Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On Always Being Behind In Electronics Purchases & Tongues & Scalps

We (as in Hubby and I) have always been behind the electronics power curve. We'd just assume wait until the models get better and the prices go down.

Plus we're kind of electronics wimps.

We didn't get our first VCR until 1991. It seems like everyone we knew had them already.

Answering machine — we didn't get one of those until 1998-ish. I couldn't stand to leave messages on them, so I didn't want one.

Now, people make fun of me for the length of messages I leave. I have no one to stop me from talking!

Our camera — film. Until recently. We loved our film camera and had a couple of extra lenses for it. We had purchased the girls small digital cameras that have been the source of the majority of my blog photos for the last couple of years. I borrowed their cameras a lot.

Until now.

A few months ago (about one month before my breast cancer diagnosis) we purchased a very nice digital camera with an extra zoom lens. Hubby had been saving leftover money from his business trips to purchase it.

I've now become a heavy clicker. I take lots of pictures when I'm photographing the birds in our back yard to try and get the best ones. Because of course the beauty is that you can delete everything you don't want.

In being a heavy clicker, I've gotten some great, if not unusual, shots of some of the birds. Specifically, their tongues. Here is the male red-bellied woodpecker. The first two are tongue shots and the last two you can actually see spit.

These next two pictures are a female oriole the first day we saw her when she migrated in. She's licking her lips/beak in the first one. The second picture also has some orange hanging out.

These next two are the female red-bellied woodpecker. It's a little harder to see her tongue in the first one than it was of the male in the earlier pictures. Her tongue is dark. The second picture we got spit again.

The blue jays aren't really showing their tongues, but I thought they were some cool shots of the one bird feeding the other.

And just to mix things up, this molting cardinal is how I'm feeling about now. Or maybe I should say looking like.

How ironic that he just showed up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Even Moms Say The Funniest Things

My mom and stepdad are in Texarkana for my (deceased) grandpa's army reunion. It's a WWII group and there are fewer of them every year. My parents are honorary members and go every year.

So today my mom called to check on me and to see if I still had my hair (it's been one week since my treatment).

I told her I thought the inch I have would probably go today or tomorrow.

While we were on the phone, I asked her if she remembered it was my anniversary.

She said she didn't, but that if she was home with her calendar she would. Or at least she thought she had it written down and would.

She apologized and wished me a happy anniversary.

I asked her if she knew how many years I'd been married. She said, "Let me get my purse."

I told her to guess without getting it.

She said, "Forty...."

Me: "I'm only 45!"

My mom: "How many is it then?" (I'm wondering if she realizes that I'd have to be her age to be married that long...)

Me: "26 years."

My mom: "Would you believe me if I told you I was trying to be funny?" With a giggle.

Me: "No!"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Bird On The Pants Must Be Worth Three In The Bush

Early this afternoon the boys looked out the back door and saw a female downy woodpecker in the prone position in the grass. She was on her tummy, not her back, and we were on the phone with Hubby at the time.

Chaos nearly ensued.

As Hubby is googling to see exactly what we need to do, we notice that she slightly moved and was blinking. Her wings were close to her body and did not appear to be damaged.

Our instructions were to go outside, check the wings to make sure they were okay (our previous visual check was the most we did there!), make sure the eyes looked okay, and then see if the bird would perch on a limb. If it did, we were to let it recover on its own.

Buddy and I went outside, me finding a short stick and him to touch the bird. He scooped her up and, although shaky, she sat on the stick. I passed it off and ran inside to get the camera and a bowl of water, because the poor thing looked thirsty. And it was the perfect photo opportunity.

I poured a little water between her beak and she drank. Then when we decided to sit her and her limb in the box we took outside she ended up on Buddy.

Me: "Where'd the bird go?!"

Buddy: "It's on my pants!"

Of course we were being quiet, so I wasn't sure if he said 'in' or 'on' at first.

The bird did not want back on the stick. And thankfully it didn't peck. Although Caboose's play-by-play to Hubby apparently included, "It's pecking Buddy's crotch!" He has a little more imagination than some of us.

She was just very appreciative, I think.

We didn't want her to fall.

And then she flew off on her own.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Quick Update

My first treatment didn't go as well as I'd hoped. I've been rather sick and had to go back in the day after my treatment for a bag of fluids and some extra meds to fight off the throwing up. They plan to do my pre-medication a little different next time.

