Sunday, September 25, 2005

Moving? Maybe......

This last week has been pretty good. Two days out of five at work everyone was out on big tree relocation jobs so it was just Avtar and I at work all day. Avtar has been out in the fields so I've just shut the gates at work and got alot of work done on the computer. It is a bit unnerving at work when you are a female and appear to be alone here. With Avtar way out in the fields it makes us very vulnerable. Twice people phoned from outside the gates (both women) and I went and let them in but other than that I just ignored anyone out there. I was there alone one day last spring and we had a sales rep come in and I walked out and met him in the yard. He is a little guy and really I could have bopped him one and could have held my own I think but he was one of those guys that as he handed me the paperwork he held my hand too long and tried to stroke my palm. Totally gave me the creeps and really he shot himself in the foot because now we won't deal with him at all. What do these slimy little men thing they are going to accomplish with this sort of behaviour? Jude and I have a system now and we do have walkie talkies and cell phones to call the guys in if we need them, but what we usually do if we are alone in the office area and the guys are all out in the field and some guy that makes us nervous comes into the office, we say "Oh sorry, one sec" and we open up the door to the back and yell, "Gary, sorry be right with you" and then turn back and continue on with them.

I've been updating our mailing list from the tradeshow and getting our current availability lists either emailed out or mailed to the Garden Centres and Landscapers. I've also been out in the fields myself taking pictures of the trees and getting them ready to add to the webpage. The fall colours are just starting on some of the trees and some look like it's still summer. This picture at the top is of a dogwood. It is called a Cornus kousa Chinensis and the fruit is edible although I don't like it at all. And the other is of some Acer platanoides leaves. A type of Maple. The red is just starting and it is so pretty.

We've had a few calls from the show already. Mostly for the tree relocation. On Tuesday the guys and Jude were off doing a job for one of the local area City parks and had 4 large trees to move. Jude said when they got there one guy was onsite waiting for them, pretty quick he was on his cell phone and calling other other city workers to come watch. By the time they were done calling each other there were 30 guys on site in orange vests! One of the trees they moved was a beautiful Japanese Maple and they moved it in front of the park board office that was totally bare of trees. As Stew was moving it into place all the girls were hanging out the windows cheering and clapping! It is pretty impressive to see these huge trees just picked up and moved across the street and put into place. By the time we leave the trees look like they have always been in that place. I got a call at the office from a guy saying he was watching our truck move a tree and could I please send it round to his house when we were done there so we could move a tree for him. I told him Jude would come out next week and have a look at what he wants done.

We are also working on a big 3 day job moving trees around a private girls school as they are doing some reno work. Stew walked all over the site with the head gardener and they want to hire us to come in on a twice yearly contract to take care of the trees. Sounds good to us.

Ryan will be moving home in the next few weeks and is planning on staying for approx. 6 months. So we are having to include him in our plans. We are a bit bummed with our living situation at the moment. We have been renting this house for the last 12 years and we are quite happy with the house and yard itself and have worked towards making the backyard as private as possible. We fenced the yard because of the dogs and have planted quite a few trees and vines and built onto the deck this last spring. Well in the last couple of months two homes, one behind us and one across the street and up a house or two, have been sold and the houses torn down and huge monster houses built on the lots. Both are still in the process of being built and now our next door neighbour has sold as well. His buyer has decided to rent the place out for a few months and then to tear it down and build a big house. When they do this they totally clear the lot of all trees and shrubbery as well. We have decided to start looking to move. We could probably buy a place like Josh's that is brand new but we have the problem of our dogs. Two big dogs and a cat and two adults in an apartment condo just does not sound good to me. Keesha is 11 years old now and Kody is 7 so they are part of the family! If we move to an apartment without a yard that means we will have to walk the dogs at least twice a day. Kody can be such a dickhead on the leash and he barks at any other dog he sees that he doesn't make walking him fun. Keesha fights the leash and acts like a sled dog and puts her chest into it and pulls. Great! just about rips my arm out at the socket! Yes yes I know bitch and whine, bitch and whine. Well we'll see what happens.

