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Ramblings from a Southern liberal, Boomer, single parent, grandmother, reunited birthmother, cancer survivor, pop-culture observer, retired teacher

Most dramatic lymphoma posts are from June 2002 - February 2003 archives.

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The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I cannot go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree, but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

--Theodore Roethke


Joy's Updates - Straight from the Horse's Mouth.
Thursday, October 31, 2002  
New Blog

As if I don't waste enough time on here, I've created a new blog. It's for ranting, rambling, and telling stories. The name of it is Around the Bend. So click and bookmark if you want to. It's not going to be daily but just when I get the urge.

7:19:00 PM


Well, it's definitely getting colder and even snowing in some states. I have a feeling we'll get more snow this winter than we have for a while. They haven't reached their peak yet though. I like this crisp feeling in the air and the colorful leaves that are falling. Not the falling part so much but the colors. I missed that when we lived in Charleston, SC. The changing seasons give a sort of structure to life. Being an English major, everything is a metaphor to me though. :-)

Today is Halloween. We don't get many trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood which is fine with me. It's not as much fun as it was when Brian was young. Having grandchildren makes things more fun to experience things again. I'll think about Melissa and wonder how she's feeling and will then be elated about the anticipation of this new life. It's so exciting to contemplate what it will be like. A combination of Brian and Melissa that they nurture and mold will be wonderful! Of course, I'm biased since I love them both so much. They have such a supportive, loving relationship and are so kind to each other. I'm really proud of them and would like to have a marriage like they do. The best gift parents can give their children is to love each other, and they do. We're looking forward to this baby in our family and already love him/her very much. We'll know the gender of it soon, too.

11:31:00 AM

Wednesday, October 30, 2002  
How Do You Spell Relief?

Not Rolaids in this case! I knew I was nervous about more chemo but didn't realize how it was affecting me until I found out yesterday I don't have to have more of the really toxic kind. It's definitely a relief, and I feel so much better now about what's ahead. Rituxan is effective for low-grade or indolent non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and high remission rates have occcurred. Using it four times seems to be the norm which is why I'll have two more, I suppose.

The plan for the new insurance passed. It's scary to change. I hope it will be OK, but it doesn't seem as good in the long run. We're only one of two counties in the state now that aren't on the state plan. Another county got off of it and then begged to be taken back after three weeks. This happened with our dental insurance. We don't have much as teachers, and our insurance has been a benefit that we thought we could count on. Dickson County teachers are paid less than the other surrounding counties, and it shows. We aren't at all competitive attracting new teachers here. When we needed to hire a special ed supervisor, we couldn't because they could make more in the classroom in other systems. It's a big problem because we are in such debt now that recovery from it looks grim. Our present director inherited this deficit, and it has to feel overwhelming and frustrating. We all feel the effects.

Some of you asked about this. The comments can be posted and/or read by clicking the word comment below. See? Right there by the time.

11:25:00 AM

Tuesday, October 29, 2002  
Weighty Subject

The convoluted thinking we go through about some things! Weight being one of them. I've been eating what I wanted since I lost 25 lbs after chemo, fever, and trauma. I didn't gain but 5 lbs back and maintained the rest quite happily and thought this is how life would continue for me until I had more chemo and could lose the other 15 lbs I wanted as a reward for enduring a horrible experience. Funny how the good news/bad news joke backfires, isn't it? Today on the hospital scales were, much to my chagrin, five more pounds! Well, they were on me actually, but why quibble.

Rituxan doesn't have the side-effects that make food and water taste bad, so I'm going to have to do this myself now. No help from a blitzkrieg of toxic chemicals for me again!! Oh no! I must do this the old fashioned way - sensible eating and exercise. The weather even cooperates now for walking, and with a beautiful view of the changing leaves, I have no choice but to begin. Perhaps it will become a good habit and one I look forward to. Perhaps Hell has frozen over. I wonder why I'm not still doing it after it was a habit in the past. Priorities! That's it, I'm sure. I've perfected wasting time to an art form but must now mend my ways and blah-blah blah-blah blah-blah. Right? Or is it yadda yadda? We optimistic malcontents have rationalizations for everything!

4:54:00 PM

Good News

Today during my appointment with Dr. Spigel, he said I'd resume treatment next week. His plans are for two treatments of Rituxan only!! I'm not sure if they are three or four weeks apart, but after the last one, I'll have CT and PET scans to determine what's going on. This is exactly what I was hoping to hear and told him that. He said he knew I'd be glad about it.

There aren't the side-effects with Rituxan there are with chemo because it's targeted for lymphoma cells and doesn't attack everything. It's still not a walk in the park because it's very effective in killing cancer and continues to work for months after the treatment. Here's another link to find out more about Rituxan and stress and one about mice. It takes four hours for the IV infusion. Some people had allergic reactions to it and had to stop or take more drugs and have it administered slowly. They gave me Benedryl and Decadron before it by IV and a couple of Tylenols. I didn't have any problems with the IV but with how effectively it killed the tumors afterward.

