Guest Contributor, JL

Genetics – by JL

 

My Mom was diagnosed with Late Onset Huntington’s Disease (let’s just call it HD) in July of 2017. It is a terrible disease.

For those who are unfamiliar with this rare ailment, broken-down, it is simply the degeneration of cells in the brain and the body. A brain disorder that causes uncontrolled movements, emotional problems, and loss of cognition. I’ve been calling it a cross between Parkinson’s and Dementia. That’s the easiest explanation that most everyone understands. It just plain sucks. Continue Reading

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Charlotte Phillips

Clearing the Way for the Roses – by Charlotte Phillips

While doing a bit of computer maintenance today, it occurred to me that I have saved, quite by accident, a few unrelated things in my DIVORCE folder. Upon reflection, I’m thinking it could actually be a testament to what a life becomes after a major event, or maybe it might be a subconscious act of self-preservation.

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Claire Martin

Christmas 2017 – by Claire Martin

It’s been a while since I last wrote to you all.. but that’s life, right?
So how was your Christmas?
Mine was the best worst ever, or worst best ever – depending on how you look at it.
This year, for the first time in a decade, my other half and I were “empty-nesters”. We were delighted by the thought.. everyone had family, family in-laws, and family-to-be to go to. We were alone.. and secretly thrilled at the thought and the potential.
We shopped – just “for us”. We planned – just “for us”; and we relished the “just for us” theme that Christmas now had.
Then my Dad collapsed.
It was the night before Christmas Eve. I got a phone call from England. And suddenly Christmas was irrelevant. Our plans were irrelevant. All that mattered was my Dad, and that he lived.
I won’t go into the details.. he currently remains in intensive care in hospital.. and is fighting as only my strong wonderful Dad can do. Former-cops are hard to knock down!
All that is to say.. that Christmas wasn’t wrapped in paper this year. It was my Dad, alive, fighting with everything he had, to live.
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

"It came with out ribbons! It came without tags!"
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

I am so bloody grateful right now – for the best Christmas present ever. Everyone is still here.

Merry Christmas everyone. Take time to hug your family. Tell them you love them. Best Christmas present ever. Here’s to 2018.. here’s hoping it’s everything we collectively wish for..

Claire

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Jody Vance

Cindy Gallop addresses #MeToo – w/ Jody Vance

Every now and then an interview hits home.  Today I had one of those….

If you are feeling the stress of #metoo reveals/debates/opinions — listen as Cindy Gallop, a woman who has been championing the cause of #changingtheratio for years, chimes in on where we are – where we are headed and what must change.

CLICK HERE to listen to the interview today on Roundhouse Radio.

 

  • Jody

Listen to Middays 10a – 1p pacific on Roundhouse Radio 98.3fm Vancouver, stream online at Roundhouseradio.com or download the FREE Radio Player Canada App. 

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Jody Vance

Going Clear – by Jody Vance

Preventative medicine is key to longevity, we’ve all heard that mantra – time and time again – yet all too often our “procedures” take a back seat to life.

I was guilty of that.

There was always tomorrow, next week, next month.  If there was a reason to have a love one checked out, however, that was a priority.

I woke up to the reality that I was not walking the walk — preaching prevention and yet not getting the mammogram or the colonoscopy or pap that my Dr not-so-subtly suggested I do with regularity.

Well, that changed this past spring.  As we know with Canadian healthcare, we often need to wait in line for our procedures…so, I made a deal with myself that I would cover all of my missed bases this fall.  I booked it all, in ink.  My promise to myself was that these appointments would be immoveable.  I’m proud to say that today I put a big check mark beside them all.

Yesterday was the grand finale: the colonoscopy.  I’m here to tell you that it’s NOT a big deal.  Yes, the prep sucks — “prep” is a nice way of saying you clean out your system a-la a trendy cleanse without the trendy process.  It’s a massive dose of laxative that you take after 7 days of a restricted diet (no seeds, nuts, whole grain breads, corn etc).  It’s 24 hours of fasting, no big deal, and then a few hours on the toilet followed by a few more hours in the GI Clinic to have the :20 procedure.

“The Procedure” is quite uneventful. My first time, 7 years ago, I slept through it — this go around I was awake, but didn’t watch.  I think I talked the entire time, but don’t really know what about.  (insert chatty Jody remark). I do recall asking my Harvard Graduate of a GI Specialist to “come on the show”.

