Tuesday, November 29, 2005

my new guestbook

i've been having problems with spammers in my guestbook for several months now .. hundreds upon hundreds of spam messages .. so today i got myself another guestbook where you have to type in the confirmation code before you can send a message

sorry its such a pain, i just got too tired of trying to remember how to delete unwanted messages from my guestbook

on the brightside, we have a whole new guestbook to fill up now lol

just check out the links in my All About Me Section over there to the left where the links will remain or just use these :)

[Sign My Guestbook] [View My Guestbook]
Powered by E-Guestbooks Server.

whoops i did it again

10:15 am rain or shine (holidays excepted) you'll find me in the radiology department patiently waiting my turn .. in case you miss me during radiation, on wednesdays, you can run upstairs where i'll be partaking in my 4 hour chemo once a week .. (just so y'all know where to drop my christmas presents off .. i wouldn't want ya running around town getting lost ya know hehe)

most days the patients sit chatting quietly with each another .. yesterday morning there was a woman and her husband there i had seen on several occasions .. she was always quiet, never making a fuss .. just sitting there in those sexy hospital gowns in a hat on that reminded me of Gilligan's Island

i pulled my chair closer to hers and inquired, polietly, about her condition .. although her husband tried to interject on several occasions (to save his wife the effort of breathing i suppose) i really DID want to talk to her, to her hear side of her story .. pretty soon her gracious husband "got it" and was content to sit back and listen .. then i asked if her Gilligans hat held any sentimemtal significance .. she shook her head no

i pulled my hand crocheted chemo cap from my head (i was wearing my black and green one) and then i asked her if she'd noticed my chemo cap that was crocheted by a friend of mine .. she ran her hand over the cap, exclaimed how soft it was .. i encouraged her to put it on so we could see what it looked like .. and she looked like a queen .. a chemo cap fit for a queen .. just about that time my technician came to fetch me and i told her to keep the cap, it looks like it was made just for her and she looks beautiful

 and tomorrow i know when i see my new friend, she'll have a smile on her face and a beautiful new chemo cap on her head .. its amazing, even when you're at your sickest, just doing a little something to make you feel pretty sure does do a long way

here's a pic of the cap that Dee crocheted

and Dee?  http://journals.aol.com/crochetwithdee/CrochetWithDee/ ummm .. i'm running out of caps .. i only have my blue one left lol

we're going to need to work something out .. a payment plan perhaps .. well, at least until my eyes are better and i can see to learn to crochet myself
  i can't believe how such a seemingly small gift as a chemo cap can make a lady feel so happy   i need to order to more caps please .. one in black and one in orange :) is that possible?

i swear, if ANYONE knows of a chemo patient, these would be the perfect gifts .. they are soft and NOT scratchy at all .. they're warm, yet loose enough weave not to be stifiling hot .. and the colors are beautiful .. i must have received 2 or 3 dozen compliments so far (which reminds me i promised a few ladies to get business cards of Dee's so I can pass them out during next chemo)

Monday, November 28, 2005

sharing pictures from Thanksgiving

a quick picture of my daughter cooking Thanksgiving Dinner (me .. i watched and took pictures hehe)

from left to right .. my daughter, my niece Susan, my niece Jennifer and my big brother Jimmy

another picture of my brother Jimmy and my little sister, Charlene

thats me in the middle .. with the twins, Charlene and Susan .. my daughter spent the morning putting my makeup on for me .. i still can't believe how good that girl can made me look with the right amount of makup !!

my sis Charlene .. its hard to get her to hold still for pictures

My sister Charlenes daughters, Sue-Sue and Jenny

the cousins and my daughter in the middle



I had to throw this in cause she's such a beauty :)

the pic of my sis is kinda goofy but i thought my living room looked kind of pretty with the sun shining in :)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Day 157

i have a feeling when my niece writes me an email reminding me i haven't updated my journal in a few days, its time to get writing eh !