I've not been feeling too bad. Just tired as always, bad mornings spent fighting nausea but once I get moving it levels out. I am going to leave the Hep B shots til after treatment as well. I am covered for Hep A and the chances of me getting B are slight. But I will get it done eventually. Lots of liver pressure and burning in the area but I just ignore that. I haven't been for any bloodwork for awhile now and I'll have to make a doctor appointment with my family doctor and get the paperwork for the blood. It's been a few months now so I should have it done. I've been getting a bit of a headache now and again as well and that is something I've never really had to deal with much and hope it doesn't start now. Got enough to deal with without a constant headache.

Well we declared this weekend a rest weekend for both of us and so far we are enjoying it alot. We turned off our phones and have hunkered down and spent the day yesterday watching movies and eating junk food. We did go out for a walk in the sunshine and discussed where we want to live and what we want to live in. We'll be hashing this back and forth for weeks I'm sure, but the bottom line at the moment is as much as we might be ready for an apartment, we have to worry about the dogs and Ryan. Much to think about specially with me wanting to start treatment in January.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Unsheduled day off!

Remember that gorgeous white hibiscus I had up here? Well this is the same type but in red. You can see it's size by the pretty little daisy types that were a normal daisy size. Isn't it gorgeous? This is one of the pictures I took at the trade show. It was a good show and well attended and we met lots of potential customers and suppliers. A lot of the cities and parks boards stopped by and got our current availability lists. Well worth going but it made for very long days. On Tuesday we had to leave work at 7:15am to make it down and set up before the public was allowed in and we didn't get home til 8pm and then had to do it all again on Wednesday except we had to take down our booth and didn't get home til 9pm. Needless to say I was exhausted by the time it was all over. Yesterday we spent the day trying to get re-organized and took care of all the calls and emails that came in while we were gone. We gave up on the idea of retagging until Monday.

Last night was our girls night and we couldn't cancel as we had already cancelled on Lynnie a few times already. By the time we got there we were both just a big heap of tiredness but after relaxing and eating the good meal that her husband Al provided for us, we felt so much better and very relaxed and sleepy. Lynnie dyed my hair for me (skunk line was showing!!) and I helped her figure out why her webspace wouldn't upload (too full, but they never give that error message..grrrr) and answered some of her questions re tables and merging and splitting cells. Then I helped Jude write out some flash cards for the arborist plant ID course she is taking. We are going to have a few sets around work and flash them at each other as we go by and it will help all of us with not only the latin and common names of trees but the pronunciation of them as well. Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (Yellow Cedar) or Metasequoia glypostroboides (Dawn Redwood) doesn't just roll off the tongue without some help from each other. Jude decided we needed a paid day off and so today is it! I am enjoying it still sitting here in my jammies in front of my computer. Al even phoned me from work and insisted that I do nothing today except sit and play on the computer or read a bood or whatever as long as it's not housework. What a sweet sweet considerate man he is. :)

Ryan (youngest son, 26 years) stopped in. I don't remember whether I mentioned it or not (and am too lazy to go back and look) but he quit his job as a cook, which is all he has ever done, and got a job working for a stucco company. He's been with them 3 weeks now and is liking it. He is getting tanned and healthy looking and bulking up a bit. He spent so long being a cook and working in bars and grills that he hardly ever saw the light of day. Most of the work is at night and then they hang out afterwards and go home to bed in the early hours of the morning and then sleep most of the day away and do it all over again. I like this job for him much better and am very glad to see him looking so much better. He is even talking about quitting smoking. He asked if he could move home again.

