Sunday, December 31, 2006


Today is a bad chemo day, probably the worst so far. The visual disturbance from the drug is freaking me out. My energy is low. I feel completely out of it, kind of loopy. I'm cold, then hot. Sweaty, then clammy. You name it, I've been there today. I'm being horrible company with friends and just need to sleep. I feel like screaming, unfortunately, I don't have the energy to do that!!

Must nap now.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Santa Fe Snow

My friend Carolyn has relocated (permanantly) to Santa Fe, NM. I checked in with her yesterday to see what it was like to live in snow again. Her response, "Effin Great!!"

Here are some cool photos of the process:

Chairs before

Chairs after

Cat before

Cat after...just kidding!

Blindness trumps sleep

Well, this royally sucks. The blindness causing drug was also the drug that allowed me to sleep through the steroids!! Here is is, 3:09AM and I'm wide awake. I've been cleaning my room and throwing away stuff. I'm just bored with that, so now I'll complain about it online! My ankles are hurting, so I can't really stand around doing cleaning. OY OY OY!!!

Whew, that felt better. Nah, not really, but at least I'm telling you all how it really is with me right now. Being honest!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Round 3 gone, 3 more to go!!!

Well, I have to say, this round has been the most interesting so far. My dear friend Cindy accompanied me on this trip. As I've said before, I worry about entertaining my friends while I'm having chemo. I think they'll get bored. Everyone tells me to hush and that they're here for ME, not the other way around!! Okay Okay, I get it. I am loved. :-)

I knew Cindy would be okay because they keep a HUGE jigsaw puzzle going out in the lobby of the chemo area. While I was asleep, I think she got a good fix of jigsawing.

This go round, lots of things changed. My premeds(what I take just before chemo) and some post meds changed. Nausea has been my side effect of choice, so they really brought in the big drugs for that. Well, I'm happy to report, the nausea is nonexistent. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of one of the anti-nausea drugs has been a blindness of sorts. Not complete blindness, but definitely bad enough vision that I shouldn't have been out driving last night!! It's as if I'm not wearing my glasses, except for close up things. Not good!!

I called Delma, my friend and resident Cancer nurse. She suggested I stop taking one of the drugs that I had been prescribed. It apparently causese some weird neurological side effects. I'm happy to report that vision is almost back to normal!!

Debra called to congratulate me on the half way mark and encourage me that it's all down hill from here. I certainly hope so.

It's wonderful to have such love and support all around. Friends driving me places, picking up drugs, scooping cat name it, I have support for it! I do continue to feel loved.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Holiday festivities and more

I spent the night of Christmas at a Jewish Lesbian potluck. At first, I thought I'd be the only non-Jew there. Wasn't the case at all. It was about a 50/50 ratio. Didn't really matter anyway. It was fun hanging out, meeting new people and getting to know my new friend Val even better. The food was good, conversations were lively. Once everyone left, we played Jenga with another friend and her daughter. By the end, we were doubling the height of the blocks before they came crashing down. Very fun.

I really enjoy meeting new people that I think have long term possibilities for friendship. That's definitely the way I feel about my more recent meetings. At my age, you don't often add friends to your circle, but this feels differently.

Tomorrow is round 3 of chemo...wonder what's in store for this go around?!?!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas, Part 2

After leaving mom's, I headed NE(only slightly) to Stokesdale to help Daddy celebrate his 62nd birthday. I got there just in time for him to finish frying his turkey, grab some lunch and take a nap before the birthday festivities.

Daddy's birthday gathering/pre-Christmas festivities were celebrated at my step-mom's ex-husband's house. Yep, you read that right. Our family is a forgive and forget kind of family. When that first rolls off my tongue, it sounds odd, but it's kind of the way it should be. Debra and I are following along in those footsteps, therefore making Sofie's life easier. It works for everyone!

I won't go into a lot of the birthday festivities, because, let's just say, there are differing opinions about many topics that make me uncomfortable there. I just hang out and move from room to room to avoid any confrontational subject that occurs. The thing that amazed me most...they their HOUSE!!! When we got back to my dad's, I quickly put everything I was wearing into a plastic trash bag and sealed that puppy up!

