Saturday, April 9, 2016

Thursday and Friday Recap

Thursday was a cloudy, overcast day and it drizzled a bit in the afternoon.  I had a quiet day for the most part.  I did my office work.  I called the clinic in the morning to ask about my blood test results and to find out if I needed an injection.  They said that the blood test results came back OK, the white blood cell count was fine and I didn't need an injection.  I was happy to hear that.  I seem to have minimal side effects from the chemo, itself, so far.  
But then, I had a rather stressful evening.  Daughter's flight was due to arrive at 9:30 p.m. and when I went to pick her up, the car wouldn't start!  Dead battery!  After less than 2 years?!  It had worked fine when I went for my blood tests on Wednesday!  I tend to get rather flustered when I have car trouble!  Especially when I have to go somewhere to pick up my daughter, meet someone, or keep an appointment, etc.  It was a matter of some emergency to get to the airport within a reasonable amount of time after daughter arrived.

I immediately called one of my cousins who lives very close to me to ask her if her daughter could drive me to the airport (since cousin no longer drives).  But cousin said that her daughter was asleep as she had to get up very early in the morning the next day.

So, I called my neighbor across the street and asked if either of her daughters could take me to the airport.  She said her younger daughter could do it.  Thank goodness for kind and accommodating neighbors!  I texted daughter to let her know about the change of plans and went to the airport with my neighbor's daughter, picked up daughter, and came home.  Neighbor's husband sent a message he could take a look at the car in the morning.  Have I mentioned I am blessed when it comes to my neighbors?

Then, I had to go about looking for a ride to this morning's chemo, because I didn't think I could have the car checked out before I needed to leave at 8:30 a.m. (appointment was for 9:30 a.m.).  So, called a member of the clergy at the temple since I had been told to call anytime I needed help, a ride, etc.  Only to find out that he was unavailable because he had made other plans for the morning.  A perfectly valid reason, but I felt a bit disappointed!  I wondered if I should call another of my cousins who had offered to help (and has been quite helpful during this time), but I know she has to take her mother to her teaching job in the morning and I was reluctant to impose on her. 

But finally, I called another friend (who also doesn't drive) to ask if her older daughter could drive me.  She works at the library, but usually in the afternoons.  Well, turned out that today was her day off and she was so sweet and accommodating, saying she'd be happy to drive me to the clinic and back!  I offered to pay her for gas, etc., but she declined.  So I gave daughter some money to take her to the Starbucks coffee house near the clinic and treat her.  Daughter and she are good friends, so they spent the morning chatting at the coffee house, while I had my chemo. 

I have always been rather independent and it is hard for me to ask others for help.  And for some reason or the other, I got quite upset, last night, that I couldn't get help from my generation of family and friends and had to ask the younger generation for help.  It seemed unfair to them.  I try hard not to feel self-pity, but I came very close to it, last night.  And I had daughter getting all upset about my mood and trying to cheer me up.  Every day, when I say my prayers, I ask for a portion of grace to enable me to face each day's challenges and trials with grace.  I think I handle the big challenges, like being diagnosed with cancer, quite well.  But the little challenges, like a dead car battery, get me all upset!  Need to focus on cultivating more grace!  Need to count my blessings, such as finding out about the car when I did, having neighbors and friends who could help me, knowing some wonderful young people, etc.

This morning was slightly better.  Except, I tried to do a nice thing for daughter and make her coffee in her new coffee machine and absent mindedly put the coffee where the water was, instead of in the filter!  I gave up and went and sat down in my chair!  Daughter had to clean out the machine and make her own coffee, after all!

The chemo session went well.  I didn't need an injection today, but I will need two next week.  So I have to go back on Monday a.m. and Wednesday a.m.

After we came home, I had to decide whether to call the Auto Club and get the car jump started and take it to the dealer for a new battery (surely there was still time left on the warranty?), or to call my neighbor's husband for a jump start and take the car to the dealers, or have him install the battery and pay him for it (he owns an auto repair shop).  In the end, I decided to have neighbor's husband put in a new battery.  After all, his wife has been calling me regularly to check on me and bringing me dinner a few times, his daughters (who are friends with my daughter)  have taken her to the airport and picked her up a few times, and last night, it was one of his daughters who came to my rescue when I needed someone to take me to the airport.  So, when he came and jump started the car and asked me what I wanted to do, I said put in a new battery for me, so he drove it to his garage, put in a new battery (and said he checked fluid levels, etc.) and brought it back.  He charged me $120, for parts and labor, which I was happy to pay. 

The rest of the day has been quiet.  My gardener called as it was raining and he couldn't work in the garden.  He said he'll try to come on another day if time permits.  I finished the office work and submitted this week's completed assignments and filled out my time sheets.  Daughter drove the now working car and picked up my prescription refills and did part of the grocery shopping for me (she'll do the rest over the weekend).  One of my friends called to check on me and I whined to her about the car battery dying on me, while she made the appropriate soothing noises.  Another friend and I exchanged our usual almost daily emails.  
So that is the recap of Thursday and Friday.  Both good days for the most part, with one small bump on the road.  But a bump which was overcome with the help of kind neighbors and friends.  So, all is good!