~waving to my niece, Amy Janelle~

its been a busy few days and its looking like its going to get busier, so this is going to be a short entry, just to let y'all know how i'm doing :)

my teenage daughter actually did most of the cooking Thanksgiving Day .. i was flattered by her offer to come over and cook dinner for us, i was just a little unsure if she had any idea how much work she had agreed to lol

my sisters Susie and Charlene, my big brother Jimmy, and my 2 nieces Jenny and Sue-Sue all joined us for Thanksgiving Dinner .. i hope next year i'm well enough to be able to invite the entire family

i am feeling the effects from the chemo since thursday afternoon .. the digestion problems are probably the ONE side effect that hit me harder than any of the rest .. and of course, its the one side effect they have no pill for .. the best i can do is a pain pill for the cramps and a sleeping pill so i can sleep through the worst of it ..

yesterday it turned out to be a wonderfully warm day .. i took my little bald head out to the back yard where i just sat and cried wishing i wasn't in so much pain .. and when the cramps would ease up, i'd raise my face to the sun and enjoy every drop of sunshine .. i wasn't expecting my daughter to find me .. i figured she was glued to MTV for awhile .. she tried to get me to come back inside and get into bed .. i finally convinced her to stay outside with me and enjoy the sunshine between my tears :)

my daughter and i played monopoly wednesday night .. we took tons of pictures with the digital camera while we danced around and completely made fools out of ourselves (in the privacy of our own home of course) which i'll gladly share in my journal with complete strangers and my best journaling buddys just as soon as i find time to edit them :)

i got a phone call from my son who is colleging in hawaii .. his momma must have raised him good if he remembers to call all her on the holidays eh ?!? hehe .. i can't wait for him to come home next month

last night my daughter called her dad for him to come pick her up to go back home at 5 pm .. she hadn't said a word to me about when she was going home, i just noticed little things of hers weren't strewn about the house .. "are you going to cry mom?".. "no i'm not" .. "are you lying mom?" .. "yes i am" ..

i've only had 3 radiation treatments so far .. for a grand total of about 60 seconds of radiation .. i wasn't expecting to actually feel any benefits so quickly .. i can take deeper breaths without it catching or causing pain in the middle of my chest .. the coughing is a lot less and i'm hardly coughing up any blood anymore (sorry to ick you guys out) .. i'm thinking since i feel so much better, this would be a good time to stop the chemo and rad's before i get really sick .. right? lol .. i mean if i can feel the effects of the radiation killing off cells this quickly, i can only imagine what its going to feel like after 27 more treatments

and my daughters 15th birthday is Thursday .. my baby is growing up :(  i'm not quite sure what she has planned so i've already given her birthday gifts to her .. i am hoping i feel well enough on Thursday to drive by her dads house and give her a card and flowers or something ..

on that note, i have a ton of office work to finish up .. and i'm hoping the sun will be shining again today so i can get a little sun on my head :)

i hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday !!!!

Monday, November 21, 2005

1 down .. 29 to go

(1 radiation treatment down and 29 to go, that is)

i got my first radiation treatment complete .. i arrived at the radiation oncology office at 10:05 and walked out at 10:38 .. sheesh .. almost wasn't worth bothering to put makeup on for lol

yea .. i was nervous .. its just so difficult to imagine that this radiation thing, xrays i've been getting since i was a child, is killing off my cells .. that something that i've perceived as harmless for so long is what is quite possibly going to save my life

they radiated me 11 second from the front, flipped the machine over and zapped me 11 second from the back .. treatment complete

somebody get out the calculator please .. 11 seconds per side; 2 sides per day; once per day for 5 days, and continuing for 6 weeks .. is what?  11 minutes of radiation?  i'm still wrapping my brain around that one

but i survived .. it hurt as much as any ordinary xray :)

then i worked on budgets for the office for around 5 hours then slipped in a quick little nap before the office called .. i need to remember to turn off my phone .. i really really needed a nap .. i haven't been sleeping too good lately ya know !!!

anyway, i just wanted y'all to know i survived my first radiation treatment lol

oh .. and i had a little time this morning to do a little before and after with the camera .. one picture is me before makeup, the other after makeup  and i'm taking votes .. which one would you least object to if it showed up on your doorstep? ROFL (now be nice!!!)

