Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Tardy Bell

Hello all you peeps! As I've written emails to some people, texted or talked to others, I realized I'd better get on the stick and write a new post ~ WITH pictures of "The Ringin' 'O' The Bell". For cryin' out loud, how could I omit that? Thanks, Miz Munchberry, for pointing out where I was remiss. So, here ~ without further delay, are the Bell pictures and oh what a happy day that was.

Ta-Da! Craig, myself & our son Phillip on Christmas Eve ~ last day of radiation.
And here's my radiation buddies, Theresa & Don:
Don & I were on the same radiation schedule & he rang out on Christmas Eve too!
My actual doctor appointments are slowly peetering out to every few weeks, once a month, etc...
• I have an MRI scheduled for February 19 and a PET scan in March. 
• I will go for twice weekly therapy for my lymph nodes in my neck for a few months, called "Complex Lymphedema Therapy". This will help drain the lymph fluid from my neck, lessen the swelling and aid in the healing. 
• I will go for PT for my shoulder to get back full movement of my left arm. 

Erin McMenamine, my most awesome Oncology NP of the amazing silver hair, is so reassuring to talk with. She listens to my fears, tells me they are normal and only has encouraging words to say. God Bless you, woman!

I keep my medicines in a pretty lidded basket in the kitchen, trying to disguise any taint of illness from Phil. I am happy to report that I am only on one nerve pain medicine. Way down from the oodles of bottles & potions I juggled in days past! I will begin down-stepping the Gabapentin starting next week, as per Erin's orders. Hopefully, my missing brain cells will return and I can stop going through packs of "Post-its". My computer screen is wreathed in Post-Its!

What else? I have taken a few yoga classes until I caught Phil's cold ~ bah! Feeling ready to start yoga-ing again in February. I have scheduled a Hair Appointment. I have gone shopping at the mall. I have prepared actual dinners with a protein, a starch and a vegetable. Of course I have baked:)

Now it's Phil's turn for medical stuff. He came down hard on his left leg during a basketball game & heard a pop sound. Diagnose? Torn ACL, nine months in a brace, lots of PT. My heart bleeds for him.
Dr. Lipton at Brandywine Orthopedics surveys the damage.

Seems I'm not the only one in the fam getting MRI's.
Should I suggest he start a blog?

My radiation mask is still rolling around in the back of the car. I absentmindedly push it aside to load groceries.  I have mixed emotions about it. I was thinking about jamming a cigarette in the mouth section and hanging it up on our sunporch, where Craig smokes. Then I thought that would just annoy him. I know he doesn't want to smoke. I know he wants to quit. He will or he won't. (How Yoda-like:)

But I hope he will. I remember a few years ago when I was still smoking, I would wonder, "Is this the cigarette that is going to be the last straw on the camels back? Is this the one that's going to send my nice, delightful healthy cells over the edge?"

Thanks again for keeping me in mind & for the prayers. Boy, I sure appreciate 'em and I am daily humbled by the care and concern of my friend, family & medical team.

Ya all ROCK!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year to us all!

I realized an update is way overdue!

I am feeling so much better these last two days. I feel like I've
turned a corner ~ yay! Yesterday, I had the energy to put Christmas
away (mostly), and am finally keeping up with the wash. I am starting
to think longingly of yoga class and dreaming of making lovely home-
made dinners again. Cooking & cleaning: a sure sign of returning health!

I go back in to see the docs this Wednesday, then again the end of
this month & in March. A PET scan will be taken a few months out &
will hopefully reveal a healthy neck.

The recovery starting on Christmas Eve was pretty rough. There was a
time when I just cried, bent over the sink with my pills clutched in
my hand. It was so hard to take them with my throat so sore. This was
the "Magical Weight Loss Period". I didn't eat anything for days &
days and didn't care. (Remember, I started out with a healthy
reserve!) I was barely drinking. I slept all the time, with Fluffy, my
couch buddy always with me. What a good cat.

Now, I could care less if I never saw another Bravo show, I've watched
so many!

I got a kick listening to Craig & Phil make a nice dinner for
themselves while I was under. Phil went to the market and bought all
stuff you would be proud of; produce, fresh scallops, etc... They made
a Surf & Turf meal of scallops & steak, complete with two vegetables.
AND CLEANED UP! It was a proud moment for me, I'm telling you. They
did this several times since.

Wednesday: Today, I went for my first of quite a few follow-up visits. As expected, everything is healing along to schedule. I was told that my taste buds will come back in about six months, my throat will take a good 14 months to totally heal (!), no sun on my neck for the first year, etc... All stuff I can live with, and, have no choice in anyway so I'm not sweating it. I was reprimanded for losing weight, but am secretly delighted. I got the green light to do yoga & go to the gym. One of my complaints has been fatigue and it has been shown that the more exercise you get, the better you beat fatigue!

Don & Theresa, I hope you are reading this, as I am wondering how you are. Please email me at and let me know how things are. 

So, I'm on the mend. My eyes tear up when I think of all the
kindnesses extended to me and my family during the last 4-5 months. I
am so blessed to have you all in my life! The thoughtful cards and
gifts, the rides down to Philly ~ I couldn't have done it as well as I
did without all your love, caring and prayers.