Time, event, and life planning. The struggles are REAL.

This is my FIRST time at actually planning multiple items on a daily basis.  Usually I only try to manage two, three tops.  My paperwork, some housework, and time for my crafting.

Yesterday, Joe and I went to Office Depot and I purchased a couple of items for the planning and organizing of my life.  First up….a large wall calendar.

Large wall calendar

Large wall calendar

Colored dots have been chosen to designate several different things.  Of which, by the time I turn the page for October I will have forgotten what colored dot goes with which event😦

Green dot with an “R” written on it is our trash Recycle days.  Yellow dots with an “X” through it designates Joe’s pick up and delivery locations, and the hotels he stays in, while he is out on the road.  The red dots are my doctor appointments.  Blue dots are Joe’s medical appointments.

I have a solid yellow dot for the evenings our neighbors come over for dinner and a few hours of card playing.  We play a game called “Phase 10″ which is a kind of Rummy card game.  Our neighbors will bring dinner over, from time to time,  and that is enjoyable.  Tasting and seeing what other people cook in their homes and would like to share.  Seriously, they need a break from the bombs I offer from time to time in an attempt to do healthy cooking.  Let’s just say…..”Tandoori Chicken” will NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER be a recipe I will make again.  Once was horrible enough, and I made them suffer as well.

Appointments, work related, and just stuff

Appointments, work related, and just stuff

More appointments, work related, and stuff.

More appointments, work related, and stuff.

I made my own calendar planner for my breast cancer stuff.  I could start at any point in the year I wanted to since I was the one in charge of it.  Have you recently gone to an office supply store to purchase a calendar/planner for the remainder of 2016?  Good Luck With That!

I finally found one that goes into 2017 and am trying to make it work for me.

So a bit of a back story.  I have been attempting for many years to create a business from my crafting.  Never home long enough for craft fairs…..create a stock of items to sell.  Never home long enough to even get my mind focused on any one type of thing.  From 2001 to 2016.  15 years I have been thinking of doing this.

Who watches Food Network’s “Worst Cooks In America”?  I do, I do!  This year they have a celebrity edition.  One of the celebrities was cooking spaghetti noodles.  She did not know the cooking time necessary for done-ness.  She had a test of her own.  Pull a noodle out of the hot water and throw it at the wall.  If it stuck….the noodles were done.  There was quite a good shot of a growing pile of noodles on the floor.😀

Well, that has been my story.  Throwing stuff to see what sticks.

Last year I found a set of videos on what a person needs to do to have a successful handmade business online.  Rich Mom Business.  Watching the videos and seeing what was needed to start and maintain a business, an actual Handmade Business, I wasn’t sure if that was even within my galaxy let alone world.  I talked with Joe about this.  He watched several of her videos and he approved the business strategy.  Creating, product lines, marketing, and online sales.  I thought it was a great series, being business owners ourselves we know this doesn’t come easy.

In January of 2015 I found out Renae Christine was selling her product line.  Rich Mom University.  Do I?  No.  Should I?  Yes.  Really?  No.

Joe knew that I had something on my mind.  When I have a big decision to make and am fighting with it I don’t share it. I keep it to myself and I struggle with it.  I become quiet and introspective.  Distant and remote.  Poor Joe thought he had done something wrong and I was punishing him for it.  Time to fess up.  This was near the end of February.  Poor guy had been worrying for a month that I was upset with him. 😦

The course is almost…..not quite but almost…..$1,000.  Spend that kind of money and let it sit unused for the remainder of my life?  Nope.  That is not a good decision.  Can I make do with the free classes at Rich Mom Business?  Yes.  Would I get the information and clarity as I would with the full course?  No.  Enrollment time was in March and for only 10 DAYS!

When I told Joe what was weighing on my mind……you can imagine the great relief he felt at knowing it wasn’t him!  We talked about Rich Mom University (RMU) for the month of February.  He telling me “GET IT” (because he was so relieved!) and me trotting out all the reasons why NOT TO GET IT.

January 1-8 2016 we were in:

  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin
  • Little Falls, Minnesota
  • Fargo, North Dakota
  • Glendive, Montana
  • Bismark, North Dakota
  • Clearwater, Minnesota
  • St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Beloit, Wisconsin
  • Dayton, Ohio
  • Sharonville, Ohio
  • Burlington, Kentucky
  • Danville, Illinois
  • Dubuque, Iowa
  • Osceola, Iowa

January 9-17 2016 we were  home.

