Thursday, October 29, 2009

A woman like you

These last couple of years I have put Keith through paces that no spouse should ever go through. It brings on a whole new meaning to the term for better or worse, in sickness and in health... seriously... He has taken everything in stride..all the doctors' diagnosis, all the treatments, all the midnight wakings, ......

He makes me feel like I am the most beautiful woman on earth and takes everything with so much unconditional love for me. The other night he was working out on his exercise machine and I was working at the dining room table doing some work on the laptop when this song came on the tv channel CMT. Now I think everyone that knows me knows I am a die hard country music fan and if there isn't something on TV that we would be watching that channel is on so I can listen to the music.

There is only ever been in over 30 years one song that no matter what either of us are doing if that song comes on the radio or tv or anyplace no matter where we are we stop what we are doing and dance to this song... Three Times A Lady by the Commodores. We have pulled over on a highway to do this, in an elevator, in a movie theather... every single place we dance to this song.. But it has only ever been that song.

Well shortly after the song started he took my hand and started dancing to this new song. I had only heard it once or twice before. Now that was special enough but after each line that Johnny Reid sang Keith told me an example of how I fit that song.. needless to say you can very well imagine I was crying by the end. After the song ended he took me back to my chair and he went back to his weights. I sat in my chair wondering how on earth I am supposed to go back to what I was doing... my brain had lost all semblance of sanity at that point.

But it was exactly what the doctor had ordered. Depression semempression... that one little dance was exactly what I needed. What a man! I hope the link works..


Today I spent several hours in Ikea with Lareta to get things she wanted to get. As we were walking around I came to the realization I am not an IKEA person. I have been in there several times, have gone through their website, have gone over their catalogues that come to my door but I can't just warm up to their products. I do get their concept where no matter how small a home is, you can still make it a beautiful with amazing storage. That I get 100%! What I don't get is the tubuler furniture, plastic chairs, steel everything and the very bright colors everywhere!!.

I may be completely old fashioned but I am a traditionalist. I love wood. lots of wood, antique pieces, soft furniture that you can curl up in. My china is 65 years old. I have pieces that are probably close to 80-90 years old.. My wood is oak.

I always find things to buy when I am there, but it is usually candles and some decorating fluffs. I did get an ergonomic pillow today as I am tired of waking up with tension headaches from the pain in my neck from sleeping crooked all night :( So hopefully it will work.

No I will continue to comb antique stores for cool finds~

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sleep Study Results

Today I went to see the specialist to get the results of my 3 day sleep study that I had a month or so ago. I had my appointment late in the day so that Keith would be able to go to it with me. I hate it when I get a bunch of new info and I have to try and remember it all for when I get home to let Keith know. If he is there then it is one less step.. method to my madness hehehe. Well needless to say I was not so happy when I left there :(

Some things I already knew , some I didn't already know and others I did not want to know. Some things were the same as the last time I was tested about 5 years ago, some were different and others new. So here is the scoop...

-It took me an average of 3 hours to fall asleep once I was in bed with lights off.. knew that
-My legs twitch repeatedly at night although not hard enough to wake me up - knew that already although Keith asked did it count if it woke him up?
-I skipped all the stages of sleep and went straight into REM - did not know that and that is new from last time I was tested
-I was asleep 51% of the night the 1st night and 55% the 2nd night - well that sounds about right
-I did not have sleep apnea - I already knew that
-my medication I had been on did not work anymore - DUH
-I did not fall asleep easily during the day when I was supposed to - well kind of hard to force oneself to fall asleep when one trains oneself to NOT nap during the day otherwise even harder to fall asleep at night.- knew that
-once asleep I stayed asleep for at least 30 minutes at a time- knew that and this is new from last testing where I fell asleep easily but woke up it takes me a long time to go to sleep but stay asleep for longer periods of time
-she said I did not have any brain tumours or diseases like Narcolepsy (where you fall asleep at the drop of a hat.
-she said the average time frame for a person with sleep problems to fall asleep during the day is 7.8 minutes..mine was 17.1..Keith comments "that's because her brain never stops talking enough to go to sleep".. she never replied to that comment either

She showed me the actual report with all the graphs etc that showed to the minute when I fell asleep, when I woke up and what I did in between.. it was kind of cool.. till I asked her.. ok so now what is the end result...her diagnosis?