Next morning, Daddy, Shirley and I opened gifts and went to Huddle House for breakfast. This place is more redneck than Waffle House, something I didn't think possible. After waiting an hour for our food, we ate a mediocre meal and headed back to there place. I jumped in my car and started the hellish trip home in the pouring rain.

Got home in one piece and started my first meal in my newly acquired crock pot...Vegetarian Chili. Took it to a potluck that will be written about in my next posting!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas, Part 1

Being that I am a only child from a divorced family, I often split time between families over the holidays. (That is unless I'm boycotting the holidaze and go see no one!)

Part 1, section A involved Christmas with Tracey and Sharon on a hectic, rainy Friday afternoon. Each respective unit was feverishly packing, running errands and planning our departure time for our Interstate drives. Initially we both were going to leave Friday afternoon, but as the day went on it became apparent a Saturday Morning departure was in our futures. We shared loving, thoughtful gifts. As some of you know already, I got a crock pot from Debra and Sofie for Christmas(per my request!) Sharon and Tracey must have known this, for present #1 was 101 Thing To Do With A Slow Cooker. The second part was the creme on the pot...they got all the dry ingredients for THREE of the recipes in the book! Sharon figured that if I had the ingredients, I'd have to use the crock pot. She was right, I used them Monday for a potluck I attended.(More on that in a later entry) Sharon, being the good friend that she is, also bought a cribbage board for me...unfortunately, being the absent-minded friend I am, I forgot to tell her I bought one already!

Part 1, section B involves spending time with my mom, a cousin, Maw Maw Lamkin(that's Grandma for the Southern challenged) and a slew of Aunt's(again, "ant", not "ahnt"!!) Also an impromptu stop by the daughter of a childhood friend of my mom's.

I awoke early on Saturday, began doing chores, packing up the car and heading South for Charlotte. I planned to stop at the Pilot Truck Stop/Gas Station on exit 152 on I85/I40. (This is where my dad's job has him bringing gas/fuel from Greensboro to this gas station ONLY about 4 times a day.) I knew Saturday morning was one of his days on, so I stopped, called him and found out he was 20 minutes away. I decided that even though it might put a crimp in my day with Mom, I'd stay and have breakfast with my Daddy. Boy, was he a big spender( we joked about this all weekend, so this not a dig at my dad by any means!!) I got free coffee, since he works for the company and we shared a 2 for $2 at the attached McDonald's. So he laid down a whopping &1.07 on his only child! And I love him for it. We chatted, caught up a bit. He rubbed my bald head and said the pictures didn't do it justice and that I look much better in person. His way of a compliment. I felt the time crunch approaching, hugged him and bid adieu.

I was on the road to my mom's house and my cell rings, "Where are you?!? It's 10:30!!" "Uh, on your road, turning into your driveway in moments" I guess my mom had reason since I told her I'd leave Durham at 6a...which I didn't do. Then I was waylaid at exit 152!! I arrived and within 20 minutes my cousin stopped by. We visited. She said she preferred the hat to my bald head. Uh, not your head, not your life and you try wearing a hat 24/7 and see how you like it!! But I digress. After her departure we headed over to Maw Maw Lamkin's house(yes, this the mother of my father who is no longer married to my mother. Trust me, this only gets better in my next installment!!)

We arrive at Maw Maw's house and I immediately smell a fresh pot of her famous Russian Tea! (I had called her the day before requesting it...and the recipe.) I gave her a huge Jamie hug, where she comes to just below my armpit. She sent us to the living room so she could call my aunts to let them know I was there. 2 of the 4 of them showed up. One was in the middle of something and the other didn't come because we were stopping by her house after leaving Maw Maw's.

I admit, I don't visit my grandma often enough. I love her to bits and she's the only grandparent remaining...although I've only been down to 1 grandparent for 5 years. I feel grateful that I had Maw Maw Bess live to 99 and Paw Paw Lamkin live to 83. (If you look at my bald photos, you can see what my Paw Paw looked like...there's a lot of him in least being bald!) I'm going to try to visit her more often this year. I want Sofie to know and remember her, so it's important that she be around her more often.

