Update 75

July 10 – Going to start out with a story on myself.  I am still laughing!

It starts many years ago.  I am not crazy about playing games, I like cards but I LOVE Scrabble.  I can’t remember when I started to play, may have been when I first met my friend Linda and that was around 1971. Linda and I always played to win, why else would you bother to play were our thoughts.  She is really smart so I had to be at my best when I played with her.  When Jaime was old enough (between six and eight, I can’t exactly remember) I got her a Junior Scrabble game and we would play.  She has always had an excellent vocabulary and even then was reading far above her grade level. Well, I never “let” her win.  Now, I didn’t stomp her into the ground either but what would be the point in “letting” her win?  What value would that have to her as she knew her skill level and knew if she worked at it she could indeed, beat me.  She worked at it hard, we played a lot and when she did finally win it was quite an accomplishment.  It meant something.  I can just see some of your faces right now with a horrified look.  Sorry, still don’t believe in “letting” someone win when they didn’t deserve it.  Fast forward. You can imagine with that attitude that I do not have people begging to play with me!  Pretty much me and Jaime!  A few years ago we conned two others in to playing with us.  They are both very smart women but they like to play “social” games.  Social games????????????  I mean, I study the Scrabble dictionary!!!!!!!!!!!  Anyway the rotation was that I followed Jaime so she got all the good stuff passed to her and I became very frustrated.  They all thought it was hilarious since they know me, especially Jaime.  I finally said something to the effect they were not paying enough attention to the game and the end result was that they got up and left in a huff!  Hmmmmmmmmmmmnnnnnnnnnnnnn…….maybe could have been a bit more subtle there, ya’ think?  So, now I only get to play when Jaime comes home.  I got o Houston next month to teach and to visit friends and relatives.  While in Houston I will be staying with Linda who still plays all the time with her mother and is back in school getting a new degree, and then I will go to Dallas and play with Jaime and her friends who are all young, very intelligent professionals. I need an edge here folks!  Well, Jaime had told her friends the story about my not letting her win (she tells that story a lot!) and about the seating arrangement where I was “indiscreet.”  One of her friends sent an email to Jaime stating where she wanted to sit (before me) and sent along a link to a Scrabble website.  I got a kick out of that.  This woman knows me so and really does like me!  I went to the website and printed off lists of two and three letter words, words that begin with Q but are not followed by U, etc., planning on honing my skills for the upcoming competition.  Seemed perfectly normal to me.  I mean, she did send the link didn’t she (although I really believe she only meant to send it to Jaime, not me.  I myself would have kept it a secret!)?  Well, I just received the following email from Jaime that she sent to her friend and reading it does make me sound a bit “obsessive” to say the least.  I laughed and laughed, am laughing again! Here it is;  “Totally True - Talked to mom today and she indicated that she printed out a bunch of stuff from the Scrabble website you sent so that she can STUDY before she gets here in 7 WEEKS from now!!! Now are you starting to understand me better?”  Maybe I need to add a permanent persona – Obsessive Olga!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today starting off quite well.  Up at 5 a.m. after a good  night’s sleep, (no cramps, no itching!) will work outside a while before the electricians get here around eight.  Yesterday was not so hot.  Didn’t feel quite right all day.  Slept all afternoon again!  This time I felt like I was trying to come down with a migraine, too.  I got really cold and ended up sleeping in the recliner with the blanket over my head.  My legs actually felt weak yesterday.  We were trying to organize the stuff in the addition area so people can work in there and Harold was “constructing”, too.  I felt better after my “nap”  and feel fine now so maybe the worst has passed. Burned shoulder feels just fine.  All that is left is pink, shiny skin and no pain at all.  Wow – what a difference a week makes!  Last weekend I was miserable!
Going for the brain scan tomorrow.  Not  looking forward to that at all. All you can think is “What if they find something?”  I know it is because I do not have one on record but I can’t help but wonder why the doctor wanted it now.  Have been plagued by a headache for the past three days and that does not help the situation at all.

