Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The waiting game

The economy is now down the tubes (thank you to our legislators) but the one glimmer of good news on the horizon is that there are only 35 days until election day and all this will be behind us. For the next 5 weeks we will be assaulted by political ads, harassed by phone calls - vote for me! - and besieged by sound bites - my opponent is a loser. So as we wait for the next five weeks, there is always humor to get us by. No matter who you are leaning towards (and I don't really care who you vote for as long as you vote - if you don't vote, don't whine about our political leadership), I think you will enjoy the latest from SNL on the Republican veep candidate.


Another number: only six more days until I go back to the surgeon to have my evil little steri strips removed. In the meantime, they are starting to lift up around the edges and itch. Grrr!

In the meantime I get to continue to go to the doctor. Today I see my primary care. I have my list of questions, my list of medical stuff, my list of medications, and a book to read while I wait for her.

Yesterday was a really busy day for me. I hope today is slightly less busy so I can get some work done when I am done sitting around Lahey Clinic.

Monday, September 29, 2008

How do I feel?

Let's see. Its been 10 days since surgery. I have four lovely little incisions covered by my favorite steri strips. The pain is mostly gone. The sorest place is funnily right where my giant bruise is on the incision on my belly button - I wonder what they did to give me such a bruise! That hurts when I cough, sneeze, laugh, roll over in bed, try to sit up, carry things, and other random times. I still get tired but not too badly. Otherwise, I feel fine. The real test is will the steri strips hang on for a week until I see the surgeon next Monday or will they 'fall off' due to itchiness in the meantime? I also am no longer on pain medication so I don't suffer from 'percocet brain' any more and am back to my normal chemo brain.

I also tried going for a real walk yesterday. After surgery I didn't walk for two days, then started walking on the bike path, but driving down the steep hill so I didn't have to walk back up it. Then I went to the gym to the treadmill for two days because of rain. Yesterday, we went for a real walk on the bike path. I got Walter to go with me so that if I got tired he could go get the car (or some other logic) but it was fine. I did get a little tired in the end but today I shall resume my regular daily walks. Yesterday we also bought a bunch of bulbs - what was I thinking? Now I have to dig a million holes and plant them all.

I seem to be able to eat normal food mostly again. We had ice cream of the month delivered last week so unfortunately we have had ice cream for dessert regularly (which means the daily walks are more important). I am still being picky but my digestion doesn't seem to mind ice cream so far. (And I don't have to worry about gall bladder attacks any more which was the biggest fear when eating fatty foods.)

Today I will resume my normal schedule: walk, work from home, and go to work. Such an exciting life I lead. I only have doctor appointments two days this week - one follow up and one eye doctor. What else will I do with my time? Maybe work.

The cat on the other hand has seemed to have developed a single purpose in his life - wait for another stupid mouse to run by the front door so he can catch it. He spends all his time there waiting. At least I have a more exciting life than my cat.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

All unorganized today

First it started with somehow the alarm clock was set and went off at weekday time. It is not supposed to be set on weekends so we can sleep. The cat decided that would be a good time to come stand on us as well. Then the cat left and we went back to sleep and ended up sleeping late for us. Without my glasses on (and before coffee - what was I thinking?) I tried to take my pills. Normally every week I fill in my weekly pill boxes so I can take them without thinking each day and dont spend half the day trying to remember if I took them.

However this weekend I forgot to fill the pill box so I was taking them out of the prescription bottles. I have two prescriptions that start with an L - one for stress and one for thyroid. I am supposed to take the thyroid one daily and the stress one only when I need it. Well I took the wrong one first. So now I will have no stress today - and possibly no ability to think coherently. Oh, well, I guess that means I can sit around and watch TV all day.

This morning I also tried to weigh myself with out my glasses on. I couldn't tell how much I weigh. I'll just call it too much. I used to be able to read the scale without glasses, which is why I am going to the eye doctor this week to get them checked out.

Otherwise, its just another rainy day. Yesterday was a rainy day too. I think it is supposed to stop raining Monday when we get to go back to work. How thoughtful.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Plan C is the best option

Last night there was a presidential debate (in case you have been living under a rock and missed all the hooplah). Plan A was to have a presidential debate but then McCain introduced Plan B - the economy is more important than a debate so I may not go. Was this a publicity ploy or did he really think he should not take a night away from Washington to think about his campaign and hope to win the election? I am not sure but what ever his reasons, he almost did not go. And there was some stupid college student on TV yesterday saying essentially "I was going to vote for McCain but if he doesn't show up here, I'm not". Wow! I thought her intellect was overwhelming.

