Sunday, December 19, 2010

Janice's Workmates

Did I ever stop to tell you what a wonder bunch of people I work with. Friday they surprised me with a beautiful basked of CHOCOLATE. Yes, folks, you read it right. Everything a Chocoholic would want! Also included was a bottle... shhhhhh, don't tell anyone but it was a bottle of Baily's. Yum, yum!

To all of you at the Revenue Solutions Branch of the Ministry of Finance, I do not have the words to express how much your support means to me. Your kind words (both spoken and email), your hugs, the gentle touch on the shoulder - all of these gestures easily cause my eyes to leak. Many of you are the reason I can be so positive and strong. To know that I can come to work and be understoond and be my self makes my life so much easier. I cannot imagine having to stifle my personality. To each and every one of you, thank you for your kind and encouraging words in the beautiful Christmas card. Your words are very comforting to both me and Ron.

Wishing you all health and happiness in the years to come!

Kids and Friends

To all our kids - we love you so much. Our conversations mean the world to us. To touch base with you, to hear about your days and the grand kids lightens our days tremendously. Keep the phone calls coming!

We are so looking forward to Christmas with you at Bill and Leanne's. Five more sleeps until Christmas Eve and Santa is going to visit the little ones before he makes his worldly rounds. I cannot wait!

To our friends - again, we cannot say enough about your thoughtfulness and generosity. Doug and Karen, dinner on Friday night and being able to use your beautiful home this weekend has been a blessing for Ron. He has indulged in a couple hot baths. The truth be known, while he is not yet sleeping through the night, his days have been more comfortable - enough so to go for a couple of walks with Winston. Dare I say we still had trouble with your TV system - I know, I know - it is a guy thing and Ron did work it out.

Len and Dawna your concern is self evident by looking at your faces! Dawna, I know while cutting Ron's hair it was like dealing with an ADHD child; not sitting still for more than a minute. Having witnessed that, perhaps that is what prompted you to think of the TENZ machine. I declare here and now that I believe it worked. While Ron is not back to his old self, he is significantly better.

To those of you who have invited us out recently, please accept our apologies for declining or cancelling invites. All of this is new to us and we realize that the energy required is greater than Ron currently has. We believe things will get better. A new year is just around the corner.

Toughest Week Yet

Friday, December 10 Ron came home - flew in from Seattle via Kenmore Air. He was the only passenger on the flight and said it was simply magnificent. The pilot was great, the weather was clear and the view was unbelievable. All this took his mind off the pain.

Let's back up the track. First, I want to say what unbelievable friends we have. Bill and Leanne, you support has been unwavering - you turn rainy days into sunny days, you help us believe that tomorrow will be easier than today. For that, we love and thank you.

I picked up Ron in the parking lot, Victoria Kenmore Air. I could tell that he was in pain. His colour was gray and his steps were pained. As soon as I got him in the car, we called a chiropractor to see if we could get in. With luck, we could see him that afternoon and again the next day. Ron's pain was not alleviated throughout the weekend.

As his wife, his friend I felt completely helpless. First thing Monday morning we had another appointment and also telephoned Dr Lewis. As promised, she saw us by noon that day.

X-rays were ordered up and medication prescribed. There was concern that the cancer had spread to the bone - the ribs- which caused the excruciating pain in Ron's back. I think it is needless to say, this news rendered us speechless. As the pain has caused two weeks of sleepless nights, endless restlessness and extreme frustration, we had no choice but to the pharmacy and get Ron medicated to find some level of relief.

Tuesday - it is time to Ron's IMS appointment. He admits there was maybe some relief but not nearly enough needed to sleep at night. Anxiety is now setting in... pacing, sweating, and Mr. Cranky-Pants. We are both exhausted and Ron more than me. The good news is that I spoke to Andrea (our Doctor) and the cancer has not spread to the bone. The not so good news is that the tumour has grown considerably since the last x-ray - a mere 5 weeks ago.

So, what are we dealing with - it has been determined that it is soft tissue damage; perhaps stress, perhaps a pulled muscle. Doesn't matter, we need to find Ron some relief from the pain and discomfort.

Wednesday - another appointment and a trip to the pool for some aqua therapy and the hot tub. Ron says it felt very good but did not fix anything by a long shot.

At our marina we have "The Floating Physio" - Barb Desjardins. She saw Ron on Thursday. He had a great appointment with her. There has been some relief but not nearly what he needs to sleep at night.

This has been the most exhausting and frustrating week yet. I have not even come close to what Ron has experienced. I can only imagine.

My heart goes out to you, my husband, my love. Believe me when I tell you that I am doing the best I can. It tears me up to see you in such pain and nothing is giving you any relief. It breaks my heart that I cannot hold you and take your pain away... I miss our snuggles and cuddles but understand that it is too painful. We will get through this.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


OK, I will be the first to admit that sometimes I am quick to judge, not by what I know but by what I see. How many times have we heard (at least our generation has heard it) you cannot judge a book by its cover.

On Saturday, Ron and I had some chores to run; his physio appointment, gift buying and of course Ron's favourite - a hot dog from Costco. Yes Folks, he likes them so much we braved the crowds for a hot dog.

With Ron's energy level, he chose to find a table to sit and wait for me. I forged onwards to the bank machine (need cash to purchase HD), stand in line, get the drinks, and dress the hot dogs. All the while Ron is sitting and waiting. I had to get up a couple more times for napkins and such. Please do not conclude that Ron is lazy... he simply does not have the energy. I quite happily got us our lunch.

