Friday, February 29, 2008
I had a FLOCK of tests today, making sure I'm strong enough to withstand chemo. Turns out I am. So, given the time constraints of one of the studies I'm participating in, they asked if I'd like to move up my chemo a week and I agreed heartily. Would YOU like to be going through chemo in during a hot, muggy, disgusting St. Louis summer? I know I would not. So the faster I start, the cooler it'll be outside when I'm done.
I'll also have some genetic testing to make sure I don't have some genes which, long story short, would result in my going back for a double mastectomy with a side order of ovectomies. Can you believe ovaries can be removed on an outpatient basis, too? Good lord. What do you have to do to get admitted to a hospital these days?
Anyway, I've been to the cancer info center today and was given the gift of a cute little pink turban to wear to bed. It's adorable. I might even wear it while I'm cooking so I don't melt my wig hair!
I'm also signing up for all kinds of classes and stuff-- like how-to-paint-on-eyebrows (without looking scary.) That's an important class. Also there's an activities group for kids Liv's age going through a parent's having cancer. I'm stoked about that, too.
So, anyway, Friday's the day. Be there or be square.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
So, I have a MUGA scan, EKG and bone density test in the morning tomorrow and a check up with my surgeon in the afternoon. For study participation, I also had to have my teeth checked (done yesterday) and go to the ob-gyn (next Tuesday). Once all that is done, I'll get "randomized" for the study and start the chemo the following week.
There is the possibility that my finger nails and toenails will turn black, so I'm already looking at stylish dark shades. Why not make the best of a fashion challenge, right? I'll go for the all-black nail polish-- a popular suburban soccer mom choice, no doubt.
But we all know I'm just DISGUISED as a soccer mom-- I'm still secretly wicked cool.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
They told me I couldn't have any of the wig names or take any pictures; I guess they don't want to compete with the internet for customers. But she wouldn't let me try on medium length wigs! I tried one unflattering wig on and she refused to get any more for me, telling me I should wear a short one!
When I wanted to try one on, I actually had to sort of wheedle her into doing it. Awful woman. Anyway, I did find out some things about color. The first is that I like Coffee Latte color from Rene of Paris. This is the color, below.
coffee latte from Rene of Paris
The second thing I found out is that the "Tyler" wig I tried on in that awful shade of blonde at the other wig store looks really nice on me in a darker shade. Here it is in close to the correct shade:
and here's a tiny url for Rene of Paris' color chart; I know this is probably not as fascinating for you as it is for me, but I'm having a ball.
Monday, February 25, 2008
I recognize that without chemo I vastly reduce my chances of surviving my otherwise ideally-situated little cancer. My tumor is small, it was caught early, it has not spread; BUT if I don't do chemo, it could still get me, and comparatively quickly, at that. My tumor was aggressive. Not the sort of thing to turn your back on.
But in this comparatively pleasant period between my surgery and tomorrow, while physically uncomfortable in a couple of fairly minor ways-- at least in relation to the big picture -- I have been enjoying the preparations.
I have ogled wigs. I have sought out recommended products for various common chemo problems. (Although MORE TIPS are ALWAYS welcome.) I have even, as I mentioned, arranged to get a copy of War and Peace to read with my friend, John. And, most importantly, we have purchased a bigger, better Tivo! (okay, not strictly chemo-related, but the cause of much joy in the household nonetheless)
But tomorrow some of this will change. Chemo will become a reality. My very nice, well-respected oncology doctor will look me in the face and discuss what kind of poison he recommends putting in my body.
I remember my mom in chemo. I remember the stricken look on my dad's face. I remember a lot of vomiting.
Yes, this was ten years ago and she had colon cancer, not breast cancer. Her cancer was not caught early and mine was. The meds for nausea are a lot better now than they were then. She died within a year of diagnosis, and I probably won't.
But these are the bags I've packed to take with me on my trip through chemotherapy. I have to confess to being truly afraid of that first step on the path.
I trust that when chemo and my reaction to it becomes more of a known quantity, the horror will subside. It'll be just one more thing to deal with, to get through on my way to dancing with N.E.D.* Then I will deal with it as I deal with everything-- with some smarta$ remark on my lips. But tonight I'm scared.
Wish me bon voyage, y'all.
*N.E.D. = no evidence of disease
Once every year or so, just to satisfy her intense cravings for girliness, I put makeup on Liv. I always save my most garish makeup mistakes for just such an occasion-- that bright coral I thought would perk up my complexion? It goes right on Liv.
