Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A New Season....

I do believe with the change of seasons last week that now too, my "season" has begun to change as well.

After the rather surprising diagnosis stemming from my surgery back in July - going from pre-cancerous cells in the cervix which is what caused my ob/gyn doctor here to refer me to the surgeon in Pittsburgh and then, the surgery there consisting of a hysterectomy, bladder repair and full hernia repair done there and the pathology report from the hysterectomy revealed cancer of the uterus -not quite what the doctor was expecting, ya know, to the chemo attempt three weeks ago that caused a wild allergic reaction in me, but today, I went back to for what should have been my second chemo treatment but was actually my first one and boy, am I happy this evening with what transpired today.

The chemo treatment today went off without a hitch from start to finish!!!

Yay me. Yay and thank you to Dr. Pedolick and his great staff at the Yingling Cancer Center in Clearfield for being patient with me when I had the reaction three weeks ago and being thorough in the care they provided then. And today, for the care -and calming demeanor -from those around me at the Cancer center as I was a bit edgy when I went in there this morning, worrying about the possibility of having another reaction similar to the one two weeks ago or heck, maybe even worse than that.

But today, the nurse who inserted the needle -for the first time -into the port that was put in last Wednesday was so adept, so skillful, that when she told me that on the count of three she would be putting in the needle for the IV and there would be a pinch -but it was so miniscule that I barely even felt anything at all, I was highly -very highly - impressed with her ability and with the way the port eliminated all the poking and prodding with needles in my arms and hands, etc., as they had to do in the past to find a good vein to use for running an iv on me.

I have to tell you too I had a nice little lunch served compliments of the Cancer Center (and egg-McMuffin type sandwich, cream of tomato soup (my fav flavor) and vanilla pudding along with a large glass of cranberry juice to wash everything down.

It took a bit longer for the chemo to run than the nurse had predicted today. She said it should take about 2.5 hours but they started it around 10:15 a.m. and it didn't end till almost 2 p.m. for about 3 and 3/4 hours then it took start to finish. (Actually, I was there from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. because I had to see the Doctor prior to the chemo so he could discuss the cancer, the chemo and other treatments they may have to consider in perhaps 2-3 months so I was there for a total then of 5 hours!

And I slept most of the time while the IV was running -getting caught up a bit on the sleep I didn't get last night since I kept waking up every hour or two -or so it seemed!

I go back in three weeks for another chemo treatment but will have to have blood work done every Monday from now till the chemo treatments end to keep tabs on my blood counts, T-cells and all that stuff ya know. The head cold/sinus infection is on its way out the door now too, thanks to some antibiotic my family Dr. prescribed to me yesterday to handle that and I took one of the pills they gave me to help ward off any nausea that I could experience from the chemo today too.

So now, I'm all set and raring to go here, full steam ahead and let's get this next season of my life underway now.

Maybe I should have a contest now too -to see who can predict when my hair will begin to fall out?

Think I should do that? Course that might involve a before and after photo of myself or my hair anyway and I'm not ultra-keen on having pictures around of me.

Gonna think on that idea some more but let me know your thoughts anyway.

Bring on Fall -my new motto!

Monday, September 27, 2010

D-Day Looms!

Well, here I sit, playing on the computer and I really need to shut down here shortly and go to bed because I have to be at the lovely cancer clinic, bright and early, to get set for what is supposed to now be my first chemo treatment in this fight. I have to be there at 9 a.m. and those of you who have followed my blog for any length of time now know that I am not an "early riser." Not much of a morning person at all, truth be told so a 9 a.m. start time is like a killer thing to my way of thinking and to my body too, for sure!

It's events like this that almost make me wish the only thing I needed to clear this all up would be some good acne creams and everything would then just be fine and dandy -hunky-dorie, ya know!

But, sorry to say, it ain't quite that way, is it?

But, I now have the port put in that is supposed to make administering the chemo easier for me. At least this means they shouldn't have to poke and prod my arms, spending oodles of time hunting for a vein to access to inject the stuff in there anyway. So I'm thinking that is progress, isn't it?

And today, after an appointment with my family doctor at which time she informed me I now also have to make an appointment with a heart doctor, probably to have a not-so-lovely stress test too, and then, after that, I had an appointment this afternoon to have some kind of scan -a "muggy" scan? -or some such like that. It's a nuclear scan of the heart in which they inject some kind of dye and some radioactive stuff and then, they watch to see how the heart muscles squeeze and contract to push the blood throughout the body. (Only took them five tries to get a vein today! The port wouldn't be accessible for this particular test as it wouldn't have allowed the tech person to view the heart in action so we had to deal with the yucky veins that love to hide from people wanting to inject a needle and other stuff in me! Not a fun time, trust me on that one!)

But anyway -that's what's gonna be taking place here tomorrow. Film at 11 tomorrow night -if I make it back home safe and sound that is!

Yes, I am gonna be okay. You keep telling me that over and over and I keep saying that to myself too so it's gotta be true.

Don't 'cha think?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Long, Long Week!

Yes, it's been that here -again!

A long, long week and by the looks of things, my weeks ahead keep getting longer and longer with more and more things packed into them too!

It's been over a week since my last post and I've thought from time to time of topics to post about but have been feeling more than a bit overwhelmed too of late and therefore, somehow, just never got around to doing anything on the computer besides checking e-mail and responding where necessary, surfing my Facebook and keeping -or trying to -my Reader fairly up-to-date and cleared out.

Anything else took precedence over the time necessary to sit and actually write a post!


Well, for openers, the medical community here has pretty much taken control over my life, that's why?

Over the past two weeks, it seems every time I turn around and find five minutes of free time, some doctor has decided to usurp that little smidgen of time by requiring my presence for an appointment, for blood work, or for more tests and even taking up a whole day this past week by having me confined to the out-patient surgical area for the bulk of the day on Wednesday!

And let me tell you, this stuff is getting old -like me -and doing it just about as quickly as I am aging too.

Next week does look like it might hold a little bit of promise though as right now, I only have three appointments on two different days. Monday a.m., I have a checkup with my family doctor followed that afternoon by some kind of scan (with dye inserted) of the heart. I think -if I heard them correctly -this one is called a Mug scan and is a test I've never even heard of before.

Then on Tuesday, my day will be lost as they will try -again -to run the first chemo treatment on me using the new port that was inserted in my upper chest this past Wednesday. And even if the treatment goes off without a hitch, because the chemo I will be receiving takes at least 3 1/2 hours to run through, that will take up the bulk of my time on Tuesday anyway! Just can't seem to get a break here, ya know!

One other minor detail too pertaining to the blogging scene. I have close to 200 blogs that I either subscribe to on my reader or that I follow and which then, if there is a new post done to any of them, they show up on my Reader. That's a lot of work to try to keep the Reader up-to-date and cleared out just in the reading portion there. But to comment on each blog post I've read -well, that's just plain impossible to begin with and this week, it's been made even more difficult for me because unless the blogger uses Wordpress to compose the post, I am currently unable to leave any comments to other blogs because for whatever reason, I get this lovely 503 ERROR message left behind when I try to comment on Blogs that are on Blogger or Blogspot! Now that is really frustrating to me to get that error because it is just that much more time that has then just been wasted!

Just wanted to let those of you know why I haven't commented on your posts if you are using either Blogger or Blogspot and if so, you also know too how much response one gets when you try to register a complaint/problem to either of those entities too. Like NONE! Pretty much the norm there is to just read, sit back and wait until they might eventually get around to seeing what the problem is and getting it resolved. (Remember about 18 months or so back I had issues with this thing called "Feeds" and logged a complaint/problem question about it to BLogger and I'm still waiting for an answer to that problem! Yes, I did get things fixed but no thanks to Blogger for getting it all worked out and even then, that took me well over six months to resolve anyway!)

