Thursday, 30 April 2009


Camped out in the living room again. Much better sleep than the night before, even though Aiden was up for 2 ½ hours! Doug and I did not hear him that long, but Natalie sure did! Doug went to work today; feeling much better. Natalie came downstairs this morning and told me that it didn't matter HOW much it cost, she had to have a massage—TODAY. So, a few phone calls later, and she was off to Kingswood Complex, where she said she got the best massage she's ever had. I sat in the chair the whole morning, watched Aiden, and put him in bed towards noon. Nat came home and I sent her to bed, too.

Today was a day in two chairs – one inside, one outside. Exhaustion and pain, but not enough to be debilitating, as long as you remain still and go with it. With this process over the past few months, I have really had to listen to my body and pay attention to what it is saying! My bone marrow is finally calling out – "Enough already!" But it's over! Yes!

D. came by and put a chair outside for me, with a footstool. I wrapped up in a blanket. She went down to Scholten's and brought me back a glass bottle of Coke and a Bounty Bar. I like pop in a glass bottle, just like the old days. Sid came over to sit in the lawnchair and visit for awhile. Linda dropped by after work to sit a spell. Aiden came outside and ate bark and stuff off the ground, and play with D, who loves to play with babies. D. made a list, as she likes to do. Matthew came over to join the sitting, and later Sarah, his sister. Matt brought his I-Pod Dog and Sarah her I-Pod Turtle, if you know what they are. Me thinks me would like one of those there I-Pod Dogs, too. Not much maintenance to those pets.

Natalie prepared dinner again – we could smell the garlic wafting through the porch door, out onto the verandah and spilling out onto the lawn. She is becoming quite a creative chef since she's been here at The Soul Café. Tonight's menu – roasted potatoes, sundried garlic chicken and Caesar salad, completed with K. Mason's famous rice pudding (on my website). Wow, Nat…you are something else. I cleaned up the dishes and Natalie took Aiden to a much needed bath. He smears all the food on top of his head now and down his neck. I said we should just have a hose rigged up in the kitchen to clean him up.

Matthew downloaded new cool applications to my IPod Touch for me (and lots of country music, something I guess I'm learning to appreciate of late, living with Natalie from the west). Thanks, Matt…. You are one thoughtful guy. Matthew is getting excited about his upcoming school trip to Ottawa.

Doug is outside working on the RV and cleaning up the BBQ for the weekend. I'm blogging and sitting in the chair again, waiting for Aiden to come downstairs so I can see what he does next. I'm definitely in slow-mo today, I'll tell you. Tomorrow will be better. Sometimes all one has to do is just wait and things get better.

Live in the day; don't worry about tomorrow…

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Quiet Day

I should have blogged earlier today when I had the energy, but then I wouldn't have had much to report. Nurse Cherry told me to 'lay low' for the week. I don't think that's going to be a problem, as extreme exhaustion and pain started after 2 pm today, and I have no other choice! I'm typing this while lying on the couch, which is a bit awkward, however, I'll write anyway, because I know that some of you want to know how it's going, especially my southshore sister, Brenda. Hi sis, how's your toe? (She had it lanced in Shelburne and is now on antibiotics).

My camp-out last night on the living room floor didn't go so well. It all started out wrong, while I was bringing my bedding down the stairs in the dark. I missed the last step and fell to my knees, hurting knees, foot and arm. Doug was sitting in the chair in the living room and he was unaware that I had fallen, as he couldn't see me through the closed French doors. Although he heard me, for sure! What is it with me and falling, anyway? Or hitting my head?

I made up my mattress and blankets and settled down for the night, I thought. However, I was up for a midnight snack and several trips to the bathroom. The steroids give you energy and it is almost impossible to sleep properly. Guess what? This morning I had my LAST steroid pills for all time, I hope! They're going into the trash can soon. After only a few hours of sleep, I awoke at 6 to read for awhile before the rest of the household awoke. Doug is hope sick again today, but doing better. I hear Cuz C has it next door. Our prayers are with her.

I had my first shower without my PICC line. No saran wrap and green painter's tape on my arm! First time since January. "Oh, what a feeling!" I was thanking God the whole time. Because I knew the exhaustion and pain may set in, since it always does on the Wednesday after treatment (chemo is like clockwork), Natalie and I packed Aiden into the van and took off to Value Village, while I had some energy. We were there for about 1 ½ hours, trying on clothes, and Nat tried on about 40 shirts, I think, while I acted as her customer service rep, handing her clothes over her dressing room door and hanging up the clothes she didn't want. Aiden sat in the stroller and looked at himself in the mirror. It was very enjoyable to me, hanging up clothes. I think I'll become a fashion consultant.

Home for Aiden to go to bed, and then Natalie went to Home Hardware for some Adirondack chairs for the lawn and eavestroughing materials, then she to the gym. I went for a long walk in my beloved strawberry fields, while Doug remained at home while Aiden was sleeping. After my walk I sat on the deck again and read the magazine from yesterday til Natalie came home. Prepared lunch for everyone, including our favorite guacamole (yes, Becky, we had it again!). By this time it was 2 pm, and I declared to no one in particular, "Well, it's time for me to go outside again." I sat in the Adirondack chair with a fleece jacket and my pink ball cap to supposedly shield my face from the sun (alas, I got sunburned). All I want to do when I'm in this limited chemo state is to just sit. Imagine me, just sitting. I read a book and finally fell asleep after 4 pm. Nat came outside to warn me that my face was red as a beet and woke me up. I pulled the cap down further on my face and continued to sleep.

Nat made a beautiful salmon dinner for us, cleaned up the dishes, and now she is at the store picking up some more groceries (it sees like all we do here is eat, clean up, play with baby, and get groceries. Could life be any more simple?).

She asked me if I feltl like watching another movie tonight. Sure, why not? I can lay down. So, she's picking up one on bridal wars or something (a new one available). Papa Doug played with Aiden on the floor. Now Aiden is getting very sleepy…. Gram Deb, too. Nat just came home and is preparing him for bed.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Celebration Day #2

Went to sleep in the chair last evening about 10 pm. Nat said, "Mom, it's time to go to bed." So, I set up camp in the living room on the floor – a mattress, pillows and blankets. Went up to nurse Doug with Tylenol and water and pray for him. He had a fever. Baby Aiden was in his room battling his severe cold. And tired Mama Natalie was in her room. I went back downstairs and tried to finish the movie, but went to sleep again. I finally went to sleep about 11:30. I had the best sleep I've had for a long time, so I think I'll sleep on the floor for a few more nights. I awoke this morning and finished the movie (The Holiday).

Doug was home again today and slept on the couch, in the chair and outside on the lawnchair, although he took a bit of time to oil the clothesline mechanism, and put up some eavestrough plastic thingys. He's feeling a bit better tonight. We pray that Natalie and I won't catch it (although I may have had it last week). Natalie vacuumed, mopped the floors downstairs, and hung laundry on the line. Her usual workhorse self, although she had to have a nap this afternoon.

Natalie and I put Baby A in the stroller and walked a mile up to visit Doug's parents this morning, and then a mile back. And I didn't have to call Doug to come get me in the car! However, I spent the rest of the afternoon on the swing on my verandah, from 11:30 to 4:15, reading a Leadership magazine I received in the mail. During that time, Natalie served me lunch; our 91-year-old neighbour, Sid, came over to visit (he told me that this morning he wished he could switch ages with me. I'm not sure I want to trade); Barbara Beck came bearing celebration balloons and shampoo for my soon to be growing hair and we had a nice conversation; our trash man stopped and picked up our trash, brought the trash can in to the house, and told us he saw us and our RV coming off the ferry last summer on Campobello Island. He talked for awhile about his trips to the islands, including Ireland. I told him I've always wanted to go to Ireland, Scotland and England. Perhaps I'll go on a 'musical tour.' Anyone want to go with me? I've never had my trash man come and talk to me here at The Soul Café. I made a new friend – his name is David. He said perhaps he would see us in Campobello again this summer. Yes, and every week, here on Claremont Drive. I find that if we just sit outside on our lawn, or on our porch that people come to see us. It's great.

I finally ventured off the porch swing and took a drive down to the bank to finally pay my income taxes and do some much needed banking. To Jumbo Video to rent another movie for my tent-out in the living room tonight. Then to the Capital Credit Union where I have my mortgage account. Two service representatives came out of the bank and wanted to know how I was doing. I love this bank – where everyone knows your name. Just like the Cheers song.

Nat was busy preparing food at home for supper; we ate in relays. Watching Aiden's antics right now. He is walking so well now. Just hanging out in our various states of health. Tomorrow, I hope Doug and Aiden feel better. I no doubt will be in pain, if history repeats itself. But not for long. Just a few more weeks and I should start to have more energy. But two miles of walking today ain't bad (excuse the grammar).

Celebrate Day #2 with me!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Chemo is History!

Celebrate good times – come on! Let's celebrate! Celebrate good times – come on! Let's celebrate!

There's a party going on right here, a celebration to last throughout the years.

So bring your good times and your laughter, too

We're gonna celebrate your party with you! (Kool & the Gang)


It's hard to believe – I am done chemo! And we're celebrating! I hugged Audra, my nurse and told her I would see her in three weeks, when I go back to see Dr. Raza for follow-up. I love the nurses in there: Charlene, Audra, Karen, Cheryl, Heather, Barbara – they take good care of their clients. And the clerks, the doctors, the resource nurse, the pharmacists, the dietitian, the social worker, and the psychologist – what a great support network the DECH has set up for us.


Audra called Saint John Regional Hospital to tell them I am finished chemo. They will call me in the next week or two to book me for radiation in 4-5 weeks from now. I walked out of the oncology unit this morning, and felt a sense of freedom and sadness at the same time. All the staff are so caring and what a great support they are to those going through this dreadful disease. Dr. Broad told me that many patients feel a let down when they're done coming in to the unit for treatment because it's the place they are cared for physically, and gives them a feeling of getting well. She assured me that they won't just "drop me," but will be following me every three months for a couple of years, and up to five years until I get a clean bill of health.


Outside the unit, I hugged those who were with me – Doug, Natalie and Janet White #1 – "I'm done, I'm done! I can't believe it! Thank you, Lord!" Still hard to believe I'm done this segment of the journey.


Natalie and I arrived home to relieve Grammie from Aiden sitting duties, although he was in bed sleeping. Aiden was up most of the night. Today he has a raging cold. Natalie went to bed when we got home, and Doris came over to visit. Doug came home from work, as he was not feeling well and went to bed about 1:30. It is now almost 8:30 pm, and he is still sleeping. He does not feel well, so I will be camping out in the living room tonight. I don't mind, however, I sleep better on the floor anyway (for any of you who know me, you know this to be true!). And what better way to celebrate the end of chemo than to have a camp out! Natalie said we should roast marshmallows and set up the tent. We'll see about that.


So, even though we have two sick people in the house and one recovering from cancer, and one tired Mama, we're still celebrating. Natalie finally got up from her long spring nap, and went to Superstore to buy a raft of groceries. Doris and I took Aiden for a long walk, and I used the stroller as a type of walker on the way back, as I was a bit weary. Celebrating with a long spring walk down the walking trail in the sun. "Happy Trails to Me." I put Aiden to bed, but alas, he did not go to sleep. Doris and I spent some time in prayer, thanking God for His provision and care over this past few months.


Natalie arrived home with many groceries, and beautiful tulips for me, with a card attached: "You did it! I'm so proud of you! Love, Nat & Aiden." So sweet – she's sweet and so helpful – we love having them here. I couldn't ask for a better daughter. God has been so good to us in providing us two wonderful children, who are now adults and able to take care of us, emotionally and physically.


We were going to have a BBQ meal for dinner, but since Doug didn't wake up, we made dinner on the stove and had a twosome celebration. Then we packed Aiden into the van and to Dairy Queen we did go for celebration sundaes. Now to put a sleepy Aiden to bed, and perhaps watch a movie to end off the day of celebration.


Marlene from Calgary called tonight with encouragement, and wants me to check out this website: She has gained much help from the site. I have put it as one of my 'favorites,' and I thought I would list it here in case someone wants to forward it to someone that is recovering from cancer. Thanks, Marlene – I hope to meet you in person some day. You and me – cancer survivors!


So, this is Celebration Day – celebrate with me – my chemo is finished. Praise God from whom all blessings come!


Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and forever. Amen! (Rev. 7:12)

Hi Deb,

I am wondering about all those people who read your blog, who don't know about the fundraiser we are having for you.

I think they would probably want to come if they knew about it.

Do you think you could post this on your blog?

Concert in Support of Deb MacDonald.

Saturday, May 2, 7:00pm

Nashwaaksis Baptist Church, 104 Edgewood Drive (behind Irving Station on Northside).

Everyone is welcome.

Featuring Sister's Act, Paul Thompson, Leah Thompson,

Ryan Legere, The McCready's, Jeff page, Jon MacDonald and others.



Sunday, 26 April 2009

Reporting In

Saturday we went to Jon and Alicia's for the day. Aiden stayed with his other grandmother. The girls made lunch and cleaned up. I had a nap on the couch. My gut has been bothering me for days, so I'm a bit lethargic. Actually, I've been that way all week. Dr. Broad told me that patients report that fatigue can hang on for two to three years, but I'm hoping that this will not be the case, and am going to do everything I can to become healthy again. And then there's God on my side, right?

We took a trip up the river to The Monquarter Restaurant and Ice Cream Bar for ice cream, then to the Beechwood Dam to see the power of the water coming through the dam. I'll attach a picture. Back for another roast dinner – this time it was moose. I have to say, though, that I could not bring myself to eat moose, but everyone else enjoyed it. I'm really not much of a meatatarian. However, sometimes you need to eat meat, I guess, and I've had more roast beef this winter than ever before, I think!

We left around 8 pm and Nat went to get Aiden who had only slept 20 minutes all day! He slept four hours today (Sunday).

Sunday I played piano and led the music with the other members of the team, and had a chat with Ph after church. The afternoon was spent in the lawnchair, talking with my wonderful neighbours. I invited our teen friend, Matthew, to supper and Doug picked up some Greco donairs. I, however, cannot eat them, so I had some McDonald's fries and rice cakes. Strange meal, but my gut is still not feeling friendly.

Well, I must go watch America's Funniest Home Videos, eat a rice cake, and laugh. Tomorrow morning, here we come – the morning brings the last chemo. Pray and agree with me that it is my last chemo – that I will NEVER require chemotherapy again. I want to thank you all for praying and holding me up through this segment of my treatment. And I want to give honour to God above for His loving care and keeping us through this time. And to my family and all friends everywhere (you're all friends) – well, words cannot express how much I appreciate and love you.

