JusJoJan Catch Up

I attempted to write a blog post again last night. Once again, I was unable to see anything under the My Sites column. I was unable to write in classic editor. By 1 AM, I gave up.

Last night was a bad night. Acid reflux and nausea were keeping me uncomfortable and awake. This morning I tried again to write and found that if I went into block editor, clicked on the big W, I was taken back to where I could post.

I’ve decided rather than go into the drama surrounding my water leak, I’m going to do a roundup of JusJoJan. This is all a stream so forgive me if it doesn’t flow naturally.

Jan. 19’s word for JustJoJan was ‘complaint’  provided by John. I am very compliant when it comes to following the directions of my doctor’s. I figure they know more than I do, so if I have questions about some protocol, I’ll ask.
I am compliant with the rules of the road. I don’t run yellow lights. I always use my turn signals. I don’t tailgate. I get annoyed with drivers who feel they do not need to be compliant.

Tuba provided Jan. 20’s prompt, ‘phantom’. At one point some of my doctors assumed that my coccyx pain was just a phantom pain. Low and behold, eight months later it is still bothering me. I am grateful that I kept pushing my doctor’s to find out the cause because it led to the discovery of my cancer. There is still no resolution to my coccyx pain.

January 21 – SoCS (“count on it”)  I can count on the universe to throw more and more tumble weeds in my path. On the occasions where there is a concrete block hidden in the middle, I struggle to move the weed out of my way. I still try hard to keep one foot in front of the other. I still fight my way to find some joy. I can count on it being good for me to find happiness.

Kaye brought us Jan. 22’s word, seasonal’. Here in Southern California, we are having what ‘used to be’ seasonal rainstorms. We have been in a serious drought for years so this abundance of rain is very welcomed. I do worry though about the possibility of too much seasonal rain.

Paula supplied the JusJoJan prompt, ‘paintbrush’ for Jan. 23. If I were able to use a paintbrush to illustrate my cancer, it would look like an ugly blob running from my body. It would be smaller and smaller every time I receive a treatment.

Linda gave us the Jan. 24 word, ‘ideal’, which was brought to us by Astrid. In an ideal world, there would be no cancer. There would be no addiction stealing loved ones away. In an ideal world, our pets would live as long as we do. In an ideal world, Covid would not have ever destroyed lives.

Jan 25 was Linda’s One Liner Wednesday.

J-Dub delivered  Jan. 26’s prompt, ‘family’. Family is of the utmost importance to me. You can never have too many people that love you. I am grateful for the friends that are my family and are there for me in numerous ways.

Kim brought us Jan. 27 JusJoJan prompt, ‘amenities’. Someone I care about was explaining about the amenities she has at her infusion center. Happily, hers is not for cancer. Her center looks more like a day spa with free meals provided. The best amenity my cancer infusion center has, is the wonderful staff. I am grateful for my ability to get treated at a cancer center that cares so much.

Linda’s Jan. 28 prompt for SoCS and JusJoJan was ‘throw in the towel’. I am grateful that if, or when I feel like I might want to throw in the towel, my tribe boosts me up. I am in this challenge for the long haul. I have no intention of throwing in the towel. I will make it to a one story house closer to the beach. I will be near my source of joy.

Wendy chose January 29’s JusJoJan prompt, ‘exercise’. Because of my numerous physical challenges, I am unable to do most forms of exercise. I found the perfect solution in my water physical therapy. Once I fractured my ankle, I had to stop. It made me very sad. Now that I have the port in my chest, I cannot go to water therapy. At some point in the future, I will be allowed to submerge my body. As soon as I get the go ahead, I will continue my water exercise that I enjoyed so much.

Dawn supplied Jan. 30’s JusJoJan prompt, ‘canine’. Annie has been a life saver through all my ups and downs. She “reads” my moods to comfort me when needed. I am grateful for her loving care. She is definitely a four-legged member of my tribe.

This post took me much longer than expected. My spouse’s computer is slow and jumpy. But I made it. I checked and an hour ago Linda posted the last JusJoJan prompt. The last prompt is ‘write’. The mere act of writing a blog post is huge for me. It means that I am doing something I enjoy very much. It means I am not in agonizing pain. It means my head is functioning. Writing means that I am still a member of the real world. I am grateful that I have this forum to write and share my thoughts.





JusJoJan ~ No Complaints

Warning: A long post, but a much happier one.

