Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A better day

Yesterday and today have been so much nicer days.  I have not been emotional or cranky or tired or weepy.  A little worn out, but I am able to live an almost normal life.  These are the days I would rather be writing about.  But I am trying to write about everything that I can, good and bad.  And I was taken back to hear comments and emails about not fighting the bad day.  I am not fighting anything, bad days, good days, cancer, anything.  I am living through each experience.  Each new day, good or bad.  And yes, it will sound like I am complaining about the bad days, but that is my way of expressing what I am going through.  And it is important for me when I look back whether a week ago or two weeks ago or 6 months ago and see that there are some days that are just not picnics.  But come on, I have had such a smaller percentage of bad days then good days.  Life is wonderful and it is a picnic and it is rain showers and sunny days, and thunder storms and days when everything goes right and days when nothing goes right.  Same for us with cancer.  So I had a crummy day that just kept getting more miserable and unpleasant as the day progressed.  But from that I learned a new timing for my meds that have made today and yesterday not only bearable but quite productive.

Jack and Jan picked Vicki and I up in Jan's itty bitty ranger yesterday morning and off we headed to town.  First stop was to pick up my trailer at Mary's then drive into Parkway Marine to pick up my Malibu and hook the trailer up to that.  We left Jan's truck in the parking lot and back on the road heading west to East Point.  We got there about 12:30 and all their loading men were out to lunch.   So the four of us drove into Apalachicola for lunch and settled on the Owl.  We had a lovely lunch everyone was so sweet and kind.  After lunch we stretched our legs and walked through Petunia's, the book store, and River Lily before heading back to East Point to get my booty.  

The guys were there and very sweet and got everything loaded up on my trailer not to mention 3 ficus trees for Sylvia.  Hopefully Denise and her faithful glue gun can make two pretty trees out of the three sad little ones.  

We did stop at the Kangaroo on our way out, but not on the way home.  Jan, Vicki and I had so much fun washing our hands and then drying them with the Excellarator.  Like I always say the instructions should be:  "1.  wash hands  2.  push button  3.  Hang on   4.  let go  when hands are dry, Excellerator will automatically turn off.  The men's Excellarator was broken so Jack did not get to play.  The womans' bath room was open with the shiny Excellarator glistening in the florescent light, whispering, "Come I will dry your hands" but he opted not to..  Too bad, so sad that Jack would go all the way to East Point and miss one of the main attractions of the trip.  

The rest of the trip went fairly calm.  We did have a little accident between the car and the trailer, but I am sure Mr. Moon will assist me to get it taken care of.

This morning I woke up feeling pretty good and started preparing for the change of furniture.  Vicki helped me move furniture and vacuum, Carry and lift and move things from one spot to another.  We have looked at every angle trying to determine where to put each thing.  It felt good to move around and use my body for more then sheet twisters.

Then Bob came by, my friend, not the dog and he is so sweet and brought Bryers Vanilla Ice cream,  a lovely big water melon, English Muffins, and  a loaf of of hearty whole grain bread from panera.  He is so sweet and we will enjoy all of it.  We are ready for the movers.   Jack and Jan said that they had 2 guys who helped build the sets and were bringing them by to get the "new couch and chairs" moved into the house.  Vicki and I have things as ready as we are able.  We have moved the TV, the book shelf, tables, lamps, etc.  all in anticipation that the new things will fit into their new places.

And we have had a lovely slow but active day and I really appreciate everything that Vicki has done to help me.

This evening we will go to Casa LaLuna for a little get together.  I wanted to do something while Vicki was here so she got to see her friends.  Everyone decided I was not going to have a party, so Ms Moon graciously volunteered her home.  Vicki made banana pudding, oh yum!!!! and I am making a marble yellow - chocolate/espresso cake with dark ganache' poured over the entire cake and a semi sweet ganache whipped into the filling between the layers.  It is done in parts and i hope that the parts start coming together soon.

A new day, a cleaner house, all the laundry washed and put away, new furniture sitting out in the carport waiting to be brought in, cakes and puddings almost complete and smiles on our faces and a a happy day.  AND I get to see ms Moon and all my beloveds from the Opera House this evening!  WOOOHOOO

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Okay, so it is not a picnic right now

I am ok, but not feeling the best these days.  And I have no voice, so if you call, and I don;t answer, it is because i have no voice and it hurts to try and talk .Other then that the most difficult thing is eating.  My throat does hurt, but I am relatively free of pain from the cancer on the bone.  The chest is uncomfortable, but not unlike it what i am already used to.  I think the hardest part is that I have reached another point where this isn't fun anymore.  I am tired of being sick.  I am tired of feeling helpless to thinking myself well instantaneously.  I understand all of that, but it does not stop me from having a bad day.  And I am having one.  Then I realize that I have not taken my meds.  I get them and a 20 ounce glass of water and I lay down in my sick room with my 5 pills and slowly one one by one I get them down.  Some I smash and mix in water, others are fairly small and I take my time with my mouth filled with water and wait for the pill to get in the right position and then I carefully swallow as open throated as I can.   It is over in a second if all goes well, so even if it is is a little difficult.

Vicki has straightened up the house and made me soup and mash potatoes for lunch, that was sweet.  I am mostly sleeping, but I am ok.  I am just having a bad day, tears, feeling like everything that i need much come from some one else.  I have no idea how long this will last.  I want some watermelon, but we do not have a car, so no watermelon.  I am thirsty, but nothing tastes good.  Just a whine day.  I am sure that it will pass and in every little garden a rain must fall, I just wish some of that rain would be outside in my garden.

I have slept most of the day, maybe i will go back and sleep some more.  At least I can't hurt anyone that way.


For those of us who love Ms Moon, you have got to go back over, and don't tell me you haven't already stopped and visited her there. and read here blog.  closeted Catholic.  What I find so odd is that all of these people who are closeted Catholics or questioning Catholics or any person struggling with any religion seem to want Ms Moon to be their new leader, their demigod.  I am not sure if they have really lost the point where she is not interested in being a leader let a lone a demigod. Mary celebrates life. She really doesn't seem like the kind of person to run for office, let alone demigod.  Have you not seen her collection of children.  She does not merely love other people's childern, she is  mom figure to young and old alike.  So many people who meet Mary want her to be there Mother or want their mother to be as cool as Mary.  She celebrates flowers, you do all know that flowers are the sex organs of a plant right?  She loves her chickens and their scratching which aeriates and weeds her gardens and the fertilizer they leave in their place and the life giving eggs.  Come on people, catch up, Mary is not a closeted Catholic, Madonna woshipper or anything else.  She is what she is.  A woman who sees beauty and life everywhere and revels in it, and celebrates it out in the open, on her walls, in the pots of plants, everywhere you look is the celebration of love, life, sex, happiness, joy, celebration of all things.  Lighten up and if one hair is harmed off of one of those Madonna's, you are going to have to answer to this scrawny cancer survivor, along with a long line of other Mary lovers.  PUll your heads out of your proveribial hidey holes and look for real, with clear and open eyes.  No conspiracy, just love, mermaids, submissive Madonna's angry unibrow woman's woman.  I wish you could have seen her Yvonne.  I spoke about it in Ode to Ms Moon.  So don't get me wrong, she is special, and each of us find something that relates to just us with Ms Moon, but if you truly loved her, don't you think rather then projecting what you want her to be instead really seeing who she really is, is a much more natural and longer lasting love.

I know she still surprises me all the time.  Love you Ms Moon with all my heart.  And that wonderful husband that loves you so.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We are home

St George was amazing, and then we packed up and headed over to Apalachicola and had a wonderful time there.  I but a new dress, it is shorter then most of my dresses and a hat to match and a pair of earrings to match the necklace that Dad gave me.

