Category Archives: Boomer Lifestyle

Please Rate the Overall Cleanliness of the Funeral Home

blue or black inkIn today’s mail, mixed in with the catalogues and the magazine subscription notices, was a customer satisfaction survey. From the funeral home that handled my mom’s cremation. Am I wrong in thinking there’s something tacky about this?

“Please tell us how much pressure, if any, your funeral director tried to place on you while making the arrangements.
A lot of pressure,
A little pressure,
No pressure”

I honestly don’t remember. I’ve heard stories about unscrupulous funeral directors, I guess this funeral home company is worried that they may have hired a few. Luckily, my mom and I had talked about what we wanted when it came time for our funerals. And, again luckily, my pal Marti was with me to help me think–cause I was a bit messed up when I went to make arrangements.

“Using a 1 to 10 scale where 1 is Unacceptable 10 is Outstanding, and 5 is Average, please rate the overall cleanliness of the funeral home.”

Really? I’m overwhelmed with grief and you want me to notice whether the furniture has been dusted?

“Using the same 1 to 10 scale, please rate the visitation and service on the following items:
a. Appearance of the deceased for viewing or identification.
b. The presentation of tributes (i.e. flowers, pictures, etc)
c. Transportation to cemetery/memorial park/cremation garden
d. The visitation and service overall”

I had to identify my mom’s body in order for them to do the cremation. They made her look nicer than she did when she passed away. But I still don’t like remembering it.

“Thinking of all aspects of the funeral home, please rate your overall experience using the same 1 to 10 scale.”

The scale did not include a number for “it sucks.”

“If the need arose, would you use this funeral home again?
Definitely would not
Probably would not
Probably would
Definitely would”

If the need arose? Like I’m gonna live forever?

Well, the next time I need a funeral home, it won’t be me making the decision as to which one to use. But my inclination would be “Probably would not.”

“Did someone clearly explain the following? (Yes//No/Do not recall)
Benefits of the funeral home’s parent company (i.e. bereavement travel, compassion help, aftercare planning)?
Funeral home company package offerings
Catering/Reception options
Complimentary online obituary”

Yeah. It was that pushy, funeral director trying to pressure me.

I’ve spent nearly my entire adult working life in customer service, and I understand the need for customer feedback. I’m just not convinced that a JD Power Survey is the right choice for a funeral home. Why would anybody be motivated to take it? Funeral homes should be able to measure how they’re doing with their consumers, but only with some sensitivity for the reason their product is being purchased.

In the cover letter they sent, they told me they were “honored to have been of assistance” and would be “most grateful” if I’d fill out their survey.  They wanted me to “return the completed questionnaire at my earliest convenience.” No where did they say they were sorry for my loss.

At least they included a postage-paid envelope.

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What Happened Next?

I think I’ve given new meaning to the saying, “What are you waiting for, Christmas?”

For those of you who may still be interested, this is a post about what happened next. As you may recall, when last we heard from our heroine (me) she was suffering under a massive water weight gain caused by leaking capillaries as a side-effect to her last chemo treatments.  The Oncologist had told her that she would have to wait for the water to “naturally” be reabsorbed into her blood stream to be eliminated (peed out). Not a happy diagnosis.

In mid-October I had an MRI and learned that the next time I have an MRI I will ask for a little bit of “Mother’s Little Helper” because I had a mild freak out while inside the coffin-like space that is the MRI machine. I have a new appreciation for what The Bride goes through in Kill Bill Volume 2 (in case you haven’t seen this movie, Uma Thurman is buried alive in a wooden coffin. She escapes because of her mighty Kung Fu abilities, but it’s a very tense 7 minutes.) So the next MRI I have will be done “under the influence.”

We did the MRI because the CT scan I had in the hospital showed a little something that could have been scar tissue or could have been more tumor. The MRI proved it to be scar tissue (sigh of relief).

