One Year Anniversary

I have posted in a while since I mostly update my Facebook account. Last week was the one year anniversary of saying good-byes to my “girls”. It’s been a long journey, far too many bumps in the road, and a long road ahead of me. Lots of reflections recently, not all good. Still trying to keep a positive attitude, even though darts are thrown in my direction from time to time. 

Well, here’s to the next 12 months. Let’s see what they bring…

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Chemo Monday

Well, the verdict is in…no more Taxol (chemo drug) until the wound heals. Booooo! But I get my Herceptin…YAY!  Since I’ve been terminated from my employment and no longer need to panic over trying to heal in order to get back to a job anymore (no comment–I loved that job…sniff sniff), I don’t care now how long the treatment takes.

The good news is that the blood pressure is stabilizing at 175/95ish.  The doctor and I actually celebrated two-weeks of 175! Scary, eh?

He also OK’d my kelp pills and progesterone cream that I’ve been taking.  I was worried that he’d poo-poo holistic medicine. I was impressed that he said it was all right by him! YAY COOL DOCTOR!

So, now I sit, in Chair 16, waiting to get a needle jabbed into my chest (George…the dreaded port).  I’ll have my weekly nap and my Herceptin. Then home I will go to sleep. And considering I was tossing and turning last night, up twice panicking over the loss of my job, a good Benadryl nap is just what the not-quite-doctor (me) ordered!!!!

So, let’s hear it for Chemo Cocktail Monday!

Sarah Price's Pink Umbrellas

An Unemployed Umbrella

Well, it was bound to happen. The famous phone call…

“As your short-term disability has ended and you are going into long-term disability, we are severing your employment at…”

That’s an interesting call to receive. Not one of the things you write on your “Top Ten Things to Do Today” list.

  1. Laundry
  2. Clean kitchen
  3. Feed dogs
  4. Get “severed”
  5. Cook dinner…

I feel like I was just amputated. A gangrene limb that got sawed off with no anesthesia. “Doctor, she’s turning green. We need to sever her from the rest of the body…”

Leaving my personal emotions and thoughts out of the equation for the moment while everything is still on the decent/amicable, I do want to take a little look-see at this type of situation as a larger problem.

Here is the breakdown:

  1. A person gets diagnosed with cancer.
  2. Sick person has complications (and more complications) from cancer.
  3. Sick person gets “severed” from employment after short-term disability is over due to more complications from the cancer.
  4. COBRA costs 3x the amount of money the sick person paid for health care while “employed”.
  5. If that sick person can still afford to pay for that health insurance out of pocket, it’s over in 18 months AND they are “unemployed” with a pre-existing condition. What decent health insurance will pick them up for the same coverage and cost?

Wow. That stinks.

SOOOOOooooooo, where’s the Pink Umbrella, you ask?

I am alive. I am a good person. I am a fighter. I have an awesome family, some very good friends, and a whole lot of amazing FB family-friends. And I can look myself in the mirror each morning and know that I always give 150% and that ain’t easy to replace.

Do I really need to look for a Pink Umbrella? Nope! It was never any other color…

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Why Husbands Should NOT Go Food Shopping

I know it’s New Year’s Eve and I SHOULD be out celebrating the Whiz Bang Hum Dinger of a 2013 that I had (sarcasm fully admitted) and be praying that 2014 is a whole lot better but….I’d rather share this story.

The other day, my husband informed me that he had “ordered” groceries from Shop Rite. Now, since I normally “order” groceries and always use Peapod, I thought it was odd that he took this duty upon himself. Our rules are “HIS BARN, HIS RULES” and “MY HOUSE, MY RULES UNLESS IT INVOLVES MY DAUGHTER NOT WEARING SLIPPERS”.

Well, I thought the gesture was nice (he is the most thoughtful man on the planet, believe me) and when I asked what he ordered, I was told, “Things we need for the week.” Alrighty then!!!!! Score ME for not having to deal with food issues. YAY!

Monday morning arrives and the Shop Rite guy shows up with the food. I am awoken from my beauty slumber (which I need these days) and race downstairs before he leaves.  I’m in PJs and bald.  The dogs are barking off their heads and the pig is running around the house, grumbling because her breakfast is late. In the meantime, Daisy Doodle has knocked over my kitchen table bench, two stools, and a chair plus dragged the garbage bin across the floor in her inpatient for grain. The man was in shock. 

After locking up the biting doggie, I give the man the “ALL CLEAR” sign. He brings the groceries into the house, sets them down, and I review the list of food. My eyeballs pop out of my head at the list of food AND the gynormous delivery charge. SAY WHAT? $16.95? Seriously? Peapod is $6.95!!!!

I’m interrupted from my own shock.

“Uh, ma’am,” the man says and points toward the pig. “Your…uh…pig just stole the bread.”

I throw the list at him and immediately start sprinting after the pig who, for an animal that is very overweight, can waddle the floor rather quickly. I navigate the obstacle course and wrestle the bread from her mouth. She disappears and grabs another loaf of bread. Repeat previous scene. Shop Rite guy is cracking up…lucky for me b/c my husband didn’t include a tip and I have no idea where my purse is. 

After the guy left, I set out the food on the table and, perhaps it was my OCD, I had to organize it and take a photo. I figured that NO ONE would believe me what my dear, sweet, darling husband ordered for our “essentials” for the week. 

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(notice dog on the table…Tobi might just be one of our meals this week!)

