I’m home, and it is so nice to be home!!

I finished Radiation last Monday. It felt so good to put my gowns into the hospital laundry hamper and walk out! But before I did, they told me that my side effects wouldn’t peak for another 10 days and I should continue to be really careful what I eat.

On Tuesday night I flew to Whitehorse, the Yukon territory’s capital city, where Jeff met me at the airport! It was sooo good to see him after almost 6 weeks! I didn’t cry, maybe because I had to pee so bad after the flight, haha!

On Wednesday I got my teeth cleaned and stopped by the chemo room at the hospital to chat with my chemo doctor. The radiation oncologist in Vancouver said I need a month after radiation to recover before I can restart chemo, so they booked me in for the second week of January. That means I can recover over Christmas, so the timing is pretty fortunate.

We discussed again if I should get a port, or PICC line, rather than have an hour of poking to get an IV in place and we’ve decided I’ll get a PICC installed this time for the three rounds. That’ll save me at least an hour each time, and maybe some anxiety of sitting through the poking and digging and watching my veins blow one by one. I’ll go down a couple days before chemo to get the PICC line installed in my arm. It’ll be an annoyance to have it stuck in my arm, but they said they can pull it when they give the third dose of chemo, so if everything goes well, I’ll have it for just 6 weeks. I’ll need to have it flushed weekly at the hospital, but that is just a block away from our house.

On Thursday morning I had an ultrasound before we left Whitehorse. Two cat scans this year have shown what is presumed to be a harmless cyst in my liver, but my family doctor wanted to be extra cautious and get it examined by ultrasound too. I haven’t heard the results yet.

Look at this funny display in the imaging department:

Santa and Mrs Claus decorated skeletons

Afterwards, we headed for home! Here are a few pictures from our drive from Whitehorse back up to Dawson City.

Ice fog cloud ahead
Ice fog
About as high in the sky the sun gets in December

We got back home on Thursday night, in time for my 43th birthday on the weekend! Jeff invited some of our friends over for the afternoon. Jeff made a cake and cut up cheeses, meats, and vegetables. He made dip and bought crackers and cheese. What a host!

Hank seems rather indifferent that I’m home, but I suppose he did hear me every day when Jeff and I video chatted. He likes all the toys I bought in Vancouver for him though!

Jeff had his snowmobile down in Whitehorse for service again, but hopefully the problem is finally fixed (again)! It wouldn’t stay running, so it was completely unreliable. They found a loose ground wire, one of six this new modern machine has, and now it’s good to go! Good thing because the snow keeps falling!

Jeff ordered some bunny boots for me while I was gone too. They are the ultimate winter boot and aren’t made anymore. They were made by Bata for the US military. They are huge, heavy, and rubber, with wool lining hidden away between the rubber layers. They are getting tougher and tougher to find, especially new, and in the size you want, but Jeff was able to find these in Alaska and get them shipped over. They are decades old, but never worn. I borrowed an old pair last winter and I still got cold toes when I stood still in the -40’s. But standing still in the -40’s isn’t really recommended anyway.

My new bunny boots
These bunny boots are screaming for some personality – hot pink laces maybe?

I don’t miss too much about Vancouver. It’s a terrible damp and rainy climate, where everyone professes to prefer the rain over snow. Seems crazy to me! As soon as it starts sprinkling, they pop their umbrellas up like zombies, and as soon as the rain stops, the leaf blowers come out.

I don’t miss the commute to treatment every day, and can’t believe all those people do that same trip to work and back every day. No one talks to each other. Everyone with their face in their phone or in a book. From a person coming from a small town where everyone greets each other and strikes up a conversation with any stranger, it seems like a big missed opportunity to meet people, network, and grow your own community, but to each their own I suppose.

Here in Dawson, we lost the direct sun back in November. We can just see the sun touching the tips of the hills around town.

Sun showing on the tip of the hill across the river
View out our front window

Today sunrise is at 11:07am and sunset is at 3:21pm. Here’s what shovelling looked like at 11:45am yesterday.

Jeff shovelling the front wooden sidewalk

I tried shoveled for 5-10 minutes and was really sore last night. I have lost so much strength. My abdomen always feels like I’ve done hundreds of crunches, from the radiation. But luckily the radiation fatigue has made it really easy to go to sleep at night, and stay asleep all night!