Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Drum roll .....Great News for a change - sorely needed....

I've told the few people who were aware of what was going on so decided to go ahead and make a positive post for a change.  As you know, last Wednesday, we met with my Radiation Oncologist - Dr. Brizel.
He had the resident, Dr. Barkdoll, take a picture of an area in my throat that concerned him and when he showed it to us too - we were all three alarmed.
BigD and I said - boob tree - which I'm sure went right over their heads but that is what it looked like. There is a tree down
the street that looks like a pregnant woman with boobs. SO - drumroll - we met with Dr. Scher on Tuesday morning for the biopsy. He numbed the back of my throat with spray and shot novocaine into the area of the two nodes. While waiting, I asked him what the plan was if it came back positive and Dr. Brizel had changed the radiation to include this place. He explained that Dr. Brizel would make a special effort to zap these two places strongly after which he, Dr. Scher, would perform surgery to get the rest. I felt much better - a plan of action. He wasn't going to be in town and didn't expect to hear anything before next week so we have been in that hurry up and wait mode again. Today Dr. Brizel met with me after my 7th - count it - SEVEN-th radiation treatment. He told me he wanted to let me know right away that the biopsy came back negative - granular scar tissue. WOO HOO! I hugged him of course. He was so pleased. He stressed to me how anxious he, Dr. Barkdoll and Dr. Scher had all been. So I told him that was why I loved my team so much - they really care. He and Scher evidently pushed it through STAT and I'm so grateful. Then he looked in my mouth to check an area (same area as original pain) that was hurting as of this morning. He said it was very raw from the radiation and gave me some suggestions including taking my pain meds. So I took one Oxycodone and hope it will be enough. Don't really want to be "drugged" again unless it is absolutely necessary. You would be amazed by how much adding or taking away one med affects the rest. SO - I did well in the mask, listened to James Taylor, got GREAT news, have a pain med working on me - oh yeah - I'm probably feeling happier right now than I have in a long time. Was hoping to write some letters so I could report a little time this month but not sure that will happen - we'll see. On the way home from my biopsy yesterday, we drove past the KH at 12:05 so I asked BigD to pull in so I could say HEY to all my pioneer partners as they came back for lunch. It was SO good to see them. Just got a call from one of my spiritual daughters who heard the great news and she made me feel sooooo good. Yeah --- – let’s color today - a good day.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Enough about ME.....

Had a busy but good week for the most part.  Page got in from Atlanta Tuesday night and was able to go with us to my last radiation on Wednesday last week.  Sadly, we got some disturbing news - turns out the lumpy - bumpies the radiation oncologist questioned over 3.5 weeks ago and the surgeon said it was nothing became a little "more" defined" - "two defined" places.  He took pictures at which time Page asked him what did the surgeon mean when he said he got it all and the margins were clean and once again, he said this particular melanoma is extremely aggressive and will go where it wants to.  The surgeon came over to look and he wasn't happy at all.  He said he was concerned and wanted to do a biopsy (will be tomorrow morning).  The radiation oncologist told him he wasn't too far in with my treatment to make some changes if needed.  The surgeon took my hand and said "now - it could still be scar tissue".  I'm like - Yeah - right!  Felt so good about how well I did with the radiation and then this.  BUMMER!  So tomorrow I go at 10am for biopsy and then go back at 5:30 for more radiation.  It took me awhile to settle down into the mask today - lots of reasons including the ever changing mucous that almost chokes me now.  Love my team - they told me to stop apologizing and to trust them that they understood. ENOUGH ABOUT ME!!!!!!!!
BigD and Kurt went fishing Thursday and Friday and had a really nice time.  They caught about 60 pounds of blow-fish which they both love to eat.  Ann came Friday and brought the kids and a nice big ham.  Page and Leah made green beans, deviled eggs, and Leah's famous Mac N Cheese.  They made a bunch of "pain-killers" and were having a good time. Keith came by to hang out with them and we all felt for a bit like we were at the beach.  Thanks guys - that was fun.
Matt took this pitiful picture of the two of us and the next one of him and "his" girls which was a little blurry.
The best one taken though was the one of him and Page - she offered to "pose" as his older girlfriend to beat off the girlfriend wanna-bees.
What are good friends for - right? He loved it. We all loved her new very short hair cut. I think she is enjoying it too. Very easy to take care of. Kurt, Leah and Page left Sunday night for home and Page had to be at the airport at 5:45 this morning for a 7am flight home. I miss them all......They will be back the end of next month but how can I wait that long? I think it's called '"""" having NO choice"""""".

