November 26, 2009
I want to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.
This has been an amazing year for me and I have so much to be thankful for.
First of all, I am thankful for my Family, for they were the driving force in getting me through these last 8 months. Next I want to thank my Doctors and their medical staff for their excellent and compassionate care. I want to thank all my friends who have supported me prayerfully and emotionally during this time of treatment. Each of you has been a wonderful help to me and I thank God for all of you. It has been the cumulative effect of everyone working together that has helped me to achieve the wonderful results that I have so far. I still have a long year ahead of me and I know that you will continue to be there for me.
“Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices.
What wonderous things He has done, in whom our heart rejoices.”
November 25, 2009
I was walking to my car on Monday evening and I spotted the International Space Station orbiting overhead the Portland skies!
People in the Portland area will be able to see the ISS and Space Shuttle tonight (Wednesday) and Thanksgiving (Thursday).
These are the times:
length of time degrees enter view
|Wed Nov 25/06:23 PM||2||21||21 above SW||14 above S|
|Thu Nov 26/05:08 PM||5||61||10 above WNW||12 above SE|
Please note that on Thanksgiving, you will be able to see the ISS for 5 minutes at 5:08 pm which is a very long time. so after you take the turkey out of the oven, reset the timer or the alarm to remind you to go outside and take a look at 5:08 pm. What a cool thing to do with the family!!!
Winter Wonderettes is the new produciton at the Broadway Rose Theatre for this Holiday Season. Portland Firefly is going to attend this musical later on, but I thought that I’d let you know about a cute holiday production!
For more information and ticket purchase go to this website: http://www.broadwayrose.com/currentproductions.asp
or call (503) – 620-5262.
Don’t forget your plastic white poinsetta!!!!
November 22, 2009
For many years, green tea has been a drink that I enjoy, especially in the mornings.
But over the years the recycler in me became unsettled over throwing out all of those tea leaves. I figured that there has to be a use for them. Then I remembered something that my parents used to have me do as a child.
Living in the near perfect climate of Southern California, we had a beautifully landscaped yard consisting of my Father’s favorite plants and flowers. I came to love those same flowers and to learn their names. One day, my Mother told me to take the tea bags and to put them in the garden around a specific plant. My Dad instructed me to gently incorporate the tea leaves into the top of the soil for these acid loving plants. It is something that I have always remembered because it was so unusual.
This came back into my consciousness while I was pondering my used tea bags. Then I remembered that green tea is now a popular ingredient in some cosmetics. Hum-m-m-m, I thought. I now have three uses for these tea bags. And that sounded like a bargain to me!
So after I make my green tea, I remove the bag. I then like to ‘wash’ my face with it as a toner. Then I let the tea bag dry. When the tea bag is dried out, I put the tea leaves into a little container and then I sprinkle them around my beautiful roses. I had the most fantastic long-stemmed roses this summer —they were over four feet tall!!!
And the recycler in me was satisfied that I was actually helping something in the environment instead of adding to the landfill problem.
November 21, 2009
On my recent trip to Spain an electric water kettle was provided at most places we stayed. I had never used one before and became totally addicted to it. What a practical appliance; it boils water before you can get your cup and tea bag out of the cupoard! Evidently they are used extensively in the UK (Britain) and Canada, but they have never made it to the US. That is about to end.
I did some internet searching for this item upon my return and found several. Then the other night, I wanted some tea and my tired little stove-top kettle was begging for retirement. I ran to my local grocery store and what do you know! They had a huge stock ( for Christmas already!) of the style of electric kettle I was searching for right there! No waiting! I checked it out to be sure it was what I wanted and brought it right home and started using it! I love it! I am sure that this will be an item that I will not want to ever be without again!
November 19, 2009
My recent post about green tea reminded me of something that we would do as Flight Attendants.
Appearance is an important part of being a Flight Attendant because, lets face it, we are what I like to refer to as the ‘In-Flight Entertainment’. Passengers watch everything we do and this is most evident when we are serving beverages or meals. That means that you are watching our hands; so having nicely manicured nails was part of our appearance standards.
But what do you do when you are on a flight and you catch a nail on a galley carrier and your nail starts to rip off? One enterprising Flight Attendant came up with the solution that was always readily available to every flight attendant.
She took a tea bag and tore off a small part of the bag and applied it over the torn part of her nail. If no one had any nail glue, then we would use nail polish to secure the tea bag patch to help hold our nail in place until it could grow out or we could get to the nail salon.
