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Sorry for the delay in getting a “health update” out there. I’ve been so darned busy with all the normal daily activities of life (and so very grateful to be able to say that!) that the blog took a backseat for a bit!

I saw my surgeon, Dr. Brown, for a follow-up visit (can you believe it’s been 3 months since my colon surgery?) and he said I was doing great. There’s still a little “tightness” where the incisions are, but that’s normal and will soften over time. I also still have a tiny bit of “seepage” but it’s fairly minor and should also go away with time.

The only disappointing bit of news is that he wants me to see a urologist now. It seems when they remove the rectum, it leaves the pelvic floor unsupported for a while, until the organs and tissue shift around and fill in the space. So, he now thinks it’s possible that my bladder has “tipped” slightly (as things are rearranging themselves and vying for space in my abdomen), and this could be what is creating some newer symptoms I’m having. (I swear, I absolutely DID NOT go through the challenge of colon surgery and having to adjust to life with a colostomy only to end up with urinary incontinence! Not at 48!) So, we’ll just see what this next specialist has to say about things. Dr. Brown is referring me to a woman urologist, someone he felt I would “really like.” Uh-huh.

Meanwhile, I’m on my third round of Xeloda since starting back on chemo in January. I’m sorry to note the side effects are building with each round. The main thing is I get suddenly fatigued without warning. Sometimes I’m able to push through it and other times I just have to lie down and nap for a while. Often though, by the time I should be thinking about going to bed for the night, I’m finally wide awake and not so tired anymore. So, it makes for an odd rhythm to my days.

another chemo side effect

Another side effect – one my oncologist checked for at each office visit during last fall’s treatment, but which never happened then – is a skin problem with the palms of my hands and soles of my feet. The skin is slowly getting redder and redder, and it feels very “papery” – as if it will crack easily, which it does. It’s not terribly painful, but I can tell it’s getting a bit worse with each dose of Xeloda. So, I’m constantly slathering on various moisturizers, including a nightly coat of Bag Balm and wearing little white cotton gloves to bed. Very charming.

Got Moisturizer?

I’m due to see Dr. Fekrazad on Wednesday. I’m sure we’ll discuss all of this and more. I believe he’s going to order another ultrasound on my arm that had the blood clots. If they’re still gone (fingers crossed!) I’ll be able to stop giving myself the nightly shot of Lovenox. My belly will be very happy about that as the bruises from being poked so regularly are starting to seem permanent!

In the way of happy news: I’ve been back to yoga class a few times. I’ve felt well enough to take an hour-and-a-half long class for level 1 and 2 students. My sweet teacher, Linda, has been very encouraging, telling me I’m doing great. She said I still have good balance and even some of my former flexibility, but I really need to build my strength up again (she gently mentioned my skinny arms are like “little bird legs…”). However, I did manage a nice head stand – my first time doing any kind of inversion in about eight months. It was a little disorienting and I was nervous about my colostomy “voicing its opinion” about being upside-down, but thankfully it stayed quite for the minute or so that I was balancing on my head.

I’ll report in again after Wednesday’s appointment at the Cancer Center.  For now, I’m off to try to get some rest…

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Big Mac

No, I haven’t taken to eating at fast food restaurants, and this isn’t a food review…

My sweetie Tim went absolutely overboard for Valentine’s day and got me a huge new iMac computer – the one with an unbelievable terabyte of memory. We had a terrific computer tech, Ollie, come help get it all set up (and bring my old PC data & programs over for the transition). Even he could hardly contain his excitement about working on such an amazing machine. All I know is it’s fast, fast, fast…

I’ve been a diehard PC user for (I hate to admit this) over 25 years. In the past, when the topic of switching to Mac came up, I steadfastly held my ground – I just couldn’t be bothered with the learning curve I believed would be involved to make the transition. So, for the last three years or so, I’ve hobbled along on my Compaq laptop which was getting progressively slower and slower – to the point that I would sometimes wait 15 or 20 minutes just for it to boot up.

Goodbye old friend...

If you’re going to be working from home and trying to make your living on-line (tea, vintage goods, jewelry, artful angels…), it’s pure insanity to sit in front of a computer constantly waiting for it to do the next task. Seeing me so frustrated, Tim suggested I try using his Mac when I wanted to go on-line, so I wouldn’t be waiting hours for things to load. I reluctantly gave it try – and much to my amazement – it was not only supremely faster but not nearly as difficult to navigate as I imagined.

