Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crabbiness recovery


Yesterday I was significantly less crabby than the day before. We got together with family and went for a giant walk in the woods (where we saw a whole bunch of old junked cars) and had lunch. Then I went home and did a lot of nothing for a while to recover from the giant walk. It is very tiring to try to keep up with small children - they don't sleep, they are recharging, while us adults are busy doing things.

I also did laundry and made most of dinner. I delegated some to my sous chef... but then got to wash the dishes. Not an exciting life (but then I never claimed I had one). Today we are going out for brunch after our morning walk. We were going to go for a walk after brunch but now the weather forecast is for (gasp) snow changing to rain - which is not conducive to outside activities. Then I get to fold laundry when we get home. I am so excited I cant wait (for laundry folding)!

No it is not another exciting day in my life. Perhaps I will sneak over and pick up my new eye glasses this afternoon too. My current pair have been repaired twice (with Krazy Glue) and aren't quite even any more, hence my impatience...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Warning: Crabbiness alert!

As noted, I kind of overdid things on Thursday to the extent that I went to bed at 730pm. Then yesterday I went out three times - once to the farm stand, once to the library, and once for a 15 minute walk just so I could say I actually did go for a walk (and wasn't a total slacker all day). I even convinced Walter he could cook dinner.

By 9 pm, apparently I was a crabby b***h. Not just crabby, but crabby enough that it was commented that I was extremely crabby. (I even was mad at the TV for having too many commercials and not just showing the conclusion of the show I was watching. I was also mad at the cat for sitting on my lap and making my hip and back hurt.) It was strongly recommended that I just go to bed and get some sleep to reduce crabbiness. I then slept for 10 hours. Perhaps the crabbiness has gone away, perhaps not. I have only been up for an hour and am on my first cup of coffee.

Why crabbiness? Well, it is somewhat of a mystery but I still get tired. I mean its only been two months since the last surgery and I wasn't yet myself before then. I am getting really sick of this running out of steam business and then being exhausted for days. But when I finally go back to the doctor in February, I will discuss it with them then. Part of my recent problem might be this working nights business. But I only have three more evenings to work, and might be able to leave a little early on two of them. I will see how it goes.

Today, we are off to see visiting family members before they return home. I didn't see them yesterday because I was that tired. Then I hope to get in some kind of a walk - either with them or after they leave. Tonight I will again hope to prevent crabbiness by taking it easy. Perhaps I will pick up my new glasses later today. (Does squinting increase crabbiness??)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Don't do it - its another avoidance day

Today is a day of avoidance again - but this time of your scale. Do not weigh yourself (unless you are trying to gain weight). Face it, you probably ate more than you normally would yesterday and today the scale will tell you how much you ate. You don't want to know so just avoid the scale. If you want to weigh yourself, step on the scale and mentally subtract three pounds from what it says.

Yesterday was a bit chaotic but fun. We went for our early morning walk and my brother and his family descended on us about ten minutes after we returned home. Chaos ensued. Our house got very messy but that is to be expected with (four little and two big) kids around. We did go to the park (a/k/a the land of the giant slides) before heading to my parents for more chaos and more people (and a large dog). 15 people and one large dog does not make for quiet times. But it was fun and good to see everyone. We also went for another walk, which meant two walks in one day. Then we drove one guest home to Boston. By the time we got home, I was exhausted and went to bed early. I admit I was in bed by 730pm and asleep.

Today I will do slightly less - possibly significantly less - and definitely eat healthier. I see many vegetables in my future today. I think its also avoidance of shopping today. I am having a big debate with myself - my new glasses are ready for pick up but I really don't want to go to Costco today but I really want my new glasses. Hmmm... Maybe I'll wait until this afternoon and see how busy things really are. But we will get together for family stuff today, at some point.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

82 days and counting

I have 82 lovely days without a trip to the doctors. I am very excited. 82 days of no blood tests, Dr. Seymour Butz gowns, procedures, waiting for doctors, or tests, (or OMWAHs in the parking garage - I will probably find some elsewhere but not there!) I made a deal with my therapist even that I will not see here in December as planned but wait until sometime in February around my upcoming appointments.

In the meantime, its Thanksgiving. Three of my four pies are made. I have a sous chef (one of my nieces) coming to help make the last one. I had a different sous chef (my husband) for apple and carrot peeling (carrots are not in pie but will be served with a maple glaze with cinnamon and nutmeg and allspice).

Otherwise, you can watch me on TV if you want.
Cancer and Hope from Josh Lobel on Vimeo.

Today our first thing to do (after we finish drinking coffee) is to go for a morning stroll (or death march - it depends who you ask) to ensure our appetites are at their maximum for this afternoon's meal. Then we need to retrieve a dinner guest who is coming by subway and head over to my parents. Actually my brother and his wife and four children are coming for a few hours this morning (of peace and quiet). I have plans for them all. (Little do they know).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Realy taking a break

This morning I have a therapist appointment. I have decided I will tell her I want to take a break from seeing her as well.I don't want to go to Lahey any time in the next three months unless I am dripping blood from something. I want them to rearrange the furniture in the waiting rooms (and maybe get new magazines) before I return. (Not sure if they ever get new magazines.) Anyway, I just don't want to go there at all. I think I am justified in this. I need a real break.

