Monday, December 01, 2008

Over-Whelmed and Over Achievers!

In case you haven't read the last post...I had my last Chemo Treatment! Huzzah! I have had some problems with infection and some tests that the doctor has decided to run, Renal Ultrasound, bladder scoped, and a cat scan. Most of the tests will happen mid-December just prior to Christmas.

Christmas. The thought has me totally overwhelmed. Usually this time of year I am planning the trip to go cut my tree. Yes, I cut my own tree. I have taken my Grandson since he was one (he is eight) and it's just a fun time. But this year, I know I do not have the endurance to hike the mountain to cut the tree and carry it out. Bummer.

Then there is thinking of Christmas shopping. I usually have a list and ideas, I have a big family, organization is a must. Unfortunately, I don't have a list. I don't have ideas. I think about going to the mall and doing the zombie shopping and it is so overwhelming. Knowing it will be at least one more week before I even start getting any energy back from this last chemo, I'm just not getting that warm fuzzy Christmas spirit feeling and the idea of being at the mall with last minute shoppers (who I have made fun of in the past) is way too scary. Gift cards are starting to sound like an okay idea! Gift Cards! I can't believe I would even consider it, me, the one who decided on Thanksgiving one year to make my four kids crocheted afghans for Christmas. That's FOUR afghans, figuring out exactly how many rows a night I needed to do to complete them in time. My calculations were just a little off because I actually included Christmas day as one of the days and had to do some last minute recalculations, increasing the row counts! I can handle the Christmas pressure, but I do like original type of gifts to give. But this year it just all sounds like too much stress. I'm not seeing the fun in any of it.

Then there is all the stress with Christmas cards. Such pressure. I couldn't believe I started getting Christmas cards last week! Do they want an award or what? And I thought I was an over achiever.

I love being with family, but this year it just seems too much to deal with and so, I am running away. Really! I have to use my vacation days because the college decided to close the campus over winter break and since my summer vacation was spent recovering from surgery I decided to just take a trip. A road trip! My husband thinks it sounds great. We haven't decided where to yet, maybe Santa Fe, maybe Montana, but some where, somewhere away from all the glitz and the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas. Perhaps I should bake some cookies or put up some lights. No, I know what I need! The video of a Charlie Brown's Christmas!! Or a good road atlas!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Turkey Day! Good/Bad news

First: HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL MY WONDERFUL BLOGGER FRIENDS!!
Enjoy my Thanksgiving Card for All

Now the Good News and the Bad News:

This Friday was supposed to be my LAST Chemo treatment. Hurray!

I get a call this morning at around 9:30AM from the chemo infusion center, right when I am deciding where to start first, mopping floors or making , and they asked me "where are you?" I inform them that I do my chemo on Fridays not Wednesdays. "But we are closed Thursday and Friday for the Holiday and the doctor scheduled your chemo for today." Well shit I think. I take the day off of work so I can do some pre-baking and preparing so it won't be so hectic tomorrow and now I have to go and spend 7 hours at the hospital. So, that's the bad news, because our five year anniversary is Saturday. With Chemo on Friday's I would be find on Saturday to celebrate. With Chemo on Wednesday, I will be hugging the camode on Saturday.

BUT! It is the LAST one and now it's done.

I did manage to make 2 pecan pies tonight. One I left out some of the ingredients and didn't find out until after it came out of the oven. Looks pretty but probably is hard as a rock! (pre-drugs make you loopy and brain dead) So then had to make another with all the ingredients.

Hope everyone has a good time with family and friends, lots of good food, full bellies and left overs!!

AND remember all your blessings, even in the worst of times there is much to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lego Land and Boob jobs!


I am ZONKED! Had Chemo two weeks ago, flew to Phoenix immediately following, attended Step-Daughters graduation, rode home on the motorcycle for over 6 hours, came home went through the worst of it the next three days and then left on Thursday with my daughter and grandson to Lego Land! Have I mentioned I hate to miss ANYTHING?? We spent the next two days at Lego Land, me being pushed around in a wheelchair. I thought I would be completely humiliated in the wheelchair, but I wouldn't have made it otherwise. The upside was we got to go to the front of the line. Well if their had been any lines, that is, the place was empty!

Saturday morning we awoke and just took our time packing up and then headed for the beach in Carlsbad. My daughter and I plopped our butts on the sand and watched Preston run and chase the waves. There were some surfers out and that was pretty cool too. After an hour or so, we decided it was time to hit the rode. My daughter drove my car, you know, Goldy the hippie mobile that survived the wreck with the semi, and got us home safe and sound. A good time was had by all....of course, it wasn't Disneyland, my most favorite place, but the Grandson had fun and that's why we were there.

Okay, now boob jobs. I'm watching the weirdo bimbo on TV that has had all these breast augmentations and now is going from triple F's to triple M's! What doctor would do that? She looks hideous! She says this is it now, she is happy that she set the world record for biggest jugs! Oh, we are all so happy for you! Watch the video, it's not in English, but the pictures will be all you need anyway!



Why am I watching this? What have I become? Must be another side effect from all that chemo! Give me Survivor, I can't take any more of watermelon girl!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Motorcycle Ride Back From Phoenix


Last Friday I had my 5th Chemo treatment which lasted 7 hours and then went from there to the airport to catch my 6:20PM flight to Phoenix for my step-daughter's college graduation. I get there and the first thing I see is that my flight had been delayed by 2 hours not leaving until 8:30PM. I then hope I can get on standby on an earlier flight. I go check out other flights and see that every thing is delayed because of the runway construction at McCarren. GREAT! Then I see that the 3:30pm flight is scheduled to leave at 6:20PM....that's my best bet. I go stand in line at the counter and hear the attendant tell the guy in front of me after his pretty good sob story, that there were 37 people a head of him on standby. THINK QUICK! Need to think of a better story!

