Saturday, December 22, 2007


Growing up, I felt as though I had two sets of parents. A little over-kill there! One child, four parents. So holiday times meant sharing time with the "other parents." My other parents were my aunt and uncle who lived about a mile from us. It just became a natural thing.

When G and I married, here came a whole other family. And extended family. We really had to spread ourselves thin - especially at Christmas. We had my family, then we had his family. That meant that in addition to the regular things I was used to at Christmas, we had at least two more celebrations to work in. One was fairly easy - the whole family, three kids and two in-laws, would be at his parents house for our family Christmas, then off the A Litter Bigger Town for the extended family Christmas - which was mother-in-law's family. A trip of about 2 hours. Just long enough to mean overnight.

I am used to having to be stretched thin for holidays. I am a little upset that our nuclear family doesn't seem to be able to have a family Christmas any more. Since daughter in law has her mother living with her, they (crazy Cajuns) celebrate with their family BOTH Christmas eve and Christmas day.

It's not that we are excluded. Just the opposite. We become members of that family. It's really great fun.

I just would like for the grandchildren to have their extended family to get together for their presents. It's not happening - again this year. I thought we could have the usual family dinner on Sunday night. This one very light and easy, but Lady Bug, Monkey Boy and, to a certain extent, Doodle Bug could open all their presents with everyone together.

DIL stopped that one. She said they had church that evening (which I knew), then she had a house full of relatives (also which I knew). Well, yes. But they will be there for a week. Or more. I had just hoped for a couple of hours with them and the others.

Oh well, K and S will bring the kids here tomorrow and things will proceed pretty much as planned - but without the aunt and uncle. Perhaps when they add to the grandchildren things will change.

We will just wait and see. And perhaps hope too.

Hope you have your family close and enjoy your time with them. Things will be fun regardless of when and where here!

Friday, December 21, 2007

A better woman? And other musings

To some extent, I have gotten over my raging snit that erupted at father-in-law's funeral. But I am finding that I still really don't care to socialize with G's mother. These hurt feelings go back about twenty five years. I thought they were put behind me, but she delights in re-opening old wounds. Even her sister mentioned how difficult she is to live with. But neither she nor the hurts are worth taking up space. It is what it is, and will be forever. Does that make me a better woman? I doubt it.

Anyway, I was hoping that I wouldn't be keeping Doodle Bug at all today, but I have her for a "couple of hours." I really have so much to do, but at least she is into naps, unlike her sister and brother. So I get to spend time here with you!

Daughter, K, just turned 34. At that age you would think she has some sense of responsibility. Ha! While we were away, I was to work on a baptismal napkin for our church (I need to complete one today and get it to church for Sunday also!). I finished it and gave it to K at the funeral so she could bring it back. She had two good days, Thursday and Friday, to take it to church. I reminded her early on Friday.

When I called home to check for messages, the church secretary had called "to see if there was a problem." When I talked to K on Saturday, I again asked. When she hesitated answering, I knew there was a problem.

For some reason, my home answering machine turned itself off sometime Saturday. Because of that, the messages went to the phone company's answering service (that I HAVE to cancel - I keep forgetting). When I got home and realized what had happened, I checked that service. The secretary had called at 6:30 pm Saturday night. The napkin was still not there.

I just kept my mouth shut about the whole thing this week. Finally yesterday, K admitted that she had forgotten. She told me she made sure that she got up really early Sunday morning to get it to church. So much for responsibility!

If I don't make it back before Christmas, which is a real possibility, Merry Christmas to you all. I hope your holidays are filled with joy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Conflicting emotions

We are back from father-in-law's funeral. We stayed the week at the SSB.

I have been wrestling with whether or not I should write about the experience. It was not good.

I am trying to understand it I am making a mountain out of a mole hill or not, but I was very upset by things that occurred.

The relationship with mother-in-law had been stormy, and I thought that was over, but now I really am wondering again.

I realize this is quite cryptic. I wrote up a post while we were gone, but I am not sure I should post it. I may just sound petty. Don't know.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Oh, December.

I am beginning to really hate December. My mother died thirty three years ago in December. My step mother died four years ago in December, My dad took really ill two years ago in December, but managed to hold on until January 13.

This morning at 3:30, my father in law died.

We will be out of pocket for at least a week. We are going to the SSB as our headquarters for the funeral in the Alamo City. In the long run, it is cheaper to pay for gasoline than boarding Simone and staying in a hotel. Besides, we sleep in our own beds.

Hope your Christmas shopping goes well if you are still fighting the crowds. Stay safe.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Freedom - for a day

I am going to sound like such a wuss! I had to go to K's yesterday to watch Doodle Bug because she had a dentist appointment, and the second repair person was there to fix her floors (another BIG story!). I only had to be there an hour. Today I don't have her at all. I feel so free. It's wonderful.

So why don't I tell K to put her in day care? Mainly because I'm, as I said, a big wuss. I know I'm helping her out. But that's not the whole story. I really think Doodle Bug is just too young to go into day care. Four and a half months is just too young.

The other factor is that since Thanksgiving, she refuses a bottle. Sure, she gets hungry and SCREAMS, but she does then go to sleep. She naps. The other two didn't. They took the bottle, but they slept for fifteen minutes - if I was lucky.

Things will get better when she can sit by herself. Then I can sneak out to the grocery store or other places that have baskets with the seats in them. Right not I am pretty much house-bound with her. I just don't want to fight the car seat thingies that go from car to wherever. They tend to stick on the baskets. Plus, I don't have the strength I used to have. Seat + baby = too much weight.

So I guess I will just relish today (I think she will be back tomorrow) and keep her here in the house until we can be easily sprung from the house. By next July or August, she will be in day care. It will all work out.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

News from the attic

Father in law is not doing well. He has been moved from home hospice to short term in house hospice. He is not sleeping which means that he gets up at night. When he gets up he falls because his feet are so swollen from the edema resulting (probably) from kidney failure.
G and K went to Alamo City Saturday to see him. He really didn’t know them. G suspects that some of the problem may have been that his eyes were dilated. I think they were dilated because of the drugs he has been given to encourage sleep. They don’t work on him. At all.
Doodle Bug went with them. She was an absolute angel! She slept the entire way there. She never uttered a peep. She might do that for me - if she accepted the bottle again. Since she did without for four days at Thanksgiving, she refuses the bottle. Things are rather noisy here at times. The kid has a good set of lungs on her!
Sunday we showed at our little surburb town’s holiday outing. It rained. We made a whopping $16! I also believe we were among the most successful vendors. Well that is with the exception of the people next to us. K spent over $30 with them buying Christmas decorations! But we had more customers.
When I was talking to d-i-l C, I found that their friend’s mother whose cancer has returned never went for her follow up checkups. She has been off Tamoxfen (I guess that was the one) for two
years. She has extensive return of her cancer. She still is refusing treatment. That is such a shame.

