Monday, December 31, 2007

Deadlifts, pullups, & gluten-free brownies

Went into work last night. I'm feeling pretty good after Thursday's chemo. Not as tired as round #2. Still not 100%, a little dizzy, occasional nausea, but quite functional. Yes, went into work and did a nice little workout:

21-18-15-12-9-6-3 rounds of 105 lb. deadlift and pullups

That is, 21 deadlifts, 21 pullups, 18 deadlifts, 18 pullups, etc., on down to 3 of each. Took just over 10 minutes. Quite tiring, but good to keep the veins open and push around any of the residual chemo drugs that need to get someplace important. Good too to increase circulation to my liver to help flush out whatever needs flushing.

So as the 5th man at Station 2, that means I was on Red 10, the airport crash truck. So I took it as my sacred duty to feed the other 4 guys something nice, as a way of saying, "Thank you" for going out on the pump-only calls. I made some gluten-free brownies from the Complete Gluten Free Cookbook, which Anna gave me for Christmas. I could hear the voices inside their heads:

"Oh great, gluten-free brownies, they'll probably taste like cardboard."

Well, considering that there were none left in the morning and there were a lot of comments like, "Wow! Those were better than regular brownies!" I think that I completed my duty.

Carol's Brownies (from page 276)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 13x9 inch baking pan.

1/2 c. quinoa flour
1/4 c. defatted soy flour (recipe called for 3/4 c. soy flour only)
3/4 c. corn starch (recipe called for tapioca starch)
1 c. sugar (recipe called for 2 c.)
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (I omitted this)
4 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. water
4 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in bowl and mix well. Combine wet ingredients in separate bowl. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined. Pour into pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. See if you have the willpower to let them cool before cutting and serving!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bacon Wrapped Scallops and Chicken Soup

That is what we had for breakfast today.
Chicken Soup for me - Well, today is day 2 of my being sick in bed. I have a bad cold and I am trying very hard to get better and not give it to Bob! I have been fighting something for a while now and finally succumbed unwillingly a few days ago. We are using sick protocols - I am sleeping on the sofabed, I disinfect my hands every time I get out of bed before I touch anything, I wash my hands several times while I am up and run back to bed to sneeze or cough. I am drinking lots of ginger, mint, lemon tea, staying in bed, resting, neo citran, vitamin C, smiling and laughing with Bob (from a distance!), running the air purifier full blast, and eating home made chicken soup I made yesterday.

Bacon Wrapped Scallops for Bob - Bob picked up a package while shopping during his first chemo round I think. They really appealed to him - weird since he doesn't eat bacon... They told us that his tastes would change and to be ready for not wanting to eat things he normally likes. Our chemo nurse Donna's favourite example is "don't be surprised if you think your wife put tinfoil in your grill cheese sandwich!". Ha ha. We haven't had grilled cheese in over a year! I used to make a great one with sauted onions and peppers... ah well. So Bob says tuna DOES NOT appeal to him post chemo, which is usually a staple for him, and he was so excited about bacon wrapped scallops this morning!!

Here is a picture of him in his new touque, knitted by me for Christmas, and his bacon wrapped scallop. Today I will get better and we will disinfect the house again!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cancer fundraiser

I'll turn today's post over to Jodie, my friend, regular commentator here, and cancer warrior. I hope any of you in Central Ontario will be able to attend at least one of Jodie's events. I know I will be there to cheer her over the finish line!

Hi Friend,

On June 20 - 22, 2008, I'll will be celebrating my birthday weekend by participating in a 2-day major cycling event called The Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, one of the top 5 cancer research hospitals in the world.

I'll be cycling over 200 kilometres that weekend, from Toronto to Niagara Falls, with thousands of other Riders. All the proceeds will go to The Princess Margaret to support cancer research, treatment, and services. The Princess Margaret is Canada's leading comprehensive institution devoted to cancer research and care, and the work they're doing is leading-edge.

I have dedicated this race to my mother in law, Susan Mulder and my best friend, Bob Olajos.

