Saturday, November 24, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving Post

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night.

Justin, my dd K's boyfriend

2.What were you doing at 0800?

Rolling out of bed to take K to work and go shopping

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago?

Starting supper -- chicken

4. What happened to you in 2007?

Lots -- had my first craft show, got robbed of all my stock, got cancer, had chemo, am in remission, getting HAIR!!!!!

5. What was the last thing you said out loud?

“I've seen it a million times" to my husband, who was sniggering over a commercial.

6. How many beverages did you have today?

One chocolate milk and one cranberry juice

7. What color is your hairbrush?

My hair is half an inch long. I have no hairbrush.

8. What was the last thing you paid for?

Groceries at Wal-mart

9. Where were you last night?

Home. Putting up the Christmas stuff.

10 What color is your front door?

Wood color

11. Where do you keep your change?

In my purse. The kids usually steal it for lunch money.

12.What’s the weather like today?

Sunny,windy,but cold

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor?

Anything chocolate -- but no nuts

14. What excites you?

New books!!!!!!!!!

15. Do you want to cut your hair?

Are you kidding?????????

16. Are you over the age of 25?

25? That was a lifetime ago.

17. Do you talk a lot?

Yes -- at school. Not so much at home.

19. Do you know anyone named Steven?

Yes. He is a wild driver.

20. Do you make up your own words?

Yes -- and I'm an English teacher, which is scary.

21. Are you a jealous person?


22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter “A.”

Amy -- we teach together, and people used to say we looked alike, before my hair fell out and my face got round from the prednisone.

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter “K.”

Kay -- my sister-in-law, very funny and laid back

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list?

Tiffany W. -- my son's best friend's mom

25. What does the last text message you received say?

No idea...probably K saying she needed a ride home from work

26. Do you chew on your straw?


27. Do you have curly hair?

I don't want to talk about it.

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to?

Church tomorrow morning

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life?

I can't think of anyone I associate with whom I would classify as 'rude'.

30. What was the last thing you ate?

stuffed baked potatoes

31. Will you get married in the future?

I've already done that.

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks?

Live Free, Die Hard

33. Is there anyone you like right now?

Pretty much everybody

36. Did you cry today?


37. Why did you answer and post this?

Because I have a sick fascination with this random meme things. I need help.

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey.

Feel free to feel tagged!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Prayers are answered!

Well, I had a CAT scan on the 19th, and the doctor says he can't find any cancer! There are a couple of blobs on the scan, but he thinks they're scar tissue from the biopsy. I'm struggling with the pneumonia (which shows up on the scan like a mutant spider web)which means I cough everytime I move or talk.
Dr. V sent me to Barnes Hospital to talk to the people there about a bone marrow/stem cell transplant. The verdict is, not now. Dr. W at Barnes was very nice, but very matter-of-fact. This cancer is not curable. It will return, and the only thing chemo/Rituxin/stem cell transplants will do is prolong the return. He did say that a transplant from a donor would cure it...if I survive the transplant, which there's a 25% chance mortality during the procedure. Yikes. And the best chance is to get stem cells from a sibling. Well, I have the sister that was in prison last time I heard, and the brother who knows where that is bipolar. Lovely chances. Adoptees really suck in the family health department.
I really am grateful for the quick healing, and thank you all for praying for me. I just think of the chemo...and think of going through this over and over again.... It's a little on the daunting side. No. It's a LOT on the daunting side.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I'm not lost in space...just ran out of gas

I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted. I'm sorry for all of you who've been waiting for updates. Pretty much same old, same old. I did have a rough bout with neuropathy in my fingertips and feet, so Dr. V took me off one of my chemo drugs, Vincristine, and that is thankfully, now better. On the God is good side, I took my last chemo of this cycle on Monday, and am now just swimming through the shakes, the sweats, the nerves, etc. on my way out to normalcy. I have a CAT scan on the 19th that I covet your prayers for, as Dr. V has told me that if he sees a "speck" of cancer, I'm headed to Barnes for a bone marrow transplant.
I must admit, I'm very leery of being shut up in a hospital room 3 hours away from my family for at least A MONTH!!!!!!!!!!! Can I take my sewing machine, my fabric stash, my beading boxes, my cross-stitch, my books, my Christmas yo-yo projects???
I'm also feeling like an old car, since the verdict on my anemia is that I'm "a couple of pints low" on hemoglobin. Apparently 10W40 won't cut it. So they're giving me lovely shots that sting like the dickens to pump up my production of red blood cells.
I've done a lot of reading lately -- finished Harry Turtledove's alternate history of Southern Victory (11 books in all, thank you very much) and picking up George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire again after Gracie the Rottweiler ate the first two books. Beaded two Christmasy memory wire bracelets tonight, and finished a lavender and gold necklace. Need to go shopping for some antique gold/copper necklace findings, but they're scarce around here. Probably will have to wait to go back to Fire Mountain. I would love to have a holiday/Christmas jewelry show...but I'm not sure I have the gumption left to put anything together. Have to leave that in the Father's hands.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Okay, it's supposed to say ma tummeh hurts...for Sarah


5th chemo down, one to go....

