You know… that Blog?

I’m back…sort of?

Written By: Jenn - Oct• 28•20

It’s been a long time since I posted something on this blog! Since then, shortly after I lost my mom to cancer, I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer myself. I’ve gone through hell and back with surgery, radiation, chemo… then the long recovery. I have nerve damage in my right arm and may never recover feeling in parts of it, but I can at least use my hand again! Alas, my handwriting has suffered and will never be the same. I mourn that because I once had beautiful handwriting if I do say so myself.

My cancer battle in a nutshell… I had been having pain from what I thought was a pinched nerve from the herniated disk in my neck, and stress from losing my Mom, the Coca Cola battle, and a few other normal life things that don’t bear mentioning. We’ve known about the herniated disk for a while but it wasn’t all that bad so we hadn’t done anything about it except increased visits to my amazing RMT, Pawel. The pain was followed by increasing weakness in my right arm though, which did start to annoy me so I went to see my doctor about it, and she ordered 2 MRI; one for my neck and one for my thoracic area. Now, I’d never had an MRI before, but I wasn’t worried. I don’t scare easily. It was the stuff of nightmares! I was never claustrophobic until that first minute in that tiny tube! I barely made it through, and when I got out I immediately cancelled the second one – no way was I going through that again. No way, not happening. My doctor agreed to send me for a CT scan instead, which I couldn’t get for another 3 weeks (insert the sound of a ticking clock, getting louder by the minute). By this time, I couldn’t use my right hand at all. I couldn’t even hold a pen. The CT scan was so much easier than the MRI, and I was in and out in an hour, and on my merry way. Tired though. I went home and curled up on the couch, and had a nap. I awoke 3 hours later to a dozen messages on my phone from my doctor telling me to get to her office RIGHT NOW. She actually stayed past business hours to wait for me, and when I got there she burst into tears – this is someone I have known for years, and we have become friends – and then she told me that I had cancer. Not just cancer, but stage IV cancer. The life-ending kind by the looks of the CT scan. This news really came out of nowhere. Not for one minute before my beautiful doctor burst into tears did I think I had anything other than a pinched nerve that was in need of intervention.

She told me to go home, pack a bag, and get to the hospital, right now. I did go home after a bout of tears in my car while on the phone with my equally panicked husband, but we decided to wait until that evening to head to emergency, giving me a few hours with my daughters, where we told them what was happening. Wee One (who turned 16 last week!) did not get as detailed an explanation as Thing I (who turned 26 on Monday…!) for obvious reasons – she was still pretty young and didn’t need to know how serious things were just yet. That evening, we headed for emergency, and so began my whirlwind week, where I was admitted, assessed, and then transferred to a different hospital by ambulance, so I could get the best neurosurgeon possible. I waited for 2 days – IV fluid only, no food – due to a series of immediate emergencies that rolled in.

The cancer was in my thoracic spine, and the surgery resulted in the loss of pieces of vertebrae, but fortunately, it was caught just in the nick of time, I had a world-class neurosurgeon and cancer team (and I live in Canada, so just had to pay for parking, really) and I am still here to tell the tale.

I’m also largely disabled because I have arthritis from head to toe, and sitting or standing still for more than 5 minutes at a time is just not happening. But I’m here, and my kids still have a mom, and my husband still has a problem. (Ha, I kill me.)

My husband is not the romantic type as I’ve said before, but if I ever once doubted that he really loved me, his care for me during my cancer battle dispelled all doubts. He immediately took over everything I did on a daily basis in our house. He helped me out of bed, he helped me shower, he dressed me, he made all my meals, and he fully handled my complicated medications, and my many, many hospital and doctor visits, all while still working a full-time job. He did so without a single complaint. He also shaved my head for me. My friends, that right there is true love.

I found out after I was declared “in remission” that my neurosurgeon took him aside when I came out of emergency surgery and told him that he had seen severe cases like mine in the past, and that he should be prepared [to lose me]. My husband didn’t share that with anyone else, and lived with the fear of my death for months, only telling me when we were out for dinner with friends one night. Figure that one out, because I can’t!

