Saturday, December 24, 2011

Chemo Round 3 Vlog Digest...

Chemo Round 3 Day 9

Chemo Round 3 Day 6: Stiff but hopeful

Chemo Round 3 Day 3 Part I

Chemo Round 3 Day 3 Part II

Chemo Round 3 Day 1 Part I

Chemo Round 3 Day 1 Part II

Organizing My Life's Timeline... on Facebook

Recently, Facebook upgraded/downgraded their format (up or down depending on how you feel), and now you have the option of displaying a Timeline. In classic form, events are marked in a running timeline from birth until the present. Facebook has tried to automatically take status updates and photos that were uploaded/posted to the timeline, but of course, there are some photos that may have been from events much earlier in life that need to have their dates updated.

While waiting for some emails from work, I decided to hop onto Facebook and start going through my albums, updating photos with places, dates and defining "life events." In so doing, I ran across photos from the first LIVESTRONG Challenge I participated in - the 2010 Philadelphia LIVESTRONG Bike Ride. Some of those photos were tagged with the name, "Ryan Weiss," my friend whom I was supposed to meet at the Challenge, but he'd just left the hospital and was unable to attend. Sadly, Ryan passed not long after thanks to a tumor that came back with a vengeance. It was the first time that I'd seen Lance in person, it was my first time riding in a peloton of that size, and my first taste of what the LIVESTRONG organization was capable of doing.

As I click through photo after photo in my Facebook album, I'm struck by the final photo, with the caption, "I gots me a secret LIVESTRONG admirer."

As I've blogged about in the past, the yellow roses are handed out to cancer survivors as they cross the finish line. Survivors go through a designated chute so that they can receive this honor and an extra special welcome. In August of 2010, I did not go through the Survivors Only chute, as I was riding in honor of my friend, Ryan Weiss, and I had not had cancer. So I thought.

But, as you can see in the photo above, when I returned to my bike after, what had been a most wet afternoon, someone had very purposefully woven a yellow Survivor rose in my front wheel. And, I highly doubt that they could have gotten my bike mixed up with someone elses. My bike has bright purple tires and brake/shifter cables, deep purple water bottle cages, and "I Ride For" stickers for Ryan and my grandmother up and down the frame.

At the time, if course, I was tickled by the idea that someone wanted to give me a rose. Was it from an admirer? A LIVESTRONG friend who was a Survivor but hadn't had the chance to say goodbye? Someone who thought my bike was cool?

But, now, part of me wonders, "What could this person have known or sensed that I didn't? Do Survivors somehow have a magical 'cancer detector,' and were somehow warning me of what was to come one year later?"

There has been no question that, in many ways, the universe was sending me many messages over the past year, and, looking at this photo, perhaps this was the first visual 'sign' that I was destined to earn a rose.

Without question, I would not have gotten that fateful mammogram last June had it not been for LIVESTRONG.

For that, I ask that you consider making a donation to LIVESTRONG.

To do so, simply go to and click on "Donate to Rica!" on the left. If you need to mail in your donation, just click on "Read More" towards the bottom of the screen and then you'll see a link for a printable form.

I hope to bring in 100 donations for LIVESTRONG by end of day Sunday, 12/25/2011 in my effort to raise $25,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Donations of any size are very welcome.

Thank you and happy holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Giving Back to Crickett's Answer for Cancer - Join me!

I am teaming together & raise money for Crickett's Answer for Cancer & the fast growing number of women who benefit from this non-profit organization!

Want to know why? The wig in the photo was granted to me by Crickett's Answer for Cancer. I'm not just a supporter, I'm a client. And now it's time for me to give back.

Shop online at

  • 20% of EVERY order (excluding tax) will go to CAC
  • Shipping is FREE on orders $50 or more!
  • EVERY order comes with a Re-usable shopping bag

In order to participate, simply place a “CAC” after your name on your order, and 20% will automatically go to CAC, except for our signature Good Housekeeping seal approved Miracle Set starting at $90, for which $25 will be donated!

~ All products are 100% satisfaction guaranteed ~

~ For any questions to customize your order, simply e-mail me at Rica Mendes,, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about any products, or about your skin or color preferences.

Gift sets are also available!

This will run through December 31, 2012!

Interested in joining my team or learning more about this amazing business opportunity? If you hear my story and allow me and my director to chat with you, I will donate $1 to CAC! Decide to join my team? I will donate $18 to CAC for every new team member that is introduced to me through CAC!