So all week long we teetered between Plan A and Plan B. My husband came home from work yesterday and I said we were back to Plan A, did he want to watch the debate together (a risky option when considering marital unity and harmony)? His response was 'can I throw things at the TV' if they get really stupid? Not that he would really throw things that the TV but he would probably verbally express his opinion of their overwhelming intellect during the debate. So at 9 pm I got nice and comfy to watch the debate. And Plan C occurred - I fell asleep. It was very peaceful and relaxing. Maybe the next debate will be a bit more stimulating and possibly really focus on foreign policy.

Yesterday was another exciting day in my life. I went to the gym, a meeting, and worked from home. The oil furnace man was due between 1 and 3 pm to clean out the furnace before winter. At 3 pm they called to say he was running late, so he arrived at 330 in such a punctual manner. Its a good thing I rescheduled my other appointment later in the day.

The other news is that I have discovered the source of the cat's mice. He scoops them up from under the screen door in the front entry. There is a mouse or paw sized gap (depending on you perspective) under the door. He spent all day yesterday waiting for a mouse to go running by in the rain. I am sure he will spend the next month (until it gets too cold for him) waiting for his mice to run by - this is definitely a different twist on dinner delivery.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Secrets that we have

More secrets. I have learned some things about our new car: If you leave the parking brake on, it beeps at you when you start driving. If you don't put on your seat belt, there is just a little icon on the dashboard. If you happen to hit a curb while parking, any scrape marks will wash away in the next rain storm (and your husband will NEVER know). If you go to work for too long, it makes your incisions hurt, well just the incision with the big bruise.

Today, I am working from home and going to the gym. The furnace man is supposed to come for the annual tune up this afternoon which gives me a good excuse to sit around and watch TV for the afternoon. Well I guess I could work then too. Its going to be a rainy nasty day followed by another rainy nasty day tomorrow. How exciting.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What would YOU do?

I am sitting here calmly working at my computer and the cat shows up with a DEAD MOUSE! I did not know we had mice or did he acquire it under the front door like the chipmunk last year. He wants me to watch him EAT IT! He is absolutely disgusting. I have enough stress in my life, thank you very much!

My patience level

I am not very patient these days. Well, call me a not very patient patient. I don't like waiting around - especially for medical stuff (unless under sedation and then its very different).

After surgery on Friday, they said they will schedule a follow up with the surgeon in two to three weeks. I thought - that's kind of a long time (because I will have steri strips for the duration) - but maybe you need to heal more after this kind of surgery. Who am I to know? I am a mere patient and not a medical professional. They also told me that the pathology report on my gall bladder would probably take 5-7 days and I would get the results at my follow up appointment - unless they were 'bad' in which case, they would call me.

Monday the nurse called to see how I was doing after surgery and reiterated everything. She also said I could probably call Friday to find out when my appointment was and to ask for results of my pathology report. I thought okay, I can wait until Friday.

Yesterday, that was Wednesday (in case you lost track), I decided I couldn't wait any more. (See how patient I was?) So I called to find out when my doctor appointment was (I mean what if they made it at a CONVENIENT time). After transferring me four times and putting me on hold twice, they told me a week from Monday. I thought, hmmm... I can wait with my stupid steri strips until then.

But what about the pathology report to find out if there was anything evil lurking in my gall bladder? I asked and was told the doctor would call me back sometime yesterday. This means they had the report and the doctor has to be the one to tell you - regardless of if it is good or bad. So I got to wait. I do that so well now. I have had so much practice. I called the doctor's office about 1030 am. The doctor called me back at 7 pm!!! I figured by then he had gone for the day. Anyhow, as you have probably figured out by now it was a nice normal pathology report. (If it had been full of evil things my post would have started very differently.)

Now I have learned that doctors define normal very differently than I define normal. I had an MRI of my liver last spring and it came back with a liver hemangioma and gall stones with a recommendation for a follow MRI to make sure they were stable, blah, blah, blah, in six months. I had that MRI and the doctor left a message that my MRI was normal. Now how can the first one show stones and a hemangioma (and apparently he now has friends, I have several) and the follow up one is 'normal'? Does normal mean that I am now abnormal and it was normal on an abnormal level? Does normal mean that my hemangiomas have gone away 'pouf' and are now more? Or is normal just the generic word for 'we aren't telling you anything else because you didn't go to medical school'?

Well, what I do know is that next week I go back to see my primary care physician (because I dont have enough doctor appointments and I will ask for copies of my pathology report and recent MRI and ask for a translation of both levels of normal.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Today I feel...

Today I feel better, mostly. I slept pretty well and one of my incisions (the one with the bruise) hurts a lot, another one somewhat, and the other two seem to be minding their own business and just hanging out, which is fine with me. I managed to survive most of yesterday on Tylenol alone...

Yesterday I left the house - twice, in fact. First I went for a walk. I drove down the steep hill a whole block and walked on the flat bike path for 15 minutes and then 15 minutes back. A 30 minute slow speed walk (slower than OJ Simpson on an LA freeway with the entire police department in pursuit). My biggest concern when I walked is that I parked my car on the side of the road and opened the door. And there was a storm drain. What if I dropped my keys (particularly for the new car - I would have been in T.R.O.U.B.L.E.)? That would have been trauma. But I was good and kept them in my pocket. Today I will park in a slightly different place so I don't have to deal with that stress. But I am not sure how much faster my walk will be.

