Tag Archives: Cancer

You say tomato

Make that tomatoes, plural.

This is Stupice, a Czech early variety. It is also one of the handful of transplants that survived being put out.

Poor planning on my part and poor weather on Mother Nature’s part conspired to kill off or stunt many of the stunningly healthy transplants that had been started in the garage just before the new year kicked in. Next time, I will keep two things in mind: first, in addition to the other care I gave the seedlings in their sheltered quarters, they need a little opposition as well, to help toughen them. A fan to force strength into their stems is going to be a requirement, not an afterthought. Second, they really do need a proper hardening off period, no matter how much the weather outside seems to be cooperating when I make the decision to put them out. It may seem to be overcast and mild enough to put them in the frames and let them be, but it would be better to have the babies mobile enough to be able to bring them back in before, say, a massive windstorm or two straight days of pounding rain come along.

After that, though, they’re fair game for the elements.

In the morning, a visit to the oral surgeon, at which point he will probably decide to go ahead and pull this one tooth right then and there. Since my emergency visit with the dentist today interrupted my day, no work outside for me. Tomorrow, after what will be a difficult pull, it’s likely I won’t be working outside, either, which could get bad as the rain that we’ve had is going away for awhile, and there is irrigation to be worked on out there. Friday morning, back to the regular dentist, for the crown prep on the companion tooth to the one being yanked out – so far, that second tooth is hanging in there, with no cracking, shearing, or other disintegration before my eyes. Lucky me. To top things off, I’ll have to do ten hyperbaric dives after this pull, to help the healing process, which will further interrupt my early morning hours and is likely to leave me low on energy, putting me even further behind in the work that I need to get done.

Will it all ever end?

Getting corny

It rained today. Usually, in Florida during the summer, this is not exactly newsworthy. After all, for all the years, off and on, that I’ve lived in Florida, summers typically have the same forecast: partly cloudy, highs in the mid-90s, afternoon thunderstorms.

Then I moved out of the city and into this very strange, Bermuda Triangle-like plot of country only to find that if the forecast calls for anything under 50%, it can generally be ignored, because the rain will blow itself apart before it gets to us, or slide off to the north or south, leaving not a drop here. The other extreme, of course, is the tropical storms that come and hang out for a week, dumping two feet or more of water around the property. Most of the time, it’s the former rather than the latter.

Still, it rained today, this afternoon, which meant I hauled myself outside very quickly this morning and managed to get straw put down around the garlic – one variety of which is turning into a tremendous disappointment – as well as move almost 1300 pounds of dirt and poo. Keep in mind that here on the ranch, almost nothing is mechanized. That’s right: hauling this sort of stuff around is done by human power, not machine power. By the time I think a tractor is worth the investment, it won’t be necessary because all the work for which it was intended to be used will be done. While I’m sweating out the latest activity, I sometimes wonder if this is what it was like for the earliest settlers, although I have the benefit of being able to escape into more comfortable quarters for a break or before the rains come (after battening things down against the storm).

The good thing about the rain is that it makes the irrigation line running less of an issue. That’s good news for the silver queen corn, which currently occupies three frames of an incomplete six frame row. Even though I made good progress today on the remaining frames in that row, I can’t run the lines until they’re complete, and that means hand watering. Unless it rains.

As with most of the rest of the planting, this was delayed by family issues. The vendor had stamped an 85% germination rate on the pack, so I overplanted the rows, planning for a less than optimal germination. As it stands, it looks to me more like 95%. I consider that a good thing, and I am ever hopeful that we may actually harvest corn this year instead of losing it to deer romping through it (not an issue now with the fencing) or to bizarre weather that flattens it to the point of nonrecovery or alternately drowns it/droughts it.

I also put in another variety as a test: Vision F1.

This planting went in earlier than the silver queen, and is a sugary yellow variety, slightly shorter on harvest time than silver queen. Corn really has turned out to be my personal windmill here on the ranch, a la Don Quixote, and it would be nice to see some through from seed to harvest.

