Wednesday, June 29, 2011

As Expected

No. Not good news. C'Mon people- haven't you gotten the routine by now? I DO NOT GET GOOD NEWS. Today was no different. CT scans show metastasis to omentum, the surface of my liver, lymph nodes in my arm and neck and spots in lungs and breast.

Not in critical state though. So, Yay? Nothing I have done has shrunk anything. I am still holding onto the sliver of hope that the vaccine will work. I've tried to be mentally 100% behind it but it either hasn't kicked in yet, IS working-slightly- and if I hadn't had the vaccines, these tumors would be ten times worse, OR it won't work.
Alot of the tumors have grown. Some by 2 to 3 centimeters.

The growing tumor on my sternum is becoming painful and making it hard to even wear a bra, so I met with Dr. Kuhn about removing the tumor there- I have surgery tomorrow. I'd say he worked me in pretty fast. I was supposed to be on my way back home as I'm typing this but I'd rather just have this surgery done and overwith. It's an outpatient deal but I'm spending the night at the hospital tomorrow night then flying home on Friday.
Let's be honest- this surgery is not even close to curative. It will only make me more comfortable. So it's not like the surgery is a big deal. Just another go under the knife for me.

Lots to do when I get home. I'm just going to have to schedule my days: What to eat, what to take, when to meditate and all that. Really. I've got to get serious about these less than serious "cures" if only to say I gave EVERYTHING a go before I went.

You know- I had a break from cancer when I went to Italy... but it wasn't long enough. I'm already sick of this shit.

A Thinking Problem

Just one day I would like to hear GREAT news as far as cancer is concerned. So far- it's all been either horrible or "Not bad" if you look at it a certain way.
I had My CT scans today. The catch... I was scheduled to go in at 9am to drink the contrast and CT at 10. I had to call and push it back because I was feeling awful. Then it was drink at 2, CT at 3. Well, I was in my hotel room, throwing up at 2. They gave me IV fluids and anti-nausea meds so I could get the CTs. Evidently the morphine I'm on is slowing my GI system down to the point where.. well.. things won't move. Well, then I can't eat anything when it's go nowhere to go, so it comes back up.

I've also been thinking a lot about mortality. The tumor on my chest is growing, I have little knots on my arms and stomach... I thought it was fat, but it's very possible they're tumors. And it would be my luck that they are and will gro like the one on my sternum, making me look like the friggin' Elephant Man.
The reason for the thoughts... a fellow cancer fighter, a friend I made at teh Disney retreat with Inheritance Of Hope, is in her final days. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September. She has 2 children very close to my girls' ages. She and I got along great and her husband and Jason really bonded. I can't express how much I hate cancer. Right now I'm on a little ativan because I'm spending the evening THINKING. There is too much in my head. And it's not happy. I'm really mad at the world tonight. I guess it's a good thing I'm alone because I'd keep whoever was here with me awake, talking their ear off and probably blubbering like a baby.

It hasn't been a good day really. At least the day is ending watching "The Golden Girls."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Back to Life- Back To Reality

Well- though I left out a few days of the trip (it got crazy busy and I was losing steam. Only had enough for the day, once we got back to the hotel, it was lights out!
Micki and I got home safe and sound. I've been trying to catch up on sleep but I want to be with my girls as much as possible and you know they won't let me out of their sight for too long. I kind of have a renewed sense of Motherhood... trying to be more patient, trying to think of fun stuff to do the rest of the summer.
I wasn't sure if I could hang as a stay at home Mom before, but I think I've got it. I actually think I have more energy when I DO have energy than I did before I left.. and we did A LOT of walking.
And the girls seem to have grown up a bunch in 10 days.
I like it.

So on the cancer front... back to Dallas on Monday. CT scans on Tuesday and seeing the doc on Wednesday. I'm very nervous about the CT scan results- my sternum tumor seems much bigger (that or I've lost weight around it) and you can actually start seeing it through my shirts. It's bad enough to have cancer, but to be disfigured by it is another thing. I know compared to losing a leg, a breast, an eye or something like that is worse, but this is what I've got to deal with and I don't like it. It's gross and it hurts. I'm sure that anyone who hugs me hard enough can feel it... if my boobs were what they once were- you'd never know about the tumor, but they're almost nada compared to the glory they used to be. (If I do say so myself.) Oh well, that's what push up bras were made for I guess.
So I won't be getting a vaccine this time- it's the first follow up and I won't go back for another 3 months. In the meantime, I will be checking into a couple of clinical trials in Canton, OH and one near Cincinnati. Maybe others... I think there might be one or two in Virginia. I'll know more next week. I got a little rusty on the "Save your own life" mechanics while I was on vacation. I didn't forget about the cancer for a day but I certainly didn't have to give a damn at the time.

