Tuesday, May 3, 2016

just rambling here

I keep thinking I need to call my mom and let her know I'm home.  The feeling to call my mom has been strong ever since she died.  My sister feels it, too.  We communicated with her, daily, for the most part over the phone.
It's a feeling as if something will stay incomplete unless you "let her know".
Of course, she does.

I imagine her observing evenly, having become the Owl she always was.  Observing the movements of my heart and mind, but having no judgement, no need to assign value, either good or bad... just observation, and an accompanying peace.
"I see her,"  Owl says.

And that, in part, gives me some peace.
My birthday in three days.  I will be sixty-two.  In light of recent events, this number is somewhat less ordinary, or even meaningless.  Now it is the number of a significant life event that threatens to take away one's accumulation of numbers.   If you get my drift.
The woman in the bed next to me looked to me like she was maybe 80.  I soon learned that she was 67.  She was ravaged by cancer, and it was robbing her of her numbers. 
I don't know how many numbers I'll have to give in, if any, and I don't care to know.  Makes no never mind to me.
When the time comes, Wolf will howl beneath a pearly moon, while Owl hoots nearby.  True essence emerging.  Numbers will be obsolete.
Today I thought about extraordinary encounters I've had throughout my life, with higher consciousness...  although "higher" isn't quite the right word for me.  It is not so much higher or lower as it is Open or Shut.   The more you open, the more levels that can be experienced.  I think this is why I experienced many things in my teens, 20's, and 30's...  we are less jaded by the world, so more open.  Life and its trials and tribulations through the years can often close down a lot of expanded consciousness.... at least that has been my experience.
Though in no chronological order, some of the things I've gained familiarity with, first hand, are:
astral travel
shamanic journeying, power/spirit animal retrieval
encounters of the 3rd kind
pressence of spirit beings under varying circumstances

At this point in my life now, I am suddenly feeling closer to that openess which allows such energies to make themselves known.
Time will tell, and I will, too, if stuff starts revealing itself.

You never know what, either.
Way back when, in Medicine Wheel Gathering days, when Sun Bear was still alive, I remember talking to Grey Antelope about Spirit animals and such.  I was thinking maybe he could tell me what mine was, and I believe I hinted that it just had to be a bird of some sort.  Well Grey Antelope never did tell me my power animal.  Wolf came to me clearly in lucid dreams, over a course of time, until I was "given" the name, Running Wolf.  Not nearly a bird after all!
Just rambling here.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Dread the Spread

For the past month I've had a very bad time with my asthma and/or COPD.  I depleted my rescue inhaler in les than 3 weeks, and the insurance denies an early refill, leaving me with no relief, and an inability to get even from one room to another without nearly passing out from shortness of breath.
On Monday, the 25th of April, it had reached critical peak, and after speaking to my PCP, I called an ambulance and went to the ER.  What followed was nebulizer treatments, steroids, O2, etc., and 29 hours in the ER before being able to secure a bed and be admitted.
Because my breathing was not improved with treatments, it was decided they'd do a CAT scan of my lungs to check for a possible blood clot, since I had recently had additional surgery, and it was indeed a possibility.
I was still in the ER at this time... I had been there 15 hours at this point, when a new doctor came and started discussing my history of breast cancer.
Then, came the shock of my life.  The CAT scan had revealed that the cancer had metastasized to the lymphangatic system in my abdomen, and to my bones -- specifically to my thoracic vertebrae. 
The doctor apologized for giving me this lousy news while alone in the ER.
I immediately secured a phone and called my sister (at 3am), who got so scared at the phone ringing at that time that she though someone was calling to say I had died.
I just couldn't tolerate being alone for too long with this devastating news.
Later on, Melissa came by as well, while another doctor was talking to me.  I saw her but knew I couldn't acknowledge her presence just yet, or both of us would break down.  After the doc left, I opened my arms to receive her, and we both held each other, shedding many tears.  It kills me to see her cry, and even now, my tears flow just thinking about it.  Our love in deep and unique.  She truly feels me.
Anyhow, after 29 long hours in the ER, I finally got a bed on the floor, which is where I've been now for 3 days.  Writing this on paper until I can transcribe it to my computer.
Earlier this afternoon, I had another CAT scan of my addomen and pelvis, and a full body bone scan.  Those results will probably come tomorrow.
The breathing problem is very slowly improving, and is, in most part, a separate issue from the cancer developments.
Some of the oncologists have said I will probably have to undergo additonaly chemo and radiation.  Right now I'm not too certain of my prognosis.  The oncology team will talk to me some more tomorrow.
I hope I can go home soon.

Thursday now.
Still in hospitaol, and not leaving today.  Been running a temp all night.  Had blood cultures done this a.m.  Results tomorrow.  Still pretty hard to breathe.
CAT scan showed cancer in some abdominal lymph nodes, and lung as well.  It's hard to comprehend all the info sometimes.  Still waiting to hear on the bone scan results.
In any event, I will need either a lung or bone biopsy, I believe... haven't heard which just yet.  Neither sounds like fun.
My veins are a disaster, and I've endured literally hours of being poked, trying to get IV access, draw blood, etc.  Don't know if I can handle one more attempt at this, truthfully.

So... some updated info.  My lungs have some small specks (7mm) of metastasis.  Also, my ribs and spine have been affected.  Tomorrow morning I will be going for a bone biopsy, which is a painful procedure that I certainly don't look forward to at all.

Friday, 4/29/16
So, I was NPO (nothing by mouth) from midnight last night, in preparation for the bone biopsy come morning
Half expected to be taken by 9am for the biopsy.  Breakfast time came and went without me partaking.  Then, lunch came and went.
By around 2pm I learned that the interventional radiology department was backed up with a couple of emergency cases, but that I could expect to get my biopsy by 3.  Moments later it was decided that because my blood pressure had been running high, the procedure would be cancelled, perhaps until Sunday.  Maimo is a Jewish institution, so nothing is done on Saturdays, but Sundays are an option.
I would be getting either a rib or spinal biopsy, both painful procedures, each with its own risks.  The rib biopsy risk is mainly pneum-thorax, which would result in a chest tube being placed.  A spinal biopsy is a bit more ominous in terms of risk, as paralysis can result.  Seems they will opt for the rib...let's hope so.

Saw my friends Amelia and Jeff last night.  That was a real good visit.  Besides love and good conversation, they brought me a lovely miniature white orchid plant, and a pendant of a Hindu goddess, who is a slayer of obstacles, to aide in my healing.
My sister came again today.  She is running around much too much, though, and I think it's time she stayed home and got some rest.
Also, Alice, my therapist from the mental health center, came by to visit , bringing good tidings from many folks there.
I haven't seen Evie, but I know she is right in my corner, praying for me, and she is taking care of my cat, Morrison, at home.  I miss hanging out with her.
Saw my medical oncologist, Dr Burdette-Radoux, who assures me there are good treatments to be had for what I am going through. 
Sounds like I will be able to be treated with oral medications, and not necessarily more chemo/radiation.  That's really good to hear. 
Everything will be more definitive after getting the bone biopsy.

I miss my computer, and could use a nice warm shower, but I am mostly comfortable here.  Wishing desperately for a cigarette, and will no doubt partake once I am discharged.  A good fat joint will be in order, as well.

So, I've got another 3 days here, at least, and maybe even more, depending how the biopsy goes.  My breathing status is much improved, and getting better every day

4am Saturday morning
Having a hard time sleeping through the night, despite a mix of morphine and Xanax around midnight.  Really want a cigarette.

Saturday night
I won't be getting the biopsy done until Monday, because the pathologist needs to be aournd.  Hopefully this doesn't extend the stay any, and I can go home by Tuesday.  

Evie wants me to stay with her when I am discharged, and that sounds good to me.  She's coming to see me tomorrow, which is great.  She'll be bringing my Surface Pro2 with her, so I'll finally be able to go online after so long away.

Well, as you can see, I am online again.  So good to see Evie, and she spent a few hours here.

I know this was a ridiculous amount to read, not sure many of you made it through, but as always, I like to keep an account of what is going on in my life.

I think I am doing fairly well on an emotional/mental and spiritual level, and will continue to try to do so.

Thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Review: Wonderland; a coloring book inspired by Alice's adventures

Wonderland is a beautifully illustrated coloring book.  Definitely inspiring.

Filled with your favorite characters from Alice in Wonderland, you'll find the Cheshire Cat, The Mad Hatter, and many others within.  All are beautifully designed, and lots of fun to color.

The pages are thick, preventing bleeding if you're using colored markers.

The cover comes off to reveal additional drawings for coloring, and there's even drawings on the other side of the cover.

There are also a few puzzles for you to solve, involving the playing cards.  Answer key is in the back of the book.

Some of the illustrations leave space for you to add a few of your own drawings.  Not something I'm so interested in doing, but a cute idea, nonetheless.

I'd say that this is one of the nicer coloring books available on the market today, and you will not be disappointed.

