Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Uterine (endometrial) cancer

The week before Christmas I learned I had cancer in my uterus.

I'd had a couple funky ultrasounds (there was "debris" found).  In November, I had a procedure with a gyno at St. Michael's Hospital where a camera was inserted inside me to see what what going on and a sample was taken.  That's how they found out I had cancer.  Needless to say, it was not the news I was expecting.

Signs and symptoms may include:
  • Vaginal bleeding after menopause - this happened to me once a year, hence the ultrasounds
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Pelvic pain 

Doctors don't know what causes endometrial cancer.  What's known is that something occurs to create changes (mutations) in the DNA of cells in the endometrium (the lining of the uterus).  The mutation turns normal, healthy cells into abnormal cells.  Healthy cells grow and multiply at a set rate, eventually dying at a set time.  Abnormal cells grow and multiply out of control and they don't die at a set time.  The accumulating abnormal cells form a mass (tumor).  Cancer cells invade nearby tissues and can separate from an initial tumor to spread elsewhere in the body (metastasize).

Factors that increase the risk of endometrial cancer include:
  • Changes in the balance of female hormones in the body ~ The ovaries make two main female hormones - estrogen and progesterone. Fluctuations in the balance of these hormones cause changes in the endometrium.
  • More years of menstruation ~ Starting menstruation at an early age - before age 12 - or beginning menopause later increases the risk of endometrial cancer. The more periods you've had, the more exposure your endometrium has had to estrogen. 
  • Never having been pregnant ~ If you've never been pregnant, you have a higher risk of endometrial cancer than someone who has had at least one pregnancy.   I've never been pregnant.
  • Older age ~ As you get older, your risk of endometrial cancer increases. Endometrial cancer occurs most often after menopause.  I'm on the other side of menopause.
  • Obesity ~ Being obese increases your risk of endometrial cancer. This may occur because excess body fat alters your body's balance of hormones.  Weight loss is a constant battle for me.
  • Hormone therapy for breast cancer ~ Taking the hormone therapy drug tamoxifen for breast cancer can increase the risk of developing endometrial cancer.
  • An inherited colon cancer syndrome ~ Lynch syndrome, also called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), is a syndrome that increases the risk of colon cancer and other cancers, including endometrial cancer. Lynch syndrome is caused by a gene mutation passed from parents to children. 

To reduce your risk of endometrial cancer, you may wish to:
  • Talk to your doctor about the risks of hormone therapy after menopause ~ If you're considering hormone replacement therapy to help control menopause symptoms, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits. Unless you've undergone a hysterectomy, replacing estrogen alone after menopause may increase your risk of endometrial cancer. Taking a combination of estrogen and progestin can reduce this risk.  I was on HRT for about eight years but went off it when I turned 50 because my doctor told me that there is a risk of getting breast cancer if you stay on it after 50.
  • Consider taking birth control pills ~ Using oral contraceptives for at least one year may reduce endometrial cancer risk. The risk reduction is thought to last for several years after you stop taking oral contraceptives.
  • Maintain a healthy weight ~ Obesity increases the risk of endometrial cancer so work to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Source:  Mayo Clinic

My gyno scheduled me for a total hysterectomy (the removal of the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries).

That happened yesterday.  I had to be at St. Michael's Hospital at 6am to get prepped.  The surgery started at 8am and lasted three hours.  There are four small incisions (maybe an inch long) in my belly ... one on the right side, one in my belly button and two on the left side.  I spent about two hours in recovery before being moved to my room, where I spent the night.

During the night, I was woken up every two hours by nurses to check my blood pressure, my temperature and take blood (to see if I would need a blood transfusion ... I didn't).

I was released this morning.  I had to fill a bunch of prescriptions at the pharmacy ... extra strength Tylenol and morphine for when I'm in pain (so far, I'm not) and Dalteparin syringes (I have to use for a month to prevent blood clots).

No heavy lifting, pools, baths, etc. for six weeks.  I'm working from home for the next three weeks and have had any meetings and work travel I'd had scheduled covered and/or postponed.  I go back to see my gyno in six weeks.

