Sunday, August 24, 2008


Countdown could be on several things. For one, the garden is almost slowed to a stop. J actually picked a"mess" of pole beans this morning. I have always enjoyed gleaning the late beans, which included shellies. The tomatoes have slowed down substantially. I need to pick some green ones and make the green tomato relish we enjoyed so much last year. I probably need to do that this afternoon because next week promises to be busy. I have finished the apples, peaches and pears. The pear preserve is delicious. I found out that the Bartlett, which is the old, old tree in our garden, doesn't have enough natural pectin, so I needed to add pectin to that, which made it okay. Looks like honey, all golden and delicious. The old pear tree from my childhood home is the best for preserves. That produces a "red" preserve, which makes a nice syrup, and if you watch it, it won't get so hard that it pulls your caps. Yesterday, for lack of something from the garden to do, and wanting to get a little ahead on some things I like to do, I soaked and canned dry black beans and cranberry beans. That turned out well. The grand boys like those beans, thankfully, so they like it when Granny brings a care package of veggies.

My schedule next week is busy. Monday, we go for pre-admission for (1) my Tuesday morning PET scan and echo cardiogram, and (2) go by my surgeon's office to sign permission to proceed with the VAD on Friday. Tuesday at 7 a.m., we will be at the imaging center for the PET scan, to Cardiology at 10 for the echo, and if I understand rightly, scoot on over to Outpatient for lab work and possibly pre-admission for the VAD. Then, I visit my oncologist for results of the tests and further discussion on proceeding with chemo. Sometime Thursday, I will be getting a taped dictation from the Orthopedic clinic I have transcribed for the past possibly seven years, get that done, and be back to the hospital on Friday for placement of the VAD. My friend at ortho "lets" me help her when she needs a break, and we think this will help me keep focused and have something for my mind to "rest" on. I need to stay busy.

I have made quite a list of discussion questions for the oncologist. On Thursday, I will find out if my tests indicate that I am well for chemotherapy, or if one or so needs to be changed. I was given a booklet, "Finding the 'Can' in Cancer," which has some helpful information on preparing for the effects of chemotherapy. Since I have not had chemo previously, this will be a new adventure. So far, I have not worried a lot, went through the mastectomy without a hitch, but I have to admit, the prospect of chemotherapy is daunting. Next week, early on, I plan to visit the wig place and get my wig ordered. I want to be prepared if my hair starts thinning/falling out soon. Probably will have it cut short soon so that there won't be hair all over the house. I feel that would be off putting. With cooler weather coming on before very long, I probably will wear 'boggans a lot when I am outside. I plan to walk as much as possible for exercise around our garden where J keeps a track mowed/raked. I read that appropriate exercise is a good way to handle a lot of the issues of treatment.

Some time during the week, weather permitting, we will be gathering with J's sisters who live in the area to celebrate a sister's 84th birthday. We do that for all those siblings who are in the area. He has six sisters, four live in the area, one in North Carolina and one in Tennessee who gets to visit home fairly often. He is their only brother. I think it is neat that they make a point to celebrate birthdays together. We have lunch together at a buffet restaurant, talk and eat, and then usually gather at the retirement center where their 85-year-old sister resides, for more talk about "old times" and what each is doing and what their families are up to. Lot of good fellowship.

We have had a slow rain today which actually was cozy. Looks like the sun is out now, so I need to make my tour of the garden before it sets in again. Since J has picked the okra, the beans and 'maters, probably there won't be much for me to gather in. We have kept the scuppernongs picked pretty well, but there might be a few ripe ones.

This has been the nicest year for fruit and vegetables. My pantry is proof. I have been advised that there possibly/probably will be times when I am on treatment that I won't be interested in being in the kitchen, so J has been coached that he can have his choice of veggies that can be warmed in the microwave, and he can pick up prepared meat such as chicken, barbecue, etc., that won't smell up the house. He is a good cook, and I know he can handle that well. If need be, I will just sit on the deck if it gets too pungent in the house! I hear that one can be very sensitive to odors, but I'm not borrowing anything to worry about that this point. I was told that my treatments would be one per week, every three weeks, over the next year. Thankfully, we live about a mile or so from the hospital here, and that will be so much more convenient for us both.

Off to the garden, hoping that it won't be too muddy to enjoy a stroll around the track.

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