Update 21

Twenty-one is our "family favorite number" so maybe this week will be exceptional for all my family! Hope so, Jaime and I could sure use it! Her way more than me!

December 27 - Going to a party tonight - the first such outing since July! Have to practice my social skills today, they are a bit rusty!

I must comment on something a friend and colleague of mine has done. Linda Heller is the editor of PaintWorks, the magazine I write for and that carries my column, Prime Your Palette (another of Linda's ideas!) We turn in our columns and article about six months in advance so I hurried and got as far ahead as I could in the beginning of August to give myself a cushion until I was able to resume my duties. At that time, I thought it would be shortly after surgery and during the times between chemo treatments. Wasn't long until I realized that was not going to happen any time soon so Linda got in touch with another artist friend to see if he would take over until I am able to resume and he agreed. She asked that I write a little blurb for his first column explaining what was happening. I did as she asked, expected it to be in the magazine and it was. What I didn't expect was the message in her editorial. It begins with a soft "Pink Ribbon" symbol and reads as follows: "Best Wishes to a Dear Friend….PaintWorks columnist, Editorial Advisory Committee Member, and dear friend Margot Clark was diagnosed with breast cancer last summer. Through surgery and follow-up treatments, Margot has been an example of strength and an encouragement for all women. Years ago when I first met Margot, I was deeply touched by her talent, enthusiasm, intelligence, insightfulness, energy, and sense of humor. She's truly an incredible individual whom I've come to admire and care for with all my heart. It was agreed that during Margot's absence, Bob Pennycook will write and design for her column, "Prime your Palette." I know that you, the readers, will want to wish Margot your best. We love you Margot….hurry back soon." Well…………………I cried and cried, am doing it again just typing it here (good kind of crying!) and it took Harold three tries to get through reading it. I was so very touched by her words, they did come straight from her heart………………especially right there for everyone to read. Can you tell she, herself, is a very special woman?

I have had messages from several readers after they received their magazine but the most unusual one was from a woman I met when I was just in Junior High School. We were friends all through Junior High (John D. Pierce Junior High) and High School (Waterford Kettering High School, both located in Waterford, Michigan) and after graduation for awhile but then we lost touch. Last time I saw her was at my tenth year High School Reunion and that was a long time ago! She wrote and said she has been following my career all these years and read about my illness in the magazine! I often wondered if anyone from my past ever read the magazine and realized it was me in there. How fun that was!

Party was very nice, we only stayed about an hour and a half. Amazing how much energy it takes to be social!

December 28 - Nice day, took a nap this afternoon and then went to church with Jen this evening. Enjoyed myself again. Have decided it is like going to a Christian Concert since they have such great music and there is a lot of it. They started playing a very twangy, hard rock sounding beginning to a song and Jen turned to me and said "That's your kind of music!" It was, too, I felt like dancing! Their sermons are delivered by two preachers, one is the music director, so you get a lot of info but it is divided up between the two of them and the second preacher has a great sense of humor so it is actually fun to listen to his message. Again, I was not quite ready for it all to end - amazing!

December 29 - I did it! I wore the red sequined tassels to the doctor! Before I went, I stuffed them with tissue - glued it right in there (they are cone shaped) as I will never have anything that will fit in there! Even when the nipple reconstruction is complete I will just be rounded (new boobs are made from chest muscles, remember) so had to make a flat surface so they would stick on. I tried various ways of attaching them to my "breast mounds," the latex adhesive that came with them was useless, they assumed you would have more "surface" to adhere them to! Ended up using the sticky "Top Stick" tape I bought to adhere my wigs to my bald head before I got the gel band. Something very ironic in using wig tape to stick on sequined tassels to my boobs! Anyway, in the doctor's office I put them on, then put on the pink paper vest and calmly waited for Dr. J to come in. Are you getting a mental picture here? I had brought art stuff for him so did have other "Show and Tell", too so when he asked me how I was, I said, "Fine and I brought Show and Tell." He said that he had brought some photos of his art work to show me so he had Show and Tell, too. I thought to myself, "You have no idea about my Show and Tell." He said to lay back and he went to get my "fill" stuff. I kept my arms positioned so he didn't notice that I had pointy boobs - that would be especially unusual with old Leaky Louise who was half the size of Hard Rock Hannah! Anyway, he is just talking away, setting up the fill stuff and then he hands me the saline bag and opens the vest. Well, need I say he was surprised! I said, "Look what Jennifer got Harold and I for Christmas!" He laughed and then said, "One is sliding off." Sure enough, the wig tape apparantly holds wigs in place but is not meant for tassels! The one on the right was slowly sliding down towards my arm! The moral here is find a doctor that has a good sense of humor! Got my fill, got dressed and then he showed me the photos of his glass fusing. It really was gorgeous. I brought him fired glass colors to try as he said he was having trouble with what he was using. Brought in a magazine where my glass design was on the cover - that was fun! We talked about art for about twenty minutes, that was fun, too. Have never done that before. By the way, lest you are thinking "Oh, poor Harold………..let me assure you that both he and Jennifer were in on this and they both called me on my cell phone after the visit to see what the reaction was!

Anyway, surgery is still scheduled for January 16th, will get my implants and liposuction under both arms and a bit of nipping and tucking after all. I had told him that I still couldn't go without a jacket of some sort because of the "extra nipples" and of course they are on Leaky Louise so were visible most of the time through my clothing. Also have various lumpy areas on Hard Rock Hannah. No bra still! No bra ever! Am pleased about the nipping and tucking, as they will begin to look more like "real boobs" after the swelling goes down after surgery. Have to stop taking all aspirin products for the next two weeks in preparation for the surgery. No more fills until the week of surgery and then it will be most everyday. I sure hope the implants are more comfortable than these expanders. No matter what, I will get used to them.

From there on to the post office, to Target where I just wandered around since I haven't been shopping in forever (I was supposed to be getting dog and cat food from PetSmart next door) and found lots of stuff I just couldn't live without! Did go get the pet food. On to Office Max for a ton of printing, then to Publix (grocery store). Left my house at 2:45 p.m. and got home at 8:00 p.m.! Was exhausted! I'm sure I will pay for this tomorrow!

December 30 - Feeling odd tonight. Feel like weeping but don't exactly know why. Am I afraid at what 2004 will bring? Am I just so tired of being tired and sore? What will be the new normal? Can I handle it for the long run? I feel sure the cancer I had is gone, but…did any of those dreaded cells escape the surgery and chemo? Will I get it somewhere else later? I don't like being a "cancer patient" at all! I'm truly sick and tired of being bald. Now my eyebrow hairs are breaking off - I suppose that is not a bad thing since they were all bristly and thin anyway but I want all my hair back everywhere! That's done it, now I am weeping! Crap! Would really like to be more specific with my word but I am trying to keep this clean!

The day was actually okay, so much to do that I have gotten behind in with all the surgeries and chemo. Had to nap this afternoon - the old "bones turning to Jell-O" thingee. Now have to prepare for another surgery. I do want to get on with things but dread another surgery and recovery time. New persona - Complaining Carla! It's true, I feel whiney and weepy and generally in a bad, crappy mood.

Harold and I gave each other haircuts today. He is keeping his very short now that he cut it all off and found he liked it. I had two dark hairs about one inch long and about five lighter hairs about one half inch long, the rest was varying lengths of stubble. Just wanted it evened out. Got a little tiny ball of fluff from the clippers. That was it. Harold says my hair is growing but I don't see it at all. I think he is trying to be kind.

Think I will just go to bed so this crappy day will be over.

December 31 - Better today, I am sure you are all glad to hear that! Had to cut my walk short this morning, just don't have the stamina yet. Bought a yoga tape on my Target outing, now to look at it and try it. I am great at thinking about exercising! Doing it is the hard part!

Worked like a crazy person on my house today. Seems important to me that I bring in the New Year with a nice clean house! Didn't need a nap but did need some "sit down right now" rest periods. That's progress - at least I stayed awake!

Spoke to Jaime today and she finally feels normal! Said it was the first morning she woke up without a mouthful of blood! Really hope all that helps with her health problems. I think I would rather have chemo than go through what she did. I just felt bad!

Talked to my sister, Tina, in New York today and told her about the tassel episode. I barely got started and she started to laugh and the more I told her the harder she was laughing, then I started to laugh, too, so by the time I ended my story we were both hysterical!

Tina's daughter had Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma some years ago and we were comparing notes. She said that Selina would also say, "I have to sit down, NOW!" One minute she was fine and the next she had "Jell-O Bones!" Tina also said that once the "peach fuzz' on the head appears the hair really starts to grow. I will definitely like that part!

We are just staying at home tonight. We always do as we feel it is the safest place to be!

January 1, 2004 - Happy New Year! Hope this is the best one ever! As far as I am concerned - good riddance to 2003! Hope I never have another year as dreadful as 2003! My whole family feels the same way!

Made a nice dinner last night, Harold promptly fell asleep after. I then had a wonderful whirlpool bath in my new Jacuzzi tub in my partially finished guest bath, complete with candles and a good book. It was heaven. Around eleven I made some chocolate chip cookies and had cookies and milk (aren't I the party animal!). At 11:59 I woke Harold up so he could usher in the New Year with me.

Going to work out in my garden today for as long as I can. One of the niceties of living in Florida. Jen is coming over for dinner. Usually we put a dime in the pot of black-eyed peas and whoever gets the dime had good luck for the coming year. Jen thinks I got the dime last year and based on my "journey" she says "No thanks" to trying for the dime this year! I'm with her! Just having the three of us for dinner this year. Feel fine but not up to entertaining just yet.

January 2 - Harold is going out of town for work today, won't be back until tomorrow night so Jen a and I are going to go out to dinner, just the two of us. No Wings tonight, think we will do sushi instead (cooked of course) since Harold hates it and we love it! So nice to have no restrictions anymore! I am a free bird!

I did work outside yesterday for hours! Mowed the lawn (mostly to take up the fallen leaves) weeded, edged the driveway and sidewalk and swept and raked. I kept thinking, "when am I going to give out?" but I didn't, just got tired by the time I was finished which would be pretty normal anyway. Went inside and……. "Jell-O Bones! No nap though, just a rest period. Was tired the rest of the evening but not too bad. Yeah!

Okay, where is my hair? If I am supposed to have fuzz by February things better get moving!

In the weekly tradition of pictures the photo this week is of Darlin" Jennifer! Such a sweetie she is - always there when I need her. Isn't she just gorgeous! No bias here!

As always, love to you all!

Margot a.k.a. - Leaky Louise (still pumped up for now, though!), Greta Gardener (so glad to have her back!), Hard Rock Hannah, Tired Tina (not so much anymore though), Hopeful Hannah (I know, I have two Hannah's now but Hard Rock Hannah will soon be replaced by one of the Perky Twins, I think Dolly, so they can share the name for now). Brenda Braveheart is still resting, may need her for just a bit when I go in for the implant surgery, but for now she is still on vacation!

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