"Quote" Depression
.. what?
. are you kidding me? I'm not depressed.
This report shows you are.
The report is wrong. I have been depressed in the past.. twice in fact .. I know depression and this is not it. What does that 25 page questionnaire that I filled out in my first visit show?
Well that was inconclusive which was why we did the sleep study
I'm telling you there is something else because I am not depressed (This said as I try to not look at Keith who is making funny faces at me behind her back cause he knows I am about to bust a nerve and trying to calm me down)
Did you not tell me you were diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years ago and had to have a bilateral mastectomy
Did you not tell me you lost your only sister and other family members recently to caner?
Did you not tell me you left your job since the last time you were tested due to your illness?
Did you not tell me you were diagnosed with Fibromyalgia since the last time you were tested?
Did you not tell me you live with chronic pain?
Sally any 2 of any of those things would be enough to put most people into depression let alone that many
Maybe most people but not me. I\m telling you I am not depressed
(Few moments of silent staring contest going on )
So what do you suggest?
I will send a copy of this report to your family doctor with my recommendation of you going on any of the antidepressants that I will include.. (Keith at this point is staring at the ceiling and refusing to look at me)
So what are the chances that it is something else that needs more investigation?
Pretty slim
But possible
The report is pretty shows you are depressed.
I am not depressed. I live a very full very active life.
Not all depressions are characterized by laying in bed all day and night with no human contact.
But they are all characterized by treating with anti-depressants?
That is my experience
So what are the side effects of these anti-depressants?
Oh slim to none.. very little
What are they?
Nothing to even none
Hmm well the two times I was on them in previous years, one I gained over 100 pounds in less then one year and the second time, my blood pressure lowered to dangerous levels as did internal bleeding. Both times I walked around like a zombie. Two different drugs.
Drugs have changed over the years, they are much easier to take with little or no side effects.
I take 6 medications right now and each comes with a long list of side effects.
Oh they all have to come with "possible" side effects just so the patients are aware but doesn't mean people will actually get them
But more then just a couple do get them correct?
Well yes
So then there are side effects to them
Big sigh.. well why don't you wait till you see your family doctor when she gets this report and you can decide then what you want to do but my diagnosis is still the same - depression with anti-depressants as suggested treatment.
Thank you I will do that thank you for your time

We walk out and as soon as we are in the hallway little granddaughter asks Papa why Nana is walking to the elevator so fast and that he has to hurry up so they can catch up and Papa tells her it's better that Nana has a time out right now.

Now let me set something very straight here... I do believe depression is a VERY REAL thing. I do believe that at times medication is needed to help get people that have depression over a rough time whether the reason they are going through it in the first place is medical, physical, social or any reason. I do truly believe that. And my denying I was/am depressed at this time of my life with the doctor does in no way minimize that others are going through a very real thing. I just know my body and my head and I know 100% that this is not the problem with me at this time of my life.

I think part of the problem is I have the BEST doctor on the face of the earth.. absolutely the best. I have mentioned that on here many times over the years and will continue to say the same thing. Because of her, I judge all doctors the same way and hold them all under the same category. So when others don't treat me the same way, or have the bedside manner of an ice cube or are unwilling to entertain the option of a 2nd or 3rd choice it rubs me the wrong way.

I know I have a sleeping problem. I did not have to spend 3 days hooked up to all these wires to know that. But going on antidepressants isn't going to fix the problem. It is just a bandaid solution. So when we got home, Keith and I talked about it and I finally asked him if he thought I was depressed and he said yes.. WHAT?? Why? his reply was "Look at your reaction" So because I am stating my case that means it's true? He said Sally you know most people that are depressed deny they are depressed. Most people Keith. I am not most people. No you are not Sally.

Needless to say I am not feeling very charitable right now

I participate

Last few weeks there has been extensive coverage on the news about this new cause "I PARTICIPATE" which is about people that care about their community and doing something no matter how little it is. So my little 5 year old granddaughter and I have spent the last couple of days thinking about what we can do to improve our community. Most things she came up with I knew I physically could not do it because of bending etc which is such a no no these days. This morning I had to keep her home from school today so we talked about it again as we were curled up on the couch and we came up with a great idea.

We are going to use my "grabber" which is a long handled claw kind of thing which I use to get things off the floor etc and we are going to go around our complex on Friday and clean up garbage laying around. Then one day next week we are going to go to the local animal shelter to volunteer our time and efforts to help out anything they might need help with. Of course mom and dad have to say yes first.

So how about you.. what are you going to do to participate in improving your community?

Twist and Shout

That has been my life last while..Twisting and shouting cause it hurts so much. It has gotten bad enough to go get the pain in my lower back checked out recently. Now 30 odd years ago, I started having problems with pain in my lower back. I know it is something that happens to a lot of people in my family. For me it started with the disc degenerating in the L5 area..then L4 then S1 then S2.. About 7 years ago or so my neck and shoulders started really giving me pain and after xray-ing those they found the degenerating had jumped the thoracic discs and gone straight into the cervical ones in the neck.

I have gone through just about every quick cures, to painful procedures, and every thing in between, some worked some hmmm not so much.. then about 7 tears ago I thought this weight is killing me so I got my butt and head in gear and lost 150 pounds in 2 years. That gave me a HUGE reprieve. 3 years later there was a clean slate.. the degeneration had not progressed. I now was in more pain then before but I had way more mobility.. give and take,,,But last couple of months it has gotten REALLY bad..bad enough to go to a walk in clinic rather then My doc cause I knew I would never make it to New West to see her.

He called me back a week or so later and said you need to go see your own doc if you have one as you have severe nerve root damage in your L5/S1 space. IT also stated severe narrowing of space. So I got a hold of my doctor and she had me in the next day. So went over the report and said here is your To Do List that you HAVE to follow: No bending at the waist EVER, no making bed, no picking things off the floor, no lifting anything, no sweeping or washing floors, no vacuuming, no washing walls, windows or floors, no playing golf, no loading or unloading dishwasher, no bending to take clothes out of the dryer.

She is sending me to see a specialist that I have seen before and gave me one exercises to do in the meantime. I called the office and said look I know the specialist is out of town till early next year and I explained why I needed an appointment. She said well we are not making appointments but he actually will be in town next Thursday to wrap up papers etc before he heads out of town again for a few months. If you can get here then we will squeeze you in. oh YEA!! I'll be there.

Do you have any idea how many things you do in any given day that involves bending at the waist? It would be easier to say what you can't do. This really sucks. She said sitting and laying down will irritate it as will standing in one spot.. or long walks.. I did tell her it had gotten worse after the race a couple of weeks ago. She said no more walks unless you are going to the corner store.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Computers and Smiley Faces NOT!

So here is my day so far... It is now 4 days before our huge genealogical seminar and I have a last minute to do list a few miles long it seems. I had an executive meeting this morning with my committee to go over the items left to take care of. I had my lists of things to do today while I was there. After the meeting..I am ready to work... but the computers wouldn't cooperate with me... I couldn't find a file I was needing off of one of my flash drives and yet I knew it had been there last night.. so had to go and open up each and every single file on the off chance that I had not saved it under what it should have been. So that took a couple of hours. In between doing that there were other distractions at work and other things that needed taken care of. I finally gave up trying to find it and started a new file.. then one of the computers went down (we have 9)... One of our computer guys happened to be there and so he took a look at it, fixed it and went home.. half hour later, a different one went down.. of course we had no way of knowing that one or more was down till a patron would come in and would go to work on it.