This is a solution that I was most thankful for on many occasions and perhaps it might come in handy for someone else out there some day!
November 18, 2009
Here is a picture of the bustling Puerta del Sol, a busy pedestrian square in the heart of Madrid. This picture was taken on International Red Cross day and Spain’s Princess was in the tent accepting donations from citizens who then were able to have a photo taken with her.
November 17, 2009
The country of Spain is roughly shaped like a circle with its capitol of Madrid geographically positioned in the center. In the heart of the old city is the Governors Building which is situated on the Puerta del Sol, a busy square akin to New York City’s Times Square on New Years Eve. On the sidewalk in front of this building is an emblem from which all distances in Spain and the Spanish Colonies are measured and for this reason it is called Zero Kilometer.
November 16, 2009
On Monday, 11/16, Portland Firefly will have another Doctor’s appointment. I have had a nice long respite from Chemotherapy and I am feeling very well and have a lot of energy and my hair is starting to grow back. In fact, my hair is almost to the point that I might feel comfortable going out in public without a scarf but now it is so cold here in Northwest that everyone needs to wear a hat when venturing out, especially me.
The reason I am telling you all of this is because, my Doctor is recommending that I have another year of Chemotherapy. It is called Maintenance Chemo and I will find out more about this at the appointment. But just thinking of starting up a year more of Chemo is very depressing for me. I have had eight months of it and have felt ‘unwell’ for most of that time. Now to think of another year is really disheartening.
I know that this is a deadly cancer that I have. I know that the prognosis is very grim. I know that I have had a remarkable response to the Chemotherapy. I also know that it is probably my only chance to even have the thought that I can have the life expectancy that I want to have (5 -7 years more).
But I still don’t want to be sick all the time and I really do not want to lose my hair again (especially now that it has just started to grow back in). But at the same time … I do not see where I have any other choice but to do it.
My friend from California that has the same cancer I have (Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma) called me unexpectedly on Saturday and cheered me up. She is an inspiration to me and I value her kindness and caring.
November 15, 2009
When I was at the Cancer Center before my trip to Spain, I was waiting to be taken to the lab for my blood draw. I had an unusally long wait because there was a mix-up regarding my appointment day.
While waiting, a lady struck up a brief conversation with me and we continued talking for some time. At one point I sat in the chair next to hers in order to present her with my business card and it was then that I noticed a large bag on the chair on the other side of her. The bag was bulging over the top with items that were somehow familiar to me. My immediate sense was that they look exactly like something that belongs to me and is in my house. How can that be? I looked more carefully and then I recognized the items in the bag. The bag was over-filled with the soft Chemo hats that someone had made for the cancer patients at this center.
It became very clear to me who this lovely woman was. She is the “Hat Lady”. She is the one who selflessly makes and donates hundreds of hats each year so that we can have some sense of dignity in the baldness that accompanies our killing Chemotherapy treatments.
I have two of them and I wear them all the time. They travel with me, even on a short overnight stay at my Son’s house. I love these hats. They are so soft and so comfortable and they keep your head warm, which is sometimes the primary reason for wearing one. Now I was able to thank her personally and to give her a very heartfelt hug for providing these hats for us.
She told me her name, but since she wishes to remain anonymous, I will not reveal it here. She has been making these Chemo hats and donating them for over 8 years. What a wonderful thing to do and I hope she realizes how appreciated her efforts are by all of us who are the lucky recipients of her generosity! Thank you so very much, A…….
November 14, 2009
There are many different side-effects associated with Chemotherapy treatments. Neuropathy is one that plagues Portland Firefly most continually. Even after many weeks without Chemo, I still experience the numbness and tingling in my feet that is typical of Neuropathy.
My Doctor has suggested that I take L-Glutamine powder to help relieve the symptoms. After 8 months of trial and error, I have developed a little system for taking my L-Glutiamine. I put the 10 mgs into a glass and add a tiny bit of warm water and stir to help dissolve this powder. Then I add some juice (I use that refrigerated lemon juice ) since juice is needed to help my body absorb the L-Glutamine. Then I add several ounces of water, stirring until the powder is dissolved and drink it down on an empty stomach. I should do this three times a day, but it is difficult to do and especially so when traveling.
I have found the L-Glutamine at GNC to be the best value. I obtained a GNC gold card and only purchase during the ‘gold card days’ so I can get my discount; plus it is usually ‘buy one get one half off.’
