Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday 6.30.2008

Well, I worked today. Boy, did we. Deb W. and I, on West. We are a strong team, and got through a challenging day. Thank-yous go to Kim M. who came over in the afternoon, and Beth who finally stepped in and got orders taken care of. Deb was glad to be done, and so was I.

I called the therapy place to schedule another lymph treatment. Ike called me back and said she had discharged me, and that it's a "chronic condition", and unless I have a major flare up, I don't need to come in. Hm. I told her I needed to pick up my disc of the MRI of the shoulder, and I'm going to stop by tomorrow to pick it up.

I wanted an appointment because that breast is full and swollen, with both of the incisions "dimpling". My shoulder aches--not horrible, but annoying--and I know that if that fluid could be moved away I'd be more comfortable. And my hand tingles a little. I'm disappointed that she feels that monthly treatments are not an option. I think that I would benefit. And, yes, I told her that.

Anyway, I got home ok. Daniel was home, frustrated that he didn't play well today. Tomorrow's another day...

I took pictures tonight of my hair. I'll try to get them posted tomorrow. Still itching and peeling.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday 6.29.2008

I slept really well this morning, waking about 0930. While I was in the bathroom my phone rang; I missed it. Checking it, it was the hospital, wanting help. I thought about it for a bit, called back, and told them I could come in around noon, if that would help. Yep, thanks.

I thought I'd do a "Rachel Ray"--see if I could put something together in 30 minutes. I searched the cupboards, and decided I could do a macaroni salad, with canned chicken instead of tuna. I finished that, and got to Jackson about 12:15. (Daniel had left to golf while I was getting ready.) I found a parking place a block away.

The units were busy, and the help they had started with on West had gotten pulled back to their own units. One of the girls from South had gone over to help until I arrived. They were glad to see me. They had not had lunch yet, either, and the salad was welcome.

I jumped in and did what I could to get us back on track, and the other two nurses finally got a bite to eat. Then it was time for my lunch. The rest of the afternoon was busy, but we got finished up as the night shift came in.

I had a safe drive home. Daniel was home, too. We visited a bit, I wrote here, and I need to shower before bed. Tomorrow is a workday.

Thank you for reading. Have a great day. Hugs.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday 6.28.2008

This morning I woke feeling mostly rested. I enjoyed the morning, then got ready for the day.

I went to Michigan Center for my haircut. Lauretta was surprised again at how thick my hair is coming back, and wavy, too, she says. We talked about the waves, and the "wings" that had developed along the sides. She cut the sides pretty good and trimmed the tips of the top. It feels ok, and she usually does a good job. I'll take pictures tomorrow.

After scheduling my next appointment, I went over to Frank's and John's house. John had surgery again this week. As far as I can understand the story, somehow both the arm and leg casts were removed, and he was told to shower. It was the first full shower he had had since the accident in April. He said he was in there for about an hour. He was smiling the whole time he was telling me. Then he had surgery, maybe Tuesday, where they did a bone graft to his lower leg. The suprapubic catheter was also removed. He was discharged after proving that "all systems were go", and that he could use crutches with toe-touching allowed. His physical therapy includes exercises to get his knee to flex, and something about his thumb.

Amber's cast is off, too, and she has regained almost all of the mobility of her fingers, with little pain.

I hugged each of them, and Frank and I visited for a bit in his room. He showed me his 3-D computer game with the glasses. I have to say, it is pretty cool. Frank said he was hungry, so we went out to eat. We enjoyed each other's company. I took him back home to get on with his afternoon, and I went on home myself.

Daniel and I visited a bit, and Daniel was hungry, and waiting for me to get home to go to dinner. (Oops--good thing I only had a salad, and I didn't eat it much of it.) He was kind enough to wait a little before we went out. I had a small soup and felt like I had had enough to eat.

Back home, I checked the computer, then went out on the balcony. There were dark clouds overhead and the wind started blowing. It only rained enough to make the dust stick, so I went back out and watered the plants. While I was outside, the most incredible rainbow developed. The rainbow developed into an entire arc from south to north in the eastern sky, almost right before my eyes. I do believe God and the angels were sending a message, of peace and wellness.

I came inside and wrote here.

Tomorrow, Daniel wants to golf, and I don't have plans as yet.

My breast is still itchy and peeling, and although the hot flashes are somewhat reduced in intensity and frequency, they still happen often enough to be annoying and disruptive. I also think that in this 4 weeks without "big" medicine, today I feel more like my "normal self, the first time since November 2007. July 1, though, I start the Tamoxifen, which I will take daily for the next 5 years. I hope the side effects are minimal to none.

I'm off to bed. Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday 6.27.08

I was sound asleep when the radio came on this morning; in fact, it had been on several minutes before I surfaced. I got up and got ready for work.

An uneventful drive, and I found a parking place just a block away (!) and walked over. (The phantom shuttle only goes to two designated lots.) The workday was good, manageably busy, and by the time the night shift came in, we were still just as busy as we were throughout the day. And we were tying up loose ends after they were done with report and out on the floor. Whew.

Another safe drive home (thank you God). Daniel is home after his golf game today. We visit some--the dress I ordered for Bre's wedding arrived. It's really cute, and looks very good on me. Woo Hoo! Always a chance when ordering online without trying anything on....

I put my things away, and wrote here.

Tomorrow is a haircut for me. Get those "wings" trimmed up.

Thank you for reading, and responding to the Party Poll. Hugs.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday 6.26.2008

Another day. I slept pretty good this morning. Worked on the computer getting the party poll thing located and set up and placed on the blog. It's not quite what I wanted, but it will do. It lets you know that YOU are invited to come celebrate with us!!

This afternoon was hot, but windy here, and I had to get outdoors. I went for a walk in the complex where it's not built yet, so the wind was blowing. It felt good to be out in the sun, but I'm not sure how long I can be out safely with all the drugs I've had. I decided I'd just go out until I felt like I had to go back in. I ended up being out about 45 minutes. It was lovely.

After I cooled off, I fixed my supper. (Daniel had made something for himself, and it didn't sound good to me) I ate, then sat outdoors on the balcony. I did a couple of sudoku puzzles--I'm trying to keep my brain active--and read for a while. It's hard to concentrate, and sometimes hard to follow my own train of thought. I suppose that will clear after a while. I hope so, anyway.

I went in and checked email, took a shower, and wrote here. Daniel is off to bed.

My breast is peeling still/again and is very itchy on the inside. I tried to do a bit of fluid movement myself. I might have done a little good.

Tomorrow is a workday. Be good to each other. Hugs.

Hair, 06.22.2008

These pictures were taken Sunday, June 22, 2008. I like the left side view because it shows peach fuzz on my face. I also have quirky hair growth patterns as it gets longer.

I also discovered if you click on the picture it gets bigger.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hair, 06.07.2008

Kim asked about my hair. Yes, it's growing. And I've taken pictures each Saturday. I've been delinquent in posting them. Sorry.

Here are hair pics taken June 7, 2008. (Of course, the burnt breast pictures are over on the picture blog ) with the specific page being .

Wednesday 6.25.2008

Boy, do I feel better today. I don't think I realized how yucky I felt last night until I got up today and realized how much better I felt. I finally rolled out of bed sometime around 0915.

It was a couple of hours, though, before the slog cleared from my brain. I breakfasted, and Daniel and Breon had started a grocery list. I looked it over, went through the sale paper, checked the cupboards, and added to the list. Breon needed some addresses for her invites, and I got those for her, then Dan and I went grocering.

We were successful in our quest, returning home with the prizes. After putting them in their temporary resting places, I was surprised to find that it was after 4 o'clock. Daniel made his lunch and ate while I went upstairs to see if Breon needed any help. She was just about done, but I did help her double check for some addresses, and put return address labels on the rest of what she was doing. She did a real nice job with her creations.

I realized I was hungry, so I fixed my food and ate.

The rest of my evening has been here, trying to catch up on the picture postings over on the picture blog. ( ) Remember, those are breast pictures, so if you don't want to look, don't go.

I also posted the pictures of the radiation center. They are here, in May, but you can click on and go to that entry.