I've even been known to buy those awful shades at the Dollar Tree for Liv's amusement-- aqua eyeshadow, anyone? Next I dusted her down thoroughly with every glittery or glowy powder in my "tool box." She looks like a little fairy princess. And yes, I had to tone down the aqua eyeshadow; I couldn't stand it. Nothing a little taupe shadow and a lot of blending won't fix.
I also put some magnetic earrings on her. She's truly in her glory.
So. Here are some of the results.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
In our family, we do not actually have birthDAYs. We have birthday seasons. Perhaps I've mentioned this before.
The reasons for this policy are many, and mostly self-indulgent. But you also can't assure yourself of ONE perfect day on a birthday; there are too many factors that could go wrong. But with a birthday season, given the liberal application of presents and high-calorie goodies, you have a much better shot at success spread over a few days.
Take Her Majesty's birthday season. The actual birthday was a three scant days after my surgery and boy-howdy was I still sore. Did I want to go out to Chuck E Cheese or some other hellacious place and whoop it up? Nope. You bet I didn't.
However, I could ride in a car to the local bakery for the selection of a birthday cake. AND I could later hang out while the cake decorator made it. This was purely fortuitous.
It seems the bakery put down the wrong day for us to pick up Liv's cake. So when we arrived, the decorator had no cake to give us. She did, however, have time on her hands and a glassed-in "exhibition kitchen," so we got to watch while she decorated the cake right before our eyes. This was little short of magical for Olivia, and we, veterans of Food TV, enjoyed it too.
Thereafter, we spread presents out all the way through Sunday, letting her open gifts from us and from Laura Mac every so often. Girliness abounded.
Poor el Freddo. One of our gifts to Liv was a trampoline. He went to great pains to put this enormous contraption together in the cold and snow. When asked her favorite gifts this birthday? Liv asserted that they were: Barbies and lip gloss.
Tonight was actually the official "birthday season dinner." Sort of like a season finale on TV, I'd say. Since I fell sound asleep this afternoon when I should've been making and cooling custard for homemade ice cream, I flipped through some "cheats" on Food TV's website and found a non-cooked ice cream recipe by Paula Deen which would drop a diabetic in his tracks. It was mighty, mighty good. Bear in mind when making recipes from Paula Deen's oeuvre, that I omitted TWO whole cups of sugar by accident and it was still super rich and sweet. Good grief!
Liv got to lick the ice cream maker paddle and, of course, hilarity ensued.
Anyway, aside from mama sleeping away great portions of every day, it appears to have been a successful FIFTH birthday season!
Friday, February 22, 2008
However, I am making it to Trivia Night with Mrs. Mac tomorrow come hell or high water. Actually I think sleet is a more likely plague; but unless I can't get up our tiny hill (don't laugh; it's happened), I'll be as trivial as all get-out tomorrow!
I think there's every possibility that this is Millie in Almond Spice gradient. Maybe.
Here's another color I can't wear. :-) But it does show the layers nicely.
Excessive, yes. But a girl who's about to be bald as a cue ball gets to have as much fun as she wants on her own blog! Besides, I'm totally excited about new hair. Heck, I've had my same old hair for well over 40 years. It's about time I get some new hair!Here is a link to the Noriko brand color chart.
But at least the color is not platinum (the second color is actually called Strawberry Swirl) which would actually be LIGHTER than my actual skin. Probably not the desired effect.
Hold on to your hats, but here's the great excitement: I actually put on my own shirt yesterday! Whoooo-dog! Who says blogging is dull?
We're iced-in around here, so it's just as well I'm ensconced in my comfy chair under a couple of quilts.
Traffic, for those of you familiar with the idiocy that is St. Louis drivers, has been NUTS. They actually closed Hanley (a major thoroughfare) where it crosses highway 40. And, of course, the St. Louisans are driving like they've all just had self-administered frontal lobotomies. It's great entertainment from the comfort of my comfy chair! Oy.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
And here's the Sky wig:
And can I just say to the Currie boys who think that the long-haired wig "just isn't [me]:"
I can find approximately 300 photos of me looking JUST. LIKE. THIS. without working up a sweat. I wore my hair in this style for somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 years. Just look at almost ALL my yearbook photos. Heh.
Whee! I am doing a happy dance!!!!!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
In retrospect, I don't think I like the swing bob, Kayla, as much as I did in the store. It's cute, but the layered cuts are cuter. Also, the stylist really liked the "Millie" best, though I disagreed in favor of...hm...Sky, I think? But now that I see it in pictures, I may agree with her. Not sure yet. What do you think?
As easy and cute as these are, I may never do my own hair again.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
And say, 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers, everyone. M2- my last thoughts before going under turned out to be silly! I said "my nose itches," and then fell asleep. Whoops. So much for thinking about friends and family.
Love to all.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
As I'm not to have anything to eat until after surgery tomorrow at 1 p.m., I've just downed a protein shake in the hopes of being filled enough not to tear off the heads of hapless interns tomorrow whilst hungry and caffeine-deprived. If you hear of a rampage on TV which took place at a cancer center in St. Louis, you can just figure the protein shake didn't do the trick.
Anyway, considerably less snarky today. Ran errands. Stocked up on chocolate. (Mindy, that entire bag of Ghirardelli disappeared into all of our bellies at record speed-- thanks a ton!!) Also bought a bra that fastens in the front. It's the last minute "little things" that will make the difference!
Strangely, not frightened anymore. Just ready to do this thing.
Onward and upward.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
It has come to my attention that further remaining in any state of denial is pretty much out. All the pre-surgery hoo-hah has really taken hold this weekend.
I can't have ibuprofen or aspirin, despite the decibel levels of my household. I can't have glucosamine or Aleve for my crotchedy old knees. I'm up to my eyeballs in pre-operative paperwork. I had to roust perfectly innocent family members who were otherwise minding their own business and ask them highly intrusive, personal health questions for my geneticist's paperwork.
AND, here's the kicker, I'm due at the surgeon's at 10 a.m. Monday. Surgery is not til 1 p.m. I can't have a bite to eat or a swallow of any liquid after midnite Sunday night -- even coffee. No coffee? Are they sadists?? Is this not unconstitutional under the 8th Amendment? Even the Wikipedia agrees:
- The "essential predicate" is "that a punishment must not by its severity be degrading to human dignity," especially torture.
- "A severe punishment that is obviously inflicted in wholly arbitrary fashion."
- "A severe punishment that is clearly and totally rejected throughout society."
- "A severe punishment that is patently unnecessary."
Poor Fred. Assuming they put me "out" about 10 minutes before surgery, he has to sit (not counting the morning ritual, the drive to the babysitter's, and the trip to the hospital) for almost THREE SOLID HOURS with a hungry, caffeine-deprived me. I think he may have a constitutional claim, himself.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Today, I was fussing about having surgery in a couple days and about being bald. One of them wrote the best thing in the world to me:
You can do it! Go out there and fight like a girl!
I'll have a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. I have a surgeon who has done over a thousand sentinel node biopsies. The books all say to make sure they've done at least 50 or so to assure yourself they're competent. Competent, I'd say. Nothing to worry about,right?
Okay, well, if I could just get my sweating palms and fast-beating heart to pay attention, I'd be okay!
Well, just remember, y'all: SCARS ARE SEXY!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Parenthetically, here are some gratuitous cute pix of my family and the Stroup family at Shaw's Garden a few weeks ago.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I must report that the head wrap does not have the Harley logo on it. That's probably a very good thing because sometimes I think I'd wear it (with a Brooks Brothers sweater and pearls, perhaps), just for the sheer shock value of it! heheh.
Anyway, again, I am so humbled by the kindness people have shown me. I am grateful down to my toes.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
This may sound like unmitigated hell to some of you, but he knows this is the sort of thing that will make me happy. And, to me, his is an act of great selflessness and kindness. He is taking some of his very scarce personal time to book group with his friend. I loved him more during that phone call than I am capable of explaining.
Gawd, do I ever love my friends. I am very clearly the luckiest woman alive.
Friends have also been spreading the link to Christy's 3-day Komen walk for me and Alice on their sites, too. AND donating! And that doesn't even begin to take into account the people who keep me jolly, keep me in their thoughts and prayers, offer to watch my kid, to cook my food and *gasp* even to clean my house!
Grateful does not even begin to describe my feelings today. I am moved beyond words and blessed beyond measure.
I am so lucky to have every single one of my friends in my life.
Monday, February 11, 2008
1) Lumpectomy surgery is February 18. It's outpatient; I'll be home for dinner. I'm scheduled to go to a trivia night the 23rd, so I'm planning for a quick recovery. Anyone wanna babysit?
I will have a big ol' scar but my surgeon is brilliant; she says she'll replace the divet.
2) I will get the okay from my oncologist to start chemo after our appointment on the 26th of February. I don't know yet how long I'll be in chemo or what kind it'll be. Whatever it is, it'll suck.