For more information email or call Rica Mendes at 914-384-3648 or CAC’s co-founder, Bonnie Julius, at 717-843-7903.

Crickett’s Answer for Cancer is a 501 (c) (3) breast cancer non-profit, providing cost-free wigs, mastectomy & lymphedema products, & pampering services nationwide to women with breast cancer, & was founded in memory of Crickett J. Julius, a vibrant, loving young woman who passed away at age 39 just 4 months after diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer. Her mom, Bonnie Julius, & cousin, Carole Trone, are committed to helping women facing the breast cancer diagnosis with dignity, hope, and keeping their identity & self-esteem.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Random thoughts as I go through Round 3...

The other day, I had my appointment with my plastic surgeon, Dr. Nordberg. The good news is that not only did I get the all clear for chemo on Friday, but we were able to "do a fill" on the left implant, so now the temporary boobs are the same size. Small victories. I'll get to that in a moment.

While I was in his chair, he commented on the wigs I wear - I think I'd worn a different look each time I've come into his office. He remarked that I had an unusually upbeat approach to my cancer, and I told him that, quite frankly, the whole thing was so ridiculous, so it was very hard to take it seriously. Of course, there are moments of terror, depression, etc. But then I sit back and think about how stupid the whole thing is. And I said there are two ways to approach cancer: Either you can get depressed, fearful, scared and get so overwhelmed at what a terrifying ordeal it is, or you can treat it like your own personal fart joke - something so absurd that you can't help but embrace it, temporarily, and then rid yourself of it as soon as possible.

For example, you can't help but smile when you realize that...
In fact, this iddy biddy cactus
has more "hair' than I do.
  • Chemo (if you lose your hair) makes you look like a dog with a bad case of mange. Any treatment that can do that to you is G-d's sick sense of humor rearing its ugly head.
  • Cancer does not make you immune to stupid people. Though it should.
  • Cancer turns you into a 4-year old child with the flu.
  • I've evolved into a cactus. I get potted, I'm left with only a few spikes coming out of my top, and they are sharp and off-putting.
  • Some mornings I wake up and wonder if G-d, or my body, has used a Magic 8-Ball to determine how the day will go just for giggles. That's how predictable cancer is.
  • All of a sudden, body parts are addressed as things that can be disposable. And I don't mean like the obvious things like "breasts," "testicles," etc and other body parts that identify the cancer. I mean things like nipples, eyebrows, finger nails, etc.
  • You can tell when you're dehydrated, not because you feel thirsty, but because you can see how sunken-in your temples get when you look in the mirror.
  • When watching a hospital program on television, you no longer wince, in fact, you laugh at the feeble whimpering the mock-patients express when getting a single needle stick, thinking, "Wimps... "
Anyway, I'm sure more of these little odd observations will arise as I continue this journey... Feel free to share any other gems you've come across along your way.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Help Me Get 100 Donations Benefiting LIVESTRONG for the Holidays

Before you put away that checkbook (actual or virtual) for the holidays, give a gift that will help impact 28 million worldwide living with cancer, in memory of those whose time ran out before they could beat the disease, and in honor of those actively in the fight, like me.

Dedicate your donation to someone you know and love, and I will hang a bib in their honor and send you a picture of that bib hanging in Austin.

 Any donation is welcome - big or small. 

My goal? To have 100 donations by the end of Christmas Day - 1 for every mile I've pledged to ride in Austin, TX in 2012. I have no idea if I'll be able to do it, but that's my goal.

Remember, even though the fundraising is for my 2012 efforts, your donation will be tax deductible for 2011!

This fundraising drive ends December 26, 2011 at Midnight!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Absent friends

Annually, December 15 brings dread. It has since 1992. 20 years ago, at just about this time, there was an interruption in the universe that so many people were unaware of, but shattered life as I knew it. One man's poor choice in life ended my best friend's life. It wasn't in a flash, his demise was a drawn out circumstance. A series of poor decisions. One that could have been prevented a thousand ways.

He was a suicide survivor. He'd faced death and found a new life once he lived again. He discovered a new mission. His future was laying at his feet, and it was so ridiculously bright and full of light. He had a heart, a mind, a smile and a relationship and work ethic that inspired so many around him.

And, just like that, his light was snuffed out.

He didn't get to have a diagnosis. He didn't have the chance to consult with doctors. He didn't have the opportunity to have surgery. He wasn't lucky enough to have chemotherapy as a tool.

