Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Samhein

Today is Samhein.  One of my favorite days and holidays.  I love getting dressed up and trick or treat and candy and parties and bobbing for apples, and pumpkins and Indian corn.  Last night I went out to Judy and Denise's.  I wore my wood nymph outfit, Denise was a bloody chef and Judy was a scare crow.  They had decorated the yard and made food for friends to stop by, and set up things for the kids we are carried around on trailers and pickup trucks to see and have.  It was a lot of fun.

I came home and watched the end of Game 3 of the World series.  I like watching the World Series, the Super Bowl, and final games of the sweet 16 and the pro basketball.  I also love watching UF play football, and the Miami Dolphins, especially  when they play the jets.  That is always a great game.

Today I will go see Oklahoma and support the Opera House and hug the kids in the show.

Tomorrow we start the process of the colonoscopy with the cleansing, etc.  Thank goodness I read the paper because actually starting today things change.  Today is no salads, nuts or seeds.  Good thing I read that because actually that would have been my lunch.  I will come up with something else now.  And then tomorrow only clear liquids.  Hmm, that is going to be interesting at work.  I have to be able to think and finish my reports.  It will all work out.

I have been thinking about everything I still need to do to get ready to die.  I am not planning on dying right of way, but we are all dying.  Welcome to the club folks, we are members from the moment we are conceived.  Fortunately most of us don't have to think about this for most of our lives, but there comes a time when we might need to make arrangements.  I am going to be cremated.  No funeral, no fancy coffin, the simplest plain box that legally I can get away with.  Honesty I would prefer no box if that was allowed.  OK, so then I am cremated and I want my ashes to be spread around my gardens.  No marker. Simple.  What about for people who need to have some kind of service and a way to say good bye?  Well, The fanciest I would be interested in would be in the garden behind the Opera Hose.  Honestly though, just having people come here to the house and do a cover dish thing.  You know how I love cover dish dinners.  Lots of beer, wine and cocktails.  Lots of laughing.  That would be perfect.  So I need to get with a crematory and find out how to make arrangements.  I mean after all I have time to take care of these things now, and it will make it easier on my beloveds as possible.

I admit that I am not sleeping well this past few days.  I guess part of it is the unknown with the new Dr.  I really like Dr. M, but we are back to a lot of unknown.  What is the cancer?  How will we treat it?  How long will I have?  These are all good questions and I am very open to the new and unknown, but that does not mean it is not still causing some anxiety.  Not to mention Larry's cancer.  

Sorry to all of you who think I should leave the door shut.  I can't I have cancer.  I understand in a way what he is going through.  His fears and concerns and the words, "I have cancer"  Plus I spent more then 20 years taking care of him, and now that he is dealing with this disease I can not just turn my back on him.  He can not come here to live, I can not give him money, but I can be kind to him.  I can do some things to help him.  I am not sure what all that means.  It is very limited, but we have been through so many things together, and here at the end of his life, he feels like we are sharing something again.  Yes, in some ways, and it does feel OK to have this additional connection to him.  But I am still anxious.     

I also have to start researching how to die.  I used to do an inspections at nursing homes.  I saw all of these living dead.  They were neither alive nor dead.  I am not sure that dying comes as naturally as to every one.  I will talk to the doctor and I will also talk to my friend Linda, who is a hospice nurse.  I think I have this living thing down OK, but I am not sure if dying will come as naturally to me.  And as I continue on this journey, working to stay alive is going to be part of it.  So if I put all this energy into living, will I be able to then know how to die?  I am not sure.  I would like to get some information on dying and then I can put it aside for when the time comes.  I think that it will take some stress off of me.  Get the arrangements made, learn how to die, finish getting the paperwork done.  Make a list of what goes where, and then I can get back to living.  OK, that is the plan.

Don't get me wrong, I am not wishing to die, but I am not afraid.  I want everything.  I want a healthy, happy life, I want to spend time with my loved ones.  I want a good death.

I went to see Oklahoma, and it was a wonderful production.  It is community theater, so of course there were things about it that were better then others.  But over all the set was wonderful, the actors did a fine job and looked like they enjoyed themselves, and at the intermission break I went back stage and hugged all the kids.  I love them all so much.  They are so talented and beautiful and wonderful and I am so very very proud of them.

Tomorrow is work and clear liquid day.  Yum.   And then the cleansing meds, should be a fun evening, or not.  Lots of tests this week and hopefully something will show Dr. M what we are really dealing with, or not.  I have faith in him, and I trust him to be honest with us through this whole process.  And yes, I am still very happy to be on this journey.  I am learning so much, experiencing so much, there is so much love and support surrounding me.  I am thankful for today.  I am thankful for the opportunity of tomorrow.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Another wonderful doctor

Judy and I headed up to Archibald today to the digestive health center.  The woman had said something about going past the Emergency Entrance, so we did and came in the back of Archibald, directed out to the front of the hospital and to the Endoscopy Section.  Then we had to run to the Digestive Center which was way back where we had started, sort of.  It was really hard to understand anything that the woman said on my cell phone.  I was not sure what we were going to be doing today.  I was pretty sure we were not doing the colonoscopy today because he had not cleared my system out.  But I had no idea what was up today.  

We finally made it into the Digestive Center, late.  Wait, no we were not.  The appointment was not at 9, but at 9:40.  I swear all I heard her say over the cell phone was 9.  This is one of the reasons I prefer not to talk on the cell phone.  But we were there and now to fill out the paperwork.  Yesterday and today the paperwork was much more personalized to the situation, instead of the standard forms I have been filling out.  Again, another doctor group that made us feel welcome.  Then the doctor came in.

He is buds with Dr. M.  In fact they had talked about us yesterday.  This doctor was also gorgeous, intelligent, funny, professional and had a great bed side manner.  He was thorough and asked lots of questions, again did another hands on physical exam.  And then discussed my um, movement patterns.  Well he is getting ready to do a colonoscopy after all.  He told me about what I would be doing next Monday to get ready, but this weekend he wants me to start cleaning out the system using Mirilax.  I must have made a face because he asked me about it.  I told him that I was really not sure about putting polyethylene glycol into my body, it sounds like something that should be put in a car instead.  He laughed, and asked me to go ahead and do it and then I could put the rest in my car to make it run.  Then he laughed at the joke he did not plan on saying.  But he loved it.  That is pretty funny, make the car "run".  Tuesday he will do the two procedures, an endoscopy and as Judy called it, an "uppie".  The doctor liked that also.  It is nice to talk to doctors and have them be so funny and talk and laugh with us, and at the same time be serious about my cancer.

After the appointment yesterday Judy and I drove to Boston, Ga.  Then we headed to Quitman and ate at the Mexican food.  After a satisfying lunch we headed home but stopped to cut sorghum to nice up the set for Oklahoma at the Opera House.  At home we split a bottle of pink sparkling wine, Korbel.  Today after our appointment we had BBQ at Granddaddy's in Thomasville.  Nice to enjoy time together and not just deal with doctors and cancer.  