January 18-23 2016 we were in:

  • Blue Mound and Tyler, Texas
  • Shreveport, Louisiana
  • Clinton, Mississippi
  • Register, Georgia
  • Pembroke, Georgia
  • Duncan, South Carolina
  • Spartanburg, South Carolina
  • West Memphis, Arkansas
  • finally home

So, as you can see, I had a preponderance of proof as to why joining RMU would not work.  That was only for the month of January.  February we were gone the entire month.

RMU enrollment day came.  Joe had an hourly mantra going, which drove me crazy!  “Did you sign up yet?”  “Are you going to sign up?”  “Do I have to do it for you?”

I signed up.  The self flagellation began.  $1,000?!  Really?!  While I am kicking myself and berating myself, I have my husband next to me in our business truck…..way out in the back of beyond of McCamey, Texas…….”When are you going to start?”

The Rich Mom University course features online real time coaching calls from time to time.  Training modules 24/7 I have access to with videos and information to start thinking and acting like a business person.

“Really, Joe?!”  I have to watch all the coaching calls on my cell phone.  These live coaching calls come at times when I’m out in the boonies with 200 miles of spotty cell service.  Regular business matters need to be handled during these calls.  Watching the road for fellow drivers – auto as well as trucks – road construction, highway exits, delivery locations and/or pick up locations.

Well, the RMU course sat on the back burner until we came home June 27th when I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer.  July, and August were months packed full of doctor appointments for me.  September things have begun to slow down enough that I can actually begin to focus on creating a handmade business and figuring out how to continue my YouTube videos.

So here’s the daily plan so far.

Today's schedule

Today’s schedule

For the time designated for “Meal Planning” I wanted to see if there was an App that I could use.  Well……there are……265 of them to be exact.

Meal Planning Apps for IOS

Meal Planning Apps for IOS

Okay….I’ve already blown my time management for the day.  TWICE.  I finally had a good nights sleep and didn’t wake until 7:00 this morning (that shot the 6-8 paperwork slot).  And now I am just about out of the time slot for “Meal Planning”.  I have the rest of the day to get back into my plan.

I do have a video to edit for my YouTube channel and get it posted today.  So I better get off of here and stop delaying things!


Social media and my awkward attempts

People!  I’m trying to get my act together.

It is safe to say that I am running around in circles while my clothing is on fire.  Or similar to a dog chasing its tail.  Or a cat chasing a red laser light beam all over the place.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube.  I am so unorganized in this Social Media stuff.  Then I see videos of people using more platforms to promote their offerings.

Seriously!  How do they keep up with the comments, messages, tweets, and links received from their followers?!

I don’t think I have ever made a statement about WHY I do this.  WHY I make YouTube videos and have this blog.  WHY I am on Facebook.

So here it is.  WHY I make YouTube videos.

  • It started out….way back in 2004 or 2005 to help my youngest daughter learn to do scrapbooking.  We had a common interest and she lived so far away from me.  I couldn’t just bring a car load of totes to her  house and the two of us learn and play together.  So I thought making YouTube videos would be the best place to start.
  • I am totally self taught.  Most everything I know has been hard won from small to major errors.
  • That led to other people finding some of my videos and a little community began growing.  Friendships developed and are still going to this day.
  • Although I don’t “Promote” this openly and talk a lot about this…..I have a philosophy of “Pay It Forward“.
  • When I found YouTube *angel choir singing* and How To Videos on making scrapbook layouts I realized my mistakes and made corrections from there.
  • There are new “CONVERTS” all the time.  Kind of makes me sound “cult-ish” but when a person finds something that makes them feel excited about life and has that powerful feeling deep in their soul of having created something amazing from bits of paper….
  • If I can help a newcomer to paper crafting learn something to make their creative life easier or get a spark of inspiration  then I am passing on what someone else DID FOR ME.

This blog.  Oy Vay!  I have a website connected to this blog.  It was last updated about seven years ago.  Nothing has happened there since then.

My website started as an attempt to be a Top Seller for Stampin’ Up! products.  I wanted off the road.  My life as an over the road truck driver kept me away from home for long periods of time.  So I figured starting a website would bring in customers right and left to pay for me to stay home.

Yep.  That worked out so well for me.  That is why I have not touched the website in ages.  I really need to get it cleared out and just blank until I can come up with my next scheme.

