My health is deteriorating rather too fast for my own taste. The steroids keep me from running out of breath, but I still find myself breathing hard too often. I am trying to figure out how much of this psychological, and how much physical. I am leaning toward the latter though would prefer the former.

Today has been very difficult. We started the day by going to the funeral home to make our arrangements. We have chosen the coffin and paid for everything. We then went to sign the power of attorney papers effectively giving Janet control of my life. Not that she has not had that unofficially for years, this was a mere formality. Finally, went to the cemetery and chose the plot.

The cemetery is located downtown. We were surprised to find that they still had space. The place was opened in 1830 and is almost full. It is near our house. You get to it by taking a circuitous route, so it is not always in view. Janet can walk to it quite easily. All the lands around it used to belong to the Lamb family. They gave a lot of it away and developed a whole other section. The cemetery is part of those lands, as is a small children’s farm called Riverdale Farm. I will be in good company with the cows, horses, and goats. There is a park in front of the farm in which there is the weekly organic farmers market. Seems somehow ironic.

Lots of traffic, which is a good thing.

Everyone is a bit surprised that we are making our own arrangements. Specially me. A lot of people make the arrangements expecting to die further down the road. To make arrangements with a couple of months left seems to have perplexed everyone.

It is surreal to walk into a funeral home and get a tour. Gee, that is the table I will be lying on. You guys will be sitting in those chairs. Don’t forget to wave. I may have a bit of difficulty waving back, but assume that I have at the very least, attempted to do so. We discussed the casket. Is there special music you want? Any other special needs? Will that be cash or charge? Done.

We had lunch, then made our way to the cemetery. Got a tour of the grounds. These are the plots that are available. You like? We have the location indicated in the above picture by the little yellow flag you can barely see. That is where the feet go.

Are you weirded out yet? We are having these discussions like it is normal. Something we do every day. We have now started working on the program. Who will be the MC? Say prayers? Eulogy? Do you invite people to say something at your own funeral? Do people get up and say what they want? Is there a protocol to all this? Does the protocol change when you are making your own arrangements?

I have chosen the pallbearers and am about to send out the eMails. I don’t even know if the people I have chosen are planning to go to the cemetery or not. I guess I am about to find out. You have to make sure the heights of everyone is close to being the same. I don’t want to fall out or anything because one person is too tall. Maybe I will choose 8 women. Hah! Still have a sense of humour, macabre as it is.

I think I should take a one week break from Chemo every 6 sessions.  I was given a one week reprieve last week to celebrate Naw-Ruz, the Baha’i new year. I kept getting stronger all week as the effects of chemo and Neulasta receded. Imagine what a difference one week makes.

The Baha’i calendar is made up of 19 months on 19 days each. The geniuses amongst you will figure out that this comes to 361 days. This leaves us with 4 to 5 intercalary days which come at the end of the 18th month. These are generally spent feasting and preparing for the fast. The latter takes place in the 19th month. You cannot eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. You can eat and drink to your hearts content overnight. The trouble is that your stomach tends to shrink somewhat as the Fast progresses. You tend to not gorge as much as you might think.

Women who are pregnant or feeding a child, anyone under 15 years or over 70 years of age, anyone travelling over 2 hours, the sick and infirm, are all forbidden to fast. For the rest of us, the fast provides an occasion for spiritual rejuvenation, a time to meditate on our lives, and renew our physical strengths. We can break some habits, like that muffin you have every morning. Far from thinking of it as a punishment, or a chore, the fast is viewed as a time of contemplated renewal.

The Fast ends at the Spring Equinox or March 21. This is probably the biggest feast of the year. We eat all day and socialise like mad. The Iranian tradition for Naw-Ruz is that the younger members of the community spend the day visiting the elders of the community to pay their respects. My parents were the elders while we lived in Montreal.  This is an interesting exercise. The elders are forced to socialise by providing food and candies and tea,  No Iranian house is complete without tea. We spent the day serving people and washing dishes, getting ready for the next crowd. It was actually fun. Very festive.

