Sunday, November 30, 2008

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree...

...please don't let Clyde knock you over!!!!!!!!!

The Christmas tree is up. With lights. Colored ones that flash per Jackie's request. We aren't putting any ornaments on for a few days because we're rather worried that Clyde will think he's a jungle kitty and climb the tree. It's secured to the wall to prevent it from toppling over.

Jackie's ficus tree also has lights on it. Last year, she decided all her presents needed to go under a separate tree. She even moved ornaments onto the ficus. I had to use colored lights too. And they had to flash just like the big tree. Such a bossy Miss!

Here's a picture of bad Clyde kitty, who right now is so exhausted from helping us that he can't lift his fuzzy head off the floor.

Clyde...tucked into the princess bed for his nap!

I wonder if Santa is going to bring Clyde a present this year?

I talked Jackie into taking some of her toys into the basement after I explained that Santa might think we had too many toys already. She happily stuffed things into a plastic trash bag to transport them downstairs :) She actually tried to help me vacuum too. What a doll!

We both still have our colds and I really am wondering if my platelets will be up enough to have chemo this week. This thing just doesn't want to budge. Dad has the cold now and he said today that he thinks Mom had it too. She has stopped coughing which is making all of us very happy (but especially Dad, because he lives with her!)

This weekend was an absolutely terrible sports weekend for us. Maryland football - blah. Redskins - blah and finally, Maryland basketball against Georgetown (hate 'em) - blah!

Outta here.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving & a Mom Update

Turkey Day was a good one. There's a reason this is my favorite holiday. Such a joyful time without the press of presents and rushing here and there. We had a wonderful time at Michelle and Joe's home. My niece and Jackie (5 and almost 4 respectively) were like 2 peas in a pod. Jackie asked me all day yesterday when we were going back to Uncle Joey's house. On the way home, we stopped at Bill's stepsister's house for more visiting. These are folks who haven't heard from me in person so it was good to see everyone and let them know we're all okay. Bill's dad and stepmom look great. All around, just a great day.

We've all decided to do a white elephant thing from Christmas since all of us are perfectly capable of buying whatever we might want or need. So we'll make Christmas fun and silly this year. We're even including the kids in the picking. Jackie will probably scream like a banshee when someone tries to steal her present.

I crashed yesterday. I guess Thanksgiving was a little too much for me (plus my cold). I took at least a 3 hour nap at 11:30. No big deal, because Friday was a bonus day with Bill home from work. We watched football and basketball.

Jackie seems to have the runny nose part of this cold back. I popped her into the shower for some steaming last night. Kids are so funny. Despite feeling like crap, she still wants to play hard. We played multiple games of Go Fish yesterday. It's amazing how she wins so much (without my help). Her skill at Uno is almost frightening! She thumps me every single time and I'm the one who benefits when she puts her cards face up because she can't hold them all in her hand :) Maybe I should have her pick some Lotto numbers for me!

Mom is doing really well. She had some coughing going on and her Doctor was worried about pnemonia. A chest X-ray showed that wasn't the case. However, her coughing is bad for weak lungs so she's on a good cough syrup with coedine in it. The coughing has stopped, even when she isn't taking the medicine. She's getting some sleep and putting up Christmas decorations. Mom has her third chemo on Weds. Then she'll visit her Doc and have a PET scan to check progress the following week. She still has a full head of hair but she has noticed the texture is changing. No itching or burning so maybe she'll keep her hair. I hope so.

We're supposed to go to that beauty class that's put on by some cancer group on Tuesday. Looking forward to that. My eyelashes are thinner on the left side so I don't know if I'm losing them or if it's just the normal thinning. I can tell my face is swelling from the steroids. Nasty things, steroids. I cannot wait until I can chuck the bottle out the front door.

Still have my cold. It's hanging on but then, it hasn't been a full week yet. I feel a little better every day so maybe it'll be gone by chemo 4.

I've got writing to do so I'm checking out here. Be well everyone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Coagulants are low

Not good but what's a body to do?

WBC and RBC counts are fine. But those platelets are being rather ornery and are in the 110's. If they go below 100, no chemo for me next week.

This has nothing to do with my cold but rather the cumulative affects of the chemo. I guess it's a good sign in some ways that it's bashing the heck out of my system. Good gets bashed with the bad. At least something is happening. This is all so confusing.