I've agreed to raise at least $2,500, So here's where you come in, because I need your help to do that. I know many of you have already donated money to my event which I am so grateful for! Your support has been overwhelming for this exciting event.

Please keep in mind that on January 12th from 2-4pm I am having a fundraising skate at the Ontario Speed Skating Oval site in Lakefield! Please come out pay $3 to skate, tell your friends and family.

On February 9th from 8am - 8pm Premiere Studio of Dance in Peterborough is hosting a dance-a-thon for the event. Please support your local dancer, if you don't know one you can always just sponsor me for the event. I will be there dancing my heart out!

On May 9 & 10th Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellers are coming to Market Hall to do a concert for me. Come and support this event. Purchase tickets through me for $30. They are a fabulous Newfoundland group. I would love to see both nights sell out!! Tell one tell all!

Watch for more events coming up soon! If you want to donate just to the race alone please go to my website and click on the contact me page it will provide you with a link to my race page to donate on! All donations are greatly appreciated! Thank you so much!

Jodie Mulder

Thursday, December 27, 2007

That was easy

Hah! Easy to say!

Yes, we're home now. The roads home were wet and sloppy. Anna's about to feed me leftover Christmas dinner. Regardless, the day went smoothly. I was quite tired from the get-go, and napped much more than the previous two engagements. Di was there to see us off, then Anna took her to the train station for the ride to Toronto. Good move, considering the roads. There was a nice retired gentleman there, Randall, who has indolent lymphoma. Lynn said it was the first time in 10 years that she'd had two people doing the same rCHOP at the same time.

Dinner's ready. I'll write more tomorrow, after I've shoveled the walkway.

(By the way, Di gave me one of those Staples Easy Buttons as a stocking stuffer. It makes for great fun in the chemo room. It's a big, plastic button. When you push it, it says, "That was easy!" I pushed it a lot today.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Chemo #3 tomorrow. I'll be 37.5% finished! Or if Dr. Herst only has me do 6 rounds, I'll be 50% finished. I'm ready for this. Chemo is my ally, not my enemy. I find myself focussing on things yet undone, dreams to pursue. This keeps me going. Anna and I want to have children, and I won't leave them fatherless at a young age. I want a new home, we've far outgrown this one. I have so many places to explore, both in Temagami and elsewhere in Canada and the world. Yes, these thoughts keep me going.

Just finished four days in a row yesterday. Thankfully they were slow days, with the exception of the 23rd. I kept up with my workouts. Yesterday I did one called Barbara (five rounds for time of 20 pullups, 30 pushups, 40 situps, 50 squats). I almost threw up. The day before I made one up, and called it Gingerbread Man (21 double unders, 21 muscle ups, 21 knees to elbows, followed by 15 of each, then 9 of each, for time). A double under is skipping with the rope going under your feet twice each jump, a muscle up is kind of a pullup and dip on gymnastic rings--very difficult, and a knees-to-elbows is done hanging from a bar and, well, bringing your knees up to your elbows like a vertical situp. My time was 20:30. I got some big blisters from the muscle ups, and one of them is now infected. Silly me, I'm not supposed to be doing things that give me infections. Oh well, as long as my WBC count is good tomorrow that shouldn't delay my chemo. Anna's got a bit of a cold today as well, so I'll be doing my best to not catch that. No workout today, I'm resting up for tomorrow. Slept 10 hours last night!

The new diet's going well. It's not really all that much different. I've just completely cut out few the gluten and dairy foods that I still consumed. After all the changes I've made over the last year, that's not much of a difference. Breakfast this morning was buckwheat-soy pancakes with agave syrup and venison sausages (and Cuban coffee).

Anna's mom is up and we're celebrating Christmas today. She'll come up to Liskeard tomorrow to see the beginning of my chemo. Then Anna will put her on the train there, which she'll take past Temagami all the way to Toronto.

