Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday to My Beautiful Daughter

The barbecued corn at the crab-fest was very good, too!

I was able to enjoy some summer drinks with friends on the weekend since I wasn't taking the Tylenol II's with Codeine. They weren't working anyway. I'll phone my Doctor tomorrow and see what he recommends next. It was such a nice weekend to be at the lake and it was SO nice to have a fun, relaxed weekend with good friends and their lake neighbours. I really wish I'd had my camera with me on Friday night when we were out on Rex's boat fishing. The sunset was absolutely gorgeous ... bright pinks and purples ... and was reflecting brilliantly in the water on the lake ... with the trees silhouetted against all that colour. It was SO beautiful. There was a wedding on the beach and they couldn't have ordered up a nicer evening and a prettier sky.

This week will be busy. Luke gets home from California tomorrow night. The Scorpions field lacrosse team won 24 straight games (including previous years) before losing their 25th game, knocking them out of the finals. Very disappointing for them. Luke said they lost to a team they had beat handily before but that they just didn't play very good. That happens. So they placed 3rd at the tournament. Another unfortunate situation is that several of the SWAT (box lacrosse) players were away in California playing field lacrosse when they had their Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League final in Calgary. The SWAT lost in the final placing them 2nd in the league. It's too bad the Calgary team hadn't agreed to play another weekend. It would have been more sporting. Still, the SWAT posted close scores considering they were missing so many players. I see that Canada lost to the USA in a very close final at the FIL World Lacrosse Tournament in Manchester England on Saturday, too. All round, Saturday was a bad day for lacrosse. And for the Riders.  Bah humbug!

So this week, I'll see about trying a new drug. I'll work hard to get Hannah's room ready for her arrival on Sunday night! It's the room that became the dumping ground during my main floor cleaning spree. I won't have the weekend here to get ready because we have a wedding in Regina on Saturday.

Happy Birthday, Hannah, 
my beautiful girl!
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Appetizers ... Not Only Cute ...

... but tasty, too!

There was a crab-fest at Emerald Lake on the weekend. Not being a seafood kind of girl, I took my own chicken skewers. Crab sure looks messy! I should have taken a picture of the tables in the aftermath! Good thing it was nice enough to eat outside, good thing everyone wore bibs, and good thing Erin thought to cover all of the tables with paper that could just be bundled up with all the mess inside and thrown away!

I took appetizers and these were them. I hadn't made either one before. They looked nice and they were really good, too, if I do say so myself. I'll make them again. Did I mention that they were really easy to make? Well, they are. Here are the recipes.
Greek Salad On A Stick
  • 1 container of cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 small jar of while pitted black olives - each one cut in half
  • cucumbers (The recipe called for "Persian" cucumbers. Since I don't know what those are, I used the skinniest English cucumber I could find) cut in rounds or chunks
  • 1 container of feta cheese - cut cheese into squares
Put one of each of the above on a toothpick in the order listed with the feta forming the base.

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon oregano
  • freshly ground pepper
Shake the ingredients together vigorously and then drizzle over the skewers just before serving.
Drunken Grapes and Goat Cheese
  • 1 bunch seedless grapes (green or red)
  • 1 large package of goat cheese (I used goat cheese with fig - good choice, I think)
  • 1/4 cup chopped and toasted pecans
  • 2 cups Bourbon
  • dash of freshly grated nutmeg (optional - I forgot to add this)
  1. Marinate the grapes in Bourbon for at least 6 hours but up to 2 days.
  2. Roll the goat cheese into 1 inch balls. Refrigerate these to set them. (I got 50 out of one pkg of goat cheese so then knew to marinate 50 grapes with just enough Bourbon to cover them). 
  3. Shortly before serving, roll the cheese balls in pecans to coat. 
  4. The recipe then suggested heating them at 300 degrees F for about 3-5 minutes or just until warm. We decided not to heat them for fear they would be too soft. 
  5. So, skipping that part, we went straight to skewering them with decorative party pics as shown.
They were both VERY yummy!

ps: I never had a chance to "save" the Bourbon used to marinate the grapes. Some people drank it lickity-split!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies

Yes, you read that right.  Peanut Butter. Bacon. Cookies. AWESOME!