Dr. Spigel said when he talked to Dr. Burkey and told him he'd never seen a reaction like I had that Dr. Burkey said neither had he. I'm a freak. What can I say?

Dr. Spigel was really impressed with the results from the MLD therapy. He said I was more symmetrical now. True and funny!

I hate to be a nag (yeah, right), but why are there no comments? I feel so alone!! I have no one, you know. (Is this dramatic and pitiful enough for you?) I realize that my sincerity gap is surpassed only by my lack of martyrdom.

2:17:00 PM

Monday, October 28, 2002  

I went to the high school to vote against the new plan for insurance. It's too iffy to me to stray from the state plan. I hope we stick with what we have. It's hard to tell how people will vote as we'll find out in November. It was really good to see and talk to people there at the school and fun to laugh and all with some. I enjoyed that and the hugs.

4:07:00 PM

Sunday, October 27, 2002  
Time Change

Yes!! My favorite day of the year! The time is changed back and order is restored to my biological clock. Actually I just wish they'd quit changing it around and keep it one way or the other. I don't like to have to get up an hour early over half the year or get up when I want to but the clock says it's an hour later than it has been. It was exciting to change the clocks last night and then see what time it was this morning, knowing yesterday it was an hour later on the clock. Yea!!

9:34:00 AM

Saturday, October 26, 2002  

I didn't think about being searchable until I read Ariel's comment. Guess having something on here puts us out there to be read. Odd how certain words can attract people to a site. I put some words in Google and Yahoo searches and there was my site eventually on the list. Guess surfers are pretty disappointed when they see what it really is and don't stay long.

11:02:00 PM


Found a link to a new cult cartoon online. It was recently on MTV in the UK before The Osbournes - not sure if it's on here or not. You watchers of MTV will have to let us know. I just watched The Osbournes since I watch so many other shows on network and cable. The link was on Scary Duck and is weebl and bob. "When come back bring pie!" is the new catch phrase from it. Some of it reminds me of South Park - maybe just the voices. Generally by the time I hear about something it's common knowledge. Never one to be on the cutting edge! Oh well!

Then there's Doonesbury Daily Dose. Since I quit subscribing to the newspaper, I read it online.

I voted yesterday. It feels good to know I've done that already. Mother went with me. I told them she'd already voted in Charlotte and thought she'd vote again in Dickson. This isn't Florida though where some of them can't even vote once!

11:05:00 AM


Thank you to those of you who responded by commenting, signing the guest book, or emailing. I require feedback as Brian and my former students know. Besides, I'm curious about who reads this and like to know things.

I'm trying to get as much done as possible before I have more chemo in case I feel bad again. I know I won't get to the point I did before because for one thing all the cancer isn't there now and also because I know how sepsis feels and won't go there again. Dr. Spigel will be watching me like a hawk too. Emma Hall said I didn't do justice describing my neck and how I felt when it was so bad. It's still not that great but much better. I'll try to do better this time. Now that I have the comment part, it can be like an intervention if necessary as well. Talk about preparation! LOL Maybe being this prepared will help ward off complications. Let's hope so. Rev up the prayers and marshal the flocks of angels!! I am!

10:30:00 AM

Friday, October 25, 2002  

I had an appointment with the residents today at the otolaryngology clinic at Vanderbilt. Dr. Matheny wasn't there, so I saw Dr. Chang who was the one who changed my bandages every day when I was in the hospital, so he could definitely tell how well it's healing. He's more down to business and doesn't have the bedside manner that Dr. Burkey and some other have, but he's very thorough and dedicated and concerned. I like him and all of them there, but Burkey is awesome! Chang is the only one who has brought up my having a skin graft as if it's a given. Dr. Burkey has said he wants this to heal from the inside out, which I hope it can. Jean Smith told me about wound treatment that they do at Baptist and that the NHC nurses are learning here in Dickson. She said I'd be a good candidate for it. This involves using the patient's blood and spinning it so the platelet rich plasma can be mixed with a gel which is put in the wound. The healing is much faster based on studies and case histories. This sounds like a possible alternative to grafting, but I'll do what needs to be done about this.

Dr. Chang was concerned that Dr. Spigel was upset because he couldn't resume chemo without discussing it with Dr. Burkey, but I told him Dr. Spigel was OK about that because a clock isn't ticking like it is with some cancers. Besides, Dr. Spigel isn't going to play roulette with my life like that. I'm sure it will start again soon though since they'll talk Monday. It scares me so much to think about sitting in that chair with the IV in my arm and going through it again. I just want to cry. Big crying too! I feel like that white-around-the-mouth-look scared.

I will see Dr. Spigel Tuesday and the residents Nov. 27. Then Dr. Burkey on Dec. 2. Chemo progress will be reported again soon. (sigh)

5:06:00 PM

Thursday, October 24, 2002  

I keep looking at the visits to my webpage and wonder who reads it. I counted (well, estimated) how many have told me they do and am curious about the others. So if you haven't let me know who you are, please email, comment, or sign the guest book to tell me. Notice I added a comment option, too. You know how curious I am about things, and perhaps I might even have a few control issues too. At least I admit it. LOL Please do something to let me know! I'm keeping score!

5:22:00 PM

Wednesday, October 23, 2002  
Tech Assistance

Ariel worked on this so it should work now. Isn't she awesome? Thank you so very much, Ariel!!

I will avoid branching out like that again unless I learn html. The jury is out on how well I'll do with that! I have this computer that will do all kinds of things I have no clue about which is sort of a waste. I need to learn how to download legal music. I don't want to cheat songwriters and singers out of their money. They don't get much of a percentage as it is unless it sells a gazillion copies.

5:56:00 PM

Technical Difficulties

As you have noticed, I screwed up my webpage. I was trying to move the counter and cut and pasted and tried things that were beyond my ability. I've emailed my mentor Ariel Dunham for help. This is way beyond what I can do! When she reads her email and has time, order will be restored once again. She knows html (as does Amy Nickens who also helps me). I need to learn it obviously! I knew there were advantages to teaching gifted students and keeping in touch with them besides the pleasure of their friendship which is the best part of all!

Brian asked if I meant for it to look this way, and I told him I was trying to move the counter. He then understood.

8:52:00 AM

Tuesday, October 22, 2002  

Mother, Janelle, Sarah Ann, and I are going to the benefit for the public library tonight at the Renaissance Center. I hope this benefit helps them improve the library. I really enjoyed going to the previous one. It was light, organized, and clean. The one now is dark, depressing, and disorganized. I don't like being there, and I always feel at home in a library. Maybe enough money will be raised to help with some of this. Some of it won't change because of that building, though.

2:27:00 PM

Monday, October 21, 2002  

Now that I've learned how to do this, here are some sites that are helpful. When I learn how, I want to add a links menu like some other blogs have on them.

My daughter-in-law Melissa's website of fantasy art: Melissa

Tennessean article about bloggers: My 15 Minutes of Fame

Really neat: Story People

Southern Festival of Books

Hilarious English guy: Scary Duck

Watkins where I taught and took screenwriting: Watkins

Music: Townes Van Zandt, Bonnie Raitt, Bonnie Raitt Lyrics, Iris Dement, John Prine, John Prine Lyrics, John Hartford, John Hartford Elegy, Lyle Lovett, Austin City Limits

Movies: Internet Movie Database, Movie Reviews (Rotten Tomatoes)

Mother Jones Magazine

Lymphatic System and Lymphoma:

Good one with illustrations and graphics
Text and technical language
Breast Cancer and Lymphedema
Lymphoma Research Foundation

7:44:00 PM


I picked up my CT scans to take to Dr. Matheny Friday and stopped in to see if Dr. Spigel would prescribe the MLD treatments. He said he would be glad to. This way I can get reimbursed by the insurance company if they approve it. I also wanted him to see how well they are working, and he said the lymphedema was much better and that there was definitely an improvement. I have more range of motion in my neck and can move it from side to side much farther now - after only four treatments! I'm impressed! It's not as much difference moving my neck up but will get there. This is very helpful.

He said to ask Dr. Matheny to call him Monday. He hasn't been able to talk to Dr. Burkey. I told him they were acting like men and not calling. He didn't think it was that funny but I told him I get to make those remarks occasionally.

2:01:00 PM

Sunday, October 20, 2002  
What is Lymphedema?

I found this on a site too.

Lymphedema is the swelling of a body part, due to abnormal accumulation of protein rich edema fluid. This is a condition that occurs from deficient or damaged lymphatic system, which alters the transport of the lymph fluid. Lymphedema usually affects the arms or legs, but it can also affect the head and neck, genital and trunk regions.

Some people develop lymphedema without an obvious cause, which is diagnosed as Primary Lymphedema. Primary Lymphedema can be categorized into three types:

Congenital Lymphedema – present at birth or develops within the first year of life.
Lymphedema Praecox – develops before the age of 35.
Lymphedema Tarda – develops after the age of 35.

The most common cause of lymphedema in the United States is cancer treatment. This is diagnosed as Secondary Lymphedema and it occurs when the lymph nodes or any part of the lymphatic system has been altered from surgeries, radiation, chronic infection or trauma. Surgical removal and/or radiation of the lymph nodes is commonly used to treat cancers, such as: breast, uterine, ovarian, bladder, prostate, testicular, malignant melanomas and lymphomas.

11:20:00 PM


This explains it better than I've been trying to do:

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy fluid balance in the body. Lymphocytes and other antibodies within lymph - the fluid of the lymphatic system - defend the body from disease. Lymph fluid circulates to cleanse and nourish body tissue. The lymph system is a network of tiny vessels that merge to form larger vessels that connect to over 700 small filtering stations called lymph nodes. Lymph nodes vary in size and are grouped in clusters in various parts of the body. The lymph system eliminates waste from body tissue. This includes excess water, proteins, alien viruses and bacteria, dead cells, minerals and fat molecules. These substances are partially neutralized in the lymph nodes. The lymph fluid is returned to the blood stream by way of the subclavian veins at the base of the neck. This cleansing is a continual one. An ongoing flow of lymph fluid will promote good health, but when a person neglects the basics of good health - exercise, rest and proper diet - the body is stressed and the lymphatic system is burdened. This causes toxins and plasma to accumulate, interfering with cell nourishment. The immune system is depressed and the body's vulnerability to disease increases.

Since the lymphatic system has no pump, the lymph fluid must rely on the movement of muscles and the diaphram and the pulsation of the arteries in order to circulate properly. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) therapy, with its gentle massage techniques, can manually remove blockages in the lymph system and restore proper lymph flow. The revived lymph system cleanses body tissue of accumulated toxins and pollutants, boosting the immune response and generally rejuvenating body tissue. Manual lymph drainage can also help balance the autonomic nervous system, reducing stress and increasing the bodys ability to relax. Although MLD involves a light touch, it is not a simple technique. Each area of the body requires a different sequence of precise hand movements applied in a series of repititions. MLD must be performed according to the bodys natural lymph flow. Particular conditions, such as edema or tendonitis, require attention to specific areas of the body. Manual lymph drainage was originated by Dr. Emil Vodder and introduced in Paris in 1936. MLD techniques have been studied and refined by Dr. Vodder and medical research for over 50 years. The West German National Health Insurance Administration recognized MLD therapy as a covered preventitive health care therapy in 1972. MLD therapists have met biennially in Germany under the auspices of the Vodder School International. Vodder MLD has been taught in the U.S. since 1982

10:55:00 PM

I am not an animal!!

Debbie Hicks explained more about the lymphatic system which really helps illustrate how all this happened and why. It's complicated and difficult to understand, so I'll explain this as well as I can based on what I have learned so far. The lymphatic system filters impurities, infection, bacteria, and other things from the body through tiny vessels and into nodes until it reaches the vena cava and along with blood goes to the kidneys to eliminate impurities. If the body were divided half-way down and at the waist, it would form four quadrants. The left terminus is in the clavical area and empties the lymphatic fluid from all of the body except for the right quadrant. The left terminus is really busy since it is responsible for 3/4 of the body, and that is what was clogged on me. Since most of my tumors were on the left side of my neck, when they were killed by the chemo faster than was expected, it was more than my body could get rid of. That's why the swelling was in the clavical area since the terminus was not able to get rid of all the necrotic cells. They became infected and abscessed. Then the infection spread throughout my body and that's where sepsis came in. Since this is so unusual as I keep hearing, the doctors thought the chemo wasn't working well enough and the tumors were still there instead of just the opposite. A third of our lymph nodes are in the neck which is about 200 of them. There are around 600 or so in the body. That's amazing!

MLD involves a series of light touches on the skin to stimulate the lymphatic flow. It doesn't hurt at all and is helping already. The swelling has decreased and the fibrotic tissue is softer. This might not mean much to you if you haven't seen it, but my joke about the Elephant Man was much more accurate than I thought. This can be a form of elephantitis which is what he had. Lymphedema is managed, not cured, so it will require some maintenance treatments. People with it have to be careful when flying and wear compression garments if it involves their arms and legs. Obviously, that's not too good an idea for necks. Moving around and drinking only water are two things to do to help when flying if someone has lymphedema. I had no idea this was such a big deal. Now I do but feel optimistic about the outcome.

This is from an article online about the lymphatic system that is really informative.

Filtering and phagocytosis

Lymph is filtered by the reticular and lymphoid tissue as it passes through lymph nodes. Particulate matter may include microbes, dead and live phagocytes containing ingested microbes, cells from malignant tumours, worn out and damaged tissue cells, and inhaled particles. Organic material is destroyed in the lymph nodes by macrophages and antibodies. Some inorganic inhaled particles cannot be destroyed by phagocytosis. These remain inside the macrophage either causing no damage or destroying it. Material not filtered off and dealt with in one lymph node passes on to the next and so on. Thus by the time the lymph reaches the blood it has usually been cleaned of all impurities such as cell debris and foreign bodies. In some instances where phagocytation is incomplete the node may swell. Swelling of lymph nodes is often an indication of an infection. You may well have experienced swollen cervical lymph nodes. These often accompany a sore throat due to streptoccocal infection. Infections in almost any part of thre body may result in swelling and tenderness of the lymph nodes associated with that part of the body.

Lymphatic System

10:26:00 PM

Saturday, October 19, 2002  

Thanks for signing the guestbook and leaving comments. It's neat to check it and see who's been here and what they said. I like it since it gives me some feedback.

I'm watching a movie on cable about Robert Kennedy and have noticed the competition for the nomination when political conventions were actually places to choose candidates. Sure, things were planned and discussed extensively, but at least they were interesting to watch. Now everything is known ahead of time, and it's not too difficult to understand why TV doesn't show much of them now. I do think the popular vote should be the only votes that count. Electoral votes cause too many deals to be made with more populated states, and we saw what they meant in the last election. Seems as if we haven't heard much about election reform for a while.

3:07:00 PM

Friday, October 18, 2002  

You might have noticed that I've added a guest book and a counter to my blog. I know the counter works because I kept coming here to check to see if the features I added were on here or not, but the guest book hasn't been used yet, so I have no idea. Guess we'll find out. The counter is at the bottom of the posts. The guest book information isn't where I wanted to put it, but at least it's in the blue section. Ariel Dunham helped me with it, and I checked Amy Nicken's blog to see what she used for her guest book. Next I'm going to attempt to add links to favorite places. We'll see.

I wonder how people with these blogs manage to get them arranged all these different ways. Apparently they understand html. There are several kinds of templates available on Blogger which makes a difference, but most of it has to do with their knowledge and creativity. For example, some have links in the text that can be clicked and take readers to those sites. They are a different color - that's all. I've attempted to insert links to no avail! It looks easy but apparently not. I want to be able to do that and usually hear from Ariel or Cayla for help. Thanks!!

11:24:00 PM


I had a treatment by Debbie Hicks today. She's a massage therapist who is also trained in manual lypmhatic drainage. She's had extensive and intense training in it. I'm going back tomorrow and will have to go a while. MLD is the only treatment for lymphedema and doesn't cure it but just manages it. Debbie thinks she can help mine since it's made some progress already and is only on one side of my neck. Neck and head edema are the most difficult to treat. This is a bigger deal than I thought until I starting reading about it.

Hope you all have a great weekend! The weather was gorgeous today, wasn't it?

7:16:00 PM

Thursday, October 17, 2002  

The hygienist said my teeth looked good and that things were fine. That's a relief. I was expecting some side-effects there too. I went to Wild Oats and bought a few things. I did avoid Davis-Kidd. Good for me!!

7:05:00 PM


They just don't make things the way they used to! I just got this new computer this summer, and some of the letters on the keyboard are fading away. Very strange indeed!! Specifically it's the a, s, e, r, t, n, m, semi- and colon, and the v. At first I thought it was my eyes since I don't see close things as well now that the print is smaller, but in the light I can tell they are much lighter and almost gone. Thank goodness I learned to touch type!! This hasn't happened before with other keyboards. What's with Sony?

I'm going to Nashville today to the dentist to see the hygienist. She wanted me to come in three months since chemo is also hard on teeth and the mouth. It's hard on everything! While I'm in Green Hills, I'll go to Wild Oats and get a few things. I'm going to try to avoid Davis-Kidd since I already have too many books I haven't read yet. I'm going to catch up on those. I'm reading A Widow for One Year by John Irving now. Amy Nickens loaned it to me, and I'm really enjoying it. It's great to be able to enjoy reading again. For a while there I couldn't do it or watch TV or movies without their getting on my nerves. I couldn't concentrate to read. Now I enjoy it again.

I put the reading table together Jackie and Ed sent me. What a nice gift! It wasn't too difficult to assemble but took time and effort. I really do like it and am going to enjoy using it very much. It's a beautiful piece of furniture - solid wood with a nice finish.

It's time for some email from those of you I haven't heard from for a while. Let me know what's going on with you and how you're doing. Inquiring minds want to know again!

I've been wondering how some people with blogs get the comment section on theirs. Those counters would be good too. I'll have to check with former students again for more information and help!

9:22:00 AM

Wednesday, October 16, 2002  

The reporter who interviewed me about writing this blog had her article published in the Tennessean today. It's about four local people with blogs and is on the second page of the Living Section and also online at The link to my site was in the paper, and I've already received email from a former student. She did a good job with the article. Some of you might notice that you are quoted in there, too.

5:24:00 PM

Tuesday, October 15, 2002  

Today's appointment with Dr. Spigel was fairly uneventful which is what I prefer. He said no lymphoma showed up on the CT scan but yet somehow I still will have more chemo. He wants me to take a copy of the scans when I have my next appointment with Dr. Matheny. I'll see him next Friday and again in late November and then Dr. Burkey Dec. 2. I was supposed to see him yesterday but they changed it since he was going out of town. I go back to see Dr. Spigel in two weeks. He's been trying to get in touch with Dr. Burkey to see when I can resume chemo. I told him I was really scared and wanted to cry just thinking about it and thought that was probably normal after the experience I had. I asked him if he were anxious about it, and he said he was somewhat but knew he could control the dosage. Let's hope so this time!!

I just got home from a get-together with classmates. Jill (Southerland) Nesbitt organized it and did a great job with it. She is the heart and soul of the class and keeps us all informed about each other. Mary Alice Dillingham and her sister Nancy were visiting from Denver. It was good to see them again as well as others from our class. This is who was there. Hope I'm not forgetting anyone. Ree (Jones) and J. M. Ditmore, Raymond Matlock and his wife, Ronny Allen, Brenda (Eubank) Peeler, Sue (Daniel) and Donald Davis, Barbara (Spann) Weinstein, Beverly (Weems) Mitchell, June (Porter) Overton, Bennie Joyce Hayes, Howard Harbison, Wilburn Sesler, and Judy (Speight) Redden, who will want me to mention that she wasn't in our class but was friends with Mary Alice. It was a good evening and lots of fun. We're planning to get together every year on a casual basis and then still have reunions every 5 years. I've really heard from my former classmates since I've been sick (thanks to Jill for letting them know) and had cards, email, and calls. They are good people, and we have some shared memories from being in school together all those years. It means a lot.

11:16:00 PM

Ellendale's Brunch

Here is the brunch menu. The lunch entrees change weekly. Their website is The lunch buffet changes weekly, and the menu is posted on Mondays for the week. Tell me some places you like to eat, so I can try them.

10:00am - 3:00pm
$11.95 per person

Exhibition Omelets
Belgian Waffles
Sliced Bacon
Link Sausage
Biscuits & Country Gravy
Skillet Potatoes
Fresh Fruit
Homemade Strudels
Fresh Baked Muffins & Danish
Assorted Salads
Lunch Entrees
Vegetable Medley
Homemade Desserts

10:28:00 AM

Monday, October 14, 2002  

We had a good time today at lunch. Brian joined us. Here's the lunch buffet menu:

Buffet items for the week of October 14 - 18 :

Caribbean Banana Beef Brisket
Herb Roasted Chicken
Roasted Red Pepper-Dijon Potatoes
Curry Tomato Rice
Acorn Squash Casserole
Broccoli-Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce
Linguini with Pesto Alfredo & Vegetables
Breakfast Lasagna
Oriental Chicken Salad
Basil Pasta Salad
Roasted Vegetable Salad
Lentil Dip
Caesar Salad
Fresh Fruit
Soup De Jour

4:28:00 PM


My cousins Ellen and Donna are meeting Mother and me for lunch today at Ellendale's. It will be good to see them again and spend some time in person together. We keep in touch by email and phone pretty well. We're all within months of each other in age and visited in the summers some when we were growing up. I have some wonderful memories of times at their houses.

8:43:00 AM

Sunday, October 13, 2002  
Late Hours

I need to get back to going to bed early and getting up early. I've reverted to my old ways and don't get as much done. I stayed up late watching movies on BBC last night and haven't been up long. That was a better schedule, but I am a night owl and always have been. It's all relative and what is early to me is late to morning people. However, I was getting up early even for them there for a while and was going to bed before 10. I'll miss good TV shows now if I do that, but could go to bed at 10 possibly even though it's not too likely since it's not my nature.

9:09:00 AM

Saturday, October 12, 2002  

It's a pretty day. I saw on the weather forecast that highs are supposed to be in the 60's next week and lows in the 40's. It really is fall. I hope the leaves will be pretty and change. Sometime I'd like to go to New England and see the changing leaves there since they seem to be even prettier than they are here. I'll find out for myself. There are so many places I'd like to travel. The way things are going here in the US, I'd like to live in England.

Jean (RN) came by yesterday evening and said my neck is looking better and healing well. She brought some information about wound care that Dickson nurses will be trained to do at NHC. They do this at Baptist, and it involves using the patient's blood and making a serum to promote faster healing. She said they've had good results with it, and that I'd be a good candidate for it if my doctor wants to do it. The pictures and article about it were impressive.

Hope you all have a good weekend!!

10:14:00 AM

Friday, October 11, 2002  

Mother and I went to Murfreesboro to visit Mae while Sally is in Florida. For those of you who don't know, she's Mother's sister and my Pisces aunt, Charlie. She's doing pretty well but has almost no memory. Some things she remembers but will ask the same questions over and over. Then she'll still come through with zingers and funny remarks that are hilarious and right on target. She'll know what we're talking about at the time but then forgets and we start over again several times.

I hope Sally has a good time in Cedar Key and relaxes. She needs it! She's so busy working at Social Security, her massage business, the barn and horses, the house and cooking, and taking care of Mae.

5:51:00 PM

Thursday, October 10, 2002  

I'm staying in the house today and did yesterday. It's nice to be in while it's raining. I enjoy those days sometime. I always look forward to watching West Wing on Wednesday nights. It's so well-written and the acting is great, too. I settle in for a whole night of TV since I also like Ed and Law & Order which come before and after WW. I have a tape in the VCR ready to go since someone invariably calls me during West Wing.

Mother and I are going to Murfreesboro to see Mae tomorrow. Sally and a friend are in Florida at Cedar Key, so we're going to check on Mae for her and have a good visit.

10:53:00 AM

Wednesday, October 09, 2002  

I went to the Dickson cancer support group last night. We had a guest speaker who is a research oncology nurse at the Sarah Cannon Center in Murfreesboro. Since I hadn't been to a meeting since my ordeal, they wanted to hear what happened. She said in all her years of working with lymphoma, she'd never heard of what happened with me. What can I say? For those of you who have always known how weird I am, this is further proof. She also said she expected a cure for the lymphomas and leukemia which was great news. Someone asked her about cures, and she said the blood cancers were getting closer to having a cure. That is great news. I hope this will be true with all cancer as soon as possible. The kind of leukemia Daddy had has very long remissions now and might even be cured. It hasn't been long enough for them to tell.

8:47:00 AM

Tuesday, October 08, 2002  
This 'n That

I had a CT scan and a mammogram yesterday and ran several errands. Got cat food and Frontline for my furry dictators. Also had other places to go and things to do. I forgot to post anything. I took a nap during the afternoon and then still didn't remember it.

I've spent most of my time waiting it seems since I've been on sick leave. Seeing doctors involves waiting and waiting. I'm not sure when the treatment will resume and end now. My neck needs to heal. It will probably go into 2003 and cause me to meet my deductible and out-of-pocket expenses again. I've definitely done that now and am into my insurance paying 100%. My $24,000 week at Vanderbilt didn't cost me any money. It cost me lots of other things though! I don't want to take a chance on the chemo's slowing healing, and it can do that. Dr. Spigel is getting ready to do it again but has to check with Dr. Burkey first. I'm scared just thinking about it. I don't want a fever or any neck problems.

I won't see Dr. Burkey until Dec. 2 but will see Dr. Matheny twice between now and then.

10:28:00 AM

Sunday, October 06, 2002  

The soup is good, and the chili turned out really well. They'll be good to have on hand during cooler weather. The cleaning wasn't as productive but I'll still try to do some. I need to. It's so easy to put off.

3:25:00 PM


Well, I've been cooking today and cleaning a bit. I made some chili and tried some new ways to do it that I read about. I hope it's good. Usually I have a way I make it but decided to branch out. Also made some refried bean soup my cousin Emily likes. I think she got the recipe from Weight Watchers. It sounded good and just involves opening cans except for chopping onion and bell pepper, so it's easy. I've been listening to Dr. John, Lyle Lovett, Bonnie Raitt, and Keb' Mo' and have the windows open. Feels good. It feels wonderful to feel good again!

1:03:00 PM

Saturday, October 05, 2002  
Trees and Music

One of the trees in my yard that was a casualty of the ice storm lost part of itself during the wind and rain yesterday. A couple of large branches are on the ground. I guess I need to get the tree checked before all of it falls down.

A friend loaned me the DVD of John Prine in concert. Iris Dement sang several duets with him on it. I really enjoyed it and plan to get it for myself. I've liked John Prine for decades and have most of his albums. I couldn't believe the first three songs he wrote were "Sam Stone," "Paradise," and "Hello in There." That's incredibe! That was his repertoire when he started performing. When he found out he had to sing for an hour, he went home and wrote more songs.

The same friend turned me on to Iris Dement. She's only 41 but sounds older because of her Appalachain voice and delivery. She's pretty, too. She was in the movie Songcatcher amd sang a song in it. I think it was "Saro" but am not sure. Her voice blends well with Prine's. They recorded duets on his "In Spite of Ourselves" CD. They recorded the title song which he wrote for a movie he was in with Billy Bob Thornton, "Daddy and Them." For some reason it had a limited release and probably won't be in theaters but go straight to video.

I started wondering what kind of cancer John Prine had and who his doctors were since he's been living in Nashville since 1980. I found out it was squamous cell carcinoma in his neck and that he went to MD Anderson in Houston. Now I just need to find out who John Hartford's doctor was since he also had non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He had it about 21 years before he died. I think that's right.

Hope you all have a good weekend and enjoy doing what you want to do!

10:06:00 AM

Friday, October 04, 2002  

It's really rainy and windy. Several branches have blown off and are in my yard. Lili has been downgraded, too. I can't imagine what it would be like to experience a hurricane and don't want to know first-hand. I talked to some friends in Charleston, SC, after Hugo swept through and that was scary. We lived in Charleston from 1966-70 when Milton was in the submarine service. I first started teaching there at North Charleston High School. When I visited my friend Paige in Columbia and we drove to Charleston, I could tell how much things had changed because of Hugo. They had pictures all around about it, too. Our apartments where we lived looked great though. They had maintained them really well. We had a neat view of Goose Creek from the walk-way. They built a new school but still had the saying on it the old one had - Education is a possession of which man cannot be robbed. I like the idea of that and believe it. I taught there three years, and then Brian was born there in Charleston in 1969 at Roper Hospital.

I've gone from mundane posts to rambling and babbling.

9:27:00 AM

Thursday, October 03, 2002  

I had a good birthday. I met Sally and had lunch at the Green Hills Grill. I ordered spinach and portabello mushroom lasagne which was enough for 3 meals. I kept eating it and it never seemed to get smaller. They put it in a box for me to take home, and I asked Sally to feel how heavy it was! It was really good, so I'm glad I have some more to look forward to. Thanks to those of you who sent cards and sent wishes for my birthday. It made me feel special. :-)

I had a productive conversation with Dr. Burkey's nurse today. I got a message yesterday from the receptionist saying he wasn't going to be there on Oct. 14 and they changed my appointment to Dec. 2. I called to ask if Dr. Burkey knew it was changed to December and that I didn't think he would want me to wait that long, but if it is OK with him, I'm fine with it. She said she'd leave a message and get back to me, so his nurse called to say she didn't think he'd want to wait that long either. She told me things to look for to check the progress of this wound. It sounds as if it's doing really well. Jean Smith says it is healing well and looks clean and all. The big thing to avoid is infection which is being avoided. So she's going to call me tomorrow and let me know when to come. I might see Dr. Metheny if I have to wait until the beginning of November to see Dr. Burkey.

I told her Dr. Spigel was going to call Dr. Burkey to see when I can resume chemo, and she said she thought it wouldn't be until my neck was healed. Chemo wreaks havoc with all kinds of things. It's not going to hurt anything to wait Dr. Spigel said. It really scares me to think of having chemo again, but I'm sure I'll get a low dose this time. I made a point of asking that and know he believes me now about how sensitive and responsive I am to medication.

We talked quite a while, and she told me to call her anytime I needed anything. Based on what she said, this is looking just the way it needs to. It's still going to take a long time to heal, but it's making progress.

7:42:00 PM

Wednesday, October 02, 2002  

I have no radio station to listen to music on now since they changed 93.7 The Phoenix to something I don't want to listen to. That station had a good mix of old, new, and various types of music. There is still NPR, thank goodness! If that goes, I don't need a radio at all.

2:50:00 PM

More on Hurricanes

I noticed no one had an answer to the hurricane question, so I had to go to the official hurrican website. Very interesting information there. It tells the deadliest, costliest, and other information about hurricanes. It also tracks the ones now. Josephine and Kyle were "J" and "K" so now I know. Marco and Nana are next, and Sally is down the road. They have the names on there until 2006, I think, when Melissa will be one. As you might have known, Florida has had the most (24) with Texas in second place (15). More hurricanes occur in September with August second. This was from 1900-1996.

It looks scary for Louisiana again, and they just got through Isidore! I hope it stays at sea.

Cleaning is on my agenda today. That and organizing the kitchen cabinets. I'm taking everything out and putting back in what needs to be there and consolidating things. Then I'll do some vacuuming and other things.

The Southern Festival of Books sounds good this year. I don't know the list of writers except for Jill McCorkle since my calendar from the Bluebird has her scheduled. It sounds like a good show with McCorkle and Lee Smith telling stories and Marshall Chapman and Matraca Berg singing their songs. I'd like to go but am not sure if I will.

9:04:00 AM

Tuesday, October 01, 2002  

I noticed we went from Isidore to Lili. What happened to "J" and "K"? Did I miss something? Not unusual of course but just wondered.

5:24:00 PM


My blood counts were pretty good. The white count was normal but the red count was a little low but almost normal. Dr. Spigel said it was probably as close as it would get while that place is healing. I go back to see him in 2 weeks. He wants to talk to Dr. Burkey to see when I can resume treatment. That scares me big time. I asked him if I were going to have a very low dose, and he said yes. I told him it scared me to think of having more than my body could handle again, and he agreed. I'm just now getting some energy and feeling better. I don't want that jeopardized. I'll see Burkey on Oct 14 and Spigel on the 15th, so nothing will happen until then. I'm thinking of talking to one of the lymphoma experts at Vanderbilt just to get more intormation. I'm going to mention that to Dr. Spigel when I see him next and have it go through him. He can send them my information and they'll get back to him. That way I'll have another opinion. I'm understandably cautious now. I'm just having a CT scan and not a PET scan next week. That won't show as much as the PET scan would, and I'd like to know all I can before undergoing more treatment. I want to know what we're dealing with and what is there. Any advice any of you have, email me. As you might have guessed, I'm not easily influenced but will consider what you say.

5:02:00 PM


I'm definitely sleeping again! Feels great, too! The rain and cooler nights make it cozy. I have an appointment with Dr. Spigel this afternoon.

9:26:00 AM

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