March 31, 2009
Today, Tuesday, March 31st I am headed for the hospital to the “day surgery”center. They will “twilight” sedate me, cut a slit in my boney chest, add a device called a portacath and insert a tube -catheter into my Vena Cava (Yes, that is a major heart artery) and then sew me back up! Then anytime blood is needed or it’s time to give me chemo, they will just put the needle into the device and voila! no more damaging my veins.
But I do have to say, that anytime I have had to have blood drawn the “blood drawer” always loved my nice full, fat veins, because I have alway been one to drink lots of water and that pumps up your veins. Remember that the next time you need to have blood drawn —Hydrate!!!
March 29, 2009
I have a girlfriend in Kansas and we usually talk and email back and forth about how we feel about the American Idol contestants. It is a lot of fun and we enjoy the banter and the groaning and the “could you believe that…”.
This year we haven’t had the chance to discuss the contestants very much –well actually not at all! And so, Portland Firefly is going out on a limb and making her prediction for the three top finalists of this season of AI.
I am predicting that Adam Lambert will win. He has been a star from the beginning and besides, I do love those bad boys!!! Second, or possibly taking it away from Adam will be (can you believe she is only 16 years old?) Allison. Wow, what a voice and such a performer. In third will be Anoop-dog. He is just so likable and talented. So, the A’s have it! If Alicia was still around I would have put her in that group, too and not because her name starts with A, but because she is talented.
PS: After watching another week of AI, Portland Firefly has to agree with Janelle and Melissa that yes, Danny will be in the top three. Adam, Allison, & Danny. In that order.
March 28, 2009
Earth Hour 2009. On Saturday, March 28th from 8:30 to 9:30 pm local time, wherever you live in the world, millions of individuals, companies and communities worldwide will turn off non-essential lighting to show support for action on global climate change. www.EarthHour.org .
I plan on lighting a candle or sitting by the fireplace or I may go to a dance!
March 27, 2009
I did it on Wednesday. I figured that I only had two more weeks of hair, so I’d better get going if I was going to do it at all. I went to 4 stores to find the purple dye. Every other color was available except purple; it seems purple is “very popular” in Portland!
My Daughter has her own company called The Purple Tornado. She has had purple hair for many years and it totally suits her. I have wanted to try purple hair for many years, but never had the nerve . “OMG, what would people think???!!!” Now, I don’t care what they think. It will all fall out soon anyway! Anyway, she gave me all the “motherly” hints for properly dying my hair and I’m glad she did.
The two products that she recommended are not available here, so I ended up purchasing something else called Splat. And when I rinsed it out of my hair I know where the name came from; the purple color went SPLAT! in the tub!
It was a really messy project and I would have it done at the the beauty shop if I ever did it again. But this time I just could not justify spending $60 for two weeks. Because I colored over my light brown hair, the purple has some depth to it as well as highlights where my hair was highlighted, so there are several shades of purple, which I think looks far better that one flat shade. It is a deep, vibrant bright purple/violet. And I like it even if it isn’t “my most flattering hair color!” I wonder what my Grandson will think!! It will be fun to see his reaction since he is only 1 year old and very observant. The most interesting comment I got was the old standby ” It really brings out your eyes.”! Finally a bit of color in what has become a sombre weblog! Let’s keep it colorful!
Yes, that is the color! Splat!
I’m starting to really like it!!!!
I have had many friends ask me to explain exactly what kind of cancer I have and I am taking this opportunity to do so. My diagnosis is Primary Peritoneal Cancer. It is a type of Ovarian cancer. It is rare and a very aggressive cancer. As you know I noticed my symptoms almost immediately and sought medical help within about 4 weeks. That doesn’t mean anything at this point. No, it does not mean that “we caught it early”. I would like to believe that, but I don’t think it is true. This is an aggressive and deadly cancer.
OK… Ovarian Cancer / Primary Peritoneal Cancer. What is that???? Ovarian Cancer is cancer of the ovaries…. easy enough. It is the same cancer that killed Gilda Radner within months because it is so difficult to diagnose. More than a year ago, I had a complete hysterectomy including removal of the ovaries (specifically so I would not get ovarian cancer). So, how can I have ovarian cancer? We wondered that, too. Here is the explanation.
The fallopian tubes, the ovaries and the peritoneum (the lining of the abdomen) are all comprised of the same type of cells. Since I no longer have my ovaries, the cancer is in my peritoneum which is the interior lining of the abdomen –not my stomach, not my intestines, the abdominal lining. I have yet to find out how they think I got it. The doctor said that the cells just started to mutate into cancerous cells.