I also bought a couch and chairs with an Ottoman.  They are previously loved and I liked them and they will go well with my new bird lamp, and we all had a wonderful time and go to see Ms Moon to read more about tit.  here:

I am still tired an doubt of it, but I love you all, and will write again one of these days.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Girl/Woman at the beach

Rich finally got Vicki to my house about 3:00 am.  Everyone was tired, but I embraced that woman tight, real tight and she felt like the part of me that I had been missing.  And she smelled like Rich.  Rich is our knight in Shining armor, our third musketeer, a partner in crime.  We feel so fortunate to have a friend like Rich that gives and gives, and if you need him to drive you to Miami tonight, he won't ask why, he will just be there for you, and smell good.  He is the best friend.  And Saturday we went to see Katie, my Facial person.  She gave Vicki a facial, oh she looked gorgeous and relaxed afterwards.  I slept in the waiting room chairs, only to have Katie tell me she could not give me a facial and foot massage because of the cancer.  I was not upset.  I knew she was right.  As I waited for Vicki to have hers I pictured the process and knew that it was not the right thing to do.  So that was OK.  And I was feeling a little nauseous so we drove to Mary's and let her nurse me.  F.C.Rabbath and productions was filming at Mary's, and Freddie has a part for me, but it wasn't happening Saturday.  But we all got to see what was going on with the movie, with Vicki and I playing 3 & 4th assistant to the chicken/dog wrangler.  VIck and Mary tried to keep Pearl from tap-tap-tapping of her nails on the wooden floor.  I would wake from my nap hearing Freddie say "Action" and then her Zeke would start yipping, so I brought Zeke in with me to sleep on the bed and be quiet.  So many people behind the scenes learning what is important when filming a movie.  And it makes me really appreciate noticing things.  My days generally are filled with more memorable moments.  I started feeling nauseous Friday night into Saturday,  but I took my anti-nauseous meds and that seems to have passed for now.  Saturday was the first day of the joint and muscle cramps.  It started in the ankles then moved to my knees and then all the muscles connecting them.  Later as the day moved forward my wrists and shoulders demanded attention.  I am timing out my meds so that I do not take them more often then prescribed, but also not wait so long that everything gets wound up and it takes so long to relax and calm the various joints and muscles.  It is exhausting and the combo of the meds makes me sleepy goofy and I don't have a voice, so I am just a joy to be around.  I am just saying, a joy!

So even with delayed flights and chemo affects starting to gently roll up and down my body, a few bigger waves have crested but still not so bad, and movies being made at Mary's house who is taking care of the cancer patient and her exhausted friend, and plays and grand babies and new businesses and work we made it it to the beach.

Lis and Lon played at the Mockingbird and Mr and Ms Moon as so many others went to see them and a good time was had by all, as always.  Vick and I stayed home as I was introduced to the joint cramps and watched movies.  One of my favorites, "Bringing up Baby" with Hepburn and Grant.  I love that movie.  And I have been resting and going to bed earlier.  It is a good thing.  

But yesterday, oh sweet yesterday.  We got up and started packing.  Like I said I am a little slow and distracted but I can think of so many things that need to be done.  By 11:30 we were on our way.  Vicki had cleaned out my car, Mary took over the driving duties and off we went.  The ride was glorious.  I was out of the house, going somewhere.  Sitting in the back of my Malibu feels like I am sitting in a train, sweeping past North Florida wild country.  Pine, views of the gulf, then in-land a little more and small fishing communities.  Places I love so completely, places that remind me of places from home.  I was a townie, so going out to the coast to Cortez, Ana Maria, Bradenton Beach and the fish houses and summer cottages on the beach where children just seemed to be out there for weeks and weeks while Fathers continued to work and Mothers rotated in and out of the cottages.  Of growing up with Vicki as we laid on our blankets in the sun with the sand hot enough to burn a sole of a foot guaranteed at least once a month.  And we would use mink oil, Crisco, mineral oil with iodine and lay there covering as little as possible and every 15 minutes the sound of bacon cooking would come on the radio and the beach flipped.  Belly to back, head down to head up, constant shifting like a solar unit always facing toward the sun, absorbing the rays that made us feel strong, movie star like, gorgeous with our bronzed bodies.  But we didn't burn as much as kids do now, because this was about sunning.  We used some sick sounding combinations, but they moisturized the skin and we tried to get an even all-over tan.  No just scorching.  And then there were the water breaks every hour.  I understand that science shows too much sun is not a good thing, but I have to say that we look like we are in our mid-50s, and when you look at that shining hair and that glorious happy smile on that beginning to wrinkle and puff face that has spent so many hours looking up to the sun to happiness to the future, I don;t think we look bad at all.  Life was different then, in so many ways.

And then we pulled up to our place.  it is directly right on the gulf.  It is perfect and 5 woman sat out on our little deck, listening, smelling, breathing, looking at the beach and five women.  One celebrating her 55th birthday a few days early, one celebrating coming home, one celebrating starting her new business, the other a grandmother, and finally the one with cancer.  All woman thankful for exactly who they are and who they are with and where they are at this very moment.  All woman who have beach and gulf and ocean in their very youngest mermaid beings connected on that level.  Our faces glowed and smiles so naturally happy and big as we told one story of 5 woman, woman from 51 -56 who all had very different lives and yet still share that childhood memory of a love of the beach and the dolphins and crabs and fish and coquinas.  We had all done the same exact things and we didn't have to say it, because we could see that sparkle in our eyes.  The way our hair floats in the evening breeze on the beach.  And I looked at each of these dearest beloved ones, and I said, "I love my life!  I love my life at this very moment with each of you right here.  There is nothing I would change about my life at this exact moment."  And they each said it too, in their own voices and we realized once again, cancer is not what is important, it is life and having these moments all evening and now into the evening, swimming, floating, shelling, walking miles and miles of beach, some times with our head up and sometimes with our head down.  all together, split into pairs or mixed groups.  Each moment, my breath catches in my raspy throat and I see the moment, and it is beautiful and it feels wonderful and smells and glows and I am so grateful to be here.  

Day 5 after chemo and life is so sweet, so amazing, so special, so worth it.  And I am here with my beloveds and they are taking care of me, and I don't have the voice to tell them that I am so grateful for every breath of them, but they know, and I will save my breath to heal and hold on to this day at the beach, St. George Island, Franklin County, Florida, Heaven.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Good Things

Things that I am thankful for.  Egg Drop soup.  Something I can swallow with a radiated throat.  

Rich picking Vicki up at the airport so I don't have to drive into town and the fact that within 12 hours Vicki will be sleeping snug in her bed here.  

That I have friends always asking me if there is something they can do.  Normally I can not think of anything, but I appreciate that they love me enough to ask.  

I am so grateful that I was able to go to work today and get so many things accomplished.  OK, not that many things, but all the important ones.  And that Eric brought me egg drop soup.  

David Smith, Christopher's little peep chicken who lives in my guest bathroom.  And all my chickens who live outside.  I am especially grateful that Riversong and Amy are getting big.  They are now in that lanky long neck, long legs trip over their feet stage.  I love that stage in children.  It does not matter what species.

That I have this blog and even if no one ever reads it or comments on it.  that is OK, because it helps me get things off my chest, yeah, yeah, yeah, no more with the cancer on my chest thing already.  And I can rant if I want, and if the person reads it carefully, it is not because my feelings are hurt by what was said but because it is indicative of a problem with communication.  I know that my oldest niece loves me.  I love her,  I am just so sorry that we are related through this crazy bizarre situation.  I respect her life choices, and I hope she respects mine.  I am proud that she is a happy mama of two beautiful children.  I am proud of my oldest nephew and his beautiful family and that he is a fireman, like his uncle and his grandfather.  I love my dad and I am so proud of all the things he and my mother accomplished in their life together.  Did you know that there is a library named for them in Spain?  Come on, that is cool.  A children's library in a tiny little town because my parents worked with the people there and together they all said, let's do it!  

I am grateful for my friends from kindergarten, elementary school, high school, college, post college.  I have friends that I love all over the world.  And I just sent an email to 2 of them, Brad and Michael.  MSU!!!  Michigan State that is, fighting Trojans, green and white.  Oh yeah, 30 years ago we were cruising the beaches in a green Bonneville with a rag top.  It was the best.  I had a great wonderful childhood.  We didn't have much money then, who did?  But we had a great life and never gave one hoot about money.  We had more then we could have need.  We had friends, sun, the beaches, dogs and cats and bikes and a perfect childhood.  Yep, life was good. 

But mostly I think that I am grateful for the fact that I seem to forgot most of the bad.  Give me time and turn things around and I will never remember pain or hurt or things that should have gone better.  Nope, my memory is a rainbow covered lemon drop, sugary and perfect.