Huge big sighs!!!!!!!!!!! But we aren't surprised really and it won't be forever. It will give him a chance to get his money in order and pay off his bills and save some money. I told him if he moves home though he must buy his own computer as I will not share well on a regular basis. It's ok when he is here for dinner each night and sits on my comp for an hour or so and then heads home, but if he is living here he will start to monopolize it and then I will get very cranky! He agreed he would get his own computer. We have a router already and we are set with the cable company to have two or three comps hooked up, so all he needs to do is buy one and Al can get him a good deal through work so ........ he best do it!

I phoned my doctor's office to see when the flu shots will be available and they said closer to the middle of October so I'll phone back in 3 weeks or so and see where they are at. There was talk on the news after the shortage last year that only the elderly or those with chronic illness would get the shots this year but according to the doctors office Al can still get his so I want to be there as soon as the flu clinic starts and make sure Al gets his before they start rationing them if they do this year. I've been getting mine every year for about the last 5 years after mydoc started nagging me to come in. I haven't had a bad case of flu since. It took me a year or two to convince Al to go but after a really bad bout he started going as well and hasn't had the flu since. I also have to make an appointment and go in and get a prescription for the Hep B vaccine before I start treatment again. Might as well get it done now. A new guy on the board called Canadian Dude. I asked if he was being treated at VGH but I guess he didn't see the post. Lots of people just starting treatment. I hope it goes well for them. I used to feel isolated and alone with this but now seeing these people on the board and getting to know their online persona's it makes me sad and angry and it makes me really hate what this disease does to us all. I feel bad for the Brits too with the system they have to deal with. It is better in Canada at least for now. God only knows how this will go when the thousand still undiagnosed start to show up. I would hate to think that the all mighty dollar will start to mean more than peoples lives here as it does in other countries.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Well fall is here and we are getting ready for the big show next week. We are still getting last minute stuff ready. I've been working on a picture loop that we'll have running on the laptop while we are there. So far it's running about once every 14 minutes and I have a lot more pictures to go through. I take pictures almost every day at work and we have a picture diary of our first two years. Jude takes just as many as I do so between us we have thousands of farm pictures. I take a lot for the webpage and we want eventually to be able to use our own pictures for our catalogs.

At the end of last week a guy showed up in the office one morning and said he was from one of our local tv stations and they were going to be filming for a new half hour tv show on our street on Tuesday and could they rent our back area behind the barn to park 5 or 6 big trucks? So long story short, we agreed and they said they would show up early on Tuesday morning. I got there just after 7 AM and there was already 10 or so big trucks and vans and cars parked all over the front of our yard and a big truck out back and they were setting up a food area for the cast and crew. The street at the each end was blocked with a police car and pilons with half a single lane to get through once you cleared with the police. At one point I wandered out to see what was going on and take some pictures and the girl in the orange vest came up and asked me if we were open. I said Yes we are! and she says, "Hmm I better go and let that policeman know that....." But the morning was interesting and they left as quickly as they had arrived by just after noon.

I talked to David this morning and they are coming out on Saturday for dinner. Josh and Ryan are both going to be here as well so it will be really nice. Dave and Allie are going to Vernon for a few days next week to visit a friend. They are both on holidays for a couple of weeks so I'm glad they are getting the chance to get away. Christina went camping last weekend with Allie's sister and her new husband Christian. They got married a few weeks ago and Christina was a flower girl. She looked so sweet!

I'm looking forward to the fall. I love the smells of fall and the changing of the leaves. I can't wait to get some pictures of the fall colours at work. I need them for the webpage as well so it's nice, part of my job is to wander through the nursery and fields and look for beautiful trees to take pictures of! What could be better? When we get back from the show we are going to close the gates and take inventory and re-tag all the trees. They have grown considerably over the spring and summer and need to have their prices adjusted to reflect it. It will be a busy few days as I've still the new tags to get printed and I can't do that until I have a new price and a count of how many I need. But first we need to get through the show.

