Best. Birthday. Present. Ever. 

*Giggles* Pretty awesome birthday ^_^

I made it. SALLY & Co. let me live to see my 40th birthday when I honestly didn’t think I would or could.

As morbid as that is, and sounds, I made it & I am alive.

Thank you, everyone, for the birthday wishes. ❤️

Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.


Can we just be done with 2016 already?

Apologies in advance for the incessant whining:

Why does this past round of infusions feel so damn hard? My chest hurts so much, breathing is so difficult, I feel so exhausted, and my goodness… I. AM. SO. DAMN. COLD. ALL. THE TIME.

Why am I wearing woolen socks, a heavy sweater, long sleeved tshirt and an undershirt along with my kitty chemo cap and my sock-mittens to bed?

(Yesterday’s emotional breakdown in the parking lot outside the registry didn’t help matters either when I discovered there is now a permanent medical flag on my Driver’s license renewal. The implications of what will happen if I can’t renew my license because of my medical conditions just tore me to pieces.

Seriously, can we just be done with 2016?

To TheHubbs™, my Super Hero in Disguise,Thank you for 14 years of: good times, UFO times, roadtrip fireworks times, supper times, soup times, happy times, garden times, fabulous times, snack times, stupid infusion times, burger times, fun times, sad times, lovely times, ungodly appointment times, hilarious times, sweater times, crazy kitty times, DQ Blizzard times, silly times, chocolate chip cookie times, driving times, frustrating times, sushi times, vacation times, lunch times, bath times, and all those times I can’t remember to mention.
I hope we have many more years of life-times to come.

Happy Anniversary ❤️

Love Always,

Super quick noodles.

I’ve been missing my sense of smell & taste for almost 3 weeks now due to The Plague™ and for some reason, the only thing that has been remotely appealing to eat is pasta.
It started with Mom’s garlic noodles (lots of chopped garlic, fried in butter, can of tomatoes, some herbs & spices, plus noodles and lots of cheddar cheese) and since then, it’s kind of been a rather unconventional combination of ingredients that I wouldn’t have considered throwing together under normal circumstances that I’ve been making over & over again this past week.

While your noodles are cooking, put into a large bowl: a pat of butter, a decent drizzle of garlic olive oil, and a good sprinkling of your favourite furikake (if it happens to have bonito, rice balls & egg bits, even better!). Set your bowl over the pot and let it melt the butter. While that’s doing its thing, grate some parmesan cheese & set aside, give your melty butter concoction a good stir so it’s all nicely combined. When your noodles are cooked to your liking, add them from the pot, directly into your bowl with the cooking water still dripping. Mix everything together so that every strand has been sufficiently coated in the buttery emulsion and season with pepper. Add your cheese, extra furikake if desired, and stir well, making sure to add extra pasta water if needed to get the right consistency. Eat fast while it’s still hot! :D

As a side note: I have recently discovered the perfect method for cooking pasta so that I don’t have to worry about accidentally overcooking it. Apparently that Serious Eats tip for cooking dried pasta totally works!

Put your pasta into a pot just large enough to accomodate the size/length of your noodles and cover it with about 1-2″ of cold water (don’t forget to add salt). Bring to a boil, stirring a couple times as needed, then cover the pot, shut off the heat and set your timer for 10 minutes. Yea, seriously. When the time’s up, taste test your noodles and it should be the perfect doneness! Add noodles to your hot sauce, stir to combine and you’re good to go!

Thoughts on first MMJ dose


Look what I had delivered to me on Friday, a whole three days earlier than Canada Post informed me of! 


So first thing: Ugh.. I think the Red killed my GI system :/ 

I woke up Saturday morning and pretty much projectile vomitted everything I consumed Friday; from my first consumed meal until bedtime. And then my tummy was all tender, owie, and stinging & burning. It was pretty much crackers, gingerale, gatorade and instant miso soup all day yesterday.


