Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another Saturday morning updater

They’ve started another session of chemo-therapy for Jennifer. She is back on the original double-dose that the med team gave her on her original session. So Jenn is confident it will be effective, just as the first one was, and it will be a tough experience for a few days this coming week, just like the first session. She sure sounded tired on the phone last night after supper, but she was having a nice visit from her guys, so that was good. She also had a hard week of physio-therapy, but Jenn says that’s a good thing.
I am in for a busy week ahead. The offer on the house went through and the buyers are happy. The deal closes Monday December 7 so I will be packing this week. I can’t believe how much stuff I have accumulated over the years -- Stuff that I sure don’t need. But I will be holding onto important stuff and calling the St. Martin de Porres charity for things other people might use. There is a young couple buying the house, so I will be pleased to “donate” a lot of things to them. I am looking so forward to having a quiet little apartment. I will miss my neighbours a lot. I have been blessed over the years that wherever I lived, I always had amazing neighbours. But Timmins is small enough that I am sure I will see them often.
I am also going to be closing off my e-mail. Instead of I will be using my hotmail –

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jenn's weekend

Jennifer had a very nice weekend, spending time with her hubby and her boys away from the hospital. Jenn says it was a bit more fun than she expected as she got out to a movie and even went out for dinner! ( They were celebrating Nate’s birthday.) Jenn also had a little surprise of her own. She and Denise dropped by the Daffodil Terrace Lodge which is run by the Cancer Society and they picked out a nice glamourous brunette wig that Jenn was able to borrow for the weekend. How cool is that? Jenn said she is thinking that when her hair grows back (it’s just peach fuzzies right now) she is going to grow it long and then cut it and donate the hair for a wig for somebody else. She said is learning to cope with being in a wheelchair in public places and she said it’s a whole new world of learning. For example, she was happy to go to the arena to see the boys playing hockey and while there was a place in the stands for her wheelchair, there was no heater nearby like in the regular stands. Hmmm… could be a newspaper story.
On a different front, Tyler Town moved out today. Tyler Town was the name of the model railway layout I had in the house for nearly ten years. I started building the layout shortly after he was born, and now that I am moving, it had to move as well. It had a lumber mill, a brewery, a general store, a church, a town hall and great train service. Over the years, the boys had some fun with it, especially making one train crash into the other. I am happy to report that a nice couple in South Porcupine will be setting up Tyler Town in their home for their grandchildren this coming Christmas.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jennifer is feeling better

It’s going to be a good weekend in Sudbury. Jennifer will be enjoying a three-day pass away from the hospital. Her doctor wants Jenn to rebuild her strength for several days. I told Jenn the doctor likely believes that being in a good mood leads to better health. Jenn agrees because she is excited about spending another weekend at home and she says she is feeling stronger. So far so good. Jenn says she has mixed feelings about her next session of chemo-therapy. No firm word yet on exactly when that will happen, but Jenn says it will be soon. She is not looking forward to it, but she says she wants to get it done and over with so she can make plans to be home for Christmas. Hmmm… Christmas … just six weeks away.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A weekend pass ... and ladders.

It is an overcast Saturday in Timmins but I hear there's some blue skies down south ... in Sudbury. Jennifer is having a good day today. She has a weekend pass! Yup, she is able to spend a couple of days away from the hospital, at home with her family. So that's all good. She says her doctor will let her build up her strength for several days and then there will be another session of chemo-therapy.
I noticed people in Timmins today are putting up their Christmas lights already. I won't be doing that. For some reason I don't like ladders. I don't think I am afraid of heights... but I am not comfortable on ladders. I don't mind airplanes. I recall some years back when brother Ronald was taking part in the airshow in North Bay. He invited me down to meet him. Ron was sky-diving with the Canadian Forces Skyhawks and the US Army Golden Knights jump team, and he invited me on the jump-plane with him. I got a seat right beside the open door so I could shoot some nice photos. The guys strapped me in with two seat belts because my feet were dangling in the open air. The plane climbed to 13,000 feet and I was able to lean out and shoot photos straight down as the guys jumped from the plane. I felt quite comfortable. Good thing I didn't have to stand on a ladder eh.
Oh by the way, it was the first time I had flown at such a high altitude in an un-pressurized airplane. There was about two dozen people on the plane and Ronald explained to me the phenomenon of "fear-farts". That's a story for another day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Things are nicer...

