Friday, April 30, 2010


Some side-effects of cancer are beneficial. It is not in the physical sense, but in the emotional and spiritual sense. Cancer gives the permission to most people like myself to relax and enjoy life more without limitations. I've taken life not as seriously as I used to before January which would be a surprise to most who know me.

I used to give off the illusion of carefree. The carefree only mattered if I could control it. Does that make sense? Kind of like controlled chaos. Now my mantra comes from Richard Branson, "Screw it. Let's do it."

My week after chemo couldn't progress fast enough. The recovery is taking a day or two longer. Instead of feeling like myself early Wednesday, it is now late Thursday or early Friday. I hope this time is the exception not the norm. Blogging has taken a back burner to making sure I manage my energy at the end of the day.

My plans for this evening was to meet Dianne for Happy Hour at a trendy steakhouse across the road from my work. The place is expensive but they have made meals and drinks at the bar area affordable until 7pm. I am not big on steak so a big dinner in the main dining room would be a waste for me.

Dianne was sitting in a padded red half-moon booth when I arrived. She hadn't seen me since the week before my head shave and didn't recognize me as I came around the bar. The bar area was lit low and intimate. It wasn't until I stopped in front of her that she realized it was me! The faux hair and my dressed up slimmer body threw her off. We enjoyed two seafood appetizers, delicious gourmet hamburgers and drinks. No, I didn't have wine, but a fruity non-alcoholic drink. I was waiting for the bite of vodka or rum at the end of each sip that never came. Sigh. I envied her glasses of red wine and my hair (again!) because the waitress gushed over how much she loved it.

I was thankful for the change in pace and venue. It made me feel like a normal adult going out and enjoying life with the spectre of cancer hidden back. We laughed and talked about an upcoming trip. In July, I will tag along on her yearly trip to Captiva Island with her other set of girlfriends. I can't wait! They try to coincide it with a fishing tournament that occurs in the area around the same time which means the ratio of men to women are higher. Mind you, she and her girlies are married, but it gives them a chance to flirt and behave badly around each other before returning to their suburban lives.

Energized from my dinner with Dianne, I was about to call Tawny and Jeff to see if they wanted to go to my happy place for bubble drinks. I noticed a message of a missed call and a voicemail from Serina. She was just leaving her parent's home after having dinner out with them when I called her back. They had been concerned at how my recovery from this chemo was going and wanted to invite me to dinner. I changed my plans and invited Serina to meet me at the bubble place instead. (Sorry Tawny!) We needed to catch up on stuff since I barely saw her at my last chemo appointment.

Man, I felt like a celebrity in my happy place. Two people greeted me warmly when they noticed I was seated waiting for someone. The cafe was filled with university students and other varying adult ages. They were getting ready for open mic night. I was up for live performances.

Serina and I were enjoying our drinks when one of the guys working there grabbed my hand and asked to borrow me. Before I knew it, I had a tambourine in my hand and playing it while two other guys sang and performed Fat Bottom Girls on stage. OMG! Yes, it is captured on video and no I have not looked at my Flip camera. I was introduced as Sprinkles and got a "yay Sprinkles" later when I meandered around the cafe later.

There were two flute players that performed among the other guitarists and singers taking the stage. The first one I could tell didn't have the passion for the instrument but could play it. He didn't have the magic I was expecting. The second one blew me away. He had a samba piece from his iPod playing while he played his instrument to a world class level. The guy who grabbed my hand earlier came to me and asked if I like him. I said that the vibrato and legato was amazing. I know I never played the flute like that! He then mentioned how this kid was invited to play Carnegie Hall in New York this summer. Oh, wow! Later he played "Ain't No Sunshine" and it was the most honeyed version I have ever heard. All this enjoyment for free!

There was an amateur tarot card reader present. I decided to investigate and get a reading from her. She was okay. I let her give the reading without any confirmations. At the end of it, I explained my health and situation to make sense of whatever she had told me. I also ended up giving her tips to build her confidence and show her how to give better readings. A couple things that were on my mind were illuminated.

This old lady was outpacing 23-year old Serina. The poor thing was tired from her full-time job, studying for her graduate finals and hanging out past 10pm with me. I relented and called the evening at 10:30pm. I'll have to come to my happy place again for open mic night just to be around this kind of vibe.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Full Moon on My Head

I see the full moon on my head. It is not full of craters like our own Earth's satellite, but I am sure it has marks that can tell a bit of history. Its own recent history revealing what my life is going through. During an IM conversation with Angie this evening, I told her that I see my bald head, but I don't. I guess my eyes focus on my face. She mentioned something about having phantom hair of some sort.

Truth be told, I still shed a little bit of tears if I allow myself to think about my head. I think about turning 40 in January without my former glory. No, I won't know what my head will look like or how my life will be at that point. I just know I will be on the other side of this thing they call cancer. I refuse to be labeled and defined by scientific names or be bogged down with the all the appointments and hours of chemical drip for my cure. It is what it is.

