Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Air Time

I can't resist. I have to open the door and peek outside even though I know the blast of frigid air awaits me. The brown grass of the lawn resembles stiff uneven whiskers, the ferns in the stone containers  are frozen in place, their fronds immovable and the air that hangs filled with frozen moisture falls noisily onto the driveway.

Yes folks, winter is here again. It shows up for a few days then relinquishes it's hold for a few days while the sun dries out that moisture and warms it to a wonderful 75 degrees.

Here in this part of the USA, we never put away our summer clothes. Usually we are wearing shorts and t-shirts most of the winter except for those few days when the temperatures dip low enough to send us scurrying to the closet that contains the winter clothes.
I have not visited the summer closet one time this year.

My old grey oversized sweat shirt and shabby black sweat pants have been rescued from the winter closet and are cycled from my body into the washing machine, dried and worn day after day. I don't like to shop for winter clothes that get very little use here. Even sleep wear is thin and not of the flannel variety. 

We are housebound for today and tomorrow. A curfew starts at 1800 hrs. to continue until 0600 hrs. tomorrow. Bridges have iced over and much of the interstate has been closed. The basin bridge closure detours traffic north on I49 to get to New Orleans. I've heard New Orleans is expecting snow tonight.

I've pulled up the blinds in the back bedroom and moved the curtains to the side of the floor to ceiling window. I'll perch on the bed in there to watch the weather tonight bypassing the need to open that front door.
Thankfully, this is only for two days. Oh the woes of those living in the northern part of these United States. You have my sympathies!


The weekend behind us, I dressed quickly and left the house to pick up Carrie and deliver her to school. I'm leaving a bit earlier only to find I can't leave her until 0725hrs. I have 10 minutes to wait in the line of cars that grow by the minute as parents arrive with their charges.

Tomorrow I planned on leaving my house a little later until I found there would be no school for Carrie. A weather warning of frigid temperatures and icy roads prompted the cancellation of the schools here for the next two day.
My radiation treatment has been cancelled for Tuesday for now and with a possibility of a Wednesday cancellation also. Tuesday was also a scheduled day to see the radiation oncologist along with the oncologist an hour later. Both have been rescheduled. I made sure the rescheduling would be done after the first of the month. Insurance..that's why.

Those visits will be covered by Medicare after the first of February.
Since this morning, the temps have plummeted. The wind is beginning to pick up; the storm is on it's way.

Continued: Tuesday Morning
0530 finds me awake and slipping into a pair of sweat pants and a heavy sweat shirt. As I make my way down the hall, I stop at the thermostat and hit it up a couple of degrees. We turn it down a little at night as the bedrooms get way to warm related to the where the furnace is located in this house. A bathroom stop and a kitchen stop, coffee in hand, my next stop is the front door.

Nothing! It's dry out there but it is cold! I switch on the TV to our local station to see what happened to all that sleet and ice we were supposed to get. It is still on it's way. It's late. This was supposed to start at midnight. We have a curfew in place in anticipation of this storm. The bridges are being salted around town. We have a lot of bridges here. I couldn't make it far from my house without having to cross a bayou and those bridges are the cause of many accidents when they freeze up. Granted, this doesn't happen often. Right now the road department is sanding and salting them. My plans? To stay home! There was over 300 wrecks last Friday from that icing. There isn't anyplace I need to be that jeopardizes my life and my auto insurance.

Additional ambulance service has been commandeered along with all the State Troopers that are being called out to monitor the highways.
My medical appointments have been canceled for today. Along with that, the Cyber Knife Center called again yesterday to cancel me for Wednesday too.
It's time to peek out the door again for a blast of cold air and a check up on the ice/sleet's arrival or not.
Planning on having some safe stay at home time, I'm done here.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Medicare...relief is in sight

In a little less then a week, the countdown will be over. Ticking off the months ahead will be done. This Friday, I will switch from private insurance to Medicare. I've signed up for the deluxe model. The full package. The super super deluxe, "this is going to cost a fortune" package.

It's time to get the paperwork ready for the accountant that does our taxes. I dragged out the medical stuff from my year long whirlwind of medical care. The husband said "Now don't get upset after totaling up what we have spent. Just be glad we had it to spend."
Though watching the money slip quickly into paying for my health care, it helps to know that this expenditure doesn't bother him in the slightest. He just wants me to be well and if it takes every bit of our savings, he won't complain. Such a good husband I have. I began listing and running totals.

We have paid over 6000.00 in health insurance premiums this year and another 10,000.00 plus in checks I have written on services not covered by our insurance. Right now, we are fully paid up and grateful we had the money to keep up. I have a few more bills coming but nothing that will send us spiraling down into bankruptcy.

