Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Scaling the Mountain

One Step Up, Two Steps Down, One Step Up.
I’m climbing my mountain – but it’s a very slippery climb!
One step up:  I received the referral authorization notice for the oncologist office visit in the mail on Friday.  Of course, by the time I checked the mail after I got home from work, it was too late to call to make appointments, so I had to wait until Monday.
One step down:  Called the Oncology center on Monday and received a circular voice mail message:  “thank you for calling our office; press 2 for appointments” and when I pressed 2, I heard the same message: “thank you for calling; press 2 for appointments” and so on and so forth, until I hung up!
Another step down:  Called the clinic on Monday to inquire about the X-ray referral – per staff person at Referrals Desk, no request for referral received from doctor for the X-ray!  And doctor is not in the office.  But staff will pull my file, check, leave a note for doctor on Tuesday.
One step up:  Called the clinic on Tuesday (today) to inquire about the X-ray referral again – Dr. is reviewing the file!
Another step up:  Called the oncology center – was given another number to call the dr’s office directly – called and I have an appointment to see him!  Woo hoo!
One more step up:  Clinic calls back at 1:00 p.m. – Doctor has submitted the referral, it’s been processed and authorized!  I can come and pick up the referral and take it to radiology – they’ll do X-ray on a walk-in basis; no appointment needed!  I hurry over to the clinic, pick up my referral, drive to the Radiology clinic.
Another step down:  Radiology needs a work order number!  Can’t do anything with only the referral, without the work order number!  I give a big sigh, say how the doctor didn’t write the referral until I called twice, and mention the surgeon wanted reports by September 30 (tomorrow) morning.
A step up:  The Receptionist takes pity on me and calls the clinic, twice (she got transferred the first time and received the voice mail for the Referrals desk).  Apparently, the clinic faxed the work order number, but to the main hospital, not the radiology center.  Same thing happened when I was scheduled for my mammogram, too!  That time, I called the Radiology office, got their own fax number, and gave it to the clinic.  But, apparently, the clinic didn’t update their records.  Or they thought it was a one-time deal.  Anyway, Kind Receptionist went on-line and accessed the hospital records and retrieved the work order number!  And, she partially validated my parking ticket, too!   
A big step up:  I had my chest X-ray!  This afternoon! 
Another step down:  I decided to go up to the surgeon’s office (same building; different floors) to tell them I did the X-ray; they checked their files – they haven’t received the blood work results/EKG results from my doctor’s office!
A step up?  I called the doctor’s office and spoke to the nurse and gave her the surgeon’s office fax number.  She said she will pull my file and check.   
When I got home, there was a message from the surgeon's office, left at 11:00 a.m., asking me to call them back.  But they didn't say anything about that phone call when I went to the surgeon's office in the afternoon.  So, I don't know what that was all about.
I shall call the surgeon’s office, tomorrow morning, in response to their call and to ask if anything was faxed over to them.  If not, according to the surgeon’s office, I might have to redo some of the blood work (results only valid for 7 days, I was told).    I’ll probably need to call the clinic, too. 
My patience is being tested.  Each day, I pray for that day’s portion of grace, to enable me to handle each day’s situations with equanimity, pleasantly, and constructively.  But, I must admit that, yesterday, when I found out that the X-ray referral hadn’t been put through and I couldn’t get through to the oncology office, I came very close to losing my patience!    
According to my calculations, in spite of all the ups and downs, I am still a step or two higher up on the mountain than I was, yesterday (X-ray was done and oncology appointment made).   But, my goodness, it's hard work, climbing this mountain and I'm still at the very beginning, getting my mountain climbing permit and equipment stage!!  Seems like those who could make the climb a little easier aren't helping as much as they could.  :(

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Second Wall Hanging

Log Cabin Cross 2

I finished sewing the second Log Cabin Cross wall hanging, today.  I learned from the "mistakes" of the previous wall hanging and added a border with the background fabric all around the central Cross, which makes it "float" better on the background.  I also changed the design slightly and added another shading strip to the central Cross.

Close Up

The back of the wall hanging is a single, large piece of fabric; cream colored with a pale pink all-over print.  I have quilted it (sewing machine) very minimally - just an "in-the-ditch" outline quilting around the main center Cross.  

The Back

The binding was machine sewn to the front, folded over, and hand sewn at the back.  

Close Up of the Back  (Needs ironing!)
There is a pocket sewn at the top through which a dowel could be passed for hanging the wall hanging.

This wall hanging, too, will be a Christmas gift for one of my friends.

Once again, the entire wall hanging was made using fabric, batting, and thread I had on hand.  So, a very frugal gift.  Some of you might recognize that the fabric used for the outer most areas of the central Cross and for the binding is same as what I used for one of my front opening nightdresses.   I've plenty of leftovers from the other nightdresses I've sewn for additional wall hangings.

But, before I make any more wall hangings, I've a quilt to finish!

Anyone else have multiple crafts projects in progress?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Curry Leaf Tree

Curry Leaf Tree
Since I mentioned curry leaves and the curry leaf tree, in my post, yesterday, I thought a picture or two of the tree and leaves would be interesting for those who are not familiar with this plant.

The botanical name is Murraya koenigii.  The name in my language of birth (Sinhalese) is "karapincha".  But, in English, it is usually called "curry leaf".  We use the leaves as an herb in our cooking.  Fresh leaves are best, but they may be used dried or frozen, as well.  One doesn't generally eat the leaves when added to a dish - they are removed after cooking.  But, the leaves are sometimes shredded and cooked as a side dish of greens.  Or made into a porridge, with rice, for breakfast.

Closer Up, Under the Tree

Earlier in the summer, the tree was full of sprays of white flowers.  The bees love the nectar from the flowers.  Later, the flowers turn into green berries, which gradually ripen and turn red and finally, a dark purple when fully ripe.  Once ripe, the pulp of the berries is edible.  However, the berries are not generally eaten as a fruit and there is a large seed in the center of the fruit, which is not edible.

I picked a few of the sprays of the berries for a Fall arrangement:

Curry Leaves and Berries
There is a small spray of flower buds, too, but it's barely visible in the photograph.

From Another Angle

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday: Family, Friends, and Prayers

Today, I attended a Memorial Mass for one of the uncles in the extended family.  One of my cousins and her daughter gave me a ride there and back, so I didn't have to drive.  It was truly nice to sit and relax while someone else drove.   :)

One of my aunts had requested some leaves from a plant that we use in making curry.  We call it "curry leaves"; it is used in a similar manner as bay leaves.  I have two curry leaf trees in my garden, so I picked a big bagful of leaves to take to my aunt.  This is the same aunt who gave me two big bags of clothes, last week.  In fact, I wore one of the skirts she gave, today, and she blessed me with another bag of clothes (two shirts and three jackets). 

