Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fun at the beach

Ellen and me
Caitlin, Louise, Alie and Sarah
Yesterday was an absolutelly gorgeous day at the beach. The water was73 degrees and there was lots of wave action. We tried out best not to get sunburned with varying degrees of success. Theday started off on a sad note with the news of Doris Bricker, lee's wife passing away. She was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor and had surgery. We had hopful that she would recover. Most of the family is here at the beach so it is good to be together.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hair and sand

Allison shaving the fringe from the back of my head that the radiation didnt kill. Both girls agreed it was sillly and had to go.
I'm hoping my hair grows back green
Caitlin on her iPhone on the beach
Allison on her phone on the beachOur first full day on the beach was perfect. It was sunny, but with a nice breeze, there was great wave action and the Brickers arrived in full force. Our friend Amy came for the day. We took Amy out for Thai food courtesy of Grandma. Thanks Mum!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Skunky Leo
Poor Tipper
Where is your nose Milagro?
Donde esta tu nariz?
I will be discharging little Milagro and her mom in August, when she turns two. This picture is what makes it all worth while. She knows where her nose is and and can name 5 other body parts. She knows at least 50 words and she calls me by name. When I started with this family, I had no idea how it would all turn out.
Allie arrived around nine with Leo in tow. Marty is going to watch him when we are at the beach.
He took off as soon as Allie let him out of the car. Outside it smelled really strongly of skunk and he came back stinking to high heaven. We were both really tired, but both dogs had to get a bath before we went to bed.
I will finish my packing tomorrow and we will head off to Rehoboth as early as possible.
Yeah vacation!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I went to the Radiologist today and he discharged me after determining that none of my complaints had anything to do with radiation. The psychologist was more helpful. We talked about maintaining a positive attitude while still recognizing and paying attention to negative thoughts and feelings. She told me about research that indicates the balance should be 3 to 1 positive to negative. Negative thoughts need to experienced, she said because there is something to be learned from them, but to be careful not to caught in a down spiral of negative thoughts that grow out of proportion to the reality of the situation. Positive thoughts aren't that helpful if there aren't negative ones to give them meaning. She urged me to get back into the habit of yoga and breathing. Even if I feel too tired for yoga I can lie there and focus my on breathing.
I won't be doing anything else medical until after our vacation Aug 16. So hopefully it will be a real vacation from everything.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wearing scarves in the summer isn't as much fun as it was in the winter. I'd just go around bald, but I'm trying to heal up my skin and of course there is the sunburn issue.
We had quiet weekend. I had planned to go the concert in City Park and meet up with friends, but it rained. I assumed it was canceled, but the paper had a review o the singer the next morning, so I was bummed.
Saturday I relaxed in the morning, then did some shopping. Nora, Jason, Kyle and Isaac come for dinner. Nora and Jason both have birthday's this month, so we had a very informal birthday party. Kyle and I had a good time building marble works and Isaac watched us. He is a pleasant, smiley baby. Sadly, I forgot to take pictures.
I was tired Sunday morning, so I read and napped all morning. Marty talked me into a bike ride. We rode along the Tulpehocken on the tow path. It is flat easy riding, about 8 miles round trip.
I got back in time to go sing at the Exeter Meeting House. I am going to miss singing while I am on vacation.
I was pretty tired today. I don't know if it is still the radiation, the Tarceva, or the disease process. I can fall asleep at the drop of a hat: like at my desk at work or when I try to read on the couch. I made two visits today and straighten out some other stuff for clients. My caseload is smaller now, so it is manageable.
I am having trouble getting motivated to pack for vacation. I have my house sitting issues resolved I think, so that is a big relief. I promised myself that I would do 15 minutes a day, the Flylady way.
I'm off to the radiologist tomorrow. He won't do much except order an MRI of the brain. I also see the psychologist. That visit will probably be more useful.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Coneflower and bee
cabbage
garden growing
These radishes seem to be all greens