Jennifer has been having a great week so far. One of the nicest things was a visit by several of her aunts on the weekend who made the drive from Timmins. Jenn said she loved seeing them all and it really gave her a lift. Then on Monday, Jenn was moved to a new room in a newly renovated part of the cancer centre. She is now in room 4-600 and she is quite happy with it. Also this week, Jenn was so pleased to hear that her cousin Zach and Melanie are the happy new parents of tiny Noah Maltais. Hmmm… so that means that Uncle Mo is now Grandpa Mo! So congrats to Marie and Mo and Mel and Zach.
Some of the best news this week came from Jennifer’s oncologist Dr. Lopez who told Jenn for that for all intents and purposes it now appears she is in remission. That is such incredibly good news. (Isn’t it amazing what all those good thoughts and prayers from people can do?) But the doctor is not taking any chances. Jenn will be given several days to build up her strength and then there will be another session of chemo-therapy. She will also be getting more chemo-infusion shots, which are essentially needles of chemo-cocktail right into the spine, which apparently has had very good results for Jenn in the past. To make things even nicer, if everything goes according to plan, Jennifer will get to spend the whole weekend at home this week with her husband and her boys. I just know she is gonna cry some happy tears when she gets in the front door. Jenn says she is looking forward to all that. But she adds her hospital days are far from over. Indications are that when she eventually leaves the cancer centre, she will spend many, many more weeks in the hospital for rehabilitation and physio-therapy. Jenn said tonight that none of the med-team is discussing whether Jenn will ever get the ability to walk again, but she said “I believe I will.” And I learned such a long time ago not to argue with my little girl.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Hey Ronald ... you old %#*!!

This is a separate post for my fave "little brother" Ronald. Tomorrow is his birthday, but by this afternoon in Timmins it will already be "tomorrow" in Afghanistan. So Bro, I hear you're stuck in some hole-in-the-ground forward operating base in the Panjwai district, so take care, keep your head down and have a good day.

Things we take for granted

Had a great chat with Jennifer last night. Her back was a bit sore, but she says that was likely to due to the fact that she did so much physio-therapy this week. She said she did enough work that she was actually feeling tired. And she was happy with that. The other good news is that she is no longer “brown bagging”. The brown bag refers to the dark brown color of the bags for the IV solutions of nutrients. Jenn doesn’t need them anymore. The med-team is also stopping her anti-biotics. So that means for a little while anyway, Jennifer will be tube free. There will be no IV tubes anywhere. That will enable her to move around a bit more freely. --Just one of the little pleasures that most of us take for granted.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Things are good.

Jennifer seems to be hanging in there pretty nicely in the past few days. And she has been happy to see some visitors too, but they have to wear the masks, gloves and gowns. Just when Nate got over his sniffles, it looks like it is Tyler's turn to have a touch of flu. I sure hope most people are coping with the flu thing okay. It has been nine days since I got my shot... I guess I am okay by now, because the nurse said it would be eight to ten days before full immunization would take effect. I still go by the best advice from the public health people ... keep washing your hands and use plenty of tissues.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Jenn was enjoying another good post-chemo day today. She said today was the last day of the "helper drugs" the med team had been giving her to offset some of the nasty effects of the chemo-therapy. Jenn says overall she has been feeling pretty good, but she says its anyone's guess what will happen in the next few days now that the helper drugs have stopped. At some point soon, they will take another bone marrow sample to see if any new leukemia cells are still around in Jennifer`s system. If not it will be very good news indeed. Let's all keep positive thoughts. We ended the call on a nice note. Jenn was smiling. I could hear it in her voice... and oh by the way, the Leafs had just scored on TV.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Weekend update!

Had a nice visit with Jenn this weekend and was amazed at how good she looked. Still, no one was taking chances, so I had to wear gloves and a hospital gown for the visit. It was nice to just sit and chat as if we were in a living room … and for Jenn that’s what it’s getting to be like. As of November 1, she has been in the hospital for 66 days. It’s the “new normal” for her, and as much as she wants to get better, get out and get home; she knows that while she is in the hospital she is getting the best care possible, not only from the med-staff but from people like Denise who spend some much quality time looking after her. It looks like the hospital room is going to be Jenn’s home for several more weeks at least. Some good news from that is that she may get moved to a new section of the hospital as some point soon. As I looked out her hospital window this morning, I noticed that the Sudbury Super Stack was empty. No smoke. Inco has been on strike for several weeks now and unless things change dramatically, it’s going to be a long, long strike.
I remember covering the big strike of 1978-79. It went on for nearly nine months it made a lot of people unhappy and angry. I fear the same sort of thing could happen again.
Anyway, I got a kick out of spending part of Saturday night with Jenn watching the hockey game. Scott was out doing Halloween round with the boys, so I was with Jenn. As I was blabbing on, she shushed me because Toronto scored a goal. I had to laugh. A few minutes later, Jenn suddenly blurted “Oh shit!” when Montreal scored and tied up the game. I laughed at that because Jenn never swears in front of old Dad.
Overall, Jenn seems to be handling this second round of chemo-therapy better than the first. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It amazes me how strong she is mentally and emotionally.
As for the boys, it was grrreat to see them too. Of course they were all excited for Halloween and it was fun to watch them enjoying the candy. Nate was down with some flu symptoms for most of Saturday, but with lots of rest of a bit of medicine, he looked to be in fine shape on Sunday. I don’t doubt that Tyler will be next. The flu is making the rounds, but the boys are strong and healthy. So I am not too worried.