Sunday, January 30, 2011

Catch-up time!

Sunday is good day to look back at the events of the week and see if they fall in line with expectations.

Work  - While I did work every day this week, there were plenty of customers that I just didn't do enough for.  I talked to some, emailed others, installed, updated and fixed computers, but it never seems to be sufficient and I never catch up.  This is nothing new.  It's the nature of my business and it brings plenty of stress.  It's how I handle the stress that makes a difference for me.  Before breast cancer, I would work until late late into the night or even early morning for a customer.  Why?  To solve their problem, to make them happy, to finish the job.  Now, I just cannot do that any more.  I'm lucky if I can string 4 hours in a row together.  I juggle 3 and 4 customers at the same time and puts a mental strain on me.  Even though I'm sitting at a desk, I need to rest from time to time.  I feel a heaviness in my chest, an ache almost, that tells me its time to lay down even if I don't sleep.  So, that's what I do.  I rest in the afternoon and then get back to work.  I've had to be candid with those customers that work with me and tell them my situation.  They've all been very supportive and understanding, but I can feel they are growing frustrated with me.  I'm learning to get others involved and pass off the work that I cannot handle in a timely manner.  I'm still learning to rest when I need it to be more effective during the day.

I'm figuring out how to split my time at the office - physically.  I spent the week at home and can remote into my office but I'm missing a few key components.  This week I'll be sure to set up the balance so I can do my entire job from home.  Most of my employees have been with us for over 10 years now.  There is some complacency in being in a small company for many years, so this week I deliver the reminder of how things must progress in the future.  How I need to handle things from here and use technology to my advantage to do that.  A little look at the past, a reminder of what our company is based on and how we need to move to a prosperous future.... I've even pumped myself up!!!

Dance - I chose to stay home this week because of the impending neutripenia and it killed me.  I'm sure life at the studio went on without me, but life at the Ritter house on that night was depressing!  Plus, I missed the week before because of the snow and it looks like we're having another storm this Tuesday too - ugh!   I left them in the good hands of Jackie and as she reported back to me all went well.  The Intermediates were a little chatty (12 y.o. surprise, surprise!) and Workshop reviewed the 3 dances we were working on before the snow day.  I also have Workshop working on a choreography assignment with a partner or within a group and they spent some time designing that.  Jackie tells me I'm going to be pleasantly surprised.  I'm excited to see what they come up with!  Finger's crossed there's dance on Tuesday....

Family - On Monday, Alex and Sarah went back to Albany and Pittsburgh respectively to continue on with school.  That alone makes me feel like life can go on with some normalcy.  Dawny stopped by later that day and ended up with a bent fender and quarter panel! (no guilt here - sure)  Insurance is a wonderful thing. 

We saw Denise and Bill at Bill's Improv show on Saturday night, my first night out all week!  I did have to take a couple hour nap beforehand so I could get to it at 8pm, but I'm so glad I did!  It was staged in a small little black box theatre - the type you'd find in Manhattan - but on Broadway in Newburgh.  It was very VERY funny and entertaining!  It was a late night, but well worth it!

Friends - This week I heard from friends from Boulder to Pittsburgh to Poughkeepsie!  Lots of emails, blog comments, voice mails, texts, facebook messages, chats and visits.  It's overwhelming and heartwarming to have this support and contact from all over the map.  I'm working hard on getting back to everyone, but it's bigger than me.  This blog is my connection to everyone, I hope.

Chemo - no doctor visits because Dr. Rubin was sick and rescheduled me for tomorrow.  But, I did find out my wbc was 1.8 which meant my choice to stay home was a good one... and no fresh fruits or vegetables, blah blah.  My skin is very dry and I'm battling that as best as I can.

New this week is this heartburn and lump in my throat - oh yay!!  It started a couple of days ago, now that I think of it, but tonight is pretty strong.  Took a couple of tums but will mention to dr. tomorrow.

Let's see .... anything more? Nah, just the usual - snow

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


.... I knew that would get everyone's attention!!! I'm curious to see if my Audience stats and hits on my blog goes up because of this title!  Ah - a little behavioral experiment to pass the time...

