It is what it fucking is

Hi, Im back. I know it’s been a while. I’ve been going through some stuff and I really couldn’t summon the will to write about it. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m ready to lay it all out there. A lot has happened in the last few months, so I’ll just go step by step.

First great news is we are all fully vaccinated. Its a wonderful feeling knowing that the family is protected. Its been such a tough year, for everyone. There’s finally an end in sight. Its been terrific starting to get together with friends and family again. It’s almost beginning to feel normal. So normal in fact that Ive already taken 2 vacations in June.

The first was a week visiting Figure 8 Island in NC. Sam and I met up with one of my oldest friends, Jane. She came with her partner Kevin, her daughter Jordanna and her husband Kelvin plus their children Maya (6) and Wyatt (1.5). It was relaxing but as you get older you forget the schedules of kids (5am wake-ups!), and all that energy. But we also got to get the snuggles and hugs and the reading of books together. I feel like we really reconnected and I got to know the kids better. Its hard because we don’t live near each other to begin with but it was really great to spend (and I HATE this phrase) quality time with everyone. The island was gorgeous and there was hardly anyone there so it was a good first try at vacations.

Two weeks later I took off for a Girls Week in the Red Neck Riviera, Myrtle Beach. I flew down and my sister-in-law Jen, her mom Jeanne, her daughter Taylor and her daughter Rose (1.5) plus Jen’s sons girlfriend Mary and her daughter Alayna (6) all drove from Pittsburgh. Again, it was wonderful to reconnect. I don’t think we ever have spent that much time together. It was great just hanging out, talking and being with the kids.

I haven’t been to Myrtle beach for about 30 years and its amazing the people you can see. We stayed at a hotel/condo/resort and had a “Penthouse” apartment which really only meant it had 3 bedrooms. However, whenever someone was was in the elevator with us and we pushed the PH button, there inevitably would be a “OOOOO, the PENTHOUSE”, we even got the question “Is it all gold and white marble up there?” Yes. Yes it is. Do you remember where you are? Oy. Was so grateful to my SIL for all the schlepping she did. She was a trooper as she got up at the crack of dawn to set up chairs etc. Which was excellent because the week before I had to go to the hospital.

I felt an ache in my left arm and after a few days Sam and I decided to get it checked out. After 7 hours in the ER, they found nothing. They were very thorough but had to follow up with cardiologist and still nothing. So I really couldn’t use my little dino arms as much as usual.

Now we get to the reason for the immense funk I’ve been in. GMA has really been kicking up. She has decided she no longer needs her pills and that I am the one who wants her to take them. She’s been to the dr multiple times to “discuss” her meds. Which have never changed. Because she’s crazy. She’s driving me there with her. Finally, through the work with my therapist, I got up the nerve to look into Assisted Living. It’s actually the best option for her. She’s lonely and she cant take care of herself properly, even with the helper. We went to see one place yesterday and she’s on the fence about the whole thing. But it’s happening. I feel like a great weight is beginning to lift.

Meanwhile, at one of the places I met a terrific woman named Cindy who showed me around. It turns out she’s a fellow cancer survivor and she wrote a book about her experiences. What a story. I read it all in one day. Her strength is inspiring. She’s amazing and if your interest is piqued, you can find her book here:

So now you’re up to date. Long road ahead but I think I see an end. Thanks to everyone thats been putting up with me through this. Its a lot, and I’m glad I have you with me.

Sláinte

Hola!!! Everything back to normal here. Phillip is over Covid, thank God. We picked up Milesy from the airport after his 7 week sojourn in New Orleans, the lucky duck. He had a great time and is now here until May, when we drive him to his new spot in Chicago.

The big news is Sammy and I both got our first vaccine. Im so happy that, hopefully, things will kind of get back to normal. I cant wait to see friends and family and not be so afraid. Im really excited because my sister-in-law has planned a girls trip in June and I get to see my nieces baby and my nephews little girl and I cant wait. Its going to be so much fun! Almost worth waiting a year for. We are getting our second vaccine April 3rd so we’ll be all set.

Saw the breast surgeon last week and she confirmed that NO MORE CANCER, for now. Obviously anyone can get it at any time, and mine can come back, but for now everything good and Im going with that. Its one more piece of good news. Im still tired in the afternoons, though nowhere near where I was. She said its probably because of the meds Im still taking (and continuing for 10 years). So Im just continuing to have naps etc and giving myself a break.

