Update 64

January 23 – I do not want to go to treatment tomorrow.  Sigh.  I will go, of course, but I really don’t want to be there.  I can feel the weight of it sitting on my shoulders.

Saw Therapist Debbie today.  Nice to have someone to unload on!

Bought glasses today for the very first time.  Yikes!  Those things are expensive!  Years ago I had a cataract in my left eye and they replaced it with a plastic lens that allows me to see up close (set to where I am comfortable painting!).  The right eye sees far away.  No problem until about a year ago when there seems to be a middle area that is not so clear.  And the writing on the grocery store shelves!  Is that some kind of code?????????  The salesperson recommended glasses with some type of rim since one lens will be thick and would show too much in a rimless pair. That was the first “off thing” she said to me.  I am sure she could have worded that in a nicer way!  Things progressed and were going along nicely, I am trying on different frames and narrowed it down to three, until the saleslady (I use that term loosely) says to me, “I really don’t think the rounded ones look good on you.  They make your face look more droopy and the squarer ones pull it up.”  What!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  More droopy!!!  More droopy that what??????????  Than it normally is???????????  Pull it up?????????  Pull it up as in my droopy face?????????????  Pull it up where????????????  Now, I am no beauty queen but until that moment I felt reasonably attractive.  I mean I had on full make-up and Sassy Simone!  Need I say she was in her thirties!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Believe it or not I did not say a word.  I don’t think she even realized what she said. I have a massage appointment on Friday and Dr. J (plastic surgeon) usually pops in to say hello, maybe I should get an estimate from him while I am there!

January 26 – Pretty calm these last few days.  Tuesday’s treatment was okay, no odd things happening. End of Round 3.  Just Herceptin next week.  How nice to have a breather.  A bit more info on the Aranesp.  The lady next to me was getting her first shot of it and the nurse told her it would take a couple of weeks to kick in.  I had figured that out already but it was good to hear it verified.

Wednesday had some friends over for lunch.  They brought the bread and dessert and I made soup and salad.  They were from out of town so it was kind of them to drive over and it was a very fun day.  I got to show off my new studio and patio.  They were duly impressed!  One of the women remarked that it would look like New Orleans when I was done outside.  I love that comparison!   They also brought me a gorgeous rose bush for my new patio!  What fun!  I loved being Princess for a Day!

The new wig came in – has to go back immediately!  I look a bit like a blond wolfman or an aging Las Vegas showgirl in it and that is definitely not the look I was after!  Hair is too long and there is too much hair.  The detachable nape is more like a hat flap!  Most attractive!  Does not look anything like it did in the catalog!  Drats!  Will have to go wig shopping with Jen and see how I look right then and there and with a second opinion.  She will tell me right away if it does not look good on me!  I can see her now if I have a wig on that I like and she doesn’t – looking right at me, moving her finger back and forth, shaking her head and quietly saying, “No.”  She will then go on to tell me just why, too!  What happened to Mother Knows Best?

Had to nap this afternoon though.  It just came over me all of a sudden.  Got chilly and sleepy and had to go make a nest in my bed!  Cat came and joined me and we both had a good nap. 

Right now I seem to be having more trouble controlling my diabetes than dealing with cancer!  Gotta get a grip on it!  Got a new Day Timer Diabetes Planner in the mail today and have a class on nutrition in the endocrinologist’s office next week so maybe a change in keeping track and a jolt on the nutrition angle will get me back on track. 

January 28 – So tired these past few days.  Sleepy tired, not bone tired.  So….I slept!  Tummy has also been a bit “off.”  Nothing to have to medicate, just munch on a few saltines and that seems to calm it. 

Just put the French door between my dining room and the new den.  It has been a big piece of plywood for a very long time!  Hurray!  We took it all apart and redid it – actually Harold did most of the work, I just did the cleaning part as it used to be an outside door.  Progress!

Just came across a neat saying I must share, “It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis.” (Margaret Bonnano)  That is my motto these days – live one day at a time and enjoy that day. 

January 29 – Took a painting class today on products usage and had a great time! Nice to get out of your own comfort zone and try something new.  Only downside was that I got a call from a friend that another friend’s husband had died that morning. She was known to the group I was with so that is why my friend called me there, so I could pass the work along.  Feel so very bad for my friend.

