Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday 06.30.2010 Affirmation Day

After a typical night, I got up, breakfasted, showered, got ready for my day.

I had a list of items to talk with Dr. Williams, the oncologist about, and took the notebook of my tests, results, and treatments.

When I went into the office, I signed in at the desk. It wasn't but a few minutes before Latesha called me back. Onto the scale: 162.4. Up 2.4 pounds. Don't like it, but it's better than the 4 pound increase the previous 6 months. As we went back to the exam room I asked her about the blood work. She said that we will do that after seeing the doctor. Oh, ok..

Blood Pressure, Pulse, Temperature. And the doctor will be in in a few minutes. I thanked her.

I noticed after she left the room that there was new artwork on the walls; a National Geographic map of the"Ghost Fleet of the Outer Banks", a winter farmhouse scene, a black and white photo of the Wright Brothers flying a plane, and a Wright Brothers 100 Years of Aviation poster.

I had sat back down and the doctor came in, without knocking. I said hello, you didn't knock, and gave him a look that I hoped was friendly. It just bugs me that he comes right in without knocking.

He sat down and started looking at the chart, which is a manila file folder that has about an inch of papers on each side when opened. The majority of the time, he is flipping through the papers, reading, getting an understanding of my case. He asks questions, and as I answer, he considers, looks at other lab values or tests or dates or treatments. We had a good discussion of the aromitase inhibitors as related to my side effects: joint pain, hot flashes, irregular heartbeat, and interrupted sleep. His main concern, it seemed, was the joint pain, which is really tendonitis, according to the research literature. Whatever it is, it hurts. I didn't take any tylenol/motrin this morning, and the swelling was visible on my wrist. He looked at the bone scan again, noting that there was no mention of arthritis-like changes.

He felt the pulse on the wrist and felt the irregularity, then listened with the stethoscope, and sat back.

He looked at me, and suggested we stop the Arimidex for a time.

Without going into the whole discussion, we talked about it at length. The aromitase inhibitors are now recommended for 7 1/2 years, so I'll be on something for another 5 years. And hopefully, the tendonitis will go away when the pills go away. He wants to stop the Arimidex for three weeks to see if my side effects go away.

We talked about recurrence; my thoughts are that if I had a period of time that I didn't have any treatment, and I had a recurrence, I would always wonder if it could have been prevented. And since the treatment is to prevent a recurrence, I'm not willing to take the risk. I definitely do not want surgery and chemotherapy again. Or radiation, either.

He said he understood that. There are three Aromatase Inhibitors; Arimidex, Femara, and Aromasin, that are used for breast cancer. He offered to switch to the Femara, thinking that maybe I would tolerate it differently. I agreed to trying the Femara, and I'll see him again mid-August for a follow-up appointment.

He wrote out prescriptions for the Femara, Motrin 600 mg, and Tylenol #3. The motrin is the 600 because when I took 800 mg consecutively, I had ringing in my ears, which is a side effect of too much of it. I figured I can add a 200 mg if I hurt really bad, then the next dose can be just the 600 mg. And I took the prescription for the T3 as it was offered. I just hope I don't need to use much in the way of pain meds with the Femara.

As I mentioned, we talked about 45 minutes, and he frequently looked at the different pages in the file. He said all of the scans came back good. Ahh, my Affirmation. I asked for copies of the reports--of course, he said, and made a note on the sheet that I turn in when I check out.

He walked me out to the check out window. I think he wanted to hug me--he was real close and had his hand on my shoulder--and when I turned to thank him yet again, I extended my hand to shake it. He took it, and stepped back. Then turned and went back down the hall to the next patient. Allrighty then.

At the window, Annie got the reports out of the chart and copied them, then looked at the schedule for the next appointment. We agreed on August 18 at 1145 or something. Next stop, blood draw.

The other girl, not Latesha, called me back to sit in the lab chair. The veins in the antecubital (inner elbow) weren't coming out to play, but there were a couple of nice ones in my hand. I offered her one of those, and she got the 4 tubes drawn without difficulty. I will receive a copy of those results in the mail. I thanked her and went on my way.

I had enough time at home to use the restroom, then went on to Leah's for a Reflexology appointment. She does such a nice job. She did both feet, then hands. By the time she had done both feet, then one of my hands, I was about asleep.

Time to go...

I got home and got myself something to eat. Dan got home about 9. He had a good time, and talked the whole time he unpacked. After his shower, I told him about the doctor visit, and he is in agreement with the change in medicine.

I am going to go in to work the first half of the day tomorrow, then go to a meeting, then banking, and and oil change while I'm down there.

Daniel is going to stay home and rest.

Thank you for Affirming with me. Hugs.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday 06.29.2010

I kind of rested during the short night, and got up for work this morning. My right wrist is really sore. I was favoring it all morning, and about 0730 I gave in and took the tylenol and motrin. Happily, I realized that it was much better a couple hours later.

We had a busy workday with a good group of co-workers. I had a phone call from Dr. Williams office asking if I had gotten my blood work done. No, I didn't know I was supposed to get blood drawn. I wasn't given a slip... She confirmed that I had not been given a slip at the appointment in December, and also that no one had noted on my chart that I had been notified to get labs drawn, so she was calling me now. Could I come in today before 1 pm to have it done? Yeah, right. I work until 7 pm, in Jackson. She said it was not a problem, that it would be drawn before the appointment tomorrow. I offered to have it drawn earlier in the morning, as my appointment is 3:45, but she said no. And I could have had it done in Jackson, but they like the results on their own machines in their format. OooKaaay. So, tomorrow I have a lab draw, too. And I could have had that done when I was there last week for the scans. Hm.