I also went to my support group which meant driving all the way to the other end of town (10 minutes) and seeing people - eek! But it was good to interact with the outside world. Then I was tired. Hmmm... I wonder why?

Yesterday I was surfing the internet - for a change. I found this article on CNN about how to handle 14 stressful situations. This led to another article on helping friends in need. From the patient's point of view, I think many people handle news of another's illness badly in that they don't know what to say or do so they say or do nothing. Or they say or do too much and (continually) stick their foot in their mouth. Everyone's illness is different (so whatever your hairdresser's neighbor's cousin's co-worker had is not the same as mine) and every course of treatment is different (ditto), so your telling me again and again what they had and how they were treated does nothing for me, even if another friend really appreciated hearing it.

Today I have big plans. After my walk and working from home (and you think I am in a rut), I am meeting a friend for coffee or something and going to the farmer's market for fish. (They sell really good fish at the farmer's market in addition to good veggies. They also sell beef, pork, chicken, eggs, milk, and cheese but I just want fish and veggies.) Perhaps I can consider house cleaning as well. Okay, I considered it. No, I don't feel that good. Housework could cause a relapse. I am sure I will find something else to do.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Let us analyze these

In preparation for the month formerly known as October (or lets over do the sound bites on breast cancer) there were three items of interest in the news this morning. First of all, there was an article on how little empathy doctors apparently have when faced with terminal illnesses. This does not surprise me. I have some doctors who are very compassionate and others who are not as much. But to be fair, you need to look at it from their side.

Every day they go to work and see some very sick people - some of whom did nothing to deserve their current medical status, they ate right, exercised, and follow their doctor's instructions and the others who chain smoked cigarettes, ate 3 times a day at fast food restaurants, and still party every night like it is the end of the world. It would be very difficult to face the people who did everything right and be compassionate every day. But it would also be very frustrating to deal with the people who can be helped by changing their life styles and listening to their doctors, but choose not to.

While I think there is a distinct shortage of 'Bedside Manner 101' taught in medical school, I also think as part of the patient population we have to do our part. Show up for appointments on time, take the medicine they give us, eat right, exercise, blah, blah, blah. Then you can expect a little empathy. If you stop for a cigarette on the way into see your doctor for your lung cancer treatment, I would expect a little less. Also, we can't go into our doctor appointments and expect them to wave a magic wand and cure everything - life doesn't work that way unfortunately.

The second article I found, is the one I really have a problem with. Basically it says that a new study, announced in Boston on Monday, finds that the standard 5-7 week treatment of radiation for breast cancer is not as effective as a three week, higher dose course of treatment. So, what I had isn't as effective as this new treatment?? Well, now read the fine print - the study did not compare the effects of a the boost radiation (crisping) that I had as well. So, did what I have not do what it was supposed to? Should I have had a different course of treatment? Or does this study really mean nothing because it is not comparing the full standard treatment to the full standard treatment? Just another little bump in the roller coaster ride called life. What would you do? What would you think? Ready to start doubting your doctors???

One last article I found says that if only I can get past my thing about needles and I can perhaps do something about this story on the benefits of acupuncture for breast cancer treatment.

So get ready for the month of October - where it will be sound bite city of everything taken out of context and causing more bumps and roller coaster rides.

In the meantime, I actually did get a good night's sleep last night and didn't wake up to take pain meds. Perhaps I can finally switch to just Tylenol so I can get my life back out of the percocet fog...

Monday, September 22, 2008

This will not be another fun day

So today was my day to go back to to work after vacation and surgery. Well, today is now my day to watch the Ellen Degeneres show and see if I can figure out how many plastic surgeries Dolly Parton, her guest today, has had. My pain levels are still there so I have to take the prescription I have which means no driving or clear thinking. (That is assuming that I was thinking clearly while not on the prescription.) It is better but I am not ready for much. I do plan on trying to do a little work from here and attending a webinar.

