Tuesday, February 23, 2010


A beautiful red cloisonne rosary was presented to me by my cousin Angie from Suzanne, her LA roommate, when I arrived at my aunt's this afternoon. I loved it the moment I saw it. It was such a thoughtful gift that I am humbled by it.


Everyone was home at my aunt's and had not yet changed into clothes befitting Nan's open viewing at the funeral home. I would have to wait a couple of hours for us to make our way. The first hour was dedicated to the family and another for everyone else -- in this case, her church family. It was a modest turnout for her Florida family. A bigger crowd is set for Baltimore where her casket is being flown tomorrow.

I won't go into the details of what happened at the viewing but suffice it to say it was a bit emotional but more than that -- it was filled with happy people who were safe in the knowledge that she is now with her Lord whom she never forgot in her life. Nan was presented gloriously in her silver casket. She looked like she was just sleeping and happy. The best part was seeing her great grandchildren (almost quietly) milling about the room and outside the building. They were happy to be with one another and gave comfort to those around them with their smiles and giggles. Nan would have been tickled to see them behave in a lively manner despite the circumstances that brought them together. She would have given them her ever present smile as she observed them.

Nan to me was the sweetest and kindest woman I have ever met in my life and in the world. She was indeed without guile and malice. Her life was dedicated to her family and to God. I remember she told me once that I had a sweet voice and that I would make a great nurse during those moments I spent time with her at my aunt's home. When she said these kind things I truly believed her. I will miss her presence and light.

Edna M. Fair
1914 - 2010

Love & Blessings,
Sprinkles xo

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bargello Heart Warmed

Repeating last week's events would not be as much fun as say......applying bandages to yourself and ripping them quickly off your body hoping the glue didn't take any hairs. Yes, it was so memorable that I will try to briefly comment.

Last Wednesday had me screaming and crying not only to my aunt but to my cousin Angie over a misunderstanding about my approach to my health. I am sure Angie enjoyed me screaming at her at 7:30am her time and abruptly hanging up on her when I sensed myself about to hyperventilate. This incident was over by the afternoon and everything was all good again.

The hospital nurse was not "all there". I had run out of my pain meds and it took an Act of Congress to contact the doctor to release the refill. To his credit, he was in surgery, etc. Tawny drove me to retrieve it from the hospital pharmacy. The nurse also forgot to mention my appointment for this week until I called her on a different matter a day later. There was another issue with my surgeon for his signature and notes to be faxed to my insurance so that my extension to go back to work (tentatively March 15th) would be approved and I would continue to get paid. This part was nerve wracking. It was faxed last minute on Friday afternoon.

Another concern was making sure my home health care to change my wound vac dressing was transferred from Brandon (suburb of Tampa) where my aunt lives to Tampa where I live. The nurse seemed to have a problem calling, etc. to confirm her arrival. Once she was here, she was okay. She came last Friday, too.

During all this I was trying to prepare for Kathy who was coming from Jacksonville to stay with me all weekend. This poor woman took down and put away my Christmas decorations. She also cleaned most of my apartment and drove me on a big grocery shopping trip. Where I am to put the excess food I don't know. Kathy also carted in packages of almond milk, hemp milk and other organic groceries when she arrived! Oh, she also gifted me a beige baseball cap with some shiny silver dots or bling on it that was in the image of skull and cross bones. Very cute! I wore it during my nap late Sunday afternoon. Hee.

AND -- In the middle of all this, my uncle Al from Germany had arrived on Tuesday evening as well as Angie from Los Angeles on Thursday to be with Nan. On early Saturday morning, Nan passed on to be with God. Everyone had been able to say goodbye. Kathy and Tawny accompanied me that evening to my aunt's home to be with everyone. My aunt and uncle looked relieved and tired, but were thankfully distracted for several moments by their smiling grandkids. Nan's Tampa service is tomorrow night. Her body will be flown Wednesday to Baltimore for another service on Thursday and then she will be buried next to her husband. My aunt and two uncles will go and meet the rest of Nan's grandkids in Baltimore as well as her old church family.


I know I've been overdoing it. Today I tried my best not to, but I half succeeded. I moved furniture just a little (five inches here and there!)... My air conditioner had not turned itself off so I did because I got too cold. When I turned it on again later, it was not blowing cold air. For the first time I consciously used cancer to get the unit fixed immediately. My reasoning to them was not a lie and was supported by the visiting nurse. It yielded the desired results. Three hours is lightyear speed for this place.

