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, September 26, 2007

The Provance trip to the Big Apple

Here are the promised pictures:

Matt was pretty happy to be there. Or can you tell?

Here's a picture of the actor Matt was hoping to see, but he was taking the day off.

Here's the lineup of people hoping to hit the lottery. That's Paul in the middle, there.

While we were waiting for the shows to start, we had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. Pretty cool stuff, actually!

Here's the line that Paul and Timmy had to stand in to get their half-price tickets to Spamalot. Paul tells me the line moved pretty fast.

After the show, Matt got an autograph by the actor who actually did play Mark in the performance we saw.

We had to go to the Toys-R-Us in Times Square. That is Captain Jack made out of Legos.

And, of course, the Christmas Card photo. Maybe. Maybe I will get my Christmas cards sent out this year. Along with the pictures from the last two years! Hey, it could happen!

Labels: ,

Ruth Update, September 26, 2007

Dear Friends, Relatives, and Prayer Partners,

I saw my primary care physician today. It seems that there is something suspicious on my seventh thoracic vertebra. I will be having a PET scan as soon as possible. Dr. Ryan said that the radiologists who read the MRI's very seldom raise an alarm unless there is something that really looks like it could be something. Of course, with my history, they may be a little fast on the trigger finger, too. Not that I am complaining. Let us err on the side of caution. This is why I like to bring moral support along on visits like this. Paul was with me.

The good news is that I don't have any pain right now, and the pain I did have was lower than T7, so the pain itself may not have been caused by whatever is showing up on the MRI. This could mean many things, so lets just wait until the PET scan results come back. My PCP has sent a message to my oncologist, and I told him that he could call me with the PET scan results, rather than have me come back in. If there is something malignant there, I will be going to my oncologist anyway, so let's save a copay.

I ask for your prayers in the meantime.


Get your mammograms. Do your self-exams.



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ruth Update, September 25, 2007

Dear Friends, Relatives, and Prayer Partners,

We got that trip to New York. Matt and I hit the RENT lottery, and got to sit in the dead center of the front row for $20 per seat. Considering seats in the third row are $110, that is pretty good. To see how we managed to do that, see: Mine was the fourth card called. Paul and Timmy went to see Spamalot, and had a good time, too. I hope to post some photos on the blog soon. Just been too busy to do it the last couple of days.

This trip required a lot of driving, especially by Paul, who had to go pick Matt up at Radford. We have since discovered a better way to get him to and fro, and he is doing that this weekend, so that he can go to the homecoming dance at Langley High School with his girlfriend, Katherine. A bus picks him up in Radford and brings him to the Vienna Metro station, where we pick him up. We take him back to the Vienna Metro on Sunday. We should have done this before. It costs $93 dollars round trip. Matt has to pay for this trip, but we will spring for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

On Sunday evening, I had an MRI of my back to try to find out what happened two weeks ago. I got a call from my primary doctor's office today, saying he wanted to see me. Something about the preliminary results of the MRI. Today, I went to see the physical therapist. Since she is in the same HMO, she was able to see the preliminary results on her computer screen. She said, yes, I should go over that with my doctor. Okay, now I'm a bit worried. I see the doc tomorrow afternoon, sometime after 2:30 pm. I could use some prayers. Pray that it is nothing, and I am worried for no reason.


Get your mammograms. Do your self-exams.


Labels: ,

Monday, September 24, 2007

Recipes that changed my pantry: capers

Matt really loves this dish, though Timmy doesn't. He liked it the first time! I made it for dinner on Sunday, just before Paul took Matt back to Radford.

Linguine with Tuna, Capers, & Raisins

A more elegant presentation would be to individually plate the pasta and then spoon the other items over it.

Sophisticated yet incredibly easy, this dish brings the flavors of Sicily to your table. Prep time is ten minutes.

1 pound dried linguine

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use 1/3 cup)

1 cup chopped onions

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

2 (6-oz) cans tuna, drained

1/3 cup drained bottled capers

3/4 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cook pasta in a 6-8 quart pot of boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta and return to pot

While pasta cooks, heat oil in a 12 inch heavy skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking and cook onions and garlic with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally until golden, 6 to 8 minutes.

Stir in tuna, capers, raisins, parsley, and reserved cooking water. Add tuna mixture to pasta, tossing to combine, and serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 4-6

Source: Gourmet Magazine 12/05 ( I got it from an online foodie group to which I belong)


Friday, September 21, 2007

My brush with Harlotry

When Stephanie Pearl McPhee said she was short, we didn't realize how serious she was:

But, seriously, when knitters go to a Yarn Harlot event, they wear their best stuff. Unfortunately, my best stuff is crocheted:

Stephanie didn't hold it against me, though, and she signed all four of my books, and even let me hold the travelling sock! We did not plan our wardrobes. Honest.

There were, of course, other knitters. Here is my buddy Jayme, and she is a production knitter. Or, maybe I should say she is a producing knitter:

And, just in case you were wondering what to get me for Christmas, I wear a size 12 women's shoe. These are Birkenstocks:

Now, I have to get going. We are going to New York! Gotta throw some stuff in the bags.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ruth Update, September 13, 2007

Dear Friends, Relatives, and Prayer Partners,

The trip to NYC this weekend is off. My pain is just too much. At the moment, I don't feel too bad, but that is because I am stoned on Vicodin.