So I did what I knew I could do to fix it and worked on it but it wouldn't go so I put a call in and one of the guys came back... got it working... an hour or so later, 3 more went down, 2 hard wired ones and 1 wireless one.. got them working.. and back to my file.. lots of distractions by this time.. Then in comes another patron and it starts all over we are down to only 3 working computers. I needed to shut down the modems to reboot but wanted to wait till we didn't have any patrons in there using them so that I didn't inconvenience them... when they both left, I turned everything off, shut the modems down and rebooted everything. This time NO Internet on ANY computers, not even the main one that I had been working on all afternoon.. ughhhh

It was now way beyond my pay grade and patience level so I put another call in and over comes one of the techs at 3:30. At 5:45 I knew that the evening shift would be there but I still had another couple of hours of work to do on the file I was working on.. I was about half way through and didn't want to stop but I moved everything over to one of the back computers so the other shift would have the front desk to help patrons. I saved my file on my flash drive, move everything over, go and open the file on another computer and could not find it.. again.. well actually I did find it and it came with a "File is corrupt" message.. what????

Why oh Why oh Why... another hour and a half of trying to repair that file did not work.. I did everything I knew to do and it still would not work. I couldn't even open up the original file.. then I thought wait.... if I go back to the main desk and open up my flash drive there maybe I can find it so I tried and although I could not find the file that I had been working on all afternoon I was able to open up the original file .. but 5 hours worth of input all gone :( That is where my sarcastic smiley faces come to play! So now I have to re-enter it ..all that data ..sigh... just what I wanted to do tonight :(.. and 5 hours after he got there, the tech was still there...

Tomorrow is another day..

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Day!!

What I am truly thankful for today? For a husband who loves me unconditionally, who never says no to me, who goes without so I can do with, for children who give up their day to do a race with me, for a daughter who knows me but loves me anyway and doesn't think it is strange to hang out together, for sons that continually help me with my computer problems, that never make me feel stupid because I don't get it; I am thankful for daughters in law who forgive me when their husbands are going through their childlike stages and they don't blame me for it; for grandchildren who think I walk on water no matter how late I am with their birthday presents; I am thankful for friends who know everything about me and still love me; I am thankful for visiting and home teachers that faithfully come out every single month and that check up on me during the month as well; I am thankful for Del and Violy, who have seen me at my worse, wearing my worst, no brushed hair or teeth worse and come over anyway to help take care of me at times; I am thankful for my consultants at work who continually surprise me by pitching in to take on extra shifts when needed, help where they are needed; I am thankful for an executive committee who right now are going above and beyond the call of duty to get things ready for our seminar on Saturday; I am thankful for my computer gurus at work who help me keep things under control, who put out our "fires" for me, who patiently remind me that yes I will have wireless for Saturday to not worry; I am thankful for brothers and sisters in laws who keep tabs on me and how I am doing; who go out of their way every time I go back to my mom just so they can see me; I am thankful for my mother who is still in very good health, who still treats me like a child, who makes me have naps when we are together and who makes me eat porridge cause it's good for you; I am thankful for having God in my life; this past 18 months would have been a nightmare for me without His constant guidance in my life; I am thankful for having such a phenomenal medical team who still practice medicine the way the old family doctors did,they do house calls, they deal with the entire body not just the one area that you are having a problem with, they talk to each other, they report back to each other, and they treat me like a human being, I know dealing with my health issues and now the cancer, I would be lost without them. I am thankful for those that invented Facebook, due to you, I have found lost cousins and now keep in close contact with them and their families; it gives me a way to share their lives, their pictures, their children at any given moment.

I try and remind myself throughout the year that I am a very blessed person for all I have in my life; that I need to tell others thank you, and that I need to give credit where credit is due. So if I have neglected to tell you all of this throughout this past year I am saying it now, thank you everyone.. thank you for being a part of my day to day life, thank you for all that you do for me, thank you for loving me, for keeping in contact with me; most importantly...thank you for making me feel like I am important, that I matter to you and that I am loved. Thank you....just because I love you too.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Fall is in the air

Hello Hello Hello!!

It is fall outside and Mother Nature is at her best :) All yellows. oranges, greens, reds and purples.. Artists must be in their heyday just trying to capture it all on canvas or on film! Summer is still my favorite season though just cause we can go camping and fishing etc. But I like spring and autumn for the simple fact is that for the most part, the weather is gorgeous!! Nice and sunny but not overly hot, I can go walking in the middle of the day without feeling like I'm in a sauna.

But the REAL reason I love the fall is .. are you ready??? SWEATERS!!!! I love sweaters!! It's a terrible addiction way more then shoes although I would never admit I had a shoe addiction cause to do that would have to admit to Keith he was right and that would never work hehehee. I love all kinds of sweaters but my favourite are thick cable knit high turtle necks.. You know the kind that you have to roll down the neck 2-3 times .. so warm and comfy.. kind of like someone has their arms around you in a permanent hug 24/7. There is nothing that stops me dead in my tracks when I am window shopping then a window full of sweaters!

I have been working on our annual genealogical seminar for last few days almost non stop as it is coming up next Saturday and was getting frustrated. I am a perfectionist working in an imperfect world and it is frustrating when things don't go my way in my time frame. So this morning I needed a release so started vacuuming. I leaned under the bed to make sure there weren't any run away socks hiding and saw our storage bags filled with SWEATERS!!! Even though we have lots of closets I have to keep my summer and winter clothes apart otherwise I have no room. So thought hey.. temperature is cooling off .. I need a release valve.. so let's pull out all my winter clothes.

But it wasn't just pulling them out of storage it was having to take all the summer ones out of the drawers, the closets and the cupboards first to have room. It was very relaxing and therapeutic. I know I know I am weird what can I say ? :) So here is the end result. I know what Keith is going to say though tonight hehehehe "Why is it my side of the closet keeps getting smaller and smaller?" Sorry Love.. :-D

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

OOPS I forgot

I forgot to add the link to the news story from CTV news. I am about 2:04 time spot

Run For The Cure 2009

Well we did it!!! Our family completed our 2nd annual Run for the Cure to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. It was a great success! I can't even begin to describe my feelings of that day...of the love I have for my family members that were there, their getting up at 6am to get going on a day when they could have all slept in, of the love I have for my friend Leo from high school and his wife Carolyn, who took time out of their work week to run with me... of the love I have for Keith, who continues to support me day in and day out.

Last year when we did the race for the first time, I didn't know what to expect so my eyes were just bouncing everywhere just being caught up in the whole thing. This year was different for some reason. It was way more emotional for me for one thing.. it took sheer will power to be able to talk over the huge lump in my throat. Last year I ran with excitement, this year my head got involved, stats of survival rates, ratio between pink shirts and white shirts (survivors wear pink t-shirts and supporters wear white), stats of new diagnosed cases, how many "young" women were wearing pink, what my daughter was thinking about throughout the race, if she spent her days wondering and worrying about me.... head space things..

I had gone out a couple of weeks before the race trying to find something that we could wear as a family to show unity. Lareta and I came across pink cowboy hats at a store that was dispalying Hallowe'en things and there was EXACTLY the number that we wanted.. how perfect was that?? So we decided on that and pink bandanas.. it was a reminder to me of my roots. The men in the family never even argued that there was no way they were going out in public wearing pink cowboy hats they just did.