Yes, you get an IV – so those who hate needles will not like that part.  That said Natalie, who spends her days inserting the IV’s in patients, was amazing.  She puts you at ease – calls you “Darlin” while giving you a warm blanket and taking blood pressure…..she was an angel in a place that many might find scary.  I saw many characters move through this room.  One man was unable to tell Natalie if he’d had any medication that day as his “wife is in charge of everything” and he simply “does what she says” — needless to say, I love him.  There was another woman who came through saying that she’s had “dozens of these” when Natalie asked her ‘every patient question’ about their history.  This woman also said she’d “seen the doctor this week and he’s taking a biopsy today.”  This woman was in the thick of colon cancer — a 75 year old survivor — working hard to tack on further decades of cancer free existence.

Over the course of my 3 hours in the GI Unit, I heard many stories.

Let me take you back to my first few minutes.  I had just changed into the garb — the double tie piece of blue cotton we all draped around ourselves.  This is a very communal experience, no place to be shy.  I immediately met “Jed”, while standing at the Nurse’s station.  Jed recognized me (which is always fun when standing in a hallway dressed in only hospital robe).  This was Jed’s first time at the GI clinic and, while was clearly a kind, and cool, customer – he was a little nervous.  We found ourselves going through much of the process together. Chatting through the waiting time, navigating the various rooms involved in the process, hilariously we found we had friends in common and were even connected by business.

Jed’s Dr was running on schedule, so in he went — my physician was running behind due to a bit of an emergency.  Being on “stand by” — or sit by, I guess as I sat amidst it all watching as a gentleman in the far corner bed seemed to be suffering great discomfort.  My Doctor on him like a fly on honey.

My front row seat, while unnerving, showed me the pressure involved in the work day of a physician.  So often we hear complaints about our medical system, but WOW is it something to see a great Doctor in motion.

For reference sake, her name is Jennifer Telford.

I watched and waited.  Impressed by her care and concern – knowing that my wait meant this man would be on the fast track to finding comfort and relief.  If you need urgent care, you do not wait.  Big lessons.

While I sat there, Jed came out of his procedure.  He was wide awake and gave me the thumbs up as he reached for his iPhone to scroll through his social media.  Whew.

Once things started moving in my direction, it all happened so quickly.  All of a sudden you are everyone’s priority.  All of a sudden your well being is the #1 subject matter.  Dr. Telford was quick to tell me that it was “All Clear, no polyps, see you in 5 years.”

It took seemingly no time at all for me to be handed cranberry juice and the tastiest tea cookies EVER. (they gave me extra) … I went off to retrieve my belongings out of locker #14.

As I walked out, I waved to the young (I’m assuming son) man waiting for the man who’d been in pain.  They all looked much more relieved than an hour prior.  Jed left, and I likely won’t see him again — however we both have stories for our mutual friends for the next dinner party.

A couple of days out of my life to know that my high risk colon is fine. Colonoscopy = check = piece of mind.

Do it.  Just put it in ink and get it done.  Ask for Dr. Telford…..she’s the goods.

 

 

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Jody Vance

The Man in the Next Bed – by Jody Vance

Getty Images: Sturti

Over the past week our family has been experiencing “the best of a worst case scenario”.

Two months ago my Mom had a colonoscopy that found a cancerous mass that needed immediate attention.  Being that this is mom’s second time having surgery to remove cancer from her colon, the first was 20 years ago, we were all rightfully worried. This time around, unlike the 8 inch scar from surgery #1, it would be arthroscopic — far less invasive — yet still very scary given that she’s 79 years old next month.

We held our breathe awaiting the CT scan results.  We collectively exhaled when it came back “contained”.  Once again, a precautionary colonoscopy would save her life.

We are thrilled to be able to take her home today, after 8 days at St. Paul’s Hospital where she received incredible care day and night.

Mom has been in a ward with three other beds, she in the one by the window overlooking English Bay from the 10th floor.

While two of the other three beds saw the people come and go…the man in the “next bed” was in from her arrival, and is still there.  We chatted on my daily visits, he is kind and gentle in his tone and concern for mom.  Yesterday when I went in, it was clear that he had undergone another surgery (He has Chrones) and his moans were heart-wrenching.  He’s had many visitors, so this is not a sad post of loneliness — however, I’m worried about him.  His great attitude and calm were a steadying force for our family and yet, here he is struggling to re-gain his health.

As we gather our mom’s belongings, and get set to happily take her home, we send love light and healing vibes to the Man in The Next Bed.

Hug your family and friends — and above all, value your health.

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Jody Vance

My New Job(s) – by Jody Vance

It’s been a topsy-turvy last 18 months, and I would not change a damn thing.

