Monday, January 25, 2010

- Daniel Stolfi is a Funny Guy

If you are one of the people I gave my blog card to at Dan Stolfi's show Sunday night, I'm glad you're here checking me out! Yay! Welcome! Wasn't Dan's show fun? I just knew he was going to get a standing ovation!

So tonight (well, technically it was last night, since it's now 12:30 am Monday morning) we went to see Daniel Stolfi perform his one-man play "Cancer Can't Dance Like This" here in Montreal. 

As I said in yesterday's posting, Liliana and the film crew and I went, and the crew filmed Dan's entire show. It was great! Everybody laughed so much!

Here's more about Dan from one of his reviews:
"In March of 2008, Daniel Stolfi was diagnosed with Acute Non – Hodgkin’s T-Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer that would need equally aggressive chemotherapy treatment over the following two years of his life.

"In "Cancer Can’t Dance Like This", Daniel takes the audience through a number of comedic monologues, musical numbers and character portrayals of his lost attributes to the disease. The question: can cancer outdance the dancing machine? Only time will tell."

Kudos to Dan for enduring so much pain throughout this chemo. My own father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in the summer of 2005, at 88 years of age. He was told right away that because of his age, he would not be able to endure the chemotherapy - it's so aggressive and brutal on the body, only young people can tolerate it (he died three months later, thankfully without pain.) So Dan has had to summon a lot of inner strength to remain so positive, and my wig is off to him!

It was such a fun show! Dan, you were great! Andrew, tell Dan he was great. For everyone else reading this blog, I should explain that Andrew Ferguson is the show's producer, but he wears many hats, as you can imagine. One of his other roles is to read things out loud to Dan, like this blog posting.

I'm not sure if Andrew does this because Dan is "feeling poorly", as they say in England, or because maybe Dan can't, like, read English or something. Whatever. It isn't really my business, now, is it?

I think it would be nice to have a friend that reads things out loud to you. Maybe I should find a friend who can read out loud to me. That sounds comforting. Any volunteers?

Anyways, after the show was over and people had gone home, we all went up on stage - Liliana, the crew, Dan, his team, and I - and shot an interview with Dan and I, and that was equally fun!

I sat in Dan's chair for the entire interview! A director's-type chair with Dan Stolfi's name on it! It was very comfy. Dan wanted to sit in it himself but I pretended I didn't know that.

We talked about our cancer experiences. Dan's has been much rougher than mine by far, unfortunately. We also compared Port-A-Caths. Dan's Port-A-Cath is very small and petite. My Port-A-Cath is very bulky and protrudes  under my skin like a stack of nickels, for goodness sake! Oh, well.

I think Dan got the feminine Port-A-Cath and I got the masculine one. They must have gotten mixed up or something. It's not fair. You can hardly see Dan's Port-A-Cath. It barely sticks out at all. It's not fair.

Anyways, at the end of the interview, Dan said maybe I could come to Toronto and jump out of a cake when he has his end-of-chemo party. I told him I didn't think he seriously wanted a 50-year-old with no boobies and no hair to jump out of his cake. I mean, think about it, people. It wouldn't really be all that pretty.

Dan got very serious after I said that. I think he's reconsidering his offer.

Here's a pic of Dan & I - we switched wigs for this photo! Talk about bonding!

I'm noticing my left boobie in this photo is kinda big - I think I have to remove more cotton from it . . . it's looking a little mountainous.

Well, that's my blog posting for today. I'm pretty pooped now and I have to go to bed after my Big Outing. I don't go to plays very often but it sure was fun to see someone like Dan doing a show like that.

I haven't said this before on this blog, but I have started writing my very own one-woman play. I have some ideas and wanted to see Dan's play to give me some guidelines and some ideas of how to do a play myself. Isn't that cool? So we'll see where this goes!!!

If I do a play, all of you have to come out and see it, okay? We will have a marvellous time laughing all together, because of course, my play will hopefully be very funny just like Dan's. And afterward, we could have a big party and stay up all night! Wouldn't that be fun!

As if. Who are we kidding? Most of us reading this blog are over 40 and probably many more over 50 and some of you look old enough to be over 70 - oh, sorry, did I say that in my out-loud voice?

Anyways, not many of us would make it past midnight as we have to get our beauty sleep and get up in time to take our medications and try to unconstipate ourselves, so I guess we should forget the bit about partying all night. But it was a nice thought, don't you think?

