Friday, November 30, 2012

Long drought?

Wow, I've been a bad girl, haven't I?
Nothing posted here since Sunday and here it is Friday already.
Ummmm, I have to admit, I still don't have anything to contribute.
Life goes on, as the saying goes.
I guess I could tell you that I went to the movies with my Angel last Sunday.  We went to see The Sessions with Helen Hunt.  We both enjoyed it very much (but of course, we are both Helen Hunt fans).  Given the subject matter (she plays a sex surrogate to a paraplegic), it was very tastefully presented. There were some sexually explicit scenes, and Helen spends a great deal of time in the nude, but none of it was portrayed in a pornographic manner.  
Following the movie, we enjoyed gab time over a light lunch.  It had been a while.
Tuesday was physio day and that appointment was preceded by a visit to the dentist to get the final filling  after my recent root canal.
Of course, yesterday was my massage therapy day.  So I do nothing else on that day.  Gosh I love Thursdays. 
And before you know it, it's Friday already!
So there you have it.  I'll try to be a little more attentive to this blog, I promise.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Woo hoo, we've got TWO!

Our female pileated woodpecker showed up at the suet feeder this morning.
What a delight to see her.
The male had been around for some time now, visiting us numerous times throughout the day.  We worried that he was alone in the woods.
But now we know that there is at least one other bird, and she is of the right gender to produce babies.
We hadn't seen any of the species all summer. (The last sighting was in early April.)  In previous years, we had identified as many as six coming to our feeder.
We were really concerned that predators had gotten all of them. That would have been a terrible shame.
In the Spring, it is such a delight to watch the adults bring their young to the feeder to teach them how to "get by" in this habitat. 
But it's OK now because we know that we have two.
Woo hoo, all is right with the world!

Friday, November 23, 2012

In Memory of Tamarra

Today marks two years 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) had 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.
On a happier note, Tanya recently married the man who had come into her life a short time before Tamarra's illness was known.  Congratulations Tanya and Mike!
A mother shouldn't have to bury her child.  Cancer shouldn't take anyone, much less a child.
In the first year after Tamarra's departure, her mother honoured her passing by establishing the Tamarra Cherryholme Foundation, a 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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Damned bursitis anyway!

My left hip has been giving me fits lately.
Yes, I said my LEFT hip.  The same hip that was replaced at the end of January.
You see, I've developed a large bump quite close to the incision.  Turns out that's what's causing the discomfort when I sleep.  The bump won't allow any pressure to bear so I can't lay on it.
Last week, my massage therapist wondered if it was the bursa but thought it was too far forward.  She said she thought it was scar tissue in the muscle, which is not unusual following surgery.  She explained how we could work together to massage the area to help decrease the inflammation.  In any event, we came up with the idea of using my memory foam neck pillow as a "donut" against my hip when I go to bed.  It works marginally.  (And it's a bugger to get into place, what with all the other paraphernalia I have to organize when I go to sleep!)
On Tuesday, I had my physiotherapist check out the bump and she too said she thought it was the bursa but it was too far forward.  She too said it was scar tissue that resulted from the surgery, a not unusual occurrence.  But she's no doctor so she would be more comfortable having it assessed before we started treating it (massage and laser would help decrease the inflammation).
Yesterday I saw my doctor and asked her to check it out.  She immediately declared it to be the bursa that is being pulled forward by scar tissue from the surgery.  She suggested we try a cortisone injection to see if that would help.
I'll try anything!
I now have to lie low for a week to ten days to let the cortisone do its job.
The massage therapist is not allowed to work in that area.
The physiotherapist has to stay away from that area.
I can't do my stretches and exercises (all of which involve the left leg), or my stationary bike.
And if this works, the bump may or may not disappear.  Depends on how much inflammation is present.  The cortisone will take care of the inflammation.  Once we get rid of that, then we can start massage and laser treatments to work away the scar tissue.  But in all likelihood, I'll be left with some degree of scar tissue (bump).  It just won't be painful.
We hope.
And if it works on the bursa, the doctor will try a cortisone shot in my left ring finger to see if we can get that inflammation under control.  Perhaps I'll soon be able to wear my wedding ring again.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

It's been three months today

Today is the three month anniversary since I shaved my head in support of my step daughter-in-law.

By the end of October, my hair had grown tremendously.