January 30 – Saw the podiatrist today and he recommends taking two Tums with Extra Calcium each night to help with the leg and foot cramps.  Said to wear “Timberland” type shoes for yard work because they offer more support on uneven terrain.  Harold raised his eyebrows when I told him and says they are called “boondockers” and are basically work boots.  That’s okay, whatever eases my tootsies!  As dreadful as I look when I am in my Greta Gardener persona, ugly shoes will not even matter!

January 31 – Today was just Herceptin and the Burning Aranesp shot (note how it now has its very own descriptive word).  Lordy does that thing burn! Even standing with my hands in my pockets it burned a whole lot today!  Red blood counts are up to 11.4 though, so they are rising, over 12 and I don’t need a shot.  Leg and Foot Cramp Lucinda Faye is becoming a constant companion!  Cramps yesterday afternoon and some during the night and leaped out of bed with one this morning – I was dreaming I had one and then it woke me up and I shot out of bed.  Another two hit while I was trying to put on my shoes!  Gave Dr. M. a note about the Tums and if I can take quinine pills for these cramps.  Nurse Melinda came out and told me he said okay to the Tums but no to the quinine and gave me a list of high potassium foods.  I saw him while I was getting treatment and he said that the quinine can mess with my platelets and to try the foods first.  He did say I could resort to the quinine pills if all else fails. 

Here is the list of high potassium foods that may help with cramps.  Fruits – apricot, avocado, banana, cantaloupe, casaba, dates, dried fruits, figs, honeydew, mango, nectarine, orange, papaya, prunes, raisins, rhubarb, juices of these fruits, pineapple juice.  Vegetables – artichokes, dried beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, celery, escarole, greens such as chard and collards, kale, kohlrabi, lentils, legumes, lima beans, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, salt free vegetable juice, tomatoes.  Other – bran/bran products, coffee limit 2 cups per day, chocolate, coconut, granola, ice cream 1 cup per day, molasses, milk 1 cup per day, nuts and seeds, orange flavored soda pop, salt substitute and lite salt, tea 2 cups per day.  I will try some of these and let you know if I notice a difference.

A couple of friends came over, they ooooed and ahhhhhed properly over the addition and my new patio and then we all went off to tea.  Nice afternoon.

Now I have to get my “you know what” into gear and get some work done!  I have to ship stuff off for the Vegas convention on Thursday and they are delivering shingles that day so I need to put in some late hours these next few days!

Found out today that I have been chosen to teach in Houston at a convention there in August so that was happy news.  My dear friend and my brother and his new wife live there so I can combine business and pleasure!  Nice to be able to plan a visit for something besides doctor or treatments!

February 1 – I’m not sure if I ever passed this web site on to you www.y-me.org but it is a great site just full of info.  I just got an email and in it they tell about new stuff and resources and just lots of good “stuff.” Since this is February they were talking about a pamphlet they have on “When the Woman You Love Has Breast Cancer.”  I can imagine that would be a great booklet for a whole lot of people. You can send away for the booklet or download it as a PDF file right to your computer.

While I am talking about good things, I have another one for you.  My massage therapist uses this on me when I am really sore and I bought some to use at home and it is great stuff!  Tiger Balm is the name of it and it is stinky but it works so well!  Especially on my poor ole’ arthritic knee after I lay pavers all day!  Their web site is www.tigerbalm.com so if you have aches and pains check them out.

I sort of sound like Oprah don’t I?  Let’s call this persona Information Inez. Well, if you know of good stuff that can help others you really need to pass the info on.  I think it is the teacher in me!

Aaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhh!  Leg and Foot Cramp Lucinda Faye has just got to go!  Again last night!  I am wolfing down any and everything on that list Dr. M. gave me in hopes that something will work.  Got up at 7:30, fixed Harold some lunch, had a half a cup of coffee and went back to bed for two hours.  I was so tired from waking up so often from those dratted cramps.  They are probably the worst side effect (hair is a close second!) I have from all of the treatments.  They are bearable, just annoying and tiring.  No leaping out of the bed, just waking up when one is about to strike and changing positions and flexing my feet.  I also have some flexing exercises the podiatrist gave me and I must start them today.  He and Dr. M. agree that they won’t help the cramps since they are caused from the medication but it will keep me flexible and not add to the problem.  However………………he wants thirty minutes twice a day on these things!  That will take some working on – it even sounds daunting!