Also, my stupid steri strips itch. There should be a magic pill that prevents steri strips from itching. If someone invented that then they could retire very young.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Things I hate about surgery

There are many things I hate about surgery:

1. Steri strips that itch inside gauze dressings
2. Pain from incisions
3. Constipation and other digestive ailments as a result of medications (sorry but if you are reading this you get to hear how I really feel)
4. Being tired
5. Steri strips that itch inside gauze dressings
6. No showers for 2 days
7. Inability to sleep due to discomfort
8. Waiting for pathology reports
9. Steri strips that itch inside gauze dressings

Last night I slept okay. Yesterday I watched a lot of TV. Today I am taking a shower and maybe a tiny walk. Otherwise, I will try to pretend I am not in pain and my stupid steri strips don't itch. (Do you really think they will last two more weeks????)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A day of fun and games

Yesterday we went to Lahey at 845 am for approximately 4 to 6 hours, we were told. We left at 520 pm. Walter went home and the surgeon called him when done. Then he came back over around 330 - just in time for me to take a nap. Basically, the surgery went as planned, four laproscopic incisions (and a big bruise and a little seepage) and I was back in recovery a little after 11. Then the pain started, so they gave me meds and more meds. Then we tried drinking a little water and the nausea started. Then they gave me more meds. Then I sat up and the room spun. They gave me more meds. Then I got to eat a little crackers (try eating saltines when you had a tube down your throat and can't drink water because you are nauseous) and get some other meds. That was so much fun. I can't wait to do it again.

I did have some toast, applesauce and a banana when I got home and they stayed put. I fell asleep around 8 and only woke up every time the pain meds wore off. However today I am sitting up and feeling okay. I had breakfast and am not doing anything constructive today.

Actually I have one constructive thing to do today - expand my medical vocabulary. Yesterday between pain and nausea, I got to read all the latest consultation reports in my hospital file. They gave me a copy to take home - which is a good thing because it was full of big words that I need to decipher. Some words are easy - hepatic (means kidney something) but what does steatosis or cholelithiasis mean? My skin is anicteric? Hmmm.. sounds weird but I bet it means I have pale, sensitive skin. I will educate myself today and take lots of notes.

Otherwise, herbal tea and lots of tv are my day. Maybe I'll even read my book.

Friday, September 19, 2008

No I am not STRESSED!

Of course not. Why should I be stressed? I have 1 hour 10 minutes before we have to leave and I have yet to finish playing on the internet, take a shower (and brush my teeth - they seem to think it is very important to remind people to brush their teeth before surgery - you would think most people would do this automatically), finish my list of questions that I want answered before I leave, and figure out what to wear. Its cold this morning - 40's I believe - and I need to wear clothes that are warm, easy to get in and out of, and able to withstand being squished into a plastic bag for several hours.

I also cannot eat anything this morning. Even the two hour window of clear beverages allowed has now closed (I guzzled a glass of water just before it ended). Now I am just going to have to suffer in silence and stress. Walter is making and eating his own breakfast. Usually on vacations and days off, I make something yummy but since I got a glass of water and tea, if he wants any more, he has to make it himself. Which I am sure is just fine because we have eggs and some really good bread from the When Pigs Fly bakery company store that we stopped at on the way home the other day. So I am sure he is doing just fine. But I am sitting up stairs in my office (suffering in silence once again) and pretending I am not hungry in the least bit.

We have to be there at 845 so we need to leave at 815 as it is prime school bus time. I originally thought I had to be there at 6 and we were going to allow 20 minutes (because no one is on the road at that time).

Of course, the idea of more surgery (this is #5 in the past 3 years and #8 in my life) just thrills me to no end. I can't wait. More scars - and this time I should end up with four more scars instead of a paltry single scar. Well that is the plan, they could end up having to open me up for one big scar, depending on how it goes. Actually, at the preop I said to the nurse that for anesthesia my preference would be for what was at used the last two surgeries. Now I know they may have other ideas but if possible, that is my preference. (Way too many surgeries when you are telling them what to give you!)

Yesterday was my birthday. I made a point to be very busy all day.We went for a big walk, retrieved the cat (who didn't want to come home but now is very happy after snoring in my ear over night and sleeping in the middle of the bed), went to Costco, the grocery store, the library, farmers market, did seven loads of laundry, cleaned the kitchen and mostly unpacked. Walter even bought fencing sections to replace our rotten, ant infested picket fence. Yesterday because of my birthday and my adventures today, our phone rang ALL DAY LONG! I got to a point where I couldn't talk on the phone any more. I'm sorry. I also didn't respond to emails. I am a little stressed. I promise to reply to messages over the weekend. Maybe I'll be less stressed then.

One thing that I have planned for my recovery is the Sex in the City movie comes out on DVD on Tuesday. It is on the top of my Netflix queue so it better show up on Wednesday. I deserve to be one of the first people to see it. (Now my whiny needy side is coming out because I am so stressed.)

Now I have to consider stop procrastinating on the internet and get motivated. Less than 1 hour to go and still haven't showered, found clothes, etc. I still even haven't brushed my teeth but I promise I will do that now!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Speeding through vacation

We went on a great five day mini vacation to Acadia National Park in ME. We drove up Friday - 6 hours - and checked into our cozy B&B. Saturday was Walter's birthday and he wanted to see the sunrise on the top of Cadillac Mountain (supposedly where the sun first hits the US). We drove up in the fog and it was dark for a long time, we were lost, had no idea where to look, and then it got light and we could safely drive down the mountain. We then played mini golf (he won), went to a brew pub for lunch, and Jordan pond for popovers and out for a nice dinner.