Well, I have been abominably amiss in not adding to my blog lately, and I apologize. It seems I have never gotten my strength and energy back and here I had another chemo Friday. Plus some...other news. At my doctor's appointment Thursday I found out I am slightly anemic, and that my neuropathy (numbness and tingling in my fingers and feet) is worsening. He had me walk heel to toe (like a drunk test) and I failed miserably. I kept thinking...this is ridiculous! I CAN do this! But I couldn't. I asked for a note from him saying that if I get pulled over by the cops that I am NOT drunk...I just walk this way. The upshot is that he took me off one of the three chemo drugs, the one that causes this neuropathy, although it can get worse for 3 - 6 months afterwards until that drug is out of my system.
On October 1 I have another CAT scan, and if there's any cancer still in my system, I have to go for bone marrow transplant. I don't want to think about that just yet, because I have a feeling it is going to involve me stuck in a hospital room for quite a while.
On the lighter side, I introduced my German class to pumpernickel bread, Butterkase, and (TA-DA)Limburger cheese. A few brave souls tried it, and promptly ran for the bathroom, got drinks of water, ate candy...nothing can stop the power of Limburger! Twenty minutes later, while we were working on worksheets, one of them burped, and promptly moaned, "It's coming back!" Limburger...the gift that keeps on giving.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

One week down...

Well, it's Saturday. Which means I made it through a whole week of teaching, and only one week post-chemo! It was rougher than I thought it would be, and I spent Wednesday shaking like a leaf. Every day I pretty much came home and climbed into bed to recover for a few hours. To make matters more difficult, D had to go out of town on business for Monday - Thursday, so I got to deal with all the kid stuff myself. Not that our kids are bad -- they're wonderful, but sometimes they got a little giggly and wild, and my nerves were too frayed to be patient. AND the oven decided to blow a fuse Wednesday night! (Why is it that everything waits for your husband to leave before it malfunctions????)
Please pray for our principal -- she's really struggling with some blood issues, and I know she's very tired. Waiting for tests and results can be frustrating, and she really holds the school together. My role model!
The most exciting thing I have planned for this holiday weekend is our local library book sale -- they say they're selling 30,000 books!! You pay $5.00 for all the books you can pack in a paper grocery sack! Can you tell I'm a total book lover?? goes on, and God is good! He bore me up this week when my feet (and my mind) faltered.

Friday, August 24, 2007

God is Good and He Answers Prayers!!

Last week, the teachers at our school started back, with all the feeling of running around in circles, and 'where should I start first?', unpacking boxes of fresh new books and cleaning desks/bookcases/blackboards. A week ago Friday I had a CAT scan. Now keep in mind that the last CAT scan in June showed the tumors in my abdomen had doubled in size, and had spread to my neck and clavicle. So I was mildly worried about what this scan would reveal. Yesterday D and I had a meeting with our Dr. V, who showed us my new scan -- and the tumors in my abdomen are practically gone. The ones in my neck/clavicle have shrunk some also. He is now predicting a complete or almost complete remission! The only new wrinkle is that apparently I have pneumonia????? I have had pneumonia many times over the last ten years due to my immunosuppressive problems, but usually then I, sneezing, feverish, chest hurting, etc. Now I have absolutely no symptoms, but he put me on antibiotics to make sure. Oh well. And then I had my FOURTH chemo today -- went very well, but I'm very tired.
I have to share about something at school that has rocked my world. One of the seniors, a sweet girl I have known since she was in kindergarten, proposed that every Friday be Official Mrs. R hat/doo-rag Day. In our little Christian school, there is a strict dress code, and that includes NO HEADGEAR. But, now, every Friday, you can pay $1 and get to wear a hat/doo-rag all day. And the real heart-kicker? All the money raised goes to us, to offset bills. These kids are so great -- that's one reason I'm back full time. Who else has three hundred people always rooting for them, and telling them that they look great -- "a really nice spherical head" ;) was one person's comment. All in all I feel blessed, and charged up. I WILL BE AT SCHOOL MONDAY RARIN' TO GO. No IF'S, AND'S OR BUT'S. Be ready.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is this real life or what??


Tomorrow at 9 am I will be officially be back at work. Of course, the morning will be taken up with meetings and announcements, then it's back to my old faithful classroom. I'm in the night-before buzz, with my brain swirling around all the things I need to take back to the school (my bamboo, my philodendron, my FAN), and the box of books and papers I've been working on the last month for my German and theater classes. There's always that little voice in the back of your head that makes you think you're forgetting something important...something verrrry important...
Our little Christian school is very blessed in that we have air-conditioning, which in this midwest heat wave, is a very good thing indeed. And almost two weeks out from chemo, I'm hoping I do good -- no shakes, no sweats. I have the most amazing teacher and administration support there -- everyone has been praying for me since before I was diagnosed, and are helping me keep teaching in every way possible.
Random any of you pick up accents of people that you talk to? I fight constantly not to pick up accents, maybe because when I was very small, I had a Louisiana nanny, which meant that I started kindergarten talking like I had been born and bred in the deep South. Well, then I changed to sound just like the others around me at school, except in the summers when I would visit my redneck relatives, and the little old German Mennonite ladies, who would speak a mangled German/English in town. I guess I've confused my brain so much it doesn't know what accent it is supposed to have anymore. Other people I've been around don't have this problem, and I'm wondering if it is my wierd upbringing.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

One prednisone and I'm done for this round!

This morning I take my last prednisone for this round, and am I glad! Maybe I can get some normal tastebuds back for a while. This round, I must say, has been the easiest, and I say that with much trepidation, because I can't help feeling that once I say that, my withdrawal will be horrendous. A doctor at our church last week said that coming off the prednisone was like PMS to the extreme, or post-partum depression. It really can mess with your perceptions of how your life is going, or what that person that just made that remark REALLY MEANT.
A lot of little weirdnesses with this round: a perpetually runny nose, and drippy eyes, and my fingernails are dry and ridged. I hope I don't lose my fingernails -- I think that would be the absolute pits, but it is one of the side effects with this Red Devil I take.
I drank more milk with this round, and I think that helped keep down the acid reflux stuff, and...this sounds nuts, but I worked on beading everyday, and I think that helped. You would think that if some meds are making me jittery and nervous, the LAST thing I would want to do is fiddle with teeny tiny beads and crimps and beading needles. But it is something I can do for a few minutes, then put it down and walk away, and come back. I really have slept better this time, and not had the zombieness of the times before. This is the first time I've made a concerted effort to get back to the beading since some punk stole my entire inventory of jewelry, but I'm making progress.
I will be having a CAT scan at the end of next week -- please pray that it will show a lot of progress in beating this cancer.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Yeah, Decatur Celebration!

We have a huge street festival here, with hundreds of booths and music and oodles of food, and I haven't missed it one time since it started. So when I realized I would have chemo on Friday, and the Celebration was on Saturday, I was determined to go, if only for a while. J was marching in a band, playing his shiny baritone, and several of our nieces and a nephew were also marching, so we went to the parade and cheered and whistled at embarrassed teenagers.
We walked around and bought lemon shake-ups and sundaes and chicken on a stick. I always buy interesting things for the classroom, so I bought a clay ocarina and a walking stick with a morel mushroom carved in the top. Didn't see the didgeridoo stand we bought two from last year, but there were lots of frogs that chirp when you rub the wooden stick across the ridges on their backs. I have lots in my room, from previous years, and the kids love them. Only a few have managed to conquer the didgeridoo, but they love to try.
It's Sunday, and I'm still pretty well doing okay. That's a good thing. God is good, and He continues to bless. Thank you all for your continued prayers -- I can see His Hands in this journey.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

It's time to smell the crayons

Now that all of my kids are in middle school or high school, I kind of miss the intensive back to school shopping: scissors, crayons, lunch box, markers. We would always come home and dump everything in the middle of the living room floor to divvy out, labeling everything carefully in black Sharpie. Ah, the smell of a brand new box of crayons, or the sleekness of new pencils, and the pink rubberiness of clean erasers. The potential! The possibilities! Now K buys her own supplies, which our bank account is grateful for, and the other two are old enough that it is NOT COOL to have your name on it's not as fun anymore. J just glanced at the messenger bag I bought him (to his specifications). Doesn't he realize you're supposed to open all the zippers, and feel in all the little pockets?? I know, I'm easily amused. I did buy myself some new pens in luscious I just have to hide them away from the kids, mine and the ones at school.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm Still Dog-paddling, But It's Getting Harder....

First of all, God is good, and my blood levels were great at my last blood check! I know it's only because of all of your prayers. Thank you so much. I go for another blood draw this Thursday, just to make sure everything is ready for chemo on Friday. I always take all kinds of stuff to keep me busy : books, puzzles, cross-stitch, etc., but so far, since I take the Rituxin first and they give me IV Benadryl, I'm not awake for most of the day. Maybe this time I'll cut down on the stuff. But not the snacks, or D won't know what to do.
It's been a long week...mainly because I think it's finally setting in that this is going to be a long process. One of my friends that has been through chemo mentioned that it would probably be a year before my hair gets to come back. I had read that...somewhere...but to hear it, and finally realize it, was quite a blow. My loving husband always says that I'm beautiful no matter what, and that HE'S USED TO ME BEING BALD (like that's a good thing), but I still can't look in any mirror that I pass, and I really miss my hair. I really miss being able to just jump in the car and go shopping without stopping first to grab something to cover up my head so I don't scare the normals.
I also am realizing that teaching this year is going to be really hard and tiring and the pits. I still have headaches all the time, and I tire easily, and I cry at the drop of a hat, and that is on my good week. All my drama training means I can put on a great, cheerful front and convince everyone that I'm on top of everything...for a while. But it's wearing thin. And I feel like I'm swimming the Atlantic...and I just got out of sight of land. There's a lot of swimming ahead.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The return of the body...not so much the brain

