Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bye Bye Capri (sigh, tears, sob)

It was my first car, a graduation present from my parents and my grandmother (we always joked that she paid for the moonroof). It was new in 1980 and very cool. Special edition, racing stripes, moon roof that came off, hatchback, 5-speed. I loved that car. It went through everything. Traveled with me all up and down California - Hwys 99, 101, 1, 5 - when I worked in Agriculture. It went to the lake and drove down on the sand when I visited the family and went water-skiing. It drove up in the snow to go skiing and even got completely buried in one snow storm. It drove out to Death Valley where we camped in the back because it was way too cold outside to sleep on the ground. It drove down to the beach every day when I lived in South Redondo. It drove to Yosemite and many other places. 180, 787 miles. Nearly all of them put on by me. Mom and Dad did put a few on during my Japan years when the car lived at their house in Palo Alto. Other than that, it was all me. Just me and the Capri. That car took good care of me - even when I did the "bad" things in the pre-DUI days and drove home on auto-pilot. I could have been killed but the car took care of me. It was like a 4-wheel drive, driving over any terrain and boy, did I take it some rough places. It never complained and just kept on going. I loved that car. I would take the moon roof off and store it in its case in the back and just drive along with the sun on my face and shoulders. Never had an accident until I got hit in a parking lot after driving it for 19 years. That got fixed right up and it kept going. Passed smog test after smog test, even at the test only station. Gradually, the steering began to get loose and then, one day, about 6 years ago, I decided to get a new convertible. The Capri became my trusty second car. It was great, with the hatchback, for hauling the dogs around, picking up water heaters, plants, bricks and other household chores. In time, even that usage diminished. The car still drove fine but the steering was a little scary and the air conditioning had broken. I just didn't get to drive it much anymore. I asked around in case anyone wanted it but there were no takers. One day, a letter came in the mail from the Air Quality Management District about their vehicle buyback program. I procrastinated for a year - not bearing to part with my beloved car but, at last, money became an issue. Even though the savings will be small since my reg and insurance are almost nil, I need to cut back on expenses as much as possible. I finally made the hard decision to sell it back to them (sigh).

So today, I started it up for the last time and drove it out to Milpitas (just like going home) to Pick Your Part and filled out the paperwork. The girl came out and checked it out to see that it would meet all of the criteria before accepting it. I asked her what they were going to do with it and, as she took her red marker and wrote the word, CRUSH, in big red letters on the side, I got my answer. Ohhhhhhhhh, I cried, it is going to be crushed. I was crushed. I know it is just a car but it was soooooo emotional for me. She wrote CRUSH on it many more times just to make sure and every time felt like a stab in the heart to me. So that is it. The Capri is going to the big speedway in the sky. I bought a disposable camera at a nearby store and took final pictures. Will post them here when I get them developed. And then, after 26 years, it was goodbye. BYE, BYE CAPRI. You will be missed. (sob!)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Monday again already?

Wow! Monday! Where does the time go? I had a wonderful weekend. Haircut Saturday, saw the twins, did some wonderful inspired painting on Saturday and saw my friends Cathy and Rick yesterday. To top it off, when I got home, I had a voice mail from Bachelor #3 (Mr. SeemsNormal). Very nice. Can't wait for the date to see if he is as good in person as he seems to be on the phone.

Went to Quigong this morning and picked up some more Xanax for Smokey. Now, sitting here, just trying to get organized and motivated to do something on this windy, rainy day. What I really want to do is go put a fire in the fireplace and curl up with a magazine but think I had better get something done first. Hmmmmmmm........off I go. Wish me luck! :D

Friday, February 24, 2006

Its the little things in life

Wednesday, I went in to Costco as a project for my art class. We want to jezzo (sp?) and paint the plastic body molds that they use for the women's swimsuits. I went to the swimsuit display but couldn't find any loose molds so I went to the manager who, very apologetically, told me that they throw them out at the register and, therefore, do not have any laying around that I could have.

Since I was already there and, being that it was Costco, I had to wander around and see what kind of new things they had for sale (just like a kid at Disneyland). There were a lot of new clothes on sale. As most of you know, Costco doesn't have a dressing room so you just buy what you think is right, take it home and then return it if it isn't right. I bought 2 blouses, a lace top and a pair of shorts, took them home, tried them on - the blouses (fine), lace top (a bit tight), shorts - too big so I went back - bought 3 more lace tops and another pair of shorts, took them home, tried them on, lace tops - too big and color not good for me, shorts - just right. By then, I was tired.

