July 26, 2012

And I have cancer

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5:45 am, let me sleep, let me hide, no such luck, I must rise. Too much to do, too much that won’t get done.  6:30 and I’ve already cried. 6:45 tripped and fell, dropped it all trying to do too much too fast. The real injustice was I still hadn’t had my morning cup of coffee.  7:03 woe is me.   Wonder what is going to slip through the gap, wonder if I’m going to crack.  I’m not who I was anymore, such a bore. Too much drama (What the hell!) wonder if my friends will tire.  7:54 the tears do flow, so much worry on my mind, so many answers I seek to find.  Guess I should shut up and get going, it’s going to be a rough couple of weeks…monthes…years.

Chemo effects slowly slipping away, yippee. Went in yesterday for the  pre surgery appointment  (with my three YaYa pals, bless their hearts) and was told the tumor had shrunk from 5×6 to 1×1 thus so much less cutting.  Basically they will do a lumpectomy on the right, cut the left to match and do a lift to pull the tissue up so nothing in blocking the area to be radiated (The tumor is on the underside of my breast) The surgery is 3 1/2 hours and I will be there over night. My Sis (Thank God) will be coming to stay with me. Surgey is 8/7, would love prayers for speedy healing so I can get back to work quickly.

Sorry so glum, it’s complicated right now, oh and I have cancer.

On a happy note, my heart is filled with love and gratitude for the help/love from family and friends. This is the wind beneath my wings.








July 6, 2012

Chemo and Gratitude oozing from my pores. Final Final!

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Chemo sessions one for the history books now.  My brother took me today and made the day light, airy, funny and easy.  My blood counts were low (Which explains the humiliating pass out incident in the bathroom with my pants around my ankles) (And was told my little to jaunt to high altitude Lake Tahoe was not such a good idea for a person with my numbers, oh well I survived and had sooooo much fun with my pals) and I was told that they would go lower so be prepared to have people around, to do things very slowly for two weeks, to keep hydrated and eat super well. I’m a little nervous but it’s almost done.

Now I must rest, good thing I already wrote a special story for my next post.

Blessed, S

June 30, 2012

Dreams, plans and other stupidities

I’ve been thinking a lot about the dreaming and planning we put into our lives.  Each and everyday this process plays out in our head. Dreams and plans such as looking forward to pancakes for breakfast,  to a favorite weekly show being on TV that night, to a visit with people you care about, to a special vacation, to starting a new endeavor.  They are all equal and require the process of thinking about them. In my mind this thinking brings me joy and angst.  Joy in using the brain and heart, angst that everything does not quite manifest they way I had it pictured in my mind. Kinda pisses me off.

When I was young, about ten, I thought I would be a writer, all my life I thought I was going to be writer, but it just never happened.  Well not on paper anyway. I write in my head, all day everyday.  The cool thing about writing the story in your head is that unlike life you can rewind and write a new ending until it suits you. But rarely did the poems, stories, books or movie scripts make it onto paper.

When I was young, about eighteen, I wanted to be a pilot who flew big jet planes. I can still feel that same desire I felt then to fly. But it never happened. Which makes me think of the time I didn’t want a big black and hairy dog and I ended up with two. I love them so very much.  What happened to my planning there? Was I ever really in control of making my own plans?  Howard and Sade (The dogs) are happy with the outcome.  What about the time I planned for my daughter’s piano recital which she dreaded/feared going to.  After much ado the family was off to  help her conquer her fear and cheer her on.  I can still picture her in that beautiful cream and burgundy dress with tears running down her cheeks.  When we pulled into the church parking lot it was empty, I went inside in a slight panic and found out it was not this church and there was no way to find out the correct one.  No way to fix this one, Miranda was ecstatic with outcome of these best laid plans. I remember throwing a coin into a beautiful giant water fountain in Golden Gate Park. I closed my eyes, made my wish and tossed that coin with the best of intentions to live happily ever after with the person who was standing beside me. Boy was that a mistake.  I could go on and on but for the most part things just don’t seem to play out like we dreamed and planned. So why bother dreaming and planning at all? So easy to say, not so easy to do.

