Friday, November 18, 2011

The latest and greatest: Hospital release, long weekend, new look, planning 2012

To cover what wasn't covered in the video persay...

It's been a long week. Of not much of anything. Sure, things started off with a bang with my friend's daughter's Bat Mitzvah - it was a wonderful affair, a great reprieve from being in the hospital (though, my only regret was that I couldn't have alcohol thanks to the antibiotics, damn it). It was especially cool to see the mythical city of Vineland, which Billy had talked about for years. It was far from what I'd imagined, but an interesting place. It was a bit like Oberlin times 10, a bit of the "wrong side of the tracks," a dash of Eastchester, mixed with a Southern/Midwest twist.

I have to send a BIG kudos to the Joyce family, for finding that perfect balance between made-from-the-heart, handmade affair with professionally catered and semi-formal reception. Everything had a personal touch - everything - and yet, the amount of food was incredible, the decor was so much fun, and the DJ was great (and I'm not a big fan of your typical Bat Mitzvah DJs and games). THANK YOU, again, for a wonderful time! My only regret? I missed the majority of the service as we got a late start driving down to Vineland, and we got terribly stuck on the GWB to boot (I hate that stupid bridge).

The next morning, we had a farewell breakfast with the Joyce family, and then we stopped by my friend Lisa's house. We thought we were stopping by for a quick cup of coffee and maybe a nosh, but we walked into her husband, Scott's, birthday party. To make things even more exciting? Our kids got along smashingly. Instead of 2 sets of siblings, they acted like 3 brothers and 2 sisters. It was awesome.

I knew it was going to be a week of recovery at home after the hospital stay and the New Jersey trip, but what ensued was unexpected. I was quite content doing nothing but lying still for 99% of the day. I didn't clean. I didn't do laundry. I didn't do dishes. I resisted the urge to say, "Screw the stitches, I'm cleaning this damned house and doing what I always do," and I sat still. I stressed, yes. I cried and yelled at the kids, yes. I asked my doctor to put me back into the hospital.

But I didn't take part in any activity that would strain the surgical wounds, or encourage an infection.

Yesterday, however, was my big day out. I had a doctor's appointment in the morning. Dr. Nordberg agreed that things look really good, that it looks like the infection has cleared, the swelling is reduced, and the draining is at a place where we could remove the drain, but, we're keeping it in to make sure that we don't have a repeat of the seroma. The target drain removal date is Monday, which allows for chemo to continue next week. I decided that while I was in the building, I'd run over to Dr. Tepler's office to make an appointment for my chemo session next week, as I had a hunch there wouldn't be a lot of available appointments. Sure enough, there was one opening on Friday. That visit led to returning the art supplies to the art enrichment program at the Bennett Cancer Center at Stamford Hospital, which became a 15 minute chit chat. Then, it was a restock the refrigerator after the Snoctober Storm Blackout session at Fairway Market, which led to lunch with My Rock. Talk about a good man, after 2 weeks of free lunches at the hospital (I was allowed 2 guest trays a day, so he would come every day for lunch to visit me, though I think it really was the turkey sandwiches and brownies), he offered to meet me at Fairway during his lunch break to treat me to lunch, finish pushing the now fully-loaded cart around, and then to load my car so I didn't have to lift anything heavy.

After that, I went to the Hair Bow to pick up some wig stands, which evolved into me trying on wigs and finding my final, spunky wig - so now, I have a complete hair wardrobe to suit every mood and situation I find myself in: My professional wig, my sexy night out wig, my errand-running hat-friendly wig and now, my fiery badass wig. It's shorter than I'd ever cut my real hair, it's a fierce red (Molly Ringwald red), shaggy, highlighted, and just so much fun!

I had to pick up my Madone from Danny's Cycles, and the new wig (which, yes, I wore out of the store because I looked so fierce), really confused the guys there. I had a nice conversation with Dave, the mechanic, who is my rock star, and then I was off to Regina's house to pick up the product from a holiday fair on Friday night. I was greeted by a very pleasant surprise - I knew that I had been named Miss Go Give for our Mary Kay unit in 2011, and I'd been given my certificate. What I didn't know is that I was also given a diamond necklace for the honor! Talk about a pleasant surprise!

Of course, Starbucks was having their 2-for-1 holiday latte giveaway, so I made a pit stop for two gingerbread lattes to celebrate, dropped of the tongue at my mother's house I picked up at Fairway, and then got home. I was thrilled for a night in, when My Rock called again, asking to stop by. That was a welcome intrusion to the evening, until my daughter pointed out that the painting class for cancer fighters and their families was happening at the Bennett Cancer Center. So, instead of the nice steak, green bean and yam dinner I had planned, we cracked open a couple of cans of soup, cup up the cornbread, and shared a quickie soup and bread dinner with My Rock, kicked him out, and then hustled to Stamford Hospital.

Fortunately, I was able to finish my two paintings (photos to come soon), and the kids did a couple of paintings, as well.

So what have I learned from all of this?

  • I am a neat freak trapped in a slob's body.
  • Hiding from mess makes things all better.
  • It's worth paying someone else to clean your house so you can get what you need to get done done, especially when you suck at it in the first place.
  • It's especially worth paying someone else to do it when you can't.
  • When the doctors tell you to stay put and rest, do it. Otherwise, you're facing 11 days in the hospital and going under the knife.
  • My base temperature has dropped to the high 96-low 97 range for no particular reason.
  • I look like Charlie Brown when I don't shave down the few hairs that refuse to yield to the chemo.
  • I don't always look like Jabba the Hut with a short haircut (though I'm not convinced enough to cut my real hair that short. I'll just keep the wig for future reference).
  • My Rock is possibly the most incredible man I've met. Ever. And I think I'm the only person who can make him blush.
  • Fairway Market rocks. Duck and steak in chimichurri sauce for $7.99 a pound at their hot buffet. Who else does that?
  • Diamonds make the day that much better.
  • Being a good team player and giving from the heart really does get recognized by people.
  • You really can drink 2 Venti Gingerbread Lattes in one sitting. Just make sure there is a bathroom nearby about an hour later, because it goes right through you.
  • Painting is fun. I'd forgotten that.
So, what's next while I'm homebound today? Aside from work, I'm putting together the calendar of 2012 LIVESTRONG Events, the sponsorship plans for local business to get on board and kick off 2012 fundraising, and preparing for tomorrow's EFTA Promoter's Meeting, where I expect the ROCK the RIDGE to become an EFTA NECS points-qualifying race!


  1. To clarify, you are scheduled for your second DOSE of your first ROUND of chemotherapy. Being one of the millions of people who has had to go through multiple ROUNDS of chemotherapy, I state there is a major distinction.

  2. As long as you're anonymous, I can only guess that you don't know me, the full story, my doctors, etc. Therefore, here's the deal: According to my oncologist, Friday is going to be my second ROUND of chemotherapy. Not dose, ROUND.

    So, unless you are my oncologist, you are not qualified to qualify or clarify what I write or say.

    While I can appreciate that you've fought cancer, everyone's cancer, and treatment, is as different as their thumbprint. So I won't judge or clarify yours for you, please stop doing the same with mine.

    OR... unmask yourself so we can have an intelligent discourse.

  3. I am LOVING the Molly Ringwald! Rock on! :D

  4. (Oh..and since this random thought occurred to me when I clicked 'post comment', I'll share it: Molly Ringwald is one of VERY few celebrities I was ever told I resembled. In fact, maybe the only one. Back in the old high schoolish days and quite a few lbs. ago ;) )

  5. What gives Anonymous? If you must put in your two cents, start your own blog! Rica, you do rock! I do like the red color on you. It really brings out your eyes. :D


I'm all about free speech, etc, but I have to ask that comments are respectful of other readers, the fact that I, and many of us who follow this blog, support LIVESTRONG, and that you reserve Lance or LIVESTRONG bashing for another forum. As of right now, I'm still allowing Anonymous postings, however, that may not be the case in the future. Thanks!