Western education 2013

Monday, August 25, 2014

.... off to the cottage....

..... with the pain in my sternum now creeping into my left breast.  Lifting my arm elicits pain that deepens into the underpit and swellls the tissue just beneath the skin.  The ache is somewhat akin to a tooth ache and sleeping becomes impossible.  After tossing and turning for the better part of an hour, I drag myself out of bed and make a cup of tea.  

The crickets are chirping in the dark signalling the end of August near the lake.  Lake Huron is a mere hundred meters away from the cottage a dear friend has gifted us with as a family holiday.  We are in the Bruce Penninsula, a gem in the province of Ontario and a few hours drive from where we live.  It is only 5 am and the sun will be up in a few hours.  For now, I will sit in the dark livingroom on a comfy couch and blog.

Over the past few days before heading out, we began the garden clean out signalling the end of the summer growing season.  There are still vegetables such as carrots, brussel sprouts, broccoli, pumpkins and a miniature water melon growing.  The tomato plants have a blight that has damaged a portion of the crop and it was fortunate that I picked most of the tomatoes before that began.  The rains and lack of heat this summer have created a challenging growing season for many gardeners this year.  It was such a cool summer that the potato plants produced berries... which look like tomatoes and contain true seeds.  Most years a potato plant will only produce tubers... which of course we eat.  Max was deeply disappointed considering all the work we put in to making the boxes. We made quite a bit of relish and salsa this year and we were able to freeze some beans for the winter.  Next year, we will have a different layout in the garden and will try other veggies.  As much as I liked the Cosmos in the front garden, they too will not be replanted due to the fact that they cast a shadow deep into the garden. 

While the garden did not pay for itself this year... the boost to my personal health and emotional well being was priceless.  There is nothing better than feeling a sense of accomplishment and looking forward each day to seeing what is new in the garden.  It was a great experiment and I am deeply grateful for each new neighbor I met this summer while puttering in my front garden.  

There were a number of special moments spent with my family.  Miss Lydia is becoming a young woman and I must say that our relationship as mother and daughter is amazing.  When I look at her... I see a lovely, intelligent and amazing human being to whom I am forever grateful for being given the priviledge of raising.  I did not have much of a relationship with my self=absorbed mother.... she could only reserve enough of herself to share with her eldest of three daughters.  i often thought she didn't care much for me with her often times short temper and lack of patience.  When I watch my daughter, I wonder if I would have been like her given the environment she grew up in?  I see a lot of me in her and am aware of how sensitive she is.... how sensitive I am.  I visited my mother just before heading out for vacation and she spent our time complaining about her friend Fred.....she continues to believe the world revolves around her.  I looked at her across the table and wondered how lonely her life must be when all she can do is complain about someone who is always trying to please her?  It might explain why he chose to sit at the other end of the table with his guests.  Her petty jealousy will eventually cost her a friendship with a truly wonderful man.  I simply looked at her and let her know that he could speak to whomever he wanted to. Sad.

Thursday 28th August
Today is filled with meetings at the college.  Its that time again and I am really excited to begin the school year!!  This year will see me working through the week and now on the weekend as the new coordinator for our program.  I have begun the process of organizing the course and working collaboratively with the other faculty members to produce a good flow between courses.  Students often think that each course is a stand-alone with no connection to their other subjects... so we are using our communications course to thread them all together and give some continuity to learning outcomes.  

I am in pain and gratefully taking the Tramacet prescription sent by my doctor to the pharmacy while I was on vacation.  I am to take it every 4 hours but unfortunately when I rose in agony this Friday morning at 4 am, I realized that I had not taken one before falling asleep.  Its a good thing I have Chiro today. Tuesday I will get my results from the CT scan and I am hoping all is well..... fingers crossed.  I have noticed that the stomach issues I was dealing with have stopped as of this past Sunday.  The prescription Tramacet is used for nerve pain and since it works we know that the pain is primarily nerve.  There are 'hot spots' along the left chest and underpit which hurt when touched.  This morning I am struggling with just moving my neck - typical symptom of sleeping in an awkward position to avoid the pain.  Chronic pain is difficult to deal with some days.  I try to move as much as possible to keep the lymphatic fluids moving but this morning.... not so much.  Each movement from the time I got out of bed to now is painful.  My kitty is trying desperately to get into my lap but a quick no and he moves off in search of another comfy spot - it is only 5:30 am.  I would love to go back to bed but I do not want to wake up Max...I will lay down on the couch and close my eyes for a while.

Thank goodness for Dr. Laura Gravelle who has helped me immeasurably today with the pain.  I can now move my neck and i am comfortable too now that the medicine has kicked in.  Her offices are now at 350 Oxford St. West.

Personal health care has to involve mental/emotional, physical and spiritual.  The oncologists just address the physicality of the cancer.  I am a strong woman physically and emotionally - I am pragmatic and have faced every part of my illness head on.  I do my research and am diligent about pursuing what I need while learning to advocate for myself every step of the way.  With the recent call from the hospital fund raising venture to expand the chemotherapy suite.... I am now convinced that cancer is on the rise and with the loss of two friends while on chemo.... I am sure we have not come any further in our approach to cancer treatments.   We are not addressing the causes of cancer and the constant fund raising into the billions has not brought us any closer to finding a cure... only a bandaid approach to this insidious illness.

Proper health has to start with proper eating.  Everything we put into our body has to be used to heal and assist in proper physical maintenance. Our bodies are incredible and with the necessary ingredients, it can heal itself.  Reducing stress every day and maintaining a positive attitude is key in starting the healing process.  Find hobbies and passions to create an excitement for living and a distraction from concentrating our thoughts on our illness.  Make future plans and strive to find goals that bring you personal satisfaction.  Read labels - better yet.... don't buy anything that has a label containing a long list of ingredients that look like a chemistry set.  My rye bread has three ingredients, none of which are preservatives.  Your skin is your largest organ.  Keep it clean and healthy but being aware of what you are putting on it.  Protect your skin from damage and infections.  Make decisions that make sense.
In the news this week:
ALS bucket challenge has hit most of my friends and I am grateful I have as yet, not been challenged...cold water would put me into painful spasms and I cannot afford to donate at this point.  I understand that a majority of the money raised is going to administration fees and wages.  It is getting harder to find charities that are not fundraising for incomes, marketing and administration.

Tim Hortons merger with Burger King - I sold my stock off at an inflated price and made a good return.  I have re-invested my earnings.  Today the stock is dropping.....which makes me feel way better about selling a stock.  Timing is everything.

My blog on Metastatic cancer - I was asked to post a link about the benefit of MRI's on a post I wrote 10 months ago.  I do not subscribe to mammograms or the hype about how many lives they are saving.  It is an x-ray and may actually do more harm than good.  I was told to have them as part of my  radiation trial in 2010.  Within weeks I had more mammograms than the average 65 year old.  When the radiation treatment failed... I was able to decline all future mammograms.  I chose instead to use MRI or ultrasound.  

Today we say goodbye to another of our World Vision Children because the community in which Isaiah lives in Nadowli, Chad, Africa is considered self sufficient.  We have been given another opportunity to support a new child named Demba from Mauritania.  We have a choice to either consider another child or to not support this one.  We have chosen to keep this one and still maintain our other child Diana in South Central America.  It is heartening when we see a community be able to stand on their own!!!