The early evening held a pleasant surprise. My friend Kim, her husband and pretty dog Belle came to see me and dropped off the lap quilt Kim had made for me. The center had been completed for years; I had not found the time to get the binding sewn so she took it from me last week to finish. The colors are bright. I had a hand in picking out the fabric colors and of course it was a heart design in Bargello style. The details are best appreciated in the video below.

My tea is just right for drinking about now. I am going to sit in my favorite chair with my new quilt adorning my lap as I read a little. Sounds marvelous doesn't it?

Sprinkles xxoo

PS Let me not forget Jill who was first on the scene to offer her own sunshine when I ran out last Wednesday after venting my anger on facebook. ;p

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Back Home

We struck while the iron was still hot around noon. My bags were packed and my uncle was ready to take me back to my apartment so he could drive back and be with Nan at the nursing home. It all happened pretty quickly. By this time, my pain meds were gone; the refill hadn't been approved by my doctor. I had spent a good amount of time packing everything and dropping a lot which meant I had to keep picking them up from the floor.

Approaching my apartment door was a surreal experience after being absent for over four weeks. The inside smelled the same. Christmas decorations were still emitting a jolly feeling for a holiday almost two months old. I had my uncle put my luggage and bags on top of my bed for easier access.

I made a couple of calls to reach Tawny to retrieve my car for a quick trip to the grocery store for cereal and milk. My uncle drove me a couple of buildings over. I could see that she was rushing to clean fast food cups from it. I was excited to be able to drive even though I hadn't been released to do so by my doctor. Tawny gave me a warm greeting and invited me to a casual spaghetti dinner at her apartment. She still had weekend guests. I accepted only if she would pick me up because my energy level would be depleted by that time.

Driving hadn't changed my impatience and temper with other drivers. Ha. I felt a slight headache but hoping my sunglasses would shield the bright sun assaulting my eyes that had been hiding indoors. The trip to the grocery store made me uneasy since I had to walk by myself without my walker/stroller. I quickly waved to a clerk collecting carts in the parking lot to give me one which I clutched in front of me for support as I made my way inside. Noticing that other shopper's curious eyes zeroed in on my small shoulder bag holding my wound vac battery and canister made me feel conspicuous. The long clear plastic hose attached to it and me was wound around my right forearm while the rest of it dangled from it. I tried not to take offense.

My most disheartening moment was realizing that making it to the produce section of the store for fresh fruit seemed too far to walk even though it was about four aisles away. By this time, I had already been meandering for about 20 minutes. My concern was conserving my energy for the drive home and not feeling too achy.

When I finally made it home, I realized that I would need help to redress the bed so I called Kimmee to see if she was in her office. Luckily she was and stopped hours later with her dog Belle. I was able to eat lunch, re-launder my sheets for freshness and enjoy a nap before they arrived. Soon my bed was redressed and numerous decorative pillows were arranged on top of the duvet. Belle captured my attention while Kimmee and I chatted in my living room. Her little heart breaker was attention seeking but made not a sound and instead just focused her big brown round eyes on me commanding me to keep petting her. Minx.

The casual spaghetti dinner was great! I had the best time hanging out with some of my friends and meeting new ones. My plate was full twice (piggy Sprinkles!) and I scarfed a nice slice of ice cream cake when it was served. I did take one small tasting sip of butterscotch martini which was a like ambrosia and made me feel like little girl being allowed a forbidden taste. It was almost 11pm when Tawny zoomed me around the corner. Hot tea and my bed beckoned after a big day back. I ignored my aches that were making themselves known. Being in my own space just felt too good.

[Possum was correct -- I am the most sociable sick person I know!]

Monday, February 15, 2010

Crazy Stuff

Is it bad form for your male nurse to laugh and welcome your biting, filthy curse words as he strips the lower dressing from your wound that just happens to overlap onto your pubic mound? OR is it in bad form for your AGOL to welcome his laughing response to the unexpected pain of having hairs ripped from her tender part while she utters filth? Just can't decide for myself really. At least I can say my sexuality has not suffered.