I did and almost everything was true, including that I had come straight from the hospital after having chemo, that I would be getting sick soon, that I needed a shot after chemo and had to be there at 8:30PM Well actually all of that was true, except it sounded like I needed the shot before 8:30PM...I had already had the shot after my treatment. But, it worked, I was given a boarding pass for the 3:30pm, now 6:20pm flight and able to get there at my original arrival time. I know it was bad and I will be punished. But I really needed to get in, find something to eat and get to bed or I would have been dead the next day.

The graduation went super, the party that night was even better. I was rock queen on the quitar in Rock Band! Even though I didn't get too much sleep that night. I went to bed at 11PM and the kids continued with beer pong and Rock Band until 4AM! Not too conducive for sleeping. Somehow, my hubs slept through it.

Next morning the hubby and I headed for home on his 1982 Goldwing. Old, but a fun bike. The desert from Phoenix to Las Vegas is just beautiful. I was really looking forward to the ride because I haven't had a long ride since getting this cancer sh*t in May. We hit some pretty hard winds and then some rain just when we were coming into Wickieup. So, we had lunch and waited for about an hour. Other riders came in from the direction we would be headed and said they had hit major storms and the roads were very slick. We decided to give it ago anyway as it looked like there was a little clearing of sunshine and that we might just be able to skirt the storm. We did. However, it was very cold.

We stopped about every hour in the normally 6 hour trip for me a butt break and to stretch out my tingling feet. The desert aroma after the rain was incredible. The smell of creosote was so strong, and everything looked wonderfully clean. I was tired and cold when we rolled up the driveway, but it was such a fun adventure after all this chemo crap. Speaking of chemo, the doctor says only one more! Huzzah! The pictures here are not mine and I think the photographer is listed, but they pretty much sum up what the desert looked like up close and personal on the bike. If you click on the picture you can go to the website of more glorious photos.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Still Pluggin' Along

I have chemo number 5 this Friday, and then there should be only one more to go. Tomorrow I see the doctor and find out if she will be adding additional chemo treatments. PLEASE NO MORE!!!

All depends on the CA-125 some cancer counter. Need to get mine in single digits. Everyone think good thoughts come 3:30pm Nevada time!

Saturday, my step-daughter gradates from college. She works full time so this has been a long time coming and a very special day for her. My hubs jumped on the motorcycle this morning to head to Phoenix to help her with some home repairs and to be there for the graduation. I will have my 7 hour chemo on Friday and then have my daughter take me straight to the airport from the hospital so I can be there too. Then Sunday morning I will ride back to Vegas on the motorcycle with the hubs. It will be a long day, but this is her special day and I knew I would just hate to miss it. So, I will suck it up and hold on tight! Hoping I won't fall asleep and fall off....Ouch! Hoping if I do, the hubs will notice!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chemo and Semi's


Been a downer week. I had a doctor appointment last Tuesday to find out if there would be additional chemo treatments.(I was supposed to be done by now!) Obviously, I had been anxious all week, hoping counts would be down and I would be finished with this tortuous treatment. On the way to the doctor's office I was hit from behind by a semi-truck! Well, actually the car behind me was hit by the semi who then preceded to smash very violently into my cute, little, sunflower yellow, Xterra-Goldy! BAM! So, there we were in the middle of the road waiting for police with people driving around us and yelling at us, or making stupid comments. "Right, Buddy!" "Yea, really funny!" "Yep, we wrecked to ruin your day!" What a-holes!

I missed the doctor's appointment and had to go the next day, stiff neck/back and all."Counts aren't down enough, three more chemo treatments."

I started this new round this past Friday, so today am feeling punky, achy, but better than yesterday. God, I don't want to do more of this, it sucks! But,the good news was I didn't have to have the blood transfusion! Actually, compared to the last treatment when I had the infection, this isn't so bad at all, I think the worst is over for this round. I may even get out of bed today and go find something to eat. Panda Express!

My show this past weekend-Dracula-was great, wonderful! Standing ovations each night! Didn't raise as much as we had hoped, but did have a decent turn out. I was absolutely bushed as I had the chemo on Friday and then two shows, two receptions to set up and of course, I have to be all cheery and welcoming everyone, do the preshow announcement and thank all our supporters, etc., then get off stage and go puke! Onward and upward and hopefully, little Goldy will get repaired this week!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Dracula and Blood Transfusions


Been a wild week. I got an infection, blood counts plummeted, doctor wants to do a transfusion, which grosses me out. There's just something about having someone else's blood in me...who are they? Did they wash their hands after using the restroom? I need to convince the doctor tomorrow to wait a day until my next blood test on Friday and then go from there. I'll see if she will go for that.

Then in between the health crisis I have my big benefit concert I am
producing/co-sponsoring at work....Dracula the New Musical! Much running around getting stuff for the VIP reception, making flower arrangements, getting sponsors, creating ads, creating all the graphics for the program and on and on. Somehow having a low blood count is starting to make a lot more sense. Wasn't that a bat I saw fly by my window last night?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Feeling the Blues

Monday is always my bad day after chemo on Friday. I keep thinking I will get used to the symptoms and be able to roll with it better, but puking' and having every bone in your body feel like it's broke, just isn't any fun at all. And that's just the top two side effects! There's about four others that we won't even discuss!

The pain and nausea seems to get worse with each treatment. Knowing this last treatment was supposed to be the last one, really got me down, because it won't be. Knowing I would have to go through this again, one to three more times got me upset to the point of tears and I hate being a blubbering idiot. Hurting and thinking, "I don't want to hurt anymore!" "I don't want to do this shit anymore!" Then feeling really guilty because I know there are many out there that have gone through way more treatments than I will have to go through.

And I'm tired of being the scary bald grandmama. And more than anything, I'm tired of being tired! I hate missing my tennis clinic, but there is just no way I can go the week after the chemo, I know, because I tried it last time. Big Mistake!

So, today is better than yesterday, and I know tomorrow will be better than today and by Thursday I will be back to work. I just hate feeling like I'm wimping out. And yesterday, I was a big old wimp!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Slacker Uprising!

Michael Moore, as you may well know gave permission to download, share and is giving this documentary away for free to US and Canadian citizens. You wouldn't believe the Hoo-Haw at the college because I am showing this in our theatre! Hopefully, it will encourage some of the deadbeats to get up and vote!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I Qualified for Nationals!





I am totally beat down, had my 3rd chemo yesterday, but Tuesday through Thursday I participated in the Nevada Senior Olympics, three matches a day, 8AM, 10AM and Noon. Let me tell you in Vegas in September it is hot! So if playing three matches a day wasn't bad enough, playing them in mid day was just killer.

Additionally, in the Senior Olympics you play in age groups not by your rating which is also difficult if you are on the low end of the ratings...like me. Which meant I played players above my level. I am 3.0 and played mostly 3.5 players and the last day a 4.0 player (I lost that one, 2-6, 4-6, but had more games on her than anyone else, so was very proud of that!) I came away with SILVER in Singles, SILVER in Women's Doubles, and a GOLD with my sweetheart husband in Mixed Doubles.

I am totally exhausted, I don't know how much is the Chemo and how much is all that running around this week, but I am thrilled that I qualified for the National Senior Olympics in California next year. The National Olympics isn't played every year and this was the qualifying year, so I was very determined to make it.

We met lots of great people and became great friends with two guys from the Ukraine! We had them over for dinner last night and what did they bring? Russian vodka and caviar! We will be saving that for a special occasion I am sure.

On another note: This should have been my last chemo, but my counts apparently weren't where the doctor wanted so more have been added. That's a real bummer, but just got to deal with it. Also, here is a tip for anyone else undergoing chemo, losing their hair and wearing synthetic wigs. Be very careful getting things out of the oven.

Last night when I was getting stuff out of the oven, without being aware of it, the bangs on my very cute short wig got melted up to the base of the wig. I will have to figure out what to do about that later. For now, I will admire my three medals... baldly!

Monday, September 22, 2008

MAY PEACE PREVAIL ON EARTH







Join me in celebrating and reflecting on International Peace Day.

Peace to All!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I'm a Dweeb!


Today was my league tennis match. I'm the captain. I usually get to the courts early and make sure everything is all set for our matches. Which is what I did today. Except this morning I forgot one little thing.

First off, you got to know, the match started at 7AM and I am not a morning person in any sense of the word. I was playing singles to try and build up my stamina for the Nevada Senior Olympics that I am doing next week so was looking forward to playing.

For some unknown reason I woke up this morning at 3:30AM and couldn't get back to sleep so I just decided to get up after an hour of tossing and turning. I putzed around the house, watered my little patio gardens, swept up more leaves, made me some oatmeal, read the morning paper and then left for the courts that are a good 30 minutes from my house.

I get to the courts and get them all set up with the score things, get new balls down off the shelf, make sure the bathroom is opened, set out the snacks and bananas I brought. The other team and my fellow team members arrive, I assign courts and as always I am the last to go to my court to play. As soon as I stepped onto the courts something seemed wrong. I looked down at my feet and there I stood in sandals. SANDALS! FLIPPIN' SANDALS! No socks, no tennis shoes. My opponent asked me if I wanted to default. I said "no way." I took out my sport tape and TAPED my sandals to my feet. I would like to say I won the match. Unfortunately, I did not, though I did win the first set, I lost the match in a tie-breaker, taped on sandals and all. What a dweeb!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Tree and Me

Leaves turn brown and fall away
Each morning I sweep the patio
Knowing tomorrow there will be more
Until one morning the tree will be bare.

It’s the very normal part of the seasons.
Days get shorter and cooler
Leaves turn brown and fall from their host
Until it is left barren to face the wind alone.

My hair has fallen
Let loose by the poison
Pumped into my body
Destroying all in it’s path.

I feel naked and embarrassed
At my new frightening image
It makes me look old and sick
It labels me a cancer victim.

I see the tree standing tall having no choice
But to let the leaves drop to the cold ground below
I understand the helplessness of watching part of you fall away
Having to accept the bareness with strength and grace.

In spring the days will once again be warm
The buds will promise the beauty of renewal.
Perhaps come spring the tree and I can rejoice
That we are whole once more.

For now I will sympathize with the tree.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bald Pros and Cons

I got in the car today on my way home from work, and looked desperately around for a hat or cap. Spied a tennis cap in the back seat. Perfect. Wig off. Hat on. Thank you God! My poor head was itching like crazy and I just couldn't wait to get home to take off the wig.

This got me thinking about what sucks about being bald, which then got me thinking about what is good about being bald.

PROS:
*No need to buy Shampoo/Conditioner/hair spray
*No time wasted to fix hair
*You can rub your head for luck whenever you want
*You can scare people at will
*No falling hairs on dark tops
*Don't have to worry about messing up hair when putting on or taking off top
*Don't have to worry about touching up roots
*Can go from long hair to short hair and back in a day

CONS
*Wigs cause head to itch like crazy
*Rash,itch,scratch
*head feels cold and wet all the time, except when covered and it itches
*Scares self when catching site of self unexpectedly in the mirror(keep thinking some bald man is in the house!)
*Ears appear much larger without hair


Well, see there. There are more positives to being bald then there are cons. I should be so happy. I guess I need to work on that.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Get Ready for Peace Day!


The International Day of Peace ("Peace Day") provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date. It was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in September 1982.

In 2002 the General Assembly officially declared September 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.

By creating the International Day of Peace, the UN devoted itself to worldwide peace and encouraged all of mankind to work in cooperation for this goal. Along with being designated by the UN as the International Day of Peace, September 21 is also a day of Global Ceasefire. By acknowledging a unified day without violence, a Global Ceasefire can provide hope for citizens who must endure war and conflict; it proves that worldwide peace is possible. A cessation of hostilities for 24 hours can also enable relief workers to reach civilians in need with food, water, and medical supplies.