Well, I'm now one week and three days post Round 2 of the chemo, and my body is pretty well back to normal. I did have a blinding migraine, or 'sick headache' as we rednecks always called it, on Sunday, along with a nice assortment of canker sores in the mouth. They usually only last one or two days, but they are fairly annoying while they are here. I'm washing my mouth with salt water, which helps, but does anyone out there have any other remedies?
My brain, however, has developed what the ladies on refer to as chemo brain. I drift along in a fairly pleasant fog, not always sure what day it is without checking half a dozen times as I go through the day, not having a clue what important things I'm missing. I missed my doc checkup last Friday...didn't know it was Friday until about 1:30 in the afternoon. I've missed taking kids to lessons, etc. because nothing in my brain went off. You moms know what I'm talking about, the little alarm clock that goes off when you get up: "ALERT!!! This is MONDAY, people, which means S has a dentist appt. at 10, and you promised to drop off J to play with his friends, and K wanted to get her hair cut, so EVERYBODY BETTER GET MOVING!" I miss this voice. Now when I wake up...there's a gentle breeze blowing softly in my chemo-damaged brain, and some faint wind chimes out there, but no organization. Sigh.
I hope this fades with time, because it's going to be awfully hard to teach when your mind wanders and then forgets its way back. And now this fall, I'll be trying to get my brain around lesson plans in two languages. That ought to be interesting. If any of you home school moms that skim over this blog have any helpful tips for teaching German, I would adore to hear them. I've taught for twenty years, but never tried to put together a coherent :) foreign language program. Entschuldigung Sie, bitte!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Another one bites the dust....

Well, I haven't written for a while, because I did have chemo last week, plus the power cord to our laptop got chewed up/destroyed (oh, the addiction!!!). The night before my chemo, K, J, and I went to a late movie, and were headed back about 9:30 the back way home. Out of nowhere, a young girl T-bones me. I didn't even see her coming, although K did, and managed to yelp something right before she hit me. J, as always totally oblivious, thought I HAD RUN OVER A LARGE PIECE OF PLASTIC. Well, considering what modern cars are made of, he was close. It had been raining, and she spun me around 180 degrees before I could stop. She pulled into a nearby gas station, and then came running to the van, totally in hysterics. God is good, and the van was hit in the one place that would protect us -- the solid post between the driver's door and the sliding door. After I made sure the kids were okay, I hopped out of the van...totally forgetting I wasn't wearing a bandanna. If she hadn't been out of her mind before, she would have been from the sight of my bald head getting out of the van she had just crashed. I reassured her (myriad times) that we were not hurt, we were not mad at her, everything was going to be okay, it was all right, don't cry, etc. Later, after the cops and D and her parents were there, we were sitting in D's car...did I mention it was raining???? And I started giggling...I should have jumped out of the van and said, "MY HAIR!!! I had hair when you hit me!! You hit me so hard my hair fell off!!!!" I know. I'm bad....very bad....

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Welcome to the Predni - zone

Yes, it's 4:21 a.m., and I am awake. With the fluffiness that is our Isabella cat. Everyone else is asleep, but they're not on prednisone. Hah! The loopy thing about this stuff is that you can doze off for an hour, and wake up, and doze off again, and it seems like days have passed. Real Twilight Zone stuff. You can tell my vocabulary and syntax are at all time highs right now.
I really wanted to post something of a thank you to all of my family -- spread out all over the US, who are praying for me, and putting me on their church prayer lists. And my friends and church family and co-workers and co-workers of my husband's, and people I've never met in my life. It really humbles you to hear of people praying for you when they never heard of you before, and seeing the result in my life. If you are one of these people, thank you. My family and I deeply appreciate it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

How to Keep Busy when you can't read or watch TV

Well, God is good, and answers prayers! My blood counts are up enough to have chemo tomorrow, and I'm getting prepared. (Meaning I bought lots of snacks to keep D happy) The best thing is, I found a wonderful website to help combat the long hours when I'm restless/ can't sleep/can't read or watch TV because the anti-nausea medicine blurs my vision. Go to They have out-of-copyright books on mp3 files, that people have recorded. It's very easy to download and play; mine plays on my computer very easily. Those of you that know me, know I'm very technochallenged, but I managed to do it without problem. And D "burned" some of the books off onto CDs for me, so I can play them on my CD player. Now I can listen to classic Andre Norton, H. Rider Haggard (Allan Quatermain), Rudyard Kipling, and Jack London stories, even at 3 a.m. There are even volunteer opportunities -- reading books aloud to put on the site, or listening/proofreading. I have proof-listened to one book, but I don't think I can read a book aloud, since Shiva (the lovebird that thinks she's a Rottweiler) never shuts up. I don't think anyone wants to listen to Charles Dickens with her screaming in the background at anything and everything.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Shaving is hard to do

