Tuesday, May 30, 2006

12th Herceptin Infusion and counting, counting, counting....

For those of you out there who might be reading, today is my 12th Herceptin infusion. Very soon here, I will be trotting (driving) off to the infusion clinic for yet another hookup and fillup. After this one, I will have 5 or 6 more depending on how the doctor wants to count it.

And, for surgery, count down continues. 21 more days. Exactly 3 weeks. It is coming so quickly. I can't believe it. I am excited. I am nervous. I am sad. No one else seems to care as much as I do. That is normal. However, no one else seems to care at all. With the mastectomy, there was such an outporing of love and support. When I tell people this surgery is for reconstruction, they just say oh (as in "is that all?"). I am not feeling the support. I am not feeling the love. Maybe folks don't feel like this is a big deal but I do. This surgery gives me back what was taken away. It is huge. It allows me to wear my clothes and swimsuits again. It allows me to run out of the house without a bra if I have to. It allows me to know that if there is an emergency in the night - like a sick dog - I can dress without thinking and rush them to the emergency room - without searching for my prosthesis, putting it in the bra, putting it on and then getting dressed. This is a long and complicated surgery with a long and complicated recovery and I need everyone's support as much as ever. Emotionally, this all wrecks me. I know this is not a frivolous surgery but the lack of support almost makes me feel like I have made a frivolous decision. I know I am not expressing myself very well here. The feelings are so complicated. I am just trying to say that this is a big deal and I need everyone's support as much as before.

Monday, May 29, 2006

My trip to LA

After the wonderfulness of giving a pint of blood, I packed up my belongings and headed off to LA. But first, I made a stop at WW and am happy to say that I got my next 5lb star! I was then 2.3lbs from reaching maintenance. However, in LA, I gained 5lbs and am now 7.3lbs from goal. Hopefully, most of that will drop off in a couple of days as I stabilize my eating/drinking habits again. It sure was fun though!

Wed evening found me in LA at Alisha's house. Wine, a good meal and good company were all waiting for me. I gave Alisha and Andy "Finding Grace" as a wedding gift and really felt as if they loved it. I was happy to see them so happy.

Thurs, I was off to check on the work being done at my house down there. The shower had been rebuilt after mold had eaten through the grout and wall board. A new vanity was put in as well as new faucets and new piping. The interior was completely repainted with up to 7 coats in most places (due to the heavy smoking of the tenant) and new mini blinds were put in throughout the house. All of the wooden windows were unstuck and freely sliding. New light fixtures were put in throughout (where did the old ones go? No one seems to know) All the work that was done was just what would be done for a new tenant except that the old tenant is still there. Lucky guy isn't he?

First, I took a look at the shower. Despite Merry Maids and another cleaning lady having "worked on it" it was still dirty. There were yellow stains on the pink tiles, the grout had not been cleaned and the side next to the glass door was not even touched. Mold still stood about 1/4 inch deep on it. The handyman tried to tell me that the stains could not come out because of the years of damage. I was not believing it. I told him and the tenant that I would not pay for the cleaning since it wasn't done. After checking out the rest of the house and making a list of what still needed completing, the handyman left and I began the task of scrubbing the shower myself. With cleaners and a pot-scrubber sponge, I scrubbed for an hour, cleaning most of the grout and removing the yellow stains from the pink tiles. It still wasn't completely clean and I was tired. It did show however that it was cleanable. I was pretty disgusted that I was spending my time and energy cleaning up after my tenant when he was still living in the house. However, the shower needed to be cleaned in order for me to see the work done by the handyman and understand what further work needed to be done.

By that time, I needed a break. The rest of the day was spent visiting the San Gabriel Mission where I was unexpectedly led to the grave of Father Aloyisius who apparently was a great healer and is a site of pilgrimage for cancer patients. I had no idea. From there, I headed off for a manicure, pedicure, leg and arm massage....ummmmmm...wonderful. That evening, Alisha, Andy and I shared more drink, food and good company.

Friday found me driving down to the hall of records in Norwalk to take care of some business and then going to visit with another breast cancer patient in Laguna Niguel who was recovering from a mastectomy/DIEP flap reconstruction performed two weeks before. She was doing great and it was wonderful talking to her.