Thank you to Dr. Shore and her surgical team and the staff on the 15th floor at St. Mike's for taking such good care of me!

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Knitted dish cloth

I finished knitting a dish cloth this afternoon using cotton yarn.

Cast on 31 stitches

Rows 1 to 5: knit

Row 6: k2, purl to last two stitches, k2

Row 7: knit

Row 8: k2, p2 *k1, p1; repeat from * to last 5 stitches; k1, p2, k2

Row 9: k4, *k1, p1; repeat from * to last 5 stitches; k5

Row 10: k2, p2 *k1, p1; repeat from * to last 5 stitches; k1, p2, k2

Repeat rows 9 and 10 until desired length. Your last row should be a repetition of row 9.

You should be starting on the “wrong side” of work.  K2, purl up to last 2 stitches; k2

Knit the next 5 rows.

Bind off all stitches in knit. Weave in loose ends.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Book ~ "Citizen Canine: Dogs in the Movies" (2020) Wendy Mitchell

From Goodreads ~ This charming and adorable collection of the best cinematic dogs is sure to delight dog lovers and movie-goers alike. 

The Citizen Canine pack includes sixty of the bravest, cutest, and furriest pooches ever to grace the silver screen. From top-billed hounds like Lassie and Benji to comedic scene-stealers like Asta from "Bringing Up Baby" and Puffy from "There's Something About Mary", all your favorite furry friends are here. 

Whether you have a canine companion or just wish you did, "Citizen Canine" is your perfect guide to dogs, movies, and the magical moments when they come together.

If you like dogs and movies (and dogs in movies!), you'll like this book.

This book celebrates a diverse range of canine acting over the last 100 years ... the talented pooches, the caring and dedicated trainers who bring out the best in them and the actors and directors who find the best way to work with their canine co-stars on set.

The first dog is Mut, a mixed breed who played Scraps in A Dog's Life in 1918 with Charlie Chaplin.  The last dog is Harley, a pug who played Patrick in Patrick in 2018.  Others include Toto (The Wizard of Oz [1939]) Lassie (Lassie Come Home [1943]), Yeller (Old Yeller [1957]), Old Dan and Little Ann (Where the Red Fern Grows [1974]), Benji (Benji [1974]), Hooch (Turner & Hooch [1989]), Puffy (There's Something About Mary [1998]), Bruiser (Legally Blonde 2 [2003]), Bonny (Seven Psychopaths [2012]) and more!  Most of the movies I've heard of ... some I haven't, even more recent ones.

There are two pages devoted to each movie.  One page has pictures and the other gives a brief description of the movie, the dog(s) involved and their stories along with a couple quick facts on the bottom.

Freezerland NFLD INC., Brampton, ON

I came across Freezerland NFLD INC. on Instagram and have been following them for a while.  I had a seminar to conduct in Brampton today, not far from Freezerland, so stopped in on my way home (they are in a plaza on Strathearn Avenue).

They carry Newfoundland specialty products ... and I'm from the east coast ... so I was curious to see what they had.  They carry food, clothing, books, music, knickknacks and more!  As soon as I walked in, I could smell fish cakes cooking.

Topbox - January 2020

My January Topbox arrived yesterday.

Get 4 hand-picked deluxe samples delivered to your door for $15 per month. It's the best way to discover the products you'll love.

Here's what I received ...

Total value = $57.14

Ipsy Glam Bag - January 2020

My January Ipsy Glam Bag arrived yesterday.
  • $12 a Glam Bag ($223CN for a year)
  • 5 beauty products worth $50+ (the average Glam Bag value in 2019)
  • Glam Bags are available in the U.S., U.S. Territories, & Canada. U.S. shipping is free. Taxes will apply to all bag orders shipped within the U.S. Canadian shipping is $2.95.

Here's what I received ...

