Saturday, May 31, 2008
I also got a few skeins of yarn at Hobby Lobby. I've made 1/2 of a shawl. It really went FAST today. It's been something like 30 years since I did any crocheting, but it seems that one doesn't forget. I love the yarn I selected. If it all works out, I hope whoever gets it likes it as much as I do. They are doing a prayer shawl ministry at my church. I didn't think it would go together this fast, but it is, so it appears I'll have one to give to them in the next week or so.
There was a low country boil down by the pool tonight and Eric was thoughtful enough to make some that wasn't spicy. It was really, really good too! Lots of kids, and moms and dads. A friend of Jenn's came with her three and we all had a pretty good time, except for the mosquitoes. I took a picture of Jewel floating in the pool that I'll post tomorrow. It's just cute as it can be. Her mom was a real water baby. I had to watch her like a hawk because she'd get her hands and arms and legs all going exactly like she was supposed to to swim, and if I wasn't careful she'd jump in the water and there'd she go swimming. The only problem was that she had a negative buoyancy and she'd be holding her breath and swimming about a foot under water. Luckily, I did watch her like a hawk and she is now a momma with her own water babies.
Cats are all piled in with me in bed now. I've taken my night meds, and although I haven't started to drool yet, I feel myself sliding away. It's time to turn off the computer. Night all.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Jewel and I visited Betty today to ensure she's taking her meds. Her caregiver is recovering from dental surgery. I let Betty hold Jewel and Jewel squalled like the hounds of hell were about to start nibbling on her. She's only 5 months old, but she has good sense.
We went to physical therapy this afternoon. Jewel loved being passed from one physical therapist to another while I got my treatment. She's quite the socialite.
I went to Hobby Lobby today to get some refill supplies so I can start back making earrings again. I get tired easier than I'd like and at $3.95/gallon can't afford to go anywhere much, so I might as well make my time at home productive.
I haven't slept well this week at all, so tonight I'm taking a slug of something to ensure that I SLEEP tight all night, dang it!
Hope you and those you love are happy and well this day.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Looks like Thelma, the jointly-owned cat may have found a home. A local teacher needs a new fur friend, and I'm happy she is wanted and will be loved and cared for in ways that neither of her present "owners" can really offer her.
Trees seem to be adjusting. Going to bed now. Very tired and my arm is "out."
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I enjoyed visiting back at school today and seeing many colleagues as they are wrapping up the school year.
I finally have the cable to transfer data from the old CPU to the new one. I had to go 3 different places before I was able to find one. Physical therapy tomorrow, but maybe I can coordinate a transfer of data and get the new computer up and running before this one dies an ugly death.
Busy day with lots to do today. Going to hold the pillows down on the bed now.
Monday, May 26, 2008
This picture shows both trees in the ground and the final surrounds. It was too dark when I took it so you can't see it really well. I'll try to get a better picture up tomorrow, so you can see better.
Today was EfM graduation and a really great party over at S.'s house. We all converged there and toured her really incredible yard and lovely home. This picture is all the graduates of 4 years of theological study and our mentor.From left to right is: E., C., myself, S. and our mentor J. I really liked how C. held her certificate up to the sky so her mom, dad and husband could see that she did it! E. gets the award for most persistent, having taken a one year break off to have twin boys, and driving from Canton for the last five months of the year this year! S. gets the award for the most traveled. She has been to more countries and gotten more passport stamps in one year than anyone who doesn't work for the State Department. J. gets the award for putting up with some really brassy gals this year. I don't know if any other EfM group has ever had mastectomy show and tell, or had prosthetic breasts passed around the table so everyone could "cop a feel." It's been a tough job keeping us on track and making sure we didn't offend the Almighty or one another with our impulsive thoughts, words and deeds! Congratulations for surviving us, J.
I don't know what the rest of you all are doing with your Monday evenings from now on, but I'm starting an art class on Monday evenings for six weeks starting June 9th.
I'm a tired girl and I'm going to bed.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
The thing that I did impulsively today was give money to another cancer patient's fundraiser (the community is raising money so she can go to Switzerland for treatment she can't get here) and for my donation I got two BEAUTIFUL, mature pink dogwood trees.
As soon as they are off loaded from the truck, I'll go get castle rock to make surrounds for them. I haden't really planned to do it this month, but when the opportunity arises, you go with the flow.
It will be interesting to see how this adventure works out. I'm reading now about how to properly plant a dogwood. I think they'll be really, really pretty.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I'm starting to hear a little better, and I can tell the antibiotics are working because although I'm tired (perhaps justifiably so), I'm feeling a little bit better.
