Thursday, December 31, 2015

December Goals and Balance Wheel Review

I thought I will do a review of my December goals, it being the last day of the month (not to mention the year!)

- In December, I will focus on prayers and meditations as I start my treatments.  This year, for the first time in 28 years, I am not planning to hold the annual almsgiving, simply because I don't think I'll be up to it - Daughter surprised me by offering to do the cooking for the almsgiving, so I was still able to hold it, after all, which was lovely! I was also able to participate in the monthly prayer meeting by video chat, so that was an added blessing.       

- In December, I plan to decorate the house for the holidays and declutter my file cabinet - I decorated for the holidays; but never got around to decluttering the file cabinet!
Daughter:  .
- In December, she will continue to come down to accompany me to medical appointments and treatments; she finishes her finals next week and then, she'll be home for the holidays.  I want to work on a couple of fun projects with her - maybe paint our toe nails purple, or something!  - Daughter came down to go with me to most of my appointments and treatments; she did well on her finals and she's been home for the holidays.  We didn't paint our toe nails, however, and although we've spent lots of time together, I feel like we didn't do any fun projects.  Need to remedy that.

- In December, I will get together with one or two of my cousins; one cousin has informed me that she will accompany me to my first chemo session and I believe the other cousin will visit.  I will attempt to get all the family Christmas/holiday gifts ready in time, although I might not attend the usual family holiday get together - My one cousin did accompany me to chemo and took me for a blood test and visited me quite frequently until daughter came home for the holidays; the other cousin visited a couple of times; and I spoke on the phone with several other cousins, including some who called from overseas.  However, I didn't attend the family gatherings due to my compromised immune system - wanted to avoid any colds and coughs others might be having.
- In December, I plan to get all the friends' holiday gifts ready in time! - Holiday gifts were readied and several friends visited in person and I visited with others on-line, through emails and video chat, etc.   
- In December, I will be taking more sick leave.  However, I am also planning to work from home on some days - I took the day of chemo off and the week following, but worked from home on all the other days, making up time as I went along (for the days when I had medical appointments), by working in the evenings and/or weekends.  Received an email from my supervisor this morning, thanking me for all my hard work. 

- In December, I will continue to budget and manage my finances to the best of my abilities.  I will be focusing on frugal/low cost holiday gifts - I have gone over my holiday budget because I didn't have the time and energy to get the best bargains, etc.  But, it is OK, because I had savings else where in the budget that I applied towards the extra expenses.    

- In December, too, the main focus will be on health as I start chemo sessions - Health has been the main focus, this month.  There was the chemo session, plus weekly hydration sessions (sometimes twice a week!), plus injections and weekly blood tests, and an appointment with my regular primary care doctor, as well.  I am grateful for the amount of medical care I am receiving, but it is very time consuming!

- In December, I would like to start on the Mountain quilt.  I also want to make some holiday gifts, as part of my crafting - I did make a few holiday gifts (not as many as I normally do and would have liked to have done) and I started knitting a scarf, but I didn't start on the Mountain quilt.  Turns out that, between the medical stuff and working full time (albeit from home), I didn't have a lot of time for leisure and crafts.   

Obviously, the health spoke formed a huge section of my balance wheel and threw things off a bit.  But, on the whole, I think I still managed to find some balance in all the other areas of my life, too.    
I will continue to make monthly goals in the new year; I find it helpful to make sure that all areas of my life is touched upon.

Do you make monthly goals, too?  

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Infected Tooth and Hydration on Wednesday

Yes, I have an infected tooth, on top of everything else!  It started to hurt a couple of days ago and was quite painful, yesterday.  I've found that chewing on a clove helps toothaches, so that's what I did, last night, along with rinsing my mouth with warm salt water.  This morning, the pain was less, but my face had a slight swelling on the left side.  So, when I went to the clinic, I showed it to the nurse practitioner (I saw her as my doctor was on vacation).  She checked it, confirmed that it was quite inflamed, and prescribed antibiotics to treat the infection.  Fortunately, I didn't have a fever, so, hopefully, we caught it before it became too bad and the antibiotics will take care of things.   Ideally, one doesn't have dental work done when one is undergoing chemo therapy!

My white blood cell count was better.  It was 15, which was still a bit raised, but it could have been due to the tooth infection, as well.  I will have it checked again, next week, to see where it is before my next chemo treatment.

I also had another hydration session, today and another one scheduled for Monday.

After I came home, I worked on office-related stuff for the rest of the day until early evening.  Sent in another completed work product, and plan to send in two more completed products, tomorrow.

Daughter and I picked up some Japanese food for lunch, on the way back from the clinic, today.  Teriyaki chicken and beef with vegetables and rice.  But later, around 5:00 p.m., I wanted a snack, and so, I decided to have a tamale.  The first time I ate a tamale, many years ago, I didn't much care for it.  But, these days, I enjoy tamales.  It was the same with pizza, too - the first time I tried pizza, I didn't like it and for years, I wouldn't eat pizza!  Then, I tried again, and liked it!

Tamales are quite popular here, in Southern California, especially around the Christmas holidays.  Many people make them at home, but I haven't tried making them yet.  The one I ate today was a frozen tamale, heated in the microwave:


After I took the tamale picture, I thought I should take a picture of my Santa placemat, as well.   I have a set of 4, which I sewed from pre-printed fabric (bought during an after-Christmas sale), several years ago (I actually made 12 placemats, but gave away two sets of 4 placemats each, as Christmas gifts, that year).  The mittens are actually pockets for the napkin and cutlery.  The placemats have quilt batting in the middle and I machined an outline quilting of the face and hat.

Santa Placemat

The placemat is lined with Santa fabric:

Reverse Side of Placemat

I guess they could be considered as reversible, but I usually use the Santa face side.

I also found a pre-printed panel for an apron, with the same Santa face, during another after-Christmas sale, another year, and I sewed that apron and gave it as a Christmas gift to one of my friends.  Don't have a picture of that apron, though.

The placemats go with the Santa cushion covers my mother sewed, using preprinted fabric panels:

Santa Cushions

There are two designs - Santa with a sack of toys and Santa relaxing in front of the fire (presumably after he has delivered the gifts).  Mother made 6 cushion covers, three of each design.  I had 6 additional fabric panels and made 6 more cushion covers to give as a Christmas gift, a few years ago.    The cushion backs are from a holiday fabric printed to look like patchwork:

Back of Cushion

There were two more sets of 6 cushion covers with angels on a deep blue background; we gave them away as Christmas gifts.

