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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Is it me, or am I just getting old?



Sigh. That is a sigh of defeat, a sigh of sadness, a sigh of dang-it-I-am-not-24-anymore. Why all of the hot air, you ask? Simple. I am not what I used to be, in more ways than one, I guess. But in this case, I am referring to my aging body. We found out the results of my tests, and the verdict is in....I am getting old(er). My chest x-ray was fine, my bone density test was great, my CT of my shoulder showed no cancer a brewing in there, and then there's my bloodwork. Ahhh....the bloodwork. My newly found arch enemy most certainly has turned on me. Everything came out fantastic, until the little numbers for my cholesterol found their way to my doctor. As one of my friends said, I am one of those people in the high cholesterol commercials who walk into a glass door. Yes, I am hanging my head in shame of the number that follows....250. EEEEKKKK!!! Normal is under 200. Yikes! We won't even go into my triglycerides. My oncologist blamed it on the pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving, and I really didn't have the heart to tell him that I didn't have any pumpkin pie. So, he has added another cholesterol check for my next routine bloodwork. I have some work to do I guess.

So my shoulder....my onc seems to think that it is possible that I have a partial tear in my rotator cuff. I looked at Dion when he said that, who replied, "Well that's odd. That usually happens to baseball players." There was a dramatic pause between us, to which I filled with, "My job." Dion answered with, "Too much Dodgeball." I will be seeing an orthopedic surgeon next week to see what he can see. Maybe it's not even a tear, but a muscle or something. I really don't have time for this kind of foolishness. We'll see....

Well, Dion is going out of town for work tomorrow through Sunday, so this is going to be a short one. Maybe the need to write will strike me when he is gone. Or maybe not.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Untitled Entry

I have no idea why I put that as the title, but I was under a lot of pressure to think of one, and I cracked. I could put "Thanksgiving" or "Dion is Sleeping on the Couch and the girls are Napping so I Thought I Would Blog" but I don't think that would fit in the space provided for me. So, there it is. Like I said, everyone is sleeping here, and I thought maybe I would tempt fate and start writing (the girls usually wake up about 5 minutes into my thoughts) and see what happens.

My mom lost her voice 3 days ago, so now every time I talk to her I have to try very hard not to whisper back. I have noticed though that people either whisper or yell when they talk to her. Dion loudly annunciated to her last night, which made me laugh. I don't think he knew he was doing that, but it was funny. We had a nice get together, a nice meal, a nice day all together. It has been lightly snowing all day, and it looks so pretty. I am glad that we didn't have to travel though. It's hard enough with a 3 year old and 20 month old, then you throw in bad weather and the fun begins.

I have been busy busy. Now that the weather has turned on me, I have started doing things on the inside of the house. I rag painted the living room, hung a border in the laundry room along with building shelves, etc for folding clothes. Literally. I had to saw through the pressed wood, which was not very easy. I got it all done in about 3 hours. Maybe I shall post a picture of it. I even hung up a closet rod. The system is working well, and now I am thinking of the next project to tackle. At some point I would like to build a workshop in one of our basement storage rooms. Maybe that will be the next adventure. I miss the workshop we had at our old house, but it would be nice to build one how we want it.

Ok, this is kind of a boring post. If I am bored with it, you must be ready to take me off of your favorite list....I am on your favorite list, aren't I? Ok, so maybe there should be a "I kind of like it, when I have nothing better to do" list. I shall write a letter.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Oh....I don't know...

I was just in the mood to write, but alas, I have nothing to scribe about. I probably do, if I thought a little bit, but you understand that it is the day before Thanksgiving, the last day of the work week, the day before I gain an extra 10 pounds. Well, maybe not 10 pounds, but I am thinking of wear my old maternity pants with the elastic panel. No, I won't do that....maybe.

Have I told you that we belong to the elite group Netflix? It is so awesome. We get 3 movies at a time, for as long as we want (do I sound like the commercial?), which for us varies a bit. Anyway, one of the more recent movies we got was Airplane. What can one say about that movie? I think Dion was a little shocked that I could recite some of the less common lines of the movie. At one point he said "Gosh, I thought I knew a lot of the lines." I do know now though, that when I watched Airplane as a child, that I obviously didn't "get" all of the humor. Even when it was edited for television, I seemed to miss some of the humor. For example, when they said that the two guys were talking jive, I actually thought, as a kid, that they were speaking another language. Ahhhhh.....silly kid. So, I spent a good amount of time laughing at the old movie. Some humor never dies.