So this blog, as sporadic as I am at keeping up with it, is just to reiterate what is happening on my YouTube channel for those that don’t often go there.

Why I am on Facebook.  That one is the easiest to answer.  MY KIDS!  They live in Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, California.  Spread out far and wide.  I don’t get to see my kids often.  My grandchildren I don’t get to see much.  So my Facebook page is where I keep up with the happenings in their lives and the growth of my grandchildren.  Not quite the same as being there to actually give each one a big hug and spend time with them though😦

So….I have a question for YOU.  My dear readers and friends.  I have this idea brewing in my head.

Would anyone be interested in purchasing a packet of scraps?!  There is no delicate way of phrasing this other than that.

I have the idea to have a packet filled with papers cut to specific sizes for cards using the Operation Write Home sketches.  I would ONLY SELL MY PAPERS and embellishments that would fit the card sketches.


Each packet would have the Operation Write Home Card Sketch number you can download from their site.  Click on the link above to download the AMAZING sketches.

The packet would include two (2) card bases from good quality card stock.  Colors and choices would be determined by me.  Coordinating patterned paper or card stock elements to create the card.  Ribbon, brads, or other embellishments to complete the card.

You would supply the stamped sentiment or sticker for the greeting card occasion – birthday, holiday, get well, sympathy, hello, or season.  I am not a good enough stamper to make you pay for my bad job of stamping sentiments.

This, I believe, would be a good source for beginning card makers to have the pieces necessary to create a card.  This would get them started and gain confidence in their creative endeavor.  Eventually that beginner can use the card sketches on their own with confidence.  I would also create a special YouTube channel which would feature the contents of each packet for a particular card sketch with instructions showing how to put the elements together.

Since I am home now, dealing with my breast cancer, for the next several months I want the time to be productive and more focused.  Get the fire put out on my clothing……stop chasing my tail……ignore the bright pin point of light that is so distracting.

So, please let me know what you think of my idea.


There’s a Punch for that!

My hoard of punches

My hoard of punches

I am working on a video for Monday, September 12th, as a continuation on my series of videos for paper crafting beginners.  What hand punches do I recommend for a beginner.

First off…..Just because it is a paper punch does NOT mean you HAVE TO HAVE IT!  Trust me.  In that mess of punches, about 3/4 of them have not been used once since I purchased them.  Not once.  Never had its teeth (punch) sunk in paper.  NEVER!

Think about the many videos you have watched on YouTube.  What about the blogs you have read?  Someone has trotted out a punch.  Told you how amazing it is.  Shown you how to use it.  Made the paper piece look amazing.  Told you numerous times (in print or in video) how easy and smooth the punch was to work with.

Your precious sweet mind is full of ideas for projects to make.  Oh,  you tell yourself, having that punch will make those projects pop and be even more amazing!  You check on the availability of the punch at your favorite online stores, or even take a trip to your local craft/hobby store in search of this (cue a choir singing) punch that will make your creative life so much easier and even glorious!

Yep, yep, yep.  Detour.

Do a search for a particular punch and several types show up.  Down near the bottom of the page – or off to the right – are suggestions for something similar.  OR WORSE YET a row of hand tools with the heading “What others bought along with this item”!

You go into your local craft/hobby store looking for a particular hand punch……and

You hop from one hand punch to the next. Which one?  Which one?  WHICH ONE SHOULD I CHOOSE?  This one is more frilly.  This one is so straight and I can use it with lots of stuff.  If I get this one and this one I can layer them together.  Oh, oh, oh!  This one, that one, and THIS one!  Yes!

So…..you are at the check out.  Online or at the actual store.  Did you really intend to spend $45 to $60 dollars today?  Small punches range in price from $4.99 to $6.99.  Medium punches range in price from $7.99 to $10.99.  Large punches range in price from $15.99 to $24.99.

That mess of punches on my work table equates to about $400.  Seriously!  Punches can be expensive.  For a beginner paper crafter the price can be way to far out of their budget.  So how do you go about acquiring a set of punches?  One at a time.  If you keep watch on the sales of your favorite stores – even their clearance sections – you can find good deals on punches.  Those days you may be able to get two punches for under $20.

Start off with the BASIC SHAPES.  These can be used in so many ways.  Their versatility will always make for interesting scrapbook layouts and/or greeting cards.