At the conclusion of the Mass, they sang, "Take My Hand, Precious Lord", written by Thomas A. Dorsey.  It has always been one of my favorite gospel songs.  I have often sung it, but, today, there was a special poignancy in the words, for me.  It was more than a song; it was a prayer.

After the Mass, members of the family and friends said the Rosary. 

Afterwards, we all went over to the home of the aunt whose late husband we were  commemorating, to have lunch.  It was nice to see some friends I don't see all that often. 

After I came home, I video chatted with daughter, did a load of laundry, took a nap, watered the back garden, spoke on the phone with several friends and, watched a televised broadcast of the Pope's visit to Philadelphia. 

It was another hot day (100+F), but it cooled down in the evening.  Tomorrow is supposed to be another hot day.  Tomorrow, I need to water the front garden.

Today, I am grateful for:

- The opportunity to listen to prayer services
- More clothes from my aunt
- Being able to give some curry leaves from my garden to my aunt
- A ride to today's family gathering and back
- Getting together with family and friends

It was a lovely way to spend Saturday.  Hope you all had a lovely Saturday, too. 

Mountain Climbing

One of my friends, "Bushlady" commented on yesterday's post:

"Bless, I woke up this morning thinking of you and this journey to health that you are on, and I was thinking of a hill in Bolivia where people climb and stop at the Stations of the Cross and leave a stone on the way. I feel that we are all climbing with you on your journey and leaving a stone, (thought or prayer) at each step of your way, to reach the place at the top with the lovely view over the lake and town, where we shall cheer with you that your goal is reached!"

As I said in my reply to her, what a lovely image she painted with her words!  She has given me the exact visualization I had needed!

Of course, she said "hill", but I have a tendency to "make a mountain out of a molehill", so, a mountain it is!  :D 

There is a 7,360 foot high mountain in my country of birth, Sri Lanka, known as Adam's Peak, that is considered a sacred mountain, which pilgrims (and tourists) climb.  One generally drives up part of the way and then, climbs the rest of the way.  There are thousands of steps built into the side of the mountain to facilitate the climb.  There is a rock formation near the top that has an indentation that resembles a large foot print; according to the different traditions of four of the religions in the country (Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, and Islam), the rock "foot print" is attributed to the Buddha, Shiva, St. Thomas, and Adam.  Most people climb it at night, in order to reach the top just before sunrise in order to see the rising sun cast the shadow of the mountain on the surrounding landscape.  I had always wanted to climb it, but never did. Now, I have the opportunity to climb it, in a manner of speaking, thanks to Bushlady's comment about climbing a mountain.  One step at a time, of course.

So, today, I climbed another step, or two.  I received yet another approved authorization in the mail, to make an appointment for a new patient visit.  At least, that is what I think it is.  There is a medical billing code on the authorization form, but no description.  However, the internet is a wonderful resource.  I did a search using the code and received a description!  It's a type of "outpatient checking in"!  I presume they'll take down my information and such.  I'll know more on Monday, when I plan to call and schedule the appointment.  But it's more evidence that my case is making its way through the system.  

I also made some other progress in other areas, as well.  I filled out some paperwork pertaining to legal and financial matters.  I will make appointments, next week, to go over those papers with my attorney and financial planner.  I know some people worry about the time the medical matters are taking, but, I'm using that time to attend to my legal and financial matters.  I want to make sure everything is in place for my daughter before I go under the surgeon's knife!  Just in case. One never knows how these things work, does one?

I also went to the bank during my morning break and transferred funds to my daughter's account for her October rent and the plane ticket for her next flight home (for my surgery).  Yes, I know, there are other, more convenient ways to transfer funds than to go to the bank to do transactions in person.  But, I got to walk a couple of blocks in the sunshine on my way to the bank and back (fresh air, exercise) and, when one of the bank customer service persons whom I've interacted with over the years inquired after my health and I shared my news with her, she immediately gave me a hug and told me she will pray for me.  Not that I expect her to actively pray for me, but, just the fact that she expressed that sentiment was sufficient.   She helped me up one of the steps on the mountain.

Later, during my lunch break, I stopped by the pharmacy.  The pharmacist and I have become friends, too, simply because we've interacted over the years.  While she fills out my prescriptions and puts through my transactions, I've talked to her about my daughter and inquired after her children, etc.  She confided in me when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer; I confided in her when I was diagnosed.  She has since asked me for my personal phone number and has called me, after work, on her own time, as a friend, not my pharmacist, to ask how my consultation with the surgeon went, etc.  So, today, I picked up an item for daughter and updated my pharmacist friend, too.  She's another friend who is encouraging my climb up the mountain.

Later in the afternoon, I went to the restroom and one of my co-workers was also there.  We've known each other for at least 25 years.  I've seen her daughter grow up from a little girl to being a mother of a little girl, herself; my colleague has babysat my daughter when she was a little girl.  So, when she asked me, casually, how I was, I didn't give the usual, "I'm fine, thank you; how are you", which is what I tell most of my co-workers (the vast majority of my co-workers don't know about my diagnosis).  Instead, I told her about my diagnosis.   She's a single parent with an only child, herself.  So, she immediately understood my concerns for my daughter.  Plus, she had dealt with her own mother's breast cancer diagnosis.  She, too, gave me a hug and we both teared up.  But I have another friend climbing the mountain with me.  :)    

This evening, I received an international phone call from my eldest half-brother.  He's a doctor.  A Professor of Gynecology, actually.  We have not always been close due to the rift between my mother and her step-children that I've alluded to in earlier posts, and the fact that he's 16 years older.  But this illness seems to be drawing my half-siblings closer to me.  Yesterday, my half-sister called to ask how I was, saying she's been very worried about me and telling me to let her know if there's anything she can do.  I've also received phone calls from my other surviving half-brother.  (Two of my half-brothers have already died.)  Family dynamics are interesting, isn't it?  

Today, I am grateful for:

- My friend Bushlady for giving me the mountain climbing analogy
- The steps I managed to climb, today
- The family and friends who are supporting me in my climb
- All the hugs I received today
- All the love and caring that is surrounding me and lifting me up

I hope that each one of you who are reading this realizes just how much your friendship means to me.  I hope life blesses you all with love, laughter, and joy.

Do you have a mountain to climb, too?  Want to go mountain climbing with me?    