I am going to miss my male nurse very much. He made me laugh and we had fun during our flirty banter. His face seemed a bit saddened that today could be our last encounter. It all depends on if I can have my uncle help me move my things back to my own apartment in the next day. I have much more than a two suitcases and my walker/stroller that I barely use now for its intended purpose...

On a more serious note, my family has been dealing with the downturn of Nan's health. You may recall my favorite q-tip, my uncle's mother. In the last couple of months she has been in and out of the emergency room when she is not being assisted at the nursing home. Even with the enormous care and love my aunt and uncle have given her, she is just not improving. Ultimately, they have not failed her -- it is her 95-year old body that is failing her.

Tomorrow night my uncle's youngest brother Al is flying from Germany and will be staying about a week to say his goodbyes. I pity him because he has not seen her deterioration and will have the shock of his life when his eyes finally comprehend her state. She is under the watchful eye of Hospice at the nursing home. With the exception of a breathing tube, she is not being given anything unless it is a dissolveable (?) pain pill under her tongue when she is moved.

The whole thing has been a deep strain on my aunt and uncle hence my reticence to press for my own agenda. My own situation has my aunt worrying though she understands I am far better than I was four weeks ago. Truth be told I am left with no choice if I am to reduce my own stress. My male nurse recorded a high blood pressure reading for me today which worries me because my last few readings have gradually worsened.

Today it all started with me not being able to wash clothes properly on my own today because of my aunt's washing machine followed by other things before my nurse's visit. In fact, I was in the middle of listening to a meditation song on youtube when he knocked on the door. It was my last ditch effort to reduce the stress I was feeling while thinking about everything in the house and my upcoming chemo preparations and treatments. So much for nothing. Sigh.

Meanwhile, I am requesting that you please say a small prayer for Nan that her passing to go back to God is peaceful and that she feels our love as she makes her transition. Many thanks. xxoo

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Funny Valentine

My new Flip UltraHD Camera is the best! It was a birthday gift from my cousin Angie and her best male friend Alfred. This afternoon I was able to shoot a video while I moved into poses (read as "awkward camera moments"). From there my camera's USB was hooked to my laptop. The brilliant software already installed inside the camera enabled me to go frame by frame and choose shots I enjoyed enough to share before finishing them in Picasa.

Sprinkles Confession: Due to impending chemo cocktail happy hours, I feel a mad rush to take these pics before I become "unphotographable" and my body "less than Greek".

Triple threat: 1) Good enough shot; 2) Official Pic; and 3) The one my aunt likes because I am a little smiley - ew!

Sepia Sprinkles...? Love it!

Loving this combo of Sting singing to his wife Trudie and sexy hottie Chris Botti on trumpet. Very romantic!

More love,
Sprinkles xxoo

Happiest Valentine's Day!

LOVE ♥ - It's not how many people you love and not how many people who love you back...It's about the quality of love you give to the world because realizing the quality of love you are receiving back is the most awesome! God blesses me because I am receiving the best love of my life this last month.

Thank you!

Spread love = Happiest Valentine's Day!

(Taken from my trip to California last summer. We made a quick nosh stop at the Sprinkles Cupcake Bakery in Beverly Hills right before Angie dropped me off at the Los Angeles International Airport. You can almost eat a whole one -- too rich!)

All My Love,
Sarah Sprinkles

Thursday, February 11, 2010

How I Roll

Chalene Johnson is an inspirational fitness instructor. I first heard about her through Beach Body where her video set called "Turbo Jam" is sold. I've owned a set her videos for more than a year. It is the most fun you can have exercising at 5am; however, due to the progression of my dis-ease, I was forced to abandon my exercise routine months ago.

One of her blog videos summed up how I am dealing with my dis-ease. She talked about the difference between merely surviving and conquering situations in your life. Basically anyone who is still alive after traumatic situations survives it and is a survivor. Those who take charge and own the situation conquer and become conquerors. This label being special and unique as it denotes owning the situation rather than merely enduring.

This brings me to the last couple of days. My last post was about my new haircut which I love more each day. Yesterday was my rescheduled doctor visit -- it was supposed to be tomorrow but my doctor had other plans. Tawny was unable to take me because she had an interview in the morning. Luckily for Sprinkles, Tawny's husband Jeff volunteered to drive me as he had already taken the day off for other things.