My dental saga continues apace. I’ve had four teeth pulled recently, and it looks like another one is going to have to go: cracked down the middle of where the temporary build was done, awaiting a crown – ironically enough, the prep date was supposed to be this Friday – and the actual tooth part is loose in the socket. No sense capping something that is going to fall out or snap on its own, so it’s time to call the dentist to see if he can work me in for ten minutes to give me a thumbs up on the pull of that one, and I’m thinking we might as well pull the opposing tooth, also slated to be crowned. The oral surgeon will love me as much as the dentist by the time all is said and done. Radiation and chemo are hellish things. Eventually, I will probably end up with all my teeth pulled, which would mean dentures – and that means I have to really get going with the torture device meant to help stretch the scar tissue created by the treatments and assist with the trismus. The only problem with this is when I have one or more teeth that need attention: I need to use the device in order to help with dental treatment and try to hold on to my teeth, but it is quite difficult to use it when I have teeth that require attention. Yet another lingering gift from the big C.

A peaceful sleep

Back on the 18th of February, I mentioned that my cat, Boots, was dying. We knew it wasn’t going to be much longer, and so it wasn’t – after all, she was about 18 years old. I had been sleeping on the couch for about a week or so, Boots with me, just to have some time together and to be with her in the event she happened to go overnight. The Wednesday after posting that, I had gone to the NOC to do a few things, and when I got back after midnight, I found her on the floor, back legs splayed out, on the threshold between the dining room and kitchen. She couldn’t stand well and couldn’t walk, and I knew that this was not the way it should be. I scooped her up and laid down on the couch with her. At some point, I drifted off, and when I woke up around 4 AM Thursday morning, found that she had pulled herself out of my lap, to the floor, and over toward the front door. I picked her up again and made her as comfortable as possible until we could call the vet to take her in.

We did, speaking to the very nice folks at a new vet’s office, closer to the house. They told us to go ahead and bring her in. I wrapped her up in a towel and carried her outside to show her the spot we’d picked out for her: the west side of the property, near the very largest tree on the property, with lots of sunshine (because she loved rolling around in the sun and being outside) and a place where I could get some flowers to grow (because she, although the smallest cat, was bold and in another life was probably a jungle cat of some kind). When I took her outside, she turned her face toward the sun and I could see her nose twitching, sniffing the fresh air. There was a bluejay in the big tree, chattering away at us as we looked at the spot.

I started back across the property toward the house and the car, and Boots had her head hanging over my arm, still sniffing the air. As I reached the front porch, I turned her head toward me, and saw that quite clearly, she was, at that moment, dying. We called the vet’s office back and told them we would not need their services for this after all. I sat down on the porch, Boots wrapped up in my arms, the sun on our faces, a slight breeze brushing us, and then she was gone. Peacefully. At home. With her people.

The flower seed we planted that morning over her is already starting to come up.

RIP Bootsie

No doubt that’s one of the things she would dream about when she slept like she did in the picture above, taken a day before the new year arrived.

Rest in peace, old girl.

Endgame

My cat is dying.

Boots

She’s been dying for awhile, of course, just as we all are at our own varying speeds.

Boots outside

Her time is simply coming to an end sooner than that same end is coming for the rest of us.

In the sunshine

For now, she occasionally gets outside to sun her old bones, but mostly she sleeps. She eats a little here and there, drinks a bit from time to time, but not much and not a lot. She’s still affectionate, and her motor still runs harder and louder than you’d expect from such a small cat.

Buddies

And she still has her buddies to keep her company until she’s finally ready to move on.

Waiting out the cold

OK, so it isn’t -4F here like it was at Lambeau Sunday night. It’s still cold to someone like me. I don’t like the cold and never have, which made our living in the northern reaches of the country interesting when I was younger. Then, it was just an annoyance because I’m a summer kind of gal. These days it’s actually annoying and painful, because while I’ve never had much bodyfat, since the whole cancer dance, my bodyfat is even lower than it was. A nice problem to have, no?

