JusJoJan ~ Phantom

Linda has provided us with the 20th JusJoJan. The word for today was given to us by Tuba’s blog.

Your prompt for JusJoJan January 20th 2023, is “phantom.” Use the word “phantom” any way you’d like. Have fun!

Forgive me if you must, but I do have a one track mind right now. The first thing that came to my mind was that in the beginning of this journey the medical professional believed I had phantom symptoms. I explained the horrible tailbone pains as well as the sporadic pains in my abdomen. They felt there was no connection and only focused on the tailbone. Luckily, I pushed forward and insisted on getting an appointment with my primary doctor and my gynecologist. It took weeks, but the two doctors confirmed that I needed to see an oncologist and have cancer removal surgery.   .



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. 

JusJoJan ~ Optimism

Linda is our host for JusJoJan. For today’s June 16th prompt,  June has provided the prompt of Optimism.

I was hopeful that I could get in to see my acupuncture doctor this morning. I called at 8 AM and left a message. They start seeing patients at 8:30. I called again at 8:45 and spoke to the office manager. She looked through her books and then asked if I could come right in. Needless to say, I woke my spouse and he promptly got dressed to take me in. I hadn’t brushed my hair yet. I hadn’t even run my fingers through it. It was in great need of tending to. I carefully attempted to separate the knots, knowing full well that I would be removing huge clumps of hair. Not surprisingly, another waste can full of hair came out. I knew it was time to get out my new cap. I tucked up the last bits of hair and we departed. 

My doctor is full of optimism. I took off my cap so he could place needles in my scalp and forehead as well as specific pre-chemo spots. It seems one of his extended learning trainings, was taught by a doctor who had survived cancer. She established a routine to help better process chemotherapy treatments. He optimistically shared that I was going to be one of the survivors. He told me I have many more years ahead of me. I thanked him for all the help he has given me over the years. In his memory, I was one of his first patients in this office. I laughed and said, at least I was one of the most consistent ones. He’s helped me with plantar fasciitis, wrist pain, back pain, neck pain, fibro pain, IC pain, stress, and now chemotherapy. I have the utmost belief and trust in his healing hands. 

When he saw my almost hairless head, he nonchalantly said to not worry, because it will grow back. He was so sure and matter of fact about my success, that I added his optimism to mine. 

Today was the first time I wore my cap. Because I will be in treatment through April, I am thinking that I might want to invest in a wig. I am going to make this journey with optimism. I might as well feel OK with what I look like in the mean time.  

JusJoJan ~ Gratitude

Carol Anne supplied the prompt, gratitude, for Linda’s JusJoJan post today.

It’s been s very wet season here in Southern California. I am grateful for the record breaking rain, but enough is enough. Sink holes, mud slides, and flooding is hitting much of the state.

I bundled up this morning and went out back to clean up some of the damage caused by the winds. It felt great to be outside. After recovering a few wayward branches, I decided to pull some weeds. I was grateful for the bit of energy I had. There were more weeds than I had time. The good news was that they came up easily because the roots were so soaked. Then I went out in the far back and did some digging up and replanting the ice plant. It should do well with all this water. I stayed out until the drizzle turned into a full force rain. I was grateful for all I accomplished. I don’t know when I will have energy again.

I came into my garage to toss my wet dirty clothes into the washing machine. Unhappily, I found water dripping above my appliances. I climbed the step stool to see if I could find its origin. I went upstairs to the room above the garage and could find no leak. It’s still dripping slowing in the garage but I don’t have the bandwidth to deal with it right now. I know it needs to be taken care of soon.

I spent much of the day binge watching Grace and Frankie. I am grateful for a terrific program with mature intelligent women. I started from season one again. Even though I have seen them all before, there were parts that I didn’t remember. It was time well spent.

I am grateful for my blog community. I am grateful for Tanya for setting up my blog. I am grateful for Maggie for teaching me numerous ways to use my blog efficiently. I am also grateful to Rory for planting a seed to go through my blog. I have eliminated hundreds of old posts. I have more to go through, but it feels good.

I am grateful that Maggie taught me how to undo WordPress’s sending everyone I follow to my email. I was getting completely overwhelmed with hundreds of emails daily. Now, just a few come via email. The rest I read in Reader.

After Maggie showed how to clean up that chaos, I decided to unfollow, and reroute numerous emails to spam. I had hundreds of old ads from sponsors I don’t need in my inbox. I am grateful for a less stressful email box.

I purposefully didn’t comb my hair today. I woke up with tons of knots in it. I am aware that those knots are fallen follicles. This evening, while watching another episode, I ran my fingers through my knotted hair. Sure enough, mounds of hair came off in my fingers. It didn’t make sense to leave the knots in. In ten minutes I had a wad of hair larger than a basketball. There isn’t much left now. I am grateful I purchased the head coverings already.

I emailed my acupuncture doctor today to see if he was back from vacation. He is back tomorrow and instructed me to call his office in the morning to see if they can squeeze me in. Tomorrow, my spouse is off for MLK holiday. I’d really like to get a treatment before my next infusion on Wednesday. I will be ever so grateful if they can get me in.

I took a long nap today which I really needed. I’ll be grateful if I can get some sleep tonight.