Other than that, not much else. My breast is sore and itchy, the areola is almost done flaking/peeling and looking much better. Tylenol and motrin settle it down surprisingly well.

Tomorrow I don't have many plans. Hmm....

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesday 6.24.2008

The radio came on this morning for me to get up. I did, but I didn't feel like I was done sleeping. I got ready for work and had a nice drive to Jackson. I found a parking place in the lot 2 blocks away. I didn't see the shuttle--I walked over.

We had a great day today, but pretty busy. I didn't feel real good on several separate occasions--like kind of dizzy, sometimes nauseated--and I took the tylenol/motrin a couple of times. About 5 pm, I was really tired, and getting a headache. That was the second dose of medicine. I think I ate ok, and certainly had been drinking enough water. I probably just needed to close my eyes. That didn't happen today.

The day passed, the night shift came in, and we left. I drove home ok. Daniel was home; I didn't talk with him much, I went straight into the shower.

That felt really good, and somewhat rejuvenated me. I was able to visit with Dan a little, then I wrote here.

I'm off to bed soon.

Groceries tomorrow.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday 6.23.2008

I received a phone call last night about staffing for today--the census was low to start with, and did I want to work or stay home in the morning?? I offered to stay home, and I'd call late morning to see how they were doing, but for them to call me if they needed me. So...

It was 9:05 this morning when I rolled over. I was surprised. I enjoyed breakfast out on the deck on a beautiful sunshiny morning. And after that very pleasant experience, I called the hospital. They needed me. So...

I got ready, and left for Jackson. I found a parking place 2 blocks away, and of course, no shuttle, so I walked over to the building.

They were glad to see me, as the fan had been turned on. I jumped in, picking up and doing what I could. We had a busy afternoon, and before long, the night shift was there.

I had an uneventful drive home; Daniel was still golfing when I got there. He came home before long. We visited a bit, he showered and ate, and I wrote here. Bedtime is right around the corner.

My breast has been itchy today, and sore sometimes.

I'm off to bed. Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday 6.22.2008

Another beautiful day

Daniel left a little before 8 this morning--I didn't hear him get up, but did hear him getting ready. I wished him a "good game" and went back to sleep, waking again about 9 o'clock.

I got myself ready for the day. While enjoying fresh brew, I thought I'd take advantage of no one being home, and clean the kitchen. I wiped off all the counters, cupboard fronts, tops of drawers and cupboards, etc., shook the rugs, used the vacuum accessories to get in the nooks and crannies, then washed the floor. I did the same in our bathroom. Good job done.

Daniel came home just before I started the floors. He very kindly stayed out of my way, going out to pick up some lunch for himself and some ice cream for our company that was expected at 4 pm.

Sure enough, Jim and Polly arrived with 2 warm pies--one apple, one rhubarb. Yum! We enjoyed the dessert and each other's company. We visited for a couple of hours, and they went on their way home. Thank you, J & P.

A short while later, I fixed us some dinner. We ate, didn't do much else the rest of the evening. I wrote here. Dan's off to bed, and me, too, shortly.

Your continued prayers and support are helping me recover from the medical and radiation insults my body has received. My breast is still itchy and sore, but the skin is looking better. Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sunday 6.21.2008

Another day...

I slept intermittently, and woke to the alarm. Then the phone rang, and it wasn't at my bedside, so I missed the call. It was KS saying she'd be on her way soon (she's coming here, and we'll ride together to Breon's shower). Daniel said he didn't sleep well, either, but when I looked at him he was sleeping, and when he looked at me I was sleeping...

I got up and got ready for the day. I was just finishing getting the foods together when KS arrived, and she and Breon and I went over to new daughter Kim's in Springport.

We had a nice afternoon. We had a good lunch and Bre received several nice gifts. We left as the younger girls were arriving for the next part of the day, the Bachelorette Party.

Back at home, KS said her goodbyes and continued on her way home. Dan and I visited while he prepared his supper. After he ate, I laid on the couch while he watched the golf tournament. I woke up--where was Daniel? He had gone in and laid on the bed, sound asleep, snoring. Hm.

We didn't do much the rest of the evening. My breast is itchy. When I was "checking it out" I'm wondering if it's itching because it's filling with fluid and that's why it's lumpy and itchy...So I tried massaging it some. That may be what's happening, because now it's sore where I massaged it, but softer. Hm.

Tomorrow, Daniel is golfing in the morning, and we're expecting Jim and Polly in the afternoon. It will be nice to visit with them. I hope the rainstorms hold off.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday 6.20.08 On Call

It was nice to sleep this morning--I was awake between 2:30 and 4:30. I put the earbud in and listened to the radio and dozed, but really fell back to sleep after that, and woke about 8:30. Very nice.

I caught up on email while Daniel cut up the melon for the shower tomorrow. I offered to do it, since I was home, but he smiled. So I went outside on the balcony with my coffee, enjoying the late morning birdsong of early summer. Thank you God.

Daniel went over to the golf course, and I got the potatoes ready for the potato salad. I had a bite to eat while they cooked. The potatoes were cooling when Breon came in, obviously off-kilter. "What's up?" I asked her. She tried hard to contain herself while telling me that she was stressing out about her wedding plans, feeling overwhelmed. Her eyes filled and spilled, and I hugged her and encouraged her to cry. She did.

When she had regained a little composure, Dan came in. He came up behind her and looked at her; I told him "she needs a hug" and he opened his arms. She hugged her daddy and cried and cried again. Dan and I looked at each other like "what do we do now..."

Bre took a big breath, and started in again. She got her wedding planner book out, and we went through it together to see just where she is, and helped her fill in the blanks that were left. She had really done a good job. We think she just needed to see it come together, and talk about it with someone. (Her mom is not taking much of an active role in the planning process, mom's choice.) I'm honored to be here for her.

Daniel fixed food, and they ate (I wasn't ready to eat yet). She left for whatever she had planned to do. He and I visited, then I went to Meijer to pick up a couple of things for tomorrow. When I came back, I had a bite to eat, and wrote here.

My breast seemed to get full and achy this afternoon, at least it felt that way. I took the motrin/tylenol combo and felt better. The skin looks better today, but the itch is still there.

Tomorrow is Breon's wedding shower. I'm up at 0800.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday 6.19.2008

0430 came way too soon, but I got up and got myself ready for work. I had an uneventful drive to Jackson (thank you God) and the sun was up by the time I got there.

I parked in the lot 2 blocks away, and the shuttle had just pulled in and picked someone up at their vehicle. I made sure to leave my headlights on, but the driver didn't see me, and took off. Shoot. I was early, and I waited in the car until time to walk over. Just as I was getting out of the car, the shuttle was back, and scooped me up. Thank you, shuttle driver.

We had a good group today, and had a nice day. Nice patients, and a good pace. I had to go off and sit by myself this afternoon, as I got pretty tired. 20 minutes of downtime was enough to refresh me.

The night shift came in, and we clocked out in a timely fashion.

An uneventful drive home; it was warm enough that I put the top down on the convertible. Fresh air is soooo nice after being indoors all day.

Daniel got home shortly after I did. We had a light bite, visited a bit, he's watching television, and I'm writing here.

I did take tylenol/motrin this afternoon, as my breast was sore and itchy. It's still itchy. On the inside.

I'm off to bed. Tomorrow is a scheduled workday, but I've already been called and put "on-call" for the day. That's ok, then I can do the food prep for Breon's wedding shower Saturday. (Daniel has agreed to do it if I have to work. He's a good husband.) And I can sleep in.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wednesday 6.18.2008

These last couple of nights I've actually felt like I've slept restfully inbetween the wakeful moments. Whew. It's been a long time.

The plants in the railing planters are doing really well--so well that I had to remove a couple of them and put them into another planter. I did that today. I also did some food prep, and I did take myself out for a walk in the late afternoon.

I also read a while, and now I'm writing here. Overall, another restful day.

My breast is still itchy from the inside, and the skin still feels like plastic to the touch. There are still flakes on the areola, too. Getting better, though, I think.

