Sunday, September 28, 2008

It is finished!!

There it is. All finished. Toad gave me the idea of putting a bikini on it. So, we went shopping in the scrapbooking section of the local WM and I found this adorable one that is made out of fabric! It's got the hat, a towel, flipflops, suntan lotion, sunglasses and a beverage. They are just lightly tacked on in case she doesn't like them, but I think it's cute.
One more project down.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Good Morning Saturday!

Hello Friends!

I love the weekends, don't you? So far I've just about accomplished climbing up Mt. Laundry, scrubbing the abyss commonly known as the bathroom and worked a bit more on the wall hanging.

I've added the borders, but still have to add the extra little accents I want to place under the tree. I had a little floppy hat there, but it looked too much like a deformed beachball. so I decided against it.

The shade of green I chose is actually one that is in the tree leaves, but it's not showing up very well in this photo. It looks much nicer in person.

I'm hoping to get it totally finished this weekend. Wish me luck!

MT. Laundry is another story. The towels that I had to leave on the line received an extra rinsing over night. They'll be air drying a little longer than anticipated, but it's all good.We needed the rain desperately. Hopefully it will make them a bit softer.

My little sister, her family, Toad and I went to the local high school football game last night. Oh the memories it brought back. The old Alma Mater hasn't changed much, but the faces sure have! There was barely a soul I recognized and the place was packed! As we sat there, I could smell the scent of the river wafting towards us. The field is roughly a half mile or so from the shores of the Allegheny. It was rather refreshing in an odd sort of way. Wish I could say our team won.....but, I can't. I think the final score was 28-14.

Well, this new day is beckoning me to get started. I've shopping to do and a livingroom, kitchen and sittingroom to tend to. I'm thinking of making stuffed chicken breasts for dinner today so I need to get out to the garden for some onions and other veggies as well. There isn't much left out there and it will be getting mowed over soon. So, perhaps I ought to glean what's left and get it in the freezer too.

I hope your Saturday is a blessed one filled with goodness, mercy and love.
See you later Friend! And thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Blogs Blogs Blogs!

Hello Friends!

Blogspot, MySpace, Xanga and Facebook. Geesh how can one person end up with so many places to hang out. That doesn't even count the MSN groups or forums run by other friends! And still, there are other sites I have joined, but solely for the purpose of checking in with the friends who hang out there instead of here.

Keeping up with all of them can be a bit of a challenge unless I do the old copy/paste trick. So, if you are a visitor to more than one or even all of them, bare with me as I get things caught up. I do after all only have one life to live~ hmmm, where have I heard that before ? giggle Ok, scuse' the sad and sorry attempt at humor. Comedy isn't one of my true gifts

Pick the place you like to be the best and say hello to me there. You don't have to follow me all over the net . I don't get upset if you don't comment every day on each of them. I'll let you know if I plan on leaving one of the groups before I do it. Ok?

Each place has it's own perks and they all fill a need for something ~ like entertainment, fellowship, support, family fun and of course friendship. I get the chance to talk with people who are going through similar circumstances and I get to vent or share about the things happening in my life too. They won't all be exactly the same because the friends aren't all the same and conversations can go in so many different directions. But, the important updates from me will be shared.

So, whichever place you decide to visit, I hope you enjoy the time you spend there.

Take care friend!

and remember....

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Toad's Story

****Toad is my husband's nickname. So, that's probably the only way you'll ever hear me refer to him. This is a repost from my xanga blog and Those who know the story may want to skip to the last five paragraphs. Those who don't, read on ~

