Friday, July 31, 2009

Light The Night Fundraiser

Does anyone know how to make a cool widget for my fundraiser? I'd love to add the link to the Light The Night on my sidebar! I found the picture (see it? it's right there on the right ---------> well, it WAS when I first posted this! ) Now all I need is to add the link below, so if you click on the picture, you can bop right over to my fund raising page! Easier said than done!

Hey! It works! Thanks Patti!

Hey! I did a Dear So and So post just below this one! Read it if you want.

Dear So and So...

Dear Kat,

Thanks so much for the terrific award! I proudly posted it right away!



Dear Tammy (at work),

Thanks for scaring the crap out of me last night with that text message, only to discover it was all a joke! I thought the shit was truly hitting the fan at work and I was, somehow, in the middle of it all. Glad it was all a joke!

With pounding heart,


Dear Younger Daughter,

I keep deleting this message.

had enough,


Dear Alix and Jim and Garret,

I'm so happy you all had such a great time visiting! Can I tell you jealous I am that the three of you got to meet? I did enjoy the pictures though,

Green with envy,


Dear Everyone Who Went To BlogHer,

I'm also jealous that all of you got to meet in Chicago, too! Maybe I can attend on of these years.

Getting greener by the minute,
Joanie (good thing I'm Irish and I like green!)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Update: Good news

Yesterday I took John to HUP* to get his Pheresis catheter implanted so they could harvest his stem cells in preparation for the stem cell transplant. We had to be at the hospital at 7am, which meant getting up at 5am for the drive in (groan!) We got there with a little time to spare and they took John in right away.

By 10 am, John was ready to go to the Pheresis Unit to begin stem cell harvesting. They hooked him up to his machine and the harvesting began. It took about 3 hours. He hadn't eaten because they sedated him to get the catheter implanted. So I bought some lunch and we had a picnic on his bed. Watched a few episodes of Law and Order SVU and before we knew it, he was finished for the day.

We made arrangements to go back today (Wednesday) for his second collection. They figured the needed 2 to 3 days to get enough stem cells. Last night John was kind of achy and tired. I think we did too much yesterday, even though it was just a little grocery shopping.

Early last evening, he got a phone call from the Pheresis Unit. They needed to collect 4 million stem cells for his transplant. They were able to collect 18 million stem cells yesterday! So we didn't have to go back today! That was such great news! We slept until 10 am instead of getting up at 6 am, like we had planned.

So today he just has a regular doctor appointment with his primary care physician, since he hasn't seen him in a while. He can go back to work on Monday but his boss offered to give him Saturday and Sunday shifts to make up for the days he's missing (he's been out of work for 2 weeks this time), so he's going to take that.

Next up is a PET scan on Aug 7 and he goes in for the transplant on Aug 12. I'm just wondering, since he seems to be tolerating the chemo so well, and his harvest went so well, maybe he won't be in the hospital for the month or 6 to 8 weeks like they predicted. I guess time will tell.

I sure hope this transplant works! It's very discouraging to see this cancer pop back up repeatedly every 3 to 6 months.

*Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Monday, July 27, 2009

seems like only yesterday...

Twenty-five years ago today, at exactly 8:44 pm ET, 20 days after my due date, after about 17 hours of labor, Regina Frances, my first born, made her grand entrance into this world, all 8 lbs. 5 oz and 19 inches of her!

It hardly seems like 25 years have gone by since that day. The years just flew by!

Gina at 8 months old

Gina was a smart little thing! She could do 3 10-piece puzzles at once when she was 16 months old. She could say her ABCs and identify any letter of the alphabet by the time she was 18 months. Reading at 4, going off the high dive at 4. Before she could talk very much, we'd wake the middle of the night to hear her singing in her crib!

Gina 6, Tim 3 1/2, Dani 1

Gina grudgingly shared me with her brother and sister. If you ask her, it was all my fault that we could never go to Disney World. Every time we talked about going, **I** had to go have another baby! LOL!! She said this at the ripe old age of 6 or 7! (to this day I still haven't gone to DW. She finally went on Spring break of her freshman year of college!)

Gina going off to Kindergarten without a backwards glance

Oh, how I cried the day I put her on the bus to Kindergarten, a mere week after moving back to PA from NJ. I didn't even know my way to the grocery store without getting lost and here I was, putting my baby on a school bus with a STRANGER!! One of the kids used to sit with her to make sure she woke up before getting off the bus at her stop on the way home!