Just as I was changing my shoes to leave, daughter Kim called to invite me out to JCC and the Potter Center to hear the Jackson Community Concert Band. Her daughter Kayla is going to JCC in the fall, and since she wants to be involved in band out there, the director said "why wait for school to start, come on out and practice with us." And she did, and it was her first onstage performance with "older" musicians, some of whom had been with the band for 23 years. How cool for her. And I enjoyed the music, as well as the company. Thanks, Kim, for thinking of me.

An uneventful drive home, thank you God, and I got settled in, had a snack, wrote here, and I'm ready for bed. Dan emailed to say he didn't have good cell phone service there and he would email me. Hm. Ok. He'll be home tomorrow evening.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday 06.28.2010

I did my best to rest while I was in bed. The radio came on and I got up. I had gotten my clothes out, and taken my pajamas off, when the phone rang. "You can stay home today..." Woo Hoo!! My pajamas were still warm. I slipped them back on and went back to bed. Ahh.

I woke about 7, and again just before 9. Time to get up.

I'm surprised that I'm a bit swollen today, my hands especially. I don't recall eating anything with a lot of preservatives or anything yesterday. Hm. I started drinking water to get flushed out. And my wrist is super sore and swollen.

After breakfast I went out for a short walk, just to get some fresh air, and came back in. A little while later, I saw the property management guy out there with another guy, walking around the buildings and taking notes. Keegan and I did that after our last meeting, and since I'm a nosy person, and also the Association President, I went out to join them. They had been around two of the buildings already, looking at general maintenance issues, and I accompanied them for the remaining three buildings. I was able to answer a couple of questions that they had, so I don't feel like so much of an intruder on their processes.

Back inside, I putzed around, cooling off.

Later in the afternoon I went out for another walk, and as I was out, a fellow board member was outside, too. We ended up having a nice conversation; other people have life situations, too, and she has had a difficult 8 months. (I wonder if my "talk to me light" was on?)

I came back in and fixed something to eat. After a while I did a yoga routine. It amazes me how that seems to open the lymph channel. My left hand and arm look better.

Tomorrow I will have to work, then Wednesday is the follow up appointment with Dr. Williams, the oncologist, who will go over the scans and how I'm doing. I can't wait to talk to him about this right wrist.

Dan must be having too much fun; I didn't hear from him today. (sad face)

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday 06.27.2010

The end of June, a full moon, there must be another rhyme and/or a song in there somewhere.

I slept hard for just a few hours last night, and woke to a light summer rain. Again. I got up about 0900, I think. The rain would come and go, sometimes heavier, sometimes just drizzling. Looking at the site, though, there were severe storms all over Michigan. Again. I have to leave sometime today, and will try to time it so that I'm not driving in the storms. Again.

I tried to get things done, but not push myself so that I wouldn't be all dragged out for work tomorrow.

I did get the back bedroom put together--assembled the twin bed, then brought in the nightstand from the garage, and the lamp and, etc. I finally got the front room emptied out of the miscellaneous items that we had put out there to get the carpet redone. That was a good feeling.

I also installed another under cabinet light near the refrigerator. I like it. I put the curtains back up in the middle bedroom, and replaced the very old, dusty, blue valance thing that was out in the front bedroom with the valance things I found at the Fish store for 50 cents. Oh yeah, I ironed them first. Much better. Then I started on the "going home cleaning".

Checking the computer, it looked like I would be missing most of the rain by leaving about 6. Just as I was getting ready to change those front curtains, I saw Tom out front in the boat. I was glad for the break and a short visit on the dock was welcome.

I was loaded up and on the road at 6:15.

An uneventful drive, thank you God, with only a small amount of drizzle and a few spots of very light rain as the last of the storms passed on. Mostly the sun was winning the battle with the clouds.

At home, I unloaded and unpacked. Dan called--he's arrived in Kentucky with his golf group, and in fact, played 18 holes today. He's doing what he loves to do.

I showered and wrote here, and tomorrow is a workday for me.

So, I'm off to bed.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday 06.26.2010

After a mostly restful night and a quiet morning, the rest of my day was busy. I had taken the curtains down in the bedroom, but those had not been washed in probably 10 years. I couldn't put those back up--I went into Hale to the laundromat. I was surprised that the washer was $2.00. I haven't been to a laundromat in a looong time.

While the washer ran, I took the trash to the transfer station, then went to the grocery to get milk and bananas. When I got back to the 'mat, there were 2 minutes left on my washer. Pretty good timing!

The first dryer ate the quarter; the next dryer kind of almost dried the lighter weight curtains. I took them home and put them on the clothesline. I stopped at the resale store (the Fish store), looking for curtains. I found a couple that will do to replace the ones that are unable to launder in the front bedroom.

Anyway, I had a sandwich before getting back to the painting. I got the bunk room finished painted, and reassembled the bunk beds. That was hard; the frames are heavy and it was awkward to do it by myself, but I got it. Tomorrow I'll put together the twin bed in that room, and it will be done! Finally! And as I look around, there's so much more to do...

But I'm wore out tonight. I'll try to pace myself so I can go to work Monday without feeling overdone. I missed a pretty good day outside at the lake, but I'm happy to have that room done.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday 06.25.2010

I was so tired last night. When I finally went to bed, I slept fairly well, though I am still surprised that I wake so frequently. Fortunately I returned to sleep without much difficulty.

Dan got up and went to work, I went back to sleep again. I finally got up about 8.

Ugh. My wrist hurt pretty good this morning, so I had the tylenol and motrin with breakfast. I looked at the computer while waiting for it to work some, then went in to shower.

I added a few things to my suitcase, packed a cooler, loaded the car. I also put the bike rack on and secured my bicycle to it. I was on the road about 11.

I wondered what my brother Bruce was doing today--I called to see if he was available. He was!!