July 11 – Just got back from having the brain scan.  Lordy!  About had a heart attack when I realized my whole upper body had to go into that little tube!  Did that years ago and almost couldn’t do it!  I guess I thought that if they were just doing my brain all they would need was my head!  NOT!  I must have looked like a panicked deer because the tech took my hand and talked to me telling me why it was important to use this type of MRI as opposed to the Open MRI.  The she told me she would slide me in so I could see how far I would go and she would stay right there.  The she places this face mask with bars on it over my head and face………ooo…ooo…ooo…ooo…ooo…………..and in I went.  My, oh, my, that is a small opening!  I could feel my blood pressure rising but didn’t feel like I would have a panic attack until she brought me out and told me the whole test would take 30 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fifteen minutes to start then she would slide me out and inject the “contrast agent” in my arm and then slide me back in again for nine more minutes.  Oh my, oh my!  She talked to me some more and told me that I would have earplugs and headphones with music and a panic button that would bring her to me immediately.  I tell you, Panicky Pauline was rising to the occasion!  I told myself that I really had to do this for my own peace of mind as well as to have a scan on file and that I must get a grip!  I asked for a cloth to put over my eyes just in case I should be dumb enough to actually open them while in that tube and she got me one.  I tucked my arms over my tummy with the panic button at the ready, and in I went.  The first few moments were a bit dicey but then I made myself listen to the music and I did make it through.  When I came out for the injection I had to stay still with my cloth over my eyes so my position didn’t change at all.  She was good and had no trouble finding a vein. She got that needle in first time, just a little pinch and back in I went.  Was VERY glad when she said I was done and she was coming in to slide me out of there!  Got to keep my wig on since there were no metal parts – I was Fiery Fiona, figured I needed the extra boost today!  Had to be sure to tell them I had a port and show them where it was.  Learned an interesting thing.  She asked me if my makeup was permanent and I thought that an odd question, maybe she was just curious????  But no, on rare occasions the tattooed areas burn slightly during an MRI!  She said it rarely happened but that she had a woman who had her lips, eyeliner and eyebrows done with the permanent makeup and in all the areas she felt a burning sensation.  I assured her that all of my makeup washed off!  Doctor will have the report in five to seven days and if I don’t hear from him all is well.  I don’t see him again until September and then I will get a copy of the report for my records.

I have mentioned this before but it bears repeating.  I take along a “report” of my own every time I go to a new doctor or go for a test. I keep it on my computer and try to remember to update it after I have something done.  It lists my date of birth, name, address, primary care doctor and all his info, any allergies printed out in red, medical conditions and how long I have had them, lists current medications and their dosages, past medications and their dosages, any supplements I am currently taking, past surgeries and the dates, any special tests – where they were done and the dates, and treatments like chemo and radiation.  I just write “see attached list” in all those spaces on their forms and they are always pleased with that.  It is much easier for me as opposed to trying to remember and then trying to fit it into the small space they provide. One less hassle to deal with. I do have to say that I forgot to add the radiation to my list this morning.  I FORGOT about the radiation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Geez, I really do need a brain scan!  I only remembered because I was reading about the MRI and it talked about how an MRI was not radiation, otherwise I’m not sure I would have remembered! 

I was just thinking about this and decided to include it in this journal entry.  This addition of my studio is a life long dream.  I’m not sure if I have ever conveyed just what it means to me.  When I was young I wanted to be a graphic artist but being an artist was not encouraged as a profession.  Life also has a way of sidetracking your dreams.  For years I worked at “regular” jobs like you are supposed to do if you are a responsible adult and kept my art stuff as a hobby.  When we lived in Italy I used my skills to earn extra money but it was still not a real “profession.” Finally in 1986 I had an opportunity to leave the normal work force and really be an artist as my profession. It was a turning point in my life. I can tell you it takes some guts to say that you make your living as an artist.  People look at you weird when you say that.  I went for it, with Harold’s blessing, and that was twenty years ago. Having a real studio is real validation that I am indeed a real artist.  I mean I do know I am, but when someone builds you a special space in which to create your art, then you really, really must be an artist.  I will love Harold forever for believing in me to that extent. It is an amazing thing to have a life-long dream fulfilled.

July 17 – Well, it has been some time since I wrote.  Seems I am always asleep!  I wake up raring to go and by about 2:00 I am running out of gas!  Sometimes I just need to sit absolutely still and doze off and on for a couple of hours and other times I am solidly asleep for hours.  Body is talking to me and I am listening.  However, I am getting tired of being tired!  Oh, oh.  I sense that She Who Cannot Be Pleased is trying to get my attention!  I do realize it has only been nine days since I ended radiation.  I know someone else who just finished radiation and they told him a month of being tired but his was much harder on him than on me because they were actually trying to shrink and hopefully kill an actual tumor.  So I figure if they told him a month I should be good in two weeks so I am giving myself until this Friday to get over having to nap in the afternoon!  I am much stronger each morning so I think it may be working!  See, I am competitive, even with myself!  It is all those alter egos in there competing with one another for attention! 

My friend, Bettie Lee came over on Wednesday and brought lunch!  She is an amazing cook so lunch was excellent.  We chatted for hours and had a really nice time. House was clean, she was properly impressed with the whole addition and landscaping and I was all dressed up.  Perfect.  

