Archive for January, 2012

Adding Insult to Injury

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2012 by drycreekherbs

It isn’t even Friday 13th. Today I realized that my eyelashes really are falling out. I thought I noticed thinning but convinced myself that I was spending way too much time in front of my magnifying mirror. Well, in fact, I really am losing them. The left eye has just 3 very fine clumps…maybe 7 eyelashes total. NO! My oncologist said I would lose them but I thought since I still had them at the end of chemo I was home free. The internet articles I just read said you lose them about two weeks after the end of the chemo. That’s where I am right now. So, I wonder how much of a ‘chin up and slay the dragon attitude’ I will keep now? Eyebrows next?

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Blanket and Juice Girl

Posted in Uncategorized on January 18, 2012 by drycreekherbs

I have been accepted into the fold — I am a genuine, lanyard wearing, uniformed S & W volunteer. I got the assignment I wanted…I am the blanket and juice girl in the chemo treatment center where I have spent the last 12 weeks. I went on Monday for the first time…I was there without any training except that which the nurses willingly and cheerfully provided. I told Susan and Len that although I liked it, I had a lot of down time. The nurses assured me that it was because it was MLK day and a Monday and to just wait. Basically, I just familiarized myself with the layout and where things were. I got the blankets out of the storeroom and put them in the warmer, made coffee, and cleaned the chairs, and served up what ever beverage, if any, that the patient wanted. AND, of course, brought the blankets. So, I thought I had it pretty well down pat. Well, then on Tuesday, the afternoon volunteer let me shadow her…Pat is a terrific trainer and clearly, I only thought I knew what needed to be done. The good news is that I had Monday to get familiar with the set up because I could not have internalized it all in one day.

What I didn’t realize is how much more cleaning is necessary. I wear gloves whenever cleaning, and always after removing the gloves and coming in and out of a pod, I use hand sanitizer. Pat explained how much more needed to be cleaned….it is a lot! The patient’s chair, visitor’s chair, pillow, linen changed, the IV stand, TV remote, electrical cords, etc. I never once sat down and believe me I was sore when I got home. The difference in patient traffic was significant. All chairs were full all the time, so as soon as one left, we scurried in to clean so the nurses could chart. I mean it, I was whipped when I got home. I hope I didn’t bite off more than I can chew…I plan to do three days a week while I am doing radiation–I am already there and it could work really well, time-wise.

Ooops, I forgot! I wear a beeper so when anyone goes into the cancer center’s shop, which is out in the lobby, the receptionists beep me to complete the transaction and/or show the customer anything in the display cabinet. Now anything at all involving making change makes me a wreck and credit card processing too. BUT there was this very nice customer who was in the center the day before who wanted to buy some cards….it was my solo flight. I did the entire transaction without fainting or over-charging her. But I know this about myself, if I feel rushed, all my insecurities multiply and my capabilities disappear. I am a firm believer that anxiety makes you stupid.

The time spent in the chemo center is VERY, very rewarding, even if it is exhausting. I learned so much during these two days. I am lousy at prayer. Lousy. But my core was so touched to see people who really were challenged. I find it easy to focus on their needs with positive intention aka pray. I had it so easy. As I go from station to station to offer blankets, juice, and whatever, I get a clear sense from the patient if they want me to help or to they prefer total privacy. I can do both and I am committed not to be a nuisance. I did get to do a couple of scarf lessons and cheered on one bell ringer.

Going to bed. I wanted to go back and correct typos from previous entry–I may just do that later when I print up journal into a book. It is way to easy to make errors when I am in ‘flow’ or tired. Oh well, I am not moved to do it now.

I Found This Pinned on the Bulletin Board in the Radiation Dressing Room

Posted in Uncategorized on January 17, 2012 by drycreekherbs

Attitude

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she only had three hairs on her head.”Well,” she said, “I think I”ll braid my hair today.” So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror, and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.”Hmm,” she said, “I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.” So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.”Well,” she said, “Today I’m going to wear my hair in a only tail.” So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

“The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn’t a single hair on her head. “Yeah!” she exclaimed, “I don’t have to fix my hair today!”

Attitude is everything. Have a good day! Be kinder than necessary, for everyone your meet is fighting some kind of battle.

This is a self-portrait I took for the Salado Village Artists’ Art Show. I used a remote trigger and took probably one hundred photos. This was the only one that was really a mistake–very overexposed. But I liked it and decided to make the best of it. My motto at work was, “It is not a mistake if you can fix it.” I used Photoshop to add a little more drama. AND, in the lower right hand corner it says, “Attitude.”selfportraitattitude.jpg Sometimes it is easier to have a good attitude than others! I have been lucky in that I have felt good and sassy.