When the fluid was drained from my abdomen two weeks ago, they ran tests on it and it showed a presence of cancer cells. Then they did a blood test. It was one of the last tests they did before I left the hospital two weeks ago. The test that is done is a CA125. It checks for the presence of cancer in these cells; specifically ovarian/peritoneal cancer cells. A normal reading is 30 or below. My initial CA125 reading was over 2,000. This will always be my “baseline CA125″. That number will tell us if I am winning the battle. The closer the CA125 gets to 30, the better the prognosis for me; not such good news if the CA125 spikes much higher. Although levels are known to be as high as 20,000 (10 times more than mine), I do not want to see my levels go up at all. In fact, I would like to see the CA125 level plummet to 1,000 by the time I have my next blood test.
I hope this helps to answer some of your questions about this rare, aggressive cancer. For more information click on these links below. The second link to ovarian cancer will give the symptoms, which are the same for both diseases. I cannot stress the importance of seeking IMMEDIATE medical help if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
March 26, 2009
No, this is not about the ocean or any ship. It is a medical device that will be installed into my chest. Actually it is sort of like science fiction. I will be sedated and an incision will be made in my upper chest wall. A device will be inserted between the skin and the muscle. It will have a tube on it that will be inserted into my VenaCava. Then there is a “plug with a hole in it” that my chemo will be administered into and blood can be drawn from it. All without sticking me in the arm veins anymore. Pretty cool!
Please remember me in your prayers on Tuesday at 11:00, the time scheduled for the procedure; I’ll be at the hospital long before that for sedation, so you can start praying anytime….
March 25, 2009
My goal for this week is to be able to drive myself to the doctors for blood tests on Thursday. After that, I am to attend “chemo class” at the hospital. I guess it is 2 hours of information and answering questions. Usually someone would attend the class before starting chemo, but …. I didn’t have that luxury. My loving Daughter-in-Law will come along and take notes for me so all I have to do is listen.
Today, Tuesday, I am feeling pretty good. I am well-rested and took a shower and washed my hair today. No, it isn’t purple yet. I am still trying to get up the nerve to dye it. I think I’ll be loosing it within 2 weeks. Maybe I think that if I don’t dye it, it won’t fall out. Yes, I think that is it, because the premise for dying it purple is “it’s going to fall out anyway”. I need a few more days to adjust to all this.
PS: I accomplished my goal on Thursday and was really tired when I returned home and got right into my jammies. But, after dinner, I started searching the freezer for some brownies that I knew were buried in there somewhere. If a girl is looking for chocolate, she has to be feeling better!!!! right?! Oh, my blood work looked good today.
March 24, 2009
I have a beautiful covered patio off my family room and I enjoy looking out the patio doors at the pretty yard while I’m waking up in the mornings. For those of you who live here in Portland, you know we have had rain the last several days. Well, this morning, the sun is out, shining brightly and the birdies are tweeting and flying around. I think the birds are looking for nesting sites, because there is much discusison back and forth between them while they flit here and there and back again!
I saw a pair of robins, a pair of blue jays and one or two tiny little delicate birds that might be wrens. There was also a morning dove earlier.
Last year at this time a Momma bird decided to build a nest on a ledge under the patio roof. She did not do a good job and the nest (with babies) fell to the ground. I tried to tie the nest back up, so it would be secure, but Momma bird didn’t come back…. and I couldn’t save the babies. It still makes me sad to think about it.
I wonder if I’ll see any new nests in the backyard this year?
Initially I titled this post “Chemo”. I hate that title! I never thought that it would apply to me. but, it does.
I am surprised at my reaction when told of my treatment options. I am surprised at the unbridled eagerness with which I said, “Well, I’m here today. Let’s get the insurance pre-approval and get started. There is no sense in waiting.” As I extended both of my arms toward the doctor making my veins available for whatever was to come. I didn’t even think about it. It was the easiest decision I have ever made in my life. My son, who has been my solid rock through this, said that he was surprised with how quickly I said “Let’s get started.” I guess it is never too late for parents to surprise their children!!!
I know that the reality of it hasn’t hit me yet… remember I just found out that I have Ovarian Cancer on Thursday and on Friday morning I was receiving my first Chemo and this is only Monday. I am sure my children are also reeling from the suddeness and the gravity of it, too.
March 23, 2009
Well, Portland Firefly was a little bit busy on the first day of spring, which was last Friday, 3/20. As you will recall, I had my first chemo session that day.
