Monday, March 31, 2008

Water Survey

Well, it seems that half the people who responded to the survey have changed their water usage habits on account of the draught. The other half of respondents either don't live in Georgia or are unaware of the fact that we are having a draught.

You know what I'm confused about? I have heard people who are smart about economics say, that the economic situation right now is worse than it was during the Great Depression. I understand it's tough for those on the bottom of the economic food chain, but somehow I don't get the feel of the same desperation that all the people I've every known have about the time we know as the Great Depression. Other people who are smart about economics say we're in a recession. I'm not smart about this stuff, but if I had to guess, I would agree that my "cost of living" increases are about the same as they were back during the last identified recession in the 80's. I wonder if some of the economic situation is buffered a bit in Atlanta because it's still the "Empire of the South" and even in the worst of times, it's still pretty decent here? I see more people walking or riding bikes, presumably because they can't afford a car or gas anymore. I don't hear about people "riding the rails." I do see news reports about hobo villages though. I feel sad for people who are losing their homes and cars and have lost investments (Bear Stearns). How scary would it be to lose your retirement savings when you're aging, but it's happening. It's clear to me that more people feel desperate enough that they are willing to attempt theft and other acts to attempt to gain money. There's an advertisement on the tv right now for an auction of over 700 homes; that's 700 families that probably aren't going to be able to buy a home again for many years and will be haunted by debt for years to come. Is our economy in peril? I don't know. I do know that some people are suffering, but isn't that true almost all the time?

Even with the cold that I have, I know I'm feeling a little more like myself. Just a little, but happy to have that little bit.

Excited to hear from friends P. and MA today. And Pam -- your news is very exciting. One person CAN make a difference and you're clearly doing that. What has Pam done? She's helping to bring a breast cancer screening program to her place of work! That's eminently cool!

Later gators.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Yup, I Have a Cold

I had a little stuffiness going on, but it's definitely gone from "Could this be allergies?" to "Yup, it's a cold." Eucalyptus oil and Mucinex are my friends.

Biscuits after church today. It was nummy!

Sometime this week I get to have another chest x-ray. I guess they need one as a baseline now that I have much less chest.

Saw a former colleague from work today at Wal-mart. She kept repeating over and over, "You look so good!" She said it so often, that I kind of realized later that she was probably going inside, "Holy sh*t! That's a really different person than the one I used to know!" Today was the first time I did any shopping without using one of the electric carts -- I pushed a buggy just like everyone else. (I have never quite gotten the hang of those electric carts, and while I might still use them sometimes for a while, you need to know if you see me in one, I'm a total maniac on those things. BEWARE!)

I'm very thankful for the many positive things that have come out of my experience with cancer. I've been blessed by having insurances that covered costs, people that have helped in so many ways. The prayers, the food that people have shared, taking my trashcan out to the street and back for me, help with personnel issues, support from colleagues, calls and cards from friends and people who have become friends -- all these things have been such a grace in the middle of a really crappy diagnosis. My heart is so warmed by all the kind things people have done for me. I can never say "Thank you," often enough.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Quisadillas (or however you spell it)

OK, so today I felt particularly domestic and I cooked dinner. It was a chicken quisadillas recipe I grabbed off the web. 4 points each on the Weight Watcher's program. Yum. I didn't think I'd like them because they had a LOT of tomato on / in them, and I'm pretty much opposed to tomatoes. I can deal with processed tomatoes in things like ketsup and spaghetti sauce, but I don't like tomatoes. Worked out ok though. No complaints from anyone else in the tomato-hating country either.

Oh, now THAT is funny! (The Snapple commercial where everything is covered in bubblewrap, including the dog.)

Last night in the middle of the night, I heard a CRACK and evidentally my arm slipped back into socket properly and it didn't hurt me nearly as much today. Yesterday it was hurting like heck, and after the sudden "adjustment" it's 9/10th fine today. I hope it doesn't do this very often.

I think I'm catching a cold. It might be allergies, but I don't think so, since Spring hasn't historically been a time that my allergies kick in. Mucinex tonight and a prayer that I'm wrong about how my head / nose / and throat feel.

Have a great one.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Jewel and I hung out today. It was a pretty, sunny, and 70 degree day. We went out and sat on the porch swing for a while just because it was so nice. Good way to get some vitamin D (which prevents cancer), get you 15 minutes of sun exposure daily to get that vitamin D3. If you stay out longer than that, use sunscreen though. More than 15 minutes of exposure can lead to other issues with cancer.

I went to Weight Watchers this week, and am giving it a go. Trying to keep those points down. Good chicken dinner tonight. Chicky again tomorrow but I'm not sure what to do with it. Surfing the web for low fat recipes is kind of interesting.