So, besides being busy running back and forth to all these doctor/test appointments and such, I did manage though to complete yet another tabletopper and this morning, I did manage to remember to take a couple of pictures of this latest creation too. They aren't the best pictures -for sure -but anyway, use your imagination and visualize them as having much better lighting available on a couple of these pics anyway!

Here's one -with the lousy lighting factor -in which I tried to get Maya and Kurtis to help me showcase this tabletopper. Well, at least the kids are cute, aren't they?
Here's the Christmas Trees Tabletopper shown on the table -not the best picture either but at least the fabric looks white -which is what it is -instead of looking a bit yellowish on the photo above this one.
And here's a closeup then of one corner of the tabletopper that is sort of decent I guess. By the way, see those red ribbons on the tree -holding up the ornaments? Those little suckers took almost as much time to embroider as did the whole tree and the ornaments! Talk about boring -and frustrating -and time sucking!

But anyway -this project is now completed and I'm about 1/3 of the way through doing yet another Christmas themed tabletopper now.

Now that leaves me with the one family related job I have here in the household -cooking supper for the grandkids, Mandy and me and that job has now been extended somewhat too.

My son took a new job -started it yesterday with a day of training which consisted of watching videos of the work he and other new employees will be doing as they work for the gas/oil company currently working in this region, clearing out woodlands, laying down cable and such for testing for the company. He began the actual job then this morning -having to report for work at 6:45 and be transported then out to the forest to start the manual labor process that will keep his scrawny butt busy, busy, till about 6-7 p.m. tonight and he will get back home then somewhere between 8 and 9 p.m.

How, you ask, does his new job affect me? Well, because he won't get paid for close to a month and of course, he is stone-cold broke right now, that means Mandy, his older sister and I will be helping him wherever we can with money to keep gas in his truck to get back and forth to work for openers. And, because of the type of work he'll be doing -outdoors, no restaurants to go to for a quick coffee or for a lunch break, he'll have to pack a lunch. And, also, because he's (as mentioned above) currently stone-cold broke, that means that I will be trying to figure out meals every day for our supper that will also provide enough to feed him when he finally returns home from work AND also, that might possible leave something too that he can then pack in his lunch pail to take with him for the next day's work so he won't starve to death waiting for that first paycheck!

Ah, the joys of motherhood just never end, do they?

No, I don't mind fixing the extra food to feed him -actually I do like doing that. But trying to figure out what to fix that will cover an extra mouth times twice (lunch too, ya know) and that the kids will also eat so I don't then have to fix a separate meal for them too at the same time, there's the rub, ya know! Last night worked out fairly well in that I made meatloaf -which the kids surprised me by actually tasting that and then eating the portion I gave them too (a miracle, in itself, that was!) and it provided enough leftover meatloaf then that my son was able to fix a sandwich of it to carry for his lunch today.

What the heck to fix tonight though -now there's a quandry so I'm gonna have to free up a bit more time now to surf the recipe sites I have bookmarked on the computer and try to find something to cook for tonight that will work as part of his "brown-bagger" special then for tomorrow.

And so it will go forward from that point now. Any suggestions you might have for easy to cook meals that can then be packed in a bag for the next day sure would be welcome about now!

Anything that will give me a little more time then too so I can still work on the tabletopper I'm currently embroidering and get that puppy done then toO!

Isn't it wonderful being kept busy, busy, busy though?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Planning Ahead

I've mentioned this before in the past I know and it's something I'm still kind of mentally working on, dealing with as it were -the weight thing, that is.

I've lost 25 pounds now since last December when my doctor told me I needed to get a grip on this issue in my life. Not a huge amount of weight loss there, I know, but as you know too if you recall, I attribute this small but still significant amount of weight loss to simply walking my dog, Sammy!

And, that's been a good thing -for him as well as for me -to get out, to walk even just a very short distance as well as some walks that we have made that have been pretty long ones too. And yes, I have, as a general rule, enjoyed that little bit of exercise and especially the difference it's made in my body too as it's helped me to drop a size or two in the clothing department too.

Now though, I do have to figure out how to regroup on the weight/food intake issues though. The walking, while it's a darned good thing to do, isn't going to be adequate in the months to come for my body's needs.

I wish there were some really simple solution that I could just go to a website, like maybe www.getdietsolutions.com and get all the information I need there in one click of a button.

However, things -like diets and such -never come and land in our laps that easily, do they?

I need to work on the intake to my system of things like carbs and fats and try to get my blood sugar stabilized all the while, making sure that I am giving myself a very healthy meal plan too that will keep my system functioning properly on ALL levels too once the chemotherapy actually begins, ya know. And that ain't gonna be a really easy proposition to deal with there but it's one I do have to work on, to plan my meals better and in doing that, also work on my grocery shopping lists too so that I make sure I have plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables on hand to keep the good vitamins, minerals and all that flowing properly and that in turn, will make sure then to keep things flowing -properly -within my body as well!

I just need to keep better track of what I ingest and how beneficial those things are to me. That's all!


Well, sounds like a reasonable enough game plan to me -at least today. But then, who knows too what tomorrow will bring into my mind, huh?

In Perspective

I know I've mentioned here -on numerous occasions -lots of things about my two little grandchildren. Things they do, say, the logic (if any) existing behind some of their words and antics that Mandy and I have either seen as comical or at times, downright frustrating too.

Both the kids have a good strong, healthy -probably TOO healthy at times -stubborn streak that rises up and confounds us at times. Sometimes, the things they choose to get pigheaded about are downright comical though at the time and yet, are things we have to confront the kids about too because we don't want these thing to keep re-occurring either.

The other morning, Mandy was trying to get Kurtis to get dressed and ready to go to his pre-school program. Seemed like a fairly innocuous procedure and one not likely to erupt into any kind of meltdown as he generally is fairly cooperative about these things -unlike his sister, who often turns into a mega diva if the clothes Mandy has in mind on a particular day don't meet with her color or style fancy of the moment.

But on this particular morning, Kurtis apparently decided it was his day to be obstinate -and bossy too.

Mandy had just finished folding up several loads of clean clothes, ready to take them upstairs to be put away but figured she would just select an outfit from the clothes basket downstairs for him. However, he had different -way different ideas -and stood by the door to the stairway, pointing upstairs and yelling to her, "You go! NOW! Upstairs and get clothes!"

What? Hmmmm. Little boy has no comprehension, really, about one immovable object meeting head-on with another one, equally stubborn -such as his mother can be and especially so when it is a 4-year-old shouting out these directives, ya know!

But, once stubborn little boy meets up, again and again, with one very stubborn Mommy, I do believe, eventually (hopefully sooner than later) he will learn not to mess with her!

