Thursday, April 30, 2009

Allie chose my new glasses. I was a little surprised when I picked them up as I hadn't remembered how purple they were! Yesterday was a busy day. I did some yard work, some visits, and helped at a health fair where my agency was exhibiting. It was another day of eating dinner and falling asleep on the couch at 8:00 PM. My chemo symptoms are abating. I just need to work up some strength.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Workin' on my tan

Yesterday I had a busy day. I started out with shoulder opener yoga, spent a few hours at work and swam 40 laps at the pool. I grilled hamburgers smothered with onions and mushrooms for dinner. I made it half way through my burger and was asleep on the couch by 8:30.
My buddy Bob lent me his dandelion digger. My new plan for the front yard is selective weeding. pulling up anything ugly or taller than 6 inches and leaving the plants that have crept out of the beds or the weed that I like. My plan is to work on the dandelions for 15 minutes a day and work on my bald head tan.
My friend Sue gave me the cute Garden Girl who is adorning my dining room table with fresh cut flowers.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I am so happy to have flowers blooming in my garden. Everything just popped out this weekend with the 90 degree weather. It was too hot to do any gardening except admire. After my busy weekend of sailing and singing, today was definitely to rest and recuperate. I took a long nap today after reading the Sunday funnies. I am off to sing locally at Exeter Meeting House in a few minutes.
I hope to work a little every day this week and start to swim.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Going to my "Happy Place" for real

On my worst days after chemotherapy, I would imagine being on our sailboat. I thought about the moment when we cut the motor, head the boat into the wind, hoist up the sails, and off we go as the sails fill with air. I thought about skimming along the water, one hand on the tiller, the other on the main sail line, controlling the direction and cant of the boat. I imagined the wind on my face and the quiet broken only by the water gurgling behind us. Psychologists say going to your "happy place" in your mind has the same physical benefit of actually go there. Thinking about sailing got me through a lot of tough times. Yesterday I finally got to do it for real.
Amazingly, except for some bad gas, everything went perfectly. Setting up a sailboat is a complicated operation and we usually get something wrong, especially the first few times of the season. But yesterday was exceptional: we had the boat in the water in no time,there was a stiff breeze and the weather was perfect. I was tired. My muscles are weak from so much inactivity, but once we were on the water, I forgot about everything. It was windy enough that we really had to pay attention and be in the moment. It was like doing yoga or singing, I couldn't really think about any thing else. For 2 and a half hours I felt normal:like myself, for the first time in months.
Today I went to an all day shape note singing in York. I spent a few more hours not thinking about anything but singing and socializing. It all feels very healing; for as much as I want all the effects of the chemotherapy to be GONE, they aren't. But they will be, hopefully soon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On Saturday I took my chair, myself, and my new Square Foot Gardening book to the river and spent a pleasant hour basking in the warmth of a perfect April Day. There was such a steady little breeze that I regretted that we hadn't taken the sailboat out for the first time. On the other hand, I don't know if I would have have had the strength yet to climb around the boat.
Sunday, feeling the need to sit quietly with my thoughts, I attended Exeter Quaker Meeting. Although it is hard for me to sit still for an hour, it is the only place in my world and I can depend on for quiet, no distractions, and no wandering off looking for something more stimulating to do.
Monday the rain, the wind and the thunder descended and I spent the day on the couch reading and feeling pukey. I distracted myself by taking the Baby Preview Co calls. I haven't done anything with Baby Preview for months, so I enjoyed myself.
I am officially on partial disability now. I can work when I up to it and use the disability as I have run out of sick time. I am so grateful that my agency offers this . It is a relief not to have to push myself to go to work and I can take some time to recover from the effects of the chemotherapy. It is also comforting to know that I can keep up with my clients.
Well that's all the news from the 16 Acre Wood where all the women are bald, all the men are smarter than average and all the pets follow the humans around like sheep.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring is here at last

I am feeling a lot better than the last time around. It is probably psychological as much as anything since I know I don't have to go back. I am medicating myself better and reading a lot to divert myself until the rest to the chemicals work their way out of me. 
I am excited about doing healthly things, and getting some garden planted. My peas are finally up. I hopefully can start yoga and swimming in a day or two. The flowers popped overnight and all the signs of spring on 70 degree afternoon make life bright.
My friend Sue came over with flowers and a clothes swap and buzzed my head for me, so I will have a fresh start for my hair to grown back. It has been weird having nothing done to my hair for 4 months.
I get a cat scan in May as a baseline to see how much (or little)  tumor is left in my lung and liver. In the meantime, my plan is to enjoy life, feel normal and not think too much about the future. Let the holiday from chemo begin!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