I made the mistake of not having my mammogram done for all those years. I'm not making a mistake like that again. I will make each and every one of my appointments!

Life is pretty much the same around here day in and day out. Doodle Bug is here about six hours, then I spend the rest of the evening recouperating! How dull, but at least it's life!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanks for a good Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is over and past, and the good news is that we didn’t come to blows. Whenever seven people are put into an eighteen hundred square foot dwelling it creates a situation that could become hostile quickly, especially when three of those people are under the age of 7. Add inclement weather to the mix, and it’s a wonder we are all still speaking.

Wednesday was hot and dry, but with Thursday came the cold and the rain. We were basically house bound except for the couple of forays to the hunting stands. The kids were definitely housebound however. With the cold wind and rain they couldn’t even go out on the deck to play.

Under normal circumstances we really don’t let them outside. As I have said before, SSB stands for stings, sticks or bites. The cold kept down any chance of stings and bites, but this has been a year for a bumper crop of grass burrs!

We did make the pilgrimage into tiny town on Black Friday. We certainly didn’t make a huge addition to the town’s economy however. We returned the rental trailer, ate at the major restaurant, bought a book, filled the vehicle up with gas and . . .bought it a new car battery.

When we were going to leave the gas station, it wouldn’t start. I was really afraid it was the starter and not the battery because for some strange reason, son-in-law broke the law and reason by leaving the motor running while fueling. When he got in, he tried to start it again, then turned off the ignition. Then it wouldn’t start. I really thought we were in DEEP trouble!

G went into the center to see if someone could give us a jump while SIL went across the highway to a service station. The man there came over to give a jump. It started!! Yea! So we bought a new battery. I was really surprised it was as reasonable as it was. We could have been gouged - big time, but it was quite reasonable.

The rest of the long weekend was really uneventful. It was really cold and dreary, but it was also strangely relaxing!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Harried tidbits

I've got a bit of a break this morning. Doodle Bug has her 4 month check up, so she won't be here until about 10 or so. I have to admit, I do miss my non-scheduled life.

This afternoon I go back to the surgeon for a follow-up. It seems like a waste of time, the incision looks great. I just forgot to tell them I am allergic to tape. They used tape instead of stitches. So I have several little bumps where the tape was along with red lines to tie it all together!

When I left the hospital, they instructed me to leave the tape in place until it started to fall off. If I had followed that advice, and didn't have an appointment today where I'm sure it would have been ripped off, I would have the tape next year. It was stuck!

I decided that if the incision didn't hurt any more, it had to be healed. I guess it was!

G's father is not doing at all well. He just turned 88. He was in the hospital with a mini-stroke, and went back because his feet were so swollen from complications from congestive heart failure that he couldn't put shoes on. He was supposed to be in until today, but he was released yesterday. My "little" sister-in-law came back early, and there he was. Her mom let the sitter go because her daughter was there. Drats! Now the dad has diarrhea, but isn't aware of it. Things don't look good for him at all, plus daughter is not prepared for this. I hope she gets out. I don't know what is going to happen. We are here in Swampland and the other son is in Capital City. I don't want to go through something like what I did with Dad and V, but I think it is going to happen - soon.

We are preparing for the annual pilgrimage to Ranchito SSB. I know G will be ready to pull his hair out since there will be three grandchildren under 7 there for four and a half days! The dad gets to him too. If only S would get the idea that he doesn't have to fabricate to get approval. You'd think after 11 years he would snap to that fact. Oh well!

I don't know if the time will go as planned. I can see G having to make a trip to Alamo City during this weekend. I just can't predict what is going to happen. I just hope we make it to the Ranchito instead of only getting to Alamo City.

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving. I know I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and I'll bet you do too. If you are traveling, please be careful.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I would say it is holiday crazies, but it's not close enough for that. I guess I need about six hours more in a day. I honestly don't know where the day goes. It simply evaporates.

My port is history. It was removed a week ago yesterday. I still have the strip bandage sutures. They continue to stick well, but alas, I really believe I am allergic to them since there is some nasty redness at the ends of each one. I surely am not going to peel them off however. I know I am not healed enough.

I was afraid they were only going to use a local anesthetic. I told my surgeon I really didn't want to listen to all that. So they used conscious sedation. I was a little apprehensive because during the colonoscopies, I was awake - completely! I watched as the doctor perused my colon. There was no pain, but I could tell you each twist and turn he made. It was interesting.

I was awake and aware during the beginning of this removal surgery. I knew when he made the incision, but they must have given me a real push of drugs because I was surprised when they had me move from the operating table back to the gurney, and the surgeon was long gone! All in all it was very simple.

I have had days of doubting lately. I read a magazine I picked up in the oncologist's office. There were three women, basketball coaches, who had breast cancer. It returned in all three of them. One took seventeen years. Now I doubt I will have to worry about seventeen years from now. I would be nearing 80. I do worry about 3-5 years from now.

All I can do is keep my appointments for check ups, and pray I have good doctors.

Hope your weekend was good, and now there is a new one on the horizon. Hope it is good for you. Mine is shaping up to be BUSY!! At least we will be home and not on the road. I'll just be sewing my fingers off getting ready for our little village's Christmas in the Park. Daughter and I usually do well there with out little craft booth.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bits of dust from the ol' attic

After spending the weekend last week at Ranchito SSB, going through San Antonio to see how father-in-law was doing. The trip was originally to determine how they were going to handle getting by. Both of them are not capable of taking care of themselves and need to have someont with them all the time. Sister-in-law has been with them for six months, but they (parents) have been getting on her case about everything. So "the boys" (the brothers) were going to meet with Dad. He ended up in the hospital after falling from an apparent stroke. It is a bad situation.

I have been keeping Doodle Bug while K works. She is quite demanding and has a terrible temper. Wednesday was the absolute worst. I would have liked to drown her at points, but God made babies cute so we wouldn’t do things like that! Her dad had kept her for two days, and we are definitely different (and not in the most obvious ways!). To make that long story short - I have very little free time these days!

Last week, I thought I had the answer to her temper. When she got angry, it was usually because she was tired and needed to nap. I would swaddle her, she would fall asleep, sleep for 45 minutes, and wake in a good mood. This week, swaddling made her even more angry! We finally came to peaceful terms by Friday, but I’m dreading Monday. I haven't had her for two days now.

The best news is that I will have my port-a-cath removed on Tuesday morning. I am thrilled. One more step to being a survivor. The surgeon talked about doing a local, but when I went for the pre-op on Friday, they indicated that I would be put under. I have mixed feelings about that situation. I’m not sure I want to experience that procedure, but being put under is another situation all together. These people put me under twice in February, so I just need to trust them.