That's all for today. I'll write again tomorrow night and let you all know how "EASY" the day went.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Four days to chemo. I picked up my prednisone today. I'm in Denial. I'm at the top of my game. I feel great. I've been at work the last two days, and will be there the next two (including Christmas Day). We even had a little house fire today and I felt fine, no shortness of breath, no weakness, no nausea, even while on air and hauling a hoseline and axe through the house. I've done difficult workouts today and yesterday. Today was 3 rounds for time of 50 x 75 lb. sumo deadlift high pulls and 30 x 75 lb. bench presses. Time was 26:03. I've been eating well too. I've not had any gluten or dairy in the last 3 days and haven't had any problems with that, no hunger, no dizziness. It's basically the Paleo Diet, i.e. I eat the way the cavemen ate.

All this adds up to living in denial. I'll be starting the drugs in 4 days. I'll feel like crap for a week or more. The cancer books say not to look at chemo as the enemy, but to remember that cancer is the opponent. Chemo is my ally. Chemo will save my life. But it's hard to keep that front and centre.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Not our Christmas Turkey

Here is a picture of the turkeys in front of Bob's parents place. An update from Jean says that they left this morning without eating any of the feed, and haven't been back yet... maybe they thought a few days of Nikita stress was too much?

Friday, December 21, 2007

Home again

We are just home from our Christmas visit with Bob's family in Lakefield. Roads were fine and we made some grocery and eating stops. Turns out the Huntsville Independant has a great gluten free section. Since Bob isn't eating bread type carbs, we didn't buy much there, but good to know it exists! We did get some goat dairy, yogurt, cheese and milk and some gluten free soya sauce. Oh - and can't forget the gluten free walnut pie for Christmas dessert!

It was great to spend time with family - we saw Jean and Joe (Bob's parents-back row), Lisa and Yves (Bob's sister and brother in law- to the right of Bob with Bentley their basset hound) and Mike and Marianne (Bob's brother and sister in law - far left and right). Bob's brother Dave and sister in law Diane weren't there, though we have seen Dave a few times as he drives through on work the last few months. Nikita had a fabulous time too - watching the wild turkeys that have taken up residence outside the house in Lakefield - quite the site. We don't have any pictures, but maybe Joe or Jean will send us one and we can post it.

It was nice to be away and relax - though we were busy catching up with friends too! We visited my long time friend Anne Ryan and her husband Peter at The Yellow House in Peterborough and Bob's long long time friend Jodie and her kids Jamie and Sam (she was Best Woman for Bob at our wedding).
A good visit, though I am glad to be home. Unpacking the car took a bit though! Bob is packing for work tomorrow and we'll be crawling into bed soon. My mom will be taking the train up on Sunday.
Happy Solstice to all!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cheese and chive souffle tart recipe

Anna and I are down at my parents' place in Peterborough. Lisa and Yves are coming up today and we're having our first Christmas dinner. Everyone's out today, Dad getting his hair cut, Anna and Mom getting some groceries. I'm staying put, writing something for you to read.

Got a phone call from the naturopath yesterday. The results from the allergy blood test are in. Turns out I'm allergic to gluten, dairy, and garlic. I must be developing one of the world's most complicated diets: hypoallergenic, heart-healthy, cancer-fighting, low-carb, low-cholesterol, low-sodium, low-Glycemic Index, sugar-free, Paleolithic. At least he didn't say I'm allergic to eggs. I think I'd starve if I couldn't eat eggs. This time next year I'll be living in the bush eating moose and blueberries.

In celebration, we've decided to go ahead with the dish I've planned for tonight, which is a feast of gluten and dairy and garlic. Here's the recipe. It's from The Low Carb Cookbook, which Heidi lent us:

Cheese and Chive Souffle Tart

80 g (2 3/4 oz) butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup cream
2/3 cup sour cream
4 eggs, separated
1 cup Gruyere cheese
3 tablespoons chives
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
pinch cayenne
12 sheets filo pastry

We might substitute the cream with half and half, the sour cream with organic plain yogurt and the chives with onions (Oh, Vidalia! You're so sweet, but you make me cry!)