Gina, as Dorothy Gale and the late great Sandra Dee as Toto
The Wizard of Oz, April 2001

Gina loves loves loves the stage! She used to sing at school Masses in grade school, with the choir and also cantoring the kids' Mass. But when she hit high school, she joined the Drama Club. When she got on the stage, and heard that applause, it was Baby, I'm home! Gina is a natural on stage! I absolutely love watching her perform! I'm happy to brag that she is the only girl in her school to have won the Best Actress Award at Bucks County Playhouse high school competition for her portrayal of Dorothy when she was a Junior. It is, by far, my favorite role that she has played (with a very close second going to her role as Dinah Lord in The Philadelphia Story when she was a Junior in college) I miss Gina performing. Whenever we would drive anywhere, it became a one woman show with Gina singing all the show tunes to her favorite musicals.

Gina (on the right) and her friend, Carli at St. Pius X graduation, June 2002

The years flew by and suddenly, 13 years had passed and she was graduating from high school and going off to college! Those 4 college years went even faster and before I knew it, she was living and working away from home, an adult, finally, in the truest sense of the word. Now Gina works in radio, writing commercials for the station and doing voice overs and last year, she got her own weekly radio show. Gina's with a terrific guy who I hope someday will become my favorite son-in-law.

Gina, at 24

So, Happy Birthday, Gina! You are one of the lights of my life. I love you!!!!
Love, Mom

im here, sort of

I'm here, sort of. Spending a lot of time at John, who has no internet (grrr). I have a birthday post coming and other stuff, I think. This is the week John goes in daily for his stem cell collection, in preparation for his transplant next month. He's at HUP right now, gettng all the preliminary stuff done. More when I know more!!! Now I have to get this butt to work!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Did you ever wonder...?

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to win the Lottery? I mean win BIG! John and I often buy tickets for the Powerball Lottery. I have one in my purse for tonight's drawing as I type. I daydream about what I could do with that money. I could pay off the mortgage on the house. Pay all my kids' student loans. I could take that trip to Alaska, Ireland, Greece, Hawaii, the Caribbean. I could pay off the mortgages of my siblings and nieces and nephews and my daughter.

I wonder how many "good" friends and family would come out of the woodwork with their hands out? I'm sure that has happened to lots of big winners. I'm also sure that there would be charitable organizations beating a path to my door also. I have my lists of who I'd donate to already.

I'd support an AIDS organization. I'd give money for Cancer Research (in memory of my Dad and others who have lost their fight for life). I'd probably give money to my alma mater and my kids' alma mater (Catholic schools always need funds) . I'd give money to the Sisters of Bon Secours (my sister is a nun in that Order).

John and I could retire (well, John could retire AGAIN) and go some place warm in winter. THAT would be the best thing, I think!

The big question is... should I let my ex off the hook for the 5+ more years of alimony he owes me? I can't get married now because I need that income and I'd lose it if I did. But if I win the lottery, I won't need it any more. I think, nah. That prick owes me. The 6 years I worked for him for no pay is enough of an incentive to keep it coming. He owes me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Spin Cycle: Vacation!

Spin Cycle this week is all about vacations. I've already written about the best vacation EVER when I wrote about my "Just Divorced" Cruise. And Garret doesn't like it when I repeat myself (Unless I give him ample warning). So if you want to read about the cruise, just click here.

I've also written about my summer vacations in Ocean City, MD (which also happens to be a Spin Cycle), so I don't have to write about that again (see how accommodating I can be, Garret?)

So I'm going to write about my vacation THIS summer. I get 3 weeks vacation, since I've been working for Fridays for more than 6 years. I actually get PAID vacations. The pay isn't great, but I don't know of many other places that will give their wait staff paid vacations. And we have a use it or lose it policy. I have to use my vacation before Feb 11 (My anniversary date) or I lose that vacation.

Usually I save all year for my week in Ocean City, MD. My friend gives me a super duper deal and it's almost criminal NOT to take her up on the offer! This year, for some reason, I decided to use my Income Tax Refund for the beach house, only to discover that I was getting $300 back and not the $2500 I thought I was getting. I had to cancel my standing 3rd week in July reservation on the house.

It's funny how things work out.

As you all know, John was in the hospital for his latest round of chemotherapy for his Lymphoma. This was the week I was supposed to be at the beach. I know John. He would have INSISTED I go to the beach and enjoy myself and not worry about him. He'd have been angry if I cancelled my vacation because of him. And I'd have been terribly terribly guilty going to the beach while he was in the hospital, going through the chemo alone. So, Providence or something stepped in and made it possible for me to be on vacation and broke so I could spend my time with him at the hospital!

I have 2 more weeks coming to me. I decided to take the week John goes in for his Stem Cell Transplant in August as my 2nd vacation. For my 3rd week of vacation, I'm taking the week he gets out of the hospital in mid-September. He can't be alone, so he'll be coming to my house where I can look after him and we can be comfortable.