3) I will, in fact, lose all my hair. That may include my eyelashes and eyebrows, but not necessarily. I devoutly hope not. I don't want to look like David Bowie in the Man Who Fell to Earth.
4) I will buy a wig or two. They will probably not look like my regular hair; this is my only chance to have "TV hair." I've put up with thin, fine hair for 40+ years; cancer notwithstanding, I'm NOT missing this chance at good hair. However, I've never looked good in long hair, so don't expect any Beyonce hairdo's. Sorry.
5) After chemo I will start radiation, during which time my hair will grow back. It may not grow back the same color, so your guess is as good as mine. So long as it's mine, I expect I'll be okay with it growing in bright blue.
6) Since I am lucky enough to have a hormone-positive tumor, I will probably be on tamoxifen or something like it for...oh, say....800 years? Thank gawd for good insurance.
7) I'll still be working out at the gym when my doctors let me and I can drag my carcass out of bed. I am hoping not to puke in the pool.
So that's the drill. Everyone be on the lookout for cool temporary tattoos for my bald head. I can't wear a hat or wig every minute during a hot St. Louis summer, so now's my chance to have a little fun.
I'm putting a link to her fund raising website on the sidebar of this blog. If you see fit to donate or maybe post this link some other places, that'd be great.
Here is the link, also.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I left feeling like the most loved woman in the world. I am truly blessed.
(Now if I can only figure out how to get the photo off my G-D cell phone, I can post it!)
I'm ashamed to confess I did read the book. Perhaps that's because Tudor history nerd might be more properly termed "junkie." And boy-howdy was that book an insult to historical accuracy. But then, this movie corkscrews the facts even more on top of the already laughable inaccuracies of Ms. Gregory's original work.
Jesus Christ, the poor woman was executed. Do we need to do this to her, too?
On the other hand, I will, at some point, watch the damn thing. Yes, that and the HBO series, The Tudors, too. And, just for good measure, I confess I devoured each and every episode of Rome on HBO, even though the century or two around that period of Roman history is another favorite AND the show was only incrementally less fallacious.
I just can't help myself.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
The city hall and police station are easy walking distance from my house. On Thursday we heard helicopters overhead all night.
There are some people blaming the City for the shooter's state of mind, his desperation.
I am normally an incredibly liberal, cheer-for-the-underdog kind of gal. But that's got no traction with me today. None. I'd like to say I have forgiveness and compassion in my heart for him, too, but I got none of that, either.
I have an acquaintance, a friend of my husband's, who spent serious quantities of time with the shooter some time ago, trying to help him resolve his issues with the City, to no avail. This guy didn't want resolution, he wanted vengeance.
Well, if the shooter weren't dead already, I'd really be delighted to have a little vengeance, too.
And the Hamlet reference? Look it up, you philistine! :-) Check under "let my thoughts be bloody..."
Friday, February 8, 2008
Okay, well we just bought a SUPER Tivo which will record two channels at once and let you watch another show at the same time. It'll "talk" to our original Tivo too. So on bad chemo days I'll have plenty of entertainment in two different rooms. Beside that, it's just cool as all get-out! A wonderful purchase! That, my iPod and my trusty Mac laptop should keep me sufficiently tech'd to survive any treatment modern medicine can dish out. (Or at least that's the theory. TECH GEEKDOM IS ITS OWN REWARD)
I suspect it'll prove handy on other sleepless nights like tonight. Oy.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
STLtoday - News - St. Louis City / County: "News > St. Louis City / County > Story
Six dead, 2 injured in Kirkwood shooting
From staff reports
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
FEBRUARY 7, 2008 - Police officers at the scene of a shooting at Kirkwood City Hall.
Six people, including two Kirkwood police officers and the gunman, were killed tonight at Kirkwood City Hall, a St. Louis County police spokeswoman said about 9:25 p.m. Two others were wounded.
Officer Tracy Panus said the man approached City Hall and shot one officer outside, then entered the building and shot and killed another officer.
'He shot three other people who were attending the council meeting. They also are deceased,' she said. 'One of the members attending the the board meeting was transported to an area hospital.'
'He has shot seven people, killing five of them,' Panus said. 'Kirkwood police officer returned fire and killed him.'"
We switched both cell phone lines to a different provider. Since I was a single gal many years ago, I've had my cell service with Sprint. It's even in my unmarried name. I added a second "friends and family" line for the husbie after we got married, but it was a subsidiary of the main billing account number in my name. Both lines got ported over, but Sprint, in its infinite wisdom, elected to keep my husband's line and continue to bill us.
