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Category: life update

Just a place to post the life updates I think are worth sharing. A collection of stories, photos, and adventures.

Taking Stock of November

Making : Lefse.  It’;s a Cooper family tradition and we need a lot to get through the holidays.

Cooking : Potatoes.  It takes a lot of potatoes to make a decent batch of lefse.

Drinking : Anything that isn’t pop.  I drink pop, I break out in hives.

Wanting: More vinyl for my record player.  That being said, Spotify does a bang up job.

Looking: At nothing.  I am done Christmas shopping.

Deciding: On Christmas Eve plans but Mark will probably working.  So we’ll wait until his work schedule is decided.

Wishing:  I had a fireplace to chill out in front of.  Until that happens, I have the SaskTel Fire Log.

Enjoying: Marley.  She’s a great dog who is always in the mood to goof off or cuddle.

Waiting: Until my birthday comes.  I turn 48 this year.

Liking: Jordon decided we needed a holiday wreath so we went out and got one.  It is hanging on our front door now.

Wondering:  Jordon’s chemo review is next week.  That is always is a stressful couple of days.

Loving: Our front door.  Jordon replaced our decade old tea light lanterns with some new ones.  The old ones are going to illuminate our front step with some 8 hour tea lights this holiday season.

Watching: Star Trek Discovery.

Hoping: It gets warmer out.  Saskatoon deserves more chinooks.

Cringing: The Saskatchewan Party leadership race is starting to look like a train wreck that I can’t stop watching.

Needing: That new 45mm f/1.2 lens from Olympus.

Questioning: How to get more time for more fun projects.

Smelling: Gingerbread Cookie candles I have burning.

Wearing: More layers.  Baby it’s cold outside.

Following: All these sexual harassment allegations. It’s surreal that people are finally facing consequences.  Eventually they will hit Western Canada, the home of Canadian rape culture.

Noticing: How articulate Tina Beaudry-Millor sounded on Civically Speaking last week.  She sounds like a Premier I could follow,

Knowing: We wouldn’t have made it this far without some amazing friends and family.

Sorting: Christmas gifts.  Shipping dates are arriving soon.

Bookmarking: Christmas and holiday recipes.

Feeling: Relieved. The road ahead is uncertain but I was told that Jordon wouldn’t make it till Christmas.  I know stage four cancer is a bomb waiting to go off but hopefully we can have this Christmas and many more until we have to deal with the terminal part of his diagnosis.

Snacking: Lefse when no one is looking.

Hearing: Diana Krall’s Christmas album over Spotify.

20 Years

Jordon and I have been married 20 years this Wednesday.  We were going to go to Banff National Park to celebrate in a great little hotel but then he got cancer and it really hurts him to drive that far.  Instead we are doing a staycation and staying in the downtown Holiday Inn in a great suite.  We learned after Edmonton that if we drove to Banff Jordon would be in overwhelming pain by the time we got to MEC in Calgary and in serious pain by the time he got to Banff.  He would be exhausted the next day which would be a lost day.  It also meant he would be exhausted and in pain by the time we got home to Saskatoon.  That is the reality of having cancer.

Jordon Cooper

It’s going to be a challenge because Jordon can’t eat much other than salads for breakfast and he abhors the taste of coffee.  That was something that seemed to start when the tumor was growing on his liver before he was diagnosed with cancer.  It has continued on with the chemotherapy.  Or it is because the tumors aren’t dead yet.  Either way, he hates coffee now.

Monday we are free all day and may head out of town.  It depends on how he feels in the morning.  He is at the end of the chemo cycle but that doesn’t mean he feels great, especially in the mornings.  I think the sleeping pills are a part of that.  He may just sleep in until we need to check into the hotel.

Tuesday Jordon has to go get his blood work down and have a chemo review with an oncologist (she is one of the oncologists on his team but the only met once.  I am sure she will be great like his other oncologists he deals with).  We will stick around Saskatoon Tuesday and go out with some friends Tuesday night.

Wednesday is the BIG day.  That is being spent with Jordon being hooked up to IVs and his headphones as he has chemo for much of the day.  He goes in early in the morning and won’t get out until early afternoon.  The good news is that he has a window after chemo where food doesn’t taste horrible to him so we will go out for lunch before heading home and seeing the boys and the dogs. 

The hotel has Wifi so I will bring a laptop along and update each evening.

