Thursday, March 27, 2008

3.27 Top Five

1. No winter coat today.

2. Tried some pretty tasty lasagna from Whole Foods.

3. My Dinosaur Jr. soap was a success! (Raspberry and mint, layered green and purple/pink)

4. The IT department fixed my laptop. It is no longer possessed by the devil.

5. It was the day before the last day of the work week. I am inching ever so closer to the end of this horrible project.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Take that, Shaq!

Sorry to disappoint Shaq fans near and far, but our boys took it away tonight! Kevin Garnett scored 30 points!


Like Ice Cube Says ...

1. The weather was killer! It felt like the first official day of spring. Sunny, good smells, a prelude to the inevitable coming of milder times.

2. My grandmother is over her stomach flu and my grandfather spent the entire day outside painting the fence. They are both in their eighties.

3. I received a glowing soap review from Joanna of Product Body fame! And I received my first piece of feedback at my Etsy store!

4. Manny Ramirez got a huge homer in this morning's game. (How strange is it to hear Don and Jerry, announcing a live game, first thing in the morning? My grandmother was psyched - she's up at 5 in the morning.)

5. My mother discovered that the oncologist that she (and I) are seeing on April 11th comes highly recommended. He works at Faulkner Hospital and at Dana Farber. She remains in really good spirits and her last radiation treatment was today!

Can you guess what I am doing here? Many parts of my life are less than sunny right now. In an attempt to keep myself from sliding into a serious clinical depression, I decided to use some old fashioned psychology on myself and list all the good things/breaks I got for the day. Stay tuned for daily doses.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturdays with Janice

I spent the day with my mom and I guess her back is feeling a little better. She had her first radiation treatment yesterday. She has eight more to go. They are trying to shrink the tumors on her back so she can have some relief from the pain and discomfort.

You know, I used to think that someone with stage four cancer was bed-ridden, barely conscious and horribly gaunt. My mother has a healthy appetite, drinks a martini a day and gets around just fine. We had breakfast, went shopping and had lunch. I am trying to have a standing date with her on Saturdays. Stage four is basically when a cancer spreads to a different location from the primary site. It's like an escaped convict. A rogue. A loner. A rebel. It is possible to beat a stage four cancer if it's a treatable type. We now know that it isn't multiple myloma. It might be colon cancer, in which case they could operate to remove it, then give her a radiation and chemo combination to get rid of the cancer in the secondary locations. I don't want to get my hopes up about it, but I've decided that it's okay to be optimistic. I am not going to treat my mother like a dead person. I wouldn't want to be treated that way. Instead, we are already talking about how she can parlay this into a new career, if she survives it. She can become a patient advocate, specializing in persons with cancer. She is a very determined person.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stage Four

I am pretty much in shock still, as I received word that my mother has been diagnosed with stage four cancer. I am so angry, so frightened, so sad. I understand that this is very grim. They still haven't identified the primary site. She has tumors in her lungs, on her sternum, at the base of her spine and on her pelvis. But they still don't know what type she has. They are sending her pathology out to another hospital.

She is 55 years old.

Words cannot describe how fucking pissed I am about this.

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Clueless About Cancer

My mom is going in for a bone marrow biopsy as well as a battery of other tests today. We met with her radiologist on Wednesday afternoon - he seems like a nice person, but word on the street is that he is a bit of a foot dragger. Great. Oh, you have cancer? Well, I guess I'll see you in a couple of weeks, then. Actually, this guy seems alright to me. And he is very supportive of us wanting to go to Dana Farber. They are going to take care of the referrals and everything. They need to know the type of cancer (whether or not the bone is the primary sight or if another organ such as a lung or breast is the primary sight and the cancer cells have spread to the bone) and the stage. Once those 2 things are determined, a treatment plan will be put into place.

I have no idea what to do. I'm a trained project manager, so the most I can muster is to go to appointments with her, armed with my notepad, writing all this stuff down. I am trying not to read "success stories" as tempting as it may be. What if this is not a success story? I am afraid of what is going to happen to her, what kind of pain and discomfort she is going to have to face, and how little I am going to be able to do to control any of it. I spoke to my employer and I am able to take up to 12 weeks off (unpaid, of course) to care for my mom. I could also work out doing a 3-4 day work-week, if this is more conducive to her treatment plan. I just want to be armed and ready to fight at all times.

I made soap last night. I hope it's alright for me to do this, still. It helps me take my mind off of what's going on a little. But I still feel guilty. Like people are going to talk or something. Here her mother's got cancer, and all she can do its make soap for that damn small business. What a nice daughter!

I researched support groups and there is a caregiver support group in Newton that meets a couple of times a week. Although I am not her primary caregiver, I would still like to take as active role as I can. And I want to do a good job, so I am hoping that other people might be able to help me with that. I also need to figure out a way to deal with being so pissed off about this.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cancer. Again.

My mother's neck has been recovering nicely since her surgery, but during her recovery, she started experiencing lower back pain. She decided to call her doctor and ask for an MRI. That's when they discovered the malignant tumors. We think she has Multiple Myeloma, which is a pretty rotten kind of cancer to have. It starts in the blood, sometimes winds up in an organ, then spreads through the bones and manifests itself in the form of unexplainable fractures and tumors - both of which my mom has experienced since December. After we know the official type of cancer, we are getting her straight to Dana Farber. My hope is that she can go through radiation (and other treatments, as necessary) to eradicate the cancer from her body, then have her on a long-term management plan. There's a long road ahead, though, and it's going to be really crappy. I have moved beyond scared - maybe it's because we know for sure that it's cancer. I am now in "let's kick this thing's ass" mode. There are a lot of new treatments that are very promising for Multiple Myeloma. And she's under 60 and in reasonably good health otherwise, so this makes her a good candidate for something a little more experimental. Still, she'll have this for the rest of her life. There is no cure. It used to be that you could expect to live 2-3 years after diagnosis. Now, if you catch it early enough, you can live up to 10 years. Geraldine Ferraro has it and I think she's 10 years +, at this point. We are trying to remain cautiously optimistic and keep our sense of humor in tact. More on this as things develop.

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Damn You, Egg-Shaped Bath Bomb!

Oh, I have been having a hell of a time trying to create egg-shaped bath bombs using traditional plastic shells. I've destroyed 3 batches so far. I am trying to get a cute little children's gift set together in time for Easter. I think I'm going to try a different method. Today is a new day, right? I was really depressed about this last night. Depressed enough to have some chocolaty frozen yogurt.

Check out this new movie coming out on March 7th! I got all teary-eyed just watching the trailer.

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Down 5

I finally lost 5 pounds. It's taken me nearly 3 full weeks of careful dieting and devout workouts and virtually no alcohol consumption. Boy, it sure is tough to drop weight as you get older! And I've still got 10 more to go! The good news is that my thighs are now ready for softball. And this year, we have the option of joining a new "work" league, which is different from regulation Boston Ski and Sports Club style softball.

Went to see the Celtics cream the Bobcats at the Garden last night. And I finally bought my Eddie House shirt! I love #50! I adore Garnett, too, but everyone has a KG shirt. Why must House take a back seat? What an amazing game! Rondo is such a joy to watch, too. Not amazing: waiting to exit the parking garage afterward.

How weird is it that the Red Sox signed Bartolo Colon to a minor league deal? A few years ago, this guy was the Ace to beat. Now, with an extra 40 or so pounds on his body, he is vying for a position in the pen with Boston. Life is funny that way.

Work stinks right now. Can I just say that? I am really dreading it these days, as I am working on a horrible and hellish project with a client that should really know better. The good news is that it will only be horrible and hellish for about a month.

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