Blessings to all you readers, and especially to you, Dan, Andrew, Jennifer and crew! Keep on doing what you're doing, bringing joy and inspiration to so many!

Love and hugs from Wendy  xoxo

Sunday, January 24, 2010

- Cancer Perks (Anna Nalick)

Yes, I know - a title like "Cancer Perks" is just . . . well, wrong. Cancer is horrible and ugly and yukky-poo-poo and all that stuff, but hey - once ya got it, ya might as well flaunt it, right? I mean, it's not like it's gonna go away if I'm always slamming it, right?

So while I'm not exactly going to embrace it, I might as well look for the silver lining. Assuming cancer is a cloud, that is. Which it is. A cloud. A big, ugly, dark, black cloud.

Ah, but there are perks!

Okay, let me get started proving this . . .

Cancer Perks   by Wendy Farha
Some of the perks of having cancer are:

1. People are nicer to you. They look at you sympathetically. Sometimes they make cooing noises. They speak in softer tones. If they were accustomed to passing you by, now they feel too guilty to do so, and so they start talking to you. 

If they used to totally dis you (that's "show disrespect for", for all you less "with it" folks), now they come right up to you and hug you. Sometimes they look at you sympathetically, make cooing noises, speak in softer tones, talk to you, and hug you all at the same time!

2. They buy you stuff. Like chocolate.

3. They bring you stuff. Like chicken soup, which is clinically proven to cure things (cancer, for example). Stuffed little doggies & bunnies. Get Well Soon cards. Money (ok, that last one is wishful thinking, perhaps).

4. When you tell people you're too tired to come to their events they, like, believe you.

5. You get to sleep in all the time and nobody calls you slothful.

6. You can go for days without washing and nobody calls you a piggy.

7. You can go for days without getting dressed and nobody calls you a slob.

8. You can decide not to look for work and nobody calls you lazy.

9. If you laugh and joke around, everybody says you're brave.

10. If you smile, everybody says you're brave.

11. If you show up at an event, everybody says you're brave.

12. You get to try on lots of different kinds of wigs and nobody says you're so vain.

13. At the hospital, you get to have lots of people fussing over you and asking you how you are (as they poke and prod you . . . okay, maybe erase this one).

14. You get to meet tons of truly brave men and women who are facing their adversity with courage, stamina and dignity. You also get to meet ordinary people whom others may not call "brave", but who are doing the best they can with a disease they never asked for and hope they never get again.

There are probably other perks, but I just can't think of them right now. Okay, now on to the next category:

Chemo Perks   by Wendy Farha

Some of the perks of getting chemo are:

1. You don't have to shave anymore. For a swarthy woman like myself with Middle Eastern roots, this means I save, oh, I don't know, around 20 hours per week in hair removal. 

All of that shaving and tweezing and plucking and waxing . . . how delicious it is to have 20 extra hours per week to devote to causes more worthy than de-moustaching myself! (by the way, there are some women who do still have to shave their legs, but so far, mine are lookin' pretty bare!)

2. You save SO much money on things like shampoo and conditioner and hairspray and molding putty and mousse and hot oil treatments. No hair, no care! 

3. Chemo kicks you into menopause, so no expensive monthly products! (There are male readers here, so I won't do the list.)

4. Chemo kicks you into menopause, which eliminates the monthly visitor, which means . . . no PMS!!! How's THAT for a perk? (No, men, "chemo shots" are not available for your wife or significant other. Suffer.)

5. You get to meet all kinds of other cool people who are also getting chemo. It's like one big happy chemo family!

6. When you're getting chemo (at the Jewish General Hospital, anyways), you get a nice Lazy Boy chair to sit in plus a color TV that's attached to the wall, so you can watch all kinds of cool programs (if you're not too busy talking to all kinds of other cool people who are also getting chemo).

7. You get a free lunch! The nice Jewish General Hospital volunteers come around and give you a sandwich, a drink and a Jello (plus there are always lots of plain cookies kicking around the chemo ward). Plus the person accompanying you gets a free lunch, also! So when people say, "there's no free lunch", it's probably because they've never been treated for cancer before at the Jewish General Hospital.

Well, I could go on, but I guess that's enough for now. I'm feeling pretty good! Last night I sang at Westview Bible Church's Talent Show, and guess what? I won first prize! Whoop-de-doo! There were 10 acts in all, I think, including some spiffy line dancers, a pianist, a poet, and some other singers. There was some real talent in that place last night!

