A Typical Day

Breaking News: While working on this post I got a call from the cancer Clinic with a June 24th. appointment for a CAT Scan. This is an important diagnostic tool for my Oncologist to compare current with past images and determine how well the Chemo is keeping the progress of my cancer at bay. Ideally, we hope to discover that the number and size of my tumours are unchanged and that it hasn’t spread beyond my liver and a few lymph nodes. That is the best case scenario as it means the chemo drug I am taking, Capecitabin, is a good option for me. In addition to serving as a maintenance treatment, my blood work counts are improving and in some cases fall within the normal range.

I will learn the outcome of this test when I see Dr. Morzycki on July 2nd.

Living with cancer disrupts life. I find it helps me to have a predictable routine from the time I get out of bed until when I head back to the comfort of dreamland.

I am an early riser. It is normal for me to get up at 4:00 am. I like the quiet of the morning and it offers a couple of hours of “me” time. Oddly, some days I get up, eat, read a little, and nod off for a quick nap. Yes, I get up to have a nap.

Once I am up, I weight myself. I seem to be pretty stable around 59 kg (130 lbs). I hope to get back to 68 kb (150 lbs) but that seems to be more challenging than I expected.

From there I head to the kitchen when I put a pot on the stove to boil with a little salt and vinegar. Once the pot is started, I take out four to six eggs, crack them into a bowl, put the shells in the compost, and move the bowl with eggs to beside the stove while the pot comes to a boil.

I love poached eggs and can eat them anytime. You may have noticed my mention of vinegar above. It does not change the taste of the eggs but they float better when cooking and due to the increased acidity it helps the egg white coagulate and form a solid better solid.

While waiting for the water to come to a boil, I head to the kitchen cabinet where I store my meds and line them up for eventual consumption. Setting them up like this makes sure I take everything I am supposed to on a daily basis.

  • Vitamin B12 – 200 mg (sublingual or under the tongue)
  • Vitamin D3 – 2,000 IU (oral)
  • Calcium – 1,000 mg (oral)
  • Imodium – 4 mg (oral)
  • Capecitabine – 200 mg (oral – the chemo drug)
  • Fragmin (blood thinner) – 10,000 IU (subcutaneous injection)
  • Tylenol 3 – 30 mg (oral – to ease pain from a recent back injury)
  • Metoclopramide Hydrochloride 5 mg (oral – as needed for Nausea)

Once the water comes to a boil, I use a spoon to stir it so it is rotating as I gently drop the eggs into the water. Then I place a lid on the pot, turn off the heat, and set the timer to five minutes.

While the eggs are cooking, I start to take the meds, usually with orange juice. I hold out taking my four chemo pills until I am eating. When the alarm goes off I move the pot next to the bowl where I use a good sized strainer spatula to remove the eggs taking care to avoid breaking the yokes. Then I add lots of pepper, a personal favourite, and salt.

I use a small spoon to eat the eggs to keep the bite size small and savour the time is takes consume it. I drink the orange juice and take my four chemo pills during the meal. There is no requirement to take my chemo with food. That is a personal preference.

This is how I start every day. I like to follow up the eggs with coffee but I need to wait for the food to move along my GI before adding any more volume. Living without a stomach means small portions and taking lots of time to consume food. If I eat too much, it results in diarrhea and we all know how crappy a start to the day that can be.

I think having a regular routine like this prepares me for what is to come during the day.

On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I head to Brad’s place for 6:00 am. He runs on the treadmill and I spin on the training bike. My typical time on the bike is 45 to 65 minutes. Brad and I follow up this short morning workout with a small snack like toast, porridge with berries, or eggs. Since I have already had a meal at home before coming, I keep my portion size pretty small. I find the days that start with a workout are my better days overall. Like my cohorts with incurable cancer, we will never have normal health days again but we do have near-normal healthy days from time to time and they are spectacular.

However, yesterday (Saturday), Brad planned to depart in the morning on an overnight cycling trip with three friends. They started in the morning so we didn’t do a workout. It turned out okay as I headed to the boat club early to work on the mast. I had an hour or so to get a couple of things done. At 9:00 am, along with other club members, we started our annual yard cleanup after boat launch. Normally this is an all-hands-on-deck event but with COVID people had to book a time with a cap of 15 people on the grounds.

I can’t do any of the heavy lifting like most of the folks on cleanup but I can push a broom. There was lots of places in need of a good sweep. I lasted for an hour and a half but it was clear the muscles on my ribs haven’t seen much action for a while. I was pretty sore after 90 minutes. The time slot was two hours and the next group would be at the gate for an 11:00 team changeover. I was glad to do my part and it was great to chat with other club members while maintaining social distancing. I do hope we move past the restrictions soon so we get back to more club events this summer. Only time will tell.

On Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Janet works at the Alderney Gate Public Library as a clerk from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. Before COVID she took the bus. Since COVID I drive her both ways. After dropping her, I head to Shearwater and work on the boat. There is lots to do and I get great pleasure with my boat projects.

I planned to finish the new wiring in the mast today (Sunday) so I can assemble a small work party to get mast on the boat but cancer had other plans. I woke up after a great sleep exhausted. When the body says rest, I rest. So Sunday will be rest day.

Back to my typical day story chronicling my Saturday. The afternoons on most days vary. In this blog I am describing my day on Saturday, June 5th.

I mentioned earlier that Brad and buddies (Ray, Terry, and Mike) departed around 9″00 am to cycle for an overnight at Graves Island. They planned stops at the Bike and Bean in Tantalion as a coffee break and lunch in Hubbards. The distance is about 76 km (47 miles) so well within the abilities of all these four fine-tuned athletes. The goal was to arrive at the camp grounds about 4:00 pm. My part was to drive down in our car with the Irish Stew I made for them, cookies made by Ray’s wife Paula, along with a cooler filled with chilled adult refreshments.

When I arrived, they were just putting the final touches on setting up camp and were pretty happy to see me with the refreshments. I stayed do my part in the consumption of the Irish Stew, most of a can of beer, and a few sips of Brad’s Kracken Rum. We like that rum and toasted our good friend Rod Dickson who passed away suddenly last fall … the Kracken was one of his favourites. I thought it was pretty good stew and given how the guys inhaled a couple of bowls each, I think everyone was pretty satisfied. Even though I’m not up to the ride yet, it was a treat to hang out with the guys.

I headed home and arrived around 7:00 pm. I needed to do my chemo meds so I put on a couple of poached eggs.

By this time in the day, my ribs were really aching from all the sweeping at Shearwater earlier in the day. Janet massaged my ribs with cream for a bit and that helped. It sucks that such little activity could result in such discomfort.

My hope is I find the energy to become more active and rebuild all the muscle tone I lost. My legs are getting pretty strong with the morning workouts. Now it’s time to work on the upper body. I have to be a little careful not to strain too much or risk aggerating the Hernia I developed in my abdomen.

After a little time reading, writing, we headed to bed around 9:00 pm. Janet and I usually watch some TV in the bedroom before drifting off. I was asleep pretty quickly and slept quick well.

I hope you find my recollection of a typical day to be entertaining. I think it provides a sense that I’m doing okay as I make an effort to have lots on my plate. Sometimes it goes well and sometimes chemo has a different idea which throws a wrench in my plans and I need to rest.

As always, I thank you all for being support pillars in my life. You motivate me to make a effort to get my daily activity near to normal.

Peace, Love, and Laughter

6 Replies to “A Typical Day”

  1. I wait and love your posts. To me, you’re a marvel. What you have going on in your life and still find time to relay it all to us in an interesting read. Thank you and I hope easing of restrictions will allow you to enjoy your boating adventures soon. I keep you, Janet and your family in my nightly prayers You ROCK … 👏🏻🙏🏻🤗♥️

  2. Phil, you did it again. Your inspirational blog continues to generate positive vibes and you continue to display your great sense of humour. Anita and I always get into a good discussion about your experiences. I look forward to visiting Nova Scotia soon and spend some time with you. I too am a lover of poached eggs so we’ll do that too. All the best to you my friend. Cheers.

  3. Wow! Your daily activities are full of interesting events. We can all take a lesson from you to live a full life each day. Keep safe!

  4. A large beech tree is causing a lot of shade and threatening to fall on our house. My current project is to cut it down without it falling on the house, or the neighbor’s house. If I succeed, I will send pictures. If not, I’m not so sure! Best Wishes.

    1. I would offer help if I could but “strength” is not part of my daily life right now. I’m working on and hope to help you clear your next tree.

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