I stopped in Farwell for a lovely visit with him. It had been several years since I had been to his home, but I drove right to it. I kind of surprised myself. He has a beautiful piece of property, a promising garden, and makes a mean peanut butter sandwich. Thanks, Bruce. I really enjoyed our visit.

Back on the road, I made it safely to the JC about 4 pm. A little wind, sunny with clouds moving in, and 80 degrees. The cabin was cool, though, because it was closed up. And clean. Thanks for the sparkly bathtub, Dave and Catherine. It was a pleasure to come in and find it clean.

The neighbors came over, first one, who offered to take the bike off of the rack for me (thanks, Mark) and then Evelyn and Bob, who were out doing yardwork. We visited some, and I had been there an hour or so and still hadn't gotten the car unloaded yet.

So I did. I swept the deck and put the cushions on the glider while my food heated up, and enjoyed my dinner out there. The breeze had died down and it was mirror quiet. I got sleepy so I laid down and enjoyed being there.

When I woke a short while later, I watched the birds. I saw a pair of common terns, I think, a pair of loons, a pair of ducks, a female duck with some babies, a blue heron, and seagulls. And the sheriff out on the water, following a boater whose baby didn't have a life jacket on (they put one on it), then they stopped them again on the other side of the bug buoys. (They had gone close to shore, while the sheriff had gone out and around) Interesting.

Back inside, I made the bed, put things away that I had brought up, changed a light bulb and cleaned the fixture. I moved stuff out of the back bedroom/bunkroom, and started painting. But I had to wipe the walls down first to get the dust and cobwebs off, as well as take the curtains and hardware down. I got a whole wall painted, and half of another. I can put the bunk beds together tomorrow, and paint more, I hope.

I am so blessed to be here, to have family and friends that I love, and who love me too.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thursday 06.24.2010

I went to bed a little earlier hoping to be more rested in the morning, to little avail. I got up this morning and went to work.

I was surprised that on the way to Jackson I didn't see any damage from the severe storms last night. Only a few clumps of leaves on the road in one area.

At the hospital, we had a good group, and the first half of the day was steady busy. The second half of the day blew up. We each pegged away at what needed to be done, and finally got through it. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to leave early. And I'm really tired.

A safe drive home, thank you God, and after changing clothes, I ended up lying on the couch, dozing in and out for about an hour. I felt able to sit up and be awake for a bit, but not enough to drive the 3 hours to the lake. Boo.

I'll have to go in the morning.

The moon has risen in a clear sky; I'm really hoping for clear night skies the next few nights. I love seeing the moon over the water.

The tylenol and motrin has worn off, and my wrist is annoyingly sore again. I may need more.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday 06.23.2010

Not quite rested, I got up for work this morning.

The drive down was uneventful, thank you God, with a smeared orange sunrise, and the shuttle took us over to the hospital.

We had a fairly good day, and it was time to leave after a long 12 1/2 hours. A safe drive home with a strong summer storm developing in Jackson. I stopped in Mason for fuel, and got home to find Daniel sleeping in his chair. He woke after I'd been home about 15 minutes or so.

I had been trying to get a migraine again the last few hours, and my wrist has been increasingly bothering me since late afternoon. I took motrin/tylenol to help.

We watched the weather radar on tv for a while. Such a severe thunderstorm along I-94 in Jackson, with winds and lots of rain, and possible tornadoes. Here in Holt we've had some clouds move in and occasional lightening. The radar shows that we're going to get it, though, in a couple of hours. Hold on...

Tomorrow is a workday for both of us. Daniel aired the tires on my bicycle for me tonight, so that's ready to go to the lake, and I'm hoping to be able to leave work a little early. Time will tell.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday 06.22.2010 Testing, Testing

Intermittent sleep; finally it was 0850. I got up.

Putzed around, had breakfast, then went over to the Mid Michigan Physician's building on the north end of town for the scans.

The nice lady at the window verified my information, then told me to have a seat. Callie came out for me; she's the one who called me and scheduled me.

She took me back through The Door, down a hallway, and into a small room with one of those chairs with the arm that swings, that are used for lab draws and IV starts and such, and directed me to have a seat on the "padded chair". Ok.

She put a tourniquet around my arm and found a vein, then put a needle onto a barrel of something, and came at me. "Hold the bus," I said. "Do I need a needle for the CT scan?"

"Oh, you're having a CT done, too?" She looked at her paperwork and verified that, indeed, I was to have a CT scan also. I told her we talked about it when she scheduled me, but she had transferred me to someone else to schedule the CT scan. "Yes, you'll need a needle for that."

She undid the tourniquet, got the supplies ready to put in an IV needle, and started again.

She got the little 23 gauge needle into the vein with one poke, but it wasn't advancing. I was feeling warm, (I sometimes don't do well with needles into myself), but took a big breath and got myself together. She was able to do what she needed to do without too much more poking around. A clear dressing over the site, and a couple pieces of tape, she flushed it with the normal saline before screwing on the radio-isotopes. With that injected, she flushed it again, with instructions to go back to the window to get my 2 bottles of barium stuff. My appointment with her for the bone scan is 4 pm.

Back at the window, the nice lady gives me two bottles of berry flavored white stuff, with instructions to drink one at 1:30, and the other at 2:30. And nothing to eat or drink after 1:30. I didn't remember the nothing to drink part from before. And to be back at 3:30 for the CT scan. Ok, thanks.

Now what. For some reason, I thought I had to be there all afternoon. But I don't. It was just a little after noon.

I went across the road to wander around in Wal-Mart. I don't go in there very often.

I wandered around, looking at stuff. I found a couple things I wanted, but I didn't take a charge card with me, so I looked at a couple more things before heading back home with the top down.