Preheat the ontion to 375 F. Grease an 8" deep fluted tart tin. Melt half the butter in a pan. Sift in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk in the cream and sour cream. Return to the heat and whisk until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and whisk in egg yolks. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and allow to cool slightly. Whisk in the cheese, chives, and spices. Melt the remaining butter and brush some over each sheet of filo. Fold each in half and use to line the tin, allowing edges to overhang. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, the stir a spoonful into the cheese mixture. Gently fold in the rest of the betaten egg white. Spoon the mixture into the apstry shell and fold the pastry over the top. Brush the top with the remaining ubtter and bake for 45 minutes or until puffed an golden. Serve immediately.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Anna and I are off to Peterborough for Christmas with my family. I'm off to work pronto, so I'll be brief. I had some posting problems, which is why the photo below is in a separate post from this text.

HAPPY SOLSTICE & MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone out there in blogland!

The photos is from a recent day of snowshoeing. It was taken before Anna fell through the ice, up to her thighs, in a bog! Don't worry, she survived!

I'm feeling great. I'm working out regularly (100 lb. weighted pullup yesterday, a record!). Today I'm doing Angie (100 pullups, 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 squats). Ouch! I think chemo for me entails 6 days of feeling like crap and 15 days of feeling more or less normal. Entirely bearable, especially considering the alternative!

Gotta run!

Happy Holidays

Friday, December 14, 2007


Couldn't sleep last night. Went to sleep at 10, woke up at 3, got up to read at 4, and never went back to bed. Instead I started drinking coffee at 5:30 while reading a biography of George Simpson (Governor of the Hudson Bay Company in the mid-19th century). At around 7 I started baking, first dinkelbrot (spelt bread) and then oat bran muffins. Anna was up by 8 (she says she also didn't sleep past 3). Then I started rearranging the living room. I now have a desk of my own, for the first time in the 5 years we've lived here! (Isn't it great how much you can accomplish when you get up at 4?)

Yesterday I went for a 3 hour snowshoe at Smoothwater. Nikita and I went up the Devil's Run, a very steep climb in deep snow, breaking trail the whole way. I wish I'd brought my camera, the woods were magical. We were both dead tired when we returned.

I'm working nights tonight, out of Station 2. I'll be Red 10 driver. Red 10 is the airport crash rescue truck. I hope it's a slow night.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Is this fatigue?

I woke up this morning after 8 hours of sleep at Station 2 last night. There was only one call in the middle of the night that Station 3 went on, so my rest was mostly uninterrupted. Yet today I've had trouble keeping my eyelids open. I was at Station 2 for the day, on Fast Attack. What a laugh. Should call it Slow Attack in my case! (Fast Attack is the guy on the end of the hose.) Thankfully, no calls for us. I can't believe my fortune. Of course, in my business that cannot last and there will come a time when I cannot reasonably expect to keep up my regular duties. I don't want to be a liability on the fireground.

Anyway, I did a workout this afternoon. Her name is Cindy. Cindy involves 20 minutes of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, and 15 air squats. I did 17 rounds plus one pullup. My record is 20 rounds, pre-cancer. So 17 is not all that bad. But I was gassed at the end (you're supposed to be at the end of a CrossFit workout, regardless of whether you're on chemo or not). Before the workout I was fatigued but don't think I could have fallen asleep. Now I'm exhausted AND I feel ready for a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Today was a frustrating day of not being able to get everything done I wanted to do in the time I wanted to do it in. I had hoped to fit in a number of things, but ended up at work much later than anticipated. Tax season doesn't wait...
Instead I got home at 7 and crashed and then was convinced to get up and go to hockey practice! Wearing Bob's skates, I joined the Temagami Chicks with Sticks at the arena tonight. I had no equipment, so just practiced keeping my feet under me! A bit of a challenge considering the blades were dull and I haven't been on skates since last year and even then not very often.
Bob asked me to shave his head today to get rid of the velcro head-itis he has had. It was an emotional experience for me. I think in part it was the frustration of the day and part of it was just another piece of cancer being real in our lives. Bob is dealing with this so well and so positively as you all know. It still amazes me and makes me so thankful. I am so lucky to share my life with such a wonderful man. I think I am doing fairly well too. And I know that sometimes I just feel overwhelmed and sad about all the things going on with us right now. I never know when it will just wash over me.
I have been talking with friends about the power and importance of acknowledging and embracing the dark emotions. Our culture doesn't do that particularly well. I have learned that this year. And I have learned a lot about the power of hope and being positive and loving and putting one foot in front of the other. Thank you to all of the many, many wonderful people who have and continue to offer us support in so many ways.
Time to stretch the hockey and residual olympic weight lifting stiffness from my legs and shoulders and call it a night. Bob is in North Bay at a firefighter Christmas party and is working an additional day shift for someone tomorrow. I am glad he is feeling up to it! Go sweetie go!

