Saturday 12 December 2020

Health Update 4

Hello, my bloggy friends.

Holidays are a hard time of year to be sick, or to have a loved one be sick.

When I go to the stores to pick up medications or to get other things my husband needs, it is hard to see the Christmas lights and hear the music.

We have spent many happy Christmas seasons while other families we didn't know have been suffering. We didn't truly understand the black cloud that hovers over a family in pain. Now we are that family, and now I understand. 

I don't begrudge anybody else their happy season, especially in this difficult year of the plague.

I am just so sad, people.

It's not about missing Christmas.

It's that my husband has deteriorated so much in such a short time. I am afraid he is losing the fight. His chemo is shrinking some of the tumours, but he has developed other serious health issues.

I'm sorry to be so vague, but I want to respect my husband's privacy as much as possible.


If you feel like sharing, would you let me know in the comments how each of you is doing? 

I really want to hear it, whether it's good or bad.

I could use some good stories, but I'm here to listen if you have the other kind, too.

And here is a picture for you.

 Take care, my friends.


Friday 20 November 2020


If you recall, I recently listed some links that brighten up my days.

Today I just have to re-link to bluebird of bitterness.

If anything describes 2020, it's her post today!

Wednesday 4 November 2020

How To Stay Humble

Hello, friends.

It's the day after US voting day, with final results still to be determined, and I know that many people around the world are biting their nails in solidarity with our American friends.

So I thought a diversion - even a small one - might be welcome.

Last Saturday it was that time of the year - the time when we set our clocks back an hour so that we can finally catch up on the hour of sleep we lost last spring when we set them ahead.

Hold that thought for a minute.

It's been awhile since I've mentioned my mom, but you may remember that she is ninety years old now and having increasing problems with her memory. 

Hold that thought, too. 

My mom has resisted getting a flu shot for many years now. She always says she should get one, but when I offer to take her she backs out. But this year, with covid-19 on the go, she finally agreed to let me make an appointment for her and even agreed to let me drive her there.

Now we have three thoughts lined up. Here's how they connect.

On Monday, I called my mom a few hours prior to her appointment, to remind her of the scheduled time. I also asked if she had managed to get her clocks turned back on the weekend.

No, she said. Did the time change?

Yes, I said. Yes it did. What time is on your clock right now, Mom?

It's ... let's see ... um ... it's one o'clock ... she said.

Okay then, I said (reading our kitchen clock); your clocks are still on the old time, Mom. It's actually 12 noon right now. So I'll pick you up in an hour and a half for your appointment, and if you want help setting any of your clocks I can do that too.

After a few more repetitions of what time it was and when I'd be picking her up, we ended our call.

Her flu shot went very smoothly, and I took her home and set all her clocks by my watch. Feeling like I had done my good deed for the day, I said good-bye and drove off to do some errands.

... And realized, to my horror, that I hadn't actually changed my watch to the proper time. (I don't wear it around the house, and I hadn't gone out since the time change.)

I did my errands while I contemplated the nature of memory, and good intentions, and bad follow-through, and then I returned to my mom's house where I had to admit my stupidity and set all her clocks - which she had originally set to the proper time and I had "fixed" - to the correct time.

Talk about humble pie. I was stuffed with it. Whew. Couldn't manage another bite. Because it's not all that tasty.

The only good thing is that she won't remember it by the next time I talk to her.

But I will.


We now return you to your regular programming. Good luck with those election results, America.

In case you're still not ready for that, here are some animals in sweaters. Enjoy.









 Have a good day, people :)

Saturday 17 October 2020

Health Update 3, and Other Things

Hello, people.

I wanted to let you know we're still okay, here in the house of the Procrastinating Donkey.

Although there has been a lot of trial and error with my husband's medication in the time since I last posted, his pain and other symptoms are now better managed, and he is also taking a steroid that increases his energy and appetite.

He has completed his first chemo cycle with no significant side effects, which is good, and has begun the second cycle. We are also concentrating on feeding him as many calories as he can take in. He has lost so much weight, and we want to turn that around if possible.

We won't know until mid-December if the chemo is working or not. Until then we are grateful for every day that he is feeling more comfortable. 

Thank you all again for your positive thoughts, good wishes, kind comments and very appreciated emails. I have thought of you all many times but haven't had much time to read or write. The days just seem to slip away like water through my fingers.