I'm feeling a little tired tonight, but I had a very good day otherwise.  After a good night's sleep (thank you Tylenol PM!!) I went for my blood test, worked with a client for a several hours and off to meet with Heather of Hands On Massage and Wellness for a massage.  Before Bob and I went to Hawaii, I was going for massage on a regular basis.  I do believe in it's benefits  - did I mention that we went to Hawaii for our 25th Anniversary??  I'll save that for another post.

I decided to get back to massage after last week's chemo treatment.  While I was at Dyson, a therapist came to my lounge chair and gave me a bit of a back and neck massage.  What's nice is, a grant from Miles of Hope supplies this service.  You can even schedule a massage there at the Dyson Center and you simply give a donation as payment.  This is when I decided to go back to massage.  No, I'm not running or training like I used to, but I do feel the effects of the neulasta shot and my occasional burst of exercise at the studio or on the treadmill.  I have realized the benefits of massage for other reasons - stress relief, range of motion, joint flexibility, etc.  I'm not getting any younger and massage helped with all of that.  I was doing a little research and found this:

Massage stimulates the flow of lymph, the body's natural defense system, against toxic invaders. For example, in breast cancer patients, massage has been shown to increase the cells that fight cancer.

Well, that convinced me!  So, today was my first massage after BC!  I'll incorporate a session into my plans on Monday's after the Friday neutlasta shot and the acupuncture session on Sunday- a one-two-three punch for my white blood cells!!!

Topless?  Oh yeah - I took my wig off for the massage!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I did make it to the show at Vassar After Hours and Bob was terrific!  He was relaxed and totally enjoyed himself which meant his audience was right there with him... it was a great experience to share with the kids too.  Sarah stuck with Bob and was his roadie for the night and Alex cared for the sick and brought me in and out.  We are 2 lucky parents.

Sunday found me still out of it and sleeping alot.  The kids all headed back to their respective '2nd homes' and Bob brought me to acupuncture.  Yes, I slept on my way there and on my way back!

Cumulative effects - they say it's supposed to happen this way.  I was definitely set back longer this time.  Yesterday was a better day, with a short nap in the afternoon.  While I am not feeling the foggy-headedness that I did the first time through, its the fatigue that's getting me this time.  (and the nausea) The walk upstairs to grab stuff out of the bedroom forces me to sit and rest before I can move on to the next task.  My heart palpitates and my chest feels heavy. That's the sign.

My whole body is also drying out - I have more and more wrinkles when I look in the mirror.  It's tough to take a look at yourself this way - no hair, blah skin color, wrinkling.  I really don't know what to do about it but to just let it happen.  I don't have the energy to fight it right now and if I did, I don't think it would change anything anyway.  I'm just doing the best with what I have.  Maybe I'll have a better outlook by the end of the week.

No dance tonight - I'm choosing to stay home to avoid catching anything from the kids.  That's in itself is out of the ordinary for me.  Even when I'm feeling the worst, a night at dance always picks me up.  We were snowed out last week, but had a great facebook chat with the Workshop group.

I have blood work scheduled for tomorrow to see what my wbc is.  I'm hoping for my big upswing this week and feeling back to myself.  I've had enough of feeling this way...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Oh boy

Sarah made dinner last night and Alex pitched in!  Barbecued Pork with homemade Porcini Gnocchi and Butter bean soup to start.  And, as usual, the best compliment I can give is that I can taste it and it's delicious!!

Butter Bean Soup

Porcini Gnocchi

Me?  I did alot of nothing but sleep.  This time, my energy level is very low.  I'm told the effects are cumulative and I should expect it.  I hope it passes over the next few days.

We watched a good movie from my netflix shipment - The Illusionist - then I was off for a strange night of sleep.  Followed by a morning full of more sleep.... I'm hoping that's it for the day.

Heading to Vassar Temple After Hours tonight, so the rest I'm doing today will help me stay longer tonight I hope.  The kids are coming along.  Another big night for Bob - he's playing again!  I'll post pictures and video later. I'm excited for him!!!

---------------- Well after that last little paragraph, I had a huge wave of nausea come over me.  Forced me back to lay on the sofa the rest of the day.  I'm just hoping I make it to the event tonight at all.  We'll see.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Rough and Tough

Rough night last night, tough day today...