I will focus on losing weight and getting another job in the meantime. How is that for ways to fill my time? I will also work on training the cat to improve his mouse hunting skills. He gets a big fat F right now. We found mouse evidence in the kitchen and even caught a mouse in a trap. The cat prefers napping. Maybe we could get a roomba and teach him how to ride one like this.


Otherwise today I have to make four pies between now and noon tomorrow. Luckily I have a sous chef (husband) in charge of apple peeling. He is also in charge of peeling 3 lbs of carrots. I am not sure he knows this yet but will shortly.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Going for the insanity plea I think

So it really is a clever plot to drive me insane. Yesterday I called the surgeon's office who told me last week to come back in six months. They said the letter was a standard letter just reiterating what the doctor had said and I should ignore it. Okay, fine. I can live with that.

Then when I got home from work, I got a copy of the pathology report from my mammogram and it says: Post biopsy clip stable, negative ultrasound. findings are probably benign. Bilateral follow up is recommended in six months. Overall assessment - probably benign. Hello! I am sorry but the words 'probably benign' should not be told to anyone with a cancer diagnosis. I have had two. I don't like that combination of words. Grr, grr, grr, grr, grr, grr.

And there was a handwritten note from my primary care physician saying: Please be sure you are booked for a follow-up mammogram in six months. Grr, grr, grr, grr, grr, grr.

So now I have two doctors and the radiologist saying follow up in six months. I will say, yes I can feel lumpiness but I have lots of scar tissue, made lumpier by radiation, and then from more scar tissue from the stereotactic core biopsy last June. So I am not surprised there is lumpiness and neither was the surgeon - he said it is normal and may never go away. But is there something else hiding in there? I don't know. Maybe a six month wait to see if nothing changes is better than more biopsies at this point. In the meantime in three months, I see both my radiation oncologist and my medical oncologist and can talk to them as well. Grr, grr, grr, grr, grr, grr.

Insanity may be the way to go at this point. I am not sure I want to jump on the second opinion band wagon since I will have seen four doctors in the meantime - how many more do I need to see? Grr, grr, grr, grr, grr, grr, grr. (You can tell the level of my aggravation by the number of grrs.)

I am going to the gym this morning to take out my frustration on the weight machines and the elliptical. I will drive the 10th of a mile there because of the rain. I will also get some work done this morning from home and go to work as well. And its a yucky rainy day - the kind where you want to stay in bed and drink tea and watch bad TV all day. Grr, grr, grr, grr, grr, grr.

Monday, November 24, 2008

In search of the truth

Today I want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I will call my doctor's office this morning at 845 am (that is the earliest they are there) to ask why they sent me this mystery letter. Did they see something or not? Or are they just trying to drive me insane? If I ask very nicely, perhaps I can expect a call back later today. Actually, they usually do call back the same day. Its just I won't be home all day so I will have to make sure I have my cell phone with me at all times, it is on and the battery is charged. (90% of the time, I don't have it, the battery is dead or it isn't turned on.)

Yesterday we had fun. We went with a friend to visit an old friend, his wife and their three children (who were very cute - the kids were, well not to say the parents aren't nice looking but the kids hold the cute title for the day.) After that we went out for sushi for dinner. Quite yummy.

Otherwise, today I have a completely over scheduled day. I am so over scheduled, I wont even get to go for a walk or to the gym today and Walter is going to cook dinner. I am not sure what he will make but he is on vacation this week and I am busy all day so I thought why can't he make dinner. He is quite capable. Why should I rush home to cook when he is on vacation? I also managed to delegate some of my errands to him as well. How sneaky of me!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another boring day

Yesterday was another boring day. We did laundry, cleaned the living room and dining room, went for a walk with a friend, and that was it. We did nothing fun and interesting and exciting. We are boring people. The cat didn't even try to get out (to drive me crazy) because now its too cold for him outside (he is a weenie).

I did manage to stew about my stupid letter from the doctor. I am very aggravated. They don't send a letter like this unless they see something. They should have compared my current mammogram to my previous ones and compared scar tissue and all the other left overs from tests, surgery, and procedures (I really hate that word). So did they find something new? I have to wait until tomorrow morning. Then I have to call my doctor and wait for him to call me back. Grrr...

In the meantime, perhaps I will continue my house cleaning routine. Well, not to over do things, I am not going to clean that much. (My dust bunny buddies would all go away if I really cleaned!) We are also going to visit an old friend and see his wife and three kids this afternoon. I do need to go for a walk. So it will be another blah day.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

An evil plan is afoot

I have decided there is an evil plan afoot. What is this plan you ask? It is to slowly drive me insane. Monday I get the all clear mammogram come back in six months for your annual bilateral mammogram but you are fine. Yesterday in the mail, after 5pm on a Friday afternoon, I get this letter from the hospital:

If you really have a clean mammogram, you don't get this letter. Also, they do an initial reading of your mammogram and then I think a more in depth look at it later on. so now I get the letter and get to stew over it all weekend. Perhaps my sanity will be checking out by then. I am very, very, very, very, very, very aggravated and will call my doctor promptly on Monday morning for an explanation.

