Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The significance of nine......

The number nine is quite significant, let me tell you why.....

Half of all people diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer die within nine months. It's been just over nine months since I was diagnosed and I'm still here - WOOHOO!!! Talk about gratitude with a capital G!!!

My last oncologist appointment was not great - news wasn't good but wasn't terrible either. My most recent CT scan showed no improvement but also no disease progression in the left lung. However, there has been some disease progression in the right lung. The plan is to do a repeat CT scan at the end of July and evaluate whether or not it is time to go for the standard IV chemo cocktail.

In the meantime, Fran the man and I are here at the Kushi Institute in Becket MA on a 2 day personalized program learning how to become macrobiotic. Some people have had great success with macrobiotics and I've heard talk that the western medical community is planning to do research. I just want to do what I can to support and strengthen my own immune system. I may also go to a local Catholic retreat center for a few days of spiritual contemplation.

It seems this cancer stuff requires a multi-faceted approach - eastern, western, body, mind, and spirit. So, how about that for a holistic approach - who knew you could combine Japanese and Catholic philosophies and practices!!! It's a crazy and wonderful world we live in.......

So peeps, be happy, be healthy, and enjoy this crazy ride   ; )     


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Why you? Why me?

A life crisis is a turkey dinner with all the fixings prepared just for you by the universe.

      You have two options..........

      You can look at it in dread and horror realizing that the kitchen is an unholy mess of food bits spilled and dessicated on the stove, pots and pans that may require a blow torch to burn off caked residue, followed by a pile of dishes whose height challenges that of the Burj Kahlifa in Dubai (at a mere 2,717 feet and 163 floors).

       Or, you can realize that this banquet may have something to offer, sit down, get comfy, and take your time to eat, making sure to fully savor/investigate/understand each bite. How does this food smell? How does it look? How does it feel in your mouth? How does the texture change with chewing? How does the taste change with chewing? What are the sensations as you swallow? What will happen to this food as it winds its way through your stomach and intestines? 

       Each little bit breaks down and is turned into fuel, your fuel. To fuel your blood, your flesh, your organs, your thoughts, your feelings, your moods, your understanding, your healing. To fuel you.

       The universe provides all manner of opportunities (good, bad, pretty, ugly, easy, hard, joyful, excruciating) that we can make use of as we travel through this winding maze called life.

Happy and productive travels my friends!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wisdom du jour...

If you are on oxygen
be very careful
blowing out
your birthday candles.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thoughts for the day

Every day
is a new opportunity
to give
and receive

Being able to receive love
is just as important as
being able to give love.

Monday, February 6, 2012


UGH -- getting over strep throat. I completely forgot how miserable strep throat was - kind of like the post childbirth amnesia phenomenon I suppose. It did make me channel my inner homeopath though - you know, use like to treat like. Since the back of my throat was burning with the intensity of a five alarm house fire, I seriously considered using a red hot poker to annihilate my tonsils into distant memory. But, alas, all our wood was too wet to start a fire. Life just refuses to cooperate sometimes, dang it!!!! But, thanks to the wonders of the z-pack, the back of my throat is merely smoldering and my rating on the energy-o-meter has moved into the positive numbers and is hovering somewhere around a 2 1/2.

WTF - just looked outside and there's a swarm of gnats outside the window. What season is this? How long did I sleep last night(s)? Do I need to change my name? Fran Van Winkle or Rip Van Cauffman - can't decide which works better. Any votes?

My next oncologist appointment was scheduled for this Thurs. To prepare I need to get chest and abdominal CT scans, with contrast. The thought of loading up on CT dye at this point does not particularly warm the cockles of my heart, what ever they may be. So, it was rescheduled for Tues, aka Valentine's Day. Maybe what I'll do is pack a romantic picnic for the man and I. We can spread a blanket on the floor of the doctor's office and eat fried chicken and potato salad by the light of a flameless candle. Romantic, isn't it - just like the 1950s. I'll have to wear my best girdle and helmet-headed-hairdo. Ooooh the visual!!!

Join me my friends, especially you big balding Bill since you know all the words............. I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and gay, and I pity, any girl who isn't me today......

