Thursday, October 29, 2009

I was poking around in the garden the other day and noticed that the lilies, which I had brought home from church and planted on Easter were getting ready to bloom. I cut them and brought them in, afraid they would be ruined by all the rain. They are opening very nicely inside.
Flowers last Easter.
I had to get up early this morning to go to community conference that had representatives from the utilities and other agencies we use to assist our clients. It is always a worthwhile event. I also made a visit to see one of my new babies. Her little brother was very interested in the baby. I showed the mom and her brother how to listen to the heartbeat, breath sounds and stomach gurgles.
I would really like to take on a few more clients. We'll see how Toptekan, god of strong medicine works.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back to work

Cauliflower Cheese Pie with grated potato crust.
The last of the garden flowers
I went to back to work today. I am not coughing anymore and Marty's cough has decreased considerably. I am still short of breath, probably because I am anemic. I raked a few leaves and that wore me out. Our driveway with wet leaves is worse than snow.
I got the results of the CT scan. The tumor in my lung is essentially the same. There were new tumors on the liver. Dr. Dan is going to switch me to a different drug, called Topotekan. Doesn't that sound like the Aztec god of Strong Medicine? I'll start it on the ninth of November when I get home from visiting my mom.

Monday, October 26, 2009

CT scan after all

This is Tipper licking his chops. I was bribing him with pretzels, trying to get a picture of him on the porch. He would "sit" for the pretzel, but he wouldn't "stay" on the porch until I could get the picture taken.
In case you missed my Ecuador photos: click here

I called bright and early to reschedule my CT scan and was told they had fixed the machine on Friday, hadn't anyone told me that I still had my appointment? (no). Fortunately, it wasn't for a another hour so I had time to get there.
I made chicken soup with matzo balls yesterday to try to cure Marty and I of the last dregs of our cold/flu or whatever it is. We are both feeling better, although the cough is hanging on. I did a little leaf sweeping and was short of breath. I think that is why I am so tired, everything makes short of breath. My friend (and pastor) Mary, brought dinner tonight. That was a real treat.

I texted my oncologist, Dr. Forman, to call me with the CT results, as I don't have an appointment with him for two weeks. He texted me back (which I thought was pretty cool) to call him after 5 today. When I called, he hadn't gotten the Radiology report yet, so he is going to call me tomorrow with the results.
I was planning on going back to work tomorrow, but I don't know if I'm quite up to visits. I have things to do a my desk and I can call clients and see how they are doing and schedule them.

Friday, October 23, 2009

No Chemo for Me Today

Who would have thought I' d be upset about not getting chemo? It wasn't because I am sick, it was because my white blood cell counts, especially the immature ones that my bone marrow is supposed to be making now were too low.
The really unfortunate part was that I forgot to put the lidocaine on my port site to numb it before I went to hospital. So after she stabbed around for a long painful minute and finally accessed the port and got my blood, she was back in 5 minutes to tell me she couldn't give me chemo and pulled it out.
When I got home there was a message on the answering machine saying that I have to reschedule my CT scan which was to be Monday because the machine broke.
The sun went in, the wind began to howl and the rains descended.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beautiful Weather to recover from the flu

It is much nicer to recover from the flu in the fall than in the winter.


Anti-procrastination project between naps

marty took a little sunshine to see it that would make him feel better
Woods behind the house
Our leaves don't rival New England, but could the sky be any bluer?
I feel a little better today, as my cough isn't as frequent. I have been coughing so much that the muscles in my solar plexus hurt. I took lots of naps and ate Chicken Soup with Rice and worked on my procrastiation list of things to do. (15 minutes at a time) At least, I feel like I have something to show for the time that I have been slacking at home. Tonight, I'll watch National Treasure and do some mending.
Marty is improving too, but felt dizzy after a little walk in the woods. We are both better than yesterday.
The hospital said to come in for chemo is I don't have a fever.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Marty shared the flu

I should have done before and after for the whole effect.

I put a bunch of new pictures on my flickr site of Ecuador.
www.flickr.com/photos/nancykatzen

I started coughing and having chills yesterday. It really stinks. I am so tired. Marty and I flip coins to see whose turn it is to take care of things. I stayed home from work because of all the H1N1. Our babies are at high risk and I don't want to endanger them.
I have to call the hospital tomorrow and see if I can get chemo on Friday or not.

Allie is coming home this weekend to see Circ du Soliel with her Dad. I recommend she avoids us unless we are a lot better.

The pictures are of my closet, which I cleaned during my decadron energy frenzy, before I got sick.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend Over

Little Girl and her little brother at our visit to the indigenous house.
pool at night
pool and dining area
Dining area

I am starting to wind down from my steroid high. I got a lot done this weekend and feel more prepared if I run out of steam later this week. I went to sing shape notes tonight. It feels good to stay home for a few weeks. I'll be working and getting chemo once a week for two more weeks.

I'm still working on putting jungle pics on my flickr site. There are a few there now. It takes a long time to edit and upload. I'll keep putting pictures of Ecuador on this blog site because they are obviously more interesting than me doing laundry and paying bills.

I feel good, but poor Marty is sick with flu like symptoms. He has a fever tonight

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Congratulations Allie!!

Where Allie's dart hit the monkey
Allie called today to say that the research paper, of which she is second author,will be published! It was their first choice of the journals too. If want a laugh, ask her what the title is and what it means. Dare you.

