Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I think I have been eating non stop since Thursday.  I have gained 5 pounds.  I never thought I would brag about something like that, but I am.  There is still so much food, but it will not go to waste.  I have enjoyed it thoroughly and have started to freeze some of it.  I also have started sharing some of it with the dogs and chickens.  They love Thanksgiving.  So do I.  

Tomorrow back to work, but it has been a nice Thanksgiving weekend.  The Moon party, dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday were spent quietly at home.  I am learning to say rest and not feel guilty for not being busy.  I have a few things to keep my hands busy.  I can crochet or knit on the board, and sometimes I do.  Sometimes I just sitting quietly and read or watch movies on TV.   Some days time flies, others it creeps hour by hour by.  Sometimes it feels like a waste of time, other times it feels like I am giving myself time to heal.  It was a nice two days of quiet.  

Janak and Geeta came for lunch.  I made blueberry muffins, a broccoli and cheese quiche and salad.  We sat and talked and had a lovely lunch.  It was wonderful to spend a few hours with these two special people.  What a wonderful way to spend a beautiful Fall Sunday afternoon.  

As I was getting the dogs their 6:00 cookies the doorway outside glowed with pink and gold.  I stopped and just enjoyed the moment of the door.  I love in between and the light filled the in between like it was leading to another world, magical and glowing.  I stepped out the door and the sky was stripped pink and deep blue.  It really was another magical world.  

And now I am sitting quietly in my red chair.  The movie, The Odd Couple is on and I am stuffing envelopes for renewals.  Quiet moments on a weekend we set aside each year to celebrate gratefulness.  Grateful.  A quiet thank you whispered when a moment is lived, a prayer.  Grateful.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Fine Harvest

Yesterday I worked half a day and then met Ms Judy at Peppers for lunch.  Let me just say that I would not recommend Peppers.  But we had fun and then headed for JoAnn's Fabric.  We headed northerly on Capital Circle towards Centerville Road.  The traffic was horrendous.  There was obviously something more then just the day before Thanksgiving.   We joked that the way they rob banks around here that was probably it.  Well it did turn out to be a bank robbery with a bomb.  But we were no where near it.  

First we stopped at the ABC and bought champagne, brandy, vodka and rum.  Then we head to JoAnn's and  bought yarn for scarves and shawls.   After our craft excursion Ms Judy went to finish her to do list and I headed to Beall's to look for the guy's shirts.  I managed to find some I liked and came on home.  

Tuesday night I made a chocolate ganache cake along with the breads, but still needed to ice the cake and I wanted to make some olives in olive oils and herbs.  I knew that Ms Moon had bought some Rosemary bread and it is really good with the preserved olives.  

I drove over to the Moons and it was a warm and lovely night.  I got there on time and I was not the first to come, there were already lots of people crowded around the island of the kitchen tasting all the different food brought.  The island overflowed with cheese and breads, olives, pasta, salads, cake and stuffed mushrooms and more food then I could begin to name.  

There were babies and young children, older children and adults from 21 to 60, at least.  Everyone embraced each other as they entered from the porch off the kitchen.  Long strong meaningful embraces with faces looking into faces with smiles familiar and loved.  Laughter filled the large white old house and overflowed into the back yard where Mr Moon cooked oysters over the fire.  Soon everyone with filled plates and glasses pulled chairs up around the fire and before long the singing and playing began.  Violins, a cello, guitars, banjos and mandolins.  Song followed song, "somewhere over the rainbow", an old blue grass number, then a couple of blues.  Then a catchy number that had me up and dancing, champagne flute filled with bubbly, Ms Moon jumped in and then Ms May and we spun and danced as the  moon slipped out from behind the trees and clouds to fill the space with a silvery glow and I knew at that moment when I do take my last rasping breath of lung cancer,  many years from now, I will remember the night I danced under the moonlight with Ms Moon and May, sipping champagne, glowing with the air around me thick with humidity and warmth for a Thanksgiving cornucopia of abundance of food and drink and music and song, love and laughter and dancing.  And Friends.  

Life is so special when you are surrounded by friends who truly love each other.  Some have been friends for 30 years and more, others just a few years.  But when you meet someone and truly love them and believe like them in dancing in the moonlight and celebrating life.   And food.  and drink.  and music with singing and dancing.  and love.  Magic surrounds you.  

And last night was magical.

This morning I got up late, almost 9:00 am.  Very late for me.  I chopped and cooked and stirred and poured.  A cheese and fruit platter served with hot rustic bread.  Olives and pickles, grilled and picked asparagus.  Turkey.  Cornbread stuffing filled with lots of veggies and cranberries.  Mashed potatoes.  gravy.  creamed onions with wild mushrooms.  roasted veggies.  roasted garlic in the clove.  Pecan pie.  flan. a Puerto Rican version of egg nog, with coconut, yum! pigeon peas and rice.  sweet potatoes.  cranberry relish.  mustard greens.  A bountiful feast for three woman.  Jack and Jan came by and shared champagne and wine and pie.  Then my friend Bob, from work came for pie and left some lovely bread.  We watched football and ate lots of delicious food.  I wore myself out, and it felt good.  it felt good to cook.  To chop and saute, roast and baste.  I had brined the turkey the night before in Mad Housewife wine.  I marinated fruit in brandy for the sangria today.  And we had a relaxing meal, and it was good sitting and talking to my friends on this day of abundance and fellowship.

And I am thankful:
to be strong and healthy and alive
to have lung cancer
to dance in the moonlight with friends
for my soul mate
to talk and laugh on the phone with friends
for my family
for my dogs
for my cats
and chickens
and fish
and rabbits
passion for cooking
passion for gardening
passion for my friends
passion for the Opera House and the Stage Company
everything I accomplished this past year
all the accomplishments they have made in the treatment of cancer
all the accomplishments that are still to be made in the treatment of cancer
for fuzz on my head
for turkey leftovers
for warm weather and gardening
for another year filled with abundance
for love
for you, each of you in my life
for my life
yes, I am thankful for the full and wonderful life I have lived 
and I am hopeful for a longer list of things I am thankful for next year.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Today was one of those ordinary days that was filled with moments.  I know every day is like that, but I am not zen enough to appreciate and live in each moment all the time.  I would like to, but I am just not there. 

However, today was one of those days.

I woke up with the alarm this morning, anxious about going back to work.  I wanted to go back, but after 2 weeks, what would I find?  Would I be overwhelmed?  Or what if I am not even needed.  I was anxious.  I fixed my quick cook steel cut oatmeal that Ms Moon got for me and it was delicious.  I know oatmeal is not thought to be the tastiest dish, but these steel cut, even the quick cook or good.  They have texture and a nutty flavor, yum.  