By mid-October, the Oncologist was starting to be concerned that the water was not peeing out. He advised me to consult my cardiologist. Sidenote: I’m definitely feeling an inflation of my ego here. I have a Family Doctor, a Gastro Doc, a Sleep Doctor, a Dermatologist, an Oncologist, and now I also have a Cardiologist. So many doctors! I must be a very important person (or maybe a hypochondriac?)

Anyway, recall that I had connected with a cardiologist back in January when my heart did it’s funny skip during the first attempt at my Whipple surgery. While I was in the hospital in September we discovered that I have a mild heart murmur. So I was already scheduled to see the Cardiologist — the issue with water retention simply bumped up the timing of the appointment. And that was the best thing of all! Because the Cardiologist took one look at me and said something like, “We’ve seen this before with chemo patients. Take this water pill and let’s see if we can’t get you to pee it out.” And I did!!

The Oncologist had said that a water pill would not help. But he also sent me to the Cardiologist when my edema was not improving. Thank goodness the Cardiologist knew what to do.

In total, I’ve lost 40-pounds of water. And I’m feeling so much better!


Before loosing 40-pounds of water.

Before loosing 40-pounds of water.

After loosing 40-pounds of water.

After loosing 40-pounds of water.

November was a busy month for me. Spent a lot of time peeing. Got my port taken out. Discovered I have a hernia. and I went back to work part-time.

I’m not a doctor, but I think all that stinkin’ water pushed my intestines through my incision. Gross, right? As I was getting dressed one morning, I noticed I had this really weird bump by my incision scar on my belly. My first thought was, “Is this another tumor???” I was scheduled to see the Oncologist the next day, and he told me it was a hernia. The only way to fix a hernia is–wait for it—surgery!! Which could actually contribute to another hernia because it’s the incision that causes a weakness in the fascia that allows the intestine to push though in the first place. (Sounds like a Catch-22 that keeps hospitals in business.)

A week later I saw the Surgeon to get my port removed. She confirmed that it was a hernia. She also told me that as long as it wasn’t bothering me (the intestine can get kinked up causing all kinds of problems and lots of pain), I didn’t need to do anything about it right away. I’m due for a CT scan in January, and we’ll be able to see more regarding the hernia at that point.

I started working part-time in November as a contractor for my former boss doing work I used to do when I was an employee. It’s the kind of thing I really enjoy — organizing information on a Microsoft SharePoint site. The job is for three months, and it’s an excellent way to get myself back into the swing of working again — I haven’t held a job in 10 months!

So there you have it. A tying-up of some of the threads I’ve left dangling by not blogging for nearly three months. I’m working to regain my health — physical, intellectual, and emotional. I’m keeping watch on my heart, my hernia, and any possibility of a return of what put me here in the first place (which shall not be named).

And I’m doing my best to live in the moment and enjoy life — which is really the most important thing of all.

Haiku: Water Retention

My body continues to hang on to water, and my impersonation of a beached whale is ongoing. I’m now up thirty pounds. I’ve decided it’s time to immortalize my experience in poetry.

A Haiku is a traditional form of Japanese poetry consisting of three lines. The first and third lines are five syllables. The second line is seven syllables. For me, there is immense beauty in the simplicity of a well-written Haiku — but don’t expect that in the following. I am, at best, a hack when it comes to writing poetry. But this is where my head is at this morning.

Water pools inside,

Competes with kidneys for space,

Squeezing my bladder.

* * * * *

Difficult to walk,

With thirty pounds of water.

I like a challenge.

* * * * *

Water retention.

I feel like a rain barrel.

Waterlogged fullness.

* * * * *

Like a spring shower,

Water pushes past my eyes.

Freed from retention.

* * * * *

The weight of water

Tries to pull me to the earth.

I fight gravity.

* * * * *

Quick! Find a straight pin!

The water my body holds

Is needed out west!




Four More Weeks of Jabba-the-Hut?


Thank you Wikipedia.