There were 3 amazing judges whom I was able to bribe before the show began so that they would say nice things about me and influence the crowd, and sure enough, when the votes were in, they crowd had picked ME! Hope they weren't pity votes just because I've been sick, although I'd be just fine with that, too.

Tonight should be really interesting! Liliana, the Film Crew and I plus some other folks are going to "Cancer Can't Dance Like This", a one-man play written and performed by Daniel Stolfi, a young man in the midst of his own battle with cancer. 

Liliana and her crew will be filming the entire show and then afterward, they'll be filming Daniel and I chatting about his wonderful project. 

So it should be great! I'm resting up all day so I'll have enough energy for this evening . . . that's the way it works lately. If I pace myself and try not to do too much, my body seems willing to co-operate with me. Thank you, Body.

Here's a neato song for you to listen to. See you next time!

"Breathe (2 AM)"   Anna Nalick

2 AM and she calls me 'cause I'm still awake
"Can you help me unravel my latest mistake?
I don't love him. Winter just wasn't my season"
Yeah we walk through the doors, so accusing their eyes
Like they have any right at all to criticize
Hypocrites. You're all here for the very same reason

'Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button, girl
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe... just breathe
Oh breathe, just breathe

In May he turned 21 on the base at Fort Bliss
"Just a day" he said down to the flask in his fist
"Ain't been sober, since maybe October of last year."
Here in town you can tell he's been down for a while
But, my God, it's so beautiful when the boy smiles
Wanna hold him. Maybe I'll just sing about it

Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button, boys
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe... just breathe
Oh breathe, just breathe

There's a light at each end of this tunnel
You shout 'cause you're just as far in as you'll ever be out
And these mistakes you've made, you'll just make them again
If you only try turning around

2 AM and I'm still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to

But you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now
Sing it if you understand

And breathe, just breathe
Breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe
Oh breathe, just breathe

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

- Home Invasion! (Michael Buble)

Oh, don't panic - it's not that kind of home invasion - it was . . . Liliana and her Film Crew! Eeek!! They came! They invaded our house with their stuff! They took over! Devastation! It was a madhouse! Equipment everywhere! Squished into every nook and cranny! It was chaos!  Such fun!

They were in the living room, the kitchen, the bathroom . . . okay, they used the bathroom but they didn't actually take it over . . . but they did take over the den . . .

Good grief, how much equipment does any one crew need? Lights, cameras, boom mic, stands, gig bags . . . it doesn't seem like that much stuff when we're somewhere else, but when they invade your home . . . well, that's another matter.

Of course, Timmy was absolutely terrified. He came from the bedroom, saw them, and raced for the back gallery where he hid for, like, five hours. He was beside himself. It was the CTV affair all over again, but far worse. 

This crew stayed most of the day. They ate, they drank, they filmed; then they had a wild party and trashed the place afterward like Mick Jagger & The Rolling Stones, leaving beer bottles and Johnny Walkers all over the living room. Oops, there's my Drama Queen tendencies surfacing again . . .

Liliana was hoping to film Timmy a bit but there's no way that was going to happen. So we did some general scenes, like me doing my blog . . .

. . . and looking through my photo album whilst curled up beside the fake fireplace . . .

. . . and other exciting stuff like that.

My pal Angie came over because Liliana thought it would be fun if I had a friend here; someone I could do a comedy routine for, so she and I had a chat at the kitchen table and I did some impersonations for her, like my old-lady-in-a-chemo-turban routine:

. . . and my little kid routine . . .

So thanks, Angie, for coming over and helping us out with the shoot!

Well, the after-effects of Chemo #2 that I told you I experienced last weekend wore off by Monday afternoon, so that was good. My head cleared and I felt normal again. The past two days, I wouldn't even know I was on chemo. Yay!

Today I also I spoke to my cutie-pie Oncologist Dr. Cohen (who hates the very thought of being on film and hid from the film crew last time they were at the hospital - well, he didn't exactly hide, but anyways...) on the phone, and apparently my bone scan was normal.

There is a spot on the spine, but they'll just watch it to make sure it doesn't grow. It's probably just a shadow or a mysterious Sci-Fi creature living inside my back or something - nothing to worry about.

It's been so busy lately that I realize I haven't written anything terribly deep here on my bloggy-blog for quite some time, so I'm going to have to put my pretty little head to work and come up with something profound before you all get bored and find someone else's blog to follow.

Wouldn't that be a tragedy if I was sitting here blogging to absolutely no-one? How pathetic would that be???