My timing was perfect and I was out of the house early.  As I drove up to Hwy 19, the sun broke free from the trees and sky was filled with a light glimmering gold and pink and orange.  Breath taking.  I stopped for a minute watching the sky and just felt that morning wrap its brilliant fall sunshine around me.

I got to work 20 minutes early, and found a parking spot right in front of the door. Normally I like to park on top of the hill, but I knew that I could not make that walk today.  And there was a perfect parking spot right in front of the door.

I walked into the office and everyone was happy to see me.  They came up and hugged me and I got to catch up with my friends and hear about Kelly's sister's wedding.  I even got to see some of the photos and they were amazing.  The light was perfect, soft, amber glow lighting up Derby's white dress.  She looked like an angel with a halo all around here.  

I went to my office and I felt alive, like I knew what I was doing.  I started catching up on the hundreds of emails.  I did not check my voice mail.  I needed to get a draft to my bosses concerning the end of the Federal Fiscal Year, EPA Grant.  I sent out the emails to get the information from all of the parties.  I read through the drafts that Kelly had started working on.  I added in the rest of my information.  I sent out the draft to the bosses and let them know that I can get them the final the first of next week.  I prioritized, picked out things that I could accomplish today and I rocked.  I had told Kelly that I was getting to the place where I needed to be.  To understand that I cannot do my job the way I am used to doing my job.  I am not there like I was, and that others were picking up the work and keeping things going.  I need to give up the guilt and do what I can, and let those do the rest.  They will catch me back up to my job when I am well enough to come back full time.  The Assistant Director and Bureau Chief came in to say hello.  I really appreciate how well they are handling all of this.  The three of us have worked together for 25 years, and for them to see me with cancer, and be my bosses, I know it is tough on them.  And they are so supportive.  Part of that is because we have 90% of our procedures in writing.  And actually, we have every procedure written up; some just need to be updated.  So that way, even if the main person who does that job is out, someone else can step up and take care of it.

Everything seemed so crisp and focused, and I loved being at work.  I am already looking forward to going in tomorrow.

I left work at quarter after 12 and met Isabelle at Wal-mart to buy a new Christmas tree for our Garden Circle.  We sat at McD’s and ate and talked.  I like Isabelle.  She still has such a thick French accent that I have to listen carefully to understand her.  She is a wonderful Gardner and grows amazing roses and chrysanthemums.  She picked out the tree she wanted and paid for it, I went and got the car.  And as I drove up to the front where she came out, the light was soft and glowing around here.  Then one of the Salvation Army Bell Ringers loaded the tree into my car, which I thought was awfully nice.

As I headed to the Opera House to drop the tree off I thought I would stop by and see how Ms Moon was doing.  Bless her heart, the pre-Thanksgiving party is at her house and I really don’t know if she even gets to choose whether or not to have the party.  I think people love this party so much that they would just show up.  It is a very special night filled with music and oysters and fire light and friendship.  It reminds me so much more of a real harvest festival, versus the ones that are organized to avoid Halloween.  I am looking forward to being there, maybe I will dance.

Ms Moon was busy, busy and the Sweet Miss Jessie had washed the dogs and was helping her Mama to get the house ready and when I got there she had the little man out for a walk.  That is one lovely sweet young woman.  Well, she is Jessie Moon, and raised by two sweet people so in love.  It shows in all the kids.  And as Miss Jessie came walking into the yard pushing the stroller with little Owen fast asleep, it was so lovely.  Ms Moon saw them and the love just about bursts out of her when she looks at those two special children, one an adult child, the other a grand child.  And Miss Jessie looked so pretty in her sun dress, and that little man, well, he has a baby face, but there is a huge presence about that little boy.  He is big, but his spirit just overflows right out of that giant little man.  And he looks older.  It is so hard to remember when I look at him that he is only 14 months old, instead of 24 months.  And again the light was just perfect today, shining down through all the trees on the Moon property and the light coming out of those three people, it was intoxicating.  Owen didn’t sleep for long so I got to see him before I left and by the time I was on my way, he was smiling and kissing his grandmother, and well, he is one special boy.

There was a lovely Thanksgiving card from a friend in the mail, and I felt myself smile.  Then as I pulled into my yard, there was my Daddy’s Christmas present sitting inside the fence.  I bought Daddy a walking stick with a flashlight in the grip.  It looks very easy to use and is adjustable so he can set it up to his own comfort.  Now I know we all have that special pair of shoes or a hat or a shirt that we just can’t replace.  I would think that something so relied on as a walking stick would be the same, but I thought that Dad might be able to leave it next to his bed so he can use it at night.  I also thought it would give him some piece of mind when we head to Europe this spring to know that he has a flashlight available while we stay in friend’s homes.  I was so happy to see that box and know that present is taken care of.

I opened the pasture gate and let the three dogs free.  Well, free into the ½ acre that is separated from the 1 ½ acre pasture.  Yep, they have it good those three.  And so do I.  I rested for a few minutes, but I wanted to start baking my breads for tomorrow and Thanksgiving.  So as I made the sage corn bread to use in making the cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving, I threw the ball for Bob and Maggie.  Bob is young and fast and can steal the ball away from Maggie no matter what I do, but she is still happy to be out there, and she acts like she is going to get that ball. 

Then I made two loaves of pumpkin bread, one plain, one with walnuts, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.  And well, the oven was still hot, so I baked a chocolate cake and made some whipped ganache for the filling.  As I went to bake the cake I realized I was short one egg.  So I went out to the chicken coop, and there were two perfect green eggs.  I love my green eggs.  I love my chickens.  Thank you Dani Quail and Buttercup Stanford for the eggs.  Zora lays brown eggs, so I know that Dani and maybe Buttercup are responsible for the green ones.  And the eggs were so perfect; they are not shaped quite like the white eggs at the store.  They are a little longer then rounder, but large to extra large in size.  And the green color is so lovely.  I think this spring the Moons and I will split a rainbow egg layer batch of baby chickens.  We could order chickens that are all exactly the same to optimize the number of eggs we get,
but these are pets not just egg makers, and both Ms Moon and I enjoy the variety of chickens.  I also found out that Ms Mabel is a black star hen.  When I was looking at the chicken choices this weekend I came across the black stars and they could have had Ms Mabel’s picture on the site.  In fact, that might have been Ms Mabel in that picture. 

