Sunday, August 31, 2014

Just a Thought: Traffic

Yep.  That pretty much sums it up.  Just two more days...

More later.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Somehow, I Made it!

It all went smoother than I could have hoped. After e-mailing the family about my needs concerning this baseball game, I felt more comfortable. They covered all the bases. Sorry for the sports metaphor.  

Got the shot this morning and returned home. Family picked me up at 9:30 - our young athlete was already at the field - and the family was considerate enough to find a seating area where the morning sun would be blocked out by the surrounding trees.

When Zack saw me he broke into a smile that could encompass the Universe.  I had no idea that it was so important that I be present.  I am so glad I made the effort and was there for him.

Great. I still don’t know what I watched, but mimicked what the other family members did and nodded when tossed a verbal aside now and then, to fill me in on what I still don’t understand.

Both teams played well, as I understand it, and Zack’s team won the day. And in a scary moment when he was finally off the field and ready to leave, he threw his arms around me and said, “We won ‘cause you could be here with us.  You’re going to get better now.” 

 I. Almost. Lost. It.

After some back and forth it was decided that I needed my rest and couldn’t join in the post-game fun, so I was dropped off at the apartment.  Before I knew it Zack was out of the van and giving me a big bear hug and thanking me under his breath for not failing him; that we’d celebrate future triumphs together and we’d see one another soon.

I don’t know what he sees in me but whatever is good for him matters to me. And that’s that. His parents are the best and are well aware of the situation. Zack’s girlfriend also approves.

Still have a slight fever and feeling congested, so I am going to bed now.

And so it goes.

Just a Thought: Tan

Truth is just truth. Sad to say.
And so it goes.

Caturday Tripping

Don't I wish!!!


Friday, August 29, 2014

Fabulous FaceTime and Faulty Memory

In a fit of anxiety (very close to the surface these days) because my comments
weren’t being posted to his site, but getting lost in the ether, I tried to FaceTime with Sassy Bear. He wasn’t home, so  I left a message and within 5 or 10 minutes my iPad was ringing.  I answered to see his smiling, and rather surprised face staring back at me.

We had a delightful, almost giddy conversation and he told me he’d located the problem with my comments and all was well again. I love FaceTime and always feel much better for actuality seeing the face and hearing the voice of a friend, rather than just the printed word.  I don’t know why we don’t use it more often.

Our conversation made my day. It also made me want to face-chat with others, too.  Anyone who wants to chat should know that in my isolated environment,  I’m open to all comers. Conversations R’ Us! 

RED Alert: I am a supreme mess! In case this hasn’t come through loud and clear already. 

I’m on the docket for 3 more neupogen shots this weekend, and had totally forgotten that I promised the teen age son of a customer that I would attend his baseball game this weekend…tomorrow, in fact. An email reminder from his mom pulled me up short.  Shit!

I get the shot at 8:30 and game time is at 10 a.m., so I think I’m safe there.  But, but, but…driving is a bit iffy after these shots and I don’t know where the ball field is located. I mean, not having kids why would I commit such things to memory?

The family’s summer place is here in town so maybe if I fill them in on the situation they could pick me up on their way out of town, too. If things go as they have in past years,  they will end up at Dos Locos to celebrate the win, or nurse their wounds at the loss. Either way, they could drop me off before they go on their way to celebrate.  

The other potential problem is that they may want me to join in their celebration at DL, and I am not sure how up-to-it I will be at that time.  I have my hat & sun block, but I’ll need to find some shade to protect my skin from possible infection.  Yes.  It's that bad.  God!  I hate being sick!

In any event, I can’t disappoint this kid.  I’ve watched him grow up. He’s a good kid, bright and boasts a very sick sensahumah - like me!  So, what’s not to love.  I’ll make it to that game come Hell or high water. Then I’ll come home and collapse. 

BTW: I don’t know anything about America’s Pass Time.  Not a thing. Should be an interesting day.

And so it goes.



Nine Years Ago.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Of Kilt Pins, Festive Burgers, & Donated Clothing

I’ve been searching for a new kilt pin, since mine was taken by my Ex during the settlement years ago and only recently noticed. (Read previous posts to catch up.)  Anyway, I had no luck hunting one down locally, so I took to the Net to see what I could find. 

Don't strain. It is from
I was on Chemo at the time, so the brain fog was ever present.  I had no trouble finding kilt pins, but most depicted swords, lions, and various reminders of wars, violent times in the Scottish/Irish past. I’m a non-violent person so swords were not going to do it for me.

