Thursday, May 4, 2017

April Medical Report

For the most part things eased up in April. The burning pain of the neuropathy raged at the beginning of the month but was gone by month end. I still have a tingling sensation on the soles of my feet. Concerned about it advancing, I phoned the Tom Baker Cancer Centre to insist I have an appointment with my surgeon/oncologist, Dr. Glaze. Remarkably, I was given one the very next day, April 4th. We sighed with relief when she recommended we leave the Paclitaxel drug out of my final treatment all together.  

April 5th, with Henry and Vicki we pick up exactly where we left off, regardless when we were together last

April brought many visitors. I don't always remember to photograph everyone. It's always appreciated when folks come bearing gifts and food but it's their company I crave. Vicki and Henry stopped in on their way home to Jasper from Arizona. They brought supper and wine. Since it was two weeks after my second to last chemo treatment I opted to have a couple of glasses. It was only 5.5% alcohol and tasted absolutely marvellous. 

As we've done before, Bill strung a power cord to their motorhome. 2nd Street at 52nd Ave. became a campground for one night enabling us to extend our visit over breakfast.

On April 8th, we took another field trip to the mountains ...

The Livingstone Range as seen from Alberta Highway #3
Entering The Crowsnest Pass.  Left is The Frank Slide (Turtle Mountain), Crowsnest mountain in the distance
The Crowsnest Pass Art Gallery was showing an exhibition of student art. This collection of drawings was especially lovely 

Bill and I enjoyed lunch at Stone's Throw Cafe in Blairmore before going to the Castle Area to check out a favourite haunt, Beaver Mines Lake ...

Yours truly and a mountain I adore - Table Mountain

Out in its centre, the ice was off the lake. There was still a great deal of snow nestled in the trees of the campground which meant the road into the Recreation Area was closed.


It disappointed me that the cannabis oil didn't alleviate my hip pain. When I got Cannimed's oil (1:20 TCH to CBDdosage up to 2ml, four times a day, without any relief, I called them. I was told that increasing the dosage further wasn't going to be of any benefit. April 10th, I resumed Celebrex, at 200mg twice a day. I continue to use cannabis oil (1ml, twice a day under my tongue) because I feel it's helping with the neuropathy pain. Also, as cancer cells are famous for rapidly dividing and multiplying the cannabinoids in cannabis oil are anti-proliferative and they can check cancer from metastasizing.

Last treatment. I blessed the chemo drugs, asking them to work for my highest good
My final chemotherapy treatment was on April 13th. Denise spent the time with me and Bill. The video may not play here, but you'll at least see a still of me with her. Ringing the bell signifies that your treatments are finished. It was most gratifying to let that bell peel!

We stopped at the Scammell's to collect Avery and gave an Easter gift bag to her

Later that afternoon we celebrated my final chemotherapy treatment at Bridges on First with fine food and champagne. 

At Bridges on First, Avery and Bill with the masterpiece she and her friend, Ferris, created 
Denise and Larry pulled out all the stops with a fine bottle of Italian champagne

When it was done we opened another bottle of champagne, a gift, received earlier that day, from John Webster who owns Webster Galleries and represents me in Calgary.

Yup, I enjoyed a glass or two!
Cathy and Dave brought lunch on April 14th
Back in The Anne Frank Room, Cathy created her second illustrated journal page
I showed Cathy my latest journal entry

It was mid March when I announced that I needed to go home. Canmore is home. Bill could be happy staying here in Claresholm but is prepared to honour my wish and so our home is for sale. Although Gary put the signs up the week prior, the listing went live on April 24th. We've had three showings but no offers, yet.

Bill and our long time friend, Gary, put up the signs April 19th


April brought an abundance of flowers. As the florist neglected to include names, with the message, the flowers on the right were a mystery for a day or so. Some serious sleuthing revealed that Vic and Avril had sent them from England. The bouquet on the left came from John and Win Din when I needed cheering up the most. I hit rock bottom on the 18th over the worsening hip pain and the humbling fact that I can't walk much at all without it becoming excruciating. Celebrex alone wasn't working so I was prescribed Hydromorphone. At first I was given 3mg tablets to be taken every three waking hours, this was later replaced with extended release capsules, 6mg every 12 hours. I notice a 20% to 30% reduction in pain. I'm not happy to be on narcotics, and Celebrex and Lyrica (for the neuropathy pain) but I they are so necessary for managing the pain.

The 'French Quarter' of our dining room

The sunflowers, came from my cousin, Claudine, who instructed me to put them in my best Van Gogh vase, against blue. As I don't have either, I placed them on the buffet beneath my painting 'Portes de Roussillon' 2004 oil, 22" x 30" with the pottery we bought in the Luberon near Roussillon, France.

Bill turned 73 on April 28th. Our family believes a birthday celebration can, and often does, last for up to a month. He managed to squeeze two celebrations in before April was over. 

April 28th, Bill and I celebrated his birthday at Mocha Cabana in Lethbridge
April 30th, Denise and Bill (yup that's another Long Island iced tea) at Bridges on First

On April 26th, I had a CT scan of my chest, abdomen and pelvis. The results came back saying all was looking good except for a 1cm spot on my liver, hitherto unseen. It was not detected in my last CT scan on November 22nd, seven days after surgery. I was told I'd need an ultra sound to determine just what it is. 

Sneaking into May and as this wasn't posted this yet, I can report that I had the ultra sound May 3rd. The radiologist said that he couldn't "characterize" what the spot was. I'll need a MRI for that "It's not good news or bad news" he said. "It's no news." This was not comforting. In fact I was downright frantic. I Immediately called and left messages with my  surgeon/oncologist and my nurse practitioner. The latter returned my call as we were driving home. She stressed that it's encouraging they couldn't determine anything from the ultra sound. She will book me a MRI. This "liver spot" won't interfere with the colostomy reversal slated to happen at the end of May.  

To close on a happy note, I give you an uplifting photo of me with Avery ... 

At Bridges on First, April 30th 


  1. What a wonderful photo essay of your month (and a wee bit), Alice. You, as always, have managed to pack more into a month of living than most people do in a year. I salute you, in spades! Love all the photos, and particularly enjoyed seeing the photo of Avery in front of her masterpiece - emulating Gran yet again! xo

    1. Many thanks, Win, for always commenting with beautiful compliments l!

  2. So brave, so steadfast, so loving. ONWARDS!

    1. Thank you, Esme. You have been an anchor through this entire process!

  3. I LOVE your 'Want to go Home' journal entry. You and Canmore belong together.

  4. Leissa RemesoffMay 5, 2017 at 2:00 PM

    I want to go home too......

  5. Thank you for your email Alice, I will continue to keep you in my prayers.
    Take care and God bless!

    1. Many thanks, Lois. You are the friend I've know the longest!