Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day Three.....

Three days down ----- twenty-eight days to go. BigD got away for his fishing trip and Judy arrived shortly thereafter to take me to my treatment.
She was driving her hubby's big van and looked so tiny in it! They took me right back today and had me hooked up in no time. I was a little disappointed that I didn't have the nurse I wanted and by the end of the appointment, Judy understood why. She is a very nice young woman but isn't as careful with the PICC as the first one I had was. I took some pictures today of the new Cancer Clinic.
If you want to see it better, click on the picture and it will get bigger. I think Judy was as impressed as I am with it. After we left the hospital, I told Judy I wanted to take the "scenic" route home which means I didn't want to get on the highway. We were very close to Lynn and Mike's so I asked her to stop by to say Hi which we both enjoyed. Mike wasn't home but Lynn was in the yard working and I enjoyed seeing her. As we were getting ready to turn on Cheek I told Judy to go down a block and pull in front of Dafina's house. I called her and then text messaged her to come outside so I could speak to her but she text messaged me later that she was putting Syn down and didn't get it until we were gone. Oh well - at least she knows I tried. I think it has been a combination of me feeling a bit better and the gorgeous day we have had today because I honestly have not felt like running by any one's house at all and today I had her stop by two places!
Page took this picture of Miya in BigD's suitcase with her phone and sent it to us with the message - "Princess Miya wants to go fishing too". We find her in the craziest places sometimes. After I got home, Eileen stopped by on her way to the KH to meet with the afternoon group and then about an hour later, she came back with her car group which was nice.   I'm a tiny bit hungry so I thought I would try a piece of the chocolate pound cake Page made using Mama's recipe and that was a BAD idea. YUCK!  Oh well - I'll keep trying and hopefully my taste buds will start working again sooner than later.  Page just called to say she was on her way home and BigD called to check in with me about the treatment.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Life goes on......

Had my first Interferon treatment yesterday in the brand spanking new Cancer Clinic.  It was a relief to have my PICC line flushed and the bandage changed.  They did a wonderful job on this facility - it is beautiful and built in such a way as to make you feel soothed and comforted. I will try to remember to get a few pictures to show you later. I pretty much had the reaction they had prepared me for - chills and fever.  They loaded me up with meds before they started the drip, eventually had three heated blankets on me and I felt pretty bad most of the evening.   Since yesterday was my first treatment, they spent a lot of time with us. Page is working today through Thursday
at the local office of her company so we took the Black Beast to my appointment today.  After my treatment, BigD was taught how to clean and flush my line over the weekend.  They will teach Page on Friday so she will be the one doing it the first weekend.  My reaction wasn't as strong today but they did say it will build up and get worse.  One day at a time.  We were only a few minutes late to my appointment to have the stitches removed from my nose. It didn't take long at all and I'll be going back in a few weeks to follow up.
I had to share this picture I "snatched" from FB of the latest addition to our family - Ava. She is one of Ruth's great-grandchildren and as pretty as her brother who is a doll. BigD wanted to take advantage of having someone with me this week to go fishing for a few days. He will leave in the morning and come back Friday. Judy will take me to my appointment tomorrow and Deb will take me on Thursday. I so appreciate those who have offered to help with this. Hopefully it will not take as long and my friends won't have to give up too many hours in the day waiting on me. Page will be with me on Friday and that will be a longer day since I have to meet with my nurse practitioner and maybe my oncologist.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What happened to Winter and Spring?