Had a hard time getting back to sleep last night after my 'nap' of 4 hours.  But even when I did get back to sleep, it wasn't a solid sleep.  I was woken up quite a bit to go to the bathroom... I had gone through 2 bags of saline yesterday instead of the usual one so I was getting rid of a lot of that.  I am feeling very bloated still today. 

I did a little work today.  Returned some emails, etc.  It's the best I could do.  Right now, I have a head ache and feeling some chest pain and the general tingling over my body.  This is usually my cue to lay down... which I am going to do before the kids bring me back to Dyson for my Neulasta shot. 

Did I mention the kids are home??? That's the good part...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Chemo Day 3

Started the day with coffee and downloading my bookclub book to my kindle.  Took the eMend and it's making me hungry and a little lightheaded.

Dyson Center  -
Because of the snow on Tuesday, I didn't get my blood drawn ahead of time.  I'm waiting on the results of my blood work to find out if my wbc's are good to go.  I think they are!!  I sent Bob to get me food.... starving.  I want to eat before I fall asleep and can still taste it!  Stephanie is my nurse today.  She's also affiliated with Dr. Keleher, so I've met her before and she's very nice.  A massage therapist, Maureen, has stopped by to see me and did a little work on my back and neck.  Her service here is supplied by the Miles of Hope organization.  It's so wonderful that there are people and services available to not only help you survive, but thrive!!!

Internet here is really a problem!  They must have changed things since the last time I was here.  The time out of the connection is very fast - you have to constantly relog in.  Very very annoying when you lose your updates and you don't even know it.
Just got home from the infusion center... 9:30-5.  Long day.  Slept a lot thru it all.  My coloring was off for most of the day.  Shelly described is as yellowish.  I usually get pale at some point during but I rebound and my rosy cheeks reappear, but not this time.  I also 'felt' the drugs alot more.  Meaning, I could feel them circulate through my body - looping through my heart, around the lining of my stomach, up and down my legs and across my shoulders.  Strange.  Barbara stopped in on her way to a lunch meeting - my friends are fantabulous.

Shelly made a pan of lasagna for us for dinner... really nice thing to do.  I'm pretty much out of it tonight, so it comes at a really good time.  Big plus - one of my favorite foods!!

Yesterday and today I'm feeling the effects of the steroids... my knees and my muscles feel swollen.  It should only last a few days.  Speaking of last, I'll get my neulasta shot tomorrow.
I went down for the count immediately after this post... I hit the sofa for 4 hours and now I'm resting upstairs. I'll be in bed soon.  I think this was a combination of my once a week sleep day and the chemo effects all in one.  Different than last 2 times.  My stomach is feeling a little strange too - slightly queasy, a little pain.  Throat feels scratchy, but that's been a single to lay down and rest.

Looks like different is a way of life these days!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Double Feature

I spent the last weekend getting ready for tomorrow.... You see, I really wanted to see 2 movies and couldn't decide on which one.   There were plenty of things I should have been doing - cleaning, laundry, etc.  Going to the movies was what I wanted to do.  That was my priority.

For about a week I've been feeling pretty good.  Like normal, but with no hair!  So much so, I've been working a normal schedule and going out most every night.  Maybe not as late as we usually would but out.  Last Thursday I went shopping and to dinner with Shelly.  Friday was Temple and dinner with Bob and Sunday Bob had his R&B gig plus we went to see Laura's new place and stop for dinner.... I started the week with a full day of work and the pin party!  The slowest day was yesterday - the snow kept us home but we worked from here and I had a great chat with my Workshop girls last night! More on that later.  And finally today - another full day and out to dinner. 

Back to the movies.  I know I'll be home for the next 10 days and I really wanted to see both The King's Speech and True Grit sooner than later.  Trying to decide with Bob, I said 'Let's see both' and he was up for it!  So we returned from our morning drive with Mark and headed up to the Galleria for Movie 1 - The King's Speech.  We loved it!!! Afterward, we met Shelly and Chris for dinner and they joined us for Movie 2 - True Grit.  Also a good movie!  Then back to S&C's for a glass of wine.  It was the grown-up version of a Double Feature!

The winner of the day???? The King's Speech - 4 thumbs up!

