Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Worn Out

Wore myself out the last couple of days. It was no surprise that I needed to be horizontal on the sofa for a few hours today and be away from the computer. My "To Do List" had a couple of items which prevented a whole day of relaxing.

Cleaning my tub and sink with Lysol formulated with bleach took my breath away. I had to turn the fan on and not breathe too much while I scrubbed the tub. It wasn't really dirty but I am OCD. My bathroom is one of the cleanest ones around!

My bald head was nice to have while putting on my make-up. It made it easier and not have to move hair around. The wig went on nicely right after. Having a bald scalp feels a little freer if I may say. It is not as bad living with it as I thought it would be. Good thing.

I had called the pharmacy earlier to get my prescription refilled so that when I went through the drive-thru it was ready. After that quick stop, I drove to the Asian store for some proper noodles for a Filipino dish called pancit and a couple of boxes of my favorite tea.

Soon after I was cutting veggies and chicken breasts in my kitchen to saute with garlic and onion. The thin rice noodles were rehydrated with hot water for several minutes then drained before I put them in the big pot with the veggies and chicken. A handy can of chicken stock gave the noodles the rest of its hydration to flavorful plumpness. The noodle mixture was properly seasoned with soy sauce and a bit of fish sauce. It was yummy! When I plated some for my dinner, I topped it off with some ponzu sauce since I didn't have fresh calamansi or tart citrus.

I took my place back on the sofa to rest a couple of hours later and I texted my BFFs while watching TV. Tawny texted to say that she and Jeff were walking around the apartment complex and wanted to visit me. I warned that my wig was off but put it back on during the visit to show Tawny. They visited for about a half hour. Tawny left with a container of pancit for her lunch at work tomorrow.

I'm tired right now. My posts may not be every day starting tomorrow just because of work and chemo; however, I will try my best to post even for a few brief paragraphs.

Sprinkles xxoo

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Eurasian Pixie

A very sweet friend gave me the name of my new look: Eurasian Pixie. Sounds groovy to me. That's what I am going to tell other people when I explain why I chose this particular wig or look.

My wig took me two tries to put on this morning only because I hadn't asked the salon hairdresser how to do it yesterday and to be honest, I was not paying attention. The only thing I have to get used to is having hair in my eyes. I am too afraid to put the wig back more for fear of it popping off or slipping at an inopportune time. Ha.

My nurse was most annoying to me today. She had called at 10:18am to make a window appointment between 12pm and 12:30pm. When 1pm rolled around without a call, I called her phone and left her a voicemail saying that with or without her I would be leaving at 1:30pm or 1:45pm. I had stuff to do and I was ready to leave the apartment. Wouldn't you know she called me at 1:30pm to ask if I was still home and that she was on the road and two minutes from me? Two minutes my ass. She was almost 16 minutes. Grrr. To top it off -- there was NO APOLOGY. This nurse is very nice but her time management skills have got to go. The appointment is an easy earning of money for her -- believe me.

My "To Do List" was very specific today: finish clothes shopping. Two stores yielded me another pair of black denim jeans, two pairs of dark blue denim jeans, one pair of chinos, one white camisole to wear under my new turquoise blouse from the other day, three new bras, one black lacy underwear (ooh-lala!) and two pairs of large earrings to wear especially during scarf days. I also did a bit more grocery shopping since I forgot some things from yesterday.

For dinner I cooked the best veggie product: smoked hickory barbecue "riblet". Oh my gosh was it delicious! My craving for barbecue was satisfied with a mystery veggie product slathered in sauce. I eat about 65% meatless dishes and I am hoping to increase the percentage going forward.

My evening was further brightened by a wacky call from Jill. She says my hair reminds her of a "spy look". I reminded her of one of my facebook comments regarding Emma Peel of The Avengers. Our sense of the ridiculous was amplified within minutes. Who needs to watch blockbuster drama films when we can create our own and laugh like girlies having a slumber party? She always astounds me and makes me laugh out loud. Jill can do all this while directing her two energetic sons for their evening routine.

It is late now, the news is on. I finally took my wig off and it is next to my laptop until I let it rest on its wig stand. The whole wig thing feels normal at the end of today. After my shower, I will don my Super Comfy Super Soft Sleep Cap. I guess it is my version of a nightcap until I can have any kind of alcohol in late summer. Meanwhile, I will find ways to play up my new look.

Sprinkles xo

PS Check this out: Bald Model. If only my own cranium looked so chic naked!

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Cut Above

I couldn't remember the last time I left my house without brushing my hair. Seeing the clumps of hair clinging to the brush so easily was becoming more annoying than traumatic so I didn't brush it at all. I hid my head under my cap again before leaving the house.

Jeff and I made our way to the cancer center pharmacist first to drop off my refills for after chemo on Friday. We then went to the floor below to the salon for my shave. I didn't feel sad and I didn't give any tears. There was only a sense of surreal about the whole process. My scalp was tender and that's what I concentrated on.

The salon hairdresser offered to turn the chair so I wouldn't have to see the process but what was the point? I would have to see my bald head eventually. Seeing half my head shaved was weird. The razor could be felt buzzing around my head and I could feel it being moved around. My only thought was that it wasn't me -- it wasn't happening to me but to someone else.

Jeff said it was hard to watch the shave though he knew it was for the best. He agreed to video the floor and the back of my head so I could get snapshots for my blog. Oh -- Serina, Kimmee's daughter came to see me and give support during the whole process. With Jeff, Serina and the salon hairdresser, I was able to get a consensus on how the wig looked after it was styled.

Hair on floor:

Deed done:

My new wig is not me -- I am growing to like it. The following shot is awkward, but I wanted to show you the cut. The bangs came with the wig and were cut further so the whole thing wasn't straight across and some of the long strands in the front were cut more to the shape of my face. Had I kept it, the look would've look harsh. Jeff said the hair make me look shy?? I think that is what he said.

For being there for me, I took Jeff out for lunch and then he accompanied me to the grocery shopping I have been wanting to do for a whole week. I spent $150 but saved $41. My coffers were almost bare and I needed to make sure I have food on hand especially since I will be recovering from my second chemo next week as I try to assimilate back to work.

I took Jeff back home after he helped me carry groceries. There was another errand I needed to complete so I did that while I had my wig on. My wig was replaced with a snood later, but on me it looks an oversized beret with my big head. I am not comfortable yet going without any head covering at home. Seeing my head bare again didn't produce any tears. I was pleasantly surprised that my head shape was actually not bad. My head was not shaved to the skin. It is more like a 5 o'clock shadow which will soon fall out. The scalp is still tender and I was told the sensation will go away.

The shave is done. We can all breathe again. Thanks for all your support through messages on facebook, texts on my phone, e-mails and comments on my blog. All of it helped me get through this difficult stage of my cancer cure. xxo


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Getting Crabby

Have you ever taken one of those packages of shower caps from a hotel along with the free shampoo, conditioner, etc.? I am sure you have taken one or more of something. My fingers were rummaging through one of the containers in my bathroom closet praying for a shower cap. I found one!

As you know my hair strands are committing chemo-kaze by launching themselves from my "no longer developing follicles" to land indiscriminately at a rate of speed that takes my breath away. This morning was the first day I found loose strands on my pillow. That means I can no longer style it at all. I have to avoid brushing it only when necessary. A shower cap allowed me to shower without getting my hair wet. Talk about a lifesaver -- one cheap plastic cap with elastic!

I capped my head again and gently brushed around the cap after getting dressed and putting on make-up. Kathy called me just as I was leaving for my aunt's to arrange to pick up her aerobed. I felt confident in my cap as I went out in the rain with Kathy's aerobed in tow.

My aunt's house was loud with her grandchildren running amok. They provided easy amusement while we waited for our steamed Alaskan crab leg dinner to be ready. My family was crowded around the dining room table. Somehow I ended up between two grandkids I had to assist opening crab legs. This slowed down my crab eating so I was last at the table. My uncle came to see what I was doing while he helped to clean off the table. I told him I was pondering a call I received when I drove up. I received a call that disturbed me because it had caught me by surprise and I was trying to figure out what it meant.

Kathy ended up meeting me back at my place to pick up her aerobed instead of my aunt's. We chatted a while before she made her way back home to Jacksonville. Me? I texted Tawny's husband Jeff to remind him that the salon trip tomorrow was a shave and a wig styling. He is working from home part of the day and accompanying me for my shave. Jeff is a great guy and I am very lucky he volunteered for the job. God knows I would have never asked. Why am I always surprised at the outpouring of support and available help? Maybe it is because I never take that kind of generosity and heart for granted. I do not forget how wickedly blessed I am.

Sprinkles xo

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Shop Til You Drop

In nine days I will be returning back to work. My last day at work was January 11th, a day before my surgery. There is much to be done as far as preparation like grocery shopping and clothes shopping. Oh, yes -- I do have a shave on Monday, a nurse visit on Tuesday and my second chemo appointment on Friday. Today there was only one thing to do and that was clothes shopping...

I drove to my friend Kimmee's house where her daughter and daughter's two college roommates were visiting her. They left and Kim drove us to a very good Mexican restaurant at the mall. What could be more flattering than shopping for clothes on full bellies? It was better to be full than have touchy tempers from low sugar.

Did I tell you that my company is now allowing denim or Casual Friday wear everyday? The only employees who have to dress Business Casual are those who are meeting with clients face-to-face. With my much slimmer figure and the new dress code, I have no choice but to buy new clothes. I can still wear some of my blouses; they will be roomier but will do for now.

I don't recall the last time I was really outdoors for a certain amount of time. The mall by Kimmee's house is all outdoors so people can stroll outside in between ducking into posh shops and restaurants. I kept my sunglasses on and wore a beige cap embellished with shiny silver dots drawn into a cute skull and crossbones on one side. Kathy had given me this gift the weekend she stayed and cleaned my apartment. Brushing my hair is too traumatizing right now so I have elected to cap my head since I can no longer style it for fear of creating a significant bald spot somewhere.

Meandering around the stores and trying out clothes in a few different fitting rooms wasn't the chore I thought it would be. I was able to find things on sale so it was more gentle on my pocket book. Three shirts and one pair of black denim were my treasures. I need to buy a few more pants and new bras/panties. That will be a Tuesday adventure to my regular store. Kimmee was able to find a pair each of black and dark gray denim pants. Happiness all around!

We made it back to her house all shopped out. Her daughter treated us to a generous Thai dinner for five of us gals to share. We laughed and talked until Kim's husband came home at 11pm. I got home at 11:30pm! It was a great day to feel normal.

Sarah xo

Friday, March 26, 2010


My favorite recent quote is by Guy Fieri, chef and television star:
If God gives you lemons, make lemonade, and hopefully you’ve got some friends with vodka.

The Universe has been giving me tools to make lemonade with top shelf vodka. Hey, with my current life, I need some spiritual vodka since I cannot have any alcohol. Okay -- it is recommended that I do not consume any alcohol.

My post yesterday on Chemo Candy by Sarah Sprinkles was a hit. It got noticed by a site that wants me to publish an article regarding my bracelets. The site provides support to families dealing with cancer. The lady asked if I sold them. Not yet. I am still setting up my Etsy shop and I have to make extra product to sell online. This will fund my bracelets so I can give more!!! I am not there to make high profits, but it would be great to have my bracelets self-funding. Soon I will have bracelets and related-themed product online. Isn't this wonderful?

Tawny's husband* dropped her off at my place this evening. We shopped for more beads and ate some taco action. She left me early so she could get some stuff done. My mind was busy building ideas for my 'smile' empire. Ha. Today's e-mail was an affirmation to the direction I want to take my life which has a vein in public service. When you're as blessed as I am, you need to find a way to give back. Let's make some lemonade!


*Jeff has also volunteered to be there for me on Monday since my aunt cannot make it. Apparently, he's an expert on blubbering females. ;p I've also asked him to do henna tattoos on my bald head as soon as I get clearance from my surgeon next Friday. If I am going to have a shorn head, may it still be adorned!

Last Dance

You thought you were having a Bad Hair Day? I am just letting you know that I think I win the contest. The picture the other day of my hair was nothing compared to this result after three swipes on partially wet hair this afternoon.

This progression makes today the last official day of me shampooing my hair. I am afraid to dry it since the follicles are no longer how they once were before the chemo. Monday's shave cannot come soon enough. Thanks to my friends and family, I have a full weekend to not think about it too much. One thing is for sure: I will miss the slow dance of my fingers through my hair while I shampoo it. Big Sigh.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chemo Candy

Creatively today was a 10. Productively as in getting my grocery shopping done was a zero. My regular nurse came instead of the wound specialist to "re-certify" the status of my still healing tummy wound.

My whole wound/scar is about 30cm long running vertically above and below my belly button. When I developed an infection on the lower part and had to get the staples out revealing an open wound resulting in the order for a wound vac and home nurse care, the open wound was 9 centimeters. After two months, it is now 1.5 centimeters. All is good so far. Chemo tends to slow down the healing process. Even after it finally closes up, I will still have to wait maybe two weeks until I can fully exercise. Cancer itself is not patient, but the curing of cancer teaches you patience. Besides waiting for the nurse and wondering how much hair has been falling out of my scalp, I decided to complete one of my projects for my next chemo appointment.

There is a certain energy floating when you enter a cancer center. It is not exactly sad, but it is serious. I can't be serious 24/7. I just can't. Some levity has to appear; my demented sense of humor has to break through. To combat the serious pall when I go for my chemotherapy infusion, I decided to design and create inexpensive yet fun bracelets to give out to both sexes. They are made of colorful alphabet beads and black elastic string. Sometimes the simplest things bring out the easiest smiles. I've called them Chemo Candy for the candy colors of the beads. The ladies bracelets say they say things like: Chemo Babe, Chemo Diva and Chemo Sexy. For the guys, they are slightly different: Chemo Hunk, Chemo Dude, Chemo Babe and Chemo Sexy. I have other ideas but my alphabet packs only had so much of each letter.

