How NOT to spend a Monday

In the emergency room – went in for severe pain in my abdomen (near the hernia site).  I was very vocal about the pain – tried to hide it, but it kept on hurting.  So, I arrive around just after Noon – when did I leave?  9 p.m.  One of the CT Scans was down and they needed that to see what was going on.  They gave me some morphine and some fluids, told me to rest until the scan machine was ready (around 6 p.m.).  The morphine had worn off by then, but the pain went away.

Was told to see my primary doctor, which I did today.  He said just monitor it and if the pain happens again, lay down and rest.  Gravity will push the hernia back in the abdominal wall.  Great.  More info than you wanted to know, right?

I want my Monday back.


I Cudda Bin a Star…

I was up at the Activities Desk at the clubhouse trying to book two seats on a bus going to San Francisco to go to the Chinese New Year celebration at the end of Feb., when this parade of people went by laughing and having a good time.  A woman leaned over to me and asked me if I wanted to be in a commercial for Skittles.

I said no and then found out the trip was full – no seats were available.  So then I went to find the Skittles party.  They had a football player from the Oakland Raiders hawking the new brand of Skittles that has tabasco-like hot stuff in it.  People was absolutely giddy over this guy – he was a big man with dreadlocks and no, I didn’t get his name.  I was seated on the group W bench – two groups were ahead of me.  While waiting, I had some good conversations with other people waiting – no one knew his name either.

Well, I watched the filming and then things got complicated as more people found out there was a commercial being filmed – people started getting ahead of other people in line, and the noise was getting too loud for filming.  They asked us all to step inside the building and then the drive-ups started – golf carts and cars filled with old people wanting to be a star.

I didn’t need it that badly, so I left after an hour and a half of waiting.  sigh.  Not patient enough to wrap my arms around being a celebrity in a Skittles commercial.  Oh well, what would I do with the paycheck being in the form of Skittles anyway.

Truthfully, it was downright embarrassing to see those people fawn over a football player who shall remain unnamed.  Sometimes I don’t like people.

Things of Interest

So, what the heck is this?  I forget the name, but it’s good grated over veggies and salads – looks strange?

Lots of people had them at the Folsom Farmers Market.  We had to try one of course.  We had a good time listening to music and petting everyone else’s dogs – one of the benefits of non-ownership, pet them, love them, wish them well when they go on their way.  I’ve had friends like that – never heard much from them when I was diagnosed.  Who wants to hear that anyway?  I get tired of listening to myself too.   I told the therapist how I was feeling and she said I was grieving over my past life.  Darn right.  Nothing wrong with that.  It’s all been a loss – loss of power, loss of identity, loss of confidence – why did my body betray me like this?  Well. to be honest – no one or no thing did this to me.  My doctor said it was a dumb luck, so I choose to believe his story.

Yesterday, we were driving through Lincoln, trying to find the skeleton horse.  I saw on a ride last week, but I didn’t have my camera.  So we went back trying to find it.  Oh, and on the way, we wanted to see Hidden Falls, a state park with trails for riding, bicycle and hiking.  We pull it and are met by a Park Ranger – he asked if we had a reservation.  Huh?  I guess starting in January, you need a reservation for the weekends if you want to visit.  This tiny park in the middle of nowhere – but HINT: surrounded by large wineries and farms – guess people didn’t like the crowds parking on their roads (no shoulders on back roads), so I imagine they lobbied and got “their” park on the reservation track.  I was astounded – reservations?  Also, you’ll need to pay $8 a car.  I guess the poor with never see this park.  Grrrr.

Anyhow, found the horse.  If they are so rich, they should feed this horse.  (across the road from the entrance to the park).


Making plans

I am signing up for an Art Journal class.  I know a lot of the basics, but I need a jump-start to “play” again.  During this illness, I’ve had ideas for paintings and other things, but I quickly lose steam moving forward.  I had this when Joe died – and I took a Bob Ross painting class to jump start my creativity back then.  It worked.  Just being out with people helped – people who share those artsy frustrations.

But planning also is a big step.  While on chemo, it was just going to chemo, relaxing through the side effects and bearing through them.  No plans, no schedules – it wouldn’t matter – I could not tell if I was going to feel well enough to do anything.

