Saturday, December 27, 2008

All's Quiet on the "Southern" Front....

How was everyone's Christmas? I hope that ya'll had an awesome holiday celebrating with family and friends. This morning I went from a houseful of people to just me and the dogs! Very quiet now, except of course for the occasional barking when the dogs get a wild hair to get crazy or when they spot a squirrel in the yard! Kate, Dicky, Chris and Sarah and then Kevin and both our girls left for the Palm Beaches this morning, where they all live. As I told you, it was my year for xmas so everyone came up here to celebrate and they left today as everyone has a ton of stuff to do. First I want to wish my "Baby Sawah", my niece Sarah, a very happy birthday today.....she's the "baby" of the family and time just flies by when I realize she is now 23! She's having a shindig tonite (isn't that what we do in our 20's? LOL) so they have to get ready for that today so they wanted to hit the road pretty early as it's a 2 1/2 hour drive to Jupiter. Kevin and Ashley and Lindsay left for WPB too as they're going to Kevin's house for a few days since Linz is in from Vegas and wants to see her other Grandma and other family members, while she was at least in the same state! They'll be back on Monday afternoon and stay here until Linz and Anthony head back to Vegas on NY's Eve. They'll get back to Sin City sometime in the afternoon in plenty of time to get home, shower, chill and then go out for NY eve celebrating! Kinda cool to be spending NY eve in Vegas, as either NY or Vegas is "the place to be" on NY eve if you like the party thing goin on. Me? Shit....I'm lucky if I stay up late enough to see the ball drop anymore! LOL Guess my partyin days are over rover!! But who knows what the future holds.....hey....I might hook up with a handsome, rich man some day and get a second wind for NY eve.....hey , stop never know!
We had a wonderful Christmas this year, and I am and always have been, the "designated" prayer person, and I tried to make it short and sweet, but had to spend a minute or two on how grateful I am to see another Xmas, and how everyone sitting at the table with me, was responsible for getting me through that time in my life. I tried not to cry, but did a little, as the feelings about that run so deep. On Christmas Day it was exactly 28 weeks since my transplant. It's funny that some days it feels like it was sooooooo long ago and on other days, it feels like it was just like yesterday......I wonder how/why things are like that? I'm sure you know the feeling about something that has happened in your own life. I just know that every day I have IS a gift and I just want to scream that from the tops of the world, to remind people that you only have today, as there are no guarantees for the rest, so stop and enjoy....let the little things that bug you roll off your back and don't give them a 2nd thought, be kind, be grateful, be calm and just remember the Serenity Prayer (short version: if you can do something about it and if you can't....let it go). I've posted some Christmas photos of me and the family....and a dog or 2 snuck in too :) Be back soon!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

To all a Good Day.....


You are all in my thoughts and prayers this wonderful Christmas Day!

Much Love, Peace and Wonder.....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Santy Claus is Almost Here.....

This will be my last entry until after Christmas, as I don't see myself having any spare minutes to write much until after all of the festivities are over. So I sit here and "talk" to you with a hot cup of coffee (on my second one) and the morning paper 1/2 read, (I'll get back to it) and my laptop where else but on my lap (boy they named them appropriately, didn't they?...LOL).....because I had the urge to write. This is a really special time of year for me. I have always LOVED family has always been big on maybe it's genetic. I love EVERYTHING about it.......the tree.... the music.....the wrapping paper......the sparkles.....the (somewhat) cold weather, and today the HIGH will be 60 and low's 40 (YAY), but I hear Christmas Day will be back into the low 80's ......and that's a BAH HUMBUG. Oh yeah, I lost track of all the things I love about Christmas, but what I love the most is the togetherness......the family time.....the laughter......the games/cards/fun.......and the giving to each other. The thoughtfulness that goes into each gift given is important in our family, but of course we do give our share of "joke" gifts too, which I'll tell you about AFTER we open up presents! I am feeling that this is a landmark Christmas for me for some reason. Maybe it's because the last 2 have been so miserable and this Christmas feels the way it used to feel. I really have no other reason to feel that this is so special....except of course, we have all had a helluva year, thanks to me :) so we do have a special reason to be grateful and thankful and to celebrate the Universe this Christmas. I just want to take this time right now to thank EVERYONE in my life (some of you I know and some I have never met),for being so supportive and loving and caring and concerned this past year. I am now 7 months POST Bone Marrow Transplant, and without all of your thoughts and prayers and support, I know I could not have done it. Every email you send, regular card, e-card, comment on my blog.....whatever....translates into a pat on the back or I hear "go get em Jan" when I get them, and in turn it makes me smile knowing I have you in my corner rooting me on, which then in turn increases all those healing endorphins that make me stay strong and determined to fight any way I can. So THANK YOU.......You are all my gift, for which I am thankful this season. To change the subject just a hair.....HA...I crack myself up......I am posting photos of the "new do" I've got goin on, as some of you ask about how my hair is doing (like it has a life of it's own.....LOL) I'm going to post some photos taken yesterday of me (Linz took them) and of the house all Christmassy. May you have a wonderful, blessed Christmas and I'll talk to you again between Christmas and New Year's.
Love and Peace to All

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gettin There......

Almost done with all the "pre-Christmas" things on my "to-do" list, which mainly consists of finishing cleaning the house, and getting down all the X-mas platters, serving dishes etc etc. to make sure I've got everything I'll be needing. I finally finished the tree decorating ('s a big un) and have completed decorating the house, so that's all finally done. I will finish cleaning the patio tomorrow and the sliding glass doors (my house basically has no walls to speak of.....I'd say about 2/3 of my house walls are sliding glass doors that look onto my wooded yard, so when I say I'm doing the sliding glass doors, we're talking ALOT of glass folks! I will be all finished up by tomorrow though, (come hell or high water) LOL..... so then on to making the holiday menus, a grocery shopping list and my baking shopping list (oh of my favorite things to do around xmas), and then I have to finish up my gift shopping and of course the "stocking stuffers". Lindsay will be here on this coming Thursday the 18th and will be here until New Year's Eve, so I'm really excited to see my "baby". It's been 3 months since she moved to Las Vegas, and that's the longest I have ever NOT seen her, so I'm so looking forward to having her home for a few weeks! My ex, Kevin is also coming up for xmas and will be staying here with us for about a week, and it will be great having him here too. Kevin and I have a special relationship I think, as we get along great, and he loves my family and my family loves him, so it's turning out to be an awesome xmas, I do believe! :) When my family gets together, we all just have a great time, and we play games and just hang out, so this has all the "makings" of a super xmas for us all. I am just so so grateful and thankful that I am feeling so well these days, and up to the task of having xmas here and all the things that go along with that, as the last 2 christmases I have been really too sick to even enjoy xmas, let alone decorate and host it. My stamina is incredible for someone just 6 months post BMT, and speaking of which, I received an email from the ASH, which is the American Society of Hematologists about their annual meeting which had lots of great news about MM, and I plan on calling Dr. Nair and talking to him about a few things I read, and getting some clarification and I also have a few questions for him, but as far as I can tell, all's well on the MM front, and this damn disease already took 2 holidays from me and I'll be damned it it's going to take another!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Started......but not Finished