We had a Naw-Ruz party at our house this year. About 25 people showed up to help bring in the new year. This is the year 147 according to the Baha’i calendar. Our Faith was founded in 1863. More info for those who are interested (and even for those who are not!) at the main Baha’i web site.

We served three types of rice, courtesy of Fetneh who cooked like a fiend while I watched. We bought pretty much everything else, the chicken, salads, vegetables. The deserts were brought by our friends. It made for a hectic Saturday and Sunday morning while we prepared the room for the large crowd. There were so many people I wanted to invite. The numbers were going a bit out of control. My apologies to all those who were not invited. It was a very sweet occasion.

Fetneh arrives on Sunday and left on Monday. Always sad to see her go. We are planning some mini trips as soon as the weather gets warmer. I think the first one may be to Montreal in June. Just 3 or 4 days. Leave here on Friday, come back on Sunday or Monday morning. We might go to New York before that. We will see. Janet plans on taking a few extended weekends to make all this possible. A visit to Montreal requires a meal at Quartier Perse, the best Iranian restaurant in the country. Our friend Mahin owns and runs the place.  Have not seen her in about a year. It is time for a visit.

Chemo resumes this week on Thursday. I am going to try and move the Chemo to Wednesdays. That way I get disconnected from my infuser bottle on Friday leaving the weekend open.  The schedule they have set up for the next 6 sessions is a bit convoluted. Should make for an interesting interaction with the lady who sets up the schedule.

Thank you all for being there for me, for listening, commenting. All very humbling.

A number of you have been asking about the results following the original post. I received the results the other day and have not called the oncologist yet. He is not so much a numbers man, as a wellness doctor. As long as you seem to be doing well, he is happy. I seem to be doing well.

The numbers are on the positive side. All down or neutral. Not down by as much as the last scan, but down is a good thing.

I have to call him to get some clarifications. I had tumours on my pelvic bone, my lungs, and both sides of the liver. The results show the liver tumours to have gotten smaller. These are the ones that concern the oncologist the most.

He almost ignores the others. As long as the liver is responding, the others must be too.

I will call him.

Chemo starts anew next Thursday. Yay!

No cancer patient does not ask that question.


Why Cancer?

Why me?

Why now?

There are no answers to these questions. Really not one. I should end this blog entry right here.

I am surprised by the number of cancer patients and supporting family members who are or have become devout believers in God. Some blame the Devil for their predicament. I have written about this before. It is fraught with errors and paths that will lead to totally wrong places.

I went to see a psychiatrist, one that specializes in cancer patients. I told her about the incessant Why’s. She smiled and said, you know there is no answer to that question. I really should end this blog entry here.

We keep asking. I am hoping to stop asking soon. Seems like a total waste of time and energy.

The final question in this loop, is to What end? What is the purpose of anyone getting any sort of chronic debilitating condition?

This brings up an interesting question. Why do we, as humans, assume that there is a purpose to everything? We seem to insist that every action that takes place has a reason for being.

I take a lot of pictures and am often approached by people asking me about what I am doing. They look at the camera, seems professional, look at what I am looking at, and finally say, what are you taking a picture of? I am never sure what the answer is. I always come up with something. Look at the parallel lines formed by all these pieces of construction. Oh yeah, wow, cool, thanks. Those balconies are made of wrought iron and they all look similar, if not at different heights, makes for an interesting view. Oh yeah, wow, cool, thanks. Most of the time, the pictures are experimental. You take, you look, you don’t see what prompted you to take the picture in the first place. It was just fun to do. Digital cameras make this sort of experimentation even more fun. You keep the picture and look at it every once in a while just to be sure you have not missed anything.

There was really no purpose to taking those pictures. I am killing time while Janet shops. I am just having fun. No purpose, really. I might find a use for the picture at some later date, by for now, it can sit somewhere in the bowels of my computer waiting its turn.

No purpose. Just fun. Or not. A cold is no fun, and as far as I am concerned, has no purpose associated with it. Yet we insist on asking the question, why did I get it, what is the purpose of me being debilitated to this extent? I have asked this question of many people in various conversations.