For further info, follow this link: 
More Info
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

and so on

So, its been a month since getting my tram-flap reversal surgery.  I am still experiencing pain, though it has been somewhat different in nature.  Have had expected post-operative pain.  The old pain, which I've had for the past one+ year, has dissipated a bit, but not entirely.  I am still taking pain medication, and often find myself counting the hours to when I can take another dose.  That's not too good, I guess.
I had the drains in for a couple of weeks before they were pulled, but then ended up having fluid build up under my skin, and had to have it aspirated with a needle.  Just this past wednesday, my plastic surgeon actually reinserted a drain on the right side, because the build up was too great.  Also, he wrapped my chest tightly with ace bandages to inhibit the fluids from having anywhere to build up.  This has been super uncomfortable for me, and even makes it hard to breathe.  I'm hating it.
Much of the time I am just feeling worn out and weak.  When I am outside walking, I thank God there are benches in the neighborhood where I can sit and rest, because sometimes it feels like I will just pass out if I don't.
I do think this surgery has improved my situation some, even though I've been feeling like crap anyway.  Not sure that makes any sense, but it's how I feel.
My breathing has been especially poor.  I find myself using the rescue inhaler several times throughout the day, most especially just after sleeping, when I think the congestion really builds up in my lungs.
So, it hasn't really been the best of times, but I still hold out some hope.
I'm not sure when or if I will ever feel fully well again.  Its been so long now.
Its been two and a half years since I was first diagnosed with breast cancer.  The whole time has been filled with surgeries, treatments, and pain.  Enough already!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Review: Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui

This book will explain how clutter in your life and home can affect your general well-being, and how you can clear a path to a better life.
There are different types of clutter... not only the physical kind you can see in a messy house.  There's also emotional, mental, and spiritual clutter...  as well as physical, body clutter.
Each of these things can cause a definite stagnation of well-being.
When things flow smoothly, there's is greater balance in one's life.  Clutter can disturb the natural flow, and result in a detrimental effect, causing even disease.
Author, Karen Kingston, offers tips and techniques on clearing the many different types of clutter that can be affecting your well-being.
She identifies the many different types of clutter, and how you can rid yourself of each.
With perseverance and determination, you can gradually clear the path for greater clarity and enjoyment.

For further info, follow these links:  More Info
  • Author Bio
  • I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

    Friday, March 18, 2016

    So many roads to recovery

    Yesterday I underwent surgery to reverse the tram-flap breast reconstruction which has caused me so much pain since I had it done in January 2015.  It was ambulatory surgery lasting only two hours, but since I have diminished lung compacity, and experienced acute respiratory failure after the original reconstruction, I worried terribly that I'd wake up intubated again, and have to be admitted.  To my great relief, everything went well, and I woke with no tube, and was able to be discharged a couple of hours later.  Yay!
    My sister, of course, accompanied me, waited for me, and then took me to dinner before going home.  She is a great source of strength for me, and I am so thankful.
    Had I just had my double mastectomy back in October 2013, I would have have been left basically flat-chested and scarred.  As it is, I had the reconstruction AND basically the deconstruction, leaving me quite a bit more impacted.  It is only the day after the operation, so I'm hoping it will improve some once I've healed a bit, but for the most part I think I will remain fairly deformed.  Quite dented in some places, protruding in others.  Ugh.
    I am in qutie a bit of new pain from being cut open again.  Extremely sore and tight.  To be expected for a while, I guess.  It will take a while before I can adequately assess the overall pain experience.
    Its been a long hard road since I was first diagnosed with breast cancer two and a half years ago.  I hope this is the last of my operations, and that the pain will dissapate or at least be tolerable.  That is my primary focus.
    The range of motion in my arms has lessened even more with this procedure.  After some recovery time, when I am able to do light exercising of my limbs, this may improve.
    I've had good moral and emotional support from my friends and family, and am very lucky in that respect.
    The visual deformity will take some time to overcome, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually.  It is, though, secondary, to the aspect of pain which has been the most debilitating during this past year or so.  I just have to be gentle to myself, and try to accept, with grace, what has transpired.
    Of course I have drains in place again... two of them, and am really hoping they can be removed after a couple of weeks, and not have to remain for the six to eight weeks I had them after the first two operations. They are just an annoyance, and pretty disgusting to have to deal with.
    Having lost my mom, just shortly after the reconstruction last year, has been one of the hardest things to deal with.  There is something inside of me that just so needs to share with her what I have been going through.  Of course I do "talk" to her, and trust that her and my dad are watching over me.
    On another note, Spring arrives shortly, and with it we are expecting another snow storm here in New York City. Predictions are ranging from a possible  eight inches, though some readings say it may just move out to sea.  Personally, I'm hoping for the snow, as I'm not exactly ready to say good-bye to winter just yet. I'm really not that impacted by it, since I'm mostly staying home anyway.  I kind of like the cozy quiet feel of being snowed in for a little while.
    So, I am on the road to recovery yet again.  Going to try my best to regain some normality to my life once and for all.

    Thursday, February 11, 2016

    Book Review: Paris Street Style, a coloring book

    Here I am, trying yet another coloring book.  With this one, Paris Street Style, I believe I hit the jackpot!

    This book is so lovely.

    Firstly, it has a chocolatey-brown semi-hard cover, lightly embossed in gold.  There is a satin ribbon to keep your place, and an elastic band to keep the book closed.  Smaller than most coloring books, it is a handy square, about 8"x 8" or so.  Handy enough to throw into your handbag, and perhaps use while waiting in the doctor's office.  I love the size of it.

    The drawings are such fun.  Many different looks of dress attire,  pages filled with fanciful shoes and sneakers, underwear and bras.  hats and socks, myriad hair coifs,  and so much more.

    This is a coloring book that you can spend hours enjoying... I know I will.

    For more info, visit these links:

    I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

    Wednesday, February 3, 2016

    Book review: Cats in Paris, a magical coloring book

    The idea of this book is a good one, but  the execution of it leaves a lot to be desired.
    The drawings are often over detailed, and can even be called scribbly.  This makes coloring an effort, rather than an enjoyment.
    Also, several of the pages have repetitive images, something I do not enjoy at all.
    This will certainly not be one of my go-to coloring books when I want to de-stress.
    Very disappointing.

    For more information, follow these links:More Info
  • Author Bio

  • I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

    Friday, January 29, 2016

    What's been happening

    As I mentioned in my last update, I was unable to get my pain meds because of the exhoritant cost due to a large deductible.  The crushing pain came back with a vengence, and I suffered for five days before calling an ambulance to take me to the emergency room.
    I sat in the ER for four arduous hours before being seen.  I cried several times during the wait, just unable to hold back the tears.
    The doctor gave me two percocets, that being the cheapest pain med around, and a prescription for ten more.
    They let me lay down on a gurney for about fifteen minutes, and then the doctor came along with discharge papers.
    I was barely out of pain by the time I left the hospital.
    Walked (so slowly) a couple of blocks to find an ATM, as I had no money on me, and needed to take a car service home.

    The car dropped me off at my pharmacy, where I had the script filled, and then went home to go to bed.
    Days later, I went to see my pain management doctor, and asked him to please prescribe me some percocet for the pain.  He was very nasty, and literally yelled at me, saying he doesn't prescribe those kinds of narcotic pain killers.
    Now, here I was, in pain again, as the ER prescription had run out.

    The doctor said I'd have to see somebody else if I wanted the percocet, and he referred me to another pain management doctor a few blocks away.
    This new doctor wanted to give me only two pills a day, which was a far cry from what I needed for round the clock relief.  After some pleading, he agreed to prescribe three a day.

    I know there is great controversy surrounding addiction to pain medications, and doctors are afraid of prescribing drugs like percocet.  This sure doesn't help you when you are suffering from debilitating pain.
    When I went to get my prescription filled, I thought it would cost maybe twenty or thirty dollars, percocet being a fairly cheap drug.  Because of my huge deductible, the cost was $72.  I couldn't believe it.  Luckily, my pharmacy lets me charge things till the next month,which is what I had to do.
    The three pills a day weren't enough to keep me out of pain till the next dose was due, so I spent at least an hour or two back in pain before I could take another pill.
    Once the pain comes back it is harder to get relief again.  It's very frustrating.

    The side effects from this drug are hard to deal with.  Lots of sleep is necessary because it knocks you out.  Then there is the horror of your bowels seizing up, which happened to me for the first eleven days.  Stool softeners and laxatives caused massive stomach cramping, so it seemed if I didn't have one type of pain, I had another.
    Give me a break already!!
    I haven't been out of the house at all, in I don't know how long.  We had a massive snow storm, about 27 inches, but unfortunately I didn't even go out to experience it a little bit.
    I need to see my plastic surgeon again, to schedule the reversal of the reconstruction, but have to wait for the beginning of the month, when I have some money to pay for transportation and co-pays.  Same old story.
    Right now I am hungry, and so hoping my social security check comes in early, so I can buy some food.  If it doesn't come in today (friday), I will have to wait until monday.  Ugh.
    I know this is all pretty boring to read, assuming you got this far.  Sorry about that, but I do want to keep an account of what's happening in my life since getting breast cancer in 2013.
    Maybe someday in the future I will be beyond this misery, and I can look back on these passages with a healthy detachment.

    Thursday, January 28, 2016

    Book Review: Eleanor

    Jason Gurley has crafted a wonderful book which takes you through the tragedies surrounding Eleanor's life.  The main character shifts between the worlds of the ordinary and the fantastical, as she walks through doors which suddenly bring her into another dimension altogether.  This happens to her repeatedly. 
    Ultimately this story show how salvation can be attained through the love of family.
    It is a sweeping saga that takes us across generations.... dealing with loss and tragedy, and heartbreak.  It breaks you down, and then builds you up again.
    A mysterious and magical work of fiction.

    For more information, see the following links:
    I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for posting an honest review.