Thursday, May 31, 2007

Good news: The solution to the swaggering appears to be an iron supplement. I'm much more stable now, nearly back to normal. (No comments from the Peanut Gallery please :) Either the iron is taking care of chemo-induced anemia, or some other chemo effect is finally wearing off. Either way, I'm much safer and happier.

Never wanted to be a drunken sailor, at least not without the joy of getting that way on purpose... while on shore leave... and having my way with the wenches... and..... I really have watched Pirates 2 way too many times, I think. :)

uh huh Pinged again at 1:11am

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Another new vocabulary word. Got an email from an old friend who was discussing some kink, bondage variety, and without breaking paragraph he mentioned he was also into flintknapping and was pretty good at it. Okay so I'm thinking WTF is 'flintknapping? I thought I was pretty well versed in kink terminology but I'd never heard of that and quite frankly it sounded a little scary, like involving fire or something?? However, I googled it and it means chipping away stones to make arrow and spearheads. That makes sense as this fellow is an archaeologist, but I was sure thrown for a loop for a sec there! hehe

"Blimey" is a corruption of "blind me"? Interesting tidbit. Always wondered what that was.

I know much more about the human digestive system than I ever wanted to know. Yet I can't seem to glean enough about my own system to keep a handle on it. A bit exasperating.

Dang, having some deja vu. I bet I said much the same thing about a year ago. erg

As for bouncing around the house, I'm still doing that. I'm drinking more water and some Gatorade, in case it's dehydration. I've started up iron tablets, in case it's anemia. I'm monitoring my BP and medicating accordingly. I also called the chemo place and asked for ideas. Their best best was dehydration with a possibility of anemia, so I'm covering both.

I really never thought my blog would turn into a medical journal. phht

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Creationism, Intelligent Design, Evolution...

Look, the God of Genesis may have created the world in six days. I don't think it says the universe, just the world, as in the Earth. But anyway, I have no problem reconciling the Genesis version of six days on God's time scale with millions of years on a human time scale. I'll even allow that the limited story actually meant the whole universe. Whatever. It's just that a whole lot of detail was left out. No one in biblical times would have understood it anyway.

There are creation stories in many many flavors. Very few of them, if any, make sense in a scientific context. They are explanations for the minds at the time they were fabricated, yes, fabricated. For all we know the Big Bang Theory and other current ideas will seem just as naive at some point in the future.

I can also reconcile the design aspect. What is wrong with saying that some creator set the whole thing in motion AND the basic principles involve evolution? God can't be smart enough to create something that ultimately makes sense?? It has to be some haphazard method which can only be supported by faith and not science? Where's the 'design' in that? Couldn't we just be discovering the design? Or does God want it all to be unknown and unknowable in which case he wasted design time on our brains.

Why must religion and science be mutually exclusive? To me, one is likely just the detail of the other, stuff the ancient storytellers left out because they didn't know enough to explain it and their audience wouldn't have understood it if they tried.

We've come a long way, baby. We know more than the shepherd's of Moses' day and let's face it, it's the Bible thumpers who are trying to freeze a set of stories in their original timeframe and refuse to let them flex with current knowledge. Most other religious factions and spiritual varieties are perfectly content to exist along side, or interwoven with, scientific discoveries.

It's an infinite thing, All That Is. Whatever set it all in motion, I don't have a problem with that one touch being clever enough to set loose a design that will fascinate us forever, and of which we will never find an end... nor in fact, the actual beginning, at least not to the satisfaction of all.

Religion doesn't have the details. Science doesn't have an ultimate source. Seems to me they fill a void for each other. .....Okay, that's where the big bang comes in. Heads banging against each other in futility? phht

(I must be feeling better. I'm running off at the mouth about schtuff again ;)

Postscript: Alright, now this is funny. I wrote this blog in a notepad file to be copied into blogger. I finished it at... Are you ready?.... 2:22 hahahahahaha

Wish t'hell (or heaven) someone would provide some meaningful details on THAT design!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hmmm... Not sure what's going on. Have spent the weekend sleeping almost continually. When I was vertical, I was nearly bouncing off the walls like a dunken sailor. Was reeling and felt like I was about to collapse. Naturally the woozy feeling made me nauseous too. Only dared trips to the bathroom then swaggered back to the sofa where I piled up in blanket and pillows again.

BP was a bit low when I checked it, so that's part of it. Could be adjustment to Cymbalta as well. Didn't take it last night just to see. Now (a little late? ;) I vaguely recall when it was first prescribed that perhaps I was supposed to ease into it, ie one every other day for a week, then one a day. Not sure.

I really want the Cymbalta to work on the neuropathy, but not if it's gonna make me loopy and have to sleep just to keep from tossing my cookies or crashing into the floor. bleh

Difficulty could of course be just the chemo but I felt good Thursday and most of Friday. I wouldn't expect the side effects to be okay for a day or two then whomp me over the next few days.

You know I spent years troubleshooting software and hardware problems. Problem determination is definitely one of my skills. It's just not as easy with the ol bod. Too many variables. Too complex a system. And, well, the machine is me. That adds to the complexity, eh?

I'll work it out, and if I can't, I'll ask for help working it out. But, I'm stubborn, so I'll see how far I can get on my own. Today is better! I've been awake more and even ambulatory! Haven't keeled over yet. :) Always a good thing. hehe

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Blogging from the back porch this evening. Cool and breezy, very nice. I love the feeling of a breeze across my face and whisping my hair. :) A little birdsong happening out in the big arroyo / retention area between here and the pecan grove.

Last night a couple of rabbits visited near the house. Tonight I saw a lizard! Love those little skitterers. Hope the get really comfy here and I see alot of them as summer progresses.

Feeling really good today. Even had brain power to get some work done for my web clients and paid/organized household and medical bills. Now I'm just weewaxing.

Have had an increase in the peripheral neuropathy. Cold stuff feels that much colder, even painfully so. Possibly twice as strong as after 1st treatment. Thus I am going to start back on Cymbalta. Besides being prescribed for depression, it's used for diabetic neuropathy and HIV patients who experience nerve pain as a side effect of their treatments. A few chemo sites have mentioned it as well.

Starting the Cymbalta now so it has two weeks to get into my system and experimenting to see what changes I'll have in the cold and tingling effects after my 3rd threatment (June 6). As noted, the changes from the 1st treatment to this 2nd one are marked enough that I should be able to tell if there's a difference from what would have been after the 3rd. With any luck, the Cymbalta will mitigate it enough to return the effects to negligible or even make them disappear?

It's still not debilitating in any way, but I can tell from the increase that they weren't kidding about the cummulative nature of the thing. I don't want the full effect after 8 treatments, if I can help it. :)

As an exmaple, when I pick up a Coke can, it was just ultra-cold and tingly last time. This time it's painfully cold and feels like the can has spikes on the surface? Makes me want to drop it. Don't want to make another Coke bomb! or worse yet, a 2-liter Sprite bomb!! yeesh

Bartender! Make it a double, er a triple, er a double triple?
So like I was minding my own business, unconsciously that is. I was taking a nap. :) Woke up hungry, as I sometimes do. Sleepily nuked a little snack (cinnamon roll, not on diet but WTF ;) Microwave beeped. I opened door, extracted delish snack, closed door, then blinked to clear sleep from eyes, twice. Oh yeah baby, the time was now 4:44 and this one WAS in my timezone.

Pour me a cup of milk, Sam, I've got a roll to consume(before it turns into concrete).

PS - Should be obvious that since I got several good naps back to back and my appetite is good that I am doing fine so far post-chemo-2/8. *grin* Little bit of cold sensitivity but no more than a footnote and easily manageable. Antiemetics are apparently working famously.