This week also brought a crisis with the in-laws. Sister-in-law had enough of parents and left. They had been riding her case even though they couldn’t still be in their home if she wasn’t living with them, but they don’t realize just how valuable she is. We had many frantic calls among the brothers. They came up with a plan to cover the parents, but their sister went back to the parents. Don’t know the outcome of this, but I think it won’t be good - at all.

NowI must leave you all. I have to get dinner ready for the family gathering here at my house - again. Thank heavens for slow cookers - especially the new ones that are so nice and big that you can prepare a meal for six to eight people.

Have a good one, whatever it is.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Just a quick note here - I'm trying to overcome my arthritic stiffness to get the troup carrier for the trip to the SSB for the weekend. Gotta watch our property since our 16 year old nephew will be there along with (probably) 15 or so of his closest friends for the youth hunt weekend. Since the little place they hunt is surrounded by the rest of the family, he doesn't think a thing in this world about just using our feeders while he is there. At least he will not qualify for this youth only weekend again. He will be too old!

The real news is that in about a week, either Friday, November 2, or Tuesday, November November 6, I will be rid of the port-a-cath! I am sooooo glad! I may be imagining it all, but since it has been a good two months since it was flushed, I think I am having some issues with it. Regardless, the area is tender and always has been. But I get rid of it!

That is the big news. Funny how small things become so important. It's just another step toward feeling like a survivor instead of a patient.

Ya'll have a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


According to Jeff Foxworthy, "You might be a redneck if you go to a family reunion to get a date."
We went to a family reunion Saturday. I was looking around, and realized that for my grandchildren (ages seven, three and three months), they could at some point go to the family reunions and look for a date because the lines of being related are really stretched. Their generation would be something like fourth or fifth cousins in some cases! I guess that would certainly make them rednecks!

We now have the fourth generations coming to this reunion. This is my father-in-law’s family, and the reunions began about 35 years ago. There were originally ten children in that family. It was five boys followed by five girls. There are only two of the boys left now, the oldest is about 91, and there are four girls left. The youngest is in her 70's. The first reunions were predominantly first and second generations (if we begin only with those 10 children).

When the reunion began, their children (us, in other words) were either newly married or not married. Many of them were still in school. Now we all have children, grandchildren, and one who married at 16 (!!) has great-grandchildren. Those children are fourth cousins. And there is a bunch of them!
It is interesting watching the family grow. With that growth, I find myself wondering if our children and those of their generation will want to continue this tradition. Back 30 years ago, I would have never dreamed that I would look forward to these gatherings. I thought when the previous generation was not able to organize them anymore, they would cease.

My generation has slipped into the organization role. Of the ten children, only five procreated. And of that only four had more than one child who is interested in this type of thing. The fifth family remained rather aloof, so their little chick didn’t interact with the cousins at all. These four families have picked up the gauntlet, and for the last 10 years, we have taken care of planning the reunions. I wonder what will happen with our kids (the "grandchildren" in this cast of characters) are of age to step up.

Lady Bug was busily playing with her distant cousins before lunch. She was having a great time. At lunch she rejoined us and her parents. She exclaimed "I’m related to all these people!" She was so amazed at that prospect. Her horizons suddenly broadened. Perhaps there is hope for this little family reunion!

This year she has been to the German hill country family reunion occurring in July. It never struck her that she was related to all those people also. Perhaps that is partially because there simply weren’t as many younger kids there.

I have become fascinated with researching our families. I have most branches of my family traced back many, many generations. It is a subject that has me addicted!

I hope Lady Bug really begins to appreciate family ties!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My son

This is not my planned post. I had another one already written and ready to post. God has a funny way of snapping us upright, letting us know that we are not the real planners of our lives. Things happen beyond our control. I had not planned to spend ten months of life in a battle with cancer. I didn’t plan to lose my right breast and my hair. I had not planned for major radiation burns on the upper right quadrant of my body. But it happened.

My son is worried about me. I guess he has a right to be in such a state. I can see the worry in his eyes.

His best friend’s mother also had breast cancer. She has the mastectomy, chemo, and radiation, just like me. She was on the pills to keep the estrogen level down, just like me.

The only difference on the surface is that she reached her five years on the pill, stopped and now she has recurrence. From what my daughter in law says, she has cancer in the other breast, liver, lung and heart.

I would like to think she didn’t take care of herself. I would like to think she didn’t follow up on appointments. I would like to think her doctor didn’t do everything possible here. I would like to think they never measured the enzyme levels or performed CAT scans after the initial ones.

B is so worried. He is just sure that five years from now I’ll quit taking my pill and have the cancer take me over. That thought is surely in my head also.

So I try to put on the brave front. I tell him I’ll be 67 then. I will have lived a long life. I tell him that I believe K H had been taking Tamoxfen, and I am taking Femara. There are fewer cancers associated with Femara. I hope that is the case, and I won’t be facing recurrences of cancer.

I told him that cancer is an chronic condition that I will just have to keep fighting. He is scared by that. He doesn’t say anything to that statement, but I can see his face.

At first, I was sure that I had beaten this thing. Even though it was a Stage 2, I was sure that I had beaten it. After chemo, I would have placed bets on it. Then during radiation, my resolve began to weaken.

Just a couple of days ago I was reading a cancer magazine for women in the oncologist’s office. It had a story about women’s basketball coaches. One was free of cancer for seventeen years. SEVENTEEN YEARS! It recurred.

Why would I have any better luck. KH is apparently doing nothing about her recurrence right now with the exception of a homeopathic treatment - she is drinking peroxide in her water to "reduce her acid levels." She is doing no chemo, no radiation. Nothing. She doesn’t want anyone to know about her situation. With her initial onset, she lost her job, and she doesn’t want that to happen again.

If she has the resources, she needs to use them. She will be a first time grandmother in March. She owes it to that baby to try to live.

On the other hand, perhaps the cancer is so wide spread it cannot be treated. Perhaps the peroxide is the only treatment she has. I watched the show "Crazy, Sexy Cancer. She had no real treatment options. She had to resort to the macrobiotic diet. It seemed to work. I guess that’s where KH is now. She may be in the situation where the treatment to kill the cancer would kill the patient.

I cannot help but wonder where I will be in five years. I wonder what I will be doing to survive at that time.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Health insurance - bah!

Although I shouldn't really feel that way - I hope!

I have survived my two days of blood work and oncology appointments and all is well. I was with the radiation oncologist yesterday. Everything is normal - including some of the pains I feel. They are apparently nerve regeneration. I am on a four month recall with them.

It was so nice to see all the folks that work there. I told the receptionist that, in a strange way, I miss coming out there. I think about the people I met while waiting for treatment. We developed a connection.