Besides the diagnosis of cancer, worrying about the cost of everything is just another pressure. The husband wanted to handle all the bills on my health issue but I quickly declined his help in this. I have learned to ask  if there is a discount available on the doctor's visits, the labs and the various other charges not covered by my insurance. Just the other day a bill arrived for 300.00. I called the place and explained I would be a cash customer. Today I received from that vendor  a corrected invoice for 103.00. The husband would never pursue this line of questioning. It has saved hundreds of dollars this year. Another invoice received for labs and pathologists was almost 3000.00. I called them and explained that those services were done while I was a patient in the hospital. I requested they recode them to reflect my status as a surgery patient. All of that bill was then covered by my insurance company. Just keeping up with the charges has been a full time job for me. I dread seeing the determinations come in from my insurance company. It usually means hours of being on the phone talking to the vendors that have not billed/coded correctly for the services provided. We have saved a lot of money but also have had to spend a lot this year.

Medicare by Friday!! Hurray..I can relax a bit and continue on with my treatments minus the  anxiety when I see the postal service vehicle approaching my mailbox.

Saturday and Crisp

A crunch and a balloon of steamy exhaust signals the passing of an auto by my house. My car has a shiny coat that can't be attributed to a highly waxed polish. A snug sheet of ice blankets it entirely. Yesterday was only the second day I have used the rear window defroster in the thirteen years I have owned this car. We're cold here. We are moving very slow and I can almost hear the creak of bones as I pad around this house on the cold tile floors. I'm trying to count my blessings and not focus on this weird weather for us southerners.

This house has been insulated, windows new and of the highest quality and doors that do not leak. There is extra insulation in the attic and I still lack that toasty warm feeling. I think the square footage defeats. I'm grateful for 9 ft. ceilings at this time. I've always envied the look of those high ceiling homes, soaring upward for a grand open room. I can't imagine heating one though. Right now I'm content with low ceilings. I'm also grateful that this weather only lasts a day or two before it zooms back upward to more habitable weather.

The sleepover won't be reenacted soon. I'm taking a break from the disaster that was Carrie's sleepover. The daughter is much better at these things and takes in stride having more then one child in her house at one time.

I should have been more attentive and involved. Carrie and her friend were found sitting on the floor in her bedroom on  a light pink rug. Her friend had a shirt tied over her eyes, her hands extended into a paper bowl, the fingers submerged in the light brown thick liquid. Is that paint?
I crept closer and got a better look at the bowl's contents. Craft paint! I don't allow nail polish, wet towels, nor any liquid drink in my bedrooms. Since the time I moved the bed to pull up the carpet in Ted's bedroom and found the huge circle of stained carpet from a drink that was spilled and never cleaned up, the bedrooms have been off limits to any liquids.

The floor of the room was littered with Lincoln building blocks, the contents of a braclet making kit and marbles; not a clear spot to walk.
Carrie was instructed to take her bowl of paint to the kitchen and Maddie headed to the bathroom to wash the paint from her hands. Their guessing game on what their hands were submerged in was over. Meanwhile, I started scrubbing the brown paint off the walls, out of the pink rug and off the sham that is part of the Waterford comforter set that goes in that room.

I wanted them to have a good time so I tried to give them some privacy and not be on guard. That was my biggest mistake.
I retired to my bedroom to hear Carrie calling out to me that they were going to do a science experiment. I should have been warned by this but again, I made the wrong decision. Had I followed them into the kitchen, I wouldn't have found glue and paint and frozen eggs in jarred containers, paper litter and liquids that were unrecognizable.

By this time, I was close to wit's end. "We are going to clean up this mess!" I said to Carrie. "Maddie, you go in the bedroom. I want to talk to Carrie!"
Soon I was herding Maddie back to the kitchen to help Carrie and I clean up this mess. I don't think Maddie is used to picking up after herself. She retaliated.

It is midnight. Maddie has decided she wants to go home and wants to call her dad. She starts screaming and throwing herself on the floor. After 15 minutes of this behavior, I was more then ready to call her dad.

Speaking softly, I offered her something to drink. When she agreed to that, I made another offer of some popcorn. She was calming down now and with the television on in their room, I slipped out leaving them in a darkened room. They slept.
The following morning over breakfast, Maddie shared with me that she had been "putting on" with her hysterical behavior. I smiled and said "That usually works to get your way?" She smiled and nodded.
One for me, zip for Maddie. She lives with a single parent; a
52 year old male that must cater to  her every wish.

She spent the entire next day with us and didn't want to go home. When she did call for her father, she waited a few minutes, called him back to tell him to turn around, she wasn't ready to come home.

