Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So glad that's over

Yesterday was a difficult day indeed.
While John only had to endure two rounds under the knife for his second Mohs surgery, the finished wound is much larger than his first one.
And he is in oh so much more pain.
He figures that it was done too soon after the other, that perhaps they should have waited.  Normally there is at least a month between surgeries but the doctor felt that because each was on opposite sides of his face, it would be OK to go ahead after only two weeks.
John is glad to have it over with, but he thinks that the first side perhaps should have been further along in the healing process before the second side was attacked.
He's probably right, but it's too late now.  The deed has been done and he has to suffer through it.
I reminded him that originally, he wanted the doctor to do both sides on the same day.  Imagine the agony THAT would have been?
Hopefully, the pain will let up before too much longer and he can put all this behind him.
Until the next time, which we understand will be some time after Christmas.  In any event, if the call should come with an appointment before Christmas, we'll refuse the booking.  His next one is in the corner of his left eye so there is no way that can be tackled until this latest injury is fully healed.
And just to add insult to injury, after sitting all day at that clinic, we arrived home to a message from my eye doctor.
I should go in at 12:15pm today to sort out the fiasco of my new computer glasses (they don't work as they should).  If I don't take the appointment, I have to wait two weeks.
So my hips -- which were in burning agony last night -- will not have the stay-at-home-and-rest day that I thought I would have today.  Instead, I have to endure the 70-minute round trip to sort out a mess that shouldn't have happened.
Just what the doctor ordered when I couldn't have my weekly physio session yesterday!
Good thing my massage therapist is coming tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mohs Surgery, Round II

Well, here we sit at the Mohs Clinic, waiting for John's first go-round under the knife.
Today, he is the only male patient and each of the others brought a female attendant. That means that he is the only male amongst seven women.
Do you know how much noise six women can generate in a very small room when they are all speaking at once?
It's unbelievable!
I've already established the "party" atmosphere for the day so we're off and running to a good start.
John will be just fine, as long as someone doesn't decide to ask him to do a dance!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I guess it's the carbs

Last week, in my effort to promote weight loss, I decided I would lay off "bad" carbs -- the white stuff, if you will.
I was doing very well too, in that it seemed to be working -- at least I was on the right track (the scale was moving in the proper direction).
Then on Friday, I went out for lunch with my Angel.
And it all fell apart.
Not radically, you realize.  I stayed within my 1200 calorie limit for the day.
This restaurant we frequent must be a truck stop because the specials are humongous.
I ordered the "mini lasagna" which included soup, caesar salad, and jello or rice pudding.
The soup and salad was enough for me so I had them wrap the lasagna (a huge serving -- why it was called mini I'm not sure).
The rice pudding was delicious; haven't had that in years!  (I know, wrong choice but oh sooooo good.)
Of course, the lasagna was made with white pasta .  I only ate some of it for my dinner that evening. (Wasn't all that good either.)
Yeh, I know.
You know what's coming don't you?
The progress I had been making was lost.
Right back up there.
So now we start anew.
Note to self:  NO MORE WHITE CARBS!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Talk about a "senior moment"

I've just got to share this story with you.
OK, I know it's on me, but I have to tell you anyway.
At the end of August, we hired our handy-dandy backhoe operator to come in and do some work out back of the house (to further our landscaping effort since we built my sanctuary).
In mid September, we received the invoice for the job.
I immediately popped a cheque into the mail.
And I've patiently waited for said cheque to clear my account.
But it hasn't cleared.
When October came to a close without the cheque having been negotiated, I figured I'd give him a while longer, remembering past occasions when he seemed to have taken a while to redeem payments.
But as November closes in on us and the cheque still hasn't cleared, I thought I should check in with him if only to confirm that he had in fact received the payment in question.  (Lord knows we shouldn't necessarily trust the mail to always get through.)
So I pull the file to get his phone number.
And there's a copy of the cheque.
Clearly dated 2011-11-21.
September is the ninth month, not the eleventh (that would be November).
What in hell was I thinking back in September when I wrote that cheque?
My call to the gentleman turned into one of sincere apology for the screw-up.
He thought it was quite funny that I was so terribly appalled about the whole situation.
When they got the cheque, his wife said to him, "Oh, Bonnie made a mistake on the date," and simply put it aside until it became payable.  
Nothing to it.
"I never intended for you to have to wait two months for payment," I explained.
"Don't worry about it Bonnie," he said.  "I've waited a lot longer than this for money from some people."
Anyway, call it a "senior moment" or a "brain fart" or whatever, I'm still horrified that it happened.  You can be sure I'll be paying extra special attention whenever I write a cheque now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Tamarra's Honour

