New year, new tribulations…..

New year’s eve found us sitting outside around a big fire with friends. We were drinking a concoction of brandy and rum referred to as a Dickensian punch. It was delicious and delightful to watch being prepared with yet more fire, please click on the above link and make some for yourselves, perfect for the freezing December night. On our way home we pulled over by the water’s edge and set off a sky lantern (more fire)  As we stood with arms around each other and craned our necks to watch it float to the heavens I wished to be healthy, stay healthy, oh and a brilliant year for painting sales for Peter too lanternIf you have never seen or used a sky lantern they are truly beautiful and I can only imagine how magical it would be to see hundreds of them set aloft at once as they do at festivals in Thailand and China. One word of caution, always make sure you are in a wide open space. We once almost set one of our fir trees on fire, because it caught in the branches……Um, not our finest hour, but it was funny to watch my husband try to extinguish it very ineffectually with a hose pipe and not enough water pressure.

January 2nd and back to a busy day at work. The day was going well although, I did have a few more trips to the bathroom than usual but thought nothing of it. It is now my lot in life to be a more frequent visitor. It would have been about 5.15 when, on walking to catch my ferry home, I suddenly had that “OMG, I need a bathroom, immediately” thought. I swung into a coffee shop only to find the ladies occupied “Really?” I darted back onto the street and into a restaurant, where I asked if I might use their facilities. I damn near collided with a waiter and a tray full of drinks in my hurry to get there in time. “Phew, made it” Back on the street and hurrying now 5.22, ferry departs at 5.35 I had not gone more than two blocks when my nightmare came true….Yep, I crapped my pants on first avenue, with just three blocks to go. Oh, the humiliation, oh, the thought of all those happy new year hugs from my ferry friends, oh, how I did not want to miss this ferryand have to wait almost two hours till the next. Oh, what I wouldn’t give for a cloak of invisibility. Spurred into action by the clock,5.26, I darted (minced, would be a better word) into the bar just before the ferry terminal. They have a very nice, large restroom…..with a sink. I did the best I could and on exiting ran slap bang into a friend, here came the hug “Oh please don’t breath to deeply” I think. I smile big and move away as fast as I can “Must dash or I’ll miss the boat” 5.34 Board ferry, eyes forward, walk past friends, wave a greeting and lock myself into the handicapped stall that also has a sink.Washed unmetionables, stuffed them in a plastic bag and emerged with smiles and hugs for all.

Happy new year everyone, may your dreams come true this year and your bathrooms be ever near.



IMG_3246I hope you all had a lovely Christmas yesterday, sorry, I had really good intentions of writing last week, but time just slipped away, as it does. My very good friend and cohort Traci was having  serious surgery to remove a benign tumor (we called him Burt for years)  from her liver. She is doing well now and amazingly went home from the hospital yesterday although still in considerable pain. At least you are not being woken every hour at home, to be probed and poked and I hope she can now get some rest.

I had an appointment with my gynecologist a couple of weeks ago to review the  “Amazing shrinking vagina”  I had stopped using the estrogen cream months ago, on the advise of the breast surgeon, but wanted to see if I could go back on it again now that I have no breast tissue to worry about, to help with softening of that scar tissue caused by the pelvic radiation. The answer was yes ..hooray! Perhaps this next year may see the old tunnel of love back in action so to speak. I also went to see a genetic counselor who asked me loads of questions about my relatives and how they died and if they were Icelandic or Ashkenazi jews ????? yes, that’s what I thought. The link should explain. Anyway, I got a lot of information about mismatch repair proteins and a lot of other stuff I really didn’t understand. I was to have a test done on the original sample of my colon tumor done at the time of that first colonoscopy. Kind of weird to think that bits of me are in labs just waiting for an opportunity to be tested again, I wonder how long they keep those things? The long and short of all this boiled down to something called Lynch Syndrome. If I had tested positive, which, I am happy to report I did not, I would now be making plans to get a complete hystorectomy…Phew!

