Thursday, 30 June 2016

Recap of clinic day

Alright, so I'm feeling a bit recovered from Toronto although my throat is still killing me.

As already stated, last weekend we flew into the city and went to my cousins for a weekend of lounging by the pool. It was marvelous except that our connecting flight from Ottawa to Toronto was stupidly late. It was one of those delays that didn't happen until the plane had already taxied away from the gate so we sat on the runway for an hour before the pilot gave up and went back to the airport where we all disembarked for an hour before taking off.

It turns out the computers were down in Toronto so they couldn't make a flight plan which meant no one was leaving the ground. It was very frustrating for all. Especially for all of us waiting who had to deal with the woman Skyping from her laptop to the party at her house who kept saying, "look at the awesome party at my house!! That is where I'm suppose to be!! Not here stuck at the airport!!" We get it lady, you're cool, and the only one of us on the flight who had somewhere else they'd rather be.

After relaxing in Oakville for a few days, we went into the city to the B&B on Sunday for my appointments bright and early Monday morning.

I left Isaiah at the B&B (because he didn't want to get out of bed at 630) and set off to the hospital bright and early for bloodwork and my lung function test. I thought the blood clinic opened at 630 but turns out it opens at 7am so I was there 10 minutes before it opened. And I was still number 20. People in Toronto are intense! At least they have more than one blood tech working (unlike Springhill) so after waiting for 45 minutes and two pokes later, I was out of there.

My lung function tests were scheduled for 8am so I was there in plenty of time (usually I run so late on clinic days but on Monday, I was early for everything). My fev1 was about the same as in Amherst last week which is good. And all the other tests were about the same as last year's assessment in August 2015. It seems I have bounced back nicely from the cancer.
Waiting for the bag to fill for one of the tests.
I was able to run back to the B&B after my pfts to get a bite to eat and lay down before my 6-min walk test. Another test that had about the same results as last year (around 650m). I had been hoping it would be a bit higher since I feel like I've been doing more intentional active exercise for the past month but being the same isn't bad. Plus I had been swimming all weekend and we had spent the night before walking around the city so I probably wasn't in peak condition (I'm going to keep telling myself that anyway).

Waiting for my walk test. Prepping my thumping music.
 After the walk test, I had my chest x-ray and then a few hour break before my CT scan. We grabbed some lunch and headed to the patient lounge to relax/nap. And I met one of my twitter/facebook friends who had her transplant almost two months ago! (The infection control people would've had a fit). It was great to finally meet in person.
View from the lounge.
After my CT scan (which again, was surprisingly super speedy) was clinic which meant sitting around for two hours for a 10 minute appointment. I only recognized one person from the transplant group that was in the hospital and recovering the same time as me. She was there for her 18 month assessment.

Debating having a nap during the two hour wait for the doctor.
Once I finally saw the doctor, he didn't have much to say. He reviewed everything that had happened since the last appointment and felt like I was on the right track. He was a bit more concerned than the hematologist about the PET scan report of activity on my hip area. But as he couldn't see the actual scan and could only read the report, he was fine with the plan for a follow up scan and didn't feel the need to investigate further. He was also concerned about the spot on my lung and wanted to biopsy it during my bronch the next day. I thought that was a great plan and reminded him that I needed lots of drugs for the bronch. He said that shouldn't be a problem and we fled the hospital for that day.

Did he give me enough drugs? How did the bronch go? Find out tomorrow!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016


We're back from Toronto! My appointments were okay but now I'm very tired and sore so that's all for an update tonight. I'll be more chatty tomorrow.

Here are some of the fun pictures from our trip!

Bye Moncton!
Hello Toronto!
Hello to our weekend host! :P
Nap time!
Stressful Sat.
Our other host in Oakville.
Sunday morning games.
Waiting for the GO Train to downtown Toronto.
Being touristy Sunday night.

Beating on some drums.

Post bronch gelato
Heading home.

