Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another year comes to an end

Can you believe it?  2011 is over already!
Where did the time go?
Admittedly, I have made wonderful progress this year.
For instance, six months ago I couldn't endure three minutes on the stationary bike.
And now, I'm doing 60 minutes every day!
Unbelievable indeed.
My pain level is way down since I'm doing that biking too.
I mean, I can do stuff that will induce the pain big time.  But for the most part, I've had fewer flare-ups (just as all the experts promised) and when I have had a flare-up, it hasn't lasted as long as they used to (again, just as all the experts promised).
So, that is progress to be sure.
Don't get me wrong now.  I still have the matter of my hips to resolve.
And at the end of January 2012, my left hip will be fixed.  (I'll simply have to endure the rehab and recovery.)
Once recovered from that surgery, I'm hoping that surgery on my right hip can be delayed several years.  I'm basing that expectation on the results I had from the steroid injection in my left hip.
During my "in heaven" phase with those shots, I was good to go -- neither hip gave me grief.  So perhaps once my left hip is doing the job it's supposed to do, my right hip will be able to relax and not have to carry the load.  Hence, it might not present the problem that it has in the past.
Only time will tell.
In any event, as 2011 closes, I'm enjoying much more mobility than I've had in many years -- thanks to my persistence on the bike.  And I'm looking forward to continued improvement throughout 2012.
Wonder if 2012 will pass as quickly as 2011 did?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My love affair with peanut butter

I have had a life-long love affair with peanut butter.
Peanut butter on super fresh bread.
Peanut butter melting on a piece of hot toast.
Peanut butter and honey on fresh bread.
Peanut butter and honey on toast.
Peanut butter and banana on fresh bread.
Peanut butter and banana on toast.
Peanut butter and strawberry jam on fresh bread.
Peanut butter and strawberry jam on toast.
Peanut butter and strawberry jam on saltine crackers.
Peanut butter and brown sugar on fresh bread.
Peanut butter and brown sugar on toast.
Peanut butter on a spoon, just because.
I love peanut butter.
And it HAS to be Kraft.  (I'll actually pass up peanut butter if it is anything but Kraft!)
Smooth is best but Crunchy is next best.
You'll understand when I say I was devastated when I learned, several years ago, that it was my intolerance for peanut butter that had been keeping me in a migraine state.  The term 'intolerance' was used to describe my inability to ingest peanut butter because I don't really have an allergy to it, in the true sense.
I mean, I wasn't going to die if I ate peanut butter (or peanuts).  I was just going to wish I would die.
So some time around 1983 I stopped eating peanut butter (and Planters' dry roasted peanuts -- another favourite) in the interest of heading off my migraines at the pass.  (Yes, my migraines were that bad!)
Other culprits that I was warned to avoid were chocolate (which I actually don't much like anyway so that was an easy one to avoid) and red wine (which I never choose to drink since I hate the taste of it).
My migraines didn't stop entirely but they surely did decrease in frequency. (I had been unknowingly keeping myself in a migraine state by my daily ingestion of peanut butter.)  
We eventually found a treatment that worked for my migraines and I was at least able to function.  (I was still victim to barometric pressure and other triggers that were not always in my control to avoid.)
But back in early January, 2008, a life changing event occurred and since that date I have not had a single migraine from any cause whatsoever.
Some time in mid-2009 I cautiously reintroduced peanut butter to my diet.  WOW.  No migraine. Not even a little bit of a headache.  I've been eating peanut butter every morning on my toast ever since.  Without a hint of a headache.
By Christmas of 2009, (how did I ever manage 25+ years without my beloved peanut butter, I wonder?) when no migraine had yet re-occurred, my very wise little chickadee suggested that I might try chocolate again.
Remember, chocolate is not something I particularly like but one treat I did always enjoy was the box of cherry chocolates that Santa used to bring me every year.  I would eat them whilst I solved my jigsaw puzzle during my holiday from work.  (And I would invariably be plunged into a terrific migraine attack.  Duhhhhhh!)
For Christmas 2009, I received a box of Queen Anne's Cherry Chocolates.  And I ate one every day until they were gone.  No headache ever surfaced.
The gift was repeated for Christmas 2010.
And this Christmas, in addition to the Cherry Chocolates, I also received a bag full of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (another favourite).
Neither of these goodies will do anything toward helping me with my weight loss efforts but it is my intention to have one of each treat each day until they are gone.
Because I can -- and one only lives once.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Now that's behind us

