Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Beginning....

The beginning

In March of 2004 I quit smoking. After coughing for a few months and not feeling well, I finally went to the doctor and we started the process of elimination for my coughing. An x-ray was done in June which did not show anything. Thinking it may be asthma, I put on a number of different inhalers, when that didn't work, I was sent to be checked for allergies, then in October another chest x-ray, again this was clear. To rule out asthma, a visit for a lung capacity test. This came back normal. Then I was really sick around Christmas of 2004. In January, back to the doctor and another chest x-ray. This showed pneumonia so was put on antibiotics for 10 days. Back to the doctor early February and another round of antibiotics and another chest x-ray. This x-ray was still showing the pneumonia signs, so was scheduled for a CT scan to get a better picture of what was going on. Looking back I think the doctor suspected cancer. CT scan was done in April and received the results - lung cancer, a tumor in the lower right lung about 4 cm in diameter. Next step would be the biopsy to confirm and find out the type of cancer. The actual biopsy did not take place until June 13th. It was very frustrating, the time it took for this whole process. I did start writing on May 15th and I will follow with excerpts of that writing to bring this up to date.

May 15, 2005 - waiting

One more week and we will know how far this cancer has gone and the next steps are. (note: as you can see previously, it took much longer than a week!). It is like a dream, not real. When will it really hit me? Everything feels like it is on hold, nothing can be planned until we know.

May 16, 2005

Today was tough at work. Everyone preparing for me to leave and for this week to be my last week. It is hard to let go as I love my job. To give up the control is tough. It is hard to concentrate though. I'm finding it is taking a long time to do different tasks that should come easily.

I'm starting to wonder how you approach life if you know you have a short time to live. If it's a couple of years, I would like to do some things. If it's longer, do you just continue on as if every thing was normal? Part of me says yes, just live life as best you can.

May 17, 2005

Time is going so slow. I had to let my girlfriend in Sylvan Lake, Pam, know by email and she called me crying. Bless her! She's a wonderful friend. Getting prepared for my last days of work. That has been hard.

May 24, 2005

Received the news today. Advanced Lung Cancer. Surgery is not an option. This means maybe 2 years??

May 25, 2005

Love my family. It was so nice to have them around me yesterday. Wasn't easy to give them the news though.

Struggling on the house and weather we should sell it or not. Maybe not, Michael needs a place to be to feel like home. When he's ready he can move, sell it, do what is right for him.

May 26, 2005

Just went through my closets. It is amazing the junk in there. Funny what you keep.

I feel like I need to get everything in order fast. Then I can relax and do some things for me.

The money is bothering me. I want everything paid and clear so that spending money isn't an issue.

Bob gave me some advice and I wish I could follow it. Just to practical I guess. I want to leave everyone in the best shape possible.

It's a beautiful day today. Sun is shining and the sky is blue. Sitting out here with Shadow soaking it all up.

Wish I could get the biopsy over with so I have a better idea where we stand. If I have 2 years to go I may go back to work or I will have to decide what I want to do for those 2 years. Can't just sit around the house. Would still like to just take off and travel. Make some memories for Michael. See some things for me.

So much to say and not the words to express it all..............

May 31, 2005

Been a few days since I've written. Found out the biopsy isn't until June 13th so I've booked Michael and I a flight to Toronto next week. I'm so excited. It will be our honeymoon, going for 2 nights at Niagara Falls. Will get to see Chris play and will get to see Michael with all his grandkids. That will be so wonderful.

Keeping my hope up pretty good. Getting baptized this Sunday. Will have everyone there that are special to me.

June 3, 2005

Two more days and we are off to Niagara Falls. So excited. I think we will have a wonderful time. It will be so nice to have our time alone too. The honeymoon we never had. :)

I am anxious to get the biopsy done and the trip will make the time go faster.

Getting baptized on Sunday. I want to open my heart to the Lord and trust that he will be with me through this journey and show me the good that will come of all of this.

So many wonderful people in my life. I've been truly blessed.

June 6, 2005

We made it! We are in Niagara Falls.

The flight went really fast. We had some trouble getting to our room in Toronto but finally found it. Then we got to the falls today and I had booked the room for 1 night - The night before! Luckily they had rooms available and we were able to get in.

We drove around today and went to the wax museum and Ripley's Believe it or Not. (a little cheesy) Then to the Casino of course. Michael won 300.00 right off so we had our gambling money.

It's 12:30 am and time for bed - a big day tomorrow.

June 7, 2005

posted by Penny | 9:18 AM

June 12, 2005

Had a wonderful time. Was the best vacation ever.

The jam session on Wednesday night proved to be everything I expected and then some.

We really enjoyed our time with Chris, Amanda, Conner and Hannah. Meeting Jeff, Sara and the kids was great!

I just can't express how good it all was. I cried on Saturday, leaving Chris' house. We will miss them lots. I felt like this might be the last time I see them.

Jeff and Sara said they would love to come out here which would be great.

Tomorrow is biopsy day. Back to reality now. I am anxious to know where I stand. This is going to be another long week, waiting on the results and then waiting to see when chemo will start. Michael has been so wonderful through this all. Such a sweetheart. I love him so much!

June 15, 2005

Hope to hear from the doctor tomorrow. This has been the worst as we are living in the unknown - just getting through day by day.

June 23, 2005

Still no news. Sometimes the waiting gets to be to much and we both breakdown.

I went to my family doctor today and she said this isn't abnormal. She also checked my lung capacity and it is now at 50% of normal. That has dropped a lot since my lung test in Feb where it was normal.

It seems already things are progressing quickly. Not only the lung capacity but my coughing is getting worse and it's almost all the time now. I don't get the 3 or 4 hour breaks from it like I did a couple of months ago.

Guess we'll be waiting now until next week to hear anything. Again, Michael as been so great and been my strength through all of this.

June 24, 2005

The doctor finally called at 6:15pm and gave the news - SMALL CELL LUNG CANCER. This is the one that spreads very quickly and the one we were hoping I wouldn't have. One good thing is that it can be more responsive to treatment if caught early enough. However, if it's not, it will usually spread quickly and I'll be lucky to have 6 months.

So now I'm scared, really scared as I just know my body and I believe that it has spread and I really don't want to die. I'm feeling very alone right now. That's the worst part - being alone in this. No one really understand how this all feels. I try so hard to stay positive but it's hard at times. I'm not going to see those grandkids grow up. Kylie isn't even going to remember who I am and Neressa will only have vague memories. I love them so much and want all the best for them. I want to see them grow to beautiful women.

Today is a bad day........

June 27, 2005

Now it all begins. Received the news - my first visit at the Cross will be Wednesday at 9:00 am.

And let the cure begin...........

June 28, 2005

A little scared about what is to come. I pray that I will stay strong and that we can beat this thing. Scared about how bad the chemo will affect me. I guess that is normal though.

Had lunch with Vince, Donna and Fran today. I'm so lucky that I have wonderful people that I work with. They have been so supportive!

July 5, 2005

Tomorrow is the big day. I'm not too worried. Just a little anxious about what the chemo will make me feel like. I'm wanting this to get started though as I know it's the only way to the kill the cancer. I have wondered a lot over the last on why I got this disease. I hope the Lord will show me one day as I would love to give this cup away. I can't so I'm going to do my best to fight this and to keep positive. I need to stick around for Michael, my children, grandchildren and family. I need to see some things happen yet that are important. I want to see Michael in a good space, Tanya getting settled and succeeding in her life - she's on her way, Pete to find what will make him happy, Petra moved and doing what she loves to do, Neressa and Kylie grow up and go through all the stages.........

July 13, 2005

Well, the chemo through me for a loop. I never thought I would be as sick as I was. Saturday and Sunday were really bad. Monday a little better but not great. Tuesday was a lot better and today even better yet. Still tired a little nauseous but that's it. I just wasn't prepared for how terrible I would feel and so quickly. Still waiting for hear when the next CT scan is. That will determine whether I take anymore treatments or not.

I was sure ready to give up on the weekend but getting back to my resolve again and as Michael said "If it's only 3 days of being sick then it's worth it." It's not just being sick though. It's the isolation that you are forced into when your immune system is so low. So much time wasted that you can't do a lot with.

Tomorrow will be better yet...........

July 14, 2005

Bad news - mets were found in the rib - no radiation - no cure - maybe 6 months?

To do:
Hot Air Ballon
Family vacation
Video for Kylie and Neressa

July 20, 2005

Talked to the oncologist today and he wants me to continue with chemo. Without it I'd have a few months at most. With it, maybe a year. He said the quality of life is also better.

I'm scared to hear how bad it will be near the end. Everything I've read says it goes to the brain. I don't think the end is easy.

July 24, 2005

Today was the day we shaved my hair off. Had some fun with it and it wasn't to bad. I think I will take a razor to it though as it looks really patchy.

Not looking forward to the chemo this week. We see the onc on Tuesday and see what he has to say. Ask lots of questions and hopefully will know exactly where we stand with all of this.

July 27, 2005

Had to put chemo off for a week, white blood count still to low. I hope that I'm okay for our vacation with Chris and Amanda. I'm getting tired of sitting at home all the time yet finding it hard to do things. The day just goes by without me really doing anything. That is so scary as I have few days to waste.

Michael talked to me about selling the house and I just don't think I can do that. I want to die in this home that we created together. We've made it ours and I love it. It is part of our life together.

August 8, 2005

What a rough go. I hate this with a passion. I'm so tempted to stop the treatments but I know that is impossible.

Sept 22, 2005

Changed my chemo to carboplatin from cisplatin and it was so much better. Go for my last treatment next week and onto a trial.

We sold our house and I am so mixed about it. It was so special to me as we worked so hard to make our home. Michael did such a great job on the yard. Real made it look like a park - we loved sitting back there.

Makes me sad to leave it. I hope that we can buy something else in 6 months so that hubby has a home and we some time together in it. I love him so much. Even grumpy Michael is a sweetheart! :)

October 12, 2005

Having mixed feelings about the chemo being over. It means we have done all that we can do and now the cancer will just take it's course. Nothing left to fight it with except prayer.

Leaving for Vegas this Saturday. That will be fun. Then will have to wait for other trips as the trial will be keeping me at home for a couple of months. That is also frustrating as time is just way to short.

Oct 19, 2005

Never made Vegas. Ended up with a fever Friday night and admitted to the hospital. Probably a blessing - better to be sick here rather than in Vegas.

Feeling very alone these days. Seems everyone has a way to escape and I'm just here.

Not sure how to handle it, life is just so short. Damn!! I wish this would just go away...........

Oct 28, 2005

Had lunch with Crystal today. It was so nice to chat with her. I want to do something for her as I think she needs some pampering. Will have to think about it.........

November 1, 2005

Had a CT scan last week and a bone scan yesterday. The CT scan did show that the original tumor has decreased in size to about 50% or original. No sign of cancer in the brain. That is good!

So what now I asked. He said it takes 2 - 6 months for the tumor to start growing again and, because I"m on the trial, I will be monitored very closely. When it starts affecting my breathing they will do radiation to help in that regard but to really just take things one day at a time. It's funny, that is really hard to do! Seems like I want to know the future. Hmmm, don't us all? :)

The coughing that I've been experiencing lately is probably a virus (maybe that's what landed me in the hospital) as there is nothing on the scan that would say it's caused from the cancer. I've been having some trouble walking and he said that is probably from the chemo and should get better as time goes on.

I have to go back to the Cross tomorrow for more blood tests for the trial and a bone scan. I will pick up the trial drug on Friday and start taking it on Monday. I need to go for tests 4 hours after I take it and then again 7 days later, after that it will be every two weeks for 12 weeks and then every 12 weeks after that, depending on test results, etc. The trial nurse said they should have the complete results of the CT scan and the bone scan next Monday so, once again, I wait for that. I'm hoping that I can get actual copies of the tests then.

Bottom line is, I guess, I continue to live with cancer and trust that I'll see the summer! Feeling good and they don't expect that to change for a couple of months anyway, maybe longer.

For those "inquiring" minds, the trial I am on is called NCIC BR20 and the drug is called ZD6474. (in case you would like to look it up). What they say it does is stops the formation of new blood vessels which means the cancer has nothing to feed on and so, slows down the growth of the cancer. I will not know if I am taking the real thing or the placebo. The side effects are pretty minimal and the oncologist said he often can't tell which his patients are on due to that.

One thing he did mention was that the Cross Cancer Institute is one of the leading centers for trial testing and thus we have access to some of the best treatments, doctors, etc. I'm very lucky to be living here and to be receiving treatment at the Cross.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

This brings me to today.........

Going for lunch with Jodee and Lori today. Looking forward to that. We always have a nice visit.

Last night was tough, it's funny how those bad days sneak up on you. Not sure where they come from. Just feeling like there really are no answers and time is just one day. Sure is tough living one day at a time. I never realized that before.

I guess none of us really know if today is the last day so we should all live as if it is. There are so many people in my life that mean the world to me, I trust they all know who they are. Some even are so distant but have expressed their caring for me since all this started. Each and everyone should know how much I love them for that and thank them for being in my life in one way or another, be it in a small way or a large part of it. It is all very special to me.

Still struggling on what to do, should I go back to work? I think that I could certainly help them out for a bit until things start getting tough again health wise but that would limit some of the traveling we want to do. Michael talked about just taking off again and driving....... is this the time to do that? Maybe it is as we don't know how quickly the cancer will come back....... maybe now is the time for him to take off work and we just go, fly home for Christmas, or be back for Christmas........ have to think on this one some more.........

Smiling today, it's a good day :)

November 4, 2005

I spoke with the trial nurse tonight, she called me at home to let me know that the actual report from the CT scan came in and basically things are stable from my first scan done at the Cross. They don't count the original scan at it was done at a hospital and she said it depends how they slice the scan on the measurements they get. So, the first CT scan I received from the cross, the original tumor in the lower right lung measured 3.3 X 3.2 cm (The hospital measured it at 4.8 X 4.7 but the Cross was after one chemo treatment), there were two lymph nodes on the right side and one on the left - measuring 1.1 cm approx each.
Now the original site is measuring 3.1 X 3.1 and the lymph nodes have not changed. So she said this is all a good thing - that at least it is stable and hasn't grown any. Me, I was hoping they would be gone. But, I look at it this way, without the chemo I'd probably be dead right now so the chemo has made me feel good and given me time.

Should have the bone scan report on Monday.

I think we'll talk about what we want to do over the next couple of months while we are in Vegas. Maybe make some decisions then.

I had a wonderful time with Fran today. She is such a wonderful friend. Love how she emails me every day, even if it's just to say hi. That is one thing about not working, I like that I'm not her supervisor any more, I'm just her friend. Much nicer that way.

