Thursday, June 11, 2009


Here are a series of small updates:

Tessa is growing by the minute, reading more and more, and self-proclaimed Queen of the Monkey Bars. She spends as much time as possible outdoors (in this weather, that is a fair amount), but when indoors, creates elaborate Squawkbird art and stories to go along with the art. (Squawkbirds are her imaginings and I adore the creativity.)

Has signed paperwork accepting a position at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The commute to Redmond is a killer; I think when Tessa is out of school I need to send the car away with him most days so that we can actually SEE him in the summer.

Tonight we had garden lettuce for our salad, and every night we're each eating a nice bowl of fresh strawberries (yum!). Each individual berry tastes like an explosion of a hundred berries in the mouth, and reminds me what seasonal, organic food tastes like. These are no relations of grocery store berries: they are small, some are misshapen, and if picked in the morning, by evening most will be soft and half will be inedible. They are best fresh from the vine, and we either pop them in our mouths immediately, or just bring them in as we're preparing dinner and then have them for dessert. The tomatoes are growing nicely, with two big green brandywines, and countless cherry tomatoes. The rhubarb has doubled, the raspberries have flowers, and so do the blueberries. Nasturciums abound, though no flowers yet, and the sunflowers are all six inches high. I've sampled sugar snap peas. The broccoli looks so-so, and one cabbage looks fantastic while the other are wilty. The chard is bright and beautiful - reminder to self, make chard for dinner tomorrow. The carrots are sporadic - having trouble with them this year. A few spinach plants, one bolted.

In short? The garden is progressing. It could stand a good weeding, but mostly, it's taking care of itself right now. We got a giant load of free mulch from Stonehedge Tree Services that went to good use, too.

I'm not as focused on green right now, but I am living it. That is to say: I'm not thinking of it the way I used to, because so many things are more habitual now. I've got all my cleaners, of which my favorite is baking soda. I figured out sunblock (Badger & Kiss My Face Paraben Free). I'm using Burt's Bees Grapefruit shampoo and conditioner. Olive oil soap, in the bar to save packaging. Our rags are old and stained from use, and I think that is a good thing, because it means that they're getting wear and I'm not using paper towels. Cloth napkins all the time. Enamelware (camping plates) for outdoor BBQs, or just carry our regular stuff. Library use all the time. I think I'm driving more than I ought to, so I should be focusing on that, I think. Grass fed beef only, the usual organics for everything, as much time at the Farmer's Market as possible to stock our fridge. Still making my own bread, and even discovered an artisan recipe that I love that isn't too difficult.

In short? Being green is taking up less of my bandwidth, as living green is just a part of what I do, so I don't have to think of it so much.

Climbing out of debt slooowwwwly but with progress. We have a plan, and we're sticking with it mostly. We have made giant strides from where we were a year ago,a nd have canceled some debt, and I am so proud of that. We will knock this thing out! Occassional purchases are necessary, of course, and I'm trying to choose wisely. I needed comfortable summer sandals and bought a "good" brand instead of cheapo ones, with the result that they do not hurt my feet and should last a long time. I'm trying to be wise, to use my dollars to show my values, and to save as many dollars as possible at the same time.

I hate cancer. I'm NED as far as I know, but I can't get my MRI approved. I"m overdue for my bone density scan, and I need to book my Zometa. Right now, getting on tamoxifen is all I can handle. Crazy, because I did fifty zillion appointments per week when I was in the thick of it, but my energy for it is lower now.

Progress. Always slower than I wish, but I've got momentum.

I sponsored our first block watch meeting last night, and 20+ people came, not including kids, to hear our local Crime Prevention Specialist give a safety talk. I love our neighborhood.

Lets out on the 19th. I'm really, truly looking forward to it. I want to play with Tessa instead of pushing her to HURRY UP YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE! which is how our mornings have been going.

Arrive on the 16th. Can't WAIT for them to be our houseguests!

Yes. Still. It tires me thinking about it. I am sleeping better, so I'm hopeful that sleep will catch up eventually.

Getting better. Hallelujah. Still hurts when my feet hit the floor, but better than before.

Okay, that's what I have energy for now. 'Night all!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Other peoples' roller coasters

I have been closely following the blog of a friend of a friend. Today she got good news - she's not stage IV. I cheered out loud when I read the words, filled with genuine joy for this stranger (whom I hope to meet).

Then, this afternoon, I got another blog update. Someone on the YSC site that I have "known" since diagnosis made the difficult decision to cease treatment and move to hospice/palliative care. She is a woman of incredible spunk, and has often offered me wise words on the journey. Soon, she will be gone. (Days? Weeks? Months? I do not know how this will go. Would praying for months be selfish, when she is in so much pain?)

I ride the roller coaster with them. It does not feel "other," it feels personal.

Today has been a hard day. I have tried to bury myself in housework, but it is not working. My mind keeps working it over, again and again, and this last news makes me so sad, and agitated, and lost. These are not dear friends, they are more acquaintances, and I am smart enough to know the difference. Still, my marrow feels it. I feel it deeply.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


I feel hazy today.

Is it the tamoxifen, or am I just hazy?


It was a good day. Got some work done on the book (editing work I'd already done), sat in the sun at Alki, took Tessa to the zoo with Kathleen & Elena.

I'm so tired, though. I'm heading to bed.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Day 1

One thing that I never understood about cancer treatment is that I'd be making new decisions so frequently. Earlier this year it was my first Zometa infusion; then it was taking a break from AIs, and today, it was my first tamoxifen.

I'd be afraid of uterine bleeding and cancers because they are side effects of tamoxifen, but I don't have a uterus. I'm not exactly thrilled to be missing my uterus, but it is good not to worry about yet another kind of cancer.

Fatigue, weight gain, worsening hot flashes (oh God no!) and sometimes blod clots or deep vein thrombosis are possible side effects. The fatigue is terrifying - not quite as much as blood clots, but terrifying none-the-less. I'm just recovering from 3+ years of AI induced fatigue, and I can't bear the idea that it could get back to that terrible place.

Deep breath.

I really had to steel myself to take the little round white pill. I didn't want to do it. But more than I didn't want to bring into my body whatever negative side effects might accompany this little tablet, I don't want to die. And I don't want to recur, either. So, I will take my pill daily like a good little girl and hope for the best.