Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thoughts On Thursday

Yes, I do a lot of thinking.....some nonsensical.....some not.

*Monday as I was getting ready I was thinking that, finally, I can stand to look at my bald self in the mirror.....no one else can....just me.
*Are you a 'what if?' person? I'm not. Do you think of the past and What if this happened instead? or What if I had done this instead of that? That question really never pops into my mind. I'm glad, because it doesn't make any difference, it's in the past. Nothing can change it.
*Grand parenting just isn't what it use to be, actually I'm thinking more about grandmas....because I talk to them more often. I feel so bad for the grandma who hasn't seen her grandsons in over a month because she called social services to turn her son in for child abuse. She had to do the right thing. Another grandma I know hasn't seen her grandson in a month because the estranged father won't return the child to his mom....who is an alcoholic and lives across the state from dad. Her mom and dad pretty much finance the daughter's life, even though she does work. One more grandmother is so stressed about her grandson's upcoming wedding. The young couple said they had everything all taken care of.....One week out and everything is not taken care of. Why are people even bothering grandma with this? 
Some of these grandmas have helped raise the grands and it's time for them to enjoy THEIR lives!!!! Yes, I know some young families need mom and dad to watch their children while they work, but it seems to me too many just just ask too much of mom and dad. Not quite time to get off my soapbox.....when I was raising my children the only time I asked either of our mothers to watch the children was if we both had to work. I know my daughter (the oldest grandchild) did spend some extra time with my mom, but not on a regular basis. OK, I'm stepping down from my soapbox. 
I love seeing our grandson every weekend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Just A Couple Of Things

Today I stopped at the thrift store because I needed one wooden hanger and some shower curtain rings so I could hang up the scarves that had just been tossed around. I don't need any more jackets,...but I found this cute chocolate colored jacket. At first glance I thought it was leather....but it's not.


I tried it on and thought it looked nice, even the sleeves are long enough and it's not too tight across the bust. I like it and for $5 I brought it home. I am not sure what the white spots are on the bottom picture, the jacket is is very good condition.
BTW I did get my hanger and shower rings.


I needed some kind of container to store paper crafting things in and found this snack box to be the perfect size.....ugly though. And I have 2 boxes of old books from my grandma....I got rid of some but still have some. I think she belonged to a book club. After a brainstorm I decided to cover the box with the old book pages and even put one cover on the inside.

Inside every book she had written her name. Another bright idea.....I ripped out her signature and decoupaged it on the front of my container. 

This is a very roughly covered box. I have another and will be more thoughtful on that one. 
I just wanted to share my idea with you.

I caught up on a few minor things this week. It's good to check one or 2 things off my to do list. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

When Is A Chemo Day A Good Day?


You might say never, I choose to disagree today. Today was a good chemo day....at least so far. It's a good day when:
  • your blood work is excellent
  • you've lost 10# (no I am not trying to, I just think I am eating fewer sweets)
  • you can read for hours and finish a good book
  • you are covered with warm blankets; served soup, sandwich, and a dilly bar.
  • you have a surprise visit from a friend (who happened to be there visiting another friend)
  • you feel bad for the young man who walked past, with his family, and explained how he was vomiting up all weekend. I'm thankful that has not been me. He was so young, his daughter must have been 9 or 10.   :-(
  • you are out of the clinic 3 hours earlier than anticipated
  • you come home and wash AND put away the dishes and do some laundry
  • you feel good enough to stop at the thrift store on your way home and find this adorable, wide brim hat that will be perfect for the beach later this month at Kites Over Lake Michigan or any other outdoor activities, and a nice Nike t-shirt for your grandson, and 2 new light bulbs for my automatic candles I keep in the windows.....all for............$2.99




  • you don't turn on the computer for hours until after you arrive home
  • you know your hubby doesn't expect you to make dinner....so I am not going to....we have leftovers to eat
The last time I had one of these treatments it took a couple of days for the side effect to catch up to me....let's hope I can run faster this time and get away!!!! If you've seen me try to run you know it's not going to happen.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thy Will Be Done

This morning, when it was still dark, I awoke .....nothing unusual. What popped into/out of my mind  was "'Thy will be done....".
As a Christian I know it's from the Lord's Prayer.When our grandson spends the night we say it together before we go to bed. Last night he told me he'd say it in his head. OK.
Several years ago I took a course at our church, the adult confirmation class. I was confirmed as an 8th grader but wanted to review and am glad I did. As a teen we just want to get through it, we really don't care that much about what it means.....at least I don't think I did. In the adult class we dug deeper and asked more thoughtful questions. "Thy will be done".....NOT our will, but HIS will. If you think about it it's not an easy thing to ask for. 
So why did that phrase pop into my head? I had not fallen asleep praying that sentence.
Maybe because I have another chemo treatment tomorrow.......I am stressing about it (don't reprimand me for it, it's hard not to).....it will be a long day and an 'icky' week lies ahead. I am trying to concentrate on TODAY, but I am human.
Do I need to be reminded that HIS will WILL be done? I have absolutely no control.     ......probably. 
I am also worried about my grandsons, their parents have been separated for several weeks and I don't think they will be able to reconcile, which is probably for the best. Their whole marriage has been 'off' since day 1. The boys have never had a stable home life and I worry for them.

I am thankful for the cards, phone calls and prayers I continue to receive. I thank all of my friends for their support. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Summer That Wasn't

It's the middle of August and as I write this I am sitting outside with a hoodie on....hood up.
That's partly because it's breezy and cool out and partly because I need to keep the sun off my neck. Last week I developed a pain in my hands between my thumb and pointer finger, my chest was red, my arms had red blotches on them, and my hands hurt when put in warm water. A few days ago my hands started peeling..........it was sunburn :-(   I hadn't been out in the sun since the grandchildren were here, but it caught up with me. So now I am following doctor's orders - no sun: long pants, long sleeves, gloves. I love the sun and I miss it but I will stay covered.
Back to the summer that wasn't..............The Old Farmer's Almanac predicted a cooler than usual summer for us this year and it was correct. We're often a bit cooler here (next to Lake Michigan). I don't think we have had many over 70 degree days. I'm not complaining, the temps were perfect for me. Soon it will be autumn. Seems like we were waiting for the hot weather to come....and it never did.....and now it's almost over.
I had so many plans for the summer........so many things I wanted to do with the grands, so many improvements I wanted to make to my small flower gardens, and there was even some inside work I had hoped to accomplish. Many of those things did not get crossed off my list. I planted some flowers but haven't been taking very good care of them. I think we went to or had one cookout this summer. I didn't make it to many festivals or celebrations. My friend invited me over for a fire one night but I was too tired to go......so it doesn't seem like I did a lot of summer things. BUT I DID have a good summer- I was able to go on all the trips I had planned and I have spent time with the grands. It was a relaxing summer and I will enjoy a relaxing autumn also. 
This is not my first 'summer that wasn't'.
About 8 years ago, after a chiropractor visit, I developed a herniated disc. That evening I could not get out of bed until I had ingested some pain pills the next morning. That happened a day or 2 before my granddaughter was coming to stay with us......one of many other plans that were cancelled. That summer I spent many weeks in my recliner (including sleeping), only getting up when necessary. After several weeks I had surgery and eventually recovered. That was a hot summer and a very quiet one for me.

I'm not rushing autumn.....in fact I am holding on to summer AS LONG AS I CAN!!!.....but how was your summer???

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Looking For Something Good To Read?

I'm going to deviate a bit from my usual posts......
....this is my very eclectic blog.
Since I'm retired and often don't have a lot of energy and love to read that's what I have been doing. 
Here is what I have been reading lately.
I have always loved reading.

 This one is about a man who moves his family to the other side of the country....why? One day the father finds his teenage son murdered in their home. The mother takes it very hard and her life falls apart. But what happens when she communicates with her son's murderer is surprising. 
 The beach house is owned by a woman who just can't afford to keep it up, as a last resort she opens her doors to strangers. This is the story of what happens to the people who stay. I enjoyed it.
 I just finished this book and highly recommend it! A reporter finds a flyer in her mailbox with photos of missing children and one of them looks just like her son. She risks her life and job to find out if it is her son.
This is a true story of a young woman who grew up in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s, she is a princess but that is not how she is treated. It is very insightful about the young women's lives at that time.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Weekend Full Of Parties

This past weekend was filled with 2 birthday parties for 2 of my grands, our granddaughter's birthday is the 8th and our grandson's is the 9th so there have been times when I could only attend one party. This year I made it to both!!!
Mackenzie turned 6 and her party was friday, at Bay Beach, an amusement park with lots of rides (mainly for younger children) for .25 each......so you can't go wrong with that!
The big slide is a hit with everyone. The young parents took the little ones down.