I will write tomorrow….deb x0

Friday, 24 April 2009

Chemo #6, here I come! Monday morning at 9:20…. Bless the Lord, O my soul…. Thanks for praying, everyone.

My hair is beginning to sprout already, in anticipation of being finished treatment. I think I'm going to beat my friend, Chia, in the hair growth department. Dr. Broad told me today that it will probably come in curly. I always liked Lucy of Charlie Brown fame. I liked the fact that she would just set up her counselling shop wherever she felt like it and hang her 5 cent/session sign. Sometimes people ask me how much they owe me for my advice and I say ".05," just like Lucy. Now I guess I might just look like her, too!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Yesterday and Today

Here is a summary of the last two days:


  • Nat went to gym with Aiden (he's doing very well in the day care at the gym, socializing with the other children)
  • I was very tired, but needed to go shopping for my new shoes before my Thursday appointment
  • A trip to Quality Shoes in Kings Place with Mom & Brenda to pick out new shoes for my orthotics
  • To Tony's Music Box where Michael (the owner) chased us out of the store to give us a hug. He's so lovable and kind!
  • Card making in the afternoon for Mom, Brenda and Natalie. Natalie was her usual 'workhorse' self, mass producing cards, while Mom and Brenda lethargically and artistically created a minimal amount of cards. I made 1 ½ cards and the OT director thought about making a card
  • Sharon from Campobello Island dropped in with gifts and best wishes. It was so good to see the island girl. I told her to tell the island girls I miss them, and to start working on the uniforms for the volleyball tournament in August. I'm hoping to be in top form by then (smile)
  • Cheryl arrived from Saint John and gave nursing advice on Brenda's sore toe, which she was soaking in a borrowed footbath while creating cards
  • I went to the couch for a much needed rest before going out for evening
  • Cheryl made a snack for supper and we went to the church for the evening to lead music with Max, Janette, Carolyn, Phenny & Sandra (Linda was there but had bronchitis, so she couldn't sing with us). We all were tired, but managed to sing our little hearts out
  • Home about 10:30. I was up til almost 1 as I couldn't get to sleep. Brenda spent the night with a bread poultice on her toe, a couple of Advils and she was out like a light. Cheryl slept on the couch like a baby, and Baby Aiden was up at 5:30 a.m. with his mother. Doug slept well, as usual.


  • Breakfast with Cheryl, Natalie and Aiden
  • I had a stomach ache all morning and very tired again. Spent the morning in the chair
  • Brenda arrived for coffee and we watched Aiden play in the living room
  • Natalie made cornmeal muffins and at 11 we had a form of brunch
  • Cheryl read in Prevention magazine that roast beef and carrots should be eaten together to boost your immunity, and since my blood work is tomorrow, we decided we needed to have roast beef for dinner (the second time this week!). So Aiden went to bed, Natalie went to the grocery store, Brenda soaked her toe, Cheryl covered me up in a blanket and left for Sackville to pick up her daughter. Thanks, Nurse Cheryl for your traveling ministry.
  • At 1 pm, I borrowed Brenda's car and went to Ortho Man for my orthotic 'implants.'
  • The OT director arrived to be Aiden's nanny for the afternoon. She reported to us that Aiden is very intelligent. Thanks, OT girl, you're great!
  • Brenda prepared the roast beef dinner and put it in the oven to cook for the afternoon
  • Nat, Brenda, Mom and I went to The Clay Café

    on Queen Street to paint mugs, a dinosaur and a turtle. This was our first time there. It was a wonderful calming experience. Our creations will be ready on Sunday after they are fired in the kiln.
  • Dad joined us for our roast beef dinner. He asked how much the meal was. I told him $12.50 a plate. He wasn't sure if he could afford to eat at The Soul Café, but I gave him mercy and didn't charge him. Aiden ate roast beef with a passion -- a budding carnivore, I guess.
  • After dishes were washed and the floor cleaned up due to Aiden's passion for throwing food, we hauled out the Scrabble game
  • Two games of Scrabble while playing with Aiden on the kitchen floor, Natalie performing the downward dog and the upward cat
    to alleviate the pain in her back, and Brenda soaking her big toe once again (Mom was the only person not multitasking). Lots of laughs and confusion. I did not get great Scrabble scores this week. Lost my Scrabble touch I guess.
  • Time to say good-bye to Brenda yet again. (She has been here five times since December, and I'm not complaining, but her new car certainly notices the mileage)
  • Loaded up Brenda's arms with many parting gifts to take back to Shelburne, along with Doug's open-toed sandals to wear. She needs to get that toe fixed up so she can 'walk this way' and come up here again. I told her I would see her next week AND next month. "No," she said. But we'll see. I wish we lived closer. Same with Nat. Wouldn't it be great if Canada was a smaller country? Like Luxembourg?
  • Waiting for Doug to come home – we miss him. He's been at the church doing sound for the conference.


    Lesson learned: It is wonderful to have family and friends around to help you through difficult times and just BE with you.


    Tomorrow: blood test at 11:30, Dr. Broad at 1 pm. Praying that she will say, "Yes, it's a go for Monday for last chemo treatment!"


    Doug – I've got the porch light on…



Tuesday, 21 April 2009


I forgot to mention that Cuz C's molasses cookies and gluten-free black bean chocolate cake were part of our culinary delights today. Had a little piece of cake and a glass of milk before retiring for the night. Thanks, Cuz C – you're a culinary workhorse. I told Natalie and Brenda today that perhaps I will be a chef or open a restaurant like Queen Latifah. And of course, a bakery on the side. Cuz C come be the bakery manager. It seems that I have a lot of careers on the back burner right now. I wonder which one I'll pick?

Went to the gym with Natalie and Aiden this morning. I went on the treadmill for 20 minutes, and biked for 18 minutes, then a couple of strength training machines. Natalie was a workhorse on the strength machines, of course. She's very disciplined. I want to be like her when I grow up. We came home and put baby in bed. Natalie went for groceries and I prepared chicken wings for supper. About 11:30, I went to the couch for about an hour. We had lunch, and Brenda arrived around 2. I was on the couch for most of the afternoon, while Brenda played with Aiden and I watched. We started to watch a movie about 4:30, but had to take a break to make supper. Our menu? I made "Lord of the Wings" chicken wings, garlic mashed potatoes with toasted almonds (an idea we got from Brenda's visit to Perth-Andover), steamed broccoli, and baked squash with savoury, parsley, garlic and parmesan. What a feed we had. Natalie gave Aiden a bath while Brenda and I did our nails. Then back to the movie – Queen Latifah's Last Holiday, which is a hoot (I've seen it before). The OT Director stopped by around 9 pm for a short visit. We finished off our day with fruit salad and cappuccino. Tomorrow is a busy day, so it was good that this day was spent resting. I really haven't had a lot of energy this week. Next Monday is chemo #6, my last one. Praise God.

Monday, 20 April 2009

April 20th

I pulled myself out of bed at 8:30, really wanting to stay in bed longer, but we had plans to take Aiden and go to the gym. We made it there about 10, but Natalie had forgotten to call ahead and book Aiden into child care. They wouldn't take him, so back home we went, and I went for a walk with him in the stroller while Nat went back to the gym. We went for a long walk down the walking trail, but I found myself more tired than usual, so when we got back home, I was ready for a rest before lunch. After lunch, I lay on the couch for awhile, then it was time to go to the hospital for my line care.