Ahh. A pb-n-j sandwich for lunch, a slug of water, and the first of the two berry flavored drinks. Not so berry flavored. I did my best getting the first one in. She had said 15 minutes, but it was more like 25. After a half hour break for my belly, I sucked on the second one. I was listening to a story on my device to try to distract me somewhat. The second one took about 20 minutes, and then it was time to go back.

I let the nice lady at the window know I was back, and Tanya came out to get me. We went through The Door, through the maze of hallways, and into the CT room. That's the machine that is a round circle and the table slides through it, like jumping through a hoop. Tanya said she did my scan last year. Oh. I didn't recognize her. She flushed the iv, hooked up the "dye", and started the machine. I had to bring my arms above my head on the table, which was reminiscent of the radiation treatments, without the handle to hold onto.

The machine says "take a breath. hold it" and the inside of the circle spins as the table slides in and out of it. For the abdomen and pelvis, it's positioned just below the sternum and advances down to the hips, then back up. On the third time through, Tanya says she's starting the iv, and within seconds, I feel the warm flush spread throughout my body, and the table advances again.

She comes into the room and chats for several minutes and unhooked the iv stuff, taking the needle out after verifying with whoever that I don't need it for the bone scan. I think we must be done and ask if I can get up from the table. No, one more time through...

After that one, she came out and "parked" the table. I got up and she aimed me down the hall towards the waiting room. There's a restroom...

With an empty bladder, I went out into the waiting area just as someone coming towards me was calling "Katherine...?" Yes, that's me.

She led me back through The Door and through the maze into another room. This is the first bone scan I've had done here. I lie on a table and she covers me with a light blanket. It's a bit cool in there, and I know I'll probably be too warm at some point. She moves the table to the machine that has a large square box on it, positioning the box over my head, about 6 inches away. There are marks like crosshairs on the bottom, which is right above my face. I close my eyes. This test is going to take an hour. I settled in for a nap.

The box moved it's way slowly down to my feet, then she came into the room and did something at the computer, moving the box to the underside of the table. It started it's way back up toward my head. And I got warm.

I saw that it was down on my legs and moved my arms, which were down at my sides (and the little fingers were getting numb) and moved the blanket off the top half of me. She asked if I was ok--I told her yes, and she continued the test.

We were finally done. She moved the table away from the machine and helped me to sit up, then off the table. It was 4:40. Hey, that's not an hour...

I asked if I could see the images, and she led me around behind their protective wall to the monitors. Callie was there, too. There was my skeleton, with a very bright spot showing my bladder. I thanked the ladies for their expertise and went on my way, stopping at the restroom again.

Over to Wal-Mart again, this time I took in the charge card. I picked up some undergarments and a pair of slippers, also a couple of things I wanted for the JC, and went back home.

My tummy was bloated and I wasn't feeling very good. I ate a bowl of cereal and passed a lot of smelly gas.

As I was checking the internet, I saw that my prescription was ready, so I went out to pick it up.

Dan got home about 9:15 from golfing. We chatted a bit; he showered and I'm about ready for bed.

Tomorrow is a workday for both of us.

My wrist is really sore tonight; my abdomen has been decompressing for a couple of hours now.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday 06.21.2010

I was surprised that I woke as much as I did during the night. Dan left for work, and I woke again about 6, sleeping, then waking about 8. I got up about 9.

Ugh. I didn't feel good. The back of my neck hurt like a headache, and now that I put the symptoms together, I realize that the nausea was part of the headache stuff. After my sinuses clogged up, then drained, and my vision was "tired", I realized that it was a migraine. I took 800 mg of motrin and 1000 mg of tylenol, and a couple cups of fresh coffee (for the warmth, as much as for the caffeine), and had breakfast.

I was feeling better a couple hours later, and the meds helped my wrist feel better, too. I got in the shower and enjoyed the warm water on my head and neck.

I had made a grocery list while waiting to feel better; and enjoyed the top down ride to and from the store.

I got laundry started and after a while got dinner ready.

Dan got home after golfing and we had dinner.

The meds have worn off, and my head and neck are sore, as well as my right eye, and wrist. Maybe I'll have a little more meds before going to bed.

Tomorrow Dan works; I have the CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis and also a bone scan.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday 06.20.2010 Fathers Day

It was hard to wake my brain up for work today.

On the way to Jackson, there was a car that was several car lengths ahead of me, and in the other lane. I saw brake lights, so I braked, too, and then I saw the golden brown of the deer. And another, and another. Taking their time, crossing the highway. We were completely stopped, side by side, on the highway. I looked over at the other driver--I smiled and gave a thumbs up. He smiled and waved. I'm so glad neither one of us hit one of those animals.

I almost needed sunglasses by the time I got to Jackson. The sunrise is so beautiful.

We clocked in, listened to report, and right off the bat, had to "save a life". One of our new patients was bleeding pretty good. The co-worker I was with today has been a nurse for 39 years, and with my 27 years of experience, our combined 66 years of nursing experience gave us the knowledge to calmly and expertly intervene. After a couple hours of medications and manual interventions, she straightened up. Woo Hoo!! Great teamwork!

The rest of the day was an odd, steady, busy day. Finally, the night shift came in. And unfortunately, it looked like it was trying to turn into another busy night.

I changed my clothes and met Daniel and Frank over at Los Tres Amigos in Jackson, part of Dan's Fathers Day celebration. We had a good supper, then went on our ways, Dan and I to home, of course.

Dan has showered and gone to bed, and I'm hoping to get there soon, too.

Tomorrow is unscheduled for me. Dan has to work.

My wrist was a little better today. It's still really sore and swollen, but I didn't take anything for it. I'll see what it does tomorrow.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday 06.19.2010

Whew--that was a short night. Dan said he didn't hear me come in, but he woke and saw that I was in the bed and he went back to sleep.