The little girl on the right is not our grandchild but the others I will claim -from 14 to almost 4.
Everyone gets along good and everyone had a great time. The weather was perfect, not too hot and not too cold.
 Big brother talked his way into getting let in line so he could ride with his little sister. 
 Jessica, Amy, and I took the 3 youngest ones to the wading pool. I'd just the right depth for their ages.....no big kids in there to cause trouble. Can you tell they were having fun???
 Dad took his youngest on all the kiddie rides.
We ran out of tickets after 6 hours.............everyone had a great day!!!

 Saturday I stayed home.
Sunday Grandson J and I went to another birthday party. Thank goodness for Onstar....we found it.
Tyler turned 11 and his aunt & uncle hosted the party.  None of his school friends came but the 4 kids had fun. The boys were in the pool (or hot tub) all afternoon. My grandson even fell asleep on the way home. 
 Tim & Lana have a nice place in the country, not far from town though.
Checking out the horses.
 birthday boy
 Laughter in the pool
It was another great day, the weather was perfect, food was yummy, and the conversation good.
Per doctor's orders I stayed out of the sun. The sun does not agree with my chemo.

Today it is really gloomy.
I WISH it would rain, we need it.
I have plans for the afternoon and am looking forward to a productive week before my next chemo on Monday.

Hope you have a great week too!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Update

At Last!
A day when I feel almost normal. It started out like any other normal day....computer time, phone time, and a call from the plumber before 10. I had to scramble to get dressed and clean out a cabinet for the plumber. Now both faucets and drains in the upstairs bathroom work! Oh happy day....until the bill comes.
My goal for the day was to vacuum the living room and I exceeded my goal.....I vacuumed, swept the kitchen, and baked banana bread. I sent a loaf home with the plumber. (One of my former co-workers).
After he left I made a BLT with tomatoes out of my 'garden'......it tasted OK....not a lot of flavor. I can hardly wait to taste good food again. Heck, what am I complaining about....it's only been a week.  That's all I am doing today....I feel a nap coming on.
My voice is sooooooo hoarse. I am going to ask the nurse about it tomorrow. I'm stopping at the clinic so she can look at my toe, I am not sure why it's red around the nail. So what do I do today? I drop a chair on it as I'm moving things to vacuum and it started bleeding again and it hurts. 
I want to say Thank You for all of the supportive comments yesterday. At least I know I was not being overly sensitive. I did speak to the person who made the comment and found out what it was all about. She was coming from a very unfair place to me but now that I know what it was about I understand and all is forgiven. ....Long story that I don't want to go into here. Life and relationships are so complicated. Time to forgive and move on....and it doesn't hurt to put yourself into the other person's shoes. 
Yup! It's nap time. I have a busy day planned for tomorrow.....wish me luck!!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

It's My Blog And I'll Write What I Want To......

I was going to say that I am sorry that my blog has turned into a cancer blog....but I'm not sorry. That's is what is consuming my life right now. I feel bad that I have lost followers (for maybe that reason?) Don't read this post if you don't want my real life experiences with chemo.....I don't think I am complaining but some of you might. I am trying to share my experience with anyone who wants to learn more/understand how I feel. 
I try not to post too much on facebook, mostly I say that I'm tired and can't wait for bed. When I finally feel better I post that I'm human again.

Today I posted:
"Every morning I get up feeling optimistic.....will today be the day I start to feel better??? I hope so...in the mean time I just plug along........."
Apparently someone thought I was looking for sympathy. And someone else commented:
'' Learn to live with the cross that you bear and you will feel better.''

Right or wrong I took offense to that comment and was really hurt. To me it sounded akin to saying that a person suffers from depression b/c of sin and if you confess and repent you will be healed. I thought I had come to terms with my cancer, I thought I was just letting my facebook friends know that I am not up to par yet, I thought that my posts were not complaints. 

Well that's that.

