Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Sum Up Of How I Feel

Last Week Tonight, with John Oliver ended the year with a great video that sort of sums up how I feel about 2016.  If you have not seen it, please check out the link below. Note: It contains a lot of swearing. 

Sunday, 27 November 2016

A Conversation To Have

Let me tell you the story of Paul. I have no idea if this is his real name, we just made a name up for him (we did this a lot during make your own fun in ICU). Paul has been in ICU for about 6 weeks. According to his wife and daughter - his kidneys will never work again, his pancreas is done, he can only breathe with a machine and his heart kept stopping and they shocked him back to life 10 times in a day. His heart is only sort of going now because they put a pace maker in (took 2 tries to even get one to work). Also it is clear his bowels have shut down (will spare you the details).  When we spoke to his wife and daughter, even though the doctors have suggested that removal from life support would be the best option, they said they weren't ready. They said they don't know what Paul would want. They had never talked about it. This is family who faced the first medical emergency in 2010, when they almost lost him.

After stopping myself from screaming "pull the plug, he is done, time is up, move on" (hmmmm, can you guess my views on this!)  I realized that things would have been easier for the family if at some point outside the ICU had a conversation about "what if". It is not a good or fun "what if", I personally would rather talk about what if we won the lottery, but it is one that I am more likely going to have to deal with at some point, so it is a conversation I need to have. I should say, I have very clear and strong views on what would be acceptable medical care for me. My family knows. I have a living will. I have had this conversation. It is surprising to me how few people do.

If you haven't spoken or checked in with those whose health care you may become responsible for in the event they can't consent, take the time and talk to them. Find out what they want. When do they want a DNR?  Do they want their organs donated? Tell them what you want too.  Make their lives a tiny bit easier so if a doctor every has to sit them down and have a frank conversation about your life and treatment, they will know they are respecting your wishes. It may not be what they want, but it likely will help them make decisions and not leaving you suffering, like poor Paul.

Thank you for listening to my soapbox. A lighter blog post will appear on Tuesday, I promise!

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Thankful Thursday -Happy Thanksgiving

Today my American friends celebrate Thanksgiving. I will join them in giving thanks today.

I am thankful for the medical team that have supported my Dad (and my mom) the past 24 days.
I am thankful that I will be holding a little birthday party for my Dad in critical care on Saturday.
I am thankful the rest of my family is healthy.
I am thankful for the time I get to spend with my family.
I am thankful for my wonderful friends, both in person and online.
I am thankful for a loving husband who always has my dinner on the table.
I am thankful for all the support my family has received this past month.
I am thankful for having a job I love.
I am thankful for all the people who trust me with their children's needs.
I am thankful for the beautiful house in the hills I call home.
I am thankful for having more than enough which gives me the opportunity to travel.
I am thankful for podcasts to amuse me on my long commute.
I am thankful for early morning walks with my dogs.
I am thankful for the dog hair I roll of my pants every day and sweep off my floor.
I am thankful for laughter.
I am thankful for the inner strength that allows me to continue eating clean and going to the gym when I dream of staying in bed and eating chips and cake.
I am thankful for the life I have.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Dear Spanx

Dear Spanx,

It is with a heavy heart I write you this letter. We have had some wonderful times together over the past few years. You have hugged my curves and held in all my bumps and rolls during many events. Do you remember the time you were under my little black dress at a charity dessert event? Oh what a yummy night that was. Tthere was the time you joined me under my jeans and favourite black sweater? My bottom looked particularly nice that day.  Remember how hot my body felt under my pink dress at that wedding?  So many, many memories.

I truly believed that we had a lifetime more of memories to make. I pictured you in my suitcase on my next trip. I imagined you holding my gut in at a buffet. However, it is time we said goodbye. I have discovered a new way of living. Thanks to eating clean most of the time and the terrible time I spend every week with F'in Alex, I no longer need you. The rolls and bumps you so strongly caressed are gone. My stomach is almost flat. The flap on my body is almost gone. A body I had never dreamed possible or really aspired for has emerged. It is a body that no longer needs you.

So today I say goodbye dear Spanx. Thank you for the support you provided. May you bring the next body you hold in as much confidence as you gave me. May your time spent with them be short, as they too find a way to change their life so they no longer need you.


K-10 - future action hero stand in

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The IUD - A funny tale

Me with the box
Before I moved to Quebec, I was blessed with an old school male doctor who said all my hormone/period  issues were just life and to live with them. That is easy for someone not suffering from menorrhagia (why do women's health issues have such horrible names) that was making life challenging. To put it in perspective, the average period is 30-40 ml. Thanks to the Diva Cup I know mine was between 150-200 ml and accompanied with debilitating pain.

When I moved to Quebec and before I got a doctor, they were at least kind enough to have me try the pill. The first one I tried, no luck. The second worked for the first year. It was when I needed the renewal that I finally got a doctor. She felt the best treatment for me was to have an IUD put in (she gave me a lot of other options and we agreed this would be the best to try). The Mirena was actually designed for women suffering from menorrhagia.

When she prescribed the IUD she warned me the box was really large and not to be scared it. I nearly died laughing when I saw the box (I am sure the pharmacist thought I was crazy). It is huge! The friends I showed the following picture to also laughed, one laughed until she cried!

