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!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ruth Update, November 3, 2007

Dear Friends, Relatives, and Prayer Partners,

Please forgive me for my silence. I was busy for part of the week setting up a private blog for my cousins. We started out on e-mail, but I think I convinced most of them that a blog would work better. I could be wrong, of course.

Last Saturday, we celebrated Timmy's and my birthdays by going to Pennsylvania. We have finally ordered the china cabinet for which I have been lobbying for some time. I have a bit more leverage this birthday. Anyway, the perfect one was a floor model, so we got it inexpensively. I am sorry, I didn't take a photo of it. They have promised delivery by Thanksgiving, and it could be any time, actually. I am so looking forward to getting my wedding china out of boxes in the basement, and Mom's china out of boxes in the attic. We plan to actually use them! Really! I need to make some doilies to decorate the inside, since it has glass shelves and lights for display.

The place where we ordered it is in Lancaster County, which is Amish and Mennonite country. Paul would be perfectly content to get all of our future furniture there. It is solid oak and made by the company, with nothing imported. I don't know about the recliners, though we really should have gotten one of them, too. I reached too high, and tried to get a three-piece living room set. We are not sure we have room for it, so I couldn't push too hard. Shoulda gone for one of the singles. The recliner we have is really old. I nursed Matt in that chair when it belonged to my parents. Hardware is falling off of it.

After we had lunch at a buffet-style place (that prepares food for hard-working people), we went to Hershey Park for Timmy's present. This was fun. Timmy and Paul rode on two roller-coasters. I settled for the monorail train and got them to join me in the "Kissing Tower," which is re-named "Bats in the Belfry" for their Halloween festivities. It gives a nice view of the area without extra g-forces. We also visited "Hershey's Chocolate World," where, in addition to selling every single candy made by the company, you can take a little train ride through a simulated chocolate factory. Paul and I really liked the video at the beginning that showed the growing and processing of cocoa beans at the source. Timmy wanted to hurry on to the train ride. He waited. We enjoyed the train ride, too, but piping in the aroma of chocolate was kind of a dirty trick. There were also animatronic cows, and a bull took your picture. We bought some candy, but not the picture. Also some chocolate-scented body wash.

This is a down week for my treatment. I did notice an itchy area on my backside last week. Then, I noticed a similar one on the other side, strangely symmetrical. A light bulb went off in my head, so I called the triage nurse at my oncologist's office. Yes, indeed, this is a common side effect of Faslodex, which is administered once a month as two intramuscular injections. Antibiotic ointment and dipenhydramine (Benedryl) cream fixed me right up. It is a little harder to control the joint pain brought on by both the Faslodex and the Aredia. I am taking about the maximum dose of Tylenol, some of it as Vicodin, that I can take. My pain is more annoying than debilitating. I fear that I may have to start taking Vicodin during the day, since my cancer is in my bones, and that also causes pain. Maybe next weekend I will see how the Vicodin affects me during the day. I want to still be able to drive. There are lots of other pain medications I can explore with my oncologist. At the moment, she is dealing with pain of her own, as she had foot surgery last week. I will next see her personally in December. There are other docs covering for her, of course, if anything major comes up.

I am adjusting to my "new normal." I have been unable to attend the support group meeting I wish to join, but they had a special event on Tuesday, with an oncologist presenting the newest treatments, and some women who belong to the support group had a panel discussion. I feel much better, but still want to get with them to see what is working for them. I am also interested in participating in clinical trials. With our proximity to the National Cancer Institute, John's Hopkins University, and Georgetown University, it is not difficult to be involved in such trials. Another thing to discuss when my oncologist comes back to work.

Now, I have to get to work. My cousin Jan is coming to visit tomorrow evening, so we must get the house cleaned.

Get your mammograms. Do your self-exams.


Pictures should be posted at my blog soon:

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