04 May 2015

News, of a sort...

As usual, it's been way too long since my last post.  I'm sorry about that, because I should have been keeping you up to date along the way.  Instead of an incremental accumulation of information, you get a big batch - a data dump, a bolus, an almost incomprehensible amalgamation of news from me.  Like I said, I'm sorry.

But, really, I'm sorry for us.

T has breast cancer.

FUCK YOU, CANCER, I'M TIRED OF YOU FUCKING UP PEOPLE IN MY LIFE!  I'M TIRED OF YOU TAKING THEM AWAY FROM ME!  I'M TIRED OF YOU DOMINATING THE WAY WE MANAGE TO SCRATCH OUT AN EXISTENCE AROUND YOU!  FUCK YOU, SO MUCH!

Sorry.  Had to say that.  And, so much more, but whatever.  I know that you have all said it too.  Over and over and over again.  Really, the question is, 'Who's not tired of that asshole, Cancer?'

So, yeah, prepare yourselves from posts about shitty stuff.  Again, sorry.  You know what I would rather blog about?  Flowers.  Springtime.  Puppies.  Happy shit.

Remember when I lasted posted?  And I was so blithely happy, looking forward to my visit with my kid and my two besties?  Yeah.  That was awesome.  I'm glad I had that minute of joy.  Because it shortly turned to ashes.

So, here's how it has played out so far.

December: "Oh, hell.  We forgot to schedule our mammogram in November."  "Ok, let's do it now, at the end of December, before your insurance runs out." [cue music]
Communication from Women's Imaging dept: "Please call us to schedule a follow up appointment."
Us: "Shoot. Insurance just ended.""Oh, it's probably another harmless cyst."  "Insurance starts again in 90 days,  We'll schedule it then."
Radiology: "Where the hell have you been?  We need follow up imaging STAT!"
Us: "Uh oh."

Follow up mammogram.
Follow up ultrasound.  With needle biopsy.
Pathology results.
Follow up MRI. New findings.
Follow up ultrasound.  Inconclusive.
Secondary pathology results.
Meet with surgeon.
Meet with more providers than we expected.
Schedule so much shit.

At first we were handling it well.  Yes, both of us.  The initial treatment plan was a quick lumpectomy and radiation.  Ok, that's shitty.  But, we can deal with it.  We feel confident about surviving it and thriving afterwards.  Then the secondary pathology results came back.  The dreaded HR2 receptor was active.  Suddenly, we switched tracks from manageable to a whirlwind of medicine.

These results came back on Thursday morning, just in time for Tumor Board.  The oncology team was increased from Surg Onc and Rad Onc to include Med Onc.  Yes, that's the provider no one wants to have on their team.  The Chemotherapy doctors.

At this point, T finally cracked.  She had been firmly positive and determined about the early prognosis.  But, when the chemotherapy and all it's side effects were added into the equation, her confidence took a heavy blow.  Her outlook plummeted.  It has been a shitty weekend after a month fraught with doubt and dismay.

We have appointments coming up this weekend.  Follow up MRI.  Possible MR guided needle biopsy.  EKG to see if her heart is ok for chemo.  Decision about lumpectomy vs mastectomy. Place a fucking port.  Because, T's going to have a year of chemo.

Things are not great around here.  We've got a whole lot of stuff to process right now.  (As the kids say, 'all the feels'... except, I guess, not the good ones.)

Silver Lining: T has talked to quite a few friends and relative about it.  (So not like my family!)  We have pretty firm and believable offers of help for the next 18 weeks.  Our best neighbor, who will be off work (public school employee) and T's best friend, Chris, who is self employed, have both offered to drive her to and from chemo and other appointments.  Lots of other friends have offered to help, or offered to bring food, and I appreciate every single one of them,  Her other bestie has already brought us dinner on a night when we had an MRI at 7:30pm.  Thank the Goddess for friends!

It'll be a long road.  Here's to the end ...  ::clink::  ::cheers::

In the meantime, here's a picture of the grandpuppy!



Zoe is bringing him down next weekend.  A combination of mother's day and cheer up T day.  Bless her heart...

23 March 2015

Another Monday

What?!  A blogpost?!  Bet you thought I quit blogging...  nope.  Just...  haven't.

Today is Monday and I am pleased to say that I am at home.  I am not taking this for granted because the new boss at my work decided to take away the option of working four days a week, mostly just because he can.  I had to fight to get it back.  I wish the fight had been physical, but it was a battle of wills and words.  I won some and lost more.  Because, you know, Straight-MiddleAged-White-Man has to win for the world to keep spinning.  But, whatever!  It's Monday and I am at home.

I haven't wanted to mention the weather since it has been so incredibly bad for most of you.  But, you know what?  It's gorgeous here.  Ok, yes, it is a very, very rainy and windy day, but there are flowers.  And, crazy as it sounds, we need the rain.  And snow in the mountains.  So, yay, rain!  (Plus, it's not snow or ice at my house.)

My daughter got a puppy!  A golden retriever puppy, 10 weeks old.  So cute!  Does she really want a baby?  I think so, but she also wanted a puppy, so I am happy for her.  I'm going up there to see her in a couple of weeks so I'll get to meet the new family member.

Actually, my two best friends are also going to Zoe's house.  We are meeting up for our yearly visit and I am really looking forward to it.  It's been too long since I've seen those gals.  They are flying up and renting a car.  They'll pick me up at the train station.  From there we'll head to the Kid's house.  We have no plans whatsoever.  Best kind of trip, I think.  The whole point is just to hang out together.  Oh, we'll probably do a couple of things, but mostly we just want to hang out.  Here is a picture of our last get together, in our team shirts!



What good sports they are!  We went out to lunch in those matching shirts and stopped for booze on the way back to the house.  It makes me laugh to see that picture!  I got us team shirts again, but instead of being all matching they are all similar.  Shades of lavender, with floral prints.  I got one for Zoe, too.  :-)

Well, friends, that's Monday.  I hope you have a lovely day with at least a little bit of sunshine...

Cheers!

06 January 2015

Monday on Tuesday

The first Monday of my new schedule was yesterday.  Hooray!  Hooray for .8 fte! The corresponding decrease in income may not elicit such a glad and gleeful response, but we'll wait and see.

So, what did I do with my glorious first Monday?  First, and this is important, I got up early and escorted my partner to her new job.  Her new job with BENEFITS!  What a relief!  I have been providing the benefits for years and since I am going to part time they will cost a lot more for dependents.  So, she needed to get a job with her own benefits and she did.  Whew!

But, you may be wondering, why did I escort her to her new job?  She's a big girl, not a child going to kindergarten.  The thing of it is, now she has to take public transportation.  She has only taken the bus or light rail when I insisted that we use it to go downtown during a heavily attended event.  She has a small town girl's fear of many 'big city' things.  I know, I know, Portland is hardly a big city!  But, she is from a distant, rural suburb (or even exurb) and has simply had no experience.  Plus, her family!  Good god, what a bunch of yokels!  When she was explaining that she would be taking the train in to work, they all suggested that she get a new can of mace or pepper spray.  I laughed out loud at them.  On purpose.  I reminded them that I had been taking the bus and train from my neighborhood for over 20 years and had never had an 'incident'.  Is there crime in Portland?  Of course.  Of course there is, but we hardly qualify as a crime hotspot.  Can crime happen anywhere?  Of course it can, but statistically speaking, it's pretty safe here.  So, she made it work and she made it home from work.  Good.  That's one hurdle down.

The rest of the day went like this:
1. Read some blogs.
2. Look at FB.
3. Have lunch.
4. Actually do stuff!

I wanted to rearrange my sewing room.  It's actually my project room, but since I have the sewing table out, that's what I am calling it.  I needed to move a double bed mattress and box spring out of that room and into the box room.  That meant that I first needed to rearrange the box room so that there was space to store the bed.  It was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle getting things to fit, but I managed it.  I really need to pull everything out of the box room, sort it all, and create some sensible storage solutions.  But, not this week.

I got that done, and then found the perfect fabric to make a tablet cover for T's new toy.    It turned out so well!  I'm pleased with it.  All I need now is a velcro fastener and it's done.  Let me see if I can post a picture.


It is lined with a piece of sham-wow... some kind of cleaning cloth.  It's fairly padded and it cleans the glass while in the bag!  I like it!


Today, though, is Tuesday.  I'm still at home.  Not because I'm having fun doing stuff but because I'm sick.  Dammit!  I've had a run of sinus trouble, due to the wildly shifting barometric pressures I'm sure.  Now it's gone into my chest and I have a deep, phlegmy cough.  And still the sinus junk. Gross.  I woke up with a pounding headache and a racking cough and thought that I would not subject my coworkers to that.  So here's me today:


Yikes!  Why am I showing you this?!?!?  Actually, it doesn't show the mountain of used tissue, the cup of hot water with lemon and honey, or the blanket pulled up high.

Oh, hey!  I got new glasses!

Ok, I'd better stop.  I'm obviously just blathering on at this point...
Cheers!

18 December 2014

Winter Dark-Thirty

I don’t mind getting up early.  In fact, if I had my druthers, I would get up at sunrise most days.  In the summer, it’s easy.  The sun brilliant and the sky bright, birds singing, the dawn calls to me.  In the winter, I would also like to get up at sunrise, except that sunrise is late.  Late for the workers, anyway.  Today it was at 7:46.  I wouldn’t mind lazing in bed until 7:46!

