Saturday, March 25

News Update

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Superior in my hometown. The weather has generally been fine, but we did get a snow shower on Thursday. It melted on Friday. We've been getting out for walks, and I've topped out at 2.2km now—progress! I think that my leg is a bit better. I was to the walk-in clinic on Monday. The doctor here was about as encouraging as the specialist in Regina, i.e. not! I have an appointment with my own doctor next week; I hope she will have some better ideas of how to improve the situation. The markets have remained troubled all month so far; investors can't handle uncertainty, and the new American administration just bubbles uncertainty. With the failure of their healthcare bill on Friday, I can only hope that folks have settled down before Monday. Anyway, I had a good week as my bus company had a good earnings report and made some nice gains. The busy sports calendar has been playing out. Pittsburgh has secured a playoff berth, and Edmonton remains near the top of their division in the NHL. In Women's World Curling, Rachel Homan has secured a spot in the Gold Medal game where they'll play Russia tomorrow evening in China—sometime overnight here! Good thing we have PVR! March Madness continues in basketball with the Final Four being determined this weekend. My Jayhawks made it to the Elite Eight, but put up a rough effort tonight and fell to Oregon. Rock Chalk is retired until next year!

Erica has completed 3 weeks of CDT. She has an appointment for a fitting of compression hose next Thursday. So, she has to keep wrapping her legs until the compression hose arrives. She did it by herself once last week and, including a rest period from one leg to the next, it took 2 hours to remove, wind and wrap again—Ufda! Eric returned home on Tuesday. His Dad is still in hospital. On the return trip, Eric's shoulder seized up and he's been struggling with the pain ever since. Haaken has posted some videos. He won't tell us where. But it's out there—somewhere. Liam has been practising with his worship team! The Baileys are looking forward to having him home to show off his drumming skills. 

Erin and Kristian have had a full week. Erin has been called for jury duty, but she's fighting that. There are strong emotions with the passing of Shawn's mother early Tuesday morning. Kristian had a good review of developments with his eyes at his doctor appointment. He will continue with medication until his next appointment in another four months. Kristian had league bowling again this morning, but that's the end of regular league play, so he's into the playoffs now for the next two Saturdays. 

Trav & Joanna remain fairly busy. This weekend they have the photographic assignment for the Montreal Canadien Oldtimers visit to Thunder Bay. Down in the office the printer keeps chugging stuff out. They had an issue with the new dishwasher, but Trav was able to Youtube his way out of that! 

And that's about enough for this week. 

Saturday, March 18

News Update

Another week has passed and we have returned to the shore of Lake Superior and my hometown! We took our farewells in Regina over the weekend, and on Monday. Then, we drove to Winnipeg on Tuesday where we luxuriated under the care of Tom & Mariette. Supper, pleasant visitation, a good sleep and oatmeal for breakfast set us up for a good drive on to Thunder Bay on Wednesday! We fought the wind on Tuesday, but conditions were ideal on Wednesday and we're glad to be home again. The weather has clearly been great here and the snow was gone. The fairways were pretty clear, but covered in water. It'll be a while. Then, we got a slushy dump last night just to remind us that we still live in Canada. I caught up with my barber on Thursday. I tried to get in to the walk-in clinic to check on the progress of my leg, however, it was too busy, and I decided not to wait. I tried again this morning, but once again, it was busy and I was impatient! They could not find any notice of my records being transferred from Regina, so I will go again on Monday and make sure I get in. My leg has seemed to improve with the trip, and, at least in the morning, looks better than it has since all this DVT business started. However, my attempt to get in a good walk failed on Thursday, and I could only manage a few hundred metres. Otherwise, we've been taking it easy, and catching up on our accumulation of mail. That mostly falls to Wendy—we both enjoy that fact! The markets were difficult once again, and I was penalized with a red week. This put me behind quota for this month, so I'll need more success the rest of the way. Sports have continued to occupy a lot of attention here. The week opened as the Brier ended; Jacobs fell to McEwen in the battle for the bronze, while Gushue beat Koe for gold. It was a great week of curling, and St Johns did itself proud in hosting it. This week the curling world is divided between the Grand Slam event for the men, and now the World Championship has begun for the women. Rachel Homan started off with a win over China. Then, there are the playoff races heating up in the NHL, and also that little thing called March Madness in basketball. Kansas won their first game easily, but face a tough Michigan State team tomorrow—Rock Chalk boys! 