I finally finished all jewelry related tasks and got all items put away, which is a really good thing considering I had practically every flat surface strewn with all my materials I was working with! There's even a place to sit down and eat now, without carefully moving things around! I did have a Dr. Nair appt on Wed 12/10, with the usual bloodwork drawn and again the CBC labs all came back normal as it has been.....even those pesky little platelets. My RBC's still haven't reached normal levels yet, but they aren't low enough to receive a shot to boost them, which I have had to do in the past, so really all is well in my little corner of the world. In my once a month visits now, they always draw 2 they test right there in the office (the CBC) and one they send out to a lab that does the "cancer" bloodwork thing. He also gave me a scrip for my dreaded once a month "pee" test, which I'll have done before my next appt in January. That's the test I have anxiety about, as the dreaded little Bence Jones (cancer cells) guys usually show up there first. Again, once you have cancer, you always have cancer......whether it's active or not, it is always there. Just something to live with. It sucks......and oh well for me. Dr. Nair said he thinks I look really healthy, and even despite this cold I STILL HAVE, my chest is clear and he's really happy with how things are going since my transplant. I will be 7 months post transplant on 12/15!! Even though I have been really busy, which is a good thing, when I stop and get quiet, I realize I do have this little knot in the pit of my stomach and again, I believe it goes back to the thinking that the farther away I get from transplant, the closer I get to relapse. I want you to understand, that I'm not focusing on that, or dwelling on that, or obsessed by's just a fact that it will happen. I belong to a few websites about MM which send me lots of great info about studies and clinical trials and new therapies for MM, and the latest things I've read look very promising for me. The latest study indicated that the majority of patients treated with my chemo and the BMT have a 3 year period before relapse occurs. That's a long time folks in the MM world. Prior to these newer drugs and treatments, if you got 1 year, you were doing good, that's how ugly and aggressive this kind of cancer is. So, I plan on even extending that 3 year goal personally :) I'm thinking that maybe that little knot in my stomach is just my way of reminding myself that every day IS a gift......don't get cocky and forget you have MM as when it does rear it's ugly head again, I will be somewhat prepared, rather than having been in denial and it hitting me like a ton of bricks when it returns. Quite a tightrope I have to walk huh? On the one hand, if I think about it all the time (not my style anyway), it prevents you from living your life in the present, and on the other hand if you deny it's existance, when (not a question of is a when) it does return, I would be so blown away, it would be like getting the cancer news all over again. So it seems as if my only choice is to be stuck in the middle of constantly acknowledging it, while also actively living my life. And who said I couldn't juggle? LOL Physically I can only juggle 2 things, metaphorically......oh.....about a dozen or so!! I started putting up the tree yesterday, but had to stop because of oh yeah....FRIGGIN LIGHTS! LOL....I have to say, I have been very lucky re: the light thing for a long time now. I've had the same lights for about 10 years....which may be a Guiness World Record (I'll have to look into that)....but alas, my luck ran out this year and some didn't work...some only 1/2 the know the drill I'm after screwing around with strand after strand and replacing bulb after bulb, etc......I finally said screw it....tossed the ones that didn't work and will be running out shortly to get more lights for the tree. I say I've had a damn good run with those lights, so I'm not complaining, except I did waste about 3 hours trying to get them to work before finally tossing them! I am stubborn, aren't I? That quality serves me well sometimes.....and sometimes not! LOL to get more lights, and when that's done, I'll concentrate on decorating the rest of the house, shopping and baking.....the FUN stuff! I'll take a photo of the tree when all the NEW LIGHTS are on.....and if I didn't mention it, my tree is 13 feet tall, so I have a shitload of lights to buy and hang! LOL.....I know what the rest of my day looks like.

Friday, December 5, 2008

*** The Cruise ***

Wow.....where to begin? Firstly, I want to tell you that we all had the best time EVER on this 8 day Cruise! Just the facts ma'am....just the facts......first! The ship was called the Carnival Liberty, and is the largest in their fleet thus far. Beautifully decorated.....11 floors......6 (or more) Hot tubs.......3 huge pools with twisty curvy golf etc ball courts.......choices of many dining of bars (ie piano, disco, jazz, oldie goldies, you name it), all different kinds of bands, vegas type entertainment, and I have only listed some of the amenities, as there really are too many to list. In our cabin each evening, was a list of "Events" for the next day and they started at like 6:00 am and ended with the last thing starting around 1:00 am. If you are the ambitious type you could literally be scheduled from the minute you wake up till the minute your head hit the bed and never do the same thing twice the entire trip! The beauty of a cruise, in my opinion, is that you can be as busy as you'd like or as unbusy as you would like. You can join in any, all or some events or you could grab a book, lay on the deck and read, nap, or walk around and people watch, swim, jacuzzi or whatever your mood dictated you do. I truly believe, especially for the money, cruising is the best vacation you could choose, because of all of the options available. Our ports of call were Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Maartin and again, when arriving in your port, you had a choice of at least 15 different "excursions" you could book (all reasonable I thought), from just a tour of the island to riding horses on the beach, to many choices to decide on. could not even get off the ship if you didn't want to (although I don't know why you wouldn't!) I especially think it's a great vacation for alot of people (ie family get-togethers, birthdays etc) as you have the freedom to do what you want, yet meet up with the others at a designated time to do something together. All together there were 9 of us and everyone did what they wanted to do when they wanted to do it......and that included dining too. OH THE FOOD!! LOL......ANYTHING you could imagaine and more and your choices of sit down dining for all 3 meals OR a buffett for all 3 meals, or the Burger/sandwich/mexican/sushi/other stations that were open 24/7.....and let's not forget room service, which cost nothing extra at all. We had 2 pots of coffee waking us up every morning at our requested time (and not a minute late either) and more than once we weren't hungry when it was time for "sit down dining room time" so we'd grab either the late nite buffett or order room service (desert included...and I mean warm cookies and milk!) Anything and everything and as much as you want was available. I think Carnival Cruise Lines to needs to call me for an endorsement, as we all truly had such a great time and I really can't think of a better way that gets everyone's vacation needs met in one place. A highlight at our St. Thomas port was that 5 of us chose to take a water taxi and bus to go snorkeling on St. John's for the day and if you've ever been to the caribbean you know that there are NO WORDS to describe the beauty of the waters. Colors of blues and aquas you never dreamed of and of course crystal clear. The water was a bit cool for me, but I slowly got myself in and after that it was fine. I hadn't been diving in quite some time, so it really felt good to get all suited up and spend some time underwater. Nothing like cruising around underwater, looking at all the gorgeous colors and types of fish and coral and rocks to appreciate the wonders of the Universe. Truly an awesome feeling. I'm adding some photos from the cruise and in them you'll see me and Kate and Dicky, and my Uncle Tom and Patty, and Mom and Van and Dicky's sister Terry and her fiancee Bill. I am looking forward to booking my next cruise, so anybody wanna join me? Oh yeah......I walked away EVERY NIGHT from the BlackJack table WITH money in my pocket (theirs.....not mine) and even won a seat at a black jack tournament (my first ever).....I was in the #1 position for about 1 1/2 hours. WOO HOO! Now how can you go wrong with taking a kickass vacation AND coming home with money you've won?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Finishing Up Loose Ends.....

