Monday, March 31, 2008
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!
Sunday, March 30, 2008
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
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
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
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
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
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
Friday, March 21, 2008
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 thing....it'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
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
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
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
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
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
Friday, March 14, 2008
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Monday, March 03, 2008
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
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
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.