In my region, in winter (who am I kidding; fall, winter and spring) the sky is often cloudy.  The cloud cover sits like a bowl inverted over the city.  Sometimes it is a monotone of gray, but most of the time there is texture to the clouds. 

Frequently, the cloud cover does not reach all the way to the horizon.  It hovers above us, allowing a thin band of clear sky to be seen if one is not surrounded by buildings or forests.  At dawn and sunset there may be bold diagonal beams of light lancing across the city.  It is spectacular.  It only lasts a few minutes, and then the sun is hidden again and the light dims to the normal setting.

Some years ago I was given a dawn simulator alarm clock.  What a wonderful device!  I’ve written about it before.  I haven’t been using it lately because I am sleeping in a different bedroom and haven’t bothered to move it.  Instead, I have an irritating beepbeepbeep electronic alarm clock that I can’t stand.  I think I will switch these out this weekend.  I need my cheerful light.  The lamp is key to getting up in the winter and not feeling a dragging depression.


What about you?  Are you an early riser by nature or more of a night owl?


09 December 2014

0.8 FTE

Three more Mondays.

Three more Mondays.

Three more Mondays.

That is all.

:-)


03 December 2014

December and NaNoWriMo


Another November and another NaNoWriMo is in the books.  Whew!  I fell behind in the middle of the month and had to really push myself to catch up and finish.  But, I did.  Well, I should amend that statement.  I wrote 50,000 words, but I didn’t finish the story.  Does that sound familiar?  It should.  It’s the same as last year. 

This is my third NaNo.  The first year I wrote a memoir about my mom.  I needed a way to make sense of my loss, and words are my go to method of deciphering life.  Also, I wanted to get things written down so that I wouldn’t forget and so that I could give them to my daughter (who loved her Grammy fiercely).  It’s a rambling, stream-of-consciousness, non-linear sprawl of words.  Mostly about my mom, sometimes about other family member, but always about our family.  I have tried to read over some of it in the two years since I wrote it, but it’s still too painful for me.  Some of the stories are funny, and I know that I will enjoy reading them when I am able.

The last two years, though, I have written children’s books.  Chapter books, mind you!  Well, I have started children’s books and have enough material and ideas to complete them… I just need more time.  That’s all!  More time!!!  That’s probably what everyone says.  But, since I am going to start working four days a week, maybe I’ll be able to devote that extra day to sitting in front of the computer and assembling words.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

The first novel was a stand alone story.  It was a bedtime story that I had started making up when Zoe was a very small child.  I never finished it during her childhood (sorry, Kid!), mostly because I was always exhausted and would fall asleep during the telling.  It changed a bit between the telling and the writing, but the core of the story remains the same.  I really like it!  Its theme is a classic one; the Hero’s Journey.  It has a young girl as the hero of the story, as is only right and proper since it was thought up for a young girl.

The second novel is pretty exciting for me.  The way it is structured, there is a definite possibility for sequels.  I spent some time in the world building mode, and there are lots of characters and I think that there could be further novels with the same cast of characters.  That’s exciting! 


So, that’s November’s effort done.  I have some other projects to complete – including a quilt for one of my best friends’ first grandchild (before she turns 1) – and I am really looking forward to working on things that are satisfying and pleasing to me.  And, as the NaNoWriMo folks say, November is for writing, December is for editing.  Well, first to finish the story, and then to edit.  I will get there!

02 December 2014

Micro-Tuesday


Tuesday counts, right?  Lol.

Survived Thanksgiving.  Both.  The inlaws didn’t start getting squirrely until after dessert, so I call that a win.  Some bickering, some yelling, some heated tempers, but not an all out scene or tantrum.  We left shortly after the flare up, so it wasn’t too bad. 

Then, I cooked all day for Thanksgiving at my house.  Everything turned out well.  My dad and brother came over.  They didn’t leave the moment the plates were cleared.  They didn’t stay for pie, but we were all too full, really, so I sent some home with them.   Along with containers of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, yams, spinach.



My daughter and her husband did not come so it was just the four of us.  I will call it cosy rather than small and sad.  The holidays do bring sadness, missing people who we wish were there with us.  I guess it’s best to acknowledge the absence, reflect, and have pie.  I don’t know.  What works for you?

24 November 2014

MicroMonday

I have to go with a seasonal theme today.  Thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving.  The ‘giving’ consists of food, family and friendship.  It isn’t a shopping extravaganza kind of holiday.  Except for the food shopping, I guess.

