Cinq Choses…

…aka “Five Things.” Just trying to make this blog live up to provincial French/English bilingual standards. Har har.

1. Yoga yesterday was fantastic! Thank you for asking (let’s pretend that you did). I haven’t been able to do yoga since before I shattered my elbow in February of this year. I was actually planning on getting back into it the week I was admitted to hospital with cancer. Go figure. After that, I was afraid to do it because of the germ-infested classes and my restricted blood flow. I didn’t want to catch a death cold or pass out.

After a little researching however, I found a very small weekly class with just me and two other people. It’s 30 minutes of “beginner” postures. The only pose I needed an alternative for was downward dog because I can’t straighten or put weight on my left arm. Followed by 15 minutes of guided meditation. A far cry from my favourite 90 minute Ashtanga class in Toronto. But my goal for this class is also a far cry from what my intentions with yoga used to be. It was absolutely perfect for me, I am so happy I found the class!

2. Smoked paprika. I’ve been putting it on everything lately. It adds such a nice, warm, smoky kick. It was one of the stars of my “CSA salad” this week.


For two servings it contained:

  • 1/4 head shredded red cabbage
  • 3 large shredded carrots
  • 1 shredded green apple
  • 1 ear of corn, sauteed in smoked paprika <–
  • 1/4 large thinly sliced white onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 baked chicken breast, chopped
  • Poppyseed dressing to taste

3. This is a really cute movie!


I share this because it’s a Canadian movie that I found on Canadian Netflix. And finding good movies on Canadian Netflix can be difficult.

4. Don’t ever put Hemp milk in your coffee.

Hemp Bliss Milk  Vanilla.jpg

Baaaaaad idea. Hemp milk is only good in things that will mask its gross flavour.

5. I am getting a PICC line!! In other words, a “peripherally inserted central catheter” in my arm. It’s a little tube they insert inside one of the main veins in my arm, all the way into my chest. With an attractive tube that hangs out my arm ALL THE TIME like some kind of alien science experiment.


This is good news because it means no more IVs and needles for chemo and blood tests. They can do everything from the hanging tube, and my veins won’t get burned up from the chemo anymore. It also means my oncologist believes the cancer has shrunk enough that it’s no longer putting too much pressure on my veins.

I’m scheduled to get it put in next Wednesday before my next chemo, provided my tests on Tuesday look okay. Even though this is a good thing, I am irrationally scared for the procedure. It’s done by a radiologist and with a local freezing on the skin. Which doesn’t make sense to me because won’t I feel it going up through my vein?

It sounds a lot like my two needle biopsies which were hands down the worst experiences I had in the hospital. I actually started hyperventilating when I had my bone marrow biopsy despite the anti-anxiety meds, painkillers, and freezing. It just hurt and I was scared, and I freaked out thusly. Why can’t they just put me into a sleepy happy place for all of this stuff?

Anyways! Those are my Cinq Choses for this Friday. I had a more serious post scheduled for today, but my brain needed the break. Maybe I’ll put it up over the weekend. I am doing some cooking, baking, and exploring a farm over these next few days – should be fun. Enjoy yours!

Posted on September 9, 2011, in Fun and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. The PICC line will substantially improve your experience! I think that once the catheter is inserted into the vein, you won’t feel the threading of the line as there are no sensory nerve endings (which perceive pain, pressure, etc…) inside the veins. I’m sure it won’t be a day at the park, but I don’t think it will be anywhere near as freakish as your mind is fearing!

    That salad looks fantastic. I never used to like fruit items mixed with the traditional veggie items in salads – now I love it. And I just bought smoked paprika for the first time since it’s being raved about on so many blogs. Hope you have a restful weekend!

    • Thank you for easing my fears :) Part of the reason why my biopsies were so horrific was because everyone told me it was just going to be a “prick.” AS IF. I thought there was something wrong with me because it hurt so badly. Turns out everyone just downplayed the pain! Now I need the truth! Haha.

      • A PICC line insertion should not hurt at all aside from the stinging you may get with the freezing. After that all you should feel is pressure. Take it from me as the radiologist took forever to insert it (three insertions!). The procedure should be done in about 20 minutes provided there are no complications, which there usually aren’t – promise. I know of no one else who has had issues. The nurse who did my chemo teaching did not either – she sends people down for them constantly. So… breathe. I bet you’ll do fine and you’ll absolutely love it compared to the pain in the ass IVs.

        There is a bit of maintenance on the PICC line and you can’t get it wet. Do you want me to send up my PICC line cover? The tape they put over it can sometimes cause an allergic reaction. If that happens, there are alternative dressings for it.

        Also, little tip, when the radiologist inserts the line, it can be a bit tight. You can actually pul lit out a bit, which will make it more comfortable. Ask your oncology nurse about that and she will know what I mean.

        I’m stoked to hear you’re going to get one. I have been waiting for this post. The less needles the better, right!

