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Moon shadows
This is my second summer of wearing baseball style caps to cover my hairless dome so if anyone was confused about my gender they were polite enough to keep it to themselves until last night. True, I was wearing my John Deere tee-shirt mainly because I had on a cap that matched the John Deere green and the man behind the counter did seem a little tired when he gave me my receipt and said “Thank you, sir.” It took all my willpower not to reply “Fuck you, ma’am.” especially knowing that it would have amused my grandson immensely..
15th-Jul-2011 01:29 pm - The loss of a friend – stage four
Moon shadows

On Monday I’ll start what is called whole brain zapping (ok, I’ll admit that I’m the only one who calls it that but I think it will catch on) and the thought of it does bother me. This is my brain they’ll be messing with. Unlike last year’s radiation treatment, I can’t drive myself back and forth to these since radiation to the brain has been known to cause seizures. I don’t know if this means that I’ll only not be able to drive just after zapping or if it means not driving for a certain amount of time. I do know that in Virginia, possibly all states, if you have a seizure you have to go six months without one to be allowed to drive again. The radiation will also cause swelling of the brain, possible temporary loss of hearing and vision. My inclination was to say no to treatment or at least to the radiation. My oncologist painted a much bleaker picture than my radiologist did. She said that without treatment I could live another 6 months to a year or possibly longer but I would, as the tumors multiplied, have a series of strokes that would become increasingly debilitating. Radiation would greatly improve the quality of whatever life I had left. I couldn’t help it, I had to ask. I told her that the day before I had bought a bottle of daily vitamins that contained 200 tablets, had I wasted my money. Dr. Schaffer laughed and said no. I didn’t mention the 500 capsules of vitamin E supplement I’d gotten at the same time. No use in pressing my luck.
I have always been acutely aware of my brain. Now that I think about it I’m sure most people are aware of their brains. I’m also sure it sounds horrible egotistical but I’ve always seen my brain as my best friend. It was the friend who, when I was very young and would awake scared in the middle of the night, told me stories until I fell back to sleep or the sun came up, it was the friend who got me through years and year of almost bone shattering loneliness and it was this same friend who in June when I was told that the MRI showed something funny in my brain made me think “Alright! Scientific confirmation.” and I don’t want to lose that.
But right now I have other things to worry about, such as how to move a thirty year, eleven room life into a small apartment.

12th-Jun-2011 11:33 pm - Marge Simpson's got nothing on me
Moon shadows

Fearing I’d never have any appreciable amount of hair again, especially considering how little growth I had during my year off from chemo, I decided to buy a wig. There were thirty some styles to choose from in an equal amount of colors and they all looked good and natural on the model. I was as excited about the arrival of the head covering as if I were a kid waiting for Christmas. Finally it got here and oh dear lord, it is absolutely horrible. If it were bright yellow I’d look exactly like Harpo Marx. It’s hideous. I guess my head just isn’t shaped correctly for a fancy wig. With my own hair most of my attempts at haute coiffure has been to use different colored rubber bands in my pigtails. I also was surprised by how bouffantish it is. It certainly didn’t look that puffy in the catalog. However, should I choose to not return it but wear it instead I’ll be over six feet tall. Cool!

14th-May-2011 09:07 am - CostcoNews

Yesterday afternoon while in the bathroom at Costco a lady and her young daughter went into the stall beside the one I was in. With such close proximity, even if I weren’t a dedicated eavesdropper, there was no way to not hear the conversation. The little girl said “Mommy, do you remember once on Scooby-Doo when Scooby and Shaggy and Daphne ate a pizza with oinyuns on it and afterwards they fah-ded?” Do you think it smelled bad?” The mother whispered something I couldn’t make out and the little girl asked “Why? Nobody can hear me.”

8th-Apr-2011 12:24 am - Shedding
Moon shadows
In three weeks my Eddie Munster look has melded into William Kunstler in his declining years and now my hair has thinned so much there’s no weight to it so after a night of sleep I wake looking like Don King.    

I have a feeling my last hair day is quickly approaching. This morning –though possibly by the time I get around to posting this it will have been yesterday morning - while in the shower I noticed that the water was rising above my feet because the drain was covered with my hair. I scooped up the ball of short gray hair. It was so soft and pliant. I started working it into different shapes. When my hair was long and thick a lot would come out when I washed it but I don’t remember it being much more than just strands of hair but I was younger then and less dependent on amusing myself. I made a bunch of different shapes then put the wad of hair on the edge of the tub and promptly forgot about it.      

After finishing my shower, drying and dressing as I was about to leave the room I almost screamed at what I thought was a drowned mouse in the bathtub.
31st-Mar-2011 08:28 pm - Paved Paradise