To say we had a mild winter is putting it "mildly" to say the least.  I'm not sure we can say we have had a Spring since the temperature has already been in the 80's.  I have a feeling this Summer is going to be a real scorcher.  Enough whining - Page got home last night and it was good to see her pretty face again.  Her job has been so much better since they finished the huge projects last year and it was good to see the stress had left her face and body.  She made her reservations to come back for Page2's Spring Break.  Page will keep her here until she goes home on Wednesday and then Page2 will either go back home or her parents will come for a long weekend.  I'm happy I don't have to wait until then to see them.  Leah said Kurt has asked for next weekend and they plan to come down for a short visit.
I wanted to have a record of how my "new" fingernails look. I was a nail biter my whole life. I would bite them past the quick as well as the cuticles. When I learned the Truth, I stopped smoking (yes, I smoked a lot when I was quite young) and using profanity (yep - did that too) cold turkey. Since I was "addicted" to both of these things, BigD has never gotten over me quitting both of them in one day.  My nails have never been pretty like my Mom and sisters. Mine were very thin and brittle with ridges. Since I have been on so many meds, I've realized they are stronger and don't break as easily. Even my cuticles look good. Page pointed out that now they look like hers and they do! It's funny because Page, BigD and I have hands that are shaped alike but Kurt got the long slender fingers of the rest of our family. Go figure.
I received this picture in a text message yesterday that said, "You didn't tell us you were famous". Kimmie was shopping for a purse at Macy's and this was the name of one of the lines she was looking at. I wish I had that kind of money. I haven't met many people with my name that are much younger than me. There were tons of us born within about 10-15 years of each other but I haven't really seen it used much since then. I was not called the normal nicknames and will not answer to any of them except for the two my Mom called me - Tricia and Triciajane. My family calls me those two names also. I just had to share these cute pictures of Rose and June I "snatched".
They are both just too cute for words. Rose is enjoying her new "big girl" bed and June is enjoying her juicy toes!
I also wanted to post a few of the pictures taken of Rick and Diane at the Grammy Awards this year.  They hired a PR Agent and one of the perks is his customers get a free ticket to a private box with food and drinks to the Grammy Awards each year. How exciting is that?  The picture of Rick and Terence Howard was taken outside of a restaurant.  Rick recognized him and they had a great conversation.  What an exciting evening they had.  He said the whole show was great,  Adele sounds even better live and that Paul McCartney
still looks good.  He said they told Diane how to pose in her gown and that part was even fun.  It is sad that we don't get to see each other that often but everyone is sooo busy these days.  He tries to stay in touch so his Mom (my spiritual Mom) doesn't get too worried about me.  They are trying to figure out a way for her to actually come for a visit with him and maybe get over here to see for herself that I'm okay.  I would so love to see her too.  She sends me sweet cards several times a week.  I realized she had learned from my sister Rose how they sign off from cards, telephone calls and letters to each other.  When Dee was a little girl, she would tell her Mom and Dad she loved them.  One day, Rose asked her how much do you love me?  Dee said 2 pounds!  Rose said 2 pounds?  Is that a lot?  Dee said it is the most you can love someone.  So from then on, they will say 2 pounds every time they talk to you and write you.  Now Cat signs all her cards 2 pounds.  So sweet.


How to begin.....First - This post is really for me to keep a record of events from Friday until today and is probably very boring reading for anyone else. Friday was a very long and exhausting day.  I had three appointments back to back starting at 8:00am for lab work, 9:00am to have PICC line put in and 11:00am to meet with Jen to get ready for my treatments to start Monday morning. BigD and I were feeling pretty good because we arrived early and then the fun began.  So as not to drag it out, the new Cancer Wing had opened this past Monday and everything wasn't running smoothly yet - especially clerical matters.  I'm thinking we probably walked several miles the first two hours we were there without getting one single procedure completed.  After waiting almost an hour, the place to get my lab work done said we should go to the fourth floor of the new wing to get my PICC line put in and then come back for lab work. The nurses kept coming out and asking me questions after which I finally gave them my three appointment sheets.  After another wait, she came back and gave me my sheets back with the notes she had written on them which included a page number.  We were sent back to where they were supposed to do lab work but they didn't have an order so I said - you guys work it out, I'm exhausted and went and sat down. They kept saying how sorry they were and kept trying to work it out so I looked at the appointment sheets and called the pager number which turned out to be Jen's number. Woo Hoo! I told her what was going on so she apologized extensively explaining that it was clerical errors and to sit tight.  After about 5 minutes, her assistant came down and told us she was going to walk us through everything.  We were taken right back where the lab work was done after which she took us to where I was having the PICC line put in and told us to come straight to the 3rd floor of the new Cancer Clinic where we would meet with her and Jen.  Having the PICC line put in was very interesting to say the least. She explained everything she was doing and why it was necessary to have it.  Evidently Interferon and Chemo are both highly acidic and strip your blood vessels.  By the time she started putting the line in, she had put on hat, gown, gloves, mask, covered me with sterile cover, wrapping the bottom part of my arm with sterile cover and laying another sheet over the top of the  upper arm in a way that when she started, she had me turn my face into the sheet so as to keep the whole area sterile.  She stressed to me how important it was that anyone who flushed the line or changed the dressing on it should have on mask and gloves.  We finally met with Jen who apologized again for all the mix-ups.  She told us a Home Health Nurse would come  on Saturday to change the bandage and flush the line.  After waiting all day yesterday, I called the pager number again and the doctor who was on call for the weekend called me back.  She said she would try to find out what was going on.  She called back about 30 minutes later and said she  was waiting for the person from the home health office to call her.  She called me several times to let me know what her progress was and finally told me they promised someone would come today to take care of it.  She called me about 2 hours ago and asked me if someone came out yesterday.  I told her no and I still had not heard from anyone.  She was very angry because the notes said someone came out.  She called me again and asked me if anyone came out and I told her no so by now she was really getting irritated with them.  FINALLY we got the REAL reason no one had come.  Medicare would not pay for them to come just to flush my line and change the bandage and it would cost me out of pocket almost $200.00  OR I could come into the clinic and it would be paid for.  I told her I would come in.  She called me back and told me she had spoken with the person who was proficient with PICC lines in the Organ Transfer Clinic (which would be the only place I could get anyone to do it on a Sunday) and they told her to assure me that it would be fine to wait until tomorrow morning.  I told her it seemed fine, no swelling, pain had gone away and now just itched a bit under the bandage so we agreed I would wait until tomorrow morning when I go for my first treatment.  I wish every doctor I have come in contact with was like she is.  I will be sure to tell Jen how wonderful she was in staying in touch with me this weekend.  And to be clear - everyone was great Friday too - Jen was on target when she said it was clerical errors because of the new clinic opening.  Everyone kept apologizing Friday and tried to be helpful.  So Uneasy - yeah, I have felt uneasy since around 3pm yesterday when I started thinking no one was coming. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More Stuff.......