Hope you had as nice a day as I did.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Art, Raising $, and a Funny

OK, someone else sent me this, and I've just cut and pasted it. I think it's funny. ;)

seems as if pres. bush is having a meeting with his staff and they received an important message that 2 brazilian soldiers had been killed in a roadside bombing in iraq. the president just breaks down in tears, calls off the meeting saying.... i just need a little time to myself. so after about an hour he finally gets his "poop in a group" and stops crying long enuff to make a call to dick cheney. dick answers the phone and sez, u ok man? what happened in there? and the pres. asks him in a choked voice...... how many is in a brazillion? hahahahahahahahaaaa hahahahahahahaaaa. woooohhooooo, hahahahahahaaaa....... hope u cracked up as much as i did.

Sissy and I did our art class today and I got some rather good encouragement from my teacher. So did Sissy. Our task was to draw one of the objects he had brought to class, and I selected a ship model. Then we're supposed to finish it into a work of art by filling around it. I picked a nautical theme and added a compass and a sailor. Each picture is an improvement over the last. This coming week he's going to show us a new art technique to experiment using. Each week I surprise myself with what I can accomplish, but also feel dissatisfied with the inadequacies. It takes practice however, and so I'm practicing. I had to scan this picture from one side of the pad, and then scan from the other side, and then place them side-by-side. They are not a "perfect" fit, but you get the idea. It's not great "art" but it's impressive for a person that six weeks ago couldn't draw a stop sign (I think!).

I'm looking for small, easy-to-make items that can be sold to get money for Jenn and her sis's for the 3-day. I bought some polymer clay today to see if I can make some items that can be sold. Not sure I'm much of an entrepreneur or much of a crafty success, but I'm trying.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March Cancer Support Group

I finally got to get an outfit that I like that I can wear to Jewel's Christening! Yeah! I came home and rested for a bit. Then realized that tonight was the once-a-month cancer support group meeting. I went and was so glad to see several of the folks I've talked to before, and some new people. We are a funny group of people. Folks that have few inhibitions and don't think it's weird to want to compare scars. Another lady there, that's new to the group, also has Dr. S. as her surgeon. I told the lady that does the group about the different kind of drains that Dr. S. uses and she's going to call and find out what they are since they don't hurt to come out. She has the power to "suggest" that docs at Tanner use them too. That would be cool to be able to make drains an easier process for a lot of women in Western Georgia.

Liam's accomplishment for the day was to wear underpants today and not have any accidents. A great accomplishment! Yeah! Congratulations Liam!

Shoulder is still "out." Wish I knew what I could do to put it back where it belongs.

God bless my domestic queen for coming by today and making my digs so much more livable. Sleepy after a busy day. Maybe I can actually get to sleep at a decent hour for once!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday after Easter

Did a little pottery and went to EfM. That's it. Oh, they did call me from the surgeon's office, and I have to go get a chest x-ray. They're mailing me the Rx and I can go to Higgins and get it done, instead of having to go all the way up to Northside. Much more convenient. I can't believe how much x-rays and unltrasounds and radioactive testing I've undergone in the last six months.

My shoulder joint is hurting yesterday and today -- the one that I hurt the week before my surgery. I don't know if it's from the weather front moving in tonight or if I've strained it. I just know it hurts and the socket seems to wiggle again. When I was in the hospital it seemed to slip back into place again. Apparently it may have slipped back out. Oh boy!

It's warm in my place, but I'm cold. I can't get my feet warm. Shows how much I've changed over the last several months. I used to never be cold. I mean NEVER. I was always hot. Lately, I sometimes feel cold. It's been years since I felt a chill. Very unusual.

Still going through my mind looking for money-making ventures for Mom's Breastaurant. I tried making some little medallions today in pottery. I don't think they'll work, but I thought I'd try. I was told to consider using Polymer clay instead; that it was easier to work with for small projects. I might check it out tomorrow. We'll see.

Got to rest now.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


The alleluias are back after being banished for Lent. It is also fun to watch the children as they take part in the Easter rituals. This picture is Liam being helped in the "Flowering of the Cross."
After the service which was a 9am church bursting full with starched and wondrously dressed little kids and adults, the kids had an egg hunt.
You can see the 4 and under set got a break on "hunting" for eggs. The bounty is rich.
Liam got a boost from dad here so that he could get the egg hidden by the older kids who are much taller than 4 and under can think about!

Checking out his treasure.

I was an inadequate grammy, I didn't get a picture of Jewel. :( Oh well. Maybe mom or dad will send me one of her, if they have one on their camera.

In a last minute decision, I "came out" from under my kerchiefs for Easter. I have now liberated myself from them and am wearing my tiny bit of hair.

The nicest thing about Easter was seeing Luke and Jack at church. I can't imagine what it took for their mom and dad to get them all ready and moved toward church, but they were the big celebrities of the day. It was wonderful to see them happy and healthy, though I have to say their daddy has some serious circles under his eyes. Thanks Eric and Laura for sharing your special treasures with us! It was wonderful to see them in person.