We both stopped short and realized that we had been humbled and wondered how many times had we sat and judged the exact behaviour we had just exhibited. We even said out loud "How many people are sitting and watching me do everything while you just sit". Little do they know that he does not have the stamina to take on the task of the Hot Dog in Costco. Little do we know the stories of the people we have judged. Ouch! We have decided that we will always ask ourselves, "What is their story?"

Challenge to Followers

It is the time of year for giving; goodwill toward men (and of course women and children). At our work, we never miss a hear of choosing a needy family and then with love in our heart fill a basket to help them have a better Christmas. Christmas will come and go regardless, but if Ron and I can do something to make it better for just one person, well let me say, our hearts will be smiling.

This year, our family consists of a 17 year old daughter and lots of brothers. The daughter put a camera on her wish list. I jumped at the chance to fulfill her dream. This year she will be getting a beautiful red Nikon Coolpix camera.

It is easy for me to adopt a child in a family. Between Ron and I, we have four kids. We just pretend we have five and spend the same on the fifth as we would our own. Of course, shopping for the best deal always helps to get more for your money.

I challenge you to adopt a child for Christmas, pretend you have an extra when you go shopping and put a smile on that child's face this Christmas morning. There are many organizations who will be willing to give you information; boy or girl and their age. Just make a phone call to your local radio or TV station and they will be able to put you onto a number of organizations looking for help.

I guarantee that your heart will feel happy and warm, as does ours.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


What a week friends and family and now a trip to Hawaii. Bill one of dear friends (see previous blog) provided me an opportunity go with him to Hawaii while he was working. What can I say I jumped at the chance. Bill, as he travels so much knows the airline travel system well, so kept using the system to work me up to first class to join him, or enjoy free wine and/or other perks while we travelled from Seattle to San Fran, San Fran to Hawaii and then back to Seattle.

It wasn't until later on that I realized that I was Ron "the benefit" Harris with Bill explaining to the Airlines and hotel my medical condition...they were all very understanding, with I being both amused and delighted that the illness had a plus side (okay perhaps in a weird way, but still you,ve got to laugh!).

Hawaii, 4 days of heat, sunshine and the beach. I can't do much long walking but I could make it from the room, to the pool, to the bar and back to the pool, back to the bar and repeat if necessary.

Janice called and told me to ensure that I put lots of sunscreen on as I burn very easily. However even with SPF 30 I burnt nice and red in the first day, however I just referred to that as my radiation therapy and went out for more each day.

Hawaii hasn't changed that much, still a lot of people tucked into size 3 speedos that they wore 30 years earlier, thank god I kept my eyes closed as I have enough going on in my life without having my mind scarred as well.

Night times were great with the temp staying around 75 degrees or 22 C, but like all things it came to end far to soon and we returned to Seattle on Saturday were I was able to catch up with my lovely bride my wife and best friend.

Janice, Leanne and Gracie had drove down from Victoria in the Volvo (gad..I'm not getting to drive it much yet) they had a great time and enjoyed there adventure(s) in Victoria and driving down to Seattle, apparently there are no more purses left in the Coach Store, in the event anyone is looking for one. Janice had to head home by herself (okay Winston was beside her) and I'm glad that she has a great vehicle to drive home in.

Tomorrow the 6th of December its off for another adventure, goose hunting, actually I'm taking the pictures of the hunters and huntees (I'm cheering for the geese) the goose hunting is in Houston Texas, why, because Bill has said that's were the gooses, geesses are, and who am I to protest.

So off to Houston and area for another three days and then finally back home. Stay tuned for the goose adventures the chronicles of the big white goose. Hopefully Bill's friends don't think I'm a past Vice President of the United States!!!

As you can see, I'm busy enjoying the present and all life has in store for me, enjoying friends, families and new adventures. To all who read this blog...thank you, to my family and friends thank-you. While I may not share with you what my body is going through I'm glad to be able to share with you the adventures I'm having.

All in all, a very exciting week with me, believe it or not looking forward to relaxing and the upcoming house parties where we live. Until the next posting, take care...Ron


Hi Ron here, yes still vertical and enjoying family and friends. It has been a very busy time with several friends calling and dropping in for a visit, lunch and/or a chat. Rick called and we spent time catching up on old times and enjoying some Chinese food and setting dates to meet again.

Rick is an old neighbour who I met when I first moved to Victoria, we have stayed in contact ever since and I enjoy his repartee, humour and out look on life, truly a good friend to have in your corner at any time and one who always provides a positive outlook on life.

Logan and Peter, both long time friends and skiing buddies called to set up a lunch date. Peter drove down from Comox for lunch, which for Peter in itself is a monumental deal especailly prior to the start of the ski season. It was a great time and once again I was able to enjoy great laughs and reminisce about the adventures we have had.

It seems that, sometimes, we remember the good times with family and friends after they have gone. How nice to share those times with them while they are still here, take it from me it brings a smile to your face, which at times is needed.

Another friend, Lou, in Ottawa calls me once a week to check in to see how everything is going and update me on the going's on in his busy life. We too discuss past adventures, or perhaps mis-adventures and friends both past and present who have brought laughter into our lifes.

And of course there is Bill, Leanne and Gracie, who provide both Janice and I a place to stay when we visit, friendship, laughter and oh so much more. I do not have the words or time to tell them how much there friendship means to both Janice and I, hell even the dogs, Winston and M get along.

From me to all my friends, thanks for the laughter, thanks for calling, thanks for taking the time to stay in touch.

Today is the present, yesterday is the past and tomorrow is the future and for some the future is here far to quickly.

So please from me to you, remember your past, stay in the present with your friends and plan for the future, don't wait until the future is here and its to late to remember the times and adventures you have had with your friends and families, call them now...share a laugh, a memory, a will all enjoy it.... I know I do, I did and feel so much better for it...thanks.