My visit to the Doc this morning was for a checkup too with the cold. Benadryl and cough drops. Neti pot to clear my head. My chest is clear. I do feel better today. Yesterday was bad.

I'm definitely using less tissue today than yesterday :)

Our anniversary is tomorrow. I bawled my eyes out on the phone with Bill yesterday cause I was being a big baby and feeling so bad. I get really mad when I have a cold at Thanksgiving for 2 reasons: the anniversary and the yummy food being all messed up. It just sucks. But I do think I'll be feeling better enough to go out to dinner.

If I didn't fall apart occassionally, I would be worried. I'm totally allowed to be a drama queen on occasion.

The vein that Walter has been hitting week after week finally bought the farm this morning. He moved to the right, in the center of my left arm for my blood draw this morning. They can do blood draws out of the mediport but typically choose not to so they don't introduce an infection. I cannot imagine what happens when a chemo mediport becomes infected. The thought makes me shudder.

Enough for now. Going to do work or sleep - I can't decide which.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Still Stuffy and Grumpy

How am I supposed to be a princess if I feel like this?


Still stuffed up here and I had a ferocious headache all day (thank you low pressure system that extends from Canada down to Georgia). For all of you who haven't experienced chemo, patients aren't allowed to take painkillers such as Advil or Tylenol that might mask a fever. So pain relief comes in the form of a heavy duty painkiller such as Oxycodone, or not at all. Oxy isn't an option while watching children.

Or slamming one's toe in the door so the toe hurts more than the head.

Today's been slow. Trying to write but my head isn't in it. Went to the grocery to get Jackie's cookies for her party tomorrow - big mistake. The grocery is a truly scary place in the days leading up to Turkey Day.

I did get a card and some goodies for Steffie. She's going to Michigan to see her Aunt and I wanted her to have something from Mommy. She loves my goody bags but she especially likes to know she's on my mind when she's not with me. Spoiled rotten, she is...but she's a great kid.

Here's something to keep you occupied - the impossible quiz. Try that with "chemo brain!" LOL Not!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stuffy head

I've got Jackie's cold. So what does this mean with chemo? Who knows.

I guess I get my blood counted on Tuesday like normal then we'll see. I'm far more annoyed that this will mess up how everything tastes at Thanksgiving even more. It was gonna be an issue because everything tastes really messed up now anyway.

I don't have any idea what I'm allowed to take but you can bet I'm taking something if this gets the best of me. Even if it's a sinutab. I'm pretty mad that I now have a cold that I know will last for the remaining week and a half out of every 3 that I feel good. I'm really angry that it's gonna totally screw that up.

I wanted to walk and do my daily exercises now that the tummy has calmed down. Yea, I can do that and cough the whole time...

I'm really tired of this. Halfway through chemo isn't done. I want to be done.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Writing Again

Had a bad day - sort of but I took a great nap late in the day and I'm writing again. Tonight, I'm writing for a publisher that I sold to a few weeks ago. It was fitness articles 3 weeks ago - now it's diet articles. And I just cooked up a good one with great ideas for diet friendly snacks for the freezer.

I'm gonna post some of it here. And I'll just take it down if it gets bought. That's why I'm adding this disclaimer for the publisher. I feel compelled to post a chunk of my article in the hopes that it will possibly help my friends-in-chemo find a healthy and yummy treat that satisfies them while they suffer through hell on earth.

Mom, if you're reading this, you can post here if you like using your Google username and password :) But if you don't want to, print this out for Daddy so he can make you some yummy treats!

1. Jello Sugar-free Pudding

Don't throw it in the pantry. Try putting the pudding in the freezer! You'll have a delicious frozen treat that's similar to ice cream or gelato with just 60 calories and 6 grams net carbs each.

2. Applesauce freezer pops

Place no-sugar-added applesauce into paper cups, drop a stick in the middle and freeze. You'll have a tasty treat and you'll be getting one fruit serving of your recommended daily five servings.

3. Banana crunchy pops

Peel two medium bananas and spread all-natural peanut butter or yogurt all over the banana. Cut into bite-sized pieces and dip into wheat germ. Layer a casserole dish with the cut bananas and freeze. When completely frozen, move into a freezer ready container for easy access.