Anyways, until I think of something deep to say, why don't you watch this video by Superman Michael Buble - HE'S CANADIAN, YOU KNOW!!! HA!!!

And have a wonderful evening and a super-duper rest-of-the-week!

We love you, Michael!! You rock, Mr. Canadian-Singer-Person!!!

Love to you all,


Saturday, January 16, 2010

- And the Beat Goes On . . .

Just a word to all you faithful blog-followers here in Adventures With Wendy land...I know some of you get kinda panicky when you see that a few days have passed without a blog entry from me, but please be assured that when that happens, I have probably not:

1. Dropped dead
2. Left the country
3. Been abducted by aliens
4. Other

In fact, I'm probably just tired or busy or hiding from paparazzi. So don't worry, there will be another blog posting before you know it, and your worst fears will be put to rest.

And thanks to those of you who email me to ask, "ARE YOU OKAY????? WHAT'S WRONG???? HOW COME YOU'RE NOT BLOGGING?????". I really appreciate that! Doesn't put pressure on me at all (mutter mutter....just kidding!) (sort of).

No, seriously - I know you're concerned, but the blogs are going to be sporadic from time to time, so don't worry about it.

Here's another reminder that there is an email notification list, so if you'd like to be informed whenever I post something new, just email me at my personal email address & lemme know you'd like your name added. My email address is:

Well, I had Chemo #2 this past Monday, January 11/10 and it went quite well. The Port-A-Cath thingy in my chest did its job very well and I was able to receive the chemo through that instead of through a needle in my already-hardened little veins.

The nurse basically just inserts the needle into the port through my skin and voila! The chemo flows through for the next three hours. A full bag of IV anti-nausea meds precede the chemo, plus I take a pill am & pm for the 3 days following, so nausea, so far anyways, isn't a problem. I was late taking the pill the first day & experienced some heavy-duty indigestion, but once I'd swallowed the pill, I had relief within 15 minutes. Cool, eh?

On a fashion note, I can always depend on my friends to be looking out for my developing sense of style. Thanks to Suzanne & to Kelly for their lovely gifts to me! The first wig is an exotic design of an exquisite designer in Toronto (well, actually, the designer probably lives in China, but his creations sell in Toronto). I think it really makes a statement about who I am:

Isn't it just divine? She got it at the $1 Store. It's really me, I think. I've been dared to wear it to church one Sunday, but I dunno....

The next creation is all the way from Jamaica. I think it speaks to my African-American roots. Not that I have any, mind you, but we could pretend:

Yes, the dreads are attached. Thank you, Kelly! I'm a Rasta Man! Very, very thoughtful of you. I must say, I have some very faithful friends - friends who are always on the lookout for my sense of well-being and peace of mind. How can I possibly be thinking of health when I'm able to leave my house looking like this? It's remarkable, really, how self-confidence can boost the immune system, too.

A few more wigs and I'll probably be, like, cured of anything that ails me! Whaddya think?!?!??!? So if you see one in a store that you think screams "Wendy!!!", by all means, buy it for me!!! It'll all go into  a comedy routine at some point....

So, apart from that....quite the unusual combination of sensations going on in my body here. Last cycle of chemo, Chemo #1, Days 5, 6 & 7 laid me flat out.

Initially, I thought that perhaps I hadn't eaten properly those days, so this cycle, Chemo #2, I made sure that this past Thursday, Day 4, I ate really well and was rested up. I figured that could prevent a repeat of last cycle, not that it was awful or anything.

Well, yesterday (Day 5) I was at a friend's house and all was going well, when around noon - boom! I started feeling weird! Hands trembling, face flushed, light-headed, really tired, etc. - so basically, just like last cycle. But absolutely no nausea, so big deal.

Today, more of the same, but very low-key. Like my body is racing, but it's tired at the same time. I slept all night, got up this am for a couple of hours, then went back to sleep for around 3 hrs. or so. So nothing unusual.

This afternoon, a photographer from The Suburban newspaper came to take pics of me in different poses and wigs. How fun! The Suburban is a local newspaper and someone told them they should do a story on me, so they are. I did a phone interview this past week with the editor about my humorous approach to cancer, etc., and today was the photo shoot. So that article will be in their February 3rd issue, apparently.

Timmy wasn't involved this time, although he did get very excited that we had company and tore around the place while the guy was shooting. Guess he just didn't want to be overlooked.

