Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another Business Trip

My darling Capt. Obvious is leaving tomorrow morning on another business trip. This time to Colorado. He'll be back in a few days. The little one and I will miss him. This evening while I was preparing dinner (leftover brown rice, tofu, steamed cauliflower and carrots) and we were talking about the trip ans when Daddy was coming back, Capt. Adorable informed him, "When you come back, you can still live here."

Lita is coming tomorrow afternoon, and she will be with us for the big appointment with Dr. Surgeon, so we will have some fun while Daddy is away.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

J. D. Salinger Died

“Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behaviour. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them—if you want to. Just as some day, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry.”

Want more?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


The Captains were sitting on the couch together, watching a basketball game on tv (yes, I object but there are 2 parents involved and both parents get a say--even sometimes when one parents disagrees with the end result but that is another discussion...). Anyhow, I overheard Capt. Adorable ask Capt. Obvious where those people use the bathroom. Capt. Obvious explained that there are bathrooms behind the stairs, in the back. A few minutes later Capt. Adorable asked where all those people sleep! :)

Maybe we should go to a real live basketball game.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Our New House

It is a big house, bigger than we need, and it is in a nice neighborhood, which is absolutely suburban heaven. However, when we were looking for a house, this was absolutely not what I was looking for...Captain Obvious and I had agreed that we wanted a house near the water (preferably with water privileges) because we thought it would be really nice for Captain Adorable to grow up with that kind of lifestyle. Meaning a more relaxed and perhaps more innocent lifestyle than the one in the town where we were living before.

But there are advantages! The size is wonderful because it is so much easier to host parties (we've had two--one right when we moved in and one small birthday party) and long-term guests (and has already come in handy for exactly that). The fact that my husband and I each have a room for a private office is really great (although neither office has been put together yet--mine is just boxes and unassembled furniture). I love the big two-level deck on the back of the house and the screened in porch. The big basement is also very handy--it is so big that Capt. Adorable can ride his bike down there and I can skate (in line skates). Of course Capt. Obvous has a workshop set up down there already. :)

It is so quiet here that we have no need to have white noise makers going in the house in order to sleep. In fact, my mom even told me that she did not need to wear her earplugs to sleep here! Also there is much more access to nature here. Capt. Adorable and I like to watch the birds at our bird feeder while we have breakfast. In fact, as I sit here typing I can hear the woodpecker who lives in our back yard pecking away on a tree. There have been several rainy windy storms since we moved in and this house does not move! Our last house shook in the wind and was quite drafty (which was improved when the new windows were installed and the insulation around them was fixed) whenever the wind blew.

We got a good deal on the place because the real estate market blows these days, and it would be nicer if we had a more level back yard, but, all in all, this house is a fabulous pipece of suburban heaven. So if you like that sort of thing, this house is perfect.

We're starting some renovations now (new door, new door knobs, choosing new paint colors, et cetera) and will continue in the spring (full-on painting). The changes we plan to make are all small ones. Eventually we'd like to re-do the master bathroom, but for now we're just doing cosmetic changes.

Oh, and I should add the utility bills are lower!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Empty House

The sweet and super helpful aunts went home, one a few days after the other. As of yesterday afternoon, we're on our own. The house seems so quiet now. The next time someone runs the dishwasher or does the laundry, it will be me. I am planning to cook dinner tonight...a dinner that does not involve me moving my right arm very much...we will see. I think we're going for my version of tacos. :) I am definitely not back to normal, but I can do a few things here and there to keep the house running and everyone fed. Still can't drive.

We have hired a mother's helper to come for 3-4 hours a day for the next two weeks, and Captain Adorable's Lita (short for abuellita) is coming for the first 3 days in February, so I look forward to her round-the-clock help in addition to the mother's helper (whom Capt. Adorable knows and likes--she is the same one who worked for us while I was on chemo).

