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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.
Saturday, November 30, 2002  
No Segues for Me, Please

Years ago my nephew Andy told us he wanted a Chia Pet for Christmas. Of course, he said it with that cute, dimpled grin of his and mischievous twinkling eyes. I was tempted to get him one but didn't. I think Amy might have but am not sure. It would be typical in our family since we go for the joke and pick on each other all we can. A friend mentioned Chia Pets recently which reminded me of Andy's request. Now they remind me of my hair which I hope grows back as thickly. What does Chia mean anyway? Where does that word come from? I miss a lot that others catch on to or have known quite a while, so I'm used to it. At least with gossip, you can count on knowing its made the rounds by the time I know about it. After hearing they've already known it for ages, I guess that's why I don't pass it on to others. I'm that way about some of the news, too, and have spent quite a bit of my life catching up. OK, OK, I do it in conversations as well and come back to topics that were discussed five minutes earlier or more and also ask too many questions.

When I said I was using "chemohead" as a reason for memory lapses and anything else convenient, my clever and quick son Brian asked if it were retroactive. Oh, sharper than a serpent's tooth, right? LOL

Being so sleepy yesterday had to do with its being the third day after treatment. I thought about it later on and realized that's what was going on. I took a nap and still slept last night. Today is better so far.

I watched Alan Jackson's special last night and really enjoyed it. I like him. Their middle daughter was right at home performing. My sister-in-law Janelle and her husband went to see him in concert. Notice whose name I didn't mention? Hahahaha! That's the way I've introduced them for many years, though.

Garden Force is making a garden for Nelson Mandela on their show today which the host said was appropriate since Mandela wrote in his autobiography that a garden was something he could control while in prison. Planting a seed, tending it, watching it grow, and harvesting it provided a sense of freedom. Local artists and materials contributed to and were used for it. Alan (host and landscaper) asked him if the garden would be of use to him, and Mandela said as long as he had time to be there (at home), he would take care of it.

It's a pretty, sunny day and cool. My Chia Pet Columbo, the Velveteen poodle cat, still feels like velvet and looks cute shaved like a little silver-gray lion. He's much more active now and seems to like his new look. Still tempting to do this periodically - every year or so.

11:12:00 AM

Friday, November 29, 2002  
World Population

Some of you might have seen this in internet mail, but I thought it was worth thinking about again especially during Thanksgiving.

If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following:

There would be:
57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be non-white
30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian
89 would be heterosexual
11 would be homosexual
6 people would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth and all 6 would be from the United States.
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth
1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education
1 would own a computer

When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent.

The following is also something to ponder...
If you woke up this morning with more health than are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation are ahead of 500 million people in the world.
If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or are more blessed than three billion people in the world.
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace ... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.
If your parents are still alive and still married ... you are very rare, even in the United States and Canada.
If you can read this, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

10:28:00 PM


Someday I'll have energy again - I know I will. I've just wanted to sleep today and have eaten no turkey, so it's not tryptophan. I got enough sleep last night, so it's not that. I've been told it takes a long time for energy to return after chemo, and a large IV bag of Rituxan is still in my system. Dr. Spigel said Rituxan doesn't reach its peak for a few weeks, so I guess that's it. That, and all the rest of this ordeal - fast-acting chemo, sepsis, surgery, bandaging that still continues, healing, healing, and healing. OK, I'm impatient. For quite a while now I've been ready to have this over with and get on with feeling good. Yet when Brenda told me my next appointment is January 6, I was surprised and anticipated feeling withdrawal from not going there regularly. Odd, isn't it? All this has been the focus of my life now for six months, however, so it will be a change - a welcome one and an adjustment, too. It's been exhausting physically and emotionally. Well, it still is, I suppose, but I want that to stop now, so I have energy and make more progress feeling better. Maybe I should relax and realize it takes time. (sigh) I don't have much patience with not feeling good and haven't felt that great for many years now. What I hope is that the extreme response to chemo killed all the cancer and that I can get on without it from now on.