I guess the placemats and cushion covers will be part of the family "heirlooms" that daughter will eventually inherit!

I normally keep the Christmas decorations up until Epiphany (January 6).  So, my decorations will still be out to be enjoyed for another week or so.  When do you take down your tree and decorations?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Blood Test on Tuesday

Today was another good day.

I went to get my blood tests done in the morning.  Fortunately, the lab is located just a few miles from my home, so a 15 minutes drive and I am there.  There was a bit of a wait until I was called in, but that was to be expected.  I always anticipate having to wait and go prepared with stuff to do while I wait. 

Afterwards, I came home and went over to give my nextdoor neighbor her belated Christmas gift.

Then, I worked on office-related work for the next several hours.  I am blessed to be able to work from home during this time, between chemo sessions, so I am very conscientious about not abusing the privilege.  I keep track of my hours, so I put in a regular day's work in between medical appointments, and send in completed work products on a regular basis.  I did take a week of sick leave after I had my 1st chemo therapy session and I will probably do the same again after I have my next chemo therapy session, so I can relax completely and not have to worry about work when I am having the worst of the side effects.   

Now, I am having a quiet evening, relaxing with daughter.

Tomorrow, I will go back to the clinic to find out the results of the blood tests and get more hydration.
With the end of the year approaching, is anyone starting to think about New Year's resolutions and goals, etc.? 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Back to the Clinic Monday

I really need to come up with some catchy post topics, don't I?

So, today, I went back to the clinic for the blood test results and hydration.   My appointment was for 9:15 a.m.  Daughter and I left at 8:00 a.m., just in case there was traffic - I kind of expected traffic to be light due to the holidays, but still, today was a working day, so, wasn't sure how congested it would be.  Needn't have worried - there was hardly any traffic!  I made the trip in just 30 minutes! 

Not that being early at the clinic was any advantage.  The waiting room was packed!  Since Friday was a holiday, all the people who would have normally been scheduled for Fridays (such as myself) were fitted in along with all the people who are normally scheduled for Mondays!  As a result, it was after 10:00 a.m., when they called me in.  But it was OK.  I had gone prepared for a long wait.  I had a snack with me, my crossword puzzle book, and my knitting.  Daughter had her phone with internet access. 

My vitals were good.  I had lost 4 lbs. since my last weigh-in.  Earlier, the week after chemo, I lost 6 lbs. (much of it was water weight, I suspected).  Then, once my appetite returned to normal, I gained back 3 of those pounds.  Today, I had lost the 3 lbs. I had gained back, plus another 1 lb.    Who ever heard of losing weight over the Christmas holidays?  As I am overweight, my doctor is not concerned about the weight loss.    

My white blood cell count, however, was abnormally high, according to the latest test results!  From a count of 2, last week, it had gone up to 22!  So, I am to do another blood test, tomorrow, to see if the numbers are more normal.  And I am to return to the clinic on Wednesday!

My doctor also took notes on the side effects I felt after the last white blood cell booster shot and said she will check if my insurance will cover a different type of booster shot that is also available.  As the doctor said, the booster shots are supposed to help me be better, not feel bad due to more side effects.  

The hydration, itself, proceeded smoothly.  I don't get any side effects from that, thank goodness! 

We got home around 1:00 p.m. and had lunch.  I did some office-related work in the afternoon and later in the evening, one of my neighbors came over to reattach the handle of my sliding glass door, which had come loose.

I have felt just fine, today.  No lingering side effects, no fatigue, no aches and pains, no nausea, no headaches.  It feels so good to feel fine, again!  Such a blessing!  But I was careful not to overexert myself.  I took the trash out, but that was it!

Tomorrow, I will go for the blood test, first thing in the a.m., before they get too busy.  Then, do some office work.  I also want to wrap up the gifts for 2 of my neighbors and perhaps send them through my daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Feeling much better (almost back to normal!)
- Light traffic during the drive to the clinic (and back)
- Responsive medical staff who really do try their best to care for their patients
- A productive afternoon
- Helpful neighbors

How was your Monday?  Did you have a good day?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Quiet Sunday

Today was another relatively good day.   I felt OK except for a slight headache and a sensitive scalp.

I spent a quiet day, today.  Did two loads of laundry and that was, more or less, the extent of my productivity.  I spoke on the phone with one of my friends, and a neighbor, and two cousins, and I went across the street to deliver a couple of Christmas gifts.

Other than that, I spent most of the day relaxing on the sofa, watching TV programs.  Not for a lack of things to do, but because I didn't feel quite up to doing anything much.

Tomorrow, I will go back to the clinic for hydration and to find out my blood test results.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Feeling better
- A quiet, restful day
- TV cooking shows to keep me entertained while I rested
- Christmas cards which continue to arrive in the mail   
- My daughter's hugs

Hope you all have had a lovely Sunday.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

December 26

Thank you for your kind comments on how I was feeling yesterday.  I really appreciate your concern.

Today, I have felt much better.  I slept in a bit in the morning, then, spent a pleasant hour or so video chatting with a friend.

I did have a bit of a headache, but I took two Tylenol pills and lay down for a bit.   

Afterwards, I felt much better and had some lunch.

In the afternoon, daughter went shopping for me - new prescriptions from the pharmacy, some fruit and milk from the grocery store, etc.  I rested and did some knitting.

A friend of mine had planned to visit in the evening, but she called to say she was unable to come today as planned.  So, instead, I watched some TV and spent a quiet evening.

I promise I didn't do anything more strenuous than wash a few dishes, although I am thinking of doing a load of laundry before going to bed.

In years past, I have gone shopping on the day after Christmas for after-Christmas bargains - most decorations, seasonal items, etc., would be 50% off, if not more.  It's a good time to stock up on wrapping paper, cards, get a headstart on next year's gifts, etc.  But this year, I will not go shopping. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Feeling better
- A sunny, warm day
- Daughter being able to run errands for me
- Video chatting with my friend
- Gifts from another cousin

Did anyone go shopping for bargains, today?  Or did you have a quiet day relaxing at home?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day

Wish you all a happy Christmas.  May the peace and joy of Christmas be with you all year long.

I haven't had a good day, today.  Woke up feeling lightheaded, nauseated, upset tummy, hot & cold, bone ache, etc., etc., etc.  Slept more or less the whole day.  Not how I would have liked to have spent Christmas.  One of my cousins dropped by with gifts and I felt like crying.  I could barely lift my head off the pillow.

