Sunday, September 29, 2013

Shhhhhh, It's a Surprise!

Carrie Lane Elisabeth was born on October 8th. You can't have a surprise birthday party on that date. She is much to smart for it to be a surprise which is the main theme of this party.

We are having it today. The movie theatre is the place. The daughter has rented a room at the theatre and after the party the kids will see a movie. The parents can either go or have a few hours go do what they want.

I'm in charge of getting Carrie to the place of this event. She spent the night with me and is still asleep which brings me to last nights escapades.

The door opened. It was swung open with force. The two women dressed in dark clothing hurried from the patio door across the corner of the living room and disappeared through the doorway into the kitchen. The younger women was whispering to the older woman as they approached the hallway to the bedrooms. I woke up.
I wake periodically through the night and usually am able to go back to sleep. I have heard we dream every night though we may not remember them. Each time I fell asleep last night, my nightmare would continue. Each time I woke up I reviewed that dream. I was awake a lot last night. The scene would change with each continuation of that deam. Sometimes I would be in my car in the driveway as the women approached the house and sneaked inside. I would whisper to my daughter, "Call 911" and would wake up to review yet again this dream. I'm exhausted from last nights activity.

I'm ready to slip back beneath the sheets and, hopefully, get a few more hours of dreamless sleep. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

And Time Marches On With and Without

I suppose we all reach a time in our lives when acquaintances and family and old friends leave this trail and "pass on" as most people put it. "She passed" or "he has passed". I heard one person report that "he was transitioning well". I want to transition well. I like the sound of transitioning but to where? It sounds as if that person is making a position change as in easing into a new job or into a new home.

Growing up in a very small town and in the years this was done, there were people that were considered prosperous who would by today's standards be considered lower middle class. Money was tight for most people and the few families that worked in the one factory located riverside in Ravenswood had it better then most. Construction workers had seasonal jobs and the winters could be tough. Families were large then. It wasn't uncommon for seven to 12 children in one family. Usually the larger families lived on the farms. I don't remember any large families that were "townies".
Vacations were not something I ever heard my friends discuss. Trips were made to see Aunts and Uncles, grandparents and cousins. Weekends were family affairs not a beach experience or more exotic travel. The families that remain in that small town travel much more then we did in the '50's and 60's. 

I'm writing this to pay homage to "one of our own" that just "passed". She was a classmate; one that was well known and liked. She wasn't a person that I spent a lot of time with but as is common in small towns, I knew her whole family. Her parents and her siblings. I was shocked to hear of her passing and saddened to know she had left us so early. She was a part of my past as were all my classmates.
RIP Janice. You are on my mind.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

And This is The Story

This is highly condensed; a more vivid description omitted. This is not to condemn or add to more hurt.

How can one person's life change so drastically? The trial date was set and the main players appeared. A plea bargain was agreed upon. Plead guilty to two felonies in exchange for the other person's charges being dropped.

The lawyer assured him he would "probably" get off with "time served."  That's not exactly how the story ended though.

It all started when the couple were reported to Child Social Services. Neatness was never their strong point. The children were raised among, shall we say, less then a sterile environment. "Less then sterile" is left up to your imagination and interpretation. The children were removed from the home; the next day in a fit of rage, the father appeared at the school and told the school receptionist "it's no wonder what happened at Sandy Hook happened! It's because of stuff like this!" No weapons were found on him. It was his words; words from a father distraught at having his children taken from him.

The receptionist immediately notified the authorities and the dad was arrested for terrorizing the school. The Sandy Hook incident was but days old. This was not the time to go barging into a school with these comments.

5 felonies were levied. A price was to be paid. He was arrested, booked and jailed with a steep bail which he was unable to raise. Months passed and eventually he was granted release on his own recognisance  but with the stipulation that he would be on "house arrest".

More months passed and finally the court date was set.
 Another arrest and he was back in jail awaiting sentencing.

You may think this is a belligerent, aggressive, abusive and violent person. It sure reads that way doesn't it?

l've known this person all my life. He is rough and unpolished, kind and helpful, non confrontational and very social. He not just likes being around people, but has to be engaged in activity and interaction with others.

I can only hope that upon his sentencing date, he is given "time served" and is released to his family once again.

Good luck brother. My heart hurts for you. Keep your chin up, maintain your cool. I'll be waiting for that phone call that says "Hi sis, how are you doing?" He called me every night to make sure I was alright and to offer emotional support during this "journey" I'm taking.

I only wish there was something I could do to make this easier on his family.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Morning, Football Sunday

Our rainy weather continues and so does the wonderfully lower temperatures. It was 75 degrees yesterday and my friend Pat appeared at my house wearing a jacket. Really?

"Pat, are you really cold?" and to that she responded, "Yes, I am!" Today is the first day of fall. It might be a long winter for Pat. For me, I'll thoroughly enjoy the cooler temps.

We spent Saturday watching the usual college football games and munching on some Buffalo wings.  I'm in the mood for some Gumbo and some potato salad. My tongue is still tolerating warm foods so I am thinking I should take this opportunity to ingest them while I can.

Carrie returns home from her dad's today and most likely will spend the night here with me. Monday is the day I do the library assistant thing so she will ride to school with me and instead of being a "drop off", I will walk her into the school where we will take different paths for the next two hours. A 40 minute wait after my library duties and I'll spend lunch with Carrie. That has become our routine lunch date since I started my library work.

I could easily curl back up and sleep some more but today I'm going to stay OUT of bed and do a little housework. With the rainy weather, cooking that gumbo and making a batch of brownies sounds like a wonderful afternoon.

It's time for a nice warm shower, some eyebrow shadow and some eyeliner. I now do both of these makeup tricks. My eyebrowLESS face looks absurd with my bald head. A little eyeliner and some eyeshadow blended into "where my eyebrows" usually take up space on my face, it  helps define all that forehead and head space.

That's my exciting plans for this Sunday. I'm done here.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I"m Awake at 0330..There should be a law!

It was all that dozing yesterday. I laid around and dozed on and off with bits of television watching and an occasional trip to the kitchen for food and now I'm awake.

I can hear the rain ticking ticking on the tile floor of the porch. Maybe it's time to put the gutters back up? This rain is forecast through this weekend and brings with it a little cooler weather. I'm all for some cooler weather.

Cooler weather means I just might clean the interior of my car. I'm so over the heat here and ready for some nippy weather.

My nausea has faded a bit and the hands don't itch anymore. Right now my tongue isn't sore so I can eat warm foods for a few more days.

I'm still waiting to hear what date my MRI will be. One more step along this path I'm on and one more step closer to the finish line. I don't really think there will ever be a finish line unless it's the "big one". Once diagnosed, this will always be subject to more tests and checks and medicines. It's not curable but something you try to live with for as long as possible. Those survivors? It's a waiting game unless it was caught very early on.

I met a young 37 year old at the clinic this past visit. She had had a double mastectomy and after radiation will have a reconstruction. She also needs to have a total knee replacement. She can only ambulate for about 4 hrs a day then has to sit down for the remainder of the day. Old softball injuries to her knee has left her needing this TKR.

Our journeys have different detours for each of us. We meet up and acknowledge soberly our treatments, caught in our own webs and making our way through as best we can.

It's our first trip and we don't have itinerary. The next stop is all we focus on. It's much to scary to anticipate the final one.

This post will not be routed through Facebook. It's one of those that will be found from the "regulars" that visit this site. I didn't mean for this to end so maudlin but it appears that is what has happened. I'll let it stand. I don't direct how my posts will turn out. They just happen.

Friday, September 20, 2013

September 17th and It's Chemo Day again!

Here I sit all plugged in. The pre meds are running and I'm snuggled down with a nice warm blanket. April is across the room seated and engaged with her iPhone. Text messages must be flying back and forth to and from. 

I reported to the doctor the side effects I was having. She took note of the pheriferal neuropathy, the hives and the increased amount of saliva along with the sore tongue. She may have to change the chemo to prevent more neuropathy. She also is scheduling an MRI and an US in two weeks at LGMC. One step closer to surgery. The results of those tests will determine when.

April has a mammo scheduled for 2PM today. I might not be done here so I've put the husband on alert that he may have to give me a ride home. 

 The clinic is hopping today. The pods are full. The nurses are on the move. We have a full day of clinic visits. I'm posting this and shutting down for the day! 

This Week

Monday was depression day. The day before chemo, I get a little wonky and this past Monday was no different. April and I delivered Carrie to her school and then headed for the clinic. We visited with the doctor; she went over the side effects I was having and then spoke about scheduling that MRI and ultrasound. Chemo went off without a hitch and by 1400 hrs we were out of there and headed to St. Agnes where April was scheduled to have her mammo. I was a bit nervous that we might not finish there in time to pick Carrie up at her school. We made it out in time and scurried across town and to her school. Our whole day was spent in clinics.