When all is said and done, it will not be the full moon on my head that we will reflect upon. You will continue to see the sun shining from my smiling face and the stars twinkling in my eyes filled with love for the world. I am still me. I choose joy.

Sarah xo

Monday, April 26, 2010

Three Days

These after chemo meds are like kryptonite on your AGOL. Not only does it cause a mental fog, but as mentioned previously it makes me both hyper and tired. Too tired too really concentrate, but too hyper not to complete chores around my apartment.

On Saturday, I had two visitors. My cousin's wife Michelle visited for a spell while she waited for her daughter to attend a birthday party at a nearby museum. Tawny came by in the evening to drop off some eggs for me after her trip to the grocery store. I cannot drive for four days after my chemotherapy. Maybe the fourth day later in the afternoon if I push it.

On Sunday, I did all my laundry and some light cleaning. It sounds like a lot, but really it wasn't. My body would not allow any heavy duty stuff. I was concentrating on managing my energy for the next day.

Today, I worked from home starting at 7am and ended around 3:30pm. I survived two conference calls at 10am and 1pm. As you know my memory is affected these first days so I had to proofread and write every little thing I did which was good. It helped me to see how productive I was. Maybe I was overcompensating for being at home? I was pleased with my progress.

A nurse was supposed to come see me today. I should have canceled it on Friday while I was at the hospital after my talk with my surgeon, but I didn't. After two calls two my regular nurse to make time after my conference calls, I received a call from a different nurse at 4:30. Really?! She woke me up from a nap and told her it was okay. Upon waking further, I called her office and canceled. She called me herself to salvage the appointment. I said yes, but ended up canceling when she called me at 6:15pm to tell me she was about 20 minutes away. Good grief. I was ready for dinner, my last set of kryptonite meds and a shower to make it an early evening before watching some sitcoms. Urgh.

I called my dad and stepmother to check-in. My dad though in retirement is one of the busiest retirees I know with all the associations and church related activities he takes part of throughout Chicago. He holds high positions in a few. My stepmother is still receiving 1-minute radiation daily on her breasts for breast cancer. She has a couple more weeks to go. Luckily, she gets to avoid any chemotherapy. We both get to exchange stories on our health. It is an odd bonding which has made us the closest we have ever been since she's been married to my dad almost 20 years this year.

Tomorrow I will work from home again just to be safe. My memory will be better but it is my slight hazy vision that makes driving and seeing the road a little challenging. Sunglasses will be in order for sure until Thursday while driving. Thank God my vision for seeing my laptop is great. Don't you wish you could share such fun?

Sprinkles xo

Friday, April 23, 2010

Love Infusion No. 3

Knowing that a chemo day was not going to be easy for once didn't make me feel any better. I've known intuitively for weeks it was to be so. With the knowing, I made sure to be up early or my 5am regular time. By the time Tawny's husband Jeff came to accompany me to the cancer center, I had eaten before 6am, but I had waffles, bacon and coffee ready for him at 7:30am. Lunch would be a long way.

I drove us and checked in to have my blood drawn and as usual my port would not give up any precious drop. My right arm was stuck with a needle and another 1" Huber for my port plus a cocktail to loosen up whatever was making it not work for the draw. It would be in preparation for my infusion later. We made our way around the corner to pick up a refill for after chemo meds before walking a full length back to see my surgeon.

My appointment with my surgeon ended up an hour later. He was never that late. I surmised that later when I was told why my infusion was later, too, due to a machine being down for one of my blood tests (which had to be done manually!) that was the cause and he ended up seeing me anyway. This time he had a medical student interview me before she came to get him so she could perform a private exam in his presence. He seemed pleased of my progress and we talked about the issues with my port which he says is not uncommon and attributed my chest pain from recovering from the surgery, etc. We also discussed my wound and gave me another alternative to care for it so I could start fully exercising my lower body.

During all this time, Jeff was able to log into work in the waiting room thanks to the wifi at the center and he was able to find an outlet when his laptop battery was getting low. He didn't end up burning a vacation or sick day thanks to the access. I was happy he had something to occupy himself and a means to IM Tawny and others.

While we waited to be called for my infusion appointment on the 4th floor, I noticed a man in the midst of a complicated cross stitch work. I must admit I was sexist and thought him a gay man at first. Something compelled me to introduce myself and ask if I could snap a pic for my blog to show how others were coping with their chemotherapy and cancer in general.

Here is Dave with his amazing Victorian houses:

Dave ended up a great guy to talk to before we were called in. Jeff was in the corner logged into work and plugged into a different outlet. He was close enough to listen to the conversation.

At 55, Dave was a special case with three different types of cancers; needless to say, he was on a special team. The one cancer has him carrying an ostomy bag that with a permanent marker, he drew a smiley face and words below it that says, "Shit Happens" which caused the nurses and doctor to laugh today when they examined him. He has to go through radiation and chemotherapy, but will get to keep his full head of hair. Lucky duck!

