Archive for November, 2005

Holiday Cooking Tips

So, if you don ‘t want to help with the cooking over Thanksgiving, I’ve found the trick is to go into the kitchen, shake your head, and have 50 or so hairs fall out. Charlie had planned on doing most of the cooking, but ran me out of the kitchen when that happened!

I spent most of the weekend literally pulling hands full of hair out. It’s amazing how many handsful of hair I had and how much hair there is everywhere (and this time it’s not Ike’s fault). I shampooed most of it out last night and have just enough hair to be thin and straggly–maybe what it’ll look like if I make it to 90. I can’t finish the cap I’m crocheting (Ike has decide chenille yarn is the most delicious thing in the world) but do have a bunch of turbans, a dozen scarves, and at least 8 hats (CancerWellfit and the oncologist gave me a couple and Steinmart is on the way home from church and they had lots of cute hats).

So even though not all the grading is done, I should be ready to face the world tomorrow!


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Well, I think it’s cute

Normally I start brushing my hair by just running my fingers through my hair to get rid of tangles. I did that this morning. The tangles came out, but so did lots of the hair.

For the rest of the morning, I took perverse pleasure in running my fingers through my hair, even with my normal hairclip in place, and pulling out strands. So, to keep from having to call a plumber the next time I shampoo my hair, Charlie and I went to the new Great Clips just down the street from us this afternoon. I was able to donate most of it to Locks of Love. I was surprised how long it took Annika to cut through the ponytail. Seems even with pulling out hair all morning it was still fairly thick.


I told Annika that I’d only have the remaining hair for a week or so and not to worry too much about the cut. But she was just wonderful and took the time to give me a great cut. I even think it’s kinda cute. Now I’m really going to be sorry to lose the rest of the hair. But I’ve got a picture for when it grows out again.


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White food

I finally got to eat food that wasn’t white!

Now, of all the things that could go wrong, I feel silly complaining about the color of the food I’m eating, but it’s amazing how a small change can change my attitude.

Now, white food is very good for me and I’ve lived off it for the week since chemo: turkey sandwiches, yoghurt, chicken breasts, rice, etc. I went out to eat twice last Thursday. With the ladies of the church at breakfast, I had biscuit and gravy. With the department at lunch, I had a plain grilled chicken sandwich with a baked potato. Little victories–I got to go out! But very white food.

But last night we ordered pizza. And we didn’t “play it safe”–instead we got pepperoni and Italian sausage. It wasn’t white, it was good, and I had no problems through the night.

Ya gotta celebrate the little things!

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Happy Birthday Dad

I am my father’s daughter.

When I was born, the story has it (I was a bit young, so have to go by the stories I was told), people asked what I looked like. The answer was “She looks like John spit up.”

I had a student ask this week how I became so good at statistics. I was a little surprised. Didn’t everyone grow up doing probability at the dinner table? Dad and I would solve problems like what’s the probability of getting a royal flush with just 5 cards. How does it change with 7 cards? Didn’t everyone else? When I had to come up with an example of how condensation worked in 8th grade, he almost disassembled the entire air conditioning system to show me.

Of course I went on to get a degree in engineering. I am my father’s daughter.

And Dad didn’t send flowers when he heard I was sick. Instead, I got a handcranked radio/flash light/cell phone charger. Dad knows me–say it with gadgets!

Well, for a lot of years, I was my father’s little girl. Dad sorta didn’t admit I’d passed the age of 6 for a lot of years. I sent him a picture of me in battle dress on the DMZ in Korea. I think I moved up to 8 years old with that one picture.

He was with me for my 40th birthday, but I still don’t think he’ll admit he has a child who’s over 40. That was the weekend when Tiger won the Master’s, so he’s allowed to pretend to be distracted.

Now, being my father’s daughter is not always a good thing. When I passed by signs advertising discounts at a local hair salon this week and immediately thought what fun it would be to have a perm now and go in and scare the hairdresser when I lose my hair next week, I didn’t need DNA analysis to tell me which gene carried that trait.

He knows when to call me on things. When I go to the track, I’ll call and tell him how much I’ve won. His next question is always, “And how much did you lose?”

As an engineer who moved into management, Dad didn’t suffer fools gladly. He’d tell stories of “those old fools who won’t retire.” Of course, I know to call him on things too–he was typically older than the people he complained about. I get a little of that from him.

He has simple advice on how to succeed in the business world. “I found I did much better on the job when instead of telling people ‘That’s bullshit’ when they came up with some damnfool idea I told them ‘That’s fascinating.'” (My apologies to everyone whose ideas I’ve called ‘fascinating.’)

And being his daughter’s father wasn’t always easy. Apparently, even as I was being born, the hospital didn’t answer his questions quickly enough and he almost got himself thrown out of the waiting room.