A safe drive down this morning, with a beautiful sunrise showing through the end of the storm clouds. The Jackson area was hit kind of hard; several employees lost power and many didn't expect to have it restored until tomorrow night.

We had a good day on the overflow unit. I was happy to leave at 7 o'clock.

A safe drive home, thanks again.

Dan had been sleeping on the bed, but got up when I came in. We'll have a quiet evening, and maybe I'll be able to catch up on a little sleep tonight. My wrist is sore, and I've had tylenol and motrin a couple of times today. Maybe that will help me rest, too.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday 06.18.2010

We had a "relaxing" kind of morning--neither one of us in a hurry to get showered or dressed. Soon it was noon. I was the first to get showered and started on the rest of my day.

We went out on the paddleboat to visit the catfish. Yep, we found it. And it slowly swam away from it's bed as we drifted over it. It might be 2 feet long, or maybe not quite that big, looking through the water like that. It's big, regardless.

We floated around the quiet water, coming close to shore to float in the shade. Mid 80's, beautiful.

Back inside, we cooled off, and Catherine had heard from Dave that he was on the way over. Woo Hoo!!

I got my things together to get ready to leave for home. When Dave arrived, we called Tom, and we all met at Largent's in Long Lake for supper. The company was better than the food.

I had to leave for home, but after looking at the weather radar, I dawdled a bit, hoping to miss the line of strong storms that was moving through. As it was, I was in a little wind, but when I was just north of Flint I got into rain and lightening. I was in rain until Lansing, and in Holt it had stopped, and the pavement was steaming. The temp had dropped from 83 degrees to 67 degrees.

I got unloaded. Daniel was sleeping, of course, and I slid into bed about 11:45. His breathing didn't change.

I'll be up at 0430...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday 06.17.2010

Another beautiful day at Long Lake!

I slept pretty good; Catherine said she did, too.

We had kind of a low-key day today, though I did do some chores.

We put the mat or "floor" out on the front deck, I swept both front and back decks, walks, and both the house and garage, swept out the garage, started the van and let it run while I was outside, bug-sprayed the exterior perimeters of both the house and garage. We pulled the grass and weeds from the hen and chicks up by the back door.

By then I was ready to eat again, and Catherine fixed us a lovely meal. While she was cooking, I taped some of the back bedroom and started painting in there. I didn't get much done, but some is more than nothing.

We went for a walk up to Long Lake Village, looking around. It was hot away from the water. When we got back, we enjoyed just sitting out on the deck and each other's company, watching the 2 blue herons flying around our area, landing on the docks, and hunting. They are such neat birds. I think I saw that catfish surface, too.

I hope to get out on the paddleboat tomorrow, as well as paint some more, before leaving for home. I have to work the weekend.

My wrist is still bothersome; I'm glad the tylenol and motrin help.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday 06.16.2010

I slept pretty good, overall, though it felt like I was awake several times. I got up once and took the tylenol/motrin for my wrist, and Dan said it seemed that I was sleeping well.

He got up and went to work; I went back to sleep. I listened to the radio sometime after 8, finally getting up about 8:30. After breakfast and another dose of the tylenol and motrin, and a sudafed (I just felt yucky this morning), I checked the weather online. I packed and loaded the car and headed north about 10 o'clock.

I had a good drive up, thank you God, and though the weather was predicted to clear in the afternoon, it never did. I arrived to the lake to windy whitecaps on the lake with 60 degrees.

Catherine joined me about 3:30. We had a great afternoon, going into Hale for groceries and such. Shortly after we got back, knock knock--Tom and Kristen were here!

We had a good visit. The rest of the evening was quiet, Catherine reading, me on the computer.

Who knows what tomorrow is...??? Sunny, we hope.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday 06.15.2010

I felt almost rested this morning when I got up for work. Ok, let's make it a good day...

A safe drive down, thank you God, and we walked the two blocks over to the hospital in the fine drizzle.

It started out to be a lovely day, working with one of my favorite co-workers. Before noon, though, it blew up. We called our on-call person to come in, which was a good thing, and the rest of the day was steadily busy for all of us. I was happy to see the next shift coming in.

The drive home was long, and I was tired. I'm not going to be able to drive the three hours up to the lake tonight.

When I got home, I put my work things away, changed clothes, and packed my bags, except for the food. I'll leave sometime in the morning.

My wrist is still bothersome. I've had 2 doses of tylenol/motrin today, and I'm wondering if I'm going to need another dose before long.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday 06.14.2010

I was so disappointed, I didn't sleep hardly at all last night. Ah, well. Up and at 'em.

A safe drive south, thank you God, in the flat gray morning. The shuttle was waiting to take us over to the hospital.

We had a great day. It looked like it might get funky, but it turned out to be real good. I love my co-workers.

A safe drive home. Dan wasn't home yet from the golf league, but called to say he was on his way. I enjoyed a shower and got turned around for work tomorrow morning. Dan came in and is on the phone playing computer support with one of his friends. Sounds like they are making progress.

I was wanting to go to the lake tomorrow night after work, but I doubt that I'll be rested enough to drive that far, and in the dark. I'm not going to push myself, that's for sure. I'm about ready to to bed now. Hope I can sleep...

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday 06.013.2010

Wow, time is flying... That was my thought when I wrote the date...

I had a good sleep this morning, waking a little after 9. I still have a little junk in my throat/chest, with an occasional cough, but much better.

I enjoyed breakfast along with a bunch of water and motrin. That right wrist really hurts when the meds wear off. Sure hope it goes away.

I putzed around this morning, then went out for a walk, and up to the clubhouse. I reserved the clubhouse for December 12, Sunday, for our Christmas Singing Party. SAVE THE DATE!!!