Three weeks ago, I put on 10-pounds of water weight.

Two weeks ago I had my last chemo treatment. Four days after that, side effects from the chemo put me in the hospital for three days–and I came home retaining even more water — a whopping total of 20-pounds.

I am doing a remarkable impression of Jabba-the-Hut. Or a beached whale.

I saw my Oncologist today. He says it’s probably going to take several WEEKS for the water to re-absorb so that I can pee it out. There are no drugs I can take to help with this. But if I can keep active it might help to move the water from my soft tissue to my bladder for elimination.

It’s not painful, just uncomfortable. And having that barrell of water around my torso and theighs makes walking a challenge sometimes.

But this is not going to stop me from moving on with my life! Like a gun-slinger, I’m giving this water target the narrow beady eye…..

…Anybody got a straight pin? Bring it on and we’ll water my flower beds!

From Ham Feet to Thigh Pillows

This past week I had a 3-day stay at the hospital thanks to my good buddy, Gemma.

FRIDAY, 9/18/15
Side effects are a bitch, and this last cycle of chemo has really kicked my butt, but good. In 10 days, I’ve put on 11 pounds of water. It’s concentrated in my thighs, gut, arms, chest, neck and head — in other words, everywhere but my calves and feet (so at least I can wear shoes — no ham feet!)


I must look like the Michelin Man.


My face is moon-shaped, and I’m neck-less (seriously, my neck is gone and my head is just one big lump attached to my shoulders.) My arms feel like they’re propped out away from my body, and my body has expanded to the point where some of my tee shirts are uncomfortable to wear.

Farley as FoleyBut the worst is probably my thighs. I keep checking, I don’t see where the Side Effect Elves have strapped on the pillows –but I know they’re there. Right at my crotch, between my legs, though I don’t see them, I know there are bed pillows strapped to my legs. I’m walking like Matt Foley, that Chris Farley character whose thighs never touched when he walked. I’m feeling those water pillows, and though it’s not painful it’s very disconcerting and uncomfortable.

SATURDAY, 9/19/15
Went to the After-Hours Oncology clinic today and (luckily) it was my oncologist’s weekend to be in-house. The irony of all this water retention? I’m dehydrated. The water is sitting in my soft tissue, and not going into my bloodstream, so my blood is running “thick,” which is affecting my kidney numbers. So to fix my water problem, we’re gonna hook me up to a bag of plasma and pump more water into me.

SUNDAY, 9/20/15
Back to the After-Hours Clinic for a bag of saline to be pumped into my vein. Good thing too, cause I feel like crap.

This is a bad day. It’s the first time I’ve actually worried about being able to dress myself. Every effort steals my breath and makes gravity my overpowering enemy. The overwhelming pressure to sit and be still is so bad that at the last minute I ask my neighbor, Judy, to drive me to the clinic–because I realize I won’t be able to walk from the parking lot to the door of the clinic. And I was right. Judy dropped me at the door and I used a wheelchair to get to the check in desk. First time that’s ever happened.

(Baby Boomer Sidenote: Text messaging has become an amazingly powerful support tool for me. If you’re a boomer, and you don’t know how to text, take the time to have someone teach you. For reference, in the following text messages, my words are either in a blue or green field.)

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MONDAY, 9/21/15
I wouldn’t have thought I could feel worse, but I do. Back to the clinic for another bag of saline. But we’ve barely started pumping the fluids when the nurse comes back to tell me that my kidney numbers have gone so far south that my Oncologist is admitting me to the hospital. Hurrah.

God bless my neighbor, Judy. Once again, she was my driver, and she deserves a HUGH THANK YOU. She got me to the clinic on Sunday and Monday, and then got me to the hospital. Bless her! She’s a keeper!

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TUESDAY, 9/22/15

(Just a sidenote, at this point in putting this blog post together my laptop crashed. I’m finishishing up on my iPad. I apologize if any of the upcoming photos are wonky-looking. Eventually, they’ll be fixed.)







