Friday, August 31, 2012

I got an (unplanned) early start to the holiday weekend.... woke up at 3:00 and couldn't fall back asleep.  

So I did some reading.  
("It's called 'reading'.  It's how people install new software into their brains.")

Then it was off to the lab for my pre-chemo blood draw.  It's been more and more difficult each time for them to draw blood.  Since I still have a lump at the site leftover from 3 weeks ago I figured it would be a bit of a production today - which is why I asked Apryle if she would do the 'honors'.  And happily it went off   

And so did radiation - I barely had time to run through The Cremation of Sam McGee in my head before it was done.  NO COMPLAINTS!

Nothing else on tap for today, although since Tom is doing all the mowing for irrigation I guess it's only fair if I get up at 2:30 'tonight' to let the water go.  At least I'll have the full moon to see by!

Enjoy tonight's 'blue' moon; the next one isn't until 2015.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Very happy to report that yesterday's radiation was snappy - on and off the table in maybe 5 minutes.  
Would be wonderful to think the worst part is over now!  
Still crashing in the afternoons, and sleeping through Jeopardy reruns.

Our 'esteemed' Governor has embarrassed the great state of Arizona on countless occasions - but she really put her foot in her mouth during her speech at the RNC and I'm guessing she's finally embarrassed herself.  I rarely agree with anything she has to say, so I was pleased (unlike everyone in the audience) to hear her endorsement. This 17-second clip will show you what I mean:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Yesterday's picture-taking at radiation went reasonably well - while it took almost 30 minutes, the techs and the oncologist were quite happy with the results.  And if they're happy, I'm happy.  I did spend the rest of the day horizontal and dozing at times, thus missing part of Jeopardy.

This morning while sitting in my chair reading the paper waiting for Carol to pick me up for Busy Bees (I was able to switch radiation to the afternoon for today) there was a loud, unsettling crash elsewhere in the house.  My initial thought was that Sapphire had tried to jump up somewhere and ended up pulling something down on top of her, but (luckily for her!) that was not the case.  It was my penguins.... one of the glass shelves collapsed!  Not sure what the damage to any of my babies is - further inspection will have to wait until later.

Quilting was enjoyable, as always.  
Here are some of the goodies from today's Show & Tell:

Betty's quilt was bright and cheery... just like her!

Pat's checkerboard start quilt was wildly bright.  She said she made a small one because she figured it was too bright to put on a bed - she was afraid it might keep the occupants awake!

Sharon's also qualified as bright!

Carol's Log Cabin (hand quilted!) showcases a setting she designed, 
and also has 'cut off' bottom corners to keep it from dragging on the floor.

Too bad you can't see the gorgeous quilting Monica did on this quilt of hers.

I like Sandy's 'Slide Show'.  It's another great idea for showcasing some of those focus fabrics I hate to cut up!

Very nice quilt of Joni's.  Picture does not begin to do it justice.

Here is a beautiful Linda Callahan appliqued quilt that Joyce recently received.

Some of the ladies are already getting a jump on the holidays.  Here a cute block Joyce worked up.

Sharon makes ornaments for her grandchildren every year.  These cuties will hold checks for her cuties.

This morning Alex (finally!) took his car into the shop to see about getting it fixed.  I know we'll both be happier once it's up and running again!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's always nice to get a refund check in the mail.  But sometimes it's such a shocking amount that you just have no idea how to spend it.  With that in mind, I just had to share this one that arrived from my health insurance company.   

Of course the paperwork that came with it was somewhat confusing, but apparently it has something to do with a recent $1300 chemo treatment. I look forward to everyone's helpful suggestions about what to do with my windfall.

And who knows what surprises today's mail will bring? 

Monday, August 27, 2012

This morning I woke up tired - and when I got home from radiation I took a nap. Not sure how long I might have slept if the doorbell hadn't awakened me, and I had a headache the rest of the afternoon which made me nauseated.

I'd like to say tomorrow will be a better day - but as we finished up today and I commented 'that wasn't so bad' the tech 'warned' me that they'll be taking pictures tomorrow. Sigh...

At least tomorrow will mark the end of the second week; that makes it two down with only four to go. Onward and upward!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Willie's birthday party last night was a lot of fun.  Here he is making his grand entrance (he went down for a nap just as everyone was arriving!) and not quite awake yet.

Big crowd - several dozen families, lots of kids, babies, and pregnant mamas (Estera herself is due in December.)  Here I am with a little guy (Alessio, 2 1/2 months) who has even less hair than I do:

Tom's smoked brisket was a huge success (no surprise there) and the custom birthday cake was absolutely delicious.  As you can see, even Willie was licking his lips in anticipation!

Alex had to be at work by 6:00 and was only able to make a very brief appearance at the party.  He missed out on all the food so we brought him home some.  Here's his desert plate; check out these adorable cupcakes (marshmallow eyes, Oreo mouths) for the kiddos:

Of course no party would be complete without 'horsie' rides, right?  
Bella was very sweet and patient with all of the kids.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bunko was fun - I enjoyed the comaraderie of the other ladies (and, of course, all the yummy goodies!)  And I even won a few dollars when I tied with 4 others for the second-most wins, 11/18.  There were a number of Newbies there last night, and it was especially fun to see them get into Left-Right-Center at the end of the evening.  With 16 of us playing, the final haul for the winner (January) was $48.

By the time I got home, around 9:00, I admit that I was pretty worn out from my busy day.  
Not that any of it was really much more than sitting around, but I had no trouble falling right asleep!  NOT like the kid in this (hilarious!) book for exhausted parents.