Monday, November 21, 2011

Radiation #2 done, done...

We were called and asked to come early which was good. Got there even earlier than expected took my "happy pill" and was taken back about 40 minutes after that. It didn't seem to take as long today - I still had to do my
deep breathing and pray quite a bit but they said I did good. I can't stress enough just how very tight the mask is.  We go tomorrow at 6:30pm and Wednesday at 3:30pm. Go figure. Since Gail and Rie were still cleaning our nasty little house, we ran a few errands for BigD while I sat in the car including picking up another box of Ensure from Costco....
I took a picture of the sky with one tiny bare tree which shows just how quickly Autumn has come and gone. The weather was pretty mild today but the nights and mornings are quite chilly for this old Southern Lady....
The house feels and smells so nice and clean - Rie and Gail will never truly know how much I appreciate it. BigD does too - especially since Page will be in late tomorrow and Kurt, Leah and Page2 will be in Wednesday night. BigD bought me a Cook Out Chocolate Malt Shake and after two sips - NAH - tasted so bad it almost made me cry cause I really wanted it. Oh well - soon.
I'll just look at my sweet bobbing ladybug and it will make me smile. You know - after all - tomorrow is another day.
We lost a wonderful friend/parent/mother/grandmother/woman this week and our love goes out to her family. I met her and her beautiful husband first through my Mom (she worked with my Mom and would give her a ride to work at times and her beautiful hubby repaired our washers and dryers for years). Later, I met her through my niece (actually- BigD's niece) when she dated and eventually married her younger son. We have enjoyed being in their company as part of a big extended family many times and she always made sure to tell me how much she loved Mama. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family...... Farmor will be missed by many.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I guess it is official --- I'm a Ninny.

So after looking up the word ninny and finding quite a few definitions - I chose this one to describe what I was yesterday: NINNY - Someone who is afraid of everything and has no courage; see pansy.
BigD and I got to Radiation Oncology on time after finding our special parking place and where we are supposed to put our Blue Appointment card. They called us back where we met our Technician
who had my mask in her hand. I have her name somewhere but can't remember it. I felt pretty good - got right up on the table, held on to the the handles that held the foot plate against my feet which pulled my shoulders down - exactly like when the mask was made. They put the mask over my face (which is now very hard) and pressed it tightly against my nose and face ........... take if off, take it off!!!! OMGoodness - I had no idea it was going to be pressed down so tight. SO - I didn't make them wait around - when they offered the anti-anxiety med, I said absolutely. SO - that meant I went to the back of the line while the doctor was called, a prescription was ordered. The doctor wanted to give me a script for it so I can have it for each appointment if needed but he wanted to wait and see how loopy I was after this appointment. He gave me 1 mg and said if I was a little loopy, he would make it 1/2 mg. That was fine with me. So back to the waiting room for it take affect and this time I did good. I couldn't believe how tight it was on my forehead (large red mark there that lasted awhile) but it has to be tight so the machine will hit the right mark every time. That works for me. They took quite a few x-rays while I was in the mask. I apologized for being such a ninny and they kept assuring me that tons of people have to have help - some for every appointment - others get used to it and don't need it.  Yeah --- I'm a ninny.  He gave me 1mg and I told him if BigD thinks I'm loopy, I'll cut it in half.  Since next week, the Radiation Oncology Department is closed Thursday and Friday, my first treatment will be tomorrow morning at 9am followed by my second one on Monday at 12 noon.  When they asked, we let them know we preferred early morning appointments so we'll find out Monday what our future appointments will be.
They put a new mark on my chest and put tape over it so I don't wash it off. Okay - when did my chest get so old looking? Oh I wish I could tell Eileen's Mom how right she was - she told us to notice how nice our skin was while we were young because it won't gonna last! How right she was.
A look at the pretty tulips Sher brought me earlier this week. They were tight little buds when she brought them - I told her to just pick a vase from the stash and she picked one of Mama's! So I don't only look at the flowers and smile and think of Sher, I smile and think of Mama too! I believe I got the best and most (total) sleep last night so far. When I picked up my prescription, the pharmacist suggested the biotene chewing gum for when I wake in the middle of the night with horrible dry mouth and it worked!!!!! I also picked up and used some nose breathing strips last night so maybe together they worked. Gotta get up and shower and dress. Lora and Elbert are coming for a visit later.
I almost forgot to mention the PIE! Darrell and Mich came over last night and Darrell brought me his home made chocolate pie - his Mom's recipe I think. I was quite excited and hated to call to tell him - I couldn't taste it - BUT BigD could and said it tasted a whole lot like Mama's recipe. Oh Man! He will have to make me another one when I can taste again. I can smell the bacon BigD is cooking right now but can't eat that yet. We are going to put the pie in the fridge (what's left of it) so Page can try it. They are on their way to the beach - be the first time we missed being down there this particular week in years.  Of course, if the weather is good, BigD, Kurt and maybe Tony are going to drive down to fish a few days while Page, Leah and Page2 are here with me.  Hope it all works out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Busy day......