No.

When the weather cools off and the days only go into the 50s with the nights somewhere in the 30s, my feet never seem to be warm. My hands are cold all the time, making for interesting typing on the computer, and while everyone else is fine in a sweatshirt to combat what to them is a chill, I have a shirt, a flannel shirt, and two pairs of socks on, with my heater going under my desk to try and warm my feet. Going outside on a day like today in particular is rather heinous, as it was also very windy out there. I know my little cat (the one with the wrap around her waist in the photos) feels the same way, since she herself has a tumor that can’t be removed as she’s too old to be put under and she’s dropped down to virtually no bodyfat as well. She spends her days either in the window with the sunlight concentrated on her small frame, or curled up, leaning right against the other heater near my desk.

But I know that soon enough, my kind of temperatures will return, the sun will be out instead of taking the day off as it has this past week, and we’ll have colorful things growing out in the garden and yard. I may still get chilled when I come back in since everyone else likes the inside temp at around 72 (too chilly for me), but at least outside, my bones will be warm again. I can’t wait for summer.

“We know who gets head and neck cancer”

That is a partial quote from this article. The full quote:

“We know who gets head and neck cancer — people who smoke and drink a lot and tend to be at an older age. The problem is that it’s sometimes difficult to diagnose until it’s at its late stages and difficult to treat and cure,” researcher Dr. Joseph Califano of the Johns Hopkins department of head and neck surgery said in a phone interview.”

I’d say it’s even more difficult to diagnose in people who don’t actually smoke, don’t drink a lot, and who are not of an older age. I’m all for things like this where a large number of people who potentially be aided, and all for making known the primary causes of this sort of cancer. But it also pisses me off a little bit: this is exactly the reason the first question I get from people is “Are you a smoker?” and the reason some of them look at me as if they don’t believe me when I tell them I am not and never was.

Sidling into the new year

Once again, here we are at the end of one year and the beginning of another. Once again, it will be time for people to make a list of resolutions the cynic in me says they will never keep. Ironically, although I have never really been prone to making such lists, I had started one the other day, and one of the items on that list was to be less cynical about people and their motives. Another is to be calmer in the face of abject stupidity – I suspect that these two actually go hand in hand. Years ago – and this is many years, since it was two exes ago – I had a fairly profound interest in Zen Buddhism. Not to the extent that I am a particularly spiritual person. I am not. I am also not a religious person, much to the dismay of my sister, who is, and who finally settled on Catholicism as her religion of choice. Most of my interest in this is for the human factor, and to me it’s a lot like any other stress-reducing pursuit. As I was reviewing the past couple of years and all the assorted activities that have occurred, I told myself it would be worth my while to take up that interest again, and so I have. I expect this will help immensely in dealing with the people we have to deal with every day, and also help with the anxiety that every day brings as a result of that one singular day when the biopsy came back positive and the snowball that developed from there.

I also told myself that getting back out in the yard and working around the property will help, both physically and mentally. Getting the greenhouse built – what, you didn’t know that was planned? – will enable some experimentation with growing things out of season, inasmuch as anything really is out of season down here. This is Florida, after all. Plus, I’ve decided to take up another hobby: soap and candle making. Not very complicated (or, rather, only as complicated as you make it), relaxing, and in the end, a useful product, all of which satisfies both the left and right brain requirements. Who knows, that might be another side to the business here as well, but we’ll need a snappy name for it. My lack of sleep combined with one side of that (the soapmaking) may bring about echoes of something else entirely, but I think leaving out the underground fighting and general mayhem won’t be a real issue to overcome.

With all of that, plus two additional brands to finally launch, 2008 should be very active indeed. Here’s hoping it will also be happy, prosperous, safe, and healthy for everyone.