Late last night, my daughter cut my hair for me, as the dropping hair was creating a mass of dread-locks and it was hard to comb through:

The New Me
This is the shortest my hair has been since I was a teenager!  Eventually, even this will fall off, of course. 

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

The Christmas Tree

First of all, I wish you all a peaceful Christmas Eve.

I had a rough night, last night.  I felt achy and cold.  Got up once and threw up.  Not the best night in awhile.

Felt a little bit better, today.  Not much.  Very tired.

A friend and her two daughters visited at noon and brought us lunch.  I gave them their gifts, not quite realizing that daughter had wanted to add something more to the gifts to the two girls!  She was disappointed; and once I realized it, I was upset.  :(

I did some office-related work in the afternoon and another friend brought over more food!  I am abundantly blessed with several days worth of lunches and dinners.  There's no more room in the fridge or the freezer!

Later, both daughter and I took naps.

Since I woke up, I've run a load of dishes in the dishwasher, sent in 2 work products to the office, had a light dinner, and am just relaxing.  In years past, I've always stayed up to watch Midnight Mass from the Vatican, but this year, I think I'll just have an early night.

I was invited to Christmas lunch by one of my friends, but I declined the invitation.  I was invited to Christmas dinner by one of my cousins, but I declined that invitation, too.  I don't want to risk going out and catching a cold or cough.  So, daughter and I will spend a quiet day at home, tomorrow.  Hopefully, we'll both feel a little less tired, tomorrow.

Snowmen Wreath

 My mother saw a wreath with snowmen around it in a catalog, one year, and liked it.  So, when I found some premade felt snowmen at a discount store, I bought them and hot glued them to an artificial pine wreath base.  Then, because it needed a little color, I added the red velvet bows.  My mother loved it.  This wreath is at least 15 years old!  

Today, I am grateful for:

- Friends who visit and bring me lunches and dinners
- Other friends who call and chat
- A fridge and freezer full of food
- A heater that works!
- Still having hair!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Another Tiring Day

I had three medical appointments, today.

Saw my regular/primary care physician in the morning.  She made another change in my blood pressure medications - switched me back to the old ones as the new ones weren't that effective.

Then, went for my blood tests to see the white blood cell count.

Then, went in the afternoon for my immunity booster injection.

Picked up some food on the way home, ate, and took a nap.

The bone aches have set in, so I'm waiting for the Tylenol to take effect and will have an early night, tonight.

Hope all is well with all of you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Rainy Day

It rained, today!  A drizzly rain that lasted all morning into the late afternoon.  Such a blessing!  We desperately need the rain.

I woke up to the sound of the telephone ringing at 8:30 a.m.  My first confused  thought was, "Who is calling at 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday?"  LOL.  It was the dr's office to confirm tomorrow's appt. and, of course, it wasn't Saturday!  After that, I tried to go back to sleep, but couldn't, so, got up, had my tea, did a load of laundry, did some office work, etc.

Then, in the afternoon, drove to the clinic for my next injection.  I've a rash at yesterday's injection site - so the nurse practitioner looked at it, said it was a fairly common side effect and told to put some cortisone cream on it. Today's injection was given in the other (right) arm. 

It was still raining when I went to the clinic, but had ceased by the time we came out.  We drove to one of the malls on the way home - I stayed in the car while daughter went to 2 stores to buy a few more gifts.  When we came home, we found a gift from one of my nieces waiting on my doorstep - a basket of fresh fruits, cheese and crackers, pretzels, cookies, and some candy/chocolates.  I haven't got my gifts for her and her 2 boys, yet.  I guess it'll have to be New Year gifts for them!

And finally, I took a picture of the hair I combed out, this morning:

This Morning's Combing

Today, I am grateful for:

- Some desperately needed rain
- Safe driving on rain slick roads
- Gifts from my niece
- Phone calls from family and friends
- My daughter's company

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Tiring Day

It's been a tiring day.  Daughter and I were up till 2:00 a.m., trying to do all the almsgiving preparations and then, this morning, I woke up at 6:00 a.m. to continue with the preparations.  Fortunately, one of my friends arrived at 8:00 a.m. to help me.   

But we were ready by 10:30 a.m. and were waiting for the monks to come.  They normally arrive before 11:00 a.m., but this time, due to a misunderstanding/miscommunication, they had been under the impression that we had cancelled the almsgiving due to concerns about exposure to germs (I had called them earlier and said we'll have to cancel if either of them had colds, etc.).   When they hadn't arrived by 11:30 a.m., I called the temple to find out what happened and when they realized that the almsgiving was still on, they said they'll be on their way immediately and they arrived by 11:45 a.m., and the almsgiving proceeded as usual.  

I had to leave by 2:00 p.m. to get to downtown by 3:00 p.m. for my injection, so we couldn't relax and linger over our lunch, afterwards.  I dropped my friend off at her home, first, and then, went to the clinic.  Fortunately, traffic was fairly light; I reached the clinic early and got my injection without any delays.

After we came home, both daughter and I took a nap.    Later, I did a load of dishes in the dishwasher and handwashed the rest.  Laundry can wait until tomorrow. 

Tomorrow will be a day of rest (more or less).  Daughter is planning to do the rest of the Christmas gifts shopping in the morning.  I have to go for the next injection in the afternoon, but that's all.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Almsgiving proceeding smoothly after the initial hiccup
- Daughter doing so much to help
- My friend's help
- Naps!
- Dishwashers

Sunday, December 20, 2015

It's Beginning to Look Festive

I have had a fairly busy day, today.  One of my friends was hosting this month's prayer meeting, but I didn't attend in person since my immune system is compromised and I didn't want to risk exposing myself to any colds or coughs.  Instead, I sent my Christmas gift to her through my cousin and I attended the prayer gathering through Skype!  I think it was the first time anyone in the group has done that!  

I had started decorating the Christmas tree, yesterday, but I got too tired to finish it.  Daughter did some of it, but then, she complained that there were too many decorations and not enough tree!  :D  This morning, I finished decorating the tree - well, all except for the angel on the top.  Will need to get daughter to climb up on the step-stool and do that.

Later, I started decorating the living room mantel.  Daughter had hung the stockings, earlier.  I set up the Christmas village.  The village started out, about 25 years ago, with a collection of 10 mini houses, bought on sale for $7.  Over the years, I added items when they went on sale - several of them are from the dollar stores.  None of them are pre-wired, but they have openings on the bottom for a bulb.  I set them on the bulbs of the strand of lights to get that lit from within effect.  

