Saturday, May 30, 2009

Public outing

We've recently returned from dinner at Jack's, Lilli's fiance, house. A real family affair-his parents, brother and his family, all of us, and two dogs. Jack definitely lets his niece and nephew abuse him, but he obviously stops it when he's had enough of being the jumping target. Two kids with lots of energy, making the dogs a little crazy, too. Pepper is a minature and likes things quiet, Kali is a standard schnauzer and likes to play...

I did pretty well, made it through the meal at the table, but had to move back to the couch because the chair was a little difficult to sit in for that long. I wore my new top from Omi and Jude with some shorts because the pants are too big, and everyone said I looked good. I'm not sure they would tell me the truth anyway. I have been 36 hours without pain meds and I am feeling good. I did laundry today and some mending on the sewing machine, so it will be interesting to see how I feel tomorrow. I also drove up to the CVS and gas station with Lou in the car and did really well-no pain or white knuckling it. Lou keeps reminding me, "baby steps, baby steps" and I keep trying to take them. My sides are still pretty sore where the drains were, but every day the discomfort gets a little less. I still have trouble sleeping on my back, but I think I have figured out a pillow support system so I can sleep on my side the way I usually do.

Monday we see the general surgeon, I'm not sure why, but he wanted me to come in. Next will be the oncologist after she gets the tests results back from the lab in San Francisco, then the next week we see the plastic surgeon for information on the "fine tuning" as he puts it. I haven't found any information on whether that's going to involve more in hospital surgery, I hope it can be done out patient, but we'll see what he says. I have asked to extend my FMLA leave through the week we see the plastic surgeon until we know what the next steps are.

Well, Lou and I are off to watch Bella Lagosa and Boris Karloff, have a good night all.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rain, rain-it went away

Well, it really didn't go away, and we've gotten over 3 inches since it started last night, but the sunshine came through this afternoon with the mail delivery. I think I mentioned I entered another swap because I had so much fun with the first one, and because Tara has become such a good email friend. Today, after a nap I took because I was being nasty to everyone for no real reason except that I feel like crap, the mail was on the table. Two packages were here, one from Eugene which I expected, with wonderful notes from Levi who felt his lego birthday gift was "a sum" (awesome) and a beautiful sun catcher for the picture window.

The second was the garden party swap package. My partner, Lauren from LA, made me a darling half apron perfect for entertaining on the deck. She claims to be a beginning seamstress, but this little number was fully lined, had pleats and a scalloped bottom, so she may be selling herself short. She included homemade jam from local produce, a book on barbeque and a set of really cute coasters to use on the deck. We may actually feel like a touch of CA living here in MD. Here's a picture of the apron, I'm not exactly in photogenic mode at the moment....(Tara, aren't you proud of me? not only is this picture in the blog, but in the right space!)

Well, I'm going downstairs to direct KS into organizing stuff out of the way for Saskia's stuff to be stored later this afternoon, I feel almost back in the real world and will write more later.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day, 2009

This is the first time in many years I have not put the flag out for Memorial Day in my father's memory, I am sure he would understand and I know the veterans who care for the cemetery have put a flag on his grave. I feel his spirit has remained with me and that he is proud of most of the decisions I've made in my life.

Every day I feel a little stronger and have to be careful not to over-extend myself. Who would have figured that opening and closing the car door a few times in one afternoon would tire me out and leave my armpits aching? But, just like Elmo on Sesame Street many years ago, I got new shoes and have been very happy to take short walks in them rather than have someone carry me around so the bottoms don't get marked. Each dirt mark means I am out moving, gaining back my strength and flexibility. Simple things, like a shower, are major accomplishments though they seem to take forever.

My cousin Arline's daughter Jamie is expecting a second child in August. Before I went into the hospital, I decided to make a pair of the cowboy booties since she knows she's having a boy. i got one finished, but not the second. Last night I crocheted the second bootie. It was a major accomplishment on a number of levels: I was able to sit in the recliner for the few hours it took, I was able to follow the directions without losing my place and I was able to crochet-that fine motor skill lacking last week when I tried to write is back. Unfortunately, my tension is off and the second bootie looks a little bigger to me than the first. So, options: do I just say it's my over critical eye noticing the difference and not worry about it? (that's the girls' vote) or do I make another one and see if the tension is the same as the original or that maybe, for now, my tension is off and will produce a larger stitch? Odd predicament for me-I don't usually do the kind of work where tension/gauge matter. I think I may give it a few days' rest then decide.

We have just had a major rainstorm roll through, thnder, lightening, and rain-lots of it. the temperature has dropped about 10 degrees and it's incredibly comfortable at the moment. Of course, we have this obsessive/compulsive robin who is out in the birdbath shaking up an avalanche of water, while it rains buckets down around him...weird bird.

