Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Posted by Barb's husband last night:

Hi all - Barbara had a successful surgery. Apparently she talked through the whole procedure. The surgical staff all had smiles on their faces after the procedure. They got as much of the tumor out as possible - it seemed encapsulated - but of course, not all of it - scraping out more could lead to permanent damage to her speech (which is apparently and thankfully intact). 
This journey is just beginning. Next - it will take about a week to get back the pathology results which will reveal whether the tumor is malignant or not. Since it is something that originated in the brain and given its location and shape it has more odds of being malignant than not. The pathology results will also reveal its nature, that is whether it is type one (slow growing) up to type four (most aggressive). That will then determine the specific course of radiation and chemo required over 5-6 weeks. The neurologists will examine her tomorrow to determine risks of seizures, which may become an issue (in about 10% of cases). The good news is that Barb was a solid trooper through the procedure and pulled through this first major ordeal of the adventure thanks in many ways to the support, good wishes, and prayers of her friends and the work of the "soldiers" (surgical team) here at Toronto West Hospital. I am waiting to see her as I write this in her room. Hopefully she can come home in a couple of days.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Barb's surgery is tomorrow now...so many stops and starts..."aggressive brain tumor" sounds so daunting...in my mind I imagine them going in and popping it out like a walnut...with a "pop" sound and everything...easy peasy...POP! Then she wakes up and is a-ok...that shit happens often enough - it may as well happen to her.

Last night was a complete pile of retardation. Funniest story to tell but no time...from now til Wed its going to be go go go no time for shit all...
A. comes home Tuesday...eagerly...she sounds a bit desperate to resume her quiet life of solitude and independence...she came by her need for that honestly I guess...cannot fault her for it.

JOHNNY CAKES at The Reef  will change your life.
The End.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Raw & Real

Nice hanging with the Laal/Campbell/Benner crew for Adrienne's birthday last night...ate the best steak at 5th Street Bar & Grill and then endured an agonizing (but amusing) game of NHL Monopoly back at her place. Poor Joel – he had the title of "greedy Asian businessman" bestowed upon him early in the game...every property he bought up just reinforced this stereotype and in the end – he did not even win b/c he spent all his money hahahaha So fun.

Talking to Barb a bit....colon cancer ruled out and so was heart/lung cancer...this is good....as if brain cancer is not enough! There is some internal bleeding they cannot explain thus far though...Her speech is a bit improved due to the steroids I would imagine but she is definitely not herself...for instance – this morning at 5 am (8 am in Toronto) she was elated and overexcited almost...and well aware of it – she thinks it's something to do with the tumor b/c its out of character and certainly not appropriate considering what's going on.
What a heavy subject though...she is so blown away by the response and feedback and support she is getting from the people in her life...she said the words shared by her nephew that she has known her whole life just completely blew her mind...she had no idea how she has touched people.

Happy Thanksgiving to Ayla and her peeps in the US today...they should be having a fantastic dinner this evening. She is having a nice time despite a few boundary issues with her dad. It doesn't surprise me really...he has consistently placed his own needs and requirements ahead of hers so the fact he will not respect her wishes to not be hugged every 5 mins is not really unexpected. I just shake my head...it has been really nice (not gunna lie) to have eliminated that all from my life...doesn't erase existing resentment (if only) but it is a relief after so many years to not have to be subjected to his ignorance and stupidity. She seems to be enjoying the visit with the grandparents and uncle/cousin though so that's great...she sure was excited to see them all. She said it was so cute how her gramma walked her to the track so she could go for a run...I teased her about gramma following her in the car as she ran on the street to ensure her safety...ha!

Also a Happy Tofurky Day to my Benedetti Friends...they made me a tofurky & trimmings when I was there last year...it wasn't revolting!!!!! Hahaha I really loved the gesture and the time spend prepping such a vegan-y meal...was really nice. I enjoy their company too which is always in short supply...really wanna get some more Michelle time in...

Talking to Barb the other day about journals...she is a diarist as am I...and I have often wondered what to do with my full journals b/c let's face it...if you are at all truthful to yourself you journal about things that bother you and hurt you and piss you off....as well as good stuff...and that pissed off stuff can be a hard read for the person it is about upon your demise and no longer guarded journals being read by others. Especially your 'secrets'...those secrets that are not necessarily meant for minors or certain people...it can cause a serious dilemma...Burn em? Bury em? Hide em? My vote was to leave them with a trusted person to doll out to her children once her kids were older adults and not teenagers...to me it would be a grand travesty to let that history and perspective go unread...
Perhaps that is just me though...and why I love reading autobiographies...I love connecting with ppl on a genuine level...it is a rare occurance even if it is just ONE WAY by reading something they just barfed out of their mind onto paper....raw and real.

Monday, November 19, 2012

and onward we go...

Spoke to Barb the other night...she couldn't sleep...hospital noises. Not just run of the mill hospital noises either...people dying type of noise. Barb was fixated on a man across the hall, moaning his last moans while his family held vigil around him. It went on for a long while. Hard to maintain hopefulness when you are looking into the face of death yourself and hearing it just across the hall all night long.

Her speech was really affected by the tumor/brain swelling. I was finishing her sentences b/c she could not find most of the words she needed...steroids being one of them. She is on steroids to try to ease the swelling as the tumor is very close to a nerve they do not want more pressure on. She could not say steroids for the life of her...it was clearly affecting her reasoning and I am not gunna lie...it was a total mindfuck b/c that is not how she is. She is very articulate and well spoken...

Today she is getting barrage of tests...a CT scan being one of them...hoping they can provide her and her family with some concrete data to work with...sometimes not knowing is the worst...though I am afraid of the truth...she was saying her family history is riddled with cancer...

Saturday, November 17, 2012


The lovely Barb had some terrible news to share yesterday...what she thought were anxiety attacks and such has turned out to be brain cancer and possibly lung cancer as well. She is only 45. She has 3 teenage kids and a husband - they just moved from Vancouver to Toronto a few months ago...she is currently hospitalized, figuring out what stage she is at and how to proceed I would imagine.

Sure makes you wonder why the hell we all get uptight about stupid shit in light of such a shocking revelation. I don't even know what to say about it really...I am quite shell shocked by the news...especially b/c we are close in age and it is so friggin random - how can you not be rattled by it...in addition to feeling a lot of fear for her well being.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Up at 6 am on a Saturday...?

What the hell...disappointing to say the least. I blame the fact I watched the Theoren Fleury documentary before bed. Such an unsettling life. Though I did make some interesting observations while watching him...let me back up and explain why I have any interest at all in a hockey players life story...When I went to A.E. Peacock High School in Moose Jaw SK circa 1985 (Grade 9) Sheldon Kennedy and Theo Fleury were students there as well at that time. We were not pals or anything, Sheldon was in my grade but Theo was a few years older. They were the "hockey kids"...had no impact on my life at all...but knowing later what they were both enduring during that same time is nothing short of disturbing. 

I know how truly lost and fucked up I was at that age...cannot imagine dealing with what they were. Watching Playing With Fire
last night was really sad...clearly Fleury has come a long way - he is sober, less destructive and open about his struggles - but I kept focusing on the fact his hostility level is still quite high (says Jen the Angry Lunatic) and he often does not take responsibility for his own shit. Not a coincident, his parents don't either. His father was a drunk, his mom was a pill addict - all his mom said was is it was not her fault b/c she was on the pills and his dad blathered on about being drunk but talked more about himself and what a great hockey player he would have been if only he wasn't drunk all the time. I am sure they are sorry for how it all went down but they looked like pathetic parents in this documentary. Fleury stated he had apologized to everyone he hurt...but that would be followed up by the mother of his 1st son and highschool girlfriend crying and describing horrible abandonment and horrific drug addled parenting on his part...and her never receiving her apology. I think she is still waiting for one. Sorry to say it won't make her feel much better. Nothing wounds you like the blatant disregard your child's father subjects upon them. Layers and layers of guilt, regret, anger and resentment...I will go to the grave wishing A's father hits and rots the grave 1st just so I can revel in it somewhat. Not a lie.

While I cannot help but harbor huge amounts of empathy for Fleury, I cannot say I like him very much, which surprised me. His ego is still that of a young competitive man - being 'genuinely' humble would serve him well in life...that is the case for all of us...he tries it but I just don't find it to be legit (he does admit he is extremely competetive which is probably how someone of his stature played such great hockey - pure determination and pitbull ferociousness). But really...it is no secret that sort of abuse is soul destroying and trying to rebuild your soul in your 40's is not easy or always successful. By all accounts he is trying to live a real, straight and narrow life and I applaud him for all he has managed to overcome. I want to like him. I do...Once I read the book that I just picked up a while ago I will have a better idea I guess. I would imagine that the book is going to be a lot more intense than a 1.5 hour documentary.

Bought myself a used (and cheap!) PVR from someone through work...not gunna lie...it is nice to click a few buttons and set the thing to record your favorite shows digitally so you don't have to inconveniencece yourself to watch them at times when you have other things to do. Now I have 3 VCRs to get rid of....ANYONE NEED A VCR?!?!?!

Hanging out with Kate today...and have a long list of stuff to get done this weekend...someone win the lotto and buy a condo with a pool I can rent from them please.