Well, that's about it from me! Hope you're having an awesome weekend, and we'll meet right here around the campfire next time there's some fun news to report to you....



"Here's looking at you, dah-ling!"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

- Food For Thought by Erma Bombeck

Growing up, I remember reading Erma Bombeck in Montreal's West Island newspaper, the News & Chronicle (now called simply "The Chronicle"). She was funny; a great read, and who knows? Maybe she helped form my funny bone way back then.

"From 1965 to 1996, Erma Bombeck wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife with broad, and sometimes eloquent, humor. By the 1970s, her witty columns were read, twice weekly, by thirty million readers of 900 newspapers of the USA and Canada.

"Often called one of the greatest humorists America has produced in the last 50 years, Erma Bombeck was a product of the American midwest. A journalist at the Dayton Herald in Ohio for four years, she quit to raise a family.

"Bored as a housewife, she began to write humorous columns for a local newspaper. Her old employer, the Dayton Herald, then hired her to write a regular column, and soon the columns became syndicated. In addition to these writings, and the several collections in book form of her stories, she was a correspondent on the ABC news show "Good Morning, America".

"In 1971 she moved with her family to Paradise Valley, Arizona. By 1985, Erma Bombeck's three weekly columns were being published by 900 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada, and were also being anthologized into a series of best-selling books.

"She was also making twice-weekly Good Morning America appearances. Bombeck belonged to the American Academy of Humor Columnists, along with other famous personalities. During the 1980s, Bombeck's annual earnings ranged from $500,000 to $1 million a year.

"She long had an interest in cancer research, and was active in raising money for treatment of children with cancer. In Houston Texas in 1992 she received the Cancer League's "Laughter is the Best Medicine" award; five months later she herself was diagnosed with cancer.

"She survived breast cancer and a mastectomy, but kept secret the fact that, like her father, she had been diagnosed with adult polycystic kidney disease in 1991, enduring daily dialysis.

"Erma went public with her condition in 1993. On a waiting list for transplant for years, one kidney had to be removed in the past year for pain, and the remaining one ceased to function. In 1996, she was brought to a San Francisco hospital for a kidney transplant, which was performed on April 3. However, she suffered complications following the procedure, and died on April 22."

This is a beautiful piece of Erma's, written towards the end of her life. Great musings for all of us. When I read this piece for the first time, I went to the china cabinet and took out 4 lovely crystal glasses we had received as a wedding gift. We'd had them for at least six years and they'd never been used.

One by one, they were all broken, but I never grieved over them. I figured they were meant to be used; they were, and we enjoyed them while we had them.

Read this, and see if it does not influence you to do something differently today, even if it is a small act on your part. Remember, life is short!

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER    by Erma Bombeck

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace...

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more 'I love you's' More 'I'm sorry's.' 

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute.look at it and really see it . live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

- Don't Worry, Be Happy

Hey All, some of you have been emailing me, concerned because I'm not posting here on my bloggy-blog as often as I used to.

Don't worry! I'm doing really well, but life has been particularly busy and I'm trying to discipline myself not to blog at, like, 3 am, which, in the past, is when several of my postings were composed.

Now that the New Year is here (2010, in case you missed its arrival), I'm also back to lots of hospital visits, which is a full-time job sometimes, as I've said.

I also received Chemo #2 yesterday, which went very well....when I eventually got it, which was 2 1/2 hours after I first arrived in Oncology. Siggghhhh. Chemo Traffic Jam. It's not like there's any shortage of people getting chemo, y'know. So if all the Chemo Stations are taken, I have to sit and wait, along with a bunch of other people.

I met a couple of sweetie-pie sisters, one of whom is on her third recurrence with lung cancer. She was in the chemo station next to mine, and her sis was keeping her company. What a drag to have to go through this once, let alone three times.

In spite of everything, we had lots of laughs, and they are my two new favorite people because they laughed at all my jokes. Ha! ANYbody who laughs at my jokes is my favorite person! Yessiree!!

George was my faithful companion, and he was his usual awesome self, fetching me lunch from the cafeteria (don't worry, the chemo kills any food bacteria - ha ha!), tea, water, etc. etc. We arrived at the hospital at 10:15 am and left at 5 pm.

And my Port-A-Cath is now working! Yay! That's the doo-dad they installed just beneath my left collarbone so that they can take bloods and give me the chemo. The "out" function wasn't working, but I got my chemo yesterday "in" by the Port-A-Cath and it worked just fine.