Linda is our host for JusJoJan. For today’s June  18th prompt,  John has provided the prompt of complaint for us today.

Wednesday I had my appointment for my second chemotherapy infusion. Traveling to Pasadena can take 40 minutes to 2+ hours depending on traffic. I was supposed to arrive by 8:10 for an 8:20 appointment. We left at 7 AM. My spouse woke me so I could get dressed while he prepped for our journey. Because I knew better what to pack this time, my bag was ready to go. Unfortunately, the traffic gods were not on our side. There was a terrible accident on the i210. We had planned on going to get a freshly made, right out of the oven bagel, at Goldstein’s before my appointment. There was no reason to complain about the traffic. Everyone in California knows the freeway overlords are in control of our routes. They randomly decide if drivers will make it to their appointments on time. Skipping the bagels would allow us to get to my appointment on time.

My spouse dropped me off and then traveled to get himself a bagel dog. He made no complaints when I requested, he didn’t come this time. He has a cold, and it made no sense for him to expose others. He even joined me in wearing a mask in the car on our drive.

Moments after checking in at the front desk I was taken back for vitals by my oncologist’s nurse. She is amazing. Never have I felt so cared about by a medical professional. She was surprised that I made it to the appointment on time. She had heard about the bad accident on the i210 and expected me to be late. It’s terrific when people understand there are some things that you have no control over.

We discussed my current pain levels. I informed her that I was currently taking no pain meds at all. My tailbone is currently a 3 or 4 on the pain scale. We discussed why I shaved my head. I told her I was tired of finding my wayward hair on the couch, on the bed, on my clothes, and all over the floor. (Just as I never complain about cleaning up Annie’s hair, I shouldn’t complain about picking up mine. But mine annoyed me.) The nurse is a cancer survivor. I openly talked about the pain I was feeling on my scalp every time I laid my head on any surface. She had also suffered the same discomfort. Each of us had the same experience that once we shaved our heads, the skull pain ceased. We discussed head coverings and the site where I purchased a few. She had used the same site.  She was very encouraging about my improvement since my last visit. It was great to hear.

My oncologist came in right after the nurse departed. I was pleasantly surprised at her early starting hours. We discussed every question I had listed on my phone as well as the new protocols for the coming treatment. She informed me of which nausea med to start with and why. We talked about the head pain and lack of scalp sensitivity. As usual, I felt heard. I talked about the spasms I had last time. We are both hoping this time, I won’t be in the 8’s and 9’s. I told her about my acupuncture/chiropractic appointment I went to on Monday. I was grateful for her openness about my tribe member. She stated that even though there was no empirical evidence for acupuncture, she had patients that felt it helped them a great deal. I told her that even if I only had a 40% decrease in pain due to the placebo effect, I’d take it. She wanted to know if I felt the need to have a follow up visit post my infusion this time. I was confident that I did not need one. She agreed but said I could call anytime and come in as needed.  After our lengthy discussion, she walked me over to the infusion department. I have zero complaints about each interaction I have had with my oncologist.

Much to my surprise, the infusion lab nurse had a terrible cold. She stated the obvious, before explaining that she followed all medical protocols with protective gear. I won’t say I was totally comfortable with her being ill, but if the hospital is OK, I guess I should be.

The nurse clarified all the possible side effects of the meds I would receive before the infusion. She explained that she will do this before every treatment. To be honest, I do not recall her stating this on the last visit. I was so focused on the possible side effects of the chemo; I didn’t recall anything about the other meds. I was also in a great deal of pain last time.

We began with her giving me a pain shot in my arm to help with my tailbone . The doctor had informed me that because I would be sitting in the chair for hours, I needed help with the pain that would be caused. Then came one, two, three different pre-chemo meds. As soon as she started the Benadryl, I began to feel loopy. I could feel the medicine traveling through my veins. The nurse and I were having an ongoing conversation through all of this. Once the Benadryl was in my system, I told the nurse I was very loopy. She told me she was aware of that.

My nurse asked if I had eaten something light before the treatment. I explained the traffic issue prohibited my doing so. She was aware of the i210 traffic jam. I told her I had graham crackers in my bag, but I sure would like a Chick-fil-A breakfast sandwich. She wondered why my spouse had not come in with me. I told her about his cold. She said I should call him and have him bring me my Chick-fil-A. Instead of doing so, I sank back in the chair, got as comfortable as I could, and drifted off. Shortly after that, two nurses came in to administer the chemo drugs. The proper protocol when the chemo is injected is to have two nurses present. Once they departed, I feel back asleep for a few hours. There had been nurses in and out while I dozed. I could tell because things had arrived that weren’t there before.

When I awoke again, I decided to listen to my Audible book on the biography of Robin Williams. I was sure I was capable of comprehending the material. I decided to call my spouse to request my chicken on a biscuit. I also asked him to bring up my neck pillow that he thought I might need, from his car. When he arrived, I was ravenous for something other than graham crackers. (Note to self, bring something more to munch on.) I will bring some organic baby carrots and celery sticks next time. The small peppermint dark chocolate I brought would have to wait until after I ate something real.

My spouse arrived with food which made my brain clear up immediately. The nurse came in and changed the med bag once again. She was happy to see me eating something I wanted. Her statement went something like, you should eat anything that appeals to you right now. Of course, she then added, within reason. I chuckled at that. I warned my spouse that I was traveling through states of awake and asleep quite often. He was fine with it. He played solitaire as I repeatedly drifted off and then snored myself awake. I’m sure glad no one was filming me.

My day was long, but I felt very hopeful. To get as comfortable as I could, I laid in the backseat on the drive home. My spouse took streets instead of the freeway for most of the drive. I drifted off again several times. Each time I woke up, I asked where we were. I was convinced I had been asleep for hours and hours. We made it home around five-thirty.

As soon as we got home, I made myself some soup and toast. I decided against split pea just in case I start vomiting tomorrow. That is not something you want to see coming back up. (Even though I never saw the Exorcist movie, I did unfortunately see that scene.) I forced myself to stay awake after eating dinner. I was worried about not sleeping at night. I wrapped up the gifts for Z3’s birthday tomorrow. My spouse will deliver them after school. I can’t make the four hour round trip with the shape my tailbone is still in. I am confidant that there will be less trauma to my body this time. I am doing my best to deal with all I need to do win this battle.

I have plans for my future.


JusJoJan ~ Hyphenated

Linda says, “Your prompt for JusJoJan, January 17th 2023, is “hyphenated” Use the word “hyphenated” any way you’d like. Have fun writing!” The prompt was provided by Sally.

When I first started teaching language arts many years ago, the main reason to use a hyphen was when you divided a word at the end of a sentence, between syllables. The words only became hyphenated because of the spacing. Mind you, this was before computers. 

Then came the kids with hyphened last names. The difficulty for the teacher was the fact that the attendance sheets did not have room for the entire hyphenated last name. This meant that the name on the roll sheet, was not the name the child went by.  It caused a lot of confusion. I remember calling a name and no one responding. I felt really bad for the child with two extremely long last names. In the lower elementary classes, first through fourth grades, many of the students were just as confused as I was.

By the time I got to middle school we had exactly ONE computer on campus. Years later, when each teacher had their own computers, I would print out the roll sheet. I would ask my pupils what name they wanted to go by. That included the first and the last name. I had no problem calling my kids by their nicknames. I was fortunate enough to never get a wise a** name thrown at me. I did have a few occasions where the parents were unaware of the name their child chose to use at school. Sometimes the kids used their middle name, which surprised the adults in their lives.

The easiest rule to teach was to always use a hyphen with compound numbers between twenty-one through ninety-nine, and when writing fractions as words fifty-six, two-thirds

The more difficult hyphenated rules to teach the students were:
Use a hyphen to join a prefix to a capitalized word. un-American, pre-Christmas
Always use a hyphen with the prefixes all-, ex-, and self-, and with the suffix -elect. all-inclusive, ex-president, self-righteous, governor-elect

Even though I taught science, I never stopped teaching language arts. 

Weekend Writing Prompt ~ And So It Is Written

I have already written the script for my next chemo infusion. I’ll follow all the doctor’s orders to ensure my success. I’ll pack my bag with things to keep me comfortable. I’ll travel to the medical center in my special Hanukkah socks. I’ll bring my mom’s blanket to keep me warm physically and emotionally. I’ll bring my tailbone pillow and my stuffed dog. I’ll bring a Trader Joe’s dark chocolate bar; in case I need a treat. There is no limit to the ways I will coddle myself during the long hours with fluids entering my body through my port.