Seeing opportunity in unplanned change is what I do, there’s always a silver lining.

In March of 2016 I was part of massive cost-cutting layoffs at Rogers, leaving me without a full-time job for the first time in my adult life.  It was both scary and a massive relief — I’m not really a morning person, so five years of 4am wake ups was a grind for me both physically and emotionally (with a wee lad in the mix).

After the lay-offs, my boy and I took our long overdue trip to Spain, then I got busy with “what’s next” planning.

Enter my friend Drex.  He called me to see if I might be interested in “doing radio” again — with his team at CKNW.  I started in the fall of 2016.  Exercising my Newstalk muscles during this calendar year was like learning to ride a bike while jumping into a group headed up the sea-to-sky on the Grand Fondo.  (Trump, terrorist attacks, BC election chaos, housing crisis) It was an education and great challenge, I like to think that I found my voice.

Thankfully the job taught me a great deal about our city, our country, our continent and the world.  I worked along side some of the kindest and most generous broadcasters imaginable.  The leadership was second-to-none. Yesterday I said goodbye to them, as my next adventure awaits.

THIS IS WHAT’S NEXT:

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA—September 13, 2017 – Roundhouse Radio, 98.3 has added a nationally acclaimed voice to the heart of their weekday schedule with the addition of veteran broadcaster Jody Vance beginning Monday, September 25th 2017.

MIDDAY WITH JODY VANCE – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm (Weekdays):  With energy, honesty and a wicked sense of humour, Jody will bring depth, topical conversation and her trademark wit to Roundhouse Radio middays. Expect lively conversations talking all things news, opinion, sports, parenting, pets, lifestyle and food. And that’s just to get started!

Jody Vance brings decades of radio and TV experience to our airwaves both locally and across Canada — among many accomplishments, she has had her own national sports program, news anchor, host of Breakfast Television, and most recently she has been at CKNW talking about news and current affairs.  Mother to a young son, she knows the path of parenting and holds a red seal in Culinary Arts so there may be a recipe or two to be shared every now and then…

Roundhouse Radio CEO Don Shafer: “We are very excited to bring Jody’s considerable talents to Roundhouse Radio on a daily basis. Her level of broadcast experience and professionalism runs deep. People will be tuning in for her signature style of conversation”.

Added to the mix is an unexpected puzzle piece, and if you know me – and my passion for sports – it’s an important piece, indeed.  I get to continue to grow my role with Sportsnet 650 radio, the newest arm of that great brand here in Vancouver.  Nothing specific to report at the moment, but as we say in radio: Stay Tuned.

It’s all very exciting and I will continue to share news, views and adventures here on Mybackyard.press along side our wonderful contributors.

Get to your radio and lock in FM 98.3, I will meet you there each day starting in two weeks time.

 

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Claire Martin

Today – We Remember – by Claire Martin

September 11. Not 2001.
I’m writing this on my iPhone. Mainly cos I can. Mostly because when the urge to write hits, it just pounds into me and I have no other way to put the proverbial “pen to paper”.
So I write.
It’s Sept 11. And as someone just said in a tweet “Ok people. Summer is over. Back to work. This isn’t France!”  So with a tip of the hat to the great people of France, here we go.
Sept 11, for anyone over the age of 16 is a sad, and tough, day. Ironically enough it’s my best friend’s birthday – and as she says “it’s forever tainted”.
But I digress.
This post is about social media  And powerful posts.
Now to be honest Twitter/Facebook/Instagram etc hasn’t made Sep 11th any tougher – but it does make it more visual. I follow Pete Souza on Instagram. Aside – if you don’t – you should. He is essentially, and somewhat exquisitely, trolling the US president. Whenever Trump says or does something “Trumpish” (note my restraint Sarah?!) Pete simply posts a photo reminding us of the grace and dignity of the former President (Obama) dealing with a similar situation. He annotates his photos (and they are breathtakingly beautiful) with simple stories.
Today – obviously – his feed is full of poignant anniversary shots.
They usually go viral.
Today people are telling stories in response to the stories. In the lexicon of social media – they are brief microblogs of unbelievable heartbreak.
But the overriding thread is always one of love. Of forgiveness. Of resolute belief that in times of adversity, our collective character is defined by our actions.
So on this tough day of remembrance I’ll send out a call to action.
We are bigger and better as a whole.
We are defined by our actions in times of adversity.
We can and always do better when we come together.
Today – please post words of love.
“Hey Jules.
This is Brian.
Ah listen. I’m on an airplane that has been hijacked.
If things don’t go well, and they’re not looking good, I want you know that I absolutely love you.
I want you to do good, have good times, same with my parents.
I’ll see you when you get here.
I want you to know that I totally love you.
Bye babe, hope I’ll call you. “
Brian Sweeney. Passenger. UA flight 175.
September 11, 2001.
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Claire Martin

The Taste of Home – by Claire Martin

I have just come back from a fabulous holiday, back home, in Jolly ‘ol Blighty.

