Friday, May 29, 2009


Don't be looking for me on the curb somewhere - I made it all the way around the block (even though it was a bit further than I remembered). I waited for Clif to come home so that I would have an escort - glad I did because it was nice to have someone to lean on! It was pretty warm out there, but I did it.

I also took my third dose of the first round of the chemo pill with no incident. Two more to go and then I'm off for 23 days. 

Today the goal is to get the return date on my FMLA changed. Originally, it was set for 6/1, but I've decided to add two more weeks on so that I will be really ready to go back. Guess I'd better get on that - but I'll be back soon.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thought You'd Want To Know ...

... I had night two of the chemo pill and all is well. I must be tolerating them just fine and that's good news. In fact, it's all pretty much good news these days.

My goal today (I've already had my morning pep talk from "Dallas") is a walk around the block. I promise to let you know how it goes - otherwise, you might think that I'm out there sitting on a curb somewhere. So, look to hear from me later today when I'm back in from the heat.

Best to all - xxxgbg

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Spoonful of Sugar

Seems that this is all it takes - a spoonful of sugar will help the medicine go down!

Last night I had my first dose of the chemo, which was preceded by a pill that had to be dissolved in my mouth. Other than a kind of nasty fake grape flavor, it was not so bad. Thirty minutes after that one, I took the chemo pill (actually, there were three of them) and then went to bed.

I woke up feeling just fine so I am 1 night down with 4 to go in this round. Keep your fingers crossed that it continues to be this easy. Personally, I'm counting on it!

That's it for now - xxx The Brainiac

P.S. I regret ever mentioning healthy eating and walking in my last post - who am I kidding!!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Start Spreadin' the News!

I finally heard the news today - and the news is GOOD!

It took my pathology report forever to come back, but we were pleased with what we heard today. First of all, as I told you earlier, the surgeon was able to get about 85% of the tumor. He stopped when he got to a point where he felt that if he went further, he might hit up on something that might change my personality - and we certainly don't want that!

The tumor has been identified as a grade 3 anaplastic oligodendroglima - something that is about in the middle of good and bad. In addition, the reports show that I have something else that I can't remember - I only remember the letters "p" and "q" - and this is a good thing because past studies have shown that those with these indicators respond better to treatment.

The next good thing is that the best way - at least initially - is to treat this with an oral chemo pill (Temodar) They say that there are few side effects and that this should be pretty easy for me to handle. I will take a pill five days in a row and then be off for 23 days, then five more pills, off again, etc. for a year - or maybe two. Every three or six months or so, in between the chemo doses, they will do an MRI to check things out. Hope is that we will begin to see some shrinkage of the remaining 15% of the tumor within about six months. Since this is a very slow grower, that seems to be the standard.

I have been "ordered" to begin exercising - use it or lose it, they say - and walking is the way to start. The doctor says that 45 minutes of real walking is the way to go - a little sweat never hurt anyone. 

In addition, I am supposed to begin to watch what I eat - plainer, fresher food is on the menu. Of course, this doctor has never experienced all the great food that I've been enjoying from all of you great cooks or he might reconsider! Anyway, I'm going to work on it. 

The chemo starts on Tuesday - seems weird to finally be moving on with things. After talking to the doctor, I've also decided to extend my leave for two weeks to give me some time to build my energy up. All of this sounds like positive moves forward and forward is where I want to go. 

When I've absorbed more of what I heard today, I'll let you know. In the meantime, we can all be happy - today was full of good news!!!

Happy Memorial Day - xxx - the Brainiac

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Second Time's a Charm!

Two outings in a row - I'm working on stamina and enjoying a few taste treats, too.

It's time, I believe, to see how I do in the outside world. Yesterday I ventured out to Tiny Boxwoods (yum) and then wandered through the attached nursery for a few moments. It was a gorgeous day and a fun one to be out and about on with my good friend Sunny. Today, I was off to Lupe's for my favorite enchiladas (yum again!) with Laura who is out on vacation. We had a great time and I'm still full.

Now, I'm waiting for a special dinner delivery from Robin (oh, boy - just arrived: shrimp, feta, kalamata olives and who knows what else - plus cherry crisp with vanilla ice cream) and then empanadas from Wendy a little later this evening. We are well taken care of in the food department!

Clif has two jobs - he keeps the medicine organized and also the food - I know exactly what is on what shelf in the frig. Nice to have someone responsible for those things.

Tomorrow is another big day. Sara Kate is coming in and going with us to a doctor's appointment. She has a two page list of questions to ask the doctor - should be an interesting afternoon. There's another appointment on 6/4 and Brian will be with us for that one. I'll let you know what we find out - at least it will be a different subject from food.

Hope you're all well and happy - I send you my best - xxxgbg

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Walk On the Wild Side!

Well, not today, but tomorrow! With the help  of my friend Sunny, I have an adventure planned. We're going to Tiny Boxwoods for lunch and then to the Menil Museum for a quick visit. The theory is that I'd best start moving if I really expect to be able to go back to work on 6/1.

