Friday, December 21, 2012

Catching up

Well, it's been an interesting three weeks or so.  I'll do a brief recap:

After my chemo debacle (when I had the allergic reaction) I saw Dr. McCourt three days later.  She took one look at me and asked me if I should be admitted to the hospital...I said "yes, please."  I had packed a bag just in case.

I was admitted to the hospital for dehydration, blocked small bowel and just being SICK!   They admitted me and hooked me up to fluids which helped me feel good...they also gave me morphine which made me feel really good and knocked me out.

My first hurdle was when they put a NG tube down into my stomach.  Not the most pleasant procedure to undergo as anyone who has had this can attest.   I agreed to it because they thought it would decompress my abdomen which was blown way up, filled with gas.  I had that damned tube in me for almost a week, with little results.

They had to start me on artificial nutrition (TPN) which they run into me through my chest port.  That helped perk me up, but....

The abdomen stayed distended throughout my hospital stay, nothing made it diminish.  I had to start taking morphine again for pain in my abdomen and pain in my left lower back...which we finally figured out was happening because the TPN fluids were pooling in that area, under the skin.  We didn't figure that out until I got home from the hospital.

I had one chemo treatment with Taxel while I was in the hospital...was scheduled for another one the following week, but my liver enzymes were too high to allow it.  Very discouraging.

In the meantime, they took me to RI Hospital where they installed a G/J tube which was for drainage only.  I have a tube that runs out of my left side and it's hooked to two bags...on to the Gastric tube, which drains fluids from my stomach and one to the J tube which drains stuff from my Jejunum.  Actually last night we disconnected the J tube as it wasn't draining much any more.  The whole thing is stinky, messy, sore and I can't wait to get rid of all of it.  That will happen as I eat more and things don't get blocked.

After two weeks in the hospital where I did nothing much but sleep and hope for the best, I got home and then things started happening.  I came home on Thursday, by Saturday morning my abdomen was decompressed.

The pain from the TPN excess fluid became too much on Monday and Sandy and I made the command decision to not give me the TPN every give my body a chance to absorb the fluids.  This system is working well.  I get the TPN every other night...the pain stays manageable for the most part and I get my nutritional needs met.

I'm eating more and clamping the G tube shut while I do, so the food doesn't just run through the spends some time in my digestive system.  So far, it's mostly liquid and semi liquid stuff like juices and puddings, yogurt etc...but the other day Sandy made me watery grits and scrambled eggs and it was delicious!  

I went for chemo Thursday and now I have Sandra as my nurse.  She and I shook on it and she did lots of things to assure me that she is no "June" the way, I filed a formal complaint against June when I was in the hospital.   A Social Worker came to see me, asked about the "incident" and asked if I wanted to file a formal complaint and I said. "yes, yes I do."  We'll see what comes of that.

Anyway, Sandra is excellent and she and Sandy bonded.  That's good.  The dietician came to consult with us and was a big help.  I got the chemo....lots of positives happened Thursday.

Today I just feel low-grade yucky, probably from the chemo.  I'll feel that way for a couple of days and then it will be time for another treatment next Thursday.

I may not have made much sense in this post, please excuse brain is mush due to the morphine.  I got a prescription for something else today, so I can stop taking makes me too loopy.  My goal is to be off pain meds by Christmas...I'm surprised I'm still taking them really, I'm usually off all pain stuff a day or so after I get out of the hospital.  Slower this time....

I'm getting there...we have a plan that we are following to get rid of the tubes and one of them is already shut down.  Then the G Tube and then get rid of the TPN.  We have a plan...

Feel bad that I haven't done any shopping for Christmas, Sandy had to send out all the cards again this year and I can't really get into the holiday spirit.  I'm not going to let it bother me too much though.

Going to see Maria and Phil this Sunday...that will be great. Steve calls me to check in...wonderful (when I hear the phone ringing that is) and I may go to Jean's sometime over the holiday (we'll see).

I'll be doing my holiday celebrations later....soon, I'm sure.


AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL...whichever holiday you celebrate!

Monday, November 26, 2012

On returning to chemo???!!!

Long day that turned out to be one of the most challenging days yet.   At one point I said to Jean's friend Dorothy, who accompanied us to chemo today, "and I used to think I had bad days at work?"

Started off with Sandy driving me to Backus this AM for my echocardiogram, which they couldn't do because they couldn't get in touch with my doctor over the holiday we rescheduled for Friday. 

Sandy came down to check on me, just as I was dragging my ass out of the Registration Area, and she took me to her office to sit and wait until Jean and Dorothy arrived to take me to Providence.   I was so lethargic, sat in the corner of Sandy and Kate's office, half asleep, mouth hanging open, listening to those two babble to each other about their work tasks, geeks.

Then Jean arrived and I climbed into the back seat and off to Providence we go.  I was happy to doze in the back, Jean drives too fast and follows other vehicles too always makes me a nervous wreck to drive with her.  She isn't getting any younger, surely she can't believe her reaction time is still that of an 18 year old? 

When we first went upstairs I got the first inkling of trouble...they still didn't have all the blood test results in.  I KNEW this would be a problem...Tracy in the Norwich Office hadn't marked the request STAT and hadn't included the fax number for W&I.   I had already called her from Sandy's office, asking her to check on the blood work and get it faxed to them.  Later I learn that they hadn't even started the Oncology Profile...the most important piece of information.  I won't even get into the fact that I had a special tumor marker test drawn and it should never have been done at Backus, I should have had that done at W&I.  Now I don't know if my insurance will pay to have it redone using W&I's standards!  

Okay, so they take me in a little earlier than 11:30, which was when my appt was.   As I'm walking down the hall, JUNE (WHO I WAS TOLD I WOULD NEVER HAVE TO HAVE AS MY CHEMO NURSE, EVER, EVER AGAIN) was telling me that Backus hadn't sent all the test results.  I make ANOTHER call to Tracy and tell her to check and call me back....I don't want her calling the system up there, she could be lost for days.  She calls and tells me Backus is on it.  Later I hear that they still hadn't even started theD Oncology Profile.  

Long story short, my chemo didn't start until after 3pm!   By this time Jean and Dorothy had gone out to eat, gone on two walks and had just left to go back out to the waiting room when June came in to start my chemo.   I think they skeedaddled because Jean heard me say I felt like I was going to puke....she can't stand that stuff.

I'm glad they weren't there to see what happened next....they would have been freaked out.  June started the infusion and left the room.  I was doing guided imagery, using my mother to get the chemo to the places where it would be the most effective, when suddenly, WHAM!   I sat straight up and started coughing....then coughing some more....very loud and uncontrollable.  I thought, What the Hell?  I checked my hands to see if I had hives...I think I lifted my shirt and checked my abdomen, no hives...then I started with the tell-tale hot all over my body.   Then I felt like there was a hand on my throat squeezing my airway very tightly.  I looked one in sight.  So I just started yelling "HELP, SOMEBODY HELP ME PLEASE, HELP".....a visitor in the next cubicle peaked in and left...suddenly the nurses were there asking me questions I just said my chest, my chest, I'm so hot I have to take my clothes off...and I took my sweater off. 

They stopped the chemo from flowing into me and someone brought the kit in and they gave me benadryl and something else I think.  I could feel things clearing up but not as fast as I would have preferred. 

June came in, looked at everyone standing around in my room and asked "what happened?"  DUH! 
One of the nurses, to her credit, asked June, "Where were you?"  Another DUH....she was in the bathroom.  DUH DUH DUH!

Oh and to add insult to injury, the Nurse Practitioner they sent in to "run the code" was that ASSHAT GRACE who I used to have issues with every time I saw her when I was in the hospital...the one who comes in the room lifts my shirt and starts examining me without once telling me her name, her role, anything.  The one who insisted that I had to come back to the hospital two days after my last treatment in the hospital to get a drug I refused to take.  And she tells me I CAN'T refuse it!   I told her, "oh yes I can, I do anything I want.  I have never taken that drug after a treatment and I am not taking it now!"  When she left the room the nurse who was doing my chemo told me "good for you."

But I digress.  In the middle of my anaphylactic reaction....because that's exactly what happened...I'm having my little breathing difficulty and here comes ASSHAT Grace....running in, holding my hand....UGH!

I was very angry and upset that I was having a reaction to Doxel...I had such high hopes for this drug to help me...and it has so few side effects every one told me.  So, in the middle of this I'm banging on the arm of the chair, yelling DAMN DAMN DAMN!!   And Grace takes my hand to comfort me....stupid!  I'm pissed!

Where the hell was Little Ann Marie when I needed her?

Oh June seems to think she's going to be my nurse again....but I told her I wanted appointments on Thursday, because" it works best for me"   She said, "oh, you want to go back to that Thursday thing?"

Tomorrow I call Ann Marie the Boss and tell her I need her to get me an appt with Dr. McCourt the sooner the better so we can figure out a new plan of attack.  I'm going to tell her I don't want to ever see June again.  She screwed up twice on me yesterday, once letting my IV fluid to run out (I texted Sandy and asked her if this is a problem and she said it could screw up my port) I had to ask another nurse to start a new bag of saline.  But the big screw up came with her just starting me on new chemo, without telling me anything about the drug, any side effects to watch for, and walking away.  She should have stayed with me for a few minutes anyway...the first few minutes are critical. 

When the nurses responded, they asked me what happened...I told them June hooked me up and then within a minute I felt strange and within two minutes I was feeling like I was being choked.  They know. 

Then I left my iPhone in the back of Jean's car....figures.

