Serendopeity

The faculty of making stupid discoveries by accident. The name of my first Fantasy Football Team. Neither of which have anything to do with this blog. I just like the word. Deal with it !!!!!!

New Page Added – Something From Home

I have added a new page to Serendopeity – the Something from Home page which is dedicated to Canadian Forces Troops deployed overseas.

Please take a look and if you know anyone who is deployed or is going to be deployed please have them contact me through the contact info provided on the page.

Support your troops people, it’s the least we can do!!!!!!!

Thanks

Nancy

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New link added

I was invited to be part of a beta test for a new cancer related website Navigating Cancer when it first began.

It is now up and running to everyone and anyone.  I have included the link in the Help and Hope section.

If you are new to the Cancer Journey, Navigating Cancer has an awesome organizer to help you keep track of appointments etc and has a daily monitor on how you are feeling tha tyou can keep track of your moods and pain levels etc.

I highly recommend this website to any of you who find the Cancer Journey overwhelming…and let’s face it, who of us don’t or didn’t in the beginning.

Cheers

Nancy

WOW!!!! Thank you everyone. (and an update).

Serendopeity has had more than 5000 hits since starting last year.  Thank you one and all who have been faithfully hanging with me.

I know that there are periods of time when I am very quiet – it gets tiring day after day making sure mom and dad are safe.  It is getting more difficult by the day if the truth be known.

Although physically healthy mom’s mind seems to be fading, however, not nearly as quickly as dads is.  For whatever reason he is beginning to hallucinate and refuses to sleep at night.  Instead he naps all day – I cannot for the life of me figure out how to reverse this process.  If we wake him during the day he gets all pissy with whoever it is that wakes him and when I try to explain to him at night that I cannot go to sleep until he does, he apologizes, tells me he is going to sleep and then proceeds to stay up.  It is few nights when I manage more than a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep.  I do manage to catch up a little on weekends when Craig makes sure that I get to sleep in.

Alzheimer’s is a most horrible disease. It robs you not only of your memories but also your dignity.  I can only hope to hell that the gene if there is one, stops here and that neither of my brothers or myself are afflicted with it.  Having EC has nothing on Alzheimer’s that’s for damn sure.

In other news, I haven’t heard back yet from anyone in Afghanistan on whether the packages have arrived.  However, I did get an explanation on why it could be taking so long.  The packages I send are addressed to Camp Mirage.  For those who don’t know, Camp Mirage is a top-secret location of a Canadian Military Camp in Afghanistan.  So, the packages I send go from the base in Trenton, to Kandahar and then are forwarded to Mirage, wherever it may be…that could add quite a bit more delivery time to the original 3 weeks I was told.  So at least I feel a little better about knowing if the packages have arrived.  It would be nice to know that they at least got there.  I also heard through that “amazing” grapevine that some contraband got through (not in my packages).  That being the case, it is also possible that the packages are being held up longer so that they may be inspected – inspectors are going to be a little disappointed to find mainly junk food in the one I send.  I did manage to find a supply of silly string so at least that got send in the second round.

Bottomline, somethingfromhome is going slower than I would like – the corner of the dining room is piling up with items to send.  I have never had an overabundance of patience and sometimes, well, it shows LOL.

Spring is on its way and with it comes mud…I hate mud and refuse to wash the floor until it is all gone.  The dogs track it in so we have paw prints all over the floor LOL…it doesn’t make sense to wash it 10 times a day.  Not only that, I don’t have the energy for that kind of work.  Getting 4 loads of laundry done a day on top of everything else taxes me pretty much. 

The real estate guys were here last week.  It looks like the owner is putting the property up for sale.  Not that I blame him, but, I really don’t want to move again.  The price has been low-balled but even so I don’t know how long it will take to find a buyer.  The house needs loads of work, the store needs work and the duplex – well that In reality though who wants to spend all that money and then tear it down.  I wouldn’t – but maybe that’s just me.

Thats about it for now – again, thanks for sticking by me.  I do appreciate it.  5107 hits is not even close to some other blogs, but it is a milestone for me and one I am proud of.  I never thought that my blog would get 100 hits let alone over 5000.  Keep it up and one day, just maybe, Serendopeity will the fastest growing blog on WordPress.

Have a good one

Nancy

Yes, Yes we are…

 

We are the champions my friends, and we’ll keep on fighting till the end, WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, NO TIME FOR LOSERS CUZ WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS…..OF THE WORLD

New Page Added

I have added a new page to Serendopeity.

It’s called Dr. Oz explains EC

Check it out, there is a link to a video of him explaining Esophageal Cancer as caused by Acid Reflux and his remark about people suffering from EC using over the counter remedies.

GO TEAM CANADA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since the Canadian Women are rockin at the Olympics, it only seems fitting that today of all days we wish the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team the best of luck in their game tonight.

GO LADIES GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do you believe!?????

Things that make you go Hmmmmm…

“The country’s largest supermarket chain, Loblaw Cos. Ltd., repeated its concern about the impact of rising household debt loads on consumer spending in Canada.” (Toronto Star, Feb 2010)

And yet, they continue to offer the President’s Choice Mastercard to consumers in the stores.  Last week in the No Frills store in Belleville Sue and I were approached by a man soliciting for the card.

I asked him why would I get a PC Mastercard just to get points when I can get points at Sobey’s without having to commit to yet another credit card and possibly put myself in debt to buy groceries.  His first reply was that with the PCMC “you get more points per dollar than at Sobey’s”…he obviously missed my point. The second part of his answer was that as long as the balance was paid in full monthly there would be no debt.  Hmmm…so, I ask, with Canadian’s debt loads what they are what were the chances that the average person would pay off the card every month.  He had no answer…

Where does corporate responsibility start and end????

Marc Wolfgram – RIP

Some of us never get a chance to meet the people who have made a difference in our lives.  I never had the pleasure of meeting Marc in person, however I did correspond with him through email on several occassions.  For those of you who read this blog who have never had Esophageal Cancer or been a caregiver to someone with EC you would not have a reason to know Marc.  But you see, if it were not for Marc I am not sure where I would be today.

Marc and his wife Tammy are the owner’s of a website called Cathy’s EC Cafe.  I found the Cafe on the night I was diagnosed with EC.  It was on page 26 of my google search and when I clicked on the link and went through the site I knew in my heart that no matter what happened to me I was not ALONE.

Prior to finding Cafe I had seen the stats, I had read about the awful fate I had been handed and if I wasn’t scared before I was now.  In finding the Cafe and in turn joining the ACOR ECG Listserve (another or Marc’s “babies”) I found a place where, although I was still scared, I didn’t have to be scared alone.  Everyone there had been there, done that and most of them had the scars to prove it!

Not too long ago a member of the ECG List thought that perhaps she should leave as her husband who had EC had passed away. I replied to her email (as below) and when Marc read it he asked for my permission to post it at at Cathy’s Cafe.  Of course I agreed…

This was my reply:

For M— and anyone else who wonders if staying on the list does any good.

I found this list the night was I was diagnosed, through Cathy’s EC Cafe. Within 24 hours of posting my story I had emails from all over the world telling me that I too could beat the beast. One of those emails was from Jane Pickett, our 35 year survivor. Some of those who emailed me are no longer with us and that makes me sad. That was almost 5 years ago.

I couldn’t imagine my life without this list. I have laughed with all of you and cried with all of you. You make me smile, you make me laugh and someday you make me downright angry but I still come back, day after day. Some days, this is home more than my physical home is.

We all have something to contribute – whether it is good, bad or indifferent.

The friends I have made from this list will always be my friends which is a little strange considering that for the most part I wouldn’t know you from Adam walking down the street. Those of you I have had the honor of meeting will forever be ingrained, not only in my head but also my heart.

As most will admit, this is not a group anyone wants to join, but once in, always in.

For me, leaving would be like cutting of a limb and sorry folks, but I have lost enough body parts to this disease as it is, I refuse to give up anymore. Perhaps it is the comfort of knowing that everyone here has been there, done that and won’t think that my questions and or suggestions are totally whacked! (Just a little bit, because, hey, it is me after all LOL).

