Tuesdays at the Chemo Unit, Feb 26 and Mar 5, 2013


I took this photo on the way to the hospital today. It seems to me this is a sign we should all be shown at birth.

Or it could say “Warning: Life is deep and messy and sometimes you can’t see the light.”


Last week I had my monthly appointment with my doctor. Because I’m reliably stable, I was given to the young and personable Resident to see. It was our first time meeting and he was very restrained as he reviewed the usual questions.

Then came the  moment when he asked me, “Can I examine you now?”

His eagerness made me laugh and I replied, “I know, you’re just dying to feel this liver, aren’t you?”

He laughed casually as I climbed up on the table. Then he started to actually examine the breadth of my liver and I saw a growing gleam in his eye.

“Oh, this really is exciting! I’ve never seen a liver like this before”

So maybe I shouldn’t feel satisfaction in having such a uniquely big liver, but I did feel a sense of accomplishment. If I’m to have a big liver, I want it to be the biggest. We might as well have some ambition in this life.


Belly Laugh Friday December 14, 2012

As most of you know, my strange illness has given me a belly that makes me look about seven months pregnant. After so many years I have been able to find the humour both in the queries and the responses I give to the queries.  Sometimes I actually look forward to bizarre responses because they make such good stories. Belly-laugh Fridays is my chance to share these humorous tidbits with all of you. Enjoy.



As I’ve mentioned before,  I often  pretend to be pregnant when I’m out in public. No explanations needed this way. No  horror or embarrassment with people I will never see again. If I”m out and about the whole day in public, it becomes easy to start thinking like a pregnant woman.

Like the time  I had spent my day travelling around Toronto by public transit. I got on my last streetcar for the day. It was packed and I was exhausted. We were all squished together like the proverbial sardines. In front of where I was standing, two youngish men sat, bulging large packages out into my space and blatantly ignoring me. I tried to push my belly out further, but they either did not see me or pretended not to see me.

I glared at them thinking, “Weren’t you taught to let a preganant woman have your seat?”

I fortunately came to my senses before anything actually came out of my mouth. What was I thinking?

Tuesdays at the Chemo Unit, Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Today was a record. In and out of the chemo unit in half an hour. I’ve started to get my drug as a subcutaneous needle rather than through an intravenous infusion. I love the speed of it.

But that was not the end of my medical day. I had an appointment at another hospital in the afternoon. This hospital is world class and  I receive excellent care there.  But the building design is hopeless. Huge swaths of the hospital are entombed in windowless rooms and passageways. And you really need a GPS to find your way around.

When I went down to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota a number of years ago, the building complex  was also full of  confusing tunnels and corridors.  But  at the Mayo they had guides at each juncture to help direct people to their destinations. Every time we would scratch our heads in confusion, a kind person would approach us and asked us where we needed to go. Sadly at my hospital in Toronto, except for the information desk down in the lobby (nowhere near where you are when you get lost), there is often not a soul to be seen and only a poor map to guide you. I wonder if they every lose people who wander forever in their hallways.

I had some tests and saw one of my favourite doctors in a windowless wing of the hospital. In all, I was trapped there  for a few hours until I could emerge into daylight again. I was so struck by the beauty of the day after my sojourn into the bowels of the hospital, that I had to capture the view of the sunset from the top of the parking garage.