Thursday, February 26, 2009

Down...but not out

What would a week be without a small reaction. lol I'm perfectly ok, and this time I'm chuckling while I write this, but this morning I had a small encounter with the snow in my backyard. I took the dogs outside about 8 a.m. to do their morning business. I always hook up Cubby to her line when I let her out (we have no fence) as she has a tendancy to run after anything that moves. I for one, am not chasing a crazed australian shephard through the neighborhood (especially without that WOULD get some strange looks). I remember standing at the edge of my patio watching Frankie do his buisness (which takes him forever by the way) and all of a sudden a familiar light headed feeling started in my head. I looked over at one of the snow covered patio chairs and thought, "I should sit down." Instead, I reached out to hold onto something until my head cleared and I grabbed the tree trunk on the side of the house. The next thing I knew, I was waking up lying face down in the snow! I had fainted! I couldn't have been down for long though, as my faithful canine companion Frankie was still nearby. I picked myself up, brushed off the snow, and carefully walked back into the house. I climbed upstairs to find Steve (he always seems to be UPstairs when these things happen) and told him what had just occurred. He was very concerned but I assured him that I felt alright and I would just lie down for awhile...which I did. I realized a short time later that I had a gash at the base of my right thumb, which must have happened when my hand slid down the tree as I fell. I can only imagine what this scene must have looked like. Bald woman in red scottie dog pajamas faints dead away in her own backyard into the melting snow only to be totally ignored by her four legged friends. So much for being man's best friend.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's Tuesday

And I'm still hanging in there! No news is good news...that's what I have to say today. I went in for my Monday "shot" yesterday, and so far so good. I'm actually feeling pretty good this morning. Could it be that my body is getting used to its toxic intake by now?! Three out of four A/C chemo treatments done, and only one more to go (2 weeks from now). Then I will get switched to a different drug and hopefully that one will go as smoothly as this one. I've been occupying my time quietly at home, and running any errands I need in the late morning to early afternoon. I still get pretty pooped out by late afternoon/ early evening and by the time Steve gets home from work I'm pretty glassy eyed. lol

On the food front, I've been trying to stick to simple foods lately. Fruit, yogurt, eggs have all been working for me. I had some yummy chicken soup dropped off at my house the other day and that was tasty too. I also received a wonderful new cookbook from a friend of my sister in Dallas, "Betty Crocker's Living with Cancer Cookbook." I've been looking it over and there are quite a few recipes that I'd like to try. Thanks so much for the book Nita! :-) Now, if we could just get some of that Dallas weather...we'd be in GREAT shape!

Nothing much else to report on the last few days, isn't THAT good news! Carly will be coming home Thursday night from Chicago. She is working on a documentary film for one of her classes
this semester, and guess who is the topic of the documentary?!! My elementary school has decided to honor me and the theme of their March Reading Month this year is "Read for a Cure."
Carly will be home to attend and film the assembly for her documentary. More about this later in the week stay tuned.

Hope all of you are having a good week, I'm looking forward to the temps here in Michigan rising into the 40's this week. And see what happens when I recommend a movie (Slum Dog Millionaire) it winds up winning LOTS of Academy Awards. lol Hope you all get a chance to see it.

Joanne (currently drinking Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice...tart but tasty (to me any way!)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Back to Camp Chemo

This morning was my third round of chemo. So far so good. Everything went as it should. My blood counts were good and the drugs were administered accordingly. I was lucky to have a wonderful friend, Terry, help me pass the time while "lounging in the chair," and the time really did zoom right by. We chatted, shared pictures, and laughed quite a bit. It seems that whenever I'm at camp, the nurses always seem to come by to tell me that "someone is having way too much fun over here." (Who me?? Imagine that! lol) Well, it sure beats sitting there for THREE HOURS and having a miserable time. Right? Might as well make the best of it, is what I say. (Not to mention getting it over with as soon as possible...only one more A/C chemo treatment left. Then I get switched to a different chemo drug called Taxol which is given once a week for twelve long weeks.)

I really am hoping that the stomach medication I've been taking this past week leading up to chemo day will really do the trick and eliminate that nasty reaction I had last week. Keep your fingers crossed (or any other body parts that you think will work) that it's doing what it's supposed to!

