Dear Walmart employees

I have been a long time supporter of your quest for a living wage. I have been outraged on your behalf when I hear that many of you have to depend on food stamps to feed your own families or have your hours cut so you work just below the threshold for benefits.  I’ve tried not supporting Walmart but if everyone boycotted you would be out of a job completely, wouldn’t you?  It’s not your fault the corporation you work for drove nearly every small business out of my small town, so I try not to take it out on you when I have no choice but to shop your aisles for the many things I need.  Now that I am no longer shopping for a family, however, I try to keep my visits down to about once a month.  Twice if I don’t plan well.  Today I stocked up on pet supplies, a few personal items, some frozen food etc.  I could find no freezer bags so when I arrived at the cash register I asked the young lady for one.  I got a blank stare.  I repeated it more slowly.   She said she didn’t have any.  I said I needed one, could she please check with the other cashiers.  Again.. blank stare.  I sighed and told her not to ring in any of the frozen stuff until she checked because I wouldn’t take it.  Finally she got a bag.  Okay.. we’re in business.  I reminded her twice to ring in the dog food and litter in the cart. She insisted she had. I didn’t want her to get in trouble so I insisted she check. She hadn’t.  She did.  All is right in the world. Until she totaled my order. It was 124.31.  I handed her 140.31 in cash and she told me I owed her 4.00.  Huh? I said no.. you owe me 16.00.  OH!  she understood. She keyed in 120.00 instead of 140.00  No problem said I.. just ring in the additional 20.00 and we’re in business.  Ummm no.. she wanted to void the order and start over.   For a cash transaction.  At this point the people in line behind me were becoming a little restless. I tried to explain to her what to do to no avail. So I asked her to call a manager. She did.  Ten minutes later the manager was still standing about 12 feet away chatting with two other employees. I marched over and asked her if she could tear herself away to help the poor little clerk who seemed unable to understand basic math. She came over, assessed the situation and said with a straight face “yeah.. we have to void this out and start over” .   What.the.fuck.  I told them  I wasn’t willing to stand there while they redid the whole transaction and they just stared at me.  I said to give me back my cash, upended my reusable bags into the wagon and walked out.   I won’t be back.  If you believe you are worth more than minimum wage (and I believe you are!) then don’t be a dumbass. Take a little pride in your job.  Don’t make a customer ask for something four times before you act. And for God’s sake if you are the manager, don’t watch a customer walk out on a 125.00 order because you are too stupid and/or stubborn to override a fairly simple error. And train the damned help before you unleash them on the public.

In the past I would have stood there silently fuming while my whole order was redone and my ice cream melted. I would have smiled at the young lady and told her not to worry.  In restaurants when someone else (mom) makes a fuss I usually overcompensate by saying how good everything is or leaving an extra big tip. Life is short, why ruin someone’s day over something so inconsequential, right?  But you know what? Life is short. This I know better than most. Stop wasting my fucking time. images

My dance card is filling up again.

So much for time off for good behavior!  Yesterday I had my port removed exactly one week after my last infusion. Apparently, that’s not the norm judging from the comments from the nurses and docs. Fortunately my oncologist was on board and agreed there was no reason to keep it any longer.  Today I meet with Radiation Oncology to set up the next course of treatment. I don’t think I get measured and tattooed today but I’m prepared just in case.  Afterwards we’ll do a little shopping. It’s a rainy day so no need to rush home. Next Monday I meet with the genetics counselor.  We haven’t made any travel plans for this summer since we don’t know exactly when my 6 weeks of radiation will start, but we are going to Boston for a weekend to visit our daughter and see Springsteen. Image That should be fun and I’m pretty sure I’ll be done with all of my cancer nonsense by then.   Speaking of nonsense, did you know they don’t recommend regular screening? Or at least not for me. No PET or CT scan.  So does that mean I never get to officially say I am cancer free?  hmmm.. not sure how I feel about that.  I’m going to address it again at my next follow up.  I’ve been pretty passive and agreeable so far. That could  change on a dime. 