Daniel finally called with a time that he was coming home from his golf tournament. I went up to Meijer for a few groceries before he got back. He got home about 6--happy, sunned on (and a little pink faced), and tired. He unpacked and we visited, and it wasn't long after he sat in his chair that he was sleeping. I woke him about 8:30--he showered and went to bed.

Tomorrow is a workday for both of us.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday 06.12.2010

I felt like I rested better last night. I finally feel like I'm getting over this stuff. I didn't get up and cough to clear my airway.

I did take tylenol/motrin because my wrist hurt so bad. And I read stuff on the computer while I waited for it to work, so I could fix my breakfast and shower without the pain from the simple movements.

I enjoyed both the shower and the breakfast, got myself ready to go to Jackson for my haircut appointment.

Lauretta did a great job on my hair today. Nice and short, and she cut off over half of it. I don't think my hair has ever grown this fast. Maybe because of the supplements I take???

Next stop, over to Spring Arbor to great-nephew Drew's high school graduation open house. Very nice, good turn out, and the weather held out, though it was mid 80's, overcast, and humid, with a threat of misty rain. The sun eventually came out about 4 pm.

It was good to see many of our family members and friends. After that party, I was invited over to Jim and Polly's for a "jam" session. Jim, Jim the Younger, Kris, Ariana, and Drew played guitars, and violin, and we all had fun singing along to their music. Frank joined us, too, but mostly rested, as he had worked a 12 hour shift the night before, getting home about 4, then worked at Allskate this afternoon, too. He said he enjoyed being there anyway.

Frank and I left after a while, and we stopped for a bite to eat before going our separate ways home. I enjoyed our one-on-one time.

A safe drive home, thank you God, even for the deer who ran across the highway a few cars ahead of me, into the median, waited for the traffic to pass, and across the rest of the way.

Not sure what tomorrow will bring; I think Dan comes home.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday 06.11.2010

I didn't sleep as well as I had hoped to, but I got up when the alarm went off.

Wow. I could see the sunrise this morning as I got on the highway. Beautiful sky blue pink. My absolute favorite color. Since it was in the eastern sky, and I was traveling south, I had to turn my head to look at it. I would have rather sat and watched it, but I looked at it while I could, maybe ten minute's worth. My praise song was filled with beauty as I thanked God for showing me my most favorite color, as well as giving me safe travel.

Work was busy, with a couple of oddities. Even with my 27 years there (can you believe it?), every once in a while something new and different happens. We have a great staff and we work well together. I will say I was happy to clock out tonight.

A safe drive home, thanks again. Dan called to say all was well where he was, somewhere on the west side of the state for a golf tournament.

I put my things away and decided to do another yoga routine. I am so surprised at how much good that does me.

I'll be going to bed soon; tomorrow is a haircut and another graduation open house. Congrats to Drew, the first of my Great Nephews/Nieces to graduate. He's a personable young man who will be successful in whatever he chooses to do.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thursday 06.10.2010

A quiet night, I rested fairly well. When I woke for the day, about 8:30, I put my headphones on and listened to my current story while I did a lymph treatment. I managed to do a half hour, and I noticed a positive difference. It was challenging to do, though, because my right wrist is so sore.

I got up and showered and breakfasted, then went over to Leah's for my massa-aahhhh-ge. She does such a good job, finding areas in my neck and back that I didn't know were bothering me. She has also been treating the pockets of lymph fluid along my side and back by the shoulder blade. Between the two of us, I was feeling better most of the day.

I took some tylenol and motrin after I got home, and ended up sleeping again this afternoon. But my chest stuff feels a bit better this evening.

I've been out for a walk, and done a yoga series. I'm going to shower and go to bed, so I can get up for work tomorrow.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday 06.09.2010

We both slept pretty good last night. And since we didn't have to get up for work, we had a restful morning, too. I got up about 9, still feeling yucky. I tried a sudafed to see if that would clear up the lingering stuff in my head and chest.

We had breakfast, and with a list of errands/places to go, we headed out. From the medical supply store to the gas station to the grocery store to the pharmacy to the dollar store, and everything on the list had been taken care of.

At home, Dan finished packing to go for a long golf weekend up north, and had lunch before going out to "hit some golf balls". I stayed home, feeling like a nap. I had a bite to eat, then laid down on the bed.

Dan came in what seemed like a short time later, and laid down, too. We were snoozing when his phone rang. It was the guy he was going up north with; he had finished with his commitment sooner than he thought and was ready to go north. Dan was ready; hugs and kisses and he was on his way.

I got up and got my things together for the Condominium Association Board meeting tonight.

That was a pretty good meeting--I find it interesting how this community/development functions financially and all. We came back to the condos and walked around, looking at the little things maintenance wise.

Dan called, saying all was well at the lake. I'm trying real hard to feel better. This crud seems to like hanging on.

Tomorrow is a massage. That will help.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday 06.08.2010

I got up this morning and went to work. A safe drive down, thank you God, with the deer not in the roadway.

The unit was busy, as I had thought it would be, and we had enough help to have a good day. Until 4:30 or so, when it started to blow up again. We spent the remainder of the shift juggling patients and staff, trying to balance both so that the assignments were manageable. I was glad to be leaving and not coming back for a couple of days.

A safe drive home, thanks again, in the rain. Dan was golfing, in the rain.

I thought I'd look at my computer, clicking on the connections things, reading the messages and such. I opened a couple of boxes, and something caught my eye, so I followed that trail. I found that a setting had been changed to allow it to only connect with another computer. That didn't look right, so I changed it to the top option of the 3 choices, and when I did, the progress bar started moving, and things started happening.

