Sunday, February 28, 2010

I have cool friends part 542

My friend Carol sent me a chemo kit.... How sweet! And warm! I love
it. She also tucked in some moisturizer. ( I'm thinking that given the
amount I use normally, I will now need to dip myself in a big vat on a
daily basis.)

She warned me that sometimes the treatment area is cold... so this
will be going with me next Tuesday. (mr C will probably have eaten the
last of the truffles by then)

Thanks Carol!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Temporary home

(Carrie Underwood's song "temporary home" is stuck in my head...)

I like my job. I recently had a whiff of a possible opportunity to go
back to the place I used to work. I don't think I will pursue it,
because I was very unhappy there, and don't want to go through being
laid off all over again.

And I like my job. There are things I miss, like covered parking and
lunch at a big table of laughing friends. But I don't miss the angst
of a company where re- orgs are frequent. Or the shitty traffic on the
drive in.

Every week I am learning a new topic (I know how to drive a tractor
trailer now, y'all) and I am damn good at finding typos, formattig
errors, and sloppy programming. One of the project managers called me
"too good" the other day. (I found problems with something previously
tested. The developer wanted to know why we didn't find the problems
in the last round. I said "I just got here". She knew I was kidding
- Heh.)

The people I'm working with are very nice to me, and they're allowing
me to navigate my good days and bad days and appointments without a
hassle.

And my J-fish is still alive and I still talk to him. :)

When I start to worry about whether the work is "hard enough" (which
goes to money) or about not having a cubicle of my own, or the fact
that I'm "just a temp" I remind myself that this is for now, and that
I can figure out later when later comes around.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Getting wiggy

So tonight I went with out with my friend. The same friend took me to
Happy Happy Fight for a manicure the day I got my diagnosis.

She made an appointment took me to a posh strip mall to try on wigs.
It won't be long before I'm rocking a cue ball and this makes Carly
Mucho sad.

We walked in and the woman who fits wigs took us to the back room. And
can I tell you ? I did not want to look like her. She had black hair.
Well, it was black on the top half and blonde on the bottom half. I
was not a fan of her lipstick either. Wrongity wrong color.

She left the room and I turned to my friend and said "seriously? Are
you punking me? Who is that girl?"

I need to not mock her any more because she was really great at her
job and helped me find something that looks very cute on me. It's
short and flippy with chunky highlights. My Facebook friends approve.

For laughs I tried on a very long, straight reddish wig. I sent a pic
to my daughter's phone and she sent back "I love you and all that jazz
but NO ". I sent it to my sister and she said
"that's ....interesting ...". Awesome.

I was frustrated because the woman who normally cuts my hair didn't
seem to understand that I wanted to be with my friend. I tried to talk
to her about ordering the one I had liked and she said it wasn't a
good line, people didn't like it, I should buy some scarves and so on.
I want hair!!! I don't want to be noticed at work by people I don't
know, with a scarf. I fucking want hair.

So my friend is going to help me order the wig, because I feel like I
need to do what makes ME happyhappy right now

I bought some stuff from Headcovers.com... For weekends and around the
house and so on. Soft little hats I can sew dragonfly iron-ons to..
And a denim hat, just something cute for Mia Porcha so I don't scare
my son, till he is used to the cue ball.

That's it, that's all... If you want to see the funny wig, you can
wade through my endless Twitters @Carlyq80 ...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tulips

See? All I wanted to do was look at the tulips. Really. ;-)

I know, I need to stop posting scribbled out pictures. (Is there a
website to analyze why I always doodle flowers?)

Ooh. I have to go draw a dragonfly.

Roses

These roses won't wilt.

My bad

It's called "glow painter pro" just in case you're interested.

Today I went to the dentist; my hygenist has known me a long time and
hugged me when she heard my news. The dentist was very nice too. How
does a Snarly girl like me have so much good Karma ?

I also looke at wigs and cute hats online. Headcovers.com has some
appealing stuff and some "Oh my gosh No" items too.