Heavy lifting

Anna and I went to the Waterfront Fitness Centre in New Liskeard yesterday for a little exercise. Anna often mentions that she wants to do more exercise, and that her favourite form of exercise is dance. Now I like to dance, but living in small-town northern Ontario, there are some practical considerations. Like there's no place to dance and no one to dance with! True, we have gone to lessons in North Bay in the past, and we will again, but that does not make up for the general lack of exercise. So we came up with a little agreement to get ourselves out more--we each get to 'drag' the other out to whatever activity we choose, and no one is allowed to say 'no'. Upcoming events include horseback riding (Anna's choice) and karate (my choice). Yesterday was olympic weightlifting (my choice, go figure). So we went to the weight room at the fitness centre. I helped Anna work on her squat and front squat form. She did wonderfully, and was quite sexy. After her workout I did some squatting of my own:

5 x 45
5 x 135
5 x 155
5 x 175
3 x 185
2 x 175

These numbers are not near my 5 rep. maximum on front squat (I think my PR is 235 lbs.). But it was all I could muster. I was dizzy and a bit nauseated and didn't want to drop 185 lbs on my toes. After the workout was a sauna, followed by a potluck dinner with Anna's New Liskeard friends. A good way to spend an evening.

Today I'm at home. We have someone coming in to clean the house. I have other priorities right now, cleaning the toilet is not on the list. This afternoon I'm headed to North Bay to go to the Platoon 01/02 Christmas Party. I'll spend the night at one of the firehalls, then I'm working a trade day shift tomorrow. I hope it's a quiet day.

Monday, December 10, 2007

George's retirement party

I made it into work yesterday. That was a mistake. Well, not a mistake, really. There was a retirement party for one of the guys, 35 years as a firefighter. So I really wanted to make it in to see him off. That was accomplished. But it took a toll on me. Yesterday was my last of 5 prednisone days, which "theoretically" gives me energy. But perhaps I don't react to prednisone the way everyone else does. I woke up at 5:30 and felt ok, so made my way to work for 7:00. So far so good. Went through the morning routine (it was a Sunday and our last day of a four-day tour of duty, so there wasn't much to do). Then we had a call, electrical fire at a house just around the corner.

There were five of us on the truck, I was hydrant man. There's usually just four of us at Station 3, but the Platoon Chief is covering for me a little by having five of us there. Anyway, we all scrambled into our gear. I was trying to find a way to get my mask, flash hood, and helmet on over my velcro hair. (My hair is playing tricks on me, it's falling out and growing back in at the same time, so having anything on my head is uncomfortable.) There I was, in the back of the truck, lights and sirens, bouncing down the road. My belly started to tell me I shouldn't be there, started to gurgle. We pulled up to the house and piled out of the truck. Turns out the owner had seen smoke coming from a baseboard heater and hit it with an extinguisher. That was the extent of it. But we did our thing, searching for fire extension, making sure everything was safe. I stuck mostly to fetching things from the truck, trying to keep my helmet off as much as possible. Soon enough we were bouncing back to the station, my belly complaining again.