Today will be spent tying up loose ends, regardless of how I feel. I have always been the kind of person that does things when they say they will and a pretty much punctual person, yet my time management skills since transplant, have left something to be desired and then coupled with what has truly been a packed schedule, I feel that I am "under the gun" so to speak. My priority today is to complete all my custom orders and get them out in the mail tomorrow. Generally, when I take a custom order, I ask for 7-10 days to complete. What happened this time was that I had 3 shows in a row, then was home only 4 days, then away on cruise for 8, and now just home for a week, but then Thanksgiving and a horrid fever- running cold, so TODAY no matter what, I am finishing up to get this off my plate and deliver the goodies to my customers, so then I can begin the next task of getting the tree up and focus on Christmas, which is here this year. We are having a "cold snap" again this week, unusual for us Floridians that our cold weather lasts more than a day or 2, but while we were cruising, here at home it was cold the entire week, and now again we are cold for another week. YAY! When I got up to get the paper about 7:30 this morning, if I didn't know better, I would have sworn it snowed here last night!! We did have a rare "freeze warning" so it got so cold, that my neighbors entire roof and front yard was pure white, like it had snowed! Really pretty! When I got the paper it was a nippy 43 degrees. I'm sure for northerners reading this you're thinking "WHAT?!?!...that's spring weather" but for us down south, it's pretty nippy and time to start the fires and get some hot chocolate going on! So after today, I'll begin concentrating on the Holiday "stuff" to I said for the 1st time in 2 years, if will be here as in the past, Kate and I would alternate holidays and take turns with Thanksgiving & Christmas, but because of my cancer issues, she was gracious enough to host it for the last 2 years, and I did not decorate, which broke my heart, so even though it's alot of work, I am really looking forward to decorating, baking, and putting up our 13 ft tree! Well, "times-a-wastin" (wink wink) off to wrap things up. I'll be posting some cruise photos with my next entry, so get ready for adventures on the "high seas" :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Giving the Ole Immune System a "Test Run"

I mentioned I thought I has getting a cold......well let me correct that. I DO have an OUTRAGEOUS cold right now.....the whole tamale too. Head ready to explode and making an actual banging sound......a virtual snot manufacturing company, aching in every joint of my body AND I'M RUNNING A FEVER!! Now for the good news.......I feel better today than I have for the last 3 days, so in essence, I believe I am healing from this thing so that means I have an actual IMMUNE SYSTEM that is working to fight off this thing! Isn't that wonderful?!? Back during Bone Marrow Transplant days a fever was considered to be 99.4 and I got up to 101.00 on sunday and I'm here to tell the tale and feeling a "titch" better, so that means all is well in MM world and my body is fighting off the things it darn well should, but couldn't at one point. So when looking at the situation through the MM glasses I am forced to's PARTY TIME THAT I GOT SICK AND COULD HANDLE IT! YAY! Never been so happy to be so miserable!! LOL Only drawback to feeling shitty is that I don't feel well enough to do some things I should be doing, but then again.....learning to listen to my body is a new skill for me and I'm learning to do it, so I am doing nothing but watching TV and writing to you right now. That's all for now folks...just shot my wad of energy, but will be back very soon as I have lots of rumblings going on inside and want to share with you. Love to all

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wakin Up & Smellin the Coffee......

I'm slowly working on my 2nd cup of coffee right now, slowly going thru the newspaper and slowly deciding to make another blog entry since I have so much catching up to do. You'll notice that the operative word in the above sentence is SLOWLY......dang.....mornings are so crappy for me and cold mornings just add to my slowness!! Not that I'm complaining......far from it.......I LOVE our Florida COLD WEATHER, and it's been perfect lately.....high in 60's and low in 40's... WITH the sun out...that is stunning weather, and if I could have it my way, we'd have that kind of weather 6 months of the year! Mornings just find me very achy, bones & muscles yelling at me, but hey...small price to pay for having a life to live! I have had a whirlwind of a life lately too, huh? First 3 Jewelry Shows in West Palm (and for those of you who ordered from me....all orders will be in the mail by the end of the week).....then home only 4 days and then left for an 8 day cruise to the Caribbean, and then home for 4 days and then Thanksgiving and the day after was my daughter Ashley's 28th Birthday. Sheesh.....slow down the world for a minute, please. Just for a sec to catch my breath!! Well, no moss will grow under my feet, now that I've been blessed with a "second chance", but I am starting the beginnings of what feels like a cold coming on, so that I'm sure is the Universe's way to say SLOW DOWN CHICKADEE. Which I plan on.......therefore....lucky or unlucky you (LOL).....I'll be slowing down and writing about some things going on is this feeble little chemo brain of mine. Hugs & Peace

Friday, November 28, 2008

To Be Thankful......

