Thursday, July 31, 2008

We're both feeling better. . .

Eddie and I both took our temperatures this morning - my temp was 98.7 and his was 99.0. His was as high last night as 101.2. So, it's still slightly elevated, but not badly so.

Luckily, whatever hit me didn't hit as bad as it did Eddie. I still had an appetite, for instance, where Eddie survived on just grapes, a go-gurt, and water yesterday. I didn't eat as much because I was just too lazy to eat more but I did eat three meals and some snacks. Eddie had two long (hour and a half) naps yesterday.

We slept from 10pm to about 7:30am .. . Eddie woke up about 2:30am and fell back asleep. I woke up 1am, 2:30am, 5:00am, 6:00am, 7:00am and 7:30am. Typical for me. But I feel rested.

I still have some achey muscles and a slight headache. Wonder if the slight headache is because I didn't have as much caffeine yesterday.

At any rate, I'm having my usual toast and Eddie is eating cereal, so I think we're both on the mend! Thank you, everyone, for your healing thoughts!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Now It's My Turn!! Crap!

Shortly after I posted about Eddie's fever, I went outside to turn off the sprinklers and got chilled ... and then never got unchilled after coming inside. My lower back and legs are achy. My stomach was a bit off, but not much. Mostly achy and chills. Took my temperature about 15 minutes ago - 99.6.

Sigh. This is what some might call adding insult (a fever and aches) to injury (cancer, radiation, surgery, etc.) .. .

Luckily, my folks were coming over here in the morning to help me clean. Mom will also bring chicken noodle soup and ginger ale or something like that. This is when I'm thankful they are close! They've been a tremendous help ... sometimes I feel bad about how much they help and I try to reciprocate.

Maybe I will finally get a good night's sleep!

A Lazy Day At Home

This morning, my son woke up with a 100.1 degree temperature and an upset tummy. He said he couldn't sleep well last night, so I asked my folks to drive to my house to babysit Eddie while I had booster treatment #3 this morning. I had lunch plans, but canceled them (my lunch date was another mom of a student in Eddie's class). My lunch date completely understood. Eddie just wanted to lay down, doze, sleep, and/or "purr" up with me. (We pretend sometimes that we are kitty cats.)

Poor guy. I always feel so bad for Eddie when he's not feeling well. As soon as I got home (I walked up and back to the cancer center) and after mom and dad left, Eddie and I just hung out in my bedroom all day. I was pretty tired and almost dozed off a few times. When he napped, I'd try to do little things around the house - laundry, dishes, balancing my checkbook (which didn't balance! The bank says I have $100 more than I think I do! A nice error to have, I suppose, but I just bet there's something somewhere that hasn't cleared!) I also developed some more signs and gathered various prizes for Eddie's birthday games. I have most all finished, except Golden Road. I still need to make some big signs for the games. I think I have it organized, but add in 8-year-olds and adults who aren't quite sure how to play the games and we're sure to have moments of chaos, but that's all part of the fun, huh?

(Sheesh, that's a run-on sentence! Shame on this professor! But it's stream of consciousness and I'm going to leave it.)

Now, I'm watering the lawn. Then, reading/watching TV, and calling it a night! I'm bushed. Glad I don't really have to travel for several weeks! I told the doctor that I'd been pushing myself past my limits and his reply today was that it's good that I'm keeping as active as I am - better than being a couch potato! Wish me a good solid 7-8 hours sleep tonight, okay? I really really need it.

Eddie's Big Wheel

Finally!! I was able to get around to continuing the paint job on Eddie's Big Wheel. All I need to do is to paint white wedges on the sides and maybe do a few touchups. I really want to give a big Thanks! to my friend, Brenda, who spent a couple of hours helping me out! (Brenda, I betcha didn't know that my paying for dinner was a bribe! LOL)

It's coming along quite nicely, even if we do say so ourselves! I will post a picture as soon as blogger lets me.

