Monday, May 24, 2010

Wedding recap

As I mentioned in my last post I was doing some wedding photography to
help Andy out Saturday.

Friday we went to the rehearsal so that we could check out the location.

I noticed a guy with two cameras around his neck and joked to Andy
"he's going to be a problem tomorrow." I figured he was somebody's
uncle. I'm slow, it's chemo fog. I will use that excuse as long as I

Saturday came and I went to the bridal suite to capture the "getting
ready" stage. I was a wreck because the light was horrible. I had
visions of the camera battery dying before the ceremony.

While I was taking a few shots of the bride's dress hanging and the
bouquets and so on, I noticed there was no Bridezilla, but the Mother
of the Bride was IN CHARGE.

Now, we were hired by THE GROOM. So MOTB was terrorizing the
bridesmaids (things like "you realize you're the only one wearing a
necklace, right?" and gnashing her teeth that one flowergirl's mother
had used tiny silk flowers instead of The Headband We Made.)

I was standing next to the bridesmaid who was carefully clenching the
ringbearer pillow because she was TOLD to hang on to it. Then
Mommyzilla took her opening shot at me.

MOTB looke at me and said "at two o'clock 'Frank' will be here. I
hired him to take a portrait of me with my daughters."

I immediately realized that Frank was Uncle Camera Buff and he was a
Pro. Shooting THIS wedding. Ooooops!

More importantly, Mommyzilla wanted to fight. But I put on my best
southern charm face and said, "oh, that's so NICE!"

It was meant as a sweetly phrased eff you that would leave her no next
move since I wasn't arguing with her. It seemed like it worked -

I have to say, I learned a few things from Frank about how to stage
some of the group shots, and he was very cool about letting me use his
shots. He even came looking for me when they were about to cut the
cake. It was nice of him not to throw me any elbows at all! :)

I could have done without the guy at my table for dinner who noticed
me wilting a little bit (no lunch, bad Carly) and DRUMMED ON THE TABLE
to get my attention when I was resting my temples on my fingers for a
minute. "You look like you're about to fall asleep!" he scolded me.
And then stared at me off and on all through dinner. Eff YOU darlin,
I didn't eat lunch and I have itchy hands and feet from the chemo I
just finished last week and I haven't slept through the night in I
don't know when...

I should have fed him to Momzilla.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weddiing belles

Had an up and down week. Back to work, then home sick for a day with a
cold that has decided to linger.

Today I am a wedding photographer. Drew is taking pictures at a
friend's wedding and he rented a camera so that I could tag along - a
Canon digital rebel. Sweet! He assinged me to take pictures of the
bride before the wedding. Good thing it was me because she was pretty
much naked when I walked in. Awkward!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Little things

I have a thin white line near the moon on each nail, for each of my
first three rounds of chemo. Like rings in the trunk of a tree. I'm
sure eventually the fourth will appear. They're splitting and peeling
and it's fun, really. I put layer after layer of nail polish on them
to hold them together, but I usually have nail polish on anyway so
that's not too bad.

Today I went to church. Climbing the stairs to the loft left me
winded. I'm a little anemic and that gives me the endurance of your
great grandmother. I sat through most of the songs - it was "sing OR
stand". But that's ok too.

This afternoon I potted some plants to hang out on my deck. I also
hung my dragonfly lights. (five strands, one extension cord, and chemo
brain. Yeah, just TRY to do it like I did last year!!!) I had to sit
down many many times... Using a stepladder didn't help... But it is a
gorgeous afternoon and I'm so happy not to be sick in bed.

Yay spring! Bring on summer!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

New start

I'm sitting on my porch in the sunshine happy to be feeling "ok".
These are tiny pine trees I am trying to grow from seed. We'll see how
that goes....I not the best gardener.

Forced myself to eat, dragged myself from bench to bench in the park
where I used to run (will start again as energy permits while I get
radiation). Feeling a wee bit better hour by hour.

Now I am trying to figure out where to start "spring cleaning from
hell"... My house is kind of a disaster.