And today, he tried the same tactic but different topic to become "little boss man" here. This morning he was a tad upset because we had the Today Show on the tv and he was insisting she should change over to the cartoon channel. Nope. Not gonna happen, little guy! So he started to throw a bit of a hissy fit and she told him if he wanted to watch cartoons, he could go up to his room and watch them there, on the tv the kids have in their room. Unfortunately, he had decided to do that would be "Yucky!" She reminded him if the cartoons would be yucky on the tv upstairs, they would also be yucky on the tv in the living room too and for a change, he decided, quite quickly as a matter of fact, that this was a non-issue item after all and dropped the ideas he'd had immediately. I love it when he sees the light like that, ya know. So much more peaceful than his sister would have been as she'd have made this a life or death issue, for sure! LOL

Today's gonna be another busy day for me now -two doctor appointments this afternoon. One is to have a needle biopsy of the thyroid done over in the Imaging Department at the hospital and the other is what the Cancer Center nurses call a "Meet and Greet" appointment with the surgeon they all pretty much unanimously told me was the best surgeon around for putting in ports for patients. (Ports, if you don't know about this, are an IV hook-up type thing, inserted just under the skin to make it easier for nurses to extract blood or run ivs on patients who, like me, are considered to be "hard sticks" patients with veins that don't like to cooperate and be found or veins that just don't respond well to these things. The first appointment doesn't sound like a fun thing -exactly -to me but I'm sure I've weathered worse or near as worse than this in my life and I've lived to tell about it so will just soldier on about that one. The other -the "meet and greet" -just a necessity so that doctor can get me worked into his surgical schedule in the very near future, ya know.

And while I'm talking now about the medical stuff a bit, and because my mind often wanders about and thinks of all kinds of weirdness -or so it seems -these days, here's something that popped into my head too.

If chemotherapy -certain forms of it anyway -cause hair loss, I wonder if chemo can also make something like say chin acne disappear too? Maybe it could be like killing two birds with one stone, ya know? Well, I don't know but you know what else?

I'm not gonna worry about it anyway!

Worry -or Not?

More thinking, more -a whole lot more -procrastinating going on here of late. Lots of questions in my mind, very few answers forthcoming though. Yeah, that's been my state, my frame of mind, a lot these past couple of days.

Some folks who know me (or have known me in the past and are no longer with me) tend to think I'm a bit daft because of some of my methodologies I've often employed. There was a little old lady in our church who I used to drive to some of her medical appointments a few years back and this lady just about worried herself to death. She worried constantly about everything and anything and she used to question me on how I could manage to NOT worry about this stuff.

I would tell her that my theory about worrying, at least then (and I'm trying to get myself fully back on this track now too) was that if I begin to think about stuff and then to worry about it all too, all I'm doing then is making myself majorly depressed and sick too and neither was something I wanted to deal with. Therefore, I tried to put as much as possible in a little compartment in the back of my brain that was labeled "Things not to worry about!"

And now, I feel like I've kind of fallen off that wagon a bit and I have to get back on it and get myself, my system, my mind, on a more even keel so I'm taking things -whether they be real issues or ones that could maybe someday be an issue of a sort, and trying to put them in that mental compartment whenever stuff crops up and deem them as non-worrying items.

For an example, right now -since a certain teenager no longer resides here with us, one of the things I feel I can put in that mental compartment and not worry about for, hopefully, a goodly number of years from now, is acne treatment products. At my age, it's a non-issue and Mandy's never had problems along those lines and the grandkids -well, right now, it's a non-issue with them too.

So I guess it's a safe thing to put in that compartment in my brain then, isn't it?

And I'm going to keep moving along with this method of stashing things into a non-thinking place and thus, eliminate all kinds of petty little things along with maybe some bigger thoughts too that I can't or just don't want to contemplate at this point in time.

Kind of like the theory I used to hold about housework and how I could go off and do all kinds of other things while the house might look like it was ready to walk away from being a big old mess. But I used to tell myself that unless my fairy housecleaning godmother came by while I was out or busy doing something else, the mess would be there, waiting for me, when I came back and felt like dealing with it. And you know what, it was always there, waiting for my return too!

And so will these things that pop in and out of my pea-brain more so than ever it seems these days.

Eventually, it will all come out in the wash and things will right themselves, one way or another.

My theory and I'm sticking to it too!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


This is something I've been doing a lot of lately and by the looks of things, will be doing a whole lot more of it too in days to come.


According to the Thesaurus, there are a couple different meanings behind this word. One is that it is chewing, gnawing or other variations along those lines and others say it means to think, to contemplate, study, brood and lots of other explanations like that.

For me, it the thinking, the contemplation aspect that I'm utilizing. I'm trying to avoid the brooding parts.

And just what is it I'm contemplating anyway.

Well, suffice it to say -as an old adage goes -it's not about the price of tea in China. Well, not exactly anyway.

My life, my schedule -if you will (and if I have anything even remotely resembling a "Schedule" in my life) of late has suddenly become filled, to the brim at that, with appointments and appointments and sheesh, more appointments!

What kind of appointments? Mainly all medical at this stage although today, I do have an appointment at noon for a meeting at our church of the Social Ministry Committee of which I am supposed to be the chairperson. I'm a bit -okay, more than a bit -discombobulated today, don't have much in the way of notes as to what direction our committee is going, what is on our coming agenda or what should be there, so folks -if you are part of this committee with me at our church, please come with lots of ideas in your minds to bring up today and hopefully, I can begin to get my mind on track then a bit to try to get things going for this important part of the ministry of our church to the parishioners as well as in outreach to the community. Suggestions are definitely most welcome and especially so today as my mind is kind of in a pretty stagnant state right now.

Last week, was a zoo for me -a total unmitigated zoo! From the early morning appointment last Wednesday at the Cancer Clinic for blood work, followed by a sit-down chat with the oncologist there about the upcoming chemo treatments to the paperwork I had to fill out and the preliminary stuff before they finally -around noon -got around to putting in the iv and beginning the first chemo treatment -which, by the way, ended abruptly after about 15 minutes when my system had a tremendous reaction to the chemo and I was eventually rushed out of the clinic and taken up the hill -by ambulance -to the emergency room at the hospital where they pumped more benadryl into me to ward of more reaction to the small amount of chemo I had received. (Seems the problem was something they mix that stuff with and it was -or so they tell me -"that stuff" they mix it with that caused the reaction, not the chemo itself. So anyway, my first actual chemo treatment now has been backed down to take place in two more weeks on the 28th of this month.

But considering the fact that the day after this failed chemo treatment I came down with a pretty ferocious head cold, I'd like to think that was a power much higher than mine or my doctors too, telling me I really didn't need, didn't want to have to contend with the after effects of chemo AND a head cold, simultaneously!

And since then, head cold and all, I've been busy fielding phone calls from family -good calls they were though, with some darned good advice and information pertaining to some of the things ahead of me in my upcoming months of medical adventures.

The latter part of last week, I got a call from the nurse at the cancer clinic telling me the doctor there wants me to see about having a port put in for ease of treatment since my veins are what the nurses (and doctors) refer to as being "bad stick." This means they often have difficulty finding a vein they can access easily to either remove blood for the many weekly blood tests I have to have and also, it means it is really difficult to find a good vein then too through which to run the chemo treatments -which in this case, this go-round -apparently is a really strong variety of chemo and is pretty harsh for those people like myself then for our veins to cope with this stuff.

Always something, isn't there though?

And my dear cousin who is also going through a lot of the same stuff right now as I am phoned me on Sunday to alert me to issues one can have too with the insertion of ports that are supposed to make our lives just a tad easier over time too. Because of things that happened to her with her port, she advised me to make darned sure that whatever surgeon I have insert the port they say I should have put in is someone who has a really good track record of doing a good job with that procedure!

And since talking to her on Sunday, I now have an appointment set up for this coming Friday afternoon to "meet and greet" one of the surgeons in this area -one that the nurses all recommended resoundingly to me too as being the best in this area for putting in ports!

That appointment on Friday will follow directly on the heels of a needle biopsy I am scheduled to have done at the imaging department of our local hospital a mere two hours earlier in the day!