It happens that Tim and I are both left-handed, but oddly enough, we use the mouse on opposite sides. His lives on the left (makes sense!), but mine is always on the right, probably because I learned to type with a pencil nearby for things like bank reconciliations, etc. So, I was always picking up the pencil in my left hand, making it possible to multi-task with the mouse in my right.

When I started using his Mac, I’d switch the mouse to the right and have to put a pillow on his chair so I sat up high enough to see his screen without craning my neck. Most times, when I was done using his computer, I put everything back exactly the way I found it. But then I’d get called away for one thing or another and forget to switch things back. He’d go into his office and find a computer set up “for Karen’s use.” He was very tolerant about it, but we could both see it wasn’t going to work long-term.

He began showing me iMacs on-line and asking if I’d consider getting one. I kept being obstinate and saying I wasn’t ready (didn’t want to spend the money, didn’t need it that much, would get my laptop serviced, and lots of other excuses). And then, a few days before Valentine’s Day, he just decided to come out and say it: “I really want to get you the iMac for a gift, but first you have to tell me you want it.”

Duh. Sometimes I don’t know how to get out of my own way. Of course I wanted it!

a new iMac on my desk!

So, here it is on my desk. I’m having a blast learning all the nifty features and absolutely zipping around between programs. I was also really excited to get my photos of items for my Etsy shop loaded and listed on the site in record time! So, I’m a convert. A very spoiled convert.

The desktop shot of the eggs and vintage egg separator is there to remind me that, if we’re willing, we can start from scratch at any time.

Thank you, Tim. I love you!

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More than Valentines

A Valentine

 

This postcard arrived in the mail yesterday. It was sent to me anonymously from the “Valentine Goddess.”  I do know that it came from someone in Key West because there’s been a flurry of them mentioned by my Key West friends on Facebook. I have a sneaking suspicion who the designer of the card is (this art has her “signature” all over it!), but I get the impression from the comments on Facebook that it’s possible others may have been involved in the distribution of these wonderful Valentines.

I also like to read a weekly astrological column in Pasatiempo (the Arts & Entertainment magazine in my local newspaper). The astrologer, Heather Roan Robbins, made this clever comment – that I just loved:

Ask not what Valentine’s Day can do for you, but what you can do for Valentine’s Day.

To that I say: whoever took the time, effort and expense to send this lovely little Valentine’s message out to the world definitely asked themselves that question – what can I do for Valentine’s Day? They certainly came up with a great idea and deserve an enormous hug of appreciation.  We can always use a little more love – without exception!

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I have a really good excuse for not posting anything here for a week! I have been a busy gal! Here’s the evidence:

Last Sunday: I had a “sound healing” session with Leigh Ann Phillips. She does amazing and unusual healing work with crystal singing bowls. I’ve never seen so many singing bowls in one place (I’m guessing there were at least 20). My eyes were closed for the whole session, but I swear it sounded like there were five people playing the bowls at once. She assured me it was just her! To say it was a powerful experience doesn’t do it justice. I was literally vibrating when I left. You can read a whole lot more about what she does on her website. (I have my friend Lerin to thank for giving me the session. Leigh Ann is planning to return to Santa Fe in March and I’m planning to see her again…it was that uplifting!)

Tuesday: I had my 8-week follow-up visit with the surgeon, Dr. Brown.  He was very happy with my recovery and gave me the “all clear” to do whatever activities I want to now (no more restrictions on lifting, and I can try a more active yoga class if I feel up to it!). We spent more time talking about his favorite football team (the Saints) than we did about my health. I think that’s a good sign.

Friday: Tim and I took a little day trip and had the best time without even going very far. Our first stop was Madrid for a surprisingly wonderful lunch at a new “Southern cooking” restaurant called The Holler. The crispy chicken was breaded and fried to perfection! It was served on organic greens with cheese and fruit – utterly yummy. After lunch we popped into a little co-op gallery called Spirit in Art where I got even more inspired to create (results below!) after seeing what those artists were up to.

From there we took back roads along the Sandia mountains, drove through San Felipe pueblo, and even kept to the unpaved roads along the Rio Grande until we came upon a sign that read: Tribal Members Only Beyond This Point. We backtracked a bit and, unbelievably, we managed to be hungry again and had to stop at the Flying Star Café in Bernalillo for apple crisp pie (delicious, but NOT as good as Shawn’s version of apple crisp!).