That presents an interesting problem. The clinic is no longer covered by my insurance plan. They have never said a word about it with the exception of the final visit at the end of the radiation when Dr. Behind (my comrades getting radiation named him that because he never looks at his patients - all we see is his behind), who is the main doc commented on what my insurance was. I have never gotten a bill from these people at all. So . . through this year they are looking at 4 month recalls, then 6 month, then a year, and so on. G tells me that because of "continuity of care" I will be grandfathered in with them. We'll see. I just play dumb!

I went to Dr. Poison, my ordinary oncologist. I am on four month recall with him also. He said that from my blood work I am tolerating the Remara well. He also said I could have my port removed. I had told him that I needed to have it flushed. He asked why I wanted to keep it. I said I certainly didn't. I just thought I would have to wait a year. I don't have to!!

This beings a new problem. My surgeon is not in my plan. Now he never charged me a dime over my usual co-pay of $25. I should have paid at least another 20% of his bill. Not a word. There is a part of me that almost hates to call him. I really think he makes most of his money on bariatric surgery. He does the by pass as well as the clamp. But I don't want another surgeon poking around in there. I really like this man. So I guess I'll give him a call!

It wasn't until I was talking with daughter yesterday that I found that my insurance is better than I thought. Her options for insurance at work do not allow for any cancer treatments - not a single option. I've been really blessed. I have only paid the co-pay for all the regular oncologist appointments and chemo sessions, and two co-pays for the surgeon. Nothing for the hospital, nothing for radiation.

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I'm really here

Yes I AM still alive and kicking. Perhaps kicking too much! I have been really busy, and that's a good thing. There are so many projects that I have been not doing. It's nice to have spurts of energy that mean I can get things done.

I painted a part of the upstairs ceiling. When we re-roofed, I had the 25 foot sky light taken out. It was at the peak of the roof, and the east end of it never looked like it was fitted into the roof properly. Besides in this climate, it made the house (upstairs mainly) way too hot. There was just too much sunlight coming in even though it was supposed to be double insulated. Now the hall downstairs is REALLY dark, but I really think we are saving energy.

I surely got off track there. The place where the sky light was needed paint. It was just raw green board. It got done!! It's not perfect, but it will do until I have a professional come in because I want the entire ceiling done, and that will require a scaffold. I don't put my body ten feet in the air to paint - anything!

I am scheduled for check ups this week. I though I would have had one already today, but they had to change the appointment from 10am to 2 pm. I thought things would work out beautifully. Since I changed the regular oncologist appointment (see the last post for that fiasco), I thought I could have my fasting blood taken early, go over to the hospital for breakfast, then to the radiation oncologist. Nope! Didn't work that way. But that's the way things seem to be going.

I am really fighting the battle of the bulge. I really thought chemo would make me lose weight. Nope - I gained. Now the pill seems to be adding to things as well. I'm just not ready for Adkins Induction or West Beach Level One just yet. I'm still enjoying my carbs (perhaps too much). I rationalize with the fact that "I'm still healing from all that stuff." At this rate, there will be a lot of grease from my cremation. Sorry that was crude. That kind of stuff just slips out from time to time. I ought to delete it!

My moods are still wildly switching. It doesn't take much for me to lose all patience. My temper is doing just fine, thank you. I really have to watch it. I tend to lash out easily, but I try to keep it to inanimate objects when no one else is around. That is one thing I really don't like, and I am really trying to change it. Yesterday I really cursed the mini blind bracket that fell and didn't cooperate with me to go back up. Simone decided her crate in our bedroom was the best place in the house to be! Shame on me!

I guess things will get on more of an even keel someday. I surely hope so. Otherwise I am really going to be lonely. And hugely fat.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The chronicle of my life

I have not had to use a day runner/calendar since I was working/teaching with two kids at home. My little experience with the little c (cancer) has changed all of that! It is a critical possession. I am lost without it. It holds all of my appointments.

When we last went to El Rancho SSB, I left it on the coffee table. It was in the same bag as my knitting. I was thinking that I wouldn't be doing any knitting, and I wanted to have the needles there so I could teach my sister-in-law how to knit. That thinking must have been the over riding thought because that bag was left. I didn't think about the day runner - that is until we were at least 75 miles away. That is certainly the point of no return.

I knew I didn't have any appointments that were immediately pressing. That in itself was a wonderful change from the previous months. I knew I had a follow up with the oncologist and the radiation oncologist, and I knew they were both together, one following the other.

One of the problems for me not having the calendar is that I couldn't check it daily and make notes in it. With my ever present "chemo brain" I have difficulty keeping up the the date. My concept of time is skewed - alot!

When we got there, in my mind, it was a week later than actual time. I was literally freaked out because I thought my oncologist appointment was today. Any other appointment would have been just fine, but I need to have my blood work done at least a day ahead. There was no time for that!

I called the office yesterday to change the appointment. I am still thinking a week ahead. Fortunately they weren't, but were probably wondering why I was so upset. What can I say? I didn't have my calendar for three weeks!

As it turns out, everything is better. The appointments are next week. I can go out, get the blood work done, and then see the radiation oncologist all on one day. Then the next day I can see the oncologist the next. It means one less trip.

Stupid "chemo brain."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The flip side

I am becoming more and more convinced that along with cancer comes a kind of wierd bi-polar disorder. One moment I may be laughing at something, and the next I am moved to tears. That certainly keeps one on an even keel (ha).

I was so pleased that I had enough energy to actually do something, but then the ugly flip side reared its ugly head. I am back where I was before radiation. I CANNOT go to sleep. This has been my life for three nights now. Where does that leave me today? Exhausted!!

I have tried the Tylenol PM which worked well for a while. I have tried the Ambien, which has mixed reviews with me. Neither is working well right now. I still lay in bed, tossing and turning. I'm about to hit the stash of hydrocodonone that was left over from the lumpectomy and ensuing mastectomy. I'm really just kidding about that though because I sometimes have a terrible reaction to that stuff.

Not being able to go to sleep is a malady I have had most of my adult life. I just can't turn off my brain. Now that my energy level is higher during the day, I lay there thinking of just what I could accomplish the following day. I try to just have my brain go blank, but it doesn't work. Menopause has only added to this problem. It is such fun.

At least I'm not having night sweats that I thought I very well might have as a result of the chemo pill that I am taking. It has put me through some usually occurring between 8-10 pm, but I can't put my not sleeping off to that pill.

It's so annoying to have to almost completely become sleep deprived before I can fall asleep. This must be hereditary because my son has the same problem. I used to tell him it's because he didn't follow a set pattern that most doctors recommend to fall asleep easily. He was like a typical teen. He would stay up until all hours, then on the weekends he would try to sleep all day. Now, in is thirties, he still has the problem to some degree. At least he doesn't have to face menopause.