Yesterday afternoon I had a wonderful time at the public library. I met two Riverside families there (it was planned) and I even ran into two other Riverside students while I was there. I had lots of hugs and well wishes, and it was wonderful to see familiar faces. It seems like such a long time since I've been at school, and I really am missing my students and all of the other boys and girls that I'm used to seeing on a daily basis. I'm constantly asked, "When are you coming back?" and yesterday was no exception. I just tell everyone the same thing...I'm doing everything that the doctors and nurses tell me to do so I can get better and come back to school. I'm just not exactly sure when that will be.

We are expecting a snow storm tonight in Michigan, but I'll believe it when I see it. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. If you are in a warm climate, soak up a few rays for me.

Joanne (I've been drinking Earl Grey tea the last two days...don't you love changing taste buds!)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Confessions of a tacoaholic

Everything about this cancer journey is strange and different. However, the strangest thing of all has got to be my ever changing taste buds. From day to day I never know how anything will taste. In desperation I searched the internet for a common food that cancer patients may have some luck in actually tasting good. I came across a post from a woman that said that her mother enjoyed taco bell during her chemo, and in fact, it was the only food that she enjoyed. That was enough for me. It was time to " make a run for the border." I didn't want to get carried away (in case I couldn't taste anything) so I ordered two chicken soft tacos with regular hot sauce and pulled out of the drive-thru. I parked in the lot, unwrapped the taco, and squirted out the sauce. I was doubtful as I took the first bite, but let me tell you that I heard a choir of heavenly angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus! Not only could I taste it, but it tasted good! (OK I realize that "good" may not be a word that you and I would normally associate with Taco Bell...but let's consider the situation here!) I think I inhaled those two tacos in record time. It wasn't so much the taco, but the SAUCE! I think it was the first thing that I could truly taste in weeks. I'm embarrassed to say this, but I licked the rest of the sauce out of the packets. (Yes, I have no shame when it comes to being able to taste) I was so excited at my new taste sensation, that I decided to try and find something similar while I was at the grocery store. (Or else I was going to be making regular visits to pilfer the taco sauce from inside at the counter) To my amazement, I found this at the grocery store! (more angels singing)
To my utter amazement, I have continued to "taste" this sauce. I have used it sparingly, as I don't want to over do it, and have it lose it's taste. It came in quite handy however, last night, when friends from my school, Jenni, and her sons Zach and Logan stopped by with chicken enchiladas and rice for dinner. YUM! (Thanks Rossignol family) I opened that bottle and poured it all over those babies. Let me tell you, it was the BEST dinner I've had in a long time. Here's what's left of it.

I plan on eating the rest slowly the rest of the week to make it last. Now, what else can I pour the
"miracle elixir" on top of? I think I need to buy some stock in Taco Bell.

Have a great day. I'll be here taking sips of Taco Bell sauce. :-)


Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy President's Day

Monday morning. Back to work for some (sorry Jess) and day off for others (enjoy the week off my Riverside friends). For me, time to catch up on the blog. Physically, I've been feeling alright, so all is well on that front. I'm now taking yet another pill, as this is the week of chemo (sigh) and hopefully this pill will prevent that nasty little side effect I experienced last Wednesday. Mentally, well, let's just say that most days I'm fine, but once in awhile I do get overwhelmed with everything
and I'm told that this is normal. Considering that it has now been 9 weeks since I received the "news" I'd like to think I'm handling everything to the best of my abilities, but let's face it, we ALL have bad days with or without cancer.

I wanted to share the beautiful flowers that my daughters sent me. They arrived on "wig day" and most certainly brightened up my day. The message on the card said it all. Jess, Carly, and Rach, I love you SO much. Thanks for loving me with or without hair...but if it's alright with the three of you, I'm looking forward to the day that you can love me WITH my hair again. :-)
(They are so beautiful, they deserved a close-up too!)

