Sunday, May 31, 2009

43 Days and Counting

Yesterday we visited with Ralph and Jess. She has a little calendar at the door which said, "44 Days Left!" That makes today's count down 43 days until their wedding. Hoping I will still fit into the dress I bought to wear.

That breadmaker I picked up at the thrift store yesterday works great. I made two loaves of bread in it. It even has a programmable feature to allow you to set it to start up to 13 hours later. Really cool.

Phil had a work party/training day with the bird dog club today. He brought a small pizza home for lunch and I fixed French toast for dinner using the fresh bread I made today. Very good.

I noticed another three yellow peeps in the chicken house this morning.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I was playing at Farm Town last evening until 2 a.m. It is so addictive. I forgot to check it on Thursday and all my crops died so Farm Town deducted all my money. It stunk.

I woke up at 9:30 a.m. It was nice to sleep but Phil was out training Bella at Joe McDonald's down the road at Poor Man's Kennel. Funny name. Refers to being the opposite of the Cozy Pet Inn in Stahlstown. giggle

Went to Tractor Supply in Somerset and picked up the last three bags of Purina Hi Pro 50 pound bags. DaRn you Purina for discontinuing our dog feed and trying to substitute a more expensive 37.5 pound bag in it's place!

Bought a whole lot of stuff at T.S. and then went next door to Salvation Army Thrift Store (love those thrift stores) and picked up a used electric skillet, a breadmaker, a diaper genii for Jess' daycare, and a small pyrex baking dish. Grabbed a late lunch at McDonald's then headed over to Ralph and Jess' house to spend a little time with them. Jassie and Chucky were there.

It was so nice to sit in the sunshine. It has rained here all week long. Our ark has sailed. Bring on nice weather, please!

Invited to dinner by Jess' parents, Jim and Bev, we ate at The Red Brick restaurant in Westpoint outside of Greensburg. Nice little place. Enjoyed the company.

Oh, forgot to mention we have peeps hatching the last couple of days. Four hens are sitting on eggs. So far we have two yellow peeps and one black one. Got pecked, well, actually, bit by one of the hens! I picked her up to see if her eggs were hatching and she reached around and bit my forearm. Of course it bruised. The peeps are so cute at this age.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Star Trek

Phil and I went out to the 4:40 matinee showing of Star Trek. I had always liked the original series then enjoyed Next Generation and Deep Space Nine but by the time Janeway's Voyager came around I was tired of it.

We've seen all the movies. Most were a disappointment to me. This one was alright. Nothing great. Kind of followed the original series with background information but it was lacking.

The only characters that I enjoyed were Zachary Quinto's Spock and the actor playing Nero. They were realistic.

The storyline was really lacking. And, if you haven't seen it I won't go into detail or spoil it for you.

We ran into Dave and MaryAnn as we were running into CVS before the movie. A real surprise! It was good to see them even for a few minutes!

Dinner was late. We ordered take out from Foggy Mountain. Phil had the Delmonico steak and I had Chicken Marsala. Yum.

Phil is going to work the field trial at Somerset tomorrow. I already told him I'm staying home. Hopefully Bella will let me sleep in tomorrow morning.

Phil put the ducklings out in the pen with the adult ducks today. They enjoyed the pool to swim in. I hope they make it through the night. Not sure when I will turn the banty chicks out. I may wait until the eggs the hens are sitting on hatch. That should be a week or two from now.

Mom sent a text to say that Aunt Dot is somewhat better today but still has a CDIF infection and can't get the pacemaker until that is gone. I hope she is on the road to recovery now. Real scary how she took a turn for the worst last week.

Phil is still watching the Penguins. I just wonder when will it ever end?

Friday, May 22, 2009

What is with Mrs. Pigeon?

She is trying to build a nest above the door on the back porch and I am not happy one bit.

She and her mate have an old, above ground, rabbit cage that they have nested in. At least I know baby pigeons were hatched in it last year. Her mate has a tag on his leg but she doesn't. Maybe she was the one hatched last year. The rest of them flew out of the cage and were eaten by a hawk. Phil said they were traumatized by seeing their family members eaten. I don't think so. They still come out every day.

We've had phoebes nest above the door on the front porch every year since we built our house. This year they decided to build nests in the puppy whelping shed.

I'm going to suggest to Phil that once Mr. and Mrs. Pigeon go back to their cage to roost, that he lock the door on them so they can't get back out.