Sunday we walked on the carriage roads and then it rained so we went shopping and we played scrabble (I won twice). Monday was a beautiful day after a little mist in the morning. We went to Sand Beach and Thunderhole and climbed a mountain (never hike a trail with the word 'cliffs' in the name) then we walked out the sand bar to Bar Island. Tuesday was another beautiful day so we got up early and drove up to the top of Cadillac mountain and saw the sun rise for real. Then we rented bicycles and biked all over the carriage roads. Later we played another game of minigolf (Walter won).

Yesterday we drove home. For some reason, we were both really tired last night. Hmmm... I wonder why?

Today' its back to reality - unpacking, laundry, grocery store, prep for surgery tomorrow, and celebrating my birthday. To do that I get to go for a walk, go to the grocery store, pick up the cat from his vacation at my parents, call the hospital to confirm the time, and cook some food so we have leftovers for the weekend.

PS Never, ever, ever weigh yourself the day you return from vacation....

Friday, September 12, 2008

Things I can't find

1. the stupid comforter. I even asked at the cleaners and they don't have it.
2. My hydration pack - no where to be found.
3. My headlamp - ditto
4. The signed check Walter handed me 15 minutes ago to deposit at the bank this morning.

AAARRRRGGGHHH!!! I have no brain. I can't do anything right. I am losing everything (I am sure my mind isn't far behind.)

Well that's okay, I'll take my zero brain capacity and go on vacation. I will worry about this all (except I have to find the check) next week when we get back. I can worry about all of that then instead of stressing about my surgery.

We are leaving this morning and will be back on Wednesday night. Then surgery Friday. My birthday fits in there too - I haven't decided what I want to do to celebrate yet. Today's plan includes at least one game of mini-golf? Can I continue my winning streak? Or are my brains too far gone for this as well?

7:03 am - I found the check - it was on edge next to the table - nearly invisible... Now if I could just find everything else - including my brain!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Its becoming very clear

I have no brain. I have no short term memory. I forget EVERYTHING. I am a spaceshot. I have chemobrain. This morning I was looking for the down comforter for our bed as the nights get colder (we could shut the window but we could also just add the comforter). I can't find it. The last time I remember seeing it, we took it to the dry cleaner last spring. DID WE EVER PICK IT UP? I have no idea. I am sure they long since gave it away if we didn't. But its not where it is supposed to be. I could have put it some place else but I can't remember. Our house isn't very big but there are lots of places it could be. How aggravating.

I also am trying to pack to go to Maine. Yes we are going to Maine for vacation and it is getting closer to winter there - temperature highs of 60. Not exactly beach weather - but it will be far away from home. I keep remembering things to put in my bag and then forgetting them and then remembering them again and then forgetting them. Some of them I have packed. Some of them I remembered long enough to write down so I'll pack them later. However they have stores in Maine so there aren't that many things I could forget that would be disastruous.

Between now and when we leave tomorrow morning I need to remember all the stuff I need to take, do work from home, pack, go to work, get my nails done, and something else that I can't remember. I am hopeless. That's it. A lost cause.

Yesterday I packed in stealth mode as we took the cat to my parents. If he thinks I am packing his stuff he hides because he hates the car. I gave him half of his dinner and then he wandered over to the front door so I shut him in the front entry way. Then we packed his stuff (litter box, dishes, lots of treats, cat toys, food, brush) and grabbed him and drove the whole four miles. You would think we were abandoning him. He was very upset. And we got there and I gave him the other half of his dinner and put his toys out on the floor where he could find them. And he was fine.

Today I will pack openly because he is no longer and issue and he can't shed on my clean clothes that I am packing. But off for my walk now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Those important days

Tomorrow is September 11. I think it is one of those days when all Americans know where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. Its hard to believe its been seven years. We all have those days in our life when you will never forget what happened that day. Where was I when I was told I had cancer - its been 15 and a half months or 27 years and 1 month.

It is important to mark these days but not to dwell on them. The terrorists tried to take over our country on September 11 but we should not succumb to their wishes and hide in fear. We need to go out and live our lives and prove that we will not hide. I also need to live my life and not hide from my medical issues and go out and enjoy myself. The bad things in life happen and we can't forget them. But we can't let them dominate us.

Too many deep thoughts before coffee. That's enough serious stuff. Today is a beautiful day. We need to get ready to go on vacation. But first I have lots of work today and we have to pack up kitty to go to his vacation spot (my parents) in stealth mode. If he realizes we are packing up his stuff and he is going in a car, he will hide. He is such a weinie. Yesterday he was scared of the thunderstorms. But now off for my morning walk.

(Also, I'm not typing any more because I keep making mistakes because I have a bandaid on my finger...)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What to write???