An hour passes, at which time I encourage her to call her father once again and this time do not tell him to turn around and go back. I was ready for some quiet time with Carrie.
I realize that most of this disaster was my fault. We will have new rules and more direction on the next sleepover and less cleanup.

Last night was quiet. Carrie again spent the night. Alone. With us. No fuss. No mess. It was lovely.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day 3 of Radiation

The huge round "eye" hovers above my body. It's stationary for a time then very slowly it rotates around my body to the left. My body had to remain in the same position as when the markings were done on my chest, so my head had to be turned to the left. I can see the "thing" in my line of vision. Suddenly it reaches the end of it's rotation and starts back. I can still watch it until it reaches the right side of my body where, because of my head position, it disappears from sight. I have watched the dotted green line of light that dissects that "eye" and I'm assuming it's part of the "alignment" and soon I hear that slight hum. Again it hums. That's twice and the tech appears soon after to help me sit up from the skinny slice of table I am lying on. It's over. Thirteen minutes total time and I'm finished for the day and off to the dressing room to shed my gown and slip into my oversized huge warm sweatshirt.

Yesterday I requested my time be changed. I take Carrie to school in the mornings and I want to go directly from delivering her to school and then to the Cyber Knife Center for the 'treatment'.  For the past treatments, I drive back to my house to wait for two hours.  I prefer to get this done all at once and as early as possible. I will have the remainder of the day to do as I wish which lately has been parked indoors away from our chilly temperatures. It was a pleasant 42 degrees at 0500 hrs. this morning so I'm assuming this present cold front has moved on through.

The husband's friend called yesterday from New Orleans. During their conversation, he mentioned that he still has the apartment on Bourbon and we were welcome to use it. It is up for sale and empty. I mentioned to the husband about going to New Orleans this weekend and his response was "Have you seen what the weather is going to be?"
Apparently it is going to be rainy and cold. I'll pass.

I don't have to warm the car up this morning. Portends of a good day here in Southwest Louisiana!
I'm done here.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Radiation Day 1

I tried to talk the husband into letting me make this appointment alone. I assured the daughter that she didn't need to take time off from her job to accompany me. Neither one listened so as I exited the treatment room, I found both of them sitting in the waiting room.

Yesterday was my first day of radiation. I had all sorts of misgivings on this. It wasn't  anticipation of a painful procedure that had me anxious. Reading online the experiences of others and noting their complaints about being undressed and cold and also being uncovered during this procedure was my concern.
The two techs that introduced themselves to me were courteous and kind. They assisted me to the table and positioned me with my arms above my head, hands clamped on a metal bar, my head turned to the left and instructions to lay very still. They were very proficient in explanations on what would be happening. The positioning would take much of the twenty minutes that I would be in this room.

I watched as the huge circular thing hovered over my chest. It begin to rotate to the right and then back to the left as it captured pictures and relayed information back to the techs. Sometime during these revolutions a small hum could be heard. The two times I heard this hum, the radiation was being zapped into my right chest wall and it was over. I was warm and covered and once again released and assisted to a sitting position. Into the dressing room to don my large oversized gray sweatshirt and I was off to the waiting room to greet the husband and daughter.

The concerned look on their faces eventually relieved. They questioned me on how I felt. Was I sick? Tired?

We stopped at the market on the way home and did a little shopping. I'm sure the husband was watching me for adverse signs from this treatment.

"I'm fine!" I assured him. I really didn't expect any side effects this early on. Later in this treatment, I expect to have some reddened skin and some tenderness.  I'll deal with that when it happens.

My plan is to take Carrie to school each morning and then make my way directly to treatment.
This morning I will time the drive from the school to the Cyber Knife Center. I want to change my appointment time to follow directly from Carrie's delivery to her school. I will then have both chores out of the way and the remainder of the day to do as I choose.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Genie Help

A reprieve for me. Since it's a holiday, I won't be starting the radiation treatments until tomorrow. I know this has to be done and I also know for the next 30 days I will have to show up to the Cyber Knife Center to get "zapped". I'll put on a gown to make my upper body accessible but will be able to wear my sweat pants. For 20 minutes I'll have radiation waves administered to my right chest wall. Most people that have this done report side effects that are minor and are not hampered from reporting to their jobs immediately following this procedure. My neighbor went every morning for 30 visits before work. Hopefully, redness of skin and a 'tanned' looking area will be the most I get although toward the end of treatment, fatigue has been reported by some patients.  I try to read about this online to be prepared for the worst. That's me..ever the pessimist. I prepare for the worst and hope for the best thereby avoiding severe disappointment.

Yesterday was  spent watching the 4 teams compete for who will play in the Super Bowl this year. It looks like the Broncos and the Seahawks.