So, on Thursday, I took back 3 lace tops and 1 blouse. Got my money back and then, could I just walk out of the store? NOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooo!!! Of course, I had to walk around and look at all of the new stuff again. Curses to Linda for getting me turned on to Costco! :D jk

Well, on this round, I found the "pink" Betty Crocker cookbook. I have been missing my BC (for Betty Crocker and not Breast Cancer - funny about the coincidence) cookbook that I had for about 20 years ever since Thomas ate it up. Must have tasted good I guess. Had never bought another one. This one has pink plaid rather than red since it was done for the Susan G. Komen foundation. The book is the same as the regular one but has an added section with recipes that are supposed to help fight breast cancer and BC donated $250,000 to the Susan G. Komen foundation. I couldn't resist and forked over the cash.

Next, I passed by the pillow display - 2 in a package for $9.99 (standard/queen). I felt them. They felt nice. I have been searching for the right pillows to sleep on literally for years and have bought down pillows, firm foam pillows, even the sleep rest "memory" pillow that is supposed to mold to your body. Nothing was ever right. All I wanted was those fluffy pillows that you sink into at hotels for a wonderful night's sleep (at least I do). Why were they so hard to find? At $9.99 for two, I figured these were worth a try. Anyway, I could take them back if I didn't like them right?

Last night, I took all of the other pillows away and put these pillows on the bed. When I went to bed, I sunk down into them.....aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......what comfort! I slept wonderfully all night and didn't want to get up this morning. Who would have thought you could get so much pleasure for just $9.99? It is truly the little things in life..............

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Back again

Here I am. Back again. No, I have not been cheating by writing in another blog or even writing in a secret diary. Things have just gone from hectic to more hectic.

Since the last time..........

I did some accounting and bookkeeping.

I helped my friend pack up her apartment to move.

I worked many more hours on that "simple" needlepoint project. About 3/4 of the words are
done and none of the picture part yet.

I had my appointment with the dermatologist and scheduled a followup for in office surgery to remove 2 cysts (requiring stitches - ouch!)

I had my CT scan to check out my brain (do I have one or not?) That required an IV and they claimed that they couldn't use my mediport so I suffered through one miss - a big hole and bruise on my wrist- and one hit- a big hole a bruise in the crook of my elbow. I laid peacefully and quietly while the big, round ring whirred around my head, taking pictures as it went. Before I knew it, it was all over.

My rash continued to rage. The dermatologist said it is definitely not flea bites. He was surprised to see it had moved across my back. The itching is maddening. He changed the cream I was using to a stronger cortisone cream and will check again when I come back for surgery next week.

My surgeon called and we discussed next steps to take regarding this new "shadow" on my "good" breast. A MRI has been scheduled and we will see what that shows up. At the moment, we can only take it step by step. Against her better wishes, she did mention the PM words (prophylactic mastectomy). She directly said that she is not recommending it but just wanted to put it out there. It seems that my breasts are so lumpy, bumpy, dense that, even with ultrasound and MRI, they are afraid they may miss something. There is also the question of reconstruction and only having one chance at it. If something is found later, I can't go back to the same harvest area (the belly) for a second harvesting. Questions and confusion. That is how it is now. At least, I have a good surgeon and good medical support for the decisions this time around.

Our painting class did some more work on the "Matisse" project. Another relaxing and fun-filled evening.

The sun came out and the rain stopped - although it still hasn't warmed up much. It is nice to hear the birds singing again.

Thomas collapsed again. This time, the seizure lasted about 15 minutes (I timed it on the clock since we are trying to get a better idea of what is happening). 15 agonizing minutes for him and for me watching and holding him. He tried to get up but the back legs were so wobbly. He is so strong that he just willed himself to stand. I gently let him know that it was okay to lay back down and he did, his front toes gripping the carpet in a spasm. He was alert but his eyes were terrified and he was shaking like mad. He turned away any food or water. At last, he threw up everything he had eaten that morning even though it had been hours before. I went to get paper towels to clean it up and when I turned around, he was standing there, wagging his tail like nothing had happened. How wonderful the way dogs can live in the moment! I gave him his medicine which he happily took and then went and drank his water. It has been nearly 5 months since the last attack and I had thought we were past them. This new incident is very scary.

My friend Cathy found out that she is okay and her cancer scare is over. We are still waiting to hear about her husband.

And......on the dating side, bachelor #3 (the promising one), called me and is recovering from his motorcycle accident. We have tentatively set a new date. Hope this one works.

So, that was my week. Of course, there were lots of other normal, life things which I have forgotten or were too small to mention but those are the big things I remember. I don't know how other people's weeks go, but I could certainly use a little less excitement in mine (at least certain types of excitement)

And, now, I am off to WW again. No 5 lb. star this week but I am still working at it.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I'm a big loser! :D

FINALLY! I lost that next 5 lbs and got my star today! I was so happy at WW when I got on that scale and saw that I had made it. That was so tough. They announced it in the meeting and gave me my star. I wanted to cry. Hip Hip Hooray! Yahoo! Whoopee! Now, on to the next 5lbs..............