I have started planning the apron for the garden apron swap for my partner, and the organizers know I may miss the deadline because of this little adventure I've been going through. I'm excited, because her comments have given me pretty much an open palette--she'll take a party apron, a agathering apron, anything that's appealing to me. I already know some of the add-ins I want to send with it, so I'm really psyched.

Louie is calling for us to come for dinner, and since it's deli, I'm on my way!!!

Our neighbors Bonnie and Elizabeth came over earlier and brought lasagna and brownies. That was really nice of them, and will stay in the fridge tonight since Lou and Lill and Jack went out to Shalom Market and bought deli. I'm ready for that, I hope my system is!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Back in the world

As of 7 PM last night, I am officially back among the cancer free population of the world. As mentioned earlier, I am Plus 1. Some of you are on the family list and will have had this information previously, please allow me to write my thoughts, here, too.

Tuesday started off well enough with a shot in Nuclear medicine, and the third armband after my intake information band and my allergy band. I was taken back to pre-op where we waited around for the doctors to pop in and talk to us, and for Dr. Singh to draw his lines. When they took me down to the OR, the staff was asking if I knew why I was there as they prepared the injection. I think I told them everything, but I may have said nothing. The next thing I remember is getting a kiss from Lou and Lill and being in pain, which drifted away very quickly with the help of some amazing drugs. G-d was definitely listening to everyone's prayers as I spent the rest of the night in recovery as the only patient; and as things got busy there I was moved out to the post op floor.

The latest research being done (but no one ever mentioned by whom) favors private rooms with space for a foldout loveseat should family choose to stay overnight. the call system was something more interesting: hit the button, the floor secretary asks what you want, gets someone to help you, usually within an hour, then it starts all over again. I progressed very well according to all the docs and other folks who came to visit; like the oncology outreach person, the oncology nutritionist, the pastoral volunteer, the physical therapist, not to mention the comings and goings of the administrative technicians, housekeeping staff, and food service. I think my favorite part was the compression wraps they put around your calves; mine would have helped so much better if the tech had remembered to turn the machine on.....

I was finally allowed home on Saturday, and it's been good to be in my own bed and recliner-well, Louie's recliner. I am still having trouble sitting at the table for longer than a 15-20 min spell; and that pisses me off because I'd like to be sewing! Hopefully, another few days. lou and Lill have been absolutely amazing through all this: bringing me food, drugs, changing pillows, draining tubes, etc...and not even complaining about it. I will go on record though, and say this is probably NOT the method of choice for a tummy tuck. it's nice having, but it was an incredibly long surgery and a longer few days of drifting in and out of reality. which is what seems to be happening now, so I need to stop and will continue tomorrow....

Monday, May 11, 2009

An apple a day

One of my friends at work has a kitchen decorated in reds with apples, she says. So, when I decided to make "Mommy and me" aprons for her and the little one I found this great print at Bear Paw Quilts. I've become quite the internet shopper, it's pretty funny. As you can see, a nice butcher block style with a double pocket, girly-ed up with a double ruffle on the bottom. Pretty sweet, don't you think?

Yesterday was a wonderful Mother's Day for me. Lill had given me her gifts on Thursday night when she got in, a beautiful flamingo tray and an LROC coffee mug. Then yesterday Alice stopped by with flowers from her and Sarah. Everything is pretty cool as you can see by the picture. I'd say these girls were definitely brought up right, but that would be patting my own back, and as my mom always said..."don't break your arm patting your back". I also got a new Kenmore sewing machine. During costume work for the fall musical at the high school, I burned out the motor on my Necchi. I've been using Sarah's Bernette, but it's not really fair since she will be home and learning to sew this summer. As we were walking out of Sears after going to LensCrafters, I saw an advertisement for the portable, on sale for $85. since I've had the Necchi for 25 years, and it's $25 alone for the diagnostic, I figured this was not a bad deal. I think the thing that made the deal was that it has an automatic threader. Given how hard it is for me to see that little needle eye sometimes, this was perfect! I don't need a computerized machine because I really don't do that kind of stuff. I'm pretty much a straight stitch and a little zig-zag kind of girl. I can't wait to get home and play with it--another incentive to heal quickly.

Everything is in order for tomorrow as far as paperwork and notices, I still have to put my bag together and send out my last family/friends email. I'm okay with this, I just wish it was over, and it will be after tomorrow. I doubt I will be in any shape to blog until at least next week at the earliest; I won't even be home until Friday. So, keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Come Saturday Morning....