I discovered that it's really a small world out there. When I got to the oncology unit, I made a comment to the clerk about her brilliant orange shirt. She told me that she was talking about me when she bought it in Florida. "Huh? Here she was on vacation in Florida the last couple of weeks and was sitting by a pool talking to someone who said she had a friend undergoing chemo – me. That would be Brenda, who spent the winter in Florida, but is apparently home now. Come see me, Brenda! Nice shirt, Sandra! (the clerk).

I sat down in the waiting room and a woman sat beside me. "I know you," she said. "I know you, too," I replied. "What's your name?" She told me, and I told her we worked together in the psychiatry unit from 1982-1984 – she was a nurse, and I was a clerk. She told me I had a good memory, but I remember that she was an awesome nurse, with a positive attitude, and always had a smile on her face. She's 15 years older than I am. We exchanged stories of our cancer experiences (this is a whole new world I have entered). She's been a survivor longer than I. She told me that now "cancer is like a chronic illness," and I do remember Dr. Broad saying this to me one time. My nurse friend said that they are always coming up with new drugs and treatments, and even recently cures for breast cancer and other cancers. I said that I need to remember that statement, and that I've have been struggling the last couple of months. It was then like she turned into my own personal psychiatric nurse and smiled and said, "Yes, I never forgot that when she told me. You need to remember that." I went in the other room for my line care, and on the way out I thanked my psych nurse friend for the advice and asked her how much I owed her. "Nothing….be happy," she replied. Once a nurse, always a nurse, I like to say. And once again, God put someone in my path to encourage me. Everywhere I go, it seems that someone has been affected by cancer in some way – either themselves or someone they know. I then went to my eye doctor's office to pick up contacts and I talked with a girl there about her sister's breast cancer experiences.

I went to Shoppers Drug Mart to buy face cream with SPF, as the sun is way too hot for my skin, and I must be careful not to burn this summer. I needed something under $30 (I guess that was my self-imposed limit for face cream), and the clerk complied with a $29.95 cream with a bonus smoothing cream. I need all the bonuses I can get. I tried it out when I got home and went outside to enjoy the warmth of the sun, but found I was too tired to enjoy it. So, to the couch again for another nap before dinner. At 6:00 pm, we packed the baby into the van again and went to Randy & Sandra's for a roast beef dinner, which was delicious. After Aiden rearranged the living room, we decided it was time to come home and put him to bed. He was a bit active, but no more active than any other one-year-old. He is so cute and we're going to miss not having him around. (And Natalie, too, of course!)

Every year, I'm always aware of the date April 20tt. It was the day in 1986 when Doug rode his Honda 750 motorcycle down the highway at 195 km/hour, racing with a friend of his. Needless to say, he crashed the bike and spent six weeks in recuperation, four of them in the hospital. I thought he was going to die at that time – me a young mom with two elementary school children. That was 23 years ago – how many things we have gone through since that time – it makes me shake my head sometimes. But like a song says, "We're still standing." The Bible says this, "And having done all, stand firm." I'm trying. Just like Aiden and Ivy in learning how to stand – they fall down, but they get right back up and try again. They learn how to stand, and then they learn how to walk. Right now, I think I'm in the 'learning how to stand' phase. Soon, I'll be learning how to walk again….

Sunday, 19 April 2009


I'm too tired to write much. Yesterday, I kept Aiden while Natalie and Becky toured the city and had random adventures. They had a blast and enjoyed themselves immensely. Aiden was a joy to keep and kept me busy. My sister Janet dropped by to see me mid-afternoon. Doug worked on the truck all day long. Matthew and Sarah, teens from the neighbourhood, came by and chatted for awhile. After making supper and putting Aiden in bed, I got ready for bed myself, and lounged in the lazy chair. The girls came home and we had a few laughs about their antics. We loaded up Becky's handbag with many parting gifts. If you've ever been here, you may have been the recipient of one of my parting gifts, usually something random from my pantry. She called us at 11 pm, shouting, "A hot dog?" How did that get in your bag, Becky?

Aiden was up again in the night, and Natalie and I slept until 9 this morning. We were supposed to go to Jonathan and Alicia's for the day, but after calling them, I found out that they've had the flu all week. It was too late to go to church by this time, so we had a Sunday drive. First, a walk on the train bridge, and then a drive down through Maugerville and Sheffield, stopping at the Country Pumpkin for some homemade bread, and then to Casey's. We arrived home early afternoon. Brenda stopped in on her way to Perth-Andover. She's going to stay overnight in Perth and go to Susan's mother's funeral tomorrow. After she left, we all had a nap, Natalie and Aiden for a couple of hours. I stayed on the couch for the afternoon. Made supper and back to the couch since then. So it's basically been a resting day. Nat thinks perhaps we overdid it the past few days. Perhaps. The coming week will be busy, so I guess it's a good thing we have a day of rest. Rest for the soul and the body.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Spa Day

You never know what is going to happen here at The Soul Café. Today, our house 'morphed' into The Spa Café. My cousin Mary (the Pirate's sister), and Aunt Helen arrived, with a massage table in tow, to offer me and a few friends a 'non-surgical facelift as seen on Oprah.' At 10:30, the activities started with coffee and muffins in the kitchen.

Natalie was Mary's first client in the music-room-turned-treatment-room. She also got treated to a neck and shoulder massage. I made sure I took pictures of everyone as they received their facelift. Each treatment took an hour. The rest of us did manicures in the kitchen. Then it was time for lunch. Sandra brought her panini machine and she churned out tuna paninis, while we served up salads, vegetable dip and fruit salad with frozen yogurt.

Mary took a bit of a break for lunch, but then it was back to work for the afternoon. The OT Director was next to enjoy the face treatment, then off she went to York Manor to serve communion to the old folks, coming back later in the afternoon for another visit. Sandra almost went to sleep during her treatment. And on the afternoon went, with Mary doing treatment on six of us by day's end. The afternoon was spent in the living room, which had turned into Pedicure Central. Natalie and Cheryl worked on feet for the afternoon, with occasional help from Aiden. My mother and Aunt H. were treated to pedicures, and Aunt H. had her toes painted for the first time in her life. Janet White #1 stopped by and Max arrived shortly thereafter. I took one look at Max and said, "You're next." She'd had a hard day at work, and she was well rested after Mary's treatment. There was lots of laughter and conversation throughout the afternoon. My treatment included a shoulder massage. Mary finished up the day giving Cheryl a treatment, although her session was interrupted somewhat with us all watching a video of Britain's Got Talent on the computer. (Like I said, you never know what's going to happen here).

By this time it was time to eat again, so I set the table with leftovers from lunch, and whipped up a frittata to serve the girls who remained (plus Doug). We said good-bye and thanks to Mary, Aunt H. and Cheryl. Doug went outside to rake our lawn and Sid's lawn, and Natalie, Aiden, Max and I went for a walk. It was a full day, and I thank Mary for her selfless efforts in giving us her time and energy for the day to make us all feel a bit younger.

Yes, we do have some strange things happen here at The Soul Café, but we do have fun. It was a fun and rewarding day for all.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

It was a beautiful day. Sunshine and warmth pervaded the day in more ways than one. The OT Director picked me up at 9:30 this morning and took me to a womens' Bible study over town. During prayer time, they gathered around me and prayed for strength and health. It was beautiful. Then one of the women led in song and in study. It felt good to sit and soak it in. Afterwards, they invited me to sing and speak sometime in the future. I was truly blessed to be there. When we got home, Natalie and Aiden were having a morning nap (Aiden was up in the night again!), and so we went for a long walk up the Claudie Road, towards the golf course (I think I'll be a golf pro). After lunch, Nat, Aiden and I went over to cousin C's to sit on her deck. She's knitting a sweater for her new grandbaby, Mason. Cousin C is a knitting 'machine,' that's what she is. Never stops creating or cooking something, and never seems to run out of energy.