The GOOD NEWS....I did get almost four bags of saline in me today while waiting for the blood tests to come through.  That perked me up considerably.   Also, the steroids they gave me for the reaction may have had a antiimflammatory effect on my guts.  They seem to be a lot better too. SO THERE!
At first I said I wasn't going to get my mother involved in any more of the action, obviously she screwed up in the guided imagery thing...but then Sandy had the thought, maybe Mummy took action in her own heavy-handed way...putting the stop to this chemo right off the bat, instead of letting me go through a few treatments and then having the reaction.  And maybe the treatment for the reaction will end up helping me where I need it most right guts.  I could see certainly was more my mother's MO....nothing subtle there. 

I'll just have to wait and see what is going to happen.  Don't we all?   Right now I'm happy to be in my warm bed, with my puppy stretched out under the covers beside me.  Life is SWEET! 


Friday, November 23, 2012

Back to Chemo

Well, it's been an interesting November, starting off with my trip to Maine with Joyce, to stay at the Meadowmere and to take a cooking class at Stonewall Kitchen, back on the first weekend of the month. 

We did stay at the Meadowmere but we never made it to that cooking class.  Instead Joyce had to drive me to the Urgent Care Ctr in Wells, where they did a CT scan, blood work and pee test and found out I had a UTI...and a small bowel obstruction!  DOH!  

I won't go into all the sordid details and all the weird things that happened that night, but suffice it to say, I was VERY happy to have Joyce with me....she being a nurse and being able and willing to advocate for me.   I ended up taking a three hour ride in the back of an ambulance to Backus, as the surgeon on call at Maine Medical Ctr (which is where I wanted to go) kept pushing back on taking me.  Sandy thinks it's because I am "complicated."  

Anyway, back in Norwich I didn't care for the ambiance at the hospital (roommate who plays the TV 24-7 and spends the daylight hours on the phone whining about her pain level and how she needs more drugs) and the surgeon (who shall remain nameless) was a LITTLE TOO eager to operate on I asked to be shipped to Women and Infants.  

So another ambulance ride to Providence, with another great ambulance crew.  The Maine guys were fun, the American Ambulance gals were also fun. 

When I got to W&I everything calmed right down...including my guts.  What professionals they have up there.  I had my chemo nurse, "Little Anne Marie" as my night nurse and then my all-time favorite, Marcia as my first shift nurse!  WOO HOO!   They took good care of me and by noon I was farting and then VOILA....a BM!   I was out of there around 7pm....and back home in time to vote the next day. 

I saw Dr. D instead of Dr. McCourt on Wednesday for my routine follow-up.  He told me what McCourt had told me when I was in the hospital, that the last CT scan showed that the cancer was growing in me.  He presented me with the option of going on a clinical trial of a drug combined with a substance that stimulates the immune system to fight the cancer.

Sandy and I did NOT like this trial.  It would involve me going to Providence six times a month, having chemo and then having to wait around for HOURS while they drew blood work at four, six and eight hour intervals after the infusion!  No, I did not want to put my family, friends and myself through that ordeal....not in the dead of winter, driving on icy back roads, etc. 

I admit that I sank into a dark hole after this.  I was very weepy, and very down.   Thankfully Sandy understands and put up with me when my depression came out as anger, with me snapping at everything she said. 

The dark hole got darker last weekend when my stomach started acting up...not my small bowel, my stomach...which felt like I had a big fist in there every time I ate something.  I had to soak in the bathtub in hot water three times during the night last Saturday, trying to ease the cramps and pains in my abdomen.  Sunday I lay there in bed like a limp rag....and vowed to eat only liquids from now on.  The next day things felt a bit better, so I dared to try cottage cheese...big mistake.  Right back into the tub I went....weeping silently like an old fool.  

I called Tracy at W&I's Norwich Office and she snuck me in to see Dr. McCourt before office hours Wednesday AM...which was timely since they were discussing my case at Tumor Review Board on Tuesday.

Sandy met me at the office and we went in to see the doc.  She explained that the CT scan shows that the two lesions I have, one near my spleen and one near my liver, have grown....slightly.  They are still only about an inch long apiece.  There are also new "spots" showing up in my abdomen...not surprising given the little "pings of pain" I have been feeling off and on.  She doesn't know how much more cancer is in there that isn't showing up on the CT scan, but my CA 125 is still over 300.

The good news!  She recommends that I go on a treatment of Doyxl....not the clinical trial.  I will start on Monday, will only have to go once a month, and will not need pre meds, so I can drive myself if I am up to it!   WOO HOO!   And the infusion won't take long at all, so it's a quick trip and I'm out of there!  I am so happy about much better than that onerous trial they were talking about.

Doxyl doesn't have many side effects.....mouth sores, a rash that you can get if you wear tight clothes (which I don't) and the skin on your hands can crack so I will need to keep them greased up with lotion.  I won't lose my hair...which is too bad actually, I like being bald.

I still am reluctant to eat solids.  I will stick to puree for a while...we'll see if the chemo "dries things out" in my abdomen, making it easier for me to digest things.   I've lost a bit of weight...I now weigh what I weighed when I went in the Army, back in 1974!   I don't look too good would be better if I was thin AND looked good! 

I didn't go to Sandy's folks for Thanksgiving...I couldn't eat the stuff and the smell of it would have made me sick.  I did, however, puree leftover mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and gravy and have that for supper last night...YUM!   And, it went down just fine.  Jean sent up enough leftovers to keep me going for awhile...she is so sweet.

So Monday AM I go for a cardiac ultrasound as part of my pretesting for chemo, then Jean and her friend Dorothy will give me a ride to Providence to start my new chemo adventure.  Can't wait! 

I don't want to just write about my crap...I also want to note how much I am enjoying the Huskies basketball teams...both of them.  I was so sick of Calhoun and am loving Kevin Ollie all over again.  I think he is the best thing that could have happened to this team.  The women are going to win it doubt in my mind and I am enjoying every second of the season.

AND....THE PATS!!!!   I think the Pats can go all the way too...barring injuries.  They are really clicking on defense now,  to match their offense and I'm so happy!  

Happy Thanksgiving ALL!


Monday, September 24, 2012

NOCC Run/Walk


Annie's Army:  L-R Sharon, Steve, Pam, me, Patty, Carol, Todd, Sandy and Lindsay and all the doggies.

Janet and I put together the gift bags for the doggies registered for the Walk/Run...bags and cookies donated by Janet's friend, Gail.

I would load more pictures here if I could find the damned things.  I just downloaded the pics and now I can't find all of them!  So weird.

The NOCC event was a huge success for the organization, for our teammates and for me personally.

The organization held the biggest walk ever.  Raised the most money ever.  This is the third year for this event and it's growing nicely.  

My team members did well...Steve was second male in his age group in the 5k Run...bettered his time from last year by two minutes!   WOW!  

Sandy and Rocket averaged a bit over nine minutes per mile in the run.  Rocket really helped with this, pulling Sandy just about the whole way.  He and she loved it...they had a great time! 

Carol successfully completed her first-ever 5k, despite blisters and being sore from previous injuries.  So proud of her!

The walkers on the team all finished the course, most of them had doggies that they walked with....and the pooches had a great time too!

There were over 160 dogs pre-registered...this is the first year we have allowed dogs in the run/race and it was much appreciated by people and a HUGE success!

Our team exceeded our $2000 goal and the money continues to come in.  Next year we hope to add more team members (and doggies) and raise even more money.

The weather was wonderful, the food vendors were great and everyone really enjoyed themselves and left the event happy and satisfied.

It was a great time for me because I was able to make it through the whole day, even though I worked hard and long the day before on helping with set-up for the event.  Last year at the walk I was totally out of it...I was soooooo tired and confused.  This year was TOTALLY different...for the better!  What a difference!  YAY!

Now I'm looking forward to our trip to Acadia, we leave on Saturday.  Poor Sandy, she's exhausted...and actually said she didn't want to go to Acadia...but I told her I would load up the RV and I could help with driving...contrary to what she thinks.  She now feels better about it.  We are going to have a good time, exploring the parts of the park we didn't get to see last year, poking around in the area.  The dogs will love it and we will relax and enjoy ourselves.  I hope the weather holds that's all.

This week before we go I'm going kayaking with Jessica on Wednesday.  Probably the last time of the year...which is a shame as I have only gone out on the water one other time this year!  Sandy has yet to get in the water.  Maybe if we have Indian summer in October we can go.  I hope to have Joyce over for lunch, maybe Thursday or Friday and show off the bathroom. 

Joyce and I are starting to look forward to our trip to Stonewall Kitchen in November...we are going to take a cooking class up there...and spend the weekend in Ogunquit.  Can't wait to take her to Billy's Chowder House.  It's going to be a weekend of eating and playing...YAY!

Okay, signing off...things are great, I feel great and life is GREAT!


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Taking Charge

So, by now, most of you know the good news:  my CT scan showed that everything is "stable" and I opted to continue my "chemo vacation" with the blessing of my oncologist.  Someone said, "oh, I'm so happy you are cancer-free."  Nope, I'm not "cancer free"...I still have cancer, it's just staying stable...the lesions I have are the same size from CT scan to CT scan...and my "numbers" on my bloodwork are low. 

I am taking matters into my own hands about my abdominal pain and am using a lot of homeopathic remedies to help it.  I drink aloe juice now which really helps soothe everything and I swig the "gripe water" (ginger and fennel) which helps alot.  I can go for longer periods now when my abdomen does not hurt...YAY!   The Green Market has been a good resource for me...I go there at least twice a week now. 

The pain in my side waxes and wanes...but never goes away.  I go to the allergist tomorrow, finally and hope he has at least a partial answer to what the hell this is!  Watch, it will all be GAS!    I have been getting better in that department and we all know how much gas that can't come out can really hurt.  Maybe I just have to fart for a day (and a half) and everything will be fine. 

