Margot Update 82

December 4 – Oooooooooooooooo………………I am sore this morning!  A lot of the “scales” have gone and the skin is still red but he pain in my neck and shoulder has intensified.  Very uncomfortable night. Will try the Lidocaine patch tonight to see if that helps.  You can only wear it for twelve hours and then you have to leave it off for twelve hours so I am going to use it to sleep!

Read some interesting news last night.  I got an email from a friend that belongs to a breast cancer group and guess what?  A lot of the women who took Taxol ended up with Shingles!  Taxol was directly responsible for ole’ Lucinda Faye hanging around me, too!  I have said this before, I sure hope the Taxol took care of any loose cancer cells because it sure has some powerful side effects!  Would I have chosen not to take the Taxol if I had known that I might develop severe leg cramps and Shingles?  I don’t really know but I suspect I would have gone on with the drug as I would rather have leg cramps and an attack of Shingles than have cancer!  What dreadful choices, though.

On to positive things – I love my hair!  I absolutely love Ravishing Red-headed Real Hair Rita!  The hairdresser said the curl seemed to go down to the scalp so we will see how long I get to have this nice hair.  I wash it, put in some Mousse Wax, blow it dry with my fingers and use some hair spray to place it where I want it.  Messy and Sassy – that’s me!   Not as easy as my wigs but really not much trouble at all.  For around the house I just do the Mousse Wax and let it dry!  Feels good to say nice things about my hair.  Color is good, too, so maybe I ought to leave that to a professional for awhile at least!  I really did not like the pink hair phase!

December 5 – Canceled my meeting in Indiana yesterday.  I was very disappointed to have to cancel (they are all probable secretly glad I stayed home!) but I am in way too much pain to sit on a plane and then be in meetings for two days plus – now I will be taking Neurontin, a nerve pain medicine, and it causes drowsiness.  The Lyrica for the nerve pain was just not taking the edge off. The whole right side of my head hurts!  Last night I wore three Lidocaine patches to bed in hopes of a nights sleep. The blisters are just about all gone but the pain seems to be going inward in all the places the blisters were. Some of the “scales” come off when the Lidocaine patch is removed (it is VERY sticky!) and that hurts but I slept!  The skin is still red and raised and it is numb if you touch it but it itches!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aren’t I just having fun!  This is just the absolute pits!  Doctor wants me to take the Valtrex another week, also.  It is supposed to slow down the virus and help with nerve pain in the long run.  Not the right now pain but to help it not last a long time so I hope it works. Complaining Clara is just in her glory now!

Yesterday afternoon Weepy Wanda came to visit for awhile and then Feelingverysorryformyself Francine came too and let me know that it was okay to have a good cry over all this and then Brenda Braveheart joined the group to let me know we will get through this and be victorious!  I don’t know where Kerrie Kickass is; I think she must be taking a nap!  I told Therapist Debbie the other day that I really wanted one of my personas to come out and take over and I would go to sleep inside for awhile and when all this is over I will come back out!  I don’t want to do this anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bug man comes today for the final spraying before our Final Inspection.  Cable guys come tomorrow to do whatever they need to do and then we can get our low voltage inspection as Harold finished all the speaker stuff last night. The electrician was ill yesterday so hopefully he shows up today to finish installing all the light fixtures. Then we will be ready for all the final trade inspections.  Found out we have to have to at least have a coat of primer on all the stucco before we can pass inspection – drats – we thought we could wait until Spring to paint the outside. Aaaarrrggghhh!!!!!!!!!!!I want in my new studio!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

December 7 – I will be glad when I am done with this!  Changed medication for nerve pain to Neurontin and had to take pills once the first day, twice the second day and now today I take it three times and continue this until the pain is gone.  The doctor gave me five refills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It makes me a bit drowsy for awhile but I am at the point where Drowsy Drucilla is much more welcome than Painful Prudence! Lordy – sometimes my teeth hurt!  All on the right side and all confined to above the line of shingles. My right arm and even my hand ache.  Shoulder and neck are the worst though.  I am surprised (and not pleasantly!) that there is pain in lots of areas where there were no shingles.  I thought the pain would be where the original blisters were but noooooooooooooo……………………….it is everywhere in that right quadrant and it is unrelenting – sometimes less and sometimes more but always there. Now……….having let Complaining Clara have here chance I must add that there is nothing I can’t do because of the pain so that is good and I have to nap (again!) a couple of times a day or at least rest a bit if the pain gets too much.  Stoic Stella or maybe Persistent Priscilla will overcome!