In the meantime, I have lots to do. Laundry, meeting a friend for a walk, some significant house cleaning, and prepare for my second interview Monday morning. (I just stuck that in there to see if you were paying attention.)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Even the dentist gave me a good report

Yesterday I had a dental cleaning (something I hate - its right up there with a lot of other medical 'procedures'). First the hygienist wants to know any recent updates to my medical history in the past six months - and I forgot to bring my list! I think I told her everything but can't be sure. I am pretty sure I got the highlights (or are they low lights). Then, the what medications are you on question - I can ace that one in my sleep now. But then she said my teeth were great. No buildup. etc. But keep flossing (I have never been told I am flossing too much or even just enough - they always want you to floss more.) Even though it was only my teeth, it was nice to get good medical news again.

On to more boring things, I did a lot of work from home yesterday and then went to work after the dentist. I did go for my walk - but wore layers of polartec because it was so cold. Around here the temperatures have been January-ish, not November. Today, I will pull out my polartec again because I am meeting a friend for a walk. But I need to be productive again and get some work done from home. My biggest problem in working from home is avoiding the call of the evil Internet and its time sucking abilities.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Is it time to take a break?

I have been debating with myself on this one. Do I still need to go see my therapist? I am up in the air on this. Maybe I'll talk to her next time I go. Maybe I'll consider taking a break from her and then seeing how I feel.

A yucky medical diagnosis is the equivalent of PTSD. It takes time and a lot of dealing to learn to live with it. I still have my support group. I am not sure I want to go see my therapist any more. Maybe in my three month break with out doctor appointments, I will take a therapy break too.

Every trip to Lahey Clinic is another roller coaster ride. Therapist appointments are not as stressful as doctor appointments - in fact they are not stressful at all. But if I took a break from my therapist, it is possible that I wouldn't go to Lahey at all which might be a good little break in another way. To physically not go near the place for months. I go back and see her next week and maybe we'll talk about it. Also, if I don't have to go back and forth to Lahey all the time then I can have more time for important things like job hunting and working.

In the meantime, I am really trying to work on this getting a job thing. I did send out another resume yesterday and they emailed me back right away asking for a phone interview (which is a very good sign). I hope to set that up in the next day or two. I also worked from home a lot and went to the gym because it was too cold to walk outside.

Today I will go for a walk (wearing many layers of clothing) outside before going to work. We are experiencing 'unseasonable' cold - they say we have January weather forecasts right now - highs of low 30's, lows around 20, and a little gusty breeze of 25-30 mph. I am not sure which is scarier - the latest stock market chart or the chart of our recent temperatures. Both have tanked in the past few days. (I think its time to return to stock market avoidance. Or we can pretend we work for one of the big 3 automakers and zip around the country in our private jets while asking for federal dollars - they are also practicing avoidance.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An offer I could refuse

After a few rounds of phone tag with my insurance company, I finally made contact with a human being and discussed their offer of 'case management'. Basically we agreed that they should have called me more than a year ago and that I am on top of my treatment options. Since they were so tardy, it was an offer I could refuse. Actually I told them I think they had called me last year as well and at the time we also said they were a little late. Little did I know of all the fun and adventures I would have in this past year. Anyhow, picture me sliding under the radar again.

Yesterday I was working very hard at home. I had lots of work to do. Then the power went out (they are doing some telephone pole replacement work in the neighborhood). I waited a few minutes and it didn't come back so I decided to take the opportunity to go to the gym. When I returned home from the gym, I found the power must have come back on right after I left. So I wasted more time resetting clocks and was significantly less productive than I should have been. Today therefore I have to work extra hard. Unfortunately I have errands to run and other things to do as well. So I guess the real issue is I won't be able to waste time on the internet (the worlds biggest virtual time suck).

Today I have already gotten a late start. I worked last night until 9 and then was up late for me. I slept in this morning until another family member (who shall remain nameless but is not the cat) cooked breakfast using the smoke detector as a timer... Now I am awake and drinking coffee. Working nights may increase my caffeine intake. Its not the working nights that bothers me, its the staying up late that does.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The doctor had the same script as me

Yesterday at my mammogram, I ended up having an ultrasound as well - because if you feel a lump or a 'something' you get to be part of the special group and go directly to ultrasound, do not pass go, do not collect $200. But the ultrasound found nothing. The mammogram found nothing. The doctor read the same script as me and said 'come back in six months for your annual mammogram'. He also said any lumpy stuff now is all scar tissue that will probably never go away. But it is normal and fine and nothing to worry about.

The part I don't get is doctors who say 'come back in six months for your annual check up'. Six months is not a year. Six months is half a year. I wish they would teach math in medical school. Anyway this now means I don't have a doctors appointment for 2 months and 27 days. But then to make up for my big gap, I have two appointments in one week. I will worry about them then and not before then.

What to do with all my time? I know, I could get a job and work more. There's an idea. Actually I have been looking for more work but I only want part time work. I want flexibility in my life to work my contract work, community ed work and volunteer work. Too many types of work but as long as most of it is paid, that is fine.

Yesterday I spent several hours sitting around Lahey and then came home and took a short walk before going to work. The cat made me late for work. Just before I was supposed to leave, he turned back into his outdoor cat mode and snuck out. If I go out and try to grab him when he first gets out, he hides and I can't get him so I had to wait around for a few minutes and then I took the kitty treats out and shook them. Voila, he reappeared, happy that he had gotten out, but I was late for work.

