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Welcome to Paul's GLIOBLASTOMA update page! Battle is ON!

Welcome! Bienvenue! My name is Paul Marquis, age 57 and living in Ottawa, Ontario.

I am fighting a GBM4 brain cancer (glioblastoma multiforme) since June 2, 2016. I am doing well a year later!

This is not a blog by the way, more like a journal to update my family and friends. You can write to me - in French or English - at petpad@rogers.com

My plans for summer 2017... 


Ep. 45: Surgery anniversary.... July 14 (La Bastille!)

July 15, 2017

Is it just me or is the 2017 summer flying right by us? We just passsed the 1st anniversary of my surgery!  On the bright side though, and more importantly, I am doing well still, and I am looking forward to a couple good months of summer fun. I have my next MRI next week so that will keep me on pins and needles but once again I expect good news although I wont get the result for a couple of weeks. (I suppose if there is something bad I will hear from them sooner… so no news will be good news…). My weight hovers around 158 lbs these days which is not too bad. OK nuf of that.

The kids have been attending summer music festivals in Québec and Ontario, while I finally was able to do a few runs on the boat. Looks like the 2nd half of summer should be better, how could it not? Thank you again for those who still remember this site!! LOL

 Rallye for the CHEO pediatric heart surgery unit in 2001 or so... when Belle put it all out to help CHEO staff, patients and parents defeat Tony Clements and his ill-fated bid to move the cardiac surgery unit to Toronto.

 Christine, Pierre et Michou! Bel été 2017!

 


Ep. 44: Canada Day!

July 1, 2017

Happy Canada Day! It was a busy Canada Day for Evelyn and I as we started by hosting about 30 of Pat's closest friends for a pool party in the rain... followed by an intense but brief backyard cleaning session, and finally after dinner we went to the marina for our first boat outing of the season (with Chris and his friends...) to see the fireworks from the Ottawa River. The on-and-off rain today ended-up being a minor annoyance for Pat's party but it dried-up and they got their beer-pong in anyway. Through all this I was again very well and feeling great, with no fatigue or any other issues. The Canada Day fireworks were fine but I must say this routine is starting to get old, and the crazy stampede to race back in the dark is a pain in the neck. We had two graduations this month, our daughter Danielle and our niece Laura. These two events took us on a rare roadtrip between Ottawa and Long Island NY, and family visits on both sides of the family. I thank my guardian angels for keeping me healthy. Here are a few pics from recent events. Bye!

June 22, 2017: Danielle surrounded by proud parents and grand-parents after receiving her Bachelor in Business - International Management Magna Cum Laude at the University of Ottawa.

 June 25, 2017: Evelyn and I surrounded by the Deignan clan in Manorville, Long Island, NY, to celebrate Laura's high school graduation.

Anne-Sophie, Brian and Pat

(in random order...) Pat, Anne-Sophie, Antoine, Josh, Phil + 3 friends...

July 1, 2017 : Pat pool party... nice to finally have some use for the pool... Marty, Chris and Yim joined Pat's crowd.


Ep. 43: Summer sizzle, finally

June 15, 2017

Hi all, nice to be here again to update you on my health status. Thankfully I am still doing quite well and I feel blessed and protected by several guardian angels who watch over me. A year ago when this all started I was inundated with get-well wishes, prayers and several masses offered by caring friends and relatives from across Canada, the USA, Ireland and as far away as Hong Kong. Who knew I had so many people rooting for me? We did the Ottawa Brain Tumour walk this week and the Ottawa area collected some 130K in donations towards brain tumour care and research. The national total will run in the millions and it is inspiring to see everyone rally against the beast known as cancer. Thank you again all for supporting the fundraiser, and please take the steps necessary to prevent cancer for yourselves and your families. Summer is finally here and I plan to grill some nice steak and seafood, which is all allowed on keto, thank goodness. We started a small vegetable garden in the backyard and that should be a fun hobby. Take care all and have a great summer. Paul

Chris mixing the topsoil for our new garden... LOL humble beginnings for us.

2017 Brain Tumour Walk at Andrew Hayden Park with friends and supporters.

 


Ep. 42: One year with GBM!

June 1, 2017

Good day to all my friends - I am very happy today as I am nearing a full year since my first symptom of GBM and I am doing MUCH better than expected, or at least better than GBM odds gave me a year ago. Reflecting on last summer, I am in a much stronger mental space now, although I am never far away from subtle signs of anxiety and depression. The reality of my situation keeps me grounded and thankful. Sharing with fellow warriors online makes me realize that I am doing much better than most GBM patients, and this motivates me to help out and share with them. As I move into year 2 of my journey, I find it worth it to spend time that way, helping others who go through similar challenges. On June 11 Evelyn and I will be participating in the Ottawa Brain Tumour Walk, and I look forward to that very much. Later in June we will celebrate Danielle's graduation, followed by a quick trip to Long Island NY for our niece Laura's high school graduation and an overdue visit in Evelyn's home town. Have a nice summer everyone.

Flying the mighty Chinook in summer of 1990 in Petawawa, Ontario, with my friend and colleague Don LeBlanc. This was just a few months before my retirement from the Canadian Forces. (LOL dig the classic Vuarnets...so 80's)


Ep. 41: Lunch with original System Safety staff...

May 25, 2017

Unplanned update to highlight a nice lunch yesterday at the Mill Street Brewery in Ottawa with original members of System Safety in the 1990-1996 era...  when System Safety was a strong, credible aviation safety unit. Thank you Joni for once again organizing it!

   

A few original members of Transport Canada Civil Aviation's System Safety Directorate from 1990 to 1996 meeting for our annual lunch on May 24, 2017 at the Mill Street Brewery in downtown Ottawa. Left to right: me, Larry Klein, Peter Dudley, Bob Grant, Joni Lazore, Joe Scoles and David Laronde.


Ep. 40: Motivation is key

May 15, 2017

 Hi all.  Mid-May already - almost a year since symptom #1 June 2 last year - and I am still doing well… so I count my blessings daily for that! I have been somewhat tired for the past 2 or 3 weeks though, about an 8 out of 10 energy-wise, and I don’t know if it is related to the ketogenic diet or not. I recently joined the Movati gym near us but I haven’t gone very often yet, will try to pick-it up! Beautiful facility and only a 12 min walk for me… but luckyly I went with Chris who has been my designated chauffeur of late. Not sure what I will do next January when he goes for a 5 month semester abroad! I’ll be home alone with Lucky most weekdays (Evelyn is starting a new schedule soon, 4-day work week!) My boat will be ready for pick-up soon, which I look very much forward to… but the Rockliffe Boathouse marina’s opening  however is delayed due to the floodings on the Ottawa River and my dock wont be available till early June. I will also start biking around the neighborhood soon, a good past-time as long as I dont blindfully bike in the path of a speeding truck on Innes Road… No big travel plans on the horizon but we are driving to Long Island New York in late June for our niece’s HS graduation - way to go Laura – and some R&R along the way (New York traffic does not count as R&R even though it is entertaining…). Evelyn continues to be my bodyarmour and strength… cooking all these keto meals and snacks is no picnic but if it keeps me around a bit longer, then it’s all worth it. Motivation is how we keep up with the diet and pill regimen. OK back to game 2 Sens vs Penguins. Go Sens Go! 

 

1974-75 basket-ball (Secondaire III) au Petit Séminaire de Québec... we ruled Quebec Metro BB in those days, at all age levels! (I'm #45 in case you have a hard time finding me...) 


Ep. 39: Whatever you're doing, keep doing it!

May 2, 2017

Great news! Evelyn and I met with my oncologist today full of the typical MRI anxiety and Dr. Nicholas told us that my Apr 24 MRI was clean and even better than last one! He showed us the images and even put a side-by-side comparison of the last 2 and also with the July 7 MRI when the malignant tumor was confirmed. He said whatever you're doing, keep doing it! So this was celebration time with a can of Perrier and a few cucumbers!... LOL. The ketogenic diet is difficult but we are quite sure it is making a huge difference. Thank you everyone for your continued thoughts and prayers - it is working!  

Windsurfing near Roosevelt's Roads Naval Air Station in Puerto Rico in the mid-eighties! 


Ep. 38: Happy Easter... go easy on sugar!

April 16, 2017

Hi all, Happy Easter - Joyeuses Pâques! As a sugar fighter, no need to emphasize how moderate your sugar consumption should be this weekend! In the past few months I have seen more and more evidence that the human body will thrive on healthy fats and will self-destruct on excess sugar. Don't take my word for it but the essential message is that proper dieting is the key to longevity! Dang I wish I had known this 20 years ago, as with most suburban males starting a family, the food I ate was not as important as raising young kids around ski hills and arenas. Today I am paying the price for excess beer, wine and carb-filled foods  I had for the past 30 years! So I wont indulge in traditional Easter treats today and I kindly suggest you skip on all the sugary garbage too!