And before I knew it, I was online! Woo Hoo!! All by myself!!! (Not that I could tell you where I was and what files I opened...)

I'm writing here, waiting for Daniel to get home.

Tomorrow is groceries, and an Association Board meeting in the evening. Dan is going up north tomorrow night for a long weekend of golf.

I've still got a layer of fuzz in my throat, and I still sound a bit "nasal-y" to myself. Yes, I'm fatigued, too. I took a couple tylenol a little while ago for a headache and general discomfort and to help me sleep again tonight.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday 06.07.2010

We had a steady busy day at work today, leaving the night shift to blow up with all the patients that are laboring.

I'm still fighting the lingering congestion and cough and fatigue from whatever crud I had.

When I got home tonight I started my computer, but it wouldn't connect to the internet. When Dan came in from golfing, he worked on it for an hour and a half or so, still unable to connect. Maybe I inadvertently clicked something when I was shutting it down...

But we have other computers in the house, so I did what I wanted to do, and wrote here.

I'm hoping to rest some tonight so that I'll be able to run the soles of my shoes off tomorrow. It will be one busy day...

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday 06.06.2010

I slept pretty good, overall, last night, and woke about 9 o'clock. Dan was already up.

We had a quiet morning, and we got ready to go to Kayla's Commencement at Springport High School.

It was a long afternoon, and we got her graduated. Congrats, Kayla. She was also announced as a recipient of one of the many scholarships given out. Yippee!

We went back to their house for photo ops, then Dan and I left for home.

We took the long way, and he filled up his car before we got back to the house.

To my surprise it was 7 o'clock.

We had a snack and settled down, enjoying the rest of the evening doing a lot of nothing.

Tomorrow is a workday for both of us.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Saturday 06.05.2010 Two Years Post Treatment

Yes, Two Years! The last treatment of all treatments--two surgeries, 4 chemotherapy infusions, 30 radiation treatments. Diagnosed November 18, 2007, last treatment June 5, 2008. Recovery--still happening.

My hair came back thicker than it was; initially with a little wave on the ends, but that was cut off, and it's as straight as it ever was, and the same color of brown. The gray hairs are still there, but I think the additional hairs came in brown. I tried to let it grow longer, but the hot flashes make my head sooo hot, it had to be cut shorter again. It does seem to grow really fast. The hair on my arms and legs came back less dense, as did hair in other places.

Hot flashes--oh my gosh--hot flashes are still happening. Sometimes I think they are a little less often, and a bit less intense, and then Bam! I'm hit. I started out taking the Effexor for them, which helped initially, but I weaned off of that a few months ago, with no changes noted in the hot flashes. They might be just the least bit less often, and maybe just the least bit less intense.

Sleep. I wake frequently in the night, generally with a feeling of "expectation". And then a hot flash happens. Covers off, covers on. Doze off, wake up. Hot, cold, restless. Many nights, especially work nights, I probably get a total of maybe 3 hours. Mornings that I don't have to get up, I often sleep off and on until 9:30 or so.

Wounds--scars on the breast and axillary area have dimpled, probably with the accumulation of lymph fluid, as well as maybe having formed adhesions below them, onto the deeper layers of tissue. I still have numbness around the front part of the axillary incision, extending up into the armpit, and a little bit below the wound, too. The numbness is increased when there is lots of lymph fluid accumulated.

Lymphedema. Yep, got it. My wedding rings haven't fit since surgery. I've had many lymphedema treatments from a professional, but haven't been in several months due to scheduling conflicts, complicated with a difference in her belief of practice, even though the doctor wrote the prescription for once a month treatments, and the insurance company approved it. And I haven't found another therapist yet. My lymphedema is Stage 1, I think she said. There is always fluid in my arm, shoulder, and breast, which responds well to manual drainage treatments. I have found that doing yoga routines helps immensely, too, and have been managing myself that way, though Ike's therapy treatments are still the best. My massage therapist, Leah Hicks, is learning how to help me, too, but she's not "all that" yet in that department. I also have a compression garment--a bolero jacket type of thing that helps with the fluid that collects and pockets over my ribs on the side and around to the back, as well as the axilla (armpit) and shoulder. I have a compression sleeve, from wrist to armpit, and a gauntlet, which is a fingerless glove. If I'm feeling really "full", putting these items on helps comfort-wise. I'm not able to have them on for long periods of time--they are tight and uncomfortable and hot. With the hot flashes, the compression garments are a no-go.

Cognition, aka chemo brain--The first many months after chemo, I feel like I didn't have much in the way of short-term memory. Reading is sometimes difficult, in that I read but don't retain. And it seems to be an eye strain, especially with smaller print. Forgetfulness is something that happens. I have lists, and a planner, which I must refer to frequently. Most difficult is a busy day at work, with lots of timed events. I sometimes "get lost" on my own worksheet, especially if I'm tired or fatigued.

Stamina--definitely decreased. I'm learning to pace myself, to go slower and to take breaks. Discouraging that I can't do as much as I could, but I'm thankful that I can do what I can do.

Arimidex, an aromatase inhibitor. Been taking it for almost a year, after being on Tamoxifen for a year. Side effects are joint pain and hot flashes. Maybe insomnia. Joint pain is uncomfortable enough that it's fatiguing. Tylenol and motrin help a lot. I don't like having that in my system 100% of the time, so I don't take it all the time. The current treatment plan has me on the aromatase inhibitor for another 3 years, for a total of 5 years, including the tamoxifen.

Weight. I weigh more now than I have ever in my life, even being full-term pregnant. I'm at least 15 pounds heavier than 2 years ago.

Of course, the changes in cognition, decrease in energy, insomnia, joint pain, and weight gain can also be attributed to a decrease in estrogen. I have heard physicians say that "those things would have happened anyway as we age; we just speed it up and you notice it more".