I don't know. Today is one of those days where I can't think of anything to write. So maybe I can just babble randomly and something will click.

First the cat is now decided he officially is an outdoor cat. Well, too bad he can't make that decision himself. We have decided he is an indoor cat. And as soon as the weather gets bad, he won't want to be an outdoor cat anymore. Yesterday he kept getting out. At one point he was very agitated while he was outside - and then I found a big clump of orange cat fur (which resembles a neighbor's cat) in the back yard. I think he was defending his territory. Also, we have to be concerned about his catnip problem. We wake up in the morning and all the cat nip toys are scattered around... Addiction or dependency? We don't know.

Yesterday I call the doctor's office about my MRI results. The whole point of my MRI was to make sure the thingy on my liver was still there and still the same. She called back and left a message that it was normal. Well if the thingy was still there, that's not really normal. But she is going to send a letter so I'll see what that says. The important thing is that nothing has changed and won't mess up my gall bladder adventures. Because now my stupid gall bladder has decided to be unhappy basically all the time instead of just some of the time.

Today I have to get a lot of work done. I also have to start thinking about what we are going to take to Maine and probably consider packing. Maybe I'll start with let's get the suitcase out of the basement and see what we can throw into it mode.

See lots of random thoughts and nothing profound.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sound bite season

As we ramp up to October 'Breast Cancer Awareness Month', it is time to get ready for the over use of medical sound bites. This is really annoying I find. I mean 'they are so close to finding a cure' or as in today's newspaper is a big article on how looking at how cells change, they think they are on to something - but have been working on it for ten years and its still not finished. Or the latest Newsweek says 'Time to Rethink The War on Cancer'. All this research is going on but nothing is ready yet. Why can't they talk about the stuff that is available for treatment? They keep telling us great things are coming but you can't have them - its like playing Keep Away on the elementary school playground! Very frustrating for all of us.

Then the other thing is the media will grab on to their little sound bite and blow it all out of proportion and make it sound like its a big breakthrough. Grr. Grr. Grr.

Yesterday I went to a friend's wedding. It was a lot of fun. It was very tiring. I did something stupid - I decided to dance and have a good time. Then I got tired early and had to come home. If I had been smart and just around and talked to people, maybe I would have lasted longer. Anyhow, it was a lot of fun and I got to see people I hadn't seen in a very long time. I also met a friend for a walk before it. Possibly that contributed to overdoing it too.

Today I have to do some work at home and then go for a walk and then go to work in the afternoon. And recover from yesterday. Blah!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My rule

I have a rule. You cannot have an ailment or a procedure without knowing how to pronounce and spell it. Its not gall bladder surgery its a Cholecystectomy. I don't know why they have a big name for it and can't just call it gall bladder surgery but that's why they went to medical school. I know an '-ectomy' takes out parts of you. I am not sure what the 'cholecyst' part comes from. But you pronounce it like this koh-luh-si-stek-tuh-mee (I can't write phonetically, I looked it up). After meeting with medical people this week, they all can say 'cholecsystectomy' really fast and easily. I am trying but keep forgetting the cyst part and think I say 'cholectectomy' which probably means something completely different - but I am trying. See all the medical crap is increasing my vocabulary (and knowledge of anatomy and bodily functions). Anyhow, if you go here you can even see a diagram and pictures with a description of what they will do. I am sure I will have much more to say on it later.

In the meantime, yesterday we had a little bitty hurricane scream on through. A lot of rain - we probably should not have left out the patio furniture cushions... But now my rainbarrel is full again (it was almost dry) and my plants are happy. While they are happy, I will go take their pictures and have more to post here and bore you all.

Today I am over scheduled (Moi? No!). I am meeting a friend for coffee or a walk (depending on our mood). then I have to zip home and go to a wedding. Unfortunatley Walter has army drill and can't attend so I am going solo but will know lots of people there. It should be a fun afternoon. But another long day and I will probably be all tired out by then. Today I decided I am not doing any work. I had been working seven days a week for someone or another. Today I am not. I dont have time but more importantly I DON'T WANT TO!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

We all stood up to cancer

Did you watch the special last night - "Stand Up 2 Cancer"? We did. We watched a lot of sound bites and saw some high powered celebrities put in their two cents. Now the show has the right idea I guess - raise money for restarting cancer research. I can agree with that. But a one hour show? How much can they raise? Then their phones got busy and they said you could call in anytime for the next week. Ummm... are they going to advertise their number because I didn't write it down. Or I guess I could go on line - but that is if I remember to do it. I have this little thing called chemo brain that makes it impossible for me to remember to do anything...

I did just check their website and they have a splash page up which is a donation form. I would have liked to see how much money they already raised. So yes I went on line but my credit card is downstairs so after I am done, I have to remember to go get my card and come back up stairs and then go back to their website and donate... Will I remember? Care to make a wager??? Or if I do call, I bet all the celebrities have gone home and back to their lives and I would get to speak to a rocket scientist at a phone bank somewhere. Call me a cynic but that's my mood these days.

