Sunday, 28 June 2009
Jon and Alicia, Afton, Jack and Ivy camped out in tents beside us. It absolutely poured all weekend. On Friday evening, while we were in the chapel listening to a man speak, a clap of thunder boomed that literally bounced us out of our seats. It was certainly a wet weekend -- is the sun ever going to come out? Maybe tomorrow?
To update you on Friday's visit to the doctor: I had a blood test for hormone levels, and will call the doctor next week to see if I will undergo oophrectomy or not. I never thought I would ever want to be menopausal in my life, but now I DESIRE to be menopausal. it would be one less surgery to go through. If I need surgery, however, it won't be until fall.
Today is Jack's 3rd birthday, and we are now at Jon's house. Alicia just finished creating a truck cake for Jack, considering that's all he lives for: tractors, trucks and machines. His whole life revolves around and is focused on machines. I wish I could focus on one thing only -- I guess I would pick LIFE to focus on. Happy Birthday, Jack.
Afton just ran by the bedroom where I'm using the computer. She backtracked and pointed me out to her cousin. "Do you know who that is? That's Gram Deb--she has no hair!!! It's going to be black and white!" She yelled something about 'fuzzy wuzzy' and off they went to play dolls or something. Earlier this afternoon she ran a little plastic doll through my hair. My head feels like a fuzzy peach right now.
Well, I must go join the party for awhile, then we're headed to Greenhill Lake Camp for a couple of days to park the RV, then on to Shelburne on Wednesday to visit Brenda and family. I'll talk to you then and tell you of my southshore adventures with the "Southshore Sis."
Thursday, 25 June 2009
The past three days were wonderful days of rest, as well as visits by friends. We actually camped next to Susan B. from Perth-Andover and her daughter E., her delightful 3 year old, whom I fell in love with. Susan and I went for a walk yesterday, and I pulled E's brand new Radio Flyer wagon. Brenda knows Susan very well, and it was good to spend some time getting to know one another.
We pulled stakes at 4 o'clock, and they watched us pull out of the campground. Off to Camp Shiktehawk in Bristol, where we met Jon and Alicia and the kids. We parked the truck by a rushing stream, and will return there tomorrow night for the weekend. It's Family Camp weekend, and Jon's family will tent beside us. Should be a good time.
Most of the day today was spent inside the house, with many women in attendance. Women who came to talk, visit and pray together. It was wonderful. We went to Max & Dale's for supper. While she prepared it, I rested on her couch. It seems that everywhere I go I have a rest on different couches. It's wonderful to have friends you can rest with, isn't it? Max made a beautiful salad with lettuce from her father's amazing garden. It was truly a salad to behold. "Look at this, Deb!" "Yes, yes, it's wonderful, Max." She traipsed across the floor to set it on the table, and it slid out of her hand, and tumbled out, spinning out of control, until this oil and vinegar lettuce tomato almond concoction went all over the chair, the floor and the wall. We laughed hilariously. I ran for spatulas to clean it up while Max collapsed on the floor. I ate some off the floor because she said she just had her floors cleaned. The men were outside and heard the commotion but didn't bother to come in and see what went wrong and why we were laughing. Men. Not curious at all, are they?
It was a terrific meal. We went outside on the deck and Max decided she needed to do my eyes, so she brought out her eye make-up and gave me an extreme eye makeover. On the deck, with the sun streaming down, she created her artistry on me. I looked at Doug once mid-eye creation, and he said I looked like a one-eyed raccoon. Men. No style, no fashion. Max thought I looked beautiful. I said she was bored and needed a hobby. I could be her hobby for tonight, I guess.
Time to do the dishes, so I put on a Christmas apron and we went to work, doing women's work. Men. Still sitting on the deck talking men stuff, while we're doing what we love to do.
We decided we'd created enough havoc there, so Doug and I went for a walk on the train bridge and met several people to talk to. I thought perhaps we should set up a booth there. It was a gorgeous evening.
Please pray for Carol Joy Howell, who is in hospital with cancer. We met her husband on the bridge tonight. Pray for complete healing.
Pray for me as I go to the gynecologist in the morning to discuss further surgery. For wisdom for him, and for us as we make yet another decision on whether to have more surgery.
God is in control of my life, and I must continue to trust in His care and His sovereignty over my life. I'm so glad that I have God on my side.
Monday, 22 June 2009
Sunday evening, we took off in the RV – I just needed to get away from the house – to get some rest, believe it or not. When a woman is home, she feels the need to work. Well, at least I do. I was able to vacuum my house for the first time in eight months and do other general house duties, plant flowers, and generally tire myself out. So, last evening Doug powered up the big rig unit and off we went – to spend the night in the Rehab parking lot (where he works). I call it ‘rehab’ at the Rehab. After a long walk, we went to the theatre to see The Proposal, starring Sandra Bullock, which was hilarious. It was good to laugh and feel normal for awhile. I’m still struggling with having a ‘normal’ life. But what IS normal, anyway?
It was a great night of sleep, the wind howling on the top of the hill, swaying the RV like a ferry on its way to Grand Manan. And I’m used to that. This morning, Doug brought me breakfast and then I read for a long time. I read about ‘resting.’ Imagine. I have to read about resting in order to get my mind trained to rest. I realized how MANY times God has called me to rest in the past 20 years, and this is another time. I really have to work hard at resting right now, and the RV is just the place, I believe. I went for a walk down towards the university this morning for a few minutes, taking time to smell the wild roses, daisies and clover. I picked a rose and put it in my pocket for future reference.
At noon, Doug drove the RV to Hartt Island Campground, where I will be until Wednesday. We have a beautiful site looking out over the Saint John River. The rain is falling gently outside. After eating my fruit salad and drinking peppermint tea, I just may go for an English walk down the Canada trail.