Anyway, I just wanted to take a minute to acknowledge the event and the passing of winter. I have really felt like it was a long cold winter this year and I for one, am glad that it is over. It is a beautiful, sunny day so far and I hope we have the best spring yet!!! And if it is spring, can our fabulous summers be far behind? No!!! Yeah!!!
March 22, 2009
I should lose all of my hair within 3 weeks and so I have a plan. I started wearing a new hair style about 3 weeks ago, but was afraid to cut it as short as the style required –I’ll do that later today. Then I am going to Kool-aid dye my hair purple. This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time but never had the nerve because I was afraid the color wouldn’t wash out if I didn’t like it– now the color will just fall out in two weeks!!!
If you want the recipe to Kool-Aid color you hair, just type “Kool-Aid” or “Purple Hair” in my search box and my post on how to do it will come up!
March 21, 2009
I have not been feeling well for some time and have been unable to shake off (maybe I should say sleep off) this unrelenting fatigue I have been experiencing for about 6 months.
About a month ago, I noticed that my waist didn’t seen as small as it should be in relation to the size of my hips. I thought, Oh great! now I’ll have a big waist.
As the weeks progressed, I felt more and more bloated for no apparent reason. The fatigue increased. Finally I went to urgent care and was sent for admission to St. Vincent’s. 2 liters of fluid were removed from my abdomen (there is still a lot more in there) and many tests were run a week ago Thursday & Friday, March 12th & 13th.
This Thursday, March 19, My Son, accompanied me to the internists where I was given the diagnosis of Ovarian/Peritoneal Cancer. It is in the inner wall of the abdomen.
We had an appointment at 7:30 am the next morning (Friday, 3/20) at the Cancer Clinic with the gynecological oncolologist. It is a very aggressive cancer and the doctor seems to think that I have had it for about a 1 month, which is when my symptoms started to be apparent to me.
I had my first Chemo yesterday, less than 24 hours after the initial diagnosis. I did not want to waste any time! It took about 6 hours to administer the first dose.
Because the oncologist has not had a chance to do all the tests she needs to do, my cancer has not been staged yet and so I do not have a prognosis. She did say I am very healthy, not overweight, and cogniscent of my nutrition. I do know that the prognosis for this type of cancer is not very good although there are people who survive many years. We will know more about that in a few weeks…after more tests.
How am I feeling now? Today I feel great. I had 6 different drugs yesterday, one of which was an anti-inflammatory and I could breathe easier immediately. Also the reduction in inflammation made me hungry and so I actually felt like eating for the first time in 10 days!
I am told that the bad side effects will be the worse starting at day 3 –72 hours after Chemo -and will last about 2-3 days and gradually improve.
As my regular readers know, Portland Firefly has not been feeling well for the last month. She was in the hospital on March 11, 12th and many tests were run to be followed up with an appointment at the internist’s on March 19th. At 7:30 the next morning,March 20th, my Son and I were at the oncologists office for treatment options and more information.
My diagnosis is Peritoneal/ Ovarian Cancer. It is a very aggressive form of cancer and usually the prognosis is not a long term one. My oncologist has to run some tests and get more information in order to stage my cancer and give me a prognosis. She did say that I am in excellent health, not overweight, and I have a good attitude with a great support system. I probably have had this for about a month (which is when I first started to notice some symptoms), but since it is such an aggressive cancer, it isn’t necessarily early in the game.
I am very pro-active in my life and so I told her that I was ready to start chemo immediately and she took me at my word and with-in hours of first meeting her, I was in the chemo room recliner with an IV dripping into my vein. It took over 5 hours for the first chemo and today I feel great. But the third day is supposed to be the worst…so check in tomorrow and Monday!!
Please keep me in your prayers.
March 20, 2009
Just one short sentence. It is wonderful; go and see it! And take your children over 9 years of age, too! At the Keller until April 5, 2009.
March 18, 2009
Well, every now & then, Ikea runs a food special and this weekend is no different! They are offering a free breakfast Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 3/20-3/22 until 10:30am. It is one small cup of coffee and one small breakfast. Hey!! It’s free!!! Smile at the clerk and say “Thank You!”