A.) I had too much too soon (0.5ml Blue @2:30pm, 0.5ml Red @9:00pm)

B.) I didn’t take into consideration the crazy super high THC potency of the Red (THC 26.3mg/ml + CBD <0.7mg/ml) and should have perhaps taken only 0.25ml to account for it, being a completely new MMJ patient.

C) I got bad food poisoning.

The side effects of the Red were kind of fascinating compared to the Blue for completely different reasons (obviously).

My hearing got completely amped up — hard to describe, but it was like I was hearing three different tones or frequencies or… “Something” in every sound. OMG! The sound of TheHubbs™ snoring was so weird and cool all at the same time, and listening to my oxygen concentrator was so wild! 

I took the Red late at night about 9:00 pm with the intention/hope that it would help my perpetual insomnia + late night pain issues (and be solidly kicked in by bedtime), right before we started watching Star Wars (heh). By the end of the movie I was pretty much on my way to being completely stoned out of my mind. My body had a competing “walking fast forward through molasses feeling” that  I mentioned to BabyBro ^_^ 

I kind of got the giggles for awhile and I so wanted to tell TheHubbs all sorts of stuff (stupid stuff! I knew it was stupid in my head but wanted to tell him anyways to share in the stupid!!) but he was too tired to have any actual conversation and likely would have been supremely cranky & annoyed at me if I started rambling at him ;)

Right before bed I was absolutely starving and wanted a snack, but I was honestly scared that I would fall down the stairs and injure or break something because my sense of balance & self had just left me. I could stand and walk to the bathroom, albeit slowly, but I was pretty sure falling would be imminent if I even tried the stairs. 

Having said that, I did have about three crackers, and some water, and I think that the cannabis oil might have altogether shut down my digestive system and gave me major owie reflux and aspiration issues into my lungs. 

Note: NOT a great side effect for my already compromised GI system from SALLY, if it’s an actual side effect for me — see above re: barfing. Seriously. I take all those stomach drugs to get my intestines to push food straight through & for my stomach to empty contents faster, but the oil pretty much stopped it all.

Sleep was definitely heavy but I could feel sounds and my body doing weird things.

Then there was also the weird heart, chest issues… 

Which in hindsight may have actually been a really bad side effect to just be “enjoy watching from afar”. I think my heart was having difficulties pumping… Which, given the left side of my heart is already enlarged from the PAH, having my heart feel like it’s slowing down & struggling, may have been bad.

So, for now, I think the Red is going to be kept on the back burner; I definitely won’t take it again until the weekend at the earliest, so TheHubbs™ can be with me and keep an eye on things, and I am going to reduce my dose to the lowest recommended dose possible (0.25ml) and try to keep some accurate notes on how it affects me.

All that, and I am not going to mix oils. Maybe it’d be less conflicting if I were vaping to try different strains throughout the day, but oils are definitely not feeling like they’re going to benefit me if it causes that much in terms of side effects & discomfort. 

The Blue Oil was interesting because I could feel it come on in around my eyes & temples within a pretty short amount of time; say 15-30 minutes? I was chatting online & talking to The Boys in LA so I don’t actually know the exact time span. 

By comparison it also made me… Comfortable? I was totally holding off taking the oil and I was starting to have pain, so until TheHubbs™ got home around 1:30/2:00pm (new bed delivery!) I was really trying to distract myself from taking my normal pain meds because I wanted to test how well it worked for my chronic pain. It was great, needless to say. I was happy? At least, pretty pleased that it didnt take too long for pain relief to kick in. 

As a side note: I don’t like the way the oil dispenses. I have to use a super tiny (but accurate) syringe. Sticking it into the bottle makes the syring all oily and I feel like it wastes some of the oil by dripping all over. I wish there was a better way to administer it — I ended up squirting the oils onto a spoon and the consuming it that way, but the first time I accidentally squirted a drop onto my pants; those’ll be forever stained (TheHubbs™ cheekily asked me if my pants were gonna be forever stoned now :P)

Anyhow, I guess the Blue also makes me feel Awakened, but happily snoozy? 

I took a great short nap for maybe 20-30 minutes before we left for Mom & Dad’s and I swear: I have never had a nap feel that awesome. 

