Saturday, October 31, 2015

The rush to (over) treat

We all know the two groups of people:

The ones who get a booboo and say 'no big deal' and clean it later, even if just in the shower later on, vs. the ones who rush for the antibacterial soap, alcohol, bacitracin or neosporin, and bandaid. Well maybe they aren't two solid groups but there are two sides to the equation with scatterings in between. 

With breast, or any type of, cancer, there is often a rush to say 'get it out of me!' But that is starting to change, especially in view of concerns with overtreatment of DCIS, that some people say 'I'll wait'. I can see that.

I think the typical patient has lemming traits where they agree basically with what the doctors tell them, and if they do not agree, they find another doctor who they agree more with. How often do we stop and say, 'now that I know what it is, I can wait and make a decision'. I think we need to stop and think with a diagnosis and say 'what are my choices?' and 'can I wait?'  And not to skip 'what are the pros and con's of immediate treatment'.

Doctors are also starting to change their train of thought as well.

We have learned so much about the side effects of treatment that I think they need to be a big part of our medical decisions. And we should consider no treatment among the options. Its my body and my choice.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Good intentions gone bad.

The heights of stupidity are being reached for pinktober.

Let me count the ways. First of all, an NFL player who lost his mother and four aunts to breast cancer is being fined for having the words 'Find A Cure' and a pink ribbon on his eye black (those are the stupid little black rectangles of paint under their eyes, in case you didn't know - like me). He has had these for the past five seasons and now it is a problem for the NFL, which covers itself in pink each year. So they fined him $5775. Really? Everything else can be pink but he can't express himself?

Talk about a double standard - the league can be pink but he can't show his support. I wouldn't have a problem if the NFL didn't go pink every year.

What about 'Knitted Knockers'? Yep, a bunch of knitters in South Carolina create them for breast cancer patients to wear after surgery. These foobs are made out of soft yarn and stuffed with cotton to wear after mastectomies against the skin.

So what if they are the wrong size? Its a nice idea on some level but on most levels its just wrong. Especially the name.

Finally, pink beer. Yep, a brilliant bar has decided to serve pink Michelob Ultra to raise awareness for breast cancer. It is not clear if any extra money is being raised through this. So do the drinkers of pink beer think their purchases help raise funds for anything related to breast cancer? I think we have trained people to think if something is specially labeled or colored its purchase is helping the cause, not just awareness.

Good intentions gone bad.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Am I making a bad decision?

Today is my last day of work. Well, I will continue to work one day a week from home and go to the office once a month until my replacement is found. And I will go into the office to help train him/her for a few days.

The reason I am leaving work is my health is not that great, in case you hadn't noticed. Even though I have cut way back on my schedule, I still am fighting fatigue and aches and pains. One goal in moving is to cut way back on expenses so my non-existent income will not be noticed.

Three years ago,  in the fall of 2012, I was diagnosed with both rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. (Actually it was exactly three years ago tomorrow that I announced this.) At that point I was working two jobs and a total of about 30-35 hours each week.

In early 2013, I resigned from my other job because I could not physically keep up the pace of working so much. It also required nights and weekends. In 2014 I started working fewer and fewer hours in my current job. Now I am down to about 8 hours each week, and I can barely keep up.

With the decision to move and reduce our expenses, it became much easier for me to decide to stop working. I am looking forward to having more time to take care of me.

During the next few months, I will have plenty to do with moving and the holidays and craft shows. Once we settle into a new house, I have no plans on staying home all the time. I would like to find some volunteer work to ensure I get out of the house and don't go stir crazy - but that would be fewer hours with more flexibility. I also plan to continue to go to the gym three times a week. My sanity is important.

But I must return to my original question of am I making a decision? I guess it would be a bad one if I was only thinking financially. But I do not have that luxury any longer.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I miss my friends

The other day I learned that another one of my online cancer friends passed away. I had never met her in person but we knew each other for probably close to 8 years on line. She lost most of one leg from cancer and instead of bothering to tell people the medical reason, she would just say 'shark'. As it was much more interesting.

She also became a stand up comedienne and performed at clubs in the Chicago area where she lived. She was very supportive to me when dealing with ups and downs of cancer and was quick to provide supportive words when I needed them.

