Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Doctor, doctor

Today, I saw my new primary physician and she was refreshingly interested in my health. She checked out all of the itchy little red bumps and said that it is not shingles. Yeah! It appears to be an allergic response of some sort though we are not sure of the trigger. She gave me some cream to rub on it twice/day and told me not to use soap in the shower. (Sorry in advance for the smell!). If that doesn't work, then I will have to take some internal medicine.

She also informed me that there is a blood test that can show if you are carrying the chicken pox virus, even if you have had no outward symptoms so I traipsed off to the blood lab for a test. Of course, they couldn't find any good bleeders so have now resorted to my wrist which is supposed to be the most painful place. Why do people slash their wrists? Anyway, the stick wasn't too painful and the blood flowed nicely. They put a big bandage across it so now I really do look like I tried to slash my wrists.

Next was the stand and wait in line at the pharmacy for the cream. All in all it took about 3 hours. Lets hope this nasty rash resolves itself.

More catching up

Little red bumps. Little, itchy red bumps. I have these bumps on my arms, legs and torso. They started on my wrists - primarily my left wrist. I had been to my friends house and petted her dog and thought they were flea bites. They have lasted more than a week and spread up my arms and legs. You can barely see them but they itch like crazy and there seem to be new ones every day. I called urgent care today to get an appointment so that the doctor can tell me what he/she thinks of them if he/she can even see them. Aagh!

On another note, I attempted my first at home paintings yesterday. They are small - 8x10- so I am working on 2 so that one can dry while I work on the other one. One is an African landscape from the newspaper that struck me and the other is the vase of tulips I received from my friend on Saturday. Neither is going very well but I will keep plugging away. It is tough without my teacher and the other students giving advice. If I really get stuck, I will bring them into the class for help.


The next round is starting. Had my mammogram yesterday and the tech told me that my breast is still too dense to see anything. Not that the breast can't see anything because it is dense. Breasts don't see anyway. And not that the technician is too dense (flashbacks of the technician who didn't know my rib from my hip). But rather that the breast is too dense for the technician to see if there are any developments.

This is a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that the chemo didn't do as much damage and aging as expected. The bad thing is that any cancer will still be nearly impossible to detect by mammo. I am now expecting that my surgeon will request a new MRI from Stanford but need to wait and see what she thinks of the mammo.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Social Security

Yesterday, Friday, I went to Social Security to apply since my condition will be continuing beyond one year and my State Disability will end. I cried! It was such an emotional experience. I have been raised to take care of myself and now, I am in a situation where I cannot. Still, I feel guilty. On the one hand, I am telling myself that SS will never even be available when I am retirement age so I should take advantage of it now. On the other hand, I feel so guilty that I cannot even support myself. I have worked my whole life. The agent was really nice, gave me some tissues and told me I shouldn't feel guilty or embarassed, that I had reason to apply and need the support. I filled out the application and now have to wait for 4 - 6 months for the decision to be made. Of course, I am hoping for a yes as I dearly need the support to help me through my treatments and the upcoming reconstruction surgeries. Everyone, please pray or send your energy for a positive response from SS so that I can keep up with my treatments.

Unwanted hair night

Tonight, I hosted the first unwanted hair night. It was fun and a great ladies night. I worry about the dogs as always. Thomas is a sweetie but doesn't always show his best side. He has never bitten anyone and I hope he never does but he does get nervous and defensive, like some people we know. He just wants to kiss everyone and feels punished if he can't. Still, my first concern is for people and I don't want to risk anyone getting hurt so I kept him on a leash or in his crate. He did well but probably not the happiest. Somehow, I need to find a happy medium for him and my guests. More practice I guess. Otherwise, the hair night went well and I was happy to see old friends. Melissa did a great job and I am hoping we can do this again. Everyone had beautiful eyebrows. Next time, some great makeup tips, too.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Nice Date

At long last, the date that started before Christmas has finally happened. As you recall, the first attempt ended in disaster with me being late, him feeling like he got stood up and us missing each other. The second attempt also failed. He got bronchitis and had to go to the doctor, take medicine, etc. Today was the third attempt. We finally managed to meet up at PF Chang's in Stanford shopping center and had a nice "getting to know you lunch". All in all, a fairly normal guy so far and, saying goodbye in the parking lot after..........well, who am I to kiss and tell....oops! It was fun and just have to see if he feels the same way and we try for a second date...........

Friday, January 20, 2006


Smokey survived the slight od on the xanax and is one happy dog. I have revived my New Year's resolution and the dogs and me have gotten a walk every day for the last 6 days. Woohoo! The dogs are thrilled and Thomas has actually made some progress in not barking and lunging at every dog that he sees or hears. There are still a few that set him off, but most he just wags his tail. Thanks to Mike and Jenny for coming over two of the days and walking them with me. It is always good to have company. Anyone else around MV that feels like walking, just let me know.

On another note, I am so frustrated. I have been desperately (maybe too strong a word) trying to lose the same 5 lbs. and get my next star at WW for 2 years now. I have come within 2/10s lb of making it and then the other 4 lbs come flying back on. What about the 18 lbs I lost from chemo and surgery? That is still off but that was just a retrace of the 20 lbs I had gained at my last job. Now, I am back to working on the same 5 lbs I was working on before. I am sure if I get past this hurdle, I can lose the next 8 lbs. I need to make maintenance so that I can go to meetings for free. With the New Year, my determination was renewed. Every day, I have faithfully measured, read labels and used my points finder to accurately record my points. I have stayed within my points, drank my water and milk, eaten my vegetables and fruits and kept my portion sizes in check for proteins, fats and other carbs. I am getting more than my 30 min/day of exercise. Yesterday was the time to get on the scales for the week. With hope, I stepped on the scale - GAIN - .4 lbs. How could that be? How am I ever going to make that next a 5 lbs. Aaagghhh! Of course, I wanted to go right out and get that hot fudge sundae I have been dreaming of but I restrained myself. I am keeping the vision of my reconstruction in front of my face and need to keep the fat off of my belly. I will keep onward for this next week and hope the scales are kinder to me then. I WANT THAT STAR!