Making the bracelets is just a part of this particular project. If you've received a crystal bracelet from me, you understand what I mean. Part of that is the packaging. I used a special paint to color card stock and let dry before I cut them into tags. I used my calligraphy pen to write Chemo Candy on the outside, Smile! on the inside and by Sarah Sprinkles on the outside. The tags are color coded for female and male bracelets with bright fabric ribbon.

The components to my Crazy Crazy Idea:

Chemo Candy by Sarah Sprinkles:

In case you were wondering, I am still designing prettier bracelets like my crystal ones for the ladies in the waiting area of my doctor's office. Those will say Something Pretty... on the outside and because cancer is not. on the inside.

Gosh, I hope the other patients think my candy bracelets are as much fun as I believe they are. If these kiddie style bracelets brings them a smile for even for a few seconds, then my job of taking their mind off their IV drip is a success!

Polishing my sweet tooth,
Chemo Sexy xxoo

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I Hate Drake

Dianne saved the day by being her scintillating and hilarious self. We had planned on getting together tomorrow night but she asked if we could reschedule for today instead. It must have been Divine Guidance; I needed the feel good energy she brings me.

As we continued to share anecdotes after dinner, she took me to an online site that was sure to make me laugh. It was painful to watch the videos but worth the laughs. Watch the others, too.

Here is my favorite, "I Hate Drake" from

WARNING -- profanity on the video:

Later in the evening I remembered to check my phone which had continued text messages of support from friends around the country. They were an extension of responses from my earlier blog post and messages on facebook. I know I can get through this hair loss with the support I receive. Three more gals and one sweet man asked me for my crystal bracelets which I mailed today. That makes 30 bracelets so far. Wow. Love vibe = Healthy AGOL.


Day 13

Today is the day the clumps of hair started coming off. This picture below is two gentle brushes on wet hair. Errant strands kept coming off when I tried to dry my head with a hair dryer. They just keep coming even when I've stopped drying to join with the tears that keep coming.

My heart is officially broken. I can't wait until Monday. Friday is my day of choice to shave my head. My aunt happened to call me as it was happening and offered to accompany me to the salon and I will take her up on it. Reality is here.

UPDATE: I couldn't get an appointment for the shave and wig styling until Monday at 11am. Monday it is.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Yes, I changed the blog layout. Still a work in progress. Let me know if the background color is too obnoxious. ;p

Bye bye Vintage Sprinkles Blog:

It was time.

Sarah xxxoo

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cottage Industry

Sprinklesville has its own 'cottage industry' with more than two and half dozen crystal bracelets made so far. It was Tawny who coined the term for my beading this afternoon when I gave her an update on my progress.

Here is a pic of my mail out today which does include the box next to the envelopes:

I am sending out a love revolution for my chemo support. Every bit is needed especially when I go back to work in two weeks. We'll all have to work on our love vibe ringing strong across this nation as well as all over the world.

Speaking of...I have decided to design new bracelets for all of my upcoming chemo appointments. Huh? What I mean is I am making bracelets to give out randomly to the women going through cancer in the building. A few will be given out in the waiting room and another set in the infusion center. Each bracelet will have a note on it that says "Something Pretty...because cancer is not".

My new goal is to give back somehow. How I found out about my cancer was Divinely Guided and I am wickedly blessed with a support system of friends and family all over the world. How else can I make a difference in other people's lives? By giving smiles with a tangible object to remind cancer patients that they are still beautiful and worthy of receiving 'something pretty'. If you could see the lights that have gone out in some of these women's eyes, you would either weep with them or want to shake them to remind them they are still alive. I am also working on a male bracelet for the ones I see in the infusion center. Some prototypes are in the works for that part of my project. All of this hasn't all been worked out yet, but I figured I can wing it until I do...

Other than beadies, I made calls to my benefit company for my short-term disability status and I called the triage nurse for the skin condition on my hands and a possible cold I am catching. Based on my chemo cocktail, I can take Benadryl for the skin condition and over-the-counter meds for the cold thing. So glad I called. Not. I only did it to make sure I didn't need to do anything additional.

Dad called me tonight to see how I was doing. I also spoke to my stepmom who only has to go through a bit of radiation for her breast cancer. She had borderline readings on her pathology report for the lump that was taken out a couple of weeks ago. Chemotherapy has been omitted from her treatment. All this was good news to hear.

I worked on more bracelets tonight and two are ready to be mailed tomorrow. I wish you could share with me how much joy it is to create pretty things.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Vanity Blues

Time flies when you're a social butterfly and a beading fool...

Saturday was Tawnyday. We spent part of the day shopping for more components for my bracelets as well as some sewing stuff. By the time we finished we were famished for lunch. We hiked up our Lederhosen inside a casual German restaurant. One more shopping stop and we went our own separate ways. Tawny came over again in the evening for beading and chatting. Her husband was sweet enough to remember me during his baking day. I was the recipient of a loaf of banana bread. Yum!

Sunday was almost a lazy day, but the family dinner I planned to celebrate my aunt's 65th birthday was scheduled for 4:30pm. During my shower I found myself sobbing because my days of being able to enjoy shampooing and conditioning my hair are numbered. I got myself together to meet my family at a Greek restaurant where we enjoyed our feast and the live music. (Yes, I was just at the same restaurant with Jill on Friday.)

When I came home, I called my cousin Angie to give her an update on the dinner. I also ended up sobbing some more and discussing my impending hair loss. I will be losing something that gives me great joy. Over the years I have spent more money than any of my friends on my hair cuts and color. I take care of my hair. It is a conscious part of me and I will lose the joy it gives me. Meanwhile, there are women who barely run a brush through their hair or even care enough to color their hair that get to keep their hair. It is not fair. Any day now I will see clumps of hair coming off my scalp thanks to the chemotherapy working through my system.

For a long time I will not be able to wash or dry my hair, color and cut, flip or slide strands from my face or put behind my ears once I have it shaved next Monday. I feel ashamed at how I am carrying on about this when there have been people who have lost their hair because of more horrific things like genocide. I know I am more than my hair, but it is that part of woman that gives her some allure, a part of her sexuality. It is one of the first things a man notices about a woman he meets.

Eventually all this chemo crap will be over and my life will start again. A part of that is dating. Yes, I will have my wig and scarves while I wait for regrowth, but it is not the same. It is one more thing I have to explain to someone new. Surely I can be forgiven for being so vain?

Friday, March 19, 2010


Was there anything I couldn't do today? Well, yes, there is plenty, but that didn't keep me from making the day really count.

Breakfast came and went right before I decided to vacuum my apartment. I didn't feel tired. Bolstered by energy, I wiped down my bathroom, scrubbed the toilet and wiped down my kitchen, too. Oh, yes -- a load of laundry also made it to the washer and dryer! There was lunch, rest and some beading before I took a shower and got ready for my evening out with a crazy friend.