That evening, I met up with my friends Kathy and Doug in Huntington Beach where we walked the piers and downtown before settling in for the night. So relaxing...I love the beach and the ocean and the smell of the fresh sea air. Wonderful company too. Saturday morning, we headed off to Laguna Beach for a delicious brunch on the patio of Las Brisas overlooking the ocean. The rest of the morning was spent at the sea lion center, watching them get fed and cared for.

At last on Saturday, the real reason for the trip - Lorraine's 50th birthday party. It is amazing how quickly the time passes (not the trip in LA - which passed quickly too - but the years of life). It was a great event with lots of friends and family, an entertaining quiz on Lorraine (who would have known she prefers click pens over pens with caps?) and, of course Gold Greyhounds! I was pleased that she liked the gift I gave her - a painting called "Aspen Changes" of her hiking in a place called Maroon Bells in Aspen, CO. The evening was spent in the Jacuzzi and talking with Lorraine and friends before falling off to sleep.

Sunday morning, after drinking Dom Perignon mimosas to continue Lorraine's birthday celebration, we headed off to the Mission Inn in Riverside for brunch. This is a beautiful hotel built right in the old mission - lots of peace, plants and beauty. The brunch was delicious.

Finally, I headed back to my house to check on the work again. The handyman had finished everything beautifully with just the sealing on the tiles, miniblinds in the back bedroom and shelves in the medicine chest to be completed on Wednesday. I was very pleased. Somehow my tenant was not as pleased - not sure why - maybe something to do with his quitting smoking. He was very grumpy with me and when I came home, I found rude emails from him (complete with swear words) about my "telling him how to spend his money, complaining and trying to change his life and then raising his rent on top of it". I don't recall doing or saying anything of the sort and am completely baffled as to what he was talking about. And, by the way, excuse me, but did I not just spent thousands of dollars of my money cleaning up and redoing the interior of the house, not to mention the shower because his smoking had so damaged the walls and his lack of cleaning in the shower had destroyed it? And did I mention that his rent is far below market value and doesn't begin to cover the thousands of dollars of work I have had done on the house. And how about me having to spend an hour scrubbing his shower? I asked him if he had a problem with me and he just said that "money was tight". And this is a reason to lash out at me?

After that and the long drive back from LA, I was happy to get home and wanted only to relax and let my stomach calm down from the "tenant stress". I really was happy to see the dogs. The house was in good shape and they were well fed and happy thanks to the great care given to them by my niece. Thanks Stace! It is good to be home but I do miss my friends in LA and really did have a wonderful time (despite the tenant trouble).

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The countdown to surgery

Today, my surgery got a little closer. After downing 15 glasses of water yesterday and another 10 this morning, I headed off to the Red Cross to give my pint of blood that will be used for my surgery. This might seem like an easy task for most people but for me, it is one more trauma to my poor left arm with its depleted veins. Before, I could give blood, I was required to read two long pages describing what would be done to me and the required tests (HIV, STD, West Nile Virus) that will be run on my (and everyone's) blood. Should you refuse to sign the form giving your release for them to do these tests, then they will not take your blood.

Next, I met with a nurse who took my history and then stuck me with a finger stick to get my blood and check my hematocrit. By the way, those finger sticks HURT! It is more painful than getting an IV as far as I am concerned. Next she checked for the percentage of red blood cells to plasma. The lower limit is 32 to be able to give blood. At first she said mine was too low which sent me into a minor panic. Then she shook the tube again or did some other manipulation and decided I was at 33 and could give blood after all. Whew! Another hurdle crossed.

Finally, I made it to the chair. It was a very high, reclining chair - made so that the most blood possible rushes to your arms. The nurse put a very tight blood pressure cuff on me to pump up any veins I might have left. She also made me squeeze a rubber thingy. She searched and searched and, at long last found what she thought might be a good vein. The American Red Cross can only take blood from the crook of the arm because the size 16 guage (very big) needles they use need the biggest veins possible which are usually found in that part of the arm - or so I am told. Next came the needle and boy, that needle was big! No kidding! Even without my glasses on I could see the hole in it. It was huge. I thought "that will never go in my vein". Well, surprise! She got it into my vein with just a tiny bit of wiggling. My vein was just barely big enough to hold it. My thin blood though flowed out nice and quickly. I filled my bag in record time according to the nurse. Without a blink, I was able to get up and head off to the holding area for my 15 minute recovery. 2 cups of cranberry juice and a muffin later, I was on my way.