On a more sober note, Social Security sent me more forms to answer more questions. They are all about a physical disability such as not being able to walk and not about cancer and endless doctors' appts. and treatments and treatment effects and such that leave you equally diabled and hinder your ability to "perform in your normal line of work". I called and talked to the handler and she just said they had to have that information to continue to evaluate my claim. Ugh! and Ugh again!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Blogging as therapy

So many things are happening now, it is just mind boggling. Blogging helps me sort it out, dump it from my brain and ease the emotional stresses. Painting helps, too as do friends and family. Last night, we had painting class again after a 2 - week hiatus. I brought in the two paintings I worked on at home - the African field, "Finding Grace" and the red/yellow tulips, "Mammo Tulips". I asked my teacher for some tips and she looked at them and liked them. Didn't want me to change anything. She especially liked the African scene as did most of the class (to my surprise). She said that she was glad that I was painting at home and that she would continue to teach me the use of color and painting in class to help improve on what I was doing.

Yesterday's class took a change of direction as we began to work on a Matisse collage for the cancer center at El Camino Hospital Cancer Center. We were given large pieces of heavy white art paper and told to draw random shapes and paint them in one of three primary colors -yellow, red, blue. I drew a free form dancing woman and a dancing/singing dog, some little hearts and a couple of random, bumpy shapes. It was a fun class and everyone was talking and laughing together. After drawing and painting, we started cutting out the shapes. Next week, we will start to paste the shapes onto primary and secondary colored background blocks and on top of each other to make a large, colorful collage that embodies everyone's spirits and talents. It is difficult to explain but I think will make a very dramatic effect on a big wall.

I finished off the evening by starting on a needlepoint that looked so simple but is actually very difficult. There is no printing on the fabric so you must look at a picture and then count spaces in the fabric (between warp and weft threads) and stitch according to the picture. I am doing the epic, "Footprints" which has probably over 100 words. In two hours, I managed about 4 words so this is going to take a while............I have never done any needlepoint at all before so this is interesting.

And...back to the day. I started off by calling my friend Cathy to see how she was doing and see if I could come visit while I was making a trip down to San Juan Bautista for more supplies for the Breast Cancer earrings that I make and have sold out of. (They seem to be very popular). Both her and her husband are facing cancer scares right now. Nothing has been diagnosed and they are still in the "testing" phases. I am praying and sending healing energy their way and hoping that they will turn out to be well and this will be "just a scare" that will pass. It is weighing heavily on my mind.

While I was in the shower, the phone rang and it was a former client of mine asking me to do some bookkeeping for her. I was happy about that as every penny helps.

With all this on my mind, I headed off to my own Drs. appt. and tried to refocus so that I would remember which questions to ask of him. It was my first appt. with a new primary physician and, even with all of the cancer stuff, there are still other things I need to attend to in order to keep a healthy body. He read my file, pronounced me healthy - good cholesterol, good blood pressure, good heartbeat. We then discussed the details of the cholesterol and TSH tests and some various skin issues. He referred me to a dermatologist who I will be seeing next week and also ordered a new set of in-depth blood tests to be done in 4 months along with a follow-up visit with him. I must say that I have never had such a thorough first visit with a primary. It was refreshing.

I grabbed a mocha coffee and stopped by to see my sister-in-law for some R&R before heading home. When I got home, there was an e-mail from Bachelor #3 (the most promising). He had been in a motorcycle accident on the weekend and just gotten out of the hospital yesterday morning. That was why I hadn't heard from him - poor guy. I felt awful for him. Needless to say, our date for this evening is delayed for the time being. Sometimes I wonder if I am just bad luck to those around me. Why is this all happening? But then I remember that it happens to everyone at one point or another. Anyway, he seems like a nice guy so I do hope we can get together when he feels better.

And.....I had an email wishing me Happy Valentine's Day from Bachelor #1 (Mr. Speedy) who I had written off as not interested. The email brought a little giggle to my lips, because, although it was really nice and he did sign it "kisses", I suspect that it is actually a group mail and that he has a list of girls that he sends the same thing to. It was a little impersonal. That is my theory anyway. I could be wrong........

Happy Valentine's Day from the two cutest little angels.

Here is hoping for a calmer week. I have had my quota of exciting.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Never a dull moment

Wow! so much is happening so fast that it boggles my mind.

First of all, yesterday, I called Hayward PS in the morning and did get my appt. for Mar 1 with the new PS. Lets hope all of that goes well.