Hurricane Jill came bearing smiles, hugs and a gift I loved the moment I put them on. Feast your eyes on my new animal magnetism below. Isn't it a scream?

On the way to our Greek dinner, Jill shared some wisdom:


Food and my dinner companion were stellar. We hung out for a little over two hours at the restaurant to enjoy the Greek music playing live in the background as well as the belly dancer that came. It made me envious. I still have a small wound on my belly and can't exercise that way.

We came back to my apartment for some giggles before she made her way back across town. How I've missed her humor and good nature! After she left, I still had some zippy energy so I ended up talking to Tawny briefly on IM to make plans for tomorrow. Kathy called me back to catch up and Angie called me on her way home in Los Angeles.

You don't know how being able to do all the activities today made me happier. It felt like progress. The specter of going through the same recovery period after five more chemo appointments doesn't scare me. At the very least, I know there is getting better each time. One day there will be a getting better for good.





Slightly excited,
Sarah Sprinkles xxoo

P.S. This concludes today's Sprinkles Service Announcement.

*Food grade coconut oil can be found in the organic section of your supermarket. It is solid at cooler temps -- looks hazy white, but melts wonderfully when applied on skin.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beady Babe

Nightmare images accompanied my more restful sleep but they didn't terrify me. Not being in shoulder and neck pain when I woke up were my trade offs, too. A hearty bowl of cereal and a gigantic mug of coffee banished any remnants of the night...

The one annoying side effect of chemo is my itching hands. They look inflamed and irritated. Washing my hands at least a dozen times a day probably doesn't help. I am trying to apply food grade coconut oil on it after each washing to see if it will help. I will make a call to the doctor's office tomorrow to see if there is a specific cream to apply.

What was my fun-filled activity today? Beading bracelets. I made three complete bracelets and even sent one off to a part of the world this afternoon. I have six other bracelets "staged" just waiting for proper string and center bead thanks to my galpal Jill. In her effervescent way, she announced my bracelet offer to her office after reading my blog and I now have six to complete. She will receive her own tomorrow night when we have dinner. If you ever need loud support from a friend, Jill is your magic pill!

Pretty beads...

Not much today, my lovelies. Just itchy skin and pretty beads.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

No Languishing Zone

Can one actually feel like being hit with a Smartcar? Brain was less foggy this morning but that only magnified how my body was not feeling. Not great. I slept on my back all night and my neck wasn't comfortable. Top that with super night sweats and it was a perfect night not to sleep well...

Once awake I am determined to do something everyday inside my apartment even if I don't get a chance to run errands or meet friends for a quick meal. It is the activity and the idea of progress of some sort and the moving away from any sort of...languishing. I hate languishing! Don't worry, my lovelies. There is no trace of languishing or overdoing it for your AGOL. My body does protest if I try to do too much.

My nails were redone in magenta this morning. I just repainted them two days ago in a nude color that made me gag at how old my hands looked. All the extra washing of my hands and the chemo are not making friends with the skin on my hands. The cheerier color makes me smile more.

For some reason I had a big craving for pasta at lunch and I gave in. I stuffed myself then decided to work some of it off. I put back the sewing corner of my art room in the early afternoon. My cousin Angie's help last month to clear some stuff out helped make it easier. A trip to the sewing store is in order for some new tools though. About an hour of my slow moving body placing things here and there, I began to recognize a cozy sewing corner again. It was time to rest.

I talked to Tawny off and on via IM all day when I wasn't busy wondering when my body was going to feel normal. My hands didn't want to wonder for too long. I made four more crystal bracelets to give out. It was easy to do this time around and I can't help but feel good about creating beautiful things. I've gotten over the shyness of asking people to wear them while I go through my chemotherapy.

My aunt called me tonight and talked more than usual. She spent the day gardening a portion of her yard. The freeze back in January, all our family goings-on and the still cool weather have delayed her clean-up. I know she worries about me and wants to make sure I know that she is there no matter what I need. Maria might know me better now -- she knows I won't ask for assistance unless I have to or if I am ambushed with the offer. I just feel so thankful for what I have already received and don't want to be an imposition. We did make dates for my next chemo and the last two. She will be in the Philippines for two of the six.

I've been putting off going to bed until now because I want to make sure I am tired and sleep through. Each day I must remember gets better and easier. There is no "Languishing Zone".

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cabin Fever

My best plans were foiled by my nurse yesterday. She didn't get to come until 2pm. I was starting to feel cabin fever. There is one thing to feel like staying home and being forced to stay home. It was just as well because my brain was experiencing "Groundhog Day" with my meds. Ugh. My nurse did give me good news that my wound in my belly would soon be all closed up by the weekend and could comfortably scar over and heal. I decided then that we would cut down our visitation to once a week just to be sure.

Tawny came to see me in the evening and to finish up our initial set of crystal bracelets that I am having the Sprinkles Posse wear while I am in chemotherapy. She hasn't been feeling well either with a serious bout of anemia. It is serious enough to warrant a blood transfusion. Since she just started her new job two weeks ago, Tawny has been staving off this measure until further results from yesterday's blood work and an ultrasound this afternoon. I am worried because she does so much for others and that includes me!


Today was my day to combat cabin fever. I didn't have to take further "nasty anti-nausea meds right after chemo". My brain just had a slight mist. I made plans to mail my reimbursement for my $285 wig to my health insurance as well as mail one of the bracelets below to my friend Kathy in Jacksonville.

I am wearing one of the crystal bracelets as is Tawny. My friend Dianne will get hers when she visits me next Thursday and I delivered one to my friend Sandy this afternoon. If anyone wants to wear one until at least end of June, please let me know. I will mail it anywhere in the world. Just e-mail me at helloagol_@_yahoo_dot_com or from my profile. This is my design and are all hand strung. Tawny had to help me with this set as my brain was a bit foggy to try to manage installing the clasp. There are teal color bicone beads which signifies Ovarian Cancer like breast cancer is pink. (Also, please let me know sizing 6.5in? 7in? 7.5in?) The bracelet is a tangible support in my cure. DUE DATE FOR OFFER APRIL 2, 2010 or while supplies last.

Before visiting Sandy this afternoon, I had my new passport pictures taken. My passport expired in January and I wasn't able to renew it on time thanks to my surgery. I wore pink and actually smiled. This was different from psycho-killer pose of years ago and the outfit was heinous!! LOL I just had to make sure I still had my own hair in the pic. There is no beauty rest in Shallowville!

Sandy has been wanting to see me since she brought me a houseplant and yellow daffodils while I was in the hospital. She's been offering up any bit of help to me. Her whole family is such and I've treasured her friendship for 15 years. More importantly, I wanted her to see me as I am now before I have my head shaved. Sandy had seen me about 40lbs heavier at Christmas thanks to my burgeoning tumor-filled tummy so seeing me upright and much trimmer was a great surprise to her. She said I looked much healthier today.

