Saturday, March 27, 2010

Penny

Penny peacefully left us early afternoon on Friday, March 26, 2010.

People like Penny Lamont McAllister don't come along very often. She made our lives magical. We love her and will miss her forever.

Thanks for all the love and support.

Jonathan

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just got more serious

Penny's body completely gave out today. She actually left us for a while, but was resuscitated. White counts low, breathing on ventilator, blood pressure low. Not pretty. Not fun.

I really am unsure about what words to use for this post, but decided I needed to keep you guys informed.

Home with the girls. Thanks for the love.

Jonathan


"This is serious"

That's how Dr. Hinton put it to Penny's mama this morning. Penny's blood counts are low, blood pressure has been low, trouble breathing. She practically can't communicate with us, and is incapable of almost anything. Could go on ventilator later today.

This is serious alright.

Jonathan

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mom made a funny

MK and I headed up to ICU yesterday to see Mom. She looked a MILLION times better than when we saw her on the second floor Sunday afternoon. Vitals were great and things are looking up.

We (MK and I) got a small case of the giggles while sitting with Mom as she was half asleep and had just taken a Phenegren (sp?) before we got there which resulted in "word vomit" and some pretty funny conversations that we can't wait to tell Mom about. With a woman as creative as Mom you can imagine the types of things she was saying.

We want to thank EVERYONE for the thoughts and prayers being sent our way-keep 'em coming!

God bless all the Dr.'s and nurses in the ICU that have taken such wonderful care of Mom. They are angels here on earth who don't get near enough credit as they deserve.

Love to ALL!

Katie

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Moovin...

Mom has had a rough couple of days at the hospital. She's been moved to ICU so the nurses can keep a closer eye on her. Still no visitors, immediate family only. Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers. We can only go up from here!!


Peace. MK.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How o spent my spring break


Yep, back in the hospital again '


Love, Penny

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It was here all the time...

Thanks to dear friend, former colleague, and cancer survivor, Andrea Minear.

She had sent two that she had worn during her chemo. Another good friend, Kathie Gascoigne had dropped them off for me during a time when I was REALLY DOWN, and very swollen. I put one one, probably backwards, and promptly swore off wigs.

However, after getting two good makeup advisors in the house and challenging them to "well, put the damn make up on me if you think I need it so much!", materials were gathered and they begin play.

Then I remembered the first wigs that were brought by!

We had a winner and it was great to see the looks on the nurses on 2nd floors' faces when I rolled in for my nupagen shot.

It was a great affirmation!

Thank you Andrea, Kathie, Katie and Mary-Keeley for making feel like the old me again!!!!

Love,
Penny

Saturday, March 13, 2010

What do you think??

Is this Penny or what? Thanks to a good friend, mama's got a brand new 'do! Today, Katie, mama and I had a mini makeover session! She's looking good folks, don't be suprised if you see her sippin' a margarita at Pepitos soon.

Why is it that a good haircut and a little lipstick can completely change your attitude? I'd say it's the little girl in all of us, whispering "I wanna feel preeetty". And that she is folks, that she is.

We'll get some better pics up soon.







Peace. MK.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Katie's new adventure....

Today Katie is taking me to the Cancer Center for my shots.

I'm really glad that yesterday I had the presence of mind to get them to check my blood while I there because she would have probably been freaked out about the turn of events.

One shot became one shot plus one unit of blood plus one unit of platelets plus one dose of liquid potassium.

I have to admit I'm feeling much better today, though.

I wish I knew how to explain how having leukemia feels. Yes, there are similar things felt amongst all us chemo-guzzlers but some how, I know this is so different.

Being weak and breathless is not easy. Feeling your stomach "roil", and at the least opportune time(s) is a symptom that chemo-guzzlers can relate to. I can't say how they do on making it to where they "need to be" when this happens but it can be hard if you have no breath or energy.

I see people walking in for their chemo treatments. I have to be rolled in, rolled back, rolled out.

Part of it is my fault for not building up muscles when I was earlier on in my treatments.

Katie is here now....let the adventure begin!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

AFLAC.........

You've seen the duck.

You've heard the "QuACK"

You really need to get their cancer insurance plan. Seriously.

After my dad passed away with lung cancer 16 years ago, my mother told me, "Call Bruce Caples today. Get the cancer insurance."

For some reason I didn't drag my feet on "Mama-advice" and got with Bruce pretty quickly.

Wise choice. Wise advice.

Though, truth be told, I never imagined I would be the one using it since I'm married to a smoker.

But, using it I am.

I do not work for AFLAC, btw.

Love,
Penny

Vampirism , part deaux

Blood. Geeze, I need so much of it.

And, ugh, today I had to have a dose (drink) of liquid potassium. Thank heavens Mama had just returned from lunch with a root beer.

Liquid potassium is WORSE than that stuff they give you pre-colonoscopy.

Another day, another adventure!!!


Love, Penny

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thank you, thank you, thank you....

People are continuing to be so nice to my family.

Every day there is a cheery card or email and often something delicious to eat.

We cannot thank you enough for all your kindness.

Today, though, I am so sad that I cannot go hug my friend, Sharon Pilsch. She was one of the first to come visit me in the hospital, complete with her transplant unit mask and coveralls. She had come from Birmingham after visiting with her husband, Frank, who was awaiting a bone marrow transplant.

It wasn't too much later we ran into Frank at the Cancer Center. He looked fabulous, had a great attitude, we were so thrilled to see how well he was doing.

Frank had his transplant on Friday, March 5th but unfortunately, passed away on Monday, the 8th.

I hurt so much for Sharon and I hurt so much for Gwen Pilsch, who now has lost both her sons, two of the finest guys in Tuscaloosa. I hurt for Amelia Pilsch, widow of Graham, who has faced this before and knows all too well the pain of losing a spouse. I hurt for Erin and Turner, Frank and Sharon's children.

The upside of all of this, if there can be one, is that there are two adorable Pilsch boys waiting to grow up to become the kind of guys their grandfather and uncle were.

Here's to Cullen and Jackson Pilsch!

Love,
Penny

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Welllllll..........

The best laid plans of becoming a more regular blogger have be blindsided by technological difficulties...aka the service has been spotty at home, plus a diversion on the health side of things.

Thursday, with all good intentions of returning the wig, taking less than 15 minutes in the cancer center, and then perhaps enjoying the first REAL day of somewhat warmer weather, turned into one of those truly unpredictable days.

I knew I'd been feeling a little breathless on Wednesday, but as we got ready to go to CC at around 11, I totally had no energy....like Jonathan had to put my arms around his neck and lift me, like a dead weight, onto the walker and push me through the jungle known as our garage to get me in the car.

He was moments before calling an ambulance. I begged him not to.

We finally made it to the CC and found out, why yes, Penny, your hemoglobin levels are LOW.

You need two units of blood, thank you very much, along with some platelets.

So we waited. We always know it is a waiting game with the blood. We waited some more. And, we waited.

There had been a trauma in the ER....I could only get one unit of blood and the platelets on Thursday.

Did you know it takes about two hours for blood to go in? When you're in the hospital, it doesn't matter what time they start it. 8:00 p.m. can be just fine because, I mean, where are you going to go anyway?

Starting blood at the CC in the late afternoon means you are last to leave. Like, at 7:00 p.m. Like, after you've been there since 11:00 a.m.

Thank heavens for Kindles and laptops.

Then we were back on Friday at 7:30 for the second unit of blood. Ahhhh, the fun just never ends!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wigging out.......

Being a person of large head circumference, wig shopping is proving, uhhhhh, difficult.

Yesterday Mama and I ventured into the boutique at the Cancer Center for the first time. It was time to face my fear. What wig would possibly look decent on top of my Dopey bald head?