I woke up feeling pretty damn great ^_^ I was still kind of sleepy headed, but I was happy to be awake & mellowed and chilled. I never feel that way after a regular nap. BTW: Music sounded really awesome and oh man, I totally get grooving music from the 70s LOL! 

It also made Family Dinner feel way more… Tolerable. I didn’t have all the anxiety I’ve been getting from the last few weeks and I think I may have been ridiculously happy, cheery and perky. 

Also: I may have confused the shit out of Baby Skywalker explaining to her the merits and awesomeness of having real puppets/puppeteers performing alongside real actors (again) in Star Wars ^_^ She looked really confused as to why I would think puppets were so awesome when it comes to trying to get an audience to feel like another world & galaxy might actually exist, “A long time ago, in a galxy far, far, away…” vs. Watching CG creatures in a world that’s way too slick & shiny like a video game that you already know isn’t real and doesn’t exist.

Anyhow, I think on the whole, I feel pretty safe to attempt consuming  the Blue oil when I’m alone and by myself. For now, I am going to try using it more often as my first choice for pain relief. I have my first monthly appointment with FamDoc on Thursday since beng prescribed at NHS and I want to be able to tell him with absolute certainty which of the strains/oils have been of actual benefit to me and then we can hopefully start decreasing/eliminating my hardcore opioid/narcotics pain meds. That is the biggest goal we’ve got our sights set on if the medical marijuanna works for me.

Plus: I am seriously starting to contemplate the idea of vaporizing… And I think that’s my big conversation I need to have with him this week because if I could do that, then suddenly I have access to a much larger variety of strains to try and determine what works best for my pain. I really hate that we don’t have access to commercially made Medibles in Canada. It’s such a messy undertaking to make my own cannabutters/oils which can be used to make my own medicated edibles. >_<;;

Hmmm… So yeah! Both oils were great for my pain relief, so that’s at least been determined. Now’s just the experimentation to find which oil works best. Only problem is having extremely limited options in terms of actual available oils in stock. Mettrum has 2-3 so far, mostly reds. The Blue I totally got by fluke because I was humming and hawing over which Red to buy. And the Yellow I am still waiting for it to be restocked.

Tilray offers Oils and DROPS, but their first batch was a limited quantity run back in February and none of it has been back in stock since. This totally blows because I am thinking maybe I should consider changing LPs to a provider that actually has consistent stock onhand, like maybe: Broken Coast or Tweed.


Moving forward with Medical Cannabis

Well this was an unexpected surprise ^_^

I didn’t think I was receiving a Tilray welcome package until I actually purchased something! 
As a side note: I wonder if it’s even a possibility that I could try using a vaporizer for medical cannabis/medical marijuana with all my combined auto-immune conditions from SALLY? I know that Health Canada “approves” of the Volcano Vaporizer for MMJ, but does anyone out there in the Intarwebz know if it’s (medically?) safe to vape with crappy lungs? 

I have absolutely no experience with any of this, so I’ve been having long, drawn-out, yet fascinating & informative, conversations with Whitey about all things medical marihuana (how Health Canada chooses to spell marijuana). His recommendation has always been to find some kind of commercially made Medibles (marijuana-infused edibles) like Kiva Confections. This is absolutely how I would prefer to go about slowly learning to medicate. Frustratingly, the only forms of medical marijuana available to us in Canada from LPs are the traditional buds and only most recently: oils.

I could certainly try to make my own tasty treats & concoctions, but trying to figure out the dosing calculations on homemade stuff just sounds like a terrible headache and potential nightmare. Not to mention the fact that TheHubbs™ and I both find the pervasive smell of recreationally used cannabis absolutely revolting (We’re looking at you, Vancouver!) so having that lingering smell in the house while I’m trying to make cannabutter or oils has pretty much been completely taken off the table. 

What I’d REALLY love is a Magical Butter Maker to help limit the smell of cannabis while making the butter/oil, but OMG it’s so expensive to do the US$/CDN$ conversion. *sniffle*

Having said that, if anyone out there would like to send me their products in exchange for having a patient-centred review of your product(s); I’m open-minded & might be keen. There doesn’t seem to be many companies out there interested in understanding what patients with chronic-illnesses or autoimmune diseases think or have to say about their products, from a social media aspect/perspective.

I guess the biggest reason why I keep coming back to the idea to try using a vaporizer (and I am seriously considering it but still waffling on whether or not to actually do so), is because my digestive system is kind of broken and slow as f*ck on a normal day; goodness only knows how long it would take to have the cannabis oils kick in once ingested. Chronic pain is the biggest issue I’m dealing with on a daily basis and I sure as hell don’t wannna be stuck taking an oil which could take up to 4 hours to kick in before the effects are felt for pain relief. Over time, the plan that FamDoc and I would really like to have happen is to entirely eliminate all the opioid pain meds I am currently taking, and hopefully have my GI system functioning a little more “normally”.

Using a Vaporizer (vaping) is supposedly approved by Health Canada, and kind of acceptable for lung patients, but I dunno how keen HawtDoc would be about it — I’d like to think (and am certainly hoping) that he’s open-minded and amenable to the idea, Rheumy too by the way. I’ve been reading a lot of articles recently, pointing to the benefits of MMJ for Scleroderma, and right now: FamDoc & I are hoping that Medical Marijuana will be a beneficial choice not just for the treatment of my chronic pain, but for all my associated conditions, all around. 


New Treatment Update.

Sooo… I met with the new Doc who will be overseeing my new treatment and I guess she will kimd of be working in tandem with FamDoc for my chronic pain care. She was super awesome & friendly.

To put it mildly, she was rather surprised at the monster combination of Sally & Co. and I have a follow-up in 2 months. She is confident that I will definitely get benefit from using Medical Cannabis and seems to be pretty hopeful that we’ll be able to slowly wean me off my current pain meds over time; it’ll be a ridiculously slow go, but she thinks it can be done. In fact, she said if I wanted to, I could try to start reducing it by a tiny little bit as I am working out the kinks of what works best for me with the MMJ (medical marijuana).

Since I don’t have the option to smoke, she’s hoping I will experiment with all the different options currently available: oils, tinctures, commercially made medibles, and if I am feeling brave enough to make my own cannabutter/oil, I can try different strains to see what works best for my pain over the next couple months and have some positive things to report back at my follow up.

Interestingly, while I was waiting for this appointment, an article from Scleroderma News popped up in one of my social media feeds: New Cannabinoid-based Drug Slows Fibrosis, Blocks Inflammation in Early Scleroderma Study.

Seeing as this is almost 8 hours later, The Dude was supposed to be doing all the provider signup for me and said I should be able to order stuff by the time I got home, except there was a voicemail message saying that he forgot to ask me for my mailing address to complete the application process. *Sigh* I really wish I could have started looking at stuff and put in an order tonight. I doubt the application kerfuffle will be rectified before the end of the weekend :P

Curiously, I don’t know if what I’ve been prescribed is considered “a lot” in the scheme of things, as I don’t even know the dose. The Dude had all my prescription information when he walked me down to the pharmacy to tell me about how I would order everything from my chosen provider. He did seem a bit surprised to read the scrip.

Once I get my signup information email, he recommended that I talk to the provider regarding compassionate pricing which would make things a little easier to manage, financially. Other than that, I am toying with the idea of getting a Magical Butter Machine so that if I decide to make that leap of making my own ‘medibles’, the MB2e may be a less stinky way of going about it. TheHubbs dispises the smell and to be honest, so do I.

So: Let the fun begin.

Onion Gravy Lamb Shanks

 So I was in channel on Wednesday, late night, talking to Esp about a bunch of random food-related things. I don’t remember how it came about, but he mentioned this slow-cooked lamb shanks with onion gravy from this place called Tommy’s Joynt in SF that he really likes and how he was gonna try replicating it for dinner tonight after work.