Cindy took this lovely photo of me, just before she left for the evening. Just call me Ms. Puffy Face!



WEDNESDAY, 9/23/15











THURSDAY, 9/24/15
The steroids I got interfered with my sleep, but I think it has ultimately helped me. I had to get up 3 times during the night to pee, and each time was easier to get out of the bed, walk to the bathroom, do my business, and get back into bed.

The last time I got up was after what felt like an intense couple of hours of sleep. I actually felt a bit rested. The part that sucked was that I was drenched in sweat. My front/back hospital gowns were almost dripping wet. There are few things grosser then laying down in a sweaty-wet bed while wearing a pair of sweaty-wet hospital gowns. But what a great motivator! At 6:48 AM, I made the decision: it’s time to send Bev home.

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Monday afternoon to Thursday afternoon. Three days, three nights. Not really that much time out of my life, but I’m glad to see it gone.

When you enter the hospital system, you surrender your independence and self-autonomy. This is frustrating, and frightening. But there are too many moving pieces in the hospital system, too many inputs and outputs, to allow each patient to have their own way.

Our hospital caregivers owe us, their patients, a huge and almost overwhelming responsibility: to restore our health to the best of their collective abilities. What an amazing group of people to take on such a challenge!

We as patients also have some responsibilities.

  • Take an active part in your recovery by paying attention to what each doctor says, writing stuff down and (IMPORTANT!) asking questions. If you’re not able to take part in these conversations, a family member or a good friend should do it for you.
  • Remember that the staff has multiple patients, so do what you can to group together the activities you need help with, instead of hitting the call light every 20 minutes.
  • And if the nurse has to wake you up every 4 hours during the night to draw blood, it’s not because that’s how she gets her jollies. It’s because the doctor is closely watching for changes in your blood (in my case, potassium levels), so that issues can be addressed and you can get well and go home.

When you enter the hospital system, it’s hard to avoid feelings of anxiety, fear, and pain. For me, it helped to focus on the people helping me — to invite them to the “party” in my room. This gave me something outside of my own troubles to concentrate on. And it gave us all lots of laughs. Laughter can help you heal.

To the party pals I found at the hospital, thank you for all the laughter! I’m raising my cocktail in toast to my favorite party-hardy team on the Fifth Floor: Nurses Robin, Swetha, Shelley, Alicia, and Jamila. And PCTs Nathalie, Benita, Sang, Jenny, and Georgia. And to the ladies in the room next door, Erin, Jessica, and Sylvia, your laughter was lovely to hear, and I’m glad that we got to meet.

Party on, my friends!

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Live Blogging from the Chemo Chair: Cycle 6.2, A New Beginning.

9-17-15 bracelet

My new bracelet. Click the photo and you can order one too!

Almost done… Almost done… Almost done…

Today is my last (I hope) chemo treatment. Emotional roller coaster doesn’t even come close to what I’m feeling today.

“Almost done” has been percolating on my brain all week, and it’s been a rough week. Last Thursday, I still had residual fatigue from the previous week. This week, I didn’t get my usual Friday-after-treatment steroid buzz, Just more fatigue. Sunday and Monday, traditionally bad days, were beyond bad. In 36 hours I put on 10 pounds of water weight in my face, upper arms, and thighs. If I stayed in a supine position it’s tolerable. But if I had to walk anywhere (like to the bathroom) it’s as if I had pillows strapped between my thighs. Walking down our driveway to the mailbox has been exhausting.

Almost done… Almost done… Almost done…

A few weeks ago, an old and very dear friend reminded me of something quite wonderful: the end of my chemo corresponds with the start of the Jewish New Year — which can be viewed as a new beginning.