I also received a t-shirt and hoodie that I had to share with all of you. Both made me laugh out loud and I'm sure you will too. The t-shirt was sent from my wonderful friend, Lisa, in Texas.
She's really my sister's best friend, but if it's ok, I'm going to claim her too. Thanks so much Lisa, I just love the shirt! I'm sure it will get many many comments when I wear it outside of the house. lolAnd if the t-shirt isn't funny enough, look at the hoodie was sister sent me for Valentine's Day. If this doesn't make you laugh, you need an attitude check. Who ever said that cancer doesn't have a humorous side! ;-)

Last, but not least, I wanted to share a good movie tip with all of you. Steve and I watched "Slum
Dog Millionaire" yesterday afternoon. I really had no idea what to expect but I have to tell you that I was pleasantly surprised. I REALLY enjoyed this movie. I'm not one to care about Oscar nominations and I usually have never even heard of the movies that win the awards. I do remember however, this movie getting a lot of nominations, and now I know why. For once there was an interesting story to follow and better yet, a happy ending! I don't like violence in movies, and there were a few times that I closed my eyes but most people aren't as wimpy as me. If you see it, let me know what you think.

Happy President's Day to everyone. Maybe there are some good sales at the mall today!

Joanne (drinking Earl Grey tea today)

P.S. I've changed some of the settings on the comment section of the blog. Many told me they were having difficulty leaving comments. Try again to leave a comment and let me know if you are still having trouble. You should be able to comment now, even if you do NOT have a google account.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Return to Wig Day

I'm ready to back track now. Let's return to Tuesday and the infamous wig day. My dear friends, Deb and Michelle, went along with me for moral support. I was SO glad they were there. After all, it's not every day that a girl loses her hair in under 5 minutes flat! After my shower that morning, it was quite evident that the doctors and nurses did know exactly what they were talking about. ( I was hoping that just maybe they'd be wrong...but no such luck) After the second chemo treatment your hair DEFINITELY falls out. What a weird feeling that was. I can't even really put it into words. All I can say, is one second there is hair on your head, right where it's always been, and the next thing you know, it's lying in your hand in VERY large clumps. It made the decision for wig day very easy. The rest of the hair needed to go. We arrived at "Advanced Hair Solutions" (very fancy name for wig place...but sure does sound better) and I was ready for MY solution! My last visit there had culminated in two finalists, and they were ready and waiting for me to try on. One wig was chin length, the other extended a bit past my shoulders. You can see them over my shoulder next to the mirror. They are even labeled with my name so no one else could claim them as their "solution." I had arrived with my pink bandana tied tightly around my head for fear I would be shedding hair all over Deb's car. As good as a friend as she is, I didn't feel that it would be polite (call me crazy) for her to have to vacum up my hair from her car after she took me home. This is what I looked like when we arrived. Fairly easy to recognize me.

I told Pam, the wonderful stylist that was helping me, that her first job was to get rid of the remaining hair. She had told me on my last visit that she could do this for me and that I would also know "when it was time." She was very kind and turned me away from the mirror so I couldn't watch. I had brought my camera to document everything, and Deb had brought hers as well, so Michelle and Deb snapped pics of the entire process. When it was over, I reached up and truly felt my head for the first time. It was nubby! lol Now I know how my fourth grade boys feel when their parents decide to buzz their hair for the summer. I will now look at their buzzed heads in a completely new light. Michelle and Deb then said the magic words, "You have a beautifully shaped head," and I actually relaxed a little. After all, who knew what would be lurking up there? There could have been bumps, lumps, or anything! If you're ready to see me, I'm ready to show you now. It's ok if you stare, I've been staring at it for three days now, and I'm not really used to it either. Here I am.

See, I even managed a smile. Don't worry, the next pic should hopefully put things back in focus. I tried on the two wigs that I had narrowed it down to, and this might be hard to believe, coming from someone that has had long hair forever, but as soon as I put on the shorter wig, I felt like me again. It was hard to believe that it was fake hair. It looked SO real! Pam showed me how to put it on, and then she made me take if off and do it by myself. Everyone agreed that I looked just like my old self, and in the end, even I had to agree. Here I am with Deb and my brand spankin new hair. The next is Michelle, Deb, and I ready to go out to lunch with my new hair do.

It's been quite a week, and I'm glad that it's over. I'm wearing knit caps around the house to keep my head warm, and I'm going to sympathize now with bald men in cold weather. You can definitely feel a chill up there!

