Grandma’s Unveiling: The Night Before


I’ve been antsy all day, for a couple of reasons, one of which is my Grandmother’s Unveiling is tomorrow.

That means my Aunt & Uncle and two cousins (one with wife and new baby as well) are in town.

We were going to have the ceremony and then brunch following . . . except that this afternoon my Aunt emailed us that she is ill, therefore they will be returning to the East Coast earlier than planned and brunch is cancelled.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m sorry that she’s ill.  And of course we all (but me in particular) now have to be careful tomorrow so as to not catch whatever creeping crud she’s got.

Plus, when tomorrow should be about my Grandmother (her mother), and maybe just a tiny bit about me since most of them haven’t seen me in many months (and, you know, I’m not doing anything interesting or difficult – it’s just Cancer Treatment), now it’s going to be about her with whatever transient illness she’s got.

Add to this the following facts that have not escaped my notice:

– after I was not able to commit two days prior to being at Thanksgiving and so did not see them on that occasion, not one of them has seen fit to check in with me at all – no text, no email, no phone call

– this is the first time in my living memory that I did not get a holiday gift from my Aunt and Uncle (it very well could be that they chose this year to change tradition because it was the first year there is a child in the next generation after me, which I can understand as a seemingly reasonable time to change things – still, the timing as to me is unfortunate and hurtful)

– I know the whole East Coast clan has been here certainly since yesterday and perhaps earlier in the week and there has been no direct contact whatsoever, let alone an invitation to get together outside the formal ceremony and related gathering tomorrow

Isn’t family wonderful?  (That one’s rhetorical.)

Am I being fair?  Maybe not.

Is my viewpoint a tad skewed toward selfish?  Entirely possible.

Does it still hurt me and piss me off?  You betcha!

Hopefully having posted this will help me sleep well tonight so as to be rested and ready to defend myself against further hurt tomorrow, but if this isn’t enough catharsis, I’ve got a full bottle of Benadryl and I’m not afraid to use it!


Writing Challenge: Starting Over – Up at Midnight

Reposted January 14, 2013 re Writing Challenge: Starting Over.


There’s one day of the year when being up at midnight is a “thing” – New Year’s Eve.  Here in the US that was last night.

I’m not a big New Year’s girl.  Never really have been.

Yesterday I had a half day of work (they shut down extra early and sent us all home) and I came home to rest (see “What Looked Like ‘Better’ Turned Out to be PMS and a Full Moon“), which ended up being a late nap (about 4pm-6pm).  I knew that would screw with my night’s sleep, but as quickly as I fell asleep after lying down, I apparently needed it.  And I was off work today, so who cared if I was up half the night.

And I was.  And then some.

After waking up and having separate dinner together with Hubby (we both kind of fended for ourselves according to personal taste at the moment but prepared and ate together – you can do that when there are no kids to feed), we both settled in to rest – me still from the radiation fatigue and him from some crazy long days at work last week and a relatively active weekend.

We were having nice quiet time separately in the house together and along about 11ish I checked on him – sound asleep in his room.

I went back to bed and finished the book I was reading.

The Winter Palace

The time was about 11:40pm.

I picked up a new book (which I have decided is my first book of 2013 . . . because I can) and started to read it.

Beautiful Disaster

It grabbed me right away, so I forgot about the time.

Then I heard noise from outside.  It only took a nanosecond to realize what the noise signified.

I looked up from my book.

There I was, alone in bed, Hubby safely and peacefully sleeping in his room, a book in my hand, still hearing the year turn.

I took a moment to just be.

In a way, though it was near 15 hours ago, I feel like I’m still in that moment.

I could hear my neighbors fresh starts being shouted to the Universe, and thankfully I was not required to participate.

I felt something in that moment that is lurking still somewhere in my consciousness.

I don’t know what to call it.

I do not have the sense of transition that often comes with this night/day.  I do not have the relief of leaving the year in the past or the societally-imposed hope for a better year upcoming – behind me are two surgeries and destruction (yes, it’s actually what the real goal of radiation treatment is, even if saying it that way makes some people uncomfortable) of my cells – ahead of me are more surgeries and chemical castration in the form of anti-hormonal medications leading to artificial, forced menopause.

I’m very glad that when I go to sleep tonight, this year’s official “Holiday Season” will be over.  A few more days of being wished “Happy New Year” and facing the expectation that I display hope and joy in response to same, and then maybe I can breathe easier.

Being where I am in my cancer treatment, I have no realistic expectation that most of 2013 is going to be much better, easier or more fun than most of 2012 – that’s my reality.

I believe lots of people Do have that expected hopefulness and transition happening for them, and if you are one of them, I am truly glad for you – I just ask that you please not expect me to feel and display the same this year.

And before you try to buck me up, I’m okay with where I am just now.  I’m trying to just sit with it until it shifts.  And it will, in it’s own time.

Check with me a year from now, I may feel differently.

I went back to reading my book for a few more hours; I couldn’t put it down.

I finally took a 2nd Benadryl, which forced my eyes to close.