So, peeps, wishing you a very pretty day!  ; )

Friday, January 27, 2012

Random updates...

Just some random updates......

A while ago I reported that, all in 1 day, my cellphone died, my car died, and someone tried to hack into my laptop. The cell phone has been reincarnated into a new body thanks to a loaner from friends Cynthia and Michael. The car has been resurrected, with an occasional cough and wheeze - sympathy lung cancer perhaps (?) considering we have been together for 20 years and, both being middle aged women, are quite simpatico. As for the laptop, from my tech-challenged position, it seems to be working just fine. But, then again, what do I know?

My father did in fact get 2 new hearing aids which he is, thank the lord, wearing. The frequent threats to the life of his hearing aid have ceased completely. I no longer worry that I may have a 95 year old convicted hearing aid murderer for a father. No telling what would happen to that kind of a felon while in the slammer. Major sigh of relief on that score!!

I've had 2 Zometa (osteoporosis medication) infusions. The purpose is to stabilize my bones, especially the area of metastasis in my spine, in order to avoid spinal fractures. So far, I have not had any side effects and, in a weird way, my lower spine feels more solid. Can't exactly specify how, but it does. Yea!!

A comparison of my most recent chest x-ray to the prior chest x-ray shows no difference in tumor sizes. But, my favorite (and only) oncologist, the great Dr. Michel Hoessly, said the x-rays only show the big stuff. He suspects that there is additional improvement. So, before my next appointment, I will have a CT scan of chest and abdomen which will show finer detail and give a truer indication of progress. And, I must say, there are times when I do feel like more lung tissue is actually functional. Yea!!

I also recently had labs done. Tarceva can be hard on the liver and Zometa can be hard on the kidneys. My kidneys are in fine form but one of my liver enzymes is up. Not high enough, according to the nurse practitioner, for worry. I am making some changes though - lower amounts of fat and protein, higher amounts of plant based foods, and enough water per day to almost fill the Atlantic ocean. (BTW, if I don't answer the phone, chances are I'm otherwise occupied, if you catch my drift!) At this point not much scares me -- except liver failure. That's a nasty way to go and patients in liver failure are very difficult to take care of - often the bane of a nurses existence. So, if you'd like to join me in collective finger-crossing, I'd be ever so grateful.

Fran the man continues to be my rock and my solace. I must have done something right n a past life to deserve this wonderful person. As I said to him the other day, marrying him was not only the smartest thing I ever did, but also the wisest. Thank you God for this wonderful man.

And, thank you God and all you wonderful peeps for EVERYTHING!!!!!!!

Now, could we just have a nice big snowstorm??!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The hair, it hath it's own humor

Recently I've noticed several, shall we say interesting, developments.

 It seems that my leg hair has, for all intents and purposes, stopped growing. I shave my legs and two weeks later I barely have stubble. It may be several months before I need a new razor blade. I can only hope that this, and I, last through the summer. [Ah yes, the black humor raises it's ugly, yet delicious, head once again - so sorry but I can't help myself!!!]

I have also noticed that my eyelashes have grown longer and have the cutest little curl to them. I can still hear the clang of the eyelash curler against the side of the trash can. Oh happy day!! And mascara, my cohort, my leige, my friend, my lover, always begging to adorn the sweetly feminine curtain that sits atop my eyelids. We can't get enough of each other, may we never be parted.

Oh, such a perfect specimen of shear femininity I have become, between the silky smoothness of my legs (post uber slathering of nuclear strength creamy lotion, of course) and the princess-ly quality of my eyelashes.....

And yet, what is this I spy? Could it be? Oh, please, show me not these long, coarse eyebrow hairs, so unbefitting a maiden of such fair countenance (or at least hairless legs and long, curly eyelashes). These eyebrows do mar the portrait of this fair maiden in their manliness and suggestion of excess testosterone. What conclusion is to be made from such a collection of features as this? Yea, who doest tread these lonely halls, is it a man of womanly features or a woman of manly features?

Oh, despair, it is neither (pronounced n-eye-ther).

It's just some chick who's on Tarceva.

P.S. We've been dining on a succulent banquet of the series 'The Tudors' - can you tell?!!!