Yesterday I worked in the morning and then volunteered at a Komen race sign up for the afternoon. It was actually nice to go be useful for a while for a good cause. Its a good thing the race is tomorrow because today we are having hurricane rains. (We were having a serious dry spell but I think its safe to say that the dry spell will be over after today.) Another good thing about the rain is that kitty (who thinks he is now an outdoor cat) does not want to be an outdoor cat today. He wants to stay inside where it is dry (and his little paws won't get damp).

Today, I have to do work. I had too much fun this week and didn't get enough work done so I need to work. I also want to go for a walk but its pouring out. Maybe it will let up. I don't mind walking in the rain if I am wearing a jacket with a hood and can come home and take a shower. Perhaps today would also be a good day to try on the dress I plan to wear to a wedding tomorrow to make sure it still fits, I can find my shoes and jewelry and all that organizational stuff. I may meet a friend for lunch as well. The only reason I am up so early on a rainy Saturday is Walter is off to reserve duty today and tomorrow and the alarm clock woke me up. Now I'll drink coffee, read the paper, and watch the news in bed with the cat.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Another fun time at the hospital

Yesterday I had my MRI. I arrived promptly and filled out my form (did not admit to having any shrapnel in my body - yes, they ask that for an MRI - and if you have ever worked with metal shavings, have any pins in your body, etc.) Then I got changed into their lovely gown and pajama pants - they didn't even match and were clearly one size fits lots of other people. We'll just say I was completely covered up and then some.

They got me set up in the machine and then the nurse went to put in the IV. I have weenie little veins and they have to use my right arm. She couldn't find a vein so she opted to use the back of my hand. I can just describe the pain as ready to jump off the table it was so bad. It did only hurt for a few minutes and she felt very guilty. It wasn't as bad as last year when the stupid tech at the ER spent 10 minutes digging around the back of my hand, but it was close. (There are some memories which don't really fade for a long time.)

Once again, I got to practice holding my breath. Inhale, let it out, and inhale and hold it, don't breathe... Probably 40 times. I couldn't even fit in a nice nap as I was too busy holding my breath. Afterwards, the nurse who put in the IV felt so bad, she had another one take it out. It did bleed all over the place but the pain was much less. Also, the IV nurse felt guilty so she said she would put the results in for stat reading so I should get them sooner.

Last night I went out to dinner with a former co-worker I haven't seen in over a year - prediagnosis. She admired my new hair and said I look 10 years younger. Hmmm... I am not sure I feel ten years younger but I'll take that compliment. It was nice to catch up.

Today is back to the real world. I have to go to work (the flood waters have finally receded at the school) and then work from home and do some volunteer work. I also have to deliver boxes to my friend's son at college. A busy day. I may not have time to play on the internet!!! EGAD! What will I do???

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Poor parenting in action

It always kills me to see or hear poor parenting because then the children grow up to be stupid insensitive people. Last weekend we went to a local diner for breakfast. The table behind us had a woman and her three children maybe 5, 6, and 7 with her. She ordered four plain Belgian waffles. The first one arrived and she said 'where's the fruit?'.

Waitress: 'You said plain waffles. I can bring the fruit on the side. The other waffles will be out.'

Mind you the diner was VERY busy at this point. The mother divided teh waffle into four pieces and gave some to each child. The fruit arrives and there was too much so she didn't want fruit with each of the two waffles, only two.

The mother flags down the waitress two minutes later. 'where's the other waffles?'. 'They are coming, we only have one waffle maker and we were very busy.'

The second waffle (with fruit) arrives about five minutes after the first. (Which granted is not the best service but it is a small place so this happens.) The mother asks 'will it take 30 minutes for the next one to show up as well?' The mother divides up the next waffle and they all start eating again.

Then the mother says 'I don't like this place. We'll go some place different tomorrow.' The kids keep eating. Then she says 'I think these waffles taste yucky.' Big surprise, the kids all say 'mine tastes yucky too.' Then the mother flags down the waitress and says we don't want the other waffles.

They started talking about what they were going to do for the day - go into Boston and go up the Prudential tower to see the views of Boston. Their mother informed them that they couldn't go up the Hancock tower (and mind you they were probably too young to even know what the Hancock tower was) because it was closed because of terrorists. 'What's a terrorist?' 'Terrorists are people who blow up buildings.' I thought those children would feel so safe and secure knowing that they weren't going to a building that terrorists might blow up - can you say NIGHTMARE? Let's think of all the other positive things that mother just taught them how to do...

