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.....  

Monday, August 28, 2023



Sign at Long Point Bird Observatory. 
Our May vacation, as per usual, was all about getting out and seeing as many migratory bird species as we could. We visited parks close to home and also spent a couple nights in the Port Rowan area. 

Road trip!
I named our car Dory after Rob sent me a picture of her all those years ago. Then after work that day I went out and bought a stuffed Dory for her. What? doesn't every one name their car?! 

Prothonotary Warbler.
We finally saw a Pronthonotary Warbler this trip to the Port Rowan area after not seeing one the last two years. We had better looks than photo ops and that was fine by us.

For lunch I was super excited to visit my favorite restaurant in the area, The Country Fork, but it was closed for a private event. Blessing in disguise, we went to the new to us restaurant Chef Stan's Saloon and it was awesome! Great atmosphere and delicious food! We went back for lunch the next day.

Best fried chicken sandwich ever!

Wings, Caesar Salad and Won Ton Nachos to share.  

This year we stayed at Long Point Echo-Adventures. We had a King Wilderness Suite. I liked the camping and birding combo, but it was a bit chilly over night. Still, a great location to visit all the spots we like to hit while in the area, and the onsite restaurant was a bonus.

Our tent. 

My dinner on site one night, fish tacos. 

Green Heron.
We enjoyed watching a couple Green Herons fly around the Long Point area, but I think we enjoyed them calling to each other more, what a sound! We were aiming for 100 species on our trip, got over 90, oh well, we'll try again next year. 

Blackburnian Warbler, always a nice warbler to see.
After a nice two night getaway we visited some local parks close to home.   

Our first of year Scarlet Tanager at Colonel  Sam Smith Park.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on the same outing. 
Of course, I love seeing all the migrants every May, but there are two that are my favorite and they enjoy our backyard all summer long. 

Summer Guest - Ruby-throated Hummingbird 

Summer Guest - Baltimore Oriole
We've had a couple pairs of Baltimore Orioles this summer, it's hard to believe they will be gone in about a week. It's been the year of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird for us, having about six come regularly. They will also start their migration in the next couple weeks. We leave the feeders up til the end of September, as we also get some passing through from further north.

On the Friday of our week off I had to go for an MRI, I didn't know it at the time, but 5 days later our world was about to be flipped upside down.

To be continued.......   

Friday, August 11, 2023


Easter Cookies

I can't believe how far behind I am on my blogging. My life took a bit of a roller-coaster ride in May, and I'll get to that eventually, but first I want to do a few catch-up posts.

Like most people, once March rolls around we're all ready for the winter weather to end and Spring to really arrive. Planning something fun to do in March helps, and for us this year it was going to Niagara Falls for a night to see Bret Michael's perform at Fallsview Casino with friends. 

Bar Barista Cocktail and Coffee Bar

Before meeting up with Brian and Amanda we discovered Bar Barista, a great place for coffee, a drink or some small plates to share. I fell in love with this place, so much so we visited three times in less then 24 hours! 

We met up with Brian and Amanda and their kids for dinner and drinks at Margaritaville before the adults went to the concert. Their oldest was sibling sitting back at the hotel. We enjoyed the concert and our time at Bar Barista after. We went for Whoppers at 2am, it's been years since we stayed up that late! 

A collage of our Niagara Falls fun.

The end of March saw my life long friend, Cathy, in Toronto, as it was her last appointment regarding a health issue. We were all sad that this was her last visit but made the most of it.

Rob, Cathy, and I enjoying our time together.

April gave us a long Easter weekend and we took advantage of that. Enjoyed a dinner at my Cousin Andi's place, and on another day we went out on a walk in search of Eastern Bluebirds with friends and enjoyed a meal at a favorite restaurant, Cascata.    
Success, we found an Eastern Bluebird on our outing! 

Another yummy meal at Cascata.

The Easter Bunny always finds us.

Boop, our backyard Chipmunk provided lots of April entertainment. 

Early migrants found on April weekends. 

And to end the month, Merry and Molly celebrated their 8th birthday! A cake was made for their humans to enjoy, and they received new scratching pads, though they sometimes use it as a bed. 

Merry and Molly celebrated their 8th birthday April 30th.