And as I baked and threw the ball for Maggie and Bob I also watched “Oceans” on pay per view.  I recorded it so we can watch in on Thanksgiving while we are eating.  Ms Judy is an animal of the ocean, she will love this beautiful movie.  The light as it sparkled in the drops of water flying off the dolphins, the bubbles and light made by the whales as they hunt together.  The colors reflecting the light in the water, it is a beautiful movie.  I highly recommend it, with a warning that it does show violence.  I don’t know why they think we all want to watch whales rip and tear seals apart.  Admittedly it is all part of the circle of life, and they did handle those few parts with good taste, but I really don’t care to watch that portion of life.  I don’t want to watch animals poop, I don’t want to watch animals rip each other a part.  Different strokes I guess.  But it is a beautiful movie and the baking just zoomed by.

So many moments today that just stood out at me.  I have to admit there was light involved in each situation.  I mean a light that I saw that drew me to say, pay attention, here is a moment.  And I am happy.  I feel like I was really present today.  Maybe because the last 2 weeks or so I have not felt very present.  No for the last couple of weeks, I have tried not to be a part of the pain or nausea, or the times not being able to sleep or eat.  I did not want to be too in the moment when I was wiping my head as I broke out into a cold sweat, or the dry heaves.  No, I don’t mind pulling into myself and getting through those moments.  But today, today, was a day filled with little every day moments.  Those ordinary moments each day is filled with, and yet today, they stand out in my mind.  Filled with a sort of glowing light, warming me and making me feel a part of them.  A part of my own life.  A life I like.  I like my job.  I love my friends and my “kids”, and the rose bush that needs to be trimmed back and the pine cone lilies that need to be planted that Isabelle gave me.  I love the temperature where it is warm, but not hot, cool, but not cold.  And that fall light, shining through the leaves as they put on their fall show.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Something just isn't right

Saturday I went to Costco.  That was the event of the day.  I went to buy food for the week and the rest of my needs for Turkey day.  I did a lot of shopping, but I am didn't do so great getting the items on my list.  There is so much amazing food at Costco. As I walked to the door I said, just one foot in front of the other.  But I was too tired to do even that, so I said, just lift one of your feet.  Either one, just lift it off the ground.  And I managed to get out and in to my car and I was driving home.  I did buy Yukon gold potatoes.  That was as I was looking at them I managed to get one of the bags in the cart, but it was too heavy to lift it out.  I have a lot of potatoes.  Like 25 pounds?  A lot of potatoes, too bad Ms Moon doesn't want any, I could make them for her.  

So I made it home and got the food out of the car into the wagon and then into the house.  And I realized for this week I had bought salad and chicken/spinach sausage.  That was it for the week.  Ok, I actually bought the sausage for the front of the turkey, so a salad is the only food I bought for the rest of the week.  I bought lots of other stuff, pickles, olives, roasted asparagus, but not food food.  Thank goodness I like lettuce. But there is lots of sausage, so I can eat it with the turkey.

Today I made zucchini/apple bread for Garden Circle.  I made two loaves, just practicing until Wednesday when I will bake pumpkin bread for the Moon party.  

Then off to Isabelle's where she and Caroline and I strung pop corn for the Garden Circle Christmas tree.  We sat around and drank red wine, talked and strung popcorn.  It was a lot of fun and I like spending time with these two women.  After we finished the corn I came home and realized that my left arm is uncomfortable.  I looked at the incision area and it is noticeably swollen and black and blue.  I called the doctors office, but they do not have a service or a machine.  I will call first thing in the morning and ask.  It was the tiniest bit swollen on Friday, not enough to be of any concern to the doctor or his nurse, Chad.  But I have noticed that it has seemed to be getting a little puffier each day since then, and this evening it has gotten to the point where I need to call the doctor and see what he thinks.  I hope that it is a bruise, not an infection or a bleeder or something else that I have no idea about right now.  I guess I will find out when I talk to the doctor.  I don't have a fever.  Ms Moon called and asked me that.  That is a good point.  And she and Mr. Moon think I should put ice on it.  Good point.  hmmmmm, ice in my left arm pit.  Ok, I am going to have to work on that one.  Have I ever mentioned how much I don't like cold weather?  Well, I don't like cold water, to drink or swim in, and I am not a big ice person.  Especially in my left arm pit.  But I know they are right.  My back aches on the left side behind the incision.  It is not swollen like a grapefruit, but more like an egg.  So it is not huge swollen, but noticeably swollen.  I think if there is anything wrong, I have caught it early on, and the doctor should be able to look at it tomorrow, and go, Ok, lets take this magic pill and all will be fine.  Or maybe when I wake up, all will be fine.  Maybe I have just been up and doing too much.  

I am feeling better today, except for the back, and I am looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow.  Tuesday, Isabelle, Caroline and I are going to look into getting a new Christmas tree for the Garden Circle.  We have worried about this for over a year now.  Time to just get a new one.  Thursday, I will cook turkey and have dinner with Judy and Denise.  I am excited about Thanksgiving.  I love turkey and dressing with cranberries and mashed potatoes and gravy.  And then laying back on the couch pants unbuttoned, dreaming about the gorgeous pecan pie warmed with vanilla ice cream on the side.  Always room for desert because it melts around all the little gaps between the real food.  That is why you have to have it ala mode.  

The left side of my back is uncomfortable, but I am sure that it is no big deal.  We will see what the doctor thinks.  Meanwhile I am stronger and feeling better. But I need to have that incision looked at, it just feels like something just ain't right.  more tomorrow after I see how my arm pit is, and decide to call the doctor.  now about that ice.......          

Friday, November 19, 2010

Are we there yet?

This has been the longest week.  Each day crawled by so slowly.  I forgot, again to take any medication one day.  No pain meds, no nausea meds, no Prilosec, again.  I just do not think about taking meds.  I don't know why, I just don't.  So I went an entire day with nothing.    And by 6:00 pm I was hurting, and not able to eat or keep anything down.  So I started trying to take the meds and figure out which one I should be taking.  I woke up around 2  with the night sweats and dry heaves.  Yep-good times.  

Wednesday morning I started to work on my meds.  By Thursday I was able to eat again.  But that made a third week in a row that I had gone several days without eating, and surviving test, surgeries, chemo treatments.  All good things.  All ordeals and stress to put on a body.  No complaining, we are heading in the right direction, but any crazy ideas that I might still have been holding on to think that I can just run over my body and do whatever I want whenever I want to, well, those ideas are done.  