My friend, Fran suggested we come down for a week in early autumn, late September or early October. We thought about it and decided if John has to be on a special diet to prevent him from getting bacteria or other fun stuff, the beach may not be the place for him this year.

Aw, hell, there's always next summer for a week at the beach!

Want to join in the fun of Spin Cycle? Just click this link here. I'm sure Jen at Sprite's Keeper would love to have you!

Monday, July 20, 2009

He's Home! He's Home!

John got sprung from the big house yesterday around 3 pm. He's doing pretty well, but somewhat weak. We slept in late today, then had a whole list of "honey-do" jobs to take care of ( dropping of Rxs, buying diabetic socks, lunch, getting blood work done, new light bulb for his right turn signal, library run) I did all the driving and he had a chance to relax. I know one thing for sure... he's gonna sleep really well tonight!

He needs to start giving himself the Neupogen injections tonight and continue until they start the stem cell harvest next Tuesday. That also means the Neutropenic diet has to start now. No more salad and fresh raw fruits and veggies. It's actually not as bad to follow as one would think. The food just has to be cooked. He also needs to avoid stuff like bleu cheese and feta cheese and yogurt. Nothing with mold or bacteria.

While registering today for his blood work, the lady in the next booth came over and told us she is an 11 year survivor of Lymphoma and she had a stem cell transplant. She looked great! It was very encouraging to hear her tell us. When she had hers done, it was very experimental. I hope John has as good results as she has!

Tomorrow I go back to work. I wish I was still on vacation!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

John is doing GREAT!

I hope writing about how John is doing with his chemo isn't too repetitive or boring. I guess if it is, you can always skip it. I say this because over the past couple of weeks, I've lost a follower and gained a follower twice. And I can't figure out who it was either time.

Anyway! I just got home from spending the day at HUP (The Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania) with John. I'm happy to report that he spent no time in bed! Last month, he was in bed all the time, and his fatigue was something else! I kept telling him, "You have to keep moving, you have to fight the fatigue or it will just get worse." This time I reminded him that lying in bed all the time, he could develop blog clots in his legs and he needs to keep his circulation going. THAT got his ass up!

I'm starting to bring my own food for me to eat. The cafeteria sucks and I can't keep spending $20-30 a day for food! There's a microwave and a fridge in his room, so I'm going to bring some Lean Cuisine-type meals for me to have.

We're hoping he gets sprung tomorrow. He can leave as soon as his chemo is finished, even if it's in the middle of the night. (he better not call me in the middle of the night for a ride home!) Unless, of course, he starts with any vomiting, which he did not have last month.

Today I saw quite a few patients wearing gowns, masks and gloves. I think they were all transplant patients. Everyone walks the halls to get some kind of exercise. Around and around they all go, pushing their IV poles. John and I did our fair share of walking around today.

One thing we learned is John can go off-floor and sit in the courtyard for some fresh air. He's not allowed to do that now because he's on constant chemo. He needs to be on the floor in case one of his bags empties and it needs replacing. But if he were getting it every 8 or 12 hours and had some down time, we could go outside. Also, after his transplant we could do it too.

John brought his laptop with him and several DVD movies. Today we watched You Can't Take It With You with Jimmy Stewart and Lionel Barrymore. It was a good flick! I love those old movies! After dinner we watched The Fifth Element with Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich. It was.. um.. ok, I guess. I remember seeing it years ago and I guess I didn't catch the humor back then. It seems like it was a farce! We also played some Othello and some Backgammon, and watched a few shows on TV this evening.

The thing that really bothers me is, I'm the only visitor John has. Last month his sister visited for a bit and my niece, who is a post op nurse at HUP stopped by a few times. Katie (my niece) is off this weekend and I think John's sister was at the beach. But his brothers know he's there and 2 of them live in the city! Granted, one of his brothers lives in Maine but 2 are in Philly and 1 is right across the bridge in NJ. They don't even call to see how he is or if he needs anything!

John doesn't have a relationship with any of his kids (the one thing about him I don't like), so, of course, he won't hear from them. Being in the Army all those years, he couldn't be near them, so he chose to distance himself from them. I think he regrets it now. He has 2 sons from his first marriage and a daughter from another marriage. Ah, well... it was his choice ot make and I don't agree with it.

So that's my update for today and I have no idea how to end this! LOL

Smart Women

I got this as an email from my brother, Michael and thought I'd share.


A point of view:

Barbara Walters of ABC-TV's 20/20 did a story on gender roles in Kabul, Afghanistan several years before the Afghan conflict. She noted that women customarily walked five paces behind their husbands.

She recently returned to Kabul and observed that women still walk behind their husbands.

From Miss Walters' vantage point, despite the overthrow of the oppressive
Taliban regime, the women now seem to walk even further back behind their husbands, and are happy to maintain the old custom.

Miss Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked; "Why do you now
seem happy with an old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?"

The woman looked Miss Walters straight in the eyes, and without hesitation said,

"Land Mines."

Moral of the story is ... (no matter where you go) ..


Friday, July 17, 2009

Dear So and So...

Dear HUP*,
I'm not real happy that it took you nearly 2 full days to get a bed for John, even though his appointment had been scheduled for a month! On the positive side, you all are very nice people and do a terrific job when you aren't making patients wait hours to get settled in!

Caregiver who needs more sleep

Dear Comcast,
Thanks for turning my internet back on as soon as I paid the bill! I missed you! Now can you please fix my On Demand?

Happy Customer

Dear GM,
Please let me get my catalytic converter fixed for free even though I'm 20,000 miles over warranty. If the dealer had fixed it last year when it WAS under warranty instead of saying it was a compuer issue, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Loves Her Pontiac Vibe

Dear GM,
Why or why are you dropping the entire Pontiac line from your company? Pontiacs are my favorite make of car! Now if I want to get another Vibe (Which I love love love by the way), I'll have to go to Toyota and buy Japanese. And I don't want to hear one word of complaining about me buying foreign!

Loves Her Pontiac Vibe

Dear Mark at Thompson Automotive,
You are the best! You drive my car to the Pontiac dealership twice and didn't tell me to pound sand when I asked you to take it back there for me since I wasn't in town. You never try to rip me off when you do repairs to our cars and you automatically call my ex for payment when the kids' cars need service! If I could still have children, I'd name the next one after you!

A Happy Happy Customer

Dear Jerry,
Thanks for calling me when I was driving home from the hospital last night! It was great to finally hear your voice, after 3 years and the hour-long drive home went so quickly! Besides, it's really hard to text while driving on the Schuykill (pronounced skoo-kill for you non-Philly people) Expressway.

Your Online Buddy

Dear Readers,
Want to get stuff off your chest? Want to just have some fun, bitching about this and that? Go visit Kat, my friend from across the pond, grab a button and tell Dear So and So just what you think! Go on! It's fun! You know you want to! You'll feel so much better later!
Oh! And thanks for reading my blog!

Joanie M

*HUP is Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania

Oh! I posted those pictures of John at the post right below this one!

The waiting is over... sort of and pictures!

Ok, here are the pictures I took of John last week when he got his hair shaved off. Tell me truthfully, does he look like grown-up Charlie Brown or Uncle Fester from The Addams Family movie?

First up is the before picture we took before the chemo started, so you know what he looks like with hair.

Here's John chrome-dome picture!

This is a picture of John wearing the chemo cap my daughter knitted for him. It keeps his head nice and warm!

And finally, the picture of him in his white fedora (or Panama hat!)

At 3:30 this afternoon (well yesterday I guess... I haven't been to bed yet but it IS Friday, but I'm talking about Thursday) John FINALLY got the call to come in to the hospital because they had a room for him. I had just finished cooking a pork tenderloin and rice, so we ate it, cleaned up and left for the hospital.

We arrived at 6 pm, go to Admissions and a few minutes later, they send us up to the 7th floor. The nurse tells us what room to go to and we do. Only to be barred from the room by a nurse who tells us the other man in the room has an infection and John could get it and we can't come in.


So they send us to the family waiting room, put a sign on the door for people NOT to come in (which people completely ignored) and after an hour and a half, they had the room ready for us and Mr. Infection was gone. I don't know if they moved him or if they sent him home.

By the time John was actually in the room, it was 8:30 pm. I have not been happy with this whole deal with the hospital. I haven't said anything because everyone has been very very nice. But when they knew for a month that he was scheduled to come in for his chemo treatment, they should have had a room for him.

His chemo will begin tomorrow, hopefully in the morning but I'm not holding my breath. So now, instead of getting out of the hospital on Friday night, he'll be getting home Sunday night or maybe even Monday.

This has been a very long, tiring two days. This is also the first time in 3 years that I've seen John really cranky and short-tempered. I know one thing. When he goes in the hospital in August for his transplant, they BETTER have a room for him or there will be hell to pay!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hurry up and wait... and wait... and wait

Yesterday, John was scheduled to get his second chemo treatment. The hospital told him they would call us when a bed was ready for him. So we get his bag packed, get showered, dressed, because we want to be ready to drive in to Philly as soon as they call. It's around noon, so we go to our favorite diner for lunch.