PPS - Interp for 444: "The angels are surrounding you now, reassuring you of their love and help. Don't worry because the angels' help is nearby." Well now that one actually sounds about right. Thanks, Angels. :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Chemo Day 2 of 8. Will spend the afternoon being dripped then come home with a pet in a pouch which I'll return empty on Friday. THIS time, I am up and ready and packing my laptop to go with me just as soon as I publish this blog entry. hehe

Notice to any random cancer cells from Two of Eight:
We are the Bored. You will be eliminated. Resistance is futile.

*snicker* Sometimes I crack myself up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

phht 4:44 And not even in my timezone. I have a little timezone display thingie on my laptop desktop so I can keep track of When for all the Whos in my life. Each zone is stacked on the other, a little strip displaying place, date, time. I set it up for all four US zones plus GMT and one in the Middle East. That last one is on the bottom of the stack and usually peeps out from under my IE windows. I generally ignore it, but it's there for quick reference.

So, just a bit ago, I flipped open my laptop to google something and... 4:44am peered at me. I repeat, phht.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Now we have a REAL crisis. All that other stuff? HA! No big deal compared to this!! .... My fingernails are messed up! :)

Seriously though, a kind of double ridge has developed across all my fingernails, creating a line where the nails are extremely thin. I mean, there's like a real dip across each nail. Since my fingernails are famously thick and hard -as- nails and I practically have to use tile nippers to keep them cut back, the ridge/depression is an indication of the dip in my health. I find it oddly interesting, while annoying as well, of course.

I'm sure it's like the rings of a tree actually. If I knew the usual rate of growth, I might be able to tell precisely when the ridge was formed. As it is, I've only really noticed it as it has grown out to about the middle of my nail pads. It has become more than a cosmetic thing since my fingernails have started to crack on the sides (ends) of some of the ridges. I obviously canNOT allow them to snap there because half my fingertips would be ripped off.

SOooo, I'm cutting off all my pretty fingernails to lessen the possibility of a snap (from leverage, cantilevering, stress points, etc). I'll use my favorite repair trick (superglue ;) to reinforce the existing cracks... until that ridge grows out and off the ends of my fingers. Worst case, I can go to a salon and have them coat my nails with their acrylic stuff to temporarily reinforce them and protect my fingeees.

The cause is... Cancer? Chemo? Surgery? All of the above? *shrug* Whatever. It's like a bad hair cut. Grows back eventually. *g* (Still qualifies as a Nail Crisis though! hehe)

Good news is that the nail behind the ridge appears to be nearly as thick as before. Even if this current chemo affects me again, I shall resume. :) I not worried.

Friday, May 18, 2007

During a triple-stop grocery run to LC, the only number I noticed on my car trip odometer --- 11.1     hahahahaha

In other news, Spouse had to take a trip this week and he brought me back an early birthday present --- a roll-up piano keyboard!! I LOVE IT. I always thought it would be cool to have one. It doesn't have the same feel as a real piano of course, but you can't roll up a real piano into a 6" square and stuff it into a little carrying case. :)

Actually, I own an upright piano. I asked for it for Christmas when I was 15. I never thought I'd get it, but it's the only thing I really wanted. Santa came through and it sat in the foyer of my parents' home even after I moved out into my own place. Since I was renting and knew I'd likely move a lot, I didn't take it with me.

I never did take lessons, but I played by ear and picked out a lot of stuff, incl "If I Were A Rich Man" from Fiddler on the Roof, the love theme from Zeffirelli's Romeo & Juliet and Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" aka The Exorcist theme. (Damn, there's another favorite album I had in vinyl that I haven't replaced with CD. *note to self...*) I can read music but only my right hand can execute it. My left is only good for minimal notes or simple chords.

Fast forward about 10 years to when my Grandmother (96 this year and still going!) was suddenly without a piano. Hers was just too ancient to even remotely hold tune anymore and several of the keys were completely dead. It was an upright antique with all kinds of decorative wood trim on the high face of it, looking a lot like a player piano.

Grandma has been playing the piano all her life. She was the accompianist in her little country church for decades and still subs now and then. She regularly plays the piano at home for her own enjoyment, usually hymns.