Anyhoo, as the chemo gets further and further in the rear view mirror, I feel better.  I notice an increase in energy.  I have been taking a remedy for that too and that helps big time!  I have been able to do more around the house, go out more and last longer before the fatigue hits.  And when the fatigue does hit, I recover faster.  I just have to lie flat for a bit and I can get up and go again.

This weekend we are heading to New Hampshire and Maine.  New Hampshire first for "Wag-it Games" a doggie camp where the dogs will be playing different games.  We'll be taking the RV, of course and staying over Fri-Sun.  Monday we move to Saco, where we will be staying at the KOA.  Tuesday Sandy will be driving the car up to Augusta, to take Bubbles to see the vet up there.  I'll stay back with Rocket and relax.  Truman will go along for the ride to Augusta.

Rocky has an eye infection of unknown origin.  Poor guy has to go back to the vets today because it isn't responding as well as we hoped.  He has had to skip dock diving, going in the water treadmill at PT and his agility classes.  He has been rather "reserved" also....quieter and more pathetic looking.  I hope he feels good enough to enjoy his weekend of games!

The Seaside gang came over Monday night and we had a great time.  I got to show them the bathroom and the RV and we had great food (which they brought) and caught up a bit on what is going on with us.

The weather has turned a bit in the direction I like to in the shade and warm in the sun.  I've been harvesting my roma tomatoes and have frozen three batches thus far.  Some kind of weird thing is hitting the "heritage" romas that we planted and I haven't been able to harvest too many usable ones.  It's a shame because they are nice big romas.  

We have enjoyed the "fruits of the garden" this summer...the squash, beans, corn and tomatoes.  The egg plant are now coming in, but they are small.  I dunno if they will get bigger...this is the first time we have planted them. 

The corn stalks are HUGE.  We'll let them dry and then bunch them around the arbor as a decoration...recycling them.

Oh, and I'm ALWAYS soliciting $$ and walkers/runners for my team "Annie's Army" for the Ovarian Cancer Coalition walk in September---the 22nd.  If you can donate, volunteer (we need volunteers) or walk/run (and there are no "walk police"....if you sign up to walk/run and don't do it, no one will say a word!)....let me know.  I'll be happy to help!  My NOCC Home Page    click on this to go to my page.

Okay, time to get back upstairs to finish the laundry. 


Monday, August 6, 2012

"Quick" update.   Work on the bathroom seems like it's taking forever, but in reality it's "only been a month."  Of course, I had totally unrealistic expectations of it taking two weeks.  Cue loud, maniacal laughter....

We've been glued to the Olympics.  Have enjoyed seeing the runners and the bball team (women).  Sandy wants to run she did in high school.  She has been reading a lot about it and talking a lot about it, but I don't really see her running anywhere.  I'm trying to encourage her to come to the gym with me, I need a gym buddy and maybe that will get her jump started.

She should go running with Rocky again.  He loved it and she did too.  I think I will push her to take him out some time this week.

I, of course, have no desire to run or do anything that involves sweating a lot.  I would be happy to be able to get to the gym and workout again.  I haven't been in some time due to the gut problems, first the runs and then the pains.  Now it's the fatigue that keeps me from going.

Sandy got me some stuff called "Gripe Water"'s for babies with colic, hiccups etc.  I took the adult dose and it really helped with my abdominal pains!   It's $10 a bottle and worth every penny!  Can't believe that something so simple has helped so's so nice to not walk around in pain all the time.

Where the hell did they get the name Gripe Water though?  I don't get it.  It's composed of ginger, fennel and bicarbonate of soda.  Weird.  I'm not griping about it, mind you, just find it curious.

Okay, signing off....USA USA USA!!!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Half way there....

The bathroom is half done.  The shower is tiled, the floor is tiled.  The electrician is coming Saturday to install the new vanity light and prepare the area for the installation of the wiring and thermostat for the floor heat.  The shower door guy came today to measure for the glass.

The shower door will be ready in "two weeks."   I wanted to scream!  Two weeks is the answer for everything! 

I can't complain...Jim has been great, he's coming back on Monday to start prepping the walls for paint and to install the trim.  Still have to finish the plumbing in the shower, install the toilet and install the vanity top and faucets.

I'm glad I didn't put the sealer on the vanity...just as I suspected, some damage was done during the work on the bathroom.  I'll wait until the old top is removed and the new one installed before I do the touch-up and the sealing. 

I was kidding when the work started in the second week of July that I wanted it done "by the end of August" that doesn't look like a joke anymore! 

Today I ran out of steam....I had NO ENERGY....the shower door guy was coming over in a few minutes and I felt absolutely drained!  It took all my will to get up from the chair, get the dogs in their kennels and greet Kirk at the door.  I have no idea how I got him upstairs and then back out the door again.  I guess the 5 hour energy drink I had knocked back just before he arrived must have kicked in.  It was truly scary. 

Sandy thinks I am deficient in manganese or magnesium or has happened several times before when I was getting chemo and they would have to give it to me via IV.  She is searching for a topical version of it for me as she thinks it will make me sick if I take it orally.  What would I do without her?

When I saw my therapist yesterday I told her, "I'm a woman of above-average intelligence (verified by testing...don't take my word for it), who is has great support...from people with medical backgrounds, I have fantastic insurance and I struggle to get a proper diagnosis, proper and adequate treatment and I have to do a lot of work on my own to insure that my doctor's are properly informed regarding actions that other doctors are taking with me, etc.  HOW THE FUCK do people with less resources do it?  I know the answer, they don't....and they suffer and die.   It's unbelievable in this day and age that this goes on....but it does, every friggin' day.

Enough of that....tomorrow we are hopefully, off to the beach for the first time this year!   Carol is coming with and we plan to boogy board...I already have them out and stacked up in the garage, ready to load into the car.  I can't wait!   I hope I have the energy to do it.

Saturday we are going to Hebron Fairgrounds for another Jack Russell Fun Day...the dogs will get to do their favorite activities and then Sandy and I will hit Harry's on the way home.  We went the other night after the dogs PT appointments and they were CLOSED!  I was crushed!   Charmine said they closed for a staff they should be open on Saturday. 

Be careful out there...the air is bad.  Pace yourselves!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursday from the RV

The pictures from the CT scan I'll have done in the third week of August are starting to take on the noteriety of the Zapruder film!   No less than three doctors now want to see those images and two of them want hard copies!

I went to see Dr. Sansone last week and she got it in her head that the pain I have been feeling in the area of my lower right lung could be a pulmonary embolism!   I knew that couldn't be right, but she went ahead and called Kathleen, my nurse practitioner at Dr. Galan's office and Kathleen was obliged to call me and tell me to go to the ER immediately. 

Carol was with me and we really wanted to go to a Polish Deli in New Britain...any Polish deli.  So, we made a command decision about the ER visit...and went to the Polish deli.  We got pierogis and homemade grilling kielbasa (both of which were DELICIOUS, by the way) and then I dropped her off at her car back in Norwich and made my way to the ER.

It was an exercise in futility.   They did the preliminary test for pulmonary embolism (blood work) and chest x-ray and I was sure that they would see that I did NOT have a PE and maybe, just maybe, they would figure out what I did have.  NOPE!  The bloodwork came back a bit elevated and they were obligated to do a CT SCAN!   OMG!  

Now I have had a CT scan in April, May, June, July and will have another in August.  OVERKILL MUCH?!!!

So Dr. Sansone thinks that my guts are in an uproar because of the Avastin.  She also thinks I have "bacterial overgrowth" again and put me on medication for two weeks...that RX cost my insurance company $1,000!   I am soooooooo lucky I have good insurance! 

She wants to see the pics of the CT scan that I will have done in August. the way...after all the promises I got from my oncologist's office, they NEVER sent the info to Dr. Sansone that they said they would!   I guess I just have to do this stuff myself.

Yesterday I went for my annual follow-up visit for my gastric by-pass.  When I told the tech that I thought I had a hernia, they immediately switched me from seeing the Nurse to seeing Dr. McMillian.  Now I LOVE Dr. McMillian...she is a UConn grad and she is WONDERFUL!   She agreed that I probably have a hernia...but a definitive diagnosis can only be made by a CT scan of the SHE wants a hard copy of the pictures! 

She also agrees with Dr. Sansone (and Sandy too) that my abdominal woes are from the Avastin...a case of the cure being a problem...I won't say the cure is worse than the disease, because that is definitely NOT true!   The cure is a problem. 

As the Avastin gets out of my system...and as the Gas-Ex does the job that Gas-Ex does, I feel better and better.  I still have the mystery pain in my lung area, but I have an appt to see my allergy doctor at the end of August, and maybe he can shed some light on that! 

We went to Stowe last weekend in the RV with two teenagers, Ryan and his girlfriend.  Ryan was in a lacrosse tournament up there and we were his transportation, food and lodging for the weekend.  It was fun, but very tiring as we did NOT bring the car.  That meant that we had to drive the RV to the event area.  It called for a lot of setting-up and tearing down during the weekend.   We did have a nice air conditioned place in which to eat, potty, rest and relax between games though.  Ryan didn't play in the last game so we were able to hit the road to home early, avoiding the Sunday night traffic.

Vermont is so beautiful.  The air up there was so good, so easy to breathe.  The scenery was spectacular.  I love it there.  It's another one of those states that, if it had an ocean, it would be the perfect place to live!

The bathroom work is really progressing.  The tile is going in the shower and on the floor.  They should be finished by tomorrow I would think.  Some modifications that I requested have resulted in some I increased the amount of floor heating....but that's a good thing. 

It is looking so beautiful...can't wait to see what it looks like painted and with the vanity top and new light installed!