Capt. Adorable asks about his aunts just about everyday. I hope we will see them again soon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Captain Adorable's Aunts

OK, well, they are actually Captain Obvious' aunts; they are Captain Adorable's great-aunts, but why split hairs? (Plus I know neither of them embraces the title great-aunt! And of course I like the opportunity to bust on them a bit.) Anyhow, Capt. Adorable has met both of them but has never spent much time with either. We are really lucky that they agreed to come stay with us to care for him while I recover.

He is having a great time with them. One is the reader and one is the wrestler/tickler. They have been having a great time playing with him and noticing all his announcements and idiosyncrasies as well. He's even feeling comfortable enough to start getting nosy and bossing them around. Yesterday he asked one why she was going to the bathroom. When she responded that she was going to poop, he told her to turn the fan on! When I was in the bathroom yesterday afternoon, he opened the door and was surprised to see me, saying "I thought you were one of the aunts."

Yesterday they took him to Port Discovery in Baltimore, a place I recommended but have never visited, and of course a great time was had by all. But it was difficult to get him to agree to leave. He did not want to go. He cried and said he would miss me. I got down on the floor with him and hugged him and reassured him of course, but I felt it was important for him to go with them, have some fun, and get to know his aunts. I actually ended up carrying him to the car (something I am not supposed to do and I payed for it the rest of the day). He was not crying when I put him in the car and buckled him in, but he was still unhappy. I kissed him and told him all the things you would expect (you're going to have fun, I'm just going to sleep the whole time you are gone, you will have a great time, I love you, oh my darling you are going to cool place and it will be great, et cetera). The aunts later reported that he cheered up a few houses down the street and was happy and well behaved for the rest of the day. In fact, he had a fabulous time at Port Discovery, chased pigeons at the Inner Harbor, and ate a big lunch. He was in a great mood when I woke up from my late afternoon nap and came down to see him!

(Right after they left I called Captain Obvious in tears, asking for reassurance that our beloved boy would have a good time. Of course my darling husband did provide that reassurance and we both agreed that it was important for Capt. Adorable to get to know his aunts.)

Today one of the aunts has to leave, so he's going to the airport. I hope they hang out in the observation lounge and have a good time there too.

There are contractors here working on the house today. Fixing the water damage to the joists in the basement...and..replacing the horrible, ugly, dated old front door! They will probably be back tomorrow, too.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Alternative Thanksgiving

As regular readers of this blog will know, the Captains and I spent Thanksgiving 2009 in Costa Rica. I did not miss the meal because, being a life long lacto-ovo vegetarian, I am not so impressed by turkey. (Although of course I know others care a lot about it!) So, Thanksgiving is not a national holiday in Costa Rica (duh) and there was no Thanksgiving meal at the hotel where we stayed (why would there be?). I thought Captain Obvious didn't care until yesterday, when he announced to me that he was going to make a grilled turkey and a have a "fake Thanksgiving" dinner tonight.

And here we are, my little family of me, my husband and my son, my dad, Capt. Obvious' two aunts, and his brother all gathered around our dining table (first meal in our new dining room) and it sure felt like Thanksgiving to me! The food was delicious. I am so thankful to be here with these people surrounding me, all gathering together as a family. Felt really good.

I am so very lucky and so very spoiled. I have many many things to be thankful for!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Going Slow

I am doing well. I stay in my pajamas all day. I play with my son and hang out until I am tired and take a nap. Then I hang out some more. This time to move slowly is wonderful and I am so glad that I have the help of family to support my healing. The fungal infection is completely gone (I think). There is pain, but I have tons of ibuprophen and tylenol and some other stuff too. There is actually a drug for the nerve pain, which bothered me a lot last time, and is becoming more prevalent as I heal this time as well. I think that the pain control is really helping me to heal. Sometimes I forget to take the medicine and I am reminded of why it is prescribed.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sleeping In My Own Bed

Wow it feels good to be home. I am sitting up my very own bed, after having woken up from a Nice Long Nap. From downstairs drift the sounds of my family. I was woken up earlier by a kiss on the nose from a happy boy. Before that, when I arrived home, I got many hugs and kisses from said boy. Being home is good.