Anyway, Grandma needed a piano and I was still single and moving around from rental to rental, SO I offered to get my piano out of Mom and Dad's foyer (in Lex Ky) and into Grandma's house (in So OH). Mom and Dad paid to have it moved and tuned. Thus, Grandma has had custody of my piano ever since.

I made it clear that it is hers for as long as she lives. She has made it clear to everyone that it must come back to me when she no longer needs it. I further stipulated that I am in no hurry to get my piano back ;) I hope she lives to 120 and wears the ivory off the keys.

When I do eventually 'inherit' it back, I will cherish it more than ever because it will have Grandma's love of music stored in it. Much to Mom and Dad's chagrin, it may end up back in their house until some miracle or retirement gets me and Spouse back to Ky. Damned if I can justify moving a piano from OH to NM then on to wherever else we end up before I can get back homeward again (always a goal).

In the meantime, I can roll out my new toy and play at will! WooHoo!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


But, to show I am retaining my sense of humor...

... Spontaneous Fruit Dance!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The world is big. The world is small.

I bet I've blogged about this before, but I am frankly amazed at the volume of stuff available on TV. And I must say that 'stuff' in this case mostly means unmitigated crap. So much of it seems like a total waste of time and I can't believe anyone spent time, money, or energy doing it. On the other hand, the people involved surely were able to have shelter and food because of it.

TV isn't the only place where such excess occurs, of course. Once again, I know I've bitched about the cereal aisle at the grocery, ie, how many freakin forms of the same basic grains do we really need? Still, I'm sure every cereal mfgr worker is glad they have a job so they can feed their kids.

There's just too much, everywhere, all the time, too much of everything. But that's not my real world. I am not into all of that. I create my world from my interests, my choices, my actions. That's the world that counts. It's not an ego thing, it's a practical reality thing.

I am literally at the center of my own universe because there's no other way to be. I cannot be at the center of anyone else's universe. If I think I am or think I can be, then I am deluded or the other individual is without identity. Not good. Nor would it be appropriate (or even truly possible) for me to set someone else at the center of my reality.

What works is when centers decide to orbit with each other. They remain individuals, but choose to travel together. Through extensions, several people mingle around in their journeys together. Family and friends and brief acquaintances and life partners and so on, all bump around, but they are still --- and must be --- their own entities. Even if I were separated from every other soul on this planet, I would still be me, I would still be real, and whether I felt it or not, I would still be whole.

So despite the immensity of what's 'out there', what counts is what's 'in here', in me and the smaller world in which I function. The stuff that's important to me is all important, whether it's a brief moment on my timeline or a big cause which draws my attention and energy for years. What's important is what I recognize as part of my own sphere, whether I put it there or allow it to enter. Everything else is just... atmosphere. It's interesting and gives me options, but it's just not important unless I choose to bring it into my focus.

It's all a matter of which channels I select, no? So, life is kinda like... existential channel flipping? hehe And 'bad' things, like the cancer deal? Well, sometimes I run the dial and there's just nothing else on and so I go with it and take from it what I can. *shrug* I'm okay with that.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ever seen a Coke bomb? I have to tell on myself because now it's funny, although right when it happened, I wasn't as amused. I'd bought a 24 pack of Cokes. I set the box on the kitchen counter. I opened the refrigerator door. I tore open one end of the Coke box and planned to then move it onto the fridge shelf.

This... did not work.

Five or six of the cans tumbled out of the box and onto the floor. One of those EXPLODED. The impact caused the pop top to pop! Oh yeah, I had Coke splattered ALL over the kitchen floor, in the fridge, on the cabinets, on the walls, on ME.... ALL OVER.

I've mopped the floor twice. It's still sticky. I wiped off the cabinets, walls, inside the fridge door and shelves. I will likely be finding remnant Coke splatters for the next six months.