Tomorrow I have my 6 hour infusion of my chemotherapy cocktail... the beginning of another 3 week cycle of  low to medium to high!!!  I won't have the energy to do half of what I did last week.  Half??? Quarter...

But it's the 3rd treatment - half way there!!!  Almost.  The 3 week span between treatments 2 and 3 felt like a long time.  Different than between treatment 1 and 2 - must have been the holidays.  Winter is keeping me holed up in the house more and I sometimes wish I was doing this over the summer or spring when I can go outside.  Just can't sit on the deck and read a book these days!! I'm glad I'm busy just living my life during the days between.

I do indulge myself with 2 movies in one day, hang with my friends, dance when I'm not supposed to, eat almost anything I want, work all day, sleep a little later.... it's my life.  I like to think I fill each moment with everything I can between chemo treatments.  My choice of  not cleaning the house or doing the laundry, but going to a double feature with my boyfriend was definitely the right choice!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


There was this old fashioned thing people did way back when... when a boy asked a girl to go out with him he would take his school pin and give it to the girl.  I don't really know when this lovely practice of displaying your attachment to someone stopped, but I've never been pinned.  Until now.

When we first found out my diagnosis, Bob had a real call to action.  Still does.  There are many ways he's been channelling his energy from the Breast Cancer Day of Dance all the way down to designing t-shirts and pins.  He had this idea to make a pin that would envelope me and our cause and distribute them to the kids I teach and anyone else who wanted to show support.  Something modest and relevant.

He contacted Jackie - an interior designer and my fellow teacher at the studio.  She's very creative and just happened to be creating jewelry for the first time when she talked to Bob.  They traded emails and sketches discussing designs and finally they put the wheels in motion. 

Last night, Jackie, Laura, Jen, Shelly, Barbara and, of course, Halley showed up with their crafting hats on!  Bob planned the night and cooked for us and I just kind of walked around alot...

Awesome, isn't it???
Using metal disks, raised letters and hammers, they stamped the words 'Live to Smile' and 'Live to Laugh' - they tell me I'm known for both of these - I don't notice it!  Instead of using the typical Breast Cancer symbol of the pink ribbon, Bob's idea was to use a pair of toe shoes in the center.  Jackie found a small charm sized pair crossed 'just so' that they were almost shaped as the infamous pink ribbon.  Each of the little elves sitting around the table had a job, and they took them seriously and with great pride showed the result.  Even down to the hanging letter M off the bottom.  Another of Bob's ideas - make the letter removable so these lovely token's of support can be used for the next dancer who needs it.

It was a fun night with really great friends and family.  I'm like a school girl who's been pinned - I feel the love by a whole bunch of people!  Thanks!
2 of my reasons to smile...

Making dreams come true

I'm sitting in the R&B bar in Millbrook trying to mind my own business.... In other words trying stay far away from people during this flu season!!! Why am I here? Why would I take such a chance? Well, its the culmination of a lot of years of Bob writing and playing in our 'guitar room' and practice, practice, PRACTICE!!!! Call it a check off of his bucket list! I couldn't be prouder of him for doing this. For putting himself out there. Taking a risk.

(I wrote that on Sunday from the bar on Bob's iPad... I'm not very good at the iPad.  It took me way too long to compose a paragraph, so I put it down and enjoyed the show.  Just getting back to it now.)

Bob was contacted a week or so ago to get together with The Differents at the R&B.  There was a benefit they were playing at to support a young woman heading off to Africa and thought it would a good time to get together.  Frankly, it was a little vague, but either way Bob thought about what he would play or present or discuss - whatever!!   So he prepared 4 of his songs:

1. I Need Conviction
2. Not For You To Say
3. I Am Your Champion
4. I Like Spending Time With You

The morning found Bob practicing as I headed off to acupuncture earlier than usual.   I wanted to fit it in before we headed out to Millbrook.  While I was gone, Bob went to the gym - I think to work off some stress!  His nerves were jumping when he got back and tried to organize all his stuff.  He couldn't collate his music papers - he was adorable.  I packed up the car and I drove him to the bar knowing he might have to write notes or review his stuff.  I was the calm one this time.  He laughed as we pulled out and realized I was treating him as I do all the nervous little girls I deal with at dance class.  And in many ways they are very much the same - stage fright can be overwhelming.  I gave him my best advice - smile and have fun!