Everyone has a story. This one happens to be about my husband. In the summer of 2006 he began getting stomach pains. He had a physical for his CDL/Hazmat license. As a trucker this gets done on a regular basis since they have to carry a physical card with them. During that physical, he was diagnosed with an umbilical hernia. So, ok, he could live with that. No biggie.
As the summer went on the pain began increasing. It was getting harder and harder to tolerate it. He thought that the hernia was strangling ( meaning twisting ) So on August 6, 2006 we headed to the emergency room. They did the regular screenings and asked if he knew he had a hernia. ( ok so that's why we were there LOL) The doctor felt around his abdomen and decided he wanted to do a CT Scan just to be sure.
The test results came back and we heard " I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is, you don't have a hernia. The bad news, it's a mass pushing your navel out ." His CEA test came back at over 12,000.
We sat in silence for what seemd like an eternity and then my husband began putting his clothes on. The doctor asked what he was doing and he said "going home" The doctor said" No, you're going upstairs"
That was the start of life as we know it for the past 2 years. It's amazing how something simple can totally change into something horrific within seconds.
There were 2 major surgeries. In the first, the omentum & part of the large intestine were removed. His liver was shaved and the diaphgram was also cleaned up. The surgeon said there were several "BB" sized polyps all through his abdomen. 2 liters of cancerous fluid was drained away. This op took over 6 hours. Everything was healing up nicely. Then suddenly an infection developed. The incision had 4 small openings. They began to open more and more. Then it began to tunnel.
Toad's case was taken before a cancer conference. The Chief Oncologist Surgeon at another hospital asked to take charge of his case. So phone calls were made and suddenly he was going into surgery for the second time.
His gallbladder & part of the small intestine were removed as well as more of the BB's. The cancer had attached itself to the fresh incision of the previous surgery. That's why it never fully healed and had opened so grossly. They took a 4 inch section of skin/tissue from the center of his tummy. He no longer has that bellybutton that started it all. They also did an internal chemo flush. This operation took 9 hours. There remain two masses that they couldn't get. His CEA had come down to 44
Off to chemo we go. For the first year it worked great. Then,his regular home health nurse went on sick leave and they bounced us around from nurse to nurse. His first port became infected. While in the hospital to remove it, he developed a staff infection in his blood. At this same time our son was enlisting. So, Toad told the doctor he wanted out of the hospital to see our son off to boot camp. The doctor relented but made sure we knew that if Toad left the hospital the staff infection could kill him. Well, that started things moving in the wrong direction.
The port was removed and a picline was placed. Chemo happened and for a couple of weeks things started looking up. A blood clot developed at the site and suddenly things were looking pretty crappy so the military branch our son was enlisting in sent him home. I had received a phone call from the base commander telling me that in 6 months when things reached their culmination at home, they wanted our son to re- enlist as he would make a fine addition to his squad.-- Our son was coming home and that is all that mattered to Toad. He needed to have a little less stress in his life at that moment in time. We all did. What "I " heard during that phone conversation was...once your husband is dead, send your son back to us.~ I said and still say to this day "I think not!"
Back to chemo.... but the CEA was well over 900 by then.The picline had since been replaced by a new port. Chemo had started up-- then suddenly, thinking he was wiping away sweat, hubby looked down at his chest and realized the wound at the port site had re-opened. By the time he got home, I could actually look into his chest and see the wires/ tubes from the port. No, you aren't suppsed to see anything as it is totally embedded into the chest. Off to the hospital we go once more.
That's the funny thing about chemo. It won't let things heal properly. DUH!! It was way too soon to start the chemo.
Ok so no chemo until the proper amount of healing happened. Things move along swimmingly. No nasty side effects to amount to anything. He's still strong and has all his hair. The worst thing was having to wear the pump every other week for 3 days at a time.
1 1/2 years have gone by since the beginning. Christmas rolls around and a new CT scan is done. At the first of the year 2008 we get the news that it's spread to his lungs. It's now necessary to switch up the chemo.
It's the chemo from hell! Things go from bad to worse in days. He's been in the hospital 4 times~ each for at least a week due to the side effects. They are severe. He's so weak he can barely walk 50 feet without having to stop and rest. He'd lost 70lbs since Jan. 1~ 30 of which had been in July alone. So, the choice has been made to take a chemo break. His body couldn't recover from the chemo, how was it going to have the ability to fight the cancer if the chemo was killing him faster?
In August we spent the 7 days in the hospital again. His white count had gone down to .08 and his immune system was at critical. They put him in Isotonic Isolation until his white count improved. Neupogen shots each and every day... He calls them "Nitrogen Shots" because they are cold and they burn. His white count improved and he was removed from isolation after 3 days. ~~ He had recovered and was feeling great. But, soon he was just as bad as he was before he went in. Seems things were only helping as long as he is hooked to the IV. His count was 9.7 when we left the hospital that time.