All he had time to do was to get hit head on by a drunk driver at an intersection, then sit in his car, legs pinned by a steering wheel, wait for emergency services, ask for help getting out, and, with one person's turned back, he and the car were gone in a flash.

As I've been fighting my fight, as grateful as I am for the support network that has emerged, largely out of the woodwork, I'm just as aware, and mournful, of absent friends. Those that I'd give anything, absolutely anything, to hold hands with, consult with, laugh with, and share with.

Aaron comes to mind immediately. I swore to myself I wouldn't forget what his laugh sounded like, but as time passes, I'm starting to have to sit down and think hard, and then, I struggle to remember. Then I remember his smile, which is marked indelibly in my mind, and his laugh makes me smile. I remember the first time we danced. I remember the close friend I had. The hugs and embraces, awkward and loving, we shared.

Aaron was my guardian. He made that abundantly clear, not only because he told me repeatedly, but because he showed that in his actions. Even after he was gone, his protection was apparent. He's still here, even though he's not. It's a curse and a blessing.

But when I close my eyes, it doesn't matter, because I can see his face, his smile, and I feel safe again, if only for that moment. I know his presence is here, keeping me safe.

Tomorrow, I go in for Round 3. I won't see him. I can't talk to him. But I know he'll be there, by my side, watching over everything. After 20 years, I know that much hasn't stopped.

Aaron is the one who taught me not only how to LIVE STRONG, but that I had to LIVE STRONG.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Single Parenting and Cancer

Parenting a 13-year old boy is a struggle for any parent. It's rough for a divorced mom when the father is absent and has been for years. Parenting a teen boy with learning challenges and an elementary school age girl with advanced academic abilities provides a challenge. Being a full-time working parent, let alone a single parent, is stressful. Throw all of that together, along with a couple of part-time jobs into the mix, and you're talking about a heart attack waiting to happen.

Now add cancer.

Welcome to my world.

As if my life weren't stressful enough, strictly based on being a divorced mom who is lucky to get the minimally state-allowed child support from the father who, for all intents and purposes, financially and emotionally, abandoned the children years ago, trying to handle my cancer diagnosis and treatment has been a trip.


Financially speaking, being a divorced mom of 2 kids age 9 and 13 is terrifying. The boy eats barrels of food, thank you very much adolescence. His growth spurts mean new clothes every other day. His shoes grow faster than I can keep track. Plus, a Tween girl's fashion demands are high, and difficult to resist the desire to indulge their mini-fashionista demands just to keep them quiet. Plus, she's outgrowing her wardrobe, which means a switch-over.

And, oh yes, like too many of us, I'm stuck with an upside down mortgage on a house with some big maintenance issues. Again, day-to-day under "normal" circumstances, not easy. But the cancer diagnosis and treatment, got me sidelined big time financially.

Fortunately, I have health insurance provided by my employer, although Connecti-I-Don't-Care doesn't really understand that the reason they exist is to actually pay necessary medical bills, not pre-approve procedures, tests etc and then slap me with a co-pay that equals the "retail" billing amount. So, aside from the frustrations of knowing that I'm going to have to fight that battle when dust settles a bit more, I don't have to panic about my immediate medical bills.

However, given the unpredictability of the bumps in the road cancer presents, and the various side effects of cancer, I'm finding it difficult to maintain regular in-office/on-site hours. This means a) I have to manage work-at-home time with in-office time at my day job, b) I haven't been able to be put on a schedule on the sales floor at the bike shop c) I can't book parties and work my Mary Kay business the way that I'd been hoping to this year (before the cancer, my secret hope was to become a Mary Kay Director by June 2012).

What does all of this mean? My income is significantly reduced. My income, before, just barely covered the bills and absolute necessities. I'm a frugal individual, and quite scrappy when it comes to being able to do things financially. I'm an exceptional bargain hunter, I work hard at re-purposing as much as I can, whenever possible, and, since I'm a good cook, I can take almost anything and make a really high quality meal.

But now? Oy vey. Income is not reliable, and without the reduced supplemental hours with the bike shop and the challenges I'm facing with my Mary Kay business, it's even harder to manage. I'm constantly looking for one-off gigs that I can do from home that doesn't interfere with my day job, nor is something I can't manage along with my treatment. It's a challenge.