Otherwise, now I am very busy. Today I have lots of work to do from home, my support group and then go to work tonight. I am working a couple of nights a week for the next few weeks. This means I have to practice staying up late - I work until 9 pm. Yes, this could take practice for me. I still have a tendency to get tired. Maybe I could use it as practice for actually having a social life again - another interesting concept.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Its mammogram Monday

What a fun way to start the week. I have a 9 am apt for a mammogram and then I go see the surgeon for a follow up. If all goes well, I have a script for the doctor to say 'everything is fine and I'll see you in six months (or a year)'. But I have lots of lumpy scar tissue so I don't know, there could be a detour to ultrasound in there as well which could be followed by other fun adventures.

It also means I can't take my morning walk until after my appointments and if I get sucked into the giant black hole of hospital tests, I may not get a walk in at all. Egad - trauma in my life!

Yesterday we went off on an 'excursion' and went to Portsmouth and had lunch did a little shopping, visited a friends store and got started on Christmas shopping, and met up with friends, drank wine in the afternoon (a rare occurrence). We came home and I beat Walter at Scrabble. All this socializing is not helping my diet. Today's dinner will be turkey tenderloins, spinach, and Brussels sprouts. I am not going to lose weight if I keep eating a lot of crap.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Should I trust them?

I am not sure what kind of relationship you have with your health insurance company. With mine, I prefer to keep a low profile and have all my claims slide on through under the radar. Then Friday I get a phone call from a nurse at BCBS asking me to call her. I didn't have time on Friday and meant to call this week. Saturday I get a letter from her. I guess they really want me to call them.

They are offering me a free service called "Case Management". It is is for people with 'a chronic illness or catastrophic health event' and provides 'no cost' 'personalized planning'. Its advantages include 'individual review of needs, with referrals to local agencies', 'coordination of health insurance benefits', 'access to medical information and resources', and 'a single contact person for information about benefits, medical procedures, and services'.

This sounds like a lot of marketing hooey (to my trained ear - I write a lot of marketing hooey) to get a better handle on us sick people who go and maximize their out of pocket spending early and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance dollars each year. It also sounds like an offer you can't refuse (maybe I watch the Godfather too much).

I think I would no longer be sliding under the radar if I was in 'Case Management'. Actually I guess I am no longer sliding under the radar if they called me and send me a letter on the same day. What if my profile is raised and then they start looking at all my claims and start making me get all sorts of preapprovals for everything? But do I trust them? I am not sure. I hate dealing with big insurance companies and worrying about claims etc. Grrr...

Yesterday I actually went to a party for a friend's birthday. I stayed out past 10pm. This is a first in a very long time. I ate way too much (but it was very yummy - lobster) and lasted until a little after 10. I was pretty tired. I was up late enough last night to see SNL intro but was on the wrong channel so I missed it.

Today, I am going on a walk (because I weighed myself after eating too much at the party and the scale is clearly going in the wrong direction). Then we are off for a fun day. We are going to Portsmouth, NH for the day to Strawbery Banke, to a local brew pub for lunch (the husband bribe), and then to visit a friend's store who is having a friends and family day special (what I really want to go see). I will also go to bed early tonight.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Further proof that I have no life

I just took a look at my blog from a year ago. What was I writing about? Being forgetful due to chemo brain, getting Walter to plant bulbs for me, being lazy, working from home, and going for walks. Basically the same stuff I write about this year - except last year I was in chemo, this year I am not. This is just further proof I have no life. I am not sure what it says about those of you who have been reading this for a year of nothingness.

Yesterday I did sort of have a life. I went to lunch with a friend and for a walk with another friend.My social life was interfering with my work obligations so I didn't get nearly as much work done as I needed to. Hence today, I have to do work this morning. But first I get to procrastinate on the internet, go to the gym (too rainy to walk), and then I will do work.

We also have a party to go to tonight for a friend's 'significant' birthday that should be fun. I haven't been to a party in a looooonnnnngggg time. Its hard to go to parties when you feel like crap or are tired. My goal is to arrive on time and then make it until 10pm before going home. that would be a very late night for me to be out.

Otherwise, as you can see I clearly have no life.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Parking impaired

Yesterday I took the new car (with its microscopic turning radius - I think it really turns on a dime) to run some errands. I found an on street space which was slightly smaller than it should have been as the car behind was a good foot or two over the line. I said "I can get this new little itty bitty car into it". Well, I couldn't. Three tries later some one was pulling out of a space right on the end of the block so I gave up and took that one instead. Then I realized an SUV fit into the space I couldn't. So I am not the best parallel parker. I never was, never will be. I would love to claim chemo brain for this one but I am not sure that I can.

After my errands I went to work. There is nothing worse than being stuck in an office doing paperwork and a FLY BUZZING AROUND YOUR EARS. I tried to kill it but it kept on landing on me and on the new computer (and I didn't want smushed fly on either of those). At one point I left the office for about 10 minutes and when I returned it was gone.

I also got a manicure/pedicure yesterday. Nothing like making you feel better by having your nails look good.

Today I really have to get all the work done that I was supposed to do earlier this week but my social plans have a way of interfering. I am meeting a friend for lunch and another friend after that for a walk. Then I have a scheduled work call. But before that I have lots of other stuff to do.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Okay, I admit, I did it.

