Patty's Mammie Grams

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Nov 30 Dream book failures

I'm so sorry that my guest book has not been working. I've tried to sign it, and Sara has tried to sign it, and it hasn't put anything up since Nov 3.
So -- please just give me a little message in the comments section at the bottom of each post. If you have put a message up for me on the Dream Book, I'm sorry, but I haven't gotten it. Please try again. Please.
I do get a little 'heads up' when there is a new comment posted on the blog (When I'm paying attention and I remember to check in the correct place!), and that seems to now be the only way you all can leave a remark.
Please to leave lots of remarks, I like them. I like you. I like that you read this crazy thing. Love you all, Patty : )

Nov 30 All seems well - I'm not glowing

My first 'week' of radiation is over. Nothing to speak of - I can't feel anything happening (they said I wouldn't), I don't see anything happening (they said I wouldn't). I'm to find aloe vera and use it, beginning now, and may use the plant if I wish. I remember it as being quite sticky to just smear the insides of the 'leaf' all over your sunburn. They said I'd probably not feel anything skin wise until much later on, and the fatigue some people get may or may not happen. I am, of course, planning on it not happening at all. : )
At our pot luck for choir rehearsal, a survivor who is also the daughter of a survivor, told me about her mom envisioning 'snowy white skin' during her radiation. She never burned at all. The mom is very fair, red hair, freckles, and sunburns very easily. Sound like anyone you all know?? Soooo, I am now envisioning snowy white alabaster pure white etc. .....bahsooms. I couldn't help it. I began thinking of Scarlet O'Hara and her snowy white skin, then it became her snowy white heaving bosoms and then - on and on. I just began thinking of Tara and then Rhett and then Ashley, and I just couldn't go there. So, now it is just a pure white sandy beach and alabaster shells and marble stone work. I think that will do it. Or not. ; )
I love this blog. You guys just wish you could see my face - or head, for that matter. No eyebrows, no eyelashes, no hair (well - I do have about 3/8 inch maybe? They just told me I won't ever have to shave that armpit again. I think they said something about sweat glands, too. And no, they won't do it on the other armpit for me. Darn.
My memory is not getting any better, so look out. I keep trying to check to see if I have already told you all something, but things just keep slipping by.
I did forget one thing. I found the Sunstone cancer support office, just a couple doors down from my Dr. office. They keep a jigsaw puzzle out at all times. The first day I found it, I had to keep at it until I had gotten all the border together. Someone else already had the border pieces all sorted out, and a lot of it finished, and so I just had to get it all together. So now, every time I go in, I have to find at least one piece that I can put together. Some days, it takes awhile. Fun, cuz I loves me jigsaws.
Love to all, take care and stay well. Patty : )

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Nov 27 "Dry Run" Today -- Radiation Tomorrow

Finally - I get the computer for more than a minute. Sara has had a giant essay due and has been glued to the computer for weeks, it seems.
My last post was about getting my radiation tattoos. I've been just spinning my wheels, waiting for the next thing on the menu.
I finished the antibiotics for the fistula thingy, had a check up by Dr. Roeder, all is well, had another mammogram on just the left side (which really freaked me out that they didn't check both sides!?), all is well.
The dry run, as they call it, consisted of lots more measuring and marking (Red sharpie, this time) and recording of angles and what not, and marking the entire area of treatment (big squarishish area from my breastbone to way under my armpit, and then from about 2 inches below my collarbone to just under the breast). Then finally more photos were taken.
Then I got to go pick my clothes out of locker #22! With my name on it! Wooo hooo! I haven't had a locker since high school, and I forgot how cool they are. The aide that took me back said, "You got a locker?! They must have all the cubbies filled up right now." I have to keep my gown clean and folded so I can use it daily, then they wash and refill the cubbies and lockers with fresh gowns every week.
I don't know how long it will really take each day, once they get me going, and I remember all the steps, but somewhere around the 30 minute mark, I think.
I just found out today that I cannot shave that armpit till I'm finished with my 30 days. (Good thing the hair fell out - I hope it doesn't begin growing back very soon!) I also may not use antiperspirant or deodorant in that armpit until finished. They OKed a crystal health food store stuff, and I may not use it until they are finished each day. Then I get to apply the crystal stuff and trot to work.
Oh yes, my daily appointment is at 10:00 a.m. Not so good for me and my clients (or my shadow). I must have made an 'oh no' face, and she asked what time would be better for me and said that I could be put on a wish list. When I left, the same person gave me another card - 9:10 a.m. beginning Dec 3. (next Monday). I'd like even earlier, so I could get on to work, and not have to call all my clients, again, but - I get to take what I get, and not throw a fit!
I think they said something about if I needed to change once in a while, they could maybe manage it. Sounded as though they wouldn't like it, though.
We had a great chorus rehearsal and pot luck tonight, and we need to, excuse me, I need to practice very, very hard before next week's two rehearsals with the entire group, and then before the concert on Saturday.
Everyone is invited! Saturday, December 8th, at 7:00 p.m. at the Christ Church United Methodist on the west side of Craycroft just north of 5th Street. Great acoustics and lots of seating, and there will be some awesome singing! I hope by my group, also! : ) We are having fun and that is what is important! That is what Margie tells us, anyway!
Bed beckons, I must go. I'm going to try to get up early and try to see everyone at my "home" Weight Watchers meeting at 7 a.m. tomorrow. I haven't been in so long - they may make me join again! Egads! That may actually be true!
Love and peace and good will to all. Hope your Thanksgiving Day was great - ours was. Too much pie - always! That is my tradition!
My love to you all, as always. Patty : )

