Sunday, 27 May 2012

Counting Down -- and contact information!

Counting down!

I had  to stop any herbal supplements  three days ago ( like my ginger tablets) and will have to ease off painkillers  by tomorrow or so. Well, at least Advil, which is what I have been using; I have been actively decreasing the dosage as much as I can the past couple of weeks anyhow, as I don't want my body to become too used to it. Closer to the operation I might be in a lot more pain though, so for those that will have me up close, just be aware I will probably be in full cranky mode. -___-

This close to d-day some days are great, and some are bad; apologies if I have to cancel plans and generally be a hermit, as its just dawned on me that  in a week I will be in Calgary already, getting ready. Have to pack and finish arranging things here!


CONTACT Info and Mailing Address

After speaking with my sister, its probably best to ship postcards/ cards there ( thank you so much for the offer Chelsea! <3 <3 ); so, with her leave, here is the address:

Apis Teicher c/o U.Teicher
37 Royal Elm Way,
North West Calgary
AB T3G 5M3, CANADA

Email can be sent to Chris': erekose13ATgmail.com ; between them, they will pass messages and cards along.

<3  I really look forward to hearing from you guys while I'm at the hospital. Thank you so much for the book suggestions, for the  prayers and good energy. I do ask that if you have a flu/ nasty cold you don't actually mail things though ( maybe e-cards instead? : ) )... infection would be a really bad thing while I'm recovering, so I have to take extra care to make sure everything is extra sterilized.

In regards to communication, I will be in surgery on June 7th, which means that Chris will be at the hospital. He really won't be able to answer emails/ phone a lot of people, as you can understand. The staff should let him know every few hours how everything is going, and he will pass the info along to my sister Ula ( so she can update family) as well as post it here on the blog.

So, further updates will be here on the blog, pretty much - after Chris heads back home Ula will be posting blog updates. Hopefully there's not much to report beyond a great operation and a quick recovery, but we wanted to have a central place to post updates and news. I know from personal experience that sometimes not knowing ( and imagining all sorts of terrible things ) is worse than being aware of what is going on, even if there are setbacks/ complications.

If you are one of my PoCo friends -- check in on my guys in June? They'll need some loving distraction, I'm sure. Thankfully my wonderful parents in law will be helping them out, but getting together with some of his school friends, or generally having a bit of socialization will really help.  I'm really hoping that  with a bit of luck and hard work on my part I can make it around ( or earlier) than the expected 6 weeks in hospital, so that I can hopefully be back for Chris' birthday in late July.

A small burst of energy ( and sunshine) yesterday with my little guy. Scarily I'm not actually leaning, so I think he might easily outgrow me in the next couple of years...

Like he says :" I wish we didn't have to deal with cancer in the first place, but since we have to -- let's kick its butt!"

Let's kick its butt.


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

All Sorts of Days... but getting closer now!

I had a couple of  rather rough days ( over the weekend too, boo), so I mostly spent it in bed. Bleh.
I managed to catch the nasty cold / flu that Chris and Aiden had, so on Sunday I broke down and went to the doctor, who promptly proscribed antibiotics. After two days of them I am feeling MUCH better, but I was nervous that it might impact my upcoming surgery. Happily I was able to check with Dr. T's office and the pre-admission clinic today and... nope! :) Anti-biotics are a-ok; I have to make sure to finish the full course and get rid of this pesky cold, but I still have plenty of time, thank goodness.

Have been talking to a lot more appendix cancer sufferers in the facebook group and... wow. There are a lot more of us out there than I would've though, particularly close to my age. Sneaky thing.

Kindle, Postcards and such things...!

Some of you wonderful people have been asking me how you can help -- whether there's books, or magazines, or things that would distract. BLESS YOU.  <3  To be honest I don't know quite the state that I'll be in, but I imagine I will be getting restless sooner rather than later.  I am bringing a few art supplies in an effort to stay sane, but I would love some reading material.  :)

I was given a Kindle for my birthday by a dear friend, so I would love some kindle books if you want to share some from your collection, or send one my way? My account is under Chris' email: erekose13 AT gmail.com

Anything and everything would be lovely, but I am guessing that humorous books will  definitely be needed. ;) Send me your favorite, or a guilty pleasure! :D

If you're not into kindle, I would LOVE photos ( of you, or your kids/family, your garden or favorite travel photo...!), or drawings, or postcards or... fabric! :D Like little fat quarters, or a quilting square. :)  Much like the dragons I love in fantasy stories I could hoard fabric all day, and it makes me amazingly happy to see different patterns and colours.  I have to check with my sister where we could have it sent, not sure if it might be an option to send it straight to the hospital...?

Or if you prefer, just leave your digital footprint on my blog ( Chris and Ula will take turns updating, I think) or send me emails....  I love hearing from you guys, and your love and friendship always gives me strength.


Friday, 18 May 2012

Phone Pre-admission done...!

Had my pre-admission appointment over the phone just now... whew!

They let me know when to discontinue medications, what to bring, when to be there... etc. I'm flying out on the 2nd, but the meeting with anesthesiologist and all the tests for my surgery will actually take place on the 6th, the day before my surgery.

Close to the same prep as for the colonoscopy, bleh... but hey, at least I know the drill now!

Off to type instructions now while they are fresh in my mind, and then have two weeks to pack and prepare...

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Good Day

Today was a beautiful day. It felt like early summer, our plants are growing like crazy, and I wasn't in much pain ( woo!) 
Chris was home sick so when he was going to go pick up Aiden I came along. I hadn't been there since this whole madness started, but I really wanted to surprise my little guy, and touch base with friends I hadn't seen in a few months now.
I only ran into a few of them, but it was so wonderful to see them!! The past few days I have felt better than I had for the past three months, and there are days I almost feel like my old self. 

Had a stressful time the past couple of days, trying to figure out how the MOAS and my stay in Calgary will be working out -- exactly three weeks from today I will be in surgery, and fingers crossed everything goes according to plan.  So, in a little over two weeks I'm hopping on a plane and heading over to the Tom Baker Center. Time to dust myself off and get in battle mode for the weeks ahead.

We drove by a church on the way home ( there are several different ones in PoCo), and their sign said : "Patience is trusting in G-d's timing."

 I have to trust in G-d's timing. I have to trust that every step we have taken in this direction has been for a reason, and I know that I am in good hands.   I imagine the next couple of weeks I will be a basket case in terms of stress, and I hope that people will be able to understand that.

Speaking of timing though, I got some lovely cards and thoughts from Evey and a few other friends... thank you so much!  My friend Jenny  ( http://goldseven.wordpress.com/ ) also made me the most amazing and inspiring image of Strength to help me focus and tackle all of this head on.



To battle I go, and I intend to win it. Thank you Jenny, and all dear friends with a kind thought or word - they help me with what lays ahead.
 


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

A Happy Place ( coloured. :)

Aiden had me colour it after all, with his choice of colours. ;)

It gives me such happiness to see his face when he looks at it, to create stories together with him about what may lay just past the hill that we can see.
Yesterday when I had really bad nausea and a migraine he thought he had given me  his cold, and was really worried and upset... so he drew me a picture of a king crab, who fell in love with the rainbow. So, they married.

 ^_^

This morning I snuck in and we had family cuddle time.  I got his breakfast ready, and Chris and him out the door.  It felt a little like my old self ( even if my energy burst is just about gone now, heh) - I think it did us ALL a world of good to just cuddle and enjoy breakfast together for a change.

Vaccines are this afternoon!  Not looking forward to those terribly, but hey, just one more step...


Monday, 14 May 2012

Vini, Vidi... fell asleep?

Colonoscopy and gastroscopy are all done!

The prep was miserable ( bless you Kay, for sending me the Dave Barry article:  http://www.miamiherald.com/2009/02/11/427603/dave-barry-a-journey-into-my-colon.html  as I really needed to take it with a dose of humour! ) but the procedures themselves I don't remember at all.
Anesthesia seems to hit me hard so I woke up rather slowly, spent the afternoon  in a groggy daze -- and after an ill-advised glass of milk tried very hard not to throw up.

Happily by now I've shaken off the hideous pounding headache and the nausea, and am having some apple juice/ water with  mint and enjoying the cooler night air.


Tomorrow -- vaccines in preparation for the splenectomy during the MOAS.Things are rolling, so we roll right along....

Saturday, 12 May 2012

May Day's Parade- And Happy Mother's DAY!

Today was the May Days' Parade here in PoCo; I wanted to go, but I'm rather low on energy and not really up for dealing with crowds.

Aiden and Chris went out instead to enjoy it- he was sad that he had to miss out on the Children's Club meeting at the Cancer Centre today, but as he's caught a cold  he can't go into the center. Chris has it now too, which means I'm staying far from both as best I can; I can't catch  ANYTHING before my vaccines on Tuesday, and in fact it would be best if I didn't catch anything before the operation at all.