Living Room Mantel
We are also making preparations for the annual end-of-year almsgiving, which will take place tomorrow.  At first, I wasn't going to have an almsgiving this year, because I wasn't sure if I'd be well enough, etc.  But then, daughter volunteered to do the cooking, etc., as long as we scale back to just a couple of the monks and only a few invitees.  So that is what we are doing, this year.  Only two monks have been invited, only four people have been invited and two of them can't make it.  I cooked a cashew curry and a lentil curry this morning; daughter prepared a roasted cauliflower soup, sauted green beans, a sesame carrot salad, something called caramelized sweet bell pepper confetti, and brownies.  We will make the rest of the preparations tomorrow morning.

We also cleaned and tidied the house.  It's a bit hard to do when one is also decorating for Christmas!  The family room is full of storage boxes, since I haven't unpacked all the decorations!

Today, my hair started to fall.  When I combed my hair in the morning, I had quite a bit of hair come off.  No bare spots yet, simply because I have so much hair, but I am wondering if, by the end of the week, I'll be showing bare patches.  Of course I knew that the hair would fall off, but, now that it is actually happening, I feel a bit sad. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Modern technology which made it possible for me to participate in the prayer meeting on-line!
- Daughter helping me with preparations for the almsgiving.
- The shower of rain we had yesterday, which watered the garden for me.
- The bright sunshine, today.
- Brownies, warm from the oven!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Mountain Climbing Update, Grades, and More Cards

Two weeks after my 1st chemo therapy, for today.  Today, my scalp and the roots of my hair have started to hurt.  I think I will start loosing my hair shortly.

Today, I went in for another hydration session and to go over Wednesday's blood test results with the doctor.  My white blood cell count has gone down, from 6.3 a week ago to 2.0, even with the 4 booster shots.  :(  The normal range is from 4.5 to 10.5.  So, the oncologist wants me to undergo another round of 4 booster shots.  I had the first one today and will go back, next week, for the rest on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoons.   I actually have another appointment with my regular doctor on Wednesday morning, so I am going to call her office to see if I can reschedule that for later in the day.  I am to also do another blood test, again, next week.  I am grateful that they are keeping such close watch over things and monitoring everything so carefully. 

I am to return to the cancer treatment center the Monday after Christmas for another hydration session and to go over next week's blood test results, which will determine if I'll need additional booster shots or not.  The next chemo session is still scheduled for January 8.

While I was having my hydration session, daughter worked on her thesis and submitted the draft (on-line) as it was due by the end of the day, today.  She has received the final grades for this semester's courses: a Pass on her thesis seminar (no letter grade), an A for Epidemiological Methods II, and an A+ in Nutritional Epidemiology.  So, even with all the upheaval due to my health issues, she still managed to get a 4.0 GPA for this semester. 

On our way home from the hydration, we stopped for gas.  Later in the afternoon, my friend M came over to do the garden.  He pruned the little peach tree and sprayed it.  But first, he helped daughter bring in and set up the Christmas tree.  It is an artificial, pre-lit tree that I've had for about 10 or 11 years, now.  All the boxes of decorations were also brought in from the garage.  I had to work on office documents the rest of the day.  I will spend the day, tomorrow, putting up the decorations. 

And finally, 5 more cards that I made:

Today, I am grateful for:

- All the medical care I am receiving
- Daughter's good grades
- Having the means by which to travel to the medical appointments with minimal bother (my own car, daughter to drive me, etc.)
- Help setting up the Christmas tree
- Phone calls from friends, neighbors, and family

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Gifts in the Making

Some of you might recognize this fabric:

Leftover Fabric

It's leftover from earlier this summer, when I made two nightdresses for myself with some of the fabric I had in my stash:


The difference in color is due to the fact that the nightdresses picture was taken in daylight while today's pictures are taken in artificial light.

I cut up the leftover fabric into long thin strips:

Fabric Strips

As much as possible, I tried to cut a continuous strip, but some were shorter lengths and I just tied them together.  The strips were then rolled up into balls:

Wound into Balls

Next, I took a large crochet hook (US Size I/5.5 mm) and crocheted in rounds, increasing at random to keep the shape, to make hot pads or trivets.    They are to be used under hot dishes to protect the table finish; NOT to be used as pot holders because they are not thick enough for that and one can burn ones hands through the small gaps between the crochet stitches. 

Crocheted Hot Pads

I had crocheted a set for myself, several years ago and family and friends have admired them.  I made another set for one of my friends, one year, for Christmas.  The ones I am making now will be for a cousin, who had also admired them.  I will make at least 4, but I'm hoping there will be enough fabric to make a set of 6.

Daughter did some shopping for me, this evening, and bought gifts for 7 people on my list.

Need to recheck my list and see who is left.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

She's Making a List and Checking it Twice

With just nine days to go till Christmas, I am refining my gift list!

As much as I enjoy giving gifts, this year, I have to scale back considerably due to my health issues.  I haven't had the time or the energy to make a lot of gifts and now that I've started chemo and my immune system is weakened, I can't go shopping in crowded shops and risk catching something.  Of course, I could shop on-line, but that costs a lot of money and I budget $120 for holiday (Christmas and New Year) gifts and postage (daughter's gift is not included in that budget).

Last year's post on Holiday Budgets explains how I set aside $10 in my monthly budget for holiday spending.  Some years, I am constrained by my budget.  This year, I am constrained by my health.

As a result, I trimmed down my holiday gift giving list!  For the first time since I started working, I won't be giving my co-workers a holiday gift!  I always gave them a small, token gift - a jar of my homemade jam, a loaf of homemade banana or zucchini bread, a coffee mug, or a calendar, etc.  I feel bad about it and I find myself apologizing to various people!  When I was at the pharmacy, yesterday, for example, I apologized to the pharmacist (who, over the years, has become a friend) about a lack of Christmas gifts this year.  I know (because she has told me) that she and her family look forward to my homemade jams that I normally give.  Of course she understood and reassured me telling me not to worry about it, that regaining my health will be the best gift, etc.  But not before she teased me, saying, "What?  No jam?  You'll have to make up for it later, when you're better!"  :D

So, my gift list this year has been cut back to just under 30 people!  I might cut it back further to 25, as I won't be seeing some of these people over the holiday season, this year, as I am not attending any of the holiday gatherings due to my compromised immunity.  It being the flu season, etc., I just don't want to risk attending any gathering and catching a cold or cough which, I've been told, will likely turn into bronchitis or worse if I get sick. 