Then - On Thursday the electrician was coming with his helper to dig the two foot deep trench for the main electrical connection.  I had to move the equivalent of about ten bags of mulch before they arrived so they could dig.  Did that at seven a.m.  Rake and Rest for an hour!  Now picture this.  Close your eyes as it will take some concentration!  I am all sweaty, left over smudged make-up from the day before, no wig of course, my nice grey Nero hairstyle, wearing black leggings (no one but a super model looks good in those things) that have paint and bleach spots all over them plus a few holes here and there, a cut off T-shirt on which the hem rolls up (when I say cut off I mean cut off, no neck, no sleeves, no hem) with extra paint on it of course, and big honking white sneakers.  Do you have this picture firmly in your mind?  I could not have made myself look worse if I had really tried!  Okay.  So after the mulch I decide I will wait to get my shower until the electrician actually shows up as he always has questions. He gets here about nine and we go over everything and now it is around ten.  He left the helper here to work and said he would be back to get him later.  So I asked “Charlie” if he would like lunch, just hot dogs, when I made my own.  He was happy to get any kind of food and said, “Yes!”  I decided to check email before I got my shower and then I got involved in something in the studio and now it is time for lunch.  So I decide to get my shower after lunch.  I fix the hot dogs with all the condiments, added some potato chips, added fresh cherries and a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie and fixed him up on my lovely patio.  He was impressed as all he was expecting was a couple of hot dogs, period. I start to eat my lunch and Jen calls to see what I am having for lunch (she was off on vacation) and was not interested in hot dogs so I went through what else was available and she decides to join me.  So, now I will shower after she leaves. She comes and meets Charlie and fixes her own lunch and laments that I gave Charlie the last cookie.  I say that I can easily make more (I use Nestles Ultimate refrigerator cookie dough, good stuff and EASY!).  So now I will have a dozen hot cookies and I cannot have them sitting around or I will eat them so I go out to ask Charlie if he would like to take a break later when the cookies come out and he is all for that!  In the meantime another guy shows up to help him pull wire so when the cookies are done I invite both of them inside for hot cookies and cold milk.  So now I am presiding over a table full of guests in that dreadful outfit!  Charlie is from France, getting his Masters Degree in Business and Finance, working for Roland the Electrician to help get through school, Duane was very personable and Jen is a good conversationalist so we were all having a great time.  They asked exactly what was the big new room going to be, said that Roland has mentioned I was an artist so of course, I have to take them back to my “now” studio so they can see what I am moving from (new studio is more than eight times the size of my studio now!).  We are all discussing various things and the doorbell rings.  My friend Patte is here to talk to me about business stuff.  Now I have four extra people in my home and I am still in the “outfit.”  Who else do you know could pull off entertaining all these people looking like the wrath of God but acting like the Queen of Sheba and less than a week after ending radiation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I had a ball and everyone else seemed to be having a good time!  Finally got my shower after dinner and since I had not had a chance to nap, conked out early!

Today I got my teeth cleaned.  Why is that news?  Because I could not do it since last October due to chemo so it has been awhile.  I was a bit worried that I would have some problems as dental problems are one of the side effects of chemo and I had chemo for so long this time.  I used the Biotene products faithfully and flossed all during  various treatments but that was all I could do.  I am happy to report that my mouth is just fine!  Gums are healthy, no bone loss and he will see me again in January for my six month cleaning!  Yea!

Passed our Window Buck (windows and doors) inspection this morning with flying colors.  The inspector even said he was impressed!  He said that if we have a hurricane and the walls fall down those windows would still be in place!  Rough Electrical and Underground Electrical inspections are in the morning.  Today the cable company will be here to install wiring for all the new televisions for the addition and my high speed internet connection in the studio.  Insulation may begin this coming weekend.  Moving right along again! Very exciting!

Go tomorrow for my three-week intervals Herceptin treatment.  Not looking forward to that only because I want to be DONE!  I want just one whole week where I do not have to see a doctor or get a treatment!  Complaining Clara is here!  Or is it Whiney Whitney?

Photo of the Week – Jazzy Jasmin. Look at all the various colors in the back.  See how it goes from frosted blonde to red to dark brown?  This is also one of my favorites.  I guess I am showing them in order of preference!

Am I one “Hot Mama” or what!

Stay healthy, get necessary medical tests!

Margot    a.k.a Obsessive Olga, Panicky Pauline, She Who Cannot Be Pleased,
            Complaining Clara, Whiney Whitney and Jazzy Jasmin.

If you have any questions please email me


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