By 1:30, we still don't hear from the hospital. John wanted to go to the movies to see the new Harry Potter movie, but I'm afraid they'll call as soon as the movie starts. The movie is 2 hours and 25 minutes long, and it's an hour drive to Philly if we don't hit a lot of traffic. So I talked John out of going to the movies and maybe we should just head on down to Philly and avoid the rush hour mess. So that's what we do, but the way we went (through North Philly... fun fun fun) takes us over 2 hours anyway.

We finally get parked and go to admissions and get registered. By this time it's around 4 pm. Still no phone call that a bed is available. Wander down tot he cafeteria, get a drink and a snack. Go to the car with a wheelchair and get his stuff out of the car, because we want to be ready when the call comes. Wander back up to admissions and sit and wait and wait and wait.

I get the brilliant idea to open his laptop and watch a movie while we wait. John packed his first 5 Harry Potter movies to see to refresh before seeing the Half Blood Prince. We get about 30 minutes into the movie when the supervisor, Carole comes out to tell us that they are SOOOO sorry, but a bed just isn't available for him today. She says we should have waited for that damned phone call before driving all the way down there for nothing. We told her we were just trying to avoid rush hour and he had this scheduled for a month! Carole then tells us that he can have a bed, but it won't be on the cancer floor. He can still get his chemo but he won't have his regular team taking care of him.... he'll have a resident and an intern.

Uh..... no. We'll wait for the bed and have his regular doctors and nurse practitioners take care of him. Carole tells us that we should go home and they'll call us tomorrow when a bed is available for him. Personally, I think they should have gotten us a room in a hotel for the night and not made us drive all the way back home to wait yet again... but that's just me.

So, now it's Thursday morning, John is at home, in bed, because he's being VERY lazy today and I'm back at Burger King (because John doesn't have online access at his apartment). If the hospital calls, he'll call me and we'll go. He's now missing 2 days of work and still no chemo. The man is not too happy right now.


In other news, you know when it rains, it pours? Sometimes I feel like the kid on Charlie Brown who always has the cloud over his head.

On Tuesday, I was at John's apartment because I'm on vacation this week. I had some errands to run for him. Did I mention that my inspection stickers had expired? And how I've been praying a cop wouldn't notice it? I need a catalytic converter to pass inspection and I was hoping to get away with it until next month when my next support check arrives. Well. Lucky me. A cop with very good eyesight spied the stickers and stopped me, And gave me 2 tickets totally $180. He told me to get the car inspected, plead not guilty, go to court with proof I have the inspection done and they'll drop the charges. Sort of like an expensive warning if I don't do it. So I get John to drive to my mechanic so I can drop my car off (we live about an hour apart).

OH! Before this happened, I went to the pharmacy to get one of John's RX filled. The kid behind the counter takes these boxes out of the fridge. They are John's Neupogen shots he'll need to take before the BIG chemo and transplant. I was planning to go straight from the pharmacy to the hairdresser, which are not close to each other. Now I have to go back to the apartment to drop these syringes off because they have to be refrigerated. THAT'S when I got the ticket! Once I get home, I realize the kid never gave me John's pills, the reason why I went to the pharmacy in the first place!!! GRRR!!!!! So it's back to the CVS, get the stupid pills, and drive an hour to the hairdresser. When I finish there (I feel so much better since I got my hair cut!) I drive back towards home to drop my car off at my mechanic for inspection, because I can drive John's car since he's not going to be using it.

Fast forward to today (Thursday). This morning, my mechanic calls. I need a catalytic converter to pass inspection. The funny thing is, last year, he told me I needed a catalytic converter to pass inspection, but we discover it's still, but barely, under warranty. so we take the car to the local Pontiac dealer and they run a diagnostic. They say, no, it's NOT the catalytic converter, but a computer issue (my mechanic is swearing it's the cat). The dealer fiddles with the computer and the check engine light goes off and I pass inspection. Three months later, the damned check engine light comes back on and guess what! It's the catalytic converter!!! Personally I think the dealer didn't want to do a free repair job and played with the check engine light to make it go off.

I called the dealer and told them what happened. I want to know if they'll honor the warranty since they didn't fix the cat when it WAS covered. He tells me GM has to make that decision. So he gives me the GM number and I talked to someone about my problem. She tells me to get a diagnostic done and then they can make a determination if they'll cover the new cat. My mechanic drives it over, they take one look at the mileage, say it's not covered and refuse to even look at it. Now my mechanic is driving this over as a favor to me since I'm not at home. So I had to call the dealer again and talk to them. So now they are going to do the diagnostic, the lady from GM is supposed to call me back this afternoon and hopefully, if Murphy's Law is NOT at work today, I can get this fixed for free and only have to pay for front brakes and inspection!