On the Move–Feelin’ Feisty!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 17, 2012 by drycreekherbs

Grrrrr, this is the third time I have typed this entry…I don’t know why when I create something in Word, copy it, paste it into Ecto, the font goes nuts. It makes the print enormous. Soooo, I am trying again….

Well, this has been a great week for bein’ on the move. I am back to cramming lots of activities into a day. So far the radiation treatment has been, oh so, much easier than the chemo. I get there about 7:50 and I am almost always out of there by 8:10 am.

I have had lunch with Killeen chums, attended a Friends of the Library meeting, as well s a noon book review, played Ma Jongg, oh, and happily won twice, worked on my ‘Attitude’ self-portrait photo, had my hearing tested, went to Karin’s for book club, ran amok with Babs in Waco, and had an uncommon dental experience. Some of these activities demand elaboration. It will be fun to read this in a couple of years or even longer to see hoew things are the same or different. That’s a great test question….’compare and contrast.’

Ok, first the dental appointment. My dentist is bout the cutest thing ever, and his wife, Netsy, is my former hair stylist. Dacien is highly motivated and has always dentalspa.jpg had a spiffy office. Hiss most recent office remodeling has easily tripled the patient treatment stations, and the lobby is conncreek.jpeg sooo snazzy, complete with cherry woodwork, granite canteen area, and a rest room out of Traditional Home. Hmmmm, I think I have written this before. Anyway, I had my crown regaled…I told Dacien I did not want to be bald and toothless. During the procedure, Dr. D told me about his most recent trip to Napa and subsequent wine purchases. At the conclusion of my procedure, he asked me if I wanted a glass of wine. Well, it was the end of their day, 4:00 pm, and I thought, why not. So, he and Netsy took me into the lounge…behind closed doors, this room is luxurious with this huge console with a built in wine chiller…and I might add, loaded with wine. I sat in a recliner, had a very entertaining conversation, and enjoyed a delicious glass of Conn Creek’s Cabernet Sauvignon. It was very, very tasty. As I was leaving, giving hugs to all, Dacien gave me a bottle to take home! Dang, I remember when dental appointments were hideous. Dacien’s vision is to create a dental spa. He wants to hire a masseuse for patients having long procedures. A chum told me this is common in big cities. I feel like such a country bumpkin. Who knew?

I went with Barbara to Waco on Wednesday so she could get her car serviced — and we had lunch, of course. Now Babs and I always find something to laugh about but on our ride back to Salado we started talking about shopping and collecting certain things. I mentioned that I am now in a purging state and that I am no longer a hoarder. At this point, she turned and looked at me askance. Cool word, I hope I am using it correctly. Anyway, we started naming things I collect/hoard. A partial list: crosses, kaleidoscopes, wood carved saints, holy cards, glassware, musical instruments, doll house accoutrements, hats, hat pins, shawls, scarves, vases, eye glasses, jewelry, etc. At this point we were really laughing. Barbara suggested we name the things I don’t collect. We noted that I don’t buy tires, sports equipment, swimsuits, stilettos, or tools. At this point we were hysterical. I looove belly laughs.  lens1566942_big_smile.jpg

And speaking of laughter, this is what I have just learned–laughter keeps you alert by triggering adrenalin and dopamine for pleasure, increases retention, stimulates creativity, and get this–Dr Fry, from Stanford proved that laughing 100 times is equivalent to 10 minutes on a rowing machine. Yeah, hello…what is the surprise there? I read all of this on line. I think this has implications for our trainers at MCEC. The trick is knowing what is appropriate humor and not over doing it. Too much of anything can become an emotional distraction.

What else big happened this past week? Yes, that would be a hearing test. Surprisingly, there are no significant changes since the last go around a couple of years ago. The audiologist did suggest I sit with my back to the crowd in restaurants…that is something Mother taught me. I am destined for deafness but it doesn’t seem that a hearing aide is something I need yet.

I have a hankerin’ for a cucumber sandwich then off to bed My bones are aching something fierce which is a side effect of the Taxol chemo. Also I need to apply lotion to radiated parts….more on that later.

Animal Prints: Is There a Correlation to Personality Type?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 14, 2012 by drycreekherbs

ANIMAL PRINTS main.jpgI may have some friends who do not own a single animal print piece of clothing. I am not sure what the attraction is to tiger, zebra, peafowl, leopard, cow, or snake? It must mean something. Like wearers feel the urge to be more instinctive, maybe primitive, maybe wild? Does wearing cow print mean you are bovine attributes? I just read about personality traits of cows and I learned a lot. There is a very cool Tibetan Personality Test that has interesting implications. Why don’t men wear animal prints? That is odd. And what would I think if I saw a man in a leopard print shirt? I am going to think about this a lot.

Hmm, I may be the big winner of most clothing items with animal designs. There are three purses, one skirt, seven blouses/tops, four sweaters, three belts, two pair of earrings, nine scarves, one bra, six undies, three pair of flip-flops, one western hat, and one pair of cowboy boots. I love them. I am going to take that Tibetan Personality Test.

Busssssssy. Sausage Making 1310!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 8, 2012 by drycreekherbs

IMG_1992.JPGKatie texted me Friday night that the family sausage making event would occur Saturday morning. I have been begging for an invitation for a long, long time. Happily, I didn’t have anything really planned but a movie so I wrapped up and headed to Temple. It was fabulous. Mike, Katie, Collins, Erik, Bill, Patsy, Melissa, Gail’s family, and Susan’s family, and Pam’s father. I didn’t do as much as I intend to do in the future. I was Erik’s sausage patty assistant and did get to guide some of the sausage as it came out of the grinder. The ‘kids’ bought this new, snazzy grinder for Bill Christmas. I especially like the photo of Bill adding the spices using not so scientific measuring…East Bell county method…use the same empty containers every year to measure spices. One hundred fifty two pounds of pork for three varieties of sausage–spicy, jalapeño, and jalapeño with cheese. It was good (We had several taste tests.) and I think I have wormed my way into the annual event. I didn’t get a photo of the smoke house because my phone went dead. t think the scarf makes me look like a “…gypsy with a gold capped tooth” from the song Love Potion Number Nine. I could give Johnny Depp scarf tips should he make another pirate movie.

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IMG_2025.JPGAfter the sausage making I went to see Marilyn in Georgetown. It was ok, I guess. I can’t decide who the star of the movie was…the Marilyn or the young man. Now I that I have seen the coming attractions, I have a few more movies to add to my list.

Babs and I went to Rogers, Texas, one day this week to a verrrry cool home accents shop. Who would figure in Rogers of all places. Tomorrow after the blast, Len and I will trap Mickey so he can take her to get her vaccinations. I will meet Babs in Cedar Park for a few more new shops to visit. No buying, I have promised myself.

The Expression “You Are Toast.” I Hope Not!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2012 by drycreekherbs

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This radiation thing is just a little bit creepy to me. I liked it when I used to be healthy. So here is the scoop after 4 days of radiation. It is kinda creepy. I get on this very narrow table that has a mold of my upper body. When I get there they tell me to get like dead weight and then they scoot me around to where I am just so…this is important because you have to stay in this position for about 10 minutes without moving or they will blast the wrong part of my body. I like the tips they give me…the first time I went my left arm kind of dangled off the table but up against the hard edge which did not feel at all good. So one of the nice techs told me to put my left hand in my jean’s pocket. OMG, it was wonderfully comfortable. So now I have to wear jeans every day. I have been instructed to put one of 4 different products all over the radiated area 3 times a day. This meant I needed to buy all 4 products in different sizes and quantities. I do not want to be toast or look like cabrito displayed in the windows of border restaurants. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

I have 6 freckle tattoos now. They are used to guide the techs so they can zoom in on the right part of my bosoooom. They (tattoos) really are tiny. Hmmm, what else. It takes about 10 minutes and I have hit the jackpot for appointment times–8:10. I can even get there early and they will take me as long as there is a doctor in the house. This is very good as it can almost give me a 3-day weekend and definitely provides time for day trips, lunch with the buddies, Mah Jongg, and possibly time to work as a volunteer! That’s what I am really hoping can happen. I have an appointment Tuesday with the S&W Director for Volunteers….I want to work in the chemo treatment center and be a Blanket and Juice Girl. I could do it several times a week–I THINK this is what I want and who knows what they will want so I will just wait and hope it works out for all.

I looked for a photo related to radiation on the internet. Yikes, they were not what I needed to see. Perhaps I can get a happy snap of the equipment this week. Oh, I see a radiologist every Thursday. They check to see if there is any scorching (my term), etc. My real radiologist is in the G&R and will be serving (I like this.) in Guam for the next three weeks. So this past week I met with one of his associates, a very nice Indian doctor who really took her time talking to me about skin care, 100% cotton sports bras, products, bathing, and diet. I have only 26 more treatments. This too shall pass. Time for bed. 484873437_31e308348e.jpg

Ok, this sign has nothing to do with anything except it is so funny and so British. I took this photo in Oxford, UK. It makes me grin just thinking about it and is lots better than photos of radiation victims!