Journal History

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Thursday, September 9, 2005 2:10 AM EST

That's better. I am your substitute writer Mr Steve. Your regular writer should return soon. You may call me Master if you wish.
OK Lets get started:

On Saturday and Sunday June 11 & 12, Annamarie had a pain in her side and an intermittent fever.

On Monday we had an appointment with her G.I. Dr about removing the shunt in her bile duct placed there in Feb. The pain was close to the shunt, but he didn't think the two were related. Afterwards we went across the street to pop in on Dr King to discuss recent cat scans and these new ailments. The Doc admitted her for tests right from the office which is across the hall from the Oncology patient rooms.

On Tuesday (6-13) Anna had Full blood tests including blood drawn during a fever spike. She was put on a broad spectrum of antibiotics, had a chest X-rays and a 2 am cat scan.

On Wednesday (6-14) as Infectious Disease tries to target the bug she has, Cardiology has noticed a build up of fluid around her heart. With her blood pressure dropping and her lips turning blue she is rushed downstairs at 4 PM for an emergency tap to remove this fluid preventing her heart from beating properly. After over a liter of liquid is extracted, Anna spent an hour in recovery. Then she was moved up to the Cardiac floor for monitoring. After an echocardiogram, they were happy with the results and downgraded her to the telemetry unit. While there, her rising heart rate (160) and dropping blood pressure (60/30), caused Internal Medicine specialists to be called in. They decided this might be the beginning of sepsis and moved her to the 12th floor Medical Intensive Care Unit just after midnight. Moments after arriving she had a foley, a central line, and an arterial line placed in her. After they gave her some pain medication and she went into a deep sleep, they noticed she was not expelling enough carbon dioxide from her lungs and was nonresponsive. This is respiratory failure and at 2:30 am on Thursday Annamarie was put on a ventilator.

Thursday (6-16) morning has the infection narrowed down to pneumonia or the gallbladder. After bedside X-rays, the fluid in the lungs is not considered life threatening at the moment. The gallbladder is now the target, but she is too critical for surgery. The broadband antibiotics are taking too long and her temperature is increasing (104). Two medications are given to bring up her blood pressure. They clamp off the blood flow to her extremities making her arms and legs cold to the touch. After a dozen doctors were consulted a plan was put into action. At 1:45 Interventional Radiology put a tube into her gallbladder to drain the large amount of infection and give the antibiotics more time to work. The procedure went well and everybody was pleased with the results. Upon returning to the room, her heart rate started to drop. The arterial line went bad and they had to insert a femoral line in her groin. When her heart went into failure and her pulse could only be heard with a Doppler unit, she was put on Dopamine. Her kidneys were also showing signs of renal failure.

Anna was now in severe sepsis shock. She had close to thirty doctors in her room in a 45 minute period. After an hour Annamarie stabilized enough to be classified as "critical" with a 12 to 24 hour period to she if she can survive long enough to let the antibiotics work.

After holding her own through the night, Friday (6-17) morning they began to wean her off one of the blood pressure medicines. This had to be done drop by drop because her pressure would also lower and slowly rise back up with each reduction. This brought her extremities back up to temperature. By Friday night the fever was gone and they begin to remove the other pressure med which she also clings to drop by drop. An echo of the heart shows the it was not damaged by the infection and should return to normal when the drugs are removed. An o.g. tube is placed down her throat to remove excess fluids that are distending her abdomen.

The second BP drug is removed early on Saturday (6-18) and her left arm is beginning to swell. At 1:00 in the afternoon the Dopamine is starting to be dropped.

By 7 am Sunday (6-19) the heart rate med is off completely. Nutrition is started directly into her bloodstream and the central line is removed.

At 9:00 am on Monday (6-20), A dye study is done by I. R. to check the flow in the gallbladder. All looks good. Infectious Disease has determined one of her bugs is V.R.E.. Annamarie is now in full isolation, requiring all people to wear protective gowns and gloves in her room. At 2:25 they begin to wean her off the ventilator. The arterial line is removed. Daily echocardiograms, X-rays, and EKG's have been monitoring her status.


Monday, May 30, 2005 8:34 PM CDT

Hello there. Yes, it's me. Finally, after nearly a month. But I am going to have to disappoint you once again. I am just not up to doing this today, or it seems, any day. I can't even find it in myself to give you a brief recap of things, that's how awful I feel. So, please send good thoughts my way, ok, and maybe that will prove to be the incentive I and my decrepit body need. I hope your long Memorial Day weekend was a safe and fun one. And, check out the new pictures.

