Friday, November 30, 2007

Nutrition during chemo

So I went to a presentation on Monday about good nutrition during chemo. Well, too bad I heard it nearly at the end of my treatment. Here are things that I am not supposed to eat during chemo: rare meat, sushi, salad bars, and restaurant buffets. Also, I am not supposed to lose weight during chemo. And I am supposed to wash all vegetables and fruits and peel as many as possible before eating. This includes washing the 'prewashed' bags of lettuce. Okay, I broke all those rules. No one told me! How was I supposed to know?

Here's another good one. Did you know you are supposed to get 9 (yes, nine) servings of fruits and vegetables in one day? Do you get that many? Most people don't. Including a lot of nutritionists and other supposed healthy eaters. If you get six, that is supposed to be enough. How about all those servings of grains? Not getting enough of those either. Apparently I am like most Americans who get plenty of protein (we eat too much meat) and too much sodium (in prepared food) and I need more of all the other categories. I'm trying. That's all I can say.

Anyhow, yesterday I got very tired in the afternoon and came home to veg out. I did go out for a walk and a little Christmas shopping earlier. Today I am going to the library, for a walk, Christmas Tree Shops, and that's it. A fun filled day. I think I will have to watch a movie or something as well. The cat is feeling deprived. I haven't spent enough time sitting around so he can sleep on my lap. Maybe I can blame my lack of sleep at night on him. The little weasel thinks nothing of hogging half the bed!!!

Today I think I will have to get some ice cream. Yesterday in Trader Joe's they had Ben & Jerry's but only Cherry Garcia and Chocolate Cookie Dough. I don't like either of those so I got a coconut sorbet that looked good. Well it is the consistency of dried spackle and tastes somewhat like it as well. It could be improved by some chocolate sauce so perhaps I will try that route at some point. However today I think I will have to find a pint of some type of chocolate ice cream with nuts in it... The nutritionist mentioned that during chemo it is perfectly acceptable to eat unhealthy things instead of skipping meals!

PS I did pick up the dry cleaning yesterday. Gold star for me!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I napped too long yesterday

Chemo went fine but I was definitely tired from not sleeping enough. I came home and napped for three hours. Then of course I didn't sleep that well last night again, even though I took a pill as the nurse recommended. Maybe tonight I'll sleep.

Anyhow, I definitely feel like I am getting closer to the end. Up over the Rockies and headed down towards the Pacific. Where will I end up? I don't know but it will be on the beach somewhere...

I have been thinking really hard: what are the benefits to chemo??? I know I tried to do this a few months ago. First of all it kills all the nasty little cancer cells but it also:
  • lets me save on hair care products and getting out of the house in the morning, due to having no hair.
  • allows all the callouses on my feet peel off, along with the rest of the outer layer of skin.
  • is a weight loss tool - nausea, constipation, bad taste in mouth, mouth sores, heart burn, intolerance of some food smells, loss of appreciation for favorite foods - all are conducive to dieting.
  • lets me get to know the oncology nurses very well.
  • find the shortest and fastest routes to the hospital from home.
I'm thinking really hard but this might be about it. Chemo sucks is what it boils down to. However it is almost done. I can do two more weeks. Then the nurse said it will take about 2 more weeks for most of the drugs to get out of my system so by the end of December I should start to feel more like myself. However it takes 6 months or 1 year (depending on who you talk to) to finally feel like a human being again. Also, after chemo comes radiation and hormone therapy but before radiation can start comes a whole bunch of medical tests, just to make sure there isn't a molecule of my body left uninspected.

Today's big plans are walk, work, pick up dry cleaning (very important, uniform needed for drill this weekend, must not forget, write big note to self), and thats about it. I do lead such a boring life.

10 down, 2 to go.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Up way too early

Once again, its chemo day and it is (in)conveniently scheduled for 8 am. Walter is very busy at work so he is taking me on his way in. He thinks we should leave at 7 am, which is VERY early. It is 6:54 am. I am in my bathrobe, procrastinating. He is downstairs (im)patiently waiting. I probably should get off my computer and get motivated but I DON'T WANT TO GO! I am having breakfast when I get there but still, its really early.

Anyhow, yesterday I felt pretty good. The last night I couldn't fall asleep. I was up until 11, then up at 3 and 4 am. Then I didn't want to get up this morning. Its going to be a wonderful day. I am tired and running late!!!!! Grr, grr, grr. I'll write more later, I hope.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Global warming is here

It was 57 degrees out this morning and its November 27. I am going to throw on a pair of shorts and go for a walk before the normal temperatures return, later today. Yesterday we ended up getting rained on while walking. It didn't start raining until we were at the furthest point in our walk of course, and rained steadily all the way home. (At least I don't have to worry about ruining my hair!)

To continue my boring life, after my walk, I will go to work for a while and my other support group. I think I will have tuna fish for lunch. I also have to pay bills. How boring is that? (I think you can tell when I start to feel better as my sarcastic side slips through.)

I do feel better today. Another night of 8 hours of sleep. (But the cat hogged the middle of the bed again.) The real thing with fatigue is managing it so it doesn't get out of control. This weekend I just got too tired and it took a few days to recover. I have found that I really need a few days each week where I don't do much (most people call this a 'weekend') to recover from the week. Not that my weeks are so stressful these days but I do need down time more than in the past. Yesterday I was out from 1130 - 530 but I was sitting down most of the time. If I was up and moving around, I would have been more tired. I did come home and veg in front of the TV (but watched the news so I at least broadened my mind) for more than an hour, to recover.

Okay, enough writing about my boring life. Time to go for a walk before I procrastinate any more.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mystery solved!

I thought about yesterday's big mystery of the mysterious appointment. Then after lots of thinking, and finding an old appointment list from Lahey, I now believe that Thursday at 10:15 am refers to November 15th. I simply haven't looked at the white board in the kitchen for a few weeks and it is an old note. Well, at least this is my theory, it is fairly plausible, so I am sticking with it. Again, I have chemo brain, what's your excuse?