When I was young, about twenty-five, I wanted to get my fruit tress and roses planted that I would be picking from and gazing upon in my old age. As a gardener I knew it would take a good ten to fifteen years for them to become fully mature and magnificent, I had to get going. I have not planted those fruit tress or roses yet.  It’s not too late as I am only 50 but I sure thought I would have been planted somewhere permanent so I could have had them in the ground by now.  Well actually I did get them planted once but it turns out they were not to be the ones I would be gazing upon when I am old. Once again best laid plans. I still yearn for this as much as I did when I was young.

When I was young, about fifty, I lost (the word lost is used as an emotion not a fact) my husband and developed Breast Cancer.  I can assure you this was not in my dreams and planning process.  And now I question every decision I have ever made and every one I will make in the future. But since I really have no control, why bother?  Well off I go head and heart first to dreamimg and planning, to which I remain ever hopeful.

June 5, 2012

Underneath the holly tree

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Saturday morning up early with the birds. The dogs have been fed and gone back to bed. Here I sit with my morning coffee underneath the Holly tree. The cats are milling about; the goldfish in the water garden are enjoying their morning feeding. The wind chimes and the bamboo make music in the wind. A Woodpecker bathes just a few feet from where a sit while a Warbler sings from a tree top.  My coffee is cold and almost empty yet I dare not move. Rufus towhee, tit mouse, junco, finch, mourning dove, sparrow, blue jay, chickadee, fly-catcher, as well as a few I cannot name (yet) are a glorious site as they eat the birdseed I have put out. They are so close I can see minute details on each one. It’s amazing the way nature has taken grey, brown, black, white, orange, blue, red and created individual masterpieces out of each and every one. There must be close to one hundred birds in the trees around me, all with a different call to delight me and all the while the Warbler sings from high in the tree top, his song the most beautiful to me. The Warbler most often heard but not seen, he showed up sometime in February still don’t know what that bugger looks like.

Landing on the chair next to me is a small brownish bird. Jumping from arm to arm and back again, to the back of the chair, to the table and then onto the arm of my chair just inches from me. There he sat delivering his message. What was his message I wondered. I was not familiar with the type of bird this was.  The next I saw a post on face book of a wren someone had photographed in Yaak, Montana. I shrieked with delight, it was my bird. I rushed to look up the Wren and it’s symbolic meaning.  “A messenger from the God.  The Great Creator sends the little birds around to check up on us, to evaluate our behavior, and to listen to our prayers. The wren is an active little bird, and so it’s symbolic meanings include activity, vibrancy, alertness and efficiency. The wren is rarely seen resting on her laurels.  Further, the wren is quite sociable. She reminds us to keep a happy heart and be kind to others. If wrens have come into your life, it is time to ask yourself some important questions. Are you using the resources available to you? Are others? Are you not displaying enough confidence? Are you so wrapped up in daily worries that you are forgetting to sing? Are you not staying grounded? Are you not seeing the forest because of the trees? Are you not attacking your life with enough gusto? Wren holds the medicine for using what is available, and can teach you the most effective means to build within your own environment. Prophecy: Living life to the fullest, making progress each day, protecting yourself when necessary.”  I had asked God for a visible sign, I thought it would be a big sign not a big message sent in a tiny package.

It’s been a crazy ride here the last few weeks. Finding out how much of a mental game having cancer is, having to dig deep and reach far to find my center.  So please forgive me if I have brushed you off, ignored your call or text etc. I will be back soon to annoy the heck out of all of you.

A few kind words, a few reminder words, a few stern words, a few cards in the mail, a few checks, a few food cards, a few chores done, a few meals dropped off, a few meals bought, a few bouquets of flowers left on the door step, a few pink baskets filled with goodies, a few hugs and a lot of big-hearted people. Thank you all for your love and support.