  2. I have gotten a pic line actually about 4 months ago when I needed Tpn (total parenteral nutrition) I was having a bad bout with my crohn’s I realized I had after a bowel obstruction and subsequent surgery. And just to let u know I barely felt anything except a weird pulling sensation as it was looped through. Was basically painless. I also had no idea what it was or where it was going before hand so maybe that helped too. I’m assuming it will be nothing compared to what you have been through so far. Hang in there and let us know how it goes.


  3. Having a picc line made my grandmother chemo much easier. She also loved to scare her grandkids with it so it was a bonus.

    Glad to hear you are getting back into yoga for you. Its so relaxing and it’s nice that you could find a place that will aide your healing.

  4. good luck with the pic line. my sister Jen had one when she had a bad infection after a c-section last year and it really was much easier afterwards. I will say a prayer for you! And hemp milk….gross huh?

  5. I’ve had a PICC line before for an antibiotic treatment and it was easy peasy! Perhaps it’s just the idea that they have to snake it so far that seems concerning? I hated the tube but mine was done by Emergency Room staff and ended up leaving me with a foot and a half of cord. I worked a nurses aide job and took care of my babies with it in. They had a neat little sleeve for me to wear over the top of it to keep it snug and prevent it from snagging!

  6. Congrats on the PICC line! Just think of the benefits and picture yourself happily living your life during the procedure.. it will be over before you know it. :)

  7. My best friend has had a PICC line before and she says it’s not bad! She has a low pain tolerance so that says a lot coming from her! :)

    So glad you found a yoga class that meets your needs! I think I’m going to start doing some yoga again!

    Follow up on our previous conversation, it looks like I’m having a couple of lymph nodes complete removed on the 21st. Not the needle. The doctor feels pretty sure they are benign because they still have fatty hilum(?) but the size worries him.

    • In that case it’s a good thing they are taking those suckers out! Of my three surgeries, I found the lymph node one was the least painful afterward. I was numb for a few weeks around the area because they had to sever the nerves run through the nodes. When the feeling started to come back it felt like I had a carpet burn in the area (not the pleasant “tingling” that some doctors allude to). But overall, it was totally manageable. The worst part is the gnarly swelling from the fluid leakage. I still have a little bump from it.

  8. That’s great about the PICC line! Any improvements make me so happy to read about. Your salad sounds fantastic, by the way. I love the idea of sautéing corn in smoked paprika!

  9. I had a PICC line. It is not a difficult procedure. I, too, was very nervous. If you feel anything, just tell the doctor. i did have a bit more freezing added during my procedure. The benefits are wonderful. It will save you so many “sticks.” I wouldn’t be nervous about it now. You will be fine.

  10. Merci! I’ve never tried hemp milk.. I stick to Almond! Glad you are enjoying yoga. I’m currently trying to incorporate a bit of yoga into my week – just at home but I am hoping it will be a nice addition

  11. Susan, I’m so happy that you are progressing so well to get a PICC line. Guess what? I’m starting Yoga next week, I’m excited! Um Hemp milk? Yeah that doesn’t even sound good…

  12. Delish salad as usual. :)

    Hope all your tests go well :) have a great weekend!

  13. Canadians make movies?!?! (kidding! hehe)

    Congrats on the PICC line!! Things will be so much easier after it’s done. Hope you get through it ok! <3

  14. That’s such great news! Fewer needles and good news about how the mass is responding to treatment! You are so strong, I’m sure this procedure will be a piece of cake after those biopsies (that’s not just lip service either- you never cease to amaze me with your strength). Have a great weekend, my dear!

  15. First – Glad yoga was so great!
    Second – Scrumptious recipe!!
    Fourth – Hmmm — they call it ‘Hemp Bliss’ – invoking all sorts of subliminal messages to make folks think it will be wonderful.
    Fifth – As far the PICC – just be careful around cats, who will no doubt think it’s the coolest toy they’ve ever seen. And I don’t speak from experience, so don’t trust me on this, but I believe (hope) that many places inside your body have fewer nerve endings than places outside your body (although certainly bones don’t count), so maybe you won’t feel the PICC. Feel free to nurture this fantasy until you have objective proof otherwise.

    Hope you have a great week-end!

  16. My dad and friend both loved their PICC lines for the convenience. My friend even named his.

    Do be careful about maintenance though and extra-vigilant about how you feel afterwards. Not to scare you, but my dad got a nasty infection that was traced back to his PICC. He’s back to needles now.

    • I’ve heard of infections :\ I’m still not convinced how convenient it is seeing as right now I’m infection free and don’t have to wrap anything up before I shower. But we’ll see after I get it I guess!

  17. I’m a very recent new reader of your blog and you’ve already impacted my life so much. You’ve shown me how life can change in just an instance… and I need to start living my life for me! I admire your courage, your spirit & your determination to beat this thing!

    As for the PICC, I’m sure it will go well… once it’s in I think it will be so nice to have that instead of having to get needles poked into you all of the time.

    Praying for you girly… all the way from Alberta :)

  18. Isn’t smoked paprika awesome? I love it! I even put it on my popcorn instead of salt.

  19. Smoked paprika is one of my favourite spices! I put it in most savory dishes. It gives a nice kick to eggs as well.

    I’m glad you had a great time at yoga yesterday. Thanks for the movie rec!