Anyhow, yesterday I went for a walk and then spent probably 7 quality hours in front of the TV. I watched several hours of cooking shows and we tried to watch a really bad movie (just because a movie is featured on pay per view and has a good cast, doesn't mean it is any good. I put it in our Netflix queue based on its description in the TV guide a few weeks back. Basically, Camp Nowhere is not worth it! We shut it off after about 45 minutes.) Sitting in front of the TV isn't just being brain dead, I was resting and the cat was napping. I couldn't get up and disturb him! He was recovering from the small child invasion (Favorite quote: When I told my 3 year old nephew the kitty had gone to take a nap so he should leave him alone, his response was "He's not napping, his eyes are open, and he's hiding under the bed. Do you want to see him?" Poor kitty. I am also finding cat toys everywhere in the house.)

Today I finally feel a little better. I hope to go for a walk this morning with a friend, if its not raining. It is supposed to be raining but the radar map shows a large break so perhaps we can fit it in. How did we plan our lives with out the radar map showing precipitation and storm movement to guide us? Did we just get wet in the rain??? How did we survive? Eeek! Perish the thought. I also have a support group to go to and go to work this afternoon. Dinner will be steak, leeks, salad, and squash. Does that sound yummy? It is supposed to be nutritional as well.

My big project for the week is I must get an inspection sticker for my car. There is a school of thought that believes an inspection sticker should be good for a minimum of 13 months. I have often done that in the past. However since I am not working full time, I actually have time available to get the sticker in a timely manner. That would be called 'being a law abiding citizen'. I do attempt to obey the rules sometimes. Not all the time. If everyone obeyed all the rules, life would be BORING! I don't mean the big rules - like don't hurt people, etc, but the little rules, no chocolate before dinner, etc. Boring is boring. Life should be fun. I am looking forward to having more fun in three and 1/2 weeks once chemo is over.

We plan on going to VT to play in the snow for a weekend soon. I wasn't sure how well this will work but I am going to give it a try. Worst case, I spend three days in a B&B in VT looking at new scenery and playing with a different cat. (The B&B has a resident cat.) Best case, I get to go snow shoeing and cross country skiing for two afternoons. I don't think I am ready for whole days but at least an afternoon or two. That's not for another month so I have to be patient (something I am not very good at.)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ten hours of sleep is a good thing

Yes, I went to bed at 9 pm on a Saturday night and slept until almost 7 am. I feel better today and plan on actually going for a walk. Yesterday I went to the grocery store, out for pizza with my family, and then to my parents for dessert. That was plenty. Today I might actually be lazy again once I finish the laundry. (How is that for an exciting life? Grocery, laundry, and sleeping all in one weekend. I tell you, cancer patients lead boring lives. You just need to pretend you find them interesting.) Actually I still feel a little blah around the edges kind of thing. I am not sure how I will do today. Hmmmm.... Another good day to kill watching too much TV. I've also got some Netflix movies waiting for me.

Today's mystery is why did Walter write down 1015 am Thursday on the message board in the kitchen. One of us has to be somewhere on Thursday at 1015. We aren't sure who or where. Its not Lahey because they called and said 745 am Wednesday. We will have to chalk this up to one life's little mysteries I think.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Today I just feel crappy

I am tired, feel crappy, and generally don't want to do anything again today. Yesterday my brother, sister in law, and kids came over and we played scrabble. (This was major trauma for the cat. My 3 year old nephew and 5 year old niece wanted to play with kitty. He is scared of small, loud children and they 'followed' him 'very quietly' all around the house.) I went for a short walk too and tried to rescue Walter when his car wouldn't start (he needed a new battery). Otherwise I did nothing. Today I have a very short list of things to do but if I don't feel better, I may not do any of them. A good day to watch TV in bed perhaps.

Its too cold out anyway - 19 tropical degrees this morning and the cat snuck into the middle of the bed last night. Nothing like waking up to a cat sleeping on the pillows! Sorry kitty, I get the middle not you!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Yes I over did it

Today I am very tired. I completely over did it yesterday some how. I was home and in my pajamas by 730pm. Today I am out of bed but in sweats and not going anywhere except for a walk. I am too tired. I did eat way too much yesterday but that is to be expected.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy thanksgiving and adventures in pie making!

No I am not over doing it. I got up early and decided to make my apple pie. The pecan and pumpkin pies are all done and sitting in the fridge. Walter had cut up the apples and they were soaking in lemon water over night. the pie crusts were defrosted so all I had to do was throw the pie together. Well, I didn't want to wait for 15 minutes to bring the pie crusts to room temperature so, per the instructions on the box, I microwaved them for 20 seconds each. DO NOT TRY THIS! It makes them gooey and they stick together. The bottom crust I simply gave up on and mushed it into a lump and rolled it out again. The top crust I put back in the fridge for a few minutes and got it half unrolled before it stuck together. So I rolled it out the rest of the way into a squarish shape and decided it was time to make a lattice top pie instead of struggling to roll the crust into a perfect circle. Now I have a interesting (read that as barely woven together, uneven strips, lots of little pieces strung together) lattice weave on the top of my yummy apple pie in the oven. All before 8am. Grrr...

Now on to happier things. Walter is sleeping late. I am going for a walk and then promise to take it easy for several hours so I can interact with other family members like the normal (yes I really am normal some of the time) person that I am. I will probably be exhausted later but I will not cook or clean (and definitely not wash dishes). If I do get exhausted my mother reminded me that she has a new hospital type bed at home that I could try out. Its the kind where you can make your feet and head go up and down. Its good for her arthritis. At least I will need to take it for a test drive.

Anyhow, yesterday went okay. They were running behind schedule so we didn't get out until after 11, which was to be expected. then I came home and had lunch - soup and cheese and crackers. I can always eat like a pig after chemo. They give me a steroid which makes me hungry (could come in handy today). Then I made the pecan pie and went for a walk while my sous-chef (Walter) supervised it and reduced the oven temperature as needed. After that I made my pumpkin pie. Part A of pie making was stress free.