App of the day

Glow paint. Ooh. Ahh. iPhone.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Uh oh

I hate winter. And I'm really not happy that after dreading chemo
class for a few days now it is postponed. Oy.

It's snowing like crazy. Hopefully this week will be it and winter
will go away leave me alone. Kthanks.

Ps: Trish, can you email me that pattern at Carlyq80 at gmail dot com?
Thanks. I really appreciate it.

Smart

My kid is smart, but maybe not the way I'd prefer. ("plow the driveway
")

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday art

I bought this stuff at Michael's... It came with the six watercolor
pencils, the practice sheets with yellow outlines to "help"/ cheat,
and a book explaining how to use the watercolor pigment pencils. (I
bought some Reeves pencils too, which are there at the top, but the
main set was General's.)

It migt be a little bit "paint by number" but I had a good time. I
will "dabble" a little bit more. Heh.

Church today went well. Some of my choir friends helped ease my
worries about being bald and then gray... It's nice to have a few
extra moms taking care of me! I was glad I went as my normal alto
partner was AWOL so Stanley really needed me. We don't have as many
people as we used to. (Icky Dick seems to be snowbirding right now...
Lucky you P if you run into HIM. Feel free to run *over* him).

Moody

Mooody. Don't want to DO this. Of course, who DOES want chemo ? My
medical bills have topped $80,000 already. Thank god, my portion is
"only" about 4k.

I can't imagine doing this without the safety nets I have, fiscally
and emotionally. People have brought us food and sent me cards and
gifts. I got an American Cancer society cookbook yesterday from one of
my college roommates. It's got recipes to deal with the various side
effects that I could have.

I am really dreading the hair. My son asked last night while I
'tucked him in' if I would be bummed "if you lose your hair". I said,
well, I'm definitely going to, and yes I'm really bummed. I kicked
myself a few minutes later for not following with "but it will grow
back". But there's a guy at work who has a newly shaved head and I
pass by and see him and wonder how the ridges and bumps on my noggin
will look to my kids. And how many times I will swelter in a stupid
wig. I figure I'll be bald most of the summer.

I'm doubly frustrated because "it will grow back." BFD.... it won't
look at all like MY hair when it does grow back. You can't really
color your hair for a long time, according to my oncologist, it's too
fragile and it could all break off again. So I am going to look old
and gray when I stop wearing a wig, and I hate that. The one girly
luxury I have always had is that since the first grays appeared,
before I was even 25, I have colored my hair and always gotten
compliments on it.

So, that's the current grump. But it beats cellulitis, which omg you
DONT want to google just because your/my doctor mentions that's what
I REALLY had when I went for my little ambulance ride to the ER when
I had my incision open. Can. Not. Erase. Pictures. From. Brain.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Why hello

I've missed you. Let's go take my new friend ("my baby", the iPhone )
out to the garage where the treadmill is....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Geez

I haven't posted lately. Sorry! I average a whopping number of readers every day (not) ... but I appreciate all of you stopping by!


Things are progressing. I got the surgical drain out. It's nice to look down at myself and not see any form of open wound. FINALLY. My level of anxiety about it has dropped considerably. But... it's not looking great. Let's just say it's NOTICEABLE that a chunk was taken out.... the size of a walnut... in the shell. But I have to laugh that the "pointer" now goes about 10 degrees off center. Laugh or cry, kiddies. I promise not to post ANY photos. And I'm quite certain I DON'T want any reconstructive surgery, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday was another visit to Ye Old (well, my age) Oncologist. The plan is still the same. Four treatments, planned for three weeks apart. But my heart sank when he pulled up a chair and said "this is going to be a difficult conversation" and went through all the possible side effects of a controlled poisoning of little old me. I tried to let most of the " x, y, and z COULD happen" drift out of my head because he has assured me that my chemo will be low toxicity, and fairly tolerable, and so on. I just want it to be o-v-e-r. Now, please.

To be fair I did have an option to be much less aggressive and not have any chemo. But do you say to a surgeon, "Eh, don't wear gloves, just wash your hands" ?? No. In for a penny, in for a pound. Besides, having the chemo, he estimates drops me to only a 15% possibility of recurrence of breast cancer in my lifetime. Instead of 30%.

I also had a bookend option of about twice as much chemo, based on the fact that ONE lymph node had a few cells that had eked into it. I am not feeling the need to be SUPER aggressive. It seemed very much to me that he was strongly in favor of the middle of the road approach, and he even said so in so many words explaining that it was his duty to provide me all of the options, and that if it were his wife he would recommend the 4 / 3weeks option

We also talked about risks and, well, LIVING. As in, don't sit on the rocking chair and hide from the world. He literally said "Go OUT, take purell with you everywhere and do things to keep your spirits up." So that was nice to hear. I'm having trouble with that in a couple of relationships. I don't want to think about being sick all day every day and have people cross me off of plans automatically "because you're sick."

My friend (who had BC last year) posted about trying to remain YOU while you are in treatment and that explains my feelings well. I want to do the things I do, assuming I'm not tired or feverish on whatever day they roll around. I want to do art and sing and just not sit at home staring at myself saying "I'm sick."

The mirror is bothering me these days because I needed a trim to go back to work (I AM BACK TO WORK, KIDS!!! THE FISH IS STILL ALIVE...) and my hairdresser gave me a very short cut. I did give her permission to do it, and I understand her reason for asking to do that (it's an adjustment, and it will help me toward adjusting to having NO hair... and so on...) but when I see myself in the mirror I think "By St. Patrick's day or Easter I will be bald." My heart sinks. It looks pretty. But it looks sad to me too. Like when the leaves are beautiful colors in the fall, but you know it's just a matter of time till they're gone. And other dreck like that.

So I went back to work Wednesday (yesterday, but it seems like today was sooooo very long) ... my surgeon said it was fine and I was starting to feel bored and depressed from sitting home for four weeks, and broke... the first day I was disorganized, confused, and frustrated. And tired.

And I'm right back to zero with not having much in the way of conversation with the guys. They welcomed me back, of course, and were very nice about it. They're busy, that's all. I don't want to ask them to explain things to me that I know I CAN figure out, but I feel stupid muddling around in my current assignment. And my god, I would love to have a group of people to go have lunch with. This is the ultimate irony if you know me well enough to remember times I've said "I could NOT stand what X and Y were arguing about at lunch today...." at my old job. There were people in the group I really DID like going to lunch with, and I really miss them. (You. Not really Them. You know what I mean.)

So my plans are:
  • another surgeon appointment next week just to be SURE this tater heals :::sigh::: but I do love my surgeon, she is awesome, so I don't mind all that much
  • find new lunch friends for 3 or 4 days a week or reel my old faithfuls into some sort of regular rotations...
  • chemo class... to learn ALL ABOUT what to expect :::thud::::
  • more watercolor painting
  • get a bunch of pictures ordered from Snapfish before I forget completely that I took 500,000 photos last year and never printed any
  • trying at least one recipe from Pioneer Woman's cookbook before I start chemo
  • going to the gala I go to every year that has the huge head table loaded with chocolate desserts (I will manage to get there JUST before my chemo starts)
  • delete all my ipod playlists because they are a disorganized mess, and start over (too many are named AaaNew list and so on...)
  • damn, my car needs an oil change which SOMEHOW I FORGOT IN DECEMBER.
  • more books on Kindle - Water for Elephants was awesome
I think that will keep me busy....



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dear fish

Really? Today????

Really

... It's better to CLEAN OFF YOUR DESK first so that you have room to
work. What a mess!!!

Ps: bought watercolor pencils and can't wait to try them. If I can
manage not to lose them in this quagmire!

When making cards

For V Day at the last minute....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

So

I'm thinking I will get a wig like this once I go bald ... No?