On thing that the doctor had said yesterday that I think I had pushed out of my brain, is that if the colonoscopy, endoscopy, lab work and PET Scan doesn't tell us about the primary source of cancer, then he wants to do a biopsy of the nodules on the lungs.  I appreciate that he is wanting to get to the bottom of this little "c" so he knows what is the plan.  What is the diagnosis to know the prognosis.  

I just got off the phone with Richard and Colleen.  It was a mass they removed from Larry's head, not a blood clot.  Because of HIPPA, we can not get the direct information on what is going on with him.  Richard and Collen said that  Larry was told it was terminal.  One thing that they know for sure, is that it was a 6mm mass pressing on his brain, not a blood clot. Larry has decided to go down to stay with his cousin Bonnie.  This is much better news then staying with his brothers.  I had hoped that they would get to be friends.  That was/is unlikely, but I was trying to be hopeful.  But his sweet cousin Bonnie loves Larry as much as he loves her.  And she is the only person I ever saw have any type of influence over him.  Heavens knows I never did.  I don't know how he will get to Bonnie's, surely he should not be driving after major brain surgery.  

I find it so odd that we both have ended up in this situation.  No one has said that he has/had cancer, but he had a 6mm mass on his brain, isn't that cancer?  They say that one out two men and one out of three woman will get cancer, so I guess it is not a coincidence that we each have cancer.  I think we have different cancers, and we have different lifestyles, so we will each deal very differently with or disease.  I am so sorry that he is going through this, but we each have our journey and our journeys diverged years ago.  I will always care for him, I understand that.  I have a lot of baggage from our marriage, but I also have lots of happy memories from when it was good.  It will take me a while to deal with this.  

So good and bad today.  Good for my journey to find out what I have, bad to find out that we are talking a mass pressing on Larry's brain.  I had a good time with Judy.  We missed Mary, but she is always with us.  I had a good first appointment with the colonoscopy doctor.  I mean anytime you can laugh with your doctor and yet know that he is competent and professional is amazing.  I am struggling a little with everything so far today.  

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The New Doctor

A new day, a new doctor, a new hospital, a new start. 

I love our new doctor.  First, he looks like a young Antonio Bandera.  He is from Lebanon, yet his accent is very subtle.  He is young, passionate about what he does and believes in staying up with all the latest information.  Even when he is saying life expectancy is 12 – 24 months, it does not sound like a death sentence.  He filled me with hope. 

He said that the type of cancer that I have been diagnosed with is a stage 4.  But he calls it “cup”, carcinoma unknown primary.  Then he took a few minutes to review the records with Judy and me that Dr. B’s office had sent over.  Mary is in Roseland with Mr. Moon and could not be there today.  It felt like she was there with us, she is such an important part of this journey.    

But Dr. M said that he could not determine, based on the tests that have been run so far what type of cancer I have.  So now, I will have the PET scan.  Dr. B said it was of no value.  This new doctor said, it is standard practice and very important to help diagnose this cancer.  He also has set up an upper and lower endoscopy.  OK, I am not excited about getting a colonoscopy, but it is an important test to determine what type of cancer I have. 

I was fine with Dr. B’s diagnosis.  I mean I can go on line and find it.  And I had to have a positive attitude and do the best I could by the doctor I had.  But that was before months into the treatment, that he finally decided to make the “incurable” cancer statement.  After that, and honestly a couple of other things, I lost confidence in him.  It is hard to go through what you have to with cancer if you do not have faith in your doctor.

OK, Dr. M is saying incurable, but he said it the very first visit.  He also said whatever the type of cancer, it is stage 4 because it has metastasized, but until we know more about the primary source, we cannot make any prognosis. 

He was very professional, personable and passionate.  He actually did a physical exam.  Dr. B never touched me that I remember.  Dr. M got in there and checked the lymph nodes.  He seemed positive after that exam.  He has already set up the endoscopy and I should know more about the colonoscopy tomorrow, and then the PET scan, and then more blood work before next Friday.  He wants to be able to determine as much about this cancer as quickly as possible so he can develop the plan. 

After the chemo did not appear to affect the cancer, Dr. B was basically done with me.  There was no talk about future care, it was call me if you need something.  Dr. M made it clear that this is for the rest of my life.  He isn’t promising me a longer life, but he did make it clear that he was in for the long haul.  And everyone we met today was professional and so personable.  And the facility is beautiful.  And they don’t just take in to consideration of the patient, but also the caregivers that bring the patient in.

Can you tell how hopeful I feel?  I mean I really don’t have that much more to be hopeful about, but I feel more hopeful.  I feel like this doctor is going to do his best to give me a life.  A life for however long it lasts.  I still don’t believe it is how long you live.  It is how well you live, and that is what he is offering me.

I felt so good that when I talked to Rich this evening I told him that if he still had the opportunity to go to NY for Thanksgiving, I wanted to go with him.  I mean if I am only going to live a few more years, I am not waiting to live.  I can’t make any decisions yet concerning my retirement and how to deal with my money until I get the diagnosis, but I know that I have worked hard and put away money.  Yes, I have lived a busy and active life, and there is no reason to stop now.  Based on what the doctor finds with the tests will determine making arrangements for Vicki and me to go to Scotland.  I will never be rich, but I can do the things that are most important to me. 

The chemo might interfere with trying to determine the source of the cancer, but Dr. M thinks it is still worth looking.  He says that I might have to have more chemo, but that will be based on more tests and information.  Not the buckshot chemo treatment, as Judy put it.  Try the most common chemo and hope it is close enough.  Dr. M of course did not say anything directly against Dr. B.  But he did refer to the treatment that I had gotten from Dr. B as what a doctor reading a book can do.  The treatment will only be as up to date as the book, and really, anyone can do that.  Dr. M wants more facts so that he can search for the best and latest treatment to give me the best opportunities he can. 

I don’t remember everything that happened or was said today.  I just remember I liked how this man talked to us, treated us and when we went to leave, Judy and I stuck out our hands to him and said, “Welcome to our Team”  He made some comment about how excited he was to be a part of our team.  Now that is special. 

Hope.   Hope does not mean everything is going to be fixed immediately.  That is what our President keeps trying to remind us.  Hope is the starting place.  There is a lot of hard work that comes after hope.  And just because I have hope, it doesn’t mean that I am going to live forever.  But it does mean that I have hope that this journey is going to be the best journey I can have.  I just can’t believe that I could be dead in the next year or even within 5 years.  I feel so alive.  I am not afraid.  It just does not feel real.  Maybe that is what hope does for us.  It makes us feel alive and that anything is possible.  Let’s not forget to do the work to make that happen.  And I am ready.  I have the hope, and I am ready to do what this man asks of me to give him the information to give me the best treatment possible.