May 3, 2012

Ten golden toes

You know that song when I’m 64 by the Beatles, well they were off by 40 years because I feel like I’m 104.  Cancer therapy is a bitch!  As Armando would say in his broken english “I cry, I cry”.  Just typing this after my third hot bath soak, today hurts. Whine whine whine…Oh poor pitiful me!  I wish it was wine wine wine, give me Rombauer, Frank family, anything from Italy…Instead it’s meds meds meds.  Where is my sense of humor? Not much seems funny, I feel like a wounded animal that wants to crawl under the deck and lick my wounds. I have my brief moments where I put on a hat and a pretty dress, I try to enjoy this life of farawayness.  That is me far away from you. (Tears down cheeks)

As strange as it seems or as much as I whine considering what I am going through physically I am doing great! LOL, no really I am!  I think. What else are you going to do but get up each day and do as much as you can under the circumstances.  Most of the time I don’t know what the circumstances are untill they hit me in the gut or the feet which ever comes first, but I know there is always tomorrow and when this is all over.  Brings to mind that stupid saying “This too shall pass”, must say I’m tired of hearing that.  Yes it is passing… right out my a–!  ( Sorry couldn’t help myself )

Not nearly as many bald women as I has thought there would be…other than the women at the chemo center the only one I have seen was in the dog park and she informed me it was not due to chemo but that she was “Butch” (Lesbian for those of you who don’t know the term.) Someone told me Washington D.C. is filled with bald women.  Strangers like to comment “You look beautiful” “How are you doing” “My daughter (wife Etc.) is going through the same thing” Etc.  Not fun to be bald, not a badge of honour as some women have said they feel.  Wig is hot, wig makes a rash, wig feels like I am a different person. Hat on, hat off, hat on, hat off, hat on, hat off.  Hat off feels better but then I feel like I look like a sick person.  Which I am, LOL.

Can’t wait for the other side…the other side of cancer that is.  I feel much like a monk  in my own little world trying to live amongst the rest of the world marching to a different beat. I long to be like I was yet I must do my time.  I feel bad for Miranda (My daughter) having to bare the brunt of the change in Mom.  It’s she and I, day in and day out.  I try hard to fake it, to shine despite my waning self but I know she (Tears down cheeks) has to suffer the most along with me.  Hopefully we can see Paris together when this is over.

“How are you” “What is it like” “Is it like you imagined it would be”  Question questions questions, how to answer the questions. Each day would have a different answer and when this is all over I will have a different answer I’m sure.  For me the most surprising part is the “farawayness”. Partly because some physical items have me distracted, partly because of  worry due to financial issues or worry that something pressing has not been tended to.  This too shall pass, LOL.

I have ten golden toes and I am thankful. Got a pedicure with Miranda and painted them bright shiny gold,  was told not to by the doctors due to infections etc., but I did it any way and am so glad I did.  I soaked the extremely painful little buggers for the third time today in the tub and they looked so pretty.  Apparently this type od chemo therapy (Taxol) can make you finger and toe nails fall off, so I am grateful to have ten to polish thus far.

Feeling feeling feeling grateful for so many blessings from my peeps, where would I be without all of them to send good juju my way, I can’t imagine.

Well Chemo #11 tomorrow

And now for you listening pleasure a link to one of my all time favorite pieces of music.


(Fingers hurt too much to edit/spellcheck, sorry)

April 22, 2012

Climbing Mt. Everest

This cancer is a strange animal putting me in my own little world yet part of a much bigger world as well. I hear the loving voices, I fell the soft hands holding me up and for each and everyone no matter how small I am grateful.  I feel like I am climbing Mount Everest and I have a cheering squad calling me from the top “You can do it, you can do it, here grab my rope and hold on tight, we won’t let you fall”.  This last week has been very interesting in that I needed to let go of the ropes being tossed to me to see what it would be like if they were not there for me to hold on so tightly to.  I climbed, I cryed, I rested and though I let go of the ropes I could still feel  your pull right along with me. I found my own strenghth as well, took the time to look at what was possible for me right now and how to do “what I can” to the max.  This has made me feel less vulnerable and more powerful, I can’t do it all but I can do a lot. I can see the top of the mountian and that’s where I am going.