The doctor I saw today had another set of x-rays taken, and he says I have a bit of scoliosis (curvature of the spine), and a dowager's hump, which I knew about. He talked on about sleeping on a firm mattress, doing exercises, correcting my posture, and yadda, yadda, yadda. I said that was all well and good, but what about my pain right now! Hence, the vicodin. He says I have a muscle spasm. Okay, so I am a real spaz. We knew that, didn't we!

The pain was so bad this morning that I needed help getting dressed. Paul had a meeting he had to attend, so I called my church and whimpered "Help!". They sent Karen. I am so glad, too. She took very good care of me until Paul came home. She pushed me around in my wheelchair and helped me when I had to stand up or sit down. May God heap blessings on her head!

I have missed two days of work. We will see about tomorrow.

Get your mammograms. Do your self exams.

My blog:


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ruth Update, September 12, 2007

Dear Friends, Relatives, and Prayer Partners,

My weight loss program was going okay until last week. I walked two miles, and did not enjoy it. I don't know if that had anything to do with what happened to me the next day or not, but it seemed to be related.

On Friday, after the no fun walk, my back started hurting, and it got worse through the day. I had walked that route before, so I don't think I over did it. I had been having pain in my upper arm off and on for some time, and I had an appointment with a physical therapist for it. I thought I could kill two birds with one stone when I went to see her. The backache felt like a "crick," a pain that might last for a while and then go away. As of Monday, it still had not gone away, and as of Tuesday, it was a bad as ever, and I had my PT appointment. When I demonstrated what made my upper arm hurt (the reason I actually had to see her), I think she knew what it was right away. It was my rotator cuff. You don't have to be a baseball pitcher to get that, I guess. And it seems the back pain, just below my shoulder blade on the same side, was related. She taped my shoulder and gave me some exercises to do. I went home and did some of the exercises -- nothing strenuous.

This morning I woke up and sneezed and thought I was going to die from the pain. My whole back on that side seemed to be on fire. Paul had to help me get dressed! I called the HMO. I wanted to see somebody who could give me drugs. I also called in to work to tell them I wouldn't be in.

I got to see the nurse practitioner who works with our family practice doc. Turns out she has some first-hand experience with rotator cuff problems. I guess I have Bursitis and Tendonitis (Impingement). All the pain is related. I got an x-ray, a shot of some powerful anti-inflammatory, some pills of another anti-inflammatory, and the muscle relaxant, which is just starting to kick in, so please forgive my typos.

I am feeling better. I just hope the relaxation of the muscles lasts long enough to get me to work tomorrow, and to New York on the weekend. Yes, we are finally giving Matt the trip to Broadway he has been wanting for so long. It seems that two of the original cast members of Rent are back in the show for a few weeks. It is a logistical nightmare to get Matt from Radford, get him home, and then get all of us to New York in time for the Saturday matinee. I have a motel reservation for us at a Super 8 in North Bergen, NJ, right by the Lincoln Tunnel. I hope this works out and I don't sleep through the whole thing.

Just in case you were wondering what I need prayer for at this late date!

Excuse me while I go take a nap.

Get your mammograms, do your self-exams.



Saturday, September 08, 2007

A bit of a setback

Okay, I last blogged on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I walked the 1.6 mile route. On Thursday, I walked the 2 mile route, much more slowly. I just could not get going, and was walking about 101 steps per minute. I just could not get up to 106. I came home feeling kind of stiff and tired and generally beat. I did, however, have some of the ice cream. It had a raspberry swirl and chocolate chunks. Good stuff! I hobbled along with Paul on his evening walk.

The next day, I got up and somehow made it to work, though a bit late. As the day wore on, my back felt worse and worse. I warned Paul that I was not going to be able to get dinner on. My only comfortable position is flat on my back with two pillows under my knees. Or, on my side, knees drawn up with a pillow between them. I am out of percocet, too. Dang. I have to depend on Motrin. Today is laundry day, and Paul and Timmy are off on a camp out with scouts. I had them take most of the dirty laundry downstairs before they left. Now it is up to me to get the clean stuff upstairs. Dang, again.

I didn't walk yesterday, and I doubt that I will today, either. If it ain't one darn thing, it's another!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Faster, farther, longer, higher, whatever

I have walked every day for the last week -- eight days in a row. I even walked on Sunday!

Yesterday, I walked the two-mile route for the first time, and today I timed myself. I walked two miles in 41:42, at a pace of 104-106 steps per minute. Yay, me! I have been fudging a bit on the snacks, but not too much. I figure two more days, and I will have earned another ice cream. Paul has some raspberry something in the freezer and he keeps eating it when I am around. I tell him I hate him, but, of course, I don't. I did tell him not to eat all of it before I have earned my next ice cream! I figure five days in a row earns a scoop of ice cream, but Monday of last week I had an ice cream sandwich, so that upped my days to ten. I think I go back to the oncologist to be weighed sometime next week.

Have you seen this blog: BECAUSE I SAID SO Dawn is being called the next Erma Bombeck. Some of her postings are quite hilarious. I recommend reading the blog from the beginning. She just started in June of this year, so it won't be too onerous. Those of us with children can really relate!