Ok. I've been neglecting my good friend, my trusty blog and all of you out there who check in on me! I've been down with the flu (twice! Guess that's what happens when you get TWO flu shots! LOL) since Thanksgiving, but have also become quite addicted to Facebook! (love that I can access it on my smart phone, "Ruby"!). I have had so much fun reconnecting with old friends, co-workers, and classmates! Some friends all the way back to 8th grade! People that I thought were lost, are now found! Friends that moved away when I was in 10th grade (waving at Kathy!), friends that I hadn't seen or heard from since high school and college. I'm loving the connections. My life is all about connections and relationships now. And I am so thankful to be able to speak to all of these people and tell them how I feel about them. What they mean/meant to me. How they affected my life. It has given me a new light inside. I have this need, this hunger to connect. To reach out and touch, and to hold on for dear life. I don't want to let go. I know I'm driving people crazy (get a life already Shauna! Some of us are trying to work and be responsible/productive! Not professional playdaters!). But it's like a drug for me. I crave it. I need more. I can't stop. It feels good. And it's an escape. A distraction. I forget for awhile that I have cancer, because I'm kind of living in the past. Works for me, ya know? LOL So thank you all for being patient with me and humoring me. I feel so isolated sometimes. And I need to get my fix!!! You can blame my friend Jo, for "pushing" Facebook on me! LOL (Thanks Jo, I love my favorite cup-o-Jo!) Add me as a friend, you'll find me under "Shauna Berglund Immel".
Another reason I've been MIA - with the flu came lots of laundry. Especially bedding. The extra stress on the appliances was too much for Mr. Dryer to handle so he kicked the bucket. My step father in law (thanks Wayne!) and Dave tried their best to fix it, but it wasn't saveable (is that really a word?). So I spent a great deal of time and energy at the local laundromat on both Friday and Saturday nights. You'll be shocked to know that laundromats are not open 24 hours (they close at 10! and I drove to 3 of them to check!) and that they are EXPENSIVE and that there is no where to sit. (see, my mom came to visit! Remind you of that "Friends" episode with Ross and Rachel?) You also might be shocked to know that I brought my camera with me and documented my time spent there! LOL
Hey, I you talking to me? I resemble that remark! LOL
One thing you may not realize, doing laundry at the laundry mat is hard work! You have to pile all of those dirty clothes (like every piece of clothing you own after a week!) into your car and drive them there. Haul them in and out of the car and "the mat." You don't need anywhere to sit, because there is no time to sit! You get your stuff loaded (which is work!), you have to get quarters and then you realize you forgot laundry soap and dryer sheets, so you have to use quarters to get that. And then by the time you do that, all of your 7 loads have been washed and you have to work your tail off to get them into the dryers and then you need more quarters and then they start getting dry and you start folding and folding and folding! They finish all at the same time!! And then you have to reload the car. And then haul them into the house and then put them away! Whew!!! I've developed a whole new appreciation for doing laundry and I will NEVER complain again! I promise!!! Speaking of can't complain...I can't complain about my hubby! He went out and suprised me with a new dryer from Sears! I think he was afraid he was going to have to start doing it! No more Friday and Saturday nights spent at "The Mat!" Although it's nice to get all of your laundry done in one fell swoop, it's nicer to do it at home. Our new dryer arrives tomorrow! I'll have to think of a good name for him. I've been naming things lately. My Blackberry phone is names "Ruby", my mom's old car that I'm driving while the Jeep ("Hunter") is in the shop, is named "Rosie". Any suggestions?
