Tuesday, May 31, 2011


We have waited 2 months for dry weather. It has been the wettest April and May on record. (Sorry, Sayre - I know you're jealous!)

Finally, 3 days ago the sun came out. So did our painters.

We had an awesome company come and paint our home and we are sooo excited.

It looks 1000 times better.

And since they were painting and making the outside look so good, we decided it was a good time to landscape the front yard too.

We did that part ourselves. (and when I say 'we' I mean 'Brad')

This is the house BEFORE anything got done to it.

The plants are being delivered.

So we got to work. First we had to decide WHAT we wanted the yard to look like, and then, get the plants delivered. Brad worked his butt off planting them, putting the bark mulch in and getting the rocks accents around the trim. By the time he finished, it looked fantastic.

Brad is working hard to get it all done.

And here is the front yard once he finished it.

The painters worked just as hard for the three days, sometimes 10 hour days.
There was a lot of prep work to be done.

Painters are working hard on the house.

The crane is bringing the boulders we need. There were three we ordered.

Brad tells the crane operator where to strategically place the boulders.

Brad after he finished planting the entire front yard.

Finished product! The AFTER shot.

We are so excited about the results.

PS - I was asked to write 'my story' for hugsforstrength.com and was asked to keep the blog 'visible' for a bit when I submit the story (so readers can link back to it) - I will resume with the going private idea after that.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bald pics

As promised, here are some pictures of me bald.

Now no laughing!

I am told it'll come back...

Very purple!

This is my dog Jet, he is playing shy in front of the camera.

There we go, say "hello" Jet.

Oh, and keep the email addresses coming (in the comments) if you'd like me to include you when I go private on the blog. So far, each of you who've already left their emails, I got. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Going private soon - JUNE 1st

Hey y'all

As you know, my chemo is more than half way over and I've pretty much 'aired' as much as a person can air about their cancer journey.

For the past 5 months I felt like I've moved into a glass house. I chose to share every detail of a very private and sometimes painful experience. I did that because writing about it helped me heal. And in some cases, reading about it, helped you understand my situation better.

The purpose to this 'glass house' has been well fullfilled.
You, the reader, has been kept abreast (haha, pun intended, couldn't resist) on my situation and I got to vent.

But, after some time I realized I do not wish to live in a glass house. First, it freaks out the neighbours whenever they look in. Second, there's too much light being let in. The time has come to get some curtains, close the doors and shut the gate.

No more lookie-loo's from a distance. No sireee.

From now on, at Casa Knock Knock, you'll have to be invited in.

In fact, you should call first, and if we're up for a visit, we'll set a date.
You know, like 'normal folks' do it.

And while the voyeur in me may have some adjusting to do, I think in the end I'll be just fine.
I will learn to live with not having everyone know my business.

I may even flourish.

Thanks for coming along for the ride, the journey or whatever we want to call this time.
I appreciate your thoughts, your prayers, your comments and most of all your friendship.
I know (because I can see it in my stats) that you've been reading and that you care.

And it means the world to me.

Please leave your email address in the comments if you wish to continue reading this blog and would like me to add your email to my limited list of readers.

(There is absolutely no guarantees that I'll add it to my very short list, but if you'd like to try, by all means leave it for me please) and an automatic email will follow should your email be used.

Oh and if you're not on the list?

You may just have to pick up the phone and call to see how I'm doing!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

More changes

Having just completed chemo #4 on wednesday, I am now more than half way through.

New observations that I've noticed this round:

Age spots.


At 35.

I have 2 so far on my cheeks - that I've just discovered. I look like I'm 60. I guess I'll have to figure out what to do about that, I hear make up covers them well... maybe I'll turn into a 'hair and make up' girl after all (ahem... minus the hair for now)

I also have started having hot flashes. This started last week. Every few hours I get completely overwhelmed by them and I have to immediately stick my head in the freezer or take off all my clothes. Then, 5 minutes later, it passes and I put my clothes back on and pretend not to notice Brad's funny looks that he gives me.

