Lain's Log

Quiet Sunday

July 31/11.

Tried to go-with-the-flow today. Worked around the house, cleaned up mountains of things, cooked meals and generally just attempted to keep it together till the next treatment, (coming Tuesday, to a blog site near you).

Went to Gerrard Square for a few things, then, to the LCBO, where, out front, discovered not one, but TWO of my fave street entertainers, together, playing the blues! In the past, had only seen them performing individually. Who KNEW they were brothers??

Had a great chat with them. Turns out, they are younger bro Aubrey (left), Dana (right). They play some really mean, rockin' tunes, lemme tell ya. They're from the east coast, have been performing together since they were kids and say they like to play outside the Gerrard/Carlaw LCBO to make a few extra bucks, (for beer), on top of their regular jobs. They are really good!

I gave them a toonie, and offered to go inside to buy them a beer, but at that exact second, the store closed! Told them, next time. A friend of theirs snapped this quick pic of us, and as I was leaving, Dana yelled out to me, "Nice meeting you! Love you!" I yelled back, "Love you too!!"

Drove home to make dinner. Sam barbequed chicken burgers. I made rice and peas. It's always fun to have a house filled with kids.

Max's good friend, Ben Christiani joined us, (he keeps us all laughing!), -along with Kate's boyfriend, Damian. We all watched Anchorman, one of the funniest movies ever. The "anchorman showdown?" I mean, come on!!

"Brick, where did you get a hand grenade?" - "I don't know."

- truly hilarious, no matter HOW many times I have seen it. (of course, 18 years working in a TV newsroom, makes it even more hysterical)!!

Hanging out till it's time to gear up for radiation Tuesday - (treatment #15 of 16!!) Coming up next? Civic Holiday Monday. Hope you'll all be diggin' the day off! Can't believe, August already. The summer is racing by, faster than a speeding bullet.

Oh! And look what my kids came home with for me today! A present! Season 3 of House on DVD! Yippee! Have always wanted to own a House season, and now I do!! My kids know me well. Can't wait to watch. Hugh Laurie rules.

"You're too kind Lain. Call 911 if you need me."

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The New Normal

July 31/11.

Saturday, I had kind of a "normal" day. (or, what I often now call, "the NEW normal'). Nothing really feels the same as before cancer, (and before everything else that happened to me in this past year). I'm trying hard to roll with things. Sometimes I can do it. Sometimes I can't.

Guess I kinda look the same. Maybe. Not sure.

Hard for me to tell. I'm still revved most of the time, Intensity Entity on overload, brain in fast gear, racing a mile a minute, sometimes hard to breathe when I'm so jazzed, - so normal seems very different. My beautiful daughter, Kate, said something to me the other day.

For a long time, she's been working on a photography project called Wardrobe Remix.

Every day, she takes a picture of herself in whatever colourful outfit she's put together, and then posts it online. (the above pic was taken on her last day of high school, as she was leaving those five years in the past)

She said doing the wardrobe remix pic every day was a way to "hold herself accountable," forcing her to be motivated to put herself together, look good and jumpstart another good day. She is filled with positive energy. (exactly as I was at 19 too).

(above pic taken at Mum's house, one of the last times Kate was at her Gramma's place before it was sold and out of our lives).

I guess it's a bit like this blog, (and lately, like my daily trips to the hospital). It all motivates me to get up, get going, get my act together try to LOOK normal, even if nothing else inside FEELS that way.

On Saturday, instead of going to the hospital, I went grocery shopping. That felt pretty good. "Normal."

(Looks like I didn't buy much, but this was the SECOND cartload. I had already packed the first load into the car!)

The kids (Robyn, Max, Damian & Kate) ordered pizza from Amato Pizza. They were four dollars under the limit for delivery, so asked for an order of "Crazy Sticks" (not even knowing what they were!) Damian said, "Definitely go for THESE!!" When this taste treat arrived, the Crazy Sticks turned out to be twisted garlic sticks! I hate garlic (or it hates me), so when they told me what they were, I shouted, "That's just CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZY!!" Everyone was laughing. It was great. That felt normal. (for the record, the kids say Crazy Sticks are delicious).

On Friday afternoon, I attended Max's weekly concert at rock camp. There was a "mosh pit" in front. Diehard campers were rocking to the performances, cheering on each band.

Max's band was called Santino Goes to Rynland. They performed High Road Easy,(Sass Jordan), and an unbelievably tight SLOW version of Michael Jackson's Thriller. It was intense. I loved it. I was proud of their work. Watching them, that felt normal.

Max's girlfriend, Robyn came to the concert. Seeing them, happy together, (and ya, even seeing Max's hickey!), felt normal.

Kids can make you feel that way.

Even if it's not completely true. I'm learning to live with "the new normal." If I can figure out what it all means, how it fits together, might even learn to embrace it.

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Like Wow Man!!!!!!!! Trippy

July 29/11.

I have a friend, who always makes me laugh when I ask a question,
and the answer comes back, "I got nothin'." LOVE that response. SO funny to me. Mainly because I can relate. But almost always, this same friend says, moments later, "I got somethin'!" Just takes a pause and a little thinking! Same thing happens to me.

Check out the new floaty pastel coloured shorty dress for a hot day on the radiation table. I'm really into floaty. (and new pink shoes too! Have never had pink shoes before!!) My friend, Joanne, was my "construction worker photog" today. Thanks Joanne! For EVERYTHING! SO much fun to have you along with me at the hospital. Treatments were never this fun before!! Conversation is NEVER dull with Joanne around. She is truly a riot. Love you Babe.

Joanne is cottage-bound, but we had a blast while she was in Toronto. See you again for a few more days when you get back!

Today's "Where's my stylist?" shot. Was feeling white lace & ruffles. Don't know why. So, ruffle city, under the ever-lovely medical gown. Added a beret from the Auntie Ray collection, and there you have it. (I know. Thankfully, only two more days. What will I do for an encore???) LOL.

Went into radiation, the technicians did their usual thing, measurements, green squiggly laser lines on the ceiling, shifting me this way and that on the table. All the while, my brain was ignoring them, shuffling thru various backdrops and locations, trying to determine where I could go for today's "table top fantasy escape". But, to quote my friend, "I got nothin'."

No matter how hard I tried, nothin'. OK. So, BLANK screen today gang!
But, I was wrong.

As always, just as things are about to get rolling, somebody says to me, "OK Elaine. We're ready to go," and they leave the room. I am all alone. Suddenly, I hear these weird musical notes. Hear them every day. (but forgot to TALK about them, till now).

I'm lying there, arm stuck over my head in this weird contraption, - then, the sound that indicates the start of the treatment.

Big Ben!!
Can you believe, the sound is the chimes of Big Ben? Arguably the most famous sound of London!

Here it is. Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong! (pause). Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong!
Then - zap city, and my brain is off, someplace else.

Click here to hear it

As soon as I heard these Big Ben chimes today, I was suddenly transported to London, listening to the clock and standing in the middle of Trafalgar Square, surrounded by hundreds of pigeons!!

I'd been there once, when my parents took me, at the age of just shy of 4. There's a cute pic somewhere, of me, standing, feeding pigeons, but I've never had an actual memory of being there.

Many years later, as an adult, I had the chance to return to London a couple of times. Went back to Trafalgar Square, seriously wondering if I could recall ANYTHING of having been there at age 4. I didn't. But, I tried to recreate the childhood photo.

April, 1989 - Have to laugh, looking at the crazy kerchief and raincoat!! Stylish.

ANYWAY...back to London. In this table top fantasy, I was alone, throwing food to the birds. I was the age I am now. But then, unexpectedly, I was a little, 4-year-old kid, standing in the midst of all these birds, a little scared and then, my PARENTS were there with me. My Mum seemed to be in the background, but I could clearly see my DAD!! He was out of our lives since shortly after that trip to England.

While on the table, I realized this memory felt REAL, not just conjured up from an old photograph. I was there with him. (cue Twilight Zone theme).

Without warning, on the table, my stomach went into one of those knots when you're about to sob. I actually moved on the table, muscles tightened and shifted,(or it FELT that way), and I thought I might have caused a problem with the radiation. My eyes were closed and I could feel tears. I opened my eyes to try and stop the visions, the tears, by seeing the reality of a radiation zapper above me, but it didn't help. Tears still coming. My Dad didn't say a word. Man, these "fantasy trips" are becoming a bit too real. Like hypnosis. Without hypnosis. - Thankfully, only two left!!!!

Anyway, #14? Yep. OUTTA there.

Joanne took the "adios shot" outside Princess Margaret Hospital. (I think my security guard was jealous).

I need to call my Dad and tell him about this wild memory. He will laugh. (or, knowing Dad, maybe cry...wonder where I got this emotional streak?? LOL)

So there you have it gang.

Table top fantasy #14. Whew. Too much reality.

(might be a GOOD thing there are only two more treatments left!!)