Friday, 19 June 2009
Nurse Cherry and I took a walk around the streets of Scotland for the last time -- oh, what a beautiful morning it 'twas. I had to have a rest when we got back, but was soon up on my feet again and off we went to the gondola beach. We watched the morning pass and Cherry read to me. We prayed and off we went to meet Doug so he could join me in my final treatment. Nurse Cherry became Chauffeur Cherry as she donned my pink ball cap and put us in the back seat together. And off we went to the hospital for the final time.
Down the l o n g hall for the final walk to the radiation unit. After a bit of a wait, the technicians called my name for the final time. "C'mon, Doug," and I put my arm through his. We walked down the hall arm in arm to the treatment room, me in my gown and Doug in his street clothes. Not a wedding scene for sure, but man and woman in love, living out "in health and in sickness." I couldn't believe it -- was this really happening? Was it really my last treatment?
He came into the room and saw how they set me up, and the technicians took him out to the computer and explained the process as they radiated me for the final time -- Praise God! We were all smiles as we came out of the room and joined Nurse Cherry for our victory walk out of the hospital, even though there were many obstacles in our way as we made our way out of the hospital and into the Cherrymobile. We drove to the Superstore where Brenda and I shopped the most (by the rocky mountain crag), and where the old woman tried to run over me. Doug left his car there for the afternoon as we continued on the last European adventure. But before Chauffeur Cherry pushed the turbojet button on the cherrymobile, she went to the trunk and retrieved a brightly wrapped package, which she happily plunked down on my lap. I tore into it like a Christmas child and immediately began to cry as I opened up my very own "official NFL TOUCHDOWN" football! I wept and wept -- I had made a touchdown -- we made a touchdown -- everyone who has supported me in this battle made a touchdown. We joined hands in the Cherrymobile and prayed to our God who helped us through.
After I dried my tears, the three of us took off again to a French restaurant where we treated Nurse Cherry to a meal. She has been so good to me these past three weeks -- she has selflessly cared for me. If you ever need a nurse, you know who to call: "Nurse Cherry, Visiting Nurse." I think she should write a book (or a few books about her adventures). After lunch, the three of us went for a long walk on the red carpet down by the bay. And then it was time to say good-bye to our nurse and my European vacation. Chauffeur Cherry drove us back to the rocky mountain superstore and we said our farewells. I hate saying good-bye. I wish we could all just be together and not live so far apart, right Natalie?
Cherry drove away and we went into the grocery store to try and find some champagne to celebrate. (Canada Dry, the 'champagne of ginger ales,' that is). We decided to go to the washroom before heading back to 'Canada' and asked at the customer service desk where we would find such a room. "Out by the entrance or upstairs," she replied. For some reason, I chose the upstairs location, even though I was very tired from walking the red carpet down by the bay. But I pulled some more energy from deep within, and climbed the mountain of stairs. It was a single room washroom. Little did I know what was waiting inside -- a sign from God to me. I walked in the room and there it was -- a picture hanging on the wall -- a framed photograph of a beautiful rainbow. I exclaimed, "Oh, God -- You gave me a double rainbow a couple of weeks ago, and now today, on the last day of treatment, in the city where my treatment ended, in a store that I love to be in, you show me a rainbow -- a promise that all will be well." You know when God shows you something just for you. And you know? God speaks to me in the bathroom more than anywhere else. First the football, then the rainbow. I made Doug come in and see the photograph on the wall. If I'd had my camera, I would have photographed the photograph, but it is ingrained in my memory forever.
We drove to a service station to buy some Canada Dry and to Rockwood Park to see if our friends Roger and Mary were there, but they had gone home, so we said farewell to Europe and drove back to Canada. Went to see my parents and wish Mom a happy 70th birthday. Brenda and I bought her a couple of dogs for her 70th (ceramic dogs, that is -- one for outside and one for inside). We actually gave her something nicer than this last week when we were at Rockwood Park, but this was the funny gift. I had been teasing her that I was going to buy her a real dog so that it could take care of Dad.
We finally made it home to The Soul Cafe, and I began to weep -- so many emotions going through me, which I still haven't sorted through. Am I really done treatment? Am I OK? What do I do now? etc.
Ph. called me this morning to tell me that now is the time to rest and to have NO schedule or appointments -- that I've had more appointments than most people have in years. That my body now needs rest to heal, and my brain needs rest. I received what she said -- now if I can just remember it. I need to post signs around my house of things to remember. And a picture of a rainbow, too, to remind me of this day. Ph. is right, though, my body is tired and today (Friday) I've been exhausted, and spent all afternoon on Jessica's reclining lawnchair in her backyard. My brain has been on overload, I think, and now I need rest for my soul and my physical body. Next Friday I will meet with the gynecologist, to discuss the next step -- surgery again.
That's enough for today. I need to call Natalie and hear the sound of my beautiful daughter's voice.
Thank you everyone for your encouragement and congratulations as I finish this segment of the journey. I so appreciate all of you. Continue to pray now for healing and restoration and that I can rest -- and rest in God's arms.
We are more than conquerors through Christ who gives us strength!
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Today's adventures included lunch and a long sit down rest on the rocky beach of Cyprus, a drive through the deep forest, standing atop the lookout trying to find falls that somehow reversed themselves (alas, they were not reversing at the time of our visit), a stop for iced coffee and ice cream, and another sit down on the sandy beach of Meenan's Cove in Scotland. Nurse Cherry's other occupation is that of a tour guide -- she knows the best attractions. I felt like a tour guide last night on my walk through the town. An SUV with three mature women stopped me and asked ME how to get to the falls that reversed, and without missing a beat, I pretended like a local and directed them to their destination. I was quite proud of myself. I actually felt like Mr. Bean (he pretends he's an expert on everything), and continued on my merry way down the street. I really enjoy the country of Scotland the most. Tomorrow morning we are going to yet another area in Scotland. The land is so green and lush, with sheep grazing on the hillside -- idyllic it 'tis. I feel like singing.