Eric's dad is in the hospital. The doctors have concluded that he had a heart attack. Complicating matters is he also has some sort of infection, and there is fluid in his chest. Along with his other conditions, that makes it difficult for the doctors to treat any one thing. If they fight the infection, it is bad for his heart. If they treat his heart too aggressively, something else will go wrong. So they are slowly trying to treat everything a little bit. Eric and his brother Neil flew out to Victoria early Thursday morning to be with the family and visit with his dad. Erica has a potential surgery date in July in Germany for her Lipedema. This would be the first surgery of, likely, four. The CDT is helping; her legs are smaller and the fluid is being released. There is nothing they can do for the diseased fat cells that remain, and with menopause coming (another hormonal change), there is a chance that she will go through another bout of fat cell duplication and growth. She recommends changing the name of this disease from Lipedema to Fat Cancer or at least Fat Tumours, because really, that's what it is. Anyway, the purpose of the surgery is to remove as many of the diseased fat cells as possible through lymphatic-sparing liposuction. They can't get them all, and it doesn't stop the ones that remain from replicating, but with less to work with, the surgery may be successful in slowing down the progression significantly. They've been treating Lipedema in Germany for decades. We don't seem to even know about it in Canada. Erica has been digging and following up on leads from people on message boards and Facebook groups but has not found a surgeon in Canada who does Lipedema surgery. There are doctors in the US who do, but they are much more expensive. She is very seriously considering taking this next step. She needs to consult further with her doctor first—who had at least heard of Lipedema before, and thought there was a surgical option. Haaken had another meeting with his support group looking for work. We continue to hope that he will find something suitable. He is also working on his animation and has submitted some projects. No one has been allowed to see them—very secretive. Liam continues to do well in school. He still struggles with his celiac issues. We are advised that this could continue for some months. One contact advised that her daughter took about a year to really recover and start to feel 'normal' again. He needs to find an alternative to iron pills, as he can't seem to keep them down! Oh, and Erica turned 43 today! Good thing we're not aging that quickly!

Thank you again to Erin and Kristian for hosting us for so long. It was a great time staying there. Kristian celebrated our departure with a new quad-copter drone. We look forward to seeing how he has learned to fly it. Kristian had two days off school this week, but was not feeling well, so Erin stayed home with him on Friday. He had bowling league this morning, but he slept in! That won't advance his average, but it will probably help him overcome his illness.

Travis and Joanna were busy early in the week getting some jobs completed and out the door. Then, they brought Minnie over to visit us as they drove down to Minneapolis to collect Gemma and Andrew after their Florida vacation. They all got back tonight. We're grateful for their safe travel.

And that's about enough for this week. 

Saturday, March 11

News Update

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Wascana in the middle of the prairies. We have moved another hour west this weekend, and decided to mesh with Alberta for the summer. We intend to head toward home next week, but now it's an hour further away! The weather has been colder this week, and there was a terrible blizzard that blew across the prairies as well. Wendy is feeling better finally; that's a good thing. She celebrated her birthday this week, as did her Dad. Bern and Alicia hosted a joint celebration for them on Wednesday evening. We drove over to Moose Jaw on Friday to visit Grace; then, we picked up Liam from Caronport for the weekend. Baileys came down on Saturday, and we celebrated Erica's birthday with them here this evening. It's been quite a socially active week! There has been no improvement in my leg, so I look forward to what further therapies my doctors in Thunder Bay may advise. In the meantime, I continue with my blood thinner, elevation and exercise. The markets continued to react in fear, and not even the strong jobs' data on Friday, both sides of the border, could get things moving forward. I suffered losses as a result. The regular season in basketball has ended, so March Madness will now begin! The Jayhawks lost their final game, and will probably lose their #1 ranking as a result. Oilers and Penguins continue through their the playoff push; Calgary is on a run, and has pulled ahead of Edmonton. This week has featured the Brier, and I've been spending a fair amount of time watching the curling! Mike McEwen of MB led all week long, and entered the playoffs against Gold Medal winners, Brad Gushue of NL, Brad Jacobs of NO, and world champion Kevin Koe of AB. It was spectacular curling, but McEwen fell, first to Gushue, then to Koe, and finds himself playing Jacobs for the bronze medal. Koe will play Gushue for the gold, and I find myself in a win-win situation. Naturally, I will be cheering for Koe, but I will also be happy to see hometown boy, Gushue, emerge victorious. 

