Monday, December 07, 2015

Winter-the beginning

what a phenomenal fall, 2014. Really. So much so that it took another fall then straight into Winter to remind me to perhaps blog. Up to this point, it seems as if there's been a little bit of a change in LOGGING IN since I was HERE LAST. (thanks Google. You now force me to join. Curse you!) Just let me say-today's grey, cool, and chilly weather somehow distracted me enough so that it took just an hour to remember the email address AND password (at the same time I might add) in order to freakin access it thus far.

I digress.

this picture is from about a year ago. snow began on Halloween and didn't stop until sometime in May. For this born and bred Texan, the weather was crazy!! but even better were the signs from nocturnal visits from the local critters. These particular ones were from the wee cotton tail rabbit that roamed the gardens that circle the house. He was a very timely fellow, appearing precisely at 7:30pm every evening. Then he wasn't around and while walking underneath the trees I found some chunks of bunny fur and not much else... I was sad but very glad--to me it meant there was a healthy micro-system happening right there... in my back yard... which also meant I need to plant MORE TREES!!!

then this year happens and while we've had a sweet but very short lived 'first snow', we've had very little precipitation of any kind since. if I we're of hardier northern stock, I'd be out there right now cleaning up all of the dead annuals and veggies (so there won't be an explosion next year) and putting out the final layer of mulch for the season. but I'm not. and I won't. but, a girl can dream though. and I do-especially of how beautiful that one corner by the garage is going to look next spring when the red/white and blue/white species tulips bloom, then i-can't-remember-the-color-this-very-seond jonquils, then pink, single-petaled peony with a yellow ball of a center bloom--against our newly painted blue house with white trim---I. Die. My goal is to somehow afford a japanese tree peony (google it).

My cousin, the very awesome Joanne Gotcher, began the very hard and laborious work of taking out shrubbery that had been in the ground for over 20 years... that woman removed ancient carpet junipers and boxwoods!!! All the while helping run the household while I was recovering from surgery this summer. Then, Brent surprised me when he hired a landscaper to help us with the rest of the gardening stuff we'd been talking about for over a year. And it all happened, just like we talked about... in no time. This one guy did so much work, and was so quiet... he truly loved what he did. I invited him to take home orphan whatever he would like and I only asked for a fruiting mulberry seedling in return (fingers crossed!). Oh, and a dwarf (what they call up here) Fire Bush because the regular ones grow into trees--which isn't a bad thing, unless you don't want stand of trees.... which I don't. So I'll wait till spring to see what moves me. Now we have a rather nice sized red-bud in the place of a rather sad dogwood that had outlived it's flowering, a salute to the ones we had in Texas!

sadly I find trying to upload photos to accompany my story so hard and clumsy with this new format...

About a year ago I made a routine 'new patient' appointment with a general care doctor. She helped me make new patient connections with a cardiologist (inherited a kind of tachycardia) and a doctor for a routine colonoscopy since I didn't get one at 50 (I was 52!). You know, getting a firm foundation of my local area.

My heart checked out fine and the colonoscopy was fine--ok, I won't lie--the prep was awful. But so worth it in the end. (oh haha! See what I did there?!)And I say this because--I had a large mass and another suspected mass that was very painful. It was a good thing I was numb and a chatterbox-if I hadn't felt the pain there would have been worse news down the road. A week later I was diagnosed with Cignet Ring Cell carcinoma, stage 4. On my father's birthday. Five years after he died from Squamous Cell Carcinoma, stage 4. ('stage 4' simply means the cancer has 'metastasized', meaning that particular cancer has migrated from it's origin to other parts of your body. it's not a death sentence until it is.) Anyway, I jumped into chemotherapy after researching not only my options, but what centers in the US were the best--we wanted to check out what 'the best' had to offer. Incidentally (?) we were living in the same city as one of three in the country that treat this type of cancer. And leading in technology too.

Chemo was every tuesday morning for about 5 hours and I would leave with a pump connected to me to continue chemo for the following 48 hours. Then I would return thursday, disconnect from the pump, and go home. The next week I was free and the following tuesday I would follow the chemo schedule. for 6 rounds = 12 weeks = 3 months. Had to be off chemo for 6 weeks before surgery to reduce the chemicals in my body. Also a breakthrough technique for reducing reproducing colon cancer cells was performed by filling the affected abdomen with heated chemo have it circulated through for an hour then drained. Before all of that could happen, within an hour of starting the surgery to remove most of my colon, the surgeon found both ovaries and my uterus to be riddled with cancer, so they were removed. 2/3 of my colon was also removed, thereby leaving me with a colostomy. I was horrified and disappointed and even after some really intense chemo, I hoped hoped hoped it would be enough.

I didn't intend to leave the story here, but I am. I need to figure out how to add my photos without having to force-quit the program. So, until next time--

every little bit counts!