Now, three weeks later, I have to wash it every day because I can't bear the oil production.  And it always seems to be in need of having a comb put to it. (If you look closely, you can see the hair hanging over my collar in the back.)
I'm still another month away from seeing my hairdresser.  By then, she'll have some work to do, to be sure!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Second attempt, same results

OK, only an idiot would try a third time.
And I'm no idiot.
I took a second dose of that oral Voltaren yesterday at lunchtime.
And by mid-afternoon, I was out of it again.
Couldn't even see my computer screen clearly.
Sat and watched television (actually, "tried" to watch television) and I have no idea what I saw or heard.
Dinner was a chore to put into me.
When I went to bed, it took me quite some time to fall asleep.  Kept dry heaving, and I was sure that I was going to wake up during the night vomiting.  (I didn't.)
When I woke at around 3:30 am, I was still a little woozy.
By 5:00 am, my head was back.  *Phew*
I won't be trying a third dose.
It's really too bad that the drug has that effect on me because it was nice to have not-sore hands for two days.
This morning, my hands are right back to being just as sore as ever.
Short lived benefit.  Obviously, the stuff only works if I take it.
The doctor will be disappointed.  But she shouldn't be surprised.
I mean really.  If a new patient of my age reports that she can't take Aspirin, she should be believed.  Would I have tolerated all these years of arthritic pain if I could have popped a pill and been done with it?  Really?

Friday, November 16, 2012

That didn't take long at all

Well I don't have to look further to find out if I'll be able to tolerate oral Voltaren.  (By the way, the actual name of the drug is Diclofenac Sodium.)
Yesterday morning with my breakfast, I took a 25 mg tablet.
It did wonders for my hands.  (Just as the doctor had predicted it would.  She said the results with my hands would be swift and effective.  She was right!)
However, by early afternoon, I was quite out of it.  The disorientation was very evident.
I showered to get ready for my massage therapist and as I was dressing, my balance was clearly affected.
During the massage, my speech was losing clarity.
Following the massage, I walked down to the mail box to retrieve the mail and was acutely aware of being  lightheaded.  (I would not have been able to drive.)
The sense of "not being there" continued for the rest of the day.  It was really not fun.
Then the nausea struck in late afternoon.
I was able to eat dinner and never did vomit, but was seriously nauseous for the rest of the evening.  And the disorientation was very disturbing.
Fortunately, when I woke this morning the effects had worn off.  My head had cleared and there was no more nausea.
Later today, I will take a second tablet to see if my body will adjust to the medication or experience a worse side effect.  (At least my hands will be that much better again for having taking that second dose.)  Since I have no plans for the next few days, I can afford to "experiment" over this weekend.
When I see the doctor on Wednesday next week, I'll be able to honestly report that I did try it.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Thank God it's THURSDAY!
My root canal went much better than I had anticipated.  Technology has come a long way since the last time I had one.  This dentist was (is) a real sweetheart, very cognitive of the patient's comfort throughout the procedure.  (The chair massaged my back while she worked on my mouth.)  And she worked through a microscope.  I was amazed at how far her face was from my mouth!
I've had very little discomfort since.  Pretty impressive, I'd say.
Of course, I had a delightful breakfast with my striking young man yesterday morning before heading off for the dental procedure, so that was a bright spot in my day.  And what a wonderful way to begin the day!
Today has not begun nearly so well though.
I wakened repeated last night to reposition myself.  (Here we go again.)  Two hours is definitely my limit before I have to "change sides."  And to add insult to injury, at the 4:00 am wake-up, I suffered through an attack of diarrhea.
When I got up for the day (at 5:15 am), I had a headache.  It has become persistent.  I have to wonder if I might be coming down with something.  But what?
Guess time will tell.
In any event, as of this morning at breakfast, I am officially trying the "experiment" my doctor asked me to take up when I saw her back on October 18th.  She wants me to try taking Voltaren my mouth to see if it will give me relief from the arthritis pain that has been troubling me.  She is hopeful that since I tolerate the gel so well, I will be able to take the oral version of it.  However, when I filled the prescription, the pharmacist was alarmed because I have an allergy (intolerance) to Aspirin.  She alerted me to the fact that the medication is "very Aspirin-like" so I'll have to be cautious.  That is why I've held off taking it.
Until now.
I was getting such good results from the Tylenol Arthritis that I saw no need to introduce another medication unnecessarily.  But the Tylenol is no longer doing the trick.  So it's time to pull out the big guns.
The experiment starts today (with extreme caution).
We'll see how long and how many doses it takes before the vomiting and disorientation start.
But while I wait, perhaps it will kick-start some degree of relief.  At least that's what the doctor is hoping will happen (actually, she's hoping I'll be able to tolerate it but I think she wears rose-coloured glasses).
It is only because I know it won't kill me to test this stuff that I'm willing to try it.  Because if it turns out that I can tolerate it ... big time bonus indeed!
Anyway, today is Thursday and in a few hours my massage therapist will be here and all will be right with my world.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Off to Ottawa today