Friday, November 16, 2007

Nov 16 Tattoos yesterday

I got the 4 tattoos yesterday and he lied - it did hurt! Three tattoos up the middle of my chest and one sort of under my armpit. India ink - does that only come in black? Or are they really going to be blue as I thought they were and I have seen on others? Or does it eventually turn blue?
I go on Tuesday for another mammogram (pre-radiation), and then go back to the Rad Onc on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving for the "Dry Run". Then they will set up my appointment time for the 30 days of Star Trek therapy. (Get it? X-ray, ray gun, laser gun, radiation gun?? Don't blame me - I don't write the jokes. Oh yeah, the writers are on strike and I did have to write the jokes myself.)
I have had a few pretty yucky days, on antibiotics for a fistula and they are making me: nauseous, metallic taste in my mouth, fatigued, and all those things I survived the stinkin' chemo without! Just 8 more days of that and I'll be good and back to as-normal-as-I-ever-get!
Now I also have
a mouthwash for the mouth-sore thing and take-that--Ambien-so-you-can-sleep thing.
The pharmacist no longer has to even ask my name - they just see me coming and pull up the computer and the package.
I have now officially become a little old lady - I scratched on my arm because it itched and I made a nice little purply blood blister thing because of the thin skin thing. Yep - same thin skin that wouldn't hold the incision closed, ya think?
I am good, however - I got to talk to someone very nice and entertaining and amusing yesterday for a long long time and I haven't laughed until I cried for a long time and I needed that! Thanks so much, someone very nice! ; )
Love to all of you - be careful out there! Patty : )

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nov 13 DEXA Scan today (Bones)

Good report from the surgeon yesterday - just as I figured. It was just a follow up after the chemo and before the radiation begins. I'll be having an MRI just before the end of the year. It will be as if it were the first one, since I'm having it here at a new place (NOT Scottsdale) and the images don't relate I guess. The next mammogram will be in April I think she said.
I forgot what I was supposed to book and when I was supposed to book it, simply walking from the examination room to the front desk.
My brain is on serious over fry. Oven fry. French fry. Chemo Fry. No memory.
Lost purse, glasses (every day at least once), keys, scissors, crochet hooks (at work), the hardware to put my waxing chair back together after I re-upholstered it, my glasses
were lost for 3 weeks - and most of all --- my brain. : )
Bone scan today, I think just a regular thing after chemo. Since I haven't had much estrogen (ANY!!) for quite a while - just seeing how the bones are doing. My last scan was 2000 and it was 'excellent', so I'm curious to see if there is any difference. I guess they'll let me know.
They wanted to know if I had lost any height? After measuring me, and recording it as 5' 3", I think they measured me as taller than I used to be? Does anyone remember how tall I used to be? Rose - I was the one next up from you, and you were the next one up from Mom. I thought I was 5' 2 1/2'-- they think I've grown?
I can't remember how tall I used to be? Is that weird?
Must go - getting ready for company this weekend. (YEA!)
Love to everyone and hugs to all. Patty : )