I started another round of chemo on St. Patrick’s Day and this new stuff has the usual side-effects – hair loss (obviously my priorities haven’t changed) being in the top 5. The main difference this time is along with the chemo administered every three weeks I’ll also take pills for a two week period beginning with each infusion (4). Both the Ixempra (chemical) and Xeloda (pills) have similar side-effects mostly dealing with aches and pains, loss of fingernails and toenails, blistering of hands and rare but not unheard of, the loss of fingerprints. Oh, I feel a career change coming on.
I was told that because the Ixempra contained alcohol that I should not drive myself to treatment so I drove into Richmond left my car at Kim’s house and she drove me to the hospital. I am not much of a drinker so I was a little concerned that possibly an hour into infusion I’d have the urge to just jump up and start singing and dancing and since the only pole around was on wheels it could prove somewhat embarrassing. I never even noticed any effect from the alcohol. I learned later that the amount wasn’t even as much as was in a single dose of over the counter cough medicine. Driving myself back and forth to the infusion center shouldn’t be a problem which is good because this is really a slow procedure; two hours of pre-infusion stuff, the Ixempra is on a three hour drip (I’m glad I didn’t know this on the 17th because now whenever I think about it the theme song from Gilligan’s Island starts running through my head) and an hour of post-infusion stuff. Evidently, administering Ixempra faster than three hours would be quite dangerous. Anything longer would just be torture.
Never thought I’d find myself longing for the Lucille Ball/Eddie Munster hair combination I had been sporting but I guess Joni was right, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

13th-Feb-2011 08:50 am - Happy Birthday Jennifer

Mermaids swim but time flies

first of many

a lyrical fallacy if ever there was one.  Lemon drops stay rock hard no matter what the temperature.  And yet for some reason this is a candy kids always seem to want and swear they love – usually until the third piece when they realize that there really isn’t anything lemony tasting about them, in fact they seem to taste like the paper they were wrapped in.  So they leave the bag in the car and the next day you find them, the light sugar coating having become sticky causing the peanut shaped candies to become a solid slab of unmelted lemon drops but you do become curious about what exactly it would take to melt them.   Luckily the ooze hasn’t eaten through the bag but still you hope, as you gingerly try to remove the candies, you don’t get any of it on you when you place them on a rock that’s been exposed to the scorching sun.  And the next morning you feel horrible when you notice that the blob of lemon drops is now black and brown with the bodies of 214 dead ants and not wishing to cause any more death by sticking to lemon drops you pop the candy off the stone with a flat-head screwdriver and are surprised to see that the non-ant side still looks like a bunch of lemon drops.  With a slight sense of guilt you drop this whole mess into the incinerator and several days later among the ashes of a week’s worth of burnt trash you see a shiny yellow glob and you find yourself in total awe of gastrointestinal enzymes.

20th-Jan-2011 09:14 pm - It's only words
full moon & empty arms
Several times during the night I awoke trying to remember the word for arriving on streams of moonlight into a corner cupboard stacked with quilts.  There were a few times when I thought I almost had it but it kept alluding me.  Still it seemed awfully important that I remember it.  It wasn’t until much later this morning that I realized the entire thing must have been a dream because even if there were such a word whenever would I have a use for it.
10th-Dec-2010 09:26 am - ISBN13: 9780910608343
Little Women stuffed


30th-Nov-2010 10:17 am(no subject)
pontificating assholes
Like an annoying husband this crap just won't go away.    
25th-Nov-2010 02:18 pm - The family chronicler
fowl weather

Yesterday I received an email from my older brother, Charles,  saying that he was thinking back on Thanksgiving time when we were kids and he could distinctly remember me eating the turkey neck.  He asked “Was this by choice or were you being punished for something?”  I answered that if this had been something I had eaten IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN BY CHOICE.  My mother would cook up the ‘innards’ and after they cooled she cut them up for the cats but she did use the broth for seasoning the stale bread she used for stuffing.  I told my brother that I couldn’t even imagine our mother putting something like that on the table however I could readily imagine he and/or Rosella, my older sister, telling me it was some type of candy cane that would magically change colors when eaten and mom going along with it.
This morning I received another email from my brother.  This one saying “I thought I’d die laughing at your response. That brought back such fond memories of our childhood holidays.”
Oh goody!! Miracle on 34th Street is on.

12th-Nov-2010 09:22 pm - Hashing out the Thanksgiving menu
fowl weather

Message from me to Kim: 
Perch just asked me to remind you that you’ll be coming up here for Thanksgiving.  I’ll get the food after my next trip to the Infusion Center.  Should I pick up a pumpkin pie and two forks?  Mr. Arcoon said “Oooooooooooooo doooooooooooooooooo, oh please do unless Costco has the Cheesecake Factory Lemoncello cake.”  Tina says I’ve got to fix turkey because she wasn’t fooled a couple of years ago by canned gravy dumped over her dog food.
Message from Kim to me:
Tell Perch that I’ll be up for Thanksgiving.  No on the pumpkin pie from Costco.  Let me get a normal-sized one from the grocery store, please.
Message from me to Kim: 
The pie has to be pre-cooked because I think fixing a pumpkin pie in a microwave oven might result in an explosion.  Just because the pie comes from Costco doesn’t mean we have to eat it all.  It’s not like it comes with a warning label PIE MUST BE CONSUMED IN ONE EATING OR HELL SHALL RAIN FIREBALLS UPON YOU!!!!
Message from Kim to me:
I was going to bake a smaller pie at my house, silly.  Geez.  I know we can’t bake a pie in the roaster because the turkey will be in there!
Message from me to Kim: 
I thought you meant that you were going to pick up a frozen pie.  Is this pie going to be one you just put in the oven for cooking at your house or is it going to be a ‘homemade’ pie where you buy all the ingredients and whip it up yourself and where the recipe calls for pig’s lard you substitute with a heaping handful of Go-jo (what the hell it’s the same color but without the cholesterol)?  If so I may just have to mutiny.
Message from Kim to me:
I’ve never done that.  What’s Go-jo?