Not too far from Sandy's is my aunt's house. I stayed for dinner to enjoy being around my family and I know they were happy to see me out and about. I made mention that today would be my mother's birthday -- my aunt's will be Friday, too. Both women named Maria and both as precious to me as anything.

I felt like a reverse vampire going home trying to get home before sundown since my vision was a bit impaired from chemo. I made it within 10 minutes of no sun. Tawny made me keep vigil of each place I visited today so she could be assured I'd be home okay. It was a great feeling to text her from home...Spoke to Angie twice in Los Angeles tonight. Now I am going to prepare for bed!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rubber Band Ball

How odd the only bout of nausea I've felt is when I am horizontal on my bed when I wake-up. It is only a tinge but enough to scare me to take my meds upon waking. The mental fog is still there and kicks in after one of my medications as drowsiness is a side-effect. On the other hand, from my neck down was not listening. I found myself cleaning large vertical blinds in my living room with Lysol wipes with scrubbies on one side. This exercise took about 35 minutes of my morning.

I decided not to tempt fate or my health and took it easy the rest of the day. Luckily, I didn't feel alone with the texts and calls I received or made. Kathy called me from her grocery store in Jacksonville and mentioned wanting to attend one of my upcoming chemo appointments. She's so sweet! I will take her up on it if she can swing the date. My friend Trish from San Francisco wants to visit me, too. She called while she and her boyfriend where walking in the middle of the city for a dinner meet-up with friends. Trisha iterated her desire from a previous facebook note to let me know she was serious. I am very lucky to have many friends like these gals!


This was unexpected but I didn't tell you about the news my aunt and I received when we got back from my chemo appointment after my uncle got home from having dinner with us on Friday. We found out that one of my aunts in the Philippines had passed in her sleep. Fortunata died in her late seventies. I felt bad for my Aunt Maria who is set to visit the Philippines in about four weeks. She will be there for the traditional 60-day prayer vigil at least. The reason I am mentioning it now is we were just able to get a definitive on her health and how she died because she was in a different city living with her son's family. My aunt confirmed everything for me this evening. Fortunata was a shy sweet woman but full of smiles and laughter. I won't forget how she was when I last saw her through my 10-year old eyes.


The one thing we can count on is life's never ending cyclical turns. Ever see a rubber band ball?

I feel that threads of life cycles move in this way and keep moving elastically in all directions. Sooner or later we touch each other or move away. As we go through our lives, more layers of us and others increase to make our world as we know it. We never die. We just change to some other energy form to keep evolving into whatever we direct in our minds and hearts. Scientists say we are made as the same stuff as stars. I intend to sparkle forever through your lives as you do through mine. Let us make a conscious pact to make sure we touch each others' lives positively to make our world a more colourful and beautiful place.

Love forever,
Sarah Sprinkles

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A New Dawn

The first few minutes of waking involved me taking inventory how I felt physically and mentally. Physically my body didn't harbor any pain to really note other than leftovers from the outpatient surgery on Thursday. My mental clarity was surrounded by a light fog akin to the effects of taking cold pills. I made sure to eat breakfast and to take the medications exclusively prescribed to control any possible nausea. Three pills total of two kinds twice a day for three days. I waited another two hours to take my everyday water pills for my legs. Vitamins may have to be included sometime soon just to make this new pill-popping hobby fun.

My bowels were none too happy this morning assuring me of the chemo in my system. I was worried, but realized I should only worry if the malady persists. I am hoping the side effects of all my meds will cancel each other out and give me normal "doings", if you will. Sigh.

Through the light brain fog, I was alert with energy. I managed to take meds with breakfast, update my blog, take a shower and make lunch for my aunt and me. She worried that I was tiring myself and I was waiting on her too much when it should be the opposite. I wanted to as long as I could still manage it.

Kimmee came over with doggie Belle for a couple of hours for a visit and to deliver a sample of the tongue scraper Kimmee had purchased a while back. It is a very important dental hygienic tool if you've never used one. Your body secretes waste in many different ways like your bowels, skin and through your tongue. Brushing only moves stuff around, but scraping the tongue removes waste and keeps your breath fresher. With chemo, I am even more resolved than I am now to clean my tongue to ward off bacteria.

My uncle came to pick up my aunt around 3:30pm and Kimmee left soon after. My visitations were not complete until Tawny came to drop off a "power picture" she found for me. She framed it in an IKEA black frame to remind me of who I am and how I am to forge with Amazonian strength like that of my childhood idol Wonder Woman through the last part of my cancer cure.

Here is opening theme from Season 1, Original Series set in WWII:

Season 2 Opening of The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, updated for the 1970's from Season 1:

PS I love that Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (played by Lynda Carter) is wearing a headscarf in this video as I will soon!

Fighting the Axis,

Friday, March 12, 2010

Inevitable Infusion

Excitement was not exactly the word that described what I was feeling this morning when I woke up. It was a quiet greeting to inevitability yet a happy one.

Breakfast was my first order of business. I tried not to make a lot of noise as I scarfed down on cut up banana with my cereal. My aunt was sleeping on my sofa even though I offered her a nice air mattress to sleep on. I had to eat to make sure I survived the day especially since I was the dumb bunny that signed up for a research study that involved a stress test just a couple of hours before her first chemotherapy infusion. After feeding myself, I got dressed so I could give my aunt time to get ready and eat some cereal, too.

I drove us to the hospital and checked right in the fourth floor and had blood drawn. It wasn't a quick job because my port wasn't relinquishing my blood so after a while I had to be reclined with my head lower than my feet to get the draw. I was teasing the nurse saying that the "research hookers" were probably already searching for me. My prediction was correct as I read the name on the badge of the blonde waiting for me at the second floor reception check-in. The lady behind reception recognized me from yesterday's surgery check-in and said hello.

My aunt and I were whisked into a room with all kinds of instruments. When I was firmly hooked up to various electrodes and a breathing mask, a cardiologist was called to be in place during the stress test just in case anything went awry. It went better than I thought. I started off to a slow walk then to a faster pace. My concentration was more on making sure I had the correct foot strike instead of what was happening. I only broke a sweat on my scalp, but I still felt the fatigue from yesterday.

This was me with the breathing mask plastered to my face widening it like the moon. Of course, it wasn't helping that I was laughing too hard as the "research hooker" took a movie of me.

We checked in a second time on the fourth floor for vitals which later had me alarmed. The male nurse decided to verify my height and now apparently I have shrunk. I am no longer 5'8" but 5'6.5"!!! WTF? Did I somehow get sent to space without my knowledge? Astronauts lose height every time they go to space. In reality, perhaps the tumor had been leeching all the nutrients for many years thus causing me to lose height. A heavy regimen of yoga and pilates will be in my future as soon as I can manage it for sure.