Thank you for reading, I'm off to bed. Hugs.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday 6.17.2008

Even though I didn't do much yesterday, I slept pretty good during the night, getting up about 0830. I got myself ready for the day, starting with a massage. Leah does a good job. I told her about the lymph fluid and how Ike moves it. Leah did some work on my arm, and did a pretty good job on my back. It's still full under my arm, and this evening there's enough fluid in there that it bothers the nerve enough that it makes my hand tingle-y. Like it wants to "fall asleep" kind of tingle. I'll try to move the fluid tomorrow.

I showered the oils off, prepared food for Daniel and myself, and headed to Jackson for a Unit Meeting. After the meeting I shopped for Breon's wedding shower gift, then went to Meijer and picked up some groceries and headed home.

I had a bite to eat, visited with Daniel, he went off to bed, and I wrote here.

The skin on the areola below the incision feels tight to the touch, like plastic. It's peeling again, too. Very weird. There are still a couple of pea-sized areas that are raw red. I'm still using the silvadene ointment and the aloe vera/elta cream, and it looks better immediately after application. And the breast is still itchy, like on the inside. Annoyingly uncomfortable.

Maybe I'll be able to get outdoors and exercise tomorrow. That would be good.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday 6.16.2008 Resting

Pretty much a do-nothing day. I had a couple of brief naps, made a couple of phone calls, and left a message at Dr. Bolmer's office about the Effexor.

Marie, one of the nurses, called me back, mainly because she couldn't read the other girl's writing. I told her what was happening with the medicaton, and that I wanted to talk with someone who was more familiar with it than I. She said that she would write it out, and refer it to Dr, and someone would call me back. Ok, thanks.

Daniel golfed this afternoon.

My nipple is still peeling, but might be about done. The breast tissue is sore, too.

That's about the extent of my day today.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday 6.15.2008 Father's Day

I was pretty tired last night, and I tried to wait up for Daniel to get home. That didn't work, I went off to bed about 11, and he got in about 11:30 I think. I was mostly asleep. Fortunately, I was able to go back to sleep. I did wake up a couple of other times, and finally it was time to get up.

I got myself ready for work and headed to Jackson. I was able to park within the first block again, being a weekend and all.

We were steady busy again today, and I had great co-workers. I was unable to get any kind of rest again today, and I started out not well rested. I just paced myself, and made sure I was a good teammate by offering to help and doing what needed to be done, plus a couple of extras.

Eventually the next shift trickled in, and we were done. Shew.

I made my way home. Part way through my day, I remembered that I forgot to put Daniel's Father's Day card out. So I gave it to him shortly after I got home.

We visited a little, and I wrote here, and I'm off to bed before long.

My breast has been sore and achy; I've had a couple doses of tylenol and motrin today. I was surprised when I undressed that my breast isn't as full and swollen as I thought it would be. It's still peeling, though. I had a couple three "episodes" of the hot flash aura today. The increased heat doesn't seem to last as long as they did without any medication, but the aura is unsettling. I'll see if I can have a conversation about it with the doctor tomorrow.

I've gotta go. Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday 6.14.2008

Wow, am I tired. I went to bed about 10, which is kind of early for me. I slept the first two hours, then woke again a few more times before 0430. Time to get up.

I got myself ready for the day, and drove to Jackson. Being the weekend, I parked a block away. I got into the building and clocked in.

We were quite busy today, and had good co-workers to share the joy with. I was unable to get a rest in, but I did eat. The night shift came in, and we were able to leave.

I drove home; Daniel is golfing. He called me about 9 saying they had finished, were in Flint, and were going to eat before heading home.

I didn't mention yesterday that the Effexor ER (extended release) 75 mg does not keep me as comfortable as the plain 37.5 mg tablets. I am having episodes, not quite as intense as without medicine, but I'm starting to have the auras again with the general feeling of impending "what's happening..." I'll call Dr. Bolmer Monday to see what they think about it.

Also, my breast is still sore, red, and the nipple is trying to peel. I had a couple of doses of the tylenol/motrin during the day for the discomfort.

I'm going to turn in--I'm up early again tomorrow.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday 6.13.08 Lucky Day!

I didn't sleep well last night; finally slept after 0530. I woke at 0830 and got out of bed about 9. I got ready for the day, breakfasted, and sat down with the computer to catch up on reading that I couldn't do at the lake. Dan mentioned going grocery shopping--we made a list, and decided that we'd rather go before my 2:30 appointment instead of after 4 o'clock on a Friday afternoon.

So, off we went. We were both surprised that the bottom line was about $20 more for the basically the same items.

At home, we put things away, I had a snack, and I was off to my appointment with Ike.

Ike came to The Door to bring me back into the treatment area. We went into room 2 again. We small talked about my week at the lake, how much activity I did, and how was my arm? She looked at my hand and arm, then wanted to see my breast. Eww. I knew that it was full and heavy, and the area above the axillary incision, too, was full. She picked up on that right away, and had me turn around. My back is full, too. I told her I can tell when the fluid accumulates, because my shoulder aches, the armpit is full and gets numb, and my breast gets full and uncomfortable.

She went to work, moving the lymph fluid expertly around my body. She does a great job, and my body responds well. After 40 minutes I'm much better. I sit up, and she has me put on the sleeve and gauntlet, just to see how they fit, and if I can do it myself. (I mostly can.) She says I don't have to wear it all the time, just when I'm doing something strenuous, or if I feel that I need it.

She also wants to discharge me.

I told her, why? If I'm still filling, and you are able to help that, why don't you want to see me again?

She told me that that will be my "normal", and that I need to do the drainage for myself.

Yes, I'm aware of that. And I did do a drainage, but I'm not able to get under my arm, or around my back by myself. But I'll do what I can.

She did not schedule another appointment, and did not discharge me; rather, she said she will write a progress note, leave my chart "open", and asked me to call when I needed to be seen.

I guess that's what I have. I don't understand why we can't have a "maintenance" type of therapy, especially if lymph problems are a common side effect of breast/axillary surgery. Oh, well. I'll do what I can to take care of myself; and give Dan an opportunity to help, and Leah the massage lady, too. Time will tell.

At home, dinner is almost ready. Breon got home from work, Nick was there waiting for her. I helped her get some food together for them to take with them for their weekend at the lake, and they left shortly.

Daniel's back is quite sunburned from last week putting in the dock. It's peeling, and still red and sore underneath that. I helped him get some of the dead skin off, and also put some aloe vera gel on for him.

My nipple and areola are still peeling, too. The reduced radiation field is still quite red, and the breast tissue is tender inside. Motrin and tylenol are my friends.

Tomorrow is a workday, and Sunday, too.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday 6.12.2008 Home

Thursday June 12, 2008

Yesterday, after writing, I went out for a walk. Just meandering, pondering, reflecting. I have walked this road for 50 years—of course, the early summers I don’t remember, but the sounds of the leaves in the trees, many of which are older than I, and the smells, are part of my identity. It’s quite a concept for me to wrap my head around. 50 years. Some things are similar—the cottages with new paint, or in need of paint. The field where we played ball or frisbee—someone would get a lawnmower and mow the tall grass.

At the Goodwin Cottage, I went down on the dock. Mary was out for her paddleboat ride. She stopped at the end of the dock and we had a nice visit. She went on her way, and I went up and sat on the neighbor’s swing which overlooks the lake. I was like a sponge, soaking up the view, the birdsong, the breeze.

I wandered back to the Jacque Cabin. I had a little snack, then laid down for a few minutes. When I got up, I took the trash to the transfer station, enjoying the drive into Hale. Again, the scenery really hasn’t changed much over time.

Back home, I had to get started on my list. I had brought with me the 2 pots of hen and chicks that I had dug up from my yard in Michigan Center. I dug a couple of spots for them and got them transferred. Next, I potted some baby spider plants that I’ve had in water to root, and they finally did. Ok, that’s done. Then I realized I hadn’t had lunch, so I ate.

I got the vacuum out, and the attachments, and started in the front bedroom. I worked my way through the house, vacuuming the floors, cobwebs in the corners and ceilings, windows, etc. I’m not real speedy doing these things, and it was nightfall by the time I was done. My breast had been bothering me, too; just sore, and I had a couple doses of motrin and Tylenol through the day.

I had my supper and read a little, then went to bed.

