Sunday, December 20, 2009

Fished my wish

My oncologist says it is fine to have one CT scan per year now. We are doing well and there is no need for unnecessary radiation in my body. She said there is a recent study that too many X-rays can increase one's chance of secondary cancers. The magic number "they've" come up with is 15 in a lifetime, then, look out. I've counted 8 scans with cancer alone. Don't know how many I had before and predict 5-6 more in follow up. Not too worried, however, because I am already at increased risk for secondary cancers from radiation therapy. Although, "increased risk" is an ambiguous phrase. At any rate, I am happy to be cutting down to one per year.

Happy Holidays to all!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Latest CT Scan is Clean Again!

I am beginning to sound like a broken record. My December CT scans look just like previous CT scans - no changes - and that's good.

We were off to a good start when I only needed to be stuck once for the IV. That hasn't happened since I began chemo. It wasn't a clean stick, but I'm not about to be fussy given my track record.

I will be going to my oncologist appointment next week. Once again, I don't really see a need, except that I need her to tell me I can now get one CT scan a year. I am at the 2 year clean point and I think that earns me a reprieve.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Canceled my Oncologist appointment

I was supposed to see my oncologist yesterday for a check up. I didn't see the sense in spending the money. I've had several of these visits now and I can do all that she does myself! She asks me questions that I always answer "no" to and she feels my lymph nodes and spleen. I can feel my own lymph nodes and know by now what I'm feeling for. I'm much better at knowing my body and assessing my condition post cancer that I feel like I would catch anything she would in an appointment. Obviously, if I had concerns I'd go see her, but I don't. It can wait until my 6 month CT scan in Dec.

Friends have gaped at me when I tell them I've canceled my oncologist appointment and broke the traditional protocols. But, this is exactly what is wrong with our health care system. Doctors and hospitals over treat because financially it is in their favor, and we, the patients, are too afraid and/or ignorant to question them. It's only a $25 co-pay for me, but it's $300 for my insurance company. While I have no warm feelings for insurance companies, it's not fair for them to pay for something that is unnecessary. Their costs go up which in turn means my costs will too. I give them way too much already, thanks.

I am not afraid or ignorant of relapse because I've been through it once, right? I'm knowledgeable about lymphoma, but an expert on my body, which a doctor is not. I trust my judgement. The CT scans on the other hand allow us a view of the inside that neither I, nor my oncologist, can monitor. I do take those seriously. Again, if the scans are clean, I shouldn't need to make an appointment and see her. A phone call with the good news should be enough. If the scans are concerning, by all means make an appointment to discuss options face to face.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sailing vacation shortened

I dropped off one sick Sadie with my parents last Tuesday in preparation for our sailing vacation on Wednesday. She was on the mend actually, but it worked too well and her bowels swung to the other end of the spectrum. She went days without a BM, but on the third day we rejoiced.

That's not the reason we aborted our 4 day vacation on the 2nd day, though. There were several phone calls back and forth about Sadie's condition, but ultimately we knew she was in good hands and my parents would do everything they could for her.

We came home early due to the gloom and doom forecast about Hurricane Bill. They were talking big seas on Saturday and rain and thunderstorms likely Friday night through Sunday. Naturally, being prudent mariners, we decided to stay closer to home so we could be in on Friday. As it turns out, there was no rain on Friday night and Saturday was gorgeous. Seas did lump up on Sunday, so we would have wanted to be in no later than Saturday. Frustrating.

The two days we had were gorgeous, however. Wednesday night we had a great sail over to North Haven and picked up a mooring. We met some friends who live there for drinks and dinner at Nebo Lodge. Fantastic food and atmosphere! Would highly recommend a meal or a stay there. thinking about going back for our one year anniversary in October.

Thursday was still and hot. We circumnavigated Deer Isle and ended up at the top (or bottom. I can never get this orientation right.) of the Eggemoggin Reach in Buck's Harbor that evening. We motored most of the way and sailed the last bit under the bridge. This is a famously warm harbor for swimming, but we were shocked just how warm the water was there that afternoon. It was 73 degrees a passing boater told us! So, we staying in swimming, bathed, and floated to our hearts content. We had tacos for dinner and several schooners came into the harbor, so we bummed dessert from the Mercantile. Dennis' friend is the captain.