Dad didn’t quite know what to do with a liberated daughter all the time and we had a few days when we got to share the vocabularies we’d learned during our respective times in the Army. (Remember, for as much of a sweetheart as I am now, I was a snotty kid. Yeah, the sweetheart part is sarcastic, but Dad knows that.) He’s gotten much better and delights in talking to new people about his kid who was in the service and has a PhD in computing. He especially likes when he finally lets them know that kid is female.

Now, we’re a fairly subtle family. Dad didn’t spend a lot of time lecturing me about living right. Instead, he read me The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss. (In my memories, he read to me nightly from it for years. Probably not true, but nice memories, so I’m gonna keep ’em.) If you’ve never read it, you must. It’s full of life lessons on prejudice, compromise, living through fears, and why you shouldn’t name your children all Dave. (I probably should read The Pale Green Pants again before my next chemo session. Maybe I can get Dad to read it to me.)

We don’t get together every Thanksgiving or Christmas for some big traditional thing, but when Mom was dying (years after Mom and Dad were divorced), I got on the phone to Dad and just cried and he was there the next day. I know whatever I need, I can get from Dad. (How’s that cure for cancer coming, Dad?)

Looking back, one of the things I’m happiest about in life is that Dad and I have become such great friends. And how I realize that being my father’s daughter is a pretty special thing.

So, happy birthday Dad.

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Two weeks!

I went in for what turned out to be a non-appointment today (since I had bloodwork that was good Tuesday, I didn’t need it today).

I did get good news. My PA says that how you react to your first chemo is a good indicator of how you’ll react to subsequent chemos.

And I don’t have another appointment with the medical community for two weeks!

So now I really have no excuse not to grade.

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Things are good

Well, things are mostly good.

This is what the house looked like when I came home.


All that stuff on the floor used to be on top of the refrigerator. The top of the refrigerator is taller than I am, but it’s not taller than Ike can reach. I didn’t feed Ike this morning since he had so much food left over from last night. I figured it would be enough. I was wrong.

Yesterday was an ordeal. It looks like a lot of the little things are going to become ordeals. I had an appointment for a routine dental cleaning and check-up. But because I’m on chemo, I needed blood work first. Because of silly mistakes, a 15 minute appointment took an hour and a half. And my port didn’t work, so they ended up trying to flush it 4 times, leaving a sick taste in my mouth all day. (Of course, I had no idea why I had such a crappy taste ’til the evening. Knowing sure made it better.)

But Terri at the dentist’s office was an angel. She had all sorts of advice about how to deal with potential mouth problems. I haven’t had them yet, but they don’t scare me near as much any more. (And, if any of you have the flu this winter, she swears by rinsing your mouth with mint Mylanta after getting sick…it neutralizes the acid better than brushing your teeth and leaves a clean taste.)

I joined the Cancer Wellfit program at the Wellness Center this week. We spend an hour exercising, then an hour in educational/support programs. If nothing else, it gets me out of the house and stops me from feeling sorry about myself for a while. But I was surprised today to find that my appetite is much better and I made it through the day without a nap. Of course, this just may be natural progression and healing, but I’ll stay with the program.

I don’t know why things are still going so well for me, but they are and I’ll enjoy it while I can. I follow-up with the oncologist tomorrow to ensure I’m still doing well, but don’t expect any surprises.

Things are good.

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I can lecture 40 minutes, but…


I learned the hard way that I can lecture in my usual style for 40 minutes, but not quite for 50. Actually, I learned around 46 minutes that I get all lightheaded and clammy and confused (but com’on–type casting in C# can confuse the best of us). But at least I didn’t throw up on anyone. And my temperature is still normal.

Let’s see how the Cancer Wellfit program can improve that tonight.

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Fears and Reassurances

I was gripped by massive fears Saturday. So severe, I was afraid to write about them. But I think they’re mostly gone now. Maybe temporarily, but at least they’ve left once and that gives me some reassurance they might not stick around when they come again.

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Like, wow

So, Charlie’s been in charge of feeling the tumor to see if anything changes (a task he doesn’t find wholly repulsive) and he swears tonight, less than 36 hours after I finished my first chemo session, it’s smaller already.

And the nausea regimen is working and the Neulasta didn’t burn at all, despite all their warnings.

But, since we know so many of you have been sending prayers and good thoughts and we’re incredibly touched by all you’ve done, he insisted we blog this now. Thanks for all your support! You don’t know how important it is.

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24 hours after treatment and all is still going well. I had butterflies in my stomach last night, but don’t know if that was from nerves, too much hard candy to keep my mouth moist, or not understanding that whole grain cereal is not really in the “easy to digest” category. Or it might be because I had chemo yesterday. But laying down and talking to Charlie last night got my mind off of it,

The butterflies are back today (even after the nausea regiment), so I’m avoiding big meals until after I get Neulasta (to build up white cells) at 3. Even then, I think I’ll forgo Spicy Italian subs.

But, so far, so good.

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