I don't intend to stay in the house today. It is supposed to edge up into the 70's. I want to get out of doors before another cold front  heads this way. Usually the weather passing through the western states do not create a strong front that pushes down into our state. This year has been quite different in that respect. Those clippers have been stronger then usual and we are feeling the effects of every one of them.
My shopping spree a few days netted me 3 new bras. I had just emptied the drawers of the bras I wore pre MX and there was two drawers that were emptied. Going braless is a treat. The downside of this is clothes expect the wearer to have a bosom. I don't want to go get the prescription filled for the prosthetic bra. Besides being expensive, which my insurance company would pay for, the reports I have heard on them is they are heavy and hot. My information comes from a space on the internet called; a forum that is used by women with the diagnosis of the same. In deference to the information there, I purchased 3 Genie Bras. I will be following instructions on making a "filler" from micro beads and bathing suit fabric that will fit into the insert spaces in thse bras. I gave them a trial run and the bras are comfortable. Stuffed with two pair of the husbands "at the ankle" socks, there was just enough "boob look" to have blouses and shirts hang as they should. If not for the fit of clothing, I would totally revel in having a flat chest. I'm almost spoiled by not having hair. The time saved in dressing without putting on a bra, and not having to dry and style hair is amazing! I can get showered and dressed as fast as the husband now. I never hear the husband exclaim "What? You aren't ready to go YET?"

My hair is growing back and quickly now. I actually used shampoo yesterday instead of a wet facecloth. I'm looking forward to spiking it with some of the husband's hair gel.

I'm off today to look for some micro beads and some bathing suit fabric. I'll drag out my sewing machine and make some "fillers" for my Genies.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Long Weekend

The holidays just keep on comin! It seems that the children just returned to school from their long Christmas break and already they are getting a three day weekend. MLK day will be celebrated on Monday.

I received a call from the Cyber Knife Center yesterday and my radiation treatments will start on Tuesday. I was puzzled at first. Why not on Monday? Cruising the web, I discovered the reason. It's a holiday.

On a positive note, at least for me. I have hair. Oh, it's not much but it's much better then the slick look I was sporting. I get petted a lot. Carrie will walk by and run her hand over my head. The husband, as he passes behind the sofa where I am sitting, will run his hand over my head never missing a step while on his way through the room. This is done by both he and Carrie unconsciously. Carrie views me without a blouse on and says "Nana, you know, it isn't bad. You don't look bad". I don't know if she means this or just has the kindness in her heart to not want me to feel bad. I smile at her and thank her for her words. Occasionally she will question my decision on not having reconstructive surgery. She attributes it to my age stating "Well, Nana, if you were thirty then maybe you would have it done."
I agree with her and she seems satisfied with that explanation. By these sporadic comments, I know she thinks about my health and our future. We go day by day.

I've been monitoring the charges associated with my latest surgery. I have to be on the ball doing this. My insurance coverage doesn't cover labs unless they are associated with a treatment. The pathology done on this last surgery sent me a bill for almost $3000.00. Had my husband been handling the bills on the health care this past year, he would have paid it automatically. Me? I check and recheck. Sometimes I have to call the provider and have them rebill the insurance company and change the coding on the bill to let the insurance company know the charge was surgery related. Hopefully by the first of February, I won't have to be as diligent on this as I will move into Medicare. I've already sent a cancellation notice to Blue Cross to stop coverage on February 1st. I'm hoping this goes smoothly and there is not a glitch in coverage as I will be well into the radiation treatments by then.

Another cold night has required the furnace kicking on and me bundled up in a warm robe. Today we should be back into "normal temps for this time of year" and we will await another cold front to follow once again. This has truly been a strange winter for us. More cold days and nights then I can remember in the 20 plus years I have lived in this city.

This weekend would be perfect to spend in New Orleans strolling the streets and enjoying beignets and lattes at Café Du Monde. We should take advantage of this slow time in the oil field. The husband was notified yesterday that his job should pick up soon. He has been home for the past three months enjoying the slow down that has swept the patch here. I haven't been eager to see him go back to work. He needed the break and I needed him to be around.

Yesterday we went shopping. I shopped while the husband patiently waited. I wanted to get some new rugs for the bedrooms. A pair of black flats, a pair of pumps, a pretty blouse and some new underwear was purchased and it wasn
t until the ride back home that I remembered what my initial goal was. Ah well, there is always next week.