Next was my Herceptin infusion which meant that I saw my NP. After describing the brain pains I have been having, (Wierd, shooting pains inside my skull. Don't hurt my eyes or sight but do make them feel "affected" ) she decided that a CT scan for my brain was in order so that is scheduled for next Tuesday. Then, I went to my Herceptin treatment. No big excitement there except for they got these nice, new chairs with built in steps to get up and down and neat handles to make them easy to recline. They also seem to rock just a bit. Cool!

My next stop was the Ultrasound department. Well, that started off a bit on the wrong foot (or wrong breast you might say). The Mammo group described a lump in my RIGHT breast and recommended ultrasound for my RIGHT breast. Altogether, they mentioned the RIGHT breast three times in their report. Imagine the US technicians feeling when I told her good luck with that. I have no RIGHT breast. I think she was a bit shocked as she reread the report to me and asked me twice if I was sure. Hmmmmmm......... I was sure. Anyway, we got that straightened out and she started the US. She asked where the lumps were and I started from the largest, which she could feel also, and moved around to the many other lumps. She saw a "shadow" - not what you want to hear when you are looking for cancer. She was being very thorough which made me feel good. Then she left and went and pulled my mammos from this year and last year and my US from last year. She came back and looked some more and then went and got the Radiologist who came in and introduced herself as Dr. --. The radiologist moved the US monitor over my breast and also found the same "shadow" as well as a few others. This went on for a while. She said that she really thinks it is nothing and would like to say so but, with my history, "nothing" has been something so she doesn't want to take a chance. It was interesting watching the monitor and hearing her explain as she moved the monitor around - there is a lymph node, there is a clip, there is some scarring, etc. They took lots of pictures and she said she wanted to discuss it with Dr. K, my surgeon. I mentioned the MRI I had last year and she said that may be the way to go - to do another one and look for changes - since that may be the only way to detect anything in my breast. She said I was "difficult" and I told her that I didn't think she would find anyone to argue with her on that one. She smiled. :) Now, I am just waiting to hear from Dr. K and see what the next step is. I do have an appt. with her on Feb. 24.

Then, I went to visit Susan, Stacey and the babies. Susan was working on her quilt and just Riley was up so I took a couple of spare pieces of cloth and wrapped them around her wrist like Wonder Woman armbands. She seemed quite pleased by this - walking around with her arms out in front of her and showed them to Stacey when Stacey came in. Then, Samantha got up and we all played with some of their toys. Samantha was standing on her toy shelf and said, "aMantha, aMantha, aMantha" 3x. It was the first time, I heard her say her name. She was obviously proud.

I went home and had some dinner while I talked to a few friends. Although, initially, I wasn't worried about the US, it seems that over the afternoon, the reality seemed to set in and it started to weigh on my mind a bit.

Today, I think I might hear some more on it.

Which brings us to this morning and the update on my dating life. Bachelor #1 (Mr. Speedy) seems to have decided to reappear. At least, he sented an email wishing me a Happy Valentine's Day. Bachelor #3, who sounded promising, has not called with a place for our date. I checked and found that he is no longer on-line (happens sometime) so sent an email to his personal email that he had given me. Lets see if he responds to that one.

Besides that, I have another Drs. appt. today and maybe a Dermatologist appt. since Kaiser has now recommended that I see a derm specialist once/year. What fun!

I am sure that this is all terribly boring to anyone but me, but hey, I am writing this for myself, right? And with my chemobrain, this may be the only way that I can remember anything.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Herceptin #7

Today is Monday - the start of another "work" week for me. Getting up early this morning was tough. I feel so tired. The stress of last week is still lingering and my body aches. However, it is with a little excitement that I do face the day. It is one more step in this journey which will take me closer to becoming "normal" again.

This morning, I start off with a visit to my Oncology NP who is wonderful. Then, I go to the infusion room to be hooked up to the series of tubes that will allow them to infuse the saline and herceptin and inject the heparin directly into my bloodstream. The port is in my left chest and I always feel as if I am something from the Matrix or some other futuristic, sci-fi movie, sitting there with my tube coming out of my chest, blood pressure cuff on my left arm and reading the paper. ooooohhhhh, what a life!

On the way to the hospital, I will be on the phone with the Hayward Plastic Surgery group attempting to get an appointment with the Plastic Surgeon that does DIEP reconstruction. Hope that all goes well.

After the Herceptin, I journey to the radiation department for an ultrasound. No, this one doesn't show babies like Rich's does (at least I hope not). This is to explore the myriad of lumps and striations in my left breast to try and determine if there is anything there that needs to be further explored. The reason for this test is because the mammogram cannot find anything due to the density of my breast.

By the time I am through, it will be 1:30 with half the day gone and most of my emotional, mental and physical energy sapped. Who knows what the rest of the day will bring?

In the meantime, the rest of life goes on. Last night, I spent almost 6 hours closing ATW's books. About half that time was wasted trying to figure out what the National accountant had done in my accounts. She randomly goes in and changes things without telling me and I have to keep two sets of books just so that I can compare and see what changes she has made and whether they are correct or not (They aren't always). Frustrating and a real time drain.