This past Monday, my older daughter had the day off from work so she came up here to take me to the appointment to meet with the ear/nose/throat dude at the hospital so he could review the initial scan/test done of my thyroid about 2 weeks ago and the upshot of that visit then is the upcoming needle biopsy this coming Friday.

Yesterday -that would be Tuesday -it was yet another doctor visit for me. This time it was with the doctor in charge of radiology at the cancer clinic. Because I had radiation treatments seven years ago when I was initially diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer, there's some question about how much more radiation I can have done -safely. But that visit was nice in that this doctor sat down and talked to me about the radiation issues facing me and what I might need vs what I can actually have. He also discussed a bit more in depth about the cancer itself too -explaining a little more to me than I previously had been privvy to getting.

Based on a booklet he gave me, I gather the cancer I am dealing with now is uterine cancer. Apparently too, when I had the surgery done the end of July and they did a hysterectomy -through which they discovered there was cancer in the uterus they had removed -they were unable during that surgery to remove other things they would normally take out in that type of surgery -like lymph glands in/around the uterus -by which they would have been better able then to determine the extent, breadth, width, length, etc., of which this cancer had traveled at that time within my system. If I understand our conversation properly then this means the doctors are kind of guessing now then what stage the cancer is in -stage 2 or stage 3? Well, at least so far anyway, no one has dropped the "stage 4" words on me and I take that as a somewhat positive sign.

The doctor yesterday also wants to set up an appointment for me -for sometime this week he said -for me to have a ct scan now too so he can, hopefully, ascertain that there's nothing else going on in my abdomen or anywhere else within my old body right now that will add a few more clinkers into the already near-to-being-full trashcan of medical issues ongoing at this point in time! If they are gonna schedule this test, considering they didn't get one set up for this morning, I guess that means they'll call today and tell me to come into the imaging department either Thursday morning for the ct scan or maybe, Friday a.m. and if it comes about on Friday, I can then count on spending the entire day kind of chained to the imaging department or visiting the office of the surgeon to get his take on inserting a port into me!

Ah loverly, loverly, wonnerful, wonnerful, ain't it though?

So right now, my thoughts are to the possible complications that could muck up my life a bit more if I have the suggested radiation procedures. How quickly my hair will begin to fall out after I get the first chemo in two weeks. How much the chemo is going to have an effect on my appetite, my strength, my energy levels over the coming four-to-five months when I will be getting the chemo treatments every three weeks.

And how much time too will all of this actually buy me too?

Yes, that is also in the back of my mind and keeps popping up for me to mull over as well.

Let's face facts folks -I'm willing to go forward and try to fight all this and then some, certainly I am. But at the same time, I do wonder too if these treatments that ravage -or can do that -to a person's body, will -at my age now -leave me able to pick up and enjoy life again too?

Sure we all have to eventually face the facts of life than none of us is here forever and we have no idea when that time will come when we will be called home. Like everyone else, I do have a certain amount of trepidation in that respect. I would really like to be around a lot longer to watch my grandkids grow up a bit more. Next to having had my own three children, the grandkids have been I think probably the biggest and best blessing ever to my life and I'd like to see as much more of how they appear to be turning out anyway as is possible. And yes, that is I suppose a very selfish desire on my part too, isn't it when I think about so many people I've known over the years -family, friends, acquaintances -whose lives were cut much, much shorter than mine by accident or disease and they never had near the opportunity as I've had so far to at least know my three grandkids.

I know -life as we think of it often isn't fair, is it but I think I can cope with that -a bit grudgingly maybe, but still, I will work on that on a daily basis and try to find as many ways as is possible to enjoy every thing I can in whatever time I have left -whether it be an hour, a week, months or hopefully, years -who knows!

The key as I see it in the frame of mind I am in this morning is simply to find the good in everything I can that I may encounter. This opportunity may -after all -never present itself to me in this manner, ever again and finding something good or hopefully even funny in some of the junk that likes to clutter my path these days -well, let's just say it is a challenge at times but having a challenge available still beats the hell out of the alternative doesn't it?


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Appetite? What appetite?

Mealtime around this place are often quite interesting. Suffice it to say they can also be very frustrating too though. With two kids who seem interested mainly in having either mac'n'cheese or chicken fingers for their main meal, virtually every day of the week, it can also get more than a bit boring too.

Tonight though, I had made homemade roast beef pot pie using the leftover roast beef from our supper the other day and the leftover gravy too. That, mixed with some sliced potatoes and a can of peas and carrots, all baked in a double pie crust in the big casserole dish and well, Mandy and I regarded this meal as a feast fit for a king.

Maya ate a good bit of her serving of the pot pie but because of the speed with which she dipped her fork or spoon into the food, you could tell her heart wasn't fully into this meal near as much as Mommy or Gram were. Kurtis now -well he's really a horse of a different color when it comes to mealtime, that's for sure.

Often he will say he's gonna eat this or that item I've fixed and then when you put a dabble of it on his plate for him to give it a taste test, he forgets completely about having earlier said he'd try the new food before him.

And initially, that's what I thought was going to happen tonight as he gobbled up the serving of cottage cheese Mandy had given him and he ate half of the whole wheat roll -with butter on it -that I'd fixed for him, but when push came to shove and it was time to try the pot pie, he pulled the brakes on really fast then.

At first, that is. Then I finally convinced him to just take a little taste of the crust and he did that. Lo and behold, it was darned near magical because then he started to push the serving around a bit on his plate -foraging for more pieces of the crust, ya know, and paying no mind to whether there was a bit of meat, some potato or a pea or piece of carrot and a touch of gravy accompanying that bite of pie crust.

Okay, so my success tonight lasted then roughly about 10 minutes until he had managed to find about all the pie crust he could identify as such and then, we reverted right back to seeing his stubborn streak and the flat out refusal then to eat anymore of that dish.

Oh well, I'm still gonna bask in the fact that at least he tried a new food -new to him anyway -and ate a little bit of it before letting the contrariness settle back in on him.

Now, with respect to meals here though and the problems trying to entice the kids to eat, as if that weren't enough to deal with, somehow over the coming months, I'm going to have to figure out ways to fix dishes that will entice the kids to eat some new items and also, give myself things to eat that will be nourishing, yet low in calories, sugar, carbs and fats too, that will also be fairly easy too for my system to digest.

Sometimes I think maybe the only solution for me is just to get some good old herbal phentermine and then, cook whatever the family likes to eat but just nibble at that stuff for myself then, instead of eating my normal-sized portions.

Looking at what options are going to be ahead for me kind of reminds me of the tag line William Bendix had in the old tv show, "Life of Riley" - "What a revolting development this is?"

How to get all these things to mix and blend is gonna make for one rough and rocky road ahead for me!

Dreams of Weddings, Walks, Relaxation and Healing!

I'm dreaming –again. Or maybe I should say, “As usual.”

But this time, this dream does have a bit of substance to it.

I'm dreaming of this house -

this gorgeous beach house, The Skyhawk, for an Outer Banks vacation sponsored by Carolina Designs -for a full week the last weekend of May.

I'm dreaming that I've won the chance to spend that particular week there with my family and to be able to walk down this lane to the sandy beaches,
to laze around by the beautiful pool and to just enjoy living in the lap of the luxury of this place with the lovely bedrooms, the game room and pool table, the kitchen with windows overlooking the ocean and the shore line.

Aside from the desire to be able to relax in such a tranquil setting, I have other reasons for dreaming of being able to spend a week away from central Pennsylvania during the last weekend of May too.

My daughter Mandy's former roommate and long-time good friend is getting married that weekend and her wedding is going to be where? Well on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, that's where!

