Saturday, March 7, 2009

I Got in Trouble...I Got in Trouble!

This morning I heard the sound of Sandy's footsteps coming up the stairs....only this time they were very heavy she was stomping up the stairs....which, in fact, she was!

She spoke in a very low, but very firm voice. Reprimanding me for getting up at midnight to let Bubbles out to go poop....and not turning on the stairway light went I went down the stairs.

"But I used the flashlight," I said, feebly.

"Why is my mother bothering to spend the night with you if you are going to get up by yourself?"

I was confused. I didn't say anything.

"You need to have someone stay with you for the first three or four nights after you chemo."

"But I sat by the side of the bed to make sure I wasn't woozy," I said, in my defense.

"Why didn't you turn on the light?"

"I didn't want to wake your mother (the woman sleeps with the door open!), she had not been sleeping long and I didn't want to bother her." I thought I sounded noble.

"That's the last thing we need, for you to fall down the stairs and break something or cut something and get an infection. Your platelets are way down, your immunity is way down. We are so close to finishing this thing and you can't afford to have anything happen now," the nurse I live with said.

"But I don't break bones, like your family does." I was feeling a bit defensive.

"Well, you can't afford to get a cut either."

"Okay, I understand."

Now I understand. I thought I had to avoid sneezes and coughs and those kind of infections.

So, I will be a little WUSS and let Jean let the dogs out if they get up in the middle of the night, even if I don't feel woozy, exhausted, weak...even if I feel PERFECTLY FINE. She can drag her ass out of that nice warm bed and shuffle down the stairs, with her bad hip to let my dogs out into the cold, while she stands there freezing....waiting for them to pee or poop. Then she can limp back up the stairs, while I just lie there, snuggled under the covers.

Feeling guilty about the whole damned thing!

Soon it will be over.

I'm not going to get in trouble with Sandy about this subject again.

Friday, March 6, 2009

In the chemo chair

My fanny made it into the chemo chair. I almost didn't make it as I found out yesterday that they forgot to order a urine test. So we had to go to Providence an hour early to get that job done. My blood counts were up and my pee passed the test.

I had a companion in the room with me, all day. She had ovarian cancer and her counts are dropping fast too. We had a nice chat about how lucky we are, how we are having trouble accepting the fact that we are now chronic cancer patients and how we are dealing with that.

Ran into Dr. Lachance and Dr. DiSivestro as we were leaving, they were just coming in from New London. Dr. Lachance asked me about participating in a study about dreams of cancer patients. It involves keeping a journal--you know how I feel about that---I immediately said I would do it. I have been having strange dreams (and a lot of them) lately. Many of them center on me having hair---oddly enough.

Jean was waiting at the house for us when we got home. She couldn't come with us as she had to take Nami to Ocean State Veterinery Center for a consult for her knee. It turns out Nami tore her cruciate ligament--she stayed there over night and will have surgery tomorrow AM. We're sending good thoughts her way----she's a 10 year old, Staffordshire terrier, a big sweetheart and one of my all time favorite dogs.

An update on some news I posted last week. Maria's friend Larry's Dad who had lung cancer and was going into hospice, passed away last weekend. Larry's Mom is still struggling with breast cancer. Keep those good thoughts going their way.

On a happier note, Jim Donovan got word that he doesn't need any more treatments AT ALL! No more chemo--that he was fearing, and no radiation--which he was expecting to have! They are going to be taking out his trach tube later in the month. So allis going great down there in Tennessee!

I found out today that there is an outside chance I may have to have two more chemo sessions. I thought I was done after the next one, but Dr. Lachance (gratutitous remention of his name) said that there will be another discussion with the "powers-that-be" (my words, not his) about whether or not I need to have a seventh session---as they don't know what "MY normal" CA 125 level is. I feel pretty confident that a score of five will put me in the ball park and I won't have another session after the next one. Especially if the last CA125 test shows that I've dropped below five.

Dr. DiSilvestro told me that they have had someone who dropped to one....which would be a great score to aspire to! I'm hoping I make it!