7th-Nov-2010 04:16 pm - Compact Cars
movin' right along
This morning my older daughter asked me if I had been planning on just disappearing, it was something she’d been wanting to ask me for a while.  I told her that there have been occasions when I’ve entertained the notion but I’ve been forced to accept the fact that with 4 cats, 4 sewing machines, 2 irons & ironing boards, 2 TVs, 932 DVDs, 2,736 books, 1 computer with peripherals, 56 reels of slides,  72 tons of fabric and a coffeepot, disappearing might be difficult.
10th-Oct-2010 12:43 pm - Chattering
Bob's birds

Though it's getting to be a little late in the season and somewhat chilly at night, I filled up my feeders this morning mainly because last night I dreamed that the now flowerless Crepe Myrtles were filled with dancing hummingbirds (multi-talented little buggers) who kept forming a fairy-ring around a frog who also happened to be in the Crepe Myrtle.  Freud wouldn't have much to say about this dream because he's dead but were he still alive undoubtedly he say I need to eat more roughage.

5th-Oct-2010 10:51 am - Sometimes it's just too easy
topping the charts

Yesterday, while in Costco I picked up Jimmy Carter's new book, WHITE HOUSE DIARY, and began to thumb through the pages since, at that time, he'd been in office less than two weeks  I had no problem finding the entry for February 2, 1977, my 29th birthday, and OH MY GOD!!! the name Stansfield (my last name) practically leaped off the page.  My first thought was that I was egotistically hallucinating.  My second thought was "Christ, I hope I didn't say OH MY GOD out loud.'  Taking a deep breath I settled down and looked at the entry again.  What President Carter had written was "When I woke up I thought immediately about naming Admiral Stansfield Turner to be director of [the] Central Intelligence [Agency], . . . . "
Still it was kind of exhilaratingly freaky and just proves that self-involvement is its own reward.

I didn't do it!  It wasn't me!
 cried Weeeeeeeeeee wee wee all the way home

I saw my surgeon this morning and he reaffirmed what my radiologist said last week after reviewing my latest Petscan:  All seems to be well.  Any oddities showing on the Petscan were most likely the result of excessive amounts of radiation but there were no red glows, nothing reacted to the injected dye.
I feel like I could sleep for a week.  Not because I'm exhausted or even tired nor out of a sense of relief - it just no longer seems like such a gross waste of time.

11th-Sep-2010 01:40 pm - February 18, 2010
Moon shadows
Redbud leaf settling into the melting snow 
February's snow

                           Close-up eerily resembles ET
                                            Poplar leaf settling into the melting snow


(edited to mask my lack of arborical knowledge)
6:08 PM EDT

Anna Lindsay Peter 2007
Yesterday, while returning my granddaughters to their rightful owner, we were listening to the radio when suddenly Anna exclaims "Oh My God, Oh My God, Oh My God.  This band, well the lead singer of this band, they been around like forever and when he was young he was so hot.  I looked them up on YouTube and watched their old stuff and he used to be so good looking!!!"  Then she asked me if I knew who she was talking about.  "Do you know who they are?"  I told her that I did and I thought that 'Eddie Vedder would probably still be considered young and definitely nice looking."  Then from the backseat Lindsay said (deep resignation in her voice) "Well ok, but that old guy used to be HOT!"

29th-Jul-2010 05:56 pm - Equal Opportunity Grandmother
Anna Lindsay Peter 2007
                              Spring Recital   
                                        Anna's  Lady Gaga routine      

Anna "this ain't no disco"

26th-Jul-2010 06:43 pm - Vacation
I wish
I had my last zapping on the 19th but had to go back on the 22nd for a skin check, luckily, I still have some and now I am finished with radiation.  Again my doctor told me how well I'd done and, again, I think all that meant was that I showed up.  The techs gave me a certificate basically saying just that "CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! You have completed all your sessions."  The nurse went over a list of things I should expect now that I was no longer coming for treatment and one of those was a sense of confusion or disappointment sort of a let down once I stopped my daily trips into the hospital.  I hope it didn't sound rude when I rather quickly said that I didn't think that would be a problem.  In fact the only problem I had was the next morning when, having stayed up till 1:30, the alarm went off at 5:30 because I had just automatically hit reset the morning before.  I have nothing medical to do for two weeks.  I am on BREAK.
Now, if there were only a break in the weather.  Today is the first day in over a week that the high temperature is below 100 but the heat index is close to it.  The current temperature is actually 14 degrees lower than it was at this time yesterday but still not conducive to yard work because at almost 6PM it is 92 in the shade.  I have so much yard work I need to catch up on.  The grass, which is getting rather brown, isn't too high because we've really had no rain since late May but the weeds are kind of out of control since I haven't done any trim work since early April.  The excessive heat is bringing the raccoons up on the porch much earlier in the evenings than usual.  The 'possums still wait until dusk or later to put in an appearance.
My fourteen year old granddaughter, the one who wishes she were god, has taking to communicating with me mainly through Facebook.  She says that email is too slow (that's because she never checks her mail).  She recently sent me a string of messages whose subject was "I've got it all planned out" in which she'd mapped out her plans for me.  Lindsay said that I need to sell my house, that they would all come up one weekend and help me clean up and pack up and I was to buy the house beside theirs since their neighbor recently died and that way I wouldn't have to be by myself all the time (I will never understand why other people see that as a negative) and all I'd have to do is look out my window every day and see her racing her golf cart around the yards.  Before I had time to answer this message a second one came in, which I guess was sort of dangling the carrot in front of the cart.  Lindsay told me that between Crewe (her town) and Farmville (an actual town) a new fabric store had just opened and it was real nice and had lovely, lovely material.  Later she sent me a third message saying "Somebody else is looking at the house.  We gotta act fast!"
It's so amusing following Lindsay's life on Facebook, especially as she's beginning to develop her feminine ways all the while knowing her shotgun is within easy reach, a shotgun that now has a pink ribbon attached to it.