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Lucky #13 & "table trips"!!

July 28/11.

I've written about this before. 13 has always been my lucky number. So it wasn't scary to me that today was radiation treatment #13. Been there, done that now, and 13 is SO outta here! 3 more to go.

Let me see if I can put something into words. Visions, pictures, thoughts, feelings, ideas, things people tell me, - these are all difficult to translate. Over the past few weeks, several friends have said things to help get me through radiation treatments.

These things run the gamut from crazy to funny, illogical to romantic, brilliant to off-the-wall, super serious to right-out-there. Few of them make a lot of sense, and that's what I LOVE! The wilder the better.

I think it began when one special friend simply suggested that when I go for radiation, to "Think about one of Auntie Ray's hats!" I laughed at the time, but darned if the next day, I didn't do exactly that! SO many times when these inane thoughts pop into my head on the radiation table, I want to burst out laughing, but I'm not supposed to move, so it has to be INTERNAL laughing only. Inevitably something starts to itch, (the second they say, "Don't move!") Then, I have to use the power of concentration to go someplace else in my mind, to relax and often, just to have fun and amuse myself while lying in a strange, uncomfortable environment.
So far, I've been to the Aegean Sea off Mykonos,

to Lindsay (where I used to go with my grandparents as a kid),

(Why is it this pic can make me laugh & cry at the same time? - Carrie?? Explain it to me),

to Century House, (my grandparents' antique shop/home, which was destroyed in a fire years ago, but burns forever brightly in my mind),

to camping in a luxury tent!

(hee hee! MY version of camping!!) - Oh, and, click to enlarge!

to Robert Redford's arms,
 (circa The Way We Were - click to

or maybe, The Sting,

(click to enlarge) - just trying to make you laugh!

hmmmmmmmmmmmm, or maybe, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid when he had the moustache! (can't decide). - And...yes, click to enlarge!!

 At one point, another friend told me to think about yellow. Made no sense, but pretty soon, all I could think about was yellow! (hence, my yellow dress obsession today for treatment #13) - Even had it on under the good old medical gown for today's "Where's the stylist?" shot! (but as usual, NOTHING can rescue this garment from hideousness! - not even off-the-shoulder draping). I'll keep trying.

And today's mind trip? A visit to Boca Tabla - Curacao!

Have never been there, but a sweet friend of mine who travelled there, described it, telling me there is an intensity and ferocity about the place (which seems to suit my mood), so I researched the location and learned all about the crashing waves, rock formations, sea turtles, caves, you name it.

After all that, I was dazed out on the table, dreaming of rugged terrain, deep dark caves and thundering waves, (which pretty much drowned out the hum of the zapping machine)!

Oh, and radiation Muzak today? I WANTED the theme song from The Perfect Storm! - but got, Cry Me A River by Diana Krall! (well, at least there was a river running thru my fantasy!!)

#13 has left the building! Pic kindly taken by my favourite security guard at Princess Margaret Hospital! He shall remain anonymous! SSSSSShhhhh. - But HE knows who he is!!
(Still LIKIN' the YELLOW!)

NO clue where I'll go for treatment #14 tomorrow! Any ideas??

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Move on down the road!

July 27/11.

Getting there! 12 treatments down. Only 4 to go.
Winding down. (or is it UP??)

I almost feel guilty that there are so many people going thru such tough times with radiation and everything else, but I'm feeling better than ever.

How is it possible?? Don't know WHY, don't know HOW, don't know WHAT is making this happen, but thank God for it. (Mum, seriously, is it YOU? - Wouldn't be surprised if she was saying to me, "Hi dear. Your Gramma, Uncle Ev & I are NOT going to let you suffer any side effects! We formed a committee and that's the unanimous decision!")

Today's "radiation table mind trip" took me camping! (Carrie, if you or Paul see this, you will be in hysterics! YES!! I went camping, in my head! And it was actually FUN! Details stop here. What happens in Algonquin Park, STAYS in Algonquin Park) Radiation Muzak? Can't take it....What the World Needs Now is Love. No! NOT accepting it! Bring on Bryn Christopher this minute. Take my breath away Bryn!! (as you do every day in the car).

OK gang. At a loss here. Had SO many "props" with me in the change room, I couldn't decide WHAT dressing room pic to to use today! So, what the hell? Let 'er rip! - I'll flash them ALL for you!!!!!! (Hope you're laughin' here!) - Do you know how LONG it takes to "bend" the edges of a medical gown into something hot? Well, pretty much impossible. Call a designer, STAT!!

Writing this blog gives me such a lift, - trying to come up with something, anything, to give readers a giggle. Instead of choosing ONE
change room look, giving you my all! (To quote Kramer again, "I'm OUT
there Jerry, and I'm LOVIN' it")!! - Try to remember, I have, - like two minutes in the change room to create this, before someone discovers what I'm doing and knocks on the door! I work fast. The news biz taught me how.
(Man I miss fast!) Breathless here. Love it!!

While I was in the atrium, freaked, when I saw this sign!!!!!!!!
(I know, it's dim).

Couldn't believe it, - my family members, Franc & Mary, will be PLAYING IN THE ATRIUM on Wednesday August 3rd!! This HAS to be from on high...
(or from the beyond-phenomenal Kevin Shea at the Princess Margaret Foundation), or from, who knows?

Franc & Mary will BE there, performing, on my LAST day of radiation! (Coincidence? I think NOT!!!!!)

On top of this, my last treatment day was SUPPOSED to be Tuesday August 2nd, but, I was told, due to the Civic Holiday, it will be PUSHHHHHHHHHHHHHED till Wednesday. So, guess what? I will be celebrating my brains out with Franc and Mary - (and, may I add, anyone ELSE who wants to party in the Atrium!) on Wednesday at 1 p.m. when their show wraps up! -
Franc & Mary don't even KNOW this yet! I will bring party hats and noise makers!

Now, to wrap this all own "personal security man" rushed to my aid today to take this #12 pick for me. (He is so sweet and funny, - even saying to me, "How are you going to do #12??) Lemme SHOW you!!

10 + 2 = 12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My best pal, Joanne & I concocted the "finger action!" (LOL) I just love having a special guest along to be "on camera" with me! And Bruce! (back in L.A.) - thanks for loaning your wife to me! Wish you were here too. You could have written some brilliant, Emmy-winning, Kramer-like moments for us!!

Bring on #13! It's ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLWAYS lucky!!!!
Can't wait for Thursday!

Heavy duty hugs coming your way.

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Great day!!

July 27/11.

I know it may be hard to believe that radiation days can be great, but often they are! Today, was terrific! I'm into double digits and that's good news!

Today's hospital photog? My security-guard-in-shining-armour, (the one who said I looked like a Barbie doll!), appeared out of nowhere today, just as I was vacating the basement radiation department. I caught sight of him and asked if he could take a shot of me and he agreed! #11 - (using two fingers), plus - added my favourite beret today!

Radiation Muzak? Something-or-other by Diana Krall again. Couldn't recognize the song, but it was very pretty and helped my brain to float off to the Harbour Castle Hotel, where I was having strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast! (sounds like a plan).

Today's "Where's the stylist" shot? I was SICK of posing in the blue medical gown, so brought my OWN "gown" and belt to pose in. (no, didn't wear it on the radiation table!) - it's exclusive only to the change room!

This must be my week for parking lots! After today's treatment, ran smack dab into my old friend, Sandy Pimenoff. He's a Global TV cameraman and we worked together on countless stories over many years. A fantastic guy and we shared many laughs. In the Global days, he was known to my soap viewers as "Sandy the soap fan cameraman!" It was such a blast to cover soap events with him, because he always knew as much as I did about the daytime dramas!

Later on, in the evening, I was able to catch up further with Sandy, as I was invited to a Global TV Guys & Gals potluck reunion dinner party at the home of reporter Terese Sears. (our desks used to be right next to each other years ago). She has a beautiful home and I was really taken aback to be so warmly greeted and hugged by so many old friends! I was especially happy to see the two remaining "nice guys", former anchormen John Dawe and Mike Anscombe! Later, Mike gave me a lift home, cuz that's the kind of gentleman he is! (thanks Mike!)

John Dawe, me & Mike Anscombe - I always had a blast working with these two at the anchor desk. (you may see, Mike hates having his picture taken, but I insisted!!!!!!)

Hostess with the mostess, Terese Sears (second from left) with a few of her Global party guests!

With another of my former Global TV cameramen, Joe Da Ponte. Great to see him! He told me he's now engaged to be married in August of next year in Portugal! - Congrats Joe!

Joe, Mike Anscombe and cameraman extraordinaire Yhoram "Every frame a Rembrandt" Pirotsky!

With Global editor sweetheart Doug McLelland - I wonder how many stories we edited together over 18 years!??

With Yhoram and Joe.

All in all, a blast of a bash! Thanks to Terese for the invitation. I really needed this evening!!

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