Around here

  1. It took four hours (four hours!) but I managed to changed our booking for our anniversary from Banff to Saskatoon with Airmiles.  We are married for 20 years this year and while Jordon was willing to drive to Banff, the end result is that he would have been exhausted and slept for most of the vacation.  That and we have chemo on our anniversary date.  So we are spending a couple of nights at the downtown Holiday Inn and then heading to the Saskatoon Cancer Clinic when we check out.  It is going to be a brutal chemo for Jordon that day which is why we are celebrating a few days early at the end of this chemo cycle.  I am not sure if we will have an anniversary date that night but it doesn’t take away from 20 years of marriage.  A few months ago I (and some doctors) wasn’t sure if I would take him home from the hospital.
    1. As an aside, they have taken Jordon off his steroids which allow him to sleep better and stop degrading his immune system but make it much harder for him to get through the day.
  2. Oliver is back at karate which makes him excited.  He went from nothing to his green belt so he is pretty pumped to try to get his purple belt this year.
  3. Jordon’s chemo is working but he is paying the price in terms of side effects.  He is suffering from horrible neuropathy in his hands and mouth from anything cold right now.  It is also leaving his exhausted.  The good news is that he went soup shopping last night with me and picked out a bunch of soups he thought he could eat and keep down.  So far so good.
  4. I know most of you haven’t started your Christmas prep yet but ours is well underway.  We are using Google Keep to keep track of our Christmas lists and it is working well.  If you share a list on it with another person, your updates are shared real time via the app for phones and tablets and on the desktop version.  It works really well for Jordon and I to keep track of all sorts of things from family birthdays to Christmas lists to Christmas events going on in the city.
    1. For those of you who do all your shopping on Amazon.ca and not local, you are paying more for the convenience.  We have the Amazon plugin on our browser and I am shocked at how many times Amazon is more expensive than local. 
  5. So yes, we were broken into the other night.  Luckily the burglar saw Jordon (who saw him) and left but it was unnerving and scary at the same time.  So we are being extra cautious with locked doors and windows.  The police officer who took our report in the morning told us that four other homes were broken into on our block that night and a car on the block over was stolen.   We have some new motion detection lights being installed and some extra security for the back door being made.
  6. That isn’t the only thing being stolen.  An animal is getting into our compost bin and making a mess.  I think it is a cat since I have never seen a stray dog nor does Saskatoon have raccoons.  Our compost has a front door on it so you can take the compost out but we emptied it completely a few weeks ago and took all of the compost out so now there is some food scraps down there and that is what the animal is going for.
  7. Jordon has become a big fan of 2Cellos which is basically two guys playing rock music on their cellos.  It is a quite a fusion and I have come to like them quite a bit.
  8. My friend Hilary inspired us to set up our bird feeder last winter and not a seed was eaten.  This summer it has been busier so we will see what the result is this winter.  She has a good post on feeding birds on her blog.  Despite our lack of success with it, we bought a new bird house and have it hanging nearby.  We’ll see what happens.

Life Around Here

  • Jordon got some good news that his body is responding to chemotherapy and his body is fighting the cancer.  Most importantly his liver is regenerating and fighting the cancer.  We were told the news yesterday and today he had a marathon chemotherapy treatment that took five hours plus the 46 hours of treatment he gets from the toxic baby bottle.  He’s tired but happy with the news.  His diagnosis is still terminal but some of these small victories are huge.
  • He is still really weak.  Tonight he fell while going up our front steps and had to call for help.  Part of the reason was he was talking with his Aunt Bev and didn’t want to drop his phone but the main reason is that he is really, really weak still and it is going to be a long journey to get back to normal.
  • We are married 20 years this year and were planning to go to Banff for our anniversary.  Today we found out Jordon’s chemotherapy falls on our vacation so we are going a week early.  A little better weather (hopefully) will make for some nicer short hikes and times out in Banff and Lake Louise.  We may even go into Kootenay National Park and check out Radium Hot Springs.

  • Jordon spoke at the Saskatoon Terry Fox Run last Sunday.  Here is a photo of him moments before he spoke.  We had a nice time and he and some family and friends plan to do the walk next year.  What blows me mind is that Terry Fox averaged 42 km a day and then got up and did it the next day.
  • Jordon Cooper at the 2017 Terry Fox Run in Saskatoon

  • What struck me about Jordon’s talking to the event is that he knew he was too weak to do it but did it anyways.  His balance is still really bad from the lack of leg muscles but he committed to it anyways.  If it is important, he will be there and then figure out how to do it after he says yes.  He has been really tough through all of this.
  • We went out to City Perks to celebrate Jordon’s good news with our friends Janice and Hilary.  They have this random Twitter DM thread that has been going on forever and it is just stream of consciousness really but they have been two amazing friends not only to Jordon but to me.  There has been a lot of good friends and we appreciate all of you.
  • Finally, Jordon had a five hour chemo session today and thanks to all of you who sent in random stuff on Twitter.  It makes the session a lot shorter and funnier.  We appreciate it a lot.

The Big Test

Today I spent the day at Oliver’s Shotokan karate dojo where he took in a karate seminar and more importantly was tested for his green belt.

This morning Oliver was so nervous about karate, he almost was sick.  When I took him to his test, he did fine.  He will find out how he did next week.  Here are some photos.

Shotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in SaskatoonShotokan karate seminar in Saskatoon

Shotokan karate seminar in Saskatoon

This year he has been a senpai which means he helps out with some aspects of teaching others.  He didn’t tell us at first because, “You don’t brag about karate Mom!”

The weekend

  • The Huskies Store in Circle Centre Mall is closing out and moving to Preston Crossing.  The end result is that we picked up a sweatshirt for Oliver and some shorts for myself for almost nothing.
  • We worked out some weekend trips for the this summer.  I think we are going to camp at Fort Carlton Provincial Park and then a weekend up at Prince Albert National Park this summer.  Mark and Oliver plan to go camping at Pike Lake Provincial Park this summer as well.
  • We don’t have a lot of plans made for Easter.  I am working Good Friday.  After work that day we will go to Draggin’s Rod and Custom Car Show.  It gets us later at night but the crowds aren’t so bad then.  We’ll go and grab some “rink burgers” at Prairieland Park for dinner.  I know it isn’t a rink anymore but it used to be.  The spirit of the rinkburger lives on.

Draggin's Rod and Custom Car Show in Saskatoon

  • Oliver is sicker than anything this weekend.  He never gets an ear infection but he has one this time.

2016 Festival of Trees at the Western Development Museum

On Saturday I took Mark and Oliver to the Western Development Museum where we not only checked out the Eaton’s Once Upon a Christmas exhibit but we took in the 2016 Festival of Trees.  We did not stay for the Minions Dance Party.  Oliver wouldn’t be caught dead at something that childish.  Despite being there a few hours before the dance party, some parents and kids were already sitting down waiting for it.  Keeping a toddler entertained that long?  Good luck.

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