Had a nice Easter brunch with my side of the family yesterday. We met at Baton Rouge in Vaudreuil, just West of Montreal, and came back in time for the Senators' exciting come-from-behind overtime win over the Bruins. Great playoffs so far! Health update: still doing well about one week away from my next MRI on Apr 24. Weight steady, tummy happy - cant ask for more right now. A happy tummy makes the world go round, trust me! Until the next time. 

  Celebrating these two extraordinary young ladies this month, my daughter Danielle and her cousin Jillian Sikora. (no family resemblance euh?). Both are graduating this year, Danielle having earned a Bachelor in International Management, while Jillian just graduated as a speech therapist, a highly competitive field. Congratulations to both of you! 


Ep. 37: Google University

April 2, 2017

Hi folks, beautiful sunny April 2nd today, just one day after moving Danielle to her new abode in downtown Ottawa. She moved in with a new roomate, Shannon, on Lisgar St to be near her work and all the downtown action, I suppose! The house is just a little bit emptier now. I already miss the kitchen mess she often leaves behind. Anybody who tells you they are celebrating a child leaving the nest is lying... but it is part of the journey. I have always been a nostalgic soul, like my dad,  in that I dwell too much in the past and frequently look at old family photo albums. I hang on to stuff we don't use anymore and likely never will. As a result, combining this with my current health challenge, it is hard to focus on the future. I read a lot about GBM and keto on Google as well, and it is amazing how many armchair experts are online...!! The recommendations are somewhat overwhelming but I get a lot and I learn a lot at GoogleU. Anyway I am doing well and I will likely cut back on updates here, to twice a month instead of weekly. I am doing well and feel free to write to me anytime. Cheers. Paul

  Almost 15 years ago in July 2002 near Kilkee and the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Wonderful (and massive) Deignan family reunion.


Ep. 36: Be Here Now

March 26, 2017

Hi to all.. quick update . Evelyn and I just returned from our vacation in Mexico and it was wonderful and peaceful. Weather was perfect and the resort was spotless. I was able to stay away from excessive carbs and my usual keto foes but I did indulge with some white wine for dinner. I am doing well and happy to return to my hard but rewarding diet routine. We watched "Be Here Now", a beautiful documentary on Netflix tonight relating the journey of Andy Whitfield, a Welsh actor who died of cancer in 2011. Well worth the time if you are a Netflix subscriber. Glad to be home now! Time to get back into my regular routine.

Roughing it at the main pool of the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo in Riviera Maya, Mexico, on March 25th. Very nice, huge resort.I was also able to resist the temptations of food cheats... I stayed on keto throughout the week, thanks to the watchful eyes of Warden Evelyn who kept me in line (literally) at the extensive all-you-can-eat buffet. In fact for me it was more like all-you-must-skip buffet...

 


Ep. 35 : Riviera Maya escape to reward ourselves!

March 18, 2017

Finally... after 9 months of hard work, stress and uncertainty, Evelyn and I are taking a week off to Riviera Maya, Mexico for a week in an all-inclusive resort, leaving Sunday morning. The excitement is only tempered by my stress about potentially blowing my diet out of the water! But I have been at it long enough now  that I can pretty much instinctively pick the right food out of a buffet line-up, as long as its an OK one. We picked the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo which is a well-rated so I assume I will have enough selection, while cringing at all the carb-rich sweets and breads I'll need to avoid. In my case blowing my diet means losing too much weight... not gaining... LOL.  The good news is that I am doing very well, and obviously well enough to travel and enjoy the trip. Still no typical cancer symptoms so I am confident going into my next MRI on April 24 that it will again be nice and clean! I spend a lot of time reading Facebook groups with fellow GBM patients, ketogenic dieters, low-carb fans and cancer groups. This time invested with people who share our challenge is immensely helpful so once again I apologize to all of you if I am not keeping personal contact, and I sometimes reply late to emails. I wish everyone a great week and looking forward to connect again. 

  

Two similar photos of my brother Pierre, my sister Johanne and I, but with a 5-year time lapse! Top photo was taken in mid-January 2011 during our holiday family dinner in our Ottawa home. The bottom photo was 5 years later in March 2016, celebrating Easter in Brossard at Pierre and Christine's home. I was heavier in March 2016 - around 190 lb - but now I am much lighter than either photo, tipping the scale at 160 or so, even went down to 158.6 before bouncing back above 160!


Ep. 34: March madness - let the nice weather roll in

March 11, 2017

Bonjour… well not so good news on the vision and driving issues as I was called in for a new eyefield test on Thursday with a random neuro-ophtalmologist in the west-end and this Dr said he could not give me a pass for the time being due to my right peripheral vision deficit.  I was pretty bummed out as I was confident going in and hoping for a much better outcome. This exam was a referral from the oncologist because my regular NO is on maternity leave and I will only see her after the summer.  So no driving still for the foreseeable future but I am used to it now. I am not giving up hope though and will re-address this issue with Dr Albrechi as soon as she is able to see me, likely in the Fall. Other than that I am fine, and happy to see daylight savings time coming to rescue us from winter darkness tomorrow. Paul   

 Nice photo of P.A. and I in October 2012 during his Thanksgiving visit in Ottawa. Wonderful colours!

 


Ep. 33 : learning from others...

March 5, 2017

The past week was quite busy, including an overnight trip to Montreal to visit my family and attend the funeral of a good friend. Sad but beautiful ceremony at Mont Royal funeral home when some 300 or more gathered to say goodbye to Kristine Puspurs. A reality check of sort. Why such good people get randomly picked in the cancer lottery?

Life is so unpredictable. Proof in point - we had a close call on Feb 23 when Evelyn was involved in a "minor" accident on St-Laurent Blvd. Thankfully Evelyn was not hurt at all when an errant pick-up truck t-boned her car on St-Laurent Blvd. A case of a "good samaritan" making one of the stupidest road manners ever, the idiot stopped in mid-traffic in an attempt to "wave through" the pick-up truck across who was waiting to cross the double-lane and turn left ahead of Evelyn who was coming in the left lane... The worst part is that this retard dude (the wave through dude..) who initiated the accident chain left without even getting out to see if Evelyn was OK. Good samaritan indeed - leaving the scene of an accident he caused! Despite the &?$#&*$#@ role played by the retard *?#$?&# samaritan, the accident was 100% the pick-up driver's fault for taking the bait and crossing at the stop and not yielding to our car. The insurance company declared our car a total loss because the airbags had deployed and the entire right side was crumpled - but not a scatch on Evelyn, thks to the solid Acura TSX. We already replaced our 2009 TSX with a nice and newer (not nicer... just nice and newer - there is a difference!) black 2013 Acura TSX with a manual transmission. We are getting it on Monday.  Bent metal aside, I was extremely mad at the driver for endangering Evelyn but mostly relieved that she was OK. I am still shaking at what could have happened, given our current family crisis and the fact that I cant drive myself. Anyway... 

On the health front I am still doing quite good, although I can admit that the diet is tough and I am getting tired of having to top off my calories every night or so. I still have not discussed the eyefield test with the eye institute and I am somewhat p.... off at their slowness in getting back to me. On the plus side I have been reading a lot of GBM support groups on Facebook, as well as keto support groups, and it is great to share with people who are going through a similar experience. I am meeting more and more new people in this journey and they all either have brain cancer or take care of a person who has brain cancer. We exchange and learn from each other, and are united in beating this beast. Wonderful people caught in horrifying circumstances. I cherish the mutual support from these groups, whether they are virtual or in person. Bless you all.

Meeting with old friends in Montréal on Feb 26 during the celebration of life for our friend Kristine Puspurs. Photo: On the right is my good friend André Lamontagne, Kristine's partner; on left is André's brother François. We all played basketball together in CEGEP Sainte-Foy some 37 years ago.