This morning was windy, 60 degrees. I woke up about 0830, a little slow on the go. I did get up and around, and started getting ready to go home. One thing led to another, I was doing lots of little things. I pulled the rowboat out of the water and turned it over, made sure everything outside was picked up and put away. Inside, I picked at packing up, finding lots of loose ends to clean and rearrange. I certainly couldn’t do everything I wanted to do, but I got a good start. I ended up leaving the cabin about 4:30 pm, getting home about 8. I’m unpacked, laundry is going, and it’s (mostly) good to be home.

Today I started the 75 mg of Effexor ER (extended release). I’ve been having hot flashes this evening, a little more intense than with the 37.5 mg tablet. I’m hoping that it’s an adjustment to the different type of medication that will only take a day or two.

Tomorrow I see Ike at 2:30, then work on Saturday and Sunday.

Life is good. Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday 6.11.2008

Wednesday June 11, 2008

Yesterday, after coming back to the cabin, I did some food prep, had a bite to eat, then tried to massage my underarm and chest to help move the fluid. I did move some, and my underarm felt a little better, but there’s still fluid there.

The grass eventually dried some, and I went outdoors to tackle the brush pile. I got it about 2/3 cut and burned when another rain shower blew in. This one didn’t last very long, and after about a half hour, I went back out and finished it. Raked, the small stuff burnt, the kindling stacked, and the bigger stuff stacked for someone else to cut. Woo Hoo!! I did it!! I think I had to feel like I could contribute, and that I could complete a project. And I did.

I came in and showered, and while drying off, my areola wiped off. What??!! I looked at the nipple. There were dark brown lines, like eraser pieces, rolling up. Eww. Of course I kept at it. It didn’t hurt or anything, just a little tender. The whole brown skin of the areola wiped off. The skin under it is smooth pink. And the dye stain and the incision wiped off, too. The dye stain can stay gone. The incision looks good, a white line. It’s puckered right now because of the fluid. But after Ike does a treatment it’s almost flat. The end of the nipple is still intact, but is hard and smooth, almost like a crust. I put silvadene and aquaphor on the nipple and areola, and aloe vera/elta cream on the rest of the radiated field. This whole thing is very strange.

I had a bite to eat, then went to bed.

This morning, I took pictures. As I was moving them onto the computer, the computer found an internet connection!! I don’t know how long it will last, but right now, it’s on. (Those pics can be seen at the picture blog, , or that specific page is .

Today I’ll get the cobwebs down, and enjoy the rest of my time here. Tomorrow, I pack up, clean up, and leave.

Thank you all for reading. Hugs.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday 6.10.2008

Tuesday June 10, 2008

Monday turned out to be a beautiful day. After lunch, I was just going in to change in to my already smelly “burning” clothes, when I looked out the window, and saw a familiar car. My Aunt Donna!! I went out to greet her.

We hugged, and she had brought me flowers and a graduation card.

We had a lovely visit while enjoying the lake view from the deck, and we had a bit of the rhubarb cobbler that I had made Saturday. We went over to the Goodwin Cottage, rather, The Trailer next door. (My grandparents had a travel trailer that has been parked next to the cottage since 1967. It has been very well taken care of through the years and is still habitable. However, the consensus is to sell the trailer, as it is a maintenance responsibility.) I wanted to make sure that there was nothing left of Donna’s parents that she may have wanted. We went through it, and I had a pause when I came across my own mother’s “up north” clothing in a closet—her sweater, her painting clothes, her old work sneakers. Hm. We each came away with our memories and a couple of items.

Donna brought me back to the Jacque Cabin, and she was on her way. It was past time to take the Effexor, so I had a little snack and the pill.

Although the sky had clouded up and dropped a few sprinkles, it has cleared, and now I changed into my smelly clothes and worked at the brush pile. I burned for a couple of hours. I started to feel kind of punky. Hm. I wonder what time it is… It was after 7—no wonder. I need to eat. And that medicine has been on board for a couple of hours, too.

I fixed my dinner and ate, and it was getting dusky outdoors. I made sure all was picked up outside, and stayed in. (the mosquitoes were coming out, too) I did my indoor chores, Dan called and I talked with him, and soon I was off to bed. The lake was mirror quiet each time I was up during the night.

This morning it’s raining, a nice summer rain. The birds are singing and flying around; it’s about 65 degrees. Since I’ve been writing, the clouds have thinned, the rain has stopped. The lake is quiet.

My underarm is a bit full this morning; I’ll try to move that fluid myself. The nipple and areola are shiny red and starting to peel, and the “boost” area, or the reduced field, is reddened and itchy. I put the silvadene and aquaphor on the nip and areola, and the aloe vera/elta cream on the reddened skin.

I guess it’s me and the vacuum today unless or until it dries up a little outside.

Thank you all for reading, your support is why I’m doing so well. Hugs.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday 6.9.2008

Monday June 9, 2008

You’ll never believe—last night, I went to bed at 9 pm!!! I rarely climb in before 10:30, but I was really tired. I slept pretty well, waking about every 3 hours, as opposed to every 45 minutes to an hour with those horrible hots. When I did wake, I was just a little warm, and cooled off fairly quickly.

It rained a couple of times during the night; this morning is 70 degrees and the lake is quiet. There are breaks in the clouds, but it’s predicted to rain again throughout the day.

I’d like to get outdoors and do some more burning; we have a brush pile that needs attention, but I won’t be able to burn it if it’s wet. The other choice is to get the vacuum out and chase the winter’s cobwebs from the corners.

My shoulder/arm/breast seem ok from yesterday’s activities—yay. The nipple and areola are peeling and tender; I put another layer of silvadene and aquaphor on. I also put on a sports bra, with a layer of gauze over the ointment.

While I was at the local establishment parking lot connected to the internet, Jim and Polly drove up. They lost power during the night. There wasn’t a storm, but something failed. Hopefully it will be repaired soon. They’re going home this morning anyway, but it’s a drag not having power when the well pump is off.

The clouds have cleared and the sun is warm since I’ve been here. I hope you all have a great day today. Thanks for reading. Hugs.

Sunday 6.8.2008

The day dawned partly cloudy and quiet. It was 80 degrees again this morning. After breakfast, Dan went out and started shoveling dirt from a pile leftover from the seawall project last year. I don’t mind shoveling, but that’s not something I can do right now. I feel bad that he has worked so hard this visit.

I found a metal rake (spring rake?) and started on the front bank. I can’t be very aggressive, but I can do it. It took me all afternoon, and I got the whole front raked and burned.

A storm blew in just as I was finishing up. Daniel was packed and ready to go home. He left about 3:40 pm in the rain. He called me a couple of times on the way home to say the weather was terrible, and was I ok? Yes, we only had a bit of wind with the rain, and even though the temperature dropped 15 degrees, the lake is again mirror quiet.

I took a shower and had a bite to eat, and laid down for a 20 minute rest. I took another 37.5 mg Effexor. I was very warm during the night last night; I wonder if my body is “getting used to” the medication? I’m not having the horrible hot flashes, though.

The breast is sore, swollen, the areola and nipple are full, and now are peeling. I put a thin layer of silvadene ointment on it, then a thin layer of aquaphor. It burns for an hour or so, but looks better. The area under the breast is still peeling, too. I put the aloe vera and elta cream on that, and also on the axillary incision that is peeling. The only area that hurts/burns is the nipple. I suppose that’s a good thing?

I will wait and post this Monday morning, as the connection seems better where I can pick it up.

Thank you for reading, you are all very important to me. Hugs.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Saturday 6.7.2008

Saturday June 7, 2008

(I was unable to post last night—couldn’t get an internet connection)

I had an interrupted sleep, but not because I was so hot I couldn’t breathe. I think I was having a little of the “aura” that woke me, and then I was just warm. That was a good thing. I guess I didn’t realize just how much that inner heat was bothering me.

I finally got out of bed about 0730, and got myself ready for the day. After breakfast, I put together a rhubarb cobbler with rhubarb harvested from the back yard. While that was baking, I got the vacuum out, and gave the floors a good going over, the first since last November, when our plans were changed with The Diagnosis.