Since I’ve always been kinda meh about most of the traditional recipes for braised lamb shanks (ie: tomato based Italian-style, Moroccan-style tagines etc) his suggestions sounded really close to how I’ve always wanted my lamb shanks to taste: with more of a roasted lamb flavour versus a stewed flavour.

Well it turns out this “recipe” was exactly what I’ve been searching for in a braised lamb shank recipe. It’s super simple to make, especially in my Instant-pot❤️ (hence the note below regarding the 15minute end pressure cook to finish off) and it’s just perfectly flavoured, which I find crazy.

I had originally intended on making mashed potatoes to go with the gravy but I completely ran out of steam once the lamb got going and decided instead to just boil some noodles and serve it with some (leftover, frozen) braised cabbage. It was seriously awesome.

There’s not much in terms of recipe (will still write up something below for future reference though) since it was literally: sear & remove meat, cook onions & garlic, add back meat, liquids, herbs & spices, cook until done.

If needed (ie: you’re starving to death & in a rush): pressure cook the shanks for ~15-20 minutes at the very end if they’re still not yet falling off and you’ve already cooked them for at least 3hours.

Note on the the noodles: I made the trofie that Baby Bro & his gf brought back as a souvenir from the trip to Italy last summer; these took forever to cook for some reason and way longer than the 15-16 minutes stated on the package. They’re more like dried thinly-rolled dumplings, almost like spaetzle!

Once I had cooked the noodles their alotted package cooktime, I realized that I would rather have them finish cooking in the oniony lamb juices so they would suck up all the flavour.

While they were doing their final cooking in the sauce, I removed the meat off the bones and pulled everything apart into bitesized pieces and put it aside, ready to serve as is.
Once the noodles were cooked & ready to be served, I ended up at the last minute deciding to strain the triofe back into the empty noodle pot, so the sauce could be served separately from the noodles and wouldn’t bloat any of the potential leftovers that might be sitting around. Turned out to be a great idea and the extra sauce on the side meant you could add a spoonful over the meat just to keep it warm and juicy while you’re plating.

I don’t know that I would really change anything after my first time making this; I am really pleased with how the whole thing turned out.
As a sidenote: tonight’s shanks (raw) were probably twice the size of a normal shank & ridiculously huge compared to what I’ve purchased in the past: 

Originally when I was talking to Esp about how many onions to use for the dish, he thought one onion per shank would suffice, but thinking about it for future reference: I don’t think I would change the amount of onions I used tonight; I think I would keep it at 2 (small/medium) onions per normal-sized lamb shank, just because it would make for better onion coverage when slow cooking.

Having said that, if in the future we end up with monster-sized shanks again, I might increase the onions considerably; maybe use 3-4 onions per dino-sized shank, just so you get the proper onion:shank ratio.

Lamb Shanks with Onion Gravy
4 onions, sliced
1 head garlic, peeled

Garlic Olive oil

2 lamb shanks

Beef demi-glace (Better than Bouillon soup stock base)

1L Boiling water

1 sprig Rosemary

2 Bay leaves

Salt, pepper

Mochiko flour, for thickening as slurry

Slice onions and garlic, leave small garlic cloves whole, chop large garlic cloves, set aside.
Heat dutch oven (Instant-pot!) over medium heat with olive oil. Season lamb shanks with s&p, sear all over, then remove from pot & set aside.

Cook all the onions at the bottom of the pot, seasoning with a bit of salt & pepper, until nicely caramelized, then add garlic. Cook a little longer until garlic becomes fragrant then deglaze with a bit of boiling water, just to prevent scorching or burning the onions, especially if you’re using an InstantPot.

Add a spoonful of beef demi to the pot & just enough water to dissolve the demi, maybe about 1 cup, barely covering the onions. Add the sprig of rosemary & 2 bayleaves.
Re-season the shanks with s&p then add back to the pot; making sure to cover shanks as much as possible with the caramelized onions.

Gently pour enough hot water into the pot to come about halfway up the sides of the shanks, but do not pour water over/disturb the onions! Cover and slowcook until meat is fall off the bone tender. At least 3 hours.