She has now joined the ever lengthening list of friends who are no longer with us because of cancer. I miss them all, from the first friend who died from cancer, Andy, back in ~1983 to Lorri, just a few days ago.

You can coat cancer in a pretty color and wear boas, hats, shirts, and carry colored bags, and light up buildings. But its no pretty, its not a war, it sucks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

What happens when you are sleeping

I think we should all be allowed to have an independent person in the OR while we are undergoing surgery if this is any indiciation:

"About half of all surgeries involve some kind of medication error or unintended drug side effects, if a study done at one of America’s most prestigious academic medical centers is any indication."

That is just plain scary. You go for surgery and then you have a 50% chance of medication error or unintended side effect. That is not good.

"“There is a substantial potential for medication-related harm and a number of opportunities to improve safety,” according to the study, published in the journal Anesthesiology. More than one-third of the observed errors led to some kind of harm to the patient."

But these numbers are pretty real. A recent study was done at Massachusetts General Hospital by observers. Previous studies showed much lower numbers but those were self reported by doctors.

"Drugs delivered during an operation don’t have the same safeguards other medication orders do. In most parts of a hospital, prescriptions are double-checked by pharmacists and nurses before they reach a patient. Operating wards are riskier. “In the operating room, things happen very rapidly, and patients’ conditions change quickly, so we don’t have time to go through that whole process, which can take hours,” Nanji said. While all the errors observed in the study had the potential to cause harm, only three were considered life-threatening, and no patients died because of mistakes, Nanji said. In some cases, the harm lay in a change in vital signs or an elevated risk of infection."

A few more thoughts:

"Not every mistake meant the patient got the wrong drug or an incorrect dose. For example, many errors had to do with properly labeling drugs when they’re drawn into syringes for delivery. Because most medications just look like clear liquids, having several prepared without labeling them poses a risk that the wrong one could be delivered. Those breaches in protocol were counted as errors. In about one-fifth of the problems, adverse drug reactions were considered unavoidable — for example, if a patient had a drug allergy that doctors didn’t know about ahead of time.  The study found that some kind of error was made in about one in every 20 drug administrations. Several medications are typically used in each operation, from anesthesia to antibiotics, so that rate translated into some kind of error or adverse reaction in every other surgery. Operations that lasted more than six hours were more likely to involve an error than shorter procedures."

Okay, I'm good with no more surgeries, thanks.

Monday, October 26, 2015

I've been busy

For the past month or so, I have been very busy. And for the past week I have been very very busy. The big project has been moving. Thursday we saw a house we really liked on paper but in reality it had too many problems. We also saw a house that was too big for us, a house that was a bit too expensive, and a house that simply needed more work than we wanted to do.

Friday we found another house on line that we really liked. Our realtor even went to see it Friday afternoon and they said we needed to act fast. My husband went to see the house on Saturday morning (I was unavailable) and liked it a lot. We made an offer, only to find out someone else had already made an offer that was accepted.

Sunday we went to see more houses, only to find one that we really liked on paper had an in ground swimming pool, something we don't want. And we saw a couple more but either they were too big, too small, to much money or needed more work. We decided to go back to the one we really liked that was too expensive and decided to make an offer. We now have to wait to find out. As the house hunting roller coaster continues.

After the house price, the biggest issue in house hunting is my husband's commute. The second biggest issue is to make sure we have a house that is mostly one floor living as the expected decline in my health will continue. This all makes me feel even older. I am too young to look for one floor living.

But I've been busy. I promise to get back to regular blogging. As pinktober continues.

Friday, October 23, 2015

More on cancer costs

A few days ago, I blogged about the costs of cancer. But there are lots more costs of cancer that are not just financial.

There are physical costs that include surgical scars, damage to your body from treatments, and more.
The emotional costs are things like PTSD which takes a lot to get through. Neither of these can ever really go away. You just end up covered in scars inside and out.

So well-intentioned people do things like give free trips and events for those who were diagnosed with cancer. These are the people who offer trips to us cancer people.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you can go to events like the Stowe Weekend of Hope for free the first year. Then you get an incredibly discounted rate for future years. Don't get me wrong, the Stowe Weekend of Hope is a wonderful event with so many resources for those with cancer. But I just wish I didn't have the medical history which allows me to go so cheaply.