After my chemo was finished, Nurse Kathy put some solution in the doo-dad for a half hour (I guess that would be like a "soak cycle" in your washing machine?) and voila! When we were done, she was able to withdraw blood from it. Yahoo! No more needles in my arms! I don't know who was happier, me or her!

Nurses love the Port-A-Cath because it saves them trying to find veins that have been hardened by the chemo. What nurse wants to hurt a cancer patient poking around for a vein? Eww. So Kathy was one happy camper and so am I!

Dang! This posting was supposed to take me 5 minutes! It's impossible for me to be brief.

Anyways, stay tuned for more blogging from me....I'm going back to bed (yes, okay, I've been up since 4:30 am - I was just gonna go to the bathroom, and then I thought I'd check my know the story...)

Help! I'm a computer addict!!!!!!

Love, Me

Does it pay to have a good imagination?  :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

- My Mysterious Situation

Okay, I am, like, going to, like, totally keep this short. It's 4:29 am as I start to write this and I want to prove that I am capable of saying things in 1,000 words or less. I don't think I've ever done it before but I want to do it now and then go back to bed and sleep until a normal, more human hour.

The problem is that when I get up to go to the bathroom, I have to pass my laptop on the way there. On the way back to bed, I tell myself a little lie. I tell myself I'll just "quickly check my email". From there, I further lie to myself by telling myself I'll just "quickly check what's up on Facebook".

The deception continues. I realize that no human being in their right mind is actually *on* Facebook at 4:29 in the morning, so I distract myself by checking my Site Meter, which tells me how many people have visited my blog, which country / state / province they visited from, and so on.

After my ego is sufficiently stroked (or not) from those staggering numbers (for example, 88 blog visits January 4th, one of the two days Timmy & I were on CTV News, or an underwhelming 18 blog visits on January 1st - but hey, who's counting?), I then start getting this glazed-over feeling and then suddenly, it's, like, noon and I'm still typing furiously and/or staring at the computer screen.

Well, enough rambling and on to the health part of my soap opera, "The Young and the Breastless". I'm also hairless, but I don't think that will fit easily into the title - "The Young and the Hairlessly Breastless"..."The Young and the Hairless / Breastless" just doesn't work....

I saw my Oncologist, Dr. Cohen, yesterday and he had some strange news for me. They've been researching my situation and have come to the bewildering conclusion that they aren't sure I ever had SVV - Small Vessel Vasculitis. What's up with that?

I think they're kinda stumped at this point. Some of my symptoms match SVV, but others don't. The team of Oncologists Dr. Cohen consults with doesn't know whether or not my chemo caused the mysterious red blotches on my legs and the horrible joint swelling. They're concerned about kidney damage. Kidney damage? Sheesh!!

Dr. Cohen called other specialists & researched this whole thing & consulted with OnStar & contacted Dr. Phil in Los Angeles and chatted with several Montreal taxi drivers who know everything about everything, and nobody seems to know. Mysterious, eh? (okay, just in case you're not sure, the part about OnStar, Dr. Phil, and the taxi drivers is just a joke, right? You knew that, right?)

So, they've decided to continue the chemo Monday, January 11, and, as Dr. Cohen says, they will be watching me "very closely". Well, somebody has to, I suppose. And it's nice to know people care. It's just one more way I've found to be special; different. And to ever be the center of attention.

This Saturday (don't medical people ever take a break?), I'll have a two-hour bone scan, followed by a yummy tea with a girl I went to high school with and haven't seen since 1976! So that will be a nice reward after 2 hours of lying around in a whooshy machine! The bone scan is to look for other tumours. Yay.

So, Dr. Cohen told me that if, after resuming my chemo, I get those weirdo symptoms again, I should either call him immediately or get myself into Emergency so they can check my vital signs, etc. So dramatic! Always something, eh?

And then there's the Port-A-Cath I had installed. It's not working properly. X-rays show it's properly in place, but they tried to get my blood samples from it yesterday and couldn't get anything. So today, Wednesday, I'll be going in to have a 2 or 3 hour procedure done on it - flushing it out or whatever - as the nurses try to get it functional.

No emergency, because the main reason it was installed (it's just under my left collarbone) was to receive my chemo treatments, and the "in" function is working just's the "out" function that isn't happening. So no big deal, and the procedure won't be painful (er, I don't think it will, anyways).