And on that note, I will say good night and lay down to rest before Vicki gets in.

A rant about love

Yesterday I received so many wonderful gifts.  A day spent with Ms Moon while she helped me to get the things I have put off getting to feel pretty through this ordeal, like the makeup and the night gowns.  A haircut from the sweet Ms Paige that makes me look so good, not like a cancer survivor.  Lunch with the effervescent Ms May.  A call from My Vicki, a card and worry dolls from my god niece Annie.  And a comment from my oldest niece and her sweet family. 

Corie is the daughter of my middle brother Mark.  I am not close to this part of my family because of those things that happen in families.  Someone says something, maybe not in the nicest way, it hurts the other person's feelings.  But unlike a TV sitcom, no one ever sat down and worked out these individual sayings and they built up with some people and they became more hurt and sensitive.  No understanding or benefit of a doubt was given.  No sit down and talk it out was done, and no forgiveness was given.  And after years of this miscommunication, some of it over religious beliefs, there were letters sent and more hard feelings, and still no forgiveness or trying to understand that sometimes when a grandfather says something and the people who had their feelings hurt did not go and quietly try and work it out, then everyone ends up hurt.  I know it does get tiring to always have to be the one to forgive, to understand.  But the part of my family that ended up separated from us is not the most hurt by all of this.  Everyone is still hurt by all of these actions, these misunderstandings.  This foolishness.  Yes, foolishness.  I thought you were supposed to honor your parents.  Doesn't that mean, maybe giving them a break because they have more years experience on us, that they gave us life, that they loved us the best that they could, but that they are not perfect!?!?!  And I thought we were supposed to forgive people?  But I am talking not from my religion, but from theirs.  I do honor those believes, and I do try and understand and forgive.  And when the straw finally broke the camels back it was plain stupid.  And I stood up for them. But Mark, did not stand up for his family.  He came over the next day after my father had said something insensitive, but not what the person hurt heard, but the truth is relative to each person's own heart.  And when Mark did not stand up for his wife, then Dad told me that I was my typical over sensitive self and that there was no problem.  I can't even tell you how many years that has been.  So it was out of my hands.  I have tried, as my other two brothers have to defend and understand this madness, but when I found out I had cancer.  I decided it was more important to me to get healthy then to try and fix this unfixable family ordeal because the hurt feelings circle and swirl and sweep us all up and show our hurt and our worst but not much of our best.  And this letter sent so long ago, was so hateful and any version of the truth from my point of view was hidden deep in recesses of their victimization, hurt and desire to be right and all others to be wrong.  I couldn't agree with that.  And I actually did not read the letter, but threw it out.  Unfortunately others who received it kept asking me what do you think they are saying here.  And I could explain it to them, and they were amazed.  A TV sitcom filled with misunderstanding and misspoken words.  A family split.  A family that has continue to function without a piece of it.

And then my oldest niece puts a comment on my blog.  And her words are again insensitive to me.  But I have read it over and over and over until I can understand the love she was sending rather then the words she used.  She did not refer to me as a "who" but as a "what"  I know what she means now, but others who have read that were offended.  But I am not offended anymore.   I understand that she was saying that even though you do not have the same beliefs as I, I still love you and wish you well.  And then, knowing that I do not share her religious beliefs, she still had to put hers in.  This is my blog, not hers, and I do not wish to have her religion put on me.  But I don't think that was not her intent.  Maybe she was trying to share a piece of her children.  Children I do not know.  Children who do not send me thank you cards or birthday cards or emails or phone calls.  And so, maybe by another misunderstanding, when I did not hear from her or her brother when I sent gifts and cards, that maybe they didn't want to be a part of this.  So I stopped.  I do not wish to press myself on them.  But I don't know if this is what they meant or not, because there is no commumication.  I understand that their religion is a vital central part of their lives.  And I am proud of who they are, if they could only be a little considerate of me and my beliefs.  I thought that their Savior taught tolerance and forgiveness and love for everyone. I am not perfect, neither are they.  I am not even sure that any present I ever sent was worth even a smile.  I have no idea the size of the children, or their favorite color, or favorite food.  I don't get this information from their parents and not having been a parent of a human child I don't know these things.  And I have sent gift cards once, maybe they didn't get them.  I don't know I asked and never heard.  So, that is OK, I am only an aunt that does not live near them, and our lives are in such different places and when Cole and Corie were younger I tried to include them in my life, but my life then and now are so different.  Life is not stagnant and each stage of our life is different from the next.

I have never stopped loving that side of the family, but I have chosen to do away with the drama and the constant need to push their beliefs on me, judge me and I am tired of feeling inferior to them, instead of loving me as I am.  Oh, they say they do, but then why do they always bring up things that I am trying to respect, but do not wish to get into?  I would love to get to see my three little great niece/nephews, Gracie Jean, Reid and Jackson, but I don't see that happening, because of this stupid foolishness that continues on and on.  Oh, I get a Christmas card from Cole and his sweet wife Amanda with a picture of the family.  No note of course.  And if they would maybe consider taking their son by to see his grandfather, and talk to him, maybe they would find out that he would love to have a relationship with this great grand child.  But no one talks, so no ones knows.  Grandpa never got a thank you for anything sent.  That is big to grandpa, so fine, you don't like the gift?  You didn't send a card saying you did or make a call or come by and show him.  So he says no more, sends no more.  You come into town you go see your other grandparents and family, but not this grandpa, how do you think he feels?  I don't care if he says things in the wrong ways at time.  FORGIVE, UNDERSTAND, COMMUNICATE, HONOR.  Who knows, it just might start fixing things.  How can you judge his behavior when you have not walked in his moccasins?   But as the younger person, it is your responsibility to try and bridge the divide.  Maybe that is why the commandment is honor your parents.  Maybe, understand your parents is another way to look at it?  And by not making that phone call, or email or drop that card in the mail, how does he know what you are thinking?  How do you really know what he is thinking?  And by the way, while I am at it.  Maybe Mark could look at Dad and realize that he does not get up and going at 9 anymore.  Dad appreciates Mark's visits on the Sundays when he comes by.  But could he maybe make it between 11:00 am and 12:30?  That way Dad has time to get up and do all his little habits and get his breakfast eaten.  Or maybe call ahead and say, "dad, how about I pick you up for breakfast?"  Or maybe get there and say, "dad, how about I take you to lunch?  Or pick us up some burgers?"  Dad is 85 and can say and do some things that take us all back.  But he is still with us.  And he would love to have a relationship with all his children and grandchildren and great grand children.  But do not expect it to be the relationship you want him to have.  It has to be what he can give, and if that is not working for you.  Then this is how things will end.  With a split.

And I did love seeing that picture of Corie and Andy and Gracie and Jackson smiling at me.  But I do wish that you would leave your religion in your life, and if you wish to visit me, respect that, or stay away.  You once said I could not understand how it feels because I have never had children.  Wow!   That was so small minded and mean.  But I stepped back.  You were hurt, you were young.  You did not mean to hurt me.  And actually the hurt was not what you said to me, but the fear that you could ever say that to someone else. But you are a loving person and I know you have grown into someone who would not say that again.  Maybe that is how miscommunication works.  You don't realize what you have said or what the other person heard.

 At one time Mark and Bonnie were the closest to me.  But that is gone and done.  I miss it at times.  But I am not who they think I am.  To say that my alcoholic, porna crazy, crack addicted ex husband was the good member of my family sure made me realize that you didn't know jack.  And yet, Rob, Tom and I continue to try and consider you and your feelings and the complications that you have added into our little family.  And we love you.   And we would love to have you back in our family.  But that would mean you would have to respect who we are, and I have never seen that, so I don't expect it to happen.  So let us agree to disagree.  I love you and the kids, and your parents and brother and his family, but until you can fix your relationship with grandpa, please leave me alone.  I can not and will not side with you on grandpa.  I know who he is and how he acts, and I still feel we are darn lucky to have had him as a dad/grandpa.  And if you can not see that, then oh well.  Your loss, but also grandpas.