Bachelor #1 has decided to leave the picture. Guess things weren't moving quickly enough for him. For someone who claimed he wanted a long term relationship, he sure didn't act like it. Bachelor #2 (Lone Wolf) is history but at least I was kind enough not to leave him hanging and to tell him. Bachelor #3 sounded very eager to set up a date and we made a day and time. He was supposed to get back to me with a place and I haven't heard from him. Too bad. He sounded the most promising of the three but maybe he is a jerk, too. If so, it will be back to the drawing board.

And finally, it will be the time to pay my own bills, work on some FDS documents and try to get some more filing done to see if I can clean my study out finally ( that is the longest running story). And walk the dogs (but probably not today - too worn out from treatments, etc). Seems like there is always something to do.

And, oh, I just remembered. Over the weekend (Fri and Sun), I was able to view 2 of the most beautiful breasts. On Fri, I saw the DIEP reconstruction and on Sun, the Free Flap reconstruction. Both were beautiful and truly miracles of medicine. The scars on both the breasts and across the mid-sections had healed beautifully. Both women had great experiences with mild recoveries. It all made me that much more excited to get my own reconstruction.

Forgive me for the brain dump. There was just so much on my mind and it feels good to get it off and start a new week. I look forward to what this week brings but am also a bit nervous. Why? I don't know. Just want it all to go well -- whatever it is!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Appointment with DIEP Plastic Surgeon and other stuff

So here was my day today:

Get up, feed the dogs, bring in the paper, eat breakfast. Pretty normal stuff.

Check email, note from Dr. M. Yes he had considered Dr. W. for the DIEP referral. Was still checking with her office.

5 minutes later, another email from Dr. M. He sent an e-consult to Dr. W.

Called Office of the Recorder for Santa Clara County. Sat through 20 minute message which only led to another 20 minute message and no address. While listening, went online and found the address and mapquested it. Hung up without getting information.

Went to meet my friend for lunch - Cuban food - yum!

Went to Hedding Street to Hall of Records to get a copy of my birth certificate.

Took birth certificate to Social Security. Waited a very long time to see an agent. Many smelly people waiting to be seen today. Was told again it would take 4 - 6 months for a decision. Asked if they could make it urgent and tried to explain issue with COBRA expiring and the need for a SS decision in order to extend it. SS very unsympathetic and stuck to the 4 - 6 month requirement. Ugh!

Finally got home. Message from Kaiser Hayward. Called back. They want to schedule appt. with Dr. W. but oops! no appointments left in Feb. How about March? Oops again! Cannot schedule March. It is not open yet. Will open on Monday. I ask, "March when?" and they say March 1st. Sounds good to me so they tell me to call first thing on Monday to schedule. So now that is another 3 weeks added on to this whole thing. 6 weeks to see Dr. M and then 3 more weeks to see Dr. W. for a total of 9 weeks! Over 2 months just to talk to the Plastic Surgeons without a decision or surgery date! Ridiculous. I just hope it works out with Dr. W. or I will really be at a loss. Just need to call early on Monday - before my Herceptin treatment.

Called the COBRA people. They were even more useless than Social Security and didn't seem to know what was going on at all. Might have helped if she spoke a little English so that we could understand each other.

Rushed off to Redwood City to meet the DIEP flap lady and check out her scars and new body part. Very well done. I even guessed the wrong boob when I saw the reconstruction with her bra on.

Headed home and remembered my friend Debbie lived somewhere over that direction so called her and turned out that her street was just off of the one I was on and only a few blocks away. What a coincidence! Went to see the dream house that she and her husband have spent 6 years building. It is so beautiful and would certainly be my dream house also. I loved it. We talked and ate for awhile and I finally went home.

And now it is bedtime. I am exhausted!

DIEP info

Yesterday, I had a call from a woman who had a DIEP reconstruction 4 years ago when she was my age. She was a wealth of information and pointed me to several good websites.


The first website provides a list of plastic surgeons nationwide who are trained in the DIEP reconstruction surgery. I found one listed for Kaiser Hayward and emailed to Dr. M. to see if I could get a reference. The sight also provides details on all types of reconstruction. It is your one stop, reconstruction information center. The Dr. Kind sight has more information on the different reconstruction surgeries including photos of before and afters. There is one woman in there that is in excess of 200 pounds and had the surgery. That is far more than I weigh. Dr. Kind is a surgeon with a San Francisco practice and therefore, very accessible. Seems there might be some variation in surgical opinions (as there are with all other medical specialties). These are good local sights and I am so glad that I spoke with her. Tonight, I get to go look at her reconstruction and Sunday I am visiting with a woman who had the Free Tram reconstruction. This is starting to be not such a bad experience and I am starting to feel a little more positive. However, I am still anxious to get through the prelims and have the surgery scheduled.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Another date!