Circle punches

Circle punches

Square punches

Square punches

I hope to have a video up on Monday to show these punches.  I’m having some difficulty right now.

How long does it take you to vacuum your home, do a quick dusting, clean the toilets, sweep and mop the kitchen and bathroom floors?  Used to take me about 2 hours. Do that in 2 hours now and the rest of the day, along with tomorrow is spent napping most of the day away.  Fighting the pain that comes with it.

Grocery shopping by myself for 3 hours then putting things away is getting harder and harder to do.  Recovery time is about the same, nearly 2 days.  So I’m learning that to get done what I want and need done can be as long as 4 days to do.  If I want to remain awake and able to function or be comatose.

So….until Monday my friends.


Mini Gift Box

Mini gift boxes with 3x3 note cards with envelopes

Mini gift boxes with 3×3 note cards with envelopes

I have made a whole lot of these little boxes.  I have quite a number of them yet to create.  Along with more 3×3 note cards with envelopes to tuck inside the gift boxes.

Making envelopes and 3x3 note cards

Making envelopes and 3×3 note cards

Seriously, you HAVE to check out this website.  If you want to create boxes using the Envelope Punch Board The Crafty Owl has the “Box Buster“.

This box generator is in BOTH metric and inches.  It took me quite a number of tries to get this tool figured out and use it properly.  Don’t let my lack of understanding stop you from being your creative best.

I kept trying until I got it right.

I kept trying until I got it right.

Just a heads up.  Keep the following in mind.

  1.  BOX DEPTH:  This is the bottom of the box.  I would have preferred 1/2 inch but the generator’s smallest measurement is 1 inch.  The metric may be able to go smaller.  The bottom of the box is what it sits on.
  2. BOX WIDTH:  This is the left to right measurement you want for the contents to fit well in the box.  With my 3×3 note cards I needed to have just a bit more width than 3 inches.  I used 3-5/8.
  3. BOX HEIGHT:  This is how tall you want the box to be BEFORE the top tapers to the peaks for handles.  I used 2-1/2 inches for the height.

Keep in mind the BOX DEPTH and BOX WIDTH measurements are the two measurements  that are critical; you won’t have to do this 17 times to get it right.  Oye Vay!  What a mess.

3x3 note cards and envelopes fit the box well

3×3 note cards and envelopes fit the box well

My 1 inch hole punch crapped out on me.  I used tin foil to sharpen the punch.  Didn’t work.  I used wax paper to make the punch glide better.  Didn’t work.  I sicked Joe on it with his hand tools.  Didn’t work.  That just really bummed me out!

1 inch hole punch has a problem

1 inch hole punch has a problem

This is NOT GOOD!

This is NOT GOOD!

In my drawers, hidden away for many years and forgotten, I have a Coluzzle set of circles, squares, and rectangles.  Just in time I remembered that old favorite tool and got it out.

Circle Coluzzle

Circle Coluzzle

Saved by my hoarding once again!

Saved by my hoarding once again!

I have a YouTube video tutorial on how to create this box for the 3×3 note cards.  Anything of a different size or shape you are on your own:/


Trying to get back on track with my YouTube videos.

On my YouTube channel I have designated Monday’s as being “Subscriber Question Day”.  Whatever the question is, no matter what it is about, I try to answer the question from my personal experience with a product or a tool.

Monday, September 5, is the second video in my Beginner Series.  This video was made possible by a question from Joke (YO-ka) Smits from The Netherlands.  She has a problem with paper.  Her problem is she doesn’t have any.

The specialty papers available for purchase, in stores or online, here in the US is mind boggling.  To those outside the US availability is not so easily attained, what with the cost of the product and shipping charges.

Joke, on Monday you will find a video that will help you in your quest for paper.  I hope anyway.  I have used Operation Write Home card sketch #59 for the card I feature.  Everything to create the card came from my junk mail.  Advertisements, catalogs, magazines, and whatever else I could find.

Belated Birthday Card from junk mail

Belated Birthday Card from junk mail

Joke, this card I have made does not come close to being “professional” quality but it is meant as a guide in helping you, and others like you, to “get your feet wet” before diving into the pool.

One day, Joke, you will have a space full of paper.  Colors, textures, sparkly, plain, thin and heavy weight.  AND you will have the very same problem with all the “proper” paper.  Like having a closet full of nice clothes and nothing to wear.