I went back out in the waiting room to tell my aunt my news while we waited for the restaurant-like buzzer assigned to me to go off signaling my infusion seat was ready. To my surprise, Kimmee's daughter Serina (she just got a research job at the hospital) came to see me. In fact she ended up seeing me two more times while I was in the infusion seat. Sweet thing. I made sure to call her mother when I got home to tell her what a good cookie she was for attending to me.

The infusion center was a catacomb of halls and rooms filled with nothing but bluish green vinyl chairs with "wings" sporting drink holders on either side. I felt like I was in my old hospital room again with the IV stand which I had to unplug its industrial size plug (normal if you live in England - hee!) to take it with me to the bathroom. There was a flat panel TV I could maneuver comfortably and attach a pair of headphones they gave me. Lunches, snacks and drinks were free to the patients. I shared everything with my aunt.

So what was it really like? I didn't have an opinion on it. It was neither good or bad, just something I had to do, you know? There was a bag for saline, Benadryl to combat any allergic reaction, Taxol (Part 1 of my chemo cocktail) and Carboplatin (Part 2 of chemo cocktail). The Benadryl had me sleeping most of the five hours it took to administer everything one by one. I was given anti-nausea pills before my last IV bag.

I couldn't stay awake to save my life. The "research hookers" tried to give me follow up instructions and give my tools and diary for my end of the research as the drug kicked in. My bladder woke me up periodically and I was able to eat a quick lunch early on. I saw Serina for one minute while she came to see me the second time. My poor aunt was left to her own devices. She watched TV and also took a walk outside. I also received several text messages from the Sprinkles Posse checking up on my progress and to send their love. My nurse called, too, to confirm our appointment. I had to put her off until Monday -- my infusion was taking longer than we previously discussed.

Aunt Maria drove us home where I suddenly became alive again. I made coffee in my French press and preheated the oven. My uncle was on his way to drop off medication for my aunt and I was set on us having frozen pizza for dinner and maybe ice cream for dessert if they were up to it. I was a busy bee for some reason or perhaps I was afraid to sit and let exhaustion take over?

Dinner was good conversation and laughter. My uncle left earlier than I anticipated. We gals made it a movie night, but I fell asleep part of the movie. Luckily I was awake enough to call Angie in California to give her an update. I eventually made it to bed around 12am. Before sleep I splayed pieces of instructions for follow-up medications in the morning, emergency instructions for side-effects and another sheet of instruction for something else on my dining room table...

I ruminated all day on how the people getting chemotherapy didn't look like me. They were all much older and if they were women, they looked like they were getting it done. Call it vanity, but I still show up dressed and made up. My aunt was dressed and made up, too! This is your life and you can prepare for whatever comes. I hope I don't sound mean to the other people; I just feel you should make the very best of it instead of surrendering to a type of resignation. Greeting inevitability with smile or an extra sparkle should go a long way to recovery, shouldn't it? In any case, today was a long day. It unfolded much better than I imagined.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Port and Protocols

Rain had washed the roads overnight and continued to wash everything as my aunt and uncle made our way to the hospital at 7:25am on Thursday. My check in was 7:45am for my 10:45am port install. Thank God for us the hospital is 10 minutes close to my apartment.

We didn't have too wait long for my name to be called to pre-op. My aunt accompanied me around the familiar maze to a walled section so she could take my clothes once I disrobed and changed into an operating gown. I mentioned to the nurse that all the preparations seemed a bit much for a port install on my chest, an outpatient surgery. She said that when you go through the regular OR (operating room) that all the protocols have to be followed which meant it felt like my surgery prep back in January.

My surgeon did a stellar job once again. They left a needle with plastic tube hook-ups covered in gauze and tape outside the skin for tomorrow's chemo appointment which meant I couldn't take a shower. While my surgery was an hour earlier, I didn't get out until about 2pm. There was a complication of me experiencing sharp pains that brought me to tears when I breathed deeply during recovery. An x-ray of my chest was taken while I was sitting up in bed. They put a 1-inch thick large black square large enough to cover my back while a tech stood 10 feet away from me pointing a machine with light projecting cross hairs onto me while I sat up. He shot his x-ray pic and left to get immediate results.

The nurse had already injected pain medication and an anti-inflammatory drug to my IV while we waited for the results of the x-ray. Minutes later I was told there was nothing wrong with my chest and all my breathing was normal. This was double-checked later when the pain was still there. We figured out that I may have pulled a back muscle during surgery while they moved me around. Meanwhile, my aunt and uncle were getting anxious. My surgeon said they would be calling for them in a few minutes after he spoke to them. They weren't called until two hours later because I had been asleep and it had gotten too busy for my attending nurse to call. Poor things.

I was soon dressed and in a wheel chair. We had to make one stop at the salon downstairs to pick-up my wig (or hair prosthesis as was written on my prescription). I also had my uncle go through a Chik-Fil-A drive-thru for a late lunch for all of us. Our empty stomachs were making our tempers a little testy. We sat at my dining room table enjoying our chicken sandwich meals. I made coffee and I fed my uncle some ice cream for dessert. He left my aunt with me so she could make sure I was okay after surgery and also to accompany me during my first chemo appointment tomorrow. My aunt had volunteered to spend the night two weeks ago; I had been too shy to ask. I am glad she was there even as the rain continued to come.


Here is pic of my surgery site after my first chemo, all the tape and plastic window coverings gone. The top incision is normally on the neck based on my research. My surgeon was kind enough to save me that conspicuous scarring so it is above the longer incision site of the port. Everything is held with skin glue that should fall off later. You may see a small red dot below the longer incision. That is area where needles for future blood draws and chemo infusions will be placed; no more trying to find a vein in my arms. I am very pleased.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Unwinding Before Port

My evening is waning. I should be going over last minute preparations for tomorrow's outpatient surgery to install my port. Give me a few minutes to mentally unwind with you?

The past couple of days have been hectic and annoying. Hectic with supply/grocery shopping and annoying with issues from my apartment complex. I swear my eight-day hospital stay last January was easier to manage than getting my apartment office to make sure they have fixed the moisture issue in the other bedroom. Mold and chemotherapy patient do not mix. Duh.

After some "status report" requests and two vendor visits Monday, today I was able to get them to put antibacterial primer on the areas that needed tending. They were supposed to put it on yesterday when the area was dry from the cleaning and antibacterial solution application on Monday. Ugh. Tomorrow while I am in surgery, they are going to finish by painting the areas primed. It will have taken them almost two weeks to complete from my initial call. My consolation prizes were my old television was taken away and I received new drip pans for my stove top electric coils. I didn't have to clean or buy new ones. That was worth some of the aggravation...

My fingertips have felt weird from the toll of overwashing my hands during my twice-a-day wound dressing changes. They felt more odd and naked today because I had my nail salon take off my acrylic nails yesterday morning. I can't take the chance of unnecessary bacterial infections during chemo when I get my nails done with either the superfine drills or sharp implements used. Chemotherapy is changing the physical landscape that is Sarah Sprinkles. I will have short thin nails now; however, I can still apply nail polish which makes me happy. I bid my salon adieu until August.

