Friday, September 29, 2023



Wonder what 54 has in store?
My 54th birthday was 15 days after surgery. As I was told that recovery would take about 6-7 weeks, my cousin and I decided to post-pone our duo birthday celebration until I was feeling much better. Her birthday is 3 days before mine and we have been celebrating together for over a decade now. We did get together for a brunch to acknowledge her birthday and get me out of the house for the first time since coming home from the hospital. 

Three days later it was my birthday, and I did want to do something. I was feeling a little more confident about getting out of the house for a short period of time after doing brunch, so I invited a couple friends to join Rob and I at one of our favorite restaurants, Azarias for dinner 

It was good to see some friends and enjoy a delicious meal together. After dinner they came back to the house for birthday cake. 

My birthday feast!

Making a wish!
Beautiful roses from a friend. And I had to take a picture of Meadow's favorite bush, as it always blooms around my birthday.

It was a quiet, enjoyable and very special birthday. At this time I still didn't know what the mass was, and it was nice to really put that out of my mind for a little while.   

Friday, September 8, 2023



A note from the boys next door.
After 3 days and 2 nights at the hospital and passing the tests I needed to in order to go home, I was discharged from the hospital on May 27th. I was so happy to be home. I didn't see my surgeon again for almost three weeks, and during that time I really wasn't allowed to do anything, and I mean anything. I wasn't allowed to raise my arms, even washing was a struggle. I watched a lot of  TV and slept. I couldn't sleep lying down, so I'd sleep for a couple hours, be awake a couple hours. I think it was a month before I could sleep lying down, and even longer until I could finally sleep on my sides. I even tried to roll over onto my right side a few times while I was under anesthesia, as that's the side I usually sleep on.  

I got discharged on a Saturday, and it wasn't long until friends and family started making things easier for both Rob and I with food drop offs. The weekend went ok, Rob had to help me a lot with simple daily things but we found our temporary routine pretty quickly. 

When Rob went back to work on Monday I had "Angie Sitters" for the first week while Rob was at work, as I really couldn't be alone. Recovery was very slow but steady. I made sure to get up every hour for a little walk and when I felt a little stronger I started walking in the yard. I saw my family doctor after ten days to get my stitches out. 

Flowers from the boys next door who were my first visitors.

Did this every hour I was awake for weeks,  so happy when I could finally get all 3 balls in the air!

Homemade chicken pot pie from a neighbor.

Bouquet of  juice from work. 

My co-worker and friend, Steve, was in charge of getting the work card signed and sending flowers. Well, he wanted to purchase something to assist in my recovery so he showed up with all this juice. I did start my day every day with a glass of it.    

Nurse Molly on duty.
Molly had a hard time after I got home. She couldn't understand why she couldn't crawl all over me. I tell people I looked liked I was in a 70's slasher film. I had many incisions and bruising all over my chest area and was so tender and bandaged up. I was allowed to remove some of the bandages after a week, but had to wait for others. The iodine was a bitch to get off, and took weeks to get it all removed. 
She was so happy when she could finally get in my lap.

Our backyard helped with recovery.

I am so grateful that my surgery was in May. Having the backyard to sit in, and walk in, was really helpful in my recovery and with the backyard birds and critters to watch, it was good for my mental health too.

Boop was morning coffee company most days.

Rob taking a well deserved break from taking care of me.
I had my first follow-up with the surgeon on June 13th and let go of a breath I didn't even know I was holding. The mass wasn't cancer. It was a mass of glands that should of disappeared as I aged, but instead mine kept growing. It was giving me chest pains that I thought was heart burn, and in time would of caused double vision. What a relief. I still had weeks of recovery ahead of me because of how invasive the surgery was, but this was the best news.

Cookies I ordered as thank you gifts. 

It's been over three months since my surgery, and I've been back to work since July 17th, but recovery continues in the chest area. Those drainage holes seem to take forever to heal.

Again, a huge thank you to everyone for all the help, the "Angie Sitters", the texts, the phone calls, the comments on my daily Facebook posts, the meals. Everything helped in my recovery and Rob and I appreciated it. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023



I'm going to try to condense a rather long story. Due to family history of Crohn's disease and Celiac, I have to go for regular colonoscopies. I was referred to a new Gastroenterologist late last year. Before my colonoscopy he sent me for blood-work, X-rays and a CT scan. When I had my follow-up with him he mentioned an abnormality that showed up on my CT scan. He really down played it, but wanted to send me to another specialist that dealt with that part of the body to have it checked out. I didn't think much about it while I waited for my appointment.

The other specialist didn't down play anything. He walked into the room with a copy of my scan and pointed to the "mass" that was behind my breast bone and in front of my heart. The big C word was mentioned, but they weren't sure what it was. It couldn't be tested due to it's location. I was sent for a rushed MRI. I had the MRI May 12th, five days later the specialist called me at home that evening and told me the MRI was inconclusive. I needed to have it removed, as they didn't know what it was and if it grew they may not be able to operate due to it's location. I was scheduled for surgery the following week.

After that phone call I had a panic attack. Rob's Mom came over and stayed with me until Rob arrived. He left work early when he found out what was going on. I took the next day off work due to lack of sleep. I called people who needed to know and started getting organized. I worked the Friday, May 19th, and due to the long weekend and pre-op appointments that was my last day of work for two months.

After the shock wore off and I got a good nights sleep we started referring to the mass as "My little alien friend". The weekend before surgery was a long one, and we made it a good one, doing all my favorite things. We went for brunch at my favorite brunch place. We went birding and had a picnic with my cousin and her husband. We went out for a delicious dinner and I enjoyed a feed of oysters. Rob took me to visit a bakery I had seen on the Food network's "Project Bakeover". It was a very fun-filled and food-filled weekend.

My favorite brunch meal at Toast on Bloor.

Some birds seen on our walk, Bay-breasted Warbler, Indigo Bunting and a Canada Warbler.

Yummy picnic food after a morning of birding.

Enjoying a drink at Azaria's.
I love oysters, and had 12 to start and another 6 for dessert!
Feasting at Azaria's!
Was trilled to meet the owner/baker at Mecairo's Bakery
And just like that, it was surgery day. I was due at the hospital at 7am on Thursday, May 25 and a couple hours later in was time. I was in surgery for 7.5 hours. When I woke up briefly in recovery, I remember thinking, "good, I woke up", and I asked if they had to break my breast bone, as that was a risk, they didn't. I remember them telling me my family was waiting for me in my room. Rob and his Mom had been waiting a while, and I'm grateful Rob's Mom was with him, it was a long day for them.

Good luck charms I took to the hospital.

Top - Out of surgery, Bottom - The next day.  

The first night was pretty rough, I was sick to my stomach, hot, weak, and needed a lot of help going to the washroom due to the two drainage tubes and boxes I had coming out of either side of me.

Rob and his Mom were back the next day and I was feeling better and was doing what I needed to do to ensure I was able to get discharged the next day. I had so many people taking care of me at the hospital. I made sure to ask everyone their names and thanked every one, every time. The surgeon came to see me 3 times on the Friday to check the many incisions, as she wouldn't be there on Saturday. I was told there were challenges during the surgery, but they got it all and it was sent off for a biopsy. Her assistant was there Saturday, and many others were checking on me, often, including a cardiologist. After spending 2 nights and 3 days at the hospital I was able to go home to continue my recovery and wait for the results.

To be continued.....