7th-Jul-2010 08:33 pm - Lobster Chronicles
I wish

For years I was recognized by my hair (always long, sometimes with a slightly greenish cast and seldom brushed) then when that was gone people started recognizing me by my hat (also long but black and brushed only for the removal of cat fur) and now I'm being identified as the lady with the Chemo Mohawk.  Evidently this is somewhat common; all the hair on the top of the head grows toward the center and sticks straight up.
I'm beginning to feel like a kebob left on the spit a little too long.  My doctor tells me that I am responding well to treatment, in fact, much better than most.  What I think he means is that I'm still walking willing toward the machines, it hasn't yet reached the point where they drag me kicking and screaming into the zapping room. 
Even though I've done this about twenty times in the past six weeks I still find myself giggling when about a mile and a half west of Kent Road I pass Lois Lane.

2nd-Jul-2010 07:03 am - July Second - Nice
life's been berry berry good to me
It is 46 degrees outside.  I should shut the windows but it's not going to be 46 degrees all day. 
I'm about to leave for my daily zapping.  I wonder if the cooler temperature will bring out different wildlife to sit on the road's shoulder and watch the passing cars.  I also wonder, oh let's say a thousand years from now, if some remnant of me should be found would all the radiation I'm receiving make it impossible to get an accurate carbon-date on me.

27th-Jun-2010 12:45 pm - April 2, 1948
I wish
@ 2 monthsI guess there has been a few changes since this picture was taken; I'm definitely somewhat taller, a considerable amount heavier and my hair is a good deal shorter than it was when I was two months old but the hair that I now have is all growing toward the center of my head and sticking straight up.  I am sporting a natural Mohawk and it's oddly mud colored but it is there and best viewed through a high powered magnifying glass.  I should have realized that it was unrealistic of me to have hoped my hair would come back three feet long and bright red especially since it was neither of these before I lost it.
8th-Jun-2010 01:26 pm - Tenacious C
I wish
I found out two weeks ago that what I had hoped was paranoia on my part and what the doctor hoped was scar tissue was the return of the tumor or maybe it is just still there, persistent little bastard if I do say so myself.   All this means is they re-marked me, extending the area for zapping, upping the amps and lengthening the sessions from six and a half weeks to possibly ten weeks.  Though frustrating, this isn't traumatic or anything of that nature since I was scheduled for radiation anyway.
I'm into my third week of treatment now and the novelty that 120 mile daily drive has worn off, although last week I did see at the corner of Mountain View Road and River Road West (neither of which has a view of a river or a mountain) a groundhog standing on his hind legs with his front legs at such an angle that he looked like he was hitchhiking.
To use radiation to shrink and eventually destroy these cells flies in the face of my preconceived notion of the purpose of radiation.  I'll admit that my knowledge of radiation as well as most stuff radioactive was gleaned from the old, old, old, third-rate science fiction/horror movies shown on Shock Theater, the staple of pre-cable, summertime late night TV when I was a kid.  I have been assured, though why these people feel I need assurance or would even think it a negative, that along with not glowing in the dark I will not feel the radiation when I'm being zapped.  So it most likely is just my imagination causing me to think that I can feel the light beaming through me or maybe because of the uncomfortable position in which I have to keep my arm I'm just feeling the pull against the yet to heal flesh. I know it's my imagination when I hear the static of a Tesla coil but I still have to mentally clap my hand over my mouth to keep from shouting "It's alive.  It's alive."
I will also admit that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing but a veritable fount of misinformation makes the day go by more quickly

oh my deer
or am I just really full of myself even in my dreams?
Earlier this morning I dreamed that I made the President laugh.  We were just standing on the front porch talking about the deer that come up from the river, usually in the evening then I asked him if he'd like to come in for some coffee, he said yes, picked up his podium, tucked it under his arm and while I held the door open for him, he walked into the hallway.
Wonder if he has to take his podium with him wherever he goes?