Tonight we enjoyed dinner on the deck. Right now I am listening to Katie teach piano to a teenage prodigy while I type on her laptop. In a few moments we are going out to the local movie joint to view the new movie, "UP," an animated movie. All I know is that it's about an old man with a balloon and a house that goes up into the sky. I'm feeling more laughter coming on -- we've had quite a bit today, but you can never have enough laughter in your life. "Laughter doeth good like a medicine." So true.
Allan will build us a bonfire after the movie on the back lawn in the new bonfire pit he built. Tonight is the last night here at the Oasis Hotel. I'm a bit sad, as we've had so much fun these past three weeks. God certainly has provided this place and the fun and activities to make it easier to go through. To get the time with sister Brenda last week was so special, too, and I told Nurse Cherry this morning how much I miss her. I miss my honey, too, and can't wait to see him tomorrow and share the end of treatment with him.
You know who else I miss? Our children -- Natalie (I haven't spoken with her for two weeks), Josh and Aiden, and Jon and Alicia, Afton, Jack and Ivy. I feel like I've been on another planet, not just another 'country.' I thank God for how He has brought me through these past three weeks. Now I must get prepared for re-entry into another phase of my life. Going home tomorrow will be like re-entering earth from space. Life is full of change, isn't it?
Monday, 15 June 2009
After spending a couple of days home, I returned to Europe for radiation treatment #14. Janet White #1 picked me up at noon, with fresh blueberries, strawberries and cherries in tow for me to chow down on. I'm eating so healthy now (not that I didn't before, but now I'm more conscious of it. We met Nurse Cherry at the hospital and then Janet took us out to eat in an Italian restaurant. Good-bye to Janet and thanks for the memories of the day, then Cherry and I were off to Scotland again. Katie and I went for a walk and a run (she ran, I walked). After supper, we did Act II of Hamlet. Man, is it hard to understand, but I'm plowing through. Katie is a good teacher. I don't think we're going to make it through to the end by Wednesday, however. Becky, perhaps you'll have to help me finish the Hamlet race back home.
The three of us then went to a beach in Italy Point and watched the ferry cross back and forth the bay. It's late, and I've been up since 6:30 this morning. I need some serious sleep. Tomorrow Nurse Cherry and I are going somewhere, exploring yet another place in this mysterious land. My treatment is at 10:30 in the morning, and a meeting with the doctor.
Thanks again to everyone who came to the benefit concerts. We so appreciate you all.
Saturday, 13 June 2009
We arrived home at 6:30 this evening. I started the laundry. Good thing I did come home -- Doug ran out of work clothes and other unmentionables. He doesn't know how to cook or do laundry, but everything else (I secretly think he 'chooses' not to learn these two essentials of living). We pulled the RV right up to the verandah, so that I wouldn't have to unpack it. Now I'm going to live in both houses for a couple of days. I made supper in the RV, and then we had a little snooze on the couch. I think I want to sleep in the RV tonight. I really don't want to come home!
Doug gave me my first haircut a few minutes ago -- with the same electric razor he used when my hair fell out. He just tidied it up a bit so it was more 'uniform.' That's a good word -- it looks like hair that belongs with an army uniform. Oh well, soon and very soon, I'll have a full head. Not to worry. "Don't worry about tomorrow.... or about the hairs on your head...." Right?
Tomorrow morning I will lead the worship team at church. In the evening the church is having a benefit concert for us -- a gospel bluegrass concert. Should be a great time and we are looking forward to hearing everyone sing. I will also sing a couple of songs -- I always like to sing -- wherever, whenever. I need to always keep singing -- through it all.
Next week -- to Europe again for three more days, and three more treatments. What will I feel like on Wednesday, when I'm all done radiation? Lost? Elated? I'll let you know.
Friday, 12 June 2009
Oh, he came back – he was talking to Roger and Mary next door. He discovered that Mary’s last name is the same as his. No doubt she’s his cousin—everyone else is.
Thursday, 11 June 2009
Ellie May served me coffee in bed this morning, and I finally pulled myself to an upright position at 10 o'clock. I think I've stayed in bed that long about twice in my lifetime. I was tired this morning and didn't feel so great. Ellie May cleaned the mansion for a spell. I took a walk to get some air. Then we decided a trip to my favorite store was in order, so into the old grey mare again, looking for a Zellers on the range. Bought our boys some pants, which is a fitting gift, considering we are sisters of the traveling pants.
Ellie loves baklava, and I wanted her to have some before she went home to the old country. Nurse Cherry did some investigation the other day and saw that it was offered at a local restaurant that served Greek food. "We have time before my treatment. Let's go find it," I said. So, Ellie May was let loose again traveling through streets she done never seen before, until I spotted it. I ordered a Greek Village salad, and it looked like it would feed a village when the waiter plunked it down in front of me. One humungous quartered cucumber the size of a brick with a thousand seeds, about four huge quartered tomatoes, one whole onion, and four olives, with tiny jalapenos on the side. No lettuce whatsoever. Ellie's wasn't much better – a traditional Greek salad, sans cucumber, and lettuce that looked like they were too tired to pull it apart. All of a sudden, we became restaurant critics. Oh well, at least Ellie would be able to have her baklava. By this time, we needed to go to the hospital or I would miss my treatment time, so we asked for the bill, and Ellie asked if she could have baklava to go. The waiter, who was not really that into us, said, "There's no baklava," almost with disrespect for our desire for said dessert. "But, it said so in the phone book!" I pleaded. "Not today, there isn't," he replied. I wanted to tell him that's the only reason we came to the restaurant, but I didn't, and paid the bill. We gave the restaurant a 2/5, but we're not going to tell you where it is. Perhaps they were just having a bad day. I told Ellie that we would just stop at every restaurant in the hills and ask "Do you have baklava?" I wanted to stop at a Thai restaurant, but she wouldn't stop the old grey mare.
