Sunday, July 29, 2018

No News is Not Always Good News - Medical Update (and more)

In my last medial blogpost (June 4th) I left you blog readers hanging. In surgery that day Dr. Jenken was only able to repair the fistula from my small intestine to my vagina and he removed 30.7cm of small intestine where the blockage was. Once again, I awoke with the colostomy bag in place. He says that I may have the reconnection later, but at this point in time I want no more surgeries. 

It took a few days to transition from IV feeding to a regular diet. More antibiotics were given for internal inflammation and infection. On Sunday, June 10th, I snapped. Eighteen nights in hospital and I simply couldn't stand even one more. I begged to be sent home. Dr. Jenken was tracked down and gave his approval. Once a nurse had removed the PICC line and the staples I was discharged. That weekend the Scammells were back in Calgary so we visited them (at their now sold house there) before driving to Canmore.

June 16th, at Shirley Chinneck's 90th birthday party with Esme Comfort, my solid rock of support. She too is a cancer survivor  

On June 19th, at my follow up appointment, with Dr. Jenken, we learned the results of the pathology report. The removed piece of intestine showed ovarian cancer as did one of the three lymph nodes that were taken in surgery. Bill and I were devastated, as were our girls and their husbands, that cancer had returned only a year after completing chemotherapy. Right after that bomb was dropped Bill and I went for coffee then stopped in a cute shop next door. Convinced I had little time left on this planet, and as a dying person, I thought I shouldn't be wasting money on new clothes. Bill felt otherwise and encouraged me to buy the new tops seen here ...

June 21st, at the Senior's Summer Solstice evening of fine dining and entertainment 

I was consumed with these thoughts "Was the end of April ski at Sunshine my last?" "Will my 70th birthday (this September) be my last?" "How about Christmas - will this year be the last one for me?" This wallowing went on for a week or so but it had to stop, the negative thoughts of death had to go. Until and only if I had to, I wouldn't panic. 

With the arrival of Laura and children, on June 28th, my spirits lifted. Not quite a month out of surgery, we hiked up the trail to my beloved Grassi Lakes. It took a great deal of effort, but I was so pleased with myself. We opted for the easy way down, on the road.

June 29th, at lower Grassi Lake with Laura, Bill, Everett and Amira
I was able to show Amira the cave, and my meditation seat

Denise, Larry and Avery arrived in time for the July 1st, Canada Day parade and stayed on in town for a week providing me with more distraction. I was thrilled with almost all the family being assembled. 

Canada Day parade
With our girls at Linda's and Ron's Canada Day BBQ

A week after the Grassi Lakes hike I doubled the distance (to 8km) and elevation gain (to 1500 feet) on a hike with all the family (minus Adam who wasn't here yet) to C-Level Cirque, Banff. Happily, my endurance had doubled as well.

Larry's great selfie at C-Level Cirque, July 6th - a month after surgery

On July 8th, The Scammells had to return to Saskatoon for work. At my request they left Avery with us for a week. Laura and I took the kids to the zoo, July 9th ...

Everett, Avery and Amira en route to the Calgary Zoo
It was all about the pandas being at the zoo!
The cousins enjoyed sleep overs together

 I was sent for another CT scan. Odd that the one in May revealed no sign of cancer.

July 12th, ready for the CT scan in one of the Canmore Hospital's fancy new gowns 

Maggie, who was visiting from Toronto, was able to sit with me, at the hospital, during the two hours prior to the scan as I drank the required two litres of water. When it was done we collected Bill and went for lunch at the Canmore Golf Course ...

With Maggie on a gorgeous day in a gorgeous setting
Me with all our grand children, July 15th, the day the Scammells left town with Avery

Jan, Adam's mother, arrived on July 16th. Her timing enabled Laura to attend the meeting with my surgeon/oncologist, Dr. Glaze, at the Tom Baker Cancer Clinic, July 17th. Bill, Laura and I had many questions. We spent an hour with Nurse Practioner, Pam Sweeney, before we had twenty minutes with the amazing Dr. Glaze.

My latest CA125 blood test reading was 14.  It has been as low as 11. We’re been advised that there is no cause for alarm unless it is over 35.  

We were relieved to learn the results of the CT scan. Once again, I’m currently cancer free. Chemo was recommended as a preventative measure. This was suggested after the initial hysterectomy surgery in November 2016. I subscribed then, but this time I've declined further chemo treatments. 

I'm open to alternative ways to keep cancer away, beginning with my diet. This past week, Jan, who is a graduate of The Institute of Holistic Nutrition, has given freely of her time and expertise on that. Also, I'm grateful to the lovely ladies here in town, who are practitioners in Healing Pathway. Thus far, I've had four consecutive, weekly sessions.

July 19th, Adam arrived
After a month apart the kids sure were happy to see their Pappa
July 22nd, dinner at our place with the Koebel family and Jan

As there was cake, and we all won't be with her for her December 9th birthday, Amira thought we should celebrate it. So we did, and since his comes before hers, on September 18th, we also celebrated Everett's birthday.

July 23rd, Laura treats me to an afternoon at the Banff Spring Hotel spa

The summer continues to unfold with an abundance of social and fun times. I'll be sad to see the Koebels return home to Manila on August 8th. On August 12th, at the end of their vacation, Denise and Larry will bring Avery who will stay with us for a week before we meet her parents at (to be confirmed) Cypress Hills Provincial Park for a weekend of camping.

Tomorrow, marks eight weeks since surgery. I feel well, terrific in fact. I've gained strength and weight, I'm up to 125 pounds. Last week I got a new bike. Although I haven't ridden in two years, you just don't forget, so I'm happily cruising about Canmore's streets and trails ...

Canmore's Engine Bridge (old mine spur line) July 28th

I'm to watch for any signs that things are not normal for me, and if they're not I'm to alert the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. Otherwise my next follow up visit there is on November 8th.

Meanwhile I'll grab life by the throat (as Susan likes to say) and live it - fully. In closing I borrow Esme's line "Stay tuned and wish me a good outcome, in the way that most suits you, because that will suit me." 

This pretty much sums it all up