So, you’re now wondering, what was she doing on the other days that she didn’t have time to blog? Well, I’ve been continuing to make those assemblage angels I mentioned back before the surgery, and I finally got brave enough to show the world what I’ve been inspired to create – so I opened another Etsy shop where I now have my Artful Angels for sale. Here’s a peak at a few, but please visit the whole gang at artfulshe.etsy.com.

I was working late into the night last night to get the new site up and running. I hardly slept. And then this morning I was stunned to find another Etsy seller had already discovered my work and featured one of my angels in a “treasury” she made (it’s a way for Etsy sellers to promote other Etsy sellers’ work). So, if you’re snooping around Etsy, check out this treasury too! But hurray because they only last two days. The one I’m featured in expires on Tuesday at 3:00 PM.

Now that you’re caught up, I wanna go see how many “hearts” my angels have gotten (folks who like your items can list them as one of their “favorites” – they also call them “hearts”). Gotta run! Back in a jiffy!

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If I’m not careful, you guys will start to think all I do these days is go out and enjoy myself. OK, it’s true for most of this past week. I’ve had four very fun things take place:

1. I attended a yoga workshop! My teacher, Linda Spackman, called to invite me to a two-hour workshop she was giving on the Yoga Sutras. She felt it was tailor made for me to ease back into practicing. She was so right! We spent most of the class discussing ten of the sutras about cultivating clarity in the mind, then doing some breath work, some meditation, and about 15 minutes of gentle yoga postures.  Oh, they felt so good! (I was humbled to discover I couldn’t touch my toes or get my heels to the floor in downward-facing dog…but it’ll all come back in time.) Yoga! Such good stuff!

Frank Murphy's lovely book "The Spirit of Tea"

2. I was invited to afternoon tea with Frank Murphy, author of The Spirit of Tea, and photographer Kitty Leaken, who is now working on a book on tea rooms. We met at Reposo at the St. Francis Hotel where we enjoyed beautifully prepared Chinese teas (Kitty and I each had Oolong while Frank chose White tea). As luck would have it, I recently finished reading Frank’s book, so I could at least speak intelligently with him about it! But I was surprised to find him picking my brain about the tea business when he is one of the few folks who have actually completed the training of the American Tea Masters Association. It was quite an honor to meet him. I have Kitty to thank for the introduction to Frank and for including me in such a pleasant afternoon with two generous and artistic souls.

3. I splurged on a handmade reconstructed sweater from Etsy artist Jill2day. I’ve been slowly transitioning my wardrobe away from the fitted tops I’ve usually worn (they make me uncomfortably aware of my colostomy now) to more loose, flowing tops. I saw this gorgeous garment on Jill’s Etsy site and immediately placed it on my “favorites” list. For over a month I kept going back and ogling it. Then I read more about Jill and her work in an article on Etsy’s blog, which enticed me further. And, one day recently, I found there was enough money in my PayPal account – so I bought it!! I must say, it’s much more beautiful in person (and exceptionally well constructed) than the photo shows. Sooo, what do you think of my new look?

My "new" reconstructed artsy sweater

4. I went to a Women’s Workshop with my mom that was held this morning at her church. The topics presented were: self care, balance, and boundaries. All stuff I’ve had no choice but to work on over the past six months! Much of the workshop was a good reminder that when we’re not taking care of ourselves first, we’re not likely to be much good for others. I was glad to be there with my mother (who, in this daughter’s opinion, could stand a little more practice in the way of self care, balance and boundaries…I’m just sayin’…).

So, it’s been a heady week full of several themes I’m pretty passionate about: yoga, tea, creative expression and taking good care of oneself. That leads me to encourage you all to take time to find joy in something you’re passionate about, too. I know this much: it’s good for your well being.

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Yesterday I finished the first two-weeks of my Xeloda “adjuvant therapy” (a fancy medical term for additional chemotherapy after the primary treatment is over, to lower the risk of recurrence). I also had an appointment with my oncologist Dr. Fekrazad so he could monitor how things are going. The bottom line: “so far, so good!”

I haven’t really noticed any significant side effects from this round of Xeloda. I had some brief stomach cramps the first couple of days I took it, but discovered if I take all my various supplements about a half-hour before the Xeloda pills, I don’t seem to have the cramps. I started to suspect that putting about 15 pills in my belly at one time was maybe a bit too much! I’ve also felt just a little fatigued in the afternoons – so some days I just succumb to it and lie down for a nap, and on other days I seem to manage to push through it. In general, I haven’t experienced anything really debilitating, at least not yet.

Some of my daily regimen...