So as we dig deep in our financial pockets we also have to cope with all the other costs and you can't just declare bankruptcy and walk away from your emotional and physical costs.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

I'm not sure this is an upgrade

I broke my old pill box. The Sunday latch no longer works.
I had to buy a new pill box. I had to get one that has AM and PM too.
Very depressing. I feel old. I was at the gym the other day and another woman said to me that she takes too many. She takes 3 in the morning and 7 at night. I take way more than that. She is in her early 80's and is recovering from heart surgery.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

There is a moral here somewhere

What is that moral I can't quite recall? The tortoise and the hare? But not the early bird gets the worm.

Once a new drug is developed, there is a rush to get it to the market to help as many as possible. Patients who are very ill who might benefit from the new drug are quick to request access to it. But time is telling us that:
  1. Rushing drugs through approvals isn't necessarily the best idea. The side effects and additional issues caused to patients actually cause more cost to the health care system and do not necessarily help the patients.
  2. The drug developers are supposed to continue their research but do not always comply.
  3. The FDA is not equipped to monitor the drug developers and review their additional study results.
So rushing the drugs through approval is not a good thing. Slow and steady wins the race here. But not too slow. Yes research studies take time but there has to be a happy medium to get drugs to market sooner with out risks to patients and additional costs. The tortoise did keep moving steadily to get there in theend.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Costs of Cancer

So you get diagnosed with cancer and all of a sudden you put your entire life on hold and you grapple with side effects, hair loss, constant aches and pains, surgical recovery, and giant medical bills. You rob Peter to pay Paul so to speak every month as you juggle your bills. You take time off work to cope with treatment and your income tanks and money is even tighter. You try to save for retirement as you wonder if you will be there for retirement.

But picture this if you were in college or just out and didn't really have a job. You are dependent on your parents for money. You alternate between your dorm room, your parent's sofa, and the infusion room. You try to figure out how you are ever going to have a career, if you are going to have a career. You hope you do not have to declare bankruptcy before 30 just to stay solvent because you have student loans and medical bills. At the same time you wonder if you will be around to turn 30.

I have been in both situations. At 19, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, but was still on my parent's health insurance and it took a summer to deal with the bulk of treatment, but have had follow up's every year or more often since. Medical bills and student loans were not as sky high back then but I did go through a lot of angst as a result of my diagnosis.

Then at 45 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and wondered how to pay bills as I job hunted through treatment. I haven't worked full time since. Money is much tighter now. Saving for retirement has been less important. With two cancer diagnoses, retirement looks a bit iffy at times.

At some point I learned about a wonderful organization called The Samfund. This group helps those young adult cancer patients figure out their financials and provides some grants. How do they know how to do this? The founder has been through this herself. I just wish they were around for me decades ago.

Being told you are cancer free only makes you find out about all the costs you still have to pay - financial, emotional, and physical.




Saturday, October 17, 2015

We are supposed to be eating better

We means those of us who are post cancer. A new study claims that all of us who get through cancer develop crappy eating habits.

"Cancer survivors are a bit less health conscious in their eating habits, a large U.S. population-based study found.

Compared with the general population, cancer survivors consumed more empty calories in the form of solid fats, alcohol, and added sugars, reported a research team.... 

In addition, cancer survivors' intake of fiber, vitamin D, and other important nutrients was lower on average than recommended levels, Zhang and colleagues reported in the journal."

Um, first of all I must state that I think I am a relatively good eater. I don't eat a lot of prepared food, I like home made food not premade crap out of the freezer or a can. I like fresh fruit and vegetables.

But, why am I eating healthy to prevent future health issues when I already have them so many? On many levels it doesn't make sense. I do try but then sometimes I wonder why I do. I mean why do I worry about things like cholesterol when one of my other ailments is going to lead to many other issues where cholesterol may end up being so far down the list in impact on my health.

Once you get through cancer many other things become less important. The medications you are given cause so many side effects that  healthy eating during chemo is changed to only eating what will stay in your stomach.

A cancer diagnosis changes everything so let's have our cake now and eat it too.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Oh, the poor man!

As I have said before, this is not a political blog. But I do occasionally blog about political issues. Martin Shkreli, the idiot man who raised the price of a medication 4000%, is upset with Bernie Sanders. He donated $2700 to Bernie's campaign and hoped to get a meeting with Bernie to explain why drug manufacturers set their prices.