Ep. 32 : moving along

February 25, 2017

Good morning folks. Quick update today as we received the sad news of the passing of my sister-in-law’s mom, which I had known quite well in the 70’s and 80’s. We still had a mutual affection after all the years. Her name was Céline (nee Brouilly) Laliberté and had been in ill-health for quite some time. We are also leaving for Montreal in a couple hours for the funeral of our friend Kristine Puspurs on Sunday. Sad weekend. On another scary event, Evelyn was unhurt in a morning collision on Thursday where the other driver was 100% at fault.  A large pickup truck crossed a double-lane road when a retard samaritan stopped mid-traffic to ‘wave the truck through’ while Evelyn was proceeding with her right-if-way in the left lane, never seeing the truck waved through by the samaritan, who dipped the scene. Shame on the retard who did ‘the wave’ and initiated the accident chain. I keep telling my family to NEVER stop mid traffic (when traffic ahead is stopped at red light) in order to wave someone who is waiting at a stop to cross through. Anyway Evelyn is fine which matters most. The car took a serious beating and may be scrapped by the insurance company due to high repair costs. OK have a good week all and watch those baaaad drivers out there. Paul


Ep. 31: waiting for eyefield test results

February 18, 2017

Hi everyone, first I want to mention that I did not hear back yet from the neuro-ophtalmologist about last Monday's eye field test so this update will have to wait. My overall health remains very good as I approach my last week of chemo in early March. Evelyn is in Baltimore this weekend to visit her family, get a well-deserved break from cranky me, and also of course to attend and celebrate Kate and Brendan's engagement party! Congrats to the happy couple! On my side I tend to the house, I feed and walk Lucky, and I watch CNN and the Trumpmania circus. Starting to look at the upcoming boating season! Honestly, when I was first diagnosed with a GBM4 last July, I did not know if I would be around for Christmas, and I dont know if I'll be around for the entire upcoming summer boating season, but I am more confident than ever now. I am also confident that I will be able to play golf, although this may be a challenge... The good thing though is that I will need to dramatically reduce my swing speed and keep my head straight... so as a result I will drop my score by 5 to 10 strokes! OK thank you again for caring enough to visit here occasionally, and to understand what we are going through. While I brag of doing well and yaddi yadda doing great, the reality is that I still have the anxiety of having this incurable GBM over my head and it could turn on me at anytime. The ketogenic diet and medical mariuana are apparently doing wonders for me so no plans on quitting those anytime soon.  Prayers and best wishes to my friends Kristine, Martin, Sylvie and Heather, who are all struggling with evil tumors. The courage needed to deal with this disease is phenomenal. Best,

       For our family summer vacation of 2009, we toured the Maritimes for 2 weeks, and took this great photograph of Chris mimicking a famous scene from the movie Gladiator.. with the PEI bridge in the background. This memorable scene was captured from the PEI side. Wonderful family memories keep me happy! 


Two weeks till Christmas...but what really matters?

December 10, 2016

Wow only two weeks till Christmas and I haven't done ANY shopping yet, not even online. Typical, and I bet I'm not alone. The truth is, we are gradually moving away from this mindset and stressful tradition which obviously serves the retail economy more than the simple act of being there for each other. The expectations from this period are often overblown and sometimes result in sadness for the sick and lonely among us. Lets all make sure we reach out to our loved ones, particularly those who are in such situations, and remind them how important they are to us. I suppose being sick yourself makes you realize a few things! My health status remains an anxiety-trigger even though I feel great and have been steady for the past few weeks. My next MRI is on Jan 11, and as all other cancer survivors will attest, the "next MRI" is always an anxiety trigger!  Evelyn and I enjoyed a wonderful SPA day at Nordik Spa in Chelsea on Monday, thanks to my wonderful ex-colleagues at Transport Canada who pitched-in for this treat. Trust me I now believe in relaxation, massages, hot and cold baths and saunas, and meditation as additional therapies! I am back on chemo on Tuesday Dec 13 for a week of heavy pills... uy. Today Evelyn and I enjoyed lunch with our good friends Chris and Lori Pancel from our hockey parents heydays. So grateful to have so many great friends from all aspects of our lives who are jumping at the opportunity to help. Lori is a cancer survivor herself who has provided me with tremendous advice and support. Well that is enough for a full chapter almost so I'll sign off now. I feel all of your collective support and I continue to appreciate how you all understand how we possibly cannot all meet in the short term, but we eventually will. Merci! Paul


Ep. 30: Stay the course...

February 11, 2017

Hi all. I am doing well still and handling my week #5 of chemo like a champ. My hair has grown back considerably over the surgery area, which I am happy with. Big day tomorrow as I am doing the eye field test for driving. No need to explain how important this is for me! Quite a bit of snow lately and more in the forecast for tonight. I actually like that because I like shoveling as exercise. Looking forward to the next Saturday Night Live and their assault on Trump... but mostly for the spot-on impersonations. Soon we may see Rosie O'Donnell join the cast...  OK have a great week, and hint hint - it is Valentine's Day in 3 days. Happy Valentines Day! Paul   

In March 2013, playing castaways in Grand Turk with André and Jean... Fantastic but deserted beaches...  we had nearly 1000 empty beach chairs to our disposal because all cruise ships cancelled that week due to broken toilets at the Carnival Cruise Center. Like our own private island...

Not a single soul on some 1000 beach chairs... Wiiiilson!!!

Crystal clear waters near the Sandbar restaurant

 


Ep. 29: The Pros and Cons of reading too much on the internet

February 4, 2017

Good evening to all. I have been reading on GBM websites and blogs quite a bit lately, and on one particular GBM support website, some members were commenting that reading was becoming demoralizing with too many questions and testimonials on the scary aspects of the disease, how horrible it is and how this trend does little to offer hope. Well I somewhat agree that reading about this disease is not like reading Anthony Robbins, but I think it is important to understand all aspects, including the good the bad and the ugly. A few complained that we did not hear enough about success stories of prolonged survival. It worked, as several long-term survivors came out of their silence to share their success in beating and challenging the odds. I suddenly read about dozens of people who are over 2, 3, 5 and even 10 years with a GBM and they retain a good quality of life. One lady is nearly 17 years into it, and one reported 20y of living with the beast. Wow... like most I kept reading was 15 to 18 months survival on average, but this is for all GBM's and all age groups. Every single GBM case is different and age is not the only factor of course. This is why we should not let the numbers scare us. The key is to keep HOPE and a top notch positive attitude. Yes GBM can be defeated and yes there is always hope. So yes keep on reading testimonials and survivors' blogs, and take it all in in a positive way.

Things are well and Evelyn and I went to see the ice sculptures today as part of Ottawa's Winterlude. Very nice and a long awaited cold snap just arrived in time 3 or 4 days ago, allowing the sculptures to look real nice and stay that way - unlike last year where sculptures went through 3 or 4 meltdowns and looked like crap by the time Winterlude opened.  I am still fighting to put on weight but have been around 162 lbs for the past 3 months, so I am fine with it. I was planning a ski day today with friends but I am not quite well enough to throw myself down a steep slope with skis while being half-blind. The reality is that sports involving laws of physics that could kill me before the cancer does are out of the question for now. As my buddy Danis suggested, I should trade my skis for snowshoes and enjoy nature at a much slower pace. OK thks all. feel free to drop me a note whenever. Paul

Here's another throwback keeper I love! June 1992 when Patrick was just about one month old or so. As skinny as I look on that photo (I was around 180 lbs on that pic), I am about 15-18 lbs lighter now, around 162-164 LOL... My goal is to get back to 180 by Christmas. It is very hard to gain weight on the keto diet!

 

 


Ep. 28: Wellness Expo in Orleans featured Ketogenic diet - there must be something to this...

January 29, 2017

Hi! All is well today (Sunday January 29th, day #242 since my first symptom on June 2nd, not that I'm counting or anything...). I still have few symptoms and I credit the rigour of my treatment plans, including the adjunct therapies we selected. The ketogenic diet seems to me like a pleasant surprise. Not only I am sold on the anti-sugar anti-carbs diet, but I am now convinced it would be beneficial to all in avoiding cancer and many other degenerative diseases in the first place. We went to the Orleans Wellness Expo yesterday and for the 2nd time in 2 months we heard a keynote speech on the outstanding benefits of going keto. A special thank you to our friend Trish Shearon who is a ketogenic expert and let us know about the Orleans Wellness Expo and the ketogenic presentation by keto author Jimmy Moore.

I had two great visits with friends this week, which I am so grateful for. My good friend Deirdre from Seattle was in town on Thursday for a few days and dropped in. Evelyn, Danielle and Chris were all here to meet her, including Lucky who took about 10 minutes to snuggle up to her on the couch and make her feel welcome LOL.  On Saturday (yesterday...) Evelyn and I were able to join our good friends Ghyslain, Lise, Danis and Josée for dinner - a rare treat for me these days. I also came close to beat Ghyslain at cribbage but I did beat him at pool while being nearly blind (he got me back later...). Speaking of blindness, I am adapting quite well to the hemianopsia condition and I still believe I can pass the driver's eye field tests coming up in the next few weeks. If I don't pass that's it, I am hiring a personal chauffeur full time! Thank you all once more for your continued support, and I send same in return to several of you and family who are also affected by cancer, or nasty "benign" tumors, which - somehow sometimes - are not as benign as the term seems to imply. Best, Paul

My good friend Deirdre Glynn-Levin from Seattle was in town and she met Evelyn, Danielle and Chris for the first time (she met Patrick and his buddies when she hosted them in Seattle for 2 nights in 2015 during their long roadtrip out West and back ...). Above we took a nice stroll with Lucky along a snowy and low visibility Rideau Canal on Friday Jan 27th. 