Found art

Today I snuck out of the house alone for the first time in weeks. I
took myself to lunch and then over to wander around Michael's, where I
found this little suprise just sitting quietly on a roll of paper near
a display of colored pencils. I think I know the guy on the
picture. ;-)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Feeling better

I planted some bulbs last fall and found a few strays after I cleaned
everything up. They are looking promising.

I am feeling MUCH better. Hoping to go see Stanley and the rest of the
choir this weekend.

May actually go back to work next week- so you know I am feeling better!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Go west

This is Nikki Yanofsky, a 16-year-old Canadian singer, with a video of her Olympic theme song. A little schmaltz to stir in your morning coffee, but some of the scenery is really beautiful.



I almost moved to Oregon/ Seattle 20 years ago... my company had large data centers out there at the time. Sometimes I still wonder how things would have turned out for me, if I had.

But yay, the Olympics are starting tomorrow.*




*Or in other words, "thank god there's finally going to be something different on tv for a little while...I am so cabin-feverish..."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The exciting life I lead

Today I hung out on the couch all day. My incision feels like someone
clomped over my body wearing cleats or an old style set of
rollerskates. But I'm happy that the surgery is done.

My pc is not happy. Noton seems to have it all effed up. Irony, yes?
The CPU is just cranking away all day long. I wish it would behave!

One of the highlights of my day was seeing my friend's cute little
daughter. She only came in for a minute but I got a bunch of hugs. The
other day (hmmm, what day is it?) she had her tonsils and adenoids out
AND she got ear tubes. I sent her over some stickers and stencils and
stuff and she made me an early Valentine. Squeeeeeeee! She's so darn
cute.

The other highlight was cheeeeeeesecake. The real deal. Yum!

I have an exciting evening of tv ahead. Zzzzzz.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Answers

Got this off Jorge Garcia's blog...






And boy did it give me a headache... every week I try to explain to my son that I can't answer his questions... how do I just know that there will be three movies after the tv series "wraps up" ????


Sunday, February 07, 2010

A giant dubya tee eff

Why does the Stupor Bowl insist on rolling out old farts for the
halftime show??? Seriously. Why not someone young and now and
exciting??? Not songs from when I was in highschool for crying out loud.

Pffft. Legends.

Things I hate about the iPhone

I love my new phone. I really do. But there are a couple of things
that make me curse it on a regular basis.

This post is brought to you by the letter "M". At least it would be if
I could consistently type an M. I use an "OtterBox" silicone sleeve to
keep from dropping the damn thing. (And have fun with the name. Kinda
like the joke, I don't have my cherry anymore but I still have the box
it came in. But what is Otter slang for? Wait, an otter reminds me of
a .... Can you believe they sell these right in the AT & T store with
a straight face?) ANYWAY, which leads to my next pet peeve, the edge
juts out right near the edges of the screen of the phone. I catch my
thumb on it and either miss the M alltogether or hit the backspace
key, which is in a stupid place.

I'm sure plenty of people have blogged about no delete key or caps
lock. How can I yell at the Internets? Grrr.

The thing that drives me more consistently crazy is the auto rotate.
It spins when I don't want it to (like if I am lying on my side trying
to read, sometimes it flicks over and back if I don't hold the phone
just right) and there are times and apps I've said to myself, ok, flop
dammit, and it just doesn't. :::cue urge to test just how well
OtterBox protects phone, by flinging against wall:::

Given that I'm sleeping with it most nights, I wish the cord were much
longer. I need the iZenGarden to help me sleep (think waterfall or
rain or ocean waves) and it's hard to explain that visualizing
actually BEING in a beach house would be easier if the beach/ phone
weren't 2" from my head because the plug on the wall is in line with
my ear.

Also I would like to organize my pictures into folders. When I went to
the ER I handed the phone to my daughter and said "DONT mess with it
". Being a teenager she immediately messed with it. Hah, joke's on you
kid. There are pictures on there of my incisions because... I don't
know why. But she found them. ::::thud::: You should not see your
mom's ta-ta cut up and patched with purple surgical glue. I'm working
on finding a good therapist for her now.

