Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Doctor's Visit

For all of you eagerly waiting to hear...the radiation did what it was supposed to do (besides give me "the exhaustion!)...the brain tumors shrunk in size. They did discover a very minute spot in the area of the tumor they removed in March, but are not going to worry about that at this time. I'm not exactly a candidate for the gamma knife treatment, although it might be an option.

I also have that lesion on my lung that has grown a bit. The hoarseness I've been experiencing is the lymph node swelling around that area and some nerve that lives there (the vocal cords, not the lung).

My choices are to carry on, or receive chemo-therapy aimed at getting the lung lesion...but, because the chemo leaves me drained of any energy I might have, it diminishes the quality of life.

I need to think hard and talk things over with my hubby and kids.

So...the doctor's visit went well in my opinion. Evidently, my oncologist said I've gone further than he would have and did imagine. Tomorrow will be six months since the tumor was removed. Hooray for me!

Maybe I will get more of these boxes unloaded and sorted after all!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I often drag myself up here with my first cup of coffee and read my favorite blogs. Every once in a while there's a surprise waiting. Usually, a new screen saver picture, something dear to my heart that makes me smile, laugh, or spit coffee on the screen.

This morning there was a pile of mardi gras beads from Di's latest trip to Vegas. I must remember to ask what she did to get them! Then again, maybe I don't want to know!

I've taken to hanging beads from the Wisteria that wraps around our front porch. I like the way they sparkle in the sunlight. Yes, I know they fade...but nothing is forever! Things that seem simple, like the beads on the keyboard, give me great pleasure! A photograph of a giant tortoise eating watermelon make me smile.

Crap, waking up and hearing wind and rain make me happy-I made it to another day!

Wednesday I get the results of those scans. I'm really not sure I care. The fact of the matter is, you get up, choose your attitude (hopefully you choose to make it a good one) and you proceed with your day.

My days are full of piles and boxes right now. Remembering children's laughter as I look at old photographs, smiling at "love notes", wishing I could smell Mel's head (I know it's weird...when she lived in town I would go to her house when she was gone and climb in one of the girls beds and breath deeply, always leaving hers for last). I watch and feel my grown kids do the same to me now.

Procrastination aside, I must get some food in me, hang my new beads and finish boxing up the photographs so I'm ready for more when Jake rises.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Piles and Boxes!

This has become my life. It includes my grandfathers and his mother and fathers also. I have spent the last three days going through boxes of my personal photos and putting them in piles. There's the immediate family piles, the individual children piles, the individual grand kid get the picture now don't you?!

I can't bend down too low for too long. Squatting is out of the question. I get hubby and Jake the Snake to haul one box downstairs to work on as "down time"...after all we now have a zillion television channels to choose from and dvr (I can't use it until I read that part of the big fat instruction booklet-MY RULE!)

Anyway, the weather has gotten cold and wet here and this is what I've chosen to do with my time. There are several reasons. It's one of those things that one (or I) can put off for a life time and I no longer have the life time I imagined I would have.

I'm having Di and Jay take their individual boxes now. Mel will eventually be back up. If she drives, she can haul it back herself. Otherwise Jay and Christy now have dry, protected space in their barn...thanks to Jake's hard work!

I have no problem making the piles...I have one pile "to fight over"...I really hope they don't fight...they can't really, there's more than enough for each of them to get.

It's been fun though...reliving the day of the picture taking. I can always tell if the smiles are genuine or not. Di snarls quite a bit when caught with the camera pointing at her...I love it...that's who she is...she actually turned her back on the audience at a school performance in first or second grade because she realized it was being taped. All you see of her is her long dark braids...I didn't purchase the tape.

It looks like I made some progress to me. Soon I'll be able to reach all corners of the room. The things I want near me until the end will have some tape on the back with the name of who I would like to give it to. (Yes, Mel, the mountain pics are yours!)

Now that I've taken this time to rest and blog, I'd better get back to work!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Made It! Tests over!

Thank you dear friends for helping keep me calm...believe it or not, I didn't wake up until eight o'clock this morning and I was still wobbly! I barely remember being helped to my husband in the waiting area...I do remember the walls kept getting in the way. I have no recollection of the ride home (it's about 1.5-2 hours)...what I do remember was having to pee and wanting my bed!

I'm not sure how my husband got me from the car to the bed. I'm not sure if I used the pants were dry, so don't think I wet myself (or care). Evidently I wrapped the bed covers over me, because I was woken after dark sometime and told to get under the covers with or without clothes, just do it! I guess it was his bedtime...I started to question him about where dinner was but fell asleep mid-sentence.

Anyway, I survived, didn't abuse anyone, and we'll find out a week from today "where we stand".

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Notes from the MONSTER CHILD

A few weeks ago, this is what my youngest sent me......can you say AWWWWWWWWWWW!

I love you more than pickles and pug dogs put together.
Dianna Amadio

And yes, she always signs her last name; I really don't know why. Her sister and brother always speculate...I don't think I ever asked why she does that...there is no other Dianna here...I don't even call her Dianna unless I'm being stern. (If I add her middle name when I'm talking, it's serious business.) Usually I call her Di, or MONSTER CHILD.


As most of you know, I was diagnosed with terminal cancer earlier this year. I have a lesion on my left lung with mets to the brain. I had seven tumors and the largest and most aggressive was successfully removed, six remained, untouchable without destroying me. I have had radiation therapy which left me bald and exhausted, beyond description.

Tomorrow I return to the hospital for a CAT Scan and an MRI to see what the radiation accomplished and what's going on inside my noggin. Neither one of these tests are invasive, but scare the hell out me none the less! I have two little anti-anxiety pills to take, AND WILL, to save the sanity of my husband, the techs, and myself.

