Sunday, November 30, 2008

Boss's wife

My boss, who is also our personal friend, called this morning to tell me his wife fell out of the hayloft in their barn. She broke her back and thumb. She's in ICU at the hospital.

I'm really upset, worried and concerned for her and their family. I believe in the power of prayers so I'm emailing and calling friends to give their prayers and support.

I got a call this afternoon letting me know that she was discharged from the hospital and on the way home. I'm so glad it wasn't any worse than it is. Her back is broke in four places but she can walk. I am so relieved!

Sunday Morning

I woke up at 5 this morning. Hubby was up getting ready to go pheasant hunting with his brother at Warriorsmark. He was making so much noise I couldn't sleep so I got up. He went to McDonald's to pick up some breakfast for the trip and I asked for a biscuit and Diet Coke.

I looked at emails and then websites and decided to work on updating our next year's DAR chapter program book and sort of got sidetracked into filling out VIS forms online for various chapter members who I've asked to do work.

I'm the regent for the Braddock Trail Chapter NSDAR. Our annual fundraising event is going on this week and next. We host the annual Festival of Lights which goes to cover repairs on the 1886 Victorian mansion we own which was built by Samuel Warden.

We received 1st place in the American Heritage Cultural Events contest sponsored by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. To promote the theme, Hospitality through the Ages, Braddock Trail members decorated the Warden Mansion for the 2007 Festival to reflect the hospitality and traditions of a Christmas in Colonial Williamsburg. The pineapple, the symbol of Linda Gist Calvin, President General of the National Society, was prominently displayed throughout the house. Friday night we had a lot of guests touring the house and viewing the trees. This year's theme is Christmas Around the World.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yesterday at the cancer center

I had an appointment at the cancer center yesterday for my monthly port flush. I walked in the door and said to Crystal the receptionist that the pumpkins in the reception area were getting moldly so I was taking them home to feed to my goats and chickens. Last month they were decorating the center for Halloween along with spider webs and spiders hanging from the ceiling. I reminded her that I told her last month I would take them if she called. She forgot to call.

I got my port flushed and went back out to claim my pumpkins. Crystal had put them in a wheel chair. Some of the patients said, "Here comes the pumpkin lady." I laughed. Another person said that one of the pumpkins looked somewhat moldy. I told her the goats weren't picky they'd eat it anyway. Someone else told me to save the pumpkin seeds. I told him I would even though I've never had luck growing anything where we live. Too much clay and water.

Crystal and I wheeled the pumpkins out to my truck while snow poured down. Now that was funny! I drove out of the parking lot with six pumpkins rolling around on the floor in the back of my truck. I was afraid I'd get home and have smashed pumpkins all over the floor. Boy hubby would be mad!

One of the pumpkins must have weighed 30 lbs! I hauled it over to the goats and it busted when I threw it over the fence. The jumped right on it! The rotted one I threw in to the chickens. They weren't too excited over it. Usually they are. Maybe they don't like somewhat moldy pumpkins. I thought they'd go right for the seeds! I didn't think the ducks would eat a pumpkin so I didn't give them one. I left two pumpkins out for the bunnies to eat. When I got in from work today I noticed teeth marks on them. :)

Snow!

You'd think living in western PA I'd get used to snow or even enjoy it but I don't. I love spring and autumn. Summer isn't bad either I just don't like cold weather and snow is a big hassle for me. It makes it difficult to feed the animals although I do get a workout doing it. Hauling buckets of water and feed then carrying hay to the goats. But there's all that snow that gets stuck to the bottom of my boots making me feel like Frankenstein taking a walk with those enormous boots of his.

Last night hubby didn't get home until 8 p.m. That made for a very late dinner. We watched the last episode of My Own Worst Enemy that we had on DVR. I keep reading that this show has been canceled. I don't know why. It's a really interesting show. There's some violence but it's minimal not like 24 or even the last episode of Heroes. Now that was so disgusting the other night. Anyway, M.O.W.E. was really good.

I better get moving.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Where do certain dreams come from?

Oh my! The phone rang at 10 a.m. and woke me up. Whew! I can't believe I slept that long! I'm not working today but that's not the point. Why was I still in bed?

It was hubby calling. He was checking on me. He was surprised I was still in bed. Geez, that makes two of us! He said I had a bad dream in the middle of the night and woke him up. I was screaming Help, Help, Help! at the top of my lungs and then said no bad thoughts, no bad thoughts. What was that about? I remember having a dream about being in a hotel and being chased by a black bear. Was that it? Where does this stuff come from? I could write sci-fi based on my dreams.

Ok, I'm up now. Time to get moving. Lots to do around here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My granddaughter


Here's a pic of my beautiful granddaughter Jassmine. She'll be two in May. This is my youngest son's daughter.

It's warm under the covers

Hubby just came home from a dog trial. He worked two of the three days at the beagle club. There were at least two inches of snow on the ground and I couldn't figure out why anyone would be out running dogs in this weather!

This time last year I would have gone with him if I could, but he can't ply me out from under the warm covers on the bed for anything now! Everyone asked where I was. He just kept telling them I was home in bed.

I'm not sick or anything, I just enjoy sleeping in on weekends. Hubby is one of those go-getter types and you can't keep him home in bed for anything! And I've tried.

Usually he's out hunting on weekends or running some of the dogs. If it's not the beagles it's his german shorthaired pointers. He just got back from a week of pheasant hunting in North Dakota with my dad. They had a great time.

I used to go to brace beagle field trials by myself when hubby couldn't get off work to attend. Most of the time I was the only female handler at the trial. I met a lot of people, most that I'm happy to call friend.

I was diagnosed with colon cancer in September 2007. After suffering with diarrhea for six months (what the heck was I thinking?) I went to the family doctor. He sent me for test after test. All came back negative. Finally I suggested a colonoscopy citing family history of colon cancer. We scheduled the colonoscopy for the 5th of September. I was the youngest person in the surgical prep area. I remember waking up with the doctor telling me I needed to have surgery right away because they had found a tumor. Hubby and I cried our eyes out. No one else in post-op was given bad news.

Shoot, now we have to find a surgeon. Like, who do you ask? No one I knew had a surgeon for backup so we got a referral from the family doctor. He made an appointment for me the following week.

I thought it was going to be a consultation so I went alone to see the surgeon. Lord, this guy was scary! The first thing he said to me after he sat down was this is a fast moving cancer and it's probably spread to your liver and lymph nodes so you don't have much time. Knock me off the chair why don't you?! We scheduled the surgery for the 17th.

I left the office and went to the nearest place I could think which was the restaurant my son was working at. He wasn't there so I sat and waited. I called everyone I could think of to give them the news. You always wonder how people react to this type of news. I sat and cried and made phone calls. Thank goodness for my cellphone.

All of my family came up for the surgery. No one person had a nice thing to say about my surgeon. Thank goodness he's a good surgeon. He removed the tumor and 17 lymph nodes plus 12 inches of colon. The lymph nodes came back clear. He felt a mass on my pancreas but didn't want to remove it.

He sent me for an endoscopic biopsy at UPMC to find out what the mass on the pancreas was. Thank God! This was the place I needed to be. The biopsy came back as colon cancer which spread to a lymph node which attached itself to the pancreas. From here it's good news.

I was referred to Dr. Jim Moser at UPMC! (Update December 19, 2013: Just found out that Dr. Moser is now in Boston!) From our first meeting with him we felt such a relief! He explained what we were dealing with and what the game plan was. Six months of chemo to shrink the lymph node, followed by possible radiation, and surgery to remove the lymph node.

My mom had been staying with us on and off throughout my recovery from surgery. She wanted to be with me when I started chemo but she had bronchitis and was contagious. I had signed up for a clinical trial to test a new chemo drug. After 12 days on the drug I ended up in the hospital. It became toxic to my system and almost killed me. I was in the hospital for 11 days and missed Christmas with my family.

Everyone tells me about my hospital stay because I don't remember any of it. Even though I almost died it sounds like I had a heck of a time and kept everyone laughing! What a blast!

Mom came to stay and stay she did. Almost the entire six months of chemo she stayed and took care of me. I don't know how some people have the fortitude to get up and go to work, take care of their kids, etc. Most days I stayed in bed. Mom would get me up in the morning and fix me breakfast, make sure I drank enough fluids and took my meds. Then I'd take a nap and she'd wake me back up before hubby got home. She cooked our food and washed our clothes. There wasn't anything she didn't do for us.

The Arnold Palmer Cancer Center is a real godsend. The people are amazing! They treat you like gold or better. They treat you like FAMILY. The patients sit around talking to one another and family members are encouraged to be there with you during treatment.

So, I made it through six months of chemo. In between all of this I'd had two PET scans to see if the cancer was shrinking. It was. My surgery was scheduled for the end of July 2008. I was so nervous up until about a month before surgery. Finally I prayed and asked God to allow me to have peace about the surgery. I left it to God and Dr. Moser.

I recall getting to the hospital that morning and being in pre-op but nothing after the anesthesiologist put nerve blocks in my back. Five days later I woke up. The surgery was uneventful. Dr. Moser didn't find any cancer although he found where the cancer had been. He cleaned off the pancreas and searched the other organs. Nothing. It was a miracle!

For some reason I stopped breathing after surgery and was transferred to ICU. I was there 5 days. I was on a ventillator. I do recall waking up and everything was this transient type dream. I kept thinking I was having de-ja-vu. Then hubby walked in and my mind became clear again.

I had absolutely no pain after surgery. None! I had them stop the pain meds in my IV while in the hospital.

I was so thankful to be alive! Dr. Moser stopped in to see me and told me that all the pathology slides came back free of cancer. I couldn't believe it! It was too much to have asked for! As my mom says, "we're blessed."

It's now almost 4 months after surgery. I went back to my part-time job just 2 weeks after surgery. I can lift 50 lb bags of feed and am now back to feeding our animals every day except weekends.

You see, I really enjoy my weekends. I love to sit in bed all day with the newspaper or my laptop. I've got my phone on the nightstand and the tv across from the bed. Everything I need is in close proximity to me. The bed is warm and I can reflect on the second chance I've been given. Hubby is just disappointed that I'm not out there basking in the cold weather right alongside of him. Maybe I can get him to join me in bed. Can't hurt to keep trying!