A Day In The Life Of Scott

If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion

Cancer, seizures, more doctors’ appointments, and other randomness

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First of all I want to begin with a moment to think about those that we care about, and have always expected to be around all the time. One does not always find it easy to realize that the circle of life must continue because we assume our loved ones will always be there when we need them. It is not until one or more of these people are gone from our lives that we begin to put things into perspective, and that sadly, the people around us change. This forces us to make new connections and try hard to not forget the old connections.

You are probably asking why I bring this up at all. Well, it’s like this, for months now my uncle has been battling cancer. There were good days and bad, but always a struggle because that is just how cancer is. This morning cancer took another victim and now his battle is over. Unfortunately the cancer won.

At this point wish I would be home for the holidays, but there is no way I can swing it. My family is important to me and now another person is gone. Going back to my opening statement, I have been thinking all day about how families change. It has been crossing my mind all day that if it can happen to my uncle than it could just as easily be happening to my own parents. I know it is harsh thing to be thinking, but this is how my mind works. This was the moment of putting things into perspective, because I am not a child anymore. All the people that I always expected to be there are slowly being taken away from me.

It started 13 years ago with my grandfather, and later my grandmother. Both of whom, along with my aunts, were my inspiration for becoming a teacher. My grandmother was a teacher, and my grandfather always held education in in high regard. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at their picture sitting above my computer screen on the shelf. Some days it serves as great motivation for getting up and going to work; especially when the kids are being kids and you just want to be allowed to slap them silly, but know that the most you can do is glare at them. ( haha – maybe that is just me )

Anyway, now that it is next to impossible for me to be home with my family another member is taken away from me. On that same token, my deepest and most heartfelt condolences go out to my aunt and cousins. I wish I could be home, especially now, especially for this holiday season.


On a more personal note, although still not great, James has been missing weeks of school because of his non-stopping seizures. He has not been to class since the beginning over November. The seizures just don’t seem to be stopping, we do not know why. Medications are on track and I cannot seem to figure out what the possible triggers are.

Last week there were two seizures that lasted over 20 minutes. Both were complex partial, and I was not home, so there was little I could do. Yesterday morning he had about 6 seizures, 5 of which were consecutive and left him flat on the floor for 25 minutes or more. Today there was a couple more. All of which take place in his sleep, so there does not seem to be any physical trigger. The predominance of nocturnal seizures also suggests to me that they are not psychogenic (pseudo) seizures. They have to be true epileptic seizures.

Last week I called the receptionist at the seizure specialist’s office and told her that we NEED to get him in as soon as possible because the seizure are getting longer, more intense and more frequent. After some rearrangement of schedules she called me a few days ago. James has two appointments in Saskatoon in the middle of January.

January 15th he has to go in for MRI scans and on January 19th I need to bring him in for his week-long telemetry appointment. I can drop him off and he will be under observation and getting EEGs done.

There is hope yet that things will be changed. Only thing is that it is too bad we cannot get him in sooner, but the receptionist told me that it was out of her hands, there were two people ahead of him for telemetry and the doctor is not back in the office until January 6th.

Either way, considering it was only about a month ago that I first took James to the emergency room in North Battleford and to the doctor in Maidstone who made the referral to Saskatoon; I suppose I cannot really complain that we have to wait 4 more weeks. We should consider ourselves lucky, because his specialist appoint in St. John’s was not until July 2014, after a 13 month waiting period.

Things were done pretty quickly around here all things considered, and for that I am thankful. I still have not cancelled the appointment in St. John’s. You never know, we may need that appointment too; I want to ensure that things are going smoothly here. Considering that his new epileptologist is world-renowned in the field of seizures, I think he will be in good hands. Also, considering his new family doctor seems to have a genuine interest in his well-being, he actually wants to see James on a regular basis. We were in to see him two weeks ago, and we need to go in again next week.

Keep in mind that the last time we spoke to his neurologist in Grand Falls-Windsor (only 2 months after his previous visit) his first words were “I didn’t want to see you again until September.” How so very rude, here I am trying to get to the bottle of things and stop the seizures, and the doctor saying he doesn’t even want to see him. Well, I showed him, I found James three new doctors since then, all of whom seem quite interested in the refractory epilepsy – that is epilepsy that doesn’t want to be controlled by medication.

In other news, my own website, http://scottoosterom.ca/ has gotten a much needed facelift. Last week I had an ingenious plan to re-do my website and add some new content to it.

I had not updated it in over a year because I really did not have much need to. My primary objective at the time was to provide my science notes, homework listing and supplementary resources. After I stopped teaching my science courses I kinda stopped updating my site.

For the last couple months I have been using scientific inquiry as a main method of instruction for a couple of my classes. I started with my grade 8 class because the topic lent itself to some basic research that the kids could do followed by my assigned essays, modelling and presentations. It worked out awesome, actually.

My ingenious plan was to start a page where not only can my notes and supplementary course materials be found for both Newfoundland and Saskatchewan, but also a place for me and others to share information and ideas about scientific inquiry based learning. As an added bonus, I have received a whole of information on the subject from my mentor at the school division. Also my principal has been giving me some information and units too that she has used with her grade 7 science class.

I am excited to get this underway just as soon as I get some spare time over Christmas break to get things done. Right now I have the basic outline done, and a completely remodelled page that has a beautiful professional feel to it. Some links are still pointing at the old site that is still active; others have been given a fresh new appearance.

Anyway, I am feeling a little peckish, and so I am off to find some supper.

I keep dreaming of a future, a future with a long and healthy life, not lived in the shadow of cancer but in the light.” – Patrick Swayze

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/p/patrickswa450365.html#bME5aCKgfDOHMMmv.99


Author: Scott Oosterom

I live in Cut Knife, Saskatchewan, Canada. I teach high school math/ science at Chief Little Pine School in Little Pine, Sk.

One thought on “Cancer, seizures, more doctors’ appointments, and other randomness

  1. Scott, thank you for your message to us about Teddy. It has been a very difficult time for all…especially the last few weeks. I had some great support from the VON nurses and especially from your mother and my kids. I could count on them to be here when I needed them for anything. Now Teddy’s pain is over and he’s enjoying a “cold one” with Dad and doesn’t have to listen to me growl about it!!

    I’m so glad that you’re getting some help with James’ problem. I hope that the doctors will be able to give him relief from the seizures at last.

    Have a lovely Christmas…wish you could come home but “a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” as they say.

    Aunt Elaine

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