We have been doing some organizing here. The back bedroom was beginning to look like a storage room. With house guests arriving soon, we decided to clean it up a bit. The husband connected the TV cable in there and we hooked up the huge Sony TV and placed it on a chest of drawers that was moved to that wall. This required the bed to be moved away from the window and onto the opposite wall. All the wall decorations had to be moved and rehung. The room is now ready for guests. As soon as Carrie came to spend the night and saw the room, she declared it would be her room now. The room is bigger and has more free floor space to accommodate her friends when they visit. It really doesn't matter where she chooses to sleep unless house guests are here.

I'm off to get dressed and spend some time outside. It is supposed to be warm today and for the next week. We do get a reprieve from the cold temps; though not as long as "normal for this time of year"!
I'm done here.

Monday, January 13, 2014

It's Monday and Time to Start All Over Again

My routine is once again fortified. It was out of bed and to the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. While waiting for it, I quietly washed the few dishes waiting for me in the sink. They will wait there for me for days if necessary. The husband is NOT big on getting his hands in dishwater. I don't complain as I have an aversion to cooking which he enjoys so I figure it's a "wash" , so to speak and pun intended, on the chores we do. I don't think he considers cooking a chore as I do.

We have a temperature of 61 degrees at 0700 hrs.! I don't have to warm the car up this morning but I did have to pop the trunk and crawl into it to reach the market umbrella I have stashed there. While doing this, of course, I got drenched by the downpour around me. I think the thunder started at 0300 hrs. this morning and though the thunder is gone, the rain remains.

I like the rainy days. On the drive to the school this morning, a big black late model SUV was on it's side on the left side of the road and on the right was another vehicle , on it's side with the hood popped. Yes, ma'm. It's raining here in Louisiana. I shudder to think of these drivers on snowy roads. Slowing down in bad weather on rain slicked hydroplaning roads is not something they consider. I try to stay off the roads  when it's what they consider 'bad weather'.
The police officer was arriving with lights flashing as we entered the scene. Traffic was slowed and the staff at the school were assisting the car riders long after the tardy bell sounded.

I hurried home planning to stay behind the barrier of my house doors and, hopefully, out of harm's way. It's a good day to bake a cake and try a new recipe for dinner. I must get busy finding that recipe so the husband will have something to do too.

Clinically speaking: After two months post op, I no longer have the burning sensation on the posterior side of my right arm. It receded slowly until there was just a small area that tingled in the axillary area but that too has gone. I still feel a small amount of tightness when I raise that arm above my head. The tight band feeling around my chest has ceased a lot but I can still feel it. Pain is at a level zero. I still have difficulty getting a full night of uninterrupted sleep. I can't attribute this to surgery. I think I need to get more exercise.
I'm done here. It's movie time!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Small Goals

Watching the late night talk shows, the guests appearing are unknown to me. Apparently the television I watch is not popular television. We pay for the premium channels or at least the HBO one but  seldom do I check out presentations offered. Watching the awards ceremonies, those same actors and actresses and their shows are taking all the awards. I feel out of step. I'm rectifying that situation by playing "catch up" by using "On Demand" or Netflix, if the show is cancelled now,  to watch the past shows in selected series.

Watching some of these series is after they have been taken off the networks.

Breaking Bad was the first selected. I was hooked. I watched all the episodes on Netflix as it was not being shown on "On Demand". Next on my list was a show called "Girls". A quirky show about 20 somethings, their life in New York. This is not a show that one can compare to Sex and The City. I've now watched the past two seasons and am ready for the current show that will be on tonight.
I've also watched some decades old movies that I missed as I've never been one to sit quietly for long so movie watching was never a big event in my life.
Today I watched Pulp Fiction. I have Reservoir Dogs started on Netflix. I really should not be gorging on TV. A house guest is expected here next week. I should be tidying up around here a bit.

The husband's nephew from Arizona will be visiting. This is his first trip to Louisiana and his first trip OUT of
Arizona. We want to give him the "tour" and make sure he has a good time. There is plenty to see and do around here and the weather, if it cooperates and stays "normal for this time of year", should allow us a weekend in New Orleans.

It's time to get dressed and ready to go out to dinner. Neither one of us can decide on where to go. We might have to drop names in a hat and blindly pick a place.

The weekend is nearing an end and I'll be back to chauffeuring Carrie to school tomorrow morning. I don't mind doing this as we have our morning conversations, questions and answers time. I enjoy these.
I'm done here and on my way.

Friday, January 10, 2014


It was so warm I really didn't need to wear a jacket or hat. We made my appointment with the Cyber Knife Center. I just like saying "Cyber Knife Center" because it sounds like something out of an action or syfy movie don't you think?

A short wait and then I was escorted back to a dressing room where my shirt was the only thing that had to be removed. The tech was so impressed with how fast I can be in that gown. I share with her that being braless saves a lot of time dressing and undressing.