All that said, this is a relaxing day. I'm making chili again and cooking a turkey breast since I gave Brian and Melissa what was left from the turkey yesterday. I got one for that reason and will have turkey sandwiches and a casserole. Hope all of you are having a good day. Do any of you brave the shopping crowds?

12:51:00 PM

Thursday, November 28, 2002  

We had a good day at Mother's. The turkey turned out fine, and the rest of the food was delicious! We played a couple of new games Brian has, and that was fun. Melissa looks and feels really good. We're all so excited about the baby. Mae came which always adds to the holidays. She was doing really well and got around with her walker. I didn't plan my sleeping and turkey cooking times well, and am really sleepy. This might be the night I go to bed before 10. I've been sort of watching Faith Hill but can't keep my eyes open. Hope all of you had a good day and a Happy Thanksgiving!

8:45:00 PM

Wednesday, November 27, 2002  
Happy Thanksgiving

When a person doesn't have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.

- Elie Wiesel

We have so much to be grateful for. I'm thankful for the love of and for family and friends and also for the awaited grandson, my home, a rewarding career, students and co-workers who have enriched my life, being able to take sick leave, enjoyment of words and thoughts, laughter, a mind that works pretty well most of the time, improved health, spiritual growth, having options, curiosity, a warped sense of humor, knowing there is more to life than what we see, not being afraid of death but glad it wasn't my time, being told I made a difference, chocolate, fall leaves, good writing, TV, my phone with all the gadgets, electricity (I learned during the ice storm that almost everything I like to do involves electricity), that said - my gas log fireplace which is on now, music, and all the pleasures of life and living.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!! Thank you for being here and for all your prayers, emails, comments, and healing thoughts. Thanks so much for those turkey ideas. I really like turkey sandwiches and am going to try some of these suggestions. I'm going to ask for cooking ideas more often. I like getting them and am out of practice. Maybe I'll have people over to eat if I get enough of them. Hint, hint!! As it is now, I can have you over for chili.

By the way, didn't it occur to Nicholas Cage that anyone who had been married to Michael Jackson just might not be a good candidate for him to marry? Could anyone possibly be weirder than Michael Jackson? Lisa Marie has always been a mystery, but there are clues even for those of us who never met her.

2:02:00 PM

Tuesday, November 26, 2002  

Today was my last treatment. I don't go back to see Dr. Spigel until Jan. 6!! Isn't that great!! The four-hour Rituxan infusion went really well. I have an appointment with Dr. Burkey next week - Monday, Dec. 2. I think he'll be pleased with the progress with the wound and lymphedema. Then Dec. 30 I'll have CT and PET scans which I believe will show that all the cancer is gone. Mother and I went to lunch at Sister's, and then I went to Debbie's for MLD. She said she could tell a big difference in the place where the skin layers died. It's much smaller now and is almost level instead of deep like it was. The layers have built up and healed really well.

I went to Kroger last night and bought the turkey I'm baking to take to Mother's Thursday. I'll cook it tomorrow but haven't decided which method or recipe to use. Any suggestion?

It's time for some comments from you again! OK? :-)

9:36:00 PM

Monday, November 25, 2002  

Paige and Carl are coming over to visit a while today. They are close friends and moved to SC over 10 years ago. We all miss them, and their daughters and I are hoping they'll move back here when Carl retires. That would be great. It's going to be great to see them today. We're going to lunch, and I want us to go to Studio 123 since they haven't been there.

I'm still feeling sort of blah today and am ready to bounce back. I have another Rituxan treatment Tuesday which will probably be the last one. The scans later on in December will let us know. Butch is still doing well with his recovery.

8:49:00 AM

Sunday, November 24, 2002  

After a relatively brief experience with large print, my blog has returned to it's former self. I have no idea what happened, but the gremlins have gone now. Random cyber-occurrences, I suppose.

How many of you have started decorating for Christmas? How many wait until after Thanksgiving? I haven't decorated or put up a tree for several years now, and it was a relief. Well, it was a relief, but I also felt guilty about not doing it. It's not that difficult for me to feel guilty about odd things. This felt Grinchy but also had a sense of freedom about it - like I was getting by with something unacceptable. I like to buy gifts for people and to get into the Christmas spirit. Decorations just have to be taken back down. I tend to like to keep things the way I arrange and decorate them until I decide to change rooms or the exterior of the house. Then I think about it and mull things over since part of the fun is anticipation. I enjoy the whole process - even wallpapering and painting, as well as arranging and accessorizing. After the changes, it's fun to enjoy the results and keep things that way until the next time. Decorating for Christmas doesn't do it for me that way. I'll see if guilt and obligation win out this year and I get the tree, lights, and decorations out or not.

11:07:00 AM

Saturday, November 23, 2002  

I just talked to Butch. He's home and watching the UT-VU game. He's sore but feels good. Mostly he was upset about missing the opening day of deer season. Unless something bad happens (which to me this was), he said he prefers that I don't write about him on here, so I'm going to honor his wishes and not do it again. The problem is that our definition of what is bad seems to differ, nevertheless I'll do my best to comply.

Emma and I had a good time yesterday. At lunch she told me to check out the guy with a haircut like Columbo's. It really was. I think Columbo likes the short hair cut. It's tempting to consider having this done annually. Summer would be a better time so he won't get cold. I'm beginning to think I need to get out more and be around people. I've become a cliche.

This isn't a day I've wanted to interact much, though. I've enjoyed being home. I'm sort of tired or something today and haven't wanted to do much.

12:18:00 PM

Friday, November 22, 2002  
More Butch

Mother just called and said the surgery went well. They fixed the blockage where the stint is and used some kind of radiation seed(s) to clean out that other blockage they didn't do anything about last time. They told Butch it wasn't anything he did or didn't do but that this happens in a certain percentage of patients. He's been really good about his diet and has been going to rehab. Best of all, he quit smoking. Dr. Blazer sent him to Centennial instead of St. Thomas this time. Butch is in ICU and will get to go home in the morning - he's doing really well. Mother is already home. Andy and Angela are spending the night with Janelle.

7:21:00 PM


Butch hasn't been feeling as good as he'd like lately and went to see his doctor. They did an angiogram this morning and found a blockage around one of the stints and are taking him to Nashville to take care of it. I'll let you know more when I hear from Mother. She went with them. I'm going to lunch and shopping with Emma Hall in Bellevue but will have my cell phone on. More details later.

I've been concerned about Mother. She said she's felt tired and draggy. I told her it was probably from relaxing after all the stress she's been under. When anyone has cancer or other life-threatening illnesses, the whole family is affected. Friends are too. It doesn't happen in a vacuum. She's had Butch and me both to be concerned about. She said she got so much done then and was so energetic. I told her we were going on adrenalin then and were having a let-down after it. That happens. I really do believe Butch will be fine. He bounces back really well and has a good attitude. It's hard on Mother for us to be sick, and I am concerned about her. Not that this is a walk in the park for Butch and me, but you know what I mean.

I was out and about yesterday and saw quite a few people at the central office. It's so nice to know people are pulling for me and so supportive. Thanks to all of you!! It means more than you can imagine!

10:16:00 AM

Thursday, November 21, 2002  

I've shifted my time to my natural rhythm and stay up late and sleep late. I like night and mid-day, so it works out. I'm feeling better and am ready to get out and do more again. I hear it takes a while for the energy level to increase. I'll be glad when it does.

It's another beautiful day, and the leaves are still falling all over the place! I have a patio out there under them somewhere and need to get rid of the leaves before they stain everything. It's a process that has to be repeated until they finish falling. At least there's no Spanish moss like we had in Charleston, SC. At first it looked mysterious and gothic, but later on I got really tired of it and longed for uncluttered trees again. I missed the changing seasons there as well and like having four. They have two: hot and muggy or cool and damp.

A friend told me that this blog didn't look any different from the way it was, but the print is much larger on mine. How does it look to you?

11:46:00 AM

Wednesday, November 20, 2002  

How did this get so large? I didn't intentionally make any changes!!

It's disconcerting and makes me feel self-conscious. It is easier to read this way, however, which might offset the ostentation. What do you think?

5:05:00 PM


Look what I found! It's Dr. Grammar! I'll add this to my links, so we can refer to it when necessary.

1:21:00 PM

Moons and Dysfunction

Jill pointed out there was a full moon last night and not a good time to take cats to the vet. I never manage to keep up with all that but did notice how beautiful it was when I picked up Columbo. It was huge and golden. Is that a Harvest Moon? I read about blue moons and understand that concept now, but don't know as much about moons in general as I'd like. I missed the meteor shower other night (morning) too. I've never seen one but hope to eventually.

It was a stressful day for Columbo yesterday and he did pretty well when he got home. I've been concerned about him for quite some time now because he's been pulling out his fur and leaving little tufts of it around the house. He did this before I got sick, so it's not all that. At first I thought it was a flea allergy and he quit after having Frontline again. However, he started doing it again which is why I wanted help getting rid of his fur mats. I thought he was trying to get rid of them and that might be what was happening. Last night he bit and pulled out part of his tail since that's the only long fur he has now. I hope it was because of his stressful day and won't be a pattern. If so, we can hope TLC helps so he won't have to be on kitty prozac.

Cats pick up on emotions from their people, so I've expected some reactions from these since I've run the gamut and am also home most of the time now and not at work. They show some signs but partly because I'm not interesting enough for them, and they get bored. Teaching for over 30 years has helped me deal with that response. I used to tell my classes that tapes of my lectures were available in the lobby for insomniacs.

It's always been such a comfort knowing I grew up in a functional, loving, supportive family. Brian grew up well-adjusted too. Now, however, I have a dysfunctional cat family. Life is interesting!

12:17:00 PM

Tuesday, November 19, 2002  

I tried to take Columbo to the vet before my doctor's appointment but had to do it later. He went ballistic when I put him in the pet carrier and then broke the door off of it when I set it down on the carport so I could open the car door. He fled across the yard and would have run away if he didn't hate to be outside, so he ran to the back door. I let him in the house and gave up. When I got back from my appointment, I had to wrestle him into the other pet carrier. He thrashed around in it, but I got him in the car this time as he banged about meowing loudly all the way to the vet. I told San, the vet tech at Cornerstone, that I couldn't guarantee how he'd act since he was so scared. He stayed there for his "grooming" while I came home and vacuumed cat hair off furniture and carpet. When I picked him up, they told me he'd been well-behaved and compliant. I guess he decided he was doomed. It was hard to tell much about him in the carrier, but when I got him home, I gave him canned cat food to reward him for enduring the ordeal. Now, how to describe how he looks! Picture a silver-gray lion with mutton chops, a mini-mane, fluffy tail, and furry legs and paws. His entire body is shaved and looks smooth and sturdy since he weighs 13.5 lbs. Brigit hasn't come in yet and hasn't seen him. She doesn't like him anyway and will probably make fun of him. Poor Columbo, my poodle cat!

Everything was fine with my blood counts and all. I'll have what I hope is my last treatment next Tuesday. It will be the Rituxan, so we'll be there a little over four hours. Dr. Spigel said I'd have more scans after this has time to do its thing. Pat, who's been his nurse for 25 years, said she bet this got rid of my cancer. By responding so quickly to the chemo, it could have happened. Let's hope so!!

6:24:00 PM

Monday, November 18, 2002  
Sunny but Cool

It's pretty outside but cool. I've known some people like that. Haven't you? I checked my appointment book to see what's going on this week. I have MLD treatments today and Thursday and will see Dr. Spigel tomorrow. It's just to check my progress, so I'll go to the lab first.

Have any more of you taken any of those tests? If you have or have found others that are fun, let me know.

10:22:00 AM

Sunday, November 17, 2002  

After watching Changing Rooms on BBC America, Trading Spaces on The Learning Channel is a pale comparison or maybe even no comparison! Changing Rooms and Ground Force are so much better and more entertaining. It's also difficult to be more engaging than Carol, the hostess of Changing Rooms. TLC's carpenter isn't as entertaining as Handy Andy either. Some of the HGTV shows are more original.

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, American TV flatters away! They try to be too much like the English show on Trading Spaces to the point of its almost being a too-Californian parody of it. That doesn't work. Of course the word flatter does not mean being complimentary but excessive praise based on self-interest. It's insincere. Guess that's what happens with all these imitations. Some of them worked because they were made to fit the characters and situations. I believe Sanford and Son was based on an English TV show as was Cracker which I liked with Robert Pastorelli as I still enjoy the BBC Cracker reruns with Robbie Coltrane. Some of you might know about some others. I've heard about quite a few of our shows based on theirs but can't remember them now. OK, I know I've always watched too much TV! Jason Bledsoe, a former student, told me that once, and I responded by mentioning that he recognized every reference I made.

My favorite show on now is West Wing. The writing is brilliant which gives the actors so much to work with. I look forward to it every week and tape it to watch again. It's so fast-paced that I notice new things when I see it again. I also watch the Law & Order shows, ER, Juding Amy, Frasier, Friends, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and too many others. Often I multi-task while it's on but sometimes watch closely depending on how much I need to pay attention. Also I'm in and out of the rooms where the TVs are on and have my computer where I can see the one in the den. Protesting too much? Justifying? Well, this is a country based on the writings of Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards. Remember his sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God? Ah, the guilt, the guilt! LOL

We're going through a stage in this country - at least I hope it's a stage. Political correctness makes things too bland and boring. It has its place but is either an outgrowth or cause of so many people thinking they have the right not to be offended. Being intentionally rude is .... well, rude; however, when did people become so sensitive that they took offense at every slight remark or action? Part of growing up is learning to deal with diversity. Truly accepting differences means feeling comfortable and not being so careful that we can't even be ourselves. There are extremes going on now where some are too tentative and careful and others are mean and violent because of their attitudes toward those who are different from them.

By the way, my poor little (well not so little) cat Columbo is so wooly looking as Mother said, that the fur mat police will probably come after me. He has such fine fur that it's so bad I'm going to have to take him to the vet and have one of them make him look weird for a while. Guess Columbo and I can both wait for our hair to fill in and look better. Sad duo here, aren't we?

9:14:00 AM

Saturday, November 16, 2002  

Mother and I drove to Murfreesboro, and Kathy drove from Chattanooga to get together with my cousin Sally. We visited while we shopped and ate lunch. We had a great time and enjoyed being together. It's been quite a while since I've seen Kathy, so this was really special. We went by to see Mae too, and she was doing well. It was a good day.

8:17:00 PM

Friday, November 15, 2002  

It's fun to read what some of your personalities are. No, Amy, I'm not surprised you're off the scale on P! All of mine are close except for N (intuitive), and it's about as far as it can go. Michelle, you must not be too much of an I, but that's more about how you charge your energy. I remember yours, Mary Beth, and almost remember what the boys are.

We did various tests in Challenge Class as some of you remember. The one like the Myers-Briggs was the Kiersey Temperament Sorter. We ENFP's are Champion Idealists. We also did the Gregorc Learning Styles Test that had four areas that combined for descriptions too. They were Concrete, Random, Abstract, and Sequential. I'm a Concrete Random.

Have any of you taken those tests on I took the one about what kind of dog we are a few years ago and was a pug. Now I'm a chihuahua. Sorry about that! ha! That Taco Bell dog isn't too bad though.

Keep letting me know how yours turn out. If you find some other good ones, let me know. This is fun!

9:36:00 AM

Thursday, November 14, 2002  

Melissa, Brian, and I are already discussing schools. It's because that's an essential value for us and also because of the NFP factor. If you have taken a Myers-Briggs Personality Type Inventory, you are familiar with that. Melissa and I are both ENFP's and Brian is an INFP, so we're all similar in how we approach life. It's quite accurate and neat to know. My cousin Emily teaches seminars on it for Gaylord where she works. There used to be a place online to take the test. There are books on it, too.

I found a couple of tests if any of you are interested. Let me know your type. OK? Short Test and Forced Choice Test

8:23:00 AM

Wednesday, November 13, 2002  

Brian and Melissa are seriously considering naming the baby Brendan. I like that and know I'll call him and Brian by each other's names since they begin with the same sound and I'm bad enough about doing that with Brian and Butch when we're all together. Brendan Durham Cooksey - what kind of person does this name imply? Well, we already have some ideas based on heredity and environment, don't we? This is so exciting!!

I feel honored that they are using my last name for a middle name. I lobbied for it and wish I'd used it for Brian's, but Brian is his middle name. First name is Robert, like his father's. It's a wonderful feeling to have grandchildren and then for your name to be carried on is an additional special feeling. It's really touching. The most important thing is that Melissa and the baby are doing well. We are all so thankful for that.

4:52:00 PM


We haven't drawn names yet for Christmas in our family, but I just saw something on TV I'd like to have. It's a drill bit set from Sears that holds screws in place and does other things. I hope the advertisement comes on again, so I have more information. Bob Villa is on it. I haveBBC America on since I really enjoy Changing Rooms and Ground Force on there. I like the decorator Laurence but wouldn't want Ana turned loose in my house. Back to the drill - when I got it, I felt so empowered! It's great being able to install, assemble, and take things apart with it.

12:02:00 PM

Tuesday, November 12, 2002  

The leaves are covering everything. I need to get out there and get them off the patio. The person who mows my yard will run over them with his mower later on. We've been doing that the last few years which I prefer to raking. Too much work! Besides, I think it's part of the cycle of life for them to fall on the ground and fertilize it. Since all those leaves kill the grass, mulching helps that process.

I'm in a mood where I wish I could take everything out of my house and only bring back in what really needs to be here. I'll do a version of that one room at a time - eventually. I'm obviously not one of those people who keeps things cleared out. Letting things go doesn't come easily at all. There's a pattern emerging here that I've been paying attention to. Clutter is clogging up the flow in my house just the way that happened in my neck. It's all part of the same thing - mind/body/spiritual.

11:07:00 AM

Monday, November 11, 2002  

I really don't have much to say today. How unusual is that?

5:22:00 PM

Sunday, November 10, 2002  

Typically when I have problems, I go to the library, bookstores, and the internet. Gathering information, learning how others deal with things, and just reading about it is helpful. Using my English major, I find meaning in everything. Former students probably remember how valuable metaphors are to me. In addition to fiction I'm reading for enjoyment, I'm reading some others that shed light on what I'm experiencing now. More on this later.

1:16:00 PM

Saturday, November 09, 2002  
The Tape

This tape looks so weird but apparently helps. It's applied to stretched skin that was held taut while my head was turned as far as it would go. The anchor of it is where the lymph vessels empty into the subclavian veins. The idea is for the tape to sort of massage the skin as the person moves around. It feels tight at times when I turn my head and a little itchy but not bad. It just looks really odd. A physical therapist who worked with an orthopedist used the tape for therapy and also had MLD training. They do sessions for the other therapists to learn about it.

About the only thing I've noticed from the Rituxan is a little less energy. No fever, nothing else. Again, so far, so good.

I have a new post on Around the Bend now.

10:02:00 AM

Friday, November 08, 2002  
Already into November

What a beautiful day we're having! Sunny and warmer! So nice! Sally and I think weebl and bob are so funny but without the conversation bubbles there's no way we could understand them. Those voices are hilarious though.

Had another MLD treatment today. I am having three a week now but will cut down as I go. Debbie put this kinesio-tape on my neck that goes up my jaw and looks funny. It's in strips and is flesh colored and looks like a claw moving up my face. Odd. It's supposed to help the skin move which stimulates the lymphatic vessels. I keep seeing progress with this therapy every day. It's amazing how things have improved in three weeks.

Hope all of you have a wonderful weekend. What are you doing?

1:39:00 PM

Thursday, November 07, 2002  

Brian and Melissa found out today that the baby is a boy! Now we can use specific pronouns. Brian was brought up mostly around women, and now he'll have a son. How neat!! It's exciting to anticipate his personality and what he'll look like. I've had the feeling for a while that it might be a boy. I kept getting this image of a goofy, sweet, little boy with a younger sister who would roll her eyes and shake her head about him. It's a likely scenario. We'll enjoy this experience first, but Brian said if they have another one who is a boy, it will be fun to watch two brothers grow up together. What a thrill this is!!

10:15:00 PM

Major Rambling

Just as I predicted and hoped, I slept really well last night. It's a relief to do that again and have no fever and wake up drenched any more, too. I'm thankful for things I used to take for granted. Considering my comments yesterday, I suppose I should have written "being a senior citizen" instead of middle age, since it's doubtful that I'll live to be over 100. I'm not sure I'd want to anyway unless I felt good. I don't want to be a burden to anyone but would like to do what my grandmother did and die while taking a nap on the couch. Good grief! How did I get off on this? It's a pretty fall day after a great night's sleep and the enthusiasm to get some things done. This is the first day this week I have no appointment, so I can stay home and enjoy making some progress defeating dust and cat hair another day. Tomorrow I have another MLD treatment. I went for seven straight days and then 3 days last week and this weeek. I can't believe the progress and am delighted with the range of motion I now have, the change in color, and the reduction of swelling. Even the fibrotic tissue is much softer and some has gone completely. The wound is healing better now too since circulation has improved in that entire area. Please tell anyone you know who has had surgery, cancer, or an accident that resulted in swelling to check into this. In fact, before surgery it's a good idea to get an MLD treatment to help prevent it. Once you have lymphedema it's not curable, just treatable. Some people need regular maintenance, but Debbie said mine probably wouldn't. I plan to return to regular massages by Debbie and/or her daughter Lana which will make sure it's checked in case I need it. Lana is attending the classes to learn MLD and both were working on me one day. I said I was having a massage a trois. (so clever with words ... haha) I wish I could afford to get a massage every week but will do the best I can. Once or twice a month is probably what will happen unless I get work to equal what I made before plus my part-time jobs. I'll probably retire from teaching at the end of this school year if I can find something to equal or surpass my retirement since it's around half of my already inadequate teacher's salary. I need to start job hunting.

10:28:00 AM

Wednesday, November 06, 2002  
Hair Envy

When I was driving back from my MLD appointment, I noticed my hair (my thinning dandelion hair) in the rear view mirror while I was at a stop light. I could easily see my head through the wisps of hair. At least the wisps are evenly distributed so that my whole head looks like a wisp of hair. About the only advantage I can think of is that I don't use my blow dryer any more since it makes it worse - fuzzy instead of well, uh, less fuzzy. It takes almost no time to dry now by towel drying it. Nope, that's the only advantage I can come up with. There's no way I could even closely resemble Grace Jones or Sinead O'Connor even if it all fell out and I was bald. As much as my scalp itches, a wig would drive me crazy. Besides, I have the feeling it won't all fall out but continue to thin and look weird - as if middle age isn't enough!

2:55:00 PM

Deflated Elections

I didn't sleep well or very long last night because of all the stuff I had, but that won't last long (probably just last night) because no prednisone this time. I feel fine today which is the way we hope it stays. No fever or anything.

Brian's great-aunt Mary Berry died Monday. She's Linda Reynolds's mother in case some of you know her. Aunt Mary was Brian's grandfather's sister and was 90. Visitation is today and the funeral tomorrow at Taylor Funeral Home.

I think I've become the spokesperson for lymphedema and MLD. I told Debbie Hicks I was doing PR for her. Did you see the article in The Herald last week in the business section about Debbie and MLD? It's not in the online version.

Well, as I've said before, I definitely agree with Will Rogers when he said, "I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Democrat." With a Repugnantcan majority of all branches of government and the Supremes, that's all I can say at this point. Sheesh!

Explanation: The term "Repugnantcan" does not necessarily apply to all Republicans but specifically to that faction who are motivated by greed, opportunism, religion for political purposes, and jingoism which they try to pass off as patriotism.

Some of the good things about liberals can be our downfall. Trying not to offend can get in the way of taking a stand. Also instead of capitalizing on ignorance, we try to help people which might make their lives better but doesn't seem to get votes. Are any of you buying any of this?

At least I get to see my President Jeb Bartlett every week on West Wing.

10:12:00 AM

Tuesday, November 05, 2002  

Maybe because I was nervous, my lunch didn't agree with me. That's been bothering me. My mouth has been dry and my heart is racing some. I've been drinking a lot of water which is recommended.

My neck looks so much better. MLD therapy is amazing. It's also miraculous with sprained ankles and any accidents that cause swelling.

5:56:00 PM


Which in this case stands for rain and Rituxan. (OK, I know this is a fragment - literary license) Things went well, but that's how it has been during the infusions. There probably aren't that many cancer cells for the Rituxan to kill this time, so the rest of it should be OK. I'll be vigilant about everything this time since I have learned what to look for. At any rate, so far so good event though I can tell I have experienced something.

2:11:00 PM

Monday, November 04, 2002  
Count Down

Tommorow is the day. 8:30 is the time. Rituxan Day! Wish me luck!!

9:53:00 AM

Sunday, November 03, 2002  

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy watching Ground Force in BBC? I don't even like to get out in the yard that much and certainly don't like digging, shovelling, and planting. Then there's the heavy moving! It's very much like watching aerobics and sitting on the couch. I think it's fascinating how they transform yards (or gardens as they say) the way they do on Ground Force and makes me wish someone would come do mine. I like that guy Alan on there. He's funny and clever. Charlie, the woman on there with the long strawberry blonde hair is strong and quite a worker - and apparently doesn't wear a bra. The interaction between the three of them reminds me of my years in the English workroom.

Those shows like Changing Rooms, House Invaders, and the ones on HGTV make it seem easier than it is. They inspire change for sure.

3:04:00 PM

Last Night

The play last night was interesting. It took place in Purgatory after her execution when she met her mother, boyfriend, and murder victims. The writing and acting were good. It was mostly about her finding religion and feeling repentant. She'd been using drugs since she was younger than 10 when she first used heroin and was an addict and prostitute and basically trailer trash. Never had much of a chance. She'd been high and had no sleep for days before the killing which wasn't planned. This is the one Dubya mocked by saying in a high woman's voice, "Please don't kill me" which is horrifying in itself.

Having a death penalty concerns me since we don't have a perfect judicial system. There are probably people on death row who are not guilty. I read that all of Europe did away with the death penalty after World War II. I've tried for ages to figure out why our crime rate and acts of violence are so much greater than Canada's when our governments are the same age. English friends of mine have said it's because they were under English rule longer than we were. Others have said it's because it's so cold there and that crime is not as great during cold weather. Maybe it's because the US was settled by malcontents and misfits of Europe as well as adventurous, opportunistic, greedy types. Don't really blame them for doing like the English who got rid of the Puritans and kept the neat, fun people, but we still endure their influence. Michael Moore said that our violence is based on fear and that the early settlers were afraid of those who were different. Their first major act of violence was mass genocide.

I wonder how things would have been different if Scandanavians had stuck around and settled the original colonies. Minnesota is an example perhaps. If I find any answers or better questions, maybe I'll do more with it on Around the Bend.

1:40:00 PM

Saturday, November 02, 2002  
Getting Out

I'm planning to go to see Steve Earle's play Karla tonight at the Belcourt. It's about the first woman to be executed in Texas by the death penalty since the Civil War. A friend told me about it. I didn't know about the BroadAxe Theater and their productions. I'll let you know how it is. Light entetainment, huh?

What amuses me is that I didn't go to the Southern Festival of Books, Centennial Park Art and Craft Fair, Oktoberfest, or several movies I want to see, but yet here I am going to see this downer play. Go figure!!

11:14:00 AM

Friday, November 01, 2002  
Bells and Whistles

The comment part hasn't shown up yet on Around the Bend. Notice I did figure out how to put a link in that part on the left? Today I'm going to resist the lure of the computer until after I finish cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry, and vacuuming. I'm trying to change my slothful ways!

9:36:00 AM

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