Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vitamins Make Me

Roaming through the Photo Gallery on my phone unearthed some photos I have been meaning to share. Actually, my new brand of vitamins still have me wide-awake. I have already played on facebook and will have posted three items in my bloggie today after publishing these pics...

I learned how to make rainbow cupcakes and now I love doing them in different colors not just these tie-dye colors seen here. All you have to do is separate the cupcake batter into four disposable plastic cups or small bowls then mix enough food gel color to saturate each cup or bowl with a different color and mixing well. Take a spoonful of one color and fill each cupcake liner that you've already placed in the cupcake pan. Continue filling each liner with one color at a time but no more than 2/3 up the liner. It needs room to puff up. Bake as directed, cool cupcakes, frost/decorate and voila!

Can you believe this was in my pre-op folder? I wish this would have been included in my first surgery packet. It would have made things a lot easier. Like I always say, "Fiber Makes You Sexy".

When I was handed this quilt over dinner a week before my surgery, I was so overwhelmed that I started to cry. This is a big beautiful quilt -- twin size! Look at all the work my friends Kimmee and Cathy put into this. Each scrap was sewn; the fabric theme was Asian. The backing is that light teal you see on the edge. Each square in this quilt is a teal fabric center for Ovarian Cancer. I slept with this in the hospital and will continue to have it during chemo.

Some people have wedding favors or giveaways, I had "surgery favors". If you visited me in the hospital, you would have received a bag of chocolates and a cute-size bottled water I relabeled for the occasion. I also made chocolate cupcakes but I forgot to take pics of those.

There you have it for the pics. As for other stuff today, my shrinky dink was delighted to see me and remarked on how well I looked. She wasn't alarmed when I told her about going back to work on Monday. I basically gave her an update since I last saw her two days before my surgery and I expressed my plan of attack for work and for chemo involving new vitamins, etc.

I was supposed to go out more today, but the Tampa area had a lot of tornado warnings. The deluge washed away any notions of driving around town. Even HSN (Home Shopping Network) which is filmed in St. Petersburg was experiencing flickering power during their Martha Stewart Craft segment. Our portion of Florida was wetter than wet!


PS It is a bit past midnight and I am still wide-awake. These new vitamins are either weird or amazing! What do you think?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Chauffeur

It all started with the question of a hat and this is what I opened the door to this afternoon:

This was Mark, my dear friend Sandy's husband, who picked me up at my aunt's house to take us to another great friends' home for a belated St. Patrick's Day feast. Sandy had asked him if he had a hat that he could wear to pick me up and before she knew it, he had delved deep into his bag of tricks to find a complete ensemble of the bowler hat, the strange glasses, the crazy teeth and the tux with button red lips on the collar. You should have seen the looks on my aunt and uncle's faces when I introduced him. It was a total scream!

I am always humbled by people's extra efforts. This is one pick-up I will likely not forget for a long time. The best part of this for me was the bowler hat...of course!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grating Coconut

You guys know how much I adore my Aunt Maria. During my recovery at her home, I got to reconnect with her like we have not in a very long time...

On this day, I bellied up to the granite bar surrounding a part of her newly remodeled kitchen. She was in the middle of preparing Filipino food for a Filipina friend. I decided to search youtube for videos containing songs in her native dialect WarayWaray. After that I found songs in the main dialect Tagalog and in particular one of her favorite singers from back in the day Pilita Corales. I forgot what torch song was playing but the vignette of watching my aunt hunkering down grating coconut between her legs using this old school device in her granite and stainless steel kitchen was more than I could handle. You just can't take the Farmer Girl out of her!

There is a funny video with me narrating and laughing but I am not allowed to post it. All I have for you is a snapshot of my aunt sans the grater to show a portion of her new kitchen. If you watch the hyperlink on the device, you will see a similar one she was using.

Can you believe she just turned 66 years old? May God bless me with her aging genes!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Staple Pulling Contest

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday, I was ready to tear pillows apart and today I am elated from visiting the cancer center where more people than I dare admit recognized me and said hello. It is kind of creepy when a volunteer greets you at the reception desk by your first name before you have even uttered a word. This part of the center sees about 100 patients a day!

The staple pulling contest was painless compared to last year's experience and barely lasted 15 minutes. A very skilled nurse practitioner who took the staples out also briefed me again on my surgery and she informed me that I had five hernia sacs extracted along with the mini tumors. WTF? She cautioned me against lifting heavy items for 4-6 months. I asked her about working out and she said that I should avoid abdominal exercises for the same amount of time. Believe me -- I felt fear so I will not do anything to undo or cause any new hernias for 4-6 months!

My surgeon gave me the okay to return to work on April 4th. Yes, I know it is rather quick. I pushed for the date and he said sometimes you have to agree with the patient. He remarked at how well I looked and I told him there was not "ooze" coming out of my wounds which made him laugh. I am not insensitive to the fact that I have to take things very easy. I have another appointment with him on the 13th to discuss my chemotherapy treatment more in depth.

This is what I know: my time during the infusion will be less. I will have Carboplatin again on Day 1 along with a drug called Gemzar. On Day 8, I will have Gemzar again. After asking him, he said I could conceivably work during those days if I worked from home and I wouldn't need an escort after the first day. Hooray!