You have to find out if you even “Like” making greeting cards or would rather do something else.  Art journals, altered items (change them into something different than what they began life as), scrapbook layouts, or any other type of paper crafting.  It is a process that everyone goes through.  Everyone!

Yesterday, September 2 (Friday), I had my second go round of chemotherapy shots.

Round 2 of chemotherapy shots

Round 2 of chemotherapy shots

About 30 minutes after getting the shots…….Lord have Mercy.  My left breast with the cancer tumor was letting me know it was not dying without a fight.  Good grief!  The pain was intense at times, and unrelenting.  I had to take one of my heavy duty pain meds…..a current prescription of Hydrocodone.  In fact, I ended up taking one shortly after we got home and another before I went to bed last night.  Today the pain is manageable.

I will be in my craft room until I do something stupid.  Like bang my boob on something as I try to get around in my small space crammed to the gills with “stuff”.  Reach too high for something and a whole lot of “stuff” comes crashing down on my poor boob.  I will be trying to get ahead of the game in my YouTube videos.  Here at my blog, I will have to figure out some kind of a schedule for it also.  My friends and family on Facebook and Instagram, I’m trying to keep up with that, and  you, as well.  Forgive me being hit and miss.  More miss than hit.

Hope y0u enjoy the Holiday weekend of Labor Day here in the US.  A three day weekend for most everyone not in the service and hospitality industry.  Service and hospitality workers never get holidays off.  Nurses, doctors, food servers, hotel staff, grocery store workers, and all the other service workers.  Military families included.  For my military readers…..THANK YOU for your service.


Recommended Tools for Beginners – Part 1

Mom2Create, a subscriber to my YouTube channel, asked in a comment what tools I would recommend to beginners?  Thank you, Janette (Mom2Create) for this great question.

When I started making scrapbook layouts, way back in 2003, I watched every video I could find on the subject.  I read hundreds of internet articles on the subject.  Blog posts, HGTV’s website that offered paper crafting information, anything I could find.  I bought books and magazines dedicated to scrapbook layouts.  The magazines and videos were largely based around Sizzix die cutting machines and the various dies available.

I had a problem.  Everything I read or video I watched was geared to the crafters that had ready supplies and tools on hand.  I, basically, had nothing.

I had a grid ruler that I bought in 1993 or 1994 which I used in my sewing.  I tried my hand at quilting…..and found that to be something I did NOT enjoy one little bit.  I had fabric scissors.  That was the extent of my paper crafting hand tools.

In a state of frustration one day in 2004 I did the worst thing I could have done.  I went to my local craft/hobby store and began loading my cart with all kinds of stuff.

For one minute imagine if you will, or even remember, going into a grocery store really hungry.  You start off with good intentions to purchase the necessary food items for meals and replenish any pantry or condiment items you are out of.  PLUS you go into the grocery store without a LIST!

Everything looks good to eat.  Stomach grumbling.  Brain telling you it is time to eat.  The food items you originally went in to purchase for dinner are no longer in your memory.  In fact, you can’t remember what you went to the grocery store for in the first place.  Maybe  you’ll remember what it was as you wander the aisles.

When I got home from my shopping at the craft/hobby store I had paper.  Slabs, pads, packs, and bundles of paper.  I had rubber stamps that looked interesting.  What I didn’t have was a paper trimmer, nor did I have an ink pad to use with the rubber stamps.  I didn’t even get a pair of paper scissors.

In essence I went down the cookie aisle and loaded up with every kind of cookie I saw that looked good.

In this series of videos and blog posts I am going to start with the rudimentary tools a person needs to begin paper crafting.  The items I have chosen to start this series are essentials that will be your foundation.  With these few tools….scissors, rulers, bone folders, and craft knife……you can create anything with these simple tools.

Foundation hand tools for your paper crafting

Foundation hand tools for your paper crafting

I have a YouTube video demonstrating these tools.  What to look for, which tool to choose for your needs.  I tell you why you need two pairs of scissors.  One for paper and one for fabric (ribbons, lace) and what to look for when buying a pair of scissors.

I have a pair of kitchen shears that I use frequently.  These are really OLD and at one time they were top of the line in the scissor world.  Wiss brand.  Over the years they have been used by others that have put them to work in situations and places that I will never visit.  The blades are separated and cause problems from time to time.

When purchasing scissors look closely at them closed.  There should NOT be a gap between the closed blades.