I've had five or six crackers, a tub and a half of those little Jello's, two bites of banana, and a little bit of leftover frozen smoothie. The smoothie is the only thing that goes down without me gagging. That's what I've had since Wednesday. Pretty pathetic pickings.

Ginger Ale is my new friend, too.

It's time for my kids to do something funny to tell you about!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sweet Surprise!

Today I got a sweet surprise in the mail. It was from Ria in Holland.

This little charm was so perfect! Ria wouldn't even know because I haven't posted about it yet, but I have a charm bracelet from my childhood, and I've been adding charms to it here and there. I just asked Hubby a couple of days ago if I could get a new charm to add to my bracelet for each treatment I receive.

Of course he said I could.

One of the charms I've been looking around for is a simple flower or daisy shape. And look what Ria sent! It's already on my bracelet. Thank you, Ria!

I'll take a picture of my bracelet soon and share it too.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

To Remember...Because You Never Know

Since my hair will fall out with my chemotherapy, we are having it cut off except for an inch or so next Tuesday prior to my first chemo treatment on Wednesday.

And even though you don't hear about people having curly hair grow back straight, just straight growing back curly, I've been told it could grow back in a different color or texture. There are just a lot of things we don't really know. Only God knows.

And since we haven't had a family picture taken for a few years, and so we have a picture before it's gone, we had a friend take some family (and couple) shots outside last night with our new camera we got a couple of months ago. I thought I'd share a few with you.

Something was funny. I don't know what, but at least I was laughing and not crying. I've done my fair share of that over the last month!

Hubby did this once spontaneously while we were taking the pictures, so Rebekah had him do it again for a picture.

There is always the requisite goofy shot. How ironic that without any planning all three girls would have their tongues stuck out!

This was one of my favorites.

Well, that one and maybe this one.

The kids will be thrilled I didn't show you the one where Rebekah had us kiss. ;)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I call it a "Tooth Island."

Only our youngest would come up with that one. None of us had even heard this label until Hubby got home and Caboose was showing it to him.

Only our youngest would be clowning around most of the time while I was trying to take a picture of the "Tooth Island."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Brutal Honesty

I've put off writing this post. Partly because I needed to get a handle on my emotions, and partly because I simply didn't want to do it. It's ugly.

Two weeks ago on May 18th I had surgery to remove the breast cancer and some lymph nodes. It was a long procedure by the time it was all done, but it was outpatient and I came home that day.

The surgeon successfully removed the cancer with clear margins, although we found out later the margins were very small. He also removed four sentinel nodes (lymph nodes they light up because of nuclear injection ahead of time to determine the drainage pattern and those most likely affected) and five other nodes. They all tested negative. We found out late on Friday the 20th and thought chemotherapy would not be necessary.

We met with the surgeon for a follow-up on Monday the 23rd. When I asked him specifically just to clarify my assumption on chemotherapy, he said there was a slight possibility and that he and the oncologist would be reviewing the slides from the surgery, etc. I had an appointment with her on Wednesday the 25th. Even though I still had a niggling worry, Hubby kept saying it was slight.

That appointment with the oncologist was something that I can't even put into words as far as my emotions go. We basically found out that the tumor was twice as large as they originally thought, so it was 2.2 cm. There was also an additional test that my original biopsy sample had been sent off to have performed. It's for HER2, and the first pathology test was inconclusive, showing it neither positive or negative and indicating the need for the FISH test. The FISH test results were back and showed that my breast cancer was also HER2 positive. This indicates an aggressive cancer.

So I was officially labeled Stage IIA (T2N0M0) with a 2.2 cm tumor, no node involvement, no metastasis, ER+, PR+, and HER2+. We still caught it early, but I'm getting ready to go through the ringer.

We go back to the oncologist today since I was a little too upset to agree to anything last week. Soon I will be getting a port put in surgically. Her plan is to leave it in for a year and a half. That will allow me to get six months of chemotherapy, four treatments three weeks apart followed by 12 weekly treatments. Then I will receive herceptin for the HER2 which is given once a month for a year. It has it's own nasty set of side effects. Somewhere in there I will start radiation. Tamoxifen for five years is still part of the plan for the ER+/PR+ aspect of the cancer.

So these are the medical facts. I can't even begin to put my emotions into words here right now.
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