I was primarily there to see family and friends, but I also managed to sneak in a fair few hours eating and drinking in great British pubs.

The pub culture in England is (‘scuse the pun) bar none! From a grubby “local” to a 16th century thatched tavern, taking an hour a day to sit in a pub is as requisite for a visitor as having an expresso in Italy or a patisserie in Paris.

For me, there is in fact, something almost sensual about the scent of an English pub. It is truly heavenly.

But enough of these wistful musings! Here’s my rant:

Food in England has improved immensely since I left! Pub grub has gone from being greasy egg and chips chased down with a warm and murky brown bitter, to roasted pigeon in a whiskey cream sauce, followed with a bowl of wild berry and brandy trifle – smothered in single or double cream. YUM!

Now for those of you that don’t know – cream in England is as heavenly and as unique as the pub culture itself! High in fat, double cream boasts a 48% fat content, while single cream is 22%. And we simply cannot get anything like it in Canada.

I’m not sure what is going – some websites tell me it’s to do with the pasteurization laws in Canada, some sites tell me to buy clotted cream.

For the record – clotted cream (although now widely available) at 55% fat does not work for baking nor (more importantly) making a proper Irish coffee – it curdles as soon as it hits the hot alcoholised liquid.

Since emigrating in the 1980’s I have learned to live without Persil detergent (now here, but with a devastatingly different smell), Fudge fingers (also available here now, though usually slightly older than their packaged “due-by” date), Tetley’s (sorry, other brands just don’t cut it), and real scotch eggs.

Sadly there are some products that appear to have eluded the “we-can-get-anything-anywhere” shipping industry, and as an ex-pat with a barely sated yearning for real double cream, I am imploring other ex-pats to help me out!

Where or how do I get real cream in Canada??

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Jody Vance

Marissa Shen – by Jody Vance

 

Marissa Shen — Photo of her (left) and day of disappearance (right)

With news cycles making us all feel as though we are caught under waves in a storm surge surf it’s a tough time to focus on what is happening here, in our backyard.

One thing consuming my quiet moments, like so many parents, is the tragic story of Marissa Shen’s murder.

I’m twisted in knots over the tragic taking of an innocent girl’s life in my exceptionally safe city.  In a time where we are inundated with stories of politics, terror and random acts of violence world-wide — this one hurts…extra.

Every single day we parents force ourselves to let our kids broaden boundaries, trust we’ve taught them enough, at least, to stay out of harms way in the world.

My boy is still young enough that letting him walk out the door with a curfew, and little else information-wise, isn’t my reality – yet.

This 13 year old girl, a girl well beyond the age of babysitting and pondering a future in junior high school in September, was free ranging in daylight hours when the unthinkable happened.

Details continue to be exceptionally sketchy with regard how she met her fate — however — having the RCMP, VPD and Homicide Investigators asking the public “to be vigilant” should be beyond frightening for citizens.

I’m in news … and unnerved.

Since her murder I’ve not let the kids in my care out of my sight, not even for a minute.  I won’t, until this homicide is solved.  It’s going against everything I’ve learned from the likes of Lenore Skenazy (read her) who’ve said, a million times how these events are like lightening strikes in how rare they are.  Rare….but real.

Many of my vintage were Tweens when Clifford Robert Olson was on the prowl…. I remember the calls to “be vigilant”.

Is there a predator on the loose in Metro Vancouver?  Is there someone who’s preying on young girls, boys, adults?  It’s tough to not assume so, with no suspect – or even “person of interest”- announced.

The obsession with world news (US Politics) is seeing this story fade from the headlines….it can’t and shouldn’t, until solved.

WE need to be diligent, WE need to help authorities figure out the timeline of her movements prior to her death.  We need to keep this story alive so that we can help bring the person, or people, responsible for this tragedy to justice.

Please consider sharing this post so that anyone with the slightest bit of intel might communicate with IHIT to share any information.  The tip line is: 1-877-551-4448.  Anonymous tips to Crimestoppers.

For more on the humanity side of this tragedy….read what her brother said this about his sister’s death ….. tragic.

 

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