The rest of the afternoon (2hours) was spent going to Michael's for picture frames and walking the dogs with my niece Stacey. Then it was off to painting class where my tired body and mind were rejuvenated by all of the positive energy in the room.

Needless to say, there was no filing done today.........

Searching for tiles

My search for coordinating shower tiles took me to Rogers street in San Jose. This is a wonderful mecca of tile stores and warehouses. One can actually pick up the real tiles and lay them next to each other to see if they really coordinate. Most of the sales folks are nice and helpful. One of them even noticed I was looking at Porcelanosa tile and pointed me towards the very large Porcelanosa store where I could get free samples. The sales woman in there was also very nice and helpful. She gave me my free sample and then pointed me to another tile store where I might have more luck finding the specially treated tiles for use in shower pans. It was another long tiresome day but I think I may have finally found some tiles that will work. Of course, this trekking around only put off my filing and cleaning of my study yet once again.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Sorting, Filing and Shredding, Shredding, Shredding

The quest to Let Go of all this drek and clutter that have filled my life for the past 9 years continues after a weeks hiatus in which I was pounding out tiles from my shower and in search of coordinating tiles to replace them with. The task was not as easy as it sounds and, amazingly, tile stores are not very cooperative. All of the tiles are stuck to boards so that you can only look at them. You cannot take them off and put them next to each other to see how they look. This makes trying to match and coordinate a rather daunting task. I finally found one store that had a few samples so that I could "build" a shower on the floor and see how everything looked together. This helped to find some nice coordinating tiles. Unfortunately, they were the wrong size so the search continues.

But, back to the task at hand. The rain today made it perfect to stay in and re-address my study and the continuing stacks of filing and sorting. Just when I think I have finally come into this century, I find another stack that puts me back into the '90s. At least it seems as if the '80s are done but, who knows? There may still be some lurking in the remaining bags that I have yet to go through. As you may have guessed, I have done a lot of shredding. Would have loved to just shove everything through the shredder but, unfortunately, there are many things I need to keep and file. The amount shoved through so far has been significant and I thank my Aurora 10 sheet/credit card/cd crosscut shredder from Bed, Bath and Beyond for all of its hard work. It has chugged along with never a pause unlike my 6 sheet/credit card/crosscut shredder I got from Office Max that continued to overheat and soon bent or crushed all the blades so that I had to replace it. But I digress again. The shredded matter has now filled up my paper bin which will not be emptied until Wed morning. However, Jeannette across the street has offered up her been so now I am hard at work seeing if I can manage to fill hers as well.

Today took on a rather pensive note when I hit the stack of Kaiser stuff that held the reports and appointments from the early days of my diagnosis - the office visit, mammogram, biopsy and first surgeon's appt. It really took me back and made me think.

Other than that, I learned something about myself as I went through receipts and envelopes. I sure did like to give gifts - to everyone! That was such a joy for me and something that I am really missing now that I am in such dire straits financially. I hope one day to be able to buy and give gifts again. Until then, I hope that my paintings, jewelry and other handiwork will suffice.

Well, back to the grind (literally). :)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A new twist on duck, duck, goose

Its called test, test, doctor....

This is getting really old. Enough tests. Enough doctors. I love you all but please leave me alone.

Yesterday, I spent all day at Kaiser. Here is how it went.

11:00 -Go to the infusion room. Stop by pharmacy on the way to turn in prescription. Get a needle with tubes stuck in the port to "access" it. Had some time to spare before the next appointment so chatted with another patient going through the same treatments as I have been through/am going through.

12:30 - Off to Nuclear Medicine to get an injection of radioactive material.

12:45 - Back to pharmacy. Stand in line for 40 minutes to pick up prescription.

1:30 - See gynecologist for first time since before being diagnosed (She was on vacation when I came in with my complaint that eventually led to diagnosis). The meeting was a very good one. She did a PAP and a rectal (ouch!) and informed me that I should see her once/year to have my ovaries checked and that if I had any bleeding, I should see her immediately. We then discussed HPV and my previous bouts with cervical cancer. She told me that 30% of the cases that are first frozen result in recurrence. I was one of those. She also said that HPV comes and goes and that, although I don't have it now, I could have had it then. Very interesting and informative discussion. We went on to discuss hormone balancing - not to be confused with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and saliva testing which Kaiser does not do. She offered to run my progesterone, testosterone, estrogen and FSH levels so that I could take them to an outside doctor who does hormone balancing. Then we talked about bone density. She tried to look up my results but found that Santa Teresa reads them differently than Redwood City so she could not compare them. There was a note from my oncologist that my density had dropped and we needed to discuss Fosamax. I talked with her (my gynecologist) about diet and exercise for bone density and she understood and saw that it could be considered as an option or augmentation. She told me that I wasn't in immediate danger but it would allow me to address it before I became 80 and got a broken hip/back/you name it. She even asked me how I was doing mentally and how I was handling the breast cancer. She said I seemed fine but it is difficult to tell in a 15 minute appointment. I appreciated her asking. She also said that it is good I had taken control of my health and learned about it so that I could ask questions. It didn't offend her at all - unlike some other not to be named doctors. A lot happened in this appointment and it was all good. I really appreciated talking with Dr. N.

2:15 - Met Debbie at Applebee's for lunch. She was talking with another lady who had breast cancer. She pulled down the collar of her shirt and showed me the "healing hand" tattoo she had tattooed on her chest just below her collar bone.

3:30 - Back to Nuclear Medicine for a 45 minute ride through the scanner as it scanned my whole body head to toe. I looked over at the screen and saw my skeleton front and back including the slight left to right curvature (scoliosis) of my spine. The port was glowing where they had injected the radioactive material through it so they had to run that part of the scan again from a different angle to show that it was the port and not a cancer in the bone.

4:30 - Back to the infusion room to have the needle and tubes removed from my port. Sharon was so nice and we ended up having a discussion of my horrific early days at Redwood City as I struggled to get the care and diagnoses I needed. I commented on the purple teddy bears for the Relay for Life events of the American Cancer Society and she gave me one. They are so cute - and of course, PURPLE!

6:00 - Debbie and I finally left and headed off to Joanne's fabrics to pick up some backing material for my wall hanging and then to Michael's to look at picture frames.

I was exhausted by the time I got home just in time to watch the Amazing Race finally won by local boy Tyler (son of owners of Buck's on Woodside Road) and his friend BJ.

Today, I went to WW - up 0.8lbs and then back over to Kaiser - this time Mountain View - for more blood tests. They took 5 tubes - 4 small ones and one big one that I swear took forever to fill. I was watching my blood flow into it, into it, into it and wondering when it would be done as I started to feel faint. The technician looked at me and said I looked pale - I could have guessed it.

Next was off to OSH, then to Color Tile to try to figure out which tile would fit the shower repair my brother is doing for me and then to Michael's where they were out of the 11x14 canvases I like to use. Home for a quick bite to eat and milk and lots of water as I was still faint. Then back out to Redwood City to more tile places and finally home with a couple of samples now waiting to be decided on.

So much to do.....so little time....and too many doctors appts/tests........

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


In what seems the cruelist, meanest twist in this dating world I am in, I have been struck by the Sincere Liar again. Once again, it was a nice date, a fun date, a date where we laughed and seemed at ease with each other, a date where there seemed to be some mutual attraction. Neither seemed too eager to get home. We discussed how the process worked and HE said, "Lets agree right now that, if one of us isn't interested, we will tell the other one and not play any games". That sounded good to me. However, I had heard it before with Mr. Seems Normal and he had turned out to be a jerk who left me hanging after talking specifics of the next date.

I thought this time might be different. After all, would two totally different guys use the same line, seem so sincere and then act in the same jerky manner? Well, you guessed it. It happened.

We talked about a second date, where we would go and what day. He offered me three possible days we could get together. I was available on two of them. He even reconfirmed two days and times! Then, he took my phone number and programmed it into his cell phone - even asked my last name and made sure he spelled it right. He said he had to check the Sharks schedule and would get back to me on which of the two days depending on how the playoffs go. He has two teenage daughters and raised them himself so needed to be with them first to watch the game since they are all fans and have season tickets.

Well, he never called or emailed, despite the fact that I sent him a nice email thanking him for the date and telling him I looked forward to the next one.