I liked Dave. He talked about his wife and how they use to own a bed and breakfast in St. Petersburg, about an hour away. Dave got his start doing needlework 16+ years ago to pass time away on a ship that transports to the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, the rig that just blew up was a sister rig to the one he went to before his health issues. He has other needlework projects waiting for him and takes pride in his progress.

We agreed on our approach to cancer -- lots of humor! He said he sat on our side of the waiting room because the other side was filled with "doe in the headlights" type of people. I decided then and there that our side was where the "cool kids were sitting". Yeah!

My little angel Serina took time out from her research schedule to come to sit a while before she took our lunch order. My lunch was a tortilla wrap filled with ham, brie, and apples while Jeff had a zesty buffalo chicken wrap. I was thankfully able to eat mine right before the Benadryl drip took me to sleep. Maybe I woke up twice? I know I woke up when my bladder decided it needed to be emptied. Jeff was not in sight. I figured he was in the waiting room logged into his laptop. When I returned, he was waiting for me. Serina came again -- it was about 4-ish and she stayed a while before she had to pick up pretty dog Belle from doggie daycare. Kimmee was out of town and she was helping care for the pooch.

My last bag of chemicals was completed around 5:45pm making my stay at the hospital almost nine hours. It was a little rough but went quick. I felt groggier and slower than the last time. Jeff was a good cookie and continued to carry my extra bag. Before we left the elevator well on the bottom floor, I could have sworn I saw a red heart sprinkle. How could it have traveled that far from the other building and still exist from mid-January was my first thought? I backtracked. Jeff did too when I told him what I thought I saw. We found nothing. Jeff said it was meant for me only. I smiled at the phantom image. Perhaps a soul letting me know something -- giving me a soul kiss to cheer me?

I asked Jeff to make one stop at a fast food place so I could get a salad for dinner. There was no point in me trying to make dinner for myself as tired as I was this time. Jeff had dinner waiting for him at home with his family. I was grateful he lasted all day. Three more chemotherapy cocktails or "happy hours" to go, my lovelies...

Sarah Sprinkles xxoo

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Silent crazed lunatic -- is there such a thing? That's how felt today as I wrapped up some work before taking time off for my third chemo tomorrow. It wasn't all harried; I had some fun. Too much of fun that it made me work later than I had planned originally. Oh, well.

At lunch today, my gal pal Jill was able to see my wig in person for the first time and she loved it. Her hair looked cute, too, with the blonder color and newer cut.

Speaking of Jill... How can two glamorous women be reduced to infantile antics laced with earthy sense of humor in the middle of a nice restaurant? Because they can. We blew situations into comic proportions. For example, Jill mentioned that her boss was so fit he looked like a guy from this fitness commercial. I asked if we could use my cancer as an excuse to be allowed to count how many muscles he had on his abdomen. I know -- shameless!!

More shameless... Jill says I have glamcer -- glamorous cancer. I almost died laughing. Don't you think I didn't start using it at work right after lunch. We are of like mind about not letting situations get us down and to create the light and, if possible, glamorous side of things. It's a way to cope. Things can be ugly, but why not make it beautiful and make us feel good? Yeah, glamcer will soon catch on!

I didn't get to my apartment until 8pm thanks to work and last minute errands before my chemo tomorrow. Tawny called me as I was at the mailbox. I received a key to a separate box that held a package too big for my regular mailbox. For some reason I couldn't get it open. I picked up Tawny a few buildings over who was able to open it for me through super secret spy moves I was too tired to come up with on my own. She helped me carry groceries and my package mailed from the Great White North aka Canada.

My gift opening was saved for last as a reward for the day. I opened to a beautiful Japanese tea set complete with five different flavored teas and a canister to store each as I consume them. I loved the understated design that revealed enough of a color band at the bottom to keep it whimsical. I must say the part I loved best was the mesh strainer inside the teapot. The other ceramic teapots I have don't have one. I have a giant heart-shaped mesh tea ball I could have used, but this makes it easier. Tawny properly ooh'd and aah'd with me as I opened everything. Thanks to a very special friend for sending me such a thoughtful and lovely gift.

I now have something new to look forward to during my recovery weekend...

Sarah xo

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wig Envy

This is bit difficult to say but I am jealous of my wig. I have wig envy.

For almost three weeks now at work I have been complimented on "my hair" multiple times a day. The most surprising have been the men who have told me how much they liked it...even men who were too afraid to come up to me. What is it that makes them feel comfortable enough to tell me? I recall Tawny's husband Jeff's words at how it almost makes me look shy. Maybe it is a softer look? I almost want to scream to everyone how cool and edgy my short hair was before! Only about a couple dozen people at work saw that hairstyle during a brief February visit. Sniffle.

I haven't been secretive about the wig, but now that I have informed the co-workers I have more than a passing acquaintance I no longer correct other people. I figured the word would be passed along. Please don't misunderstand me. I am happy that my wig looks like real hair because I do love it and it brings me comfort in looking like myself.