Daughter has offered to do some of my shopping for me, provided I give her a list of what to buy, which is why I am checking my list and refining it!

My list includes extended family, friends, and neighbors.  So far, I have 5 gifts purchased, 2 (perhaps even 3) additional gifts in the "stash", 2 gifts made, and supplies for several more in storage (need to get them out and start working on them!)  Need to decide what to do for 2 nieces who are out of state and their children.  One niece has 2 boys and the other niece has a boy and a girl.  


Today, I went in for the 4th and last immune booster shot, followed by 2 blood tests.  After I came home, I worked on office-related stuff.  One of my cousins called and came over with lunch for daughter and me!  She brought enough for several meals, actually.

Later, I made a few more holiday cards.  Stopped because I had a pain in my neck.  I was told that one of the side effects of the immune booster shots was deep bone ache in the sternum, pelvis, legs, etc.  But I am wondering if the neck pain is also a related symptom.  If that is so, then all I can say is...wait for it... "What a pain in the neck!" :D 

Today, I am grateful for:

- A safe drive to the clinic and back
- Completed this round of immune booster shots with minimal side effects
- Cousin bringing over lunch
- Being able to work from home
- Relaxing over card making

How was your day?  Have you made your holiday gift list, yet?  How are you coming along with the gifts?  Are you done with your shopping and gift making? 



Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Fairly Busy Tuesday

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ten Days Ago and Today

Ten days ago, I had my first chemo therapy session.  On one hand, it seems like it has been a long time since then; so much has happened!  But it was only 10 days ago!  On the other hand, it seems like just yesterday; but it's already been 10 days since!    Funny how that works, isn't it?

Hair on Day 10 after Chemo

I still have my hair, but I expect it to start falling out any day now, as I was told it falls out after the 1st week.   (Please ignore the mess on the dining table - I am in the middle of making holiday cards!)

Today, I went in to the clinic for the 2nd of the 4 immune booster injections.  I drove there (first time driving myself anywhere after my chemo) and then, daughter drove back.  No side effects from the injection, so far.  I had to take 2 Tylenols and a Claritin tablet before the injection and I took two more Tylenols 8 hours later, in the afternoon.  I hope I won't get that same feeling of being cold deep inside me, tonight (I confirmed with the nurse that it was a side-effect). 

After we came home, we had leftover rice and curries for brunch, and then, I did some office-related work from home.  I will work from home on the days when I can, from now on, as far as possible.

After I finished today's portion of office-related work, I started making some holiday cards.  I am a self-taught card maker; I've not taken any classes.  Just very simple designs, using items I have on hand, including recycled portions of cards I've received in years past!  Here's what I made today:

Christmas/Holiday Cards

One of my neighbors shared a box of frozen hamburger patties from a mail-order company with me, today.  The box contained 4 patties; she took 2 for herself and her husband and gave the other 2 for daughter and me.  Very kind of her, I thought, as these hamburgers are rather expensive (but very tasty!).  I pan fried them for our dinner, tonight, with sides of steamed fresh green beans and boiled frozen corn (no buns, since I didn't have any).

Since tomorrow is our trash collection day, I also went through the fridge and tossed out a few items that had sat in the fridge for too long.  I hate tossing out food, but, because I had little to no appetite this past week, I just couldn't eat all the food I had in the fridge.   So now, there's a bunch of dishes waiting in the sink to be washed!

Tomorrow, I will go for the next immune booster shot and then, work from home, again.  Hope to make a few more cards, too. 

Today I am grateful for:

- Feeling well again
- No side effects from the immune booster shot
- A gift of hamburger patties from neighbor
- Being able to work from home during this period
- Still having my hair

How was your Monday?  Did you have a good start to the week?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Back to Normal Sunday!

I am fine and back to normal, today!

Anytime I wake up feeling hungry and contemplating making French toast for breakfast, you know I'm feeling fine.  :D

I had no problems with nausea today and definitely no problems with my appetite!  Quite the opposite, in fact, because I was constantly eating! 

I wrote out most of my holiday cards, this morning; have a few more to go.  Did a load of dishes in the dishwasher.

In the afternoon, one of my friends came to visit me and kept me company while daughter ran a few errands and did some shopping.  Friend swept my living room area for me, which was very kind of her.  Daughter brought back ice cream cones for us as a treat!  (Last week, I had no liking for ice cream, when asked!)

Cousin brought over a package of specialty rice and curries wrapped in banana leaf, which I shared with daughter for dinner.  Did I mention my appetite was back? 

Later in the evening, we had a shower of rain, which was such a blessing!  I won't have to water my garden, this week!

Tomorrow, I have another injection scheduled in the morning.  Afterwards, I plan to finish my cards and do some paperwork while daughter works on her thesis proposal (which is due by the end of the week). 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Feeling back to normal

- Friend visiting and doing some house cleaning for me
- Cousin bringing dinner
- Daughter treating me to an ice cream cone
- A rain shower to water the garden

How was your Sunday?  Hope you all had a lovely day.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

So Much Better Saturday

I had a possible side effect from the injections, last night - I felt so cold, I just couldn't warm up.  Daughter piled all the quilts and blankets on me and I was still cold.  I had on my knitted wool socks on, wool shawl, and even wore one of my knitted hats!  Chills are one of the side effects they said, but this was just feeling cold at my core.  Any way, daughter got me to take 2 Tylenols and I moved to the living room sofa and finally we both went to sleep (she brought the mattress from her bed and put it down on the floor), around 3:30 a.m. 
I also had an irritation in my left eye - it felt like there was a piece of grit in there, and I washed the eye with baby shampoo and water, but it was still red and scratchy.  I was worried about that, as well.

Today, I have felt almost back to normal.  Appetite was better, my eye was fine; I even did a load of laundry and wrote a few Christmas cards. 

Tomorrow my friend will visit in the afternoon.  We might even start decorating for Christmas!
Today, I'm grateful for:
- Feeling so much better!
- Daughter being there to take care of me 
How was your day?  Is everyone done with your holiday preparations?  Or are you like me, behind with everything?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Friday: Oncologist Visit, Hydration and Injections

Daughter arrived last night, which is a blessing.

Her friend who picked her up from the airport and drove her home, gave me a gift of homemade barley tea lollipops that he and another friend made for me!  Supposed to help with the nausea, I was told.  Daughter has been friends with one since 4th grade and the other since 6th grade.  I thought it was very thoughtful and kind of them.   Blessings on the parents who have raised such considerate young men (both in their early 20s).