November 13, 2009
While in Spain, My girlfriend and I ate many wonderful meals. In fact , I don’t think that we had a bad meal while there. But the one that keeps showing up as my favorite is the Paella that we enjoyed at our local restaurant on the Spanish Mediterranean Costa del Sol. The restaurant sits atop a rocky point and serves local fare. We ate there three evenings and each meal was better than the previous one.
The first time we ate there, I chose my Dorado fish out of the cooler. It was so tender and flaky and cooked to perfection. The second evening we ate there we both ordered the same thing – a wonderful kabob with salad and potatoes.
But we saved the best for the last visit there. We ordered their Paella. I think that our owner/waiter made our meal himself and outdid his creation. It was incredible; there were large muscles, tiny little clams, scallops, langostinos, shrimp, and tuna all swimming in the delicious creamy saffron rice.
November 12, 2009
For my recent trip to Spain, I left Portland early on a Tuesday morning and was given a seat in First Class. It was nice to have the extra leg room and the hot breakfast was delicious. The smooth 4 hour flight to Dallas was just the precursor of my fabulous flight to Madrid. I was able to get 2 good naps on that first short leg out of Portland.
Out of Dallas, again I was able to sit in Business Class on the new wide-bodied aircraft. OK… Have you ever seen those seats? They have about 15 different positions to which they can be adjusted. The seat adjustment controls are the little fan shaped blue buttons in the center armrest. Then each passenger gets their own TV monitor and you can choose the movies you want to watch on the 9 hour flight. It had been many years since I had flown internationally in First Class and I was like a kid in a candy shop. I had no idea how to operate any of these wonderful gadgets but I had a delightful seat-mate and he kindly showed me how to operate everything.
The fun of flying Business Class is all the amenities that are part of the service. Waiting for me at my seat was my warm duvet and fluffy pillow. Not the little ones the airlines used to have in coach, no this pillow was just smaller than a bed pillow and very comfy. They actually made me look forward to my nap-time later on in the flight.
The Flight Attendants start out with “May I hang your coat?” and continue with the welcome-aboard champagne, juice or water. I took the champagne! (Did you have any doubt which one I’d choose?) The airlines have a reputation for serving extremely high quality ‘beverages’ on board and I was not going to pass up this opportunity to try what was available. I was not disappointed in the least.
Just as I started sipping my champagne, the Captain came on the intercom and said that due to a mechanical problem, everyone would need to gather all of their belongings and deplane while the mechanics ran a few tests. So… that is what we all did. I missed my glass of amber bubbly while waiting on the hard seats in the terminal.
Soon the problem was fixed and everyone re-boarded the aircraft. Waiting for the Business Class passengers at our high-tech seats were the special Bose ear-phones ( on tray table in photo) for our use during the flight. Also there was a small navy blue amenities kit (also on tray table) that contained a toothbrush, toothpaste, Burt’s Bees hand lotion and chapstick, eye shades and in-flight socks along with a few other items. I was feeling fairly pampered and the charming Flight Attendants didn’t let up on the pampering! That was just fine by me!
Next the In-Flight Menu was handed to us so we could make our entree choice. After the safety demo, seat belts were checked and it was time for take off and we were on our way to sunny Madrid just 9 hours away.
I’m not going to go into all the details of the wonderful service, but just say that from the appetizers to the salad to the entree to the ice cream sundae for desert, it was all delicious, well-prepared and beautifully served. Portland Firefly did her best to sample some of the bountiful array of ’beverages’ that are served on board. She couldn’t consume alcohol while undergoing Chemo these last eight months and didn’t really miss it at all, but this was a very special trip and the Spanish Sherry and Spanish wine were perfect compliments to my appetizers and meal.
My seat mate was a real pro at flying and had it figured out to where he could watch three movies and get a decent nights sleep as well. I was a little bit slower on my learning curve and only watched 2 1/2 movies and really couldn’t quite figure out the seats well-enough to get really comfortable, but I did sleep a little bit.
Here is a picture of me sleeping on the flight. Well, feigning sleep for the picture is actually more accurate. But notice that the airline seat is so reclined with the footrest up that it is almost like a bed. I am wearing the soft sleep cap that my neighbor knit for me along with my AA eyeshades.
My flights were wonderful ! I still can’t believe it. I guess I’ll just have to take another international flight soon to make sure that it really is a wonderful as I remember it to be!
