Friday, April 29, 2016

So Long, April

Am I the only one who thinks that it's just the first of April, not the last?  Where has the month gone?

When I'm last blogged, I reported that I had all my tumbler pairs stitched into "foursies". Oops, not.  :-o  I'm not sure what I was thinking ... I'm going to play the "chemo brain" card here.  Ha!  I still don't have all the pairs stitched together, but I'm close ... close enough to lay them out on my design floor.  
Disclaimer: I'm not sure why it appears that my tumblers have 90 degree angles at the corners. Trust me, they don't.  Because when I saw the photo I took, I panicked and checked them carefully ... yep, they're all the traditional tumbler shape as you can see here.  
(Remember these?  They're the pairs sewn together incorrectly. Another oops.)  I thought about setting the "foursies" back out on the design floor to see if I couldn't get a picture where the tumblers look like tumblers ... but I think crawling around on the floor once was enough at this stage on my recovery (probably more than enough ha!).   

My original plan was to lay the tumblers out 26x26, but now that I saw them laid out in a 24x24 setting, the quilt is larger than I'd anticipated (I'm terrible at visualizing, especially sizes). I want this to be a good-sized wall hanging, so I'm thinking it'll be a little smaller than originally planned. I'm thinking maybe 16x16 ... I'll see how it looks when I get it to that size. 

I had my second of twelve chemo sessions this past Tuesday. I'm tolerating the chemo quite well. I'd say every bit as well as I did the first go 'round ... except for my sleep.  Since I resumed chemo, I have had trouble falling asleep ... I go to bed at my usual time, lay there wide awake for about an hour, give up and get up for another 2-3 hours. :-o   I do sleep later, but even so, I'm only averaging 6-7 hours instead of the 9 I normally get.  I'd really rather go to sleep and get up at "normal" hours. I'm reluctant to blame it on chemo as I slept like a baby when I was on chemo before my surgery.  I'll definitely mention it when I see my oncologist ... surely there's something mild I can take to help me fall asleep when I go to bed. 

The second round of the NHL playoffs has begun.  The bad news is that my Blues didn't get off to a good start. The good news is that there are 6 games remaining. Hope springs eternal for Blues fans. ;-)

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spring Is Here ...

... and she's sticking around. It's been absolutely delightful here ... way too nice to spend much time inside in the sewing room.  But I do have all my tumbler pairs stitched into "foursies". I don't have a picture to prove it ... you'll just have to trust me.  Ha!  We've got rain coming through this week, so maybe I'll spend a rainy afternoon or two at the sewing machine ... I'll do my best to get a picture to prove it, too.

Another reason I haven't made it in to sewing room is that I'm still on a puzzle kick.  

We have another one that a dear bloggy friend sent me ... time to get started on it.  It looks to be a little. Ore of a challenge, so it's liable to take a while before we get it finished ... but we're up for,the challenge!  Bring it on!

Since its been so nice, I've been outside as much as I can.  I have been getting in a couple of walks every day ... I don't have the stamina to walk as far or as fast as I used to, but "they" say that several shorter walks will provide the same benefit that a longer walk does.  I hope so.  

I also spend some talking walking through the yard, enjoying the signs of spring.  Our knockout roses have started blooming ... I'm trying to remember (and failing) if they bloomed this early in previous springs. "They" recommend trimming knockout roses (waaaay back, too) in late winter.  In years past, I alway got out with my loppers and trimmed in February or March.  Obviously that didn't happen this year.  But it doesn't seem to be a problem, as they've greened up nicely and are now blooming. 

Last Tuesday, I resumed my chemo.  My oncologist assured me that I'd tolerate it well, other than a little more fatigue.  I was very fatigued on Wednesday, but I suspect that was as much from the sleepless night Tuesday (I'd like to blame the Benadryl and steroids, but I got Benadryl and steroids with my chemo during the first round ... and while I noticed that I was up later than normal on Tuesday nights, I never had an entire Tuesday night where I just couldn't fall sleep).  Once I got caught up on sleep last week, I didn't notice that I was any more fatigued than I'd been prior to the resumption of chemo. We'll see what happens tonight. 

I'm continuing to do well with my recovery. I still don't have the stamina I did prior to surgery, but I'm just now 4 weeks out from my surgery.  Everything I've read seems to indicate that it might be a few months yet before I feel completely back to normal (or at least what was normal for me prior to surgery). 