It's a strange and difficult thing to have to seek supplemental funds. It's not impossible, but with this economy, it gets harder and harder. There are great organizations, like Patient Advocate Foundation, that have programs, like the PAF's Co-Pay Relief program. I know I'm applying. But be prepared for almost any grants, aid, etc to get a lot of information from doctors, request letters, etc. Sadly, there are a lot of people who will fake cancer for the attention, money, etc (as a fellow LIVESTRONG leader discovered as early as this morning!), and the organizations have to protect themselves. It's a hassle, but do understand, it's a necessary evil. I have to think that times have become absolutely that desperate that people have to resort to faking this disease.

But there are still "regular" bills. Mortgage, heat, gas, car maintenance, insurance, utilities, etc. And the state aid programs are problematic. Cancer does not mean you're disabled. You can't realistically look for work while you're in active treatment. You're home more, which means your budgets change. More electricity is used. And the income flow is reduced to a trickle. What do you do?

I'm still trying to figure that out.


There is no question that my kids' academics have suffered this year. I think it's inevitable. I do my best to keep that from happening, and there are some great days. But the organized chaos of my cancer journey is reflected in how they do/do not perform in class. As a parent, it's really hard to help them keep focused when, thanks to chemo and being pulled in 800 directions, you're having a hard enough time keeping yourself focused. And it's a fine line between using the cancer as an excuse vs a valid explanation to the situation. Yes, it's affecting the kids, but, no, that doesn't excuse the problems.

It's also difficult because I'm home more than usual, which means that the kids have me around more to help them, and I've been able to go to the school a bit more than usual, but at the same time, my availability isn't free enough that I can go in to do PTA-related programs, etc. If it's a "down" day, I am screwed. Which means the kids are screwed.

I'm also finding my son, specifically, is all over the place. If he has a great day at school, he's impossible at home. If he's had a challenging day at school, he's brilliantly wonderful at home. Not only is there zero balance, but he can't grasp the idea that it doesn't have to be one or the other - having brilliant days in both places, or even just good

My daughter, on the other hand, has gone from being diligent in getting her work done to being terribly scattered. She forgets things constantly. She's more distracted than ever. She'll use keeping me company, making me grilled cheese sandwiches and other care-taking tasks from doing her homework. That "just 5 minutes" too easily becomes a 1 hour procrastination exercise.

And, the fact is, there really are days when I am too tired/unfocused to help the kids with their schoolwork. I can't pick up and run out to buy craft supplies at the 11th hour. I'm not always right around the corner from Staples so I can grab what they need on my way home. And I don't always have the funds available for random project materials.


Between the infection, surgical recovery, etc. I have to take it easy. And not just light housework, I can't even do light Pilates. And the fact is, when I tried to do housework and other activities, even modified, it proved to be too much and enabled a nasty infection and healing problem - hence 2 weeks in the hospital. I can't afford to have that happen again. There's no way.

This means very little activity in the house - I can cook a little, I can shop (though I still have to be careful and not push/carry too much), a little bit of laundry duty, and that's about it. This means the kids have to pick up the slack and really step it up. Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, sweeping, etc - it's all on them.

There is no question they hate it.

But they have to do it.

And, frankly, I don't feel entirely badly about it, either. For the past couple of years, since we moved back into the house after all of the construction debacles, the kids have totally abused this home that I literally slaved over. They've consistently trashed the room that I built for them. They have shown little or no regard for any of their belongings and what I've had to do, and continue to have to do, for them to have. So, it's hard time that they learn how to take care of things around here. So, as unfair as it may seem, I see this as much as necessary because I can't do it as I do chores backed up from the past few years. Again, they can't use the "Our Mommy Has Cancer" routine with me to get out of this.

Hence, the earned title, "The Mean Mommy."


Draining. The stopper is out and everything is down the pipes drained. Cancer sucks the emotions and life out of you, anyway. It can strip you of so much of what you know and thought defined you. You are broken down to your bare bones, which is an emotional and psychological feat. You find yourself stripped and, as you go along the journey, dropping a lot of dead weight in the form of fair weather friends, unreliable time suckers, etc. And, when it comes to your children, there are days when, if you were spoken to or treated the way that they do, particularly as they enter their teen years, numerically and/or with their attitudes, you'd drop them like dead weights. But we can't.

No, that doesn't mean that I don't love my children. But, there are moments, when I simply do not like them. Every parent understands what I'm talking about. That flash when you think, "That's it. I'm locking them out of the house and they can sleep in the backyard with the raccoons and the squirrels for all I care. I'm done." But then you realize, it's not that you adore them that much, but that you can get into serious legal trouble if you did that. Kind of like when you contemplated stapling their clothing to the wall, with them still in them, to keep them still for 2 minutes and get something done. In theory? Yes, it would accomplish what you need, but the authorities frown upon that sort of thing.