Monday, November 12, 2007

Nov 12 Rad Onc on Thursday

This morning I had a quick visit with my Primary Care Physician (everything is just fine) and blood work for cholesterol and my thyroid (the ONLY two things I think that they haven't been checking every 3 weeks. I'm now on my way for another quick visit with the surgeon, Dr. Roeder, to see how the left it is doing between the chemo and the ensuing radiation.
Thursday will be the positioning, tattooing (only blue dots, and only 4 or 5?) and practice run of the radiation, then I'll be starting either next week or the week after. 30 days of radiation, going on and on clear until next year! ; ) -- simply because first there is Thanksgiving day, the day after they are also closed, then Christmas Day, then New Year's Day - they all want a holiday! Imagine that! Actually, Sara just counted the days, and without the holidays, and if I don't miss anything, 30 treatment days from now would be Dec 31, but I know it really won't happen that way.
We just watched Sicko at our house this weekend, and I'm really glad (once again) that I have health insurance! Very interesting 'movie'.
My foot seems to be all healed - just very purple and the new scar is wide, not closed up as I'd hoped, but it will calm down a lot, I know. The chemo nurse practitioner thinks there is an undissolved stitch to one side of the new incision. I just thought the bump was some strange symptom of the "off label" product the Dr. used for the second surgery.
I can't remember if I told everyone that I finally remembered to ask what were they using for the skin graft. If it didn't begin from my skin, or cadaver, or pig skin, or whatever, what exactly did the "grown in a petri dish" start from? Dr. Aung said "infant foreskin". They don't throw away anything they can possibly use, huh!
Must off to the Dr. Take care and a new post soon, Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers, everyone. Patty : )

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Nov 7 Last Chemo Yesterday - Last shot today

I'm my usual tired self from the no-sleeping-steroids after the chemo, and I'm taking my Aleve tonight before I go to bed with a pill, for the 'achies' that will be here tomorrow morning.
I have been having excessive brain power loss, and leaving my purse, losing eyeglasses several times a day (no hair means they won't stay on the top of my head) and generally forgetting what I am doing all the time.
Right now - I am forgetting that I need to go to bed and try to sleep like a regular-houred person.
Short and sweet - Bob is having bad allergies or a cold, and his dad begins Chemo tomorrow, we think. He found out this eve that insurance won't pay for this off label use of the drug. : (
Don't know exactly what will happen, now.
Take good care of all your peeps and loved ones and give everyone a hug. They need it. Love to you all. Patty : )

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Nov 4 Last Chemo Tuesday - Not Monday - OOPS

