Thursday, March 31, 2011

On friends who are visiting, visiting nurses, cards, and flowers

More musings as I use writing to keep my spirits high.

Linus the cat (my baby) has been getting scared. Every time a visitor stops by he runs and hides behind the water heater.

This afternoon two friends brought over food. What a nice surprise. Tonight's menu will be homemade chicken pot pie (thanks, Virginia!) and freshly baked lemon cookies (thanks, Beth!).

We still have lots of leftover lasagna and salad greens, grape tomatoes, and a red pepper (thanks, Barb!) and coconut chocolate chip cookies (thanks, Amy!) We're going to freeze the lasagna. No way we can eat all that now.

Wow. I'm going to gain weight unless I start moving around more. But I'm supposed to rest.

Tomorrow a friend from church is stopping by with dinner. I'm totally overwhelmed.

Today I got a lovely get well card and note from a Facebook friend I've never met. And a beautiful arrangement of flowers from a friend and former co-worker and her husband.

This Ace bandage I am wearing is the longest bandage I've ever seen. The tiny nurse who has visited me twice so far has to wrap it and wrap it around me. That takes longer than taking my vitals.

Some of my lovely parting gifts from the hospital:

Wanna see my scar?

Just kidding!
Trying to keep my sense of humor here and I believe I'm doing a pretty good job of it.

Instead of some old scar, I'll show you a dramatic floral arrangement I got while still in the hospital.
The nurses and other assorted health professionals all ooohed and aaahed over it and one of them took a photo of it with her phone. She said she was going to use it as her phone background pic/wallpaper or whatever you call it.

They all went crazy for the exotic-looking Bird of Paradise flowers. It certainly is a unique arrangement, from a really unique friend.

I was trying to be artsy yesterday morning and I snapped photos without the flash. I just used the sun coming through the window.

Below find close-up of one of the Bird of Paradise blooms.

Oh! and I didn't even have to go on a cruise to get a towel animal. This little guy greeted me when I arrived in my room after surgery.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

More musings on life and cancer

This was the scene Saturday from Fort Nathan Hale Park in New Haven, looking toward the Elm City's skyline. The wind was blowing and it was really chilly there.
In contrast to the cold temperatures, I snapped this photo as I basked in the warmth of a true friend.

Linda O., author of Are We There Yet? and Duchess of Norwich-Upon-Thames (or NUT) treated me to a fun Saturday afternoon to get my mind off my mastectomy tomorrow.

She wrote an incredibly detailed post about our fun here. If you read it you'll feel as if you were with us. We took photos, ate lunch and had a lot of laughs!

Below Linda is taking a photo of the beach and stuff. Boy that lighthouse looks big!
And finally we have Duchess Linda in the IKEA parking lot holding an aardvark, or dog - or wolf as her daughter Jamie called it - that she paid 49 cents for at IKEA. As a bonus we learned some Swedish as we shopped. We had a grand time.

She gave me a cancer card..leave it to good old H******K to come up with a card featuring cancer. Too funny.

Thanks, Linda, for everything.

Linda and "Wolfie"

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday

As I was walking up Main Street back to my car after covering an intergenerational event at the senior center I spied this knight in shining armor.
Mind you I don't need a knight in shining armor, I have one already. His name is Airhead 55.

But I liked the way he was hanging out on the sidewalk on a sunny afternoon and the shadows that were surrounding him. The first thing that came to mind was "Shadow Shot Sunday!"

Join the shadowy fun at our awesome Aussie friend Tracy's Hey Harriet blog!

Friday, March 25, 2011

I've gotten so much support ~

It's truly more than I ever imagined.
There have been several offers to drive me to and from chemo when Ralph is at work, phone calls, e-mails, a plan to go out tomorrow looking for photo opportunities with my favorite Duchess, hugs, kisses, daffodils...

Last night I went to my first support group meeting. The ladies were wonderful. They ranged from an 18-year breast cancer survivor to an almost two-year survivor.

I met a woman who was diagnosed a few months before I was, and we are both having procedures done Monday morning by the same surgeon.
We joked that we may be roommates Monday night.
We'll see.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

You know you've had surgery on your upper left side when...

