To treat… or not.

My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer on his 82nd birthday. I expected it when his PSA test started increasing. He had a biopsy.  I couldn’t attend the appointment for the results but asked my mom to make sure she found out his Gleason score. When she called me on his birthday, I heard it in her voice before she said the words.
Cancer.
It’s considered an intermediate- risk tumor.  There is no metastasis. But given his advanced age and other co-morbidities, namely the Alzheimer’s, surgery is not recommended.
At his age, hormone therapy and radiation is recommended. Without treatment, he has perhaps 10 years.  But that means the tumor will get larger, he’ll have more lower urinary tract symptoms of obstruction and likely bone pain from metastasis.   Radiation is not easy.  It involves daily trips to the hospital for weeks;  20-39 radiation visits. That’s 20-39 days that my mother has to drive him to and from hospital and pay exhorbitant fees in parking. My mom went through  radiation treatment for her own breast cancer 15 years ago. She still remembers how hard that was on her. How difficult now will this be on my dad? He asks her several times a day what the next doctor’s appointment is for. Because he forgets. How difficult will this be for my mom to take him to the hospital day in and day out,  in his already semi-frail and de-conditioned state?  Is it cruel to put him through treatment? Is it cruel not to?
After meeting with his radiation oncologist and learning about a new treatment protocol involving only 5 weekly visits for radiation therapy, it looks like we will be embarking on treatment for my dad.  He seems to understand the side effects of treatment and that it means weekly visits to the hospital.  Of course, he’ll ask many times why he’s going but that is okay for now.  Five weekly visits is going to be much easier for my mom.  If and when it gets to be too much, we’ll make a decision to stop.  But for now, he/we are going to fight this.

Long Run – Week 2

Yesterday’s long run almost didn’t happen.

After a wonderful evening with my best friend and her partner, after eating prime rib and Yorkshire pudding and 3.5 bottles of wine among us, I woke up Sunday morning with a slight hangover and a tummy that was not happy about all the food. I hate to get graphic but I had a very upset tummy that morning, well actually, more like in the middle of the night, reminiscent of the stomach flu but thankfully no vomiting.

Remember, hubby and I have been on a healthy eating kick.  We have small dinners of protein and veggies, no dessert and no booze.  My system clearly didn’t appreciate the high fat and alcohol all at the same time.  So Sunday morning came and I was like, “Long run? Not a chance.”

Instead we took the kids out and ended up at an aquarium store. A couple of hours later, we came home with a companion for our mama crayfish, a new aquarium for the two and a fire eel!!!!

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Mama crayfish is the red/orange one. Royal blue crayfish is her new companion.  The rainbow pebbles were chosen by our daughter. 

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We found the eel hiding under this rock a few hours after putting him in the tank. He is a bottom dweller and likes to hide.  I think his little snout sticking out is super cute.

So it was around 5:30pm when we were done setting up the homes of our new family members and I decided it was now or never to run. So I suited up and forced myself to go out. I’m so glad I did. Though it was super slow, it felt great to be back out there pounding the pavement.  I didn’t increase the distance too much, I had planned 6.7 km (10% increase from last week), but finished at 6.5 km due to general fatigue.  Still, it’s in the books and I feel good about it overall.

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2017 – with a vengeance.

2017 came in with a vengeance, for me at least. New Years Eve day started out with my three-year-old up chucking his applesauce then spiking a fever for most of the afternoon. While the older two kids were on their way to my in-laws, it was touch and go whether the baby would be staying home and changing our NYE plans or going to my mom’s for the night. Thankfully with some Advil and Gravol, he perked up enough to be sent there for the night.

As my husband and I prepared to go to our friend’s place for the evening, I had a fleeting thought of “What if I’m the next one to get hit with the stomach flu?”  I forgot to mention that my eldest got hit with the stomach bug two days before.

The evening started out great. We brought all the fixings for a cheese fondue and it turned out great but shortly after starting to eat I felt the distinct uncomfortable rumblings in my lower stomach that signaled something wasn’t right.  Sure enough, an hour before midnight I was hugging the porcelain god and wishing I were dead.  The stomach virus that gently hit my children assaulted me with a vengeance.  Minutes after midnight I was lying in an upstairs spare bedroom shivering with chills. So much for my new year’s eve plans.

Why is it that the holidays bring on such horrible illnesses? This is the second year in a row that my family has been plagued with a stomach virus over the holidays. I myself have had more of these bouts of illness in the last 5 years than I can remember for most of my life. Is it the kids?  Are they the germ factories?

It’s downright awful.

Even after spending almost the entire day in bed yesterday and sleeping close to 14 hours I am still not 100% today and feel like I could be on the verge of intimacy with the porcelain gods again.  As I write this I’m lying in bed with three children arguing for my attention.

Time to sign off …

Countdown.

5 signs it’s time for a vacation.

  1. You’d rather sleep in than go for a run.
  2. You have no idea what day of the week it is and don’t care to find out.
  3. Listening to your patient with a laundry list of complaints causes you to start daydreaming of the lake.
  4. You stop caring. Period.
  5. You start marking an ‘X’ on every calendar you see until the day it’s time to leave for vacation.

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What if?

What does a wife and mother to 3 children do when her husband (who stays home to look after the kids) is suddenly offered the opportunity of a lifetime but it means 2 years away from home while he tours Canada, the U.S., and Japan?

Gah!

So many scenarios run through my head…

Of course we could make it work.

I can parent three children on my own and still work 30 hours a week.

My job is relatively flexbile, I could change my hours to accommodate school pick up and drop offs.

I can’t let him pass up this amazing opportunity.

What if he resents me in 10 years because he didn’t go?  What if he resents me in 10 years because he did go?

I used to watch this television show called Fringe.  The main premise of the show was parallel universes.  I often wonder if there were a parallel universe or ten, what would it show me?  How would my husband leaving to go on tour for 2 years affect my children’s development? How would it affect them if he didn’t go?  Would it make me a more capable mother or would it make me worse?

I don’t think he’s going to go, but the exercise of thinking about it and wondering if I could handle running a household on my own really makes me realize how much I depend on him and need him. Sometimes I think I might take that for granted.

This also reminds me of my favorite poem:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”

 

A Breadmaker?

Further to my post earlier this week, that first batch of dough I tried to rise in the refrigerator did absolutely nothing. 

Nada. 

No rising. 

I believe it had something to do with my starter. While there were loads of bubbles that I thought were yeast, the mixture wasn’t doubling. So I fed it some more and the next day magic happened. My starter doubled in size and I tried again. 

This time though I didn’t rise the dough in the refrigerator. I instead left it in the oven all day and husband looked in on it. By the time I got home from work, the dough had risen to double and I made some bread. 

 
Apart from it being slightly under-salted and having an extra crispy crust, it was damn fine bread!! 

From Scratch

I couldn’t let the day pass without writing.

It’s February 29!

Happy Leap Day/Year everyone!

There has been so much I wanted to write about but getting my thoughts down has been hard.  It’s been very busy at work and by the time I get home and see my kids, eat dinner and relax, it is time for bed.  I’ve been running about once a week which isn’t nearly enough and that has been hard to deal with as well. I just haven’t been motivated to run lately and it hasn’t helped that I’ve been on-again off-again having issues with my calf.  Coming home late from work also means there’s no time to run.  The kids barely see me during the week as it is, so it’s not like I can arrive home and immediately turn around and leave for a run. Needless to say, mommy guilt is at an all-time high. 

I have also been preoccupied lately with being an assessor for medical school admissions.  After doing a file review of 30 applicants, I also took part in the in-person interview. I’m not sure who was more nervous, me or the applicant!  Thinking back to my own medical school interview, it was an hour long while I sat across from four very important looking people. Daunting indeed. It was interesting being on the other side of the table. It was more a privilege than anything else. I felt like I was a member of a very important club and it felt good to be able to play a small role in choosing our future physicians. 

Husband and I have been watching a lot of Netflix recently.  We just watched a documentary called “Cooked” and it was a fascinating look at how we as humans approach food.  One of the episodes was called “Air” and it was a look at the art (and science) behind bread.  Did you know that if you mixed water and flour and left it to the air that something magical would happen?  You can make your own yeast sourdough starter!  You don’t need anything else but time and patience.  There are yeast spores in the flour and in the air, all ready to start doing their thing.  Ever the scientist, I decided to give it a try.

Day 1. A boring paste of flour and water. IMG_1336
Day 2. Something is happening. Those bubbles are CO2 being formed by yeast. After adding more flour and water to feed the fledgling yeast 

Day 3.  More feeding of flour and water. More magic. Now it’s starting to smell a bit funky, which I hear is a good thing.

  

Day 4 – today. Sour and pungent smell. It is almost ready. 

 
When I got home tonight I decided it was time to try out some bread making. Now the dough is rising for the next 12 hours (sourdough) and for the record had I known this would take this long to make one loaf of bread I would have just gone out to the bakery and bought one. 

😉

The Toddler

“Mommy, what’s that?”

“That’s a Death Star cookie jar.”

“I want that! Mommy, what’s that?”

“That’s a Chewbacca pillow.”

“I want that!”

“What’s that?  What’s that? MOMMY!  What’s that?”

“That’s a Boba Fett bobble-head doll.”

“Mommy, I want that! Mommy what’s that?”

“That’s a phone booth toy.”

We were at HMV this morning.  Husband was off looking for some Criterion Collection DVDs and I was on toddler duty. The store was pretty empty as it had just opened so we had the run of the store.  The toddler high-tailed it to the “toy section” and spent the next 10 agonizing minutes of my life with a game of 20 questions.

All this after a half-hour car ride which sounded like this:

“What’s that? Ooooh, treetcar! I want one. Daddy!  Look! A bus! Mommy!!  Mommy!!!!!!!  My boot fell ground! I want muffin! Daddy!! Bird, Daddy, look! What’s that, Mommy? Look, Mommy, a truck! I want one!”

Aren’t toddlers adorable?

I need a Tylenol.

 

 

 

 

Welcoming 2016

On this final evening of 2015, I sit alone in the basement watching The Vampire Diaries and coloring in my new grown up art book.  My kids are tucked into bed and sound asleep. Husband is out with my best friends at our mutual friends’ NYE party. With my dad having been in hosptial for a week (he’s home now), my mom couldn’t come over to stay with the kids. 

This is the first NYE I’ve spent alone. Ever. I think. Wow. Yeah. 

I  am totally okay with that. It’s actually, probably, the best way I could think of to spend this night. I take care of so many people, I am thrilled to be taking care of myself for one night. 

And since I am no longer posting on Instagram, I don’t have any place other than here and FB to show off my new hobby. 

So, here’s what I’ve been up to over the past few days.  

  

   
 

Happy New Year!!!

May 2016 be filled with health and happiness to you all.