It's playoff hockey season, and my Blues managed to eliminate the defending Stanley Cup champions last night. Hope springs eternal for us Blues fans! Let's go Blues!

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Busy, Busy

Since I last posted, I've been pretty busy.  

Friday we went to see my Dad and watch the baseball game with my sister and her SO who were down for the weekend.  

Saturday was a day of extremes. I baked an apple crumb pie that turned out spectacularly.  But not a single pair of pants in my closet fit me now except for the elastic waist knit pants I've been wearing since my surgery. I put on a pretty sweater set that I hoped would distract from the pants. :-o  Given that it's my midsection that's the problem area, it's going to be a tough task finding pants that will fit in the waist without being baggy through the hips and thighs. In light of the cancer, this is a minor concern, I know ... but it's still a frustration.  The banquet was a success ... and all three Ts came home with MVP awards for their age groups. 

Sunday DH and I toured an open house ... it's just across the street from the house behind DD's. We are seriously considering moving to their neighborhood.  That would allow us to maintain our independence but still be a minute or two away if anything changes. This house had been beautifully renovated, but alas it was just too much house for the two of us ... with the "kiss of death" being all the stairs.  The bedrooms are upstairs and the laundry room was in the basement.  Between my health issues and DH's arthritic knees, there was no way we would be able to manage all those stairs. There are many single-story houses in their neighborhood, and we are praying that one of those will go on the market.

Monday we moved the rest of our stuff back here from DD's.  Ok - DH, DSIL and T#1 did the moving ... but everything is back and in its place.  I spent most of the day in the sewing room.  I finished pairing up my tumblers ... I ended up with 174 pairs, which I am thinking of setting 13x13 (26x26 single tumblers). I then started to piece the pairs into "foursies" ... only to discover that as I was chain piecing my pairs, I wasn't paying attention to how I was matching up my natural and print tumblers.  I had a couple dozen pairs that wouldn't match up to the others, no matter how hard I tried ... which meant I had to unstitch those pairs. 

My chemo resumed Tuesday morning, and so far, so good.  Unless you call a sleepless night "good".  This first session included Taxol and Carbo ... and a dose of Benadryl and steroids.  While it's not uncommon for steroids to cause a "wired" feeling, it isn't all that common for Benadryl to cause the same reaction ... but it does in me.  There were times when I thought I was ready to go to sleep, but they didn't last long ... and I was wide awake.  Obviously a nap is on my agenda for today.  Tuesday's session was uneventful, and I haven't felt any side effects yet (other than the aforementioned sleeplessness).  Each week, I stop on my way to the Infusion Center and admire the view from the 13th floor.  Yesterday I decided to take a picture ... unfortunately it was cloudy yesterday, so you have to really look to see the Gateway Arch. Perhaps if you click on the picture, a large version will open so you can see the Arch.

We had an absolutely gorgeous weekend ... Spring has finally decided to stick around.  Even with all the clouds yesterday and with the rain forecast for today and tomorrow, it's still in the 70s.  It'll,be sunny and even warmer by this coming weekend, which will be perfect as it looks like we'll be heading to Paducah on Friday. Our dogwood, which was looking awfully puny last summer, is enjoying this gorgeous weather. 

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Another Update

A lot has happened since I last blogged (hard to believe it's only been 6 days). ;-)

Tuesday morning, I met with my oncologist who was quite pleased with how well my recovery is coming along.  He asked if I felt ready to resume chemo next Tuesday, and my answer was a resounding yes!  He assured me that I should tolerate this next round as well as I did the first round ... other than a little more fatigue.  I can handle fatigue ... nothing that a mid-afternoon nap can't "cure". I will follow the same protocol that I did earlier ... Taxol every Tuesday and Carbo every third Tuesday. 

Because I should tolerate this next round of chemo well, DH and I have decided to stay here.  While we want to stay with DD and her family, there doesn't appear to be any real need to stay with them.  And it'll be good for their family to get back to their normal ... and it will be nice for DH and me to regain some of our independence. 

He ordered a blood draw after our visit, and I got the results on Thursday  ... and great news!  My counts are all great, and best of all, my cancer markers are down to 47.6 ... back in December, my count was 1,441.4 and while my levels dropped by half each draw while getting chemo, they were down to 192 at the end of February.  And considering that I've had a 5-week break from chemo for my surgery, I didn't really expect my levels to be so low.  