I can just hope that my schedule will normalize somewhat. Either that or G and I will end up like his parents - we HAVE to have separate bedrooms so I can stay up all night and sleep all day while he gets up early to go to work (even though the parents don't have that kind of schedule).

On another topic, the burns I thought would never heal are healed, and I'm about through with the peeling from them. This means I can begin looking toward reconstruction. That's really good news. I thought I would not be healed until the first of the year. It is bad news because I'm supposed to begin keeping Doodle Bug the middle of this month. Well, things will work out!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I'm wired

After weeks of laying about having no energy, tonight I realized that it is back. I left the house this morning about 10:30 to go the the home improvement store and then to the craft store. G called me while I was still at the home improvement store to see if I would like to meet for lunch. That sounded like a plan to me.

After lunch, I did make it to the craft store. I got home after two in the afternoon. It probably would have been a quicker trip, but I was unaware that every Mary, Melissa and Susie (along with Tom, Dick and Harry) was into making homecoming mums and boutonnieres. I couldn't believe the sheen number of teens in that store.

Anyway, after I got home, I set up my telephones. I had to get new ones because the battery on the old one only lasts about 5 hours. I'm tired of it hanging up in mid sentence! I then went upstairs to my craft room (no B you cannot move back home). I finished a purse that had been in the works for at least ten months, and then I put the binding on Doodle Bug's baby quilt.

Normally, I would have been dead to the world on the couch by nine, but here is is 12:46 AM(!). I am wired. My usual potion of Tylenol PM isn't working. So here I sit, playing on the computer.

I will probably pay for this in spades tomorrow, or maybe not. I can't really predict. But I am going strong. It's amazing that I have so much energy left!

Also after my shower this evening, I realized that the burns are really gone, and all I have left is a little peeling skin. I could begin to think about reconstruction. That would be a good thing. I'm tired of looking for body parts to leave the house with. They are also HOT! Folks, here in Swampland we had a "cool front" go through yesterday. The temperature was still about 90. It is just a little drier.

So now I guess I will wait until I see the oncologist to ask his opinion of reconstruction.

One just can't have energy for too long, can one? Oh, and I guess my references of "today" are actually a little off since it's already tomorrow.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pre-need, and not because of my "condition"

My friend Jim died on Friday afternoon. He was cremated, and tomorrow is the Memorial service that we unfortunately can’t attend. I can’t help but believe it was a blessing. He was miserable, and it was killing is family. There are those times when death is a true blessing - although it can be one in disguise.

He will be missed terribly. He was a really great man. That’s just not my opinion, he was an educator who was dearly loved. He already has two scholarships established in his name. I think that is just the tip of the iceberg.

The timing of his death is unusual though. G and I sat right here on Saturday morning and arranged our own prearranged cremations. Some will think this is morbid, but I have been through my mother’s death with no pre-planning, and then my dad’s with supposed pre-planning. Both were sheer hell.

With my mother, the mortuary played heavily on emotion, and the could. We were sold a mausoleum space (actually two - one for Dad), a very upgraded coffin, and a peignoir set for her to be entombed in. She was too good for regular clothes. Didn’t we want the best for our loved one? I look back and I am so appalled. But our emotions were so raw they could have sold anything. But they were so solicitous.

With my dad, he knew how emotion ruled at the time of my mother’s death, so he set his and V’s funeral. Bless his heart. He didn’t know all of the things that remained to be done. The process was terrible. I didn’t have to chose the coffin, I had his suit ready, and he chose how many escorts and so on. Too bad it didn’t work that way. The obituary didn’t make the paper before the funeral, so no on knew. He was living here in Swampland instead of San Antonio. The mortuary also didn’t call the cemetery in time, so they were not able to open the crypt so he could be put in after the "ceremony."

So - we had just the immediate family there at the service because no one knew about his death. We didn’t need the escorts for the procession to the cemetery because there would be no opening that day. To make the story short, even though it was all decided, "pre-need," I still had to pay over $700 above what was already paid for. I wrote the manager of the mortuary to tell him how horrible the funeral was. I got my money back. As I should have.

So G and I went with a group I had heard about. It is pre-need. Everything is paid for in full. We will be cremated. We have the urns, and everything is decided. The survivors can plan a Memorial service. No fuss, no muss, and best of all no morticians!

Jim, I imagine your ashes will be scattered about 1 mile from where mine will. Rest in peace. I’ll join you in enriching the land someday.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The J-curve

For a while now, I have been reflecting on the philosophy we had been pushing in public education (at least in the school district where I taught) that we must enhance the ego of out students. We had to provide them success. They were not responsible for their own success.

At one in-service I attended (oh, I do love in-service meetings, not!) the leader expounded on the merits of the J-curve over the old reliable, naturally occurring, bell curve. Her rationale was that these children today will be those who will be working when we are retired. They need to have successes in their lives.

The J-curve means that there are lots and lots of A’s, B’s and C’s, but just a few (maybe one or two out of one hundred and thirty) F’s. The children are all successful. They FEEL GOOD about themselves.

The problem here is that very simply put - they did not earn anything. There is no responsibility on the child. There is no responsibility on the parent. The teacher is the one who must make that child feel successful.

Well, I guess according to that rationale, I was a lousy teacher. I am a strong believer in personal responsibility. As much as I loved the subject matter, I wanted my students to leave my class knowing HOW to do things. If they chose not to do any work, they deserved to fail, and in reality they knew it. Padding grades did not help these kids.

One of my special memories was one boy who did not want to dig for anything. Since reading was such a big item on Texas’ standardized tests ( you know those tests - they tell you exactly how much a child has learned that year), we were encouraged to teach reading across the board. I would do an activity called "Directed Reading." It was to take the passages in the text book verbatim leaving out key words, or if really advanced, asking a question about the passage. Gasp!
This fellow didn’t want to read to find the answer. He wanted it given to him. I began using my questioning tactic designed to make (and help) him think things through. He was so frustrated he almost cried. I kept prompting and supporting. When he discovered the answer on his own, you could see the pride breaming from his so brightly he lit the entire room. He found success, and it was not easy. He did become an independent learner that day. In my class, at least, he became a true leader. He and I were proud. It was a good feeling.

I look in the paper about some of the products of that philosophy. This year alone, there have been six football players at University of Texas who have been arrested (all for felonies believe). I cannot help but think they are a product of the something for nothing J-curve philosophy. I have heard rumblings of leaving the J-curve. I hope so.

Like most of the "new revolutionary" ideas I saw in teaching, if you ride the merry-go-round long enough, there is nothing new. It all comes around again.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Light at the end of the tunnel

After nine months of dealing with my diagnosis and the ensuing treatments, my house is a total wreck. I suppose I should not use that as an excuse, but honest - it is!