A new beginning. For me, this is a profound thought. I found myself out on my patio on Tuesday afternoon pondering this thought and the incredible day. It was the kind of day meant to stop you in your tracks so that you could ponder something momentous. An autumn day of such perfection that it inspires an urgent feeling to be doing SOMETHING. Anything! Make your mark, pull some weeds, start a business, make a new beginning. I’ve been standing still since January 15. Eight months dormant. I hardly remember the passage of time, but I feel the urgency for a new beginning.

The urge to rush and grab that new beginning as if it might slip away from me.

Almost done… Almost done… Almost done…

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Today’s selfie!

My Chemo Buddies for today, my last day, are Shelley and Cindy — which is fitting because these two women have been my rock and anchor through the chemo battle. Shelley, Cindy, Pam H., Sharon, Pam C., Dr. Amy, Monica, Annie Lee — I have been so lucky to have such an amazing group of women supporting me through this battle. They’ve patiently listened to me whine, and made time in their busy lives to check on me, helped me celebrate the good milestones, chauffeured me to my treatments, and helped me stay positive over the past six months. I am humbled and in awe that they would gift me with their time and care.

Cindy made me chocolate covered strawberries to celebrate today!

Cindy made me chocolate covered strawberries to celebrate today!

Almost done… Almost done… Almost done…

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Patio at TJ Chumps. Thanks for this photo, Chumps!

We had lunch today at my favorite ‘Burg sports bar, T.J. Chumps. I forgot to take photos, take my word for it, the food was great, the conversation even better and we had a glorious day for patio dining.

The Chemo Cafe was packed today, with only one open seat. And it was a cursed seat — when Chemo Nurse Jana inserted the needle to my port, we discovered my port was clogged. We knew it was clogged because when Nurse Jana tried to draw blood for my blood test, all she got was clear bubbles. This happened once before, and there are ways to fix it starting with something euphemistically known as “Drano” — which (of course) didn’t work today. After trying a few other tricks (coughing, laughing, pushing the recliner all the way back, holding up my right arm, bending over my knees), we tried re-sticking the needle, with a bigger needle. Clever Nurse Jana! She knew I’ve been dealing with water retention in my torso, and by using a bigger needle she thought the needle would have better purchase in my port. She was right! So, only an hour late, we finally started the last chemo treatment.

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Almost done… Almost done… Almost done…

Last week, I posted about things I would not miss once chemo was over. One of my friends asked me what I WOULD miss. It’s a very short list — only three things

I will miss all the wonderful nurses at the Chemo Cafe, especially Nurse Jana. They have been so kind and understanding. And I’ve always felt that I was in good hands when they had me in their care. Truly, I cannot say enough good things about the nurses who have seen to my healthy well-being since my battle began back in January when the first step back to normal was surgery. God bless all nurses, and thank you God for putting me in the path of some of the best of them!

I’ll miss how easy it’s been to schedule lunch with my friends. Without the cloud of chemo hanging over my head, scheduling lunch with my pals may become less urgent and a little more complicated. Or not. We’ll see.

A part of me will miss the lazy excuse to take no action. Since January, my life has been on hold and I’ve been living, not so much in suspended animation, but more of a suspended existence. No big decisions until I was done with chemo. Now, I have no excuse. Change is scary. And after six months, my life is going to be one big change. Scary, but exhilarating all at the same time. I just might miss the comfort of a suspended existence most of all. Or I might revel in this new beginning. We’ll see.

Almost done… Almost done… Almost done…

As I sit here in my chair, the nurses seem to be gathering. They’re moving towards me in a group like the wait staff at a cheesy restaurant waiting to sing Happy Birthday. Or a bunch of zombies looking for brains.

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Almost done… Almost done… Almost done…

They’ve pulled out sparkly party horns! They’re smiling and tooting the horns!

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OMG! I’m done!

Live Blogging from the Chemo Chair: Cycle 6.2, Top 10 Things I Won’t Miss

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Thursday was my penultimate chemo treatment!

Photo by Panera.

Photo by Panera.

