Sunday, 15 October 2017

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!! I hope everyone has an enjoyable time with friends and family eating tons of food!

I'm zooming off to Ireland today to see how much it has changed since I was there 11 years ago. I'm incredibly thankful that we're able to go on this trip and that Amy's lungs are stable enough to still travel. Must get in as many trips as possible while we're both feeling good enough - who knows how long this bubble will last. My first time out of the country in 5 years. Woohoo!

Here are some fall pics from the last week. We hiked both sides of the Wentworth Valley on Wednesday and while the trees hadn't really changed colour, it was still very pretty.

Pumpkins and squash at the local farm!
The view from Highhead (by the ski lift)
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Urg a cold.

Happy October! I hope everyone is enjoying the crisp fall weather and the smell of dust burning off the elements as the heat turns on for the first time in months (or is that just my house?).

After working for three days in a row last week, I have developed a terrible cold. I don't think it was the actual work that made me sick but the increased exposure to people. More people means more germs. More germs means one sick Allison.

I seem to always have a bit of a freak out when I get a cold over if it's going to lead to pneumonia or rejection and how I'm now going to die from a stupid cold. I realize it's a overreaction but because there is a remote chance it could happen, I can't stop myself.

I spent the past few days drinking tea, napping, and reading books and now the cold has turned into a dry, irritating cough. A cough that wakes me up at 2 a.m. to remind me of the good times I had with my old lungs. I even had to prop myself up on pillows to sleep. So 2013.

Anyway, I hope this better all be gone by next week because Amy, Mom, and I are off to Ireland for a week and I don't want to be that sniffling person on the plane.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Crafts: Allison's Cards

I've been making a lot of paper piecing fabric cards in the past few months, I mean A LOT. I started making my own designs and trying random ones I found online because it's so much fun to do. I love that I get to be creative and have a little product at the end of it. With my abundance of cards, I decided I should sell them seeing as I don't have that many friends or reasons to send cards. I set up a little Etsy shop and so far I've sold one! I realize most people don't send very many cards beyond Christmas and Birthdays! Isaiah tells me that "Thanksgiving and Halloween cards are not a thing" to which I vehemently disagree. Cards for every occasion! Plus getting fun mail makes everyone's day much better.

It's been a lot of fun and keeping me busy coming up with new designs for various occasions. I'm quite bad at taking pictures of all of the ones I do though.

Here are some of the paper piecing designs I've made over the past few months:
Autumn tree!
Meeple! For board game lovers.
Tiny Pumpkin!
Garden gnome (pattern I found online)!
Birthday Bee (pattern I found online and modified)!   

Here's the link to my Etsy store if you want to look at a few of my other designs! It's all fairly basic because I have no idea what I'm doing but the "Starting a Etsy Store for Dummies" book I got from the library will soon change all that!

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Dermatology appointment

I had my dermatology appointment and I don't have skin cancer! It was a pretty quick appointment. After taking a medical history (always the longest part), the doctor looked me all over and said all my freckles look normal. She then gave me a list of approved sunscreens and pamphlets of things to look for that had with terrible pictures of skin cancer on them and booked a follow up in a year.

While the most common skin cancer in the general population is basal cell carcinoma, with people on anti-rejection medication, we are more likely to get squamous cell skin cancer. Squamous skin cancer develops from actinic keratoses or "sun spots." The spots themselves aren't cancerous but the doctor said she would want to treat me because there is a strong likelihood they would turn into cancer. She also said that they treat squamous skin cancer very aggressively because it can be fast moving and spread other areas.

All in all,  I need to be on the lookout and check my skin every once in awhile. If it's caught early, it's very treatable. And to wear sunscreen every day, even when it's cloudy. The grocery store was clearing it out so I stocked up on some nice face stuff.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Doctor appointments

I had my fourth month hematology check-up on Thursday and I still don't have cancer! Woohoo! That's what I expected to hear because my blood work has all been normal the past few months but it's still a bit of a relief every time. I'm hoping at a certain point my fear of recurrence will go away but I'm not there yet. It feels a bit silly to celebrate the lack of something but that's where I am in life. Everyone should take a moment to celebrate any day they don't have cancer.

I have my first dermatology appointment this week. I've waited 8 months for this appointment. I'm so accustomed to jumping the line for doctor's appointments that waiting like a healthy person is unusual. It's just a consult appointment as every transplant patient is suppose be followed by a dermatologist. The prevalence of skin cancer is high post-transplant thanks to all the medications. I'm pretty good at wearing sunscreen every day and not lounging all day in the sun but my years of being stupid about sunscreen as a teen combined with my now superhero ability to burn after 10 seconds outside could catch up with me. It'll be nice to have a baseline consult. Plus I'm looking forward to pointing out all my random skin bumps and have her tell me what they are.

Monday, 4 September 2017


Last week we spent the beautiful week on PEI in a cottage near Morell. We keep returning to the same beach because it's a perfect sandy beach with amazing sunsets. Plus it's close to the Confederation trail which makes it great for cycling to St. Peters. We spent the week biking, kayaking, and swimming.

I hit my 500km summer cycling goal during the week! Woohoo!

Since getting home on Saturday, I've spent the last two days relaxing and sitting in silence after the intense family week.

Sunset over the water.
Off we go down the trail!
Playing in the waves.
Cycling selfie at Brackley Beach (Isaiah always yells at me when I have my phone out while cycling along).

Greenwich National Park!
Kayak in the calm ocean.
Our one and only bonfire.
Family kayak trip down the Morell River.
Goodbye PEI!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Cooking: Spiced Kale Shaksuka

I thought I would share this recipe I tried last week. I randomly flipped through the Impatient Foodie cookbook by Elettra Wiedemann when it came into the library and the recipe caught my eye. I made it during one of the cooler rainy days when I actually wanted to be cooking instead of just throwing stuff on the bbq. The author also apparently has a blog that I had never heard of but looks like it has some interesting ideas for vegetarian meals.

The recipe is for Spiced Kale Shaksuka. It's a great way to use up any greens and/or tomatoes you have around.
The cookbook. No other recipe really grabbed my attention so back to the library it goes.
What it's suppose to look like.
Ingredient list. I used beet greens instead of kale because that's what we had. I didn't chop them up super small and Isaiah complained that it wasn't very scoopable with the long stems. So next time, maybe I should actually follow the recipe. I cut the recipe down a bit and used 4 eggs because 6 seemed like way too many for 2 people and poached eggs do not make good leftovers. The recipe says it serves 6 and uses 6 eggs so I guess we eat more than we should.
1) Not browning garlic is very hard. 2) It took longer than 4 min for my eggs to poach in their little wells. Maybe they weren't deep enough? It took about 6 min and I peaked many times after the first 4 minutes. It did not ruin anything. 3) I cooked everything in a mid-size pot because I thought it wasn't enough food for a 12-inch skillet when I cut it by 1/3. It probably would've been fine in the skillet but the pot worked great too.
Served with hamburger-type buns. Great recipe for when you're craving eggs but want more than eggs and toast.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Pictures of Mt. Carleton

We survived the wilderness of New Brunswick! We spent 4 days at Mt. Carleton (3 nights) and hiked everything. Well, all of the peaks at least which felt like everything. We got pretty wet on Sunday and again Tuesday night but it was worth it. The views at the top were amazing, and the stars there at night are unbelievable. It's considered a "dark sky area" and you really notice the difference when looking at the stars. Totally worth the long drive. I tried to take pictures of the stars but all I got was a black screen. This weekend has been a much needed relaxing-stay-at-home few days.

Lake Sunday evening
Isaiah out for a paddle. When I went out, it downpoured.
Up the trail to Mt. Sagamook.
Made it! Quick lunch then onward to the next peak!
Top of Mt. Head!
Woohoo, but we must go onward!

NB can be so pretty.
Rewarding sunset that night.