Friday, 24 June 2016


We're off to Toronto!! It's been almost a full year since we moved away! I've missed it so much. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to be back in the Maritimes but I also really loved the city. I didn't love the smog or +30 degree days so I'll probably be quite happy to leave again on Wednesday.

Don't be surprised if you don't hear from me for a few days. We're spending the weekend at my cousins lounging by the pool (or, in Isaiah's case, hiding in their air-conditioned basement complaining about the heat and sun). Then to our B&B downtown on Sunday and the fun starts Monday.

Monday is a long day with bloodwork bright and early, x-ray, CT scan, 6-min walk test, and clinic. But then I get to go out for supper afterward with one of my pottery friends. Yay!

Tuesday at noon is my bronch (ahhhhhh). And then I sleep off the meds for the rest of the day (hopefully).

Fly home Wednesday morning.

I really hope that my plants don't all die while we're gone. If you're in Springhill, feel free to stop by and water them!

Thursday, 23 June 2016


Isaiah and I have a bit of a garden up and running this summer! We have two plots at the community center and then a few planters at the house. I've learned from the crazy transplant facebook group that some centers say no gardening at all while others, like Toronto, say it's okay as long as you mask. The dirt can be a source of bacteria and whatnot so I've been wearing a mask while planting and weeding.  So far, it hasn't been a problem. There aren't very many weeds in raised beds or planters.

All our cucumbers (except the one at home) died in the last week of rain so we had to replant them this week along with our peas and beans that never grew. Hopefully this next week of sun and heat will bring them along quickly. My lettuce at home as exploded over the past few days. Salads for everyone!
Spinach coming along nicely.
Lettuce! After I picked some for today's lunch.
More spinach! We've been picking from here for a few weeks.
Our other plants at the house. This is me trying to keep things small at home this year. It didn't work so well.
Our plots at the community center!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Lung function test for June.

I had my monthly pfts today, they're back up! Hurray!

Back up from last month when my FEV1 had dropped to 1.33 because it hurt to inhale rapidly. Up to 1.74! Which is higher than where it had been sitting for the past six months (around 1.6) when I had the cancerous nodules in my lungs. Now that those spots are gone, it seems like *hopefully* my lung function is heading upward again. Even if it could get to where it was last August (1.86), that would be amazing.

Overall, if I can get back up to the 1.8's, it's still only around 65% which is quite low compared to a lot of other transplant people. My friend, who recently had a transplant got around a 60% on her first lung function test post-transplant. I'm so jealous. My first one was around 20%. It takes a lot of time for the lungs to fully inflate and for the muscles around the lungs to strengthen so I'm sure she'll be up to 100% within a few months.

I get asked quite a bit why my lung function isn't 100% post-transplant. I don't have a precise answer from any of the medical staff but from what I've been able to figure out, it's because my lungs were not the best match for me. They had to be cut down quite a bit to fit in my body and were 'scrubbed' of any infections pre-transplant. A few years ago, these lungs wouldn't have been considered viable for transplant. Thanks to the doctors in Toronto and the perfusion system, more and more lungs that would have never been used, can be transplanted.

It's great as it means that more people can be transplanted and live but it means that some people, like me, end up with lungs that may not have been a perfect match. Because I was so close to dying, I had no other lungs available and these ones were my best chance of making it. It's better to be alive than have 100% expected lung capacity.

So while of course I wish my lung function was higher, I'm going to be happy with the fact that it's slowly going back up and seems to be recovering nicely from the cancer. 

[The link above is for an article from the Toronto Star about the Perfusion system but here is an excerpt explaining how it works...

Toronto XVIVO Perfusion System (ex vivo means outside the body), which treats and improves high-risk donor lungs so they can be safely used for transplant....

A couple of weeks after the initial interview, Keshavjee allows a reporter and photographer to tag along to see how the system works.

A pair of lungs arrives at the hospital in a blue Coleman cooler at 10:30 a.m. on a Monday. They were harvested from an anonymous donor’s body, somewhere in Canada, six hours earlier...At this point, it’s not certain whether the transplant will even go ahead. The donor lungs are in bad shape, inflamed and full of fluid.

