Sunday, January 6, 2019

Medical Update

With both daughters in town, Richard Brown offered to do a family photo shoot, November 18th, 2018
Love our photo bombers
And we loved photobombing them!

My first chemotherapy treatment, of the last round, was on November 2nd at the Tom Baker Cancer Clinic, Calgary. A familiar place that makes me cringe whenever I enter. Rounds two and three were much more palitable at the Canmore Hospital. The 'chemo lite' that Dr. Glaze negotiated with me was Carboplatin, 455mg per treatment, which was given by IV over 45 minutes. Although the link says to expect hair loss, Dr. Glaze assured me that would not happen, this time, and it didn't.

November 22nd, 2018, my first chemo treatment in Canmore Hospital, Janice and Karen came to sing to me.

Before the second chemo treatment, my chemistry and blood work were strong so it was recommended I take a higher dose. I did. They increased it to 520mg. Putting that much through in the same time frame caused the vein I my left hand to collapse and to pain for a few days. By the third treatment I had lost weight and the dose was dropped back to 430mg.  

Chemo round three, December 13th, 2018 Part of the Threshold Choir came and sang to me, again.  My new cancer Hug Quilt.

For the past month and more I’ve been having stomach cramps with pretty much anything I eat. Just before Christmas Home Care began checking in on me daily and I began taking morphine for the pain. Palliative Care has been enlisted. It's felt I have months, not weeks. Fingers crossed. We're looking into MAID as well.  

Pain brought me into Emergency on the 20th, where I spent a night. It was then we determined we wouldn't be flying to Saskatoon on the 21st. That was also when the results of the December 18th PET and CT scans were given to me, here at Canmore Hospital. They are not favourable. The three rounds of chemo did little, if anything, to shrink the tumour(s) which are now plentiful and aggressively growing throughout my abdomen, liver and in a lung.  

Fortunately the Scammells were able to come to us for ten great days. In the 11th hour we scored a thawed/fresh, organic turkey from Valbella's and with plenty of cooks we had a full on turkey dinner. As we sat to eat Avery wanted to speak, but last. We held hands and went around the table expressing gratitude for being together. When Avery did speak she said "This may be Gran's last Christmas, so I want it to be a really good one." And it was.

Christmas dinner 2018
Knowing I needed help to deal with constipation and after the kids departed on New Year’s Day, Bill brought me to Emergency, again. I’ve been admitted and I’m still here. For 48 hours I was on IV, with nothing by mouth. My bowels finally moved on the 2nd and I'm empty. I'm back on a clear fluid diet, my intestines didn't care for the short foray to a full fluid diet. Broth and jello get awfully boring. My stomach is still distended. Palliative radiation is recommended to shrink the one large mass and relieve pressure to my intestines. I have an appointment with a radiology oncologist at the TBCC on the 10th.

I have a bladder infection (no symptoms but a regular, to-be-expected affliction for us folks with kidney stents) and I'm being treated with antibiotics by IV. All other medications go in the same way (aids for digestion to settle the bowels). I am 'unplugged' between infusions. 

It has been suggested/advised that I stay admitted and come and go on day passes. I may even sleep at home, occasionally. Bill brought me home the night before last for about three hours. Caught up with online banking, fussed around the house a bit and watched TV.

I'm looking forward to resolving a lot of my discomfort, to being able to eat again but in particular to Laura's, Amira's and Everett's visit for a week commencing January 26th.

The view out my window here at the Canmore General Hospital, January 5th, 2019



  1. As always, you are facing your cancer with grace, grit and determination, Alice. Truly, you are a notable woman. I am of the belief that if anyone 'deserves' a miracle it is you, so I'm holding out for that. You are the best example ever of living a life filled with generosity, kindness and the sheer love of living. Sending you waves of love, my dear friend. xo

  2. Your friend Win is much more eloquent than I. I agree with her wholeheartedly. Ditto to the "miracle", let us all hold out for that.
    In my heart I believe you still have much to do here Alice, painting, hiking in your beloved mountains, engaging the grandchildren,
    sharing with your lovely girls and their spouses. As well, engaging the myriad of friends who love and cherish you, and so look forward to
    engaging with you in conversation, laughter and love. Love and prayers.

  3. Fighting is hard :( Love & Prayers & Miracles for you during this difficult time.

  4. Dear Alice, I'm so sad that your news isn't better, but know that I will continue to pray for the miracle mentioned in the previous comments. I just want you to know that you have a heavenly Father who loves you and who will help you to endure whatever comes your way. God bless you

  5. Sending you miracles, love, hugs and much praise and Thanks for always sharing yourself with us. My girls remember you sharing your time and talent in your basement fondly. They also send well wishes. I'm sorry to just be catching up on this chapter now. Be strong and feel the love Alice.

  6. YOU still inspire in light of all the challenges you are facing - YOU are full of love and we all feel it when we are near you, when we enjoy your art, when we reminisce times shared with you and when we read your blog. YOU are so strong and courageous and loved - I hope you feel it and truly know it!

  7. Alice thank you for the update. I believe in miracles. Keep fighting and keep going. You are amazing 😘

  8. Sending LOVE to you!
    I am totally fascinated by your art!

  9. So sorry to read about your illness. See you still have your artistic gift. Praying for you. Sandy Gault. Now Alexandria Cabato.