Today marks one year since my grand-niece lost her battle with brain cancer.
She was only 18 years old.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Tamarra, but I followed her on FaceBook and she was certainly loved and admired by her family and friends.
Tamarra was my brother John's granddaughter (he lost his battle with cancer not quite three months earlier).
My heart goes out to Tanya, Tamarra's mother, who in the previous two and half years had been asked to cope with more pain than any one person should have to endure in such a short period of time.  Her grandmother (my mother) passed in January 2008; a month later, her mother died suddenly in February, 2008; her father (my brother) succumbed to lung cancer on 27 August 2010, and then her only daughter was taken from her.
Such events bring one burning question to my mind:  What more could the good Lord ask of one person?
A mother shouldn't have to bury her child.
Cancer shouldn't take anyone, much less a child.
In the short year since Tamarra's departure, her mother has honoured her passing by establishing the Tamarra Cherryholme Foundation, a NEW not-for-profit registered charity that financially supports families for children/young adults living with cancer to receive holistic oncology treatments.  For information about the Foundation and to find out how to make donations to help support this very worthwhile charity, visit
Rest in peace, Tanya's angel.
Tamarra Cherryholme
6 Jan 1992 - 23 Nov 2010

Monday, November 21, 2011

My weight loss effort ...

... is failing.
After modest initial success, I've ground to a halt.
I'm ensuring that I eat a minimum of 1200 calories a day (and believe me, some days, it's a major challenge getting that much food into me!).
And the scale just won't budge.
According to, I should be ten pounds lighter in five weeks.
Well, this is the fifth week since I started with that site, and I'm only down three pounds.
So much for its ability to project weight loss success!
Every day, when I finish recording my caloric intake, I get a message telling me "If every day is like today, you should weigh xxx.x in five weeks."
I've got news for them.
Every day is much the same -- in terms of my caloric intake.
And every day I put in sixty minutes on the stationary bike (yup, I'm now up to an hour!).
I take every opportunity I can throughout the day to do stretches, squats, stairs.  You name it -- I'm on the move!
So I'm burning calories like there's no tomorrow.
If we compare my activity level today to what I was capable of doing a mere six months ago, I should have faded away to nothing by now!
Yet still, that stupid scale won't move.
My little chickadee gave me a lecture this morning, insisting that perhaps my body is at precisely the weight it should be.  And perhaps my brain needs to get in tune with my body.  Cuz my body knows best.
But given my new height (I've shrunk an inch in my old age), I need to weigh less to meet the BMI requirements.
And I am simply too thick around the middle.  That's all there is to it.  Time has proven that it doesn't matter what I do, I cannot exercise it away.
Apparently, my only solution is that tummy tuck that I almost had a year ago. Perhaps it's now time to pursue that again.
I wonder if it would be best to have the tummy tuck before the hip replacement or after?

Friday, November 18, 2011

The joys of getting old ...

I saw my eye doctor the other day.
Finally, I'm getting yet another pair of glasses (but they are a beaut!).
It will be nice to be able to see properly again, even if it might only be for a short while (based on past experience).  We'll see how long this new prescription remains valid.
I also had to order a new pair of computer glasses.  The pair I just bought in January of this year were no longer any good.  They were fine for computer work but I could no longer see to do paperwork.  That made doing bookkeeping a proper pain in the neck, what with having to take my glasses off every time I tried to read a receipt.
Right now, I am straining my neck trying to see the computer screen because my progressive lenses just don't work in front of the computer.  Hopefully, I'll have my new computer glasses by Monday.
This latest appointment also brought about a not-so-great new discovery.
The doctor found "mottling" of my eye pigment, which she explained is a not uncommon occurrence with age.  But it's the precurser to macular degeneration.  (That is why I've been noticing, of late, that I need even more light than I ever used to require.)  She will be watching me even more carefully now.
My cataracts are progressing ever so slowly so we still aren't too concerned about them yet.
And she is now prepared to refer me to a surgeon to have my droopy eyelids repaired -- she says they are at a point that repair is indicated.  Since that is a surgical procedure, I opted to wait.  I have enough surgeries hanging over me at the moment.  Other than when I'm very tired, they don't cause any problem, so my droopy lids will just have to be patient.  We will revisit the issue next year.
She wants me to continue seeing her every four months so she can monitor me closely (cataracts and now macular degeneration).
Family doctor ... dermatologist ... eye doctor ... ENT specialist ... audiologist ... neurologist ... respirologist ... sleep specialist ... dentist ... physiotherapist ... massage therapist ... Have I missed anybody?
No wonder I feel like my life is spent moving from one health care provider to the next!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What a long day THAT was!