Friday, September 25, 2015

More Progress

I went to my doctor's appointment, this afternoon.  We did the blood tests and the EKG.  The doctor will put in the request for the X-ray.  The doctor also adjusted the dosage/frequency of one of my hypertension medications, because it was causing my heart rate to be too slow (50 beats per minute).  It's the same medication she took me off of, once, and that caused my heart to race and my blood pressure to shoot sky high, and she put me back on it!  I currently take it once a day, (at one time, I took it twice a day!).  But now, doctor wants me to take it once every other day.  And monitor my heart rate and blood pressure to make sure everything stays under control.  I am to call her, on Thursday of next week, to keep her updated.  She wants my heart rate to increase to 60 beats per minute, prior to surgery.

Doctor also checked for what I thought was a possible second lump, under my left arm (the cancerous lump is on the right side).  But she couldn't feel it.  So I don't know what it is that I am thinking is another lump!  I guess I shall watch it and see.  Most probably it's a lump of fat!  I've plenty of those all over my body!  :D

After the doctor's appointment, I went home.  I put gas to the car, on the way, and then, went to the grocery store for milk, bread rolls, bananas, and cat food.  There were frozen dinners on sale too, for $1.79 each; I bought 3 of them to have on hand.

I've spent a quiet evening.  There were phone calls from family and friends and video chatting with daughter.

Today, I am grateful for:

- More progress on the pre-op medical tests
- Phone calls from family and friends
- Video chatting with daughter
- Price of gas being just under $3/gallon ($2.98 to be exact)
- Safe commutes

How was your day?  What did you do?


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Another Step Forward, Autumn Equinox, and Annual Performance Evaluations

Well now, it seems I was mistaken about when the first day of Fall was, this year!  I had always thought that the first day of Spring was on March 21, the first day of Summer was on June 21, the first day of Fall was on September 21, and the first day of Winter was on December 21.  But, apparently, today, September 23, is Fall Equinox, this year, and thus, the first day of Fall!  I learn something new every day!  Of course, with temperatures in the 90s (forecast says triple digits tomorrow through Saturday), it feels more like Summer than Fall.  

Today, I went to the office and had a fairly productive day.  I received my annual performance evaluation.  We are evaluated on a number of categories ranging from quality and quantity of work products, timeliness, ability to work with others, initiative, amount of supervision and directions required, etc.  I received all "excellent" and "outstanding", along with written comments to support, so I am very happy with my annual performance evaluation.  :)

I also met with our personnel liaison to inquire about the details of taking a medical leave of absence.  I am entitled, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave with job protection and insurance coverage.  However, I may take paid sick time and/or vacation time, instead of unpaid leave, and that's probably what I will do.  I've tried to use my paid sick time sparingly, but I've had to use some of it, already, for all the doctor's appointments and tests.

The other step forward was receiving the authorization approval notices for the surgery and related lymph node testing.  I have all the paperwork in a file folder, but, this weekend, I will set up a binder, to reduce the risk of loose papers falling out.  So, tomorrow, I will have my appointment with the doctor (clinic called, today, to confirm appointment) and hopefully receive the referrals for the pre-op tests.  Then, once the tests are done, call the hospital to schedule the already-approved surgery.  Definitely a step forward.

Today, I am grateful for:

- Getting the surgery authorization approval
- A good performance evaluation report
- Having paid sick leave
- Being able to take sick time off without having to worry about job or insurance coverage loss
- A quiet, relaxed evening

How was your day, today?  Is it Fall-like weather where you are?    

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Inching Along

The clinic had called my office and left a message for me on Friday afternoon.  Of course I didn't go to work on Friday or Monday, so didn't get the message until this morning!  The clinic has both my home number and the office number, but it seems that they never fail to call the house when I am at work and the office when I am at home!  I'd give them my cell phone number, except I have an old, flip phone on which neither daughter nor I can figure out how to set up voice mail!  As a result, no one can leave me a message, which would not do.  I was going to get myself a smart phone, last year, but changed my mind.  Maybe I need to reconsider that decision. 

All the message said was to call them back, so, I called this morning.  They have scheduled me for a doctor's appointment on September 29, presumably in response to the surgeon's request for pre-op. tests.  The appointment was not with my regular doctor, either, but one of the other doctors at the clinic.  Which would have been OK, except I've had a couple of bad experiences when I've had them change doctors on me, with the new doctors wanting to change some of my medications which work, but are older versions which, unfortunately, cause my symptoms to get worse, not better!

But the 29th would not have worked, because the surgeon's office note stated that they need the reports of the tests back by September 30th!  When I told them that, the girl making the appointments said that was the earliest day they could fit me in because the doctors were busy.  She suggested that  I call the surgeon and explain to him.

I am generally rather laid back about these things.  I know the clinic is busy and the staff is trying to do their best to accommodate everyone.  I usually accept the appointment dates they give and don't make a fuss about it.

But, today, I complained that my cancer was spreading while I waited for appointments.  She then asked if I could hold for a minute and probably spoke with someone in the office; when she came back on the phone, she asked if I could come in on Thursday afternoon for an appointment with my regular doctor.  I said, "Yes".  It's better than waiting till the 29th.  Squeaky wheels do get oiled!

I don't know why the doctor needs to see me before writing up the referrals for the tests required by the surgeon, but I suppose she is prohibited from writing referrals for tests without seeing the patient to prevent, or, at least minimize, accusations of medical malpractice and insurance fraud.  I am assuming she will write up the referrals after she's seen me and will put in the requests for authorization and then, once approved, I will be scheduled for those tests.  It will take some time - probably at least another week, if not more.  And then, there will be another few days' of waiting before the X-ray is scheduled.  The blood tests will probably be done right away at the clinic.  I don't know if I'll have to go somewhere else for the EKG.

So, as you can see, we are inching along.  My mother used to say that slow and steady wins the race.  This is certainly slow.  Hopefully, it is steady, as well!  I've a race against cancer to win!  :)

In other news:  I left the iron plugged in and switched on low overnight, again!  Did that a couple of nights ago, too!  My goodness!  Fortunately, nothing happened, but that was a potentially dangerous thing to do!  I really, really need to be more mindful!  Between the fridge door being left ajar and the iron being left on, it's easy to see I've been distracted of late! 

Today, I am grateful for:

- There is a doctor's appt. scheduled for this week, not next!
- I'll be seeing my regular doctor who is familiar with my case, not a new doctor.
- Hardworking clerical staff who do try their best to accommodate "squeaky wheels".
- The food in the fridge didn't spoil (even the milk was fine).
- There were no consequences from leaving the iron plugged in and switched on.

How was your day?  What were you grateful for, today?

Monday, September 21, 2015

First Day of Fall

Happy first day of Fall!  It started out being another hot day, but, in the evening, the clouds moved in and it cooled down.  We were hoping for rain, but the rain stayed to the south of us. 

