Day 188 – Gratitude

I am not going to be one of those people who say they are grateful they got cancer.1 I am fucking angry I got cancer. I can’t even begin to explain how angry I am. I feel like I have been robbed of the best decade of my life. I was looking forward to my 50s. This was the time I was going to get to become me, do what I what I wanted to do without having to answer to a boss. I still wanted to work but for myself. I wanted to pull all my skills together2 and become a life coach. I am a damned good life coach, I am still doing it, just giving it away because I don’t have the energy to take a course or two and get set up. I am not giving up because even though I have stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, chemo may be able to keep me alive for quite a while. The problem is that no one really knows how long.

So here are the things I am grateful here:

  1. That there even is a treatment. I am not wild about it. I would like it if it wasn’t so hard on me. I fear that the next treatment will be worse.
  2. That we have a decent medical system.
  3. That I have a disease that is not affecting my brain.3
  4. I am grateful for my friends who are helping us out by building fence, taking me to chemo, cutting grass and in so many other ways.
  5. I am grateful that I will be spared the vagaries and indignities of old age.

Thank you everyone!

  1. I think the people who say that are going to be cured and they learn lots of shit along the way that they get to apply to the rest of their lives and tell the grandchildren as they sit on their knee. Back when”Granny had cancer it was really hard, she had to fo for chemo and her hair fell out and everything. Not me anyway., ↩︎
  2. Like the ones I learned supervising students etc. ↩︎
  3. Should I end up with mets to my brain, I will pull the trigger of doctor assisted death. ↩︎

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 64

 

Day 187 – the ‘Better late than never’ edition

July 21, 2018
My it’s 4:30 am and I went to bedc at 9:30 am and I am hungry look

Well, we had a busy day. We had several friends1 over for a work part to cut the lawn so that more people can come today and put up some fencing to keep Wally away from the pond. I made burgers2 and Angelina barbecued them. Oh my god! They were so good. My burgers are usually great but these ones were out of the park.

We got the cast iron grill plate for the Big Green Egg. It makes such a difference in the quality of the meat when it’s grilled. The flavour is amazing. The night before I marinated some chicken thighs in souvlaki seasoning. Angelina grilled them and the same thing – they were juicy, with a perfect bbq taste. We are in love with the Big Green Egg.

I guess it will be a 2 picture day. Now and later.

  1. Heather, Marie, Nate, Sally, Oscar ↩︎
  2. Siting down because I didn’t get enough sleep. ↩︎

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 63

Day 186

I got lots of sleep. But I am still really tired. We have still completely sorted out the router issues but I think it has something to do with the security level of the passwords. I went for the higher security passwords and it would drop the connection constantly upstairs to the iPads. I tried bridging with a couple of old Airport Extremes but that didn’t work.1 Plus we have one Bang & Olufsen speaker we can’t get set up.2

I am hoping to have the energy on the weekend or early next week to set it up before I am bashed with chemo again. I do have to say things were better without the dexamethazone pre-med. The Oncologist™ looked at my right breast and said it looked better and I agree. I am hoping that is a good sign. I managed to have an appointment with him and not fight. The man is a prick, I don’t know how anyone has a good experience with him.

This week’s case in point: I asked for a prescription for a wheeled walker. I have been very unsteady on my feet and almost fallen a couple of times. My instability on my feet is making it difficult for me to get out to appointments or shop etc. He said that I shouldn’t need one because of chemotherapy. I told him that I have been operating with hemoglobin below 100 for a long time and I am having a hard time with shaky legs and worry about falling. Finally, he agrees to write it with the phrase ‘secondary to chemotherapy.’ Which I am interpreting to mean that while I made it chemo is not the primary reason even though it’s making my hemoglobin lower. While I was asking for him to move heaven and earth and write this prescription, once he had made a decision he put his hand up so I would stop talking. I am learning. I shut up. The whole drama was unnecessary. The prescription is just to get it reimbursed by extended medical for which we pay. I read his Rate my MD page and most people have this kind of issue with him being blunt to the point of cruelty. This man should not be working with cancer patients.

  1. Probably because they are 12 years old ↩︎
  2. I have never seen a more difficult peripheral to set up. Oh wait, Microsoft. ↩︎
July 19, 2018
Manic me

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 63

Day 185 – the ‘consider my ass kicked, again’ edition

I just woke up from a 2.5 hour nap. Chemo is kicking me hard. Although, things were easier without the steroid premed.

I am trying to get things ready for our work party on Friday to get the lawns cut in anticipation of the fencing going up on Saturday to keep keep Ozzy safe from the pond. That’s all I’ve got today. Save-On’s website got the rest as I tried to place an order.

 

July 18, 2018

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 62

Day 184

Today was my 4th chemo treatment. The Oncologist™ checked my right breast and he believes it has improved with the treatment. I am inclined to agree. My breathing has also improved with far less coughing and mucous. I also did not have to have the steroid pre-med to guard against allergic reaction. I am not allergic to it so that’s a good thing.

Yesterday, when I was at the genetic cancers centre the woman I was seeing used the work “totem pole.” I checked into to see if she was an Indigenous background and she was not. 1 I started off by saying that as white people we have no right to be referencing Indigenous cultural artifacts.