I bought a chaise lounge today and have already given it a test nap. Highly recommend it.
I found a place that has about 8 ft. tall dogwood trees for $49 ea. I'm thinking that one on either side of my front "lawn" would look pretty. There would then be two less bald spots in the front. I want to put them in raised beds though and that means castle rock, and that means bucks, bucks, bucks. Have to think about that some more. I wonder if anyone would freecycle some used brick to me? Hmmmmm.
Tomorrow Jewel and I have two doc appointments in Carrollton. The whole rotator cuff issue has improved about 70 percent, but I'm rather hoping I can be tortured for another few weeks and regain 100% use of the arm. I'm afraid I'm too much of a wuss to "stretch" my arm so forcefully and to such painful extremes that the physical therapist does. I'd prefer she torture me.
Gas today: $3.95 / gallon. I don't get it. The petroleum barrel price is going up, but that petroleum won't be refined and sold as gasoline for several more weeks. The top six gas companies posted earning of $36 BILLION dollars last quarter. Why is it that the price goes up one day on the stock market, and the next day the pump prices go up? The gas IN the tanks was bought at one price, and then the jack the price and sell it for more. I'm trying to pay off my truck quickly so that when it's paid for, the price of gas won't be taking so much of my income. I know everyone is in a jam about gas, and that we Americans are just now feeling the pinch that Europe has had for a decade now. But it's illogical and it makes me want to build a still or something!
Have a great evening!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Trip to the dentist tomorrow. That means another trip into Atlanta. I'm very tired today, so I hope I'm reinvigorated for tomorrow. The cleaning diva comes tomorrow, god bless her the place is a wreck. :( My brother got the neat gene; I didn't.
Really, really, really tired. Officially down for the count.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I have drugs, drugs, drugs to help me get better from these ear infections, and to prevent further thrush. I have eczema that is causing my skin irritation. He ordered blood work and if my iron is too low, he'll order an iron infusion for me so I don't have to take oral iron. AWESOME! I even got the name of a plastic surgeon that can take care of a little post-surgical irregularity that I want to get fixed.
My next big adventure will be Thursday when I go to the dentist in Atlanta! (Joy!)
Tuesday I have an appointment with the lady that did the "Look Good, Feel Better" program that the American Cancer Society gives for those of us who lose our hair or have to adjust to different skin issues due to radiation or surgery. She was really nice. I told her I had 1/2-inch of hair and wanted to see if there was anything we could do with gel or something to make it look a little more feminine. I'm hoping she has some creative ideas. I think right now my hair looks like I have been extremely STARTLED or that I'm really "butch." Since I'm neither, I'd like to work on a slightly less startled, more girly look. Don't know if it is possible, but I'm living in hope these days.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I'm pretty grumpy because so many things aren't right. However --- I have an appointment with my internist tomorrow. He understands me. I'm hoping we can work through all this stuff. I'm leary of antibiotics right now after FIVE episodes of thrush. I don't know how this will work out, but I have confidence in my doc. Maybe he can even get my iron up without having to take Fe orally. Hate, hate, hate how that stuff makes me feel. Ptue! Pttttt! Ptttt!!! Indigestion! Ick.
So, with any luck in a few days I'll feel better, and I'll hear better. Right now my ears are so blocked up I can't hear my grandson at all.
I'm also grumpy about weight "loss" this week. Evidentally just ONE cheeseburger mucked up my whole weight loss program. It's very discouraging.
This Monday was the last EfM meeting for me. Graduation from EfM is next Monday. I'm rather proud of myself for lasting all four years! Every year of EfM has had a special group, but this year has been particularly interesting and had a fun dynamic.
I'm off to figure out something to do with my bed, as I just spilled a whole glass of water in it.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Speaking of the bed, it was this lovely king size thing with LOTS of pillows for the old girl to move aound and find a comfy spot to sleep. You can see my room service tray here. It was just a burger, but it was a GOOD burger and it was swell having it brought up to my room.
It doesn't take much to dazzle me anymore!
Folks have asked for pix of my new "outdoor room" that I've been working on. So here goes.
There's a few before the computer has a nervous breakdown. I'll put some more up later. For right now, you can get a feel for what things might look like.
