Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More energy today

I slept in this morning in hopes of having a little more energy today, and I did have a lot more than last Tuesday. I did a lot of little nit-picky paperwork that has been getting on my nerves for days, weeks, and/ or months. That was a good feeling, but it took me till noon to get out of the house.
We are hiring new receptionists, one of whom will take the phone calls, so that is going to take pressure off Marty in particular.
I spent most of the morning figuring out my work, travel and chemo schedules. I think I have it under control now!
Work tomorrow and packing for Boston.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The annual debate: Should I dig up the pointsettias and bring thme in or let the frost get them?

Mums are the best thing about fall.

This "chemo-lite" every week is interesting. The first two days I'm all hyped up on the steroids. Friday, I worked then Marty and I went swimming, then folk dancing. Saturday we took the sailboat out for the Sail Club races. We didn't sail so well, but we had a good time. Sunday I thought I should wind down, so I stayed home and got the house tidy and caught up, finally, with the laundry. By Saturday night I was beat and today I slept all afternoon. I am going to have 2 weeks rest from the chemotherapy, so we will see how that goes.
Thursday I will drive up to Boston to meet Caitlin and Allison and stay for a long weekend. Then the following Thursday, Allie and I will jet off to Ecuador.
Marty is going sailing while I am in Boston, so we are going to need a dog/house sitter for this weekend if anyone is available.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Anniversary Gifts, My mom update and big news at the end

Garden Girl is wearing the necklace and bracelet that Marty bought me at the Fiddle Fest for our anniversary. Click on it to see it bigger.
Lyons Fiddle Fest
Old guy and young girl

aspiring fiddler
The other half on my anniversary present from Marty.

When we moved here, there was no grass or tall weeds: just rocks. I gave my electric mower away. Then 3 years ago, the former owners' pesticides must have leeched into the streams, ground water and the well, because all of a sudden I had weeds up to my neck. I had a edge trimmer but it wasn't up to the task. I tried selective weeding for a while, ie. leaving the prettier weeds and yanking the ugly ones. That resulted in a front yard reminiscent of the Clampetts' before they moved to Beverly Hills. All we were missing was the goat living in the junked car. So we got this little beauty 50% off at Home Depot clearance. It clear cuts everything in its 20 inch self-propeled path. It mostly dodges the rocks and roots.

We spent a pleasant afternoon at the Fiddle Fest on Sunday. The weather was perfect and they sold great Berks County homemade food.

Monday morning I got a call from my SIL, DeAnn, that they had taken my mom to the Greenville Hospital because she was short of breath. Her Blood pressure was high and she needed to have some fluid drained from her chest. She is still in the hospital as they need to fool around with her coumadin until the the blood levels are right. If she doesn't get out tomorrow, we promised her we would break her out.

I had my 3rd chemo today. It's weird but I feel better afterwards than before. I will rest one or two weeks before I start the 2nd cycle of 3 weeks in a row. I felt pretty punk S-M-T-W. I was too tired to work on Tuesday. I didn't even feel like blogging. So I am hoping for perky for a few days.

The big news is that Allie and I are going to Ecuador! 2 of her co-worker are getting married in Quito. She hadn't planned to go because of the expense,but she called me last week to tell me that the tickets had dropped. So off we go: 10/8-10/14. After the we attend the wedding, we are planning a 3 day trip into the jungle.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I worked a little today and didn't seem to suffer any effects from the chemotherapy. I have been noticing a little peach fuzz on my head. I hope it can outpace the chemotherapy.

Marty is still feeling sick, so I attended to Baby Preview today too. My cleaning girls came and that gave me a big lift.
I am looking forward to settling into a routine over the next 3 weeks. I haven't been home enough to suit me. I am planning on meeting Caitlin in Boston at Allies' the first weekend in October. Allie and I are also planning a big trip mid-October. Details to follow.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

2nd chemo

Here I am at the Reading Hospital getting my 2nd chemo. I saw the Physician's Assistant today which was unremarkable. It's busy here. I've been here since 9:30 and it's 1:00 and I still have a bag of stuff to go. There are a lot of younger people here today, which is kind of depressing.
Everyone is so darn cheery, but I still hate this place and how it smells.

I called my two afternoon visits to tell them that I would be late. One had delivered her baby yeserday.. Unfortunately, it's not hospital I am at, but maybe I'll get a chance to see a new baby this afternoon. I haven't had a new baby since Janauary 1.

i got home yesterday afternoon and napped while Marty played secretary at Baby Preview. I feel the need to stay home for a while and get the house tidy and do the laundry. Poor Marty is sick with a bad cough, so I should cook supper too.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Leaving Gettysburg today

We had a full day of panels yesterday, which were all every good. Made it to the restaurant for supper without incident! Took a nice long swim after dinner and played Bananagrams with some nurses before bed. Will leave for home around noon today.

Monday, September 14, 2009

NFP conference in Gettysburg

We just back from a half an hour detour from our restaurant thanks to the GPS and the navigator's inability to read it. (Took us 10 minutes to get there plus the time trying to get out of the parking lot.) Tomorrow the plan is to take a map or walk.
We arrived at 4:30 for the cocktail hour where they tell us what a great job we are doing and give us stuff. We got an NFP umbrella this year. I got a new pin, with 3 stones on it, one for every three years I that I have been in the program. The hotel is clean and new with this computer center where I am writing my blog, a pool and hot tub. Tomorrow we will have sessions all day.
It is always great to see the other nurses from all over the state. I am getting compliments on my bald head and Am feeling well.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Rainchildren Concert with Amy

Short clip from stories in the rain. More on my facebook page.