So now to end my ranting.  I hope I got this off my chest without hurting too many feelings. But if not, well, at least I made an attempt. Families.  How did we take the most important relationship and make it so difficult?  Put so many rules on it?  Try and fit individuals and people who love each other and run it through the courts.  You do understand that justice is blind?  She can not look into some one's eyes and see the love or hurt or desire to be a family.  That has to be done with open eyes, an open heart and open hands held wide to embrace.  I have found family by blood and by love. And those who are my family not by blood but by love, accept my imperfections, and don't push their opinions on me, but want me for who I am.  Some of my blood family is able to do taht also.  And I love all of them for who they are.  And I don't care what color or religion or sexual preference they are.  I don't care if they are a plant or a rock or a non human animal.  I can love them and try to learn and understand who they are.  Because to me that is the true love that makes the strongest families.

And I may not choose to spend a lot of time with you because you choose a life that I can not be part of, but that does not mean that I will not love you.  Because that is the most I can give to anything or anyone, my love and acceptance. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Day after Chemo

Admittedly in the beginning I said things like "I will read and learn all about this disease."  That has not happened.  They keep giving me all this material to read but I have so much going on, and as many excuses as I can come up with, but bottom line, I see this as a temporary situation and the doctors seem to be doing such a fine job, well, I just have not cared about becoming the expert anymore.  Maybe as I get more into the process and I am spending more time focusing on the cancer and getting better, maybe I will want to know more.  For now, I am more engrossed in the total experience, not just the medical end.  I am still feeling well from the chemo yesterday.  That anti-nausea meds really worked.  Or maybe I am going to handle this better then I thought.  OK, they did say it would take a few days before I know.  But nothing wrong with a positive attitude and a wonderful girl day.

Ms Moon and I went to town, to the mall!  And we bought makeup.  I decided it was time to start getting ready for what my body might be planning as soon as it detects that I have allowed WMDs to be released into the body, I for the most part of my life tried to take care of.  And we bought nightgowns.  Sorry, not sexy slinky, pink or red or leopard print.  Nope, cotton grannie nightgowns.  Comfortable, soft, and blend into the sheets so well it feels like you are not wearing anything when you sleep.  And I still say positioning the light just so, the implication of your figure through the gown might be far more sexy then the glare or reality light.  I am just saying!  Then for free lancome makeup.  I used to hit them up for extra samples, but that was for my Mother, and even with my cancer, I just wasn't up to it.  Of course, a visit to the Gap and then lunch with the fabulous Ms May at the Mockingbird Cafe.  After that I met with Ms Paige of A Cut Above and I had her cut my hair shorter.  You can see a picture posted by Ms Moon on .  The nurses kept bringing up how much easier, emotionally it is to not wake up with huge hunks of long hair covering your pillowcase.  So shorter now. What a perfect way to celebrate the first day after chemo.  Like a normal person, well sort of normal.  I couldn't drive, I was way too benedryled up, still.  And Ms Moon got a tickle out of me trying to find my mouth this morning.  Hey, antihistamines really affect me, so does aspirin, so that is why I am so thrilled to get out and have such a lovely day and to feel so good, even if my brain didn't feel like it was working all the time.

And if I am feeling up to it, we will go back on Saturday night with Ms Vicki to hear Lis and Lon play, go hear to hear Lis:, and don't forget about Lon who is always amazing!

Rich will pick Vicki up for me tomorrow to save me from having to drive into town at 10, so thank you so much sweet Rich, and then first thing Saturday morning Vicki and I are getting our facials from Ms Katie, whom we love so much.  And she loves us, the two of us and our friendships.  That is when you know you have the right friends, when they are as happy about your friends as you are?  That is friendship, and I have to say, all of my friends are that wonderful.  Then Sunday to the beach.  Really are we going to be some hot old woman at the beach in our cotton night gowns?  Oh yeah!  
And as soon as my brain starts working again, hopefully my blogs will start to make sense.  Ms Moon had to do a lot of editing for me last night.  But I am not complaining, better to be unfocused and giddy then to be sick.  And I am still not sick.

I'm in a movie!

When I got to Mary's after the hospital yesterday, Our favorite movie director was busy filming his latest movie at Mary's "juke joint:  This is the coolest old building on LaLuna Estates and Mary and Glen tease each other that it would be a great juke joint, well if it had electricity and running water.  So as Mary assisted Mr.Rabbath, she suggested to Mr. F.C.Rabbath, aka Freddie, that he needed to drop something to give Owen, the actor, not the grandson, a reason to stop and look around nervously.  A few minutes later Freddie calls for me to come in and drop something.  I picked a can of spray paint and dropped it and it rolled and made a great sound.  So I got to do that 4 times, and I have to say my last drop was perfect.  I hope Freddie was happy and my big part makes the movie.  And I have to say that I think this could be my speciality in the "Biz".  Really, I am so much happier behind the scene instead of in front of the curtain or camera.  And as half of the Opera House Stage Company's Foley Team, The Miller Sister's (which is Mary and I), I enjoy getting the sound and the visual right. Which takes on a whole new meaning with a camera.  When we make the sound effects on Stage for the 1940s Radio Productions, the visual is as important as the sound.  To make the sound of a fist fight we beat cabbages into cole slow with a billy club.  The audience loves it, and the sound is great.  And the best part is you can drag the bit along for the whole show as you pick out cabbage out of drinks, clothes, hair and accessories.  So getting to drop a can for Freddie?  This is big for me!!!  Mary is a wonderful actor and she loves it, same with Jack and Jan, Marcie and Colin, Rich, Jon, Dani and most of our stage company members.  But there are those like Judy, Denise and myself that prefer to be behind the scene.  Ron and Pat love to act, and they have acted some memorable charatchers from Heavenly Hillary or Mr. Whithers, but sometimes I think that as long as they get to be a part of the production they are happy. And I am not saying that I don't understand the amazingly complex emotions auditioning for a part, learning the script, creating muscle memory for the blocking and then connecting with the other actors.  I mean it is cool.  But then I have to go out in front of all these other people and when the applause comes I see endorphins popping over their heads, their smiles are real and happy.  Me?  I don't know I want to be on stage left holding the rope to pull the curtains and cue the lights, oh, yeah and I am so happy for the actors.  

So to think that this may be away for me to hang out with some of the filming if they need something dropped.    Shoot, if the rolling can makes the film, I will be so thrilled, I could hang up my movie career while I am on top!  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Big Day for a little"c"

So this morning was the big day!  But let's go back one day, 24 hours, moments of understanding of laughter, of sadness and sickness and bull-headedness, and sick as a dog moments, but opportunities to really be my self.  Not just be who I thought I should be, or who some other person thought I should be but just be me. 

Twenty four hours earlier..... 6:00 AM.  Get up to take shower, get dressed, fix lunch, feed dogs/cats/rabbits/chickens/fish drive to work.  Cut, Stop!  That is not what happened at all.  Over the last week I have not slept well, done too much, did not spend enough quiet time just being, but instead was constantly being honest when I could not stand up any longer to go lay down, but I would push it to that point.  In my defense, this is still more reasonable behavior then when I started this journey where I would push through all pain with the mantra, "Just a little more, you can do it, what are you a wimp? Come on, Seabiscuit it up.  Now, I say, "I am tired, and I stop."  And so yesterday as I lay on my bed dreaming myself through my normal schedule, except this time I will not have to get up early on This Tuesday I don't have to go to Radiation, just straight to work.

Monday afternoon after my last radiation and Janak's birthday luncheon, I went to my Zomata bone treatment.  This is the bone treatment that is like the once a month Boniva that Sally Fields uses, but this is a tad more serious.  The first time they did the IV, it took about 1 hour, 45 minutes.  This time it was a little over 30 minutes. A little fast I thought.  But I was in and out and happy to get home after a quick run by seeing Mary and little Owen.  He had a cold and was so charming and giddy and silly and lovely and warm and sweet and tired and not really fussy as in "Don't bother me."  "Or Grandmother, make it all better, I just don't feel good."  Oh Sweet Owen, what lesson to learn.  Sometimes you just don't feel well and it does not go away.  I hope to remember how he looked and felt, and maybe find my charming, silly, lovely, warm and sweet when I am not feeling well that I remember how well this precious 10  month old felt.  He is amazing in 10 months, sit up, roll over, crawl, stand, walk, point, talk and I already know how to do all those things, I learned them around his age, so without so much on my plate, surely, I could try to be kind, accepting and joyful.