Now go out and get your 15 minutes of vitamin D3 today. It's a very good cancer fighting thing you can do for FREE. Just 15 minutes now. No more. Don't want to be courting the bad UVB rays for too long and end up with skin cancer later.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
I got up and got out at 6am because I saw that registration for the Conference Friday opened at 7am. I had a bit of a time finding the hotel which is advertised as being in Buckhead but to my mind is more close to Lenox than anything. Anyway, I found the hotel after a false start, and was thrilled that I actually had the energy to drive all the way into Atlanta.
I sat toward the front since I'm having hearing problems. There was seating there for about a hundred or so people, and very fancy audio-visual screens. I was one of very few people there that was not a medical professional. I met one other survivor who also attended. This conference got researchers together from every field of medicine. There were pathologists, oncologists, radiologists, researchers working with mouse studies, researchers doing human studies, and people who work as front-line service providers. There is a tremendous amount of research and investigation going on into the triple negative type of breast cancer.
What I have come to know is that this disease of cancer makes doctors frustrated and upset because they are working so hard to figure out some way to treat folks like me. They feel impotent against this kind of cancer. They are looking hard to find genes that are predictably associated with this kind of cancer. If a gene can be identified then there is a target they can focus on to fight this enemy. They are looking for ways to kill these kinds of cells, proteins and enzymes that feed this kind of tumor. They are trying to find the tumors diagnostically sooner because they grow so fast and are often in women with dense breasts that don't show the tumors clearly on mammograms. In six months time, a triple negative tumor can grow SO fast that it outgrows it's blood supply and the interior of the tumor starts to die (become necrotic) because it grows faster than it can get nutrients to its whole. The doctors are stunned by the fierceness that the cancer comes back with, and even when they think they have it all surgically, they are frustrated at losing patients in such quick time periods (less than one to two years) because somehow in ways that are not understood, the cancer cells hide out like dandelions cut down by a lawnmower but reappear and regrow quickly and unpredictably. Sometimes you get to live six months after treatment, and sometimes it reappears 19 years after initial treatment. The medical community hates this kind of cancer because there is such a limited amount of treatment available to offer patients, and because they know it's more deadly and more swift than other forms of breast cancer. What they don't know about the cancer is frustrating to them. They are using old cells from biopsies from the 1980's to examine the whole triple negative issue. They are unable to look at individuals like me, because it's too hard on their psyche. They have to look at things statistically and in as large a number of people as possible or they couldn't sleep at night. There is an energy in the room that wants to conquer this enemy, so I live now in hope that they will work hard to find a key or two to treating this cancer more effectively. Pray for the good health and energy for these people. They care.
I was excited that I drove all the way to Atlanta and then sat up ALL day. That's a lot for the lady that was reduced so long to just doing ONE thing a day. It was exciting to be with grown ups and learning and being at this luxury hotel where we had a lovely "bag lunch" where even the bag was elegant. I did feel a little set apart......it's obvious I am a patient, not a medical professional so there was no colleague-like feel or acceptance. In fact I was probably someone they wanted to stay away from because they don't have good answers for me. But I was up and out. I felt good all day, but I was awfully glad I had pre-arranged to have a hotel room close by. As I was leaving the conference I stopped by the restroom and I noticed that I was shaking all over. I drove up to my fancy hotel, and let the valet folks park my car for me and I checked in quickly, got room service for dinner and slept really, really well on a beautifully appointed King size bed with luxury sheets. Oh how decadent.
I came home today and stopped in Douglasville to shop at Old Time Pottery BY MYSELF! I was able to come home and nap. Then spent a little time with family and came home to my bed at my house. It was exciting getting out, but like Judy Garland said, "There's no place like home."
I'll post some pictures and more details tomorrow. Tonight, I'm just grateful for the energy that is coming back and the slow resumption of ability and independence that I was used to having. I still need help at times, but I'm getting stronger and I like it!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Tomorrow I'm going to a conference in Atlanta on my kind of cancer. It's an all day thing, and I'm driving the morning push-and-shove to get to the conference. I looked at the address of the hotel I'm staying at and interestingly it's the same address as the one where the conference is being held. But one is the Hyatt and one is the Marriott. Go figure. I'm just glad there isn't far to go when I have to lay down.
I'll be putting on make-up and boobs for this event!
Jewel has a sound she can make reliably now, "baaaa." It has no meaning, but we enjoyed walking around and singing baaaaaaaaa baaaaaaaaaa baaaaaaa this morning.
I'm thinking of starting a book club. Not one where everyone reads the same book and talks about it, but rather one where you bring a book you've read to the club and then swap for a book you want to read. I've been reading a good bit more lately than I have in some time, so it'd be a nice way to get some new reading for free. It would also be a fun excuse to open a bottle of wine, have some hor de overs and meet new folks.
