Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vacation or StayCation?

Everybody's talking about vacation. Should they go to the beach - what about the tar balls? Should they go to the mountains? Should they find a cheap cruise? Not many are wanting to stay home. But that's exactly what I decided to do for vacation this year.

I'm wearing my big ole sunbonnet, I've got my little cup full of ice and cherry koolaid and a straw. My embroidery is by my side, my laptop within reach, remote control for the TV, and a lovely assortment of pill bottles at my fingertips.

I shall close my eyes and, via my recliner, travel anywhere my mind wants to take me. If I have to rush to the bathroom, I'll just pretend I came in from a tour of the Mayan Ruins and drank the water by mistake. If I feel a little short of breath it's because I just climbed a trail at Clingman's Dome. The rash on my face - let's see, I had a reaction from eating too much lobster tail at the midnight buffet on the Alaskan cruise. Strawberry yogurt, which has become my daily breakfast, is now a strawberry mousse swirled with fresh berries in a crystal parfait glass served to me while staying at a bed and breakfast in Colorado Springs. The occasional cup of hot tea I enjoy comes from high tea at the Biltmore Estate and is stirred with rock sugar sticks. I just wish I could imagine something that would be a substitute for the smoked salmon bites in puff pastry with dill sauce that would accompany that hot tea.

The way I've got it calculated, by Thanksgiving my appetite should be back to normal. The chemo will be over, all the bad symptoms should have subsided and things should be looking like they looked last Thanksgiving. A shorter hairstyle, a few pounds lighter, and a new outlook on life with a bright future will be very welcome into my home, heart, and head.

This week I read an article by John Piper, who was just diagnosed with prostate cancer. He says I shouldn't waste my cancer. That sounded odd to me but you can read this at Rather than explain all this to you, I shall quote "My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
Bon Voyage!

Here we are walking on a glacier in Alaska in 2001. Gee, that was nine years ago. A trip we'll never forget.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Off With Her Hair!

Today is the first day I think I have something to say about it. It's been 5 days since it happened.  I kept putting it off and the time didn't seem right and I didn't feel like sitting up that long and it was too hot to sit outside and mixed signals with my hairdresser caused me to miss her and oh, I don't know, there are a lot more reasons. I think the thing that made me decide it was time was finding hair falling from my head into what little food I have been able to eat. That was too much. My stomach was too weak to handle that. Time to cut the hair off.

Libby and her sweet daughter in law, Mallory, were stopping in to see me Monday and I asked her if she'd buzz cut my head. She said she'd be glad to do that for me. Sis in law, Pat, came over and I sat in the kitchen with a towel draped around my shoulders and Lib started the clippers. Off it came, falling in little strips and there wasn't much of it. The picture Travis took was awful. Awful!! I looked at it and started crying. But only for a second.

I knew it was going to happen. I knew if I took matters into my own hand and cut my hair off before the chemo got it all, then psychologically I had more control over my body than the cancer and chemo. But you know what? That's just a ploy. The hair is gone. The cancer and the chemo caused it and it's gonna stay gone for a long time. "It's just hair. It'll grow back. You have a great looking head." Ok, whatever. You may be right. I've said it myself to gals going through this. But until you've been there and seen that hair you paid to have colored and highlighted hitting the floor - - you can't know how it feels. I've had that hair since I was two years old! Yeah, I was bald until then. Kinda makes me feel like I'm starting over but with a lot more baggage and body.

The picture I said was awful ended up being a good source of laughter. I texted the picture to Hunter and he showed it to the boys. Eleven year old Andrew got very quiet looking at it and nine year old Christian almost started crying. Then Hunter found four year old Jon Carter, who was bouncing on the bed just doing his four year old thing, and when he looked at it he stopped, stared, and asked, "Who is that old man?" (See, I told you it was an awful picture!!) Hunter said, "That's not an old man, that's Granna!" He said, "Oh," and went back to bouncing on the bed. Kinda put things back into perspective for me.

So now I've got my radar on for caps, hats, scarves, decorations for a bald head. Simplicity is the key for me. And inexpensive; ok cheap. Cheap means I can have more options. Maybe soon I'll post a picture of some of my head gear. But today, I think I'll keep this look to myself.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Lisa aka YaYa

Being eight and a half years older than your baby sister tends to lead to babysitting. After Lisa got a little older, that is. She spent a lot of time in a playpen in the yard under a tree. We thought she was so cute and she was. When she was about 10 months old she got sick, very sick. She ended up in a hospital in a distant town suffering from dehydration. The hospital rules in 1962 said no one could stay with her through the night, so Dad and Mom had to come home without "our" baby.  After a three day stay, she was as good as new. Maybe even better. When she got the mumps, I was the one that got to stay home from church with her.

