Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Susie

Today is Susie's birthday.  She's an old friend who I haven't seen in a while but I always remember her birthday.  In honour of her birthday, I'm going to share this video.

A long time ago, my brother invited me to come to Ottawa to see one of my favourite bands (Sloan), with him and a bunch of friends.  I was excited to see Sloan again, and it was the first time seeing them in a venue where I didn't know most of the other folks in the audience (I had seen them play here in Kingston, a lot).

I had no idea until we got to the show, how much Sloan's popularity had exploded with the release of "one chord to another" and the place was packed to the rafters, with kids.  Their nervous looking parents hung around the edge of the room while the kids all pushed together in front of the stage.  Susie and I were up front  at the beginning of the show and eventually, the crowd started to crush forward.  She and I being adults, I think felt like we needed to protect the kids around us but eventually, the crush was too strong and I fell over.  First and last time that happened.  I crawled out of the throng of people, trying to keep from losing my glasses. 

From the sidelines, I watched the rest of the show. It was a weird moment and it's stayed with me.  I am thinking that had to have been the winter of 1997.  Feels like it was a really long time ago and just a few months ago at the same time. Time is funny like that.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Cancer Story 2.0 - this time with 60% less liver

So, last year, I decided that I would start to put together the story of Mark's diagnosis of Colon Cancer.  I did get a couple of posts up, about the diagnosis and the time leading up to the surgery.  I have the rest of the story in very draft form, ready to be polished and posted.  Somehow, the past couple of months just slid away and I haven't posted them yet.

The short version of it is this:  his surgery was a success, his lymph node bioposy after surgery was clear, no radiation or chemo was prescribed, all's well that ends well.  Well, all was well until it wasn't.

There is now a second part to Mark's cancer story and I'll be sharing it here, as it unfolds, with his permission.  To start us off, I am going to share with you an email we sent to our frie
nds and family 2 weeks ago.

Here we go again...

Hello everyone,

Happy New Year to you.  I hope that you are all warm and dry and healthy!

As many of you know, Mark had a very successful colon cancer surgery during the summer of 2012.  Since that time, he's been very closely monitored by his surgeon (aka "The Amazing Colon Cancer Doctor").  He's been scanned, and scanned and scanned, with particular interest on his liver.

All of this time, we presumed that this was because The Amazing Colon Cancer Doctor had noticed a weird growth on his liver during the colon op.  Turns out, colon cancer metastasis to the liver is very common.  Well, on December 16, at the recommendation of The Amazing Colon Cancer Doctor, Mark had a MRI.  On December 30, we got this weird phone call about his results and Mark needing to make an appointment to see a different surgeon.  It was only really weird to us because we had expected to hear from The Amazing Colon Cancer Doctor if there was anything concerning going on.

Eventually, Mark did speak to The Amazing Colon Cancer Doctor who confirmed that there was in fact a malignant growth on his liver.  Yay, Happy New Year.  Oh wait, no, "boo" - not so happy start to the new year!! Seriously, wft folks?  We really weren’t sure what the new growth meant…was it on the outside of the liver, was it inside, big? small?  Could the cancer have spread beyond the liver? Too many questions and no answers at all.  At least, no answers until we met with the new surgeon.

The new surgeon is a liver guy.  Last week, on Tuesday morning, we met with him.  We were told that the growth is small (as liver growths go) and, from what they can tell from the MRI, had not spread beyond the liver.  It’s a 2.5 mm growth and it’s deep inside his liver.  Because of where it is, Mark will need to have 60% of his liver removed.  From what we’ve read, the right hepatectomy (which is the formal name for the surgery) is a pretty safe operation.  He’ll have a pretty big incision and could be in the hospital for as long as 7 days followed by a few weeks of recovery at home.  Six weeks after the operation, his liver will have regrown (it’s the only organ that does that apparently).  Having said all of that, it’s still a frightening proposition but we’re both starting to adjust to the idea.  Almost certainly, some kind of oncology protocol will be in order after the surgery. Not sure yet what that will look like.

For now, we just wanted to let you all know what was happening.  Mark has a pre-surgery screening appointment this week and it looks like February 11 will be surgery day.  You can expect another update a little closer to his actual surgery and (of course) once he’s in the hospital.

Thanks so much to all of you, for your good thoughts and support when Mark went through his last operation!

Much love,
 Peggy & Mark

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

holiday wrap up

Happy New Year.

It’s hard to believe that it’s 2014 already and that I’m returning to work tomorrow.

My last day in the office for 2013 was December 13 so I’ve been off work for a while. I deliberately like to go back on the 2nd because so many of my colleagues will be away that it provides a nice environment to ease back into things.

The year is not starting off like I’d hoped it would but it’s not for a lack of trying. I had a couple of goals I had set for myself and implemented plans to achieve them and they didn’t work. Sometimes that happens I suppose. I’m old enough, and hopefully wise enough, to not take it personally. From time to time, the universe just decides to take a shit on your head.

For the most part, I was sick over the holidays this year. I had a horrible flu for a few days and was left with a nasty chest cold that is still hanging on. Admittedly, it is getting a bit better every day, just not as quickly as I would like. Because of the sickness, I didn’t do as much holiday shopping as I would have liked to, nor was I able to get as much baking done as I normally would do. What bothers me most of all though is that it put the kibosh on visiting with friends. Between my horrible bug and the gigantic ice storm, I didn’t get out to see everyone I wanted to.

For 2014, I am making no resolutions. I have to reset my own goals and rework my plans so things get better for me (ie I need to find some kind of shit proof hat) but that has nothing to do with the New Year. There is just stuff I need to do to keep myself sane and happy. All I’m asking for in 2014 is that everyone be happy and healthy. I am really tired of awesome people dying or being diagnosed with horrible diseases. That can stop anytime.