#1 NO Makeup

#2 Makeup & BALD

#3 Makeup & Cap

now don't forget to vote on your way out LOL .. ((waving to my adorable niece Amy who dropped by yesterday and left a comment in my UK Journal xoxoxoxoxo)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Day 150

My Quit
My Stats:
Your Quit Date is:  6/24/2005 6:30:00 PM Time 
148 days, 15 hours, 1 minute and 49 seconds
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 2973
Lifetime Saved 22 days, 17 hours
Money Saved: $521.50

pardon my showing off just a bit .. 149 days of being a nonsmoker .. it seems like a lifetime

these stats are from www . quitnet . com .. they really helped me during the hardest first few weeks when i quit smoking, but even now i can't wait to see my current stats .. especially how much lifetime i've saved by not smoking

i'm seeing more and more people who really do want to quit smoking .. i see that as more lives being saved .. a few weeks ago there was a brief discussion in one journal (forgive me for forgetting which one lol) about how outraged one journaler was when a city decided to ban outdoor smoking at public places .. a few months ago i would have stood on her soapbox, right along with her, in an attempt to voice my displeasure with the government telling people what they have the right to do in public

i have such a different perspective now .. why do people think they have the RIGHT to smoke in public?  with all the proof on the damages of second hand smoke, why would any reasonable smoker want to risk hurting another person with their own bad habit?  with all the proof that smoking kills .. how can anybody feel proud about killing themselves, let alone in public?

i can remember when it was COOL to smoke .. we had cigarette ads everywhere .. we had the marlboro man .. plus a handful of other cigarette icons .. smoking was glorified in the movies and on TV .. everybody smoked and it was acceptable .. slowly my daughters generation is realizing how dangerous and NOT cool smoking is .. one of the T-shirts being sold now is a cigarette with the circle and slash through it and beneath says "there are much cooler ways to kill yourself"

on top of all this, i was watching a show a few days ago .. about problems with littering in public places .. i had NO idea that almost 30% of littering is done by cigarette smokers .. tsk tsk tsk

just because you are killing yourself, doesn't give smokers the right to be rude too eh !!!

being a person who is a beginner nonsmoker, i'll be the first to admit that having to walk through a group of people standing on the sidewalk, smoking, really IS difficult for me to do .. i guess i'm just getting to the place where i'm starting to resent having to breathe other peoples cigarette smoke ::shrugging::

i'm all for banning smoking in public places .. lets stop exposing our children to cigarettes .. stop smoking in public for the children .. our children .. and keep our fingers crossed that they remain smarter and wiser than my own generation

::stepping off my soapbox::  sorry, i just had to get that out of my system :)

i've realized that the last week have been a transition period for me .. in changing from the massive chemo treatment to the radiation and chemo treatment really has been a transition period

i don't know any of the people .. the employees, the patients .. i don't know anything about the procedures, the side effects .. i'm having to learn so many new things .. i have always taken comfort in routines .. i kinda get shaken up when somebody screws with my routines :)

what is shaking me up the most are the change i'm noticing in the patients .. up on the second floor, in oncology .. we all sat around dressed in street clothes .. some of the females donning various head covers, hats, caps, wigs .. our faces a little drawn and tired but mostly in good spirits .. except for the fact that we were all hooked up to IV's, a pretty normal looking group

downstairs in the radiation oncology waiting room, we are actually a pretty sorry looking group of patients sitting around in hospital gowns that don't come close to fitting us .. each and every patient i've met so far has an exhausted look on their face .. walking slower, needing assistance in standing up .. some still smile, some still laugh .. but they're different .. tired .. one female patient decided to drop her gown and show me her scars from her double mastectomy and the results of radiation .. her raw red skin that was peeling off in chunks .. i'm not sure why she thought i wanted to see her scars .. i didn't .. like i wasn't scared enough

anyway .. i've got piles and piles of budgets to get working on for the office .. not like i'm in ANY frame of mind to be concentrating on details like this but i kinda don't have an option .. i hope the rest of y'all enjoy what is left of your weekend :)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Day 149

