Update 79

September 15 – Just thought of something that happened that I must pass on.  I was at Staples the other day doing a bunch of printing and I had to staple some of it together while I was there so I could mail it off on my way home.  Just had on a T-shirt (you know the twins are never restricted by a bra anymore) so was stapling away when I glanced down and saw that Dolly (right boob) was just a’dancin’ away in time to the stapler motion!  Remember I told you that since the implants are under the chest muscles that cross one another, whatever your muscles are doing, so is your boob!  There really is no way to disguise it either, so I just kept on stapling and hoped that no one noticed how much fun my chest was having keeping time to the stapler!  Geez!  I suppose if I would wear a bra (not happening though!) it would keep them contained but the twins do like their freedom!  Brazen Braless Brunhilde, that’s me!

September 17 – I just finished putting up the last piece of wall insulation between my studio and Harold’s workshop.  Me.  All by myself.  And the wall is 11’2” tall at the peak!  Why am I telling you this?  Because this comes from a woman who is just finishing up a year of breast cancer recurrence treatment. And……I leave next Friday to teach in Arkansas for the weekend! Am I bragging?  Just a wee bit but mostly it is to show that life does not have to come to a halt with a recurrence. Not so nice, not nice at all, actually, but I made it through………..again!  I am a three year double survivor of breast cancer! So until July of 2007 I shall be Secret Agent 3SSBC (three, survivor, survivor, breast cancer) of the war on breast cancer! 

September 26 – Arrived home last night from Arkansas, tired but pleased.  All went well and I wasn’t overly tired.  Fought a leg cramp on the way there on Friday but managed to keep it under control by pressing against the seat in front of me with my foot for about an hour until the muscle finally released!  I was okay on the way back.  Only a two hour flight.  I have started my walking back up as of this morning because I have to fly to Portland, Oregon in three weeks and that is a much longer flight.  Also slept the whole night through last night, first time in a while that I have not had to get up with a cramp of some sort.  The doctor did day it would get worse before it got better, didn’t he!  Hmmmnnnpppppfffffff! 

I am soooooooooooooooooooooo tired of messing with leg cramps.  Had my Herceptin treatment today (only two more to go!) and this was the first time the needle hurt going in to the chemo port.  The nurse did use Lidocaine but either she missed with the Lidocaine or she missed with the needle because I felt that sucker get pushed in there this time and it HURT!  It hurt a bit coming out, too, after an hour and a half of treatment. Feelingaweebitsorryformyself Francine is visiting today.  Am tired again tonight but maybe that has to do with teaching all weekend in another state and not the Herceptin.  I was not tired from it last time.

Back to the leg cramps.  There was quite a discussion today among the patients about the problems that we all were having.  One woman’s foot was really swelled up badly, me with my ongoing sneaking-evil attacks by Lucinda Faye, the woman next to me still has numbness in her toes and has just started having leg cramps and the woman next to me was complaining about her sever toe cramps.  So it is not just me who is having this trouble with cramps.

Hair is now a nice raspberry color!  Needless to say I have not gone anywhere without my wigs!  Bought more hair color today, Intense Copper, going to give this another try!  Keep your fingers crossed for me!  If this gets too weird I may have to go black.  Of course that would be just in time for Halloween!  I can intensify my eye make-up and just pretend I am in costume for the month of October!  I do have a whole Halloween wardrobe you know.  Vests, shirts, socks and jewelry!  Halloween Hallie always moves in the beginning of October to stay for the month!  Now…………she is a welcomed persona (she is great fun!), not like some of those other hussies – Weepy Wanda, Ranting Rita, Lucinda Faye (her especially!) and even Feelingaweebitsorryformyself Francine can be a pain in the rear!

We have drywall!  Just in the den area so far.  They will be back this Sunday to start on my studio.  We will have to get a dry wall screw inspection when they are finished and then they can come back and do the dry wall finishing and then light fixtures, final mechanical and electrical inspections and then power and then the final inspection  for our Certificate of Occupancy and then………………..move in time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I will have to put down the carpet tiles before I can move in because I do not want to move some of this heavy stuff twice.  There is dust everywhere!  I will just keep the kitchen are clean where I prepare food and live with the dust everywhere else until they are done and then clean for the holidays.  I can hardly stand the anticipation!  I want to move right now!

September 27 - I almost forgot to tell about the wonderful thing that Brian Andreas, one of my very favorite writers, of StoryPeople (www.storypeople.com), has done for breast cancer research.  I can tell you it prompted a morning of weeping with joy and gratitude and the parting of my hard earned dollars!  I decided it was far easier to include their whole email than trying to explain it so here it is.

“One of the true joys we have at StoryPeople is hearing from all of you. Hearing the ways the stories have touched your lives. Hearing about the stories you’d like to pass on to the people you love."

Because it seems you all know the secret, too: our lives are made from the stories we tell. It’s always made sense to us that if we want a better future for ourselves & all the children of the world, we need to have stories that make that future real. Stories that remind us what it is we really, truly dream. Stories that remind us what it is we really, truly are willing to live for….
Which brings us to the immense challenge of curing breast cancer. Now. Because we really, truly want nothing less.

Just recently, Brian heard from a remarkable woman in Alberta, Canada. She wrote of her commitment to furthering breast cancer research, her participation in a 60km fundraising walk in August, & her love of StoryPeople. Would Brian consider writing a story to commemorate this important cause? she asked. Yes, he said & he did.
It’s called “Lifetime”. Here are the words.

We're here to end it,
I said & she said, No,
we're here to begin it
& then she turned &
opened her arms
& everywhere I could see,
there were people,
like bright birds, calling
with a thousand voices

& suddenly I understood.
Here is where it begins.
With all of us, together
giving our daughters
a world worth loving
for a lifetime to come.

“Lifetime” is being unveiled today (click here if you want to see the words & the art together) at StoryPeople & at our gallery partners nationwide to coincide with Breast Cancer walks around the U.S. & for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. We think it’s beautiful. Granted, we’re a bit biased. Still, we thought you’d like to be one of the first to know....
And one other thing....

Let’s face it. We wouldn’t even have a world worth loving without the countless women who have held the future in their arms for generations. So, with love & thanks to all of them & with our sincere hope that someday soon breast cancer will become a distant memory, we're giving all of the profits from the sale of this print to breast cancer research, in perpetuity. As it says on the special label we’ve put on the outside wrapper – “From Now, Until We Find The Cure”.
If you’d like to have one of these beautiful prints as a reminder of the kind of future we can create when we put our minds & hearts to it, click here.
It’s the kind of future we all want. A future worth loving for a lifetime to come. We look forward to having your help....
With Love,
The Crew at StoryPeople

If you have any other questions or comments about our web site or how to order, here's how to get hold of us:

The email address that goes right to the people who can help is:

If you want to send a note, or treats, our mailing address is:
  P.O. Box 7
  Decorah, IA 52101

& if nothing else but a call will do, our phone numbers are:
  1-800-476-7178 -- Toll-Free Phone
  1-563-382-0263 -- Fax

Copyright 2006. StoryPeople.”

I bought a print for myself and my two daughters on the very first day they were offered.  Those prints are now very, very special to all three of us as we all love his work.

Some friends have written to me with concern that I don’t write as often now and they are in hopes that it is because I don’t need to and they are absolutely right!  It is boring to write, “I feel great today!” over and over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Aside from the sneaking, evil, really mean attacks by Lucinda Faye I am feeling just fine!  And the hair situation of course, although I really can’t blame that on the chemo since I could have done this “mistake” with lots of hair!  Probably actually better that it happened with just a small amount of hair! Someone said it is probably that I dyed my hair with a lot of the “chemo hair” still there but it has been five months this time and last time I dyed it red after three months and it was fine.  Maybe because of different drugs??????????  Who knows!  I just know I am fuchsia when I am in the bright light and definitely burgundy in lesser light!  Get this – if any of it sneaks out from under my wig it looks fake!  The wig hair looks real but is actually plastic and the actual, real hair is what looks fake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How weird is that!

September 28 – Very emotional day yesterday.  For some unknown reason everything I read or thought about made me cry!  The deep crying that seems to be deep inside and squeezes the tears right out so they run down your face and you just sit there drowning in your own tears. I have heard that statement before but yesterday was the first time I have ever experienced it for myself.  I cried for me, for my friends, for all the people that I don’t even know that have to go through this.  Before you feel sorry for me I feel fine today (maybe just wee bit sad but I see Therapist Debbie this afternoon so that is a very good thing!) and I think I needed to let Feelingverysorryformyself Francine in for a visit. It has been a long hard year, all this began last October and now that the end of treatment is in sight it actually makes me a bit nervous.  I will be on my own again with no treatments of any kind.  Didn’t do so well last time on my own!  Much as I hated all of the treatments at least I had some help in the battle.  Now I have to go it alone and will panic before each three month test.  Please do not tell me I will be fine.  I thought I was fine last time and “Poof!” on my two year anniversary of being a survivor – it was back. If you see me tell me you have great hope for my future.  That is realistic.  I have great hope for my future, too, but I am not about to go around with my head in the sand either. I am vigilant about doing a monthly self breast exam and go way up to my collarbone and down under my arms., too.  So, am I going to celebrate being done?  I don’t know. I may just quietly resume my life.

October 3 – High drama in my life but not me this time.  My youngest sister had a major heart attack last week!  She seems to be doing fine now that she is being treated, major lifestyle changes in store for her – she will now have a “new normal”, too!  She has a great attitude about the whole thing – figures it was a wake-up call that she needs to heed!

I was very disheartened that other night.  I woke up suddenly with that dreadful cramp that begins at my big toe and goes all the way up to the top of my leg!  Instead of trying to walk it out since that is major, excruciating pain, I pressed my foot into the floor really, really hard, putting the stress on the whole leg and the muscle until it eased off.  That worked much better than trying to walk it out and it didn’t take as long for it to ease up.  I was so disappointed, I thought they were letting off, have not had nearly as many and none of those awful things since August.  Hopefully, that will be the last one of those.  I really do have to find a way to kill off Lucinda Faye.  She is evil personified!

I am patiently waiting for my new refrigerator to be delivered.  Coolers everywhere with the contents of the old fridge. I got a racy (can fridges be considered racy?) black counter depth one this time.  Old one was the one we bought when we moved in twenty years ago!  Before, when you came into the kitchen you saw out the sliding glass doors to the patio or lately to the addition.  Now that the end wall is gone the first thing you saw was the side of the huge almond fridge sticking out in to the room!  All the other appliances are black, have been slowly replacing them over the past few years and now that the kitchen and den are one big room I NEEDED a new fridge!

The guys doing the drywall have been very busy.  The den is done, the studio almost and that just leaves Harold’s workshop.  They come in the evenings and on Sundays.  Dust is everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  However, I have begun drawing up my detailed floor plans so the dust is just an inconvenience!  A note here – a friend who had breast cancer, chemo and radiation told me I should be wearing a mask when I am around that drywall dust. Right after she finished radiation they were doing some remodeling and she mopped and dusted and was around that stuff and ended up with bronchitis!  Her radiation was not as intense as mine so my lungs are even more compromised!  I bought a big box of those disposable masks (the ones that are approved by whoever it is that approves them!) and will be wearing one from now on when I am cleaning up and you know I AM the clean-up crew!   I cannot believe I didn’t figure that one out for myself!  See what happens when you feel fine!  You forget all about being careful! I would imagine that anyone around that stuff really should be wearing a mask. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so get a mammogram, wear pink, make sure your friends get a mammogram, buy breast cancer stamps – something to help get rid of this nasty disease.  I read that every three minutes someone is diagnosed with breast cancer. It has to end.

October 10 – Just plugging away here. Getting ready to go out of town again to teach, this time in Portland, Oregon – all the way on the other side of the country!  Lucinda Faye is still messing with my leg muscles, not nearly as severe as before but just enough that she lets me know she has not left the building!

Getting ready to try dyeing my hair again.  This time I am going for Burnished Brown.  It is brown with reddish highlights.  Decided I should forego the Intense Copper for now!  I now have brown and grey roots growing out along with the pink hair!  Lovely!  Still very short but it is filling in nicely and if it were a “normal” color I would go without my wigs more.  Am even considering flying this weekend without a wig for the flight and then just putting it on in the restroom before I meet up with the people picking me up.  Vanity is still in effect here!  I still look much better in a wig but am thinking it is a very long flight and I don’t want to fall asleep and wake up with the thing on upside down!  That’s not so attractive!

The drywall guys are almost done hanging the drywall.  They have finished my studio, lovely to have the walls up but the mess………………That’s okay though, it means progress!  They should finish up in Harold’s workshop today or tomorrow and then we can call for a drywall screw inspection and then get them back out here to do the drywall finishing.  Now that is going to be messy!  Will have to hang plastic over the end of the kitchen where we took down the wall to try and keep most of the mess out there!  We did hang the doors between the den and my studio and between my studio and Harold’s workshop so now the only things missing (inside anyway) are lights and flooring!  Oh my!  I think that we were beginning to think we would never get this far.  Seems like we have been building forever!  The Clark Construction Company will be taking a break soon - from major construction at least!  I’m still building stone garden walls and creating gardens and Harold will have a ton of woodworking to finish but we will be moving in and actually using our new spaces instead of just working on them! 

Life is good, really.  I have not had any down days in awhile so maybe I am pulling up out of my mini-depression that had me in its grips for awhile.  Maybe I have just been too busy!  Therapist Debbie thinks that when I keep myself really busy I am just avoiding stuff that bothers me and then finally my body says – “Hey! Listen to me!” and I get sad or down until I deal with whatever I have been trying to avoid!  I am sure she is right but it is so much easier to avoid stuff sometimes than to try and actually deal with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Your mind and body do tend to remind you though, is subtle and not so subtle ways – the trick is to allow yourself to pay attention to those signs.  Easier said than done!

