December 31, 2010
Oregon Gasoline prices will increase by 6 cents per gallon on January 1, 2011. I’m filling up my vehicle today!!!
Oregon’s gas prices are already some of the highest in the nation because we have mandatory attendants filling up our gas tanks. In fact, it is against the law (or so I have heard) to insert or remove the gas nozzle from your own vehicle.
December 23, 2010
As most of you know, the CA 125 is a test for Ovarian Cancer. It is a very good indicator for the type of cancer tumors that I have. In October, just before I started this last round of Chemotherapy my CA 125 was 444. Normal is 30-35 or below. Within 5 weeks, my CA 125 levels had dropped to 22. My doctor had never seen anyone respond so dramatically to the chemotherapy. Yea Portland Firefly!!!
Well, just before my last chemo, which was chemotherapy number 29 for me, my CA -125 was at 14. During this last summer, my numbers stayed in the 12-14 range. So, It looks like I am doing well and now I just have to recover from the effects of the life saving poison that I have received. My doctor will continue to follow me monthly. Lets pray that I have a long time without my numbers going back up…. I want at least a year but I only had 6 months last time.
December 22, 2010
It has taken 10 months for my hair to grow out to about 3 inches in length; so adorably curly since it grew in after my 13 months of chemo. But I have never had curly hair before. Before chemo my hair was straight and if I wanted curls, then I had to buy them in a bottle, which I did!
I have been enjoying my cute curls immensely, but they do present a slight problem for me. One must style curly hair differently than you style straight hair. With my old hair I would have to spend at least 10 minutes a day getting it to look somewhat presentable. But with my new curls, I just sort of wash it and scrunch it and let it air dry.
During the 10 months that it has taken my hair to grow out, I have been trimming it a little bit myself, just to try to keep it looking OK while it grew out. But last week I could no longer do it myself. I decided it was time to see the inside of a Beauty Salon. But who do I get to trim my hair? One day at church I saw a pretty lady with an adorable style to her curly hair. Her hair always looks nice and I figured that whoever cut her hair knew what she was doing and was good with curly locks. So I asked for a referral and made the appointment.
It had been well over three years since I had been inside a beauty salon and I had forgotten how many odors are present inside one of those hallowed areas. As soon as I opened the door and entered the salon, the strong smells started to bother me and since I was early, I told them that I’d take a short walk outside for some fresh air. And none too soon, for I was already getting dizzy and fuzzy feeling from the onslaught of odors.
When I returned from my short walk, the beautician offered to open the door, which was really a good idea. Anyway, Darran really understands curly hair and she gave me the best haircut that I ever had in my life!
Now, I not only am thrilled to have hair, but I feel confident that I look good because I have a cute hair style and a great stylist. I just hope I get to keep my new curls because I am really loving them!!!!!
December 21, 2010
This is the digital version of The Nativity. It will make you smile!
December 20, 2010
Tonight, Monday December 20, 2010 there will be a total lunar eclipse. It will be visible from the Pacific Northwest if we do not have too much cloud cover. It is the Winter Solstice and a full moon. You only need to be anywhere that you can see the full moon in order to view the eclipse. The moon will be high in the winter sky.
This celestial event begins at 9:29 pm Monday night and ends at 3:05 am on Tuesday morning. The time frame for the total lunar eclipse is from 11:41 pm (Monday) to 12:53 am(Tuesday) on the West Coast.
Pacific Standard Time:
- Penumbral eclipse begins 9:29 PM PST
- Partial eclipse begins 10:33 PM PST
- Total eclipse begins 11:41 PM PST
- Greatest eclipse 12:17 AM PST
- Total eclipse ends 12:53 AM PST
- Partial eclipse ends 2:01 AM PST
- Penumbral eclipse ends 3:05 AM PST
If you want to get a better view, go to OMSI and they will have telescopes out for the public to view the eclipse for free.
Be sure to dress warmly if you go outside — it is Wnter!!!!
December 19, 2010
At the church that I attend, there is a care-team that is to assist those in need. The new co-ordinator, Suzie has done a fabulous job. She called me and asked what they could do to help me get through my chemo. I requested prayers and said that food preparation is often tiring and time consuming for me especially during the first week after my chemo.
She really had the women of the church come through for me! She had someone at my doorstep every single night for a solid week. I was like the doggies in Pavolov’s trials. When it started getting dark (about 4:30 here in the Pacific northwest) I would start listening for the doorbell to ring for supper!
And then the 8th night a neighbor whom I had not met and who also attends my church called me ‘just to see if I might like some pasta salad.’ I love pasta salad! And I love meeting lovely nighbors!
And so, Portland Firefly is very grateful to all the great cooks who took care of not only my spiritual needs but also my physical needs while my poor battered body is trying to win this war.
A big thank you to “The Ladies Who Do Dinner” for others!
December 18, 2010
Ten days ago, I had my last chemotherapy (for this go-around). It was actually my 29th chemotherapy.