Well, I am further complicating things by actually paying for the class – now I know I will go if I have to forfeit $45 for two days of class.  HA – cheap old me.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I finished Shiprock yesterday – will post some photos later this afternoon.

breathing matters

I picked up a cold after chemo – guess it’s my resistance is low and the season of cold is upon us.  Had trouble breathing, esp. at night – wheezing is not a good way to sleep – I tend to panic and make it worse by my fear.  so out comes the inhaler – in fact, I need another one, I used so much – so I have a request to the doc for another Rx.  Hope he cooperates.  I do still have my other method – for emergencies – the vaporizer type of inhaler.  It just takes time and patience.  and we all know how patient I am.

I did get out one day to Placerville – it was a sunny day and we drove up there – so I have gotten out – but I am itchy again.  I’ve drawn, written letters, organized my art supplies, washed my clothes, watched movies, taken pills, read books and slept.  the Tibetan monks are coming to Lincoln Hills – I was thinking of going to see them next week.  Their talk is on maintaining a peaceful lifestyle despite the worrisome times.  How about Armageddon, dudes?  The fucking world is falling apart. animals are going extinct, oil drilling on the coasts is proposed, it’s all too horrible to contemplate, let alone survive.  Ok, can you tell I am depressed today?

I’m going to go put on my big grrrl pants and get some hope going today.  so there.  I had an excellent orange today – picked from a tree in my back yard.  it was wonderful and juicy.  thankful I live in California.  thankful for oranges.

Hey, it’s a start!!

Over, over and over

Had the last chemo for a while – three months I am guessing if the scan shows it’s come back.  I celebrated by going to Folsom’s Rainbow Bridge Jewelry shop and buying a copper bracelet I had my eye on for awhile – and it was 40% off!  Surprise!  We went to the Goodwill and found some treasures too – a nice ibex skull on a pedestal,  Not real, but it looks good.  I ate at a Jimboy’s Taco place for lunch – yummy taco veggie salad.  What a celebration!

Came home, watched some tv and went to bed – but had a restless night.  Too much planning going on in my head – but I jump the gun – I will still be recovering from this last chemo for several weeks.  My white blood count has to build back up, so I get impatient – wanting things to move along.

And then come the bad thoughts – is it coming back soon, or will I have some time?  What can I do to make sure it doesn’t come back – or is that even possible with an aggressive cancer like this.  All the stats say I don’t even have 5 years – let’s prove them wrong.  I have stuff to do, cancer dude.  So I try to leave these dark thoughts on the back burner, but sometimes they visit me at night where I am vulnerable.  I am hoping that the therapy can help – I go next week – then the two classes in Feb. might shed some light on moving my mind out of the dark place.

I lay in bed sometimes in the dark listening to my heart and lungs.  I think about what they are doing and encourage them to do good things.  I wonder what would happen it they suddenly would stop – not good thoughts, but it does keep me awake, so I must find something else to think about.

The sun is out today as it was yesterday.  It was so nice being in the car – it was warm and toasty.  Mike and Donna were with me – drugs were kicking in like they are supposed to (all prescription, don’t worry) – it’s all I can do to keep up with the doc’s pills and vitamin supplements.  I am hating taking pills – my gag reflex kicks in sometimes.  Well, off the library – taking advantage of the weather today (rain for the rest of the week) –  then home for a nap.

Just wanted to share my happy mood while it lasts!!  Haha!

Finally! In the Round of Chemo

It might seem odd to be joyful – but – hey, the blood count was high enough and IN I went.  Had my first session yesterday – smaller bag, so it didn’t take as long as three hours – just two.  They seem the same anyway.  It was so crowded, I had to wait for an available chair.

Lots of people are sick – parking at the facility is a nightmare – they even have a parking garage in addition to all over parking around all the buildings.  People in various states of illness – some people hurt so bad, it breaks your heart to see them wheeled about – other walking in under their own steam – some alone, some with a partner, others have an entourage – kids and all.

It puts my bitching in check – going in there – getting out of my pitiful shell and seeing just how many people need this hospital – and then I think of the ones who can’t afford to belong to a Kaiser plan.