So, if my dream to be able to spend that week there sightseeing along the Outer Banks, enjoying the ocean, introducing Kurtis and Maya as well as my older grandson, Alex, to the glories of the Atlantic Coast, were to come true, Mandy and I would then also have a place lined up where we could stay so we'd easily then be able to afford to make the trip down to watch our good friends, Billie Jo and Paul, tie the knot!

I have a lot of not so nice things ahead of me this fall and over the winter months. Chemotherapy and radiation, for openers. Trying to rebuild my strength and energy levels from those things, recuperating from cancer plus watching my hair grow back (hopefully in time for the May nuptials). And the opportunity to spend a week at the Skyhawk sounds like it would be just exactly what the doctor ordered.

It definitely would be a dream come true for little old me!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Good Night and God Bless

Just a little report on things in the "fast lane" here at our house.

Seems it may have been a rather opportune thing that my first chemo treatment sort of went by the wayside. Well at least in my opinion, I see it in that way.

Why? Well simply because late Thursday afternoon, I noticed my throat getting a bit scratchy and sore and the nose was starting to act up to so I had Mandy make a quick trip to Walmart for me to get some Mucinex DM and a generic cold tablet supply. So, since Thursday, my system's been in the throes of a nasty head cold and I'm so glad -relieved actually -that I didn't have to deal with the after effects of chemo along with a head cold.

Once medical dilemma at a time is fine by me!

So now, where was I heading when I started this post? What is the significance of my title, you're probably wondering.

I've been trying the past couple of months now to indoctrinate Kurtis into saying prayers every night before he goes to bed. Nothing fancy, just the good old nite-time "Now I lay me down to sleep" prayer followed by a string of God Bless this person and that one, naming all different people in his life.

Last night, he and Maya both got their bedclothes on and he'd finished off his cup of milk that we lace with the meds for his allergies and to help him sleep soundly -or relatively so at any rate -and he came to me, crawled up in my lap which he does frequently when he's ready to go to bed now.

As he snuggled up to me, I asked him if he was going to say his prayers and he said yes. So I started out, as I do with that routine, where I say a line and he repeats it after me. We went through the "Now I lay me" prayer and when we reached the end and I said "Amen" he repeated that quite resoundingly to me.

Then he spoke up saying "And Mar-Kay?" I asked him what he meant and he repeated that again and I realized he was launching off into the "God Blesses" then, on his own. The "Mar-Kay" he mentioned there is the name of Maya's bus driver.

Okay, I said, this is good. And I asked if he had others he wanted to "God Bless" and he picked right up on that. The next name he mentioned was "Passor Carrie" (Our minister, Pastor Carrie, who he loves). After that, he had a litany of others too -Miss Randi (one of his therapists), Miss Dawn (His TSS), Miss Amanda (Maya's TSS), Miss Keddi (MIss Carrie, the teacher at his pre-school), Miss Jackie (An aide at his pre-school) and then came "And Miss Grammy and Miss Maya and Miss Mommie and Miss Ken"!

I started snickering a bit when he said "Miss Grammy" but by the time he finished up with saying "And Miss Ken" I have to admit that I howled laughing then!

The "Miss Ken" is far from being a Miss at all but rather should have been called "MR Ken" but apparently Kurtis doesn't do gender differentiations just yet.

When he finished with his list, I led him through all the others we normally do in the God Blesses -Aunt Carrie, Uncle Clate, Pappy, Poppy, Great-Grandma and everyone in our large extended family gets included at the end with a simple "God bless all my other cousins" which he says as "And all my udder cousins!"

So just so everyone within all sides of my family tree -and from his Dad's side too -you all get counted in with Kurt's God Blesses in one way or another!

And with that I'm gonna end this post too with a huge God Bless from me to all my family, all my friends -be you friends I've had for life, new friends, cyberspace friends -whatever.

May God Bless!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

From Spring Into Fall....

One of my blogger friends -Laura at Greetings from the Polebarn -had a post today that really hit home with me. She had a very frightening past few days as her Dad was diagnosed with Colon Cancer and had surgery yesterday.

I know all too well how a diagnosis like that feels. I know how it feels when it happens to involve a dearly loved family member and I know too how it feels when it happened to me and I got a diagnosis like that seven years ago and again, a little over a month ago.

But I know too how I feel now about cancer and I no longer fear it like I did for a good bit of my life.

I'm reposting something here today that I wrote in March of 2004 -a year after my first diagnosis, after chemo, radiation, surgery, more chemo too. Although the theme of this piece was pertaining to Daffodil Days and cancer and was published at that time in a little monthly local publication that is no longer in operation (The West Branch Review), because of the recent events in my life and the fears I heard in Laura's post today, I thought maybe this piece might explain a few things about my view in 2004 and now too pertaining to Cancer. If it helps anyone who is facing this disease then I will be very happy to have put this piece out here for your reading pleasure.


What’s your favorite sign of spring? Warmer days, spring-type rains, robins or, if you are like me, perhaps it is the budding of jonquils and daffodils that signal spring is here.

However, since last March, those daffodils have taken on an entirely new concept of spring for me.

Daffodils, as you may know, are the symbols for a fund-raising event for the American Cancer Society. And, a year ago this coming March 12th, I learned I was just one of millions in the country who would benefit from the years of research done to find cures for cancer.

You see, I was diagnosed on that date with colo-rectal cancer.

After having endured a myriad of intestinal and digestive problems for about fifteen months, I finally saw a doctor, who referred me to a surgeon, who scheduled me to have a colonoscopy. And the results of that procedure gave me the news that yes, I had cancer.

When my surgeon came to speak to me, as I was getting ready to be discharged, he already had made plans for me as to what procedures would be utilized for my treatment.

I was scheduled to report to the Chemo Clinic at Clearfield Hospital in two days to begin 6-7 weeks of chemotherapy and the week following the colonoscopy, I was to go to Altoona Hospital to do the preliminary paper work for radiation therapy. Then, 6 to 8 weeks after the completion of radiation and chemo, the surgeon told me I would have surgery to remove the tumor detected that morning.

Because both my parents, an aunt and an uncle had succumbed to cancer and another aunt had a colostomy back in 1991 to remove a cancerous tumor, I already knew that genetically speaking, I was at risk of developing this dread disease and for many years, I had worried about that happening.

But strangely enough, once I heard the doctor give me his diagnosis and outline the treatment plans he had made for me, a sense of calm came over me. Not that I felt cocky and sure that I was going to beat the odds against me, but rather a sense of acceptance and at peace.

I wasn’t going to worry unnecessarily about the possible outcome: what ever would be would be!

I had six weeks of chemo –with a portapack pump system that provided a continuous dosage of the chemotherapy. For six weeks I also rode the Medi-van back and forth to Altoona for radiation that would attempt to shrink the tumor. And, in my case, I was lucky that I didn’t experience all kinds of problems with nausea from the chemo. Once the radiation was completed, I did notice a big drop in my energy levels and the surgeon told me that was an after-effect from the combination of the radiation and the chemo.

In June, I had surgery which fortunately resulted only in having a colon resection and not a colostomy. Recuperation for roughly six weeks was prescribed and then I began follow-up chemotherapy one week a month for the next six months. This chemo did have more of a wallop to my system, in that it did give me problems with nausea and cramps for the week I received the treatment and sometimes for the entire week following that but in January of this year I completed that program and the chemo doctor informed me all the tests he had run showed that I am now cancer free.

This doesn’t mean that the cancer will never return as it could already be in the process of doing that and just hasn’t grown enough to be detected. But, it could also be that I will go on about my business and never have any further problems with this disease too.