I drove up to the Parish of Douglas (a few miles away) to Able Orthotics, to meet Jonathan Robinson, the Pedorthist. He assessed my feet and did a fitting for INSOLES (not implants as I previously thought). We discovered that we knew of each other and we had a nice chat. Now I need to go to Quality Shoes and get a couple of pairs of shoes made in Israel on approval for next week's appointment. Good thing I don't have to FLY to Israel to get them, and can just go over town.

Home again, home again, to sit outside on the verandah and have a chat with Matthew, our 14 year old neighbor. Today he learned about the Pythagorean theorem: The square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides. Matt doesn't think it will benefit him much in life, but Natalie and I think it will. We want him to come over sometime and teach us the theorem so we can learn and apply it to our lives.

We then packed up the high chair and the baby and took off to Mom and Dad's for the best hamburgers in the world. I had called a couple of days ago and put in my order. After dishes (which they did), a brief rest and observing Aiden's love of walking, we fired up the Scrabble game. The OT Director showed up again and the four of us played a game while Aiden watched Baby Einstein on his own personal DVD player in his high chair. Doug watched the Discovery Channel and Dad played Solitaire on his computer (three men with different technologies). I won the first game with a score of 142 (I've been winning many games while on chemo; I must be more aware of things or something). Natalie packed up Aiden and went home, and the remaining three played a second game. I won the second game as well, with a score of 269! I have never had such high scores in Scrabble before. Doug and I arrived home to see Natalie watching Survivor, the only show she watches (she started watching it while in Saskatchewan; I think it reminds her of home). I can't seem to get into Survivor, the show. I'm starring in my own Survivor show.

I felt so encouraged today – by the people I met, by the sunshine and by being with family, friends and neighbours. Each day is a university. Each day is a blessing. I must remember this. Live each day and be thankful for each day. We just don't know when our last day will be.

My heart goes out to Susan Baker and her family in Perth-Andover. Susan is a close friend of my Brenda, my sister. Her mother passed away today from cancer. She was only 68 years of age. They just found out recently that she had cancer, so it was quite a shock to them. Our prayers are with you, Susan. We can only imagine what you are going through.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

This morning found us at Nubody's gym. Yes, I went too; they gave me a three day pass. While Natalie ran on her treadmill at a fast clip, I walked on mine. I walked for 27 minutes, then 19 minutes on the bike. It didn't take much exercise before my heart rate went to its target rate, but oh, did it feel good to sweat. Almost made me feel healthy. Perhaps I should become a personal trainer. (I've been making a list of possible careers I would like to have in my spare time). Aiden spent his time in the kids' room, and when Natalie went to get him, she found him rocking on a cow, just like a miniature bull rider. I guess this now makes him an official 'cowboy.' Well, he is from the west, you know.

The OT Director came over this afternoon. Natalie set up two tables in the kitchen with card making supplies, and we went to work making cards – 42 of them by afternoon's end. The creative juices were flowing – paper, stamps, brads, glue sticks and stickers flying as we came up with design after design. I think we were a bit surprised by what we were able to produce. S dropped in to inspect our work. Once again, Nat and I forgot to have an afternoon rest and found ourselves fading fast. Nat made a salmon dinner and I fed Aiden, but I had to go to the couch for awhile to regain strength. After the dishes were done, we went out for an evening's walk. I planned music for next week's conference at the church, and Nat put Aiden to bed. Ph dropped by with an electric footbath machine, which Natalie took advantage of while reading a book, and Doug and I watched "It's A New Day" on the computer. I believe I'm ready for a shower and a good night's rest.

The other day I heard that each day is a university, and one should get up every day ready to go to school and learn. Wise advice. I learned today that exercise makes you feel alive, and being creative takes your mind off your 'problems.' And having a baby in the house makes you smile.


Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Busy Day

Natalie took Aiden to his other grandmother, then to the Passport office and the gym. I walked from our house down to the stone bridge and back, just me and my IPod. I was happy I could walk that far. Nat and I had lunch and then went over town for the afternoon. To Home Depot for paint chips in case Natalie has the energy to repaint my bedroom (she painted it when we moved in five years ago); to the oncology unit to get my PICC line cleaned; to Doug's office (without hitting my head this time); to Michael's Arts and Crafts, where we basically stood in awe at the vast array of 'stuff' but only bought a glue stick; and finally to The Blue Door restaurant for sweet potato fries with chipotle mayo and blackened Caesar salad. We met Doug there, and Janet White #1 joined us as well. When we got home, we played with Aiden on the floor, as he walked all over the place, falling every few seconds and laughing. Oh, the joy of having a baby around. Makes you forget your troubles for awhile.

After that, it was to the couch for me, and I am lying down with my laptop as I write these few words. Natalie and I decided this afternoon that we really need an afternoon rest, because we ran out of steam mid-afternoon and thought we might have to have a rest in the van. By now, I'm so used to operating on 50% or less energy, that it will be a wonderful day when I can truly say "I feel good – like I knew that I would now….." Isn't that a song? One and half weeks til chemo #6, and the removal of my PICC line. That will be a relief in itself – to be able to have full use of my arm and be able to have a shower without someone else wrapping up my arm in plastic wrap. And another thing I'm looking forward to: HAIR - and lots of it. I know people say I look great without hair, but I would really rather have hair than not. I'm tired of being bald. And having thick eyebrows and eyelashes. And not wondering what people are thinking about you when they see you without hair. Do they feel sorry for me? They usually smile, so I think so. I don't want people to feel sorry for me. I can't hide anything right now. You know what I want? (This is me on a soapbox again). I want to make a difference with the next half of my life. A real difference. That's what I want. Thanks for listening to me ramble once again.

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Cor 1:4)

Monday, 13 April 2009

Well, I'm back on line. The weekend was full – of activity and people. Good Friday was spent with babies walking, crawling, playing everywhere, the girls making pie, Doug and Jonathan working on the RV, and general mayhem. Friday evening was spent having discussions about life, family, childrearing, and various and sundry topics with Jon, Alicia, and Natalie. I am thankful that we can share so deeply with each other. The night was quite uneventful, what with so many of us sleeping in Gram Deb & Papa's little house in the Pines. Saturday was wonderful as we prepared to go to Great Grammie's for Easter dinner. I spent time outside with Afton and Jack raking leaves, allowing them to help me (so to speak), and Jonathan and I played catch, then broom ball with a tennis ball in the driveway. It was quite a little work out for me, but for the chance to play ball with my 28-year-old married son – who wouldn't jump at that chance? He won – 3 to 2. Natalie went to Grammie's early to help her prepare and set the tables. The rest of us stayed home until it was time to go for dinner. David and Shelly and family came to visit for awhile.