The lungs arrive in operating room 18, the organ regeneration laboratory, on the second floor of the hospital. A team of about six medical professionals is already assembled. They include surgeons, nurses and perfusion specialists who operate the XVIVO system...The lungs are removed from the cooler and placed into a bucket of ice. A tube is attached to the pulmonary artery, which normally delivers blood to the lung from the heart. Another tube is sewn to a vein that normally drains blood out of the lung.

The organs are then moved to a steel table in the centre of the room atop of which sits the XVIVO device. Also known as “the bubble,” it resembles a glass-domed cake plate.

Here, the lungs are hooked up to a circuit that includes a ventilator and heart-lung machine, which pumps a preservation solution into them. The solution, made of low-potassium dextran, was initially developed by Keshavjee and later perfected by others.

As the lungs are brought back up to body temperature, they are healed with a type of anti-inflammatory therapy, also developed by Keshavjee, which makes them less prone to malfunction.

Like something out of a science fiction novel, the lungs eventually begin inflating and deflating. The disembodied organs are alive, breathing on their own. continues on but that's the coolest part...]

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Tie Infinity Scarf

Now that Amy's birthday has passed, I can share one of the projects I was working on. An infinity scarf! I took some soft, silk ties that I got a frenchys, took them apart, sewed them together, and voila!

How to make an infinity tie scarf according to me:
  1. Take apart ties. 
  2. Iron out flat. 
  3. Sew together four (or how many you want) together, alternating the big ends. 
  4. Sew together the sides so you have a long tube.
  5. Cut so the ends are even.  
  6. While inside out, pull End A through the inside of the tube until it's lined with End B. 
  7. Sew End A and End B together (while it's still inside out), leave about a two inch hole at the end. 
  8. Turn rightside. 
  9. Hand sew it closed. 
  10. Wear with pride.

Figuring out how to sew it into a tube and still be able to turn it inside out afterward took a bit. The trick is to pull the fabric through halfway when sewing the ends together. Leave a small hole and hand sew it closed. It was a fun project. If anyone has extra ties, I'll gladly make them a fun scarf!

Ties prescarf.
The problem I ran into getting it turned inside out.
Don't do this while sewing the ends together. It should be like the tube shown above so it turns rightside out properly
Yay, I figure out the problem! And the fun elephant tie looks great.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Hematology Appointment

Alright, so I'm kind of rested from yesterday. It wasn't like I did very much to make me so tired, I think it was just all the anxiety build up and crash. The doctor appointment was running two hours behind which also wasn't helpful for both my anxiety and exhaustion.

The doctor read through the PET scan report which said that all the previous spots from my last scan (back in Dec) are negative. I have a spot in my right lung but it's negative so could be scar tissue or inflammation. All the spots on my spleen, liver, and stomach are all gone.

The report said I have a 'suspicious' new spot on my right hip which has a medium risk of being lymphoma. However, the doctor was highly skeptical of the reading as she thinks it would be very strange for a new spot to have developed while everything else disappeared. The scan picks up inflammation and as my hip was hurting a lot from after my face-plant and felt inflamed that day, the doctor thinks that was the cause. My hip is feeling better now and she couldn't feel any lumps (not that I ever had any external lumps) so although she thinks it's inflammation, she's going to schedule a PET scan in two months to be certain. In normal circumstances, I would have a CT in three months so it's really not all that different.

When she was reading the report, she kept saying stuff like, "it all looks negative, it's so good compared to your last scan which was very, very positive. You had spots everywhere, I can't believe the difference and how well it responded to the chemo." The amount of times she said, "it was so positive before" or "the cancer was so aggressive" gave me residual anxiety for how bad my cancer was. I mean, I appreciate hearing how well the chemo worked and how everything is great now but I don't need to be reminded that many times of how wide spread the cancer was. Not exactly a highlight of the day.

