Monday, October 27, 2008
Please forgive me for not having written in a week, but life has been quite hectic and I'm lovin it! Time has had a way of flying by these days, as I've really have been busy from wake-up time till bed time and have to remind myself to eat and pee half the time!! Isn't that wonderful?? Being busy and productive, especially when it is YOUR choice of things, is to be in the best place in the world :) I have finally finished the garage and it is now my "OFFICIAL WORKSHOP". All miscellaneous crap has been either sold or given away, what I couldn't part with is organized on shelving against one wall and the rest is mine all mine!! The kids stuff, and coolers, lawn chairs, etc. and essential stuff that you just can't get rid because you know you will need it, is stacked in a little alcove I have in the garage so it's not in the way at all. If you have been here and seen what the garage did look like, you will know what a massive undertaking this was!! I should be embarrassed to tell you, that out of a 2 1/2 car garage, you had maybe a 2 ft path to walk in and get to the door entering the house, that's how stacked up with crap it was! But no more.......I laugh to myself thinking that you are reading this saying to yourself.....it's just a friggin garage....why is she so obsessed with the damn thing, writing about it and so excited about it! Well, it was just a phenomenal feat of mankind to get it organized...that's why!! I wish I would have taken a "before" photo but I will take an "after" photo so you can see how my studio looks. My kiln is arriving today by UPS, so I'll get that baby set up and start FIRING AWAY! I kept one of the 3 desks (I TOLD YOU I HAD A TON OF STUFF IN THERE), and have even organized that to hold all of my invoices, purchasing and mailing items so all are in one place and no scouring around wondering where this is or that is. On to another subject....my hair! Oh lordy lordy..I took some more photos of the "piece of art" on my head, and it really is growing, just in all different directions!! I'll post them when I get them out of my camera. Everyone should have the experience of shaving their head so you too can be mesmerized as you watch your hair grow in! I swear, if I didn't know better, I would say it is an alien being roosting on my head! Hair is growing in unimaginable ways....up, down, in circles, sideways.....you name it, it's growing in that direction, I swear. I wish my camera could get a really good close up (I won't stop trying, because it's a hoot to see) of all the swirlies and shit I got goin on! It will be really interesting to see how my hair finally ends up, both color and texture. When I was young and really till my mid 30's my hair was super curly....long ringlet type curls.....pretty now that I think about it, and so many people (strangers) would ask me where I got my hair "done" and when I would tell them it was natural they'd say "figures....I finally found hair I really like and it turns out you don't have a hairdresser to recommend". Then, when I started menopause VERY EARLY....right after I had Linz, the hormonal change started to straighten out my hair so I started to use a flattening iron, because it wasn't totally curl free, just an awkward in between thing, and the iron at least made it uniform. I also, back in the day, had enough hair for about 8 people, so very very thick and that's another thing that changed with menopause, the hair started thinning. So......I'm just so very curious about what this thing growing on top of my head is going to do, now that it gets a "DO-OVER". Now changing to my final thoughts of the day......I'm posting some overdue photos of Lindsay's graduation because I "lost" them on the computer! I knew I uploaded them, but it turns out I put them in a file within a file accidentally, because I know not what I do, and it's a file I hardly ever go in, and I came across them the other day when looking for something else. I really need help with computer stuff because I truly am computer impaired. I promise to post again tomorrow!!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
To take you back a little while ago, I had ordered some glasses online (prescription) and I chose the ones that have that little magnetic thingie, that can make your regular glasses into sunglasses. I really didn't want to order separate sunglasses for some unknown reason, so I chose 2 pair of regular glasses that has this teeny magnetic thing to easily make them sunglasses by just clicking them on to your regular glasses. To take you back just a wee bit further.....I was listening to this guy called Clarke Howard on the radio in my car one day because he is on an AM channel, since my car radio crapped out on the FM stations for some reason, so I am basically stuck listening to talk radio when driving around. I've heard this guys show before and he's really really smart money-wise, about where to get the most out of your money, what's a deal and what's not etc. etc. You can check out his website at www.ClarkeHoward.com, as he has great tips on money related stuff from insurance to eyeglasses!! So anyways, I'm listening to his show one day and this lady called in to thank him for mentioning a website called Zenni Optical as she had ordered glasses from them and was so very pleased and thankful because she said the glasses were great and CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP. If you wear glasses, you know how much they cost......hundreds and hundreds. I have, what I guess you could say, worn glasses since the 8th grade.....but not really.... and my money's on unless you're family or have driven with me, you've probably not seen me wear them at all. No.....it's not vanity reasons ......I just having something on my face and I HATE wearing glasses because they bother me and I only need them for far away, so I'm constantly shoving them off and on my face as needed because if I am wearing them and then look at something up close, it makes everything fuzzy, so I basically wear them to drive and watch TV from a respectable distance. Otherwise they get tossed somewhere, or shoved on the top of my head, and I'm just really rough with the poor things! So after hearing what this lady said on the radio show, I jotted down the web address to order some, because mine were getting pretty raggedy. The glasses start at like $8.00 so what did I have to lose, even if I didn't like the damn things, at least I'd be able to see with them on, and besides, who has EVER heard of prescription glasses starting at $8.00!! All this happened about 8 months ago by the way. Anyway, I got my glasses and all's well with the world, but then I lost the sunglass part of my glasses....the little clip on magnetic thingie. I called them up and re-ordered just the sunglass part over the phone. I love the glasses by the way and paid $15.00 each for 2 pair, can you believe it? Go to www.zennioptical.com to look at what they offer....a GREAT selection and you just can't beat the price. As hard as I am on my glasses, it's definitely where I will be ordering them again. So anyways, as usual I digress :) I received my little sunglass part and ordered 2 of them at the time, as I know that I WILL lose them, it's just a matter of time! I keep them both in the hard plastic glasses case they came in and they're in my purse and whenever I'm driving I'll just grab a pair of the shades when it's sunny out. Now....I've been doing this for a long time now, since I re-ordered the shade part I lost, which was right after I got home from Moffitt because I lost the sunglass part when I was in Tampa for the transplant. So that means, I started wearing these new shades around the 1st week in July. So for the last 4 months, when driving in the sun, I just arbitrarily open the case where I store them, usually while driving....and just grab the 1st ones I feel and snap them on. No big deal. So today, I had to run some errands, and the same thing happened. Wasn't too sunny when I left, but while driving, reached into my purse and snapped the shades on the glasses. It took me a little while and I started to say to myself....wow...fall must really be changing the leaves on the trees, they look so pretty and shiny. Then I say to myself, wow, there must be newer cars on the road because all I'm seeing is this rainbow like coating on everybody's windshield, I guess it's a "new thing" cars are coming out with to help with the glare. Today EVERYTHING looked just beautiful! Signs, lights, even trash bags filled with leaves at people's curbs (trash pick up tomorrow).....and then DUH.... it dawned me...this can't be right! Everything I'm seeing is so pretty and shiny and has a slight rainbow type effect. If I tilted my head a little this way things were green shiny.....this way was gold shiny.....and another way pink shiny. Finally I figured out it must be the shades I had put on, but it took me awhile to figure out that must be it, but what are the odds that the last 4 months EVERY TIME I have put my shades on I grabbed the exact same ones, the ones that were "normal". Every single time until today. Today these shades made my travels so pretty, so different, so shiny.....I truly WAS seeing the world through rose colored glasses and it was a much prettier world I gotta say! Wanna borrow them sometime? I wish everyone could see what I saw today. A prettier, less harsher world.....even gigantic black plastic lawn bags!! I'm gonna put them where I grab them every time from now on.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I went to Dr. Nair today to get my prescription refills back on track. I really wasn't supposed to see him for another 2 weeks, but it seems since I came back from Moffitt, the timing of when to get refills have gotten all messed up. I think what happened was I had some of my meds refilled over in Tampa and some not so when I came back, some were refilled and some not, so that made some others due the next week, and on and on, so it seemed I was running to Walgreens one week for this med and then the next week for another and I just wanted to get back on track, so I get my prescriptions and have them ALL refilled once a month. It turned into a regular doctor appt so I filled him in on my Visit to Moffitt last week, was taken off a med I didn't want to take any more, and told him Dr. Ben took me off Acyclovir (the med I was taking to prevent getting shingles which is common for BMT people). I weighed 96.5, so gained another 1/2 pound.....woo hoo! Watch...... a year from now, I'll be complaining that I have 15 pounds to lose!! My bloodwork is what came as great news today. Remember those little ole' platelets that aren't going to be normal for a year? The "normal" is a range between 140 and 440 and last bloodwork they were 128, well TODAY there were a big fat 198! Now that my friends, IS NORMAL! It just keeps getting better and better. I dare you to find a happier person than me right now. Double Dare you. :) I've been really busy with this computer stuff too and should almost be done soon. I know I said that sometime last week, but I lied! I THOUGHT I would be done, but just got so burned out I stopped all computer activity to take a break, so now I'm starting back again. I think I'll be planning a trip to West Palm to see my sissie and family not this weekend but next, if nothing comes up to interfere. I'm really looking forward to it, as while I'm down there I will be meeting up with some long time, elementary school friends, to just play catch up with everyone.