Yesterday’s visit to the Cancer Center was my first in six weeks. Everybody who saw me commented on how good I looked! I know I was pretty pathetic looking during my daily visits last fall, so it probably didn’t take much improvement for them to think I looked better! Nonetheless, it felt great to have a bunch of people seem so happy to see me doing well. I think one of the things that makes the job of working in a Cancer Center fulfilling is watching patients get well.

I had to have blood drawn while I was there.  Since I don’t have the port any longer, I’m back to getting blood taken from a vein in my arm. Fortunately, they had no trouble this time. Since I’m still on Lovenox (a blood thinner), that may have helped make the whole process a tad easier.

As of today, I’m on a one-week break from the Xeloda. After that, I go back on for another two weeks, following the pattern of two-weeks on, one-week off for the next six months. Here’s the rest of the plan Dr. Fekrazad laid out for the coming months:

  • I’ll see him every six weeks, unless I have a problem and need to see him sooner
  • They’ll draw blood at those appointments to look for specific cancer markers
  • At the end of March, I’ll have another ultrasound on my right arm to make sure the blood clots haven’t returned
  • If there are no clots, I can then stop taking the Lovenox (yay! no more nightly shots in the belly!)
  • In June they’ll schedule another CT scan to look for signs of cancer anywhere in the body
  • In July I’ll need to have another colonoscopy (that should be weird – they’ll have to go in through the stoma since there’s no “other entrance” any longer)
  • And, finally, if all goes well, I’ll stop taking the Xeloda in July (right around my birthday!)

So, that’s what there is to report health-wise. Happily, it looks like I may need to start blogging about more exciting things than my good health very soon! On that note: I went to a yoga workshop over the weekend (yes! a yoga workshop!), so perhaps I’ll give you a post about that next time…

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Wow, this has been a hard one to write! I’ve started it several times and – well, I guess maybe I kinda wanted to chicken out.  But, I think I’ve finally got the courage to finish it, so here ya go!

For those of you who continue to be curious about the whole “colostomy” thing (FAQ’s include: “what does it look like?” and “is it painful?”), here’s my crash course in all things ostomy – at least all the things I’ve learned in the last seven weeks of living with one.

“What does it feel like?” – All I can say is you can’t possibly understand what a banana tastes like until you’ve eaten a banana – meaning I can describe this to you, but you can’t really know what a colostomy is like unless you experience it yourself. Now that I’ve mostly recovered from the surgery, things aren’t painful exactly (although I sometimes feel cramping or tightening in my abdomen when there’s about to be some “activity” like a bowel movement or gas). The stoma itself has no nerve endings, so I’m not really feeling much of anything there, but I do have sensations when my digestive system is active. Otherwise, most of what I can feel is that there’s always this bag attached to my skin. (More on that in a moment.)

“What does it look like?” – I have to wear an ostomy bag all of the time, so usually you can’t see anything except the bag. But when I have to change the bag, which is about every four or five days, I need to clean the stoma. That’s when it looks like this: 

My stoma and incision scar from surgery

That red “bud” is the stoma. It’s actually the end of my large intestine which has been re-routed and brought to the surface of the abdomen where it’s been turned inside out to form the “bud” you see. So, what you’re looking at there is the inside of my colon. (That weird dip in the belly is the top of the surgery incision which runs all the way down toward my pubic bone. I’m told the dip is not likely to flatten out, no matter how many crunches I do…but I can try!)

All the health care folks who’ve seen me say I have a “text book” stoma – it’s nicely “budded” (that’s the actual term) and uniformly round. It makes fitting the wafer (the part of the bag that adheres to my skin) easier because it’s a perfect circle and not some odd shape. And since my stoma protrudes properly (it’s not sunken in), I can get a good seal with the wafer. Thankfully I don’t have any folds or creases in my belly (yet!), so I don’t need extra rings and other sticky stuff to fill in any gaps between the wafer and my skin.

The bag itself looks like this before I cut the opening for the stoma in it:

A typical ostomy bag

The round part is what’s called the wafer. You peel off a cover to expose the adhesive and it sticks to your skin like a big bandage. The printed circles are a guide to use for cutting the right size opening for the stoma. From the time of the surgery until now, my stoma has shrunk a little (as expected). It should settle into its final size by about eight weeks. After that, I can order the bags to be “pre-cut” with an opening that’s the right size for me. Meanwhile, I’ve needed to cut the hole myself in order to get the proper fit each time.