This morning Ms Moon got up before light and drove over to pick me up to be at the Doctor appointment at 8:20, too early am.  She had not met these doctors yet, and I was looking forward to her getting to meet, Dr. Cascone, the surgeon along with his nurse, Chad.  I love Chad, OK, I love everyone at the office.  But Chad is fun in that he wears black scrubs with black crocs and his black hair is spiked.  He is confident and a nice guy, and sweet.  He skillfully removed the stitches and said everything looked fine.  Then the doc came in looked at everything and again said everything was fine.  He is adorable, and refers to himself as an Italian meatball, which makes no sense to be in that he is not shaped like a meatball.  I must be missing the joke.

After the doctor visit we had breakfast at Waffle House.  I actually had a waffle.  I have never had a waffle at Waffle house.  It was a little sweet.  We had fun, nice breakfast.  Then Ms Moon took me to Winn Dixie and I bought a 12-pound turkey.  And now I have a Wallace & Gromit to watch this evening.  And I am feeling stronger today, rest does seem to help.  And I need to quit worrying about getting everything done.  

I have the turkey, so everything else for Thanksgiving will fit into place.  I have started getting Christmas presents ordered and they are starting to come in, so that is good.  I am fine.  I have to quit listening to the voices saying, "When are you going back to work?"  "When will you be done with Christmas shopping?"  "You know you have to outlive me"  Thoughts meant to be kind, meant to be thoughtful and helpful, but instead just feel like pressure.  I will go back to work next week like the doctor Okayed.  It is not even Thanksgiving yet, chill out about Christmas.  Don't miss Thanksgiving worrying about Christmas.  I have the crackers and the tin toys, wrapped already for the table.  So that just means getting the chocolates and receiving the activity  books with the crayons , and then some fresh flowers that week, so the table will be fun.  I have about a third of the presents bought and set, so really, I am right on schedule compared to previous years.  So, no, stress.  Really, no stress, it does not make anything better.  

And I want to enjoy this holiday.  And I will, and I do feel much better today.  And I still have a weekend before I have to go back to work.  I look forward to the work, not the stress on the body of trying to get in, be productive and catch up.  Lots to catch up on.  But it is going to be a lovely weekend, and I am going to enjoy it!  And I will wear my silk sari robe that Ms Moon bought me for Christmas.  I have wanted this robe for years, a lot of years.  But I never got it.  I would look at it every time the catalog came.  I carefully turned down the corner of the page.  I would dream of the softness of the silk against my skin, but I would never buy it.  Thank you Ms Moon.  And it was as wonderful as I had hoped it would be.  It is soft, and flows, and wraps around me, and makes me feel so special.  Why is it so hard for us to allow ourselves to feel special?  To be special?

The last bit of great news is that I have hair.  Well, not really hair yet, but fuzz, lots of fuzz.  The sides seem mostly white, the top more salt and pepper.  It looks though like I will have hair, someday.  It will be fun to see what comes out, what my hair will be.  I am just excited that it looks like I am going to get my hair back.  Will I feel stronger and healthier if I have hair?  It will be interesting to see.  It will be interesting to see how it affects me and my ability to heal.  Hair!  OK, fuzz so far.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Recovering slowly

The chemo was easy, especially with using the new port.  It was a lovely room filled with light and kind, sweet extremely competent people.  But the recovery has been slower then I anticipated.  That is until I think about the last few weeks.  Tests, surgery, days of not eating, probing, prodding, sucking blood out, learning a new doctor, being diagnosed with lung cancer.  Each individual thing has not been that bad, but when you add it all up, well, I am a little worn out.  I had today and tomorrow, free days, no doctors, no work, just take it easy and build my strength back up for next week to return to work and to celebrate Thanksgiving.  

Judy and Ms Moon have been nurturing me and taking care of things, so I did not have to deal with everything on my own, by any stretch.  And yesterday I drove myself to the doctor for my after treatment shot, but driving home I realized how tired I was.  When I got home I sat down in my red chair and fell fast asleep, so I was in bed by 4:30 last night.  I answered the phone when people called, but mostly so they would not worry about me.  I did not get out of bed this morning until 8, which is very late for me.  I was awake earlier, but I gave my stomach and body time to adjust.  And then I have done nothing the rest of the day.   I had big plans, but I let those plans slide as I rested.  And thought and realized that I have been through more lately then I realize and I need to give myself time to heal.  I just feel so irresponsible.  Isn't that funny, by taking care of myself, I feel irresponsible to things like my job and staff.  I do take my job very serious, but honestly I need to keep it in perspective, lung cancer and healing or going to work before I am healed.  Really a no brainer.

Tomorrow?  We will see how I feel tomorrow.  And if I have to take another day of laying around and resting and keeping my stomach quiet, I will.  And if I have more energy then maybe I will run some errands.  Friday Ms Moon will take me to the doctor for the follow up.  Judy will be visiting family.

And I feel like I am in a good place.  I am learning to slow down and place myself higher on the priority list.  My job is important, but not more important then my health.  And the same about all the other stuff in life.  Stuff.  life if full of stuff, isn't that what life is, a collection of stuff, action, things, moments.  And my moments today are precious, not wasted, lived.  And just the right kind of living that I needed today.   

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Shakespeare at the Opera House

This weekend the local Shakespeare Group brought the Tempest to the Opera House.  It is my favorite Shakespearean piece.  I love the sea monster and the sheep, and overly innocent Miranda, spirits and nymphs and he who can control the weather.  That is my favorite part.  How he can call up the storms or soothe the troubled seas.  I love that!  They did a performance last night and then the matinee today.  It was a small crowd and I only made it through intermission, but I enjoyed the production.  I enjoyed getting up and putting on going out clothes and sitting quietly by myself in the dark watching one of my favorite pieces.  There were people just seats away from me that are my friends through the Opera House that I got to talk to during intermission.  Special people that I am so fond of.  

This morning while I watched Charlie Osgood on Sunday morning I wrapped little tin toys in white tissue with either a red or green ribbon.  These will sit tucked in between the juice glasses filled with flowers, maybe roses, maybe mums or carnations, whatever flowers look the bestat Christmas for the Christmas table .  Also mixed in with the toys and the flowers are single bite candies wrapped to look like little packages.  Each place will have an activity book with a box of crayons under their plate and a English Christmas Cracker placed on top of the plate.  A table over loaded with surprises and small presents.  To make the meal as much of a celebration as the rest of the day.  Sometimes I weave ribbons in and out of the glasses of flowers.  Last year everyone got a Godiva Chocolate Santa, this year are the tin toys.  There are almost a dozen of us and for as little a $5 per person I can purchase a bundle or two of flowers, cut local greenery, pick out a toy, a few chocolates, ribbons and a Cracker for each person.  I mean you can not complain over that, and after dinner as we all sit around the table and talk and laugh and color in our activity books or play with our toys and spend another hour or so together.  That is what Christmas is for me.  Some years I buy little brass bells for everyone and after the blessing and before we eat, we ring the bells giving as many angels wings as possible.  Sometimes if you listen carefully not only can you hear the bells, but you can hear the whisper of new wings and singing.  Singing like the heavenly hosts, joyful, happy songs filled with hope.  This year instead of bells, we will hear the whir of keys being turned and the rrrrrrrrr of the motor as the toy skids or hops or spins across the table.  Joy

I used to make the Christmas crackers but it is hard to get the snaps needed to make the crackers.  Well, that and there was the fire.    OK, more of a smoldering instead of an actual fire.  A tiny spark had flown up as Rob and Jong Ae snapped their crackers one year.  It happened in slow motion as we watched the spark fly through to air and then hit Jong Ae's pants and they just burst into flame and then quickly a smolder.  Rob, pushed his napkin on it and smothered it out immediately and no one was harmed, but one pair of pants did have a small yet noticeable hole.  I have purchased them ever since.  liability.  
Happy holidays!

I haven't done as well getting presents bought as I have done on ordering the table toppers, but I am checking lists, revising and rereading lists so that after Thanksgiving I can get my shopping done.  I love the holidays, My birthday, Samhein, All Saints Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years.  I mean bam, bam, bam.  We have a sound effect prop that is wood hinged with handles so that you can slam the boards together and back repeatedly making this Tommy gun sound.  And that is how the holidays fell for me.  But this year, some how I feel like I have a better sense of the timing, well for now.  Next week is chemo, post chemo shots, and follow up visit with the surgeon.  Three days with appointments.  But how will I react to the chemo?  I am not sure, so I am leaving Wednesday and Thursday as open days.  I have things I would like to accomplish, but if I need to spend a day sitting in front of the TV knitting a scarf, that is OK.

This year, I will scale back on so many casseroles, and have a fewer number of people gathered, but I am already looking forward to it.  I am looking forward to the opportunity to cook for people I care about.  People who are giving so much these days to take care of me.  I wouldn't mind a few more, maybe, for dinner, but having a small traditional dinner with a few loved ones to share it with, sounds so special.  

I am looking forward to these holidays and on into the next year.  I am looking forward to the cold and the frosts that I will whine about as I sit in my red chair looking out at the impossibly blue sky, but the temperatures that I would not want to be in.  And Valentine's day and Easter and spring with bulbs pushing through the ground, bringing flowers of every color as the spill out into yard. Waves of colors moving through the gardens first in one place then a week later a new spot in the garden bursts out.  Then the heat and slow hard growth of our gardens, harvesting the three sisters, and eggplants, peppers, tomatoes and basil and looking forward to cleaning out the garden to plant the fall garden.  There is always something to look forward to.  

For me this cycle seems to start in the fall.  Maybe that is because of the years of schedules centered around school.  September, football, the first of the mums opening, crisp weather and changing leaves.  And the cycle is starting to speed up a bit here to tackle Thanksgiving and use the momentum of tradition and family, script and unconditional love, pilgrims and turkeys, diversity.  After all the first holiday signalling the importance of European intrusion into the Americas was shared by the local people.  I mean I understand they didn't sit around and watch football.  But they did share and work together.  A great beginning, a wonderful new start of one of our favorite traditions that has become so accepted in our lives today.  One more thing to be thankful for.  

Mostly I am thankful for getting to celebrate this holiday.
Especially after the last 6 months.
Because I have new hope to take me into the new year
Because I fell good.
And I am so very thankful for so very very much
And that gives me a peace that I never thought I would achieve
Even for a short time
Words of the season
I am feeling them today
I wrapped presents
I thought about the heat and smells and the buzz of the kitchen on Thanksgiving day.
I am feeling good.                    

Saturday, November 13, 2010

La de da and now we know

OK, so I don't know what I was thinking.  Tuesday morning I woke up in a good mood, took the garbage to the dump, picked up dog and cat food, packaged boxes to be mailed to family in Europe, took them to the post office.  Cleo told me I was just too damn perky.  hee hee, I did feel perky.  Got home and Ms Judy took me up to the outpatient surgery.  This was about noon.  They got me checked in and then took me back to the prep room and I got into the gown and waited for the parade of doctors and nurses to introduce themselves.  They wheeled me back to the surgical area, had me slide over onto the operating table and they had be put my arms out and they strapped me on to boards making a "T" out of me.  As I faded out, I told the nurses they were a little kinky.  I slipped off as I heard them laughing at the old white, scrawny bald woman.  

Hours later, I have no idea how many, maybe 4 maybe less or more.  I was slipping back into my body and realized that I was about to be very sick and they had an oxygen mask over my face.  This was not good.  I could not wave my arms, they felt different, but I could raise my left hand and I started spelling v..o..m..i..t...      v..o..m..i..t.  A male nurse looked at me and asked the room if anyone spoke sign language.  The nurse beside me, quickly removed the mask and lifted my head slightly and handed me a vomit bag.  And I did.  As I was busy filling that blue bag, the young nurse was repeating something .  "We have given you the maximum dose of every anti-nauseou meds we have.  We can't do anything else for you."  She was not dressed like the other nurses.  And the Recovery nurses kept teasing her about getting lost.  It turned out she was an OR nurse who had worked with all the other nurses in Recovery prior to moving to OR.  They had been so worried about how sick I got on the table, she had accompainied me from OR until I was released from Recovery.

I had gotten sick on the operating table.  Probably dry heaves because I had not had any for at least 12 hours.   I think I have mentioned before that if I walk past a pill bottle on the counter, I can get sick.  They gave me an antibitotic, pain meds, probably involving codine (yuck) and they used drugs to put me to sleep.  Basically., every drug they gave me has sometime in the past made me vomit and they could not stop it.  I try so hard to be an easy patient, but my body is strong in some ways, not so strong in others, the numbers are usually subnormal not normal, no surprise there.   And any kind of pill I take is possible that it could all of a sudden turn on me the next time I take it.  So I came too, sick.  Really sick.  The spinning started to subside and everyone was hovering over me.  So when one nice looking man walked in between my gurney and the next, I pinched his butt.  It didn't hurt him, but it did catch him entirely by surprise that this little scrawning, pale, old bald woman who was causing such anxiety must be coming around, because he yelled out loud that I was pinching him.  The room came to a halt and the people snickered and went about their job.  

