Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Waving from the bed before the REAL fun begins!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the love and kindness all of you have shown to my family during this incredibly SURPRISING time. So, how does one go from point A to point Z in about five hours?

For years I had threatened that I had "had it" with Christmas decorating....truly, my house had begun to look like it had "vomited" Christmas. Thinking that "more is more" I had piled on so much flotsam and jetsam that it had begun to become a chore to put up and take down. (Anyone else relate to that? Is it our age? Did I just need a "change"? )

At any rate, after feeling tired from what I thought was just an extra busy November, I realized I wasn't sure if I even cared that the first decoration got put up and told the girls, "If it is going to be done, you're going to have to do it.....and let's don't do so much." So, they happily (grumpily, but happily) got the boxes down and started picking out what they wanted to put out. It all looked GREAT and I didn't do A THING. (WOW! A first!) Bad thing was that Jonathan had spent all day in Mississippi and had come home to boxes strewn everywhere, me, stretched out on the couch and crazy dogs running around, and the girls working. Hmmmm, what was wrong with this picture?

As it turned out, they thought I'd been bitten by a BAD case of Christmas "blues". I thought I might have "walking pneumonia" because I was having some trouble breathing, also, a slight cough. I also knew I felt like I had run a marathon when walking from the car to the inside of the house....or anywhere from point A to point B. That was all on Tuesday, December 9.

When I got in to get a blood test at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, the fun began. The fabulous Dr. Brian Wilhite (as good as Dr. Gregory House, no lie) took blood, listened to my tale of woe and send me off for a chest scan to make sure I didn't have a blood clot and then I went home to, presumably, start decorating the tree. Jonathan was stretched out on one couch, I was on the other. Soft Christmas music was playing. I was imagining getting up to drink a glass of wine and put the last of the decorating behind me. Uh Oh. At 4 p.m. The phone rings, I'm asked to come immediately to the doctor's office where I was informed of what my probable diagnosis was.

Straight to the hospital, do not pass go, do not collect 200.00.

So, that's how I found out I had the C word. Totally out of the blue.

Chemo starts tomorrow. Maybe I should have just stuck with "vomiting" Christmas at the house.

Again, love to all of you. Please hold my family in your hearts and prayers as we go through this unknown territory.



  1. What a great chronology of Christmas decorating! I think we are all at that stage of "less is more." You sound great and I know it will all turn out fine. We will be doing video contact on iBooks!!! Love you!

  2. Anne LaCoste said:
    You go Girl! We're behind you!

  3. You have such a positive attitude, Penny. Your courage chokes me up, because you are such a funny and wonderful person and it makes my heart hurt to know you have to deal with this. We are ALL cheering (and praying) for you and your family.'

  4. Penny, I can imagine how much of a shock this is - I remember my husband receiving a cancer diagnosis out of the blue some 20 years ago, and it sent us reeling....Please know that you, your family and your doctors are in our thoughts and prayers daily, and we're sending lots of love and positive vibes your way!! Stay strong, and be well.

    ~ Carolee

  5. I'm so happy to hear your temp is down, Penny and you can start chemo tomorrow.

    I know exactly what you mean about the Christmas decorating - for the 1st time in 30 years, those 15 boxes of Christmas decorations are in the basement and are staying there....I just did a post on my blog about this very thing!

    I know you must be totally overwhelmed with everything happening so quickly and the shock of it all. It sounds like you are in good hands, though, and there are a lot of people praying for you.


  6. Penny, you are in my thoughts and prayers for the duration of this battle. You are strong willed, positive minded, and blessed with a powerful support group so I know you will triumph over all adversity! I want you to know that I love you. Through many years your humor often brought me through hard times and gave me laughter. I know it will be an advantage for you now. Thank you for your influence on my girls and all those other children you touched. We'll have story time again for our grandchildren and YOU will be the storyteller!! Love you, God bless you and the family, and thanks for providing the blog. It will help those of us who love you keep in touch with your journey.
    Diane King

  7. Penny... I will come and decorate for any holiday that you need...(I know you have a treasure chest of goodies in your house and garage).

    Not a minute goes by without you in my thoughts and prayers. Our meeting was such a fluke and the friendship that has grown through the years is nothing short of D*E*S*T*I*N*Y* and F*A*T*E... I love you honey and I will be there the minute you give me the nod.

  8. Oh my gosh! If that isn't a case of getting what you asked for I don't know what is - of course I don't mean C, but I mean about Christmas! Holy cow! Well on the bright side of it all, they found it early it sounds like - right at the start of symptoms. And I've also heard that as we get older, it's not as bad as when you get it when you're younger, as far as surviving it. I'm POSITIVE you will come through this!!! My ex-BF mother has it, and she's had it forever. not sure the whole story on that, but either way, she's alive and well. I will absolutely pray for you! And send fairy dust your way!!! I'll ask God also to keep you in his daily prayers and watch over you. Take care!!!

  9. I too have the hidden Christmas decorations and they will remain in that state....I must admit that not many minutes go by before a "Penny" thought doesn't start bouncing into my head. I know many challenges are ahead but like everything you do you will come through them with grace and humor. My dearest friend of 47 years has been the head oncology nurse at her hospital for 20 years and she has guaranteed me that this is the most treatable "C" there is and you will recover 100%. Stay positive dear Penny. You are my new hero! Pam

  10. Penny, Keep up the humor and the fight. We are all praying for you.
    I will even offer up a "Roll Tide" in your honor. And you and Jonathan know how hard that is for me to say.
    We love you guys.
    Bryan and Lynn McCarter

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Penny, please know that everyone is keeping you very close to their hearts. I am sure this will be a long and trying journey for you and your precious family, but also know that you can do it. Much love, Susan

  13. Penny,

    Tomorrow starts the day you kick some ALL booty. We will be thinking of you. Holden says. "His patients recover 100% of the time and he expects no less from you." Much love, Nita and Holden

  14. Beverly McGraw WalkerDecember 15, 2009 at 9:54 PM

    My thoughts and prayers are with you as you begin treatment tomorrow.

  15. Your humor and positive thoughts will pull you through all of this. Love your writing style. You have such a way with words. Stay strong and we will continue our prayers for you AND your family. Which hospital are you in? DCH or B'ham? Let me know if I can help in any way.

  16. That last comment was from Pat Parker

  17. Penny,
    Bruce Laycock sent me this link. I will pray for you every day.

  18. 10 Things that sound dirty at Christmas, but aren't:

    10. Did you get any under the tree?

    9. I think your balls are hanging too low.

    8. Check out Rudolph's honker!

    7. Santa's sack is really bulging!

    6. Lift up the skirt so i can get a clean breath.

    5. Did you get a piece of the fruitcake?

    4. I love licking the end til its really sharp and pointy.

    3. From here you cant tell if they're artificial or real!

    2. Can I interest you in some dark meat?

    1. To get it to stand up straight, try propping it up against the wall.

  19. Penny, even though I'm no longer in the "business" anymore, I so remember and still think often about our many looooong visits on the telephone! So enjoyed meeting you in person in Ca.!!! How I imagined you being over the phone, you were everything and more in real life!!

    You are such a talented, beautiful and thoughtful lady....you have so much more to share with everyone, that I just know you will get through this very tough time with grace, courage and strength that will once again prove what an amazing woman you are.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Sending you love and well wishes,
    Your Friend, Sonja Sandell


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