Lastly, about THE CAKEIMG_3266She looked a bit lumpy bumpy when I took her out of the tin but smelled deliciousIMG_3268I covered her with marzipan on Sunday that I purchased from marzipan confectioners in Spokane Wa.Shipped to my door lovely and freshIMG_3272Just had to add the royal icing and a bit of holly and ribbon on Monday afternoon and VOILA!IMG_3290As you can see, we polished off a fair chunk yesterday and sent friends home with extra helpings otherwise I am sure I would be having a piece for breakfast as it was quite heavenly and worth the time, trouble and wait. Damn, now I have to make one every year!

The calm after the storm….

My plan worked out fabulously, although the ring on my thighs took a while to disapear.The whole ‘stay in the bathroom’  was about two hours….see perfect for a movie and about four litres of fluid, good grief , you have to drink a lot. The actual colonoscopy was a breeze. Dr B was super sweet as always and the new endoscopy center is very modern and spacious. The staff were all very upbeat and friendly and the very best part of all….my result. CLEAN. No bumps, no polyps, nothing out of the ordinary. And, in case you care, I had lost not one but two pounds when I got on the scale this morning..Ha! However, I am sure to have put at least a pound back on at the Bakery Nouveau in west Seattle on the way home and if you have never been there it is worth the trip. My only slip up came after the procedure was over on. I needed the bathroom desperately, twice while still in the hospital, and you know there is one on every corner…..unfortunatly I didn’t make it in time and again on the ferry (still in the car) on the way home. They fill your colon up with something and air and that something just had to come out. Oh well I had on black stretchy pants so I hope nobody noticed. Just for your amusement and my humiliation here is the photo Peter insisted on taking last night.

Time for another colonoscopy

Oh boy it’s that time again. I am not going to be one of those friends who harp on like a broken record, but please, if you are over 50 and have not done so yet, go and get a colonoscopy. If I had done mine when my GP told me to and not two years later when I wanted to, my cancer might only have been a little polyp and it would have been a simple snip (or whatever) “Off with his head” done and dusted, come back in ten years. So, today I am doing my MOVIPREP………For the un initiated, this is the name of the yucky stuff you are given to drink to clean your…ehm, I think we all know what it does! But, what bright spark came up with this name? To me this sounds like a party box for the movies and should come with a large popcorn and soda at the very least, would a bag of twizzlers be too much to ask? I do have a little secret to share about how to get through this ordeal in the easiest way possible, and that is to do a clear liquid diet for two days and instead of just the one. That way you only have to drink the prep once. However, right at this moment I could happily eat a horse so I’m trying to focus on the extra pound I’m sure to have lost when it’s all over.

Here is my dilemma. I have very little muscle control when it comes to diarrhea, in fact I’m not sure I have any. What am I going to do when the urge hits? and it hits you hard I can tell you from experience.I am going to stay in the bathroom, that’s what I’m going to do. I have a small table that Peter got down from the loft this morning and I am going to set up my lap top in front of the toilet and watch a movie untill the fireworks are over…BRILLIANT!

A grand day out

Tuesday was a full day at Swedish hospital. Starting off with a full panel blood draw at 10.45 next over to Seattle Radiologists for a cat scan with the lovely pina colada lookalike drink, that isn’t. Bit of lunch then over to the cancer institute to see my oncologist Dr G. Cat scan results were A-one and had a nice long chat (and a laugh) with him about weight loss as he is a mere shadow of his former self and I now need to jump on that particular band wagon. Having small protrusions now (I reckon about a b-cup??) I am looking a tad disproportionate with the middle-aged spread that is happening beneath. So, the good Doctor told me all about his re-shaping with the immortal words “You have to count every calorie you put in your pie hole” Taking this to heart I have no downloaded the app called ‘Lose it’ ,is there an app for everything these days? So, we shall see. Next stop the colorectal clinic to discuss my bowel problems with the lovely Dr B. Never in my life would I have thought I could describe this bodily function in such detail. Turns out I have a syndrome! It’s called “Lower anterior resection syndrome” despite the topic of conversation and the rectal exam I always enjoy seeing Dr B, he is such a warm and generous man and so unlike the quintessential “cold-hearted” surgeons you usually encounter. I will need to get another colonoscopy soon and the thought doesn’t bother me a bit. Should I be worried about that last statment I wonder?