Also started seeing a therapist about GMA. After first session I think I’ll be going for the rest of my life. Lots of things to get through and its not going to be pretty. Hopefully I’ll develop techniques to deal with her. Wish me luck. Speaking of which, tomorrow is St. Patricks Day and though it’s another year without parades and bars, we still have corned beef, soda bread, The Quiet Man and the family together to enjoy it. Sláinte!

Negative, Part Deux

GMA is driving me fucking insane. Her retention is low, yet she BELIEVES she’s completely competent. She is wondering why Im taking charge of the money, why I take the credit card etc, like Im robbing her. Im very close to the end of my rope. I could go on and on but I don’t feel like it because I’ll be back in the breach again in the morning.

Next, Phillip has gotten Covid. He had a friend over last weekend and he turned out to have it. So Phillip is banished to the basement. Miles has had to postpone his trip to New Orleans, so he can be sure he’s ok to go. Sam and I just got tested and we’re negative. As of now. I also got my first mammogram since the diagnosis and that came back clear. So, some good news.

A New Year

It’s been a while and I have a minute, so here’s the update. We had a really great Christmas. It was quiet. We were supposed to go to our good friends for a small Christmas Eve night but we all just decided it was too much. We were sad but I think it was the right decision. We stayed home and the four of us hung out, played games and I made Baccala. I’ve always wanted to try it. It’s a traditional Italian dish, starting with dried cod, made especially at the holidays. I soaked it 3 days and made a really good recipe but we all agreed it would probably have been better with fresh fish, rather than the dried version. But at least we gave it a shot.

Christmas Day was super nice. We made our family’s traditional timpano. The boys helped and we had fun. We missed Gma, but honestly, it was relaxing and I was happy I didn’t have to worry about her.

The Boys and the Timpano

The week after we all relaxed and the boys ended up going to see friends (Phillip to MA and Miles to NJ to see Meg) We hung with another couple and had a great time saying Bye Bye to 2020. Its been a tough year and unfortunately 2021’s start hasn’t been stellar. Im hoping this year brings health and more time spent with friends, which are the two most important things.

Yesterday I picked up Gma from rehab. What a day. I was extremely anxious. I got her home and it could have been worse. She’s still highly confused. I stayed the night and will for the next few days. I needed to see where exactly she was with her mobility etc. She’s still weak, but she did well getting around the apartment. The night was tough. She got up 4 times but she was ok to get to the bathroom on her own. I, on the other hand, was up EVERY HOUR because she has some stupid clock (Which I BOUGHT FOR HER), which first plays a song then bongs the amount of strikes for the hour, EVERY HOUR. So I’m zombie-like right now. Then, this am, she starts in on where is her stimulus check? How she got this bee in her bonnet is a mystery, but she asked about it approximately 6 times today. Thank God her helper came today at 2:30. Im free until 7 for the night shift. Hopefully this schedule will work for the short term. I think she’ll be ok at night once she settles in. Fingers crossed. Ugh.

Birds of a Feather

This is Miles. Miles is a bird catcher.

Yesterday I’m on my exercise bike, watching Love Island. All of a sudden I hear Miles, who works in the room above me, yell “Holy Shit!”. Im thinking “What now?” I decide to continue on my bike until someone actually yells for me, a talent which has been honed by years of running to a problem, which most of the time doesn’t require the run. So I continue the cycle until Sam comes in looking for a “net”. Apparently a BIRD got into the house and was flying around upstairs in Miles’ room. Don’t ask me how, everyone thinks I let it in when I unloaded groceries, but I’m unconvinced.

So Sammy “McGuyvers” a net from a sleeping bag carrier and some walking stick. He then goes up there and I hear a lot of swearing and shuffling and finally they came down victorious, with the bird, which they released, much to the joy of the bird. Everyday, it’s something. I wish I could have seen the chase but I figured the less people up there the better.

Meanwhile, I spoke to GMA and she’s doing ok. She wants to come home, obviously, but she’s still not strong enough. It’s really hard because I cant go over there and see her. She’s doing physical therapy and I think they’re waiting to see if she can move around on her own because they’re scared of her falling, which is a concern of all of ours. We have a meeting Friday with the social workers and nurses and hopefully will have a positive update. Meanwhile, as predicted, she told me how I haven’t called her at all. Even though I try to get through everyday and the nurses don’t pick up and neither does she. The good news is, if she’s torturing me, she’s getting better.

Today is Phillip Georges birthday. It’s hard to believe he’s 24. Part of me feels like it was yesterday and another part feels like it was ages ago. I know he’s going to be cranky tonight because he wanted to go down to Arther Ave, but restaurants are closed for indoor dining in NY right now and, in addition, we getting hit by a big Nor’Easter, predicted to dump anywhere between 8-18 inches of snow tonight and into tomorrow. Im going to make Bolognese and we can celebrate at home. I know it’s tough but with any luck, next year he can have a big celebration when Covid is under control, fingers crossed.