Why get specific? Why not just say, "I'll call" or better yet, send an email saying, "I just don't think it is working out"? We even discussed that as the best option for both of us. Either one would have done the trick. A girl usually knows that "I'll call" means "I am not interested". Discussing days and times and programming your name into their cell phone, on the other hand, seems to indicate a stronger interest? Why go through that whole charade? Why be a jerk and make me think there was something there?

Would he want a guy to treat his daughter that way?

It hurts.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

And the challenge continues....

Although I didn't get much done yesterday, over the past 2 days I have managed to go through 5 more bags of papers. These are big bags too. I think I have covered most of the "old" '80's, early '90s era stuff but who knows what else I will find. There are still 3 more bags here and 4 boxes, not to mention the stacks of papers on the floor. I will keep plugging away in the hopes of soon "seeing the light". Atleast, progress is being made. Today, except for a visit to my Mom this eve, I have the whole day to play at this and hopefully, get some of it filed.

Whoever invented paper should be dishonorably discharged from the history books! :)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Spanky adopted!

Wow! Only 2 weeks after Lulu was adopted but after 7 months at the shelter, Spanky was adopted. He is the sweetest dog you have ever seen. His pedigree of being a pitbull mix kept most people from adopting him. Today was a wonderful day. Hurray!

Nice Date

Sometimes you can do all of the wrong things and it turns out right anyway.

Tonight, the "letting go" was put on hold one more time for something unexpected - a date. Mr. Gonzofella. I called him in the early evening just to talk and see if we got along. After an hour of lighthearted discussion, we decided we would like to meet. We chose one of the millions of available Starbuck's and closed the place down. At 10:00, we decided to walk over to Chicago Pizza (sorry Stacey wasn't there) and have a beer. After more talk and a walk back to the car, I gave him my phone number and we talked about another day to meet. I was surprised to get in my car and see that it was 12:00 midnight!

The optimist in me says this was a great date and everything will work out but the skeptic in me says, "yeah, yeah, you have been there before" so I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Dogs, dogs, dogs

I have been working diligently with Thomas and Smokey to rehabilitate them and re-train me so that they can become better citizens. Smokey was always pretty easy to work with since I got him very young. Thomas has been more of a challenge since he was six months old when I got him and gone through some rough times. Anyway, six years later, I was still having problems with his social skills around other dogs and with him jumping on people and with his walking.

I have been watching The Dog Whisperer Caesar Millan and studying his techniques. Gradually I have tried them out with Thomas and Smokey. His work is based on Dog and Pack Psychology and not on Human Psychology. It starts when you get up in the morning. Never let your dog go through a door before you. I started there and that immediately helped with their walking. They began to look at me more as a pack leader and not at themselves as pack leaders.

Gradually, I have added, studied, added more. Thomas now carries a pack with water bottles in it. This serves the dual duty of giving him a job to do and having water along to drink when it gets hot. He never fought the pack and seems quite comfortable carrying it. He stopped pulling and panting so much on walks and seems much more relaxed from the moment I put the pack on. Both dogs are now walking on simple slip chains. No more pinch collars.

Today, my friend Mike came to walk with us. He has been walking Smokey but I asked him to walk Thomas since I need to get both dogs used to someone else handling them so that, after my surgery, other people can walk them. I also asked him to take them out of the house since they have a tendency to rush the door, pulling you along behind them. We worked for a while with the open door until he was able to get through the door ahead of them. That was an accomplishment.

We then headed off for our walk. Mike did pretty good with Thomas, giving him corrections as he needed them. We walked down to Starbuck's and got coffees and bacon/egg muffins and sat outside for lunch. It was really nice sitting out in the fresh air and sunshine with the dogs laying at our feet. The dogs got up a couple of times when people came by but we soon got them to understand that was not allowed and then people could come and go without them noticing. Then, the real challenge came. A man came and brought his poodle and sat at a table not too far from us. Thomas jumped up and started barking. I immediately and in a calm, assertive manner made him sit and then lay down and then stop barking. I had to do this over and over until he realized that I was not going to allow that behaviour. All-in-all, it took only about 5 minutes but it felt more like 1/2 hour going through. Patience and consistency are key. I know that everyone has heard that before but I hadn't been successful for six years. With Cesar's techniques of dog psychology, I was able to learn what to do and how and when to do it. It really worked. Finally, he was laying down in a relaxed state with another dog at a nearby table. I was so proud. Success!