Whatever the final outcome is though, I am very grateful for having been diagnosed and at least for the time being, cured.

I no longer view cancer the same way as I did before either. Not that I would welcome a return visit of the disease, but I know that treatment is often available and yes, more and more frequently, the outcome from these treatments is very favorable too!

So when you see someone selling those beautiful daffodils, think about how much help you are giving to people like me, all over the country, through research, treatments, providing various forms of assistance to cancer patients and their families comes from purchasing a bunch of daffodils.

They not only brighten up your home but help make the lives of so many people much more beautiful. They also provide the hope, like spring gives us too, of many more wonderful days to spend basking in the sunshine of our families and friends!

Who knows, maybe someday through the funds raised from the purchases of these lovely flowers cancer may even be totally eradicated.

Who knows too, maybe you will, as did, view spring and daffodils, in a whole new vein.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

And So, The Chemo Begins!

Last Wednesday was Maya's big day in the sun with the first day of school and her first day as a FIRST GRADER! And she's still basking in that status and loving every day of this new adventure too. Cross your fingers, say some prayers as well, that this attitude is one that holds in her for the next 12 plus years now too!

Last Wednesday was also my cousin Nancy's first day of something new as well -Chemotherapy. She says she's handling it quite well thus far and was to go back today for her second treatment. She did tell me when we talked on Saturday and again yesterday, that they will be upping her dosage today so if you are of the praying type, say a prayer (or two, more or many) that Nancy's treatments go smoothly and do exactly what they are supposed to do as well -kill those bad cancer cells -all of 'em, if you please!

Today was also MY big day too. And boy, it sure did live up to that of being a "BIG" day, that's for sure. However, I'd much prefer that my big days didn't go quite like this one.

I arrived at the Cancer Center bright and early (for me, 8:30 a.m. is very bright, way to early, too. But I was there with my eyes at least partially open and having had some tiny benefit of gulping one little cup of coffee down before leaving the house. Because I was going to turn in another request for blood work for my family doctor (this pertaining to blood sugar stuff), I had not had any food and the coffee, a lot of places will allow that before the blood test provided it is only black coffee -none of the flavored creamers, milk or sugar for you folks who like to put those additives in your caffeine.

Got the blood work done and then, off to wait for the doctor to come talk to me about the cancer, the chemo and what I have to do, what to expect over the coming weeks. You know -all that good stuff that often isn't the nicest or easiest stuff to contend with but somehow, when you are in that predicament, you just put on your big boy or girl panties and move on however life -and medicine -may take you. (There are worse things that can happen to a person besides the sicky and yucky junk that comes along with cancer chemo treatments. Don't believe me? Just ask anyone who has lost a loved one, had a major disaster in their lifetime -flood, tornado, horrific car crash, work-related injuries, mine cave-ins -to name a few -and cancer and chemo treatments then become a walk in the park by comparison. Well, that's my theory anyway.)

We discussed a bit about the cancer -what stage it is (he says definitely stage 2, probably though stage 3. Which isn't an ideal stage to have handed to you verbally, but it's still a much more workable thing that if he'd said "Stage 4" ya know.) He asks me about what chemo I had 7 years ago (a different doctor then) and where I had radiation then too. Then he asks if I have a "Port" installed, which I didn't then, still don't but apparently he is going to request that I get that done sometime between today and my next treatment if it is at all possible. I'm not crazy about having a port but I can see and understand the benefit of that because my veins are sometimes more than a bit spidery and also, they dearly love to play head games too with nurses trying to stick needles into them too as they run and play "Hide and Seek" or "Catch me if you can" ya know. So I am surmising that is probably going to get added to my agenda of things I have to have done -and soon.

So after our talk, I am taken down to the chemo area with these nice, comfy recliners, trays attached to them, a tv screen that is brought down to my eye level and a remote control to watch pretty much whatever program I want on the screen. Sort of all the comforts of home. And then some too -as the volunteer (Chris I think is her name) comes by and I remember her from my chemo of 7 years ago this summer/fall/winter and we greet-each remembering the other's face but not the name right off hand, you see.

Chris brings me a cup of black coffee and two packets of cookies -not the best thing exactly for someone who should be steering clear of the heavy-duty sugar items, I know. Then the nurse comes with her sheaf of papers she has to fill out and go over with me as to what to expect. By this time I have also been made aware I will be getting six chemo treatments over the next 18 weeks time -at 3 week intervals per treatment. That should, by my calculations take me up to early-to-mid-January I think. And I realize too that this chemo is going to be some of the much more high-powered, really potent stuff, compared to what I received 7 years ago. This could be compared to the heavy-duty foods zoos give to the really big cats or other mammals there of the larger varieties and the chemo of 7 years ago in that picture would be like getting really soft, chewy kitten food ya know.

The nurse then sets me up to have some stuff run into the iv setup they have in my right arm -not chemo just yet as that is now being mixed up specially for me in the pharmacy lab and will be arriving in the chemo area in oh, probably a half-hour or so and then the games will really be ON!

Chris returns to ask if I would like lunch and she gives me the options available that she will then prepare for me. I order a sandwich equivalent to an egg and sausage mcmuffin, tomato soup and vanilla pudding along with another cup of coffee. After she brings my food, she goes back to her little area then and returns with four boxes of turbans that the cancer clinic provides to all cancer patients -free -and you can pick as many as you want in lots of different pretty colors too. She also brings to mannekins -heads, that is -each sporting a wig, styled in short waves with brownish-black hair that is pretty well sprinkled with grey too. So I select one of them too then because by that point in time I have also learned that I will lose my hair -all of it -and not just that on the top of my head too, but ALL of my body hair! Wonnerful, wonnerful an'a one an'a two an'a thank you too to Lawrence Welk for that last line!

Finally, around noonish or slightly after the chemo cocktail arrives and the nurse begins to hook it up. It starts running and she tells me this cocktail will run through my veins taking a lengthy course that will last about 3 hours and when it finishes, I then get another type of chemo but that one only takes about 1/2 hour to run it's little race to clear these nasty cells from their hiding places in my system.

After seven years, the only thing I really remember feeling or sensing when the chemo began to run into me was as it passed near my neck/mouth, I also had a sensation in my neck/throat area which also seemed that I could taste and even smell the stuff when it passed through there and I wondered if I would feel that with this stuff today. But I didn't notice anything like that.

However, within a few minutes I did feel various other sensations ranging from early sensations of nausea but yet, not really nausea. Then there was the ache/pain that sprang up and zipped back and forth across one leg to the other, around the small of my back and tailbone and with that, a feeling or aching that no amount of trying to shift my weight off my behind seemed to help. But when I began to break out into this really big cold sweat and I could feel nerves being someone uncontrollable by me with the legs and hands kind of feeling like they were trembling inside me that one of the nurses happened to look over at me in that chair and she apparently hit the staff's on private panic button or silent code alarm or some such because in short order, almost every nurse in the unit plus the oncology doctor were all swarming about me fire questions at me in rapidity that my pea brain could hear them but just couldn't get any words to come out to answer them or explain what was happening to me.

I won't lie to you and tell you this was nothing, wasn't scary at all. No, I won't because it was a bit scary but mainly because I couldn't answer them, just couldn't get my voice to be heard because it seemed to be all muffled deep inside me. I was trying to talk but the volume was almost at a mute level -or so it seemed to me. Who knows, maybe I was answering them okay or even on a really loud level but I just wasn't hearing it as such.

The doctor and nurses determined -they were fairly certain on this -that I had apparently had some type of allergic reaction to this form of chemo so the nurse had, wisely, shut it off immediately and they had given me an injection of benedryl to counter the allergy effects.