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Mom and I left on Tuesday afternoon and headed to Tampa for the big 5 months post BMT appt with my doctor at Moffitt Cancer Center. My appt wasn't until Wednesday, but it was at 8am and with Tampa being a 2 hour drive, and me feeling so yucky in the mornings and taking forever to feel normal, we decided to drive over Tues afternoon and spend the night so we'd be there first thing in the morning. Otherwise, we would have had to get up REALLY early to get there by 8:00 am and fight the downtown going to work traffic in Orlando, which could make you commit hari-kari. I had emailed my artist friend Kala, who I met at Moffitt when Kate and I went to "Art Therapy" one day and we just connected and felt "at home" with each other, and I asked if she'd like to meet us for dinner while we were there. She invited us over to her beautiful home to see her art studio, paintings and jewelry and then we went for some great Thai food. We had a wonderful evening catching up and enjoying each other's company. When I figure out how to post links on this thing, I'll post a link to her website so you can see how talented she is! So the next morning Mom and I were at Moffitt bright and early where I first went and gave some blood and then went to the hematology clinic to see my doctor. They called me back and I answered the usual questions and had my vitals taken.......which by the way I weighed 96 lbs! Woo Hoo! It's the bagels and cream cheese kick I'm on I think! Dr. Ben came in and we talked about my labs and he said he was just thrilled at how well I'm doing in such a short time and how well I have responded to the transplant. The original "treatment plan" when I was discharged after the transplant was that I would go back to Moffitt for 3-6-9 and 12 month post BMT visits and at the year visit I would have another bone marrow biopsy. Well, Dr. Ben said that he did not need to see me ANYMORE and that he felt very comfortable leaving me in the care of Dr. Nair and if there were any issues with my health that Dr. Nair would contact him. He said Dr. Nair is a great doctor and that I was in good hands with him. Now THAT, I already knew.....but Dr. Nair and Dr. Ben know each other as Dr. Nair worked at Moffitt for 5 years in the Bone Marrow Program, and when I became his patient, he referred me specifically to Dr. Ben for my transplant as he is considered one of the best MM doctors in the country. Again, divine intervention. The doctor I just happened to choose out of all the oncologists in my insurance book just happens to be a specialist in Multiple Myeloma and had worked in one of the most prestigious cancer hospitals under one of the most prestigious doctors that specializes in my type of cancer! So, my friends, I guess I got "fired"! I told him that and he laughed and he said the less I have to see him the better, which is oh so true. So........no more trekking over to Tampa anymore. AWESOME! And only once a month to Dr. Nair...gee what am I going to do with all this free time now, after being scheduled once a week (or more) for over a year and half? LIVE LIFE! After my visit with Dr. Ben, Mom and I snuck up to the BMT clinic to see the nurses that had taken such wonderful care of me. We just wanted to say hi and show them what the results of all their hard work looked like! I was sooooooo happy to see them and they were soooooooo thrilled to see me. It felt really really good. The positive energy was tremendous! They all hugged me and told me how great I looked and they said I "made their day" coming in to visit. I know when my "old" patients would come back to see me it felt so good to know that they were doing great so I guess seeing me doing so well was gratifying for them. All in all, we had a WONDERFUL trip to Tampa, and at this time I have been declared officially cancer free and in remission. I've posted some photos to me with Kala and Dr. Ben. I am so friggin happy right now :)
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I am sooooooo sorry to do this to you, but so many people have asked me how the "hair" situation is. Or more accurately.....the "lack of hair" situation is! I deserve the National Medal of Honor for Bravery during Battle (the Cancer Battle), for even allowing you into this most secret (well not really secret if you see me on a daily basis) part of my life. I am posting the photos I took the other day of my "hairy situation". How horrid this is, but I have no fear. :) Good thing I don't embarrass easily......as a matter of fact.....who gives a shit how my hair looks? Don't raise your hands, please. I suppose in this hair growing back phase of my life, I will have many many awkward "phases" of hair re-growth and I will shamelessly share them all with you my friends. It wouldn't be fair, would it, if I only shared parts of my journey? Oh, hell NO. With me you get all the down and dirty details LOL.....aren't YOU lucky? At this point though, when I look in the mirror, I want my shiny bald head back, as I think my head looked much better totally bald than with this stubble I've got going on now. So anyway, I present you with the new and unimproved Jan. Let's see, these photos reflect that I am 142 days post the chemo that makes your hair fall out. I received the chemo on May 12th and 13th, and the hair started it's falling out process about 10 days after that. Gee my hair grows fast (wink wink)