He is entirely amused by this whole process.

Me, not so much.

I guess I am officially in chemical induced menopause.


I am so amazed by my body.
It is changing before my eyes and I am in awe of how little power I have over it. This poison that is in my veins is the only thing in control of it. It's crippled it, it's aged it, it's killing it little by little. I take comfort only in the fact that it is doing the same thing to any random cancer cells that may be lurking around.

Speaking of lurking cancer cells... I've decided that I would do radiation after all, once chemo is done. For 3 weeks. Which is a bummer since I didn't expect to have to do it (but since they had found 'isolated tumor cells' in one of my nodes, we've decided to err on the side of caution and just go for it.

So, in the heat of August, I'll be doing radiation... being cooked from the inside out.

Not my favorite way to spend my summer.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Not profitable to cure cancer?

I am not sure why I'm into news articles lately, but there you have it. I am.

In this one, scientists in Alberta, Canada, have accidentally found 'a cure' for most cancers - but pharmaceutical companies won't fork up the money to do human trials.

Why? Because the chemical compound that they found by accident, is DCA, something that is already used to treat other illnesses.

Meaning it can't be patented. If they can't put a patent on it, they can't make money.

Which means they are not going to pay for human trials.
These scientists have completed Phase I and Phase II of their human trials (with donations from the public, and a small govt grant) but cannot continue to Phase III - too expensive.

What kind of world do we live in if we don't fund this important research?
The kind that looks at cancer as a money making business, that's what.

After some obsessive googling last night, I found the only clinic in the world (well, the first one anyway) that will treat cancer patients with this new DCA compound, along with chemotherapy. Their results seem to be optimistic, though, they have to prescribe this as an 'off-label' therapy since there are no completed human trials. Meaning it's not endorsed by Health Canada (other than in the illnesses that it was already approved for, but not cancer)

This clinic is located in Toronto, Canada, but of course, this is a private clinic so the government is not paying for this treatment
(But, in other countries most clinics are private anyway, aren't they? So I guess this is not such a shock. The treatment ranges between $160 - $190 per week)

Their patients are mostly Stage IV cancer patients whose doctors have told them that there is nothing more they can do for them... so as a desperate measure, they go there.

I find it incredibly sad that these promising steps in research are being ignored.

Finding a cure for cancer shouldn't be dependent on the pharmaceutical companies making money, but sadly, it seems to be that way.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mad as Hell

I am shaking mad over an article I just read. This woman has stage IV breast cancer, but is otherwise strong and healthy. She has two children who live with her.

And for the last 18 months she has been in and out of courts because her ex husband is suing her for the custody of the kids. She lives in North Carolina I believe and he's in Chicago. Now, a female judge no less, has ordered her to give up custody of the kids and place them in his care by June 17. This decision is solely based on the fact that she is ill.

The reasoning behind it is that it gives the kids a chance to get to know that 'non-ill' parent, which they ultimately would end up living with anyway.

Are you kidding me?

They are robbing both the mother and kids from precious time. Are you telling me this is in the best interest of the children? How do they sleep at night wondering if their mom will pass away before the next time they'll see her?
How does she keep up a good fight when so emotionally drained?
And what kind of deadbeat asshole dad would ever take the kids away at a time like this? Doesn't he think that the kids will grow up to hate him one day for keeping them away from their mom.

This is her blog.
Please go and add your name to this list. She is trying to over-rule this incredible unfair ruling and this is a petition for it. And then, just for kicks, go to this petition, which is demanding for the judge to be removed from her position for violating human rights.

Ugh. I am too mad to type.
I am slamming down on the keys too hard and I may actually be harming my computer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Small World

I was sitting at Tim Horton's having coffee with a new friend of mine. She is also going through chemo, for breast cancer too, and sometimes we meet and compare notes.

