Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘it is not good enough’ edition

  • I had today off. Yay! I was clearly tired as I slept from midnight until 12:30 pm. I was up at 2:30 to use the washroom and then I slept straight through without waking up or moving for 10 more hours! I am clearly still having fatigue issues. I have been ok at work as long as I got to bed around 10 or 10:30 but maybe it is not enough. I am hoping it is just still the adjustment period and that my stamina will improve.
  • In other related news, all the weird pains have stopped. As of today, I am doing really well – no arm pain, no shoulder pain, and no wrist pain. My knee has a little pain but nothing major. I really hope this episode of my life is over. I have a theory about the arm pain but I am not sure if I am right.
  • The plea by Carrie Gelson, a teacher in Vancouver’s inner city, yesterday has resulted in some much-needed donations going to her children. However, this is not the solution. When you systematically defund social service programs like income assistance you have children in poverty. The average parent on welfare gets $84 a year for young children and $116 for children over 12 to start school. Most schools require at least $200 just for school supplies. There is no way they can afford to buy new clothes, boots, and shoes for the $100 a year clothing allowance per person. Even children who are in low-income working families, the problems are similar. There is just no way that everything can be covered when you are making minimum wage in this province. There is also no reason why kids should be going to school hungry, without appropriate clothing and school supplies. How are children supposed to learn when their needs are not being met? How can they participate in class when they are so hungry they cannot think? Or so tired they can barely stay awake? It is unbelievable that in a country as rich as Canada there is no reason we should have systemic poverty. We must pressure our politician to do better. Where is Christy Clark and her families first agenda? We must do better.
  • I have come to the conclusion that Piper is an orangutan. We took her in the car today and she was pulling like a freaking tank! We went into Bosley’s and she was pulling so hard that I couldn’t even gather up cans of cat food. I think she is even more bratty now than before her surgery!

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘Opus Hotel’ edition

  • I have a training session tomorrow so we are staying in a hotel tonight. We are at the Opus Hotel. This all came about after the bad experience we had at the Wedgewood. I complained about the hotel on twitter and received an offer to come and stay at the Opus the next time. So we took them up on the offer and discount and here we are. There is really no comparison to the two hotels so I won’t even bother. Suffice it to say we are way happier!
  • Today was my first day back to work. It went very well and it feels good to be back. I am tired though. It was a busy day and my office was in complete disarray. It will take me a while to get it back to a useable form.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘I guess I am ready’ edition

  • I go back to work on Tuesday. I am feeling better. I am sleeping just 9 hours down from 14. My ulcerative colitis has calmed down and I feel like I have some strength. I had been feeling really stressed before we went to Radium, I now think that stress was related to the trip and not to my return was work. Figuring that out has really helped. I am going to do some things quite differently when I return. I have had a lot of time to reflect and contemplate. I must do this, as the past is not sustainable.
  • Holy freaking cold! Our house has cooled off rapidly from the summer. It seems like we are going to right into winter without having fall, much like we went from winter to summer. I really hope we get an autumn, as it is my favourite season.
  • Dogs are doing well. Zoe just got groomed so she looks like ‘thindy.’ She is so damn cute when she comes back from there. If you have never experienced shihtzuh cuteness you are really missing something!
  • I have some pictures from our trip, which I will try to get up tomorrow. Stay tuned!
  • One more entry into the ‘chick’ debate (here and here). The reason this word is so problematic is that it is gender specific. ‘Chick’ is used to denigrate the position of women in society. It is much like the word ‘boy’ which white people have used to degrade African-American men. Again, it is a word that is used on a specific group.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘heat is killing me’ edition

  • It is no secret that I hate the summer. And make no mistake that summer has arrived at the swamp. It is always hotter in the valley than it is in Vancouver. The dogs don’t do well in the heat either. Kiefer has been laying in the living room panting for most of the day. Sienna has been laying on her back on the couch trying to cool off.
  • Today I was finally able to hand everything off to an interim ED at work. I can finally now stop checking email. Now, on to the work of getting better so I can go back stronger and better.
  • Speaking of health today was a bad, bad, day. The heat exacerbates my ulcerative colitis. I am not really sure why this happens. I have never tolerated the heat well. I can remember the numerous hiking and backpacking trips as a kid and I would be sick in the sun. Now as an adult, I can opt to mostly stay out of the heat. Fatigue is something else that adversely affects my disease. Not having to get up and commute into Vancouver everyday has made a big difference. I am already experiencing less fatigue. Being able to continue to get the rest I need will help me to improve. I really hope my pain levels will decrease over the rest of the summer as some days it is really high. Today has been really painful. I have had to run to the bathroom about 4 times with incredibly painful spasms and cramps.
  • Our pond is doing far more than providing much needed drainage in the Swamp. We are hosting at least one bullfrog and, if reported sightings are correct, a snake. All spring our pond was a landing zone for ducks but no one ever took up residence. It is nice to know that solving our problem has contributed to the local ecosystem!