Had a couple of coughing episodes today which were like they were before chemo started. Makes me wonder about the "cold" thing and if it's the cancer still. Especially since the tumor really hasn't shrunk all the much.

Oh well, feeling good, getting more energy, still hard to walk but hope that gets better over the next month.

A great day today!! :)

November 6, 2005

Been a nice weekend! Spent some time with Tanya and the girls. Took the girls shopping and we had a ball. Kylie was so cute, "I want it on" she said about anything that we bought her. Kept give Neressa hugs and kisses. You can sure tell she misses her.

I feel so good about Tanya, I think she's found what she should be doing and will do really well at it. That gives me a sense of peace. Might be a bit tough this time of year to get started because of Christmas and all but she'll do well, I just know it.

Had dinner at Mike and Fran's last night. Really enjoyed that also. There were some others from Michaels work and it was nice chatting with them and getting to know a few more. Looking forward to the Christmas party. Will really be the first time that I'll get to meet everyone that he works with. Fran had cake and a present for Michael for his birthday. She always thinks of everything. :)

Had some good news yesterday too, my LTD was approved! That is a relief, that's for sure.

My coughing is getting worse and I"m trying not to focus on that but it's hard not to. I still can't believe that the oncologist thinks it's just a cold. This is not a cold cough.

Two more nights and we are off to Vegas. Whoo hoo!! We stopped by the casino on the way home and Michael won just over a thousand dollars so hopefully that's a sign about things to come.

I'm thinking it would be nice to make a trip to Ontario before Christmas too. If there is some time between Christmas parties, etc, maybe we'll do that. Deliver the grandkids presents in person.

Had a call from Lori. I sure miss her. Wish we had of had more time together over the years. I'm so glad that we are now in touch again. It's so good to talk to her. She is a kind spirit.

Think I"ll try Linda's treadmill next time we are out there. I'm thinking some good walking each day might help the neuropathy get better faster. I'll see how much I can do on that thing before we invest in something like that.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Had some good news today. The bone scan does not show any mets to the bone. A couple of suspicious areas but nothing confirmed. The Trial nurse said those areas could be anything and usually, when there are mets to the bone, the report will be very specific about that.

Anxious to get off to Vegas! Will be nice to leave reality for a while. :) Somehow it's easier to forget about everything when you are away from home.

Hair is starting grow back, pretty soon it will be long enough that I'll feel okay about not wearing a hat. Already, it's become easier to do that but then I think it's just cause I'm used to it and I really don't think about not having hair anymore. Lots of grey though. hehehe Will definitely have to start dying it again soon. Can't admit that I'm old enough for grey hair, now can I! :)

Hoping to make a trip to Toronto in December. Go see Aaron and Hooligans Holiday live and also deliver the Christmas presents for Michael's grandkids. That will be a nice side trip for December I think.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Just returned from Vegas and though we had a great time it sure opened my eyes to a couple of things.

First, Vegas was great. We spent way to much money, but didn't worry about it. Well, I lied, I did worry a little but that's just me, to practical not to worry. I did want to go there and spend what we wanted, when we wanted and that's pretty much what we did so I'm not going to complain. The hotels were amazing and that alone was well worth the trip. See all of that.

That does bring me to what I learned. I had a very hard time walking through the trip and we did so much of that. By the time Thursday came around I had a horrible time to walk from our room to the casino. Was really tough. Made me re-think about our other travel plans. Not sure that I would be able to do the touring that we wanted to do. That is scary already. I wasn't expecting that at all. I'm not sure if the walking has to do with the neuropathy or the weight gain or maybe a little of both. What I did find was that my feet and the bottom half of my legs were hurting a lot. Actually at some points it was painful. I was way to proud to stop which didn't help. Michael suggested renting a little scooter for me and I said no. I was to young to be riding one of those. Big mistake. I probably would of enjoyed the last 2 days a lot more if I had of done that. My feet and ankles are now very swollen and that has be a bit concerned. I will see what the nurse has to say about it all on Monday when I go in for the next blood tests and ECG. It could very well be something that will get better as I move further away from the last chemo treatment. I'm hoping so.

The coughing is really causing me concern. It seems like history repeating itself. Slowly getting worse and more often as time goes on. I remember this happening at work while we were trying to determine what was causing it. Seems to be taking the same course as before. I do have periods of relief yet, can go 3 or 4 hours without coughing then it starts and can continue off and on for an hour or so. I really feel this is not a "cold" cough as the doctor might of thought. It's lasting way to long and is so much like the cough I used to have.

Did cough up some blood while we away also. This was more in the mornings and didn't happen later in the day when I coughed. Will have to be sure to talk to them about that also. That can be scary.

I think I was determined that I would be symptom free for at least a couple of months and hopefully more. Doesn't look that way now. Though I do feel better than before the start of the chemo treatments so I am grateful for that.

It sure is good to be home! :)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Woke up with a fever of 38.5 C at 9:30. Wonder where that came from? My feet, legs and hands are really sore also and everything aches. I guess that's all part of the fever.

I was at the Cross today and asked about coughing up blood and my hands and feel swelling. The nurse didn't seem too concerned. She said to watch it over the next week. I go back next Monday. We'll see how things are then.

I'm hoping that I feel better in the morning. I was so looking forward to having breakfast with Val. If not, maybe she will come here to visit.

There are days when I feel like I can't give enough of myself. That my husband, sisters, parents, children don't realize how much they mean to me. They have all been so good with this. Living as normal as possible as I asked them to do. I know sometimes that can't be an easy task. It does make it much easier for me though. I love to see them all continue through life and I get to watch it all. It's very precious to me. Bless them!!

Michael has been talking more and more about taking time off work. I don't want him to do it yet as I really think he should wait until I need him to be off. Not sure how much traveling I can do so there is no sense in taking the time off. His work has been so good to him. We don't want to push it either. Wait and see how things are after Christmas.

The tylonol must be working so maybe I should go and get some sleep while I can.

Had a nice visit with Mom and Dad today. Will have to remember to set a date for a mom and Penny day! :)

To Neressa and Kylie

Dear Neressa and Kylie

I want to give this to you so that you will always know how much I love you both. You are my favorite girls in the whole world! *hugs*

I will have to leave you one day soon. Most people will die when they get really really old. Some people are very special however and God asks them to come live with him and Jesus early. That is what God has asked of me. My spirit, the part of me that loves and shows caring and kindness, the part inside that you can't see but you can feel, this spirit will leave my body and go live with Jesus. But know this, my spirit will also wrap around you both like a warm cuddly blanket, forever. So I will always be with you. You will feel my spirit close to you.

I hope that you both always follow your dreams, do well in school, work hard, and everything you do, do it the best that you can. This will help you to make your dreams come true. Grandma will be there with you through the hard times and the good times. Never give up. Always be true to yourself. Love deeply, play lots, work hard, be kind and generous in all that you do. Never lose that child spirit inside of you.
I love you both so very very much!!

Love Grandma

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Feeling much better today. Looking forward to going for Lunch with JoDee. Had a nice visit with Val yesterday. She came over and spent the whole morning. It was nice to have that time with her and to get caught up. A shame how we get wrapped up in our lives and don't make the time to get together with people who are important to us. Just so much time in a day I guess.

The swelling in my hands and feet are going down. Coughing is starting to wake me up at night but no more blood so I guess it wasn't anything to worry about.

Will start to do some Christmas shopping next week I think. This Christmas is going to be great! It will be so nice to have Petra with us. I'm so looking forward to that. It will be the best Christmas ever.

Neressa is coming today to spend the night. I look forward to the time I get with her and Kylie. They are so much fun and so easy to look after. Neressa is such a sweetheart and so bright and mature for her age. So much like her dad too in a lot of ways but I also see her mom in her. She will be a handful in the years to come I think. :)

Randy and Rodney are going to come for a visit today. Been a long long time since I've seen them, probably 15 years at least. It's too bad it takes something like this to keep in touch with family but it's sure better than never. Looking forward to the visit.

Good things are happening all over! Petra is off to Paris and could be getting a job there. Also has a possibility for a job in Quebec or the US. Would be nice to get her closer. Tanya's doing well with the insurance business and working on a plan for a clothing line. Pete is going to work on the rigs for a while, make some money before they move to Victoria. I have hope that I will get to see all of them on the path that will make them happy yet! That is the one thing that I want to see happen more than anything. For the three of them to be happy with where they are going.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Another night with no sleep. Well not much. Going to have to find something that will help this cough. Maybe take a sleeping pill tomorrow night, hope that might get me through the night. Back is hurting from coughing.

Speaking of back hurting, I had a wonderful massage today and am booked to go again next Wednesday. She concentrated on my lower back and my legs and feet. I'm hoping that it will help those areas.

Have Neressa here tonight. She asked me so many times if I was okay after I had a bit of a coughing spell. Such a little sweetheart. Made me cry as I didn't want her to have to see me go through that. She said, "Grandma, I think the cancer is worse". I told her that that was how the cancer was, it was going to get worse and we would just do our best with it. She then said, "My bear's battery is still working. I only listen to him just before I go to bed at night." That brought tears to my eyes and she said, Why are you crying Grandma? Told her they were tears of joy cause I loved her so much. Children, aren't they just the best! Can't help but bring joy into our lives. :)

This blog was a wonderful idea, if nothing else, give me something to do at 1 o'clock in the morning. hehehe................

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Coughing is still bad but the sleeping pills help me sleep through the night. Not taking them every night. Last night I woke up at 12:30 and was only awake for an hour before going back to sleep so I can live with that.

Had a nice visit with Randy. Sorry Rod couldn't make it. Randy is such a darling, brought me a wonderful bouquet of flowers too. :)

I'm really thinking that I'm getting the placebo and not the real drug. No side effects that I can see and I would think I would get something. Even the most common side effect of dry skin hasn't happened.

Not much to say, life is good :)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Went to see "Rock, Pop and Doo Wop" on the weekend at the Mayfield Dinner Theatre. That was great! We really got a kick out of hearing "One eyed, One horned, Flying Purple People Eater". hehehehehe Brought back memories. The whole show was great. Even Michael enjoyed it and he thought he would just tolerate it for me. :) Played, sang and danced to the music of the fifties and early sixties.

Tanya, Jesse and Kylie stopped by today on their way home. Jesse is looking good and it was nice to see him. Looking forward to having them all back here soon to live! It's nice to see them as a family.

Pete is off to work on the rigs tomorrow. For now, he'll be gone a week but then they'll let him know from there what will happen. 21 days working and 7 days off. I pray he enjoys it and it works out for him! Julie too. I hope she won't be a stranger while he's gone. She's such a special person. I couldn't ask for a nicer daughter-in-law.

Petra may have work in France which will be so nice for her. I'm hoping that her company will have something for her in Quebec when she's here for Christmas. That way we can go visit her on long weekend trips too! Will bring her that much closer.

Was reading a post on a news group that I belong to and it really hit home. A girls father who has lung cancer and having a hard time breathing. I want to know these things but it is also hard to hear them too. Tells me what I'll be facing down the road.

The thought of dying soon doesn't scare me in the least. I have a few tears in knowing that I won't see Neressa and Kylie grow up and tears for my children, family, Michael and friends that I know will be hurting once I go. I wish that I wouldn't be doing that to them. That is what hurts me the most. Not the idea or fact of facing death but knowing that I will be hurting those left behind. It seems I've always worried about hurting others and now I will hurt them in the worst possible way. Somehow I wish I could stop that part of all of this. I pray that they will all have the peace in knowing that I will still be with them. I don't pray for healing but for the lord to give them strength in my passing. Sitting here, I'm wondering, could that be wrong? Not to ask to be healed? If I did that, then there would be no hurting. My heart tells me that it's not wrong. That I should continue to pray for their strength. For some reason I believe this is my time. Why, I don't know............

November 23, 2005

Hehehehe..... this subject is a hard one to write about but I feel like it's an important part of living with Cancer and should have it's time and space here.

It's not only the Cancer that affects me, it's the treatments that have a huge impact on my feelings, both physical and mental. The chemo not only made me lose my hair, but I think it had a huge role in my weight gain and it also put me into menopause. This in turn turned off my libido. AAAKKKKK....... Between menopause and feeling unattractive, well, that's what happens.......

Wonder why I never wrote about it before but maybe it was just to "close" to put down in words. I am finding now that the hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause are starting to go away as I get further further away from my last chemo treatment. Maybe that means I will also get back my sex drive. Whoopee!!!! It's so hard to believe that my last treatment was almost 2 months ago now.

I asked some questions from a great source (a wonderful person known as "J") and found out that the chemo can cause this and a lot of cancer patients go through this, both male and female so it's not uncommon. Not only does the chemo cause these types of things but the mental aspect of having Cancer and the physical effects of both the Cancer and chemo can create all kinds of issues.

People say I shouldn't worry about the weight gain, but hey, give me a break, now many women do I know that don't worry about gaining weight. Having Cancer doesn't change that. hehehehe
I do tell myself that it can help down the road as things progressively get worse but those are just empty words. It still sucks getting fat.

Anyway, there is hope for me yet. *wicked grin*

November 26, 2005

Been a good week! Had a morning to spend with Donna. Went and received a pedicure and reflexology on Thursday. That really helped my neuropathy, though the walking is still an issue, the swelling came down a lot.

Went to Connect's Christmas party last night. It was nice to see everyone. I sure do miss the place!

Off to see Shadow today. Sounds like she is right at home now and has become the "boss" dog around there. Makes taking her there so much easier. I think I've gotten used to her being there now. Sure took a long time. Felt like I was going through "empty nest syndrome" all over again.

Spent Thursday night and Friday with Trish. Wish we could do more of that. It was so nice to have her here. Miss her lots!

Next CT scan is on Friday, with the results in on the following Tuesday. I think this one will tell how fast the cancer might be coming back. Anxious to see if there are any changes.

December 1, 2005 #2

I had some very wonderful questions asked of me today from a very special person. I believe that the questions are something that a lot of people want answers to but are afraid to ask so I've decided to post the questions and my replies, with some changes and additions to my original answers. Maybe someone else has answers for their situation that would like to comment also :)

How does it really feel, this process, I mean it is a dying process?

I feel different from day to day. Some days I really feel like the process has started. Other days I feel like I still have a lot of time, that the doctor's are wrong and I'll be here for Christmas 2006. Michael has helped so much on the day to day battles. He just seems to know when to say the things that need saying, when to joke, when to be loving and when to be strong. That helps a lot. For the most part, the process has started, though slowly, I do see signs everyday.