Of course fifteen years ago when I was nursing a broken ankle (boy THAT is another story), my mother in law informed me she kept a perfect house with her broken ankle - wheel chair and all. My orthopedist cautioned me that if I re-broke that ankle, there was no more bone left there to put another screw into. He would have to take bone from the hip to graft to the ankle. That was enough for me. I was going to be as careful as possible.

My mother in law and I have marked differences in where housework lies in the scheme of things. I decided long ago that my kids were much more important that a spotless house. I found that if I did things with the kids, by golly, the house was still there. No little gremlin came in and did the work for me. I could still get it done. She on the other hand, spend all her waking hours cleaning.
Now, she could have unexpected guests anytime and not feel uncomfortable, while I would be cringing.

But back to my house. I have finally been getting enough energy to begin tackling the clutter. It is absolutely amazing how fast "stuff" gathers. My dining room became a storage area. Don't know where to put something, that's OK, put it on the dining room table. No more room there, put it on the floor by the table.

Yesterday I got that mostly cleared out. In fact, we even had dinner in there last night. My next project is the office. Amazing what you can put behind closed doors.

I really am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel! That may be because the clutter it out of the windows!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


When this schizophrenic ride I was put on with this cancer sends me plummeting into the throes of despair, I should always remember my friend, and distant relative, Jim. I have written about him before. He has ALS. The only thing is that now he is really dying from ALS.

I cannot imagine how he felt when he received the diagnosis. You KNOW you are going to die - and soon. He was diagnosed about three years ago. Things progressed fairly rapidly from then. He first lost the use of his left arm. Then it was his right.

At last year’s Wide Spot Community Club Christmas party, he was there. I hadn’t seen him in a while. I was shocked to see that he had to be fed. He couldn’t hold a fork. I was thinking about how sad that was.

Last week when we were at the SSB, the neighbor who lives between his place and ours told us that hospice has said it is a matter of days now.

In my Pollyanna world, I assumed that his death would not be painful. After all, in my thinking, ALS is a disease of the nerves. They stop communicating with the muscles which leads to paralysis. Yeah, that is true, but the pain receptors don’t quit working. He is in pain, and alot of it.

Jim had been on methadone. It wasn’t enough. Hospice wanted him on morphine. Jim didn’t want it. Well, he was outvoted.

A newborn baby can do more than Jim can do. He is able to turn his head a bit to the right, but that is it. When he is moved, his head must be supported or it will drop back - like a newborn.

I think of Jim often these days. His mind is still sharp - save the morphine fog I’m sure he is in. He has hours and hours to think about his impending death. His family is all with him now, and I hope that brings him some peace. I hope it also gives his wife some respite from the care she has shouldered by herself all this time - alone except for the few hours hospice is there.

I know that Jim is ready for the future. He is that kind of person. Before he plunged even deeper into his paralysis, he had a motorized chair that he could control. He wanted to attend church. The men in his congregation even removed the last pew in the little church so that he could come in. I don’t think he ever made it in person, but I am sure he was there in spirit. I really think Jim is ready to meet his God.

Still I realize I am weak. I bemoan little things about my plight. I wish I had his strength.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


The results are still out, but I think I stumbled on a great solution to my ever deteriorating skin. I have been rubbing Silvadine cream on my skin religiously both to heal and stop the pain. While the results were good - healing did happen over weeks time - there was still some pain and a lot of tightness.

I was sitting at my vanity last night and my eyes fell on the vitamin E oil that I bought after my mastectomy. The oncologist suggested it would help heal the incision. I know the radiation oncologist said not to use anything greasy, but I think that was when the burns were so oozy. What I have now is dry - very dry. So in my mind, dry plus oil equals GOOD!

So I sprayed some on my side and chest. I was still hurting when I went to bed. The real burn felt like a burn, but this morning, the pain has abated quite a bit. There is not nearly as much tightness.

I had used the oil on my neck earlier this week. It was almost healed then, but was itching terribly. My neck looks great! It is almost normal. Now I can only hope I have the same thing happen to the other burns!

The oil is vitamin E and baby oil. I figured it couldn’t hurt - at least too much! I shall continue with this experiment.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What I did this weekend

I don’t know what to do with myself! A whole day to do whatever I wanted. No treatments! What a luxury.

The weekend went way too fast. My sister-in-law really can’t understand why going to the SSB (if I knew how to link, I would send you to the post that explains why our little place is called Stings, Sticks or Bites - but alas I am too illerate) would be a welcome break as well as a way to celebrate ending treatment. It was great. I could just become a complete vegetable - which I did! I wasn’t ready for the weekend to end.

I have had another break-down of skin, and I fear there is another on the way. Even though I am using the soft sports bras, there is enough pressure there that it does cause problems. I know the answer would be not to wear the bra, but I just can’t do that in public! Thank goodness for the new prescription of Silvadine!

My energy is returning. It is really something different! I have been so tired for so long. I was tired before I was diagnosed, and the treatments, while not making me ill, did sap my strength. G was telling his parents that I will be doing something and suddenly say "I’m tired, I’m going to lie down." It is true! That is the way I was. Things are getting better. Perhaps I will be able to shovel out the house now. That would be good.

I am anxious to have my next appointment with my oncologist. I want to know that enzyme level that measures tumor activity. I like to know that number! Right now, it is great. I just want it to stay that way.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Grandma K - the roller coaster! Thrills of a lifetime

This roller coaster called cancer treatments that I have been riding is exhausting! I have just come from the lowest point of the ride and am cresting a high hill. Things are going so much better now.

I have three more radiation treatments. My skin is almost healed from the past treatments. I still have one fairly bad lesion on my neck that requires treatment with the cream, but the underarm is completely dry. That in itself is good news.

To get said underarm healed required almost the entire tube of silvadine cream. Since I am still working with the 2 x 1/2 inch lesion on my neck is going to require more of the blessed cream. I filled the prescription on September 4. I called it in two nights ago. My prescription insurance denied the refill!

I was able to keep my panic to a minimun. Surely they could tell by my other prescriptions I am a cancer patient and I must have a good reason for needing the ultimate lesion cream. Good grief people, I GLOW in the dark after all! I called last night to check on the progress. They have relented. I get more cream to soothe this little bugger that's left. Now if only the new area that is being blasted doesn't begin to drip off of my body I will be doing just fine, thank you very much. I may not even need that whole tube!

After two and a half months, the steriods seem to be leaving my body. Almost since I began chemo, I was eating like a bird. (You do know they require LOTS of food, right) Simone needed to either keep moving or stay in her crate because if she got too still . . .

My appetite is under control again. I was beginning to wonder. I was the one who went into chemo with the attitude of perhaps dropping a few. It was certainly one way to deal with what was going to happen. I mean if you HAVE to be poisoned, it may as well have some good effects.