4. Frozen cut up fruits

Frozen fruits are an excellent source of vitamins since the nutrients are "locked" in when frozen. Cut up bananas, strawberries, and peaches and freeze in containers. Blueberries and grapes are fabulous frozen and offer that satisfactory crunch when munching. This is also a great way to salvage those ripe bananas that no one wants to eat.

5. Instant oatmeal

It doesn't come out of your freezer but what you spice your oatmeal up with certainly can! Cook up a serving on plain oatmeal. Add some of your frozen fruits as a topping for a filling treat!

6. Make a fruit smoothie

Back to that versatile frozen fruit again. It's really convenient to have it all ready to go for a huge variety of snacks. Add 1 cup of low fat milk, frozen banana chunks, strawberries or blueberries in a blender. Add a teaspoon of vanilla and blend well.

7. Sugar-free Popsicles

We can't forget this longtime favorite. Keep a box of Sugar-free Popsicle available in your freezer to satisfy that sweet craving.

8. Birds Eye Steamfresh frozen veggies

Need a bigger snack? Try popping a bag of Birds Eye veggies into the microwave. It's so easy to do since the veggies can be cooked right in the bag. Sprinkle some spices on the vegetables when cooked and enjoy!

9. Edamame soybean pods

This delicious snack should be kept frozen. Just pop the edamame into the microwave and dive in!
10. Frozen whole grain waffles

Fiber-rich whole grain waffles are a great way to snack while still minding your diet. Try topping the waffles with yogurt or some frozen cut up fruit.

Cheers everyone!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I'm so tired.

Science fair went off without a hitch. Stef's project turned out great, all experiments worked fine and she's happy. The hermit crabs survived the day. All is well in science land and I'm thankful she won't need to do this again for 2 years!!

Wrote my article and did my rewrite.

Thinking is requiring an extreme amount of effort. I can tell I've got chemo brain with a vengeance. I've got hold of a thought for one minute - it's gone the next. It's truly amazing. Right now it seems funny but I did feel a few moments of frustration that were almost making me tear up. It's hard to be airheaded like this.

It takes just SO much to concentrate. Maybe it'll lessen in a few days as I move further away from chemo.

Going to bed. Bless you and yours.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's cold outside and it feels good!

I went outside today and outside is cold! Under 30 degrees. We've been spoiled around here with the mild weather in Maryland - it's time for winter. For some unknown reason, I like to be cold and outside when I'm coming out of chemo fog. Could it be the hot flashes????

And then I stuck 2 extra blankets on the bed, go figure.

I started feeling a little better last night. I just crashed on my bed after 8 p.m. while the MD basketball game was on the computer and got up every 15 minutes for bathroom breaks. At about 9:30, I started feeling better. I didn't sleep - just read and rested. And I felt better. I think I slept in a 3-4 hour stretch last night too. Take a picture!!!

Sorry if I worried anyone. I don't usually get down about all this. I had my pity party over the summer and I have too many munchkins counting on me to be strong. Bill is a rock - I don't need to have me a whine and cheese party too often. I really am tired of pain. My chest hurts all the time. My arm hurts. Add my stomach and head to the mix with chemo. Sometimes it gets to be too much. I know the plastic surgeon hasn't finished his magic and that my reconstruction is in limbo. But it hurts. I'm swelling for no stinking reason and IT HURTS!! Did you know it hurts??

I pray my rosary over and over again in my head when I'm like this. It doesn't happen very often and the Blessed Mother gives me strength. Anything more complicated in the petition department just makes me cry. I can't get my head around asking for anything. I don't want anything except strength and Mary gives it to me. I think my Grandpa is up in Heaven pulling some strings for me with her :) He was such a devoted man.

I have lost every single solitary blond hair on my thighs - I find this really hilarious since I never noticed they were gone until yesterday :) And I don't know where they went!! Eyelashes and eyebrows still hanging in there. Head has a little bit of hair that I haven't cut yet. I wonder if I'll lose my arm hair? My nose has no hair. I still have the very fine hairs that chick's have on their faces. It's most bizarre. And funny. If I can't find funny in all of this, I'd be crying all the time.

Not gonna do that.

I fall asleep so fast in my chair, it's amazing. Like a switch someone turns off. And then I hear absolutely nothing at all. Those are really good naps :)

Might go have one. I'm all over the place with this post. I think my brain is misfiring :)


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Still in my fog

It's lasting long this time. 3/6 chemo has officially kicked my butt.

I'm not sleeping, food just is awful. I spent 1/2 hour this morning crying in the shower, then soaking in the tub to try to ease the cramping in my tummy. Then I had a doctors appt for a blood count and it was all I could do to keep from hurling in the car.

I am so tired of hurting. I just hurt. All the time.

I could feel myself coming out of it around day 5-6 before but this time, I just feel beat down. I have writing to do, the science fair thing of Stef's - so much to do and I can't find the energy.

Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not feeling so good...

...but better than I was this morning.

That ought to count for something, huh?

Only needed 3 1/2 days of anti-nausea meds again. Yay me! And I had real food for dinner tonight. Even had a cookie :) But I'm so tired.

I'm bogged down under Stef's science fair project and I'm so tired. I'm hoping we can make more progress on her board tomorrow. I just didn't have it in me this weekend. I thought I'd be feeling a little better, a little sooner. I don't guess the science fair will wait for me to pull myself together, will it?

It's just amazing how chemo takes you away from yourself. Even normal functioning isn't an option. Coordination is messed up. Thinking, eating, everything. Amazing.

Bill's Mom is here. Came armed with good food, love and hugs. I am a very lucky girl.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pit stops

Chemo is terribly undignified. Really, this whole breast cancer thing is undignified. Every part of a woman is attacked and bashed from toes to the top of the head. Hair gone, eyelashes thin or missing, boobs removed or cut up, nails messed up - you name it.

And then, to top it all off, we go through chemo and it just trashes our intestines. I don't have any problem with discussing bathroom issues during chemo. I'm thankful that I have the anti-nausea meds to keep me from throwing up. However, these same meds slow the intestines down to the point where nothing moves. That adds to the generally crappy feeling of chemo. Pun intended :)

So what to do? I decided last night that the bathroom must be comfortable. TP must be of the highest quality. The remaining top priority in the comfort department begins with the toilet seat. Hard toilet seats suck. Instead, squishy toilet seats are much better. Found a really good link for all kinds of decorative toilet seats. Check here for some ideas:

And here we have "cloud Soft" padded toilet seats:

I'm afraid to look at the price tag!

"Honey, what do you want for an anniversary present?"

"A padded toilet seat, please. It's my fondest wish."


A padded penguin seat - is that your thing? Not mine but it's very cute. Just for visual purposes, of course.

Friday, November 14, 2008

So Tired...

I've been up since 5:45. I just can't sleep. I've been pretty weepy this time around but that wasn't what woke me. Probably subconsciously worrying about when it was time to take the next anti-nausea pill.

Got my neulasta shot this morning. Gosh, that hurts getting poked in the tummy but my left arm has staged a revolt. Arm or tummy - take your pick!

I'm flushed bright red from the steroids. I think of all the drugs, I hate the steroids the most. They make me feel all funky.

Mom is tired but hanging in there from her chemo treatment on Weds. She's at Quantico and enjoying herself. She even went on the FBI tour this morning. Naps are good and she's sleeping alot. Chemo really kicks your butt.

Gonna take a nap.

Ciao for now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Chemo Round 3/6 and something really funny!

I did my frantic getting my house in order yesterday with 2 kids in the way. Steffie is finally feeling better. I kept her out of school yesterday because she simply looked puny and pale. She's spent the last 2 days sleeping. This fever really whipped her butt. We got her assignments yesterday after school and she got to see her teacher. Diane is a lovely and sweet and supportive teacher for her. A big hug, an "I miss you" and it's just so wonderful to see Steffie's face light up because it's such a nurturing environment at school.

Up at 5:45 with stuff on the brain today. Maybe I subconsciously know I'll be spending the next 6 days sleeping so I'm cramming in these last few hours. My stomach is bothering me a little - probably nerves, maybe steroids. Fed the furry beasts and I'm having my tea. The house will wake up soon.

My house is in order - thank God. I think everyone crashes with me when I have chemo. Carpets spots are touched up (our carpet is really old) and it's not annoying me anymore. Found some worms yesterday for the turtle. Dusted the house since my cleaning girls won't come until next Thursday. Will run the vacuum before chemo this morning and do the birdcage later today before Jack Jack gets home from school. Laundry is done and put away!! Take a stinking picture!!!!!!!!!!!