"Shkreli made the contribution, he said, partly because he supports some of Sanders’ proposals — just not the ones about drug prices. But mainly, he said, he donated to get the senator’s attention in the hopes that he could get a private meeting to explain why drug companies set prices the way they do."

Bernie gave away his money and won't meet with him. Martin isn't happy.

"Shkreli is “furious” that Sanders is using him as a punching bag without giving him a chance to give his side. “I think it’s cheap to use one person’s action as a platform without kind of talking to that person,” Shkreli said in the interview. “He’ll take my money, but he won’t engage with me for five minutes to understand this issue better.”"

Personally, I think I catch a hint of whininess here.... I'm with Bernie on this. I don't think I would take a donation from Martin either. I think Martin should start trying to explain to the rest of us about his pricing justification instead of just waiting for a call from Bernie.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Breast Cancer Research Topics

In the middle of pinktober, after Metastatic Breast Cancer Day (October 13), I have some thoughts on breast cancer research I would like to share:

My first wish is that more money, time, and focus would be on metastatic breast cancer research. Breast cancer does not kill, metastatic or late stage breast cancer kills. The proportion of funds spent on metastatic breast cancer is minuscule. This needs to change or more and more women (and men) will continue to die from this disease.

My second wish is that more research would be done on DCIS to determine which cases are more likely to develop into potentially fatal disease vs. those which will remain benign. The vast majority of cases of breast cancer which are diagnosed are DCIS. Many of these patients are subjected to extensive surgery without really knowing if it was necessary or not. This needs to change.

Finally a cure for cancer would be quite welcome as well. According to Star Trek, a cure for cancer was discovered in the 21st century.....

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

When your body lets you down

It happens to all of us - you reach for something and your back twinges, you get a bad cold, or whatever, they are part of life. But then sometimes your body really lets you down.

This became very clear to me one day when I was skiing about ten years ago. I was having a wonderful time and then I fell on one run. I thought I was fine but some man stopped and said he friend had gone for the ski patrol. I thought he was crazy but since he insisted on waiting with me, he could help me untangle my skis. Then when I put weight on my knee it bent side ways and I knew he was right. I ended up with a torn meniscus and a partially torn ACL which meant knee surgery and the beginnings of knee problems.

My body has since let me down in other ways. I seem to have collected ailments that won't go away. Tennis elbow, lymphedema, bad back, rheumatoid, fibromyalgia, and that cancer crap. They just keep piling up. Yesterday afternoon I got very frustrated with myself. I try to be a normal person and then my body protests.

Sometimes I feel I should be in a geriatric ward some place with all my aches and pains. But then I try to tell myself that I got through cancer twice so I can cope through all this. But its the continued emotional spiral of coping with aches, pains and scars that is difficult.

I haven't been getting enough rest recently. Nor enough sleep. This makes it harder for me to physically and emotionally deal with life. And since we are at the worst part of the chaos of putting our house on the market (which means I will take our toaster oven with us today so it will not be in the way while they take pictures of the house). I will bring it back tonight so we can have toast in the morning and then take it with us again as they show the house. This is on top of the list of everything else I have to do today to make the house picture perfect.

My biggest problem is with everything I cannot do. I can't carry stuff around (one of my doctors told me that I cannot pick up everything after I told him we were moving). I have to wait for my husband to be home to carry stuff around for me. I get stuck and have to wait for help so often. My body is failing me too soon. And it drags me down and I constantly have to fight back.

Okay, enough whininess this morning. I will go back to being positive.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

World Arthritis Day

I missed it. It was yesterday, October 12. Obviously it must have been  hidden behind a cloud of pinkification.

Let me be clear I didn't even know there was a World Arthritis Day. And according to their website, there were only four events in the US and six in North America. The rest were in Europe and Middle East.

I think if there was one giant calendar of all the awareness days/months, it would probably contain a million event. The problem with these 'awareness' events is that there are just so many. Do we really even need them?

I like the idea behind them - to raise the awareness for an illness or ailment. And to help fund research for better treatment options or cures. But when every day is a different awareness day they become to blur together and lose their emphasis.

With my list of ailments and interests, I have too many to choose from and pretty much ignore them all. I do voluntarily attend specific events which focus on fundraising or awareness for different ailments but do not choose to make a big deal out of any one.