One day I will have enough hair to shed my wig. From then I will grow my hair to its former glory to my make wig envious.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Just when I finally feel like being in the swing of things at work, I get to feel unwell again thanks to my chemo this coming Friday. I have more of the same cycle reoccurring in the next couple of months. My mind just has to be trained to withstand the mental and physical toll.

In between the "spaces" that is work and chemotherapy are blank spaces ready to be filled in with either meeting with friends and family or resting. You would think that with all my outings, I wouldn't have time to think on reassess. I guess I am one of the lucky ones because I can find the time.

A magazine article and a youtube video within days of each other said a person without goals is someone without direction or is just getting in the car and spinning their wheels. Each day is supposed to have a goal or goals...

This Sunday I completed a treasure map. Nothing with pirates, but a visual representation of how I would like my life to be or my goals using a giant poster board, magazine cutouts of words and images, pictures of myself, glue and colored markers. This is the second one I've done that I can recall. The other was done about 17 years ago. I designed it using the principles of feng shui by placing images as they pertain to the bagua map and made sure I completed it while the New Moon was in the sign of Aries. This sign is the first sign in the zodiac and this is one of the better times to put your intention to the universe. You may call it bollocks but it works for me.

During my lunch yesterday I completed a little thing "how to find your passion" questionnaire from an advertising mogul:

1) What did you love as a kid?
I loved making things. I liked being recognized or being in front of people. I wasn't afraid of doing dance choreography and when I was 12 I was able to do a show for my school's Spring Fling concert. I loved designing. I still love designing as well as writing to express myself.
2) What was your best day and what were you doing? What did that involve?
My best days at school were when I was leading, creating and being recognized for it. My best days outside of school are always when I spent time of either my family or friends laughing, sharing a meal and telling stories.
3) Who are you jealous of?
David Bowie (he's just cool), Martha Stewart (for her drive and perfectionism), Madonna (for her maverick style in her reinventions), Angelina Jolie (this biatch is just hot and she can pilot a helicopter!) and Richard Branson (he puts the sexy in entrepreneur and he's fearless).
4) What would you do even if you weren't being paid?
I would come up with ideas for things all day and I would make stuff from concept to marketing. Of course, I enjoy helping people and making them feel special.
5) What would your script read if you were its author, no holds barred?
Script? I was thinking more like dust jacket on a book. Wickedly Blessed: Author and Innovator Sarah Sprinkles' inspirational journey to spread love, joy and beauty into the world.

Now we know I am not in my chosen career or bliss. I am thankful it allows me to live and pay bills. Before the alien extraction I was somewhat content to keep going and toss around my hopes, wishes and dreams. Months after the extraction and now chemotherapy, I am not so content. I want the second half of my life to be spent doing things I have always wanted to explore and be. There are so many things on my bucket list. I hope I get to do them all. My enthusiasm is only tempered by my immediate health concerns. My mind is miles ahead. Then my body will just have to do its best to catch up.

Sprinkles xxoo

Saturday, April 17, 2010

No Rest for the Wicked

Kids are natural ghouls -- fans of things gross, uncomfortable and slightly scary. The kids in my family are definite ghouls. We are constantly teasing them mercilessly. This afternoon I had my cousin's kid Kristen sit on my lap facing me and watch as I slowly revealed my bald head by pushing back the wig off my head.

"Ew! Don't ever go outside like that," was her response.

I wasn't offended in the least. We were giggling the whole time. Her brother Carter watched with his mouth open as he peered on the other side of the sliding glass doors into the living room. I asked him later if it was weird. He smiled big and said "yes". Later he told me how much he liked my wig. Their mother said I reminded her of Cirque du Soleil with the dramatic make-up and bald head. It was an odd comparison but I knew what she meant. I got up and showed her husband in the front room. He didn't bat an eyelash. I think he was taken aback and trying to keep cool. For once, he was speechless.

Why reveal to the kids? I had talked about getting shaved weeks ago and when they saw me this time around I had a new hairdo. I find it easier if you are more honest with kids about what is going on in your life, in this case -- cancer, and what happens during the its treatment. Knowing things gives them comfort instead of wondering why the appearance of someone they love keeps changing in an unusual way. You don't have to be macabre or bang them over the head with the truth; however, being secretive does them no favors...

I have not blogged in a while because I have been mentally tired from work and my evenings have been consumed with planned and unplanned visits. On Wednesday, I was too tired from my Tuesday night outing. Serina visited on Thursday because she wanted to paint my toes a very dark apple red. Friday had Tawny making a stop to visit after she and her husband walked around the apartment complex around 8pm.

Why not turn them down I hear someone asking? I don't turn them down because my chemo is on the 23rd and during that weekend I am sequestered at home to recover from my third infusion. Maximizing my time with friends and family in between chemo recoveries is very important to me no matter how it tires me.

By noon today I had already gone with Kimmee to a quilt shop. I bought a yard each of three fabric designs I am going to sew into envelope pillow covers for the pillows on my sofa. One of my goals is to do manageable changes within my apartment during my chemotherapy (two and a half more months!). I can't sand and prepare furniture for paint and paint them but I can do some light sewing.

