Sunday, March 31, 2013

rocky day and Easter morning


And I don't mean like the Sylvester Stallone rocky either. After three hours of sleep last night, I tried to nap. No good. I have another unpleasant side effect that wakes me up if I do go to sleep. I feel wobbly but I got the dishes done and some stuff picked up around here. I made a peanut buster parfait dessert but ended up with chocolate over all my fingers and my sweater. Uff da.

We decided to dye Easter eggs but you can't buy that stuff the day before Easter. Like Brach's classic jelly beans...gone, gone, gone. I don't have the gumption to figure out that natural dye thing. Onion skins and beets. Not for this cookie.

I need to sleep.

Next morning...

After a three hour nap in the late afternoon, I went to bed at 10 and slept until 7. I know sleep is not a big deal and kind of a boring topic...unless you aren't getting any. Last night's sleep was blissful.

I have been busy, mostly cutting things off my list of things to do. Some holidays I have detailed lists for three days prior, by the hour. I have a much more relaxed attitude about this one. Not a bad thing.

The snow is mostly gone from the patio. This could be the week we bring the swing out of the garage and cook on the grill for the first time. We live on our patio in the summer so we're anxious to get out there again.

I'm not very inspired this morning. Maybe my brain is not quite awake.

I plan to enjoy the day and not worry about what I did or did not do. All the kids will be here. It will be a lovely day.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

sleepless in st. peter again

I've been getting much better sleep at night lately but you might know, the night before my big day of Easter preparation, I'm awake until 3 and awake again at 5. I'm blaming the steroid I get as part of my chemo I'm glad Peter is coming to help...he can do the thinking!

I've had a couple of very nice days. Thursday, Regis and Gus took me to Kohl's so I could poke around the spring stuff. I always like to get some new spring hand towels. I found some great flowery leggings and an Easter tablecloth. I can't remember the last time I was shopping so it was fun.

We met Bob and Emily and the kids for dinner at Patrick's. They had Easter presents for us...a tulip that opens up and a package of Reese's bunnies. Good time!

Yesterday, I had my 9th taxol treatment, leaving me with 3 to go. I can see the end! My blood counts were good and had actually improved since last time. Judy says I am a rock star. We stopped for lunch at the Tav on the Ave to celebrate.

I'll see the radiation oncologist in the coming weeks to plot out that campaign.

I took a nap in the afternoon, then took the spring clothes to the basement. A good job done.

Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the devastating tornado that struck St. Peter. Fifteen years almost makes it history rather than a current event. Those of us who lived here that day will never forget it.

Peter is coming over this afternoon to help with the Easter preparation. Our back porch tends to collect junk all winter and I want to get that crap out of there so the kids can play. We're having about 15 people and that's a tight squeeze for our little house. We need every bit of room!

Our snow is disappearing fast. I've spent twenty minutes looking for a picture of my spring flag when I could just get out of my chair, walk outside, and take another one. Pathetic.

Happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

it looks like spring!

Regis took this photo of the moon this morning, setting over the neighbor's house. How did I miss this? I'm always up prowling around in the night.

Even if the temperature is barely 40 degrees, it looks like spring outside! In the past thirty minutes, I saw one kid go by in a t-shirt and another go by on roller skates. That's optimism.

My friends from Omaha sent this beautiful spring bouquet today. Nothing makes me eager to answer the phone quite like seeing that it's Mary's Flowers. Tomorrow, I may go down and stand in Mary's flower cooler for a while, just inhaling the sweet smell of flowers.

I don't leave the house very often these days but today I stepped outside to take a picture of the barbecue grill. Regis and I have pledged that as soon as the snow is gone, we're going to fire that baby up and grill some steaks. We have a ways to go...but not long.

This is the view of the other end of the patio. When this snow melts, the swing is coming out and we're cooking marshmallows over a fire in the chimnea. This is the picture (below) we took on December 26, 2011...what a different winter that was. Gus and I both had more hair then.

We went to the winery yesterday and what a time we had. Melissa, Erica, and Angie were working and it was fun to visit with them. Our old friend, Connie, from school was there with a friend. Regis should have had the camera when Connie and I turned and saw each other. The wine was cold, the pizza was delicious. Made for a nice early spring afternoon.

Regis is off doing AARP taxes today but will be home soon. Maybe I can talk him into steak grilling tonight.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

plan of the day ...reasons to be optimistic

Here's mine.

Regis and I are drinking coffee and keeping an eye on the neighborhood. Gus is taking his first nap of the day. I had such a good night's sleep, I may not need a nap today.