Jennifer, a friend and Beauty School Betty (me) attended beauty school yesterday!  We went with the attitude that we would be beauty school dropouts but we all actually graduated!  We have certificates to prove it!  Jen hosted a Spa Party at my house a couple of weeks ago and we all had a blast and loved the stuff (I do love stuff!) so signed up on the spot.  In order to get the rest of your “stuff” you have to attend beauty school so we all went down there and sat at the very back of the room.  We were not terribly bad, however, one of the women leading the day was a retired policewoman and she chose to stand directly behind us a few times!  My friend and I are not interested in second careers, I have enough trouble keeping up with one and so does she, so we chose to help Jen. She is younger and has more energy!  We are already planning a Spa Pajama Party in my new studio to play with all our new stuff!  Doesn’t that sound like fun! Must get the Hallie Halloween hair under control before we do this!

Before this turns into a huge book I want to share something controversial.  It is not about breast cancer but it is about women.  I read A Woman’s Book of Days 1 & 2 every morning and I love the way Donna Sinclair writes. She often writes surprising insights but she does it softly.  Remember her of the “You don’t have to agree with what I write just as long as it makes you care?”  Well, I read this yesterday and was instantly jolted. Here is what she wrote – she is talking about Fall and being in the produce store and the title is Eve and Apples. She says whenever she buys apples she thinks of Eve (Of Adam and Eve fame) who was punished for apples.  She goes on to say that as she gathers up her apples she celebrates Eve’s courage and her choices: Knowledge over ignorance, risk over submission, real life with all its complicated choices and pain over sheltered innocence forever.”  I got a real jolt from that, I have never, ever thought of it in that way. Amazing words! You don’t have to agree with her or even like that I chose to include it here but it will make you care!

October 13 – Getting ready to leave for the airport, just waiting for Jen to pick me up.  Off to Oregon for the weekend to teach.

I was on edge yesterday for a good part of the morning and didn’t know why until this morning.  It was one year ago yesterday that I found that damned lump!  Things did get better throughout the day and I hope that is a sign!  In the morning I had my three month (can you believe!) check-up with the radiation oncologist and I am doing so well that I do not have to see him for six months!  I got a copy of my treatment report and wanted to share a bit with you. It states that “Mrs. Clark did remarkably well during her radiation treatment.”  It also stated that “Mrs. Clark required irradiation of the reconstructed left breast, internal mammary chain, left axillary chain, and has received significant doses of potentially cardiotoxic chemotherapy agents.” Whoa!  Reading it was very sobering. Not that I wasn’t aware of the seriousness of it all but there it was in black and white and it was startling I can tell you.  Maybe it was validating to see it written down, I’m not sure, but I felt justified in declaring my sadness and really down days. Its like I have “written proof” for people who tell me I will be fine and not to worry like it was just a bad cold or something that I have been dealing with – I know, I know, I am beginning to rant so I will stop!

In the afternoon I saw my podiatrist about the leg cramps.  Trying to rule out everything I can think of that might be the cause so wanted to see if my feet were part of the problem.  He did adjust my shoe inserts and told me to keep wearing really good support shoes and he gave me a prescription for Quinine Sulfate (a friend told me that her doctor prescribed that for her and it worked so………………….) to see if that would help the cramps. I see him in two weeks to see if any or all of that helped. When I got my prescription filled the pharmacist told me that her husband suffers from leg cramps and he found that if he upped his does of Magnesium that they stopped.  She told me to try that, however, you know if you have taken too much because you will get diarrhea and since I am flying today and will be gone for four days I think I will try that when I get home!  But………….I took my first two capsules last night before bed and guess what?  Not even a twinge!  Lucinda Faye took the night off!  I don’t want to get too cocky so I will save my grateful relief for two weeks from now.

Remember this is Breast Cancer Awareness month so please click on www.thebreastcancersite.com and click to help provide a woman in need with a mammogram!

Photo of the Week – You are going to just die of laughter when you see this one!  I figured since you have now seen all of my different wig personas actually on my head maybe it is time to see one of them all alone!  Here is Fiery Fiona after being washed and gelled (what an odd looking word!  Maybe I should just say I put gel on the wig!)  You have to shake the daylights out of them and hang them upside down to dry and the fan light fixture in my bedroom works very well as the fan can help to dry the wig out faster.  I also refresh them when needed by spritzing them with water and hanging them upside down to dry.  How’s this for an easy way to do your hair!

Margota.k.a. Brazen Braless Brunhilde, Secret Agent 3SSBC, Halloween Hallie,            Feelingaweebitsorryformyself Francine, Weepy Wanda, Ranting Rita, Sneaky-  Evil (Personified!) Leg and Foot Cramp Lucinda Faye, Fiery Fiona, Beauty        School Betty

If you have any questions please email me


top of page