I guess I will FlyLady it. If you've never heard of her, Marla's
philosophy is that if your house is a trainwreck it didn't get messed
up in one day and you can't fix it in one day... So working toward
simple routines, plus fifteen minutes a day of chipping away at your
clutter, is the basic approach and that seems doable now. I don't do
things exactly like her - Drill Sargent Carly is about to return
because no one did ANY housework this morning and why should I do it

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's on

So recovering from this round of chemo is not any easier than it was
for the others of course, and I am pissed. Look at this bruise! That's
where the iv was. Nice huh? Geez.

Please pardon me while I have a little pity party ...

I am aggravated that my stomach is feeling worse today, it's very
sluggish and that's painful and so I don't WANT TO EAT - And I have to
eat or I won't feel better and I will lose a bunch of weight again and
feel even worse. Right? Irony. It's what I'm choking on. I just forced
down some food... I look forward to enjoying eating again. In a week
or two... :::Bronx cheer:::

Oh, and I might be getting a sinus infection. (insert a few more rude
words). And/ or the mouth infection is returning too!! Wheeeeee!

I am so OVER this whole sitting around feeling crummy and not doing

I am on my porch trying to rest and get fresh air. I am SO BORED WITH
MYSELF. I don't want to read or watch tv or do anything - not that I
have the energy to lift anything other than this phone. I would love
to go for a walk but really don't want to make a fool of myself
passing out because I'm so weak. :::: cue mini temper tantrum::::

Dear CarlyShell: get with it. Work with me. Seriously. Enough. We got
off easy, let's move forward. I want to be done here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Self portraits

I finished my last round of chemo this week. The nurses gave me a certificate, (which I don't know how I feel about really - frame it? not so much...) , and blew bubbles at me, and sang a cute song that made me smile, and I avoided the ritual of hitting the gong that is right outside the door and sounds like a death knell to me. The idea of the gong is that when your chemo treatments are done you strike it once for each round you endured but the whole thing made me wildly uncomfortable and fortunately for me it didn't come up. I slipped out with my friend and walked right by it.

I have been unloading today emotionally, it has been ranging between weepy sobs of relief that it's done and anger at having to do it all and a small burst of cleaning fueled by the frustration with everything in my life that's been on hold this year. Very small bursts.

I also pulled a bunch of pictures off of my phone today. I take pictures of myself often. It's been a way to cope with the changes and to try to get used to how I look now, and a tiny way of still photographing regularly even when I don't feel like myself. Also, when I feel wretched, I force myself to smile, and I take a picture, and I send it to someone, to try to convince them or maybe just myself that I'm all fine and hunky dory, thank you very much. Fake it till you make it, has more or less been my approach.

Some of the pictures are on flickr... and this is a peek at the set, but there are comments for many of the pictures explaining what was going on each day.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Get ready now

Haven't updated in a week; busy with things for the kids and cooking for school and singing for first communion (dear parents... when Stanley starts to play, please Shut TF up. You are in church, it sounded like Grand Central Station. Shut. Up.)

Tomorrow is HOPEFULLY my last chemo day. I woke up yesterday with a cold and was in tears thinking, this will really fuck up my medical schedule for the week.

I am now thinking it's just allergies, because I still don't have a fever or genuine cough. It is still just some mild sniffles, and Poly was right - Dr. said it's ok to go forward with tomorrow's poison, um, chemo.

He cautioned me that I'm not done yet (ie take my meds and make sure I don't lose too much weight in this round and more or less do what I have been doing and not get overconfident or reminded me of the Wallenda who fell off a tightrope in Puerto Rico and probably died thinking he had made it... sorry to be dark and all.. ) but in general he was very upbeat about "getting you out of here..."

I am a big fan of Dancing with the Stars, although I think Derek isn't really all that and Edyta should have multiple ugly mirror balls (UMB). But I digress. This season -- for me-- has been about watching the dancers get tapped off the floor one by one; they have been my mile markers. The fewer sequins shaking around, the closer I am to being finished. Tonight we are down to five couples. By the time this year's winner lifts up that UMB I hope to be feeling somewhat better from this final round. By the time LOST does their 80 hour finale, I hope to be feeling "good".

I am pulling myself through this, hand over hand on a really coarse rope, with the support of many many friends on Facebook, Twitter, here, etc.. (I got an email with awesome picture of the Diva, which diverted me from the road I was on (heading due South toward Being an Ugly Cranky Beast all day) yesterday... if you don't know who Grace is, check out "Have you met me" on my sidebar...)

