Late for a Surprise Purpose: My Favorite Cigarette-Seller

First, let me say I’m still nicotine-free.

In fact, today is 135 days CFT!

No Smoking

Now, on to the point of the post:

I’ve been wigged lately (do a search on the tag “Tamoxifen;” there will be more posts with this tag soon).

This morning when I woke up I couldn’t get going – for no particular reason that stood out to me.  I didn’t even get out of bed until 7:30am, went downstairs and, while coffee was brewing, put together my supplements for the day (including the new ones I got yesterday to deal with common side effects of the Tamoxifen I’m starting Friday night).

Then I went out to the garage formerly-smoking area and watched a bit of news while sipping on my coffee.  For some odd reason, I just couldn’t get my ass moving to do the morning leaving-the-house-to-go-to-work deal until the clock showed 8:00am (the time I Really Should be getting in my car to drive to work).  Weirder still is that I wasn’t even stressed about it.

I went upstairs to do a super-quick clean-up, got dressed in clothes that are too tight ‘cuz I’ve gained 20 lbs during my cancer treatment so far – but that’s a Whole Nother (yes, I know, not a word – whose blog is this, again?  Right, thanks!) series of posts – took my morning meds and headed downstairs to make the day’s second cup of coffee (the one that goes to work with me).

Made the coffee, got in the car, turned the car on, realized (as I had seen last night coming home from group, but was no longer foremost in my mind after a night’s sleep) that I had to put gas in the car before I went very far or I wouldn’t get anywhere at all.

Headed to the gas station, and went inside the building because strangely enough the pump registers at this particular gas station don’t work with my debit card (a debit card that works Everywhere Else I use it to pay for stuff – who the hell knows?).

And I run smack into Roz, my favorite person from my former cigarette shop near my house (former because, of course, I don’t smoke anymore – much praise on this account is still quite welcome).

She and I talked for a few with her telling me I’m facing this cancer with grace and that I look great (I told her she caught me on a good day, despite being wigged lately – but maybe it was just running into her).  She is such a warm, sweet woman and apparently the joy she lavished on me this morning is still doing its thing.  Thank you Roz – I’m grateful for you today!

So, I guess what I’m getting at is maybe I was supposed to be at that gas station at that time (and Not earlier which I would have been had I been out of the house at my usual time) so seeing Roz could bless my day, and I didn’t even know it.

Oh, and I was only 5 minutes late to work too!  Score!

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

Book Excerpts: One Mountain Away by Emilie Richards

[Originally posted as a page on Sunday October 29, 2012; transferred to a standard post on Thursday, January 3, 2013]

One Mountain Away

” . . .

I’ll admit I began this journal reluctantly.  A therapist on my cancer treatment team recommended I keep one.  She told me to look back at what I’ve done, what I’ve gained, what I’ve lost.  I was supposed to find ways to say hello and ways to say goodbye.

. . .

Marriage demands a level of intimacy that permanently changes us.

. . .

… the eleventh commandment – Thou Shalt Not Be Thine Own Worst Enemy.

. . .

Optimism wasn’t the same as denial.

. . .

The way we nurture and protect our memories of people who lived before us.  The good they did?  Like those seeds of your grandmother’s, it doesn’t die.  It’s passed from person to person.  It lives on in other forms, in other places, but the essence of what it was at the beginning never changes.

. . .

Life had a way of separating people, of barging in on relationships and insisting there was no time for friendship.

. . .

She said she discovered the only way to help anybody was to walk beside them, not to judge, not to advise, but simply to be there.  She said women have always understood that offering consolation or a listening ear is what really matters, not how much money you throw at a problem — although that can help — but simply being there.”

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

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Thoughts: Week of December 26-28, 2012 (No Mon/Tues)

Wednesday:

8:10am-9:07 Drive from Home to Work

[With one stop at Sears to buy two of these:

Angel pig

Hehehe, okay, here’s the deal.  Hubby and I have a tradition of wandering a local mall on Christmas Eve afternoon.  We’re both always done shopping by then and just like to wander – people-watching.  Figuring the ones who’re like us, just hanging out with nowhere to be, nuthin’ more to do from the ones who are just Starting their shopping.

And if we see something that trips our trigger and the lines aren’t too long, we’ll get it (we both got some super deals on clothes this year).

So we’re in a Sears on the opposite side of the mall from where we parked (we had gone in to look at a garage door opener for the 2nd garage door – we figured we’d spend a bit of Hubby’s recent overtime on getting the matching door opener for the second door if we came across a screaming deal on one.  We didn’t.  What we wanted was on sale, but not enough for us to buy it and cut our night short so I could stand over it at the curb while Hubby got the truck from the other end of the mall).

We Did, However, find the Pig.  🙂  You see, it spoke to both of us, on many levels:

– Hubby is from Cincinnati, please see The Big Pig Gig (flying pigs)
– We found them at christmastime and they’re angel pigs
– They’re pink and therefore a little Out of the Christmas thing, just a little Crazy
– While neither of us like the stupid pink ribbon, it’s pink and well, we all know what I’m doing this year and some of next, so…

For any of you reading who are offline friends, please be forewarned that as of no longer than a week from now, when you come to our house, be prepared to see two (they have to keep each other company, you know, because just one would be lonely all by itself) pink, lighted, angel pigs in my front yard – year round!