November 11, 2009
Now it can be told… Portland Firefly has not been writing recently for several reasons… The best of which is that she has been traveling for the last two weeks. Yes, I have felt well enough to take a well-planned, wonderful trip to Spain. Soon you will have the opportunity to read of some of the beautiful places we visited, but this post has a more current message to convey.
As most of you know, I am a retired Flight Attendant. And part of my benefits is that I am able to fly for a very low-cost. I took advantage of this benefit and flew in the equivalent of first class for all four legs of my recent trip to Spain and back home again. Wow, what a wonderful experience!
I took the opportunity to speak to the lovely, professional Flight Attendants of American Airlines who were working the flights I traveled. You may recall that part of my ‘mission’ is to educate women about the subtle symptoms of the type of cancer that I have — primary peritoneal carcinoma , the deadly step-sister to ovarian cancer. I carried cards that list the symptoms and passed them out to the Flight Attendants after they had completed their service requirements. There were two who had friends with these symptoms and even though we hope that they have something else, at least they have a direction to check out the unexplained symptoms that their friends are having.
And talk about a fabulous service! These veteran Flight Attendants knew what they are doing and did it very well. As one who has walked in their shoes, I was especially appreciative of the excellent service provided on my flights from Portland to Dallas and Dallas to Madrid and back to Dallas and Portland again.
And so…. to all of my Flight Attendants, Portland Firefly sends a great big THANK YOU for four very memorable flights. You do make the difference and, of course, you know it. Keep up the good work and fly safe.
If you are interested in reading my post about the 9/11 terrorists that I had on board two of my flights prior to the terrorist attacks, just put 9/11 into the search box.
Thanks again from Portland Firefly.
November 10, 2009
This is to remind all of my faithful readers that tomorrow, November 11th is Veteran’s Day. Earlier today, President Obama spoke at Fort Hood, Texas at the memorial service for our soldiers who were gunned down by one of their own last week.
I normally fly my American Flag on special holidays and tomorrow will be no exception. However, after the Memorial Service, I decided that I would honor those fallen heros from Ft. Hood by putting my flag out a day early. And so, that is where I am headed – to fly my American Flag for all of our Veteran’s and to honor those killed in the Ft. Hood terrorist attacks.
Another ‘tradition’ that Portland Firefly started last year is to call one or two veterans that I know personally and to thank them for their service to our country. I intend to make those calls this evening. Won’t you call one or two of our valiant service men or women and just say “Thank You”?
By the way, on my way through the Dallas airport last week, I took the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to several of the uniformed service men that I saw while I was in the process of changing gates. I noticed that there was another who did the same thing. Please take the time to honor those who make our everyday freedoms possible.
November 5, 2009
Here are some things that every woman should know about Ovarian and Primary Peritoneal Cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Ovarian/Peritoneal Cancer
- Vague but persistent and unexplained gastrointestinal complaints such as gas, nausea,and indigestion.
- Abdominal bloating, pelvic and/or abdominal pain, and/or feeling of fullness.
- Unexplained change in bowel habits such as constipation or diarrhea.
- Unexplained weight gain or loss.
- Frequency and/or urgency of urination.
- Unusual fatigue.
- Shortness of breath.
- New and unexplained abnormal postmenopausal vaginal bleeding
- Risk Factors for Ovarian/Peritoneal Cancer
- Increasing age, with highest occurrence in women over 50.
- Family or personal history of ovarian, breast, endometrial, or colon cancer. However only 10% of cases are linked to family history.
- Uninterrupted ovulation such as having no pregnancies; infertility, or low parity.
- Presence of BRCA1 or BRCA 2 gene mutations.
- Prevention and Risk Reduction
- Use of oral contraceptives for more than five years can reduce your risk by approximately 50%.
- Multiple pregnancies and having first full-term pregnancy before the age of 25.
- Breast feeding.
- Hysterectomy/Tubal ligation substantially reduces risk.
- Removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes (oopherectomy) dramatically reduces, but does not completely eliminate, risk of developing ovarian/peritoneal cancer.
November 4, 2009
Hello to all of my faithful readers. Portland Firefly has been on a little writing hiatus which I shall explain in greater detail hopefully next week. Suffice it to say that my sweet Daughter-in-Law has been unable to care for my Grandson for the last many weeks and Nonni has been called into caring service. There are no complaints from me here and I’ll let you know more as I am able.
In the meantime, please take this opportunity to get caught up on my past writings. “Talk” to you soon.