March 14, 2009
Well, for the last 10 days, Portland Firefly has not been feeling 100%. But, since I missed taking my flu shot this year —the first time in many– I just figured that my vague symptoms were flu related. This last week I have been living on soft boiled eggs (recipe to follow) with dry toast and a little yogurt. But, instead of getting better, I actually got progressively worse! Two days ago, for the first time, I called the “ask a nurse” hot-line and was told to go the ER within 3-4 hours or sooner! A little over-reactive, I thought. So, I thought that I’d simply ride it out one more day and see if I felt better or worse. Thursday morning I awoke absolutely Not better and quite possibly worse. I looked horrible—I was exhausted and (this is how I realized just how sick I could be) my hair was a mess, my skin color was pale and I didn’t even care! Could that “ask-a-nurse” have been right?
Normally, I wouldn’t even answer the door looking the way I did … but… I was too sick to care… I headed to The Urgent Care facility and arrived there before the 9:30am rush. When I finally left at 4:00pm, I had been poked, prodded, X-rayed, sent to the hospital for a C-AT Scan, returned for Pt counseling, more tests and sent for admission at the hospital.
I got to the Hospital about 5:00pm. 4 loving visitors came and kept me company for a while in the ER. I finally got to my room after midnight, but slept really well! More tests, 5 more blood draws (didn’t they know they would need that blood the first time?), more X-rays, more sonograms, and then a necessary procedure. Oh, all of this” NPO” which means “nothing by mouth”. ..not even water! But I could rinse my mouth out. Then more blood draws, waiting for results, 2 more loving visitors, finally I could eat a late lunch, water, juice, many phone calls, remove the IV shunt, and then released! I left the hospital 24 hours after my arrival. No, we don’t have all the results yet… some will take more than a week to get back. But, I am pretty convinced that the diagnosis is not going to be a fun one!
March 12, 2009
According to the Executive Director of the Oregon Historical Society “Settlers Francis Pettygrove of Portland, Maine and Asa Lovejoy of Boston, Massachusetts flipped the penny to determine whether the area, then known as The Clearing, would be named Portland or Boston. Pettygrove won the toss two out of three times.”
The coin toss was decided in 1845 and Portland was incorporated in 1849.
The coin, minted in 1835, is normally on display in the headquarters of the Oregon Historical Society who has lent it for this exhibit this week-end.
There is much more to this story and I wonder if the school children know “the rest of this story”?
March 11, 2009
The Portland “Money” show is this weekend, actually starting on Friday and concluding on Sunday. The best part about it is —– it is free!!
The American Numismatic Association’s 2009 Portland National Money Show™ gives visitors the opportunity to see rare coins and paper money, and interact with the country’s premier numismatists.
The show, held March 13-15 at the Oregon Convention Center, features marquee and collector exhibits, educational presentations, and hundreds of top dealers. Open from 10:00 – 6:30 Fri & Sat and 10:00 -2:00 Sunday — there is no admission fee.
Some of the items that will be on display are:
The 1804 Dollar insured for $3.5 Million.
The “Portland Penny”; which is the actual coin used to determine the name of our beautiful city… two out three tosses … is it going to be Portland or (shudder!) Boston?
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (The US Mint) will have its very popular “Billion Dollar” display of high denomination bills.
I hope you will be able to go — this sounds like fun and… the price is right!!
“ NBC’s popular reality series “The Biggest Loser” is launching a 14-city cross-country search to find new contestants for the next edition of the hit show. Both individuals and teams are encouraged to apply for the new season, which will air in the fall. To keep creative options open for the new season, producers are also looking for certified trainers.
Outgoing and charismatic individuals or teams of two are encouraged to apply, especially those who have the personality, desire and competitive edge to vie for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lose weight, change their lives forever and compete for a grand prize of $250,000. Teams can include family members (siblings, cousins, parent and adult child, etc.), spouses, dating or engaged couples, grandparents, co-workers, former teammates or athletes, best friends and college students. Candidates must be at least 18 years of age and legal residents of the United States.
Producers are also looking for certified trainers with strong personalities who have a solid track record of taking the weight off of overweight clients. Nutritional credentials are a plus, and trainers applying must provide references.”
10 am – 5 pm
100 Citadel Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90040
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Liberty Station Conference Center
2600 Laning Rd.
San Diego, CA 92106
For those who are unable to attend a casting call, information on how to apply to the show as a contestant or trainer is available on www.nbc.com/casting. March 31st is the deadline for submitting tapes.
March 10, 2009
The rule is that Easter is the first Sunday after the first ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or after March 21. March 21st is the spring solstice.
This means that the earliest that Easter can ever be is March 22nd in any given year. By this same rule, Easter can never be after the full moon in April IF there is a full moon between March 21 and March 31. And since there is a full moon every 28 days, the latest that Easter could be is April 25.
