Tuesday, January 27, 2015

the road to recovery

Went through quite a surgery four days ago, for my breast reconstruction. It was seven hours long, and involved intense abdominal surgery, required for the muscle and fat.  Post operatively I experienced acute respiratory failure, and had to reintubated.  I developed pneumonia. I was in surgical ICU.  The following day I had the tube removed, much to my relief.  Spent saturday and sunday in the step down unit, and was considered stable enough to be discharged today, monday.  I have a considerable amount of pain, but the percocet does help some.  Got a couple of surgical drains that I have to deal with.  That's pretty gross. Lots more doctor visits ahead, and truly, I am just tired.  I pray there are no new complications, and that this is the end road in my breast cancer journey.  Except for nipples, but that is a fairly simple procedure, OR 3d tattooing process.  Another 6 or 7 months, I believe, before I get to make that decision.  Who knows, I may opt out of it altogether.  So far, there has been the bilateral masectomy with multiple lymph node discetion, port insetion, chemo  for four months,  radiation for 35 sessions, port removal, (and currently) removal of tissue expanders,  TRAM flap surgery (free flap), and hopefully that is pretty much it.  If anything, I think I'd get the tattoos, as they are very realistic, and the area is fully numb, so it's no big deal.

This has been a long road.  If not going through some type of treatment, there was always the anticipation of treatment/surgery to come.  It has been 15 months.  Once I'm recovered now, I wonder what lies ahead for me. There must be a change ahead.  Something of accomplishment, other than kicking cancer's ass.  Maybe it will be the completion of my novel, and the subsequent publishing of it.  That would surely be a kick.

We're having a blizzard tonight.  I may have stayed the hospital a day longer, but that would've ended up being days instead, with no way of getting transportation.  Was able to get an ambulette this afternoon, but tonight there's a curfew for being on the road.  No public transportation either.  Hopefully people are where they should be, and hopeless make their way to shelters.

When I went to the hospital, I brought my Surface with me, which had been fully charged the day before but suddenly dropped to availability of 7 mins!  And I forgot the bring the charger with me.  Oh well.  It would've been something to do, because it was all so boring.

I was told that I wouldn't be able to stand or lie straight postoperatively, but I am able to do both.

Wish I was able to share some photos, but that just hasn't been happening.  Couldn't very well bring such expensive equipment to a relatively unsecure place.  Would've taken pics of my nurses and aides, and resident doctors, and my plastic surgeon.  Too bad, I would've liked that.

I hear the snow plows scraping along the streets.

Monday, January 12, 2015


In less than 2 weeks I am scheduled for my TRAM flap operation.  A 7 hour long process, and quite an involved procedure where the muscle fat etc of the abdominal muscles are used to create breasts.  That is just stating it simply... it is an intense and complicated surgery.  I will wake with pain controlled by morphine, I assume.  Just wanna wake up, that's all... 7 hours is a long time to be under.  I'm nervous about the whole thing.  It scares me, but I want to have it done.  The recovery is hell for a good two weeks, and then tapers off some when I can finally lay straight and stand straight.  I'm hoping the drains (at least 4) won't have to stay in for too many weeks.
I've yet to get clearance from my pcp, and have to hustle to do that this week, I didn't know.  She hasn't seen me in well over a year, and won't be too happy about that.  Pre admission testing next week.  So between the pcp and PAT, that'll be a lot of blood taken.    All this happening in too short a time for my liking.  I could back up and postpone, but I so want to be done with this whole friggin thing.  
This is going to be the worse of it, I know.  A lot to endure for the sake of breasts, but there is something deep inside that wants breasts again, or at least the allusion of them (illusion?  whatever).  It's something I don't think I need to explain.
Tired of thinking about it, but being right around the corner, which it is, it's hard not to.
No pictures this year so far, and something tells me it'll be a while before there are any at all.  I actually shot off two frames of the top of my head, with my silly hair growth on the 1st, just to have pushed that shutter... but odd thing... it registered as if taken on the 2nd.  Don't quite understand why, and hey  I'm rambling like crazy here.
Listening to Buffalo Springfield , For What It's Worth, on Pandora radio.  "Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep.."

Mixed bag on Pandora, but mostly stuff I dig.  You pick the artists you want, and they add similar artists.  Good stuff.

Going on 2am.  Wish I had a sedative to take, but have none.

Aah, Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay.  Thank you, Pandora radio.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Welcome, 2015!

It's a new year!  I wish all of you good health, prosperity, love and joy.  I found this pic/saying online, and liked the sound of it.

Oh well, it won't upload for some reason.  It said: 2015  This is the year I will be stronger, braver, kinder, and unstoppable.  This year I will be FIERCE.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

new year's eve

During these last hours of 2014, I'm going over the year.  The first half was all cancer treatment, months of chemo, and weeks of radiation.  A lot of exhaustion and pain.  Radiation was so bad, just tedious, doing it every day (cept sat and sun) for about 7 weeks.  Then, moving back into my apartment (I had been living with evie during my treatments).  Just took it easy for the rest of the year, really, going to family gatherings at Melis's house, or Tree's place.  Took a short but very nice vacation in August with Tree, Melis and Logan.   Since then the months have rushed by.
I'm looking forward to good changes.  My reconstruction is scheduled for the end of january, and hopefully that's when it will be.  I've not been smoking, as per my plastic surgeon's orders, and it is very hard.  Just taking it day by day, that's all I can do.
I want to work on the hard copy of my novel once and for all this coming year.  Yes, that's a resolution... or maybe just one for the bucket list.  I want to take way more pictures...  I only take the camera out for events with Logan, or something similar.  That's all well and good, but I want to get some creative shots going.  I want to go to Starbucks with my Surface, just for a cuppa joe and the chance to use public wi-fi.  I want to do some things that I can't imagine doing right now, but when I do them, I'll remember writing this, and refer to this post in a new post telling of the adventure.
I wish a wonderful year to all of you reading this.  May it be magical.

Here's a recent shot of the winter sky.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Had a lovely Christmas Eve at my niece, Melissa's place.  Logan gave me a small wooden jewelry box that says Aunt, You're the coolest, on it.  I will treasure it forever.  Children make Christmas wonderful.

Friday, December 5, 2014


There will always be songs that remind of times gone by, of certain people.  But what are the songs in your life that remind you of yourself for some reason?  For me, there are such songs.  It is not necessarily their words (but sometimes, yes)… they are like photographs of a you who once was.  For me, Neil Young’s Down By the River, is one of those songs that reminds me of me, or more especially, who I was in my 30’s.  My song for myself.  Same goes for Otis Redding’s Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay…. Reminds me of a very young me, who was very taken by the words to that song when it came out, and identified with it for whatever reason.
What would be my song for today, for who I’ve become, rather than who I was?  I don’t have a song for today.  Well, maybe I do… I like that song Brave, by some woman who’s name I simply cannot remember.  Yea, that’s my today song.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Modigliani this time

In continuing with copying great artists, here is an acrylic painting I did of one of Modigliani's many portraits of his wife, Jeanne Hebuterne.   Had fun doing this one.  Below it is Modigliani's original.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Otto Dix

Recently, me and my friend Evie have decided to do some drawings or paintings copying famous artists.  Here is my rendition of Otto Dix's Portrait of the Journalist Sylvia Von Harden.

I am not much of an artist, but it was fun to do.

Here is the original:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

on high

Been having trouble with the autofocus on the 50mm lens I've newly been using.  Trying it out now on manual , which makes more sense in my head.  Haven't been in the most photographic circumstances, so I am still testing things out.
It was a gloomy evening, grey clouds heavy with rain, cold skies.  Took a few shots without checking any images to determine whether my exposure was any good... and it wasn't.  The shots were just plain underexposed.  Added enough contrast in PP that I brought up a bit of something, but I was way off.  Had the fstop at 14 for a couple, and maybe would've been fine at f8.  Could've upped the iso from 200, but I don't often mess with that.  Speed was as slow as I could get it (1/60) and still be ok handheld.

"marathon route"

color under grey skies

Just images taken from the window.  Some leaves have changed, some remain green.  I like the colors of the private houses.
Depending on the skies, I will go to the roof soon, and hopefully shoot the bridge at sunset.  So many contraptions (mobile phone crap) on the roof that it is hard to navigate.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

super heroes and heroines

Tonight there was a Halloween party at my great-nephew's school, St. Patricks.  He went as Batman, and his mama went as Bat Girl.  A beautiful pairing.  The music was loud, and the kids danced, and were loud... I am definitely feeling my age!  (click on any pic to see the series larger)

Batman and BatGirl

some grown-ups got in on the action, too

a dance with mommy

little friends