So M—, don’t ever think that you are not helping someone because somewhere out there, someone will sleep a little better tonight, eat a little better tomorrow, and feel a whole lot better due to you!!!

Nancy

In a nutshell, that is what Marc did for me, he gave me a home, he gave me a family and he did this all “just because”.

Since surviving EC I have tried to be a better person- sometimes I am and sometimes I fail miserably but I still try and I know that if Marc had not given of himself the way he did, I would have given up long ago.

To his wife Tammy and his 3 beautiful daughters, you have my most heartfelt condolences.  I cannot imagine how sad and lost you must feel right now, but please know in your hearts that there are many of us who consider Marc an awesome human being and know that there is a special place in heaven for him and that he is there now.  I know you will all miss him terribly and so will I.

Marc Wolfgram - RIP

 

Marc W. Wolfgram

Marc W. Wolfgram of Hartland, died tragically on Monday, February 15, 2010 as the result of an automobile accident at the age of 55 years. Marc worked at GE Med Systems in Pewaukee, Eaton Corp. in Milwaukee and Rennaissance Learning in Wisconsin Rapids. Eventually, he was able to follow his dream and started his own computer business MacCetera. Marc was a consummate computer geek and Mac guru for all his customers, family and friends.

After conquering esophageal cancer in 1995, Marc devoted much of his time to running an online esophageal cancer support group and maintaining Cathy’s EC Cafe web site, to help others in their battles with esophageal cancer. Marc was an incredibly kind and giving person, with an ever-present sense of humor. He was a friend to everyone and earned people’s respect wherever he went.

He is survived by his wife of 26 years Tammara (nee Hoffman), his daughters Jennifer (Brian) Jambretz, Gwendolyn (Scott) Tracy and Megan Wolfgram, his grandchildren Breanna and Brian Jambretz Jr. and Kieran Tracy and his parents Gordon and Ruth (nee Fitch) Wolfgram. He is further survived by his brother Paul (Rachel) Wolfgram, nephew Michael Wolfgram, in-laws Harold and Patricia Hoffman, other relatives and many friends.

Friends may call at the Lake Country Unitarian Universalist Church, W299 N5595 Grace Drive, Hartland, WI on Friday, February 19, 2010 from 3:30 PM until Services at 6:30 PM. There will be refreshments following the Service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy or the charity of your choice.

 

Cathy’s EC Cafe    http://eccafe.org/

ECG Listserve  http://listserv.acor.org/SCRIPTS/WA-ACOR.EXE?A0=EC-GROUP

What else?

I have been working on some projects, lest you think that while I was not writing my blog I have been sitting around doing nothing.  Well, I suppose for some of the time I have been sitting around but doing nothing is not part of my agenda.

Keeping mom and dad occupied is a tough job to say the least.  Boredom comes quickly for dad – mom is a little easier to placate.  But the toughest part is trying to make sure they have things to do.  Sue is pretty good at this – she manages to keep them doing things.  On the other hand I have a difficult time – I get tired fairly easy so after an hour or two of activities I am ready for a nap.  Only thing is that I can’t nap during the day…

Surviving cancer surgery was the easy part.  Surviving chemo and radiation was a little tougher.  It’s the everyday left over residual’s from the surgery et al that slows me down.  I am so envious of anyone who has travelled the cancer path (any variety of the disease) and has pretty well gotten their life back to “normal”.  I don’t even know what normal is anymore.  The biggest problems I have arrive from eating and I know I do have to eat but in all honesty it is more of a pain than not eating.  When the food does go down it sits in what is left of my stomach like a stone.  And then, when it decides to move on, it does LOL.  Usually with no warning.  And it doesn’t matter what it is.  Today it works, tomorrow it doesn’t.  Junk food has become my friend once again – by junk food I mean tostidos and salsa.  For this week, at least it is working.  What used to work – well, its a crap shoot LOL.  This is grapefruit season and since dad can only have 1 a week due to his meds I decided to treat us this week.  Well, big mistake.  I used to be able to eat one a day.  Half on Monday morning and I am still paying for it!!!! Oh well. Guess there are worse things than not being able to eat…