Tomorrow Claire's cousin Kaitlyn and her family are coming to visit. Claire and Kaitlyn are about 3 months apart, and love each other to death. Claire proclaimed to our daycare lady today, "My cousin Kaitlyn is coming tomorrow!" To say that she is excited would be an understatement. This weekend is the holiday stroll downtown, so I am hoping that we will have ok weather and maybe my sister-in-law and I can take the girls. I think there's a parade, they light up the downtown Christmas lights, there are carolers dressed up from the past, it could be fun. Or it could not. But there's only one way to find out.

Oh. I supposed I should do an update on my shoulder. On Tuesday, since the port study didn't really tell us anything about my shoulder pain, I was squeezed in to have an ultra sound of my neck, shoulder, and arm. They were on a mission of finding a clot, if there was one, and possibly that is what was causing my pain. Nothing. Nada. Zip. No clot, which is really good, but....Anyway, Beth came into the room to tell me that they found nothing and suggested that maybe it's because I am getting old and getting arthritis. My response to her was to throw the washcloth at her. Old. Whatever. And although she was kidding (kind of) it was still a Sue Flaska mystery on why I was having pain. So I go to Mayo for treatment. I talked to the nurse, who called my oncologist. He said uh-uhhhh to using the port and ok'd the nurse to use my left arm. He wants to find out what is causing the pain before they use the port again. Now, along with my bloodwork, chest X-ray, and bone density test this coming Monday, he has added a CT scan of my neck and shoulder. So instead of being crabby about all of this, I have decided that I will be thankful (thankful...get it? It's almost Thanksgiving...ah! What do you know about humor? Just kidding...you are very funny.) that I have an oncologist who will search high and low to find out what is causing the pain. Arthritis? Broken bone? Cancer? He'll find it. I hope.

My most recent fear...ok, not most recent, but always....is that it is the cancer returning. I keep repeating in my head what I have been told over and over. The type of cancer I had, if it were to recur, would most likely recur within 2 years. I am at month 20 right now. Now I know that it doesn't mean that it will never come back. If any doctor says that to me, I will run the other way. There's no way for ANYONE to know for sure. I know of some woman who were 10 years out and it came back, so I don't want to be fed any crap of you're cured forever. There is no forever. Oh. I got a little side-tracked. So there it is. It's out on the table. I am scared and worried, and will sleep better after Tuesday when I get all of my results. The well used line of "It's probably nothing" is probably what is going through your head. I hate that phrase. If you take anything from me, take this. When that is said to someone who has battled a life threatening disease and is now facing some more issues, we tend to get a little pissed. Now, we understand that it is being said to calm us, or even just to calm the person saying it, but in reality, what is going through my head at least, is this "But it could be something." I think I have said this before, I will never EVER go into another doctor appointment, NOT prepared for the worst. That could be seen as a negative thought, but I don't think it is. I think it is realistic. Like I told the co-worker whose daughter is battling pancreatic cancer with all of her heart and soul, hope for the best, prepare for the worst. That's all we can do. That's all that can get us by. I will NEVER be blind-sided again with a diagnosis. That doesn't mean I wouldn't be sad or scared or angry with whatever I had to face, I would just be ready. My foot will be at the start line, ready to take off running to whatever it is I have to conquer. Not running away, just running to. What is it that I am running "to"? Hell if I know.

Monday, November 21, 2005


go speed racer, go speed racer, go speed racer go!

fish lips

No Rest for the Weary

Have I mentioned how much I do not like my port? I have decided that once this object is out of my body, I will be keeping it and it will be going into my cancer box, right along side of my fake boobs, the baggie of my old hair, info books, all the cards and balloons I got, etc. What an odd thing this cancer box has turned out to be. But anyway....

I have been having shoulder pains for a few weeks. At first I thought maybe my purse was getting too heavy, so I cleaned that out a bit. Then I thought well maybe it's from playing gym games with the kids at work, but I haven't played gym games in a bit since we could not use the gym because of the school concerts. So hell's bells. Today at work while I was writing out all of the bills for parents, my arm started hurting, along with the shoulder and neck pain. Well, to make a long story short, I had a port study done today where they inject contrast into the port and watch it on an x-ray to make sure that it is flowing properly. The tubing was working ok, but at the tip of the catheter the flow had decreased and the radiologist described it as a trickle. So to make another long story short, I am having an ultrasound of my arm tomorrow to make sure that a blood clot hasn't formed. I'm not sure of what else could cause pain in my shoulder, arm, and neck, but I would be happy if it were to stop. How many more weeks of treatment do I have left, you ask? 20 long weeks. Ugh. Is it so wrong for me to just be tired of all of this? I just want to get on with my life and not deal with procedures, ports, treatment, hospitals, blood draws, tumor markers, scans, x-rays, aches and pains, blah blah blah blah frickin blah. Ok. I feel a little better after this mock venting. Baby steps, right? Little tiny steps to being a survivor. Every day is a new adventure. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

A Follow Up, if I May

You will be very happy to know that I am currently watching an item on ebay. The auction has 8 days left, and it is for a little CD titled, The Muppet Hits. That's it! That is the one that I have been looking for. I must will that auction, or there will be tears. The biggest thing is waiting though, like for everything else in life. I am so pumped! Hip hip hooray for ME!!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Oh How I Want...

