Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Where does my time go? (and other random musings)

That is a question I honestly cannot answer. I am amazed at the people who can crank out posts to their blogs on a daily basis - AND they are good!

I not only have no clue as to where my time goes, but it seems that my life is totally devoid of any inspiration for something new and, well, amusing. Am I really so totally wrapped up in this fight against cancer that I don’t do anything that is blogable?

Oh well - weekend update. We went to the ranch this weekend. The purpose of the trip was really the family reunion - although I found that I really have missed being there. It’s been a month, and I never thought I would miss going to that far removed from civilization place that I used to hate.

But those were the days that we stayed in my mother in law’s house. The is the most OCD house keeper I have ever met. Her medicine cabinet is arranged alphabetically. I don’t have the desire to check out the pantry. That would probably send me right over the edge. I never felt I could clean her house as well as she thought it should be cleaned.

At home I am not by any stretch of the imagination a fastidious housekeeper. When I had three "jobs" (teacher, part time church organist, and weekend shop keeper at a local flea market), I decided that life was way too short to spend my life doing chores that would have to be repeated the very next day. Spending time with my family was far more important.

My house is at times cluttered. I will even admit that. Some will classify it that way even when I think it is cleared completely. I am a hoarder. When you teach, you soon discover that as soon as you throw something away, you could have used it. Now I am a crafter, so that philosophy is still in operation.

But there is a clear difference in the house at the ranch. I am almost a minimalist there. Rather sparse furnishings as opposed to the house here in Swampland. I like the open spaces - hence the family gatherings are at my house (even without the fact it is the largest).

An invasion of ants made me be paranoid about how things are stored in my pantry. I must have cornered the market on plastic totes, plastic zip bags, and Press n Seal wrap. I patrol that space like crazy. If someone puts something in there that isn’t sealed against all possibilities - they find it in the things they are taking home.

Now, after an invasion of mice, I am a fanatic about any bits of anything the little vermin might find appetizing cleaned up. I had to spend hours cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and DRAWERS! The little buggers tried to make nests in my drawers.

But now the house is secure, and I am driving my kids crazy! But even with my daughter’s family there, we had a great time. We got to see family we haven’t seen in two years. The only thing that is disconcerting about the family reunions is that we are now the "older" parents. Hard on the ego.

Since we were gone, I enjoyed missing being radiated yesterday, and today we begin again. I theorize I will be completed with this business September 14!

And to Robin Roberts (Good Morning America), bless you. May your days be as good as mine have been. You apparently found your much earlier than I did. That’s good. I hope your treatment will be as easy on you as mine has been.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I try to pull something new and witty out of my life to share here, but it seems life is pretty much the same old thing around here.

I am either waiting to leave to go for radiation or I have just come back. I really haven’t done anything in this world that is earth shattering.

This weekend will be a little different however. We are heading to the ranch for a family reunion, and my daughter, K, and her family will be joining us. That should liven things up - a lot!
There is a family reunion, and she thinks this will be a good time to show Doodle Bug (the newest one) off. She will be able to have most of that side of the family meet her.

I have plans for me and Lady Bug. We are going to set off in the new "Mule" Sunday afternoon (weather permitting) and look for wild flowers. Because of the unusual rains, we still have wild flowers blooming. After we find them, we will press and dry them. It will give her something different to do.

As usual, the weather here is completely falling apart. The real rains will be moving in this evening with flooding expected tomorrow. I just hope we can get out and go! The plans are that as soon as I get zapped, we will hop in the Green Monster and take off. I hope so - even though I worry about the situation here!

I hope I don’t come home to find several inches of water in my house! And I will let you know how the folks at the radiation lab take me missing Monday! Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

One down . . .

Yesterday was my first radiation treatment. I won’t say I had no idea what to expect because I have read a lot and Lee Ann, who frequently comments here, really helped to pave the way.