Hope.  A new day, a new doctor, a new hospital, a new start.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A new day tomorrow

So this week has crept along. We have been busy at work.  I have the most amazing staff.  I know I have said this before, but really, no raise in the last like 5 years, we are now working at about half staff with the same work load and everyone keeps coming back each day.  In fact because we are now testing a new commerce site so that we can start the process of accepting credit cards for payment, they have all come in early so that they can get their regular work done as well as do this new testing.  And the IT section is having meetings and asking lots of questions, and they are right there.  In fact they were coming up with such great ideas and giving out such great information, I left the meeting to man the phones and let them attend the meeting.  OK, I am not crazy about meetings, but honestly I was trying to use my Certified Public Manager training.  After all I have my certification or whatever it is called and I like to use what they taught me.  It really does make a difference, and what I didn't want to run into was group think.  This is where everyone goes along with the boss in the room.  So I took the boss out of the room and delegated the authority to them to make any necessary decisions and changes, with my final approval.  But I rarely have to make any changes to their decisions.  And it has taken a while to get the other people like the IT Section to not worry about me being in the meeting, but letting them instead work with the people who have done the work the longest, get the best input and then just send me an email about any changes so that I can sign off on it.  It works well, and now with my cancer and being gone so much, the staff has really responded and they just blow me away.  Giving people the power to have input and make decisions about their own destiny, work wise, brings the best out of my staff, and I can't help but think that it would work with most groups.  That is once you have properly delegated them the authority and respect to participate.

I heard from my Ex husband at the beginning of the week.  He was in the hospital in Brandon with an aneurysm or something pressing on his brain.  I also think it was bleeding.  It was hard to tell because by this point he was unable to do much more then the most basic communication, and that was difficult to understand.  It does explain some of his extraordinary behavior when he was here.  He was more aggressive and was already having problems talking, but he had been drinking so much by the time I got home each day (I would find the glasses with the remains of the alcohol) I naturally did not think any more then he was drunk.  I have seen it more days then not in the last 5 years.  They relieved the pressure on his brain by drilling a hole in the left side of his skull.  He is doing much better now.  I understand that he will be going up to stay with his oldest brother Carl when he first gets out of the hospital.  I am glad that he and Carl will have this time together.  Maybe they can get to be friends.  It seems like the last couple of years he and his brother Sandy have started to become friends.  Carl must be at least 73 or so, Sandy a couple years younger then that and Larry will be 61 in February.  I am glad to see them getting together again.  I am glad he has family to go to at this time.

I have tried to call the doctor's office this week to find out if they have received the medical records, but I could never get through to anyone.  So we will just see tomorrow what they have gotten.  I had something to do each day after work, so I was able to avoid going to get copies of my records for my own records.  I know I need to do it, but it is more then I have been able to face.  I start out all brave, have my will drawn up.  Find out how to get my titles changed to add my brothers to it, so when I am gone they will not have to pay probate on it, talk to people about all of the choices and options for my retirement.  I have looked into all of this, but I still have 3/4 of it yet to finish taking care of.  I have been given lots of good ideas, and now I have a few more things to look into.  

And my mind is clearer, but my stamina is still pretty low.  I am not complaining.  I know that this will go away at some point.  And in the meantime I am trying to learn how to take care of myself.  I do like a quarter of what I used to do, but it still feels like too much.  And who knows what this new doctor is going to try.  It is sad to think I have such a slow lethargic cancer that standard chemo can't get rid of it because it attacks the fastest growing cells, and my cancer is not the fastest growing cells.  Go figure.  Of course Linda and I laughed and laughed that neither of us are surprised that I got the strange cancer.  I have never been one to do what is normal.  I guess that goes all the way into my genes.  Go figure.  

So I am trying to get back to a normal life.  A new normal.  A life where I live with my cancer.  Where every thought, every sentence, every moment is not centered around cancer.  The Copernicus of my life, my cancer.  Well, it is time to learn to put it in its place.  Maybe my hair will start to grow back in, that will help to give me back a life that is not focused first on cancer.  A life where I can be just another person.  Yes, I know my life will not be the same as it was a year ago.  Whose life is the same?  I don't know, maybe there are people whose life is happy, static for the most part, predictable and stable.  OK, I don't want that.  But I would like to have a life that contains adventures and grows and changes, but again, is not focused on what I can't do, but focused again on what I can do.  I doubt that I will work as long as I had always planned.  OK, a change in my plans, but if I make the right decisions, that is a good thing.  A new and exciting time in my life where I can maybe get back to gardening.  Where I nurture a new life.  A life where I might get up each morning and the warming of the day will already find me in the garden. Where I can get up each morning and have a cup of tea and finally have the time to read the paper, or take a walk or focus on what needs to be done here at Labrun, instead of the office.  I have worked for the people of Florida for more then 30 years.  I have done that because I liked working with the people.  I liked the opportunity to help people understand the pesticide rules and regulations.  Where I got to spend time on farms and plant nurseries.  I have gotten to travel all around this country and work with some of the most amazing people.  I have gotten to go up in helicopters, ride in air boats, see from the pilot's perspective a fixed wing application of fertilizer.  I have gotten to be a part of regulations and education; of Enforcement and compliance.  I have gotten to try and put common sense in these rules and policies and to let the people who work in these areas have their voices heard.  And I am not done yet.  But it might be time to think about another journey.  After all we are all taking many journeys at one time.  We are mothers and daughters, friends and co-workers, we all wear many hats and I am ready to focus on other parts of my journey that are not all about cancer.  It is time to see what other possibilities have opened up now that I have cancer.  It has given me new options.  No matter if those options are not what I always thought I would have, they are new options.  They can be gifts if I let them.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What a fine birthday

I started celebrating my birthday on Tuesday.  I had picked up two delicious cakes from Costco, one chocolate layer cake filled with chocolate mousse and the other vanilla layer cake filled with vanilla mousse.  Bob, my friend from work brought a pumpkin cheesecake bundt cake.  Everyone was happy.  There was also ice cream, but basically, it was just a chance for people at work to slip by and get cake, take a break for a few minutes from the daily grind and then slip back with plates filled with sweet sugary goodness.

The next day was the doctor visit.  I feel more and more comfortable with the fact that I may very well have cancer for the rest of my live.  The fact that I have cancer does not mean that my life will be less or shorter.  It simply means I will live with two incurable diseases.  The most important lesson to learn is not how to live with cancer.  No, it is about learning to live being more aware of each moment.  I have always been more of a big picture person.  Well, in the sense that I thought that by seeing the big picture and all the possibilities lay out in front of me that I could do it all.  I could be a member of the stage company, even be the chairman, and work on every play that we put on at the Opera House and then work on every fund raising event and be on the Board for the Opera House beside the stage company.  Then be the chairman of our little garden circle, and as active in the club as possible.  And be the manager of the certification section with the Department of Ag & Consumer Services.  And as my staff shrank from budget cuts, to work more and more with my staff to make sure that we keep up with our work so that the Applicators can do their work.  So now, I have my own work and the work to help my staff, and take care of my home and gardens and animals.  I went 24/7, seriously.  Go, go, go.  It started as a way to avoid coming home and spending anytime with my then husband.  I suppose it was hard on him, his drinking increased and he became addicted to crack.  Although I cannot say when that started because now as I look back I realize that he had been do that for years and years.  When I first moved here, it was just me and Maggie and Lily and my cats.  It was magical, beautiful, peaceful.  Then he came up and my life started to spin out of control, by my hand in a serious case of denial.  Then anytime after that if there was something I wanted to do, I crammed it into a schedule that was not healthy.  Sure, I ate well, I exercised, I drank in moderation, but I did not take time to really enjoy everything I was doing.  I did not take time to rest, but every 4 - 6 weeks or so I would stop for a weekend and stay in bed until I was able to pull myself out and off I would go again.  And even after he was finally off the property, I continued to run myself into the ground, burn the candle from both ends, go nonstop. 