Some of you will swoon at the thought and some of you will grimace. If you like peanut butter and bacon sandwiches as much as I do, you'll get VERY excited!

A treat for many of us in my family has been to reserve a couple of strips of bacon from breakfast, spread peanut butter on a piece of toast, fold those strips of bacon in the middle and ... indulge! Mmmmmm ...

I've had this recipe sitting in my "someday file" for a while now and tonight was the night. They're so easy. And they're so decadently yummy. Of course, this is not one of those nutritious recipes people combating cancer or trying to prevent its return should be indulging in, but I promise to only have a couple. Kevin has already sniffed them out. They won't last long. The recipe only makes about slightly more than a dozen cookies, which is just as well.

The recipe can be found at Joy the Baker's website (adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook) 

Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies
  • 1 cup peanut butter (see note below recipe)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  1. Prepare a baking sheet parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Mix peanut butter and sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the egg and baking soda and mix for another 2 minutes.
  4. Fold in cooked bacon.
  5. Roll into large walnut sized balls, roll in granulated sugar (optional), place on baking sheet and then press with a fork in a criss-cross pattern.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
  7. Cool on a baking sheet for five minutes before lifting onto a rack.
These cookies are very fragile when they come out of the oven so don't even try moving them until they've had a chance to cool a bit.

*I would like to try using natural peanut butter but since I only had Kraft Smooth on hand, that's what I used. I think Crunchy peanut butter would be optimal.


Lemon Blueberry Scones

I finally made that scone recipe again, this time with dried blueberries as called for. Last time, if you recall, I used currants.

I haven't tasted them yet, but they look and smell good. Here's a link to the recipe if you want to make them.

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R.I.P. Otto

How we'll miss him!
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UDP - Unidentified Dishwasher Parts

If you know what these are for, please let us know. Thanks!
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Bad News ... Good News ... Sad News ...

Pink Monkey Paws. I like it!!

This week is a real drag, I must say. I'm sure it's this Codeine that's making it so hard for me to stay awake during the day. I just want to curl up in a ball somewhere and go to sleep. Unfortunately, there's no place to do that at work, otherwise I would take a nap while I'm there just so I can function better while I'm awake. I know I'd be more productive if I could just have a short nap.

Being so sleepy wouldn't be so bad if these Tylenol II's with Codeine were otherwise working but I don't feel any difference in my limbs. Nothing. Nada. How discouraging! My doctor told me that if they were going to work, I'd notice the effect right away so I don't think it's a matter of waiting for them to kick in. I'll keep taking them until tomorrow afternoon and then I'll stop. I can't drink alcohol while taking them and since they're not working anyway, I plan on having some summer drinks at the lake this weekend! I can't wait to be at the lake with good friends ... the Rider game ... water ... boats ... fishing ... cards ... fires ... good food ... laughs. And drinks!!

More good news is that we finally have a dishwasher again after being without for a couple of months. It was delivered last night and I had a load of dishes saved up for it. What a difference from the old one! It came with a couple of parts that we can't identify and there's nothing in the manual about them. I'll post a photo in the hope that someone out there can tell me what they're for.

Some VERY sad news is that our pal, Otto, died. He was hit by a vehicle at the farm ... probably while chasing a rabbit or some other critter. He wasn't a car chaser. We are all MOST sad. He was the only pet (besides fish) in the family. We're all going to miss him so much, but Darrel and Lynn especially will. RIP, Otto.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What We've Been Up To ...

As a reward for working so hard and getting so much accomplished at home last week and after Kevin got home from his fishing trip on Friday night, we jumped in the car Saturday morning and drove to Edmonton to watch Luke and the SWAT play lacrosse. They lost their game by 1 point on Saturday afternoon and won by one point in double overtime on Sunday morning meaning they had to play a third game later on Sunday. Unfortunately, Kevin needed to be in Nipawin Sunday night so we had to come home after the morning game, though Sharon very kindly gave us regular updates via texting to keep us up to speed with the game, which they won. This means they play a Calgary team to determine the league championship.

It was nice to get out of town for the weekend. We didn't do much except watch lacrosse and have dinner with the Naylors and some of the players. We had half an hour to spend at IKEA and that was it. Home again. I like road tripping, so it was all good.

Yesterday I got the results from my recent bloodwork, which came back negative for arthritis. Whatever markers they look for, I don't know, but I was just told it didn't show up in my bloodwork. My doctor is getting me in the queue to see an arthritis specialist. Meanwhile we're trying a new medication ... Tylenol II's with Codeine (less powerful than the morphine that seemed to make a difference earlier, but in the same opiate family). I started them tonight. No difference yet. I take a 2nd dose soon. I hope they don't make me too sleepy during the day. I had a lot of trouble getting through the day yesterday and had to sleep for a couple of hours after work. I was pretty much useless yesterday at work just because I was so tired. I really should have come home earlier but I was manning the office on my own so felt I should stay. I did a little better today but was still very sleepy. I can't afford to be even sleepier during the day.

I got my other bloodwork report from when I saw an oncologist early in May. I requested my bloodwork results after I broke out in shingles again last week. The breakout suggests my immune system is still compromised. Things might well be different now (2 months later) but the report says my MPV (blood platelets) and lymphocytes were below normal. If that's still the case, it would explain my vulnerability to infection and delayed blood clotting, which I noticed recently when the surface of a teeny scab on my leg came off last week and bled ... and bled ... and bled. It struck me as ridiculous at the time. The report also indicated that my liver enzymes were higher than normal. Maybe that's to be expected by being on Tamoxifen? Just guessing. Nobody talked to me about my bloodwork so I guess I can assume that the highs and lows are no big deal or are, at least, to be expected. Still, I'm curious about them and will ask when I get the chance just so I can better understand what it all means.

Our garden isn't terribly interesting this summer. While the pansies and lilies seem very happy in this cooler, rainy weather, a lot of other blooms seem to be going nowhere fast. We haven't fertilized because we haven't needed to water. It's been a very different summer than we're used to, though I must say I haven't really minded. It's nice that our house hasn't been too hot in the evenings. I don't tolerate the heat as well as I used to before all of this breast cancer business. I used to say "bring it on" when it came to summer heat. Now I'm a little less enthusiastic. Shucks!

Luke leaves for Sonoma, California bright and early tomorrow morning. This year he goes as part of the coaching staff instead of a player.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Making Like This Ant

... working my tail off!

I got so much done this week while Kevin was away! My house feels so much more hospitable to life! I needed that. You may have guessed, though I didn't actually say so, that I took this week off work just to reclaim my home. I didn't tell people I was taking the week off ... it was a bit of a last minute decision ... because I knew I just needed the time to work on my home environment and I had to make every minute count. I think I was feeling just a tad depressed about not being able to get my home back in shape after being away for those 2 weeks at the end of May and beginning of June. With moving into full time work again and with my other lingering issues, I just couldn't manage it. And if I can't get any housework done on a weekend, I'm cooked. So ... I had to do this. I just had to.

With frozen shoulders and other limitations including a certain lacking in limberness, it takes me longer to do things than it used to and I sometimes have to invent new ways of doing things, too. I'm very happy with what I got done this week and it's made such a difference to my sense of well-being just to have some order in my house! It was worth using vacation days for it. I don't mind being in my house anymore!

Thursday night I did take a little bit of a break from housework and grabbed a nice dinner out with Lynne followed by a movie. Take a tissue if you go to see Toy Story III! I think it's a particulary well-done series of animated movies.

Luke has been waiting for an opportunity to mow our lawn since Kevin left last Friday and tonight ... only a couple of hours before Kevin got home ... was his first window of opportunity! Between his work, lacrosse, and rain, there really hasn't been any other time! He came home directly from work ... a day of jack-hammering ... and mowed the lawn. Thanks, Luke! I was glad to have it done before Kevin got home.

Kevin got home at 7:00 and it sounds like they had a great fishing trip! He shaved before he got home so I didn't get to see his fishing face this year. Rats! It's good to have him home ... home to a nicer home than when he left.
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Isn't Norma's garden pretty? Wait a minute ... is that ... could it be ... ? Eve? With an appropriately situated fig leaf?
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Noshing With Norma

Norma invited me to "tea" with her today even though we didn't have tea. It was too hot today for tea. It was lovely to sit in her solarium and look out over her garden ... birds flitting about all over the place! Her home is so beautifully decorated and is such a soothing environment. It's her colour choices and general sense of style. As you can see, Norma has a keen eye for design and has a special flare to everything she does and she exudes positive energy. I wish I had half her energy!

We commiserated over frozen shoulders ... both of hers have been frozen, too. We chatted about this and that. And oh, we laughed! Norma has so many crazy stories. You really should hear her tell about having her husband help her get pantyhose on when her shoulders were too frozen to do it herself. My God! If that isn't a sitcom episode already on some show, it should be!

And I love her lingering Scottish lilt. I should tape her saying "girl" ("gairl" with a gently rolled "r") and just listen to it over and over again.

It was lovely to spend some time with Norma and be inspired by her approach to life ... many interests, many talents, much laughter, and beauty in everything and to soak up a bit of her soothing environment.

I hurried home to clean bathrooms! Oh, joy.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fun With Luke!

I bet you didn't know Luke had such a hairy back! It looks like he needs a good waxing! Instead he stood outside and we brushed the hair off with a towel. It's actually the trimmings from his hair cut. I cut his hair for the very first time EVER!! Well, it was less cutting and more shearing. He bought one of those electric shearing things because "haircuts cost too much" and "they're not usually very good anyway". So Luke sat in a chair in the middle of the kitchen and I sheared him. It looks pretty good if I do say so myself!

I made his lunch for tomorrow after he went to bed. Tee hee ... I even slipped a pink napkin inside. Oh, fun with Luke!

More progress was made tonight. My bookshelves and the cluttery computer desk look so much tidier. The trunk of our car is almost bulging with items permanently removed from the house! Norma informs me that I'm not so much de-cluttering ... I'm "editing". Whatever you call it, my home feels so much more peaceful already and I feel much better, too ... well, aside from all the nasty bone/joint/muscle/tendon issues. But we're working on those.

Can you believe all this rain?!!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Surprise for Kevin

Yes, I've been VERY busy since Kevin's gone fishing. No dramatic room redecorating projects but some little changes that make ME happy, at least. And I think Kevin will be VERY happy with this particular project, too. Now tell me, which of these bedside "tables" would you rather have?

For at least 20 years this old organ bench has been Kevin's bedside table. To be fair, mine wasn't much better, it being an old tv stand. We've been passively looking for bedside tables for years but have not been able to find anything suitable. We've sometimes found ones we've liked but I object to spending a small fortune on bedside tables. I just won't do it. I'd rather use a cardboard box until I find something more reasonable. But since we got our new bed, which is higher than our previous one, I've been making a more concerted effort. Kevin and I found one last year ... intended for Luke's room and it was there ... until we got our new bed. I'm delighted that it is now MY bedside table and Luke has the old tv stand. And this week I found this one for Kevin. They don't match but I'm okay with that. I'm not all about being "matchy matchy". The bedside lamps match and, in my eyes, that brings it all together. Kevin's bedside table is more masculine and has the added benefit of drawers, which in our old house (meaning very tiny closets) is especially ideal. My bedside table is more feminine and I love having a drawer on my side to keep my book(s)-in-progress in. Still, if I find another one that suits our room better, this one will still look great in Luke's room. I love having options.

Kevin's bedside table is what I spent my splurge money on ... only two thirds of my splurge winnings, at that! It was a good deal at Pier I where we got the other bedside table, too. I often find Pier I too expensive for my sensibilities but I sometimes look because occasionally there are good sales and I'm not above buying "slightly damaged" when I think I can do a little "fix-up" or live with a scratch that would probably happen in our house anyway. This table had a little scratch on the top but because it has a slightly aged treatment to it already, just a little colour rubbed into the scratch made it almost disappear! YEAH! The table on my side of the bed was also a "slightly damaged" one from Pier I except that we didn't know it was damaged until we opened the box it came in. Initially I was dismayed but Kevin did a little patch job on the damaged corner and while it's still noticeable, I'm okay with it. I like it anyway. I didn't put in in our room initially because the green does not work in our room but because our room is kind of "darkish", it blends well enough for my tastes. The photo makes it look more stand-out green than it looks without the photo flash.

And oh, those photos on my table? Aren't they lovely? HA! Well, they're not anyone I know! They're the photos that came with the frames. I'd been looking for some frames that would suit my table and I found these at HomeSense. I'm still in the process of choosing photos for them but, in the meantime, these people look like people I'd like to be related to.

This is the most like a real room our bedroom has looked since we got married. Now, if I could just find a headboard. That's my next goal. Before the year is out, I plan to have a headboard for the first time in my life! I'm thinking upholstered but am not opposed to metal or wood. I believe Kevin imagines wood and is opposed to metal. I wonder what we'll end up with?

And I bought a mat for the front entry hall this week, too. Again, I've been looking for a long time for something that fits that space with no luck. Finally I bought two half mats and butted them together to make a circle. I like it. It's cheery. I wonder if Kevin will be so enthused with my work that he'll want to prep and paint the entry way?

I'm looking at paint chips right now!!


Monday, July 12, 2010

Lilies Bursting With Beauty!

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Busy As A Bee

The reclaiming continues. I'm feeling very happy about my progress.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

While You Were Out

After I had my blood taken at the lab on 8th Street yesterday, I popped into the Co-op next door to pick up a couple of things. I've never been to the Co-op on "game day" before! WOW!! If you haven't either, you should. Next "game day" go check it out! There is Rider stuff EVERYWHERE! All the staff wear game day t-shirts. It's very festive! It was positively cheering just to be there! And I bought Co-op Rider Ripple chips which were featured along with "Green" toilet tissue. HA!

The game was exciting!

So, on Saturday, aside from running a couple of errands in the afternoon, I stayed home. I'm reclaiming my house. I got a lot done. It feels good. Luke was away for the weekend playing lacrosse in Alberta (they won both games ... yeah!) and Kevin left on his annual fishing trip. I had the house to myself and that is absolutely the best possible time to make any headway in a project such as this.

Usually, when Kevin goes on his fishing trip, I plan a big "while you were out" project. After the shock of the first one I did, he would get very nervous about going away and would sometimes beg me not to do anything, which doesn't say much for his confidence in me, does it now? The first time I painted our bedroom ... with Don's help on that large 9 foot high ceiling. This might not sound like any big deal but when you live in a house that was built in 1915 and all the walls are plaster, the biggest part of the job was filling cracks and sanding, often from atop a ladder. The next year I thought I'd do the living room but that turned out to be a little tricky. With Mom's help, I removed the mirror from over the fireplace (no small feat) and it was a bit of a mess behind it. I think it must have been there since the house was built! And then again, high ceilings, plaster, cracks, putty, a room-wide valance to remove ... it all got a little tricky and a bit too much for me. I got it started and then Kevin came home to a disaster and had to do most of the finishing. I think he was happy with it when he was done but when he got home and saw the mess I don't think he was so thrilled. Nonetheless, it does seem to be a way to get some projects done every year. Last year there was no such project for obvious reasons. This year my only plan is to WOW him with how clean, tidy and de-cluttered our house is when he gets back. Well, that's a pretty big WOW factor, I think, though it's not nearly so exciting as redoing the bathroom or painting the up and downstair halls ... or something like that. And, if I get time, I'll try to do some garden work, too. He'd be really happy if I did that.