It's the first day that it has really looked like spring to me. There is still snow everywhere but the sky is promising spring. It would be a good day for a walk.

It's Pinot and Pizza Tuesday at the winery and Regis says he's taking me out for dinner. I can see those two things coming together nicely.

Right now, I feel like I am tired of being in bed. Bed has been my blanket fort for months. It's where I retreat. It's my sanctuary. I have my jar of Vicks, my box of Kleenex, my books, a snack, and a water bottle. A guy could survive a long time with those supplies.

I managed to order some spring/summer hats yesterday. I found them on Etsy in lots of bright colors and fun patterns. The process was you know how many hats there are between Etsy and Amazon? It can warm up now...I'm ready!

I folded a turtleneck sweater yesterday and thought maybe I have seen the last of that for this year. I have to get spring clothes out. You can't wear black wool in April even if it's cold.

So, that's my brief but optimistic post for the day.

Monday, March 25, 2013

where has my energy gone?

I feel like I'm grinding to a halt.

This weekend, I did very little. For two days I have been trying to buy some lightweight head coverings and I can't make a decision. I'm coming to the conclusion that I might just be tired of chemo hats.

This bald condition could persist until July or August, though, so I have to be ready.

I have a nice crop of fuzz coming in on my head but Judy says it might disappear again. Or it might come back unevenly.

Next Sunday is Easter and we're expecting a crowd. I don't have to do much of the cooking but there is some planning involved. Extra tables and chairs. Lots of paper products. Table linens. Timing. Or not.

I am making the ham. Not much work with that. I'm making an ice cream dessert so that can be done ahead of time.

Tom came for dinner last night. We had ribs and pretzel rolls. I was supposed to make a potato dish but I didn't. I took a nap instead. I told Regis since he did all the cooking, I would do the kitchen clean-up today but here I sit, in my pajamas at 10 o'clock. I'll get to it eventually.

I think my plan this week will be to get outside as much as possible. I need the sunshine to recharge my batteries.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

awake early on saturday

But then, most days feel like Saturday. After a week of sleeping great, I had a sleepless night. Just goes to show you can't take it for granted.

Ella and Alex came over last night for dinner while their parents enjoyed a meal alone. Regis found a recipe for Spaghetti Monsters where the kids push spaghetti noodles through wieners. You cook them as long as the spaghetti should cook and this is how they come out. They were a big hit.

It was a low key week. Gus got his hair cut, we bought groceries, we watched a couple movies. I made the Easter menu and a list of things to do. We went out for pizza one night. Patrick's has the best pizza in town right now, in my humble opinion. The crust is crisp but not too crisp and our Italian sausage and banana pepper pizza was delicious.

I got a great care package in the mail on Thursday from my niece and her daughters, Darby and Evynne in Ohio. It was one of the days when I was tired and discouraged so it was a wonderful treat. In the package: chocolate covered cookies, chocolates to pair with wine, inspirational stickers, a book about dog parties, a little handmade clay bowl, and the most wonderful handmade cards. What fun to find that on my front step!

Gus went to the Paw (pet resort) yesterday morning while I had my 8th taxol treatment. We were Barney and we bought jelly beans Note added later: I have no idea what the last sentence means. We were Barney? Regis and I are purists about jelly beans. We only like the Brachs classic jelly beans, not all those weird flavored ones they make now. We're going to put jelly beans in my dad's Jelly Belly machine for Easter. The kids get a kick out of putting pennies in and getting a few jelly beans in their hands.
I finished another Ian Rankin book last night. I read three of them this week and I'm getting the plots and characters mixed up so I think I need a break. I started another book in the middle of the night but now I can't remember what it was.

My taxol treatment went fine as most of them do. Well, all of them have been fine so far. Not even any exciting medical moments to rash, no nausea, no vomiting, no tingling in my toes or fingers. I'm always a little tired when I get home but can't sleep. I think it's the competing forces of benedryl and decadron, a steroid.

Regis is sleeping late. He had a restless night, too, and came out to sit in the chair at some point. Gus always accompanies him to the living room when he does that. If I come to the living room to sleep, Gus comes out to make sure I'm there, then he goes back to bed. I don't score quite as high as Regis does in the dog favorites department.

We're having Tom down for ribs tomorrow night as Betty is out of town. Regis says he'll make pretzel buns again.

I'm having trouble with my phone. The problem is that I don't always feel like answering it so I don't, then I have a back-log of calls to return. I don't know why I leave it on silent so much, maybe it's part of my reclusive syndrome. There is no room on my pie graph for answering the phone.