My aunt changed our dinner plans for Sunday to this afternoon since my cousin's family was available. You may remember telling you that my aunt is going to the Philippines next week for three weeks. This meant that I had to cancel my dinner plans with Kimmee and Serina. Family first...

I made one stop to my new happy place before venturing to my aunt's. The owner was singing and playing an electric guitar as I walked in. I placed my signature order of jackfruit with mango jelly and boba (translation: jackfruit flavored slush drink with little bits of mango flavored jelly and giant tapioca pearls at the bottom) with the Vietnamese guy behind the counter. I had to reveal to him that I had my Asian license to order that particular flavor. HA! Once I assured him I was half-Filipino, he seemed relieved to make me the drink again from the last time I was in the cafe. He was too busy before to ask.

When I was finished confirming my order and turned towards the small stage, the Caucasian owner was excited to see me and announced to me from the stage how he was having his own private concert. I clapped to show my own enthusiasm. He was a better guitar player than singer, but I appreciated his enthusiasm while he sang "Your Song" by Elton John while my drinks were being made. (I ordered an extra one for my aunt to try.) My drinks were ready when he started another song. I raised my drinks to him on the way out and I was rewarded a smile and accompanying wink for my effort. His age was hard to tell with his boyish face and all gray hair. I will have to wait two more weekends to bring my laptop and actually sit a while.

The week before chemo seems to have a harried pattern to try and get things done. I have extra cleaning to do as well as make my chemo candy bracelets. Wish me luck on making it through with work and everything else. There is no rest for the wicked.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You Cannot Make This Up

Forgive me -- Everything has caught up with me and made me a little tired so this is a rush post...

Thursday and Friday were very good days at work. I felt like myself again. Saturday I met Kristey and Myrna for a long breakfast. The rest of the morning and a part of the afternoon were spent bumming around town shopping for more beads and some grocery. Kimmee invited me with her family to a Japanese steakhouse for some yummy dinner. On Sunday, I waited for a nurse to come see my wound. Part of it had reopened -- surface only!

I've driven to and from work with Tawny the past two days as her husband had taken time off for his birthday which was today. I treated both of them and their eldest son to a favorite haunt where we had a jovial dinner. We also went to my new happy place, a bubble tea cafe, before driving us home...

You cannot make this up -- I noticed the bruise on my left forearm is heart-shaped! I received it after a nurse stuck a needle in there and dug a little for a vein before my chemo two Fridays ago. My port was acting up so she had to take blood from another vein. If you were in front of me and looked at my arm you would see a heart staring at you. I even bruise in hearts!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Most Beautiful Words

Today I read the most beautiful words I have ever read in my life. It is the last line of Pablo Neruda's Love Poem XIV:

I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.


I have an unnatural affinity for cherry trees and cherry blossoms. I am not sure why. The plastic covering for my phone has cherry blossoms... My favorite scene in "Memoirs of a Geisha" involves cherry blossoms. Every spring I watch the news for video feed of the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C.

Reading the words above caused such an energy within me to explode like giant fireworks. Each hot, bright and colorful strand moving in slow motion outward and far reaching. The words were so beautiful and visceral that I had no choice but to weep. I loved it.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Emergency Trip

Today was my big adventure. I drove myself to work. I would have gone straight to work had it not been for my little side trip to the emergency room for chest pains. I must have twisted my torso incorrectly and my port balked at the position? I don't know.

I spoke to Tawnyia and Jeff before talking to an on-call doctor at the cancer center. Because they don't have a cardiac unit and my breathing sounded laborious, I either needed to drive myself or call for an ambulance to be checked out just for sure. By this time, the pain had subsided and I was still trying not to panic. Luckily for me, a hospital was five minutes away.

A nurse checked me in and wheeled me to the cardiac portion of the emergency room. Before long, vials of blood were drawn, I was hooked up to an EKG and an X-ray was taken while I was on the bed. A heart surgeon came, too. There was no rush as I seemed to be weathering things.

I wanted to get to work. Time waiting for results found me texting my boss and various galpals. What else was I gonna do? When I asked how much more time I would have to wait, they said a couple of hours as I had to get a cat scan for my chest just to eliminate the possibility of a blood clot in my lungs. Oh, joy.

A male hospital worker wheeled me to radiology. There were two other women staged waiting to be scanned in the corridor. I teased that there was a sale and that they were giving these scans away. I ended up connecting with an elderly black lady who was a heart patient. She told me about her recent retirement, etc. We had a good laugh. The lady in between us could not see me, but she could hear me. When the black lady was wheeled in for her scan, her bed passed me and we touched each other's hands and wished the other good luck. Now there were only two of us in the corridor and I asked the other lady if she was okay; she had been quiet during the whole exchange.