Station 3 is a quiet station, covering the West Ferris neighbourhood of North Bay. But it wasn't quiet yesterday morning. No sooner than we returned, we were off again, to a car-vs.-pedestrian at a nearby mall. Bouncing down the road, this time trying to weave my arms into a florescent vest. Thankfully (for me) the pedestrian was fine and being tended to by paramedics. Soon enough, we were bouncing back to the station....

I hadn't yet taken any of my anti-nauseants this round of chemo. I needed one now.

Soon we were off again, this time to Station 1 for George's retirement party. (Bouncing down the road....) It was good seeing everyone there, shaking George's hand. There was food, but I just picked at some beef and vegetables. Now, with us at Station 1, we were covering the busy part of the city. Wouldn't you know it, we got a call for a pot-on-stove fire. Thankfully, Pump 2 got there ahead of us, and thankfully the owner had it put out upon our arrival. But it was more bouncing down the road....

The afternoon was quiet. I crashed out on a lazy-boy and watched football. At 5:00, I left work and headed to the grocery store. I'd been warned that a side effect of chemo is a very finicky appetite, and I knew I didn't want to eat anything that we had at home. I must've spent 15 minutes circling the seafood before I finally descended on bacon-wrapped scallops. I don't usually eat bacon. When I was half way home, Anna called and reminded me that we had a dinner date with Heidi. I'd totally forgotten, and now we were very late. But Heidi didn't mind, bless her, she took us in and warmed up the turkey and root vegetables. We spent some time chatting with her and her other dinner guests, Sherry and Shanna, before heading home and collapsing straight into bed. I slept for 11 hours and only got up twice to pee. It was a good way to end a long day.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Haven't made it back to work

I knew I wouldn't make it in on Thursday, day one post-chemo, but had high hopes for Friday. Thursday night I couldn't get to sleep until after midnight. So yesterday I stayed home. Then I had high hopes for today. Got to bed at 8:30 and was asleep by 9:00. I figured if I slept right through to 5:30, I might just be able to make it in. I guess I wasn't supposed to go in today, though. One side effect I've noticed has become more prominent is nocturia (peeing a lot at night). So I was asleep at 9:00, but up to pee at 11:30, then again at 1:30. Then I couldn't get back to sleep. I tossed and turned, thinking about sauna construction, then mentally reviewing how to open a fire hydrant (as if I really expected to be at work in the morning!), then going through a catalogue of old friends, wondering what they're up to. At 3:30 I decided it was time to read a book. I kept reading until my eyelids could no longer be propped open--it was then 5:00. Thankfully, I slept. I woke again at 8:30, far too late for work, of course.

What does it feel like to be on chemo?

It feels like a hangover, without the headache. It feels like having the flu, without the stuffy nose. It feels "out of sorts," or "run over by a truck," or pick your favourite cliche.

Heidi just called to invite Anna and I for a ski at Smoothwater. Apparently the Emmy-Go-Round is packed and ready. Anna's away, still down in Toronto (driving back today or tomorrow). But I'll go anyway, hopefully. I guess I need to wax my skis!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Shutdown of Chalk River not affecting me

Some have asked if the recent shutdown of the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratory is affecting my treatment. CRNL produces a surprisingly large proportion of the world's radioactive isotopes, used in medical diagnostic imaging, among other things. An unplanned shutdown of the main reactor in Chalk River has cut the availability of these isotopes in Canada and abroad. The story is outlined in more detail here:

MDS Nordion (the producer of medical radioactive isotopes at CRNL)

I would like to reassure everyone that this incident is in no way affecting my treatment (at this time, anyway). With the shutdown extending into January 2008, it is conceivable that somewhere down the line there may be some impact. MDS Nordion does produce Gallium-67, which was used in my November gallium scan. No doubt there will be more gallium scans in the future, but at this time I have no idea when.

Going, going, gone

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Quick update

Anna and I just got home from dinner with Kim and Phil. I used to work with Kim on the ambulance. Kim made a wonderful dinner for us. It was particularly nice to come home from a long day of chemo and not have to make dinner. Thanks!

