Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Friday, July 16, 2010

Walking around the Yard or Oh dam

I have been having the pain in my upper back again.  This is how the whole medical journey of this adventure began.  So I tried to take over the counter stuff and then moved to the perscription ibuproben.  I had to back off of that and had finally stopped taking anything during the day because it upset my stomach too much.  

So today, which happened to be bagel Friday and being National ice cream month, oh and well national  hot dog month but we didn't celebrate that today, it was also ice cream Friday.  

And I have been very good about eating.  Ok, I do have to make myself eat and for the first time ever I get to choose the higher carb, higher calorie choice.  Now I am lucky enough to have been blessed with good genes and enough neurosis's to stay on the normal to thinner side, and when very active at the Opera House or gardening I can almost look scrawny.  And pretty much I am trying hard to keep that in mind and not go there.  But I don't do anything physical like I am used to, so I don't have much of an appetite. So I celebrated Bagel Friday and enjoyed a half of an asiago cheese bagel and then a heath klondike bar this afternoon.  And I had lunch today with Debbie and Steve at LaFiesta, and then I came home and fixed a pizza for the kids and I ate 2 pieces.  And I just drank a glass of chocolate milk, but now my friends are all saying that I should be adding more fat into my diet, and I know they mean healthy fats.  I don't eat a lot of fat in my diet because I mostly eat lettuce.  And fruits and veggies and even chicken and fish.  But now I get to eat Mexican food and enjoy the sour cream, of course the guacamole is healthy fat.  So I am trying to add in a special treat if I want like a klodike heath bar and trying to eat bigger portions and enjoying more rice and bread (yes it is brown jasmine rice and whole grain bread) and yes, each meal I will have healthy food and I will eat.  Geez, who would ever have thought I would be saying that?!?!?!

So, back to the pain, but for just a minute.  I had all I could take by 4:00 and thought it is Friday and I do not think that I can live like this through the entire weekend, so I told everyone in the office that I was leaving and I drove to the doctors.  Note, that I got lost, and that is not because I didn't know where I was going or that it is hard to get there, I just got confused.  End of note.  So I get there and there is this obvious sign right at the check in window, " We do not accept walk in patients. "  What does that mean?  And since I am just "walking in" am I breaking some rule?  And I hate to impose, and really what are they going to be able to do, but I am in tears from the pain, and I was just like, I can do this.  I have to do this.  And I walk up to the counter and I say, "I know you do not allow walk in patients, but I don't have an appointment but I I was hoping that maybe...." and the sweet girl at the front desk, says that I am not a walk in patient she remembers me from Monday morning.  Whew!  Relief!! To remember me after one visit, and how many people do they see in a week?  Admittedly Mary, Judy and I are pretty memorable.  So she says to hold on a minute and then comes back and says the doctor would like to talk to me.  Panic time!  I shouldn't be at the doctors without one of my team members, preferably both.  I don't pay attention.  I don't listen.  I am in pain, what if he tries to tell me something and I don't want to hear it?  Geez!

So they take me back, weigh me of course, even with out an appointment, don't miss the scales!  And I get to see the Doc.  So I explain how the pain is back like in the beginning and he asks me about it and then pushes on my back, push release, push release, push OUCH  that is the spot.  Amazing how they can find it in three pushes.  So he asks some more questions and then says he would like to review the test results with me.  Where is Mary and Judy?  Oh, not there.  Whose fault is that?  Well, not theirs!  Not really mind, although I could have called either one of them earlier in the day and asked them to come in and take me to the doctor, but no, I kept trying to push through and get my end of the month and FY reports done.  

Just cut to the chase, no stomach lining cancer - good.  No breast cancer - good.  It does not appear that I have bone cancer - good, oh wait.  I have Matasized cancer on the bone from an unknown source.  Oh for goodness sake.  You have to be kidding, now I have matasized cancer on the lung and bone from an unknown source.  Geez, couldn't we just fine the source and treat that before I end up with, yes, I admit I said it, toe nail cancer, or hair cancer.  I mean come on, Mary is right, I feel like Rich's Mercedes, he takes it in for a small issue and they find a thousand dollar problem on top of that, every time.  And I mean every time.  I guess my only response is well, at least I am being compared to a Mercedes!  I am so frustrated!  And this is why I don't go to the doctor, and don't tell me anything about early detection, etc.  I understand the need, and I understand people with risks making sure to keep on things.  But I never thought I was an at risk person.  I am physically active, eat healthy, most closely like a Mediterranean diet, veggies, fruits, lots of garlic, reasonable portions, red wine, hot tea, herbal, green and black, rotating as my tastes change and I drink water.  I try to drink 8 - 8 oz glasses a day, and I do pretty good.  But that is mostly because I can see the difference in my skin and over all how I feel when I drink enough water, and I am not a napper, but I am pretty regular about 8 - 9 hours of sleep each night.  Well, until lately, and no it is not anxiety, although common sense that is heightened.  But mostly because I am uncomfortable.  So no, I don't do doctors of any type, and honestly in this situation, no one would have found this any sooner then they did, because if you are not looking  for the specific symptoms you aren't going to find it, and these are not symptoms that you would say, Hey, lets run a bone scan, what the heck!

I told Mary that I still believe that I will have a life after the spot treatment radiation that we will go to meet with the doctor on Monday at 8:30 to find out how soon they want to start.  But I don't know what will be left of me.  And sweet Ms Moon, says something like, "Darling you are like one of the plants you love so much.  In the winter you don't see it, there is nothing but the remains of last seasons debris, but then in the spring you wait and wait and all of a sudden you see that first sprig of green.  Spring green, which she knows is one of my most favorite shades of green, and before you know it you have a new plant, different, maybe bigger and more beautiful, so don't worry, you will still be here after all of this and you will be new and more beautiful." and that is exactly what I need to hear, and the pain is still there because I have not left the doctors and filled my persciptions so nothing has changed pain wise, but I do feel better.   

And then we have a very serious discussion about what if they decide to do a PTscan.  Should I take Maggie my 14 year old, or maybe Henry, my Manx cat that is so loving and smells good.  And then we laugh, and I know that we are both holding on to each other through the phone, and I need to get a hug from my Ms Moon.  The sweetest Ms Moon.  So I call Judy and tell her what I have found out, and she is my warrior and she is calm, and ok, this is just another piece of the journey, am I ok?  Yeah, you are ok Kathleen, and I feel stronger because I have Judy, and I call Rich and we laugh about his car, and I feel more like me, because Rich and I are so much alike, and then I call my brothers and by now I am sort of in a ranting kind of mode, but I hang up quick and then I have my meds and I come home and put the pizza in the oven.  Call Vicki, laugh, joke, cry a little hold on to her voice and we talk about normal things and she calculates again how soon she can be here.  And I want her here, but we have to plan this around her work.  In this economy it does not make sense for her to loose any of her clients, because she may have to move her to take care of me at some point, but I hope she visits before that, because I plan on the two of us being old woman when she finally moves here.  She has to be closer to her grand kids while they are young.  Like Mary needs to be near Owen, and I long to have the young ones here also.  

And then I called Herb in Atlanta and tell him what I have found out.  And I take the pills, and I am still in pain, but it is bearable.  And hopefully by tomorrow after I have taken my steroids and the pain meds, it will be back to uncomfortable, and that I can live with.  But Mother was on steroids and she would gain weight, and I have a very crooked back and extra weight, even a little is uncomfortable, and I have salt and pepper hair that I keep hoping will turn snow white, but it hasn't yet, and if I take steroids will I bloom up to the size, and virtue of my gray hair, look like an elephant, or a hippo or a rhinoceros?  Geez!  too much to deal with.  But I will deal with it.  And yes, it just gets bleaker and bleaker, geez.  I mean come on, this wee metathesized malignant happy party cell thingie that is to small and cowardly to come out and face me for an open debate or negotiation is sure being a pain in the neck.  Actually the C6 or did he say C7 vertebrate?  See this is why I need Judy or Mary there.  And oh yeah, my second rib next to the sternum on the left side of my chest  So spot radiation, and then chemo after that, and if, just if they are able to figure out the origin, who knows where or what that is, so that would have to be considered before any protocol could be developed to deal with that.  Oh, yeah and now I have to do treatments every 4 weeks of some kind of IV injection of something to strength my bones that the cancer is robbing of calcium.

So instead of dealing with anything I take the three pills, which is already a lot of pills considering I have not started any of the treatments yet, even if one is only half a steroid pill, and then the kids and I eat pizza, and then I walked around my yard, and touched the flowers in my garden and watched the semi domesticated bunnies hopping through the gardens gleefully noshing on my perennials and I make sure that Jeff and the girls are snug in the coop and there are bunnies lounging about.  And Bob is there with a ball.  And Luna is rubbing against my leg and the hummer and butterflies are doing the nectar dance around each other, the hummer, protective and aggressive and fat as a butterball, the butterflies glorious in their scales of many colors oblivious to the hummer and her snipping ways.  And once again I am transported to a place of gratefulness.  Grateful that even though they keep finding things wrong, damn it.  I have so many people around me, and they are holding back their tears, and cracking jokes, and telling me about their days, and then my friend Polly called me from Michigan.  She is blond, she is beautiful, she is married to a great guy, a pilot who is not an aerial applicator, but who cares, she is no longer in pesticide registration.  No, she is so capable that they were able to do away with 17.5 people in a Division and just leave her, her assistant and a  part time person who handles the budget.  I mean how amazing that they could replace a whole division with just Polly.  Not really, not if you knew this funny, and I mean Vicki kind of wickedly awesome funny woman who has had more and I mean more then her fair share adventures in the medical world.  And we laugh and I stay up late and now I am back to trying to get this all out of me.  That is what this journal does for me.  It lets me deal with whatever is going to happen next, by writing it down, sending it out to the ether and releasing it.  If I need to remember something, hopefully I will have mentioned it in a way that gives me what I will need to deal with whatever will come next.