The funny story is about Jackie. When we went to school, she visited Stef's Spanish teacher next to her homeroom. They decided to draw a giraffe on the dry erase board. (Think Melman from Madagascar) Well, Jackie decided he needed to have "pee pee parts." Thank Heavens the teacher just laughed and erased it. I explained to her that we didn't draw that stuff on pictures but I was mortified! She asked me how he was going to go to the bathroom. Argh! So we got outta there. :)

Kids are so funny. At the preschool age, bathroom doors are left open at school. I asked Jackie where she saw a boys goodies and she said at school, explained all about it, and said we need to make sure our pictures are correct. After 10 minutes of explaining that "pee pee parts" really don't need to be included on drawings, she understood that what's covered up by our clothes doesn't get put in pictures. I explained about God making all of us different and that's a thing to rejoice. We don't want to scare her but she's at the age when modesty is becoming important. This child strips to her underpants the minute she gets home from school. She hates clothes!

Love my girls. Each so individual it's just amazing. Our Katie, at University of Maryland, is playing on the MD Ladies Traveling Lacrosse Team. She's travelling to East Carolina University this weekend to play. We are so proud of her. She's really stepped up her game in the last 2 years. This team feeds to the main lacrosse team at MD if they have injuries or lose players. Kate is really conditioning herself well and seems to be the fastest on the squad. Go Kate!!!

I need to do a college care package for her :) This blog is like my reminder pad!

I landed 4 articles from my main editor last night - $100 a pop - makes me pretty happy. For and Regular writing and Helium, plus my new contracted home improvement writing and I'm buzzing here. It's all spaced out so I don't get stressed. I also started another blog which is just being designed. About Caring for Elderly Cats. Need to find those niches when writing and exploit them. Plus, I so strongly feel elderly pet care is so important. Everything changes when our 4-legged friends age.

Busy busy and sometimes, it's enough to keep my brain from worrying about being a chemo patient.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mom's Chemo - Round 2

For those of you who are reading this, my Mom is currently undergoing chemo for lung cancer that was found during a regular marker test for breast cancer. She's almost a 5 year survivor (next Spring). Mom is currently undergoing a rigorous regimen of chemo every 3 weeks. She's doing great.

Mom was symptom free during the diagnosis. It's just amazing that during the short period of time (6 months) between her breast cancer marker tests, that something could flare up. Cancer was shown in her PET scan on her liver and in her lungs. The lung tumors were relatively small and the liver tumor was 10 cm.

We all searched our souls for answers and decided to fight this tooth and nail. Some dear medical friends have told me honestly that there are a variety of lung cancer treatments and regimens available that can pound the hell out of the cancer. That's what Mom has chosen to do.

We have this "window" because of the regular marker testing that our oncologist chooses to do. Marker testing is a very touchy subject in the cancer world. Many oncologists choose not to do marker testing because, as they put it, "it doesn't change the outcome." But doesn't it?

Isn't everything that that any cancer patient does about changing the outcome? Rolling the dice? Or maybe buying time for a cure?

Our Doc is a great guy with tremendous vision. He feels so positive about her treatment and his goal is to put this thing in remission. He wants to extend her life. He's contacted his colleagues at Hopkins for advice and is aiming to get her an experimental drug for treatment. He's gone way past simply being her physician. He's taken strides to improve the quality of her life.

Back to markers...according to our Doc, many who feel markers are generally worthless aren't the physicians who work in the "trenches" every day. These docs don't know the patients, families, and see these people weekly during treatment. I got into it during my Hopkins visit over the marker issue. It just makes no sense to not at least try to improve the length and quality of someone's life - especially if the cancer has been caught early.

Mom still has a full head of hair, although she says her scalp is itchy. I find that amazing. She's 3 weeks out of her first treatment. She looks great and is still hanging out to that beautiful tan she got when she was in the Bahamas. Her dear friend, Pat, went to chemo with her today. Dad needs a break - not that he's getting much of one battling Best Buy to replace an lemon 46-inch TV that's under warranty.

I know many of her friends are reading this blog and I'm trying to post when I have information on Mom too. She's just chilling at home - she's so tired but last night, she had a good night's sleep. Any diagnosis of cancer just weighs down the mind in unbelievable ways. Every day, she seems to be dealing with it all better. She doesn't want to talk to anyone much. That could be because of her anxiety meds, but she looks good and she's feeling good too. Big Marine Corps party this weekend with Dad in Virginia. They'll be gone for a few days but both of them are so excited about the shindig, they're ready to pop!!!

OK, my analysis-of-Mom "hat" is off for the day. I'll keep everyone posted on how she's doing. I must say, I truly never thought Mom would be doing chemo every 3rd Wednesday and I'd be doing chemo every 3rd Thursday.

One day apart.

We're living in the twilight zone.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Got blood...been counted

Tuesday is the BC day and it's been counted again. I'm good to go for chemo on Thursday. Steffie was with me today and got to meet the folks at the oncologists. Walter, the blood-sucking phlebotomist who's just an absolute great guy, made me cry. Just like he does every time. He handles it really well. Everything about this whole nightmare just culminates in that stinking needle sticking in my arm. Same spot every week, bruises or not. It hurts like crazy!

So we did blood and then went to McDs for some breakfast sammichs. Steffie was hungry and both her and Bill are off today for Veteran's Day. Jackie is in school so I'm gonna crack the whip on these guys :) Not really. But I have no doubt they will be in my way today.

These last 2-3 days before chemo - I cram alot of living and doing in this time. I've got to spot clean the carpets, write a bunch of articles, and finish up the laundry. Steffie has makeup work to do from missing school yesterday. The cats aren't doing much of anything except lounging in the sunshine pouring in the front storm door. I don't know how they sunbathe with all the fur.

Cat pics, you said? Sure I can do some cat pics :)

Right below is Clyde sitting like a human. What am I thinking? He spends all day trying to be human and he's succeeding. He was helping Steffie brush her teeth this morning! The right picture is Clyde sunbathing.

My old girl, Maui, taking a snooze on the back of my chair.

And handsome, "good kitty" O'Malley who just knew I was taking his picture and that he needed to be a proper gentlemen. He never acts as undignified as his hooligan brother.

We humans think we rule this roost but that's completely inaccurate. The kitties are the real bosses of the house!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Swelling arm culprit found


It's the leaf blower. I went out again today to do round 2 and used the leaf blower. I was swelling within a half hour, noticeably on my inner wrist. My arm got really tender. My leaf blower is a back pack and it's pretty light. I guess the repetitive motion of pressing the trigger combined with the weight of the backpack is just too much for my right side.

I love my leaf blower!!

I sure hope this clears up by next fall. It's beyond annoying not to be able to do yard work. I feel fine except for the swelling. My arm is tender to the touch, especially under the arm pit.

After I got the leaves up, I took a shower and then put Jackie in the tubby. I then sat on my bed with my right arm above my heart while she splashed and played. It made a difference. Then I went downstairs with her to watch Artistocats and elevated my arm the whole time I took a nap.

I'm calling my oncologist tomorrow to beg him to let me go to the surgeon to be drained. This is way too uncomfortable. I'll elevate it and ice it again tonight but I'm totally sick of looking at my swollen right arm. I want this feeling better by chemo on Thursday.

Jackie is feeling better - she was leaf jumping today. Steffie is way under the weather with the headache and fever at about 100. She's out of school tomorrow and Tuesday is a holiday. I'm praying she is back in school on Wednesday. We don't need to be getting behind at the very start of the new quarter.

Fun, fun, fun!

2 kids down with fevers

One here, one at her father's house. Good Lord. It's the week of chemo too (Thursday).

So what's a Mommy who's having chemo supposed to do?

Take care of the kids.

There's nothing else except the fever. Steffie has a headache. Jack did too last night.

Both kids can't go to school unless they are fever free for 24 hours. Tylenol and Advil seem to be bringing it down quickly. Low grade fever - just enough to make them whiny princesses.

I'm on antibiotics for my arm so I'm guessing those might be doing double duty this week.

It isn't worth worrying about. I don't get sick very often and I certainly don't get fevers very much.

I just get hot flashes, isn't that fun??

Friday, November 7, 2008

I survived High School Musical 3

I really did.

I decided that Steffie, Jackie and I were going to celebrate report card day today with a movie after school. Forget whether the report was good. We got through one semester without failing and we had something to celebrate. When I got there, she had already cooked up an idea to get ice cream with a friend. So I coaxed the friend into coming with us to see HSM3.

It almost broke my wallet! Each kid cost $7 and I cost $8. Forty dollars later at the concession stand because every kid had to have their own candy, drink and popcorn, and of course, the bigger girls wanted ice cream. Oops! I forgot the $9 for parking. Boom! My wallet was in tears!

But the movie was great. I was really wondering how Disney would tie everything together to end the HSM trilogy. They did a good job. It just amazes me that these guys come up with such new and innovative ways to choreograph these movies. There was one dance scene in a junk yard that was simply amazing. It's also pretty cool to the see the progression of the actors into true dancers.

The whole story line was kinda hokie but then lots of things about high school are hokie. Having just went through the drama of leaving friends and going to college with our oldest, I could relate to a lot of it. It's high drama (God help me with my 2 remaining drama queens!!)

Stef and her friend really enjoyed the movie. Jackie kept hopping out of her chair to dance to the songs. She fidgeted alot but then she's only 3. It's to be expected. Jackie calls the movie theater the "big TV." She's only seen 2 big TV movies in her life - one with my brother the day I had my double mastectomy.

So Jackie's got plans to go see Madagascar 2 sometime soon. Daddy and Stef both want to see it also. After seeing the trailers in the theater, I confess I want to see it to. The kids interrupt me so much at home that I almost need to go see a movie to catch a story line, even a rather limited one like HSM3.

I called Poppa and he sounded almost disappointed that he was at some Marine Corps thing this afternoon and couldn't go with us :) Bless him, he's even sat through watching Camp Rock with Steffie. My Uncle loves to watch Hannah Montana with the girls. He remembers Billy Ray Cyrus singing Achey Breaky Heart :) Their patience for all the "chickies" in their lives in endless.

Needless to say, none of us are hungry at all and it's 9 p.m. What was for dinner?


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mom Update

Here's a Wonder Woman Update...and she really is because this tough lady didn't even need a Neulasta shot for her first round of chemo.

Mom had her blood counted for the second time since her chemo treatment 2 weeks ago. She is kicking butt here! Her counts are up and as stated above, she didn't need a Neulasta shot. Way to go Mom!!!

She's very tired but then, chemo knocks you out. But Mom is coming out of it and seems to be enjoying her increased energy. We are seeing great improvements in her health already. Her coughing from the COPD has decreased dramatically. This is a direct result of the chemo (and obviously, a result of the chemo attacking the cancer in her lungs). Her doctor (and mine too) is so positive with her treatment. We sorely needed some good news.

I was worried because of her fatigue but I'm not so much now. There's a rhythm to her days now since her treatment started and that's the best thing for her. I do wish she'd do her Richard Simmons exercise video - yes, I said Richard Simmons. She loved this video for exercising in the past. Muscle mass, exercise, and keeping the bones strong is so very important when taking chemo. I even offered to be on the speaker phone with her.

I told her today that she needs to switch her TV to a XM oldies station and just dance around the kitchen with the dogs and cats. I did this a few weeks ago with Clyde the cat (the fluffball in the above right picture). It lifts the spirit and it's good for the heart.

She's gonna be Wonder Woman next year for Halloween - she just doesn't know it yet!!

Food and such...

Thought I would do a post on food. Food becomes an obsession when having chemo because things just don't taste too good. I don't know if this is because I'm on 3 drugs at once (Taxotere, Adriamycin, and Cytoxin) or what. But stuff tastes and smells awful at times, even 2 weeks after treatment.

However, there are some yummy things that do appeal to me right now. Topping the list is pancakes. My poor husband and kids have had a lot of pancakes the last few weeks. Jackie loves them as long the cakes are shaped like a mouse. These things taste really good. Don't know why but there it is.

Pepperidge Farm raisin and spice bread. Little bit of butter and yum! I was fixated on regular Pepperidge farm bread during my first chemo cause the pieces were so small. Both are great for settling the tummy.

Melba toast. Enough said.

Bill's chicken stew. Sorry, I can't share with you but I can share the recipe. Just ask. It freezes really well too.

Yolk broke eggs - this is a fried egg with a broken yolk. Forget scrambled or runny eggs - that's enough to make me gag.