Friday the 13th

The day started out in its usual slow and easy coffee in bed way, building to the “your going to miss the ferry, what, we don’t have time to iron ….oh give it here, you brush your teeth” crescendo. So dashing out the door I managed not to actually look at what I had asked Peter to iron for me (a white shirt) untill, walking onto the ferry. Is that a stain? Wait, this thing is covered in yellow stains, what could that be I just took it out of the laundry basket. Now, for those of you who do not own cats, this is one reason you don’t own multiple mongies, sometimes they pee on things! Yep, great start to the day! Right, plan of action…..walk quicker than usual allowing for brief stop at Ross (dress for less) before work. No problem, that was until on disembarking I felt that odd cramping sensation that precedes a colon spasm and my need for a bathroom, and I mean PRONTO! Stopped once at the terminal before hitting the street at a fast walk and had to stop again at Starbucks. Oh for goodness sake….really? I dashed into Ross and grabbed the first white top that looked as if it would fit and stood , very impatiently in line, to pay. Now, I am running, hot and sweaty and…….thunder???….lightening???, you’ve got to be kidding. I dash in the front door at work, just as the rain starts pelting down. Straight into the bathroom in time  for spasm number three, change top, the new one instantly clinging to my beyond sweaty and rain-soaked body. Run my wrists under cold water for a full minute, just like my mother used to do before making pastry and try to calmly greet my client with cool hands and a smile.The really funny thing that a friend told me on the way home when I relayed  my morning, and she was perfectly serious, the problem, apparently was not the fact that today was the 13th but that the planet Uranus is in retrograde…well of course, that explains everything!

Refelections on my week

I hate to be negative on a subject so close to many an Americans heart, but I really despise the whole “Fireworks for all”, aspect of the 4th of July. Why? Because in my neighbourhood at least, it sounds pretty much like being in a war zone (not that I’ve ever been in one , but I have watched enough news footage to imagine) Animal freak-outs aside, there is a veterans home just down the hill from us and I wonder if some of those huge fireworks they set off nowadays don’t sound like mortar shells going off to some of the old guys. In my mind’s eye I see them taking cover under their beds or something similar. I may be way off base, but I do know that my animals hate it and this year I heard a small dog somewhere close to my house, squealing in terror. It broke my heart. Can’t we just have big , organized displays? Or limit the types that are sold to the public and have some kind of curfew on when you set them off because again, in my neighbourhood it tends to go on for almost a week. OK, enough soap boxing on that subject. How about this super-duper weather? I am loving it and after seeing the surgeon last week, I now have permission to exercise all I like. So, first off……WEEDING! Got a good three wheelbarrow loads done. Then decided to paint the outside table and chairs on the deck, oh and the seats were looking so shabby, so I re- upholstered those too with Peter’s help.. Alright, I know this sounds like too much work and it probably was, but it feels so good to be able to get back to normal activities. In fact that’s one of the key things for me is just doing normal stuff. Yes, I was sore and yes, I had to take a pain-killer but I don’t care.

Sunday, we were invited to spend the afternoon with friends on Heron Island and it was glorious except for my colon acting wacky which it sometimes does and I’m not sure why, so I have an appointment with Dr B next week to discuss. If there was ever an olympic event for who could poop the most times in a day, I tell you, I’d be in the running. While we are on the subject of sports, It’s been a heavy week for me. First, it’s Tour De France time and while I don’t even pretend to understand all the strategies and scoring of this sport, I am compelled to watch what must be one of the most grueling and amazing races in the world. Those guys seem super human to me. Then there was Wimbledon, and a mens final that had the whole of the UK watching, so sad Andy Murray lost. Phew! Time to set up the badminton court…………I think it will be good exercise for me, I’ll be gentle, I promise.