Onto the table, I lay very still while she postions and marks with ink, lines that will be used to line up the machine. Photos were also shot and placed in my chart for future reference for other techs that would be rotating and doing my treatments. The last thing done was the tattooing of the small freckle like dots in 5 areas over my chest and rib cage.
The tech was very kind and attentive. She loves her job and it shows. The equipment in this facility is state of the art and the only one in Louisiana. She said it was a new type of machine for this application and the hospital had decided to invest in it on it's release for use.

Back to the dressing room to slip back into my shirt, grab my purse and then to the waiting room where the husband waited. We had one more stop to make.

The CT scan was scheduled to be done immediately following the marking. Another 15 minutes of lining up and measuring the markings and then I was slid into the machine. Once forward and backward for the views and I was finished. As the tech said, the lining up of the markings took up most of the time.

In 5 to 7 days I will receive a call from the doctor and the treatment plan she will have developed for me.

The whole thing took about 2 hours. One stop on the way home to get dinner fixings, a prescription filled and back to the house for a nap. Naps. Something I seem to be doing a lot of recently. I'm not getting my sleep at night so I take naps during the day.

Today? Well, the temperatures are reaching close to 70 degrees. We are going to try a new place for lunch and hopefully we can dine at an outside table in the sunshine. Scratch the sunshine part. I just looked outside and realized the rain forecast is making it's appearance. An inside lunch will be just an enjoyable.
I'm done here.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ah Warmth Once Again

I peeked at the clock and noted it was 0630 and time to dress and warm up the car for the trip to the school with Carrie.
I checked the temperatures and was pleasantly pleased to note it was 48 degrees this early in the morning! By noon I should be back in flip flops!

As usual, I rang the daughter's phone to make sure she was out of bed and getting Carrie ready for school. She was running late so I offered to fix her lunch and breakfast. I work best when stressed. Dumping chicken noodle soup into a pan on the stove, flipping the water control on and letting it run until the water heats up to warm the thermos for the soup, I headed for the car to start it up. By the time I got back, the soup was boiling and the thermos was filled with hot water which got dumped out and the soup dumped in,lid tightened up and off to the fridge to get the ham and mayo for her sandwich. Grabbing those fixins, I popped open the freezer side to get the chicken nuggets. The nuggets were heating in the microwave while I cut the crust off the bread, placed the ham and slathered the bread with mayo. Into it's plastic container went the sandwich and out of the microwave came the nuggets. The aluminum foil wrapped the nuggests in two separate packets. One would be Carrie's breakfast along with a container of milk I would pack for her to have on the way to school. Everything went into her lunch box and I even remembered to pack a spoon, a napkin and a bottle of water!

I should have set a stop watch on this marathon. She was in school in plenty of time. That was a very productive 1/2 hour.

This morning I'm watching the governor of New Jersey defend himself and as usual, his staff made big decisions without his knowledge. If this is a defense, then who is in command of his staff. A lame defense on his part and a typical politician.

My appointment is at 1400 hrs. today. The emotional roller coaster will start and so will the countdown until this treatment is over. 6 weeks of Monday through Friday treatments consisting of 20 minutes of zapping. I hope that room is kept warm. I wonder if I will be allowed to keep most of my clothes on? ....bring a blanket?....

I have a plan. Hopefully I can schedule my treatment for 0830 hrs. I can still take Carrie to school in the morning and go directly to the Cyber Knife Center. That will leave me open to be available to pick her up after school should her mother be unable to make that pickup. I will also be available throughout the day in the event Carrie gets sick and needs to be picked up. That's my hope anyway!

I will know the answers to these questions after my appointment today.

I'm off to get some house chores done.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday, with Thursday Looming

We are moving up. Up to more normal temperatures. I don't remember being cold in the house even when we lived in Wyoming. I know this house is insulated as we did the insulating ourselves. New windows and doors, attic insulation and walls, all done to help with the a/c bills and to add comfort to living in this house. Then why am I feeling so cold in here. The thermostat is set at 73 degrees and the windows are draftless. I still need a thin blanket when lounging around. I think it comes from living so far south for so long. I'm just not accustomed to cold temperatures and usually we only endure a day to two and then it's back to what we term "normal for this time of year." I'm not in a hurry to revisit summer quite yet. Actually, I prefer the winters here.

I watched as a neighbor pulled his truck out onto the street from his driveway. He then put it in park and climbed out on the running board to scrape ice off his windshied; a sight you don't see often here. Yes, ma''s what "we" call "cold".