The "other things" in today's post title are some of the websites and blogs where I find respite from the heaviness of life. You might enjoy them too. Some of them will deliver their goodness to you on a regular basis if you sign up for email notifications.

For the links that go to Twitter accounts, don't worry if you do not have a Twitter account yourself. You can view these Twitter feeds whether you have an account or not.


bluebird of bitterness

We Rate Dogs

Thoughts of Dog 


Whoa City (formerly Whoa Interesting)

deAdder Canada (Canadian political cartoons by Michael deAdder)

deAdder (international political cartoons by Michael deAdder)


Savage Chickens 



And some funnies.









So tiny :)

  Take care, friends, and I hope to return soon.

Thursday 10 September 2020

Health Update 2 - Some Good News

I'm happy to be able to report some good news about my husband's health.

First, he is home from the hospital after having his esophageal stent put in place, and it is working as it should. He is still in the process of switching over from liquids to soft foods, and will have to stay on soft foods as long as he has the stent. But it allows him a wider variety of nutrition and has reduced his nausea.

Second, and probably even more important on the good news front, is that he had a bone scan while in hospital for the stent, and it has showed no cancer in his back or any of his bones. That is a great relief. His fairly severe back pain is being addressed with proper pain medication, and, while his doctor must now begin the process of finding out what's causing the pain, he is comfortable for now.

It is amazing how much energy and brainpower it takes to deal with constant pain and/or nausea. My husband was sleeping or resting almost all the time over the last several months. Now he is able to be awake almost the whole day, and the times he does nod off are more because he is losing sleep when he wakes up to take pain medication a couple of times a night, and then sit upright for awhile to avoid reflux in his throat.

I only wish -- and wish it fervently -- that everyone who has chronic pain could find relief from it, because it so negatively affects quality of life.

For now, we are trying to get rested up for the next steps in my husband's treatment. And we're trying to make our days as normal as possible. Because if we let the days slip away in unhappiness and worry, we'll lose out on the good that's actually remaining to us.

Thank you, my wonderful friends, for your continued good wishes and listening ears. 

I hope to be able to write about some other topics in the near future. It feels like I'll be able to do that again soon.

Some kitten pictures would not go amiss, would they? Enjoy.

Saturday 5 September 2020

Health Update

The news on my husband is not good. He has esophageal cancer -- an aggressive cancer that has already spread to other organs. It's often not detected until it's quite advanced, and this has been the case with my husband. His ability to eat has deteriorated in just four months from normal to only liquids. It started just as covid-19 put us into lockdown and doctors were not seeing patients except in the hospital emergency department. And his symptoms were not at first significant enough to send him to Emergency, so it wasn't until doctors started having telephone appointments in late May that he finally made his first appointment, which was set for early July. Bloodwork at that time returned normal results, so he was referred for a CT scan. As I mentioned before, that test was delayed due to repeated communication breakdowns, and it took a long time and several phone calls to finally get in.  

Once the CT scan was read, though, things started happening quickly. He had an endoscope last Monday, and Thursday he was admitted to hospital to have a stent placed in his esophagus-stomach junction to allow him to take food other than liquids, which is all he could get down for the past month. The stent was put in yesterday and so far he hasn't noticed a difference but it can take a few days for it to expand the passageway. He was also put on stronger pain medication, which was important as his related back pain was becoming unmanageable with the maximum dosage of over-the-counter pain killers.

The thoracic surgeon who talked to us about the stent said that the first thing they do for this kind of cancer is to support nutrition, and the second thing is to treat the tumour. The stent will help his nutrition, and to treat the tumour he has been referred for radiation and chemotherapy.

Thank you for all the kind and thoughtful messages you have left for us. They are appreciated more than you can ever know.

I will be absent from Poetry Monday for the foreseeable future. Diane at On the Alberta/Montana Border welcomes your poems in her comment section and I may see you over there from time to time. And I'll still be reading blogs when I get the chance, so I'll see you around, I'm sure.

We are doing okay, but my heart is breaking already at what is to come. Please hug your dear ones extra hard while you have the chance, won't you?

So long for now.

Monday 31 August 2020

Poetry Monday: Nature

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's topic is ..... NATURE.

Join Diane, MotherOwl, Mimi, contributors in the comments -- and, at the last minute, me -- as we explore this fine topic. You can leave your poem in the comments here or post on your own blog; if you do the latter, please leave a comment here so we can find you and applaud. Use the topic, or choose another. You may also share a poem by another author if you prefer. Enjoy the process.


First, thank you yet again for your words of support and encouragement. It means a great deal to me. I have relatively few listening ears in my non-blogging life, and, of those, two individuals are experiencing serious illnesses of their own which makes me reluctant to burden them further. Your kindness and caring make a big difference in my life.  

I was going to sit out the poetry challenge this week but the topic spoke strongly to me. In the past month my husband's health problem has become quite severe. He has finally been given the first diagnostic test (aside from blood work) that the doctor requested five weeks previously. The test was delayed by some kind of communication glitch between the doctor and the hospital -- not once, but twice -- but a very kind bookings clerk took me at my word that an expedited request had been made and scheduled my husband right away. That was last week.  And as a result of that test, he was immediately booked for further testing later today.

As you can no doubt imagine, I have been feeling quite stressed. It is so hard to see a loved one suffer, and be helpless to do anything about it. It's hard to see anyone suffer, for that matter. There is also the extra physical care for my husband and being up at all hours wearing on me. I am also doing some of the more vital yard work that my husband usually does. And I've been emailing and calling family to keep them in the loop.

In the midst of all of it, nature has been my solace. My deck garden, although not a great success this summer, still gives me a reason to get outside even if it's just for five minutes at a time. Yard work is therapeutic and helps me feel I am getting some real exercise. And most of all, going for a walk is a way to unwind, to process what is happening and what may lie ahead, and to calm my anxiety and soothe my sadness. And it is simply a pleasure to walk; the cool air we've had lately is invigorating, and much easier on my twitchy airways. 

When thinking about the topic this week, I kept associating the word "nurture" with the word "nature", probably because of the frequently-discusssed question of how children develop -- whether "nature" or "nurture" has more impact on them. And I realized that there is another way to relate the two words that perfectly describes how I feel about nature, particularly right now.

This has got to be the longest preamble ever, for the shortest poem ever. You all get gold stars for sticking with it.


In My Opinion *

Nature ...
Nurture ...


*Original title was "Maybe That's Why She's Called Mother". Edited to remove unintended sexism.   Because fathers nurture, too.

Yep, that's it, that's all. Like I said:  short.

And let us have a picture of wee kittens to smile over:

Until next week, I hope you have other reasons to smile, too, and can get out to enjoy nature's benefits.

Next week's topic is ..... THE KITCHEN ..... brought to us by Mimi -- thank you, Mimi! 

Monday 24 August 2020

Poetry Monday: Tomatoes

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's topic is ..... TOMATOES.

Join Diane, MotherOwl, Mimi, and contributors in the comments, as they try their poetic hand at this juicy topic.

I will be sitting out once again, but feel free to leave your poems in the comments and they will be published as usual.

Use the topic, or not; the idea is to enjoy the process.


Thank you for all the comments on my last post. Once again, I am touched by your support and good wishes.

There is still no progress on a diagnosis for my husband, but I will update you when there is news.

In the meantime, here is a link I hope you enjoy.

Click here :  Kitten watching cartoon

And for those who prefer a picture, here is a screen grab from the video at that link:

But the video is better :)

(This is one way I deal with anxiety - looking at pictures of kittens and videos of kittens. Another way is, believe it or not, cleaning things. Heresy, I know, but useful.)


The topic for next week will be ..... NATURE ... brought to you by Diane.

Mimi has suggested "The Kitchen" for the following week. Thank you, Mimi.

All suggestions are very welcome.

Have a good week, everyone.

Thursday 20 August 2020

Thank you all

Just a note to say how much I appreciate all your good wishes.

You are all such kind people, and I feel lucky to have your support.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

There is nothing to add as yet, but I will update you whenever there is.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves and enjoy this little picture.

Monday 17 August 2020

Poetry Monday: Responsibilities

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's topic is ..... RESPONSIBILITIES.

Join Diane, MotherOwl, Mimi, and contributors in the comments in writing on this weighty topic. You can leave your poem (or a poem by another author, with credit) in the comments, or post on your own blog. If you do the latter, please leave a comment so we can find you. Use the topic, or not. The idea is to have some satisfying fun and work our brains.