The most common answer is that it forces you to look at your life and re-evaluate things. In which case the 75% of the population who will not get cancer is missing out on one hell of an opportunity. Either that, or my view on life was deficient in some way.

The best answer was that it is a way to cull the population. I do not have a problem with that. Why cull me, take that guy in prison, or the other offender. WE are going in a loop.

There is little doubt that you re-evaluate your life. In some ways you have little choice. You are sitting around wondering what to do with yourself. One activity a day seems all that you can handle. The rest of the time is spent thinking. At least for me. Little choice. I day dream about winning the loto so that we can renovate the house. What would you do if you had millions? I think of new products, or how to improve existing ones. I send eMails harassing my friends. They probably feel too guilty to tell me to stop doing that. I jest. I always ask if they want to receive stuff. I post regularly to all sorts of social media sites. I keep busy until I am too tired to keep busy, then the thinking starts all over again.

The mind churning, the questions returning, the doubts, the guilt, then the thankful sleep that stops everything cold. You wake up being a bit reasonable with yourself.

I have to keep busy to stop some of these questions from dominating my time. Fleeting time. There seems so much of it until it is gone. Then it seems that there was so little of it. I am told that I should write down what I do in a day. No time for that. Hah! I am so funny. Really, it matters little in my condition. Time can be fleeting, temporary, short. Whatever.

I have multiple projects on the go, a couple of which I am not qualified to do. Requires a bit of engineering design. I will have to find someone to help. Fetneh laughed at me when I told her about them. Make sure everyone has your passwords, she says, just in case, you know. We both laughed. Funny girl. I am writing a cartoon. Again, have to find an artist, though I might try my own hand at it first. Leslie is insisting that I do that.

Keep busy. Stop asking Why. It is what it is. Deal with it and move forward.

Move forward. Keep moving.

It was bound to happen this way.

We met with the oncologist, the ever lovable Dr David Hedley. The results are not in. It takes apparently 5 radiologists to come up with the results. They consult and deliberate to make sure the results are accurate. Love them for it.

We should have the results by Monday coming and will report accordingly.

I went to give blood this morning. All is good. The nurses in the blood clinic were delighted to see me. This is very bizarre. I have great admiration for the nurses. They have a difficult job. We are all sick and tired and in a foul mood. Some are depressed, others whatever. The nurses have to smile and keep us going, their own problems set aside.

One of my nurses has a three year old who had a cold last week. She is doingbetter this week, and has decided to share her cold with her mother.

The other nurse is getting married this May She is all stressed out by the planning. She has two children.

Talking to people helps calm nerves and reveals so much about them. They have issues and burdens. We should take a bit of time to talk to them to relieve some of the tension.

I love these women to bits.

My sisters and I moved to Canada on August 12, 1968. Funny how some dates stick in your head. My parents Landed in 1967 in time for the World Expo. They were setting things up for the rest of us in Montreal. I knew nothing about Canada. Too buy surviving being the only coloured kid [...]

I lost the month of February. I thought I was doing well toward the end of last week, only to be thwarted by, what I can only call, a tsunami of events. Turns out that it is quite difficult to overcome the effects of Neulasta+cold+chemo+diarrhea. Takes more than my patience can put up with. Each [...]

Not really, just seemed that way. I got my Neulasta shot as directed on Monday February 8th. As you may know by now, Neulasta kicks the living daylights out of me. Far worse than the chemo. The week is plagued with a constant temperature, low but constant. Extreme fatigue accentuated by bone aches that seem [...]

Picture of the Week - February 19, 2010

Cop on a beat Location: Toronto, Yonge and Bloor Story: I love reflections. Janet was shopping and I was out taking pictures. What an opportunity this was. A blank canvas, with the slightest hint of reflections in the puddles of water. I took a first shot, reset the camera for a second slightly different angle. [...]

I was talking with a Creationist a few years ago. It was fascinating. So easy to poke holes in their theories. The other side believes in evolution. It is a sacred cow of sorts. Made me wonder. Many years ago a single cell organism, left the safety of the the water world and wandered on [...]

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