Ep. 27: Looking down the road... positively

January 21, 2017

Another Saturday means time for me to update this page... as some of you may have noticed I try to write once a week on Saturdays, with the occasional mid-week news if any. As entertained as I am by the 24/7 circus South of the border, I am always focused on getting better and eating better. Our lives are 100% focused on meeting my daily ketogenic targets, period.  This includes hours of internet searches and reading.  I have read many new (ie some existing that I had not seen...) articles on the potential of the ketogenic diet against brain cancer, particularly in French. It appears the diet will help all cancers, not only brain cancer too. I had not done a lot of google searches in French for some reason, assuming most would be found in English. In fact, the research in French turned out excellent stuff from Europe and indicates that this diet's potential against cancer has been known around Europe for some time. It is extraordinary how slow our medical community us to research, learn and apply some of these relatively easy to use complementary therapies. Thanks for my surgeon though who did recommend I look into it, even though he was careful in his wording not to endorse it as a possible cure. From what I read, every one should adopt a diet which dramatically reduces sugars, carbohydrates and processed foods. No need to go full keto, but you can do yourselves a huge favour by taking your metabolism seriously. As an aside, I also read that 10 years of cellphone usage increases your chance of brain cancer by 290%... I am not saying this is true, but I would pay attention. Time to keep the cell phone away from your head and use the earphones all the time. OK thanks for listening, and go outside to enjoy the snow and outdoors! Leave your cell at home, or cancel the damn thing altogether!  Until next week... Paul

Photo of my Sea King OTU training class in Spring 1984. Fun times! BBUUUURMMMMP!


Ep. 26: Exploring my vision issues : possible homonymous hemianopsia

January 14, 2017

Good day all, I am on my 4th month (of 6) chemo cycles, so I am taking it easy today (in fact I am taking it easy all the time to be honest...). Feeling OK but a bit tired from Temodar pills, that's all. Interestingly, my lack or absence of typical brain cancer symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, vertigo and intracranial pressure are making me scratch my head as to what is exactly happening to me. For three months I can honestly say that my prevalent symptoms are all vision related so I started looking more into visual effects and their cause and I started finding a condition that matches pretty much what I am going through : homonymous hemianopsia (HH). In a nutshell this is a condition where vision loss occurs on one side of both eyes (left or right, in my case on the right, but more on right eye than left).  Of course I am a trained medical neuro-ophthalmologist (yeah right)... so I may need to discuss this further with my eye doctor at the eye institute. I am also seeing my surgeon on Jan 16 so I will bring the topic of hemianopsia up. Most likely I got HH as a result of the surgery to remove the tumour, but I need to pursue the available treatment for HH. Ironically I already have another life-threatening condition called HH, Hereditary Hemochromatosis, which is too much iron and the need to get regular phlebotomies (blood draw of 500 ml every few months or as needed) to bring my iron levels down. So essentially, I am a freak :. Grade 4 GBM glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer; hereditary hemochromatosis; and now potentially homonymous hemianopsia. I guess I wont complain if I get a wart on my nose....Other than that, I FEEL GREAT! I will of course update on my search for more deadly conditions in this rapidly aging 56 y-old body.

On a brighter note, Evelyn and I are heading to Montreal on Monday to have lunch with P.A. and then to pick-up Danielle at Dorval Airport as she is returning from her jaunt to Keflavik, London and Berlin. World traveler she is!! Talk soon. Paul 

 

 Back in July 1991, in front of our new lot for our new house at 1911 Heatherwood Dr! Move-in was Jan 23, 1992, so we will celebrate our 25th "house" anniversary in nine days. Evelyn looks really good as a young 27-year old here ! In fact she has not changed a bit!   

      


Ep. 25: Good news on Jan 11 - clean MRI!

January 11, 2017

Quick update - my MRI today went very well and my oncologist was happy that there were no changes since the Nov 8 MRI. Clean MRI made my day!


Ep. 24: 2017 the year of cancer survivors!

January 7, 2017

Hi everyone and Happy New Year once again. I hope you all celebrated the new year with loved ones. I was particularly pleased to turn the page on 2016, which had many highs and lows. I am happy to report that I am well, save for being a worry-wart dad and stressed at the thought of Danielle travelling in Iceland right now with few wi-fi spots to check-in. At least she is travelling with a friend from her Hong Kong days. She will visit Berlin and London next week, before returning Jan 16 to start her new job at Export Development Canada (EDC) the following week.

I am pumped health wise, remaining healthy while heading into another important week of treatment updates: MRI on Wednesday Jan 11th, followed by the “MRI debrief” on the 16th. As I may have mentioned (and sorry if I repeat myself sometimes…) I am quite happy at how I handle chemo, with only 3 more sessions over the next 3 months. My hair is showing good growth and I may be able to put some gel and spike things up soon! Still hovering in the 163-164 lb range which is fine. My commitment to my entire health team is to make 2017 a full cancer survivor year not only for me but many current and new friends who are affected by cancer.

BTW I am adding pics in my log for fun since we rarely have a chance to share them. Who bothers to print photos anymore anyway? Our real family albums of printed photos seem to end in 2010 or 2011, and I have a mess of digital folders divided into 4 or 5 devices and social networks, with almost no prints to look at! (I turned some of those pics into slideshows using moviemaker, which turned out pretty good as online family albums streamable from anywhere thru YouTube).  Cheers

 

 Skating on the Rideau Canal and stopping for a BeaverTail is another Ottawa tradition. Pictured here a few years ago are my sister Johanne, my brother-in-law Daniel, and Evelyn. (I can't eat those for now but you can!)


Ep. 23: Happy New Year!

December 31, 2016

Wow New Year’s Eve is finally here… a few hours away from people celebrating the new year while others mercifully giving the boot to a weird 2016 (for us anyway…). This past year I truly learned to simply appreciate being alive and well, and be surrounded by my loving family. I stopped worrying about material things, arbitrary dates with social expectations, or the latest bad news on CNN. While I am well after working hard on treatments, I am under no illusion that I am out of the woods yet, and that 2017 will bring its share of new health challenges. I draw energy from reading cancer survivor stories, and I am overwhelmed with the number of folks who are impacted by cancer. I will close here by wishing everyone a Happy New Year and by thanking you once more simply for being there. Paul    

Simple times provide the best memories... pick-up hockey on the Silverbirch Park ice rink across our house back in 2000 or 2001. This will be back on the agenda this winter. Left to right: Chris, Pat, Evelyn, Danielle and aunt Trish.

 


Ep. 22: Merry Christmas to all

December 24, 2016

A quick hello to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and most importantly, health and happiness for the coming year.  I am doing well and look forward to stay that way in 2017.  I am in Bel Air, Maryland with family to enjoy this special time and reflect on what is truly important. God bless you all for your thoughts and prayers, you are making a difference. Below are a few photos of last year's Christmas family outing... quite a contrast which proves that we only live once! Seize the day!

Hard to believe that was exactly one year ago. .. our Christmas 2015 family cruise on Royal Carribean's Independence of the Seas. Here enjoying Fort Lauderdale the day before embarking.

On board after dinner with Evelyn and our boys... such a treat to spend quality time with your kids.

 Mom, Dad, Cathy and Evelyn in Cozumel, Mexico


Ep. 21: Safe driving for this cold winter!

December 17, 2016

Bonjour everyone. Doing great! Still can’t drive but I’m dealing with it, and I have an eye-field test on Feb 1 to see if I can still see enough to drive…. I just finished my 3rd (of 6) chemo cycle last night (Mon-Fri pills this past week then 3 weeks off till next cycle starting on Jan 9. Once again I did not experience nausea or other side-effects from those heavy-duty drugs, for which I am very happy with. In fact I was even able to attend Evelyn’s annual work party last night without any issues. All her co-workers and managers at CHEO have been extremely supportive for both of us because indeed this is a family crisis, not only a personal one for the survivor. The role of the caregiver(s) is often behind the scenes and underestimated, but is extremely critical in recovery and positive outcome.

We are gearing up for a family visit in Maryland soon, just crossing our fingers for good weather. Baltimore had a massive deadly car pile-up yesterday so anyone who says there is no  bad weather in Maryland or Pennsylvania, think again! Pat is snowboarding in Tremblant today and driving home tomorrow, and I am always the typical worry-wart dad when it comes to my kids driving on winding winter roads. Freezing rain is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow all over the map… be careful out there! Thank you all again for caring.   