Well, Thursday was Mom's 95th birthday, and we took cake and ice cream over to celebrate. Later on that evening, I noticed that clumps of my skimpy hair were coming out. Great. I really thought I would lose my hair first on the top of my scalp, since that was the place that really itched/hurt. But no -- I've lost most of the hair on the sides, right over my ears. All day today I've been molting steadily, feeling like I've just gotten a haircut, with all the little prickly cut hairs poking the back of my neck and covering my shirt. So I'm to the shaving stage, only that shaving my head is not at all like shaving my legs. Every 1/4 square inch, I have to stop and clean out the razor with a washrag, and it is going to take FOREVER!!
At the doctor's today, my white blood cell count is not bouncing back like it should, and if it drops too low, I can't get chemo on schedule next Friday. Please pray that my blood counts rise to where they should be so I can continue with my treatment.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I did it!

Well, Monday was our 19th wedding anniversary. Months ago, D and I had watched a PBS show on slingshots, and he had remarked that they were pretty cool. So I bought two slingshots and paintballs for our anniversary! We spent a few minutes shooting hot pink paintballs at an innocent tree, then went out to Texas Roadhouse for steak. To top off the evening, we went walking around the mall...then I GOT MY HAIR BUZZED!!!!!!!!!!! The woman at MasterCuts was very sweet, and was very careful. The only thing she said was, "Don't cry, or I'll cry,too." Remarkably, once my hair was cut, my scalp has really calmed down, so I guess the statement that the length of your hair aggravates the scalp is true. Now I can rub lotion into my scalp also to soothe it. I saw one of my former students, and he thought I was going into the army, since my hair's about 1/4 of an inch long.
Today S and I went to Springfield to buy a b-day present for Mom, and we went shopping around. I came home with a long scarf, two silky bandanna-type thingies, and a silky headband. So with my three hats I've made (I'm working on a reversible kiwi slice print/blueberry print one), my head will be better dressed than any other part of my body.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

This side is tingling....

I feel like the old Selsun Blue shampoo commercials. My scalp is tingling. Actually, it's more like an itch. Have you ever had a sunburn on your scalp, and then when you went to scratch it, it stings/burns?? That's what the top of my head feels like. Which isn't a good sign, from what I read. I am taking three chemo drugs, two of which cause "profound hair loss" and one of which causes "moderate hair loss". As I said, everything I can find says that if you've got the itchy/tingly/sore scalp, hair loss is on its way. I already had my hair cut from my shoulderblades to the bottom of my ears, but I think it may be time for more drastic action. One site I read said that if you shave off your hair, the soreness is lessened, because there isn't any hair pulling on your scalp. Makes sense, I guess.
K's boyfriend said I need to get Bicked. (I haven't a clue how to spell that.) I just looked at him, not sure whether I should slap him or thank him. Apparently that means to get your hair cut very close, 1/2 inch or so. I'm wavering. I know D loves my hair, and DOES NOT WANT a bald wife, but I really resonated with one site I read -- -- that choosing to shave your head is one thing you can control. I mean, when you have cancer you sit here, lay there, have sharp objects poked at you more times than I can count, deal with the dizziness, nausea, etc., on THEIR timetable. I really want to shave my head on MY terms. I don't mean I want to shave my own head. Someone professional can. How could anyone shave the back of their own head??
I sewed my own do-rag yesterday, but it turned into this lame looking thing. Then I printed off a bucket hat pattern and did one in red/white/blue. It turned out so well that J stole it. I had to make him one in flames/Chinese dragons before I got mine returned. That boy is incorrigible!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Doctor Check In

This morning I went back to the doctor for a blood draw to check on my red/white blood cells and platelets. Right now should be the lowest point since chemo a week ago, but God continues to bless, and my levels were very good, only a little anemic. I have a week to go before the schedule says my hair comes out, and I bought fabric for three "do-rags" today. One red/white/blue (I hope I feel well enough to go to the Smiths' annual 4th parade), one lime green and lilac, and one with FLAMES!!! Yes!!! Okay, D will only let me wear that one at home probably, but I have to express my inner rebel.
S is going to a girls' purity conference tonight and tomorrow. I just dropped her off. I hope she enjoys it. I'm sure she will once she relaxes, but she winds herself up so tight that she about has a stroke whenever she's trying something new. K heads off for a mission/work trip tomorrow, so for a space of a few hours, we will be girl-free.
On Monday is our 19th anniversary, and we are headed out for steak. I am craving red meat, barely cooked, still mooing, chunk of flesh. I'll put the potato, etc. in a doggie bag probably because I still can't eat too much at once or I get major acid reflux, but I am looking forward to gnawing on MEAT. I've eaten so much fruit this week I feel like Chiquita Banana. I know, the advice is to eat lots and lots of fruit and veggies, but I make a lousy vegetarian.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Okay, five days from chemo....