Something interesting happened. The lady asked a passing female hospital worker to maneuver her bed around so she could see me and talk to me. This lady had fallen at home over the weekend and was just now coming to have herself checked out. She was worried about attending her niece's wedding this weekend. I couldn't tell her age but she looked in her late 50s. I assured her that the bump on her face could be covered in make-up and she could still have a good time. She was wheeled in another room minutes later.

I didn't have to wait long. The radiologist was the same guy I had back in December for my tumor. I reminded him of it though I knew he'd seen hundreds of people since then. He asked about my chemo but did his radiology thing so we could get the scans. The same male hospital worker came to get me and wheel me back to the emergency room. I remarked on how quiet the hospital was because normally it was busy. His reply? "Oh, no -- people are just waking up and falling now." Apparently he was an expert on the traffic flow of the emergency room.

My tummy was rumbling so I asked for a snack. I received a packet of graham crackers and a small container of milk. One thing I know for sure -- hospitals will not deny you snacks. Ha!

The attending heart doctor came to see me and release me. He said everything came out clear and the scan showed something about my thyroid. WHAT?! Apparently, that is something I can get checked out later. Jeezus. You can go in for one thing and then sprout more crap wrong with you. Grrr.

I finally drove myself to work with one call from Serina slightly berating me for not calling her in my time of need. I didn't mention the other few people ready to rescue me. She was concerned and just wanted to make sure what her mother told her about my condition was true and not exaggerated or minimized.

Work resumed without incident. A vendor came by to drop off lunch so within 30 minutes of being at work, I was having an early lunch. The rest of the afternoon was easy and I drove home around 5:30pm. I consciously sang along with an old song playing on the radio, Cool Change by The Little River Band.

Time for
a cool change...
I know that it's time
for a cool change
Now that my life
is so pre-arranged
I know that it's time
for a cool change

I think the universe was trying to tell me something... Thank God my evening was no where near as eventful as my morning.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Better Yet Fuzzy

I debated about posting today. Thanks to a couple of hours yawning in front of me, I will.

There was nothing earth shattering today. I woke up a few minutes before my 4:30am alarm. I was more than ready when Jeff and Tawny came around 6:30am. What I was not prepared for was how empty my office was at 7:06am. I had to use my badge to get past the 8th floor reception and walk around semi-dark halls. I could have sworn I heard crickets!

Lights flooded my floor within 30 minutes. By this time, I was about to get my second cup of coffee to wake-up. My meds from last night were still in effect. I would do anything today to facilitate flushing the last effects as well as chemo working through my system.

My work today was more focused on easy ended tasks which was a great way to get back into the swing of things. Projects that I was involved with were put back in my lap. I will have to devote the next several days to learning our new accounting system since it has been months since I first touched it. My buddy Bridget will be training me.

My return to work will allow for my other team members to feel that they can start taking time off since they've had self-imposed moratorium on time off. Next week, my boss' kids' have Spring Break as do Bridget's son. My boss will be off all week while Bridget will take Thursday, Friday and the following Monday off. All this means is that I need to get up to speed. My chemo brain should be much cleared for new learning and handling things starting tomorrow. I am anxious to be a solid and productive member of my team again.

If it were not for the brain fog, I think today would have felt like normal. People were still coming around and that's how I know it is not quite normal. I have to learn not to be so hard on myself. My journey to wellness is a big deal and will take time. Living with it, at least in my case, makes it seem less. It is my attitude and the immense love and support I've received that have made it easier to bear each day.

Jeff retrieved me at 3pm and I was definitely ready to go. It was another early day and because I didn't take a nap after getting home, this day seems a lot longer. I just have to take a shower and head for bed. Three hours more until bedtime. Yawn.

Monday, April 05, 2010

First Day Back at Work

Extra alarms and extra notes for myself made the 5am wake-up more organized. It was timing the two different sets of meds that facilitated the early wake-up before Jeff came to drive me to work around 7:30am.

Everyone was welcoming when they saw me or sought me out when they heard I was at my desk. Those who caught me in the hall were agog. I am three sizes down from the tumor and my new hair is much lighter and shorter compared to previous long AGOL hair. It was great to be back in at half capacity.

The second set of meds kicked in making my brain and vision fuzzy. I have my last dose for this past chemo tonight. My boss briefed me on what was expected going forward after we discussed how the next couple of days would be for me. I have things to look forward to as we go along. I also attended a conference call which is a sure sign I was back at work.

Around 3pm Jeff met me at my desk where I was glad to go home early and rush home for a few hours of nap time before my evening regimen. My bedtime will be 10pm tonight for an early morning ride with Jeff and Tawny which will bring me to work at 7am. Methinks Jeff will have to drop me off home early again which works out because he can then go home early and rest before he has to go online for work at night for a work project. We'll see... Good night, my lovelies.


Sunday, April 04, 2010

Hidden Bunny

Cancer surgery and chemotherapy have affected and permeated all aspects of my being. From reading my entries since January, you know it all already. Whereas I would have driven to my aunt's home for Easter Sunday dinner today, I was forced to spend the time at home for recovery -- essentially making me a shut-in. Perhaps I could have made the trek, but I am no fool to chance it.