The end of the bag has a Velcro-like closure. When I need to empty the bag, I sit on the toilet (like everyone else) and let the bag hang down between my legs into the bowl. I open the bottom and let the contents empty into the toilet. (There are more details to this part, but I can’t bring myself to describe them publicly – yet.)

Here are all the supplies I need each time I change the bag:

Supplies for changing the ostomy bag

I know, that’s a lot of stuff! The critical part is getting a good seal (leakage is soooo not acceptable!), so I prep my skin with things like:

  • adhesive remover (to remove any adhesive remaining from the previous bag)
  • stoma powder (to heal my skin if it’s gotten red or raw around the stoma)
  • a skin barrier (something like a clear moisturizer that creates a layer between me and the adhesive)

Of course, there’s the need to keep everything sanitary during the process – hence the wipes. The used ostomy bag goes in a zip-lock baggie (double-bagged!) and gets thrown in the garbage. The whole process takes me about ten minutes.

Once the new bag is on, here’s what it looks like:

Me and my bag...(what? no matching shoes?)

I just tuck it into my pants like so:

Now you see it, now you don't

And, voilà! Off I go…until next time!

So, writing this made me feel a little bit like one of those new moms who can talk about nothing other than their baby’s poop while at a dinner party! I did think it might be educational and informative though – kind of dispelling the secrecy around colostomies. I hope it wasn’t too awful…

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I know, I know…it’s been a while. But no need to worry excessively – I’m doing okay. Just struggling a bit with motivating myself to write something.

Here’s a slightly overdue recap of recent events:

12/28/09 – I went in for an ultrasound on my right arm to see if the blood clot(s) had resolved. Thankfully, the answer was yes (no clot!). So, I got the “all clear” to have the port removed (although I still have to keep giving myself the Lovenox shot every day for a few more months as a preventative).

Later that day – Off to the cath lab for the port removal procedure. Two nurses told me it would be easy, with no sedation necessary, and nothing to worry about – so, I didn’t. Then, the doctor came in while they were prepping me and gave me a slightly more detailed version of what to expect: the procedure would take about 20 minutes, they’d give me local anesthesia to numb the area, and “most people do fine without sedation, but if you feel anything sharp, let me know…”  (What!?)  They tented my head again, as they had when I got the port installed, so I couldn’t see what they were doing, but I could feel tugging and pulling and hear the sound of clamps being used. At one point I swear it felt like the doctor put his foot on my shoulder and yanked the thing out of me. I’m sure that’s not what really happened, but it felt like it! They sewed me up and I went home. For a procedure that was supposed to be “nothing” I ended up on the couch for the next two days. I was really fatigued and it felt like someone had slugged me hard in that soft area between the shoulder and the collar bone. But I survived (once again), and the dreaded port is gone!

12/30/09 – I had my follow-up appointment with Dr. Brown at four weeks after the surgery. He looked at all the wounds and said they were healing properly and he was happy with my progress. He also commented that when he saw me walk down the hall to the exam room “it didn’t look like you just got off a horse.”  I understood this to be a positive indication of how well I was doing. We discussed the things I’d been concerned about (the stoma bleeding, the wounds still seeping, the bulge on my belly just above the incision…). Everything I brought up was met with his nonchalant “that’s normal.” I’m to see him again at eight weeks after surgery.

1/8/10 – I was having a few problems with the colostomy bag, so I went to see Carla, the ostomy nurse, for a follow-up. She looked at everything and, like Dr. Brown, declared that all was well and normal for this stage of things (being less than six weeks after surgery). I talked to her about the features of the different bags I’d tried so far. There was one bag I liked everything about, except for the wafer (the part that adheres to your skin). I preferred the wafer on another bag, but it didn’t have other features I wanted. Carla looked through her enormous ostomy appliance catalog and found a bag that has the combination of things I wanted, including the “microskin” wafer I liked. I’m waiting for the new bags to arrive any day now so I can see if they’ll make dealing with this a little easier!

Staying warm while at the computer...

Other than that, I just seem to have days when I simply do not feel like doing anything. I think I’ve actually been just a little depressed – which, in Dr. Brown’s and Carla’s words, is “normal” under the circumstances. I’m still adjusting to a having a colostomy (a huge adjustment, I might add). My body is still recovering from the months of being poisoned, burned and cut open. Plus, the chemo and radiation brought on instant menopause, meaning my hormones are whacked on top of everything else. And, it’s been downright cold! So, a tiny bout of depression doesn’t seem out of line, does it?