Daniel had gone into town to fill the propane tank so we could cook today, and he got back just before the cobblers came out of the oven. We continued to spiff the place up for our company; I swept the deck and put the furniture cushions out, and he and I moved the grill into place. I had just started cutting the veggies to add to my salad when our guests started to arrive.

Kathy Sue, Tom, Dave, Catherine, Polly, Jim, neighbor Ann, KS’ parents Keith and Mary all showed up within 10 minutes. Hugs, smiles, and not-so-dry eyes from my brothers and sisters-in-law and friends. I am truly blessed to have these people in my world who love me. And I love them, too.

We visited, and Dan fired up the grill. KS & T brought their burgers –n-buns and a wonderful apple salad. J & P brought their dogs-n-buns and yummy potato salad. Dave and Catherine brought their sandwiches. K & M brought their burgers, some more forks, and napkins. Some folks brought their plates, too. Daniel cooked for everyone, including our pork steaks, and I made tuna pasta salad. Ann was invited to join us. Everyone brought their beverages, too, which made it easy.

We girls got the table ready with the salads and condiments and plates and such, and the boys were out on the deck. When the meat was done, we lined up to eat. Yum. Good food, good company. At the lake. What a gift. When we were ready for dessert, we sang Happy Birthday to Catherine, whose birthday was yesterday. I found an appropriate candle and placed it on one of the cobblers.

We migrated outside and inside. Did I say it was 85 degrees? The shaded deck was pleasant, and the air conditioned cabin was comfortable, too.

About 4:00 or so, they left. More hugs. (KS and P had washed up the dishes, while everyone took care of what they brought) Daniel’s sunburn was bothering him, and he stretched back in the recliner. I was ready for a rest, and I went out on the deck and laid on the glider, listening to the sounds of the lake. I think I dozed; it was an hour when I went back inside. I had also taken a whole tablet of the 37.5 mg Effexor. I don’t think my head was as affected as the last couple of days, but I didn’t say much, and didn’t have to do much, either.

Daniel woke up, too, (or maybe I woke him up when I came in for a biologic break). He found some peroxide in the bathroom, and asked if we could put the half strength soaks on his back. I fixed him up, then made myself a sandwich.

There was a knock at the door—a guy named Warren, from across the lake. He had seen us in the restaurant last night, and stopped by. It seems that he and Daniel hung out together “back in the day”. They visited a bit, and he left.

Daniel’s watching a movie, I wrote here. I’ll go up to the local establishment parking lot and catch the internet and post this.

It became overcast about 6 o’clock tonight, but it’s still 80 degrees at 9 pm with not much of a breeze.

My breast is sore, the nipple is still very swollen, and starting to peel. The underside of the breast is healing. I took pictures today, but probably won’t be able to post them until I get back home, Thursday or Friday.

Thank you for taking the time to read, and continuing to support me. Hugs.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday June 6, 2008

The day dawned quiet and humid. It was already 75 degrees at 0800. And even though I was awake every couple of hours during the night, I WASN’T HOT!!!!! Yes, I had warm ups, and I think that’s why I woke, you know, with that sensation that I was going to get hot. But I only got warm, and cooled off within 10 minutes or so. Wow—Praise the Lord!!

I got up and got ready for the day, as did Daniel. We had breakfast, then he headed outside. Dan’s priority was to get the dock in. I asked him to let me know if he needed help, but he said no. He had gotten new “pads” for the bottom of the support poles, and needed to change out the screw things from the poles. He worked on that most of the day. I cleaned up the breakfast dishes, moved some of my things around, and went outdoors with the broom, to sweep the deck and house.

Well. I discovered that I can’t use that broom very aggressively (or at a normal pace). My breast started hurting. Then I started worrying that I don’t have the sleeve on, so am I causing some damage or something to my arm/lymph? I slowed down the sweeping movements, and only did a few brushes at a time. It took me a while, but I got the front and part of the side swept off of the cobwebs and bugs, and the deck swept, too. Daniel had taken a break from the lake and was spraying the outside of the house. I went back inside--I didn’t want him to think I was slacking. After a bit, he went back out in the lake to work on the dock. I went out to ask him if there was anything I could do to help him. He said he was out of bug stuff, and I could go into town and get more. Ok, I will.

I looked over at the Goodwin Cottage, and it looks like Jim and Polly have arrived. I hear the message tone on my phone—service is intermittent—and I listen. Polly tells me they’ve arrived, call her. So I do. It’s just after 12 noon. I took half of the 37.5 mg effexor, hoping that I won’t get so loopy and that it will still quell the hots.

I tell her I have to go into town, I’ll be over in a minute. At the Goodwin Cottage, I hug Jim, hug Polly. We visit some, and as we are out in the yard, the neighbor Ann is out. Hugs to Ann. We visit briefly, and I have to go so I can get back. Polly rides into Hale with me, with the convertible top down and the air conditioning on. Hey—it’s 85 degrees out there! And humid! We stop and pick up the bug stuff, then go to the grocery store. Daniel hasn’t had anything to eat since breakfast, and I wanted to get some turkey or something for him. We pick up what we need from there, go to another store and get stuff there, too. Back at the Goodwin Cottage, Polly gets out. See you tomorrow…

Jim calls, says we’ll have lunch at the Jacque Cabin tomorrow. Ok, look forward to it.

I fix lunch for us and summon Daniel. We sit on the deck and enjoy the lake, our lunch, and each other. He’s done, and gets back at his project. He’s almost done.

I go out in the backyard—the rhubarb is ripe for the pickin’. So I do. I must have pulled 5 pounds, anyway. I brought it in the house and cleaned it and cut it up. I ended up with 2 ½ large containers of cut up rhubarb. Maybe I’ll make something rhubarb for the lunch tomorrow…

While I’m doing that, there’s a storm blowing in. The radio has severe thunderstorm warnings for our area, and soon it’s a tornado warning. I watch the sky. It’s raining and blowing pretty good, and passes in about 45 minutes or so. Daniel has gotten his project done and picked up, and has been in the shower. He’s ready to go to dinner.

We go to Big Bob’s in town; it was busy and there was talk of the storm. A barn blown down somewhere.

We eat and get back home. Daniel’s really tired. He’s resting while I write. I’m going to try putting this in the Word program, then copying it into the blog. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, I’ll have it written, and just have to copy it.

I only got a little loopy from the ½ of a pill, but I’m having the hot flash aura—that unsettled, restless feeling. I’ll take the other half after I’ve posted this.

Hope all is well with each of you. I appreciate that you continue to read, that you are praying for us. Hugs.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thursday 6.5.2008 Done!!!

I kind of slept last night, but woke this morning kind of excited. Last day of radiation, lymph treatment, road trip, vacation at the lake. I reached over and turned the alarm off for the last time for that reason. Thank you, God.

I got myself ready to go. Daniel got up shortly after me, and he got ready to head north. He's anxious, too, as we haven't been to the cabin yet this year. I hugged him g'bye and headed out. See you for supper...

I got to the radiation center and changed into a gown. I was the only one there. Several minutes went by before Adrienne called me back. I asked again if I could take a picture of the inside of the control room with the computer monitors, but she said no. Ok. I just think it's impressive. So I got a clear picture of the sign on the door.

I get up on the table, and Adrienne positions me and leaves the room. Click, zzzzzz, click. Done. WooHoo!! (even though the nipple was tingly-prickly, it's the last one) No More. Adrienne comes back in, and I ask her to take a picture of me on the table.

There's another shot over on the other site, . (A little closer, and there's skin showing, so I put it over on that one.

Ron was coming down the hall as I was leaving, and hugged me. Congratulations. I thanked him for taking good care of me, and reassuring me when I was really scared. No problem, he said, it's my job. Bye.

Out in the waiting area, Fran and Paul had come in, and Paul was in an exam room. Fran had a love note for me, and a nice hug. Then she was summoned to go with her husband...

Melissa is one of the nurses; she is the nurse who saw Dan and I on our very first visit back in ?December? She was diagnosed in January with breast cancer also; has completed chemo and now starting radiation.

When we were done with our photo op, I changed into my shirt, chatted with Fran and Paul for a minute, (he declined a photo), and left. Love the people that I've met.