Do you feel like you are releasing things and your body is just saying okay I cannot function any more its time to move to the next plane so to speak?

It's beginning to feel that way. I was on the floor last night, wrapping some presents, wanted to get up and hurt so bad I couldn't get up. Started crying. Felt like, I'm already losing some simple things. One thing I think that helps is that I never was a "physical" person. I wasn't into sports or exercising, that kind of thing. Just did what I absolutely had to do. So losing some of that isn't so bad. I've always worked with my mind rather than my body. Just don't want to lose my independence to quickly here and I feel it happening.

I am not a church going person but I do have a great faith in God and for me, it is through Jesus, though I really believe that God is here in all ways because there are so many different people he needs to be to reach all. Some people believe in God through Jesus, some through Buddha, some through Mohammad, some through a higher power, some as "good orderly direction" or what every it might be for them. I think my Christian friends and family might have a concern about this but my true feeling about God is that he is someone who is all loving and will not forsake anyone due to the name of the person they believe as God. God is God, by whatever name you know him as. What ever the faith, it is what keeps me strong, my belief in God through Jesus. I just can't believe that this is it. There is more out there and I will have my job to do once I get there. I'll be someone's guardian angel along the way.

I hope you don't mind me asking but I am curious. How you handle it emotionally and mentally when you are fine but your body just cannot function.

It is so frustrating and I try not to complain. Just deal with it and do the best I can. The hard part hasn't even begun to happen yet. I'm really hoping that I don't get a lot of pain but most of what I've read, it's almost unavoidable. As long as I can deal with things without drugs, I would say I'm doing well.

For the most part I just do my best and try not to dwell on it. Look at the good things that I have, the wonderful people around me and the fun that's yet to come. A special person in the news group I belong to said her and husband (who passed away with Cancer recently) used to make some special plans so that her husband had something to look forward to. It kept his spirits up and the pain a little easier to take. So I do the same thing, the trip to Toronto is one, then Petra coming is another, Boxing Day, I'm so excited to have Petra there with us I can hardly stand it. hehehehe. To have all three of my children home together is the best gift in the world! Then the dinner theatre, Cuba in January...... those are the things that keep me smiling. Each time I see Neressa and Kylie, it brings me joy. Lots of things to smile about so I do a lot of smiling.

Do you feel like you have done what you needed to do here???

Not quite. I think there are a few things that I still need to see, not really do, but to see. Most of all, to see Petra, Tanya, Pete, Paula and Pam in a direction that will bring their dreams come true. I'd like to see Trish and Dave get back together but for the most part she's got things together and is doing well. Though, I really feel like Dave will be in her life one day. (He says they made a deal, marriage when they are 75. Afraid I can't wait that long! hehehe)

The hardest part would be to leave knowing that Petra, Tanya and Pete hadn't found that peace in life. I was so lucky, I found it early, or at least it feels like I've had it for a long time and I want all of them to have the same so much. I wish I could do more to help in that journey but it's gotta come from each of them in their time and in their way. I just so want to see the beginning of that journey. I also feel that part of what I need to do here is happening along the way, a journey of doing what needs to be done right to the end. That sharing in this journey of mine through this blog, through the people around me, that in some way I'll make a difference to someone's life. Once that is complete, then my time will have come........

December 1, 2005

Rough night last night, well every night is rough these days.

Took a sleeping pill and I still woke up about 4 or 5 times through the night. the first time was at 11:30 from coughing. All the other times, I just woke up and tried to turn over. That would hurt so it would wake me more. I seems the part of my skin that isn't on the mattress will hurt when I try to move the way I'm laying. Not even sure it's the skin, feels more than that. My feet, legs, knees, hips, hands, and arms are all hurting. Wonder if it's part of the neuropathy or could it be bone cancer? The last bone scan showed pretty clear so I'd be surprised if it's bone cancer this quickly. That scan was a couple of months ago.

All my Christmas shopping is done, mostly wrapped and I also got to spend time with Jesse and Kylie yesterday. We had fun. Kylie says "I want my mommy grandma" :) She is so amazing, how well she talking and expressing herself.

I was thinking of Matt and Devon last night, about how proud I am of the way they have become young men. I'll have to remember to tell them. They both have made achievements that they should be proud of. Have to be sure they know how much I love them and am proud of who they have become.

December 2, 2005

I received a letter today from a cousin that touched my heart. Meant a lot to me, the words she wrote and I'll be sure to let her know. Actually said I was an inspiration to her. I've heard that a few times lately and it is one thing that brings me one of those smiles to my face. That is what I hope to achieve in sharing this road I'm on, that I can make a difference to people in some small way.

I understand that sometimes it is hard to know what to say to someone in my position and often that stops people from saying anything. I want people to know that there is no "wrong" thing to say. That they should not worry about hurting me or upsetting me. We all deal with illness, death and also wellness and living, in our own ways. There is no right or wrong. There is just doing the best we can in our own ways. That's what is important to me, that I do my best each day, love the best, work the best, play the best, rest the best..... whatever I do, do it to the best of my ability and as I grow my ability grows with me and my best becomes better........

hmmmm, now where did that come from??????? hehehehe

Amazing what comes out of my fingers sometimes, amazes me to no end. *giggle*

December 6, 2005

Received some bad news today though I wasn't surprised. The coughing was getting as bad as before I starting chemo treatments so this came as no surprise to me.

The original cancer site has doubled in size from the last CT scan a month ago. The oncologist has taken me off of the trial. I will be getting some radiation to try to kill enough of the cancer to stop the coughing. 5 days of radiation, probably just before Christmas. My appointment with the RO is Dec 16th unless they can get me in before we leave for Toronto on Thursday, this week.

Once the cancer starts growing this fast it usually spreads to the brain. Once there, it's a matter of a short time period. The oncologist wouldn't give me a time frame but he said if I was going away in January to be sure to get cancellation insurance and strongly suggested we would not be able to go. I think we are now looking at a month or two at the most. My next appointment with the oncologist is January 10th.

He has stopped the trial drug also as there is no point. Going forward anything that they do will be strictly to give me a better quality of life for as long as they can. Said the joint pain was a symptom of the cancer. He gave us a name but I can't remember what it was.

Even expecting this, getting this news was tough. We (Michael and I) thought we were very prepared for this but it just doesn't seem real, though we know, somehow you think, maybe, just maybe........

So now, I focus on Christmas. It will be the best Christmas ever! :)

One day at a time..........

Anonymous said...

I lurk in and I am so sorry and wanted you to know that I have included you on my healing list.
I am also hoping that you will seek help at - or other alternative. Miracles do happen.


Anonymous said...

I think that you are very brave to blog your experience. I don't know if you have considered any alternative treatments. If you have rejected this option, then just ignore the rest of what I write and know that best wishes are sent your way.

There is a fellow by the name of Bruce Guilmette, who has put up a website documenting how he put his Stage IV renal kidney cancer in remission through various alternative and unconventional therapies. The website is: .

Another fellow by the name of Peter Gearin-Tosh, an Oxford Don, used alternative therapies to put his cancer into remission after he was given six months to live. He wrote a book, "Living Proof", about his experiences. A website with some information about him is: .

Best wishes, Heretic

Anonymous said...

Hey Penny....its Mike..Donnas better half....just wanted to say I was saddened to hear the news from Donna tonite about your test results..sat here and read thru your blog and balled my eyes out(don't you dare tell Mike...I have to keep some of my manhood intact)...I read the part about you always being worried about hurting others that you leave behind...I cant imagine what its like to be you going thru what you are going thru...I have a hard enough time being me and constantly worrying about other peoples feelings...that said, I think what you are doing here is a GREAT idea..its gives people like your family and friends access to what you are feeling..I commend you for doing it as it has touched my heart and I bow my head to you for your bravery in facing all this with a smile every time I see you. You will forever remain in my mind and heart as one of the heroes that faced cancer with a smile...because when you can do win!!!!

PS- We are still going to get a few more

December 8, 2005

So how does it feel to get the news that you have a couple months left in this world? I think a lot of people might ask that question.

To be honest, at first there were some fresh tears, but then we soon (we, meaning Michael and I) went back to just living each day as we have been. It just seems to be normal to keep things as they have always been.

I certainly wish I didn't have to have this happen to me but I think that the Lord is taking me so soon for some reason. If I didn't get this cancer, then maybe there is something down the road that is destined to happen to me, something worse than death. So this is sparing me from that fate. Is it my way of accepting this? Maybe. Is it working? Yes. So, be it true or not, does it matter? No. As long as it works for me then it is right.

I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me or to pity me in anyway. The truth be told, I truly believe that I will be in a much better place. For now, help me live life to the best that it can be. Laugh with me, maybe shed a few tears but in the the end lets laugh together and have fun.

Enough on that........... :)

We are off to Toronto tonight and I'm so excited. It will be nice to see the grandkids again. I think I have a little gypsy in me as I always like these trips. Maybe I'll come back as a gypsy instead of singer. LOL

Spent the day yesterday with Pam. We had such a nice visit. We always do though. It's so easy to talk to her. We had a few good laughs too. I have been so blessed to have such wonderful sisters. They have all become my best friends. I can't think of one thing that I don't like about them. I think we are very lucky in that way. We have a very special relationship that you don't find in all families.

Pete and Julie stopped by later in the day and we went for dinner together. I guess that is one things that has changed through all of this. I cherish every minute that I can spend with all my family and friends! Used to take it for granted, especially family. So often we accord our friends more of everything as we take our family for granted. Think that they will just be there no matter what. Be sure to give your family the same respect and caring that you give to others as, in the end, they are the ones that are there for you no matter what. :)

I think, sometimes, I do that with Michael. I take him for granted and don't give him the same amount of "time" as I do everyone else. Because he has always been close by and I know he's there for me, I can tend to take that for granted. I hope that I can show him how much he means to me over the next couple of months.

I also want to have more time with my granddaughters. Oh my......... there's that word, time. Now it feels like there just isn't enough of it. I feel this way, I can imagine what others are feeling right now. I think each and everyone of us will handle the next couple of months differently and in our own way.

I'm smiling today................

Anonymous said...

Hey Penny,

Shauna was talking about your blog today at coffee and said how it was good to "really hear" from you (from your heart).

It's difficult for me to know what to say when I see you - reading your blog helps me know how you're feeling and what you're going through.

While I may not be able to say it when I see you you do need to know that you are often on my mind and in my prayers. You really are an inspiration to everyone the way you are handling this. The end of our earthly lives is inevitable - it's just a matter of when, some sooner some later. I hope I can have as positive an impact on as many people as you have when my time comes.

I treasure the times we had together working on projects or just talking about things we both value in life.

Penny, when I read your writing it sounds just like you, especially with your little giggle! I look forward to reading your next post on your blog.

Keep smiling!! :)

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you can still find some happiness, even in these days. If God chose you, I'm sure it is so that the rest of us would have an example. I can only hope that I can be as strong when I need to.
Ol' Bob

gtosw said...

Ah, Penny. I have so many thoughts. Of course, I do not know what is beyond. I do know that although Franzi died on 18 September, he has been with me everyday and night. His body was just something he wore here on earth. I feel his presence. I feel his warmth and his love. I talk to him as I always did, and somehow there is a response. I am sure that you will be there with Michael too. And I am sure you will be together again. We cannot know how - but it will be. You are facing your fate in the same way Franzi did. He enjoyed life to the extent possible all along his journey. He never became angry or bitter. (At least not out loud!) You are and will be an onging inspiration to others. Bless you and your family.

December 13, 2005

Wow, we had an awesome time in London and St. Thomas. Of course, it's good to be home but it was also hard to leave. I kept thinking, this is it, this is the last time I will see the kids, grandkids. Was hard, especially the last day. I'm so glad that we had a short time to say goodbye because I balled my eyes out as we started driving to Toronto to catch the plane. So much easier to do that in my own space rather than getting everyone going. :)

Of course the whole trip was great, except for the problem with the police in the airport going there. hehehehe

Betcha want to know don't ya???? hehehehe

I just need to put this down in history as it is funny looking back but at the time I thought it was ridicules! Picture this; Michael has all our bags, two carry ons, two big suitcases that he is pulling. (He wouldn't let me take anything). There are 3 employees standing talking in the middle of the walkway, people are going around them on both sides, Michael knocks one of them with one of his bags without realizing it. We are standing there getting our boarding pass from the machine and this little guy comes over and says, you almost knocked me over. Michael, being tense about flying anyway, says, well you shouldn't have been standing in the middle of the walking way, next time someone will knock you over. Aaaakkkkk....... the guy leaves, next thing we know his boss is there asking Michael what the problem is. After some discussions, I asked him what it would take to resolve this and he says, "It will be resolved right now". Calls on his radio for two police officers to come. By this time, I'm thinking, we are going to miss our flight and this is crazy. Absolutely crazy. Michael said he would apologize but it wasn't good enough. So we are standing there with two policemen giving our "statement". The police officer was actually thinking this was funny I think. Anyway, he finally let us go, saying an apology wasn't necessary. I'm not sure why the employee made such an issue about it all, but looking back now, it was funny. Thank goodness we didn't miss our flight. Michael said, now wasn't that more fun than just sitting waiting for a plane? Arrgggg, "smack, smack". hehehehe

Now, we arrive in Toronto and pick up our car rental. The rental person tells us there is a storm coming in from Detroit which is following the path we need to take to get to London. Oh well, can't be that bad, right? Wrong! We are on the 401 and the further we get out of Toronto the worse it gets. You can't see the road, not 10 feet in front of you, so Michael's driving, following a trucker, and keeping close to the cement divider between the two hi-ways. I'm sitting there hanging on for dear life, trying to keep my eyes closed, praying, Lord, get us there safely, then I take it back and start getting all stressed again. I must of given it to the Lord a thousand times and taken it back each time. hehehehe We had 2 hours driving of this, finally made it to London, though I have no idea how. Those truck drivers are crazy! Michael even crazier for following them. hehehehe Anyway, we pull off the 401 and Michael's not paying attention when there is a bend in the road and he almost drove straight off it. That was too funny, after all that.

Spent the next day with Chris, Amanda, Connor and Hannah in St. Thomas. Had a great time and the sun was shining so we went out and built a snowman, which Ben, their great dane proceeded to destroy almost as soon as we had it done. Kept trying to eat the snowballs as we built it. He did eat the carrot so we had to use a stick for the nose. That evening Chris was playing with Aaron and the band so we went to watch that in London. Was so cute seeing all the 13 and 14 year olds screaming "We love you" "Chris, are you married?" Now, remember, these are 13 and 14 year old girls! hehehehe

Next day we had the day with Chris and his family again. Opened Christmas presents. The bears that we did at Build a Bear were a big hit. The look on Connor's face when he heard "Special delivey for Connor" was precious. I think Connor was waiting for the bear to hit him with a pillow. Hannah got a huge smile on her face when she heard her bunny saying her name. It was so cute!! (Next time, Turkey, right Amanda?)