 So now here we are back at Wednesday, and Juday, aka, Lovely picked up me and drove me to Ms. Moon's and the three of us drove to the hospital and spent the day experiencing my first day of chemo.  We had so much fun the day we found out I had cancer.  We laughed and ran and I was poked, prodded, scanned, Xrayed.  We ran some more and laughed.  Then they tell us I have cancer. I slept through most of this today with Judy and Ms. Moon stuck in in the most uncomfortable  chairs you could imagine. I lay there sleeping, unable to stay awake or talk as if I made any sense. I could see. They started with a premedication which consisted of anti-nausea, benadryl, a steriod and some other meds that I don't remember and let me tell you, there was no keeping  my eyes open.They grew heavy and I slept. But by the end I had awakened enough to be part of the gang.  It was large gang, but of course, Mary, Judy and I were the cool kids. And we laughed and all it all it was ok, and I am feeling fine.  A little dopey from the drugs, but ok.  
I have had some off and on cramps in my chest, my side, my stomach, but that is the worst of it.  And then we drove back to Ms. Moon's and dropped her off, then Judy and I drove home over to my house.I showed Judy where the animal food is and other things. Then I packed my bags and drove over to Mary's. Ok, that was a little stupid thing to do.  I was fine, but I was way too relaxed to be driving.  And now Ms. Moon and I have enjoyed a lovely dinner of pasta salad that she cut up like she does for Owen and soon I will lay my head on the red pillows in between the crisp white fresh smelling sheets and pull the red quilt up over me, then turn to click off the panther light and sweet dreams.  

Sweet dream of Weapons of Mass Destruction surging through my veins, searching for the fastest growng  cells.  Flowing along with oxygen and other checimals dropped into the lung to then move to other cells and organs and leave the oxygen and pick up other chemicals.  Maybe some of the cancer cells, fast growing, out of control cells in my lungs, in my pleural lining. I don' t have a stage. I have no idea about what type of orgin or stage or, come to think of it, not all that much about my cancer and I am ok with that.  I have cancer, I am not sick and I am not pinned down in a box because I have a specific cancer.  I really appreciated  that today as we sat in the small room with other people there to get their chemo.  Some of these people get a little bit of chemo each week.  I get a lot every three weeks. I think I would rather only have to deal with this once every three weeks.  This cancer with little respect; this nameless, small c, not really the same as all those sick people with cancer.  I am different.   Several people in each room, and they were sick.  They had already had surgery.  I don't have to have surgery.  They are sick, I am not.  So, really, maybe a sick day here and there, not that bad.

So I learned today, that in about 5 days I shouldn't be surprised that I am feeling tired and sick.  No big deal, I will be at the beach with beolved!!! and I will take an unbrella so that I can sit on the deck with long sleeves, but I will be on the beach.  And I can swim in the water, in moderation.  And I can lay on the bed and look out the window and see Mary and Vicki walking on the beach and talking, maybe even Lis, and they will be laughing heads down, looking for shells.  And sometime they will come together and hug and cry.  Because we have all found ourselves on this journey, and we are all so gratefull for this journey.  Because they are sharing my journey, but we are each on each others' journey and they are interwoven and we are each so very, very grateful.

WMDs are in me right now.  They are working their magic.  Attaching the fastest growing cells, like hair cells, like cancer cells, even insignificant cancer.  And it was a good few days.  I slept all day yesterday, and really wasn't well, but it wasn't that bad, so much today time with friends, and I feel good.  Will I feel good tomorrow?  I don't know.  How about Saturday or Sunday? I don't know, but Vicki will be here and Ms Moon and Vicki and I will be on St. George Island and what will be will be.  And I will take pictures of my favorite times we have and that is what I will use when I lay in bed and don't feel that great.  I will look at the pictures of hte sand and beach, our funky little house and sunsets, sunrises and my beloved ones.  
Because I have cancer, and it is ok, really.  It is not always going to be easy, but I can do it with my beloved ones.  WMDs and all. 

Monday, August 16, 2010


I just found out that a friend of mine in Monticello just got diagnosed with cancer. She has been through breast cancer, but this is different. They pulled a liter of fluid off her lungs, Oh lord, that sounds like a lot of fluid! And they found the malignant cells in the fluid. She has been coughing and really having a hard time with this. I did not cough very much at all, and did not have a hard time after they aspirated the fluids. Now she will have to wait for the test results and hopefully they will find the source of this cancer. They think it may be in her abdomen.

I have to say that this was harder for me to hear then when I found out about my little c. Maybe I am being given a glimpse into how other people feel. I feel so helpless to do anything for her, and of course I am more worried about her because it has been less then a year since she was dealing with the breast cancer. Neither her husband nor I brought that fact up. We did not say anything about our fears of what this could mean. We just reached out through the phone to each other and tried to sound positive. I know he wanted to hear from me that I am doing fine, that she will be fine. I hope that I could give him a piece of that. I hope that her journey is not too hard. I sit here weeping and I think it is for her, but I am not sure. Is there a piece of me that feels guilty that I have had it so easy? I want to think that I am worried about her, but I know that it is more complicated then that.

And I feel so helpless for her. I know she has a loving husband who would do anything for her. And she has friends, and she has already been in the cancer world. But I don’t know if already having been in that world if it makes it easier or harder. I think maybe harder for many. I hope it is not harder for her.

I am thankful for this lesson this morning. This lesson of how hard it is to not be the one with the cancer. I know I have it, but I am not sick and she is, and her husband’s voice wanted so much for me to give him a bit of my strength that this metastasized cancer is not that bad. I tried to send as much of my strength and belief that I am not sick to him. I hope it helped. He does not have cancer, and it is so hard.

I got my piece of paper.....and my mask!

I got my piece of paper saying that I have graduated from Radiation Therapy. The three therapist have been so wonderful and today they each hugged me and we all laughed and they gave me my mask and my certificate and then I gave them their little gift cards for an ice cream cone and they laughed again and as much as I will not miss having my head bolted to a metal table, I will miss them.  Dr. Newman was not in this morning, but I was able to meet with her nurse and she gave me an appointment date 6 weeks from now for me to meet with the Doctor.  There were no other patients in the waiting room when I came out with my paper and mask, but I was sort of relieved because I haven't survived 40 treatments, I don't have the Big C, but just a little c and I am not sick, so somehow I don't feel like I am in the same game as these other patients who look so sick, and are normally so quiet and well behaved.  I was so grateful to have my little graduation ceremony with just the Therapist, and as much as I am the center of the universe, I like it so much better when I can slip in and out quietly of the various worlds I spin in.

This afternoon I go in for my second bone treatment. That takes up to an hour, but it is quiet and peaceful as they drip an IV of magic into my veins to strengthen my bones. A walk in the park.

And my family is gone. I did so enjoy having them come and visit, but it was exhausting and I had trouble sleeping last night worrying about getting everything done this week. I was just so tired after they left I spent a lazy day on the couch watching mindless TV with my kids. So today I am still feeling tired, but not so bad. Hopefully I can get to bed early tonight and catch up on my rest. I am able to eat a little better today, and I know that is a direct result of Ms Elizabeth, the Nutritionist. I have started making a big effort to drink more water, which is my main source of hydration, and I did manage to eat. I have to just not be such a whiny, wimpy baby when it feels like someone is sticking a burning sword down my throat with each swallow. So I turned to the food processor and took half of a baked potato and pureed that puppy up. It was covered with butter, cheese and sour cream. Things that I would not want to normally consume in such vast quantities, but right now, this is what I need, and it did taste good. I will probably eat the other half tonight for supper.

So, now I need to get the carpets cleaned. Yes I have a carpet cleaner, but with three dogs, and for the past week, four dogs, one with a bladder/bowel problem, and Maggie being 14 and all of her systems not working quite like they used to. I would rather just have the professionals come in with their smell removers and get it done in a couple of hours, where it usually takes me a hard long solid day. So get the carpets, cleaned, clean the bathrooms, ignore the dusting, but straighten things up so that when Vicki is here I don’t feel obligated to do any cleaning then. Normally simple tasks that would not require the loss of sleep, but right now, I can make anything and everything into an ordeal. But eating and drinking water is really helping. And today is my friend, and Captain of the 2 years in a row winners of the Leon County Walking Competition, The Walkoholics, Janak’s birthday. It is also Madonna’s birthday, she is 52 today.  Janak is a bit older. For our birthdays, we take each other out for lunch, so I hope that I am able to order something that I can eat. I know it will be easier then last week.