I have so many things to catch up on and share with you, but the overwhelming topic swimming around in my mind (and heart) is "Thanksgiving" and "Thankfulness" right now. I'm probably going to sound sappy and like I should be writing for Hallmark cards, LOL, but yesterday (Thanksgiving) was especially special for me this year. I've always been the "chosen" person to say grace before the meal, and yesterday was no different. I was warned, in a joking way, of course, not to go through the entire litany of all that I am thankful for this year, as dinner would have gotten colder than ice if I had! I was sad though, that entire family wasn't present for the meal like usual, but we have only been home from our cruise for 4 days when Thanksgiving came around, and we didn't want to turn around and go back to West Palm for one meal, having just been gone and with all of us being together for an 8 day cruise. (LOTS more on the cruise with photos later)!! So Thanksgiving was at Mom's with Mom, Van, me, Ashley and Kevin this year. We did get Linz and Kate on the phone though, for the "drawing of the names" for Christmas gifts, so they could be a part of the process, while we were drawing Live! That's also something new for our family starting just last xmas and now this one, BUT we are planning to go back to the "old way" of doing things next year. In all years past, we all just all bought presents for everyone and had a field day. Since the economy has been so crappy, Kate starting her own business, me with all my medical bills, and really lots of other reasons, we reverted to name drawing, which really no one likes, but hopefully this is the last year we'll be doing it, and then go back to buying presents for everyone. This way we all have a year to re-coup, save some money and go back to the way we love to have x-mas......everyone buys for everyone! But back to my Thanksgiving thoughts.......I think that it's common to give "lip service" to saying "I'm thankful for this or that", but when a person is faced with what is truly life changing events, it makes one really push the "PAUSE" button and slowly think through the events of the year, become quiet within, and listen to what your heart is telling you what you are thankful for.My list is actually quite endless this year......and I feel that I have always pretty much been the kind of person that has recognized and given thanks for all that I have been given in life, it is only human to "take advantage" of all that any of us are blessed with and not truly recognize and name what we are thankful for, both big and small, but for me on the #1 all time "Thanksgiving" hit list is FAMILY. I have always LOVED and more importantly, I think, LIKED my family. We all are so funny and smart and laugh and just enjoy each other, yet this year my family's attributes that I so adore and feel fortunate for, were there for me a thousand fold and more. I can truly say I OWE MY LIFE to my family. I cry as a write this, as the deep deep gratitude I feel can become an overwhelming feeling for me. I don't know that many people who are as fortunate as I am, to have their entire family literally put THEIR lives on "HOLD" the way mine did for me. I've been sick for so very long and they stood, walked with, carried me, talked, listened, and more, this whole time and I NEVER felt alone......NEVER. They encouraged, cajoled, kicked me in the butt when I needed it, you name needs were met, even when I didn't know what they were. I know I can truly count on my family to be there for me no matter what. Now fortunate am I? I can honestly say I AM the the most fortunate person in the whole universe and extremely thankful for my family. We all tend to get caught up in the material things of life, homes, toys, etc.....but they won't be with you during the hard times, cheering you's your family that will be there. I just want the whole wide world to know, that my family is sooooo awesome, something that is so deeply engraved in my heart. I will never be able to say it enough, and there really are no words adequate enough to express how very truly grateful and thankful I am to have these wonderful people chosen to be on this journey of life with me. My Family.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The "Pee Pee" Results.... :)

Today I had a Dr. Nair appt to go over the results of my 24 hour Urine test which I dropped off on Monday and the results would indicate if any Multiple Myeloma Cells might be creeping and sneaking around in my blood system BUT my results came back a BIG FAT ZERO! Yay for my pee! I was just SOOOOO excited to hear this news today. As a matter of fact, my entire blood counts are looking awesome and even those pesky little platelets have already reached 211 according to today's test and as I've mentioned before, the normal range starts at 140. So some really really great news today which makes me a very happy gal. Lately though, I've been having just a low grade anxiety around "relapsing". I know this is the nature of my disease and something I will have to learn to live with, although "learning to live with it" is an even ludicis way to look at it. How do you "learn to live" with waiting for the news that your cancer has become active again? I don't think you really do ever "learn" that. I guess it's the ole "waiting for the other shoe to drop" feeling. It's not all encompassing or too invasive, but it's been there and I recognized it and gave it some thought. In several ways lately, my attention has been drawn to the fact that more than a few people have relapsed around the 1 year mark, so now it's kinda weird, because at first I was counting the days AWAY from my transplant and now I'm counting days TO the 1 year anniversary mark, and that's 1 thing I think, that has been contributing to "goin down the road" of thinking about relapse.'s not consuming me or anything....just a nagging little thought that creeps in now and then. My life is really great right now.....I'm physically feeling better than I have in more than 2 years now, I'm busy and excited about Jashlin Jewelry, and for the first time in a long time I'm setting goals and working towards them. My life was so uncertain for so long, that thinking about setting goals, let alone setting them, was near to impossible for me. It's kinda difficult to frame goals in your mind and outline steps to reach them, when you're not even sure whether you will live or not! I've always been a goal setting kind of person, so living my life in limbo for so long was hard for me. And getting back to my previous line of that I'm only a few days from being 6 months post transplant, I guess what I'm trying to say it's the time now, when I am getting farther and farther away from my transplant and knowing my kind of cancer is not "curable" and I will inevitably relapse, the farther away from transplant makes me closer to relapse. Am I making any sense to you? It's all kinda jumbled in my head a bit, but I hope I am being clear in expressing myself and this fear. More on this later...... On a lighter and happier note.......well, besides getting the BEST medical news ever today :) I am leaving for an 8 day cruise in a few days and couldn't be more excited! I'll be really busy tomorrow with organizing and packing and doing those "last minute" stuff that seems to come up before a get-away, but I am sooooooo looking forward to a week on the "high seas"....island hopping.....watching las vegas type shows....chillin....sitting on the deck with a good book....playing some blackjack...... going to the clubs......taking some shore excursions and most of all, just spending time with my family. I might even treat myself to the spa for a thing or hair appts for me though LOL I'll be taking the laptop with me so will check in with you during the week. peace & hugs

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wow.....being the Early Bird today!!!