I went to the tv studio yesterday for filming. This doesn't mean I will be moving to Hollywood anytime soon. It was for a local cable access program who is doing an episode on the place I go to for my support groups. They wanted to interview a bunch of us lucky people who are dealing with it first hand and asked me.

Now we talked for all of 8 minutes, they said I would be on for a maximum of five minutes. But until its finished, we won't know exactly how the editing scissors trim it. I could be on for five seconds - other people's stories could be more exciting than mine - you know what an exciting life I lead! If it actually is produced, I will provide a link where it can be viewed on line. (Because I was filmed yesterday, I actually made the effort to style my hair and put on make up in hopes of making me look younger, thinner, and taller.)

Other than that I did not have an exciting day. I procrastinated instead of working from home so I didn't get nearly enough work done. But I did go for my walk and then to work. Today, I have to get motivated and go for my walk so I can get work done this morning before getting my nails done and going to work. I am lazy and I know it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hair adventures

Yesterday morning I noticed that I have gray hairs that are only pigment deprived on the ends. This leaves me to believe that more of them will go away with subsequent hair cuts and my hair will not have as many 'distinguished' strands as it currently does. Yesterday also featured the return of Dr Seuss character hair. It was suggested by my husband that I post of daily picture of my hair and ask readers to pick the Dr. Seuss character it most closely resembles. I told him that was not an option.

Also, yesterday the cat had a big adventure. He got out again (still thinks he is an outdoor cat - a little snow on the ground will cure that) and terrorized the neighbor's cat. Apparently the other cat was in his yard under his bushes watching his bird feeder. This made him mad so he started harassing the other cat by chasing it and beating him up. Shere Khan is larger than the other cats and runs faster and has a longer reach so clearly it is a one sided battle. (For the record, Shere Khan is a featherweight at 15 lbs and can reach the kitchen counter with his paws. Average cats weight 8 lbs.) The other cat was trying to be safe from him by hiding in the bushes since he couldn't out run him or out fight him. I solved his problem by bringing out kitty treats and distracting Shere Khan (and making him come back inside where he belongs). Now he is still mad and wants to go outside and protect his lawn and his bird feeder again. (But since I have kitty treats, I will prevail in this little battle.)

Now here is another example of the misleading media. In today's paper was an article which says South West Airlines is reducing December plane fares. How exciting! We are flying to California on South West in December. But then the fine print says 'only for flights in the first two weeks of December and then again in early January'. So I was all excited for nothing.

In addition, there was article about breast cancer and vitamin intake. It states that a new study contradicts a study announced last spring that increasing Vitamin D and calcium intake can help prevent breast cancer. Well I could have told them this, I have taken extra Vitamin D and calcium for years because of my thyroid issues and to prevent osteoporosis and I still got breast cancer and have osteopenia. They didn't need a study, they could just have asked me. (Because I am so smart and have so much overwhelming medical knowledge). Based on my personal history, I can tell you also that Caucasian women living in an industrialized country have a higher rate of breast cancer as well. See how much I know?

Today I have to go for a walk, do work from home, and go to work. I also have to remember to bring my camera to work. Can I do this? I am not sure. I have an electronic reminder on my computer but can I remember this long enough to get my camera into my purse and take it with me??? Also, today is filming day. I will find out more about that later this afternoon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Advertising

In watching the news this morning, there were ads for three different hospitals. They all claimed to be warm and fuzzy and be state of the art with the latest clinical trials. Basically, they are saying they will have the best care. But, this is the part I don't understand, how do you choose your doctor and where you get treated? You go to your regular doctor and if something bad (a/k/a cancer) is discovered they refer you to a specialist that they are affiliated with or know. They use their medical training to decide which medical specialist you need. Then you have to make sure they are in your network, etc so you insurance will cover your treatment.

Where is the freedom of choice here? There really isn't much leeway. You need the right kind of specialist to make sure you get the right kind of treatment. Can you pick your hospital by a TV commercial? I personally like having a hospital close to home that has a full range of capabilities. I will also check their reputation to make sure they are good but I am not going to drive an extra thirty minutes just to get a 'warmer and fuzzier' hospital with 'the latest' clinical trials. And I definitely am not going to choose them based on their TV commercials. This would be like choosing your prescriptions based on the ads in magazines...

I also trust my doctors judgment and their training to make sure they are referring me to the right kinds of doctors. they have the training, not me, to know if I need a specialist or not. But I will pay attention and ask questions so that I understand what is going on. If I don't or I disagree, I will ask why to learn their reasons. This is why we pay professionals to help us. I think the hospitals should take those advertising dollars and spend them on more nurses and other medical staff to help us patients where it really counts - in treatment.

Okay, I am off my soap box for now (for today). Yesterday I was really busy. I went for a walk, to the gym, retrieved my missing comforter (and blanket I had forgotten about) from the cleaners, went to a job interview, went to work, and came home. (I still feel like a moron that I lost the cleaners receipt for five months and it was in plain sight but I will say the cleaner didn't flinch when I handed them a slip with a pick up date of June 7.) Today Walter has the day off which means he thinks he can get lots done around the house. I need him to help me with some stuff and then we are going to get new eye glasses.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I am a moron.