There should be NO gap between the closed blades

There should be NO gap between the closed blades

Here is the first video in the series.  Maybe I will remind a long time crafter of what they did in the early days of their creating. Or maybe give you a tip that makes placing letter stickers in position easily.

My Chemotherapy begins today.

It has been quite an eventful three weeks since my last post.

Doctor appointments

Doctor appointments

I guess it has been well over a month now.  On July 22nd I had a PET Scan.  The findings from that was a dark spot on my left adrenal gland, my right Femur, and in my stomach.  The appointment with my surgeon on July 26th was to tell me of the PET Scan findings and subsequent tests that would be done to see if my breast cancer had spread to the darkened areas.

According to my surgeon, a dark spot on a Femur is an indicator of breast cancer.  If a spot is found near the hip, breast cancer is soon to follow.  In later days I would have a bone biopsy done.

August 3rd was the start of a pretty rough week.  I have been a one pack a day smoker for over 40 years.  I’ve tried to quit on numerous occasions, with not much luck.  I am under the supervision of an RN who specializes in Smoking Cessation.  Through her care I have been given a box of nicotine patches to help me quit smoking.  And a box of of nicotine gum.

The thing I have been able to keep uppermost in my mind is not the cancer or treatment, but the rich blessings I have received from hundreds of people around the world.  Each person let me know they were praying for me.  Through your prayers, encouragement, support, and the love you have freely given to me I feel POSITIVE that you all have had an enormous effect on my cancer.  This post is to inform you of what those prayers have caused and to tell you how grateful I am for each and every one of you.


Earlier in the month of July I had been informed my breast cancer is fed by hormones, Estrogen specifically.  Then I was informed by  a nurse to the Oncologist that nicotine feeds the breast cancer.  And to top it off, I was later informed that all foods I consume feed the cancer.  This is truly a case of “Damned if you do and damned if you don’t”.  No winners here.

Before I met with the Smoking Cessation Specialist I had worked pretty hard for a couple of weeks to cut down on my smoking.  I was able to get a pack of cigarettes to last for 48 hours.  After I was being treated with the nicotine patch I gradually worked myself down to two cigarettes per day.  Stressful days I would have three.

That first week of the patches, having to write down the time I lit up and for how long I smoked….a few puffs, half a cigarette, or an entire one was really quite challenging to my temperament.  I had to indicate if the desire to smoke was “Low”, “Moderate”, or “Strong”.  Also I had to make note of WHY I lit up.  No matter what the reason was that I put down on the little paper, the end result was just plain old REBELLION.

On August 8th I had to go for the bone biopsy.  I would be put into another scanning machine to locate the dark spot on my Femur then the doctor would drill for oil.  I had a peek at the tool he used, after the procedure was over, much to my dismay.  A specially created drill bit that would do a core sample as well laid on the instrument tray.  That bit was every bit of 5 inches long!

Bone biopsy drill

Bone biopsy drill

Scanner for my bone biopsy

Scanner for my bone biopsy

I was awake through this procedure.  The nurses who monitored me and assisted the doctor had me lie on my stomach.  Once prone, the nurses were not very happy with where I had placed myself on the bed.  Each of them grabbed a bit of the sheet at my feet and speedily hauled me backward.  That was shocking if I do say so.  I’ve watched too many movies and television shows.  The speed at which I was jerked backward was very unsettling.  They giggled, I loudly blurted “Holy Sh*t”, which caused more giggling.

The nurse that monitored my vital signs told me she would give me a drug that would cause me to forget what was happening and another drug that would be a pain medicine.  What was I supposed to forget?  The amount of discomfort this procedure was going to cause or if my potty mouth was no longer in check?

I can say the drugs I was given made the stabbing pains in my left breast go completely away.  That was a comfort all by itself.  I had to remain awake to move around as needed for the drilling.  I would hear the drill motor going then it would stop.  I would be told to tip over to my left side just a little bit.  Then the bed I lay on would be mechanically moved into the scanning machine.  At a sufficient position a whirring noise would sound, the doctor would say something, the whirring would stop and the bed would come back out of the machine.  I was then instructed to lay flat once more and the drill motor would begin again.