Because just like this blog is entirely my world to command, Some parts of the Real World are also mine to design!

So I was going to leave early this morning to go to that Sears (out of my way by quite a bit) to pick up the pigs on my way to work, but basically this morning when I got up, I just didn’t fucking want to schlep it And there was a freeway closure between me and work, so I said screw it – I’ll take my chances and go on my lunch hour.

But, lots of folks are Not going to work at all this week, so when I got close to work and my nav program said I’d get to work at 8:57, I said to myself: hell, if there’s nobody there this early, I’ll run in to see if I can get the pigs here (and who the fuck cares if 8:57 turns into 9:10ish), and if the parking lot is packed, it’s back to Plan B – taking my chances at lunchtime.

Yep, got to work at 9:10ish, with two pink lighted angel pigs in my trunk.  :)]

Work
Lunch
Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home

Thursday:

8:25am-9:05am Drive from Home to Work
Work
Lunch

scarantinos pas-thumb

[Right before lunch, I had this craving for simple, basic spaghetti with meat sauce – it was delicious!]

Work

[I forgot to put a watch on this morning and it took me until 3:30 pm to realize it.]

5:30pm-7:45pm Drive from Work to Home

[Three stops on the way:

– get gas
– stop at market (Hubby out of OJ again and could be working until late into the night again – yes, I can be a good wife)
– pick up more meds]

Didn’t get to sleep until 10:30 😦

[Get home, call Mom before 8 ‘cuz she’s busy with something then, eat, make sure Hubby eats, get out of work clothes, try to calm down from a long busy day, take meds, lay down & read until Benadryl makes eyes close]

Friday:

Up at 4:30am for no reason – except maybe I was hot…hm… – and never got back to sleep.  😦

[Confession: my home office has become an absolute disaster the last 5 months or so.  I know, no surprise.  But now it’s making me crazy (which actually kind of means I must be feeling better and having some more energy to do something about it, But relax, it may not last long, and don’t act like I have to keep feeling this way, I’m not a trained puppy to be happy on cue).  Spent some time this morning cleaning up and partly clearing some decks.  I got into it – it felt good, hence being late to leave the house and late for work.  That’s some of that All Alone with Nobody To Answer To (not even Hubby, though the goddess knows I love the man) Time I need these days – just of me, by me and for me.  Please see “This Must Be The Worse Before The Better.”]

Oh, and this morning I Did remember to put a watch on before I left the house.  A watch that fit a couple of days ago, but was uncomfortably snug now (too snug to wear in fact – I don’t do clothes, etc. that bind, period) – which means after six months of this, I finally may actually have lymphedema all the way down my arm – fun!]

8:25am-9:15am Drive from Work to Home

[With 1 stop for weekly Starbucks treat.

So, for months I’ve been having a problem with my Starbucks app where it won’t reload one of my cards – it keeps saying something like “We’re having trouble reloading your card.  Please check your balance again in a few minutes.”  Now there’s nothing in there to indicate a problem with the debit card it’s attached to, like it’s oh, say, Expired or something?  For some unknown reason this morning it occurred to me that an expired card might be the issue.  Lo and behold, I changed the expiration date, tried again and it Worked!  Seriously, I realize it was something I needed to change, but the error message they decided on kept indicating to me that either the app itself was broken, or the problem was with their backend – there was nothing in it (at least the way I read it) to indicate it was something I needed to attend to. <facepalm>]

Work
Lunch
Work
5:30pm-6:20pm Drive from Work to Home

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– blogged
– put gas in the car
– picked up two pink lighted angel pigs for the front yard
– paid some bills
– ordered some sale clothes online from Soma.com
– got some more meds (the last time they’re “free” since next Tuesday begins a new deductible/max out-of-pocket period and I get to go back to paying for medical stuff again)

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Thoughts: Week of December 17-19, 2012 (No Thurs/Fri)

Monday:

8:15am-9:30am Drive from Home to Work

[Extra late, thanks to the rain, which now means a shortie lunch to stay on track timewise.]

Work
Lunch
Work

Fatigue:

[It showed up at about 1:45 today.  Ah well, I knew it wasn’t gone.  I was hoping some small miracle would happen.  Well, I guess it kinda did – I didn’t really feel the fatigue until afternoon.]

Acupuncture
7:15pm-7:50pm Drive from Acupuncture to Home

Tuesday:

[General post-radiation weirdness item: today is the second day in a row I left the house wearing a necklace.  I couldn’t do that for the past 7 weeks.  Well, I could have, but since I couldn’t wear any neck jewelry during the treatment, I’d have had to take it off then put it back on after.  Instead, I took necklaces in my bag and put them on after treatment (if I remembered) which sometimes I did and sometimes I didn’t.  Now I can get back to doing this in it’s proper place in my day – at home, when I’m getting dressed in the morning.]

8:00am-9:00am Drive from Home to Work
Work

Fatigue:

[Yeah, today it arrived at about 11:30am.  I still had a few hours this morning where I could forget about it – but fewer than yesterday.  Good thing I have tomorrow off!]

Lunch
Work
5:30-6:30 Drive from Work to Home

Wednesday:

Physical Therapy
Whole Foods
Egg Plantation
Nap
Dishes
Laundry
Reorganize a Freezer
Make Dinner

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– blogged
– put gas in the car
– made Saturday nail appointment
– moved RSurg appt (to not conflict with follow-up ROnc appt)

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

To Schedule or Not To Schedule, That is the Question

I’m not sure I still feel the need to document my schedule as specifically as I have been lately.

Clock

It felt important to me to share with those who (it’s been said to me numerous times) “had no idea” of the degree of chaos and intrusion into one’s normal life that cancer and its treatments cause.  The craziness that ensues from trying to work full-time through radiation (I didn’t quite make it, but didn’t realize until I was almost done with radiation how many people don’t even attempt it!) is really of the batshit-insane variety, and not only did I post for some sympathy (yeah, at some point – well lots of points – this Is actually about me!), but Also to let other people know when I say I don’t have time and energy to see them/do whatever . . .

. . . that there are some times in life when what gets accomplished gets whittled down to the serious bare necessities, and going through radiation therapy while working Is One of Those Times!

In fact, if it weren’t for Hubby, I may well have had to ask for help keeping food in my house.

Fairly quickly, my life became about 3 things and 3 things only:

three-fingers

– Cancer Stuff:

Radiation Therapy
Radiation Oncologist Appointments
Physical Therapy
Acupuncture
Support Group

– Work

As much as I still could, as I went through the 7 weeks

– Sleep/Rest

That was it.

Now that I’m through those 7 weeks, it will take me some time to transition out of that mindset . . .

And I already feel some better (though I don’t yet trust that feeling), not having those 5 additional deadlines in my schedule every week – and knowing the physical symptoms will take weeks to months to fully resolve (both skin issues and energy levels).

This morning was, well, just weird:

– being allowed to apply antiperspirant (at all) and body lotion (right after my shower)

– not having to leave the house until 8:00am

– not having to wear something I could pull down (if a dress) or a shirt I could take off, in other words Not having to wear something in which I could easily expose the girls without having to gown up (sorry, I’m just not a gown girl, for various reasons – this may or may not become a separate post).

You see, it seems to be part of conventional wisdom that it takes six weeks to make or break a habit.  Doesn’t sound right to you?  Okay, this is me Googling it.

My point is that the 7 weeks of my radiation therapy is just enough time for things like not applying antiperspirant, or not applying anything to my underarms and no lotion on my body directly after showering – to stop feeling weird and wrong, and something I have to think about (not doing).  And now I have to work at recreating those habits – recreating those parts of my normal life.  But that still won’t take up the time (and hopefully the energy either) that the radiation therapy took.

So, we’ll see whether I feel like continuing the schedule thing as I have been.  If I don’t, maybe I’ll have time to write some other blog posts, parts of which have been sitting hidden online as drafts for a while.

<shrug>

Schedule: Week of December 10-14, 2012

Monday [Radiation Therapy – Day 29]:

7:00am-8:15am Drive from Home to RTher
8:15am-9:15am RTher, Appt with ROnc
9:15am-9:30am Drive from RTher to Work
9:30am-1:40pm Work
1:40pm-2:10pm Lunch

[Over the weekend, while Hubby and I were bringing some more things back in from the trailer to the garage, one of the things I discovered half-finished was this poncho:

peppermint poncho

The pattern calls for several lengths of circular needles, the longest of which is 40″, the needles it is currently on.  I recall, after knitting another half-round of it why I put it down before.  The stitches were so crowded on the needle (and I hadn’t done all the increases yet), that it took actual effort to move the stitches around as I knitted.  I decided to see if longer needles were made and thank the goddess, they make a 60″ set.  Now I just had to find some.

Headed over to Joann’s (while it’s still there and all) on the off-chance they had a pair.  They didn’t.  But it was something to do (and a tiny bit of walking) on my shortie lunch to make up the half hour I was late this morning.

I guess it’s Amazon (not Prime, unfortunately) to the rescue.]

2:10pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-?? Drive from Work to Home

Tuesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 30]:

7:10am-12:30pm Drive from Home to RTher

[Hm, that seems a little out of the norm.  Is there a problem here?  Well, yes, yes there is, thanks so much for asking.

You see, because I so needed this today (after last week’s Wednesday – $1000 on new tires for the truck, the $600 repair estimate on our originally-$3,000-receiver that is Hubby and my holiday gift to us this year), just as I was exiting my first of two truck lanes my nav app takes me down on the way from home to RTher, I heard a rhythmic noise and smelled something burning, then immediately saw smoke coming from under the hood of my car.