OK, the big day is behind us now.
And what a pleasant big day it was.
We were up early (as usual) and opened our stockings in bed.  Then I made John have his fruit juice before he was allowed to open presents (carry-over from my childhood).
We each received an abundance of goodies.  (There are never many surprises around here, although John did manage one this time -- kudos to him).
Once the gifts were behind us, it was time to shower and get ready for the most enjoyable part of what has become our Christmas tradition.
We go into the city to join my little chickadee and her family for Christmas breakfast.  I've lost count of how many years she has been hosting this event now but it must be at least eight (since MSYM is now ten).
The drive to the city was a little harrowing because the roads were just a tad slippery but I took it slow and easy and we turned a normally 45-minute drive into just over an hour.  Best be safe, I think.
The breakfast was fabulous, as it always is.  And as has become the tradition, we were also joined by my good friend, RLR, who is like another mother to MLC.  
My striking young man has come to expect that his Christmas mornings are shared with this special group of people and it is endearing to me that he feels that way.
We opened gifts after breakfast, with MLC playing Santa Claus and MSYM playing his helper.
Then we sat around and gabbed.
The weather continued to get uglier as the day wore on so we headed out just before 2:00pm.
It took us until shortly after 3:00pm to get home -- again, a 45-minute drive taking over an hour.  The roads were truly treacherous.  Fortunately, everyone was driving with suitable caution.
Once home, we unwound from the stressful trip by sitting quietly with before dinner drinks.
Then John set about preparing our "Christmas dinner" -- pheasant breast with stuffing, rice, and carrot/turnip mix.  It was delicious!
We were both exhausted and had little difficulty hitting the sack very early.
Trouble with that is ... I'm up very early to start the next day.
Like 3:30am today.
But I must admit I had a little help ... violent foot cramps drove me from my bed at that ungodly hour.  The cramping has been becoming quite an issue again of late.  I'm not sure what I can do about it because I don't know what is happening to cause them to have increased so dramatically.  They also seem to be limited to my feet now whereas before they were always in my calves and feet.
The only real difference to my regime is the recent addition of folic acid, iron and B-12 to my daily intake (to help build up my blood before my surgery).  I can't see that any of those would affect cramping but one never knows for sure, does one?  Especially with my crazy body!
In any event, I guess it will be a long day today.
I have lots on my plate today too.
Have to get ready for our family brunch tomorrow.
Christmas all over again!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Best wishes to all my friends, family, and loyal readers (whoever you may be).
Ruffed Grouse as viewed from our kitchen window
(©John T. Fowler,
Have a safe and happy holiday!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Remembering a Past Christmas

For some reason, this day always brings back memories of Christmases past (go figure!).
And this year, I can't seem to get images of one particular Christmas out of my mind.
I was thirteen years old and I desperately wanted a pair of textured tights stockings -- they were all the rage that year.

About ten days before Christmas, I was home from school (I don't recall why; obviously I must have been sick).
I had the house to myself and decided I should go snooping for gifts.  I just HAD to know if I was getting a pair of those stockings!
Well, I found the cache of presents and eventually identified one that had my name on it that felt like it might be just what I was hoping for.
I oh so carefully opened the package -- and there they were.  They were blue and black with a diamond pattern.  Truly the most beautiful pair of textured stockings in the whole wide world!
Then I did the unthinkable.  I just HAD to try one on.
I remember shaking as I put the stocking on and pulled it up my leg.  And then I pranced around my parents' bedroom, admiring the sight.
I was still shaking as I took the stocking off and carefully folded it to put it back in the package.
But look!  Now the one I tried on was all stretched out, noticeably bigger than the other one.
So I quickly put the second stocking on and stretched it up my leg so the pair would match again.
Then I very carefully rewrapped the package and returned it to the hidden stash of gifts.
And I remember on Christmas morning being very nervous when it came time to open that gift.
My mother, who knew how badly I wanted those stockings, was watching closely as the package was handed to me.
What was I going to do?  I knew I had to act surprised and excited.  And I figured I could do that easily, since there was so much other commotion going on with our large family.  But would someone notice that the stockings were already stretched?
So I opened the package, let out a squeal of delight, and immediately proceeded to put the stockings on.
There, of course they're stretched, I'm wearing them!
That was the year I learned a very important lesson:  be careful what you wish for!
And I have never again gone snooping for gifts.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Family Size

I had a most interesting revelation today as a result of an e-mail exchange.
I was responding to someone who is very special to me.  She is pregnant with her second child, and the news got me to thinking.
After congratulating her (because I truly am happy for her), my honest response was: "You've gotta be nuts having another ankle biter. Don't you ever want to be able to rest peacefully again? AAAARRRRRGH! What were you thinkin' girl?"
But as anyone who knows me is aware, I love babies to pieces, and I love children tremendously. I just can't believe anyone would want to do it a second time!  This in spite of the fact that my pregnancy was actually the healthiest time of my life, and I really didn't have a difficult child to raise.
I know some people suffer terribly through pregnancy and/or experience hellish teenage years with their offspring. But that was not the case for me.
Truth be known, I always wished I had had three daughters-- can you believe it?  Fantasized about that being the "perfect family."  But I wasn't able to maintain subsequent pregnancies because of endometriosis, a condition that eventually led to my having a hysterectomy before my 28th birthday.
Today, I'm glad I didn't have my fantasy family because I don't think I'd have the energy to deal with three.  And I so enjoy the fact that my little chickadee doesn't have to share me with anyone!  
Crazy isn't it?  My mother always said, "The Lord works in mysterious ways."  

Monday, December 19, 2011

This is freakin' ridiculous!

OK, I know I'm extremely susceptible to all things threatening to the respiratory system.
But really, this is truly craziness!
Last Tuesday, when I was in the grocery store, the cashier was sneezing like a mad fool and was in absolute misery.
Of course, my first thought was, "Great, just what I need heading into Christmas!"  Because naturally, I figured she had a cold and was spreading it all over the place (ie moi, who picks up everything without even trying).
She quickly apologized for the violent sneezing attacks, explaining that a customer had come through ahead of me whose bags were covered in cat hair and she (the cashier) was severely allergic to cats.
"OK," I thought, "I guess I'll be fine then because you can't catch allergic responses."
And I went on my merry way.
Yesterday, precisely five days later, I'm suffering with non-stop sneezing, and I'm coughing and my eyes are watering to beat the band.
What's up with this?  I wonder.
And then it dawns on me.
That damned cashier WAS sick and had just made up the cat hair story!  How dare she expose customers to her virus like that (and then dismiss it with such a blatant lie!)?  Had management put her up to it, insisting that she work in spite of her so obviously not being well?
My little chickadee did not come up with the statement, "Someone sneezes in Montreal, and my Mom gets sick," without cause.  She came up with it because her Mom has a compromised respiratory system and gets sick with the very slightest exposure to just about anything that flies through the air.
So now, I'll ride this out and pray that it doesn't last a week.
And after January 13th, I guess I won't stick my head outside the door of my home, lest I pick something up before my surgery.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One week to go ...

It's only a week away.
Can you believe it?
Seven days to go.
And then it will all be over.
Just like that.
We build up to it for weeks.
Months even.
Carols playing everywhere you go.
Happy children mailing letters to the Big Guy.
Ritual -- writing greeting cards to friends and family.
Inside decorating -- outside too.
Shopping, shopping, shopping.
Tree's ready -- are the gifts wrapped?
Mom's busy baking.
And finally, it's time ...
Santa's arriving.
Are you ready?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

If it weren't for bad luck ...