Eddie's party is on Saturday evening at 6pm. We are calling it, "Eddie's Price Is Right Birthday Game Show". He wants to play Plinko, the Grocery Game, the Race Game, Lucky 7, Golden Road, and then the Showcase Showdown. My brother-in-law, Henk, made Plinko and the Big Wheel (another huge thanks to Henk!). I've been collecting prizes and starting to make signs and such for the games. My folks are going to help me clean the house and get set up. Of course, each child will win a prize. Everyone will get to play the games.

I'm sure it's going to be fun!

So, thank you Brenda, Henk, and Scott (who helped me paint the Plinko board)! Eddie will much appreciate it, I'm sure!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Andrew's and Jessica's Mandala

A few weeks ago, I attended the wedding of a colleague of mine, Andrew. He was the one who suggested I create a blog to keep people updated.

The wedding was at The Armory in Portland and it was at times, touching, and sometimes, humorous. At any rate, I really wanted to create something for them and not just buy something. Since both blogging and mandalas have been really helpful to me as I undergo treatments, since Andrew suggested the blog, I decided to make them a mandala. (I think that's full circle.)

Their wedding invitations had a tandem bicycle and they decided to take a tandem bike ride to the Oregon Coast for the week after their wedding. Taking that as my cue, I decided to create a mandala using bicycle wheels (including spokes) as the inspiration. I overlapped the wheels to represent their now overlapping lives. They both seem to like "warm colors", so that's what I used. They also gave all of their guests a CD with love songs (including Sonny and Cher's "I got you babe") that I have really enjoyed. The last song is the old folksong called "Daisy Daisy". The lyrics state that the man couldn't afford a carriage, but that the bride would look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two, so I entitled "A Bicycle Built for Two".

Another radiation update

Hi everyone,
I had my first "booster" radiation treatment today. Fortunately, the past day or so, the radiation burn has mostly healed. I have four more booster treatments and will finally finish radiation treatments this Friday! YAY!!

I did resist radiation treatments because I didn't want to risk losing the ability to have an implant. But it was nice to hear from my plastic surgeon awhile back that there is a Plan B for reconstruction. Next month sometime, I will ask about that process.

In the meantime, late last week, I noticed two black spots within the open skin wound. I asked the doctor about them today and her opinion was that these two black spots represented tumors that were forming and that the radiation has killed them and the black spots are dying cancer tissue. YAY again!! More evidence that the radiation is doing what it's supposed to be doing!!

I was only 1-for-3 playing softball yesterday, so Deechiro won't be in the paper this week. Darnit!

Well, more later .. . got to do some things. Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cancer Bloggers Reunion Information

HEAD: "Why We Blog": At Cancer Lifeline, July 25

Cancer Lifeline presents:

“Why We Blog”—A Panel Discussion
Friday, July 25, 1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Cancer Lifeline’s Dorothy S. O'Brien Center at Greenlake

Cancer Lifeline will host a panel of cancer bloggers from around the country on July 25 at Cancer Lifeline’s Dorothy S. O'Brien Center, located in the Greenlake neighborhood, at 6522 Fremont Avenue North.

The bloggers include two women living with metastatic breast cancer: Deanna Kingston, who is an associate professor of anthropology at Oregon State University in Corvallis and an Oregonian of King Island Inupiaq Eskimo descent. Her blog is: Dee’s Updates. Also, Seattle blogger Jeanne Sather, who organized this event; her blog is The Assertive Cancer Patient.

The third is Teresa Hartman, who has a very rare cancer, adenoid cystic carcinoma. She is an associate professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where her primary area of research is health information literacy. She blogs as The Cheeky Librarian.

The fourth blogger is a leukemia survivor who is two years post-transplant, Debby Greer-Costello, of San Antonio, Texas. She blogs as Debutaunt.

The topic for the panel is “Why We Blog.” The discussion will include:

• Types of cancer blogs
• Reasons to blog when you have cancer
• What we gain: community, friends, answers to our questions
• Privacy and blogging
• Making money with a blog
• Men, women, cancer, sex, and blogging
• And more.

The presentation is free and open to the public. Go to Cancer Lifeline’s Web site to register: Cancer Lifeline.