This morning Willie stopped by for a short bit; Estera had a delivery for Tom. Willie was not a very happy camper when Mom 'disappeared' out into the shop, although he was pretty excited for a bit when I got 'his' blocks out.  But he sure looked adorable in his crabby outfit, and of course was all smiles once Mom returned.

The last time he stopped by he was in a cute giraffe shirt.
Don't you just love kids' clothes?
(Bana - don't you wish you had a shirt like this?)

Willie turned one the beginning of the week, and today is his birthday party. 
I've got his gift 'wrapped' in a bag so that he can open it himself.

And now it's time to head outside and do some yardwork.
It was too wet to mow earlier, but maybe now?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Radiation went well this morning - everything lined right up (for a change) so I was in and out quickly.

That meant I got home in plenty of time for my next 'appointment'. Amy was at a school workshop right around the corner and was taking me out to eat during her lunch hour. We had a good time and caught up on all sorts of stuff.

Shortly after I got home from lunch Kathi came over with her Sonoran Desert tortoise and we headed over to Mary's house. Mary has four Sonoran Desert tortoises and is hoping to find new homes for a couple of them. Kathi is thinking of adopting one, and also hoped Mary could help her sex her tortoise (very difficult to determine until they reach a certain level of maturity.) It was a nice visit all around, and interesting to see the interactions between the tortoises.

Tonight is neighborhood Bunko. I haven't been energetic enough to attend these past 9 months so I'm really jazzed about going tonight and chatting with all the ladies!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

We've had thunderstorms and considerable rain the past 2 nights.  The rain was certainly welcome, and a rather nice change from just wind and dust.  

Also made it a good time to pull some of the tall weeds out front.  I lasted about 15 minutes, and while I didn't get all of the weeds it still looks much better out there despite the very shaggy grass.  

Of course because of the heavy rains the news is full of Stupid Motorists (which is why AZ passed the Stupid Motorist Law) who drove around "Do Not Enter When Flooded" signs and then needed to be rescued.  The law ensures that said stupid motorists foot the bill for their rescues.

We now have all 4 burners working on the stove again.  It was bad enough when only one was out, but once the second started acting iffy it become much more of a problem.  Tom found a place that carried what we need (I never had any luck) and replaced the two unhappy burners.  The stove also looks much better with sparkling new drip pans under all 4 burners.  Now the it's all set for somebody (else!) to cook.

Radiation continues.  Yesterday was a rather long session, today not so bad.  I am focusing on the "prize" at the end, and thinking about being able to "blow this popsicle stand" and take a trip.
(Guess that phrase dates me.  Does anybody even use that phrase any more?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Alex arrived home last night from his California vacation, and it sounds like he had a fantastic time.  The house where he stayed was apparently quite the place, and right off of the beach.  Here he is, in their 'yard', jumping for joy!

He may not be quite as happy at the  moment -
today he started his Fall classes at PVCC.

This morning I had the radiation oncologist show me some of my pictures, 
so now I have a (somewhat) better idea of what the issues are.  
Apparently the difficulties they are having with me are not the norm; guess that 'makes up' for me being in the 5% who make it through chemo with limited side effects.  

Today was a long session (more than 30 minutes of immobility) so it came as no real surprise that by the end I was pins and needles from the shoulder blades on my back down to the tips of my fingers (which felt as huge as sausages by the end.)

Afterward I stopped at the library to pick up some books on hold and also get some help on how to set up my iPad for downloading books from the library.  But as always with me and technology, nothing ever seems to be easy. Good reason for me to stick with DTBs! 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Pokey was excavating this morning, which got me wondering if we should be getting ready for another 'blessed event'.  But upon later inspection it seems as if she was merely burrowing down for some cooler dirt to rest in.  We shall see...

Radiation only took 6 minutes today.  
However, I inferred (correctly, as it turns out) that we still aren't done with taking pictures.  While the techs were positioning me on the table I asked if we were taking pix, and one of them responded, "No pictures today."  Further questioning confirmed that not only may there be pictures tomorrow, but <sigh> that they will be an ongoing part of the treatment until the end.... as in constant tweaking.  I see the radiation oncologist every Tuesday, so maybe tomorrow I can get some answers.  (Further questioning of the techs did not satisfactorily answer my questions about what exactly is not lining up and needs to be adjusted, although I really tried to be very specific about my confusion.) 

From Hollye Jacobs' blog: The freight train of fatigue has taken up residence in my body.  Whoaaaaa, Nelly.  Why do x-rays to a small area of my body cause so much exhaustion, you ask?  While radiation is intended to destroy any “stray” cancer cells that weren’t removed surgically or by chemo, it also bombards healthy cells on a daily basis.  Therefore, the body requires A LOT of energy for those healthy cells to heal from the damaging effects of radiation.
The best analogy that I can give is it is like spending a day at the beach.  Literally.  But without the fun.  I remember spending endless days at the local pool (growing up in the middle of Indiana, we didn’t have beaches…unless they were manufactured).  I came home at the end of the day fried to a crisp.  With my Irish skin, I tended to burn and then peel and then tan.  So gross to think about now.  But it’s how I rolled.  At the end of those long crispy days, I was sooooo tired as a result of overexposure to the sun’s rays. The radiation from a sunburn damages the DNA of the skin’s cells, triggering these cells to die. The dead cells then trigger the release of inflammatory signals called cytokines that lead to redness, swelling, pain and exhaustion. The same thing happens with direct radiation (without the sunscreen, I might add!).
Exhaustion is exacerbated by the fact that my body is expending overtime energy to repair the damaged cells. Combine this with the fact that after surgery and chemo, I’m already wiped out.  Beyond words.
Everything worth doing is exhausting. 
- John Polanvi