Monday, September 29, 2008

Bloggy blog

I should start by reporting that my PET/CT scan came out clean - no evidence of lymphoma. And no one knows what is up with my hand. Just that there was 'uptake' in my left hand so it lit up on the scan. But there isn't anything wrong that they can see and they don't think I have cancer hand. So whatever, I am just not going to worry about it, since I honestly think if there were something wrong with it, I would feel something.

Other than that news there is only this: I am having a really hard time blogging lately. I seem to have lost the secure feeling that describing the near-intimacies of my life are actually interesting to other people. It almost seems like extreme egomania to assume that people are eagerly waiting to read the mundane ins and outs of my life.

I mean do you really want to hear about my visit to the girly-parts doctor today? We are looking at this year's results closely because my last test came back abnormal, but because I was on chemo at the time they let it go. Oh, I guess here is something interesting: I do not have HPV. I have been tested for HPV, I swear at least 10 years in a row. And every year they reveal with awe that I don't have it. And I have had abnormal tests in the past and the docs always seem flabbergasted that I don't have it. This is an STD that something like 3/4ths of women have. My last doctor told me that you could take 10 women on the UT campus and 9 of them would have it. It causes abnormal cervical cells and sometimes cervical cancer. And most women have it. But not me. That may sound like bragging, and well maybe it is. But I had cancer dammit, let me be happy that I don't have HPV.

So since I don't have HPV, they didn't worry last year about my abnormal cells. But if I still have them this year, I will have to have more tests. But I can rest assured that those further tests, unpleasant as they might be, will not reveal that I have HPV. Since I am one of the very few who don't. Okay, now I am bragging.

See? Is this interesting? I guess no one is forcing anyone to read it. So I can write whatever the hell meaningless BS I want to and if people go "What is this shit? We want to read about cancer and living and deep, meaningful thoughts!" Well, they can stop reading and find a blog more to their liking.

There. I feel better already.

Maybe I just got inspiration because Bridget Jones' Diary is on the TV in the background and no matter how so-so the movie is, the book is great. Meaningless fun. And I loved that Bridget was so obsessed with her weight. Each diary entry began with a run-down of her weight, how many cigarettes and booze that day and a calorie count. Only in a book you can do something that you can't in a movie. They never tell you her height. Only her weight. And as she loses weight and gets down to 118 or 119 pounds her friends begin to comment on how sick she looks. So you get the idea that Bridget is not actually heavy at all. Only neurotic. But in the movie, they have to cast an actual woman to play the part. So Bridget has to be a bit pudgy. And then in the stupid sequel she was even bigger. Unnecessarily so. I just want to yell. She wasn't fat. She was weight-obsessed and insecure, but they never actually said she had a weight problem. Anyway, I loved the original book. Lots of girly fun.

And today the stock market is tanking. And I have a wild urge to go spend all my money - excuse me, I mean credits. Cause I don't have any money. I have only credits that stay at the bank and I debit with my plastic card. Not sure what that matters, but all the sudden I have an urge to call my money 'credits' and also the urge to spend it. Cause it may not be available to me tomorrow, I guess.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Okay, here is the long-awaited post about the retreat last weekend.

Last Friday morning, I decided to ask my mom to switch cars with me for the weekend so I didn't have to worry about whether the people and luggage would all fit at the airport. It also took the pressure off my packing, but I still managed to get everything I needed into one bag. I printed out a 'Planet Cancer Retreat' sign to hold up at the baggage claim and headed out.

I took Jackson with me to switch cars; took my car to the hospital where mom was working and she met us in the parking garage to switch keys. I thought the boy would enjoy the outing and since it was David's opening night, I though he could use an hour of quiet before I took off on my retreat and left him with Jackson. But Jackson behaved unreasonably the whole time. When we got there, he said he didn't want Grammy to say hi to him. Didn't want to see her. Then he refused to get in her car. He wanted us to go home in my car even though I had explained several times that the purpose of the trip was to switch cars. He just couldn't let it go. I finally had to drag him in and force him into his seat. And he cried and screamed the whole way home.

I suspect that he may have been upset because he saw me packing my bag and I told him I was going to a retreat. And he usually stays with my mom, so the combo of watching me pack and switching cars must have put him on edge, add my mom's presence and he was freaked out. So I guess it's understandable, just difficult.