Today has been a busy day!  I slept pretty good the early part of the day but only got an extra hour in later this morning. Oh well - I'll take what I can get. Sweet Sher called to say she was on her way with the stuff she had picked up for me. What a loving friend she is.  She told BigD she would be back Thursday with his flu shot and he told her how he hates needles.
She not only went out of her way to pick up a few things I'll need once radiation starts but brought some extra goodies too. I enjoyed walking in the yard with her since it was such a pretty day. The leaves in my yard are so pretty - especially since they cut down so many of our trees the ones left look pitiful. Then Rose came over and brought some key lime pie from Fosters. I was so disappointed because I could barely taste the key lime but the whipped cream on top was good. So I asked her to walk with me too and unknown to us, BigD caught us on camera.
Okay - I can tell I'm really giving too much to my left side (arm and shoulder on side lymph nodes were removed through my neck) and need to work harder on my exercises. BigD just reminded me I need to get my driving license renewed this month. That should be great picture to last 5 years. Man! Page told me to call them and put it off. Hmm - might just try that. BigD bought me a humidifier but we aren't sure it is the right one. Leah told me to wait until next week when she and Page are here and if it isn't, they will take it back and get the right one.
And I almost forgot to mention two new arrivals - Fran's daughter who lives near Kurt and Leah and grew up with Kurt welcomed their twin boys today. They are so cute.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Those who don't play backgammon ---- accessorize

I have a feature on my desktop that streams all my pictures across a small window. This one caught my attention today. It was taken almost 5 year ago this January and is Page2. Look closely between her toes....
I like to think of it as being part of her strong creative streak! Actually she is very creative in many ways. She gets it honestly from both her parents. Her Mom was telling me she played her guitar for her classmates and the teacher said it went very well, that Samantha was very comfortable and the class enjoyed it very much.   I can't wait to see her and all my babies in a few weeks. 
On another note, I had my dentist appointment this afternoon.  I can't believe how cold, wet and raw it has become.  I haven't walked in two days and I think it is supposed to be even wetter and colder tomorrow.  The hygienist was very nervous but did a good job.  She had to put some sweaters in a plastic bag and make a pillow because my head wouldn't go back far enough.  She was very careful and gave me a box of children's toothbrushes that are much better than the ones I bought as well as some samples of the toothpaste and mouthwash they want me to use. Of course Dr. J was wonderful as always.  He sanded the chipped place on my front tooth and will bond it later.  We think they might have chipped it when they intubated me. He wants me to use the mouthwash he prescribed for germs but I told him I would have to pass it by the radiation team.  As wet and dark as it was, we drove through a big neighborhood near our house and the leaves were beautiful - especially the reds.

On my own.....