With me was my pal, Shelley. We did lunch at the nearby Panera–they’ve got a seasonal squash soup right now that’s very tasty. And before we left, we ran into an old pal from work, Sue.

Thanks, Lindor!

Thanks, Lindor!

I LOVE this kind of random event. It’s like finding a Lindor Truffle

at the back of the fridge when you’ve got a raging chocolate craving. We got caught up with Sue, then had to beat feet to get to the Chemo Cafe.

With Shelley at the Chemo Cafe!

With Shelley at the Chemo Cafe!

Lately, I’ve been pondering the things I won’t miss once chemo is over. While my deadly chemo cocktail was pumped in through my port, Shelley helped me refine a list of the

Top Ten Things I Won’t Miss When I’m Done With Chemo

10. Chemo Mouth Rinse.
I have to mix it up every two days. It leaves an unpleasant, salty aftertaste. It’s just yucky.

9. Sun Screen.
I hate the way it just sits on my skin. If I’m going out, I have to remember to save time to put it on before I leave. I think it dries out my cuticles. There are little white foggy marks all over the interior of my car from where my sun screened arm has brushed. It leaves yellow stains on my white shirts.

8. Chemo Clothes.
Because I hate wearing sunscreen, I’ve been wearing long-sleeved shirts to limit the exposed skin needing to be greased up. And I’ve been wearing wide-brimmed sun hats. And let’s not forget the compression stockings. I look like the crazy old lady neighbor from a bad situation comedy. It doesn’t help that sometimes I shuffle a little when I walk because I’m tired. I’m NOT a crazy old lady character — at least not yet. And when I become a crazy old lady, I’m not going to do it with more style.

7. The Viking Hat.
Okay, the Viking Hat has served me well. And I will continue to wear it when I have my ongoing checkups with my oncologist. But I’ve worn it all summer — sometimes I get tired of how it mushers down my thinning hair.

6. Chemo Drugs.
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that Zofran, my anti-nausea med, causes constipation. And if you’ve read some of my posts here, you’ll know the issues I’ve had with constipation. I’ve got Lasix to make me pee when my edema kicks up. It also robs my body of potassium, which my heart needs to stay strong. Then there’s the steroids, which help control the side effects but also keep me awake at night and make me want to eat everything in sight. And let’s not forget the star of the chemo drugs, my battle buddy Gemma, AKA Gemcitabine. This is total poison indiscriminately killing the good cells along with the bad cells. I will not miss my weekly dose of this nasty stuff.

5. The Steroid Buzz.
This is a buzz for all the wrong reasons. Every week, for the day-and-a-half after my treatment I’ve had a buzz that drives me to do task after task and get no sleep. It’s been great to have the energy to clean out closets and pull weeds, but it feels so unnatural. And I don’t sleep. Did I mention that it feels so incredibly unnatural?

4. Chemo Side Effects
Ah! The scrounge of the red rash! These last two cycles, in addition to my legs, the red rash has also been making an appearance on my face. I’m also looking forward to being able to walk at a brisk pace again, instead of shuffling along and huffing/puffing because my red blood cells are so low I have no oxygen. There’s always a bad taste in my mouth after I eat that I seem to only be able to chase away with massive quantities is Altoids. My appetite for food is so unpredictable — I’ll spend major bucks at the fancy deli on stuff that I’m craving, then an hour later I can’t tolerate. My ham feet have not made a return appearance, but my chemo brain (cognitive issues) is still hanging out. I’m looking forward to a time when I’ll sleep all the way through the night instead of going from my bed to the recliner to the sofa and back to my bed again all in a six hour period. And then there’s the hot flashes — no, wait, I might still be stuck with those (menopause).

3. Lack of Pedicure.
I used to get a pedicure every month. It’s been nearly NINE MONTHS since my last pedicure! This is the first summer in a decade that my toenails have gone polish-free! Yeah, I know this is superficial, but a girl has got to draw the line somewhere!