I was upstairs in bed earlier tonight...right after supper---very tired. Now I'm back downstairs and full of pep---because of the cortisone I'll bet. My knees are hurting from the chemo...but that and being wide-awake are the only side effects thus far.

I am prepared that I will probably be really wiped out again after this session. I can handle it. Tomorrow I'll lounge in my recliner and watch the Huskies play Pitt....then catch as much of the Big East Women's tourney as I can. As I reminded Sandy, it's MARCH MADNESS time, I have plenty of games to keep me occupied if I have to be a "shut-in" this month!!

It's a wonderful time to be a Husky fan! Both teams back at #1!! GO HUSKIES!!

Nighty night...although you may be asleep LONG before I'm able to!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Busy Day

I went to Backus for my bloodwork this morning....still no greeting, no please or thank you....but she did use my name and didn't make me stand there answering all the questions they usually ask. The phlebotomist again commented about my "poor veins taking a beating" and then the blood wouldn't come out. He had to wiggle the needle around a bit (probably scar tissue) to get the blood to flow.

After that I swung by Olympia's office to see her. She and the nurse were happy to see me, hugs all around. I shared my good news about my CA 125 level and they were excited.

Then I went to Agway and got thistle and thistle bags. They now have the long, heavy duty bags in white. The birds would never come to the black bags of thistle I bought before. They do like the white bags, so hopefully these will work.

On my way home I swung by Kohls to look for dress pants. I need a pair for the Aging conference at least. I was able to buy two pairs of black slacks, one with a faint Size 12 Petite...that fit me nicely. I also got a coral colored light weight jacket type thing--pullover with half zip....I figured that would be good for the cruise.

And I got a nice Chaps brand shirt, in a great pink and blue and some other colors stripe. I used the gift certificate Roxie gave me for Christmas (thanks Roxie!) and my Kohls another 15% off and all I had to pay was $34!! The price of the Chaps shirt alone was $36! Great buys!

Then I came home, reheated the last of the chili, had lunch and collapsed in the recliner. Now I don't feel so hot...I think it's from being tired...haven't taken a nap today--nor did I take one yesterday either--so I think it's all catching up to me.

Will go to bed early tonight. Tomorrow we have to see the tax guy; go grocery shopping (I'll stay in the car) and then we will go out to eat....maybe at The 99 Restaurant. Those fish tacos are calling to me. Some kind of fish anyway....that's what I'm thinking!

I'm hoping my blood counts came up enough that they let me have my scheduled chemo session on Friday. Maybe I should call THEM to double check before I head out there....who knows who they will be calling this time?

Nighty night!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Customer Service

When I was growing up my mother taught us all about "the customer is always right." She used to point it out to us with sales people---when they did it right and when they did it wrong.

I have always been sensitive, therefore, to the demeanor of salespeople, receptionists, etc.

Last week I dropped in to see my friend Joyce, who works at Backus. I had to leave after a few minutes to go get my blood drawn and happened to mention how I couldn't stand how the people in the blood drawing station acted. They never welcome you, say please or thank you and are almost always abrupt, unfriendly and act like they are doing you a favor.

Joyce got very upset with this and told me she was going to report it. I told her "go ahead" and agreed to speak to someone in charge if they called me about it.

Well, yesterday the woman called me. She had looked up all the times I had been to the lab and when I told her I thought one of the problems is that I had almost never seen the same person twice in all the times I've been there, she knew exactly what I meant, as she could see everyone who was on duty at the time. I did tell her that the person who was on duty right after I had spoken with Joyce was the best of all of them...and that they could all learn from her how to interact with people.

She apologized and said she was embarassed for the dept....all of them had had training on how to greet people, etc. She also said that she had seen for herself firsthand when she had to go to dept at the hospital as a patient and saw how their attitudes changed after she flashed her hospital badge.

I know if I was working as a receptionist...I would greet everyone with a smile, try to remember their names and use their names when I greeted them...and I would say "please and thank you"...I would actually LOVE to be a receptionist!