I found few that were unique, including a round one that was stunning, but way too expensive for what I wanted to pay for a pin. There was this pewter one (pictured above) of a graceful, elongated Celtic design that caught my eye, so I bookmarked the page for later reference, otherwise in brain fog state, I’d never find it again. It’s a beautiful piece, really.

Fast-forward to the past week. I arrived home from treatment to find a package in the mailbox. It turned out to be this very pin, so I thought I had gone ahead and ordered it - just didn’t remember - and left it at that until 2 days later when I hunted for the invoice/packing slip to find out what credit card it was charged to. I discovered that it was a gift. I hadn’t purchased it after all.

This took a while to filter through the windswept void that is my brain anymore. It was a gift from a blog buddy and regular commenter, Calvin, who has given me permission to thank him publicly. Fortunately for me, his personal info was included on the invoice, so I sent an email thanking him properly.  What a happy surprise and coincidence that he liked the same pin. It will be worn proudly and the story behind it will be told many times over again. 

Thanks again, Calvin. The sun shines a little brighter thanks to your generosity and kindness.

Thank you to all who hoped that burger the other night would measure up to my expectations. It did. It was well worth waiting for.  Since I can’t have fresh veggies, I missed the lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, but it was almost perfect without them, anyway. As I said, "almost".

I usually buy 85%-15% lean beef (you need that little bit of fat) then add seasonings. Fresh minced parsley (Italian flat is better than curled), crushed garlic, onion powder, salt, black & white peppers, and Lea & Perrins. Knead it all by hand until everything is evenly distributed and mixed well, cover, refrigerate, and let it marinate at least a couple of hours. Form into patties, wrap tightly in plastic wrap then waxed paper and freeze.  All of course, except for the one to be consumed that evening. Heaven!

Summer heat and humidity have returned, so I’ve spent today getting another batch of clothing ready for the Thrift Store. Items are piled high all over the living room sofa and chair. I won’t put them into bags until I’m ready to deliver so there will be no - or limited - need for ironing. I can actually see the closet floor in some places, and when the sweaters are gone I’ll have plenty of room. I'm thinking bowling alley or Cinerama Theatre.

Tomorrow begins the last hoo-rah, the last gasp of the summer of 2014, and, unfortunately, I have to be out and in it.  Prescriptions are a damned nuisance any time, but having to pick them up on a holiday weekend is evil. Pure evil! I’ll be out of here as early as possible, get the scrips as soon as the pharmacists arrive, and back home ASAP.  Have I ever mentioned how much I hate drugs?  I hate drugs.

My Kilt pin however, is beautiful. I am definitely going to wear it to the Stoney Lonen party on Monday evening. 

And so it goes.

Throwback Thursday: A Two-fer

Shot in the same hotel room 10 years apart. How strange is that?

1992: Washington, DC October weekend.  March on Washington for Equal Rights and the last display of the entire Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. It just got too big and fragile after so many years. Spent more time at the Quilt than in the march because that's where I was needed.

2002: Washington, DC October weekend. March on Washington against the War in Iraq. Dressed for the ordination of a friend which happened to be the same weekend. I offered the Prayers of the People during the ceremony.

Yep!  Same room, same hotel.  I never noticed it before now. What are the odds?

And so it goes.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mirliton: That’s Good Eatin’, Yeah!

On the vine.
They must be recovering nicely to find them this far north. This is a Mirliton - a backyard perennial and staple of the southern Louisiana diet for years. They grew wild in the woods behind my family home in NOLA and they are delicious eating. 

Mirliton (also known as Chayote) are a succulent squash-like vegetable with an avocado-like single pit, and can be served in many ways; from salads to stuffed, to main course casseroles or side dishes. They are extremely good when pickled.  It was thought that they were practically extinct in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita, but since they grow like weeds, they eventually got a grip somewhere and are coming back strong.

I can’t believe I found them at a local supermarket, unfortunately not the one I frequent most often. I just happened to be in this store because it’s the best place to find elephant garlic, which I needed for a dish. These were wrapped individually and pampered for their journey north. That’s as it should be

Stuffed with Shrimp & Crab.
Anyway, these mirliton are smaller than I remember them, so I bought 3 since I don’t remember if they handle freezing well.  I will certainly make good use of these babies. This is another one of those times that I get angry about the loss of my sense of taste. 

