Friday, September 29, 2006

job, no job.....

Well, I guess that the stars were not so nicely aligned in the job space. Didn't get the finance job. Did get 12 hours a week on the merchandising which will be fun and nice to bring in a few bucks but not really anything sustainable. Better luck next time......

Did have a good time today. Went to visit a friend in Merced that I hadn't seen in about 6 years. Merced, by the way, is a long, long way from here. 133 miles - 2 hours 18 minutes. Not too bad a drive since it is all freeway but still a long time. It was worth it though. I enjoyed visiting with her and her kids - catching up and playing games. It was very late before I got in the car for the ride home and I thought I would just zip right through. Not to be. It seems that California has some major "repair all freeways after 10:00 at night" initiative going on. There were miles and miles of orange cones blocking off all but one lane of each freeway I traveled. Bumper to bumper, 20 mile per hour traffic got really old after a while. I was so excited to get to 680 and a normal speed that I completely took the wrong exit and ended up driving through some very desolate neighborhoods in Fremont. I finally made it back to 680 and the right exit which got me home just after midnight to two very hungry and happy dogs. Even so, it was still all worth it and an enjoyable day. Hope it isn't another 6 years before we visit again.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Life is like that.....

This entry goes out to Lorraine. Thanks for your uplifting comment. It is true I haven't written in a few weeks so here is an update.

1. Sometimes magic happens........... I wrote the last entry when I was in the deepest of my agonizing, pain and fatigue and beginning to despair over ever feeling any semblance of myself again. WELL (big breath here), on Sept 11, I had another Herceptin infusion. These start off with a visit to either my NP or MD. In this case, it was the NP who I adore. She asked how I was doing. Instead of saying fine, thanks like I usually do, I decided to tell the truth. I told her of the aches, pains, fatigue. She said that it can take a year or more to recover and that she didn't know what else could be done. She did listen ever so sympathetically though for which I was thankful. Then the magic happened. That very night, I had a normal sleep. Not 13 - 14 hours but a regular 7 1/2 hours. I woke up feeling refreshed. The aches were gone. The fatigue was gone. Magic.

After that, I felt more motivated to participate in life once again.

2. The following week was full of activity. Taking the car in for servicing where at last they fixed the squeak in the brakes, training with Thomas, attending the grand opening of the new Los Altos Whole Foods (yummy samples), visiting my girls (the twins), coordinating a demo of the SCIOS, visit to CBHP open house and reconnecting with Dr. Boohar, the radiation oncologist so helpful in my decision to do radiation, becoming a buddy to another new cancer patient and, of course, Dragon Boat practice in the bay. Whew!

3. Work - The stars must all be properly aligned in the work quadrant (or whatever you call it). First of all, a referral from last February called me to see if I could do her accounting for her. I met with her and all was arranged. Then, another client called and we worked out a barter so that I could have work on my landscaping in return for accounting work. Then, I got a referral from a friend for a job lead as a merchandiser and went on that interview. I received the callback today on that one and, literally, as I was on the phone discussing it, another call came in for a finance job. I am going on that interview tomorrow. All, without sending out a resume! Amazing. I haven't started looking yet but, certainly, would not turn down anything good that comes my way.

4. Other stuff - Saw Sweet Charity at AMTSJ (a good start to the season), started a new yoga class and reconnected with some old acquaintances from a former class, lots of painting (of course), drank my 15 year old, $300 (or so) bottle of wine that had leaked and I was afraid turned to vinegar (it didn't - so smooth, so tasty) and competed in my first Dragon Boat race at Treasure Island in SF. I was the lead paddler (1st seat - pace setter). We came in last but were so pleased to finish. It was loads of fun.

That is about it and I should go relax and prepare (rest) for my interview tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Thanks again Lorraine! Hope you get a chance to read this one.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

This chemo'd body

Its been a while since I have written any updates on my post-Cancer/Chemo/Radiation health so I feel compeled though this isn't necessarily good, positive news. Here it is, once again 2:45 in the morning and I am writing. I have fallen asleep on the couch again somewhere around 9:30 or 10:00, being physically unable to stay awake to my normal 11:00 or 12:00 these days and then waking up around 2:30 to finally drag myself off to bed.