Kristey came over this evening to see me in my 'interim look'. I haven't seen her since January during my hospital stay. She brought an Italian dinner from Carraba's which we devoured immediately. While we ate, I showed her the bracelets that Tawny and I were making to keep count of my chemotherapy treatments. (I'll tell you about that in another post -- they are gorgeous!)

To take the places of the Christmas and birthday presents she hadn't given me yet, Kristey offered to buy my supplies for my soon-to-be shorn head. We looked through one catalogue and later a few online sites. I wanted to get what I needed like wig care and wig stand plus a sleep cap. She also wanted to get me something more fun so we settled on a casual scarf. We were both pleased with our selections. I was most thankful for her generosity. She kept apologizing for things not being properly gift wrapped; I told her my head would be wrapped every time I wore these things so it was okay. Ha.

One interesting thing today -- when the hospital called for last minute preparation reminders for the surgery, I found out that my surgeon will be performing the surgery. Odd, I mentioned, since there are people who do that type of surgery all day. The nurse said that my surgeon is particular and likes to do them himself. Damn. I love this man; he is thorough.

Well, my lovelies, I am tired from super cleaning and doing laundry today not to mention entertaining for a couple of hours this evening. I need to get all my paperwork and clothes for tomorrow when my aunt and uncle pick me up. Wish me luck!


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Best Less Than a Minute Film

Ladies, Gentlemen and The Academy...

The winner of The Best Less Than a Minute Film in Sprinklesville is by Sarah Sprinkles:

You can fly through life feeling light and happy. AND THEN..a giant detached shark head can come out of the water and try to gobble you up. Will it succeed? Watch for the sequel to be released on DVD!

*THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Don't be an idiot. You should not wait for a giant detached shark head to come and gobble you up because it doesn't exist. Duh!

I couldn't help myself. I couldn't stop myself. And I loved it!


PS This was done using my flip ultraHD set up in my kitchen facing a double door shielding my washer/dryer, etc. I selected two frames from each scene and let the software wizard do its thing.

Ticker Tape

The amazing brain feed I am getting from the universe right this very moment is like a ticker tape punching stock prices from a telegraph line gone haywire. I don't know what electric spark has caused this but I know never to really put much thought as to THE WHY when it does come I write on paper and on this electronic paper...

The Sprinkles Sunday Morning Routine hardly ever deviates if I can help it. Multiple alarms have been set at 8:00am and 8:30am just in case sleep is stronger than the morning sun. I make it a priority to watch Joel Osteen, my positive TV preacher, who nudges the truths I know that are good for me to live a more abundant, love filled life in a world caught up in the crossfire of negative soul warping messages. (God knows I need an extra boost these days!) Right after my life and love affirming messages, my mind gets brain candy from the CBS Sunday Morning Show where news and cultural/artistic stories nourish cells with its many tastes and flavors. Yum!

One of the first stories was on Neil Gaiman who apparently has written many books I've heard of and written screenplays for movies like Stardust and Coraline which I've seen. He is touted as the 'master of macabre'. I may have even read or had his first book about Duran Duran. Yes, I was a squealing teenager once who had 15 giant posters of the British Pop Group thumb tacked all over her room. That's a story for another time and dimension...

During Gaiman's interview they showed his basement full of books which made me think of maybe if had I kept all the books I've read I would have one just like it. Well, not just like it. Now I don't know for sure and don't lambaste me if you know, but I doubt Gaiman has read hundreds of romance series and novels from age 12 to 21 or flighty fashion handbooks or fact filled cultural anthropological titles. His selections would most likely include erudite authors and award winning fiction not to mention his own award winning titles.


It is during these moments I feel uneducated about Dickens, Twain, Shaw, Austen and...Gaiman himself. A voice quickly reminds me that sometimes ignorance is bliss. Not coloring your own inner music is best for it is unblemished with other people's mediocrity or brilliance. I get to make things my own. Whatever the hell that is supposed to be!

To be fair, Gaiman and I may have read similar veined magic and metaphysical titles based on reading his online bio. We do have ONE BIG THING IN COMMON. Sprinkles and Gaiman have (or had) dogs named Cabal. Look at the caption on his Wikipedia pic of he and his pooch. Kinda creepy in a cool way.

Ticker tape still spitting out...

My lack of desire to read more esteemed literature I think stems from having issues with reading comprehension as a kid. It was my cousin Angie who got me interested in reading at all with romance series starting at age 12. Whatever it takes, right? The genres of storytelling I am most attracted to have been listening to radio soap operas in the Philippines which has translated to loving books on audio and watching movies for the larger than life screen projecting words and special effects. There is no one favorite, no top 10 list of anything. I like stories that immediately capture my attention and sense of adventure or take me out of my seat in the movies where the only thing that matters is the movie. You've seen Avatar in 3D? Like that.

The memories come to me now of being an only child (until the age of 11) making her own paper dolls, kitchen pans and tools out of aluminum foil and movie tickets from paper perforated by a safety pin. I was forced to be more internal or approach things originating from within, to create my own world with no obvious influences. Perhaps this entry is a reminder that I need not feel less than because I am more than the sum of my incomplete parts.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Writing Well

Looking back on what I've posted makes me cringe sometimes. No, it is not the content or subject matter. It is all the grammatical errors peppering the entries (IE subject-verb agreement, syntax errors, etc.). Just that last sentence is enough to send me into punctuation tailspin!

Well, my lovelies today I feel vindicated. Another blog I subscribe to published a "made-Sprinkles-feel-better" article regarding her blog writing: Ira Glass on Improving Your Craft. Please watch the short video on the page.

What I am trying to say is I hope that my messages are more important than the minor errors. I've read perfectly written stories that were still drivel that made me wonder how I was ever going to recover precious time lost or find the author to slap for offending me with their words. I try to focus more on imagery and conveying the message with more clarity. With enough practice I should be darn near more perfect than I am now. Ha!

Laughter IS the Best Medicine,
Sprinkles xo

PS That is why God created editors for us dangling participle loving gals. Wink.

Fall Awake

Meditation and mindfulness were in my thoughts when I woke up. To be honest, it has been on my mind for a while as I try to make peace and honor my inner chatter. It would be all to easy to shroud myself in the subject that is cancer. To me that would be like creating another cancer on your mind if you are not a medical professional choosing to help eradicate it.

The sea of depression that can accompany such a focus on the disease does tease me with its ebb and flow on my psyche. My toes feel it but I keep myself on the shore where it is warm, safe and happy to observe and not get caught in the undertow. Some days I still find myself knee-deep but no more than that.

I bought a book Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr last Wednesday. It is not my desire at all to buy books on cancer. I've received enough literature from the center and enough online reading selections to save myself the expenditure; however, the title appealed to my sense of humor. In just the preliminary pages, I find myself engaged and thankful that someone addressed the plight of twenty to thirty somethings. Many cancer documents either deal with children or folks around retirement age. What about the rest of us who are still grappling with being a vibrant adult or even a sexy Asian Goddess of Love? Apparently cancer had never heard of Sarah Sprinkles!