We got up and continued our walk home. Everyday gets better and better and I am hoping someday, there won't be any issues with other dogs at all.

CT update

Well, surprise! I thought that drinking the contrast was all I had to do for the CT Scan. How wrong was I? When I got there, I discovered that they also needed to do an IV. The guy I had was really nice and had been good at getting the IV in before. This time he had more trouble. He was able to get the size 22 needle in and get good blood flow but could not get the filament to thread the vein. After two tries, he called in a nurse. She managed to get it into my forearm. None of the three tries really hurt. Or maybe I have just grown numb to it all. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't feeling much pain beyond the initial insertion. Now I have 3 big bruises on my hand and arm - look just like a junkie!

I was rolled into the machine and the contrast was started through the IV. There was a little feeling of a pinch on my arm and then coolness. Then I felt the coolness through my lower abdomen and pelvic area as the blood circulated through my body. A few "deep breath and hold"'s later, I was done.

CT Scan

This morning I am going for a "full body" CT Scan (less the head which was done previously). Last night at 10:00PM I had to drink this one quart bottle of "Banana Barium" or what they call "Contrast" to highlight my bones which is one thing they will be looking at very closely. I am just about ready to drink andother one quart bottle before going in to have the scan. Banana - ew! Couldn't they just give it to me plain or maybe another flavor. Actually, it tastes more like Double Bubble than banana and really wasn't too bad though it leaves a chalky coating in your mouth.

All-in-all, a painless experience. The Techs and Docs are looking to see if I have any suspicious shadows anywhere in my body (except my legs, arms and head) that may or may not be cancer. Of course, I am hoping for the best and it is really just one more test for me as I click off the tests and days until my reconstruction surgery.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

And the list goes on.....

Sample ballots from 1999
Resumes from the same era
And more Resumes
And more Resumes
Travel brochures from Hawaii 1998/9
Store Catalogs

I wish I could just take a match to this stuff. Unfortunately, in between, there are things that I do need so I must plod on, going through each piece of paper until my eyeballs rotate backward in my head........

Letting Go Continued

At last, things have settled down and I am back to the occupation of decluttering my house and cleaning out my study.

Today's list so far:

Sweden, Norway and Finland tear out sections of a travel book from my 1995 trip - never made it to those countries.

Thomas Cook European Timetable for Railways 1995

Delta Airlines Worldwide Timetable 1996

Avanti 486 Quick Start User's Guide and Manual - This was the computer I let go of in an earlier blog.

Terminal Plus user's guide - am sure I never used this in any way.

V32 User's Guide - another manual for the no-longer-existent computer

Access for Window's 95 For Dummies

HP-12C Owner's Handbook - I had 2 copies - Go Figure..

The Internet for Dummies

Excel 97 Bible

Microsoft Excel 97 Self Study Kit

How to Get a Job in the San Francisco Bay Area

Throw Away Your Resume

And all of the assorted dust bunnies who had taken up residence on the shelf with these books.

Ok. I got tapped

This is for Susan and the new tappees as well as anyone else who cares:

5 nicknames you have or had:
hmmm.... this is tough....no one ever really seemed to give me nicknames

Roly-Poly (7th grade)
SuMiSuWiKu (not really a nickname but what they called me at work in Japan)
KaShii-san (what everyone else called me in Japan)

5 sweet treats you like to eat:

Chocolate Bunnies (mmmmm....)
Breyer's Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Starbuck's Cafe Mocha
Strawberry Shortcake made with Angel Food Cake
Grasshoppers or Girl Scout Thin Mints (same thing)

5 things people would be surprised you have:

A Brain?
Scuba Gear (except for my friends and family)
Stuffed Animals
Leather Pants
My First Communion Missallette

5 fabulous celebrations:

35th Birthday Party
Golman Sachs opening at the Hall of the People in Beijing, China
Boob Party
4th of July in Constitution Park with the Beach Boys, Wash DC
Every party/family/friend gathering for the last 47 years

5 Things You Would Like to Have:

A Bank Full of Money so I wouldn't have to work anymore
If I can't have the money, then a job
A rich husband
Any husband
A sugar daddy

Is there a trend here?