Since I've been cleared to drive, I figured that I could spend some time in the sewing room ... and that's where I was Wednesday afternoon.  I finally started piecing the tumblers I cut last October (see, right before things went south with my health. I have 96 pairs pieced together, and my plan is to head back into the sewing room this weekend!

Thursday I went to the Cardinals game with DD and my Ts. The weather was perfect ... although guess who forgot to put on sunscreen? :-o  And the Cardinals played well and won decisively. I did well, although I was tired and took it easy the rest of the day.  

My sister and her S.O. are in the area this weekend, and we all got together last night to watch the Cardinals game at our dad's.  After a dismal start to the season, they're on fire!  Alas, our Blues didn't fare as well last night ... but I didn't expect them to sweep the Hawks. Ha!

This afternoon will find us at the Ts' swim team end-of-season awards banquet. Busy, busy, busy. I'm going to take an apple pie, so I'd best go get busy on that ... and perhaps piece a few more tumblers while the pie is in the oven.

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

We're Still Here

While DD is feeling better, she's still got that horrible cough ... the heavy-duty cough medicine the doctor prescribed helps - a little. The boys (T#1 and T#3) are still showing some symptoms ... DD isn't sure just yet if they're coming down with something or if they're suffering from seasonal allergies.  I'm sure we'll know for sure by the time DD is well enough for us to consider going back.

DH and I are doing better than I expected.  He's really living out the "in sickness" part of our vows (not that I doubted him for a minute ... but it's still heartwarming to see him keep the promise he made me almost 29 years ago). For example ... sitting in my recliner has been most comfortable for me, and he's lowered and raised the footrest as often as I've asked (which is a lot more than you'd think) without a single complaint.  And he's living proof that an "old dog" can learn new trick ... we had a lesson in doing laundry and in cleaning the bathroom. ;-)  I appreciate his caregiving, but I'll be honest with you all ... I can't wait for the ok to resume doing more for myself.  

DH and I are keeping busy working on puzzles.
We finished this one on Wednesday 

and started this one 
on Thursday and finished it yesterday. We started another yesterday afternoon ... I don't think we'll be able to finish it up as quickly as the first two.

I'm also doing a lot of reading ... I'm about halfway through Harlan Coben's latest.  And I've got the second book in the Kay Scarpetta series downloaded to my iPad. That all is in addition to my devotional reading (Jesus Calling, First Five and 

And now that the baseball season is underway and the Stanley Cup playoffs are just days away, our evenings are full of Cardinals and Blues games. 

If only Spring would return ... I'd love to be able to sit out on the deck, soaking up the sun, and reading.  But with lows in the low 30s and highs only in the low to mid 50s, it's just too chilly out there for me. 

I've also been daydreaming about our plans to spend a day or two in Paducah during Quilt Week.  It's a little less than two weeks from now, so I should be able to be mobile enough to spend a few hours being inspired.  Of course, if I don't tolerate the second round of chemo (especially if he adds another chemo drug), that little trip will be cancelled.  

Speaking of chemo, I see Dr. Powell on Tuesday, and I'm hopeful that he'll release me from some of my restrictions and give us an idea of when we'll start the next round of chemo.  

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Back Home ... For A While

DH and I are back home ... temporarily.  A nasty bug has struck DD and is looking to settle in on T#1 next, so we all decided that it would be safer to have me back here at home than at DD's. DH was excited about regaining our independence ... until he learned how much time and effort is involved in my care at this stage of my recovery. ;-)  I'm kidding ... he's been a real champ since day one, and he hasn't complained a bit now that he's responsible for my care.

I will say that it is nice to be back on our own ... I too had missed our independence, but I'm missing my Ts and DD an awful lot right now.  :-(   And of course, I'm concerned about how they're feeling, praying continuously that they'll all be well soon so we can be together again. 

I do have to admit that I glanced longingly into my sewing room when we first got back here.  But I suspect that sitting at the sewing machine for a few hours might be more than I ought to be taking on right now. And there's no way that I can pick up my hand quilting right now, considering that I rest the hoop against my abdomen while quilting. :-o  One of these days ...

We have had some nice weather, warm but windy ... but winter looks to make its return this evening with a low of 32. Spring has been especially fickle this year. 

I hope that whatever you have planned for today includes a little something that brings you joy ... have a great day!