That's where things stood as of August 15th 2008.

Today is September 25th, 2008. Things have gotten better. His strength is slowly returning along with his hair. I tease him about being "Samson" giggle. He hasn't been back in the hospital since they took him off the chemo. His weight has stabalized and he's happy with it. There are still bad days, but they don't last as long as they used to and are getting fewer and farther between.

It's a long road ahead of us..... but I'll be there right beside him every step of the way.

Please keep him in your prayers that God simply dissolves the cancer and his body regains the strength he needs to live life as it should be lived. I'll post updates every now and again as time permits.......

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cancer again?

How many people do you know that have been told they may have or do have cancer? I know of at least 10 right now and someone new is added to the prayer chain each and every day.

Today, it's my sister. It's the dreaded " We need to run more tests, there's something there and we need to find out what it is" They are hinting at the "c" word, but not coming right out and saying it.

You stop and wonder why so many. Where is it coming from? What's causing it? Is it our food? Is it the preservatives? Is it the stuff that's supposed to help us stay healthy? My sister is a health nut. She eats right, gets plenty of exercise, doesn't drink pop and drinks very little coffee. Hmmm.... So, what's the answer?

Death used to be from natural causes ~ whatever that means. Is cancer a natural cause? Is that a phrase they used when they didn't know what cancer was? Has cancer always been around?

It's hard not to be angry that so many have to suffer because of this hideous disease.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A work in progress

I'm trying to decide on what kind of border I want to do for it.... go with a blue? or a brown? I was thinking a solid color since all the other fabrics have texture to it. It's also dimensional too ( as in not flat and sort of 3 D-ish so to speak)

I'm making this little wall hanging for a dear friend who has a thing for palm trees. On the beach, there is a little crab and footprints. That's what she said when I asked her to imagine herself at the beach and to tell me what she saw. So... what do ya think?

Gadgets ?? Gizmos and HTML

Well, I've been trying to get a slideshow set up through one of the gadgets on teh sidebar. But, alas, the feed won't connect. So, I figured out that if I add the HTML gadget I can simply put in the code for the slideshow I've created elsewhere and put in here there. Let me know what you think, how easily it is for your to view and if takes forever for my page to load for you.

Thanks for the input!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

What NOT to say to someone helping a loved one LIVE with cancer.

What not to say.... and what I really wanted to....
A friend has this really cool You Tube vblog "What NOT to say to someone who has cancer" You should check it out! I really admire this person! She's been helping me through some stuff without even knowing she's doing it! The stuff she said also pretains to those who are helping their loved ones live with cancer too. So, Pay attention! That way I won't have to repeat it again! Thank you Holly!!
Ok so, after listening to her I thought about my situation and the stupid things that have been said to me.... Now mind you, I'm not using a video blog so you won't see the cute expressions and hear the funny sarcastic way it would sound if I was. So, take it in stride and think of it with humor.
1. They said "Well, just think, you've had a couple extra years with him, you should be grateful. The doctors only gave him 2 months to live that's more than you thought you'd have. He should be dead by all accounts."~
My thoughts on that .... He should be dead???!! I thought we'd have forever, now I should be grateful that we may not grow old together? Grateful that a doctor tried to take his hope away? Grateful that my husband has a disease that is killing him? We've had a couple of extra years? I should be grateful he's been with me this long? This is my husband we are talking about. Not an old truck! Don't trivialize his life like that.
2. Boy does he look BAD! How do you cope with how much he has changed?~
Let's see.... He's my husband and I love him. How do I cope? What... I should reject him or leave him because he's lost his hair and he's not as strong as he used to be? I should be that shallow? He's still the same person, that hasn't changed. Go look in the mirror honey, you don't look the same as you did a few years ago either. He's had almost 50 chemo treatments during the last 2 years, of course he's going to look different. What's your excuse?
3. So how is he REALLY ? ~
Well, what did he tell you when you asked him? How is he REALLY? He really has cancer. How do you think he is? He's sick and he's tired. You think how he's doing is different now that he's walked away than it was when he was sitting right beside you less than a minute ago? Really?
4. So, how are you doing with all this? ~
How am I doing? Well, I was doing just fine until you made me think about it. I'm screaming inside while I'm smiling at you. I know full well you are just being polite so I just say I'm hanging in there. You don't really want to know my world has fallen apart and I'm barely holding on with my fingertips most days and a total meltdown is just a heartbeat away. My husband has a sucky disease.... It's hard as hell watching someone I love more than life itself go through this knowing I can do NOTHING to stop it. How the hell do you think I am doing?
5. If he can't be left alone, then maybe he should be in a nursing home. ~
Excuse me, He's my husband. So, he's feeling sick today. What, that interferes with your plans so much that I should institutionalize him because he's throwing up? Honey, you and your plans aren't what's important to me. He is.
6. If there is anything you need ~
I need my husband to be healed. Can you do that? Uh... yeah... I didn't think so...and then what ? Would you keep my mortgage paid? My utilities? My car payment ? Fill my freezer? Pay the hospital bill we just got in the mail? You know he can't work anymore. What do you honestly think I might need? Would you help me take care of the landscaping chores that never get done? You gonna come clean up the puke and other bodily fluids that sometimes don't make it to the toilet while I'm at work? I need to have the means to stay home and take care of my husband. Are you able to help me do that? If you can't give me what I need... don't ask me ~to ask you~ for help. I'm not going to you know.
7. You haven't called to update me lately! ~
My life is hectic enough without worrying who is going to be offended by my not calling them. Face it honey... my priorities have changed. Most days I'd simply rather not talk on the phone. Besides.... if you really want to know how he is, come visit him.
8. Why didn't you tell me he was in the hospital again, you know I worry!
If you are so worried, why don't you come see him when he's well .Why is it only when he's in the hospital and needing to sleep that you show up? Did you ever think he may not want a hospital room full of people and requested I not tell anyone? If he wanted you to know, you would have already known. Don't get an attitude with me because I don't call YOU.