5 cool presents you've received:

Handprint quilt
1st class airline tickets to Hong Kong and to Beijing (separate trips)

Massive amounts of support from my sister, Susan, sister Linda, Dad, my dogs,the
rest of my family and friends, that has been responsible for me making it through the last year and a half. Without all of you, I would have been lost.

Paintings and art creations from my friend Cathy

5 books you've read in the past 5 years:

I'll pass on all of the kids' books except for one "Winnie the Pooh's Songs to Go Potty By" Don't know the real name. All I know is that is the request every time the girls go potty. Don't know how they stand my singing but they do. As for me, I am just amused by the Cuddle Buddies that Pooh is meeting at the train station. hmmmm..

The Breast Book
Reconstructing Aphrodite
James Herriott's Dog Stories
Harry Potter
Lemony Snicket A Series of Unfortunate Events (The Whole Series)
C.S. Lewis Tales of Narnia (The Whole Series)

Ooops! That was more than 5. I did have a little time to read over the last year.

5 slang terms you use regularly:

You Know (hate that one and gave it up in Japan but it came back when I became a California Girl again)

Breaking another barrier

Today was WW day. It was a good day. I lost 3lbs. this week. 3lbs! That is huge. Especially considering the chocolate donut and bagel I ate Friday and the awesome cheeseburgers and birthday cake and teriyaki chicken and chips and dip I had at the birthday party on Saturday. I would say I did pretty good! Pat Pat. I will try not to break my arm patting myself on the back.

Anyway, why is this all so important to me? Well, I have been going to WW for over 4 years now and that is a lot of $$ (about $520/year). It has all been worth it since I have lost 63lbs and maintained good health even through the worst of my chemo treatments, steroids and surgery this past year.

I am trying to achieve the ever illusive "maintenance" which will allow me to go to WW meetings for the rest of my life (as long as I don't go more than 2lbs over my goal weight) for FREE. And FREE is a good word! And the meetings and weigh-ins each week keep me honest and on track.

I am now 5.2lbs from maintenance. Sounds like a little but it took me 2 years to lose the last 5lbs and I have been working on this 5lbs for 2 months now. So you see what a big deal the 3lbs today was? Anyway, I am 5.2lbs from maintenance but only 2.2lbs from my next star (we get a star for every 5lbs). I live for those stars. That one will symbolize 65lbs lost! Yeah, yeah....I probably need to get out more. Stars are just so motivating for me.

The best part is that I can walk into any store and buy clothes (if I had the $$) and I can fit into most of my friends clothes now so, in a pinch, I could borrow.

I am aiming to achieve maintenance weight by my surgery - June 20. This has the triple bonus of 1. saving me money - no more WW fees, 2. making my tummy just that much smaller so, after they remove the fat and skin for my new size B/C boob, the remainder that they sew up will be just that much flatter. After all, a tummy tuck is only as good as the amount of tummy there is to tuck. 3. Helping me in my "letting go" project as I "under"grow more of the clothes in my closet and start to fit into the smaller sizes. The bigger ones can find a new home at Career Closet.

And one more thing, when the nurse checks the chart after weighing me and asking my height, I will no longer be in the yellow zone of overweight (obese is red) but will now fall into a nice BMI of 25 in the green zone.

And, will this all get me a longer, better life? Who the heck knows??? But, I will enjoy wearing and shopping for clothes as much as ever.

Monday, May 08, 2006

11th Herceptin Infusion

Another Monday, another infusion. Leaving soon to go to the hospital and get "hooked up".

Friday, May 05, 2006

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Friday!

This has been a long week and I am happy to see this day here.
Wednesday night found me at the Kaiser Breast Cancer Support Group - always a positive and uplifting experience. We always do an energy channeling at the end for ourselves and others. That evening we included the Little Hackers, Riley and Samantha, who have been having a tough week and especially for Samantha who was still in the hospital.

Thursday - WW - down 2.4 pounds which was a good sign since the numbers had been the other wway recently. Then off to the Palo Alto Animal Services volunteer recognition lunch where I received my 5 year pin. The five years passed so quickly. Lunch was at Maddalena's in Palo Alto and was yummy. I had a delicious Eggplant Parmesan made with polenta - a wonderful twist. I am eager to try it at home.