So that’s my life. Just an update, not even talking about the pandemic because… why bother? It’s been talked about to death, and I’m sick of dwelling on it. So I mostly sit home and avoid going out since I am immunocompromised pretty much for life now. Seriously. Done with it. I’m thankful my family is healthy though, because we wear masks and aren’t complete morons. Thing 2 is doing virtual school. Thing 1 is… getting married in less than 2 weeks! Totally different post, that I may or may not do in a couple weeks. Not holding myself to any schedule for this – will post when I feel like it, which is my new motto for life these days!

Hope you’re well? Hope you’re smart and wearing a mask, and avoiding crowds? Really hope, if you’re American, that you vote that menace out of office next week, and the world can stop being ashamed of the United States government and the constant lies and betrayal of its people. Donald Trump is directly responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in the united states. How people can blindly follow him and believe the obvious lies that he spews on the daily is just beyond me. It’s shocking, and it’s beyond all reason. It’s time to return to sanity, please.

Be safe, friends.

(Comments closed – I don’t have time to monitor, sorry)

For my dear American friends, fearing a Trump win…

Written By: Jenn - Jul• 05•16

For my American friends fearing a Trump win (never happen, but there’s always that ugly threat…), there are things you need to know before the mass exodus to Canada.

Ignore the flagrant use of “EH”; it’s offensive. Also the simpletons dotted hither and yon in the video wearing stupid hats. We are edumacated for the most part, although I must say that there is still a serious lack of education on the uses of “your, you’re, there, their, and they’re…”.

I also say “couch” and never “Chesterfield”… or sofa. It’s a regional thing, much like the goofy accent you’ll hear on some of the video.

The pothead cyclists with the munchies in BC are accurate.

Sadly, the House Hippo is only a beloved legend, and as much as I would love to have one, it is unlikely I ever will. Much like the pony I asked for my whole childhood.

Also, while not covered in the video, it is important to note that the entry to your house is a foyer, which is pronounced “foy-YAY”, not “foy-ER”, which drives me around the bend.

Prepare to love the “u” in many words, which for some reason you folks decided was superfluous at some point. Colour, Neighbour, Labour, Flavour… Learn it. Love it.

Our Prime Minister really is that hot. And he is as genuinely good as he looks.

We welcome and celebrate diversity (well, except those who would follow the Harper-era Conservative ways, which vaguely echo the Republican way, only with far less guns and paranoia.), and that includes the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and yes, even people who wear socks with sandals.

Welcome to Canada. Eh.


Contract passed – back to work, Coke Brampton!

Written By: Jenn - Jun• 13•16

Good news from Mike Eagan, Vice President Local 973, via Facebook last evening:

“Collective agreement ratified
77% in favour including the skilled trades vote.

See you all at work”

It was actually a really poor turnout for voting, and I’m rather shocked by that. This was important, and just slightly more than half of the workforce turned up to listen to the proposal and vote on it. This directly affected you and your families along with everyone else, and you didn’t even show up. Very shoddy, folks. Unacceptable.

The contract had a few minor changes, some fairly substantial changes and a lower pay scale where new temps are concerned, and some required attrition via early retirement packages. Very minor cost of living increases with a lump sum signing bonus and wage freeze for this year, and small increases over the next 2 years, which we can live with. No changes to benefits that I can see. It all went very smoothly… and just a lot too easily in my opinion. It strikes me as a setup for the next contract, where Coke is likely going to attempt some far more extreme measures. Granted I was not present at the meeting, and would love to be wrong about that, but time will tell.

In any case, we’re happy that we have avoided any kind of lockout or strike, and it’s business as usual for most workers. From what I understand, Coke was prepared for a very lengthy strike/lockout in the neighbourhood of 3 months or more if things had not gone well.

We now have 3 years to dwell on and prepare for the next contract in 2019. Use this time wisely, because I’m sure it will not go as smoothly next time.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this negotiation and those who came out to vote. Thanks to Coke for remaining civil and above board this time. Kudos to the Union negotiation team – we appreciate your time and efforts on our behalf.

Work safe, everyone. Have a great day!