Some people with lymphoma take an small dose of chemo every three months to keep it from coming back but when I asked, the doctor said there was no evidence that helped with aggressive, large cell lymphomas like mine. If the Toronto team thought it would be a good idea, she would do it but otherwise she doesn't recommend any active follow up treatment.

The follow up plan is to go to Toronto next week for my 18-month (really 19-month by that point) assessment and PET scan in two months with follow up appointment.

I'm now off to PEI for the weekend to celebrate Amy's birthday (today), Father's Day, and to move some of David's stuff off the island for him. Have a good, sunny weekend, everyone!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Cancer free!!

I made it home from my appointment and my scan was negative!! No cancer!!! Yay!!!

There is a bit more to it than that but all my energy drained as soon as I got home so I'm now off to bed and will tell you all about it tomorrow. Thank you everyone for your celebratory messages and well wishes. I'll respond when I'm not falling asleep. I can't believe how tired I am.

Enjoy this pic of tonight's sunset.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016


I wasn't quite as sore from my bike ride as I thought I might be. Hurray for that!

But basically I've spent the last three days in a blah mood. I'm sure the cold, rainy weather isn't helping but I'm also coughing a little bit which is starting to worry me. At first I thought it was just my lungs protesting from Saturday's bike ride but now it's dragging on (although improving) so I probably need to call someone to let them know. It's one of those irritating coughs where it feels like someone is tickling my lungs with a feather or that someone is wearing heavy perfume or I've walked near a Lush store. But seeing as we haven't changed any detergents and Isaiah hasn't started wearing heavy cologne, I don't think that is the problem.

I'm also waiting anxiously for Thursday. My appointment is a 2pm and then I'll find out what the PET scan showed and what the next step is from here. Do I still have cancer? Do I need more chemo? Radiation? Whatever it is they do next? Or am I all clear? Tellll me!!!

And then once I know, I can book our flight to Toronto for my assessment appointment at the end of the month. It's kind of leaving it late to book but I didn't want to end up cancelling everything in case I end up not being able to go.

Come on, Thursday. Let's get this over with.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

It's not all sunshine and roses

I came across this quote the other day and it surprised me when I really liked it (as I'm not big on motivational quotes). I'm sure you've seen it somewhere:

"The mountain you're climbing is huge and formidable, but so is your ability to climb it. You don't need to enjoy it, you just need to tackle it. Complain if it makes the job easier. Blow off steam. You think mountain climbers get to the top of Everest on inspirational quotes? No way. They're grunting, and crying, and cursing like freakin' pirates. That just doesn't sell a lot of posters." (I don't know the author to credit)

I mostly just like the ending. Because shit is hard. And so many times we see people accomplishing things and we compare ourselves thinking we could never do that because they make it look so easy. What we usually don't see is how difficult the journey can be.

Bringing me to yesterday, when I went on my first real bike ride of the summer, from Springhill to Heather's Beach (yay me!). And while did, the whole 'you think mountain climbers make it to the top of Mount Everest on inspirational quotes?' part kept running through my head. I kept reminding myself that it's okay to scream and grunt when it hurts because sometimes that's the only way to get through it (although for Mt. Everest, being rich enough to have someone carry most of the equipment and be a guide also helps). I mean, cycling meant to be fun and whatnot, and there were fun moments of coasting along, but there were also a lot of struggles up hills that were smaller than I'd like to admit.

It was a hard ride for me, even with a tailwind, and I took a lot of breaks. And I almost called Isaiah to come pick me up, about six times. And my lungs hated me. And I couldn't really feel my legs at a certain point. But I kept telling myself to make it another twenty minutes. Or just around the next bend. Or make it to the next telephone pole. And I did. Somehow.

And the exhilaration of arriving at the beach and reaching my goal was worth all the pain. It almost made me forget how hard it was. The water was so nice when I ran in as soon as I got there. And so cold an hour later when I waded in again.