Yesterday was a very long day indeed.
And although it seemed like forever to me, I'm sure it seemed longer still for John.
He had his first go-round with Mohs Surgery to tackle his on-going battle with skin cancer.  (One down; two to go.)
He's been struggling with this for several years now and after his last dermatologist retired, he was recently (finally) referred to a new one.  And she's a keeper, to be sure.  (We are both actually her patients, but that's the topic of another blog.)
This doctor is the only one in Ottawa performing the Mohs procedure so she's kept busy.
We had to be at the hospital for 7:20am -- not an easy feat coming from Almonte but we managed it by leaving home at 6:00am to ensure that we allowed for unforeseen traffic delays (read the Queensway that is otherwise known as the parking lot from hell).
Once there, we quickly discovered that the Mohs Clinic (housed in the Parkdale Cancer Clinic of the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital) is a very well-run, finely tuned machine.
Four patients are scheduled for the removal of squamous cell carcinomas on each Tuesday (removal of basal cell carcinomas are scheduled on a different day of the week).
Each patient must arrive with an attendant who will stay all day, otherwise the procedure will not be performed.  In John's case, that attendant was me.
We went armed with a day's worth of food and drink since we had been pre-warned to anticipate the possibility of being there all day long.  Of course I took my trusty iPad along and when I asked for the passcode to access the internet, I was told that I was the first person to ever ask for it -- this is NOT a new clinic! (The staff actually didn't know the answer and had to call IT to find out -- I was given a guest account and it was authorized for four months to cover us for the anticipated repeat visits we will be making.)
Mohs surgery involves the doctor first cutting out the cancer (under local anaesthetic) and then looking at the pathology of that cut while the patient waits in the sitting room (with attendant).  If all the cancer was excised in the first run (rare occurrence), the patient will be stitched up and sent home.  Otherwise, a next cut will be taken,  going wider and deeper and again the patient will be returned to the waiting room while the excisal amount is viewed under the microscope.
This process is repeated until pathology reports a cancer-free margin.
Of the four patients done yesterday, the lone lady (whose nose was being done) required only two cuts.  We cheered, "one down" as she left our cozy, by now very friendly group.
The gentleman whose spot was smack on top of his head was next to leave (four cuts). ("They haven't hit grey matter yet," was his report every time he rejoined us).
We had by now turned the waiting room into a comfort area, using one sofa to sit on and the other for a foot stool.  ("Wow, no group has ever done that before," commented a nurse.  We were just the most innovative crowd ever!)
Believe it or not, John was next to leave.  This at almost 6:00pm!  He had been back for six cuts by this point. (Since I cannot drive after dark, my stepson and his wife met us to provide transportation home -- such sweethearts they are.)
The last gentleman to leave had lost his entire bottom lip and was still in the cutting room when we left.  He would be reporting to day surgery this morning at 6:30am for plastic surgery to rebuild his lip.
Needless to say, as difficult as the day was for us, I was left feeling like we had nothing to moan about.  Gentleman #4 took that honour I think.
Yesterday's procedure was performed on John's right temple.  We return next Tuesday (the 22nd) for stitch removal.
And we're back there on the 29th for the same thing to be done on his left temple.  I will again be his "attendant in waiting" and my stepson and his wife will again provide after-dark transportation.
Then she'll leave him alone until after Christmas, when we will both go back to the Clinic on a date as yet to be determined.  She will operate on John's left inner eye (yes, right smack dab at the inner corner of the eye --- big time ouch, I say!).  And she will remove the basal cell carcinoma from my nose.  I'm hoping she won't have to remove too much (although if plastic surgery is required, perhaps I'll get to choose a nicer nose?).  We'll need to arrange for an attendant and transportation for that booking since we will both be undergoing the knife on the same day.
Oh the joys of aging.  But gosh the wonders of today's technology to allow the complete removal of cancerous cells, while you wait, without general anaesthesia.  Amazing!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Damned arthritis!