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Remember I told you I ran a bunch of errands yesterday? Well this has been in my brain since then, but I needed to think about it more and process my thoughts about it more, before I could write about it today. When I was standing in line to check out at Target, there were 2 women in front of me. Their ages are meaningless, as the story could apply to any age or sex actually. But before I tell my "Target story" though......just a wee bit of background on why I'm thinking and feeling this way. I think that before cancer (BC...how appropriate!!) we have a tendency to go through life on a kind of "auto-pilot" and have conditioned ourselves to think and respond to situations in the same old ways. I think at times anyway, we tend to exaggerate the stupid petty things in life and let them get under our skin, like a spill on the carpet, traffic on the roads, an irritating co-worker....whatever.....you know what I mean, life's little annoyances that we make ourselves crazy about. We tend , at times, to let them get the best of us and disturb our world, disturb our peace in the world, when really, c'mon.....they are just too petty to even dignify by letting them interfere in our world. Now that I have cancer and consider myself a cancer survivor, I want to think that I am beyond this stage of "conditioned responses". I feel I have been given the gift of seeing the bigger picture (on most days....hey I'm human!), I rarely even give a second thought to, what in the past I would have possibly let interfere in my life. I gave the person or incident power over me to change my mood (never to the positive LOL).....and steal from me the precious present. I can remember coming home or talking to friends and repeating whatever it was that pissed me off or irritated the crap out of me, which gave it double the power since it was still in my conscious brain! OK......now we're back at Target and I think now "after cancer" has made me a bit more observant about myself and others. As I was saying these 2 ladies were in line in front of me and there were only 3 registers open. I was the 4th person in this line. I will admit I think we did have a particularly slow check out gal, but oh well, that's the line I chose to stand in and Murphy's Law dictates it will always be the slowest!! These ladies in front of me started to get a little agitated and complaining (a bit loudly), which I will admit that I myself have been guilty of in the past. I was standing there listening to them, and I'm thinking to myself, dang.....I'll stand in line all day and be glad I'm alive to do it!! Having been through so much in the last 1-1/2 years, being so sick, more than I thought a person could ever be and still live, being given a diagnosis that surely meant a death sentence in the not so distant past, well hell...........I'm still here......I'm alive.....and I'm feeling pretty damn good right now. Cancer makes you realize that all you have is RIGHT NOW. You don't have an hour from now, or a day, or a week or a year from now. No guarantees people. So....back to Target (sorry I digress, as usual).....I felt like tapping them politely on the shoulder, telling them my story and then asking them if they possibly knew how many people would gladly trade places with them because it is a priceless gift to be alive and standing in line today. My motto these days is asking myself....."does THIS really matter?" "will it matter tomorrow or next week or next month?"....the answer is always a big fat NO. And oh yeah....one more thing......the gift of being thankful.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I can't believe that it's already October! These are the times of year I wish I lived "up north" so you would actually know there is a changing of the seasons. Living in Florida for basically your whole life, makes you miss out on some of the most beautiful times of year, with the colors changing on the trees. A little further north in Florida you can catch a bit of the seasonal change and then I have even more of a seasonal change than my sister does in So. FL. The great thing about this time of year for us is that we are nearing the end of the hellacious hurricane season, so we can breathe easier..... at least for one more year. I ran a bunch of errands today after a really nice conversation on the internet with my friend Susz who I met through an online support group. She has been in remission for over a year now, so I tell her she is my role model! I didn't even know you could do kinda an IM thing through our support, but she did, so it was nice having a "real time" conversation with her. She lives in Canada.....isn't the internet the BEST invention ever?? After I showered I ran to Walgreens for my prescription, then Walmart, then Target, then the bagel store (yum), and then CVS. In and out and in and out of the car, wears my skinny little butt out! It was all for stupid little things like Coke on sale etc, and I kinda wanted to get away from the computer for a while, as it seems that all I'm doing lately is typing, uploading, downloading etc etc, so I needed to get out of the house so I wouldn't do it for hours again today! I took some pictures of my beautiful hair growth, so I'll upload them tonite and post again tomorrow, to show you how luscious my hair is. :)