After visiting with Maw Maw and my aunt's Kathy and Julia, Mom and I headed over to my most favorite aunt's house...Linda. Linda is a free spirit. She and I come from the same family and both created our own set of beliefs that were beyond the families. We listen to NPR, can chat about crystals and healing and other sorts of things I can't imagine talking about with most of my family. She recently moved back from CO, after being gone for at least 25-30 years. She bought a cute mill house in Cramerton(a little mill village in Gaston County) and has proceeded to gut it. When she finishes, it will be an incredibly cute house...and just what she needs!

While visiting her, we discussed planning a family reunion for the summer. Maw Maw's brother and sister-in-law live in Hayesville, NC and that's the area my dad was born and my grandparents were raised. My people are there in the beautiful mountains. Again, I'd like Sofie to meet them before they die and I'd love to see everyone in the same place, that's neutral and won't cause strife for any family drama! I'll do part of the planning, planting the seed and see how it blooms.

After leaving Linda's and heading back to Charlotte, we drove by the house of the daughter of one of my mom's best childhood friends. They lost the Husband/Dad a few days after Christmas last year to Prostate Cancer. They were out raking leaves, spending time together and really just taking it one day at a time until the Anniversary. Missy, the daughter, was very close to her dad...much like me. She's a lesbian, like me, too. Unlike me, her dad didn't speak to her for a while after she came out. That's always sad to me. I'm glad it all worked out and their relationship became what it was before the coming out. I'm glad we stopped by. It was great to see them and send them loving energy to have a better year.

Back to mom's we head for a wonderful home cooked meal and an afternoon/evening of watching cheesy Christmas movies on Lifetime. I went to bed on the early side, slept fairly well, until the heat came on and baked me out of the bed. Got up, had breakfast and headed to Christmas, Part 2 as my mom and her husband headed off to Christmas Eve service at her church.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

On writing and "The Story"

Today, as I rushed out to grab lunch, I was fortunate enough to catch today's airing of "The Story", a locally produced but nationally syndicated show on NPR. The guest and subsequent discussion hit home with me. I wrote in saying so, which is something I never do.

Here's what I wrote:

What a pleasure it is to hear Dick Gordon so caringly draw the stories out of everyday people. All stories deserve to be heard, however, often folks don't quite know how or what to tell. Mr Gordon brings mastery and sincerity to his profession. The amount of tears, laughter and ontemplative sighs that the stories evoke are awe inspiring.

I want to *thank* him and especially the guests who are professional writers for evoking ideas and encouraging this particular writer who struggles daily with telling her story...or those stories surrounding her! The show today discussing Sarah Ruhl's obvious love for her craft literally rubbed off on me, inspiring me to write in and to continue my daily writing, however painful it is.

One idea came to mind for a potential story. Blogs. Weblogs are used in a multitude of ways. Often very personal stories are out there for the world to see and read. Some blogs develop a "following", but often those are political or socially aware minded folks who have an agenda. The blogs I love to read are those who are human interest in nature. Humans seem to have a need to tell stories, however mundane they may seem. The ironic part is...they're not mundane. Stories have a way of reinforcing our own existence, trials and tribulations.

Initially, I resisted writing my own blog, fearing boredom from the webworld. After being diagnosed and starting treatment for Cancer, I decided to make my "private" blog available to friends and family. Months ago, I started an anonymous blog that I used to vent, process and write about a personal relationship I had. That blog is still out there, but I don't write on it anymore. I've moved on, creating another blog that doesn't diss anyone (except ME occasionally!)

Blogs are the newish face of human stories. I have fanciful ideas that my 6yo daughter will one day be searching the Internet (or whatever it'll be called then) when she's a teen or older and stumble upon my blog or her other mom's blog. Seeing just how much she meant to us at that point in her life when she had two bald moms who were both going through treatment for Cancer.

Just a bit of my story. Wishing for continued success for "The Story" in the coming years.

