Archive for August, 2011


Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2011 by drycreekherbs

I think today was the 70+ day of triple digit heat this summer. It is so wretched, so parched, so desperate. I pray no one drops a cigarette or hits a piece of flint or drives a hot vehicle over the pasture. It will all be over in a puff.

Today I slept in AGAIN then went out to get the car washed since Chris, my car washer texted me at 6:15 to say that his ‘rig’ broke down and he was being towed back to Georgetown. As I was in the car wash I realized that I also needed an oil change and gas! It was at the oil change location I realized I didn’t have my phone…it was kind of humorous…I asked if I could use their land line…and they couldn’t remember where it was since they all used their cells! It was finally located…I called Len and found him just a few blocks away…he invited me to a tasty lunch at Cheddars….my gosh they give a ton of food–so much we brought most home for dinner tonight.


On the way home we stopped at Belton’s Harris Water Park…not a slide kind of park but rather a playground loaded with pop up fountains. I had to do it–just a little like Schloss Hellbrun in Salzburg, Austria. Ions ago a bishop with a sense of humor built this amazing baroque castle with all kinds of hidden fountains to keep his guests on their toes and SOBER. Anyway, back to Belton. Here it is…and it was glorious! I did have to take on a few pre-schoolers for space—and at least the one pictured didn’t much like it! It was so much fun.

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This and That

Posted in Uncategorized on August 27, 2011 by drycreekherbs

I have all kinds of things to yap about tonight if I can remember them.

I got a call day before yesterday from the Oncotype DX lab. It was a crazy call and put me in a dither–another shaken baby syndome feeling The woman called to ask if we would pay the $4,000. for the test if Tri-Care would not. She did say that the lab would submit the claim 5 different times. If however, we would not agree at the time of the call to pay if Tri-Care wouldn’t, then the lab would not release the results to the physician. According to the caller, Tri-Care has a poor payment history…out of 1,000+ claims, only 80 were insurance paid. This makes me NUTS. At best it seems sort of an ethics issue. Luckily, we have the resources to pay. It made me nuts though. It made Len crazy mad at them for calling me.

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Hmmm, what else? I was fitted for a sleeve and gauntlet yesterday. It is to be worn during air travel and exercise as a prophylactic so not to get lymphedema or if you get it to manage it. Dr. R says I am unlikely to get it because I had only 4 nodes removed. But I don’t want it. Casey, the exceptionally nice PT gave me a full hour explanation of lymphedema. She said you can get it at any time…now, 5 months, 10 years. Once you get it, you have it. If you notice swelling and it is transient, you still have it and quick like a rabbit, call your oncologist. Casey also identified things I should avoid: water temperature above 102 F (this required a call to NM spa to request a lower temp), repetitive exercise (could this mean absolutely no housework?), cuts, scrapes, sunburn, insect bites, etc. OOOOOOOOk. I like Casey a lot. I left my iPad in the hospital…she called to let me know and met me in the parking lot to give it back. I especially like the tattoo version of the sleeve. I will be getting this–it will FWEAK Len out. I wonder if I wear the sleeve if I will have a flat stomach like the woman in the photo? Bet so!

Happy news: I managed a pretty decent braid-do today. I like it….maybe a little Pentecostal for what I normally have but it is what I have been wanting for 7 long years. I am waaaaaay too focused on hair. DSC07180.jpg

Packing for Santa Fe. I am into it–I like to pack. I am loading the car up as if we were going to be camping on the caprock. Little tiny coca colas, nutella, peanut butter, several bottles of prosecco, protein powder, almond milk, chocolate in several forms, Planter’s digestive snack mix, crackers, and canned spinach and baked beans. Oh also, mini mirangues. Seems like reasonable camp grub to me. Just in case, a couple of cans of sterno and a tiny little fold out cook top to cover one can of sterno…in case of car trouble. Also a couple of LED night lights and plenty of face cream and mascara.

Speaking of packing, Len is turning semi-weird. I suggested that he might want to use a suitcase on this trip. He got all bristly. He prefers to use plastic grocery bags.. I guess it is a form of recycling. Over the years we have had a few tiffs about this. AKA giant, fall down fights. This all started about 30 years ago when we foolishly left our luggage at my Mom’s house before we went on a road trip. Len convinced me we would be better off not taking the big suitcases so we used brown bags. I don’t think plastic bags had been invented then. So while we were gone Mom gave the luggage to the housekeeper! She gets very defensive about this. I don’t know what precipitated this give away. At any rate, Len became a hobo and has ever since resisted the use of luggage. He is petulant when we travel on public transport because he has to conform to baggage. He is very odd, I think.

Len and I MAY do some geocaching while in Santa Fe. I think it might be a good opportunity to see if this is something we might like to do together. They have something called the Sparrow Route…you can rent a GPS for $25.00 a day and get to know the downtown area and at the same time get the essence of what geocaching is. Len has once again agreed to try it. I am sure once the radiation and whatever kind of treatment I get is over, Len will call in all his markers for being a kindly prince. So far he is 99.5% magnificent.

I signed up for Conversational Spanish today. I have signed up for other conversational language classes in the past. I usually go two times….tell everyone I know that I am going then drop out. I did that with Italian…I learned ‘Scuzi!’ Susan L. used her Latin from high school to communicate beautifully while we were in Italy. It was my job to say, “Mi scuzi!”


I just found this photo of Brother Bill. I love this picture. It is the essence of Opie as he was called as a kid. He is a livin’, breathin’, practicin’ iconoclast. Seems to me this is a photo he would like sitting up on a stand by his cremation urn in a funeral home. Now that I think of it he might prefer an old rubber boot to house his remains.

Tomorrow up at dawn for Chris who does on-site car washes, then to the library, then to the pharmacy, then to make pages of notes for the house sitter. Bussssssss bussssy as Becky P. used to say about me some 45 years ago.

I Just Made Reservations for Two Spa Treatments at 10,000 Waves in Santa Fe

Posted in Uncategorized on August 22, 2011 by drycreekherbs

Len and I are going to go to Santa Fe to escape the heat and kill some time before my Coyote Cancer Treatments start. Len is realllllly being a prince about this trip. He volunteered to take me but I said I didn’t really know if it was a good plan. Len’s idea of taking me on a road trip is just that, it is a road trip. Len wants me up and in the car ready to roll by 7:00 am. From 7:00 until 2:00 pm he drives me like the wind up –hill and dale– with brief pits stops and a quick bite to eat. Home by 2:00 for him to wind down and prepare for his happy hour. Not so much fun travel in my opinion. He has promised not to be a maniac. In fact, he has promised to take his bike AND his golf clubs–I like this. I will have private, down-time to take the car to shop, browse, meditate, read, etc. I am really looking forward to visiting my favorite consignment shop in Santa Fe…Double Take. It has the coolest stuff.

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I am also planning a spa visit to 10,000 Waves. AND, Len wants to go with me. This is Big. Very, very big. This is another indicator that Len is being a prince. I just made our reservation for the following: a 90 minute, private New Ofura Bath, a yasuragi head and neck massage, private therapeutic massage, salt glow rub, and finally the amazing ashi anfa foot massage. OMG. I can’t wait. Foot massage is pure and complete heaven. I will be moaning and drooling. So anyway, this is hugely BIG that Len said he wanted to go too. I was so proud and wrote to tell my travel chum, Belinda. She wrote the following back to me which is so 100% accurate. She said I could include it. She is sooooooooo funny. I will summarize the experience once I actually get him home.   

“If Len is like J …let me tell you how the spa thing would work for us. J would be all about being agreeable. He would intend to supportive and agreeable, but right after they asked us to sip tea in the “quiet area” while we wait in our terry robes for our person to come and get us, I would be able to tell he wasn’t into the experience. No one else could tell, but I would know. I could read the signs. Then I would get anxious because he wasn’t having a good time. He would tolerate it. I would be uptight and then after it was all over he would be complimenting himself on how wonderfully supportive he was through the process and I would be wishing he had spent the day on the golf course or anywhere but with me.

I hope it is different for you guys, but J at a spa just doesn’t jive.”

First Ever Oncology Appointment

Posted in Uncategorized on August 18, 2011 by drycreekherbs

I like my Oncologist but I am still in limbo. When will this waiting end? Dr. Ruud recommended another test called Oncotype DX.

This test uses breast tissue taken during my surgery and in approximately 3 weeks I will see Dr Ruud again so we can further review the findings of this test (done in some other state, I think) along with my other indicators (no lymph node involvement, early detection, small mass, and overall good health). The Oncotype DX test will provide a Recurrence Score on a graph….if in the negative zone (my word) then it indicates radiation only; if ‘indistinct’ or ‘distinct’ then chemo is the way I will chose to go.

Ok, with that being said, IF chemo is indicated, then I will have it right away, one afternoon every 21 days in an IV format-4 cycles (12 weeks). IF chemo, it will be ‘cocktail’ of Taxotere and Cytoxan. IF I need this chemo, I will lose my hair for sure. They have super anti nausea drugs that almost certainly eliminate actual vomiting but you might still feel queasy. You could have bone aches….on and on but every one reacts differently….and I have 3 weeks before I know if any chemo is required. I think it is better to be pragmatic and assume I am then be pleasantly surprised if I don’t have to have it. One way or the other, if chemo is indicated, then it happens first. Only after chemo does the radiation begin. I will absolutely have radiation….and it will last 6 weeks.

IF chemo —I guess it could start Sept 12 lasting until end of November. Then adding on 6 weeks of radiation….I should be finished with both by January 2012…
IF no chemo, then radiation would probably start around September 12 and be over by the end of October.

I Had This Dream the Night Before My First Oncology Appointment—Pretty Straight Forward

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17, 2011 by drycreekherbs

I love to dream and I dream in chunks. A lot of dreams then none for months. I used to go to bed hoping for dreams—think I will start to do that again.

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The dream: I was driving to St. Louis. I don’t know how it was that I knew that but it was St. Louis. I’m driving the car by myself and I can see miles and miles away the bridge from hell. I have seen this bridge before somewhere in East Texas. It was a 4 lane bridge with no median and covered in packed snow so you didn’t know if it was icy or not. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. So up, up, and up I went knowing I was terrified. At the top it went straight down like a ride at Six Flags. I went down so fast and I couldn’t stop anything. Hmmmmm. OK, so then I am in St. Louis with a zillion tourists. We are all walking along a narrow board walk over some more water. People fall in and some get out and keep walking. Others don’t get out but I don’t know what happened to them. I never fall in. I do find myself in several dead end kind of locations….walking mostly over scary terrain then having to turn back because there is no way out. I do get out but I have to squeeze through several tight places….one I think was a mattress like tunnel.

Pretty clear dream to me. And although the dream was sort of third-hand scary, it wasn’t a night mare and I made it. That’s the point. Len listened to the dream with a fair amount of interest. He did ask unnecessary questions….When I first started telling him I said, “I was going to St Louis.” He right away said, “How did you get there?” I hate it when he acts like a psycho-therapist! The salient points: I drove, I was scared, I made it. Points taken.

I Hope I Get Some Answers Tomorrow

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2011 by drycreekherbs


Tomorrow I meet with Dr. R for my first oncology appointment. Len, Susan, and I hope my nurse navigator will attend the presentation. Just this morning the doctor’s office called and requested I come early so I can get another chest X-ray and some non-fasting lab work first. Then after the oncology appointment, I meet with a social worker. That should be interesting. Maybe. Len is being wonderful but I occasionally see a crack in the veneer. This has to be a pain in the butt for him.

I am not thinking well. Today at work I just was on delayed response. Anxiety does make you stupid, I know. I did stop by Killeen ISD Human Relations department to give Evita some pumpkin seeds….it was eerie, weird to be there after so long. I am glad not to be working any more. ANXIETY.jpg

I had a grrrrrreat lunch visit with Jackie. I love her.


Posted in Uncategorized on August 13, 2011 by drycreekherbs

Hair, flow it, show it…Long as God can grow…My hair, flow it, show it….Long as God can grow…My hair, flow it, show it….Long as God can grow….My hair! Well, I may be singin’ that tune for


a week or so. Tuesday I learn if I have to have chemo and all of a sudden I am remembering a smarty pants thing I said in the past to some one I know with alopecia…and another time when I mistakenly died it Ronald McDonald Red…”It’s just hair.” Hmmmm. God does have a way of showing me who is boss and how little I just think I know. It may be all about hair for me soon. Edward told me if I have to have chemo I can come in, and after hours, he will shave it off. It will require liquor and I think I will cry. I want to cry now. It may be just hair, but it is my hair.


I Love Maine. I Love Maine. I Love Maine.

Posted in Uncategorized on August 12, 2011 by drycreekherbs

So I’m ripped. I couldn’t go to San Miguel for the Chamber Music Festival as a volunteer. I didn’t get to sit at the Jardin in a gauzy dress and pass out brochures or buy bouquets for the musicians… and that reeeeeeeally put me on edge. I’m told not to let cancer rule my life but it kinda does for awhile. Well, I am inclined to be brittle about all this….so I have missed going to Mexico, Boston, DC, and probably Hawaii and Vermont. BUT, I did get a quick trip to divine Maine.


Belinda and I rented a cabin in Sedgwick…it is a blink of a village on the Benjamin River…rented it from David C., who is a distant cousin of Sarge’s. David had Steph, Sarge, Mary Rae, Don, and me for dinner at his Country Living-likecabin about 3 years ago…so I knew about it. Steph and Sarge helped by getting me David’s number. Fortunately the cabin was available so we rented it for 5 nights…I am tickled thinking of the trip–Austin to DFW; DFW to Boston; Boston to Bar Harbor on a teeeeny tiiiny plane. I love airplane drugs. The tricky part was that we never had more than 40 minutes to connect to the next flight and some required leaving the terminal. Jose told me I could go if I would wear a sling on my right side so I wouldn’t forget and pick up a suitcase. It also helped get us through lines. Yeah, I am going to get something out of this cancer…even if it is moving to the front of the line.


We rented a car and drove about an hour to Sedgwick…found

our spot at 20 Cabin Cove….very cute and very rustic at the same time. It had a double bed in the living room area and a tiny little separate bedroom, nice sized kitchen, living room with big fire place, a good bathroom, a deck, and a screened in porch. Very pretty view. It was soooooooooooo cool….in all ways. Cool to be there and cool in weather. The high was 81 but mostly it was in the mid 70s and one day no more than 68. It actually rained. We came back early that day and had a big ol’ blazing fire. It was simply heaven to sleep with the windows open and listen to the rain…No, I did not miss being here for the 42nd day of triple digit heat.

Belinda had never been to Maine before so Sarge and Steph’s list of must-dos came in handy. We went to Camden for our big outing the first day….about 1.5 hours away…great day of shopping and sight seeing….I bought a Fruits of the Forest pie like Steph and I bought a few years ago for a dinner party. As good as I remembered but not as many blueberries. The next few days were super….Castine, Stonington, Deer Isle, Blue Hill, Ellsworth, and Seal Harbor. We ate blueberries every chance–even went to the Blue Hill Congregational Church’s Blueberry Festival for a pancake breakfast with all the locals. When we weren’t eating blueberries we were eating lobster or clams or chowder. The hydrangeas and Queen Anne’s Lace were giant, the blueberry barrens were loaded with self pickers, and the shopping was good. I did my part to help their economy. I even bought a painting!

Belinda is a great traveling companion. Len would have thrashed around if he’d have been coerced into that much shopping. We went to visit Jay and Alicia S in Seal Harbor the last day….Jay was Belinda’s chair at UT. They were amazingly gracious–I feel like I have known them a long time. Alicia told me about a group in the Austin area called Walk Through Cancer…support correlated to exercise. I am very interested but so far I cannot find a contact number.

The last night David invited us to dinner. John, his partner, had gone back to Falmouth so it was just the 3 of us. It was a delicious dinner and fun to get to know him better. He loved getting to know Belinda. I think he would like for us to come back. The pictures don’t do the trip justice. It was just what I needed. Exactly. I love Maine. IMG_1713.JPG IMG_1719.JPGNow I can face the music.DSC07165.JPG IMG_1579.JPGIMG_1727.JPG

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