Funny, I never thought of myself as clumsy, but once in a while I make up for it! hehehe Mercy, whatta mess I can be.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sanctuary... *soft sigh*... Because of the move, the big surgery, the pouch, the takedown... I could have showers or birdbaths in the sink, but no bathtub. But tonight, oh yes tonight, after more than five months of deprivation... I soaked. Oh baby oh baby oooooh, what a seemingly sinple but exquisite pleasure.

Candlelight and candle scent radiating from the tiled ledge of my glass block window. My garden tub filled with silky scent and cozy water. Meditative soft music in the background. Nothing but drifting fragrance and flickering shadows and serene sounds... and me, wrapped in liquid heaven.

Yessss... Oh yes... Life is good.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Amazing view. Wish I'd had my camera. Was in LC and facing the Organ Mountains that are the backdrop to the east. The weather was perfectly sunny and warm in town, but the mountains were shadowed in clouds and it was apparently raining there. Had to be raining there actually because I saw a HUGE rainbow arced over the misty and partially obscured peaks. HUGE bands of the brilliant color spectrum. I had a helluva time focusing on the traffic as I headed for the highway to come back home. It was just too glorious to look away. Awesome, literally.

(This has been a Wenn Moment :)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Modesty aside, my actual vocabulary is quite extensive. I don't use the best of it because it's redundant having to swap in more common words or offer clarifying explanations, post-confusion. I mean, the point of conversing IS communication and that fails if one person is using words the other just doesn't comprehend, right?

The vastness of my vocabulary extends to the vulgar side as well. *weg* Man, I can sling profanity with the best of them, trust me. But what's funny is, I don't use that stuff when you'd think I might. Generally, the F and S and GDMFSOBRB words are used in mild discomfiture or just to add color to ordinary comments.

What do I say when I am totally blown away, like when I found out one of my anti-nausea drugs costs about $36 per tiny tablet? "Holy Cats!" Yep, not anything offensive, just a bewildered vocal rendition of "Holy Cats!" Yes, I repeated it when I found out that price is for the generic!

I discovered this info when my Rx for qty of 30 was filled for 9 tablets. I called the pharmacy to see if this was an error. No, 9 tablets is all the insurance company will allow within 30 days. I honestly can't blame them, but I think someone should investigate the manufacturer.

I only paid a copay of $10, which is bad enough at $1.11 per. (hehe $1.11... okay that part's funny :) but I am gobsmacked at the full cost, I don't care who is paying it.

You'd better believe I will take as little of this drug as I can. I think maybe I'd rather heave now and then (and I HATE doing that) instead of forking over $36 I don't have for more of this stuff. But... ask me again after 7 more treatments of cumulative side effects. hehe I did take one tablet last night because the nurse said it was a good idea since the pre-chemo stuff commonly wears off by bedtime and the first night after each round could be ugly. Okay, fine, I'll stick with that and hope that covers it. So far, no trouble with my tummy at all.

About $1100 for the full 30?? Holy Cats!! I can't imagine, and don't really want to know, the cost of the brand version, which is Zofran, btw. sheesh

Otherwise, the initial chemo round has had little effect. I know what they meant about the nerve sensations from cold things. It's a tingling akin to when your hand or foot falls asleep and what you feel when it's 'waking up' again. But currently, it's very very mild and fleeting and doesn't always happen. So for now, I'm still drinking iced drinks and handling stuff from the fridge and freezer without gloves.

*slap to forehead* I don't pay attention to the news, not in any medium. It is generally too brutal or depressing for me and and I do not believe it reflects the real world, only the sensational bits that advertisers want to pay for and journalists like to chase.

