Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Am Okay

I'm baaaack!

I am finally feeling human again. After my Rituxan treatment on Thursday, my body seemed to have been taken over by some strange body snatchers. Between the vomiting, tremors, sweats...well, you get the picture...I didn't have too much fun.

Each time I have chemotherapy, my body reacts in different ways. All I did was lay down all weekend long. It was so painful just taking a shower. As the water touched my skin, it felt like someone was hitting me.

Over the weekend someone adopted our little cat, Gabby. We were looking to have both cats adopted together due to circumstances, but she only wanted the little one. I feel sad for Gizmo, as he is walking around looking for his little sister. But hopefully all will work out.

Between the damage she was doing to the house since we brought Goldie home, and with Jarrett's allergies, cats are not a good thing for us at this time. But we will keep Gizmo for now and see how things pan out. I have never given up a pet before, and it truly has broken my heart. Knowing that she went to a loving home does make it easier though.

On a positive note, I had quite a wonderful surprise on Sunday. The doorbell rang, and it was a delivery from Edible Arrangments. I couldn't imagine who sent me a gift.

The card read:

"Dear Mommy. I just wanted you to know that I love you so much. Miss you too, but I'm trying my hardest to learn everything I can so I will be able to help you. See you soon! Love, Goldie"

Can you believe it? Goldie's trainer, bless her heart, knew how much I was missing my little girl, so she sent the arrangment. There are truly wonderful people in this world!

Today I felt like I got hit by a truck, but at least I was able to go out for a few hours. I actually went over to the Boulton Centre to see psychic Jeffrey Wands. The evening was quite entertaining! Instead of standing on stage, he actually walked right into the audience and randomly did readings on audience members. Of course, he stood right in front of me and never looked my way!

However, he did a book signing after the show and I thought that it would be the perfect time to ask him a question.

All I asked was "Will I be okay?"

He looked at me and said, "Your grandma is right here and she says they aren't ready for you yet. You will be fine, just listen to her when she talks to you!"

Grandma...you know how much I love you. I always listened to you when you were here, and I won't stop now!

Monday, June 09, 2008

A Proud Day

Baby, it's HOT outside!
We are in the middle of a heatwave, and it is only the beginning of June! But, I am not complaining!
I had a very busy weekend, and am now mentally preparing myself for Thursday's second dose--LAST DOSE--of chemo. I know that I will get through it, as I always do. But there is always a small part of me that is scared out of my mind.
I guess its just the process of sitting around, hour after hour, having this dangerous drug flowing through my veins. And the nurses are on me, like "white on rice," checking vitals every 15 minutes.
Since I had a negative reaction at one particular point two weeks ago, it was noted in my chart for this week. The infusion is given at various rates, but once a specific point is reached...I have to make sure they stay put.
Just as an FYI: Rituxan decreases the B cells, but it also increases the body's susceptibility to infection. Two weeks ago my reactions were minor. Hopefully this time, it will even be less.
Thanks to God, I had a great weekend, overall. We helped Barb and Monique with their moving sale on Saturday. I basically was handed cash! (Not a bad job!)
And yesterday, we celebrated Long Island Pride at the parade in Huntington. Because of the scorching temps, the attendance was much lower than in previous years. But, it was still a glorious day.

My honey and I celebrating 2008 LI Pride!

Sal and I drove two teens and one adult from The Center/LIGALY (Long Island Gay & Lesbian Youth) in our convertible down Main Street. There is nothing like hearing the crowed screaming and clapping when you are driving in the parade. I had some great dance tunes blasting through my speakers, and we were singing and waving! What a blast!
The kids were so touched that we offered our car. One young teen, in particular, thanked me and said that we were the coolest! She actually invited us to come down to LIGALY one Friday evening to their dance club and join them for a fun evening. That was sooooo awesome! (I always knew we were the greatest Moms!)
When we got into the park, we sat under a shady tree and enjoyed the entertainment. Disco superstar Maxine Nightingale headlined the show, and as soon as she got up on stage and started singing, I bolted out of my seat and took tons of shots. What a voice! She's still got it after all of these years!
Our friends Ceil, Liv, Pat, Dawn, Barb, Monique, Karen, Jacky, Sheila and Ro hung out...and then a few of them came back to the house for a barbecue and swim. But, as soon as we were in the pool, the skies opened up and put on quite a lightshow. Yep...lightening. That wasn't good!! LOL

Barb, Mo, Karen, Jacky, Sheila, Dawn, Pat & Sal in the park!

On the car-ride home from the parade yesterday was one of the best days of my life with my family. We had the top down and "Black Horse & A Cherry Tree" was blasting out of my speakers. All of a sudden, in unison, Sal, Jarrett and I started to sing our hearts out...laughing and dancing in our seats. (yes, we had our seatbelts on!) What a blast! It was so much fun, that I kept hitting the repeat button all the way home! People in the cars next to us must have thought we were nuts. But who cares?

It's the little experiences in life that can have the most meaning.

Isn't life wonderful?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

This and That!

It's almost 1:00 am in the morning, and I am not the least bit tired. So much on my mind!

I finally touched base with Dr. Rumore, and he agreed to reduce my prednisone dosage to 10 mg. per day. But he made me promise that I would take that dosage each day until next week's chemo treatment.

Because my health took such a dramatic turn so fast, he doesn't want to take any chances. I trust him and will do as he says.

I finally felt somewhat "normal" over the last 24 hours...less jittery. However, my gal pals Liv and Ceil took me on an outing today, and I couldn't keep a steady hand throughout our lunch. But we walked the entire length of the South Shore Mall...back and forth! That is quite an accomplishment, even with a cane!

I just can't seem to settle down at all. Between the hot flashes, swollen hands and feet, and constant hunger...it takes everything I have to just get through each moment in some sane manner!

In just one week I will undergo my second chemo treatment...thank GOD! Then it will be over for, what we pray, will be another year.

I am optimistic that all will be fine. I have been telling my friends that there is no use in complaining because I have been here before. So, watch out world...I will be back and stronger than ever in both body and mind!

In fact, tomorrow I am going to attempt to drive...I think it will be okay...and I am going to register for two summer classes. Golf and tennis.

Yes...SPORTS classes. Sal and I always wanted to share a sport together, and I suggested golf. The classes are held at a small course at the beach two evenings a week for five sessions. I hope we can get in the class...it would be a great thing for us to share.

And tennis. Well, considering I played pro tennis in my younger days...and I made a promise to myself that if I beat this disease that I would get back on the courts...I am going to give it a go.

They offer an early morning class right around the corner from our home, two days a week, for six weeks. Despite that I was a 6.5 player a thousand years ago in my former life, I am going to try and sign up for intermediate lessons. They begin the end of the month, so I should be ready by then. If not, well, I'll just watch until my strength comes back.

I have to purchase a pair of tennis shoes and probably a new racket. My older two are smaller and heavier than the newer models in the stores today. So I will venture out one day soon, before my next treatment, and test a few out.

Maybe you all think I am nuts...but life must go on. And this is my way of making it happen even sooner. If I just sit and wait to feel better, I may never get the kick in the pants I need! If I don't try, I'll never know. Right?!

My band is starting to line up some gigs, so that is a big plus for me. And I just received my paperwork from the NYC Office of the City Clerk. I am officially a New York State Registered Wedding Officiant! Which means I can marry anyone, anywhere!!!

More good news...
I was notified that I received an "honorable mention" for a contest I entered asking what it means to me to be a "Rockin Mom!" You can read my essay, along with all the other winners at:
(Scroll down to the bottom...it is on the left hand side!)

We are supposed to have a gorgeous upcoming weekend. But very, very hot.

No complaints here. Sunday is Pride Day on Long Island...and I'll be with the thousands of other supporters marching on Main Street in Huntington Village. In fact, I offered my convertible to LIGALY (Long Island Gay & Lesbian Youth)...so I will be their chaffeur! (Hey, I can't walk it...so driving ain't half bad!) I'll just make sure I have hot dance tunes blasting out of my speakers!

May you all have a blessed evening.
Love to all!

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Late Night

Wow! I cannot believe it is the beginning of June!

Everything is happening so quickly, and I don't really have time to think or react!

Five days have gone by since my Rituxan treatment, and in less than ten days I go back for the last one! This third round isn't as bad as the last two, but it still isn't fun.

I did rather well for the first few hours, but as soon as the nurse sped up the drip I knew it was going to be a problem! Thank goodness I was alert enough to realize the changes in my body, so she slowed it down until the treatment was complete.

Two benadryl's did absolutely NOTHING this time. I was so pumped up from the steroids that I actually didn't fall asleep until the next evening. What a horrible feeling to be wide awake for over 24 hours, and feel like crap. But when the steroid finally wore off, boy...did I crash!

There were several differences this time, from what I can remember. I actually had a horrible bout of the dry heaves after two days, but they passed rather quickly. I really haven't gotten the flu-like symptoms too bad either, just a mild fever on and off for two days.

I just can't sit still. I lowered my prednisone from 40 mg to 20 mg because I thought I was going to jump out of my skin. It's bad enough that I am swollen and irritable, but I don't want to get arrested for something out of my control!!!

We were actually invited to a housewarming party on Saturday in town, so I decided to go for a few hours...despite how I was feeling. And on Sunday morning we got out of the house early to run some errands.

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, so I am sure that has helped my quick comeback to life. I don't feel great, but I will take this over last week's experiences. It got so bad that I could barely walk. It was amazing how fast my health took a spiral turn.

I am so thankful for all of the wonderful letters and phone calls from all of you. You have no idea how much each one of them mean to me.

This evening I decided that I wouldn't go to bed without getting my new website "live" and running, (feel free to check it out: www.beaconoflightministry.com) and that I would add a new blog update.

So, it is now 2:05 am and I have completed both tasks. Hooray for me!

Nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. And with a positive attitude, there are no limits. NONE at all!

Today was a good day...not great...but good. And tomorrow will be even better!