When the procedure was finished, then and only then, did the doctor tell me to be careful for the next 72 hours.  No heavy lifting, no household chores, no strenuous exercise of any kind.  I could possibly break my femur and that would entail major surgery.  Thank  you Doc.  You could have warned me when I was a bit more lucid in my head instead of at the end of the procedure when I would be allowed to go to sleep.  I thought of breaking my leg for more than 72 hours.

I was in no pain at all by the time Joe came to take me home.  He had been told I would be held over for four hours and he was told to go get something to eat.  While he was gone they reduced the time to two hours, of which mere minutes of that time remained.  Poor Joe nearly broke a leg hurrying to my little part of the hospital to take me home.

Oh, Lord have Mercy!  That night.  The pain in my right leg was tremendous.  It was such that made my entire body shake from the intensity.  I had not been prescribed pain medicine.  Do you know what I did at 1:00 a.m. when the pain was too much?  Well I’ll tell you what I did.  I dug through my bathroom drawers and cupboards until I found a bottle of Hydrocodone which expired June of 2006.  I took one of those pills and waited for it to take effect.  By 3:00 a.m. I was blissfully asleep.

My cigarette smoking has stayed in the two per day for a few more days.  By the end of the week I had managed to get it down to one and a half.

On August 10th I saw my Oncologist.  She got a good hold of my left breast.  Raised it, lowered it, moved it the right and left.  She was not very delicate with her maneuvering either.  She squeezed it.  Put a micrometer tool under my breast, flopped it around while she adjusted her measuring device.  Jammed the toothy tool into the under part of my poor breast to get her measurements.  That was uncomfortable but worse was yet to come.  She began firmly feeling for the edges of my cancer.  Pressing deeply with her finger tips then squeezing firmly with both hands to find all the various separations, of which there are several.

When she was finished my lower jaw ached.

I was under a NO ASPIRIN restriction so I had to ease the discomfort with wimpy Tylenol.  I couldn’t use my Vanquish which I rely on.  I would have my stomach scoped the next day and would have a biopsy done which required the No aspirin restriction.

After visiting with  my Oncologist I went to see the Smoking Cessation Specialist.  I told her of my progress, which she was pleased.  I was a bit bummed because my smoking had increased to three the day before.  She performed some kind of lung test.  I would inhale a deep breath before blowing into a machine that would indicate how much of a smoker I am.  On my initial visit with this Specialist this test had a result of “16”.  She said that did indicate a 1/2 pack a day smoker.  On this day when I took the breath test it was on “5”.  She was really happy and told me that I was now considered a Non-Smoker.  So that made me feel better.

The cravings can be quite strong from time to time and hard to ignore.  I do make many attempts to distract myself during those powerful urges.  Sometimes I’m successful and other times I am not.  I have come to find that during stress is when I smoke more.

On August 11th I had my stomach scope done.  This time I would be put completely out with the aid of drugs.  Of course, while all the prep work was being done in getting the equipment ready for the doctor one of the nurses asked me if I had any questions or concerns.  Of course I did.  Not with the procedure as they were expecting me to pose my queries.

“How clean in that thing you will be putting down my throat?  I mean, am I going to end up with some terrible infection that is left over from a really sick person before me?”  I was serious.  I’ve read the articles on the internet and you know….if it is on the internet then it HAS to be true!

Both of the nurses began telling me how clean they keep their equipment.  I was told how they get inside to the different levels and thoroughly clean them.  They went on further to state that they have been where I was and their main objective was to make sure the equipment was clean enough for them to be tested and not get infected.

Hey, I was in the room and time was short before the festivities began.  A bit late now to be bailing out.  Besides, I was already hooked up to some pretty good drugs that were taking the edge off of my anxiety.

The nurse that would be in control of my drugs was the one who was working to ease my anxiety.  I remember her saying they were about to begin and that I would be going to sleep now.  Indeed I did go to sleep.  I felt them put some kind of weird thing in my mouth and put the elastic around my  head.  With my tongue I felt a round hole in the center of this thing set between my teeth. That was where the probe was going to be fed.  That is all I remember….UNTIL

I was partially awake and had an intense desire to swallow.  I could feel the probe far down my throat.  I tried hard to swallow, which was very difficult.  I lay there wondering how I could breath.  I concentrated on inhaling through my nose to see if I could, in fact, breathe.  I wondered at that hard tube being somewhere down my esophagus and tried to see if I could feel just how far down it was.  Then I felt the probe being pushed further down my throat and I heard myself groan.  Yep, the drugs were then pumped into me right then and there.

I don’t remember being moved from the room I had started in to awaken in the Recovery Room.  I thought the nurse was lying to me.  I was so disoriented and groggy that I have no idea if I said anything I would have been ashamed of were I not drugged up.  If I did the nurse was kind enough to let it go.  She stayed with me until I was able to stand and walk into the waiting area where Joe was.

Once home I went to my living room chair for a moment to quell the dizziness I felt and three hours later I made it out of the chair.  I had gone completely to sleep.

Friday, August 12th I had my normal stabbing pains in my left breast.  Sometimes it was really intense on the underside and almost unbearable.  I could rely on my Vanquish now that I was not having any further biopsies and could leave the Tylenol alone.

I had been spending quite a lot of time on my business paperwork the week before and on the days I didn’t have doctor appointments or biopsies.  I was making quite a bit of progress in getting that dreaded chore done.  Some days I would get into my third cigarette by nightfall.

I worked each day diligently.  Three hours or more to get that job done.  I had the various files sorted and in some stage of completion.

Data entry

Data entry

Completed files

Completed files

Personal files

Personal files

Now I had it to the point where I could get the finished files into one box.  I still have one month to go for the personal bookkeeping and a small bit for the business.

Completed files, bank statements, and personal files

Completed files, bank statements, and personal files

My breast was giving me some fits for quite a few days.  I had been scheduled for an Ultrasound on my breast for August 16th.  The stabbing pain was quelled with my Vanquish, which has 227 milligrams of aspirin in it, over the weekend and on Monday.  Tuesday the pain was pretty intense and constant.  I went back to my 10 year old Hydrocodone stash and took another one to ease my discomfort.

The morning of the 16th I’m told I will have a biopsy done on my breast to get me started on treatment.  The bone scan came back negative for any cancer cells.  The stomach scope came back with an ulcer and I had some bacterial pockets in my stomach that would need treatment with antibiotics.  I have H. Pylori.  A bacteria commonly found in people that eat Sushi or undercooked food.  I don’t eat fish raw or cooked so I have no idea how I ended up with that bacterial infection.

Anyway, since I had been taking Aspirin then the biopsy and ultrasound would be postponed until Friday, August 19th.  That was today.  The doctor who would be performing the biopsy was kind enough to prescribe me a pain medicine that was current and I would not have to rely on my outdated supply any longer.  So I used that medicine instead of my Vanquish.

This is my left breast.  It is swollen with the cancer and is mottled purple underneath.  This is when it gets to be quite painful, even to the touch of my clothing brushing against it.  The sheet in bed can be very uncomfortable.

My left breast

My left breast

I decided to take this photo.  Today I begin the treatment phase and it is hoped that this will work.  Reduce the cancer tumor, make it less hard, shrink it enough that surgery can be performed to remove it.  I’m hoping that it will and I won’t have to go through Chemo.

Because the cancer has not spread to other parts of my body and remains localized in my breast I can begin the Research Study which will be for six months.  Every month I will have a biopsy done on the cancer to see what the “Ki67” score is.  That is the growth of the cancer.  If it continues to grow and the Ki67 score gets higher this Research Study treatment will end and I will have to begin Chemotherapy.  If the current treatment on the Research Study is working as intended, at the end of the six month period the surgery will be performed to remove the cancer in the breast and the lymph node(s).

During my treatment it is expected that I will have “Hot Flashes”, which I have deemed Power Surges.  Some flu like symptoms, fatigue, bone pain, headaches, and other nuisance symptoms that can be dealt with by generally ignoring them and just suck it up.

There have been reports of abnormal liver functions in the blood tests with Fluvestrant, the drug I am being treated with.  Cancer treatment has come a long, long way since the first diagnosis and treatment.  There are different types of breast cancer and each type is treated in a different way.  Today there are pills and shots for cancer treatment.  My study is to find out if Fluvestrant can be used alone as treatment for hormone related cancers, before surgery.

Currently, I am working on a financial report regarding the GoFundMe account my daughter set up for me.  I thought, those of you that have been so generous, you would like to know how the money has been spent.  I assure you, I have not trotted myself to the local craft/hobby store to find the most shiny and beautiful papers and embellishments.

Thank you everyone for your prayers, encouragement, financial support, and love you have so freely given to me.  I am so very grateful for the abundance I have been given.  Thank you is just such a small thing but it is all I have to give.


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