Oh, the lady at the Cancer Center at Women's and Infants always acts like that desk is the last place in the world she wants to be....but the lady at the center at L&M is so sweet...she even remembers my name! The latter is exactly the kind of person they need at a cancer center, don't you think? called to cancel two of my credit cards. The first one, was my Coldwater Creek Visa card, which I just paid off. The fellow who took care of this for me was very nice, he looked up to see if I had any "reward points" coming to me for recent purchases. He asked if I wanted to apply my credit line from this card to my other Visa card. Then he told me the account was cancelled and wished me a good day. A very pleasant and easy experience.

On the other hand, Jonathan from the Arizona office of Discover Card wanted (and did) give me a hard time. He kept trying to convince me to keep the card...THREE times I asked him to just cancel the card. He kept persisting..."do you know that you earn five percent for every time you use your card to purchase gas?" I don't care....just cancel the card. "Do you know...blah...blah.blah...?" I told him to stop trying to convince me to keep the card....just cancel it. It got to the point where he was saying "Why are you yelling at me?" I said, "because I've told you three times to cancel the card and you keep trying to get me to keep it open." He says,
"that's my job!" I told him I knew that and asked him to stop talking and just cancel the card....he keeps talking!!! I told him..."shhhhhh shhhhhhh....hush up now...stop talking stop talking..." HE KEEPS TALKING!!!!

I ask for his full name...he won't give it to me. I tell him I hope his supervisor or someone is listening in on the call so they can tell him this is NOT how you deal with customers.

Then he says that my credit rating will go down because I've had the card since 2000. I tell him, don't you think I have talked with a financial advisor before I did this and don't you think I know anything???? I tell him cancel the which point he finally tells me the card is cancelled and I should cut it up and destroy any checks they have sent me (which they send me EVERY month, annoying the hell out of me).

WHO THE HELL USES DISCOVER CARDS ANYMORE???? I paid off the account last June, haven't even taken it out of my wallet since then!

So, FINALLY I am down to two cards. Visa and AmEx. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

I've had with Customer Service for awhile. Those two "good guys" stand out like SHINING STARS!

I can't wait to see how I'm treated tomorrow when I go for my blood work. Yippeee...I am SO looking forward to it.

My mother was right....the customer is always right....and that's the standard I go matter what side of the desk I'm on.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Spring Is Here!

Yep, it may be snowing out there, we may get six inches...who cares? I heard the red-winged blackbirds, trilling their trills, out in the back yard this morning.

Last week I was thinking, "hey, first week of March, that's when the red-wings come back" and lo, and behold! Here they are!

I love that sound...for me, that is the first sign of Spring. It's HERE!

It also means that it's MARCH MADNESS TIME!!! Hence the new photo in the header above!

Of course, we want the mild weather that goes with Spring...and I'm sure we'll get it...soon.

Hey, Billy Mays has a new ad on tv...The Big City Slider Station! Watch for it coming to a TV screen near you! The mini burger sensation that's sweeping the nation! Only $19.99!!!

Here's hoping we don't get a blizzard! I want Sandy to be able to get home safely tomorrow...she just left for work.

Tomorrow I go to the eye doctor and spend a lot of money. I need the graduated lenses and I want them in "transition" lenses....that will cost big bucks, according to Jane...and she should know...she's an optometrist! Maybe I'll have to sacrifice the sunglasses what I really need is the graduated part! I may go back to those magnetic sunglass lenses that stick to the frame.

I have to call ING and find out how much it will cost to close out my account and transfer my money to another company. This company will be communicating more with me; diversifying my money more and will better protect me from this market.

I took a chunk of money out last week--it showed up in my checking account this weekend, so I paid off my credit cards. Tomorrow I will be cancelling two of the four...keeping two. The rest of the money I took out will go toward a good down payment on a new car....I'm pretty sure I am going to go with the Camry hybrid. I love my has been very, very good to me...and I've had it for almost 12 years! I haven't had a car payment in seven years or more!

My goals for the month of March are: to finish my big chemo sessions; get married; buy a new car; do a great job at the Aging Conference; get out to the gym; start walking Bubbles around the neighborhood. I also want Maria to come for a weekend and we will go out with Lynne and David...maybe to the casino.

My goals after that are to watch every second of the Huskies march to the Final Four---both teams; and then to start growing my hair back!

I am getting very ambitious! It's good to have goals.

Nighty night!