Awaiting Parole

May 3, 2012 - One Response

Every Sunday night, I do a mental checklist for the week ahead. If it doesn’t include any medical appointments, I mentally smile and feel a sense of freedom. If it does include one or more appointments, Schleprock rears his ugly head. This week, Schleprock accompanied me through most of the week. I had a dental appointment at 8 AM this morning and, I must admit, I’m not really a fan. Needed a little more periodontal work and then the standard cleaning and flouride treatment. The laser treatment had to go on hold once again because they didn’t have all of the equipment needed. Not too bad, but glad to cross this off the list. I don’t have to return for three months.

Next up – May 11. Yes, I’ve already grabbed Schleprock’s hand, realizing that my next Cancer Center appointment is a week from tomorrow. I feel like I’m awaiting a parole decision. Will this finally be the appointment at which my oncologist says, “OK, see you back here in three months.”?  Will I enjoy the summer of freedom I have been so hoping for?  Or will some other unforeseen issue surface? Stay tuned.


The Can Opener

April 26, 2012 - 5 Responses

…a sequel to The Knife.

I must admit, I didn’t really expect to receive so much flack after I posted The Knife earlier this week. I knew it was a bit off the wall but, hey. Apparently it was more entertaining that I had imagined. I received numerous comments but none could top the reaction of my dear, dear, dear friend and collegue, Tonya Vakulskas.

Yesterday morning she came into my office first thing and very loudly (you have to know Tonya to understand just how loud VERY loudly is. She gives new meaning to the word) proclaimed THE KNIFE? What the…? What were you thinking? She spent the rest of the day laughing about it (loudly) and returned to my office first thing THIS morning with a belated anniversary gift. It was wrapped in “Monkeys in Speedos” gift wrap and my immediate assumption was that it was a paring knife. Nope. It was a can opener…a very rusty OLD can opener that she wanted us to have to go with The Knife. Check it out. But the really great thing about it is, she herself was admitedly using this rusty old thing until just recently when a friend forced her to retire it and get a new one. Funny Tonya…if you bought a new one and were no longer using this thing, why didn’t you throw it away? Could you be just as messed up as I?

Jon Pehrson – how would this beauty fit into your “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” philosophy?

Tonya – Ken wanted to email you to express his deepest thanks for the thoughtful gift. I thought I’d just do it for him in this more public venue.

Now I not only have to figure out what to do with The Knife…I have The Can Opener to deal with as well. Thanks so much! 🙂


April 25, 1970

April 25, 2012 - 4 Responses

Rabbi Ben Ezra

by Robert Browning

Grow old along with me!

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made:

Our times are in His hand

Who saith, “A whole I planned,

Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”

I look at this photo…then I look in the mirror…and I think – we DID it. We grew old together. My head says that, anyway. But my heart says, what are you talking about? Sure we’re older than we were when this photo was taken, but we’re not nearly as old as we will be some day. We’ve not grown old together. We’re still working on it.

Grow old along with me – the best is yet to be.

Today’s post is dedicated to my husband and best friend, Ken Stueve. Happy anniversary!


The Knife

April 24, 2012 - 2 Responses

42 years ago, just prior to our wedding, a young man sold me a set of Wearever pans which were supposed to last forever. With the purchase of these expensive pans, I received a set of knives and a set of steak knives.I have been using these ever since, but the paring knife especially has suffered from many, many trips through the dishwasher cycle and Kelli, for years, has been trying to get me to throw out that knife. She always felt like she would get a sliver from the handle. She even bought me a nice, new, sharp, shiny paring knife, which, for the most part has sat in the drawer as I continued to use my old standby paring knife. It’s not that I disagree with her. The handle is a bit splintery and the blade has a couple of rust spots. But it just feels right in my hand. It has been with me for 42 years.

The other night, I grabbed it to use it and got a sliver. Yep – you were right Kelli. Still, I struggle with giving up on it. However, on the eve of our 42nd anniversary, it seems like the thing to do. I used the new knife and will continue to do so. Yet, I stopped short of throwing the old one out. I don’t know. Some days I feel a little rusty and splintery too. But when I some day make the decision to retire I hope that won’t be equated with getting thrown out. I hope someone will still maintain some respect for me and all that I have done, just as I do for that well worn knife. So, I’ll no longer be using it on a daily basis, but, for the time being at least, it will maintain its place in my kitchen. Silly, I know. It’s just a knife. But I’m just sayin’… 🙂


The Rubaiyat

April 20, 2012 - 2 Responses

Next week, Ken and I will celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary. Incredible. Where has the time gone? We were just children then, in so many ways. Now, three wonderful children, three incredibly individual grandchildren and several devastating illnesses later, we are anything but.

I had thought about putting on my wedding dress (yes, I still have it), taking a picture and comparing it to the original. However, I’m afraid the reality might be sobering.

Plans are to sneak away for the week-end…a jug of wine, a loaf of bread and thou…just a simple celebration. We have so much to be thankful for. We’ve had a wonderful life together…a lot of years… AND more to come. We know so many who have not been so fortunate. 42 years. Now THAT is something to celebrate. Ours should be a great week-end. Hope yours is too.



April 15, 2012 - One Response

Just went out and checked on the plants we set out against all odds…the tomatoes, peppers and daisies in the garden. I wasn’t sure what I would find following several nights this past week where the temperatures dropped down into the mid 20s. Amazingly enough, they not only are still alive, but they are about twice the size they were when this photo was taken. They’re thriving – sheer determination.

I got the results of my tests back this week as well. A few small abnormalities but, for the most part, everything looks good. In addition, I am managing to keep my weight from dropping. In just a few weeks, on May 11, I will see my oncologist. At that point, I will be released. I know it, because, like the life in these plants, I will it to be so. They are thriving in spite of what people thought…and so am I.

Looking forward to a great summer. A trip to Denver in May for graduation, a trip to Bodega Bay in June for my birthday, and a nice warm summer, unbroken by countless medical appointments.

Have a great week, everyone.


Yes, It’s True…Men DO Get Breast Cancer!

April 7, 2012 - Leave a Response

This is something you can’t afford to not read. It is a story that few have heard.


You Know You’ve Spent Too Much Time Hanging Around the Hospital When…

April 6, 2012 - 2 Responses
  • The Valet Parking guys know which car is yours without looking at the ticket.
  • The Admissions people can answer some of the questions for you without checking the computer.
  • The Radiology receptionist just takes your paperwork, smiles and says you know where to go.
  • The Tech comes to get you and acts like you’re old friends.
  • Another Tech you pass in the hall does the same thing and asks how you’ve been since she hasn’t seen you for awhile.

It’s nice…but, I’m just saying.

As you have probably surmised, I had my Dexa scan this morning at Mercy. Quick, easy, painless. Now just have to wait for the results.

On Wednesday I had a complete physical with my primary care physician. He’s running lots of labs which I also am anxiously awaiting the results of, but said he could find absolutely no problems other than the fact that I have some noticeable residual neuropathy from the chemo treatments. It went well and I don’t have to go back until October.

And now…just home from my Cancer Center appointment. I am feeling pretty positive. It was the shortest Cancer Center appointment on record. I met with my favorite nurse. Another nurse that I like stopped me on my way in to see how I was doing and then called me in to chat again on my way out. The big news…I was up almost a pound. Didn’t see the doctor so don’t know how he will feel about that but it certainly seems like a positive. BAM! Now, in a few weeks I meet with him and then I plan to be free for the summer. We’ll see how that works out.

Wine and teriyaki sirloin with my husband tonight. As Ken’s favorite coffee cup puts it…LIFE IS GOOD!

Have a blessed Easter week-end everyone.



April 1, 2012 - 2 Responses

Today I feel like introducing you to Ann. I have mentioned her on many occasions, but have never used her name or linked to her blog. She is the breast cancer sister whose blog I have been reading for nearly two years. She is the one whose journey has so closely resembled mine…until now. Her cancer has returned and she is now going through chemo again. I read her post today and it so brings back a rush of emotion that I wanted to share it.

She is not a patient at June E Nylen, but it doesn’t matter. It sounds like chemo is chemo, no matter where you are. I don’t know her, yet feel so bad that she is going through this. I hate that she is going through this. And, I recognize that I hate it, not only for her, but for all of us who have been there, done that, and just live each day hoping we won’t have to do it again.

And now, meet Ann.


The Tomato Plant

March 31, 2012 - 2 Responses

Ken has been sick this week. Typically, on Fridays, his day off, he runs errands and takes care of things that need to be done around the house, etc. There are many things that I used to do, that he has taken over during the past couple of years. But yesterday, after work, I made my list and took off to run errands. I know that doesn’t sound like much but, believe it or not, for the past couple of years, I haven’t done that. I may go out to do one thing or I may ride along with Ken when he goes to a couple of places, but that’s about it. But yesterday, that changed. Had to fill my car with gas, go pick up meds, do the weekly Sam’s run, etc. It was a beautiful day and, while driving home it hit me like a ton of bricks. I am a normal person again. What? I’m not a cancer patient. I’m a normal person. I think I was experiencing a bit of that while at work yesterday as well. I had a ton of things to do, but I was just ticking them off and making progress and feeling good in the process. Now, was I still fatigued? Yes. Did my bones still ache? Yes. But everyone has issues. I’m not talking about a physical feeling. I’m talking about a mental feeling…a state of mind. All of a sudden,  I FEEL like a normal person again. I’m not sure what happened to change that. For years I have felt like a Cancer patient trying to make my way through life. But driving home from Sams yesterday I suddenly felt like a normal person who used to have Cancer but doesn’t have cancer now. I’m a different person. But in a good way. It’s a state of mind. I’m pretty sure this beautiful early spring had something to do with it. You can’t help but feel uplifted. You can’t help but feel a spirit of rebirth.

Last week-end we went to Omaha and stopped at Mulhalls. If you’ve never been there, you have to experience it some day. It is a huge, beautiful nursery/greenhouse/garden center. And, they had plants all over the place. Big, healthy plants. We couldn’t resist the temptation. We bought a couple of tomato plants and a pepper plant. We are fully aware of the fact that March is not the time to plant tomatoes in this area. But, this year is different. Ken really wanted to try it. So we bought a couple and he did. That is true hope…true optimism. He has a greenhouse type cover he made so he can cover them up or let them soak up the sun like they are this week-end. And he/we feel that these plants will be fine. They will grow and flourish even though it is six weeks early to plant them.

I have two medical appointments this week. On Wednesday I see my primary care physician to catch up on some tests, etc. that have slipped by the wayside with everything else that has been going on. He will also order the bone density test that I need. Then, on Friday, I have a weigh in at the Cancer Center. Once I make it through those things, I will just have my appointment with Dr. D. on May 11. I think that is the day that I will officially be free. Free of the Cancer patient label. Officially. It’s time. They need to stop making me feel like a cancer patient and allow me to move on. I’m not going to Mayo Clinic. He may or may not agree with me, but I truly believe that I am fine.

Like the tomato and pepper plants…it’s my time, in spite of what some may think. Those plants will be fine and so will I. I feel it and I believe it.