It was indeed a beach day.
Best laughs of the day came from a dog.
First story: A border collie was with its owners as they walked down the beach. The collie carried a bright orange ball and was, of course, playing fetch as they walked. As they came into view of Vince and me, the dog made a beeline towards me, dropped the ball about 3 feet away from me and then walked away about 10 feet, sat then laid down. Looked at the ball. Looked at me. Looked at the ball. Looked at me. The intent was obvious and just made me howl out loud. It’s not often that I get such an invitation. So, the ball was thrown. But that’s all the opportunity I got, because the family had moved on down the beach knowing their dog would catch up.
Second story: Not far past us, the collie began barking like mad and was hopping around and digging at a piece of driftwood. Appreciate please that the wood was about 10 feet long and of significant diameter. But the man pushed the log into the water and gave it a good heave ho to float it out there. In went the collie, who “chased it down” and, no joke, managed to grab an end of it and haul it back to the beach. That was all the collie needed, out it came, leaving the log in the water, and off they all went down the beach.
And yes, on the return trip, I was offered the ball again.
Here’s a picture of lumpy me!
From the awe of seeing the tall ships at full sail to the ringing in my ears from the cannon blast, I can’t begin to tell you how much of an amazing time I had yesterday at the Tall Ships festival. I enjoyed walking the marketplace and seeing all the wares, but resisted a purchase. Vince had managed to finagle greater access to the ships and as such, I got to bypass the line-ups for any ship I was interested in by accompanying him.
I enjoyed every minute of it, even if the temperature almost broke the record and the sun was so intense that I was soaked from sweat! Let’s not forget a bit of sunscreen failure (came off with the sweat, I’m sure) and the little sunburn streak I have on my right arm. Had to laugh, there is also sunburn on my fingers above the glove/gauntlet I wear for the lymphedema. Never thought to put some there.
The 3-hour tour went well and I loved cruising on the boat. Below is a picture of me ~ I had the best seat in the house. That’s the captain, Len, behind me.
At the end of it all (some 6 hours later), Vince and I went to Rebar, a local restaurant that some may know of as it has published its own cookbook. www.rebarmodernfood.com I can’t begin to tell you how yummy the food is here. Perfect for the vegetarian and it has vegan options too. I was glad for it as a salad sat a lot easier on my stomach given the heat of the day.
If the weather holds tomorrow, it’s a BEACH day!!! [Guilty of taking an extra long weekend]
You may recall that Victoria hosted the Tall Ships festival back in 2005 and Vince and I had a blast. I was a volunteer for the festival and had unlimited access to most everything and Vince was an “Artist on Site” with amazing access to ships for photos.
This year we’re not directly involved, but the ships are back [not all the same from 2005, but a few new “faces”] beginning tomorrow and we’ve got our passes and plans for the festival. Amazingly, the weather is about to cooperate for a change and we might actually have summer weather.
I’m excited about Saturday afternoon as Vince and I go on a 3-hour “adventure sail” as part of a whole armada of select ships. Other than the ferries, I’ve never been on a boat so this is a real adventure for me.
This is just an update post.
The compression sleeve is doing its job from the elbow on down. My upper arm is showing a little bit of an increase in size. So I’m back to wearing the sleeve full-time to see if it makes a difference.
If the upper arm does not reduce, I will have to go on pneumatic pump and/or go for a customized compression sleeve.
The important thing to remember is that my lymphedema is still considered mild and very manageable.
The following are just small snippets of things I don’t want to forget about the trip to Winnipeg ~ few are linked to each other and are not enough to create a post around it.
* Tim Hortons off the Trans Canada in Brandon, Manitoba doesn’t accept debit. What the ???!!!
* Saw a hare – yes a hare, not a cottontail rabbit - freakin’ huge rabbits!! After it darted in front of me, tried to find it in the thicket around the campsite and was able to see it finally by its white feet.
* First time in a tent since my mastectomy surgery, crawling in was such a challenge (knees suck, by the way) that I flopped down and swore I wouldn’t get up in the middle of the night. Guess what, in the middle of the night had to pee really bad. Opened the door and the vestibule and saw how dark it was (why did I forget how dark it can get away from civilization??) and woke Vince up. He wanted to know why he was awakened and I said that it’s DARK and I wasn’t sure how to get myself out of the tent. Vince proposed I back out. At the “No way am I exposing my butt to anything that can bite it!”, Vince rolled his eyes and went out first.
* Shared the bathroom/shower momentarily with a magpie. As I was in a stall, I heard a cackle decidedly NOT a crow and loud, meaning close by. So, I spoke up and said, “Is there something in here?” and as a second thought, “Should you be in here??” I peaked out the stall door when I was done and sure enough, there’s a magpie on an open window’s sill in the shower area. As I moved towards it, it flew off and I shut that window pretty quick. I can only imagine the kurfuffle that would have happened should it have made its way in further! [I propose it wouldn’t be a pretty sight.]
* Saw a black bear on railway tracks off the side of the highway (not close by).
* Saw a marten in a different location and on railway tracks as well.
* Howled at the Richardson’s ground squirrels in the area – can see where the term “prairie dogging” comes from (though these fellas are NOT prairie dogs).