Thankfully I was in the right-hand lane and pulled right on over, stopped the car, and (I know it’s not safe, but) got out just in case whatever was burning became the whole car – I was on the shoulder of the road (not in traffic lanes) and figured if my car was gonna be a car-be-que, I wasn’t gonna be in it.

Smoke stops pouring and I get back in.  Call AAA (which, of course means next March when my year’s up I cannot upgrade to Premier status because I’ve not gone a year without using it – don’t even get me started, that’s like 3 other Oprahs).

Spend the rest of the morning sitting in the dealership waiting room thinking “How bad?  How much?”   Turns out it was the A/C compressor seizing up – the rhythmic noise/burning was the belt attached to same.  Plus a busted motor mount.  Plus a blown shock.  All together, that’s only a measly $2k of repairs.  Sure, let me go home and shake out my couch.

It is now 12noon and I should have been at treatment at 8:00am this morning. I’ve been sitting here wondering if I’d even be able to make it today so I could finish on time on Friday (I wasn’t leaving until I knew what the hell my car was doing), and would I have to call someone to come take me to treatment or could I drive myself in my own car?

The (temporarily) good news is that although I wouldn’t have A/C, if we cut the A/C belt, the car was safe to drive (yes, even with the other 2 things wrong) and it would only cost 1 (discounted) hour of labor ($90).  So, that’s what I did (after a short teleconference with Hubby), and we’ll get the other stuff fixed as soon as we can.

12:30pm-12:40pm Look for someone to do my RTher

[Because, of course, at this time of day, most of the place – including almost all of the RThers – are at lunch.]

12:40pm-12:50pm RTher and Boob-gooping
12:55pm-1:40pm Lunch at Bob’s Big Boy

bobs_big_boy

[That’s a location hint, BTW.]

1:40pm Take Zofran for Nausea from Anxiety
1:40pm-2:30pm Drive from Lunch to Home

[With 1 stop at Vons for A) secret santa gift card for service advisor who was so kind to me today, and B) some food thing to bring to the Pot Luck Support Group Holiday Party tonight.]

2:30pm-5:00pm Rest

[It would have been napping, but, well, I couldn’t seem to fall asleep – surprise, surprise.]

5:00pm-6:00pm Drive from Home to Support Group Holiday Party
6:00pm-8:30pm Support Group Holiday Party
8:30pm-9:15pm Drive from Support Group Holiday Party to Home

Wednesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 31]:

7:10am-8:05am Drive from Home to RTher
8:10am-8:20am RTher
8:20am-8:30am Post-RTher Ablutions
8:30am-9:00am Drive from RTher to Work
9:00am-1:05pm Work
1:05pm-2:05pm Lunch

[I’m still looking for Ball freezer containers to make sure my homemade applesauce and cranberry sauce gets frozen for eating throughout the year – from now (for the applesauce) and the beginning of the year (for the cranberries) until the various raw ingredients are again fresh and available next year.

Of course, if I had just ordered them from Amazon when I first located them there, they’d be here and my freezer’d be bursting with saucy goodness (multiple entendres expressly permitted).  Yeah, well…

Thought I was headed to a big Ralphs (that I thought would have what I wanted), but it turned out to be a Vons, and they had what I wanted!  Yeah, plus I got a little of this and a little of that.

And, I still had a fair portion of my lunch hour left – was also still looking for that long knitting needle(s) (nope, those hadn’t been ordered from Amazon either).  Did a quickie Yelp search for knitting stores & found one within a couple miles that I hadn’t known was there.  Headed on up and “I carry 60″ needles because I use them.”  SCORE!

Made it back to work on time too.  :-)]

2:05pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home

[See “Hubby Really Knows and Loves His Woman”]

Thursday [Radiation Therapy – Day 32]:

7:15am-8:05am Drive from Home to RTher
8:05am-8:15am RTher
8:15am-8:20am Post-RTher Ablutions
8:20am-8:30am Chat with “Georgia” at the front desk of the facility
8:30am-8:40am Visit with Lorri, another new friend from radiation
8:40am-9:00am Drive from RTher to Work

[With 1 stop to put gas in the car]

9:00am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch

[Ate my lunch at my desk today ‘cuz I’m too damn tired to get up and do anything, so I just played with my blog some – yep, right out in public, in front of God and everyone.  I’m just trying to survive until tomorrow afternoon after my company holiday lunch and an early release to home.]

2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home

Friday [Radiation Therapy – Day 33 – LAST!]:

7:00am-8:10am Drive from Home to RTher

[With a quick stop at Starbucks for my regular Friday “treat” – wouldn’t have been late if I hadn’t stopped for this, but I’m no longer able to stress every morning about being there perfectly on time.  They take whoever’s there in order of appointment time, and they slot me in when I do arrive – this is Exactly why I took the 8am spot rather than cutting things razor-thin timewise by taking the 8:30 spot.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any Starbucks iTunes Freebies this morning so my work folks are outta luck on that this week.  Again, I can’t stress about that.

Uh-oh, I think that just became Rule #4: I Can’t Stress About That.]

