My blog

A little bit about me and a lot about the things we do.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Surgeon Update

Last week Ron and I visited the surgeon to have him give us the report from my operation.  The surgery went well.  He wanted to check my vocal chords through my nose again....fun!  Everything looked good.
The pathology report confirmed that the nodule on the left side of the thyroid was cancerous.  The right side also had two cancer spots.  It kind of took me by surprise but so thankful that everything was removed.  The lymph nodes were also tested but they were clear!

My next stop was to get blood work and wait to see if I am on the right meds...one a day keeps me awake.
The blood work will also show my thyroglobin level.  If it is close to zero then all is good and if it is elevated then there still could be cancer which would mean that I would need treatments.  We will know on Monday what the results are.
We are expecting good news.  The really great news is that all of our snow has disappeared and we are now enjoying some beautiful weather.

Happy Spring!
 

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Bentley by his Dad

I don't usually share my blog but my son recently wrote an article that I thought was so good that I just had to share it.
 
These are his words:

 Hello ACCTS (Animal Cancer Therapy Subsidization Society)

Wanted to send in my cancer progress story now. 

Approximately May 30, 2014 there was a tiny puppy found in a box in a park in Whitehorse Yukon. June 1, 2014 I took that puppy home and he got the name Bentley. He has been a terror growing up through his puppy years chewing railings in the house or stealing homemade a turkey casserole off the counter just before thanksgiving Sunday dinner. He’s been on hikes across BC, Alberta and the Yukon. 
 
On February 5th, 2018, Bentley was taken to his vet as he had lumps on his glands under his chin and I also noticed one under his arm pit. My vet did a biopsy that day and on February 13th we got the news that Bentley was diagnosed with stage 3 lymphoma cancer. I immediately researched lots of options and costs and it seemed like Bentley might not have much time left. Feeling very devastated, we were sent to the CARE centre in Calgary to speak with an oncology specialist for dogs (I didn’t know they existed until then). 

On February 14, 2018, we had an appointment with Dr. Victoria Larson and her team at the CARE centre, who were extremely compassionate and informative, giving us all the options with no judgement on any decision that I would have made. 

With no minimal treatment, Bentley was given approximately 2 months to live. With full treatment we were quoted $7800 approximately. The statistics are varied on the outcome but regardless I needed to try everything I could to save my now 3 year old box puppy. 

As of April 19th, 2018 we are on week 6 of 25. We are behind schedule as his white blood count takes longer than normal to get up so it delays treatment by a week at a time. 

Bentley is in full remission from his cancer with tons of energy and feeling well. Still out pulling me on my skis and running lots and playing hard. 
ACCTS donation to us to help with his treatment has made things much easier on me. I cannot express the amount of gratitude I have for what you have done for Bentley. 
His story can be followed on his Instagram @myrescuefamily 

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

3 Weeks Post Op and Summer News

So I finally made my way back to work this morning.  I felt pretty good and it was nice to see everybody.

I had news for my boss.  Over the past week our life took a bit of a different turn.  Ron was asked to go to Waterton National Park this summer.  It's kind of hard to say no to this:
Ron will be doing lots of red serge duty this summer.  The next concern was where were we going to live.  Thankfully, the sergeant there had spoken for a place for a potential constable.  We will be staying in Pincher Creek in a chalet.

We will drive there as soon as we get back from our anniversary trip in May.  Life seems to be one big vacation.  First three weeks off for surgery, then a week for an anniversary trip and then the summer in chalet.  I will, of course, take all my work with me for the summer. 

This is all subject to change if our house should happen to sell and then we will actually move to Pincher Creek.

So, this afternoon, I am at home.  I had a rest and now am contemplating the idea of a walk since the sun is shining.
Yes, we still have lots of snow but I am surrounded by beautiful flowers that give me the promise that summer will come some day.




Life is interesting and perhaps a little unpredictable.  You just never know where you might be next month.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Two Weeks Post Op

I'm moving better....not necessarily sleeping better.  Poor Ron!


This morning I am sitting at my home desk trying to get through my work emails and prioritize my work load.  My eyes are tired and I am not sure how long I will be able to concentrate but at least I am sitting up!


I'm working to get my energy level back.