So, I got a good start. Our family room looks much improved. I moved the furniture around a bit. I've cleaned out drawers in cabinets in both dining rooms, stacks of papers have been sorted through and properly filed or heaved. I've tossed almost all my breast cancer information. A lot of it had accumulated. It actually felt felt very good to throw it away. BE GONE!! This feels a bit like purging my home of illness and making it a normal family home again. Well, as normal as a home with a kitchen like ours can be, that is. Our kitchen. Definitely NOT a "while you were out" project.

Today my only break from the cleaning action was dinner at Don and Sylvia's, which was delicious and a nice break. I hadn't seen them for a while. Their garden is looking fabulous with lots of new things happening. Thanks, Don and Syl.

Today my bike injuries have mostly healed. There's just a rough patch of skin on my chin, a big contusion on my shin, a couple of teeny scrapes and very minorly sprained fingers and wrist. Nothing worse than the aches and pains I already have. So that's a relief. I'm so glad it wasn't worse! Someone would have had to commit me!!

Enough purging today. Time to sit back for a moment and enjoy my tidy surroundings.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Moving Slowly

I'm okay, despite feeling like I've been hit by a bus! My body aches all over. With all the little ouches, I wonder how I even fell that way, as in ... if I have a little scrape here, how on earth did a get a bump all the way over there?! There's only a little circle of road rash on my chin. It will heal quickly. My chin does hurt, though, so I must have smacked it pretty good on the sidewalk. At any rate, no real injury to worry about, thank God! Just a few additional aches and pains that I just didn't need to add to the mix. At least these ones will get better in a day or two.

I had hoped to get to the Farmer's Market this morning and meet up with a couple of friends but I cancelled all plans and will stick close to home today except for a couple of errands I need to run.

It's a day to start reclaiming my house. Slowly. Since that's the only way I move.

Flowers are wonderful for brightening one's day! These little guys are short-lived but cheery! I don't know what they're called. Don gave us some from his garden a few years ago.



Friday, July 9, 2010

Big Baby!

I've never had a bike helmet. I've always just been really careful. I avoid traffic, I don't bike very fast, I'm so cautious. But there's been much prodding by my colleagues to get a helmet and probably because of them I did. I started wearing it this week. The orange on it matches my bike. Otherwise, don't you think it looks like a curling rock? Kevin says he's going to make a handle to attach to the top.

Except for Monday when it was pouring rain, I've ridden my bike to work and back all week. Today on the way home I had a wipe out! With all the construction going on around campus, the usual bike routes are inacessible and so the routes are a bit awkward. Nonetheless, I've found a route that works quite well for me. There's a tricky bit at College Drive and Wiggins but I go slow and I stop and wait for traffic. I have to ride on the sidewalk for a little while on College and then there's one curb to maneuvre. There's a spot on the curb that's a little lower and it's easy to tell that everyone chooses that spot to go up on the curb. Today, on the way home, as I was approaching that little part of the curb, a much faster bike rider tried to pass me and access that part of the curb before me, forcing me unexpectedly to a higher part of the curb where my front tire caught and I fell. As I was falling, all I could think was "Nora said this could happen!" and "How lucky I have a helmet!". The other bike rider didn't even stop, which I thought was really horrible.

