Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How did this happen?

You very rarely hear me say that sentence or anything similar~is there something I did? is this bad karma? how did this happen to me? I was going on my merry way, cooking, teaching, traveling, enjoying my family and great food, having fun, being a good person and then this comes along and rips my world upside down. How did this happen to me? I want my life back.

Laying in bed 20 hours a day allows all these thoughts to come to the surface.

Try as I might I do have these moments where I think~what happened to my life?

As I speak to more and more people I realize that everyone is going through something. It may not be Cancer but no matter where you are in your daily life you are dealing with questions about family, finances, friends, health, love, about living, about what it really means to get up every morning and have a purpose.

I try as much as I can to let every day be a blessing. I try to turn my sights to how really blessed I am with family and friends and support through this all. Even the small fact that I love my bedroom where I now spend most of my time.

This weekend I learned an important thing.
Clint and I were watching the Nascar Daytona 500 on TV.  Danica Patrick is driving for Nascar, one of the three women who ever drove in that sport. She was in a horrific crash in one of the races. Her car was hit and it went flying, turning this way and that, she had no control as she hit the wall and spun around.
As the inside camera showed her movements, she lifted her both hands off the wheel and put them to her face.
Instead of trying to control a car where the steering wheel was ripping from side to side, she took her hands away from the steering wheel and let the car go where it might. I thought to myself that would be a good lesson in life, when you really can't control what is happening to you, it is best to let go and let life take over. Stop the drama and the fight against what you can't control and let it be.

This has been a tough two weeks for me, I never really felt good at all. Today is Wednesday and I go in tomorrow for another infusion. I am tired, weak, nauseous, I really haven't stepped out of the house in almost 2 weeks, I am not sure if I can do another 2 weeks without feeling good at all. I will go down and maybe he can give me a week off just so I can feel like myself again before I go in for another round of chemo.
Thank you for all your cards and notes, we really appreciate it. Thank you for everything actually, for just being there for me, makes all the difference in the world.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Keep them coming

Enduring this chemo is not fun, I will be the first to say so, I wake up more tired, if that is all possible, then when I went to sleep. It is an exhausting tired, a fretful tired, a despicable tired. Takes your breath away, and on days I feel like I am sleeping my life away in my bedroom. It is nice out side an all I can do is just sleep, very discouraging.

I wake up and try to be grateful for all that I have. I do have so much in my life.

One of the things that keeps me going are your notes, letters, emails, calls. I look forward to it each and every day. I love to read the notes that let me know how we met, how you've come to classes, what you make from my cookbook. It is just wonderful for me. My new favorite person is the mail man.
I love the reassurance, the inspiration, the love you send to me. It helps, each and every note helps me to get better.
You are giving me my own words back, tell me I can do this, that I am strong. It is just what I need to feel~ like I can do this.
I have always been a positive person but these past months have tested my strength. I lost myself in the sadness of it all, I thought I would never be myself again. With all your help I am on my way to being better, with all your love and words of encouragement, with all your prayers and thoughts, cards and notes. Telling me how much I mean to you, telling me how much cooking made a difference, these are true gifts to me and I love each and every one. Thank you.
Thank you for being there for me, for letting me know I did make a difference.
This is my 3rd infusion and it is tiring, how else to put it?
I am in bed most days, from the morning until night time, getting up just to maybe eat a little something or just go to the bathroom. It has almost been a week since the infusion and I feel no different.
So each day I know my body is just trying to recover from these drugs, I know I will get better, one day at a time.
Please keep writing!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A visit from Jonny

Around this time last year a very close friend of my daughter's, a NHL linesman came to visit.

I've know Jonny as long as Tina and every time he comes to Philly to o a game he comes to visit us.

He is newly married and brought his French beautiful wife. It was such a nice visit and we went to the game the next afternoon. Jonny always says a prayer when they drop the first puck and I got to see it first hand! God has to be listening to that!!!

I go in for Chemo tomorrow, one day earlier. I am just starting to feel better~go figure!
I am sure I will be sleep induced for a while!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Come one , come all to the Circus!

As I was sleeping and dreaming in my chemo induced state last week, my daughter was planning her son Brandon's 6th birthday.
Tina has one a theme for each of her kids birthdays since they have been born, these kids know how to pick a theme and Brandon wanted a Circus theme. There was a clown doing face painting and balloon animals, there was a hot dog machine with all the fixings, there was a candy table made in heaven, the kids went crazy, there was a party photo box where you pick your own costume and take a picture.
 Red balloon noses to try on!

Tina even hand cut from tissue paper the rings of tissue that went around the elephant's neck, she thought of everything.
I was able to stop by for a short visit and here are some of the fantastic pictures!

The kids had a great time and so did the adults!

Cookies, cupcakes, peanuts, candy, hot dogs you name it and Tina had it!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Longer than expected

It has been a little more than a week since I've been infused by chemo.

We went down last Friday and I was in a much better place than I was before. This time I feel like I can do this. I was not feeling sick. We went down early to get a blood test. They always do this right before chemo to make sure the counts are OK. As I was sitting and getting all my drugs the nurse showed up and told me that I had a very low blood count, that I was" 2 pints low" as Clint put it, like changing the oil in a car!

After the  infusion they wanted to give me a blood transfusion. This is something I never had before and I did read enough of the Vampire movies to give me a little pause before I said OK. It is a little freaky to see someone else blood go right into your veins. All this new and exciting stuff happening... stroke, blood transfusion? what he heck is happening??

As I asked the nurse what would happen~ she put it this way " A little pep in your step" I was expecting to dance out of there but that really didn't happen. I went home with my bag of 5FU, right to bed. I was unhooked on Sunday but received a liter of water and then again on Monday another liter of water. They are pumping me full of all the things that the chemo drains of you. Today is Saturday and I have to say that I have been in bed since last Friday, today the following Saturday, being the only day I started to feel better.
Fatigue, how to explain? I can sleep almost 24 hours and then wake up still completely exhausted. no other way to say it. When the doctor tried to explain the symptoms from all these drugs, he had all the other symptoms on one page and FATIGUE on a page by itself. It deserves a page all to itself!

So here I am starting to feel just a little bit better, not queasy, eating small amounts, just so damn tired!
I figure it is my body fighting all the bad stuff and leaving me weak, and so I sleep.
This week, not so bad.
Thank you for all the cards, food, notes, and prayers. I feel loved each and every day and I thank you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


A very close friend from my fathers childhood wrote to me to tell me I will be OK, that I have a gift from my father and that is resiliency.
Resiliency is what got me through this week.
How do you pass a week from a stroke? Today almost to the minute I was having a stroke in my own bedroom, there was no warning, all of a sudden I could not do what I had taken for granted for so long. Answer a question, find a word, even speak, it was a terrifying experience.
I came home after spending a day and night in the hospital, I went through a battery of tests, constant asking my name, simple things I could not remember. Yes, they were in my head, I just couldn't get them out.
I came home scared, that it could happen again and both Clint and I asking "how in the world did this happen" We still sit and talk about it. Beyond that, I am starting to fell better. My nausea is gone, the bad taste in my mouth is gone, I have my appetite back and most important of all is that Clint says I have my "Smiley" face on. I look at him and he is smiling back at me, a wonderful sight!
I wake up in the morning and hear the birds and I think, how lucky I am to have another day to feel better, to take care of myself, I am lucky indeed.

I started to take better care of me, I had let so much go, I just didn't feel good, but I did get a pedicure and get rid of all that Fu-Man-Chou hair on my chin, you know, the hair that grows one inch in a day!
My eyebrows looked like Andy Rooney's too, had them trimmed up too. 

With this chemo, I should lose all my hair very shortly, or so the doctor is telling me to be prepared. My mom offered to get a wig, something I was especially against the first time I did this, but I gave in.
The people in Media were so friendly and helpful and it doesn't look bad at all. I am excited! (well almost)
I am still very tired and I definitely know something happened in my body, I can feel it. I am very lucky indeed. I still have trouble with words and phrases, just have to think a little more before I speak, which is not a bad thing after all.

I am so grateful for all your prayers and support, you remind me that yes, I can do this, yes every morning is a present.
Thank you for all your love and support of me.