday. Then on Monday we found her with blood all over her face with a freshly dead mouse in front of her. I'm familiar with cats that kill and eat mice and birds but it never occurred to me that our cute little dog would kill them - especially since it seemed like she couldn't catch them. Apparently she has hunting skills we didn't know about.

In and around all of these adventures we watched the Olympics. I do love watching the different sports although I prefer watching gymnastics and diving. The timed sports like swimming and running are interesting but I like the sports that require some artistry. I'll watch just about anything, however.