Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Uncooperative bone marrow!

Well, this is a little disappointing.  My white blood count was way too low this time (1.2) so I couldn't have treatment today.  So much for being double the high before the last treatment.  They couldn't give me Neulasta because I was too high.  Now I am way too low.  So my last AC treatment is delayed until next week. 

Need to avoid sick people for a few days.  I am at my "nadir" (low point) and should recover on my own in time for next Wednesday's appointment. 


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I believe - a cool flash mob video

A friend sent this to me and it deserves to be forwarded and viewed.  I think I am going to have to add "participate in a flash mob" to my bucket list!

Here are the lyrics by Yolanda Adams, hopefully I am not violating any copywrite laws:

"They said you wouldn't make is so far uh uh
And ever since they said it, it's been hard
But nevermind the nights you had to cry
Cause you have never let it go inside
You worked real hard
And you know exactly what you want and need
So believe and you can never give up
You can reach your goals
Just talk to your soul and say…

"I believe I can (I can)
I believe I will (I will)
I believe I know my dreams are real (know my dreams are real)
I believe I'll stand (Oh yea)
I believe I'll dance
I believe I'll grow real soon and (That's why)
That is what I do believe

"Your goals are just a thing in your soul uh uh
And you know that your moves will let them show
You keep creating pictures in your mind
So just believe they will come true in time
It will be fine
Leave all of your cares and stress behind
Just let it go
Let the music flow inside
Forget all your pain
And just start to believe

"I believe I can (I believe I can oh yea)
I believe I will
I believe I know my dreams are real (All of my dreams are real)
I believe I'll stand
I believe I'll dance (I gotta dance)
I believe I'll grow real soon and (ooo)
That is what I do believe
Whoa oa oa YEA…

(Music break)

"Nevermind what people say
Hold your head high and turn away
With all our hopes and dreams
I will believe
Even though it seems it's not for me
I won't give up I'll keep it up
Look into the sky
I will achieve all my needs
I will always believe….OoOo

(Chorus 2x)
"I believe I can
I believe I will (I can)
I believe I know my dreams are real (I got strength)
I believe I'll stand
I believe I'll dance (I gotta dance)
I believe I'll grow real soon and (watch me watch me watch me)
That is what I do believe (I do believe in me)

"I believe I can
I believe I will (oh yea)
I believe I know my dreams are real
I believe I'll stand
I believe I'll dance (I gotta dance)
I believe I'll grow real soon and
That is what I do believe (I do believe! yayeeyay)"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Live life, every day, as best you can!

I'm sitting outside, looking at the lake and enjoying the evening breeze and listening to the folks next door having a good time enjoying each other's company.  It's been an almost quiet day here today, with the exception of a pleasant visit with my niece Lisa and her adorable daughter Isabelle and breakfast out this morning with hubby at Sammy J's, with a reputation as Salem's best breakfast.  Yes, it was really good.  The best in Salem?  Well, I have no basis for that statement just yet.  We haven't been here long enough to have sampled breakfast hot spots.  As a matter of fact, this was our first Salem breakfast since moving here.  We did, however, have the very best homefries we've ever had!  And they know how to poach an egg perfectly for eggs benedict.  So that says something about Sammy J's and you can be sure we'll be going back for a second try. 

We've had so much fun this past week.  Family and friends have blessed us with their presence repeatedly, taking advantage of our spectacular lake location to enjoy a cooling respite from the heatwave that brought record temperatures (103 on Friday).  We had 9 people here on Thursday, 3 on Friday including our darling little granddaughter who had her first solo sleepover at Grandma's, 17 on Saturday and then 2 today.  Tomorrow evening there will be a few more! 

I am incredibly grateful that after three chemo sessions, I am physically and mentally able to enjoy life.  And I do mean enjoy!  Granted, I have a couple days after each session where I'm not at the top of my game.  But I am lucky that I don't have to head to my bed and become a recluse while I recover from the chemical onslaught.  And I am lucky that my immune system has been sturdy enough that I don't feel the need to avoid crowds, fresh fruits and veggies, or take any abnormal precautions beyond the norm - don't eat something that has been licked by a sick kid!!!  And I am lucky to have an oncologist who listened to all my concerns and fears about chemo, rational or not, and took every precaution possible to balance the need for pre-meds with a concern for my glucose levels. 

Today I took the time to open a "coffee table" book that someone gave me a few years ago.  It's titled Off the Beaten Path - a travel guide to more than 1000 places here in the USA that are worth visiting.  There are probably 150 locations within a two hour drive of us right here in New England so we have some touring to do!  I've always had a love of visiting neat places in this country.  Even when we lived in the Kansas City area and it seemed that you couldn't really change your geography unless you drove for several hours, we would rent or borrow a motorhome and go off to see the majesty of the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Zion National Park and many other of Mother Nature's delights.  Or we boarded a plane to Hawaii or Florida, cruised to Alaska, took a road trip and golfed the Robert Trent Jones Trail in Alabama.  And we made trips back to visit our family, frequently by some standards.  Even though we both had demanding full time jobs, we made the time to live life, enjoy what we loved, and never passed up an opportunity to do something that sounded like fun, even if it was a last minute idea and we needed to be ready to go in 15 minutes. 