6 cycles of chemo are over!!!! now is the time to rest and recover.  It seems crazy that we started on December 22, but now it is April and it is over.  
Fate was against us for yesterdays treatment.  My alarm clock didn't go off so we were a little late, then a truck got stuck getting off the bypass, and finally the ticket machine to get into the parking lot at the hospital was broken so mom had to run in while I waited to park the car.  We ended up waiting around and then mom got sick, but after that we were able to get the treatment with minimal other issues.  In the evening after mom's nap we went shopping and got mom new purple glasses, a very jackie-o dress for a wedding and some cute tops (and I got a pasta attachment for my kitchenaid mixer!!!!).
Today's treatment went okay.  Mom woke up this morning and took care of errands and tried to go to Team Meeting but it was cancelled, which kept her mind off the afternoon's treatment.  We played two hands of rummy, she took a nap and then it was time to go home.
Tomorrow we have to get the shot and then we are really done,  Mom tried to convince me that she doesn't need it because just walking in to the hospital makes her sick, but I reminded her how terrible it would be if she got a cold on top of recovering from the chemo.  Which reminded us of all the bad things that could have gone wrong with her treatment but haven't and we are really blessed that all in all it went pretty smoothly.  The sheer fact that the tumors responded is just a blessing enough because ~ 40% of patients don't.
However, we no longer have to worry about that and can just rest and recover.  Hopefully the recovery will be a little easier with 25% less cisplatin and just mentally knowing that the treatments are all over.  Now she'll have time to focus on some fun things like going on a yoga retreat, visiting me in worcester and cait in chicago, and going to the beach this summer.
Hopefully once mom wakes up from her nap she'll be ready to celebrate!

Monday, April 13, 2009

One down... two to GO!

Today we started the last cycle of the six rounds of chemotherapy.  Mom hid behind the couch but we found her and dragged her out.  We promised her easter candy and she proceeded to eat my entire chocolate bunny throughout the day almost eating its little yellow bow.  She had her port accessed with minimal issues and will have it if left in for day 2 and 3 so we won't have to worry about it again until the doctor flushes it every 3 months.
Penny had the day off so she kept Mom and I company all day at the hospital and Mary also stopped by to visit around lunch time.  Charlie the Therapy dog also visited who we have seen a couple times; however today was an extra special day for him since a member of his breed, portuguese water dog, is going to be taking up residence in the white house.
It was a pretty uneventful day except mom beating Penny in cribbage and both us in rummy.  Being a little anemic doesn't appear to hurt her card game.
We came home and watched a dvd of arrested development and are resting up for tomorrow.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Me in my Easter Bonnet.
Allie in my Easter Bonnet.

Easter was a quiet affair here. I went to church, but haven't been singing in the choir, so I missed being part of the special music. I made a little chicken dinner per Allie's request and took a nap. I am trying to get myself calmed down for tomorrow. I did some yoga tonight and took all my crazy pills. In three days it will all be over.I wish they could just put me in a medical coma for the next 2 weeks and wake me when it was over. I am not sure why I am so worked up about this. I guess I have just HAD ENOUGH.
I have Allie and Penny to keep my company tomorrow. They will get me through it.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Minus one and counting.

I planned to relax today and clean up the rest of Passover. I decided since the furniture was already in disorder, that I would rearrange it. I am a great fan of rearranging the furniture, but I"ve never done it here at the new house.
I am happy with the result. We have a nice of the woods from the couch.
I have been trying to get geared up for my last chemo on Monday. I did yoga and had massage at the Image Center at the hospital yesterday
This morning I did yoga and I swam at the pool after the furniture rearranging. I am also doubling up on the anti-anxiety pills. They do seem to help. Happy Easter to everyone who celebrates it. Allie comes home tomorrow.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Everything went very well for our Passover Sedar. Penny and Judi came in the afternoon to help me cook and the Lehmans came early for the last minute details. We had 25 people including the babies. Everyone seemed to have a good time: there was a lot of noise! I made mango salsa, chicken soup with dilled matzo balls, brisket, chicken with lemon and garlic, and jeweled rice. Marty made gefilte fish and our guests brought roasted asparagus and carrots, copper penny carrot salad and lots of yummy desserts. The above picture is of the cousins table. Judi kept everyone alert with her literal representation of the plagues.
I went to the doctor on Monday for the routine checkup before chemotherapy. This is the last one. He is going to cut the strongest chemo drug back 25% because it has affected my hearing and maybe I won't be so sick. Maybe it will be easier since I know it is the last one. I am dreading it and wanting to get it over with at the same time.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday

Meike and I went for pedicures when she was here. I heard it was going to be warm today so I wore sandals to church. It wasn't warm enough for sandals, but sometimes vanity triumphs in the fashion vs. comfort decision. I bought pansies yesterday and it is warm enough to work outside in the sunshine. I need to tidy up the front of the house since I am having company on Thursday for Passover. The guest list has burgeoned to 26 plus 3 babies. It is great to have a big house for these occasions.
I have been trying to build myself back up for the next round of chemo since I spent so much time on the couch this go round. I swam 30 laps on Friday and that went really well. Marty and I went contra dancing last night. I wasn't feeling tip-tip, so I only danced a few dances, but it was good to get out and socialize.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spring Day

There is nothing like 70 degree weather to lift the spirits. It was a good day to be a nurse home visitor. As bad as my situation is, amazingly some of my clients have it worse.  Working is good if only to keep life in perspective.
I am feeling better every day. I haven't been sick for a day and a half, so that is a good sign.

I keep dreaming of all the things I want to do when chemo is over. 

Signs of Life

I am feeling better day by day. the nausea still hangs on but I've kept all my food down for the last 24 hours. I check the flower beds when it's warm enough to see what's new. My peas still haven't germinated. I want to plant some lettuce this weekend. Caitlin is doing square foot gardening on her balcony this summer.
I am starting to make plans for some trips and other things I want to do in May, June and July when I have recovered from chemotherapy. Caitlin and I going to Old Songs music festival in June. Caitlin, Allie and I are going to Rehoboth in July. I'm thinking about maybe a big birthday party in June, but haven't decided yet. so I have lots of things of things to keep my pyscho brain occupied.
I worked some yesterday and plan to make visits today and tomorrow if all goes well.