My hands have decided to become a major problem all of a sudden.
Not that they are not usually an irritant, what with having arthritis and all.
It's just that right now, they are big time inflamed and I know not from what.
I mean, I don't know what has caused just my hands (and wrists) to be particularly sore.
They only appear mildly inflamed but they feel totally incapacitated.
Every movement is truly very painful.
Yesterday, I ran a few errands in town and I had to resort to wearing my arthritis gloves -- they do offer some degree of relief.
As I was reading the newspaper this morning, I noticed that just the act of manipulating the paper was difficult, especially since my wrists too are very sore this time.
So, it's back to the gloves again.
Hopefully, this flare-up won't last too long.
I wish I knew what precipitated this nonsense.
To be sure, I can expect flare-ups every year with the onset of the cold weather.
I get that.
And cold weather normally descends upon us in November -- hence I can count on having flare-ups every year at this time.
BUT, our weather right now is downright balmy!
Apparently, it has less to do with the weather, and more to do with the calendar?
Bizarre, I say!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Moving into Christmas mode

I know, I know, it seems rather early doesn't it?
But before we know it, it will be Christmas.
And there's lots needs to be done before then.
Christmas 2010 in my Sanctuary - "Ready for Santa"
Used to be -- I'm going back lots of years now -- but there was a time that I would finish my Christmas shopping on Remembrance Day (that was yesterday folks!).
You see, since the children had to go to school but we adults didn't have to go to work on that day, my sister and I would meet for coffee in the morning (lots of it) and then head out to the malls for the afternoon. We would become whirling dirvish shoppers for four hours as we crossed off items from our Christmas list.
Then for the rest of the "season" the crazies could mob to the stores without us (I really can't handle those crowds).  Suited me just fine because the further from the stores I am at Christmas time, the better I like it.
While I haven't actually finished my shopping by November 11th for many years now, I am usually done by mid-to-late November.
Won't be this year though.
I don't even know what we're buying our list of giftees yet.  Have barely even started putting the list together.
BUT, we do have the photo for our Christmas card chosen -- and the card is ready to print too.  Now that's a bonus because usually that's something I'm scrambling to do at the very last moment.  (Last year, it was December 4th, I believe, when I printed the cards!)
What with all the medical appointments happening around this place between now and Christmas, I'll have to be quite creative in fitting all the demands of the season into our schedule, always remembering to pace myself lest I end up in a fibro flare up by the time the big day comes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Out of the pit ...

... and back to wellness.
Finally, a light at the end of the tunnel.
I was able to sleep last night using the CPAP machine, the first time since last Friday.
My congestion isn't totally gone but it is at least now at a tolerable level.
My voice is almost back to normal.
The sneezing has stopped.
My eyes are no longer swimming.
And the leaky faucet that was in the centre of my face has been replaced with my nose again, albeit a very sore one.  It is raw from all the wiping that has taken place over the past four days but at least it isn't dripping any longer.
It's always been a mystery to me how I catch these things.  But catch them I do.
My little chickadee used to say, "Someone sneezes in Montreal and my Mom gets sick."
And frankly, she wasn't far wrong.  At least it seemed to be that remote a connection.
I swear that I could pick something up by simply walking past an infected person in a store.
Obviously, my day in the big city a week ago Tuesday (November 1st) exposed me to somebody, somewhere in my travels.  I mean, I covered a lot of territory that day and was amongst several different sized collections of people:  the lab for my mammogram; my doctor's office for my flu shot; my physiotherapist's office; my ENT's office for my hearing aid check-up; the fast food restaurant).
Any one of those stops could have presented the culprit.
It takes five days to incubate a virus.  Tuesday having been day one, Saturday (the day I became sick) was day five.
Bingo ... we know when I came in contact with it.  We just don't know where because I was in too many places on the same day.
So, thank you Tuesday.
It's been a delight ... NOT!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wow, big time success!

Well, it certainly is working now!
This weight loss effort, I mean.
After making no progress for months, the weight is coming off me like melting butter now.
Probably too fast, in fact!
I was down a pound on Saturday.
Another pound on Sunday.
And another two pounds this morning!
That's a total of four pounds since my friend had me make that one little tiny change to my diet:  increase my caloric intake each day!
That's right.  Eat more every day.
That's the only change I've made to my daily routine.
I make very sure that I take in as close to, without going under, 1200 calories each and every day.  (Some days, that means having a glass of wine to bring my intake to the required level.)
And it's obviously working.  Because the scale is moving nicely in the right direction now.
Of course, it might be helping at the moment that I'm sick -- terrible head/chest cold that has me sweating/freezing all day long.  There's a red hot poker in my throat.  My eyes are watering like mad and my nose has become a leaky faucet.
Last night was the worst so far.
This nonsense all started on Saturday with a sore throat.  And it got worse from there.
I'm hoping I've turned the corner now and will start climbing out of the pit I've been in for the past couple of days.
I mean, really, how much longer can it go on?  I've already emptied three of the five kleenex boxes in the house and I'm running out of replacements.
I haven't been able to use the CPAP machine for the past three nights because of the severe congestion.
But I'm still managing to eat my 1200 calories a day.
And I continue to get in my 45 minutes of stationary bike each day.
Nothing, I repeat nothing, is going to interfere with my resolve to lose this weight!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Success! Success!