We all had a fun time today and I think the children had a fabulous time at church. The excitement was positively electric! Alleluia!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Slow Saturday

Rested at home today. Just reading and laying low.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Romeo's Gimp

Romeo seems to be doing better after a week of "resting." You can't really make a cat rest unless you crate them. I'd hate to do that to the boy. I've been keeping the heat on the bed so he could lay on the heat and letting the back door stay open some so that he can lay in the sun. (Tough life for cats here.) ;) I'm relieved to see him apparently doing better.

Jewel was a sweetie today. The colic she seemed to have last night resolved about an hour after I left. I'm so relieved. She was miserable last night, and no one with any feelings can watch a baby suffer, even from gas, easily. I'm happy she got better quickly.

Bonus Easter wishes and goodies from my ChemoAngels. Thanks P. & C. I can't wait to see what Jewel thinks of the bunny rattle. I know one'll go straight into her mouth! At three months she is precocious for teething, but we call her Droolie Jewelie these days, so it'll quickly be covered with slobber and I'm sure the bell sound will entrance her.

Liam was so excited when he came home from school today. He had a plastic Easter bucket from school and he was talking 100 mph about the Easter egg hunt they had. He had gotten a blue plastic snake in one of the eggs and was totally excited that it stretched to about three times it's length. That blue snake isn't going to last long, but the excitement and pleasure on his face was something to see!

Hope all you gentle readers had a great day.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Energy Busting Day

OK, I've been moaning about how much I can't seem to do. Well today I was amazed by how much I did. Jenn and I went shopping for Easter and Christening outfits for her and I to wear. Jenn got her's worked out. We also had lunch out, and then went shopping for stuff for the Easter bunny to bring Liam. How fun! He is getting no candy (this boy has issues with sugar let me tell you!) but he is getting all kinds of other fun goodies.

Little Jewel is having or has had, what I fear is her first case of colic. Poor dear is having a very gassy day and it's easy to tell she's in pain. Neither Jenn nor I can console her because that gas is rolling around inside her casuing so much discomfort. I so feel sorry for a baby when they have so much uncomfortableness.

The kiln at the pottery place has been out of commission, so all the stuff that I've been waiting for is still in-process. Looking forward to getting some stuff back in the near future.

Thanks to Keith for calling and catching up on things with me. It's always nice to know someone cares.

I still can't do as much as I used to, but for the first day in a very, very, very long time, I feel like I did a fair amount without collapsing from exhaustion. Yeah!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Hair is Coming, the Hair is Coming!

As you can see, I have something approaching fluff. It's more than fuzz, but not quite ... well adequate. Just a tad longer and I can imagine going without a head covering. I know there are women out there that do it. I am just not that one. It's a character deficiency on my part. A real lack of what this former New Yorker would call "chutzpuh." It's a Hebrew/Yiddish term which roughly translated amounts to "admirable gutsiness." I may have chutzpah in other areas of my life, but I want my hair a tad longer before I go au naturale. I think. The day may be coming soon where I might prefer to wait until it's a little longer, but I go without covering anyway. The weather IS warming!
The rain today is a blessing because it's filling the reservoirs. Allatoona is at full pool, but Lanier is sadly very, very low and still effected by the draught.
Tibetian monks, and sympathetic students and spectators are having a peaceful sit-in at Emory. They get shot for peaceful sit-in's in China, but I hope it is still safe for them to just sit in support of their fellow citizens here.
Art class was interesting. I am hopeful that since Wednesday morning classes probably won't work for me on a continuing basis, that I can do the Thursday evening class. A certain amount of cooperative effort may be required to make that happen, but we'll see how that will work out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Triple Negative Inforamtion Session

Some Emory students and physicians put on an information session on triple negative breast cancer. It wasn't very well attended, and the information was pretty generic, but I'm very thankful my daughter was willing to take me. I found out they're doing a big time community meeting in May that focus' on the triple negative issue. It will have people from around the country coming in for the meeting and there might be more information and more in-depth information. So, I didn't really find out a lot more about future treatment, but I did find out about a future event where clinicians might have ideas and treatments that are not necessarilly available here.

On a lighter note, Jewel was an angel during the whole seminar, but being 3 months old and just natural about living, she punctuated the presentation of these professionals by making occasional BIG farts. Every0ne there was mature about it, but it really was funny. I suspect these respected physicians haven't ever made presentations punctuated by flatulance. ;)

The cats are zonked out on the bed in the shape of two commas that are opposing one another like angel wings. Romeo is still a little gimpy from his tendonitis. I wish he'd get over it. I feel bad that he feels bad.