I guess the point of all this is that I just wanted to remind everyone that there is more to the pictures we see, on facebook and twitter, of people doing amazing things. We make assumptions that it must've been so easy for them and because it would be a struggle for us, we could never do it so there is no point in trying. But we don't know what people actually go through. People tend not to share the pictures of them crying on the side of the road because everything hurts. Or when they throw up a little bit because their lungs are displeased. They share the picture of the deer they saw or the view from the top of the hill so we think the journey must've all been amazing views and deer everywhere (I didn't actually get a pic of the deer).

We have to remember that sometimes it's a struggle and everything hurts but that doesn't mean it's not worth it in the end.

Let me just sit here for a minute or two.
Almost there!
This face screams happiness.
Made it! Yay!!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

PET Scan

For those of you wondering how my scan went, it was fine. No idea about the results yet. I'll find out next Thursday! I had a missed call and a voicemail from the hematology nurse this afternoon which nearly gave me a heart attack but they were merely changing my appointment time from 2 to 215. That was worth the anxiety.

The PET scan as an outpatient took much longer than the one I had back in November as I didn't seem to be top priority for some reason. They were running behind and then I ended up with a student who was super slow. She went over everything thoroughly on the form and once I finally got a room, spent a long time looking at my veins to put in the IV before, thankfully, getting someone else. I didn't want the student trying to put in the IV. The other woman listened to my "put it in the back of my hand" suggestion and also used a heat pack to draw out the veins which helped her get it the first try. Yay!

Once the IV was in, the student pushed through the radioactive glucose. They were much more intense this time about the proper handling of the glucose. People always follow proper procedure when students are around. The glucose is kept in a lead box in what looks like a built in wall safe. Inside the lead box, the actual needle containing the radioactive glucose is contained in a little metal tube with only the end sticking out. The person then rolls up a short lead divider between me and them and attaches the needle to the divider. The nurses stand behind the divider but then have to lean over it in order to actually attach the IV to the needle. The glucose is then pushed through the IV, along with a flush, before the waste goes back in the lead box, the barrier is removed, and the box, with the waste, goes back into the safe.

I was then wrapped in warm blankets (the room was really cold), they dimmed the lights, and I listened to podcasts and dozed for an hour while the sugar made its way through my body. Right before the scan, the nurse had me pee so my full bladder wouldn't interfere with the results. In the scan room, I laid on the scanner board and was wrapped in some fresh warm blankets. The board and I went into the scanner for 20 minutes and I dozed off once again.

I had to wait around for a few minutes afterward so a doctor could confirm that the pictures looked okay and then I left.

Except I couldn't go very far as, unfortunately, it was raining and the windshield wipers on the car stopped working so we had to sit around until the rain stopped. We got groceries and wandered around a few stores but mostly just sat in the car waiting for it to end. It was a long day.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

My rant on doctor-assisted death

Time for my rant about doctor-assisted dying. It's everywhere in the news between people protesting the Me Before You movie and the supreme court ruling that it's currently legal in Canada (the deadline on Monday was for the government to pass a new law to regulate the practice, because they failed to do so, doctor assisted death is legal as the old law was ruled as unconstitutional).

Let's start with the movie. In 2013, I wrote a bit of a review on the Me Before You book by Jojo Moyes. To review (spoilers!), the book plot is basically that Will has decided to go through with doctor-assisted death in Switzerland after becoming paraplegic in a motorcycle accident but has agreed with his family to wait six months before doing so. During those six months, Lou is hired as his caregiver, they (unsurprisingly) fall in love but in the end he feels that he still doesn't want to live anymore and goes off to Switzerland. It's all very depressing and basically guaranteed to make you cry. And then there is a sequel After You that goes through the aftermath of the decision and how hard it was on Lou and his family.

However, having not seen the movie but listened to people on a podcast rant about it, apparently in the movie adaptation they change the ending. It becomes more that Will goes through with the doctor-assisted death because he loves Lou so much and doesn't want to be a burden to her (despite being quite wealthy and privileged) instead of it being something he had decided before he even met her.