  • Make-up bag
  • CIATÉ LONDON Glow To Illuminating Blush (Date Night) - $16.25 value
  • PURLISSE Blue Lotus 4~in~1 Cleansing Milk - $2.50 value
  • AHAVA Dead Sea Water Mineral Hand Cream (Sea Kissed) - $7.60 value
  • ARACELI BEAUTY Ojos Perfectos Liquid Eyeliner (Coffee/Café) - $16 value
  • REALHER Eyeshadow (Victorious) - $3.11

  • Total value (excluding the bag) - $45.46US

    Wednesday, 22 January 2020

    Book ~ "Woman on the Edge" (2019) Samantha M. Bailey

    From Goodreads ~ A moment on the platform changes two lives forever. But nothing is as it seems ...

    "Take my baby."

    In a split second, Morgan's life changes forever. A stranger hands her a baby, then jumps in front of a train.

    Morgan has never seen the woman before and she can't understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life.

    When the police question Morgan, she discovers none of the witnesses can corroborate her version of events. And when they learn Morgan longs for a baby of her own, she becomes a suspect.

    To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically tries to retrace the last days of the woman's life. She begins to understand that Nicole Markham believed she and her baby were in danger. Now Morgan might be in danger, too.

    Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia?

    Or was something much darker going on?

    Morgan is recovering from a tragedy.  Her husband had cheated many people out of money and then committed suicide when he was caught.  Everyone assumes Morgan knew what her husband was doing and was in on it.  She is trying to rebuild her life.

    Morgan is waiting for a subway one day when a woman approaches her, gives her her baby and asks her (by name) to take care of her ... then she jumps in front of a subway train.  The police officer who investigated Morgan's husband's death thinks she is involved and makes that obvious.

    It turns out that the woman who gave Morgan her baby is Nicole, a wealthy former business owner who had just given birth to her daughter.  To clear her name, Morgan needs to find out more about Nicole and why she was chosen to have her baby.  She gets to know Nicole's brother, Ben, and best friend, Tessa, and discovers that Nicole was being terrorized by a woman from her past.

    The premise of this book sounded interesting.  I thought the writing was okay.  The chapters alternate between the present time with Morgan and the past (a couple months ago) with Nicole.  The chapters with Morgan are written in first person perspective in Morgan's voice and third person perspective when it's Nicole's chapters.

    I found Nicole's storyline was a bit extreme ... she was a strong powerful woman who had started a successful business, which she had sold for a lot of money.  After the birth of her daughter, she was a mess ... I found it hard to believe that she was the same person.  And with all the money she would have made from selling her business, I don't know why she was so concerned about having to return to the business after her maternity leave.  Why didn't she just stay home as a mom and live off her wealth?

    Hôtel Nelligan, Montreal, QC

    The company I work for had their sales conference the last two days in Montreal.  I spent the last two nights at the Hôtel Nelligan in old Montreal.

    Here's my room ... it was huge!

    Tuesday, 21 January 2020

    Taverne Gaspar, Montreal, QC

    This evening I had supper at Taverne Gaspar in old Montreal.  I'm in Montreal for our company's sales conference and this is where our supper was.

    Warm rolls were placed on our tables ... they were good!

    I started with a tomato and red pepper soup.  I'm not big on soups but this was good, though it could have been hotter.

    I ordered steak and fries.  The steak was on the rare side so I asked them to cook it a bit more.  It was really tender.

    Monday, 20 January 2020

    Wolf & Workman, Montreal, QC

    I had supper this evening with my friend and colleague, Trudy, this evening at Wolf & Workman in old Montreal.

    The burger was one of the specials so we both ordered it.  It was a good burger, flavourful and juicy.  The bottom bun, though, could have been sturdier, though.  It was a bit on the thin side and really moist from the burger.  There were lots of fries and we both left plenty.  I'd get this again.

    Sunday, 19 January 2020

    Open Cribbage Tournament, Royal Canadian Legion - Branch 31 Mount Dennis, Toronto, ON

    Gord and I enjoy playing cribbage.  The Royal Canadian Legion - Branch 31 Mount Dennis has cribbage tournaments about every three months.  We went to the four they held last year.

    The rules, crib board and cards are on every table.

    There were 54 teams today (27 tables).