Hope you have a great weekend. (drinking ORANGE (lol) gatorade today)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Back in the saddle again

Where to begin with today's blog? I left off two days ago with heading to the wig shop, but sometimes "stuff" happens. I was all set yesterday morning to update with some pics from the wig outing and to let you know how everything went. Unfortunately I had another chemo reaction, and all I can say is thank goodness that it was Steve's day off and he was at home to help. Chemo affects everyone differently and there is no rhyme or reason when it will strike. I became very light headed and broke out in a cold sweat. I was also experiencing some pretty bad stomach cramps to say the least. I realized pretty quickly that I needed "help" and somehow managed to get upstairs to where Steve was still sleeping. I told him to call the doctor right away. The office said to come by immediately. I don't really recall the trip over there, I was pretty out of it. They checked my blood counts, which I'm happy to say were fine, but my blood pressure was very low and I needed fluids. I was also given some other medications to immediately stop the cramps and stomach problems. I was also told to drink, drink, and drink fluids all day, and if there were any other problems later in the day, I'd have to head to the E.R. Steve went out and came back with assorted gatorades and juice for me to drink, which I consumed the rest of the day so there would be no need to head back to the hospital.
There was no way I wanted to go back over there. I took it easy the rest of the day and ate toast and cream of wheat. How yummy does that sound. lol I figured better safe than sorry. I have to admit that the whole thing was a bit scary and made me realize how little control I have over all of this. I'm going to be taking additional meds now the day of chemo and the days following to hopefully avoid this type of reaction again. The one good thing about yesterday...I didn't think once about the fact that I no longer have hair! :-)

I'll come back later this afternoon and tell you all about the wig trip. I'll even share some pics with you...if you can stand it! lol

Have a wonderful day. I'll be here drinking purple gatorade today. yuck.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wig shopping day

Today I'll be getting my wig. I have mixed feelings about this, as you can imagine. I know it's just hair, and it will grow back, but it's official now. After my second chemo treatment this past Friday, my hair is slowly but surely falling out. Just as they told me it would. Couple that with the fact that the last two days I've felt extremely tired, and my taste buds have gone hay-wire, I haven't been a very happy camper. There is a constant and unusual taste in my mouth that is hard to describe, and even though I know how something should taste, it tastes nothing like that when I put it into my mouth. Even water tastes strange. I've tried some of the suggestions I've read about as well as some that the nurses have told me about to try and negate this weird taste in my mouth, but nothing really works that great. I just have to hope that it will come and go, and hopefully go soon.
I'll check back in later with news from the wig trip today, I'm sure there will be a good story to tell.


A.M. update before I leave to get my wig. It seems that "everything does happen for a reason."
This morning my head must have just known where it was going. After my shower, my hair decided that it was time to depart, in a BIG way. I was left with huge handfuls of hair everywhere, and yes, I did shed the proverbial tears. I knew this day was coming, but I can honestly say that I don't think anyone is really prepared for it, including me. After all, I've had good hair days and bad hair days for many years now, but at least I've had hair. So, before I get fitted for my wig, there will just one more small detail to take care of...the rest of my hair will get shaved off. It will surely beat watching it slowly shed day after day. I'll be ok, after all, the hair I'll be leaving the shop with is going to be a drastic improvement on what I've got left now.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

You can't keep a baker out of the kitchen

The trouble with reading cookbooks, is that you want to immediately run into the kitchen and whip up everything that you've just read about. Now that would be humanly impossible (but I would be willing to give it the old college try) so I have to try things that I know Steve and I might eat. But that turns out to be tricky too. He doesn't like nuts, I do. He doesn't like fruit or berries, and I do. I can't even turn old bananas into bread or muffins because he doesn't like them either. What's a baker to do? I decided to make a cake just for him that I knew he would like (and wouldn't be horrible for me to choke down a few pieces either!) I found a recipe for his favorite cake, Boston Cream Pie. (yes, it's a cake and not a pie). It is yellow layers, filled with vanilla custard, and topped with chocolate. What's not to love here! I found the recipe in a book I checked out from the library, "All Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed Baking Book." With a title like that, how could I go wrong. The cake was delicious, Steve loved it, and it is slowly disappearing in the frig. No, the two of us have not eaten the entire thing ourselves, Carly has helped to eat a few slices too. I thought you'd like to see a picture of it in it's four layer goodness.

On another baking front. Before Carly came home for the weekend, she called and asked "if I wasn't too busy...." LOL I do seem to have a fair amount of time of my hands these days, so I asked her what she wanted. It seems a friend of hers was getting married and of course, she wanted to make some wedding cookies for him and his bride. Could I please bake the cookies for her before she came home, and she would decorate them on Saturday. Who am I to turn down making cookies! Of course I told her that I would. We tag teamed on the cookies. I made the dough, cut them out, and baked them. She put on the base coat of icing, and I finished up with the decorating. We were both happy with the results, and she delivered them to the reception hall yesterday to the groom. Best of luck to the happy couple! Here is the finished product.

Enjoy your Sunday. I'll be here dreaming up my next baking creation. If you like nuts, fruit, or berries, let me know, then I'll have someone to share with.


Friday, February 6, 2009

I'm home!

Today's round went smoothly. It took longer this time due to the fact that I had to have my blood drawn and analyzed before they could administer the drugs. My counts were good, so they hooked me up. I thought you would interested to see what it is exactly that is being pumped into my body, so I had Steve take a pic of it all. The red syringes (Yes, there are three and they are BIG) is adriamycin which the nurse has to push slowly into my IV herself. The bag is cytoxan (see how closely the spelling resembles toxic!) and that is dripped slowly by IV.

I do have to tell you that today we entertained the entire chemo room. (You know me, never a dull moment, even in chemo) I had taken the huge stack of get well cards sent from my elementary school to help me pass the time, and we read and shared them out loud. All of the nurses stopped by to read some, and even the woman sitting next to me was laughing. The cards were WONDERFUL. Thank you so much to the teachers at Riverside Elementary and all of the students that took the time to send me get well wishes. Those cards were the best medicine I could have received.

Another "fun" thing that happened today (it's not all bad there) was my nurse, Lisa, decided I needed some bubbles. You know, the wand kind. While I was hooked up, she blew bubbles my way and it sure did put a smile on MY face. I thought you'd also like to see that as bad as chemo sounds, the nurses are fabulous, and they go out of their way to make you feel good. I also saw another patient today bringing the nurses baked goods....UH know what that means...
I now have a REASON to bake! (We all know that I don't really need a reason, but it sounds good anyway) If you look closely, you can see my trying to pop the bubbles.

I thought I'd also post a pic of Carly hanging out with me. I took one of Steve too, but he told me to delete no Steve. See how happy she is to do nothing with me for three hours! :-) Steve was happy too, I just can't show you happy he was! Rach, look closely at the table next to me and you can see the bear that you sent me. All the nurses got a chuckle from him. :-)

And last but not least, it really is a GREAT day because Carly brought me a present, all the way from Chicago. (B...try not to be too jealous) Some of you might remember my BREAST WEEKEND EVER in Chicago which took place the weekend right before my surgery - that never happened. Well, one of the yummiest things we ate that weekend (and we ate A LOT) were cupcakes from Molly's Bakery. I have been talking about these cupcakes non stop since I had them. Suffice it to say that they are amazing, and Carly brought a box home for me! Here they are in all there chocolaty goodness. Clockwise from top left they are: red velvet w/cream cheese icing, chocolate decadence (choc inside and outside), chocolate turtle w/caramel filling, pumpkin spice w/cream cheese icing, and boston cream pie. Okay, you can stop drooling on the keyboard now. I plan to share them with Carly and Steve, but if I get up again at four in the morning, all bets are off!

Joanne (drinking lots of water today to wash the drugs through my system)

Hold the press...last minute addition to today's blog! The mail arrived shortly after I finished and there was another package from school. Inside I found this beautiful ORANGE scarf. I ADORE IT! My dear friend, and fellow fourth grade teacher, Marcia, said that she misses my "Orange-ness" Yes, this IS a made up word, but I know exactly what she's talking about. Several years ago we had a guest speaker come to a staff meeting and we all took personality tests that put us into color groups based on our personality. The color groups are blue, green, gold, and orange. It will not surprise anyone that I was the only orange in the entire school. lol
Let's just say that orange people are "outside the box thinkers." Being orange has gotten me into trouble sometimes (Bill, I'm still really sorry about cutting the electrical wires in my light fixture causing all the lights to go out) but mostly I have fun thinking differently than everyone else.
Hence, Marcia missing my orange-ness, and her sending me an orange scarf. You could say that it is my signature color. (much better than pink) I'm even including a pic of my orange crocs that I slipped on to wear with my new scarf. Enjoy and think orange.

Round Two!

My bag is packed. I have reading material, my ipod (thanks again Rach), get well cards from my elementary school, my pink blanket, my cancer sucks bear, and of course a water bottle. I'm ready for my second visit to camp chemo this morning. Hopefully all will go as smoothly as the first time. Steve and Carly are going with me to keep me company. (Carly drove home from Chicago last night) I'll check back later today to let you know how things went. Hope everyone has a great day.

Joanne (I actually drank a cup of tea this morning, and it didn't taste too bad!)

A special welcome to Rickey and Eve :-) I'm SO happy to have you following my journey! xoxo

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thanks Thanks and More Thanks!

I'm sorry it's taken me this long to say thank you to the many many friends and family that have been sending me gifts and cards. If you know me, then you already know that I'm a computer idiot...plain and simple. At school, I rely on Suzie Crawford (care to make a home visit Suz?) to get me through the world of computers. I've been known to barge into her room at a moment's notice because I can't even get my computer attendance to print out! And without Carly at home either to "do it for me," I've been trying to figure out how to do everything myself, and it just takes me awhile. (awhile could mean days in my case) So, I've got the pics loaded, re-sized, and ready to go. Are you impressed yet? (OK, I did have to put in one long distance call to Carly in Chicago and she helped via the phone! Thanks Carly!) I'm going to try and add in my two cents along with each pic, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to swing that. Let's see what happens...

Riverside Racer Plant

This came from my school family. Thanks Racers!The plant is sitting in my family room where it reminds me of all of you every day. It is a privilege to work with each and every one of you, and I can't wait until I'm back at school. I'm sure things are quiet there without any "orange incidents"
but don't worry because...I'll be back! :-)

Tulip Bulbs

This lovely basket was a gift from my dear friend Nancy that retired at the end of last school year. She is currently spending her free time in Florida soaking up the warm rays with her husband Bill. Nancy, the bulbs just bloomed YESTERDAY!! Aren't they beautiful! Thanks so much for sending a little bit of Spring my way!

Cancer Sucks! (why yes, it does!)

This arrived last week from my lovely daughter Rachel. She is busy at Butler University being a conscientious freshman who is studying hard to become a teacher (like her dear old mom), and is spending countless hours as a Kappa Kappa Gamma pledge. Yet, she found time to send me this adorable bear that echoes my sentiments exactly! Thanks Rach...I love you lots and lots! Now, go study! :-)

Just Get Me Through This

The same day that the bear arrived, I also received this fabulous book from my dear friend Tracy in Virginia. Even though we have never met in person (which WILL happen one day Tracy) I consider her a very special friend. She always seems to know just the right thing to do or say. I had checked this book out of the library, and liked it so much that I was going to buy my own copy. No need now! I love the book Tracy, thanks so much for sending it my way. I thought the book and bear were perfect together, so here they are.

Flower Bouquet

Talk about Spring time! This gorgeous bouquet arrived from our friends in Philly, Randy and Irv. Steve and I went back to Philly last summer for their wedding, and had a blast! I only wish that we lived closer to each other so that we could spend more time together. I'm hoping that you will be coming our way this coming summer for that baseball game, and we can hang out, laugh, and have some more fun. Thanks so much for the flowers, they are just beautiful.

Moisture Therapy Gifts

The first gift came from one of my students, Emma, and her family. I was SHOCKED when Steve came home from work the other night with this beautifully wrapped box in his arms. He handed it to me and said, "This is for you." I opened it up, read the lovely card from Emma's mom, Shannon, and saw all of the "goodies" inside. I was VERY excited! For those that don't know, chemo REALLY dries out your skin, and it was such a thoughtful gift. THANK YOU Wikle family!
Your thoughtfulness touched me, and the body butter makes my hands and arms less
"alligator like" (which is DEFINITELY a good thing!) Emma, thanks for the card, and I PROMISE, I'll be back, and things will go back to the way "they used to be."

I also received a tube of Japenese cherry blossom body cream from my friend and fellow teacher at school, Jan A. Thanks Jan...I love it, and it smells DELICIOUS! I put the tube into my purse, and it goes with me everywhere. You never know when a bad case of alligator skin will strike, and now I'm prepared! :-)

PINK bracelet

I had mentioned in a previous post that I met with some school friends last Friday after my check-up. Becky was one the friends at our little gathering. I worked for many years with Becky at Riverside, and lucky for her, she is now retired. She told me that now that she is retired, she has time to "string beads!" lol I just love the bracelet Becky, and I'll be thinking of you whenever I wear it!

What cancer CANNOT do

Apparently, the word is out. "Take it to Steve (at work) and he will deliver it!" lol Steve came home from work last night with another box to deliver to me, and this time it was from another Riverside family, the Stoddard's. I was privileged to have Sean in my class last year, and Nathan is right next door in fourth this year! The card from their mom, Alice, was so touching, and in it she said that everyone always tells you the things that cancer can do, but this is a reminder of all the things that it CAN'T DO. It reads: What cancer cannot do... It cannot...invade the soul, suppress memories, kill friendship, destroy peace, conquer the spirit, shatter hope, cripple love,
corrode faith, steal eternal life, silence courage. Thanks SO much Stoddard family. I plan to carry this with me everywhere I go and to remember each and every day that I am still ME!

Cards Cards and more Cards!

I have enjoyed each and every card that you have sent to me. Thank you for thinking of me and taking the time to send them. I keep all of them in my family room up on the fireplace mantel, but gathered them up for a close-up. I've even put some of them into the front and back cover of the notebook they gave me at the oncologist's office, which goes back and forth to chemo with me. So you can see, all of YOU are never far from my thoughts either. I do have to tell you that yesterday was a banner day for cards. I received THREE HUGE manila envelopes in the mail, and it looks like the students at Riverside have been busy making get well cards for a certain teacher :-) To say that I was overwhelmed is an understatement. I will write a seperate blog on the student cards, but suffice it to say that I LOVED THEM!

I have now spent hours working on today's blog, and even had to S.O.S. Carly in between classes to help. (We will not mention how many S.O.S. calls were made, but she was able to help long distance every single time. Hugs and Kisses to Carly!)

Thanks always seems like such an inadequate word, but for now, it's all I can say. So thank you for everything you've done for me. Sending thoughtful cards and gifts, keeping me in your thoughts and prayers, reading my blog, and sending emails for those that can't seem to figure out how to leave a comment. (I would be ONE of those people myself. lol) I am truly blessed to have all of you.

Lots of Love (today I'm drinking iced tea in case anyone wanted to know)

p.s. I'm apolgizing now for any spelling or grammatical errors. Yes, I know, I'm a teacher, but I'm too exhausted to go back and proofread the whole thing. I'm just amazed that I got everything posted where it should be. Let's be happy for small miracles!

p.s.s. Thanks to my husband Steve for my brand new (non throw away) camera. Without it, I'd never have been able to post these great pics. XOXO

Monday, February 2, 2009

Drug free and full of Apple Juice

Today is my first official day of being alone. Mom is back in New Jersey now and Steve is off at work, so it's just me and my two perpetual four legged shadows. (So I guess in reality, I'm not really alone!) The sun is shining and it's a balmy 40 degrees in Michigan, almost makes me want to break out the short sleeved t shirts! This is my drug free week, and I'm excited. No meds to take (unless I feel side effects coming on) and no doctor visits. :-) Gee, I feel kind of normal! I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.

I've finally found a beverage to drink that tastes "normal" to juice! I've already finished an entire bottle of "Simply Apple" and it was...simply deeelicious!I drank so much however, that I was having visions of the famous Willy Wonka line (OK, I am kind of obsessed with the old version of this movie, so I can relate anything to it)"Violet, you're turning violet!" Only in my head, I was turning into a giant apple! So, I'll wait a day or two before buying some more. Back to the water. sigh.

I'm working on the pics to post for all of my many thank yous. They should be ready by tomorrow to post. (sorry, I'm a computer idiot and it takes me three times as long as a normal person to do anything)I have been baking a little, and sent Steve off to work this morning with chocolate chip cookies. Today I made some carrot cake muffins which are cooling, so I haven't tried them yet. Believe it or not, I'm really not eating what I bake, I just like reading new recipes and then trying them out. I picked up a few new cookbooks from the library today, so I'm sure there will more baking to come this week.

I want to say a special HELLO to Linday P. who I saw is now following my blog! :-)
Linday, I can't believe you are 14 now! It seems like only yesterday that you were sitting in my third grade classroom! You are a beautiful young lady! Please give my best to your Mom and to Michael.

Have a great day, I'll be here drinking my apple juice! :-)