My doctor took off the rest of the tape strips across my stitches and decided to leave on my wound vac dressing. He could see that I was progressing nicely and in great spirits. His next words brought me back a little. Chemotherapy was on his mind -- more importantly, me being part of a clinical drug trial. I was thrilled to be able to help or so I thought.

Minutes later I was being briefed by a nurse about the clinical trial. It would involve including an additive to the chemo mix I would be infused with during the next several months; otherwise, it could be a placebo because of the blind testing they were conducting. The more she talked, the more I was slightly dismayed and quite horrified at the side effects not to mention the extra CT scans, etc. She piled on a bunch of brochures and pamphlets for me to read and to assist me in making a decision very soon.

Jeff drove us to get a late breakfast before he took me home. I discussed the doctor's visit. We are of the same mind of helping science progress; however, I was just not fully on board inside. It was my uncle who helped me feel better about the decision not to participate. He reminded me that I am a single person with a single income living by myself and that I have a responsibility not only to myself but to work (for income). It would be different if someone would be there in the middle of the evening next to me to help me should I have adverse reactions. His words resonated and my inner voice reminded me that I have already donated my tumor to them for research so it wasn't a complete "no" to the progression of science. Tomorrow I get to tell them...

Today I visited my workplace to speak with HR and to tell my boss about my tentative date to get back to work on March 15th. My surgeon wants me to have one interval of chemotherapy before I go back to work to see how I react to the chemicals. I won't lie -- I was a bit depressed to wait longer to resume my job. He also told me that I would lose my hair pretty quickly. Nice. In an odd note, I will get a prescription for a wig to be paid by my insurance. I would like it soon so I can have it styled to what I have now. I will temporarily assume the persona of Telly Savalas. As soon as chemo is done, I will grow my hair again and wait to get extensions when they are long enough to hold them. Yes, Shallowville never ever sleeps in Sprinklesville! Hee.

Back to the work visit...Everyone seemed stunned to see the new Sarah. I've lost 38 pounds now since the surgery a month ago which obviously makes a big difference in how I look. The new haircut didn't help them either. Ha!

It is my responsibility to set the tone when meeting people after my surgery and my tone is almost always effervescent. This made today's visit fun. There were a couple of people treating me with a "pity approach" in their way of trying to be sensitive. How I detest this!!! It just drives me crazy with annoyance. Pity is not me. To iterate, we are approaching this dis-ease with a project plan (July completion date) and with humor. If you are not on board with that, then I cannot associate with you. I will be goddamned if I spend the next several months mewling and walking around half dead in spirit and in body. I am set to conquer this and not merely survive. Dis-ease is not a reason to give up, look ugly and lose your humor. I am making every effort for health and beauty. We all respond to positivity. That is HOW I ROLL.

Love and Health,
Sprinkles xxoo

PS I am going back to my apartment either Monday night or sometime Tuesday barring unforeseeable circumstances. I have a "honey do" list that my girlies will be helping me complete as I progress in the best of health.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

New Do

My hair received the cut I have been planning for weeks and I love it! Tania, my stylist, was loathed to make the cuts needed to achieve the shorter look. She seemed sad until I encouraged her and turned it into a positive thing by reminding her that I was cutting away old energy and that I was looking forward to a sexy new look.

Here is the carnage on the floor. From the longest point in the back to the shortest section in the back was about a 12-inch cut. Tawny teased that some of the clumps on the floor resembled small dogs. Silly girl.

This is not the official photo. This is the "It is 10pm and I am too tired to brush the hair and take a more proper and flattering photo". Ugh -- you can't even see the dark red color just a dark color. Tawny says I look like a Japanese anime character and is waiting for me to have blue streaks in it. The odd thing is that doesn't feel short in the back. My aunt was sure startled when she saw me because I do look like my mother. I did forewarn her; the resemblance was just too much.

After our salon visit, Tawny and I made a brief stop to use my gift card to buy Bare Minerals make-up. We then zoomed to one of my favorite clothing stores for Tawny to buy an alternative interview blouse. Instead she found a nice autumn green shirt and a lacy black camisole she can wear underneath other blouses. My clothes are three sizes too big now -- it feels like I am wearing my big sister's clothes. I only had enough energy to buy a new top and a pair of jeans WITH proper buttons and zip. No elastic waistband!!! Ha. Since we were meeting some work friends at a bar, I wore my new clothes out of the store and Tawny exchanged her shirt for the green one, too.

Oh -- I must tell you this: When Tawny emerged from the dressing room, she thought she lost me. She was afraid that I had already left to go to the car. With my new haircut and clothes, she didn't recognize me at the counter waiting for her!

Within minutes we were at the appointed meeting place near work where I had my co-workers, who hadn't seen me since I left on leave, gawking with disbelief. They said I looked great, but definitely different. We were all very happy to be reunited again. I may see more of them when I visit the office on Friday. Man, did I get very tired by then, but it was worth it to be milling around doing things I would normally do. I felt alive again.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Papaya Goddess

Go on. Gaze at my Papaya Goddess as she raises her arms in front of the setting sun. Feel her power and admire her.

Around the time of my surgery was one of the coldest snaps in Florida history. Parts even had snow flurries in the darkest part of the morning which melted once it reached the ground. Our citrus industry as well as other fruits like strawberries were seriously threatened. Farmers worked hard to save their crops. About a third of the crops suffered casualties.

I emerged six days after my surgery to discover a land I didn't recognize painted with the dark beige of decay on grass, trees and shrubbery. A quick round by my apartment to pick up mail brought a large measure of dismay at the sight of decay that greeted Tawny and me as we drove through the gate entrance where lush greenery had once welcomed all who entered. It was the same in my aunt's neighborhood. Her own treasured fruit trees looked like they might never recover.

Weeks have passed and from the chair I spend most of my days watching television or snoozing from the narcotics, I can see my aunt's papaya tree that had been ravaged by the cold. It has metamorphosed into the picture I've shared with you. It appears to be a woman raising her arms with either triumph or outrage depending on how you feel at that particular moment. She is no longer a lush tree; however, she stands before the sun proud and unyielding just waiting for her chance to grow large branches of leaves to shield the eventual promise of blooming flowers that will peek underneath. With God's grace, she will live and bear fruit again. So go on -- gaze at her.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


To tell you that I am a little miffed at not being to update my blog for the last couple of days is an understatement. The road to health can have its bumps especially when there are other people involved. In this case, it was a nurse overeager to demonstrate her prowess in front of a trainee at changing the dressing for my wound vac which resulted in me being miserable for two days.

Long story short: It was "installed" on my person incorrectly. The negative pressure fluctuated incessantly. The only way the beeping and alerts would quiet down was when I was laying down horizontally on my bed. This was even after they came back a second time to tweak the hose connections the following day. Another nurse changed it properly on the third day thank God! The best news out of this whole ordeal is that my wound is healing very well.

Anyhoo... After a phone convo to firm up a visit from Possum last Thursday, she had remarked that I was the busiest and most sociable sick person she new. Ha! Last weekend Kimmee and Kathy each visited me. On Tuesday, I bribed Tawny into sneaking me out for a spell. We started with a seafood lunch at a favorite Greek place followed by manicures and pedicures at my salon where I received a warm welcome for coming back from surgery.

Next Tuesday I am getting a drastic hair cut; it will be short in the back to follow a long angle towards the front. A reverse bob or something like that....? I'll post a picture when I do one of my self-portrait pics. A tinge of sadness creeps in every now and again as I think of how long it is now and how patient I've been at growing it the last couple of years. This act is to both cut away "old energy" from the new woman I am becoming as well as to prepare for what might be a by-product of chemotherapy treatments, hair loss. It isn't something to be really sad about considering the state of the world. I think the new "do" will be a hot look on Sprinkles. After all, why be boring? Other people (IE numb, faceless plebeians) have it covered...

My dad and stepmother were supposed to visit at the end of this month. They had planned on visiting me and my three other sisters on the way down from Chicago. All is now postponed as my stepmother is getting breast cancer surgery on Monday. She has a small lump that is stage one and will have to receive radiation treatments. Freakish isn't it? Cancer is prevalent in most people's lives nowadays. That's the way the cookie crumbles I guess.

On a much lighter note, here is a photo of my pedicure. I live in Florida where a bit of floral whimsy is expected on nails. Yes, that is a viable reason! This cheered me considerably and makes me giggle every time I see it. The feet may not be dainty -- how can US size 10 cement blocks be sexy? -- but I think they are still cute!