When I got to the airport with my list of three ladies to pick up, I found three ladies waiting for a ride to the Planet Cancer Retreat, except two of them were not on my list. They had been at the airport waiting for a couple of hours already; Planet Cancer had mistaken their arrival times. So when the other two ladies who were on my list arrived, there were five people - six including me -and all our bags. A Planet Cancer rep was being sought to come after the people I couldn't fit. But I was really uncomfortable with the idea of leaving anyone there. Especially the two who had been there for two hours already.

Unsure of what to do, we all walked outside to await another car. As it happened, the facilitator and the artist for the retreat were also outside waiting for their ride who showed up as we were walking out. They had room for one more and so did I. So I took 4 other participants to the retreat. So it is a good thing I switched cars with my mother even if it was hard on Jackson for some reason known only to him.

When we got to The Crossings, we checked in and got our room keys, left our bags to be taken to our room and after a quick bite to eat, I headed to the spa building for a massage. My neck and shoulders were so stiff and painful that checking my blind spot while driving was hard. I had made an appt for 3:00 and made it just in time after the confusion/delay at the airport. Pretty nice facility; they gave me a key to a locker in the women's locker room. In it was a robe and flip flops and after I changed I was sent to a small lounge waiting room to fill out a questionnaire about what my goals for the session were and areas of trouble that I wanted focused on. This was my first massage. And because I was in such pain on my neck, my goal was pretty clear: loosen my neck and try to give me more range of motion back. I wanted to enjoy the weekend and the pain and stiffness was bad enough that I had to constantly change positions to relieve the pain. It sucked. And I am glad I got the go ahead from David to spend such a gross amount of money on a massage. Not something I plan to do often.

If I decide to make massage a part of my life I will certainly not be having them at the Crossings. And I may want to have semi-regular massages. The therapist was alarmed at the tightness in my neck and shoulders. I told her I am tight on a good day but this was extreme. The massage itself was pretty painful. I knew it was going to be. But I could feel my muscles loosen as she worked. It felt much better afterwards, but I still had to work with it all weekend. The difference was that I was able to stretch it myself and ibuprofen helped a lot. So I am glad I got an exorbitant massage first thing on the retreat.

Afterwards, I went back to my room to freshen up before going to meet the group in our home-base, the library. The rooms were double occupancy and one of the ladies that I picked up at the airport was my roomie. Barb is from Arlington Virginia, which is really part of D.C. We really got on well and since we are both lymphoma survivors and moms of small children, we had much to talk about. We were both happy with our room assignment. We felt comfortable with one another and stuck together for much of the retreat.

Making friends there was not difficult, though, because when you have such a big thing in common, you don't need much ice broken and small talk among cancer survivors is surreal. We compare diagnoses and ask each other what the stupidest thing anyone ever said to you was. I met some awesome people that I am certain to keep in touch with. There were probably 30 participants plus 4 or 5 staff/facilitators. So we were not a huge group, just about right, I'd say.

The officially facilitated fun that first night included a bingo-esq question/answer game in which a bingo won you various rubber duckies. I won three and gave them to Jackson. A about 9:45 we were released for free-time by the pool or in our rooms or whatever. Many of us headed over to the cafe to check on the wine situation. It was bleak. The wine bar closed at 9:00. The group milled about for a few minutes discussing various plans - "Do we leave the property for a local bar? Make a beer run? Who would go? What time do they shut the gates? Are there gates?" And for some reason people sort of drifted off without a resolution, leaving 4 of us standing there. I aid to Barb, "Are we gonna accept this?" Nope. Since I had a car on premises and am familiar with the area, we decided to procure some wine and bring it back for a glass at the pool. Another participant with us remembered that she had a bottle of vodka in her car from a wedding shower and asked us to pick up some cranberry juice.

It may sound like we are a bunch of lushes that couldn't deal with having no alcohol, but Barb and I agreed it was more of a 'no kids' thing. Here we were, she and I with pre-school age kids, out at a wellness resort for the weekend. Not driving anywhere, not having to be available for a small child in the middle of the night. And dammit we wanted to have a glass of wine by the luxury pool. So we went on a wine run to the HEB and bought 6 bottles, enough to share for the weekend. And a couple of children's flashlights. It was really dark on the paths at The Crossings and thought they would come in handy. And we could give them to our kids when we got home.

When we got back we found the 6 or so remaining people at the pool and sat in the moonlight with our wine shooting the shit. It was nice. We got to our room and into bed about 1:00 in the morning with plans to get up at 7ish for breakfast with the whole group.