So I don't remember anything from being strapped down to the table until I was waking up finger spelling v..o..m..i..t.  I do remember after I had already had drugs and that it was a regular parade of people in scrubs each carrying a giant chart with my name on it, each stopping by one by one to introduce themselves to me.

I do remember saying over and over in the recovery that I was uncomfortable.  I was completely and utterly amazed.  It had never occurred to me that being cut into was going to change the way I felt from all that energy that morning.  What was I thinking?  How can you go through surgery where they inserted a port on the right side of my chest and took out a node under the left arm, well or course there would be pain and discomfort.  I mean how foolish I had been.  I mean this whole little"c" thing has turned my world upside down so that my perception is completely skewed.  Thank goodness Mary, Judy and Denise had talked about it and set up a plan for taking care of me after the surgery.   It never occurred to me that I would need to be taken care of.  I was going to be just fine. Look at everything I had been through the week before!  I mean ever since I have met Dr. M I have been poked and prodded and cut into and knocked out and sucked dry.  I have had nasueau and not felt so great ever since meeting him.  Of  course I am not complaining, look at what he has been able to accomplish in those two weeks in connection with my little "c".  But it has been pretty unpleasant.  

Judy was finally able to break me out of the place Tuesday night.  They kept threatening to keep me overnight if I didn't feel better.  It was difficult but with that type of incentive I managed to get wheeled out of the hospital.  And I got home and for the next several days I was out of it more then awake.  Judy stayed with me and took care of me and the animals.  Mary and Denise came by as they were able, and that was wonderful, but I was not up to any other visits, or even phone calls.  They gave me hydrocodone with acetamedephin for pain management, I can't take either of those meds, they make me sick.  So for the discomfort I have taken Ibuprophin and that has done just fine.  

But drum roll please!!!  The results are in from the dye tests, it is lung cancer.  No doubt about it. We know for sure lung cancer.  OK, not really what I would have hoped for in the beginning, but that is what I have.  And the doctor will start chemo Monday, this time with drugs to affect lung cancer.  They have taken out a piece of cancer, and it is uncomfortable at the surgical site.  It hurts, but each day it hurts less, and that is how I feel about this cancer.  Now we know what it is, now we can focus those WMDs based on knowing.  Good news.  I understand that Lung cancer is the number one cancer that kills Americans.  But I have a different type of lung cancer we hope.  The genomic testing will let us know for sure.  Dr. M believes I have a specific mutation of lung cancer that is found in caucasion women my age without a history of heavy smoking.  And if I do, there is a treatment that will help me have the fullest longest life possible leaving with a possibly incurable disease.  But time will tell us all of that.  

For now, I appreciate Judy, Mary and Denise all stepping in to take care of me.  I had the animals prepared, but somehow had refused to think about what it would be like physically for me to recover.  And they took care of me and let me sleep and just heal.  And I am healing.

Next week will be a busy week of doctor appointments, but I know what kind of cancer I have now.  And I think I will be more prepared in the future for what is coming next.  No more La de da here, OK, well, maybe I will do my best to understand and think about things before hand, but nothing wrong with a little La de da.  hee hee

La de da.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Another new doctor

Where did they find all of these adorable doctors?  We met the surgeon today.  Yes, he is another gorgeous, adorable man.  And he had the cutest medical student with him.  I gave a plug to Jessie, but honestly, she is involved with Virgil right now, and this guy lives north of Thomasville, so again, he is not a local guy, so that will not do.  It is just that Jessie is so adorable and I can't imagine life here if she leaves.  And I have only known this special young woman for a few years.  Don't misunderstand, she has 3 siblings whom I adore also, not to mention baby Owen.  They are all very special people and I am so grateful to know them and Mr and Ms Moon.  They have welcomed me into their family, and I feel so fortunate for that.  

But I was talking about the new doctor, Dr. Cascone.  He is very personable and focused.  He tried to feel the lymph node and could not feel it, and then made a comment if he could not determine which node it was he would have to take all of them on my left side.  I quickly explained that he would be able to see which one from the PTScan.  He and the medical student left and when they came back, the doctor felt comfortable that he knew which one, and would not have to take more then that one.  Whew!!!!  remember I watched that PBS special on cancer, they did a story on a woman who had all of the lymph nodes removed from one side and she had to wear this horrid elastic sleeve.  I mean if there was a question about the lymph nodes I would have no problem with them removing them all.  If I had to wear the sleeve, I would gladly accept that.  But since the PTscan clearly shows that only one node is affected, why remove more then we need?  The doc seemed to be of the same mind set.

I have my appointment for tomorrow afternoon at day surgery.   Ms Judy will take me to the outpatient surgery, Ms Moon is still too sick to be around me, but she is with us.  We talk about her constantly, we tell each doctor that they will meet her eventually, if they are lucky.  She is there.  She is a part of our team, and Judy and I rely on her just like she is with us.  Remember that Ms Moon, you are here, you are loved and you are a part of this team, and such an important part of keeping me sane through this process.  I love Ms Judy and she is just as important and integral to this as you are.  I need you both.  But that does not mean that you each do not have lives that might mean that sometimes you are not with me.  But you always are.

After we met with the doctor then we drove across to the Ambulatory Section.  They took more blood, had me pee in a cup, took a chest X-ray and an EKG.  It looks like I am fine to go.  

And they will take, hopefully just the one lymph node out.  Just the one.  If they feel they have to take more, I will understand.  And after the lymph node surgery, Dr. C will put in a port for me.  This is going to make my life so much better.  

The white peep is still hanging in there, but still severely suffering from PTSD.  I mean seriously.  I walk into the coop to feed or give treats, and bless its little heart it flattens out and starts screaming, then runs trying to stay flat which means then it can not see Zora Neal so then it really starts screaming.  I feel so bad for it.  So I am giving it space and hoping that eventually the terror will fade and it will grow up normal enough for a chicken.  Who knows it might end up being better adapted to deal with danger with this terrible event.  It does not seem it right now, for either of us.  Meanwhile the other little peep is doing just fine and reveling in the attention of its mother.  It was second fiddle, and now it is the golden child.  That is funny in that it is a lovely light golden color.  But at least the little white peep is alive, has a strong survival need and each day is getting better.  I also looked at the area where the holes are and sure enough it looked like something could get into the coop, so I moved the cement rocks I had put in the holes and shoveled more dirt into the hole.  I packed it down tight and mounded the dirt up to try and make sure that they will be safe for a few days.  I am not sure that tomorrow I will be able to shovel dirt after the surgery.  But since we do not have to leave until 11, hopefully I will have time to ship my packages off and check the hole for more dirt, and fill up the feeders and water cans so that the chickens will be OK for a couple of days.