After promising BigD I wouldn't eat, take shower, walk outside or do anything else but drink water, do my studying and go potty, he decided to work this morning.  I expect him back anytime so I can get a shower before my dentist appointment.  I'm a tiny bit anxious about the thought of sharp instruments inside my poor mouth but so trust my dentist.  Hopefully the hygienist is good too.  I realized I couldn't find Miya when I woke up at 3:22am.  I even looked on the porch to make sure we hadn't accidently left her out there but no Miya.
I was very happy to be visited by her once I got in my chair with the plush throw that Page bought me and is so deliciously warm over me. As you can see, Princess Miya likes it too. She is a little antsy lately. Now that BigD is the one who makes sure she gets her heart medicine, he is taking it very seriously. If he doesn't get it in her at night, he will grab her in the morning. She was so funny this morning - sleeping so sweetly until she noticed him bringing me MY meds. That was all she wrote - haven't seen her since. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Too many friends..... not possible

One time my sister-in-law told me I knew too many people. I thought that was so funny at the time but I'll have to admit, I do know a lot and I think more know me than even I realized.  I have attributed it to coming from a large family of girls who also have lots of friends, still living where I grew up, the many congregations I've been a part of, my extended family through my hubby and my work with the personnel agency.  I communicate pretty regulary with a friend up North and a new friend in AC - one whom I've never met face to face and yet we are quite close.  A friend said I had to also put it to my outgoing personality - who me?  That outgoing personality has been put to the test these past few weeks since I have been having to fight the inclination to crawl into a nice warm shell and hibernate until the bad stuff is over. I didn't even realize I felt that way but one of my really close friends evidently did and will not allow that at all. The funny thing is - her son was on the same page as she was. So Keith came and walked with me and had a talk with me the other day and his Mom, Gail, came today and cleaned my whole house.  BigD is ill because she absolutely refused to accept pay.  We both appreciate it SO much.  She had pep talks with my while she was cleaning and I do appreciate everything she said and know it is all true.  She put my new sheets Page bought me on my bed so maybe I'll sleep better tonight?  We'll see.
Bri sent me this picture of her little girl with her newborn. Roseanne was driving her back to Virginia after having her and the girls stay for awhile. Lani is looking more like Bri than ever. I think Very looks like Roseanne. We'll see.
BigD didn't wash dishes last night so he brought me my Ensure in one of my favorite glasses...yeah. So we are getting things ready - going to dentist tomorrow afternoon - have to have teeth cleaned before radiation starts and I think they chipped the corner of my front tooth with the tube during surgery so he will smooth that out too. I dread the thought of sharp instruments in my mouth but it has to be done. There are some things I need to get and have on hand before everything starts too. Rie and Gail said they will help me with my list when I'm ready. Everyone is being very careful to not touch me - trying to keep germs away so I don't get sick before the treatments start. It was a very pretty day but I didn't get a chance to walk. It is the first day I haven't so I don't feel too bad. Hopefully I'll be able to sleep a little better tonight. It's supposed to be cold and rainy tomorrow but should be pretty again by Friday. I'll miss everyone while they are at the SAD Sunday. It's just knowing none of them are in town. I'm so glad we went when we did with our kids. Okay - that's enough....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I really don't have a title for this entry so will just touch base by putting up a few pictures.  Been three Up and Down weeks since the surgery and believe me - you really don't need to hear any of the "gory" details. We met with my Radiation/Oncologist team today - velly interesting and scary at the same time.  If goes as planned, radiation will start week of Thanksgiving when all the kids are here.  Very detailed preparations - more on that later.  Can't even begin to tell everyone how much their love, support and especially prayers have meant for me and my family. BigD is taking very good care of me. Page made some spreadsheets that tell him exactly what to do with meds, etc.. So many flowers and beautiful cards.  Rose sends me a card every day and when Leah's parents were on vacation, they did the same thing.  So sweet.
I've saved all the cards and will treasure every one of them. I so appreciate the calls and emails. I don't wander far from the house except for medical appointments because of the feeding tube. BigD is very concerned about germs as we have entered flu season and it would not be good for the treatments coming up.  Not too much to share but just wanted to thank everyone again for all their support and to say I'm still here.