Here is me and my roomie, Barb from DC.


Awesome things from day two were many. We had a painting workshop in which Kevin demonstrated each and every stroke of this painting until each of us was able to paint something we'd be happy to bring home. Even me. Here is my painting. Makes me laugh that David wants to frame it and hang it up in the house. I guess it looks ok, but really, the way it was taught to us, anyone could do it. Kevin was awesome.

I spent a little time at the pool. I didn't feel like swimming, just wanted to hang out and take in the scenery and the day. Here is the pool from a few different views. It is magnificent.

Saturday night we had a party at the cafe and patio with a beautiful view. What did we all do at the party? We played board games and made wallets and purses out of colored duct tape. Yup. Purses out of duct tape. I had never seen such a thing. But the beautiful detailed work some people were doing made me do one crappy little coin purse real quick to prove that it could be done. Mine is not even close to the awesomeness that was happening at the duct tape table. Just trust me. I may have some pictures when Planet Cancer sends out the photo disk. The picture of mine will have to do for now.

I used teal blue duct tape for the outside and hot pink tape for the inside.

Over drinks on the patio I had a chance to talk to the oncologist who spent the weekend with us. We had a doc and a nurse just in case anyone needed anything. There were some participants still on treatment or with lasting health issues. Anyway, they encouraged us to hit up Christian (he asked us not to call him Dr.) with any questions or concerns or anything. Said when would we ever be having a beer with our own doctors. Turns out he is a leukemia/lymphoma specialist from Scott & White in Temple. I talked to him a little bit about my treatment and was surprised to learn that R-CHOP, which is the chemo regimen I did, is actually considered one of the more tough chemos to do. As far as being sick from it and the side effects. That made me feel...good somehow. Like it really was tough and I wasn't just wimpy. When I hear about people that go through chemo and continue to work full time I always feel like such a wimp. Cause I didn't have to do that and I didn't feel like I could have. I suspect you simply do what you must. But it felt good to hear that it is considered to be one of the harder regimens. Of course that may mean that the long-term damage to my body from it all is worse too. I didn't win the lottery here.

We talked about the fact that I still have my port and have had clean scans for nearly a year. I told him it was my friend and I couldn't imagine being hospitalized or going through treatment with out it. He told me to say goodbye to my friend and take the port out already. He is about the same age as my doc - young. But he is much more open about saying what he thinks. Of course I am not his patient thus the relationship was of friends at a party shooting the shit. But it was really cool to ask him what he thought about things. He knows lymphoma, has been over my records as a condition of me being accepted at the retreat. And I asked him what he thought about me having another baby. He wanted to know what the hell I was waiting for. Dr. George is more conservative. Won't really say either way, but gives me the impression that he wants me to wait or to not do it. Christian says he counsels patients in my place to go for it. He said, "You can't put your life on hold forever. Just do it. Have a baby if you want one." He also explained that the new research is not advising patients like me to have PET/CT scans every 3 months. He says most recurrences are being found between scans, through blood work or symptoms and exam. The scans are simply exposing me to more and more radiation that can't be good for me, especially since they increase my chances of breast cancer. I told him my doctor was cutting way down on my scans after this September one and he thought that was good. It was really awesome to be shooting the shit with a lymphoma specialist over a glass of wine at a party. Just awesome. And I know where to find him in the future if for some reason I wanted his advice. Awesome.

So I guess I will be talking to Dr. George about getting my port out. Christian called me out on it. So I guess my implanted safety blanket has to go.

On Sunday I hiked a little after breakfast with my new Midwestern friend, Becky. Check out the chapel and grounds, accessible only by trail.

Here is me and Becky. At the beginning of the retreat she was wearing a wig, then moved to a bandanna, then took enough poking from the rest of us to go uncovered. She looks great and left maybe a little more confident about the way she looks than when she arrived. I told her that it was at about where she is in hair-growth when I started going out coverless.

I briefly attended the writing workshop they offered. It was a journaling thing with various prompts to get you started. I didn't think I would find much benefit from it as I am a blogger and I generally don't need any help letting my feelings out especially on paper. But I am glad I stopped by because the leader of the class handed out this piece that really moved me. So much so that I couldn't journal on it. I may at some point. But not then, in a group already mostly in tears as they wrote privately. I didn't want to go there right then. But I was glad for the poem. Hope you are too.