Answer? Ummm, not many. The wigs that look so cute on the styrofoam head-lets sat on the top of my head like a bad toupe. Seriously. I think those styrofoam head-lets were modeled from five year olds. Very disconcerting.

Many of the wigs I tried on that had cute cuts really made me look like a large woman in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, the kind of woman that shouldn't have short hair OR be wearing that t-shirt. Cruel, but true.

That cute cut just got lost on the volume of my head. I might have even been the original model for the bowling ball, I don't know.

We found one that made me sort of happy but I had that gut feeling about it. It was "ok" but not great. Of course, my mother loved it. We have always had "hair wars" since I was little so I was growing even more suspicious by the minute.

You see, my mother is blessed with this beautiful hair. It has always been gorgeous, she has always worn it in a certain style, which suits her well. It is just that that style doesn't suit me as well. But it is hard to explain that. This wig closely resembled her style and I KNEW my other two hair critics, Katie and MK, were going to say.

There were no words. Only looks.

The wig is being returned today.

Love,
Penny

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

More moo goo gai pan.....

Yowser, that SWEN moo goo gai pan really hits the spot!

We were in and out of the cancer center in literally MINUTES! A first! Easy when you don't need anything but two quick shots in the belly.

We had grabbed some wonderful gift cards to Zoes and Newks, thinking that's what we'd have for lunch but realized it was too cold for salad or "non hot" foods...so SWEN was the destination.

Then it took HOURS to warm up, even by the fire and with my red power blanket wrapped around my feet. For a girl struggling with her inner thermostat, anyway, I thought I'd never get warm, but finally did.

Now I see that the sun is very deceiving as it is still cold outside and I need to venture to the cancer center again in about an hour.

Other than that, things are progressing as "to be expected". I might have good blood days (red) but still get that chemo tired feeling. One just never knows.

Did enjoy a short marathon of "White Collar" on USA network the other day. Yeah, I had thought Neal Cafferty (main character's name) might just be a little too "pretty boy" from the previews I had seen but have decided that I was WRONG. I just wish the show came on at 8 instead of 9. I'm usually snoozing pretty hard by 9!

Have a warmer day, y'all!

Love,
Penny

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A little catching up...

Hi y'all!

Sorry, I've just seemed to be allergic to my computer lately. If I open it it means that I should read, or respond, or just relate something, all of which I haven't seemed to want to do much of.

Remember, it isn't you....it is just me, going through this strange new experience.

I had a good week where my appetite picked up, with desires for specific tastes, which were met with great delight! I have seen same said appetite decrease so that I can make three meals out of one sometimes, which has been a tad beneficial for my back side!

This week has been a bit of a switchover to "sort of queasy/I need a zofran" and the search for good liquid refreshment, not of an alcoholic variety. The old taste buds had sort of screwed around with soft drink tastes, water isn't so fun, so I'm not sure what I need/want. Limeade? Cranapple?

I know I need a lot more of it, whatever it is, as well as having the need for a heated vat of the most luxurious body cream I can find. And I'm talking BATHTUB sized vat since my skin has turned to tissue paper and I need to just sit in this tub all day, maybe with and IV of Atarax. Now that would be just a little bit of HEAVEN!!!!

This is the last week of four day visits to CTC....then next week, if I'm not in the hospital, it will be just a two day visit.

Hope all my buddies at Cottontail Village have a great show this coming weekend! This is so weird, the first time in seven years I haven't been. I should be loading my car and going up there tomorrow afternoon but just not going to happen.

And, Mary-Keeley has a big birthday coming up on Sunday! This cancer shit has smashed all our original plans for her birthday....a visit to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D.....a Mad Hatter's party for her friends and is threatening to mess with Plan B...a quiet evening at home with steaks and some homemade crepes with Nutella, very French-y.

So, if y'all want to do some praying, pray for me to be able to stay at home through this Sunday!

Love,
Penny

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shingles, not of the roofing kind....

Well, after a relatively easy day yesterday (i.e., feeling rested and well after ALL that sleep) we went to the Cancer Treatment Center for the "easy" shot. Now, why I'm remembering this shot doesn't hurt, I don't know because yesterday it was a "stangin".

Then we discovered that I have a little case of the shingles. Damn. If it isn't one thing, it is another. So far it hasn't hurt too badly and I think we caught it on day one.

Did have more of an appetite yesterday and it was the SWEN moo goo gai pan that made the difference. That was some tasty fare!

After that, I sort of tuckered out and spent the rest of the day in bed. I'm just having to take the attitude that my body is telling me what I need to be doing, though I do know I need to be getting some more exercise.

Jelly legs could be my new name. Who knew stepping over a threshold could be so HARD????

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sorry for the delay in posts.....

Home again, home again has been some wonderful medicine.

LOTS of sleep has been on the agenda. And I mean LOTS.

We are now transitioning into our Cancer Treatment Center routine. Yesterday was a "long" day with Dr. visit (things are progressing as expected), chemo treatment, two shots, and finishing with the lumbar shot of methotrexate. It was nice to be told to come home and stay flat for the next 24 hours after that.

At least I can report that the "high anxiety" level of getting that lumbar shot a month ago is now "nill".

It is nice to get back on track with a little normalcy, though I love and miss my nurses and friends at DCH.

Normally, at this time of year, I would be frantically trying to get ready for Cottontail Village in Bham. Paint, stain, glitter, strings would be covering the house. I would be worried about having enough to take, my helper Jamie would be calming me down.

Perhaps God just knew I needed to recharge my soul.

Love,
Penny

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Home again, home again, jiggety jig!

YEA!!!!! Will be going home this morning, we hope! That is usually the plan. Keep your fingers crossed!

All my "counts" have really improved, especially my white counts which had put me back here in the first place.

I don't know what time all this will take place....sometimes it happens quickly, other times it might drag on a bit.

Just can't wait to be home again!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dreaming big....a musical interlude



Do you know the music from this musical theatre production from the late 70's?

If not, you should. Period. Don't argue with me.

The music was written by two members of ABBA, lyrics by Tim Rice. How could this be bad?

Today, while bopping around youtube, I found a video of somebody who dreamed big, in a HUGE way.

Susan Boyle. And no, this is NOT a recap of her Britain's Got Talent video. It is one that I was shocked and excited to see.

Before Susan Boyle, frumpy as could be, opened her mouth to let forth that voice, Simon asked her what she would like to do. Paraphrased, "have a career like Elaine Paige."

Do you remember the audience reaction? Shock, not even benign amusement.

This dowdy, frumpy woman wanted a career like Elaine Paige? The doyenne of musical theatre in Britain? The woman who had originated the roles of Cats, Chess, Evita in West End theatre?

Well, folks, I'm here to tell you. Susan Boyle can hold her own with Miss Paige. Big Time.

Here's to dreaming big.....oh, and in case you didn't make the connection between Chess and the video below, it is a song from Chess, one of the most beautiful of many. And THIS is what Susan Boyle got to sing with Elaine Paige for their first time singing together.

OMG.

Here's to big dreams!


Just gotta talk about being PFATT......LONG

First, the daily health update.

Reporting from DCH, our trusty Penny McAllister, not far from her cup of coffee.

Dr. Hinton reported yesterday that "numbers were up" in all areas, especially white counts. Penny hasn't had enough coffee to remember the number but David is an "early" visit doctor so may see him in few minutes and can update some more.

Penny walked down the hall a little bit yesterday so she wouldn't think about the total body itch, cause unknown but suspected to be antibiotics, which can't be discontinued at the moment. She also found out much strength she has lost in her legs because she couldn't walk as far this week as she did on her first walk. Get out of the bed, Penny!

A dermatologist has been in for a consult and guess what. He put Penny back on prednisone. Not as much as before but the girls could tell a difference last night when they brought HOT POPPY SEED CHICKEN out to her for supper. DIVINE!!! Plus, she had an appetite, probably due to the prednisone she had had yesterday. WHY does this drug have to be so BAD for you but do such GOOD things in so many ways?????