Tomorrow I have an appointment for a CT scan and to get dotted and marked for the radiation treatments. Stepping on down this path, toward 30 days of radiation treatments and even before the end of these, I will find out what the oncologist doctor has in store for me. I'm sure it's more chemo, either by mouth or IV. I'm just hoping what she orders won't take my hair again. I actually have hair. It barely touches the tops of my ears. I'll think it's really long when it reaches my ear lobes. I have entertained the thought of keeping it "ear lobe" length. Maintaining it would be a breeze. Do I really need hair that needs a lot of attention?  As it is now, I seldom wear a wig when I go out and if I'm wearing a hat it's because it's cold and not to hide my head condition. I never get a second look; I'm not sure people even pay attention. As long as I have eyeliner and brow pencil, a touch of lip stick and a fragrance, I feel dressed and up for anything. Speaking of hair, the chin whiskers are now demanding notice along with the hair on my legs. Yes, things are returning to normal in the hair department here.
I'm on my way to collect Carrie from school this afternoon so I'm going to catch an hour's nap before it's time to go.
That will be two times that I will be out of this house today. Had I had the opportunity to stay indoors I would have been appreciative!
I'm cold. I'm beneath a blanket and I'm almost asleep!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

No Toe Test needed!

OMGosh..Mardi Gras season is already upon us. Do we just skip right over Valentine's day? It's only January and I still have the Christmas tree and door wreaths sitting boxed up and ready for storage on my patio.

The Mardi Gras flags are being hoisted today. I'll exchange my Christmas wreath with my green, purple and gold Mardi Gras one.
There is a wind chill here of 14 degrees! 27 degrees here and a very slight improvement today and we are all stunned. It's the south for cripes sake and we are not supposed to get this cold.

Tuesday: Another cold morning but one where I will be leaving this house to take Carrie to school this morning. Yesterday afternoon we went to the nail salon for our pedicures. Carrie was so looking forward to this. She loves doing girly things. The daughter, myself and Carrie sank back into our high backed massage chairs and plunged our feet into extremely warm water. Each one of us opted for different applications. The daughter went for French nails while I did the deep burgundy and Carrie chose black. I tried to dissuade her and suggested a soft pink. She wasn't having any of it although she did do her fingernails in French nails making me one half happy about her decisions. Her mother says "It's her pedicure. She can choose what color makes her happy. Nobody is going to see them but her."
It was after 1900 hrs. before we got home and the temperatures had taken a nose dive with the wind gusting and persuading the weather to feel even colder then it actually was. Had it not been for a "family thing" this having our nails done, I would have opted out on this outing.

I still had to finish the meal of chicken and dumplings when I got home.

Tuesday bedtime: It has been a start and stop on this post. It is now after 2000 hrs. and I'm ready to get some sleep. Getting out of bed at 0330 this morning prohibits me from staying awake a few hours past dusk.
I'm gone. Sleep looks good.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

January 3; Radiation Oncologist

Another cold morning inspired me to crank up the car and let it warm up before I headed off to the store to get some creamer for our coffee. The husband stays in bed, while I'm up and out of the house and to the market at 0500. It's the best time to shop. There is almost no body in the stores and I can zip down the aisles and out of the store to the front row parking spot that was available upon my arrival. Except for the chill in the air, marketing early is the only way to go.
Back home, I dumped the creamer and the English muffins on the breakfast bar and headed for the shower. I have a doctors' appointment at 0900 hrs. It's shower time! I can be in and out of the shower and dressed in record time and ready to go since I don't have to worry about a hair style. I have one style and it's a wash and wear one. It is now long enough to pinch between my fingers. Soft as a puppy's fur, it  outlines my face. My face now has a stopping point. I can no longer be described as "she has a "high forehead", something usually reserved for commenting on a man with a very receding hairline.

The Cyper Knife Center is my destination. Did the person or the group providing a name for this facility realize how discomforting that name is to patients? 

We settled into our seats in the waiting room after notifying the front desk that we had arrived. Soon the "lady with the clipboard" arrived and requested my signature in three places. I'm sure I was signing my promise to pay. That always comes first when you enter any health care unit.

A short wait and we were ushered to the back where we took up residence in a small clean room. Two chairs and an exam table on one side while a small black stool and a computer claimed the opposite wall.

The doctor approaching this office could have substituted for a model. A tall slim long legged blonde strode down the hall and into our exam room. She held out her hand and introduced herself. Hand shakes and names were exchanged and she took her seat on that small round black swivel stool.
My emotions always run wild each time I enter back into the world of chemo, cancer and more tests. I was teary as usual and immediately informed this doctor to just ignore my tears and continue on with her job. This emotional exhibit appears to be something I can't control so I just go with it now. It only happens on exam days when I have to fully embrace this diagnosis. A few days from now, I will be able to shuffle it to the small storage space in my brain where I can forget about it for a while.
She explained and answered all our questions. She was very patient and unrushed. I will be called sometime next week with an appointment to have a CT scan. During that time a pin dot tattoo will be placed on my chest wall to guide the rad techs on where to do the radiation. My first tattoo. Maybe I can get them to do a grid of those dots and on boring days we can use my chest wall to play "hang  man".