In yet other news, we did see Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince last night and it was excellent!

And in other news, I've been invited to be a featured blogger on the Wellsphere Healthblogger Network! Apparently they like my posts about John's cancer treatment and want to put my posts on their site! How cool is that! So I"m thinking about it and want to check out their site before I commit.

OK, I think I've let John sleep long enough. I'm going to head home and get his butt out of bed! I want to be ready to hop in the car as soon as the hospital call us!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Today is Tuesday, boys and girls! You know what that means, don't you? That's right! It's time for Random Tuesday Thoughts! If I was at my computer, I'd post the cool graphic that goes right above the writing, but I'm not, so I can't.


Today will (hopefully) be the last day of me getting on the internet at Burger King or the local library. I PAID MY CABLE BILL!!! Woo hoo! My only problem now is I'm not at home! I'm at John's and he doesn't have internet access. I will be home tomorrow night (very late) and hopefully will get online from my very own Dell Desktop and blog away and check out Facebook other fun and exciting stuff instead of sleep.

I am also on vacation right now until next Tuesday. Ah, who needs to spend a week at Ocean City, MD when one can spend her vacation at University of PA Hospital, watching her loved one get shot full of poison that will (please God) save his life. Ah, hell, I can't afford the beach house anyway this year.

I have actually convinced John to see The Proposal tonight! I told him Sandra Bullock was naked and he agreed immediately. And I get to see Ryan Reynolds with no clothes on too! Ah, that Scarlett Johannson is one lucky broad!

My daughter, Gina will be 25 years old in 2 short weeks. Hard to believe... she just started Kindergarten, like, last week! How did 20 years pass by so quickly? Her boyfriend just hit 29 for the first time last month. He's gonna be my favorite son-in-law one day.

I had to oncrease my cell phone minutes because my youngest went $108 over our allotted minutes! Four of us share the minutes. We were always within the amount until recently. Now we have friends and family and she can add her friend in Oregon to the list so she doesn't bankrupt me. I didn't tell her I increased minutes.. that would just encourage her to try to go over the limit again. and she would if she knew.

Burger King's coffee isn't very good but it sure does wake you up! and it has free refills!

Time to meet John for lunch! maye I'll add more later!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Proposal and other stuff

No, I didn't get proposed to. (at least not lately) I went to see The Proposal with my friend, Kathy the other night. It is laugh out loud funny funny funny!!! If I was on my own computer, I'd add a picture or two or the trailer, but I'm still doing the BK thing (I'm gonna need cholesterol meds soon if I keep coming here!) As a bonus, you get to see Ryan Reynolds naked (but no willy shots). For the male readers here, you also get to see Sandra Bullock naked. (sorry, guys, her boobies are strategically covered) I wish I looked like that when I was forty. Hell, I wish I looked like that now but, sadly, it is not to be!

For the record, I will be getting my
internet back on Tuesday because my support check arrived in the mail on Saturday, but too late to deposit it in the bank. So I'll take it tomorrow and I'll have funds available on Tuesday! Woo hoo!!!!

I have a rant... a big rant. I decided to change my health insurance to the one we have a work. It's not very good, but it's probably no worse that what I've had for the past 4 years. My payments were
astronomical (Approx $450 a month for just me), with a $2000 deductible. So I signed up for the one at work. Payment are $20 a week, that can be taken out of my paycheck, so I never have to worry about coming up with the money every month. I mentioned to my boss the other day that our corporate office hasn't started taking the payments out of my pay check yet. He told me they informed him the other day that open enrollment is in JANUARY!!!!! He said what about the memo about trying to increase enrollment and they were waiving the January only enrollment. They told him he was mistaken. He's fighting for me to get it. I told Dave if i need to go to the doctor before they start covering me, I will be sending my medical bills to the corporate office for payment. I cancelled my insurance with the knowledge that I was covered immediately. So as of now, I have no medical insurance! I can't get my meds renewed because the doctor wants to see me before she'll do a renewal. That bitch charged me $180 a visit! I need to find a doctor who doesn't charge an arm and a leg for a simple visit. In the meantime, Dr. Russian lady can hold her breath waiting for me to send her the money she keeps billing me for. If she wants to sue me for the money, get in line, lady.

OK, I'm done bitching.

My kid is hitting the beach this week. She leaves tomorrow, so I get a break from her, and don't have to hear her.