We have this discussion with our grandchildren often. They like to come over and have Regis put in a movie. That's fine. But about five minutes into it, they walk away and don't watch so we shut it off. They protest. We only want the tv on if someone is watching it. We don't like background noise and they do.

My plan for the day is to go downtown to the bank, go to the PO to mail a couple packages, have coffee with a friend, and that's pretty much it. I have a pile of paper in the office that needs attending to (some of it requires phone calls...) but I keep putting that off. Today could be the day. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

pretzel buns and the winter that won't end

These are the pretzel buns Regis made yesterday during one of my naps. We're thinking of making them for Easter. Ham on a pretzel bun?

Today is the first day of spring and it's 6 degrees. The low tonight will be zero. What the hell. I had written a couple more paragraphs complaining about winter but I've decided I'm done with that. It doesn't get any easier to bear when I'm cranky about it. Moving on then.

Regis and I got up early this morning, dropped Gus off for his bath and haircut, then went to Mankato and did our shopping. The sunrise was pinkly beautiful.

I've been stuck on this post since Tuesday so I'm just going to send it out there and start fresh tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

st. paddy's day

We celebrated the holiday in fine Irish fashion last night with our friends, the McGraw-Hynes family. I told Regis this morning that I think the only things we neglected were the button accordion and the singing. We had corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, Irish coffee, Irish whiskey, and there were plenty of good stories told around the table.

I slept until almost ten o'clock this morning which is a land speed record in my adult life. I never sleep past eight. I think if Regis hadn't told me to get up, I could have slept longer. It was decadent and wonderful. I took a nap this afternoon, too, in case you are thinking I got too much sleep for the day.

Regis made pretzel buns while I snoozed. He can be a very good cook when he cooks because he attends to details. I am a more generalized cook and pretzel buns are detail baking. Five minutes here, ten minutes there, boiling then baking. Uff da. They are ready to come out of the oven and they are beautiful! Good job, my sweet husband!

I am refusing to leave the house today and maybe tomorrow. The temperature is going to dip toward zero with wind chills below zero. It's supposed to be spring. Last year, which really means nothing in Minnesota, it was 85 on St. Patrick's Day and spring from thereon. What the...

I finished the Ian Rankin book I started the other day. It was very good and I have a few more lined up. They take place in Scotland...mysteries without the gore. John Rebus is an old school detective who doesn't follow the rules, drinks too much, smokes too much, and is always under the eye of the police affairs department. I liked it a lot. Regis asked me how I can be reading so much and there are probably a few answers to that, I think the most important one being that my awareness of other things has shrunk and so I can concentrate more on books. I have knitting weeks and I have reading weeks.

The pretzel buns were an enormous success even though we forgot to put salt on them. They look like pretzels with a very dark crust and they have a dense texture like a pretzel or bagel. We're going to make them for Easter if we can recruit some labor for Saturday afternoon. The true test will be to see how they hold up over night.

I'm ready to go to bed again. I have slept more today than I have been awake but it feels good. I turn on the humidifier and pull up the blankets and it's like being in a blanket fort. Safe.

Monday, March 18, 2013

the weather blows

I woke up to clanging wind chimes this morning. The weather folks are predicting 50 mph winds and wind is my least favorite weather event so I think I am refusing to leave the house today. There isn't much additional snow here but with winds like these, it could blow from Fargo.

I have slept like a champ the last three nights. Last night I went to bed at 10 and slept until 8, waking only briefly. You can't appreciate this unless you are a fellow insomniac.

I didn't go to the St. Patrick's Day parade. I just couldn't work up the gumption and I knew I would regret it. Of course, at 3:10, I regretted it but it was too late. We love holidays and always kick ourselves if we let one go by without recognition. I made corned beef and cabbage and we watched The Quiet Man so all was not lost.

It's my baby girl, Tiffany's, 28th birthday today. I miss the days when I made her birthday cake and bought her dolls.

Here is my psychic energy pie graph:

I'm not assigning names to those sections but this feels like how it is. I can walk by things in the house and mentally dismiss them...bills, papers, magazines. I feel like my zone of awareness has shrunk.

I like to read my old blog posts. Once in a while, I delve into the archives to read about a period of time to see what we were doing and what my impressions were. One bad thing: if I notice a typo or a misspelled word or think of a better way to say something, I feel compelled to change it. No! I can't start doing that! The blog is like life. You can remember but you can't change things. It would make you crazy.

I suppose some people do multiple editing reads and maybe save their posts as drafts until they know they have perfection. Not me.

A friend of mine, Jaime, said that the reality of cancer and chemo didn't really hit her until it was all over. Like the tornado, I can't wait for that mac truck to hit me. I was thinking that it would be a feeling of liberation at the end of all the treatments but maybe there is more to come.