I've been giving some consideration to putting a raised bed on either side of my front yard to cut down on the portion of "lawn" that requires maintenance. I was thinking of a center tree with some perennials around the tree. I have a fondness for bleeding heart, but some books say we don't have enough cold weather here for them to be able to re-grow. I don't know what kind of tree I'd put in either. The dirt in my front yard is very depleted and not very rich at all. I could put good stuff in the raised bed, but ultimately the tree roots would have to go down in to the red clay and survive. It would be nice if it was a tree that grew quickly so that I wasn't looking at a stick for five years while it grew two inches a year. I also was looking at Jenn's Martha Stewart magazine and really liked the peonies I saw in there. I don't know jack about when to plant, or anything about care, but I think they'd be a pretty plant to go around the tree. I'd like to find a place where I could "harvest" some used brick, instead of having to pay big bucks for that castle rock stuff. Big dreams. Probably require big bucks too. Oh well, need to set the clock for 5 and get ready to get out quick in the am.
I'll take pix.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
My eyes look pretty normal now. I've been cleared to be in the company of others. My cold is improving very, very slowly. I thank the gods for Mucinex EX and navel oranges.
I've made a reservation to stay in Atlanta Friday. I'm planning to go to the conference on triple negative breast cancer put on my Emory at the Hyatt. I pricelined a hotel room, hoping it might be in the Hyatt, but it's in the Marriott down the road. I know that I will not be able to drive to Atlanta, stay at a very intense conference all day, and then drive home, so I'm planning to just collapse nearby.
Jewel has discovered her feet. It's fun to watch her investigate these new appendages. She still gets so frustrated with her arm things for not doing what she wants them to do. So, now she has these arm things grabbing the foot things, and her frustration is multiplying. Learning gross motor skills is tough stuff.
Hope you all had a great day.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
The beds look all nice now, new black stuff is down, the black stuff has been treated with round up and covered with about a half-ton of river rock. Two light fixtures were switched out yesterday, and today there was a new plug in made outside to accommodate the plug for the new fountain and light. I got a new concrete pot that I'll fill tomorrow, and they made a flower bed out of castle rock and MiracleGrow-type dirt.
My house interior looks like it's been hit by a tornado, but the cleaning goddess comes tomorrow to help me put things in order. I'm exhausted from being a gopher for things needed for the work around here, and also from physical therapy. I get to go back and be tortured again on Friday. Man, the stuff they have me do, and that they do to my shoulder is SO painful that I was about to levitate off the table today! Yipes!
I got a nap yesterday and still tired myself out but good. No nap today, so I'm feeling VERY tired tonight. I still have a sore throat and head cold. I feel like crap! My throat hurts, hurts, hurts and my head and ears hurt. In fact if my ears hurt much more, I'm going to declare them infected. At this point I have no idea what doctor to call about a sore throat. Do I call the oncologist or my internist? I'm nervous abou the idea that I might end up on antibiotics because I don't want to end up with thrush again. What a vicious cycle! Despite the fact that I feel awufl, however, I've very excited at how nice the interior and exterior are looking overall. If I don't wear myself to a frazzle tomorrow I'll post some pix.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
I like the color but it is not quite what I anticipated. It's still nice though. I have the part of the bed I sleep on cleared of crap. The cats are confused and very distressed at the change in furniture and the strangers coming and going.
The outdoor fence is being stained a beautiful walnut color. I hope the stain makes it stay new looking longer.
I have some sorting and cleaning to do before I bring things back into the bedroom. I also need a new table to set the computer on. The existing table is about buckle under the pressure of all the crap I have sitting on it. I also want to get new light switch plates that match the room colors.
I HAVE to sleep now. Between exhaustion and meds, I'm falling asleep at the keyboard. My throat sure is sore though. I'll be glad when this cold or whatever it is has passed my by. I don't like feeling crumby.
Monday, May 05, 2008
The cold is easing up, thankfully. At EfM tonight we had show-and-tell with my new "girls." It's all a learning experience.
I hope you and those you love are well this night.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Not only that, but despite the fact that I have the family sore throat, unless I'm dead tomorrow, I'm taking Liam to church because for once, he asked if he could go? Wow! I don't quite know what piqued his interest but I'll accept it!
This morning I got the "girls" out of bed, put them in their respective bra pockets, and hoisted them on. They are surprisingly realistic looking, I think.
