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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Find the Time!

On January 16th the world changed.  I changed.  The cancer was back, and it was only a matter of a year or two before it won.  At least that's what my doctor said. My heart cried, but my head screamed a denial, and so I would begin a two-drug chemo treatment in four days time.

Later that same day I walked into another office and scheduled the mediport insertion as an out-patient procedure.  The mediport is a device implanted beneath my skin and acts like a vein to better administer the chemo medicines.
Some people get chemo through a vein in their arm, but in my case, the doctor said that the chemo medicines I required would "burn" too much going in a regular vein. 
The procedure was painless, and most days I don't even know it's there unless I hug a cat too hard. 

I started chemo the next day.  It's been seven months now, and I just finished my 7th round of chemo yesterday.  I've had two cat scans and an MRI to track my progress, which is at this time a bit unclear.  One known cancer area shows no new growth, but there are 8 other spots that have appeared on my liver, and it's unclear if they are cancerous.  So it's a wait game for now.

Through it all, my world changed.  My perspective on life changed.  I now find the time to enjoy the time.  You should try it!  Why wait for a better day to do something you want?  It might not come?  Don't put off what you've been putting off.  Just do it.  

So visit that place, eat that meal, buy that silly trinket, or spend time with your cats taking those cute pictures (and maybe too many videos.)  Make yourself happy today.  Who knows how many more todays you have?

Monday, June 26, 2017

Hello, Again!

Getting to the point...I've been gone for longer than I ever intended, but life got in the way.  I got cancer - twice.  I changed grade levels at school, and a stray cat who turned out to be pregnant adopted me.  Lucky me.  Really!  Lucky me.  

First, I went from teaching 6th grade to teaching 8th graders.  I had actually started my teaching career 19th years ago with 8th graders so it didn't take me long to get back in the groove, and I had a really wonderful 8th grade veteran teacher to help me and listen to me vent from time to time.  Without her, it would have definitely been a bad year because that was the year I found out about the cancer.

Next, meet Groucho.  In the picture, he is about 3 months old.  He is too curious and has a little stubbie for a tail.  His momma turned up in June of 2015 and was just a sweetheart.  She'd been hanging around the house for about a week when she got bit on her paw.  It started swelling up so I took her to my vet.  It got better, and then we noticed she was getting fat.  She had 7 kittens a month later.   Five of them managed to find great homes, but Groucho was mine from the minute he grew a personality.  We couldn't find a home for his brother, Snowball, so he stayed as well.

Then one Friday night, after a long week at school, I had a pain in my right side.  The next morning, it was worse, so we made a trip to my local Urgent Care thinking that it couldn't be anything serious.  They sent me to a nearby ER center for a cat scan, and they found a tumor on my liver.  After a transfer to a hospital and a biopsy, the diagnosis was Intrahepatic bile duct carcinoma.  

So there you are, almost caught up.  More to come later, but yes, lucky!  I'm still here.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pretty in Blue!

Meet the Plumbago, another Texas favorite. It's an evergreen shrub native to South Africa, and its hardiness makes it perfect for zones 9 through 11. It will bloom almost all year ‘round and is easy to grow. It likes sandy soil and soils that drain well. However, it can and will take over an area if you don’t prune, but on the plus if you prune regularly, this encourages more blooms.

This past winter we had some mighty cold temperatures, at least from Texas standards, and I thought the plumbago had died. A lot of my plants suffered, but the plumbago really took a beating.  It looked like a rambling of dried vines.  But when I began to replace this dead plant in early spring, I could see that the roots had survived and little shoots were coming up from the ground.  This is when I discovered that this is also a great plant for zones 7 and 8.

When we moved to our new home in Texas, we decided on a corner lot which had the bonus feature of having a bigger yard.  However, being a corner lot meant we also inherited a stop sign and a fire hydrant on the curve. The soil wasn’t the best with lots of clay and rock, but I wanted something pretty for the corner to take the focus away from the sign and hydrant. The corner had full-sun all day, and whatever I planted there couldn’t grow too big or at least be tolerable to pruning because of the sign and hydrant. A plumbago was the perfect answer. 

The plumbago is a favorite of mine because it loves full sun and once it is established, it only needs to be watered when it’s completely dry. So if you’re looking for a drought-resistant plant for your yard, this one is moderately drought-tolerant and so very pretty too.