People with insensitive stupid parents grow up to be insensitive stupid people like the stupid preop nurse I dealt with yesterday. 'You are so young to have had all these surgeries.' Hello! What is she thinking? None of this was ELECTIVE surgery. 'How did you get cancer so young?' Gee, I wanted to be special... Stupid nurse. And I waited an hour to see her. And she had a very limp handshake (never trust people with a limp handshake.) Grrr... If I ever have surgery again (any bets on that one?) I will avoid her.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The rocket scientist vs. the OMWAH

Yesterday while out for my morning walk, I witnessed the OMWAH pull out of a side street on to a relatively busy street with out looking and cut off a rocket scientist who way of managing the situation was to lean on the horn. The RS then proceeded to pass the OMWAH (who was too busy looking at the kids waiting for the school bus to notice) on a double yellow with traffic coming in the other direction. I was safely over on the side walk and am very happy to not be driving with such wonderful people on the road.

I was all discombobulated again yesterday. I got up with the intentions of going to work but work was canceled so I could work at home but I wanted to reschedule a work phone call from today to yesterday to free me to go into work today. Then I started running late (gee procrastinating on the internet again - who me?) and my phone call came in when I was trying to go out to run some errands and get to my support group. I ended up getting to my support group late with out doing my errands.

Why was I all frazzled??? Because today I get to deal with preop crap for my gall bladder. I hope to find out all sorts of fun information - restricted diet before and after, pain management, anesthesia, return to normal activities, driving again, etc. My biggest problem is I have two lists of questions to ask on two different pieces of paper. I have to consolidate them to one piece of paper and then I should be okay. But then I need all my other 'go to the doctor' crap - list of medications, list of allergies, etc. Then I am sure some where in here will be the 'with your medical history, we just need to be sure, blah, blah, blah' conversation that I really hate to hear.

Tomorrow my week gets even better. I get to have an MRI. These are the really boring test - they take a long time and you have to breath when they tell you - and hold your breath for long periods of time. 30 seconds is probably my maximum but do you think today is too late to start practicing for longer time periods?

Yesterday I did get to drive the new car. Today I get to go to the farmer's market and get all sorts of yummy vegetables and some fish. Yes, the farmers market has the fish ladies. Great fresh fish for a good prices. (It also sells cheese and organic meats in addition to veggies, and honey, and tea, and some crafts.) I just want lots of veggies and fish today. I will worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What to do, what to do, what to do?

Well, now what am I supposed to do with my time. I just landed yet another part time job that means I will be working around a total of 30 hours per week. This means I have just enough spare time to fit in the rest of my life - doctor appointments, farmers market trips, daily walks, support groups, etc - but I don't have to look for a job any more. No more 'wasting time' on line job hunting. How exciting. Perhaps what I really should do is consider getting a life. Now there's a concept.

Speaking of pointless activities and time wasting, I found this video on line this weekend. They actually did a study to find out if most cows point north. Seriously, is this worth funding a study? I really like the part where they say cows point towards the people observing them. So they had to resort to a helicopter....

Anyhow, yesterday was another productive day. Lots of gardening and a yummy dinner in the back yard. Today Walter goes back to work (but who gets to drive the new car.... Hmmm.... negotiations will have to take place). Today I was supposed to go to work this morning but the school has an electrical problem so no work there but I do have lots of other work to do. But first, time for my morning walk.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Life's too short to wait in line

Yesterday morning we got up early and went to the beach. We parked in the first row of cars and got to pick where we wanted to sit. When we left, there was a line of sixty cars (I counted as we drove by them) and I had only seen three empty parking spaces. How long do you think these people were going to wait to get to the beach? Then we went out for clams. There was a line there but I said to my husband 'let me out to go stand in line while you park the car'. By the time he got there, we were halfway through the line.

A friend said to me since her stage IV cancer diagnosis that she is much more aware of the pulse of her life. It goes tick tock, tick tock - double time now. Why waste time? Why stand around waiting for others? If you want to go to the beach, either go earlier or later when there isn't a line. Why wait in a line of sixty cars? I mean what's the point? I wont even go into the bad for the environment, waste of gas to sit in an idling car issues here.

My point is there are so many other things you could do with your time. If you can't get in to that beach, go to a different one. Get up earlier so you get in. Why go to lunch at 12 noon like the rest of the city? Go at 1145 or 1245. I was in Tokyo on business a few years ago and everyone went to lunch at 12 noon sharp. There were horrible lines but that is what the entire office did every day. Why? Because that is the lemming factor of life. Give yourself some flexibility and change your habits?

What about that nasty rush hour commute to work? Could you go in half an hour earlier and have a 20 minute community instead of 40 minutes in traffic? Well, maybe if you went to bed 30 minutes earlier you could get up earlier? There are some waits we can't avoid. You might have to wait for two people in front of you at the grocery store but why go when there are ten people in line? Why not go at a less busy time? Plan your trip so you can go when its less busy.

Life is all about choices. You make them and have to live with them. If you want to wait in line, feel free. I'm not.