Clearly, the new plot line has angered quite a few people in the disability community who are (rightfully, I think) angry that they are being portrayed as no more than a burden on those they love. It also preys on the fear that legalizing doctor-assisted death means that people with disabilities are going to be coerced into killing themselves to 'reduce the burden on their family'.

Which brings me to the current state in Canada where as of Monday, there is finally no law against doctor-assisted dying. This has become a point of contention with some people thinking that people with disabilities are now going to be murdered or coerced to kill themselves. I'm not sure those people realize how small of minority of the population this is going to affect.

In Canada, if the current bill passes with no amendments, someone like Will who is paraplegic but has no terminal condition, would not be eligible for doctor-assisted death. Wanting to die is not enough. For that there are psychologists and anti-depression medications. I know there is current debate over if people with unresponsive-to-treatment mental health conditions would be allowed and that remains to be seen as mental health conditions are not considered terminal.

I think that anyone who is dying and suffering should have the right to end their suffering as they choose. Let's move beyond the old 'suicide is a sin' religious nonsense and let people be able to decide for themselves. Doctor-assisted death doesn't take away from life, it doesn't mean that people with disabilities are anything 'less than', it simply gives people a choice to die on their own terms. If anything, it gives people with disabilities more power. It takes away other people deciding what is best and gives them the power over their own lives. It's empowering to have that control.

I know if my lungs start rejection and I'm in chronic pain and terminal, I would like to know that I can end my life when I want. If I have no quality of life (which is determined by me), I don't want my life to drag out while I wait for my lungs to fail. Quality over quantity and for far too long the medical community has made people extend their lives for much longer than is humane.

I know there is a lot of debate around this issue about who should be allowed doctor-assisted death and when but by legalizing doctor assisted death, it gives hope to people with terminal illness. It gives them a voice and choice at the end of their lives. Everyone has a limit with what they can handle and no one should be able to make that choice for another person. No one should get to decide that some else has to be in pain.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

PET scan!

We're off to Halifax for my PET scan bright and early on Monday!

Am I terrified? Sure am! Not of the actual scan, that's fairly non-invasive as it's just a quick injection, sitting around for an hour, and then laying in a tube for 5 minutes. I just want to know the results. I really don't want to wait until next week to find out if I still have cancer/if I need more chemo/if I need radiation/whatever the next step is. Tell me now!!!

Well I'll do the scan first, but then tell me the results immediately!

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Facebook groups

I recently joined a transplant group on Facebook that, turns out, is quite intense about what people can discuss and who is allowed to join. I feel like I've joined some exclusive club except it's not that exciting. I think the purpose of the group is to have a community where people who have had a lung transplant or who are about to have a transplant can talk about their woes and ask any questions without having people yell at them for any reason.

Although one of the many rules is not to give medical advice (along with my favorite rule that you can't post motivational quotes unless you discuss why it means something to you...that rule cuts down significantly on the "you may not be able to choose your ship but you can adjust the sails" nonsense), most of the questions are people asking about certain medications or symptoms that they are experiencing.

The other popular topic which, thankfully I'm not a part of, is around Medicare and Medicad or fundraising as most of the people are American. Thankfully I have nothing to add to that conversation, I really appreciate our medical system.

It felt like a good time to join a transplant group. Maybe I should've joined during my long wait in Toronto but at the time I a) didn't know the group existed but b) even if I had known, I'm not sure that I would've wanted yet another thing in my life to be centered around the transplant. It was the center of my life and I didn't need yet another reminder of what I was going through. Now I feel like I'm finally at the point where like the lung transplant (and cancer) doesn't have to be the main focus of everything so it's not as repetitive to chat about it with people outside of the hospital.

I don't know if that makes any sense. I guess what I mean is, now that I'm no longer driving to Halifax almost every week and chatting with nurses all the time about my transplant or cancer, I have energy to read about the transplant problems and questions from strangers on the internet.