Ha...........and you didn't believe me did you? Not that I can blame you, since I have said in the past "it won't be a week till I post again" and it turned out it was a week, but NOT this time. I told you I was going to prioritize and I did. I'm working on the last bit of coffee and "perusing" the daily paper, then gonna jump in the shower and run the "PEE CONTAINER" to the lab!! You walk in the lab with this can that resembles a rather large plastic gas can, but of course it can't be non-descript. It's an orange neon color that's like walking in with a flashing sign saying "I've got PEE......I've got PEE.....I'm having my PEE tested.....I'm having my Pee tested". I don't personally care one way or another, but it does crack me up, the peripheral "stuff" that goes along with this cancer crap. God blessed me with a warped and twisted sense of humor for which I am eternally grateful :)
First things first......Let's all stand up and sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sister, KATHRYN LYNN TANCIG (aka.....Kate.....Kathy......Aunt Kate) She deserves the BEST of everything as she truly is the most loving, caring, thoughtful, fair person in the entire world and anyone who knows her will back me up. Of course I'm a bit prejudiced being her sissie, but it's all true :) HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATE! After dropping off the PEE CONTAINER ( I think I like capitalizing that word), I'm gonna run a few errands and then come back and hit the studio. What is also time consuming with having an "internet" jewelry business is the importance and time it takes to photograph and write a description of the items. I think jewelry is a rather "tactile" thing. Everyone wants to hold it up and look in the mirror etc etc and on the internet you can't do that (I'm sure in the future someone will figure out how to do that!!) so in the meantime, I have to take some kick ass photos and be very descriptive in describing. (that's redundant!) It really takes forever to get the photos great and clear with no shadows and weird chit in there and then to go over every piece and basically describe it bead for bead, takes me a long time. I suppose I'll get better at it and quicker the more I do it, but for now it takes me a long time. And then AFTER taking the photos....then you hae to upload them into the camera....crop and "fix" them, name them, watermark them (for copyright purposes.....ha.....I WISH a big time designer would find me somehow). So between working on filling my WPB orders and trying to get some new stuff up on the web, well....I'm a busy gal till I leave for the cruise. Also gotta squeeze in a doctor appt for an IV session and seeing my awesome Dr. Nair, running to the bank (oh yes I need some gamblin money and spending money for some cool "island shopping"!) and just the usual last minute "before a trip grab stuff "shopping I need to do. I can either do that today or on Thurs. as I'll be out and about when I take my brother Greg to the airport that day as he's flying back to Colorado for his winter job. Sometime between now and noon Friday when we leave for WPB I'll throw in some laundry since having some clean clothes to wear might be nice too :)
When I was at Kate's last week it was Halloween and my nephew Chris had to dress up for his job so I thought I'd have some fun too. I used to have a Halloween Party every year to go to when Colleen had her annual BASH, but no more, so I've posted some Halloween photos of myself I just had to take!! Talk to you tomorrow...... and oh yeah.....sometime shortly I'll post a link and some photos of my jewelry for sale, but here's just a few photos to start. Love ya.....and, oh yeah, PLEASE SIGN IN and leave a comment once in awhile so I know who's coming to say HI.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I sound like a Broken Record......

I feel so neglectful lately and I really really miss writing in my blog, so no excuses, I'm just going to prioritize things and make it go back up to the top. The intentions were there, yet I didn't follow through and I'm kinda mad at myself about that. I have all these things I want to talk about too and they just rumble and rumble around in my head. I do talk about them, but really haven't been doing too much of that lately either.....what a shock! I've just been really busy trying my best to get Jashlin Jewelry up and running that that's all I have been focusing on really. For 2 weeks prior to the WPB shows I was preparing and making jewelry, making beads, firing the beads and then you have to clean the holes of the beads too. Then I went to WPB for 5 days and had 3 very successful Jewelry Shows (one at Jan's office, one at the school where my niece works and one at Kate's old work) while I was there and since I've been home (came home Wed. the 5th), I've been working on custom orders, making beads, etc etc. I feel somewhat under the gun as I leave this upcoming Friday the 14th to go back to WPB as I'm leaving for a cruise on Sat the 15th!! YAY!!!! It will be my sissie's 50th Birthday tomorrow (the 10th), so instead of doing "the usual" she wanted to make this memorable, so a few months ago, the family decided to go on a cruise to the Caribbean and best of all, my Uncle Tom and Patty are joining us from Wichita so I just can't wait to go! It will be Kate and Dicky and Mom and Van and me and Tom and Patty and Terry and her husband (Dicky's sister). We'll be going to Puerto Rico, St Thomas and another St. Somewhere (can't remember right now.......LOL) Sounds like the Jimmy Buffett song! :)
I've been on cruises before but not the size of this ship. It's the Carnival Liberty, so if you get bored look it up on the internet and see what kind of ship, activities and food we'll be looking at! They say you gain 10 lbs on a cruise, so that sounds great to me! Clocking in at 99 lbs today! The food is supposed to be fabulous and it's like all you can eat lobster and yummy things like that. Count me in....I'm even getting kinda hungry right now just thinkin about it. Getting back to WPB for a minute.....while I was there I had a long overdue get together with some friends that go all the way back to Elementary School and High School. My friend Jan (do you know she is the only other Jan I've ever known my entire life?) had a jewelry party at her husband's office where I met some really nice people, saw Jan again after many years, and another friend Kathe came to see me there and I've actually known Kathe and her family since we were little bitty 5 years old!! On that Sunday, Jan, me my friend Beth and my friend Julia met for brunch at this really cute cafe and I had a great time playing "catch up" with all of them. Everyone looked TERRIFIC too!! I feel so fortunate that Jan reached out to me when she got word from Beth that I had cancer. Jan then emailed me and that's when our re-connection began. She and I have been emailing back and forth and I truly so appreciate the effort Jan has made and that my friends made an effort to come see me while I was there. From now on, we will not lose touch and that's the way it was meant to be. I love the way the Universe works. Really wonderful things happen through the so called "bad times". It really does show you who in your life is there for you, when you least suspect it. In that same vein, I have received many emails from people who have stumbled upon this blog in some way and have made "friends" with them as they too are going through this journey or someone they love is going through it and we have joined hands in support of one another. How wonderful that this ugly ugly disease can make something so beautiful. I'm having a bit of anxiety today, as today is "pee" term for the every so often " 24 urine collection" I have to do. I collect all day today and 1st pee in the morning and then have to run it to the lab. It's something I will have to do for the rest of my of the little cancer gifts......and I don't think I'll ever really get used to it as the test results will let us know if my protein levels are up and that in turn means my MM has returned. This urine test and a bone marrow biopsy are the determiners, so now it will be the wait and see game while waiting for the test results. I am now 6 months post transplant. I've posted some photos of my get together with friends. won't be another week or so when I come talk to you here. I have lots of things in my head.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I've been so BUSY, Ya'll!

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'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 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, 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

Seeing the World thru "Rose Colored" Glasses..... REALLY!

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, 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.'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 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 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

Another Great Report........

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

Remission, Anyone?

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. 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 SOOOOO ready for HALLOWEEN......No Costume Needed

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 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

About Yesterday......