Then I called work and let them know that I will be out for the week, and we will have to see how things are for next week.  I know the doctor said 2 weeks, but lets take it a week at a time and see how things go.  I have to be able to answer emails and get some work done.  Judy told me she could get me on line to my emails tomorrow from home.   I hope so.  I hate to have people asking questions and needing assistance and I am not there.  I could work from home and keep my left arm rested.  We will see.

I am a little anxious.  I know I have cancer, so what could be worse?!?!  Being put out and  then having them cut on me.  That is worse then cancer.  Remember I do not feel the cancer, I do not have any symptoms from it.  So it is not as real to me as going to the hospital putting on one of those lovely robes, being put to sleep so they can cut open my arm pit.  Sorry, that is a lot scarier right this minute then some unseen, unfelt cancer.  But this time tomorrow night, Ms Judy will be here and I will be asleep, sleeping off the drugs they will give me to do the surgery.  Everything will be fine and I will have a little less cancer in my body, and a huge sample to determine what kind of caner I have.  So this is all good.  I will probably take an Ativan tonight to sleep and rest.  

Tomorrow, they are going to get some of this cancer out of me. 
Later this week, I will meet with Dr. M and he will give us good news.
This little "c" has met its match.
I will continue with my visualization that I am well, 
that the caner just flakes away likes yellow, red and orange leaves falling off of trees this time of year.  There to be raked up and composted.  Turned from dying cells into fertilizer to be spread out in gardens.  Gardens that will be filled overflowing with flowers and vegetables.
Yes, I like that idea, the cancer is just flaking away, making room for a new healthy life.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Zora Neal

Bob the dog does a great job waking me when the chickens make noises at night.  But he will not go with me to face the predator.  And the predator was back last night and it even slipped past me as I ran for Zora.  It was dark and I did not have on my glasses, any shoes or my flashlight.  When I hear my babies scream, I run.  I don't stop and think, I just run to my babies. 

I got to the barn and flipped on the light in the horse stall and ran into the coop.  It gives a little back light, but does not light up the coop enough to really see what is going on.  As I moved from one coop to the next something shaped like a raccoon waddled quickly by me and down into the rabbit hole and was gone.  Zora is tore up pretty good and the white chick has a wound on the right side of its head and neck.  The worst injury for the chick is the PTSD.  The poor little thing does not look well, but trying to take it from its mother to clean it up and put some antibiotic salve, seemed worse then letting it have some food and water and some warmth and attention from Zora Neal.  I will keep my eye on them both.  I put more rocks in where the animals are digging into the coop and then shoveled more dirt in again.  Later today when it is warmer I will go out and see if I can do a better job of closing off the holes.  

The brownies are made and the cinnamon oatmeal cookies are in the oven.  The General meeting for the Stage Company is at 2:00.  I am up for election.  I have been on the Board of the Stage Company for 2 years.  I am proud of what we have accomplished.  We now share all Board meeting minutes with all members.  We have met with other local stage companies and have had our first play share in that TOSAC brought a play to the Opera House last season, and hopefully this season we will have a production from members of the Stage Company take a play to TOSAC and have them bring another play to our stage.  We still need to do a better job in developing new directors or bringing in new directors, and keep working on getting company members involved.  But am I the one that should be doing this?  My focus is elsewhere.  Having something else in my life other then cancer could be a good thing.  But can I be selfish enough to run for an election for a position that I don't know if I can give what I feel is needed for this job.  I took over the financial position, but was unable at that time to get my brain to work well enough to handle the position.  Pat took the position and immediately fixed the problem.  That was when I realized I might not be the best person.  I do not see the Board as the Stage Company itself.  It is merely the representatives of the members of the Stage Company.  Their voice.  And the best way to follow the guidance of their voice is to have their input.  We need to be better about that.  I am not sure how.  Maybe we need to make the members feel more welcome to attend Board Meetings.  Again though, am I really the one to do this?!?!?!??  I don't know.  But the brownies and cookies are ready for the meeting.  We are serving light snacks at the meeting.

I got a call from Donna at the Oncology Office, I have an appointment on Monday with the doctor who will do the surgery to remove the lymph node.  Friday I will go in for more lab work and then meet with the doctor.  The following Monday I will start my new chemo treatment.  This is exciting.  I wonder how this new chemo mix will affect me.  It is a different chemo.  This one will be more specific to the type of cancer that I have.  I still don't know what cancer I have, but we are closer to knowing.  Maybe by next Monday we will know for sure.  I trust Dr. M to know what he is doing.  And I like the fact that we have good communication between him and the rest of the team, and I know his goal is to beat this cancer.  It feels good to have that.  

Now to get ready to go to the Stage Company meeting.  Ms Moon will not be there, she is a little under the weather.   It is a gorgeous day, the temperatures have warmed up nicely. 

We had the Stage Company meeting.  It was small.  But we had enough to complete our business.  Jan and I were re-elected to the Board.  There are plenty of cookies left, and Judy was asked to direct the Murder Mystery.  It was a small turn out, but we got a lot accomplished.  It was a good meeting.

Tomorrow Judy and I will meet with the doctor who will do the lymph node surgery.
Mary can't go with us, she is sick, and my immune system is low.
Sometime this week they will remove a little piece of cancer.
A little cancer gone.
Then on Friday more lab work and then an appointment with Dr. M
And I feel like living again.
I have a 3 year term at the Opera House Stage Company
I think I will more then make that
I didn't feel this hopeful before.
Dr. M has made me feel like I will be well again.
Maybe not cancer free
but well.
I can live with that.

Friday, November 5, 2010

cancer, bloody Mary's, remodeling and parties

This morning we met with Dr. Banderas.  Mary, Judy and me.  We talked, he showed us the PTScan on the computer.  He said that there was a 70% chance that it was lung cancer.  A 40% chance of breast cancer.  He was going to set up a lung biopsy and this would confirm the cancer.  If breast cancer then it is treatable and possibly could go into remission.  Things could be even better.  If lung, well that is also very treatable, probably not curable, but people with treatment can live long healthy lives with lung cancer. Sometimes once the cancer is under control they can use a pill form chemo instead of the IV.