2. My Mustache.
Again, a superficial complaint. Early in my treatments I had the hope that if the chemo was going to take my hair, it would take my menopausal mustache too. But no. The hair on my head got thinner, and I swear the hair above my lip got thicker! I am SOOOOOOO looking forward to the time I can start waxing that mess again!

1. Phillips MOM and Dulcolax.
(Constipation. I know this is gross, probably way too much information. However, it’s a huge issue for me and I can’t help but believe that someone else going through chemo might come across my little bloggie and be helped by my honesty — so you’ll have to deal with the TMI for the greater good of that random chemo patient.)
I have always had very regular bowel movements. But with my chemo treatments and meds, I have had some really miserable moments when my bowels were so backed up, and the poop so compacted, that I thought I’d end up in the hospital with a blown-out butt hole. After trying different laxatives, I’ve found that what works for me is taking the maximum dosages of Dulcolax and Phillips Milk of Magnesia, before bedtime on my chemo day and the four days after. The downside is that I have to be careful in how I take them to avoid indigestion, which is very uncomfortable and keeps me from sleeping. Plus, it’s a challenge to “control” stool firmness. Intellectually, I know I could probably back off a little on my dosages and not have diarrhea so often. Emotionally, I’m frightened that if I back off on my dosages I’ll end up with a colon of poop that has the consistency of cement. It’s an irrational fear, and I haven’t been able to get past it. The end result is often an upset stomach at night and diarrhea in the morning — which I believe will end once my body starts to recover from the chemo treatments. Though they’ve helped me through the misery of constipation, I will be SO HAPPY to see the last of them!


Next week marks my completion of 18 chemo treatments (if all goes according to plan), but it’s hard for me to forget that there could be additional chemo in my future. Think of all the stories you’ve heard about someone heroically beating cancer only to have it pop up in a different form a few months or years later. This one persistent anxiety lives in the back of my mind. My friend, Shelley, who is a 6-year breast cancer survivor, says she feels this anxiety too — though it has soften somewhat as time has passed. Those stinking rogue cells live inside us like a group of undercover terrorists, just waiting for the opportunity to bring down the World Trade Center that is our health. It’s up to us to care for our bodies, work with our doctors, and be on guard against the bad guys.

I’m planning to stay on guard. I’m going to continue to educate myself about the cancer that might be lurking in my body. I’ll keep all my doctor appointments and seek a second opinion, if needed. I will make my health a priority, and do everything I can so that I don’t end up in the Chemo Chair again.

And I will do my best not to live in fear of a recurrence.


Remembering 9/11

(This is a re-post from 2012, with a little bit of editing to bring it up-to-date. It’s still rel and true.)

I was lucky enough to visit New York City in 2012 spending a wonderful day with a dear friend, Michele. For a long time I’ve wanted to make the pilgrimage to lower Manhattan and the site of the World Trade Center. Michele was happy to indulge me–she is a native New Yorker, exiled to New Jersey, and very proud to show off her favorite city.

Even though my goal was Ground Zero, I think the most powerful part of the day for me was the walk we took across the Brooklyn Bridge. In the chaos that followed the fall of the Towers, I remember the sea of people I saw on TV rushing across the Brooklyn Bridge trying to find safety.

We all want to be safe.

So, on this day, let’s remember the heroes of 9-11 — the fire fighters, the police officers, the courageous airline passengers facing down high-jackers, the office workers who checked to make sure no one was left behind on the trek down all those stairs to the street, the strangers who helped other strangers get across the Brooklyn Bridge — or uptown — away from the clouds of dust and debris as the Towers came down. All the heroes who helped people to safety that day. And let’s remember the workers and volunteers who came after. And the dogs who helped.

All any of us want is to be safe.

On this day, make a special effort to be gentle and polite to strangers. Hug the people and furbabies that you love. Take joy in being alive and able to appreciate the beautiful and diverse world we live in.

And be safe.