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 ( 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 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! 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 more thing......the gift of being thankful.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

WOW...October already?

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. :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Still Pluggin' Along.....

I'm still working on listing this website stuff, but should be totally done (hopefully) by the end of the week. I want to get back to making my beads and then making jewelry with them.....I miss the creative aspect. I don't consider fiddling on the computer creative, although I suppose it would be, if I was creating actual websites for people (or me) and knew HTML. What a mysterious world that is to me. One day I would love to take a class and become more knowledgeable about the the ways of the computer world. You might as well be speaking to me in a foreign language! To me, I open the program..sign my email.....go to a few a few articles.....and that's it for me! I know my computer can do a zillion more things I am totally clueless about and I'm envious of those who DO have that kind of knowledge. I won't take the class though until the chemo brain fog subsides, as I'll learn something and then forget it the following day......if not sooner! I know my limitations! So I'm just farting around getting my things listed to sell and when I'm done I'll be posting the website address, so you can hopefully send it to all on your email list, who will then send to their email list etc etc, as word of mouth is the best advertising of all. I have an appt at Moffitt next week for my 4 month post BMT check up, but because of my "sneak peek" of the labs from the postponed appt I'm not expecting any surprises. I am excited about going though for a couple reasons.......Mom and I are going up the day before the appt because I have to be there at 8:00 am and to do that from here we'd practically have to get up in the middle of the night and leave, so going up the day before and staying in a hotel so it'll be less stressful. But I'm excited because Mom and I are meeting up with my friend Kala who I met at Moffitt when Kate and I went to "Art Therapy" during my BMT. She is a Volunteer at the Moffitt Cancer Center and an artist who does beautiful work and she has also branched out into making jewelry too!! We are going to meet at her studio and then go for some Thai Food. I'm also looking forward to seeing all the doctors and nurses who were involved in my BMT journey, as I developed a relationship with them and want to give them a big hug and tell show them what a great job they did (ME!). Don't forget to scroll to the bottom of the page and sign up as a "follower" please. Thanks!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cancer.......The Gift of Clarity

We are all a work in perpetual progress, hopefully becoming a bigger and better person every day. To wake up EVERY morning and set goals and be determined to make this a better day than yesterday is the goal. To make YOU a better you than you were the day before is the goal. When you are diagnosed with cancer, one of the many gifts you receive from it, if you are OPEN & CHOOSE to receive it, is the gift of clarity in seeing the big picture. Now don't get me wrong, I'm as guilty as the next person of losing that focus from time to time, we're only human after all, but the ability to keep clarity in the forefront of every day is a true blessing. Since I have been diagnosed and gone through the torturous bone marrow transplant and lived to tell the tale, it has made me so aware of living each and every moment as best I can and being the best person I can possibly be. I'm talking about the inside stuff. Only you know what your core is feeling. You can pretend to be happy or nice or whatever and delude yourself into thinking that's the way you are, but only your soul knows exactly what your true intentions are. This is what you putting out into the Universe, not the playacting stuff. Cancer has given me the ability to really know myself and my core and my intentions on a soul level and that in turn guides me to be a better person each day. Am I making any sense to you? I hope so. You know how the ole saying goes "why re-invent the wheel" ? I say this because I don't want YOU to learn this lesson the hard way......accept it as my gift to you. Do some meditation, get quiet within, and have a nice long conversation with yourself. Ask questions and LISTEN for the answers as you do have all of the answers, we usually just don't get quiet enough within to hear. Ask for guidance and strength to follow through. So getting back to my "cancer" gift of clarity, I just wanted to share that although cancer SUCKS big time, if you open yourself up to the lesson, there always is one.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Yay......posting 2 days in a row! Whoa......that hasn't happened in a while. I'm taking a break from "computer work" (well that's not really true is it?..... as I'm writing on it now)........but this isn't work, talking to you. I was referring to fiddling around on these websites I am putting together which between chemo brain and just plain being moronic when it comes to computers, it presents quite a challenge most times. So.... as I was saying, I'm taking a break to eat a peanut butter sandwich. I am currently addicted to Peter Pan honey roasted peanut butter on toast or a bagel, as my mid morning and mid afternoon snack (hey it could be worse, it has protein and is fattening) AND of course, I'm watching my UF GATORS play Ole Miss right now. Go Gators. Just a side thought....I LOVE Football!! Many women I think, may not care for it that much, but I guess I grew up in a football watching family (Mom & Dad) so that I learned to love the sport too. My mom, right now, can tell you who plays where, how they're doing etc etc!! It used to be just Sunday and the Pros but since Linz went off to college, I've added College Football so NOW it's Saturdays & Sundays. Oh what a busy schedule I have (wink wink). It's kinda nice to not have a deadline in my life right now, seeing as the last 6 weeks were dictated by a "schedule" of events, so I am enjoying this down time of picking and choosing what I want to do and when I want to do it. I thank the Universe everyday for providing me with that opportunity. I need to take some time and catch up on long overdue emails to Tam (my wonderful cousin in Wichita), to Sam (to thank her for my birthday card), to Wendy, to Colleen, to Kathy (my sis in law) and Kala (my artist friend who was brought into my life at Moffitt), so I'm thinking after the game I'm gonna do just that. Again, another thing I am grateful for is having these amazing people and MORE in my life and I need to nurture these relationships. I really didn't have a topic per se, for this entry, but the above just gave me food for thought, and believe me, I have alot of things I want to talk to you about. But back to relationships.......why else are we here? On the big Life Scoreboard do we measure a successful life by how many things we own, or what we can afford to buy, or where we've gone on vacation? and on and on and on? Nope, I don't think so. I think we will be asked....."how well do you think you did in the relationship dept"? Did you tell your family and friends that you love them? Often? Did you do all you could to let that person know they are special to you? That you are glad they are in your life? Those are just a few of the many questions, I feel we will be asked when meeting face to face with the Creator of the Universe, and I want to be able to answer them in the way I would like to be able to answer them. I think it is true that ALL people come into your life for a reason (yep......even the cranky person in line in front of you at the grocery store), some people come into our life for the whole duration, and some are meant to share our lives just for portions of our journey. Some even come in, go out, and then come back in......all serving a higher purpose. It is up to us to nurture these relationships if they are important to us. So I will take the time RIGHT NOW to tell you ALL that I am so thankful you are in my life, whether you are family, friend or just stumbled upon my blog and left an anonymous comment, I appreciate you. Having you in my life feels good. Again, because it is a new feature on my blog, please scroll down and sign up as a follower if you are reading this, as it helps me to realize I'm just not talking to myself!! LOL......I hear they can "lock you up for that" (hee hee)

Friday, September 26, 2008

WHEW......Finally Catching my Breath...