This is a case where less is more. If there were many fewer, I would probably be able to find a couple that fit my interests.

Monday, October 12, 2015

I can tell its Pinktober

Yes I admit I can be a news junkie. I also like to follow information on my (many) ailments. I get daily Google Alerts for most of them so I can be one of the first to know about the latest treatment options.

I can tell its Pinktober. All my breast cancer news includes the words 'awareness', 'pink', the s-word, or other related terms. Yesterday's alert included these items:

"Harford observes breast cancer awareness month"
"Breast cancer survivor finds comfort in delivering flowers to other patients at Texas hospital"
"WATCH: 29 year old beats breast cancer, gets featured on Pink Ribbon Connection"
"Breast cancer awareness chili cookoff Saturday"
"Breast cancer survivors event"

This drives me crazy. Please stop spending money on pink and spend the money on more important things like research.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

What were we thinking?

We had a 'great' idea to move. Now that our house is almost ready to go on the market we are packing like mad. Everything is going into boxes to depersonalize the house. Which means we cannot find anything.

Including the big bin of all the knitting projects I did last winter, spring and, summer for craft shows this fall. All the stuff I got ready is now missing. Its lost. Totally.

We started unpacking the pod in the driveway. I even climbed up on top of all the boxes with a flashlight to see if I could the missing bin. My only hope is that we get a new house and move in so we unpack and I can find it. Otherwise, I have to start knitting like mad to make more stuff to sell.

I have been looking at pictures of houses for sale on line and look how empty they are. I have no idea how we are going to do that. I have friends who are coming over to help pack. Including one friend who has weeded and mulched all the gardens. I only got hurt once so far, when I fell over the bags of mulch yesterday. I have a booboo on my elbow from landing on the cement patio but do not feel any other damage (which is a good thing because I can't deal with any more issues right now).

But really, what were we thinking? Moving sucks.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Gym class

True confessions time: who failed gym in high school and went on to exercise regularly? I admit I failed gym in high school because I would 'forget' to go. I ended up taking a summer class to make up for it.

Yesterday I was at the gym talking to two women probably in their late 70s or early 80s. One said she flunked gym in high school and had to take it again in college. She wanted to take fencing (because it was like dancing) and was forced to take field hockey I think. She hated field hockey so she failed it.

I ended up telling them about the John F Kennedy physical fitness test. They did not know about it at all. I told them we had to run the 50 yard dash, the 600 yard run, and the standing broad jump. They were appalled. They never had to do anything like that.

We were all generally amused by our previous lack of interest in gym class and how we all go to the gym regularly. We never ended up talking about gym suits but I think their experiences with them were probably just as awful.

In elementary school, gym was fun. Except when I had to play soft ball because I could never hit the ball. Even when the gym teacher slow pitched to me over and over again. Today the gym at my elementary school is being dedicated to Jim Banks who was the best gym teacher ever.

So did you fail gym? Forced exercise was never fun.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Early detection and saving lives

Laurie over at Not Just About Cancer blogged about the myth of early detection and linked to a very good article on the same subject in Psychology Today. Early detection is supposed to be a good thing meaning they caught your disease (whatever it maybe) before it got really nasty.

Amy Robach and others say 'my mammogram saved my life'. But is this really true? I am not saying that they are lying but the question is did their mammogram really save their life? I have friends who believe the same thing. They attribute their still being alive because of their 'life saving mammogram'.

Let's take a look at this. First of all, as the Psychology Today article points out, if we were detecting more cancers earlier wouldn't the numbers for late detection or deaths be decreasing? They aren't.

"But this dramatic increase in "early-stage" diagnoses has not been followed with a decline in advanced breast cancers, as would be expected if early detection was the key to stopping progression."

Next, breast cancer is not a linear disease. There are many types which are more or less treatable and some it doesn't matter when they are caught, they are still going to kill you. And others are never going to be fatal and will resolve themselves. We just aren't very good about telling them apart. 

"For all we do not know about breast cancer (i.e., what exactly causes it, how to prevent it, how to keep it from recurring, how to keep people from dying from it if it spreads), there are things we do know. Breast cancer is complex. It stems from multiple causes, some of which include radiation, carcinogenic chemicals, and cancer promoters such as endocrine disrupting compounds(link is external). There are at least ten subtypes of breast cancer that behave and respond to treatments differently. One-size-fits-all treatment does not work. Mammograms do not prevent breast cancer; nor do they guarantee that the cancer found on a mammogram (if it is found on a mammogram) is indolent, lethal, or somewhere in between. Acknowledging these complexities would not only help to shift the breast cancer paradigm, it would serve those who want to be well informed."

So if you feel your mammogram saved your life, you may or may not be right.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

When I do something I do it right

So back at the end of July, I fell and my knee bent sideways (or my knee bent sideways and I fell). I was told at that time that the x-ray showed no bone issues and it was probably all ligament and tendon. I was later told by my knee doctor (yes I am amassing doctors for each body part) that it was probably not that bad and PT was the first step. The PT guy thought it was probably only my meniscus.

I went back to the knee doctor after PT and he sent me for an MRI to find out more about my knee. I had a follow up yesterday.

Well, it turns out when I do something I do it right. It turns out I tore my ACL and I have an edema on the top of my tibia. Basically that means that I have a crack in the bone that is not impacting the function much (think of the coffee cup you have with a crack in it that still holds your coffee - my knee doctor asked me if he could quote me on that because it was pretty much an exact description).

So now the plan is to wait another four weeks and have more x-rays and then decide what to do. He wants my tibia to continue to heal before anything and for me to step up my PT. He said the pain is caused by the bone and the lack of stability is caused by the ACL. I said I don't care about the pain but do care about the stability issue.

I told him I don't want to even think about surgery until after the first of the year.

Now I can say it, to quote Charlie Brown:
AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

We are still waiting!

I haven't nagged in a while but I would like to remind the world that all of us unhealthy people are waiting for that cure. We have aches and pains and doctor appointments and prescriptions (out the whazoo!). We would like those cures so we could return to our normal life as soon as possible.

Once diagnosed with something nasty, life changes (and we are told there is this new normal - that doesn't exist) and are stuck in a yucky limbo waiting for medical advancements to put us back together.

There are a lot of politics and corporate policies and big brother and much more involved in medical research. We don't really care. Take your billions and fix us.
K? Thanks.

PS I am whining and in a cranky mood today.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Who has the time?

I started wondering (which I admit can be a dangerous proposition) who has the time to waste spend on all this pinkification? It takes a lot of shopping to buy all the pink crap, time getting dressed in all the pink stuff, and everything that goes with it?

I am just amazed at the people I see out almost in a costume of pink at this time of year. Everything from jewelry, feather boas, shoes, bags, clothing, etc. Then there are the pink ribbons on everything. NFL players have pink towels. Buildings are lit up in pink.

I admit I bought a pink t-shirt with some slogan on the back of it to wear to chemo. I wore it once to my second infusion and never took it out of the closet again. I like the color pink and wear it often but I do not pinkify myself.

Personally I do not have the time or the energy to allow any one thing to take over my life like that. I live a multi-faceted life (note the big word early in the day) and allow myself to enjoy many different things, and squeeze in a few million doctor appointments.

I cannot imagine allowing anything to monopolize my life like that. I think a bad medical diagnosis, like breast cancer, is a wake up call that life is important. But it is not appropriate or healthy to obsess over it and allow it to monopolize your life. No one thing should be so important in anyone's life. Life is meant to be enjoyed and not have an obsession. Don't waste your time on any one thing.

Monday, October 5, 2015

House selling and buying

So life is rolling along as we try to get our house ready to put on the market but we also need to find a new place to live. We have finally decided the house will go on the market Oct 16 and have two days of open houses. 

We keep house hunting as well and finding houses we like but we can't put in an offer until we have our house on the market. If we do no one will accept our offer without a kick out clause (meaning they can accept other offers and ditch ours in the meantime). But we are trying to be good sellers and are house hunting because our realtors tell us to. 

Its just aggravating. However we have decided what we want in a new house. The real answers are: one floor living as much as possible, lots of storage, and a fire place and garage. Plus in our price range and near enough to my husband's job. Nothing complicated or fancy. A newer kitchen and bathrooms and no wall paper would be nice. But we can be flexible. They are all blurring together. 

