Monday, June 28, 2010


Had my Pulmonary Function Test repeated this morning and am very pleased to report that the tech that did it said it was no different in any regard from the one she did before surg!!!! I thought that was pretty great. I can tell a big improvement in my breathing now than just even a few weeks ago. My cough has decreased a great deal and I am hoping it will be completely gone soon.

Then, it was off to get an ABG (arterial blood gas) drawn, which I didn't want to do...knowing how those feel for the victim!!! At any rate, had to be placed in a wheelchair and rolled over to the pulmonary lab by two chubby teens who talked about "hacking" face book the whole time, while I am CERTAIN I could out run and out distance them both!! (Can you tell I hate to be the patient?!!!) At any rate, escaped the wheelchair to land in the lab. Nice lady with a good deal of experience was unable to get the blood sample from my left radial artery (which had been ultra bruised and massacred during surg and may be the reason she had problems today) and I just didn't feel like letting anyone have a go at the right (and yes, it hurt like a booger!!!). Given the good PFT results, I the victim, do not feel that further prodding is currently necessary!!! :>) I did manage to escape on my own power, since the helpers didn't have the sense to wait for the incapacitated person they had carted over....thank goodness!!!

Here's to ambulating on your own for as long as you can - c

My friendship garden

I have so enjoyed my flowers and garden this spring and summer. Even now in the stultifying heat, my daisies and day lilies as well as some late blooming irises are so beautiful. In part, the bounty of my garden comes from 13 years of work on the same bit of land with more dedicated efforts over the past 3 years or so, and Rosie’s efforts this spring. But an even larger part comes from the friends that so many of my plants represent. Knowing the history of my “friendship garden” (indoors and out) makes it so very precious to me.

I have to start with my Johnny White Irises, bright yellow bearded ones that have moved with me to three different houses and now live in two beds here. Then there’s Momma and Daddy’s bleeding heart (which isn’t really, but it has wonderful orange-red blossoms that the hummingbirds love late in the summer), and old fashioned pink climbing roses that cover two sides of the fence in the back yard, and the day lilies that are blooming as we speak that remind me of burgundy and yellow dwarves caps. There are Brent’s peonies, cherry trees and knock out roses with red double stuffed blossoms which he worked so hard on once I was a cancer survivor, out five years from our first go-round. And last year, Trina (combined with Rosie’s hard labor) provided the two most beautiful beds of irises (tiny yellow early bloomers, dark midnight blue dramatic flowers, and an orangey speckled one blooming now). I have Peds Care’s pink calla lily that was so pretty this spring and hydrangeas that are taking off as well. Then there’s my latest treasure: Rosie’s shade garden that she created this very spring, replete with a creek, ferns, hostas, cardinal flowers, mountain laurel and pulmonaria (also called ‘lung wart’ that I insisted on adding for obvious reasons!!!!).

Once inside, there’s Jenn’s bamboo, Jaynell’s (now HUGE) Christmas cactus, Ashley’s rose (which has been covered with beautiful pink blossoms!!), Momma’s mother-in-law’s tongue and aloe, Fred’s kalanchoe, Rosie’s beautiful teacup of moss, Ruthie’s African violets, and Kik’s philodendron. (Although these last two are a little different because the plants didn’t come from that source, rather, their containers did. Ruth painted pots bright blue, yellow, and red that I always keep violets in on my kitchen window sill and Kik made a mosaic covered plant stand on which my potted vine creeps.)

So while my plants are lovely, they have a much larger dimension as I think of all the friends and family who made them part of my life.
Thanks - c

Sunday, June 27, 2010


It has been a challenging week with repairs: to a bathroom ceiling...which I think have been successful. My dryer has gone psycho, sometimes leaving clothes wet no matter the setting and at other times roasting them to the point that they are almost too hot to touch. A repairman is ordering a part and hopefully all will be well next week. Rosie's car had to have its brakes repaired. I guess learning to drive on a mountain requires a certain amount of brake usage!!

On a human level, Rosie is almost fully repaired with her toothless-ness. And as far as I am concerned, let's just say Lance Armstrong ain't got nothin' on me!! It has been a hard week's slog, mentally and physically, but having finally become able to jog my 2 mile path regularly, I started working on a 3 mile track. At first it was more walk - jog - walk, but today....I jogged the whole way (except for "THE HILL" and 2 pee stops with Z)!!! I was very pleased. Rosie has been a huge encouragement for me this week because it has been TOUGH!! I have also restarted "core" (sit-ups, push-ups, {modified to be on my knees, but I can do them!!}, jelly-bellies, and plank). SO...with my PFT's tomorrow, we'll see where I am. Although, unlike Lance, my brain met has not led me to choose to have forty-leven babies. Unless, Ashley has a girl, then................ HA!!