I'm having issues with my sleep patterns, which seem to be patternless lately. I need to get more scrupulous about my "sleep hygiene" as the medical world calls it. Going to sleep at a specific time, not watching tv or the computer for an hour before planning to sleep, etc. I have the good bed now, I need to sleep in it more than just hold it down. Sleep sure does make a person feel better. I think sleep is when much of body repair goes on too, and I sure need to help my body repair itself.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Relay for Life

Wherever I have worked in the K-12 education system, Relay for Life has been a huge effort. Students get involved, and the teachers and staff are very involved. Haralson County High School is no exception. All across the country this spring, Relay for Life events will take place pretty much in every county with a school in it. Some schools start the school year out collecting pennies. Others sell tee-shirts or have other fund-raisers. If you recall, my school sold chances for the opportunity to cut off my hair. That, as far as I know, was our first R for L fund-raiser for the 2007-2008 school year. It raised $521.20.

I know there are more good causes to give money to, than there are dollars in your pocket. If, however, you were to want to give to R for L, you can go this page to make a donation with a credit card. Thanks in advance to anyone that might elect to make a donation to this or any other cancer-fighting organization. I won't personally know about it unless you tell me. If you do opt to make a donation, let me know and I'll be happy to write you a personal "thank you."

Jewel and I hung out today. She's a happy girl and had a good day. I hope you are happy and had a good day as well.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Made it!

I called Jenn and Eric this morning and Liam was willing to be bribed to go to church with me. He fell in the parking lot on the way in, and that did not bode well for a kid that was really reluctant to go to church for whatever reason. Phew. I picked him up and carried him and we cuddled. I can't believe I carried him. He has to be 35 - 40 lbs by now. He very much enjoyed the procession into the church, and getting palm which he thought was a great imitation of a sword, and it took a lot of self control on his part not to turn into an instant pirate at any moment. It didn't help that a couple ADULTS in line in front of us were demonstrating the exact behavior that I was discouraging him from engaging in -- but he was good. We went to children's church....he won't go unless I go too. So he danced and ran around and participated as much as he could and I made sure he didn't stab any other children with his "sword." He got a couple cookies to help make church a little more attractive, and then we went into the sanctuary for communion. I was SO impressed that he remembered how to hold his hands to get the communion wafer and was willing to cross his chest with his arms to signify he wouldn't receive wine! The best part of today was that (a) I got me and the boy there, and (b) at the end of the service where the priest has a call and response from the congregation -- when the congregation said "Amen." Liam took it to be an inner call of his own to affirm the blessing and he said very loudly just before the next response, "AMEN!" The whole congregation giggled a little, and I'm sure the priest "appreciated" the extra help. He is the youngest of the kids in Children's Church so I should be thankful he is as cooperative as he is. He likes to dance to the music. :)

I already had my bumper guards on (fake boobies) and so after resting for a while after church, I did Betty's grocery shopping. By this point the list was long. I zoomed around Ingles getting everything on the list and a little more. I helped her put it all away (the first time I could do this in a long time). When I was on chemo, and could just manage to get the groceries and drop them off, she'd get very agitated with me because I didn't put the groceries away. So today, I was "good" because I stayed a while and put the groceries away, and I got her candy bars, and her trashy magazines (Enquirer, Star, etc.) . She's never been told I had surgery and with my foam boobies on, she didn't notice anything odd. I am not sure if that is a testimony to my foam boobies, or to the effect of Alzheimer's, but she didn't notice anything. Good. I'm not going there with her.

OK, with regard to the polls. I don't know if you folks get to see the results of the polls or if just I do, but it's clear that most people think it's better to be a woman (9 to 2). It makes me curious. See, I think either one is hard to be. I purposefully made it a forced choice with no middle ground though to just see if there was a preference. I'm conflicted. I'm so glad I got to have the experience of having a child and being a mother. I think being a mother is really different than being a dad. But if I had to pick, I think men have more power and authority in them and get more out of the world than women -- they sure get paid better! I don't think it's about penis envy or any kind of Electra or Oedipus complexes or any of that Freudian stuff. I also think their plumbing is WAY more convenient, and doesn't get messed up by childbirth. I'm all in favor of being continent! Of course the down side is the shorter life span of the male. I don't think there is a better choice. Each sex has a different but equally difficult road to travel in the journey called life.