Sometimes however, I do miss an important tidbit pertinent to my world, like... postal rate increases. Dammit, I JUST bought a roll of 100 stamps, like last week! If there was anything about the increase on the page where I bought them, I totally missed it. NOW I have to buy a book of 100 2¢ stamps to go with. That means I'll be double stamping all my mail for about the next six months. *another slap to forehead* Sometimes, Ima Dummy.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Chemo Day. First One. So far, so good. My day started at a run. I was having a really good sleep, really good. I rarely get this pleasure. I did not expect it, so I didn't set an alarm. Thus, I woke up, looked at the clock, 12:14!!! Sheeeit! I was supposed to be at the treatment center at 12:30! 1) I was in my sleepwear 2) I had to put some lidocaine on my portacath area so it would be numb before they hit it 3) The treatment center is about 45 mins!! from my house. DAYAM

Yes, my feet hit the floor, I raced around the house, I threw all my stuff into the car, and I flew like a bat outta hell 'round the twisty road to the highway. Because of the mountains, there's a cell deadzone for most of the twisty road, so I couldn't call the center to tell them I'm coming until I was on the highway. They were okay with my tardiness. I relaxed a bit and at least drove safely from there on in. :)

If you're curious, here's what happenened. (If you're not curious, skip the rest of my blog and have a nice day. I'm fine. ;)

My Afternoon: They accessed the port and took blood samples for testing. They started an IV, giving me anti-nausea meds. When that was finished, they started the oxaliplatin, which is the one that takes the longest, about two hours. I also got leucovorin which is supposed to make the other drugs more effective. When the drips were finished, I got a big dose of 5FU and then they hooked up my line to a ball which is under pressure and will continue to pump in more 5FU over the next two days. That's the fanny pack bit which I'm wearing now and I'll go in Friday afternoon to get that unhooked. Total time: 4 hrs.

I do all that seven more times at two week intervals.

Despite the fact that in my haste I forgot my freakin laptop!, I was fine for the afternoon. They had cable and I watched Green Mile in between catnaps. ;)

So far, no side effects. As I said, all is well, I am fine. (Tom Hanks was good company ;)

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Today's Blog part 1:
Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Never marked it much before and not really marking it now except to make sure I stay away from town because it's apparently one big party with a lot of amateur [tequila] drinkers, potentially like New Year's Eve anywhere or maybe St Patrick's Day in Boston, I presume. I have read that Cinco de Mayo is not really a big holiday in Mexico, but has been embraced and blown all out of proportion by US border towns. Cinco de Mayo ("five of May" in Spanish) commemorates the victory of Mexican forces over French occupational forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. It is not, as many believe, Mexico's Independence Day. Wikipedia says that's celebrated on September 16th.

Today's Blog part 2:
In my blog on March 14th, I said my health situation was "beginning to feel like a major detour and I can't find my way back to the highway." I must reiterate that since the reversal was finally done, I found the on-ramp, I am on the road again, I am back on track. All is well and getting better all the time. I'm even beginning to feel my good ol energy building up and radiating once more. Oh yeah, it feels good. ;)

Today's Blog part 3:
Caught 1:11 on Thursday afternoon. Thought maybe that business would cease since the reversal, if it was related to my health. It didn't, so apparently it wasn't. But, you know, coulda just been a leftover?

Today's Blog part 4:
I ventured out to the grocery Friday afternoon to buy fresh food for resuming the 6WBMO eating plan. I stopped at the deli and asked for two pounds of turkey. The deli guy sliced up a pile of turkey and brought it to the scale, having guessed he'd sliced up about two pounds. I could not explain the likely smirk on my face when the actual weight came to... 2.22 lbs. Nor did I explain why I was willing to purchase almost a quarter pound more than I'd requested. I just smiled and told the fellow the overage was okay and I'd take it. Soooooo... whatever it is, it's still there.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Still doing well! Re-establishing communications so I can properly read the signals, but the adjusted plumbing is working. Although there are some annoyances and misunderstandings, it's better than the pouch business and better than the dysfunction I had originally. I'm actually a little surprised that things are so good so quickly, but naturally very pleased. :)

I'm eating and drinking whatever I want right now but planning to soon get back on that 6WBMO eating plan that got derailed. I think I'd like to knock off another 50 lbs, but don't worry, I'll do it sensibly. I had to put all that on hold because of the volume of the food the plan calls for, but after my body and I get the hang of this new arrangement, it should be a healthy way to go -- good balance of proteins, veggies, fruits and carbs.