Another great day, radiation done, bone treatment this afternoon, chemo Wednesday, and I feel good.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Yesterday was an amazing day.  Phyllis, one of my dearest friends at work, slipped a bag onto my desk.  A bag with the words, "Build a Bear Workshop".  I have never been in Build a Bear Workshop.  I have always stopped on the outside, looking into the store/factory at children with their tall ones picking out bears and outfits, hearts and giggles, bunnies and others animals waiting to tell the story about their boy or girl.  Soft animals built from the hearts and passions and minds of children. Each whispering secrets of those hearts and minds that made them.  Some with soccer outfits, others dressed as ballerinas.  Mine, a dark chocolate brown bear dressed in green scrubs with hat and mask, holding an Xray in one hand, a squeeze of the other brings laughter to your heart as the pure innocence of a child giggle emanates from my bear.  The Xray shows the ribs, spine, and pelvic bone, with a red heart on the second rib.  A heart covering the cancer on my rib.  A sweet dark chocolate bear that giggles.  A bear that can go with me when I am not with my children.  A bear I can hug and think of my dear beloved who slipped this sweet present on my desk.

Then spending time with Ms Moon and Lis and Mr. Moon, what a special sweet wonderful evening.

Today my youngest brother, his wife and their 2 sons and I went to the Monticello Winery and the boys picked grapes and Patricia and I sampled wine.  She liked the semi sweet Magnolia wine. Made from the Magnolia variety of muscadine grapes grown there at the vineyard.  I liked the Florida Red.  Each of these tasting as fresh as the grapes that made them.

Then we drove on Old Lloyd Road so Tom could get some pictures of the creek, of course we stopped at the Post Office for pictures, then through Capitola and Chaires into Tallahassee.  First back to school supplies, check, lunch at the food court of the mall, check, get a short course on cheeses at New Leaf by the amazing and wonderful Billy!  And he gave us a couple of cheeses to try that I thought was awfully sweet, but all the friends of Ms Moon already know that Billy is awfully sweet, as is his Shayla and little Waylon.  Buy aloe vera for throat, check, check, check.  Then on to Cool Cow, which I think it should be called the Holy Cow, they sell ice cream and I bought gift cards for my radiation group.  Just a small gesture of thank you, hopefully it will being a smile to their faces.  A quick stop at Publix, and then Chicken delight and home.  A long day.  But we enjoyed it and did so many things.  

And now Patricia and I are eating cheeses and a lovely rustic olive bread and wine.  It is still hard to swallow, but I can eat the bread and cheese.  I have to take very very small bites and chew it for a very very very long time, but as long as I sip on wine as I eat, I can eat real food.  Oh yeah.

And I am back home with my animals.  I have the most wonderful family.  It is made of rocks and gardens filled with plants, roses, lilies of all kinds, mums, black bamboo, butterfly plants,yarrow, and so many many more.  My orchid and vineyard, my chicken coop, the blueberries and strawberries, horse radish, cherries, vegetable gardens and my animals.  

Maggierose, my 14 year old black lab.  The queen of the house, my girl, my sweet sweet Maggierose, mother of my Harry and Lily, bless her heart.  And Harry, one of the largest sweet hearts covered in a lab body you could ever want to meet.  He is 12 now, milk chocolate brown, his head the size of a mastiff, his heart bigger and stronger then any heart you could ever meet, and everyone loves Harry, always have, always will.  He is Harry.  And then there is my Bob.  My little boy.  He loves me.  I love that dog more then I ever thought I could.  I mean I love Maggie and Harry and Lily was my girl and we had a special relationship and I loved that sweet yellow girl.  But my Robert Copernicus, that sweet center of our universe here at Labrun.  Bob is so worried about me right now.  At night when we go to sleep he puts his head on my neck and snores gently in my ear and wakes each morning desperate for love and attention.  A hug, a rub of his ears, a pat of his head, some sweet puppy love in the morning.  And he is my shadow and strength, my sweet little Bob puppy, my boy.

And then my cats, the awfully difficult Marina.  The smallest of my cats, but the one most likely to remove someone's appendage.  She is a small black manx, fierce, evil.  But I love her.  Then Henry, my beige manx boy, my sweet affectionate boy who loves to be picked up and hugged and carried around or go for a ride in the car.  He sleeps with Bob and I each night.  Then Stella Bella and Bella Luna the twins.  OK, they don't look alike exactly but they were womb mates and came to me at 6 weeks old.  Sweet shy Luna  and demanding bold Stella.  So similar and so very different.  

Not to forget Jefferson, my rooster, Zora Neal the queen hen, Bea Arthur the loony one, Dani Quail and Buttercup Stanford shy, Rose Nylan, the one that always comes running to see me and Ethel Waters the survivor, my sweet hens.  And of course the peeps, Amy and River Song.  We have lost the third peep.  But David Smith is still doing well and getting bigger and stronger, and loves attention and loves to be picked up and loved.  And then there are gold fish living in my lotus pond.  And then of course bunnies, lots and lots and lots of bunnies.  Hopping everywhere, eating everything, sweet lovely prolific bunnies. 

And trees and grass and shade loving plants and sun loving plants taking in carbon dioxide and giving back clean fresh air, beauty, love and joy.  I tend them, they give back to me.  My plants, my animals, the dirt, the rocks, the clay, the decaying compost I spread so generously on the gardens.  My little world, my Labrun , my place of quite and solitude, where we are all one family, one story, one journey, one heart beating in rhythm with love and respect and affection.  

Then beyond Labrun, my beloveds, my family and friends, and their children and plants and animals.  All one, all loved, respected all part of this planet, this universe with a small single star for our sun, and out and beyond, all of us part of the one, breathing out and breathing in, shedding and growing, dying and living, evolving, changing, adapting, understanding, questioning, loving, giving, taking, sharing.  One. 


Yesterday as I sat working on one of the puzzles laid out on the table in the special cancer waiting area the Therapists walked out with a thin but handsome older African American man and his wife who loves him.  The man, thin from cancer and treatments but beaming from ear to ear was being admonished for getting too thin and they wanted him to eat more and to take care of himself.  He proudly clutched a printed piece of paper and all of us in the waiting room seemed to realize at once, he would not be back on Monday.  He had graduated, finished his treatments.  He would not have to wake his wife to drive him to radiation on Monday.  He will not be laying on the hard metal tables.  And all of us in gowns and those who drive their beloveds to the treatments stood and applauded this survivor, this graduate from our school.  We looked around at each other and smiled.  We looked into each others eyes, the people we politely smile at each day.  The people who we see each day, we do not know each others names, but we find comfort in seeing their faces each morning.  Another day we have survived.  Another day on the machine.  Another day to see loved ones sitting there with their beloveds, dressed in gowns.  Not ball gowns, hospital gowns, men and woman, all ages, all nationalities, finding comfort in each other, in the familiar faces each morning.  And now one of ours was graduating and going back into the world, hopefully to be told in months to come, you are cancer free.

And Monday will be my last treatment.  Will I graduate?  I have only had 13 treatments.  They will give me my mask.  But will the familiar faces smile up at me as I walk out tomorrow.  Will I get a piece of paper?  I think the mask is my piece of paper.  That is my proof that I have been a part of this world, of these people's lives.  That I have been a familiar face.  I will miss their faces.  I will miss the smiles and the laughter.  I will miss the puzzles.  

But it is time to move from radiation, which was more for pain then for control, to chemo.  


....Love and hope

What a day filled with Joy, Love and Hope.  Three friends, woman/girls shining with eye shadow and mascara, pink blush sparkling with shimmy and shimmer, lipstick and hair brushed, then draped with jewels and strings of hearts.  Laughing, telling stories, smiling, concerned, kissing, listening, sipping tiny tinis, giggling, tears washing cheeks, hearts leaking, as Ms Moon always says.  Lis!  Oh joy to spend time with this sweet tender, strong angel.  Mary!  The nurturer and the holder of our hearts, Kathleen! So filled with the moment and joy glowing from these two most special of all beloved ones.  