I have another new date next Wednesday eve. Wish me luck. Talked to him this eve and he actually sounds normal. Even said he wants to go home from work first and change to "look nice" since this is the first date and first dates are special. That is the kind of thing I like to hear. (And I believe Rich mentioned that in one of his comments, too). He is also a scuba diver and loves dogs. Ex-microsoft employee (so does he belong to the evil empire or is he a refugee from it?). That is about all for now. Will update later (after the date).

Feeling better - Who was that other Cathy anyway?

Just got home from WW and checked my email. There was a message from Dr. M. He said that he is still checking on surgeons for the DIEP reconstruction and that the schedulers only schedule 4 - 6 weeks out so it would be March before I am notified of a surgical date. I feel a little more confident and relaxed now since his response was so quick. The waiting is still EXTREMELY difficult but made a little easier with a little more confidence that I will get a response. Hopefully, this will all be worked out soon. At least I can stop crying and go back to enjoying the sunny days we have been having.

Another week, another 5 lbs? No.....

Went to WW today and am still struggling with that next 5 lbs. Another week gone by. I still have 1 more pound to go. Doesn't sound like much I know but, for some reason, I am having such a hard time with this 5 lbs. I got within .3 lbs two years ago and then gained 20 lbs. I have been struggling for 2 years to get here. Hopefully, next week will be the victory line. I am really trying. 1.....more......pound. Then, I get my star at last. :D

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Babies, babies

My friend had twins on Dec. 16. She lives in the UK and just sent me some new photos of the babies. Check out these bottles. I have never seen anything like them.

And more crying

I am so lost. And frustrated. My whole world seems to be falling apart. How can I explain when I don't understand it myself. The whole reconstruction issue was supposed to be resolved last April and then I couldn't have it because of the radiation. And now, almost a year later, everything is so uncertain again. I don't know when or if I will have it. And I wait and wait and wait for how long? When will this doctor get back to me with another doctor's name and how long before I can meet with that person? Everything is so out of control. Just waiting and waiting. I feel like I am in some kind of pergutory between heaven and hell. And there is nothing I can do. And waiting for the social security and can't find my birth certificate which they need to process the papers. And waiting and waiting. And all I can do is crawl under the covers, roll into a fetal position, wrap my arms around myself and cry. And the dogs can't understand why Mom is laying in bed all day, crying and sleeping. And nothing is getting done. And I don't have any control over it. My life is totally in other's hands and at the mercy of their schedules. Tears are rolling down my face and I have forced myself to get up and write, hoping that writing will help make some sense of this but I still can't stop crying. I am so helpless and don't know what to do to resolve this. How can I get it moving again? The waiting is killing me, robbing me of my humor and motivation. When will this doctor call me? When will it be convenient for his schedule? What about my life? I don't want to go back to the fetal position but I feel it calling me. And no one seems to understand. I don't really expect them to because they are not in my place but the stress is mounting. I feel like I am back to a year ago, unable to get the mastectomy scheduled and get things moving before Dr. K came into the picture. I thought everything was resolved but this is a big set back. Another day is passing and nothing getting done. Got to go look for my birth certificate if I can see through the tears.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I cried and cried and then I laughed

Well, I have cried and cried all day. I completely forgot that I had gone to the pet food store and bought food, pigs ears and toys for the dogs. I talked and cried to poor Lena but ended up laughing over my recent silly and psycho dates before the call ended. Cried to Dad and Mom. Cried to the Disability lady (some government workers are so nice). Cried to the Dogs. Went to my young women's support group and didn't cry. Something about the moderator puts me off. Don't think I will go back there. No one else seems to ever go back either and seems like there are always only 1 or 2 people there. But anyway........I finally remembered the dogs' pigs ears and toys when I went to feed them dinner. They loved the pigs ears and when they had finished I gave Thomas his toy (Smokey doesn't usually play with toys). It was a cute bunny rabbit that grunted when you pressed its belly. It also had squeakers in its feet. Thomas got such a kick out of the grunt, grunt, grunt. He was sprawled on the floor, back legs straight out behind him and tail straight in the air wagging with his nose pressing and pressing the toy which was going grunt, grunt, grunt. I laughed so hard. It was so funny. Dog therapy is so good. The only thing better is baby therapy. Unfortunately, the babies were out and about today and I didn't see them. But I still had my dog therapy and it was goooood.