I'd have no luck at all.
Just like the famous saying goes.  (Sometimes, I swear that was written for me, along with Murphy's Law!)
Yesterday, I spent the day making meat pies.  And oh what a productive day it was!
When I was taking the bounty down to the freezer, my stair lift crapped out -- mid flight, as it were.
So there it sits, a foot from the top of the stairs, waiting for me to reach the service guy.  I'll place a call today and hope that he can make a visit here before Christmas to address whatever is wrong with it.
And of course, because I had spent the day in the kitchen -- on my feet -- I was in fairly rough shape last night.
A soak in my jet massage tub was very much in order.  I filled the tub and lowered myself in, so looking forward to feeling those jets pound away the ache in my shoulders and upper back.
Yeh, right!   The back jets wouldn't work.
Luckily the lower jets were working fine so I was at least able to benefit from those on my legs and hips.  But oh, I so wanted those jets to do their magic on my back and shoulders!
John will take a look at the danged thing this morning, but the last time this happened, we had to call an electrician to fix it (those tubs are complicated monsters).
This morning, I woke with almost as much pain as I had last night.
So today will be an enforced R&R day.  I'll spend it vegging.
Problem is, I don't even have a good book in which to get lost.
As I said, if it weren't for bad luck ...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So that's a bust ...

Banking my own blood in the event I might need a transfusion during my surgery was a nice idea.
Except it isn't going to happen.
We spent an hour at the Transfusion Medicine Unit of the hospital today, they having received the results of the bloodwork that was taken on Tuesday.
My hemoglobin level is excellent (especially for a woman!).
My iron level is acceptable for non-surgical purposes but could be higher going into surgery (to help reduce the need for a transfusion).
For starters, I was assured that the likelihood of my needing a transfusion is very low (although one can never be 100% certain about these events you realize).
BUT, because I have a seizure disorder I am excluded from banking my own blood.  The very act of donating blood could bring on a seizure because they are drawing a lot of blood in a very short period of time.
The offer was made to "special request" that I be allowed to bank my blood in spite of the disorder (since it is well controlled) but I declined.
I discussed the seizures I had back in 2009 as a result of an electrolyte imbalance and the thought that the physiological impact on the body might be somewhat similar (if not more impacting).  Hence the risk for me might be a little too similar.  I don't want to go there.
So the decision was made that I will definitely not be banking my own blood.  And I was assured that should I need a transfusion, every precaution will be taken to safeguard my health and wellbeing.
As of today, in order to increase my chances of  NOT needing a transfusion, I am taking 300mg of Iron, 5 mg of Folic Acid, and 1000mg of Vitamin B12 a day.
If I'm not ready for surgery, it won't be from lack of trying ...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Getting my ducks in order

Things are starting to fall into place vis a vis my hip surgery.
The hospital called to book my pre-hab appointment.  They offered me December 19th but that date is booked solid when I'll be staying overnight at my little chickadee's place.  Besides, John has to accompany me to the pre-hab visit, so the 19th wouldn't work.  For various reasons, I didn't like the other dates she offered.  Eventually, we settled on Friday, January 13th.  (My physiotherapist counselled me on the exercises last February so I'm way ahead of the curve on that aspect.  The 13th is plenty of prep time, so I'm told.)
And as for this week being a week of no commitments outside the home, with the exception of my massage therapy today ... well, that fell to the wayside.
On Monday, the hospital called to book my appointment for banking my own blood for the surgery (just in case ...)  Turns out there has to be a consultation (certain criteria must be met in order to bank your own blood).  And they need bloodwork to be done prior to that consultation meeting.
So, they faxed the requisition to me and I went for the bloodwork yesterday morning.  That took me out of the house.  While I was out, I did some grocery shopping (and some other type of shopping).  I did too much walking and suffered terribly for the rest of the day.
Today, I have to leave the house for my massage therapy (originally, the only time I would have had to leave this week).  It's unfortunate that I have to go to the clinic (she normally comes to my home) because it will be especially difficult to manage her stairwell in my now compromised state -- but one must do what one must do.
And now tomorrow, I have to make a trip into the city for the blood consultation visit at the hospital.  At that point, I'll find out if I meet the criteria to bank my own blood.  If I do, I'll have to make another trip into the city, to a different location again, to actually have the blood drawn.  If I don't qualify, they will put into place whatever is necessary to ensure there is sufficient blood of my type available for my surgery date.
One of the stops I made yesterday was to visit the physiotherapy lab at our local hospital to give them a heads up about my surgery.  The Ottawa hospital had indicated to me that instead of my having to go into Ottawa every day for the rehab physio, I could rehab locally.  I needed to know that our physio clinic was agreeable to that.  So that is now in place too.  One less thing to worry about.
You see, I was once a girl guide -- albeit very briefly -- and I took away one very important lesson from those days.  Always be prepared!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My budding writer

I have to share this, it's such a creative story. From what we can tell the assignment was to write a story personifying an inanimate object, without specifically revealing what the object is.
This is what my beautiful boy wrote (no corrections made):
Life Sucks
My face is a screen, my arm is a cord and my hand is a mouse, the other is a speaker and my feet are plugs. Almost every day someone's sweaty hands are all over my buttons and my hand. Most of the day people turn my face off. Whenever some kid turns me on and they play games with people running around I feel little feet pounding my face. When I'm bored I talk to my friends: iPod, TV, DSi, Wii, laptop and Playstation but I've always wanted to know an Xbox. Playstation is obsessed with violent games, iPod thinks he's rich, laptop is so fancy, Wii is crazy about new games and DSi is obsessed with Pok√©mon. Every day I hear these words "time to get off now!," which I think is a woman's voice and then a kid's voice that says "awwww!!!!!" and that voice sounds like a sad boy. I know I'm not the only one probably all of you have one of me, you may even have multiples of me. There are three others of me in this house so there are four of us in total. NO! They're coming! "Homework first and then you can go on." I heard a mother say. "Okay", replied a boy. A couple of minutes later I heard this "Mom, I'm done!" said the boy. NOOOOOOO! He's back, looks like I'm getting turned on now. Bye!
Now, I don't know about you but this coming from a ten year old just blows me away.
Apparently, his teacher didn't enjoy the creative aspect of the story quite as much as we did because he didn't get the grade I thought it should earn.  (Seems he revised it as he prepared the final copy, introducing several grammatical errors, and then he failed to properly proofread it before handing it in.  Those errors lost him grade points.  He was not happy with the final mark.  Tough lesson learned!)
With time, he'll learn not to mess with a good thing.
But in my estimation, it's a fabulous first-run story.
Way to go Marcus, my man!  I hope you never lose that spark.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Getting into the Spirit of the Season

Today I'm truly raring to go.
I've had several consecutive nights of good sleep (low AHI readings = restful sleep).
Oddly enough, I'm back to waking every two and a half hours or so because I do still have to change position, but I'm never up for long.  I make the required change and go right back to sleep.
Today, in fact, I slept until past 6:00am. That's a record for me.  I'm usually up between 4:30 and 5:00am, already on the stationary bike by 5:15am most mornings.
And I have to admit, I do like that routine.
I guess it works for me.  It reminds me of my working days when I was naturally up by that time.
I remember arriving at the office and announcing that I had already put in a day's worth of work because I had done so many household chores before I left home!
I guess my circadian rhythm is morning person.
My mother always used to say that she never needed to use an alarm clock once I came along because she had me to wake up the household.  And she was not talking about me as an infant.  She was referring to my childhood years.  Obviously, I've been an early riser all my life.
So, what am I doing with all this energy today?
I've pulled out all the paraphernalia that becomes my Christmas village and over the next couple of days, I will convert a corner of my home into a wondrous scene.

And I'll also turn space in my sanctuary into a welcoming corner for Santa.

So you can see I'll be busy for the next few days.
Take care.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My hip replacement surgery

I finally got the surgery call to have my left hip replaced.
Monday, January 30th is the scheduled date (that's only 53 more sleeps folks!).
I've got to admit -- I'm scared to death.
But at the same time, I'll be so glad to have it done (knowing full well that I will then have to wait to have the other hip done).
I'm told I'll receive a call from the hospital to book my pre-op appointment.
I'll also receive a questionnaire in the mail, which I am to complete and return to the doctor's office.
Canadian Blood Services will be in touch to arrange the drawing of my blood (I opted that my own blood be used in the event that it's necessary).
The hospital will call me the day before my surgery to let me know what time I should arrive the day of the surgery.  (A first morning appointment has been requested.  Please God, let me be first morning -- no waiting around all day for me with no food in me!).
I should know that there's always a possibility of cancellation, notwithstanding all that has gone before.
OMG, I'm scared to death!
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I got my new glasses!

