Lain's Log

Crazy for the Cup

May 29/13.

As we head into the NHL Conference Finals, it was fun for me to be in the presence of the Stanley Cup this morning inside the 6th floor auditorium at Princess Margaret Hospital.

My old friend, Kevin Shea, of the PMHF Public Relations Department, invited me attend, due to my involvement with the hospital through my breast cancer treatment there. Kevin is also known as a hockey expert and archaeologist who has written 12 popular hockey books.

His latest is Derek Sanderson - Crossing the Line.

His idea was to bring the Stanley Cup to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and ask fans to pay ten bucks to have their picture taken with the massive silver trophy. All money raised goes to cancer research.

I promptly plunked down my ten dollar bill, posed for a pic and even got to touch the treasured trophy!

In an interview, Kevin told me, "Just to see people getting a chance to be up close and personal, yourself included, me included, some of the folks taking pictures, touching the engravings on it in the same way their favourite players have touched it in the past, it's a real thrill. And the fact that it's raising money for cancer research is all the better."

Mike Bolt, the Hockey Hall of Fame's official keeper of the Cup for the past 14 years has taken the Stanley Cup all over the world and is always astounded at the reaction of fans. "I've seen tears of joy," he says, "people crying just because they're close to it, I've seen them giddy to starstruck. It's one of the most powerful inanimate objects on the planet."

Kevin was lucky enough to be the keeper of the cup for a while. His first assignment was to board a plane and take the cup to St. John's, Newfoundland. Everything went well, until it was time to come home to Toronto. "I loaded the case into the plane and when we landed, I waited by the luggage racks - no cup! No cup! I finally went to the information booth and said, 'Listen, I think there's a problem, I'm missing the Stanley Cup'. All of a sudden, people were running around like crazy, saying, 'What? The Stanley Cup has been stolen'!

As it turned out, the Cup had been removed from the cargo hold because the plane was too heavy. (the Cup weighs 15.5 kilograms, not counting the weight of the carrying case)! Several flights later, about 8 at night, the Cup finally showed up, much to Kevin's great relief!

"It was my very first time with the Cup and I thought I'd lost it," he comments. "I thought it was going to be my ONLY time with it!"

Toronto businessman Tom Stewart (aka "Captain Canada") was among the fans who dressed up for his closeup with the Cup. Another fan, Jim McHugh, didn't even flinch when he saw the colourful costume, telling me, we should all be proud because, "It's the most beautiful trophy in professional sports and the hardest to win."  When I asked McHugh what makes the Stanley Cup so important to him, he responded, "It's Canadian and so am I. It is Canada's trophy. Plain and simple."

As for Kevin Shea's Sanderson book, he's excited to report it's being made into a movie. Shea says with pride, "It's going to be filmed in Boston in July and August. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell's son, (Wyatt Russell) is going to be playing Bobby Orr. Ed Burns is one of the producers and he's also playing Derek Sanderson's father".

" Sanderson himself is going to be played by Logan Marshall-Green". (Prometheus, The OC)

Kevin Shea admits things couldn't be better for him right now. "I guess sometimes we're looked upon with blessings, so it's been good, it's been fun," he remarks modestly.

"I couldn't ask for anything more to be able to be around hockey and also to raise money for cancer research, which is so important to me personally and certainly to the larger community."

Thanks for inviting me today, Kevin. I was glad to be a part of your special event. May the best team win!

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Here we go again!

May 26/13.

I've been lucky enough to have two years cancer-free after my breast lumpectomy in April 2011. Has been a wild roller coaster ride of emotion, but I'm still here, hangin' on. I try to enjoy the calmer moments, but they feel few and far between. There always seems to be something just ahead and around the corner, - another road block or hurdle to overcome. Was back at Princess Margaret and also Mt. Sinai for more tests last week. The stress and fear brings on much anxiety. For months, this blog has morphed into more of a personal life story, but I think I have to return for a while to the original concept of a medical blog with no candy coating. One of my most recent tests was an abdominal ultrasound. There's no pain involved, but hearing the results is not exactly a walk in the park. Among the discoveries? - a couple of Bartholin cysts; a tiny 5 mm cortical cyst in the mid/lower pole of the right kidney; small myometrial cysts in the fundal area of the uterus, measuring up to 3 mm, likely due to adenomyosis; and a possible echogenic lesion, suggestive of a polyp in the cervix. (whatever all that means!!) Reading my medical journals now. Ai yi yi.

After hearing all that joyous news, took the time to stroll the courtyard on the 16th floor at Princess Margaret to try and clear my head. It was a beautiful day.

And later, checked the inspirational board in the lobby.

That evening, was able to get my mind off things at a birthday party for my littlest cousin, Sienna, who is turning two! She is sitting on the knee of her stunning Mum, Sacha.

My cousin, Kevio, couldn't believe his granddaughter is hitting the two-year mark! (it actually doesn't happen officially till June 13th, but the party was early).

Kev celebrated at the barbeque, grilling up burgers, hotdogs, veggie dogs and turkey dogs! I had my first burger in as long as I can remember and it was fabulous!

Among the guests, (left to right), my nephew, Lee, Carrie's partner, Paul Nodwell, and my sis, Carrie!

It was quite a bash, especially when Kev's Rough Trade musical partner, Carole Pope showed up! (she was en route to a gig that evening).

It was fun to see a Kevan/Carole reunion!

Max and Kate provided some music!

And so did Lee. He's been selected as one of only eight students to join the vocal music course at Humber in September and has a stunning voice. He sang John Mayer's Stop This Train, one of my fave songs.

Sienna seemed quite into it all!

The food and presentation was amazing.

And of course, there was wine and plenty of snacks, 

and balloons!

A good time was had by all.

Lee and Max (now ages 17 and 18), played under the deck like the old days when they were little kids together! So cute, and now, both GREAT young men! They bring such happiness to our lives.

Sacha and Sienna are both about to return to Malta to see Sienna's Dad for a number of months. They'll be so missed here. Kevan and Marilyn don't want them to leave. Now they'll have to do all their visiting via Skype.

The next day, we drove to Newmarket for another party! This one at the home of Neil and Carolyn (Sam's brother and sister-in-law). It was a welcome-back bash for their daughter, Jenny, visiting for a few days from Edmonton, where she now works. (left to right, Geoff, Debbie, Justin, Neil, Jason, Max, Kate)

We brought Sam's Dad, Ben with us. He loved seeing the whole fam together.

Another day of fantastic food! (my weight is going up!)

All ordered from the Mandarin. Torpedo shrimp galore, ribs, lemon chicken, veggies, sweet and sour sauces,

mango salad, egg rolls, spring rolls and on and on and on!

Jenny was the belle of the ball! What a beauty. Great to see her.

We all checked out the massive swimming pool and sundeck being built next door. Wow!

A big thank you to Carolyn and Neil for opening up their home for such a beautiful party, (despite having just driven home in a mad dash from their Falls Bay place up north!) They still managed to pull it off perfectly!

We got back to Toronto in just enough time to head to Withrow Park 

for the annual Victoria Day fireworks display!

It was really fun to watch the exploding colours in the sky with Kate and Max.

After all the partying, it was onward to Mt. Sinai. I thought it was to talk about the results of the ultrasound, but NO! Another big surprise. I was told I had to have a uterine biopsy (also known as an endometrial biopsy), right there and then. No warning. Nothing. I asked about anaesthetic, maybe some lidocaine, (which is given to many women for this test), but the answer was a firm no. 

All around me were instruments that didn't look too pleasant.

Stuff right out of David Cronenberg's film Dead Ringers - (1988). Yikes.

With straw-like thingamajigs to collect the samples. Get me outta here!

Dr. Alarab told me she'd just done the same procedure on the woman in the next examination room and she had NO problem and was actually laughing through it all. I explained to her, I have a low threshold for pain. Most women get advance notice and are instructed to take up to four Advil before this procedure so the pain won't be so bad, but I wasn't given that advice. (thanks Doc). Lemme tell ya, it hurt like hell and I was yelling out loud. Afterwards? Lots of bleeding and aching inside. Sure as hell glad that's over with - (even though the Doc said she wasn't sure she got enough of a sample and she might have to repeat the test). Terrific.

Oh no! Enter my old blog mascot, The Cowardly Lion!

Time to jump out the window and run for the hills!

Now all I have to do is wait three weeks for results, (which may or may not be cancerous).

To make myself feel better, it was off to see my pal

Paul Taylor, master stylist at JC Salons.

He listens to all my tales of woe and sends me home with a better outlook - (and better hair!)

Thank you, as always, Paul!

On Friday, I took a "me day" to do whatever I liked. It was terrific all-around. I have one friend (who prefers to remain anonymous), who never fails to make me laugh and help rid me of anxiety for a day. (only wish that could happen EVERY day). For now, guess I'll stay on the Clonazepam, keep running on the track and breathe deeply.  Fingers crossed, all will be well.

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