Sorry it's been a week guys, but that's what happens when you run out of gas! I have been metaphorically stuck on the side of the road, just sitting there, waiting for the gas tank to magically fill up and it happened today. So yay...back to active life again :) The crash was just a culmination of 6 weeks of craziness between cleaning out the garage, Lindsay coming home for a week and helping with her move, the garage sale, making jewelry for the show, and then the show itself. I came home Sunday late afternoon and just crashed. I tend to forget I am only 3 months post BMT (which is a good thing really) but then again, I really do need to take it somewhat slower than I have been these last few weeks, and I intend to do just that. I have soooo many things I want to write about, that it's hard to know where to start, so I'll just give you the show thoughts right now, but many more are brewing in my head. Some cancer stuff and some not. The show was a success in many ways and I'm glad I did it. Again, I couldn't have done it without Kate and Mom for sure, and Greg, my brother pitched in and transported the tables and tent for me which was a big help. Putting together the show was alot of work, both physical and mental, but I enjoyed it and didn't get all stressy or was just a constant. I must have been running on adrenaline (or fumes) those last few days though as when I crashed I really did crash.......I mean I had NOTHING left in the ole tank!! I met lots of really really nice people at the show, sold some stuff, and started a customer list for I met my goals for the show. I wore a scarf on my head and my australian cowboy hat, but that doesn't really hide the fact I'm bald, which turned out to be a real conversation starter!! LOL........ when we did tell my story briefly, I got so many hugs and best wishes, it was great. So I basically received validation on all levels this weekend.....that people loved my jewelry, bought my jewelry, took my cards to go to the websites, about 6 people wanted to have a home jewelry party and I received compliments on how well I looked and am doing post BMT. I couldn't have asked for better results. I've posted a few show photos and when I am through listing items on my website I'll post a link here so you can take a peek. Thanks for hangin in there with me and I'll post again tomorrow. I've added a few new features to my blog if you scroll down to the very bottom of the page you'll see them. You can "subscribe" (PLEASE DO IF YOU READ MY BLOG) to it and will be notified when I make a new entry (I think that's how it works!) and there are a few other options down there, that I have yet to figure out!! I wish I was a "techie" :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Down to the Wire....

Well it's basically "D-DAY" for me and the art show countdown has begun! Thought I'd take a few minutes to check in as I know I won''t be writing for the next few days as I'll be busy with the weekend craft show and probably crash and burn when I get home both days, so no computer time will be on my agenda until Monday. It is from 10-4 both SAT and SUN, so Monday I will be a blob of humanity I'm sure. It's a crappy thing, but when I am "out of my routine" it really kicks my ass. I'll be getting up early on both days to have the time in the morning to first 2 hours awake are horrid as I am so stiff and achy and until I get a heating pad on my back and neck and the meds kick in, I can barely hold a conversation or move! What a fun person I am in the mornings! So I have to give myself those extra 2 hours in the morning to resemble a somewhat normal person before beginning my day. Being the perfectionist I am, I look around at what I have to display for the show, and I'm like....I need to make another watch......or bracelet or a there comes a time, when ready or not.....I just gotta stop and today's the day. I have too many other things on my gotta get done today list , like going for groceries to make sandwiches and get snacks for the 2 show days, get the cooler from the depths of the garage and clean it out.....if I wrote here what is on my "to-do" list for today I would run out of internet room! I'm excited that Kate, my sissie, is coming up to help me with the show and of course, Mom will be there and Ashley will help to set up for the show with us. I have to pick up some rental tables, make some signs.....oops.....starting to list my massive list so I'll STOP NOW!! LOL.....I crack myself up with so much on my plate, but ya know what? It's all good. I don't have any cancer cells right now (do the cabbage patch), so I feel invincible at the present time. I can do anything I want. Yeah for me!! Well this is a quick one I know, but "duty's calling" and I'm almost ready to move for the day so time's a wastin! My main objective for doing this weekend festival is not so much to sell stuff although that would be awesome, it's more to generate a mailing list for my websites as that's where I plan to do the majority of my business..... on the internet. I do plan on approaching boutiques and spas and other places about carrying my line at some point, but that's down the road in my business plan. For now, I just want to get out there and pass out my business cards with my websites name and address and start to make a customer base per se, to direct traffic there. I'd like to schedule doing shows every few months and also get people to sign up for hosting Home Jewelry Parties. So selling my things at the show would be icing on the cake, but with the economy the way it is right now, I'm not expecting big sales at all. Perhaps doing a show or two around the Holiday.....Nov and Dec.....would generate more sales. When I have my websites up and running with lots of items listed, I'll post a link here from my blog. Wish me Luck!
Peace & Love

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Line up for HIGH FIVES People........

Now, in my feeble little chemotherapy ridden brain, (no more comments here please hee hee) all of my friends, family and those new people in my life who wandered have into my blog and have commented (you're in the friend category now) are all lined up in a row......sort of like the wedding party at the reception, when you are greeting your guests.

Now back to that scenario in a minute.....but first....a backstory

For a month or so now, I have already had on the calendar, a Moffitt Cancer Center 3 month post BMT checkup for Wednesday 9/17 (yesterday). About 10 days ago I had to go to an independent lab and have 5 vials of blood drawn for every test under the sun and to drop off a 24 hour urine collection (always a fun thing to collect). The lab was to fax the results to my Doctor at Moffitt. Well, being the absolutely crazy woman I am, I was just too dang busy with this upcoming weekend "craft festival" I have a booth in, to spend practically a day and a half going to Tampa and back, and I need the time to get ready for this show, which by the way is a whole lot of work!! So on Monday I called Moffitt, and said I needed to re-schedule due to auto problems (true story, my Jeep is in the shop.....although a partial fib, because Mom was gonna drive anyway). I was speaking to the nurse of Dr. Ben, my doctor at Moffitt, about all this. Anyway she tells me that Dr. Ben is only at Moffitt one day a week and his next opening wouldn't be until Oct.8th, and then my blood and urine results would be inaccurate having been taken nearly a month before, so I would have to have them re-done. So my request to re-schedule, is just a pain in the ass for them I'm sure! So she says, let me contact Lab Corp and have them fax me your results and if you are ok we will re-schedule for Oct.8th BUT if I see something.....ANYTHING, I don't like, I will just overbook/doublebook you for the following Wed. but expect to do a bit of waiting since I would be squeezing you in. I told her that worked out fine for me and to call and let me know what's up and when to put it on my calendar, after she got my lab fax. Within a half hour, the nurse called me back and we verbally went over my results and I had her also fax me a copy (I have a copy of ALL my labs, tests etc. since Day #1).