I miss having parties this winter. We've had some great ones in the past and maybe I should start thinking about next summer and checking out holidays. Summer Solstice, Flag Day, Canada Day. I spent yesterday afternoon planning my Easter menu and looking though my spring recipe binder. The menu is ready and the recipes are collected. The lists of groceries and things to do are made. All that's left is the gathering and the good time!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

top o' the morning

I went outside in my pajamas and slippers this morning to fetch a four-pack of Guinness out of the trunk just as the neighbors were getting in their car to go to church. It would have made a great picture.

In the last few days, I read the book Benediction by Kent Haruf. It was a nice change from the murder and mayhem I've been reading. He talks about the precious ordinary, which is probably a little bit like being spellbound by your own imperfect life. There's a chapter where three old women and a young girl go swimming in a cattle tank on a hot summer day. That chapter was worth the price of admission. Precious ordinary.

We celebrated Elliot's birthday last night with a Star Wars party. The kids wore costumes and carried blasters and blow-up light sabers. It was a party with a lot of noise but lots of fun. It's been a long winter of strep throat, flu, ear infections and snow storms so it was great fun to get together and laugh.

Uncle Reg put on a Chewbacca mask and went downstairs to scare the bejesus out of the kids. I'd say it worked!

I told Tiffany she was setting the bar kind of high for future parties with all the decorations, costumes, and cake. That's me...I was a minimalist mom. I made a dinosaur cake for Peter once, in the days before bakeries did things like this, and the dinosaur looked like a giant purple dog. He didn't care.

I'm putting corned beef and cabbage in the crock pot this morning so we have a nice Irish dinner after the parade. St. Peter's parade, which is legendary, starts and 3 o'clock and ends about 3:14. It's not a big time commitment and it's a hoot. Pretty much anybody, dressed in green or not, can join the parade.

Better get on with it, I'd say. I'm going to the kitchen to get started. I see a nap in my future, too.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

beware the ides of march

Regis and I like to recognize holidays. This week there were two: Pi Day and the Ides of March. Next week starts with one of our favorites, St. Patrick's Day. This is a picture of Tom and me taken a few years ago. We were in front of the Irish bar, Patrick's. It's an institution, especially on St. Patrick's Day.

I love my costume but it's weather dependent. I will not wear a wig and a green felt hat when it's 80 degrees like it was last year. Not much chance of that tomorrow.

We're celebrating Elliot's birthday tonight and Tuesday is Tiffany's 28th birthday. Big week in the celebration department!

I had my 7th taxol treatment so I am more than halfway done. I had a different doctor who I liked very much. I asked him a question about cure rates and breast cancer versus other kinds of cancer. He went on for about five minutes with a lengthy but very understandable report on the research, including numbers and percents. Indicating to me, once again, that there are some (many) reasons I am not a doctor and memory is just one of them. I'd get to the first "one out of five" and say, wait...wait...what?

I had a dream last night that they told me I had enough chemo so I was done. Not much chance of that either.

We were listening to our favorite radio program on our way to the clinic yesterday. One of the show's co-hosts is obsessed right now with the Kennedy assassination. Really? Wasn't that fifty years ago? I have to admit to absolutely no curiosity, much less obsession with that event. She talked about a book she loves...The Assassination Dictionary. It just makes you realize how we might all live on the planet together but we sometimes travel in very different planes.

I slept away the first half of the week and now I can't sleep much at all. The last three nights, I haven't gotten to sleep until 2 am. Man, I hate that.

I decided that my Kindle might be contributing to my sleep issues. I'm not convinced of that, but I'm willing to experiment. I haven't read a real book in bed since I got the Kindle. Yesterday at chemo, I started reading Dalva because it's one of my favorite books. I know the plot so I can just read for the enjoyment of the writing.

I also took your book, Broken Lines, Bob Bengtson! I loved Christmas Lights and read it many times. Of course, because I know you, I have the luxury of hearing your voice in my head when I read your poems.

Check out more of David's poems here.

So, I come across a word I didn't know and I put my finger up to the page to look it up. Tough for an old bird to transition back and forth from paper to digital then back to paper.

I don't think the experiment worked anyway. I went back to the Kindle about midnight because I got tired of holding up a book and a lighting device.

We're going to have single digit temps for the next few nights. Come on. What kind of clothes do you wear this time of year when it's that cold? Do I really have to go to the basement and unearth the long underwear?