I am a moron. I am an idiot. I have two brain cells. No wait, I have chemo brain and that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Look what I found yesterday.
I was attempting to get caught up on the house cleaning that has fallen by the wayside in the past year and a half (no, I didn't not do any cleaning for that long but there are some organizational issues that need to be addressed). I was organizing my bedside table. This is a particular trouble spot because of the pill bottles, etc covering the top. And the cat has a habit of walking across it and knocking over things 'in his way'.

This receipt was upside down on the bedside table under some other papers. It is for the comforter that I reported I lost a few months ago. I was right, it was at the cleaners. But, when we dropped it off, our phone number was scrambled so it wasn't listed under our name. (I will say we aren't sure who dropped it off and that there is a clear language barrier at our local environmentally friendly cleaners.) The real mystery is what is the other blanket that is there with it.

Call me stupid. Call me an idiot. Call me a moron. But I have chemo brain so I am not any of those. This is what happens to us cancer people. You can claim chemo brain instead of being an idiot for the rest of your life. (And to answer your question when am I going to stop using this as an excuse the answer is never.)

Yesterday I didn't take it as easy as I should have. I did some house cleaning, folded laundry, and did some clean up work in the gardens as well as go for a walk. I was so tired I ended up taking a nap. Usually I hate napping because then I don't sleep as well at night. Well, I still managed to sleep well. (Yes, I go back to the doctor next week and will ask him about this fatigue issue that doesn't seem to be going away.) In the meantime I need to get a good nights sleep tonight and tomorrow so I look my best for TV filming on Wednesday.

Today is a busy day. Job interview and then work all afternoon and maybe a phone interview tonight or tomorrow morning as well.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Life is not exciting

Today again my life is not exciting. Yesterday I over did things some how - maybe I went for too long a walk. Maybe I ran too many errands and did too much laundry. We also cleaned stuff out of the basement and had my parents over for dinner. I don't know but I was tired and today I feel crappy again. This is getting old. So today as a result I am going to do a lot of nothing. I think I can safely plan on TV watching which I am sure will keep the cat happy. I have been assured that some day I will feel better again. However part of feeling crappy could be related to my flu shot last week or possibly that I got together with a friend who had a cold.

Now if you are bored and concerned about the economic downturn, I recommend this film. I could never get my cat to wear a hat.

Once again I have an overscheduled week. Much to do every day but today so I need to take advantage of it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Blah, blah, blah, just another day

I really don't lead an exciting life these days. Yesterday I went out to lunch and had a salad. How is that for exciting? I do have a job interview Monday for another part time job but it isn't exciting unless I actually get the job.

One minor bit of excitement yesterday was the cat has learned he can push against the storm door in the front and get outside if it isn't latched correctly so he got out. But it was trash and recycle day - which means three separate trucks come for trash, recycling, and leaves. The cat is scared of big trucks (maybe they are coming to steal his food.) I realized he had gotten out and it was misting/raining too so I went to look for him with the kitty treats. He was no where to be found - and one of the trash trucks was on the street. I couldn't find him anywhere so I went back inside and figured I would try again in a little bit.

Then I was in the kitchen which has the porch off of it. There is a storm door on the porch which opens in and does not latch. Kitty now knows how to let himself back in. He pushed the door open and came in - all upset about wet fur, big trucks, and being lonely. But that was the only excitement.

Today we are going for a walk and I have errands to run and laundry to do. I also have to do some work. I hate working on the weekends. TV filming is Wednesday.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Who says people get to have all the fun?


So yesterday kitty had a very tough day. He took a nap on the carpet and then another one in the closet. But really the question is, 'am I being mean to him or nice to him?' I filled up the bird feeder and hung it in the front yard. He gets to watch the birds and squirrels all day and all night long. But is this nice or mean? He is an indoor cat so it is entertainment but is it also frustrating him that he can't eat the birds and squirrels ash e would really like to?

I think the gorilla had what we call a 'bad day'. Yesterday I learned that is not just people who get to have all the fun. One of the gorillas at the local zoo got to have a colonoscopy. I just think its important that people are not the only special ones to earn the privilege of a colonoscopy.

This ugly picture is of the amaryllis I planted the other day. It is just beginning to show a little bit of progress. If I did it right, it will bloom around the holidays but not during the week we are in California visiting relatives. (This is way more complicated than getting all the dishes on the table at the same time for a dinner party.)

Yesterday, I made it to the gym again. It was a rainy day so I didn't want to walk outside. As a result, I am tired and sore today. I also went to work and out with a friend. I did waste too much time on the internet so today I have to do work for sure. I also am going out to lunch - how's that for fun? But I also have to go for a walk - flabbiness prevention.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I learned a lot yesterday

I learned all kinds of things yesterday. First I learned that if you want to go for a walk in a new area you should take a map. And the map should be correct and not show you roads that aren't there any more and take you down dead ends. If you take a wrong map, you can end up walking much further than you wanted...

I have to rehide the left over Halloween candy today as my secret stash was discovered. Its not that I might eat it but I am protecting other house hold members from over indulging.

I know I learned some other things too but I can't remember them because of my tiny brain.

What else did I do yesterday? I went to my therapist. I got a flu shot (and didn't look at the needle so it was okay). I went for a slightly longer walk than originally planned and worked from home. I also watched four episodes of Sex in the City because I lead an overly exciting life I have time for these things. And I went to a meeting.