Chemo #9 over and done.  The doctors seem quite marveled/thirlled with the shrinkage of the tumor, It is no longer mesurable without machinary. Still have to have chemo part two, surgery and radiation. Side effects come and go, yes they are a bummer but not worse than death.  As the saying goes “The best way to get through hell is straight through it”.

Side Effects~

Painful rashy bald head, pain in stomach, bloat,nausea,  darkening brittle painful finger tips and toe tips (This is a real bummer), clumsiness, sinus and ear pain, hot flashes, sore throat, diarreaha, sensitive skin, sore teeth, general slowness and the port hurts alot, could be my least favorite part. (It will be removed with surgery, yippee!)

With the utmost gratitude to all of those who have reached out, your hand feels so nice.

April 14, 2012

Serious undocumented cancer side effect occuring

Everything today has been

heavy and brown.

Bring me a Unicorn

to ride about the town.

                                                                      Anne Morrow Lindberg

Been a rough few days…didn’t even cry this much when I found out I had cancer.  I’ll be fine, I’ll get over it, I’ll persevere, but today…

Cancer is embarrassing.


To be poor

To be bald

To be bald with a red bumpy rash

To be divorced

To need help

To have bloody snot rags in the bathroom toilet

To have side effects

To have my main topic of conversation to be cancer/me

To be judged

To wear a wig

To lie when I really do need help

To wish I had a Mom that was closer

To want lie down

To make poor choices

To not be able to pay my share

To not be able to commit

To have my children see me looking cancery

To make payments on or have overdue bills

To have cancer

To be alone

To have to cancel

To have wet farts

To forget things

To not be strong

To ask for help

To have splurged

To not be sharp

To have a dirty car

To be whining now

To have a drunk ex

To not have a cash safety net

To have thinning pubic hairs

To need to walk slower

To want

To have forgotten/overlooked/missed something important to someone

To have pride

To not be able to help others more

To cry

Embarrassed to be embarrassed.

March 28, 2012

There’s a bald lady in my mirror

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Where the heck have I been? What day is it? What year is it? Questions I seriously ask myself?  Since Sherman left I went into slow motion, not going out, not calling, not writing just in this inward (tired) place. Trying hard to find peace with it but find that I don’t have the energy to fight it either.  Not to worry I am not down and out and need help, actually feeling so much better that the virus and the sinus infection have passed, just trying to to do what my body says/feels.  I do go for a walk with the dogs almost every day, I do clean, cook and spend alot of time on my health. Boy this cancer is a part time job for sure.  Last Thursday on Chemo day which I went to with Chris and Karen (Two of my Ya Ya gals) the doctor told me my tumor had shrunk from 5x6cm to 3x3cm, praise God and UCSF for that!  My goal is to stay as strong as I can so that I do not have a low blood cell count and get a delay in treatment. I do this by taking my supplements, eating right, drinking lots of water, moving to keep my circulation going and rest when needed. So far so good.

Still can’t get used to seeing a bald lady in the mirror, nor the fact that the shampoo slides right off and I don’t have to comb my hair, or dry my hair. I also really notice everyone elses hair like never before, hair really is pretty and different on each person.

I love to cook my chicken with dried Tarragon. I ran out and since I eat a lot of chicken (high in protein) I made it a priority to get some more, I went to three stores before I finally found some, brought it home went to put in in the empty Tarragon mason jar only to find it full. Full! What the the hell? I still can’t figure out when or where! Chemo brain for sure. I find myself doing a lot of preplanning/list making etc. to try and compensate. I figure it’s good practice for my later years in life.

Went for my first public outing, a memorial for a wonderful 105 year old women, so glad my sister was here to get ready with me and that she drove, really did not feel like it and most likely would have stayed home.  Cried a few tears for some reason, got myself all the way dressed except for the head, debated/settled on a hat over the wig and off we went.  Didn’t feel like my outward exuberant self but was glad I went.


