Saturday, June 23, 2007

I've been Skyped!!

Skype is a pretty nifty internet product. You can use it to have free text and voice chats with other registered Skype users--for free. I joined yesterday and talked with Steve in London. You need a microphone and speakers (better yet, a headset) connected to your computer to hear and speak. I got a pretty nice headset from Dell for <$20, including shipping.

You also can make calls to phone lines through your computer and allow phone lines to call you through your computer. That is not a free service, but if you want that, you might be able to find a "plan" for you at a reasonable rate.

Ever had to make a phone call and your teenager on the land line and you cell phone battery is low? You can use your computer and Skype.

You can contact me if you are a Skype member using the button in the links section to the right. (I have not signed up to receive incoming phone calls using Skype.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summer Solstice

Summer solstice used to be one of my least favorite days. It meant that all planting of spring/summer plants was over because they would not have time to bloom/bear fruit before the days became too short to provide adequate sunlight. Also, the days would start getting shorter, giving me less time in the gardens, and the shadow of the house would start moving back over the vegetable garden.

I didn't feel like that today. I am starting to feel like I am just waking up from winter. I am trying so hard to get out of this depression and I keep hoping I get there before all of summer is gone. I only have July and August left, though, and that may not be enough time. That kind of kicks me back into hating summer solstice.

I have had two PT appts this week and have another tomorrow. Only 2 more weeks before I "graduate," unless these laser treatments start doing something for my neuropathy. I can work on balance and strength exercises myself.

I saw Dr. Cutter the breast surgeon for my 6 month follow-up today. Nothing remarkable. I go back in a year.

I also saw my psychotherapist. We get along pretty well. Neither of us want to waste any time getting me "recovered." She does cognitive behavioral therapy, which is the style I'm used to. We started in on my anger at my cancer team, particularly Dr. Half-Boob, for the shape they left me in. After hearing the details of the story, she didn't think my white-hot anger was at all irrational, till I got to the part of where I am angry at myself for not asking the right questions. She even suggested that I consider a malpractice suit, but I am not a litigious person.

My homework assignment is to type out a conversation between myself and my anger. She said I might be surprised at what I learn about my anger. She said I could share it with her if I wanted to, which I think I will. I have started it.

I lost my calendar today, and did not freak out too much. I put a message into the place I hoped I might have left it, and proceeded to call our health care professionals to get appointment dates to rebuild the calendar. Finally I tried the place again, and they had it!! I got all of next week's appointments from the woman, and asked her to drop it into the mail to me.

I plan to curve Ennis this weekend. I have never curved him on Levemir. I doubt it will be a 24-hour curve, but we will see. Maybe a mini-curve for the overnight cycle.

I have taken all of my pills, on time, for four days now. I want to thank Jess for that. She got me a pill holder that has slots for 7 days of pills with slots for 4 pill "times" each day. Pretty nifty, but even more nifty is the timer that cames with it. I can set it to sound an alarm 6 times during the day. I shoot Ennis on the 8s, and now I take the bulk of my meds on the 8s, so two alarm times are serving double duty.

Have a nice weekend all.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Just Another Trash Day

Wednesdays are trash day.

The best news I have is that the chronic diarrhea seems to be over. I took myself off the Levbid that the GP had prescribed and that wasn't doing anything but giving me dry mouth. I tried Metamusil, as suggested by Jim. Even though it is labeled as a laxative, Jim said it works both ways in his experience. I drank a glass everyday I had diarrhea, and within 4 days the constant diarrhea had stopped. Now another week later, I have solid stool. Who would have thought? I have been fighting this problem since last fall.

I have finished and submitted the questionnaire for the SSDI lawyer. It was a downer for me trying to remember all the bad things that have happened and all the negative symptoms and conditions I have been through. And then to paint them in the worse possible light so that my claim would come off positive. I am working so hard now to get better, that kind of felt like a setback. But I need this SSDI. My savings (except retirement) are fast disappearing.

I don't think I've mentioned it but I re-found an old friend, Elaina. She was my department director and direct supervisor when I did collection acquisitions for a public library after I graduated college with an at-the-time worthless journalism degree. She was always so very encouraging and supportive of me, and we really connected on a personal level. She hosted the wedding shower for my first marriage.

I don't know why or how we lost touch, and we both guessed it had been maybe eight years, but we stepped right back into it like it was yesterday. And true to her form, Elaina now has five Newfoundlands. I find that amazing. She asked me to visit (many states away). Perhaps I should, and take Ennis along to see what he thinks of 5 Mastiffs.

But, anyway, Elaina and I have spoken maybe 4 times since reconnecting. We have many feelings in common about our lives right now. Thank you Lanie for the chats and the caring.

Jim and I have started taking short walks in the neighborhood, just once around the circle in the morning before it gets to hot. He walks slow as a snail. I mentioned that to my GYN yesterday, and he said not to think of the walks as an exercise, so much as some shared time with my husband and a chance to observe nature around me. My GYN is such a sweetie. I will do that today, if we walk, and I am sure I will enjoy the walk so much more.

I see my PT twice this week and the breast surgeon tomorrow. I am starting to think about having this mess on my chest cleaned up. All the scars on the right trouble me because, without daily stretching exercises, the scars really righten up and restrict range of motion. I would like to find a reconstructive surgeon who could cut all the scars away and use the excess skin from the left side (after removing the implant) as graft for the right side.

I would have to stop smoking again (yes, for you who didn't know, I started up again when Jim was so sick) so that my vascular system is at top performance for skin grafting surgery. But I do need to stop smoking again. I did make it 7 months.

The psychiatrist put me on a nighttime antidepressant/sedative (Trazodone) to help my sleeping. I was dizzy the first dose, but OK since then, and I have been sleeping better. Sleeping better = feeling better = eating better = getting better.

There was something else I wanted to say, but I have forgotten it. I'm sure as soon as I publish, it will come to me.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

We're Still Here!!

I've been busy trying to fill out this damned form for the SSDI lawyer. Why doesn't she just ask the same questions in the same way Social Security did?

Jim finally got his DRs to put him on a small dosage of prednisone for his osteo arthritis. Other than achey knees, he has no other medical complaints. He can't take non-steroidal anti-inflamatory drugs (NSAIDs) because of his liver condition. He's thinking about asking his GI DR for a CT scan of his liver so he can know whether there has been any regeneration. We feel like there has been, given his vastly improved (some might say seemingly normal) condition, even though lots of folks told us his liver was too far gone to regenerate.

I had neuropathy PT 3x this week, and I am doing somewhat better with my balance. "Deadness" in feet and fingers seems about the same. I also met with the psychiatrist, who wants to change my antidepressants--again--but I told him he has to talk with Dr. Chemo for an OK.

I met with the psychotherapist for the first time. She's maybe my age, maybe a little younger, and we are both straight shooters so we got along pretty well. I spilled my guts. Having been through therapy I know how to do that and how important it is to cooperate with the therapist and not fight her. She was fascinated with my story; she seemed amazed I was still alive and sane. She asked me my goals of counseling. I hadn't thought about that before, so I shot from the hip. Probably my "first thoughts" are the best.

1. To resolve my intense anger with the plastic surgeon who brutally maimed me. On reflection, the breast surgeon and radiation oncologist are part of that as well.

2. To resolve my feelings about living with Jim. I don't want anything to up-end our marriage because I love him dearly and need him greatly.

3. To resolve my guilt about having lost my career. Guilt might not be the best word for what I am feeling, but there are certainly strong feelings there. I have always been proud of my career and how I excelled with it. I achieved not only financial stability but also significant recognition of my abilities. That's all gone right now, and I want to get it back.

We want to wish a happy 51st birthday to Robin. I love you Robin, and how much you help me.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Jim's Little Adventure

Jim had his first colonoscopy/upper endoscopy yesterday morning. He dislikes DRs and procedures, so he was nervous, but he is better with them (after 3 months of hospitalization) than he used to be.

Only one polyp that will be sent for histology. A small internal hemorrhoid and an area of abnormal mucosa. The DR told Jim that it was a pretty "clean" colonoscopy. Also no varices on the upper end, which is good news because they are common in people with liver disease.

I continue to be amazed at my miracle man!!

Now if we could do something with the osteoarthritis in his knees.

Because Jim had eaten little in the 2 days leading up to the procedure, he was pleased when I made him lunch and dinner (chicken piccata, yum). I even ate some chicken.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I'm home!!

My trip to see my brother was pretty uneventful. Flights on time, no problems with my meds. I was put to work on the reconstruction, but they didn't task me too hard!!

Jim did great on his own and was very successful in caring for the cats and giving Ennis his insulin shots. Of course, Ennis woke Jim up 2x/night for food. Jim went along with it. Ennis spent alot of time with Jim on the couch, but now he's relocated to my desk. Jim didn't tolerate Lily banging on the crack room door, and he got her so that he would put her in there in the morning and let her out in the afternoon without a peep from her. Of course now that I'm home, she's back to banging.

It reminds me of the Helen Keller story where Ann Sullivan finally learned to control Helen, but then Helen went back to her wild ways when reunited with her parents.

I have nothing planned this week. Jim has a colonoscopy and upper endoscopy on Thursday, and starts to adjust his diet today to eliminate fiber/roughage. Tomorrow clear liquids and the stuff he needs to drink to clean him out. This will be so pleasant!!

Nothing happening in the breast cancer arena until June 21--a meeting with the breast surgeon.

Take care all!