And one day last April, Ms Moon gently touched me on the arm and said I was worrying her.  She was afraid I was going to come down with pneumonia, with pleurisy.  And as usual, she was more right then we could possibly understand.  And so turning this back around to my birthday, that gift of her touch on my arm is the greatest gift I could ever have asked for.  It slowed me down enough to catch the train I am on now.  And the reality that it is not how many experiences you have in this world.  But how much you enjoy each adventure, each experience, each journey. I know that I will never stop wanting to have adventures.  Shoot, I would still love to wing walk or at the very least get to ride in an open cockpit airplane.  I want to walk on Hadrian's Wall in Scotland with Vicki and stand on our property, side by side looking out to the castle and the river and the lovely old distinguished trees standing now as they did centuries ago for the druids.  

So back to Friday, my birthday, 55 years old.  I have never lied about my age.  I never needed to.  I looked years younger then my true age for the majority of my life.  I was seriously carded well into my mid to late 30s.  It was until I turned 50 and quit dying my hair that I went from looking 10 years younger then I was to looking 10 years older.  My face and skin, muscle tone and weight did not age me.  I worked hard to exercise, eat well, watch my weight, but now that my hair was more silver/white/gray then brown, the perception was that I was older.  It was shocking the first few times people spoke to me that way, but I realized it was the hair color, and I was happy to stop the 35 year habit of coloring my hair, drying it out, harshly disrespecting it.  I liked the color of my hair.  I had gotten a white streak, very Cruella deVille when I was 15.  I started coloring it then.  And for my 55th birthday I have no hair.  But I like myself.  I have the most amazing friends, dear sweet beloveds all over the planet, and many beyond this earth wherever they are.  My loved ones do not go away.  They stay in my heart, my eyes, the smiles on my face as I remember each person.  And my heart was overfilled with such love and kindness and sweet dear thoughts this year.

I had so many emails, phone calls and postings on my face book, cards and presents.  It has been such a wonderful birthday, just based on the number of people contacting me.  I appreciate every single person, each thought, each wish, each prayer. 

The party at Mary’s was perfect.  All of her kids, except Jason who was at work were there.  Owen definitely enjoyed my birthday way more then his own, and he kindly helped to unwrap presents and to ooh and ah along with me.  And the gifts were all so thoughtful from everyone.  And the presents have been coming for weeks.  I feel so special.  I feel so loved.  Most of my beloveds from the Stage Company were there, even if just for a moment, like Colin zooming in and out after attending a private violin concert.  We laughed and talked and ate.  Oh did we eat!  We had food from all over the world and delicious.  Mary made greens and pinto beans and cornbread.  There was shrimp salad, quiche, sandwiches and salad, a spicy pasta salad made by our Malaysian cook and Spicy garbanzos made by Geeta, Fred and Marcy brought a home made dark chocolate ice cream that went wonderfully with Mary’s amazing carrot cake, and smoked salmon, cheese, chips and dip, and the table creaked a little under the weight of the food.  And we ate and ate and drank and laughed and my heart was filled to overflowing to be in the presence of these dear beloved ones.

The party did not go late, I was home before 10.  Yesterday I met Bob in town and we spent the morning at the St. Marks Monarch Butterfly Festival.  The weather was perfect that time in the morning, cool a light breeze and the sky clear and blue.  We watched them tag the butterflies and how they check for diseases, etc.  We stopped and perused the booths, Bob bought me a red potterweed from the Lincoln High School plant nursery.  The man at the booth threw in a portulaca to boot.  I will have to over winter them in the greenhouse, but that is why I have a greenhouse.  We had such a lovely time.  He offered to take me on to the Stone Crab Festival, but I don’t like crowds and by the time we had done the walking with the butterfly festival I knew I had had enough time on my feet. 

I came home and watched movies and rested.  I feel so much better…..mentally, but physically I am still coping with the exhaustion.  My hands and feet are still numb and although I have a healthy appetite, eating still has not come back to normal.  But I am adjusting to a new reality, a reality of living with cancer.  Hopefully our new doctor will come up with some creative treatment and who knows what he will be able to do.  And it does not matter at this point.  I am strong, healthy and alive and plan to continue that journey.  I still don’t want to focus on the end of the journey.  I still want to remember each precious moment of this journey.  Not all of it is about health and cancer.  Sometimes it is about birthdays and life, friendships and good food, a little wine, a beer or two and a wonderful conversation.  Or just driving along with a good friend celebrating the amazing migration of tiny brightly colored winged creatures as they travel from the Midwest to Mexico.  Flutter wings passing through our lives.  And if we plant some milkweed, parsley, porterweeds and other favorites of our winged friends they just may stop by and flutter and feed through our gardens as they follow the path of their kind for generations. 

A wonderful birthday, a reminder that we are all here for such a short time, but it is up to us to make it spectacular.  The only way I know how to do that is by filling my life with pollen and flowers, but also with memories of times with friends and with those people that I love with all my heart.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Scan Results

The scan results are the same as April.  No change.  The same.  Good news he said. Then why am I feeling so what?  I don't know.  

This morning as we drove to the doctor's Mary was tired from not sleeping, I was hyper.  I could have sat in a corner by myself and talked nonstop going faster and faster until even dogs could not hear me.  I really tried to control it, but I know that I drove Mary a little insane. 

Ok, here is one reason I am feeling, anxious? disappointed? depressed? umm no those aren't quite right?  I had the first CTscan in April.  I had had many chest X-rays and each time they were the same, no change.  So it is not like the chemo is holding this disease at bay.  

The cancer is not spreading.  My lungs are not filling with fluid.  But the fluid had not increased from April until they aspirated the fluid, around 400 cc, from my pleural/lung area.  So the fact that the fluid has not returned does not necessarily mean much to me.  I mean other then comfort.  I can breathe so much better and I am not having the severe pain from the pleurisy.  Mary pointed these out to me.  She is right, I am so much better in those ways.  I can walk and do more physical things now then before they pulled the fluid off.  It is hard to remember that when I am dealing with the side effects of the chemo.  