I went on my way to the therapy place. Ike called me back, looked at my breast, and shook her head. That looks so sore.... Not so bad, I said. I tell her of the soaks and silvadene ointment. I give her the prescription that Dr. Bolmer wrote out for me. She said we'll see how I am next week Friday. And she proceeds to do her stuff.

45 minutes later, she's done, and she said she amazes herself, I look so much better. And she wants me to get the compression sleeve before I go away for a week. Ok, I said. She hugs me, and I leave.

I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up the prescriptions that we had dropped off yesterday, then headed home. I was eager to try the Effexor for the hot flashes, so I opened the bottle of 37.5 mg and took one. I wandered around the house, trying to get organized and finish packing, and realized that I needed to eat. I looked at the labels on the new meds; the Effexor says Take With Food. Ok, I’m getting it right now. I was starting to feel kind of queasy.

I finished my lunch, and I could tell I had taken something. My head was kind of “swimmy” again. Hm. I wonder how long this is going to last. I looked at the list I had made to keep me on track. I gathered some of the items, and realized that I had to lay down. The weather channel showed a line of storms where I would be traveling, so a little delay was ok. I laid down on the bed and rested. I dozed and got up about 40 minutes later. Geesh. I wonder if I’ll adapt to this medicine. I was feeling a bit spacey.

I managed to get everything packed. Breon helped carry a couple of items downstairs for me, and I was on my way. I had to stop at the medical supply store to get the compression sleeve and gauntlet, as I had promised Ike I would.

I get into the store, and there was a line, and I waited about 15 minutes for my turn. A nice girl, Carey, called my number. I gave her the prescription for the sleeve and gauntlet. She looked up at me, looked at my hands and arms, then back at my head. “Did you have a mastectomy”? she asked. I was unprepared for that question. I stammered. Um, Um, no, a, a, lumpectomy. It would have been easier if she had asked if I had cancer, or asked why I needed a sleeve…

She was very kind, though, and went in the back. She came out with a sleeve, but they didn’t have any gauntlets right then. (a fingerless glove) Then there was paperwork to do. I filled out my 2 pages, she entered it into the computer. She measured my arm; above the elbow, below the elbow, and at the wrist. My numbers were such that either a small or medium would fit, and she had brought out a medium. She helped me put it on. It’s snug, but not really tight. I guess that’s the idea. I wouldn’t want a smaller one. She also measured my hand, and that measured medium, too. She ordered that one, and will call me when it comes in.

Thank you so much, you’ve been very helpful. I get back in the car and head North.


I have an uneventful drive, getting into rain near the town of Turner. It rained the rest of the way up. I arrive at the Jacque Cabin about 6:30 pm. My Daniel is already here. He said it has rained on and off all day. was 84 degrees at home. He’s been busy though—swept the deck, opened the awning, put the furniture out, made the bed, sprayed inside and out with the bug spray. He was cooking supper now.

He helped me carry things in, and I unpacked some. There’s nothing better than being at the Lake. I had to look at it and breathe and thank God for putting me in this part of His world.

I had a bite to eat, then I wanted to write here. We don’t have internet from the cabin right now, but one of the local establishments has wireless internet. I took the laptop with me and sat in their parking lot. (Is that a bad thing?) Dan’s car has a 115 volt outlet in it, so I plugged the computer in and proceeded to do my thing. After about 45 minutes, it’s out of power and blinks off. Uh-Oh. Oh yeah, this button has to be pushed on the dashboard to activate the outlet… And there’s the computer again.

I finish up the posting, though it wasn’t complete, and head home. Yes, it does take me a couple of hours sometimes to get this written, especially with the pictures. But I’ve found that I enjoy it.

Thank you for reading, for the kind words, and especially the hugs.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wednesday 6.4.2008

Another Doctor, Another Day

I got to bed last night, or more correctly, this morning, about 0100. I took the tylenol/motrin combination before climbing in, and I woke up about 5. Dozed off and on until the alarm came on. I got myself ready for the day and went over to the radiation center.

On my way past the desk, Vicky reminded me to stop on my way out and schedule my follow up appointment. Oh yeah, I forgot to bring my planner in. I'll make sure to do that, thanks. I go through the door and head over to the change room. Bruce was in the waiting area, and Millie came around the corner just as I came out of the change room It was her last treatment; she was smiling. We hugged, and Ron was there to take me back to the treatment room.

I got on the table, and asked Ron again what that snout was called--electron cone accessory. Ok. He gets me and it positioned and leaves the room. (Halley was there again, too, but she didn't do anything) Click, zzzzzzzz, click, done. Great. One more treatment, tomorrow. Ron comes back in and moves the table so that I can move. See you tomorrow...

I change my clothes and look around the waiting area. No one is in there. Hm. Ok. Well, Elaine, you'll have to finish this puzzle with the other nice people. Tomorrow's my last treatment here. The door opens, and Fran and Paul come in. They know that I'm almost done, and ask me when--tomorrow--and Fran hugs me, and Paul grins. They are almost done, too. I leave out the side door, go to the car and get my planner, go back in to see Miss Vicky at the front desk.

We schedule a follow up appointment for July 3, just to make sure I'm healing ok. And to call if I have any questions, concerns, or needs. Thank you, see you tomorrow.

At home, I have an hour before leaving to see Dr. Bolmer. I find I'm a bit anxious about this appointment. I get the spiral notebook that I use for these visits, and make notes about the questions I want to ask, and get the dates from my planner of my menses. I'm sure she's going to ask me about that, as the type of medication is determined by menopausal status. I have a little snack, and it's time to go.

Daniel and I arrive, and I take his hand while we're walking into the building. He says the last time we were here it was cold. Yep. And I'm glad I'm not having another chemotherapy treatment... I sign in at the desk. Funny, the same girls are back there, but they didn't say "don't sign in, I'll pull your chart.." I wonder why... Anyway, I sat next to Daniel and waited. The television had something about Obama that didn't interest me, and there was a basket with magazines on the floor between our chairs. I picked up the top one, half interested. 2007. Nope. Another 2007. Nope. Fitness 2008. Ok. I absently leafed through the pages.

"Katherine" I heard my name. Daniel and I get up and follow the nice girl. I still don't know their names. We stop at the scale. #146.0. Hm. Looking back in my book, previous weight on this scale was #144. Well, that's what it is today. Don't want to make that a trend...

She leads us to an exam room. (uh-oh, I didn't look at the number) I don't even remember too many details about the room. Exam table, with swirls of blue and purple on the paper cover, 2 chairs, and the roll-y doctor stool. What's-her-name takes my blood pressure. It doesn't capture the first time, so it re-inflates. 98/63 pulse 64 temp 98.3. Ok, she says, doctor will be in shortly. Thank you, I say.

I'm sitting in the chair at the end of the counter, and Daniel is across the room from me. After several minutes, Doctor Bolmer comes in and greets us. She sits on the doctor stool and puts my chart on the counter and starts flipping pages, all the while talking and moving. She asks lots of questions about how I did after the chemo, how was radiation going, when is last treatment, oh your hair's coming in nicely. She asks about menstrual bleeding, and I recap the dates. Ok, she says, that's a definite for Tamoxifen. How's your skin holding up with the radiation? I ask her if she wants to see it. Yes, she says, and I stand and lift my shirt. (I had put on a sports bra this morning, because we're going grocery shopping after this appointment) I undo my bra, and she winces. Sorry, she says. That looks like it hurts....Yep, does. Well, she says, that heals up in a couple of weeks. (hope so) She tells me that we'll wait before starting the tamoxifen until the skin has healed, and the plan is to start it July 1. Good. I wanted a break with no meds.

Next was the hot flashes. She asked, I told her. Eww, she said. Sorry. She then went on to explain estrogen and oh-my-gosh, I don't remember what she was saying. I know that I was nodding my head a lot. She offered the Effexor, and I said yes. I'll take 37.5 mg a day for a week, the go to 75 mg. Ok. Hope I like it. I hope it works.