I had taken the day off from work, today, because daughter was flying back to Berkeley, in the afternoon.  We had a relaxed morning, then, I dropped her off at the airport.  Came home and continued to sew on the 2nd wall hanging.  I cut out the batting and the backing; just need to sew on the binding. 

Later in the evening, I cleaned out the fridge, took the trash cans to the curb, and put water to the garden.  I had been holding off watering, hoping for rain.  Friday's weather forecast had said there might be rain on Monday.  But, according to today's weather forecast, the anticipated rain would continue to stay to the south of us and there's no rain in the forecast for the rest of the week.  Had it rained, then, today's post title could have been "Rainy Days and Mondays".  :)  And I wouldn't have had to water the garden.

Daughter arrived safely in Berkeley and made her way to her apartment by 4:00 p.m.  She had a little time to relax, before going to her 5:30 p.m. class.  Her class was supposed to end at 7:00 p.m., but it ended at 8:00 p.m.!  She called me to say she was at the bus stop and then, again, when she got to her apartment.  Then, we went on the computer and video chatted.

Around 10:30 p.m., I discovered that I had left the fridge door very slightly ajar after I cleaned it, earlier!  Oh, dear!  The inside of the fridge wasn't even cool, let alone cold!  I turned the dial to make it colder and closed the door - hopefully, nothing spoiled.  I can't believe I did something silly like that, but, I guess I've been a bit distracted, lately.

Today, I am grateful for:

- A safe flight for daughter
- A day off from work
- Time to sew
- Phone calls from family and friends
- Cooler weather

How was your Monday?  Have you had a good start to your week?


Sunday was another very warm day!  Temperatures above 100F!  The house was like an oven!

Daughter needed to do more studies, so, we decided not to run any errands.  Instead, she studied and I handwashed a sweater and two of the blouses my aunt had given me.  Tried on all the clothes that aunt had sent me, and kept aside 7 skirts that were too snug for me to alter for daughter.  I called aunt to thank her for the bag of clothes and she said she had more!  I told her she had given me plenty, but, if she had another couple of blouses with front openings, to set them aside for me to wear after surgery.  She said she'll check.  I'll be seeing her next Saturday, so, I can collect those blouses then.

After that, I finished sewing the remaining two satin pillowcases.  Then, washed, dried and ironed them.  As I mentioned to my friend, for some reason, the song, "Nights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues keeps playing in my head!  :D  My pillowcases are a light blue color, though, not white.

Still later, I started cutting out and sewing another Log Cabin Cross wall hanging.  Should have that finished, tomorrow.

In the evening, daughter went out to see a movie with two friends who are the daughters of a friend of mine.  After the movie was over, I drove over to my friend's house to pick up daughter and had a short visit with my friend.  She gave me a jar of elderberry jam that she had bought from an Amish store on her recent visit to Ohio.  I have not had elderberry jam, so I am looking forward to trying it on some toast for breakfast.

On our way home, daughter and I stopped for an ice cream cone!  Nothing better than having ice cream cones on a warm summer evening with one's daughter!    

I did dishes and cleaned the litter box, and handwashed a few items in the morning, but other than that, I didn't do any "work" (cleaning, etc.)  It was way too hot to do anything!  At least, that's my excuse!

Tomorrow (Monday), daughter will go back to Berkeley.  We will spend the morning together, then I'll drive her to the airport.  I'm missing her already and she's not left yet!

Today, I am grateful for:

- Fans on a hot day and electricity to run them
- Time to sew
- New pillowcases
- The gift of a jar of jam
- Ice cream cones with daughter

How was your Sunday?  Did you have a pleasant day?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Saturday's Activities

Satin Pillowcase
Another rather warm day, here, today. 

In the morning, I sewed one of the satin pillowcases.  It was a bit experimental, as I decided to do French seams (to minimize fraying) and a top flap to prevent the cases slipping off the pillow.

Wrong Side Out to Show Flap and Seams
 French seams, for anyone who doesn't know, are sewn twice, so that the cut edges of the fabric are enclosed, to minimize fraying.   First, the seam is sewn with the right sides of the fabric facing outwards.  Then, the item is turned inside out, and the seam is sewn again, so that the cut edges of the fabric are now inside the new seam.  When the item is turned right side out, again, there should be a neat seam with no cut edges visible.    It's been a long time since I last sewed French seams, but they turned out OK (I think).

Another View of the Flap and French Seams

In the afternoon, daughter and I went to the big warehouse store to stock up on household items: toilet paper, paper towels, disinfectant wipes and spray, toilet cleaner, laundry detergent, soap, etc.  Also, a big bag of cat food and flea prevention medications.  In general, I do quarterly stocking up, buying different items during each stock up.  But this time, I was also thinking ahead to when I'd be undergoing treatment.  Most probably, I won't feel much like shopping, etc., then, so I wanted to make sure I had enough of most household supplies to last me for a long time.

I also bought a new phone set, since my old phone set was over 10 years old and the batteries wouldn't recharge too well.  I suppose I could have ordered new, replacement batteries, but the new phone set, with 3 handsets, cost $35 on sale, and was a good buy.  The old phone set had two handsets, and I kept one in the hallway and one in the family room (and would take it with me to the bedroom at night).  The new one, with 3 handsets, means I have a phone in the hallway, one in the family room, and one on my bedside. 

I also bought two new bath towels for myself, on sale for $5 each.  I had been wanting new bath towels for a few years, now, but have felt it was a total indulgence, since my old bath towels were perfectly adequate, even if they were too small to go around me completely.  My old bath towels are about 12 years old, have some rust stains that won't come off and had frayed along the edges; I had sewn a strip of fabric along the edges to repair the fraying, but now the strips of fabric, themselves, were coming loose!  The newer towels are a bit bigger and I'll be able to wrap myself completely in one of them. I still probably wouldn't have bought them, except now, with my new health diagnosis, I am in the mood to pamper myself, a bit.  :)  If not now, then, when?  Anyway, $10 for two new bath towels is an affordable luxury.  I will not discard the old towels, though.  I will mend them and continue to use them, as well.  

My friend who was to come to visit in the afternoon called to say she wasn't feeling too well, so, her visit was postponed.  Instead, I did a load of laundry, hung it up to dry and took a long nap in the afternoon.  Guess I was tired.

Later in the evening, I put away the laundry and did the dishes.  Still later, one of my cousins called and came by to drop off a huge bag of clothes from one of my aunts.  Aunt was going through her closet and blessed me with several items of clothing.  Daughter has already picked out her favorites (although they are too big for her!

Today, I am grateful for:

- New pillowcases.
- New bath towels.
- Being able to stock up.
- A big bag of new-to-me clothes.
- A new phone set.

How was your Saturday?  