23rd-May-2010 07:30 pm - Naturally
I wish

I start radiation tomorrow.  Six and a half weeks, Mondays through Fridays, thirty-three sessions.  This evidently is standard.  I have been assured that I will not glow in the dark,  I will not be radioactive and I find this terribly disappointing.  At the very least I was hoping to freak-out the cats by being able to pop corn on my chest.  Tomorrow's appointment is 2:30 in the afternoon but I am really, really hoping that the remaining thirty-two can be scheduled for early morning.  I want to be able to zip in get zapped and zip right back home before the dew is off the grass. The procedure itself takes less than fifteen minutes but round trip driving time is approximately two and a half hours, longer if I'm forced to stay within the speed limits.  The radiologist did say that I could miss a few appointments and they'd just double up on them later but I think he meant catch up on them later because he just stared at me as if he doubted my sanity when I asked if on each Monday I could be zapped with a week's worth of radiation.
I'm not as excited by my hair growth as I was when I first noticed it.  It's probably about a 16th of an inch long now but it looks more like caterpillar fuzz than dandelion fluff.  I'm told I just need a little patience.  I just need to let nature run its course.  Not a winning argument as far as I can see.  Letting nature take its course meant pumping chemicals into my system for five months, chemicals which might still be there in some form even though I was told to drink (and I did) plenty of water to 'wash all the poison' out of my body.  No matter how long I live in the country I don't think I'll ever get used to having ticks on my body or snakes in my house but I have been curious enough to briefly put up with ticks.  A tick bites and in a fairly short time after attaching itself to me it dies.  Guess I've gone green.  I wonder if I'm safer for the environment than Deet.
Last Monday was spent at St. Mary's getting drawn and quartered in preparation for the up-coming radiation and this was followed by a Catscan then I had to go back on Tuesday for a Petscan.  Both days were chilly and rainy.  When I got home early Tuesday evening all I wanted to do was take a long, hot shower but I had no water.  Nothing came out of the spigots but sputtering air.  The plumbers were called early Wednesday morning and got here before noon.  The problem turned out to be the pressure tank and not the well pump.  Popping the cover off the circuit box for the tank the plumber said "Here's the culprit" and showed me where a ladybug managed to get into the circuit box and touched two live wires which caused the current to arc through her and fried both the electrical system and the ladybug. 
11th-May-2010 09:47 am - Earlier Springs

The last of the dogwoods

3rd-May-2010 05:26 pm - LOOK! LOOK! LOOK!
Moon shadows
Earlier this morning, when glancing into the bathroom mirror I noticed something peculiar almost like a stunted aura. On closer inspection I realized it was hair, all over my head.  True, the longest strand is about a 16th of an inch but it's there and all the strands are standing straight up.  It's mid-Spring, crops are coming in everywhere. It's also probably a good thing I don't live in an heavily populated area because I already have two big scratches on top of my head from forcing the cats to 'feel my hair, feel my hair.'  If this keeps up (and I stay out of the dye) by the end of summer I may just look like a dandelion gone to seed.

26th-Apr-2010 02:57 pm - When in Rome
Moon shadows

On the 16th I had the mastectomy. According to my surgeon all went well.  There isn't any nodal involvement but I still have breast cancer.  Something called Triple negative breast cancer and basically all that means is it doesn't respond well to typical treatment.  My doctor did tell me that he's no good at reading pathology reports so he could possibly have it wrong.  He convened a tumor board last Thursday and tomorrow I should get the opinion on what's to be done next.  Recap:  I have no breast - but do have breast cancer - and I still have no hair.  Son of a bitch!
Something I noticed in both Nuclear Medicine (where I was pumped full of radioactive dye) and pre-op, the female nurses introduced themselves by their first names only whereas the male nurse introduced himself by both his first and last name, neither of which I remembered.
I was moved from Recovery to my room sometime between 3:30 and 4 o'clock that afternoon and I noticed that one of the nurses had taped a piece of paper on the wall by my bed.  On it she had written "No blood pressure or sticks in right arm."  I wasn't sure if it was a statement or a command.
My nurse's name was Meghan and she was on duty till midnight.  Megan was in an out of the room most of the afternoon and on one of her visits she told me that her grandmother had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she, Meghan, was in the 7th grade.  Her grandmother had done very well with the treatment but later developed lung cancer and had died when Meghan was in her freshman year of college.  That had been 6 years ago.  Meghan apologized for getting so up set and left the room.
After my daughter Kim left, Meghan came back into the room and again apologized for getting upset when telling me about her grandmother "but you just remind me so much of her."  Meghan spent the next hour and a half telling me about her grandmother.
I'm not sure what exactly it is about me that always seems to remind others of someone else.  Sometimes people will say I remind them of Bob Newhart but that's probably slightly calculated (or plagiarized) on my part but usually it's others telling me I remind them of someone they had known at other times in their lives and that gives me a certain anonymity that I'm not uncomfortable with, almost like the obscured partner in a marriage but without the abuse.
Around one in the morning my midnight to 8AM nurse came in and introduced herself.  Her name was Rhonda and she had long red hair with curls going in all directions and she told me about her uncle who had prostate cancer.  I think I might have been told all this stuff not because I'd just had a mastectomy but just because I was awake.
While I was in the bathroom, Rhonda got called to another room so I was able to turn off the light to see if I glowed in the dark.  Much to my disappointment I didn't even though I still had enough of that radioactive dye in my system to cause my urine to be blue for the next three days.
When I fell asleep I dreamed I started a business pimping hospital gurneys.  For the most part they were pretty gaudy, covered in lots of fringe and sparkly tinsel but one was a combination of low-rider and catapult.  I was having trouble pushing this gurney through the lobby of the hospital and was wondering if it might not have worked better if I had motorized it when I noticed that Governor McDonnell was sitting on the gurney.  He was wearing a putty colored Nehru Jacket and red, white and blue Bermuda shorts and was sitting in the Lotus position but his feet were angled oddly, exposing his reversed soles.  I tried to keep a firm grip on the gurney as we were going down the moving ramp.  I didn't want to lose the chance of finding out if the catapult worked by having it careen through the window.  Unfortunately the dream just seemed to end there.  I lay in bed wondering about all the connections in the dream.  Bob McDonnell had been in the news a lot lately, the stories about Bruce and Monica Beresford-Redmond, as well as being in the hospital undoubtedly were contributing factors and that shot of morphine I'd had a few hours after surgery might have tied it all together.