Next, she looked at my arm, and asked me how it was. She said it looks a little larger than the other. Oh? Interesting that she noticed. We talked about the lymphedema treatments, and that they are almost done. Why, she asked, if there's still fluid in there? After a brief discussion, she said she would write the prescription for it to continue. And she did. For a continuation of current treatment, with evaluation and treatment as necessary once a month. I was surprised that she did that. I wonder what Ike will say tomorrow.

We talked about blood levels, and that I'll have a CBC today before I leave, then have more comprehensive studies done 3 months after starting the tamoxifen. I am to have the blood drawn before the next appointment, which will be into October.

She asks if there's anything else on my list; no, thanks, we've covered everything. I summarize back to her what I understand the treatment plan is, she says we're doing good, and we're done. Stop at the window to make your appointment, one of the girls will draw your blood, see you in October. Call if you have any questions or concerns. Ok, thank you Doctor.

And the whole time she never sat still. Her legs or arms were always moving. Sometimes it was distracting and I had difficulty focusing on what she was trying to tell me.

Dan and I go to the window to check out. There's a 10 dollar co-pay, and we pay that. Looking at the schedule, we chose October 9, I think. She wrote out a lab order in case I want to have it drawn in Jackson. Thank you very much. Dan went out to the waiting area, I went back to use the restroom. When I came out, the nice lady was ready for my arm. I sat in the chair with the narrow table on it, she puts the tourniquet on, inserts the needle, and just like that, 2 tubes of blood. Great, thanks! You do a good job! She puts the tube into the machine, and a minute or so later, the printout appears. She hands it to me. There you go, she says. Thanks again.

I join Dan in the waiting area. I'm looking at the results. Hemoglobin 12.2. Yay!!! Up from 10.3 or something March 28. My body is trying to get in balance. Thank you God, for taking care of me. I say that out loud, and say to Dan, God's probably saying thank you Kathy for taking care of your body. He smiles. I think it's the prayers that have let me do so well. Yours, dear reader, mine, and everyone elses. The hematocrit is 35 something, and there is another value that is high, but there is still cell damage happening with the radiation, so I'm not concerned. Yippee!!

We go on to the next stop, Meijer. I have a list, Dan has the cart, and we have gotten to be pretty good shoppers together. We are out of the store in 45 minutes or so.

Back home, we unload the groceries and put them away. Daniel gets the small grill out and cooks up the meats that were thawed from the refrigerator event. We ate what we wanted of it, and he put the rest in the fridge. I was busy putting the H2O2 soaks on my reddened swollen sore breast/areola/nipple. After that was done, I laid down on the bed, topless but with a light cover over me, and airdried while I took a little rest. A half hour or so later, I got up.

I decided to try just applying a thin coat of the silvadene cream without a dressing. I did that, then put on a loose flannel shirt. That was ok, as long as I didn't move too much.

I changed my clothes again after a bit; I had a dinner date with the child of my heart, Andrew. He's graduating this year, and I was invited to the party, but I will be out of town. So I called and asked him to dinner.

We met at Ground Round, in Jackson. He greeted me with a big hug. I haven't seen him in several years, and of course, he's taller. We had a good visit, and agreed to meet again.

I came back home, did a load of laundry, ironed, and got organized to get ready to go tomorrow. I have the last radiation treatment, then therapy, then I need to pack the rest of what I'm taking to the lake. Load the car and get on the road. I'm done with treatments until next week Friday, when I'll see Ike again.

I do plan to take the laptop with me, though I don't know if I'll post every day. There are wi-fi sites around that I'll go to so that I can keep up with the internet.

After writing this, I see that I've had a busy day. No wonder I feel a bit tired. I hope I can sleep. Hugs.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tuesday 6.3.2008 Doctor Day

Radiation Treatment #28

After my now-typical night, the radio came on when I was sleeping. I drug myself out of bed and got ready for the day. Daniel got up, too, to accompany me for "doctor day". I hoped the appointments went in a timely manner, as Steve the refrigerator guy is going to be here between 0930 and 1000.

We got over to the radiation center, and I changed into the gown. I chose an older, softer gown today, as my nipple is really sore, and during the night I was touching/rubbing the underarm incision and realized that it, too, was breaking down. Shoot.

I join Daniel in the waiting room; we are alone. Hm, where is everybody? And it's 8:40, my turn. Millie and Bruce come in, she goes in to change. We make small talk. I pick at the puzzle, and Elaine shows me where 5 or so pieces go. Fran and Paul come in. Hm. There's no activity in there, it's almost eerie. Then Ron calls me back at 0853. (Good, let's go, get this done. I've got a repair guy coming, and I have to see the doctor yet...) There's a new girl in there. I say hello, a new face. Ron introduces Halley. She smiled, didn't say much, and I didn't see her again. I get on the table, and ask what the accessory is called. An electron cylinder guide, I think he said. I said it several times so that I could tell you, but I kindof forgot. I'll ask again tomorrow. I told him I called it a snout. He laughed, and agreed. Adrienne lined me up, and they stepped out of the room.

Click, zzzzzz, whoa--it's not my imagination today. The nipple and areola are prickly and instinctually I want to wiggle away from the sensation. I hold still. Click. Done. Shew. 2 more treatments. I can do this.

Ron comes back in and moves the snout, and lets the table down. He instructs me that I need to tell "them" (the nurse and doctor) that I need discharge instructions and a follow up appointment scheduled. Ok, thanks. See you tomorrow.

I go back out to the waiting area, and Melissa calls us back; it's about 10 after 9. We go to the scales, 145#. Hm. Just watching it. We went into an exam room where Melissa talks to us about what to expect for end of treatment. I tell her Ron's instructions, and she nods her head. She looks at my breast. Oww, she said. Yeah, I said. The nipple and areola really hurt, and it's open under here, and it broke down over the axillary incision about 3 this morning. She listens and looks. Ok, she said. How about some silvadene cream?? And you know, let's do a hydrogen peroxide treatment, too. Ok? Sure. They're the experts. She soaks some gauze pads (sponges) into a half-strength H2O2 solution, squeezes it out until very wet and almost dripping, and lays the on my very reddened, skin sloughing breast. AHHH--That's cold! Why didn't we wait for a hot flash?? She laughed. She had padded me with a large blue pad, so that was absorbing the stuff. She left it on for about 10 minutes, and when she took it off, it did feel better, and a lot of the redness was gone, too. Hm, very good. She asked about the silvadene cream and I said sure. Whatever you need to do, you're the one familiar with this stuff....I lay there on the table, "air drying".

Melissa goes out to get supplies, and Dr. DeBiose comes in. He shakes hands with us, and looks at my breast. That looks good, he says. It held up pretty well. He basically just looked at me and told us that we've got 2 more treatments, that I'll have a follow up with him in 4-6 weeks, and if we have any questions, call. Alrighty then. We small talked for a minute, he shook hands again, and left the room.

Melissa came back in with several items in her hands. She set them on the counter, and proceeds to do her nursely things: opening packages, setting things out where she wanted them, and chattering all the while. She squeezed a bunch of silvadene cream onto a telfa pad and placed it under my breast. She squeezed silvadene cream and aquaphor onto a half of a telfa pad and placed it on my nipple. Then she squeezed some silvadene cream onto the end of another telfa pad and stuck it to the axillary incision. I'm holding these with my own hands, and she has a long piece of tubular netting, maybe 30 inches or so, which she has snipped and cut. She puts this over my head, then one arm at a time, pulling it down over my chest. She slips a dry gauze pad over my healthy nipple, and declares me good to go. And this is what I ended up with.

Even through the mesh, I can see the redness of the left breast. It looks full to me, too. Also, look how full it is above the axillary incision. (My shoulder is aching from the fluid.) I see Ike on Thursday to move the fluid away. Melissa helps me get my shirt on.

Melissa writes me a prescription for the silvadene cream, and offers pain medicine. I tell her we have some, but I'll look and see what we might need. She said they are a phone call away if I need anything. And to come in for a check if I have concerns about the areas of breakdown or if I want them to dress them again. Ok, thanks. I tell her I'll schedule my follow up appointment tomorrow, as I don't have my planner with me today. Ok, she says. See you tomorrow...

We leave, it's 9:35.