Saturday, September 19, 2015

Friday's Productivity

I have had a productive day, today.

I had taken the day off work and spent a quiet morning while daughter slept in.  I did some paperwork, cut out 3 pillowcases from a piece of satin I had in the stash (not sewn, yet, though), and went on-line.

In the afternoon, daughter and I met with my financial adviser to attend to some paperwork.  I want to have everything in place for daughter, should anything happen to me.   Afterwards, we stopped at another of our favorite bakeries to buy some treats.  :) 

After that, we went to the insurance office to add daughter back on my car insurance, so that she can drive me places, as needed, after treatment starts.  Or drive herself places, such as the grocery store, when I am not up to it.  I had put her on my car insurance when she first got her license, but then, took her off when she went up to Berkeley, as it was not needed (she doesn't have a car up there and doesn't need to drive).  But now, she might need to drive on future visits home, so, time to put her back on insurance.  We received several discounts for her being a student away from home (had to be studying at least 100 miles away and have no car at school; had to show her student ID as proof of being a student away from home), a good student (had to show proof that she's carrying a full load of classes, her grades and GPA), and for having graduated with a science degree (had to show proof of graduation).  She also received a 1 year free membership in the Auto Club with my current membership.

Those were the two most important items on my To Do list for today.  I had a few other errands to run, too, but we were both feeling tired by then, so, we came home.  The other errands can be done tomorrow.  They include buying new phones (cordless) for the house (the ones I have are over 10 years old and do not retain much of a charge - they run out of battery power after less than 10 minutes of use!); getting cat litter; and doing a stock up from the warehouse store.   

We had just come home when a friend called, saying she had prepared food for us, please come and pick up!  Totally unexpected!  And such a blessing!  So, I picked a bagful of fresh curry leaves (a type of culinary herb we use in making curries; similar to bay leaves) from a tree in my garden to take for her and daughter included a  game to give to my friend's daughter, and we went over.  Visited for a bit,  collected the food and came back home. 

Tomorrow, we'll run the rest of our errands.  I've invited another friend of mine over in the afternoon, so we'll pick her up, go to the fabric store (they are having thread on sale and I need some white thread; also, they are having quilt batting on sale for 40% off and I need more batting for the Christmas gifts/Log Cabin Cross wall hangings I am planning to make), and enjoy having some company for tea.  

Today, I am grateful for:

- A productive day
- Generous, helpful friends
- Bakery treats!
- Pleasant weather (not too hot/not too cold)
- Getting paperwork attended to

How was your Friday?  Did you get all your errands done?  What have you planned for your weekend?

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Thursday in September

Today, I went to the office.  My supervisor and colleagues were surprised to see me; they thought I'd take the day off to spend with daughter.  But daughter had to work on-line from home as previously arranged with her job, so I knew she would be busy.  Besides, I will be taking a day of vacation tomorrow and on Monday, too. 

During my morning break, I went down to the farmers market and bought some croissants; an almond one for me and a chocolate one for daughter.  During my lunch break, I went to the bank.  And on my way home from work, I stopped at the library to return some books and to borrow a book I had placed on hold.  It's a book on breast cancer that someone had recommended to me.  So I was able to run a couple of errands, as well.

It was so lovely to come home and receive a hug from daughter! It was so nice to have her make me a cup of tea!  I gave her the chocolate croissant I had bought for her and we talked about our day, and a few other things, just like we always do.  Later, she did some of her studying (she has a presentation project due on Monday evening, when she goes back, and a test later in the week) while I went on-line for a bit and spoke with a friend who called. 

Dinner was leftovers from what my friend had prepared for us on Tuesday.  I think she gave us so much food that there's more left over for tomorrow, as well! 

Tomorrow, I have made a couple of appointments to go with daughter to attend to a few things; paperwork, etc., so that things will be taken care of when I won't feel like doing much after treatment starts (I expect I shan't feel too good once chemo starts; been reading up possible side effects; I just hope I won't get any of the more severe side effects).

Today, I am grateful for:

- A productive day
- Hugs from daughter
- Croissants
- Good friends
- Cooler weather

How was your Thursday?  What did you do to celebrate the day?  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Status Update

Had a consultation with the surgeon, this morning. He wanted some additional tests, including blood work, EKG, and an X-ray, done prior to surgery. So, next step is getting all that done - it'll be the usual round of paperwork with his office sending the request for additional tests to my doctor and she requesting referrals and authorization, etc.  Probably won't be scheduled for surgery for another 2-3 weeks. But that's OK - it's additional time for me to get my affairs in order. 

It was a good consultation. The surgeon was very reassuring.  DD went with me. She had 2 pages of written questions to ask! Surgeon answered all her questions, and, afterwards, turned to me and said, "She's good!"  :D

The surgery will be done on an out-patient basis (no hospital stay).  He will do what is known as an "open biopsy" which will consist of the removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue and several lymph nodes for testing to see if the cancer has spread.  Results will be sent to the oncologist and treatment, including any additional surgery, will depend on results and what the oncologist has to say, but most probably will be chemo followed by radiation. 

Afterwards, daughter and I went to one of our favorite Japanese restaurants to have an early lunch.  We stopped by one of our favorite bakeries for their raisin buns and had to wait for them to be taken out of the oven!  Nothing as good as freshly baked raisin buns, still warm from the oven!    Then, came home and we both took a long nap!

I did a load of laundry, later in the evening, and need to wash the dinner dishes.

Today, I am grateful for:

- A good consultation with the surgeon
- Daughter being there to ask the questions
- Lunch out with daughter
- Freshly baked raisin buns from the bakery
- All the phone calls from friends and family

How was your day, today?  Did you do something fun and special?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sewing From The Stash: More Nightdresses

Front Opening Nightdresses
A friend of mine suggested some nightdresses that opened in the front would be convenient to wear after surgery, while recovering.  They would be easier to put on (wouldn't have to raise my arms to slip them on over my head, although, from what I've read, I'll be required to do some exercises, post-op, that would involve raising my arms!) and would make changing the bandages/dressings easier, too.  So, this weekend, I pulled out some fabric from The Stash and sewed them.  They are nothing fancy and I didn't use a commercial pattern.  They look a bit like ankle-length dusters!  But they'll serve the purpose.  I still need to sew on the snaps on the white floral one (I figured snaps would be easier to fasten than buttons).  The fabric was given to me by one of my former neighbors, several years ago.

Next up:  some front-opening, loose fitting blouses to wear at home, after surgery, while recovering.  And maybe some satin pillowcases.  I read that satin pillowcases might help minimize hair loss - I don't know how true that is, I'm fully expecting to lose my hair after chemo starts, but satin pillowcases sound luxurious, don't they?  And I do have some satin in The Stash!  Might as well use it!

