Wednesday, April 16, 2014

park day

This past sunday was a beautiful Spring day.  I went with my sister, niece, and great-nephew, to a park down on shore road, and watched Logan playing.  It was good to get some air, and to take some pics of my best buds.

me and my buddy, Logan

Theresa and Logan

Melissa and Logan

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

a few words for April

The PET scan I had after chemotherapy ended showed no sign of cancer... not in the lymph nodes or anything!  Now I am having radiation as an extra precaution.  I've just finished my 4th treatment and have some 30 to go.  It's everyday, monday through friday, in the middle of the afternoon, so it kind of kills the day, but stupid me, those were the hours I requested.  Taking buses, waiting in waiting rooms, and the treatment, all combine to make me kind of tired when I get home, so I nap for a couple of hours.

Haven't been out with my camera in ages, but the weather is getting nicer now, so maybe I will.  Hoping to see my sister, Melissa, and Logan this weekend.  That will warrant pictures.

Friday, February 28, 2014

short update

A little update on me.

I finished my 8 courses of chemotherapy this past monday, the 24th.  These are my down days following the infusion.  But when these aches/pains/fatigue pass this time, there is no having to go back and do it again.  I'll start feeling more myself, hopefully.
I've been holed up inside for the most part over the months. Feeling weak to walk. Cold weather.  Snow.  More snow expected in a couple of days, and it will be March.  Coming in like a lion, it seems.
In less than 3 weeks I start radiation.  5 days a week for 7 weeks.  The process itself is short, maybe 10-15 minutes, but oye, everyday.
I am worried about my extensive lymph node involvement ... 17 positive out of 22 removed is not such good odds, and is what bumped me to Stage 3 cancer.  I just hope the chemo/radiation kills the damn shit off.
By my 60th birthday, in May, I want to celebrate being cancer-free.  Get the Jack Daniels, and roll another one.

Haven't been out (or in) with the camera, so nothing of mine to show.  But here's a pic that Mel took of Logan on "picture day" for this pre-K class.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


“Don't use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.” 
― Jack Kerouac

Where would Jack Kerouac say to start?  Well, wherever you are, baby, don'tchaknow.  Here in a friend's house, walls adorned with paintings paintings and more paintings.  Must be an artist, that's where she starts.  Me, the "writer", locked out of words for long stretches of time, but only because I don't do it, it's there to do.  Jack would say look at the dirt here on the road.  Get a feel.
I got a feel so deep it's etched in my bones.  Know where I am.  Need new dirt.

This blog has to do with dirt.  That's why the address is Road Side Gems, even though the name of the blog is Reading the Sky... roadsidegems...that's the dirt and rocks alongside the road, always different yet the same, wherever you travel.  Always touched by the same moon.  Did you ever gather up dirt from a special place to bring home with you?  I've done things like this.... just little bits, put in some bottles or containers.  Dirt from inside the medicine wheel back when Sun Bear was alive, and Grey Antelope, too.  Rocks from the roadside in Durango, Colorado, where everything looked like turquoise.
Then there have been people who've brought back dirt from places like Machu Picchu, or the Grand Canyon.  I believe that was my old friends, Alan and Laurel.  Long lost now.  But I have the dirt.

“My witness is the empty sky.” 
― Jack Kerouac

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

catch up

Why do I find it infuriating when people can't spell certain words?  When they use "loose" when they mean "lose".... grrrr..... Your pants are loose.... You lose a job.  Advise when they mean advice.   And oh the run on sentences I see on facebook.  My insides churn, knowing these are mothers writing on the same FB their kids use, and there is NO example being set.  Sometimes I see periods in the MIDDLE of a sentence, making no literal sense whatsoever, and I've seen this happen more than twice with two different posters.

These are the things that start irritating you when you've been holed up in the house for too long.  Mostly down due to pain, which lasts from wednesday to sunday, it seems, after getting chemo/wbc injection on monday and tuesday.  Then I have a free week with no chemo.  It's late monday now, and I felt ok most of the day.  Up late now, just can't sleep, but at least it's not due to pain.

It snowed several inches, but I haven't been out to see it.  I need to get some air soon, feel like I am suffocating.