I was able to join my aviation safety promotion past co-workers (ASL and TC AIM team) at Transport Canada for our annual Christmas lunch at Milestones restaurant near the Château Laurier in downtown Ottawa on Dec 13, 2016. The three of us old farts on the right of Marie-Eve are all retired... only Marie-Eve is still plugging away at work but she has health, youth and beauty on her side so she can't complain! L to R: Marie-Eve Loiselle, me, Lyle Stern and Al Piché.


Ep. 20: Throw-Back Thursday- golf.... and a few more pounds on!

December 15, 2016

Golf is one of the activities I miss the most but I look forward to play in 2017. I look like a "healthy" 190 lbs or so on this summer 2014 photo - a far cry from my current 165! But I am steady and at a normal weight according to my doctor and BMI charts for 6' 1.5". With pals Nick Ierfino, Dan Plouffe and Al Labelle at Nation Golf Club.  


Ep. 19: Two weeks till Christmas... but what really matters?

December 10, 2016

Wow only two weeks till Christmas and I haven't done ANY shopping yet, not even online. Typical, and I bet I'm not alone. The truth is, we are gradually moving away from this mindset and stressful tradition which obviously serves the retail economy more than the simple act of being there for each other. The expectations from this period are often overblown and sometimes result in sadness for the sick and lonely among us. Lets all make sure we reach out to our loved ones, particularly those who are in such situations, and remind them how important they are to us. I suppose being sick yourself makes you realize a few things! My health status remains an anxiety-trigger even though I feel great and have been steady for the past few weeks. My next MRI is on Jan 11, and as all other cancer survivors will attest, the "next MRI" is always an anxiety trigger!  Evelyn and I enjoyed a wonderful SPA day at Nordik Spa in Chelsea on Monday, thanks to my wonderful ex-colleagues at Transport Canada who pitched-in for this treat. Trust me I now believe in relaxation, massages, hot and cold baths and saunas, and meditation as additional therapies! I am back on chemo on Tuesday Dec 13 for a week of heavy pills... uy. Today Evelyn and I enjoyed lunch with our good friends Chris and Lori Pancel from our hockey parents heydays. So grateful to have so many great friends from all aspects of our lives who are jumping at the opportunity to help. Lori is a cancer survivor herself who has provided me with tremendous advice and support. Well that is enough for a full chapter almost so I'll sign off now. I feel all of your collective support and I continue to appreciate how you all understand how we possibly cannot all meet in the short term, but we eventually will. Merci! Paul

 

 

Monday Dec 5 at Nordik Spa

 Saturday Dec 10 at Waverley in Orleans, with Lori and Chris Pancel.

 

 


Ep. 18: Support matters

December 3, 2016

 Good day everyone. The past week has been a mix of ups and downs as I got news of more family, friends and ex-colleagues who are, or have been, affected directly or indirectly by cancer. Makes you think that our North American lifestyle and questionable diet have made a deal with the devil to feed us baby-boomers and even gen X youngsters with chemically-processed garbage for years, and randomly distributing cancer to people of all ages.  Now I know why the asbestos-infested Tower C got its big C from. Not everyone who has cancer also elects to share their challenge online like I am doing, but I see this as therapy for me, and not a way to look for sympathy.  It was also highly encouraged by my support team. I was also an editor after all so I enjoy writing. On the upside I am steady health wise and looking in decent shape for the holidays. I even had the opportunity to go out last week with a bunch of hockey dads from our kids minor hockey days… I had THREE beers (Sleemans Clear 2 carbs only!)… and did not faint. Lots of fun to see them and feel normal for a couple hours.  Honestly I can tell you that back in July when I was first diagnosed with a GBM, I did not know if I would make it to Christmas… but turns out that standard treatment, combined with the strict diet, medical marijuana, help and guidance from InfoCannabis, positive attitude and discipline (imposed by Evelyn, God Bless her Soul)… have made me feel much healthier and stronger than anticipated. I am still on a daily low dose of cannabiods and I am convinced it is helping, and I will likely keep on taking some in one form or the other for life. (email me separately if anyone wants to know more on this). Thank you everyone again for your love and support, as I am confident this goes a long way in keeping me healthy.  Paul

Boating on the Ottawa River near the Parliament is one of our favorite summer activities.

Photo of Evelyn, Lucky, my mother-in-law Kathleen and my brother-in-law John on August 1st, 2014.

(I believe John's kids - my nephew Jack and niece Laura - were there too on that day).


Ep. 17: Grey Cup weekend marks the time...

November 26, 2016

Good day everyone. Not a big football fan myself but happy to see Ottawa in the championship game and to know that my brother Pierre and his entire family are going to be there tomorrow! I just came back from Best Buy and it was less busy than I expected on this Black Friday weekend. I'm so out of touch with current audio equipment I could hardly find the typical cheap earphones I always buy and subsequently lose. I am doing well physically but with the same vision issues which have been bothering me for the last few months. I am trying different types of eyeglasses to help including the addition of prisms to my prescription glasses and readers. I am getting an eye-field test on Feb 1 which is the important test to regain my driver's licence. No need to tell you how important that is for me... My next MRI is in mid January and my chemo treatment end in March.  After that it becomes more waiting and monitoring for symptoms or lack thereof. Hopefully lots and lots of lack thereof! It has become tougher mentally in recent weeks due to the repetitive, lengthy and uncertain nature of the process but I have tremendous support still from my family and support team. I am participating in two excellent groups at the Ottawa Cancer Foundation,  and I also work with two doctors at the Ottawa Integrated Cancer Center on supplements and complementary therapy. Okay enough of me, thank you again for your support and I wish you a good Grey Cup weekend!

 Souvenir family photo from 2002 or 2003 when we were fully immersed in skiing! On this (US) Thanksgiving Weekend I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to share the wonders of skiing with my young family. Skiing has to be one of best and most memorable family activities, and we sure plan to do it again this winter! 


Ep. 16: 1st snow inbound...

November 19, 2016

Hello! Coming off my “chemo week” today feels good and I have 3 weeks off before the next one (2 down 4 to go…). I am doing well still, maintaining weight and morale as much as I can. Pat was in town this weekend and we had a very nice family dinner (all 5!) at Lone Star Restaurant… good old traditional fajitas for a change… minus the pita for me of course. Evelyn and I also had a nice lunch today at OCCO Kitchen in Orleans with our good friends Danis Daigle and Josée Roy. Twice to the restaurant in one day! Wow… I do have a life. Overall I keep plugging along, taking the good with the bad. My stomach is a trooper as it handles chemo and a lot of other pills and does not kick me in the gut in protest… which is good. First big snow in the forecast for tomorrow and Monday (15 cm of white stuff)… I will get my big bucket out for my favorite winter workout. hair not growing back yet so I wear that damn Nike ball cap all the time... G'Night!

My old office... well - some of the time...


Ep. 15: Great video on keto...

November 12, 2016

Good day to those who still find their way here once in a while to check-up on me. I must say this was a great idea because it would be impossible for me to reply individually to all of you, although I usually reply to emails anyway.  I appreciate the fact that this rudimentary website allows me to do this.  Danielle said I should have a real blog but I don’t have the energy to create a traditional blog.

 

My highlight of the day so far was cooking new zero-carbs breakfast sausages!!!  Yahoo! It’s all downhill from here I assure you! (secret: go them at METRO in Blackburn Hamlet. This of course supports my ketogenic diet … The following video explains the “potential” cancer-fighting benefits of doing the ketogenic diet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9socQcwPIs&t=340s. Some may think that ketogenic is just another fad or YouTube video, but in fact the ketogenic diet is no fad and has been around for years. It was even suggested to me by my brain surgeon, no less. Usually docs are not known to suggest or recommend anything outside their specialty, but if and when they do hint something that could help, maybe it is worth looking into, which I did. The reality I am faced with (GBM) is also a great motivator. Second to the tumour itself, sugar - in all its forms - is the enemy… always.  OK well I better get off and go out for a walk or something. Thks again all.  Paul


Ep. 14: Great news: No 2nd surgery needed, for now anyway!

November 9, 2016

Quick mid-week update folks, and no it's not about the major political upset South of the border. Following my latest MRI yesterday (Nov 8), I met with my surgeon this morning who reviewed the images and was happy to tell me there were no changes (or growth) since the last MRI and he said there was no need for a 2nd surgery for the time being, which was excellent news for us. He ordered the next follow-up MRI in 2 months for now to keep an eye on it and my goal is to ensure that the mid-January 2017 MRI will be as clean - or better - than the Nov 8 one. Small victories like this one are needed to keep me motivated and disciplined with the diet.  Once again I thank you all for your thoughts, support and kindness. Paul

June 1987 in Lisbon, Portugal while deployed on H.M.C.S. Algonquin's 1987 NATO cruise.


Ep. 13: Why November 8 is an important date for us...

November 5, 2016

Hello to my cheering class of 2016…. Wow it’s already been 5 months since my very first, and highly unexpected, symptom on June 2nd, 2016. I was in line at Canadian Tire in Orleans and my mind went blank for about a minute with a weird flash in the right eye. Having been healthy my whole life until then, I of course brushed it off as a random senior moment and did not say anything to Evelyn for two days, finally fessing up to it on June 4, and the rest is history.  Where do I stand now? Well as I mentioned earlier, I am 3 days away from my 2nd post-op MRI, which was rescheduled to Nov 8, and then an appointment to review the results in the following days. I am cautiously optimistic with the hope that a 2nd surgery will not be needed – this time anyway- and I can complete my chemo as planned. If a 2nd surgery is needed than I’ll have to deal with it. I just read this story of a 48 y-old woman who is a 16-year survivor of GBM, including 6 surgeries, which blew me away, given that GBM prognosis is rarely that good. But it proves that with the right combination of attitude, treatment, will power and a strong support group, anything is possible. I still am dizzy (and high…) most of the time... I am still on the ketogenic/modified Atkins diet, on medical marijuana, on strong chemo, on metformin, on lipoic, on various other supplements and, more importantly, on heavy dose of unconditional love and support from Evelyn, my three kids and Lucky (he’s such a good boy…).  I felt so bad hearing about Michael Bubblé’s 3-y old son who was just diagnosed with cancer. This disease can strike randomly at anyone and any age. God bless this young child and all of us who are affected by cancer. I wish everyone an entertaining US election day on Nov 8 (as I will be laying in the MRI machine for about an hour). Nov 8 also happens to be the date Evelyn and I met in 1987 at Club Med Buccaneers’ Creek, quite a special date! Bye for now. Paul

 

 

November 8-14,1987 - the week we met at Club Med Buccaneer's Creek.

We went back 10 years later in November 1997 with six close friends.

Anyone interested in making it a 30th Anniversary in November 2017? 

 

 


Ep. 12: The Waiting Game

October 29, 2016

Good evening.Today was a busy day as we traveled again to Brossard for a surprise 25th Anniversary dinner for my sister Johanne and her hubby Daniel, all organized by Daniel's brothers and sisters. Very nice to do this but also very tiring for me. We got back home to a very happy Lucky (and me) around 10:30. One thing I did not expect when this all started was the waiting game. Wait for appointments, wait for results, wait in multiple waiting rooms. So many waiting rooms. Now my Nov 4 MRI was moved to Nov 8, more waiting. OK its only 4 more days but still, who knows it may change again. Otherwise I am hanging in there and doing OK. I am very appreciative of your continued support and email messages. Paul     

 


Ep. 11: Special Day on October 22nd

October 22, 2016

Today is my very first best friend Simon's birthday and it makes me happy. Although we essentially never see each other the friendship is eternal and that is what makes such long-term friendships unique. I have many such friends whom I would love to see more often,  as we all do, but most often life gets in the way. I feel ok today but I think too much about the future and the new road map I have been given. My surgeon recommended another MRI to verify a specific area so this was not as good a news as I was hoping for, so this new MRI is dragging me into more uncertainty but I am ready for it. I am holding strong and following all directives! Bonne fête Simon! 


Ep. 10 :Ruffin it in Mont Tremblant

October 16, 2016

Evelyn and I enjoyed a nice escape this past weekend when we were able to meet our friends Liz and Jim from Florida, who were enjoying a week in beautiful Fall-colored Mont Tremblant, Québec. We trekked around the main "Village" and surroundings, and my three healthy companions were able to keep pace with me....;-) ! We also shopped at the trendy outlets at Mont Saint-Sauveur, meddled with wildlife and enjoyed drinks on outdoor patios. We closed today with a nice brunch in Saint-Jovite before each returning home. I expected to be tired but was in fine shape all weekend. I am ready to start my 2nd round of chemo next week. My low carbs diet is holding strong with no further weight loss but having a hard time re-gaining previous losses. Will soon have an update on the last MRI. Thank you again everyone for your thoughts and prayers which I feel all the time.   Paul

Sitting in the Village of Mont Tremblant with Jim, Liz and Evelyn, at the main patio on Friday October 14, 2016


Ep. 9: More and more evidence that cannabis helps cancer patients....

October 11, 2016

I am posting this mid-week update as, after doing more and more reading about it, I am more and more excited about the potential of cannabis as one of my main alternative treatments. The stigma is still around but even the medical community is coming around.  Here is a good link to the US National Cancer Institute, which also indicates an optimistic view of specifically treating GBM.  I still have no illusion that GBM is an incurable disease, but "incurable" can now translate into a life-long treatable chronic condition. Bottom line, I strongly believe that current knowledge and a mindset shift in the medical community is about to unleash the biggest advancement in cancer care. Go and have a look at https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/cannabis-pdq and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/18/marijuana-brain-cancer_n_6181060.html

And here is why I do all this...

Again I need to share one of my biggest motivations (the other being Evelyn of course...) in fighting the crap we are currently going through. About a year ago I made this side-by-side image of Pat, Chris and Danielle, showing them in bottom photo in 2004 (photo taken from top of Montauk Lighthouse on Eastern tip of Long Island, NY) and top photo in 2014 (Pat, Chris and Danielle partying with their friends at the legendary Osgoode Barn).  I absolutely plan to be around long enough to add a 3rd photo for 2024! I love them to bits.

 


Ep. 8: Thanksgiving 2016

October 8, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving …in Canada! I do have a lot to be grateful for and this fact never escapes me.  A few of my friends and relatives have been impacted by Hurricane Mathew so I am sending my best wishes in hopes that everyone is safe. Evelyn and I are visiting my dad in Brossard for lunch today (Oct 8), so another chance for a brief road trip and get out of town. I have my 1st post-surgery MRI on Sunday so I really look forward to have that part done. Health wise I am holding well but still never really 100%, with that same peripheral vision loss to the right and associated dizziness; the vision loss makes me uncomfortable walking in public, in or near crowds or walking near roads. So I am sure most understand that I am currently not really in the mood or in a mental state that encourages or wants much in-person social interaction. I have met with so many of you up to 3-4 weeks ago when I was well, that was great. A bit harder now. Hopefully I will be well again soon and have good news to share. Have a great weekend. Paul


Ep. 7: The new normal...

October 1, 2016

Good morning all. It’s been nearly 4 months now since my first circuit breaker popped (or first symptom…) on June 2nd, which in fact initiated what I now call my “new normal”. There is no question your daily routine changes quite a bit no matter how “normal” one tries to remain. The good news is that I have been doing much better in the past couple of weeks and the radiation side effects seem to have gradually weaned off. I am left with minor head dizziness due to vision and uncertain residual effects from standard treatment of the cancer. My diet is manageable and under control, and my weight constant for the past 3 weeks at a truly "maigrichon" 170 to 172. My important MRI is on Oct 9 and results scheduled for Oct 20. I will soon restart on chemo, which I don’t particularly look forward to, but I trust to be beneficial as part of the overall treatment. I will start on medical marijuana as well this coming week which I will report on later. Evelyn is so strong and dedicated, she deserves a medal. In fact she is going back to work soon so she can finally get a break from my crankiness and enjoy the normalcy of her important work at CHEO! Her co-workers have been so understanding, patient and helpful. Same for her soccer team gals & pals who brought us tons of food! I am lucky enough to have been invited to a NHL pre-season game today (Oct 1) so I will enjoy the nice break while envying the pizza-eaters and beer-guzzlers all over the arena! Have a good week.  Paul

 

Me with my wonderful hosts Jean and Anne-Marie at the Canadian Tire Center today.

Believe it or not there is a Farm Boy sandwich/salad counter where I was able to get a nice

and huge Ceasar Salad, as pizza, poutine and hotdogs are on my no-no list (for now...). 

 


Ep. 6: Toronto detour... nice to getta hell out of Dodge...

September 24, 2016

Family pic in downtown Toronto on Sept 24, 2016

Quick update from downtown Toronto as Pat brought the idea of attending the World Cup of Hockey 1st semi final,  and oddly enough, Team Canada easily won its division. Great game in perspective against Russia this afternoon, we'll be in the lower 300's somewhere! My head is still feeling like I just completed 5 rounds of kickboxing but as long as I don't get an errant puck in the face from Ovechkin I should be fine.  Evelyn, Chris and I drove down yesterday to meet with Pat. Meanwhile Danielle happened to have a school function in Toronto this weekend as well  so we had a rare opportunity to get all five of us together before the game.  While I expected to be in better shape by now I still see progress and I follow the instructions from my health team no matter how sick I am of avocados and almonds. Soon enough I will enjoy healthy carbs! Nice weekend everyone and big thank you to Dan and Diane who are hosting Lucky!