We watched the animated version of the Jungle Book, courtesy of Netflix. Walter says he had never seen it before and I don't think I have seen it since I was little. I think I prefer the 1994 version better, which is not out on DVD yet per Netflix so this could be a very long wait. We had oh so nutritional Chinese food delivered for dinner. Yes, I know Chinese food can be nutritional but then you have to order the things that aren't deep fried. Needless to say we tried the Great Wok here in town and it was quite yummy. They advertise healthy MSG free cooking and they brought it to us. We will probably order from them again.

9 down 3 to go. (I forgot to update my little count last week so was all confused when I went yesterday. The nurse looked it up and reminded me it was number 9.) Now I think I am going through the Rockies and getting ready for the trip down hill to the Pacific...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oh, crap

Now I have to rush around. We need to leave in 20 minutes. I have fed the cat, showered and put numbing lotion on my port. I have not gotten dressed, eaten breakfast, read the paper, made the bed, or had enough coffee. Crap, crap, crap. Now I have to rush. Perhaps I procrastinated a tiny bit and now I am running late. Well, would you procrastinate before going to chemo? Yes you would. You wouldn't be looking forward to seeing the scale first thing in the morning showing how fat you are, then they take your blood pressure (and if you are running really late and basically RUN from your car down to the cancer center, your blood pressure will be high), and then they start sticking needles and drugs in you for about 3 hours. Yes you would procrastinate. Don't deny it, I know you would.

Otherwise, after my morning is shot (I mean, I am home from chemo), I will take my drug induced nap, make pies, take a walk, and get a little organized for tomorrow. I don't know much about what we are eating tomorrow. I usually make lots of the food. I am only making pies. I know there will be a turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes with marshmallows (all the nutritional benefits of the sweet potatoes are probably negated by the presence of an entire bag of marshmallows but its a tradition), and then several other mystery vegetables my sister is cooking. I will wait and see.

I am under instructions to arrive at Thanksgiving and not do any cooking. That will take will power. I will sit and talk to relatives and play with my nieces and nephews and otherwise do nothing. Everyone keeps telling me not to over do it. I guess this means I don't need to wash any dishes! Hah! I knew there was a silver lining here.

Damn, now I am really late. 7:06am and still not dressed etc. Eeeekkk! Gotta run!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I have to rush again today

I want to go for a walk before it starts to snow/rain... Yes, winter is here. Sigh. A winter without skiing and snowshoeing??? That will be very difficult. I will have to see about fitting those in. I can't imagine not getting to go play in the snow. Just something else to pout about. (I was informed last night that I am a world class pouter and whiner. If there were Olympics in pouting and whining I would be in medal contention. Hey, where is the sympathy? I deserve sympathy here! I think he's pretty immune to me by now.)

Well Lahey is doing their best to confuse me again. There was a new person doing the scheduling and she scheduled my chemo appointments but not the necessary blood tests. She also did not schedule the third chemo visit. Now I have to call them and find out what time they really want me there tomorrow. 8 am for chemo or 715 am (a most convenient time to be there) for blood. I will call them once they open up.

Also, on the plans for today are working, going to support group, Trader Joe's for the last few things for pie making (I think we use that place as a convenience store), and the rest of the stuff that is on my list that I just made and already can't remember. I did take the pie crusts out of the freezer and put in the refrigerator to defrost. Aaaaaaggggghhhhh!!!! MY BRAIN IS GONE! I just wrote everything down and can't remember any of it. Now I have to remember where I put the damn note. What a way to start the day!

PS (Anytime I write a PS means I forgot to put it in the first time and had to go back and add it on). There is just a tiny bit of Halloween candy left that we are ignoring. My nausea is still here. The cat is fine and is actually helping me type by sitting on my lap right now.

PPS Notes only work if you read them. I needed garlic at TJ's. I didn't read it on my list. It was there. I forgot it. Damn.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Warning

Crabby, evil twin is not here. But smart ass, sarcastic twin is here! I woke up in a smart ass mood. (Did this cause Walter to leave for work early? I am not sure. He claims he had to get there early.) Anyhow, I am sick of being a patient patient. I want to run away to a Carribean island where I have no medical appointments, no side effects, can have a pedicure, and eat what I want, stay up late (what a concept), and do interesting things - walk on the beach, go to a concert, eat dinner (not just lunch) in a restaurant, have a drink with an umbrella in it, and have none of the calories count.

Today is my day of no medical appointments - does a support group at the hospital count? Probably. Sigh. Tomorrow I have a support group elsewhere. Wednesday is chemo damn day. Damn, this never ends. Next week I optimistically will plan a day where side effects do not interfere. No nausea, bad fingernails, wig, etc are allowed.

Anyhow I am in the process of planning two vacations, not to the Carribean, that will be sometime in the future. One for April/May time frame where we will probably go down to the Shenandoah Valley. Never been. Lots of Civil War stuff, but also lots of BEARS. That's okay, we will stay in a bear proof bunker with Walter there to protect me. (He has pointed out that if we go in the spring, the bears will be CRABBY! That's okay. He will protect me!)

Then I am planning a trip out to Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, in June. Walter has to go to Central America for a few weeks for Army stuff so I am going to visit a friend and we are trying to find a lakeside resort to stay in for a few days where we have no responsibilities whatsoever. (Well the responsibilities we want are only decisions on where to go out to dinner, whether we really can just sit around all day and do nothing, are there any outlet stores we can stop at on the way home, and whether going swimming is a good or bad idea right after lunch.) We have found a nice one but it is 7 hours from her place and as I am already driving three days to get there, that is lots of car time. We are early in the planning stages. But planning is fun.