Haven't seen family since Christmas, so I am missing them.   Here's a pic of me and mom taken on Christmas day, when she was still in the nursing home.  She's out now, has 24 hour care, and daily dressing changes on the bedsores.  A hard situation for her to be in, but at least, thank God, she is home.

some winter trees

migrating geese
My niece, Melissa, turned 40 on the first on the month.  This blows me away, and seems impossible.  Reminds me that I am inching towards 60 this year, and that's just outta line!

She is a beautiful healthy 40.... the new thirty, don't you know.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

trudge uphill, slide back, trudge up again, 2014 in 10 lines

The days go by in chaotic manner
Sleeping in shifts, hours at a time,
waking hungry at 4am, sleepy at 6.

Pain rides from my chest to my toes
and everywhere in between

I wait for narcotic scripts in the mail
and face the snow to go fill them.

Relief comes, but the mind still wanders
to things it should not.
Such is the nature of the beast.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Merry Christmas to all!

Spent Christmas Eve at my niece Melissa's house, where she made a feast of foods and desserts.  I was determined to photograph all the food, but after appetizers, I got glassy eyed, and forgot all about it.  There was a delicious Lasagna, and for dessert, all home made... 7 layer cookies, strufulli, and Mexican wedding cake.

yummiest baked clams

Logan introduced Superman to Christmas

Jimi (Mel's dad), JC, Melissa, and Logan

The Hostess with the Mostest

beautiful boy

scrumptious appetizers

Melissa and me

Melissa, and my sister

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

knitted with love

I am so lucky as to have quite a few online friends that I truly cherish.  There are a choice few, though, that stand out among the rest.  My friend "Leek" is one of them.  We've known each other for about sixteen years now, I believe, and have shared a lifetime of changes.  We know each other in private forums that have been kept by another dear friend, "Detes", over all these years.  All of us having met in a very special, but now defunct forum, called The Waking World.
Leek is a knitter extraordinaire, and knowing that I would be losing my hair, she made me wonderful hats in my favorite colors to keep my head warm.  On top of that she knitted this beautiful shawl, and an amazing goddess doll.  How lucky am I?

Thank you so much Leek.  I treasure these things.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

the process

Here are a few free draws I did tonight.  The first one is of me getting chemo, with a small inset in the bottom where I am getting the wbc injection the next day.  The others are when I'm getting expanded.  (Expanders are put in the chest wall.. this is a hard silicone implant that is then filled with saline (150cc at a time for me) every couple of weeks in preparation for the eventual reconstruction.)  This is to stretch the skin for the permanent implant.  Free draws are just crude drawings that take a few minutes each.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

and the boys

Last time I posted some pics of Evie's female cats, and here are her two male cats, Sam (white) and Rocky.

Both were rescued from a shelter.
Sam turned out to have some issues.  He is deaf, and seems to have almost autistic tendencies, not making eye contact, etc. And jumping away when you go to pet him often.  He is also endearingly polydactyl.

Rocky was originally going to be fostered by Evie, for a month.  Well, long story short, that turned into Evie keeping him.  He was sick from a babe, about 8 weeks old.  It turned out he had a mass on his brain that was seen on MRI.  He was sent home with tons of medicines, and a prognosis that he would have 6 to 8 weeks of quality life, before he started going blind, falling over, and a host of other horrible things.  Well, we administered all that horrible medicine to him everyday... it was so sad for him, making him froth at the mouth, and he was nearly dead in our arms.  But he would eat... everyday he would eat like a champ.  There were many people praying hard for Rocky.
Well, it is over 2 years later now, and Rocky has rallied, and is such a beautiful healthy cat.  "Getting stronger, getting stronger"... you can almost hear the music every time he walks into the room.

And speaking of boys... here's my great-nephew, Logan, at Pre-K, in his pilgrim hat.  He's going to be 4 years old on Dec 9th!

Now, an  update on me.  Went for my 2nd round of chemo  yesterday.  Have to get the Neulasta injection today.  Going to keep a log of when symptoms of side-effects start, and subside, so I can get an idea of how this process flows.  Feeling fine so far, but it's usually after the shot that stuff starts... at least it did last time.