I am grateful for:
- Neighbors and friends helping me.
- Knowing some lovely young people who have been so kind and helpful.  
- A working car.
- Chemo session #4 went well.
- Rain to water the garden.

How do you react when little things go wrong?  Do you get all flustered like me?


  1. Oh no, poor Bless! I'm not being sarcastic, problems with vehicles send me into near-panic attacks and I don't know why. I've been lucky that all the times in the past years when I've had battery or other problems, I was at home or very close to my garage so I could get them to check out what was going on so that helped. I think it might have started back before I had kids and my car broke down on the side of I-4 (the main interstate that bisects Orlando), at dusk, right at the Orange Blossom Trail exit which is a very bad part of town. Back then we didn't have cell phones and also I had to pee very badly. No one stopped to check to see if I needed help (including the police), so I started walking on the shoulder to find a place to call my then-husband who was at home. After I took a few steps, a man in a Jeep stopped and asked if he could help. I was very foolish and eventually got into his car (gasp!) because he said he would drive to me a nearby payphone and wait while I called my husband (I really had to pee very badly so I think that muddled my brain) and indeed he drove me to a payphone on OBT. But then he looked at the area and said "I can't just let you off here, it's not safe!" so I begged him to let me use his car phone because he had one (what were the odds back then? It had to be 1992 or 1993) but he was hesitant because the vehicle was a company vehicle and he wasn't allowed to use the phone for personal purposes. But in the end he was a nice man and allowed me to call my husband and then dropped me off back at my car while I waited for my husband to come rescue me. The car ended up needing major repairs (timing chain broke and bent pistons in my engine) and it cost us much money to repair, but I escaped injury. Still, just a dead battery will send me in a panic nowadays and... I never leave without peeing first, LOL. I still don't know how I was able to hold it for the 2 hours this whole ordeal lasted.

    As for the neighbors, I think people mean well when they say that they will help, but life happens to them too and some people just can't free themselves at the drop of a hat (and many people might not want to as well and lie about it, of course) so don't be too harsh on them. I would have been frantic too because you needed to get to a very important appointment that has drastic consequences on your health but you are someone who makes lots of connections and cultivates family and friends so you were able to find someone to help and dutifully thanked them. I confess that I would have offered money but probably wouldn't have thought to give them anything else had they declined my offer, so good for you!

    Similarly, it was nice of you to give your neighbor the business and for $120 he might have installed a battery that will last longer than 2 years? When I replaced mine over a year ago, I was hesitant to get one that would cost more than the basic 1 year guaranteed battery because I don't drive very much anymore and my vehicle is getting long in the tooth so I didn't know how much longer I would keep it, but now I regret it because it's been a year and I'm still driving it, lol. I think we all hate to pay for things such as batteries, windshield wipers, tires because we pay so much for the vehicles and don't tend to think of how much more we're going to have to pay for maintenance (just like when we buy our first house!). Well, at least that's how I feel! I would have also gladly paid the $120 to have someone just take care of it for me if I had been in your shoes.

    1. Thank you, Nathalie. I'm glad the stranger who stopped to help you was nice and not out to take advantage of the situation! There are some good, kind people out there.

      When I had my old car, I had all kinds of problems with it after the first few years - usually at the most inconvenient times, too! I remember when the timing belt gave out just after I had picked up my daughter from school and we had 2 hrs to get to my mother's viewing! Fortunately, I was near the dealer's service garage and they managed to fit me in (I was practically crying!) and I was only a few minutes late to the viewing! It was so stressful!

      Yes, I agree, people do mean well and they do have busy lives of their own, so it is hard to accommodate a request at the very last moment. I am usually very mellow and take things in stride, and try to maintain a positive, upbeat attitude about things. But just this past week or so, I've been feeling a little emotional about things. I'll blame it on the chemo! I've read that not all side effects are physical. There is a mental toll, too.

      I just needed an attitude adjustment! It is hard for me to ask for help, but, "Ask and you shall receive". So, I asked for help and I received it, both times from just the second person I asked. I have nothing to complain about. Daughter said if my friends couldn't give me a ride, she was ready to call on a couple of her friends. If not, we could have called for a taxi. Or, worse came to worst, called and rescheduled the chemo. There were options. But it all worked out well. For that, I am grateful.

      You might want to get your battery checked to see how much life is left in it and whether to get it replaced now or wait a bit longer.

  2. (part 2 since Blogger doesn't look long-winded comments, lol)

    I'm glad that you didn't need an injection and that your chemo session went well. I hope you continue to experience little side effects, Bless. Continue to practice your gratitude, it's true what they say that attitude has a lot to do with your help. I'm definitely miserable when I get upset because it tends to fester and snowball with the type of personality that I have so a lot of times I have to trick myself in trying to feel more cheerful than I actually am so I don't end up miserable and make life miserable for those around me. You are an incredibly resilient and resourceful person and you seem to attract the kindness of others. It's worked well for you in the past and I'm sure your family and neighbors will continue to step in when they can, especially if you show them just how much their contributions help you.