My grandson, Caleb (5), called me last night to tell me he is getting his tonsils out today and to question me about surgery!  He is like his Gramma and hates the idea of needles! He told me they told him he would not get a shot because they were going to give him something to drink called “Goofy Juice.”  He also told me he would have to have the IV in his hand like I did but that the Goofy Juice would make him not care.  I told him to tell me how he liked the Goofy Juice and if he did that the next time I have to have surgery I will ask for it!  They were in the grocery store buying ice cream while he was talking to me.  I can just see him talking to me very seriously about surgery on the cell phone as he picks out his ice cream!  I will go see them in August when I go to Houston.  They live in Dallas so it is a short plane trip and I will get to spend some time there.  I must be prepared though, as I promised him the next time I came to visit we would paint clouds in his room!  I better rest up before I get there!

One thing that has eased up is the constipation problem.  No Senna-S since last Saturday!  Body has taken back over its duties!  So………….after the third treatment of this next  round I will stop the Senna-S on that Saturday and see if it works again.  I should have known…….you know my theory on my luck………….well, the pharmacist offered me a deal on the Senna-S tablets because I needed so many of them.  We figured out how many I would need plus some extras, just in case and then he ordered me seven hundred and gave me a good price on them!  Seven hundred!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  As soon as I had them in my possession my body decided it didn’t need them for awhile!  Go figure!  I must say…if you had told me a few years ago that I would be discussing my inner workings with a male let alone making a deal on a stool softener/laxative I would have told you that you were crazy and yet…………..here I am doing just that!  I tell you, I have no modesty left!  Modestyless Melissa, that’s me!

I am getting a stye on my eye!  That is just not right!  There should be some kind of rule that a person going through chemo is immune to some things.  Geez!

I was working on my patio just now and thinking of how I am feeling.  Our neighbor came over asked how I was doing, I told him fine and when I went inside for something he asked Harold how I REALLY was feeling.  Probably because with my yucky ole’ thin hair I now look like a sick person. I came back out just as Harold was telling him I really was doing fine.  I said, “Talking about me when I leave?” and he said, “Yea, well……”  and I assured him once again that I really was doing okay.  I mean, I was building a patio when he came over for heaven’s sake!  But, back to how I am REALLY feeling.  In limbo, that is how I really feel.  Still have such a long way to go that I can’t see the end and far enough into it that it feels like I have been doing this forever. No real crisis has popped up, just a long series of very annoying things to have to deal with and sometimes that is harder to do than to deal with a crisis.  This just all seems so looooooooooonnnnnnngggg!

February 4 – Went to a Memorial Service today for my friend whose husband died last week.  He was cremated in the state they live in now and she and her sons came down here so we could all say goodbye, too, as they lived here forever.  I thought it was going to be very hard to be there but it was not.  It was more of a celebration of his life than a somber meeting over his death.

February 6 – A great saying from Marcel Proust – “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”  Love it!  Posted it right in front of me so I see it when I am working.

Well……………….I am trying this again.  I ordered three new wigs today from another catalog, all in some shade or combination of red.  I like red!  No names yet, I must see if they get to stay here with me or have to go back to their own home!  All are short versions (no nape extensions!!!!!!!!!!!) as I really do look the best in shorter hair.  If the wigs are nice I will post the catalog address as the prices were very good.  If they all stink I will ditch catalog!  I would really like some new “hair” for teaching in Vegas.

Saw Therapist Debbie today.  We were talking about how a lot of my friends have found lumps that turned out not to be cancer and she asked how that made me feel.  I thought about it for a moment and said, “Very relieved for them, very sad that they had to go through all of it” and then I paused and added – “and just a wee bit jealous that theirs was not cancer and I end up having to go through treatment again.”  She told me that was perfectly normal and it would be odd not to feel just a bit jealous. Not sure why I even admitted that to her but that is her job, to create a space where I can say anything I want with no judgment (or to find it is a normal reaction to a given situation)  and then I can choose to tell others or keep it safe just in that room.  Told her about feeling resigned to the situation, I don’t feel the frenzied “fight or flight” feelings I had the first time.  Looks like Resigned Renata has come to live with me for a time.  Still a battle, but a more of a siege than an attack battle this time. I am more nervous about the radiation part and I am sure that is because I have not done that before.  All of the chemo stuff is in the realm of my experience and I dislike it very much but I already know what to expect. 

Feeling uneasy again this time before going for chemo tomorrow.  Not sure this feeling will be gone until the treatments are over.