As you can tell from an some earlier entries that I am a member of a group of artist friends on ebay who go by the acronym of PFATT, or Primitive Folk Art Tea & Talk.

I need to let you know more about them and I hope this won't offend any of my local "sisters" in art, of which I have MANY.

Flashback to the late 90's. Computers were becoming more commonplace in homes. Digital cameras were starting to appear.

In addition, there was still an interest in the crafting world in, well, crafts, but some folks were beginning to move away from the 80's look and raising the bar, or at least changing the way the bar looked. New, fun, wacky styles. People who colored outside the lines.

The first name that comes to mind is Sonja Sandel aka Hickety Pickety. I would run to the grocery store to look through the pattern ads in the crafting magazines to see what she had done. Her patterns and newsletters were a "stitch" to read. There no rules. Just have fun. How freeing! One day I summoned the courage to call her phone number to ask a question about a pattern and SHE answered. I was in shock and awe, to say the least. We conversed for a while and finally got to meet about three years later. Sonja is a great lady who has "left the business" as she puts it, but she was a PIONEER in putting a certain "look" on merchandise in the marketplace. If I'd had one pint of her blood, I guarantee that it would be kicking this leukemia's ass, because she's that kind of woman.

As more and more women gravitated to having computers at home, new worlds opened up. People like Sonja started "selling" sites where you could "meet and greet" and learn from other artists and also have a venue to show your work and sell it. One of the other first groups like this was called "Folk of Art", started by Jenn Steffa (aka folkgirl7). She started a "forum" that really caught on and lots of "early adopters" of computers/art/crafting and ebay sellers started out on that forum. It was so great....you suddenly were "meeting" lots of women, all over the US (and world) who "understood" what you loved to do and could talk to them whenver you were online together, be it 3:00 a.m. or 10:30 p.m.

I won't go through the rest of the history of how groups started popping up everywhere. Just know that they did. I remember telling someone on the FOA board that this was just the "tip of the iceberg" re: women, crafting, handmade goods, etc. It just felt like a "revolution" or sorts was brewing.

Brewing it was, because now there are groups everywhere, magazines devoted to the art of scrapbooking, dollmaking, wearable art. The Somerset magazines are divine. Where Women Create is pure eye candy.
I could go on and on. Things that would have been impossible to find ten years ago. Conventions where artists meet other artists like themselve, learn new skills, make new friends, learn from the leaders in the field. Special websites for ONLY handmade goods, such as Etsy have popped up.

I guess, what I'm trying to say is that this artist/crafter movement has allowed so many women to be noticed, appreciated for their talent, all while staying home and taking care of families. The best of both worlds, maybe? I think so. And even better is the fact that these women have learned (or are learning) how to promote themselves and their artwork. I just LOVE it!

So what does this have to do with my PFATT sisters and this tree that is up for auction?

I was invited to join PFATT at a low time, professionally for me, by Christy Meyers. I wasn't selling on ebay anymore because I had let myself become intimidated. She knew that but wanted me to be a part of the PFATT family, a decision I've never regretted. Sweet, wonderful women, diverse in their talent and style, a joy to be a part.

But the best part of groups like this is when you get to actually MEET people in the group, an opportunity I took two years ago when the "PFATT PFEST 2008" was held in the NoCal area. OMG, what a fabulous time! Napa, San Francisco, Alameda flea market, touring the whole area, lots of lemon drops, laughter, tears, etc. And this was only eleven out of 50 of us. Again, I could go on and on, but I won't. Maybe later, though....

And these are the women who instigated, planned, organized, made, donated their time, talents, and artistry to bring you the PFATT Penny Feather Tree. Many of them have never met me and wanted to do this. Many of them HAVE met me and STILL wanted to do this! LOL!

Bless the Pfatties, one and all.

Love,
Penny

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ornament tree auction has begun!



--


I was going to blog about it last night but fell asleep quicker than I thought I would.

The ebay auction has begin! Click here to see it!

Anyone is welcome to bid on it! All proceeds going to the Alabama chapter of the Lymphoma and Leukemia society.

Yeah, peeps....for all practical purposes, it has been that kind of weekend.

Everything that has blithely seemed ignore me, chemo reaction - wise, has turned up in Room 221

Here's hoping to a better second half of February, 2010!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Promises, promises.....

Yeah, those weathermen make hollow promises to us all the time.

Monroeville to get 2-4", now they've changed T-Town to a "dusting"?

Even though I can't get out and enjoy it, I at least wanted to look out my window and SEE SNOW!!!!

I'm just going to have to turn off this darn TV and forget about it. Probably could have even had school today, not that that matters one whit to me anymore.

But, I know it has to be frustrating for those involved in making those kinds of decisions....Yes? No? Maybe? Yes? No?

Up with my cuppa joe, trying to blog a little bit. Slept pretty well but had some new pillows I couldn't beat into submission.

I also stayed on atarax all day yesterday which made for an interesting day of sluggishness.

Waiting for blood test results now. Yesterday was close to needing one unit, and could tell, but they decided to wait until today to see how the red cells were doing...dropping or rising in number.

Had a chemo shot yesterday...asparaginase...aka e coli. (Or has e coli mixed in?) You may recall from earlier posts in December this is the one where the nurse said "We'll give you a little to test your reaction but will have a CRASH CART outside the door in case you go into anaphalactic shock."

WTH? But, it was no problem and has been fine ever since. In fact, I even managed to mess with Nurse Emily's head the other day after she gave me the shot for the first time. I waited long enough and she asked how I felt....so I made a twisted face at her and stiffened my body. Probably shouldn't have done that but I knew that the reaction is almost instantaneous so that's why I waited.

Nurse Stephanie said "Oh, I just new she was going to do something like that....I could tell by the look in her eyes." Poor Emily...she said "WAIT til I've done this 20 times before you pull something like that on me again!"

I start over with "Level 2b" of my chemo on Monday...which is essentially a repeat of what I've done the past four weeks, starting with a spinal of Methotrexate. Last time I had that I was wired for 24 hours and wasn't sure it was from the adrenaline of being scared or the drugs.

I won't be scared this time.

Have fun playing in whatever snow we get!

Love,
Penny

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The rest of the pony story......

I found out from cousins and mama that Aunt Mary gave the pony cart (it WAS Steiff.....DAMN) to Charlotte Woodley for her children Jim and Dollie to use. After that, we don't know what happened to it. DOUBLE DAMN!

So, yesterday, while on a small phenergan trip, I lay in bed imagining that the cart might still be in the basement of the house they lived in in Pinehurst. Or that maybe it was stuck up in some garage rafters or something. Or maybe in a neighbor's basement or attic.

I guess I need to get out my Nancy Drew clothes, start of up my roadster, and get sleuthing!

My mother also added this story....I don't remember it happening but that's not saying it didn't and it does sound just like Frances!

One funny thing that I thought about that pony cart was that Frances Leapard got into it and just rode down the sidewalk one day with you running after her telling her it was your turn.She turned around and told you that she didn't take turns, didn't know what turns were and that you could just wait your turn.

You cried and Bobby (what I called my grandmother Lamont) went over to see Frances's grandmother and she got her out of the cart. Frances had a wonderful collection of toy kitchen furniture on that big front porch and she very quickly told you that you couldn't play with her with the furniture anymore. That ended playing too much with Miss Frances!!

I grew up to work for Bill and Doris Leapard...ahhh the stories, the design, the fascinating rooms upstairs that Bill decorated, the wallpaper books that were kept on the second floor of one of the garages out back......so maybe they didn't know about selfish Miss Frances and the pony cart.