I dressed up a little today anyway instead of being in another set of pyjamas like yesterday. My phone was busy with sending and receiving Easter messages. The meds made me extra sleepy around lunch and I didn't hear my aunt's initial phone call to come over.

My aunt and uncle wanted to come and bring me some cooked food this afternoon so I wouldn't have to cook for a few days. I called them back about a half hour later. They ended up not having a traditional Easter meal either since their grandkids and my cousins came right after church for a two hours before celebrating the other grandma's birthday on the other side of town. My aunt and uncle had not expected the short visit but I know this pleased them immensely.

The food drop off last no more than ten minutes which was okay. I was grateful to see a family member. I then prepared all the food in more manageable and separate containers. My aunt had made beef and broccoli which I know Tawny enjoys so I made her a container for her lunch tomorrow complete with rice and a packet of soy sauce on top of the plastic lid. I texted her of the news...

Bananas. You can buy bananas thinking you can eat the whole bunch before they ripen to that stage that is almost uncomfortable to chew. Today I had three that I couldn't let go another day so I made banana muffins. While baking them in the oven, Tawny texted me that she was on her way over.

Tawny came bearing her own gifts of a plate of traditional Easter dinner and an adorable basket of Easter candies and blue marshmallow peeps:

I was thrilled at the gifts and I am never too old to receive Easter candy baskets. I giggled. Tawny stayed for a little bit to chat and to breathe from her apartment full of her extended family. We also tried out the delicious banana muffins. She went home with her lunch for tomorrow as well as some banana muffins. There was no way I could eat it all and I didn't have any room left in my freezer to store some.

The rest of my evening was making a list and preparing all my stuff for work tomorrow. Took more meds and showered. Now enjoying tea before bedtime. Hope you had a great Easter!

Hidden Bunny,
Sprinkles xxoo

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Just Saturday

For me the great thing about my blog is that I get to go back and review how I felt from the first chemo infusion for comparison. This morning felt like my normal day. I popped my after chemo meds for nausea prevention and it didn't make me too tired the whole day which was wonderful!

I treated my aunt to a fried rice breakfast of rice, eggs, garlic and onion with fresh grape tomatoes garnishing the edges of the plate. It was quite pretty and very tasty! She kept saying how she needed to come over more often as she was spoiled. I told her that she always takes care of me and spoils me so it was my turn to do the same for her. My uncle picked her up before noon as they had guests coming over.

The rest of the day passed without any spikes of activity or excitement. I updated my blog and got on facebook as well as texted. Talked to Angie, too. One load of laundry was completed. My mind was filled with thoughts about getting back to work on Monday and how I would manage my energy each day as the chemo works through my body.

I confess it is a bit daunting. My work environment has a changed a little. My boss says not really but he's had three months to get used to the subtle changes where I will see the change in black and white with no gradation. Also, my perspective on life is different. My new goals for my life are being formed each day. Not sure how the two will meld. Like they say, it always works out.

Sprinkles xo

Friday, April 02, 2010

Love Infusion No. 2

Are four alarms enough to make sure your AGOL wakes up in time for her second chemo infusion? Okay, it was a bit overkill, but I didn't make it into bed until 1:30am. In case you needed to know, two alarms were sufficient to get up at 6/6:10am. One to open my eyes and the other to remind me I had to get out of bed and make it up again so the superfluous decorator pillows were displayed nicely over the comforter.

I woke up my aunt at 7am so she could complete her morning regimen. While she did that I prepared her cereal in the bowl, a banana for her to add on the side and some sexy coffee I made. I introduced her to a new brand of almond milk I have fallen in love with for her cereal. Breakfast was eaten and a last minute check-up performed in our bags for snacks and paperwork for the entire day at the cancer center.

Check-in was great. Found out I didn't have to include a co-pay of $30 as my visit was considered a follow-up to my port install surgery. My surgeon was surprised to see me NOT undressed and ordered me to quickly undress for my "cookie" exam. (There is so much I want to interject here -- just snicker with me instead.) When he re-entered the exam room, I was giggling behind the curtain and my aunt on the other side was giggling, too.

My wound no longer needs any covering and I can safely exercise even a bit more strenuously if I want. He said I looked good. Of course, my rock star surgeon -- glamor make-up, sassy wig and scintillating smile makes Sprinkles easier to gaze at. LOL Before I long I had a metal speculum inserted and then his own surgeon's human (ahem) digits. You know. No pain or anything. He was very pleased. He left and came back with a prescription for my return to work on Monday and a reminder that every exam from now on will require a vaginal exam. Well, now. Just of the girls: Isn't like a man to rush you to undress, feel you up all kinds of manner and still leave you unsatisfied? AND I am paying for the privilege. Hee.

My surgeon's nurse met me outside to give me papers for my next appointment. I showed her my chemo candy bracelet on my wrist that says "chemo sexy". She laughed and wanted to show my surgeon. I gave her one to give him which said the same thing and she mentioned that I could sell them downstairs at the gift shop. Maybe later when I can get a schedule together and my online shop is up and running, I can expand. Wild, huh?

