Saturday, December 28, 2019


For the first time since 2012, I decided to take the last two weeks of December off, using the final bits of my vacation time. Fri Dec 20 was my last day.

I drove up to the lake, watched some Netflix, started writing a blog post, had a bubble bath and then went to bed. I slept clear through to 5 pm on Sat Dec 21.

December squeezed the life outa me.

On Monday, Dec 23, I had an appointment with my oncologist. It was an appointment she'd scheduled three months ago when I started using Tamoxifen. She wanted to check in. See how I was doing.

She asked a eleventy thousand questions, noticing that I was at another appointment by myself. "Who is keeping an eye on you? Do you have anyone? Who do you live with? How are your moods? Tell me how you've been feeling. You do realize you've been through alot, right? And radiation isn't a walk in the park. Have you been working? How has that been? You are planning on taking time off when undergoing treatment, yes?"

Anyway, I left with a prescription for another medicine to take alongside the Tamoxifen I'm already on.

From there I used the gift certificate I received this summer (from work) to get a deluxe mani-pedi. It was a one and a half hour pampering session. I wish I could've just fallen asleep in my chair instead of straining to understand then answer the small-talk questions asked by a soft-spoken young Asian woman with a heavy accent wearing a mask over her mouth. I am terrible with accents.

I didn't take a pic of my nails when they were done because I was so embarrassed with my colour choice. I should not make any major decisions after I've been to the cancer clinic. I was waffling between a deep burgundy (for Christmas) or a very neutral colour so as not to attract attention. Burgundy. Neutral. Burgundy. Neutral. Burgundy. Neutral. In the end I picked neither and went for a shade half way between both. #559

Neon pink.


This is what it looks like today (5 days later), all chipped:

From there I went to get my face and throat threaded.

Then met my fam and the Stapes fam at Colossus for our annual viewing of the latest Star Wars flick:

I was emotional through most of it.

I took the first tablet of my new medication on Dec 24. And immediately felt nauseas and dizzy. Fun times.

Seeing it wasn't raining and I didn't have any plans, I drove into Vancouver to walk the seawall.

It was unexpectedly desolate.

Clint met me under the Cambie Street Bridge and we walked to Granville Island together, where he had a coffee and I had a water.

I got home 'round 6, then set the table for supper.
Me, my mom, Max and Clint would be spending Christmas Eve together.

Clint BBQ'ed some steak. I boiled some potatoes. Max made a pan of baked brussel sprouts. Merry Christmas!

After supper while I did dishes, they sat in the living room with their phones.

Clint got my mom set up on Instagram: Hilda_Jean_Klassen (if you want to follow her)...

At midnight, as per tradition, it was time for a second steak supper. Instead of BBQing, Max fried them in garlic butter after rubbing them first with coarse salt, then letting them sit on the counter for an hour, then warmed them in the oven at 200 degrees for half an hour.

If you love cows, turn your eyes away for the next couple pics.

We shared one of the steaks and put the other two in the fridge.
Then went down to my TV room to watch Netflix.


Christmas Day

We all slept til noon.

I made cheese biscuits (from scratch. Thank you grade 9 Home Ec class for the recipe):

By the time I'd cleaned up, the boys had left for their dad's.

I sat around, fighting nausea and dizziness and generally feeling miserable. My mouth felt weird. My head felt wobbly. It WOULD'VE been the perfect day to walk along the beach, or read a book, or go for a drive but I was clean out of energy.

At 4:30, I drove to the top of the hill then walked to the freeway and back, just to clear the fuzziness in my brain. By the time I got home the chicken pot pie in the oven was burning and it's insides were making a smokey mess in the kitchen. S I G H.

Haha. Merry Christmas.


Boxing Day

The kids all showed up in the afternoon, hungry (and tired).

Max made us all steak sandwiches:

Then we went down to the basement to open our gifts to each other...

Then they all found a soft surface to crash on and had naps.

I went upstairs and started making dinner.

And by 5 my family started to arrive:

(My mom sets a beautiful table:)

And it was at this point of the day that my dizziness came out in full force. I was sure I'd placed the glass bowl on the island, but apparently I missed by about a foot and just let go mid-air; it crashed to the floor.

There was dead silence, then Daryl said, "Well that's one thing we won't have to pack up when she moves." (My mom is considering moving.)

And then the men all jumped into action...
(It was lovely.)

While Drew vacuumed, Zac looked after the veggies, and Clint kept carving the hams and turkey ...

... it was decided that I shouldn't carry anything. I was getting dizzier (and ditzier) by the minute. So Dani took over doing the things I would've done.

In addition to celebrating Christmas, we were also celebrating my mom's 80th birthday:

We sang Happy Birthday very poorly but with enthusiasm,

and gave her some age-appropriate gifts which were not totally appreciated:

Then we divided into two teams and guessed the answers to questions about Nan's/Mom's life. Examples:

1. How old was Nan/Mom when she was first kissed?
2. What is Nan/Mom's favorite flower?
3. What was the first car Nan/Mom ever drove?

So fun hearing the guesses. And even better (in most cases) were the answers.

Then we moved into the den and watched a slide show of her life ...

Her 8 decades on this earth were very entertaining for her kids and grandkids...

While Jim, Daryl and Julie did the dishes (I wasn't allowed to touch anything that might break if dropped) the grands looked at my dad's turquoise collection:

And then I put my camera away.

Happy birthday, Jesus.
Happy birthday, mom.

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Doctors who care. Meds that (apparently) are working. Eight weeks total, off work.

2. My family. Grateful for my kids’ help (especially Clint) with the slideshow. Grateful for Danica and the quiet moment in the bathroom, amidst the busy-ness of the day, where she gently, expertly, graciously curled my hair. An oasis of calm. Also grateful to Jule and Daryl for preparing half the food and Jim for taking the lead in doing the clean up afterwards.

3. My mom. 80 years old. What the heck.

4. Jesus. Christmas. Love.

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