Today I am going to the gym - because I am going to go to the gym twice a week if it kills me - and then to work and then out to meet a friend (so I can pretend I have a tiny bit of a social life). I am also going to work from home and go to the bank at some point.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We now return to our regular programming

Yes the election is over - we have a new president but the same senator (and we still have to pay income tax). The economy is in better shape - the Dow actually gained 1000 points while we were practicing avoidance. My health, well, I am still mostly better, getting there, etc. See what happens when you ignore the bad things in life for a while? The world does not come to an end and we all can feel less stressed.

In today's paper is a prime example of why NOT to believe the stupid sound bites we all put up with. At some point in the past, it was stated that taking vitamin B decreases your risk of getting cancer. Well today they are saying it might not. Go read the article here. My point is they take sound bites, publicize them out of context, and then find out after the fact that they were wrong or inconclusive in the first place. Lesson number one: Don't believe everything you read.

I do take Vitamin B supplements - because I was told they help in energy levels, forgetfulness, and metabolism. I also take a multi vitamin -in case I don't eat right; an Omega 3 fish oil because it is supposed to take care of stiffness; and 1500 thingies of calcium and 600 thingies of Vitamin D because of my osteopenia. This is a total of six vitamins daily.

In addition, I take my thyroid medicine and my tamoxifen. And now I am taking prilosec again because of some fun interludes with heartburn recently. So that is nine pills daily. And I can't take them all at once. I have to take my thyroid medicine separately from all the vitamins and prilosec. This means my tiny chemo brain has to kick in twice daily to remember to take them. This is a twice daily mental challenge. Face it if you take a regular medication, I am sure you have the little conversation with your self frequently "did I take my pills today?" I am still waiting for this good effect of Vitamin B to kick in.

Anyhow, yesterday I did all kinds of errand running, I voted and went for a walk in the nice weather. It was sixty degrees. I got to wear shorts. To continue yesterday's clothing theme for avoidance day, I went to the local consignment store. I brought in two items that she is going to try to sell. But then I bought three items. So now I need to find more items to bring in to off set my increasing number of clothes. I did another stupid thing yesterday - I don't know where my brain was - I bought MORE daffodil bulbs to plant. Why, why, why? Now I have go dig more holes in the garden??? I am claiming chemo brain and lack of Vitamin B.

Today I have to do some work, go see my therapist, talk to the American Cancer Society about volunteering, and go to a meeting. I also have to find out about being on TV.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Avoidance Day #1

video
Maybe I am nuts (okay, you can think what you want) but I agreed yesterday to work some evenings in the coming weeks. I think I can do this. Basically there are transitions at work and I will have a lot of work to do so I agreed to work seven evenings over the next five weeks. No I don't work full time so instead of working 10 hours/week, I will work more like 16 hours/week. Plus my other work. It will interfere with my tv watching schedule and the even more important cat feeding and Walter feeding schedules (but if the cat's dinner is late because there is no one here to feed him, he has no one to complain to). I think I can do this. The cat and Walter will just have to suck it up and deal.

video These videos are from people with obviously too much time on their hands. But are a diversion.

Today's topic on our last day of avoidance of the real world is clothing. I think I own way too many clothes. I did give a big bag away recently and have a couple things to see if I can sell them at the consignment store. But then I have all these other clothes. The ones I like but currently can't fit in (hence the diet business). The ones that are for special occasions (some of which fit in the first category) so are worn rarely. Some that I used to wear to the office but don't because I don't go to a stuffy business office any more.

I was watching some stupid tv show on style the other day. The woman they featured, aside from being a size six, owned tons of clothes. They kept talking about how much she owned. I hate to think that I might own more clothes than her.

My problem is we have a tiny little house with lots of closets. I have two 10' wide closets all to myself. I am not kidding. They may actually be 12' wide each. I don't know. They are very long and hold lots and lots of clothes. There is some law of physics that says an object will expand to what ever size the space is that it has available (there is a much better technical explanation I am sure but that's all my tiny brain can remember). If I had smaller closets would I own fewer clothes? Probably. But I don't. I have giant closets. So I own lots. I will try to cut down.

Yesterday I worked from home, went for a walk, and then went to work. How unexciting. Today I am going to vote, run some errands, go for a walk, work from home, and go to my support group. The rumor is that today will hit 62 degrees so I can go for a walk in shorts if I wait until lunch time. I repeat. I do not lead an exciting life.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Avoidance day #2

Today's topic is the holidays. Don't get me wrong and call me a scrooge but I think this Christmas marketing stuff is getting out of control. Why did I receive Christmas catalogs in September? This is way too early.
I used to work in the corporate side of retail and I understand that they have to start manufacturing products early and shipping to stores early as well so as to clear out space in warehouses for more product but September is a little early to expect people to be out shopping. There are some people who do their Christmas shopping all year long. I am not one of them. I like to do mine in late November and early December unless I see a really good deal earlier for the perfect gift for someone.

I like Christmas lights and holiday displays but the giant inflatable lit up lawn decorations are a bit too much. People start with the Halloween ones in the middle of October, then switch to Thanksgiving, then to Christmas, then to Valentines, and then to Easter. Six months of the year they decorate their houses. And all the big inflatable ones run on electricity so their bills (and carbon footprint) must be really high.
We had two little pumpkins with lights in them for a couple hours for two nights. We will have a nice natural Christmas tree which will make the house smell nice for a couple of weeks. Then it will turn into compost. That's the extent of my holiday decorating. Maybe I am cheap or lazy, but I am not a Scrooge.