It's been a pretty ordinary week in the Bailey household. One notable aspect is that Erica has begun her Complete Decompression Therapy. Each day she gets a manual lymphatic drainage massage, then her legs are wrapped in compression bandages. She feels like the marshmallow man, but it seems that her calves are losing fluid. She expects that as she loses fluid from her thighs it will take pressure off her knees as well. Today, they drove to Regina for the birthday celebrations! A good time! 

Kristian had a great week in school which culminated in a school/family movie night on Friday. Erin took that in with him—they enjoyed Moana for about the 17th time! Today was bowling league, and Kristian failed to raise his average for the first time since we've been attending. We have continued to enjoy our time staying with them, and are very thankful to them for hosting us so wonderfully. 

Trav's team has lost out in the city playdowns, so they were unable to repeat their championship run. Still, it was a fine season, and Trav enjoyed coaching them. Trav and Joanna are busy with work—that is going well. They're taking Gemma and Andrew to Minneapolis so they can fly to Florida for Spring Break. We are looking forward to getting home to them next week. 

And that's about enough for now. 

Saturday, March 4

News Update

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Wascana in the middle of the prairies. The weather is nice, and we're enjoying that. It is forecast to be around freezing for the next week. Wendy returned from her Moose Jaw weekend with a nasty cold and has been suffering with it all week. She has recovered most of her voice now, and was even able to get out for some shopping! On Friday we drove down to Weyburn to visit with Kerry and LaVonne, and buy a complete set of tires for the Sorento. It was a good time. It's been a discouraging week with my leg, as it doesn't appear to be gaining circulation. I have increased my walks to 2.0km, and my leg feels better through the workout, but it is still infused with fluids by the end of the day. The stretched skin on the calf is very itchy, and after scratching, my thinned blood flows more than I'm used it—sigh! I had a couple of webinars this week, and a good week on the markets. US markets made a big jump on Wednesday after the Trumpster seemed almost sane in his big speech Tuesday evening, but then investors realized he had provided no details on policy, and the US markets went flat. There was good economic data both sides of the border, and with the prospects of a FED rate hike in the US, the banks made good gains, and I have a few of them! The Scotties ended on Sunday with Rachel Homan claiming the national championship in an extra end. The Brier started today. I'll be cheering for Kevin Koe. Other strong favourites are expected to be Brad Jacobs (NO), Brad Gushue (NL) and Mike McEwen (MB). Kansas was elevated to the #1 ranking in basketball; they won another couple of games this week. I'm not entirely sold on their quality, but they go into March Madness on a high all the same. NHL hockey is nearing the playoffs. Several teams added talent for the playoff run. Pens and Oilers remain in second place in their divisions. 

Liam has returned to school, more energized and well fed. His recovering appetite is evident when he turns down junk food for gluten-free spaghetti! Haaken continues with some projects. He completed one animation this week and expects to have it posted soon. Erica was up on LaRonge this week for work, supposedly for the week, but managed to complete her assignment and get home Wednesday evening—that was a treat! She has found a consulting surgeon in the Netherlands on Lipedema. He has cautioned her to continue her current eating and exercise program. He advised her to continue with Complete Decompression Therapy (CDT) which is starting next week. She is waiting for a proposed treatment plan including cost estimates to discuss with her doctor. Then, if she decides to go with that, she can begin the battle with Sask Health to cover the expense! She already has one request for $2K for the initial round of CDT, but she's been advised not to hold her breath. She has yet to hear of anyone in Canada who has succeeded in getting funding to fight Lipedema. Perhaps when she wins the lottery she can set up a foundation to help people with the disease. She sometimes wonders and wishes doctors had figured this out back when she first became afflicted in high school, sigh! Eric is enjoying his Apple Watch, an early birthday gift. A friend was selling their used one, so Eric was the fortunate recipient. I has a Mickey Mouse setting complete with Mickey Mouse voice alarms. Erica thinks he should use that as the signal to end a counselling session!

Erin and Kristian have continued with their usual program of work and school except that Erin came down with something and even lost a day of work to that early in the week. Kristian had his usual bowling practice and bowling league. He bowled a 184 today in the league! His average will be jumping from his current 78. Erin picked up some new furnishings including an entertainment centre—some assembly required! So, Kristian and I built that today and it looks good in the family room. 
Some assembly required!