And so, Easter can fall on 35 possible dates – between March 22 and April 25 inclusive. It last fell on March 22 in 1818, and will not do so again until 2285. It fell on March 23 in 2008 (last year -remember how early Easter seemed?), but will not do so again until 2160. Easter last fell on the latest possible date, April 25, in 1943 and will next fall on that date in 2038. However, it will fall on April 24, just one day before this latest possible date, in 2011. The cycle of Easter dates repeats after exactly 5,700,000 years, with April 19 being the most common date, happening 220,400 times http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter
For a complicated formula ( and a good math exercise!) to determine the date of Easter in any given year — go to http://www.dateofeaster.net/
The Date of Ash Wednesday is then determined by counting backward 46 days (40days if you skip the Sundays) from the date of Easter. And Carnival and Mardi Gras begin on the same day every year, Jan 6th, but the ending date is a variable one being determined by Easter’s date! Whew!!! I hope you are not MORE confused!!!
March 9, 2009
Alanis Morissette — is a songstress with an unmistakable voice. I enjoy listening to her sing and today I had the opportunity (thank you OPB) to see her perform. I really like the fact that she looks like a real girl. And by that I mean that she doesn’t look emaciated — she looks healthy and vibrant and strong. This is a much better role model for our young teens to follow as far as body image. I only know that I like her melodies and her voice –I don’t know what her lyrics say as I am one of those people that can hear a song 20 or 30 times and I can give you the general feeling of the music, but I most probably will not be able to tell you the lyrics!
March 7, 2009
Photo courtesy: Audubon Society
One of our local news channels has several cameras for traffic observation. It even has what they call the Raptor Cam which is positioned on a fire escape balcony and is focused on the Red-tailed hawks that are beginning to roost there.
The KGW-Audubon Society Raptor Cam provides a bird’s eye view of a pair of Red-tailed hawks nesting outside an office building in downtown Portland. Here is the link to the live camera: http://www.kgw.com/news-local/stories/kgw_021309_raptor_hawks_nest_.1106ef24.html.
This is so-o-o totally cool to watch! You can see the female sitting on her nest; while the wind ruffles her feathers a bit, she is totally oblivious to the traffic below her. Don’t miss this bird’s eye view of nesting hawks.
March 6, 2009
This is just a reminder for you to set your clocks ahead one hour on Saturday night before you go to bed. This is my least favorite time of the year as I do not do well with the bi-annual time changes our government forces us to go through. It is also difficult on my children. Now that I think about it, I don’t know anyone who really likes the time change! Why don’t we do something about that? Actually I think that the time-change fiasco will be done away with in some years down the road…. but not soon enough for this yawning firefly!
If you think that the swith over is coming a lttle early this year — you are absolutely correct! This is the earliest EVER that Daylight Saving Time has started. This is because congress enacted the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and it stated that beginning in 2007 and forward DST now begins at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March and ends at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November. Prior to that time under 1986 legislation, Daylight Saving Time in the U.S. began at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of April and ended at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of October. This essentially gives us one more month of DST. The earliest that the second Sunday in March can be is March 8, which is what we have this year, and therefore the earliest that DST can ever occur!
PS: I did a little checking and I stand corrected…the correct term is Daylight Saving Time (no S at the end of saving) also known as DST. However I believe that when the West Coast is on regular time it is indicated as PST (Pacific Standard Time) and when on DST, it is indicated PDT. The same goes for the other time zones in our country -Eastern EST EDT, Central CST CDT; Mountain MST MDT.
March 5, 2009
Lent started one week ago. Lent is also a time of fasting and self-examination and renewal. Some people are taught to “give-up” certain things during this duration. Desserts, chocolate, candy, movies, etc are common “give-ups”, especially since Sundays are not considered part of Lent. There is nothing wrong with this practice as it fosters self-denial and can lead to other mature actions.
I like the school that teaches that Lent is also a time to do things we normally wouldn’t do. It can be something as simple as choosing one evening each week to spend together. Turn off the television, the computer and the phones; play games, sing and play instruments, read aloud, tell family stories, design a craft together or serve a neighbor. Help serve a meal at the local soup kitchen, attend a small group, or bible study, attend church if you don’t normally attend. Help an elderly neighbor with their yard work. Eat a simple meal and put the money you saved into a box for the poor and hungry. This can be a wonderful time of family renewal and I would not be surprised if after Easter has passed, your family wants to continue this new tradition.