Oh I forgot to tell you, Lisa was born on Dad's birthday, too. She was the darling of the nursery at church. The pianist at church was getting married and asked Lisa, and the pastor's daughter, Leeann, to be her flower girls. Lisa's hair was about shoulder length but Leeanne's was much longer. Somehow, they got left unattended in the Sunday School room just long enough for Leeanne to give Lisa a very nice haircut. Lisa was just about to return the favor when someone walked in and stopped her. The wedding pictures still turned out very nice, after an emergency trip to the beauty shop.

Before she graduated from high school, she baby sat my two sons for a few months. One of the boys would get into her chap stick and bite the end out of it. She loved when that happened. That same son couldn't say her name and it came out as Ya Ya. We still call her that sometimes. Lisa graduated from high school and went to nursing school. She became an LPN and after few years became a Certified Cardiovascular Technologist. When she began working in the heart cath lab she would spend nights at our house when she was on call. The very first night, I had to wake her to go to an emergency. When she got her own apartment, she'd still come spend the nights with us during bad weather. She is a very dedicated, compassionate, caring person. With everyone, always, not just with her nursing.
She married and had my only niece. She is no longer nursing but is now the owner of a clothing store and I get to go with her to market to pick out the clothes she sells! We talk every day, if not on the phone, via email in which our sister Libby is included. It's like an all day conversation. She still is our source of medical information.

Lisa is my biggest prayer warrior. She's has never been in a car wreck with me, thank goodness. We drive a lot alike. She's my bestest shopping buddy, likes sushi, gourmet coffee, dogs, listens to me cry, and makes me laugh so hard sometimes I can't breath. She can cook, sing, and puts together a mean scrapbook.

Some folks are fortunate to have a sister. I'm more than blessed to have two! And I get to be the oldest and the bossiest. Libby and Lisa won't let me forget that, either. Doesn't mean I always get my way, but it's my job as the oldest to try!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sun Pants

What did the big elephant say to the little elephant?
Sun Pants!

That requires an explanation. Years ago, I was probably ten years old or less, our family was sitting around the supper table telling jokes. Dad, Mom, me, Libby, Uncle Ray Crouse - Dad's younger brother -, probably Lisa as a little bitty baby. Daddy and Ray would bring home jokes from the construction job and we'd laugh and laugh. Libby decided she knew a joke and she was going to tell it. She was about seven or eight. So she posed the above riddle question and evidently realized she had no answer so she made one up. It made no sense which made it all the more funny. We all rolled and she was pleased as punch that she'd told a joke.

This is the same sister that would tear up my paper dolls so I played with them in the huge claw footed bathtub without any water, of course, because she couldn't reach them. This is the same sister that shared a bed with me till Lisa was big enough to leave a crib and let me as a young teen have my own room. Then Lisa bunked with her. The same sister that tagged along with me, trying to be a teenager and who at the same time liked hanging out with the younger Lisa still playing dolls and coloring. The same sister that was with me in the car when I had my first wreck and neither of us was hurt. The same sister that at one time was all elbows, knees, feet and teeth who blossomed out one summer to become a tall, slim, curvy beauty with a beautiful smile and hair past her shoulders, straight and pretty in that late 60's and early 70's style of no curls and no frizz. Old enough to not let Mom cut her bangs anymore! The same sister that was an attendant at my wedding and mad at my new husband for taking her sister away. The same sister that asked me to be her Maid of Honor at her wedding and who loved my two boys as much as I loved her one. She's still my confidant, secret keeper, and biggest cheerleader. The same sister that took off work yesterday to spend the day with me in a cold, boring, chemo lab, watching a movie on a portable DVD player that we could hardly see, listening through ear buds, and brought me a BLT for lunch from the cafeteria.

This is Libby, the sister that I love and cherish. I can not imagine my life without her in it and a being a big part of it. How do women survive without sisters? I couldn't survive without mine. Next, you will hear about my baby sister, Lisa. I'll have to recover from this post first. :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

My Angels

Well, it's been a while. It's hard to think about writing when all you can do is sit in the recliner and try not to stay bent over the toilet. That's pretty graphic but that's the way it's been. I'm about halfway recovering from the first big round and it's time to go back again Thursday.

While I'm talking about that, let me talk about the nurses in the chemo lab. Angels. Every one of them. They are so smart! They can answer any question, they know just what to do in any situation, they are interested in how I feel, what I feel, and why I feel. They interact with each other in such a manner, I get the feeling they can't wait to come to work every day. They tease each other, they encourage each other, they "sweetheart", "honey", "darling" each other. Anything to make me comfortable, in what they do for me and what they do for each other.

My clinical research nurse is a very special lady, too. She answers my emails within just a few minutes, she asks me questions to find out what I'm feeling, she passes my information along to the oncologist and his assistants and gives me prompt directions. It seems as if her goal is to keep me as comfortable as possible during this time. And she's doing a great job. I feel very cared for, very loved, and in very good hands.

And after saying all that, I'm not going to complain about the way I feel. At least not anymore tonight. Psalm 91:11: "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;" Farfetched? Maybe not.