The R&B is a small little place and it was not even 1pm so there weren't very many people there yet.  Bob met up with Vito - a fantastic musician he has met with privately before today and now they discussed his 'set' for his slot.  We listened to the other bands and artists while we waited - a surreal moment as the two of us looked at each other and knew he would be considered one of 'them' in no time!

Couldn't run out the door - it was Bob's turn.  He set up his guitar and effects box - he was sweating...  The other musician's helped him get his mic right and Vito was playing backup.  Vito introduced him as Bob Ritter - a singer songwriter!  He played his guitar and sang, like the rest of 'them' He did it!!! He talked to the audience and introduced his own songs and they were very supportive.  They cheered and urged him to do his encore and he gladly obliged! 

It was an experience of a lifetime.  I was so happy I was there to witness this great feat of strength.  The giant leap it took to do something you've always dreamed of not knowing if the landing would be hard or soft.  To appreciate the chance to perform - good or bad, mistakes or not.   Stepping on the stage and gaining confidence just by doing your best.  Feeling more alive because of it. 

I am so proud of you, Bob!  I love you more and more...

Bob and Vito - making dreams come true

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Dance was fantastic this week. 

The 12 year olds are moving along nicely.  In fact, I was so impressed with them, I even told them so!  I'm not exactly generous with the compliments to the entire group - I save them for individuals who have earned the praises - but they deserved it. 

I followed that with a great Workshop class.  This class challenges me every week and this one was no exception.  For recital, we did a piece to Streets of Philadelphia.  How do I describe it?  I don't consider it ballet, modern, or jazz, so I'm calling it Contemporary. SYTYCD has made that genre popular.  Or as I dubbed it Tuesday - ContemporMARY!!  This week I started a new Contemporary piece to 'And I'm Telling You...' from Dream Girls. 

Philly became one of our favorite dances of the year.  It was different and emotional and special.  Months before, I told my girls the story of the movie and being afflicted with Aids and all that this song is talking about.  The girls loved being able to translate to the audience with the use of their bodies and dance in a different way then we have ever done before.  Our creation was ever evolving as we moved through our 3 minutes, even up to the week before recital.  It was nerve wracking.  We had no idea what to expect when we presented it to the audience - we loved it for what it was to us and didn't much care about how they felt about it.  Would audiences get the nuances of Jackie flying through the air as if reaching for heaven and yet coping with her body flipping over and landing on her feet to continue on?  My selection of a men's white shirt as our costume... leaving the feeling of being naked and exposed?  Did we evoke the feelings of hunger and pain, sorrow and yearning?  We were touched by it deeply and as it turns out, so was the audience!  Compliments came pouring in to all of us... very very fulfilling.  The biggest compliment of all came from Diane.  Diane was my teacher as a teenager, as old as the girls I teach now, and I highly respect her opinion.  As we stood in line to get a bite to eat at the After Party, the words slipped from her lips.  'Mary, that was the best dance I have ever seen.'  And she meant it.  I will never forget it.

As I look back on this, the similarities to my situation are uncanny, ironic, almost unbelievable.  My hope is as I fly through the air and flip over and over during these next few months, that I land on my feet and continue on ... shirt intact.

No set backs

It's been awhile since I sat down to update my blog.... a few reasons for that.  First and foremost, its been a pretty uneventful week!  I'd like to say I've been feeling pretty 'stable' lately.  Nothing really new to report on the health front - a little tired from time to time and still bald, darn...

We had a snow day yesterday - again.  Bob thought I was crazy when I said 'let's go to the office'!  Normally, we would welcome the day at home.  But for me, I'll be home the week after next for the whole week and really didn't relish the thought of being home during the storm.  So, off we went - have I mentioned that I love my snow tires?  I'm a believer, but that's a topic for another time.