That night, Chris and Aaron were playing for a Christmas party. Michael and I went and we are seated with the president and GM of the company of 600 employees. They are all dressed to the nines and here we are in our jeans. Aaron was a surprise so everyone was wondering who we were. hehehehe

Sunday was a day with Jeff, Sarah, Nicholas, Vincent and Alexis. We spent the whole day with them, getting back to the room at about 9:30 that night. Had a great visit and again the bears were a hit. Nicholas, who is 2, is such a cutey. We had so much fun with him. The twins, Vincent and Alexis have grown so much and are getting around. It's amazing how well they have done. And so different, they each have their own little personalities already. Was so hard to leave as I knew it was the last time I would see them. Jeff reminds me so much of Michael and Sarah is so nice. We had a great time!

Monday was the trip back. We went to say our goodbyes to Sarah and the kids, then to Chris' and say good bye to Amanda and the kids. Off to watch Aaron Walpole and the band perform at a high school before we made the trip back to Toronto. The sun was shining so at least the trip back was going to be okay.

Chris asked me to sign his guitar while they were waiting to get started. Now, if you know about guitars, he has a Music Man that Michael bought him on is first visit to see us a couple of years ago. This guitar is major, I mean major deal! Chris had the guitar player from Harum Scarum sign it for him (one of Chris's idles). So when he asked me to sign it, that was it, I started crying. Then I'm watching him play, he's amazing by the way, and I could see my signature every once in a while and the tears would flow again. Chris, thank you so much for giving me that feeling, a part of me that will always be there.

Of course he asked Michael to sign it too, but he had to sign the back. hehehehehe "Pops was here" will be forever on the back of that guitar now. hehehehe

Wow, this is a long post.........

As you can see, we had a great time and, though fast, was worth it all, the police, the snow storm, all of it!!

Oh, and I felt pretty good through it all, a few coughing spells, which I got through without any codeine. Going to see the radiation oncologist on Thursday and will probably have radiation to stop the cough next week.

Smiling lots!!................

December 15, 2005

Everything is set to start the radiation treatments next week. The RO said that this "should" stop or at least help with the coughing though it will probably get worse at first due to the irritation of the lung from the radiation. He feels he can shrink it enough to at least ease the coughing. The side effects are very minimal because of the area that he will be shooting the radiation at. The Esophagus will not be touched so I won't have any problems with eating. He said the biggest side effect I should see is a little fatigue. I can live with that. Be nice to get the cough looked after. He did ask me not to take anymore codeine so we can be sure it's the radiation that is doing the job. Also said the codeine will really not do anything for the cough as it doesn't effect the tumor at all. May have a bit of a hard time during Christmas as the radiation is right before that but I'll do just fine! :)

Found out the Chris and Aaron are opening for Colin James on Jan 22nd in London. As he is Paula's favorite singer, her and I are hoping Chris can get us guest passes and we can go to the concert, go back stage and meet Colin James. Of course my big thing will be to watch Chris again. He is such an amazing guitar player and I'm so proud of him! :) Really hoping I'll be okay to make that trip. We'll wait until the week before booking it to see how I'm doing.

Really want to get away with Pam and Stan too sometime in early January, weekend trips I think will be the best so Michael thought maybe somewhere where we could go golfing with them (I'll just drive the cart as my golfing practicing has come to an end. LOL). Then I thought, maybe Disneyland would be fun but that's a lot of walking........ might just do a Banff thing or something. Will have to use my imagination and see what I can come up with.

Now that I know time is so short I need to fill it up with lots of things as it just goes way to fast. Kind of bugs me to say, we'll do this later, and that later, I keep thinking how much laters do I have? Don't want to leave things until it's too late. But then I think, all that really matters is to have family close by, really don't have to be "doing things".

Going to Red Deer this weekend to spend with Tanya, Jesse, Neressa and Kylie. I want to spend as much time as I can with Neressa and Kylie. Will have some time with Trish and Pam too so that's a big bonus!

I had planned on doing a movie for Neressa and Kylie but I just can't seem to sit in front of a camera and talk. Find it so much easier to write things to them. Maybe I'll try again, just feel so self conscious doing the movie thing. Think I'll try it though, can always erase it if I don't like it, right? Yup, gotta get at that. Maybe next week.........

Still smiling....................

Anonymous said...

My God, you're brave.

I quit smoking about 8 months ago and to this day I worry about what 14 years of 2-3 packs a day has done. Especially now that I've got my 1st child on the way and that I'm married.

Your diary here will be a warning to those who still smoke... They won't listen.

It will be a warning to those who are trying to quit. They WILL listen.

You've made me think twice before taking a puff.

December 17, 2005 #2

There was a comment made on the Dec 15th entry that I would like to point out.

If this helps one person to quit smoking this all would truly be worth it! So, if you are smoking and thinking of stopping, maybe read this and think about this; the cancer I have is 98% caused by smoking. Also, small cell lung cancer is increasing.

If you have stopped smoking, then good for you!!

I quite almost 2 years ago now. Please be sure, that if you are coughing even after you have quit then see your doctor early! Insist on a CT scan if nothing shows up on x-ray.

My hats off to those who quit as I know how hard it can be...........

December 17, 2005

Had a great sleep last night. Can't remember waking up once. Sweet! :)

Had a wonderful visit with a lot of relatives on Thursday evening. Was sure nice to see them all. Been at least 15 years since I've seen some of them, maybe longer. Seems the older I get the shorter time gets.

Funny, once this coughing stops, I won't even feel like I'm sick. I think that's a good thing, makes it easier to focus on living and let everything just happen. I am finding the pain in the joints, hands and feet a little worse but that is happening slowly so it seems easy to adjust to it.

Michael will be off work right after Christmas. His company has been so good along with his direct supervisor Billy. It's amazing how many wonderful people surround us.

It seems I just can't tell people enough how much they mean to me. My family knows but do the friends around me. Fran, Pam, Donna, Crystal, Bob, David, Brian, Jodee, Lori, Robert, all wonderful friends, my cousins who have rallied around me, Lorrie, Chris, Val, my aunt Susan, Miranda, the internet people on the cancer support group who are always there. Oh boy, I just can't think of them all. Then there are the people that I worked with, Shawna, Rainor, Vince, Darlene, Dianne. Wow, how can one person be so lucky to have such a great bunch of people around them?
Smiling more than ever...........

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting your blog. It has really helped me a lot.

December 18, 2005

Just returned from Red Deer and had such a great time with Trish, Tanya, Jesse and the girls. Got to have breakfast with Pam, Kara, Trish and Devon this morning. That was so nice. Can't believe how much those two (Kara and Devon) are growing. They even got to pass for 18 today. hehehe

Just have to share this story.

I had Kylie on my lap showing me a Cinderella doll (Kylie is 2), Michael pulls out the video camera and starts shooting. Right at that moment Kylie gets all wide eyed and I'm saying, Oh Kylie, Stop, stop, are you peeing on Grandma? hehehehe She just kept going and going and going, just like the energizer bunny. hehehehe Michael got it all on video. It was priceless! Oh boy, I'm going to miss those moments!! :)

Or will I?? Probably not, but I'm thinking I will miss them. I miss the ones that I know I will miss over the years. So now, every one of those moments mean so much more! And that one was one of the best!! :)

Told Tanya to share that video with everyone on Kylie's wedding. hehehehe

Radiation starts tomorrow. I just can't stress how much I'm looking forward to easing up on the coughing. It's like I can't get started soon enough!

Don't think I could smile any harder!!..........................

December 20, 2005

Started the radiation treatment yesterday, which was a piece of cake. The RO said the coughing would get worse before it got better and that happened last night. I didnt expect it to get worse that quickly but I was up every hour coughing. Maybe that will mean it will get better faster than I expect also.

Also was a little down last night. Looking at the Christmas tree thinking, this is my last Christmas tree. Brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes it is hard thinking of "last" things. Started thinking, I'm never going to have a 50th birthday either. How many people want a 50th birthday hey? :)

So enough of that this morning. Have a full day today and that makes for a good day always.

Small smiles today.................

Saturday, December 24, 2005

December 24, 2005

Been a very rough week. I'm not sure why. Maybe a combination of things:

The radiation treatments have made me very tired, then the coughing has gotten worse which is keeping us up at night.

Michael has stopped working.

Christmas is almost here.

Getting some shooting pains in one elbow.

All these people who what to see me.

I've felt like the end is really close now and I sure don't want it to be. Been wondering why I've felt this way and I believe it is all of the above. Being tired makes it hard to keep positive. Michael not working means there is precious little time left. As long as he was working we could act as if things were pretty normal. Christmas is my favorite time of year but I tend to get a little down just before it as it goes by so fast. This year, I'm sure that is just amplified. Every pain I get, I wonder if the cancer has spread to that area. The sharp pain in the elbow is the one that comes the most often which makes me think the cancer has gone into that bone. All the people coming to visit me and/or wanting to visit brings the inevitable to the forefront. Not that I don't want them to come. I do and I am so thankful that they make that effort to come from afar to see me.

Had a weird thought the other day. I wonder if anyone has had their funeral/memorial service before they died? Was thinking, that would be so much better than after. That way I could see everyone, we could celebrate life and afterlife instead of mourning a lose. Afterwards, I could just be cremated and life would go on. Then I thought, most people need that final farewell in the grieving process. That could be a bad thing, not to have that. Then again, I'm not one to have a crowd of people focused on me so better that I'm gone before that happens! :) Otherwise I'd be a nervous wreck! hehehehe

Christmas Eve today. Hard to believe that 8 months have gone by since we first learned the news and I was told I'd be very lucky to get a year. Wow, where does a year go. The time has just flown by. If I make that year now, I will be lucky.

Thinking back to that time. I was thinking, what to do for a year, the time that I have left. Thought of all the things I might do. We did do some of them, others were cancelled because of treatments, etc. The best times were when we were all together as a family. The trips to London/St. Thomas. The trip with Chris and Amanda. The family camping trip with all my family. The time I got with Tanya and the girls, with Pete and Julie. My day with Trish, my Fran and Penny day, my Mom and Penny day, my day with Donna. day with Val, visit from Randy. Still looking forward to having the time with Pam and Stan and Paula. Looking forward to seeing Chris, Susan and Margaret.

Grandma wrote such a lovely letter to mom. I hope she knows how much she has meant to me over the years and how much I admire her. She's 91 and still going strong. An amazing woman! A person learns so much from her. I can't remember exactly what she said about this cancer but she just seemed to sum it all up so well. I do believe in miracles however I don't believe that I will have one. I have a peace about my early death and I don't think the Lord would give me that peace if I was to have a miracle healing. I so want people to accept this and to spend the time left celebrating life for each day is a miracle in itself, isn't it? I think my Grandmother would agree. :)

Haven't been smiling much this week but the smile is back.............

Thursday, December 29, 2005

December 29, 2005

Phew, Christmas is over. What an amazing Christmas it was. :) It was so nice to have everyone there and Paula put on an awesome dinner, her and Dennis were wonderful hosts! It was nice to have Petra with us. I had Tanya, Jesse, Neressa, Kylie, Pete, Julie and Petra all over before going to Paula's. We opened gifts here and had our family time. There aren't words to explain what it meant to me. Then having us all together at Paula and Dennis' was, well, just the best! :)

I just can't put into words what this Christmas meant to me..............

and now it's over......................

my last Christmas...............

That has been really hard, it's been a tough couple of days with lots of tears along with the great memories.

Took Petra to the airport to go home today and that was really hard, knowing it is the last time I will see her, we both cried and held each other without words to say how we felt..... I miss her already. I am so thankful that she was able to come and have this time with us all and with me.

Right now, right this minute I feel lost......... what now...... the coughing has gotten a little better but it's still bad enough to hurt at times and to remind us all. There are other things happening that are hard to explain. I do have a bit of a hard time getting food down, feels like part of it gets stuck half way. Not sure if that is from the cancer or the radiation. have lots of pain in my elbow and sometimes in my legs.......... I'm tired, yet can't really sleep, don't want to just sit at home but yet don't feel like going out either. I'm going to give myself a day or two to let everything sink in and let things pass, then I'll smile again...........

Sunday, January 01, 2006

January 1, 2006
Made it through 2005!

Wow, what a year 2005 was. Never would of, in my wildest dreams, think that I would have a year like 2005. In fact, I remember thinking how lucky our family was to not really have any thing tragic happen to us, everyone was basically healthy and all. Getting Cancer sure through that for a loop I guess.

I am lucky to see 2006 and grateful for that. So now I focus on Valentines day and boy, it better be a good one! hehehe Told Michael, I better get tons of flowers, chocolates and dinner out and all those things. He said, hey, we can do that tomorrow if you like. hehehehe That's my Michael. Why wait for a special date, make any old day special. :) In fact, looking back, that's what he has done. Made any old day a special day. Love him for that.

So, I made it through 2005 and I'm still kickin' and kickin' hard too. hehehe Can't get this girl down all that easy. Going to see Valentines, then Easter, then Neressa's 7th birthday, then Kylie's 3rd birthday, and then.........., and then............, just keep going. :)

Smiling.............. (Happy New Year!)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

January 3, 2006

Three days into 2006. Wow, can't believe the Christmas season is over and we are back to "normal".

I'm doing much better the last 2 or 3 days. The coughing has gotten a lot better, sleeping much better and the eating issue has gone away. Still getting pains in my elbows (both now) but those pains are so consistent that I almost can ignore them for the most part. So now I'm feeling like this "terminal" business is not real. Can almost feel like there is no cancer which makes it so much easier to stay "up" emotionally. Even my hair is getting longer, before I know it, I'll be able to actually do something with it. hehehe It's amazing the comments I get on my hair, how nice it came back and what a nice color it is. (I'm very lucky to have a wonderful daughter-in-law who is an amazing hairdresser. *grin*)

It is so nice to have Michael here with me all day. We haven't killed each other yet, so that's a good sign. :) We have booked a trip to Victoria for a weekend with Pam and Stan and I'm so looking forward to it. Making these little trips helps me to have things to look forward too and not dwell on the negative.

I have also booked my trip with Paula to see Aaron and Chris perform along with Colin James. What an amazing hotel we will be staying at! The Delta London Armouries - amazing! :) Looking forward to that trip too.