Account services was rude when I asked for a refund. I asked for the rep's supervisor and was told she was not available. I asked for the supervisor's number and extension and was given same. Upon calling that number, I discovered it was not the supervisor's number at all, but believed the service had been canceled. I let it go. Live and let live, right? I even paid the old balance and wrote it off as a life lesson.
Then I got ANOTHER bill. The account services rep mentioned above had failed to cancel the service when I specifically insisted a) that it had already been canceled; and b) that I was entitled to a refund. She obviously interpreted that to mean that I wanted to remain a loyal Sprint customer.
Customer service is definitely a lost art.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Of course THAT time of the month arrived this morning so I'm (as a dear friend says) in "Cramp City." But I swear I don't care. Just don't step on my fingernails as I'm dragging myself into our local YMCA....
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Anyway, since I lived in Soulard at one time (site of one of the biggest Mardi Gras), I no longer feel the need to go out to the parades and whatnot. But I like to put up my decorations and all that.
At least I got my hideously tacky, but nonetheless glorious gold, green and purple wreath on the door! Next year? Maybe a party. Anyhow, let the good times roll, folks.
I met my oncologist and radiation oncologist today-- two very nice fellows with terrific nurses. I was joking with one of them how fast I'm learning to disrobe from the waist up these days. And his response was that before long I'll be flashing janitors and secretaries who just accidentally happen to pop in to my examining room! I almost fell off the examining table laughing.
Anyway, I'm already scheduled for a trivia contest five days after surgery, and my first check-up pre-chemo with the oncologist three days after that.
Zipping right along, aren't we?
Monday, February 4, 2008
Oddly enough, it'll be outpatient surgery. This I find somewhat concerning, not because I have any of the traditional reservations about general anesthesia (y'know, like dying on the table and so forth). No, my concern is more dignity-related. You see, some years ago as I was in the recovery room from having my wisdom teeth pulled under general anesthesia, I'm told I crept out of the room and crawled down the hall ON MY HANDS AND KNEES. When the nurse (a pair of white shoes and stockings from my point of view) came to find me, I burst into tears.
So I'm kind of hoping I behave myself a little better this time. It took many, many years to live down that stunt.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
I kind of laughed today, over a mouthful of sausage, onion and pepper stromboli about how much I'm eating and how much I'm not going to be able to stomach while I'm on chemo. Quoth El Freddo? "Hey, now's the time. Smoke 'em if you got 'em." Gotta love that man. Although, come to think of it, I'm going to have to work out a LOT to work off that damn stromboli if I don't lose my appetite with chemo!
Parenthetically, the Super Bowl is kind of a snooze this year so far. Ads aren't too bad, though. It's not often blogging is more interesting than football. ANY football.
Addendum on Superbowl: BEST FINAL TWO MINUTES OF A GAME IN AGES! Love them Giants!! But last last 0:01 was a bit odd...
I have been solidly refusing to play this damn game for two solid years. Once, when he first got the game, I gave it a shot. I sucked. I quit. End of story.
Now, however, we have TWO guitar game controllers. We can play together-- one playing bass and one playing guitar, el Freddo on "expert" level, me on "easy." Oh. My. Gawd. That is SO MUCH FUN! I rocked out to "Infected" and "Sweet Child of Mine," two favs, and I was hooked. I'm a middle-aged, suburban rock'n'roll GODDESS!!
What's next? Smoking crack?
Saturday, February 2, 2008
A gal learns a little HTML and-- voila!-- she's a danger to herself and others. So don't be alarmed if the next time you visit, the blog looks different again. Just keeping myself e-amused.
Well, here's a poser. I am looking at these great dolls to help explain to my 4 year old about what's going to happen to mommy while she's being treated for cancer. It's called Kimmie Cares dolls and I have all kinds of respect for them. But they're not for us.
Why, you ask, are these lovely, sensitive dolls not for us? Let's see: First they have a doll with long, flowing locks. Then the next stage is a doll with raggedy short hair, then bald.
Turns out the raggedy short hair version looks JUST LIKE me with my current hair!!
Friday, February 1, 2008
Am I in for a walk in the park? a bed of roses? Oh HELL NO. I'm getting surgery, chemo and THEN, for added laughs, some radiation. And then, stay tuned for some tamoxifen, baby. The hits just keep on coming.
So if you're going to the pool with me this summer, I'll be the bald one in the really big hat with absolutely no skin exposed to the sun whatsoever.
But, by GAWD, I'll be there.