May Day Parade is one of the reasons we moved here, actually. It showed us the wonderful community that this is -- so close to Vancouver but still having a small town feel. Kids and their clubs, sports, associations go down in beautiful floats, people come and celebrate together. It really showed us the kind of place this could be for Aiden and for all of us, and every year has shown us how much more amazing this place is.

So they're out at the carnival by the library now, where Aiden is hooking up with a couple of friends from school, I'm sure.  People are walking about in shorts and t-shirts, so it feels like summer is finally here. Everything is green and beautiful, and it feels me with such amazing happiness. I'm glad that my MOAS will take place in the season of growth, of thriving. I can kick out this cancer and enjoy summer before I start my follow up chemo, hopefully!

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

We had grand family plans for tomorrow, as my mom and my youngest sisters ( and dad!) will be in town.
Aaaand then I got my colonoscopy scheduled for Monday morning, which means the prep is tomorrow. I will be having nothing but clear liquids all day and becoming intimately acquainted with our bathroom. ;)

Doesn't matter though, because I will have my two guys here with me -- and with luck I get to spend some time with my mom too, so what else is Mother's Day about? :)  There's so much about mothers, and the integral role we play. I always tell Aiden that I love my art and writing, and my creations are dear to me... but he is my true masterpiece.  No single thing has made me happier than being a mom.

He's such a little gentleman, and I really look forward to the possibility of spending many, many more Mother's Day celebrations with him.

So to all moms out there --  I leave you with Jann Arden's " Good Mother" since she says it better than I could. :)





Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A Happy Place

"A Happy Place."

For my little boy, so he always has a happy place. Finally finished it... at 11' x 14" its too huge for my scanner though, so I had to take a photo ( cut out some of it, but oh well). Aiden looks about 14 here, twice his age... but hey, who's to say he won't need it when he's a teenager too? Pencil and ink;  still have to see if I have the energy to colour it.  Something to occupy his mind while I'm away at my cancer surgery.

I like happy places. There are times where you need to just retreat into an image, or a song, a visualization of things that make you feel happy and calm. I tried to give that to Aiden as best I can.

The little critter next to him is a waka-waka, good-natured tricksters we made up when he was younger.  We figured that just as the hill slumps  down  there must be a carnival ( where all the balloons are coming from) and a whole bunch of waka-waka and boys and girls blueberry picking.

That's the glorious thing about hills --just beyond them you can picture any sort of wonderful scenario, and not have to actually draw it out. That way every time the answer can be a little different.

My happy place is not so different; it involves a stream, a willow treat and a picnic basket shared with my favorite two guys. I can hold on to that image for the days to come, and hopefully get to enjoy it after the long convalescence is done. :)


Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Colonoscopy A-go-go

Aaand it shouldn't make me giddy to have a date for the thing, but there you go.

Colonoscopy and Gastroscopy at the same time on the 14th, which means I'll be spending Mother's Day sipping on apple juice, broth and the prep fluid -- YUM. ;)
My vaccines are the day after, on the 15th. BOY what a fun week that'll be...! 

One step closer, so things are really in motion now.

Monday, 7 May 2012

The Time Anomaly

I looked at the calendar and realized that today is May 7th, which means that in exactly one month I will be undergoing my MOAS ( knock on wood!).

When did May 7th get here?  Chris and I were discussing how we seem to be stuck in this time anomaly - time CRAWLS  but at the same time its slipping by so fast we can barely keep track of it.

I'm getting increasingly frustrated by the inability to plan ahead; I am the penultimate planner, and being able to do that gives me the illusion of control. Right now everything is in constant flux; I start to understand the wisdom of my friend Colleen in telling me to take it day by day.

There are days I am feeling great. I have bursts of energy, the mindfog clears and I feel almost like my old self. There are others (I'm looking at you, last week) where either the energy simply isn't there or a sudden spike in pain or nausea takes over.  I have been trying to  reconnect with friends here and there, but I had to cancel last minute because of the latter.  I hate cancelling. I hate feeling like I'm letting someone down. I know I'm not - they were wonderfully understanding and loving as they always are. But when I'm asked 'Can I see you XYZ day?" I hate that the best I can say is that I'd love to, but we'll confirm that day.

Seeing the nutritionist did help - she gave us a great plan on how to keep the nausea down, which foods might be best to avoid and how to balance the diet out as I lose some weight and the jelly gains some. Happily eating small meals throughout the day ( instead of 3 big ones) and staying away from acidic foods has helped a lot.

So, much against my nature I'm taking it day by day. Chris is patient and wonderful... but that is no surprise, since he has always been the calmer half of the coin. ;)  Aiden has been a little clown of late; the more he worries or if he sees me in pain the rowdier he gets. I get about a hug every half hour though, so can't complain. I could never get enough cuddles from the little guy.