I was taken in almost right away. I still really believe I had fallen through the cracks setting an appointment, the whole process was quite smooth. I went straight into the dressing room, changed and into a small waiting room. In just a few minutes the therapist came in with the consent papers, explained a few things, and then we were in the radiation room.

The staff was kind and reassuring. That really helps.

The things that is so bad is the appointment is 11:45. Smack dab in the middle of the day. I may be able to change it at some point. I hope so. Of course, I will have to tell them I am missing on Monday because we are going to the ranch for a bi-annual family reunion.

I met with Dr Poison this morning. I think he was surprised that the radiation had taken to long to begin. Well, he can talk to them. Of course, the computers were down at the oncologist’s office, so he had no real information. It really was kind of a waste of an appointment.

He did say that we will do another PET scan in about 10 weeks. That one will tell if we have been successful.

Off to radiation - again.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Birth announcement

Doodle Bug joined her siblings, Lady Bug and Monkey Boy, last night at 7:09 pm. She weighed in at 9 pounds 6 ounces and measured 22 ½ inches long. She is the biggest baby yet although the other two were no slouches.

We have big babies in this family. My niece had twins in October and both were right around 8 pounds - one being a little under while the other was a little over.

K was to be at the hospital early, but we apparently had a baby boom here in Swampland. According to the nurses, the rain and the full moon help with that. K’s nurse said it is really bad during a full moon and a hurricane. I guess so! The moon’s pull and the low pressure. Wow!

Everyone is delighted with Doodle Bug with the exception of Monkey Boy who upon entering the room after her birth announced "I don’t want that" while looking at Doodle Bug. When his aunt questioned him about a baby before they got there (Lady Bug and Monkey Boy are staying with their aunt and uncle), said "no baby!" I guess he is going to have a bit of a rough time.

All, with the exception of Monkey, are doing great. Doodle is much calmer today since no one is messing with her, but she does have a temper.

It’s nice being a grandmother. They don’t live with me!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Catching up

Things have been rather harried around here of late. My arthritis has just about made me bed ridden, but there were the appointments some of which I had made months ago. So I was out of the house for these appointments.

I went to my cardio guy on Tuesday. I told him that Dr. Poison, my oncologist, remarks on a heart murmur every time I see him. Dr Cardio said he had never noticed, and he listened again. He still couldn’t hear it, so I got scheduled for an echocardiogram.

He was pleased with my blood pressure as well as the cholesterol. But now my blood sugar is high. Oh great - what next? He said if he was still high in January he would send me to an Endocrinologist. I can hardly wait. Just what I need. More doctors, more meds.

I called the Radiation Oncology people again. I will swear that I was forgotten! The person answering the phone said she would have someone call me back. I am set for Monday. I find that interesting. As I said, I really believe I fell through the cracks.

Yesterday I got to have my port flushed. I was quite nervous since neither Darellynn nor Kay were there. It was someone new. She had never accessed my port. I could just see her poking around until I screamed, but she listened to me and was great! She is good!

I then went upstairs to give yet another gallon of blood to be tested for my appointment with Dr Poison next week.
The afternoon was set aside for the echo. I guess I’ll hear about that next week.

Right now I am waiting to go to the hospital to be with my daughter. She is to be induced today. That has already gotten "screwed up" because they have had a baby boom. Her OB wanted her there at 5 because this is his "early day." She was told to go back home, eat a light breakfast and return at 9. Now she has been told to come back between 11 and noon. Now I know why my surgeon didn’t want to do my lympectomy then mastectomy at that hospital. Unfortunately, the new, wonderful hospital doesn't have an OB service.

And of course, Swampland is being drowned again this week. It has continued to rain daily, and today is the worst of all. It is a real toad strangler, and is supposed to stay that way all day.

Have a great weekend. I hope to be back here Monday afternoon with a report on my first radiation!

Friday, July 13, 2007

This little piggy . . .

Even though my toe looked so nasty yesterday, I bravely bandaged it. I was going to get to go out for lunch. I had to get my priorities straight, didn’t I? Why yes!