Bonus! If you’re using an InstantPot and you’ve cooked the shanks for at least 3hours, but they’re not quite falling completely off the bone yet, if needed: pressure cook the shanks for ~15-20 minutes at the very end if you’re starving to death & desperate to eat ASAP but can’t wait for the sweet spot to happen on its own.

Remove the shanks to a plate and pull the meat off the bones, shredding it into bitesize pieces. Set meat aside somewhere warm while finishing the onion gravy.

Simmer the remaining oniony juices over medium heat and thicken with a mochiko slurry until desired thickness is achieved.

Serve lamb shanks with onion gravy overtop triofe or spaetzle-type noodles and if possible, some braised cabbage. 😏 ❤️

Homemade tapioca pudding

Part 1 of Rituxan infuson treatment was on Monday. The only thing I could stomach eating was tapioca pudding and interestingly, somehow I got it into my head that I was going to make from scratch tapioca pudding  because Minute Tapioca that I normally make just wasn’t working for me texturally — it tends to be pretty bouncy & jello-like, and I was hoping homemade tapioca pudding would be more of a soft custard texture.

Thankfully, my first attempt at making homemade tapioca was a success considering I was worried that I screwed up because my soaked tapioca kind of ended up disintegrated after the overnight soak.

Preparaing for my days of nausea, I tripled the recipe written below and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. ^_^

Tapioca Custard

1/3 cup medium pearl tapioca

3/4 cup cold water

1 1/2 cup milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

Soak tapioca in water 6 hours or overnight in a covered container.

Add milk & cook in covered double boiler over simmering water until tapioca is clear & tender 2.5-3hrs), stirring occassionally.

Beat eggs with sugar & salt. 

Temper eggs with hot milk, then add to the hot tapioca, stirring well to blend.

Continue cooking until thickened, stirring constantly, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat & stir in vanilla.

Serve warm or cold.

Serves 4.

Adagio Tea’s Mrs.Hudson Fandom Blend (review)

 So. Mrs.Hudson…

I have to admit, I’m kind of disappointed. 

On the whole, the blend is perfectly fine as an everyday tea, but if you were hoping for an enjoyable almondy or marzipan-y tasting tea-experience, it’s disappointing that I can’t taste or smell any presence of almond.

Mrs.Hudson: blended with assam melody, black tea, natural almond flavor. Teas: assam melody, almond.


It’s a pleasant enough tea to be drinking black, and I find it is very reminiscent of Chinese tea; more of a “regular” or plain tea that you’d expect to be drinking at a Chinese restaurant that isn’t your usual jasmine.

I would be content enough to drink it black, as is, but I also found it was nice with milk.

I was really hoping that adding a bit of sugar would help to bring out the missing almond flavour; but sadly, there wasn’t much difference since I couldn’t smell anything remotely almond flavoured at any point of the brewing process.

In the end, it’s a perfectly drinkable & enjoyable tea, but it didn’t wow me in its current state. Since the tea came to me as a part of the fandom blend, would I go out of my way to purchase Mrs.Hudson as a loose tea? Overall I feel rather “meh” about it, so the answer is: Probably not. 

Just for fun, and curiousity’s sake, I thought it might be an interesting experiment to see what would happen if I added 1-2 drops of almond extract right into my milky tea. 

The logic and my thought process of adding the almond extract was to see how the tea would (or wouldn’t!) improve if I could increase the almond flavour to make it noticeable, but not overwhelming (or screaming-in-your-face). I figured it would be nice to be able to better gauge what the tea was supposed to taste like when it ACTUALLY tasted of almond, like the tea suggests, rather than trying to guess its intentions.

Results of my experiment? Absolutely, positively, amazing. If Mrs.Hudson tasted like what is currently in my cup, I would be immensely pleased about buying this blend on its own; but seeing as how it does need the extra boost, if you happen to purchase the Sherlock Sampler Set yourself, try Mrs.Hudson as you normally would, then try it with the tiniest bit of almond extract. Bliss.