Cancer Lifeline provides emotional support, classes and exercise programs in the Puget Sound Area. We serve all people living with cancer--patients, family members, and co-workers. All our programs and services are free of charge.

For more information visit our Web site, Cancer Lifeline.

Radiation Update and an Unexpected Birthday Gift!

So, last Tuesday the 15th, my rad onc said that she wanted to do 5 booster radiation treatments. I decided to go along with it because of her explanation:

Apparently, the 28 treatments she gave me were at a low dose, meant to kill "microscopic" disease in the lymph channels. However, it wasn't big even to treat "visible" disease. So, she wanted to do 5 booster treatments at a higher dose to get at the visible disease (I had a rather largish area and about 10-12 smallish tumors in my skin).

I was to start the 5 booster treatments yesterday - but the area under my armpit has been burned - it's looking pretty raw. The top layer of skin has fallen away and the area is red, swollen, and somewhat painful. It hurts to lift my arm above my head and made it hard to play softball. So, the rad onc yesterday is giving me a week's reprieve! I don't have to start the boosters until next Monday! IN the meantime, I'm soaking the area 3x/day with a washcloth soaked in a water/baking soda/salt mixture and then slathering on Silvadine cream to help it heal. Whew! I think it's helping, although it's still painful. They offered to write me a script for pain meds, but I turned them down. Me and pain meds don't mix well. Rather be slightly uncomfortable with pain than throwing up.


In the meantime, those last four little tumors that I felt a couple of weeks ago are gone. Yup. Hasta la vista, baby!

So, the radiation is doing what's it's supposed to be doing. I can handle a bit of discomfort. As long as it heals quickly!

A busy week

Well, sorry to have been off the blog for so long . . . I've been too busy, which is a good thing! So, I guess, generally speaking, if I don't have a lot of entries it's because I'm out living life.

From Tues to Fri last week, my family and I were staying in a house near Chinook Winds Casino in LIncoln City. While temps were in the high 80s or low 90s, it was a nice comfy 65 to 70 at the coast - even needed jackets. We had good weather most of the time, although it was windy. Here's a picture of the "sand people" that my sister took - all the kids wanted to be buried in the sand. (Blogger is having technical difficulties - will upload it when I can get a chance.)

Then, I dropped some things off at a garage sale at a friend's house - they held it from Sat to Sun - and ended up earning $35. Not too shabby.

I spent Sat afternoon and evening and Sunday morning in Portland, visiting Scott. We had a nice, relaxing, fun time.

Softball on Sunday, where Deechiro went 2-for-3 with 5 RBIs for the losing team (see entry "Deechiro Made the Paper").

Monday, which happened to be my 44th birthday, I took my son for his annual check-up at Shriner's Hospital. The doctor has no concerns about his feet or his floppy ankles. However, they do want to refer him for a Marfan Syndrome evaluation . . . more on that later.

So, taking a breather . . . getting caught up on emails at work. Whew! Things are good, in other words. I'm enjoying myself even with this radiation burn!

"Deechiro" Made the Paper!

Ahhh, the pleasures of living in a small town! Our local paper writes up quick results for the city league softball games and they include the scores of the games as well as those hitters who stood out. Well, I made the paper this week! I can't remember the team we played, but we lost 24-9. The entry for me said:

"Dee Kingston went 2-for-3 with 5 RBIs for the GSH Stretchers."

I text messaged my teammates and Heather Kenagy (of My Xeloda fame - see

wrote back, "We're going to have to start calling you Deechiro"!! (Just so you know, all my friends are Mariners fans.)

So, even though my radiation burn under my right armpit prevents me from throwing a softball very well, I can still bat! HAAA!

I just might have to get a t-shirt with that name on it! Hee hee hee

(Sheesh, have I no shame? What's with all the bragging, huh?)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Busy busy busy

Again, I've been off the internet the past few days and so I haven't blogged.