Positively GMA

A lot has been happening. We had a nice, yet very quiet Thanksgiving. Just us, the boys and Gma. All the food was great and we relaxed. Gma didn’t eat much but thats normal for her lately. Well, the following days came and went and Gma said she wasn’t feeling well. By Thursday she wasn’t any better and was clearly weak. I made the executive decision, against her will, to call an ambulance and send her to the hospital. Thank god I did.

Turns out she had a giant UTI and was dehydrated. They decided to admit her and they gave her a Covid test (which unless they admit they don’t do) and – she’s positive. She was miserable but still managed to complain about the food. Then her next move was to call at 8pm to ask for a delivery of her slippers, nightgown and robe. I said “Ok, I’ll bring them tomorrow.” Meanwhile she had a crazy roommate yelling in the background “Why cant she bring it tonight?”

We, meanwhile, ran around like lunatics trying to getting tested. All of us, thankfully, are negative. Yesterday, they decided there was nothing else the hospital could do for her as her lungs are clear and she needs no Covid treatment at this time, which is good. They’ve transferred her to a rehab place to try and get her strength up. Coincidentally, its the same place George, her 2nd husband, was in for 8 yrs when they first moved here. So I’m happy she’ll be in a familiar environment. Im waiting to talk to Dr. there after she’s evaluated. I spoke to nurse, who seems lovely and fingers crossed they can get her to eat and gain her strength back.

On the up side, In the last 2 days I’ve seen my orthopedist about hand (good), oncologist (good) and cardiologist (also good). Somehow, I’m ok. We got the tree and its up, as are the decorations. At least we can enjoy them while all this is happening. Below is our newest which I adore:

Geaux Saints!

Can I get a Hallelujah

Didn’t break my hand!!! Woop Woop! My personal radiologist (LOL), my friend Maurys hubby Jeet, checked out my MRI and the bone is bruised but not broken, Thank God! So I still can’t use my hand for much, but no surgery and I just have to wait for it to heal. Im so happy I can’t tell you.

The house is still disaster, but the end is in sight. I think the painters will be done today. By next week everything will be put back together and we’ll feel normal again. Dining room is just about done and looks awesome and bedroom is on its way. Next week I’ll post pics when everything is in place.

Meanwhile, Phillip has us watching a YouTube guy who posts videos under Bald & Bankrupt. This English guy travels around all these obscure places, especially in former Soviet countries. He goes on amazing adventures and meets all these interesting people. I said to Sam, when we can travel again, I think we should do similar. Because we would be hilarious. At least we think we’re hilarious.

Bald & Bankrupt Guy

We love going to new places, love exploring and I cant wait to see new and different things. The only teeny tiny problem is that I speak no other languages. Sam, of course, is unbelievable at learning all different languages like Spanish, German, French etc. The bald guy from the show is fluent in Russian therefore can communicate with many people in the places he travels to. My mode of operation is usually to smile, point, nod my head like an idiot and usually I get what I want. Ive tried to learn, but my problem is I can understand most of what’s going on, but by the time I can figure out what to say, the conversation has moved on 3 other topics so I just give up and start nodding again…

Whatever. It’s a nice thing to think about, especially when Covid seems to be spiking again. Im so happy we decided to update the house a bit so this upcoming winter will be cozy. Miles has news that the move to Chicago will be postponed again so we’ll all be together for who knows how long, not that I’m complaining. Love having us together and love knowing we’re all ok. So until we CAN travel, I’ll just dream about all the places in the world we’ll be able to explore in the future, as long as I don’t kill myself in the meantime.

PS: Another small win. After the MRI Friday, I went to Home Depot and found Bounty paper towels! I realize, not such a big deal, except the only paper towels that are in our normal food store disintegrate the moment you get them off the roll. We affectionately call them prison paper towels. They suck. So finding Bounty was a little gift. I’ll take it…

And then there was the Hamate

You guys just aren’t going to believe this. Last week my friend and I went for a walk. Innocent as you please, walking along, my ankle decides to just give out and I fall like a pancake on my face. BUT I break my fall with my hand and arm. It was a gravelly place and dirt and debris got into my hand and it hurt. It took a minute to get up and I was a bit shaken up. What made me feel MUCH better was 4 Westport women who weighed 100 lbs collectively asking if I was ok a million times because when I fell I didn’t pop up like a spring chicken (which, for the record, Im certainly not).