In the meantime, we just pack and 'negotiate' with each other - mostly 'do you remember the house with the whatchamacallit?' The answer is always 'no, which one was that'. Maybe someday we will find one that is memorable and we can actually remember it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Its been a long ten years

I used to be a healthy person, really. Those of you who have known me for more than ten years know that. But for the rest of you I need to reassure you I was healthy at one point.

One of the big reasons we are selling our house is that we bought it when I was working full time in Boston. I needed the easy access to the city. I will never work full time again, nor will I ever work in Boston.

We bought this house in February 2005 and moved in. We got married in May and then my health went (I really do not believe that my marriage played any part in my body's decision to go to hell in a hand basket).

That August, I was home alone waiting for my husband to come home from work so we could leave for a long weekend when I started experiencing intense abdominal pain. So painful, it took me ten minutes to reach across the bed to get the phone. My husband had a new office phone which was saved in my cell phone which was far away - across the room - so I just called 911 for an ambulance.

It turned out I had fibroids and one had died off and caused a massive internal infection which put me in the hospital on IV antibiotics and ended up with a hysterectomy and home on medical leave for six weeks.

A year and a half later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer which lead to three surgeries, chemo and radiation. Then my gall bladder was removed. Then my back started hurting. And lymphedema, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Now I am looking toward to retirement and a healthier body. If that is possible. Could I ever be healthy again?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A busy week

I have a busy week scheduled. Some how, I have four doctor appointments, plus I need to work two days, go to the gym three days, and keep packing to move. Oh, and find a new place to live.

Tomorrow, Sunday, we are having our neighbors over around 9am so they can take a look at our house to see if they want to buy it. I am giving them first dibs because they are nice and I know they have been  house hunting for a while. But that means today I have to make the house look semi decent so they can actually look at it tomorrow. Then we are going to four open houses in the afternoon.

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I have doctor appointments. These are just a major time suck and I need to remember everything I want to ask them all (that means I need to start write them my questions down). And I need to get bloodwork done.

I think I am going to work Monday after my first appointment and then another day later in the week, maybe Thursday.

Oh, and did I say my back is giving me lots of pain these days? That could make me whiney.....

Friday, October 2, 2015

Once again its Pinktober

Except I do not celebrate Pinktober. At this time of year I look forward to apple picking, Columbus Day weekend, leaf peeping, and Halloween (which is the best annual excuse for a sugar high).

I am braced for the onslaught of pinkness and really do not care for it. I will not be walking, running, shopping, or donating for anything pink. Because of Pinktober, I actually resist contributing to anything pink for the month.

And it is also Liver Cancer Awareness Month.


I think this year I will support Liver Cancer instead of pinkifying anything.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Taking charge once again and chaos

I usually go along with the flow of medical care and go to my appointments like a good girl. But every so often I take a step back and make some changes.

When my therapist retired at the end of last year, I switched to a new one who I didn't like. Then I switched to another. I really don't like her and find her pretty useless to me. So I think she is getting the ax when I see her next week.

She also sent me to a fibromyalgia support group, one of the most useless meetings I have ever been to. I will be opting out of that as well. One of my big reasons is that I feel I get no support from it. And as its an official 'group' at the hospital, I have a $20 co-pay every time I go. I sometimes go to the breast cancer support group at the hospital and there is no co-pay so I have no idea why I have to pay for this one. But not any more.

Right now I have enough going on with out wasting time and money on useless meetings. Our house is a disaster right now. The only things in the living room are a sofa, a sideboard, two lamps and the tv on a tv stand. Everything else is stuffed into another room. The master bedroom is empty of everything but two dressers. We are sleeping on the mattress and box spring in the guest room which is packed full of boxes and other stuff. The kitchen is also a mess. This is all because we are having the walls painted. We hope they will be done today so we can put everything back tomorrow.

The exterior paint is being touched up. We had it painted nine years ago with a 'lifetime' paint that hasn't lasted. The manufacturer is providing new paint free of charge that was supposed to arrive Tuesday. I called yesterday and found out he 'forgot' to ship it. He swears he would ship it yesterday so we should have it next Thursday (it comes from British Columbia). I will be on the phone with him later today to make sure it shipped. Now it looks like the house will be painted the day before it goes on the market on 10/15. 

I don't need any more stress. Grrr.