Thinking about it, I would agree - so, with about 10 days left to me, I'm heading out to see what I can do on my own two feet. ALERT ALERT ALERT to those of you who have been applying the pressure - I am getting out of the house. I must say, I'm somewhat dubious about it, but I am on the move. I'll let you know how it goes.

Today, I am enjoying a last bit of vegetation - and, let me tell you, it is wonderful! I woke up feeling well - always a good sign - and found an offer for a spaghetti dinner in my e-mails. Yum - thanks, DeDe! Then I found Sunny's adventure plan and it sounds like I'm going to be moving about whether I like it or not. I've decided that I like it :)

I'll send a full report tomorrow - should be a great day!

Hugs to all - the Brainiac

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Feel Good!!!

Maybe today's the day? 

I really am feeling good so I'm looking forward to a great day. My friend Sunny is coming for lunch and I know that will be fun - something new to talk about! I was really tired yesterday - so I followed the advice of many and just rested most of the day. Maybe that's why I feel so much better? Anyway, I do - and I'm going back to wash my hair (weird to be able to do that) and put on a clean outfit. I'm even going to wear my contacts and I have only done that two other times since the surgery. A little makeup sounds nice - I'll just be all spiffed up (Sara Kate - are you reading this? I told you I was going to feel better!).

I am very jealous of Sara Kate and Ryan who are visiting Braden and Maren in Seattle - SK reported that their day went from rainy to gorgeous in Friday Harbor. It sounded like they were having a wonderful time. On Saturday, they're all going to the Red Sox/Mariners game - wish I could be there!

Report is that the pathology is finally back. We have postponed the doctor's appt. until next Friday so that Sara Kate can be there - she and her brothers have compiled a long list of questions and she is first up to try to get answers. Brian and Tiffany will be in Iowa for a visit with her grandmother so they will miss this appt., but I'll be sure to confirm them for the next. Once I hear what the news is on all of this, I'll let you guys know, too.

It's almost 9:30 a.m. - time for me to get busy before Sunny comes. Hope you all have a great day - and a great weekend, too -

xxx - the Brainiac!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Company's Comin'

The outside is coming in today - my friend Gene is on the schedule for a visit - WITH PEACHES!

Yum - sounds good to me. The original plan was that I would go along to buy the peaches, but my monster headache set me back so we agreed that Gene would just come to me with this delicious treat. I even have Blue Bell (hmmmmm - at least I think I do - better check).

I've also realized that time is finite - my leave ends when the month does. For a while, it seemed that it would last forever. Well, it won't. I have to go back to work - and I'm actually looking forward to that. Work is something positive to focus on and I know that my colleagues will be delighted to return some of the responsibilities they  have assumed in my absence. There's plenty to do out there!

Sara Kate and Ryan leave for a Seattle visit today - I'm kinda jealous, but I'm sure we'll schedule our own soon. Only fair - right? Winnie gets to stay with Jimmie while they're away and SK says that she will have a major great time there. I don't know - all those dogs give me the hibbee jibbeeies, but I guess that Winnie likes her pals around. 

Some of the Jancaiti inlaws are coming to Dallas for a visit at the end of May - Betsy is working a golf tournament so I know that Ryan will enjoy that. 

Right now, I'm looking forward to a big birthday celebration in July - I think that the family is gathering in Austin and I know that we'll have a great time. Braden (Maren, too?) are coming from Seattle - lots of others, too, I think - got to get Clif to share  those plans!

Enough for now - I'll let you know how the peaches are :)


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Time to Talk!

I know - looks like I just vanished doesn't it. The good news is that I haven't - I am back to write a bit and let you all know that things are going just fine.

I did have the monster of all headaches starting Sunday afternoon and continuing through Monday afternoon. Clif called the PA on MOnday a.m. - seems that it was something about taking me off one of the meds too quickly. They have fixed that and now I can lift my head off the pillow - a very welcome relief!

So, yesterday was a setback, but I'm moving forward again today. I guess you could compare this to an ice cream headache - such a relief when it's over. Also, a relief to know what caused it. My legal eagle is on the case!

As you know, I had numerous family in for the weekend. My daughter and mother cleaned and cleaned - and tossed lots of "stuff." There are rainbows to be found in these clouds - if  this hadn't happened to me, I would probably still have more plastic containers than any single family could possibly use, way too much holiday decor from the 80s and so many paper napkins. In addition, my daughter, who is a lawyer by profession, may have never discovered her hidden talent as a florist - goodness gracious, what that girl can do with an almost dead bouquet :)

Thanks to all, three closets are cleaned out, all the island drawers have been purged and the frig is amazing. I can't wait until they come again! In the meantime, if any of you are talented cleaners or organizers, by all means, come on over!