Join the ‘TXT 4 Peace’ campaign!

Join the United Nations International Day of Peace Team in their global ‘TXT 4 PEACE‘ campaign to tell world leaders your thoughts on what it will take to achieve world peace!

Text ‘PEACE’ and your message to 69866 (160 characters max, only in the U.S.) or go to Peaceday2008.org to view messages or send one online from anywhere in the world.

The United Nations will send your messages to world leaders when they meet at the United Nations on 23 September!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Champion of the World!


Okay, maybe not champion of the world. But four days after my chemo treatment I played in a tennis tournament. Not just any tournament THE tennis tournament in Vegas. I made the finals and came in second both in Singles and in Doubles. No, I didn't get a nice silver platter just 5 X 7 plaques. And even though it just about did me under, (I am still exhausted and pulled a muscle in my leg), I proved to myself that I could make it through a match. In two weeks, I play in the Senior Olympics! First I have to talk the doctor into postponing my last chemo treatment by a week....I want to make sure I am fully ready to play and not feeling all week and crappy....she'll just have to understand. It's tennis afterall!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Wet Dream?

What an experience! My lips first felt the tickling of the fuzz on the soft plump skin as my lips gently opened and my teeth tugged at the skin. Then biting into the moist flesh, I closed my eyes as my savory glands reacted with a start as the oh so tart sweetness exploded in my mouth. The juice dribbled down my chin and I had to quickly lean over to keep the liquid from dripping on my lap. Then more bites, sucking and slurping to try and catch every drop in my mouth, every succulent explosive amazing drop of juice and flesh. Oh, something like this truly only comes around every four or five years, the absolutely perfectly ripe peach! It gives a new meaning to wet dream!

After the peach this morning, (it truly was an oh-my-God-delicious peach), I got out my acrylics and did some quick paintings--three. A quick pot of flowers, a stem of star-gazer lilies and a crane. Here's my work. Unfortunately, not as full-filling as the fruit this morning! Should of painted a picture of the peach!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Celebrating What's Right With Our World


(IF YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE READING, SKIP DOWN AND WATCH THE VIDEO IT'S AWESOME)
In searching for my zen garden, I have found moments of complete peace, usually in the mountains or walking on an uncrowded beach. Enjoying the moment and just being in the moment. I know it's the simple things in life that bring true joy. I know that, but those moments seem so few and far between sometimes. And then their are all the times I was just too busy to notice the beauty that was there all the time.

I love nature and if I could I would spend all my days in a small house with a beautiful garden where I could walk or ride a bike to every place I needed to go. Preferably in the mountains or near the ocean. I like to dream about that place. I know it's not in Vegas. Vegas is too fast paced, too chaotic. But Vegas is where my kids and grandkids live and there is the rub. But even without being in Vegas there is this incredible super fast world pace that keeps many of us too busy to slow down, to notice the world around us, or even our family and neighbors. We are just too busy.

The fast pace of our world makes it incredibly difficult to find our own individual Nirvan where one could live with less and to quiet the constant chaos of our minds. We hear a lot these days about how to "Simplify" our lives, but what does that mean really? To me it means:

** A way to live lightly on the earth, leaving a very small footprint on our earthly mother.
** A slower-paced way of living and living in the moment.
** A way to live with less but creating more choices in life, more than just working and sleeping, enjoying the living.
** Finding what's right and working in every situation.

It may seem difficult to give up many of what we consider luxuries, but maybe the path to simplify our lives starts with a first small step. Along with that thought I want to comment on living in the moment as that step. We pride ourselves on being multi-taskers. I am the epitome of a multi-tasker and have climbed the professional ladder by being just such a go-getter. But, is that truly the best way to be? I truly think not. I think I want to change and be a mono-tasker! Let me share with you why.

I watched a motivational film a while back by a National Geographic photographer, Dewitt Jones, who was sent to Scotland to take pictures of this very old lady who was a national treasurer as an accomplished weaver. She lived very simply and humbly and when he asked her what she thought about when she was weaving she answered, "I wonder if I'll run out of thread." Not exactly the answer he was expecting from this wonderful sage. She continued, "when I weave, I weave."

I highly, highly recommend you watch this inspirational video Celebrate What's Right With The World


This video talks about seeing what is right, appreciating the moments we are given, living in the moment. To truly be in the moment, to have our full attention in the moment requires a slowing down, it requires respect to the importance of all that we do, who we are with and where we are at any given moment. It's listening with an attentive ear instead of thinking of a response. It's seeing what is right. It's believing you will see what what is right and good, instead of always looking for what is wrong or not working.

My mind is usually going 1000 miles an hour, jumping from one idea to another, thinking of what next needs to be accomplished instead of doing my best with whatever I am doing at the moment.

But for today, I will try and slow my thoughts, slow my pace, seize the moment, celebrate what's right in my world, with gratitude and grace, simply and with out ego. Now how simple is that?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Year of the Pissy Piss Ant

I believe in Karma. I am a pretty positive person. No matter how bad it gets, I know all will turn out well because after all I am a nice person and surely have a store somewhere of some good Karma.

This has been a very rough year for me starting with New Year's Day. A day I woke up feeling that the year held so much promise and really excited for what the new year held for my husband and I. But those thoughts and plans were all squashed before even getting out of bed. More things came down the pike and I kept trying to bounce with the punches from personal life to my work life, but the punches kept coming, one knock down after the other.

Finally, in June I was hit the toughest blow of all. It appeared I may have ovarian cancer. In my ever positive mind, I didn't accept that diagnosis, I decided not to worry about it until it was proven so. No use worrying about something that might not even be there. It was when I had my surgery in July that it was proven so.

I am positive, but sometimes that doesn't change the facts. The chemo sucks, it makes me sick and my body ache and I look in the mirror and see a scary bald person. I hate the days that I am confined to bed and most of all I hate being alone, because as much as I am fighting this and it will not get the best of me, there are days that are hard, days that I am afraid. I don't like to admit that, but that's just the way it is. Yea, I know, it's the struggle that's life. Well, you can just screw that philosophy!

For several of my blogger friends this has been a tough year as well. No luck at all. So, I am calling this the year of the Pissy Piss Ant! A year biting us with bad luck. We need some better Karma! Where's all my good Karma? I want it now!

One of the seven lucky gods of Japan, the Laughing Buddha is the god of happiness, contentment, abundance, and wealth. Rubbing his big, round belly is believed to bring good luck.

I need one of these. I'm not sure if his happy face would bring comfort and peace, or if it would eventually seem to be mocking..."yea, rub my belly, go ahead, keep doing it, fool!" Well, piss on you Buddha! No, I didn't really say that, that would really be bad Karma. Ommmm.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Peace Sign Turns 50!


As the International Peace Day approaches I thought I would give a little tidbit of information about the most recognized symbol of peace--the peace sign which turned 50 this year!


Designed in 1958, by textile designer, Gerald Holtom, this widely recognized symbol signified Britain’s desire for nuclear disarmament. The peace symbol was brought to America by Bayard Rustin and quickly adopted by a growing civil rights movement dedicated to nonviolence. Over time, it had evolved from its association with nuclear disarmament to a symbol for counterculture. By the 1960’s the peace symbol was a symbol of free love and the hippies. The peace symbol has proven its endurance as a fixture in society. Today, as the arms race and war continue, the peace symbol is still visible at anti-war rallies and demonstrations...and on half of my t-shirts and on my school bus yellow Xterra!

Celebrate, promote whirlled peas, make love, not war.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Another one bites the dust

Had my second chemo today. Another 7 hours of being filled with toxic chemicals that pretty much fry every cell good and bad. I left the house for the first time without a wig, just a hot pink bandana. Once again I read a little (Memoirs of a Geisha) and then promptly fell asleep for the remainder of the time. Good Times! GOOD PRE-DRUGS!

I'm on so much health food stuff to rebuild immunity, increase energy, take care of nausea, build muscle tissue and stuff for bone pains. I am set and ready to kick some chemo/cancer ass! This girl is not going down! C'mon, bring it on! Just let me take a quick nap first, okay!

Here's a picture of me with hair with my very cute hippie husband, Beni. As I hope you can see from the picture, the girl here is very stubborn and persistent, doesn't ever give up and I'm not starting now!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hair or Tennis?

With my second chemo treatment looming this week, and several doctor appointments to make sure I have enough blood cells to kill off, I had to leave the Mamma Mia! tour and fly back to Vegas. That is where I am now, home sitting on my bed with my laptop and trying to grasp what I am feeling.

My hair has been thinning each day since last Wednesday, but tonight in the shower it was coming out in handfuls. Wet gobs of hair. I stayed in the shower letting the hot water spray my body and knew this was it now, that I couldn't imagine it was going to be a pretty sight. I wondered how much had come out, what would I look like when I looked in the mirror. I had visions of big bald patches and whispy strands of hair sticking out here and there. Scary. I wasn't in a hurry to find out. I wondered how long I could stay in the shower before the hot water ran out.

I didn't get emotional, I didn't cry, I just kept grabbing wet gobs of hair and wadding it into a ball to place on the edge of the tub. Okay this is it, what I had been dreading.

I decided I couldn't stay in the shower forever, I just needed to face it, get it over with and deal with it. I turned the water off and slid the shower curtain open with a determination to be strong and face this new me. I looked in the mirror and it was frosted with steam. I was thankful for the blurred image. A slight reprieve. I took my towel and wiped a circle clean and saw whispy hairs here and there and a nice bald spot on top. I stared at myself for a long while and realized that at this point I had two choices. Hang on to every strand for as long as I could and deal with the irritation of the stray hairs that continued to shed, or whack it short and prepare for the eventual shave. I run my fingers through what's left, open the drawer and grab the sissors. I pulled up hair and cut the remaining hairs to an inch of my head. I stare at my reflection for a while to get a feel for this new image. Not so bad.

I keep thinking I should be feeling really depressed about this, but I'm not. I had a great day today and this evening I was back out on the tennis court with my team for the first time in 7 weeks. It felt great running around and smacking balls. Given the choice, I'd pick tennis over hair any day. I think I need to find a cute hat. A tennis hat! Yea, it's not so terribly bad after all, just another day in the life! And life is what it is all about....the living, not the whining!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow



It has started. A few hairs here, a few hairs there, falling gently on my shoulders, getting caught in my fingers as I run my fingers through my hair, or catching on the brush. I wonder if it just continues a few at a time or escalates to clumps on the pillow? It got me wondering if I will wake up in the morning (or one morning soon) sans hair, and if so, what will I look like without my flowing tresses? Actually, I have already cut my flowing tresses to a short bob in preparation of 'the fall.' How bad can it be? Thanks to Photoshop I can have a preview and prepare myself for what may await me one morning soon. Hmmm. Thank heavens I bought a hat while in DisneyWorld last week! Who loves ya baby and where's my lollipop?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hurricane Fay...I'm there!


We jumped on the Mamma Mia bus (yea, they go by bus when it's a short trip) this morning and headed to Tampa. Yep, Tampa, Florida where Hurricane Fay is supposed to hit tomorrow. Announcements were made to "be prepared." Be prepared? I live in the desert. I don't know nothing about birthing babies or hurricanes! They are giving weather updates on almost every channel every 10 minutes. I wasn't really worried a few days ago, because I knew they were giving all these updates. But now, as tomorrow is looming, I started paying more attention. The news is showing that they are requesting recommended evacuations tonight in 'Level A' and mandatory evacuations tomorrow morning. Okay, that's good, if I had a effing clue where the hell level A" was!!! I just know I am in Tampa!