Friday morning was so foggy. We lounged around making bacon and eggs for breakfast, played a game of Rummy, rowed ashore to visit with the owners of the marina there (also friends of Dennis'). By 11 o'clock the fog was persisting and remember we thought we had to be home in Rockland this day, so we set sail into the gray abyss. There was a breeze, then there wasn't, then there was....until we got close enough to the shore of North Haven. Then visibility improved and we got the hottest, most tropical breeze. It was very unusual, so we thought for sure this must be Bill's influence, reaffirming our decision to high tail it home. Eventually we had to leave the shore and head out across the bay. the fog grew thicker and the breeze cooler. As we approached Rockland, the radio was alive with vessels giving security calls so we all knew how much traffic was out there and where they all were. We heard fog horns of varying strengths intermixed with the distinct blasts from the two lighthouses at the mouth of the harbor. There were ferries, cruise ships, and other sailing boats all navigating into or out of Rockland with us. At one point we could hear voices, but could not see the vessel they were on! Sailing in fog certainly keeps you on your toes.

We pulled into the south end around 5:30-6pm, pulled all our wet stuff off the boat, and headed home to our warm, comfy bed. We both fell asleep on the couch that night. It was a good vacation even if we did listen to the weatherman and he was wrong. Better than not listening and he was right.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Finding Facebook

Recently I was coerced to join the famous social networking site Facebook. Didn't want to, but glad I did. I can see why it is a runaway success. You get to be a voyeur into your friends' lives, update your friends and family quickly and easily with just a couple lines of text, and you choose to talk or not. Talking is generally one liners or very small paragraphs. No, conversations are not deep or detailed, but it's better than a year of silence amongst friends because time gets away from us or we never have the time for a 2 hour "catch up" conversation.

So, that's where I've been. Facebook is the new blog. Friend me and get information faster than here. For instance, my sister had a baby girl five days ago. It's been all over Facebook with photos and details from minute one. (Melanie and Sean are avid FB users.) Her name is Isabella Deni Rodriguez and she weighed in at 6 lbs. 13oz. and 19 inches long. She is healthy and happily at home now after a false positive at the hospital for a bacterial infection that kept her there overnight while Mommy and Daddy went home. Mel said it was the worst night of her life to have to leave Izzy.

Last night we Skyped with the Rodriguez clan in NJ so we could see her "in action". She made some faces when Sean played with her mouth and opened her eyes to sneak a peak only once in 45 minutes. Otherwise she was still and sleeping, but fascinating to watch, nonetheless. I am just smitten, I guess.

Dennis and I are well. Arranging financing to do an addition this fall. we'd like to build an attached mudroom & garage. Half of the work we'll be doing ourselves. I am still dog walking and pet sitting, Dennis is working at SPS and as captain of a schooner in Boothbay Harbor two days a week. that last job keeps him sane. We've been daysailing on our boat, but itching to do an overnight. There's just no time off for us! However, we are hoping to take a short sailing vacation August 16 - 20. Then, we are going to NJ to see the precious girl over Labor Day.

Take Care everyone and really, there's more stuff to fill the gaps on FB.

Monday, June 1, 2009

She's Clean Folks!

Sis has been super busy with work (running a successful business will do that to you). She hasn't had time to update her blog in eons, so I figured I'd take a moment to post a very important announcement: Her latest scan's CLEAN!

I'm hoping she gets a dog transport gig that'll bring her down to Connecticut in a few weeks, because then she said since she's so close, she'll visit me, too!

She and Dennis have been planning their new garage and mudroom project and last weekend they attended a healthcare rally. Good stuff.

Here's hoping you all are doing well!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

in brief

Hey there. Really quickly while I have a few moments - a brief update. My dog is still cute. Business is very good, especially this week, with school vacation. Not getting to snowboard as much as I'd like. But that's what Montana is for, I suppose. We are going on this Montana vacation in two weeks. Doesn't seem possible because I am so focused on what needs to happen right now. We keep hearing great things about Bozeman. I know it'll be awesome.

Dennis is still at his job, still not liking it. But, he's been more on the ball about looking for a boat. In fact, we drove up to Addison, Maine last Friday to look at a boat in progress. It is far away from being a boat, but it has frames and planking has begun. You can get a sense of her size and her size is good for running a windjammer business. It's just such a huge, expensive proposition and the seller is asking too much for it as she is. I don't care if we don't find the right boat right away. I'm just grateful that Dennis is making these motions. At least I know he really is thinking about his/our future and being ambitious.

My granddad is turning 90 this month. My sister's baby is the size of an avocado. That's about all the time I have folks. Sorry for the abruptness. As always, I'll post more ... uh, later.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

destruction & construction in NJ

I've just gotten home from a long weekend at Sis's house in NJ. It was my working vacation - my RENOVA-CATION, if you will.
I'll explain, but first, we need to take a few steps back.