Easter dinner was wonderful, with Doug's parents joining us as well. Mom and Natalie did a great job on the meal and the table setting. We spent the afternoon relaxing and baby watching – there was always someone to look at. I read several books to Afton, and she read several to me. I was extremely tired, but then again – which is more important – going to bed or spending quality time? I chose the latter. After the second round of dessert, we tried to play Catch Phrase. Afton started crying because she couldn't read and had a bit of a hissy fit (she wanted to read the definitions and play the game, too, but she's only 4, and is somewhat limited in her reading vocabulary, although we couldn't reason with her on that). Jack, Ivy and Aiden were also very vocal and active, so we yelled out clues to each other over the mayhem, laughing all the way. What a circus! Needless to say, it was quite a game and no one won. Jon, Alicia and kids left early Saturday evening to travel home. We hope to see them again next weekend. We love being together as a family. I am thankful for family and friends.

Sunday, Doug and I went to church. I played the last song, In Christ Alone. I played the piano with all my heart and sang with the worship team. I love the last verse…

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

We went to D & L's for another Easter dinner, and then to Sunset Church in the evening for Ransom, an Easter musical drama.

Sunday night was a rough night again, with Aiden up for 1 ½ hours. He is teething again. This morning, Natalie went to the gym and I kept Aiden while she was gone, although he slept most of the time. I'm in a 'decluttering' mood – spring must be here, and I've been ruthless the last couple of days in my quest for decluttering, especially magazines. Where DO they all come from? Becky, our long lost adopted daughter, dropped by to see Natalie and visit. I made them guacamole and they had a veritable feast at the table, and shared a few laughs before she had to make her way back to Moncton. Nat and Becky have been friends since infancy. Now, I'm in the chair again, resting. I always seem to have great plans for the day, but never enough energy to carry out those plans. Perhaps I'll try and finish one of the hundred books I'm reading (I find it hard to stick with one book). Aiden is in the playpen, watching Baby Einstein, Doug is in the lazy burgundy chair, nodding off, and Natalie is definitely not being lazy – I hear the vacuum whirring upstairs. She told me a few minutes ago that tonight, if we're not too tired, we will make a card. That is one of our projects while she's home, and now that the card making supplies are all organized, shouldn't it be easy? Natalie just walked by – she looks like she's real serious about cleaning. "Yes, it's Monday," she replied. You're right – it is….just another manic Monday.

Here's a quote from one of the books I'm trying to finish (A New Kind of Normal):

Revealing our weaknesses helps others feel connected to us. Fully understanding and unconditionally loving us shabby humans, Jesus shows up best in our weakness. He shines brightly through the cracks in our flawed armor. …Brenda Waggoner

I know I have revealed enough weaknesses over these past five months. You must feel connected to me by now! Jesus, shine on through my cracked armor.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Natalie took Aiden and went to the gym this morning. I slept a bit in the chair as the sun came streaming in the living room. At 10:30, I went out for a long walk. It felt good to move the muscles, even though I have sharp needle pains throughout my body and sometimes feel like I'm walking on a cloud. The medication seems to be working somewhat to reduce the severity of the pain. Now, the exhaustion, that's another thing. We had lunch, cleaned up and went to Superstore for some pre-Easter groceries, then home for mid-afternoon naps. Dinner preparation, a bath for Aiden and another walk for me and Doug, and we settled in for the evening, watching Aiden's antics and his attempts at walking. He is so cute. Tomorrow, Jonathan and Alicia and the kids are coming to visit overnight. It will be a houseful again, with babies and people sleeping everywhere, and toys under foot. I love it. Saturday we will have Easter dinner at Mom's house. Family celebrations – aren't they wonderful?

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

We had a bit of a rough night last night. Aiden was awake from 4:00 – 6:30 a.m. Natalie tried many things to get him to go back to sleep, and he finally fell asleep beside her in the bed. I was up at 5 a.m. offering assistance, but alas, only Mom would do for him. So we were a bit tired today, to say the least!

B. dropped by this morning with Easter baskets for us. Thanks, B. They're great!

Today, I felt the tiredness and aches begin to take over my body. I did manage to do 20 minutes of my Pilates videos, but that was it for the day. The rest of my day was spent sitting down - -in the kitchen watching Natalie organize scrapbook stickers (although I did make guacamole), sitting in the chair and on the couch. Very tired today. Natalie went to Nubodys gym today in the Brookside Mall to buy her membership (we ran out of steam last evening). She told the manager that she was from out of town visiting her family, and wanted a one month membership. He took one look at her and said, "I want to do something nice for you. I'll make you a deal. I don't feel like charging you for the month. I'll tell you what. You tell as many people as you can about Nubodys gym while you're here, and I'll give you a free membership!" Wow. This is God's favour, for sure, as he normally would have had to charge her the membership fee plus a new member fee. Then he took her on a tour, and she told him the rest of the story – that I had breast cancer, and I wanted to explore the possibility of joining the gym when I am well (I have a Good Life membership, but may change since the gym is only a few minutes away from my house). Natalie came home tickled pink about her free membership, and I was elated.

I thought I was going to make dinner this evening, but we ran out of steam, so Doug and Nat had Greco donairs and I made a gluten-free pizza. The OT director came for a short visit – she had been to Vegas for 10 days. Natalie gave Aiden a bath and a bottle and he went to bed after 8. We watched August Rush again (nat hadn't seen it). This is a fantastic movie if you haven't seen it. The pain is coming into my shoulders and head, and I need to take some ibuprofen and go to bed. Night.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

This morning we put Aiden back to bed around 10 a.m., and Natalie and I organized our scrapbooking/cardmaking supplies. After lunch, we went to Superstore for groceries, to the Dollar Store, then to Walmart to buy a few items, including more cardmaking supplies. For dinner, I made "All That Jasmine" rice, "Teriwacky Chicken," and swiss chard. Natalie and I like to pretend we're on a cooking show when we cook together. She cleaned up the dishes while I rested a bit, and Aiden got in his playpen to watch Baby Einstein and talk to Papa Doug. Papa is trying to get him to say Papa, and it sounds like he is saying it! He is so cute. I just love having them here. To be upstairs this morning and just know someone else is in the house is comforting to me and life feels almost normal. Natalie wants to join the gym for the month, so we might go there in a few minutes to see if she can join the gym. Now if Papa Doug will babysit. Hmmm. I'm feeling more tired today, but able to move around and walk, which is good, but I'm feeling myself fading. I'm afraid to sit down for too long as I might not get up for the rest of the evening. But I guess that would be OK. I love to be active, you know. I have been taking the anti-seizure drug to limit the possibility of the myalgia pain returning like it did the last treatment. Tomorrow I should know whether the drug is working or not. Say Papa, Aiden.

Breakfast with a sleepy Aiden

Monday, 6 April 2009

Chemo #5

At 9:00 a.m. the nurse was waiting for me in the oncology unit. My ANC neutrophil count was 3.63 so we started chemo #5 (the minimum required is 1.5). Doug and I settled down in the chairs as I awaited the saline drip and then the toxic drip. Janet White #1 arrived to be there with us as well. She said she was going to bring the quilt, but didn't think I wanted it to be on the oncology unit. I asked her if she actually quilted on it. "No, not yet," she replied – something about not being able to sleep on Saturday night. That's good, because I would like straight lines of quilting from an alert person. I told her we'll have to make a quilt date so Natalie can come and see her quilt, since she doesn't seem to want to give it up! Oh Janet, gotta love you.