You Reading This, Be Ready

Starting here, what do you want to remember
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found, carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life-

What can anyone give greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

-William Stafford

Just about the perfect piece to give to a room full of young cancer survivors, eh?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Scan today

I know folks are waiting for me to post all about the retreat this past weekend. I am working on it. Maybe halfway done. But there is so much to say and it is taking me a bit. But I wanted to go ahead and post about this week before I get so far behind I am overwhelmed.

So I will start with today and work backward. I had a PET/CT scan today, one of my regularly scheduled cancer checks. I managed to talk them in to doing them at the same time without confirmation that my insurance will pay for it. They think Aetna will pay it, in fact they have verbal confirmation that they will pay it. And if for some reason Aetna won't cover it all, they say that will not affect my portion of it. So they are taking the risk they won't be paid for it all because I complained about how sucky it is to split them up. So now if it gets denied I will feel so bad. But I got my way this time and I can't say I am sorry I did.

The scan went ok. I was really latte due to leaving a little late and getting stuck in traffic. When I realized how late I was going to be, I called and gave them a heads-up. I was 30 minutes late and so embarrassed to come waltzing in. I told the lady at the desk I would reschedule if I needed to, but they said they could still take me if we hurried over. Seems there was more at stake than my table time with the scanner. My injection would expire and would be unusable. It was 9:00 and we had til 9:30. Not a problem for me. I was already in my yoga pants and t shirt with no metal anywhere on me. And I have had many scans there so the paperwork I needed was minimal. They just had to get my IV in and test my blood sugar. It only took two tries to get the IV started. They insisted on the big one, the 20 gauge, so it isn't pleasant. But they got it in and I quickly downed the jug of delicious barium before they whisked me down the hall to the uptake room. That is where they inject you with the radioactive sugar and leave you for an hour in a recliner covered in warm blankets with a heater blowing on you. I walked in at 9:00 and got settled in for my nap at 9:15. They were awesome to take me when I was so late, but I am sure they didn't want to waste the injection. It is probably pretty expensive and I bet they can't bill my insurance for it even though it would have been my fault it got wasted. It all worked out, thankfully.

After the scan I changed into my street clothes but before I could leave they called me back in to do another couple of scans on my hands. Apparently there was something weird on their pictures of my left hand. She asked me if I had injured it lately. I have no idea what it could be, unless there is something in my fake nails distorting things. I can't think there is actually anything wrong with my hands. I mean really, cancer hands? I don't think so. I will ask Dr. George what that was all about in a few days when he gets results.

Yesterday Jackson had a well-check first thing in the morning before school. I needed a wellness statement for the pre-school so had to go in. I didn't expect it, but he needed a shot. We were apparently behind on one and they needed him to have a Hep B shot. I wasn't prepared for that. I hadn't prepared Jackson for that. I didn't really have time to decide what to do or say to prepare him for it. I didn't want to explain what a shot was and that it would hurt and then sit there waiting for the nurse to come give it to him for 15 minutes while he grew more and more agitated. So I waited till the nurse came in with it and told him it was a shot of medicine to keep him from getting sick. It happened so fast I don't know if he understood me when I told him it might hurt a little. He was not prepared, though it probably wouldn't have mattered. He didn't start crying until it was done and he kept saying "Mommy, that hurt me!" Like I may not have known it and wouldn't have allowed it if I had. Poor baby. I took him to school afterwards, cause he still wanted to go and the doc said it was fine. My mom picked him up from school and kept him for the night so I could go to the scan this morning.

Sigh. That is all for now. I promise to write more tomorrow and work on my weekend essay for your enjoyment.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Just got home from the final dress rehearsal of my husband's show. It opens tomorrow night and it is gonna be good. They have worked so hard and the talent of these 4 actors is incredible. Their voices are soaring and when they harmonize together, there is nothing better. I love you, you're perfect, now change is playing for 4 weekends at the Hideout in Austin. If you are in the area, go see it. I laughed and cried and really enjoyed the journey through the eternal struggle of men and women. And I am so proud of David for taking on the challenge and more than holding his own with the near-professional cast of this show. He is first-rate and has taken his place among them. Cheers!