We hightailed it back over a different set of ranges. I want Ellie May to experience all that Europe has to offer so she will be thankful for her little eastern town. We made it in time. "Deborah," my fair-haired tech called. "Deborah," I mocked back. My new friends here at the hospital. I asked if they ever got bored with their job, because I'm bored with the same thing day in and day out. I tell them it's like the movie Groundhog Day. Call my name, come in, take off my robe, head in donut hole, arm in stirrup, machine movements, move the table up and down and all around like some carnival ride for older people (am I old yet?), zap, lead strip placed on chest, gel pack in position, arm in sleeve, sit up, sandals on, robe on, pick up appointment sheet, good-bye, see you tomorrow.
Well, by that time we were having withdrawal from the grocery market, so decided to go to one of three that we have frequented in these hills. A tiny old woman wearing an oxygen tube in her nose almost ran me over in her tiny car. She accelerated when she came close to me instead of slowing down. She had her friend in the passenger side. Perhaps she didn't see me, but she was lookin' right at me. Must have been Wilma and Betty goin' shoppin.'
Today at the market, we purchased ten litres of water, natural potato chips and Jiffy Kwik Cloths, overgrown peppermint-looking cloths that activate with water. Since I didn't have any rags in the RV, Ellie May thought I should have something to clean with. We'll have to make one grow tonight. Oh that reminds me, we didn't do our Christmas craft today. Ellie is into Suduko again.
Home again and Ellie May gave me a Crest Whitestrip to apply while I rested. I had a nap on the couch—I think the strip made me sleep. Ellie May bought the strips earlier this week so we would have something to do in the evenings. I slept, and Ellie May did some research and operated on her toe. Then, being the restaurant critics we are, we traveled to Italy, to Pazziata's, a local joint, for Pandoori Peppered Chicken, then walked up the Way to Pomodori's for Toasted Almond/Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Gelato. Nurse Cherry joined us and we had a few laughs.
But I still hadn't given up my desire to buy Ellie May some baklava. She came all this way to help me, and worked so hard taking care of me, I just want her to have her baklava. Surely you could find it in Europe? I had a sense that an Italian restaurant up the street would have some. "Drop me off at the door, and I'll run in and ask," I instructed. Ellie was pretty full by this time, but she gave in to my incessant need to acquire baklava for her. I love her, and I want to feed her. My intuition was correct and I came out with the bag of baklava held high – "Success!" She just shook her head and wasn't quite as excited as I thought she would be. I guess she might be a tad full. I told her that she'll probably eat it before bedtime, and there was also a cheesecake in the fridge that I want her to eat before she leaves on the ferry tomorrow.
Winnie just came home – well, I call it that. It's actually a Winnebago that comes and goes in the site beside us. Leaves in the morning and comes home at night, and sometimes it goes out for the evening. I think it drives itself, but Ellie May thinks someone lives in it. Every time it leaves, it has to disengage itself from the sewage system. It cracks me up and I find it a great source of amusement. Not a lot happening here, so I find amusement in small things.
Gandalf just walked by – at least he looks like him. I wonder if Frodo is near? Like I said, not much going on here.
A successful day. Another radiation round completed, and the search for baklava is over. Bon appétit, Ellie May!
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
The Rafiki Foundation, Inc. | Missionary and Charity Work In Africa Turning Helpless Children in Orphanages Into Godly Contributors in Their Country.
The Rafiki Foundation, Inc. | Missionary and Charity Work In Africa Turning Helpless Children in Orphanages Into Godly Contributors in Their Country.
Jed and Granny Clampett were ready to hightail it out of this noisy park in the centre of this busy metropolis at 9:30 this morning. We were hardly dressed, and Brenda's hair wasn't coiffed the way she likes it. She went all day looking like a wreck. I told her it was OK – look at my hair! She and I led the way out to the highway exit, across the toll bridge, and waved them on down the road towards home. As we circled back into town, we high-fived each other, as Jed sped on down the highway. We felt like a mama bird dropping her eaglets out of the sky to see if they could fly on their own, although we didn't stick around to see if they landed safely. We found out later that they made it home all in one piece. Good job, Jed.
We fired up the old grey mare, and to the hospital we trotted for radiation treatment #11, then on to Scotland again to do laundry at Cherry's Drop and Wash, to the Common Creperie for Thai Curry crepes, picked up the laundress and took her to the Red Whale Coffee shop for potent café mochas, that made my heart race and my face turn the colour of the red whale on the sign. (The red whale also has blue eyes like me. Plus my red Lancome purse matched the décor of the café, so everything was in sync). Brenda's eyes were like Mexican jumping eyes. Cherry seemed unaffected. Check out this amazing café if you're ever in Scotland town.
Shopping seemed to be in order for the next couple of hours and we ventured out to see what we could find. Brenda is really finding her way around the unusual pattern of streets and detours. I sit back and direct traffic with my hand. Around 5 pm, we decided to come back to the utilitarian park. Brenda became Martha Stewart and organized a few drawers in the RV while I rested on the couch. Then she prepared a feast for us from leftovers – fabulous, darling. After dinner, we enjoyed a hike around Lily Lake again (four times now in the past three days). We thought we were ready to call it a day, when we discovered her cell phone only had one dollar left on it. So, the old grey mare started up again, and we traveled down the hill to another grocery store we hadn't yet explored on this range of hills. Cell phone card, batteries, bread, cold sore medication and mouthwash –things you need to survive on the range.
Brenda is journaling in a new journal. I am journaling in an old journal – this blog. How long do you think I should continue? I should do a survey. Are you getting bored reading it yet?
