Ruth's musings

I have been dealing with breast cancer for a while, and have been sharing my journey with friends, family, and prayer partners. This blog brings all my updates together in one place, and leaves me free to muse on other parts of my life. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ruth Update #12

May 14, 2006

Dear Friends, Relatives, and Prayer Partners,

This has not been my best week. Last Friday, I shared with you that I had a sinus infection. My oncologist told me to take the Augmentin that my family physician's sub had prescribed, and to call her the next day if I still had a fever. I did. It was over 101 degrees F. Ever since I started this adventure in 2001, they have told me that anything over 100.5 degrees F was a serious matter. I thought I would end up in the hospital or something. Guess not. I called the oncologist and she phoned in a prescription for Levaquin, which is a really high-powered antibiotic. In '02, they would have me take that as a substitute for my immune system. Anyway, all my guys were on a Scout outing and had the car. Thank goodness one of the Scout Moms volunteered to take me to the pharmacy. She even brought along her satellite radio so I could listen to oldies! Also, she is from this area, so I just had to tell her one landmark and didn't have to give directions. Thanks, MJ! The antibiotic brought my fever down pretty fast, but I still have the stuffy nose and cough that always happens when I have a sinus infection.

Saturday evening, I did go to the concert as our friend and I had scheduled. It was just a few miles from home at GMU, so we figured we could leave if we had to. The concert was Mark O'Connor's Appalachia Waltz Trio, with Carol Cook and Natalie Haas. They played violin, viola and cello, and were very good. If you get their "Crossing Bridges" album, you will hear pretty much what they played. I bought the album, but the line for autographs was long, and I wanted to get home.

On Sunday, I stayed home. I didn't feel that I should go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival with an acquaintance when I was sick. If Paul had been able to go with me, maybe. Ah well, maybe next year. I also missed church. In fact, I never got dressed all day.

Monday was a drizzly, miserable day. I was sick, but went to work anyway. I was cranky when I got home, and then Paul told me he would have to be out of town on June 21st, our 20th Wedding Anniversary. Then, I was really cranky. Paul and the boys went to Scouts that evening. Probably just as well that they were out of range of my bad mood. Later in the week, though, Paul told me that his boss had volunteered to take his place. His boss said his wife would have killed him if he had missed his anniversary! Of course, Matt will be out of town, so I guess we get to bring Timmy along! The next week, we go to the Virgin Islands with the Scouts.

I really didn't know if I would be getting chemo on Thursday or not. After checking my white blood cell count, which was acceptable, and determining that I had no fever, the doc said it was okay with her to proceed, if it was okay with me. So, we did. Now, I am really miserable, and the misery started a little earlier than it usually does. I did go to work Thursday afternoon and Friday, and I worked ahead a little, so I will be able to take Monday off if I need to. I think I probably will need to. One thing that was different for me this week was my red blood cell count was lower than usual, so they gave me a shot of Procrit to build it up.

I have recently read The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan. It is very interesting. It has to do with where our food comes from in this country, and looks at four different "systems," if you will. The first meal is from McDonalds. The author tries to follow a bushel of corn from a farm in Iowa to the table, or, in this case, the car. This was impossible to do, of course, but he was able to trace the general path of corn. He also bought a steer off a cow-calf operation near Sturgis, SD, and then went and found the critter at a feedlot in Kansas. His second meal was from Whole Foods, which is a chain of stores that specializes in organic foods. His third meal was locally grown in Virginia, including some chicken that he had helped kill at Polyface Farms, near Swoope, Virginia. He worked on that farm for a week, which was quite an adventure for him, a city boy. We have an order coming from Polyface, though we placed the order before I read the book. We have dealt with them before. The last meal, he grew, hunted, or foraged himself. Mostly. I highly recommend this book. You may never look at your dinner quite the same again.

Please pray for me to get over the sinus infection completely, and to endure my week after chemotherapy.

Happy Mother's Day!

Get your mammograms. Do your self-exams.




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