Burning things.
Top of Mt. Bailey the next day while Mom and Dad went for a kayak.
Super fun rock cliff on the way down.
And a blueberry snack.
A trail marker being eaten by a tree.
Burning all the wood on the last night!

Saturday, 12 August 2017

I'm on a bit of a hiatus.

I spent the last week in Yarmouth at the cabin and this weekend I'm off to the wilderness of Northern NB to hike. So I'm going to say I'm on vacation because I haven't had any time on the computer to write. I'm still very excited about my book contract! Hope everyone is having a great August!

Sunday, 6 August 2017


Back in December I mentioned that I had submitted the manuscript I had been working on about my transplant story to a publisher. I thought it would be fun to try going through official channels of publishing instead of doing it myself this time. After being asked for the full manuscript a few months later (one of the more exciting emails in my life) and then asked to revise and resubmit, I got the following email:
And I signed the contract with Nimbus on Wednesday!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

I'm stoked. I feel like a real writer!

The publishing date is going to be sometime in Spring 2019 which feels very far away but the publishing industry does not move very quickly. They also want to give a lot of time for editing and revising. It's going to be very different and a much longer process than my self-published experience.
But it's also more exciting to be working with a real publisher. So many more things to think about. I need to get headshots done! Eek!

Look for me on your bookshelves in 2019!!

Sunday, 30 July 2017


I went for lung function test last week and....I got a 80%!! My highest yet! I was pretty excited afterward. Of course it was one time and I didn't repeat it but who cares, I got there once. How is this possible that it keeps going up? Not that I'm complaining but I am pleasantly confused.

I was told my numbers would be stable after the first year but I guess with the cancer out of my system, my body is still healing itself. Sometimes I forget that the healing process can be so long. Plus all the hiking and jogging is probably helping to strengthen my lungs. 

The other news is that the team in Toronto would like to see me for my 3 year assessment in November. This was up for debate because the NS government has decided that it no longer wants to fund stable post-transplant people going to Toronto for their yearly assessment. However, it has been decided that although I'm "doing well," the team would still like to see me this year. Fair enough. No complaints from me as long as they keep their promise that I will not need a bronch!

Sunday, 23 July 2017


I got a haircut this week! My first post-cancer haircut. I sat in the little chair and the hairdresser asked the standard "so how long as it been since your last cut?" Then I had to go into the whole "it's growing back since it all fell out during chemo, so my last cut was technically when the barber shaved it off in Dec 2015." I feel like it's always such a long spiel every time it comes up but I have it down now.

The hairdresser just shaped it a bit to make the curls a bit more organized. It feels much lighter.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Cape Breton

We had a wonderful time in Cape Breton! We did a ton of hikes (some in the rain, some in the sun), swam at the beach, and I even got a bit of a sunburn. I was not prepared for the sun. For some reason in my head, Cape Breton is always 16 degrees and rainy. So I packed 4 pairs of pants and they never left the car. I guess it's better to have them as an option than to have them sitting at home and being cold.

We did not see any moose or whales which was a bit disappointing. Not that I have much experience with the Cape Breton Highlands but the one other time I was there, we saw whales twice from shore and there seemed to be moose wandering all over the park. This time they avoided us. The muffler on our poor car gave out halfway there so perhaps we scared them all away while powering up the hills.

We kept hearing about moose sightings from other hikers like "someone told me there was a moose up there to the left" and "a bull moose just chased us down the trail (I think those people may have been exaggerating slightly)" but they were all gone by the time we arrived. Just as well we never saw one while driving. I would rather them stay in the woods than be in front of my car. Plus it gives us something to look forward to the next time we go!

It was such a nice mini vacation. Now we need to get the muffler fixed.

Classic Cape Breton from the Skyline trail.
Sunset from the Acadien trail.
Isaiah checking out the rocks at Mica Hill
I enjoyed the view more but the sparkling ground was really unique. 
Top of Franey Mtn.
Swimming at the little waterfall after the hike.
Beautiful sunset at the campground.
Staring off the cliff at Middle Head looking at birds.
Campsite. We somehow take up so much room with such a little tent.