I was so wrong. I gained about 30 pounds. The little Indian radiation oncologist said it would change, but I thought she doesn't know my body. It loves to hold on to pounds like gold. But she was right. I may be able to drop all that.

I hope this crest of the hill doesn't drop again into a plunge. I hope I am really "pulling into the station" and this ride of treatments is really coming to an end, and I can take on the role of cancer survivor.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Some disappointment

I am rather depressed. I got the news that instead of having my treatments end on Monday, I have until Friday. I had my heart set on only having 33 treatments. The radiation people never told me that - ever. I got that from Dr. Poison, my oncologist. It shouldn't cause me so much anguish, but I really want this over.

I am tired of all of this. This is nine months this has all been going on. I want it OVER! I am finding myself falling into a depression whenever I am alone. I don't want to constantly be dragging my family down with my complaining. I have a pamphlet with the phone number for a group who talks to cancer patients. I didn't think I needed it, but I am reconsidering that idea.

I can't believe how much my fellow radiation patients have been there as a listening post. That is coming to an end (even though not soon enough in reality), and I think I need someone.

My burns are still present, but the neck lesion is half what it was. That is good news. I am just hoping the new intense radiation on the masectomy scar doesn't bring the same effect. I continue to work with it.

This cancer thing has taken nine months out of my life. I guess I am silly enough to think after treatment ends on Friday I will have my life back. I know I won't, but perhaps there will be a little more time for me.

Things will be better. I know that. Thanks for listening!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I love Dr Poison now!

The visit to the oncologist yesterday was indoubtably the best one I have had. I felt we were really on the same page - finally.

When he saw the burn on my neck, he immediately suggested that he prescribe Silvadine cream and Lidocane jell. I jumped on that. This time, he even gave me some sleeping pills. It was no longer the suggestion to try Tylenol PM.

Since I had a dental cleaning, I decided to get the prescriptions filled immediately and pick them up on the way to the dentist since the pharmacy is next door to the dentist. I slathered the Lidocane on my neck so I could stand the drape on me. It was good.

When I got home I tried the Silvadine Cream. I wasn't expecting much. Peggy (my new "friend at radiation) said it didn't help her when she was having this radiation. She extolled the virtues of the Lidocane. I couldn't believe how soothing the Silvadine was immediately. I think things will be getting better!

I was amused when Dr Poison asked about joint pain from the Femara. I answered "who can tell. Since I already have arthritis, am taking steroids, and now Femara!!" But we will see. I seem to be tolerating it fairly well. My hot flashed have increased (which he said can be controlled), but I am not miserable with it all.

My Ca-27 was 19. He said that was right where we want it to be. That was good news. So far there are apparently no new tumors to worry about. Perhaps all this will be worth it.

My next adventure, after healing from the radiation burns, will be to pursue reconstruction. One more path to explore.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ho hum

Tomorrow will be a really busy day! I begin with the oncologist, and I intend to make him work for a change. I am going to ask for his advice on my neck which has begun shedding skin in the fold of my neck. I think the real purpose of the appointment is to determine the date of the next scan and look over the blood work. I just hope their computers are up for this appointment. I swear they don't have a paper chart!

After the oncologist, I will kill some time at the medical complex because I don't want to drive home for what will end up being just a few minutes. Then will be the first of the new radiation treatments here in the last of it. My neck and underarm should be spared some of the radiation. I just have to decide how I am going to treat the area with either the aloe or the cortisone cream. I'll work that out.

Then in the afternoon, it is off to the dental hygienist for a cleaning. At least that shouldn't be too much of a strain. Most of the teeth are crowns! I don't think they can find a disaster that will cause me to be sent over to the dental side again. Those were interesting days!

I may have too much going on for one day. I don't like to admit that I just can't handle that many activities in a day, but the sad truth is that I can't. I will probably be wiped out tomorrow afternoon!

What a mundane life! But I intend to enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The skin of my neck

Today's visit to the radiation oncologist may literally save the skin on my neck ! My radiation treatment is coming to an end - finally, and it will change. One of the doctors came in to do additional artwork on my chest. I think that instead of the six positions that I have had the radiation treatment, there will be just one or two. The therapists attached a new device to the ray of death machine that looks like it will deliver radiation just to the place where my masectomy scar is. They attached a plastic box on the end. My chest has a large rectangle that is divided into two parts. I think that will help my neck and underarm. They will not be the direct target of the rays.

This is such good news. A patch of skin on the right side of my neck is angry red, and it is beginning to be really painful. I was telling G last night that I was finally glad the masectomy left numbness under my right arm. It is past angry red. It is purple! I have enough feeling to get the idea it would really be hurting if there were feeling.

At least the end is near! That is such good news!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


The day has finally come! I have ten more treatments. Friday they wanted me to wait to see the doctor so he could do another drawing on my to mark the area they will be intensifying treatment on here at the end. I thought the six tatoos would be enough for them to zap me, but I have had a drawing on my upper right chest for twenty three treatments now. Plus, I get x rayed every treatment to determine position. But the end is truely in sight! Yea!

Today I was reading one of our local columinist in the paper who was talking about his habit this time of year to write about the temperature. He decided that he did not need to go outside to remember his eighty plus summers. He got me to reflecting on last weekend with Lady Bug.

We went to Wide Spot's community club dinner and meeting, which was really the ice cream social. The county's newpaper owner/editor was the speaker, so we all went. About the time he was finishing his talk, Lady Bug came up to me to complain about the heat since the building in which we meet is not air conditioned. She was hot, and at the very least she wanted to go to the car to sit in the air conditioning.

She got me to thinking about my own youth. We didn't have air conditioning either in the house or car until I was eighteen years old. What we had for the summer months was an evaporative cooler. Now these apparently work wonders in fat west Texas and other dry locals, but San Antonio was only a bit less humid than here in Houston. I remember shoes that were not worn much in the closet molding. Now, people completely freak out about mold. We had it every summer!

Several years ago, I had some small precancerous growths burned off my left cheek. The dermatologist said they were probably from the days of cars not being air conditioned. I think this is true. I was even older before we got an air conditioned car.

Lady Bug did not even try to comprehend these facts. I will agree it was very unusual for Wide Spot to have the heat with the humidity that we had that night. Perhaps the fact there had been a ten inch rain in the area accounted for the humidity! She didn't care. She wanted out of it, and didn't care a flip about my early life when such things were normal. She went to her dad - who turned on the car's a/c!

Such are our children today,

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Will it be worth it all?

My mother died of metastic melonoma 34 ago. At that time, I swore if I ever was diagnosed with cancer I would not do anything about it. I would not have surgery and certainly not have any therapies.