And man, did I hurt! But dignity stopped me from just sitting on the sidewalk and crying. I got up, gathered all the things that fell out of my basket, and got back on my bike. I thought to myself, "If I can just get myself to the other side of College, I'll stop and survey the damage and have a good cry if I need to. As it was, I just kept going. I just wanted to get home. What hurt the worst and hurt acutely was my left shoulder. It doesn't have much range of motion (because of it still being "frozen") and it was forced beyond where it can go. Oh man, it hurt. It still hurts but not so sharply. I have a nasty bump on my left shin and a I slightly scraped my knee and the heel of my left hand. My left wrist feels like it might be slightly sprained, though it's feeling a bit better into the evening. I took some tylenol, too, so maybe that's helping. I ever so slightly scraped my chin and my cheek. As I was falling, I could tell that my face was about me to meet the pavement so I did all I could to keep my chin up. It only just touched down ... just enough for the slightest little scrape. I hope it doesn't show. It's a bit tender.

Anyway, so much for my evening. That spill really took the wind out of my sails. I did have a good cry when I got home. I felt sorry for myself for a while and really angry at the other bike rider who was long gone by the time I got myself up off the sidewalk. So I've done nothing all night except make a short car excursion to the drug store and then I parked myself. It feels better to stay still. Very still. I'm quite sure I'll feel much better tomorrow, though. I'm lucky it wasn't worse.

It's actually been a mix of crappy and good day today, the good part being lunch at Quizno's with friends I work with. Things went downhill last night when I got "re-shingled". Yes, my third outbreak of shingles. ARGHHH!! I still had one of those Acyclovir pills left so I took it and called my Doctor this morning to get another prescription. They're expensive. Ten days worth cost $121.00. Good thing my extended health benefits covers them. Anyway, shingles explains why I've been so frustratingly tired the past few days. I wonder if my immune system is still low? I had to stop at the Champion Centre today to get my more Tamoxifen so I asked for a copy of my last bloodwork results (from early May) just so I could see for myself where I was at then. They'll mail them to me.

When I asked for more Tamoxifen at the Pharmacy in the Champion Centre, the person working there said I would need a new prescription and that it would take several days to arrange that. I didn't know I had to get a new prescription and since I don't have an oncologist assigned to me yet, I didn't know who to call about it either. I was a little distressed. I only have 4 pills left. I explained to the young woman at the desk that I hadn't understood that I would need a new prescription because I was told I would need to take it for the next 5 years. In my mind that meant a "5-year prescription". Nobody told me I would have to get it renewed every few months. She seemed quite settled on me having to wait until next week and tossed off a "there's no such thing as a 5-year prescription". I started to cry. Not as a tactic. I just couldn't help myself. I was having a shitty time and sometimes dealing with the Champion Centre can require fortitude. I didn't have fortitude today. Just walking in the building brings back a lot of difficult memories and feelings. The young woman excused herself and then called a pharmacist to the desk. The pharmacist was WONDERFUL. She was immediately understanding and compassionate. Right away, she said (twice), "Oh, no. You can't be without your Tamoxifen! Absolutely not!". She took care of it right away and directed me to the waiting room while she assembled my prescription. She said she would talk to an oncologist to make sure my prescription was updated and on my file. And then, because she was SO kind and helpful (that "kindness of strangers" really gets me), I cried even more and couldn't bring myself to go out to the waiting room with weepy eyes so I ducked into an empty side-room and waited until I could pull myself together enough. I just needed a moment and then I was able to sit in the waiting room. It just wouldn't be right to go out there all teary in view of families with young children who are obviously going through cancer treatments. It just wouldn't be right, while they're trying to have some laughs and keep the mood light. Soon the kindly pharmacist was back and I was able to leave the building (YEAH!) with my Tamoxifen. Sheeeesh! I loathe feeling so fragile!! I'm not all the time ... I don't think ... and often when I am, it takes me by surprise. I rarely know what will set me off. I HATE that!! I'll be feeling strong and cheerful and then, wham! Tears! Then again, after seeing Menopause, the Musical, I think that must be a typical symptom of menopause. The problem for me with all of that is I just don't know where cancer medication side-effects end and menopause begins. There is so much over-lap. What is natural for me and what is "just the medication"? There's not always the same, I know that. The oncological nurse warned me that people who don't normally experience hot flashes, for instance, will usually experience them while on the estrogen blocking drugs.