Tomorrow's plans? Maybe a trek into the inner city and the market or maybe paint a Christmas craft B. picked up today, or do the Wonderword or Sudoku and wear our reading glasses. Maybe have a piece of cheesecake or two. Maybe go out to a fancy restaurant in the evening, maybe a movie. Maybe not. Only time will tell what will happen on the range.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
Monday started out like a regular day, but by the time the day ended, the two sisters of the traveling pants were exhausted. And Tuesday's activities didn't afford us much rest either. To blog was an impossibility due to the pace of the past two days. Brenda took me to radiation late Monday morning. We decided to call Mom & Dad and found out they were on their way down to the RV park for a two day visit. B & I decided to go to Scotland to the Creperie, but alas it was closed on Mondays. On we sailed to Nurse Cherry's "Laundromat/Iced Coffee Parlor." To Vito's restaurant for a Mediterranean salad, after Brenda found the 'right' parking lot to park in (this was a great source of amusement to me… Like I said, I don't want to give her too many directions just to see where she'll end up). Back to Cherry's for iced coffee and a sit in the sun. Then back to the park to see if Mom and Dad had arrived safely.
Well, it only took them three hours to make a 1 ½ hour trip. Not bad. Their GPS woman decided to direct them to take the back roads, and they obeyed her, and hit every construction site. Mom said it was quite the adventure. They arrived close to 3 o'clock, and set up their trailer with a few difficulties. By 4, they still hadn't eaten. They were weary and tired, and perhaps a bit disoriented (well, at least Dad was).
We decided to have supper in our RV, and Brenda set up the feast. It was 5 o'clock, and we were ready to eat—Mom and Dad had not eaten since breakfast. Mom came over to the RV and said Dad would join us. But after a considerable time of waiting, Brenda decided to go looking for him, then Mom, then me, and we were suddenly the Search and Rescue team, going out in all directions searching for Father. I went down towards Lily Lake, and happened to ask at the park entrance if they had seen an older man go by. Well, yes, they did – he was asking for directions to a restaurant, and they pointed to the pavilion on Lily Lake which happens to have a small café/restaurant. I made my Birkenstocks go a bit faster, and was thankful that I had rested a bit before making the trek up the dusty, under construction road to find my father. "Lord, you know where he is – show him to me," and then, I saw him – far away, going into a building. Brenda, who was in another area, thought to phone him and ask him where he was. He told her he was in the basement of a restaurant. She hadn't a clue what he was talking about. I knew I couldn't go back and tell them I had found him, or I would lose him again, and just prayed that Mom would remain calm, wherever she was. Brenda got into the car and made her way out past the gate of the park. By that time, I saw him come out of the building; he was probably wondering which way to go. I waved – he saw me, and he made his way towards me. I tried not to make too big a deal out of it, but he and Mom had some interesting 'discussions' all evening about him wandering off and why would he think we were going to a restaurant? He thinks we are in St. Martins, and he still doesn't know why we are here. We've been paranoid about him ever since, and watch his every move. Today we are laughing about it, and realize we now have to make adjustments to this new reality, just as we've had to make adjustments to the new reality in my life.
After a late supper, we thought we would relax for the evening, but oh, no – Mom realized that she had left all, and I repeat, ALL their medications in Fredericton. By this time, she was ready to pack up and go home (I had already given her my pep talk about making the best of a new reality with Dad's memory and disorientation). No, we'll adjust to this, too! So, we all piled into Brenda's 'old grey mare,' and traveled through hill and dale at dusk to find a pharmacy that just might be open and could come to our aid. We found one, and after half an hour of us all sitting in the store like the Beverly-Hillbillies-come-into-the-city-just-to-be-together, the store came through and solved the medication dilemma. Every single one of their prescriptions was filled in its entirety (all the files were transferred), and $99.00 later, Granny (Mom) walked out with enough drugs to fill a black cloth recycle bag. I didn't want her walking through the trailer park with all those open drugs, for fear she might be accosted, but she shrugged me off and made her way back to her trailer and settled down for a cold night's sleep, filled with tractor trailers, trains and machine noises. I think by this time they were glad they came to see us, and were planning their next trip. It was turning out to be the Series of Unfortunate Events Day #2.
Tuesday, Brenda and I went to radiation at 9 o'clock and came back for breakfast. Dad was adamant he wanted to go fishing, and we were adamant that he not go alone. We thought he could fish at Lily Lake and we could walk around it, and still be able to see him. He was adamant that he bring his new Ford Ranger along for the ride (even though he could have walked), and he and Mom wandered the lake shore while Brenda and I walked around it. No fish were hooked, however, because he forgot to bring earthworms, and I couldn't see where I could buy earthworms, other than on Kijiji, and I just didn't have the energy for that. About that time, I was wracking my brain for all those signs you see everywhere on convenience stores and gas stations: GET YOUR EARTHWORMS HERE! ICE CREAM, $2. SCOOP! You know the signs.
We took a trip up through the park to another lake and all of us bailed out of this tiny truck, like the Hillbillies we are, and Dad set to casting his line again. Brenda and I decided to sit on the edge of a bridge. I thought I was safe, but alas, Dad decided to fish below us under the bridge. It was like a scene from A River Runs Through It. I prayed for him to catch a fish so we could go home, as we were getting tired and the sun was hot, and I was beginning to forget what my name was. Mom came and stood behind us. We were enjoying the beauty of the water and the sound of the rod, when SUDDENLY, Dad appeared from nowhere and threw a fish through the air up to where we were. It FLOPPED and FLAILED on the ground beside us, blood spurting everywhere. "Catch it, catch it!" We were screaming like banshee roosters. Brenda was flailing around and finally grasped the scaly squirmer as it bit her (do fish have teeth?), and Mom stepped on its tail to keep it from plopping back into the water. I was trying not to jump sideways and fall off the bridge, as the fish seriously invaded my personal space. Dad kept on fishing. Brenda walked to the truck to get the fishing basket and then delicately manoeuvred the trout/chub/mackerel/pickerel/whatever inside. Finally, we piled back into the truck, and Dad began to drive the wrong way on a one way road. "Wrong way, wrong way!" we yelled. Poor man – he never stood a chance he always told us. Too many women in his life telling him what to do.