So, I move online. The site gives updated info, but also gives a cool demonstration in photos on the damage done by the various levels of a hurricane. Check out level 1 and then level 5. I shouldn't have laughed, I know, but for some reason, I thought it was pretty funny.

The Local News shows lists of schools That will be closed tomorrow... by counties, again, means nothing to this wild west, desert-dwelling girl.

We just get a call, the Mamma Mia tour has canceled their show for tomorrow, now that I know. The theatre's right across the street! Maybe I should go find a flashlight and some water....a couple of candy bars, beer?

added tuesday am: all is well. fay entered land way south of tampa and all we may see is some "scattered squalls." Dang, I was so wanting to see a cow fly by or a surfer dude.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

MAMMA MIA!


Okay! Alright already! Yes, I am fine. Just have been unable to connect to the internet....seems like my new life line! I have joined the hubs on tour with Mamma Mia! We have been having a wonderful time in Orlando and then go to Tampa on Monday, hopefully where we will be in the real world with internet connections! I am currently sitting backstage of Mama Mia! trying to catch up on email and blogs. How cool is that? All is well, all is well!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Don't Take That Picture!

Did you know it's against the law to get within 75 feet or yards, not sure, of an abandoned seal? They can put you in jail for that! I found out the hard way when I saw what I thought was a dead baby seal pup and went to take a picture of it. It wasn't too much longer when some guy started to yell at me and telling me about the jail and so I left, said "sorry, thought it was dead!"

I'M SORRY, I'M SORRY!!!! I couldn't resist though because I just read this book called "The Year in Fog" And it starts out with a lady taking a picture of a dead seal pup (and it didn't mention anything about jail ) and the next thing you know her little girl vanishes. I wanted the picture to show my mom who also read the book and tell her I was afraid my hubs was going to vanish if I took the picture, he didn't but it was a close call.
Okay, okay, now I know, I won't ever do it again! I feel so guilty!:(

Friday, August 08, 2008

08/08/80

A day to remember. Yes. it is the opening of the Beijing Olympics, but today was a milestone for me as my first Chemo treatment. I got to the hospital at 8:30am and was out at 3:30pm. 6 hours. The good thing is that with all the stuff they give you to keep you from having an allergic reaction or to prevent nausea, I fell asleep after about 20 minutes and didn't wake up again until it was over. Nice comfy chairs, a blanket to cover up with I snuggled in and let them pump me full of whatever they wanted to. My hubs and I played one game of cribbage, (I won)and then I sent him on his way. No reason for him to sit and watch me sleep. He was there when I woke back up and that was pretty sweet.

What I didn't like was all the other people who slowly filled the room as the morning progressed. I didn't like the idea of people looking at me and thinking "poor girl" and I didn't want to be looking at sickly cancer patients either. One was a chemo patient like me, but most of the others were getting blood transfusions...YUCKY. didn't like to be seeing all those bags of blood, it really grossed me out. Probably because I just read the script for a new musical--Dracula, so I had visions of blood in my head already.

But, it is now a little after 9Pm I have drank a large containter of Gatorade and ate some broth with noodles, ate a coconut ice cream bar, and am feeling a little tired but for the most part damn fine! I see how the night and the next couple of days goes. They are to be the toughest.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Less Gas, More Ass!

Today, the annual World Naked Bike Ride takes place in St. Louis. The WNBR has been taking place across the world for many years and unfortunately, I haven't participated. I really love the body art, don't you?

The Objectives of the WNBR are:
* To protest oil dependency
* To promote comfortable body image
* To increase awareness of cyclists in a motor-driven world
* To provide exercise and fun for all those who participate


(added note: if the video doesn't play,I'm sorry. This is the third one I have put on, apparently someone complains and it keeps getting pulled, so if it doesn't play just picture a bunch of naked people riding bikes down the street. That's pretty much what it was!)

I was thinking Las Vegas seems like the all time perfect place to host the WNBR, but then I don't know if there would be enough aloe vera to take care of all those sun-blistered butts after the race!!! Now this is an activity I can really get behind, um, no pun intended!


Today also starts the 50 day countdown to INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY! Peace and Love everybody! Peace and Love!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Rembering Randy Paush

On July 25, Randy Pausch died of Pancreatic Cancer. Last year I was sent an email with an attachment of an abbreviated version of his Last Lecture. If you haven't seen this please take a moment and watch, it's about 10 minutes. There are life lessons for all of us. I have always been a pretty positive person, but this video confirmed in me, that we really need to have fun in this life and stop complaining about the cards we are dealt. It inspired me then, it has helped me keep a positive focus this past month, and I hope you will like it too.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's a Beautiful Day in the Hood!

THREE! Can you say three? Three is a very good number and the number I was given for chemo treatments, better than six, eight, ten or twelve! I still lose my hair, oh well, can't cry about that! Went today and bought two wigs. One long, one short. One called Nona, (like the song: Nona, N-O-N-A, Nona! Oh, no that was Lola, okay it isn't like the song!) the other Alexia. The color: Spring Honey see the short wig below. They are from the Rachel Welch collection. I looked for some silicone boobies in the boxes but there were only the wigs. One can always hope and dream, damn it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Will Survive!

Tomorrow I visit the oncologist to get all the details about starting my chemotherapy treatments. Actually, I have found out that what I will be getting is pretty much just plutonium, isn't that what they make bombs out of? So, I have my list of questions, such as "Will I explode?" "How long before my hair falls out?" "When can we have sex again?" "How many medications will you give me to forget all the crap that's happening to my body?" "Does this qualify for medicinal pot?" "When can we have sex again?" Oh, yea, asked that one already.

Well, I am pumped up and ready to kick some cancer ass! To everyone out in blogland I have three words: "I Will Survive!" However, I am not so certain they have been totally honest about all the side effects...

video

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The New Engagement Ring? Say What?