Joy!  Joy!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sweet dear friends

Sweet Ms Moon came by on her way to rehearsal and brought me a delicious pureed soup, and I ate a whole bowl of it and yummmm!  Now I am enjoying the egg custard she made me.  Oh, be still my heart.  And then my friend Carolyn came by and brought me a bag of chocolates.  All kinds of chocolates.  That was so sweet.  I can not eat the chocolate right now, but it looks like it is going to be great road food.

And we will need road food because Vicki will be here in a week, that is how we are counting it, so don't worry about the math.  And then Mary and Vicki and I are going to St. George Island.  This is going to be like 5 days after the chemo, and we of course have no idea how I am going to feel, but shoot, I can be sick on the beach as well as I can be sick at home.  Not to mention that Vicki and Mary will be there to take care of me.  

And Judy calls me everyday and checks in, and if she does not reach me, she drives over.  That is at least half an hour trip, at least, such sweet dear friends I have.  And so many calls and emails.  It is a little overwhelming, and yet so appreciated.

My brother, Tom, his wonderful wife, Patricia and my favorite 10 year old nephew Christopher got back to my place after a wonderful trip up to a lake in Georgia to visit friends.  Nathaniel stayed in Tallahassee last night with more family and I am sure that they all had a wonderful time. 

As soon as Christopher walked in he came over and gave me a big hug and then ran off to visit is his chicken, who has missed him terribly.  Sweet friendship, a boy and his chicken.  And Bob heard a car drive up and raced out of the house in full protective mode, but as soon as he saw Christopher he ran back in the house, grabbed a ball and ran back out to his boy.  He was so happy to have his boy back.  As was Candy, their little dog who has been spending a few days with us.  She is the queen of the house.  Well technically Maggie is, but at her age, she really doesn't care who thinks they are the queen.  So when Candy heard her boy, she was so excited she peed.  OK, she pees a lost so that is not that big of a deal, but you could tell she was excited.  And by the way, yes, I am making an appointment to have the carpets cleaned next week.  I hate carpets. 

Once again, I really don't have that much to report here.  The radiation is doing its job, in that they are using it first as a pain treatment and secondly as a way to slow down the little c.  And I have been off pain killers for more then 3 days now.  I have been trying to think of something to give my Radiation Therapist on Monday.  They have been so wonderful.  Normally I would give them soap, but Ms Moon and I have not made any soap in quite a while, and I have to order my lye from California because you can not buy Red Devil lye anymore because it is used in the manufacturing of Meth.  So I don't have any really nice soap to give them, mostly just the weird pieces that I keep for my own use.  And well, making soap is time consuming, easy, but exhausting, and not really something that I should probably be trying to put on myself right now.  Oh, yeah, and I don't have any lye.  So I think I will give them gift certificates for ice cream.  Ice cream makes people happy, well, it makes me happy, and so I think I will go to cool cow, which I always think since it is an ice cream store it should be called Holy Cow. 

It is Friday the 13th and I have the weekend off from radiation, yippee!! And Lis is coming tonight to see Ms Moon and I do so hope that I can get over there to see her.  I have missed her last couple of visits, and she is another sweet dear friend that I met through Ms Moon.  And then on Monday I will see Dr. Newman, probably for the last time, and I will miss her, she is a lovely person and I really like having her for one of my doctors.  I need to remember to tell her about the problems I am having with my left arm.  It feels like I have slept on it wrong all day.  Not a big deal, but noticeable, and hopefully she will just say, that is to be expected with radiation.  And then I have to have her look at a fairly small and probably insignificant case of Ebola on my left leg.  OK, I know it is not Ebola, and is probably just a minor infection from maybe an insect bite, and with my immune system slightly impaired it has gotten a little uglier, but that is OK, I just want to report things because they told me to and I am an overachiever.  I don't mind them thinking that I am whining over nothing, as much as I would feel stupid after they have constantly told me to tell them anything that is different and I don't and something this small and insignificant becoming a big deal because I did not follow their repeated instructions.

Ms Moon is going to see Ms Paige for a haircut today.  I hope they like each other as much as I love both of them.  And I hope that Ms Paige is able to give Ms Moon a wonderful cut, and head massage.  I hate referring people and then they are not happy.  But I love how Ms Paige cuts my hair and she is funny and sweet and so how is this not going to work out?!??!  And then maybe Ms Moon and I might even meet for lunch together.  We will see how this works out. 

Anyway, it is Friday.  I am a little tired, but all in all, not as bad as I had feared.  A week from now Vicki will be here.  And we will be heading to the beach and I will have gotten through the first chemo.  Another step closer to being cancer free. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Behind Door Number 4

On Tuesday I was running a little late to my radiation appointment, I signed in, and walked back to change from my street clothes into one of those very attractive hospital gowns.  Gowns, that does sound lovely doesn't it.  I take off my top and bra and then put the gown on, open to the back.  So it is pretty quick and I don't have to worry about my scrawny butt hanging out.  I wear skirts with tops because it is jut too hot to wear pants, and the whole butt thing is why I don't wear dresses.

Anyway, on Tuesday I  stepped into dressing room 4 because it was the only one open.  Push the lock button on the doors and slipped out of my shirt and bra and I was leaning forward to grab one of those lovely gowns out of the drawer when the door opened.  First, I would like to say I am glad that I was leaning forward, you could at least tell I was a woman, where if I had been standing upright, it might not as been as easy telling whether I am a woman or a thin teenage boy.  The person opening the door was an older distinguished man who was as shocked as I was, and immediately closed the door and apologized as he scurried off.  So I threw on my lovely gown and stepped out, he was gone, thankfully.  About that time I was called back for my radiation and when I came out the distinguished man was talking to one of the therapist and a maintenance man about what had happened.  I scurried by and into Dressing room #3.  I was either not seen or the distinguished man gave me the respect to pretend he did not recognize me.  Well I was covered up, so maybe he didn't recognize me.  I got dressed and headed to work.

Wednesday I was very late so was lucky enough to miss the distinguished gentleman.  But this morning as I opened the door to walk into the special radiation cancer area and who should be walking out, yep, you guessed it, the distinguished man.  He smiled right at my face and told me that I was looking very nice today.  I think I might have smiled back, I am not sure.  I am sure that I  couldn't think of anything else to say at that moment, so just hurried on to Dressing Room #3, yes, I have learned my lesson, plus there is a sign warning of the inability of the door to lock.  Of course I had to tell the Therapists about what had happened and we all laughed and laughed.  They knew that someone had been walked in on, but I think they got a big kick that it was me.  After all, I have not noticed that many of my fellow cancer patients exhibiting much of a warped sense of humor.  They had a volley of ideas, like selling tickets for a peep show or maybe a dating service.  Something to think about, after all, I have a lot of medical bills to pay.

So always something interesting going on in the cancer ward, and well, there are lots of different ways to meet interesting people.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Nutritionist