We made it back to the utilitarian trailer park safe and sound. Nurse Cherry came for lunch and the afternoon. Then a surprise – Doug arrived in his cappuccino coloured car from Canada – "to see his sweetie," he said. I was so excited. We spent the afternoon and evening together. We had a birthday celebration barbeque to honor Mom's 70th birthday next week, complete with special cake.
You know, no matter where I go, I meet people and seem to get involved in their life and they in ours. Sunday, we met Roger and Mary next door in the Airstream trailer, who are looking out for Dad to make sure he doesn't go where he shouldn't. Today before supper, we met the nurse who took care of Dad when he had open heart surgery five years ago (she's going to take over Mom & Dad's trailer site for a couple of days); and another RVmate – a couple from New Mexico who had been working in an orphanage in Africa and are making their way to Ontario, where she is originally from (Brenda didn't want me to talk with her because she's afraid I might go to Africa to work in an orphanage; it's been a fear of hers for about five years, she says).
This post is way too long, so I'll sign off. Doug just called – he's home again. Brenda and I are eating cheesies and chips, like sisters do. I'm having a hot flash and Brenda is doing a Sudoku. Two women – alone on the range – well, not so alone.
D & B, The Traveling Pant Sisters on the Range
PS: Angie and Kim – thank you for the flowers! They are beautiful, and it was so kind of you to drop by! Sorry we weren't here – probably having the fish incident right about the time you came….
Monday, 8 June 2009
We're getting ready this morning to go to radiation #9, then we'll saddle up Brenda's old grey mare, and head out to the hill country and see where we'll end up. I'll just let her lead, and see where her instincts take her. Should be great amusement for me, considering I now know Europe fairly well. It's the nomadic spirit in me -- to go where no woman has gone before.
A bonus -- the trailer park has a wireless network, so I'm sitting at my table in the RV penning these words on a beautiful European morning.
Here we go -- another week away, another week of treatments. I thank God for my healing, and for the strength He is providing.
Wish you were here with us, my dear daughter, Natalie. You're my sister and my daughter...Talk to you soon.
Deb & Bren, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Thursday, 4 June 2009
Thought perhaps friends and family that read your Blog may be interested in learning details about a benefit concert being held at First Congregational Church on your behalf. Here are the details. :-) AH
BENEFIT GOSPEL/BLUE GRASS CONCERT for Deb & Doug MacDonald on Sunday, June 14, 7:00 pm at First Congregational Church with Joey Knight, Barry Sullivan, Julie & Erdie Price, Gerald Rushton, Gerry Flowers, Barbara Prosser-Winder, and the "Dig It Kidz". Emcee for the evening will be Ross Ingram.
Directions to First Congregational: If travelling east on Highway 102 turn right onto Rainsford Lane, right onto Morning Gate Drive
If travelling west on Highway 102 (Prospect St West) turn left onto Patience Lane, left onto Rainsford Lane and right onto Morning Gate Drive
Nurse Cherry and I arrived at this morning's treatment at 8:15, and they called me right in. "Would your friend like to come in as well and see what we do?" asked one of the radiation technicians. We looked at each other in amazement. Cherry got to come in the room while they set me up on the table and then out to the computer for the remainder of the treatment. She was able to watch the whole thing from the computer screen out at the desk. We couldn't believe they allowed this. It was good to have someone share it with me. I feel bad that this is the only thing that Doug cannot share with me – he's in Canada, and I'm in Europe. Someone has to work in this family, I guess, and I just happen to be traveling the world while he brings home the bacon. I miss him.
I met with Dr. Grant and she checked me out. She said I looked better than when she saw me a couple of weeks ago – more colour in my face. I also think I have more colour on my head as well – Katie and Cheryl give me daily updates on the growth of my hair. I'm excited about every little hair that appears and grows taller, some taller than others (I look a bit like a cartoon character, I think). Maybe I'll put a purple barrette in soon; Katie said she'd loan me one. Dr. Grant said that I have some swelling on my site, which is normal, but no sunburn yet, which is good. After tomorrow's treatment I will be half done – eight more treatments to go.
Nurse Cherry fired up the Cherrymobile and we headed home for our second breakfast at 9:30 – I made an egg concoction with fresh chives, accompanied by toast w/honey and a peach. Then off we went for our day's adventure – to the highlands of Scotland. We traveled through yet another Hampton (how many 'Hamptons' have I encountered this week?). It was a beautiful day – the trees lush and the flowers blooming, and the sun shining brightly on the old paved roads as we made our way to Bloomfield to visit a Scottish family, the McCreadys – David & Shelly, Christopher and Julian. We caught up on life in the Highlands, then enjoyed a dinner of salmon, fiddleheads and brown rice, our third meal of the day (some days require more food, don't they?). After prayer and hugs all around, we made our way through the serene countryside, stopping periodically so I could snap photos of a church, horses, and a motorcycle I think Doug should buy for me. I have my license, but for some reason he won't let me drive. I think I should start a petition or a campaign – the "Let Deb Drive a Motor Bike Because She Wants to Feel the Wind in Her Hair" Campaign. Perhaps if I get enough signatures, he will say yes. As it is now, every time I get a hot flash, I hang my head out the window to cool it off. A motorbike would be much easier for me to get cooled off. Every time I do this in the car, I chant, "I'm not a dog, I'm a human being!" (that's for you, Brenda). Tonight when we were walking, a car passed us with a dog hanging out the window, and I retorted, "I'm not a human being, I'm a dog!" I know, I have a strange sense of humour, but it keeps me going.
On to the little village of Norton, to make a surprise visit to one of my adopted daughters, Angie, and her children (Abby, Nason and Elias; Aiden was at school). Angie is going to have another child in September – their fifth child. She needs all the help and prayers she can get! Oh, to have a big family – way to go, Angie! It was good to surprise you today. I took pictures of everyone, and Nurse Cherry took pictures of my hair. It's all about the hair. Angie, get some rest, OK?
Then it was time to go the revenue office to renew the registration for the Cherrymobile before it expired tomorrow. This was hugely important – what would we do without our mode of transportation? I slept in the car for half an hour. On to a local coffee shop and a stop for a chocolate bar, and we made our way along the river again through the Highlands, until we came to a bench on a hill, with a fantastic view of the river. Cherry set up a cherry coloured lawn chair for me to rest in, and we took in the view, binoculars in hand. By this time I was worn out again, so home again home again jiggety jig we soared, and I went to bed for an hour and slept once again. I find I am getting more tired as the treatments continue.
After meal #4 tonight, we walked around the block and now I am sitting in front of the fire that Cherry's husband built for me. They have gone out for a couple of hours. I hope to call Doug soon – tomorrow I get to see him when we make our way to Acadian country. Cherry and I are going to a retreat along with a lot of our friends from around the world. Doug and I will stay in our RV. I will not have internet on the weekend as far as I know, so I may not be able to post. On Sunday, Doug will bring the RV back to Europe to an RV park, where I will stay for the week with Brenda, my sister, who is coming from the southlands. We'll have some great adventures I'm sure, and will meet up with Nurse Cherry on occasion. Doug has to go back to Canada to work again. I'm not sure if I'll have internet at the trailer park or not. So if you don't hear from me, you'll know why.
I find the days long, but they are full of adventure and I know God gave me the idea of 'Europe' to make these days easier. I thank Cherry for being such a wonderful friend and selfless caregiver to me, and for Allan and Katie's love and care as well. Signing off for now… deb x0
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
Nurse Cherry did allow me to go for a walk. We then decided to take a little side trip to Italy, and enjoyed zesty lemon gelato, which made our tastebuds sit up and take notice. We then got in the Cherrymobile once more, and cruised up the street in the middle of the town, looking for reading glasses, which we eventually found at a discount store. Now, to watch the movie...
Jessica picked me up early this morning and we 'flew' to Europe again, and made it to the hospital just in time, after huffing and puffing down the long corridors. It was good to lie down and rest for a few minutes in the treatment room. After treatment we went for a walk in the park for awhile.
At noon, Nurse Cherry met us at the garden centre and we piled into the Cherrymobile for a picnic adventure at a local lake. Silver tablecloth, egg salad sandwiches, cherry tomatoes, cheese, grapes, almonds, vegetable cocktail, fresh peaches and my favorite, Pazia's Famous Dill Pickles, which I have to admit I can't get enough of. It was a beautiful luncheon. "OK, time to go again," Nurse Cherry exclaimed, as Jessica and I piled into the Cherrymobile once again. "Time for a song," she said, as The Lion Sleeps Tonight blared from the speakers (our adventures are always accompanied by appropriate music for the occasion). "I know where we're going," I thought – to Africa! I was correct and we arrived shortly thereafter. When Cherry pushes the turboboost button on her car, we can go anywhere fast, just like Batman and his car. Bug spray, backpack, camera – check! And the three of us made our way into the jungle for a safari adventure around the world. A cornucopia of animals and my camera started clicking away: a zebra from South Africa, llamas, Australian emu, pygmy goats, two majestic lions who were sleeping until I started singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight to them, a pacing tiger, huge burly yaks, monkeys that looked like they just came off of the Lion King movie set, tiny golden monkeys, a Russian reindeer (I tried to converse with it, but it wasn't interested in chatting), rabbits from the Netherlands, Vietnamese potbelly pigs (boy, are they ugly), Sicilian donkeys, and an amazing demonstration from a peacock as he strutted his stuff. I really wanted to see the gnu (how do you pronounce that, anyway?), but he must have been on vacation in Canada.
"I had a farm out of Africa," Meryl Streep said in the movie Out of Africa (one of my favorite movies). I felt like I had a farm, too, Meryl. It was quite a walk for me, and I was grateful to hobble to the Cherrymobile. We said so long to Jessica, who was off to another planet for a few days. We'll catch up with her on Friday. Home for a nap in The Oasis, and my bed which was waiting for me. I was very tired, and didn't think I would be able to have any more adventures today. Many times when I'm in that place, I have to remind myself that a little rest does wonders – for my emotions and my physical body. I'm learning – slowly – about rest.
Cherry picked up daughter Katie from work and they came to get me to take me to another part of Europe – this time, the beautiful country of France. We went to a fabulous café on the Hampton Road, Common's Creperie Cafe. Katie and I had the King Crepe, filled with chicken, swiss cheese, baby spinach, sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers and citrus dressing. Cherry had the Crepe Almighty, with spinach, asparagus, cheese and other veggies. Then we had dessert crepes, believe it or not, which were amazing. They have gluten-free and vegan options at the café, and 'handcraft' their meals for their customers. We would recommend it highly. We met one of the owners, Cheryl, who is also a teacher. She and her sister own and run the café. She encouraged me in my journey. I told her I think I'll bring my sister there next week. And that I would promote the café on the blog, so if you're in the area, check it out (I'll put the details at the end of this entry).
