Monday, June 18, 2012

Too long between posts!

Sorry, readers. Sometimes Real Life gets in the way...

Had a very VERY good weekend. My sister's "kids" (now I know how my parents' generation always thought of us, no matter our actual chronological ages) were all together this weekend. One son drove cross-country with his significant other and their two dogs (whippets), from the West Coast. Another drove up from the Twin Cities with his wife, two sons, and a dog (lab). And her daughter and son-in-law live only about 20 minutes away and were there, too. All were housed in either my sister's residence or the camper that they have on their property. Talk about a full house!

It was so great to see them all. The "kids" have not been all together for 2 years, when the daughter got married. Which was another fun day, with an off-beat reception at the Duluth Aquarium, complete with a carnival theme. Lots of finger food, including popcorn, wings, cotton candy, cupcakes (in lieu of wedding cake)... just a clever concept, so perfect for my niece and her artsy ways. But back to this past weekend...

On Saturday, three of my sis's family members - both sons and the daughter-in-law - were scheduled to do tandem skydives in Superior, in celebration of the oldest son's 40th birthday, which was in early April. The weather on late Saturday morning, was rather iffy and a front was moving thru as they performed their jumps. Very exciting to witness the jump! I am trying to screw up enough courage to do a later jump when sis's daughter jumps, probably in September. Since I want to limit my odds of an early expiration, I did not choose to jump while I am still undergoing chemo. Somehow, the idea of exposing my naked head in front of a large group of strangers, does NOT hold much attraction for me. So, if I have completed this current round of treatments by then, and IF I have some hair regrowth in September, I will jump. All three of the family jumpers did NOT think they would EVER do this more than one time -- and each one of them said that they would do it again! And one of the sons has quite a fear of heights, and the other has a lesser feeling along those same lines. So... something I can check off my bucket list!

On Sunday (Father's Day) we were invited to L's son and daughter-in-law's place for tacos and socializing. L met his son at one of the local country clubs for 18 holes of golf, along with his son's father-in-law and another guy. Weather was wonderful. At the son's house, it was again a dog-filled day: two more labs, and a small toy dachsund. Fun day of chatting with that part of the family - and the guys were planted in front of tv, watching a golf tournament.

I was able to have chemo #5 on June 4th. That was originally supposed to be my last (#6) date, but I had to wait 3 additional weeks until my platelet counts were in the proper range, before proceeding. My hair QUIT falling out, during the additional non-treatment weeks. So I have an even sparser smattering of hair, and since it is now two weeks after #5, it is fixin' to bail out, again. My hair follicles actually HURT during this process and the scalp becomes tender.

And I have another side effect to add: neuropathy. That's nerve damage, which manifests itself (in my situation) as a deep burning sensation, plus a loss to the gripping capability of that same hand - my left one. Since I am right-handed, this is NOT as limiting as it could have been. Still, the unexpected burning pain catches me unawares. And I am extremely careful when picking things up with my left hand, particularly wet plates, cups and glassware while washing dishes. This may or may not resolve itself, following the end of treatments. And it can linger for months or years, I am told.

Have been reading about newscaster Robin Roberts and her newest "cancer" diagnosis, myelodysplastic syndrome. This is actually a medical condition - not truly classified as a cancer - which means the bone marrow is not producing effective blood cells, leaving the patient with lowered blood cell counts and/or poorly-formed blood cells. There are several versions of MDS. My sister's husband died of MDS in 2002, while being prepared for a bone marrow transplant. So this obviously is holding my attention. Maybe a little-known fact is that cancer treatments - both chemo and radiation - can actually be the cause(s) of secondary cancers. Yup. Might cure you, might kill you. Huh. Not a lot of options.

Well, that's kind of the catch-up for me. Stay tuned!