Friday, July 29, 2011


Today would have been my mom's birthday, she would have been 93, but she passed 13 years ago, at 80. It doesn't seem like it has been that long to me, sometimes when I am half asleep I hear what sounds like her voice, but it is R, my daughter, that I hear. Lots of mom's ancestors lived to be into their 90s -- her mom died at 98, and doing genealogy I find many who lived to over 100, remarkable for the time when medicine was so primitive, if available at all. Mom was born in 1918, the year of the big flu epidemic that swept the world, especially in England. Her folks lived on a farm here in West Virginia, and certainly benefited from limited exposure to travelers and such. She had a twin, but her sister (my aunt) died at 57 from a stroke, so 80 was pretty remarkable given that Mom had diabetes and a bad heart.

I had a second transfusion and will probably need another, if my extreme fatigue is anything to go by. The oncologist doesn't seem too concerned, although he says many have the entire 6 cycles and never need blood, but I try not to read anything dire into his comments. I worked in the blood bank at the hospital for 5 years or so, and the vast majority of blood was used by bone marrow cancer patients, post ablation of their own bone marrow. That, and extreme bleed-outs from trauma, which were always a crisis for us, especially on weekends when there were only two of us in the blood bank. Glad all of that is over and done with, I can't imagine having that kind of stressful job now, tho it seemed OK at the time.

I've been slowly (very) organizing our photos from the last 30 years - I should say, ours + my parents' + N's parents' + my grandmother's photos. I did real well there for a while, but now it feels like such drudgery with no end in sight. I gave up on chronological sorting and went with categories like horses, pets, our kids, family and (drat) miscellaneous, for each collection. When the kids were small, I always got triple prints made and sent one set off to the grandparents, and now I have three prints of each back again, in no particular order. The albums that I do have are just going to stay the way they are, even tho a lot of what is in them is meaningless now -- flowers, friends, photos too dark, too light, bad exposure, etc. and I am rigorously throwing away all the negatives. And if it is a photo I took, and even I can't identify who or where or when, out it goes. I have 6 huge plastic tubs to go through, and if I don't do it now, when would I?

I can't think of what I wanted to write here, so I'll post this for now and stick the rest on above or within this once my chemo brain spits the topic out.

Bumper sticker for the day: " The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age."

Friday, July 22, 2011

Playing possum

Last night we caught a possum in the have-a-heart trap, the last night of our pest control contract. At least we caught something for all the $$$ we put up. I think we will be buying one of these traps to use ourselves as needed for raccoons. Also, as we drove past some neighbors on the next road, I saw a trap in their yard too, so maybe someone else caught our marauders.

Wednesday was the last (6th) cycle of my chemotherapy and I celebrated with turtle cheesecake, yum!

Now I go every three weeks (instead of every week) and get the herceptin, the antibody to the her2.neu antigen site on the tumor cells, a targeted treatment that I will need to take for an entire year, but at least it doesn't make me ill. Just a little headache-y during the infusion. Sometime in August I will get another PET/CT scan to look for metastatic sites, so fingers crossed until then. The infusion center at the local hospital will be moving in August to a new location, which I hope will include more comfortable chairs, both infusion ones and regular chairs for the family. Probably not though.

Not much else to report from here, so here is the bumper sticker for the day--"Beware. Karma has a wicked sense of humor"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Us vs. Raccoons

We have those miserable destructive creatures, raccoons, making nightly visits to our garage, through the cat door. They pull everything off the shelves to get to the dry cat food container, spill it all over the floor and then s*** all over the garage. Last week we contacted a pest control business, and they started on Monday setting have-a-heart traps. So far no joy. It is complicated, as we have to shut the garage cats up at night so they don't get caught in the traps themselves, and they are all pretty wild, of the four only one will let me pick her up, and that's probably because at 15+ years she's too slow to get away. Then we have to spring the traps in the morning before letting the cats out of their (garage) prison. I saw part of "over the hedge", an animated movie about suburban wild animals, and the main character is a raccoon, which I did not find amusing whatsoever.

Only one more chemotherapy cycle (as far as I know now) scheduled for next week. My hair is now more fuzzy as it grows in -- I call it my tennis ball hairstyle. The second wig I got, where I went to a store rather than ordering from a catalog, is much more comfortable and a better color match. It is a sort of long shag style. I still flinch when I catch a glimpse of myself, with or without the wig. I have a sort of phantom sensation that my hair is still there. I feel like it is brushing against my face or neck, for example, and then when I put my hand up I find nothing but fuzz. Weird.

I have been e-shopping some lately, as I don't have the energy to go to the mall. My latest find is a new quilt for the bed. Nothing like lying in bed for hours staring at nothing much to reveal the tattered-dy bits of the bedroom decor. I did scrub the bathroom to high gloss last week, I was sore for two days afterwards, but boy did I appreciate it the next night as I was on the floor "worshiping at the porcelain throne" so to speak. I need new throw rugs in there, I found.

The only topic left to explore here is the weather, and I will spare all of you that. (It's hot.)

A thought for the day:" People are more violently opposed fur than leather because it's easier to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs."