Monday, May 31, 2010

Moving right along...

So after a weekend of pack and schlep, The house looks to be about 70 or 80% emptier. I'm taking today off, since it was a brutal two days, and that included chemo on Friday morning. Yesterday I was a staggering zombie. Luckily we had three other friends show up, and they helped wertperch while I slept in a lawn chair and drooled on the towel I was using as a pillow. Now I'm feeling slightly more human again. Turns out I can still totally redline past my fatigue, but it has gnarly side effects.

We had a great group of friends show up on Saturday morning. They were all fabulous packers and helpers. Several said they might be able to come early Thursday, because of early release, but homework obviously takes precedence. We have all week, so if anyone wants to earn an hours' worth of extra $$$, they can drop by any afternoon, Tuesday-Thursday, to load up the second POD. The PODs are a brilliant moving and storage idea, and if we continue to be this mobile a society, I'm going to buy two. One as my permanent closet, and the other as my permanent art studio. Then we never have to pack or box the $%#^%$#^%& again.

Friday morning we shift gears, and I have to fast and head down for a PET scan. It's feeling pretty loaded - If I have to, I will roll with it, and get three more rounds of chemo. I just REALLY don't want the scan to find anything new. That would bum me out. If that happens, I take a break, and start a new type of chemo when I get back from my trip, yuck-o.

Still, the packing has gone amazingly smoothly, and we expect to be out on time, with a relatively clean house. Yesterday's volunteers repaired a couple of small dings where doors had banged on walls, and one towel rack that had been badly installed. And having a lot of stuff out of the house has given us more breathing room. It's sort of AIRY. Huge blessings on Sumati, without whose stellar organizing skills we would still be buried under frightening mounds of STUFF.

Love to all,

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fridays in the emergency room

So we had a bit of an exciting time yesterday. Long medical discussion ahead, if you want to skip parts.

My left ankle has been sore and swollen for about a week, off and on. Last week was rehearsals for Coppelia, so we were dancing on a hard, hard stage rather than our nice sprung studio dance floor.

Yesterday morning at chemo, I showed it to the chemo nurses. They had the same reaction I did, that I'd somehow re-injured an old ankle break, and needed to just stay off it. So I iced it all through chemotherapy.

Then yesterday afternoon I noticed it was even MORE swollen and sore than it had been the day before. Ok. Either there's a break or a sprain in there, or something weirder is going on.

I called the oncologist, and told them about it, they said go in immediately for an ultrasound, we have to rule out a DVT (deep veinal tnrombosis), the fancy name for a blood clot. They had no spaces in ultrasound, so they said go into the ER.

At about 2:30, on a Friday afternoon.

Well, the front wasn't very crowded, but man, the back was. Initially they put me into the last little curtained room, but then a bit later asked me politely if I minded being in the hallway. All 11 rooms were filled up, and they had two more ambulances coming in.

So the doctor's reaction was the same as mine = reinjured the ankle. BUT they still wanted an x-ray and an untrasound, just to be safe. If there was a clot, it could kill me, either by going and mucking up a lung, or in my case by causing a brain bleed. Not good.

In the mean time, I got quite the tragicomedy in the waiting room. The five other visitors I could see were respectively - Hysterical Mommy girl, who was alternately yelling for her mom, her husband, and a cell phone, and trying to run past the security guard. Where she thought she would go in nothing but a hospital gown is a bit of a mystery, but the nurses got so tired of it at one point they threatened to tie her down. Then we had Obese Diabetes lady, which infections along the backs of her lags (She refuses to lie down, so she has pressure on bad veins all the time), her son chewing her out, and then turns out SHE is caring at home for her demented mother, and didn't want to spend the night in the hospital to take care of a new systemic infection. Yick.

In the hallway with me was Hearing Voices girl, who apparently had been admitted for creating a "disturbance". The disturbance turned out to be that she had taken a dump on the floor of a restaurant in town. How lovely. Schizophrenic, I guessed, and that seemed to be the doc's guess as well. (I know, none of this is any of my business, but in an ER they don't worry about HIPPA violations by eavesdroppers like me.) While I was liying around waiting for my turn in ultrasound, the last guy was admitted, also a hall patient like me, for, get this, a rattlesnake bite. The classic way, too. He'd killed a little one, then picked it up to make sure it was dead. And of course it wasn't - struck him on the finger. He ALSO didn't want to be admitted, because his wife's parents were having their 50th wedding celebration the next day, and he'd still managed to clean toilets and bathtubs for it BEFORE a friend convinced him to go to the ER. It really does make red streaks up your arm. But I got to see the baby rattlesnake, in it's own personal ziplock. And it really does make red streaks up your arm.

So, like most of my medical adventures, I didn't "present" normally. The infusion nurses said there'd usually be swelling or a red area further up my leg. There wasn't. They said it would be very painful. Apparently my definition of very painful is a bit wonky these days. And yes, there is a partial occlusion deftly hidden behind my left knee.

So oh goody, on top of the other treatment, I get to have a shot of blood thinner every day for a month, and try to keep that little sucker from growing any more. Who knew? But I'm glad I went ahead and went in, and didn't just blow it off as a sore ankle.