Two days later I had to go back to the clinic for the usual Neublasta injection. The remainder of the day I spent in bed. Friday (today) again I rested. I was just so sleepy so that's what I did. I slept. My stomach is a little queasy. No complaints. I've seen much worse.

That's my week. Right now I'm watching for all the rain we are promised. Hopefully the temperatures will drop and the lawn will turn green again.

I'm done..and I'm off to curl back up in my bed and sleep some more. Tomorrow I have all intentions of moving around more then I have in the past two days!
I'm gone!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 14th and the Lydia, La. Food Fest

Yes, it's fall here in southwest Louisiana and what better time to attend a festival. That's what fall is all about here in this part of the state. Somebody should have informed the weather control folks to turn the heat down. We are still hitting the mid to high 90's. This is not the weather I want to be sitting around outside but I did it anyway.

Everyone was heading for the Lydia Food Fest. It's a festival to celebrate cancer survivors and to acknowledge those who  didn't. There are flags lining the road leading into the park in Lydia. The flags are either red or blue. The red flags denote the survivors while the blue offer up the names of the ones that have passed. As I drove by in the roadster, the top down and my bald head protected from the sun by my LSU ball cap, I couldn't help but focus on those that were no longer here. I'm a pessimist. Though everyone tells me how much the treatments have changed since I worked oncology, I find it difficult to embrace this. I drove on anyway.

April met me at the car to collect the canvas chairs I had packed and we headed for some shade beneath the tall oaks in the park. This is the 11th annual gathering and it has grown since the last time I attended it years ago.

The rows were lined with businesses selling all sorts of food items. Even alligator was offered at one of the booths. Tickets were purchased and cool drinks bought. Carrie was with her father strolling the grounds and as soon as we found them, we headed for the face painting booth.

Carrie choose a "Tiger" and I offered up my bald head for some art work. We couldn't use paint. The heat caused too much sweat and moisture and paint do not tolerate each other well.

The paint lady decided to do some "bling" instead. She opened her box of paints and removed the first level revealing sheets of paper holding crystals. Pulling the crystals from the paper, she daubed some glue on each strand and attached them to my head. I was "blinged out".
Carrie was impressed and as I walked around the park, people smiled and complimented the look.

I looked for some shade and a pulled pork sandwich.

My drive to Lydia took longer then the time I actually spent in the park. Carrie was hot and tired and when I gathered my stuff up to leave, she decided to ride back with me.

It's cool in my house and that's where Carrie and I wanted to be. Heat is something both Carrie and I try to avoid at all costs.

Alabama and the Aggies were playing today. It was my goal to get home to watch this game. It was a good game to see. Later LSU and Kent State played but I lost interest when the score became so lopsided. Even though LSU won that game, I barely watched and even gave up before the second half.

Earth events are so strange now. Colorado and the floods that are plaguing Boulder County is something I never witnessed in all the years I lived out west. The winter snows provided the moisture for the rivers and lakes. It melted slowly in the spring causing the rivers to rise and the lakes to fill. I never once witnessed downpours of rain in September. What is going on with our weather? Wyoming has been experiencing record breaking heat for this time of year. They should be having snow in the high country and very cool nights right now. My relatives in WV report 40 degree temperatures at night, while winter cold is already blasting the northeastern states.

Who doesn't believe in "global climate changes"? I shake my head in disbelief when I hear the talking heads on the television deny this is happening.

I'm off to get showered and dressed. Temperatures are predicted to be 93 degrees today. The Saints will be playing so I know where the husband will be today. It's football Sunday and will be the norm for weekends until the season ends. Some of them I watch and sometimes I just go shopping!

I'll make that decision later today. Ciao!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 2013

I could go to Houston tomorrow. The husband has a meeting with the folks that own the company where he works. It would just be a drive down and back; I would be dropped off at the mall until he finishes his meeting. This doesn't sound real appealing. If there were an overnight stay in the offering, I might be enticed to ride along on the 4 hours it will take to get there.

A moment of clarity provided by some reading. The rash on my hands is chemo related. I've started taking Claritin to combat the reaction. The itching subsides. I'll talk to my oncologist on Tuesday. I have some peripheral neuropathy. My finger tips and toes are numb. I'll mention this to her also.

 It's another chemo Tuesday on the 17th. I'm expecting her to order an ultrasound and an MRI. It's getting closer and closer to the time for another surgery. I'm trying to prepare myself for this next one and what follows. I've found an online forum that discusses breast cancer topics. It helps to answer some of my questions.