AND...the hair loss question. My surgeon was Mr. Hedgehog when posed the question of hair loss. His hedging led to us laughing. It would seem that I would experience hair loss but not a total one. Since I have enough hair for three people (as verified by my two previous Korean hairdressers) I am hoping that my hair will just thin out and still look nice or I can wear scarves some days. Okay -- wearing a scarf without hair looks like you don't have hair; however, wearing scarves when you have some hair poking out looks stylish. Trust me because I never wore any of my scarves out last year!

I will also be making my way back to my apartment next Monday much to my aunt's dismay. She thinks it is too soon. I really need to get back to my own place and get back into the swing of things and figure out how to modify my penchant for lifting heavy things. My handbag and computer bag all have to be lightened. If you recall, I moved my living furniture around during chemo last year. That was probably one of the causes of the hernia sacs. There will be no hernia sacs this time around.

My aunt and uncle were hungry from leaving the house early without breakfast so I treated them to a late breakfast. Truth be told, I was the most vocal about being hungry, but by the time the food was placed in front of me, I was not hungry. Not sure why. I ate a third of my meal. A quick trip to an Asian grocery store was soon after before going back to my auntie's.

That's the State of the Sprinkles Union. I hope you're pleased as I am!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bored Out of My Gourd

My plans today were canceled by my galpal which has sent my cabin fever into overdrive. Am I supposed to go out shopping and have lunch with over 100 staples still on my abdomen? I really don't care. I am recovering at my aunt's and have been been able to shower without help and do one load of laundry without help. The reliance on my walker is less and less so I can go out for a spell.

I just don't have time for cancer related activities!!!! There I have said it.

My goals are being pre-empted with all this cancer crap. Tomorrow morning I get to have all the staples extracted. I may even hear of which treatment plan my surgeon has for me. :::now with heavy sarcasm::: Let's get excited about chemo -- ooohhh! I will get excited later but not right at this very moment. Right now I am annoyed.

You know what I've found out? That full cable television is boring and is filled with mind-numbing junk. Ugh. Thank God I don't waste my money on this stuff. At my aunt's house, I have no choice but to surf 400 channels of brain-goo inducing programming.

If you haven't noticed, I am bored and I feel trapped. Maybe it is a good thing that Tawny still has my car because I would drive it right now against doctor's orders with this song blasting all the way up to the stratosphere: Sprinkle's Theme Today.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Lucky Mark

On Saturday morning, I was receiving a pedicure from Mary at the nail salon, when she said something in Vietnamese and then restated it in English about me being lucky because of the mole she'd never noticed before on the bottom of my left foot. It is? Cool. I feel lucky...

The words you have not read from me lately have been caged by time, not having enough of it. Work has enslaved me not to mention my social butterfly ways, my new hobby of quilting that I am learning from Kimmee and friend Cathy, my 5am killer workouts at the gym monitored by my awesome Jamaican-6% bodyfat-60ish male coach and by my deja-cancer surgery. Okay, the last part is in a few days.

The question "Are you fucking kidding me?" was something I repeated over and over last month in my surgeon's office. No, he wasn't. The rise in my protein test (CA-125) alarmed my doctor and had him ordering a CT scan of my abdominal area. That revealed an inflammation of two lymph nodes that were not there before. That was followed by a biopsy taken through my back with long needles.

Can you imagine Sprinkles recently napalmed (chemo) body being suddenly invaded by small tumors in her periaortic lymph node and the left lymph node side of her groin seven months later? Me neither! The good news was chemo, but the bad news was another surgery because of having to take another set of weeks off from work. I won't know if I am to lose my hair again. Testing of the tumors will determine that course of chemo. The hospital stay will be 4-6 days and I will continue recovering at my aunt's home for a week or two.

If you're feeling sad, please don't. I cannot wallow in self-pity because I am not a victim or live life with a victim mentality. God doesn't promise you will not go through fire, but he promises you peace if you will accept it as you walk through it. I have that peace and it feels so incredible. No, I am not impervious to the news, but I have accepted it.

What I first thought of as a set-back because of the physical strides I've made will be a set-UP instead. The hard work at the gym will make my recovery that much more bearable and quicker. My gym coach and I have a workout date as soon as I can manage it after the first or second chemo. These treatments will probably commence three weeks after my surgery. I will rise from weakness. There is no choice.

Meanwhile, I will be wrapping things up at work before they disable my access to the network. In a few minutes, my special "Team Sprinkles" surgery day labels will be wrapped around short 8-oz water bottles I am giving out while I am in the hospital to go with my special "Team Sprinkles" candy favor giveaways. Some people have wedding favors, I have surgery favors. That's how Sprinkles does it. I turn everything into some fun marketing opportunity. There will also be a tray of sinful chocolate cupcakes for my peeps to nosh on while I am in surgery and recovery. It can be breakfast food. (grinning widely)

Almost I received good news about my thyroid. I spent the middle of the day giving vials of blood, having an ultrasound and meeting with my throat doc. The nodules are stable and I will see a different doctor in 6 months for monitoring purposes. Yeah, baby!

If you remember, please send me happy thoughts on Thursday morning. I have to check in at 5:15am and surgery is scheduled around 7:15am. Early bird day for several of us.

Love and Luck,