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