Hopefully those jobs will get done next week and I'll be able to enjoy my new space for my birthday! 

Storms coming in tonight...hope we don't lose power....we don't have enough gas in the RV tank to run the generator for long...we were so tired Sunday we didn't "top off" before we put it in the driveway, as we usually do.  I have "battened down the hatches" and we will hope for the best!

Be careful out there folks, the weather this summer is crazy scary!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Renovations....Joy and Horror

I'm typing this seated at the dinette in the RV, which is parked in our driveway, plugged in so I can run the air conditioner.  The dogs and I consider this our "new home" as the guys work on the bathroom renovations.   It makes for a much quieter and nicer environment than having to lock them up in their kennels in the house and listen to them bark every time they hear a peep from upstairs.

The work is progressing.  Todd came Friday and moved the plumbing for the shower to the opposite wall, which means that now I am going to get the glass half-wall that I always wanted, right next to the big beautiful window in the bathroom.  I am so excited about this.  I went down to a local place that Darlene had recommended some months ago and ordered the full glass shower door and the glass for the half wall.  The price they quoted me was EXCELLENT!   Jim, my contractor, had told me that a glass door like that would cost "$4,000."   And his predictions for how much the wall would cost was equally dire. 

Now I realize that he just always uses the "$4,000 figure whenever he's presented with a new idea.  I don't mind, now that I know this about him.  He is doing great work up there and is so neat in the process.

Today they are trying to take up the tile in the laundry room....and remove a raised section of flooring that it's on.  For some reason Bob the Builder...the original home owner who did all this installation, chose to over-engineer everything!   The floor can't be pried up because he put hundreds of nails and screws in it!  They have to pull up the tile to get to the nails and screws and he put the tile down with Who-Knows-What but it isn't coming up easily!   They have to chip each tile and they break and leave little bits, etc.  A nightmare! 

Now Jim has a healthy respect for what I went through trying to get the damned wallpaper off!  Bob over-engineered that too....I don't know what he used to adhere it to the walls, but it was EXCESSIVE!

On Friday when Todd was working on the plumbing, I was out back with the dogs when the familiar gurgling began in my intestines.  CAUTION...what I am about to write you may NOT WANT TO READ! 

I went into the house and used the toilet and when I went to wash my hands, the water just dribbled out of the faucet.  UH-OH....Todd had shut the water down!   Now, when I have one bout of diarrhea, it does NOT stop siree, it goes on and on, sometimes the next bout coming immediately on the heels of the last one.

I panicked....what to do?  The RV!    I raced out there and checked the water levels....the fresh water read EMPTY!   Oh no...I can't use the RV!   I could get a bucket and fill it from the swimming pool and use that to flush the toilet inside, but that would only be one flush and frequently I have to flush multiple times in one sitting....OMG!  I can't use the house toilet!

I grabbed a roll of toilet paper and the key to the back gate that leads to the path in the woods...SO HAPPY we have woods behind our house.  By then my guts were really gurgling again....I raced down to the gate, got the key in the lock and it hit!   I didn't have time to unlock the gate...had to "do it" right there along the fence...with three Jack Russells right there, watching me with puzzled looks on their faces. 

I scooped dirt over the mess and raced back up to the house, where I got plastic store bags and handy wipes from the RV.   I also picked up a small garden spade from my tool box.  I raced out back again and through the gate to the woods.  

I had just enough time to set all my supplies in a row when the wave hit me again.   I crouched there in the woods, surrounded by the piles of brush that we haul out there from the yard and was thankful that we no longer lived on Sunrise Street, where none of this "cover" would be possible.

The whole thing lasted for what seemed like an eternity.  I had to dig four holes out there and felt like I was back in the National Guard, touring Germany.  I was physically wiped out and it took all of my strength to clean things up, and make my way back to the RV, collecting the dogs along the way.  I collapsed on the bed and the dogs and I slept for about an hour until Todd called on my cell to let me know he was done. 

The evidence was all bagged and disposed of properly....the holes were covered over, camouflaged with sticks and leaves and I poured about a half gallon of vinegar over them.  I could have kept my mouth shut and no one would have been the wiser.

But no...I had my iPhone with me out in the woods and I texted Sandy as I crouched...telling her, "if this was happening to someone else, I'd be laughing." 

I go tomorrow to see the gastroenterologist and hopefully she can come up with some remedy to help me with all this shit....and I mean that literally and figuratively.  Carol is coming with me...she used to work with Dr. Sansone and it will be great to have them see each other again...and she can help me explain things to the doctor.  She can also help me remember what the doctor says and can share the info with Sandy.  Sometimes I have trouble with this part...remembering or understanding what the doctor is saying.

The work on the bathroom will continue into next week and maybe beyond.  In the meantime, we head to Stowe this weekend, taking Ryan with us.  He'll be playing in a lacrosse tournament up there.  We are all excited about this get-away. 


Friday, July 6, 2012

Lots of energy seems that the more the chemo gets out of my system, the better I feel.  I swear that the chemo is what makes me feel sicker than the cancer does!  That's probably half-true.  All I know is that I have been able to get a lot of things done lately.  The one thing that gets to me fast is the heat...I wilt under the sun. 

I have been able to take the dogs for walks around the neighborhood, mow the lawn, do laundry, vacuum, cook and clean...all in the same day!   Being in air conditioning in the house helps a lot. 

We have had a good, productive week.  Rocky went for his second session at Denise and Bob's cottage and he did great!  He even jumped off the end of the dock!  He absolutely loves this we have to figure out how to get him to jump for distance.  Distance is key in dock diving competition...they don't care if you hesitate at the end of the dock, it's how far you jump that is important. 

We went to Janet's for the Fourth...nice picnic and it was great to see Janet, Jeremy and Jessica and the pooches.  I should have brought my bathing was SO HOT!   I finally moved into the house to get cooled off, but it was too late.  I was too far gone.  Sandy brought me home and I laid down for awhile and then perked back up.

No fireworks next door this year.  I don't think they will do that again...not after the talk Carol had with them last year, sealed by my chat with them.  It was pretty cheeky of them all these years to think that we loved their fireworks upsetting our dogs and we liked having the debris all over our back yard.  They used to shoot off BIG fireworks.   No more, for which we are grateful.  However, the people up the hill right across the road through the woods had to make up for the loss of the old fireworks by putting on their own show.  People can be such assholes!

The good thing...Bubbles really calms down with the thundershirt that we got for her.  We put it on when the storms are starting and before the fireworks and she was excellent throughout the ordeals....she laid on Sandy's lap and didn't run off, drooling or any of the other stuff.  Of course, it helps that she is going a little deaf.  My poor baby is going deaf! 

Wow, is 8:45 and I have already gotten so much done!  I've done a load of wash, fed the dogs, cat, birds and fish.  I've loaded stuff into the RV for this weekend's trip.  I have cooked up potatoes, to fry with the fish for tomorrow night and for potato salad for lunch tomorrow.  I cleaned the fridge and did general cleaning upstairs and down.  Next I have to put away laundry, make the bed and finish packing. 

Oh...I have to get clothes out of the closet before Monday.  The work starts in the bathroom Monday and once it does, it may be hard for us to get into the closet. 

I still have to get a light fixture for over the vanity.  I'll do that next week, when the guys are will be nice to get away from the hubbub in the house.  I lucked out, Sandy has to work third shift three days next week--for the opening of the new Backus "ER" in Plainfield.  So, she will be sleeping in the RV during the day and will take the dogs in there with her...freeing me up to be able to be footloose and fancy free!  

I may even sneak away to the beach one never know.

I am looking forward to going to the beach someday soon with Sue.  She had her big day yesterday and Bill called last night to let me know things went way better than the surgeon thought it would.  I was so happy, I shrieked!   Later in the night as I was sitting up in bed in the dark, I started crying, thinking about all she has been through and how much better she is going to feel now.  Well...not right now...but down the road she is going to feel so much better.  Can't wait for her to come home so I can go bug her!

Oh, I have to note this...I am totally hooked on "Breaking Bad."   I can't believe I haven't watched the show before this.   I am recording all the previous seasons on the dvr and watch an episode or two to take a break from my chores.  I can't decide if it's a comedy or drama...or both...I just love it.

And the other thing I'm hooked on is the theme song Kathy Griffin recorded for her show....Sandy and I sing it spontaneously.  I downloaded it onto my iPhone, so now I have it for's "in the Cloud."   I love her and am thinking about going to see her again when she comes to Foxwood in November.  This would be the third time I see her and you know what they say about the third time...

We are off to Dummerston, VT today...coming home Sunday.  Murph and the neighbors are in charge while we are away.  


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Brief, but critical blog update...went to see Dr. McCourt today.   We had to wait a bit, but it was totally worth it!

She said that the CT scan they did last week showed that the fluid in my abdomen has decreased, the lesions that they have been watching are stable and NOT large enough for me to qualify for the clinical trial drug that I was supposed to start today.  She also said that my CA 125 level has DROPPED from 245 to 100!   And that was when I was NOT getting any chemo!   I haven't had chemo since May 17th.

She doesn't know what to recommend for chemo for me now.  She doesn't want me back on the Avastin due to the high risk for bowel problems (perforation)...and the fact that it appears I've already had a GI bleed of some sort---which led to the last trip to the ER, which in turn, started this whole "cancer-is-spreading-even-though- you-are-on-chemo-scare."  She doesn't understand why I'm still having the diarrhea problems and the bowel pain.  She questions if it's due to adhesions, which I have questioned myself.  So, she's wondering if this whole episode of rising CA125 levels, fluid in the abdomen, etc., is due to inflammation from whatever is going on with my bowels, and nothing to do with cancer spreading in the abdomen.