Glad this is a short week. I work best on a 4 day week. I'm confused again about what is going on with me and whether or not the hot flashes have anything to do with the Hep C or not. With the hot flashes going away during the 48 weeks I was on treatment and then gradually coming back after treatment that it seemed to me it was somehow connected. Now I just don't know. I know the doctor calls me post menopausal and I have no other menopause symptoms but maybe the hot flashes can hang on after the rest. Why they left during treatment I have no idea. I'm tired but getting through my days. Today I did alot of walking at work as Stew and I crisscrossed the field doing grading so tonight I am very tired.

All I can do is try to stay positive, take care of myself as best I can, which I do. I probably drink too much coffee and diet pop and not enough water but I've done it since I was a teenager and it's hard to break the habit. I don't drink and haven't for years so that helps too. I am always very careful about any drug I want to take. When my back went out, I went to the pharmacist and asked him which one I could take with a liver disease and he checked his books and came back and said I shouldn't take any of them so I didn't. I hate taking pills so for the most part I take nothing at all. I get exercise in the form of walking which Al and I do usually on the weekends. We both do a fair amount of walking at work too. And seek treatment. I am also doing that.

After being a ChemoAngel for 6 weeks if you haven't heard from your buddy (most people don't hear from their buddies directly) you can sign on to the site and request an update on your buddy. They are required to check in once a month. I just heard back and my buddy is half way through his treatment and doing ok. I was very happy to hear that. I'd love to see him not need a chemo angel anymore because he is finished treatment and cured and getting on with life. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The months slip away

I've just come from the Hep C forum and then Ron's blog. In one of the posts Kerry Grace says she feels like the voice of doom and I know exactly what she means. I have things I could comment on in Ron's blog today but I feel like I would sound like a voice of doom so I don't make any comment at all. It is weird. Do I make a comment from my own experience if it is only going to increase the anxiety of the blogger or person in question? I just don't see the point in doing that. So I'll say nothing at all.

Well except for the anemia. Every person is different but I do know the anemia will totally tear you down mentally, emotionally and physically. The anemia is caused from the ribavirin and I had anemia so bad that when I was off the ribavirin and I started to feel so much better that I convinced myself that the whole source of my sickness and side effects was the ribavirin. I am now wondering how much that I put down to the ribavirin was actually caused by the interferon.

Martin's posting to the forum of the article about 80 % of us going on to get cirrhosis again spurs me on to getting back on treatment. I am going to make my appointment for the middle of December and have my prescription in hand for the first of January and get going on this again. As I said to Al though last night, by the time I get back to the doctor he may have a whole new plan in mind. Each time I see him the treatment he suggests is different from the last time I saw him so you never know. He is a heptologist who specializes in Hepatitis and Liver diseases so I do trust him and I like him very much. I just feel some days he is so busy and it's so long between visits that each time he sees me I'm like a whole new patient and we have to review it all again and he seems to come to different conclusions and treatment plans each time. Makes me worry a bit but I do trust his judgment and his knowledge so we'll see what he suggests when I go in December.

I am nervous though. I am going to have to be very diligent about making sure I get enough water. I know for a fact I didn't drink enough water and I'm sure the drugs built up in my system and that's part of why I got so sick. I have a very hard time with water as it gives me heartburn. Plus as I feel sicker I have a tendency to shut down and stop eating and drinking. If nausea is thrown into the mix then I don't eat and I can barely force myself to sip a liquid and was literally going a full day and not managing to get down an 8 ounce bottle of water. I simply cannot afford to get so that I can't function. It is too easy to slide lower and lower when you have just given up on functioning and decide to just ride it out in pajamas except for doctor or blood test days. I am hoping work will keep me focused on other things and keep me going.

I also fear the brain fog. Some days are bad enough now for memory but on treatment it was very very bad. I couldn't focus enough to read anything of any length and if someone asked me to do something or told me something I responded and then it just totally left my mind. When it would come up again or somehow my memory was jogged I would be totally shocked at how easily I had forgotten!