Latest favorite paragraph, especially if you view "fog" as any vague, but incredibly tangible force that blocks one's way.......

FROM: Farthest North BY: Fridtjof Nansen

"...we went on...for a couple of days, plunged in a world of fog. Ugh! that endless, stubborn fog...When it lowers its curtain, and shuts out the blue above and the blue below, and everything becomes a damp grey mist, day in and day out, then all the vigour and elasticity of the soul is needed to save one from being stifled in its clammy embrace."

May your fog be lifted - c

Friday, June 18, 2010


So happy to get to see so many of my Peds Care friends today!!! Jenn and Joyce helped me plan a little surprise by showing up at their monthly luncheon today. It was so nice to see each of you and catch up on you and yours a little today. I am so happy about all the new homes and jobs and babies and kids that are growing and doing well!!! You were all a good tonic for me and Rosie!!

Rosie is doing very well after all her tortures!! The swelling from her extractions is almost completely gone. She remains a little sore but is healing well. Her incision on her arm is healing neatly and she is back to most of her normal activities.

Fred-o is great....doing some chores for me and catching up with some of his friends as they come back into town. Brent is well and as Rosie put it today, is no longer a donkey on the edge, but rather, a donkey who continues to look over at the edge - nervously.

I am getting stronger each day and the cough is gradually getting better. I am so excited!! Next week....there are no doctor visits scheduled for ANYBODY!!!! The following week I do have to go in for my PFT (pulmonary function test) at the pulmonologist's office, but until then...I have a week off!!!

My new favorite paragraph: From, Cry the Beloved Country. By, Alan Paton

"For some hours he sat there in the sun, and whether it was the warmth of it, or the sight of the wide plain beneath stretching away to blue and distant mountains, or the mere passage of time, or the divine providence for the soul that is distressed, he could not say; but there was some rising of the spirit, some lifting of the fear."

May you all find some ease from any burden you may be carrying. With much love - c

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rosie's week of torture.. finally over!! She has been a real trooper. She got all 5 of her wisdom teeth out on Wed. The oral surgeon had worried that he may not be able to get at that 5th little one on the left upper, but he got it, so I was glad. However, her worst pain and swelling have been in that area. She has looked quite the chipmunk, but that is resolving some today. I took the stitches out of her arm on Thursday and the incision is healing well. Although longer, I think this incision will actually heal better in the end than the prior incision did. She had her eyes examined Friday, with little change, and was happy to find that now that she is 18 she gets to have a different sort of dilating drop used so the dilation did not last as long as it has in the past.

Fred had a good 20th b'day, I think. His friend Hannah was able to come spend the weekend with us. They went out with the Roo on Friday night, explored the aquarium on Sat and just had fun together. She is a real sweetie.

Brent and I have been doing some jogging and biking, but man is it hot!!!! Picked our first tomatoes from our little garden and they were yummy.

Read Maya Angelou's: "Heart of a Woman" and "Letters to my Daughters". Both very good. Didn't realize she had played the lead in Porgy and Bess, danced professionally, and been so active on a professional level in civil rights organizations. Amazing lady. Am reading, "Cry the Beloved Country" now. Brent is reading Zinn's "People's History of the United States". He better watch it, he'll be finishing his 6th book in 20 years if he's not careful!!

Hope your summers are going perfectly. Stay cool! Much love - c

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Catching up....

....Hope this finds all of you well. I'm doing fine. Had a fun weekend. Dinner with a lovely group of friends on Sat evening. Sunday, Momma and Daddy came up and spent the day with us and brought lunch already prepared with fresh veggies from their garden! Delicious. It was great to get to see everyone.

Have been riding my bike some along side Rosie as she runs. It's a good work out since it forces me to hold my arms out further than I otherwise would. Plus, I've been doing my 2 mile run/jog/walk thing on other days. Had a couple days of wheezing and increased coughing over the weekend. It is getting better. Don't know if it was even related to my surgery since I can manage to do that sort of thing periodically anyhow!!

Rosie is doing well with her incision. We got her path report back yesterday and all was well..which means we didn't necessarily have to do the resection, but on the other hand a nice clear path report was what we wanted. She's OK with it so.... The kids have been busy. They took Z for his annual doggie check yesterday and he was fine. They had their regular dental cleaning today and that was fine. Rosie will have her wisdom teeth removed tomorrow...poor baby. Fred is going with us in case I need some muscle getting her home. I'm making her grilled steak for supper before she has to go onto a less chewable diet!!!

