So long 2016

What a year it has been……
I was on chemo when it started with all the joys that brings.  I didn’t have hair, I was permanently tired and for a reason when my hemoglobin dropped to 105 g/L.  In January David Bowie and Holly Kitchen died. Everyone knows David Bowie the superstar, here’s a link to one of my favourite songs…. Space Oddity. Holly Kitchen was famous as an advocate in the metastatic breast cancer world in part due to this video.  Alan Rickman died……goodbye Professor Snape, you were one of the best characters in Harry Potter.
Then, one of the rooms in the Hotel California closed when Glenn Frye died.
I don’t remember much about February which is probably a good thing.  I was on chemo, I was bald, and I was tired.  That seems like enough.
Chemo finally ended in March.  The fatigue slowly improved as my hemoglobin went up but my energy level wasn’t fantastic.  At least my hair started to grow in.  And there were some vague signs that the lesion on my skull was improving as I had few more good days than bad days but my taste buds and tongue were still not great.
My right arm got all puffy and at Easter weekend I was diagnosed with a blood clot in my right armpit.  That resulted in 4 months of injecting myself daily with a blood thinner.  Definitely not a highlight in my life.

Prince died in April. I would now post Raspberry Beret but apparently there is some kind of copyright thing going on so every link I found was being muted. How about listening to a few doves cry.
I had some scans and the CT and MRI looked good while the PET showed some questionable lymph nodes.  Wait for a while and rescan seemed like a good plan.
And a really positive thing, Ian and I went to Mexico for a week……..

Over the May long weekend we had a medical crisis with Jasper and we thought liver failure was the end.  The night before an expensive test he decided he wasn’t ready to go yet and he has been his crazy self ever since.

In June the world lost the amazing Muhammad Ali.  Famous originally as a boxer that floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee he became known as a social activist…….”Hating people because of their colour is wrong.  And it doesn’t matter which colour does the hating.  It’s just plain wrong.”
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your time here on earth.”
And one of the most important, “Live every day as if it was your last because someday you’re going to be right.”
We also lost the hockey legend, Gordie Howe.

July is mostly a blank. My energy level was still improving. My arm was still a little puffy but the blood clot was gone so at least I was done with the blood thinners.  It was decided the puffiness was lymphadema so I was hopeful a few drainage exercises would clear it up.  I had more scans and the CT and MRI were both good while the PET was still questionable.

Ian and I headed off to Toronto at the beginning of August with a side trip down to Skaneateles to see some of Ian’s family.  We made it to a Blue Jays game and the Jays crushed the Rays which was excellent for Ian’s first experience at a major league ball game.

The weather was pretty stunning though with a heat wave rolling through.  The humidity is positively horrible for lymphadema.  I probably should have worn my compression sleeve all the time but it was so gross and hot and sticky I just couldn’t do it.
Overall though, it was great to see all the family and it was a nice getaway from all the usual medical stuff.

September began in a mellow fashion, I was still tired from our travels and my arm stayed puffy.  More scans were done near the end of the month and then all hell started to break loose.  I started to notice some lumps and bumps on the right side and then my right arm ballooned.  I got the scan results at the beginning of October and while they were still good things were continuing to go downhill. I had an elephant trunk for my right arm and the lumps and bumps were getting bigger and my skin was getting involved.  I didn’t realize it but my energy was completely disappearing and by the end of the month it was decided it was time for a new treatment.

In November I started TDM-1 and things have started to improve.  Almost immediately I could feel the cancer cells dying and the lumps and bumps have been shrinking and my skin healing.
The Canadian music icon Leonard Cohen died…….Hallelujah but not really.

December has been crazy. Christmas baking was done, Irish Cream was made, stollen was baked, the lights put up, the tree decorated, the gifts wrapped, the family visited, the gifts opened, friends have been visited, and A LOT of food and drink has been consumed.
We said good bye to George Michael……..time to keep the faith. And the Force weakened with the passing of Carrie Fisher followed quickly by her mother, Debbie Reynolds.
The world lost many other famous people throughout the year…….R2-D2 (Kenny Baker), Lady Chablis, Juan Fernandez, Robert Vaughn, Florence Henderson (I loved this show!), Alan Thicke (and this show!), George Gaynes, Patty Duke, Frank Sinatra Jr., Nancy Reagan, Vera Rubin, and the list goes on and on.
It is now 2 hours before 2017 starts. We have friends visiting to help us ring in the new year.  We’ve had some sausage rolls and cheese fondue.  We’ll drink some wine, some of it sparkling, then at about 12:05 we’ll head to bed.

Happy New Year! Best of wishes for 2017, may it be better than 2016!


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