After lunch, I came back home to rest a little and complete my shopping list to go to the grocery store. That was a task I could have gladly put off until today, but G was going to take cinnamon rolls to work (that is another entire story - I’m tired of providing those folks with food - they eat more than any working group I know of).

I used to have a lot of open toe shoes, but now I have one pair. They are not particularly comfortable and are a short platform shoe, but I do not want to buy another pair of new shoes right now. I started to go to get a pair of Mushr*oms with no toe, but I really won’t need them. The shoe pulled on the bandage quite a bit, so I rushed through the store more than I should have. Read I didn’t get everything I wanted because I didn’t put it on the list thinking I could remember it.

I was very apprehensive when I got home. I was thinking the bandage would, once again, be stuck. To my joy, it wasn’t. It still looked nasty, but I got the bandage off.
After the soaking, it really looked good. Even the peroxide didn’t bubble up. Yeah! The toe may make it through this.

K called last night. She is having some contractions, but they are apparently not the real thing even though they can be quite severe. Perhaps we might have a baby this weekend.
Another day has passed - no call from radiation oncology. At this rate I won’t be finished by Labor Day!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I was expecting something like this

Being the studious cancer patient that I am, I was aware of something like this happening. In fact, I really expected it to happen. I watched intensely - waiting. I just didn’t expect it to be like it is!

A couple of months ago, I wore some sneakers that were a little tight in the toe. I went to Tar*et and on to the grocery store because the one at Tar*et was a toy grocery store not having the items I needed. We were going to the Hill Country the next day, and I needed to get that task done - THEN.

The big toe on my right foot was killing me, but I forged on. I had my mind set on my goal. Pain wasn’t going to deter me. By the time I was finished, I absolutely had to take the shoe off.

A few days later, I noticed the nail was black. I had formed a hematoma under the nail. I would be losing the nail. This is something that happens to chemo patients. I had read that the chemo will cause the nail to darken and fall off. So I thought I was lucky. This is the only one.

Last week, the nail began oozing. It was clear, so in my Land of Denial, things were perfectly ok. Infection causes the ooze to be discolored. So, ignoring the advice of my family, I did not call the podiatrist.
The next week, the ooze was yellowish. Of course that was on Thursday afternoon. I called the podiatrist. I could not be seen until Monday.

So off I went. I explained it all to the staff and the doctor. She then cut off the nail. I got instructions on how to soak it, splash on peroxide, clean it out daily, and to come back the next Monday. I thought that was probably not going to be necessary - at the time. Funny how ideas change.

Today it is a real mess. I am afraid to bandage it because the bandage will stick to it! If I don’t bandage it, I can’t go out. Decisions, decisions. There is a bandage in my future because I have to go out.

I was expecting something like this, but not to this extreme. Oh, and by the way, there is still no set date for radiation. Bah!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I guess it’s time to get on with my life since I haven’t heard from the Radiation Oncology department. There are several other things I have to get done.

One is to get the appliance repairman out to work on the ice maker. Right now it is more like a glacier maker. The water valve must be leaking because the ice cubes that it dumps tend to stick together after a bit. We vigorously work with an ice pick to clean out the icy mass, but only have a few days to enjoy the huge quantity of individual ice cubes before they once again become a mass. The little stream of ice that descends from the ice tray to the bin adds a nice touch like being in a cave looking at the stalactites. Who needs an exotic vacation?. Just open my freezer and behold the sights.

I began this post yesterday with hopes of having the choice repairman grace us with his magnificent knowledge. In my lifetime, I have had only two other repairmen. One, Old George, retired leaving a huge gap. I was lost until we found a nice appliance store where we bought our once new cook top. They had a repairman they highly recommended - Leonard. He was great. I used him for many years.