I was truly blessed with so many friends and family that sent flowers and brought gifts.  I did not go hungry once and I know that if I need anything I only need to make a call and help will arrive.


Now....I just need to get some things done so I  can have a nap! 


I am looking ahead to a month from now when we will land in Victoria.
I am eager to sit on our balcony and soak in the views of the ocean and let the salt air completely heal me.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Done!

Leading up to my surgery was a hard go.  My anxiety had been high and my nerves bad.  Through this time I received two beautiful arrangements of flowers to encourage me.

From my cousin, Roxane and her husband Denis from Ontario
From special Ontario friends, Al & Donna Barr!
 A couple of  nights before surgery Andrew and Brianne invited us over.  I needed the distraction.  They are such great Alberta kids.

From Andrew & Brianne
The day before surgery, we left home and drove to the airport.  This was going to be a good day.  I was going to try and concentrate on being able to spend time with my family.
We picked up Jenn at the airport and then our son on the way to Banff.  We had lunch together.  This was the first time in so many years that the four of us were able to spend the whole day together.

We walked along the Cave and Basin in Banff after lunch and then went to Johnson Canyon.


My constant support!
 
It was a perfect way to keep my mind busy and enjoy the day with my husband and two great kids.  We spent the night at our son's and in the morning my support team surrounded me.
After a slower morning we headed to the hospital.  I had such a peace that I knew only came from the many people praying for me.  The physician was early and that has to be another miracle.

The surgery went well.  They took my whole thyroid which was not really the plan but I was kind of relieved it was gone especially when they said that the right side was so bad. Originally it was only going to be the left side that was to be removed.

During the surgery Ron and Jenn met our son and nephew for lunch.  The cousins hadn't seen each other in years.

Dustin & Jenn
After surgery Ron, Jenn and Rachael spent some time with me and then our boy came after work to check on me.  It was hard when Ron left but I had great nurses to look after me.

The next morning we had to wait a little longer for me to be released due to my calcium levels.  Through that time Dustin and his two great kids came to visit and our son stopped by during his work day.  It amazed me to have so many surround me.

Finally, the doc gave the go ahead to let us leave and I was thrilled to make our way home.  I was drugged up and had Jenn wheel me down to the door where Ron was ready to load me up.

I had amazing care in the hospital and it continued at home.  Jenn made great meals for Ron and special treats for me.  It was so good to have her here.  Ron did the breakfast duty.

And then.....we had company and deliveries.  I could not have felt more special.  Crazy Rachael worked all night and then drove all the way to see me and then go home to try and work the next day.

Cards from friend in Ontario and Alberta


Beautiful arrangement from Carolyn.  A wonderful woman that Ron works with.
As if she hadn't done enough...Jenn brought these home from getting groceries.


Roxane, Denis and Richelle drove all the way from Cochrane for a short visit.


From the RCMP office



From my birthday buddy and fellow thyroid surgery friend, Thelma


From Ron's sister, Debbie and our niece Mandy and her sweet little family
It was so wonderful to have Jenn spend the week with us and help me get some strength back.  It was especially neat to get these facetimes with the grandkids.
Princess Sarah and Tammy Dickens

Anthony can't figure out why Mom is on the phone

Crazy Abby
On Wednesday, I had the hard time of saying goodbye to Jenn.  I knew that her family was anxious to have her back home but it was heart breaking for me.  I had the worse day.  Ron was away and I was in and out of bed.  In the evening my Alberta girl showed up ....like she always does.  Brianne brought me a couple of meals, a smoothie and a much needed hug.
 And I just received a message from another friend that she had something to drop off tonight.  I'm so spoiled.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Hibernating

I know that it is the wrong time of year to be hibernating since according to the calendar it is Spring (I don't think Alberta got the memo) but this is my season to shut down and stay put.  On Tuesday, I packed up my desk and moved it home.  I needed to shut myself away from the coughs, sneezes and stomach flus that were all around me.  The last thing I need is to get sick before the surgery.

Speaking of the surgery....one week from today I will be anxiously waiting in the hospital to be released and sent home...but before that I've got my lists going.

Today - get laundry and ironing caught up, take a call from the pre-op nurse, get some work done for the college, have a pizza/hockey/games night with Andrew and Brianne.  Get outside for a walk.