Besides having cancer full time for the last 8 months we have been doing all the normal every day household stuff and are in the process of redoing our bathroom. They start next Tuesday!  Image  That’s what I see in my mind.. that will not be the reality, but I’m pretty happy with what we’ve chosen and it’s nice to have a project.  While planning this out all winter we acquired an antique clawfoot tub from the old family home.  It is a monster, weighs a ton!  We were planning to have it refinished but then decided to just go with a nice deep soaking tub Image.  There is nothing I love better than a nice long soak with bubbles and a book (which is why I will never fully commit to my Kindle).  Now we are faced with what to do with the tub in the garage. I’m thinking maybe filling it with flowers next year! Image

Back to getting tattooed.  I am pretty sure my port scar is permanent, having been cut twice in the same spot, so I’m thinking that would be a great place for a tattoo. How about this?  Image It’s the Chinese symbol for survivor. Whatever I end up with, it won’t be a pink ribbon!

Warning: rambling ahead

I haven’t written for a while. I think my last blog mentions hitting the halfway mark of my chemotherapy. Since then I have passed another halfway milestone. I’ve completed 6 of the 12 Taxol treatments.  While I have been saying all along that side effects are not mandatory and I had no intention of volunteering for any, I’ve kind of hit a bump in the road Image. And yes it feels as big as the obnoxious sign mid-sentence. Today was the first day in a week I’ve left the house aside from my weekly cocktails with the girls.  By cocktails I mean poison chemotherapy being pumped directly into my chest and by the girls I mean Dr. T and the awesome nurses at the center.  In the way of drinking pals I could probably do worse. However the cocktails suck and this is one major ass hangover. I still have no nausea or neuropathy. I have daily nosebleeds and numbness of my fingers that I am assured is not neuropathy because I can “shake it off”. However it is happening more and more frequently.  My hair continues to grow and is about 1/2 inch long now and starting to curl. Still no sign of eyelashes.  I kind of miss em but in the grand scheme of things.. meh.  What has left me housebound for a week is just being plain exhausted.  I swear I can feel my marrow moving thick and sluggish through my bones and my joints ache nearly constantly.  I have muscle pains and headaches but they come and go. Most of the time I feel like I am moving through mud.  I have some energy in the morning, so I do whatever computer work I have waiting, clean the house a bit and exercise (and yes,  remaining upright counts as exercise some days), shower, eat lunch and then at the time that I would be heading into town with whatever errands I have I end up lying down for “just a minute”.  If I’m lucky I wake up before the mister returns from work 5 hours later. I’m still waking up at 4 or 5 a.m. but instead of waking up to those crazy dreams I blogged about earlier, I’m up thinking about all the things I want to accomplish, but just can’t seem to get done.  It will all get done but unfortunately I don’t think I will be contributing too much to the effort and I hate that.  The effects of this treatment really are cumulative and I’ve gone from one day of recovery with the first one to not leaving the house for a week with the 6th. This wasn’t part of my plan. I was going to breeze through it. I guess it’s time for a new plan. This week I will be content to get in some pansies.  Image  If that’s all I end up planting this year, that’s enough.

Since I’ve been on house arrest I decided to catch up on some independent films I missed. Can I just say.. Tree of Life.. what? This is a movie you can nap through and really, it doesn’t matter.  For real. Image

I’ve seen a few other films but they were fairly underwhelming and hardly worth a mention.

In other news.. coupons.  Who doesn’t love a  good coupon? Last week I came across 4.00 off Claritin but I didn’t need any and am not sure how long I will be taking them so I very kindly left two coupons on top of the boxes for someone to use.  This week I noticed it was on sale and wouldn’t you know I’ve been using it daily. I thought about those coupons I had left. On a hunch I looked and they were still there. A week later! There are two things that make this worthy of a mention. First.. no one bought Claritin in a week? Or if they did they ignored the savings?  Two.. and this kind of grossed me out.. that shelf wasn’t touched in a week. This is an allergy med in the pharmacy department and no one dusted? Really? In a whole week?  That shouldn’t surprise me, but it does.  I wonder what other things have been deposited on those shelves and left to fester.  *shudder*.

My thoughts have been all over the place in this post, but I want to mention a little girl in our community who lost her battle with cancer this week. She was six years old and had faced many challenges since her birth. I didn’t know her, but I understand she loved all that was pink,  purple and princess related. If you pray, please send up a prayer for little Megan and her family.  Image Balloons optional.

I’ve been doing things without my consent.

I do a lot of online shopping for my business so getting packages delivered is nothing new, but every day is an adventure lately when mysterious boxes arrive and I have no idea what they could be. Apparently within the last week someone decided I needed two boxes of business cards.  I do actually need them but one box usually does me for the better part of a year.   It  was probably the same someone who joined two book clubs within a weeks time and managed to order several duplicate books.  Someone has also been misplacing things around the house lately.  At least that isn’t costing me any money, but it is very annoying. I have it on good authority that chemo brain isn’t “real” because there is no treatment for it.  So.   

Nothing too terrible or dangerous has resulted from this non side effect that doesn’t exist. I continue to lose words and at lunch wanted badly to order killer bees but managed to find something on the menu.    I did try to remove my makeup with Biotene instead of witch hazel  the other day and thankfully realized it before reaching my eyes. This morning I put saline nasal spray in my eyes instead of eye drops.  So far I haven’t become lost, which anyone who knows me must consider a minor miracle. I have zero sense of direction.  Turning me loose pretty much anywhere and telling me I had to find my own way back would be hilarious albeit kind of cruel.  I’m sure my family has considered it.  Especially when I accuse them of hiding things just to mess with me.  

I don’t mean to cause  anyone worry.  As long as I am kept away from hazardous chemicals, anything hot, sharp or requiring a major credit card I should be okay.   

I should offer a disclaimer for my oncologist. She did not suggest I was making up the symptoms, just letting me know there was nothing to be done since there is no medical evidence, just a lot of anecdotal evidence of brain fog.  I’ve decided to embrace it and enjoy this time in my life when I cannot be held responsible for anything.  I promise not to take advantage.

 

Today is perfect kite flying weather

 

Or as I nearly found out.. wig flying weather!    I often joke about my wig flying off on a windy day but today was the first time it was a real possibility! The weather has been unseasonably warm the last couple of days, in the high 80’s. Too warm for March!  Today is a more seasonable.. 65 with bright sunshine and high winds.  Love it!  Windows wide open and cool air blowing winter and all of it’s accompanying germs right out of here!   On the cancer front, it’s too soon to have a handle on the Taxol effects.  With AC I kind of gave myself the better part of a week to rest up and had 2 good weeks each round.  My taste buds would be out of whack for the first week too, but again.. I had two good weeks.  I was hoping I would only have one down day with the smaller, weekly dose of Taxol.  I was able to rest Wednesday and felt pretty good, just a little tired.  Started out with lots of energy yesterday but by noon was dragging, achy, sweaty and nauseous.   The hot wind blowing through the house didn’t help, it just felt strange and unsettling. Today’s colder air feels awesome. It’s actually invigorating.   My taste buds are seriously impaired right now and my mouth is super dry.  Lunch out and a shopping trip left me feeling nauseous and exhausted.  I hate taking anti nausea meds.. they knock me out.. so instead I’m sipping on cancer causing caramel colored soda and it’s helping.  Go figure.  I’ll be venturing out into the wind soon to see if any of my laundry remains on the line or if it ended up on the neighbor’s roof.    I’ll leave my wig in here where it’s safe.

The magic of ordinary days

This morning it looked like a fairyland outside. We had rain yesterday, along with snow and some sleet. This morning the trees were covered with ice and the sun was shining.

Too nice to stay put, so we went out for lunch (I had a gloriously greasy burger and fries without the usual side of guilt), did some shopping then went to see Liam Neeson’s latest movie, The Grey. It was awesome! Go see it!

Finally a trip to the book store where I cleaned house! I got 9 hardcovers and the most expensive thing was the tote I bought to carry them home in.

For the whole day I didn’t once think about cancer or treatments and I even managed to forget I was wearing a wig.  I should do this more often and there is no reason not to. Working at home has always been a bit isolating and even more so now.  Right after my treatments, even though I feel well most of the time, I don’t have to be anywhere and it seems prudent not to expose myself to the germy public in the days immediately following an infusion if I don’t have to.  Before I know it, a week has gone by and I haven’t left the house at all.  Then I have to force myself to.  I’m going to stop being so cautious and get out there more. If I get sick, I get sick.  Six months is too long to play hermit.

Today’s giggle:  I must have been on automatic pilot when I got ready to go out today.  I stepped out of the shower and saw that I had plugged in my curling iron.  I should put that away for now, along with the hairspray and gel.