Sunday, May 1, 2005 6:41 PM CDT

Well, hello there! Once again, I must apologize for the lapse in my updates. I spent last week at Dad and Rita's, getting 4 more radiation treatments at Hahnemann. And, I am now on my way, literally, out the door to go there once again for the week, as I have 5 more treatments to go. Then, hopefully, I'll be done with this segment of my miserable life. I have so much to tell you, but it is just going to have to wait, as Steve is pacing the floor, and the parents are probably wondering where we are! So, until I can get back here, be good!

Monday, April 18, 2005 2:01 PM CDT

Well, I guess you are sick and tired of seeing that old March entry. Too bad! I just do not have the energy to come in here and sit at the computer to type you an update. And as a matter of fact, I really don't have it in me to do it now. So I'll just say this,.....things are still very crappy and awful and most certainly not getting any better. I am 85 pounds, no matter how much I seem to eat. There are indeed some things I want to tell you about, but they will just have to wait until another day. Hopefully, I can get myself in here to do it. If not, then oh well, that's the way the cookie crumbles. Mmmmmm, cookie,.....gotta go!

Saturday, March 26, 2005 6:21 PM CST

First, I'd like to tell you all that today we are celebrating a birthday in our house. Yes, our cats, Pearlie and Fannie are 15 years old today! Talk about 9 lives!

Last week was certainly a doozy for me. On the up side, spending the time with Dad and Rita was really great, a highlight of this treatment regimen. Rita took care of me like I have not been taken care of since I was a little girl living with my Granny. Bravo Rita! On the downside, well, I got really sick one morning, Thursday to be exact. I got lightheaded, my heart was racing, I started to sweat profusely, and I vomited a toilet bowl full of bile. Yuck!!!!! But it passed in a few hours and I made it to radiation.

On the huge gigantic downside, our dear friend Suzette passed away sort of suddenly on the evening of the 23rd. We were in fact able to get to the hospital to see her the night before, so that was good. But we still are in a state of disbelief. It happened too fast, the cancer just spread so rapidly. What a loss for us all. Lisa, please stay strong. I am very sad, there is a piece of my heart missing that will never be filled again.

Monday, I am at another host home in Philly for the week. Then, I am off radiation for 3 weeks, if all goes as planned. Chemo is not far behind, then I will probably do up to 2 more weeks of radiation. We'll see. So, that's that. Have a good Easter, I'll see you another day.

Sunday, March 20, 2005 3:31 PM CST

Hello all! I don't have the time or energy for a poem today, so here is a brief update, the old fashioned way! I spent 2 days in Hahnemann Hospital due to a lung problem. Seems like I have fluid build up around my left lung, as well as a pocket of air, and a small amount of fluid around my right lung. The pulmonary team was going to tap them, but in the end, Dr. King thought that it would do more harm than good at this point, so I elected to just live with the pain and discomfort until I am done with radiation. Then, I'll start chemo once again, and Dr. King assures me that the fluid and air pockets will dissipate once the chemo gets underway. So, we'll see. I had a pretty nice 2 weeks at my host home, Angie and Paul were real nice and their brownstone in West Philly was lovely. Cold, but lovely, and the 10 steps outside just about killed my lungs every day, but, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, right? Jeff came up twice to visit me, which was nice. One day he took me to radiation in the snow and ice storm, and one day we went to Pod for lunch, real tasty. One night, mice infiltrated my bedroom, and I spent several hours beating one of them with my shoe! It got in my bag full of snacks, so I zipped it up, and beat it with my shoe! Pretty funny! And, funniest of all, the thing survived! Angie let it loose the next day. Yikes! Now, we are on our way up to Philly, to stay at a nice hotel for the night, then I'll be spending the week at Dad and Rita's. There was no host home for me this week, at least one without steps. Also, everyone seems to be on an Easter Vacation. So, good for me, here I come Dad & Rita! OK, I gotta go for now. Have a nice Easter, I hope the Easter Bunny pays you a visit!

Monday, March 7, 2005 10:50 AM CST

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Here's another one, Linda,
Again it's for you!

My bags are packed
And ready to go,
To start radiation at Hahnemann
And this time there's no snow!

No one could drive me up every day,
So with a host family I will stay.
4 1/2 weeks they will open their home and their hearts,
But that means for most of it Steve and I will be apart.

A ride will be provided to the hospital and back,
I hope I can do this and stay on track.
4 1/2 weeks with total strangers is a long time,
I really wish I was at my own house even with all the dust and grime.

I am now 94 pounds,
And still tired and weak.
Most days my lungs bother me so much
I can hardly speak.

This radiation is only for one cancerous node,
Out of maybe let's say 7 or 8, maybe 10.
When it's all over,
I guess it's chemo again.

The others are growing at a surprising rate,
Leading me on to my inevitable fate.

So I'll leave you with that,
And I'll leave you with this,
A big giant hug to all of you,
and to Linda, a chocolate Hershey kiss.


Tuesday, February 15, 2005 5:03 PM CST

Roses are red,
Violets are Blue,
Linda, if you're reading,....
This one's for you!

I came home from the hospital
February 5th, a Saturday,
Things are pretty awful,
And going to stay that way.

Friday February 4th,
I had an 'operation',
Chemo has been put on hold,
And I'll soon be getting radiation.

I'm weak and I'm tired,
and I weigh 95 pounds,
I've no energy to come here and entertain you,...
Yes, things are really as bad as they sound.

I don't want you to worry, please don't fret,
There's really nothing you can do.
Sending Pink thoughts my way might help, I bet,
And just remember, all your good deeds really do come back to you.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005 6:37 PM CST

High ho, High ho,
It's off to the Emergency Room I go,.......

Yep, that's right, off to the hospital, I haven't a clue what will happen but as soon as I get back home sweet home, I'll fill you in. This time, it's all about my liver. Will it ever end?????????

Monday, January 31, 2005 2:38 PM CST

Hello everyone! Well, the planets all aligned in the most wonderful of ways, and we were able to get out of the Philadelphia airport on Sunday, and down to Fort Lauderdale with just enough time to spare to board the beautiful cruise ship, The Jewel of the Seas. Whew! What a grueling few days that was! But, we made it, we did it, and it was pretty sweet! Thanks a bunch, Dad and Rita!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanted to stop by here and let you know that, and tell you I'll be back later this week to fill you in on things. Until then, adios amigos!

Saturday, January 22, 2005 3:51 PM CST

Hello there! Well, as you might have guessed, things have been pretty dismal around here lately. First, the chemo, which sucked. Then, I needed i.v. fluids for 3 days because I was once again severely dehydrated. ( And, still am. ) And, now, the snow storm. Why does that suck, you might ask? Well, because we are supposed to be leaving tomorrow, Sunday morning at 9:30 am, for our cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. And, as of right now, the Philadelphia airport is closed and all Southwest flights for today have been cancelled. The forecast calls for extremely high winds tomorrow morning, until 9, and still more snow. So, we are all playing it by ear right now, about what will happen. If the flight is cancelled, and we can't get out of the airport in time, then the boat will sail at 5 pm without us. If this worst case scenario pans out, I just hope we can get in touch with my brother in time, so he doesn't get on that plane from Austin! That boy won't be on that cruise without me, hahaha! OK, I gotta go, to you later.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 9:08 AM CST

Blood is red,
My mood is blue,
This chemo sucks,.....
But then again, what else is new?

Oh, yeah, something new,......check out the photo page!

Thursday, January 6, 2005 4:41 PM CST

Well, Happy New Year to you! We all made it to and from Miami safely over the holiday. It's safe to say that each one of us had a really nice time. In a quick overview, we flew from Philadelphia to West Palm Beach and drove to our hotel in Miami downtown. We saw fireworks on New Years Eve, spent a day in Miami Beach, took a Duck Boat tour, went to Coconut Grove, spent a day in Fort Lauderdale, and flew back home on Tuesday, getting back to Egg Harbor about 10-ish at night. We sure had some funny adventures along the way, which I'll tell you about later. (Right, Suzette, Lisa and Steve??? I don't know about you, but I especially liked the drunk dude on the metro train!) It surely was an interesting weekend! I even gained 2 pounds! And, we all still like each other! Ha Ha!

Today, my nurse came over to draw my blood work and flush my port. Tomorrow, at 10 am, I am having my first dose of chemo, it's called Cytoxan. Cross your fingers for me, as I feel this is a big mistake. But, I'll be the first to say I was wrong, if it turns out to be ok. Which, I strongly hope is the case.

