Saturday, December 31, 2016

Christmas, Crystals and Chemo

Christmas feast with the Calgary kids. At my request Larry cooked rack of lamb.  Like everything he serves up, it was awesome!  

In some ways this Christmas was a challenge for me but mostly it was very easy. Taking all my paraphernalia on the road for three nights away from home wasn't as difficult as I expected. It was the Scammell's year to host it and they did it in style. They expected very little of me, and that's pretty much what they got. I opted to arbitrarily cancel the gingerbread house making extravaganza this year. As Avery said, "It's okay, Dad didn't make perogies last year but he did this this year!"  I spent a fair bit of time presiding from my position on the sofa right there next to Gramps ...

Christmas morning
The Christmas Eve traditional reading of our pop-up copy of The Night Before Christmas, purchased in 1975 

It was cold (-12ºC) and snowy outside but being good Canadians we went out in it anyway.

Avery making the required Snow Angel in her backyard
Avery is pulled on the Vintage Marshall Toboggan to the the toboggan hill, Gran and Gramps bring up the rear

The Scammell's community is filled with young families many of whom came out to toboggan on Christmas Eve day. I had a fold up chair and a perfect position from which to spectate the entire outing ...

Enjoy this short video 
We bid the family good bye on Boxing Day and promptly went to a crystal store. Long distance energy healer, Maggie, suggested I get some crystals. Nearby energy healer, Verna, suggested Earth Gems. We were completely blown away entering this lower level, expansive, treasure trove of crystals and gem stones ...

Just a small portion of Earth Gems on 17th Avenue in Calgary

Both Bill and I went a little nuts (how could you not?) buying mainly amethyst as it's touted as the Master Healing Crystal ... 

They're all mine, except the two pieces on the far left which are Bill's selections

We had settled up and cashed out when I suddenly was struck by the need to buy a Star of David. I immediately knew exactly which one of the two on offer that I wanted but I had no clue as to the properties of opal which my selection is graced with. I've since read here and realize that this was my most un-calculated, intuitive purchase. 

Why the Star of David? I was not raised a Jew but I do have Jewish ancestry which promptly concluded when my great grandfather married a Christian lady. Many of you know about the International Saltiel Family and their reunions every three years. We've been fortunate to attend three, Thessaloniki, Greece in 1997, Barcelona in 2000 and NYC in 2012. We're looking forward to attending the one in Madrid in 2018. Back to the star. Energy healer, Verna, with no previous knowledge of my Jewish heritage, suggested that I find a time with both our daughters, only, to have a group meditation. With Denise on my left and Laura on my right they sat on my hospital bed each taking one of my hands. From somewhere high above us, we were to invoke the light of the Star of David to shine down and encompass all three of us. The girls were to acknowledge and accept what was happening to their mother. I opened my eyes to sneak a peak at our daughter's faces and was profoundly moved. Their furrowed brows, deep in concentration, was one thing but the love pouring from their faces was divinely precious. The amulet I wear is a reminder of that time we shared.

Blue opal on the downward (toward the heart) facing triangle

December 27th was the last day a Home Care nurse came to change the incision dressing. With the great crevasse closed it was determined that it no longer needs bandaging and I'm now applying vitamin E oil to the scar. While my bladder continues to improve its natural output I must still self catheterize to fully void it. 

At The Tom Baker Cancer Centre (Calgary) I'm to receive a chemotherapy treatment every Thursday for eighteen weeks. December 29th, I went to my first treatment fearless and calm which I feel was reflected by my blood pressure reading of 123/80. During my hospital stay it was all over the map and often off the charts getting as high as 180+ over something as absurdly high. 

First through the IV was a saline flush then a dose of Benadryl which rendered me so groggy that I slept through most of the rest of treatment and all the way home on our 1.5 hour drive. The bonus was all that napping didn't interfere with my night sleep. Next came a bag of Carboplatin, a saline flush, then a bag of Paclitaxel and a final flush. It was over in less than the predicted time. 

The first and second treatments will be administered thus but I'm having a port installed January 6th (in my chest) for the rest
I was prescribed anti nausea medication prior to the treatment and have been given more to take for the two days following it. I'm most fortunate in not normally experiencing nausea and I don't have any now. As was reported by two other friends, who have been through this, the chemo drugs alleviated their joint pain and it seems to have reduced mine as well. This will be an absolute blessing for me as my left hip/leg has given me no end of grief since leaving off narcotics in hospital. The only little, negative effect I've noticed is a tenderness to the touch on the underside of the lower arm which took the IV.

To all who continue to shower both of us with love, well wishes, food and flowers, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I really didn't expect that something like this could open up so much love and generosity. 

Pleased with how I am healing, I enter 2017 with this mantra - Perfect Health Please - and I wish the same for all of you. HAPPY NEW YEAR!


  1. Prayers for you and Bill. Best of luck and healing with all the treatments etc.

  2. Oh Alice, I am so sorry that you are going through this. I will pray for your speedy healing. I am grateful that your bubbly and optimistic attitude will see you through even this, and may your artwork provide a deep joy.

  3. What a wonderfully upbeat post, Alice. It's lovely to see you looking so radiant with your family during the holidays, and that blue opal is a knockout on you! We know that 2017 will see the same clear sailing as the start of your chemo this week. Bring it on, with perfect health, please!! xo

    1. Ah Win, thank you, I can always count on your to be HERE with support words.

  4. What a gift you are to your husband and family. I'm so, so happy you went to Earth Gems....and I'm sure it's not your last trip. Continue your positive support to your body and soul.."perfect health, please" will be my Mantra for you as I hold you in my prayers and meditations. Thank you for sharing and thank you for being you! Many blessing you Bill and you into this NEW YEAR! V

    1. Verna, I don't know if you'll ever get to see this reply but I am so pleased you have chimed in here. Thanks for all you have done for us and for your positive beliefs in my healing.

  5. Happy New Year to you as well Alice, I am just now returning to Victoria and haven't had a chance to stay up to date with everything that is happnenning . The Star of David story and meditation touched me deeply, what a beautiful moment! Hugs to you and here's to Perfect Health This Year!

    1. Thanks for always checking in with me here. Much love to you and thanks for support words and friendship.