This new round of chemo has totally different side effects, some of which I mentioned earlier and some that recently set in.
heartburn that doesn't go away (at least I think that's what it is)
weird pain in my hands between my thumb and pointer
my body temperature seems to be off, I am often cold
NOTHING I eat or drink tastes good at all, so I don't even want to eat
I am hoping those things get better! But I don't know if they will. After all my body is full of that poison.

I was feeling quite lazy last weekend....but our grandson came over on friday and stayed until this morning. I am not sure why mom did not pick him up after 7 when she finished work last night. I didn't push it b/c I know he hates going to the place they are staying...mom & dad are separated.  Thankfully he is a couch potato and didn't mind watching TV or playing on the computer. We did play a couple of board games. I spent a lot of time napping. He left shortly after 10 today, and as much as I love him, I am happy to be home alone. I should have gone the the grocery store but I don't feel like putting make up on or leaving the house. I had plans this afternoon.....the event was cancelled.....I wasn't going to go anyway.  Tomorrow night I had plans too, but won't make that either. 
I did wash the dishes and plan to wash & fold laundry today. Guess it's time to take pleasure in the little things. 
Thanks for reading!

Jaws

 Just thought I'd share the flowers on my Jaws succulent. 
I love the colors before it's opened.
It was open yesterday but today it's not. 


Time will tell.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

More Adventures In Chemo

Friday I had a nice, short day at work.
One of the service guys was just pulling into the yard when I arrived and he got out of his truck and gave me a hug. I like hugs!
I talked to both of my former bosses, one was on his way out so we didn't visit much. The other one talked to me for quite a while....they miss me. They gave me a happy retirement card with a couple of gift cards in it. APPRECIATED!!!!
I had errands to run after work, and did them quickly b/c I was tired. I can't really explain it, but it has to do with my eyes, I think the sun is too bright for me. I just want to shut my eyes.....so when I got home, I did!
Our grandson called and woke me up, he asked if he could come over a day early and stay 2 nights....so he's here. I mostly napped all evening and hubby ran grandson J's bathwater and made a pizza for supper. No one gets much out of me the the week after chemo.
Saturday I napped quite a bit too, good thing our grandson is a couch potato and likes to watch TV or play on the computer. 
As I am laying in bed it seems that every bone, muscle, joint in my legs/feet ached. My knees often do, but this was everything.......for several nights. It seemed to be better when I woke up this morning. 
I also developed another, new side effect - diarrhea.... That's been going on for a couple of days too....hope that goes away soon!
It's funny b/c the first 2 days after chemo I was good....then wham! Bam! it hits me. thankfully I should have 2 good weeks. Wish me luck! I just want to get my house back in order after the grands spent the week. I do have some activities planned for this week.....let's hope my plans come to fruition!
Happy first week of August!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Round 2 Chemo/More Blessings

Yesterday I went to a local museum with a friend and as I struck a silly pose she snapped this photo.....turned out great if I don't say so myself. 


I don't look nor feel that good today......I am just beat and can't wait to go to bed.....I am sure tomorrow will be better.

Monday, at 10AM, I started round 2 with 4 new chemo drugs:
Docetaxel, Carboplatin, Trastuzumab, and Pertuzumab.
You walk into the clinic stressed because, even though you've done it before, it's a whole new regime. Blood has to be drawn, the doctor has to be seen, and you're not really sure what's going to happen. After learning (3 weeks ago) that a 3rd drug has been added you find out that on this day a 4th drug is now going to be given also....so you sit in the chemo chair and wait for the insurance company's approval and to be sure your blood tests are good. You anxiously wait; you're nervous, nauseous, and want to be anywhere but in that chair with an IV tube sticking out of your chest. You worry....what if I have a bad reaction to one of the drugs? How is this round of chemo going to affect me? You really don't want all the poison in your body, but what other choice do you have???? You wonder about the long term affects. 
You, you, you.....no, it's really me who is thinking all those thoughts. 
Yes, I was blessed on Monday with a good day, no reactions to any of the new meds. I thank everyone who is praying for me!!!
It was a loooooooooong day, I was in the chemo chair until almost 6PM. My next appointments are at 8AM and instead of the original once a week treatments for 12 weeks my schedule is every 3 weeks for 6 treatments.  I'll finish the chemo in mid November. The nurses in the cancer center are so nice! I even got a DQ Buster bar to make me feel better....it did for a bit. :-)
I felt really good on Tuesday and Wednesday, but today I am beat. I think tomorrow will be better because the dexamethasone will be out of my system.
And the blessings continue:
When I got home on Monday I had a check from a class action suit, not a big check, but it will help.
I had a yummy chocolate, caramel & sea salt candy bar from daughter waiting for me at home.
I found a $20 bill in my little wallet.
The nurse said the cut on my toe is not infected (after walking in the sand and Lake Michigan).
I had a nice surprise visit from the sister of a friend.
I felt good and looked good yesterday when my friend and I went to the museum.
I had a nice phone chat with my step-son tonight.
Tomorrow morning I am going in to work to help with the once a year insurance audit. That will be a little extra money. After work I am shopping for a gift for my soon to be 6 year old granddaughter....yes, we have 2 that are 6.
Next week I have some fun things to do and I expect to be feeling good!