i just have a moment this morning .. my daughter came over last night and this morning i'm taking her to her aunt's hair salon where she works a couple saturdays a month

it feels like i spent the week topless, in physically uncomfortable positions while strangers drew all over me with felt tip pens in order to get me set up for my radiation therapy starting on monday (in addition to the stickers, 3 tattooed dots, a couple of "x marks the spot", i now have a drawing looking remarkably like florida between my breasts) .. i have to confess that its probably been the most stressed i've been since this entire mess was discovered back in june

what i've discovered (much to my chagrin) is that the tattoos they've placed under my arms and in the middle of my chest are aligned with the red laser lights from the radiation machine so that the radiation is directed towards my tumor and lymph nodes .. and it is necessary that i  be NUDE from the waist up in order to complete the alignment .. tuesday i walked out of radiation oncology noticing (hey, i may be old but i'm still a woman!!) the two very young, good looking male radiation technicians, thinking to myself "well, i'm glad i have female technicians" only to arrive friday to realize they've changed my technicians to guess who?

i must have been blushing all shades of red having these two young attractive men remove the sheet from my chest, peering closely at my chest, moving closer until their eyes are mere inches away from my chest, close enough i can feel their warm breath .. and i manage to whisper "ok guys, this is so embarrassing" .. to which one replies .. "don't worry, this is all medical to us" .. like THAT was supposed to make me feel better !?!?!?

i am not so old, nor so sick that i can't remember a time that i would lay topless in front of a male and it had AN AFFECT !!!  this really was humiliating .. and they've got me signed up 5 days a week for the next 6 weeks .. sheesh

since i decided to do the last week on my own .. i didn't get the benefit of the anti-anxiety pills or pain pills (until AFTER the appointments) and then, depending on how much office work i had to get done in the few hours left of the day where i felt i could function properly

a couple of times last week, i'd arrive home, stiff and sore from laying on the xray table for 2 hours, pop a pain pill, get comfy in my bed, only to have my phone ringing off the hook for the entire afternoon, employees needing assistance or direction on a few issues that have come up at the office .. they apologize for "bothering me" and i apologize for being out of it and doped up and not thinking clearly

the wonderful part of the week was my long awaited appointment with my chiropractor of 25 years .. i have to admit that after knowing her this long, she really does feel more like a friend than a mere doctor .. and i gotta tell you, Dr Nancy knows her stuff .. within minutes i could actually breathe easier and it felt like i could take deeper breaths, stand taller and the tension in my neck was relieved .. i'm going to be making another appointment for next week, hopefully to tune up the rest of my back .. its amazing when a doctor can do something and you can feel the effects immediately .. i walked out of her office feeling more energized than i've felt in weeks

the best part i think, after i thanked Dr Nancy for arranging for me to make payments, she handed me an invoice that says "balance due ZERO" .. and then i got a pretty terrific Dr Nancy hug :)

and in response to Kathy's question "will you still have your chemo angels?" .. the answer is YES .. because (lucky me) in addition to the daily radiation, i get weekly chemotherapy on wednesdays .. but instead of being the 8 hour chemo, every 3 weeks, it will be 2 or 3 hours, at a much lower dosage than before

i am so hoping that i'm going to be feeling normal on thanksgiving this thursday .. i've got my daughter promising to cook dinner and i've invited my niece, nephew and sister to spend the day with us .. i'm not sure yet if they can make it over the hill, but i have a feeling my daughter is not going to be able to pull off cooking the entire meal by herself, regardless of her priceless intentions lol

i've got a couple of pictures here to show the markings necessary to get me hooked up for my radiation therapy .. not pretty by any means .. not exactly the kind of pictures i ever believed would be posted of me on the internet hehe .. but here i am during different stages of the preparation for the radiation simulation last friday

Thursday, November 17, 2005

hilarious sheet guy

this is perfect !!! to find a way to laugh at a time that has us all so frustrated .. Jimmy, aka Stupidsheetguy found a way

To Ad or Not To Ad...

you have to check this out .. it is hilarious !!!

thanks Jimmy :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

cheating? more radiation oncology

is this cheating? merely moving my journal to aol.uk where the install to add advertising banners to personal journals hasn't occured yet?