It is a little distressing to me - and, yes, somewhat depressing - that I have been unable to fully recover from this latest surgery. I have stepped up my activity level a bit in the hopes that my body would once again resume its normal energy level. Nearly every day since about August 1st, I have included some level of physical movement (exercise if you will) that worked my body for 2 hours or more. There were the Quigong pracices, the dog walks of 1 - 2 hours/day, the 2 days in Carmel walking up and down hills and along the beach for 5 hours/day, the 5 days straight of gardening for about 4 - 5 hours/day including heavy tree and rose bush pruning with the heavy clippers, the 1 1/2 Dragon Boat paddling workouts and so on. Normally, after only about a week of this my body is back and the aching stops.

I have been about this for nearly 5 weeks now and the aching has not stopped. It feels as if every muscle in my body has totally disintegrated, never to return again. My bones ache. My hands ache. I sleep way too much - 12 - 13 hours a night -and wake up at 2:30 in the morning because of the disrupted sleep schedule. The anemia won't clear itself up despite diligence to eating high iron foods - spinach, molasses, red meat- and augmenting them with orange juice for absorption and, even, 6 weeks on doctor-prescribed iron supplements.

Nothing is getting done. The bills are barely getting paid and the rest of my obligations are going unmet - except the gardening, painting and dogs - and those are barely getting done. It took me 3 days to go grocery shop after completely running out of food and augmenting with junk.

Will I ever be well again? Will the aching ever stop? Will I be able to return to a 7 or even 8 hour per night sleep routine? This is frustrating and discouraging. I am doing my best to "keep my chin up" and "keep a positive outlook". Everyone says how good I look but I am not feeling it.

That is about enough of this "wallowing" I guess. Just felt that this too is part of the "Waking Up on the Other Side of a Dream" experience and hopefully, someday, I will feel better and go back to read this only to remember that I was feeling it today and that at that time I am well past it.

Good Night and Good Sleep.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The 80/20 rule and a visit to the Vet's office

I think most people understand the 80/20 rule but just in case. The 80/20 rule means that 80% of the time things go or are done right - you eat nutritiously, the traffic is good, things go your way, etc. and 20% of the time they don't - you splurge on your food, traffic sucks, things don't go your way at all, etc.

Today this rule applied to Thomas at the Vet's office. Thomas and I were there to check out a skin infection that Thomas had developed. I got him into the car along with his leash and decided to bring a muzzle also. When we arrived at the office, I put the muzzle and leash on him. It was very crowded. More crowded than I have ever seen. I thought to myself that we had to go in and this would be a good challenge. After a little self talk in which I told myself to be calm, assertive and tried to assume my best Cesar Millan attitude, we entered the waiting room. The front desk was packed and all 3 registration people were busy. There were dogs all around us. Thomas, to my surprise, remained calm - no lunging or barking. In fact, he did just the opposite. He sat and scrunched up as tight as he could against my leg. We stood at a corner of the desk and waited and waited and waited. At long last, one of the clerks was able to help me and get us registered for our visit.
We sat down right next to another dog and Thomas calmly sat not even paying attention to the dog. I was amazed. Who was this good dog?

Soon we were called and had to walk past 2 more dogs to get to the scale. Thomas performed like a champ. We saw the vet and I will mention his name here because he is so good with the dogs. His name is Dr. Maxwell. He doesn't wear a white coat and comes right in and sits on the floor with the dogs so they can sniff him and get to know him. He even let Thomas climb up in his lap and lick his face. This also gave him a good chance to touch Thomas and check out the sores on his skin. Next, he listened to Thomas' heart and Thomas let him! It has been some time (after a technician laid on him and traumatized him so bad that he is very nervous every time we enter a Vet's office) since Thomas let a Vet handle him that way. It was like the old days with him. The Vet started to check out Thomas' front leg since I told him that Thomas had been limping on it. Only then did Thomas turn and give a little nervous growl. The Vet asked me to hold Thomas' head and I did. Thomas didn't fight and stood while the Vet checked him out some more. It turns out that he has a staph infection on his skin. The Vet said that it could be from a flea bite, injury or something else we can't imagine. He gave him some antibiotics to take for 10 days along with benedryl to stem the allergic response.