 This past week I was again reminded of the love and faith around me, the kindness that propels me onwards.  My family has been amazing. Cousins scattered over the world, uncles and aunts -- they keep me in their thoughts and prayers, and send love my way in messages. My sisters and my parents.... well, what could I say of them? We may not always understand or agree with each other, but when push comes to shove their love and strength makes all the difference.  My sisters have always been my little girls - its amazing to see them now as grown women. 
Aiden's school ( thank you C. and K!!) helped take a lot of the stress of everyday cooking off my plate and Chris'; the moms in his class have been wonderful.  I have a comfort basket too, so on the low days I open something up. I have no way of expressing just how amazing it has been to feel a community rallying around us and helping us get through this.  There's our friends who dropped by with cookies just before the road trip, the friends that email and just let us know they are thinking about us and are there.  There's the ones that hear us rant a little, the ones that cheer us on.

Thank you to all our friends in Japan, Colombia and all over the world too; Kazuko-baba, we got your charm the day before we headed to Alberta, so THANK YOU. <3 It feels that in every continent there is a thought going up for good luck...

The Goodbye Cancer Garden

...was eaten by aphids. We have never had them before, but I suspect they came along in one of the plants we'd gotten. After controlling them failed we took out the  damaged plants and replanted  veggies and herbs instead. :) There was something poetic about that !

With the help of my family our balcony garden is looking really lovely, and Chris and Aiden will be looking after it until I'm back home. I figure by then some of our crop might have come along, and seeing the plants grow and the tomatoes mature will help Aiden and Chris follow MY progress even if I can't be right next to them. They've also been instructed to send me pictures of our plants as they grow.

So the lineup!
  • Our lanterns survived! They are growing strong and pretty fast! 
  • Two varieties of tomatoes and one heirloom tomato ( pineapple tomato or some such)
  • MINT MINT MINT everywhere! I love the smell and in tea it helps with the queasiness
  • Spinach!  I love it, and we eat it like crazy here, so why not?
  • Soybeans! :D A nod to Aiden, who is crazy about Edamame.
  • SPICY PEPPERS OF DOOM ( Not sure of the variety. These are aaaaaalll Chris' )
  • Rosemary ( yum!)
  • Strawberries!
  • Tiny little flowers of different kinds.


Appointment/ Dr. news

In other news, Dr. J came through and I have a consultation for my colonoscopy tomorrow. Hopefully the real thing will be soon too, as I have my vaccines on the 15th, phone registration for the Foothills hospital on the 18th ( when I will hopefully find out exactly how many days earlier I have to be in Calgary. It looks like  3-4 at the moment, so I'd be there right around the first weekend of June.)

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Art - Prevail

"They keep coming." Gideon's grip tightened on the handle of his blade, eyes scanning the wyrms as they regrouped.

Angus nodded, his jaw tightening as he took stock of their remaining troops. The onslaught had been brutal and unexpected, and few of the sidhe still stood at their side. They could withstand one more wave, perhaps two; beyond that -

"Lord."

Angus turned to meet the eyes of his second, the grim knowledge shared between them. After a moment's pause he shook off the melancholy and straightened his spine, jarring weary limbs into attention.

"I know, Heron." he acknowledged, glancing at what remained of his men.

"What then? What now?" Gideon gritted his teeth, hating the odds before them. He glanced back in time to see the uncharacteristic expression on his prince's face; a thin, hopeful smile pushing past the weariness.

"We are sidhe; this is where we make our stand. This is the place we battle, this is the time we test the mettle of our hearts." he turned and clasped his hand to his second's arm.

"We prevail, brother. We prevail."


Since getting the diagnosis I hadn't managed to do much art. I decided that I wanted to have at least one piece done before I head to the MOAS and the craziness of the months ahead.  Not my best work, but I am happy with it.

Gideon the Heron and Angus, Lord of Summerhey. Compared to a swarm of wyrms, what's cancer?

I too, will prevail. <3

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

I HAVE A SURGERY DATE!!!!!!!

OH my goodness, just confirmed, June 7th.
So excited, and nervous and... ah! SO MUCH TO DO.

I was happy that we were able to book the vaccines I will need ( because of the splenectomy)  for two weeks from now, now to poke around and home my drs. come through in getting me a colonoscopy date, as I need  to have that done before the surgery. They need the results in advance, so that there are no surprises...

Who would have ever thought that I would be excited over a colonoscopy???