And if we start chemo treatments again, which it looks like we could be doing so within the next couple of weeks, he will have a port put in.  They are wrecking my veins with all the sticks.  My hands and arms are covered in knots and black and blue marks.  My veins hide in terror when they see someone coming at me with a needle.  They roll and blow and hide and do all other kind of difficult things these days.

Finally, it looks like I am going to really know what I have.  My little "c" will have a name.  I am exited.

Then they gave me a B-12 shot and a shot of growth hormone, and then on to see Ms Donna in scheduling.  She was having trouble setting up the schedule so I gave her my email address and asked her to email it to me.

After the visit the three of us went to Lowe's to help me pick out the paint.  No, I had picked it out in my dreams last night, I needed to find the colors I saw, they were perfect.  So I would stare at all the pinks, overwhelmed and then I would start describing the paint color to Mary and within a card or two she would hand me the exact color.  For my bed room, Pixie Dust pink; for the living room and kitchen, Warm summer yellow; and for the 2 bathrooms and the guest room, blue mist.  Then to look at flooring.  This is a single wide trailer that I had planned on replacing when I bought the property.  I bought the property, the trailer was a place to live until I could put up a house.  Preferably an older house moved onto the property on the other side of the barn between the pines and the orchard.  But now, no I don't want to deal with all of that.  This trailer is fine.  It just needs a little extra attention.  I need to remove that horrible carpet.  Now don't get me wrong it was a good quality, beautiful blue, expensive carpet, but carpet is a terrible idea with 5 dogs.  I am now down to three labs, and you know what?  Carpet is a terrible idea with 3 ginormous labs, not to mention 4 cats.  

My first choice is the easiest to clean.  It is a single wide trailer after all.  So I thought we could look at the vinyl flooring and then at the wood laminate.  Tile is not a good idea for a trailer.  What I found and I am seriously considering is the light wood vinyl flooring that is made to look like wood laminate that is made to look like real wood floors.  I like that idea, the fake of the fake, hmmm and the easiest to keep clean.  I will take it!!!  Then Mary saw these wonderful area rugs.  There was one that I really liked for the living room, it kind of reminded me of plastic trying to look like bamboo.  I mean how perfect, vinyl flooring trying to look like laminate, trying to look like real wood with a plastic rug trying to look like bamboo.  I can't believe I like this!!!  The sales woman, said that is an outdoor rug.  I said, "perfect!"  Talk about easy to keep clean.

But it is much nicer looking then I describe and it will be so easy to keep clean.  I mean this would take all the work out of dealing with this horrid carpet.  Making life easier so I have more time for those things that are really important.  Cleaning carpet is not my idea of one of those important things. So that was that.  I had my paint colors and the type of paint I wanted.  I had my floor picked out and the card of the woman who will set everything up.  I saw a lamp that would be perfect, maybe, over the table in the kitchen.  Done.  Mary got a lamp shade and I got a pretty new floor register for the living room.  You know, just replacing the floor register made me feel that there is hope right here in my own little place.  Painting and a new floor, a little change here and there.  No moving, no packing, no stress about moving or building a house.  No, my dreams were beautiful last night with my painted walls. In my dream, the floors were laminate.  The vinyl will be close enough.  OK, time to take some action.  

Action, Bloody Mary's at Applebees along with some lunch.  We had a lot of fun, the food, hmm, well, it wasn't as important as the three of us together.  A good time was had, but the time came to head back to Jefferson County.  The girl's came in to drop me off and Dr. Bandera's called.  He said when he was looking at the PTScan with us, it caused him to look at it again after we left and he had it looked at, and there it was, cancer, lymph node, under my left arm.  

More cancer.

A lymph node.

Next week the doctor will call to set up the surgery to remove the lymph node. It could be 2 weeks before we have all the results back, but the doctor might be able to start the chemo again before we have all the results back.  That is why I had the shots today.  My white cells and bone marrow are still a little depleted.  So we are so close to naming this cancer.  Pink ribbon of course if it is breast, white for lung.

This is a lot to take in again, but this news is not so hard to take in like the last news from Dr. B.  And speaking of him.  He missed the cancer in the lymph node.  I was referred to him from a Pulmonologist, he never considered it to be lung cancer.  He never considered anything but unknown source and incurable.  He missed so much.  so very much.

And then tonight armed with my good news, I went to the party at Linda and Kent's for the Opera House Board evening.  I stayed for almost an hour, and I had a nice time and saw friends.  Linda gave me some hats and scarves, etc to wear and share. 

This was an amazing day.  The doctor, shopping for paint colors and new floors, lunch with bloody Marys, and then a party.  Then I came home and made a giant pot of veggie soup.  It is cold.  Have I mentioned that I dislike the cold?  I really don't like the cold, really.  But I can stay in the house and eat my soup and look out the windows and see the sunshine and know that next week they will remove that lymph node, that will be a little less cancer in me.  And the cancer that was radiated on my second rib does not show up cancer any more.  Neither does the C6 vertebrate.  Did the chemo and radiation do it, or was it ever there?  I don't know.  But it is gone, and soon also will be the lymph node, and from that node it is going to crack open the long held mystery and we will know.  OK, it is possible that we will not know, but I just feel that we will.  

So how is this going to affect my life?  Well, I just might have way more life then was suggested by the last doctor.  And Dr. Banderas is getting me to think differently about life with cancer.  How to use timing to live a full life, but to minimize complications.  If I start Chemo again the week of Nov. 15, and this would be a different combination then what Dr. B had used.  This one will be more specific to the type of cancer I have, but then taking an airplane to NY, within that 10 day time frame after the treatment is when my immune system is at its lowest.  Dr. M, suggests that we plan a trip to fit with the treatment schedule.  It might mess up plans for NY.  I will know more the coming week or so, but I have to deal with this cancer and participate in the treatments, make smart decisions.  I will get to NY.  Will it be this Thanksgiving?  I don't know, but by being smart now and getting this cancer under control, I will have time to go to NY later.  And I am not afraid that I will miss anything.  I have done a lot so far, and I am not giving up, or doing with out, just putting my life back in perspective again.  Perspective to what I know now, and what I will know soon.  

Such a good day.
I am happy.
I have hope, real hope.  Not just putting the best face forward hope.
Real hope.
A real cancer with a real name
with real treatments
that can be stopped, or slowed, or just put in it's place. 
Yep, a good day, and I am happy.