We walked back out to the waiting room and paid. Thomas was still being a good boy. So good in fact that I decided to get him caught up on his vaccinations. He only needed Bordatella so I asked if a Tech could come out and give it to him. They said yes. They were so busy that we waited and waited and waited - one hour. And here comes the 20% part. Thomas was doing well with the dogs though it was getting very crowded again. Suddenly a German Shepherd and Lab came in at the same time. The Lab was a hyperactive pup and this seemed to get Thomas going. He sat but kept trying to bark at all the other dogs. I finally had to take him outside to wait. He was fine. People came by with their cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and even a couple of small dogs. He never flinched. I tried to go back in and he was okay with the German Shepherd. Then the Lab pup appeared again and Thomas went off again. Back outside. At last, we saw the Lab leave and I brought Thomas back inside. We sat down to wait.
Dr. Maxwell came out and asked if we were still waiting for our prescription. I said that we had received it and were waiting for a Technician to give him his Bordatella shot. We had already been waiting about 1 1/2 hours. Dr. Maxwell left and soon came back and gave him the Bordatella shot himself. Thomas sat calmly while Dr. Maxwell stuck the needle in his neck. We paid the bill and went home. All in all, I was proud of Thomas. He did very well - probably more like 90% of the time. I think he just wanted to play with the Lab and maybe was a little scared too. Anyway, now I feel more confident that we can go to the Vet's office and not have it be so traumatic. Good going Thomas!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

This statistic just blew me away

The World Health Organisation says more than a billion people -- nearly one in six of the world's population -- are overweight, outnumbering the 800 million who are under-nourished.

Not just surprising but sad. It gives a whole new meaning to your mother telling you to eat your dinner because there are starving people in....(you choose) China, Ethiopia, India, Africa..........

Dragon Boats and Art Fairs

Sunday was my first Dragon Boat practice. About 8 of us showed up at Redwood City to learn to paddle these boats. Sounded so easy. Pick up the paddle. One hand on the end. One had about a fist above the blade. Dip the blade in the water and stroke.

Hah! or should I say Ha! Ha! because the laugh was on me. We got into the boat and started paddling. A race is only 3 minutes long so we thought, no problem. Right off, our coach had us paddle for 3 minutes. I was tired. My forearm of my left arm ached. Is the time up yet? No. 45 more seconds. 30 seconds. 15 seconds. How could a second be so long? Finally. The 3 minutes was up. Whew! We knew that our work was cut out for us.

Next was learning the start. First, the starter says, "Drummers ready?". We put our paddles all the way into the water. "Start". Stroke, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Up, Up, Up (stroke faster), 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ready and stroke (slow into deeper, harder strokes), 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2......The race is on and keep stroking until you hit the finish line. Of course, all of this must be done in unison with the other paddlers. We spent the rest of the 2 hours practicing the start. By the end, we were tired and sore. I ached in my back, sides, tushie though not really in my arms and shoulders although I believe that to be the weakest part of me. Can't wait for next week and more of the same. Oh yeah! We had an audience. A little seal decided to join us in our efforts.