Then we have to plan a real trip for next September. Walter turns 50 (and gets to join AARP. Maybe we won't celebrate his birthday, just his eligibility to join AARP. Hmmm... I will think on that). Anyhow, we want a big trip. Some place exotic. Scotland, Switzerland, Denali, Iceland, lots of choices. More on that later. Lots of planning to do.

Anyhow, yesterday had its good and bad points. A friend came over and we went for a walk and to the diner for brunch. I had an omelette and a side of bacon. The omelette had bacon in too. I think I have satisfied my bacon craving for now. Then we went to Penzey's (the spice store for the uninitiated) and I used my ever so organized list to get what I needed to make pies, cookies and fill in the gaps in my spice cabinet. On the down side, I managed to lose my clip on sunglasses yesterday - what I thought was a pocket, was really just where the pocket was tacked on to the inside of my coat so they fell out. Probably they are at the diner or Penzeys. I will go back today again and see if they survived. Otherwise, I will have to see about ordering new ones. They are expensive and may not be available even special ordered. Grrr... Finally, I tried to plan my social life without looking at my calendar and double booked myself for one day in December. Note to self: USE THE CALENDAR TO PLAN!!!

Then my friend, the pervasive nausea, decided to return. I think this is the side effect of the week. Last two weeks have been mouth sores, this week is nausea. Kills the appetite, helps the scale's downward slide, makes me cranky. So maybe I'll be the cranky, smart ass, sarcastic twin today. Before I forget, today's plans include a walk, support group, and work this afternoon. Nothing exciting but will keep me busy.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I did it!

I vacuumed the bedroom. (What? Did you think I did something significant like climbed a mountain or solved the mysteries of the time/space continuum? My life isn't that exciting these days.) The dust bunnies will not take us away while we are sleeping. I actually sat down at my computer for my daily update and re-read my 'creativity' from yesterday (You will note the use of the word 'creativity'. I am not sure how creative it really is in the first place. Also, my chemo brain does not permit me to remember today what I wrote yesterday so I constantly have to reread what I wrote. Sometimes I don't remember later on what I wrote earlier in the same day but I do have a valid excuse.)

Anyhow, not to digress, I reread what I wrote and realized I had not vacuumed the bedroom. So I got up off my lazy butt and did my daily/weekly/monthly/yearly housecleaning and vacuumed the bedroom. It is done. One more item crossed off the weekend to do list. Yes, I have a to do list every day now. If I don't I wouldn't remember to do things (I probably wouldn't remember that I had done them unless I looked at the list I saw that I had crossed them off. Walter is a big fan of me doing the things on the list and him just crossing them off.)

I am feeling okay today. I don't think I overdid it yesterday but I did go for a walk, run errands, do laundry, have very healthy nachos for lunch (they have grain - corn chips, vegetables - lettuce, tomato and salsa, meat - chicken, dairy - cheese and sour cream; that was a balanced diet last time I checked), and watched Ocean's Eleven. Very productive. I also made an even more healthy dinner of chicken curry and cauliflower with artichokes and salad for dinner.

Today will not be as healthy. We are going for a walk with a friend who is coming over and then we will have diner brunch. Maybe an omelette, maybe a Belgian Waffle topped with a mound of fruit and whipped cream. Either way, I will have bacon too. This is the same bacon craving from last weekend. One week is enough waiting. Then off to Penzey's to buy just a couple of spices (well maybe a few) that I need... I always need more spices. Walter says if I buy more spices I will need a bigger kitchen. So what's the problem? A bigger kitchen wouldn't be bad either.

When we get home Walter will want to finish the to do list. Somehow I think I will end up doing work. I can always supervise him. I do have supervisory privileges these days. There are still some things that need to be done outside - put away all the stuff we didn't do last weekend. Planters, statues, rain gauge, etc. Work just never ends!!!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Maybe I am being overly ambitious

But Walter again is off to work today (and not here to tell me not to over do things) but today I am going to do laundry, go for a walk, go shopping, meet a friend for lunch (a very healthy meal of chicken nachos, hold the jalapenos, that is a tradition for us) and vacuum the bedroom. I have to vacuum the bedroom. I am concerned the dust bunnies might gang up on us and carry us away while we are sleeping. I have been meaning to vacuum the bedroom for a couple of months so it REALLY needs it.

I actually got a reasonably good night's sleep and feel somewhat normal today (yes, even I can be normal sometimes). Yesterday after lunch with a friend we went to a consignment store in town and I scored big time (a Barneys silk/linen twin set and a Talbots wool blazer for less than $35 for the two if you must know). I did then take it easy and watched Dreamgirls courtesy of Netflix (a lifeline for anyone who is not healthy - they send you movies you pick and you can watch a new one every day. Today I am going to watch Oceans Eleven - never saw it and George Clooney is pretty hunky).

Actually I think my life must bore the crap out of all of you people who read my blog regularly. Sorry. Do you want me to make up exciting lies about big adventures??? I will if you want. Off to sort laundry now - blech!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I have chemo brain, what's your excuse?

Chemo brain is a known side effect of chemo. Also, known as being a space shot. It is a limited short term memory but also you can't remember the words for things etc. Examples are:
  • walking into a room to get something three times before you remember what it was.
  • leaving the stove on for two hours after dinner is cooking.
  • leaving the water boiling on the stove for tea for over an hour.
  • remembering one additional item to get at the store on the way there, being asked by spouse did you buy it, and realizing you didn't after you have been home for three hours.
  • meaning for about three weeks to take your car into the garage for an oil change and just forgetting to do it.
Now I have an excuse for this. I am such a space shot these days. However now I have an excuse that I can blame it on. A good benefit of chemo (aside from killing off all those nasty cancer cells.)