So I ignored the hand, as usual. But by Sunday night it wasn’t feeling any better. Perhaps worse. So I decide to go to orthopedist yesterday and I may have broken a bone in my hand. Of course I did. They took X-Rays and they think its the hamate bone, which has a hook.

They think I broke off the hook part. When that happens, the piece of bone just floats around so they have to surgically remove the piece and eventually it will heal. Im going for an MRI to make sure its the correct diagnosis. Meanwhile, Im one handed. Honestly Im ready for 2020, like everyone else, to be over.

On a good note, my new dining room wallpaper is going up today. Im very excited because the house looks like a hoarder lives here with everything piled up all over the place. Everywhere I turn, its a mess. Also, the painters are coming tomorrow for bedroom so hopefully everything will be in order by next week. Fingers crossed. Will update when I get the MRI with results…OY.

Great. Just Great.

So everything humming along here…until today. My endocrinologist called. He took blood tests from me last week, and got the results in. I am now a Type 1 diabetic. We’ve already been down this road, and I guess my pancreas was working slightly, but now has given up the ghost.

There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Both types of diabetes are chronic diseases that affect the way your body regulates blood sugar, or glucose. Glucose is the fuel that feeds your body’s cells, but to enter your cells it needs a key. Insulin is that key. People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin. You can think of it as not having a key. People with type 2 diabetes don’t respond to insulin as well as they should and later in the disease often don’t make enough insulin. You can think of it as having a broken key.

For the last several months I’ve been on insulin 4 times a day and keeping track of my blood sugar. Ive been able to manage it pretty well. At this last visit my doctor put me on another medication which you take once a week to even out my sugars, and a monitor that stays in my arm for 2 weeks at a shot so that I don’t have to stick my fingers 4 times a day.

So I guess I just keep doing what I’m doing, forever. I really don’t know what else could happen to me, but I better not tempt fate because the next thing you know Ill develop a goiter on my neck or something else disgusting.

Meanwhile, Gma is acting up and I haven’t spoken to her in a few days because she’s just too much. I helped her figure out a bill and she informed me that her friend asked her, after she told her she’s losing weight, who’s helping her get clothes, and she said “Nobody…Im all alone…” then ANOTHER friend asked “Are you eating your vegetables because Im going to my daughters for a sit down dinner and having squash and green beans.” This is all backlash because she didn’t come over for dinner Sunday because we saw a show instead. It doesn’t matter how much I do, its not enough. I’ve had it. Im at the end of the road and soon she’s going to realize it…

On a brighter note, Miles, who has been spending time in New Orleans to be with Meg and some friends for a month, got through the hurricane ok and everyone is safe. Plus Sam and Phillip finished the deck at the top of the stairs and it looks fantastic. I have guys here stripping wallpaper and painting so our dining room and bedroom will have a lift, which Im sure we’ll enjoy during the upcoming colder months. Im looking forward to having a fresh look.

Sorry for all the ranting but I have to get it out…Am spending the rest of the day watching my favorite October movies, like Village of the Damned and trying to get my mind calmed down.

Lets get ready for Halloween

And…that’s a wrap.

Ive taken the LAST trial pill! Very exciting because that means the main part of treatment is complete. I’ll still be on Letrozole for years, but as far as we can tell, the cancer has been conquered. I asked the Dr how will we know if its completely gone, and his response was, we cant REALLY know. However, we’ve done everything possible, and more, to eradicate it. Im grateful that I was approved for the trial and I can go on from here.

I had a little celebration because an old friend was in town and it was an excuse to get our group together. We’ve known each other around 20 years and have watched each others children grow up. I think that because of Corona its so rare to get together now that when we do its really fun and special. We got carried away with the wine, as usual, but it was great hearing stories about the kids and sharing what’s been happening. I know I sound mushy, but without my friends I could never have gotten through until now.

Meanwhile, back at the GMA front, she needs a new sink and faucet and you would think she’s renovating a $6 mil. mansion. I pick out a sink and faucet and of course its not correct. Now she’s called in a plumber and he says it needs changed (which is fine) but she just goes on and on, till the break of dawn. Today she’s coming over to pick something, so Im having a lovely cannibus pill before arrival. Also, she having trouble with the circulation in her feet, which two doctors told her was because of age, but she refuses to believe it. So Friday, it back to the DR to torture her more.

Work has slowed down so Im focusing on getting plantings in and the dining room done. All exciting stuff. Plus my beloved New Orleans Saints won their first game of the season last night so everything going pretty good!