In other news:  It RAINED today!  Wooo Hoooo!  Woke up to a real, honest-to-goodness rain shower!  Of course, as it usually happens whenever it rains in any quantity, here, there were flash floods, flooded intersections, flooded freeways, accidents, snarled traffic, uprooted trees, etc.  The morning commute was awful - it look me almost 2 1/2 hours to get to the office (normally a 1 hour commute).  But, it RAINED!  (We are in a record-breaking 4-year drought, so rain is very needed.)

I went to the pharmacy today to pick up my prescription refills, and for some unknown reason, I only had to pay for one of them!  And much less than what I normally pay, too! They do say "don't look a gift horse in the mouth", but I questioned the pharmacist about it, but she said that's how it showed up!  She didn't know why.  Maybe I'll receive a bill in the mail, later?  Maybe the insurance plan made an adjustment?  Maybe they decided I deserved a break?! 

On my way home from work, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up more cat food, and a few other items: disinfectant wipes, air freshener, trash bags, 2 boxes of saltine type crackers (salt-free tops), and some bananas.  Afterwards, I stopped by a friend's house, at her invitation, because she had prepared some dinner for me to take home!  She has told me not to worry about cooking when I have my treatments, that she will prepare food for me and send it to me through her husband, as she doesn't drive.  Have I mentioned that I am blessed to have such caring, compassionate, generous friends?

I also put some gas to the car, before I came home.  

Tonight, my daughter is coming home.  I will go to pick her up in a short while (she's in the air as I type).  Tomorrow morning, I have my consultation with the surgeon.  I am a little scared, but I know I have all the thoughts and prayers of all my family and friends to hold me up.

Today, I am grateful for:

- The Stash!
- Friends who make me dinner!
- Rain for our parched land.
- A safe commute to work and back.
- Daughter is coming home!
- Free medications!

How was your day?  What are you grateful for today?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Oranizing the Stash!

Stash Headquarters
This is a nine-drawer bureau, which used to be my mother's, which is in the 3rd bedroom (also known as the guest room/crafts room/home office, but used mostly for storage!).  It is 5 ft. 3 in. in length, 15 in. deep and 28 in. in height.  This is where the majority (not all) of my fabric stash is housed.  It also doubles as a bed-side table for any overnight guests.

I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos.  I'm taking them with my laptop, which doesn't take the best quality photos.  There is a big picture window above the bed and the wall behind is painted white.

On the top are the two baskets of fabric scraps (for patchwork projects, etc.), a plastic shoe box with my paper sewing patterns (a total of 10 envelopes/zippered bags), a Singer "Tiny Tailor" sewing machine (bought for daughter, one year, when she was still a little girl, as a Christmas gift, because the toy sewing machine she had didn't actually sew and she wanted a "real" machine), and the latest "in progress" project (the Irish Chain quilt top), plus a radio/tape player and a table lamp.  When I have an overnight guest, things get pushed off to one side (or to other areas) to provide more room near the bed.

It's not very clear in the photo, but the 3 drawers in the middle are slightly smaller than the drawers on either side.   The measurements of the longer drawers on either side are 20 in. long (side to side) by 12 in. deep (front to back) and 5 in. high (top to bottom).  The middle drawers are 16 in. long and the same depth and height.

The very top drawer on the left (our left when looking at the photo), contains some of daughter's clothing accessories.   The next drawer below that, contains my velvets, silks, satins, gold and silver lamé, etc.  These are mostly uncut lengths of fabric (as opposed to remnants/scraps).  Almost all of it was bought by my mother:

Velvets, Silks, Satins, and Lamé

The bottom drawer on the left contains my solid colored cottons/cotton blends (mostly broadcloth, bought for $1/yd. when on sale).  Again, mostly new fabric, 1-4 yards in length.  The rather fat piece of fabric at the very left is actually a twin-size bed sheet that was given to me, stored here, rather than in the linen closet, because I am planning to use it as a backing for a quilt. And an extra long piece of red broadcloth, since I need red for Christmas gifts.  I like to store my fabric upright, like files in a file drawer, because then, I can see at a glance what I have and can remove a particular piece of fabric without making too much of a mess.   

Solid Colored Cottons

The middle drawers, next.  The very top one holds all the black fabric (cottons, silks, satins, all mixed up).  Most of these are large pieces of remnants, leftover from my mother's sewing.

All the Black Fabric
The next drawer has all the white fabric:

All the White Fabric
The bottom drawer has all the Christmas/Holiday print fabric, including the scraps in a gallon size zippered bag:

Holiday Prints

And now the drawers on the right hand side, closest to the bed.  The very top drawer is storage for non-sewing related items like daughter's baby shoes!  And some picture frames.

The next drawer has larger pieces of fabric remnants, from silk to cut off legs from daughter's old jeans!  This is the "messy" drawer, where things are stacked, rather than "filed".

Larger Fabric Scraps
The last drawer has print fabric, both flannel and cotton/cotton blends:

Print Fabric
Quite a few novelty prints in there.  I have a weakness for novelty prints!

In addition to what's stored in the bureau, I have flannel fabric stored in another drawer of a chest of drawers, along with daughter's stash of polar fleece, and "home decor"/upholstery fabric stored in a suitcase!  :o  All bought on deep sales.  What an abundance!  All waiting until I have enough time to get to them, someday, when I retire!  Hopefully.

I shan't be buying any more fabric unless it is NEEDED to finish a project!

I like storing the fabric stash in drawers because it keeps the visual clutter to a minimum and the dust (and cat fur!) off the fabric and minimizes fading, too.  

Do you have a fabric stash?  If so, where do you keep it?  How have you organized your fabric stash?  

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Look Back on the Journey So Far

Roses from my friend

I am not a person to dwell in the past, but, every so often, things happen, anniversaries come and go, and I look back on my life's journey so far.  I am approaching my 60th birthday and with the recent health diagnosis, I think this is as good a time as any to look back.

I've mentioned, in previous posts, a bit about my childhood.  Very briefly, my mother had married a widower with 5 children; 4 boys and 1 girl.  I am my mother's only child; my father's 6th child and 2nd daughter.  My oldest half-brother was 16 years old and the youngest half-brother was 8 years old when I was born.  So, I was definitely the baby sister.  Spoilt and petted, teased and bullied, and bossed around.  :)

My father died when I was 7 years old and things continued more or less the same for some time.  But, eventually, things soured between my mother and her step children, especially after she met the person who would become her second husband.  The household was dissolved after my half-sister married and left.  It was a rather acrimonious dissolution.  I was 10 years old.  At the end of that year, 1966, when I was 11 years old, my mother remarried and my dentist became my stepfather.  That's one way to cut down costs on braces, and so forth!  :D  My mother and stepfather had no children together; my stepfather always called me his daughter.