In general, I'm doing well emotionally. Friday was a busy day . . . I had a couple of appointments and coffee with a friend, then I decided to take Eddie to the Marion County Fair that afternoon (it was probably a bit too much and too hot, but he had fun), then I had dinner at my colleague, Nancy's house. She made curry chicken, salad, carrots, and rice. Very yummy!!

Saturday, I went up to Portland and hung out with Scott. We had coffee, then he got his hair cut, then lunch with his daughter, then they had an appointment, then dinner and watch a movie at his place. A relaxing day and it was hot out.

On Sunday, I had coffee with Scott, then came home, picked up Eddie, and we went to my former grad student's daughter's 2nd birthday party, then I had a softball game. Again, it was hot.

Today, I had acupuncture, a meeting with my undergrad research assistant Emily, radiation, and then lunch with another former grad student. It's hot again today - at least 90 and it was only forecast to get to 85. I will play volleyball this evening - I hope it cools down some!

Physically, the skin under my arm and under the breast area is really tender and when I take the dressings off, the tape tends to take a very thin layer of skin off with it, making it even more tender.

And, I have been struggling off and on the past two weeks from tummy problems. Not nausea, necessarily, but more a loss of appetite and when I do eat, I often feel bloated and uncomfortable until I can burp. My acupuncture treated it today . . . I think it made a bit of a difference after lunch today. I didn't feel as bloated. She did say to drink peppermint tea with a bit of ginger in it to help with digestion. Also, I need to avoid heavy foods (no red meats), dairy, shellfish, sugary foods and raw vegetables. So, today for lunch, I had chicken skewers and a salad. I think it made a difference.

I may not be blogging much over the next few days .. . my family and I had to Lincoln City for three nights and three days. We rented a 3-bedroom house with a hot tub on the deck (which I can't go in, but oh well), and a foos ball table and an ice hockey table. Looking forward to cooling down at the coast . . .

In the meantime, my dad and Gooey are building my mosaic platform. Now I need to get to designing it!! Will post pictures of the mosaic and their process of making it after it's completed!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Two More Mandalas

I visited the Mandala Lady (Maureen Frank at today and dropped off two mandalas that I colored. The first is the July Mandala of the Month. She stated that it looked like a pyramid, so I chose earthy colors for it. I mostly just played with colors and shading. It seemed kinda plain, so I added the curly cues that area around it.

And, the next one is for a sculpture that she and her husband are creating for the Da Vinci Days celebration, which will be held here on July 18-20. It's a fun festival, with music, art, and science (hence, the name, "Da Vinci Days"). This is the Stargazer Mandala.

They were fun to color . . . the blue and yellow mandala on the Stargazer was a sketch I made because I wanted to create a mandala for some friends of mine as a gift . . . not saying who just yet as it is a surprise, but I'll post a picture when it's finished!

I also bought two more coloring books. One for me and one for my friend, Paula. I chatted with Paula on the phone yesterday (she'd been away in Italy and London for several weeks) and she thought coloring mandalas together would be fun, so I bought one for her! Trouble is, I'm not sure which one I want, so I will show both to Paula and let her choose the one she'd like.

Three more radiation treatments! Thank goodness! My skin under my arm is getting really tender and sometimes painful. I also finished a review of a book proposal that's been hanging over my head for a couple of months. Yay! Now, I can get to revising and resubmitting an article - it was due June 1, but the editor is graciously allowing me to take my time. I'd like to get it done by next Tuesday. I've done some of it, but then some other pressing issues came up. It feels good, though, to cross things off my list!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Reason to be Hopeful!

A few weeks ago, I found about 4 or 5 more small tumor nodules on the right (from my viewpoint) lower quadrant of the right breast. I knew I had maybe 8-10 nodules on the left side, from below to the upper quadrant. Today, I decided to feel around to see if I still had them all.

This morning, all I could feel was one small one on the right side and one larger one on the upper left quadrant. I was really happy - radiation is working and I'm seeing results!

However, after radiation, when I saw the doctor, I felt again and this time I felt two nodules on the right and two on the upper left quadrant. My enthusiasm is tempered a bit now, but I'm still really happy that all this daily radiation is doing the trick! Take that, nasty cancer cells!