As an aside, I LOVED working at Leapard's, as well as The Collector's Shop. Such fun things to see and do every day!

I turned on the TV for the first time since I got here to check the weather after a nurse had mentioned snow for this weekend. I haven't check this morning, though the weather channel did move from 40% chance of precipitation to 70% as I lay in the bed thinking how glad I'm not at some Baltimore (or nearby) hospital, waiting for my family to come for a visit.

WOW...talk about snow! I have a friend, Joanne Harper, that lives around York/Lancaster, PA area. She can already open the windows of her house and reach out and grab snow, it is that high. And that was just yesterday, before the next round was supposed hit.

Debby Brown, are you ok? Debby lives in Valley Forge.

Healthwise, I got some potassium through my pik line yesterday, so NO BURN. After struggling with taking just half of the ginormous pills yesterday, my nice nurse decided to order the liquid! Yea for Nurse Stepani!!!

Otherwise, things remain about the same. Low white count. Red fluctuates but haven't need blook transfusion in last couple of days. Platelets I got yesterday plus the extra potassium. Might even feel fit enough to venture and poke my nose outside if it actually DOES snow on Friday! Wow, just saw a map for tomorrow on Weather Channel

Get your taco soup made, girls!

Take care and have a great Thursday!

Love,
Penny



Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Up and attum!

Breakfast ordered. Check.

Gmail read. Check.

Bopped around facebook. Check.

Still itching like crazy. Check. (OMG....Katie, I had NO IDEA how miserable you must feel so often. NO IDEA.)

Hoping that a change in bath soap will change the itching. Other than that, I'm going to have to live on Atarax, permanently.

Which will result in my sleeping ALL THE TIME.

Great, and I mean GREAT night of sleep. Check.

Tell me, is it Wednesday or Thursday? Inquiring minds want to know!

Love,
Penny





Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Phenny Penergan...oops make that Penny Phenergan.

What a woozy day today! Phenergan, twice. Zofran, once, three imodium.

Yes, three.

They have started up again on stripping floors in the corridor of 2 Southeast (oncology wing). They did this last night from 4:30-11:p.m.

I can deal with the noise but the smell, to folk that are already hypersensitive to smell, odors, etc., just seems WRONG. Bur what can I do? Hmmmm, I could call Bill Cassels. Yeah, that's the ticket.

I woke up this a.m. feeling pretty good. Until I started itching. We don't know whether it is from funky liver enzymes (now going down, thank heavens) or to all the antbiotics I'm taking and maybe developing a sensitivity to that.

Always someting.

Upshot was I got some Atarax which promplty made my sleepy again. Top that off with another dose later and the two phenergans and one zofran and I was just part of the bed. Couldn't peel me off if you wanted to.

My mom sent me another funny story about the pony cart. I'll share it tomorrow!

Love,
Penny

Monday, February 8, 2010

So, I keep thinking WHY am I so TIRED???

Well, duhh, Penny. You have leukemia.

You are getting chemo.

Both will make you TIRED. Really, really TIRED.

GET OVER IT! Understand it. Move on.

Or, so I keep telling myself.

Yesterday was another tired day, due to lack of sleep on Saturday night. I think I made up for that last night. I feel much better this a.m.

I rallied after some phenergan. Miracle stuff, that phenergan. So, by 4ish, I was feeling better.

Read for a little while. (A W.E.B. Griffin novel set in WWII, New Orleans, Argentina, spies, Germans, etc--one of my favorite kinds of "reads".)

I was especially interested in it because during the end of the war, my uncle, Jim Marlow, happened to be in New Orleans where they were having an auction of stuff that had been on its way to the ex-pat Germans in Argentina for Christmas.

I can't remember if the ship (submarine) had been captured but I don't think it would have been blown up or the items wouldn't have been intact.

He brought home pony cart that could be pedaled. The pony was a huge stuffed animal, I think a Steiff. We (my cousins, Rudd and Jimmy) and neighbors (Polly, Vicki, Ellen Newton) would pedal that thing all around 15th Avenue. The legs moved the pony like it was picking them up and putting them down. A magnificent toy.

I wish I knew what happened to it.

I wish I could pedal it right out of the hospital today...or at least up and down the halls!

Take care and have a wonderful Monday.

Love,
Penny

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sleepyhead jones day

I cannot wake up this morning! All I want to do is pull my mask down over my face and sleep some more.

I think I will!

I did have to have my groshong pulled yesterday and a "pik line" put in my upper arm. At least it is giving blood easily. SO FAR. I just have to figure out how to maneuver regular clothes over this thing so I won't have to revert to the awful gowns. UGH.

Maybe some reading before I shut down for my morning nap.

Don't be jealous. Remember, I'll be happy to trade places with you~


Love,
Penny

Friday, February 5, 2010

As for my health agenda, today......

LOW BLOOD, again. Probably two units later.

My magic Groshong port is acting up so I have to go down for a dye contrast on it to make sure it isn't leaking where it isn't supposed to be. May have to get another line in my upper arm. BUMMER.

Waiting for seven minutes before I can call for breaky. Really enjoying the eggs over easy. At least I know I'm starting the day with good protein.

Have been reading my Kindle a LOT since I couldn't get on computer until this a.m. Finished one David Robicheaux novel (main character) and also one book by Harlen Cohen. Thanks Pam, for suggesting those! Am now on second Harlen Cohen novel, as I got a deal on a "two-fer" from Amazon.

Off to look up one of our book club books, by Gin Phillips. Title escapes me at the moment. Susan McCarthy said she was Eudora Welty-like in her writing so that is intriguing to me!

Hopefully I can get on computer again later today so I can report in.

Love,
Penny

Pandora, pandora....send Mr. Jobim right over!

Ahhhh, yes. Pandora on my iPhone did make for a pleasant afternoon yesterday! Thanks, MK for helping Meme and me out!

I did a Diana Krall channel and caught lots of faves that way--Michael Buble, Ella Fitzgerald, Norah Jones all appeared on the DK station.

But....for total drifting away I put on my Carlos Jobim channel. Totally in love with this Brazilian composer. Anything he writes, sung by anyone, I love. For example, I just discovered this version of my favorite Jobim song, Corcovado (Quiet Nights) sung by Queen Latifah.

I LOVE Queen Latifah and this is a really nice version! After hearing her sing with Rod Stewart on his standards cds, I knew she would do great in this genre!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

internet malfunction

The wireless at DCH is not allowing mom's laptop to connect...hence no blogs from her today...

I've encouraged her to post from her mini-laptop (iPhone) so hopefully she will. I downloaded Pandora on both Mom and Meme's iPhones today, so I imagine they are both lounging in room 221, feet kicked up, white cords from both ears, resting their eyes to Michael Buble, Diana Krall or even the Police*- as Meme requested.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

still no net......


Sorry, folks, Short and sweet will have to for the moment.

Not awake enough to gauge how i'm feeling this morning. Waiting to get blood drawn
out of my Groshong port so we'll know the "lay of the land" today. Will probably need platelets for sure.

They just brought me some coffee so let me go get a sip or three.

Back later.

Love,
Penny

Love, Penny

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 1, 2010

Vampires and chemo........

Got my blood yesterday but didn't take that walk. I will make up for it today and take two walks. I stayed in bed while I got my blood....my bed was very toasty and warm and felt very nice....and did get up to eat but crawled back in the bed for the rest of the evening.

Getting blood always makes me think of being a vampire....I understand them (fictional though they are) so much better now!

This might be TMI for some of you, others might be interested so I thought I would at least share (and clarify) what I'm facing chemo-wise for the next several months. Ummm, make that next couple of years.