42 years ago, at the end of August, 1973, my mother, stepfather, and I left the country of our birth (Sri Lanka) and journeyed forth.  I was 17 years old, and had just completed my high school education.  My mother, a teacher with certificates from Britain, who had recently retired after teaching for 25 years, had received a post to teach English in Taiwan.  But, on our way to Taiwan, we visited relatives in Malaysia and Hong Kong.

We visited more family while we were in Taiwan, as well.  And I sat for a test known as Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  English was technically my second language, but I've been bilingual in my native language (Sinhalese) and English since I was a child.

After my mother's teaching job ended in Taiwan, we went back to Hong Kong, where she received another teaching position.  While we were in Hong Kong, I sat for the London "O" (Ordinary) Level exams - similar to a high school exit exam.  My parents (mother and stepfather) were planning to send me to Britain for my university studies.

But my life's journey has been steered by unseen forces.  The most random of occurrences.  One day, when we were in Hong Kong and my stepfather was out and about going about his business, it poured with rain.  And he sought shelter from the rain by going into the nearest open doorway.  Which happened to be the United States Information Services office (I understand that the name has since changed to US Information Agency).  My stepfather introduced himself to the person in charge there and during the course of the conversation, my stepfather had mentioned me.  The director had asked what was I doing and when my stepfather had said I was to apply to a British university (to follow in my father's footsteps), had asked why not a university in the US?  He asked my stepfather to bring me along, so, the next day, we all went - my mother, my stepfather, and I.  Apparently, a recruiting officer from the University of Wisconsin had just visited and they were looking for qualified applicants!  I was encouraged to apply and so, I did!  I still remember, on the way back to our apartment, my stepfather saying, "We'll go home and discuss this" and my mother saying, very decisively, "She's going"!  My stepfather and I looked at each other and knew that there was nothing left to discuss!  :D  My mother was a very mild person, for the most part, but when she made up her mind, her word was law!

I stayed up late into the night filling out the forms and writing an essay as part of the application process.  We delivered the forms the next day and they were faxed and the acceptance letter (and a tuition waiver scholarship!)  was faxed back.  All I needed to do was go to the embassy to get my visa.  Oh, and show US $2,000 in the bank as security (plus money for the plane ticket, and room and board, etc., which the scholarship didn't cover).

Had we been in Sri Lanka, where we had assets and my stepfather's very successful dental practice, it might not have been a problem to find the funds.  But we had left Sri Lanka at a time when we couldn't take any of our assets with us, and were in a foreign country, where the only source of income we had was my mother's salary as a teacher.  $2,000 US was a fortune we didn't have, with no time to raise it before our appointment at the embassy.   But, my mother was a resourceful person; she was determined her daughter was going to the US for her education.  She took the only assets she had with her -  her jewellery, her teaching certificates and contract.  My student visa was granted based on what she had.  Mother then pawned her jewellery to provide me with the additional $2,000 I needed to have on me to pay for the room and board, text books, etc., and for my plane ticket.  My mother sewed the cashier's check inside my bra to make sure I didn't lose it!  :D  My aunt (stepfather's sister, who was also living in Hong Kong at the time) withdrew from her savings to provide part of the funds for my expenses.

I was 18 years old and taking my very first solo trip, going half way across the world, in the days before internet, video chats, emails, etc.  Even an international phone call was going to be a very rare treat due to the cost.  I sent weekly letters home.  My stepfather saved each of my letters in a file folder - I found them all after he died.  I still have them, although I have not re-read them.

I had been in the US for two years before my parents immigrated.  It took that long for their paperwork to go through.  But once they immigrated, they sponsored me and I changed my visa status to resident alien, and, eventually, naturalized citizen.

Wisconsin winters were too hard for my parents, so they moved to Florida, where I joined them after I graduated with my Bachelor's degree.  But Florida was too lonely, and so, we packed the car with all our belongings (yes, at that time, all we owned fitted into our car!) and drove across the country to California, where we had family.  That was 1978.

I went back to Wisconsin in 1980 to get my Master's.  There was no tuition-waiver scholarship, this time.  I did my degree in 1 1/2 years and returned to California.  I couldn't find a job in my field for a few years, but, I accepted a clerical job and worked my way up.  We moved from the single/studio apartment to a 2-bedroom apartment and, later, I bought my house.  My stepfather died in 1987.  My mother died in 2006.  In between, I got married, had my daughter, got divorced, etc.  My marriage broke up even before my daughter was born, although the divorce wasn't finalized until later; through it all, my mother was my staunch support.

So, today, I have reached this point in my journey.  There have been times when I've hurried along, looking forward to arriving at the destination, impatient to start living my life once I arrived; and there have been times when I've dawdled along, unwillingly, reluctantly, dreading what I might find at the end upon arrival.  I don't know where my journey will take me.  Too often, I don't see what's ahead, it's only when I look back that I can see where I have been.  But I do know that I am being led along my journey and I'm determined to appreciate the journey for what it is, no matter where I am being led.  I hope to be a pleasant companion to others who might travel along with me for even part of the journey, and, leave them happy to have met me along their way.

And if you've read all this long post, thank you!   I hope your journeys will lead you along pleasant pathways to a place where you want to be.  Here's to pleasant journeys.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Finished Project

Log Cabin Cross Wall Hanging

I finished the Log Cabin Cross wall hanging, today!  After I added the dark blue border, I realized that I probably should have added another white strip along the two sides to separate the arms of the cross from the blue border.  But I didn't feel like unpicking and resewing, so, this one will stay as it is.  I will make changes to others I plan to make.

Wall Hanging Back

The back is a piece of pale grey and white fabric, which I had in the scrap stash.  It's not noticeable in the photo, but I sewed a "sleeve" or "pocket" like thing at the very top of the back, using a strip of the same fabric.  A dowel or rod can be slipped through this "sleeve" for purposes of hanging the wall hanging.

I used a piece of the polyester batting I have on hand to sandwich the wall hanging, and sewed around the inner cross and around the border to form a sort of "outline" quilting (and to hold the batting in place).   

I am quite pleased with how it turned out.  This was a very frugal gift because I used fabric in my stash and used what I had on hand.  I didn't have to purchase anything.  And it used up several of the bigger pieces of fabric I had in the stash, so it reduced the stash, just a bit, as well.  :)

Off to cut out the pieces for the next wall hanging. 

Today, I am grateful for:

- Phone calls from family and friends
- Being able to sew
- Finishing a project
- Making Christmas gifts with items from the stash
- Video chatting with daughter

Hope you are having a lovely weekend.