Cherry rearranged the family room so I could have a comfy chair to sit in. We're going to watch Wall-E tonight. Katie and Jessica both say it's a great movie – robots expressing emotion or something like that. Cherry has her doubts about that, but we'll soon find out if it's true or not. Cherry is off in her mobile again driving Katie to youth group. She's not only a nurse, she's a taxi. Oh, she's back already – I wonder if she'll let me go for a walk before the movie.
Check it out: Common's Creperie Café, 11 Hampton Road, Rothesay
Tuesday, 2 June 2009
Anyhoo, I finally found a place to have lunch, then to the hospital for radiation #4. First time going it alone. I felt very strange and lonely, (I am rather strange, I admit), and realized how much having someone 'with' you while undergoing treatment is so important. Of course I knew that God was with me, so I was OK. After treatment, I found Nurse Cherry who was working a shift in the ambulatory clinic, and chewed the fat with her for a bit (not too long, though, she was working!). Took the elevator to the third floor and found Q, who was visiting her uncle in hospital. Q came over from the Island of Malta to be with me overnight. She booked us into the Hamptons (didn't I just go to the Hamptons' yesterday?). The Hamptons give a good rate to people from Malta, she told me. She took off in her car and left me behind -- to find my own way to the hotel. I told her I would get there eventually, not to worry.
Ok, here we go -- no GPS, no cell phone, just roughin' it here on the streets of London. She knew her way, I didn't, and she lost me mid-town. After several wrong roads, backtracking a few times, keeping my eyes tuned to familiar landmarks, I felt like I was in the right area. I lifted my eyes and surveyed the countryside, and looked 'way up, Rusty,' and found what I'd been lookin' for: a formidable hotel peering at me, hanging off the bonny cliffs. "Come, come," it seemed to say. "I'm trying, but I can't figure out how to get to you," I replied with determination. I am going to get to you -- no matter what! I won't give up! I can see you and I can get there -- through construction, fences, traffic, and many trials, but finally, I managed to outwit the maze and I arrived, bells ringin'. Q was in the lobby waiting for me. Thanks, Q for helping me find my way here. We settled our suitcases in the room, and then we took off again together this time -- to the Harbour, where we donned our tennis shoes and strolled down the red brick road along The Thames, the strong northeast wind whipping our hair around (well, at least Q's hair was whipped).
Then we strolled over to Amsterdam to view the beauty of the tulips before driving to dinner at the chalet in Switzerland. Off to procure munchies from a gourmet B&B, yogurt from McD's, and returned to the Hampton Condo to eat au natural peanut butter on rice cakes, spread with a spoon. Relaxed and chatted for the evening, enjoying the generous accommodations and comfy beds at the condo. I had several hot flashes, and Q was cold. We had the air conditioning on.
Tuesday morning, bright and early, we returned to the hospital for radiation #5 (11 more to go!). The woman before me told me she has had 15 treatments, and is still so anxious that she takes anxiety pills, Gravol, has her feet tied together, AND her hand strapped so she won't move. Plus she adds prayer for good measure! Told me she can't even open her eyes during treatment. I told her to open them up and look around -- it wasn't that bad. But she said she couldn't. I pray that she can get through this and relax. Some days I think I should be an activity director in the oncology unit -- it's such a sad place. Wouldn't fun and laughter be great in a place like that? I've read about places like that. Something to take the stress from the people. An older man this morning told me that he tries to have fun in there. I told him that one might as well, one can't do anything about it but relax in it. I think the noise of the radiation machine is the worst. And trying to lie still for the treatment. Invariably your nose or cheek will itch and what do you do about that?
After treatment, we trekked across town to a Parisian breakfast cafe for a delectable brunch. Q and I parted company (thanks, Q, for the great evening/night). After getting lost on the streets once again, I found my way to the highway and flew back to Canada. The first thing I did was pay my water bill. Never know when you might need water.
A sense of accomplishment: I made it down and back by myself -- a smidgeon of a feeling of, "Yes, I'm getting better! I can drive long distances!" I just need to do normal things, and driving is one of my favorite activities. The afternoon was spent stocking the RV and readying it for its journey on Friday. I'll join Doug on Friday night down in Acadian country for an RV weekend.
Matthew came over to visit this afternoon. We sat in the Adirondack chairs and chatted. He's such a great guy. He's already mowed my lawn twice this summer. He is a very caring teenager, and we so appreciate him. We might go biking together soon (in case you forget, Matt is 14). I weeded the flower garden a bit and rested on my trowel when I needed to, Matt's cell phone playing country music. I'm beginning to feel a lot like country lately.
Tonight, Doug and I took a trip to "Newfoundland" for supper with Cousins C & W. We had lobster fresh from the sea, potato salad, coleslaw, fresh rolls, yogurt with blueberries and fruity creamy cake. The cook put on an amazing spread at "The FishTale Restaurant." And here I was wondering what I was going to make tonight, considering the larder is empty. After coffee and tea, we decided to take a trip to the Port-Aux-Basques Trampoline Festival, where C & I couldn't resist entering the contest for women jumpers. Here's a pic of us trying out this new sport. W. took pictures and Doug watched the river flow, probably wondering to himself, "My wife, my wife, what is she doing now? Those women -- you just never know what they're going to do next" I didn't jump much, but let C bounce me around, which was a form of exercise. I did have a hard time getting off the trampoline, and needed assistance getting my foot untangled. Doug said that the last time I got down off of something I landed on him. When I am more flexible and not so conscious of my 'chest,' C & I are going to start training. We think we like this new found sport. I heard it's good for cancer cells (seriously).
We decided NFLD would be better off without us, having created such a stir, so back to NB again we went. Then a stroll down a few country lanes with Doug. Now I must get ready for a flight back to Europe again tomorrow. My, my I am such a world traveler. Should I make muffins now to take with me, or should I relax?
Oh, here's a fish Cuz W caught. Good fishin' on the Rock, eh?