However, since joining the group, I've come to realize how intense some people and clinics are post-transplant. It's like some clinics want to do the transplant and then have the person live in a bubble for the rest of their lives. No tap water! No pets! No bonfires or woodstoves! No candles! Wear a mask when you're in public! Wear a mask around siblings with CF! But then other people, like me, comment that they weren't told any of that by our clinics so maybe just relax a little bit.

I understand being careful and cautious and I definitely am way more now than before my transplant but there is 'being careful' and then there is refusing to do anything that gives your life meaning. One of the things that has been discussed a few times is whether someone post-transplant should garden. Some centers have told people outright "No!!," others (like Toronto) say it's okay as long as you wear a mask and the soil is wet first (to minimize the risk of inhaling any aerial spores), and then other people say they've been told it's fine and garden without any protective gear. I've decided to go with group B (Toronto) and continue to garden but with a mask as it's something that I love and, really, what's the point of everything I went through if I can't do the things I love.

With that in mind, today Isaiah and I planted our plots at the community garden. In a month we'll be eating spinach! And in two months, hopefully some peas! I also have a few containers at home even though in March I said I was only going to plant spinach and lettuce at home. Yeah...that lasted for about as long as it took to buy a bag of supersoil. I do have the spinach and lettuce at home but also somehow ended up with a tomato plant, cucumber, ground cherry, and hot pepper. 
Look at our fun plots!
My little ground cherry plant at home. It's got a long way to go.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Cooking: Stuffed Mackerel with couscous, pepper, and carrots

This is a recipe I made up last week. I dug out the fish to BBQ but then it ended up being a kind of miserable and rainy day so I decided that baking was the best choice. 

I cooked up a cup of couscous and mixed it with a carrots, yellow pepper, garlic, onions, and the Moroccan Road spice (shown below, basically just cumin, coriander, salt, and nutmeg) that I fried up for a few minutes to soften (mostly because I hate raw onions). 

While that was all cooking, I de-boned the mackerel which was quite the task. I know deboning is better done after the fish was cooked but as I was trying to stuff it, I thought I should do it before. I got most of them out but I think I took more fish along with the bones than really necessary.  

After I stuffed the mixture in the fish, I baked it in the oven for about 10 minutes. In the end, it was good that I opted not to BBQ as all the filling fell out while it was being baked. I ended up having way too much filling for the little fish so I just ate the rest on the side. It was all quite delicious. 
Yummy spice mixture.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016


I'm recovered from the weekend! I had my routine bloodwork done on Monday (no news from it so assuming all is okay), spent the beautiful day yesterday at the beach, and spent the cold day today mostly reading inside. We've caught one mouse since being home and it's wonderful to no longer be cleaning up mouse poop all the time. I'm not quite ready to move our bags of flour back into the cupboards yet but I think our days of cohabiting with Mikey Mouse are gone as he's off in mousey-green-bin heaven.

My one complaint is that my right hip is still killing me. It's mostly when I wake up in the morning or sit around for too long. I've been stretching and using my foam roller which helps a bit but isn't making the pain completely go away. I'm not actually sure where this pain came from. It started about a week ago and then I went on the little hike last Thursday thinking I could "walk it out" which made it worse. My best guess is that it's a reaction from the fall several weeks ago and my body has overcompensated from the pain that was on my left side by making my right side hurt. Either that or it's hip cancer (ha..ha...sigh...).

My recovery time seems to take so long for any sort of injury since the chemo. Bruises and bumps that would normally take a few days to heal take at least a week. It doesn't help that I now bruise super easily thanks to both my transplant meds and the effects from the chemo. It's been a bit over 4 weeks since my last dose but I'm sure the meds are still in my system.

At least my ribs are feeling much better. My home pfts are slowly increasing and it no longer hurts as much to breathe deeply. This means I can start doing some cardio again without being in pain. I've started lifting a few weights at night which feels good. I'm anxious to get on my bike for the summer but only once my hip heals up. I'm trying to be patient and not overdo it because knowing me, I'll somehow end up making things worse and needing more time to recover.