Last year I had trained to get my time in under an hour.. but ended up leaving my family "in the dust" till almost the end of the race. Here was my daughter who had just given birth 6 weeks before with a dislocated pelvic joint racing with me, a son who has a hard time walking a block racing with me, and there they were way behind me. This year, it never occurred to me to watch my time, we started as a family, we walked as a family and we ended together as a family. When we crossed my daughter was beside me and when I went to hug her thank you, my emotions just let go.

Just before the race started, our daughte rin law who is about 5 months pregnant almost collapsed. I was very worried for her and we had first aid attendants come quickly to where we were. She wasn't able to race with us obviously and our son stayed with her rather then racing with us. We kept in close contact with them with our cells and when we got to the end of the bridge and near the finish line they met us so they could go through the line together.

What possibly could I have ever done to get blessed with such an amazing family!!! At one point CTV news happen to come across our family before the race. They noticed on my race number on my back that states "Who I am running for" that it had a LOT of names and they wanted to know what was going on. I told them about the high rate of cancer in my family, of how there were 5 of us dealing with it right now and that I had an aunt that had died from hers earlier this year. I told them that I was going to be the one that broke that "tradition" that I was going to be the one that died from old age instead of cancer. Every innovation always starts with one person willing to step out from the crowd and that was going to be me.

I am going to do everything in my power to raise awareness for breast cancer this next year, I am going to do what I can to raise my voice to let others know that no matter how little one does for this cause it will count in the long run. So keep reading and listening and passing along any information that you feel might be useful for someone else you know.

I want to give a huge thank you to all of you that have posted your support on here or on Facebook, through your emails and calls. Every email, letter and card all have gone in my Sunshine Book that I take out on my dark days when I am tired of this, and it reminds me that this cancer didn't just touch me it touched everyone around me and that people love me. So thank you. You will never understand how much you mean to me. Enjoy the pictures :)

Our daughter in law Linda

What do you mean my hat is too big?? It just means I will be able to still race until it fits me :)

the poster on my front door that goes up about a week before the race. The reason I am making a "muscle" is to show cancer it will NOT get me, I am a SURVIVOR and will survive this

My favourite daughter Lareta as we wait for the train to take us home :)

My high school friend Leo and his wonderfully supportive wife Carolyn. Leo and I found each other on Facebook a year or so ago.. YEA Facebook!

Keith and I on the Burrard Street nridge.. and yes I do know I am wearing 2 hats, one for me and one for the women in my family that had lost their lives to cancer. Keith also is NOT that big lol he was wearing a down vest under his shirt as it had been very cold that morning. Most of us had worn layers and had been peeling them off during the day but Keith hadn't

Who says you are too young to do the race... I don't think so!

Angel's wings

Another set of angel wings

The start line.. it took us a good 15 minutes just to get to that point

gathering up the troops

The end of a very long day :)

Go Pink for October

Web sites will Go Pink during the month of October to bring attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, get people talking about breast cancer, and raise money for research.

But to be clear, raising money isn’t the primary purpose of this web event.

The hope is that you turn your site pink (in whatever way works for your site), go out to that World Wide Web thing and educate yourself about the multiple issues related to Breast Cancer, then take that new-found knowledge and tell someone else what you’ve learned.

We hope that you will:

1. Turn your web site/blog pink (however you like, it’s up to you).
2. Educate yourself about the multiple issues related to breast cancer.
3. Take that new-found knowledge and teach someone else what you know.

Feel free to contact me if you are interested in helping with this event. But even if you don’t have time to dedicate, consider redesigning your site for the month of October — Go Pink!

2006 (our first year) was a great start with the roughly 1500 sites that Went Pink. 2007 saw roughly 3000 sites Go Pink. 2008 was our biggest year with roughly 15,000 sites.

We are looking to make an even bigger splash in 2009, but we’ll need your help to do it.

Blog about it, invite others to join, become involved, help increase awareness, learn something new, and teach others what you know.

Many thanks!

~Matthew Oliphant