8:15am-8:25am RTher
8:25am-8:30am Post-RTher Ablutions
8:30am-8:45am Visit with “Georgia”
8:45am-9:00am Drive from RTher to Work
9:00am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-3:30pm Firm Holiday Lunch

[Wasn’t it nice of them to have a party to celebrate my Graduation from Radiation Therapy?  Okay, so it was scheduled without consulting me, and always happens two Fridays before Christmas.

And – they decided to pay me a week’s salary just for having survived it too!  (Or, our contractual bonus is always distributed on the 2nd to last payday of the year).

Coincidence?  You may well think so, but please remember (nobody at all, of any flavor, kind, or species was harmed in the bending/warping of this reality) – this is My World to Create – Mwahahahaha!]

3:30pm-4:15pm Drive from Lunch to Home

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– blogged
– managed to buy & package $10 gift for wrapped gift exchange at company holiday lunch
– packaged and gave to work colleague a holiday gift for her granddaughter

[Nobody but Hubby and maybe Mom & Dad are getting holiday gifts this year – I’ve been just a touch busy lately, hm? – but my new baby cousin is getting something, so I just got the same thing for my work colleague’s granddaughter: Velveteen Rabbit Book & Stuffed Animal.]

– semi-secret-santa’d someone who was kind to me this week with a $100 Visa gift card (by mail)

[I have something he doesn’t have this month – and his family and mine share a life experience, so I felt moved to help.  Nope, not sharing anything else – it’s his business, not mine to share.]

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Schedule: Week of December 3-7, 2012

Monday [Radiation Therapy – Day 24]:

7:00am-8:45am Drive from Home to RTher

storm track

[Yes, it took me one hour and 45 minutes to get to RTher this morning.  Yes, the streets were wet.  Three accidents happened along my route After I left my house.  No, this is not reasonable.  Yes, this is the worst traffic has been in this recent series of 3 storms coming through Southern Cali.

And no, that image above isn’t from this past weekend’s storms, but it is of a storm track in the right part of the country, so I’m using it.  You must know by now how much I like my graphics and reference treasure hunts, no?]

8:45am-10:15am RTher, Appt with ROnc

[Yes, those two things took me an hour and a half today, but since I was late I did not feel like I could hurry anybody else up – I may sometimes be a bitch, but I try not to be unreasonable (they are Not the same thing).  I had PTher scheduled for 9:00am-10:00am this morning, but when I figured out I wouldn’t be getting to my first appt of the morning Anywhere near on time, I called and cancelled my PTher, asking them to change it to Wednesday.  Thankfully, they were willing and able to move another patient (thank you for your flexibility, whoever you are) and get me in on Wed at 9:00am.  I haven’t seen my PTher in two weeks now, and if I couldn’t see her this week, my next appt  with her is Wednesday December 19th – two weeks from now – which would have been four weeks between visits with her.  Now, I would have figured something out, or made alternate plans for treatment somehow, but since I am having swelling issues, it’s nice that I Don’t Have to figure my way around that.  :)]

10:15am-10:30am Drive to Work

[With 1 stop to put gas in the car]

10:30am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:15pm Lunch

[I’m back to shorties to make up that 1-1/2 hrs work time I’m down on “first thing” Monday morning.

joanns-fabric

Headed over to my nearest Joann’s (found out this store is closing January 24, 2013 – I’m not so happy about this – it was, well still is, but not for very much longer, a close stop for lunch-time craft supplies shopping) to pick up some materials for decorating my teeny tiny punkins (two of them, ‘cuz one got taken home with the intention of being decorated and never made it back to my ledge at work, but magically another one showed up there to take its place!) to help them transition from Halloween, when they first appeared, to the end-of-the-year Holidays.  I may publish a separate post about that with pics and I’ll update this one with the title if I do that.  Or maybe not.]

2:15pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-5:45pm Drive from Work to Acupuncture
5:55pm-7:00pm Acupuncture

[This is my last visit with Mo, who I really like!  😦  She has finished her internship now and is headed on to study for her licensing exam at the end of February.  It takes a month or so for results to come back and then a couple weeks for licenses to arrive, so the earliest I could have her again would be sometime next April.  She did say she likes her supervising doctor at our facility and might explore working with him when she gets her license so she may be back where it’s very convenient to me.  She has my email and says she’ll keep me updated on that plan, and I have her email so I can bug her about it if she doesn’t!  And I’m sure whoever else I get for my last Acupuncture treatment of the year in two weeks will be good too.]

7:00pm-8:05pm Drive from Acupuncture to Home

[With 2 stops: 1 at the pharmacy to drop off my new Rx for pain meds (babe-seems-to-think-I-am-an-addict – otherwise known as my ROnc – actually refilled my pain meds today.  Maybe she realized I’m still taking the same amount as I have been the last two weeks to manage my pain and not more, and maybe this was part of her conversation with my RSurg last week.  In any case, she gave me twice as much this time as last time, so I don’t have to have this conversation again with her next week or the week after.  Thank the Goddess for small favors.) and 1 stop to pick up dinner for me & Hubby (no officer, that wasn’t me texting while driving – thank you Siri): two patty melts and an order of fries to share from Everest!]

Tuesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 25]:

7:10am-8:05am Drive from Home to RTher
8:10am-8:25am RTher, Post-RTher ablutions (otherwise known in my world as boob-gooping)
8:25am-8:35am Drive from RTher to Work
8:35am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch

200px-Whole_Foods_Market_logo.svg

[One of the things that has (temporarily) gone by the wayside is bringing breffast & lunch to work with me – are you reading this post, have you seen my life lately? – but the clothes are getting a tad snug (‘course that could be the monthly tide business – things crested this past Sunday) and it’s just good practice to eat clean, so headed off to Whole Foods for a salad bar lunch, with some organic (WA state, but you can’t have everything; where would you put it?) Ambrosia apples (didn’t get any in Oak Glen this year, so picked up a couple), and organic Bartlett pears (just because they were there and I could), plus 4 more bags of cranberries for more cranberry sauce before I can’t find them anymore.]

2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:45pm Drive from Work to Home

[With 1 stop to pick up pain meds]

Wednesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 26]:

7:00am-8:15am Drive from Home to RTher
8:15am-8:30am RTher
8:30am-9:00am Killing time between RTher and PTher

[Walked down to the end of the block to the Local 80 of a major entertainment union – there’s a locational bread crumb if it makes any sense to you – to get myself a coffee since traffic this morning wouldn’t nearly let me stop on the way in to get one, and discovered that a one long block walk decided to make my legs tired.  Not liking that at all!  Struggling between trying to get some exercise to limit how much this all takes out of me before it’s over, and saving what energy I do have to do what needs doing.]

9:00am-10:00am PTher
10:00am-10:45am Drive from PTher to Egg Plantation

egg plantation

[Because, goddamn it, I was finally going to have my pancakes!  Of course there was plenty of protein first.  The eggs I had were so fresh and the yolks such a beautiful rich orangey color I had to ask my server where the place got their eggs from.  They looked so much like the eggs I get two canyons over from my house, I just knew they had to be some local, non-industrial place and sure enough the restaurant gets their eggs from a cage-free farm about 8 miles away (a different place than I get them, but same situation).

Seriously, there is Nothing on this earth like eating an egg you know was still in the hen no more than 2 days ago.  Just for contrast and information – most of the eggs we all find in our supermarkets are already at least 3 weeks old before we lift that carton out of the cooler – yes, it makes a big different in appearance and taste.]

10:45am-11:30am Brunch
11:30am-12:30pm Drive from Brunch to Home

[With 1 stop at Food for Less to pick up the apples for that 2nd tub of applesauce.  Ya know, at 10 lbs of apples per tub of applesauce, things aren’t cheap here, so I figured 98c per lb of apples was doable.  And I think the non-Oak-Glen applesauce will be the one going to work – let’s see if anybody notices.]

Afternoon:
– nap
– took call from RSurg

[Really needed to talk to her before agreeing to radiation boost.  Emailed her physician’s assistant last Monday asking for a call last week about this.  Didn’t get one.  Called PA again while at brunch this morning saying “um, running out of time here.”  Got a call from RSurg this afternoon.

Doctor’s really don’t get it with patients, or maybe I’m just that different from most other people.  RSurg told me that yes, this radiation therapy Could create a situation where I may not be able to have implants later if I decide I want them.  She told me something I did not want to hear, but she gave me an unequivocal straight answer when I asked her a direct question, trusting that I can understand it and handle it.

Then she told me what else we Can do about my appearance (using other methods) to get me to, or at least closer to what I (may) want to look like when this is all said and done, or later on in the future (since a history of breast cancer is sort of a get-insurance-to-pay-for-boob-surgery-forever card).

I wish more doctors would understand the “if you want me to listen to you, then you have to really listen to me first, and answer my damn questions” thing.

My RSurg actually made me a little more scared than I was before our talk about the damage this treatment that I need can do to my body, and at the same time reinforced my belief that she’ll be there to work with me to get me over/through/past it, and still be the me I want to be when I do.]

– called ROnc to tell her I would be doing the boost radiation next week
– called Mom to tell her RSurg had finally called me back (PA had passed on my request for a call to RSurg, but had not followed up to make sure the call had been made, and took responsibility for the delay in the call happening – she’s pretty damn awesome actually, so they get a pass on this one)
– waited downstairs for Hubby to get home from work

[Turns out Hubby had this kinda crazy idea – that we go out to dinner.  You see, he got home around 4:30ish (yeah, I know, blue-hair territory, but remember, I’m going to bed at blue-hair time these days, so what the hell, huh?) and figured though we sometimes go out on weekends, it’s usually brunch (okay, if you haven’t figured out I’ve got a serious thing about breakfast food, please stop reading here and don’t come back, you’re too stupid to be here, thank you) and maybe today it could be dinner for a change.