Once we got there, reality set in pretty quickly.  I was so tired, I was non-functional.  I had a day like this last week too.  At this point, I was stuck at the office ... Bob was booked back to back.  There was no one else in the office (or even the whole building) so I took advantage and gave my head a break and whipped off the wig.  There are days I am finding wearing the wig 'annoying' - to sum up the feeling.  Not long after, I manuevered myself into the tiny server room and layed down on the floor.  I probably should have mentioned to Bob that I was laying down... you could imagine his surprise when he came in to get lunch and he found me passed out on the floor!  Not really 'passed out', but you know what I mean.  Needless to say, 3 hours later, I was back at my desk ready... ready to go home!  A quick dinner from the 'gift of meat' and I was snoozing on the sofa by 6:30... followed by a full night sleep.   

What's the difference? As I've mentioned before, I don't sleep well after I dance on a Tuesday night.  This was no exception.  In fact, as tired as I felt when I got home, I was not sleeping a solid hour at a time.  Rough night leaving me with a rough day.  I have to figure out how to manage it better because I'm not willing to change my dance schedule!  I have an idea for next week - we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Greasy Italian

As most of my friends know, this is how I refer to myself.  I cannot go a full day without washing my hair... if I do, you can use the result to fry an egg.  True but gross, I know.

Unconsciously, I headed to the shower again this morning for my usual ritual even though I showered late last night.  Couldn't not wash my hair before going out... Got in the shower and started to wash my hair and realized - whoa!  Not necessary!!! It's not the white peach fuzz on my head I should be washing, but the red wig I've been wearing all week!!  It made me laugh how much things have changed in 2 months.  The chemo has totally dried out my skin, so no threat of a greasy bald head!

Now - my red wig is drip drying on a rack in the kitchen sink - oh my!

My Sunday drive attire.  My alter ego is drying...


I sit here listening to the news and the report of this guy who shot the congress woman from Arizona and then sprayed the crowd with bullets comes on.  I can't help but wonder what a mentally ill, confused, sick person this guy is, what drove him to do such a horrible act and that no one had a clue it had gotten to this point.  It is just beyond belief that someone could do this - it could get so far that taking a gun and shooting to kill would make sense to this young man.  I also realize there are thousands of other stories out there with other such atrocities.  This just happens to be a very public figure and we get to hear about it more, bringing light to the horrors of the world.

Let it serve to remind us... life is precious. Appreciate every day. You never know...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Baby Steps

Yesterday, I worked from home ... and I mean I worked!  I was on with clients until about 6:30 last night - that means it was a good day for me.  I didn't feel tired all day, just busy and focused.  I'll take it.  Alex stuck around for the night with us. We hung out, made some rice pudding, watched tv and Bob made me my one lychee martini, yum.  Healthwise, it was uneventful.  Again, I'll take it.

Today, the sun is shining and I'm hoping it's going to melt the ice on the driveway a bit.  I'm going to jump on my treadmill and give it a whirl for a while. Gotta get my butt back to running a little... I'll take it slow, I promise.  Just gotta do it.  Looking at the calendar, I might get to run in a May race.  It's a good goal. 

Can't go to public places this weekend, it's too risky.  We'll take a ride one of these days just so I can get out a bit.  Bob mentioned New Hampshire??? Now that's some ride!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Woke up and felt tired.  Went to see Dr. Rubin today to find out what the results of my blood work was.  Alex came along to meet him and see Bonnie.  I sat on the exam table and could have fallen asleep.  He told me I was borderline neutropenic with a wbc of 1.9.  Which means, I was headed home.  Took the car ride home and felt tired.  Tried to get to work today but was too tired to do anything.  I ended up giving up and layed down for a 3 hour nap.  Made dinner and had to sit down to rest.  It looks like all the energy I had all week has been used up!  Almost time for bed... thank god.

The most significant thing that happened to me all day was Bob being pulled over by the state trooper as we were coming off of 84.  We thought it had to be because he had a head light out - that Volvo is notorious for the lights going out and we knew of one.  The cop pulled out and came up to us on the left and slowed down.  As we pulled off onto Route 9, he came along and flipped on his lights.  As Bob rolled down the window, he described the headlight issue to the trooper but the trooper responded with the real reason he pulled us over - inspection overdue!  Well, we were both so surprised by it and we told the trooper so.  Bob simply said to him we were distracted during the month because of my illness.  Trooper left and went back to his car.  He came back and handed Bob a ticket for the inspection and he was appalled that he didn't give him a 'fix it' ticket.  Bob started telling the trooper that he wasn't humane, could have made a choice, etc.  All I could think of was how was I going to get Bob out of jail!  I am not one to confront a police officer EVER, but Bob was great!!! Eloquent in a forceful way - the trooper has no idea what will happen when Bob shows up at court and fights this!  I don't think he cares if he wins or loses, he totally enjoys the argument and cannot wait to get in front of a judge or the trooper himself.  He thrives on this... this ticket and the opportunity it presented totally made Bob's (and my) day!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How are things?