In my new shiny book, it recommends finding a happy place and going there to get away from things. My places are not close to my apartment; they are hundreds and/or thousands of miles away. The one place I know I can be anywhere is my mind where there is no distinction of imagination and actual visits to my happy places. Lucky me!

The universe must have been listening because on one of my blogs I follow posted the following link and poem. It was an "aah moment" (as opposed to a-ha!). Jon Kabat-Zinn's hour long talk on his google campus visit was illuminating. He talked about using meditation to "fall awake" in awareness. Watch it if you can.

At the end of his talk he shared this poem by Derek Walcott:

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

I can correlate this poem to rather than letting any kind of cancer eat away at us and take over, we can choose to focus on what is really happening and not the bullshit we unconsciously get caught up in. We can feast on our own life and how that can be more beautiful if we let it. You know from recent entries how the idea of losing my hair to chemotherapy is worrisome. I must remember that 'pruning leads to blooming'. What if the surgeon's carving the cancer out of my body in January and now my imminent hair loss is a way for God to help me reset my life on a course more beautiful than I have ever imagined?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Triathlon Reminder

My regular nurse came around noon today to change my wound dressing. It is more for her to inspect it and make sure I am doing a great job changing it myself twice day. So far so good. Yay!

It is difficult to keep your personalities and lives to yourselves when you keep reconnecting with individuals, in this case my nurse(s). For me, the nurses are very curious about my apartment; the bright eclectic colors and decor invite attention which usually leads to questions about me. I am just as curious about them as they are to me so I usually ask them their motivation for being a nurse or what they love about it most. Those are the starters.

Today my nurse I could tell seemed burdened about home life with a husband and multiple children. The conversation got around to making beds and doing laundry. Her laundry woes were evident. It may not seem like much, but everyone needs clean clothes and if others are not helping or can't help, it can be a tough job to maintain. Her husband's training for an upcoming triathlon seemed to get her less help. Triathlon? I forgot about that word!!! Its mere mention juggled my inner effervescence to bursting.

I jabbered on about my bike equipment, my Polar watch, etc. The poor thing was then subjected to seeing my state-of-the-art bike (about two notches above my fitness level). Her face showed amazement at how light it was after she picked it up. She then began to tell me about how a gym up the road has a nice lap pool her husband goes to for swimming. Groovy! I must ask my surgeon if I am allowed to swim during chemo. The last time I saw him I was given permission to do yoga, get a massage and go to a chiropractor.

How could I have forgotten about my goal to do a triathlon? The last time I asked I was in my hospital bed listening to the explanation of the re-sectioning of my intestines with titanium staples. I may not be able to do train moderately for obvious reasons but I can still keep it in mind by doing light yoga and ride my bike indoors thanks to geeky bike equipment. It felt great thinking about how I can re-integrate this goal with chemo treatments. Where there is an AGOL will, there are many ways...

My cell phone was texting and ringing off the hook today, too. Tawny, Kathy, Kristey, Kimmee, Korean Kim and Jill were all burning up my phone. I was glad to communicate with them. It makes me feel relevant when I am not blogging, twittering and on facebook. My biggest challenge during recovery at home is making sure I keep up my end of communication. Who am I kidding? I am too much of a chatterbox to keep quiet. That's a promise, my lovelies.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Ovaries. I thought that having my ovaries gone would make me less emotional. Holy shit was I wrong! I've been blubbering for days on my anticipated hair loss about two weeks after I start chemotherapy. That's why I haven't posted...

After Nan's Tampa service, I hung out with my family two nights in a row. My cousin Angie even stayed the night before one of my doctor's appointments so she could accompany me the next day. I was proud to be able to introduce her to my new medical family as I was proud to introduce them to her. Moffitt Cancer Center is a Tier 1 facility and it showed. The best part of our visit with my surgeon was that he said I no longer had to have my wound vac attached to me. I was given free rein to shower when I wanted and not be tethered to an appliance designed to help me heal. The caveat was that my wound would need to be changed/redressed twice a day. I've been changing it myself now and have the home nurse coming in twice a week to check its progress.

My life has been mostly spent making numerous calls, making appointments and attending them. I picked up my first set of meds at the Center for my chemo aftercare. During the same day, I had a wig consult at the salon, a floor below. This was very rough and a harder pill to swallow. When I finally picked out a wig, it was $285 and is reimbursable by my insurance company thank God! It should come in the correct dark burgundy color next week and will be cut and styled to my liking once I go back to pick it up.

I still have some more head covering preparation to complete. In two weeks after my March 12th chemo appointment, I will have my head shaved. They still leave about 1/4 inch of hair, I think. We lose heat through our heads so I will have to get a cotton cap for sleeping and scarves for no wig days. This is the priciest chic site but the pre-tied design and color options are gorgeous. Here is what is coming in the mail: under Silk, find "Black and Bloom" and click on it to see it.

For every ONE chic website selling head coverings, there are 10 sites selling ugly versions. It is almost a crime. The things are so hideous you'd rather walk around bald! (Not me of course -- too vain. Hee.) Please buy our ugly things because you as a cancer patient don't feel bad enough -- you gotta show the world that you do. Sprinkles will be buying something from here and here. Researching all these sites have empowered me to meet inevitability. This is my way of dealing with it, but I still find myself crying throughout the day. I did remind my boss today during our call that we will have similar hair only my hair will grow back full. I laughed loud when I said it. He wasn't laughing as much.

Oh yes -- almost forgot. I had a doctor's appointment this morning with my primary care doctor for my legs which have swollen again. I left with a prescription for water pills, a bilateral prescription for an ultrasound on legs and an extension for returning to work. He felt that I needed more time. Honestly, I forget how extensive my surgery was almost two months ago.

I have the water pills which I will start taking tomorrow morning... One of a radiology company's branches had an opening today. The ultrasound hurt during the swipes and pressure on my upper inner thighs on both legs. Hearing my blood move around was really weird -- sounded like an alien. The doctor should receive results very quickly and advise course of action... My return-to-work date was set for March 15th and now it will be April 2nd. I am bummed that I will be missing work; however, I am relieved to have some time to deal with first chemo and the subsequent hair loss. My aunt is staying with me during my port installation (easier to draw blood and infuse chemo) next Thursday and overnight that night and for after my chemo on Friday. I just have to continue to follow the plan. Summer will be sweeter because these portions will be completed.

It is not all about chemo preparation and hair loss. In between blubbering and appointments, I had dinner and a movie at Tawny's last Friday and I had dinner tonight with Kimmee and her husband. I received a multitude of texts and calls today from my girlies. Been playing on facebook and again on twitter. There is also another blog I started. ("Can you find it?" asks your mysterious AGOL). I still feel I am the luckiest AGOL around.


PS I love Melody Gardot and I love love love this song. I bought her enchanting album today.