Pinky Pie

I have to say the last week was tough, waiting for my bone scan and CT scan Monday to assess whether the targeted cancer therapy I’ve been taking in pill form is working.

The jury is still out on my bones, but the “take home message,” according to my wonderful oncologist, is improvement in my lungs. That is what she most wanted to see. So she is pleased. Me, too.

The question about the bones is whether the cancer is dying and what is seen on the scan is related to healing or if the cancer has not been sent packing.

Normally, with this drug scans are done after three cycles, not two like in my case. My oncologist ordered the scans early to make sure the cancer was not out of control. It is not.

And with my white counts pretty good as of Monday, it is safe for me to go to a rally Friday in support of our Muslim neighbors and against the Muslim ban. My protesting days are not over. Clearly.

I have to say my life has been on “will see” mode for a while, especially the last week as I dreaded my upcoming scans. I was terrified by what the results might be, more scared than I’ve been for months. This is not an easy thing.

And yes, I’m human. I have fears that I try to keep at bay as best I can by writing, ranting and laughing.

Cancer, of course, is too serious not to laugh. We were laughing by the end of my appointment because it is what I do.

 

White cells are gonna clear up
Put on a happy face
Brush off the clouds and cheer up
Put on a happy face

Take of the gloomy mask of neutropenia
It’s not your style
You’ll look so good that you’ll be glad
You decided to smile

Pick out a pleasant outlook
Stick out that noble chin
Wipe off that full-of-doubt look
Slap on a happy grin

And spread sunshine all over the place
And put on a happy face

All that bashing of Phil last week paid off and my white cells are returning. I know Phils will go away in a few weeks. But for today, I can get out of the house!

Thanks Tony Bennett for this song. What else you got for next time, Tony? I certainly hope I don’t run out of songs.

Yes, heartless Phil has abandoned me once again. This time he dipped to 560 neutrophils.

I’m busy canceling things I was going to do this week … $5 Tuesday movie (really want to see Hidden Figures) … a luncheon to honor my dear friend, Maureen Freedland with the Iverson-Frekking  Ecumenical Award … Thursday night synagogue-sponsored movie and discussion at a friend’s house… and the Women’s Sister March in Deborah, Iowa. It was close enough and small enough that I thought I could do it, but Phil says no.

Alas … I’m still in good spirits, despite Phil’s casting a rude pall on my immune system. I still prefer this side of the sod, which means taking powerful drugs and hoping for the best.

Today was going to be White Cell Appreciation Day, but it was cancelled because so few showed up.

 

I am not Einstein, but I do think myself clever for referring to my treatment to build my bones “LIquid Wonder Bread.”

You know, Build Strong Bodies 12 Ways — I’m sure that slogan for Wonder bread includes the bones, right?

Nobody gets the joke. That doesn’t keep me from saying it though.

Funny or not,  I have IV Zometa every four weeks, including today. It followed bloodwork that shows Phil, as in neutraphils, holding steady despite being my being back on the  anti-cancer drug, which is not friendly towards Phil(s).

I feel control when I can find ways to poke fun at cancer, which I’ve long said is too serious not to laugh.

Things are cool here. Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

 

 

Happy New Year, dahlinks! What’s the old saying? “If you’ve got your health, you’ve got everything.”
That’s why I wish a Happy and Healthy New Year to all of you and to me.
I did not party last night – I’ve always been a stay-at-home Charlie as my brother used to call me. This year, of course, I have a good excuse not to be where there are crowds of people.
Despite not partying, I am very happy with my own company even as I spend a lot of it in front of the boob tube. (Since I had mastectomies in 2009, I probably need to call it simply the tube.)
I know several people who said good-bye to Facebook at midnight. I am staying with it because of all of the support I’ve gotten from all of you. Yes there is lots of negativity on Facebook and I’m guilty of it myself at times with my political rants.
But when the chips are down, my Facebook friends pick me and my chips up.
Thank you one and all.
Here’s to happy, healthy and laughable New Year.

The most extraordinary thing happened today in a time of extraordinary happenings in my life. The woman who bought our old house in 1989 sent me a knitted hat and a letter with this story.

She said she was not sure how I would take this story but wanted me to know why she knitted that hat, which is beautiful and goes beautifully with my coat.

When she heard my cancer was back, she decided to knit me a hat, “But life got away with other circumstances.” Around that time, her house was creaking and making noises that she did not recognize. “But these noises were different – and louder. Even my dog was noticing, looking off in the direction of the sounds and looking at me, perplexed. Finally one evening I said in jest, ‘OK, Matt. I’ll get started on the hat.”

The noises went back to normal when she started knitting. After she finished the hat’s band, she went looking for more yarn for the band, a ball of yarn rolled across the room and stopped at her feet. She believes Matt picked it out for her and it was a perfect match to the band. She finished the hat several weeks ago and could not decide how to get it to me and whether to tell the story.

The noises came back. “So here it is, the hat I believe Matt wants you to have. As I said, all of this may be coincidental. But I think a loving son wants his mother to have this hat,” she wrote.

How do I feel about this hat and story? It’s a magical world and I love the idea of Matt communicating with this woman in the house where he lived before his death in 1986.

The biggest fear that parents have when they lose a child is he or she will be forgotten. In a very unlucky category of life, I am very lucky because Matt is remembered by many people 30 years later.

I loved the kindness behind this story. It’s extraordinary as the many supporters of me have been in the last few months. In another very unlucky category of life, I am lucky again.

I should take a photo with the hat on, but I take a terrible selfie. Trust me, you wouldn’t like the selfie – or perhaps vain me would not.

So thank you wonderful house buyer, who I have not seen in decades except perhaps across a room or across a street when I wondered if she remembered me. And apparently she wondered if I remembered her, which I did.

It’s a magical story for a magical world.

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It was not the biggest shipment, but  I now have 1,100 neutrophils, the most important form of white cells.

I don’t mean to brag or anything, but last week I had 750. It’s enough that I can start back on ibrance, the drug that is my primary fighter against cancer.

I still have “mild neutropenia.” And will have weekly blood tests to monitor the impact of ibrance on my counts. Still using Purel like it’s going out of style.

With my weekly bloodwork, consider going to the clinic my hobby, although I have other interests like reading, binging tv and playing Words with Friends and Scrabble. Oh, I also like to write stuff.

In the meantime, I have moved on beyond Blizzards – they are treats but not my primary staple of nutrition or lack of.

Cheers for white cells.  Happy New Year to all if I don’t write again before the new year begins.

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