I'm very tired, and full of various pains, but I wanted to come and give you an update, however short it is. Suzette, I really hope you start to feel better. And, Peg, you are always, and I mean always, on my mind - pink thoughts to you, my friend. Until next time, adios!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004 11:43 AM CST

Believe it or not, here I am, as promised, before Thursday! So, here we go!ÖÖÖ.

Saturday 12/18 - After finally getting myself together, Steve graciously took me to the Hamilton Mall around 6 pm. I have not been able to drive anywhere for months, and was feeling totally out of the whole holiday loop so Steve, against his better judgment, reluctantly squired me to the crowded shopping mecca. We parked outside the JC Penney, and proceeded to walk through the store to the mall entrance. Guess what? I couldn't make it! I had to stop in the linen department and flop on one of their display beds for a few minutes! I kid you not! Then, on to the Hallmark store, where I tried to buy some Christmas cards, (lucky you if you got one!), but very soon I started to feel faint, light headed and weak, so Steve escorted me to the register, I paid and then we went into the mall and sat on one of the couches! Then I wanted to go to the Dollar Store, which happened to be at the opposite end of the mall. We started off, and at the next grouping of chairs, I sat. This went on, all the way down to the Dollar Store, which we discovered, had closed! Not just for the night, but for good! Geez! All that way for nothing!!!! We proceeded on the Great Holiday Sofa Tour, and finally made our way to the car. Hungry, we stopped at a restaurant on the way home for a bite, then exhausted, I flopped on OUR sofa for the night. Whew!

Sunday 12/19 - Today we went to the MS Associationís Holiday Party, in Voorhees at the home of the Flyers training complex. Man, the ride up there just about killed me! The ballroom was really nice, beautifully decorated and despite the rainy and cold weather, the turn-out was pretty good. We usually try to sit by ourselves at these things, but this time we chose a table with another couple, and immediately began talking. Nice people! The food was not really all that good, but the entertainment was cool - Ballroom Wheelchair Dancing! Very interesting, but you certainly will not see me doing it anytime soon! After the party, we decided to take a 2 minute drive over to the Echelon Mall for the last hour and a half that they were open. Walking through the Boscovís into the mall, I realized, this isn't going to work, so Steve went to Customer Service and scored the last wheelchair, and I was good to go! Although I wanted to try to do some Christmas shopping, I ended up buying myself a new pair of black Capri pants, size 3 and yet still a little big, because I just don't have anything that fits me anymore, and I sure would like to have something for our upcoming trip. Which, I'll fill you in on later! By the time we left the mall, it was snowing, ick!

Tuesday 12/21 - Steve took a half a day today, came home and got me, and we went up to Dr. Kingís office. Judi was to give me my Lupron shot. Since Dr. King thought that one of my nodes had grown from 2 cm to 6 cm, she believed this to be a good idea, until I decided upon a chemo plan. But, in the mail today I received a report of the MRI that I did in the hospital, (which I'll tell you all about at a later date), and well, it really freaked me out because it showed the disease to be a lot worse that I thought. So, when we got there, I voiced my concerns to Judi, then Dr. King, who by the way was dressed really sexy in a short black skirt , black stockings and black pumps. Ooh-la-la! The big picture - in the hospital, she only had the preliminary report. When she received the final report, she was just as shocked and freaked out as me. The details: All the nodes affected by the cancer that were stable all these years at 2 cm are now - 4.1 x 2.9 x 6.1 cm, 2.9 x 2.5 x 6.1 cm, 2.2 x 3.3 x 4.8 cm, 7.2 x 4 x 4.5 cm. There are several still in the 2 cm range. Something is seen in my liver, and one is pressing on my stomach. She also thinks some of my back pain can be attributed to the larger nodes. Due to their location, near organs and blood vessels, they are inoperable, and unable to be radiated. So, I guess you can now understand our freak-out. She really wanted me to begin chemo right away, but I have this trip planned for New Yearís, and the cruise at the end of January. So, I ended up getting the Lupron shot, and told her I'd think about chemo, maybe starting a lower dose of the chemo we chose, Cytoxan, immediately after my long New Yearís weekend. This would give me some time to feel a bit better by the cruise, even though there is a chance I'd be losing my hair during my time at sea. I told her, we'd think about it and get back to her. Big decision to be made. From there, we went over to the Ritz 5, parked and went across the street and upstairs to Lambertiís for dinner. The food was really good, and the staff overly friendly, you should try it sometime! Then, we went over to the Ritz to see the screening of the new movie "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou". Nathan was there, and we had a nice pre-film chat. What a good movie! In the beginning, during the character building scenes, Owen Wilson tells Bill Murray that his mother died recently. Bill asks softly, what happened, and Owen says, "She committed suicide, you know,Ö.she was in so much pain." So, this is in the back of your mind as the movie plays out. Then, much later on, as Owen is talking to Cate Blanchettís character, he reveals that his mother had ovarian cancer that spread to her liver and stomach, so she swallowed some sleeping pills and took her life. Well, upon hearing this, I started clapping! Hooray for her!!! I can relate! Anyway, after the movie, we ran into Nathan again, and we actually agreed on this one, he liked it too - we always have opposite reactions! I even think Steve liked it, but not as much as me. When we got home, we ran the car through the car wash down the street, it was covered in salt from the other night, coming home from Voorhees.