I just want to say a word about all this stuff I'm going through: you know, it may look like a lot when you're reading about it, but the truth is, I am not finding this difficult. I know we all have our trials in life, and maybe your trials look terrible to me when I'm looking on from the outside and vice versa, but honestly, I don't even find these things irritating, let alone devastating.

The nurses in Oncology are amazing - very patient, personable and efficient, and you know how I've raved about the Jewish General Hospital, and you know I've bragged about our free health care here in Quebec, so I mean, it's not like I have it all that bad.

I get to go to the hospital and meet people, it gets me out of the house, and if I need a good laugh, I'll go visit Brahms the Colo-Rectal Social Worker - uh, if you don't understand this last one, you need to visit here:

And no, I'm not just being brave: that's how I really feel. I am continually struck with the health horrors of others. Cancer patients get a LOT of sympathy in general, I find, because it's a disease I think every one of us fears, and it's prevalent enough that we all think what it would be like if we got it.

Other diseases - like ALS or MS or Crohns or a multitude of other maladies - are just as tough if not tougher and are equally disruptive to normal, everyday life. But I think cancer patients get more attention overall because there is so much media attention and because statistically, more of the "general population" is affected overall by cancer than by other diseases or afflictions, and statistically, we're all more at risk to get cancer than, say whooping cough or malaria.

It's SO uplifting to be getting such encouragement from all of you, and I absolutely love how you guys email me with your kind words, and how you leave comments, and email me to see how I'm doing, but I must say that I often feel for others because their struggles are just as difficult, if not far worse, than mine, yet they may not be getting the same attention or support.

Let's face it: cancer is the "flavor of the month" in terms of health attention. It used to be AIDS, but now it's cancer, and specifically, breast cancer in women, since it is on such a sharp incline.

Well, I think I've gone over my 1,000 words - what do you think? It's now 5:28 am and I'm really wiped. I should go back to bed, but first I'll just check my email...and Facebook....and.....maybe there's something I can look at online....and......

Blessings to you all,


Monday, January 4, 2010

- Star Power

So CTV aired Timmy & I last night at 6 pm and 11:30 pm. Timmy's a bit miffed because there was more about Liliana's film and my humor than about him, but I told him that's what happens when you hide under the bed when the camera comes out.

I pointed out to him that I didn't hide under the bed when Tania and the cameraman showed up at the door, and nobody had to drag me off of the top of the washing machine and subdue me as they were trying to film, but he's still miffed. He just doesn't get it, so he's been sulking since yesterday.

Anyways, for all you wonderful readers who missed the piece or who live outside the Montreal area, here's the link where you can watch us:

Under the video cube, click on "CTV News - The Power Of One".

Speaking of miffed, Timmy's not the only one. PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS MISPRONOUNCING MY LAST NAME!!! Arrggghhhh! And the announcer did just that on this CTV piece! Hmmph. I called Tania, the reporter who came to my place, and I left a message asking her to call me, but she never got back to me. I wanted to give her pronunciation lessons on my last name.

Yes, I realize that "Farha" isn't an everyday kind of's actually Arabic. No, I am not a terrorist. Yes, my paternal grandparents are from the Middle East. No, they are not terrorists, either. That's because they are dead. Oh, sorry - dark humor. Well, I can't help it - if they were alive today, they'd be, uh.....126 years old or something.

Anyways, yes, my dad's parents came to the States from Damascus, Syria in 1903 or thereabouts. They came through Ellis Island as did tons of other immigrants from all over the world. Their religion was Syrian Orthodox, which is pretty similar to Green Orthodox or Ukrainian Orthodox. My grandmother and grandfather hadn't met yet - they came to North America separately and met at a garment factory where they were working, in New York City.

They later immigrated to Canada, settled in Lachine, Quebec - a suburb of Montreal - and raised their six kids. My grandmother never learned to speak English - she was too busy chasing my father & his five siblings. My grandfather ran a pool hall. Exciting stuff, eh?

ANYways, the name "FARHA" means "JOY" in Arabic. Isn't that appropriate for the likes of me? And supposedly, "WENDY" means "WANDERER", if you look at the Germanic root. Other meanings are "WHITE SKINNED" (also true of me, except in summer, when I have a dark tan) and "FRIEND" (I guess that would depend on "to whom"? I'm not everybody's friend....I'm only a friend to people I've already met.)