I'm in good spirits, just trying to remember to prop it up and help it circulate whenever I'm sitting down (ha ha ha.) Anyone who has mad packing skills, and can get over in the next couple of weeks would be HUGELY appreciated.

Love to all,

Monday, May 03, 2010

Some fun from Christa of Manolo For The Brides

One fun part is that they have a "Party for the Cure", although personally I do NOT like pink, especially for interiors. Flowers, yes, cocktail dresses, maybe, but a tablecloth? No. My preference is for the "Garden Party", and isn't THAT predictable.

Win it!

Social Couture is offering Manolo for the Bride readers a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to that fabulous store. To enter, leave a comment on this post telling us which of Social Couture’s themes is your favorite.

For additional entries, do any of the following (and leave a comment for each):

1. One additional entry when you add Manolo for the Brides to your blogroll or let us know we’re already on your blogroll so we can link back to you

2. One additional entry when you leave a comment on the latest post at Social Couture’s blog

3. One additional entry when you follow Manolo for the Brides on Twitter and tweet about the giveaway

4. Three additional entries when you post about this giveaway on your own blog

This giveaway will end at 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, May 9, and the winner – chosen via the trusty random number generator – will be announced the next day along with yet another awesome giveaway! Good luck!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Fifth anniversary

Dearly beloved,

It was gorgeous day here in Davis. First really pretty summer day we've had - everyone in shorts, and a nice breeze. Tess and I went to our ballet class, although I didn't do the whole class - one of the nastier side effects of taxol drugs is that they make your joints ache, and that one has been hitting me pretty hard lately.

I came home, and Kevin and I had talked about going to the farmer's market, but I wanted to just sit and putter for a bit. So we had a cup of tea, and he went merrily off in his kilt, and I puttered. You know Kevin gets chatted up a lot just because of the accent; add a utilikilt in, and it takes him four hours to go to the co-op. Everyone from the teenagers to little old ladies want to have a gossip with him.

Meanwhile, I was canning asparagus. We'd had 5 pounds of leftovers from Fiddlers, and I was curious to try a recipe I ran across. I invented the pickling spice, and it smelled heavenly. It ended up being four quart jars, which doesn't look like much (I always want to at least fill the canner, so I require seven jar recipes) but I suspect once we open one it'll last a while. One of my dancer friends made me a bloody mary a while ago with some homemade tomato juice from last summer, and it was deee-lish, and that's how we got inspired to do the asparagus. You know that fresh tomato taste makes canning so worth it. One of the weirder spices I put into the pickling spice was cardomom, so there's a chance they will be awful. I've already made chutney and three kinds of marmalade this spring, so I'm not very sentimental about stuff I don't like. I dump it down the disposal.

Then Kevin came home. I went off to sit by the pool at Jenny's house for a bit, and he went to the theatre to see if the ballet crew needed help. Tessie's performances are next weekend, and we just moved into the theatre yesterday. Kevin has been needing some guy time, and a couple of the adults who dance with me are lots of fun, so I was enouraging him to go and paint and pound nails.

Tess and Chloe went off to a birthday party. Sixth grade is now apparently the age where they switch from all girl parties to mixed ones. This was a pool party, but from 5:30 until 10 pm, and the whole class was invited. There's apparently a 6th grade dance, and lots of rumors about who is going with whom.

Kevin and I had a cocktail with Jenny and David, and then wandered home. He and I had gotten gifts for each other, and they are pretty telling.

I have a new bike, a one speed, except for the fact that it's blue it could be the bike ridden by the wicked witch in Wizard of Oz. I love it. Davis is totally flat, so I don't need gears, and I can step across, so I can ride it wearing a skirt, and when I'm doing chemo I'd far rather ride upright. But I've been longing for baskets - one for the front, and one for the back, (to stuff Toto into, obviously). Kevin hunted around all six of our local bike shops, and found an actual detachable wicker one for the front, with a handle and everything. It's perfect, and I did the happy dance.

For Kevin, I found this great fanny pack, made by Kelty and full of bells and whistles. It is both a butt pack and it has a shoulder strap so he can carry it as a Man Bag. THEN it ALSO unfolds into a day pack, so you can take it travelling. Two water bottle pockets. He and I are constantly searching for the perfect travelling bag, big enough to stuff souvenirs into, but no so big as to be awkward. I'm usually overloaded, and he doesn't have quite enough room. But the combo cracked me up - very high tech, and very elegant low tech. (Although it has a snazzy plastic clip to attach it to the front of the bike.)

We ate Indian food, and then settled down to watch a silly movie. I made it about half an hour, and then realized what I really wanted to do was curl up with my book. So that is what we did. We actually went out the night before and ate a huge mound of Indian food, and that was our anniversary date. Tessie came along, because really Kevin married into a family, not just me.

So that was the anniversary. I'm still bald, or bald again, and I fall asleep at 8 pm. Another good piece of news is that I might not have to do 12 rounds of chemo. I've done six, and we can tell I'm responding because there's a lymph node above my clavicle that I can feel, and it's getting smaller. Presuming everything else is responding this well, we'll do a PET scan, and I might be able to take a break after 9. That would be GREAT, since the chemo is wreaking havoc with not just my joints and my vanity, but my poor digestive system. Haven't lost a lot of weight, but it's creeping down, and the side effects definitely increase over the course of chemo.

So that's our news. All my love.