Bucket of Homemade Barley Tea Lollipops!

Early this morning, daughter drove me to the oncologist appointment.  The visit went well enough.  I was weighed - I've lost 6 lbs. in one week.  It's mostly water weight, I'm sure, and I'll probably gain it all back once I am eating and drinking normally, more's the pity.  I really could afford to lose a lot more weight!  My pressure was a bit high, again.

Oncologist reviewed my blood test results and said it looked fine, but stated that my white blood cell counts will go down next week and so, I still needed to get the white blood cell count booster shots; side effects can be a rash, fever, bone ache, possible chest pain. I am to take Tylenol for the aches and pains (and fever; but if over 100.4F, then, to call the clinic) and Claritin to prevent allergic reactions.

One injection was given today; I need to go back for the rest on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, next week.  Plus do another blood test on Wednesday.

After I was seen by the oncologist, I received the hydration treatment - saline solution (I presume) given intravenously.  My next hydration treatment is scheduled for next Friday.

While I was receiving the treatment, the nurses came in and announced that it was the birthday of one of the other patients who was also receiving treatment.  They brought in a birthday cake and we all sang happy birthday and were served slices of cake.  I thought that it was lovely of the nursing staff to make the effort, but also felt that it was rather sad to be celebrating one's birthday while receiving treatment.

On the way home, I felt hungry in a very long time!  So, I asked daughter to stop by a Japanese take out restaurant and she bought me a teriyaki beef bowl.  Came home and ate some of that.  It was the first time I had felt like eating since my chemo treatment, last week!  Daughter was so happy to see me having an appetite, again!

After lunch, daughter went to the pharmacy to buy me the Claritin.

My friend who does my garden repotted my dracaena plant, today, while I looked on.  It now has a much bigger and heavier (terra cotta) pot to counter balance the top heavy branches.  I had everything we needed - terra cotta pot, potting soil, a plate to catch the drips - so, didn't need to buy anything.  It has to live in the rather messy 3rd bedroom to keep away from the cat who loves to eat plants, since it is toxic to cats.

Repotted Dracaena

It keeps the orchid plant (a gift from my gardener friend) company:

Orchid Plant

Later, daughter and I took a nap.

Now, she's working on her last finals project (due before midnight, tonight!  Thank goodness for on-line submission of projects!)

It rained a little bit, yesterday in the evening and today in the afternoon (we'll take whatever we can get!)    It has stopped raining now, but it is quite windy.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter being home for the holidays!
- Daughter being available to drive me to multiple medical appointments and run errands for me
- Homemade lollipops from her friends
- Rain!
- A bigger pot for my plant

How was your Friday?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thursday Morning

I had another bout of nausea last night.  Then, took an anti-nausea pill at 11:00 p.m. and went to bed.  Woke up around 3:00 a.m. feeling fine and so, I ate a fruit cup before going back to sleep.  Got up and took another anti-nausea pill at 8:30 a.m., drank some lemonade.  Haven't eaten anything yet, as I feel ever so slightly nauseated.  Just hoping it'll go away if I ignore it. 

Cousin called to say she's on her way.  Daughter will be home tonight (and then, she'll be home until after New Year's). 

I'll be going in for a follow-up visit with the oncologist, tomorrow, to go over blood test results and have hydration.  If the white blood cell count is too low, they will give me injections, they said, to stimulate cell production (which can cause bone pain, they said; I'm hoping the cell count is OK). 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Anti-nausea drugs
- Fruit cups
- Cousin visiting
- Daughter coming home
- Everyone's thoughts and prayers

I hope you are all having a lovely day.  Take care of yourselves during this busy time of the year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wednesday: Blood Tests and Another So-So Day

My day has been so-so.  I woke up feeling a bit better, and had half of a nutritional drink, but then, the nausea started.  I took a pill and felt a bit better.  My cousin took me to have my blood tests done.  Came home and threw up.  :( Felt a bit better after that and managed to eat a fruit cup for lunch.  Cousin brought me some soup, but I didn't feel up to having any.

After cousin left, I rested on the sofa and took a nap.  Took another anti-nausea med in the afternoon (every 8 hrs) and ate a banana.  Had a headache earlier, but it's better now.
I had a little of the soup cousin brought for my dinner and made another glass of lemonade.  I think I'll be OK if I can keep the soup down.  By the way, I know that I am not eating how I should, but, I am just taking it easy, going with what I can keep down.  One good thing is I have plenty of fat reserves that can be called upon to contribute.  :)

I am hoping that tomorrow will be a better day.  Cousin has said she will come again in the morning to visit me.  I really don't know how to thank her.  She has been such a blessing.

Daughter will be home, too, tomorrow.  She called me earlier to let me know the results from last week's final exam (she did very well, having answered the bonus questions correctly and getting the extra points for them and very positive comments from her professor).  She's not sure how she did in today's exam; she said she had difficulties with the last 2 questions.  
Today I am grateful for:
- My cousin being there for me
- Feeling somewhat better
- Knowing I've everyone's thoughts and prayers helping me through this
- Daughter doing well in her test
- Getting through another day
How are you all doing?  I'm sorry I haven't felt up to reading any blogs yet, but I think I'll be able to catch up tomorrow.  

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Another So-So Day

Today has been another so-so day.  Still fatigued.  Still a bit nauseated even with the anti-nausea pill. 

Daughter left in the morning; one of her friends took her to the airport.  I slept until my cousin called and said she was coming to see me.  She has been like an angel - she brought 2 bags full of nutritional drinks and juice, held me when I threw up, did the dishes, swept and tidied and fed me broth before she left.  She will come again, tomorrow, to take me to get the blood test done.

I slept all afternoon and now, I am up to chat with daughter and update everyone, here.

Hopefully, tomorrow, will be a better day.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Daughter's friends giving her rides
- Daughter had a safe flight back
- My cousin
- Naps on the sofa
- Dancer cat keeping me company

Hope you are all keeping well and feeling fine.