I read a story about a woman in Sacramento who bought a warehouse near Loaves and Fishes (Sacramento homeless care center) to turn into a hospice/chemo center for those on the street.  Apparently, her grandson died on the streets and this is a memorial action for her to do in his memory.  wow – the thought of someone in battle with cancer and needing chemo on top of that – makes my eyes tear up.  When I find out more about the center, I’ll post it.

My asthma kicked in with this damp “cold” weather.  I know I used quotes – I see the East coast and Midwest weather feeds and feel as if 50s and 60s would seem like summer to them.  In fact, I do see people in flip-flops and no coats at the hospital – but then again, they probably have a kickin’ immune system where mine has disappeared somewhere.  (Hey, we’re busy fighting your cancer, silly!)

Well, gotta get busy for another session this morning – ONE more on Friday.  Then I am on parole.  George knows parole is, doesn’t he, Susan?  Giggle from Mike’s walk with George in the woods.

Sounds like a plan

I finally got on the stick yesterday and made some plans – mental health plans.  I know some of you are breathing a sigh of relief.  “Bout time, eh?  When cancer paid me a visit, I was leading a somewhat independent life.  And it abruptly stopped – all focus was turned to the surgery and then chemo.  I wrote before how I let other people take over my care – I was overwhelmed and only concentrating on what I had to do that moment (sleep, eat, take pills, repeat).

Cancer hit me like a freight train – only now am I looking to get out from under its maddening spell – I need to plan – and the first thing I want to work on is how to manage having a real life after this last chemo (well, for three months).  I thought I would automatically become better after following all the rules of surgery (no, the bruises are not gone yet and I still have neuropathy in my legs (loss of lymph nodes they removed for testing).  My hair is still gone – a slight fuzz covers my head – and my eyebrows are gone too – looks too weird, man.  I still tire easily and sleep eludes me at times from worry (take your pill for that, Janice – there’s a pill for everything.)

I went to Kaiser Mental Health and had an intake meeting.  I’ll be attending two classes:  How to live with a chronic illness and Having Self-compassion.  I also was assigned to a therapist who specializes in health issues.  You can call my cancer an issue all right.  A big issue – it’s making me someone i don’t feel comfortable with anymore.

I resent the new changes I need to make – I am short with my care-givers – I know it’s help, but I want my old life back – guess the sooner I realize that it’s not going to be coming back, I’ll get my head outa my butt.  As I rebuilt my life from my first marriage, it was a different time and I had more ideas and energy.  Now I depend on people going to the store for me and fixing my meals.  I am grateful to my caregivers, but I can’t seem to get out of my own stubborn way.  Not feeling much like myself – maybe the talk therapy can guide me back on track – a new track, so I don’t live in the past that much.

Wish me luck.  My niece made me a painting that says Live.  I have it in my bedroom so I can see it when I wake up.  Thanks, Jilly – it’s part of my new plan to change my perspective.

I’m home today – no chemo

Postponed again, so I am home today.  We’re scheduled again for next week if the counts are good – can you hear my optimism slipping away?  I might have to have some shots to boost production if the numbers don’t pan out.  This chemo is the last round before I can take time off from medicines and doctors – 3 months.  My doctor even suggested we might have to forego this round.  I wanted this round as an extra insurance – I don’t know why, but I feel compelled to have it to get my mind in a good place about living with cancer.

I’d better get it together.  I can’t go on feeling disappointed and scared of this disease.  I think that will kill me faster than the cancer.  I’ve had some good days lately, where I begin to feel hopeful again.  I am having obstacles to get over – like eating different foods and giving up every darn thing I like to eat.  I need to make a change to give myself a fighting chance.  I know it sounds silly, but my clothes do not fit anymore. It’s nerve-wracking – can’t even get dressed and feel good.  I’ve lost 45 pounds the hard way and now everything I own sags on me.  Even my bras – where did my boobs go?  They shrunk too – now that’s probably too much information, but a person needs to feel good about themselves and how they look.  I’ve aged so much around my face, someone in a store thought I was Mike’s mother.  Great.

Aveda?  I need a facial!!  But until then, I can smear some moisturizer on there and feel better.  Now, I’d better go see what delight awaits me in the kitchen.