  • You have to close the driver's side door with your right hand.
  • You have difficulty getting comfortable to sleep on your left side.
  • You cannot carry anything heavier than a gallon of milk in your left hand.
Sigh. It is what it is.

{My online journal - writing for therapy - continues.}

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bunches of love

A local high school is selling bunches of daffodils to raise funds for the American Cancer Society and a wonderful woman who works there bought two bunches and gave them to me yesterday.

I was so surprised! That was sweet of her.

I have them in a pitcher of water and can't wait for them to bloom.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My appointments have appointments

That makes no sense, but that's how I feel.

Seems that I keep making and going to more and more appointments with health-care professionals. This is a full-time occupation.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Food, glorious food

I met the nutritionist today. I brought her my food diary of all that I have consumed since she called me last week to set up today's appointment. She went over all the meals and snacks, and said she wanted to work with what I would normally eat, but just "tweak" the preparation a bit to make it healthier.

It sounds like it's almost all about vegetables. "Eat your vegetables!" I could almost hear my mother's voice in my head as the nutritionist talked about adding veggies to just about everything I prepare. Guess one cannot eat enough of them.

Reminded me of a mom of three I knew a long time ago who used to add broccoli and spinach to the milkshakes she made for her kids. Yucko, I say. But she was determined to get vegetables into them one way or another.

And the solid white albacore tuna I eat? She said the white tuna contains more mercury, because it has been eating all the smaller fish...chunk light is much better for you.
I had heard that before but basically ignored it . Don't care for chunk light, but I suppose I can get used to it by adding lots of crunchy vegetables.

A lot of what she said made sense, and it was stuff I knew: one should choose whole grain pasta, brown rice, wild rice, no butter (substitute olive oil), limit meat consumption, get reduced fat cheese and lowfat dairy and the list goes on and on.
I do buy whole wheat bread, but..

Well that's all for now. Nutrition 101 will continue.

Busy as a bee

One of the nurses I've recently met told me I was "going to be busy" as I take care of what needs to be taken care of. I realize I shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition. What the heck.

"Being a patient is a full-time job," she told me. She wasn't kidding.

This morning I have two medical appointments, tomorrow I have another. On Friday morning I had two.

And it's going to continue like that, it seems.

Ta-ta for now..

{Update: not for my dear readers, but just for my own records as I continue this online journal which I hope to compile into a book at some 9:30 physical therapy appointment was just postponed to Wednesday}

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rings? What rings?

Sounds silly but one of the worst things I've experienced so far with this new health journey I'm on happened was last week when I had to get my wedding rings cut off.
I'm fortunate enough to know a goldsmith who owns a jewelry store and she did it for me.

The cutting was a preventive measure ~ I hadn't been able to get the two rings off my finger for at least a year.
After the mastectomy my left arm and hand will swell. And that being the case, my poor ring finger would have quickly turned blue.

So now they sit, unworn, waiting for re-sizing and repair, after part of me gets re-sized and repaired.

It feels strange not wearing the wedding band I've worn for just about a quarter century, and the engagement solitaire I've worn since 1985.

I look forward to wearing them again.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday

Happy St. Patty's Day, a few days late!

Today I'm sharing a different kind of shadow shot post.
These decorated rubber duckies are entries in a contest at our community hospital in Derby, Ct.
The contest is part of a fund-raising campaign to benefit the Center for Breast Wellness, which just opened in January.
Rubber ducks are a passion of the new Center's director.
You can read more about the duckie competition here. Judging will be on Tuesday.

I'm now a patient of the Center for Breast Wellness, and the director is my surgeon. I decided to come out of the closet and blog about my experiences.
You can read about that here, and here, and hopefully I'll write more in the future. ;-)

Hope everyone's weekend is just ducky. (Sorry, had to say it!)

See lots more shadow shots each week from across the globe at our awesome Aussie friend Tracy's Hey Harriet blog.

Sense of humor will keep me going

It's all about keeping one's sense of humor when we face life's challenges. {insert smiley face here}
That's my motto and I'm stickin' to it.