14th-Apr-2010 02:27 pm - Ka-pow - Splat

Since moving the computer downstairs I've been using a large inflatable exercise ball as a seat.  It works wonderfully especially since there is very little leg-room under the table, I can roll back and forth while at the keyboard, stretching my legs, exercising my ankles and calves or, while waiting for a page to load, I lift my feet off the floor and see how far back I can lean on the ball before panic sets in (not very far) but really nice is that just sitting on this ball seems to exercise all the back muscles even when I'm slouching.
Last month Hammett, who was sleeping on the floor near the ball, stretched and her black claws pushed into the ball.  I heard the little pop-pop and felt the air coming out of the ball.  I had another ball which wasn't quite a big but it was usable though I did have to tilt my head backwards to get a full view of the monitor.  Two days later Mouser Max basically did the same thing only this time, probably because it was a thicker ball, there was no sound of the air coming out nor did it deflate quickly, I just noticed my chin was getting closer to the keyboard. 
It was a couple of weeks before I was in Richmond and able to replace the balls.  One of the balls is just the standard 65cm exercise ball but the other one I got is touted as being 'burst-resistant' which probably has to do with over-inflation and now cat claws.  I inflated the cheaper of the two first and up until last Monday night it worked fine.
After getting back from Richmond Monday evening I settled in for a night of email answering.  Hammett kept coming up to me, she'd put her front paws on the ball and give her faint squeaky meow so I'd scratch her ears but that didn't seem to be what she wanted.  She probably wanted a treat but I wasn't particularly  receptive to her asking.  After 15 minutes of my ignoring her, Hammett lifted her front paw and sliced into the ball.  She didn't move at all, she just sat there and watched me as I got up off the floor but when I screamed "SHIT" she did dash out of the room and I'm certain that I heard her say 'Yeaya' when she got into the hallway.
Tuesday morning I inflated the super ball.  Stuck to this ball was a piece of paper stating what should be in the box.
A partial list of contents:
Duel-action hand pump
exercise manuel
I tore that box apart but didn't find him.

Moon shadows

I saw my surgeon yesterday, I go into the hospital on the 16th of this month for a mastectomy.  Since it can be done at any time, I've opted to not do the reconstructive surgery at the same time as the mastecomy.  I might tilt slightly to the left for a while.  Luckily, I lean that way already.

5th-Apr-2010 09:36 am - On lilac

On lilac

3rd-Apr-2010 12:52 am - Telephone Call From It'sstillbull
pontificating assholes
Yesterday morning I got a phone call from my former husband, when I answered it the response was heavy breathing, I waited, said hello again and thought that these types of phone calls have lost all their suspense with the advent of Caller ID.  The breathing continued but still he didn't say anything.  I hung up and almost immediately the phone rang.  This time when answering I said "Hello, John" and he said he didn't know what had happened to the phone, he kept saying hello but all he could hear was his own voice (truer words have never been spoken).
Over the years I've received calls from him at all hours, some legitimate most not.  There was one call that came in about three in the morning years ago and after the typical amenities he asked me if I still had that lace body suit.  I said "I think it's around here somewhere.  Why?  Did you want to borrow it?"  I have no idea where this conversation was going because my reply effectively put an end to it.
Last summer, well it was an email not a phone call, he just inquired "Are you ok, dear?".   Though I wondered why he was asking I saw no point in responding.  Then later that day I received an email from one of my sisters-in-law saying that she had heard on the news that there had been a big crop of marijuana found off Shores Road in Fluvanna County and then my ex-husband's inquiry made sense.  I've no doubt that he was in no way wondering if I might have taken up doing doobies in my spare time, no he was trying to remember if there was any chance he might have left some plants here even though he hadn't lived here in 15 years and he had been growing them in the shed not in an open field.  I've also no doubt that what he was really wondering was if these discovered plants were his would I up-hold his plan or as he liked to call it "OUR AGREEMENT" which was something along the lines of:  should he ever get caught with pot or any drugs, for that matter, he'd just say they were mine, that he was keeping them away from me.  What he considered as selling points were; he had a career that could be jeopardized should he be arrested for drug possession so saying these were mine would be better because my being just a lowly female the courts would go easy on me plus I didn't have an arrest record.  Luckily this plan was never tested; had it been I probably would still be sitting in a jail somewhere waiting for someone to post my bail.
Probably the most audacious phone call I've received from him was just about five years ago when one morning he called from the office and asked if I remembered when he had broken up with his back home girlfriend after he had met me.  I said I didn't know when he had done it.  I knew when he told me he had.  He rather heatedly snapped "I didn't lie" so I just said that for the sake of the conversation I'd assume he'd told the truth.  This was followed by "Well, when the hell was it?"  I said it was March of '70.  He asked several other timeline questions till I stopped him with a question of my own "John, have you been served with a paternity suit"  His answer came in a combination Barney Rubble style laugh, snort, grunt "I may have another daughter"  I asked him if it struck him at all as strange that he was asking his ex-wife to verify this information and he said that my memory was so much better than his then he proceeded to tell me that the 'daughter' not the former girlfriend had contacted him and after telling him all the stories she'd heard all her life - which he had no qualms about repeating to me - had asked him if he'd would do a DNA test (she would pay for it) and he said he had no problem with that and they set up a time for him to get this done.  When he paused for breath I asked him again if expecting me to verify this didn't seem, even to him, a bit creepy.  Evidently I was being quite insensitive because he said "I'm not going to discuss this with you." and hung up.