And then the doctor asked the nurse to request transport for me -meaning to get an ambulance crew to come in and remove me, take me up to the emergency room where they could handle the whole situation better than could the people at the cancer clinic area.

And that's how I ended up spending about 3 1/2 more hours, mainly asleep, on a bed in the emergency room of the local hospital today and how my first chemo treatment that was supposed to take 3 1/2 hours, total, ended up with my having been in the cancer clinic and the emergency room then from 8:30 a.m. until around 4:30 p.m. today!

So now, I will hear from the folks at the cancer clinic tomorrow about a few other things -like when they will reschedule this chemo treatment or will the doctor have me set up to have a port installed before my next schedule treatment and oh, lots of other things I supposed will also be addressed tomorrow in that lovely phone call.

But right now, I am awake, drinking coffee of course and enjoying that delightful flavor -savoring it, basking in it really -and as the benedryl they gave me continues to wear off now tonight, it does seem too that I can almost feel my eyes, opening just a bit more, my senses returning and becoming a bit more alert as I am awakening again and the time -just past 10 p.m. -my normal time to generally wake up, of course.

Now maybe I can get a few more stitches in yet tonight to make up for the ones I should/could/would have been putting into this tabletopper had I not made an unexpected visit off to my own very private little Idaho lala land!

And you know too, all's well that end's well. Right?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Labor Day - Break!

I've been busy the past two weeks -working on this- my latest project that I completed on Sunday afternoon.

Because of the size of this tablecloth, I can't get a shot of the full item. It is a 50x50 inch tablecloth though, titled "Showtime in the Snow" and has a snowman in each corner, a row of blue snowflakes along each side and a square in the center consisting of more blue snowflakes. Really a cute piece -if I do say so myself - and really didn't take all that long (only 2 weeks) to complete it.

This is the tabletopper I completed just prior to doing the Snowman cloth. (This one took a bit longer though -like almost 4 weeks to finish -but then too, it had a whole lot more stitching involved in it!

This is a piece, about 33x33 inches and is a nordic Christmas design. It was supposed to be embroidered completely in a gold metallic thread but after trying to work with that stuff that came with the kit, I decided it would take me the better part of year, working with that miserable thread. So I went and got some floss, in the closest shade I could find to the gold metallic thread and it still took me four weeks, at least, to complete this puppy!

Now, I'm working on another tabletopper which has a trimmed Christmas tree in each corner. Hopefully, this one won't take quite as long to complete it though.

This past week marked a big event for Miss Maya -her first day in school as a FIRST GRADER! And boy, was she excited about that too!

So far, the comments written by her teacher in the little notebook that goes back and forth from school to home in her backpack have all been good. She even got a really nice notation from her teacher when, on her second day in this classroom, the teacher said she got extra points for having helped a classmate. For Maya, that's a really good start because the social skills are not always her strong points. (At home, she frequently forgets about being nice to her little brother!)

One day last week, when she had done something that was actually a nice gesture on her part to Kurtis, I complimented her on that, reminding her that is how she should always be to Kurtis -nice, comforting, helpful, etc., and loving too because, after all he is her baby brother and that's how big sisters should be to them. Her response to me about that was "Gee thanks, Gram, for telling me that cause I didn't know that before!" Hmmmm. Maybe the memory thing doesn't apply to how to act with little brothers, huh?

On Labor Day, Mandy, her friend, Ken, the older grandson, Alex and Maya, Kurtis and I went over to DelGrosso's Amusement Park in Tipton, PA. It's a nice, clean family amusement park about 40 miles from here and they had a Labor Day Special of $3.99 per person admission fee that was good for all rides plus the water rides too in the park all day on Labor Day. A price too good to pass up, for sure!

Although Kurt and Maya very much enjoyed the rides and the park, I think poor Alex got the raw end of the deal today though as the lines for the rides for older kids/adults were long -very long -so he didn't get to ride much and ended up just tagging along with the adults, watching Kurt and Maya having a great time.

When we left the park, Mandy and Ken took Alex back home to Bellefonte and I took Kurt and Maya home with me. I promised them a little "sumprise" (Maya's word for surprise) and we stopped at McDonald's -always a treat for them -where they had McNuggets and I had a double cheeseburger that tasted pretty darned good too, I must say! Kurt did eat probably two of the chicken nuggets and a smattering of french fries while Maya polished off about 8 of the chicken pieces! Both kids though were very good while we were eating -no fussing, no feuding either! The no feuding thing is something usually generated by Maya, who feels it is her calling in life to totally boss Kurtis around which then usually results in his telling her, in a pretty loud, clear voice too, "You don't tell me what to do!" That sentence, along with the standard "NO!" seems to be the things Kurtis knows best and uses that much of his vocabulary the most too!

Although I did start walking a bit this past week -even took the dog for a fairly long walk one day too -I am still not back up to my standard walks either alone or with Sammy. Last week, I had several days that were really filled with doctor visits, including one on Tuesday when I had to go back to Pittsburgh for my final post-op checkup then Wednesday, I had to have a thyroid test that involved being at the radiology department at 10 a.m. to have the dye administered and then, return there at 4 p.m. for them to actually do the test. In between those times, I also had a check up with my family physician too. Plus, the thyroid test also involved having to return to the lab on Thursday morning for the last of the images to be done to complete that test.

This week -on Wednesday -I get to go to the Cancer Treatment Center at 8:30 a.m. for blood work, followed by a check-up by the doctor there and then, at 9:30 (depending on the results of the blood work) I will begin getting the chemo treatments I have to have as a result of the findings from the pathology reports from the surgery last month. As yet, I have no idea how many chemo treatments I will have to have, the type of chemo I will get is still an unknown too nor do I know if this time around I might have some other side effects from the chemo that I didn't have the last time I had chemo -seven years ago this summer! Lots of unknowns there that I will no doubt get answers about on Wednesday morning so stay tuned for the updates on that in the near future.

Tomorrow -or rather since the clock on the computer now reads 1:56 a.m. -today, Kurtis will return to his pre-school program now too. Ah, four days out of the week with relative peace and quiet from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. -Tuesdays thru Fridays! Lovely thing to look forward to ya know! Although, to be really honest, when the kids are away at school, much as I do enjoy that there is no one I have to worry about then for 4.5 to 5 hours on those days, and yes, aside from the constant of the tv playing (I use that to tell time so I don't have to get up to check the clock, ya know), I still miss not having both the kids here, harassing each other, making messes that generally only one of the two will help to clean up afterwards too. But, I learned last week that the reason Maya doesn't want to help clean up toys and such is because it is not part of her job description for a first grader to do things like that!

When she rattled that response off to me the other night -as I was trying to convince her and Kurtis to clean up the toys off the living room floor, I was more than a bit taken aback by that piece of information. So I asked her then to tell me what her job entails anyway. She told me she is "Supposed to go to school, study, learn, do homework and then, make a lot of money!"

So that's how it works, huh? I'm still waiting for the "make a lot of money" part to come true!


Thursday, September 02, 2010

Slow start

Remember how I've been doing a lot of walking since my primary care physician gave me an ultimatum back in December that I'd best start watching my sugar and cholesterol intake and also, that I needed to start some kind of exercise program to and lose some weight?

Up until about a week prior to my surgery, I had been doing quite well with my exercise program of choice -walking! I had decided this was about the only form of exercise I could deal with the best and so, I began walking Sammy, our dog, during the winter months and I was pretty faithful too about doing that unless the weather was totally inclement -like cold, cold rain, sleet or worse yet, freezing rain. Snow, wind, really, really cold temps didn't keep me from walking Sammy and during the summer months, only heavy rain with lightning and thunder kept me inside then too.