Monday, December 7, 2015


Well, the fatigue set in, yesterday evening and stayed with me the whole day.  I spent the whole day sleeping.  I'd wake up, drink something, try to eat something, go to the bathroom and go back to sleep!  I've no appetite, so, eating has been limited.  I'm drinking the meal replacement drinks, eating a spoon of peanut butter for protein, plus fruit.  I realize this is not ideal, but, it is all I can manage at this time.  Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Being able to spend the day resting
- A card and flower from my neighbor
- Daughter being home to take care of me (although she goes back to Berkeley, tomorrow)
- The nausea is not too bad (didn't have to take any anti-nausea meds. yet, today)
- Peppermints

Hope you all had a lovely day, today. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Quick Update

Just a quick update:  Yesterday afternoon, I began to feel a bit queasy.  It wasn't too bad and I tried to fight it, but, finally took an anti-nausea pill a little after 4:00 p.m.  A little later, I went for a walk around the block with daughter, to get some fresh air and exercise.    I had a bit of an upset tummy, too, so I rested in the evening, and took it easy.  I finished knitting another hat - I am thinking of making a few extra hats and leaving them at the treatment center for anyone who might like to have one.  I took another anti-nausea pill before I went to sleep.

Woke up feeling a little lethargic, this morning.  Not tired, exactly, just a bit blah.  My mouth felt very dry, even after drinking water.  I felt better after drinking a cup of tea.  I don't feel nauseated, so I haven't taken another anti-nausea pill.  However, I ate a graham cracker and nibbled on a piece of preserved ginger, just as a preventive measure.

Daughter did some grocery shopping for me and brought a friend of mine for a visit.  That was a nice diversion.  Daughter has just returned after dropping my friend off at her home. 

Planning a quiet evening, resting.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Fairly mild side effects
- My daughter's love and caring and patience with me
- Friends and family who call and visit
- Offers of help
- A day of sunshine and warm temperatures

Hope you have all had a lovely day.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Morning After Chemo

I never intended this blog to be about my health issues, and I promise, I will try to keep it from becoming one, but all of you are so caring and concerned that I want to give you a brief update since last night!  :D

I woke up feeling just fine, this morning!  Such a blessing!  No nausea, no swelling, no aches and pains, no fatigue (although I've been told it will come later).  I didn't need to take any anti-nausea medications or even crackers to keep it at bay.  I made and had a cup of tea.  Ate bread and cheese for breakfast as that was what I wanted (went through and rejected a list of breakfast items including eggs, pancakes, French toast, waffles, cereal and milk, protein bars, nutritional drink, etc.!  Picky, picky!  :D)  I am keeping myself hydrated and have drunk 2 cups of water so far (along with the cup of tea).  My goal is to drink 10 cups of water, today (I've been told to drink 10-12 cups a day).

I am planning to have more of the Chinese fried rice and chicken from yesterday, for lunch, today.  The chicken has onions and celery in it, and I will add some broccoli, as well, for more green veggies.  Haven't decided on dinner, yet, but I might have baked chicken and vegetables (beets, carrots, green peas, maybe corn).

I've spent a relaxed morning, posting on-line, chatting on the phone with my neighbor who called to see how I was feeling, and having daughter pay a bill for me, on-line!

Plans for the afternoon include doing my holiday cards.  I have bought my stamps for holiday cards, but I had planned to make my holiday cards, this year, so haven't bought any cards!  I will have to either make some simple ones this weekend, or have daughter buy me a box or two when she goes shopping, next!  Oh, and I need to make two thank you cards, as well and get them in the mail!

Today, I am feeling grateful for:

- My many, many blessings!
- Lack of nausea
- Minimal side effects
- Everyone's prayers and caring
- Having the perfect excuse to just relax ("I'm resting!")  :D

I am wishing you all the lovely Saturday.  Hope all is well with you and your family and loved ones.  Have a blessed day!

First Day of Chemo Therapy

I had the first session today.  The day went very well. So much better than I had dared to hope!

My cousin who was accompanying me got here by 6:45 a.m. and we left the house at 7:15 a.m.  I drove my car while cousin followed in her car (she was trying to familiarize herself of the route so that she can take me on future sessions).  Traffic wasn't too bad - it's what the TV traffic reporters call "Friday light".  What that means in So. California terms is that the freeways were a solid parking lot!

We got to the clinic by 8:30 a.m.  In plenty of time for appointment at 9:00 a.m.  I was called in more or less on time.  I asked if  my daughter and cousin could come in and was told yes.  Lots of other patients were also accompanied by a friend or family member, although I was the only one with two companions!  It was practically an entourage!  LOL!

My blood pressure was elevated but, they rechecked (and I tried deep breathing, etc.) and it went down quite a bit.  It could be the stress of the situation, insufficient sleep, or the new medicine isn't doing as well as hoped (won't be the first time that has happened!).  The doctor came in and said he won't come too close to me because he has a cold - BUT HE WASN'T EVEN WEARING A MASK!!!  WHAT???!!!  He went over things with me again and answered more of daughter's questions.  :)

But then, we had to wait for some time because...guess echo cardiogram test results (taken on October 23) had not been received by the clinic and had to be requested, again!  Now, where have I heard this before?   Anyway, they were finally received and reviewed and treatment started.

It didn't hurt.  I didn't feel a thing, other than a dry mouth (easily alleviated with drinks of water). I didn't feel nauseated.  Such a blessing!  

I recalled the Bible verse I had been directed to by a friend:  Isaiah 43,2:

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

I had told her that I equated the treatment as the waters, with the chemo treatment being the rivers and the radiation being the fire.

I read this Bible verse and another one, Joshua 1;9, before I started my treatment.  During my treatment, I read my book of prayers.  My cousin held my hand and silently prayed.  My daughter sat on the other side of me and checked on me.  And I knitted.

I was given Benadryl which they said might make me feel sleepy and I didn't feel sleepy.  They gave me steroids which they said might give me a burst of energy and keep me awake in the night, but I stay up late anyway so I don't think it's kicked in yet!  They gave me anti-nausea drugs which apparently worked very well.  They gave me 2 types of chemo which didn't seem to have any immediate side effects (other than the dry mouth.) 

We came home around 2:00 p.m.  Daughter drove, although I really could have driven myself if I had needed to.  The gardener was doing the garden when we arrived and I showed him my spindly dracaena plant and, since it is toxic to cats, offered it to him.  He said he'll come by on Sunday to collect it, as he didn't have enough room for it in his truck, today.  He loved it's "sculptural effects".

Daughter went to pick up my anti-nausea drugs from the pharmacy and bought Chinese take out for lunch, while cousin stayed with me and kept me company.  Cousin left after lunch (which I enjoyed because I was hungry) and daughter and I took a nap!

In the evening, another cousin called and visited;  I made us tea and felt fine.  I made soup for dinner and, by that time (after 8:30 p.m.), I was getting hungry and thought I might be feeling just a little queasy.  So, I had 2 crackers, took one anti-nausea pill (I was given 2 kinds - 1 to take first to prevent the nausea, and the second to take if I still feel nauseated after 4 hrs.), ate my soup with toast and treated myself to chocolate for dessert.  I no longer feel any queasiness.