The good news is that neither diabetes with its dietary constraints or  cancer with its demanding schedule of doctors, treatments, physical therapy, more doctors, etc., has changed any of that.  If I get an opportunity to do something, I'm doing it!  If someone wants to go to dinner, or get a pedicure, or come for a visit, I'm in.   I'm never too tired, it's never too late (or too early these days) to be on the go, to do something interesting, to visit a beautiful location, or to learn something about this country. 

Some day it will happen.  I won't be able to go or do or whatever.  At some point in my life, through natural aging or some unfortunate turn of events, I will have to stay home, to say no, to say I'm too tired.   But not yet, not this gal.  So don't be surprised when you hear what I'm up to, because that's just me being me!

So, what about you?  What are you getting out of life these days?  I hope it's everything you really want and everything you really need.  Because you never know when something will happen and you can't.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Three ACs done, one more to go...

...then on to 4 Taxols, which I hear is easier.  So far, I am feeling pretty good, just a little tired but not too bad.  Today's bloodwork revealed a nice high white blood count, so I won't be having the Neulasta shot tomorrow.  One less doctor visit, one less needle stick, yippee!!!

Rick had to be in Pittsburgh yesterday and today, so Christine came and spent the night, and then took me to my chemo session.  Allison met up with us last evening and we had a nice "girls night" with some wine and tapas.

 Here we are this morning, totally armed for battle!  Donna, it's definitely cooler without the wig!  Christine found these tshirts online at, in case you were wondering.

So, one more AC and then on to Taxol.  I hear that T is easier, but I was also told today that just the chemo infusion, not counting any hydration or premeds, takes 3 hours.   Yikes, that means my visits with Nurse Lisa will probably be even longer.  Today's visit started at 10:15 and we left at 3:00.   The first chemo started at 12:30.  So it will be at least 30 minutes longer.  Oh well, at least I'm not getting weekly T, which is what many patients are doing these days.  I think I would soon tire of that drill.

Enough about chemo, let's talk about The Prouty and how much we enjoyed ourselves Friday and Saturday!  We drove up to White River Junction, VT on Friday night, which is about 10 minutes from Hanover, NH, the site of the event.  We had decided at the last minute that we should drive up the night before, so we left Salem at about 4:15 and stopped at a nice restaurant in New London, NH for dinner.  Before eating, we visited a local art shop and I found a delightful, whimsical little coffee mug.
Sam Wild Pottery  
Saturday morning I was up early, as usual, and so we drove to Woodstock, about 15 minutes away, and had a fabulous breakfast at the Mountain Creamery, a little place on the main drag that makes use of local farm products, real maple syrup and homemade breads.  It was the best breakfast we've had in years and we were very happy that we had passed on the hotel's "free" breakfast.  

After breakfast we drove around a little, explored this covered bridge, built in the 1830's and one of the oldest in Vermont.  The size of the lumber was very impressive!  We didn't have a whole lot of time to explore but we did enough to wish we had stayed at any one of a number of B&Bs.  What was I thinking when I used Hotwire to get a routine hotel room???  Next time, and there will be a next time!

Our riders, ready to roll!
We made our way back to Hanover and The Prouty.  It was a beautiful day, the event was nicely organized, and six of our family and friends took off for a 35 mile ride at around 11:30.  Alex on his scooter, Rick and I followed a sidewalk path that paralleled the last miles of road bringing the bikers to the finish line.  We didn't go too far, the downhill after 1/2 mile looked nasty and I knew that I would struggle to make it back up if we went further.  And it worked out well because Christine had trouble with her bike and found us as she headed back to the grounds.   We walked around, grabbed some food, took part in a radiation research project involving donating fingernail clippings, and enjoyed the live band.   We worked our way to the Finish line and our team members started coming through around 2:30.  By 3:00, everyone was finished, eating and recovering.  It was a great cancer fundraiser, a spectacular day with mid-70s, lots of fluffy clouds, a breeze and low humidity.  Everyone had a great time!  And thank you, Christine Sweetser, for putting Team Hope together and encouraging everyone to have a good time. 

As we drove home, we promised ourselves that we will go back frequently.  It's less than 2 hours to the VT border, the scenery is spectacular and the choices of restaurants using local farm products and interesting artisan shops are almost endless.  Oh, how we were reminded how much we love the area!

Our Lady of the Snows, Woodstock, VT

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Just checking in to wish everyone a safe, happy and thoughtful Independence Day.  We are having a few family and friends over this afternoon for some smoked ribs, beans, cole slaw, watermelon and whatever else our guests contribute to the picnic.  It will be a good time, and I'll let everyone else do most of the work.  I'm noticing a little more fatigue this time around...or I'm just trying to do more because I'm generally feeling pretty good.  Either way, I'll try not to overdo.

Rick buzzed my hair down to stubble on Friday night.  It was coming out in handfuls and I wanted to just get it over with.  But, surprisingly, quite a bit is hanging on for dear life!   At day 20, I was expecting my head to be smooth as a baby's butt.  I'm sure it will come, but apparently not quite yet.  The lint roller is doing a good job capturing the loose stuff so I am not shedding everywhere.

Yesterday we drove to Narragansett, RI, to spend the day with our friends Ann and Jack, John and Kara and their two children Jessica and Jackie-boy.  It wasn't beach weather, unfortunately.  But it was lovely weather for hanging out and enjoying everyone's company.  We did walk down to the beach in the afternoon so the kids could play in the sand for a bit.  The roses, hydrangeas and day lilies were in full bloom and it was a lovely walk, although the uphill return trip wore me out a bit.

Enjoy the day!