Heck, on one of the hottest days of the year, I logged my longest walk -which was almost 5 miles, round trip, down to the Red Mo Bridge in my favorite ghost town, Peale.

I have however, been a bit on the slow side since I had the surgery -both in my movements in general and also, in getting back to my walking routine.

This week though, I did try to get back to the walking thing though on Monday when I logged in a big 1.36 miles, round-trip and then today, I got really brave and Sammy and I took our first walk -post-operative -together. We walked down to Peale and back which amounted to just shy of 2 miles, round-trip. I missed out on walking Tuesday and Wednesday because of doctor appointments so have some catching up to do there I guess.

I was figuring that tomorrow (Friday) I could get in a good walk with Sam though because the initial weather reports were that the temperatures would be a bit cooler than they were today -which was VERY hot. However, in watching the late news tonight, I see the reason the temps will be dropping tomorrow is because we're supposed to get some rain in the afternoon. According to the forecaster this rain is coming our way complements of the storm out in the Atlantic right now -good old Hurricane Earl!

I confess too that I was a bit disappointed when I saw that rain symbol in tomorrow's forecast too cause I do enjoy those walks -whether they are by myself or with Sam along for company. But what the heck ya gonna do when your issues are with the weather forecasts anyway. Sure as heck can't sue Mother Nature can you?

Even the very best lawyers couldn't bring suit against her but after watching the forecast tonight and in videos they used showing the size of Earl, the area expected to be impacted by this Hurricane even though he has been downgraded now to a Category 2 storm, I'm thinking there could be a bunch of other accidents and such that a lot of folks in Earl's path might just have a need for a good offshore injury lawyer due to the storm's aftermath, ya know.

Thankfully though, the good news for this area though is that the rest of the Labor Day weekend is supposed to be very nice here -sunny, warm, bright and just right!

Mandy is planning a big event -if all goes well -for us for Monday. This is something we know for sure that both kids will enjoy greatly too.

A trip over the mountain to the amusement park just on the other side of Tyrone, in Tipton -to DelGrosso's! They are having a great special rate on Monday of tickets selling for $3.99 for children, or adults, and that price covers all rides, all day!

Since we missed going to the agency's big picnic day at this park back in June -cause it rained here that day -and the kids were really upset over missing out on getting to go on all the great rides they have there -she figured this would be our last hurrah for this season, ya know!

So here's hoping, if I get up early enough and am able to get out for a little walk maybe early in the morning, then kick the distance up a notch on Saturday and Sunday, by Monday I'll have the legs in decent shape to hold up for a day of chasing the kids from one ride to another and listening to their happy squeals and be able to share lots and lots of laughter with them then.

And, here's hoping too though that Hurricane Earl doesn't hit the eastern seaboard too hard!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

How's That Work?

Well, the first day of school for our FIRST GRADER here is now over and done -history! She survived apparently quite well cause she only gave a minimal of excuses about why she shouldn't have to go to bed when Mom said to head upstairs and then, after a round of hugs and kisses, she and Kurtis both shuffled off to Buffalo, ya know!

On Monday, Mandy took Maya up to the school as Maya's new teacher for this year was going to be there and that way, Maya got a chance to meet him, know what her new teacher looks like, where she will sit, in what room, what bus she will take and all that good stuff.

It also gave her a chance to talk to him and kind of get a bit acquainted too. But ya know, with Maya, things like that have a tendency to work the other way where it is the other party who has the opportunity to see how Maya reacts too. And boy, according to Mandy, Miss Maya gave this guy an earful!

Mandy thinks, after listening to Maya ask her incessant questions -about everything and anything -that a good work opportunity for her may exist down the line as an interrogator for the U.S. Government. Yeah, she asked pretty much that many questions.

The one Mandy and I liked the best though came about when she asked the teacher what types of math problems they would be working on and he told her "Oh a little addition, a little subtraction." And to that she then informed him that she would like to work on fractions because she likes them! Mandy said the teacher flashed her a quizzical look when Maya told him that and Mandy nodded to him, saying that yes, she does indeed like to work with fractions.

Glad he got a chance to meet her in advance now, isn't he? I hope so anyway.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (cough, cough -this place is anything but a ranch. A barn at times maybe.) Mandy and I have been giving a lot of thought about an event upcoming next May and that would be the wedding of her old roommate and former h.s. classmate too. If I have all the details straight -which I might not but anyway, I have till the end of May to figure them out I suppose -BJ and Paul are getting married over Memorial Day Weekend.

Now that sounds like a nice time to plan a nice wedding, don't you think? It would all be easy-peasy to deal with too if they were coming back home here to get married but they aren't.

They are getting married in North Carolina and I think someplace in the Nag's Head area.

Neither Mandy nor I have ever been to North Carolina -that's for openers. But we'd both love to be able to go down there and be there for this wedding.

So I did a bit of nosing around, on-line, trying to get a bit of information on hotels, motels, beach homes, condos -you know, whatever is available. And judging by what I saw -price wise -we'd probably have as good a chance at getting financing for a unit listed under the Outer Banks foreclosures as we will of finding a place to stay there that we can afford!

Of course, we do still have what, nine months to try to put a few coins aside and save up for a place for at least a two-day stay but shucks, when neither of us has been there before, and with that area being the home of Kitty Hawk of early flying fame, plus great beaches and all that, it would be kind of nice to see if we can scrounge around and find something for more than two days and a night, wouldn't it?

Of course, just to throw yet another little monkey wrench into our ideas there's also the issue of travel and would either her car or my old jeep be up to a trip that far too? Gonna have to do a lot of thinking -and planning -about this whole event ya know!

And who knows, we might just be able to work something out if we work on this together.

That's how that works, ya know.

Scary Awakening!

I've been trying to adopt some better living methods and one of these it to give up my old, old habit of staying up till the wee hours of the morning.

Thankfully, I am sleeping a bit better now -and can usually sleep for four hours now without a wake-up bathroom call -which is big progress over the hour and a half to two hours it was just a few short weeks ago.

Last night, I went to bed shortly before 1 a.m. and did fall asleep fairly quickly. However, my sleep was rudely interrupted between 3 and 4 a.m. and boy, I do mean RUDELY too!

I just about had the living daylights scared out of me when I was awakened by something very cold and very wet pressing against my elbow!

What the heck? Took me a few seconds to figure out what this was that had just pressed against me and woke me up, ya know.

Then I realized it was just Sammy, moving up a bit on my bed and he had just "cold-nosed" me!

I was so wide awake from that experience that I worried a bit at first that I wouldn't be able to fall back to sleep but thankfully, I did and then when I did wake up later it was almost 7 a.m. and time for Mandy and Maya to rise and shine to get Miss Maya ready for her first day of school in the FIRST GRADE! Can you believe that? First Grade!!! My sweet little granddaughter is gonna start FIRST GRADE today!!!

When she came downstairs, the look on her face was absolutely priceless as she was all SMILES -from ear to ear! She was so happy and excited over this big -and new -experience today. Just made me wish all kids could be that happy and excited over starting school.

I took a couple pictures of her, all dressed up in her "First Day of School" special outfit but right now, good old blogger won't open and let me post them so I'm gonna publish this post now without the pics. But maybe a bit later, Blogger will be nice to me and let me post 'em so you can see for yourself how cute she looked and how happy and excited she was too!

Finally got Blogger to allow me to post these photos!

Have a great first day, Baby Girl, in First Grade!