I have no family recipes to fall back on. Well, who’d have thought I’d find a mirliton this far north, in the first place.  Fortunately, there are tons of recipes online and some pretty close to what I remember my grandmother making when I was a kid.

Feels like I’m closer to heaven this evening.

And so it goes.


Just a Thought: Talk


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Confusion, Consolidation, Consolation

After some initial confusion about my appointment schedule - that took a half hour to correct - I finally saw the doctor. His attitude was upbeat and contagious. He immediately detected my anxiety and asked if I wanted a higher dosage of the anxiety med; he thought it would help. I agreed to give it a shot.

The white cells are very low which is why I have that big purple blotch on  my face.  It’s a bruise. I must have hit myself as I tossed and turned sometime overnight. It’s not KS after all. That’s a relief.

I was to begin the 4th and final cycle of Chemo next Tuesday, but he wants to put it off another week to see how my body recovers on its own. Especially with the holiday, I’d get only 4 treatments in before the next weekend then have 3 more days to follow up. He thought the interval was too long.  So instead of starting on 2 September, I will begin again on 8 September, if necessary. I hope it isn’t. But, it is what it is.

Also, since I’ve got one more Neupogen injection tomorrow, he scheduled a unit of whole blood to carry me through the holiday weekend. The whole blood along with the Neupogen shots should give my immune system the needed  boost to play catchup, if it is ever going to do that.

He mentioned a possible evaluation of my situation at Sloan Kettering on the upper east side of NYC. Seems they’re the only independent CC doing studies related to my particular cancer.  The research nurse learned of the study, is checking into the possibilities, and will let me know. 

There’s no easy way to get to NYC from here, so it would probably turn into a 3 day affair, unless I can find someone to take me to the Amtrak station in Wilmington and bring me back home. The doctor would prefer that someone was with me just in case, but that’s not going to happen. There just isn’t anyone.

Anyway, living in the present, with the Neupogen shots and the additional blood transfusion I should be good to go for the holiday weekend. No, I won’t be stupid enough to go out into large crowds, but I will be at the post-Labor Day party on Monday afternoon at Stoney Lonen. 

I promise to try and stay away from anybody hacking or coughing. No, I will not wear a mask. Linda will make sure my immune system is protected with shots of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, or whatever else Chester has up his mixologist sleeve.

I bought some naked ground beef and plan to spice and herb it up, form it into patties, have a hamburger for supper tonight, and freeze the rest. It’s been a while since I’ve had a real beef burger. I haven’t got much of an appetite and no sense of taste, but maybe my taste-memory will kick in and make the meal enjoyable. May it be so.

And so it goes.


Accidents & Anxious Monday

There were 3 multi-vehicle accidents between my place and the Center yesterday. The first before I even got out of town, at the infamous circle that drivers don’t know how to navigate. (Neighboring states have different rules applying to circles.) This only added to my anxiety because the next one on the highway looked really bad. Vehicle parts strewn across the roadway and a makeshift triage on the shoulder grassy area.

I was almost broadsided by a dumpster truck that decided to make a U-turn where there isn’t one. I hit the brakes, steered out of his way, and he shot ME the bird. I was near combustion at that point. 

My anxiety level was already elevated having noticed something had sprouted overnight. A rather large lesion, about the size of a quarter between the lip and chin on the right side of my face. It is dark purple, doesn’t hurt, itch, or anything. It’s quite flat.  Looks like someone socked me in the face.

It’s scary, reminding me a little like KS. After years as a buddy in the 80s, I saw a lot of those monsters devour faces, feet, and hands. Back then there wasn’t much in the way of treatments since up until the AIDS pandemic, it had been a rare cancer usually limited to the elderly. Well, I guess I qualify for that status nowadays. And with the Chemo treatments, a whole Pandora’s Box of possible infections has probably been unleashed in my body.

There are new treatments, including radiation, and even a topical protocol that can help. I read more about it before heading to the Center for the Labs. 
The nurses wouldn’t comment on it, so I didn’t push the issue.   I knew I’d be seeing the doctor later today, so I waited.

The bad news is my neutrophil count is in the gutter, so I must wear a mask everywhere in public while I spend the next 3 days receiving Neupogen injections in a effort to boost their struggling numbers. 

Stopped at the liquor store for wine which helped me get some sleep last night, but not much.  Tuesday arrived much too soon. As it is now, I’m wired, not the least bit tired. Just anxious, very, very anxious.

Off to the doctor’s appointment and Neupogen shot number 2. Gawd, but my life is just one thrill after another…

More later.

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