I understand people ask things just out of common courtesy without really wanting to know- without really wanting to help. They say it because they feel it's expected of them. I honestly do understand all that.

But truthfully, If you don't want to know.... don't ask. If you can't help... don't offer. You are doing me more harm than good. Don't make me think about the stuff I need or how I'm feeling. Don't make me wonder how I'm going to get through this day. Don't make me think about tomorrow. Don't tell me our lives have all been planned out...we live we die. I already know that..I don't need to be reminded it may come sooner than I ever dreamt possible. Don't tell me our reward is in heaven. He'll be healed there and this is all just temporary, he'll have a new body... excuse me, I DON'T want to hear that. Yes, I believe in God and that Jesus is our savior and there have been mansions prepared for us.... but PLEASE...Don't try to make me feel he'll be better off dead! I know when the time comes he's going to heaven, but I still don't want to hear that! We are living in the here and now. RIGHT THIS MINUTE is what concerns me. Heaven is a lifetime away.... it's not what's happening at this moment in time. That doesn't comfort me, honestly it doesn't help at all. It just deepens my feelings of loss. It might make YOU feel good to say it.... but it's hurting me.

Strangely enough, the majority of those who actually say most of these things have never lost their spouse or anyone for that matter to this horrible disease. They do it because they simply just don't know what else to say.

Don't tell me I shouldn't be angry. Don't tell me I should be grateful. If your heart really isn't in it, don't ask and don't offer. For God's sake and my sanity.... Just don't.

Sometimes the old addage..."Silence is Golden" holds more truth than you know.

Tell me you are praying for us all. That's all you need to say......and then do it.

Doing a test run

Hello Friends!

Well, this new adventure could be interesting care to come along for the ride? I know you have all heard the rumblings and grumblings of everyone trying to learn something new. I'm not going to be much different, but I hope I can carry it off with a tad bit of humor attached to it.

For those of you who have just sort of stumbled by, HELLO! Nice to meet you!
For those who have come looking for me ~ YEAH you've found me
and for those that have followed~ glad the trail of breadcrumbs worked!

I'll be cheating and moving a few of my favorite old posts over from the other place. If you've already read them, forgive the monotony... if you haven't , hope you can glean something from them.

My life is a little chaotic at times and I'll warn ya, my posts will reflect that. It's just my way of letting go of the stress and maybe having some fun and making friends along the way.

In any case, I hope you enjoy yourself while you visit with me!

Thanks for stopping by!