My son is in your face about his wrath, at least, when it reaches a boiling point. He gets in my face. Not cool. Not because it shakes me to the core and I fall apart, but because that does nothing more than cause a surge of adrenaline inviting me to get back into his face and remind him that I'm bigger, meaner, and I'm the BBOC - Big Bitch On Campus. That's the stress that breaks me down. That energy burst and reaction.

And his passive aggressive nature of defying direct instruction, or popping on his iPod or staring you down instead of verbalizing responses are enough to make me want to strangle him. In the back of my mind, all I can hear is Cher yelling, "SNAP OUT OF IT!" and the sound of the satisfying slapping of Nicholas Cage.

My daughter, on the other hand, has decided that despite my son trying to help get things together, to take every opportunity to bug the bejeezus out of him and starting shoving/smacking contests. She doesn't understand the concept of, "No!" and "Leave him alone!" And, though she looks like a Disney character that should be herding small woodland creatures to do her bidding, she has zero concept of "pick things up/put things back after you use them." While she wouldn't litter outside, she'll just drop wrappers wherever she is. She leaves her hair brushes, clothing, socks, underwear EVERYWHERE. And then, when you ask her to follow up, or do her share of the chores, she immediately points at her brother, declaring, "IT'S NOT FAIR!" and whining.

I'm sure many of you are reading this and saying to yourself, "Nu? That's my everyday life." Well, it's mine, too. But when you factor in that you're not feeling well, it's not the normal situation where you can step in, and while they are asleep, clean up after them, etc. you have to depend on your kids to do the right thing. You can't let emotions and stress get in the way of your treatment, because it really can prohibit progress.

And, at the same time, you also have to be emotionally ready to handle when their fears and feelings of uncertainty about you hit them. Which compounds your own fears.

I'm going to talk about other emotions facing a single mom with cancer, later... and it may not be appropriate for all audiences. Yes, I'm going to go there. Yeah, I have needs. What of it? Wink...

You find you get a LOT of help & support at the very beginning, but then, I think, it gets "old" to the people around you. I know people are thinking, "Alright, already. You have cancer. But, come on, seriously? You're still not better? You still need help?"

The answer is, "Yes." A cancer patient needs help/support for a really long time.

It's hard enough to ask for, accept or know what kind of help you'll need in the best of circumstances.

 It's a rocky road. It's a scary road. And very few people in your life will be able to comprehend the kind of aid, help, support and assistance you'll need.

But when you're raising a family on your own, which is a path filled with obstacles already, it's virtually impossible.

So jazzed about this, have to share it! I LOVE repurposing within the cycling world!

NYC DOT Announces Commuter Biking has Doubled in the Last Four Years and Conversion of Parking Meters into Bike Racks to Meet Growing Demand for Bike Parking

Commuter bike riding nearly quadrupled in the last decade, growing 8% in the last year

175 decommissioned parking meter poles repurposed as bike racks, 6,000 more planned citywide

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced a continued steady increase in commuter bike riding in New York City, with an 8% increase in bike riders counted at commuter locations this year compared to last year’s record number. According to counts of bike riders made at six commuter locations, bike riding has increased 102% compared to 2007 and by 289% compared to 2001. In that time, safety has increased for all street users, with fatalities at their lowest levels in the century that records have been kept, while serious bike injuries and fatalities have remain unchanged despite the near-quadrupling in bike riding. DOT also announced the installation of 175 of the city’s first parking meter bike racks, using an innovative design that allows hoop-shaped bike racks to be securely fastened to former parking meter poles. The City currently is reviewing responses to a Request for Proposals for a vendor to manufacture 6,000 additional racks to be installed at meters citywide to help meet the city’s growing demand for public bike parking.

“Our infrastructure needs to keep pace with new demands on city streets,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “By transforming obsolete parking meters into off-the-rack bike parking, we are recycling old facilities to meet this growing need.”