Good things about cancer~

learning to be frugal

drinking less wine (Only because I don’t feel like it, but it does saves money LOL)

more hugs, more hugs

laying around with the dogs

weight loss


more chatting with family

friends love


New side effects~

Light sensitivity

diminished eye sight

Taste changes

Rash on head


Love Love Love, S


March 17, 2012

Not a good time to commit a crime

Boy what a week, three trips to UCSF for progress tests and Chemo in addition to Sherman being  home on spring break.  He is doing great and it’s nice to have  home. This was our first visit since all the cancer stuff went down. He sure wanted to be here for me , kept assuring him I am good hands is so many unbelievable ways and to get on with his new life. He went to two of the appointments with me. Twas very nice.

Feeling a mix of assorted symptoms , some constant, some come and go but nothing more than slowing me down and causing me to put much more thought into everything I do, if I can remember to do it.  Chemo brain is quite present and I am finding my way as to how not to be so affected by it. I keep a note pad close by and hope I remember what to write down.  It’s actually quite disturbing. A few examples of fuzzy brain:

I was dishing up dinner plates and put the salad dressing on the plates before the salad

I get a thought I rush to grab the note pad and before I can get out the note pad the thought is gone

I was putting away dishes and had my frying pan in hand and I just stood there stareing at it for the longest time  trying so hard to remember where it goes in my kitchen

Sent Miranda to a doctors appointment which I logged into my calender on the wrong day

Went to Safeway to pick up a prescription, got home and thought “Shoot I forgot to pick up my prescription” but then remembered I did. The next day waiting in the doctors office ‘Shoot I forgot to pick up my prescription”  but then remembered I did.

My typing skills are severely diminished

There are many more but I can’t remember what they are.

Shaved my head, couldn’t take shedding more than my dogs that I have to vacuum up after daily. It was so yucky having hair everywhere and I mean everywhere. Not a good time to commit a crime as your hair samples would surely be left behind. I went to a salon owned by a dear sweet lady, filled with such caring and loving women who took extra good care of me.  When I checked in at the front desk there were three ladies behind the counter, I told them my name and they gave the “You’ve got cancer look on their faces” but quickly swaddled me in love and laughter. They shaved, washed conditioned and massaged my head. Sent me off with promises to pray for me.

I have one friend who volunteered to shave her head is solidarity and one who volunteered to shave hers legs, such good friends. Just too much to ask though.

Today I planned an impromptu “check out my bald head” get together at a friends, made an awesome baked goat cheese appetizer, we sipped wine and tried on my wig, hats and scarves and had fun, so nice to have sisters and girlfriends. Two hours of  fun was more than enough fun for me, came home took a hot bath and went to bed.Think I’m getting a virus.

Eeeeee gads, I’m bald! Not nearly as bad as I thought. I bought a very cute wig, I have hats, I have scarves, but for now bald feels best.

So many loving hearts with me and for this I am sooo grateful.  What would I do without all of you. See that smile on my face in that bald photo, It’s because I am loved and cared for by you.   XO S

March 12, 2012

Here a hair, there a hair, everywhere a hair…

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Ol Simoney is going bald…

The process I had hoped I would somehow would avoid has begun.  It started with a very sensitive, itchy scalp and a hair here, a hair there, everywhere a hair.  Head is itchy but too sensitive to touch, hurts to lay on the pillow, mostly at the crown.  Planning my shave the head day (Wednesday I think) to avoid the mass exodus of hair that happens.  First I will get a Mohawk and take a picture for my goofy family to laugh at and put in the family video and then off with the rest of it.  It’s nine months ish of no hair, seems longer than 5 months of chemo, how vain is that? Started wearing hats yesterday to practice.

 LOL  How cute is this, This would be comforting to little girls with cancer.
Side effects~ Foggy brained,  headache, loose stool, scalp hurts, throat hurts, sinuses hurt,  ears hurt, back hurts, fingers hurt,  port hurts , nauseous, burpy, my vagina and rectum burn (I think that was the chemo drug exiting my body) Hot and chilled. Not dead though 🙂
To all of you who send your love so freely with calls, texts, posts, cards, emails, checks, pink baskets filled with pink goodies, risotto, taking me to my appts, hounding me to take care, etc …Thank you, Thank you!  It means so very much!
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