It's still hot here. I didn't expect it to be anything but hot in September in southwest Louisiana. I'm ready for some fall weather. I'm also ready for bed.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hands On Fire

It started about 4 days ago. My hands started itching. I would clasp my hands together intertwining the fingers of both hands and wring them to relieve the itch. Of  course scratching an itch only requires more scratching. My palms itch, the skin from the thumb to the middle finger are now reddened and raw. Small bumps have appeared and my hands are swollen, I'm assuming from all the scratching.

I made a trip to CVS and picked up some cortisone cream and a box of benadyrl. Initially I thought the cream was effective forgetting the benadyrl I had taken. After a couple of days, I realize it's not the cream that offers a bit of relief but the benadyrl that holds the itching at bay.

Now my question is "Is this part of a chemo reaction?"
or did I get my hands into some poison ivy?
When one is taking chemo, any adverse body actions have to be questioned regarding the chemo. If this continues, I will call the clinic with some questions. I'm almost positive they will recommend a salve and some benadyrl. I'm on it.

My tongue has finally healed. I can now eat warm and hot foods  and it's almost time to head back for another chemo run!  The tips of my fingers and toes have a bit of numbness but the nails remain intact. My head is still almost hairless but for the fine barely discernible short hairs.  I'm not complaining about the side effects. I feel fortunate that they are so mild.

This is just an update on what is going on with me at this time. It's part of my journal on this journey.

I was hungry for a meatloaf. This afternoon I collected the ground meat and the roll of sausage, blended them together and added the onions, bell peppers and celery and the bread and eggs which were combined and dumped into a loaf pan. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and petit pois along with a few biscuits and dinner was awesome.

The worst part about cooking is cleaning up the mess. I don't mind cleaning as long as I can get out of cooking. It seems unfair that I have to cook AND clean.

The kitchen was cleared while I had the cell phone plugged to my ear. It makes for some distraction while doing this chore. I'm ready for an early bedtime....and that's my update!

Monday, September 9, 2013

A New Found Respect

Ok so the new school year has started and Carrie is amidst the throng of students at Ernest Gallet Elementary. She brings home paperwork to show us to acclimate us to new rules and what is expected of her and apparently us. One of her deliveries requested volunteers and she very much wanted me to be one of these. I completed the form and she quickly took it back to school and I quickly received a phone call.

The library assistant called to ask if I would be interested in working in the library and if so, what days could I be available. She mentioned Mondays as being the busiest days and I agreed to come in and help. She was excited and asked how long I could stay..."the full 2 hrs?"
"Oh sure!" I replied. I could see myself settled on the floor in front of the book shelves putting books away in alfa order.

It has been a long time since I was a student and I had no idea what my two hours would consist of. I envisioned a leisurely two hours chatting with the students and a slow pace that would be boring and restful. Isn't that what we notice when we go into a library? It's quiet. I had no idea the volume of work that the library staff have to do. 

This library was quiet. That's where my expectations came to a screeching halt. I was in information overload in the first 5 minutes.

The children are trained well. They line up in front of the bar code scanner and present themselves with their badges that have bar codes on them. The badges must be attached to their collars for easy scanning. They must stagger the books they are holding so as to be quickly scanned by the library worker (me) and as the computer picks up the scan, it also tells you how many books the student has already checked out. You must ask them if they bought any books back and how many. They don't lie and apparently the honor system works well. If any are overdue, you encourage them to get them in. First and second graders get one and two books to check out while the third graders can check out 3 or more but one of them must be "numbered" which means a book that qualifies for AR (accelerated reader) and which they will be tested on. They each have a folder they carry which tells which level they are on and the books they are checking out must be on that level. Just checking all this was stressful enough!

When the line clears, I move to the stack of returned books and start scanning them in and sorting them to the rack for return. That's a whole 'nuther set of rules that must be followed. Brown spots on the spine of the books designates them to a certain spot in the library and only from 01 to 1.5. It stops there. Then there is the Dewey Decimal shelves, the shelves labeled "E" for Easy Reading, the "92"s for Biography that is sorted according to Title and not Author and the "F" for Fiction and the "NF" for non fiction. The Dewey Decimal is also split up according to subject and now I know I'm in way over my head. I have two hours to be here and I never stopped. I was amazed that this library assistant was responsible for all this work. The Librarian? I asked her what she did when I first arrived. She smiled and said "Oh, I stay busy!"