My husband is quite ill, and we are having trouble getting a diagnosis.

It's not the coronavirus; it started long before that. He is a very private person and I have not wanted to break that privacy by writing about it.

For a long time, I was able to compartmentalize (a skill I had to learn during my father's years of disability and illness), but this week I have hit the wall. All I can think of is my husband's health.

So I am taking a break.

Please feel free to leave poems in the comments - I will publish them as usual.

Carry on, my friends.

Updated:  Next week's topic, courtesy of Diane, is ..... TOMATOES ..... good luck :)

Monday 10 August 2020

Poetry Monday: Dreams ..... And Somewhat Related Funnies

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's topic is ..... DREAMS.

Join Diane, MotherOwl, Mimi, contributors in the comments section, and me! You can leave your poem in the comments, or post on your own blog. If you do the latter, please leave a comment so we can find you and your poem.

Use the topic or not; the idea is to have fun and work our brains.

You can also provide a poem that's not your own; be sure to give the source.


Langston Hughes ... Pablo Naruda ... Walt Whitman ... Ogden Nash ... and many more ...

I love all the dream poems in the links above, but I just can't compete with them on this topic.

Oh, heck, I can't compete with them on any topic.

But particularly on this topic, I am out of my depth.

Figuratively and literally.


On Being Short And Dreaming Big

Sometimes I dream I am six feet tall
Reaching high shelves like it's nothing at all
Having the mirror at just my height
Pushing a lawn mower without a fight
Strolling a path with long legs when I walk
And easily seen in a crowd when I talk

I know this can't happen, though it would be heaven
To someone whose growth stopped at four feet eleven


And funnies! All about hopes and dreams and plans and goals ... and other stuff, too ...


I hope your week is a dream come true ..... or at least not a nightmare :)

Next week's topic is .......... RESPONSIBILITIES .....

Good luck!

Monday 3 August 2020

Poetry Monday: Masks . . . And Funnies

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's topic is ..... MASKS.

Join Diane, MotherOwl, Mimi, contributors in the comments, and me, as we cover this topic. (Cover. Get it? Okay, okay! I'll move along.)

You can leave your poem in the comments, or post on your own blog. If you do the latter, please leave a comment so we can find you and your poem.

Use the topic, or choose another. You may also share a poem by another author if you wish. Have fun and exercise your brain cells :)


Are masks mandatory yet where you live?

In my home province of Nova Scotia, last Friday was the first day they were required in indoor public spaces.

Confession:  I've had a bit of difficulty getting used to wearing one.

It came as a surprise, actually. I'd worn disposable paper masks when my dad was hospitalized for pneumonia in the last weeks of his life. It wasn't what I'd call fun, but it wasn't terrible, either.

But the first time I tried to wear a cloth mask, I felt short of breath after just a few minutes, and after twenty minutes I finally had to remove it. (Don't worry, I was at home, just checking to see how it would go.) The light-headed feeling stayed with me for about a half an hour afterward.

There were several reasons why this might have happened. It was a hot, humid day. Even with the air conditioning, it was just barely comfortable inside our house. The mask was two layers of soft cotton (rather than smooth quilting cotton, which is recommended) so it seemed to trap the moisture in my breath. Also, I have asthma, which makes it harder to breathe in humid conditions.

So I made a second mask, of quilting cotton, with only one layer. That might be cheating; I don't know. But I'm slowly getting used to it. And I figured it was better than not wearing a mask at all. And soon I will try a two-layer mask again. The weather will be cooling off here a month from now, and that should also help.

In the meantime, I go out as little as possible. I keep six feet away from others as much as possible. And I am thankful our province brought in the mask rule.

Here's my entirely predictable take on "masks".


Not To Put Too Fine A Point On It

Wearing a mask is
The right thing to do
It saves you from me
It saves me from you
Cover your air holes
Prevent the germ's spread
Working together
Will mean fewer dead


Whoa! Kind of blunt at the end there, huh?

Time has been short here. I bet you can just tell.

But there has still been time to look at lolcat memes.

There's always time to look at lolcat memes.


I hope you all have a safe and happy week.

Next week's topic will be ...... DREAMS.

Thank  you for the great topic, Diane, and good luck everyone :)