John's next chemo treatment is this Wednesday to Friday. We're hoping he feels well enough to see Harry Potter on Saturday night. By Sunday, he'll be as weak as a newborn kitten for 2 days. I'm on vacation this week (Tuesday to Monday), so I'll be able to spend more time with him, and not worry about having to drive to Philly after working all day. I've also scheduled the week he goes in for his transplants (Aug 11-17) and the week he gets home after the transplant (sometime in mid-September). I get 3 weeks vacation and it's use it or lose it before February. It occurred to me if John needs to be on a very strict diet to avoid bacteria and stuff, the beach is probably NOT a good place for him to go shortly after getting out of the hospital. Chances are he'll have to wear a mask if he goes out in public for a few weeks at least!

I meant to mention last week when John and I were at Penn last week for his check-up, we met a man who had just gotten out of the hospital after undergoing a stem cell transplant and frankly, he looked pretty good! It was very encouraging to see!

OK, I think that's it for now. I"ll be able to post pictures on Tuesday of John's bald head. The folks at work think he looks like Uncle Fester! We're looking for a trick
light bulb to use in a pic! If I find one, I'll DEFINITELY post that one!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dear So and So... healthcare edition

Dear BK free wifi,
WHY don't you have a back button on this service? It really sucks to have to close everything down and start all the f*** over to use this computer. And why does your free wifi shut down the one I'm using repeatedly. As soon as I pay my comcast bill, I'm divorcing you.
BK customer

Dear Tri-care Health Insurance,
WHY, now that John is ready to do this transplant, are you questioning the choice of hospital and doctor he is seeing? Why does he need to get a referral from his primary care physician when his oncologist sent him to that hospital because you wouldn't let him go to the one his doc wanted him to see? It was YOUR idea to him to go to HUP (an excellent hospital... we are not disputing that) If you hold up his care and he gets sicker, he will sue your ass. There's a good reason he calls you Try-to-get-Care Insurance.
Frustrated Caregiver

Dear US Army,
Why have you reneged on your promise of free healthcare for life when John agreed to give 20 years of his life to serving our country. Now you make him pay co-pays and premiums. YOU get to choose where he goes for care and what doctors he sees. If he tried to go to the VA hospital, it takes months to get an appointment, and the care is frightening at best. Don't you want your veterans who served honorably to live to a ripe old age?
Frustrated Caregiver

Dear Corporate Bosses where I work,
I agreed to use your health insurance and cancelled the exhorbitant insurance I had that sucked anyway. Now you're telling us open enrollment is only in January. If I need to see a doctor before then, expect to get the bills sent to your office for payment. Or maybe I'll marry my boyfriend for his health insurance... it's still cheaper than what I have and it covers more.
Uninsured Employee

Dear Dr with the unpronouncable Russian name,
$180?? Really? For bronchitis? Sorry... didn't realize I was paying off your student loans. Stand in line lady, if you expect to get paid for what my lousy insurance didn't cover.
Former Patient who's looking for a new doc

Dear Max and Irma's,
Brace yourself. We're coming over after our movie tonight and I think I have a big-ass margarita with my name on it!
Thirsty Customer

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Just some stuff

Last night, I lathered John's head up and shaved him smooth. The barber was afraid to use a razor on him, in case he cut him. So I did it. John is VERY trusting! LOL Now he looks like Charlie Brown, although he thinks he looks like the Six Flags guy. I hope to be able to get back online with my own computer soon and will post pictures then.

It's funny that we seem to get so much closer whenever this rotten disease decides to rear it's ugly head. It's like we're crazy happy right now. Maybe we always are, but we're just more aware of it now.

I really resent the time we can't spend together. That will change soon. As soon as my youngest goes off to college at the end of August, we'll be able to spend more time together. I think she's also going to the beach with her friend's family this coming week and also flying to Seattle with her Dad at the end of July for a week. By the time Dani leaves for college, John will be in the middle of his transplant and in isolation until his white blood cell count gets back to normal levels. Then he'll be coming home with me.

I recently realized that one of the hardest parts of John being in isolation for a month is not being able to have any physical contact with him. We are a very physical pair... always holding hands, or rubbing a back, etc. I'm pretty sure that when I visit him I'll be gowned, gloved and masked. Not being able to touch him or kiss him is going to be very difficult. I suppose not being able to see him at all would be worse, so we'll make due with holding hands through gloves. But it ain't gonna be easy!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts

It's Tuesday and if I was at my own computer, I'd put up the cool graphic that goes with this blog entry, but I'm not. Anyway, here's some random stuff I thought about on this Tuesday.