Forget coffee, cocoa, or tea. Even juice. I just drink water. My drinking life is pretty boring ;) I did have orange juice on Tuesday - that was a real major event!

My tongue really bothered my this time around. It felt raw. Brushing my teeth with even Sensodyne toothpaste was painful. That might be why the pancakes were so good. Just bland and basic.

I still owe everyone a coffee rant. I might do a red meat rant too because right now, beef is really grossing me out. Just the thought of a steak (and I loved steak before chemo) just makes me want to hurl.

Chicken works though. Haven't tried pork yet. I'm not anemic so I think I'm doing okay eating despite my love of pancakes and toast. And apples. And bananas and grapes. Carrots are good too, sometimes.

Oh yea, my arm is still swollen. Feet are swelling a little too. I just can't sit still too much though because I feel better when I'm moving around. Walked the treadmill yesterday and I'll be doing it again today. I'm about 36 hours into the antibiotics and not seeing a difference. I think I remember seeing somewhere that activity helps swelling so I'm gonna start doing my after-surgery arm exercises again. My right hand doesn't seem to like typing too much - it's making a lot of typos :)

Have a good day everyone!!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Hmph! I has my usual Tuesday morning blood draw. Dropped the girls off at school and went to the see the Doc. My right arm is a little swollen. Enough to feel a pinching under my arm and around my wrist. Fingers are a little puffy too.

So I mention it to the nurse and she checks me out. And off I go!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I get sent immediately to a Doppler sonogram specialist to check my right arm for blood clots. None were found but then I had to go back to the Doc's office for a check up by the real Doc this time.

This feels like the lymphedema that I had right after surgery. All the way into my shoulder blade. And I really don't know why it's acting up now. Wait a minute...could it be the leaf blower? Or maybe the 10 loads of laundry? Grocery shopping? Decorating for the birthday party on Sat? I have no idea. I'm thinking it's a combination of way too much movement in my right arm.

So the Doc decides it's better to be really paranoid than not and puts me on Keflex. His reason is simple - I had my arm drained 2 times after surgery and an infection could have been introduced at that point.

I'm rather annoyed.

I need my right arm and pretty soon, I'm going to have to shove an ice pack under it to stop the pain. Plus it's tingling and having these lovely shooting pains that are making it ache. Argh!

But I managed to vote. With a tissue covering my finger so I wouldn't get gooed up from other people's germs. It's really quite gross when you think about how nasty people are with their nose wiping and coughing :) I don't touch the pen in the Docs office and I sure wasn't touching the pen at the polling place. Yuck!

Can you tell I'm grumpy?

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Halloween was so much fun! I think Halloween, next to Christmas, is one of the busiest day for parents. Last minute decorations, candy preparation, kid's excitement, and of course, trick or treating - it's so much to do. And getting the kids fed and ready to go takes an act of God. But we did it - Bill and I make a very big deal of Halloween for our kids.

We carved pumpkins Thursday night. I was really worried about my right arm. It just doesn't work the same way it did before. And inevitably, Jackie and Steffie will give me some terrific but difficult requests to carve. Both girls cut me some slack this year and Bill did Jackie's ghost pumpkin. So I only ended up carving 3 pumpkins. Steffie loves to scoop out and clean the pumpkins. Big help there!! I could just roll with carving. I had Jackie draw her "J" on a pumpkin and carved it as she drew it. This "J" pumpkin ended up having a place of great importance on the tree stump in front of the house. Right next to Eddie the skeleton.

I ended up getting annoyed with some site that wanted me to pay $7.95 for the stinkin template. I don't think so. I wanted wacky monsters so I hand drew it, modified so it wouldn't scare Jackie and carved away :)

Steffie really likes things to be scary of Halloween, of course until she actually gets scared :) She's such a cutie pie and such a drama queen. We had one of her girlfriends over to trick or treat with us. Pizza, costumes and fun! Then Bill and I took the girls out. We walked about 3 miles. And I shocked myself because I actually did it. Having no hair makes a body colder than usual. It's something that takes some serious getting used to.

Here's Steffie's pumpkin of a cute kitty. Bill's pumpkin: moon face and a bat.

And here's my girls. Jackie was Scooby and Steffie was Little Red Riding Hood (plus horns). Pictures just don't do Jackie's black eye justice. She bumped it again Halloween night and now she looks like a WWF wrestler :)