Chemo brain got me good this time - I didn't get to the lab in time on Saturday to get blood drawn, so I can't have chemo tomorrow as planned.
So, I'll go to get blood drawn tomorrow morning first thing, call the Med Onc when they open and cancel Monday's appointment, and make another appointment for Tuesday. I hope. This schedule doesn't work as well for me to be at home when the soreness from my shot hasn't gone completely away, but oh well.
Hopefully I can get another appointment at a convenient time for my Tuesday clients.
I haven't caught you up on the HAIR. I had Helen clip what was left very very short a couple (?) weeks ago, and then about a week ago I lost all the rest of my eyebrows. (This week I've lost the eyelashes on my left eye only!) I decided that this would probably be the only Halloween that I could go as someone bald, instead of my favorite character - a witch.
(I add to that costume every year and it just gets better and better. I sit on the front patio
and pretend to be a statue until some unsuspecting poor soul reaches into the bowl on my lap where my hands with the long black fingernails are poised, holding candy. I then grab at their hands and say/yell "Aagghhh!" and they scream and jump back and I say "I gotcha" and we all laugh and I make them tell me a joke - clean and not rude - before I will give them a treat. Some of the kids remember that they have to come up with a joke and one told me she had been trying to come up with one all day. I love it.)
Well.....back to the bald. I decided - MR.CLEAN! I shaved my head and wore strips of cotton double sticky taped for eyebrows. With a white t-shirt with washcloths rolled up underneath for a 6-pack and everything Ace bandaged down and white pants and shoes , and my one gold hoop earring - I was Mr. Clean.
I had to continue getting up out of my chair to strike the pose (you know the one - arms folded at chest, chin up and feet planted firmly shoulder width apart) and had people guess who I was. Little ones said "the president?" ?!?!? What?!?!
After the up and down many times I guess my chair had scooted backwards a tiny bit each time. Bob came out to see how things were going (no treaters at that moment), I looked up at him and then s-l-o-w-l-y fell off the patio - still in the chair, into, onto the gravel in the front yard. Bob said it was just as slow motion as it seemed but he couldn't grab anything without coming down on top of me. I just laid there - he said "Do you want help up, or ice?" I said "ICE, please."
I landed on my right elbow mostly, and have a big bruise where my right hip was still in the director's chair. My left leg was up in the air caught in the leg of the chair somehow and I was afraid to move for a while. Bob got back with the ice, helped me up (that took a while!) and I am just fine, with only a hurty elbow and a couple of bruises to show for it.
My sleep has not gotten much better - I hardly slept at all last night, again. I tried the mask, no pill, and I think I'm not going to try that again tonight. I've never been bothered by light or worried about the clock - I'm just aware of the time and am just bored lying there. People (you know - 'they') say to just get up and do something, however, I know me, and I'll just read and stay up all night anyway. So that won't/doesn't work for me. If I have even a second of drowsy somewhere in there - I want to be lying down in bed to take advantage of it.
I am beginning to think that my Dr. friend is right and it is just age and that M word. The hot flashes are back and that is chemo and the M word. We just can't win.
I finally began feeling better this past Friday afternoon and I've been doing some paper cleaning here. It's not happening very fast, though.
It comes into the house faster than I can get rid of it. So frustrating.
OK - I'm going to try bed now. I can tell I'm feeling lots better - I'm writing a missive. Sorry it's been so sparse - I'd look at the computer and think that I just couldn't think of anything to say except "I'm tired." So, here I am again, for awhile, anyway.
Thanks to everyone for all the good thoughts and wishes - Judy,
I did know all the cousins (thank goodness my brain hasn't gone that far), but I got so frustrated at how many great cousins that I couldn't remember their names. I got all messed up with all the next generations. I tried naming the NEXT generation (great great cousins). I got almost nowhere - I couldn't remember half of the names. I almost got out of bed to go look up names, then decided that would kind of defeat the purpose. So I began singing my songs for Chorus. You know how you can't get a song out of your brain? Well.
I do think I dozed a little bit through the night, but it was hard to quit singing and thinking of names ("oh yeah, that's it!").
It was fun, though. There surely are a bunch of us Smiths and Gerards! Man!
OK, To bed to bed said Sleepy Head.
Let's wait awhile said Slow.
Put on the pot said Greedy Gut ,
Let's eat before we go.
I surely haven't thought of that one of Dad's sayings for a long time. I used to say it to Sara when she was little. She always wanted to eat before bed!
Good night. Sweet dreams. Love to you all. Patty : )

Friday, November 2, 2007

Nov 2 Finally feel like a Patty again

I'm so sorry I haven't posted in forever - I've been too busy not sleeping and not sleeping and did I mention - not sleeping?!
Today I feel great and like myself again - just in time for my last chemo on Monday the 5th. (YEA!)
I've been having problems with the sleeping (did I already mention that?) and have been up and indeed on the internet a bit, but I just couldn't seem to write a post, for some reason. I just didn't feel up to it.
I called the Med Onc a few days ago to ask about not sleeping, (see above) and they called in a prescription for Restoril and the first night I took it, I slept 15 hours! I awoke at 1:00 p.m. Oh. My. So the next night, it didn't work as well - but I got 6 hours of sleep, then the next night - not so good. It was 4:00 a.m. again before I finally went to bed - the not sleeping - it is getting old.
My friend Chris (2nd year resident) told me tonight that "No one ever died from not sleeping." And she should know! She is telling me that the sleeping potions mess with your sleep cycles, etc., and they aren't good for your body, and so I'm a gonna try me some ocean or rain sounds and the sleep mask my friend Anthea loaned to me and see if that works. Maybe reading something boring or sleep inducing in bed - War and Peace or something?
So, I'm off to bed - it is 11:00 and I AM tired - love and good thoughts to you all. Patty : ) OXOXO