The granddaughter is very excited.

She said "Hey Nana, if you are getting a tattoo, does this mean I can get one too."

A resounding NO, Lessie. You cannot get a tattoo!"

Elise or "lessie" as we call her has been forbidden to mark her body with ink. She is 24 years old and ink free. Her mother has threatened her with being disowned should she appear with scribblings on her skin. She is subject to do a "raise your shirt so we can check for tattoos" searches.

(*continued on Saturday)
Oh,'s cold. Where are those mild winter days we usually enjoy? At least the roads are dry and the sun is shining and we can look forward to mid 60's today.
It's time to take down the Christmas wreaths from the front of the house. I've been waiting for it to warm up a bit so I can go out in my bare feet. I might have to give up and put on a pair of shoes.
My winter selection of clothes is getting a workout this year. Usually sweaters and jeans are something I barely use so I seldom shop for new winter clothes. I may venture forth today and look for some sales on sweaters and pants and a pair of boots to wear with them. My little slippers worn sockless are just not cutting it this year and I look silly wearing sneakers with a nice pair of dress pants. Even my shoe collection is geared toward summers here.

I'm off to unload the dishwasher and do some morning chores and wait for it to get a little warmer before I step out into the environment.
I'm done here!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

1/1/2014 done on 1/2/2014

I knew it was New Year's Eve. I felt not one inclination to get dressed up and head to a party. I've passed the stage where waking up with a hangover is something I want to cope with. Hanging out with a bunch of inebriated folks is another thing I avoid. Going out to a bar is something we stopped doing years ago when the bouncers at the bars, hired for that one night of muscle, became so intent on flexing said muscle and badgered the patrons hoping for a rumble. The bouncers were more dangerous then the patrons of the night.

I think a lot of people now celebrate at home by watching a good movie and some popcorn. The fear of losing one's life on the roads if not by some over zealous bouncer equals the home celebrations or maybe it's just the fact that my age and those of friends and acquaintances cloud my survey of this situation?

I discovered a wonderful TV series on Saturday. A marathon of Breaking Bad was airing for New Years Eve and I settled in to watch a few episodes of this series that I had heard people raving about. Be aware, this series is no longer being filmed. It's run has ended. I settled in to watch about half way through the pilot. After a few episodes I was hooked. My reasoning for stopping the viewing of the presentation offered on this marathon. I decided to check out Net Flix and dial in to the pilot episode since I had started watching about midway and then watch all the episodes that follow. For two days I watched nothing but the Net Flix offerings. When I get to the final season and the eight episodes offered, three days had passed with me watching TV non stop. New Years came and went with me glued to the television.
The final episode! Number eight! I was crushed by the lousy ending. The husband, who had been watching along with me was puzzled by the less then stellar ending to a stellar show.
Me? I, of course went to the web to see what others were saying about this. Reading the comments, I realized there was more. More episodes that were not offered by Net Flix. Viewers were complaining about the final EIGHT episodes that were missing! You can imagine my displeasure after spending three days of non stop viewing to find I might have to wait a year for Net Flix to get the approval to add those episodes?  NO! Unacceptable, so I kept surfing.

I found a link with some information. I could view those final 8 episodes if I were in Great Britain and on Net Flix. My problem, that goes without saying though I will, is that I'm NOT in Great Britain. Ah, but not to worry. Right there on the web was the answer to my problems. I read and took notes. It seems, and I'm here to verify, if you download Google chrome and open an app called "HOLA", you can then turn it "ON" and change your location to GR (Great Britain) and this allows one to view Net Flix from a GR ip.  I held my breath and followed instructions and much to my dismay, it worked! Right there in front of me was another whole wasted day of watching those final episodes and that's exactly how I spend January 1, 2014! I had a wonderful New Year's Day and if this success was a portent of things to come in 2014, I shall be grateful.

Much success and happiness in the coming year.
Clinically: (It's time for a clinical report)
The incision sites are healed. I can move my arms in full range of motion. The burning sensation has all but disappeared from the right axillary area. That area remains devoid of sensations. My hair is growing back. In another month I will just appear as a "trendy" sort with my pixie "doo" that I'll spike upward to carry on the illusion.
I have an appointment with the radiation oncologist this Friday to set up the appointments for the radiation therapy. I'll know more after that meeting.

Happy New Year to One and ALL! and that's my first posting for this New Year.