And I still do not feel the need to ask "Why me?"  Does that even matter?  And I have not turned to voodoo or other alternative methods, because that just sounds stressful, fighting with the insurance companies, travelling, dealing with people that are more free spirited.  No, I have Mary, Judy and well, all of my friends for that.  I want a doctor who is more scientist then emotional. 

But as long as I can walk around my yard, or even just look at my gardens from my windows I will be grateful.  I have put some pretty potted plants around my good air stream trailer along with my plastic pink flamingos, so if I have to spend much more time resting, I may switch rooms with Vicki and Dad (they share the guest room, never both being here at the same time)  But this room has big windows looking out towards my beloved Air Stream and my old fashion garden and the lovely front yard with the shade from pine, maple, magnolia, cherry laurel and oaks.  I am planting camellias and azaleas and more magnolia and dogwood, redbuds, crepe myrtles and lots of old fashioned flowers and it is a lovely view, and so I have my plans.  Damn.  Now on my bones.  Damn.  Oh, well, I can do this, and next weekend is TOSAC bringing the Great American Trailer Park Musical to the Opera House and I am lining up the wait staff, and we are all friends, and we will have as much fun waiting as we would sitting around a circle laughing together, and we will be at our beloved Opera House, and maybe at some point I will go back stage and talk to Mr. Perkins and see if he can put in a good word for me.  He is the man who built our beloved building, more then a hundred years ago, but he is as much a part of our group as anyone here with a body.  

And I will be fine.  Just more of an adventure that I had hoped for, but shoot if you are going to take the ride, you might as well pull your big girl panties out of your purse and put them on and go for the whole trip, whooping and smiling and laughing, because you don't have a choice if you get it, just how you deal with it.

it is midnight.  So late, so very late for me.  But I am exhausted, in less pain, but I have finally managed to ramble it out of my mind and on to these pages.  And now the weekend, and dinner with Janak and Geeta and Baa, and life just keeps on rolling along, I might as well hang on and go for the whole ride.


  1. A good friend has had bone mets for years and is doing well. She had radiation and chemo. Hers was in the back as well. There are good treatments out there. I can give you her email if you want. She is a scientist and a fierce intelligent woman. I like your attitude.

  2. First- yesterday after you called me I kept almost crying and then not and it gave me a headache and I'm not going to do that any more, okay? If I feel like crying, even if you are there, I'm just going to cry and you will understand that it is just heart-melt as someone said yesterday and not sadness. And if you need to cry, you can too because I am quite sure that your heart is doing some melting too. And overflowing and so forth.
    There is no way to be sad around you, Kathleen, and that it is one of the reasons I fell in love with you. But it's overpowering sometimes, this knowledge that you are having to deal with all of this stuff that you are not inclined to deal with (who would be?) although I am blown away at how honestly and freely and fully you ARE dealing with it and that makes me want to cry too.
    I could go on forever but no, that's not what comments are for.
    I'll simply say that I love you and that it helps ME for you to be sharing these words so generously. Every one of them, every bit of them, all of them.
    So good morning, dear! Isn't it a beautiful morning? I love you!

  3. Best wishes to you, Kathleen, and all your good friends. xx

  4. YOU are an amazing woman. I can hear it all the way up here in NY.

    I love your take on this whole thing, and though I'm sure sometimes you don't feel grateful or optimistic or fearless, it's all in there somewhere. I am part scientist part spiritualist and I truly believe that your energy will help you heal.

    You and Ms Moon and I bet many of your crew down there are Steel Magnolias. I didn't like the movie, but I love the metaphor.

    Oh. And your garden sounds like heaven.


    ps. you hold a special place in my heart, as your gift of chickens to Ms. Moon was the beginning of my yellow brick road

  5. I think I would place myself at the biggest window of your house with the best view of your beautiful yard with the most comfortable chair you have. Even if that means sitting in the kitchen! There is nothing more peaceful than watching the beauty of a yard you have planted and nurtured. Better than a book or TV.
    Peace to you,

  6. My mom's breast cancer presented as mets all over her lymph system, just boom there it was, and she had recurrence in the spine and had a second round of treatment. That was three years ago, and she's here, healthy, and busier than me. Your attitude reminds me of hers, no sense grumbling is her motto, and she has always focused on what she can do, not what she can't. Some days she is tired and achy and on those days she rests. When she's feeling good, she goes like the everready bunny. She leaves for Alaska in August to scratch some more of her travel itch. She's 73 and mentors other new cancer patients in between all her other volunteer work and tending a yard full of flowers. There is a power in tending a garden isn't there?
    You're blessed with a good attitude and a great team. I hope the meds keep the pain in check. With mom there was a lot of fiddling to find the right one and the right dosage.
    Wishing you some pain relief and looking forward to pictures of the flamingos and your flowers.

  7. Sister Dear, I want to ditto what Ms Moon said. Mary thank you so much for all your doing for my dear sister.

  8. I admire your outlook more than I can say. I love how you and Ms. Moon crack jokes about cancer. Thinking of you, and wishing all your pain away.