Finally, movement on the scale (in the proper direction too!).
OK, it's only one pound but it's a start.
Last Monday I was on the phone with a friend and we got talking about my latest attempt to lose weight.  I mentioned this new app I had found and how helpful it was in calling my attention to what I'm eating, yada yada yada.
'Cept I wasn't losing weight.  According to the app, I should be fading away.
"I'm eating less than the minimum calorie count every day," I said. "The pounds should just be melting off me."
"That's why you're not losing weight," said she.  "You're body is going into starvation mode.  It remembers when you were so sick last year and lost all that weight the wrong way.  It's protecting you.  You must eat at least the minimum calories every day."
"But," I said, "most days, the only way I'd hit that number is if I add the wine back into my diet because I simply can't put that much food into me in one day."  (I know, hard to believe, isn't it?  But I only eat when I'm hungry, not according to any clock or any schedule.  If my tummy doesn't want food, I don't give my body anything.)
"Wrong," she said.  "You must eat that minimum or your body will hold everything you do give it.  Try it for two weeks.  Make sure you eat the required number of calories every day for two weeks -- don't shortchange yourself even one day -- and see if you don't lose weight."
"OK, I'll do that," I said.  "I've already got two days under my belt because I did manage it on each of the two days before so I will start the clock as of 29 October."
I wasn't very optimistic as the week progressed though.
There was not one iota of downward movement on the scale.
In fact, on Thursday, I was UP by two pounds (and not very impressed!).  But that might have been explained by the over-calorie intake that occurred on Tuesday when I was in the city (we always eat out and I miscalculated).
But this morning, I stepped on the scale and was delighted to see that I was down one pound from what I was a week ago.
So my friend was right. If I stick to it and pay close attention to my caloric intake, making sure to always hit that magic number every day, I will lose weight.
Only 18 pounds to go.

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's been a long week?

Wow, Friday already?
Seems like just yesterday I posted here, yet I see it was actually Monday when I last did that.
Tuesday was an extremely busy day.  I went into the city for my usual physio appointment.  But added into the mix this time was my biennial mammogram; a stop at my doctor's office to get my flu shot; then my physio session; my hearing test and hearing aid readjustment (I'm getting more deaf in my right ear!); then to MLC's.  I also got my hair cut that evening and stayed overnight at MLC's (collected lots of hugs and kisses from MBB).
I didn't get much sleep on Tuesday night.  My hips were especially troublesome (most likely due to the exceptionally busy day I had put in) and I hadn't brought my CPAP machine with me.  Lesson learned:  that machine really does make a difference to the quality of my sleep. 
Wednesday morning I took MBB for our usual breakfast before he went to school and then I headed home.  But en route I stopped at my friendly computer shop to pick up a new router.  Their advice had been that I probably needed a newer one to provide a stronger wireless signal (service is sketchy in my sanctuary and on the deck).  By the time I got home late morning, I had already been up since 3:00am and I had had the biscuit.  I crashed for about three hours!  Day gone.
Thursday morning was spent on the telephone with computer guy taking remote control of one of John's computers to try to resolve an issue he's been having.  We spent about an hour on that problem and were not able to figure out what's wrong with it.  He left me with a test to do (which I'll get to) and he will do further research into the issue to see if he can find a resolution.  (I hate computers!) 
Then I proceeded to switch routers.  All went well and our three computers are happily on the network just as before.  But neither my laptop nor my iPad is allowed to join the network -- tells me the password (generated by the router) is incorrect.  I have no idea what password it wants if the one provided (carefully entered numerous times) is not the right one.  (I hate computers!)
My massage therapist arrived for my 1:00pm session so I had to abandon the router issue.  And once I've had my massage, I become very mellow.  Day gone.  No more trying to resolve computer issues; that can wait for another day.
Friday (that would be today) will be spent first talking with my computer guy to see if he can suggest a solution for why this new router won't let my laptop and iPad join the wireless network (there has to be a setting that I'm just not seeing).  If he can't resolve it, I will put the other router back and return the new one as a failed experiment.
Have I mentioned that I hate computers?