This post sounds sort of grumpy and maybe it's because I am a little. Raggedy sleep will do that to you. My head has been better this week, though, for some reason. I don't feel like I'm in such a black hole all the time.

Be sure to put celebrating on your list of things to do this week.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

groceries and pi day

Just want to let everyone know that I made it to the store in fine shape. Actually, it was good that I went so I could spot the things I have been craving but didn't remember until I saw them. Cinnamon Bunny Grahams. Dark chocolate covered almonds. Pears.

I only had to dodge two people. Maybe I am becoming reclusive. I appreciate the concern of people, really, I do. I don't know why I have this aversion. It's just a quirk.

I'm planning my next nap already. I think I must have slept more than I thought last night. I swear I heard the clock chime every hour until 4. Bummer.

I see I am the master of short and choppy sentences today. Choppy grounders, my friend Mike used to say. I think he was referring to baseball, though, rather than writing.

I just read that it's Pi Day. 3-14. A day to appreciate mathematics. Now I see that this is a day celebrated around the world. How did I not know? It's like the time I saw on the cover of the Rolling Stone that Radiohead is the future of music and I had never heard of them (or it).

Happy Pi Day! Celebrate by adding something!

blanket fort as medicine

I tried to find a picture of a blanket fort on google but today I'm worried about the copyright police so this picture of Gus will have to do.

My friend, Joanne, suggested a blanket fort and crayons on Facebook the other day. I think it's a great idea and it made me realize that for the past four months, I've been occupying my metaphorical blanket fort most days.

I wake up, I drink coffee, I check my email, I go back to bed. Sometimes I don't sleep but many times I do. I've read many books this winter because that's what I do best. Slothfulness at its peak.

I had a terrible night's sleep last night. I know I was awake every hour until 4 am. It was gruesome. At some point, Gus came over to my side and laid his big furry paw across my arm. He's a great companion in a blanket fort.

We had a light snowfall overnight that I am happy to say is melting of its own accord. I love snow but this time of year, it gets old. Regis tells me we might be in for a late season storm Sunday night. I will be happy for my garden if that comes true, but really. On St. Patrick's Day?

I was fascinated by the pope's selection and the poufs of smoke. Peter called the other day and of course, he knew nothing about this. I explained the significance of white versus black smoke. He said, "Man, that is some ancient shit. Wouldn't it be easier to just send out a tweet or something?" I said I thought they were doing that, too.

It amazes me that 100,000 people stood out in that square in the rain, watching for smoke. I'd be inside waiting for the tweet.

I have to go to the grocery store. I have been thinking that for weeks. (Regis usually does our main shopping so it's not like we're starving.) I dread it. I can't make myself do it. I worry about running into people who don't know about the cancer and I will have to stand in the aisle of the coop and explain why I have no hair. I know that's silly, but it's what I think.

It's probably part of my general malaise, too.

Regis is taking Gus to the dog park and I asked him if he would squire me to the store when he comes home. Not that I can't drive myself, but if he's waiting in the driveway, I'm committed to going.

I'm going to get dressed now. I will attempt to stay vertical for most of this day.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

tuesday turned the tide

This is an amazing music video made by a young woman named Meghan Kowalewski. She has a strong spirit.

I feel like I might have turned a corner in the mental health department. I don't know if being half done helps, if the sunshine helps, or if it's just the forces in the universe, but what the feels better to be sitting here in my pajamas at 11 o'clock in the morning feeling optimistic about the day than it did to sit here feeling morose and down-hearted. I was like a bad country song the last few weeks. Now, I better go out in the garden and light some candles so it continues.

I'm almost done with another Colin Dexter mystery. I almost gave up because it was very complicated in the beginning. I have probably forgotten a few details but it's been a good read. I'm trying to get Regis interested in the Inspector Lewis series on BBC but he thinks he may have had enough of the Brits for this season.

I've been in touch this week with our former mail carrier, Jaime. She had breast cancer a few years ago so I asked her if she had phantom cancer pains...imagining that she had cancer every time she had a twinge in her back, her head, her legs. Oh, yes. She said very common. Maybe now that I'm aware of it I can steer my thoughts in another direction.

Brighter days ahead, my friends.