24th-Mar-2010 10:47 am - Senses - a change
Moon shadows

It does seem that perhaps things are beginning to return to their pre-chemo state.  This morning I noticed that yesterday's coffee tasted like day old coffee.  Time to make a fresh pot.

22nd-Mar-2010 11:45 am - A shot of wild turkey

20th-Mar-2010 08:58 am - Dreams come true
Moon shadows

unfortunately, not one of my better ones.  As I run my hands over my head I can feel new hair growth along the sides and the back and I'm afraid that, just like in some of the dreams I've had these past few months, I'm going to look like Larry Fine.

18th-Mar-2010 09:37 am - A sure sign
that spring is just around the corner is the appearance of big garden spiders in and around my kitchen sink each morning this week.  I didn't kill them, so could be the same spider.  Monday morning the spider was in the sink and I did not notice it until I turned on the spigot and it ran up the side and I was able to 'shoo, shoo' it into dropping behind the counter.  Tuesday and Wednesday mornings I just scooped the spider up in a paper towel and dropped it between the counter and the wall.  But this morning the spider (I really do hope it is the same spider) was beside the coffeepot and since my desire for coffee is returning I did not like this.  After explaining the hazards of being near the coffeepot, not only because of the heat, I started blowing on the spider until he scurried off and dropped between the counter and the stove.  I realized that six years ago, when I had  been smoking no less than two and a half packs of cigarettes a day, I would not have been able to do this but I also, sadly, realized that six years ago I would not have been carrying on a one-sided conversation with a spider because I would have had something better to do.

15th-Mar-2010 09:07 am - My Name is (Ichabod) Mudd
Captain Midnight
Captain Midnight died yesterday or, at least, I thought he had.  As a child, I was so enamored with him that I talked my mother into buying a jar of Ovaltine which I can unequivocally say is among the foulest tasting stuff I've ever ingested.
This morning, after a little Googling, I learned that Peter Graves did not play CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT and that goes a long way toward explaining why my infatuation did not carry over into FURY and certainly not into MISSION IMPOSSIBLE.

12th-Mar-2010 10:24 pm - Resonance
Moon shadows
I woke this morning with the urge to run to the mirror to see if I'd grown any hair overnight but I went through my normal routine instead which was just as well because the couple of gray hairs that I found brushed right off.  These most likely belonged to Perch who spent the early hours of the morning sitting between my shoulder blades, ocassionally patting my head and if that didn't get a response he'd bat my ears.  Trying to shake him off didn't work, he just sank his claws into me.
I have no idea what I'll do when my hair actually starts to come back in.  Ewwwwwwww, I'll probably have to get it styled or something of that nature.  The last time I had my hair cut professionally I was 18, my hair was just a few inches above my waistline and all I wanted was a trim "to even it up", I left the shop with hair cut to just above my shoulders.  The little asshole saying to me "It was the only way I could get it even."  For the next 44 years my hair was just there basically maintenance free, sometimes I'd curl it, sometimes I'd put it in pigtails (lawn mowing), most of the time I just let it hang and it suited me just fine.  A month into chemo I realized there were some things I'd never given any thought to like just how cold the back of my neck would get without all that hair for insulation, I was surprised by how cold my ears got.  I hadn't realized just how stupid I'd look in turbans and how difficult they'd be to keep on.  I went through most of my life thinking my head was shaped like a crudely made tomahawk.  My mother always told me that I had a huge camel hump on the back of my head.  I believed her.  Why would someone lie about something like that?  But I now know that if I had such a hump on the back of my head these damned stretch turbans would stay on.  I've come to really appreciate my hooded sweatshirts but not as much as I appreciate not having any Magic Markers around the house especially when the kids visit.
I drove into the hospital this afternoon for an MRI.  I had no idea what to expect.  I'm not claustrophobic so wasn't worried about that aspect of being in the imager and I would be on my stomach so I wouldn't be staring into something just a few inches above my face (instead I stared down into something I couldn't see anyway because I wasn't wearing my glasses).  Though the nurses and the technician told me it would be very loud and even stuck plugs into my ears I was totally unprepared for that relentless noise especially since there was no predictable pattern to it.  During the first part of the imaging I thought about Orwell's 1984.  I haven't read that book since I was 14 but I kept thinking there was something in it about trying to break Winston with extreme noises, this, of course, would have been before his girlfriend ratted him out.  During the last 15 minutes of the imaging the noises changed to some really creepy sounds and I was very grateful that I've never watched any of the SAW horror films.  By the time I got back home my hearing seemed back to normal.
So that was how I spent my 22nd day and tomorrow will be my 23rd day without chemo and even tonight's rain can't dampen my spirits.