The good news: It’s a New Year. I’m cancer-free. I’m well enough to get out and walk, drive, go to the grocery or the post office, and generally do many things I once took so much for granted. Only now, I usually remind myself how blessed I am to be able to do these simple chores of daily life. Okay, sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m silly! But, mostly, I’m just grateful for life.

Next time: Ostomy 101 (I’m giving you fair warning about the topic in case you’re squeamish…)

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Hi, Dad…

My father called today to check on me (as he does every few days). He said, “You must not be feeling too good…you haven’t written anything on the blog in a while.”  It’s true – when I’m feeling crummy it’s often harder for me to muster up the gumption to write something. But, here goes:

 

Hi, Dad.

You were right about a couple of things you said: I haven’t been feeling too hot for a few days, and lately you’re not the biggest pain in my ass.

Love you,

-Karen

 

In One Year and Out the Other

On New Year’s Eve each year I like to reread a little book I picked up at the Larkspur Press in Kentucky. It’s a book of American haiku-style poetry called In One Year and Out the Other by Steve Sanfield. Each short poem is about the beginning or the end of a year. Here’s one that I particularly liked on this year’s reading:

Only four days into it / and already / two weeks behind

I’ll see if I can get you guys all caught up here soon…Meanwhile, a Happy New Year to you.

 

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Sometimes I go about with pity for myself and all the while Great Winds are carrying me across the sky.

 – Ojibway Saying (quoted from The Book of Awakening)

The days leading up to Christmas must have taken their toll on me. We purposely made just super-simple plans for Christmas Day, but even those proved to take more energy than I had. It was just Mom and Tim and me for the day, and all I planned to do was make waffles for breakfast before we sat around the tree to open our gifts. Later, we would drive to Las Vegas (New Mexico, not the glitzy one in Nevada) for dinner at the Historic Plaza Hotel and then enjoy the lights of the Victorian neighborhoods surrounding the old town before heading back home.

But the morning was a rough one for me. I decided to change the ostomy bag by myself – with no supervision from the home nurse who’s been coming weekly. I encountered some minor problems (bleeding, raw skin, etc.) and without the nurse there to reassure me that all was normal, I found myself getting more agitated by the moment. After what seemed like an inordinately long time, I finally emerged from the bathroom too exhausted to prepare breakfast. Tim took over the kitchen duties while Mom and I sat by the fire. I was also experiencing more pain from sitting on the wound on my bottom, so I wasn’t in a very festive mood as we opened our gifts.

Eventually, we bundled up and headed out for our drive to Las Vegas – me with my ever-present pillow to sit on. It was a nice, clear day and the hour drive went quickly. Dinner at the Plaza Hotel was a bit of a disappointment, but we all agreed it was more about the outing and being together than about the food. But, by the time we began the drive home, I was rapidly sliding downhill. No amount of pillows were able to make me comfortable. I got crankier and crankier squirming in the passenger seat until Tim thought to ask if I had any Percocet stashed in my purse. Hallelujah! Yes! One little pill tucked away for emergencies just like this!

As soon as we got home, I immediately took up residence on the sofa, drifting around in a bit of haze until bedtime. I tried hard to remember all that I have to be grateful for (and there is so much!), but I have to admit as I laid there on the couch I was feeling a little sorry for myself.

So, on Saturday, I finally accepted that it was time to simply rest. I spent nearly the entire day lying on the sofa reading Barbara Kingsolver’s new novel The Lacuna. It was just what this frail bag of bones needed – a finely woven tale to take me away from myself and my little world. By evening I was thankful to feel more restored than I have in a while.

Tomorrow (Monday), I will have another ultrasound to see if the blood clot that once ran from my clavicle to my elbow has finally “resolved.” If so, I’ll have the port removed from my chest at 1:00 PM. If the blood clot hasn’t dissipated enough, I may have to wait a bit longer for the port to be taken out as they don’t want to risk disturbing the clot during the port removal procedure. We’ll know more tomorrow!

On Wednesday, I have an appointment to see my surgeon, Dr. Brown. The home nurse says I will get a good report (she thinks all the wounds look like they’re healing properly). I am most interested to ask him when I’m likely to start feeling like myself again!

And, on January 14th, which will be exactly six weeks after my surgery, I’ll begin taking the Xeloda again (with faith that it will assure a healthier 2010).

My New Year’s wish for each of you is that, like me, you’ll be bowled-over to find just how deeply loved you are by so many others (without the need to become ill to learn this!), and that you’ll take full advantage of the good health you now have to live just as fully as you can dream up!

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