I had a dream last night that I went to a party and then found out that four people had gotten either chicken pox or shingles.  I am supposed to be at a meeting in Indiana right now and maybe the dream was a sign that it was a good thing I did not go!  I guess things work out for the best as the electrician was not done on Tuesday (I was supposed to leave on Wednesday) and we would have had to wait another week for him to come back and finish and all the cable and inspections would have had to wait, too.  But still, I wanted to go.  Sigh……………………….

I call today for our final inspections on mechanical, electrical and low voltage.  Then we have some finishing up stuff and then our Final Building!  We should be in next week!  All the lights and ceiling fans are in and I must say it looks wonderful!  We had all the outside lights on last night and just kept wandering around looking at them! It is almost too hard to believe we will be in soon after so long.

A nice thought – “Sometimes the biggest act of courage is a small one.” (Lauren Kafto)

December 8 – Oh, Glorious Day!  I feel much better, I guess the Neurontin three times a day is the winner!  I still hurt in all the same places but the sharp edge is not there so it is much more manageable.  Only wore one Lidocaine patch last night on the very sorest part of my shoulder because yesterday morning when I removed the patches a lot of the shingles scabs came too and I started to bleed!  I know, that was disgusting, but very true so use caution when applying and removing those patches. 

Today is the day for our final inspections on the electrical, mechanical and low voltage.  Only one more to go!  I am decorating for Christmas so I am keeping busy but I WANT IN!  I have a big box of decorations set aside so as soon as I get the all clear I can do some decorating in the new den and studio.  I am sure Harold would prefer I not do his workshop!  Happy Holly is moving along in top gear!  Last year I didn’t do much at all since chemo was just starting – just didn’t have the energy or the will to do any of it.  This year……………….I am done (well, almost) and my grandkids, daughter, son-in-law, his mother and sister will all be here and we will have a most wonderful time!

December 12- I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooo sore!  My shoulder and arm feel like I have raw nerves exposed inside!  Geeeeeeeeeeez Louise, it hurts!  At night I put on a Lidocaine patch (can only wear if for 12 hours and it works pretty well!) so I can sleep and when I pull it off in the morning the few places that were the worst start to bleed.  Since my choice is between sleeping and bleeding I take the bleeding!  That stops after awhile!  Don’t think for a minute that any of this has stopped me from doing anything!  I just complain, rest every once in awhile, and move on! It hurts if I am sitting still or if I am moving – no difference – so I might as well be getting something done! Grityourteeth Gert will not succumb to the pain!  I must say – I haven’t thought much about breast cancer lately!

We passed all our latest inspections, finally – had to have the electrician come back and replace one wire so we could pass!  Lights and air conditioning are on!  Now for our Final Building inspection.  We were told – way back when – that since we were an addition we did not have to have the outside finished to get our Final. Well, now we need at least a coat of primer on the stucco and on the soffits. Mind you – this addition is the size of a house so this is a lot of extra work that we thought could wait until Spring to do!  So we have been painting and painting.  When it gets dark we lay carpet tiles in the studio.  My new office furniture was delivered yesterday so now we have that to put together, too.  It all came in boxes from Office Max!  My, oh, my - aren’t there about a million pieces to put together!

January 3 – Wow!  I have been so busy I haven’t had time to write.  Actually that is a good thing because it means I am returning to normal!  New normal of course or – since I have had breast cancer twice is it now my “new, new normal”????????????  Whatever it is I like it!

Still have residual pain in my right shoulder from the shingles (gets worse as the day progresses) and my right upper arm itches sometimes.  Shingles is NOT a nice illness at all!  Still wear a Lidocaine patch at night so I can sleep and still taking the Neurontin for the nerve pain but all of it is finally manageable.  It has calmed down in the last week so I have been messing around with this for over six weeks now. Been wearing a lot of tank tops so material does not touch those areas as that skin is easily irritated. No scarring on my arms but have a doozy on my back.  Looks like I was burned!  I will be glad when I can cut out the Neurontin as it still makes me drowsy and a bit dizzy at times.  Just getting over a cold and even though I don’t like having a cold it was nice to have a “normal” affliction instead of something strange!  Who’d ever think I would welcome the common cold!