Ep. 5: Falling into Fall

September 17, 2016

Bonjour…mid-September reminds me of all the Fall tasks I need to do around the house, which I always took for routine in the past, but now realizing procrastination won’t work. My 18 summers-old Sea King Pool is first on the block. Why do I call it Sea King Pool you ask? Easy… 40 hours of maintenance for each hour of enjoyment, just like the old Sikorsky beast, assuming the ratio hasn’t gone up still. When new it was the opposite... The damn thing looks good on pictures but there is a leak, possibly two, which I can’t accurately locate (same as a Sea King although a lot more hidden leaks there…), which means I have to add tap water regularly, which means the water chemistry is always a bit off balance, which means I have to go to the pool store to get water tested properly more often and buy pool salt, CAL and ALK+ etc. The heater has a mind of its own despite being only 5 years old and shuts down when I need it but always seems to run fine in July and August at 30 degrees weather. The cement deck needs TLC and repairs but I don’t dare call for an estimate on that. Don’t get me going on vacuuming and skimming crap on the surface. You want a pool tip? Enjoy one for 10 years max then move or get rid of it (same as for a cat to think of it… trust me, being handed a death sentence by a doctor makes you a bit cynical … I admit my love of dogs is as strong as my dislike of felines, the nastiest pets. My brother-in-law has a particularly wicked cat which may not even be tamable by Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons…. I would even get a horde of pitbulls before any cat…  but I totally digress here. Brain damage though… I have the perfect excuse.)  After the pool is dealt with then I will look into storing the boat, cleaning the garage (potential candidate for next episode of Hoarders), all the while doing multiple trips to various hospitals and clinics. Still first world problems though, I know. More people have it worse than me. Sadly I just learned a friend of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer and this thing has to be beaten.

 

Still have not had a single alcoholic drink since June 3rd . Hee Haw.. Weight loss continues as I hit a new low of 170.4 lb on Wednesday, but back to a morbidly obese 172 on Friday. While it surprised me that I could weigh that low, my naturopathic doctor is not worried at all about it.  I also actually temporarily achieved ketosis on Wednesday (don't worry if this means nothing to you, its the same for me...), only to drop out of it on Friday. Glucose levels went slightly up rather than down, despite me starving myself to death… Problem is clearly not how much I suppress carbs and proteins, but how much difficulty I have in ingesting more healthy fats to achieve the débile ratio of lots of fats vs little to nothing of everything else. Bottom line, this diet is clearly my biggest challenge right now. I dread meal times now, quite a contrast to my usual bottomless appetite.  I have good coaches and support though on dieting and recipes, but I still have some minor dizziness which does not endear me to spend much time cooking. Most low-carb meals involve lots of home cooking and to make matters more complicated, we have four different individual meal types to prepare: myself the ketogenic semi-Atkins freak, one vegetarian, one low-carb probiotic semi-normal, one “normal” and one little bundle of joy on mixed hard and soft dog food. And how was your day? BTW I opened up the guestbook on this site but this is not really a blog so don’t ask questions or expect answers there, email me instead. Bye! Paul

 

 

June 3rd with my buddies Danis Daigle and Ben Carrier.

I went to the clinic for the first time the following day.

 


Ep. 4: Rambling thoughts while getting better!

September 10, 2016

Good morning all on this eve of 9/11's 15th anniversary. The world really changed that day although many will argue it changed 10 and a half years earlier in August 1990 with the start of Gulf War I when Iraq invaded Kuwait, followed by the January 17 1991 U.S. air strikes in Iraq, which formally started the short-lived armed hostilities where Iraqi forces were decimated save for one fleeing dictator. The decision by President George Bush Sr not to dig Saddam Hussein out of whatever hole he was hiding in would have immense repercussions as we now know. I mention this not only because of 911 but also the pure coincidence that my official release date from the military was January 16, 1991, just one day before Canada would effectively been at war also, given our allegiance to USA and commitment to support the Gulf War effort. Anyway... all this babbling to say that you never know what fate and events will bring into your life. Oh and yes, let's all have thoughts and prayers for all those affected by 9/11, which means practically every soul in the world.

 

Speaking of world politics, Evelyn and I enjoy CBC's Rex Murphy and in his last rant he lamented the excruciating no-win choice Americans have for their next president. Indeed between the devil and the clown, the US presidential race is more entertaining than the best sitcom you can think of. That November election day has the potential to rival the day I talked about earlier! A few of my US in-laws may move in our house soon…

 

Anyway I am done with radiation finally but I have been much more tired with some dizziness, so I have cut back a lot on meeting with friends or even going out. I am also grumpier and moody which is not fair to my family. Hopefully without the meds now I will feel better soon. The nurse told me yesterday it could take 2 to 3 weeks to get past the radiation side effects…uy. I still have not come to terms with this no driving anymore, and even though all of you generously offered rides, this loss of independence hits my ego big time. I hate having to ask people to drive me around, and I am sick of sitting in the passenger seat where I feel like neighbours (those who don't know what's going on) must be thinking I got a DUI since they never see me driving anymore. So effectively I simply prefer to avoid going anywhere and not to bother asking for rides.

 

This no carbs diet is no picnic either. I am losing weight and can't get it back and honestly I am craving for bread, pasta, real peanut butter and many other carb-filled products I love. But I believe in this war against SUGAR and the diet is meant to starve the body of glucose, which cancer cells apparently thrive on. The theory is that without glucose the body gets into ketosis and gets energy from healthy fats. Normal cells can feed on healthy fats but cancerous cells cannot so they starve. Bottom line is that SUGAR is the enemy!! Well that's the theory and I sure hope it works!

 

À bientôt.  Paul 

 


Ep. 3: Time to appreciate your time!

September 3, 2016

I've always known that time is a precious commodity, but never as much as in this particularly rough period. Ironically I have lots of time now to rest, read and scratch my head as to what I'm allowed to eat next (very limited by the way...)... but I have a better appreciation of what quality time means. I have been able and fortunate to meet one-on-one with many of you since this started and I am so grateful for that. Now as I approach the end of phase 1 of treatment (end of radiation and a 4 week break of chemo), I need to push the boundaries of taking care of myself through alternate therapies. I am meeting this week with a naturopathic doctor  from the Ottawa Integrated Cancer Center to add on to the list of helpers in my team. I expect that some rare and expensive vitamin supplements will be "highly recommended", but what the heck, what do have to lose? I will likely buy them. Otherwise I am still relatively OK with light head-buzz 24/7 due to whatever is invading my body (including but not restricted to: tumour leftover, radiation, chemo, bunch of other pills, weird and tasteless food such as seaweed leaves from Costco...disgusting stuff BTW). OK have a nice long weekend all and enjoy quality time with your families and friends. Paul

This nice family pic is a favorite of mine and was taken in Lagos, Portugal, on June 18 2016, just two weeks before my diagnosis on July 3rd. I am sure glad we did take the time for this family trip! 


Ep. 2: Only 2 weeks of radiation left!

August 27, 2016

Good morning... time for a weekly update since my original post. I am doing well with minor headaches due to meds and marginal sleep patterns.  I lost quite a bit of muscle weight (as opposed to mid-section weight.. damn it) so I need to workout more. Appetite is always good.  Not 100% started on ketogenic diet as we are waiting to get off on particular med and my dietetician is preparing me a menu plan that I can follow without cheating with my favourite carbs... Only 2 weeks left of radiation, still have most of my hair on the front, big halo empty patch in the back left. Looking into medical marijuana options and phyto-plankton supplements (I heard about a lot of stuff!). Overall I am very happy with my well-being and how I react to this invasive treatment but the next phase of chemo without radiation in October will see higher dosage so that will be the next challenge. Danielle is safely back from Barcelona and her whirlwind global travels and staying at home so that makes me super happy... she is feeding me all kinds of weird teas, seeds and asian elixirs. Bless our kids. Will update this weekly, so next should be around Sept 3.  Paul


Ep. 1: There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark. -Roger Waters

August 20, 2016

Welcome to my glioblastoma multiform (GBM) Journey page. As many of you already know, in early July 2016 my life was turned upside down when, after experiencing weird symptoms in June, a tumour was found and I was soon diagnosed with a GBM , which is the same type of incurable brain cancer affecting thousands of other people, including Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip. GBM is a nasty bad boy which needs my full attention and dedication to fight. With the help of a fantastic team of doctors, nurses and their colleagues, the July 14 surgery removed up to 95% of the brain tumour which started this all and since Jul 28 I am undergoing Mon-Fri radiation and taking daily chemo pills. I will soon complement this standard treatment with a switch to a ketogenic diet, herbal and natural therapies, massages, mind-body connections, exercise and meditation etc.