Hope this finds everyone hale and hearty - xxxgbg

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Short and Sweet

Hi, all - just a quick check-in to let you know that I'm doing fine. Right now, I'm waiting on visitors so this will be very short .....................

Visitors arrived - four in all - and then I had a nice little nap. Thanks, as usual, for the food, cards and flowers. I think that tonight will be a snacky night - we'll save that yummy casserole for later this weekend.

Hugs to all - gbg

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Write Me a Letter!

Gosh - I just had to ask - and what great ideas you all have. I can't decide which one to pick. I think I may begin with the three gringas who are going out to celebrate their 60th b-days. Sounds like fun to me and it is an actual plan - just waiting to see where it is that we will be having the celebration. I have defaulted in the planning process and another great friend has as well.

So, it is totally up to the friend who works with brains (isn't that funny - I have a friend who works with brains) to plan this party. We'll see where that goes - but personally, I'm thinking Santa Fe - of course, only if beer has been returned to my diet!

Impressed with this writing, I suppose? I'm not, but at least you know I'm still here - headache for whatever reason this a.m. - I think it's because I ate so many of the cookies I found left at my front door - SUGAR HIGH!

Love to all - more later - xxxgbg

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Creativity is Deserting Me!

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm ...................

a little pressure here to let everyone know that all is well, food is delish and I am doing just fine. I think I have explained that food is the main focus - sorry. An old friend from high school is suggesting Spanyx (I could check that spelling, but I won't) since all I talk about is what I'm eating, but I feel no need to go there. I'll just tell you that my sweet neighbor across the street brought us a really fine barbeque dinner last night and we are still trying to figure out where it came from. I love things that I can taste!

Another dear friend is bringing dinner tonight and then we have Dallas relatives coming in for the weekend to look forward to. I imagine that there are other dinners in between, too. Seems terrible to like food this much - when there is nothing else to do, I guess that what one does.

I know that I can be creative so if any of you have any suggestions on topics to write about, please let me know - I am certain that I can write a doozy of a fantasy that will entertain us all. In the meantime, we'll just be bored together!

Miss you all - xxxgbg

Monday, May 4, 2009

I Can See Clearly Now ...........

Actually (nice word, huh!), I always could see clearly. Seems that I have no real problems, symptoms, or residual issues from my "minor" health adventure. Perhaps the biggest thing about this is that it happened at all (caution: still waiting on final reports!).

Because I am pretty much stuck a home for a few weeks, about all I have to write about is how grateful I feel to have such wonderful friends. We are so enjoying all of these culinary treats - much more food at our house than we are used to. I feel stuffed all the time, but to date, the scale shows that I am losing weight so that's good news. I hope it continues this way - however, pie a la mode is not normally on my diet (but, YUM! - and there is even a choice of kinds of pie - peach, apple, pecan - does it get any better than this?). Someone told us that it looked like a cookie bouquet exploded in our kitchen - maybe so - tastes good in there anyway! I've heard it said that I write a lot about food - sorry - only thing to focus on here at the moment :)

Well, I've told you all my news except that I believe that I will have Dallas visitors this weekend for a nice Mother's Day celebration. There are quite a few up there who are very eager to come see me. Unfortunately, sweet sister Kim was voted off the island due to her Mexico vacation, but I have assured her that we will receive her very soon. In the meantime, I must follow the flu guidelines - don't need that complication! 

Hope you are all doing well - and please feel free to call or whatever - I miss you all - xxxgbg

Friday, May 1, 2009

Take a Deep Breath - RELAX!!!!!!

Have you noticed? I like exclamation points and ALL CAPS and dashes and lots of ............. - puts emphasis in all I have to say, which at this point, is not too much. There is no real news - we are still waiting for all of the pathology reports and the doc is unwilling to commit to any real course of therapy until he knows it all. Probably a good idea - but I am getting eager to know what is in front of me. The soon-to-be-married won't admit it, but they would like some hair on my head in September - and, come to think of it, so would I. We'll wait for the verdict.

Right now, Friday a.m., there's nothing to report. Perhaps boring is a good thing? I think I told you all that the staples came out yesterday - good feeling and it didn't hurt. They say that I can even wash my hair so that's a good thing. However, I have to have baby shampoo so I am dependent on Clif to get that - cross your fingers. I am also supposed to take one baby aspirin per day and Clif is adamant about calling my personal internist before we start this - twiddling my thumbs here - sigh!

Had a great breakfast - more of those delish cinnamon rolls from New Braunfels - thanks, NB!
Also a small bowl of Raisin Bran - with just a very little milk, they stay crispy and I like that. Now, thinking on to lunch - there is food here - lots of food. So nice that all you good friends are watching over me!

Guess I have nothing more to say - perhaps I will start writing (making up) stories - that will be good for my creative juices! Right now, I just know that you are all interested in hearing from me so I'm going to try to keep pace and be reassuring :)

Brain surgery - well, what in the world is that? - xxxgbg