This year, I am going to the in-laws on Thursday.  I’ve gotten out of it for a few times, and I would be happy getting out of it forever.  That sounds rude, I know, and I don’t truly mean to be rude, but honestly, my mother in law is not a good cook.  She’s a family cook.  True, she has cooked in diners for years, but more along the lines of a short order kind of cook.  She makes the same dishes she always makes.  It’s their family’s traditional comfort food.  It’s also pretty bad.  Or, maybe I should say, it isn’t what I grew up eating.

Instead of feeling disappointed in the meal and the holiday, I am adjusting my expectations.  I’m not going for the food.  I’m not even going for the company.  I’m going because it will make my partner happy.  For a bonus, it will make her mom happy too, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  It will be loud, too hot, televisions on in two different rooms, a small yappy dog underfoot all day long, mediocre food, and the mother in law (who is nearly deaf) bossing everyone and wielding a wooden spoon.  As long as I know this and plan ahead for it, I’ll be fine.  I’m going to lay claim to a remote control, put on some football, sit on a couch and watch a game and smile through the whole thing.  I can be nice!

On Friday, I will cook a small Thanksgiving dinner for myself, my partner, my dad and my crazy brother (who may or may not come).  I have purchased the turkey breast.  I have planned out my menu.  I have done most of the shopping and will be ready.  This will be a delicious meal.  And I will be giving thanks twice.

What are you all doing?


17 November 2014

Still Here!

Monday Update

I've been thinking to myself that I should make an attempt at the Microblog Monday style of posting.  I usually think of this on a different day of the week, and since I am finding it easy to not post, well, yeah, nothing has gotten posted to my poor old lonely blog.  BUT, today is Monday, and here I am.  Woot!  I'mma do a little bullet list... cuz that's easy.


  • Sleeping Arrangements: When last we compared notes, T and I were fussing over who got to sleep on which side of the bed.  Well, you'll be happy to find that we have resolved that issue.  We were alternating sides, a month on the right, a month on the left, and that was working well.  But, then, she tweaked her shoulder again and it was giving her so much pain that she couldn't sleep comfortably on either side.  Basically, she needed the whole bed.  Fortunately, we have two beds.  We are now sleeping in different rooms, but both are so much better rested.  I confess, I like it better.  We sleep together sometimes, and not just for sex, but really, it is just so much more comfortable to have the bed to yourself.

  • Holidays: Thanksgiving is just around the damn corner.  This used to be one of my favorite holidays.  There would be delicious food, beautiful dishes and silverware, and the best of company.  Besides my daughter and parents, one of my brothers would come, several cousins, and friends who didn't have anywhere special to be.  The house smells wonderful, there's a football game, glasses of wine while cooking... what's not to like?  But, now, it has dwindled.  My mom is gone.  My daughter lives away.  Nobody is calling to ask if there is room for an extra at the table.  I'm probably going to the in-laws for dinner and then cooking a very reduced meal for my dad and brother the next day.  I feel that I have to produce some kind of festive celebration to share with them, or they won't observe it at all.  They are likely to have a cheese pizza.  But, it'll probably just be the four of us, so I think I'll just cook a turkey breast.  I'd like a half a turkey but have yet to find such a thing in my grocer's meat department.  I'm sorry if I sound like I am whining.  I miss my mom.  

  • Birthdays: T's birthday is next Sunday.  I already took her out for her big gift.  It was actually pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself!  It was the Big Birthday Adventure!  And, I kept it completely secret and she had no idea what we were doing so that was fun for me.  Especially fun since she liked it.  Would have been an expensive drag if she hadn't.  So, what was it, you ask?  We went ZIP LINING!  Actually, it was more than zip lining.  We went to this place.  Tree to Tree Aerial Adventure Park!  It was so fun!  It's an aerial obstacle course with lots of zip lines.  Wow.  We were exhausted when we got home!  But, it was possibly the best present I have ever gotten her.  She loved it.  So did I!  But, her birthday is still coming up and I have to get her a couple of small gifts to open, just because.  So, yeah, shopping.  Besides T, there are several other November birthdays all clumped together.  My dad, T, T's brother, my nephew, my favorite cousin, my sister in law... November is now competing with April for most expensive birthday month.
So, that's it for this Monday.  I understand that the point of the microblog Mondays is that one doesn't feel pressured to put together a lengthy post.  I like that.  I'll try again.  Really!






02 October 2014

For the sad girls that we are...

Because, some of us are still beset by sorrow.  It will ease, one day, I am sure.  Right now, it is still present.

I read this on another blog, and then looked it up.  I'm sharing it with you friends who have also lost a mother, a sister, a friend, whomever.  It resonated with me today and I wanted to share it with you.

Into the freedom of wind and sunshine 
We let you go 
Into the dance of the stars and the planets 
We let you go 
Into the wind's breath and the hands of the star maker 
We let you go 
We love you, we miss you, we want you to be happy 
Go safely, go dancing, go running home 


Ruth Burgess

Love to you all,
e