Monday, March 11, 2013

oh, happy monday

  1. The weather this weekend presented the usual March suckage. Gray, cold, ice, rain, dreary. Ugh a million times.
  2. We had a great time bottling wine on Saturday but we were tired beyond words by the time we got home. We managed to eat some cold sandwiches with a nice glass of red wine and somehow stay awake until 8 o'clock.
  3. I am too lazy to write in paragraphs so I write lists.
  4. I read Erin Hart's new book and loved it.
  5. Elliot and Tiffany came to visit today. I haven't seen them since right after Christmas. Elliot  had strep throat then the flu, Tiffany had the flu then a sinus infection. It's been a rough winter. Elliot keeps wanting me to show him how to play games in the iPad and I have to tell him I can't do it. 
  6. I once lounged in a big recliner at Best Buy, playing with the controls of a huge video game. A guy came by to watch for a minute then said, "Dude. You have to turn it on." I don't know what was funnier, that he called me dude or that I was playing a video game test pattern.
  7. I think Elliot is going to be an actor. Every time the camera comes out, he gets emotive. 
  8. Much to our chagrin, the BBC series Sherlock has not produced anything for Season 3 yet. We loved the first two seasons and were anxious to see how the cliff hanger was resolved. What the hell.
  9. We watched SNL this weekend, which in our youth (early twenties) was a no-miss television program. We fast forward through most of it now because it's dumb. We like the old-timers like Dan Akroyd and Steve Martin, but I had to ask Regis if Justin Timberlake was a musician.
  10. I woke up at seven this morning, went to work out at eight, signed my taxes, and came home at nine thirty to take a nap. A very long and blissful nap. At 4 o'clock I have an appointment for a massage.
  11. I think it's going to be a great day!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Gus...ready for baseball

This is one of the strange things we do now. We put hats on our dog and take his picture. Goofy, we know. We draw the line, however, at buying little costumes for him. He wouldn't stand for it. Gus is a dog with dignity.

We had quite an adventure yesterday. We left the house at 8 am and drove out to Morgan Creek Vineyards to learn how to bottle and label wine. We worked with about six other volunteers until mid-afternoon to bottle almost a thousand bottles of Seyval. I can't remember the last time I worked that hard, seriously. It was fun and interesting, we met some very nice people, had a delicious lunch, and came how with wine. Not bad for a day's work.

I've been reflecting lately on my deflated mood. I think in the beginning, when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I was energized in a way. I felt like a cancer warrior. I was on the pink-ribboned train, armed for battle. Even though I was mentally wrecked some days and spent a lot of time sleeping or in bed curled up, I had more energy when I was vertical. There was a lot to learn and a lot to do and it was all new.

Lately, I have no energy. I sit and think for ten minutes before I make a phone call and then sometimes I don't do it. I always think I will do it later. Every day I mean to get things done and most days I don't do them. It's all I can do to get dressed and get the dishes done.

They tell me at the cancer center that much of it is physical and it's normal and I shouldn't feel guilty about it. I think it's about half physical and half mental...and I suppose they would agree. But I don't feel like a cancer warrior anymore, I feel like a bedraggled foot soldier at the end of the soup line. Limping along. With a wooden crutch. Oh, what a drama queen I can be.

What the hell. Metaphors aren't much good if they're mild.

The landscape has been depressing lately, too. The ditches were full of water yesterday, it rained most of the day, and as usual in March, you can't tell where the earth stops and the sky's all gray. It will be better when the sun shines and we can sit on the patio again. I can't wait to get the lawn swing and the charcoal grill operational. Ah, spring.

Friday, March 08, 2013

missed a day but no cause for alarm

I had my sixth taxol treatment yesterday. It's been progressively harder, with more fatigue, some stomach upset and other digestive issues. Nothing serious, though, like numbness in my fingers and toes. The nurses are very reassuring that it's normal and I should not feel guilty about being lethargic.

Six down and six to go. I thought, for a minute, that I saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

Then I asked Judy if next time would be the last time I saw the oncologist. Oh, no, she said, you'll see him for a long time. Every three months. Good thing he's very nice and very funny.

Regis and I stopped at one of our favorite places (It's a sports bar but the food is good and the service is great...and they only have 10 tv's as opposed to 47). They were blasting country music out of the speakers as we came in the door but as soon as we were seated they changed it to some 70's soft folk music. We must look like geezers.

We graduate from geriatric exercise class this morning. I'll miss those people...a lot. The staff is wonderful and we have met some real characters.

Regis signed us up to bottle wine at Morgan Creek tomorrow! We work from 9-3 pm and earn a bottle of wine for each hour that we work. We provide our own lunch and they provide the wine. I picture it like this even though it's bottling and not stomping. It will be my whoop ass for the day.

My friend, Jill, sent this snow angel photo. She says she found it on the internet and I'd say it looks suspiciously like her house, but it doesn't. It looks like some wine might have been consumed in the making of this picture! A great addition to my snow angel collection.

Joey, my friend in Hoboken, New Jersey, sent this picture. It was originally posted by Susan Israel of the Skywatch 13 Team. Just trying to give credit to the artist! She captured a flying snow angel!