24 treatments down and 4 more to go! Yay!! More reasons to celebrate!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ripe Blueberries

One of my blueberry bushes is beginning to yield some fruit . . . I picked what was ripe yesterday and here is the result:


Monday, July 7, 2008

Introducing . . . the Hillbilly Golf Champs!

My friends, Heather and Josh and their folks and spouses and kids invited me and Eddie and Scott and his daughter Ashlee to join them for a picnic before the fireworks display on Friday the 4th. After dinner, we played several rounds of hillbilly golf - also known as ladder golf. (See this website for more info -

For ladder golf, they made a short ladder-looking structure that's about waist-high or maybe a bit higher. You place two of them facing each other at a distance. It has three rungs. Then, you have three short ropes with golf balls attached to each end.

You play with two teams of two people each and each team gets three sets of golf balls. One partner stands at each end (like horseshoes). You hold on to one golf ball and the toss the whole works over to the ladder. If you hit the bottom rung, you get one point, two points for the middle rung, and three points for the top rung. Then, you play to 21 points.

I am proud to annouce that my partner, Scott, and I, beat the other teams 5 games to 1!! HA!!!

Saturday, my folks and Eddie and I headed to Portland and went to Saturday Market and I got a henna tattoo and my son found a really fun cat mask, then we met up with my Aunt Judy and Uncle Dave (Judy's my dad's sister) and then picked up my Auntie Marie (Marie is my mom's sister) and we had dinner at P.F. Chang's, a Chinese restaurant near Powell's Bookstore. The dinner was delicious and we had fun. Then, my folks and Eddie went back to the hotel room and I went to the cocktail party with Scott. I brought them all home again and then went back up to Portland for Andrew's wedding. The wedding was at the Armory (a really nice spot) and dinner was delicious. My dinnermates were Richard Clinton and his wife Caroline and Theresa Hogue (who wrote the GT article about me) and Joseph Orosco. Later Becky Warner and Brent Steel joined our table. The conversation was great. The bride and groom wrote their own vows and they were both touching and funny - Jessica couldn't get Andrew's ring on his finger, so Andrew stuck it in his mouth to moisten it up (whiched worked), then, for good measure, he pulled Jessica ring finger into his mouth to help get her ring on!!

All in all, a good week-end. But I've decided to take it easy today and get caught up on things like laundry, my checkbook, etc. Whew! My son decided to take a mud bath - his third one this summer - not sure why he's fascinated with that at the moment, but he is. As long as he has fun, that's all that counts, right? A bath and sweeping and mopping the floors and spray-and-washing his clothes cleans it all up again!

Oh yeah! In other good news, Josh and Amy had their baby on Saturday night - please welcome Steven Sanford Searles to the world! See the new mama and son - He weighted 10 lbs. 1 oz. Good job, Amy!

Friday, July 4, 2008


Yesterday was the first day in a long time that I felt emotionally normal. Yesterday and today, I am in a good mood - on an even keel - and I have had two good night's sleep.

Part of it, I'm sure, has to do with all the good, positive energy that you all are sending me. I hope you know how much I appreciate it and how much it helps me.

Part of it also has to do with the fact that I'm on the downhill side of radiation treatments. YAY!

Part of it has to do with some books that I've been reading lately that have to do with energy healing such as acupuncture, spirituality, and things like past life regressions. Through counseling, acupuncture, reiki, and taking time to try to get at the bottom of some really deep-rooted issues I have seems to be making a difference.

I must admit, too, that part of it has to do with the fact that I am receiving more money through various work efforts than I expected. I received Year Two funding on one grant a bit earlier which will enable me to travel to Alaska and do some interviewing and it will give me some extra salary this summer. In fact, I received some of it at the end of June and I thought that I might receive a certain amount and when I got the check, it was a couple of hundred dollars more than expected. Then, the work that I did at NSF two weeks ago also gave me a stipend and I found out yesterday that it was about $200 more than expected. I cowrote an encyclopedia entry with a colleague last year and when it was to be published, the press was going to give us a $250 honorarium - didn't know when that might happen, but I found out that I should get it within the next couple of weeks. And, another colleague wrote me into her grant (I just had to give her my CV) and we found out that it was funded by the Alaska Humanities Forum and that comes with salary over the next 18 months that I wasn't expecting.