I'm happy to be home. I'm more than thrilled to be back with my girls. And I guess I'll jump back into cancer fighting with both feet now that I'm here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Naples... You Can Keep It.

Today has been an adventure.

It started innocently enough- breakfast at the hotel, lemon trees (note the SIZE of the lemons), singing birds, cappucino...

It was relaxing...

I love that you can't go wrong with a cappucino here.

We stopped at Herculaneum on the way. It's only a fraction of Pompeii, but much better preserved.

LOTS of well-preserved frescos...

Some statues....

And the skeletons of what looks to be a family of 3 huddled together in an otherwise unassuming house.


It's not like when you go in there's a sign that says "There's a really sad display of skeletons in here." You just walk in like any other house in the town. I don't care who you are- it makes you a little sad to see that.
We spent about 2 hours there and then got on our way. We meant to get to the Navy base there so we could mail some stuff home for more room in our luggage so we could shop a little in Rome. Well, after a stop at the Exchange and asking around- we found the post office- tucked away behind some buildings. We walked in and were told that it closed at 3. Huh? the POST OFFICE on a Navy base overseas, on a Tuesday, closes at 3. And of course it was 3:30. Ugh. We didn't know what we would do with our stuff. Find a FedEx in town? Stop back at the base tomorrow? Just hang onto it until we get home? While we were trying to figure this out- we thought we'd either find our hotel or the train station to drop off the rental car. The two were close together.

Fast forward an hour or two and we're 'parked' on the side of a 'street' I think it was under the train station. We had found our hotel amongst the crazy-ass drivers, cars parked 2 deep and piles of trash. After we'd located the hotel- we thought maybe we'd drop off the car, but we couldn't find where the Hertz point was and frankly- the train station was scary as hell.

This is at the train station.

I've been alone and lost in the back woods of Kentucky and I've been alone and lost in the Ghetto of Oakland, California and I've been lost in Tijuana, Mexico- alone and drunk- but Naples scared the crap out of me. Not driving around in a car with my sister, but the idea of the two of us in a questionable hotel, on a main street, at night, just didn't seem like the brightest idea.

No thank you. Naples was a trashy city and Micki and I made the decision to find the quickest route out of there.

We got out of the city and thought we'd head for Rome tonight but we didn't have hotel reservations anywhere and it was at least 2 hours away. Hm- So we headed back to the Navy base and got a room at the Navy Lodge. Some familiarity and security was relieving after that debacle.
Though the food on base isn't authentic Napoli... we got pizza at the base pizzeria (it was that or Subway sandwiches) and hunkered down. It was a good decision because we did laundry free of charge (we each only brought a carry-on of clothes for the 10-day stay) and we can mail out our stuff tomorrow.
I am a little sad that I won't get to see the pretty stuff in Naples, but NOT having to deal with that filthy town is a fine trade-off with me. Small sacrifices........

That's Vesuvius in the distance. This is the prettiest picture I could get of Naples.... LEAVING.

Tomorrow will be a more productive day. I won't say 'better' because 85% of the fun is the surprises. I think Micki and I make a damn good team. She was driving (I think that was a good thing) and I was navigating.. with an inferior map that only had a couple of streets actually labeled- though I don't think it mattered because the streets in Naples are hardly marked. So the fact that we found what we were looking for- train station and hotel- and still got out of there is an accomplishment. We just didn't have to stay once we got there.
I think we will mosey tomorrow. Get the car dropped off just outside Rome, take the train in, get our goodies to the hotel, have some dinner and wine, then on Thursday we'll hit the Colosseum.

Still a good GREAT day. We all need a little excitement- and Micki and I got our fair share.


Monday, June 13, 2011


At the Theater in Pompeii.

On the Grand Canal, Venice. I look like crud because this is right after the flight and on the way to the hotel. Note the smile anyway. :)

This is me in St Mark's Square, Florence. You can't see my yummy gelato.

Just got back form Pompeii. Wow. What an experience. A LOT of walking- and me sitting. But My sister is patient and there were a lot of ledges and steps and whatnot to sit on.
I THINK we saw most everything there. We didn't have a guide so we winged it. We found the bathouse (teehee) and the alley was packed with people from cruise ships on group tours. So the groups were taking turns going into the bathouse I guess, but since WE weren't with a group and there is just the 2 of us and there is just a little in and out why should we have to waith for the big ass groups to go? Well some lady practically clotheslined me to keep me from going past her. She said "Our group is next."
"We're not with any group." I said.
She just moved her considerable self into my way and stood there.
I fumed for quite a bit. Were the 2 of us supposed to wait until all the cruise ship groups went through before we could see it? Bullshit. I didn't see in any rules that was how things were supposed to go. I mean, there's graffiti on these aincient frescos, cigarrette butts in the aincient gardens and this beeyotch is worried about 2 girls getting in before her HUGE group? Whatev!
I fumed after it was done and was mad that I didn't say something more to her. I DID get a little revenge... after we got past her group we walked down one of the roads and as she emerged onto the same road she was turning to go the other way but turned in our direction to get a picture of the road.... she got her picture and me in it, flipping her the bird.

Juvenile, but satisfying.

So the hotel where we are staying is nice. The town- not so much. Though when we got here last night we were hungry and figured room service would be fine. I got spaghetti and Micki got linguini with seafood.
This was the WORST spaghetti I've ever tasted-undercooked, and just blech. And Micki's food was beyond gross- we may be ruined on seafood for the rest of the visit. Is it possible to have totally nasty food in Italy? I guess so! Everything up to that point was great... food wise. I DID manage to get a N.A.S.T.Y. drink that I figured woul be deee-lish. Poo- water with carbonation. Sucks to take a risk sometimes. heh,heh.
The drive down here was fun. Got to see lots of countryside, Tuscany and such. Beautiful. The fuel stops were crazy though. Crowded and RUDE people... I didn't take my time looking for nummys- just grab a Coke and go.

I got to Skype with the girls Saturday AND Sunday so i am a happy girl. And thank you Bernie for reminding me that though I miss my girls- I'm making fantastic memories with my sister. I am cherishing my time with her.

I Love My Sister.

So it's nap time right now then the Volcano museum this evening.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


It is night 2 in Florence for us. We got here last night with a little time to check out the area.
We stood in line for a good hour to see the David. The statue- very impressive. Though it may be a good thing that he wasn't alive when it was sculpted... Poor guy, he would have to tell everyone that it was cold in the room where he was modeling.
I am having a good time- though I still don't forget my woes. It sucks that I'm in ITALY and I can't enjoy a dinner. I threw up last night after dinner and today, right after seeing David, I rushed all over trying to find a bathroom- to find one JUST in time to puke out my nose and into a sink in the bathroom. Then once again on the way back to the hotel right on the sidewalk.
We got back to the room and I crashed for a while. By the time I got enough rest and got my bearings- It was 8'Oclock. So Micki and I found a nice restaurant and had a nice meal. I don't eat very much so I don't regret it later. Dinner has stayed down for now. We did have wine. Chianti is supposed to be the best here so I had some and YUM! I likey!

Well- there is much more to tell, but I'm waiting on the husband to get it together on the Skype so I can see my babies!

We're off to Pompeii tomorrow- driving down the coast. I can't wait for the madness........


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Off To Italy

It is Wednesday and I am writing this from the airport. Patiently waiting to board the flight to JFK Airport and then to Italy.
My sister and I are flying into Venice and are planning on seeing most of the country... Florence, Naples, Pisa, Pompei, Rome... I know there is more than that- but we've got 10 days, so we'll do our best.
I'm excited! I dropped off the girls this morning and got a little misty-eyed... Iris was fine and Vera didn't even notice, she was too busy playing kitchen. I kinda prefer it that way. I'd be a blubbering mess if they started crying when I left- it's MUCH harder that way.
That will be the hardest part of this trip... missing the girls. I'm watching a couple of twin girls here in the airport bounce around, spill stuff and goof off and I'm already missing them.
I will have fun- but I can't put my whole heart into the trip because half my heart is home with the girls. I'm just lucky to have recent pictures of them to bring with me. <3

Checking off my bucket list whether I need to or not.