On Monday, I went for a bit more relaxing fare or so I thought. My friend and I drove up to the Mountain Arts Festival on Shoreline Blvd in Woodside. It should have been a 40 minute drive. However, my friend knew a "shortcut". As it turned out, we got very lost and ended up taking 2 hours to get there. It was a very scenic and beautiful 2 hours though so I didn't mind so much. Once we got there, we enjoyed walking through the Redwoods and looking at all of the arts and crafts. There was a good balance of painting, jewelry and handmade rocking chairs, quilts and other household items. We had lunch and the food was pretty decent. The prices were not cheap for anything and it seemed that $2,500 for the paintings I saw was a little pricey. However, we both enjoyed it and I came away with an awesome food cutting bowknife that slices right through bread, tomatoes and whatever else you may choose to challenge it with. I also bought some nice soaps to replenish my stock.

The evening was topped off by sharing a bottle of wine with my neighbor - the nice one not the concrete goddess although maybe we should have invited her? ;p

I have added a few more photos of paintings and some from my Carmel birthday trip for your enjoyment (and mine).

Friday, September 01, 2006

Lifetime Member WooHoo

I didn't blog yesterday because things got too busy but I had quite a rewarding day (except for the neighbor). I woke up, got on the scale and was a little worried that I would not be able to pass my last week of maintenance. Too much good eating over the last two weeks for my birthday which I just couln't stop celebrating.

Sooooooooooo....... I didn't go to my 9:30 AM WW meeting. Next time was 12:00 Noon. I leashed up the dogs and took them for a 45 minute walk. They were both so good and we walked by doggie row 6x with Thomas showing model behavior each time. Got back on the scale. No change. hmmmmmmmm....... to go or not to go. My scale and WW are always slightly, though consistently off. It is only my fear that this is the week they would change their calibration and I wouldn't pass the weigh in. If I miss, I have to start the 6 weeks of maintenance all over which means 6 more weeks of paying. So, what to do. Should I wait until Friday to see if things are better? But I really wanted to get it over with. So, I went out into the yard and worked in the garden (no neighbor) in the sun for a couple of hours. Trimming bushes, pulling weeds, painting the trellis. Lots of hard work. Got back on the scale - down 1.5 pounds - woohoo! That was all that I needed. Probably water weight but, who cares? I passed.

Off to WW. On the scale. Passed! I am now a Lifetime Member. I got my key! I don't pay anymore (unless I go 2 pounds or more over my target weight). The leader announced it in the meeting and made me get up in front of the group to tell my story. It was a big group and suddenly and surprisingly, I felt very emotional. Then embarassed. I didn't want to cry in front of the group. Suddenly, all of the trials of the last four years - 2 job layoffs, cancer, long term unemployment - all hit me hard and I had a sense of what I have gone through. Never expected that. I looked down, took a deep breath and fought back the tears. Another deep breath and I was recovered. I then told of the 4 1/2 year battle to lose 70lbs and reach goal, of the weigh ups and downs and the big backtrack of 20lbs when I started my new job that took another year and a hald to lose before losing the final 8lbs to reach goal. Everyone clapped and told me I looked great. I did the happy dance and smiled. Never thought I would feel this great to reach goal but I do. Woohoo!

Great Thursday. I am going today for a Manicure/Pedicure which the spa down the street sent me for Free for my birthday. A celibration and a free one - what a great deal. I tried to do it yesterday but they were booked so going today instead.

My friend, Mike came over and we walked the dogs to Starbucks. Down doggie row four times. Got some rise from Thomas and I think because of Mike being there (Mike still gets a little nervous with other dogs around). Thomas soon calmed and performed spectacularly. At Starbucks, a woman came in with a little white, fuzzy dog. Thomas jumped up and started barking. I grabbed his collar and walked him in a number of turns and sits before walking him back to the table slowly and having him lay down. He was good after that but the woman picked up the dog and held it in her lap and stroked it. She looked like she was using it as a shield. I wanted to tell her to put the dog down but kept my mouth shut. They were a couple of tables away and Thomas never got anywhere near them and I had him under complete control at all times. None of the other coffee drinkers even moved and one even came over to pet the dogs. Oh well! The woman held the dog on her lap the whole time she drank her coffee and then left. It was a good experience for Thomas.

We headed back home and now I am off to have my nails done.