I am so depressed. Was hoping to get the reconstruction issue resolved today. This is the last big piece of the puzzle. Saw my plastic surgeon and learned that he doesn't do DIEP flaps. I was shocked because I thought we had discussed this in our previous meeting. After a little more discussion, I learned that he does Free Flaps - similar, yet different. In our first meeting, I didn't really know about the two so was confused. Well, I am not set on doing a DIEP flap. I think a Free flap would also work but Dr. M. wanted me to talk to someone who does DIEP flaps before deciding. I wasn't sure if he was really wanting to do the surgery or not but he did tell me to email him with any questions I had and that he would look around and find out who does the DIEP flap and refer me. He also agreed to reserve the room for the Free flap surgery since it takes a couple of months to reserve because it is an 8 - 10 hour surgery. He will try to reserve one in May. If I decide to go with him, he will need to meet with me one more time to take measurements. I asked him about my weight and he said that I had done well and it was fine. If I were to lose a few more pounds, it wouldn't hurt but, at the moment, I am no longer borderline which is good. He told me that I wasn't obese at all but just carrying the weight in my stomach - although not as much as before. He said to keep up with what I was doing. At the moment, I have to wait for him to get back to me with the name of a DIEP flap surgeon, if Kaiser has one, then meet with that person, make a decision on the type of surgery and then get a room scheduled (unless the decision is to be with Dr. M.) and finally surgery. It all seems so very long and, in the meantime, my Disability is running out in April and won't know about Social Security until July. The mortgage is due. Bills are due. No one seems to think this is an issue but they are not faced with a stack of bills and an empty checkbook. The money situation is stressful and depressing. Otherwise, I would be okay and not mind the wait but not having any money coming in is very scary. I don't want to lose my house and may have to go look for work instead of reconstruction. It is so unfair and depressing to think of having to put off reconstruction for what could amount to years. It is even more stressful trying to make decisions under money pressures. I just can't stop the tears from flowing. When will this nightmare be over? Why couldn't I get a decision and a date today? Why is life so unfair? Why me?


Here it is finally. The day I get to meet with my plastic surgeon to discuss reconstruction. I am so nervous. Will I be too fat? Will he tell me I can't get a DIEP flap reconstruction? Will we be able to set a date? Will I like it? What will my breasts look like? I am kind of liking my look right now. Just don't like the fact that my wardrobe choices are limited. Don't want to be late for my appointment. It is in Santa Clara - a place I have been to only once and it is huge with limited parking. Will leave early. So many thoughts going through my mind. It is all a scramble and overriding all is the nervousness. I am so nervous. Don't think I have been this nervous except for the time I had to meet my surgeon for the first time to get a decision on MRI. But this. This is cutting and pasting of body parts. It is a one time deal. Must work. Must work. Will he let me do it? Haven't lost that 5 lbs. yet. Working hard. Stomach not ripped with a six-pack. Umm, that is not supposed to be good for this surgery. Need a little fat. Breasts have fat. But not too much. Do I have too much? I am sure that I don't have too little. When will we be able to schedule an operating room. Long surgery. Long recovery. So nervous. So nervous. The brain is just chattering now. Think I will go for a walk.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Knee Deep in Hot Water

Today was Super Bowl Sunday and yes, it was a joy to see Joe M. in his cameo spots and I did love seeing my favorites, the Rolling Stones play at half time. Wasn't in it for either team. Would have been nice to see Seattle win as a West Coast team but was sort of nice to see Pittsburgh win as the underdogs and to see the Buss get his Super Bowl ring before retiring. But that isn't what this blog is about. It is about me and my day.