In other words, my financial situation is looking up again. I've been on a reduced salary (60%) all of this year because I am on sabbatical. Dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatments was a shitty way to spend my sabbatical, but at least I didn't have to teach or go to meetings I didn't want to go to. Since last October, though, I've been relying on my home equity line of credit, a little bit of grant funding, and my tax refund to make up my monthly payments and to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses. So, I've gone a little deeper into debt (with the HELOC), but it's a small price to pay for my health.

So, what did I do with the little bit of extra money? Well, I had some work done on my car - deferred maintenance like flushing fluids and all that - and was able to put more into payments on the HELOC and the credit card. And, I have some left to create my mandala mosaic and next month I will be able to have extra for raised beds and maybe even to begin some home remodel projects - I have a grand scheme to turn this family room that's little used into a master suite, which will then enable me to get rid of this useless 1/2 bath at one end of the house and create a bigger bathroom and a bigger closet. I also want to build a deck in the backyard. I am also toying around with the idea of building another structure on my property. This structure will be a place for meditation and healing . . . it's an idea that came to me a few days ago and I really like the idea.

For the past week, too, I have been thinking that I am in remission. It may be just wishful thinking, but I don't think so. I hadn't allowed myself to think that far ahead. However, I just have this feeling that all the things that I've been doing (radiation, chemo, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, counseling and spiritual work) to beat this shitty cancer is working. I am more hopeful than I have been in a long time- I see light at the end of the tunnel. I've been imagining the reconstruction surgery and getting rid of these tissue expanders - I hope that that will happen in September. I've been doing a lot of visualization.

A lot of people have helped me . . . my folks, my family, Scott, my son, my friends, my colleagues, my fellow bloggers, my fellow King Islanders, even this nice man on the plane from Raleigh to Dallas (Sean Park, who is the pastor of Charisma Church in Raleigh) said that he and his colleagues and parishioners would pray for me. I hope you all know that I really appreciate it.

I also have a good, fun week-end ahead of me. Today, Heather (of My Xeloda fame) and her family (Kevin, Josh, Amy, Jackson, and Josh's and Heather's parents), Scott, Ashlee, Eddie, and I are going to have a picnic in Brownsville and then watch the fireworks. Tomorrow, my folks and Eddie and I head to Portland for the day and night - we'll hang out and do fun things in Portland during the day and mom will get to see her cousin, Marie, and then Scott will join me for a pre-wedding cocktail party on Saturday evening (mom and dad will babysit Eddie and stay at a hotel downtown). Andrew's (the friend who suggested that I start a blog to begin with) and Jessica's wedding is on Sunday and I found a nice dress and some shoes to go with it this week! All in all, it should be fun.

Happy 4th of July everyone! Have a great week-end! I think I will!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

21 Down, 7 To Go

I had radiation treatment #21 today. I only have 7 more to go! Yippee!

Fortunately, I will have a three-day break from treatments because of the holiday. I think my skin needs it. The area they are radiating is really dark and the skin (where I still have sensation) is starting to get really tender. Also, the tape that the wound care nurse gave me to use has actually pulled off little pieces of skin here and there. Great, huh? So, I am back to using paper tape.

I Saw a Tushy Today

I live in a college town ... and sometimes, you see something you don't expect. I had such a sighting today ...

A young guy - I assume a college student - was out tossing a football around with his friend near campus. Anyway, his shorts had fallen down below his butt and people driving by were treated to the sight of his tushy in his undies . . .

I just had to chuckle and shake my head . . .

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

a new joke

Theresa Hogue (she wrote the article about me in the local newspaper back in March) just sent me the following joke:

What did the bra say to the hat?

"You go on ahead, while I give these two a lift."

Funny, huh?