Going Home

Had a bit of a rough start his morning, what with waking up at 5:00 and then throwing up after a conversation with the doctor (fellow) about 2 hours later. Talking about vomiting does indeed often lead to actually vomiting. I also drank 2 cups of coffee on an empty stomach, and was watching an episode of Lost on the computer, an intense episode with scary torture stuff and shaky camera work, and then lost it. I decided to wait till after I walked down to x-ray to report this because goodness knows what kind of weird repercussions there would be, so I sat in the waiting room down there feeling all nasty for about half an hour before I got my xray and could come back and finally sit down again.

I talked on the phone with my big and little darlings (Captain Adorable has not wanted to speak to me as of yet--he's not much of a phone guy these days) and was very close to bursting into tears as I listened to his little voice ask, "When you coming home, Mommy?" He also wanted to talk about and show me the "crazy play dough" which I was keeping for him in my office (Moonsand he got for his birthday? I think?). I told him he could play with it and that I would be home after lunch. Captain Obvious and I reminded him that I cannot see through the phone, only hear. So when he said "I love you," I had to fight really hard to keep my voice from cracking. I am aching to hug him and kiss him and rest my cheek against his hair.

Anyhow, I hung up and then Dr. Surgeon, the fellow, and the rest of the entourage came in and started to tell me my going home instructions. After that my IV got pulled, then the epidural got pulled and now I am just waiting for Captain Obvious to come get me. I am so so so very happy to be going home!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chest Tubes Pulled!

The doctors just pulled BOTH chest tubes! They are gone and I am going home tomorrow!

I was just feeling a bit sad for my beloved Captain Adorable (who has been having some regression--peeing in his pants) and wondering how to help him, when the doctor (the fellow) came in to pull a chest tube. He told me that the big boss was here too, and soon enough Dr. Surgeon came in to supervise the removal. I was still upset and Dr. Surgeon asked me if I was worried about something at home and I said yes, my little boy was missing me and he responded, "You can tell him you'll be home tomorrow."


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Some Hospital Updates

My pain is still under control. I still have the epidural because I still have the chest tubes. One chest tube might come out tomorrow...or might not; I am not sure. As long as they are still draining fluid from the lungs, they need to stay in, and since the pain control is good, they do not bother me. Of course it is annoying to push along my IV pole everywhere I go. No, I am not hooked up to an IV bag, but I do have one in my hand, which is used for the administration of Toredol. It is simply more convenient to use the IV pole to set the chest tubes drainage things and the epidural pack on than to use a wheel chair. And of course there are 2 chest tube emergency kits also hanging from the pole. 'Cause I have 2 chest tubes...ugh.

I will probably be here until Wednesday or Thursday. It all depends how long the chest tubes stay in. Captain Obvious took a couple photos of me, so I hope they make their way to this post (have to switch computers to do that and who knows if the NIH network will let me upload things). I am wearing a 3X hospital gown with an L hospital robe, "emerald" hospital slippers, and knee-high white anti-embolism stockings. Notice the attractive translucent tubes which emerge from the chest and the thin yellow epidural tube. I have accessorized this outfit with an IV pole complete with sterile suitcases of bloody fluid drained from my own lungs...hahaha...

And hey, as long as we're talking about bodily fluids: I was able to move my bowels today (yippee! The doctor was starting to get concerned). The yeast infection (or fungal infection if you prefer) has gotten better, so that is good (you can see it at te edge of my arm pit in the pic below). The dressing on my incision has been removed (yes, Capt. Obvious took pics of that too!) and I think it looks pretty tough with the staples. They used the same incision site as last time, so that means no additional scar for me. Not that I care anymore. At one time I cared a lot but that is no longer important to me.

I love love love having my own room. It has a very big window with a nice view of an attractive building and lots of trees. Bethesda is a green place. Or, in the summer it is a green place.