  • Had my blood work today to test for my white cell count.  I'll find out results tomorrow.  Just as last time, I feel too good for it to be low.  We know how that turned out.
  • Went to see Dr. Keleher, my breast surgeon today and she saw good results, so we are staying on track and continuing on with the chemo.  Good.
  • 4 treatments to go... ugh
  • Currently, we don't expect any treatment AFTER surgery - yay!
  • Strangest thing that happened to me today - both Dr. Keleher and P.A. Sara examined me at the same time!! 4 hands on my chest.... would that be considered a threesome?  Bob was smiling behind the curtain while I laughed out loud over the situation. There's a first for everything!
  • Been hungry ALL DAY!  Not just 'I feel like eating', but 'I need to eat NOW or I'm going to die'!!! I started eating at 10am and didn't stop until 6pm... steroids?  Maybe...
  • Very clear headed this time. Different than last. Been working an almost regular schedule and doing my regular things with clients. Gotta pay for all this crap.... but avoiding feeling stressed.  
  • Staying home tomorrow and probably Friday just because everyone else is sick and I don't want to take the chance.  I can work from here. No big deal... Spoiled!
  • Get a heavy chest feeling when I'm over doing it or just run down and tired.  That's my sign to take a rest.
  • Redness and soreness at the port site today.  Not sure if I aggravated it last night or not.  Keleher suggested I tell Rubin tomorrow.  She expects him to prescribe me an antibiotic.
  • Decided to see a geneticist to discuss testing for the breast cancer gene.  Because I'm under 50, I could be a carrier even though I don't have the ancestry.  With this knowledge, decisions on bi-lateral mastectomy will be easier and Sarah will have the information to make her own health decisions.
  • Plastic surgeon time!  Have to talk to a few of them to get them lined up for reconstruction sometime in late April, early May.
  • I believe I have a little more hair tonight... peach fuzz, but it's hair!!!
  • Tired tonight.  Can't really attribute it to chemo or cancer.  Generally after a dance night, I don't sleep well.  Last night was no different.  Hopefully, tonight I'll sleep like a rock - fingers crossed.

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Why is it that good chicken soup can just make you feel better - no matter what?  Even more baffling, is the feeling you get when it just appears in your refrigerator (along with 2 other delectable treats) from a way-too-busy-to-be-doing-this-for-me woman.  Thank you, thank you to Lori!! I am totally loving the rosemary - one of my favorite spices!!   More than that, I appreciate the time and effort you took to think of me and do something so nice.  It does the body, mind and SOUL good!

This serves to remind me to thank all who have gone out of your way to make this experience rich and joyful in so many ways. 

"... because I knew you, I have been changed for good" - Wicked

Great Expectations

Perfection is impossible to achieve.   I hope those around me don't expect me to be perfect, because they will be disappointed.  I am not perfect and don't claim to be.  I can only put yesterday behind me and move forward.  Forward motion is the only way.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Through the looking glass

Funny how the world is these days.... Sarah and I are sitting at the kitchen table each with our own computer, talking to each other and surfing through other people's lives.  Different forms of stalking seems to be our entertainment.

Kind of like this blog experience for me.  Would I, under normal circumstances, have taken my journey to the public as I have?  I guess part of me would say yes - I am a bit of a public person in my own way.  I have a very big family, in a business with Bob and a dance teacher to many at Yanarella and I knew it would be nearly impossible to get back to all the people I would have to get back to about my illness.  The blog has helped to keep those who wanted to read about it the ability to keep up with me. What surprised me most was the friends and friends of friends that have come to follow my blog. 