Happy Friday, my friends. Finding joy is a task worth putting on your list of things to do!

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

a list of nice things

  1. The trees are still lined with snow. We didn't get the wind that usually blows it off. It's like a calendar picture.
  2. I can hear cardinals singing this morning. They're courting this time of year and sometimes whistle to each other 200 times a day. That's devotion.
  3. Our friends, Tom and Betty, are home from Texas so we went for a visit last night. We heard lots of great tales of beach walking, happy hour shopping, and we learned what an oyster shot is.
  4. Betty and Tom have a new kitchen and I have kitchen envy. It's just beautiful. Like something you'd see on a cooking show or in a magazine.
  5. I ordered new pajamas and underwear from Kohl's with my 30% off coupon. Also got a couple things for Elliot's birthday.
  6. I decided that I want to have Easter dinner here this year. It had crossed my mind that I might be too tired to plan or carry out, but it is something to look forward to so I want to do it. Somehow I made Thanksgiving and Christmas manageable.
  7. I saw my primary care doc yesterday. She chastised me gently for feeling guilty about complaining. She encouraged me to sleep and she increased my Zoloft. It's hard to puzzle out what's physical fatigue from the chemo and what's mental fatigue from the whole damn long road show but the Zoloft won't hurt and might help. I'll give it a whirl.
  8. We get our taxes done today and I haven't even started sorting things to take to Marie. I don't like to make this a big deal and so last minute works. Not like we have a fortune to manage anyway. Our portfolio is a red folder.
  9. I love Marie's cat, Nick. The minute you sit down, he curls around your feet and crawls up to the back of your chair.
  10. I'm going to walk downtown today. I'll go by the Pulse to see Rachel, get the taxes done, and maybe stop at the kitchen store.
  11. Betty gave me a cool pair of sandals she bought on the beach. They're called FitFlops. She also sent us home with the Nero Wolf DVDs so we can watch more mysteries.
  12. Gus had a wonderful time at Tom and Betty's house. Their dogs, Gonzo and Elvis, have a lot of toys and Gus dragged out every one. He made a hundred trips around their house chasing toys. Gonzo and Elvis played with him for a few minutes then retreated to the safety of the recliner.
  13. Regis just left to do taxes for AARP. Bless his heart, it would drive me crazy.
  14. I'm going in to take my first nap of the day. I think as much as the sleeping, I love my bed, my warm mattress pad, my book, and the dark. It's comforting and cozy.
Siesta time. No guilt. Promise.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

snowy whoop ass

 The whoop ass for today was a beautiful snowfall. (About ten inches) Regis took a few snaps out the front door so our warm climate friends can see what Minnesota looks like in March.

Our patio chimnea is waiting to be free of snow so it can cook marshmallows and wieners on sticks.

Tidy little snow cone built up in the bottom of the chimnea.

Last year the bunny was covered to the tips of his ears.

A snow angel wearing my dad's cowboy hat and a leopard scarf.

A snow angel wearing a black cloche and a velvet scarf.

A snow angel wearing a red velveteen hat with lion pin and a purple scarf hand knit by my cousin, Chris, in Florida!

The snow angel family.

Regis gets his exercise blowing the snow off the neighbors' walks.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

would have been a good post had it been real

I looked at my recent list of blog posts yesterday and thought, oh brother, what a drag. I should try to come up with something better, more exciting, even just interesting. Not much to tell when I spend most of my time sleeping or staring into space.

This morning, as I was waking up, I had a great story to tell and was composing it in my head...then realized it was only a dream and not very good at that because it ended with a rant and then me getting lost. Ah, well.

We hobbled over icy terrain to the neighbor's house last night for wine and homemade pizza. Kemmie and Joanne are good neighbors and we're hoping to see more of them when the weather is more conducive to visiting. It was good and talk.

I talked to my research nurse and the exercise physiologist this week about my activity guilt. I think I should do more but I don't seem able to make myself do it. They both said moderate exercise is good for my immune system...extreme exercise is not. How moderate exercise is defined for me will vary depending on how I feel. Moderate exercise for me yesterday involved spending most of the day in bed with occasional trips to the bathroom or the kitchen.

I'll try to let go of the guilt. Not a healthy emotion anyway.

I slept most of the day. When I got up, Regis suggested we go to the Lone Star for an early dinner. I had already made a meatloaf so I put in the refrigerator and shut the oven off...and away we went. It was nice there...great smells, good food, nice company, good wine.