I'm on six month follow ups with the oncologist, and will be for a few years yet, I think. The average time of recurrence in the same breast, or a new growth in the other breast, is 2-4 years. Another way of saying that I'm now in "the curve". I'll have a bone scan and CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis in a couple weeks. Those might be annually.

I think that sums up where I'm at two years post breast cancer treatment.

I am thankful I'm alive, and as well as I can be. God has been good to me, giving me wonderful health care personnel, friends, and family, who have each pulled me through this experience.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Saturday 06.05.2010

I slept pretty good last night, the best part being able to sleep in this morning. When I woke it was close to 10, and Daniel was softly snoring! That was a surprise.

I got up and started my day. Dan got up a short while later.

I was slow getting going, but we got laundry started, had breakfast, and a shower, and we went over to daughter Kim's for granddaughter Kayla's graduation open house.

Even though there was a steady light rain after 6-ish, she had a good turnout, and with the large tent with tables and chairs in the yard, and the other one on the deck over the food, we were able to enjoy being outdoors anyway. Daniel left with a friend about 4 to golf. I stayed the rest of the afternoon, leaving after 8. It was raining pretty good by then.

Dan was home, finishing laundry. We had a quiet evening.

Not sure what tomorrow will bring.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday 06.04.2010

I must be feeling better--I didn't sleep as well last night. I could have slept the other half of my sleep this morning, but I got up and went to work instead. *sigh*

A safe drive down, thank you God. We had a good day that was busy in a strange way, and escalated the last 4 hours. I was tired/fatigued feeling most of the day, and I was hungry most of the day, too. I haven't eaten much these past several days (has it been a week with this stuff?). It's been a pleasure to actually taste things.

On the way home I stopped at Meijer to pick up a few things, as daughter Kim had asked me yesterday to make a pasta salad for the open house tomorrow. Dan was resting on the bed when I got home, but got up and visited with me while I did the food prep.

I finally got that done, cleaned up the kitchen, and sat down to write. Dan has gone off to bed, and I keep nodding off.

Pray for good weather tomorrow, for all those having outdoor parties.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday 06.03.2010

An average night sleeping, but the alarm came on way to early. I got up and ready for work.

A safe drive down, thank you God, and the shuttle took us over to the hospital.

We had a good day, though busy, with a great group of co-workers.

I have been feeling little bits better as the day went on, but was fatigued by mid-morning, and I had an extreme coughing spell this afternoon.

A safe drive home, with sunglasses on. I'm loving this next 6 weeks or so when the length of daylight is long enough that we both go to and return from work in the light.

Dan had gotten home a bit before I did. We had a quiet evening, and he's still up (!). I'm ready to go to bed, and hoping I can sleep and feel rested for another workday tomorrow.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday 06.02.2010

I must be getting better--I didn't sleep as much--or as well--last night. The sound of rain woke me shortly after daybreak, and I dozed some before getting up about 9.

Definitely different weather today. Mid 60's, quiet, very gray. Gray sky, gray water. Light rain/drizzle/light rain. It did let up after about 2 o'clock.

I breakfasted and showered, cleaned the bathroom, cleaned the kitchen. I got my things ready to go home. As I was getting the cabin cleaned, Frank stated he was going to stay a couple more days. Oh, ok, then I'm done, and you can finish, vacuuming and such....

He loaded the car for me, (that was really nice) and I was on the road shortly around 3.

An uneventful drive home, thank you God. When I got in, it was just before 6. Dan was sleeping on the bed. He woke when he heard me bring things in, and got up to help me unload.

I fixed myself something to eat, and turned on the computer. It wouldn't connect with our home router, so Dan the Computer Man spent the next couple hours with it until he got it connected. I don't know what the problem was, or why, but I'm happy Dan could figure it out. He went off to bed about 9:30, and I wrote here.

It's nice to be home, but it's not the lake. It's nice to be at the lake, but it's not home. You know?

Tomorrow is a workday for both of us.

I'm feeling better by bits, but still a bit fatigued. I'll be going to bed soon, too.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday 06.01.2010

I slept good again last night, returning to sleep even after the wake times. This morning I saw the sunrise, and was watching the sky and the lake. I knew I dozed, and I thought the clock showed 7:20. And not too long after that, I heard my phone ring. I figured it must have been the hospital, calling for help, before 0800. I dozed a bit again before getting up.

My surprise! 10:00 when I got up! And 0940 when the phone rang! Wow, I really did sleep well.

Frank was just waking, too. We breakfasted, and enjoyed the morning. He went out swimming, and I went out on the dock. He was out a ways when he swam back in, kind of quick. He said he saw a big fish...

We went out in the paddleboat. We found the cleared area where this fish was bedding (?) -- the silt and stuff moved away on the bottom, maybe 3 feet oblong. And there is a hole maybe a 8-12 inches around at one end of it. Frank thinks it came out of the hole. As we quietly floated around, we see it. Eww--eeek--it's big, and probably a huge catfish. Really, maybe 3 feet long. We actually saw it a few times, and I do wonder if it came out of the hole. Sometimes I just don't need to know that there are huge fish in this lake...

We went into Hale for a few groceries, then over to the ice cream store for a scoop (two for Frank). Back home, I spent the rest of the afternoon painting the closet in the back bedroom, while he went outside and worked on his car.

When I finished painting, I got supper together and ate, and Frank ate when he finished and came in.

It was a beautiful day, 79 degrees, blue sky, quiet/light breeze. I would have liked to spend more time outside, but I'm still a little low on energy even though I am feeling better. No thera flu today, just a couple of tylenol and a couple of good coughing spells.

Tomorrow I have to go home. Frank has the option of staying a couple more days.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.