One side effect of receiving chemotherapy is what's called chemo brain. You insert words for other words. You know what you want to say and perhaps even can think of the word, but cannot say the correct word when it comes out of your mouth. Very frustrating. While getting my chemo, I decided to call Able Orthotics to get an appointment for insoles/inserts for my shoes. Except my brain didn't come up with the right word and because I'm so focused on the upper part of my body of late, if you know what I mean, I said this: "Hello, this is Deborah MacDonald. I have a prescription to get implants for my feet. She said, "Can I put you on hold for a moment?" Doug laughed so hard that he began to choke. I glared at him and asked, "That wasn't the right word was it?" (I guess I should have said "insole?"). The secretary came back on the line and asked if I was OK. "Oh, that's just my husband coughing." (I wanted to say, if you only knew what I have to put up with. And he's going to tell this one all over town. And he will, and he started soon after that). I have an appointment next week for my feet, not the upper part of my body. I hope I remember to go – I have to take two pairs of shoes and a pair of pants that I can roll up over my knees. So much to remember as I undertake this renovation of my body parts.

After the chemo, I drove to the Superstore in my car – by myself. This is the first time I've driven myself home after a treatment. I was amazed at myself for some reason. Even though I was dizzy from the treatment. Dizzy Deb. "Wow, I just had chemo and now I'm pretending it's just an ordinary day in paradise." I think the steroids I'm on give me great strength and energy, because that's what I had today. I figured I could try out for major league baseball with the energy I had. I shopped for groceries, came home and put them away, unloaded the dishwasher, prepared a roast, carrots, potatoes, squash and peas for dinner, whipped up a banana bread, swept the floors, decluttered, cleaned the bathroom, washed and dried pots and pans, emailed a recipe, went for a walk to the mailbox at York Manor, stopped and talked to Brandon, a grade 11 student who lives on our street (we talked about my 'condition'),and then ended up running to the mailbox as the mail truck had just arrived, and I needed my mail to go out today. Then I went for another walk up the street.

Natalie and Aiden came into the kitchen about 5:45 pm. We hugged and kissed and she stroked my bald head for the first time. I kissed Aiden. "I'm so glad you're home," I said. Natalie was wearing a pink cap that Amy from The Pas had purchased for Team Dancing Queen for the Run for the Cure in October. She sent one home for me. Now we're twins. Thanks, Amy. I loved your card as well – you are a sweetie. Natalie has such a great support network in The Pas. I am so comforted by that fact – that they take care of her and embraced her the moment she arrived in town. I met her friends last year this time when we traveled there.

We had dinner and I got to feed Aiden. He warmed up to us very quickly, which was quite amazing (although I actually prayed about that today). After dinner, we went upstairs and I entertained Aiden while Natalie unloaded her suitcases. Then she had to tear strips of material and wind them around the top railings of the crib we borrowed from Janet White. Aiden is like a beaver in bed and likes to chew his crib. But he's a cute beaver.

Then Janette and Tara came to visit for a couple of hours. We sat at the table and laughed, ate chocolate and fudge, then gravitated to the living room for conversation. Natalie put Aiden in his crib and he went out like a light. Let's pray that he stays asleep for the night. Natalie went to bed at 10:30, and I invited Tara and Janette to watch Corner Gas with us, since they wanted to see it. So, we thought we would pop popcorn. Easier said than done. After some struggles with Janette climbing on my counter to retrieve the popcorn box out of the top cupboard, and then trying to put the popcorn in the microwave that is nearer the ceiling than the floor (it's on top of the fridge), and not having it pop correctly, opening it and having hot kernels fly everywhere, trying to pick the hot little things off the floor so Aiden wouldn't put them in his mouth in the morning, we finally succeeded to produce three bowls of popcorn, and settled down to watch the show. Things are not always easy here, but we succeeded.

They left at 11 pm and now I am writing. Doug just went to bed. It's been a good day. I know this energy won't last. It's the steroid. I'm on it one more day. I did take the anti-seizure drug on Sunday, so I hope that when Wednesday arrives it will curb the shooting pains that I had in my body during the last treatment. The doctor told me that when you come off a steroid you 'crash,' and your mood drops. Now I understand why I felt so terrible that week of chemo #4. At least now I have an explanation and it may be easier to bear, knowing it's just a reaction of coming off a drug. So much to learn. But this day was a good day. I hope this treatment is better than the last. They say that with each treatment you become more and more tired. I have definitely noticed that – a deep tiredness that comes and goes throughout the day, and I just have to sit or lie down. I definitely did not pace myself today. I need to be more aware of this tomorrow.

I just heard on the news that probiotics are good for the gut, but also for the brain and for depression and chronic pain. I think I'll go have a blackberry blueberry prebiotic probiotic yogurt that I bought today, and call it a day. A good day.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

It's been a long day. It started with music practice at 9:30 at the church, then the service. I stayed afterwards for prayer and talked with people. Of course, I was one of the last people to leave the church. Even Doug left before I did. Made it home and created a big salad with homemade garlic croutons. I was so exhausted, so went to my chair for awhile and slept a bit. Then to the couch for a couple of hours, trying to gain enough strength for the evening's activity – the passion play at Smythe Street church. I had so much pain in my body I had to take a few pain pills. I wasn't sure if I could go to the play, but I forced myself to get up and go. Randy got us seats in the second row. I was able to see everything, including watching Mike George, a friend of ours, play the piano. He's such a great musician. The play was awesome and I cried several times. Trent Wilson was great as Jesus and was a very passionate actor. Everything about the death and resurrection of Christ is so real to me this year. When you stare death in the face, I guess you can identify a bit with what Jesus went through. He suffered and died for us, that we might have life everlasting. I know this to be true, and can rest in that fact. He is real and what He promises is real.

After the play, Mike George came over to hug us. I asked him about the piano synthesizer he was playing and how he developed his music charts for playing, etc. Musician stuff. So he took me over to his piano. He gave me his piano bench to sit on, high up on a platform. For the longest time we sat and chatted about music and instruments. I guess since I was sitting so high up off the floor, people could see me and they came to hug and encourage me. Trent, who played Jesus, came over to talk to Mike and I complimented him on his acting and how it blessed me. He spoke to me and encouraged me in my struggle, and how I would be able to bless others because of what I'm going through. It was neat meeting 'Jesus' face to face. And someday I'll meet the real Jesus face to face – oh what a day that will be!

We finally decided it was time to go, so Doug tried to help me down off the platform. My leg muscles failed me, however, and I ended up pushing him down on the stairs and I fell on top of him! I'm a bit topsy turvy dizzy today. It's the first time I've ever knocked him down! But like a Weeble, he got back up and helped me. Again, everywhere I go I have to make some sort of scene before leaving. By this time it was 10:00 pm, and once again, we were some of the last people out of the building. It doesn't seem to matter which church Doug and I go to, we always end up being the last people out of the building. Go figure.

Well, I must sign off and have something to eat before bed. Didn't really have any dinner tonight. Need to get up early to get to the hospital. Chemo #5 is at 9:00 a.m. Pray that I have no allergic reaction, and that all goes well. Natalie will leave The Pas at 9:00 a.m. as well, and arrive in Fredericton at 5 p.m. I'm asking that people pray for good flights, and that Aiden is calm, cool and collected on the airplane. I'll update more tomorrow after my chemo. Goodnight everyone, and thanks for praying.


Saturday, 4 April 2009

Love is Grand

This morning I went to The Beehive to enjoy my gift of a pedicure. Julia was my esthetician. She pampered my feet for 1 ½ hours, massaged them, put them in hot towels, paraffin wax and painted my toes. What a treat. I told her I was going to promote her services on the blog. She said she likes to take extra time for her clients and not be run by the clock. Then Julia gave me the surprise -- a hand massage and manicure, paid for by my hairdresser, Sandy, who has been my hairdresser for nine years. What a great way to relax on a Saturday morning. Thanks, Doris, Sandra and Sandy!