Tomorrow, I'm going to call my primary doc about my mental state. I read that it is not uncommon for people diagnosed with cancer to suffer from depression. Since I spend half of my waking hours in bed or asleep, it seems like a good question.

We're waiting for a blizzard! Pictures to follow!

We woke to about an inch of snow with more (predicted) to come. We're going to exercise this morning since it's our last week. We graduate on March 8th and figure we should go out in style. I wore my St. Patty's day green and white striped socks on Friday, in preparation for the holiday. They're trying to convince me to put on the whole costume for graduation day but I think it might be too much. The hospital security would probably call in reinforcements. I look a little weird at the parade and that's saying something.

Regis tells me that the weather service is now naming winter storms and this one is Saturn. It's not much of a winter storm yet and I doubt it will reach proportions where it needs a name, but who knows. Maybe they should pick a name that's not quite so grandiose, Don or Heather, for example.

I asked Regis to go out and brush off the bird feeder this morning so the little birds could eat. I think I'll bring the bag in the house and put out less each time so we can keep them supplied during this winter storm. You know, Saturn.

My agenda for the day is to finish the dishes, clean the old left-overs out of the refrigerator, exercise, read, watch the snow, take a nap. Ambitious, eh?

Saturday, March 02, 2013

the bald ain't all pink ribbons and Sunday parades

Regis shaved my head again today because my hair comes back in fuzzy patches that irritate me. I'd rather have hair or no hair...not this in between business.

I've had more...should we say?...digestive issues the past two weeks. It doesn't last long but two days of that is more than I'd like to enjoy.

This time the chemo made me tired. It makes me more tired every week. I can't even add high enough to report how many hours I slept in the last three days. Regis would come into the bedroom this morning to tell me where he was going and when I woke up, I wondered where he was. That kind of sleep messes with your brain.

It's 3 o'clock and I'm still not showered or dressed. I have read most of a book and eaten a bowl of oatmeal in bed.

We were going to have an Academy Awards movie festival today but in my present condition, I would not have been much fun nodding off in my chair and running to the bathroom.

We're going to the neighbor's house for pizza tonight. It will be fun to get out of the house for a while. The sun is shining today...a can of whoop ass if there ever was one.

I'm at a point where this is getting very tiresome. Very. Tiresome. I'm sick of avoiding germs and using hand sanitizer. I'm sick of being tired. I'm sick of spending so much time tethered to an IV pole. I'm tired of thinking about white cells and red cells and potassium. I'm sick of dry skin and no eye brows. I'm sick of living my life around cancer.

If you have cancer and don't let it rule your life, that's good, but I don't want to hear about it right now. I feel shitty and guilty enough as it is. I know this will pass but right now it sucks.

Friday, March 01, 2013

quick note and friday whoop ass

After a terrible night of sleep Wednesday night, I had a busy day. Ella came in the morning which was a nice was to start the day. Peter came over at 9:30 for breakfast and I worked up the gumption to make waffles. Not only was it good to visit with him about his new job but the waffles and bacon made the house smell heavenly. I went to chemo at 12:30 and we didn't get home until 5 so it was a long napless day.

I continue to be fortunate with side effects. No nausea, no vomiting, no loss of nails which seems to be the trifecta of evil. Fatigue. Overwhelming fatigue is my cross to bear. My research nurse tells me to cut back and take it easy and today I'll get the word from the exercise physiologist...don't do so much. These folks should put an action cam on me. There would not be much movement. But ok...I am a rule follower and I will take the advice of my medical team.

I talked to a lady in my pod who is 91 and has leukemia. She only gets hemoglobin transfusions, no treatment. The first time we met her, a month ago, she was so perky and fun to talk to. Yesterday she was very weak, she didn't remember us, and she could barely talk. It made me sad. She did say that 91 is a long life and hers has been wonderful. She said she feels very lucky.

I have a very drifty brain. Regis said something about me calling Rachel at the Pulse. I asked him what that would be about. He gave me an exasperated look and said we had talked about it five times. I remember talking about it...just not what the answer was.

I went into Michael's yesterday to buy some St. Patty's Day decorations for my tree. I walked around for ten minutes, putting things in my cart, then wandering back to return them. I left with nothing but as soon as I got in the car, I wished I had done it differently. Good grief.

I have a very unambitious plan for the day. I won't dignify it be calling it an agenda. Regis and I are going to Mayo to exercise. I'll take it easy and have a chat with Chip about the future since we plan to finish up there next Friday. Graduation day at Exercise is Medicine. I'll come home and take my afternoon reading/napping siesta, then get up and make a meat loaf for dinner. There you go.

Friday whoop ass!