Today is July 7. Twenty-five years ago today, I was due to have my first child. I waited, excitedly, nervously, for the contractions to begin. Did they? NO!!!! She liked it inside my ever expanding body and didn't show up for another TWENTY DAYS!!! Yes, my darling (I love you, Gina!) daughter made her grand entrance on July 27. On that date this year, she will be a quarter of a century old!

The Michael Jackson Circus is nearly over (I hope!) He was a singer! He was NOT a god or a saint! It's sad that he died, but the man was on a collision course with disaster. What?? This is my blog and I'll write what I damn well please! If this bothers you, move along please.

This not being able to get on my own computer is getting old. I've been at Burger King so much this week, some old man thought I worked here! I helped him look something up on the computer. With luck a support check will show up this weekend and not next.

I'll be glad when the rest of John's hair either falls out or stops falling out. I'm getting itchy sleeping next to him and waking up with hair all over me. I pulled a golf ball-sized hairball out of the bathtub drain on Sunday. I know. TMI. Ah, c'mon! If I didn't toss some humor around every now and then, I'd be bawling my eyes out and wringing my hands together. This keeps me somewhat sane.

I'm dodging the cops this week. My inspection was due in June and I haven't been able to get the car inspected until the stupid support check shows up because I have a check engine light on. Now that I've said that, I'll get stopped 3 times this week... you watch!

I'm sure I have other random stuff to add but my time is running out. I have to go to work. but, rest assured, I'll be back tonight and will add other stuff to this very random post!

Monday, July 6, 2009


When I mentioned that John's hair was coming out like mad this week, a few friends had some ideas for hats for him. One person (Hi Garret at RV'ing!) suggested I get him a hat with long hair attached. Trying to imagine John Russo with a mullet had me falling out of my chair with laughter!

Another friend (Hi Joan at The Retired One) thought a baseball caps with the inscription I'M A SEXY BASTARD was a great idea.

I sent the ideas to John today via text message and this is what he had to say:
If I need a sign to tell people, then I am not sexy. When a person is really sexy, it shows. This is how you knew when you first saw me and how I knew when I first saw you.

Is this a great guy or what? The man can still make my heart beat faster just by walking into the room.

John started wearing this really cool off-white fedora we bought at the beach 2 years ago. And my daughter, Gina at My Inner Monoblog (http://the ) knitted him a neat cap to wear when it's cool from air conditioning and if he still needs it into the fall weather. It's Army colors (olive drab green, tan, brown and darker green).

It's time to take new pics of John with his hair gone. Maybe I'll post a few before and during pics once I get my internet back (soon!!!)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th!!

Happy Independence Day everyone!

I'm still not online. Comcast has this silly idea about paying their bill every month to let you play online. I think I'll be able to pay it next week. For now, I'm breakfasting at Burger King before work and getting my fix. :)

We were able to coordinate John next chemo treatment (July 15- 18) with the vacation I had scheduled myself for. Kind of coincidental that I wasn't able to rent the house this year, yet his chemo worked right into the same time frame. That's fine... we can go next summer instead. The transplant is scheduled for Aug 11. Actually the BIG chemo treatment comes first, then the transplant. We expect him to be in the hospital until mid-September.

We found out the program they had at UPenn Hospital to give families lower parking rates was cancelled. They were offering books of 50 parking tickets for $80. Now we're back to $10 a day parking. Ah well.... 2 steps forward, 1 step back. The money you all so generously donated will help quite a bit with that!

John's hair is coming out very quickly now. I think it's time for him to go to the barber and get it shaved off. I haven't seen him in a few days, so I expect him to look quite different when I go to his place after work today! I think the hair loss will be more complete this time around. Two years ago, he still had eyelashes and eyebrows, some chest hair and arm and leg hair. This time, I think it's ALL going to go!

Well, time for me to hit the road and get to work. Yes, I'm working on the 4th of July. I don't expect to be very busy... the weather is gorgeous today! If it was raining, we'd be busy. Enjoy your holiday! I'll be heading to John's after work, and plan to make fireworks of our own! hehehehehe

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I'm here, sort of

Hi! Just wanted to let everyone know that I've been busy and not near a computer (can you say bad withdrawl??). John doesn't have internet access at his place so we're at the local library.

Plans are in place for the next chemo treatment, PET scan and 15 days of Neupogen shots (4 a day ouch!) to get his body ready for the stem cell harvest, the BIG chemo treatment, and finally the transplant. I'll post more about it in a few days when I have the time to sit down and think about what I'm writing.

He's lost 7 lbs so far. I coudn't see it but his doctor could. He's also starting to lose his hair. I did take before shots and will probabl take some bald ones too. He's being a good sport about it. :)

Anyway, I'll be back in a day or so.