    Saturday, 18 January 2020

    Book ~ "The Billionaire Murders: The Mysterious Deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman" (2019) Kevin Donovan

    From Goodreads ~ Billionaires, philanthropists, socialites ... victims. Barry and Honey Sherman appeared to lead charmed lives. But the world was shocked in late 2017 when their bodies were found in a bizarre tableau in their elegant Toronto home. First described as murder-suicide - belts looped around their necks, they were found seated beside their basement swimming pool - police later ruled it a staged, targeted double murder. Nothing about the case made sense to friends of the founder of one of the world's largest generic pharmaceutical firms and his wife, a powerhouse in Canada's charity world. Together, their wealth has been estimated at well over $4.7 billion.

    There was another side to the story. A strategic genius who built a large generic drug company - Apotex Inc. - Barry Sherman was a self-described workaholic, renowned risk-taker and disruptor during his fifty-year career. Regarded as a generous friend by many, Sherman was also feared by others. He was criticized for stifling academic freedom and using the courts to win at all costs. Upset with building issues at his mansion, he sued and recouped millions from tradespeople. At the time of his death, Sherman had just won a decades-old legal case involving four cousins who wanted 20 percent of his fortune.

    Toronto Star investigative journalist Kevin Donovan chronicles the unsettling story from the beginning, interviewing family members, friends, and colleagues, and sheds new light on the Shermans' lives and the disturbing double murder. Deeply researched and authoritative, The Billionaire Murders is a compulsively readable tale of a strange and perplexing crime.

    Barry Sherman was a 75-year-old Canadian businessman and philanthropist who was chairman and CEO of Apotex Inc., a Canadian pharmaceutical corporation.  At his death in 2017, according to Forbes, he was the 12th wealthiest Canadian and according Canadian Business, he was the 15th richest in Canada.

    In December 2017, Barry and his wife, Honey, were found dead on the floor next to their indoor pool in their Toronto home.  Both of their necks were tied with leather belts to a metal railing slightly over a metre high around the pool.  Barry was seated, his legs crossed, on the pool deck and Honey was on her side with a bruise on her face.  Coats pulled down over their shoulders restraining their arms.  They were facing away from the water and fully clothed.

    The initial headlines read that it was a murder-suicide ... that Barry had killed Honey and then himself.  Friends and family said "no way" and it's now being investigated as a double murder.  Because of what was perceived by the family as police incompetence, the four children of Barry and Holly put together their own team of investigators to find out what happened.  As of the writing of the book and today, no one has been arrested for their murders.

    Kevin Donovan is a Toronto Star's Chief Investigative Reporter who has been following the story and writing about it in the Toronto Star.  It's obvious that he has done a lot of research and reveals information from various sources and interview's he's done.  He includes the backgrounds of all those involved (the Shermans, friends, colleagues, etc.) and educates us on the pharmaceutical industry.

    While I found the book interesting and informative, it reads like a long long newspaper article, which makes sense, I guess, since the author is a newspaper reporter.  The book could have been edited better.  There is a lot of repetition ... the same people are throughout the book yet we get introduced to them pretty well every time like it's the first time we're meeting them.  Yep, I remember who Jonathon Sherman is ... I didn't need to be told about ten times that he was the oldest son.  There were some weird not necessary descriptions of people.  For example, when letting us know that Elise Stern, a real estate agent, was at the Shermans' home the morning of the discovery of the bodies, she is described as "Dark-haired, with a thin, angular face" ... what does that have to do with anything?!  There were some typos ... one glaring one was getting Honey's maiden name wrong (it's "Reich" not "Rich").

    Friday, 17 January 2020

    Tetto's Pizza & Donair Plus, London, ON

    I had a late lunch today at Tetto's Pizza & Donair Plus.

    When I was driving around wondering where to have lunch, "Donair" in their sign caught my eye so I stopped in. I ordered a donair with the meat, tomatoes and donair sauce. It was a good donair.  The meat and sauce were on par with "back home" in Nova Scotia.  The wrap, though, was a bit too thick and overpowering.