Not planning for much past the end of January, will just take each month as it comes and see where it takes us. I will ask the Oncologist on the 10th what I can expect over the next couple of months. Not sure he'll be able to tell me but I would think he can give me an educated guess. Would be kind of nice to know what to expect from his perspective. Maybe the tests will tell us more too. I think I find that the most frustrating. I'm the type of person that likes to plan, as you can probably tell from my trip planning, and not knowing what to expect makes me not able to plan things........ drives me nuts! hehehehe The next thing I like to do is to be organized. Not knowing what to expect makes me over organize things, "just in case". I imagine I'm driving Michael nuts......... :)

Then there is the issue of him hogging my laptop. LOL Thank goodness Bob has a solution for that one. He's going to lend me his for a while. LOL We will both have a laptop that way. hehehe

back to smiling................... :))

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

January 10, 2006

Had the visit with the Oncologist today. Was very uneventful to say the least. Had nothing new to report and said he'll see me in 2 months unless I start getting symptoms which affect my quality of life, then to call for an appointment sooner. The next time we'll check in will be March 21st. I stretched this out as we'll take our road trip and I don't want to rush getting back.

He did say that the pain in the joints and skin could be fiber myalgia which can be caused from the chemo. Something I just live with. Said to try Advil for the pain before I go to bed.

So this all feels a little weird. Like what now. We have no idea how much time I might have. The doctor just said do what I normally do. Easy for him to say hey? hehehehe It's just strange. Like living in limbo. So I guess that's what I do, live to live. Enjoy it all and take things as they happen, whenever that might be.

Looks like Michael is going to have to get me lots of flowers and chocolates for Valentines day now!

Funny how the last visit, it was you'll be lucky to see two month, now it's like, see you in two months. Guess they just really don't know, do they?

We've been busy this afternoon looking at a route to take for our trip south. We've made a circle of about 8000 km's which takes us from home to Cranbrook to Portland, down the west coast then over to Vegas (as if we didn't get enough of that hey?), then down to Pheonix, then over to SanteFe, Denver, then up through the Dakotas and back home. We may change that along the way, who knows but it looks like a fun trip as it stands for now. :)

After that, well, we'll just have to see. If the doctor says, see me in another 2 months........ hmmmm........ might just have to start looking for a new place to buy, go back to work......... time will tell. Might be wishful thinking........ nothing wrong with that, I say. :)

all smiles............

Anonymous said...

Hi Penny,

I check your blog every couple of days and am always glad to hear good news!!

Your trip to Cranbrook, Portland and down the west coast is exactly where a bunch of friends are going on a motorcycle trip this summer. It will be a "spouse friendly" trip so needless to say we won't be staying in tents! Leslie's travel rules are: 1) I can choose the mode of transport (ie motorcycle), 2) Leslie chooses the accommodation (ie NOT a tent).

Paul handed in his resignation yesterday :-( He was offered a great opportunity for a promotion to a senior network analyst with a team of 3-4 junior analysts. The job is with the provincial gov't. It will be hard to find a replacement as qualified and just such a nice guy, but somehow we will survive.

Anyway, make sure you keep your blog up to date so I can keep in touch. We'll be thinking and praying for you Penny. Keep smiling!

Bye for now,

11:05 PM

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

January 11, 2006
Thankyou to all!

Just something that I need to write down tonight!

I have been getting some emails from people (strangers and friends/family) that have read my blog and have said how much it has helped and/or how much they have enjoyed reading it. This amazes me to no end! I have never thought of myself as a writer and I've just been trying to put things down that come to me as they come to me, emotions, things that touch me at the moment, plans, etc. Never thought I would touch so many people.

Anyway, I wanted to publicly thank those that email me to let me know how it helps them!Thank you so much to all of you! It makes this journey a much easier road to go down when you know that it can help someone else in some way.

You always wonder, why me? Why did I get cancer? Why do I have to go through this. Why can't I take a different road? I don't want this journey, never asked to take it. I always said there is a reason for this, I just didn't know yet what it was.

Revelation! Maybe this has been my purpose in life, to go through this and help others who may also be going through it. That is a peaceful thought for me................. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Pam's Thoughts

I've been asked a lot lately on how I'm doing and haven't really been able to articulate on what I'm feeling, but certain things have occurred in the last while and I would like to share them with you.

I came from a visit today with Mom and Dad and they spoke on the number of people and groups of people who have been praying for a miracle for Penny.Their faith helped to bring in a revelation of my own. For miracle lies in our time together.

With Frank's death, it makes you stop and realize that unfortunately everyone dies, whether suddenly, or like in our wonderful sister's case with knowledge of their impending future. I haven't been able to thank God for anything in a long while, until now. I thank him for allowing us the knowledge and giving us the wonderful gift of appreciating all the time we have had together. Not just with the time with Penny, but also my time with Stan and with each of you is so much more meaningful to me. I finally have the ability able to feel God's love back in my life and to thank him forgiving us this gift of living for today. I have also been reading, by request of my doctor, Phil a book called "Whenthe Body says No". Although I haven't gotten very far into the book, it has started me back on the path of believing that my mind does have power overmy body's health. I never believed in getting sick and did not believe in words such as cancer and then this happened to Penny. My faith in God and belief in my own minds ability to keep me healthy was shattered. In reading this book I'm starting to believe again how much power I do have. God did not give Penny cancer, life here on earth did. And maybe it is his choice for her to be with him, but Penny.......keep concentrating on those little pac men! munch munch! I'm starting to feel "Pam" returning but still need to work on my ability to articulate the strength of who I am and regain the ability to stick up for myself. I just wish that it didn't have to take Penny's cancer and Frank's death for some of these revelations to take place.At least this is how I feel today...........:)

Love you all.

Disclaimer....these are the views and beliefs of only the author and are in no way intended to disrespect or disregard the reader's own beliefs

Trish's Thoughts

I feel so blessed and fortunate. For I have had, not only 3 sisters, but 3 dear close friends. I’m not sure that there are many that can truly say those in their family are also their best friends. That credit by far goes to our parents who instilled in us the importance of those we hold dear to our hearts and created the bond that I’ve been so lucky to have with all of them. Despite whatever differences we all may have, I know that they are there for me and I can always turn to them.

From the day we found out about the cancer, it was a tremendous blow to each of us. We’ve all had our struggles in dealing with it and have shed our tears. There has been anger, sadness, denial, and depression. I’m sure we’ll continue to have those struggles but if nothing else, remember that Penny has faced the greatest struggle of all and look how she did it!! If she can face death and dying with such dignity, courage and still have a zest for life, then surely we can go on by facing living in the same manner. I’m sure she would be disappointed if we didn’t.

It doesn’t surprise me how many people Penny has touched. Not only during this time but throughout her life. She just has always had a way of making you feel welcome and wanted. It didn’t matter who you were or what walk of life you came from, if you let her, she would open up her home and her heart to you and accept you as you are.

There are many words to describe her. Loving, caring, giving, positive, inspiring……but for me something keeps coming to my mind over and over again. Ms. Fix-it. That’s how I think of Penny. There is no doubt in my mind that if ever there was a problem at work, she’d keep at it until it was right. Tenacity definitely runs in the family! And let’s not forget how she fell in love with power tools! During the course of renovating the house with Michael, she was darn proud at how good she got with those tools. I have no doubt there are many memories that Michael will hold dear from those times. Especially the ones in the bathroom! LOL But the REAL Ms. Fix-it comes out with people. Anyone close to her knows that she has a wisdom and way of giving advice; knowing when to be gentle and tactful or just down right blunt and to the point. All the while wanting so very much to fix whatever problem you might have. Oh how I know it pained her those times that there was nothing she could do to make things right or to ease someone’s pain. Yes….Ms. Fix-it wanted to make things right with everyone and never wanted to see people go through tough times and hurting, especially her family. I know we all will miss her. I’ll miss being able to share my thoughts, feelings, dreams and troubles with her. But I also know that if I listen carefully, in all the talks we have had and experiences we have shared, she has left all that wisdom with me and will always be by my side whispering in my ear during those times I feel I need her.

Yes, I will truly miss her. But look closely and she’s here. She’s here in the memories and the spirit she has left with each of us; she’s here in each of my parents and my sisters. And I can definitely see her in her children and grandchildren. She’s still here and does live on.
Oh and sis……spare us and please do come back as a gypsy. Because you really never did have the voice to be a singer! LOL

January 12, 2006
Trish's Poem

I was thinking today about some writings that my sisters had done and how those may help people who are caregivers, family, friends of someone who has cancer or really, any terminal disease. I have their permission to post those here.

They are very personal writings and I believe that they show how this journey has affected them too. It really is a family journey.

A Poem from Trish:

It Is Hard to Say Goodbye

It is hard to say goodbye
The hurt cuts deep inside
And I’ve searched for the right words
Hoping that I’ve been heard
That I love you with all my heart
My sister, my friend

But this is what I know
That I don’t want you to go
And that I’ll be seeing you again
For this is not the end
My sister, my friend

But until that time comes
I’ll watch for signs of you
The sun upon my face
Will be the warmth of your embrace
And the wind in the trees
Will be you whispering to me
And wherever I shall go
And whatever I shall do
I will watch for signs of you
My sister, my friend

I know there will be times
I’ll miss your wisdom
And your strength
And I’ll feel lost and all alone
But I know that I’ll go on
You wouldn’t want it any other way

So when those times come
I’ll watch for signs of you
And your voice will be the songs
From the birds within the trees
And the rain will be your touch
To wash away my tears
And this is how I’ll know
That you are very near
My sister, my friend

But I need you to know
I don’t want you to go
And it is hard to say goodbye
The hurt cuts deep inside
Even though I know
I will be seeing you againMy sister, my friend

Saturday, January 14, 2006

January 14, 2006

All packed and ready to go to Victoria! Really looking forward to the trip and spending time with Pam and Stan. :)

Had an interesting experience yesterday. Went to get my hair done, after which we decided to go for fish and chips which was just down the block and around the corner. We are walking into the building when 6 fire trucks and 4 police cars pulled up. We could not see any smoke so thought maybe there was someone on the roof or something like that.

Went and ordered our meal when the fireman came in and said we would not be allowed to leave as there was an envelope with white powder found on the 3 rd floor and due to the circulation of the air system everyone had to stay until they determined what it was. We ended up there for an hour and a half and it turned out to be nothing. My excitement for the day.

Michael's excitement for the day was waiting on me. heeheehee First he had to wait while Julie did my hair - even cut it a little to even it up. Whoopee my first hair cut!

Then, on the way home I decided I needed to get my nails done for our trip. Thought that would take about 1/2 hour - turned out to be 1 1/2 hours. Poor Michael. He said he felt like "Driving Miss Daisy". hehehehe Worth keeping him around, I would say. :)

Took some Advil last night which helped a little bit for the pain. Still woke up 3 times but was a little better. Might try two tonight and see if that works better.

Had a nice visit with my cousin Rodney this week. He is such a sweetheart! Had a really good time with him and Donna. They also brought me some wonderful flowers and a necklace which I shall cherish. :)

Getting spoiled................

Not complaining................


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

January 17, 2006

Back from Victoria and what a trip! Don't know where to begin, we had such a good time.

The weather for one turned out to be on our side. Sunday we spent the day walking and the sun was shining, couldn't of asked for a nicer day in the middle of January. Went to the Wax Museum, the BC Museum, the Castle, China Town and Fan Tan Alley, the Empress Hotel, though we didn't have high tea.

Dave and Lori invited us to their house Sunday evening for supper. Lori picked us up and offered the use of her car for the next day, which turned out to be a blessing as it was cold, raining and windy. I sure have missed Lori over the years and I'm so thankful that we had this time together. She has always been a very special person to me.

Dinner was great! We had a blast, drank a little too much, well some of us did. Laughed and had a wonderful time.

I was going to try to capture some of the moments we had but I don't think I can do them justice so they will remain in our memories and through our pictures. Needless to say the memories will be cherished.

Will spend the week now getting ready for the London trip! Something to look forward to again.


Monday, January 23, 2006

London trip in Trish's words

I sure missed a lot so I wanted to share our trip from my sister Trish's viewpoint. :) Hope she doesn't mind! :)

I just got home but wanted to put some of my thoughts about the weekend down. I'm sure though, in my exhaustion, that I'll miss some things but we couldn't have asked for a more wonderful and memorable weekend.

I arrived in Edmonton Thursday and us girls went to West Edmonton Mall where Penny wanted us to go to a store called Build a Bear. We all picked out bears to have stuffed, picked out clothes for them and Penny recorded personal messages for each of us that were put into each of our bears. They are sooooooooooooo cute!! And it was so much fun!! A very special keepsake not only for the start of what was to be an memorable weekend but also of how special, thoughtful and selfless, our sister is.

We were pumped the day we were to fly to London. So much excitement. The trip was good although I felt like a leper when it came to trying to find some place to smoke in the airports. lol Not many places left for us ol' smokers! We arrived in London Friday night ready to begin our adventure. Driving up to the hotel, we were amazed. It looks like a castle from the outside since it was, at one time, an armory. Inside was just as cool. We checked in only to find out that the room only had one bed and one sofa bed. LOL They didn't have anything open that night so Pam and I got the sofa bed. And we were concerned about one bathroom for 4 women!! LOL Looking back though, the few mishaps that did happen were so small in comparison to all the excitement we had. It was too late to jump into the whirlpool so we sat in the lounge in the hotel and toasted our weekend. Saturday was kind of a free day for us. We had a nice breakfast buffet and thought we'd try the hot tub. Well that was a bust!! The pool was filled with kids and the hot tub was cold! LOL So we headed back up to the room and while at the elevator we ran into two gentlemen that told us about a wine and food show not far from the hotel. Oh....the elevator! LOL The hotel was also booked with groups in town for a hockey tournament. Kids everywhere!! And the elevator was a favorite for them! Many times there would be people lined up waiting as kids were pushing all the buttons and riding them for fun. We decided since it was quite cold out not to walk to see what was around the hotel but to go to the wine show. Needless to say after sampling a few wines, martini, margarita and whatever else we think we were all feeling it a bit. LOL But not enough to go home yet! We popped in next door where there was a casino. I spent....and of course lost lol.....a few bucks but at least Pam walked away ahead! After that we had to get back to the hotel to meet Penny's step son, Chris, his wife, Amanda and their two kids for supper. Their son, Connor, came into the hotel dressed as spiderman. Soooooo cute! Both their kids are adorable. And I can't say enough about Chris. What a special guy. He treated us so well the whole time we were there and went out of his way to make sure things went right for us. But what I didn't know is EVERYONE knew about something that was going to happen that night. Once done supper, we went to a small gig him and Aaron had. They did a fantastic job. After that, we had a bit of time before going to their next one. So we stopped at Chris and Amanda's for a bit. Met their great dane who was soooooooooooo adorable and loved affection! Just about knocked me over just leaning up against me to get petted. lol He was huge!! lol So we settle into their living room and Chris asks if we want to hear a song him and Aaron just recorded. He turns it on and I'm listening thinking........this is a real nice song. It didn't hit me until towards the chorus that it was my poem that I wrote for Penny!! OMG......once I did the tears just flowed! I bawled...Penny bawled.....oh heck....everyone was probably bawling. LOL Penny wanted one of my dreams to come true. To hear my words to music and boy what a moment I'll never forget! :) So cool.

So after the tears were dried a bit we headed off to see Chris and Aaron play another little gig. I HAD to give Aaron a huge hug for doing that for Penny and being a part of making my own dream come true. So very sweet and thoughtful. Once they were done there, we headed out to a couple clubs to hang out with Chris and Amanda. Got in a dance that Pam will never forget. lol And didn't get home until 2....I think.

Then the next morning and ANOTHER big day!! Was Paula's dream going to come true too? Getting her guitar signed and getting to meet Colin James?? We were pumped again! We got up early to get all dolled up and ready for Chris to pick us up at 11am. We get there and the whole day was so very cool and once again we were treated so amazingly. We arrived backstage to hang out where their dressing room was along with the Roadhammers and of course, Colin James. We got to listen to the sound checks. Snuck in a couple pics during this time but were soon caught and told it was a "no no" lol Had a bite to eat in the green room as other of the band members and others came and went. But just hanging out there, watching and listening to Aaron and the band get warmed up....and ready for their biggest booking was very cool. 5000 people were going to be there. It was awesome just watching that whole process. Adrienne, a guy that has helped the band out, also is one we can't say enough about. They all made us feel so special. He heard Paula had brought her guitar for Colin to sign so he took it to his dressing room. We weren't sure if she was going to get to meet him or not or just get the guitar back signed. A guy that does some security for Aaron heard I wanted Jason McCoy's autograph and knew him. So Jason came to Aaron's dressing room, signed an autograph for me along with having our pic taken and hung out for a bit. Very cool.

The show was a company employee appreciation put on by Sterling Trucking. At 3:00 (or was it 3:30? lol) it was time for Aaron and the whole band to do their thing. What a reception they got and what a performance they put on! They sounded great and the crowd loved them. By the end of their performance, I was pumped so I can't imagine how they felt! There was a bit of a break between performances so we went back stage to say our congratulations and to feel the energy of the room was incredible. We were all so happy for them that it turned out so well. Once the Roadhammers were to come on, we settled into our sits to enjoy the rest and also to watch as people came to get Aaron and the band's autograph. It was thrilling just to watch all of it come together. The Roadhammers put on a great performance and were filled with energy. But still no Colin James for Paula yet and we still weren't sure she was going to meet him. We had caught glimpses now and then but that was about it. Lastly it was Colin and he's such an amazing guitarist. The whole thing was amazing!! We stood by the stage as he came off and followed him in. Fate was on our side as their dressing room was locked and they were standing outside their dressing room. Penny walked by them...and Paula was going too as well!! But Pam stopped her and said to Colin......"this is the person who's guitar you were going to sign" She was sooooooooooooo cute! All flustered and not knowing what to say as he showed her his bleeding calluses. LOL Once things were unlocked, he gave her the guitar and I took her pic with him and got an autograph as well. So Paula's dream came true as well!! And Penny cried and Paula cried. LOL By the end of the night we were pumped and exhausted at the same time I think. We wound down a bit with supper with Chris and Adrienne. A phone call from Aaron got us a little excited again when eh called Chris to say Jason had time before his flight and wanted everyone to come back and hang out and party with them for a bit. Low and behold, it was a joke. LOL Boy was Chris choked!! LOL Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel. We relaxed in the hot tub which was hot and relaxing!! We were drained!!

Wow!! Even just writing this I can't express what an experience the whole thing was.

But the day was quite over yet. We got into our jammies and spent the rest of the night talking, reminiscing and giggling like you wouldn't believe!! LOL The whole floor probably heard us!! I don't think we got to bed until about 2am and I'm NOT going to mention the smell of the room either! LOL

It was a very early morning for us and I think we all were still very drained. We did catch a few winks on the least I know I did a bit. But we had one more surprise. Michael picked us up and told Penny he needed to make a quick stop. He drove us all to West Edmonton Mall where WE had Penny make a bear. Pam, Paula and I recorded our own personal messages to her and stuff them into her bear.

A perfect way to end a perfect weekend and something I'll always cherish so very much.

Did I miss anything girls?? :)

January 23, 2005
Sister's London Trip

Home! Wow, what a whirlwind. Good to be home. Missed Michael and looking forward to having our time now on our trip south. :)



What can I say..............

It was everything that I hoped it would be and more!

My 3 sisters and I arrived late Friday night, went for a couple of drinks at the Delta London Armouries, our hotel, then called it a night. (Ended up with a room with only 1 bed and a sofa bed for the 4 of us, moved the next day to a room with 2 beds and free breakfast)

Up the next day and it was our hang out day........ had a nice breakfast buffet, went to the hot tub, which was cold. LOL

Turned out there was a hockey tournament and the hotel was full of young kids and families for the tournament, the hottub was turned down for the kids, the elevator was a nightmare. You know kids. Gotta play with buttons. You can imagine, 20 floors, 20 buttons to push, 50 people waiting for it to get back to the ground floor. LOL

After hottub, we were invited by two other guests of the hotel to attend the Wine tasting show so off we went. Had some wonderful wine, and my oh my, my favorite drink now is called "Fireball" with cranberry juice! mmmmmmmm Carries a punch too!

After the tasting of all that wine and liquors, stopped off at the casino next door. Sister Pam won 75.00 which was the big win of the day.

Back to the hotel where Chris, Amanda and the kids were meeting us for Dinner. After dinner, it was off to Chris and Amanda's for a drink of wine and a surprise for Trish! I have her poem that she wrote for me on here......

Well, back in December, Chris offered to write music for it, then he had Aaron sing and they recorded it on CD!!

We are sitting at their home, Chris puts the CD on, Trish has no idea what it is except that it's a song that he and Aaron had been working on............

Can you believe it!! We are sitting listening to it and she doesn't recognize it at first. LOL

The the chorus starts and her eyes light up. Finally........ she gets it......... the tears start.......... we are all crying and hugging Chris.......... I don't know if we even really heard the rest of the song! LOL

Then Chris tells us that they are going to try to record it in the studio and donate for a CD that is being created to raise funds for Cancer research. Amazing!!

My Sister, My Friend - lyrics by Trish G, music by Chris E, vocals by Aaron Walpole.............

Whoo Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was a great surprise for Trish and Chris and Aaron did an awesome job of the song! I hope to be able to convert it to an mp3 and post it for all to hear soon. :)

So that was highlight number 1...............

From there, we were able to watch Aaron and Chris perform at a couple of venues that evening, then out on the town with Chris and Amanda. Had the pleasure of hearing Hogwild (a band that Chris had played with in the past). Stayed until 2 am, back to the hotel and to an early morning for the big Colin James concert!

Sunday Morning, Chris picked us up for sound check at 11 am. We were able to hang out with Aaron, Chris, Mookie and Gabby while they warmed up, did some practicing, did their sound check. We were able to hang out backstage, had lunch with Colin James (well, in the same room as Colin James anyway). :)

That was Highlight number 2..........

Aaron and the boys were on at 3 pm but prior to that Gord, their security guy, was able to get Jason McCoy to meet sister Trish (a huge country fan), signed an autograph and we got her picture with him. - Highlight number 3! My tears started again..........

Then, get this! Adrian, Chris' neighbor, and the bands great promoter, took sister Paula's guitar into Colin James' dressing room and asked him to sign it for her! That was amazing!! Paula's dream come true. Once we were done watching Aaron and the band, James McCoy and Colin James, we are walking back to the dressing rooms and there is Colin James, standing in the hall waiting to get into his room.

I walked right by him, then Paula's going to do the same.......... Pam grabs her and says to Colin: "This is the girl that you signed her guitar for". Yeah for Pam!! Saved the day! LOL and again, more tears ...........

Colin was great, he talked to Paula, let us take their picture, then went and got her guitar that he had signed (also signed 2 CD's that she had in the case). Paula was in awe!! Highlight #4!! oh shoot, here I go again........... more tears............ LOL you'd think I'd be teared out by now. LOL

I have to say, both Colin James and Jason McCoy were very nice and thoughtful and we appreciated it very much!!

Adrian was amazing, looked after us during the concert!

Gord, thank you so much!!

Aaron, Chris, Gabby, Mookie, thanks for sharing this with us......... it was an amazing experience.........

Chris, what can I say............. he was an angel!! Treated us so well! Love you big time Chris!! You are truly going to go places with that guitar pickin' of yours.......... thank you so very very much for making this such an awesome trip............. lots and lots of hugs.............

To top this all off, after arriving back in Edmonton, Michael bypasses my sister's turnoff, our turnoff, and keeps going....... says we have to make a short stop...........

We end up at Build a Bear and my sisters build me a bear with each of their voices with a message for me. More tears......... my bear will go south with us.......... My big highlight # 5!!

The perfect ending to a perfect weekend with my sisters.......... one we will never forget...........

huge smiles......................

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

London Trip, Paula's thoughts

Paula, you are such a darling........ thank you for the kind words! :)

The weekend was amazing. It was perfect. I don't thinkI can add much to what Penny and Patti wrote. Only that I'm wandering around the hotel after the Colin James concert in the UGLIEST short and t-shirt looking for a pop machine and who should I run into but Jason McCoy's guitar player in the hall talking with I'm pretty sure, Jason McCoy. two rooms down. LOVELY. He walked past me and smiled. Ugh. The only other thing, which is probably the most amazing thing for me, was finding out how much Penny has touched people's lives. Everyone we met there loves and adores my sister and would do anything for her. It's why we were treated so well. Chris, Amanda, Adrian, Aaron, Gabby, Mookie, Gord.the list goes onand on and all of them bent over backwards and treated all of us and Penny like Queens. They all wanted herto have the perfect weekend and made sure that everything she wanted happen. I was blown away and I will be forever grateful and in their debt for how much they love my sister. For me, that was the highlight. Even more than Colin James. Seeing how Penny has impacted lives, how muchs he loves people, how people are drawn to her and how all she wants is to see people's dreams come true. Seeing how much she gives to other people selflessly and how much she really believes in people. And I mean, she really believes. Phew. Okay, tears for me yet again.

Anonymous said...

Some sisters search their whole lives for a bond like what you have all found. All you girls define so eliquently what a sisterhood should be. Cheers to that.
Tom, Miranda, Presley & Dawson

11:19 PM

Anonymous said...

Hello Penny Pincher,

Good on you for enjoying the rest of your life. Your sisters are right, you do touch people's lives and what you are doing for me is making me re-evaluate my life and not to take life for granted but to have a weekend in London everyday, every weekend and to touch the lives of others as they touch yours. Happy New Year Penny.
Love Kimberly

7:57 AM

Friday, January 27, 2006

From the Road - January 27/06

Left home yesterday and spent the night in Red Deer. Had a nice visit with Tanya, Jesse, Trish, Dave and of course sweet Kylie.

When we showed up, Kylie came running to me screaming "Grandma!!!!!!". Such a nice feeling. :)

She is so amazing for 2, just blows me away every time I see her. Got some great video of her too!

Today we had a wonderful drive to Cranbrook, BC. The sun was shining, temp was around +5 for most of the trip. A little snow around Fernie, but nothing in Cranbrook. Will be spending the evening with Grandma tonight, then over to Tommy and Miranda's tomorrow for some Texas holdem'. Sunday, probably go to Skookumchuk to visit Janet, Gordon, Lorrie and family. :)

I did find the drive a little hard on my legs. More so when we stopped and got out to stretch. Was really hard to walk. The pain has gone up a lot higher. Seems to get a little better as I move around more though. I can sure live with it. :)

On the road.............. :-)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

From the Road - Jan 29/06

Had a wonderful time at Tom and Miranda's! They went all out for us and it was great. So enjoyed seeing everyone there.

Love my time with Grandma also. What an amazing lady. On her own at 91. Truly amazing. :)

Sunday spent the day out and Janet & Gordon's for lunch. Was a beautiful drive up there. A great lunch and such a nice visit. Got to spend some more time with Lori also and that was so nice.

Spending tonight at the Mission Resort Casino and Hotel (opps, bad, bad, bad) heeheehee

Susan met us here for a little gambling and dinner. Had a great visit with her also.

Then Michael and I got to spend some time in the hot tub and pool which was outside. Was awesome sitting out there, just the two of us, with small snow flakes coming down. A great way to end the evening.

Off to the US tomorrow. Not sure which route we will take as there are some storms coming through so we'll take it as it comes and not rush. Will probably go to Spokane tomorrow, then decide from there which way to go, depending on the roads. We really want to drive down the coast highway, just getting there is the problem. Some roads closed due to avalanches so we aren't sure yet.

I shall miss everyone that we were able to see here. Sad to think it might just be the last visit I'll have with them. Happy to have had such a wonderful time with them all! Very grateful for that. :) Love them all!


Tuesday, January 31, 2006

From the Road - Jan 31/06

Sitting in Helena, Montana. A far cry from the west coast. heeheehee

Decided to change plans as the road to the west coast was not so good. Road closures, mudslides, avalanches, better to stay away. Decided to drive back to Lethbridge, then south. On our way to Yellowstone Park now.

Pulled into Helena about 8 pm and told Michael to go to a Super 8 Motel as they all have internet, reasonable prices, etc, etc. After missing the corner twice and having to back track twice, finally got here, paid for the room and low and behold, no internet. The employee told us, oh, we have internet, you just need to come to the lobby area, be close to the window and you can get wireless from the hotel next door! hehehehehe

We got a kick out of that one.

So Yellowstone is about 3 hours away. We'll spend some time there, then head for Salt Lake City.

Haven't killed each other yet either. :))

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

From the Road - Feb 1,/06

Well, we left Helena yesterday at 8 am and decided that we would detour and go through Yellowstone Park. This was about a 2 hour detour.

We changed our plans due to the snow and weather and went through Montana to miss all that, so what do you think would happen? Went up to Yellowstone (and I mean UP!) and there was more snow there than we ever see in a whole winter!! Must off been at least 10 feet deep! We were up to 7200 feet above sea level. Once we arrived at West Yellowstone (a small town just on the edge of the park) we were told vehicles aren't allowed in the park in the winter. Duh, I would think not with all that snow. You can only get to "Old Faithful" by skidoo or snow van. So much for our detour and avoiding snow. hehehehe

It was a beautiful drive however, and the sun was shining and the roads plowed so we didn't do bad for driving. I'm sure glad we went as I don't think you see that kind of country any where else. :)

Ended up driving until 10 pm and making it all the way to Mesquite, Nevada! hehehehe
So much for taking our time. Hard to tell we are gamblers...... gotta make it to Nevada. hehehehe

Stayed at the Casa Blanca Hotel and it is beautiful!! and only 34.00 a night. I couldn't believe it. When we pulled in I thought for sure it would be 100.00 at least. Shows what I know.

Spent a couple of hours gambling last night. Much better than Vegas. At least you win enough to keep playing for a while without spending to much. Had fun.

Had a good sleep and now will go for breakfast and on our way to Vegas and Laughlin.

Feeling good. The coughing is starting to come back but not so bad. Can deal with it.

Having a BLAST!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

From the Road - Feb 2/06

Spent the late morning, early afternoon in Vegas and did the tour of Fremont Street in North Vegas. We wondered how many people that go to Vegas never see this historical part of the City. Had some of the original Casinos and you can no longer drive the street, must walk it and it is also covered to keep the sun off you. Very cool. :)

Then we drove to Laughin and spent the night at the Flamingo. This was after us trying to get out of Vegas during rush hour of course and us having our first argument. hehehehe Hmmmm, wonder why Michael didn't like me yappin' at him while he was driving that mess??? hehehehe

We did make it though and stayed at the Flamigo. After playing slots for a while on $20.00 each, we decided to spend another $20.00 and play one machine between the two of us. Ended up cashing out $900.00!!

But wait!!!!

Spend $100.00 of that afterwards and spend 60.00 to get that and then we decided to spend another night in Laughlin so there will go another 100.00 or so........ I wonder if we'll still be ahead of the game tomorrow. hehehehehe

It was fun to win though and cashing out 7 big buckets of $1.00 tokens! Had to have two casino people help me. Now that's the kind of gambling I like. :)

Got up this morning and decided we just had to see the "London Bridge" so drive out to Lake Havasau City. Spent most of the day there, then back to Laughlin.

We will head over to Pheonix tomorrow, it's about 230 miles so that will take about 4 hours. Making it there a few days ahead of schedule.

smiling.................. :)

Friday, February 03, 2006

From the Road - Feb 3/06

Do I every like Laughlin!! :-)

After arriving back in Laughlin we decided we would play $200.00 tonight out of our $900.00 that we won last night. After spending about 180.00 we won 300.00. So then We took the $200.00 we started with again and played some more. Michael and I started playing together and the quarter machine we were playing was not paying at all, so I said we should move to a different machine. Wouldn’t you know it, right after that I hit the button and won 6 X 3 red Sevens. I won $1000.00!! Of course Michael thought it was his machine and his winnings. LOL

Then Michael moved to another machine and just as I came to stand beside him and said “You know you are playing dollars”, he hit 10 X 3 Red Sevens, which turned out to be $2000.00!! Of course, Michael being the gentleman he is, gave me his seat to collect the funds. ;-)

Boy, do I every like Laughlin. Hehehehe

So now we are off to Phoenix and spend some time with Dad and Mom. Looking forward to being settled for a little bit.

Do I ever like Laughlin………….. :-)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

From the Road - Feb 4/06

Arrived in Mesa (Dad & Mom's) during rush hour last night. What a drive! We made it safe and sound though, and, with the help of MS Streets & Trips and our GPS, drove right to their house. Cool. :)

Very hard to find internet access here........ even starbucks wasn't a great help. You need to belong to TMobile, which you can purchase daily access, online, as we were told by the Starbucks employee. So a catch 22. LOL

In any case, we are at the library using their free internet so that works. Might not be on here much so my entries will be off and on for a while.

It is supposed to be 78 F today. Almost to hot for me. hehehehe

Will be taking a couple of day trips, one to some caverns and one for a train ride along the mountain side.

Tonight the site that Dad & Mom are at are having a bring your own steak bar-b-q and an Elvis impersonator. That should be fun. Michael says I can't go cause I'm not a senior. He said he's close enough. LOL

Sunday is a boat ride down the colorado river, I believe.

So we will enjoy the sun and the sightseeing!


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

From Mesa - Feb 7/06

Been a while since I’ve been able to get onto here, well, it feels like a while anyway. Hehehehehe

We’ve been having wonderful weather here, between 25 and 29 C. So far we’ve been to the Phoenix Zoo, the Phoenix Casino (of course!), and, no, we didn’t win! Spent some time with the elderly folks in this park, watching Elvis entertain, having a steak dinner, watching Dad and Uncle Bill during a jam session, swimming in the swimming pool and today, we took a wonderful boat ride down Canyon Lake. It was beautiful. Then stopped at a Ghost Town, which was fun. Picked up some souvenirs from there.

I’m still trying to get some pictures online of our trip. Will post a link once I can get some on that work.

Tomorrow our car goes for an oil change, we’ve put on 5000 KM already, and then Thursday we are taking a train trip around a mountain and Verde Canyon. I’ll have to sit on the inside seat for that one for sure! Scared silly of heights but I just gotta do this one! Hehehehe

You only life once, right? :)

Of course, Michael is wanting to go back to Laughlin sometime in our journey. LOL Not sure we’ll make it but you never know.

Hope to write again before we leave Phoenix.

Lots of smiles……………….

Thursday, February 09, 2006

From Verde Canyon - Feb 9/06

The train ride at Verde Canyon was amazing!! So glad that we went. Seen some awesome country side.

The train had coaches which were open air and you could stand and look down as the train went along. We started noticing poop droppings and we were all wondering what kind of animal would of made them.

Was it Deer? Mountain Lion? Mountain Sheep? Coyotes?…………

Nope, none of those!

It was…………………………

COW!! Heeheeheehee

Boy did we feel dumb. Heeheehee

The ride itself was something else. Riding along the canyon with all that red rock and then we spotted a Bald Eagle on its nest. Amazing! You don’t see something like that everyday.

Apparently they are getting ready to nest as their young are born in February so this was prime time to see them. The canyon is home to two sets of Bald Eagles and they have seen each one have one chick each for the last two years.

After the train ride we took a short detour up to Jerome, a mining town that, at one time, had 15000 people and now has about 500. What is amazing is that the town is built on the side of a mountain, looking down about 4500 feet into the valley. Of course that scared the living crap outta me so I had to get Mom to take pictures. I had to close my eyes for most of the drive going up and coming down. :(

What I did see of it was spectacular though. Sure which things like that wouldn’t bother me so much as I miss a lot because of that.

Did go into this cool pub to use the washroom though. Reminded me of the 60’s….. with all the old guys in there (well not so old as they were probably my age) with long hair and pony tails. Felt like I had stepped back in time.

I think our next plan is to take off for El Paso, Texas tomorrow morning. Spend two or three days there and take in some sites. One is the Carlsbad Caverns which are supposed to be something else.

So we’ll say so long to Mesa and hello to El Paso……..

:) ............

Sunday, February 12, 2006

From my Sister Paula - Feb 12/06

I am so blessed to have such wonderful sisters and talented too! This is from my youngest sister, Paula:

Gypsy Soul
By Paula K

You lived your life in wide-eyed wonder
You saw the good in everything
Happiness came in the love for others
Never asking for anything.
You always gave everything you had
Never wanting anything back
I can see it in the lives you touched
You made their dreams come true

Now your gypsy soul is free
Up where the angels roam
And in the wind I can hear you calling me
Saying follow your heart, follow your dreams
Follow your gypsy soul

Life, it isn’t always good
and it’s hardly ever fair
But you never let it keep you down
And you taught me how to make the most
Of everything I’ve got

Now your gypsy soul is free
Up where the angels roam
And in the wind I hear you whisper to me
Saying follow your heart, follow your dreams
Follow your gypsy soul

Maybe someday I’ll understand the reason why
You couldn’t stay and had to go
And although it won’t make the pain go away
I know we’ll meet again someday
But until then I will follow your gypsy soul

And now your gypsy soul is free
Up where the angels roam
What do you see when you look down on me
Following my heart and following my dreams
Following your gypsy soul

From the Road in NM - Feb 12/06

Left Phoenix on Saturday, on our way to Nogales, AZ, then up to Tombstone. Stopped on our way at the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation where we went to see St. Xavier Mission Church. Awesome! The church was built in the 1600’s and the art work, statues, everything was simply amazing. Well worth the stop.

Had my first taste of frybread, which was delicious. I’m so unworldly hey? Hehehehe

Then, on the way to Nogales, we spotted a Casino so had to stop and check that out for an hour or so. No luck there but we had fun. :)

Arrived in Nogales and I was disappointed. Not sure what I expected but it wasn’t anything that I thought it would be. We did go right to the border so we were 10 ft from Mexico. Decided not to go across but it was so weird to think we had driven this far. All the way from Edmonton to the Mexico border. That’s a long way for this lady.

After Nogales, on our way to Tombstone (where we planned on spending the night), we noticed something that looked like a jail on the side of a mountain. Turned out to be a Family Memorial to a son that passed away. Inside the hole in the mountain were religious statues, and candles, all locked in by a barred door. Got some great pictures of it.

Arrived in Tombstone around 5 pm and wouldn’t you know it, not a room to be had! That’s what you get for winging it. So we did the tour of Tombstone and where Doc Holiday had his famous shootout, then decided we better get going to find a room in the next town, about 40 miles away. The next town turned out to be, “the next town, then the next town, then nothing for miles and miles, no cars, no people, nothing but desert and mountains. Ended up driving until 9 pm to Lordsburg, NM and spending the night there. We were starting to think we would be sleeping in the car. Which, actually, wouldn’t be so bad as the car is quite comfortable. :)

So, change of plans now. We are now driving to Mescalaero, NM to spend the night at the Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino. That is, if we can get a room! Hehehehe
This will be our Valentines Day treat as it’s a beautiful resort.

That will take us slightly north and west of Carlsbad Caverns, so we will go there the next day and miss driving through El Paso.

From there………. Who knows……… We are winging it. hehehehe

Monday, February 13, 2006

From White City, NM - Feb 13/06

Made it out of the casino this morning. Phew! Sure didn't come out ahead there but we had a wonderful night, a great steak and lobster dinner, wonderful view of the Mountain of the Gods and had fun gambling. We were also a first for them. The first Canadians ever to check into the hotel. They had trouble finding Alberta on their computer system. ;-)

Decided on our way to Carlsbad to make a small detour (22 miles) to see Smokey the Bear's museum. After driving for about 22 miles, we come upon a plaque on the road and a wooden picture of Smokey the Bear. LOL Did we go all that way for this???? AAKK!!

Decided to go to the next little town, just a couple miles down the road and low and behold, there was a Museum dedicated to Smokey the Bear, along with his grave site. We didn't even know that Smokey was a real bear. hehehehe

From there, drove to Roswell and the famous site of the alien crash. Went to the UFO Museum and I got my picture taken with some aliens. Even met a couple there from Ontario that lived not far from Michael at one time. Small world.

Tomorrow we'll go and see the caverns. From there, we have yet to decide where on the map to venture to.

So far this journey has taken us through so many types of terrain, weather and people. Have met some great People and very helpful. Got a Spanish lesson last night which was helpful. Funny though, the only wild life we have seen has been a couple of Road Runners and Rabbits. I have never seen a Road Runner before and all I could relate to was the cartoon. So, to my surprise, they are a lot, lot, lot smaller and nothing like the cartoon. But!!! They do run fast! hehehehe

Not sure where my next post will be from, so until then................ :-)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Carlsbad Caverns - Feb 14/06

Up this morning and made our way to the caverns around 9 am. We descended under ground by an elevator that took us 750 feet below the surface. From there we walked into the most amazing world you could ever see. I don’t have the words to describe it as it is like nothing you have ever seen before. The “Big Room” tour was 1.5 miles long and took us about 2 hours to do. Even though I was hurting when we were done it was well worth it. I even made it passed the bottomless pit without hyperventilating to bad. There were actually a few spots where you could not see the bottom, well, I should say, I think you couldn’t as I was hanging onto the rail on the far side of the edge as I walked by. Michael would probably say it’s wasn’t all that far down. :)

It was mind boggling to see how the cavern has evolved over time. We have yet to see the pictures we took but I’m hopping we have gotten a couple that will show the wonder of it.

As we were walking into the information center when we first arrived we meet some kids, well, young adults, that looked pretty grubby. Hehehehehe Michael said hi to one of the guys. We spoke with three of them as we did our tour and it turns out they are with a group of 15 kids that go to a National Outdoor Wilderness Leadership School. They have been in the backcountry since October, going across country, repelling down into Caves, living in the wilderness. The 15 of them are from all over the US. Tomorrow they are heading to the Rio Grande to raft down it for a while. Their school year ends the end of April, so they will be in the wilderness until then. Was very interesting talking to them and I did get the girl’s email address. She was admiring Michael t-shirt that we bought at St. Xavier Mission. I had bought one also that was to small so I gave it to her and we exchanged email addresses. Some more nice people that we have met!

Will post some more pics tonight!

After the caverns we just could not decide where to go next. The Corpus Christi trip seems just to far, going anywhere much further north seemed like we would get into the cold and snow. So after deciding we will head for Sante Fe we started our journey that way. Sante Fe was much to large for us so we blew by that and are now heading towards Tucson, AZ. Back to whence we came. Will spend the night somewhere along the hiway tonight. We’ll probably stop and spend a couple more days with Dad and mom in Mesa, then head west to ………. Well, who knows….. hehehehe

I don’t! :)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

From Phoenix, AZ - Feb 18,/06

Have taken a couple of days to relax at Dad and Mom's then, Monday, we are off to San Diego. Decided to take a short trip there as it's only 5 hours away. We will be staying in little Italy at a family owned hotel that has a dog named Penny. Just seemed to fit. :) Close to the GasLamp district which is downtown and supposed to be quite the area to visit. Going to try to get to a aircraft carrier tour, maybe a tour into Mexico and of course the San Diego Marina.

From there, I think it will be time to start heading north. That makes me sad. I'm ready to go home but also not. Seems like going home is the beginning of the end for some reason. Maybe that's why I keep putting off heading that way. Just takes us back to reality and cancer. It's been easy to forget while we've been here. More like a mini retirement.