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I'm On A Roll/Blessings

Yes, I am so blessed.
I am not necessarily happy about having breast cancer but I am receiving many blessings from God. He has it all under control and it's all good and being taken care of.
Last week I was so busy with 4 grandchildren here. I loved every minute of it, even though my house was a mess and the grocery bill was sky high. Everyone had a good time. 
One day we went to the Maribel caves in Manitowoc county. I had never been there before and thought it would be something different for us to see. 

 We did some hiking.
The kids crawled in some of the caves. 
One cave required a climb up about 16' of rocks...I made it about 1/2 and let them go the rest of the way up. The cave had 'gold' on the ceiling and grandson J wanted my camera to take photos. I started climbing up and he said "Stay there grandma, don't risk your safety, I'll come down."
A couple of years ago a big storm came through the area and did a lot of damage to the park...we saw trees uprooted and lots of damage remains to be cleaned up.

Of course we had to go to the beach.

 We went to the aquatic center and I forgot my camera. 
We went mini golfing.
We went to our favorite museum for ice cream. 
They set up the tent in the backyard and decided to sleep in it....'cept the 2 older children came inside as soon as the 9 & 6 year olds were asleep. Shame on them.....:-)
They played war and had squirt gun fights in the back yard. 
They played dress up, watched movies, played with the 'babies', and even found some time to read.
I think we were all pooped out by Sunday and were glad to get back to our quiet, 'normal' lives. We met mom at the Fox River Mall in Appleton (the 1/2 point between our homes) so they could be returned home. Granddaughter A (11) is coming back at the end of August so we can have our girl time. She's an introvert like me and wants to scrapbook and make cards....so we will!!! 

I was too busy to blog or even read blogs all week....sorry. It's tough on a 63 year old woman to suddenly have 4 energetic children to have fun with. But I survived!!! and am so blessed to have such wonderful, healthy grandchildren.

One evening  my spirited 6 year old granddaughter came into my bedroom where I was folding laundry. She asked why I always wore those 'funny things' on my head.  I told her my meds make my hair fall out and she asked if I was bald. I said yes and she said "I thought so."  After I told her it would grow back she said she hoped it wouldn't grow back black...I had to agree. The following day she asked if I was still bald. A day or 2 later I wore my wig and she asked if my hair grew back. She's adorable!

It's time for me to say g'night......I'm tired .....I hope to be back to post tomorrow.
Can you believe July is almost over???? Where did it go?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This Is Going To Be A Busy Week

My daughter and her husband are going on their first ever vacation ALONE! I am watching their children. They are flying out to Washington on separate flights....the tickets were gifted to them so they are not complaining. Three grandkids arrived this morning and are staying until Sunday afternoon. Our 9 year old  grandson has been here since Saturday afternoon and he wants to stay until Sunday also. He's a good kid and does what I ask him to (95% of the time).
 We made a welcome sign and hung it by the back door.


They're off to play at the school playground across the street from our house. It's sooooooooo nice that they are old enough to send there by themselves. My oldest grandson is 14, his 2 sisters are 11 & 6, and grandson J is 9.

My daughter made me this 'oh so cute' framed succulent arrangement. It is hanging by the back door. The frame it's planted in is at least 2" deep. I love it, don't you?



Wish me luck!!!!! It will be a tiring, but fun week!