I just have to post this. I was listening to public radio yesterday and they had some young couples on who were talking about relationships and stated that an engagement ring isn't what it used to be. That now, to show a girl/guy you are committed to them and want an exclusive relationship with them and show you trust them, you have sex without a condom. That's right Sex Without a Condom, the new engagement ring! Now isn't that romantic?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Magic of Watercolors

I decided to start my art journal yesterday. I got out my watercolors that have been pretty much abandoned since my insomnia picture days. That's when I first started painting, that is painting other than the scenic art I have done in the theatre. It was about 7 years ago, I found myself alone for the first time in my life. I would wake up at 1 or 2AM and couldn't sleep, so very alone and so afraid. I decided if I was going to be up for 3 and 4 hours in the middle of the night I needed to do something productive.

And so I painted. Every fear would vanish for those hours. I didn't have one clue how to paint I just painted. Some were good, some not so good. Lots of ocean scenes, actually tons of ocean scenes. It was calming and very soothing. When I needed it the most they brought some solice to my life and some small bit of sanity to a completely fractured soul.

Eventually, six months later, my life got back on track, and the paints and the paintings were put on a shelf in a cabinet, and I had pretty much forgotten all about them. Through the years that followed I started painting with acrylics, I started beading and pretty much abandoned the watercolors, too much trouble, too hard to control.

It seemed right somehow to pull them out to start the journal. I need to see the vibrant colors that emerge off the bristles of the brush and spread across the wet paper. I need that hope. I need the fear to vanish even if for a little while.

And so I pull out the watercolors and it comes to me as the blue spreads across the paper. You are strong. Yes, I am. Just have faith. I will. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. They are still there. You are still here. Yes I am.

There is faith and hope in those tubes and somehow I instinctively knew there was also a soothing power as well. I can tell right away, that it's been much too long since I sqeezed the paint on the palate, dipped the brush in the water and put the paint to paper. But that's okay, it sends me a message even in its mediocrity that embraces my scared being letting me know everything will be okay.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Old Hippies for Peace

I had my dear Beni (hubby) get me out of the house this morning, we drove over to my Mom and Dad's house for a change of scenery. It turned into me being put to task by my mom when I told her I wasn't feeling good. Of course, I was doing too much and I need to quit going to the store and shopping (I went to Michaels for 5 minutes-Oh, and Sunflower Market 10 minutes) so she is already to start bringing in the casseroles again. I can't complain really, because she made my favorite squash casserole when I came home from the hospital among many others. I love you mom!

Anyway, just needed to get out of the house was feeling punky. On the way back home we had a guy pull up and signal to roll down our window. "I like your bumber sticker! I'm an old hippie, too!" "Aren't we all" says Beni. I smile. I love driving around in my sunflower yellow Nisson Xterra. I know Beni hates it, even though I have tried to convince him it is much smaller and better on gas than my old SUV. He would have me in a Prius. You need to understand he walks or rides a bike. I'm more of a jeep sorta girl and need something that can pull my tent trailer. I'm a girl with NEEDS!



Anyway you have to picture the bright yellow Nisson with a paddedd green peace sign on the grill and several Peace bumper stickers and deadhead dancing bears on the back. It's a happy car. I get homeless people that hold up a peace hand sign when I drive by and a big smile. Makes me feel good to make people smile. And I always get these old guys pulling up besides me and signaling me to open my window, and everytime I think I have cut them off and they are going to yell at me. Instead, it's always, "I like your stickers!" Me too. Peace and Love!

Note: Check out my June 2007 post for more of my stickers and the old and new SUV.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's Monsoon Season

It's monsoon season in Vegas. The winds start blowing in the afternoon, the clouds tumble in, thunder and lightening roars and crackles across the sky, the smell of rain permeates the air and then the flood gates open. It's weird though, because it doesn't rain over the entire city, different sections get hit. We only have had sprinkles and yet other parts of town are flooded. But the end result leaves the air cool and smelling fresh and clean, a nice reprieve from the smog filled oven of our Vegas summer days. It reminds me of camping on the Oregon Coast. I wish I could be there now without a care in the world. My mind free from all the confusion and fear that currently has taken up residency.

People ask me how I feel. I don't know how to honestly answer that. Physically? I'm sore, sometimes in a lot of pain but doing well. Mentally? Okay. Afraid of what is ahead of me with the chemo. Emotionally? I feel like a monsoon is inside of me and the floodgates are going to open any minute and the tears are going to pour out. My womb is gone. I feel empty. It protected and fed four babies. It was my last connection to a very special, intimate time. It was what made me a woman. It's gone. I keep thinking of this ugly alien invader that somehow managed to attack my body and I didn't even know it was there. It stole something precious to me. I didn't expect to feel this way. But I do. How can I explain that to people who ask how I feel?

I now understand exactly these lyrics of Eleanor Rigby..."wearing the face that she keeps in the jar by the door." I have had to grab that face put it on, smile, pretend.

So whenever anyone asks I just say, "I feel great. Getting better each day."

I remember how very lucky I am. My gynecologist called me a couple of days ago and and said I must have a really great guardian angel, because for the type of tumor and how advanced it was for it to have not spread was truly a miracle. I am a lucky girl. That's what I will try and concentrate on. I just wish I could go to the beach watch the waves roll in, see the seagulls soar, hear the kids laughing and splashing in the water and not have to think about what the next few months has in store for me. I want to feel the warm sun and the cool salt air on my body. I want to run on the beach and splash in the water, I want to fly my kites and get the string all tangled and spend hours untangling it. I want to play my guitar around the camp fire. I want to sing and laugh. I want to run and feel strong.

Instead my mind wanders to the hospital, sitting 5 hours with an IV that will slowly drip poison into my body. It will kill the bad cells. It will kill the good cells. It will make me sick. I will lose my hair. There will be pain. There will probably be tears and some self-pity. But it will not get the best of me. Because I am going to kick this things ass! Chew it up and puke it out!

I know, like the monsoons, it may be a terrible storm, but it will pass. But you know, I just can't help it that I am a little scared. I have always hated the wind blowing at night, and that is what this feels like, dark and scary.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blahg Revolution!


Three cheers for BlahgHer! Thank you V-Grrrl for your inspiration on so many levels.
I am inspired! It's been just one week since I was released from the hospital for my Ovarian Cancer surgery and I decided that my recovery would be a time of growth and not one of self-pity, or being a whiny ass about being hit with this disease. I am convinced that this cancer was the result of a much stress-filled life. I know I am the only one who can rid myself of the demands of this stress that seems to follow me in whatever I am doing. It must stop. How can I use my time away from work (and housework) as a learning and growing experience? I decided I would dive in to as many of my art hobbies as possible. Bring them out of the closet so to speak. Stop stressing and start creating.

With that said, I am so excited about having time to work on stuff I have started and stuffed into closets or under the bed and really try and develop my talents! I'm not going to worry about how good they are, just that it brings me great joy in the creating. It gives me the opportunity to try and capture a small glimpse of Brenda on the inside and throw it out there for all to see, good or bad. I know I would rather improve on my limited abilities in a variety of areas, instead of trying to be an expert in one given area. So, for now, I will bounce around to what the day moves me to do, whether it be the challenge of working with watercolors, the joy of blending acrylics, the capturing of a moment in time in photography, or just the satisfaction of accomplishment I get from beading or crocheting.

Not mastering any of these arts used to leave me with a great sense of inadequacy. After reading V-grrrl and tracking down the book "Journal Revolution" which really encourages one to just do it, whatever "it" is and enjoy the expression of one's self, has given me a new courage to start anew.

I'm so jazzed about this wonderful book: "Journal Revolution: Rise Up & Create! Art Journals, Personal Manifestos and Other Artistic Insurrections" by Linda Woods and Karen Dinino. It encourages you to create your art no matter the media, let it come from within to be an expression of who you are and what you are feeling. It was so liberating! I truly paint for myself enjoyment so who cares that it isn't perfect?



I realize I need to stop being the critic. The learning is in the mistakes and I need to learn to appreciate the mistakes for what they are. Many times it's the accidents that are the best part of a piece. Yet, being a perfectionist is the character trait (flaw) that is my greatest barrier in developing my art. Much of my work shown here is unfinished, pieces started and left for another day, many needing the highlights and shadows to complete but me feeling hesitant on where to start. Well, now the time has come to just do it! Yea! I am free to just be me!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm Not Dead Yet!

On Tuesday, July 8, the day after my TAH BSO surgery(Total Abdominal Hysterectomy Bilateral Salpingo-Oopherectomy), the doctor came in and told me "it was cancer."

It all started in Austin. I was presenting at a conference and the day before I was to come home was hit with horrible nausea and stomach pains. Okay, I was eating at every Mexican restaurant I could find, some were real hole-in-the-wall places, so I assumed I had food poisoning. When I flew home the next day still in so much pain, I landed and went straight to the ER. They thought it was my appendix, the CT scan showed a pelvic mass. WHAT?

The next month was a blur of doctor visits, referrals, blood tests and setting a date for surgery, June 7, 10AM. I had always gone for all my check ups. I had a pea size cyst on my ovary at last check up. So, probably just a cyst. Nothing to worry about. And I am not a worrier, so I believed I would have the hysterectomy, 6 weeks to recover work on my art and other projects and that would be it. But the doctor blew that image to smitherines with her "cancer" statement. Am I in shock? I don't know, I took it pretty well I think. She tells me lymph nodes and the omentum (what the heck is that and do I need it?) were removed. We will know more when the test results come back. So I wait a week.

July 15, I go to have the staples removed and get the results of the biopsies. I have been pretty calm all week. All my research indicates Ovarian cancer isn't usually discovered until the later stages. I hope I am in the 15% of those in the early stages and will have a good chance of survival. I can't believe I would survive my near drowning last summer to be hit with this now. I tell myself I've always been pretty lucky. The doctor tells me all lymph nodes were negative. All tissue tested--negative. By the time I had the surgery the tumor was the size of a cantaloupe and was attached to my bowel, rectum and uterus. It ruptured during the surgery which really grosses me out to think about all that gunk inside, but doctor assures me I was completely washed clean. I will have chemo. I will most likely lose my hair. Hair grows back, I don't care about my hair. I am excited that I won't have to shave my legs and will be getting a free Brazilian! How cool is that? I am thrilled it is stage I. I am very lucky.

The doctor is classifying the cancer as Stage 1 c. Which is really good because most Ovarian Cancer isn't diagnosed until stage III when the success rate isn't very good. They haven't determined the type of ovarian cancer and I am still waiting for the results of that, but hopefully the Stage I will remain the classification.


Here's a picture of my staples and then after they were removed two days ago and the steri-strips attached. I'm a little concerned about the weirdness of my belly button! Oh well! I know you can't tell because of the swelling of my stomach, but after four kids, I had NO stretch marks at all. I know I shouldn't be upset about the scar. But I am.

I have now been out of the hospital a week, and will start chemotherapy in the beginning of August. Very strange that I about drown last summer only to be hit with one of the deadliest cancers for women this summer, in an early stage that is still treatable. I must have a tremendous guardian angel looking out for me.

For now I am researching all I can, trying to find how to ease the side effects of the chemo, how to try and build up my body prior to the treatments, how to beat this thing and get back to my tennis, back to normal whatever that is.

My theme song for now is from Spamalot: "I am not dead yet, I can sing and I can dance, no need to call the doctor cuz I'm not yet dead!" I had it on my cell phone while in the hospital, drove the doctors and nurses crazy!

I will be off work for at least 8 weeks I will have plenty of time to start blogging again and getting back in touch with my blog friends who must have thought I had already jumped off the face of the earth! For now anyway, I am still hanging on and I'm not dead yet!