Friday - more college work, make tomato soup and homemade bread, exercise.

Saturday -  a little bit of college work, movies, rest, final clean through the house and a walk.  I gave up a day of shopping with Rachael!!  :(

Sunday - church, rest, movies and of course, some exercise.

Monday - pack, book Jenn's plane seat, get excited about Jenn coming and try not to think about why she is coming.  Ron will be home so we will catch up on some shows, go for a walk and relax.

Tuesday - pick up Jenn from the airport.  Pick up her brother along the way and head to Banff for lunch!  Perhaps we shall make it to Lake Louise or Johnson Canyon.

Hibernating doesn't sound too bad especially when it looks like this outside.
The patio chair doesn't look too inviting today.  This will be my last blog until after surgery. 

Now, what would Winnie the Pooh do to hibernate...gotta go have some honey on my bagel.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Anxiety

The definition of anxiety is:
a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event
or something with an uncertain outcome.

So, I guess I am allowed to have it with thinking about surgery BUT I don't like it. 

The symptoms of a panic attack include:

  • Racing heart - yup!
  • Chest pain, feeling like you're having a heart attack - already had an echocardiogram  - all good but still have the symptoms
  • Feelings of complete terror, impending doom or death that are paralyzing - not really, unless it counts that I showed Ron where the life insurance policies are and how to get into the bank accounts.
  • Feeling sweaty or having chills - do hot flashes count?
  • Feeling out of control or like you're going crazy - well, that is kind of normal for me but yes, a little more out of control!
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing  - oh yeah, no doubt!
  • Feeling detached from your surroundings - not so much...although the For Sale sign on the house always does that a bit.
  • Experiencing nausea or upset stomach - oh that reminds me to add gravol to my grocery list.
  • Having numbness or tingling sensations - especially in my fingers plus my hands have swollen so that I can't wear my rings.
  • Feeling like you're choking - that's for sure!
Okay, so I have the symptoms and I even have a reason BUT I still don't like it.


So if I can google the symptoms I can google how to help anxiety.


Try these when you're feeling anxious or stressed:
  • Take a time-out. -That's what days off are all about!
  • Eat well-balanced meals. - My fitnesspal app helps me with this one. 
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine. - No alcohol BUT going without tea would cause me more stress!


  • Get enough sleep.  - Oh, I try but my fitbit keeps telling me that I am not sleeping deeply and Ron tells me in the morning that my tossing and turning is causing him not to either.
  • Exercise daily - Not a problem!  I need to keep my fitbit happy!
  • Take deep breaths- Doing it right now but the fumes of my oven being cleaned gives me a headache. 
  • Count to 10 slowly- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6....10.  I guess I need to work on that one. 
  • Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection...., Hard one.  I made a couple of mistakes this week at work and it was hard to let it go! 
  • Accept that you cannot control everything. - So true but that is a hard one!  This is usually when the tears come.
  • Welcome humor. - My son has been providing me with this by sending photos of Bentley who is currently in remission from his cancer!


  • Maintain a positive attitude. - Oh, I am trying.  We are looking ahead and have booked our 35th Anniversary trip on Vancouver Island....6 nights on the ocean!


  • Get involved. - Being busy at work helps plus having the days off with Ron and going on our little adventures is very positive.
  • Learn what triggers your anxiety. - Oh, I know exactly what the trigger is ....March 28th when they will put me to sleep and a knife will go across my neck.  I will wake up a few hours later to a loving husband, my sweet daughter is who coming to help with things and a son who  always been there for me.  We will then wait for a few weeks to hear about the success of the surgery and if it was indeed cancer.
  • Talk to someone. - I'm doing that.  I called my grandchildren.  I got to hear about Emma losing her tooth and how she is cleaning her room so the tooth fairy can come tonight.
I know that I am going to make it through....I am working to try to not let the anxiety overwhelm me.  One lady at work told me that I shouldn't be too hard on myself.  I'm allowed to be concerned.  Being told not to worry can cause more anxiety.  As I pause to think about what I want to type I notice that I am wringing my hands.  It's just there!

But now....I'm going to get moving for the day.  I want to
get the house cleaned,
the laundry done,
ironing caught up,
banking looked after,
some college work done,
the oven cleaned,
go for a walk,
maybe watch a movie....