So we could sit for a few minutes for him to shift his thoughts from work to evening, and we could go out, have a mellow sit-down dinner (not necessarily fancy or expensive, just someplace we get dinner on a plate instead of in a paper bag), and be home by like 7pm, plenty of time for me to call the parents, do evening boob-gooping, take my evening pharma-cocktail and still make my blue-hair bedtime…cool!

We ended up at this place we’d never been to in 8 years of living in this valley: Margaritas.  Damn, why’d we wait so long to try this place?!  Just the highlights – very nice Tequila selection for a restaurant in a strip-mall (but that happens a lot in my valley – strip malls and restaurants therein) – custom-made margaritas by bartender/owner (we figured out the bartender had to be the owner about halfway through dinner) – wonderful delicate flavors in Every dish (nothing heavy or overpowering) – someone in the kitchen Really Loves shrimp (they were, and I don’t use this term lightly, seasoned and grilled to perfection).  Plus, I think we were the only people in the place who didn’t know everybody else in the place, but that will change.  We’ll be back, so eventually we’ll know everybody else too.]

– talked to “Dana” (my friend from radiation) on the phone for over an hour!

[It was Really nice to get more than a few minutes with her.  We could share a bit about our particular situations, which we hadn’t actually done at the treatment center – that’s kinda not something you really get into in the few minutes of gooping, or the “you’re finished for the day and now it’s my turn to lay down on the table” passing in the hallway that happens.

I was sad to hear her details (not going to share what they are, they’re not mine to share) – they scare me more than my own details.  All I can do is love her (yes, we just met, we’ve had essentially a couple of hours of actual time together and I love this woman – sometimes in life you meet someone you just click with automagically and instantly – she is one of those people for me and I think she feels the same about me) and keep her company on her journey as she will walk with me on mine, wherever those journeys go.]

– 11:00pm bedtime (I know, not precisely blue-hair territory)

[When we got home from dinner, I had that pleasant slight-food-coma thing going, figuring I’d slide right into a decent bedtime.  But after talking to “Dana,” I was wired.  From excitement about sharing with someone who Really Gets It, worry about her details?  Not sure why, but it took 2 Benadryls tonight (usually only takes 1) to get me to dreamland – that’s gonna make for a rough morning.]

Thursday (Radiation Therapy – Day 27):

7:15am-8:30am Drive from Home to RTher
8:30am-8:50am Wait for RTher

[Yeah, when I’m late, I lose my right to bitch at them about the time, so I was a good girl.]

8:50am-9:00am RTher
9:00am-9:15am Drive from RTher to Work
9:15am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch

[This shorty catches me up on work time this week (not including my Wed off) so I can have an hour lunch tomorrow, what Will I Do with all that time?]

2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home

Friday (Radiation Therapy – Day 28):

7:00am-8:10am Drive from Home to RTher

[With a quick stop at Starbucks for my regular Friday “treat” – wouldn’t have been late if I hadn’t stopped for this, but I’m no longer able to stress every morning about being there perfectly on time.  They take whoever’s there in order of appointment time, and they slot me in when I do arrive – this is Exactly why I took the 8am spot rather than cutting things razor-thin timewise by taking the 8:30 spot.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any Starbucks iTunes Freebies this morning so my work folks are outta luck on that this week.  Again, I can’t stress about that.

Uh-oh, I think that just became Rule #4: I Can’t Stress About That.]

8:15am-8:25am RTher
8:25am-8:30am Post-RTher Ablutions
8:30am-8:45am Visit with “Georgia”
8:45am-9:00am Drive from RTher to Work
9:00am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– blogged
– put gas in the car
– laid in partial supplies for more cranberry sauce (still need fresh oranges, more nutmeg and I may be low on maple sugar)
– bought more apples for a second batch of applesauce – seriously, my work colleagues can go through near an entire tub with latkes, leaving not nearly enough to be used in other recipes, eaten over yogurt and cottage cheese, etc. – so another tub is in order
– uh, yep, looks like I’ll be cooking again this weekend, hm?

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 28 – Friday December 7, 2012

Treatment Notes:

– Today is my last day of “regular” radiation therapy, and next Monday begins my “boost” radiation therapy.  Up until now the radiation has been spread over my whole boob, which actual tissue is farther and wider than one might think (the delineated soon-to-be radiation “no fly zone” stretches – measured laying on my back with both arms bent back up over my head – from the center of my sternum all the way around to the center of the left side of my body, and from a point along the outside edge of my boob level with the top of my sternum down to an inch and a half under my inframammary fold.).  Starting Monday, the 1.8 Gy fractionation per treatment spread across the whole boob becomes a 2.0 Gy fractionation per treatment concentrated in the tumor bed only.  Where the whole boob deal was administered from above-and-down-from-the-bottom-right (the machine emitting the radiation was positioned basically above my stomach and pointed just “south” of my armpit) and from below-and-from-the-top-left (the machine is slightly below me angled up from just “south” of my armpit pointing basically toward my stomach) (both of which angles if the depth were miscalculated would harmlessly shoot away from my body into the open air, the boost part will be straight down into my body from above (I’m imaging from somewhere above the left side of my body angled some top-to-bottom, left-to-right way entirely through my body front to back – I’ll know more on Monday when it actually happens), carefully (I sure fucking hope!) calculated to hit the bottom of the tumor bed, but no farther down into my body.