Update: Bad news. Mr. Pigeon bit the dust sometime yesterday. He's nowhere to be found which means he got eat up. Goodbye Mr. Pigeon. Sorry. Have to say Mrs. Pigeon is just not the same without you.

I was thinking last night

that next week, or to be more precise, May 27 of next week, will have been one year since I received my last chemo treatment! Isn't that amazing? I had been told that I would be on chemo for the rest of my life. Of course, they never said exactly how long my life was going to be or what they thought the life expectancy was.

Over Memorial weekend last year we were at Kim and Jill's. Kim's son Jeff, Mom and Dad, Greg and his two kids (Grant and Haley), plus me and Phil. It was a full house but I had so much fun when I wasn't puking from chemo. Ah, remembrance!

I was about to write that the only good thing to come out of chemo was that I lost weight but that's not true, I was cured. God and chemo equals cure for cancer.

Phil and I were discussing that 13 year old boy from MN who has Hodgkins. He did one session of chemo and quit. Doctors have said he has a 95 percent chance of full recovery by completing the chemo treatment. His parents are wanting to try holistic medicine instead of chemo. His doctors have said without chemo he only has a 5 percent chance to live.

What are his parents thinking? Be the parent here! Make a difficult choice and take your child for treatment and make sure that he gets it so he can live. Too many parents want to be friends with their children instead of being a parent. I wasn't raised that way and I didn't raise my sons that way either.

I didn't want to do chemo but my parents and Phil told me I had to. So, I did it. And, even with the discomfort and side effects from chemo I am glad I did.

Thank you God for another day! I am one of your living miracles.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hungry?

3:45 p.m. Come on over. I'm fixing fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and corn for dinner. I invited the kids over. Ralph and Jess are coming. Joe and Chrystal, and the kids couldn't make it. I'm hungry now.

What a beautiful day it's been. I sat out this morning and got sun kissed. Not burned, just a touch of sun on the shoulders. Brought out all the freckles.

All the animals are fed. Managed to do a few loads of laundry today. The only thing left is to start dinner which is what I'm heading to do now. Wish me luck!

8:46 p.m. Dinner was wonderful. Everything tasted so good. I sent leftovers home with the kids. I had forgotten how long it took to peel potatoes. I don't remember ever frying chicken in my life. With making the coating and then deep frying, it took about 45 minutes. Then I baked in the oven at 375 degrees for an hour. I fixed three packages of chicken (thighs and drumsticks). The mashed potatoes were so yummy! Glad I sent it all home with them or I'd be eating them right now. giggle

Phil is watching the Penguins playing the Hurricanes in the playoffs. They just made an announcement about a young boy named Bryce who was diagnosed three years ago with Melanoma. He gave a ballcap to Sidney Crosby through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Great thing is that Bryce has been cancer-free for two years now! Yeah! Way to go Bryce! More good news! Not all cancer patients die. A lot of us LIVE!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Today was

such a gorgeous day. Beautiful blue, sunny skies with gorgeous white clouds. I think the temp reached about 75. So nice!

I worked from 11-3 today which was nice. I'm going to go in earlier tomorrow. Have to go grocery shopping on the way home tomorrow. I invited Joe, Chrystal and the kids over for dinner Thursday night. I asked Ralph and Jess to come over but she said Ralph wants to go fishing. :( I guess he's going to miss a good meal.

Phil and I bought our fishing licenses yesterday then he looked at the guns on display at Walmart and decided to buy me a 20 gauge shotgun. It's a youth model and it's light so I'm sure I can shoot it. Now we have to practice. Of course, I still have to take a hunter safety course before I can get a hunting license but it will be fun.

We ran into Cherish while we were at Walmart. It was so good to see her. She said she's getting married next year. She was a part of our lives for more than two years. It's hard to let that go.

I ran on the treadmill tonight. Phil wanted to go on a walk outdoors but I'm too afraid of getting hit by a vehicle on the road. Too dangerous. I'll use the treadmill.

Jess' grandmother had another heart attack. Jess was at the hospital. The doctors will be doing a heart catherization(sp?) on her.

Phil's already in bed. Last night we had a beagle club meeting and didn't get home until after 9:30. It was after midnight when we finally went to bed. We stayed up and watched the season finale of 24.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Sunday then comes Monday!

It's quiet here at the house but I like it like that. I hate yelling, loudness and confusion. It does wacky things to my psyche.