So yes, today was good news, and Dr. B was pleasant and didn't look so shocked and scared of us, so that was good.  And I had questions and I asked them and Dr. B answered them.  He looked so much more comfortable with us.  It was a good visit, and a visit that did not end in chemo.  That is good.  I will get to celebrate my birthday no worse then I am now.  That is good.  I might even be a little better maybe a little stronger.  Dr. B was very open to a second opinion and said that he would call Archibald for an appointment for me for.  We left on some of the best terms that we have had.

Why am I not happier?  Did I really subconsciously think it would be gone?  Did I think I was healed?  I know that I had hope that things would be better, that somehow this would not be incurable.  I know I hoped for that.  I just didn't think that I had set my heart to that so hard.  I have incurable cancer.  It is not getting worse, it is not getting better.  It is not spreading, I am not in pain or discomfort or have any problems because of it.  I am not sick.  I don't get nauseous except for a day or two on the chemo and that is controlled with a single pill.  This is all good.  I feel healthy, strong.  Alive.  I am alive.  There is no reason to think that I will not be alive for years to come.  

Now I rest.  No chemo to wear out my body for a little while now.  This is good news.  I was set for the chemo today.  It is the pattern that I have set in my life for the last several months.  I know it, I am used to it.  I was getting used to the side effects.  I felt strong that I could handle it.  But not having to deal with the chemo is definitely preferable.  And with my birthday just two days away and maybe having friends coming through town during that time, and the St. Marks Monarch Butterfly Festival on Saturday and a St. Andrews party not to mention baby Colin's birthday party, well this is a big weekend and will be much more enjoyable without the struggles with chemo.  I might even be able to do most of these things.  This is all good.  

So again, why don't I feel better?  I know more today about my little "c" then I did before, or I should say that what I knew before has been reinforced.  And that news changes this from a ferocious cancer to once again my little "c", the wimpy, slow moving cancer.  

Each time I learn more about my disease I have to process it.  Sometimes that takes minutes, other times days or even weeks as I roll it around my brain.  I am sure as I work through this I will realize how good the news today was.  Mary and Judy understand.  That is 2/3rds of us.  

And we had a wonderful celebration morning to replace the chemo.  And before the Doc came in we talked and laughed and had our usual good time.  Then we talked with the doctor and we all felt like it went well.  From there to Broken eggs for mimosas and delicious food.  More laughter.  Then to Goodwill where the tags on the clothes spoke of high dollar and Goodwill did too.  Mary had found this lovely silk dress with velvet that fit me and a couple of shirts.  I put the skirts and sweaters back, they were lovely, but the prices were too high for me.  Each of us got something.  Then Mary and I went to Lily's Publix, where shopping is a pleasure.  A lovely morning.

I have lived with an incurable disease already.   For 25 years I have lived with an incurable disease in my liver and I live an active, happy life.  Busier then most, strong and healthy.  So now I have an incurable disease on my lungs and bones.  Is that how it is going to be with me?  Will I just keep getting incurable diseases until there is no more room for incurable?  Well, we all will have our bodies die in this world sometime.  That is how it goes. You are born, you live your life, or not, and then you die.  It is not that you live and die, it is how you live your life.  It is not the beginning or the end of the journey, it is the journey itself.  I have said this over and over, and many people have said the same thing.  They know too.  

So I shall live my life.  I will take this journey and try to notice as many moments as possible.  I am strong, I am healthy, I am alive.  I am alive and I plan to be this way for, well, I don't know that anymore then anyone else, but I do know, the doc gave us good news. 

I am alive
good news

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


So I drank the delicious banana flavored barium.  Let me just say that was some of the most foul substance I have ever put in my mouth.  Big gag time reflex.  But I was able to get it down with about 3 glasses of water in just under 30 minutes.  I woke up all night running to the bathroom and I would drink another glass of water when I woke up. I struggled with trying to keep it down all night.  I knew that I if it didn't then that would mean no scan today.  And I got up early and this time within 20 minutes I was able to get the second one down.  Well, I didn't actually vomit it back up, but that is only because as it started to come up, I would do whatever it took to not vomit.  As soon as I got into the office for the scan, I asked for a vomit bag.  I didn't need it, but I wasn't sure.  And then I had to drink some of the vanilla to "top off my stomach"  I have to say that my stomach felt topped off.  But the vanilla was much better.  

So they did the abdomen scan and they did a chest scan.  I will ask Dr. B tomorrow about why are we doing abdomen scans.  Does he think it is spreading, or is he just making sure.  That is part of the problem with him is that we don't understand what he is doing so we do not know what to think.  Hopefully we will get some answers tomorrow.  I hope so, it will help as I listen to the second opinion to understand what Dr. B thinks.  The Radiation Therapist spoke very highly of Archibald.  So that is reassuring.  And the scans went just fine and I am very curious to see what they find.  I am not looking forward to future scans if I have to drink that horrid barium, not to mention the dye that makes you feel like you are wetting yourself in a public place.  The Therapist said he could work with me to drink the barium solution in water at the office if I have trouble in the future getting down the vanilla flavored source.  I told him that I hope that things are going well enough that I will need to have another scan in the future.

Then I went to work with my cakes.  Bob brought a delicious pumpkin cheesecake flavored bundt cake.  It was wonderful.  I had the chocolate mouse and vanilla mouse cake.  People came by I gave them cake and for the most part they left shortly after, most of them to go get their lunch.  It was perfect and a good time and good cake was had by all.  Although I only had a taste I can definitely recommend the cakes from CostCo.  Thanks Denise!!!  You were right.  I heard several people say that it was better then a Publix cake.  I got lots of sweet and funny cards, and it was very special.

Tonight as I sat finishing up the renewals it was just getting dark and I heard Bea screaming.  I grabbed a flashlight and ran out to the coop.  Bea was huddled in a corner screaming, feathers every where.  I did not see the perpetrator but Bea is missing lots of feathers and has some serious scratches and bite marks on her butt.  Chicken engineering is amazing with all those feathers and down that help a chicken survive.  It must take quite a bit to get through the feathers and down to the chicken.  She was so upset, but calmed down quickly when I picked her up and stroked her then put her in a corner on the nesting box.  Dani and Buttercup sleep in the very tip top corner of the roof over the nesting box just under the eve of the coop.  It takes a bit to get at them, so they are safer.  Bea is fine, and I tried to put barriers up in the rabbit holes, I have no other idea on how and who is getting in there and eating my chickens.  Poor Bea she is going to be uncomfortable for a few days.

I have now gotten past the first of the people involved birthday events, and it was a success.  Now to relax and enjoy Friday at Mary's.  It will mostly be Stage Company people, but there may be a few people from Tallahassee. Tomorrow during chemo Mary, Judy and I will discuss Friday and what to do.

Vicki called and she sounds so happy.  I miss her so much, but she is in a good place in her life, and I am so happy for that.  She is an amazing woman!