I got home by 1 o'clock, made Doug some lunch and then filed papers in my office, trying to clean it up so we could set up a crib for Aiden. Two more days before they come! Natalie called and we chatted for awhile. Cousin C. came over with their new grandson, Mason Patrick Robert, another cousin for Doug (it seems everyone is Doug's cousin). We both held him. What a sweetie. Here's a picture…

About 4 o'clock we traveled to Janet White's and got the crib and playpen, and visited with her awhile. She made us nachos and served us Pepsi and sweets. Janet stole my quilt again the other day as she wants to quilt on it, but alas she hasn't had time yet. I left it there again as she says she really wants to work on it, but she has to finish sewing a Roman toga for her friend Keith, who is going to England on Monday. You just never know what Janet might be sewing. She's an expert seamstress, but I'm not sure if she'll get time to actually quilt. I think she just likes my quilt and wants it nearby. She's a bit obsessed with it, me thinks.

I am very tired this evening and couldn't wait to get in the lazy maroon chair and wrap up in a blanket. Tomorrow morning I will play and sing in church again. I need strength. Everything is such an effort, it seems, and I have to push myself to do things. It would be so much easier just to lie down or sit most of the time. My body aches constantly lately and feels so tired deep inside. Oh well, a little while longer. I must keep things in perspective. I was thinking the other day about the Apostle Paul saying that he made his body his slave. That's what it feels like sometimes for me – "Move, body, move! Work, muscles, work!" I find that I really have to pace myself, and most of the time I don't and end up exhausted.

This morning while driving to my pampering session, I realized that today is the 33rd anniversary of when Doug wrote "Love is Grand" on the windshield of his car and told me he loved me. He still loves me today, and we still think love is grand.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Marlene from Calgary called me in the early afternoon to encourage me. She had breast cancer in 2007, and has been reading the blog, and could relate to what I'm going through. We compared notes and I asked her questions. Her call came at just the right time. I find it amazing that God puts it in the hearts of people to call or visit at the moment I need encouragement.

We went to the oncology unit this afternoon to have a blood test and meet with Dr. Broad. After a few remarks from the staff that Doug and I look alike (I get this a lot. Shouldn't you look like your spouse after being married as long as we have?), we met with Dr. Broad. We're waiting for one more result, but she was quite sure I'll be able to take chemo #5 on Monday. We talked about emotional ups and downs, some of which is medication related. And about pain and how to control it. I have a lot of sharp pain in my body today. Could be the weather as well. We came out of her office and had some more laughs with the staff. I wanted to make it out before I made a scene, but alas, dropped my daffodils on the floor three times before I made it out of there. Where did I get the daffodils, you ask? A random secretary gave them to me when I came out of the doctor's office. She must have thought I was Demi Moore or something.

Before I made it out of the hospital, I had chats with Cynthia F., Dr. Plummer, K. Mason, Joe C. and Linda H. I should set up a visiting booth there. Linda told me that her pastor Karl (First Wesleyan) is in hospital, so I thought I would put it on the blog and ask for prayer for him. He's a great guy.

Sandra and Randy took us out to dinner at The Blue Canoe. When we arrived, we were asked if we wanted to support the Cancer Relay for Life. I took my ball cap off to show that I'm a survivor. The woman was so encouraging and said she wanted to hug me. "Sure you can hug me." Amazing how shared experiences makes you an immediate friend with someone. I told her that last year we attended the event in June in Fredericton because Randy was singing at it. I found it a surreal experience at the time, and now I know why. I'm a survivor, too.

We came home for tea, looked at pictures of Randy and Sandra's daughter's wedding, and watched Red Skelton on video. Had a bite of fudge that Doug won today at the Rehab, and off they went to dreamland. Natalie, we'll save you some fudge. It's waiting for you.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to have a pedicure at The Beehive, where I've been getting my hair done for 10 years. I don't have any hair, so might as well get my feet done (the pedicure is a gift from a couple of friends). My hairdresser called today and told Doug for me not to book anything after the pedicure, that she has something planned after the pedicure. I wonder what she's up to? I didn't even think she worked Saturdays. Perhaps she will dye my baldhead red or something. Deb, the red baldhead. That way I won't look like Doug anymore. Many people have told me they like my bald look and that I should keep it this way, but I'm not convinced yet. I like my hair and I'll be glad to get my hairbrush out of hiding. Then I can start singing The Veggie Tales song, "Oh, where is my hairbrush, oh where is my hairbrush, oh where oh where oh where oh where oh where… my HAIRBRUSH?"

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Ch of Saint John came yesterday and stayed overnight. My other name for her is Nurse Cherry (she is a nurse). It was good to have her here, even though I went to sleep on her while she read me portions of a book (a book about rest, ironically). Last evening, L and S came over for conversation and ice cream bars. We laughed a bit, and pondered life in general. I love having people in my home. Makes me feel somewhat normal. Jonathan called late last evening and read me poetry on the phone that he and his buddies had written. Deep and funny – it cheered me up. I had a hard day yesterday. Waves of sadness came over me and I fought them with tears, prayer and a little help from my husband and friends. "When one falls down, the other lifts him up," the Bible says. So true. Every time I get down, God sends someone or something to cheer me. And He did again. People, cards, gifts of money, notes, a son's phone call, a daughter's phone call, a friend's words, touch, Scripture. He provides everything I need.

This morning we did some more reading, sharing and tears. We were at the "Soul Cafe," the name I call this house. Even wrote some things on stickies for me to post around the house. Things like "I'm still alive" and "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus," and "Keep your skyward look my soul." I think I should plaster the inside of the house with Scripture and encouraging words, to remind myself to hope when I am feeling low. My sister Brenda called me the other night with this word, "Steadfast." I told her that the word was like perseverance, and that I think I'm learning to persevere. She told me I was steadfast. Thanks, sis. My friend Colleen emailed from Florida to say this: "See the trial as God's gift to you; see it as the very means to conform you to the image of God's son. Be holy for I am holy." Wow. Isn't it hard to realize a trial as God's gift? To embrace problems? Change my heart, O God. Conform me.

The theme of the past two days seems to be disappointment. We talked and shared and prayed, giving God thanks for His benefits and care. S. came over for lunch. More conversation, and then Nurse Cherry and I drove up to Janet's. More tea and sweets, more conversation about life's disappointments and how we get through them. We all support one another as we encounter the pain and trials of life. All of us struggle with something in our life at one point or another. But we must look skyward, and never get so low that we don't look up. Like an eagle that soars but never soars too low to get caught in the valley.

I've been thinking that if I could go back and do my life all over again that I would do it differently – take more time to relax, spend more quality time enjoying my children, be less stressed and have no guilt. If I could take the wisdom and experience I have gained now and use it when I was young….wow. But that's not how life is structured, is it?

And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us" (Rom 5:3-5).

I figure that I'm in the 'character' building stage of that Scripture. I think I'm persevering through this suffering and that God is building my character. The next stage is hope. I see a glimmer of hope each day for the future. Thank you Lord, for providing a glimmer today. Hope does not disappoint us. Now for a late afternoon walk in the sun with my beautiful husband, and share our day and our thoughts with each other.