    I hope you have a great weekend. Oh and yay for rain, eh?!

    1. Thank you, Nathalie. I appreciate you taking the time to leave such a thoughtful, long comment.

      Cancer treatment is such a long drawn out process. It is easy for family and friends to rally around you during the first few weeks, when it is all new, but it takes some staying power to be there, month after month, for more than 8 months. I had my original mammogram in July, had the biopsy and was diagnosed in September, had my surgery in October, began chemo in December and now it is April and I won't finish chemo until June and that will be followed by 6 weeks of radiation. So, that will take me until July and it would be one year since I had the mammogram that detected the lump in the first place! That's a long time to expect people to be willing and able to help!

      I will need 2 injections next week, however, so I expect I'll have some aches and pains then. At least I can take some ibuprofen for that. It will be OK.

      Yes, yay for rain! :D

  3. Hugs - what a do with the battery! I hate asking for help as well. You are blessed with good neighbours.

    I sometimes think it is easier to bear great hardship than a small matter. I have borne a dislocated shoulder with more grace than a stubbed toe. That battery must have been the absolute limit. Thank goodness you have a good neighbour!

    Also - good news about not needing the injections and the white cell count. I hope that continues. x

    1. Thanks, Sybil (or should I call you Lyssa?) I think the dead battery was just the "last straw" after a few days of being on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. It was my late father's birthday at the end of March - he died when I was 7 and I always feel I was cheated when it came to getting to know him as a person. It was also my much-loved late step-father's birthday, yesterday. He had been a second father to me and I still miss him very much.

      Plus, it seems that chemo treatment can take an emotional toll, as well. My daughter is scheduled to graduate in May and she was asking me not to attend the graduation ceremony because she didn't want me to risk getting sick due to exposure to other people's germs. So I was feeling a bit sad about that, wondering if it wouldn't be the first of many important events in her life that I would be missing. But I asked the nurse practitioner's opinion about my attending the graduation ceremony, when I met with her, yesterday, and was told it should be fine, they will adjust the chemo schedule so my immunity won't be quite as compromised at the time, etc.

      I just have to have faith that all will be well. I just have to accept that I am not in control and there is a purpose for everything that happens.

  4. Other options in case it happens again might be to have your daughter take a cab home or call one of her friends. For your clinic appointment, could the cancer society have provided a ride? Even if your appointment had to rescheduled for later in the day? You might want to sit down and plan for any and all eventualities especially since you have a lot of treatments left. It might be a good idea to establish yourself as a registered participating person/client of the Cancer Society.
    I had a similar problem with my car and I got a new battery, but the same inability to start the car a little while later showed that the battery wasn't the whole problem.

    1. I have already spoken with the Cancer Society about rides. I do need to register myself with them, though.

  5. Sorry you had such a stressful time. It often is the smaller things that get to us, and there is nothing like being without transportation when you really do need to go places. I hope things go more smoothly in future. So glad that your nurse practitioner thinks that it should be possible for you to go to daughter's graduation in May. It will be something good to look forward to and we shall all be cheering for her!

    1. Thank you, Bushlady. It's hard to explain how dependent we are on our cars, over here! I did have the option of taking public transit - it's not the best or most convenient, but it is available, but my daughter was vehemently against it as she was afraid I'd be exposed to germs! A friend asked me about getting a taxi but that would have been a very costly option, given the distance and the time it takes. Hopefully, all will be well from now on. :)

  6. I'm so glad you are going to attend your daughter's graduation Bless. I so understand her fear of you being exposed to germs if you're out in public, but wonder if perhaps your isolation all these months is contributing to your stress level at times? A change of scenery may do wonders for you (or is it just me? Haha!). You are doing just amazing ... And, you're so entitled to bouts of being frustrated. (((Hugs)))

    1. Thanks, Carolyn. I tend to be a homebody for the most part and quite content with my own company, but I hate having to depend on others to do stuff for me, like grocery shop, put gas to the car, pick up my prescriptions from the pharmacy, etc. because I need to avoid public places. If my daughter wasn't so worried, I might actually go out and about a bit more. But she's so concerned, my diagnosis has rocked her world so much, that I don't want to cause her any further anxiety.

    2. Your daughter's fears are so understandable Bless! She's so caring! Does your pharmacy have a drive-thru? That would be such a wonderful option ... You would be free from germ exposure yet be able to get out and about when your daughter isn't home. Just a thought! Wishing you a nice day!

    3. This particular pharmacy doesn't have a drive-thru. But that would have been a great option.

      Well, it seems like I am destined to get some exposure to germs, this weekend! Daughter came down with a sinus infection or cold (she's not sure which)! She's trying to keep herself isolated in her room and I've sprayed the house with disinfectant, so hopefully the exposure won't be too much.


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