I finally switched from the mesh hospital undies to my own panties (thanks to my darling husband), but while I was still wearing the mesh, a few nurses noticed my infinity symbol tattoo. I was so happy and proud to tell what the tattoo symbolized, how I got it, and how my family and friends joined me and got inked themselves. The nurses were surprised and impressed. It made me feel loved just to talk about it and remember each of them!

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Here's another complaint. (Can't say I didn't warn you!) Once again I am itchy, itchy, itchy. I told the nurse that I think I have a yeast infection on the skin around the surgery site. Of course the nurse said the same thing nurses always say, "Are you sure this isn't a tape allergy?" I said, well, it looks like a yeast infection to me, and bot at my last thorecotomy and at teh RFA site I had the same thing, so yes I think it is a yeast infection. The doctor was sent in and sure enough he also thinks it is a yeast infection. Of course I am allergic to miconazole, so he has to be convinced to prescribe me Diflucan...he wants to try Nystatin cream...please just give me what I know works. Maybe there is some concern over drug interactions? If there is it would be nice if he'd tell me so...anyhow, hopefully my next update will be about how the Diflucan came and everything is much better now.

Private Room

Once again, persistence pays off! I am now in my own private room. Yipeeee! The question now is, can Captain Adorable come on the floor or is he still coughing and snotty? If he still shows sickness I have to go out to the lobby to hang out with him, which is not bad, but not great either. If he is not showing illness, he can come in here, to my private room! Yipeeee! We will see what happens.

I Hate Roommates

OK, first complaint. My roommate is worried and so she needs to have a long heart felt discussion about her condition with her nurse. Its 4 in the morning for goodness sake. I want to sleep. I need to sleep. Please shut up and let me sleep.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Healing Well

This hospital is really nice. The nurses have all been friendly and attentive. My pain is under control. I have only one IV left now and it is not hooked up to anything, as I am drinking and eating on my own. The breathing thingy is not so bad. I've made progress with it already. Shoot, even the food is pretty good! This experience compared to my last thorecotomy at JHH is like night and day. Night and day!

I still have a Foley catheter, which is slightly annoying, but convenient, seeing as I do not have to get out of bed to pee. I also have 2 chest tubes, both of which are suctioning out all sorts of bloody fluid. I have been coughing and spitting up blood and phlegm. The nurses are very pleased with my coughing and spitting! They are also happy about my burping and have asked me if I have passed any gas. They want to make sure everything still works.

There was some itching and quite a lot of vomiting earlier, but the nurse who came in this morning halved my dose of Fentanyl, which is administered through my epidural, and the vomiting stopped. Thank goodness! The stuff I was vomiting up was disgusting--clear liquids with blood clots floating around. I guess the giant tube they put down my throat definitely caused damage. They had to put in an extra big tube so that they could collapse the right lung and work on it while still having me breathe through the left lung. I am still somewhat itchy, but I think it is more from the huge swaths of tape all over my body than from the drug.

Dr. Surgeon told us that they removed 3 tumors and thoroughly felt the lung for anything else. Two of them were regular adenocarcinoma and one was mostly mucus. He said the margins were clean. :) I do not know if I was clear in previous posts, but we thought there were only 2 nodules to remove, so number 3 was a surprise.

I am now out of the ICU, on a regular floor, and Captain Obvious is with me. We wanted to bring Captain Adorable, but he is a little sick, so they would not let him on the floor, unless he wore a mask. Yeah, like that's going to happen! Maybe tomorrow he can come. (Fingers crossed.) My darling Capt. Obvious was planning to spend the night here tonight, but I have a roommate, so he cannot. My nurse did say that she would check for empty rooms for me, so if I get my own room, he can stay. This would be great, but I am not going to count on it. So yeah, Deelux might be off the hook too (she had volunteered to stay with me if Capt. Obvious could not). Still, I am not too worried about this, as this hospital is Not At All like JHH or any other hospital I have ever been in.