Got my voice back today and I am at work. After I had completed my radiation treatment this morning I was informed that I had an appointment to see the Nutritionist. I have always been very involved in food and nutrition and using common sense. I listen to all the “new” information they have about food and what causes cancer and what is good for you and what is bad for you, etc. and then I use my own common sense and how my body feels to determine what is right for me. At one time I had some health issues dealing with low blood sugar and adrenal glands that work way too hard and a liver that does not produce an adequate amount of chemicals to properly process animal fat, so I had become a vegan. I am not talking about someone who read books and said, “Oh that is what I will be.” No, I choose a vegan life style because I had never gained weight my entire life and all of a sudden I gained 30 pounds in 3 months. My parents put me in the hospital and they determined that although I obviously had low blood sugar I am not a true Hypoglycemic in that when I eat sugar I have a small almost insignificant raise in my sugar level in my body, but not a spike, which is common for real hypoglycemics, a huge spike and then the blood sugar drops and does not stop. Ok, I have a very small spike and a big drop that keeps dropping. And when I ate meat I became bloated, the food did not get digested and I received little to no nutrition from it, but instead terrible cramping and vomiting. So, I had seen a nutritionist in college and he suggested that I cut out red meat for 2 weeks and see how I felt. That is when I took charge of my own nutrition. Up to that point my Mother, whose grandmother was the first woman to graduate from NY City College as a nutritionist, had given all me all my beliefs about food. My Mother’s mother was also very wise and observant about food, and read everything she could about good nutrition, although she was an elementary teacher, not a nutritionist. My mother was way ahead of her time, nutrition and food wise and we were always eating things that my friends had no idea about. Our diet consisted of 3 squares a day with fruit as snacks in between, candy only on Friday nights, and then a very limited amount. We did not eat bread at every meal which is the custom in my small Southern town. We did eat salads at almost every dinner and we ate beans. Yep, every kind of bean you can imagine. Only poor people ate beans where I come from. People with money ate red meat and only had baked beans at cookouts, and usually my mother brought those. And all the kids ate bologna or olive loaf or some other kind of processed meat at lunch on white break, where we ate peanut butter. My brothers liked PB&J. I am not a jelly eater, but as a hypoglycemic, that was probably a natural reaction to how I felt after eating sugar. No, I liked Peanut Butter with shredded carrots, shredded celery and lettuce sandwich. It did not seem odd to my Mother or me. After all, most weddings served celery with cream cheese and celery with Peanut butter as a large part of the food at the reception. That is if food was even served. It was more common that weddings had cake, nuts, mints and punch only. But I digress.

So I ate peanut butter, carrot, celery and lettuce sandwiches, and yes, my brothers either ignored this odd food or made fun of me. But come on, what is the difference between celery and peanut butter at a wedding and eating the same thing in a sandwich?

So after I was diagnosed with low blood sugar and the nutritionist told me to quite eating meat for 2 weeks, I started feeling better, stronger, more alert, no stomach problems and I lost that weight in a month. Which I understand is not healthy, but the point of changing my diet was not to loose weight, it was about feeling good and being healthy. So I quit eating all animal products. And I also took it another step further and quit buying animal products such as leather boots and shoes. I don’t know, it seemed to make sense and we are talking early 70s, hippies and love the planet, etc. My parents thought my diet was a phase, and I guess in some ways it was, but now 30+ years later I do eat poultry, mostly chicken and turkey, and once in a while crispy duck at Chopstyx in Gainesville. And I do not drink sodas or any meat other then the poultry, fish and mollusks or eat a lot of sugar. I try to save my sugar for dark chocolate and red wine. And I do eat when I drink. The main part of my diet consists of fruits, veggies and complex carbs like whole grain breads and pasta, fish, chicken, turkey and mollusks. And honestly I don’t eat that much pasta. Oh, and beans and rice. And for rice I like the brown basmati jasmine rice or the multi grain rice that I buy at Mike’s seafood. I love all kinds of beans and I eat a lot of garlic and try to buy what is in season in this area, in that I do strongly believe in a connection with the seasons where you live and what is in season in that it usually provides you the best nutritional benefit for that season. I do binge at times, but maybe once every month or two. And I believe in gaining weight in the winter and slimming down in the summer, but that is because our diet and exercise changes in those seasons. I try to only eat as much food as I use up in activity, I have good genetics so I tend to be on the slimmer side, and have small wrists, but I think I have normal size ankles. Even today I try to get up 20 minutes early in the morning and do some stretching and light weight lifting and crunches. It helps me wake up and although I always wake up hungry, it gets the juices going so that instead of eating one bite and feeling full, I will eat my entire breakfast, the most important meal of the day. I love the sayings, “Eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch and a pauper for dinner.” And “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” Simple, common sense advice for eating.

So I was not too worried when I had to see the Nutritionist this morning. Ms Elizabeth is a block of a woman. Not heavy or unattractive, just very square shaped with a sweet child like voice and steely eyes that drill into you and does not buy your story. Apparently I have lost 4 pounds in less then a week. First I would like to say in my defense, that I have gone to the bathroom. That is an event in itself and should be figured in any weight loss. But she is right as my throat got sore I have without realizing it stopped drinking water like I normally do.

But I did listen to her and her threats of putting me into the hospital to rehydrate me with IVs. I also heard her say that if I don’t drink more that I am increasing my chances of a stroke and that it could impact my chemo. Of course I am not interested in any of those options. So I stopped at Publix, where shopping is a pleasure, and bought a 6 pack of Boost Plus. I am supposed to drink 3 of those a day. Ok, I can do that. On top of my regular meals. Oh, I thought the Boost could substitute for a meal. My bad. And I also bought 3 cases of LaCroix. I thought it might be easier to drink the carbonated water over the regular water. Ok, that is not panning out so great. And I will try and eat higher calorie foods. But not high sugar foods. Everyone keeps telling me to eat ice cream and popsicles. Too much sugar and fake sugars often give me headaches. To the benefit of my Nutritionist, she also nixed the ice cream and popsicles because she said extremes of hot or cold can affect my throat. But she did give me some printed material about how to make your food easier to deal with when you have this type of throat issue. Basically all the recipes include mixing 2 cups of water with one package of unflavored gelatin and then pouring it over your food and letting it set up. This pamphlet claims that will make the food going down easier. I don’t think so. The first picture that jumps up in my brain is a chicken leg in a block of gelatin, bones and all. I know that is ridiculous, but the idea of soaking all your food in unflavored gelatin is enough to make me sick.

And I have a problem with doctors, and nutritionist always trying to scare you into believing them. I think they should try to educate you instead of threatening death, paralysis and stroke. Don’t scare adults, teach them. But what do I know? I admit that I have earned my CPM and my minor was in special education agriculture, and I was on 2 different adult training teams where they taught us about pedagogy versus andragogy, but what do I know? I think she thought I was one of those people who always have a reason you can not do what they want you to do. And other then wanting credit for having gone to the bathroom, I agreed with her that I had not thought about how little food and water I was taking in, because it was difficult and painful and I was subconsciously avoiding these issues. But she had opened my eyes, and I promised I would start paying more attention to what I am doing and increase my water as well as try to maintain my weight, if not gaining a pound or two by eating high calorie nutritious food. And I was serious. I have always mentally kept a tally of everything I eat. Mostly because as a vegetarian you have to balance your amino acids and proteins against carbs, etc. A vegan diet is not for wimps. You have to intake a significant amount of food and make sure that your combinations of food included all the needed nutrition. And since certain combos ensure that nutrition, I plan my meals from the moment I wake up until I close my eyes trying to make sure that I have done what I needed to have a strong healthy body, every day. Monday will be my last radiation and I believe Elizabeth meets with the cancer patients on Tuesday, so hopefully I will not have to go up against that steely gaze again.

This morning I had a mango, banana, orange smoothie, and I had not put any ice in it, so it was too thick to choke down, so I had kept thinning it out with water. So a 12 ounce smoothie took about an hour to drink and was probably over 16 ounces by the time I finished adding the water to it. I was proud of myself, Ms Elizabeth was not. And she was not impressed that my dinner last night was a boost in a chilled wine goblet. No, she was not impressed at all. And as I sit here and keep trying to sip the water and it is not going down easily, and the bubbly water is not any better, darn. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I will just keep trying to do my best and sip water all day long. My goal is to not loose weight, and hopefully by the first of next week, I will have gained a pound back. I am going to try. And I am going to try to avoid Ms Elizabeth. I think dark glasses and a hat may be called for, and you know how I love to dress up. So if you will excuse me, I have a boost to choke down. I already drank about 2/3 of a pint of chocolate milk. I had bought it yesterday trying to add a few fun calories into my diet. And I have eaten a pack of peanut butter crackers, OK, again, not the healthiest, but they tend to settle my stomach, and I needed them, and I chewed each bite into oblivion and then washed it down with the chocolate milk, and I have almost drank an entire lime flavored LaCroix, but only about 8 ounces of regular water so far today. That is way more water and calories then yesterday. And tonight I will eat Mac and cheese, no wonder I never go. I mean bananas, milk, cheese, isn’t that enough to stop up an elephant? Oh, and I have that yogurt I want to somehow get down. And I want something green, but a salad doesn’t sound that great, maybe I can pour gelatin over it and pretend I am going to a cover dish?!?!?! No, I avoid the jellied food sections at the cover dishes. But I am sure that I can come up with something.