  • Five loaves of bread (in various shapes/textures/sizes)–>I already had two that had been previously untouched. 
  • Six variations of Thai noodles
  • Five variations of couscous
  • Three things of milk, including SKIM Milk (blah) and Soy Vanilla (blah blah)
  • Two cans of collared greens
  • One can of asparagus
  • Two cans of chicken livers
  • Two packages of chicken gizzards
  • One can of chicken liver pate (the kids will love that, I’m sure)
  • Two cans of SPAM
  • Some hummus type spread (again…kids will be all over that)
  • A box of White Castle Hamburgers (eeeeeuuuuu)
  • Twelve rolls of Paper Towel–>I already had a case of paper towel…he just didn’t like where I put them.

No wonder Daisy Doodle stole the bread! There was no food for her, nor the dogs nor the cats! She was planning to hoard the bread for the week! 

Wow. That was all I could think. Wow oh Wow oh Wow. 

So that night, for dinner, what did I serve?

  • A plate of toasted bread 
  • Collared greens
  • Couscous 
  • Spam

As for me, I ate cottage cheese and beets (diet) and gave my daughter extra carrots and applesauce to  make up for the lack of edible selections.  

In the meantime, I stand by my statement that there are certain things that men should not do. Food shopping without consulting the Mamacita of the house is one of them!

P.S. The next day, after being rushed to a cardiologist for high blood pressure, my husband said I have to eat better. I don’t think he appreciated my laughter as I responded, “So no sodium filled canned collared greens, White Castle hamburgers, and Spam????” Some people just don’t appreciate a really good sense of humor!!!!!

 

P.S. Jr. HE LOVED THE DINNER! HA HA HA

What Cancer Taught Me (and Christmas Joy!)

This was one tough year! Between being diagnosed with breast cancer then having so many surgeries, not just one…not just two…but FOUR mastectomies (wheeee!), blood transfusions, daily IV antibiotic for a month, nerve damage in my arm, super de duper high blood pressure, and chemotherapy, I should be the one person who says, “BRING ON 2014!”

But I’m not. 

2013 was an amazing year. I managed to connect with so many people about their own trials and tribulations, mostly involving cancer, on my Pink Umbrellas page (http://www.facebook.com/PinkUmbrellas) and then teamed up with Lisa Bull to write Pink Umbrellas: The 12 Days of Devotion to help other women with breast cancer.  I’ve met so many amazing women who needed help or a shoulder to cry on as they battle this yucky disease. 

My mother spit out her coffee when I told her that I thought 2013 was amazing. We were sitting in Starbucks after a doctor appointment. She couldn’t believe that I not only said that but I actually meant it. 

Helping other people cope with their situations has taught me so much about myself. Learning to face surgery after surgery, complication after complication, has taught me patience and acceptance that I’m so happy I am able to share with other people. 

This Christmas was extra special as I found a way to thank the people who have supported me…and suffered the most during my on-going battle.  I thought I’d share this video with YOU of the highlight of my Christmas!!!  <3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3aQ68rcKrk

 
My family…my daughter!…God bless you for your love and support during this unbelievable journey!!!  Love you!!!

 

Chemo Brain

It’s Friday…

For some odd reason, I keep thinking it’s Sunday. All day long I have been dragging thinking that tomorrow is my Chemo Cocktail Day (blah!). And then, when I remember that it’s not, I get so happy inside and was even caught doing a little dance by my daughter (who now is more convinced than ever that I am, indeed, weird).

Cat: “What are you doing, Mom?”

Me: “My happy dance!”

Cat: “Why?”

Me: “Tomorrow isn’t Monday! No Chemo Cocktail!”

Cat: “But you still have to do it on Monday, right?”

POOF! There goes my happy moment. *sigh*  Of course, she’s right that I still have to do it on Monday. However, she burst my little pink bubble with her logic. Why shouldn’t I be happy, even if it  is because I had a moment of chemo brain that worked in my favor? It’s not that chemo is THAT bad, anyway. I mean…it stinks to have to get poked, tested, and then try to negotiate the high blood pressure thing with the nurses (LOVE YA, LORI ANN!). Then when it’s finally time for the chemo…they slip that Benadryl cocktail to me first and it’s Nap-Ville.  So, really…I get an amazing nap during the whole process.

Still, it felt really good to think that I had somehow snuck one over the Chemo Cocktail Lounge by NOT having to go tomorrow…even if I never was supposed to go. The logic made sense to me and, regardless of what my 11-year old thinks, that is STILL worthy of a happy dance!!!!

So a funny thing happened at chemo yesterday

You have to love the Carol G. Simon Center in Morristown. I mean, if you HAVE to HAVE cancer, that is really the best place to go. People ask why I don’t go to Sloan or other fancy/high profile places. My response is that I’m quite happy with Carol G. Simon, thank you very much.

 Yesterday, for the first time, I insisted on going alone. I had multiple inquiries from the technicians and nurses as to where my usual entourage was (I usually have 2-4 people with me for entertainment purposes…ME entertaining THEM).  But I wanted to be alone yesterday.

I spent some time visiting with other female patients and handing out a copy of my book, Pink Umbrellas: The 12 Days of Devotion which provides upbeat messages for cancer patients (survivors, family members, and those going through it). The reaction from the patients was fun and, frankly, THAT made my entire holiday.

So, what was the funny thing that happened at chemo yesterday? I finally felt CHRISTmas. I was looking for it…it seemed to get lost in the mix of advertisements and gift-giving frenzy that has overtaken the simple acts of goodness that should be part of this holiday season.

And to think that I learned it while getting chemotherapy! Ironic…

:D