Anyhow, yesterday went fine. I had a nice nap during chemo. I talked to the doctor about managing fatigue. He said I am doing the right things by just going out less but also by getting exercise regularly (and you thought I was a fool for going for my daily walks during chemo!) The end is coming into sight. He did mention they will now get me lined up with the radiologist to start the prep for radiation so that it can begin promptly in January. Also, on my next visit, we will discuss my hormone treatment. Radiation will last for 6-7 weeks. Hormone treatment lasts for five years. Otherwise, all my side effects are in the normal range. Side effects are getting worse and getting to be more of them. Do you really want to know? Mouth sores, fatigue, lightheadedness, nausea, heart burn, chemo brain, icky fingernails, dry skin, tingling/numbness in my hands and feet... I know there are more but just can't remember them. Every time they give me something to take to fix one it causes more side effects - anti nausea meds cause blurred vision, mouth sore rinse causes constipation, etc. Did you really want to know????

I think I am out of Kansas and getting near the foothills of the Rockies... but still have to go up over them before cruising down to the Pacific.

8 down, 4 to go.

PS Chemo next week is scheduled promptly (but not necessarily conveniently) at 8 am on Wednesday - I will even have to get up early!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Random thoughts

Well when are blog postings not random thoughts? Blogs are meant to be just random thoughts most of the time. (Maybe today I am just calling them random.) But anyway:

I noted yesterday that my chemo next week is inconveniently scheduled the day before Thanksgiving. I am not sure it would ever be conveniently scheduled.

I really like the new self checkouts at grocery stores in theory only. The idea is you don't have to deal with an underpaid, unskilled cashier to pay for groceries and get out of the store quicker. That is the theory only. They always mess up and you have to wait for someone to help you which means any gain in time is lost waiting for assistance from an underpaid, unskilled cashier. Yesterday I went to the grocery and used the self check out. I had to request assistance twice. They didn't have anyone assigned to the registers so the person who ended up helping had been stocking shelves and kind of had an attitude. I was very aggravated by the time I left.

I am very tired today. I didn't sleep well. This may turn into crabbiness. Walter is going to work and I am getting a ride to and from chemo. It may be better that I am left alone with my crabbiness.

I have to rush around this morning so I can take a walk, take my car to the garage for an oil change and brakes, and get in the shower early. I have to put a numbing lotion on my port so that it doesn't hurt when they stab me with the giant needle at chemo. It should be on for about 2 hours before my appointment so it actually works. I think I can do this. Out to walk at 730 am since its already nearly 60 degrees. I can drop my car off then. Home by 830 and then take a quick shower. Maybe it won't rain until I get home.

Then when I go to Lahey I will get to sit around. That will certainly not help my crabbiness. I actually meet with the doctor today (only every three weeks) and have a written list of questions for him that I will go put in my purse RIGHT NOW. I am supposed to be there at 1015 am. I think I will be home about 230 pm.

I have some very stubborn mouth sores that will be good for the diet. I spoke to the doctor's office yesterday and they prescribed a different mouth rinse. It tastes awful and makes all food taste like crap as well. Also a contributor to general crabbiness. Nothing tastes good so I don't want to eat anything, and when I get hungry, I get crabbier.

I am such a space shot. I came home yesterday afternoon with my bags of groceries, noticed a box in the front entry way that was delivered (insulated curtains maybe?), opened the door, got the mail, the cat pestered me for food, and I forgot about the box. I remembered it at 3am. It is still waiting for me downstairs. I mentioned this to Walter and he thought I had just put the box out to be sent...

Well that's it for today. Time to go rush around after I open my box.

PS Its 844am. I am back from my walk. It is 61 degrees. I wore shorts.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Positive things

- The Halloween candy is almost gone. Any that is left will be pawned off on visiting family members next week.
- The scale continues in the right direction.
- I slept for 8 solid hours last night.
- The udder cream is making my skin feel better.
- My mouth sores are sort of going away.
- I am finally organized to make pies for Thanksgiving.

Otherwise I have no life. For those interested, I am making three pies for Thanksgiving. Pumpkin, pecan, and apple. Walter is highly skilled at apple peeling which will minimize my involvement. Pumpkin is easy but even easier when assistance is supplied by young visiting family members. Pecan is almost as easy as pumpkin as you add sugar, butter, and eggs to nuts. (Just think sugar and fat added to more fat. It tastes yummy but is not on any diet I have every seen.) Pie crust is thawed and unrolled. Not very complicated.

The only problem is time. When to make the pies. I have chemo most inconveniently the day before Thanksgiving. I hope it will be late enough in the day so I can make two of the pies before going and leave the apple to make Thursday morning. I will have to see how convenient Lahey wants to be when these are scheduled.

Otherwise, today I am okay. A little tired but I did sleep well. I am off for my daily walk once it warms up. They promise us 60 degrees today but right now its 32 on our thermometer. I will wait for 45 I think. Then I will go to work for the afternoon.

Yesterday I got very tired and didn't go to my support group. I came home and watched TV with the cat. (Yes, I know, part of the problem, not the solution.) However the cat really didn't want to watch TV, it was his dinner time he thought. I went out and came home when it was dark. Therefore, it must be his dinner time. Nope, dinner time is 530pm. I made him suffer until 520 and then took pity on him and fed him. He is not patient. He walks back and forth and looks very anxious - like I might be starving him to death - and never mind that there is a whole bowl of dry food waiting for him. No, he wants his tiny little bit of canned food. If he paces back and forth, I will notice he is waiting and take pity on him! However I have the opposable thumbs and can open the can at the appropriate time. If I listened to him, I would give him canned food at 8 am after about 3 days of begging.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Finally the damn bulbs are planted

It only took me a month??? Yesterday, the ground did defrost enough so they could be planted. I was getting concerned that it was too late. (So much for global warming when you will be able to plant bulbs in December.) I was very helpful. I placed all the bulbs where I wanted them to go on the ground. Walter then was highly skilled and dug all the holes, put in fertilizer, and covered them up. He has now had so much practice planting bulbs, I think I can get him to 'help' again every year. All the dead annuals are now gone as well. Basically, we are ready for winter except for needing to rake and mow again.

I have had an ongoing battle with the squirrels who come along and eat my bulbs - or just decapitate my tulips when blooming. Walter has been rather ambivalent about this problem until now. I did ask him if he changed his mind about them after digging all the holes. He said a BB gun with a night vision scope would solve the problem. (NOT HAPPENING!!!)

My strong gardening efforts combined with a support group trip and a walk made me very tired. I got in bed at 8 pm last night. As was subtly pointed out (by Walter again yesterday and several other people at different times), people under going chemo get tired and need to take care of themselves and going to bed early is important. My big dilemma is all the good TV shows are on after 9pm so I have to tape them and watch them the next day.

I would like to point out that I may get tired and need to take care of myself but I am still capable of doing things like making Thanksgiving pies, cooking, and working part time. I do think I get too tired to do things like fold laundry, wash dishes, clean the bathrooms, mop the kitchen floor, and empty the toxic waste dump (litter box). Chemo patients must preserve their resources and do the best they can. Yucky chores are left for those who are not under going chemo.

Today's big plans are to go to the gym (its too rainy for a walk outside), make baked ziti, work this afternoon, and go to my other support group. Not very exciting? Maybe I'll have to sneak in some Halloween candy for an extra energy boost...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bacon update...

Yes I had bacon for brunch yesterday. However there was a momentary scare when I went to get food at the buffet and the chafing dish labeled bacon - WAS EMPTY! I was then forced to make a second trip to the buffet. And the bacon wasn't very good. As many restaurants do, it was cooked in the oven and was over cooked. It wasn't burned but all the fat was cooked out and it was brittle and flaky. Somewhat of a letdown. However I think I am going out to breakfast this coming weekend and will get bacon then if I still have a craving. (Then when I went back up for dessert, the apple crisp was empty... Its a conspiracy I tell you!)

Anyhow, 1/2 an hour of gardening yesterday, followed by brunch and a trip to the farm stand and I spent 6 quality hours in front of the TV set. I did do some crocheting and the cat had a very nice nap on my lap. I know there is a problem in the US where Americans spend too much time watching TV. Well I am now part of the problem and not the solution. When done with treatment, I will be part of the solution and not spend 6 hours in a row watching TV, but at this point I just don't care.

Also, I got to watch 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas'. It was on last night. I think they recolorized it as the colors were very strong - and the snow was a bright blue in places. Either my eyes are changing or it was updated. It is a tad early to watch holiday shows but that is one I will suffer through several times. I have tried to watch the Grinch movie that came out a few years ago and it was just awful. I will take the original one any day.

Today, I hope the ground defrosts so that Walter can plant the damn bulbs. It might even hit 50 degrees, which would be a vast improvement over the lovely upper 20's of this morning. We are going for my daily walk this morning. (You will notice the use of the word 'we' with the term 'my daily walk'. It is good for him, builds character. A little stroll on the bike path to get the blood circulating.)

Then I have a support group to go to. This is my new group that only meets for seven weeks and actually has structure. This week it is about humor. I think I can come up with a few jokes.

PS I have not had any Halloween candy in about 3 days.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Today being overly ambitious

I wanted to plant the last of my bulbs (read Walter is home and available to help) and the damn ground is FROZEN!!! We have to wait until it thaws. I hope this is later today and not in April. I still have to dig up my dahlias and glads as well (read that as Walter will dig them up).

I also trimmed back my dead plants outside (the inside ones are fine thank you.) and started forcing freesia inside again so they will bloom in January. Generally I started getting the garden ready for winter. Now I need a little break. Only 1/2 an hour and its snooze time. The cat is patiently waiting for me to finish typing by sitting on my lap. He doesn't understand this slows me down. Then we are going out for a fancy brunch where I will have bacon. For some reason I am dying for some bacon. Don't ask me why. Maybe its some weird side effect. We wanted to do something fun and go out to eat. Going out at night doesn't work. I am too tired, so brunch it is.

Otherwise in general I am okay. Tired. Little bits of tingling in my hands. My fingernails look like they might fall off sometime. (Yucky).

Just because I want to share, here is my carrot cake recipe that I made yesterday and actually got from a friend in 1990. Its just as good now as it was then.

Carrot Cake

1/2 c oil
2 c sugar
4 eggs
2 c flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained, less 3 oz.
3 c raw grated carrots
1 c raisins
1 c chopped walnuts

Mix oil, sugar, eggs together. Add flour, spices, soda, baking powder, salt, mix well. Add vanilla, pineapple, carrots, raisins, and nuts. Bake in greased tube pan or 13 x 9 pan at 375 for 55-60 minutes (tube) or 40 minutes (13x 9)

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pkg (3 oz) cream cheese
2 c confectioners sugar (or more)
1/2 stick margarine
dash of vanilla
3 oz crushed pineapple
1/3 c minced nuts

Blend cream cheese, butter. Start adding sugar until consistency is smooth. Add vanilla and pineapple. Top with nuts.

Notes: I used 1/2 cup apple sauce instead of the oil. I did not put the 3 oz pineapple in the frosting.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Nothing to write about

That's it. I have nothing to write about. Boring life.

Well maybe just a little. I made a cake yesterday for a friend's birthday and frosted it this morning. Tonight I am making home made soup for dinner. We trimmed the cat's claws (notice the operative use of the word we - he is most agreeable for his front claws but his back ones require an assistant to hold them still.) I also got a good night's sleep.

An update on my search for insulated curtains. I finally found curtain liners that are insulated that I can use to instead of the sheer curtains we have for the summer. Then I can keep up the regular curtains that I like and haven't been able to replace with insulated ones. They come from www.countrycurtains.com and are cheaper than buying or making new curtains.

See I do lead a boring life if I am keeping people up to date on the search for insulated curtains.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Well maybe..

I might have over done it yesterday. By the time I got home, I was exhausted. I will put it down to the fact that I went to the gym again and lifted weights. I also went to the Burlington Mall for the first time in months. I am on a long term search for insulated curtains. I finally found ones I like but they were not the right size.

I did lots of searching for Udder Cream. I finally found it in Trader Joe's (its really cheap $2.99 for a 12 oz tub). It was in the personal care section but all the labeling on the container is for use on teats. It has a warning not to use on cow pox. (Well, I certainly don't have that!) Nothing about use on humans other than to say it may be used on chapped or chafed skin - but it doesn't state it if it referring to human or bovine skin. And the ever useful: Do not use on or near eyes. All I know is now my feet feel great, well a little cold but nice and soft.

Today's big plans include going for my daily walk and working at home.

PS Message to Marie who commented yesterday. Go to www.komen.org for message boards.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Udder cream???

Is there something ironic in this? I mentioned to the nurses that the skin is peeling off the bottom of my feet as a result of chemo. They recommended Udder Cream. (I feel there is some irony here in recommending udder cream to breast cancer patients. Does anyone else see it or is it just my warped mind?) Anyway, they gave me some samples and I put it on my feet last night with socks over them and they feel much better today. Now quick I have to go buy some before I run out of little samples. It works better than anything else I have tried. Nothing like big sheets of skin peeling off... icky, icky, icky.

Otherwise, yesterday went fine. We got there at 915 and they were running late. we didn't get out of there until after 1230. That is a long time considering that I only had blood drawn and chemo infusion and didn't see the doctor. Unfortunately I couldn't find out what time my appointment is the day before Thanksgiving. I have to wait another week for that.

Not much else happened. I did take an hour and half nap when we got home and went for a walk. Today I am going to the gym because it is a tropical 31 degrees outside and I need to work on my flabby arms. I will go to work and do some work at home. Also, I think the frost has finally killed off my annuals so I need to start cleaning them up. Not only do I have to dig holes for new bulbs but I need to dig up summer bulbs and put them in storage. (Its a good thing Walter has a long weekend and is good at digging.)

7 down, 5 to go. (I feel like now I am just about at the Kansas/Colorado state line and still have to cross the last of the plains before up and over the mountains and down to the Pacific.... Progress, but slow.)

PS I found my note and brought it with me and asked all my questions. Gold star for me for the day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The cat finally earned his keep

Well mostly and he sort of has before. Today, he 'played' with a poor innocent little spider that was right next to me in my office. However, he didn't eat it and left the little corpse for me to dispose of. In the past, he has killed a mouse, which he brought to us to show us. (How thoughtful of him to share.) This time at least I didn't have to kill the spider. Anyway, I think he is just hungry and wants me to go downstairs and refill his food dish. (Oink, oink, oink.)

All set for today. I remembered my last question to ask the nurses and wrote it on my note and (I think) I put my note in my purse. Damn, now I should go look for the note to make sure. Otherwise, I will run around like a crazed fool trying to find it. It is probably easier to try to find the note than try to remember the questions again. (Not that I am a crazed fool or anything but I would probably run around like one.)

I have just been informed it is time to get off the computer and go make the Belgian waffles I promised for breakfast and otherwise stop procrastinating about going to chemo. (Not me, procrastinate! I wouldn't dream of it.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Today will be boring

I have no exciting plans for today. A little work, a trip to the gym, support group, a few errands. I did find today that I had to recreate an online order I placed on Friday. Funny, if you type in your credit card number wrong they decline it... Hmmm.... Maybe I should work on my typing skills.

I am all set for chemo tomorrow. I got a reminder phone call, I have a printed appointment confirmation, and I have my little list of questions to ask the nurse. I usually have a few questions to ask but unless I WRITE THEM DOWN AND BRING THE PIECE OF PAPER WITH ME, I forget. (Those capital letters were a stern little reminder to me to put the piece of paper in my purse today, while I am thinking about it, so I don't run around like a crazed person tomorrow morning looking for it and then trying to recreate the questions that I thought of earlier in the week.) However I do know I have one more question for the nurse that I forgot already and need to go write down on the same piece of paper as soon as I can remember it. See, the mind is the first thing to go.

Anyway, I think chemo is really getting old. Going back to my previous analogy, I think I am still stuck in Kansas but finally am getting near the state line.... I am sick of these side effects. I don't feel nauseous all the time, just some of the time. My hair is pretending it might start growing back soon but my eye brows are thinning. My fingernails and toe nails are breaking and looking weird. My feet are peeling on the bottom (icky!). I get some sporadic neuropathy. (How's that for a fancy word??? I am trying to be impressive. That's the nasty side effect of temporary or permanent numbness and tingling in your hands and feet.) Mine comes and goes. The nurses said not to worry unless I get pain with it as well. Otherwise, I just get tired.

Yesterday was pretty neat. We got to see the radiation equipment at Lahey. They have the older machine and the newer machine for radiation treatments. Both of them are still state of the art. What was neat was that when you are getting treatments, you lie on your back. So they decorated the ceiling. In the room with the older machine, there is a garden scene with a trellis and vines. It is pretty big too. With the newer machine there are several back light photographs of different nature scenes on the walls but there is a giant one (10' x 6') on the ceiling of a harbor full of OPBs (Other Peoples Boats - the really expensive kind) and mountains in the background. We all said it would be incentive to plan a nice vacation while getting treatments. Something to look forward to... (the vacation, not more trips to Lahey).

Monday, November 5, 2007

The cure for being tired...

is a good night's sleep. I slept for 8 hours last night, uninterrupted, except when the cat decided that he doesn't know about the difference between standard time and day lights savings time (which are we on now? I don't know. All I know is I reset lots of clocks yesterday.) Anyhow the point is, he used to come up at 530 am when he heard the alarm. Today, he came up at 430 am (which would have been 530 am last week) to walk on me and see if I was awake. I wasn't awake so he went to sleep. Then we all slept for another hour. He didn't need food, he just thought he should check and see if he could get some food and attention.

Anyway, the short version is that I feel less tired today. Which means I can over plan my day: walk to Wilson's farm to get the three (lightweight) things I need, plant so more damn bulbs - 1 bag down, 5 to go, support group at Lahey, two errands, and work.

What's interesting is today at the support group, we are meeting at the radiation building and getting a tour of the facility by a radiation oncologist (who will be my doctor when I start radiation) and get to ask all kinds of questions. I think this will be pretty cool. Usually when you go for treatment for something they answer questions and give you information in writing but you don't usually get a whole tour. All I have to do is remember my few questions (perhaps I should write them down and bring the piece of paper with me?) and remember to go to the far end of the Lahey, not the part I usually go. I think it is easily 1/2 mile walk from the new cancer center to the original little tiny building which is the radiation wing. Maybe its a plot to have all the patients get exercise. Or I can just remember to park over there and not have to walk.

Yesterday I went to two yard sales with a friend and got a knock off Rolex watch for $2 - now I have to get a battery for it but its a nice looking gold watch which I needed and the price wasn't bad. Its definitely not real but for a little while it was nice to think it might be. I also bought a sewing box full of all kinds of stuff, including two pairs of scissors, a whole bunch of zippers, and tons of thread and needles for $5. Its a lovely shade of dark yellow - to replicate it, take the lid off a jar of Gulden's mustard for about a week and the color will be the same. Vintage 1950's.

PS I did break down and have two Hershey kisses and one mini peanut butter cup yesterday.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I see a pattern forming

I'm tired today. I'm tired every Sunday. Hmmm... could it be the four days after chemo that I get tired??? It only took me six weeks to figure this out. (So maybe I am just a little slow.) It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Walter had to get up at Army time again because the clocks were set back. I actually finally just got out of bed. The cat was snoring away as well (he snores more than Walter sometimes).

I also survived day two without Halloween candy but do admit to eating cookies at the baby shower.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Success!

An entire day free of candy. But I did have to quality control test the brownies as they come out of the oven. Anyhow, I managed not to have any Halloween candy which was my goal. I did go spend a small fortune at Costco yesterday but restocked the pantry and fridge. Of course when I got home Walter called and asked me about the one thing that I meant to buy but wasn't on the list because I only remembered it while driving there (and didn't think I should dig in my purse for a pen while driving on the highway so I could write it down. Silly me I trusted my chemo brain cells, so of course I forgot it. I am sure there are other items that will force me to return to Costco in the not so distant future but I did purchase plenty of the all important cat food and cat litter.) I also only planted about 1 bag of bulbs yesterday. Five more to go. At this rate, it will be next weekend before I am done. Grrr.... but they will look pretty in the spring.

Today I am off to the gym and a baby shower where I will do my best to eat healthy the entire time but cannot be held responsible if non-nutritional food is offered. Actually it will be nice to get out and see people who I have not seen in months. It is only about 5 miles from here and, even though we will will have those pesky little hurricane remnants, I can't see driving there and back being a problem. What is a minor problem is that today is an Army day for Walter again which means I was up at 550am. Way too early. Most definitely will need a nap. And I can expect a repeat for tomorrow as well. Wah!

PS Dinner last night turned out to be artichokes and crab cakes. Quite yummy and healthy.

PPS As part of Lahey Clinic's continued effort for consistency in communication, on Thursday I received a letter from the doctor's office moving my appointment next week from Wednesday to Thursday. Yesterday I received two appointment confirmations from Lahey, one for Wednesday and one for Thursday. They consistently confuse me.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Today is a candy free day!

Yesterday I was fine until I went to work and there was the little basket sitting in front of me with candy in it. Then when I came home Walter wanted candy after dinner too. Lots of bad influences. Today I will not eat candy. None, zip, nada. tomorrow I am going to a baby shower which will probably be filled with bad things to eat - I know there will be brownies because I am making them!

Today I am also tired. I slept okay but feel like I need a nap already (and its 7:49 am). It didn't help that Walter had to have an early start today and left at 6:15 am - that would be to go in for a day of army duty. Two more days of this in a row. I might need to take up napping to counter act the effects of early alarm clocks. Sometimes I can sleep through it but not today. He is usually very quiet. It doesn't help that if the cat decides we should wake up and he jumps upon the bed and lands as delicately as his flabby 16 lbs allows on top of me. (This is a clear indication he can see the bottom of his food dish, or just that it isn't filled to the brim as he prefers it since he has been eating all night.) This is what we call a very effective alarm clock.

Anyhow, if I don't get enough sleep, I get crabby. Warning to Walter, you may see crabbiness this weekend.

Lots to do today, work at home and out, walk, Costco, bank, and plant a few bulbs (before tomorrow's rain storm). I have to come up with something interesting for dinner too. We have been eating boring food. Life is too short to eat blah food. Yesterday I went for a walk wearing shorts because it was in the 60s. Today it is 40 degrees!!! Eeeek!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Chemo and Halloween

Yesterday chemo went okay. However they were running late so we weren't out of there until after 2pm. Several of the nurses were in costume - army uniforms, a witch, a cat, and a few others. They were also passing out candy and had a Halloween cake. Of course I had a little piece of cake but skipped the candy. Then I took a 2 hour nap as soon as we got home.

We actually had trick or treaters. That is a first here. Its a good thing I bought more candy the other day. We had a whole horde (about 10) kids under age 8 all at once and then a few smaller groups. The little kids all looked great in costume and they were the age where they were out there for the fun, not just candy grabbing!

Unfortunately, I think I was in the mind set of one for them, one for me. I ate too much candy yesterday! That's it no more today! There is a little bit of caffeine in chocolate, so I didn't fall asleep until after midnight. (The caffeine adds up from 10+ pieces.) No candy for me today! I will send our surplus to Walter's reserve duty this weekend.

Off for a walk with a friend this morning (gotta walk off that candy flab) and then work for both jobs later on.

6 down, 6 to go. Now I am halfway through this second chemo drug. On schedule to end mid-December. (Why does that still sound so far away when they already have Christmas stuff out in the stores???)