The day for the insertion arrived and before the doctor started she said she had a medical student who had not seen the procedure and from whom it would be very helpful to see, could the student watch. I said sure. Then the doctor said, I actually have 2 students. I said sure, why not! We are facing a serious doctor shortage so if standing and watching a doctor put something in my uterus can help, why not! (Many of my friends were mortified at the thought of this, I was like, whatever). I did make a joke after we all got settled into the room if anyone else would like to come and join us. While on the table, while the doctor was explaining things to the students (it was a discussion about my cervix I believe) and  it struck me how odd this was and I started to giggle. The doctor asked if I was ok and I said "this is all just weird" and she said it was and we all laughed.

Hopefully, as I have shared my body with science I have help educated two very timid seeming student doctors.  More importantly, hopefully this IUD will start to do its job (it said it would take 2 weeks to 6 months to get sorted out and we are just entering week three) and I will be one of the 97% of women who no longer have a period because I am just finishing up 7 weeks with it and I am kind of over it!

Also hopefully my husband's clearly sexist health plan will take the doctor's note saying this is for menorrhagia and not contraception and pay for it. (They will only cover oral contraception apparently).

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Thankful Thursday - Good News

Today I am thankful for good news. We got a lot of it with my Dad yesterday. He was able to be off his ventilator some (it will be a slow process). He was able to talk a little. All in all it was a good day with lots to be thankful for.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Breakthrough???

November 3rd was session 20 with F'in Alex (by the way I am trying to get the whole gym to call him that - it is my mission), and it may have been a breakthrough one.  I had gone into session 19 exhausted as I had barely slept after getting the call about my dad. It wasn't a great session as my body was off, but I did the best I could. I went into session 20 in a very different mindset. I was well rested and pissed off at the universe. I was just angry. This rage apparently was very good for me and I had an amazing session. I felt great after it (still sore but great). It was sort of like it all clicked in that moment of rage. 

This week, week 11 (sessions 21 and 22) were also pretty good. I did have a bit of a complication on Tuesday as I had an IUD inserted Monday (hopefully my menorrhagia will finally be controlled). I had some cramping during class and there were things I couldn't do, but it was still ok. Session 22 was fine.

The gym may now be a neutral place. I still don't like most of what I do (although I am working hard to not hate it and find a few things I don't mind) but it isn't as bad. It is part of my routine. Let's see if this continues. 

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The Unglamorous Side Of Beauty

My hairstylist Jess has been wanting to lighten my hair since I met her. Finally, because I am tired of seeing roots at week 2 (not because I didn't like the colour), I decided to give this a chance.

It was a 4.25 hour and $300 process and it went like this.

First 1 hour and 45 minutes of applying bleach. My head felt like it weighed 100 extra pounds, made worse by my sore traps (thanks F'in Alex).  I had saran wrap on my ears so the bleach didn't burn them.

Then another 30 minutes later and it was time to see what happened. 

One side went reddish and the front didn't want to lighten. 

The other side went bleach blonde. 

In the end I came out "expresso" - it is lighter than it looks in this picture. 

As Jess was washing out the final colour she admitted that she had been very nervous about this. Dark hair often doesn't lighten well. I am glad she saved her concerns until we were in the clear! 

Let's hope the roots don't show up as early!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Snicker Sunday

I saw this in a magazine at the hair salon and thought to myself - "Damn, I am now going to have to work with F'in Alex forever!"

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

A Minute

I don't even know where to begin this post. It is so surreal to write.

Monday night I was in bed asleep when my sister called Sam (my phone is off at night) to tell him I had to call our mom as our dad (who will turn 65 later this month) had collapsed at a funeral (FYI I find that part funny - there is an irony to almost dying at a funeral, so if you want to chuckle, please do!). At that moment it appeared my dad was going to die. They were going to airlift him to a bigger centre (2 hours away from where he lives) for surgery but didn't expect him to make it to the hospital for surgery or through the surgery. So, I went from a light slumber to possibly saying goodbye to my dad. Needless to say I didn't really sleep after that.

At 2:30 we got a text that he had survived surgery and was now minute to minute. Minute to minute has been where we have been since.

I am currently still at home. My dad is in a hospital about 6 hours away. My sister and her husband have gone to be with my mom (who had her BFF with her until they arrived, so she wasn't alone - and my brother-in-laws parents are with their kids). I am at home because it is possible that this whole "thing" (I don't even know what to call it) could go on for days. It makes the most sense for us to take turns being there.

My dad had an abdominal aortic aneurysm and is in ICU. He is having some kidney issues and there is some damage to his heart (which we don't know if was old or from this yet), and he has fluid on his lungs. But he is awake and responsive and since the collapse has continued to live for a lot of minutes.

I am trying to continue with my life as planned as best I can. I am a pretty stoic person so that helps. And yes, after 4 hours of non-continious sleep, with my dad on his death bed, I still showed up at the gym. When I fell out of the 3rd plank F'in Alex said the nicest thing he has ever said - I am paraphrasing here it was something like 'If I had  so little sleep, I wouldn't have been able to do that either." I think he was sort of impressed I even showed up, most people wouldn't. But we all cope in our own ways, and following my plan helps me cope.

It is at moments like this I do wish I had a faith to provide comfort. For now I focus on a minute and then the next and look forward when we can look at time in hours or maybe days.