It started off as a fairly normal Sunday. I got up, let the dogs out, picked up the paper and gave the dogs their breakfast. I was just about to take them for their walk which I try to do first thing in the morning when it is quiet and there are less people and dogs around when I took a look at the painting I have been working on and thought, "maybe I will do a little touch up before I walk the dogs". I fixed my breakfast and sat down to touch up the tulips that I just can't seem to get right. As I was sitting there, I suddenly heard the sound of water, lots of water, whooshing somewhere. "Where", I thought, "is that water coming from?" I checked the dishwasher - not running. I checked the sink - water off. I checked under the sink and, when I opened the cupboard door, out came a flood of water - hot water. My glasses immediately fogged up and I couldn't see a thing, but I could feel and hear floods of water spraying everywhere. I immediately panicked as thoughts of my friends flooded house rushed through my head. How was I going to stop this water. I grabbed a bucket and put it under the sink. No good. Water everywhere. I threw bottles of cleaner, dishwasher tablets, plastic bags - all the things you store under a kitchen cabinet out onto the floor so that I could get under the cabinet. No time to do it in a neat and orderly fashion. I remembered there were 2 valves under the sink to turn off water. One of them, I could reach easily and turned it off. Nothing. The other one involved me sticking my hand into the hot, spraying water to turn off. I tried - burn, burn - could not do it. I grabbed a towel and wrapped it around my wrist and tried again. A little headway but the towel was soon soaked and I was burning myself again. All the time, I am talking to myself like an insane maniac, "What to do, what to do?", "Help me, someone help me", "Help, help", "Water, water, turn off the water"....... I grab a plastic bag and wrap it around my arm. This finally allows me to turn off the second valve. Still no good. The water is gushing everywhere. The kitchen is now about ankle deep in it. The rug in the kitchen is saturated and blue and green dye is coloring the water on the floor. All the time, the dogs are just sitting there watching their sopping, rambling master like it is the most fascinating thing in the world - and maybe it was. I ran out front and tried to turn the valve, not even knowing if it was the right one. When I couldn't get it to turn, I figured it was the wrong one and maybe I needed to go turn the one out back. At this point, the panic was really high. I called Dad and Mom answered, "Calm down", she said. I cried out, "I can't. You don't understand. The water is now ankle deep. My house is flooding." Click went the phone. I called back thinking I had lost the connection. Answering machine. I left a sobbing message not realizing they had hung up and were rushing over. What to do? What to do? I was running out of ideas. I ran next door to my neighbor, Helen and rang her bell. She answered very concerned and I asked, "Do you know how to turn off the water?" She was in her bathrobe, too but ran over and quickly turned off the valve in the front of the house - the same one I tried and couldn't get to turn. She got it to turn and the relief washed over me as we heard the water stop. I was a wet, soppy, teary mess by this time. She looked at me and asked if she could help clean up. I wanted to say yes but was embarassed to ask for help so I didn't answer. She looked at me and said she would change into pants and be right over. I went in and picked the stuff up off of the floor and put it on the counter. I opened the door to the garage and a flood of water washed out of the kitchen into the garage. By then, Helen was back and Mom and Dad were there, too. Helen picked up the rug and put it out into the laundry sink in the garage. She brought towels and threw them down around the edges of the kitchen. I ran to get more towels. She found a broom and started sweeping the water out into the garage. I found another and started sweeping, too. Dad got under the sink and turned off the third valve that I couldn't find because it was behind the spraying water. That turned off the hot water and he showed me that the leak was the hot water pipe to the dishwasher which had come loose and the rubber stopper was worn out. He also told me that, in the future, I can turn the water off at the hot water heater and it will stop the hot water. Helen finished up the sweeping and left. Mom and Dad went home so Dad could change and I continued cleaning and drying. Dad came back and we went to Orchard Supply, bought a 79 cent part and he fixed the pipe. Turned all of the water back on and no leaks. Yeah. Dad left. I finished the cleaning and drying and started washing all of the towels we had used. Fortunately, the linoleum and rug in the kitchen as well as the slant of the kitchen towards the garage, kept most of the water contained. There was no leakage through to the hallway and only a little into the dining room. Under the sink was very wet and still smells like wet plywood. Hopefully, it will dry out soon. By this time, it was too late to walk the dogs. Sorry dogs. I hopped in the shower and dressed to go to my friends for the Super Bowl. Helen came over when she saw me in my car ready to go and asked how I was doing. I hugged her and thanked her. She was about to mow both of our lawns but I talked her into letting me do it tomorrow instead. Then, I was off to the Super Bowl. I had a well deserved beer as soon as I got to my friends house and the rest of the story is where we started here.............

When I got home, there was an email from my last "date" titled "Lone wolf moving on". I thought it was a rejection but, noooooo, he was asking for another date! How can a date go so badly for one person (me) and the other one (him) be so clueless? Now, I need to find a way to kindly say no. He did make it a bit easier by totally twisting the very few words I did say to him (in between all of his) on the date. Of my working with dogs and the training of my own two dogs, he mentioned me talking about "controlling" them when it was him that had said that and me that had said it wasn't about "control" but about giving them boundaries so they understand their role in the pack. He then went on to say that he guessed men weren't as intimidated by dogs as women are and so don't need to "control" them! And then he went on to say that being "handcuffed is what marriage is all about". Ugh! I couldn't sit through another 3 hours or even 3 minutes with this guy. He said his last girlfriend became schizophrenic and left him. I can imagine why. Next!

What a day!

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Yesterday, the phone call came, sooner than I expected. They need to do an ultrasound followup to my mammogram so that is scheduled for right after my next Herceptin infusion. Whoopee! What a fun day that will be. Just kidding. At least I don't have to go to the hospital twice.

As for the little red, itchy bumps. They have now spread up my legs and onto my face but, believe it or not, do seem to be getting a little better with the cream. At least I am not itching as much.

Back to WW again this morning. Another month has gone by and I have still not lost that 5 lbs., try as hard as I have, I am still 3 lbs. away. Ugh! What is going to get me over this hump. Santa, I have been a good girl.....:)