Yesterday was Jassmine's Dora Birthday Party. It was at her other grandmother's house (MiMi). It was very nice. Lots of good food and a beautiful Dora cake. Loads and loads of pics were taken although I can't post any of them because I left my camera at MiMi's. Chrystal called and I told her I'd pick it up this week at her house.

I've been working on the cookbook fundraiser for our DAR chapter for the past couple of nights and all day this morning. We have 115 recipes posted and need at least 300 to get a good price on having them printed. Lots of yummy recipes! Making me super hungry.

Phil went to run dogs at the beagle club this morning. He got a call from a friend who bred our bitch, Scotch Hill Spice, to his stud, Prime Time Johnny B. Anyway, Phil had to drive over to Coraopolis to pick her up.

I got done feeding animals yesterday and was turning over logs in the yard so the chickens could eat the worms I uncovered and what did I uncover? A baby copperhead snake. Of course I didn't know what type of snake it was so I went to pick it up and it tried to bite me. It didn't pierce the skin, thankfully. I put it in a bucket and had Phil take a look at it. Definitely a copperhead.

Phil took a pic of it with the old camera. It was about six inches long. He turned it loose near the stream. Just worries me because where there's one snake there's lots more and copperheads are poisonous. We will have to be so very careful walking in the yard, watching the kids when they come over and making sure we don't turn over any logs.

Phil wants to go see the movie Angels & Demons starring Tom Hanks. Looking forward to seeing it with him. Looking forward to movie theatre popcorn! <---The movie was great. We both enjoyed it and the popcorn! :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Guess who's two?

My granddaughter, Jassmine, turned two today! Hooray! I remember being two! No, not size two but two years old. It was the year my baby sister was born. I wonder what Jassmine will remember from this year?

On the way home from work today I stopped at Toys R Us and bought her clothes, a pair of sandals and diapers.

Just think, in a few years I may be helping her shop for the prom! Won't that be exciting?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

September 5 will be two years

I’ve spent the last two years gathering friends and family near to tell them how much they have meant to me. I have told each of them how much I love them. I have already said my goodbyes.

I was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer on September 5, 2007 at age 45. I’d experienced diarrhea for six months. Thought it was a virus or long term stomach flu. Boy was I wrong!

After a lot of testing and everything turned out negative, I asked for a colonscopy. My family doctor said it wasn't necessary because the rule is first colonoscopy at age 50. I told him my mom’s baby sister died from colon cancer in 1983 at age 29. My colonoscopy was scheduled for September 5.

I was the youngest person in the recovery room. Everyone else was in their late 70s/early 80s. Everyone else was normal but me. The doctor found a large tumor and told me I had to have surgery right away. The tumor was biopsied and found to be colon cancer.

I met with a surgeon on September 11. Thought it would be a consultation. He came in and immediately told me the cancer had probably spread to my liver, kidney and lymph nodes therefore I didn’t have long to live. I had surgery on September 17, the day after our 18th wedding anniversary.

The surgeon removed the tumor, a large section of colon and 17 lymph nodes. He felt a large mass on my pancreas but knew he couldn’t remove it without killing me. On October 23 I had an endoscopic biopsy of the mass on the pancreas.

At first they thought it was a benign fatty tumor but the pathology results came back as colon cancer which spread to a lymph node and attached itself to the head of the pancreas.

I was sent to the pancreatic cancer specialist at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (Dr. Jim Moser). I met with him on November 7. He told me we’d do six months of chemo followed by radiation with hopes of shrinking the lymph node in order to remove it, along with that portion of the pancreas, doing the Whipple procedure.

I met with an oncologist at Hillman Clinic in Pittsburgh. He wanted me to get in a clinical trial he was sponsoring. His clinical procedure nurse told me that I would be on chemo for the rest of my life, that chemo wouldn’t be able to cure me but would let me live a longer life.

Phil and I took a break and went to Florida for a week before chemo was to start. When we got back I had a portacath installed in my chest. Three days later I got my first dose of chemo at the hospital and went home with chemo drugs from the clinical trial. After 12 days on the chemo drugs I ended up in the hospital.

I spent 11 days in the hospital’s critical care unit. They kept telling my husband I would probably not come home from the hospital. All of my family came up to see me.

God answered prayers and I was able to leave the hospital. I was very weak and the doctors kept telling me I would probably end up back in the hospital in a matter of days but I didn’t.

The next day was December 27 and we went to meet with a new oncologist at the Arnold Palmer Cancer Center. I turned in the meds from the clinical trial. They were toxic to my system and almost killed me. Seems the dose they gave me was the same dose a 300 pound man would have gotten.

My mom came to stay with me. I started my next session of chemo around January 15. I did 10 sessions which finally ended at the end of May. I had my second PET scan in June and met again with Dr. Moser. Surgery was scheduled for July 25.

When he went in to do my surgery he couldn’t find any cancer, just traces of where it had been. He explained it looked like burned charcoal. He checked every organ ... no evidence of cancer was found. He said it was a miracle as he expected to have found that it migrated and spread to other organs.

During all this time I believed what the doctors said. I thought my time was limited. I finally prayed and asked God for peace about the surgery and whether I lived or died. I had peace and went into surgery with that peace.

All the biopsies came back with a pathiological cure. He said some people have systematic cures but this one was different and never in his career had he seen this happen. Only 1 percent of colon cancer patients have this cure.

I truly believe it was a miracle and I spend every day thanking God for the second chance I’ve been given. Every day that my mom was with me taking care of me we talked about me dying. I never asked why it happened or was depressed about it. I wanted to live my life to the fullest even during treatment.

I know cancer brought me and my mom closer together and I appreciate everything she did for me. I thank God for her every day.

I knew I was dying and didn’t have much time. I worried so much about my husband. I knew my sons had their families. My parents had each other but my husband would be alone and he and I are two legs in the same pair of pants. He wouldn’t be able to make it without me.

The doctors told me to make my final arrangements. Phil wouldn’t discuss anything about funeral arrangements or where I wanted to be buried. I had to discuss that with my mom and sister.

Saying goodbye is very difficult. More difficult for the ones left behind. I am so glad I had the chance to say my goodbyes. Some people are never given that chance. Then the ones who are left live a life filled with regret. I have already lived longer than the doctors had given me which was 18 months. I'm looking forward to a very long life!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kennel building

One of our contractors, Andy, stopped by today to talk about the kennel building. He's going to start next week, if the weather permits, with putting in drainage pipe around the building.

I just spoke with Randy about what we're doing with the in floor radiant heat for the building. I'm going to need to line up an electrician. Andy suggested a friend of his. I think his kids went to school with my sons.

Phil and I have to draw out where we want drainage, water lines, the water heater, the sink, etc. inside the kennel. Andy wants it on paper so he can work off it.

We might not finish this job this year depending on costs involved. It's been a work in progress for three years now. I would have liked to get it completely done but we've got a wedding this summer and taxes to pay. We'll do what we can.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Past few days

I found a place online to do the ABBA (American Brace Beagling Association) decals for a really decent price. Very happy with that! They even sent an online coupon for 10% off!

There was an informational meeting on the Children of the American Revolution prior to our DAR meeting on Saturday. We need at least eight children in order to reorganize the old Peggy Shaw Society. Peggy Shaw was a child killed by Indians at Hannastown. I'm going to work on applications for my granddaughter, my niece and nephew. Ages for joining are birth to age 21.

Yesterday, Mother's Day, we went to Spring Church beagle club's licensed trial. We ran Spice and Philly. Philly is one of Honeysuckle's pups. She needs a little more work to build up her confidence in working with another dog. Spice did an awesome job. I was very happy with her. I won't say what I thought of the judging. Let it go with the fact that what they did was totally against what's written in the judge's rule book. I didn't have a problem with them bringing back the dog that won because she deserved to win. She is a great dog.

Ralph and Jess came over at 5 p.m. yesterday. We ordered pizza for dinner. I enjoyed them coming over.

I worked today. The kennel inspector came over to look at Randy's kennel. He inspects licensed kennel owners every six months. The farrier was also there working with his horses. It was a good day.

Came home and took a nap. I'd sure like to know what's up with that. It feels like I need one every day. I thought it would only last through chemo but here it is a year later and I'm still napping. Just think, I used to fight my mother to take a nap when I was a child! haha

On the way home from the field trial yesterday we stopped for ice cream. Phil had a twist cone and bought a blizzard for me. It tasted so good but it burned a big blister on my lip. I couldn't finish the ice cream it hurt so bad. I haven't had any continued side effects from chemo (Oxaliplatin) other than the occasional eyes burning when they tear up but this really hurt. I hope that's the last I ever experience of it.

Phil is working from home tomorrow so I'll stay home, too, and enjoy his company.

P.S. He's still downstairs watching hockey! When's it ever gonna end?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Just Another Friday

When I typed that I heard in my head the Bangles song Just Another Manic Monday! I can't understand why that group ever split up. They sure could sing!

I was on the computer all day long. Doing research, trying to find a place which could do the ABBA decals for a decent price, getting ready for my DAR meeting tomorrow, trying to locate airline tickets for Ralph and Jessica's honeymoon. All was accomplished!

When is hockey season going to be OVER? I am so tired of hockey, hockey, hockey. Pens vs caps, vice versa, whatever. Does anyone really care? In the grand scheme of things does it even matter? Ugg! When will it ever end?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

23 Minutes

until tomorrow! Phil is sleeping soundly. I can hear the ducks quacking outside. They must talk in their sleep. All of the other animals are sleeping and are quiet, which is wonderful.

Today was a really nice day. It didn't rain. The sun was out and the temp got around 71 here at the house. I turned off the furnace and opened the windows. Nice.

I worked this morning. Got a lot done. I did errands on the way home and stopped to see Ralph and bought lunch then went to see Jess and gave her a sandwich Ralph had made for her.

Baby girl woke up while I was there so I picked her up and as soon as I did she started farting which was probably the reason she smiled at me. Once the farting turned to pooping I passed her off to Jess. I was so outta there!

Phil and I had dinner at Denny's. Actually I had pancakes and he had a waffle so that was breakfast for dinner. We had a good waitress.

Afterwards we stopped by Walmart and he came back out with a flower bouquet for me. That was SO nice and very much appreciated. :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Another wet one!

And by that I mean rain.

I got up early this morning so I could babysit for Jess who had a doctor's appointment. There were two infants (2 months and 6 months) plus the toddler.

The youngest one was hungry so I fed her and changed her diaper and rocked her to sleep. The little boy was all smiles and loved to play in the jump-er-oo until he decided to take a poop. Gag. It was all over him. Ugg. Then the toddler says, "I pooped." Double gag and ugg.

I love Jess but I hate changing diapers. I'll stop over for a visit next time but as soon as I can smell a dirty diaper I am SO outta there!

I left and went to work. Worked three hours and headed home. Put a load of laundry in the washer and one in the dryer, put Bella out and layed down for a nap, woke up and it's still raining.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How do people cope?

I've been wondering how other people cope?

There are blogs that I've been following where the ladies have to endure incredible pain and suffering and my heart goes out to them.

I never suffered with my cancer. I didn't ever have any pain. Chemo was difficult but it didn't take any real time out of my day and although it made me sick it wasn't something that I couldn't handle.

How do these ladies do it? I worry about them. I worry about their lives and the lives of their family members. I worry about the pain they are having to endure and wonder if more is in store? How do they bear it? I pray that God will allow them to have peace. I pray that people are kind to them. I pray they can get through their day.

Monday, May 4, 2009

What would your Ideal Life be like?

Someone on another website asked "What would your Ideal Life be like?" This would be mine:

I would have a good paying job but still have off the days I wanted.

I would never have to see a doctor and would be able to maintain my weight without exercise and still be able to eat all the good food that I enjoy.

My sons and their families would come visit for Sunday dinners and would enjoy my company.

We would have large get togethers with family and friends.

And my parents would live forever with good health.

Other than these few things my life is perfect.

May 2, 2009 Bridal Shower Weekend

The weekend was great. My parents came in. Mom and I went to Jessica's bridal shower and dad went fishing with Ralph. Ralph caught a fish. Jess, on the other hand, reeled in some big stuff at her bridal shower!

One of the guests mentioned something called a Groom's Shower where instead of a bachelor party the guests bring tools and gadgets the groom will need in the future. Cool idea!

Ralph, dad and Chucky tried to fish but got rained out big time. It rained all weekend. Jassmine went to Jessica's bridal shower. Chrystal and Shelby were there, too. Here's a really cute pic of Jassmine with one of Jessica's friend's little boy Noah.

Here's one of Jess with Jassmine. Most of the pics I took were of Jess opening gifts.

Jess' aunt made her hat. It had lots of bling and a white lace train on the back of it. Really cute! Of course my DIL looked absolutely beautiful and my granddaughter was as cute as a button (as usual). giggle

Mom and I went shopping after the shower. Mom found two dresses at Sears and I found a dress for the wedding. We both found shoes. I wish we had gotten dad or Phil to take pics of our dresses so we could see how they look in pics before we wear them.