My driver's license has been suspended (temporarily I hope) due to medication and vision issues due to surgery, so that kinds of limits my movements. I will post updates here regularly, but don't let that stop you from writing to me at my usual address petpad@rogers.com

Now after 16 rad sessions (14 to go), and 24 days of chemo (4 more months of that...), I am doing fairly well and fully functional but hair has started to fall and I get tired faster. Still, Evelyn and I went for a nice bike ride today and it felt great. Evelyn is my rock and my kids are my armor. Love them so much.

Thank you all for your kind words, your love and your continued support.

Paul

 Relaxing in our pool on August 8, 2016 - 25 days after my brain surgery and about to start radiation and chemo. 


Ep. 1: There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact it's all dark. -Roger Waters Copy

August 20, 2016

Welcome to my glioblastoma multiform (GBM) Journey page. As many of you already know, in early July 2016 my life was turned upside down when, after experiencing weird symptoms in June, a tumour was found and I was soon diagnosed with a GBM , which is the same type of incurable brain cancer affecting thousands of other people, including Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip. GBM is a nasty bad boy which needs my full attention and dedication to fight. With the help of a fantastic team of doctors, nurses and their colleagues, the July 14 surgery removed up to 95% of the brain tumour which started this all and since Jul 28 I am undergoing Mon-Fri radiation and taking daily chemo pills. I will soon complement this standard treatment with a switch to a ketogenic diet, herbal and natural therapies, massages, mind-body connections, exercise and meditation etc.

My driver's license has been suspended (temporarily I hope) due to medication and vision issues due to surgery, so that kinds of limits my movements. I will post updates here regularly, but don't let that stop you from writing to me at my usual address petpad@rogers.com

Now after 16 rad sessions (14 to go), and 24 days of chemo (4 more months of that...), I am doing fairly well and fully functional but hair has started to fall and I get tired faster. Still, Evelyn and I went for a nice bike ride today and it felt great. Evelyn is my rock and my kids are my armor. Love them so much.

Thank you all for your kind words, your love and your continued support.

Paul

 Relaxing in our pool on August 8, 2016 - 25 days after my brain surgery and about to start radiation and chemo. 


Photo: 32 years ago in late 1984, overflying the Nova Scotia coastline in a Sea King helicopter - which was ancient then! Unbelievably, they still fly today in 2016.


In the summer of 2013 Evelyn and I were members of Team Wendy in the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada's annual walk and fundraising event at Andrew Hayden Park. This was in honor of our friend Wendy Molinski who lost her battle with brain cancer (GBM) earlier in 2013. Little did I know then that only 3 years later I would be facing a similar challenge. Evelyn and I are joining-up with Team Wendy again for the June 11, 2017 Brain Tumour Walk.

Photo: June 22nd, 2016 at Chris' Algonquin College graduation. This was 3 weeks after my first symptom on June 2nd, and one day before my 2nd symptom on June 23. Luckyly enough, we were able to complete our family trip to Spain and Portugal in between those two events.

 

Dec 9, 2015 at Chapters, meeting up with Canadian astronaut and ex-RCAF pilot Chris Hadfield. Danielle got unlucky with the photo as the photographer missed her handshake with the famous Canadian. Chris did not remember me from being on the same residence and floor at 2CFFTS in Moose Jaw in 1982 or 1983. There was a line-up so I did not bother to explain our earlier connection.

 

links: 

ENGLISH :

 

on ketogenic:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2716748/

www.ctvnews.ca/health/scientists-studying-effect-of-ketogenic-diet-on-brain-cancer-1.2853439#_gus&_gucid=&_gup=Facebook&_gsc=wc2lk6Z

http://cancercompassalternateroute.com/therapies/ketogenic-diet-for-cancer/

http://www.healthcarepublication.com/brain-tumors-respond-diet-radiation-therapy/O

KETO recipes:

Fat Head Pizza   http://www.ditchthecarbs.com/2015/04/23/fat-head-pizza/

 Tons of GREAT keto recipes     www.ruled.me

 

on cannabis , Medical Marijuana:

https://www.hellomd.com/health-wellness/marijuana-found-to-shrink-aggressive-brain-cancer

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3442177/

on GBM:

http://www.curetoday.com/publications/cure/2016/winter-2016/brain-trust-cuttingedge-treatments-on-the-rise-for-glioblastoma

on Homonymous Hemianopsia (loss of vision in same half of both eyes) :

http://www.nanosweb.org/files/public/Homonymous_hemianopia_english_new.pdf

Excellent article on fatigue: https://www.thebraintumourcharity.org/understanding-brain-tumours/living-with-a-brain-tumour/side-effects/fatigue-and-brain-tumours/

FRENCH links:

My testimonial (in French only, sorry) which was published in the French version of the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada's web site:  http://www.braintumour.ca/fr-ca/6890/paul-marquis

http://newsoftomorrow.org/vie/nutrition/le-regime-cetogene-pourrait-etre-la-cle-pour-guerir-du-cancer

http://newsoftomorrow.org/vie/nutrition/cancer-du-cerveau-guerir-avec-un-regime-cetogene


 

TIMELINE:

- June 2, 2016  (DAY ONE) : first ever symptoms (disorientation, flash in right eye) while shopping at Canadian Tire. My life forever changed from that day on forward, and my family's as well.   

- June 4 : 1st medical visit, went to my family doctor's at the First Health Medical Clinic in Orleans. Attending doctor suspects Transient Ischemic Attack (mini stroke) and orders CT scan, carotid doppler, echocardiogram and fasting bloodwork. I am put immediately on blood thinners as a precaution and scheduled to see my family doctor next day.

- June 7 : CT scan done and assessed as negative (clean), which was good news and made us decide to proceed with our vacation in Europe June 11 to 20 (we almost had to cancel). Went on trip with no issue at all)

- June 23 : 2nd incidence of symptoms, which happened as I am sitting in the neuro-ophtalmologist chair being examined, and an hour after I had a therapeutic phlebotomy as part of my Hemochromatosis treatment (bad timing... probably should have postponed the phlebotomy but I will never know if it precipitated the symptoms...)

- July 1 & 2 : worsening symptoms, including start of peripheral vision loss to the right, short term memory and confusion over phone numbers and road directions. We decide to go to Emergency Room next morning.

- July 3 : Spent entire day at the Civic Hospital ER, including more tests and new CT scan which revealed a significant mass on left occipital lobe. Dr. suspects GBM immediately and orders MRI asap to confirm. July 3rd was the first time we were told I likely had an incurable GBM. Bad day...

- July 7 : MRI #1 done. Brain surgery booked for July 14. Put on steroids to reduce inflammation ahead of surgery.

- July 14 : Brain surgery (craniotomy) where Dr. Sachs removed 95% of my tumor in left occipital lobe. MRI #2 done immediately after surgery as well. We saw surgeon next morning and he was very pleased with the post-op MRI result.

- July 28 : 1st of 30 radiation sessions.

- Aug 1 : 1st week of 6 weeks of chemotherapy.

- Sept 9 : Last radiation session (#30). End of phase 1 of chemotherapy (6 weeks).

- Sept 20 : Start of Ketogenic dieting.

- Oct 9 : MRI #3 (1st follow-up MRI since surgery) - clean but Dr Sachs wants to do another one to double-check a specific area.

- Oct 14: Start of 2nd round of chemo (1 week a month for next 6 months)

- Oct 14: Start on daily low dose of medical marijuana.

- Nov 8: MRI #4 - clean!

- Jan 11: MRI #5 - clean!

- Feb 6: Follow-up with 3 of my 9 current doctors. All 3 very pleased with my health and lack of symptoms. They all agree that whatever I'm doing, keep doing it. Heck I could be a doctor if it was that simple!

- Mar 9: Was called in for a new eyefield test by Dr. Zackon in the west end and I did not pass... Dr said I can try again later when Dr Albrechi is back from maternity leave... (Fall 2016...). No driving for the foreseeable future.

- Apr 24: MRI #6 - awaiting results, appt with Dr. Nicholas on May 2

- May 2: MRI #6 - clean!

- July 17: MRI #7 - awaiting results, appt with Dr. Nicholas on August 8 (my doc is away on vacation... I figure if there are urgent bad news they will call me...)