She was holding classes all day. The students would come in and from kindergarten on she gathered them together and taught. I got to listen to her talking to the kindergarten children. They are schooled on rules of the library. She told them "you are borrowing these books. They are not yours to keep. You bring them back so other children can read them."

From where they wear their badges to how they act in the library, her kindergartners listened quietly. I didn't get to listen to the other classes she held but hopefully I'll get in on that next week. You see, I'm signed up to appear there every Monday.

The assistant told us up front that if she never saw us again she would understand. She said that many of the volunteers never came back saying "this just isn't for me!"

I was a bit overwhelmed but I'm sure that after a couple of times doing this, I'll retain more of the information on this and get a bit more comfortable doing it. This was my first shot. I'm tenacious. I'll not give up or give in! The assistant was so appreciative of the help she received today which makes it easy to go back next Monday to give her some much needed help!

I'm off to take some notes on all this stuff. I'm sure by next Monday I'll need to be retrained if I don't.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day Weekend expired

I stayed home the entire holiday. My house guests are leaving for Bossier City today. The carpenter and Stephanie are moving back to Bossier. Her daughter has a sick child and two others to care for and she is alone. Steph and Lige will share living quarters with her until they find jobs and buy a travel trailer to live in. The work Lige was doing won't be available again until November. He is going to look for something that is a little more dependable and stable and long term.

I offered them a bedroom and board while they were here in Lafayette. I know what  it's like to be on hard times and extending a hand never hurt anyone. It worked out perfectly for us. I hired him to do the sofits and fascia. He made some money and I got that part of the house finished. Had he stayed around here longer, I would have found more work for him.

It is still unbearably hot here though we are still running temperatures below those in Casper, Wyoming. I talk frequently with my friend there and she says the heat is continuous. When I lived in Wyoming, as soon as the sun went down, the temperatures plummeted and a jacket and jeans was needed to ward off the cold. No longer is this true. She says she has to run her a/c unit all night long. The residents are looking forward to snow and winter! I'm afraid the extreme temperatures there year round are not for me. We should start cooling off a bit now and in another month, our fall/winter arrives and it's my perfect time of year.

The husband is still on that rig in Farmville, La. If they decide to log that hole after this core run, I may drive up to Ruston and spend a few days. He will be able to leave the rig while the logging is in progress. I'm waiting to hear. I did tell him to let the owner of that apartment on Bourbon Street know that we would be happy to occupy it until he sold it.

I'm going to go dig out a can of paint and a brush. I have sofits and fascia that need my attention! I like to work a few hours in the morning before the sun reaches out with it's blazing tenacles to toast everyone and everything on the outside.

I'm done and gone!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Lot Going On around here lately!

The husband has been gone a lot lately. The fascia and soffit job we started two months ago quickly came to a halt. I wasn't sad about this. It's hot and I never thought it was a good idea to start this project in July which then rolled over into August. We all remember how I feel about the summers?

Summers are a time to find a tall glass of iced tea and an air  conditioned room. Add to this that we are not carpenters and the jobs we do usually take much longer then having a professional do it. We bicker and battle through the whole job. My solution? I hired a carpenter who did a swift f\marvelous job. It was worth every dollar I paid him. The job is done and I didn't even have to help.

Friends from out of town are here and are job hunting. An unexpected job loss sent them here to Lafayette o find employment. She found a job quickly as a hairdresser. He is diligently searching and meanwhile I'm using his carpentry skills to get a few things done around here. He makes a paycheck and I get to stay out of the heat!

It has now been 5 days post chemo and 3 days since I had the Neublasta injection that stimulates my body to make white blood cells. I have not had many reactions  to the chemo or the Neublasta. The Neublasta  can cause bone pain which I have been fortunate enough to not have the pain. My main side effect is mouth sores. My tongue feels raw. Warm and  hot foods are intolerable. It's time for cottage cheese and pineapple, some cold yogurt and my favorite, vanilla ice cream. This will pass in a few days. No complaints here though. I know it could be much worse and some people do not tolerate this treatment well at all.  My blood counts were better this time then the last time I had blood drawn.  WBC's and RBC, hgt and crit all WNL. Hopefully I won't have to have a blood transfusion through this.  I'm hangin in there.

It's Labor Day weekend and I have absolutely nothing planned. College games started yesterday and I couldn't make it through LSU's game with Texas Christian.  It's much too hot for me to plan to do anything outside this weekend. I'm happy to have a cool place to hide out. 

Today might be a good movie day. I'll check the listings. I have all good intentions of going to the theatre but something always seems to side track me. I'll make a special effort today to get out of here for a while.