I won't be at opening night though. Tomorrow at noon I head out to the Planet Cancer retreat where I will enjoy the company of other young adult cancer survivors in the setting of a wellness spa. I hope to enjoy the weekend of nice weather and relaxing setting. I am considering an expensive massage because I have never had one and because my neck is really stiff and needs some help. I have to pack in the morning, decide what to take and try not to take too much. I am a notorious over-packer. I like to have choices. Just in case. But I need to restrain myself and remember it is only a weekend. I will limit myself to two pairs of shoes. Maybe.

I have to limit my packing because I am picking up 3 other survivors at the airport and taking them to the retreat. And I drive a small Hyundai. How many bags will they have and will they all fit in my car? I don't know. So I can't fill the trunk with my crap or they for sure won't all fit. Heh, hopefully the new practice of airlines charging for checked baggage will mean they will all pack lightly and the four of us and all our crap will fit just fine.

Not sure if I will have blogging access over the weekend. But I will write when I get home, if not. So bye for now, I'll be off enjoying all those cancer perks with my peers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No tears

Jackson has been really missing his dad and had a hard time letting him go to work yesterday. He cried and cried and kept asking for his dad to come home. I managed to get him to school and he had a good day. But he sure has been missing his dad since he as been gone so much in rehearsals.

David took the rest of the week off because he is in tech week for his show. So today I asked him to pick Jackson up from school. I didn't tell the boy, just let his dad showing up be a surprise. David picked him up and they went for a milkshake and spent some time together. After dinner tonight, when David was getting ready to head to rehearsal, Jackson said to him, "I'm not going to cry, Daddy, I'm going to let you go." And he did.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Crisp Weather

It is mid-September and today we are getting a taste of crisp fall weather. Not stifling hot but nice, with a breeze that hints of a cold front coming. This weather always makes me feel excited and anxious. To me it will forever be linked with high school football weather. I feel the need to put on my leotard and skirt with a little purple bolero jacket. I am ready to take up my flag and hit the field with the marching band at half-time. I crave a Frito pie - with chili and cheese poured right in to open bag of Fritos. That was awesome. And meeting kids from other schools and hardly paying any attention to the football game, because the night was all about performing and socializing and eating and sometimes even making out on the bus ride home.

I feel this way at the beginning of every fall season. And it is always a bit of a downer to come home after work and not have a game to go to. I spend all day feeling expectant and excited and there is no bus waiting to take me to a game/performance. It kinda sucks.

This is why I tell all the high school kids I know who do a lot of theatre to absolutely participate in high school dance teams, band, theatre; everything they can. I see so many of them doing theatre with local theatres instead, but I tell them that we will still be here later, but this is the only time they get to perform the half-time show for their school. They need to do UIL one-act competitions and their Spring Musicals. They shouldn't miss out on that to play with the Palace all the time.

Sigh. I don't actually want to go back to high school, not even a little. But I do remember fondly my time spent in the color guard of the marching band. This weather and performing will always be linked for me. I just need to try to get into plays that go up in Sept/October to cash in on all this energy and expectation. And if I could possibly finagle a school bus ride to get to the theatre, that would be perfect.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Worn Out

I am finally sitting on my couch watching the boobtube and relaxing after a long day. Today was an odd day with a mixture of good and not so good. I overslept a bit and was in a hurry to get ready and pack Jackson's lunch and get him to school on time. I was a few minutes late, no big deal. But I did forget to check his backpack to make sure I had a change of clothes in there. Not so good, since he had dirty clothes in the bag from yesterday, not clean clothes for today. And he peed on the playground at school today and when they went for his clean clothes the cupboard (in this case the Lightning McQueen backpack) was bare. Crapola, I suck! The school apparently has an unclaimed clothes bin and managed to find some spares for him. But boy do I feel like a dufus.

And since we were going to the Palace for his nap where he had an opportunity to pee and need clothes, and going strait from work to the circus and might need clothes, I decided to make use of the washer at the theatre while Jackson napped. I figured it was hot enough outside to dry the clothes without a dryer since we don't have a working dryer at the Palace yet. So that is what I did. Washed his stuff, hung them to dry and had some spares just in case. Of course he didn't need them, so my effort was in vain. Oh well.

Another downer today was the migraine I got after I picked up the boy from school. Luckily I had a migraine pill with me, my last one, and managed to head off the worst of it. But I did feel pretty sick most of the afternoon. So much so that I almost cancelled the circus plans. But my Mom met me at the Palace and massaged my neck a little and helped me relax. I felt better almost immediately. Not so nauseated and woozy. she says I just needed to let the meds work. I say I just needed my mommy. So we got Jackson up from his nap and headed to the circus.

The Shriner's circus was held at the Sheriff's Posse Arena in Georgetown. In basically the show barn. Another stupid thing I did today was forget to get cash before going to the circus. We were in line for ticket when I realized, holy crap, I don't have enough cash. Luckily my mom had enough for our tickets and between us we had enough for a snow cone and some popcorn. Inside the barn we encountered dirt floors, of course, and about 90+ degrees. Man it was hot. We also ran right into the huge display of bloy up carnival-type balloons shaped like animals, sponge bob, the incredible hulk and so on. And of course Jackson was desperate for one. But alas we had no more cash, so no inflatable for Jackson. Also no twirly lights, glowing swords or elephant puppets on a stick. He was pretty upset, but there was enough going on that he settled down after about 10 minutes of begging fro various toys and hearing the same response. He understood after a while and began answering himself. "We don't have enough money for a balloon" he'd say. But not sadly really. I think he really understood that I was not telling him no, but I was saying that they wouldn't give us one. I got a few pictures before my camera batteries went kaput.

So we watched the acrobat troupe, the ladies who climb the rope and do aerial work, elephants, a juggler, a girl who did amazing things with a dozen hula hoops, and the grand finale - the motorcycle dudes in the iron globe. It was hot and literally dirty in there, but we managed to have a good time, see some cool stuff and in the end I found a couple more dollars hidden in my purse for a coloring book. Inside the coloring book was a voucher for a souvenir toy - a little plastic twirly airplane with propellers. Probably worth about a nickle from China, but it made Jackson happy. "We had enough money for an airplane!" He happily repeated. I guess I am teaching him about money.

Also cool was that in the parking lot, before the circus we met up, totally by chance, with my brother's ex-wife and my neices. So we all sat together and my mom got to visit with three of her grandchildren at the circus. It was nice to see them.

And now I am very beat. Migraine hangover, a little dehydrated and worn out. But happy that my mixed good/bad day weighed in a little heavier on the good side.

Tomorrow I will get up a little earlier so I can take a little more time on my hair style that I have to learn how to fix. I know it is possible now, I have seen it and have photographic evidence and I dropped some change on the exact styling products and equipment she used. It can be cute. If it looks crappy it is totally user error and not the fault of the hair or cut. So I bought a flat iron today so I can make the ends all flippy and a new hand mirror so I can see the back of my head. Mine got broken in a bathroom accident a few months ago and my 'whatever' attitude about my hair meant that I was indifferent to the way it looked in the back. Now I am beginning to care, so I bought a new one. I have studied yesterday's picture to see where I went wrong today and will have another go at it tomorrow.

Oh and my toe is not actually broken, some ice and some darvocet last night fixed me right up. I will endeavor not to drop sprinklers on it in the future. And it fricken rained like crazy last night. Sigh. The watering was unnecessary anyway.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Success at the Salon...I think

Okay, so I went to my hair appt with my hair in pretty rough shape. I barely bothered to fix it knowing I was going in to beg for help. It was lank and greasy-looking because the styling waxy stuff I have been using is too heavy for my hair. It worked well when my hair was very short to smooth things down, but I knew it wasn't what I needed. I just had no idea what I do need now. So I went in expecting to buy some products and my credit card was not disappointed. It is an Aveda Salon, so I know at least it is good stuff. And Maria knew immediately what we needed to do. She parted it on the other side, blew it out with the ends curling up and put this cool powder-that-turns-to-liquid stuff to texturize it. She also cut almost two inches off the back to end the mullet nightmare for another two months. The top of my hair has a long way to go to catch up with the back, so the plan is to keep the back cut and shaped while we wait for that to happen. The result is a style that I I am feeling pretty good about it. Maria figured out how to make the most of the length that I have. I walked out with my hair looking longer than when I went in. It was well worth the money I spent in there today.

I also got my nails done. So this morning I really indulged in some appearance therapy. And I feel good. So I took a self-portrait in the afternoon sunlight in my backyard. Ignore the dying grass please.

Jackson enjoyed another school day and made it through without wetting his pants. So far it has only been the first day that he had an accident. I am pleased that he got over having to ask a stranger for help going to the potty. And when I picked him up the teacher told me he was a good listener although he needs to be wrangled sometimes. She says he plays nicely with the other kids and loves to be out on the playground. She lost me at 'good listener.' Say what? Since when does he listen? He certainly doesn't listen to me. But I am glad he is behaving. He is still not eating much of his lunch. He gets too excited to eat. It took a few weeks for him to eat at school this past spring. I am hoping he will settle into it and eat his lunch soon. I bought a 10 oz thermos bowl with a wide mouth that keeps food hot for 5 hours. So I can pack soup or mac & cheese for him. I think he might like hot food better than sandwiches. Cause in his 3 year eating career he has never liked sandwiches of any kind. No burgers, no hot dogs, no tuna. He doesn't get the concept of picking up a sand which to eat it. Only wants to pull it apart and eat it that way if he eats it at all. Oh well.

Heh, I am watching House on TV. One of the docs is doing a bone marrow biopsy on a teenager. With only local anesthetic. "Take a deep breath, this is gonna hurt...a lot." Makes me laugh because when I had my bone marrow biopsy from the same place - hip bone, entered from the butt end - it was CT scan-guided, not done in a patient room and I had really good drugs. I don't remember feeling anything but the cold sharpie pen marking the 'X' on my ass in prep for the biopsy. They don't put you out, instead the drug cocktail (fentanyl & versed) both eases the pain and acts as an amnesiac. You don't remember. But I guess "Hold on, this is gonna hurt," makes for better TV. And I admit I did have a few of those moments during my cancer treatment. So I know they exist. Just not during my bone marrow biopsy.

I have lots on my calendar in the next few weeks. This Friday night is Andrea's 30th birthday party. Big night for my bf, she is joining the ranks of us geezers this side of 30. I am hoping to go welcome her to the crowd, but I need a sitter since David has rehearsal till 9:30 or 10.

Next weekend, 9/19 - 9/21 is the much anticipated Planet Cancer Young Survivor's retreat at The Crossings. It is a free weekend conference for survivors between 25 and 40(45?). I will get to meet other young adults from across the country who have been or are going through the roller coaster of a cancer diagnosis. Activities include a cooking demonstration from the chef at the resort, a writing/journaling workshop focused on therapeutic writing, an I didn't know I could paint workshop, and a stress reduction/coping techniques workshop. There is some free time scheduled and all the workshops are optional, so I get to decide what to do. I know I need to spend some time on their hiking trails. They also have a full service spa with massages and facials and such. They are kinda metaphysical, so they even have some numerology and astrology readings you can sign up for. Also on the campus that weekend they are beginning trapeze classes and I can sign up for one if I want to spring for the $90 myself. They teach trapeze basics that include a hand-catch to the coach. OMG, that sounds like fun! I don't know if I can pass that up, but I worry that I won't have the strength in my arms to do it. Not to mention my abs. I am pretty outta shape. And I am afraid of heights. I have to think about that one. Perhaps I will just make sure I go watch a class. I at least have to check it out.

Speaking of trapeze artists, the Shriner's circus in in Georgetown tomorrow for one day. They are doing a 4:30 and a 7:30 show. I haven't told him yet, but after work tomorrow, Mom is meeting me at the Palace and we are taking Jackson to the circus. I have heard it was coming for weeks, but I kinda forgot about it until today. I saw a poster and said, "crap, that is tomorrow!" I have to remember to take my stinking camera. I have gotten out of the habit of taking pictures lately.

Sigh, I just took a break to turn off the sprinkler and dropped it on my foot. I fear I may have broken something as I can barely move my little toe. That really sucks, I must say.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Haircut tomorrow

I am getting a hair cut tomorrow after I drop Jackson at school. I haven't been to the salon in about 8 weeks and I am desperate for some help shaping, taming and figuring out WTF to do with the hair on my head. I hesitate to call it my hair. That implies choice and ownership which I don't care to claim. This is not my hair. My hair fell to the kitchen floor under my best friend's clippers just over a year ago. This hair on my head is alien and I haven't the slightest idea how to treat it, style it or learn to accept and (gasp) like it. Hopefully tomorrow Maria will have more hints and help and I will probably buy some styling products that she suggests. The stuff I have is kinda heavy and often looks greasy when I put too much in to try to tame the fluff. Sigh. Some day I may look in the mirror and not feel the bitter loss of my hair, or more importantly, my say in it. But that isn't today. Not yet.

Jackson has begun kicking toys out of his room at night. If something looks scary to him after he gets in his bed, he gets up scoots it out to the hall and closes the door behind it. So when I go to bed at night, there is a small line-up in the hall of all the things that spooked him that night. Tonight, his Mater truck is banished. We shall see if anything else joins Mater in the line-up. Last night was the dump truck. He is funny. He is taking control of his environment. Atta boy!

I have become such a lazy blogger. It isn't that I haven't had things to write about, but more than many of them are complicated and sometimes when much is going on, I blog less. And then I get behind and the challenge of updating the blog with everything becomes daunting, so I blog even less.

One thing to update on is my health. Which is fine. But I have been having a little shortness of breath. My oncologist thinks it is residual lung damage and not a recurrence of lymphoma. My blood work and physical exams in late August show no evidence of cancer and my scans have always shown crap in my right lung. So on an Ozone Action Day last week or so, I was having a hard time breathing. Just having to take deep breaths to feel like I was getting enough oxygen. It subsided in a day or two and I am fine now. But it seems I may have problems with my lungs occasionally. Ok. I guess I can deal with that. I have another PET/CT scan in a couple of weeks, so that should alleviate all fears that the cancer is back. Cause it isn't. So there. And I got them to go ahead and schedule both scans at the same time instead of two separate visits. Doing them separate the last couple of times really sucked and I will be happy not to have to drink all the extra barium.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Is it always like this?

Is the first day your kid heads back to school or pre-school always such an awesome sigh of relief and happiness? Woo Hoo! Jackson is back at school 3 days a week, he is excited to go and I am sooooooo glad to take him. The feeling is akin to the old feelings of last-day-of-school bliss. Yippee! It has been a good, but long summer and the small boy and I are in dire need of some time apart - besides nap time. Boredom is Jackson's mortal enemy. It makes him hyper, destructive, whiny and defiant. Me too, except the destructive part. And I am more tired than hyper. But you know what I mean.

Today has been awesome. He was so excited to go this morning, could hardly wait while I packed his lunch and backpack. He got a little nervous as we pulled up and said "Is school closed today? We can go tomorrow." He needed to hold my hand as we walked in. I usually have to force him to hold my hand. But once in the classroom, he sat down at the round table with the other kids and dove into the play dough. I could not even get his attention to say goodbye.

I was worried he would wet his pants. And he did. As I expected, he doesn't want to stop playing to go potty. The teacher is going to make a point of reminding him to go. And I will continue to send changes of clothes for him. I hope it doesn't take him too long to get the hang of it. It would be better if they had an organized potty time, in which everything stopped and they all went to the bathroom. But their bathroom is connected to the classroom, with tiny toilets - very cute. And the kids are just supposed to go when they need to. Jackson might need to be directed to go. Not even a reminder, but an order. Ask, "Do you need to go potty?" The answer is nearly always 'no' even if he is performing the pee-pee dance right then. Tell him instead, "It is time to go potty now." And you will have more success. I may suggest that if he doesn't do better tomorrow and Thursday.

But back to the 'hooray' to back-to-school. We get a break from each other, i get uninterrupted work time at the Palace, and we are happy to see each other when I pick him up. It is just an awesome time all around. And I am so comfortable with the school and I like his teacher.

I love days like today when I can be so productive. I got the poster or our season opener, The Producers, designed printed and distributed to businesses on the square, I got the marquee cases out front changed over from last season/Nunsense to this season/Producers. I sold about 30 season tickets, scheduled a crew to steam clean the carpets in the lobby and auditorium, got the batch/transaction reports done from the weekend and answered the phones and took care of people who came in.

After I picked up Jackson and took him back to the Palace, he went down easy for his nap and slept til 4:00. It was just a good day. Big change from the last couple of weeks when he has become increasingly bored and disinterested in hanging out at the theatre. Our tempers flare and we fight. He acts up, I scold, it doesn't correct him and he escalates when I am on the phone or working with someone. It was looking kind of bleak for the future of Jackson being allowed to be at the Palace. But with school starting it is looking up. I am also in talks with a young lady to keep him on Friday afternoons so I can get all the show-critical stuff taken care of without forcing him to waaaiiittt for me to finish everything, acting up and causing it all to take longer. Friday show days take a lot of work to be ready and I need to concentrate on that and Jackson shouldn't have to sit there while I work til 5 or 5:30. Heh, if he isn't there, I probably will be done with everything much earlier.

In closing I would just like to say...Yay first day of school!!!!