My most intensive chemo, meaning I go to the Cancer Treatment Center, will run through the end of May. Some weeks, it is a couple of times, other weeks, four times a week. Those four day weeks usually involve just a couple of shots, so it isn't like I'm sitting there for some long infusion. Plus, once we discovered that scheduling the shots for 1:00 means easier parking, and more "in and out" and back home again, it isn't so bad to think about. The only thing that throws that off is if I need blood. THEN the fun begins! A short trip becomes a long afternoon.

In March I will have 12 days of radiation on my brain, a preventative sort of treatment.

I will have a period, in April, where I will go once a week for an infusion as well as a treatment I receive through my spine. The first time I had to do the spinal thing, I was a nervous WRECK. Now that I know what it is like, it won't be so bad. Plus, the room is really warm and feels good and the radiologist that did it the first time had a very soothing voice. It's the little things, folks, that can make a HUGE difference.

Then, starting in June, I go to a once a month visits at CTC. These will continue for two years after my initial diagnosis, so we're looking at December, 2012 as an ending date. This, of course, is assuming that I behave and that the chemo is kicking ass and that I haven't relapsed or something.

All of this is accompanied by oral chemo that I will be taking but at least I, and now you, know sort of how my life is scheduled out.





Also, got my sleeping meds an hour early and it made a HUGE difference to get an extra hour of good sleep before the shift change and the activities that surround that....temp, blood pressure, etc. I just keep my sleep mask on and hold out my arm now....it is great!

Peace out!

Love,
Penny

Sunday, January 31, 2010

In just a fortnight......

There will be an auction on ebay for a FABULOUS decorative tree filled with handmade ornaments made in my honor by my PFATT sisters!

No, no, PFATT doesn't mean FAT. It stands for Primitive Folk Art Tea & Talk, an ebay group of PFABULOUS artists. I'm very proud to say that I am part of that group!

They have come together, members donating their time and talent, to create the beautiful ornaments that adorn the tree. It would make a PERFECT Valentine's decoration in your home, though it is not limited to a "heart" theme. It includes a monkey, lots of ladybugs, and other kinds of delicious things with lots of red and white and black and white polka dots.

Very Penny.

All the proceeds from the auction are being donated to the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society.

I believe the auction starts on February 14 but will keep you updated. In the meanwhile, please visit the Pfatt Blog to see a slide show of the tree and some of the 30 ornaments that will adorn it. It is mind boggling!


Why?.....

I thought I would try to answer a little more in depth about why I've been gone from the blog for so long.

As I said in my last post, my mind has really been in a mental pinball machine....bouncing around, landing in one slot or the other, then slowly rolling to the bottom, the operator not caring how many points she was losing.

Every once in a while she'd attempt to get back into the game, but it was just too hard. Too much mental effort, sometimes too much physical effort. She was not playing a "mean pinball."

Low blood will do that to you.....and that is what I've been struggling with. Even today, I realized I REALLY wanted to stay in the bed, after doing all that walking and sitting up yesterday.

Sure enough, my blood was as low as the day I was admitted, so will be getting two units today. Will be feeling perky enough to take another walk this afternoon. It is AMAZING how quickly a blood transfusion will turn your energy level around!

Part of me has also been like Greta Garbo...."I vant to be alone." Again, so I can sort through the mental but also deal with some of the OTHER physical things that have been happening to me as a result of the chemo. My first really "negative" effects. It is hard to want to be around folks when you feel like you have to suddenly jump up and run off to the bathroom, hoping you'll make it in time.

I also used this time to really fall in LOVE with my Kindle. (And yes, I know the iPad just came out but I'm not lusting after that, YET). I was able to get a giant David Baldacci "fix" by downloading three of his books I had not read: True Blue, First Family, and Last Man Standing and then devour them. Ahhhhhhh......it was like a giant brain enema. Sorry, I know that sounds gross, but getting involved in the seedy underbelly of Washington, DC and surrounding areas, with some strong kick ass women characters was just what I needed. Plus, part of First Family is set in Alabama, so that was kind of fun, too.

As for all the unanswered emails, I can only apologize for that. I had days when I never picked up my computer. I just didn't want to be overwhelmed. Sometimes I would open the computer, only to close it up. I think I had one day, out of all the days I was home, that I even felt like reading emails and responding to some of them. So it isn't/wasn't YOU, email writers, facebook messagers. It was ME. Trying to cope the best way I could.

I'm having to deal with the fact that I really have a LONG road ahead. I know because I put my whole chemo schedule into my iPhone calendar yesterday. I got it up to December 2010 and stopped because I didn't think I could bear to continue on for the 24 months AFTER 2010 that I will be taking a treatment at least once a month, barring any unforseen happenings.

Speaking of treatments, another large part of this last month has been getting used to going to the Cancer Center. Some days it is a piece of cake. Other days, it can be long and drawn out, depending on whether I need blood or not. Then, there's the getting ready to go, going, waiting, getting treatment, coming home, or, like my last trip, being admitted to the hospital from there. It is always a surprise. It can be wearing on the soul and the body for the patient and the person who takes me, which has been Jonathan, for the most part.

And lastly, whether in a fit of just feeling "pissy" or jealous or something, I got mad yesterday at the fact that I cannot take off this "leukemia" like it was a coat or something and go do something fun, if only for 24 hours. Or, two.

It is with me, 24/7.

It controls me.

I am not in control.

And it sucks.

So, if one day you ask "Is there anything you need? Anything I can do?" and I reply, "Yeah, you can switch places with me this week", just know it isn't directed at you.

I'm just jealousssssss.

If you don't get the sentence above, maybe this clip will help. I love me some Napoleon Dynamite!

'Ears to ya!.....or how I thought I was at Disneyworld for a minute...


One thing that has now been fully revealed to the world, since I'm now bald, is that my ears stick out somewhat. Ok, maybe more than "somewhat" but not like my mom's ears. That's not being mean, it is just the truth. Plus, I had to get my ears from somebody, didn't I?

They stick out enough that when I was little and she would give me a bath and pull my hair up in the shampoo suds that I was a dead ringer for Dopey. Yes, that Dopey, of the seven dwarves, Dopey.

She even had (still has) this old plastic bath toy of Dopey that used to sit on the tub on a rubber suction cup. I loved it.

So, I'm getting in the shower at the hospital, the warming light is on in the bathroom and when I move a little bit in one direction, there appears this shadow. Of Dopey.

"What the hell?" I'm thinking.....and then realize that the shadow is of MY head. NOT Dopey!

I think it might be time for me to start on a serious search for a wig!

I'm sorry I've been absent from blogland for so long. It has been a mental and physical thing for me.

Part of me has been bouncing around in a mental pinball machine. What do I do now? How do I act? How am I supposed to "be"?

I'm certainly not the same person who many of you saw in the hospital before...like Mark McGuire, I was hepped up on steroids. Manic. Driven. In denial. Feeling like there wasn't anything I couldn't do or accomplish. "Leukemia" seemed to be just a word, not a disease. I didn't feel bad, I didn't feel "sick". I actually felt better than I had in YEARS. Thanks, steroids.

Coming off those, as you've read, was HORRIBLE.

So I guess I'm now in phase "two" of the "new normal".

Learning to cope.

Love,
Penny






Saturday, January 30, 2010

Had A Good Morning

Penny had a good morning today. Doctor Dubay came by. Penny talked a mile a minute while he was there. He wants her to get up, sit in a chair, put on a mask and walk up and down the 2nd floor hall. So that's what we did.

Once home, the doc wants Penny to do what she would normally do when she's at home. If she gets tired, just quit what she's doing and rest. That's not quite the same as "rest when you feel bad, and rest when you feel good". I didn't think to mention that to the doc when he was there. Then again, Penny was utilizing every second he was there to tell him how she felt and ask him questions, so even had I thought to ask, I'm not sure I would have been able to get in on the conversation.

She requested Chinese from Swen again. Ate about a third of it.