What are you curious about? What should I ask my readers next?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Light at the End of the Tunnel

The light at the end of the tunnel -- I've been told I can see it now. The question I have is, is it the light from the other side, a freight train coming at me, or the tunnel they say you go through when you die?
Fat people are more likely to have their cancer come back. Of course that study was done on people with advanced BC, but if you stop and think about it, fat folks have twice as many cells in their body as the average Joe or Jane, so they have twice the chance of a cell going haywire. So maybe I'm in for a long and painful death unless I lose a dramatic amount of weight.
Maybe it's a freight train coming at me? A long life managing a fight against recurrent cancer? Perhaps it is just the ordinary statistical crap that gets thrown at someone that's alive like flu, breaking a hip or getting hit by a meteorite.
Maybe it's just getting through the tunnel of cancer and coming out ont he other side with the choice to live life to the max and enjoy the light? It's really hard to have any idea, and I think the illusion that I can discern what any of the options are is probably more likely a dillusion. Just live until I can't anymore.
I do think if I was thinner around the middle I'd have a beter life. Even though I've changed my eating habits since getting cancer, I'm not exactly dropping pounds dramatically. I have to wonder if I did lose weight would I be more likely to extend my life? I'm thinking, yeah.
The time change has me all screwed up. It's 8 PM but it feels and looks like 5PM. No wonder I can't sleep until something like 3AM. I need my internal clock adjusted.
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. I'm looking forward to seeing what Liam thinks of the procession into the church and how he does with going back after being away for several months. It'll be interesting no matter what.
Ishihara's test for color blindness is copyrighted so I won't put it here. But someone who has less respect for the copyright law has put some of it here. One reason it is interesting is that the last picture in the series -- I can't see the "5." Yet, I've never considered myself colorblind or even color challenged. I can perceive the other figures more or less OK. Very confusing. Makes me ponder if I have a gene that could be passed on.
Today was a good day to be a bum and get my energy back after a couple of busy days. Romeo is still gimping around. I might have to get him one of thos doggie/kitty stair steps to help him get up on the bed or something. He's having a hard time. He also has a tough time getting up on the bay window kitty bed. That's only about 20 inches off the floor. Hummmm. He definitely needs to take a turn for the better. Soon.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Triple Negative

Emory is doing a program on triple negative breast cancer, Tuesday night. Jenn is going to take me to it. I want to hear what the docs have to say. Always looking for hope.

Just heard today that another person I know has cancer. This time a melanoma. Found early, there is up to a 95% chance of recovery. It doesn't sound like they found it early though. The chances for recovery drop dramatically to 60% or less depending on how advanced it may be.

Betty's caregiver called today and said grocery shopping had to happen, so I guess I'll get to it this weekend. She's down to only one carton of cigarettes and one container of coffee grounds. That dang near constitutes an emergency. Thankfully, I'm feeling well enough to mange it at this point.

I'm hoping to have some time to do pottery this weekend. Must also do my art homework. I'm supposed to take a simple object, put it in intense light and draw it from different perspectives. Oh, my gosh, I'm tired and need to sleep. Night all.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mayberry is Still Alive and Well

It's almost invisible now, but the railway bridge you pass under to come into Bremen has a spray painted "Welcome to Mayberry." Earlier this week Jenn and I went to do some errands around small-town-America and it was such a pleasure. Bureaucracy was bent for pragmatic reasons a couple of times. Both times for pretty big things that would never have happened in a larger municipality. Bremen is growing. They just built a new middle school because the middle/high school situation had become impractical as the student body grew. I also hear that we're getting some big chain pharmacies coming to town. But, I have to tell you, the folks that give us the personal service that makes our lives easier will keep our business. In some things, bigger isn't always better. Living in a small place, and having the benefits of that slower pace of life, make a big difference in our lives -- for the better. After 20 years of living in a super rural area where there were no ammenities, living within a couple miles of grocery stores, pharmacies, and restaurants makes life much more easy. I love, LOVE having trash pick up. (Thursday is trash day here -- except when it's not....a holiday or weather can change that, sometimes without notice, but a nice big truck does come eventually to take the trash away.)

Jewel and I hung out today. Seems like the sniffles are going around the family right now. I think Jenn and Eric are pretty clogged up and they have a cranky baby and a wild boy to manage tonight. Being the grammy is so nice. I get to eat dinner and go home to the cats. Love my grandchildren, but also love being able to leave them and go home to the quiet too.

My landmark moment today was going out with my head naked. I just didn't have time to run back to my place, so I went fuzzy this afternoon in public. I don't really have hair yet, but I do have a shadow that suggests a hair line. I like running my hand over the fuzz and feeling it. It makes me feel hopeful that some degree of "normal" is on the horizon. Dr. Pierce, the oncologist, says it grows fast at first, so I'm watching. Fast would be good. Jewel's christening is in about three weeks, and I'd like to have fluff by then.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Art and Cats

OK, I got an A- from my art teacher today, and that made me very happy. He appreciated my tenacity in keeping at working on my subject. I made about a half dozen trys at a particular picture before finally being semi-satisfied that I had achieved (as best as *I* can) a decent representation of the subject. He taught us a new way to initiate a drawing today that shows an easier way to get things in perspective. I hope I can keep taking classes from this man for a while. He's amazing. I intentionally left out the shadow of the telephone pole. I know the neck isn't right. For a gal that couldn't draw a STOP sign before three weeks ago, I'm pretty impressed.