That is all for today.  I need to get my list finished for Dr. B.  I have been thinking about it for a while, but haven't got it all put together.  I need to do that before I sleep tonight.  I think I will sleep well, what with no barium to deal with.  And tomorrow we will see if this chemo has helped at all.  I am hopeful.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Perspective on Cancer

As I sit here in my red chair stuffing renewal notices into envelopes I am watching the Public Television series on cancer.  I recorded it weeks ago and forget all about it until today.  It is very interesting and mostly a review of what I know about cancer, but very well presented and I am enjoying it.  I sit here and watch, stuff the envelopes and leak tears as they tell the different stories.  They have presented this disease in a very hopeful way, and I think what is the best thing they said, and keep saying over and over, your attitude makes a huge difference.

Most of the people in the show are in various degrees of baldness.  Another is they talk about  treating for the pain.  That is one of the things they can do, so they like to talk about that.  The coolest part was to see a guy getting radiation wearing a mask like what I wore.  

They talked about the roller coaster daily of emotions, and laughing even if you are dying of cancer.  Survivors talked about how much you love those around you as you get your perspective together with this disease.  All of the families talked about how for the most part it brought families closer, but not always.  Most of all, terminal or treatable, you have to continue to live.  It also was amazing how fast it can hit you at the end.  In those situations I know I would choose like one of the patients opted, hospice instead of continuing the treatments.  His wife had an opportunity to walk her husband to the other side.  And then he was gone.  I appreciate hearing this.  I hope not to need this for years to come, but dying is a lot more work then we think about sometimes, and it is helpful to hear about it in this perspective.  Somehow they told this man's story through the end of his journey and even though he is gone, it was a joyful story.

I am listening to these stories and some of them were angry, and asked why me.  Hmmm, I am not sure why.  Each person is different, and that is another thing they kept saying, cancer is as diverse as each person who gets it.  They also talked about other opinions from doctors.  The woman whose story was told asked why me, and she is a scientist, and once she got past the anger, she turned to science.  Even as a scientist she had to deal with months of emotional energy. And they also talked about how much we don't know.  Are 4 treatments enough?  Are 6 better?  We don't know a lot of these answers because they are making their best guess.  And as you have heard over and over, but it really is true, they are only practicing medicine.

One thing that I know is I am very lucky with with what I have experienced so far.  No blood cots, a strong immune system.  I am comfortable living with cancer.  I have no panic, I have almost welcomed this journey as a new adventure.  OK, so it hasn't been the most fun, not like jumping out of a plane or hot air ballooning, but I have got to hear from beloveds that I might not have stopped to make the time to talk to.  I just got to talk to my friend Jennifer.  She and I met in the second grade and were close all through school until we graduated from UF.   She moved back to Palmetto to be a school teacher.  I moved to Key West to become a Special Ed Ag teacher.  She went on to get her PhD in education and is still very involved in that field.  I taught one year and then tried something else.  Very different journeys in this life, but still dear friends.

Then I got to talk to Colleen, a friend from the Brooksville area.  She and our other friend Linda are planning a trip up.  I am looking forward to that.  Then I saw that Vicki had called, so I called her back and her life has taken an interesting twist.  I am not sure where it is heading, but I am thrilled for her, whichever way it goes.  Then I called Ms Moon and I shall call Judy and Denise shortly.  

I have a CTscan tomorrow morning.  Tonight I have to drink banana flavored barium.  I mean come on, who thinks making it banana flavored will help.  Then I have to get up a little early tomorrow morning to drink the other bottle of deliciousness.  I can't eat anything after midnight.  Well, I am asleep at that time, so that shouldn't be hard, but I do have to drink as much water as possible.  And if I told them that I had blood pressure problems or was diabetic I could even eat a light breakfast.  I am not diabetic, so no food for me.  But really won't I be full after those lovely bottles of banana flavored barium?  Yum.  But the scan is of my abdomen.  I am confused.  I thought the cancer was on my lungs and pleural lining.  I didn't think that an abdomen scan goes up to my lungs.  We will see Wednesday what Dr. B thought.  

I picked up my cakes at Costco today.  A chocolate layer cake and a vanilla layer cake.  I have plates, napkins and spoons.  Kelly is bringing the ice cream.  So hopefully we are all set.  I got most of the renewals stuffed, I can finish the rest tomorrow.  Now to eat dinner.  Geeta sent me a beautiful dinner and I am sure that I am going to enjoy it.  So a lovely day, very productive and another gorgeous day.  From my red chair I have a window to the back yard behind me and the front door looking through my little front porch to my gorgeous front yard.  The week has begun, a big week and so far, so good!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Last night I stripped down and looked at myself, I mean really looked at myself.  I look like an alien. I don't mean someone from Mexico, I mean the kind that Signoury Weaver kills in the movies.  I have this tiny little head on top of this body that is lean, but not in shape.  Strong wide shoulders covered with skin that looks dry and loose.  The muscles are not toned, sort of like a being that is not used to living on this planet with our gravity.  My arms and legs are very long in comparison to my body and they are also very thin.  In other words I look very much like a movie maker's idea of an alien.  Add on how I move now with the lower stamina and exhausted muscles and I look like I am not used to this planet.

I guess it makes sense as you cope with this disease and go places you never knew existed let alone of going to, that your body would look and/or feel alien or foreign as the doctors use their WMDs.  My friend Susan said that it is healthy to see my body this way.  There are two basic groups.  Those who deny the disease and those that accept it and give into the treatments and the changes.  I can see how easy it would be to deny this disease.  I don't feel it . I am dealing with the side effects of chemo, not the symptoms of cancer.  Since the radiation took the pain away with the cancer on my bones I have not been in any pain from the actual cancer.  So right now, I could skip the chemo and deny that I have the little "c".  But the lab work says otherwise, and although this disease is an emotional disease, the lab work is fact.  

For the most part I have accepted my alien body, but then when I have to see people who have not seen me since I started this journey, I am so self conscience.  I am vain.  I don't look so bad in clothes, but without them, that is a different story.  And even though everyone sees me in clothes, obviously I don't walk around naked, I know what I look like under the clothes.  I am maintaining my weight.  All this week I have been around the 123 mark.  That is not too thin for me.  I have actually been able to pull clothes out of the back of my closet that fit me again.  I don't know that I was this thin before, but I think I was in better shape, tighter, firmer.  I kept up my exercises for a while, but I have let those slip away now.  I should do yoga and stretch out.  Funny how when your body needs it the most it is the hardest to do.  

Today was garden club.  We made reindeers out of pine cones.  I managed to make one.  I have cancer so no one makes fun of me when I do less then others.  And I can leave early and now no one thinks anything of it.  Sometimes having cancer is such a plus.  I love the ladies in our circle, but I am so inept at being around people.