The afternoon was spent at Kaiser gasteroentology where I paid $10 and waited for 1 1/2 hours to see the doctor just for her to listen to my heart/lungs and poke my belly before sending me to her scheduler for a colonoscopy date. She was surprised when she came into the room and told me I was very nice. I asked her why she thought so and she said that most patients after a 1 1/2 hour wait would be grumpy. (I must have hidden it very well) I asked her if she would feel better if I yelled at her and she just smiled.

Finally, I got back to the hospital and learned that Sam was being discharged. It was so good to see her eating a piece of pizza and running around like a normal two year old.

After getting home, I had about 4 hours work for ATW preparing tent cards, name tags and questionnaires until 2:00 AM for this mornings seminar. Had to get up early so that I could be there at 7:30 and set up. By now, I am pooped out and ready to just take it easy for the rest of the afternoon, catch up on sleep and visit with the dogs. My back aches and my throat is scratchy so a rest is probably due.

Things I am grateful for:

The dogs, even though they had to give up the last couple of days of walks, have been sooooooo goood. Thank you Smokey and Thomas.

Samantha is out of the hospital and both her and Riley are recovering nicely from their illness.

All went well at the seminar this morning and there were no hitches.

Life is just generally good.

I can't remember if I mentioned before or not, with so much going on, but my reconstruction surgery date has been set for JUNE 20! Yeah! Good news but so much to do before then.........

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Catch up

May 2nd. Where does the time go? The last couple of days have been packed with their usual activity.

Sunday started with a walk with the dogs. Then I wrapped my SIL's birthday present. You will recognize it as MammoTulips in my photo stream. Headed over to her house to wish her a happy birthday and "encourage" her to stop working for a few hours and enjoy life for her birthday. A couple of glasses of champagne, pizza and cupcakes later, I think she could say she had a good time.

Before the festivities, we went off to Petco where I was able to buy a dog backpack for Thomas. I learned on Cesar Millan that this should "give a dog a job" and help make them better walkers and less anxious. I couldn't wait to try it when I got home. I put it on Thomas and it fit perfectly. He didn't fight it at all but rather seemed to enjoy it! I put two bottles of water in and off we went. It really worked. His anxious panting stopped and he only pulled sometimes. Smokey walked along as usual. Then came the big challenge. We rounded a corner and two Akita-looking dogs were running loose. I tried to fortify my positive energy and walk confidently through this. The dogs ran up to us. Smokey pulled forward first, then Thomas. So strong. I tried to stay calm and say "Sit" and "No" in a calm, assertive manner. One dog ran up to Smokey and they sniffed each other. The other ran straight to Thomas and they started to fight "Rahr, rahr, rahr" mouth to mouth. The other dog rolled down on its back and was holding Thomas with its paws. I pulled back on Thomas and the other dog slid with us along the road. We were now in the middle of the street. I tried to keep my calm and the other dog finally let go. No yelps or squeals and neither dog got hurt or bitten. The other dog got up, sniffed at Thomas's privates and then both dogs took off. Thomas barked for a while as I tried to get him back under control. Some people came out of their house and asked if I was alright and I said yes. I didn't feel like I was ever in danger. I know I am safe with my dogs and the others didn't seem interested in me. I told them I also thought the dogs were fine and asked them if the other dogs were theirs. They said no and they hadn't ever seen them before. Me either. We continued our walk home. Disaster averted. When we got home, I looked at Thomas again and there were no bite marks and he didn't seem any worse for the wear.

On Monday morning, we tried the back pack again. Nice walk. Smokey, always a good walker, on or off leash actually added a new twist to his walk. Along the sidewalk, many bushes often intrude making it difficult to walk one person and two dogs wide. My legs are all bruised up where the dogs have tried to squeeze through ahead of me. Smokey finally got the idea that I should go ahead and he should drop behind at those points. Very nice and no new bruises today.

Next came Quigong and a million errands - supplies for the ATW event on Friday, pick up the proceeds from last week's event, grocery shopping, etc. And then a little visit with my babies - poor things, sick with some stomach virus. I felt so badly for them.

And now, we have reached Tuesday morning and I have got to get started on another busy day. So much to do and always behind. No new letting go news. Too busy for any cleaning at the moment but, don't worry, I will get back to it.