I took Romeo to the vet today in Bowden. He got two x-rays to make sure he hadn't broken anything. We can definitively say he doesn't have arthritis. He doesn't have a bone spur or fracture. He appears to have tendonitis. I have that occasionally and it hurts like hell! Apparently there is little than can be done for pain relief in cats. The doc says to watch him for two weeks, and let the pain give him feedback about what he shouldn't be doing so that he'll rest his leg. If he's still in a lot of pain in two weeks, bring him back and we'll attempt to see if there is some kind of pain relief he can take for a while without killing his kidneys, AND he'll probably have to be contained in a small space for a while to ensure he rests his leg. I hope we don't have to do that!

Romeo is very sensitive to my moods. When chemo had me down for the count, he'd always snuggle up to me. When all my hair fell out, I'd wake up sometimes at night, and he'd be licking my head. I wonder if I tasted different because of the chemo, or he was "comforting" me? In any case, I've always felt close to this cat, but he is very special now for being my company in some very trying circumstances. He gets the best care I can give him.

Hope you are having a great day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Oncologist Visit

I saw the onc today. Being the nerdy gal that I am, I brought a news article with me so we could go over the information. It's a Reuters News article (here). Since I have chronic, life-long anemia this was a concern to me. I figured I probably got doses of these drugs; I did. I got two doses. It was interesting talking to him about the research. I was alarmed by the statement toward the end of the article that says something to the effect that this drug class can encourage the growth of cancer cells. This doesn't sound like a good thing for someone with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy to blow it to kingdom come!

The study is a meta-analysis (a study of other studies). His opinion is that the study is flawed and that the statements are unnecessarilly alarmist because the results they are cautioning against are "off label" dosing. It was good to get that talked through.

I go back in a month. He's encouraging me to get out and do as much as I possibly can to start building up my endurance, but recognizes that I will still have limits for a good while. He told me about some mouthwash that will help prevent the thrush from returning. I'll have to check into it tomorrow.

Romeo is still gimping around a bit, and so after my drawing class tomorrow, I'm going to see if I can get him in at the vet's. I don't want him feeling bad if there's something that can be done to help him out.

My drawing that I have been attempting for this class' homework is just not working out. I just can't seem to get the perspective and details anywhere close to right. Of course that is why you take a class, so you can learn how to do it. I'll be interested tomorrow to see if I can take in the proper approach to this piece I'm attemping.

I was very excited tonight. I talked to Liam about going to church. Mom has been telling me that he WON'T consider going to church AT ALL. I talked to him tonight about going with me next week and told him how it would be special and we'd get to sing songs and march into church (Palm Sunday). He gave me an enthusiastic YES to going with me to church! Yeah. I've been wanting to continue on taking him, but I have to have enough energy to wrangle a 3 year old which is a bit like trying to keep a herd of wild mustangs in line. He keeps asking if my boo boo is gone? And I keep saying yes. Tonight he hugged me, rejoicing that I didn't have a boo boo anymore. I have a scar now instead. He says, "I want to see." I let him see and he says, "It sure is big." But he accepts that a scar is not a boo boo and that I can now play with him again. I'm happy that he's willing to go to church with me. We'll head for the 9AM service so he can enjoy children's church. He'll go as long as I go with him. Mom, dad and Jewel say they might just make it a whole family affair! Wow!

I'm looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Just Another Day in Bremen

I went to the Buchanan post office and got my passport application.

Went with Jenn as she took care of business for Betty today, and so we got to eat at Los Cowboys in Buchanan. A little treat on a weekday. That's how I got to go by the PO -- riding along with Jenn.

EfM was interesting tonight. We did our analysis on my total aversion to the wording of the 1928 prayer book and how miserable it tells us that we are. I found out (yet again) that I am legalistic and spend too much time focusing on exact wording, while everyone else is often going through the motions and sometimes not really listening ! Church is TRULY a very different experience for different folks. It has to be a little discouraging for folks that have important parts in the service. I can't do Lay Reading anymore because of some frailties of age, but I remember thinking, "People are looking at me and listening to me; I have to get this RIGHT." Interestingly enough, they probably weren't listening. Huh. Other folks focus on different things related and unrelated to the service.

Well according to the most recent poll here, it looks like Barak Obama might be our next President. Imagine them playing "Hail to the Chief," and a Black man with the name Obama walking to the cadence of the Marine Band. Wow, we have really come a LONG way baby!

Have an appt with the oncologist tomorrow. Have some questions for the man. Also have to get my butt out early in the am. The cleaning goddess comes tomorrow too. Ahhhhhh, the joy of organization.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


My "work" for today was grocery shopping, and I've been working on a drawing for my art class. That's it.