Being the wise consumer that I am (yeah, sure), I have purchased appliances that are well constructed, and my need for a repairman are not as great as they were when I had small babies whose socks would get stuck in the filter on the washing machine. When I needed repair on the dish washer, I called Leonard. His answering maching answered as usual, but Leonard never called.

When I called again - it was the usual answering machine. No Leonard. When I called the appliance store, they were also confused. Leonard seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth. But they had a new guy - Mike.

I called Mike yesterday. I left a message. I have not heard from Mike. Could it be that he thinks I am a little crazy? I had him out before to look at my vent hood. The light would not come on. He took the bulb out and put it back. Guess what! It came on. I felt like a dolt. But what he doesn’t know is that later it pulled the same thing. It wouldn’t come on. I know something he doesn’t. There IS a problem with that thing - probably a short somewhere. But the situation remains. The short is still there and we never turn it off!

Mike has not called, there is a glacier in my freezer that allows only five individual cubes to collect, and I want ice! So I ventured into the yellow pages to find the number for the after warranty place where I have gone to get the parts that I know how to replace. They supposedly come out. If you will excuse me, it’s time to see if they still exist now. Then I must call the air conditioning people to crawl around in my hot attic to check the units!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Happy BIrthdays

Today and tomorrow are two of the special days for my family. Today, three years ago, Monkey Boy was born. Tomorrow, thirty one years ago, B was born.

For an uncle and nephew, these two are two peas in a pod. They are so much alike. Monkey Boy reminds me, as well as his mother, so much of B when he was a baby. Wheels are things of complete fascination. Cars are to be adored.

Monkey Boy is more like his mother in the fact he has had ear problems. His, however, were never ones that were obvious, so he is now delayed in his speech. She on the other hand wore her ear infections like badges. Monkey Boy has been serviced by Early Childhood Intervention, and has shown considerable improvement. He still will lapse into his old habit of just babbling, but there is more and more clear speech evolving. He will be seen by the school district in the fall for more help. I am so glad he is getting help before school.

B struggled through school. I am so upset that he struggled so much. Now that I have more education on the topic, I am sure he was an attention deficit child. Our elementary schools are open concept which means the "classroom area" is just that - one big open room with grades 1 - 5 all literally huddled in small groups surrounded by whatever the teachers can find to eek out their small space - bookshelves, tote keepers, etc. You walk in and the children are huddled on the floor at the teacher’s feet, and she is struggling to keep their attention. Everyone must speak in whispers.

B had real trouble with that set up. It set the stage for his entire school experience. He never learned how to focus on the teacher. He wasn’t interested in what she had to say. There were a lot more interesting things going on in the world.
But he has made it out of school. He only made two semesters in college. That is another sad story for another time. He is successful in life however. He was able to get on with the local telephone company. He has installed phones, repaired phone lines, and now he is a cable splicer. It is a good living with a good, reliable company.

He also amazes me. He can remember things that I cannot. He began with certain comic strips that he loved. That has expanded into song lyrics. He remembers thousands of songs and that is important because he does have his band. They play on weekends around the area and there is a good following for the band.

So instead of worrying about Monkey Boy and his current special education label, if he continues to follow his Uncle B’s lead, he will be successful too.

Happy Birthdays boys!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Catching up

Night before last we had a scare. K called at 11:30, right after I fell into bed. She thought her water had broken. I went over to be with the kids as they went to the ER. I was pretty sure if was a false alarm, and it was. I know she really wished it were real. She is so ready to have that baby - at least partially. That baby will be about 9 pounds, so K is really

I have gotten over most of my fears about the future. Now I am a little miffed because a week has come and gone and I have no appointments. I have not heard from them at all.

I called Tuesday and was told that they were "working me into the schedule." Great! The treatment that will gobble up the most time and I am waiting doing nothing.

This is the first time since this whole story began that I haven’t been rushed into a treatment of some type. I don’t handle that well at all. I try to believe that I am not a control freak, but I guess that’s not the case.
Well, lets hope I get a call today or tomorrow to begin Monday.