That's how I meet my friends these days by the way. It used to be at the bar. Then, as I got older, it was at the kids' school. Now, it's in the chemo room.

Funny how life is.

Today she was talking about someone new that she met at chemo. She went on and on about her new acquaintance named Shonna. She wanted to know if I'd seen her yet at chemo, but since I go on different days than her, I had not.

After coffee we decided to stop by the hospital and go to the oncology unit and check out the wigs. My friend said there were free wigs there that I could look at. I don't know how I've missed that, but I'm not one to pass on the free stuff - so we went.

As I try them on, I noticed my friend saying hi to someone. I didn't pay close attention, I was concentrating on the wigs. There was the usual assortment of 'old lady' wigs, and a few others. There was a long blonde curly hair one that I tried on for kicks, and almost died laughing. It was very 'va va voom' and not at all a natural look on me.

Instead I picked a short hair brown wig, and I feel very much like June Cleaver with it on.
It's very proper. I like it.
I may even wear this one, who knows?

Back to Shonna.

When I finished trying on the wigs, I came out and met Shonna. She is a Stage IV breast cancer patient, and she was there having her Herceptin treatment. She goes every 3 weeks, and will do that for the rest of her life. We started talking and I have to say I have never met someone that was so positive and upbeat, funny and approachable all while battling this terrible disease. I inquired about her hair that just started coming back, and looks wickedly awesome! I hope mine looks as good when it comes back as hers does.

As we were chatting I made myself comfortable and moved her stuff over so I could sit next to her. It was pretty crowded, and I hoped she didn't mind that I was basically almost sitting on her lap. I just felt super comfortable with her.

Then, I introduce myself. (Yes, I realize I should have done that first)

I said "I'm Michelle". "YOU'RE Michelle?" was her comeback. Hmmm... that doesn't sound right. "Yes, why?" I asked. Her next sentence, no word of a lie was: " Do you have a blog?"

This is where it gets weird.

Turns out she is Shonna from Conquering Cancer by Living Well
(she's on my sidebar as one of the blogs I read and if you head over to her blog you'll see her version of our chance meeting today).

I love her blog!!
She is upbeat and has great info on foods to eat/avoid while battling cancer.

She said when I first walked into the chemo room today she thought she recognized me, but wasn't sure if it was me. How awesome is that? (No, not that I'm recognized, although... I will start carrying a pen with me from now on) but that I met her in real life. I have only had that happen to me once before to meet someone from the 'blogworld', years ago - but we had worked and planned on making that happen. In this case, it was just a happy accident. I had no idea we lived in the same town.

I still think it's shitty that I have cancer. I've just learned to appreciate the other stuff around it. Befriending people like Shonna from Conquering Cancer by Living Well is just another positive thing that would never have happened without cancer.

So here's to silver linings!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Photo-op missed

My thought process this week was to spare you all the whiny noisy bits of me complaining of how rotten I felt.

So, I didn't blog.

Then someone told me I SHOULD blog about it so that ya'll would know I had bad days too. So here is me blogging about how lousy I'm feeling.

HA! As if you didn't already know I had bad days!!

Alas, there were a few this week, so there. Cancer sucks.

Maybe it's the rainy weather that is hurting my hips but I feel old again. My hip is bad, my back is sore and I have a funny pain that I thought was in my ovary. Went to my doctor and it turns out it's my bowel.

I'm just constipated.

Great. My doctor just told me I'm full of poop.

And now I'm telling the world.
Maybe I'm not the smartest cookie in the box.

Oh, a funny thing happened though... remember this post? I got an anonymous comment on it today about this. Check it out - my random visitor is FAMOUS!! He was in the Ottawa paper today!! And now since I blogged about it, I am forever associated with this nutbar... you should see the google searches I get when I look on my stats (No kiddin'... people are looking up this religious group, and now I come up on their search - Sweet!)

Now I feel like I should've gotten a picture with him or something...