9th-Mar-2010 12:29 pm - Mountains and molehills
Moon shadows
I guess I should first apologize for my slight flight into hysteria with yesterday's entry.  I don't deal well with not knowing and that sort of puts me on edge and though nothing has changed, what I don't know now bothers me less than what I didn't know before I left the house yesterday morning.
I kept my appointment with my surgeon yesterday.  I wondered if I had had my cats with me would I have just run away but why the hell would I have had the cats with me. Dr. Cohen was pleased with my progress and said that the next steps would be an MRI, which will be done on the 12th and after he studies the results there will be the surgery to do a nodal sampling and depending on those results he will either do a lumpectomy (which he kept calling 'alum-pectomy' though there was a twinkle in his eye as he said this I wasn't sure if he was being funny and didn't want to chance offending him by laughing especially since sometime in the near future this man will be standing over me with a scalpel in his hand) or if the lymph nodes so indicate a full mastectomy but 'we' will deal with these options as they come up.  So I still feel kind of like it's a hurry up and wait situation but not with the same sense of dread of a week ago when it seemed like it was just hurrying up and wait.
I am so looking forward to having a 22nd day.   I haven't had one in over five months.  The first round of chemo was four sessions spaced two weeks apart, the second round was also four sessions but spaced three weeks apart so there never was a day 22. But this week there will be and for some reason I'm really excited about it.  I doubt that there will be any noticeable changes, I know that my fingernails aren't going to suddenly pop back onto my hands although when those little fuckers pop off my fingertips feel a lot better, I know that my hair isn't going to suddenly be there but if I'm lucky and I feel that I have been very, very lucky with the different chemo treatments, my eyes will stop watering.  Constantly watering eyes evidently is a side-effect of Taxotere, at worst this is just an annoyance and every once in a while a perk, like when reaching for the last canister of coffee on the grocery store shelf and someone else gets it before you do then they notice the water, which is easily mistaken for tears, streaming down your cheeks and with an apology they hand you the canister saying "Please, you take it" and who am I to argue.  So regardless of having to do the MRI, Friday is a day I am so looking forward to.

8th-Mar-2010 08:41 am - Apprehension
Moon shadows

I hate being nervous.

may be closer . . . .
Actually I was thirty-four 
and the photographer was mehinda 
Tan acquired by a full summer of lawn mowing


23rd-Feb-2010 10:55 am - Hoofin' it
on this rock
When I was a very young child I had wanted to be a dancer; I would drape myself in scarves and tea towels and old diapers (san stains) and leap and bound through the house.  My father called me Isadora, the significance of which I didn't understand at the time.
Last night, in my dream I seemed to have the perceived agility I possessed when I was four years old and was able to glide through the house with the fluidity of an ice skater (damn the Olympics!) but in a very short time I became aware of the toll this was taking on my knees and when I twirled past a mirror I noticed that my ankles looked like the furry fetlocks of a Clydesdale and there was a slight twinge of excitement caused by thinking that my hair was growing back but on closer inspection I saw that my ankles were covered in the cats' fur and not my own and woke up.
I lay in bed wondering what had become of my childish desire to dance.  Perceived agility probably had a lot to do with it.  By the time I was six, if I mentioned wanting to be a dancer both my parents would laugh hysterically and suggest I stick to comedy.

19th-Feb-2010 11:21 am - It's over again - I hope
Well, yesterday after receiving my treatment the nurses at the Infusion Center presented me with a big silver star-shaped balloon to mark the conclusion of my chemo sessions and I have no intentions of giving it back.  I've an appointment with my oncologist on the 26th of this month and when I'll have the surgery will mainly be determined by results of my blood work and how quickly my levels go back to normal.  I've been really anemic since starting treatment but this is considered a side-effect of chemo and hopefully goes away in a few weeks.  Kim is also hoping that with the cessation of the steroids I will also stop doing my Arnold Schwarzenegger impression. (Poor child, how little she knows).

And now for the more important matter; I have no idea how long it will take for me to get any hair growth which might be more of a problem in the warmer weather especially since I've still not been able to figure out how to wrap and tie a headscarf.  Summer hats all seem to have an open weave which might not be a bad effect if I end up with a red diamond pattern on my slick pate.

16th-Feb-2010 10:56 am - Dumbing Down Dreams
first of many
Last night I dreamed that I was ticklish.  In reality I have never been ticklish and this, for some reason, was considered freakish.  I was six years old and my playmates would demand "You're not ticklish?  What's wrong with you?" "You don't like chocolate ice cream?  What's wrong with you?" "You don't like ketchup?  What's wrong with you?"  " You drink coffee?  What's wrong with you?"  Ok, that last one might have been legitimate.  These things didn't seem to be just a matter of preference, a matter of taste, they seemed more a social statement of conformity.  If I had friends who didn't like cranberry sauce with the whole cranberry in it I didn't comment, I didn't wonder what was wrong with them for not liking it, I wondered what was wrong with me for liking it.  Anyway in my dream not only was I ticklish, I was tickling myself and laughing almost manically.
I wonder if I was telling myself that now that I'm 62 it's time to conform.  I wonder what I'd be conforming to.

15th-Feb-2010 07:38 am - Find the scissors
Moon shadows
This sweet child has offered me her hair

13th-Feb-2010 12:22 am - The Wonder Years
cute alert

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