I get a big whopping dose of decadron, a steroid, with my chemotherapy to avoid nausea. It works, but it hypes me up for a couple days, until I crash. I take pills to supposedly taper it off. I really like all the energy I have the day after chemo. I did many loads of laundry, sorted through my paper work, and made dinner tonight (pork chops with apples in sauce, roasted root vegetables with fresh herbs (finally used up the turnips), and spinach salad.
I promised myself I wouldn't stay up too late tonight, so I will have to post my jungle pictures tomorrow.
video Band from the Wedding

Friday, October 16, 2009

The jungle of Napo River

Michelle
Linda, Natalie and Dawn, our traveling companions with palm crowns and Klinger
Relaxing in the hammock on our little terrace

River Napo
We learned to make palm crowns in the jungle
La Casa de Suiza...our jungle home

For wedding pictures, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/nancykatzen/sets/72157622591553676/
Tomorrow, back to chemo, but now off to more adventures in Ecuador.

On Monday, our full day in the jungle, we set out early to visit the Animal rescue place as I mentioned before. We had planned to take a 2 hour hike, but I knew I couldn't make it. Our traveling companions, Dawn, Linda, Natalie and Michelle graciously offered to take the 1 hour hike instead, so that I could go along. It was hot and sticky, but our guide Klinger (his real name)
was very knowledgeable about the plants and made it interesting and fun. They all pushed me up and down the hills.
Hopping into our tubes and floating down the river was just perfect. Unfortunately, I don't have pictures, as tubing with a camera seemed like a bad idea. The best part of the day was watching kids play in the river and swinging out from shore on a rope swing. I was wondering why these kids weren't in school, when we floated by a gentleman who told us he was the children's teacher. It was too hot in the class room, so they went up the river for "Phys ED". He was a Swiss teacher on sabbatical for year with his wife and two kids. As we floated down the river, the kids came over and attacked Klinger, whom they knew. He gave them his tube and they played a lively game of King of the Mountain. Pretty soon they were climbing all over all our tubes. I thought "what a way to grow up!" Can you imagine a teacher, his wife and 20 kids swimming in the river in front of the school? Without life jackets and signed permission slips? The teacher told us that the kids swim like fish by the time they are five. They also pole their canoes up and down the river and walk through the trees. They soon climbed out to go back to school and we kept floating. We all agreed it was the best part of the day. Tomorrow: Visiting the indigenous home, Allie and blow gun and making ceramics.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The jungle




Our form of transportation on the River Napo
poison frog
I have more pictures to upload but my little computer isn't op-operating.We are back in Quito after 3 days in the jungle. We met up with 4 of Allie's co-workers in Quito On the way there, we stopped at a hot springs for a soak. The ride down the other side of the Andes took about 4 hours and it every mile was beautiful. When we arrived the river, we had a 20 minutes motorized canoe ride to the Hotel Suiza. It is a beautiful tropical resort.
On Monday, we went to a animal rescue zoo. They accept exotic animals that have been a abandoned or abused. Some can be released in the wild but many of them have to protected because they are too familiar with humans.
then we went on a jungle walk, which was hot and sticky, but really interesting. It was heaven to jump in the river in our intertubes and float down the river.... to be continued

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ecuador


Bride and Groom

View from hotel window

Virgin on top of the Panecella
(hill that is shaped like a bun)


Ecuadorian lady, her niece and granddaughter from whom we bought scarves
Today was the day of the wedding for which we traveled to Ecuador. It was quite an affair. It was in an historic church from the 16th century. The reception was the fanciest I have ever attended. There was course after course of food and Dom Perign0n flowed for the entire reception.
The wedding was at 11:00AM and we didn't leave the reception until 7:30 PM
Yesterday we toured around Quito and tomorrow we head off to the jungle. I have been a little tired. I think the altitude makes me more tired than usual.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Boston The Freedom Trail

Me and Mrs. Mallard of "Make Way for Ducklings" fame
Allie, John, Caitlin, Lisa and the ducklings
Paul Revers and the Old North Church
Me blogging in the car
We decided to walk the Freedom Trail on Saturday even though it was raining. It was a great idea and we didn't get that wet. The Freedom Trail is marked by a red brick line that runs 2 and 1/2 miles from Bunker Hill to Boston Public Gardens through most of Boston's historic sites. We had driven by most of the sites on the the Duck Tour so it interesting to take more time to walk through and take a longer look. We had great calzones in the Italian section on the North End. My favorite, of course, was Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings in the public gardens.
We bought fancy desserts at the Modern Bakery and took them home to eat while we played Bananagrams and taught Lisa and John how to play 500.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Boston


Charles River

Duck Boat Tour

Allison, Caitlin Lisa


I arrived in Worcester Thursday without incident. I went with Allie and John to watch them play volleyball barefoot in the sand in 50 degree weather. I was wrapped in a quilt.
Caitlin and Lisa had free stand by tickets from a friend that works for an airline. Allie picked them at midnight. I went to bed.
Yesterday we took the train to Boston, had lunch at a fancy Cambodian restaurant called the Elephant Walk. After lunch, we walked to the Duck tours and and took a tour on an amphibious "Duck". It was really fun. We had driving tour around the sights of Boston, then our Duck went into the Charles River and we motored around on the water.
Today we are heading back into Boston in the pouring down rain to walk the Freedom Walk.