Stuff, a slang term may refer to: items, things, or matter.  My dahlink Katarina came over yesterday with her pretty little KennaKat.  Look at the beautiful array of flowers she brought me!  I know - a woman who knows how to make my heart smile.  Some of my favorites too.
She also came over to pick up my sewing machine that I am lending her to use for awhile. I can't wait to see what kinds of creations she comes up with. I was going to give her just the broken pieces of hand blown glass iris flowers Princess Miya managed to destroy. Then I decided to give her all that was left of them since they didn't look right without petals. I'm sure she will create something lovely with them. KennaKat gave me a hug when they left even though I'm sure my poor face scared her a bit. Such a sweet little girl. Gail came yesterday afternoon and cleaned my house. When she found out Page was coming in this Saturday, she changed the sheets on her bed. She called out that Princess Miya had climbed under the sheets while she was putting them on and was not moving.  
I told her to go ahead and finish making it.  Later, we walked back to see where Miya was and sure enough, she was still under the covers sound asleep. It was nice to have a visit with Gail before she had to leave.  I hope she knows how much we appreciate all she does for us.   I also had a nice visit from Keith later yesterday even though he laughed when he saw my face.  Roseanne came today for our family study and Eileen came by not long after.  They enjoyed getting caught up with each other.  Of course Eileen brought more flowers. The ones she had brought 2 weeks ago were getting a little sad. I love the deep rose color this week.
After Eileen left and before we could get started there was a knock on the back door. What a surprise! It was Merrell - an old friend from years ago. BigD and Pop both worked for his family's company. Pop retired from there and BigD worked there when we got married up until he went into the Navy. BigD has stayed close to him through the years so I've heard about him but haven't seen him in a long while. He visited with me and Roseanne while waiting for BigD to get back from ordering parts for my car that have to be replaced as a result of the vandalism the other night. What a wonderfully nice and conversational older man. He had wanted to come see me and BigD because of all that has been going with both of us. How thoughtful of him. As soon as Merrell saw my nose,
he knew exactly why it looked like it did. He had the same procedure done by the same doctor and said he likes him as much as I do. BigD will have his done next month. Yep - I'm secure. Maybe I should have put a disclaimer before posting that picture. It isn't for those who are faint of heart.  BigD was pleasantly surprised to see Merrell when he got home.  I could tell it made him feel good that he had come all the way across town to visit us.  Before BigD came home, I told Merrell how he has taken such good care of me these many months of illness we have been going through. And I mean WE because it has affected him as deeply as it has me on many levels.  I take so many different medications during each day for so many different things it is not funny.  We use the chart Page made for us so we can keep up with them all.  On top of that, BigD now has his own issues we are dealing with.  I was a little disappointed in myself when I realized yesterday that I would have to cancel my follow-up appointment with my surgeon.  There is no way he can examine me while my nose is in the condition it is.  I will find out Monday when that will be possible.  I know it is going to be hard to get an appointment with my surgeon any time soon but there was nothing I could do about it once I had already had the surgery before thinking of it. Duh! Was just getting ready to close this post when Rose called to tell me something.  While we were talking BigD mentioned he had called Ann's hubby and son again and gotten no answer.  I told Rose I was going to call Lolo and make sure everything is okay. It was so funny because as soon as she answered, Lolo told me she was thinking about me. I knew she reads my blog and would have called if anything was wrong. We agreed that we pretty much were just taking a break so to speak. She sounds so good and I realized I have missed that sweet voice of hers. She told me Tad is on an adventure with his 88 year old sister who drove from Oregon to visit him. They are on a road trip to see their few remaining siblings. There is a chance they will come down here to see his brother who lives in Raleigh. I'm excited that we might get to see him but either way, they are definitely coming down this summer. Woo Hoo.
BigD brought in the post card above when he got the mail. This is from my niece we all helped raise some money for a special group trip to Dominican Republic. She had a ball and wanted to thank us for helping her be able to be a part of a grand adventure.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I am much more secure than even I thought....