I told her I liked that line of thinking and we agreed that I will contact my GI and get in to see her ASAP. 

She also recommended an eight week "holiday" where I don't get chemo and then we do another CT scan and bloodwork and see what happens.  If the lesions grow then at worst I qualify for the clinical trial and she's sure there will still be a space for me.  If the lesions don't grow, then maybe I continue my "holiday" and we just go month-to-month to see what happens.  If the lesions grow, but not enough for the trial...we decide what chemo I will go on.

Whatever happens in the future, I HAVE THE SUMMER OFF FROM CHEMO!   I plan to make the most of this "vacation"...I have a lot I need to do on the bathroom project and we have lots of plans for RVing this summer. 

I just have to watch for any of my tell-tale symptoms...fatigue, bloating, pain.   Piece of cake. 

I am still trying to process all this new information.   I have gone from being bummed about being told that the cancer was growing despite the this...and it may sound strange, but I don't feel quite as happy about it as one would imagine.  I know Sandy is ecstatic and I should be too....but I'm not there...yet.   I would say right now that I'm "cautiously optimistic."  I think that given time to process and understand more I will be appropriately ecstatic.  It didn't help my mood today that physically I felt ill and mentally my head was 'fuzzy."   As the chemo continues to get out of my system, these physical and mental feelings will diminish. 

We decided to celebrate by eating out at Olive Garden...which will make some of this blog's readers cringe...but it was a good meal.  Then we went to F W Webb in Waterford and spent big bucks picking out great faucets for the shower and vanity and all the accessories--towel bars, grab bar, hooks, etc.  I LOVE the things we (I) chose.   Sandy has the good sense to throw in a comment here and there and then stand back and let me decide.  What the hell, I'm paying for the whole thing!   Anyway, that bath is going to look MAHVELOUS! 

I said brief update, but now I'm rattling I'll end with...


Monday, June 25, 2012

So, I'm wrong about when the work on the bathroom will start.  I had asked the contractor three times about a date and he consistently told me that the last week of June was good.   So you may remember that I went to the RV park and reserved a spot for a week, so we could move out of here while they ripped up the bath.

Well, he came over the other day to go over the details again and I learned some things...some of them good and some of them not so much...   First, work will start the second week of July.   I'm out the $150 I put down as a deposit on the campsite, as I didn't give them at least 14 days notice of the cancellation. 

Second, the wall board won't be torn out.  It's the right kind of board and he feels confident he can smooth it down enough to paint it without having all kinds of spots and bumps.   This will save me a boatload of money.  The wallboard isn't expensive, but he would need an awful lot of it....due to the different angles and height of the room.  So, I save more than the $150 I lost on the deposit.

The job is going to take at least two weeks.  Four days for the contractor (I'll stretch that to five...knowing what I know about how guys work) and a week for the tile guy.  I didn't realize that the guy I've been working with is NOT going to be the one to put in the tile.  The tile will be installed by the guy from Colonial Carpet and Tile.  That's fine with me. 

I saw the estimate from Colonial and gulped, hard.  I went a bit over my budget for the tile.  That's all right, I absolutely LOVE the tile we picked out. 

Now I have to get to the store to pick out faucets, shower heads, drain, towel bars, toilet paper holder, lights for over the vanity, etc.  I also have to pick out a shower door.  I'm not sure if I can order that before the shower is built and they build accordingly, or if I order it after the shower is done.  I think the latter is the safest bet.

I have prepped and base coated the vanity and it looks great.  I'm waiting until after the vanity top (which is now sitting in my garage) is installed, before I do the glazing technique and put the seal coat on.   I'm trying to think ahead and if I wait, I can repaint if there are any dings or marks put on the vanity when they remove the old top and install the new one. 

As Charmine said, the bathroom renovation is a process....and it's processing!  It will all come together soon enough.  By the end of the summer we will have a new bathroom.    Of course, last night Sandy said she would be happy just to get rid of the horrid carpet and horrid shower door.  She could live with all the rest...I said, "now you tell me."   But I couldn't live with all the rest...the wallpaper, the vanity top, etc. 

We had a wicked, wicked thunderstorm here this AM.  It has really cooled down from the high heat we had last week.  I'm glad we are not in the RV at the that little change of plans worked out for the good. 

Oh, I had my CT scan Friday.  Then went over for blood work and then upstairs to meet with the nurse regarding my appointment for chemo this Thursday.  She was supposed to tell me when the appt is and also what to expect, as far as how long the infusions will take, what premeds I'm supposed to get, etc.  Well, I went up there and let them know I was there.  I waited 25 minutes and no one had come out.  I had to get to Trader Joe's and then to my reflexology appointment, so I just got up and left.  I wonder if she ever came out to look for me....

So I go Thursday.  My appt with the doctor is at 11am.  I have no idea when my chemo appt is but I'm assuming it will be sometime after I see the doctor.  Sandy is coming with me for this appt.  Maybe she can go to work early and then come home and get me.  She can bring her computer and work while she waits with me....but I hope we aren't there all day.

What I'm really hoping is that I don't have to get benadryl IM before my infusion.  If I can skip the benadryl then I should be able to drive myself home from the appt...which means I don't need someone to come with me.  This would be great.  I feel less like a sick person and it means that Sandy doesn't have to take time off from work.  She hasn't claimed FMLA for over a year now and now she may have to get the paperwork submitted again. 

I also don't know who I will have for a chemo nurse.  I hope I can keep Little Anne Marie...but if I can't have her I would prefer to have Sandra...which I can't believe I am saying.  I used to despise Sandra when she worked on the other wing.  Now that she is out of that wing and away from that other toxic staff, she and I get along just fine.  She is a competent nurse and that's what I'm looking for.  I've had enough of incompetence, thank you very much.

Sandusky guilty....go to jail.  John Edwards...get lost.   Howard Stern RULES!!!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Back from our wonderful trip to the great state of Maine!   We got on the road around 11:30 Friday AM and ran into light traffic, although there were some hairy moments going through construction zones.  We arrived at our campsite with plenty of daylight left to set up the site inside and out, have dinner and take a hike down to the pond with the dogs.  We had a nice level, shady, hillside site, with very few "neighbors" around us. 

Sandy sprung for five bundles of wood...they are small bundles...and it looked like that would be a mistake because we were too pooped Friday night for a campfire.  We did, however, have fires going every other night and some mornings the rest of our stay. 

Saturday I got up and made breakfast, then had to go back to bed, didn't feel well at all.  I don't know what it is, but frequently after I eat I feel quite ill.  Fortunately that wore off, as did the clouds, in time for us to meet Gina and Andy at the diner.  We ate outdoors on the patio in the sun.  Sandy and I both had a big bowl of seafood chowder.  YUM!  

Then we went to Gina's house, where we met up with other "Jack Pack" folks and their dogs.  After a quick tour of Gina's lovely home and great backyard, we all piled into our respective vehicles and drove to Parker's Pond, a little distance from the house.  We went to a swimming area on one side of the road and all the dogs took dips in the pond, chasing toys. 

We tried Rocket in this environment.  HE DID IT!  He went for a swim, even though there were five other JRTs milling about on the shore and in the water.  It was a couple of firsts for him;  playing with so many other dogs around and first time he has been for a swim in a pond.  He has only been in the pool up until now.  He even went after a toy in the water that two other dogs were swimming to get!  Amazing!

We waited for the other JRTs to exit the water, then brought Bub and Truman out for a dip.  They loved it, as usual.

Then we all paraded across the street to the the boat launch area, where there is a dock.  We wanted the dogs to practice jumping off the dock.  Another first for Rocky.  He, like some of the other dogs, did NOT jump off the dock this time, but Sandy would lower him towards the water over the edge of the dock and he would "leap" to get the toy.  Then he got into the mode where he doesn't even care if there is a toy to be gotten, he just wants to get into the water!  We really think that someday he will get to the point where he will jump off the's a matter of time.

Bub and Truman came out and had another swim when all the rest were being dried off and loaded into their respective vehicles.  They had fun playing in the water, Bubbles "fishing" along the shore, looking for frogs...which we know she loves to kill!

Then we drove to Readsville to a nice cafe for dinner.  I was feeling pretty yucky, starting at the boat launch.  My guts were in an uproar and I had to keep going to the porta potty while the dogs were swimming and then made a few visits to the restroom at the cafe.  It had gone on too long and I got to my "cranky place" which, if you know me, you know that place ain't pretty...or very becoming to me.  I ran out of patience with everything after dinner and couldn't wait to get back to the RV and the friendly confines of my own "john."

Once we got back though, Sandy gave me some stuff from her homeopathic remedy kit, which settled my guts right down and I felt SO MUCH better.  We had a campfire and I was able to enjoy the evening.  We even heard loons on the pond while we were sitting out by the fire!  LOONS!  My favorites!

Sunday the sun was shining and I was feeling about 80% better than the day before.  Some more of that homeopathic stuff and I was ready to go for the day.  We lazed about in the RV and outside until later in the day and then we took the dogs back to Parker's Pond to swim.  The three of them swam at once this time as there were no other dogs or people around.  They had a ball.

We brought them back to the RV, totally bushed.  It's so nice when Jack Russells are all tired out.  They sink like logs into the bed, chair, couch and don't move.  They are so happy to be sleeping.  We love it.

We burned up the last of the wood and sat out for a long time, listening to the loons and the silence that surrounded us.  We were practically alone at the campground, most everyone else having moved out by noon.  It was a great decision to stay the extra night and head home on Monday to avoid the Father's Day traffic.

We had a great time in Maine, loved the campground, so that's another place we can add to our list of nice places to stay in Maine!  The Belgrade Lakes area is so damned beautiful.  We can't wait until our next trip north, which I believe is on Labor Day Weekend, when the Jack Pack gets together again.  We also have a separate trip to Wells planned for sometime in September.  And the big trip to Acadia at the end of Sept-beginning of October.  All of this is if we can work around my new schedule of weekly chemo sessions.

 We had an uneventful trip back home on Monday, although we swear we saw a RV on the other side of the road sideswipe a truck carrying a half of a modular home! 

Oh, on Sunday Maria called on her way home from Bob Miller's house.  She, Phil and Steve went to see Bob for Father's Day.  I'm glad they did.  I haven't seen him since my last "session" with Wini.  I can't be around her, it makes my blood pressure go up too high.  I miss my Dad, but it's better that I don't go.  Maria says that not much has changed for the better since I was last there, Wini is still stubbornly refusing to accept more help in the home.  Someone comes in to bathe Bob twice a week and that's it.  It would drive me nuts to be there.

Bob doesn't remember me.  He did note that "someone was missing" from the group though...he kept asking who was missing and they kept telling him "Ann."  Maybe they should have said "Ernie" because EE wasn't there either and maybe that's who he was thinking of.  EE hasn't been home to see us in so many years, we forget to list him as a family member!  I think he likes it that way...he must, otherwise he would have been out to visit.

Now we are making plans for the great bathroom do-over.  Jeremy came up while we were gone and removed the carpeting and some of the tile.  Jim, the contractor, is coming over Thursday to go over last minute details.  We have to pack up clothing, food, etc into the RV to move to Ross Hill Campground on Sunday.  We may or may not come back some nights to sleep here...we just won't use the bathroom.  We'll also be back daily to feed Murphy, who will be our on-site supervisor and I'll bring the dogs over some days to run in the back yard and to swim in the pool.

It's going to be a scorcher tomorrow, Sandy took the solar cover off the pool, so I can take the pups swimming.  We hope to get to Denise's at Beach Pond tomorrow with Rocky, to practice dock diving.  Hopefully his experience of the weekend, with all the people and the other dogs, will help him with being in an unfamiliar place--Denise's.  She has been so nice to offer her facilities up for his training purposes.  I hope he is nice to her in return.

Oh, Sandy went grocery shopping and came home with a jar of Nutella.  I have seen this stuff for years...first time was back in the early 80's when I was in the Netherlands with the National Guard and we went into a Dutch mess hall...they had a jar of Nutella on every table.  So, Sandy is allergic to nuts, which is what nutella is made of, so I assume she got it for me.  Yes, she did....and today when I texted her and told her that I felt really ill again she prescribed NUTELLA!   I did as she said, I made a piece of multigrain toast, spread with nutella...and VOILA!  I felt better within a few minutes.  So odd that something that tastes so sinfully good could actually be good for you! 

I don't know why I keep feeling so ill...maybe it's the chemo leaving my body, or maybe it's the chemo period and this is going to be something I'm always going to have as a result of taking chemo.  I'm reading more and more about the long term effects of chemo on the body.  Anyway, which ever it is, I do have to learn to handle feeling so ill a bit more gracefully.  I can't be so impatient and so grouchy, with Sandy and other people.  They don't know what it feels like and it isn't fair to them.  Sandy is so good to me and I need to be a LOT nicer to her, particularly when I don't feel well.

It's not right I tell you.  Not right at all.

Okay, off to bed.   Big day tomorrow of hauling a poop sample from Rocky to the vet in Mystic, then hopefully getting to the gym for a workout, drop off the tile samples at Colonial and then home to take the pups for a swim.  Then we can all take naps...the JRTs and me.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Am I great or what?

I am soooooo smart!   I had the whole chemo thing worked out even before the doctor did.

Just as I predicted, I will have to have a CT scan....will get that done next Friday and then I will start the new chemos on the 28th.  EXACTLY what I said!

I will stop crowing now.  UGH...I'm going to have to have chemo this month! 

We leave for Maine tomorrow--coming home Monday.  Hope to convince Rocky to become a "dock dog."   While we are away, Jeremy will be ripping up the carpet in the bathroom...YAY!   He's also going to remove as much of the tile as he can.   It is going to look so different in there when we come home, with that HORRID pink carpeting GONE!

But not as different as the following week, when the guys come to rip things out and put things in!  YAY!!!

So that's the latest from here in HappyLand....


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Not much to report from here, which is fine by me.  Lots of sitting at home, doing chores around here and napping...lots of napping and lots of "I can't wait for bedtime."  I guess I am really tired, a lot.

That goes with the territory they say.  I have made it to the gym a couple of times and felt good while I was there, then would come home and CRASH.  So much for boosting my energy level.  I have to pace myself, save my strength for special occasions.

I did get down to the tile place last week--joined by Lindsay and Charmine.  We picked out the tile for the shower, a matching tile for the floor and a decorative glass tile for the accents.  I am so excited about our's going to look fabulous in there!  I'm not going to want to leave the bath! 

Sandy and I went Saturday and picked out a vanity top that's a marble composite.   I LOVE it!   We also bought a nice Kohler toilet and it has a great feature...when you put the seat down it drops it down those drawer closers that they have nowadays.  We got a "chair height" toilet.  It sits in the garage for now.  We'll install it ourselves after the guys finish all the work. 

Because I ended up getting ceramic tile for the floor instead of vinyl, I can now get heat installed in the floor.  I'm so excited about this.  We have little heat sources in our bathroom now...we usually have to run a little portable heater to keep from having ice forming on our noses.  I know that having warm feet won't stop the ice on the nose phenomenon but at least our feet will be happy!

And, I got paint samples and painted them on the wall, to help us choose the right one.  I'm very happy with the choice we made.  The one we all liked initially just disappeared on the wall...way too light.  Glad I tried the other samples.

I bought a kit to refinish the vanity cabinet.  The color I chose is called "Seaside" oddly enough.  I'm hoping I do the process right and it comes out looking good.  If not...well, I don't know what I'll do!

We are heading to Maine this weekend, leaving Friday AM and returning on Monday.  We'll be going to dock diving in Freeport I think it is.  I'm not paying attention to where, it's enough for me to know that we'll be in Maine. 

We are going to try Rocky at dock diving again...see if he can get over his tentativeness about the other people in the area, the other dogs, the noise, etc.  He's had a whole year of agility and all the confusion that brings to give him more experience.  We know he LOVES the water and he LOVES jumping into the water.

Denise offered her dock at Beach Pond for us to practice with Rocky and we are definitely taking her up on that offer!   It's right down the road and it is a great dock, with noise, people etc around to give him more exposure to those conditions. 

Perhaps dock diving, along with agility, will be Rocky's niche.  He isn't into the regular Russell games.  We want to find something he loves to do. 

We appreciated his reluctance to be like the other Russells the other night when he tentatively followed a huge skunk who was making its way across the yard after having just sprayed Truman in the face.  Sandy called out to Rocky, who turned around with a worried look on his face and promptly trotted back to us.  I corralled Rocky and Bubbles, while Sandy scooped up Truman, who was busy rubbing his face in the dirt, trying to get the stench off.

I mixed up the skunk smell remover formula and Sandy applied it...and IT WORKED!  Truman didn't smell.  Still some lingering whiffs of skunk smell in the guest bath, where she washed him down.  Not bad though for how bad he got hit with the stuff. 

That was our excitement for this week.

Next week we have to start packing up to move out of here while the men do the bathroom renovations.  Should be nerve-wracking.  I still haven't heard from Jim, the contractor.  He was supposed to get in touch with me by now so we could go over the final details.  I did email him and told him the additional jobs I want him to do, including installing the vanity top--if it comes in while they are still here working on the bathroom.  If I don't hear from him by tomorrow night, I'll call.

If I don't hear from Dr. McCourt I'll guess I'll have to call her too.  She was supposed to be looking at the clinical trial protocol and figuring out when I can start chemo.  I want to know when it starts, then I can start planning my calendar.  Since I'll be going for chemo weekly, I need to figure out a lot of things!  I hope they will be flexible about that once a week thing, especially if we are planning to go away in the RV. 

I will not let ANYTHING interfere in our RV trips!   I have my priorities.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012


heard from doctor when I pulled into garage after my workout at the gym and shopping trips to Stop and Shop, Home Depot and Campbell's farmstand. 

She said that they don't see much new on the CT scan Backus "nodule" that had disappeared on their scans seems to be back again.  Why do they say "nodule?"  Why can't they say tumor?  They have all these euphemisms for tumor--"nodule"; "lesion"; "hyper density" and "hyper enhancement"--use language I can understand, damnit! 

Anyway, she said that there seems to be something going on..."brewing" is the word I used.  The fluid (ascites) is a concern...that's something new.  Most likely there are changes that the CT scan can't pick up yet. 

I told her I wanted to go on the clinical trial drugs.  She has to study the protocol and "do the math" to figure out when I can start the new chemo.  I have to wait 28 days from the last time I took the old clinical trial drug, Everolimus, which was on Thursday.   I may also have to have another CT scan before I start the drugs.  My CA 125 is now up to's going up things are not good in there.

I'm hoping I don't have chemo until the first week of August...just in time for my 63rd birthday.  If I have it the end of this month, it will be complicated.  We will be staying in the RV in Lisbon...I'll need someone to drive me home from chemo AND someone to stay with the dogs in the RV...I can't leave them there alone...what if they barked the whole time?  So, Jean will have to dog sit and Sandy will have to drive me...or Sandy can drive me and the dogs can come along for the ride.  I don't need Sandy to sit with me the whole time...she can sit out in the car with the dogs and make sure they are okay.