My decision probably came from the fact that after her surgery, the surgeon stated that for the most part her lymph nodes were clear. It is true that there were no other therapies done for her because there was nothing that was successful with melanoma. But within five years she was dead.

I thought there was no reason to go through such destructive and mutilating surgeries. Her cancer was on the top of the outer ear, so she had the ear removed. If you were mutilated so and die so soon, why do it.

And when I found the lump, I opted for surgery. The first one was a breeze. I was thrilled that we could just remove the lump and save the breast. Then the pathology report came back with the news that there were no clear edges.

That didn’t sway me. I said to remove the breast, and I even asked if the other one also should be removed. There wasn’t a glimmer of my past resolve present. I probably had a better feeling about it all then than I do now, but there is no going back.

I suppose that is the real reason that I don’t seem to face the fact that I have cancer. Intellectually I know I have cancer, but emotionally I tend to look at all of the ensuing treatments as just other medical procedures. I think I am looking at the cancer as some other ongoing medical condition.

It’s strange that these thoughts would occur to me now. I am two thirds complete with the radiation. In a few more weeks, I will have another PET/CAT scan. I am expecting to find that it will be clear. I wonder why I am thinking about my stand when my mother was diagnosed.
Things are getting better. Not only am I almost free of treatments (I hope), but my eye brows are back, and the eyelashes and hair are returning. I am looking forward to having reconstruction. I really have weathered all of this pretty well. But I still remember the past decision - just leave me alone, no intervention.

I hope I will be able to say that all this was worth it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The countdown

After today's treatment, things will be on the down slope. Today marks treatment number 17. That means 16 more. Or at least I hope so. I was sent to the lab to donate more blood for a CBC yesterday. So was the older gentleman who gets his treatment before me. His wife told me he was in week six. I told her that was wonderful - they would be completed soon. She told me that they were told they had about 26 more treatments to go - another 5 weeks. Oh how I hope that is not me!

I am going to have to tell the doctor that I am noticing pain right now. It seems after a couple of treatments (after the weekend), the area feels really tight, and if I strain to much, it hurts! I hope that it normal. So far the real discoloration hasn't been too much. After the weekend rest and cortisone lotion, I was back to almost normal coloring. Not so much today. I am fairly red even though I do put the lotion on at night.

I'll have a longer break from it this weekend, It is SSB time, I find myself really looking forward to the break from treatments and the like as well as the slower pace of life up there. It's supposed to rain. That's ok. I plan to chill - even with the three grandchildren running around.

Oh, and I will be away from the weather people here who are absolutely beside themselves, We have a disturbance in the Gulf that will probably become (hold your breath) a TROPICAL STORM. And they are doing their dead level best to dry to turn the hurricane, Dean, into the Gulf and into Swampland. Oh my. By Tuesday I'm sure they will postiively be foaming at the mouth. I'll want to leave again!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bad days

Right after the results of my biopsy, I remember my surgeon telling me that I would have good days and bad days. I was naive enough to believe that he meant that some days I would be much sicker than others. SInce I weathered the chemo so well, I assumed he was wrong,

Today, I think I more understand what he meant. I have not slept well in two nights. I am really exhausted. We had the kids here last night, and that always puts a little strain on things. G decided that since the oil in Ol' Blue had not been changed in eight months, and since it had reached 3000 miles, it had to be done today. That entails getting up at the regular time so that we can get it to the shop by 7 A.M. That was done.

I left home at 11:15 to go to the radiation therapy appointment, even though I knew it would mean that I would be there at 11:30 for my 11:45 appointment. When I walked in and saw that the wife of one of the men who is ahead of me was still sitting there, I knew they were running late - again.

I finally got in about 12:45. It seemed that they were taking forever to get me situated. They take x-rays each and every time to insure alignment, With the arthritis in my shoulders, it is painful and almost impossible for me to hold the elbow tight against my body. That is exactly what I have to do, or the machines hit me. My hand became numb, but the deep nerves were sending a signal of pain in my thimb. I don't understand why they cannot use the little tatoos and other marks that are on my body that are there for that purpose.

Anyway. I had already called G to let him know they were running late because he had a doctor's appointment at 2. He was frantic that he would have to take the green monster because my car wouldn't be back, and he left the other truck in the shop.

They got me out and I was able to make it home fifteen minutes before he was to leave. I am even more exhausted. He calls the shop - the truck it ready - he has eaten lunch and been around here for over an hour - and wants me to take him to get the truck right THEN so he could take it for the appointment.

I had just barely sat down. I couldn't believe this. I really was very upset with him then, in fact I'm not too thrilled with him right now.

So now I know the bad days have nothing to do with nausea. They are just flat out bad days!

Friday, August 10, 2007

This and that

Well, I am still limping along utilizing someone's unsecured WiFi. I wish I knew who, but thanks a lot!

Today is our 39th anniversary. Sometimes I'm amazed that we made it this long. Guess we were too lazy to seek a divorce! Just kidding, but it is amazing all the same.

If things go right, I only have 20 more radiation treatments. I will really be so glad. It's a real drag going every day, but now most days they are running an hour behind. I surely don't get there early with the hopes of getting in early any more. The therapists are always so apologetic, and I know they are doing the best they can, but it really gets old!

I was wondering when the burn would happen. Well, I wonder no more! Now my wonder is how bad it will get. At least there is something to keep my interest in this procedure :).

It's almost time to get ready to go (and sit!). I need to disconnect my modem to exchange it. That is the last thing I can do to try to correct my connection woes.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I'm back!!

Finally I am back. So far the radiation is going well, no burned skin or anything at all.

So why have I been away. Computer problems! My laptop is very finiky. The least little thing sends her into a mood where she won't cooperate. THIS time, I closed her lid too soon. She had not completed shutting down, and I closed her lid. So to show me who's boss, she wouldn't show anything on the screen after the prompt to ru n BIOS.

I finally got her to the clinic, and now, $64 later, she is working, but I'm not sure about my internet connection.

The internet connection may be the real problem with the desk top. That one worked like a charm (even though the monitor had to be placed on its right side so I didn't have to get a crick in my neck) for one day. The next, I couldn't access the internet. I checked the computer. I unplugged the modem. I took the router out of the system. I changed cables. My next thing is to (groan) go to Comcast to change out the modem and pray that is the problem.

I have a nagging doubt that there is anything wrong with anything that is in my house. I really believe since we have changed from Warner to Comcast that Comcast is in a snit about the deal of the re-seller I use to access the internet. Although there may be something wrong with the cable.

I can usually get onto my neighbor's Wi-Fi, but I don't think I can today. Both mine and theirs shows a connection, but I can't get on line. I have found another unsecured neighborhood connection that is so weak I imagine I'll lose it at any moment.

But that's my story. If it weren't for computer problems, I would have so much more time!

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.