Saturday, January 14, 2006


The rains started again last night. How did I know? I heard Smokey get up. So I got up and gave him 2 Xanax, as before and went back to sleep. This morning, he wanted to get up on the bed but couldn't. His back legs were very weak. He is now walking around all wobbly. That didn't happen before. He also jumped when I closed the door on the dishwasher. This hasn't happened before and shouldn't happen with the Xanax. It is worrisome and distressing to see him this way. And to make matters worse, I have to go out to a meeting today and leave him. And, it is still raining. I am truly hoping that he will be alright but it is going to be a long day for me.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

spiky hair and another new talent

How do spiky hair and a new talent relate? Well they don't except for both happening in the same day. My hair is growing rapidly and today, after washing it, I put the oil in and rubbed it through my hair. My hair seems to like growing forward so, when I rub it back, it spikes in funny directions. I decided to leave it like that today. When I got to my friends house, I asked her which she preferred, flat or spiked and she said she liked both. That was no help. :) She was being honest too. Trust me. So, today it stayed spiky.

The new talent was jewelry-making. For some time now, I have been wearing earrings made by my friend who also makes bracelets, necklaces and assorted other items. Today, she took me to San Juan Batista to the bead shop where we picked out beads and then returned to her home to make jewelry. I made a bracelet - very time intensive and 4 pairs of earrings - much less time intensive. It was fun and, as usual, I was amazed at the artisticness that comes from having a good coach and mentor. Can't wait to make more.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

oooooohhhhhhhh groannnnn

I am in mourning. My dear beloved Trojans have suffered defeat at the hands of the one man, Vince Young Longhorns. There was no stopping that man tonight. Leinart and crew gave it a good go but a gift touchdown from the refs (his knee really was down) in the first half followed by only the second fumble of the year by Reggie Bush followed by a missed 4th and 2 in the 4th followed by a crucial facemask with a 5 yard penalty good for a first down for Texas -er, I mean Vince Young with 57 seconds left in the game resulted in a Trojan loss (by 3 points -what a game) - their first in a very long time and a loss of the National Championship. And the whole way, Vince Young was just awesomely unstoppable. Ohhhhhhh............ Booooooo Hooooooooooo ......................... Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh........... snort, snort ............sniff, sniff ............. aaaaaggggghhhhhhhh.................. waaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.................

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Herceptin #5 down and counting

Started off my New Year today with Herceptin #5. Met with my wonderful NP first to check me out. I checked out fine. Blood pressure fine - 107/71. Heart, lungs and kidneys fine. Brain? What brain? Oh well, can't win them all. The Herceptin went fine and I am now down to a 45 minute infusion since my body seems to have decided that it doesn't have any choice, the Herceptin is coming, so might as well accept it. No fever today and none of that feeling of strangeness, as if my body was about a 1/4" outside of itself and the world was moving strangely around me. All was normal. Wow!

After my treatment, I spent the afternoon running errands and trying to get caught up on the many things left undone over the holidays and during the rain since it has now let up.

Already blew my New Year's resolution to walk the dogs EVERY day but figure that I get a pass for today since I had treatment. Back on tomorrow.

And speaking of tomorrow, at long last, it is the ROSE BOWL. USC versus some other unimportant team - ummm, lets see, Texas was it? Guess it really doesn't matter because only #1 counts and we know who that is. Tee hee. :)

Started my 3rd painting tonight and it looks like...MUD. Yeah, yeah. I know you have heard that one before. Guess I should get used to this. They start out like mud and end up something infinitely better though maybe not a masterpiece.

And boy, can I ramble on. Guess it is time to end this and go talk to someone who cares -- my dogs! They always appear to be listening anyway. :)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

Its raining, its pouring....

in this case, the old woman (me - teehee) is snoring. Didn't bump my head but still can't get out of the bed in the morning. :)

It really is pouring and pouring and pouring. Smokey is very calm now even without his Xanax. He is either just having a good time or the drugs are helping to break the pattern which is what the behaviourist hopes. I am just enjoying the peacefulness of rain on the roof.

My yard is now one big puddle. The large bush behind my bedroom window is leaning at a very wicked angle because of the winds and saturated soil. I took the dogs for a walk yesterday and it was very scary in the high winds and rain. I was afraid that every big tree I walked under (and there are many of them) would drop a branch or fall over. The dogs loved it because they got to go out - yeah, yeah, go out - yeah, yeah, go out - yeah, yeah! A walk is always a day in heaven for them. As for me, I am happy with my warm bath, fire and glass of wine and just want to snuggle down, nice and cozy and warm. Not too motivated to do much since my house is cold - brrrrrr - and I am warm under my blanket - although not typing from there now.

This is the year of the Dog - my year! I have now made it through too many cycles of the chinese zodiac to mention here. Lets hope for the best as I continue my trek and the best for all of you as you embark on new journies this year.

Happy New Year!