Wine berries.
We had a good rain last night and every thing looks great in the sunshine this morning. I'm off to buy a baby shower gift for our sonagrapher at Baby Preview, go the bank, and the Farmer's Market.
Caitlin, Allie and I are making plans for the beach. Allie and I still have dog sitting plans to work out. I may go shopping for some new clothes for our trip to British Columbia and the cruise to Alaska. I am looking forward to sitting for a week on the beach with nothing to do but read and chat with Caitlin and Allie.
I still feel tired and nap a lot. I'm getting more pimples, but most of them are on my chest and back.
Off to shopping...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Life goes on

Sweet peas growing wild in yard
Coneflowers




Golden Raspberry

Somehow bearing bad news is easier in the summer. Everything in the garden is growing and so alive. I have 3 kinds of berries growing in the yard, I picked lettuce the last two nights for dinner. I have one little green tomato and lots of herbs. My flowers are at the height of their season thanks to all the rain, then sunshine this week. The orchard up the road has sweet corn and peaches. There are lots of good things to somewhat balance the bad.
I had a pleasant day at work; visiting two clients. At the grocery store I ran into my family with twin girls, who graduated last December. We chatted in line and they bragged about how they are potty trained and how smart they are. I felt so proud of them for how well they are doing.
Tomorrow I'll be taking a client to the Oley Dairy to feed the goats and eat ice cream for our for our last visit. That's always fun.
I'm planning a quiet weekend of getting ready for vacation. I still need some house/dog sitting coverage. Needs to make lists, shop etc.
I broke out in my first pimple today, so we will see how bad that gets.

Bad News at the doctor.

My oncologist gave me the results of my CT scan at my appointment on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the tumors have started to grow again. The tumor in the lung doubled in size from .9cm to 1.8cm, as did one of the liver tumors. There is also a new one in the liver. It was a bit of a shock: I thought I would have more time before they started to grow again. The doctor wants me to do chemotherapy mid August after we come back from our vacation to Canada and Alaska. I don't know if I can.
I'll have another CT scan before starting the chemotherapy on the off chance that the Tarceva pills I take every day are doing something.
Marty, of course, is sad and upset and searches the internet every day for clinical trials. I'm still tired from the radiation and have been resting a lot. I still go to work every day. I've been starting to pack for my week at the beach with Caitlin and Allison and our trip to British Columbia and the Alaskan cruise with my sister and BIL.
I really appreciate all the support and encouragement everyone has given me. I am sorry that I don't have better news.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Music weekend

The weekend flew by. Friday night I went with my friend Jean to the City Park Bandshell for a concert by Electrica. It wasn't exactly my cup of tea, but it doesn't matter what is playing, I love sitting in the park on a warm summer evening listening to live music.
I usually walk around to see people during the intermission, but Jean apparently knows three quarters of the population of Reading and we had only made it about 25 feet from our chairs before the intermission was over. So if you were there, sorry I missed you.
Saturday morning, Marty and I drove (the convertible) to Westminster MD to the
Common Ground Music Festival. It was lovely venue at the Carrol County Farm Museum. We met my camping buddies Bob and Brook there. We heard all kinds of folk, blues, and traditional music from around the world. The evening headliner was Ralph Stanley and Clinch Mountain Boys. Ralph is in his 80's now, but he can still put on a show. The weather was threatening from time to time but we stayed dry.
We didn't get home until 11:00PM last night, so I decided to take it easy today. I went to church and sang a lot (as usual. My church likes to sing) Today they commissioned the youth for their mission trip/national convention in New Orleans. Church ended with the rousing singing of "When the Saints go Marching In". I don't think I have ever sung that in church before.
On the way home from church, I picked up some prescriptions and bought tomato cages. I am still tired so I spent most of the afternoon napping. I did put the cages around the tomatoes and picked berries. I am so happy to have my golden raspberries growing again. They moved with me to Shillington, but I couldn't take them when I moved here. Fortunately I had given Mike and Mary some shoots, so they gave me some back 2 years ago and I now have a giant crop. I also have black raspberries and wine berries growing wild all over the property.( I think it is the next best thing to heaven to be able to go out and pick berries every day!) If anyone wants to make jelly or a pie, come over with a bucket this week.
I go to the doctor Tuesday to find out about my CT scan to the chest and abdomen. I seem to tolerating the Tarceva pills. The redness is fading out of my skin, but it is still dry.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Infamous Amy V and her Crazy Goats!