SO now back to my feeble little chemotherapy ridden mind

You are all lined up in that wedding reception type line because I am going down the line

My blood is PERFECT right now!
Liver and other organs just SUPER!
NOT a CANCER CELL to be found in either blood or urine!
A MIRACLE is happening!

Even though I have been so busy getting this show stuff together, I would stop during the day and do the "cabbage patch" and sing..... "I'm doin good" and "I don't have any cancer cells" (you must do these in a sing- songy way) and then the most important of all...."Thanks God, for these awesome results" (not sing-songy)

So needless to say I don't have a Moffitt appt until October 8th.. YIPPEE!!

Thank you ALL for sending so much love and support my way because if I was in this alone, I know the results would be different. I truly believe that having you all saying prayers & sending your positive thoughts and wishes, plays a huge role in all of this as it makes my outlook positive, increasing my endorphins, and creating a positive and healing atmosphere in my feeble little chemotherapy ridden brain! (kinda catchy little phrase huh?)

If you notice the time stamp on this entry it's EARLY for me to be writing (started around 8:15 am) because I have a really full day ahead of me and if I didn't do it now, the day would slip away and another day without an entry would go by, and I don't like that much. I feel like I am getting to "talk" to you when I write here. I feel guilty I haven't written more lately, but it's due to the show, and I'll get back to my daily or every other day ramblings after this coming weekend.

So THANK YOU for everything
I am a really happy person right now

Love and Peace to all

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Cancer Movie

Hi Everyone
Just wanted to share this little clip with you. It pretty much sums up the whole "cancer thing" for me.

Be back soon............gotta upload jewelry photos I took today FINALLY!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Update on Blood Counts.....

Today I had an appointment to have my twice a month blood work done at Dr. Nair's office. As I've said before I have now "graduated" to only seeing him once a month and having blood draws every other week. Quite the change in the ole routine having been to the office once a week for well over a year and actually seeing the doctor every other week. I'm a big girl now!! :) Actually I did gain a pound at the "official weigh-in" today so I'm up to a strapping 94 lbs. now. I was hanging at 96 for a month or so and then got down to 93 (please don't tell my mom....wink wink) so at least it's back on the way up. I think I'm going to add the dreaded Ensure or Boost although the thought of it makes me cringe after drinking it during the transplant phase of all this. Looking at the bottle kinda gives me the heebie-jeebies, but I really need to put on some weight. It's one thing to be thin and healthy looking, but I am not. I look like a cancer patient. LOL...I crack myself up. What a weird sense of humor I have. I had to laugh today at the doctors office too. I just must be in one of those moods today. Every time I go it is the same routine. I get called in......go back to their little "cubbies" where they ask me questions, take my temp and blood pressure, draw blood and then we wait for the results. So today when the gal was asking her questions that I have heard for how many visits now......(let's see every week for the last year and a half equals how many visits.....ah do the math). Anyway, the questions are how is your appetite? Are you sleeping? Do you have constipation or diarrhea? Do you have mouth sores? Tons of questions to which I answer fair or no. But it made me think..........sheesh..........I tell people about my bowel/bladder regime on a weekly basis!! Now how many of you have THAT come up in conversation weekly? Anyway, today it just tickled me. My labs were good today even though I have been back on the Acyclovir once a day. It brought my platelet level crashing at one point and he stopped it for 2 weeks. I did take it 2x a day but now only take it once. My WBC are 5.0 (normal 4.1)...........RBC are 3.62 (normal 4.20) so they are a little low which makes me anemic and tired (what else is new?) and the platelets came up ONE point to 128 with being on acyclovir for 2 weeks. Those are the babies that are last to grow and told me it could take up to a year to be in the normal range which is 140. So that's that my friends! Peace

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Something I Wanted to Share.....

Hi All
I'm too tired right now to articulate my thoughts and share them (some of them, like Lindsay leaving for Las Vegas today, I'm not even ready to touch>>>BOO HOO>>>)..... but I came across this today and loved it, so I wanted to share it with you.

A Mirror is only as good as the reflection in it
An appreciative heart attracts more of what it appreciates
Adversity does not build character, but reveals it
Worry just enough to be prepared
Melt the icy fingers of fear with the sunshine of hope
A good way to forget your troubles is to help another with theirs
The sweetest grapes are picked from the vineyard of friendship
Being in a good frame of mind helps your immune system
People don't care what you think until they know how much you care
Don't be so busy adding up your problems that you forget to count your blessings
We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails
The seemingly impossible large issue can always be broken down into smaller possibilities
Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift.....
that's why it is called The Present

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Garage Sale Day #2

And I thought I was tired last night!! HA Today we got up at 6:00 am and started the garage sale routine and thank the stars it's finally over. Please oh please, if I EVER say I'm going to have a garage sale again, take me back behind the shed and shoot me. I haven't had one in soooooo long that I had forgotten how much work is involved in running one. I had all the help in the world today and we were very busy so we made some money from our unwanted items, so that's good. It's the picking up afterward.....boxing up what you just took OUT of boxes to give to the American Cancer Society's thrift shop. The aftermath is the killer! If I could just go in the house after it was over and then it all disappeared, well, that would have been great. But was all there, just staring me down, so we tried to make quick work of the clean up. Ash, Linz, Anthony and especially Kevin were VERY helpful, moving the bigger items, going to the trash dump and Kevin even trimmed my driveway of branches today, which was a gigantic help to me because I just don't have the strength or stamina right now to do the things I used to. I'm working on it, just don't have it right now. I have 2 weekends till my ALL DAY craft show, and it will probably take every second of those 2 weeks to get ready for that. I think I am a crazy person!! Taking all this on at one time.........sheesh. And in the middle of those 2 weeks I have to drive to Tampa and go to Moffitt for my 3 month check-up. Fingers crossed and say a prayer that all is well and on course. My sissie and friend Steph will be coming up to help me with the show along with my mom, so that will be a huge help. Again, something I couldn't do without them! It still rates underneath the bone marrow transplant help though!! LOL. I am so dang tired I'm surprised I can type legibly (thanks spellcheck) and I plan on doing NOTHING but watching the GATORS slaughter MIAMI tonite in football. Everybody do the Gator Chomp now....good job. Peace Out!