I'm overnighting in Ottawa again today.  (Bonus -- collect kisses and hugs from MSYM).
My physio appointment is at 1:00pm today after which I'll stop in for a brief visit with my good friend LC (MOD's mother).  Then I'll head over to my little chickadee's place and hang out with Pauple until the others get home.  Not sure how we'll pass the evening tonight but we usually find something interesting to do.
Tomorrow morning, I'll take MSYM for breakfast (which I couldn't do last week when I stayed over due to scheduling conflicts).
After breakfast, he'll go to school and I'll go to the dental surgeon to have a root canal done.  Yikes!
Guess I'll have a rather sore mouth for the next few days.
Hmmmmm, perhaps John might cash in on the extra quiet time around here?

Monday, November 12, 2012

The military and my family history

My father served overseas in the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII.
Richard R. Cherryholme, 1943

His younger brother retired from the Air Force (although he was posted overseas in the late 1950s, he didn't see war duty).

Another younger brother spent his career in the Governor General's Foot Guards.

Both my grandfathers (who came to Canada in 1911 and 1912 as British Home Children) enlisted in the 77th Battalion of Canada's Expeditionary Force in WWI, and they were deployed to France within days of each other.  They were demobbed in June 1919, again within days of each other.  (Through my family history research, I discovered that my maternal grandfather's brother, William Thomas Sharpe, also served during WWI.  He  drowned in Germany as he was boarding the ship to take him home following the war.  He had been a private in the 8th Battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment.  He is buried at Cologne Memorial Cemetery in Cologne, Germany.)

I don't have any photos of my paternal grandfather from that period, but here's my maternal grandfather in 1915:

Then he re-enlisted in 1940, serving in the Veterans' Guard of Canada:
Samuel Sharpe, 1941
My grandfather served 330 days in the Veterans' Guard; time spent in Montreal while his wife was in Ottawa with their two still-young children.  He was eventually discharged on medical grounds (poor vision).  His eldest daughter's first husband died in service during WWII and is buried at Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Graves, France.

My brother served briefly in the Air Force.  A paternal cousin had a career in the RCMP.  Her brother was in Canada's Armed Forces and did see war; I'm not clear on which one but he is a retired veteran.

I guess you might say the military is close to my heart?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sometimes, an affliction can be a good thing!

OK, I'm being facetious but really, my lack of ability to smell will now come in handy on Saturday mornings.
For the uninitiated, John is treated to a "big breakfast" on Saturday morning.  Such breakfasts include a  poached egg on English muffin, bacon (once in a while pork sausage), home fries and baked beans.  Sometimes, we have a couple of spears of asparagus.  His plate includes fried tomatoes and he used to have blood pudding (which I would cook for him and kind of close my eyes while I served it).  We can no longer buy the blood pudding that he likes (made by Maple Leaf) and our supply has run out.  He has decided that mushrooms are almost as good (and they are certainly better for him).
So, being the dutiful wife that I am, I now find myself frying mushrooms for his Saturday breakfast.
This is where my loss of smell comes in handy.  I cannot abide the smell of mushrooms frying in butter.  Turns my stomach.  (Truth be known, I don't even like slicing the nasty things because it means I have to touch them!)
It's almost fifteen years since I lost my sense of smell.  And interestingly enough, while I can no longer smell those mushrooms frying, I can still recall not liking that odour.  (No, it is not an aroma to my mind.)
As the pan sizzled this morning, all I could think was, "Thank the good Lord I can no longer smell what I'm cooking."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Getting ready for "The Season"

Well, I'm almost there.
Finished shopping, I mean.
You know, for Christmas.
Years ago, my sister and I used to meet for coffee every morning before we went to our respective workplaces.  And since the children had to go to school on November 11th but we didn't have to go to work, we would take the morning to pay respects and then we'd hit the stores in the afternoon.  And I would  invariably finish my Christmas shopping on that date (having started some weeks before).
Haven't managed to meet that target date in many years.  In fact, most of the past years I hadn't even thought about what I was buying for anyone before November 11th.
But this year, I'm on the ball.
As of yesterday, I am 93.33% finished my shopping.
The hold-out is only because John has to be involved with the selection of the last gift (and I will pick up one other at the same time).  This being deer hunting season, it's difficult to get John to do anything but hunt.  So it remains to be seen whether or not I'll finish by my target date.
Why do I like to be finished my shopping so early, you ask?
Because I really cannot abide the crowded hyped up shopping environment that is late November and all of December.  The less I'm in the stores through that period the better.  So I try to avoid them (other than for groceries of course).
Besides, I need my time to concentrate on getting my Christmas card list ready (which is really something that is an on-going production all year long).  It's nice, too, to be able to focus on producing our Christmas card without having to worry about shopping for gifts.
Yesterday we "think" we decided on the photo we'll use for this year's card.  I'll start working on that in the next day or two.  I'm also producing a personalized card for my step-son to send out, although in much lesser numbers than our print run.  I have to get that off my plate before I can turn my attention to doing our card.
It will be early December before I'll put up my Christmas village; that's a two-day job in itself.  Once that's done, I can sit back and wait for Santa to get here!
So, feliz navidad everyone!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Yesterday was a rough day

Wow, yesterday was not a good day.  I guess what I had was a mini fibro flare up.
And I can only imagine it was a result of having had lunch guests on two consecutive days.  Too much for me, obviously.  But neither day was very taxing.
On Friday, a good friend of mine (we've been friends for about 35 years) came out for lunch with her husband.  It was the first time John was meeting them, although he'd heard about them many times.  There was no pressure.    Since I'm always up early in the morning, I made a dessert first thing.  The lasagna had been made a week before so I just had to take it out of the freezer and bake it.  I threw together a Caesar's Salad, and brought dinner rolls up out of the freezer.  Everything was very relaxed and we had a really good time.
On Saturday, both step-sons and my step daughter-in-law were here.  I brought a meat pie out of the freezer and popped it into the oven.  We made mashed potatoes and cooked some frozen kernel corn.  Added more dinner rolls out of the freezer and there was a full meal.  And there was enough dessert left from the day before that everyone was served a small slice of pie.  Certainly no pressure there.
Yet on Sunday, I woke up in extreme pain. My hands especially.
You might say I had a very bad hand day yesterday.  Went around the house in my "ready for surgery" position all day.
Consequently, I took an enforced R&R day.  Didn't have the energy to do anything else. (Although I did manage two loads of laundry.)  Watched a lot of my canned TV shows (thank God I had many in there to watch).
Last evening, I took a jet massage bath to try to soothe my aching muscles.
It must have helped because I feel much better this morning, although my left hip is still giving me some grief.   (What's up with that I wonder?)
I have an 8:00 am dental appointment in the big city tomorrow morning, so I'm going to spend the night at my little chickadee's place tonight.  That means I'll get to see my striking young man and collect a bunch of kisses and hugs.
Following my dental appointment, I'm meeting a good friend for breakfast, after which I'll stop and have my snow tires put on my car.
By the time I get home tomorrow, I should have been gone almost exactly 24 hours.
It's deer hunting season so John may or may not notice that I'm not here.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My niece is such a darling!

This is what (who) she sent me on my Facebook page this morning.
Gorgeous isn't he? (It's no secret in my family that I LOVE this man!)
My niece sent him to ME.
So he's mine.  ALL mine.

Friday, November 2, 2012

OMG, new therapy hurts!

My massage therapist recently learned a new technique that she just knows will benefit me.
But, she explained, she'll have to go very slowly with me.  (It's called 'joint cup release' and is part of the larger umbrella of orthopaedic massage.)
For the past few weeks she's been gradually introducing it during my sessions, without incident.
Until yesterday.
I guess whatever the progression she made yesterday was too much.
By dinner time I knew I was in trouble.  Before dinner really.
She left here at 2:00 pm and by about 4:00 pm, I was feeling the after effects.
When by 5:00 pm I was finding it incredibly painful to walk, I sent her an e-mail alerting her to my status so she could record in it my file while everything is still fresh in her mind.
I took extra pain killing meds on my way to bed.  Guess it wasn't enough.
I've had very little sleep to this point, and it looks like I'll get very little more.
Can't take any more meds.  I've exhausted the med pool until 7:00 am.
I swear the therapy didn't hurt one damned bit while she was doing it.  Honest it didn't!
Man, my body really has to be treated with kid gloves.