I really need some time off…

I had been feeling quite well for the last several days. I was getting lots of sleep and not leaving the house. I had been finishing up some reports for work and that was going well to, up until yesterday. I had a horrible bowel day. I was in extreme pain for about 3 hours. These days are extremely difficult to me plus I had to go and do a bunch of errands that really could not wait. So I dragged myself out of the house and felt really sick all day.

Today I had a mentoring meeting to attend. I was really looking forward to going but I was also extremely tired. We had also decided to spend the night in a hotel because I have to be at a training session by 9 am and Deb has appointment at 10:15 am. Good choice. I went to my meeting and I really enjoyed it. But I am exhausted right now and getting ready to head to bed for 9 pm, which is not like me! I am still dealing with residual pain from yesterday.

I am looking forward to actually resting soon. I have one more thing to do and then I will be done until September 19. I intend to get a lot of rest so that I can go back to work much stronger.


I went back to work today after my vacation and being sick this week. Wow. I did not check any email for the whole time. Funny thing, the longer I went without checking my email the less I wanted to check it. When I finally checked this morning, I had 239! Uggh. Other than that it was fine except I feel like crap.

I am feeling slightly better today. But the roving fevers have been a little much. I seem to be ok as long as I don’t move around too much. If I do, I seem to sweat uncontrollably and cough.  At least my hands and arms don’t hurt today. Yesterday, I couldn’t even make a fist yesterday.

I hope to be back to some sort of normal content soon!

A not so good day

I am profoundly sad today.  I am not sure if I am going to blog what is making me sad. I wanted to blog about the International Day to end Racism but I could not do it justice today. Plus I had to work on a Monday – never a good thing. Maybe tomorrow. Off to watch Dancing with the Stars.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the ‘don’t ‘tarouf’ me’ edition

  • Our electronic garbage can is now working again. I think it is possessed. It was working fine and then the batteries died (we think). We put new ones in and it didn’t work again for a couple of weeks. All of a sudden it started to work again for no apparent reason. Never a dull moment at the Swamp!
  • The last couple of days we have been having a lot of fun at work with words. We have been turning a Persian word, into an English word and making it a verb and a noun. The word is ‘tarouf’[1] and it describes a type of Persian politeness. It is more than politeness though. It can range from letting someone else go first to giving guests your house the very best even though you have nothing and probably have to go into debt to provide the food. It all started because we have a new contractor who happens to be Persian and he is very polite. One of the other Persian staff keeps telling him to ‘stop taroufing’ her. It has really been a fascinating cultural education learning about how different people interpret and practice the art of ‘tarouf.’ Apparently ‘tarouf’ can be used for good or evil. When it is used for evil basically people stab you in the back while ‘taroufing’ you.
  • Sawyer is so unmotivated when it comes to food. Unless he is hand-fed he really doesn’t like to eat. He does however like to stare at Molly while she eats which really annoys the hell out of her and she barks incessantly. When I am involved in feeding them I have now just started to hand fed the little brat.
  • This time next week we will be in Calgary for Christmas. I am really dreading this trip however I am pretty sure we can survive 3 days. My goal is to make it the best Christmas I can for my mother.

[1] I have spelled it phonetically. The emphasis is on the last syllable.


One of the worst things about dealing with ulcerative colitis is the fatigue. People who don’t suffer fatigue have no idea how bad it can be. I describe it as bone-weary, deep exhaustion that never goes away. I sleep for 12 hours and I wake up yawning. During the week, I am not able to get as much sleep as I need. Given my choice I would sleep 12 hours each and ever night.

Fatigue really gets in the way of living your life. Some days I am awake in time for lunch. Getting things done is almost impossible. By the time I get going, commute to and from work, work all day, there is not much time left over for any kind of leisure activity. Really, all that is left is some time to eat and hopefully engage in some leisure and/or self-care.

Being sick means that there are all sorts of medical things I have to attend to. I have to go every week for a blood test. Although the lab has improved lately, that can still take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour. I visit my GP every other week. Those appointments can take anywhere from an hour to 2 ½ hours based on how backed up she is. Yearly (sometimes more) colonoscopies eat up at least 3 days. These procedures take 3 days of my life every time I have to do it. Then there are the follow-up visits with the specialist. Then there are the occasions where every thing goes south and I end up in the hospital for a couple of weeks.

What really causes the fatigue in ulcerative colitis is the fact that my immune system is activated all the time. It is the same thing that happens when the immune system mounts an attack on a virus or bacteria. The only problem is that my immune system is attacking my colon. The activated immune system then causes things like rashes (which I get on my face mostly), thrush, yeast infections, joint pain, sore muscles, and fever.