Had a ton of company for Christmas, thirteen for dinner and six house guests (all family), how’s that for busy!  I was able to have all that company because………………….we are moving in to the new addition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hurray! Yippee! Finally!  We got our final inspection a week before my company came so it was a madhouse here trying to get stuff out of the bedrooms we had been using and into the new part so we could put guests in the bedrooms.  The bedrooms looked like a tornado had hit them but they did have beds and a door that could close for privacy.  First thing I did after passing the inspection was to put up curtains in my new studio!  Lace of course!  The carpet tiles were in for the inspection so my studio really looks nice.  I will be posting photos, I promise!  Two years we have been working on this.  Feels sort of anti-climactic to be in.  There is no woodwork around the doors, no floor in the new den but……………….who cares – we are in!  All that can come later.

Christmas was great!  I put my grandchildren out in my studio, they are six and nine, on an air bed and had three tables set up with various arts and crafts supplies, a puzzle and a TV.  Didn’t they just love that!  They called it their apartment!  I must say they were great and didn’t touch any of my art stuff, they just stayed in their area.  I mean there was 800 square feet to share with me!  Ooooooooooooooooooo I love it!

My daughters and I went to see Menopause the Musical (my third time!) and after the performance I went up on the stage to dance in a chorus line with other members of the audience and the cast.  Thank heavens I was in the back as I began to run out of gas with all that kicking and the woman next to me asked if I was okay since I was breathing heavily and had reduced my kicking to a modest moving of my feet!  We were all hooked to one another so I was obvious I was losing steam.  I assured her I was okay, just tired.  I forget that I do not have my stamina back yet and am only good for “short runs” before I get tired!  Dancing in a chorus line does not qualify as a “short run!”  Good thing I am short because I was in the back so no one in the audience could see me decline! A bit shaky getting off the stage but – I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I would have liked feathers and rhinestones to wear while dancing – If I had been born with a gorgeous body I would have become a dancer in Las Vegas with all those fantastic costumes - but alas, I was born with a short, round, peasant body so I had to look for another career!

I was reading yesterday about the toll of “time” that cancer takes. Someone is doing a study of just how much time is taken up in surgeries, waiting for test results, going for the many tests and all the waiting involved, all the various doctor visits and the waiting involved, waiting for the chemo medicines to drip which takes hours, going back and forth to radiation treatments which takes up a half a day for a 15 minute treatment, the days spent recuperating at home from the treatments or just having to rest due to intense fatigue.  It was interesting for sure.  I know I have written about cancer treatment being a full time job but I never broke it down to so many different aspects. Makes you wonder how anything else ever got accomplished!

Photo of the Week – This will take some explaining. Harold took off the day before our inspection to finish up any last minute stuff that was needed. Remember we found out at the last minute that the whole addition had to be primed so we had been painting and just had to finish up under all the soffits (the part that sticks out under your roof and meets the top of the outer walls).  Harold used the first part of the day finishing up stuff and then got ready to paint.  We have been in a drought situation here in Florida forever and guess when the weather decides to send a monsoon our way?  You guessed it!  Started of with just a gentle rain so we were both our there painting, my job was to cut in close to the house and then he came along a sprayed the whole underneath.  Our soffits stick out about two feet so there was a lot of area to cover. It started to rain a bit harder so I stayed under the soffits to paint and Harold, being a guy, chose to just get wet!  Well………….it started to really  pour and he was not finished and the final inspection was in the morning so…………..he covered himself in garbage bags and stayed out in the rain until he got finished. I had to get a photo of that!  So this photo is titled “The Determinator!”  The photo was taken in Harold’s new workshop.  Now, do you think the inspector even looked at the area Harold finished in the pouring rain???????? Of course not!  He came in down the other side, glanced around, came in, glanced around, said “You did a fine job”, signed the permit, shook my hand and left. He had been here about five other times for inspections so knew how we did things and you know if we had not finished painting the soffits it would have been the first thing he checked and we would have failed.

Until next time,

Margot   a.k.a  Ravishing Red-headed Real Hair Rita, Complaining Clara, Weepy Wanda,Feelingverysorryformyself Francine, Kerrie Kickass, Brenda Braveheart, Drowsy Drucilla, Painful Prudence, Stoic Stella, Persistent Priscilla, Happy Holly and Grityourteeth Gert.

If you have any questions please email me


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