I scurried with my aunt to the pharmacy to get my after chemo meds. Instead of paying $20 like last time, my refill together was under $8. We then made it to the fourth floor for my blood draw where I was informed that my appointment was supposed to be downstairs at 7:15am. What?! All of the paper work I have and the automated call confirmed for 9:30am blood draw. Someone had changed the schedule two days ago and never called me. I told the nice lady that I was not dragging my aunt again downstairs after taking her to the other building for the meds. I also informed her I was not happy and for her to figure it out. My scheduling times were meticulously recorded in two places for me not to forget because of my chemo brain which makes my memory a little crazy. A supervisor quickly got me in and then took care of other things for my next appointment. port was a bit temperamental. I required a 1" Huber needle (read as big ass needle) instead of a 3/4" needle for my port. The nurse had the worst time trying to get blood and had to stick me in the arm with a regular needle for the first draw. I teased her that maybe I received the "dumb ass port" instead of the "smart port". She had me pumping my left arm, coughing, breathing heavily and I even jumped up and down when she had me stand up. We resorted to a plaque clearing solution that had to be administered by a higher ranking nurse so that my port would be ready for my infusion.

While my aunt and I were in the waiting area, I found out that I needed more blood draws for kidney and liver function which were probably ordered by my surgeon thus resulting in my infusion being an hour later. The delay was okay because Serina was coming to get our orders for lunch and we could eat leisurely.

Regarding my Chemo Candy bracelets, I gave one out to a lady in the clinic area. She was very surprised and bemused, but I knew in my heart she needed one. I later felt her gaze upstairs in the infusion center waiting room. I gave out more bracelets in the infusion center to more receptive individuals who smiled and wore them immediately. One elderly lady received hers on her first day of chemo. She was thankful as was her family. I gave one to my needle a nurse and two more to a man and a lady who took their places next to me in the afternoon. Their infusion was only for an hour each, mine was 4.5 hours this time. Serina took one for someone in her office when she came later to check on me. I had two left for the guys. It would seem that the ratio of women to men getting chemo was much higher.

My aunt drove us home and I made us more sexy coffee. We chatted while I cooked some jasmine rice to her liking. She likes the rice drier than sticky like Angie and me. My leftover noodle dish was reheated as a main dish with rice, hot sauce and ponzu sauce. We ate like Filipino princesses!

Tawny came later to visit us and I served us some caramel praline ice cream with chocolate peanut cookie sticks on the side. We dissected the day and laughed like girlies. Tawny eventually left since she had a very early start to her day. My aunt and I chatted the evening away until the day finally caught up on us. We found it hard to keep our lids open.

Sarah xo

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Card Reading

Today (April Fool's Day) made me so mad that I cannot include most of in this blog. My other blog with Tawny -- have you found it yet? -- gets to have my less genteel and less loving entries. Sometimes you just have to vent any incredible bile boiling within someplace specific to get it off your chest...

Kimmee and her daughter Serina (plus cute doggie Belle!) came over around 8pm. Serina had requested a card reading from me a few hours earlier. I almost said to come on the weekend, but remembered that my freshened infusion of chemo would alter my energy. She reminded me of a reading I gave her years ago that came to fruition regarding her chosen medical field and wanted new insight on things in general. Part of me was excited to see how I would feel giving a reading for someone else now that the alien protrusion from my tummy was gone. I gave Serina a reading in my bedroom for more privacy. I am not going to give you specific details of that reading but to tell you how I felt because I want to remember it later.

Giving readings to individuals who are very close to me are few and far between. (Yes, Jill - I owe you one!) It is a personal fine line and I only I agree to it if I feel good about it when asked. I could get a request for a future date and know instinctively it would not be a good day energy-wise to give a reading. Tonight's reading was last minute but health activities facilitated a yes decision and I knew she need some immediate guidance.

There we were sitting on my bed when I asked her to shuffle my Osho deck and pick seven random cards. She repeated the shuffling and then gave me an additional five cards at my request. Do not ask me how I do it every time because I don't have a routine or follow any kind of special pattern. The deck is just a tool for focusing on the individual; God knows I need special tools for focusing these days.

My favorite Osho card...naturally:

The cards may present and illustrate a theme but my inner voice gravitates to a portion of the beautiful illustrations that is more meaningful to the person who has picked the cards. I was a little nervous at first -- with the second card everything came so quickly and with such surety that my confidence built. The reading itself was for about 30 minutes and the rest of the hour, before her mother reminded us it was getting late (weeknight!), we discussed general things that were brought out by the reading. Serina felt much better and could take some mental/emotional burdens off her shoulders.

The girlies and beautiful doggie Belle left my aunt and me to talk until after midnight. We both suffer some sort of insomnia so it was easy to enable each other. It was great to be with my aunt. I went to sleep thinking more about my first reading since the alien tumor was extracted in January than my next chemo infusion.