Read all three "The girl..." (with the dragon tattoo, etc.) books by Stieg Larsson. So did Rosie. They are better than your average thrillers, so that was fun. Also read "Eat, love, pray" and "Committed" by Elizabeth Gilbert. They were much more interesting and thoughtful than I had figured they would be when I first heard of them. I took them up on a recommendation from a friend and they did have a lot to say that made you think about religion and relationships.

Wishing the very best to each of you - c

Friday, June 4, 2010

Long walk with the Roo....

This morning Rosie and I walked about 4 miles. No running, just walking. I am trying to mix up my exercises in different ways and she didn't need to run that was what we did. I don't know that Rosie got much of a work-out but all those hills were enough for me.

Poor Rosie is being very brave. She was born with several nevi and we have kept an eye on them over the years. About 6 months ago the dermatologist didn't like the look of one on her arm, so he excised it. It came back with a report of atypical cells, but without clear margins. It is not essential that atypical nevi be removed since it is not definitive that they will ever be anything other than "atypical", but we talked about it and Rosie decided that she did want it removed when it was convenient in the summer. So, that day was yesterday. She now has a two inch incision on her left upper arm. She's being a real trooper about it, bless her. But at least she won't have to worry about it now.

Found out yesterday, that Brent has had a tooth bothering him for the past couple of months!!!!! He's says he's been busy, but has now made an appointment to have it taken care of next week. I'm going to do something to that man one of these days!!

Next week will be a busy one. Z is getting his shots and check-up Monday. The kids are getting their teeth cleaned on Tues. Wed Rosie is having her wisdom teeth extracted. And, Friday she will have her annual eye exam. Then the weekend is all about Fred-o and his 20th!!!! birthday!

Hope you all have a great weekend. Love - c

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What to do.......

Saw my pulmonologist today (Have now officially seen all docs in follow-up!). He thought I sounded great. Cough is getting better. Will have repeat PFT's at the end of this month with ABG's. Really tired of being poked but - OK. Doesn't need to see me again until Dec unless there are problems. The donkey {aka Bentie on edge} wigged him out a bit. When asked if there was anything concerning us, Brent unleashed with, "Yeah, I don't want to wait for the other shoe to drop before she has any other treatment." This momentarily unnerved the normally reserved yet cheerful Indian mystique my pulmonologist is cloaked in, but he's known Brent for a long time and soon realized this was just anxiety not a real desire for additional treatment at this time. {Well, there IS real desire for melanoma treatment at this time...but there isn't any...none at least that my pulmonologist can} Tried to get my last labs from Lab Corp, may they rot, but, "No. We don't give results to patients." Let's see. They took my blood. Made me sign on the dotted line that they could bill me, my insurance, took a credit card, get the picture, but, "No, they couldn't give me the results" of the labs I had last week that took them two sticks to draw.

At any rate, what does one do with time off and cancer?

Well..... At first, reading was not an option. I mean, who cares about finishing a book about Thomas Cromwell if you might be dead in a couple of weeks. But, you live, so then what? I mean we all enter the dead zone at some point. It is something I've thought about...for the third time. And I ended up with the same answer. I finished the book. Have read three more since. I'm working hard at getting physically stronger. Which, by the way, is getting better slowly. On Sun and Mon, I ran {aka - jogged slowly and laboriously} on my regular 2 mile route except for walking up my big hill. Which to those of you who don't IS REALLY big!!! Today, I did some house cleaning and yard stuff and decided that was enough. And, other days I've been doing my 15 min elliptical routine.

So...after reading and exercise, of course I spend time with my man and my critters. Fred and Rose have held my heart in there sticky little hands for 20/18 years now. And Brent, he happened to tell me today, has been looking (leering) at my legs for almost 27. They see the "colors in me, like no one else", and I in them. Although, they are all TRULY wonderful. So, it is a real gift to spend extra time with each of them.

And after that, I have crocheted three afghans (close your eyes, Ruthie!!). Worked on cooking some special meals. Caught up reading all my medical journals. Plan to do some study of Spanish and pediatrics. I am, at least, really grateful that I am not having to do 2 semesters of a master's PNP program in one in the upcoming months!!!

So....I made this choice a couple times before...move forward...even if it seems crazy...and people certainly look at me as though I'm crazy. But, hey!  It bought me 7 years. We'll see what happens this time.

Love you all - so very much - c