There's a new new sound, the newest sound around, the strangest sound I think I've ever heard, it's not a wild bore or a jungle lion roar,it's not the cry of any kind of bird....

So that is the intro to a song on an old Muppets record that I used to listen to over and over. To say that I loved it would be an understatement. I guarantee that if you were to play that record for me today, I would know all of the lyrics. How do I know this fact, you ask? Simple. One night in college in a dorm room containing a few people and a few drinks, the host pulled out a record, loaded it up on his record player (I'm not sure why he had one in college) and music filled the room. I about fell over, except for the fact that I was sitting down. Well, I guess I could have fallen over to the side, but I was too busy singing. The party stopped and all eyes were on me, everyone wondering how (and why) I knew all of the words.

So to say that I am desperately trying to find this old record on cd is an understatement. I cannot find it anywhere! If you happen across a Muppet cd that has songs such as, Worms, Time in a Bottle (by Ralph), Pigs in Space, I'm Four, Happy Feet, let me know, pick it up for me, whatever, it's just....oh, how I want!!!

Saturday, November 19, 2005


I have no idea why they have to run around mostly naked all the time...I think they get it from their dad.

It's a little Britney Spears-ish/Catholic School girl, whatever. They look cute.

The Power of Comedy

So Dion and I have been pretty big fans of comedy shows, such as those you see on Comedy Central, etc, but for some odd reason, we had never actually been to a show until this year. Some of our favorites are Stephen Lynch, Dane Cook, Lewis Black, Ron White, the late Mitch Hedberg, Blue Comedy Tour guys, and some others here and there. I love to laugh. I love to laugh until it hurts, and I am crying, and breathing is a challenge. Now, please note here: these comics deal with adult, albeit not always pc issues. You have been warned, so don't come back to me and tell me that you bought one of their cd's for your 4 year old and now he's mumbling something about how Ed thinks he's a piece of bread, and how Bigfoot is blurry.

Anyway, we have had the honor this year to see not just one comic live, but TWO!! Yes, two of them. The first one we saw was Ron White. Ron White! Our cat's name is Tater, and if you know anything about Ron White, you will know what that means. I brought these little binoculars to the show, claiming that I was going to see the ice cubes in Ron's drink. I was made fun of. Repeatedly. But guess who saw the ice cubes....that's right....ME! Plus I remember looking at his shoes and thinking, those are odd, to which later in the show he pointed that out. Ha! I already knew that due to my highpowered nocs. Ok, they are not really highpowered at all, in fact I think if I use them in my living room, I can see the buttons on the phone from across the room. Not all that highpowered, but I saw cubes damn it!

The next comic....(I am taking a deep breath) Stephen Lynch....sigh...eye candy, great guitar player, quick on the humor draw, just someone I think I'd like to hang out with. I have to note here, that Stephen wore awesome shoes (yes, I took my nocs again, and I looked. There's something about the type of shoes....but I digress), tan cords, and surprisingly, a long sleeve shirt with a collar. And although he was not feeling too well last night, he put on a hell of a show. A little side note here, if you go to a comedy show, please don't be one of those people who don't shut up and ruin it for those of us who actually want to hear the show we paid $77 for. That would be great. So, from the opening song, which I cried because I laughed so hard, down to the last one, it was FAN-TAB-U-LOUS! It didn't even matter that we had seats that seemed like they were pulled out from the basement and brushed out...literally. Our row was XXX...it didn't exist until the Fitz pulled the chairs out and we sat down. I am so thankful they added that row.

So, I am saying, here and now, that comedy has a way to heal. I have many cd's that I listen to back and forth to Mayo, and I laugh every time. I can do the routines...not quite as well, but I figure with a few more listens I could go on the road...yeah, right, I will leave that to the professionals. Anyway, comedy has seen me through a lot, and I hope to be a person at a show years from now that the college kids at the show say "What the hell is that grandma doing here? Does she not know the context of the show?" And yes, yes I DO know the context of the show, and I will be sure to wear my Depends and drink very little.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Falsies

Falsies can refer to many things I suppose. False eyelashes, the prosthetic boobs I used to have to wear, fingernails, I am sensing a pattern here around things that females do to make themselves feel better. Interesting. Not really what I was going for, but it's ok to learn as we go. Anyway, I am not refering to any of these things, but to people. I had an experience at Mayo yesterday, and this is what happened.

There were two woman sitting together, obviously they came together too. I had seen the one who was there for treatment before. I see a lot of repeat customers at Mayo, but this one kind of sticks out for me. She has lost her hair and wears a wig. I am a little biased because I didn't choose to wear one, but it was all I could do not to say to this lady, "Take it off, you would look so much better." But, each person is different and has different needs and we have to support each other either way. But what caught my attention about this lady was something else. In fact, it wasn't her wig, her movements, her cancer, it was the woman who came with her. This woman I'm sure was meant to be a support system for her. Someone to keep her company, drive her home when the meds kick it, maybe make things easier for her. I might just be ultra-sensitive, or maybe I had some company-envy, but I noticed something in this woman who was there to support the cancer patient.

There was a fakeness to this woman. Almost a patroinising tone. Her comments were like those a person makes in passing, maybe at a store with the clerk, or some co-workers you don't know very well. And maybe that was the case. Maybe they didn't know each other very well, but I felt bad for the lady. She talked to her "support" like they had been friends for years, and the other lady just seemed to placate her with her words. At one point I listened to her complain to the cancer patient about how tired she was, and how she had trouble sleeping and the time change was hard on her body. Hard on her body. What I wanted to say, of course was, "Hey, do you know what's hard on your body? The poison that they pump through your veins to try and kill the cancer that has tainted you. That's what hard on your body." But I didn't. I don't know why I felt the need to be this woman's voice. I was getting so frustrated, and then I took a look at this support woman. She had on the perfect clothes, pink socks that matched her little coat, not one strand of hair was out of place, her cute little purse perched on her lap, perfect make-up and so on. Then I thought, that's the problem. Here is a lady who needs to have things perfect and in order, and she is here at Mayo trying to support someone who is not. How uncomfortable that must have been for that lady. How do you try and support someone when you can't handle the illness itself?

Ok, so maybe I am reading too much into this, but what else do I have to do when I am there? I have tried to turn my life into something worth examining. It's always good to question people and their motives. I grew up with that from my mom. She would always say, "And why do you think so-and-so did that? How did it make you feel?" That is how you start teaching people to think before they act, and that is SO important. I see that with my kids, with my kids at work, and even with some adults around me. Some of them, I can tell, were never taught to think about how their words would effect someone else. And yes, sometimes things slip out, but there's a difference.

I better stop for now. It takes all sorts of people to make this world go around, but there's no rule saying we have to like all of them.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Small Towns

There are a lot of people out there who have told me that they could not imagine living in a town as small as ours. I can understand that thought, hell, we moved here from Madison WI. It's hard to believe that a few years ago, we spent so much time in a car just to get across town. A trip to Walmart in Madison (from where we lived), 20-25 minutes. A trip to Walmart in Red Wing, 3-5 minutes, depending on if you hit the lights or if you sneak through the neighborhoods around them. I didn't think 7-8 years ago about how much time I wasted in a car, just to get to the store. I do now. Anyway.....

I was lucky enough to be included in a local benefit. I will admit that I have never been to a benefit before, so I really didn't know what to expect. I knew that I would do whatever was needed of me, and that they were expecting about 400 or so people. I also knew that there was a silent auction. I did not know, however, that there were so many people in this town, and so many companies in this town who were willing to help out too. I am still amazed, and it has been 2 days since the miracle event took place. My job during the benefit was to buss tables. I am still questioning the amount of people....I think we passed 400 people. The line for the buffet never stopped. People kept coming and coming, and there was a bunch of raffles along with the silent auction. I couldn't believe all of the donated items....a signed Vikings Helmut, beautiful handmade blankets, oil changes, tools, clothes, signed Twins items, paintings, and really I could go on for hours. We were honoring Annette that day. It was a celebration of her life, a celebration of the power of prayer and family and friends. Annette was diagnosed this summer with terminal pancreatic cancer. She has two great kids, Elysa and Damon, who worked as hard (and harder, in some cases) as any adult at the benefit. You could feel "it" in the room. What is "it"? You'll know when you get the chance to feel "it" too. It's really nothing that can be explained, but you'll know when it happens, then you'll say "Ah ha! That's what that crazy Sue was talking about!"

Anyway, I know Annette through two different avenues. First, about 3 years ago, Elysa attended the school age child care that I coordinate. Second, her mom and I work together. I may have found one of the reasons that I was chosen to fight cancer. I was able to listen and understand what they were going through, we could talk medical things, we could cry together and not feel ashamed, we could just "be" for each other. The power of small town strikes again! Pay it forward....I have to see that movie still. Annette, by far, is one of the strongest people I have met. This woman keeps getting fastballs thrown at her, and she keeps hitting them back. Not just back, but out of the park. She should be an example to all of us, and I strive to have her power, her positive energy, her heart. I am blessed to know this woman.

I just wanted to share with anyone who questions why we moved to a small town, now you know.