– Oddly enough, with the first blast of down-from-above today, I got some pain where the my ribs connect to the top of my sternum.  Also, as I’m wearing a bra today for the first time in more than a couple days (since the increased pain lately made me wonder if I should be dealing with gravity more deliberately), but I’m finding it generally uncomfortable, slighty cutting into me on the side where I’m more swollen, and then there’s the rubbing on the nipple.  Welcome back to damned-if-I-do, damned-if-I-don’t.

Side Effects:

– Fatigue/lightheadedness – Seems to be a regular deal these days having this hit me while I’m walking from treatment out into the parking lot to go to work.  I’m not sure if it’s one or the other, or both.  I can’t always necessarily separate them (not that I’m trying so hard to do so.)  Thankfully, when I sit down in the car to drive to work, my mind is all there and I’ve not felt like I would be a danger to myself or anyone else (or I’d not drive until I was safe).

– Just plain fatigue – yeah, I’m typing this and it’s only 12:35pm.  Seriously?  That’s it?  Time’s now going backwards, right?

– When I got home and got ready to do my evening gooping, I stopped at the exposing the boob part, since mine had (guess I wasn’t going to get away without it after all) gone full red – like lobster colored.  Fabulous, my last mother-fucking day of full-boob radiation.  Plus…

– more numbness (means more swelling, or more concentrated swelling is now interfering with nerve conduction) and more overt swelling/pain in my axilla

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 27 – Thursday December 6, 2012

Treatment Notes:

– Okay, today I got a real zotz when the treatment first started, straight through my nipple, then it went away and didn’t hurt anymore.

[Right, sorry, “zotz.”  Okay, so I tried to find the definition of this word I always thought was Yiddish, but I’m not so much finding an actual definition in a casual web search.  So I’ll define it for you as I’ve always used it and known it to be used, so you know what the hell I’m trying to say.

A “zotz” is a sharp, stabbing or burning pain that comes on instantly and is gone almost before you actually realize it’s there, but leaves an echo behind for a bit.]

Side Effects:

– Tired (come on, you’d wonder what was going on if I didn’t feel the fatigue anymore).

[But of course that’s also not surprising given my 11:00pm actual bedtime last night.  No, 7 hours isn’t enough sleep for me when I’m Not in primary cancer treatment – it’s Definitely not enough now.]

– more pain than I’ve been having the last few days.  Not entirely surprising – I’m extra tired today and that always makes things hurt more, and I got manhandled pretty good yesterday (which was necessary, but still made me hurt more).  So early to bed and maybe tomorrow will better.  At least tomorrow will be Friday, which is Always a good thing!

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 26 – Wednesday December 5, 2012

Treatment Notes:

– Again, really nothing to feel during treatment, although once they got me into the position they wanted me in, I felt kinda tweaked.  But we can do anything for 5-10 minutes, right?

Physical Therapy:

– today kinda hurt – I’m having some increased swelling, including some into my arm, but certainly into my axilla and down the side of my body.  She also got rid of some adhesions underneath my nipple scar – breath in, breath out, she’ll stop in a minute.

– PTher is also going to start the process of getting me a sleeve.  You see, one of the fun things about this cancer and its treatments is the risk of lymphedema in the affected arm (for me, that’s left) . . . in hot weather, when ramping up exercise, just being at altitude, or plane travel . . . For The Rest Of My Life.  Woohoo!   So they have these spandex or lycra or something sleeves to add some compression to help the lymph system drain more normally.  Though I haven’t had lymphedema in the arm, I could start, at any time.  Of course, sometimes if I need to wear the sleeve, it’s possible that fluid can get stuck down in my hand and cause my hand to swell – more fun – so I’ll have to be prepared with a glove too.  Dontcha wish you could be me?

– On the plus side, however, when I first started getting PTher, she said a lot of people like to do it at the end of the day, then go home and relax.  It turns out that the lymphatic system is very shallow under the skin.  Therefore, very little pressure is needed to move the lymph fluid through the system.  The result of this information is that lymph drainage feels like a very light swedish massage (over the affected parts of the lymph system) and is very relaxing.  Unfortunately for me, because they start early, their “last appt of the day” is nowhere near late enough to be after I’m done with work.  But today, I’m not going to work (same with two weeks from now), so I can enjoy the relaxation of my PTher (after the pain) and go home to nap (after breffast/brunch of course – see my schedule for this week).

Side Effects:

– Tired (yes, I’m getting as bored typing it as you are reading it) – this time it hit me on my way to the car.

– More pain today, though not entirely unexpected after I’ve been (necessarily and as gently as she can) manhandled.  Of course I don’t want adhesions under my scars, of course I want to minimize the tissue damage my treatments necessarily cause.  So I went home (eventually – after brunch & a quick apple-acquisition stop) and lay down – that always helps the pain.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.