OK, time for me to go do more on the breathing machine.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bouncing back

Rose is doing a great job of recovering after a long day. By the time I left the hospital she was sitting up and sipping clear fluids. Queezy yes, tired yes, sore... not so much as last time. All things considered she's doing wonderful for someone who just happened to have a thoracotomy this morning. There's a long road ahead and it seems we are starting on the right foot. Dr. Surgeon (is that his name) felt that he got everything out cleanly.

One of the things Rose dreads about recovery is the spirometer. It looks innocent enough, but you have to inhale slowly to raise the piston. Each breath helps inflate the lung and speed recovery, but hurts.

Hopefully you'll hear from Rose tomorrow. She should be moving from the ICU to the 'floor' in the late morning. All of us plan to visit tomorrow.

-Captain Obvious

Quick Update

Captain Obvious here... Rose is doing well after her surgery. She is recovering in the ICU after a complication-free procedure.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What's Good About A Bad Thing?

It ends.

What's bad about a good thing?
It ends.

That's what my mama used to tell me and something I am sure I will tell Captain Adorable as he grows and matures.

It is also what I am telling myself now. Today was a wonderful day and I am sad that it is over. Tomorrow I will have a thorecotomy. Dr. Surgeon said it will take three hours, and then surgery will be over and I will go to the ICU and spend a night there. I will be full of tubes and drugs and pain. It will be hard.

But I am tough and I will handle it all. Time will pass. I will wake up and sleep and wake up and sleep and eventually I will recover enough to leave the ICU and go to a bed on a regular floor. My family and my friends will come to visit me. I will kiss my precious son.

I will heal more and more everyday and eventually I will come home. I will write blog entries complaining about everything. ;)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Gonna Miss You

As I was eating my last few bites of dinner (stir-fried tofu, wilted spinach with garlic, and baked sweet potato fries with cumin), Captain Adorable insisted on climbing into my lap. He asked if tomorrow is his birthday and I said yes. He asked if after that I was going to go to the doctor. I said yes, and explained that I would have surgery. He said, "I gonna miss you," and wrapped his arms around my neck.

I was filling with an urge to cry but the joy of love won over and I was filled with love instead. I replied that I would miss him too. My mom spoke up and reminded us both that he can and will come visit me in the hospital. We were both comforted by that. Later, as I held him close to me while he fell asleep (Shame on those who choose CIO!), I told him that I love him all the time, whether I am with him or not. Like the moon, which is always there, even when we can't see it, I love him all the time, even when we are not together.

My child knocks me out. (I know every parent is filled with admiration for her/his child, but...) I am amazed at how this young child can understand and express emotion.

I love him so much. And me-oh-my how I will miss him.

Unhappy and Scared

I am unhappy and scared. I am worried. I feel sorry for myself and for my son. I think my husband looks forward to having a new wife. I fear the hospital. I feel totally losing control of my body and my life.

Nodule At Left Upper Apex

Turns out I heard incorrectly (thank goodness) and the nodule at the apex of the upper left lung is not an issue. I asked Dr. Surgeon "How much has the node in my upper left lobe grown since the last CT?" and he said "Negligible." I also talked to my oncologist (she's so awesome) on the phone last night and she clarified for me that it has not grown in a year. So, that removes some stress for me.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Just so you know, I lost my cell phone over a week ago and I still can't find it. If you want to talk to me, email me or call the house. If you want the house phone number, email me and I will clue you in. :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Telephone

Happy New Year. :) No, really, I mean it. I wish health and love for you all in 2010.

So, Captain Adorable hates the telephone. Or rather, he hates it when I am on the telephone. And I prefer not to talk about cancer on the phone, since he can hear everything I say and it is a bit traumatic for him. Plus I have lately been feeling down and stressed and am likely to cry while talking about the upcoming surgery, which is something I really am trying to avoid doing in front of him these days. He's seen enough tears for a few days.

So if you call me and ask about the surgery I probably will not talk about it. Hope you understand.