I started thinking about this interaction and who I might be willing to say something to. This one cost me nothing. She had no power over me, I had nothing to lose so I did it – much in the way I used to do it with students. Then, I found out that the BC Cancer Agency had put their staff through the cultural safety program which was quite disturbing. I know the people who have spent years putting this together. Apparently, it was done online.

I got a nice email back from her today. She is going to do some more research into Reconciliation. A good outcome.

  1. I know that I have likely made some errors in my discussion of this issue as it is not my culture. I am open to constructive criticism. ↩︎
July 17, 2018
Heather and me at Ridge Meadows Chemo Clinic

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 61

Day 183 – The ‘what the fuck was the point’ edition

So, Angelina and I trooped out to Abbotsford to go the Genetic Counselling program of the BC Cancer Agency. Because my tumour is triple-negative1 there is a small chance that it’s a genetically-based tumour. If my cancer had not spread to my lungs already, and I was positive for having one of the genes then it would have informed my treatment. But given this is not the case there isn’t really much they can do with the information as it pertains to me. There is a chance that there could be some genetically-based chemo down the line but not likely.

In essence, I did this for my biological family. If I have one of the genes then they have a much higher chance of developing cancer as they age. With this information in hand, they can then get themselves checked regularly. I guess we shall see what happens. I will hear in 3 months.

  1. Means that it doesn’t respond to 3 treatments. ↩︎
July 16, 2018
I am so fucking tired

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 60

Day 182 – the genetic testing’ edition

Tomorrow, I go to the BC Cancer Agency for genetic testing. It is strongly suspected that my cancer has a genetic component and may be in the BRCA1 and BCRA2 constellation of cancers. I am a little annoyed that I have to fo all the way out to Abbotsford for this lovely test and counselling. Getting this testing done, besides being able to pass on the information to family members, it may lead to a targeted genetic cure for me.

In addition to setting up the new router last week, I’ve also set up 2 new laptops. The first one we bought was from mid-2015 which I didn’t want. One I realized it went back and I got a 13-inch as I could not see paying an extra $1000 for a 15-inch.

July 15, 2018

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 59

Day 181 – The 7-Day Router Edition

July 14, 2018 Everyone who knows me, knows I am a techie. I am really good with computers, networks etc. Generally, I don’t even read directions.1 I am one of those people who can walk into a room where the computer doesn’t work and it fixes itself.2 I have no explanation. I understand computers and they understand me. Although, I have to confess I do not get Blockchain. I am not sure I ever will get Blockchain.3

I had put off doing this literally for years. I had lost all of my original network passwords and I have 3 airplay speakers4 that would also have to be setup. I finally got to the point late the week before last, with our $300 cable/phone/internet bill and got in touch. We decided to cut a bunch of channels, up the internet speed 5 and I got the bill down to $160 with $20 per month, for a year.

The Shaw tech6 game and he assured me that the modem would cover our entire house. Even though I have always needed a router extender. Of course, you know where there is going – it didn’t cover the whole house. I had no internet in bed.7 So, I went to London Drugs and bought a NetGear modem. I came home and started trying to set it up. Each time I tried to set it up, it required that I get in touch with Shaw to either bridge or unbridged the free rental modem router thing. I did this about 5 times all told.

I will freely admit that I should have read the directions. I am not one who likes to read directions and most of the time they are superfluous to me. Either I figure it out or I look it up online. After about 6 hours of playing with this fucking NetGear modem, I packed it up and back to London Drugs we went. This time, I did what I should have done and bought an Apple product. I got a Time Capsule for my router, which I will also use for Time Machine. I had it working in 15 minutes. No directions needed.

Now we are working on the Bang and Olufsen sound docks. They make a superior product but connecting them to a network is horrible. They could take some lessons from anyone. God even Microsoft could make it easier.

Geez – even God supposedly created the world in 7 days.

  1. I am not bragging here. ↩︎
  2. It once freaked out my evangelical christian step-sister when I told her the password for my mother’s computer and it worked. Apparently, she had tried 10 times and it hadn’t worked. She wanted to know what kind of sorcery I had used on her. ↩︎
  3. I am beginning to think that age 53 is my outer limit for understanding complicated techie things. Or perhaps my enthusiasm for such things is waning. ↩︎
  4. Which were a bitch to set up to begin with. ↩︎
  5. Shaw graciously offered to rent us a modem for free. No comment. ↩︎
  6. They said it would be a $100 service charge for a tech to come out and set up the new modem. I said no and that I had been a customer long enough that this charge should be waived.

    On a side note – the tech guy said that they are trying to replace them with apps. So always ask for the tech guy and never agree to pay $100 ↩︎

  7. Some might argue about the need for internet in bed. I need internet in bed. ↩︎

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 58

Day 178 – The my ‘life is blowing up edition’

 

July 11, 2018
Long Hair

Sorry for the vague blogging that’s all I will give today.

I have also spent about 8 hours trying to get a new router going after the one that Shaw offered to rent for free didn’t cover the whole house in spite of their assurances to the contrary.

So after, buying a Netgear which is the worst router to set up I have ever dealt with. I took it back and got a 2tb Time Capsule. This has been much easier to set up for sure. It is all done and ready. It took about an hour.

I got my hair cut short as possible.

 

IMG_3994
Short Hair
  1. Which for all intents and purposes my body treats like prednisone. This is a very, very bad thing. ↩︎

 

Days since breast cancer diagnosis: 55