Friday's Blessings

On Friday, I went to the office in the morning.  There had been an accident on the freeway, only two exits before mine, and the two right lanes were closed and traffic backed up all the way to before where I get on.  It took me nearly 1 1/2 hours to drive to work.  But, I counted my blessings:  the longer commute meant I had a longer time to listen to the cd of hymns I had playing - the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  It was also a blessing that I could arrive 30 minutes late to the office without worrying about it (I just stayed 30 minutes later in the evening to make up for it.)

Later in the morning, I took some time off from work and went to the clinic to pick up a copy of my pathology report.  I had meant to ask for a copy from the doctor, last Friday, but I forgot.  So, today, I picked up a copy and read what it said.  Then, since I had some questions to ask my doctor, I requested to see her.  I didn't have an appointment, and I had to wait about an hour until she had seen her other patients (those with appointments), but that was OK - I sat in an air conditioned waiting room and relaxed.  That hour of relaxing and waiting was a blessing, too. 

I asked the doctor (she's my primary care physician) the questions I had to ask and then, asked her if she would speak to my daughter, as well.  So, the doctor phoned my daughter while I sat in on the conversation and patiently answered my daughter's questions and concerns, as well.  And, believe me, daughter had a LOT of questions!  But, afterwards, daughter felt a lot better.  She's not as stressed as she was earlier, before she spoke to the doctor.  Another blessing.  

The doctor's office scales indicated that I have lost 4 lbs. during this week!  I knew that I had lost my appetite, but I hadn't realized I had lost weight, as well.  Since I am overweight, any weight loss is a good thing and a blessing.  My blood pressure was a little elevated (I am on medication for it), but, I suppose that was to be expected under the circumstances.  I need to concentrate on relaxing and meditating, this weekend.  My sugar levels were fine (I'm diabetic and on medications for that, too). 

Doctor clarified the procedures.  I will go on Wednesday for a consultation with the surgeon.  Once surgery is scheduled, I'll go in to have a lumpectomy and they might also take sample lymph nodes for testing.  I will also be referred to an oncologist who will study the results of the lumpectomy and do further tests as needed to determine the staging  and treatment.  My primary care physician will also be involved to treat all my other ailments.  Good to know. 

I went back to the office for the afternoon - the blessing of an air conditioned office when it is close to 100F outside (it was 99F at noon, when I drove back from the clinic and the day's highs usually take place around 2:00 p.m.) 

I came home to a bouquet of a dozen pink long stem roses from my friend who does my garden.  He's the nephew of one of my neighbors and he started doing my garden over 22 years ago, when I was in hospital having my daughter.  My neighbor had noticed that the grass was overgrown and had noticed that neither I nor my mother was home and had inquired from my cousin who had said I was in hospital; so neighbor got her nephew to mow the lawn for me and he's been tending the garden ever since.   :)

I had just come home when one of my nieces called from out of state.  She lives on the east coast and has called and missed me twice, already, on previous occasions because of the time differences.  Today, she sent me an email, and I told her I don't get home until much later than she thought I did. 

There were several phone messages, too - each one a blessing as it indicated a friend or a loved one calling to inquire how I was.  One of the phone calls was from a friend, asking if she could visit me in the evening.  I called back and said, "Yes, of course".  Then, I returned the other phone calls, including one from my (older) half-sister.  And received a call from one of my two surviving (older) half-brothers.  My half-siblings and I have not had the closest of relationships, but, once upon a time, I was their baby sister.  When something like this happens, I guess we feel more connected.  Perhaps, this, too, is a blessing. 

The friend who called and asked if she could visit mentioned she was going to a craft store before coming to see me.  So, I asked her to pick up a package of white pipe cleaners for me.  Not for a craft project, but for Dancer cat.  He loves to play with a pipe cleaner and I was all out of them.  The other day, when he heard me open the craft supplies drawer where I usually keep the pipe cleaners (I was looking for something else), he came running and sat by the drawer, hoping that I might toss him a pipe cleaner to play with. 

When my friend came over, with her husband and daughters, she brought, not only the pipe cleaners but also dinner!  What a blessing!  And my favorite fried chicken, coleslaw, mashed potatoes with gravy, and biscuits!  Her daughters video chatted with my daughter, so daughter, too, got to spend the evening in the virtual company of friends!  They left the leftovers for me, so now, I have tomorrow's dinner in the fridge! 

So, today has been a day filled with blessings.  And I am grateful for each and everyone of them. 

How was your Friday?  Anyone else counting her blessings?

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Today, I woke up to a beautiful sunrise.  I turned on the altar lights, opened the doors and windows to let in the morning air, even though it was not too cool (already almost 80F at 6:30 a.m), and turned on the sprinklers in the back garden to water it while I drank a cup of coffee.  Then, I drove myself to the office.

Later in the morning, I called my doctor, again, to ask about my referral.  The nurse transferred me to the referral desk and the clerk there said he had just processed my referral.  It was authorized, h has just faxed the information to the specialist, and he gave me the name, address, and phone number to call.  I called the specialist's office and made the appointment for next week.  I took the first date and time they had available.  But, daughter wants to attend the initial consultation with me, so, I might need to switch it for the next day, if possible.  I shall call tomorrow to see if that can be done.  If not, daughter will try to make it on the scheduled day.  She has spoken with her professors and explained the situation to them and they are bending over backwards to try to accommodate her need to be with me.  We are so grateful for how understanding they are.

Today, I received some information and literature from my colleague who has been through a similar experience.  I have spent most of the evening reading articles about what to expect, other people's experiences, and post-operative care.  So now, I am wondering how will I manage after I come home from the hospital.  Daughter will be with me during the surgery, but she'll have to go back to her classes.  Even with helpful professors, there's only so many lectures she can miss.  Even if she comes home for the weekends, I'll still be on my own during the week.  Who will help me change the dressings, empty the drainage tubes, clean the cat's litter box, etc.?

Family and friends will drive me to appointments (I won't be allowed to drive for 10-14 days after surgery), bring me meals, clean my house, wash my dishes, etc.  But, can I also ask them to clean the litter box, too?  Will they be willing to change my dressing and clean my wound?  Will I be able to do it by myself?  The wound will be on my right side and I am right handed.

So, today, I am full of doubts and some worries.  Today, I will ask for more help from a Higher Power for help with the details of aftercare.  Tomorrow, I might arrive at some solutions.

Today, is what I have and today, I am grateful for:

- a very slightly cooler day
- having my referral authorized
- having an appointment to consult with the specialist
- knowing daughter will be there to ask the questions I tend not to ask
- knowing that things will work out, some how.
How was your day, today?