Thursday, August 24, 2017

Life Beyond Cancer and Chemo

After my May 31st surgery, where the attempt to reconnect my colon to my rectum failed, I was discharged from hospital June 3rd. As I'd only been out of hospital for two days I didn't accompany Bill to Canmore for the house inspection on June 5th. Built in 1990, Mountain Shadows is a quiet, complex of 35 townhouses, with an awesome clubhouse, for the over 50 set. It's a spacious oasis of serenity in the now exceptionally busy Canmore. 

Our end unit is the one with the garage door open. 


Home Care nurse removed the catheter on June 7th. I had been discharged from Foothills with it, June 2nd. It was an amazing relief to find that my bladder worked well on her own. 

On June 8th, we met with Dr. Chang, the Lethbridge surgeon who gave me the total right hip replacement in January 2014. He was very negative about replacing my left hip before a colostomy reversal. Although I hope not, I may have the colostomy for life. I asked him if he would deny me a new hip, should a reversal not be possible? It was with reluctance that he agreed to do it. I signed the consent form. It's painfully obvious that he doesn't want to do it and with his fear around it all, I honestly would rather he isn't the doctor to do the surgery.  

Our physician, Dr. Yonemori, used some pretty strong language about Dr. Chang's reluctance and has referred me to another orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. MacKenzie, in Calgary. I have a consult with him on September 6th.

Much of June was spent experimenting with narcotics for relief of the hip pain. In addition to Celebrex, I took both the immediate and the extended release Hydromorphone capsules which promoted a tiredness that had me taking two to three hour naps every day. The Hyrdromorphone was replaced by Oxycodone. I'm no longer sleeping my life away. Nothing improves my mobility and the pain is still there although it is somewhat reduced.

Home Care returned to remove the staples from my incision June 14th. On June 20th I had the port, through which I received the chemotherapy drugs, removed.


The Manila family arrived in Canada on June 22nd. It was heartwarming to have our girls and their children with us for a short visit at the end of June. This was the last time we all sat together around this table - in our Claresholm house ...

Amira with Everett, Laura, Bill, Denise, Avery and me.  (Take note of the painting on the right.)

Denise and Avery could only stay one night. Laura and kids were with us for two. We drove them to Canmore, June 30th, so that we could wake up there on July 1st, for Canada's 150th birthday.

Laura with Avery and Everett
Everett with Denise
Gramps and Amira
Making cupcakes with Avery and Amira
The first (and last) time I painted with both granddaughters in the Anne Frank Room
I couldn't resist buying the girls dresses for Canada Day - it's what grandmothers do!
Our American born grandson dons Canada Day pyjamas!
With all our grandchildren, June 30th, at the Scammell's pub/restaurant, Bridges on First. 


The Koebel Clan at the Canada Day Parade
Denise, Evan (Adam's brother) with Laura and Jan (Adam's and Evan's mother)
Larry, Uncle Ronnie, Avery, yours truly and Amira
Bill and his sister, Linda

With a great deal of purging and packing yet to do we stayed in Canmore only the one night (June 30th). Before heading home, we joined Susan and Jim, at their place, for a Canada Day BBQ. Dale and Janice are missing from the photo because we weren't on the ball about taking the group shot before they departed to join family visiting them for the holiday.

Jim's son, Brian, Nadine, Brenda & Tom, Georgie, Susan & Jim, yours truly and Bill

Below is the unorthodox, clandestine, parking lot delivery of payment to our realtor (and friend of many years) who was thrilled to accept a painting as his commission for selling our Claresholm house. I also gave him a vintage Saltiel oil of Mount Rundle, from 1974, for his assistance in handling the necessary paperwork for our private purchase of the Canmore townhouse.

July 4th, the deal is sealed with our realtor Gary Lock
Mount Assiniboine and Sunburst Peak installed in Gary's and Michelle's home
Mount Assiniboine and Sunburst Peak 2007 oil 36x48 

The lunch and payment to Gary preceded my July 4th follow up appointment (for the May 31st surgery) with my surgeon, Dr.Glaze. I'd been having foul smelling discharge from both my vagina and my rectum so a CT scan was arranged and happened in Lethbridge on July 6th. Nothing untoward was found and yet the discharge continues although it is gradually diminishing.  

On July 8th, we were back in Canmore, for another single, overnight stay, this one to attend a surprise 40th birthday, which Adam had arranged before they left the Philippines. Again, we stayed in town just one night because we still had a great deal of work ahead of us before the moving truck's inevitable arrival.

A perfect day for a backyard party.  Denise and Laura in the foreground, the seniors scooped the shade!
Laura was surprised - who wouldn't be with a party thrown in your honour six months early?
Much to the delight of all the children, second cousin, Todd (referred to as Uncle Todd) arrived on his Harley!


July 25th

After the truck pulled away, we stayed on in the Claresholm house, utilizing the Murphy bed for two more nights, to facilitate cleaning the place, packing up our trailer, and our two vehicles, for the adventure of getting to Canmore. Here you'll find a photo essay of our five day journey to make the 2.5 hour drive from Claresholm to Canmore!

Our Claresholm physician was able to squeeze me in early on the morning of July 27th to give me a cortisone shot in the left hip. Unlike the injection I took last September, which I hiked off in a few days at Lake O'Hara, I babied this one so that it lasted nine days. It wasn't a cure but it was a wonderful gift of mobility and pain relief which got me through the move.

Our possession date in Canmore was August 1st. Thrilled to be back we've already enjoyed much of what this community has to offer. Sure it's a struggle to go from 1700 to 1100 square feet but our new home is precisely where we need to be. The moves final stamp of approval was when Telus phoned us to offer us our former phone number! I had requested it and even though it was not in service Telus originally said it was unavailable. The serendipity of it all can't be denied.

Photos of the new place will have to wait for another post because suddenly, on August 19th, the pain in my hip escalated beyond anything I've ever known and I became completely lame because my left leg will not tolerate any weight bearing. I spent the night of August 20th in the ER at the Canmore Hospital. The following day I was admitted. I'm here until the correct dosage of morphine is established to manage this pain.

August 22nd, 2017, outside the entrance to the Canmore Hospital

Our new mailing address and phone number ...
#15 - 216 Three Sisters Drive
Canmore, Alberta
T1W 2M2
403 678-2843
Our email addresses remain the same ...