After five days, the drugs are finally beginning to wear off. The worst was the prednisone they gave me, which made me a quivering, focusless mess. I know it was supposed to suppress reactions, but it makes me nuts. The compazine they gave me to keep the nausea down made my eyes so blurry I couldn't read or watch TV without massive headaches. Right now, I'm dealing with acid reflux from everything I eat, and menopausal sweating and shaking. Jeez. Oh, and the predisone means I'm not sleeping. Not able to really concentrate on anything else, just not sleeping. Zombie-eyed, shuffling, moaning...pretty much dawn of the dead stuff.
Just today I've been able to pull it together enough to go to Sam's and buy large amounts of grapes and Naked juice, and cross-stitch a little. Pretty pathetic, when the most I can handle is grocery shopping. So, those of you with chemo experience, how do you handle the heartburn and discomfort when you eat?
I have a pattern cut out for a double sided chemo do-rag...trying to get ready for when my hair falls out in a week and a half, according to their schedule. I'll start with this soft French blue, something innocuous to start with, before I become rebellious.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Thought provoking questions...

How many keys are on your keychain? 5
If you were given a canvas and watercolors, what would you paint? nothing that would be recognizable since I have no talent
What do you regard as the most repulsive form of music? gangsta rap
Whose mind, besides your own, would you like to control? The President of the USA
What is the most dangerous occupation? firefighters
What is the first thing you do when you get out of bed? put on my glasses
What do you consider the greatest threat to mankind? the old self ruling people's desires
If you could project yourself into the past, where would you go? 1860's Southern Belle
What are you thankful you're not doing right now? cleaning my refrigerator
What is your favorite kind of candy?chocolate
What is your favorite thing about the beach? shells and tiny crabs and stuff
If you were invisible, where would you go? in courtrooms and surgeries
What is one object in your home that you are embarrassed to own? ratty old sofa
Fill in the blank; When I dance, I look like _an ostrich________.
Who is one person you wish you'd never met? Kirk Deverick
What is your favorite fruit? bananas
What is your favorite kind of cookie? my own peanut butter, m&m oatmeal cookies
If you were an evil dictator, where would you rule?Canada
What do you need to get right now at the drug store? cuttlebone for Shiva
What song do you keep hearing over and over again? R E S P E C T
What was the happiest age of your life? last ten years
What is your favorite piece of clothing that you own? comfy jammies
What two words describe your lifestyle? laid back
If there is a hell, where is it? in the lake of fire
Which ocean creature fascinates you most? octopus
On a scale of 1-10; how religious are you? 10
What historical figure would you most like to have a discussion with? Robert E. Lee
What color looks best on you? red
What is your favorite thing about being sick? curling up in solitariness
What's new? my tiny little peach-face lovebird
Why are you here right now? 'Cause the laptop is in the livingroom.
What commercial do you find most annoying? Head on Apply Directly to the Forehead!
What was your favorite meal growing up? cow tongue
If you had to spend the rest of your life in one place, where would it be? Colorado
Fill in the blank; I am so much smarter than ___most people_____.
What one person or thing reminds you of the 80s? my wedding pictures
What is college really good for? learning to be independent and responsible
Where is the most beautiful place you've ever been? Alaska
What body part aches you the most right now? joints
When is the angriest you've ever been? when my husband was disrespected in a former church.
What do you waste your time doing? reading and crafting
On a scale of 1-10; how much do you trust people? 5
If you were forced to choose your own death, how would you die? in my sleep
On a scale of 1-10; how photogenic are you? 2
What aspect of your personality could use a little work? patience and tenderness
What is your greatest addiction? reading
What issue are you sick of hearing about? global warming
If you were a professional wrestler, what would your ring name be? The Terminator of Teaching
What language would you like to master? German
What is your favorite dish at a Chinese restaurant? Moo Goo Gai Pan
Who would you least likely expect a phone call from? my sister Lori
What is the longest you have ever gone without a shower? four days (in the hospital)
What is the saddest movie you have ever seen? The Notebook
What time do you usually fall asleep? 10 -- 11
Where is the worst place to be stuck waiting? standing up somewhere without a book
What is the cutest animal on Earth? baby anythings
Name one celebrity that has no right being a celebrity. PARIS HILTON
What hobby have you always wanted to pick up? knitting or crocheting (I'm so klutzy!!)

Well...I'm crushed

After a week of lovely beach surfing, and visiting great places, we came back to take a CAT scan on Monday. Then on Tuesday, David and I arrived at the doctor's office fifteen minutes early, packed to the gills with potential time-wasters, and I was very nervous. Then the bomb dropped. Dr. V said that the CAT scan had shown that the cancer had grown in my abdomen, and had even spread up to my left collarbone, and under my armpits. Instead of being stage 2A, I am now stage 3. He even said that I had the worst of all possible worlds : a form of cancer that cannot be cured (only put into remission), and that it has morphed into an aggressive form. I cried uncontrollably for an hour. All I could think of was Mina...laying there, skin and bones, suffering miserably. They were very kind there, and shuffled me of to a private room, where they hooked me up to an IV to start my first treatment: Rituxin, which is the anti-body stuff. They gave me IV Benadryl and other stuff first so that it would help my body not to reject the medicine, which meant that I spent most of the six hours there with my eyes closed, or rolling in loose motions, and drool hanging out of my mouth. God is good in the midst of bad : I have had NO side effects from this first treatment. Thank you Jesus! Today I went for a test on my heart to make sure it is strong enough for the very aggressive chemo they want to give me Friday. I am scared spitless at this point. What next???? The very nice nurse asked me if I had asked Dr. V. for my prognosis. I said no. I don't want to know right know. Please pray for faith and confidence for me, and that the Lord takes away this fear. I cry at the drop of a hat, and I don't know what to do.

Friday, June 8, 2007

I'll Never Be Ready On Time...

So...all the doctors have given the green light to our vacation to Myrtle Beach, starting TOMORROW. Gulp. All right...I've done tons of laundry (actually, the kids have to haul the clothes up and down the stairs, since I can't lift anything), and I bought toothpaste. Other than that, I feel very unprepared. Katie's bf will be watching the house, since he's not afraid of the Rottie, and she accepts him, which she does very few males these days. But. The house is still a mess, and I have very little energy to deal with it, since the surgery. I need to make a list of things for him to do: feed the cats/dogs/bird, water the plants....
Thank God the storms missed us -- they all went north. The only casualty was one of my banana pepper plants, which was snapped off by the wind. We could have definitely used the rain, though.
I'm really looking forward to seeing the ocean,but I don't think I'm looking forward to the trip there. Too many hours in a van, too many people in a small space. And I will definitely learn to post pictures, so you can share the beachy goodness. :)

Friday, June 1, 2007

Gotta Get Ready

Well, I was back at school today for about 5 minutes, saying hello to lots of people, picking up the kids' report cards, and signing my contract. Woohoo! I have a job!! I asked about my schedule, and most of it is old stuff: 7th Science, 6th Science, 9th English, 8th English, and...German two days a week/Drama two days a week.
So lots to do and prepare to make drama into a curriculum, with assignments and etc. I will be doing German Bible verses, but I promise they'll be short (Jesus wept. :) ) After all, the Bible was first printed in Germany!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ha! Let's see the Spanish teacher keep up with that! Just kidding, Krista.
Jon's going to be doing Jam in the Park this summer, carrying his monster instrument around. Snigger. I'll have some time to sit in the park and read. Wondrousness.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Day after Surgery

Well, contrary to all expectations, the minute I was semi-alert, they let me go home from the hospital. The ride home was horrific, to say the least. Instead of a horizontal incision, the surgeon made a vertical one, about 4 inches long, starting right under my breast bone. This morning I was supposed to remove the dressing, so I remembered the tip the nurses told me after my hysterectomy : get in the shower and get the dressing wet with warm water. It does peel off very easy then. Now I just have butterfly strips and dissolvable stitches holding me together.
Coughing is a nightmare, as is turning over in bed. You really don't realize how much your abdominal muscles move until you have surgery like this. Of course, everyone has been petrified that Grace, our 50-lb. Rottie/pit mix, will jump up on me, so everyone yells at the poor thing everytime she moves. The cats have been in heaven, and I usually have to shove one of them off of me everytime I try to move in bed.
I have an appointment with Dr. V next Tuesday, which I guess will be the reveal of what type I have, and when I start treatment. Please keep praying that I can hang on and heal quickly.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Book I Must Have....

Harry Turtledove's American Empire: The Victorious Opposition is the last book in this series...and I desperately need to finish this series.
Since I read over 1,000 words a minute, books tend to be a two or three hour feast at the most. But Turtledove's books are so packed with characters, details, and plot changes, that it takes me a long time to read his books. And they are wonderful!
The Guns of the South asks the question, "Would the Civil War have been different if the South had been supplied with semi-automatic rifles/grenades/other futuristics weapons?" The answer is "You betcher Aunt Tilly, it would have." The surprise is that South African neo-Nazis have come from the future to make sure that the South wins, and that blacks are kept in a subservient position. Of course Robert E. Lee wins the war, but also when he finds out the real reason the soldiers are helping, he refuses anymore help and destroys them.
In How Few Remain, he returns to basic revisionist history, telling how the South wins the Civil War, and then wins a second Civil War over Mexican Territory.
The next set is The Great War: American Front, The Great War: Walk in Hell, and The Great War: Breakthrough which parallels the first World War, and how the two countries in America and their allies would have fought. Socialism is born, and Reds revolt in the South.
American Empire:Blood and Iron, American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold, and this last book I NEED DESPERATELY chronicle the South's anger and plans to regain their autonomy, and the rise of a radical political party in the South that mirrors Hitler's regime. tells you more. If you love American History, these are a must read for you!!!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend

My family never grew up in the traditional Midwest tradition of cooking out and picnics. Being Southerners, we still called it "Decoration Day", and went to the graveyard to put flowers on all our kin's graves. My father, halfway up the steep hill in the tiny graveyard. Grandmother and Grandpop, only two steps to the right. Uncle Roy, and now Aunt Hazel, just to the left. Uncle Frank and Aunt Arlene, who died before I was born, and whose Amana freezer is still quietly puttering away in our basement, one year older than I am. And all the older relatives I never met : Uncle John, Aunt Teeny (Clementina), great-grandfathers, great-great grandfathers, and even more. It was always very peaceful and a history lesson...Mom gently pulling any stray weeds away from the heavy headstones, patting them gently, and telling stories about their lives. Now Mina's there, too. Five years, now...or is it six? I know Mom wants to be down there right now, but it's three and a half hours down there, I'm quarantined to get rid of this cold before surgery on Tuesday, and I don't think she could get up the hill now, and couldn't see the graves if she did get up there. Of course, the last grave we always visited was the Baby's. I don't remember his name...John, maybe. He was stillborn, a first-born son of my cousins', who had two daughters after that, but no other boys. His grave is at the bottom of the hill, almost to the road. I hope MariB and Floyd go down there this weekend, and I'm sure they probably will, with their daughters and their grandkids. I wish I lived closer. Maybe this summer, after everything settles down.'s Decoration Day, people. Remember your own history. Where are your people buried?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Be Like Me!

Okay, I'm having surgery at 7:30 on Tuesday, the 29th. The surgeon is Dr. Gillman, who is very nice, but makes obscure Greek mythology references when he talks (sword of Damocles!). He is going to make an incision from the middle of my stomach to the ribs in search of the largest cancerous lymph node. He will remove it, and send it to the pathology department. They will make the final determination which of the two suspected types of cancer I have. If it is the more fast-growing kind, they will start chemo right away. If it is the more slow-growing kind, they will give me anti-bodies (7th grade...definition???) and wait and see. So you can take a red marker, find the middle of your stomach, and draw a line from the middle till you touch your ribs. Voila! Now sneeze. Oops. Forgot to tell you to hold on to your intestines. Put those back in. Ewwww.

ABC Meme

Well, I'm counting the "you" from Barb at anewchelseamorning as being ME!! So, here we go....

A: attached or single? As attached as you can get -- 19 years this July, and I depend on David more and more. Love ya, Babe!

B: best friend? Well, probably my hubby .... but I've had some great ones over the years : Roxanne, Pam...

C: cake or pie? Definitely cake...pie is so-so. Cherry pie if necessary, and then scrape all the gooey goodness out of the middle.

D: drink of choice? Up to about two months ago, it was milk....sigh....but since they banned it for me because of my RA, I guess it would be orange juice and cranberry juice (mixed together).

E: essential item? BOOKS! MUST HAVE BOOKS!!!! Oh, and Vicodin.

F: favorite color? Red

G: gummi bears or worms? Assuming they meant gummi worms, actually....neither. After I threw up a pound or so of them in high school, they sort have lost their attraction.

H: hometown? Decatur


J: January or February? February -- Valentine's Day!!

K: kids? Yep. Three of them. Oldest: Katie (will be turning 17 soon) Middle child: Sarah (14 today, baby!) Youngest: Jon (12 1/2 and going on stud muffin)

L: Life is incomplete without __________? BOOKS! and CHOCOLATE!

M: marriage date? July 2, 1988

N: number of siblings? Biological: 3 Adopted : 4

O: oranges or apples? can get some really nasty smushy tasteless apples.

P: phobias? HEIGHTS!!! CLOSED-IN SPACES!!!!!! PEOPLE BREATHING MY AIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Q: favorite quote? Anything that has been written down by the genius Terry Pratchett. I want to be Susan when I grow up, so I can TALK IN CAPITAL LETTERS WHEN I AM CHANNELING MY GRANDFATHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

R: reasons to smile? My classes at school: Hannah Woollard and her blonde crew in 7th grade, my wild man Owen, my mad scientist Connor....
My dogs and my cats

S: season? Fall, definitely, and winter. I love cold weather.

T: tag three? Okay, you, and you, and you over there in the green shirt.

U: unknown fact about me? ummmmmmmmm....I tend to share pretty much everything and anything............ I had my tonsils out when I was 2??

V: vegetarian or oppressor of animals? definitely oppressing animals. I've butchered my own chickens, pigs, etc. I will oppress a big thick juicy rare steak at any moment!

W: worst habit? procrastination. I'll tell you about it later.

X-rays or ultrasounds? I've had both, plus lately CAT scans, PET scans... everything they can think of.

Y: your favorite food? Wow. chocolate. pasta. meat. chocolate. raisins.

Z: zodiac? I am a capricorn, but I don't ever read a horoscope. God plans my future, thank you very much.

Thanks for reading along!