Trav and Joanna continue to fight the snow in Thunder Bay. We're hoping it's all cleared away before we head that way in another week. Trav's team is in the second round of the playoffs—the semi-finals. They are continuing to play comeback hockey—I don't recommend that! Gemma and Andrew continue with school, and by all reports are thriving. 

And that's about it for this week. 

Saturday, February 25

News Update

Another week has passed and we remain on the shore of Lake Wascana in the middle of the prairies. Wendy is off this weekend to the Sisters Triangle gathering at Temple Gardens in Moose Jaw. The weather has turned cooler, but there's barely any snow left by now. Many people are reporting the return of the geese from their wintering grounds. My leg seems to be making some progress. This week, I upgraded my walks to 1.5km. Now, I only have to quadruple that to match the requirements of a round of golf! The markets are troubled, US bonds are recognizing that the economy is now a risky bet, and they are taking a beating once again. Stocks fluctuated this week; the TSX took a beating and administered one to me! At least I remain on pace for the month so far, and have only two days left. Perhaps things will settle over the weekend. We're running down to our final weeks here, and expect to be back in Thunder Bay the second week of March. Curling was the big draw this week, with the Scotties play-downs. It'll be Michelle Englot of Manitoba (Saskatchewan) facing Rachel Homan of Ontario in the gold medal game, while Krista McCarville of Thunder Bay plays Chelsea Carey of Alberta (Manitoba) in bronze medal action. New rules provide for greater flexibility of players to move around the country, so we see skips moving to differing provinces and achieving success. NHL teams are negotiating player deals as they consider their respective situations and decide if they are buyers or sellers! Oilers and Penguins remain well-placed in their divisions. Jayhawks won another pair of games this week and clinched a 13th straight conference championship tying John Wooden's record that he achieved in the 60's and 70's. However, no one has been able to approach his record of ten national championships in twelve years! 

Erica is also in Moose Jaw this weekend, and is undoubtedly the central reason why Wendy is there. The Baileys had the family together this week as Liam was off school. However, work continued as usual for Eric and Erica. Eric was the featured preacher on Sunday in Prince Albert; we're sure he acquitted himself well. 

Erin and Kristian continue to host us well here in Regina. Kristian was off school this week, so we enjoyed the extra time with him. He took us bowling one day; that was fun, and a good test for my leg. Erin has enjoyed the curling coverage with me, and this weekend we're anticipating the opening of the baseball season with the first spring training games. 

Travis and Joanna along with Gemma and Andrew continue their usual duties at home in Thunder Bay. Puckshots was awarded the role of exclusive photographers at the all-Ontario AAA Bantam level hockey tournament—quite a coup to be sure. Trav's team has begun defence of their city championship by sweeping the first round of the playoffs. The final game was a memorable comeback from a 4-0 deficit to win it in overtime. 

And that's about it for this week. 

Saturday, February 18

News Update

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Wascana in the middle of the prairies. The weather has been beautiful with lots of melting all week. I've been enjoying getting out for walks, but my leg is not getting good circulation, so it tires quickly; I estimate I can make 500m now. Wendy spent a couple of days over with Dad while Alicia worked; I went along with her some of the time. Otherwise, she keeps checking out as many of the local stores as she can, and drags me along when I'm having a weak moment! I had my followup with an internist on Wednesday over my DVT. It was not very encouraging. He said the clots should be dissolved by the end of the three-month prescription, but he extended it to six months anyway. He noted that full circulation might not come back ever, and that I will remain at risk for further clots. I have now completed my first three weeks into my prescription of Rivaroxaban. The doctor assured me that the blood clots would be gone at the end of three months. However, he noted that scarification of the sites often occurs, and that such scarification may prevent circulation from ever getting back to normal. He noted that the long delay in getting to a doctor with this was a negative factor on my chances of complete remediation. If only someone had suggested back in December that I should go to a doctor!! Mea culpa: I have no one to blame for this but myself. My daughter insisted I get to the doctor back in December. She is wagging her finger at me once again, sigh! The markets turned upward this week until Friday. I hope they were just holding their cash ahead of the long weekend, and not reacting to the train-wreck of a presser by Die Twittermaus! In any case, I had a good week despite losing some dough on Friday. Sports watching is coming into busy season. The Scotties started today; it's almost full-time just keeping up with that. NHL is getting down to serious season and the playoff hunt is heating up. Edmonton and Pittsburgh have improved to second place in their respective divisions. March Madness is just around the corner in basketball. My Jayhawks won two tough games this week by staging unbelievable comebacks. Rock Chalk boys! 