My friend assures me that she too felt like takig pictures of her
scar. In her case it looked like an orchid leaf. Mine had a bruise
below it that looked like a Budweiser crown. But still, I'm sorry
kiddo! But hey, maybe if you did what I told you? ;-)

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Stolen

I have totally and completely stolen this from Grace over at Have You
Met Me. She is awesome and I love the graphics she designs for her
blog with quotable quotes. Stay warm Grace!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Moving forward

Finally today I had a GOOD day. The surgeon told me that she will fix my incision, and clear out the one remaining margin that was found in post op lab work, and that is all. There was a possibility of more nodes being removed under my right arm, and that is off the table now. I can't tell you how happy I am about that.


So I will have a procedure Tuesday that will be MUCH less involved than my original surgery. Then it will be on to healing, and doing chemo and radiation - it seems like the plan is still what I discussed with my oncologist and I think I can get through it ok. Bald, but ok.

I want you to know that I read your comments... I may not have 5,000 readers a day but I know many of my readers by name, and I like that. Any comments left come to me on my phone via email almost right after they're left for me, and I appreciate it SO MUCH when someone supports or encourages me.

I do agree with the advice to think about OTHER things besides cancer. I am working on learning photoshop (a friend of mine gave me access to the Kelby videos, which is awesome). I have the new Alton Brown and Ace of Cake books that I haven't really delved into, and I have a bunch of sheet music along with a piano and a guitar sitting here. Now that I don't have to look for a job I can tinker around when the kids aren't home. I hope to go back to work soon, and they have been awesome as well.

I saw someone being quoted about social media destroying our privacy. I have always felt that it is my job to only put things out on the internet that I am comfortable with ANYONE seeing. (...or to use a damn secret id, hahahaha.)

I have found Facebook to be a great way for me to reach out for support and encouragement when I need it most - whether it was the day I was depressed about my job hunt and posted "I need a hug, and a job" and got instant comments boosting me up, or the day I frantically sent messages to half of my friends with news I couldn't say out loud for days. A laugh and / or words of support are only as far away as my phone, and that is very comforting considering the amount of time I have spent alone in this house in the past year.

One last thing - how awesome was P!nk on the Grammy's ?One of my favorite songs ever, in an amazing acrobatic routine. If you have not seen that performance, GO AND FIND IT.... preferably on iTunes.



Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Checking in

Over the last few days I had a brief hospital stay for iv antibiotics.
I have now officially lost count of the number of people who have seen
my boobs, what day of the week it is, and even the month, for that
matter.

Sunday morning I woke up early, read a little, and then my incision
decided to open and let out high volumes of what via my vast medical
expertise i will simply call gunk. Nnnnnnot a good thing. The
Budweiser crown-shaped bruise had broken up, and there was an
infection, so I thought I was bleeding heavily and the end result was
two EMTs walking me out to an ambulance stretcher on a freezing
morning, kids crying, and the beginning of reciting my name and
birthdate 12,000 times.

(It was helpful to call my surgeon's service because they called ahead
to the ER and the admission process went very smoothly. I hope you
never need that handy hint)

I was fairly calm during the drama part. Still there was one point
after the ER surgeon had treated me (thanks for not waiting for the
morphine to kick in, you savage bastard) Mr. C held my hand while I
sobbed because I want to be normal again; I want to go to church that
morning and sing, and go to work this week and see my fish, and not
visit doctors and play What Next ?

I am grateful to the visiting nurses who will come twice a day for a
while to tend to this, so that I don't have to stay in the hospital.
Even if the first visit did take almost 3 hours. My friends seriously
need to build them a workflow app for all the initial paperwork.

I am grateful to my friends who came to see me and sit on my bed and
hold my hand and remind me that they love me, bad hairdo and all.

I am grateful that I slept well in my own bed last night, showered,
and ate nice food on my couch today.

And I am grateful for naps. I get plenty of 'em.