So that's the story, Morning Glory...I'm still waiting to get the "math question" answered and to find out if I have to go for yet another CT scan.  I'll be willing to bet that I start this treatment on June 28th.  

I have my questions answered...the ones I cared about.  And the answer is:  the cancer is back and growing...somewhere that isn't totally showing up on CT it's not THAT big.  One of the drugs I'll be taking is a biological agent that responds to a different marker than Avastin, so it won't be like taking the drug that didn't work; and the other drug is a known chemo drug that has had some success against ovarian cancer.  A one-two punch.  It's not a blind study, I know I will be getting both drugs, no placebos in this study.  YAY!

Now we get back to planning that trip to Freeport for dock-diving the weekend after next and getting stuff picked out for the bathroom remodel.  In other words, the important things in life.



Waiting for Dr. McCourt to call to get my decision about what I want to do next...and for her to tell me how the Women and Infant's diagnostic imaging staff interpreted the CT scan done by Backus. 

I was supposed to have this call last Friday, but the disc that Backus sent to my doctor (via me) was blank!  This is the second time I have delivered a disc with (supposedly) my CT scan images to Women and Infants...and both times the disc was blank!  I am going to refuse to have any more CT scans done at Backus...the staff are nice and all...but.....

Anyway, I had a reprieve from making my decision while they worked on getting a good disc from Backus and getting it over to the experts to compare with my other CT scans. 

I made my decision anyway.  I'm going to stick with the "biological agents."  I have been getting Avastin, which is a biological agent...but it apparently is not working and it may have caused me to have an upper GI bleed.  So, I just say NO to Avastin and anything that might cause bowel perforations. 

I'm willing to give these new biologicals a chance.  They won't bother my bone marrow, they won't wear down my immune system and, unfortunately, they won't make me lose my hair.  I am really bummed about that...I do want to be bald again....BUT I can always just shave my damned head!

Okay, Dr. McCourt, CALL ME!   I have things to do!   I want to get to Home Depot to pick up small paint samples of a few of the colors I'm considering for the bathroom...paint them on the wall and then we can decide.   I also need to get over to Goodwill, to get some size 12 jeans and shorts.   I have a feeling that I won't be staying in that size for long, and I don't want to spend a whole lot of $$ for them, so Goodwill it is! 

Tomorrow I hope Charmine can join me in picking out tile for the shower and floor covering.  The bathroom project looms large in our future and I have not gotten much done since the decision to not remove any more damned wallpaper! 

I have to get the flooring up, the toilet removed, the choices of materials made and purchased and everything moved out for the guys to start work.  I have to get the RV packed and prepared for our "big trip" to Lisbon, where we will be staying while the work gets done.  Lots of stuff to do.

Good thing I won't have chemo this whole month to interfere with all the other things I need to do! 

Okay, Dr. McCourt...any time now!


Thursday, May 31, 2012


When I signed onto to the clinical trial I started in December they said because I'm considered a "chronic ovarian cancer patient", I would stay on the drug until "progression or toxicity." 

Today they stopped the drug.  Avastin is what I have been taking, along with the drug that they are testing to enhance the action of Avastin, called Everolimus. 

Tonight I have to read a lot of material about two other drugs that are part of a clinical trial and taxol, a drug I have had in the past.  Tomorrow I have to give my answer regarding which poison I am choosing to take, the new combo drug or the taxol. 

I have had to change my goal of beating this cancer to a goal of "containment."   My doctor used that words with me today and I'm glad she did.  Now I am sure that she is a straight shooter and I don't have to worry about her beating around the bush and equivocating when it comes to the important decisions. 

So, we hope to contain this cancer so it doesn't spread.   I have to spend some time absorbing this information, so I can understand how it will effect my decision making in the future. 

I have had the blinders on from the get-go about this cancer...that's how I have coped with it thus far.
All "cheery, can-do, rally-round-the-flag boys" stuff.  And it has worked.  Not to say that I am dropping this attitude, I just have to be realistic too. 

The reality is that few in my situation get out alive.  That is the cold hard fact about ovarian cancer.  It's a real killer.  Just as getting a diagnosis of breast cancer or lung cancer a few years back was a death sentence, ovarian cancer at Stage Three or Four is pretty much a death sentence.

Those of you who need to hear cheery news, who don't want to hear about dying or the sordid details of this illness, stop reading this blog now and don't ever come back.  I won't judge.  It's all right.  I totally understand.  Not everyone wants to talk about or listen to this stuff.  I don't even want to have to write it...but I am going to write it...for selfish reasons, it helps ME. 

It helps ME to put these thoughts and events in writing.  It helps me to get some clarity, to make decisions, to prioritize my life.  People have frequently said to me "too much information"...I know sometimes they are joking, but sometimes they mean it...I do share a lot of information...more than the average person, I know that.  If this stuff is too much information...don't read it.

Anyway, long story short.  I started having abdominal pains last week when we came home from the JRT trials and then had a fever to boot.  So I ended up in the Backus ER on Thursday.  They did exams and a CT scan, which showed that I had ascites (fluid build-up) in my abdomen and they spotted three lesions (my word, not theirs), where my last CT scan done in April had only shown one.  I also was having black diarrhea this whole time...from my last chemo appointment up until yesterday, so for almost two weeks.  This is not a good thing.

The doctor at the ER told me that the cancer was back.  It really hadn't gone, there was one lesion on my previous CT scan...but the level was low.  Now it looks like things are growing, which may have been there all along, just not big enough to show up on the scan.

My doctor is concerned that I have been having an upper GI bleed, quite likely a side effect of the Avastin, which is notorious for causing bowel perforations.  She stopped my treatment effective today while she reviews the Backus CT scan pictures with the staff at Women and Infants. 

She presented two options for chemo to us today and I have to review them tonight, weigh the pros and cons and make my decision.  She will call me tomorrow to see what I want to do.

No matter which option I take I will be going to chemo once a week instead of once every other week.  I will also need to have the premeds that make me drowsy and incapable of driving myself home, which means I'm going to have to rely on someone(s) else to accompany each time.  I have been enjoying the independence of driving myself to and from treatments.  This is something I will have to adjust to, having someone else there.  Pardon me while I take a moment to swear, rather loudly.....

There....that's out of my system.  I don't want to resent the person who is accompanying me to the appointments, that would not be right.  So I have to get my head straight about this. 

One option is a clinical trial thing...a combo drug.  If I choose that option I can't start treatment until the end of June and it won't be until the end of July before we know if it's effective.  This combo drug also has a number of side effects, including rash (highly likely), which may require taking an antibiotic; fever and flu like symptoms for a few days following treatment and some other stuff which I'm not remembering now.  Oh, it doesn't cause hair loss...and I had been looking forward to being bald again!

The other option is taking Taxol...a drug I have had for two treatments (12 doses).  I would get it every week instead of the every three week interval that I used to have when I was on it.  I would get a lesser dosage so the side effects would be lesser too....bone and joint pain; hair thinning; and diarrhea.  I get diarrhea from everything it seems, so what the hell?

Right now I am leaning toward the combo drug.  Just because if it doesn't work I have Taxol to fall back on, but if I take Taxol and it doesn't work, or stops working, I may no longer be eligible for the clinical trial.  Also, and this is a big factor, I am in good shape physically right now and can better deal with the side effects.  What if Taxol worked but then I got sicker and then had to go to this drug and deal with the side effects while being sicker?   I think I would like to keep Taxol as my "Ace up my sleeve"...I'm familiar with the side effects, they wouldn't be as bad as I have had in the past (and I dealt with them no problem then) and at least I wouldn't have to deal with being really sick from the cancer AND having to deal with new side effects.

It all sounds like I can plan things and have it all work out the way I have planned.  NOT!  I have been humbled into realizing that you can only control somethings....and you better control the things over which you do have control.  Sound like double talk?  I know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I am feeling much better than I did last week.  The pain is no where near where it was, my bloating has gone down.  If the bloating can stay down for the next 28 days until I get the next treatment (if I choose that option), I'll be good as gold!

Oh, I would be horribly remiss if I didn't also include mention of the wonderful time we had at the Jack Russell trial two weeks ago and the fantastic trip to Maine we made last weekend, when Sandy and Rocky ran in the "Canicross" 5K just outside of Freeport.   We took the RV to both events and had a ball....we LOVE that RV.  Jane came to visit and watch the race last weekend.  It was great to see her, we haven't seen her in a couple of years!

We have some great trips planned coming up in June and July and August and Sept and October!  Several trips to Maine, which we absolutely love.  We are going to go to Maine Father's Day weekend, to take the dogs to try dock diving again.  We think Rocky would love it, if he could get past his anxiety about "strangers" being on the dock.  He loves to swim in our pool...he goes nuts in the water. 

Sandy is putting the pool up this weekend and the garden is going to be planted.  I'm going to plant my tomatoes and herbs in pots on the porch.  Sunday I volunteer at the "Drive to Survive" event to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Coalition in Voluntown.  My friend Frannie is going to join me.  Saturday I hope to make it to the gym...have missed going there since I started hurting.  I have been keeping busy doing work around the house, RV and in the yard.  So I haven't been a total slug. 

In short, I have had a set-back with my cancer.  This is a serious set-back, in that this is the first time the cancer has returned WHILE I was taking chemo.  Not good.  However, there are still options I can take to see if we can't rein this in and get it under control once again.  Looking to the future, my goal is to keep it my life and hope for the best.  If I get "cured" I will be pleasantly surprised.  However, I must be realistic and say that the odds of that happening are NOT in my favor.  When my time is up, it is my goal to be as prepared as I possibly can so I don't leave a mess for others to clean up and to know when it's time to say "when."

That's something we can apply to many parts of our lives...knowing when to say "when."


Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Today I had a therapy appointment and in retrospect I have to admit I have come a long way since I started therapy last fall.   That book on Ovarian Cancer has really helped me identify and deal with, some issues. 

Last week I talked with a friend about my feeling that I have to "cut some people loose"...distance myself from relationships that are energy-sucking, or unhealthy, or just no long feel good.  I was a little reticent to discuss my feelings with her, but to my relief, she understood completely what I was talking about, which has given me more encouragement to make what are some difficult decisions.

The decisions are difficult in that I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.  I'm not going to make any pronouncements to these people that I don't want to continue as a "friend"...I'm just going to fade away from the relationships.   Other than the desire to not hurt anyone, the decisions are easy.  I know the relationships I want to ease out of...and deciding to do so definitely feels good and right to me. 

So now, with that stuff behind me, I can move on.  

I am still reading the book, albeit, very slowly.  I haven't read anything since last week.  What I read last week brought back a lot of bad memories.  

What is very interesting to me is that the author of the book was diagnosed at almost exactly the same time that I was.  We went through surgery, and subsequent recuperation around the same time.  We started chemo around the same time.  We were in the same clinical trial for Avastin.  Very eery.

Anyway, I read the chapter about her surgery and the aftermath of said surgery, and it really hit close to home.   We probably were sitting on the toilet, late at night at the same time.  I wish I had known, I would have called her and we could have chatted, comparing notes, to pass the time. 

Post surgery is a very dark place and I hope I don't have to go through that again.  I know I'd make it through, but it's not very pleasant, not at all.  The woman who wrote the book certainly documented most of the side effects and the unpleasantness.  She was very thorough. 

Tomorrow I have chemo and they will draw the CA 125 again to recheck those bad results we got last time.  Jean is coming with me to chemo and afterwards we are going to Trader Joe's.  She has never been there before and I have to buy a bunch of stuff for the weekend.  I love Trader Joe's.   Then we will go get lunch somewhere...probably the "Middle of Nowhere Diner" as I know she has that place in her mind.  When she used to take me to chemo we used to stop there sometimes on the way home.  It's our "special place."

Friday I have another Reflexology appointment with Christine in Rhode Island.  Then, when Sandy comes home, we are off in the RV, to the Hebron Fairgrounds for the New England Jack Russell Terrier Association Trial.   The dogs will be doing lure coursing, "going to ground", find the rat in the barn and other fun games.   Gina is coming down from Maine with her Russells so we will be catching up with her.  Fun!  

I went to Ross Hill RV park and made reservations for us to stay there the last week of June and first week of July, while the men are here working on the bathroom renovations.   I tried to pick a semi-remote site, with an open field on one side and the maintenance barn area on the back side.  The more removed the dogs are from other RVs, the better. 

They did do well at Acadia when we had other RVs all around us...but I just as soon not push it with them.   They are Jack Russells after all.

Sandy has been watching Howard Stern on AGT with me and we have both enjoyed the shows.  I tried to watch a few years ago, when Piers Morgan was a judge.  I didn't last more than a few minutes.  I really like it now.  I am a huge Howard fan but I think the combo of Howard, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel is perfect.  They are all funny and recognize talent when they see it.

The Sox are coming back and I am relieved.  I do have that tattoo on my ankle and I'd hate to have to have it lasered off because I was so ashamed of my team.   They have a long road trip coming up and I'm hoping they continue to do well.

My nephew Andrew graduated from Eastern last night with a BA in education.  He's hoping he gets into grad school now and I'm hoping he does too.  There are no jobs out there.  Might as well stay in school.  My niece Virginia graduates from grad school soon.  She had a job interview for a teaching position and we are keeping our fingers crossed for her!  Both of them are such good kids, I love them.

Okay, time to make my dinner.  I'm having leftover chicken picata that I made the other night, using my new Eating Well with Cancer cookbook.  I love their recipes!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Okay, I was going to keep my mouth shut about this, but I am so frosted about the whole thing that I can't help myself.

Monday I went out with Pauline.  When I came home there was a message on my answering machine from Melanie, the nurse practitioner I saw last week at the Oncology center.  She examined me and interviewed me before Dr. McCourt came in to see me. 

Anyway, Melanie's message was that she was trying to reach me to discuss "some test results" with me.  She tried to call back at 7pm, but I just missed her.  She said she would be back to work on Wednesday.

Sooooo...this means I have to stew about this message for two days.  UGH!  Of course I figured out quickly that the results in question have to be my CA 125 test, which was the only test results that we didn't have at the time we met last week.  I figured that the numbers went up...but I wasn't worried about it because 1) the CT scan results were great and 2) this has happened before when I was on chemo and it was just a glitch.  The numbers came back down quickly.  

So I stew slowly since Monday night.  Even though I have it figured out, it still stays on my mind, because that's the nature of the beast, I suppose.  I even woke up this morning thinking about it!  So, I call her back this morning after I have breakfast...and it's just as I thought....but the number was ridiculously high....87.  It goes up to 87 from 5?    Sandy points out that inflammation could make that happen and guess what?  When I had the blood drawn for the test, I was still having some symptoms from the stupid UTI.  So, I am definitely sure that next week when they will run the test again, the number will drop back down.

 My doctor isn't concerned, she said she "wasn't impressed" with the CA 125 results.  She isn't considering changing anything about my treatment.  She will order the test again and I will have another CT scan in four weeks. 

So why am I frosted?  I'm frosted because they should have not told me about the results of this test until next week when I came up for treatment or they should have just left a detailed message, including what my doctor's reaction is about the whole thing.  I told Melanie time just leave the message.  She is a very nice very forthcoming with information (she's the first one to give me a copy of the CT scan report), but she leaves a message like that for me on the phone?  She won't do that again.  I also gave her my cell number and told her to use that number if she can't get me at home.

On to other updates.  I will be covering some Sun games this year, starting June 1st.  I may cover the opener on May 20th, but I have to check what time the game is, we are at the Hebron Fairgrounds for the Jack Russell games that day. 

Okay off now to enjoy this rainy sleepy day.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Feeling much better as the antibiotic did it's work!  Went to chemo Thursday and saw Dr. McCourt before the infusion.  My CT scan results were great...the second tumor doesn't show up at all on the scan now!  The other one is only a centimeter long and holding there.  Hoping to make that one disappear soon...I think that's a good goal for me to have.

In my last post I alluded to decisions I am making.  One of the biggest is that I am FINALLY reading about ovarian cancer.  I have not read much information on this disease since I was diagnosed, mostly because most of what I did read was negative and I didn't want any negativity getting in my way.

I have evolved to the point where I can finally read about what "they" say about ovarian cancer and I have to admit what "they" say is pretty grim.  This doesn't bother me as much as the fact that I have allowed myself to think/feel what Sandy has been going through.   We talked about it the other night and she said to me "ask me any question you want."   I love her so.  We had a wonderful talk, which I am not going to share because...   Suffice it to say that I don't worry so much about how she is feeling/handling things.  She is a nurse, she knows about these things.  

We have always said that if something were to happen to the other one, we know that our lives would go on...and neither of us would allow ourselves to wallow in depression.  Loss is part of life after all.  And also...we both know that the partner who "departed" wouldn't want the remaining one to be unhappy.  We would miss the other, but we would live our lives.   I think this is a good attitude to have. 

Call me judgmental and I will accept that moniker.  I don't understand people who carry on grieving for years and years...and I know some people like this.  I think that in some cases, alcohol helps them continue to grieve.  I can't imagine that their departed partner would be happy about them continuing to wallow in their misery.  I suppose it's a mental health thing, but then I wonder why they don't go and get some help?

It makes me think of country western songs...where all that kind of behavior (endlessly carrying the torch, drinking) is celebrated.  In reality, there is nothing romantic, desirable or healthy about it.

Speaking of alcohol...I haven't had a sip in almost a year.   Can't drink when I'm on that clinical trial drug...can't go out in the sun for too long either, but I digress.  The subject is alcohol and I don't miss it one bit.  I look around however, and I see folks my age who still drink to excess...I mean getting drunk...and who's lives revolve around alcohol....and I don't want to be around them any more.  Call me a prude...there, another name to call me...a Judgmental Prude...but I don't want to be around people who are drinking too much.  Don't like the unpredictability, don't like the slurred speech, don't want the drama.

This is another decision I'm making....withdraw from those situations where I will be around people who are going to drink too much.

Now I get down from my pedestal.

Anyway, I'm reading a great book...a little at a time...I can only handle so much emotionally.  The book is called "Memoirs of a Debulked Woman:   Enduring Ovarian Cancer."   Debulking is what they call the surgical process of removing as much of a tumor as they can/as many tumors as they can.  I was "debulked" 2008, when Dr. LaChance removed as much of my omentum (the lining of your abdomen) as he could as it was "spackled with lumps in frosting" and again in 2009 when Dr. McCourt removed as much of the tumor that still sits by my spleen that she could. 

The woman who wrote this book looks at the statistics for surviving ovarian cancer (20%) and isn't counting on being in the 20%.   This is where she and I differ.  She felt relief when she was first diagnosed because then she knew how she would die...most people don't get to know how they are going to die.   I felt relief, because FINALLY I knew what was wrong with me and we could get to work doing something about it.

I'm sure that it is going to be emotionally difficult for me to read parts of this book, it's already been hard and I'm just on the second chapter!  I don't agree with this author on her outlook on her prognosis, but I am learning a lot about myself, how I feel about things and how I approach things.

I am sure I will be making more decisions about relationships, how I spend my time and my money, what I keep and what I get rid of.  I may even drop out of contact for a bit...I need time to process things...a lot of things.

Good thing I have a therapist already on the payroll.