Just as we're at the drive-thru window at the pharmacy to drop off that prescription, Breon calls. The refrigerator guy is there, the job is done, and he is waiting to be paid. Ok, we'll be right there.

Another 5 minutes and we're home. Steve and Bre are chatting. I write a check, and Dan asks Steve about the repair. Steve said that GE appliances are usually pretty good, this part is the one that goes, and it's less costly than other manufacturers. Cool. So we've got a functioning refrigerator for $199.20. Much better than the $2000 that we found online to replace it. Thank you Steve. May you be blessed.

I call the hospital, and Dawn tells me that "whenever I get here is ok". Great, thanks. I put the items back into the freezer. Some of it is a little soft, some still frozen, and some finished thawing. I moved that stuff into the fridge side, and told Daniel that we either cook it or lose it, whichever he wanted to do, I had to go to work.

I get to Jackson, park 2 blocks away, and walk in. (Oh, we have a shuttle??) What warm greetings, smiles, and hugs. We had a great rest of the afternoon, and before long the night shift showed up. More hugs and smiles.

I drove home in the gray rain, perfect for growing. Daniel had a restful day. I asked him to help me out of the tube thing and removed the dressings. Yeowser. That nipple and areola are really sore. I gently removed the ointments, and put the half strength H2O2 soaks on. We visited a bit while I had the soaks on, he watched his golf stuff, and I caught up on email. When I took off the stuff, maybe about 20 minutes later, it did feel somewhat better, and looked less red. The nipple and areola are still very ouchy tonight. I gooped up the skin with the aloe vera and elta blend, then wrote here.

Tomorrow is radiation, then we see Dr. Amy Bolmer, the medical oncologist. I'm sure we'll talk about tamoxifen. I'm going to ask about the effexor for hot flashes, and also for a lab draw if she doesn't offer. I'm a bit anxious, but now that I'm very near the end of "the hard part", I'm ready to reclaim my life, to get strong, and clear these toxins from my body. I've got a victory party to plan....


Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday 6.2.2008

Radiation Treatment #27

Daniel was up before me--I foggily heard him but dozed on... Then my radio came on. Geesh. It seemed that I wiggled most of the night. Doze, awake, roll, uncover, doze, cover, turn, move the pillow. And all the while Daniel sleeps on. So I pull myself from the half-sleep haze and get out of bed. Ok, on with the day. Hey--I don't have to be up yet!! I didn't reset the alarm from Friday's early appointment with Ike. I climbed back into bed for another half hour. I must have dozed again, because Daniel was gone for his day of golf when I did get up.

Over to the radiation center, into the gown, Ron called me back. Adrienne was in there, setting up my device, and adjusted me and the table and the snout. You know, the accessory that narrows the field. I suppose I'll have to ask tomorrow what it's called...

"Be right back," Adrienne calls as she leaves the room. Ok. The machine clicks zzzzzz, click, and done. She comes back in. I have to wait until the machine is moved before I can move, that's how close it is. You're almost done, she says. (Yep.) She tells me that she thinks it's gone really fast, that it seems like just the other day she did my markings (tattoos). I comment that my treatments have affected other people, not just my life. It has been a challenge, not only for me, but for my co-workers, who have so graciously and non-complainingly covered my schedule. Oh, she said. I tell her I have the best co-workers ever, they've supported me from day one. I've got to go, Millie is coming in the door (Ron must have called her back). See you tomorrow...

I get home and call Tisha to let her know the my therapy appointment is 11:30, and I can be in to work about 2:30-3:00. She tells me someone will have to be on-call, would I like to be on-call? I tell her yes, that's ok, but if someone else would like to go home, I'd be happy to come in. Ok, she says. Thanks.

My next call is to an appliance repair shop. Our refrigerator/freezer doesn't seem as cold as it should be, and I'd rather be proactive than reactive. Sure, the nice lady said, how about the first appointment after lunch?? Ok. I'm thinking I can have the repair person here and be able to get to Jackson by 2:30-3:00 if I need to. Tish calls me back--someone does want to go home, so I'll be going to Jackson after the refrigerator guy is done. I do a few little chores, then it's time for my appointment with Ike.

I get to the therapy place, and Ike calls me back after a few minutes. She tells me to go into room 2 and "get myself ready". Funny.

I change into a gown, and she comes in shortly. She looks at my breast and shakes her head. "I cannot touch that anymore", she says. Yes, I know. Under the breast has sloughed off, and the nipple and areola are very swollen and quite red. She nods her head. That will break down soon, she says. Great. Looking forward to it. I'll do what I have to do.....

She massages my arm and into my armpit, moving that fluid around. She does what she does, and soon the hour is up. We go to the computer and move Thursday's appointment to the morning (her need) and move next weeks' appointment to Friday (my need). Ok, see you Thursday. Thank you.

Back home, the repair guy, Steve, calls just as I'm turning into the garage. Because of the construction in the area, he comes in a different way, and I walk over to the back of the complex behind us to help lead him in. We get to the refrigerator; he opens the freezer door, moves a few items around, and finds frost on the back wall. Not good. He looks a little further and decides that the heater/motor/sensor/timer something-or-other whatever he called it is failing. Oh. He said that's a good thing, it's easy to replace, and not as costly as other things that could fail. Oh. He advised me to empty the freezer, leave it off to let it defrost, and he'll bring the new part tomorrow. (he had called the shop, and it was in stock) Ok, thanks. We chatted a few minutes, and he left.

I went over to the storage unit to get the coolers, and started unpacking the freezer. Hey, this stuff at the top is thawed. Uh-oh. This might not be so easy. I call Sandy at work, and tell her I've got a freezer job. She tells me "no big deal, I'll just stay. Take care of your freezer." I love my co-workers.

I get the freezer emptied and into the various coolers that I had, and realized that I don't have anything to put the refrigerated stuff into. Hm. I called Daniel, but he didn't answer. I also didn't know how long he would be on the golf course... I left the refrigerator stuff in the fridge with the door closed. I figured that if we lose some stuff, we lose some stuff, that's the way it goes. Then I cleaned the freezer side, and sopped up the water as the frost melted.

I picked out something to eat, and did, and checked the freezer again. It was dry, so I thought it was done doing whatever it was supposed to do. So I turned it on. I went out on the balcony to rest. It was almost 4 o'clock, too late now for me to offer to go to work. I ended up taking a bit of a nap, almost an hour. It was very lovely.

When I went inside, I looked at the freezer again. It was cold! And there was ice in the bottom where some water had dripped--uh oh, I hope I didn't goof. I don't know where that water came from... Since it was cold, I set the smaller coolers into the freezer. And then Dan called and I told him what was up. He arranged for his friend Lee to bring us a couple of coolers and a couple bags of ice for the refrigerated stuff. Good.

After a while, Lee showed up. He thought the freezer was fine, and the refrigerator was cooling down, too. I decided to leave the items in the fridge. I went back out on the balcony to enjoy the evening.

Daniel got home about 8:30. He's been golfing all day. He's tired and happy. He thinks the freezer is working, but the fridge side isn't as cold as it should be. Tomorrow it will be fixed...

He checked his email and started drifting off in the chair, and it wasn't too long before he drifted off to bed.

I wrote here, and I'll check the fridge again before going to bed. Hugs.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday 6.1.2008

Sunday June 1, 2008

Another restless night, but at least I could doze that last hour from 0730-0830. We got up to a beautiful day.

The morning went on, and after a bit, I went out for a run. I did ok, slow and steady. I got really hot a couple of times, but just paced myself and focused on breathing. And then I was back home.

After I cooled off, I showered, and got ready for Breon's party. (she was having a Lia Sophia party here). I helped her get set up, and the guests arrived. Daniel was off for an afternoon of golf with his friends.

We had a nice afternoon, the girls chatting about anything. They eventually drifted off. I helped Bre pick up and clean up, then she was off herself.

I had something to eat, and laid down for a short rest. I got up and wrote here. It's almost 10:00 and Daniel will be home soon.

The area under my breast is still reddened and tender, and sloughing (peeling) off. I have put goop on at least three times, and will again before going to bed.

Tomorrow is radiation treatment, therapy, and work.

Thank you for reading, I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Hugs.