Yikes! Wait until tomorrow after I take the bandage off and you will see exactly what it looks like. Went to the wonderful Dr. Cook today to have the cancer removed from my nose. It was right on the end of the nose and not an easy place to work with. This doctor is famous for the work he does after the cancer is gone. He takes only a little bit each time until he sees all the margins are clear and then he works his magic.
He drew lines and circles on my nose and down one side; then he told me how he would cut and stretch the skin until it covers the hole he cut in the end of my nose. The worst part of everything was the original shots in the end of my nose for him to get all the cancer out. Ouch doesn't even come close to how bad that pain was but I'm not going to tell BigD because I am afraid he will refuse to go next month to have the two on his nose removed. I looked at it after he finished and was amazed. So once again, I have a doctor who is an expert at what he does - color me fortunate. The feeling is starting to come back so have to close and take some real drugs.
Had to show you the pretty pajamas Eileen bought me yesterday. I slept in them last night and they were so comfy. She bought herself a pair just like them. They are super soft and my new favorite to sleep in. Will be awhile before I can sleep in them again - can't pull anything over my head for awhile. BigD just walked in - my hero - he is fixing my pain med as I type. Man - that happened fast. OUCH!!!!!! Oh - how many women do you know who would let you see just how bad they can look? Secure!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Things that make your heart smile....

Hasn't been the best day so far - so hoping tomorrow isn't as hard as I think it might be.  From what we have been told -  it will be a long day. Hope it will be a simple, straight-forward surgery that he gets it all on the first try.  Then I got a text message with the following sweet picture.
Lin and Rand's three babies. All three of them are so smart. Such a sweet and loving young family. I have really missed seeing them.
Bri's sweet little Rose and June sleeping together...
Such a good older sister holding onto to her little sister. Bri is facing some surgery in the near future but I feel very strongly it will all go well for her. All prayers are welcome for her though.
Another cutie I snatched a picture from FB of. This is Ruth's granddaughter. I used to think she looked like her Aunt Amy but now I think she looks more like Ruth and her own pretty Mommy. She has been having some health problems for awhile now so I'm really hoping they will all be taken care of soon and she will not remember all these past few months.
Kurt sent me a picture of a Butt Tree to go with my Boob Tree. He and Leah have been working a lot and Leah is busy helping with her brother's upcoming wedding. I really miss them - haven't seen them or my only granddaughter in forever. It is a beautiful day today - we had to move our clocks forward (lost an hour).  Been trying not to dread next week but have enjoyed not having to go to appointments this week. Had some friends over for dinner last night. BigD  grilled some of his famous sirloin steaks, green pepper, onion and potato casserole and a salad with his delicious bleu cheese dressing.  He even fixed a plate for them to take home to Keith but I'm not sure he will get to see it. Gail said it was tempting to not even tell him about it. Don't get too excited - I had my Ensure and water.  Looking forward to eating real food again one day.  Since I can't taste anything and most food smells bad, I'm not too worried about it right now.  Looking forward to seeing Page next Saturday.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Things that make you feel vunerable......