I also talked to my Doctor today on the phone about what to do about my still aching, stiff limbs. The last medication didn't work. What it did do is make me hungry all the time. It didn't actually upset my stomach, I just felt like I needed food in my stomach all the time. That was a bit distressing. I can NOT afford to gain any more weight! Absolutely NOT! I must have also retained more fluid on the drug than I knew. My feet and ankles were a bit puffy but I've lost 4 pounds since taking the last pill Tuesday night so I must have been retaining fluid all over. There certainly wasn't 4 pounds worth of fluid in my feet! I'm to go tomorrow and get some bloodwork done. My Doctor and I are both unsure whether this is still an Arimidex problem (since I was told the bad effects should have subsided by now) or whether it's something more permanent. Some bloodwork might give us some answers he hopes. After we get the results back, we'll decide what drug to try next. We discussed the frustration of not having an oncologist involved in helping get to the bottom of this.

Now I'm going to have a bath, soothe my bumps and scrapes, and go to bed. Hopefully, I'll wake up in the morning feeling less sore and less miserable in general. I plan to have a WONDERFUL weekend. I might not do as much bike riding as I'd planned, though. I'm now feeling a little bike-shy.

I love the blooms in the garden. This frothy bit of fluff is what's left over after a clematis blossom is spent. It's so pretty!

The first of the lilies have opened, with many more to come.

I'm loving these white begonias in our window boxes under the front window. I hope, with some heat, they'll grow a lot bushier.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sharing the Experience ... Oh Joy!

Well, that was fun! Erin, Laurie and I went to Menopause, the Musical. We had a lot of laughs! The show was sold out, I believe. I was very aware of being just one among SO MANY who are having similar experiences! It was both a little odd and comforting.

I rode my bike to work today and made it to my door just as the rain came pouring down around 5:30. I was glad to have a ride yesterday when it was so rainy and cool. Are we in Vancouver? When we do get heat and sunshine, I expect the flowers will make up for lost time. Of course, so will the weeds. In fact, lack of heat and sunshine doesn't seem to be giving the weeds any pause. Our back yard is THICK with them. I try not to look there.

Now for a little update on my ailments. Sorry. I have to document this stuff.

My joints are no better and sometimes they seem quite bad. I can't predict when they'll be particularly bad but at least it doesn't last long. Before I frequently said that pain wasn't such an issue ... it was the stiffness. But sometimes now it's quite painful. Especially the bottom of my feet ... mostly my heels, calves, and knees. My hips are very stiff sometimes but not usually sore. Like I said, the pain doesn't last long when it's at it's worst but it's certainly not any fun and it does mean quite a bit of hobbling and difficulty standing if I've been sitting. Apparently these two drugs I've tried aren't helping at all. I'll talk to my doctor again later this week. I wonder what we'll try next?

I've also started getting some strange, random spasms or twitches in my feet and legs. It's been going on for a few weeks now. This usually happens at least once a day and it lasts anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour. It's not painful but it's very distracting. Annoying. I would even describe it as "restless leg" or "restless foot". The twitching is strong enough that it's hard to ignore and adjusting my position doesn't make any difference. I don't know why it happens or why it comes and goes that way it does. At least it's not frequent and not long lasting. I'll run this new symptom by my Doctor and see if he has any thoughts on it.

Other than that ... all's well ... as long as I don't look at the disaster that is my house. I'll worry about that tomorrow.
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Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Successful Weekend

... of work, fun, and family. It was great!

I love this photo of 3 brothers working together, using their collective skills. And I, the lone sister, was there, too ... on the other side of the camera. Just the way I like it.
I'm so glad Allan, Meghan, and Dawson were with us for the weekend!