The one goat really liked mom's dress... like really liked
The Infamous Amy V herself

Me feeding some adorable goats

Crazy Goat Video!

video

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Busy day / Feeling a little better

Our team meeting at work today was orienting to our new curriculum. After doing things pretty much the same way for nearly 10 years, it is a bit of a shock to the system. On the other hand we had been asking for changes and revisions. The main difference will be that the clients will have more imput in what we talk about each visit instead of us showing up with a preplanned visit. I think it will put some fresh life into the visits
I had my appointment for the teaching for Tarciva today. Not too much learn: take on empty stomach, side effects etc. My blood work was ok. I stopped by Radiology to talk to a nurse about how bad I was feeling. The doctor was standing at the desk so they just refered me to him. He said that the Radiaion continues to accumulate in the body for 5-7 days after the radiation and I am probably experiencing the peak effects and that they should taper off over the next few days.
So I guess I'll start the new medication when I get up in the morning.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Recovering from radiation

It seems that the radiation side affects come AFTER the treatment is over. My head is bald, red and scaly. Even my ear canals feel sunburned. I have been extremely tired, queasy, and a little depressed. I go to the oncologist tomorrow for the teaching on the new medicine, so I am going to stop by radiology to ask about all of this.
I had a pleasant, relaxing 4th of July weekend. Marty and I took the convertible and Tipper and we had a nice road trip. My dad, Justine, Allie and I played 500 every night in competitive closely scored games. The McCullough reunion was the same as it is every year, which is a great comfort. There were 104 attendees, 3 tables groaning with casseroles and salads and another with desserts. The older I get the more I enjoy the meeting after dinner. Everyone stands up and tells what their family has been up to for the last year.
Allie and I went to see Amy V's goats. We laughed so hard at their antics. They jump, climb, fly through the air, chew clothes and shoelaces, tease the dogs. I'll post pictures when Allie sends them to me.
Well I'm off to bed...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Last Day of Radiation.


Can you believe they gave me a diploma for finishing radiation? They also gave me the option of keeping my mask. This is what they put over my face every time and then clamped me to the table. The purple marks show where they directed the radiation. They say the radiation keeps working for a few more weeks so I won't have an appointment with the radiation doctor till 7/21. My face looks sunburned and now that the hair is gone (again) my Humpty Dumpty dome is starting to look pink too. oh well.
Marty, Tipper and I are off to the 123rd McCullough reunion on the 4th. We will leave to tomorrow. Allie flew into Pittsburgh tonight, so I'll get to see her this weekend.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Next to last Radiation TX


























One more radiation treatment. Hooray. The skin on my forehead and temples is taking a beating. My poor bald head is even balder than before. Total Uncle Festus.
The Tarseva (the pill I am going to be taking) came by Fed Ex today. I'm not scheduled with a nurse to go over the teaching until next Thursday, but I think I am going to start taking it next Monday.
I finally got my camping gear put away, my tie-dye washed, and went back to making visits on Tuesday (I did some administrative stuff Monday). It was a frustrating day. I was hauling my client with physical disabilities to WIC and the toddler's pediatric appointment. Thank goodness the baby can walk now and I don't have to lug her and her car seat. We got to the clinic, checked in and waited 20 minutes, when the nurse came out and said, "She doesn't need a physical until October." My client and I looked at each other both thinking, "Then why the heck did they make the appointment for June?" The client was all apololgetic even though it wasn't her fault. I was glad to book; usually they put us in an exam room for another hour before the doctor comes in, so I had a little more time in my schedule. I enjoy this client's company: my only real loss was the extra 2 quarters that I put in the meter.
The pictures are of the garden progress and flower beds. The flowers are doing great, but so are the weeds.