So now for the pronunciation lesson, if you care to participate: my last name is "FAR-huh". Everybody repeat after me: "FAR-huh". It's not complicated. Think of "FAR" away, as in, Hawaii is FAR from here. Then think "huh", as in, "huh"! I'm not going to Hawaii because I am getting chemo right now. Once again: "FAR-huh". It's Arabic. Did I mention that? And the emphasis is on the "FAR".

Ooh, must be my Arab blood. Every time I see a camel, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Just look at those eyelashes!

Okay, so here is how my last name is NOT pronounced: (yes, I have been called all of these)
Farra (ahem! CTV announcer? Guilty!!! Ooh, I hate that...)
Far Out (okay, that one's not true)
Farta (oh, yes, just two months ago, I got that)

And here is how my last name is NOT spelled:
Pharoah (oh, yes! And on a poster advertising my concert! Ya think they would have called to ask me how it's spelled before they made up the posters!!!!)

Well, I guess it could be worse. I went to school with a girl whose last name was Barf. She was from Germany. Poor girl. And it was more awful for her sister, whose first name was Bunny. Bunny Barf. Come to think of it, maybe that was just a rumor.

Anyhoo, I'm off to see my Oncologist today at 3 pm, and I'll find out when my chemo resumes. My hair has started to grow back, so I guess it's safe to say that the last round from November 23rd is, like, long gone.

Later, people!

Love, Me.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

- Happy New Year...2010!

Yep, we're starting another year. Got any good New Year's resolutions? Hope you can think of something! 

I would lo-o-o-ove to lose weight, but it's the method of loss that I'm at a loss to come up with.  Too bad I can't lose weight by laughing - I'd be THIN if that was the case!!

"It's a bad thing to suppress laughter because it goes back down and spreads your hips!" - Erma Bombeck 
Wonder if that's true....
Here's a poem for you, for this new year:
At Day's End
Is anybody happier
Because you passed his way?
Does anyone remember
That you spoke to him today?

The day is almost over
And its toiling time is through
Is there anyone to utter now
A kindly word of you?

Can you say tonight in parting
With the day that's slipping fast
That you helped a single brother
Of the many that you passed?

Is a single heart rejoicing
Over what you did or said?
Does the man whose hopes were fading
Now with courage, look ahead?

Did you waste the day, or lose it?
Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness
Or a scar of discontent?

As you close your eyes in slumber,
Do you think that God will say
"You have earned one more tomorrow
By the work you did today"?

I don't really agree with those last two lines...after all, lots of selfish people have lots of tomorrows, so I don't believe we can earn a tomorrow by "being good". But being kind sure makes our todays and tomorrows a heck of a lot more meaningful and happy! It also gives us warm memories of all our yesterdays!

Okay, this has to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen Timmy do. Yes, I know what you're all thinking: "Oh, good grief, there she goes again talking about cutsie-wutsie little Timmy-poo - she's worse than a grandmother with endless pictures of her grandchildren."

Never mind, just be quiet and listen to this - my cat has SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder, and I'm gonna talk about it right here.

How do I know he has SAD, you ask? Look at this picture! Look at him!! He's blissfully soaking up what he thinks is sunlight, the nut! We're sitting here in the living room this morning watching TV, minding our own business, and look at what this cuckoo cat is doing!!!!

I tell you, this cat is hilarious! I've never, ever had a cat that did this, and we had cats all the time when I was growing up.

He sat with his head stuck under this lampshade for the better part of 10 minutes! When he came out from under it, I swear he had a tan! Okay, maybe I have a good imagination. But it's a lot cheaper than a tanning salon, don't you think? (I wonder if my head would fit under there.....)

What an absolute goofball! Heh heh heh.....

Don't forget, all you Timmy (and Wendy) fans: Timmy & I are on CTV Local News tomorrow night, Sunday, January 3, 2010 on the 6 pm news, and again Monday, January 4, 2010 on the Noon news. If you miss it or you're not living here in Montreal, Quebec, I'll have a link here soon afterwards and you'll be able to watch the clip.

Well, I know it's hard to believe, but I don't really have anything else to say, other than I hope 2010 is everything you'd like it to be. I meet with my Oncologist this Monday, January 4, and he'll tell me when my next chemo is. 

Because of the Small Vessel Vasculitis infection, I haven't had any chemo since November 23rd, and my hair is even starting to grow back! So I guess I'm very overdue. Stay tuned for an update, coming soon to a computer near you.

Blessings, everyone....bye bye for now!

Love from Wendy & Timmy (George says hi, too!)

I know this cartoon is too small to see - just mouse over it and click on it to enlarge: