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25 Years! Woohoo!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

So, I'll be out of town for the next 3 days because DH and I are going to Toronto to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Originally, we were going to go to Arizona but since he's been laid off since December, we can't afford to do that.

So, instead we're going to Toronto (an hour east of where we live). We're staying at a Howard Johnson in Yorkville and have plans to go to the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario and the World's Biggest Bookstore and art galleries in Yorkville.

Also, his family are taking us out to dinner at a fancy French restaurant on Tuesday night called Amuse-Bouche, which is part of a fundraising project called "Stop for Food" run by Cross Town Kitchens. There are 28 Toronto restaurants taking part in this project.

The Stop Community Food Centre strives to increase access to healthy food in a manner that maintains dignity, builds community and challenges inequality. The Stop recognizes that confronting hunger must go beyond handing out food to people struggling on low incomes. Through innovative food programs, their aim is to bring people together to break down social isolation and improve quality of life.

I thought this was a good project to support so I suggested it to my SIL but now hubby is stressed because he doesn't have anything fancy to wear; he's totally a blue jeans and t-shirt kind of guy but I told him just to wear his black jeans and his nice blue fleece shirt and he'll be fine.

So, I probably won't be on SP for Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday but I'll be back Thursday.

Have a good week, everyone.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1888MICHELLE 3/29/2009 7:03PM

    Hope you had a wonderful time in our fair city!!

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TRAINOF4 3/23/2009 12:08AM

    emoticon on 25 years of wedded bliss! It sounds like you're going to have a wonderful few days. I love Toronto, what little I've seen of it, but it was so clean & pleasant AND the people were all sooo friendly! LOL

Amuse-Bouche sounds great, be sure to tell us all about what you eat! It sounds like a worthwhile project AND interesting menus. I remember going to a park by Niagara Falls that was so lovely, full of rose gardens & a beautiful conservatory. Wish I could remember the name of that park. Oh well, sounds like you'll have your hands full as it is!

See you soon -

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CAITLIN59 3/22/2009 5:15PM

    Happy Anniversary and Congratulations!

Enjoy your holiday - it sounds great.

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MOLLIEMAC 3/22/2009 3:31PM

    Happy Anniversary Joanna- have a wonderful time being a tourist in Toronto! Thanks for sharing the food program as well, I'm going to forward that onto a friend here who is a reporter. Great idea!...MJ emoticon

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JUDYPOPPINS 3/22/2009 1:05PM

    emoticon on your anniversary. emoticon
The "Stop for Food" sounds like a wonderful program. You'll have a good time and do good at the same time.

Enjoy your celebration.

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Update on Sister

Sunday, March 15, 2009

She went to see an infectious disease specialist on Thursday and here is his theory:

A viral infection which traveled up her spine (through an old spinal injury) and turned into viral encephalitis which has since been resolved. The body's over-reactive immune response to the encephalitis causing the joint pain and other continuing symptoms. If this theory is true, it could take months for the condition to resolve, but it would likely eventually resolve itself on its own, unless it turns into (or already has turned into) an auto-immune disease (which viruses can also lead to).

He wants to read the rest of her medical history before he sees her again next Thursday.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRAINOF4 3/18/2009 9:36PM

    Wonderful, I'm glad to hear that there has been some progress! It sounds like a very good theory BTW - have they done a spinal tap? Did they find anything in that?

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TITALADY 3/15/2009 10:28PM

    You're in my prayer's lady. xo

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Good News!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

My sister finally had her MRI on Saturday and got her results yesterday and she didn't have a stroke and doesn't have MS or a brain tumour! We still don't know what's wrong but it's nice to get the scary things out of the way. Now, they think she might have a virus of some sort so they're referred her to an infectious disease specialist and have started her on antibiotics as a precaution.

Thanks for everyone's support. It means a lot to me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I'm so happy for the great news ! I know that takes a load off your mind, and hers. Hopefully they can get her into the infectious disease specialist soon so she can feel herself again.

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What is wrong with her?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Still no diagnosis on my sister. Heart disease, atherosclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis have been ruled out.

Her symptoms include:

- burning sensation on skin that comes and goes quickly
- tingly limbs (arms and legs)
- crickets in the head (she says it sounds like crickets in her head) - newest symptom
- she's had a headache for 8 weeks but a sinus infection has been ruled out
- vision problems in one eye (blurriness and//or blindness)
- dizziness
- extreme tiredness
- joint pain

She now thinks it's unlikely she had a stroke and believes it to be a virus of some sort or a disease like MS. She believes she's going to have to diagnose herself the way she did when she first had endometriosis. Everyone she sees says she looks good and so she thinks that the doctors office saw this too and doesn't think she's as urgent as they once thought.

When she was at the doctor's on Tuesday, she was a #2 on the waiting list for an MRI but apparently she's been bumped to a #4. He's also supposed to be referring her to an infectious disease doctor but so far no appointment.

She's feeling very frustrated and stressed the longer this goes on as we all are. If any of my medical friends here on SP has any idea what this could possibly be, I'd be more than happy to know.



My sister

Saturday, February 14, 2009

So, my sister isn't doing great and she's quite stressed because she's worried about herself and she's almost convinced herself that she has MS even though there has been no medical proof of this but she's been researching her symptoms (tingly and achy limbs and vision troubles) on the internet and this is what she's come up with.

She had an appointment with a neurologist last Friday who scared the hell out of her by telling her unequivocally that she'd had a stroke (not a TIA/minor stroke) as the doctors at the hospital told her but a stroke and that the stroke had been in the right brain stem, resulting in a temporary minor loss of sensory ability in her right side.

He speculates that she has a hole in her heart wall between the heart and the lungs, through which a clot has gone to the brain stem causing a temporary blockage. We all have such a hole at birth but in a minority of people it doesn’t close up. Monika was born a month prematurely. He took five vials of blood for tests. His manner through most of the interview was brusque and cold. He gave her hell for driving the car, to which she replied that no one had told her not to. He said he was supposed to report her to the Ministry of Transport so that she’d be barred from driving for a year, but he wasn’t going to. Towards the end of the interview, when he asked her her occupation and she answered that she is a tenured professor at the University of Western Ontario, he began to treat her as an intelligent human being, and actually discussed a few things with her. He ended by requisitioning a test to see if the hole in the heart wall hypothesis is right. He gave the opinion that she is at high risk for another stroke and that she is to reduce all pressures in any way possible while waiting for laboratory results and further advice.

He also confirmed the preliminary diagnosis that she does not have atherosclerosis or cardiovascular disease. Her arteries are clear, her cholesterol is fine, and so is her blood pressure. She exercises regularly, does yoga, and along with her family eats a vegetarian diet. There is lots of stress in her life: the responsibilities of a wife and the mother of two daughters; a full-time professorship at Western, including substantial teaching, publication, conferences, and endless committee responsibilities; the work of a publishing poet who is serious about her writing.

The neurologist did see the possibility, when Monika raised it, based on her reading and web searches, of an autoimmune disease (she has had endometriosis for years) or of lyme disease; also of a bacteria or a virus. This last would probably be the most palatable of all these possibilities.

So she tries to take it easy at home, does some quiet marking of student papers, and talks with family and friends, while waiting for some light on her situation. My dad gave her money for taxis since the logistics of her family’s vehicular movements are complex even in good times. They live out in the country, they work in the city, Anna (16 this month) goes to high school in London and is driven there daily by her father or mother, Natasha (12) goes by bus to an elementary school 10 k from home, and both girls have a bunch of lessons and other things they get driven to. Monika has agreed to call taxis even when the cost seems exorbitant.

And, I'm worried about her home life, too. She called me a week ago Thursday in tears because her husband won't leave her alone. He follows her around the house constantly asking her if she's okay. She told me that she screamed at him to leave her alone because he ignored her. When she was talking to me on the phone, she had locked herself in the bedroom and while we were talking, he was jimmying the lock.

I sent him an email asking him not to stress her out like this but he told her about my email and she asked me to cease stressing "him" out because in turn, it stresses her out and she loves him very much and says that he's just like this because he's worried about her.

So I sent him an apology email saying that it's my concern for her that made me send the original email but I'm still ticked at him. I'm thinking that her "screaming" at him to leave her alone isn't very stress-free...

So, I going to see her tomorrow (it's about an 1½ hours away). I'm determined to keep our visit light hearted and not stressful. I'm bringing homemade minestrone soup for lunch and I bought her two humourous books (Nora Ephron's "I Feel Bad About My Neck" and Rick Mercer's "Rick Mercer Report: The Book"), both of which I hope she'll like. Although after I bought them, I started worrying that maybe books weren't a great present if she's having vision problems.

I also bought her a small teddy bear with an "I Love You" heart on it. I'm also giving her this really nice bath set that I got for Christmas that I can't use because I'm sensitive to perfumed stuff but I know she loves that kind of stuff.

And, I went to the dollar store in hopes of finding something goofy to wear so that I could amuse her right off the bat when I got there. I was thinking something like a red nose or heart-shaped antlers or something like that but they didn't have anything like that so I ended up buying 5 flowered leis instead (one for me and one for each member of her family) to wear.

And, I hope that our visit goes well and I really, really hope she is going to be okay because I love her a lot and I would give anything to have this be happening to me instead of her. At least if it was happening to me, it would be more understandable since I'm overweight and don't eat properly all the time and smoked for 13 years!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I wish you the best on your visit. I think that's a great idea. Hopefully the doctor's can do more test and find out exactly what's going on. I know it's hard to play the waiting game.

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TRAINOF4 2/15/2009 12:51AM

    Do the doctors think she has a patent foramen ovale? This ususally closes at or very shortly after birth, but in some RARE cases it does not & later in life causes any number of issues.

Unless your sister is well trained in medicine I would suggest you try very hard to convince her to STOP readin up on her symptoms until she has a definitive diagnosis. Many, MANY things can have similar symptoms, a person could literally worry themselves ill looking at all of those things!

Is it possible she will see different doctors for her follow-ups? TIAs/Strokes/Minor strokes are all strokes of onekind or another. Scary, yet - irrepreable? Not always - if she's frantically reading up things on the internet, she's doing somewhat OK & certain can AND should be reading the light-hearted books you bought for her.

Hope she can find some rest & peace soon instead of making an unpleasant siutation so much worse. It isn't good for her karma! Sending waaarm hugs & heallling hugs your way --for both of you!

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