Thursday, August 25, 2016

Spiders and Shorter Days

Note: Spiders are not attractive to potential house buyers.  Don't get caught with them in the tub.  Here is one I found this morning, trying to ward off looky lookers.  (Six walk-throughs with realtors, with one offer on the house thus far.)
Tomatoes are ripening on the vine, neighbors have been too kind with their squash, and days are getting shorter with kiddos out early in the mornings making their way to school.

Yesterday proved an interesting day with the oncologist in that I learned I qualify for a clinical trial.  At first my altruistic thoughts were quite positive, until I read through the 23 pages of the abstract and learned I would have to make at least fifteen overnight visits to Denver, in winter months, over the continental divide, and at my own expense.  So now the inclination is to let some other "lucky" lady take my place in the trial.  In this double blind study, I had a 33.3 percent chance of receiving the placebo instead of targeted radiation, and even though it would be do-able, it would also be very taxing.  I am continuing on with the Ibrance and letrozole, targeted therapies to slow down tumor growth.  Dr. L offered steroids and analgesics for back and hip aches, but I am holding off for now and trying other avenues for pain relief. There will be time later to bring in the big guns to control pain.  And actually, the pain, dare we say discomfort, is mostly under control, in case you were to worry.

On the Julie front: she is doing pretty well, better than I would have imagined a year ago.  Her new social avenue is playing a card game, Phase 10, with one of her and my best friends at the manor, Ms. Louise.  Louise just passed her 91st birthday last week with much hoopla.  Julie gave her sweet presents and flowers, and Louise had two birthday lunches that she very much enjoyed.  These days, all three of us are playing Phase 10 together in the mornings after Julie gets to the garden room around half past ten. This is sweet Louise with Julie.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Be the Girl on the Right Luncheon

Yesterday brought a few friends to the patio for lunch.  It is good to have conversation and to remember times together.  And excellent side dishes were shared, thanks to you wonderful women.

Thank you, friends.  Jan F. (left) and Lynn (right) and I have been together since 2003 as a sort of support group for each other, meeting weekly for Coffee and Chats and sometimes lunch.  We have added some new friends along the way.

Janice, below, has joined our group since her mother passed away two years ago from metastatic breast cancer.  We love her, too, just as much as we did Maureen.

(Maureen Keesler: 1941-2013)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Homestead for Sale

Our home for almost 20 years is now for sale.

It is with mixed feelings that Gene and I are selling, along with all the hard work that has gone into it, from choosing a floor plan, to building on a vacant lot, then forwarding on to create a home. 

(nostalgic pictures from 1996 as we were building)
(Larry Bennett was builder)
(late 1996)

(August, 2016 our house for SALE!)

You can imagine the reasoning that has gone into the decision to sell, if you have been following this blog for a while.  It is difficult to say that the return of cancer is nudging us along, because that ugly disease is not going to make me a victim. I do so want to be the Girl on the Right. SHE would not be a victim.

My brother John and SIL Char were here this week and John was a trooper, helping to fix the garden gate, transplanting iris into a big pot, trucking dead foliage into the pit, and helping to move a 75 year old workbench and heavy oak table onto the back of a friend's pickup bed.  The workbench and table have already found a new home thanks to Marianne, Judy and Bill.

We also had some recreational time.  SIL tickled heads for Julie and me while Uncle John photographed. We had some good days together.

Today starts day 9 of 21 days for the first cycle of the Ibrance chemo drug at 125 mg/day with expected side effects (SE) of fatigue and woozy-ness.  Not too bad, and SE should diminish as time goes by.

Pictures tomorrow of a Girls on the Right Luncheon with friends and salads and summer drinks on the patio.

Monday, August 8, 2016

St. Brigid: Cathedral and Cross

Friend Sharon sent pictures of St. Brigid Cathedral in Kildare on her recent trip to Ireland.

Brief Notes on the Cathedral's History says:
Just over 1500 years ago...Saint Brigid arrived in Kildare with her nuns in the year 480 A.D.  Her original abbey church would have been a simple wooden building, but so great became her fame that, soon after her death in 523 A.D., a costly shrine was erected in her honour in a new and larger building. For many centuries Kildare maintained a unique Irish experiment; the abbess ruled over a double community of women and men and the bishop was subordinate in jurisdiction to the abbess.
Sharon also sent a beautiful St. Brigid Cross that will be placed beside the inside entry of our home.  A smaller replica in the form of a lapel pin says:
The idea of St. Brigid's Cross probably goes back to Pagan times. Making the cross may have been part of a ceremony of preparing the seed for planting.  Legend has it that St. Brigid made her cross while sitting at the bedside of a dying leper. Some say the man was her own father, Dubthach. She whiled away the time making a cross from the rushes that covered the floor. Her father notices, and asked what she was doing. Explaining the cross, St. Brigid told him the Gospel story. It is said that Dubthach became a believer.
Yes, Sharon, it does give me inspiration.  Thank you, friend.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Random Pictures Shared with Yarn Along

Gorgeous lilies, roses and mums that Cookie brought me yesterday for our lunch together; I forgot to give her dessert, bad on me.

A favorite:

A second tree limb fell this week in our back yard; confirmation that it is time to move.  That back area is too much work for the DH.

A picture of our pretty lilies:

St. Brigid is my patron saint!

It has been hot this August!  Don't you love this picture of birds trying to escape the heat!

Progress on my Rainbow Trail sweater is coming along.  Joining in with Ginny in her weekly Yarn Along.

Marianne and I made two angels yesterday for the church bazaar, proceeds to help fund the food bank.  Isn't she pretty?  It took us over an hour to make just one each, amply filled with sweet smelling lavender.  Each time you hold the angel and give her a little squeeze, more aroma is released. Wish the colors showed up better but I took it against the lighting.  More to come, with better pictures.  She has about a dozen ready, and they will be shown again.  Thanks for playing and teaching me how to make the angel, Marianne!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Ever Visited Breast Cancer Dot Org?

Over where it is beautiful one day and perfect the next, Sandra posted:
"Negative people need drama like oxygen.
Stay positive. It will take their breath away."

And on an optimistic note, this week Ibrance is to be delivered to our doorstep.  It is a pill generally taken orally along with a hormone inhibitor. I have read that it costs $10,000 for a one month supply, but I am hoping that is an unsubstantiated rumor.  Yeah, yeah, there are those nasty little side effects, but look at it this way, those tumors may not get bigger anytime soon with pricey meds on board!

At this site on one of the community forums at "breast cancer", I spent several days reading through, actually skimming, over 14,000 messages on one board alone.  About anything you could ever question has been addressed by one person or another in this one thread about BC bone metastasis.  And that is just one thread of conversations covering almost 135,000 topics.  It is amazing how many competent people, mostly women, are in charge of their health care.

Simply filling in the information on the profile site took me a while.  It was worth the time to complete the profiling because now I have specific email updates on news relating to individual diagnoses sent to me by email.  Of course, if you are only a lurker and not an overachiever trying to be on top of it all, you can skip the emails and enjoy your latest Big Bang Theory episode, if that is your fancy, and just check in every few months on medical updates. Obsessiveness comes in all shapes and sizes other than fretting over one's health; my personal favorite ocd activity is blowing dead leaves off the patio.  At least that is an activity that can be controlled by hot air (not touching politics)!

Leaving you with this beautiful song...