Some of you may remember today's title as the words that start a wonderful song about spending time with a friend. It's from a 70s era movie starring Liza Minelli called "the Sterile Cuckoo". The movie had a lot of poignant moments for me, especially about being away at college and missing my friends; I remember sitting on the dorm hallway floor crying on the phone for an hour to Louie, who "comfortingly" said: "Well, stay for a quarter, if you don't like it you can always go home and go to Cleveland State." But, the important part of the song is about spending time with people who are special and that you will have the memories of the day. I am so lucky to have people surrounding me who I want to spend time with and who make wonderful memories to have. Two who come to mind are my sisters-in-law who have always, from the time we were kids together (well, that's kind of stretching it for Jude because she was really ya, sweeta), treated me as a blood sister, not just one of their brother's friends. The first thing Omi (Naomi for anyone who could possibly not know that is the nickname Lill gave her as a toddler) asked was should she come in for this little adventure, and Jude keeps sending me love and hugs text messages at the weirdest times, just another reminder that I am in her thoughts. I am so happy to have them in my life!

So many other friends have offered to fly in from the west coast-the airlines should be happy! I've asked them to wait, we really need to see how "laid up" I'm going to end up. Lou told me yesterday that about 150 people from his various committees and associates at work are pulling for me, too. Just as long as they don't send flowers, I'll be fine. He has suggested they send fruit since I'll probably wind up constipated from the pain meds-gotta love that man, always thinking ahead.

The only real adventure late this week was the discussion Thursday with the pre-op people at the hospital. They had me registered for the bi-lateral mastectomy, but only for reconstruction on the right side. Suffice it to say that after 3 hours back and forth on the phone, this Bionic Woman will be rebuilt on both sides. In the continuing tattoo vein, Lill thinks I should have Plus 1 tattooed on. I just might, because I am firmly believing I will be survivor 11 million Plus 1.

As the sun is shining and it's supposed to rain this afternoon, I am taking the words of the weatherman to heart: "this morning might be your only window of opportunity to cut the grass that's grown about 2 feet in the last 5 days... so get out there and do it." So, I'm getting out there and doing it-see ya later.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Countdown Starts

In less than a week I will be cancer free. I have decided to be Plus 1. While I was watching TV over the weekend, the American Cancer Society had a commercial on about being the official sponsor of birthdays, and that there are 11 million cancer survivors. I am going to be number 11 million Plus 1. We have seen both doctors this week, and I've had my pre-op physical. Friday I will have my chest x-ray and then be good to go. I am trying to remain optimistic even though it sounds like this will be a little more intense than was originally described. I talked to a co-worker who has just gone through the same thing, though she had implants, and she came back after 3 1/2 weeks to an abbreviated schedule which was still alot for her to manage. Her advice was to not rush because my surgery will be more intense. i will take her advice.

Gadha loved the aprons I made for her and her daughter, and her little one put it on and danced around last night. Hopefully I will get a picture of the two together in their "mommy and me" styles. I will post pictures when I download the camera.

I am training a nice young guy to take my place while I'm on leave. He graduated UMD in December in Economics and is looking for a full time job; but at least this will bring in some money for him. He will be working my 3 day schedule and will definitely be a help to Siane. My supervisor is one of the greatest people around; she and some of the other girls are taking me out to lunch tomorrow as a get-well send off.

The roseola (Lillian) will be home tomorrow. Jack has decided to pick her up from BWI; okay-so am I a bad mom because I'm not upset that I don't have to drive up to BWI in what will probably be rainy weather and miss the season finale of Grey's Anatomy? Probably the Grey's Anatomy throws it into bad mom territory...

Sarah's paper is fantastic. She sent a copy of the final paper to us, her sister and her grandfather. Oh course she had to give him crap and ask if it was enough "Brown-speak" for him; I don't understand how she's the only one who can get away with saying stuff like that to him.

I'm starting to yawn, so I'm going to bed. good night, all.....

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sew what?

After a full day of doing nothing because of the rain and yuckiness, after dinner last night I started working on the mother-daughter set for one of my co-workers. Of course I can't leave a pattern the way it is, so instead of putting on rows and rows of trim, I made two rows of ruffles and added some bias tape to the pocket top. I have to say my version is way cuter; and of course I had to be a perfectionist and double fold all the sides and stuff so there wouldn't be hanging strings, but I think that's what people will pay for-that little extra that makes it special; even if I have to point it out since most people don't sew and don't know what they're looking at. As soon as I finish a few lines here, I'm going down to work on the mom version.

Two doc appointments down and one to go before surgery. Today Lou and I met with the general surgeon and made sure we knew what was going on with him. Then I had my pre-op physical which wasn't much testing but a lot of waiting around. I'll need to schedule a chest x-ray. Tomorrow we meet with the plastic surgeon and have a few questions for him, then we are good to go!

My friends and family continue to shower me with warmth and affection, and I love them for it. I imagine I will be out of commission for at least a week, or if I'm feeling okay maybe I can have Lill type my entries. Regardless, the next week and a half are going to be really interesting.

I am learning about developing a national aesthetic as Lou and I proofread Sarah's paper. Do you know what a national aesthetic is? I do- nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah! So, if you want to know, you'll have to read the paper! My father-in-law will appreciate it, as it's written in Brown (as in when he asks her to "say something in Brown").

I am so fortunate to have children who are bright, inquisitive and nice. good thing I love them so much.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

5/2/09 part 2

I wasn't going to tell, but I wanted to put up the picture. It was like Twilight Zone-I googled cowboy boot baby booties, found a link, ran into the other room with the laptop to print out the pattern, then came back to the living room. Lou said, "Did you bookmark the page?" and of course I said "Oops, no," and went back to the link and it said: "Sorry but that site is closed down" and I could not get the pattern again-but at least I have a copy. Are these the cutest you've ever seen? Lill got a pair when she was a baby (in brown and gold), and since Tara's brother and wife are expecting a daughter, and they live in Colorado, I thought cowgirl boots totally appropriate. they'll go out in the mail Monday. From the information I could find on the google search, the pattern is from an Annie's Attic booklet from 1980. People are selling them on eBay for anywhere from $12 to $40, but they're not sharing the pattern.....

What can I say?

Leslie's reversible apron: kitchen and Shabbat sides

Omi's prototype

It seems that having a fabric stash makes it so easy to procrastinate. I should have worked on the bedroom and the blue room today. Instead, I worked out a prototype for a gathering apron for the swap on Busy Bee. Though the tutorial is a great idea, I don't like a long apron for working in the yard. I would trip myself and all kinds of things. So, taking inspiration from Mary Mulari's clothespin apron, I fashioned a gathering apron for my sister-in-law to test out, even though I have already found some things I would change if I make it again. Anyway, it's a bib style with a center pocket on the bib for a phone (Lou's idea- I don't think he realizes most people aren't umbilically connected to their children by phone the way we are....) and then a front overlay with inverted pleats to allow for expansion as food is gathered. I will send it to Omi and have her try it and see what her recommendations are. I would probably top stitch the pleat edges on the next one, maybe lower the sides of the top so there is a bigger area to reach in, and definitely make the neck strap adjustable. The prototype isn't because I couldn't find any D rings. I know they are somewhere in the laundry area stuff, but I couldn't find them.... this used another of my vintage pieces, a floral curtain, and the bias trim is covering fade marks where a fold was, but I think it's still pretty cute. sorry it's not purple, Om, but ya gotta go with what's around.

these are the pictures of Leslie's reversible apron I talked about at the beginning of the week. Pretty cute, I'd say, but then I have a vested interest.......

I think I will open another post to put up the picture of the cowgirl boots because I don't want to push my luck.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May 1

I have never really considered May 1 a special day, but this year is changing that! The mail lady just came through and I got two special presents from two special people! My cousin Karyn, who has a decidedly different sense of humor, sent me a teddy bear for comfort. This is not your ordinary talking bear; this is a Swear Bear. When you press his tummy, he says something nasty with lots of four and more letter words.....Omi and Jeff will love this when they see it.

Then, the second package was from Tara, in CO. She sent me a wonderful survivor kit: Lindt chocolate truffles (everyone's basic survival food) and a kit to crochet a cashmere scarf. She figured I would need something to work on during recuperation and this looks fun and beautiful, not to mention soft. Funny it came today-I just got back from a run to Safeway and Inez's (Stitchery) where I got the supplies for something I will surprise her with.....don't try to make me tell-I won't.

The rain that never came yesterday has been pouring down all day today and would be very depressing if it wasn't such a warm spring rain. And if the oil change hadn't been free this morning on Miss Lucy because they forgot to use the coupon last time. Oh, and if the the steering gear recall Bob mentioned at first would have applied to to my car and I would have had to bring it back for an all-day appointment. But, since I'm 3-0 on great things, I can't be pissed about the rain. And (4) I won't be going out later because Angie just called and has to reschedule dinner tonight-she's not feeling well and going home early. So, Lou and I will eat those wonderful little shrimpies and french bread and then watch a film noir we recorded a few weeks ago and haven't watched yet.

There's nothing on board for the weekend except on and off rain, so I will probably get the rooms straightened up that I haven't worked on yet. Doesn't that sound like fun? yuch.

Looks like naptime, I think I'll take one.