It was 4:00 am.

SNL (1975-1980, 1985-Present): December 15-16, 2012

Who gets the reference?


– coffee
– reading in bed
– bowl of cereal, also in bed
– first nap

[Okay, this was really just getting my ass through to morning.  I only half-intentionally did an experiment last night – fell asleep without taking my meds.  No Benadryl.  No pain meds.

I woke up at 4:30am for no reason that I could think of.  The great news about that is that I Did Not wake up because I hurt (which tells me I don’t need to take the Norco at night anymore to sleep through).  The good news is that it was Saturday, so who cared if I slept funny.

In fact, I was up for a couple of hours, then had First Nap, which if it had been properly tacked on to my night’s sleep might have gotten me through to about 7:00am.  As it was, separate from the rest of my night as it was, it took me through to about 9:30am.]

– coffee
– reading in bed

[If this looks familiar, it is actually Not a typo, but rather “Second Verse, Same As The First!”  Yep, I did it all over again.]

– brunch with Hubby
– Second Nap
– empty/reload dishwasher
– take trash out/replace bag
– do dishes by hand
– clean out refrigerator
– clean up grocery store list in app
– make dinner


– coffee
– reading in bed

[Yeah, I know, there’s a pattern here.  I am Not a morning person.  Let me just put it this way – stay out of my face until the first cup of coffee is completed and nobody gets hurt.

One of the hardest things about Radiation Therapy was having to get up and out of the house in such a short time, so when I don’t have to, I’m Enjoying Not.]

– brunch with Hubby (mmm, cage-free eggs!)
– vaping & hanging with Hubby
– watching accumulated music programs recorded on the DVR with Hubby, while knitting the poncho from here.
– snack for dinner

Things Not Accomplished This Weekend (That I Had Planned to Accomplish):

– clean up bedroom, put clothes/shoes away
– do laundry
– decorate mini-pumpkins with supplies purchased a while ago

Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 8 – Wednesday November 7, 2012

Treatment Notes:

– I was late Again this morning, but Not as late as they were (Please see “Schedule: Week of November 5-9, 2012.”)

– Otherwise, nothing really except being chilly this morning when I peeled down to skin (makes it sound sexy, doesn’t it?) for the deal so my female “guy” considerately offered, then got me a heated blankie (well, for from the navel down at least, but it did help and it was very nice of her to offer so quickly after I mentioned it was chilly!)

Social Worker Visit:

– I had planned to find her after my treatment.  Apparently, the waiting room receptionist let her know I was here and she found me in the interior waiting room while my linear accelerator was misbehaving this morning.  So we chatted.  She was very nice – basically just wanted to make sure I knew whatever assistance resources I needed (transportation & some other stuff I likewise don’t need – at least not today) were available to me if I Did need them.  Just a basic meet-n-greet, so if I needed her and/or the services she could hook me up with, we’d already know each other.  Very nice.

– While I was sitting there with the social worker (since I don’t gown up every day, so I was in my street clothes), someone who clearly works there saw me Not gowned and asked if I was a patient.  As I was in the middle of a sentence in conversation with the social worker, I answered ‘yes’ without thinking and went back to my conversation without missing a beat, as they say.  Afterwards though, I thought about it.  My first thought being “I know why you’re asking and I Hope you Don’t go there with Me!”  (Please see “Schedule: Week of October 29-November 2, 2012.”)

Side Effects:

– lightheadedness/dizziness again, twice: once walking out of the Disney Family Cancer Center to my car right after RTher this morning, and again this afternoon just by getting up from my desk and walking down the hallway.  Okay, so not a side effect of anti-nausea meds ‘cuz I didn’t take any this morning (supposed to be taken 30 min before radiation which is smack in the middle of my drive To radiation – yes, that means I drive an Hour to RTher Each Morning) as I was too busy just trying to get there on time.  I’m still left with is it a blood sugar thing, or now maybe just another side effect of radiation therapy nobody bothered to tell me about?

[In case you’re thinking, as I repeatedly speculate about causes of things and what’s happening in my body/life as I go through this, that I should instead just look it up or ask someone – try walking my walk and Then you can decide I’m being lazy, or using my disease as an excuse for how much I’m Not getting done in my life right now.  Hm, that previous sentence right there just may be called projecting by some, and I’m not sure they’d be wrong.  Ok, time to be kind to myself, and get back on track with this post.]

– more energy and less pain (at least until 3:30pmish) again today.  I’m going to go ahead and credit the acupuncture and hope to hell it lasts until my next treatment.  I’m well aware of the fact that my feeling better about the things I asked her to work on could very well simply be the placebo effect . . . but even if it is, does that really matter?  🙂

– and we have a new one today, or at least it got noticed today – Lefty’s areola is huge!  Okay, I’ve never had big ones.  I used to say they just never grew up and when they were the same size I was mostly okay with that.  This remained mostly the same it seems to me pretty much up through the beginning of RTher.  And then this morning the left one is twice the size of the right one!  Fabulous.  I hope this change is not permanent, though I have been warned that some of the skin changes during RTher may indeed be permanent.  Um self-pity warning – I’ve gone through a lot Already to try to come out symmetrical on the other end of this bullcrap – if this is permanent, it’s gonna suck!

Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 7 – Tuesday November 6, 2012

Treatment Notes:

– it’s films day!  Every week or so, they take new films to make sure they’re treating the correct area according to the plan – you know, killing the tissue they mean to be killing.  🙂  So today was a couple minutes longer than usual, and I got to meet someone new (a she, but for ease of language, she’ll just be “one of my guys” going forward) who I guess is interning for a year or so at this facility.

– got the last of my parking validation tickets – thank the Goddess for small favors, right? – Okay, that’s just bitterness, pure and simple.  Yes, it is nice of them to provide parking validation for my radiation treatments, they don’t have to do that. <sigh>  Better?

Social Worker Visit:

– I was told after my treatment that the social worker was looking for me.  So I did my post-treatment ablutions in the restroom off the main lobby waiting room and when I was done, she was there waiting for me.  Thankfully, she asked me if I had a few minutes to talk instead of just launching into whatever she wants to talk to me about.  Unfortunately, after traffic making me late to work, and spending a few extra minutes with one of my guys to receive the balance of my parking validation tickets, signing the paper saying I had received all of them, and waiting ’til he copied the paper that I signed saying I had received them all for me (some call me the “Paper Nazi”), the answer was actually ‘no,’ as I had to get back to work.  She accepted that gracefully (yay!) and said she’d catch up with me tomorrow.  So, tomorrow when I head back to my guys (assuming I get there on time – which is Exactly why I built in time between being there and getting to work – I was On Time to work today!), I’ll let the waiting room receptionist know I have time to see the social worker, so stay tuned for tomorrow’s episode of Radiation Therapy Journal!

Side Effects:

– lightheadedness/dizziness as I’m walking from my car to the elevator in the parking garage at work.  Hm, had a little (and I do mean little – only about 100 calories or so) bite on the way to RTher this morning.  Is it a food thing, or something else.  I also took the anti-nausea meds 30 min before RTher this morning and yesterday (also had lightheadedness yesterday).  Hm, side effect of the meds?  Must look up same online.

– lots of energy today, but it was getting perceived by my mind as anxiety (maybe ‘cuz I was anxious about wanting to get my vote in!).  Why after so many days of fatigue claims am I now having extra energy?  Last night’s acupuncture must have been it.  There is a program of integrative medicine at the Disney Family Cancer Center, including acupuncture, which I’ve been getting on the Mondays of non-support-group weeks (I figure I can do 1 “extra,” as in not-strictly-required-but-still-helpful/recommended thing each week, but not more, so I’m staggering acupuncture and support group).  As Disney participates in many teaching programs with other institutions, including acupuncture, I’ve been getting treatments from students (supervised by someone fully-trained of course) on their 10-week internships.  I really like the student I’m working with now and would love her to stay (being treated by students saves me $15 a treatment), but I’ll just enjoy it while she’s here, and I’m sure the next one will be good too.  So, she worked last night on first, giving me more energy, and second, some pain relief – hence this notation and the next!  🙂

– less pain than before, until about 3:30pm when it started up again, but still less throughout the evening – Yep, the acupuncture again.  Maybe I should ask for this treatment combination again in two weeks.

Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 6 – Monday November 5, 2012

Treatment Notes:

– a weird cold burning in the lower lateral portion of the breast during the down-from-above portion

– a clean machine today!  🙂

Doctor’s Visit:

– clearly I’m doing some better after a weekend where nobody got in my face about anything (but I Do Not feel rested starting a new workweek) – when we were going over my side effects I’m having and the meds I’m taking to manage them, I told my ROnc I’m aware of and consciously managing my CNS depressants – therefore, taking Benadryl to sleep and Tylenol #3 for pain management (although I’m likely to be upping my use of that some because I’m still getting too frequent and severe breakthrough pain), but I’m saving my Ativan for the next time I want to drop-kick someone’s head.  🙂  There was laughter throughout the room and she thought that was a very good use of that particular medication.

– so it seems my nipple issues are normal, or in the doctor’s words nipple sensitivity is common.  Mm-hm, so my nipple getting hard for no good reason and thereby causing me pain is common, so glad to know that.  Despite my (ongoing) concerns, I must be gooping up enough and with the right stuff ‘cuz the boob is Not Yet lobstered.  Woohoo!

Side Effects:

– more frequent breakthrough pain up to almost a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10

– lightheadedness/shaking: I’m guessing this is from a blood sugar issue since all I could think of when this started was FOOD, FOOD, FOOD, and when I ate a big bowl of cereal with raisins and most of a large banana (then ate the rest of the banana), I started to feel better.  It seems that lumberjack appetite is still here (‘cuz I’m thinking of having a peanut butter sandwich too).

– fatigue: was yawning on my drive from RTher to Work, and at 11:00am I could easily lay down and close my eyes.

Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved.