Monday, December 28, 2009

Broken Dreams

My sweet Christmas laptop broke!

The mouse pad just stopped working this morning while Lou was fooling around adding an account for himself on my machine. Lou tried everything he could think of to get the mouse working. It is really hard in Windows 7 to use keyboard shortcuts, I'll tell ya. Old Windows standby key combinations just do not work, grrrr.

Anyway, we eventually broke down and called Tech Support for an outrageous $3 per minute... and $45 later, the technician gave up and agreed that it must be a mouse pad hardware failure.

We bought the laptop at Costco so we called the closest Costco to our hotel... They were fabulous! If we had the box, they would have let us return it for a full refund even though we bought it in North Carolina and even though we did not have the receipt!  But we did not bring the box on vacation with us.

So, my economical idea was to run out and purchase a mouse. I was sure that if we plugged in a normal mouse, I could use the laptop just fine during vacation and then deal with replacing it when we got home.

But Lou thinks big.

His idea was to run out to Best Buy and get me another new laptop. We would ship the broken laptop home (in the new laptop box) and then return it to Costco after our vacation. Awesome! Fabulous!

We went to the Best Buy where Brian works and got to say hello to him. It took awhile, but we finally found a laptop that I just completely fell in love with. (It's a Sony Vaio.) Lou bent over and grabbed the laptop box from under the display and ALL THE LIGHTS WENT OUT! The entire store went dark. The laptops around us continued to twinkle away on battery power though.

The employees started herding us all to the front, and then the lights came back on. Whew! So we decided to go look at camera batteries and talk to someone about the return policy and then I had to visit the ladies room and then ALL THE LIGHTS WENT OUT AGAIN! Ooooh, it was totally pitch dark in that ladies room.

So the lights started going on and off. We got in line, hoping that the lights would stay on long enuff for us to check out. But it was not to be. Eventually they announced that the lights would be off for a couple of hours, and everyone in line had to turn in their as yet unmade purchases and leave. We had been laughing and joking around. We're on vacation, so who cares if we're in the dark at Best Buy.

We decided to go to another Best Buy. When we got there, we found the laptop that I fell in love with, and it was sitting right next to a delicate pale pink laptop. "Oh yes," said the salesman, "that one is exactly the same model, except for the color."

Clearly my borrowed guardian angels were the ones who knocked out the electricity to that first Best Buy!  I was meant to get the pink one.

And so you must have guessed, I am sitting here in my PJs in our hotel room, typing away on my awesome pink Sony Vaio while Lou watches Monday Night Football and drinks beer, which he certainly deserves because he is, as I have often said, the best husband in the world.

Oh yeah, and tomorrow is his birthday!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Who's Buried in Grant's Tomb?

Our vacation started when the limo guy came to pick us up. I was romping with Samantha on the front lawn, killing time, because we were totally ready to leave, with all our luggage (7 bags) lined up on the floor of the garage.

The limo guy did NOT make us listen to classical music, which was a relief.  We ran into no traffic and got to the airport lickety split.  Curbside checkin took four bags off our hands, and we headed in to security where there was no one in line at all.

At this point, I am a little worried about my clinical trial drugs in the insulated bag with both an ice pack and a bag of ice cubes (in case they make me throw away the ice pack).  So I say to the xray screener guy, "I have an ice pack in my suitcase."

He asks me, "What's in it?"

This question confuses me. What is in my ice pack? What does he think is in my ice pack?  So I say rather emphatically, "Ice."

His expression does not change at all -- he just repeats his question, and I realize what he really wants to know is what I am using the ice pack for.  So I say, "Drugs," and then realize almost immediately that this is almost as bad an answer as "Ice."  So I clarify that it is chemotherapy and he nods and waves me through.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cold Hard Cash

I was nervous that I will forget my clinical trial drugs, so Lou suggested I put his wallet in the fridge on top of the drugs.  He won't forget his wallet, ergo we won't forget my drugs.

On a usual weekday, I put my car keys in the fridge with the drugs -- I cannot drive myself  to work without my car keys.  (That wouldn't work today because we are not bringing my keys with us on the trip.)

Only one thing left to be packed:  my wig.  I washed my hair and it wasn't quite dry enough to be packed away last night.

I am so excited about this trip.  Going to have a lot of fun.  I am pretty sure that I will be able to log on during the cruise and update this blog. If not, then I'll say HAPPY NEW YEAR now.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Teeny Tiny Eyelashes

I have been watching my scalp pretty closely, waiting for my hair to be long enough to stop wearing my wig. I was so obsessed with my scalp that I forgot to check my eye area for signs of improvement.  Till today.

I am thrilled to report that I have loads of little eyebrow hairs, but more importantly, I have teeny tiny little baby eyelashes coming in!

They are pretty invisible at this point but they exist and they bode well for the future.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

After Dinner Mints

Yesterday I talked to my clinical trial nurse about how to take my pills on vacation.

When I told her Lou's first plan, which involved waking up every day at 6:00AM for a quick breakfast and then taking the pills at 8:00AM, she said that she thought that idea stunk.  "You don't want to have to wake up at 6:00AM every day on your vacation."

She loved the idea of taking the pills two hours after dinner. (That was Lou's second plan.)

She explained that it is okay to switch from 10:00AM to 10:00PM -- as long as I do the entire two weeks at 10:00PM.  It would not be good to do 10:00AM one day and then 10:00PM the next day because I would not have an even amount of the drug in my bloodstream.

So, my clinical trial drug will be my after dinner mints!

While she had me on the phone, the nurse clarified that I am not supposed to have anything but water for two hours BEFORE and AFTER I take the pills.  Yikes. I often drink coffee like an hour after the pills.

Lou pointed out that I won't be able to eat the chocolate that the steward will leave on my pillow every night.  I'll just have to save them for the morning -- or stay up really really late every night!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Vacation Plans

Lou asked me if I had given any thought as to how I would take my clinical trial pills on the cruise. These pills have to be refridgerated all the time.  Plus I have to take them at basically the same time every day, two hours after a light meal. I usually eat breakfast at 8:00AM, drive to work with the pills in an insulated bag with an ice pack, stick the pills into the fridge in the breakroom nearest to my office, and then finally take the pills at 10:00AM.

For this vacation, I will have to carry the pills onto the plane, in the insulated bag with the ice pack.  Anyone think that the ice pack will freak out the TSA screener?  Maybe I ought to bring just plain old ice cubes.

Getting onto the plane is just the first hurdle.

We'll have a mini fridge in the cabin to keep the pills cold on the trip.  But we have some excursions that start at 9:00AM.  That means I have to carry the pills onto the tour bus in the insulated bag so I can take them at 10:00AM.  I guess that would be okay. I could put a bottle of water in the bag, too, and it would stay cold.

Lou suggested that I wake up every morning at 6:00AM, have some coffee and toast, and then take the pills two hours later at a very convenient 8:00AM. That way, I take the pills before leaving for any excursion, no insulated bag required.  I guess that would work.  Not cool to have to wake up so early every day on vacation.  But it does sound a lot more convenient than dragging the insulated bag all over the Caribbean and maybe losing it while snorkeling.

The other suggestion that Lou had was to see if I could just take them every night three hours after dinner.  (We bumped it up to three hours because dinner is not a light meal.) I am going to ask the clinical trial nurse what she thinks of that idea. It would mean taking the pills at 11:00PM instead of 10:00AM, and I don't know what she'll think of that.

Oh! One last thought:  when we bought our sneakers today, I saw a pink baseball cap that said Life is Good and I thought, "Yes it is!"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


My ankles occasionally got a little swollen during the Gem/Tax chemo, but that ended 7 weeks ago and it has gotten worse in the last couple of weeks. On Sunday and Monday night, my ankles and feet were lumpy and strange, and they had not gone back to normal by morning -- which is what has always happened in the past.

On Tuesday, my left foot actually hurt to walk on, so I called the nurse for my oncologist that morning to report this new development.

My oncologist called me later that day to talk about it. He prescribed both a diuretic and potassium. The diuretic will get rid of this extra water, and the potassium will stop me from getting leg cramps.

Plus I have to wear compression stockings. Unfortunately, a compression stocking is nothing like a Christmas stocking. Although, if I did hang one by the mantle for Santa to fill, I wonder how many presents he could stuff into it. It's very stretchy. But everything would be crushed by morning.

Well, after one day I see great improvement. I actually have an ankle bone!

I'll be taking these new prescriptions for just one week.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

Dr Reidel called me yesterday to tell me that my triglyceride level was high. It has been creeping up since I started the clinical trial, and it is now officially HIGH.

He was calling to suggest that I start taking a "statin" to help bring down that number. I picked up the prescription on my way home last night, and I took my first pilll last night.  I read the insert carefully.  I am supposed to watch out for muscle aches and weakness of my legs.

High triglycerides are nothing to be happy about, but the thing is, this is exactly one of the side effects of the clinical trial drug. (Sugar pills, not so much.)

So I am feeling really confident that I am getting the real drug. Doing the happy dance!


All day I have been running around with Lou getting ready for the party. I just finished ironing the Christmas tablecloths ;^) and everything is all done. So we are going into the hot tub now, to relax. The I might take a quick nap.

It is weird to be in the hot tub during daylight hours with the golfers driving by in their carts. I usually wave hello to them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Make Me Laugh

Laughing is so good for you. I am really lucky because Lou makes me laugh. I have been known to be a little funny myself.

In the last few months, we have been making an effort to DVR funny shows so that we have something to laugh about. This morning we watched some standup comedy from Comedy Central. We tried two comedians today, but neither one was very funny. We have like eight shows on the DVR, so it is just the luck of the draw.

Last night, we killed Season 1 Disc 1 for The Big Bang Theory. Oh my God, now that is a funny show. I got email from Netflix telling me that another Big Bang disc is on the way to us.

I cannot believe how funny Big Bang is. We laugh out loud through the whole 30 minutes. Of course it helps that we are complete Star Trek geeks. But we aren't physicists.

The first time we saw Happy Gilmore, we were laughing so hard, we had to stop the movie so we could calm down. We have watched the movie a million times now; we sort of wore it out so there is no more laughing out loud.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

At the Mercy of the Refridgerated Pills

I was thinking about working from home today. I have a little cough and always think it is better not to go to work and cough on people and make them sick.  Plus I'd enjoy spending the day in my PJs in front of my PC. And most importantly, I can get a lot done here with no distractions.

Sure, Lou is here in the house, but he is pretty disciplined when he's working. I think he leaves his office only twice per day: at noon for lunch and then again at 3:30 for green tea. Sam the dog sleeps all day. Sometimes she comes in here and demands to be petted by bonking my left arm with her head. She's very insistent. I mouse with my left hand, so she definitely interrupts my work.  But it is nice, except I end up with Golden Retriever fur all over my keyboard. Of course, this is not nearly as bad as Spike the cat (God rest his soul) who would actually walk across the keyboard to get my attention. I'd end up with fsjbndaigfvpoe5934 in my document.

Anyway, back to me contemplating working from home. 

I realized that I can't do it because I left my clinical trial pills in the refridgerator in the breakroom at work. So I have to go in to the office. In exactly one hour and forty-five minutes, I have to take four pills.

That's fine. I can keep my office door shut. That ought to contain the germs.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Think of Me

The Phantom of the Opera was fabulous. It will be at the DPAC for a month, so if you are in the Raleigh area, go Go GO!

Lou and I have seen this play seven times now. We saw it in London in 1999, and the guy who played the Phantom in that production was the BEST ever. The guy today was pretty darned awesome too.

Anyway, I got a little choked up when Christine started singing "Think of Me."

Think of me, think of me fondly,
when we've said goodbye.
Remember me once in a while -
please promise me you'll try.

Sitting there in the dark theater with the most wonderful guy in the world next to me, I was slapped with the image of Lou thinking of me fondly after I am gone.

Lousy thoughts like that sneak up on me when I am not paying attention.

But I quickly reminded myself that today I feel wonderful. My numbers are good.  My tumors shrank significantly. I am pretty sure I am getting the clinical trial drug. Clearly I am not going anywhere any time soon.

Plus, the unvarnished truth is, I am such a pain to live with, who's to say that he would think of me fondly  ;^)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Alarm Goes off at 5:30AM

I have been feeling pretty good!

As a result I have been working longer hours. And I have been rushing off in the morning to make the vanpool pickup, which means I have to leave the house by 6:45AM. Making the vanpool is minor miracle and shows me how good I am feeling. This time last month, I could not have set my alarm for 5:30AM and then been able to function at all during the day. I needed so much more sleep. Now I just need eight hours. Fabulous!

But my feet are still numb. Last night in the hot tub, I accidently kicked something and apologized to Lou. But I had not kicked him. He said, "You can't tell the difference between me and the hot tub?" but I can't because my feet are still numb.

And I am still bald but I can see peach fuzz without the aid of a powerful flashlight! I wonder if I ought to be doing anything to speed this hair re-growth. Is there a fruit to eat? A cream to apply? I'm very motivated because I am tired of wearing a wig. Last week at the grocery store, I stood in front of some Rogaine products for awhile, but I did not buy anything.

I broke my glasses yesterday, which is a total drag because I cannot read very well with my contacts. I was on the floor in my office, doing my physical therapy exercises. I had taken off my glasses and foolishly set them on the floor next to me. And when I got up, I knelt on them! Not too much damage -- one lens popped out and the frames are bent. Argh. I am supposed to get them repaired this morning at Eye Associates across the street from my office.

My next doctor's appointment is next Thursday for a minor checkup.

My next CT scan is January 14. That will be a big milestone, but I can't start worrying about it now.


Tuesday 12-29-09: Happy Birthday, Lou! Slept pretty well, but kept waking myself up from dreams where I forgot to take important pink pills. Feeling pretty good and headed out for a walk now. Plan to put my feet up later because my ankles are swollen again.

Monday 12-28-09: Another great day! But I am still coughing, and my complexion belongs on a 15 year old's face. Tonight I take my clinical trial drugs for the first time after dinner instead of after breakfast. Dinner at Bubba Gump's ended at 9:00PM so we set an alarm on Lou's phone to remind me to take the pills at 11:00PM.
Sunday 12-27-09: What a great day! I am coughing a lot less. We went for a short walk this morning and then a long walk tonight. I think the sunshine and ocean breeze are helping.

Saturday 12-26-09: I just woke up minutes ago. I am quickly blogging half asleep and checking email so that Lou can then pack away my laptop (it is coming with us on vacation).  Feeling pretty good. I just coughed my first cough of the day -- not too bad.

Friday 12-25-09: Merry Christmas! I am using my NEW CHRISTMAS LAPTOP to update my blog. Santa was very good to me this year. Slept for hours yesterday afternoon after taking my first dose of antibiotics for this cough. Hoping to feel much better soon. Today I must finish packing for the trip.

Thursday 12-24-09: My cough was getting worse, so I got some antibiotics.
Wednesday 12-23-09: I am going to have to start taking the diuretic again because my ankles swelled up today despite the compression stockings.  Feeling pretty good, otherwise.  When I remember to take the albuterol, no coughing. Hey I am on vacation!  Woo Hoo!

Tuesday 12-22-09: Today I do not take the diuretic, so i will keep a watch on my ankles. Feeling good! Started packing for the cruise!

Saturday 12-19-09: Cough! Cough! I starting taking albuterol and my cough is improving. Lou and I got new sneakers today for our cruise. (Our current sneaks were pretty raunchy looking; the red dirt out here stains everything.)

Friday 12-18-09: Cough cough cough cough!  Good thing I am working home today to avoid driving in the expected afternoon snow.

Thursday 12-17-09: Let myself sleep late today, to make up for yesterday. Feeling good! Ankles are much improved. Got a bit of a cough though.

Wednesday 12-16-09: Too early to tell how I feel. I have physical therapy at 7:30AM today. Who makes these early morning appointments? Oh yeah, I do. 7:30AM always seems like a good idea till the alarm goes offFriday 12-11-09: Lou and I have to run a couple of errands this morning. He let me sleep till 8:00AM and brought me tea in bed! Life is good. Checkup yesterday went well. Something related to white blood cells is low but not low enough to stop the clinical trial. My next checkup is mid-January with a CT scan.

Oops forgot to save a couple of days!

Wednesday 12-09-09: It is pouring rain this morning! I feel pretty good. I have a boo boo in my mouth that is not healing. Looking forward to some energy work today with Amelia and Healing Touch. Last time, I don't know what she did, but I felt as though every inch of my skin was buzzing with electrical energy. It was cool.

Tuesday 12-08-09: I've had three mild yet unpleasant side effects for about a week but I don't feel like telling you about them. I'll tell the doctor on Thursday...

Monday 12-07-09: Happy Birthday, Dad! I feel really good today. Got a busy week ahead of me.

Saturday 12-05-09: Headed out soon for a massage which I really need because my muscles ache. (Both my knees are killing me; what's that about?!)  Today Lou and I plan to eat lunch at the Mellow Mushroom and see The Phantom of the Opera at the fabulous DPAC.  Feeling so good!

Friday 12-04-09 Evening Update: Spent the evening writing Christmas cards and watching TV with Lou. What a great night!

Friday 12-04-09: Wow, I slept till 8:00AM and only woke up because the phone rang. I feel great. Tomorrow we go see The Phantom of the Opera!

Thursday 12-03-09: Glasss are fixed! The Eye Associates in Cary NC is always a pleasure to deal with, especially manager Jeremy. I defintely see peach fuzz. Salt and pepper colored, though. But I won't complain about the color. I just want some hair.

Wednesday 12-02-09: Woke up feeling great at 7:20AM! No alarm clock today. Can't ride in the vanpool because I have to go to physical therapy this afternoon.