I am honestly not sure I feel about the gong; I heard someone hit it today and the sound goes all through the entire set of offices. I do not want to collapse in a weepy puddle on the floor next to the gong. I am a "hold it all together" while the crisis is going on sort of girl and don't really know how I will handle being able to exhale and not have to worry anymore about the chemo killing me in mid-IV bag. So I don't know. We shall see.

In the meantime I need to leave now to go to the orthodontist and a baseball game and try to get HOME for DWTS. Later, kids!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Other plans

Arrgh. Lost my post trying to mail this from the Hipstamatic app.

Went to work, brought my lunch, had my Starbucks, had my act together.

There were almost no cars in the parkig lot. Also a few pockets of
people standing around but no one I knew and not enough for a fire

I walked in and a wave of heat hit me. It was 94 in the test lab.

Talked to my boss for 5 minutes about what to work on from home this
afternoon while my wig melted and fused to my scalp. Egads happy to

On the way home I stopped to get some pots for a couple of seedling
and I got these for my deck. Just a couple of random things to mix
height and colors There's a Lilly in the back that i cut back so it
might bloom again this fall.

Now I am sitting on my porch enjoying a light rain and waiting for the
thunder to move in. ::::happy:::::

(Hipstamatic app for can even fake a flash on a cloudy
day... It was starting to rain when I took this photo.... )

Such a Monday

But who can complain when I have awesome friends stepping up to
support me all along the way?

Thanks Andy! :)

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Wander on over to my sidebar, dear readers (all 17.5 of you per day... wooot!) and visit my dear friend Jen's etsy store for lovely vintage inspired jewelry... I want one of each... Carly has no dollars...

Letting it all hang out

1. This week at work there was a new guy. He doesn't put his phone on mute and has loud conversations in the test lab. I want to vote him off the island but I am trying to be nice. He tried to be friendly to me and said "So you haven't been feeling well?" and I told him I had been diagnosed with cancer just before Christmas. He said, Do you mind me asking what kind, I was a premed student for a while. I said "No, not at all, breast cancer." He got beet red and apologized for asking. I was not offended at all... is it embarrassing to have a tumor in one place, rather than another? Silly really. More people need to talk about it so that more women get their mammograms sooner. If I waited until I was 50 that would not be a good thing, since I already had cancer cells in one lymph node.

2. Yesterday was the first time I went out in public in a bandanna. My friend calls them Doo rags and it cracks me up every time. When I went down to the park with APB he got a shot of me - I think it might be my next blog header. It's coincidentally cropped JUST RIGHT. :-)

3. At my son's baseball game yesterday a big burly guy who is a building contractor we have known for a few years (he almost did our addition) came over to see how I was doing, and then kinda half hugged me and wished me well.

4. Today at choir it was 1,000* in the loft. After the first song I was having a hot flash to boot, and I could feel the beads of sweat ROLLING out from under my wig. My son had come up to loft and said "Mom, just TAKE IT OFF" as though it were the most logical thing in the world... and of course it was... everyone says I have a pretty bald head which cracks me up to no end. One of the oldest guys came over and whispered in my ear that I look sexy, which almost put me on the ground laughing,... he is in his 80's. Take it easy there tiger.

5. A little india.arie for you, with a verse inspired by Ms. Etheridge herself and the last video I linked. Hopefully this one will actually embed... if not..


91 days till august first!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Saddest Dog in Albany

I mean, look at him. Doesn't he LOOK miserable? It was about 84* by the way. We heard his owner say "I've had him since he was.... " something. I can just image how much the other dogs laugh at him behind his back.


Originally uploaded by carlyq80
Woke up today and a local blog had pointed out yesterday that the tulips are all out, and the crowds won't REALLY come to this park until next weekend when Albany crowns its little old Tulip Queen.

Andy and I took a few hundred photos (he probably has 30 to my 95, who am I kidding, I click click click while he stops to take ONE good one) and then went for CHEEEEESCAKE! I miss cheesecake Tuesdays! I came home with six slices. I have to share, dammit.

We saw a crazy lady with a dog IN A DRESS AND BONNET. I will have to find and upload that one, I forgot.

Many more photos on my flickr feed... I tried to limit to the best 20 or so.