My current challenge, in addition to keeping my kitty cat happy and healthy 24/7, is dealing with a diagnosis of breast cancer.
You can read about it here.

I'm not all that used to talking about myself (that's a challenge in and of itself) but I do want to write often about my new journey. I know it will be therapeutic for me.

This is a challenge many women have overcome, and I plan to be an active member in that special sisterhood.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Diagnosis puts me on a roller-coaster ride

Nobody ever thinks it's going to happen to them.
At least I never did.
Last month I got a diagnosis no one would ever want to get: breast cancer.
I've become one of those "1 in 9 women get breast cancer" kind of people.

I've joined a new club. A sorority of sorts. Membership still feels surreal. Like a roller-coaster ride that doesn't end.
I never liked roller coasters.

I've been busy. I've already had what feels like 40 appointments since early February. Not that many, of course, but it feels like it.
Doctor, MRIs, blood draws, doctor, surgery, physical therapy, patient navigator, doctor, etc., etc. I meet the nutritionist Monday.
Phone calls keep coming. Bills that I cannot pay keep coming.
But I'm determined to keep going.

On the positive side, I have met the most caring most helpful health care professionals I could ever hope to meet at the brand-new Center for Breast Wellness at Griffin Hospital in Derby, Ct.

I cannot even put into words the good feeling I get when I walk into the building.

I really need to write about all that is going on, for my own sanity ~ everything seems to be happening at breakneck speed.

Sad to say I haven't been blogging lately; I haven't been visiting the wonderful blog friends I've made over the last four years.
I'm going to attempt an online journal of my new journey here on my humble blog. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday ~ TV edition

Yup, that's me. On TV!
Well, actually being taped for an upcoming "Ghost Hunters" program on the SyFy Channel. I may be on TV. I don't normally blow my own horn, but this was kinda out of the ordinary.

The co-stars (lead investigators) of "Ghost Hunters" are Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, two guys from Rhode Island who founded TAPS, The Atlantic Paranormal Society, several years ago.

I was one of five people interviewed on camera last week about what kinds of paranormal activity I'd witnessed inside the historic (and dusty) Sterling Opera House in Derby. Ct.
I hope my "15 minutes of fame" don't end up on the cutting room floor.
The show is supposed to air in May.
I can't tell you what I saw on two separate visits to the 19th century structure. You'll just have to watch the show! When I find out the air date I will post it.
It was fun to see how the cast and crew work to produce an hourlong episode. Everyone was friendly, and the cast took the time to chat and pose for photos. They caused quite a stir!

Here are links to two stories I wrote on the TV show's visit: First story, and second one.

It was a fun week, that's for sure.

My daughter Allegra took my photo at the taping. Since it is filled with shadows I thought I would post it.
Visit our awesome Aussie friend Tracy at Hey Harriet, who hosts this meme each week, and join in the shadowy fun.

* Bonus photo for TAPS fans! This is Grant Wilson posing in front of the Sterling Opera House minutes after he arrived in Derby, Ct. on Feb. 28. He is quite a friendly fellow. It was great to meet him.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Violets are blue...and white...and purple...

Several thoughtful co-workers sent me this lovely basket full of three African Violet plants Saturday in anticipation of some (hopefully minor) same-day surgery I'm going to have Monday.

It was such a nice surprise! I took it outside in the natural light to get a good photo.
Also yesterday I received a big box of assorted nostalgia candies for baby boomers from the (ahem) 1950s. It was supposed to arrive Monday so I could have a treat after the procedure, but I've already dug into it since it is here on the counter.
Wax lips, anyone? Or how about a candy necklace?
...and lemons are yellow.

I'll surely have some good fodder for my blog when I'm done with this medical stuff.
I'm trying my best to make lemonade out of the lemons that life decided to give me.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Shadow Shot Sunday ~ bloomin'

"I'm not going to eat the blossoms, Mommy, really!"

Linus appears to be happy that the Christmas cactus finally bloomed this week.
Wrong season, but it's pretty.

See lots more shadowy shots at our awesome Aussie friend Tracy's Hey Harriet blog each week. And happy shadow seeking!