For the first week, I didn’t get dressed. The first several days I was just really tired. I’d eat breakfast, do one or two things, and then go and take a nap. After my morning nap, I’d have lunch, watch a little TV, then take my afternoon nap. Then it was time for dinner, a little evening news and TV then early bedtime!!!
Not much of a life….. But then Chemotherapy is poison and my body was fighting hard.
That was my last chemo…. until the cancer comes back. This cancer almost always does.
Prayerfully, I have at least 9 months symptom free again this time……. Longer is better……
December 11, 2010
For those of you in the greater LA area, get your Santa Suit on and head out to Santa Con— You know how to find it!
December 10, 2010
Thursday, December 9, 2010
I am sitting in the chemo room finishing up my LAST CHEMO!!!!!
When my son & I came in to see the doctor today we were prepared to be told that I would be starting on an alternative therapy of Avastin in 3 weeks. I think the prospect of on an ongoing open-ended therapy contributed to my depression these last three weeks.
But today, the doctor said that he thinks that this is all I need right now!!!!! Now I will have hopefully at least 6 months of feeling good enough to travel before my next recurrence… It will take me several weeks to recover from this round of poison, but then I should be good to go!!! I am so looking forward to feeling good again.
Thank you all for all of your prayers
Looks like a happy Christmas for us!!!!
December 9, 2010
Over the Thanksgiving Holiday, I noticed that I actually stayed in the room to watch certain commercials. My favorite ~ hands down ~ were the Target commercials with the blond dressed in red. there were about four different ones and they were all very well done and very funny. They always made me chuckle.
The next one that I like is for Castrol Motor Oil. I love the way that the guy’s hair blows back when they pick up the high performance motor oil.
Then I like the music for another commercial, but I can’t remember what the product is. I guess it isn’t a very good commercial!
Do you have any favorites?
December 8, 2010
Last weekend, my Son and daughter-in-law came over for a meal. Earlier in the week, I had set some items on the opposite end of the dining room table and never bothered to move them. My Grandson was entranced by a little rosary of colorful beads that was given to me by my friend Chris before she died and I let him look at it and hold it.
After lunch, my lovely Daughter-in-law was in the middle of telling a story and I just interrupted her and started talking about the little rosary on the table. During the meal, it kept crying out for my attention, and I guess I just finally zoned out and seeing the rosary there made me think of Chris and how she went to Lourdes (a holy shrine for Catholics) and she brought this little rosary back from Lourdes as a special gift for me. She bathed in the holy waters there three consecutive days… looking for the miracle of a cure from this terrible cancer. She didn’t get the cure of course and then she died. My mind just totally wandered into that place and I just started talking about it, interrupting the ongoing conversation.
I will say that my Son and his wife just politely sat there and listened to what I was saying and when I had finished, she went on with her story. They never mentioned that perhaps I shouldn’t have interrupted. I think they totally understood that something important had happened to me.
But what did happen? I know better than to interrupt someone. I knew that I was interrupting and I just kept talking. But I guess the emotional connection to that gift was so strong that I couldn’t put it out of my mind and that my heart needed to relieve the pain associated with the gift by talking about it. All of the time, my mind of course thinking, “How long do I have? When will I die? Will it be sooner or later? Will I have a good report at my Doctor’s visit this week?” And on and on and on……. And this ‘zoning-out’ may occur more frequently as I continue my long journey from this Earth into Eternity.
“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” My heart was just so full, that I had to say something. And at that minute. Thank goodness for polite children!
December 7, 2010
At my last doctors appointment, my doctor told me that he wants to start me on another drug. This drug is Avastin which is the name brand for Bevacizumab. This is an angiogenesis drug. That simply means that this drug cuts off the blood supply to the cancer tumors. Cancer needs a blood supply to grow and this drug will help to prevent that from happening.
Since my CA-125 increases at a rapid rate when my cancer returns and since my cancer responds very well to the carboplatin, he thinks that I’ll have an excellent response to the Avastin and that this may prevent me from having a recurrence so soon.
We will get more information at my next appointment on Thursday.
December 6, 2010
I have been fighting depression for several weeks now. I cannot seem to shake it off. I think it is a combination of the reoccurrence of my cancer, the days becoming shorter and our Portland weather being very grey and chilly. By the way, Portland is so far north that it is dark by 5:00 pm now because the sun sets so much earlier here than it does in California.
I also was very sick for over a week from my last chemo and for the first time in my cancer odyssey I am not looking forward to chemo on Thursday. Also, my doctor wants to put me on a new drug therapy that I will be on for a very long time… and I was so looking forward to being off chemo again for a (hopefully) long time. It looks like it is not going to happen. And that is probably the thing that makes me the saddest.
On days when I am not to chemo sick, I try to make myself go out side for a walk. Last week I started using the little light box that I bought at Costco the end of last winter. I usually sit in front of it when I get up in the morning as I eat my breakfast and try to wake up. I really think it is a valuable tool and I’ll continue to use it.
I did get my home decorated for Christmas and I try to have a few events to look forward to doing, but it only helps a little. I will just keep going along, putting one foot in front of the other….