DOT estimates changes in bike riding through counts of bike riders at six commuter locations: the City’s four East River bridges, the Hudson River Greenway at 50th Street and at the Whitehall Ferry Terminal. An average of 18,846 cyclists per day was recorded this year, up from 17,491 in 2010; 9,327 in 2007; and 4,927 in 2001. The growth in commuter bike riding and increase in safety come as DOT has brought an unprecedented campaign to engineer safer streets citywide. In the last four years, the agency has added some 260 miles of bicycle lanes to streets in all five boroughs to enhance safety for all users, especially pedestrians. In its landmark Pedestrian Safety Report and Action Plan, DOT found that streets with bike lanes are 40% less deadly for pedestrians. The complete Commuter Cycling Indicator can be found at

175 decommissioned parking meter poles have had a hoop-shaped bike rack secured to it to provide new bike parking, eliminating the cost of removing the obsolete poles and installing an entirely new rack.

Made from galvanized, durable ductile iron, meter racks easily slide on to former parking meter posts that have had their heads removed following DOT’s installation of new, user-friendly muni meters. By taking advantage of already-installed infrastructure, the meter racks eliminate the cost of removing old posts combined with the cost of installing an entirely new bike rack. DOT completed initial installations this year, with 175 meter racks now complete on Columbus Avenue from 68th – 85th streets and Amsterdam Avenue from 66th -86th streets in Manhattan; on Seventh Avenue from Garfield to Fifth streets in Brooklyn; on 37th Avenue from 73rd-77th streets in Queens; and on Johnson Avenue in the Bronx.

The new meter rack’s design is based on the standard “Hoop” rack designed by Ian Mahaffy and Maarten De Greeve, which was selected as the winner of a DOT and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum-sponsored competition in 2008. The design also reflects time-tested methods pioneered by DOT to secure the racks to the poles in a way that improves durability, reduces the need for maintenance and helps to prevent theft and vandalism.

Through its CityRacks program, the DOT has installed more than 13,000 city bicycle racks citywide to date, providing parking for more than 26,000 bicycles, most of which were installed within the last four years, and with a record 2,700 racks installed in the last fiscal year. New Yorkers can also request rack installations at

For more information, visit

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Wow, this round isn't treating you well, is it?"

You know it's bad when you walk into your doctor's office, and the first staff member that meets you takes one look at you and says, "Wow, this round isn't treating you well, is it?" First thing in the morning, I had my Neulesta shot at Dr. Tepler's office yesterday. There was a mix up when I left Friday after my chemo with scheduling my follow up shot, so it was delayed. My daughter, who was still sick, was with me, and Diane, the nurse, came out to bring me to the back. She put one arm around my shoulders, pulled me in, looked me in the eye and said, "Wow, this round isn't treating you well, is it?" I smiled and said, "No, how'd you know?" She sat me down and told me she could see it in my face.

Despite wearing my wig, my Mary Kay, etc, the exhaustion I'd been experiencing all weekend came through. I looked stiff, my eyes were red, and I guess it was just apparent through my smiles and jokes. I shook my head and she asked me to tell her what was going on.

I told her about the pain after the Aloxi, and the fact that there was still green swelling on my right hand. Even before the Neulesta shot, which is notorious for making bones ache, my joints felt terrible. I was bloated, with heartburn, so tired, and experiencing blurry vision. I felt scrambled and run down. I had no focus. I was just off.

The Neulesta shot done, and I went out to the reception area to book my follow up with Dr. Tepler. Bonnie, the scheduler, looked at me smiling at the desk and said, "This round isn't treating you well, is it?" I looked around - was I wearing a billboard? I was smiling. I was giggling. I was trying.

My daughter had wandered off a bit waiting for me and she came back to get me. I realized that time had dragged on, and I didn't have enough time before my appointment with Dr. Nordberg for a fill to go back to the office, so we headed to the hospital cafeteria. I had to get in touch with the anesthesiologist to get the name of the protocol he used on me (paravertebral block) because a friend of mine wanted to know for her mother. Sure enough, as we're sitting at the table, Dr. Park, the anesthesiologist, walked into the cafeteria. We had a quick chat, which included, "I hope you're feeling better," even though I hadn't said I wasn't feeling well.

After a small excursion, we headed back to the Jeanne S. Rich building to Dr. Nordberg's office and sat in the waiting area. Theresa, Dr. Nordberg's assistant, was out, so he was handling his own front desk duties. Dr. Nordberg came out to call me in, took a look at me and said, "Wow, this round isn't treating you well, is it?"

I was now suspicious that I was being punked. But, without much ado, Dr. Nordberg declared that there would be no fills, as he wanted to see me feeling better. I was a bit disappointed, as with every week without a fill, that delays the final reconstruction a bit, but I've learned not to expect any of this process to stick to any kind of timeline.

So, the bottom line? I guess this round isn't treating me well.