Amy and I had a great time going to the Rainchildren Concert last night. It was a reunion concert after 9 years and they were better than ever. We listened to my old mixed tapes from 1995 and 1997 on the ride to the theater. We loved reminiscing.
I pick Marty and Nora up late tonight at the Harrisburg Airport. The funeral was this morning. I haven't heard anything. They must be busy with the shiva.
I slept late after my late night out and have been trying to straightenn things up a little before Marty gets home. I'm going to shape note sing in Bethlehem this afternoon. I am grateful to be feeling pretty well after Thursday's chemotherapy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

5th Anniversary

Marty is still in Florida. The services for his mom will be on Sunday. Today is our 5th wedding anniversary. He sent me these flowers from Florida.
I started chemo again yesterday. Docetaxel and Carboplatin are the two drugs I am taking. I asked the doctor for drugs that would balance effectiveness with quality of life. The doctor said the main side effects would be tiredness and hair loss, which doesn't matter much since I already don't have any on my head. I actually felt better after chemotherapy because they gave me a big bag of Dexadron, which is a steroid that give you lots of pep.
I worked today, doing visits, talking to the disability company to make sure I got all my ducks in a row. They actually are really nice. They have given me all the ins and outs so I don't miss any benefits. I am also keeping an eye on Baby Preview while Marty is gone, so I have been busy. I really miss him feeding me!
Allie walks in the Cancer Walk tomorrow hope she has nice weather.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good Bye Isabelle

Everett and Amanda's wedding

Gramdma and her boyfriend Marcos
At Butterfly gardens in Florida.
I have been very blessed in life to have had two wonderful mother-in-laws: Kathyrn Keeler and Isabelle Katzen.
Marty called last night around 10:30 to tell me his mother had just passed away in the hospice area of the hospital.
I only knew Isabelle for the last 7 years. Although she was of a very advanced age, she lived alone with some house hold help, made her own decisions, paid her own bills, and her mind was as sharp as a porqupine quill. She loved her grandchildren dearly and they were devoted to her. As she lived in Florida, we weren't able to visit as often as we would have liked.
I last spoke to her when she called me from the Rehab on Sunday. She was hard of hearing and was having difficulty using the telephone. She sounded beside herself and told me how miserable she felt. I chatted a little, trying to give her a little comfort but I was distracted because I was in the middle of giving some bedside care to my own mother in the hospital. She said, "I have to go. I love you dear". "I love you too Isabelle". It is a comfort for those words to be our last conversation.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Good News, Sad News and a mix of life.

The sad news is that my mother-in-law, Isabelle, is hospice care in the hospital in Florida. Marty, Nora, David, Everett, Cory and Amanda are there. She is not expected to survive long. I really don't know much more at this time.

The good news is that my mom came home from the hospital today. She left the hospital around noon after a busy morning of tubes and wires being removed, dressing changed etc. I asked Janet if she slept the whole way home after such an active morning. She said that actually Mom chatted the whole way; she was so excited to get home..

The pictures are of my garden, after I cleaned it up a little. I put no maintenance into it all summer. John, Kathy and Amy's hard work constructing it made it a self-growing garden. I basically planted it and then took a lot of trips. The pictures show a bumper corp of turnips. I thought I had planted radishes! Anybody have a recipe that uses a lot of turnips? I was pleased that I got any thing out of it after all the neglect.

Talked to the doctor today. Will be starting new chemo soon. details to follow when I know more and am in the mood to talk about it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I spent the day with mom today at the hospital. She did pretty well today, but she felt a little short of breath today. I think she will do better when she gets home. We had a pleasant day chatting and napping. Janet stayed home and spruced up the house. Dad has been busy being mom, if you can believe it. He has been cooking his garden produce, sprucing up the yard, feeding the "boys".

Friday, September 4, 2009

Good Day for mom

I drove directly to the hospital from Chicago today. I was pleased to see mum looking so well. Her color is good, she was up and walked in the halls, 3 times today. They changed her medicine to slow her heart rate down and that seems to be working well. Janet was pleased, saying that it was the best day she has had so far. I'll stay with her tomorrow and leave for home on Sunday.
Caitlin took the day off yesterday and I helped her with some painting (mostly keeping her company while she painted.) We had an excellent Mediterranean dinner with our friends, Charles and Hugo and played Bananagrams, our new favorite game, after dinner. So it wasn't all work and no play.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Caitlin's new neighborhood

I'll let Janet update about my mom. It seems everytime I post something it changes. It doesn't sound like she will be ready for visitors for a while, but she loves to get cards.
Here is the addresss:
9100 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15237-5815

I just took a walk two blocks north and two blocks south in Caitlin's neighborhood. There are 4 Mexican taquerias, 1 middle eastern restaurant, a noodle sushi bar, a mexican seafood restaurant. 4 beauty shops, countless dollar stores, subway mcdonlds, a peruvian restaurant. I think she can get anything. She's taking the day of tomorrow and I'll head out friday.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Grandma update

First, thanks to all who have contributed to Allison's walk for cancer coming up in September. Your support means alot to both of us.
This morning, Janet told me that Mum didn't have such a great night and heart rate was irregular. She is still in ICU and they are putting a pacemaker in tomorrow. Otherwise, she seems to be alert, but very tired and glad to have Janet there, as are the rest of us.
We got all Caitlin's stuff our of her apartment and handed the keys in, so that is a relief.
I will leave Chicago some time the end of this week.