Guess we can't stay away forever either. I think work is calling Michael. It's time for him to go back and I think they are missing him there. They been so good to us and we don't want to take advantage of their kindness.

I miss my kids, granddaughters and sisters too. Time to get back to them. Good news too, Tanya will be living back in Edmonton so I'll have a chance to see more of the girls once we are back.

So we have a couple of weeks and we'll be home by the looks of things. Sure hope the weather warms up there before we get back! :)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

From the Road - Feb 22/06

Our trip to San Diego was okay. The hotel in Little Italy was really nice and you couldn’t of asked for a nicer area to stay in.

We ended up going on the Aircraft Carrier, Midway, Tour which was very interesting. From there we took a 2 hour harbor tour and enjoyed that though it was a little chilly in the wind.

Left San Diego this morning and took a little used route to highway 10. That was a very interesting drive through a mountain range, then into a valley and along the Salton Sea. From there, we took an even smaller used road north to Highway 10.

We are about an hour away from Phoenix and I’m ready to go home. Have really had enough and just wish I could blink and we’d be at home. Even though we plan on taking our time going home I’m not looking forward to the drive. Thinking we should of left for home a week ago.

We’ll have to stay in Phoenix for a couple of days as the car needs an oil change, which we booked for Friday and it’s only Wednesday. Then Michael thinks it would be better to leave after the weekend and drive during the week. Not so sure I can wait that long.

Miss my granddaughters! and my kids! and my sisters!

Wish I was home................

Sunday, February 26, 2006

From Phoenix - Feb 26/06

Just finished reading my last blog and it sounds so sad! I think I was tired and that makes it hard to travel.

Feeling much better and not sure that I want to head back to -20 C weather from the 28 C we've been experiencing.

We are heading for Laughlin tomorrow and then Mesquite for a couple of days. From there, not sure where to yet. May even try to get to Denver to visit Fig. We'll see how the weather goes.

Mom and Dad are heading for home so we'll travel with them as far as Mesquite. Will spend a couple of days there, if the weather is nice as the hotel is cheap (25.00/night) and they have a wonderful pool to lay around at.

Funny, I'm anxious to get on the road again. hehehehe

until next time........... *smiling*

Thursday, March 02, 2006

On the way to Mesquite – March 1/06

Laughlin must like Michael as he won again. More US taxes we had to pay. Though, I’m sure by the time we are done at Mesquite we won’t be ahead of the game. Dad and Mom even got brave and tried a dollar machine and won $500.00!

Spent an extra day in Laughlin, will probably spend a couple days in Mesquite.

Getting tired of hotel rooms and even slot machines. Would you ever believe that one? Hehehehe

Footnote: Michael won again last night....... but I did too, a little bit......... played for 5 hours and have yet to touch our own money. That is fun! hehehehe

From the Road – Feb 27/06

Had a nice break in Phoenix. Uncle Bill took us out to dinner to Pinnacle Peak which is a really neat restaurant. Ordered my steak well done (shame on me!) and they brought me an old cowboy boat on a plate. Guess that’s what they give you when you order a steak well done! Hehehehehe

The dinner was really good and we had a nice time.

Last night we were all invited to Morris and Zane’s (dad’s cousins) for a Jam session and dinner. I was sitting watching Uncle Bill (violin), Dad (guitar), Zane (bass) and Morris (accordion) playing and it brought back so many good memories of my childhood. We used to sit and watch my Dad, Uncle Bill, Uncle Jack (drum), Aunt Mary (banjo) play and we would all be dancing and singing on all the family get togethers. It wouldn’t be family without the music. Then it made me realize that once that generation is gone, so will the music be as there really isn’t anyone to take their place in that way. All that will be left is the memories. The generation after me will have to make new traditions and memories I guess.

It was nice to have those memories! :)
We are now on the road to Laughlin and maybe some more good luck. (ya think?) :)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

From Home - March 4/06

Made it home last night after a 13 hour drive. Was sure nice to sleep in our own bed.

Home a little early as there was a storm warming coming in for Idaho and Montana and decided we should try to miss that. Our drive home was great, roads were good so it looks like we beat the storm.

Sure was hard to go from +20 to -11 and snow.

Good to be home non the less..........


Monday, March 06, 2006

On the road home 2 Posted by Picasa

on the road home Posted by Picasa

Jam Session Posted by Picasa

Well Done Steak! Posted by Picasa

He won again Posted by Picasa

Going for a boat ride Posted by Picasa

Phoenix Zoo, (Penny, Dad, Mom) Posted by Picasa

We won! Posted by Picasa

Yellowstone Posted by Picasa

The Gang Posted by Picasa

March 6, 2006


How do I feel about being home??

I've been feeling a little down as it brings back the reality of Cancer to the forefront again. Was able to ignore it for the most part while we away. I guess that is a good thing and part of the reason for the trip. Not to dwell on the illness but to focus on life.

That is sometimes hard to do. I find myself questioning a lot of health things. Could this be the cancer spreading or is it just something else. It's hard not to blame everything on Cancer.

It's really hard to see Michael go back to work today. I will miss him something awful! I've had him with me 24/7 for over 2 months. That really makes me sad. Wish we were in a position where he didn't have to go back.........

Went to visit Neressa and Kylie yesterday (not to mention Tanya too). Was so good to see them. They have grown so much! I've asked Tanya if I can babysit on Wednesday's for her so that I can have that time with Kylie. Kylie says I'm her favorite Grandma. :) Not that I've brainwashed her or anything. *giggle* I'm hoping that I'm up to the babysitting. We'll see how it goes.

Neressa has become quite the young lady. She is so grown up I can't believe it. Half way through Grade one already. Doing well in French Immersion. I always knew she was a smarty! Takes after Grandma! *wink*

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

March 8, 2006

Woke up last night coughing. That hasn't happened in a while. Definitely getting worse. Means the tumor is growing again. They did say they wouldn't do radiation again on the same area. Guess I'll find out on the 21st when I see the oncologist again.

Been a tough week. Miss Michael.

Feeling okay, just vacation withdrawals I think. :)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

March 11, 2006

Been a tough week. Sure is hard to get used to Michael being back at work. Haven't been feeling up to par either so that hasn't helped.

Even looked up a trip to Cuba, just to get Michael off work again but can't do that. His company has been so good to him and they are so short handed. *sigh*

We are going to start planning for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. Having it early, while I'm still feeling good.

That's what makes me so angry about this disease! You just can't plan to far in advance as I never know what the future will bring. Do any of us though? Guess not, but I do know that sooner or later I'll be to sick to do much. So now I plan for a couple months down the road and that's it. I miss those long range goals and plans. Was going to look at planning for a summer trip but even that is to far away yet. Can't make myself think about it and get my hopes up at this point. Right now all I can plan for is to be okay for the anniversary party at the end of May and that might be pushing it.

So for now, I'll plan for next week and my day with Kylie.

Now that brings smiles.............

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

March 14, 2006
Feeling Alone........

I've really struggled with writing this as I know there are many people reading this and I don't want to hurt anyone. Then I think, this is all a part of having an illness such as cancer and needs to be voiced. Told myself this would be a way to show all aspects of living with cancer and this is one of them. To be true to me, I need to write it. So know, this is for me and not meant to make anyone feel bad.

I feel alone these days. So many people getting on with their lives and very few keep in touch any more. I understand as life really does go on and it's something that I've often asked people to do; Keep living. It is hard to see those who have touched my life in some way disappear. Yet, I totally understand as our lives do go on and we tend to be so busy, there comes a time where something must be put aside just to stay on top of things. In thinking back, I too have done this. You mean well, but you just get caught up in life and think, tomorrow, I'll stop by tomorrow, or call, tomorrow, or drop a line, tomorrow. So, yes, this makes me look into myself and see that I've done that to people along the way. It's a part of living. So you accept it and remember the good in all those people who have touched you in some way. I sure do miss them.
I have the feeling I'm not alone in feeling this way. I'll bet others that have terminal illness have felt this too. An aloneness in their illness. It really is a fight that you fight alone in the end. No one can fight it for you.

I am thankful for all that people have given me over the last 10 months. There have been so many who have rallied around me when they could. I'm grateful for that. So many that I had lost touch with over the years that have made the effort to be there for me.

Guess that just tells you something. Be grateful instead of whining. :)

Grateful I will be.

Hmmmm, maybe I just need a car and get out more! :)

Yah think?

I think I will plan some lunches! :)

Yup, just what I need. I'll focus on being grateful and lunches too. hehehehehe

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

March 15, 2006

What a wonderful day Kylie and I had. Sure am tired but a good tired. We had a ball making cookies, then we did some finger painting, then built a tent, watched a movie, colored, an amazing day.

Baking Cookies Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 18, 2006

March 18, 2006

Had dinner with a dear friend, Robert, who came into town and took us to the "Unheardof" restaurant. Was an awesome dinner and we all would recommend the place to anyone. The ambiance was wonderful, the meal superb! Not near as expensive as we had heard it was. Well worth the price in any case.

Was so good to see Robert, has been at least 2 years, probably longer, maybe even 4 years since we last seen each other in person. It's funny how you meet someone and you just click and become fast friends. Robert is one of those people. You know, too, that he has that effect on all people as he has friends across this great country, all throughout the US. People he has met and, just like me, have become friends with. That is truly a gift and Robert has that gift. :)

As if Robert's company and dinner wasn't enough, I was treated to a beautiful bouquet of flowers AND as gift certificate for a spa treatment! Heavenly!! Robert, sweetie, thank you so much!! That was such a wonderful surprise!

Had a tough night last night. For the first time in a long time, I woke up coughing at 4 am. After that had trouble sleeping. It makes me wonder if I'll be able to enjoy the summer, but hey, that's what cancer is all about. Keeps you guessing. The joys of it all. *sigh*

Oncologist appointment on Tuesday. I believe he'll do an x-ray to see what is happening.

Woke up this morning to, what looks like 8 inches of snow over night and still coming down. Someone tell me why we left Arizona again???? Think this will be a good day to veg out at home and watch the snow come down from the warmth of our living room. :)

And, it's supposed to be spring on Monday?

Monday, March 20, 2006

March 20, 2006
Lightbulb Moment

Had a lightbulb moment just now and had to sit down and right about.

First of all, thank you so much to some wonderful friends for getting me to this moment. Fig, Christine, Rosalie - you all played a part in getting here and I'm so grateful.

I started out with this blog hoping, that in some way, it would help others to understand this disease, how people deal with it and for others to know they are not alone. It seems, I've lost that along the way. If this is going to do this, then I must share all the times, both good and bad and not make light of the bad days or ignore them. If I do that, then I haven't done justice to myself or this journey.

Why I have done that and kept this pretty positive for the most part is from my own thoughts of having to be strong, not show the world the part of me that might be, what I saw as, weak. Not so, it takes strength to show all sides of ones self, doesn't it? I believe so.

So, yes, there are lots of days that I just want to curl up, cry, feel sorry for myself, let the world pass me by. Seems those days come the most when I'm tired, have had a full day and in the evenings. Last night was one of those nights. In fact I sat down earlier to write about it and started and then deleted it and wasn't going to bother. Then Fig said something to me that completed that lightbulb moment. :) and here I am, writing.

Sunday was a wonderful day, seems like the bad times usually start out as wonderful times. We spend the day with Bob & Linda having brunch and theatre. Was wonderful, great company, good food, laughs. A nice way to spend the day. Then I got to stop and see my granddaughters, which always gives me pleasure, not to mention it's nice to see Tanya and Jesse too! :)

By the time we got home around 4:30, I was exhausted, coughing a lot, my feet were swollen and hurting. That part serves me right for wearing heels. Ahhhh vanity! Found that I was having trouble catching my breath and felt like, geez, I really am sick and I don't want this. Told Michael, I had always hoped that the cancer would go somewhere that would take me quickly, please don't let me not be able to breath! That's how I felt last night, like I'm going to have to go through the worst of the worst and how will I do that? I'm really not good taking pain and illness, being in bed illness. My worst nightmare is drowning and I have these thoughts that having lung cancer will be like drowning slowly. Just slowing taking the ability to breath away. Not a nice thought, I tell you. That actually scare the sh*t outta me.

Our chat last night about all these feelings made us both realize, that we too, tend to ignore the fact that I have terminal cancer and try to continue on as if everything is fine. Most people see me and say, "you look great!". For the most part, I guess I do, except for the weight gain, but then that weight gain probably helps me look healthier anyway. So, because I look pretty good, it's so easy to forget that I'm sick. It's the part that doesn't show that keeps reminding me that I am. There is nothing wrong with that though. It is better to keep living as you really need to do that, focus on the living part of it all. But under all that is the dying part. That is always there, underneath it all. Raises it's ugly little head when you think about things down the road, like summer vacation, Kylie's birthday, Dad &Mom's anniversary, maybe looking at buying a house again. Opps, should I really be planning that far in advance, will I really be here? Even when I do go ahead and think about those plans, it's always there, in the back of my mind; I can plan but I might not be here to do it. Can you imagine how hard that is for a planner!!?? Can be tough, that's for sure!

So, for those of you reading this, please don't feel sorry for me. Please know, that for the most part, I'm doing pretty good emotionally. Take these days as days that are just part of the journey. Don't worry to much about me. I'm pretty strong and do well, with Michael's help, most of the time.

What I will promise myself though, is to show all sides of this journey, try not to focus on just the good days but share the bad times also. Otherwise, what is the point of all this?

BTW, feeling pretty up today. Maybe that's why it's easier to write about last night too. :)

Robert & Penny Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

March 21, 2006

So my visit was pretty uneventful. He basically said; "You are doing okay, the x-ray isn't showing any significant changes so come back in 2 months."

I asked him about the cough and he said the x-ray isn't showing any reason for that but it wouldn't show if the lymph nodes in that area are affected so that might be causing it, Nothing they can do about it anyway so he just gave me some codeine syrup to take at night.

I asked him about making plans for the summer and he said the following:

"We talked about the average life expectancy (12 months) at the beginning of your treatment. Some people do worse than that, some do better. We can do nothing else for your cancer except treat for quality of life as things arise. Go home, live life to the fullest, travel, do what ever you want to do. See me in two months unless something happens before that. You need to make plans, just remember, you may have to cancel them but make them anyway."

He did say there are couple of new trials coming up that I may be eligible for and will keep me in mind for those. Should know by the next visit.

So that's it. Guess that is the best news that I can expect so I'm not complaining. Will do what he tells me, make my plans and just live each day. I figure I might as well make my plans for the summer, and that's including losing some weight before summer, then after that, we'll make plans for the fall. :)

Tomorrow is Kylie's day. Yippee!! :)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Neressa's Art Posted by Picasa