Half of me wants to just be alone with all this.  I can be a pretty private person really.  For example, Bob would like to go out nearly every night and I have to convince him to stay home once in a while on the weekend.  Yeah, I'm all about a good time, but there are times I'd rather be alone.  Bob really enjoys his 'boy's night out' while I can't wait to eat junk food and watch a movie in bed!! My hair?  Would I have taken a picture of me in all my bald splendor and posted it on Facebook?   Uhhh - no.  Bob didn't think twice - poof - my bald head is on the internet!  Not because he was making fun of me, but because he truly thought it was a beautiful thing and wanted to share it with the world.  I've had to come to terms with all this, allowing those close to me to do what they have to while still being true to myself.

More on the wonder of Bob - since we got the news, he's been on a mission to find and create good out of all this.  He's been actively planning Breast Awareness Day at Yanarella School of Dance for early December, 2011 - my 1 year anniversary of remission, hopefully.  He's enlisted oconologists, breast surgeons, representatives from Health Quest, Miles of Hope, etc.  The list goes on and on.  All this swirls around me.  I hear it and cannot believe this is all happening.  Bob is marketing the heck out of this and because of him, we will save lives!

The freedom to unveil my head or talk about my breasts and all my bodily functions has been something that has taken over my life and has proven a lot for me to get used to. Thru this blog or over the internet I get to covertly reveal a lot of me without actually doing it in person. Like I am writing this all for me and who ever reads it, reads it.  That works for me.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Plans change

The difference for me this time through the treatment is knowing a little about what to expect.  The first 2 treatments have coincided with Christmas parties and New Years parties.  Hopefully, the next 4 will be a little less event filled and I won't have to make so many 'guilt-filled' decisions!!! I'm sorry to all my friends for not making it to your festivities - I know you all understand.  But I want to be sure to make my statement public to ease my own conscience.

The rest of the afternoon went very well yesterday.  3 hours at the office working on the books and back to the hospital for the Neulasta.  Sounds like a strange thing to say, but Sarah and I had a nice time doing this stupid, mundane stuff together!  We made a stop at Adams because I was determined to use my meat grinder.  This is the gift I bought myself this year.  I know it sounds strange, but after eating my friend Susan's delicious burgers last summer and then reading a recipe a few weeks ago, I figured what the heck and ordered one for myself!  None of this handcranking that my mother did.   I went for the electric, commercial grade, 100 pound machine!!! It's awesome!  It was missing a little thing called a locking pin - Alex tells me it's kind of important, but I was determined to use it.  So, Sarah and I set ourselves up to hold this thing together and we did it!  I ground chuck, lamb, rib eye and sirloin with some Cilantro, onions and chiles into the best burgers EVER!  I had enough to make a fabulous meatloaf for the day after.  Success!

We also stopped at Walgreen's to pick up some more essentials for when the rest of my face falls off.  Like my eyebrows and eyelashes.  I want to be prepared with a good brow pencil and some nice false eyelashes. 

I felt great most of the day... then all of a sudden the effort I'd need to muster to go to a party at Lisa and Michael's was just too much for me.  I had to back down and stay home.

But, we had a nice time with the kids!  We played Banana's on the bar and banged pans at midnight on the front porch like the good old days!  Afterward, I made them all eat 12 grapes for each bong like the Spanish tradition I learned in High School.  I couldn't eat them myself, so I was the 'bonger' ... if they could eat a grape with each bong, then it's a year of good luck!  Melissa laughed a little too much for a full year, but the rest of the group did great.  It was lots of fun - Doc Rigual would be proud!!!

We sat and watched a little of the party in the city and eventually we trickled up to bed.  This morning I woke to the typical pain of the Neulasta through my body.  It was hard to get moving and even harder to walk up and down the stairs.  I finally made it to the shower an hour later than I wanted to.  We did make it over to the Kram's by 1p.  They had a lovely New Year's lunch with a nice group of new people for us to meet and what a spread Allen put on!!! He is a fabulous cook and the biggest complement I could give to him was that I could actually taste the food and it was great!!!  I lastest about 2 hours or so, but it was a really good 2 hours! 

I'm glad to be home tonight again... this has really put a kink in Bob's social life!!! But he is the best guy in the world and would never make me feel bad. 

Plans for tonight?  Renting a movie and hanging around the house... just what the doctor ordered.