Anyhow, my new project has been sending “care packages” to Canadian troops stationed in Afghanistan.  I am not sure why I feel so strongly about this, but I do.  Everytime another Repatriation happens in Trenton I get more and more angry.  Canadian Troops are PeaceKeepers.  We, as a country, are not at war with anyone and yet …

One night I was surfing the net and found a website called Chosen Soldier.  In a nutshell Chosen Soldier provides names of Canadian troops who would like to receive something from home – it doesn’t have to be anything major and reading the list of things that they have come up with was both funny and sad at the same time.  We take so many things for granted at home, having no clue what it is like to go without some of the creature comforts we have become so used to having.  Simple things really, lip balm, toilet paper, KD (Kraft Dinner for those who are not KD affectionados), potato chips – like I said simple things.

So I got a name from Chosen Soldier and started to put together a box to send.  Thanks to the Military (and for once I can understand their reasoning), a package has to conform to a certain size.  The size is about the same as a case of beer which empty looks fairly large, but start to fill it and it does fill up fast.

In my usual insane manner I over bought items for the box. ( I know, I know, those of you who know me, know that I was doomed to over buy from the get-go LOL). To make a long story short, I dropped off two boxes today at the base in Trenton for shipping and will continue to drop boxes off as much as I can.  The military also says that I can send a letter to “any soldier” but to send a package I need to have a name and rank.  So, I added a letter in each box telling my “Chosen Soldier” to pass along my email addy to anyone who wants a package and I will comply.  If I disappear for a while again, you will know that I disregarded the Dept of National Defence’s list of contraband (LMAO).

What I fail to understand is why a lot of these items are not provided to our soldiers by the military.  How tough would it be to hand out Easy Mac or a bag of candy every once in a while.  Nonetheless I shall continue my little endevour until I am no longer able or until the last Canadian Soldier comes home.  I have heard via the media that Canada is due to have it’s troops out by 2011.  Ya right, I will believe that when I see it!!!!! I am hopeful that once the packages get there I will have some more names to keep me busy. If you would like to contribute to my cause – go get a Tim Horton’s gift card and address it to :

Any Canadian Soldier

OP ATHENA

PO Box 5058 Stn Forces

Belleville ON K8N 5W6

There is a Tim’s at the base in Kandahar and it accepts Tim’s cards in Canadian dollars.  Buy a soldier a coffee and a muffin/donut.  It’s the least we can do.  You can mail the letter postage free too – Canada Post is allowing letter to be sent for free for the duration of the “war”.  For once, CP is actually showing a human side.  This has to be a first.  Or you can email me and when the names start coming in you can send your own package.  However, unless you live close to a base and can drop it off – it can get expensive.  CP has stopped the free package mailing…(of course anything from CP  for any length of time is not going to happen).  See – too good to be true LOLOLOLOL.

You can visit Chosen Soldier and see what they are all about at http://trevlac.biz/Chosen_Soldier.htm

It really is a great story and a worthwhile cause – at least in my opinion.  I cannot imagine being so far away from my family and friends trying to help people which dodging bullets and trying to avoid IED’s.  Call me crazy but…

That’s about it for tonight. I am tired and it is time to shut down the puter and get some rest.  Tomorrow dad has group at 10:00 and |I have a ton of stuff to do before the weekend.

Take care.

nancy

OK so I am back!!!!!

It’s been a while and I do apologize for that.  Life has been busy to say the least but it always feels like the more I do the less I get done!!  LOL

I haven’t been around for what seems like forever.  I noticed that my last real post was in the fall and it is now almost half way through winter – if you can call the weather we are having winter. It certainly isn’t summer but it really isn’t winter either.  We have little to no snow – not that I mind that little perk but I have a feeling that sooner or later we will pay dearly for that.  I can see it now – snow in June or July LOLOLOL.   I would imagine that it wouldn’t be the first time nor the last.  And who or what is to blame – global warming, the Russians playing with satellites???  Who knows??  Not me, that’s for damn sure!!!