The drawing is a representation of a picture I took of Liam when he was 1-1/2. I'm having a very hard time trying to get the proportions and perspective "right." If drawing was easy, everyone one do it. Since I've never really tried it much, the fact that I'm struggling seems pretty normal. I have until Wednesday morning to try and "get it."

I see the oncologist on Tuesday. Tomorrow I have no idea if I have anything I'm supposed to do or not. I think I might go by the post office in Buchanan and get an application for a passport. When I get well enough, I want to travel. I desperately want to see and get in the ocean. Now with all this terrorist crap going on, you have to have a passport to go to places in the Carribean and stuff, so I need to get a new one. I might not be strong enough to do real travel, but I might be able to handle a cruise or something. I don't know, but I do know I'm going to get my butt (and maybe the rest of me too) in the ocean sometime in the relatively near future.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Wow am I tired!

Thursday was very busy, and today Jenn drove me...where? You guessed it -- to n. Atlanta to be drained AGAIN. We left Bremen at 8:40am and got home about 3PM. She and I (and probably Jewel) were exhausted. I came home and immediately went to sleep I was SO tired. I want so much to be independent and not have to soak up someone else's time, but I can tell you, if I had managed to drive to n. Atlanta in the morning today, I surely couldn't have driven myself home this afternoon.

April 1st, Jenn and I will go to one of the information sessions about the 3-day walk in October. She, and at least one of her half-sisters are giving serious consideration to doing the walk. It's been a rough year for both moms and for the children that have taken care of them. I couldn't have managed on my own this year, without the help of my child. I'm sure the same is true for the other Mrs. Ward. It's a great testimony to the heart of our children that they are motivated to work so hard against the enemy that caused / is causing us so much grief and trouble.

If you know any really great fund-raisers that maybe you have experience from, let us know what it is. Between them, the sisters have to raise a lot of money! I'll be part of their support personnel, but do not feel it is in my best interest to try the walk myself. I have had several people tell me they are also doing it, in part because of me: Shirley the mail lady, my priest, etc. This is a terrible disease. You have to love life a LOT and be driven hard to live to endure the many painful indignities it visits on you. My survivor friends often say that they pray daily for the researchers in this arena, because there is so much left to understand and so much more to know. This IS a problem that can have the outcome of it's victims improved, by throwing money at it. As a triple negative, I am particularly hopeful that research in the near future will come up with additional treatments for me and my sisters-in-spirit who are also triple negative and have such bleak survivorship at the present time. We've come a long way based on the research already done. I know my treatments were possible because 140,000 other brave women submitted to research. My ability to survive today is based on them being willing to try anything to help them survive or, in some cases, to knowingly allow data to be collected even though they themselves could not be helped. This walk honors them, and looks with hope toward finding more answers for more women in the here-and-now, and the future. If you are not directly involved with the 3-day, perhaps you can support someone who is. One of my dear supporters has been a human learning tool, by graciously participating in an effort to help clinicians learn best how to examine a woman's breasts. This is a great sacrifice and I'm personally thankful for her willingness to give her body over to others for educational purposes.

Cancer is taking more and more people I know these days. I'm sure it is the same for you and those you love. There are many ways to honor those effected by this disease, but the point is to try hard and learn as much about it as we can so that the future can be more hopeful for those of us affected by this disease.

I'm now more than a month out from my surgery. I hope that we don't have to drain me many more times.

Thanks to Bob and Thurman for checking in with me. My heart is always warmed by contact from dear friends and colleagues.

Tissue samples were supposed to have been sent to MDA as of today. So, we'll see what develops. They do more testing than the local hospital does, so maybe there will be some information that will be helpful.

Sleep well friends.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Fast-paced Wednesday

I did my drawing class this morning and really enjoyed it. I'm learning a lot but I'm definitely a true beginner with very primitive drawing skills.

Jenn checked my fluid accumulation today. Might have to go be drained again. Oh joy.

Thanks for the call Nancy. I enjoyed talking with ya. :)

Somehow, someway I'm supposed to fax something to Northside hospital tomorrow. In Bremen, this is not as easy as one would think. We have no Mailboxes Etc.-type store or even an office supply store. This is how I know I live in small town America, if I am nice and smile, my home-town pharmacy will fax something for me. No, this is not a CVS, not a Rite-Aid, or any kind of chain. It's a small, local pharmacy that is not open on Sundays, or after 6PM any day of the week. But you are greeted by name when you walk in, if your insurance doesn't run the Rx for some reason and you've sent someone else to pick up your Rx, they'll send the medicine home and tell you to stop by the pharmacy when you feel better. It's awesome. A bit of the 1950s in the new millenium.