So here is the front side of the new-improved "girls."
And me putting one into the special little pocket in their special bra.
And the final effect.
I know in this shot they look huge, but I'm not Tinkerbell to begin with, and anything smaller doesn't look proportional. These are actually smaller than my original, manufacturer's design equipment. Lord, if we could just remove the several chins I have in this shot, I could have had at least one boob reconstruction from just that!
I kind of view getting the prosthetics like commencement to the next stage of my life after treating breast cancer. I actually hope that there are no new developments on my personal cancer front. I'm working on going to a conference about my kind of breast cancer later this month. I still can't learn too much. It's in downtown Atlanta. I think I can probably drive in for the conference, but it's an all day thing. So, I'm considering just staying at the hotel that night because I don't suspect I can drive home after doing all that. I'll have to give it more thought.
I am not my cancer, but there is no question that it will always be a worry at the back of my mind. If there are any new treatments, I want to explore them as a possibility. These are the people on the forefront of the field of triple negative breast cancer.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Here is one of the girl's (Which, by the way, is a state-of-the art, cool boob. The clear silicone inset you see, takes the spot where the manufacturer formerly put a kind of cooler, cotton-looking inset that was velcroed onto the skin-toned prosthetic and is supposed to make it cooler to the skin. I had thought I would get those, as I often feel too hot, but I figured since I don't get to get but one set of "girls" every two years, I ought to go with the newest, most technologically advanced boobs. So here is one being put to bed.
Pulling the covers over the boob as it goes to bed.
V. was so kind to me yesterday as I made final selections and tried on this style and compared it with that style. I'm telling you, I had no idea whatsoever that such details were so complicated! They have two big advantages over the foamy temporary boobs. Because they are weighted, I return to a more normal posture. The other is that because they are weighted, they don't creep up, up, up my chest until I feel like I'm wearing a boob scarf around my neck! That is a big advantage! V. treats every client / patient like they are Jackie Onassis though, and I left the building with two lovely bags holding all my new paraphernalia, while surrounded with lovely pink tissue paper and tied up in custom-looking ribbons. It was like leaving Tiffany's with the signature teal box with a white ribbon bow. My "jewelry" will be worn everyday though, and I was certainly accorded the same service one gets when shopping at Tiffany's.
Now for other pictures. I took some shots of my new fence and the outdoor "room" that it creates.
Here is a closer look.
I had to take all the cushions off and put them away because it's scheduled to rain soon. But this is my new outdoor "room" that the new fence made. I love it so much. I know it will be hot soon, but I'm hoping to get a fan installed and a little water feature to help replace the noise of local lawn mowers and barking dogs with the soothing sounds of water. It'll be a recirculating pump so don't think I'm squandering water during the draught.
This will be my little, special, outdoor oasis. I've got a fellow coming soon to give me an estimate for staining the fence and doing some other work around the place. I'm excited because I might just get my bedroom painted, finally! I've had the paint for a year, but for various reasons (like I can't move furniture or I've been in chemo) it hasn't happened. I'm excited.
N. in TN, thank you so very much for sponsoring Jenn for some milage in the 3-day. That's a very kind and generous thing. You're such a great friend. Just to see how crazy I am about helping Jenn, you can see in this picture, that I've "decorated" the tailgate of the pick-up with an advertisement for her web page. As I drive around town, I'm advertising.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
The fence people arrived at 9:30 and were out of here by 12:30. It was three guys that worked HARD but as a team and they had it up in quick-time and that was with them having to make three holes in the concrete drive! Evidentally the neighborhood noticed because the kids have already come by and snickered about the three Mexicans. I told them I didn't know where they were from, it might have been El Salvadore or Honduras (and in fact their accent was so thick and they spoke so fast, I suspect they are not Mexican). It makes me sad though, that these children in the neighborhood are already picking up on the disrespectful attitudes of others who view people who are not from here, as someone who is less worthy. That makes me feel really sad. These guys worked HARD and they did quality work. They deserve respect.
Going to the Women's Boutique today I was able to pick up my breast prostheses. They certainly make my clothing fit much, much better. It was a dizzing hour or so of trying this, that and the other bra and prosthethics on. I have a special bra that holds the prosthetics and a set of "girls" now. Another bra is on order in my size. After I get a chance to evaluate which style fits the best while wearing it over time, then I'll be able to get some more bras.
To L: I found the other sock when I unpacked today!!! It was hiding in my suitcase all along!
All this activity has me tired out for the day. I'll post some pix soon, I promise.