Friday, August 29, 2014

a little holiday away with loved ones

Today I returned from a three day stay in Harrisburg, PA.  Went with my sister, Tree, my niece, Melissa, and her son, Logan.  The sun was strong, and the hotel, although out-dated, was wonderful to stay at.  Being with Tree and Melis was extra special... we hadn't gone away together like that since Melissa was little.  The added bonus was Logan, who is so  special and loving, and absolutely funny, and smart.  He is nearly five now, and his personality is really coming to the fore.  He was thrilled with the room (two rooms, actually, a King Suite), and loved using the key-card slot in lieu of keys. He entertained us by dancing "gangham" style.  Time at the pool was extra special, with him attempting valiantly  to swim.  I haven't been in the water like that in over twently years, and it felt glorious.  Logan gave me and my sister white stones which he picked up from outside the hotel.  I will always treasure it, and found a spot for it in my memory box.
One night, around 2:30 am, I was sitting outside having a smoke, and I saw a strange blinking light far up in the sky, traveling fast.  The next morning on the news, someone had taken a video of strange lights seen in the sky... they saw numerous ones.  No one has yet identified what they were.  Unfortunatly, I didn't have my camera with me.
Here of some snapshots of our time together., taken by both me and Melissa.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Logan graduates

Today was a milestone day for my great nephew, Logan James.  He graduated pre-school.  It was in the school yard of his Tiny Tots school.  When the kids came out (wearing construction paper graduation caps) they played an Andreas Bocelli song, "Time to Say Goodbye",  that made all of us cry (well at least me, my sister, and Melissa).  The kids sang a bunch of songs, and were just so cute.  Congratulations, Logan, you are so smart.  Good luck in Kindergarten!

with mommy and daddy

Sunday, June 8, 2014

breast cancer

Wanna know about cancer?  Mine, at least?  It didn't phase me.  I was diagnosed with it, and didn't really feel any sense of shock.  Thought I was in denial for a while, but I wasn't.  It was just another passage in my life, albeit a tough one.
After my double mastectomy, I looked down at where my breasts used to be, and saw the scars, and thought, okay, there are scars... just like my mother had lots of scars.  I wasn't afraid of scars.  The plastic surgeons nurse had told me not to look in the mirror for four days.  Did she think I would pass out or something?  It was no big shock.  I knew what I was facing, and I looked it straight in the eye without flinching.
The chemotherapy was a tough time.  Wanting to sleep twenty hours a day, and popping percocets the rest of the time to ward off the bodily aches and pains.  By the time you felt well, it was time for the next chemo treatment.  Losing my hair wasn't fun, but that too was an experience.  I got a new wig and felt like a new person in it, to tell you the truth.  It was fun to play around with it.  By the time I was getting sick of it, my hair had grown in an inch or so, so that's how I go around now... with a virtual buzz cut.  I'm loving it, it's very liberating.      And then there was Radiation.  A hassle because I had to be there five days a week for seven weeks.  But the treatments were easy and fast, with the most competent team of professionals, and it wasn't until my last week that I experienced the radiation burns, which really didn't hurt, and were healed quickly with Silverdine ointment.
Now it's almost time for my reconstruction surgery.  I haven't called my plastic surgeon to set anything up, because I just need some time to decompress after the last eight months of being "a cancer patient".

I am happy to say I'm a survivor.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

the quiet time

It is 3am, and I'm wide awake. A side effect of having more than my normal amount of coffee today.  I used to be fairly addicted to coffee, drinking a pot (10 cups) a day, but now I drink maybe 2 cups.  Today I drank about four.

The air is cool and fresh tonight.  So thankful for that.

I have a new camera... a Nikon D800.  It's a top of the line model, and a full frame camera, with a huge 36.something mega pixels.  You can take photos in a FX format or a DX format.  I got it with a prime 50mm lens, 1.4, which I'm happy to have... haven't had a prime lens since my old film days.
The thing is, though, that I haven't been out with the camera yet.  I'm kind of intimidated by it.  Have got to get my feet wet with it, though, and I hope soon.

I've stopped wearing my wig (as you can see in a pic of me in the last post).  Got so tired of it, and  now that it's getting warmer, I certainly don't want anything covering my head.  I am even liking my Annie Lennox look... something very liberating about it.

 Hard to believe that nine months have gone by since I was first diagnosed with cancer.  The days seemed to disappear, really.  But I remember being sooo tired most of the time during those chemo days.  Geez.

Now I just have to find out when my "exchange" surgery is... when they exchange the expanders for the breast implants, and you get  your foobs (fake boobs). That's major surgery again, and will be glad to get past that, because it will the the sort of end of a long hard road.  I got through it okay with a little help from my family and friends.

Sometimes I feel guilty staying up so late.  I don't know why.  I can almost hear my mother calling "I hope you shut that light soon", as I stay up late in my room, the light peeking out from  under the door... enough to assault her senses at such hours.

Today I should not feel guilty at all.  I kicked cancer's butt, and I deserve to do whatever I like for a while.  If I want to sleep into the afternoon tomorrow, so be it.

Oh wow, I started reading over my novel tonight, with a critical eye!  Yikes, am I ever going to have to do some serious rewriting.  There is quite a bit of "telling" in the book, when I should be showing.  That alone will be a tremendous task.  If I do that, it may even be a good novel. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

radiation days

I put my palm in the reader (something new in people), give my birthdate, and my picture comes up on a screen.  Right  patient.  They realize it's my birthday, and wishes are made, and asking if I have any big plans.  I explain that the big plans will go down after treatments have ended.   I climb on the table.
My butt scrunched up against the plastic pillar, covered with a sheet, a bolster under my knees,
my right arm extended overhead, holding onto a post behind my head, and my left hand at my side, tied in with a sheet to cover some support, but not enough, and sometimes my arms trembles, trying to stay in that very same position, which is what is necessary for the radiation to work correctly.
The big round saucer comes down above me, my head tilted away from my right side, which is the affected side.  It whirrs, and from the corner of my eye I can see things lining up inside, making decisions and designs.  Never sure when I am getting zapped.  Many moving parts.  Some things look down at you, some close up at your side, like  a table closing in.  Zapping now?   You never really know.  Sometimes the thing I'm laying on starts to jerk, a little, and a little more.  I always feel for sure the zappings happening then.
I watch each shift of machinery, anticipating correctly what is coming next.  Then every other day they come in mid-way, with a yellow gel-pack that they strongly secure to my radiated parts.  It's supposed to pull the radiation closer to the skin.  It extends the treatment for another two minutes, but then the tech's come in, and untie my hand, and I can let go of that rod that has my arm frozen in position, and takes a while to thaw. The tape securing the gel pack are torn off quickly, and I am free. The techs.. nice men and women whose names elude me, as I'm bad at that, but I sure do like them.  "Another day down" the one of them always says.  Yup, another day down.
Afterwards, in the changing room, I compare the both sides of my chest, and see how dark and red it's becoming on the right side... skin just breaking under the arm, too.  So close to the end of treatments, but this is the skin at it's most sensitive.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tibetan Museum of Art

Me and Evie visited the Tibetan Museum of Art today, in Staten Island.  It was just the tiniest of  places, with two rooms of Tibetan artifacts, including a beautiful sand painting under glass.  It was a little disappointing... not too sure what we were expecting.   Many years ago I had a dream that I was in some type of Tibetan monastery, and there were artifacts on 3 levels of display, and that's exactly what was there today.  Got a little bit of the chills when I saw it.