I'm perking up a bit, even if I do need to spring a leak, or have one sprung for me. Jenn's going to call the surgeon's office on Friday and find out HOW MUCH fluid do I have to have before it's a bad thing and I have to get drained? It's not as bad as last week, but it's not good.

Wow, who would have thought that Hillery could have made a last-minute come-back? It's going to be interesting no matter if it's Obama or Clinton vs. McCain. I don't see America being ready to elect a woman to the Whitehouse. I think a McCain vs. Obama ticket would be a real race to see who would win. I think Obama's youth might win out, even though he's going to raise some controversy by not being 100% White. (He is just as White as he is Black, and he's aware of that despite the fact that most American's consider him Black because of his color.) I'm too cynical about this, I'm sure, but I just don't see a majority of Americans being willing to vote for anyone without external plumbing. If it becomes a Clinton vs. McCain race, I suspect the candidate with external genitalia will win. Not necessarilly because he is the best candidate but because I am thinking the MAJORITY of voters will not vote for a woman, nor a woman with the assertive personality that Hillery has -- she is a trained lawyer and gosh only knows, she's aware of how law and the Whitehouse can get involved in the lives of the residents of that house! The next few weeks will be interesting. It is definitely a fight to the finish on the Democratic side, and the two candidates are definitely neck-and-neck.

Hope you had a good day.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Two Places at Once

Tomorrow I'm supposed to be at two places simultaneously. I'm not sure how I'm to work that out.

Had some quality time with Jewel today. Tired. Going to bed.

Monday, March 03, 2008

MD Anderson Update

I had a VERY frustrating morning. I had left a message for the casemanager about 8 days ago, but when she didn't get back with me, I called today. I really can't write about all the jots and tiddles of the information I got today -- I'm just too tired and too upset. But the upshot of the whole thing is that some tissue of mine is going to MD Anderson; likely I'm not. It was a very emotional conversation because there was a lot of misinformation that I'd been given, and misunderstandings between the case manager and myself. I talked to her boss for about 45 minutes today, but having had a major nuclear meltdown first thing this morning, has really kicked my butt. I'll write more about it maybe tomorrow. Sufice it to say, it was a huge blow to me to find this out and try to make sense of things.

I really, really, REALLY wish that these medical professionals could "get it" better that they are genuinely talking to people like myself about real "life and death" issues and that ignoring me by not returning calls, or being superior and making decisions for me without consulting me is disrespectful and most upsetting, and that just reciting information off a formulaic sheet of information won't make me understand it any better by repeating it again. Talking to me in a mystical language of medicalese, and suppressing my right to make decisions by making them for me leads to so much personal grief for the patient. Ignoring my calls is just a perfect example of power and authority and putting the patient into a submissive position. I'm so angry. So angry.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

It's Coming!

Close, close, close-up is needed for obvious reasons (They're so small!).

The temperature highs and lows for the next few days. Wednesday already scares me. You can't enjoy the 70 degree high on Monday without paying for it. When the temp drops that suddenly, we'll see scary weather. BUT, that doesn't stop me from enjoying the high of 67 today!

Today 67° 42°
Mon 70° 52°
Tue 59° 31°
Wed 58° 35°

Nancy, Jewel and I have used our hats in the last week when the mornings were down in the 20s. Nonie / Rip: I heard the fortune of weather is bringing you folks more snow. Sorry about that.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Walking with Jewel

This is Jenn and Jewel in their walking set-up. The three of us can get some good mileage under us , and Jenn gets the benefit of an extra 10 lb weight to help her in her build endurance.
This is Jewel after she's been rocked to sleep by walking. She just dozes off after we start and as you can see she's definitely not bothered by our work-out.

She's almost three months old now.

Someone wanted to see what my cats look like. So here's a picture of them. The grey one on the teal bedspread is Romeo. He got his name by being a lover. He snuggles up to any living thing in the house and can be a real bother to the cleaning lady by begging for attention.

Below is Chelsea. She is Romeo's second arranged marriage. He became a widower after his first wife succomed to feline leukemia. I had adopted her from a fellow who had told the vet he had to give up his cat due to moving. He thought she was healthy, but obviously she wasn't. Chelsea came from FurKids a cat rescue from Fulton County. I felt like if I got her from an official rescue group I'd be more likely to get a healthy wife for him. Chelsea can be very lovey, but she's easily startled. I think she has a little PTSD from spending time on the streets. She's both a Tabby AND a Callico. Her fur is not soft but rather coarse, but she's a sweetie. She has feline urinary syndrome and so I get frustrated with her when she loses control (usually on my bed). At one point I actually looked into turning her back into FurKids, but I finally found a vet that could treat her adequately and so she can stay. As protection, I have a special protective cover on my new bed! Just in case she has a relapse!

Hope everyone is doing well today. I'm just being useless at home today. This is the most productive thing I've done today.