I did.  I did!
We had a very long day in the city yesterday.
And it started off with a bang.
Really it did!
I "banged" into the side of the garage as I backed out and I smashed my passenger side mirror.
Excellent start to the day indeed!
We arrived at the hospital for our first appointment (removal of John's stitches) and there was no parking to be had.  Ended up on the fifth level in the tightest-squeeze ever of a parking spot.  But we at least arrived sort of, almost on time (we had arrived at the parking garage fifteen minutes ahead of schedule, walked into the clinic five minutes late).
Ninety minutes later (yes, ninety minutes to remove stitches!) we were on our way to our second stop -- my physiotherapy session.
Ninety minutes later again, we were off to our unexpected stop -- my mechanic -- to request that he order a new mirror for my car. That will be $200.00 plus labour and the mirror should be in by Friday.  Perfect timing because we have to go back to the city on Friday so we'll stop in again on our way home that day.
Such fun.
From there, it was on to my eye doctor to pick up my new computer glasses.
Initially, I wasn't so sure they would work for the computer.  They are fine for reading close-up but seemed a tad wonky for computer.  We discussed the likelihood that I might be a candidate for bifocal computer lenses with my next change.  For now, perhaps moving the screen a bit closer might be a solution.
As I try them, they seem to work fine (having moved the screen closer) and they certainly do allow me to see the close-up work (for my bookkeeping etc) so I guess they'll do.  It will take a few days of trying them to ascertain whether I'm happy with them.  If not, it will be back for yet another rework.
My eyes are such a source of joy!
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Sorry for the absence

Sorry for the lack of posts here.
I am without computer glasses and it is very uncomfortable for me to work on the computer.
Hence, I am spending as little time as necessary in front of the screen (quickly checking my e-mail; doing my bookkeeping etc).
I'm hoping to get a call today or tomorrow that my new lenses have arrived.
Then I'll be back in business.
Til then, I'm having to remind myself that ...
... patience is a virtue.
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Friday, December 2, 2011

ELLEN -- are you hearing us?

My niece, who lost her daughter Tamarra to cancer last year, has started a "tweet" campaign to try to get Ellen Degeneres' attention for the charitable foundation that she has founded in her daughter's honour.  Following is the letter she recently wrote to Ellen:


May 28, 2009, a large tumor was found of substantial size growing on my daughter’s spine and brain stem.  Our life was turned upside down from that day on.  Once it was confirmed to be cancer, surgery to remove the tumor was not an option due to the location of her tumor.  But surgery did occur to place a shunt in her brain to drain the fluid building pressure on her skull and brain.  Tamarra underwent 7 weeks of radiation and after completion, began an aggressive chemo protocol.  Her treatments were given as an inpatient at our Children’s Hospital in Toronto and then McMaster in Hamilton.  She was in the hospital for 3-7 days every 2 weeks for 6 months and every single day we watched the ELLEN show faithfully.  Your show always cheered her up with your energy and fun; we looked forward to that 1 hour of escape.  Sometimes the nurses would sneak in for a few minutes to watch with her and see who was on your show.  Tamarra would always comment and wish, “Mom, imagine how cool it would be if ELLEN came to visit at our hospital.”  Then you started your Canadian campaign and we emailed you, trying to get you to visit our local children’s hospital but we received no answer.  Tamarra watched an episode where a young girl had to get dental work and waking up from her anesthetic, was talking about you.  You aired the video.  Shortly after she had to receive a lumbar puncture and waking up from her anesthetic, was calling on you to have her on your show.  Tamarra was granted a wish from the The Children’s Wish Foundation and she was trying to decide between your show and a family trip to Jamaica.  It was a tough choice, but she decided on the trip so that we could enjoy a week away as a family since our last year was spent in the hospital.  Her wish was approved and we enjoyed a wonderful week in Jamaica.  After returning home (May 2009) Tamarra immediately started another round of radiation as the cancer had spread to her spinal fluids.  During the same time my dad was receiving treatment for his lung cancer.  June 2009 we learned that his treatments were ineffective and had only a few months to live.  He passed away August 27, 2010.  His memorial service after cremation was held September 18 and 3 days later we found out that Tamarra’s cancer was now also terminal with only a few months, if that , to live.  Tamarra was very open and accepting of her fate.  At the time, I wasn’t aware but she was writing letters for friends and family.  She was full of life but dying.  In an attempt to enhance her quality of life we started Holistic cancer treatments.  She immediately started to show signs of life.  She was sleeping better, getting her appetite back, color in her face, energy and most of all – hope.  We drove to the Naturopathic Doctors office every 2nd day, 35 minutes away.  We have a wonderful health care system in Canada but our ND’s professional services are not covered and patients must pay out of pocket.  The cost was too high for our financial predicament so a fundraiser was arranged through family and friends.  In the process of the fundraiser being set up, Tam’s ND had to go away for a week and her treatments were missed and she started to deteriorate and the cost was becoming an issue.  Daily she was getting worse and it was finally determined she had only days remaining.  She was admitted to a wonderful hospice in our hometown and 7 days later on November 23, 2010 she passed away surrounded by many people who love and adore her.  Immediately I started working on founding an organization that financially supports holistic cancer treatments in children/young adults.  Families needed to have a choice regarding enhancing quality of life when their child is diagnosed with cancer.  Traditional therapies – chemo and radiation typically reduce quality of life, making the sick person sicker.  Holistic cancer therapies such as Poly-MVA, IPT and IV vitamin C can be very beneficial when coupled with traditional therapies and can even hold their own in the fight against the disease. 
Cancer is a disease that has affected life on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years.  Following the diagnosis of cancer, there is crucial decision that needs to be made regarding the method of treatment; however, there are an enormous amount of choices concerning treatment from which the patient must choose which best suits him/her.  The best choices for this fight are ones that aim for quality of life and comfort.  TCF is attempting to make that an option for children and their families as well as create awareness on the benefits.
The reason for aggressively “tweeting” YOU is because I want to continue the effort in Tamarra’s honour to get your attention, but now, urging YOUR help to create awareness for our children’s charity affectionately named The Tamarra Cherryholme Foundation!  ELLEN we NEED your voice and your help.  Please answer us!!
Love from your Canadian fans!"
So, in my own little way, I am putting this out there for Ellen to see.
I too watch her show faithfully and I know that she trolls the internet.
Perhaps she'll stumble upon my humble blog and see this plea for her attention.
For information about the Tamarra Cherryholme Foundation and to find out how to make donations to help support this very worthwhile charity, visit
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Advent Calendar

Every year on this date, I put out an "Advent Calendar" to count down the days 'til Christmas.
I've done it ever since my little chickadee was truly a wee chickadee.
Several years ago, on a lark, as I passed through Starbucks to get to Chapters, I noticed a most intriguing Advent tree.
It was comprised of numbered drawers, arranged in a tree formation, with each drawer containing a small chocolate treat.
As the treat is claimed on each day of December, the drawer is to be turned around before it is returned to its rightful place on the tree.
And when completed, on the 24th day, a winter scene is revealed.
It was perfect!
It could be used year after year, simply by refilling the drawers each year.
I couldn't find the price on the display unit and eventually I found someone to ask.
Turned out I had found the manager.
He told me the price and asked me if I wanted to buy it.
As I hemmed and hawed, not so sure that I wanted to spend quite that much, he made me a deal I couldn't refuse.
He told me that if I bought the tree, which was the last one he had in stock, I could also take the display unit, since he would no longer have use for it.
That made the price so much more reasonable.
So I grabbed them.
One for my little chickadee.
And one for me.
And forever after, we have the same advent tree which we fill with treats to help us count down the days until Santa's arrival.

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