  20. I had no idea that Netfix USA and Netflix Canada differed. Are your “streaming” videos the same as ours?

    • Netflix canada is SOOOOO limited!! We get streaming videos, but we do not get all the box office movies, workout videos, tv shows and documentaries you guys get… well we get more documentaries than anything else :P There is not a large selection available of each genre either, and they rotate new “old” stuff in every month… I don’t always think it is work the $8 every month… but every once in awhile it has something decent!

    • No, I think it’s because our copyright laws are different? Or regulatory bodies are different. We don’t have Hulu or Pandora either. We basically live in the dark ages :P

  21. That salad looks awesome! I need to eat me some more veggies. :-)

    I’ll send some positive thoughts your way next Wednesday! I hope the procedure goes as planned.

  22. The PICC line will make your life a lot easier for you. It’s a good thing. Just be careful with it and monitor it closely for signs of infection.

  23. Yay… that is a great 5 things!
    I’m glad you are getting back into yoga, it will help you relax, and keep limber in this transitional time you are going through.
    The picc line news is amazing on so many fronts! It will make some of those treatments easier to endure. The fact it means your tumour has shrunk so much is such great news!! I am happy for you Susan, and hope more good news keeps coming to you! All the best!

    Oh… and I will have to check out that netflix movie, as I agree it is sometimes hard to find something good on there… Have you watched Dear Zachary ? It made me cry and get angry. True story from out in your neck of the woods. Don’t watch it on a down day though!!

    • Ooohh! I will have to watch it! I’ve actually been watching a lot of stand-up comedy lately to make me laugh (Comedians of Comedy is another good one on Netflix!)

  24. My mom really appreciated her picc line, it helped a lot with her receiving all the drugs into her system, I hope you have a good experience as well.
    It’s good to hear you were able to get back into yoga, any practice is better then on practice.
    Thanks for the music post, I love them!

  25. So glad you are able to get the PICC line!

  26. I’m so glad you found a yoga class that’s perfect for you. The right class can leave you with such a feeling of well being.

  27. OMG how do you live without Hulu?!?!?! Pandora I can do without, there’s always Glad your yoga class went well, I’m sure it’s nice to go back to something you enjoyed BCD. Sounds like you’re kicking cancer’s butt, as expected! The PICC line sounds like it’ll take some getting used to but overall should be a good thing. That salad looks deeeeeeeelicious, I’m gonna have to try it! Enjoy your weekend!

    P.S. Totally calling my journal entry tonight “cinq choses” :D

  28. PICC lines are so cool! Or maybe that’s just because i’m a nurse :) Yay for having to be stuck less… such a big difference it will make for you! Thank you for being an inspiration to so many of us :)

  29. My friend’s baby boy had to have a PICC line through his head because he was so tiny. He was only a month old at the time! At least you won’t have a ‘unicorn horn’ like he did! Hoping the procedure is quick and painless for ya girlie!

    • Aaah! That sounds so frightening! I’ve heard of people getting portacaths in their forehead before which is equally as disturbing (same purpose as a PICC but a chunky implant under the skin)

  30. Andrew van Geest

    This PICC line sounds like it’s going to make quite a difference for you, Susan. I’m glad to here the progression of your treatment is giving us positive results. That you are enrolling in yoga once again is definitely a sign things are working out for you.

    Once again I’ll send you my best regards


  31. I’m so happy to hear that you are well enough for a PICC line. One of our very dear family friends was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer last year and I’m happy to report that she is doing fabulous! She got a PICC line a few months into treatment and she always tells us that it makes Chemo and all the meds a more pleasant experience. I’m so happy things are continuing to work out well for you. I’ll keep you in my prayers!

  32. My husband as an IV nurse, and part of his job is putting in PICC lines. He said it shouldn’t be painful. They give you lidocaine first, which is like a bee sting, but the actual incision is only about a centimeter. It should make things a lot easier for you! Here they chane dressings once a week, so you just need to make sure everything is kept nice and clean.

  33. I’m glad that yoga was a success!

    The PICC sounds kind of convenient when you explain it. I hope the procedure goes well. I think it’s totally normal to be scared and not want to deal with the pain. The “happy place” stuff is probably a bigger relief from the anxiety than the pain, so I get why you want it! I used to ask the dentist if he could use laughing gas for regular checkups – I get that nervous!

  34. Oh girl. I just stumbled across your blog. And I know allllll about PICC lines!! Ugh. I hated mine. But I can tell you that I had mine removed….wow….over a month ago nowe, and I can’t believe how I barely remember what it was like when I had it even thought I hated it when I did! What kind of cancer do you have? I have Non-Hodgkin’s Primary Mediastinal Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. Anyways, just wanted you to know that I’ll be praying for you. Cancer sucks. But we’ll get through this! Take care, Allison (

  35. Please don’t worry about the PICC line. We do not have nerve endings inside the vessel. You may feel pressure at the insertion site , but that should be all. In my hospital in Missouri we use a light sedative if patient requests. Good luck.

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