I went out to feed the chickens and one of the peeps didn't make it.  The other two are looking good.  Yesterday I realized that someone was pecking them.  I suspect Bea so I moved her and the other two hens into one side of the coop and left Zora with her peeps in the other side.  This will let me give her as much time as possible with the peeps, but at some point, I am afraid I will have to take them away from her and keep them safe.  Peeps can get into places their mamas can't go, and then harm can come to them.  But we will see how things go, take it day by day.

It has been a lovely weekend.  I did manage to get the pansies and violas planted, and when I got up this morning they were still there.  The rabbits haven't eaten them yet.  I did put out rabbit food with scratch and most of that was gone.  So it would appear that domesticated rabbits, even those who live like wild ones,  actually prefer the pelleted rabbit food over plants.  Hmmm, who would have guessed.  

Geeta was supposed to come over this evening, but she had a family emergency, so we postponed this to another time.  I hope all is going to be OK with her family.  

So another week is upon us.  A week filled with cake and birthdays, chemo and friendships.  A busy week, I am ready for it.  

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Someone ate David Smith.  I can't tell Christopher that a raccoon ate his chicken.  Pat and I already talked about it this morning.  We will pull the gold fish switch and see if that helps.  If he figures it out, then this will be David Smith the second.  It had to be some kind of animal capable of getting in through the rabbit hole.   I suppose it could also be a fox.  I don't know.  All that was left was a pile of feathers and scat from the predator.  It was pretty big scat, so it could have been either of those creatures.  All I know is that David Smith is gone.  I cried.  I understand the circle of life, but sometimes it is just too much in my face.  sigh

But the same day I discovered David Smith gone, I checked on the other chickens and there sat Zora, in her shiny black feathers sitting on a nest of about a dozen eggs.  Well, there is one less egg because nestled into her chest feathers was the palest yellow, almost white peep.  Peeping away.  And now there are three.  sigh

Mary had just told me that her neighbor Carolyn had offered her some biddies.  We had both talked about not wanting to take on baby chickens at this point. It is a lot of work keeping them warm and clean and fed and watered, and safe.  And with winter just around the corner that means all the more care and attention they will need.  And now there are three peeps to take care of.  Zora will do a fine job, hopefully in the beginning, but as they get bigger, she will loose her focus and then nature takes it course, and that is just too much for me right now.  I would rather do all the work to try and keep them alive then to have to go out each day and pick up little dead bodies that have succumbed to some tragic ending.  sigh

I swear you give that Zora Neal just a day or two when your body is so beat up with chemo that you miss picking up a couple of eggs (she will bury them sometimes so that I can't find them) and she gets on that nest when she sees me coming and she is mean.  I will finally give up because I hate having her peck at me and then flap her wings up in my face and if I do get her off the nest then she will come at my legs.  Shoot anyone with that much passion deserves to sit on her eggs.  And for some reason I always believe that she will never hatch them.  But she does.  I have only had the Marvella twins who were so set on brooding.  But they only hatched out 2 peeps with all their efforts all those years.  I don't know why Zora can keep putting them out, when the Marvellas in their whole lives only managed the 2 between them.  I need to have a mind shift, and just be the biped, the one with the alleged bigger brain and find a way to keep her from sneaking eggs and then hatching them out.  

I hate to admit it though I love the babies.  I love the soft, fluffy peeps, making that noise that wakes some mother instinct in me.  I can almost tell you how many peeps there are before I even get into the coop to check for sure.  That is part of the bunny problem I have.  I tried to give them a happy life as close to their natural world as they wanted, and before I knew it I have bunnies all over the yard.  And those the size of a tennis ball, mostly golden colored with the soft white fur on their bellies.  The big eyes, the sweetness of a small fury adorable creature.  Sigh, I am a sucker for that.  So today when I plant my pansies and violets I know I have to keep in mind that they are very tasty and the bunnies are going to want them.  I think I will plant some in what had been an herb garden until the chickens and bunnies got to it.  Now it is an unattractive large half filled dirt pile in a container we used for the fountain in Hot Dogs and Cool Cats.  

Herb had painted himself with clown white and played the part of a statue that when the dogs weren't looking could move.  The kids loved it.  Shoot, they loved Herb.  He is a big teddy bear of a man and he can think like children.  He held a blue fish in his hand that squirted water out of it's mouth.  The problem was that the pump was not strong enough to push the water out the fish unless he held it down near his legs.  So from some angles it did not look like he was holding a fish, if you get my drift.  The kids loved that even more.  Bathroom humor is a stage that all kids go through, and even the shyest of children had shiny eyes full of laughter and sparkle when Herb did his fish thing.  He also taught me and two 16 year old boys how to do stage combat and the three of us had a scene where I played the part of the old grandmother cat and they played the parts of two bad dogs.   The scene involved fencing with gaint knitting needles and yarn.  Michael was always afraid of hurting me, but Jeff was fearless.  He and I went at it like, well, like cats and dogs.  But Michael hated to attack me, but it worked just fine with Jeff looking so aggressive in his Dalmatian face and Michael so nervous in his golden retriever face.  The audience loved that too.  

I think I will pick up some close fit together fencing and close in the reclaimed planter.  I have a bag of potting soil so I can fill the planter back up and fence it and then plant some baby greens for salads and put some of my viola johnny jump ups in it too.  I use the flowers and the leaves of all the plants in the violet family, including the wild ones for salads.  I use other wild greens and flowers in my salads too, but it is so dry right now, there is not much in the way of wild greens at this time.  I also grow other flowers just to use for eating.  I usually do a program with the Garden circle involving edible flower and garden plants.  I love the flowers, but I love more enjoying their delicate flavors and color in my food.

We had a fire at the Jefferson County Animal Sthis past week, so I am going to head up to the post office for the fund raiser.  No animals were harmed, but this is a big expense for our little shelter.  And after I go there I think I will go to the pumpkin patch at the Waukeenah Methodist church and see if they have a fun pumpkin.  I already have a few pumpkins.  I never cut them.  Well, unless I eat them.  Otherwise I just have pumpkins sitting around my house, inside and out.  I love their colors and shapes.  I have one blue pumpkin I grew last year that is still strong and beautiful sitting on a shelf in my house.  I had a squash one time for almost 2 years before something got through the tough shell and it started to go bad.  Then I fed it to the chickens.  The flesh is too hard for them to eat mostly, but if you let it sit for a couple of days the insect creatures that come to feast on the gourds is like Halloween candy to the chickens, so the circle of life continues 

"It ain't necessarily so" by Willie Nelson just came on and Bob loves to dance to it.  The dog, not my friend from work.  He stands up on his back two legs and we sway and then I let go and spin around and so does he and then back up he comes on those strong legs.  Our dancing has wakened Harry who clambers off the couch still sleepy eyed and dances with me also.  Harry can no longer get up on his back legs.  He is large and old but he loves to sway back and forth and I hold his shoulders and dance around him.  He still loves to dance.  And then the song is over and I sit down and finish this record of today.  Bob gets up in the other red chair.  Harry falls back asleep where he is on the floor.  I need to get up and get dressed and up town to the fund raiser.  The day is bright.  The green is that deep tired green of fall that is dark and intense with a spring and summer filled with different greens, now slowing down.  The temperature is getting warm enough that I can be comfortable outside.  I don't like cold weather.  I never complain about the heat, but once it drops below 50 forget it, I am going to whine.  But it looks like a good day.  My muscles are still slow to react, but the dancing helped, maybe.  I know that I am getting up and getting things done.  I may be tired, but at the end of the day, I would rather be able to see accomplishments and be tired, then to just be beaten down tired.  Get up, get going.  The day is fine, life is good and waiting.