My sister and her husband are pregnant! I have not been holding out on you. I was held to secrecy against my will until just recently. She is in her second trimester and baby is doing great. So is Mama. Lucky woman did not get morning sickness. We are affectionately calling the baby "tadpole", still, even though he/she is now much bigger than a lime. It's just kinda stuck. Dunno why.

So, that said, Mel and Sean are doing some home renovating to make room for tadpole. They had this sunroom that was a 3-season porch at best. It was their intent to make that into a true living space and move the office. Then the office could be the guest bedroom, and the guest bedroom upstairs would become the baby's room.

So, Dennis packed up the Mazda with tools, vacuum, and guitar and we drove down to NJ last Friday night together. We arrived at 11:30pm. Started in on destroying the room the next day. It went well except for the rotten wall we discovered from water and termite damage. There were plants thriving in the disintegrated wood dust of timbers that were no more. Nonetheless, we felt accomplished and sore by the end of the day.

Sunday, we rebuilt that rotten wall and installed one of the four windows. It took all friggin' day. That was a bit disheartening and just like that we were off our schedule. But that was the worst wall and perhaps we could make up time on Monday.

Melanie was home with us Monday and Tuesday. The news got worse on Monday when we moved around the corner and discovered more rot and that the windows were all a bit too big. They were special orders and we HAD to make them work. Another day, another window.

Tuesday was my last day there and I only had unit 1pm. I had to catch a flight out of JFK for Portland at 3:50. Good news was that each successive wall was less rotten and less of it needed replacing. Bad news was that we were hoping to not touch the exterior shingles and it looks like they will be replacing all of them. By the time we removed shingles to fix rot and to fit the big windows, most of them were off anyway. Oh, and it was snowing on Tuesday. But, whatever, Dennis and I put all our windows in on cold, snowy days.

Miraculously, we put in the remaining two windows before 1, just barely. Melanie made us all sandwiches and we had a nice picnic in the car as we drove through the city.

Dennis is still in NJ plugging away at this renovation. He is way behind schedule and will likely be there into next week. It's a much bigger project than any of us imagined, but it will be a bright, cheery, toasty room when it is complete. Most importantly, it won't be rotten and falling down. At this point, it is sturdier and more water tight than it has ever been in it's lifetime. Dennis said that an actual contractor would have advised them to tear it all down and start the room over.

So, I'm batching it this week. Just me and the dog. I'll like it tonight, but I'm sure I'll miss him by tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy New Year

Did the holidays seem to last a long time this year? I don't mean the retail push of Christmas in October, but the actual days we celebrated. No complaints here. It was great to be able to visit both families and spend several days with my sister and her husband. There was a warm up in the Northeast with rain and fog, so we spent our time indoors eating, watching movies, and playing games (Dance Dance & Scrabble). Fun stuff!

The New Year was fairly quite for us. We did go to a New Year's Eve party, but in typical Candace and Dennis fashion we called it a night before midnight. The party was lively, good food, and we talked extensively about skiing with a couple from Bethel. Alas, it was not enough to keep these fogies out all night. Besides, I was "working". We were taking care of a dog in our home for the week. So, we came home to the dogs, popped open a bottle of champagne that we couldn't remember when we got it or why, and toasted in the New Year on our sofa with the TV on. It was freakin' freezing (wind chill minus!) and we felt so sorry for the poor saps in Times Square. What on earth possesses people to call that fun?

The dogs were having their own New Years Eve celebration with some rowdy play fighting. Here's a shot of them just before midnight when on normal nights they are dead asleep.
Now it's back to the daily grind. We had the wheel bearing go on our Mazda while it sat for a week over Christmas. Because of the New Year holiday, it took over a week to get it repaired. No biggie. We managed just fine as a one car family. I enjoyed the routine of taking Dennis to work and picking him up.
I got my first ever facial. It was very relaxing until she started picking. "Extractions" they call it in the biz. Apparently I haven't been drinking enough water which causes some skin issues. I already knew I wasn't drinking enough. I could feel it elsewhere in my body. My day gets so busy sometimes that I don't have time to sip the water I bring with me. So, my number one resolution for 2009 is to hydrate more.

The pellet stove contributes to the dryness in the house. We are burning pellets primarily for heat because it is better for the environment - cleaner emissions. With oil prices down, It's not so much cheaper like it seemed it would be back in the summer. You'd think the pellet prices would fall as well, but so far we haven't seen it. Here's a bad photo taken with my computer's camera of our lovely stove. She's such a part of our daily lives, I think she needs a name. What shall we call her?

I hope everyone has a happy, healthy 2009 and that you've all made your new year's resolutions/goals. It's good to have goals, big and small, to strive toward. Never stop experimenting with bettering yourself, your life and the lives of those around you.