I have drunk 10 cups of water, today (includes 2 cups of tea, as that's mostly water).  I have eaten breakfast (bread and butter), lunch (Chinese fried rice and chicken), dinner (chicken vegetable soup) and snacks (nutritional drink, peach fruit cup).  

The only possible side effect I've had has been the dry mouth.  As side effects go, I'll accept that, gratefully.  I also had a slight pressure in my sinuses - but I had that since I woke up, so, it's possibly related to weather (kind of cloudy, today) or not enough sleep! 

A HUGE thank you to everyone who kept me in your thoughts and prayers. I know I got through today with no discomfort due to the power of your prayers.  Today's flight of steps up the mountain was accomplished with very little discomfort.

I hope I will continue to feel this well, tomorrow, too, but we shall see.  Someone mentioned that the side effects really make themselves feel a few days later as the body tries to repair itself - the fatigues, aches, pains, etc.  Again, we shall see.  

I need to do a blood test on Wednesday for a white blood cell count and go in for hydration next Friday.   I am supposed to get the chemo therapy every 3rd Friday, but, the 3rd Friday from today falls on Christmas Day and the following Friday is New Year's Day.  So, my oncologist said he will postpone my next chemo session until after the holidays, for January 8!  Which means I can spend the holidays without worrying about being nauseated and fatigued, etc.  What a blessing!

Today, I am grateful for:

- Kind medical staff (the nurse who attended to me was so pleasant and caring!)
- A loving, caring cousin who spent practically the whole day with me.
- A loving, caring daughter.
- Getting though the first chemo session without experiencing debilitating side effects.
- The prayers, thoughts and well wishes of so many family and friends throughout the world!
- So many blessings

I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but today was a lovely day!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Twas the Night Before Chemo

And all through the house, there is the sound of voices as daughter and I stay up talking!  So much to discuss!  Especially as we haven't seen each other since Tuesday morning!  :D  Of course we spent all evening on Wednesday chatting on-line, but that doesn't count! 

Thursday, I went to the office and cleaned up my cubicle.  I don't keep a lot of personal items at my office - just a few drawings and an inspirational saying daughter had done for me, a few souvenirs and gifts various colleagues had given me over the years, and my plant, of course.  But there were old papers to go through and toss to the recycling bin, old notes and memos, etc.  I packed up the few documents that contained personal information, such as my social security number, and brought them home with me.  There are a few more file folders with information I will toss when I am ready to retire, but they can remain in the file cabinet for now. 

Later in the evening, I picked up daughter from the airport and we've spent the entire evening and early part of the night, talking.  There is a lot to talk about, as she has received an unexpected job offer upon graduation!  We had anticipated that she would come home when she graduates (in May) and look for a job close to home.  But, today, she was offered a full-time, permanent job where she did her summer internship and where she is currently working part-time, once she graduates!  Quite unexpected and now we are weighing the pros and cons of the situation!  Does she turn down the offer and come home to be with me and go through the process of looking for a job close to home with no guarantee she will get something in her field?  Or does she accept the offer and continue to live in Berkeley?  She likes the work and the people she's working with.  But she'll be away from home and me.  Such decisions to make!  She said she asked if she could have some time to decide and she was told, of course.  They have also told her that they'll accommodate her if she wants to work from home, occasionally. 

Tomorrow, I will go for my 1st chemo treatment.  I don't know how it will be, but I am hoping and praying that I will be able to get through it without too many severe side effects.  I don't know if I'll be up to posting a blog post, tomorrow.  If not, I'll post as soon as possible.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Having such wonderful friends and family who are keeping me in their thoughts and prayers
- The support that all of you have so generously offered to me and my daughter
- Daughter's safe flight home
- Daughter receiving an unexpected job offer!
- Hugs!

Hope you have all had a blessed day. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December Goals and Balance Wheel/November Review

November didn't turn out quite the way I expected, since I didn't start chemo therapy.  But, all in all, it was a fairly well-balanced month.

- In November, I was able to attend the monthly prayer meeting, after all!
- In December, I will focus on prayers and meditations as I start my treatments.  This year, for the first time in 28 years, I am not planning to hold the annual almsgiving, simply because I don't think I'll be up to it.     

- In November, I had planned to continue to maintain for the most part and maybe do one or two deep cleaning/decluttering/organizing projects as time, energy, and health permitted; I didn't make a lot of progress, though. 
- In December, I plan to decorate the house for the holidays and declutter my file cabinet.
Daughter:  .
- In November, she continued to come down for extended weekends to go with me to doctor's appointments, etc.  We spent some mother/daughter time, shopping and just "hanging out".
- In December, she will continue to come down to accompany me to medical appointments and treatments; she finishes her finals next week and then, she'll be home for the holidays.  I want to work on a couple of fun projects with her - maybe paint our toe nails purple, or something!

- In November, I was able to get together with family members and keep in contact with them. 
- In December, I will get together with one or two of my cousins; one cousin has informed me that she will accompany me to my first chemo session and I believe the other cousin will visit.  I will attempt to get all the family Christmas/holiday gifts ready in time, although I might not attend the usual family holiday get together.
- In November, friends have been very supportive and there for me.  
- In December, I plan to get all the friends' holiday gifts ready in time! 
- I was able to go to the office part of the time, in November.  Colleagues held a surprise birthday celebration for me!

- In December, I will be taking more sick leave.  However, I am also planning to work from home on some days.

- In November, I had a pay reduction due to being on sick leave and there were several big bills that came due (property taxes, homeowner's and earthquake insurance, etc.)
- In December, I will continue to budget and manage my finances to the best of my abilities.  I will be focusing on frugal/low cost holiday gifts.  

- In November, once again, the main focus was on health and medical matters.   
- In December, too, the main focus will be on health as I start chemo sessions.

I was able to finish the Irish Chain quilt as planned, in November.  I didn't start the new Mountain Climbing quilt and I didn't knit the socks I had planned on doing, but I did knit myself a couple of hats as planned.  
- In December, I would like to start on the Mountain quilt.  I also want to make some holiday gifts, as part of my crafting. 

I don't know how I will react to the chemo therapy, so I can't really plan too much.  But, hopefully, I can still do a little of something in each area of my balance wheel.

What are your goals for December?  What are you hoping to accomplish?