February 7 – Number 1 of Round 4.  Saw the doctor today and we decided I am okay and not to prescribe an anti-depressant.  He asked me and I said I didn’t think so and he agreed.  I took the photo that is at the end of this update and he was impressed and said it was probably great therapy!  I told him about my friends that have gotten lumps that have not been cancer and told him about being relieved, sad and a wee bit jealous and he agreed with Therapist Debbie that it was a normal reaction and he was glad I could see it and actually say it out loud.  I hope this helps others who have those same feelings and feel guilty for having them. How can you not be a bit jealous?  Told him my feelings now were of resignation.  He chose to call it acceptance and said it was one of the stages and that the anger stage would be along soon!  Oh goody.

Looks like I will end chemo around the end of May, wait three weeks and go for my first radiation consultation and then begin radiation.  He said radiation usually begins four to six weeks after chemo ends. We are moving me up a week so I can get it over with and the third week is just a consultation and figuring out just what and where treatment will be on my breast/chest.  I will be going to the same building as I go to now so it will still be fairly convenient since it will be each and every freaking day!  I am excited about this, can you tell?  He did ask me how my chest had healed and I told him you would never know to look at it and he was pleased since that is where they will be directing the radiation.  My poor little boob – it will look like a war zone after this I am afraid!

Found out more about a flipped chemo port.  It actually rotates over so the top faces down!  He did say it was rare for that to happen.  I also mentioned the woman from the treatment room that had breast cancer in the 90’s and now is there for pancreatic cancer.  He said that was rare, too, and I almost reminded him of the “Good Ole’ 5% Club” of which I am a member but felt he would probably think me pessimistic!  With good reason as far as I am concerned!  He is a very nice man, though, so I let him off the look!

Hair is now thin AND patchy.  Remember he told me thin OR patchy?  I told him that and added that my eyelashes are about gone, nine on the right and seventeen on the left and he interjected, “But who’s counting?” and laughed. Murphy strikes again!  I am sure without asking that probably only 5% of people experience both!  The hair IS growing, in patches only of course, and that stuff is gray and the rest is faded red!  I only know it is growing because I can see the gray, not that the hair is longer but I must admit I keep cutting it as it seems to look fuller (fuller??????????????) the shorter it is and to be truthful I look a bit like a baby duck!  When it is first washed and dries it moves in the breeze created when I walk!  Picture it – thin, patchy, red and grey and brown duck fuzz!  Maybe this can be a new fashion statement!

No Burning Aranesp shot today!  Red blood counts up to 12.3!  Probably because it has been two weeks since I had chemo and my body had a chance to build up on its own, with the help of the previous shots, of course.  I will probably get one next week because I will begin dropping down after treatment and I will not have a treatment or shot the following week because I will be in Vegas!  I am so looking forward to a change in routine! I will teach every day for four days and then have a day on the trade floor to see new stuff, see my friends and introduce Nurse Martha to everyone. I will be gone for seven days. All my classes are in the afternoon so I can sleep in and not have to work late.  That worked out perfectly!

Whoowee was I ever sleepy today!  Came home and napped for over two hours.  Hard asleep, too, no nice little light nap.  Harold came in to check on me, he was a bit worried.  I was just sleepy from the pre-meds which include Benedryl.  Probably will be up late tonight now.  Oh well, all part of the deal and I have plenty of work to do!

Photo of the week – new patio almost done!  I am even further along than  the photo shows.  I have about ten more pavers to lay in place and it is done.  Of course now Construction Connie has decided to widen it so I will be taking up the red blocks along the left edge and adding more of the pavers, look at the stack of them I still have left!  Harold is moving on nicely with the shingles (I told Dr. M. that Harold will not let me up there and he said good, tell him it is also doctor’s orders! Hmmmmmppppffff!).  The air conditioning guy is supposed to get with us soon so we can determine the size and Harold can run the duct work and we can see about getting them to install the unit when it is time so this is where we are at the moment.  Moving right along.

Did you notice the curtain at my studio window????????????? I couldn’t help myself! 

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I will probably write again after I return from Vegas unless something of interest comes up or unless I find I am writing many pages like this time!  For someone who complains about being in a routine I certainly find a lot to write about!

Reminding you to take care of yourself,


Margot   a.k.a. Perky Polly – Keeper of the Perky Twins, Greta Gardener, Leg and Foot Cramp Lucinda Faye, Modestyless Melissa, Construction Connie and Resigned Renata

After reading through the updates,
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