Personally, I don't care if they respond or even read the letter. Just telling my friends about it is enough for me. If you've haven't had a chance to hear this show, go online, download it to your iPod, listen however you can. It's worth it.

Parenting and Chemo

The original title idea was "Bad Parenting and Chemo," but I decided I'm not being a bad parent intentionally...just a parent who's going through chemotherapy and does bad things occasionally.

The bad started when I picked Sofie up from school yesterday. All the kids in her group were lined up at the door, because we know how well schools love children in lines!! I noticed some of the kids had paper masks. Before I even got a chance to ask Sofie where her mask was, three different children yell out, "Sofie's mom...uh, all the good kids got masks and the bad kids didn't. Ask Sofie why she doesn't have a mask." (I swear I heard a kid think, nah, nah, NA nah nah!) Before it was out of my mouth, I asked about it...regretting it as the words came falling out. (I honestly didn't care about some way they chose to differentiate "good" vs "bad" kids!) I was pleasantly surprised when one of the boys actually said, "I think Sofie is not bad...she is wonderful." How cute. Sofie didn't like the confrontation and of course denied any wrong doing. I dropped it...until we got to Debra's. My nosiness got in the way. Only curious about what the "crime" was that prevented her from getting a mask, I pushed a little. Explaining we weren't mad, just curious. It didn't fly. I still have no idea, and really don't care.

We had stopped by Debra's to check on her, help her out with any heavy lifting and take her to get cat litter for the extended absence. Sofie was a little bummed because she had visions of video games nestled in her head. Luckily, the neighbor kids were jumping on Sofie's trampoline, causing temporary amnesia from any other things.

I went inside and quickly hit a wall. I was so incredibly tired and just wanted to sleep. (It seriously happens that quickly!!) We decided I'd get the litter later and Sofie and I head home for an evening of pizza making, video gaming and all the other activities associated with being six.

We had fun making our very own pepperoni pizzas, playing games and eating dinner. Then I a serious way. I couldn't hold my eyes open anymore and it was only 7PM. Instead of bathing, reading and doing other parental duties, I pandered to my own needs. (Here's where the bad parenting begins...with creativity of course.) Sofie wanted to watch a movie, which usually doesn't happen on a school night. I saw an opportunity and ran like the wind. We played "movie theatre" using the TV in my bedroom as the screen. We got cozy in PJ's after brushing teeth(one parenting duty accomplished) and snugged down in my bed. We proceeded to watch the movie and I quickly fell asleep. When the movie ended, Sofie woke me up saying, "I want to watch the extras!!" ABsolutely NOT! Off went the TV, I rubbed her back and tummy and Ms Sofie was asleep(yes, in my bed) in 5 minutes.

To pry her out of bed this morning, I gave her a special treat. A little time with her video game since she wasn't going to be her for awhile. I'm glad I did. The Shrek game uses an actual clock face to teach telling time!! She did well, once I explained what it all meant. So we had a bit of learning this morning after a night of bad parenting.

Off to school we went for her last day before the break. I was feeling a little guilty about last night, especially that Debra now has to bathe her, but I know in my heart it could have gotten worse if I didn't play it out the way I did. The skills of parenting are still enriching me daily and giving in sometimes is skill most parents I know utilize.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Suspended Disbelief

I love that time in a child's life where the lines of fact and fiction blur. Santa is a prime example. The trust and awe that Sofie is experiencing right now is incredible to observe.

On Sunday, Sofie came to stay with me for a few days. It's a mixed bag of reasons, but one was so we could do Christmas before she and Debra head to California for the holidaze. After a very hectic weekend of parties and festivities, Sofie arrived at my house ready to open more presents. "Santa" had gotten her something that I knew she'd want to play with for longer than we had that evening, so I diverted her attention to the boring presents(clothes, books, art supplies) I had gotten her. I did, however, point to the pile of presents wrapped differently. I explained that because he knew she was going to be out of town for Christmas Eve, Santa sent a couple of his elves by with a few presents for her. I can't begin to describe how wide her eyes and mouth became. Ah, the joys of suspended disbelief!

We waited until last night when I thought we'd have a bit more time for her to play to open Santa's gifts. Being in the know, I directed the order of opening. First her stocking with a Scooby Doo cup and straw, her very own Chapstick and a bit of candy. She was pleased but quickly tore through the next box...the BIG ticket item! Her very own video game! That's what she kept saying over and over..."my very *own* video game!!" Her final two gifts from Santa were cartridges for her "video game"...Scooby Doo(math, reading, logic, spelling) and Shrek (more of the same.) Ah the sneakiness of Santa! A learning tool that's FUN?!?!

This morning, I explained that kids at school may not believe her when she tells them that Santa visited her already. I advised her to stick to her guns and assure them that he knows ALL and really wanted to make sure that she got her presents on time. When I dropped her off at school, she ran over to one of friends proudly exclaiming, "Santa came and I have my own video game now!!" I saw a bit of disbelief in the other child's eyes, but Sofie explained and the disbelief washed away. All was well with the world. I'm worried that a 3rd grader will burst her little Santa bubble today, but I feel confident that she will hold to the truth as she knows that Santa knows and sees everything.

Raw nerves

My skin seems to be thinner than normal these days. Emotions seem to be particularly raw this year, so I'm guessing the chemo is adding a layer that I wasn't anticipating. Several times over the past few weeks, I've wanted to flee situations where I've felt I was being, for lack of a better word, attacked. That's a very strong word and it's not really what I mean, but in that moment, it's how I've felt. I admit, it's hard for me to write this, but I'm trying to be true to what's happening and true to the the blog.

I'm not one to really enjoy this time of year. There are so many long standing reasons I tend to get in a mood around the holidays. Unfortunately, things seem particularly sensitive this year. Is it chemo related or just the Christmas blahs? That, I cannot tell you because it's unclear. Just know that I may get my feelings hurt without you even knowing it. 'Tis that time of year. Just know, I'm trying not to take everything personally.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Steroids ROCK!!!

As my last post, you know I was dealing with residual nausea from the last chemo. No more, thanks to a power pack, three day run of steroids. Another great side effect of steroids is major major major energy. I could move a mountain today, if I wanted to.

So, I'm spending the rest of my steroid induced power blast day cleaning and organizing and wrapping presents. Don't know how much longer this will last, so must utilize the power NOW!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Chemo sucks...well, currently it does

You asked how I was really doing. Ask and ye shall receive.

Well, I've been doing pretty well with treatments. The pain is being managed, but oh, the nausea! I've been slightly nauseous since treatment last week, with a short break over the weekend. I stopped taking the big anti-nausea drugs and it's come back with a vengeance. Yesterday, my nurse at Duke called in THREE prescriptions. Of course one of the meds is a steroid, so I'll want to eat like a horse. OY!! I feel like my body should be rattling with all the pills I'm taking.

At this point, I just have to say how fortunate I am that I have good health insurance. There are a few benefits to working in corporate America. It makes me take pause and wonder, how do people without insurance handle this financially? How about a national health plan, Georgie Boy?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Honestly... I'm doing OK!!

Several friends have emailed me recently to ask how I'm really doing. I made this blog public, just so people could keep up and know how I'm doing and to avoid typing the same stories over and over again.

Many seem to doubt that I'm really sharing the truth. I'm posting to assure you that I am sharing most of how I feel. I even posted the fainting episode. If that's not sharing, I don't know what is!!

I will share more about the post chemo week. Maybe that'll satisfy the need to know that I'm not *always* doing well.

This round of chemo has been, well, odd. I did great the first 48 hours post treatment. And that was without any medications. I did have a weird stomach thing happen. Those who know me well probably aren't surprised that my stomach acted up. My nurse changed my nausea medication and that helped tremendously. You know about the passing out incident, that was just stupidity on my part. Now I'm dealing with hives. So, in a nutshell, I'm not perfect, but I'm doing OK. I'm back at work, trying to concentrate enough to make it through a days work. Friends are checking in and that's nice. I get random IM's from friends allover and that makes me smile. So for those who are concerned, I hope this posting assures you that, all things considered, I'm doing A-OK.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Please take with food

What happens when you take ALL your medications, don't eat breakfast and rush off to church? Well, if you're me, you pass out. It clearly states on one of my pain meds, "TAKE WITH FOOD." I love to buck authority...not really...I just wasn't thinking.

I was really enjoying Don's sermon on "'Tis better to give than recieve"...unfortunately, I don't remember much about yesterday's service. I think I was pretty out of it before I even sat down. Definitely not feeling myself. All I know is just before the offeratory, I thought I was having a hot flash. I looked over at Debra and she said, "It'll pass." Well, it didn't but I certainly did! Not dramatically, mind you. Just simply laying down on the pew. I did have this quick thought of needing to get out of the church because I was too hot. Thankfully, I didn't!! After the escape thought, I just went out. I woke up with approximately 20 smiling/concerned faces looking down at me. My head was in as strangers hands and they were asking questions of me. "Where was I?" "Did I eat breakfast?" Apparently a couple of people called 911. The paramedics/fire people arrived, took vitals, talked to me. Recommended that I eat a FULL breakfast. Kimberly, Matt, Joy and Susan volunteered to take Sofie for the afternoon so Debra could take me to breakfast and then make sure I was okay. A big shout out to them. We have wonderful friends and everyone at ERUUF was so thoughtful and concerned!

After a hearty breakfast, I went home, napped and felt much better. I felt well enough to join in birthday festivities for my dear friend Kim. Low key, fun, good food and nice people. Just a great way to end the weekend. Happy Birthday, Kim!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

For the Christmas Impaired

I've never been one much to celebrate or decorate for Christmas, especially as an adult. Call me Ebeneezer or say "Bah Hum Bug"...go ahead, I've heard it all. I don't remember at what point in my life Christmas became so taxing. Maybe it was after my parents divorced and I had to "choose" between holidays. Maybe it was after that, when I came out as a lesbian and put a self imposed divide between me and my family. Guess it doesn't really matter how or when, just that it occurred naturally and over time.

Add a kid to mix and see how long the Christmas Blahs last! This is the first year that Sofie has taken a *real* interest in the holidays. She's very aware that she has a mixed family. One Jewish Mom and One not Jewish/not very Christian mom. Sofie knows she gets to celebrate Hanukkah AND Christmas and she's thrilled about it...what 6 year old wouldn't be?

A few weeks ago, she reminded me of the "Christmas" Tree that I had a few years ago that lights up by itself. (Fibre optic, table top, kitch!) She wanted to rush home and put it out. So we did...five minutes later, a tabletop tree adorned the livingroom in my condo. Now what? She was a bit distraught that I didn't have lights, but understood that I didn't really have trees or a yard to decorate.

Later that week, after she was back at Debra's house, she argued with her that she's both and that she SHOULD be able to have lights. Debra succumbed, but tried to opt for white lights only. Sofie empathically stated, "No white lights, only COLORS!!" So the search began. The Jewish mom who had never decorated outdoors, was now tasked with finding lights that satisfied Ms Sofie's requests. Debra did a great job and Sofie has taken those lights as her personal responsibility. Just last week, I was dropping her off at Debra's when suddendly, her door opened and she hopped out of the car. Luckily I had stopped and was already parked!! She ran over to the plugs for the little trees she and Debra decorated. After plugging them in, she beamed(brighter than the lights on the tree.)

That my friends is Christmas for the celebratory challenged!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Round 2 and all is well

Tuesday was Round 2 of chemo for me. My friend Angela volunteered to be my Chemo Buddy for the day. Lucky for you, she brought her camera, so you get to share in the experience, too. Unfortunately, I wasn't aware enough to take pictures of our cribbage game. Something I'm now addicted to and I'm teaching myself to play to be better next time!

The morning went incredibly smooth. All appointments were on time and the medicines dripped out of their bottle and bags at an appropriate pace and all was well. Angela journeyed down to the cafe and gathered sustinence for our long morning. We played cribbage until I just couldn't keep my eyes open due to a Benedryl give pre chemo. I was sitting under an incredibly bright light, so ingenuity took over in my out of it state of mind and here's how I slept for a while:

Unfortunately, I slept too long and we only got to play one game of cribbage and that left Angela to fend for herself for much of the time. I'm glad I brought Debra's book, Cancer Vixen along. It's a hoot and highly recommended and it kept Angela entertained.

After leaving Chemo Central, Angela dropped me off at Tracey and Sharon's house. Angela checked out and loved ALL the colors of the house...even the bedroom! She left after a quick house tour and Tracey treated me to a wonderful massage. As she was finishing up, Sharon came home and Tracey headed out to massage other folks. Sharon and I hung out, watched Al Gore on Oprah, ate Turkey soup, a sleeve of saltines and pound cake. After some quality friend time, she drove me to Harris Teeter to pick up the good drugs and off to home I went.

After a lovely soaking bath, I anticipated drifting off to sleep and waking up refreshed the next day. My body, however, had another plan. After a difficult time falling asleep by midnight, my burning stomach woke me up at 3a. After a few tums, tossing and turning and some time online, I feel asleep by 6a. I woke up just in time to get dressed for my acupuncture appointment.

Today has been back and forth with my nurse about controlling this stomach ache that's not nausea. Her suggestion was Ativan. So, here I sit in an Ativan induced state writing about life. Maybe it's time I give up this post and turn in for the night. More later.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Religious Hospitality, Aloneness, I'Hare and a Minister Installed

Sunday was a great day of enlightenment and thoughtfulness. Our new minister, Don Southworth, was installed in a beautiful, enlightening and electrifying service late Sunday afternoon. I'd never been to anything like it. I left knowing the congregation made a great choice and that there are things that which we have no idea that are on the horizon. Don is a self professed UU evangelist, two concepts you might think wouldn't mesh. He's opened my eyes to the idea that evangelism can be a positive word. I'm sure I'll be writing more on this later.

For the regular Sunday service Peter Morales, a former classmate of Don's at Starr King, the theological school that many Unitarian ministers attend, delivered a wonderful sermon on Religious Hospitality. I wasn't sure what message I would take home from this sermon. He spoke of things that I did expect, like reaching out to visitors. However, he tapped into something that has really been hitting home for me lately. He quoted some statistics(that I'm totally blanking on right now due to chemo brain!!) from a study that was published in American Sociological Review One fact did stick out though. The study reported that in 1985 the modal(most commonly reported) response was that Americans had 3 people(kin and non-kin) that they confided in. The shocking part was that in 2004, the modal response was ZERO confidants! How incredibly sad it was to hear that statistic.

During that sermon, I started thinking about how this applies to my life. How many people to I truly confide in...other than my therapist(and that's even debatable)? I guess, honestly, two and 1/2...again debatable and up for discussion. Since the whole Cancer thing, I've opened up more and I'm learning to ask for more, but it's still incredibly hard to be real with people. Something I need to explore more.

The installation service for Don included an awe inspiring performance by the Eno River Singers that was actually the world premiere of the piece. The music was entitled, "I'hare" (ee har ay). In the composer's note, she states, "I'hare is a Pawnee word that is invoked when calling people to be fully present, to enter a state of thoughtfulness and reverence." In my opinion, it was the perfect choice to be performed at this ceremony. I noticed many gaping mouths and teary eyes as the music swelled and exclaimed the word, I'hare!

The remainder of the ceremony was as thought provoking and invigorating as the morning ceremony and the performance of I'Hare. The Charge to the Congregation garnered a standing ovation for Gini Courter, moderator of the UUA. I wish my chemo addled brain remembered the 3 points she laid out for us. (Here's hoping there's a transcript of the service available at some point. Peter's Charge to Don was full of love and compassion and both men were in tears. Peter's final charge to Don was "To continue being Don." From what I've witnessed as a member over the past few months as Don has settled in, Peter was absolutely right. Don, just keep being Don and things will grow in ways we can't even predict. Personally, I'm looking forward to growing right along with the fellowship with Don and Mary's guidance, partnership and love for Unitarianism.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

A Day in the Park and Snow

Sofie and I spent an hour or so at her favorite park today. This park has the tallest slides and the coolest play structure. Initially, it was her and 3 toddlers; however, 15 minutes later she was happily playing with kids her own age. It was a beautiful, crisp late fall day. Unlike the days we've had with temperatures in the 70s. I'm glad it's cold again.

This evening we joined friends at the mall to enjoy the "snow" the mall provides daily at 715p. The kids were excited with the "snow" which was nothing more than soap bubbles being blown from the tops of a few stores. Whatever it takes to make kids in the south enjoy the hopes of snow!!

Friday, December 1, 2006

New Camera

Nothing like an impulse buy for myself 3 weeks before Christmas! I was in Costco this morning picking up a Costco size of Purell Hand Sanitizer. (I oppose the use of those hand sanitizers on the general principle that germs are actually good for you and help build your immune system. Don't even get me started on the fact that kids aren't exposed to enough germs!! Anyhoo, a side effect of chemo is a low white blood count which leaves me susceptible to infections, et al. My nurse called and recommended this stuff along with constant hand washing and staying away from sick people. So, I had to buy those silly bottles of Purell.) Side note ends.

While walking through Costco, I noticed a table full of a variety of Digital Cameras. My camera stopped working recently, and although I hadn't intended to replace it at this exact moment, there had such a great price on a Sony Cybershot. You can see the camera here:
Cyber-Shot W70 The price at Costco was considerably less than the Sony website! So far, I'm very happy with it. I've taken a few pics of Sofie and will take more over the weekend. It's pocket-sized and has some great features. I've rationalized this purchase to death, but the fact of the matter is, I wanted it and I haven't bought anything for me recently, so I did. I enjoy taking pictures and with this smaller camera, I'll be able to bring it with me everywhere and capture more moments of my life. I don't want to miss anything and I want to share some of those moments with my blog readers.

Cold Running Creek and Baldness

Last night I enjoyed the company of Angela and Annette for a quick bite at the Mongolian restaurant on Ninth St. We met there to quickly eat, then we headed up to the independent bookstore for a reading. My friend and writing goddess teacher woman Zelda, just self published her second novel. This was her first reading since publication. I had read her first novel and enjoyed it, although the subject matter was a little difficult to read. I wasn't sure what to expect from the second novel, but I wanted to be supportive and attend her reading. I'm really glad I did. She's a great reader. I admit, I haven't been to that many readings, but I have gone to some. I loved the way she read each character in a unique voice. Her enthusiasm and general presence made the reading fun. Afterwards the question and answer period was quite informative, too. Zelda is someone who I see really sticking to her convictions. It may have not always come easy for her, but she practices what she preaches and I admire that in her.

It's always interesting to hear what goes into creating a story...the blood, sweat and tears that were poured into this story became quite evident as she talked about the process. Her answers were genuine and real and the subject matter is fascinating. To read more about it, go here:
Zelda's books You can read about Fifth Born, her first novel, too.

Something interesting happened at the reading. I wasn't the only bald woman there! I was the only bald woman due to chemotherapy, however not the only bald head. I wonder if it's cultural thing, since I've seen several African-American woman with hair shorn as closely as mine and they don't seem to surprised by my baldness. There baldness seems to be by choice and so much more natural than me walking around with no hair. As a side note, every woman I've seen with little or no hair has looked beautiful! I personally think I look like my grandfather! However, I have gotten many compliments from all types of women. It's a nice stroke to the ego during a time I may not be feeling my best. I've been told that I'm "brave", "cute", "hot", "sexy" and other such things. I find it hard to grasp that I'm hot under any circumstances, but it is nice to hear while I'm sans hair. The worst thing that happened to me since the shaving was a woman followed me into the bathroom at a basketball game and looked up, went back out the door to see the sign. I heard her husband ask if she went in the bathroom because they thought I was a man. I just smirked at her when she walked back in. Have they never seen a person who's had Cancer before?!?! I'm sure that'll happen more than once, but it's something I'm unfortunately used to having happen.