* That mooning of the antelope that I wrote about? Didn’t mention the train along about 5 minutes later, did I?
* Had to go to the bathroom REALLY bad on the way into Revelstoke and Vince knew that he had to stop at the first available stop. Add to this a rockslide on the highway and down to one lane of traffic and I ended up pretty desparate! [BTW, I had opportunity to go at a rest stop before that point, but said I’d make it to Revelstoke. Sigh.]
I think that’s all for now.
I have switched hormone therapies. I have been on tamoxifen to stop estrogen reception by the cancer cells. Now, since the organs most responsible for estrogen production are gone, it’s time to switch me to an aromatase inhibitor.
Before menopause, the ovaries produce most of a woman’s estrogen, so reducing estrogen from other sources has little or no effect. But in post-menopausal women, most of the body’s estrogen is made from another hormone, androgen. Aromatase inhibitors stop the enzyme called aromatase from turning androgen into estrogen, lowering the amount of estrogen produced OUTSIDE the ovaries. That means less estrogen in the bloodstream, less estrogen reaching estrogen receptors, and less cancer cell growth.
The pisser? One of the possible side effects is hair loss.
Now, I’ve never considered myself a vain person. I don’t wear makeup. I don’t use hair products and I rarely fuss about clothing (style that is; quantity is a different matter entirely and a whole other topic). The one truly good thing I’ve gotten from chemotherapy is some volume to my hair. This distresses me. Greatly.
And now my sigh of disgust as I realize that apparently I have vanity after all.
I hope that it’s a side effect I don’t experience.
A magpie, a crow and a raven ~ wait a minute, that sounds like the start of a really bad joke; let me assure you, it is not ~ so, resuming the tale, these three birds were fighting each other and at one point all three landed in our campsite.
It was truly spectacular. The raven was freaking HUGE and truly a sight to behold. The crow was full of attitude and the magpie held its own and is brilliant in its colouring.
Vince and I did a two night stop in Yoho National Park on the way home. Enjoyed it very much. Mixed emotions at not having elk visit the campsite. Wanted to see them up close, not sure I could’ve handled THAT close.
No bear problems, but plenty of scat to make us a little wary.
Access to Takakkaw Falls was closed as there is still avalanche risk, so our hike took us only as far as a lookout for the Spiral Tunnels.
Wood fires, looming mountains and frigid showers….do I know how to have fun or what?
Spending the night in Vancouver ~ in too late to catch the ferry home. One more night and I’m HOME. Yipee!
There is something to folk songs:
Home home on the range
Where the deer and the antelope play . . .
Seriously, how many of us took for fact that home on the range meant our prairies and our deer and antelope??
I think my favourite story about the journey home from Winnipeg is me mooning the antelope. I wish it were as simple as saying that it’s not quite what it sounds like, but alas, it happened, even if the circumstances were not on purpose.
Vince and I had stopped in a rest area in the vicinity of Piapot, Saskatchewan for the night. We were up fairly early in the morning (around 5:30 a.m.) and I was changing clothing ~ since it was a fairly isolated spot with the van blocking me from traffic, why not??
Next thing I know, Vince is saying I’m mooning the antelope across the railway tracks in the field beside us, waking up themselves.
So, I inadvertently mooned the antelope.
Oh yeah, did I mention the trains? Didn’t know the rest area was RIGHT beside tracks until the first train rumbled by late at night (EARLY in the morning). Exhaustion has its benefits as I was able to go right back to sleep each time after the train stopped sounding its horn. Repeat x 4. No wonder we were up early.
And my favourite road sign in Alberta: “Stock at large”.
In thinking about what that means I came to the conclusion it meant livestock on the “range” with no fencing. Soon proved positive when there was a dead longhorn bull in the highway’s median (huge animal, can only presume an 18-wheeler got it as not much of any debrie in the area).
Partings are sweet sorrows.
I leave Winnipeg today with a miriad of emotions: exhaustion, satisfaction, joy and hope.
I am glad for the new contacts I’ve made.
I’m sad too as I say goodbye once again to Roisin as she leaves for Ireland to do some wedding planning and then Brisbane (Australia) her new home.
Today is the end of the conference and I am emotionally and physically exhausted. And I can’t believe it is all over.
I have met and been surrounded by phenomenal women, all who share the bond of breast cancer with me. I never expected to say that I felt isolated in Victoria, but it felt good to be with women who truly understood what I have gone through.
I have laughed and cried. It’s just all so overwhelming.
As I leave the conference behind me, I come away with a piece of knowledge I didn’t have before. I no longer need to wonder “now what” because it’s apparent to me that I’ve already decided what that is and have been doing it all along: I am going to live my life. I don’t need all the answers or pieces right now, those will come as life happens; what’s important is that I move forward.
I also know that it’s not a “new” normal I seek. I’ve changed, how could I not? But then again, I’ve changed every year that I get older, the only difference is how fast this one happened and why.
It’s not a fumbling for where my place is that has me slightly flumoxed; it’s getting back into a routine, one that isn’t scheduled around the doctor’s appointments or the Cancer Clinic.
It will take some time to process all that has happened here.
Pics now posted for those interested.