Had my monthly appointment with my oncologist today. Drew my blood for the CA125 test and flushed my ports (I have a double port-a-cath inserted into my left chest wall, above my heart for infusing). When you don't use your ports, you have to flush them monthly to keep the flow open or whatever. Had a nice talk with my doctor. Told her about the flu and how I was concerned it was my cancer taking over my insides. She said that we need to be aware of that and keep an eye on it but that since so many others got sick, that it's likely the flu and not my cancer. I told her how worried I was about my intestines. I've had increased pain in my abdomen and under both ribs and bloating and trouble eating very much at a time and digesting food etc. Which is no big suprise since the cancer was in my intestines and they removed 12" of my intestines. But also, a stomach virus will cause inflamation and pain, especially with compromised intestines! I asked her if there were any tests to check the intestines because they don't show up in the CT scans or PET scans or MRIs or Ultrasounds. The only way they can tell is to cut me open surgically and that's not advised. So we don't know. We just keep an eye on stuff. The kind of cancer I have forms a glaze of cells along the linings of my abdomen and intestines, not a big mass, but a layer. Which is not good for the self esteem, when you add layers to your abdominal wall, and it's not muscle! She said my last CT scan was Nov. 18th, so she wants me to do another one the 1st week in Jan. and then meet with her again the 2nd week and start chemo again then. Probably the oral chemo, pill form (Zometa?). You take pills one week, feel iffy and then feel bad and have a week to recover and then repeat. I have plans to go out of town to the beach with my friend Loni (since 8th grade) and Paris (friend for about 9 years now?) and Sam (Paris' sorority sister who lives in Gig Harbor!) the 2nd weekend in Jan. and then my bday is Jan. 20th and I have plans with my UCLA college friends (Sheila, Joni, Rachel and Phil) to go to San Francisco the weekend of the 24th. So I'm going to try and push off starting chemo until the end of January if my CT scan and CA125 comply. I asked the Doc how she thought I was doing...really. Considering. Compared to the odds. Statistically, etc. She said she felt good about me having a break but that considering my history, that I will never be able to have very long breaks from chemo. And she thinks that I'm doing better than expected. So I'll take that and run with it. My friend said something to me tonight that put things into perspective (thanks Kathy!). I told her I was still fighting. But that I was getting tired of fighting and that fighting was getting harder the longer and harder I fought. And she said "The longer you fight, the longer you are winning." That really slapped me upside the head. Makes sense. So I'm adopting that as my other slogan, besides "I CANcer*vive." She said I could! Now all I need is an agent. Any takers? I could be the next Lance Armstrong people!!! The doctor also suggested I talk to my counselor again (I think my tears gave me away, ya think?). Hey, a girl can only keep a stiff upper lip for so long! (A Facebook fix would have averted that by the way!).
Don't know if the Writing Group outside the workshop is working for me. Too much visiting and chit chatting and commenting on pieces besides just the writiing itself. Seems like we spend more time hearing back stories and life histories than writing. It's a long drive and a big effort to go for not getting more than 20 minutes of writing in in a 2 hour block. I'll share what I got down last week. They are all incomplete...
12/5 10 minute write prompts:
1. My worst nightmare...
2. The best holiday ever...
The Abyss (or The Deep?)
by Shauna Berglund Immel
I'm sound asleep. The kind of deep sleep you get to if you can stay asleep long enough to venture there. Where you are still, except for the quiet whispers of your breath, falling in rhythm with your heart beat. Your eye lashes flutter so ever slightly, tickling your cheeks like butterflies on flowers. You are at peace. Safe and secure in your dreams. Where you get to travel to magical places and visit long, forgotten first loves. You relax deeper into the comforts of your breath. You are floating in a suspended state, like being on your back in the ocean, looking up at the clear, blue sky as the rolling waves gently rock you deeper to sleep.
Suddenly, your safe haven is shattered by an uncharted storm. You are startled awake with fear. Your gentle ocean turns tumultuous. It churns as Tsunami-sized waves toss you about. You are no longer floating on top of the water, but are going under. Gasping for breath. Choking. Drowning. There is no escape route. No one to help you. You call out but no one comes to save you. You swallow more water and your lungs fill with liquid as you sink deeper and deeper towards the abyss. Your eyes burn with terror as you try and make your way through the darkness.
Just when you think you can't hold on, you break the surface and gasp for breath, coughing up salt water. You sit straight up in bed. Your heart pounding so fiercly, you fear it will pound right out of your chest.
You look around. Confused. Disoriented. Am I asleep? Am I awake? I'm asleep. Wait, no... I'm awake. Let me pinch myself. Yep. I'm awake.
My worst nightmare ever? I'm pretty much living it.
12 minute write prompts:
1. A pet
2. Most Memorable Vacation...
A Dog's Tale
by Shauna Berglund Immel
He came into our lives, very unexpectantly. We hadn't planned for him. After two of the greatest dogs had come and gone from our lives, we weren't looking for a replacement just yet. I had only brieftly mentioned to my family, two Christmas' ago, how "if and when we ever get another dog, it would be a Labradoodle." And I had put it in the back of my mind while I had more immediate things to deal with, like cancer and chemotherapy.
My husband must have taken it to heart, because not even two weeks later, he pulled up to the curb to pick me up from a long day of infusing and curled comfortably in his lap, like it was made for him, lay a 9 week old Labradoodle puppy! Probably the cutest puppy I had ever laid my eyes on. It was love at first sight. And by the looks of it, my husband shared the same sentiments.
As I got into the car, the puppy calmly crawled over to my lap, and gently settled in. As if he knew that that is what I needed and maybe all I could handle at the time.
My husband must have known I needed something soft and cuddly in my hard, cancer filled life. Maybe we all needed something to remind us to live in the moment. To live each day to the fullest. To be happy for what you have now and to find joy in the little things.
The Pillsbury Dough Boy:
Spencer will be playing one of the Pillsbury Dough Boys in the Catlin Gabel 8th Grade production of "Not Saint George" this Friday! More on this later! Thanks to Grannie and Grampa for making this costume possible!!! xoxoxoxo
This should give you all enough reading material for a few days while I get my Facebook fix! LOL