Mom and dad are getting progressively worse as times goes on.  I think I was spoiled by the fact that mom did so well for the last couple of years even though she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2001.  Dad was diagnosed in 2007 and seems to be catching up to mom’s level of progression at a phenomenal rate.  Although he is on the same meds as she was at this point in her path, they don’t seem to be working as well for him as her.  That could also be due to his physical ailments contrasted by mom’s awesome physical health.

Recently dad suffered a gall bladder attack.  This was the second one since the summer which saw us rushing to emerg in an ambulance and him spending a couple of nights in the hospital.  The biggest problem this time was that the unit they put him in was in lock down due to the Norwalk Virus.  It was tough not being able to go and see him, and he had a difficult time comprehending why I wasn’t allowed into the hospital.  Lucky enough the on call Dr. realized that he really didn’t need to be in the hospital and sent him home after only 2 days, not like the last time where the Dr was never there to talk to and dad was kept in the hospital for almost a week.

He has to go for an ultrasound next week and then the following week we see his family Dr. about what to do about his gall bladder.  It is a catch-22.  Any type of anesthetic could hasten the progress of his dementia while leaving the gall bladder and stones in place can cause major agony at any given point in time.  We will have to wait and see what the Dr. has to say after seeing the ultrasound.

Mom’s mental health continues to deteriorate at a more rapid rate than before.  She is finding it difficult to find words when she wants to speak so many things become a “doodad”.  We try to ask her what she is trying to say, but for the most part, the right words just won’t come out.  It is truly sad to see – she was doing so incredibly well for so long.  She still has a great appetite, as usual though – not much gets by her at the dinner table thats for sure LOL.

Sue is my life saver and constant companion. She is here Tuesday – Friday helping me with both mom and dad.  I really couldn’t do this without her.   I rely on her to help keep me sane – well as sane as I can be. LOL.

We took mom and dad to Lake George for a 4 day weekend back in October.  The trees were all out in colour and we had a pretty good time considering.  We went on the same Boat Cruise that I take with Sue and Rick during Bike Week and we also took a Train ride up the Hudson River.  We didn’t do as much with mom and dad that we usually do in Lake George – even the shopping was toned down quite a bit.  The good thing was that Wal-Mart in the US has wheel chairs available for use in the store – we’d let mom push dad around while we shopped. It worked out pretty well – the trunk was full coming home so I guess we got what we both wanted and did not need LOL.

The Christmas season came and went pretty quickly.  We had 2 Christmas’s this year; the first with Craig’s daughter Desiree a couple fo days prior to the 25th and then the regular one on the 25th.  After opening presents here at home we headed out to Sue and Rick’s for dinner.  A great time was had by all and by the 26th I was glad it was over. It is very tiring LOL.

I was going to have a surprise party for Sue’s birthday Dec 27 but we she wasn’t feeling the best and I woke up that monring not feeling great so we cancelled it.  I learned a lesson – never plan a party for the day after or the day after the day after at Christmas.  By the 27th it is time to sit and relax not entertain LOL.

I received the last of my Christmas gifts last weekend.  Aside from my life saving surgery 5 years ago this years gift was the best I have ever received.

Craig managed to get tickets to Jann Arden at Massey Hall in Toronto and send Sue and I off for the night.  We stayed downtown, caught the show and got to sleep in the next morning before heading home.  The show was amazing.  Jann Arden is truly someone to watch on stage.  Singer, story teller, funny – she has it all.  She had been in Kingston the week before and I told Craig when we got home that if she had been in Kingston after the Toronto show that I would have gone again and again.  I hadn’t been to a concert in ages but I am glad that I went to this one. It was really nice to take a night off and not have to worry about mom and dad at home.  I think I might start taking a weekend off once in a while – it does seem to help.

That’s enough for now – I am tired and 7 am comes early.  Wednesdays are Day Program days for mom and dad so I get some time to do the household stuff that gets put on hold for the rest of the week.

It’s nice to be back – thanks for sticking it out with me.

Enjoy the pics!!

Nancy