What I need from all of you are positive thoughts and prayers again. Specifically because I'm a big fat baby and don't like getting shoved down a bright loud tube head first! We have to be at the hospital at 9:30 in the morning (Pacific Time) and the tests should take an hour or two.

I've been through this before, I know the routine, but I HATE IT! I HATE IT! I HATE IT!

Childhood Cancer Awareness-Act Now!

I "borrowed" this (with permission, of course) from my dear cyber friend Michelle Kemper Brownlow, most of you are familiar with her blog and her generous spirit.

it's 4 the kids


Did you know?
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?

This is why...
*Each school day, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer.

*On the average 12,500 children and teens will be diagnosed with some form of cancer each year in this country.

*One in 330 children will develop cancer by age 20.

*Although the 5 year survival rate is steadily increasing, one quarter of children will die 5 years from the time of diagnosis.

*Cancer remains the #1 disease killer of America's children - more than Cystic Fibrosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Asthma and AIDS combined.

*In the U.S. almost 3,000 children do not survive cancer each year.

*Over the past two decades, only ONE new cancer drug has been approved for pediatric use.

*Currently there are between 30-40,000 children undergoing cancer treatment in the U.S.

*As a nation, we spend over $14 BILLION (that's with a B!!!) per year on the space program, but only $35 MILLION on Childhood Cancer Research each year.

*There are 15 children diagnosed with cancer for every one child diagnosed with pediatric AIDS. Yet, the U.S. invests approximiately $595,000 for research per victim of pediatric AIDS and only $20,000 for each victim of childhood cancer.

*Research funds are scarce as most money is diverted to well-publicized adult forms of cancer, such as breast and prostate.

*Right now, this second, somewhere in America, there are 7 children fighting for their lives who won't live through the day.

If you want to make a difference watch THIS VIDEO. Don't turn your back. They need you. They need you NOW!

FWD this to everyone in your address book and know you may have saved a little life tonight.

Monday, September 8, 2008

A note from my oldest daughter

Talk about a mother's dream! Over time each of my kids has pleasantly surprised me with their wisdom and kindness...things I've bonked them over the head throughout their lives over and over again, hoping they remember. Below is a letter I received from my oldest, Melissa Marie, First Born Child of My Loins, aka Mel Gyver, Problem Solver Extraordinaire.

If you have the time and want to contribute to her endeavor, please leave a comment and I will forward it to her.

"I was talking to my mom today about how there are so many things that I wish I knew in my twenties. Simple things, like keep a roll of duck tape on hand at all times. Both in your car and at home. Tell people what you need. Stuff like that. Stuff that seems so simple and obvious but somehow, it takes us all trauma and drama to learn. So I got to thinking. I've been making mental lists lately of stuff to teach the girls (how to change a tire, put on snow chains, jump a car battery...)stuff to always have when camping, stuff to stock in my kitchen, things like that. After talking to my mom and then watching Whoopi show her favorite things on The View...I started typing up my lists.

Then I starting thinking even more. As most of you know, my lovely mother has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Everyday, multiple times a day, I do or say something that my mother has taught me. Simple stuff like doing laundry and big stuff like dealing with angry teenagers. Now that I know I cannot take for granted that my mother is always just going to be a phone call away, I desperately try to recall what she would have said or done about common tasks or situations more and more on a daily basis. Almost as though I am trying to chronicle what she has taught me in my life to one day pass on to my girls...but I think that it is bigger than that. One thing my mother always did was surround me with strong women in my life...and I learned from all of them. I really want to try to capture that as a testament to my mother, friends, role models and ourselves as women and how we live our lives.

So now I have this crazy idea. I have attached my free form list in a Word document. Will you please read my list and add anything and everything you feel should be added. Right now it is really just simple stuff like what to keep in your kitchen and the multiple uses of plastic bags, but I want it to be more. Any tidbit of wisdom you've learned in life that you wish you would have learned sooner or that you were just glad you learned at all. Don't be shy, anything goes. My only rule is that you don't DELETE ANYTHING. You can add your two cents to any previously posted item but don't change it or delete it. I've formatted the document to track changes so I can see what has been added and eventually begin to organize it into sections. Please save your additions and send it back to me.

Please send it to women that you trust, respect and feel have something to contribute and have them do the same. I want to see what happens with this. I know that you all are busy and that chain mail shit is obnoxious but that's not what I'm trying to do here. I really want to take these lists and see how they evolve. Eventually, I'd like to work this into book form. Sort of a compilation of things that women learn through life that someone should have told us at twenty.

So I thank you my friends and I hope to hear from all of you!


I think I'll go outside and enjoy the sunshine, smile, and give thanks for another great day!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"The Monster"

After a bit of rest, I feel somewhat recovered from our trip to the Oregon State Fair on Sunday. Here's the Childhood Cancer site. Please go there and familiarize yourself with it. Sign their petitions. Donate some time or money. You won't be sorry!

Visit People Against Childhood Cancer at:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September is....


Please remember thousands of children and their families in your prayers and giving...go to Google and type in CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH and take some sort of action to stop this monster.

I once asked my Great Grandmother what was the worst thing she experienced in her life and she responded by saying "burying my babies". Being eight months pregnant with my youngest daughter at the time, I never forgot her words.

Having been diagnosed with cancer with metastatic brain tumors within the last six months, having survived brain surgery, radiation, and all the fun that goes with it; I think of the children that are going through the same thing and their parents and siblings.

Please, please, please...get involved!