Yesterday I went for a yummy and fattening brunch as a belated birthday celebration with friends. (Mental note to self: don't weigh yourself the day after eating a giant meal. Wait a day or two.) We also went for a walk at a national wild life refuge. We didn't see much wild life but some pretty significant tree chewing evidence by beaver.
Today for a change, I am going for a walk and to the hardware store. How exciting. I will also work from home and go to work. Even more exciting. I have a boring life but you knew that by now.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Avoidance Day #3

Yesterday I had a big adventure. I went to the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. It was in a part of the city I don't know very well. I got directions and drove there - my idea was to get there shortly after it opened so I could get a nearby parking space. Well, I got there and was in the wrong lane, couldn't turn left, couldn't make a U-turn (because there were lots of police cars because it was near a police station), so I took the scenic route through some of the less nice neighborhoods, got lost, finally could go around the block (too many one way streets), and I made it back. I turned into the giant parking lot with one entrance and found it was full. I made a parking space by driving up on the sidewalk (lots of other people did this before me), drove over the curb (in the old car), and parked in the mud, under the trees.

The food festival was interesting and I tried lots of things and learned a lot. Then I tried to leave. As I was walking to my car, a woman asked me if I was leaving, so she followed me back to my quality parking space. I pulled out but could only turn one way because my car wouldn't fit turning the other way. There was a rocket scientist who had determined she couldn't go down one lane because it was blocked so she backed up. She opened her window and told me that she couldn't go down that lane. I said since she had backed up, I couldn't get out of her way unless she pulled forward again. She didn't get it. Finally she got out of the way and I could turn around, after asking three other cars to stop moving so I could get out of everyone's way. Finally, I escaped and took the scenic route home as well. Quite an adventure.

But that's not what I wanted to write about today. Today I was going to write about technology. However I am not sure I am qualified to write about that. I turned on the TV this morning and it said 'No Signal' and gave me a screen full of static. We have HD cable and the TV needs to be set to Channel 3... some how it was set to channel 2 and it only took me about half an hour to figure this out.

Also, last week Walter's computer died (needed a power supply) so we took it to the computer place and they fixed it. We brought it home and plugged it back in and no internet. Earlier in the week, we had a service man install VOIP with a new modem for us as part of the progress that is provided by our internet provider. I thought we had internet connectivity when he left but now I am not so sure. I can always access the internet because I can just 'borrow' some unknown neighbor with an unsecured wireless network but Walter's computer is plugged in to the modem. Finally, after lots of futzing (yes a very technical word) yesterday afternoon, I reset the modem and the wifi hub and voila we had internet. I have no idea how I fixed that problem but its fixed and that's all that counts.

I really don't think I am qualified to talk about technology so I'll come up with something else for tomorrow. (Face it this is better than the economy, politics and my health.)

Yesterday I also went for a walk (now there's a surprise) and did laundry (I bet everyone else had a much more exciting day than I did). Today I am meeting friends for brunch and a walk. As a result of my excursion yesterday, tonight we will have vegetarian Tex/Mex chowder for dinner.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Avoidance Day #4

As the countdown continues, today's topic is science. The miracles of science are what makes life interesting - or so they say. Call me science impaired but I think I am (and that is before chemo brain as well).

In high school, I had to take a year each of biology, chemistry, and physics. Biology was miserable. They wanted me to dissect a frog or was it a worm and then a frog. Anyway, I never could. I think it made me a tad nauseous. Chemistry was full of what I think of as the potions classes from Harry Potter. Add this and it turns purple or bubbles or something. Me and physics should just never interact. I get the basics but there's too much math there for me.

Off I go to college and find out they have distribution requirements. This meant I had to take math and science classes. I took calculus and statistics and then 'Physics for Poets'. You had to know what the formula was and what numbers to plug in, but you didn't need to get the right answer. I squeaked by.

Now, a few years later (only a few years, not that many), I watch my cooking shows and do a lot of cooking. There is a lot of science in cooking. I mean why does bread rise or sauce thicken with heat? Those are scientific reactions - see I was listening at some point in class. Some of the cooking shows even talk a little about the scientific reasons for why things happen. Maybe they should have a chemistry for cooks class somewhere so we could all learn why these things happen. (Maybe they would teach me why my pie crust always is like shoe leather.)

Yesterday was an interesting day. Walter took the day off from work so he was home all day. This messes up my schedule. I really do work from home and if he is here and wants me to do things, I can't work. I solved the problem. I made him a list of stuff I needed to have done around the house and then I did my own thing. Voila. Everything got done that needed to. How cool is that.

Yesterday was also Halloween. We only had three groups of trick or treaters - but each group was a small horde. And they were all very cute. Now this means we have a surplus of Halloween candy. I will hide it and dole it out over the next few months. I have will power, but we'll just say some other house hold members have less will power than I do when it comes to chocolate.

Today I am going to the Boston Vegetarian food festival. This is a continuation of my quest to eat more healthy. I also want to learn more about vegetarian options (and not have to eat tofu - blech!). It is free and one day only so off I go. Something new and fun to do. I will also go for my walk when I return.