Eric, Erica had busy weeks. Eric has completed revisions on his final paper, and has received word that he has completed this course. Another course on the way to supervisor status. Erica is in busy season, so she's had some later evenings. She also had another appointment with her doctor; they now have a course of treatment on the lipedema. She will start a round of comprehensive decompression therapy in March to bring down the edema aspect of her lipedema. After that she will begin wearing compression garments. Liam had been sick this week, but recovered enough for Youth Quake, a youth rally at school. He comes home tomorrow for a week long break. Haaken continues to help around the house, and work with the Association for Community Living in search of work. He has also submitted some of his work to various studios. 

Erin and Kristian continue to host us, and we are thankful for that. Kristian recovered quickly after his illness on the weekend. He had a follow-up with the ophthalmologist on Monday. He approved of how Kristian's eyes were improving, but wants him to continue as a patient. Of course it was Valentine's this week, and Erin scored several bouquets, while Kristian enjoyed lots of treats from school. This morning was bowling league, and Kristian raised his average once again. 

Travis and Joanna are doing well. Trav's team lost the final in Superior last Sunday, but it served as a good preparation for the City Championships coming soon. On Monday, when they went over to the office at our house, they were delighted to find that the neighbours had cleared the driveway! It's nice to have folks like that around. It's nice to have Trav & Joanna looking after the place as well. 

And that's about enough for this week.

Saturday, February 11

News Update

Another week has passed on the shore of Lake Wascana in the middle of the prairie. We had a cold snap mid-week, but we're back looking at melting temperatures once again this weekend. My leg does not appear to be improving. I'm scheduled to see the specialist on Wednesday, so I look forward to an explanation of what I should be expecting—I hope it's not what I'm experiencing! I had a great week in the markets as the TSX rose to a new record high, finally surpassing September 2014. It has been a long 2.5 years of going sideways. And already we have pundits calling for a "correction", sigh! Wendy spent a couple of days over at her Dad's as Alicia was working—both were subbing! I got to go along one of the days. Kristian had a school holiday on Friday, but spent it being sick! That's no way to spend any day, and especially not a holiday. As a result, he and Erin did not come along with us to Caronport on Friday evening to see Liam in the school play. That was a nice outing, featuring a good job on Our Miss Brooks by the cast and crew. We got to enjoy it in special seats, complete with treats, and accompanied by Eric and Erica. Sports continues to make its way through the set schedules. Curling lineups are set for Scotties and Brier—that will consume some time in the next month! NHL hockey is pressing up to trade deadline, so the excited pundits are demanding our attention to every potential lineup change! Pittsburgh and Edmonton both hold down playoff positions, but only as third place teams in their respective divisions. NCAA Basketball moves ever closer to March Madness; this week Kansas was installed as the top seed in their bracket. However after two scrappy wins this week, over teams they should have beaten easily, it remains to be seen whether they will remain there. 

Eric completed all assignments as expected, and now works on edits and adjustments. Haaken is working through his assisted employment program. Erica's work progresses as usual. On Friday they drove down to Caronport to enjoy Liam's play with us. They subsequently took Liam to Moose Jaw to celebrate his performance, and still later returned him to Caronport and drove back home! Craziness abounds! 
Liam, with Our Miss Brooks!

Erin has been managing the department at work as her boss has been on medical leave, and only making sporadic visits to the shop. Kristian had a bad return with his eye infection, so he started the week in emergency, and is now back on antibiotics and hot compresses to his eyes. Then, on Friday he came down with fever and coughing. He's feeling quite a bit better today. 

We enjoyed a FaceTime visit with Trav, Joanna and Gemma the other night. Gemma aced her driver's exam, achieved her driver's licence, and is now licensed to drive! Trav and Gemma travelled with the hockey team to Superior, Wisconsin this weekend. The guys are 3-0 in preliminary action and are in the semi-final tomorrow. 

And that's about it for this week.