Chemo started this morning with blood tests, which were all good. Lynn says that my platelets are better than most people walking around on the street. She started the line around 10, and I was in the chair until about 4. I feel like I've just stepped off a 36 hour plane ride. Tired, woozy, not sure on my feet, confused. But I'm ok. Anna's giving me some reiki right now, and urging me to bed. I've booked sick for work tomorrow, so I'll write more then.

(One of our favourite sayings: It's not a good day to be a cancer cell in my body!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Chemo #2 tomorrow

I have to wake up at 6 am tomorrow to take my prednisone. Then I'll spike my hair one last time. I'm buzzing it all off Thursday. It's falling out, and I don't want to see it get patchy.

Anna and I will leave here around 7:45. Blood work at 8:30 at the lab in New Liskeard. That's for the serum copper. The naturopath wants to investigate my zinc/copper balance. Dr. Roedde (she fills in when Dr. Goddard is away and has been following my situation from the beginning--she was the first doctor to feel the lump and decide I needed to see a specialist) thinks concerning myself with micronutrients is a bit much, but was willing to give me the requisition. Then at 9:30 I check in for chemo #2. More blood work, to see where my white blood cells are at. If they're high enough, I get the go-ahead for chemo. If they're not high enough, I get to wait a few more days. Delay is not good when you're talking chemotherapy. But I feel good (fatigue is one sign of low WBC counts) so I don't think that will be an issue.

Thanks, Mom, for the encouragement! I like the thought that after tomorrow I'm 25% done the treatments!

I had my session with Aline today. She started off with a little massage (which felt great) but she said her hands were telling her not to rub me. Then she said that she was feeling that she should send me on my way, that perhaps I needed to be doing other things. She's a mystic healer, remember, so we need to pay attention to these types of thoughts and feelings. (Dr. Roedde isn't so hot on micronutrients, but she thinks Aline is right on the money--she even sees Aline herself.) Then Aline and I got talking, she holding her hands over my body, myself laying on the massage table with my eyes closed. We did some visualization work. She said she saw 'wise men' or guides standing around me, bringing me a gift that I could open later, when I am ready. I tried to keep the 'babe in a manger' idea at bay. What is the gift? Some sort of 'wisdom,' no doubt. Some days I think I've soaked in all the wisdom I can stand, and that I'd rather leave my character-building lessons for someone else. Aline told me to look at my cancer as a pebble in the road. I told her that I look at it more as a muddy stretch, with no end in sight. Maybe the mud ends just around the next corner? Maybe not? She also told me to remember that I am in charge of me. I may not be in control of all that goes on around me, but I can control my actions and reactions. Then I started visualizing myself as General and Private in a Peaceful-Army-of-One. A peaceful warrior. I like that.

And so Aline didn't send me on my way early. But she did give me a coupon for a visit to the pool and sauna at the Quality Inn. So, after running a few errands (and "living in the now" for each one) I headed off for a swim and sauna. That was nice. I sat there in the sauna, 110 C, sweat pouring out, visualizing all the toxins leaving my body. Thanks, Aline!

One final note. Thanks, Jane, for the wonderful card and gift. Have a wonderful time in Columbia. Say hi to Sarah for us!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Busy week coming up

Anna and I just drove down to Toronto. It was a nasty drive. There was snow last night in Temagami and North Bay, though it had stopped by the time we left the Bay. The roads were mostly clear to Huntsville, but that's where the freezing rain started. We drove through icy conditions to Barrie, where it changed to a mixture of rain and freezing rain. But we took our time and made it here in one piece. Tomorrow Anna has a fertility appointment, and we'll do a few other things--take some of our Northern Health Travel Grants to the Mount Sinai Clinic to get filled out, maybe get some bloodwork done at Mount Sinai. We'll head north again tomorrow, but the Weather Network is calling for more bad weather on the way up. Tuesday I have an appointment with Aline, then Wednesday is, of course, Chemo #2. Thursday morning I wake up early and decide whether I'm going to work or not.

Tonight I just want to sit on the couch and relax.