Sad to report that we have been victimized once again.  They didn't break into the house and take a TV, stereo, leaf blower or camera this time.  They broke into our car and truck and took loose change in ashtray, keys, my GPS, the knob off the end of the windshield wiper, and tried to straight wire and start my car last night.  The sheriff who answered our call said the man behind us and 9 other people on our street had their vehicles broken into also.  He also said they broke the knob off the windshield wiper and took it from every  car. I guess they wanted a "trophy"?  Who knows. They didn't take my CD's - guess they didn't like my taste in music. Our little cottage has been a magnet for burglars ever since we moved here over 36 years ago. We also had our cars robbed once before about 10 years ago.  Anyone who has ever been a victim knows all the emotions you go through once it happens to you. We are now having to re-visit the idea of putting up No Trespassing signs to stop the traffic through our yard to the neighborhood behind us.  We haven't wanted to do it because it helps our neighbors not have to walk a very long distance to the bus stop across the street from our house. I had a nice visit from Ray and Martha today. They brought me a CD with pictures from their youngest son's wedding that took place this past Saturday.  I was so sad to have missed it but am very excited for them.  It has been nice not having any appointments for a while but that ends after this weekend. Got to fill out some papers this weekend for Monday when I have surgery on my nose, on Wednesday, BigD has an appointment with his heart specialist to get the results of the tests he had this week, then I have three appointments back to back at Duke on Friday morning to prepare me for the treatments I will be receiving. Page will fly up on Saturday and will be here for a week. Some of that time she will be working out of their local office and will also see how I respond to the treatments.  Eileen came by today for me to attempt putting a label on an invitation we will be handing out for the Memorial.  After I did the first one, she looked at it and said - Nope - I'll do them.  How sad is that?  I can't put a label on straight, draw a straight line, sew a straight line, write in a straight get the picture?  Sad.
The sun is almost gone, the days are getting longer, and Spring is upon us. Time actually does fly faster in my life now than at any other time. Princess Miya Chula Yum-Yum is taking a nap beside me, BigD is cooking some BBQ chicken for dinner, I just got off the phone with all my children and the ACC tournament is tonight with Duke playing in about 20 minutes. Hope all my loved ones have a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Five months and counting...

Hard to believe I had my surgery 5 months ago as of next Saturday. It is also hard to believe that Winter is all but over and it has been a very mild one. I do wish we would have a deep frost for several days as that would be good for farmers and gardeners. I will be having surgery on Monday to remove the cancer on my nose. I don't expect there to be any complications and people who have used this surgeon say he is very good. It turns out BigD will be having a similar surgery on two places on his nose that came back positive on April 4th by the same doctor. Anyone who knows him could tell you just how happy he is about that. He also found out the insurance company approved a second treadmill test for Thursday. We think the Doctor is concerned about the success of his stent since he doesn't feel that different and is still tired. Hope the test shows the stent is in place and doing it's job.
I wake up all the time to find Princess Miya laid out across my lap sleeping up a storm. We have to do something about how we are feeding her. She has gained about four-plus pounds this past year and is way overweight. She isn't going to like it but I know it will keep her with us longer. BigD has been real good about making sure she gets her heart medicine.
Lin sent me this picture of her little boy who joined the ministry school. Life is starting to get even crazier starting next week. It was nice to have a break last week and this week from going to the hospital every week.
I think I'm about as ready as I am going to be to start getting my treatments. I have come to really like my Oncologists' Assistant. She is a lovely, high energy, super positive woman who tries hard to anticipate, explain and answer everything honestly. She knitted this beautiful sweater for herself and recently made another kind for her mother-in-law. I will be seeing her all morning on Friday  next week and then will start the treatments on March 19th.   I so wish I could say I'm "much" better but that would be a lie.  I've had two hard days yesterday and today with the pain being pretty intense several times.  I am better though and have got to push myself harder to get more exercise.  Page sent her travel information and will be here with us the first week of my treatment. I'm really glad she will be here because I'm not sure what will be going on between me and BigD.  I am so hopeful the stent is in place and everything is good with him.  We were talking about how we can't believe we have reached that age where every thing starts falling apart but we can't live in denial any longer.  I spoke with Leah a few minutes ago.  Kurt is home on antibiotics with a sinus infection and feeling rotten.  She said they were hoping to get down to see me soon.  He has been having to work on Saturdays almost every weekend.  Page2 spent this past weekend with Leah's parents and went out of town to visit family. I will have to admit it has been too long and I would like to see them all soon if they can get away.