Friday, October 15, 2010


For the last two weeks I have been trying to pick a project at work each day and set a goal to finish it.  So sometimes I had to work a little longer at work to meet my goal, and it caught up with me today.  I got a lot done that way, but I wore myself out.  Today as I was walking down the stairs I got so tired I had to stop and rest.  I always park at the top of the hill because I feel strong to be able to get up and down those stairs.  Half way down this morning I thought how am I going to get back up if I can't get down.  But I made it down and I got a lot of work done and I made it back up those stairs.  

Bruce and Kelly my Chief and Assistant Chief at work came into my office this morning and asked me if I would like to make my birthday party into a luncheon.  No, I said, I don't want people to think of this as a party, I just want them to come by and get a piece of cake, and ice cream, Kelly would add quickly, and then go.  I am not serving drinks because I don't want people to sit down and eat cake, I just want to pick up their plate and leave.  They assured me that everyone thought of this as a party and that they were not coming to pick up cake, and ice cream, and leave.  Well, I guess I should have kept my mouth closed, and then I could have gotten the cake and rolled it around on a cart and delivered the cake.  Everyone loves cake, and I always think it is rude to not celebrate your birthday because then you are denying everyone of cake.  That is just impolite to deny people of cake.  So with everything going on with me, I just felt like I should celebrate my birthday and bring cake, and ice cream, and share them with my friends at work.  That is what I was thinking.  Everyone, and I mean everyone else thinks it is a party, with cake, and ice cream.  Oh, well, I will just stand there cutting cake and that will limit conversations to "thank you", "That is so sweet", "I am so glad that you could make it", "Don't you look great?"  I can handle that.  It is the conversations after the first pleasantries that I am not very good with.  Sigh, I really wish I thought more like normal people.

It has been quiet these last couple of days.  I was going to go to the doctor's office and try to get some answers and order copies of my records.  But I am just too worn out to argue and deal with that.  So I have a new plan.  I will sit down this weekend and try and organize an outline of all the questions I guess I never thought to ask when this journey began.  See if on Wednesday when we meet with Dr. B if I can get a logical order and understanding of what he thinks and why, and what is his plan, and then to discuss a second opinion.  

I did get to stop and have lunch on the porch with Ms Moon, and that was lovely, and now the temperatures are dropping quickly.  Time to pull out the down comforter, snuggle down in bed and take a quiet weekend at home.  Ms Moon sent home dinner, some of her delicious spaghetti.  That is special.

Geeta is coming over on Sunday for a girl's visit.  I am looking forward to getting to spend time with her.  She sent me blessed nuts from the dance festival.  That was special.

It is Friday, I survived another week, a little worn out, but a weekend to recoup.  Maybe I will plant my pansies and violets.  The days are supposed to be mild and filled with sunshine.           

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Another Sequel?

Jack and Jan came over last night for dinner.  I made a salad, Jan made a vegetarian shepherd's pie.  The meal was delicious.  Judy had come over earlier and we had drank champagne celebrating Judy's day.  It appeared that the Ex had been calling about every hour.  Then it was every half hour then every 15 minutes.  I finally answered the phone when it got to where he was calling less then 10 minutes apart.  I answered politely and sweetly, "hello" Instead of the "WHAT?!?!"  that was my first reaction.  You see I had an epiphany after I finished writing the last blog.  I don't keep letting him into my life for him, but for myself.  Because every time we part since about a year before we were divorced it ended badly.  Usually very badly.  And what I realized was I understood he is a master button pusher, and I end up at some point letting that button pushing set me off and then I act badly, whether a slap or yelling or the language.  Whatever, I let him push my buttons and I give in each time he contacts me because I want a do over.  I want to end this 25 year relationship as friends.  Well, it just ain't going to happen.  

After I said "hello" there was the sober voice of my Ex, "are you OK?" he asks.  "Yes, why?" I asked.  He said he had been trying to reach me and I was not answering the phone.  I explained I had company, what did he want.  He was in Monticello and wanted to come by to pick up the rest of his things.  I told him that he didn't have to wait for me, he could get his stuff out of the barn.  Most of the stuff in the barn had been his anyway.  I can lock the house and I really don't want to play this again.  He said he would be by around 1:00.  I called Judy and asked her to meet me at the house about the same time.

I got up this morning, got ready for work and dressed a little nicer for a photo with out going Commissioner Bronson because of the united way campaign.  I even put on makeup and then drove to work, did the "photo shoot" and then headed back to the office.  There were a lot of things to handle so I didn't leave until almost quarter to 1:00.  When I got home he was here finish packing his car.  He again hit me up for money.  Did I mention that this past week while he was staying at my house he was sneaking into my bedroom and taking money out of my change jar.  He told me that the people he was staying with had stolen all of his money.  I told him that it didn't matter if you stole a little from someone or a lot it was still stealing.  And then I filled a sandwich bag with what change was left from my change jar and I gave it to Larry and I told him that here was his 30 pieces of silver.  I never said anything mean, I took him to the gas station and put gas in his truck.  I want him to leave.  He tried hard to be nice and leave as friends.  I didn't respond either way.  I didn't give him any opportunity to push a button.  Every time he started to head in that direction again, I would change the subject.  So when I got home I pulled a bottle of Korbel out of the frig and Judy and I celebrated finally the ending I always hoped for.  So is this the end of the story now?  I hope so.  I know that I am ready to move on.  And I feel the closure where I didn't let him push my buttons.  

Then I got an email from a friend who had just caught up information from a month ago.  He asked me if I have given up.  I burst into tears.  Have I given up?  I am not happy with the miscommunication I am having with Dr. B.  And yet, I am so overwhelmed I can't think.  I have so many things to take care of right now.  I am trying to be a good steward of my life and estate, take care of the best opportunities retirement wise just in case I live another 5 or 10 or 20 years, and then normal life things and work and now having to make some hard decisions about my changes to my medical care.  It is too much.  And after the week I had last week, I just want to pull the covers over my head and weep.  So I sat here in my red chair and cried and cried.  Bob, the dog, came and sat in my lap and laid his head on mine.  He just sat there quietly and I wrapped my arms around that sweet dog and cried it out.  Then Harry and Maggie came up.  I thought they also wanted to support me, no they wanted a milk bone.  Well, they are dogs after all. 

Tomorrow at work Sonia and Robin are coming up.  They are my staff in G'villeok.  And if it is not, well, it will be what it is.