January 20 – Went for my full body bone scan yesterday and had some odd moments. I had to be there 8:00 a.m. and be injected with a substance that imitates bone and goes all through your body and sticks to all the bones so they can be seen on the films. I am sure there is a much more scientific explanation but that is what the tech told me when I asked him. He was great, the injection didn’t hurt at all, and the syringe the “substance” was in was huge! Nervous Nellie was moving right on in! I didn’t even know he had stuck me! That part was good since I was worrying just a tinee tiny bit about that injection. Squeezed my rubber ball the whole way there to pump up my veins. Was not so keen on another odd substance being injected into my poor body but I do want to know what is going on with my hip being so sore. Hopefully – no, I am sure – that it is arthritis and not the return of cancer but then what the heck is the arthritis doing?????????? Anyway, I had to go away for 2 ½ hours to allow the “substance” to work its way through my body before getting the scan done. Just so happens that next door is a Cracker Barrel. If you have never been to one, it is a restaurant with a country store attached to it and it has the most amazing things in it so of course, I went there! Shopper Sharon emerged and I shopped first and picked out what I wanted to purchase - a lamp for the guest room, an old fashioned restaurant style toothpick dispenser (just had to have it!) and a candle in an old fashioned sugar dispenser (had to have that too – it has red wax to match my kitchen!) and then went in to have some breakfast. I was reading a book while waiting for my food and there was a part about a woman who had died 11 years previously in childbirth and all of a sudden I thought “I don’t want to die!” Now, where in the heck did that come from! Got all teary eyed and everything! Tearful Tess and Sad Sara joined me then. I am sure the stress of the test and knowing that both Dr. M and I are sure it is arthritis, but……. he is also looking to rule out cancer. That’s the fact! I have read about how the uncertainty is always there in the back of your mind and can come shooting forward and apparantly that is the truth! I won’t know anything until next Monday so am just going to try and go on about my business and not dwell on it. Okay, I digress – on with the story. I got back to the lab and prepared for my test. You have to lie down on a very narrow table with a pillow under your head and under your knees. I had this test done after the original cancer was found to see if it had spread so I was familiar with the routine. Knew it was cold in there so dressed accordingly and brought a little pillow for the small of my back since I am swaybacked and that always gets achy when I lie flat like that. Once the test starts you can’t move and it takes about 45 minutes so you need to start out as comfy as possible. He then put what amounts to a large rubber band around my feet so my legs stay together and still and then places both arms in a wide band that suspends them at your side. The machine is huge and has two large cubes, one above you and one below you that move down the length of your body, starting at your head. The tech adjusts the machine so that it is just barely above your body (if you look at it you will be cross-eyed, that’s how close it is!) and it gives me a bit of a panicky feeling even thought the sides are open so just closed my eyes and I practiced the deep breathing exercises Therapist Debbie taught me and it worked. Each time I felt my breathing getting a bit shallow and Panicky Pansy threatening to make an appearance, I just took in air slowly through my nose beginning at the bottom of my stomach, held it for a second or two and then slowly released it through my nose back down to my stomach. I am supposed to be doing those deep breathing exercises every day to lessen stress and relax. We had just gone over them again on Tuesday so it was fresh in my mind. Whooee, this is getting to be an epic tale! When he finished the body scan, I then had to stretch my arms way over my head and he turned the cubes sideways and scanned my ribs and hip from the side. Then I had to cross my arms over my chest and he brought the cubes in so they touched my elbows (that was very close I must say!) and scanned my neck from the side. The tech is very muscular and I am sure he needs to be because after lying there flat for all that time I couldn’t get up by myself, (Arthritic Annie had joined me for sure!) and he places one arm behind you and the other in front for you to hold on to and raises you up so your back is not stressed. And, that was that! I can call on Monday for the results. Dr. M said I could just wait and if I didn’t hear anything it was good news. Can’t do that! I MUST know right away. Controlling Cora is back and wants to be in full charge of everything!
Diabetes Diane is doing very well. All my blood sugar numbers are staying well within range. I found that there are two sets of numbers. Normal is 70-110 fasting and 100-140 two hours after a meal and then I read that with diabetes it can be 80-120 fasting and under 180 two hours after a meal. I am opting for the “ Normal” readings and for the most part have been able to keep them there. I have also lost a few more pounds so am pleased by that, also.
Got another haircut! Took 15 minutes start to finish, including shampooing! Far cry from my perm days of a couple of hours! A bit short around my face this time but I am still razored, volumized and waxed! I added hair spray, much to Hairdresser Mary’s dismay, but Controlling Cora insists that when you get it as messy as you want it you must freeze the controlled messiness in place so you don’t have to mess with it again! Makes sense to me! Jaime has chosen a longer version of messy hair and when Sister Martha came to visit while Jaime & Co. were here and saw Jaime’s hair, she went the next day and got a messy, razored cut so we are all messy now except Jen and she prefers her smooth, long style. Of course, she looks fine, in long straight hair while I look a bit like a seal!
Visit with Jaime & Co. went very well. We had such a good time. We must have because my house looks like a hurricane came through the inside! I helped them build a fort in my dining room and I have a big table so we ended up with a living room and two bedrooms and they slept in there! Harold had a small TV that is battery operated so he let them put it in their fort so they even had TV! Talk about all the comforts! The fudge was a hit of course; I ended up with cutting it up into small pieces and putting it in their cereal!!!!!!!!!!! Only Grammas can do that, you know! Showed them how to use loppers and we went out each day and they helped clear the garden for the new addition. They loved it! They even went out by themselves to garden! We of course, watched from the door because of the loppers. Mind you, they are 7 and 4 and those loppers are heavy but they marched around lopping of branches and then stuffing them into the trash cans! If you have never used loppers, I must warn you, they are addicting! Not sure why but it is hard to stop once you get going! Harold cut down a tree with his chain saw – Caleb loved that! – and they hauled branches out to the truck. Big branches too, not little ones and then helped stuff them into the truck. I was impressed at their strength and their willingness to work and see it as fun. I KNOW they have my genes! Chloe told me how they were helping us with the addition and when Martha came over Chloe explained all that we are going to do and she got it right, too! Of course, they got their Jacuzzi baths with fudge, too! We did some art stuff and they had a ball with all my “squeezie paints.” Jaime even joined in on that one. Jaime and I stayed up until all hours of the night talking after the kids went to bed. They left on Monday and I have had appointments every day since then so I am still not caught up on my rest but it was all worth it!
January 24 – Therapist Debbie today. We were supposed to go back to discussing Secrets, Lies Betrayals today and I had the book open in my lap with all my little pieces of paper marking areas that pertained to me but we never got to it. It started out that I told her about my episode in Cracker Barrel where I thought about not wanting to die. Then I went on to say that I was tired of crying at the drop of a hat all the time, I mean I got into bed the other night and thought to myself that things were coming along nicely and that I was happy and then I promptly burst into tears! What was THAT all about? I told her I was resisting coming to therapy even though I really liked her and actually enjoyed (most of the time) finding out about myself but that I “Had to get on with things,” and that “Things were piling up,” and that “I was getting worn out being so emotional all the time, it was such hard work.” She listened and then told me a bit about her own journey (we don’t usually talk about her but she is ahead of me by two years) and as she talked about her own battles I could see myself. It was like she saw right into my heart and mind. We are the same type of person which is why she understands everything I say so well. She then likened therapy to an onion, in that at the beginning you begin to peel away the layers and it is interesting and really relates to whatever brought you there in the first place and then as more layers are revealed it gets a little more intense and you begin to get a bit uncomfortable and begin to think that okay, maybe this is far enough, maybe what is buried should just stay buried no matter what. She also told me that my fatigue was caused by my trying to not deal with the emotions, trying to stuff them back down, than the actual emotions themselves. Well, that brought me up short I can tell you. I said, “What about the crying?” and she said, “You have a lot to cry about and when you have cried enough and finished grieving you will stop.” I left there with a lot to think about. I will continue with therapy as I can see what I am trying to do to myself and I do not want to go backwards. Phorwards Phoebe, that’s me! I guess Crying Christine will be around for awhile, too. She really is better than Weepy Wanda, Crying Christine at least cries with gusto! I guess I need to add Emotional Emma to the list, too! Whew, it is getting pretty full in here, I am not sure I have room for all these gals at the same time!
January 28 – Bone scan came back and I am fine except for Bursitis in my hips and all my various locations of arthritis! Yea bursitis! Yea arthritis! I KNEW I was going to be just fine BUT, I was on pins and needles until I got the results back. That old voice “What if……..” is so insidious, it just waits until your guard is down and then sneaks in and whispers to you………..
Lucky me, I have an appointment on Tuesday with a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy consult. Oh yea. Won’t you just enjoy reading about that one! I told you, I can handle anything above the waist but when they get “down there” or “back there,” I get the heebie jeebies! I mean, is t is soooooooooooooo personal. Not that my boobs aren’t, but somehow that is different!
Read a quote from Dame Agatha Christie, the author, today. I really love it and want to share it with all of you. She wrote, “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” Amen.
I am also rereading the Simple Abundance Daybook of Comfort and Joy and today’s entry talks about finding out how to love how you live. She gives a quote by Robert Louis Stevenson that says, “To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells what you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive. I heartily agree. A long time ago when I first learned to paint, modern art was all the rage and flowers were “old fashioned” so I tried my best to paint modern art to be considered “in.” I turned out some decent stuff, others raved about it but I think they didn’t really like it any better than I did; they just wanted to be “in”, too. Finally one day I thought to myself, “But I love flowers, they make me happy and serene and peaceful.” So………….I now paint flowers and am content. That is what I do best because that is what I truly love. I love lace and my house has tons of lace and I love it. Harold is okay with it as long as he has a room that has no lace and no flowers in it – he likes NASCAR stuff so that is what his den is decorated in and we are both happy. I love white walls with very soft accents of color so I just ignore the magazines with red walls. I adore red but not on my walls. I think the rooms with red walls are grand and they look fabulous but they would make me nervous to have to live in them. All this is to say that I have done what she suggests and am much happier for having done so. So, find out what you really love and stick to it!
Went to lunch today with Jen to the Relay for Life kick-off for the American Cancer Society. They honored the survivors in the audience and had us go up on stage each holding a bag with a purple glow stick inside for “Hope” and then talked about survivors and also those that had lost their battle with cancer. I just about lost it and when I looked down at Jen in the audience I could see she was crying and that about did me in! At the beginning the speaker had us all stand up and then asked everyone that was a survivor to sit down, then for anyone who had a relative or friend that had been touched by cancer to sit down. There was no one left standing in the whole room! Relay for Life is an 18 hour event to be held here in May and I have decided to be a team captain and really get involved. As I find out more about it I will pass on the info so maybe some of you could become involved in your own communities.
That’s all for now!
Margot a.k.a. Perky Polly (keeper of the Perky Twins, Polly and Dolly), Nervous Nellie, shopper Sharon, Tearful Tess, Sad Sara, Panicky Pansy, Arthritic Annie, Controlling Cora, Diabetes Diane, Gramma, Phorwards Phoebe, Crying Christine, and Emotional Emma