Jonathan

Friday, January 29, 2010

Let Me Rephrase That!

I spent the morning with Penny, and Meme arrived around lunch time.

Friday

I spent the morning with Penny, then her mama. I think Mary-Keeley popped in on her way back to work. Not sure about the afternoon and evening...I had to work.

Penny was so-so this morning. Not terrible, not good. Somewhere in that middle ground. She passed on ordering lunch while I was there. Maybe she changed her mind and ordered something later. Don't know about dinner.

I just got in from working and I don't have a whole lot more I can give you tonight.

Jonathan


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday

Meme spent most of the day with Penny today. Plus, the girls came out and had lunch with her. They were having a grand 'ol time when I arrived as they were all three snarfing down some pretty delicious food from The Patio...the eatin' place downstairs at DCH. I was just back from Mississippi, so I joined Meme downstairs for lunch while the Katie, Mary-Keeley, and Penny ate and laughed.

All in all a very good day for Penny. Under her direction, Meme and the girls spruced the place up a bit. Putting this and that where it goes. Penny should be a hospital room designer. One thing is for sure, she wants her stuff where she wants her stuff. Now that's my Penny.

I wasn't with Penny for a long time today, but Meme says the new room, sunlight, bathing, dressing, reading her Kindle, good food, laughter, children, very handsome husband, visits from Jim Woodson and Catherine Collier from Christ Episcopal Church, made for a good day in room 221... featuring Penny Lamont McAllister.

Jonathan

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Penny' Day

Penny's mom, Joyce (Meme), spent almost the entire day with Penny, as the girls and I all had to work. She should be posting, but since she doesn't know how, I'll do it for her. Meme is gettin' pretty good with her new iPhone. Although she said she had been texting me all day with updates, only to find out she had programmed into her phone an incorrect phone number for my cell. I wonder who received all those texts?

Penny had a slight fever from the moment we checked into the hospital yesterday until late this afternoon, and has been cold, no matter how many blankets are pilled on top of her. She moved from a north facing room to a south facing room this afternoon and likes it a lot better. Sun, sun, sun...and a better view. Not that she's jumping up to look out the window. Anyway, she was feeling much better by the time I arrived around 5:00. Not great, mind you, but better.

She was to get blood this evening, and of course they have been continuing with the scheduled chemo treatments. One more tomorrow, and that's it for the week.

We march on.

Jonathan


Our special boy

"momma, I will stay here and keep the couch warm for you until you get to come home and play wiff me". Love, Henry

"mommma, I will be sure to keep up with my tricks and I'll show you when you get home." love, Ollie







Peace. MK.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Some pictures!

From her first day home January 2. For your viewing pleasure. Looking goooood!!








Peace. MK.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

All Settled In

Penny is all settled in at DCH. She has all her favorite blankets, pillows, and the three sets of plastic 'shelf looking things' containing tons of girl stuff.

She wasn't feeling all that great when I left her, but she knows she is in good hands on 2nd floor DCH.

I've got to work the next couple of days, so maybe one of my beautiful daughters will keep you guys informed for a while.

Jonathan


Back To Hospital

At cancer center now. Just found out we're going back to DCH hospital for probably 10 days or so. Dr. feels there's no point in sending Penny home at this point. Better to keep an eye on her 24/7 for now.

More later.

Jonathan

Monday, January 25, 2010

Visit With Doctor Hinton

We spent from 9:00 'til 4:45 at the cancer center today. We met with Dr. Hinton, got chemo, and a pint of blood. Doesn't seem like that would take so long, does it? But it does.

There was a nice gentleman, with his wife, next to us today. It was obvious it was his first day at the cancer center. The DCH cancer center staff were so nice to them, taking all the time necessary to explain what's taking place, etc., just as they continue to be with Penny. They are wonderful.

Dr. Hinton said we are entering a phase in Penny's treatment where she will be particularly susceptible to infection and fever. We are to even more tightly restrict visitors at home to protect her from whatever might walk though the door, and we are to monitor her temp very closely. We are back on antibiotics, just to be safe. He also warned us to not be surprised if he orders us back to DCH hospital for a few days at some point this week. Better to have Penny under twenty four hour care at DCH if she catches something and her temp begins escalating. I agree with the doctor. And Penny understands fully and is quite prepared to return if need be.

I asked Dr. Hinton if things were going according to plan with Penny. His response was everything is just fine. She's responding exactly as he expected. So, we're right on track with this damn disease and the treatment. So far, so good.

Penny rarely checks her MacBook these days, but every once in a while she asks for it. So keep sending your love, even if you aren't getting a reply. In fact, I caught her checking her email just yesterday morning.

Jonathan


Sunday, January 24, 2010

See Doctor Tomorrow

Over eight hours of sleep last night. Chemically induced.

Weak this morning. Ate a little left over Chinese with the girls. More rest. Then Penny's mama came over with roast pork, squash, peas, and rice. Penny ate at the kitchen table with us and loved it. Then immediately back on the sofa, and quickly back to her bed.

My question for Dr. Hinton tomorrow will be, "How's she doing, Doc? Is this plan doing what you want it to do?"

Yours truly,
The Husband

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sorry. It's Me Again. The Husband

Penny had a good day today. Spent the morning on the sofa reading her Kindle. Wanted Chinese for lunch, but didn't eat much.

She actually got about 4 1/2 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night! That's a good sign. Tonight we're going for more!

Watched a movie this afternoon (500 Days of Summer...or something like that). Had a nice bath, got her legs shaved (ooo--la-la), and completely lotioned up. It was like we were on a date!

Sorry you guys have been stuck with my posts these last few days. She had the computer in her lap today, but...

Jonathan

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Phone Call

Penny got the last for four shots today...for this week. A giant thanks to her mama for taking her.

Penny is still very tired almost all day. And she's not her usual scrappy self. (The girls and I can get away with almost anything we want.)

Then, a cancer survivor friend of hers calls to pick up her spirits. I couldn't hear the conversation, but Penny seemed much better afterwards. A huge, huge thanks for that call.

The doctors have a plan, and we're following it. But geeeezzzz...




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Penny's Day

Penny spent the morning at home with her mom watching over her. Ate a bit, but mostly trying to sleep in her bed after a not so restful night. Not sure why, but she just couldn't sleep much last night.

I took over around lunch, and we had a rather uneventful afternoon. Then the cancer center called about 4:00 PM and asked why we had not shown up for her SHOT. Turns out the 'check out' counter did not have Penny's shots for Wednesday and Thursday on their calendar, so when we checked out yesterday we were told not to return until the 25th. Both Penny and I mentioned that we thought she was to have four shots this week, Mon - Thurs. "Can you double check please"?

Anyway, instead of a bath, we piled in the car and headed to the cancer center for her shot. The nurses apologized, we got her shot, and headed back home. Now she's had a hot bath and is curled up on the sofa with two Bichons.

There are too many people to thank for the wonderful food that constantly streams to our home, so please know that we love and appreciate every bit of it. And for those of you outside the deep south, when someone is sick down here, people bring FOOD. Last night we had fresh gumbo from the gulf coast. And this afternoon a wonderful neighbor brought over a cheesecake. That just might be dinner tonight. Cheesecake!!

I'm sure Penny will be posting again real soon. I'm nudging her in that direction. Ever so gently.
Be patient.

Jonathan

Jonathan

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'd say a good day!

Penny was up before me today, sitting in the den, with a cup of coffee in her hand! Wow! But by the time we left for treatment she was giving out of steam.

Got more blood today, more chemo, and then a spinal. EEeeewwwww...

Much stronger tonight, thank goodness. We've been told to 'rest when you feel bad, and rest when you feel good'.

We go back on the 25th. Until then, home meds, and rest.

What wonderful friends we have. Love to all of you.

Jonathan

Monday, January 18, 2010

Quite a day...

Practically all day at the cancer center. Penny was exhausted, so they gave her a room away from the other's receiving chemo. Complete with bed! Thank God.

Platelets were up, so she could receive chemo, but she needed blood, had a fever, and has some kind of infection that a blood test will identify in TWO days. Hell, I can fly to Europe and back in two days.

Anyway, we're back on antibiotics. It's getting difficult to keep the pill bottles in one bowl.

Now we're home, fever is down, and she's sleeping like a baby.

Jonathan

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday

Hi all.

Mom has had a relaxing day. She is looking and feeling better everyday, drastically different than this time last week. She's having Saltines and watching Golden Globes red carpet on E!

Mom has a regular checkup at the Cancer Center tomorrow morning and a spinal tap in the afternoon. Ouchhhhhhie!

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers, keep it up and remember to give thanks, everyday!! Lots of lurrvvvvvv-




Peace. MK.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Hangover

I came home for lunch today to find Mom still in the bed, curtains closed and lights off. She has been feeling really crappy lately from what we are calling "Prednisone Withdrawls"-not fun my friends. Imagine how you would feel after a month long Spring Break on Bourbon Street? Yeah-that pretty much sums it up. Think the WORST hangover you have ever had times a million. We have all been there. Yuck.

After she smelled the delicious aroma of Chicken and Rice Casserole (thanks Paula Q.!), Mom decided that she might want to get up and eat something. Not having enough energy to make it to the kitchen to eat with us, we made her up a "Princess Tray" filled with yummy food-all topped off with a piece of Red Velvet Cake. This made her happy. After a delicious lunch, time for meds. Then back to sleep.

I have been reading a lot about this so called "Predinsone Withdrawl" and have learned that it may take a while for her to be feeling like her old self. We appreciate all the thoughts, prayers and DELICIOUS goodies-but, for now-need to keep the visiting hours to a minimum (pretty much only family).

MK, Dad and I will be trying to keep you all updated as much as possible. Mom has an appointment at the Cancer Center on Monday. Hopefully they can help us get her back to her old self!

Love, Katie

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Not Quite Heath Ledger

Penny's words exactly,

"I feel like a wilted collard leaf."

She's really been feeling tired, sore, exhausted, outta breath, etc. the past few days and wanted me to let you all know that she's sorry for the few and far between posts.

Mama is back to bed for now, resting her eyes. She tried the couch for a while this morning, but now she's retired to her bedroom. No lunch yet, but we'll keep you all updated for the next few days!

Love,
MK


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Learning best laid plans of Doctors and patients...

Can change with a blo0d draw.

All the fun has been put off until next week!

Today is Dr. Day.....

Yet another first.

Will they take blood and determine that I need some? (I feel like I do)

Will my yucky lethargy just be part of the prednisone withdrawl?

What will I find out?

Stay tuned and I'll let you know.

But I sure hope I can get to the furniture store to look at some new chairs.

Shopping, always a woman's priority!

Love,
Penny

Monday, January 11, 2010

One month ago, today......

I woke up in the hospital, having been admitted the night before.

The male nurse that checked us in on the 10th thought I was in for a chemo treatment.

"Ummmm, no, I was just diagnosed with ALL about 45 minutes ago."

And then, that wonderful nurse, Jeremy, proceeded to educate us about the three kinds of leukemia
(Chronic, ALL, AML--all with odd little variations of their own).

And when I say WONDERFUL, Jeremy, like EVERY OTHER NURSE on 2 South, is WONDERFUL.

When it was time to leave his shift, he said, in the kindest voice, "I hope that when I come back at the end of the week, you won't be here." Meaning, I would have the Chronic kind, treatable at home with pills.

Later in the week, when his 11-7 shift started, he walked into the room.

"Umm, Hi, Jeremy....."

But that was ok, because he is such a caring nurse.

And he is from Texas.

And we beat them!


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Like Elvis, the Prednisone has left the building.......

No aches. Just general lethargy, tiredness.

No wonder the athletes are addicted to this stuff.

Off for a nap.

Love,
Penny

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Triskaidekaphobia.....NOT in My vocabulary! Don't have it, never will!




Slept in. Like REALLY slept. NICE

13 13 13 13 13 13


Still basking in the glow of our 13th National Championship. Can't help it.
Grew up here, went to U of A, have never been far from the shadow of Denny Chimes.
Watched Tuscaloosa High School football games played in Denny Stadium, on off weeks for Bama.
Taught at a school that stood in the shadows of that same stadium, until it was torn down to widen the road that takes you straight to our very on Glory Land.

Loved that last night, when the team arrived, the temp was 20 but with wind chill factors, it felt like 13 degrees. People, is that perfect or what? And all those fans that were out there didn't care. They just wanted to show their love, and they did.

I would have linked to the Wikipedia article on

Triskaidekaphobia


but for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I have hidden something on my tool bar and have not figured out how to restore it so I can link easily back to the URL. Perhaps this will make you happy, since I like to send you on "rabbit hunts"

Suffice it to say, that in 1881, some prominent businessman decided to put an end to the superstitions surrounding the number 13 for formed a club called the "Thirteen Club". They sprang up all over the place at the time but then died out.

Ben, don't you think it is time for a revival of this sort?

Love,
Penny


Friday, January 8, 2010

OOOOH, I'm liking this red background......

It may stay this way for a while.

Power. Life. Red.

I hope Miss Terry is singing this to Nick this morning!

Because I sure feel this way, as I imagine the rest of the Bama Nation does!

And ladies of a certain age.....did we really think we were THAT cute when we wore these clothes?

Yes, probably.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Or Perhaps We Won.....

Because of my snazzy game day outfit!!!!!

13, baby, 13




Love, Penny

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Ready to ROLL over Texas!

Ready for the game!!! So are my lucky elephants!

Give 'em hell, Alabama!!!


Love, Penny

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Color change for today.....

Roll, TIDE, Roll!

Hook those Horns and pitch em into the Pacific.


Gonna be an Eeyore sort of day.....or weekend...

That's the REAL ORIGINAL Eeyore on the left.

He, Pooh, Piglet, Roo, Kanga, and Tigger all now live in the New York Public Library

It will ge an Eeyore kind of weekend for me. I hope you understand.

I am going to try to sleep, except during the game, of course.

Then, I will move like molasses.

Lastly, I will have to learn to say "No, not a good time right now".

This last week has really caught up with me and now I'm paying for it.

Hope you understand.

Emails or Facebook messages welcome as I can get to them when I'm feeling better.

Please save your minutes on calls.

Love to all,
Penny aka Eeyore.



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

People have been so kind.....

And I know I have been been late in mentioning names, gifts, flowers, cards and more that I've been blessed to receive. I've been keeping a list.

Jonathan's checking it twice.

I have to stop for a minute to talk about a most timely gift that arrived yesterday from Janet Crowder and Phyllis Ward.

Though I never taught with Janet or Phyllis, per se, I've known them for years. I did have Rachel and Zach Ward at Verner when I was in the library. Janet has been and excellent teacher in the system for years and they both made the American Studies program at the Tuscaloosa City School system an outstanding one.

A knock on the door and in walks Janet, with JUST the perfect thing at the PERFECT time!
An extra large African made straw basket, huge red/straw stripes. My eyes bugged out at the pattern.

Then, I realized it was the perfect gift for me to carry my things I want/need to do, but might need to move to another room to do them...my computer, phone, new magazines/catalogs, notebook, and other things. PERFECT in every way!

Thank you Janet and Phyllis....and for the sweet notes in the card.

Love,
Penny

P.S. Will get a picture up ASAP. This basket SCREAMS Penny!
y

OK, I TOLD you I needed to chat this morning!

Yes, you've seen this picture before.....

I have GREAT NEWS from the import company I design Christmas items for!

If you made it through this post about my association with Midwest of Cannon Falls, then you may have noticed that I had wanted to join with them in donating a portion of the profits earned from the sales of the 2010 Christmas items to the Lymphoma/Leukemia society for research in the field.

They called yesterday and we have come to an agreement to let this happen!

I am SO excited!

They will announce this to their sales team today, at America's Mart in Atlanta, as the gift show before they open the doors to their appointments. (They are also very excited about the fact that they have an increased number of appointments over last year at this time, so maybe things are ready for a real turn around! Let's keep our fingers crossed!)

Later we will work out packaging, info on sales tags, etc., that will let shoppers like you know that if you are purchasing a product designed by me you are helping provide money for research in the field of adult lymphoma/leukemia!

I am proud to be part of this company. They have treated me like family for years.

I hope that everyone will look back at the former post and think JUST HOW STINKIN' CUTE your kitchen will be decked out in gingerbread folks next year!

AND please, haunt your local gift shops and department stores and ask them to order this line for their stores!

Please feel free to forward this blog to ANYONE you know who owns a store, is a buyer, or who might be interested in helping with this cause!

Thank you, so much!
Love,
Penny

Saddened to learn......

That a brilliant young man, Walter Braswell, had passed away suddenly. I remember when Walter worked for Claude Harris, a former assistant DA while my first husband worked in the DA's office.

Claude was a fine, funny, and wonderful guy. Walter would have had to have been to have worked so closely with Claude.

Walter was 55. I am 56. I've known so many great folks who've gone before they're 60. We all must take better care of ourselves and not ignore things that we think are wrong. I know we can't prevent the inevitable, but I've really learned about "paying attention" to things.

Also, very saddened to learn that the great-grandfather, grandfather, father and father-in-law to my good friends Rick and Liz Pearce, children Davis, Libbo, Maggie, and great grandchildren had passed away on Monday.

Liz had just visited me the Sunday before after checking on her father in law who was having stints put in. Jonathan saw Rick as we were leaving the hospital as Rick was going in to check on his dad. I wonder if Rick learned to dance by watching his Dad dance with his mother? If he did, he had a MIGHTY lucky mother!

My heart and love go out to both of these families who are suffering though such a sad time right now.

Please know I love you, am praying for both families and will try to do what I can while being sort of stuck here at the house.

Love,
Penny

From a post on Four-O-Clocks, to 4:00 a.m. Wednesday to Poppies?????

Wow. Woke up this morning on the old hospital routine. Brain a' racing, needing some coffee. Needing to talk but Jonathan is still asleep so I'll have to let my fingers do the talking, to play off the old Yellow Pages ad.

Plus, I think the coffee maker just beeped, so if you'll excuse me for just a minute while I grab a cup of java, maybe I can put together some coherent sentences.

Ah, yes....coffee in my red dotted mug AND the surprise of remembering that Sue Blanton Giamo had brought over some Krispy Kreme doughnuts yesterday. You better be prepared. It may be a prednisone, sugar rush, caffeine rich post!

Ok, so I got off on gardening again. I still have big plans and like I said last yesterday, the crazy stuff I did....trying to get out before the Thursday trash trucks picked up the organic gold I could get for free...have begun to pay off.

At the moment I am eyeing a pile of crepe myrtle stems that have been taken off a tree around the corner, because they make great plant stakes. It is too cold at 17 degrees to even think about it right now.....but who knows about later today!

My haybale experiment wasn't the same as the one in the link, because I used mine for making raised beds, in which to contain all the stuff I was collecting, as well as wanting to try the Ruth Stout method.

I had been impressed with lasagna style gardening which actually is a variation of the Ruth Stout method. As I read about Ruth Stout, I realized she had really made gardening EASY. AND she was doing it when she WAS OLD!!!!

Mulch with hay/straw. Keep weeds down. Keep plants moist. They grow. EASY PEASY. And it is!

I also want to point you to a blog by my old friend, William Kruidenier. He is an intensely interesting and fascinating person whom I had the good fortune of meeting nearly 40 years ago.

His interest in organic food growing, vegetarianism, and other political interests that have to do with these issues is deep and powerful. In an older part of his blog, William Kruidenier, he has great pictures of his and or his son's haybale garden, where they got an early start last spring to have some incredibly beautiful vegetables.

William told me that his interest in healthy food grew in part from watching his parents suffer from chronic diseases which may possibly have been prevented by better diets. I have seen this same phenomena with myself, when I was following a GOOD eating plan, as well as watching others around me suffer with stuff could be prevented by just eating better.

OMG. I just realized I was a hypocrite because I admitted to eating a KK doughnut before typing this post.

But, I don't live off of them. Please forgive.

From food to plants again. This time poppy seeds.

Many of my readers may make and enjoy the famous "Poppy Seed Chicken" recipe from our great Winning Season's cookbook. Vegetarians and vegans won't find much in it but it is filled with some DAMN good recipes.

Anywhoo...back to poppy seeds. I also make a pretty good poppy seed pound cake. Actually if it more like one of those Sandra Lee things...not from scratch but Simply Homemade, or whatever the name of her show is. Cakes from scratch have always frustrated me.

But this isn't really about poppy seeds to eat, but delighting in looking at that TEENY TINY seed and realizing the power and might that lays within that tiny black thing.

The color, the magnificent varieties of poppies that spring from a seed so tiny that you just barely have to scratch the dirt in the spring (fall for us), throw the poppy seeds on the ground, lightly press
and keep moist a bit.

In the spring you are rewarded with such beauty that you can't believe it. HUGE flowers, incredible colors. I'm partial to the red/orange ones with black centers, though I love them all.

The petals fall, the seed heads are left. It is tempting to rip them up before they seed heads dry because they aren't that pretty. Better to throw in some zinnia seeds to let them sort of cover up the old poppy seed heads.

But when they are dried, those pods, each of which sprang from ONE TINY SEED are now filled with HUNDREDS or THOUSANDS of seeds, which you just have to shake into a bag and start over again the next year.

You will NOT be sorry.

I will leave you with another Secret Life of Plants video that is very meaningful to me. Please don't think it morbid.





Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Terrific Tuesday!



Lasr week, at this time, I thought I'd be in the hospital for two more weeks, if not more.

Toward the end of the week, I thought I might be going home today.

Then, suddenly, I was home, on Saturday!

My, how time as flown!

Getting adjusted back to home life has, as I've already indicated, been wonderful.

The days are passing quickly and I'm trying to do a little more each day.

A load of laundry. Fix a recipe. Enjoy visits from friends old and new.

Chatter on email. Sit and rest when I need to. Enjoy being told to sit and rest.

Try to pick out a new sofa, because I think i've gotten all the use I can out of a 30 year old treasure.

Seeing my family at lunch, when the girls, Jonathan, and Mama are here.

Each day is like a beautiful present to unwrap!

Oh, and the seed catalogs have started to arrive and I'm having tons of fun circling all the things i want to get.

Note: That i WANT to get. Doesn't mean I will, but there are some darn pretty four-o-clocks in a watermelon color
that I've never seen before. I think I WILL get those!

I love old fashioned smell good flowers that bloom late in the afternoon in the summer.

Last year after my big plans of 'the garden of the century" went to hell in a handbag, I did AT LEAST manage to do one thing right.

I would go out in February and get everyone's first grass clippings/last of the leaves that were shredded and bag them up.
My neighbors thought I was nuts. Jonathan thought i was nuts.

I filled haybale lined "raised beds" to the top with over 80 bags of this treasure.

I now have the happiest earthworms EVER and will not have to use a shovel this year.

If I see ANYONE in my neighborhood grabbing this organic gold I will SHOOT you, unless, that is, you want to drop it off at my house.

Then I will kiss you.

Love,
Penny