so spank me .. when i was interviewed by The Washington Post it was because i was one person who "blogged for therapy" .. and i've been needing some therapy lately

moving from chemotherapy to radiation therapy has taken its toll on me emotionally as well as physically .. it was discovered during the bone scan done on July 7th, that i have arthritis in my neck, which would explain why i've been in so much pain/discomfort since i stopped going to my chiropractor over a year ago .. when she doubled her fee, even with insurance, i was no longer able to afford the two visits a year that kept me free from headaches

since the 4 mm mass was recently discovered on the left side of my brain, the question "are you suffering from recent headaches" suddenly takes on new significance

i decided it was time to spend my hard earned money, scrimping wherever i could, but it was time to visit my chiropractor .. but prior to making an appointment, i wanted to find out if she would consider accepting payments from me .. she's been my chiropractor for almost 25 years and never before have i not been able to afford her services .. and no, she had NO idea i'd been recently diagnosed with cancer .. so when she replied "pay me whatever you can afford, even $5 when you can, don't worry about it" really eased some of the stress i'd been feeling .. so tomorrow afternoon i have a MUCH needed appointment to see my chiropractor :)

tuesday was my first hands on appointment with radiation oncology .. i was so nervous .. nauseous, light headed, shaky .. my blood pressure was so high i had a very hard time hearing anybody speaking to me (when one of the technicians called out "i like your hat", i thought he said, "i like your TAT" and i was confused wondering how he knew i HAD a tattoo (if you're reading this Dee, i've gotten dozens of compliments on my chemo caps !!!)

after making me wait 30 minutes past my appointed time, the nurse went through a dozen documents, reading each one to me (heads up folks, i'm a visual person, NOT auditory in the least, so 99% of what she read to me went in one ear andout the other) all i remember from spending 30 minutes with her was that for the next 2 months i am not to use soap on my chest and i needed to buy aloe vera gel for when my skin starts reacting to the radiation

then two technicians led me to an xray room, stripped me naked from the waist up, laying on a hard glass table, arms above my head, proceeded to draw on me with a felt tipped pen, verified their markings with xrays, had the xrays verified by a physician and then made their felt tip marks permanent with 3 "tattoos" located in the middle of my chest and under both arms .. the tattoos were so tame compared to what i've endured with my real tatts .. mostly it was the discomfort, the muscle spasms from laying on the hard surface for almost an hour .. having muscle spasms, my arms going numb and not being able to move isn't my idea of a good time (hahaha) .. but mostly i think it was facing the unknown, alone ..

so far, thankfully, during each change in direction of my treatment, i've had somebody to hold my hand .. this one, except for the first appointment last friday, the radiation therapy, i'm beginning alone .. i think when i go with someone, have someone at my side, i'm stronger .. i think i hold it together for THEM .. cause i fell apart on tuesday, during my appointment, something i am not inclined to do

today i had the CT (or CAT) scan done .. it was done by the same technician as yesterday but with 5 assistants this time instead of one .. i even had a registered nurse (a tech can inject the contrast into my arm, but only a registered nurse can access my medi-port) at least this scan went quickly .. it was getting all my little marks lined up with the laser and then sticking the bb's onto the other stickers they'd placed on my chest to give the radiation techs landmarks in the xrays that took most of the time .. but thankfully, between the chiropractor visit tomorrow and the pain pills, i should be able to endure laying on hard flat surfaces for the next 6 weeks

we have a stimulation radiation therapy session set up for friday morning .. they say it takes about 20 minutes and again, its done for verification of the marks and also the stuff generated from the computer that was compiled from all my scans, reports and xrays

then, i believe, sometime next week, i start my daily radiation therapy

i have a lot more going through my head but my head is also killing me, my hands and arms are numb and my shoulders feel like a ton of bricks has been sitting on them .. time for a pain pill and some rest and relaxation .. it sounds like just what the doctor ordered :)


OK, so no spell check feature but so far, no banner either.  knowing aol, the banners will eventually find their way over to UK and the other international journals, but so far, the coast is clear