Wednesday 12/22 - Well, I was pretty much out of it today, with this chemo and everything on my mind, I barely slept last night. Steve won't give me his opinion, I think heís afraid if I do what he feels is right, and something bad happens, then I'll put the blame on him. Itís very frustrating, not to have the support of your husband during such a stressful decision. We had passes to the screening of "The Aviator" tonight, but when Steve got home, I just didn't feel up to it, so we passed.

Thursday, 12/23 - I called Judi, and set chemo tentatively up for January 6th. If I don't feel up to it, we will do it right after the cruise, at the beginning of February. I am not confident at all with this chemo, or any chemo for that mater. No drug out of the 8 I have tried so far has shrunk any of the nodes. Why would this one? No, I have no confidence in it at all. Steve had a half day at work today, so when he got home we took a trip to the Shore Mall, where once again, we got a wheelchair from Customer Service. Finally, a Dollar Store! Eight dollars later, we wheeled around a bit, then home. Big day out!

Friday 12/24 - Our Christmas Eve party went on, despite me telling everyone that it was very low key this year, no food or anything. Denni & Hugh came early and we got a pizza, then mom, Jason, Anne and Jeff made their way over. It was nice, and easy, but it still wore me out! Since it was also our 18th anniversary, after everyone left, Steve brought out the gifts. Once again, there is no official 18th wedding anniversary gift on the records, so Steve made it up - Media! What could media be, I thought. So, he proceeds to give me a big bag of DVDís, videos, and cdĎs! Rockstar, Iron Giant, Big Lebowski, Big Fish, Time Machine, Soldier, Dr. Demento, and more, all of which are some of my favorites! Then, he presents me with a DVD called "The Story of Us", with our wedding picture on front. ????? Turns out, it took him 6 months to complete. It has our wedding footage, news clips of things we've done over the years, our clip from the AMC "Into Character", clips of me in movies I've been in, and more wedding. Sweet!!!!!! I can't wait to see it! (Too tired to watch it tonight, itís 2 hours long!)

Saturday 12/25 - Christmas Day - Bah Humbug!!!!!! No cooking for me today, we are all going to a restaurant. Yippee! Since I only had 5 presents for Steve and they were all stupid, he only gave me 5. Perfect! After opening them, we watched "The Story of Us" and it was great! I love it! How personal and romantic! At 3 pm, Jackie and Mike show up, followed by my mom. We then met Dad & Rita at Goodfellows, one of the only places open on Christmas. We really don't care for this place, but we sort of had no choice. It was ok, except for the fact that they got my fatherís meal wrong, and he had to send it back, only to discover a hair in his second choice. Yuck! And, they didn'tí even take the meal off the bill! I would definitely not recommend this restaurant to anyone! Back to our house for dessert and presents - thanks everyone! Man was I beat! Then, after the family all went home, my brother Steve called, a nice ending to the day!

Sunday 12/26 - We lazed around the house all day. I visited "Salon Steve" for a holiday hair coloring. We watched a DVD of "Elf" that Steve rented, cute!

Monday 12/27 - Woke up to snow - I hate this cold. Seriously. I told Steve I will NOT spend another winter here. So, if I don't croak by next year, I am so out of here for the winter. I mean it!

Yesterday and today, I have been trying to get ready for our big adventure. Steve, Lisa, Suzette and I are spending the New Yearís holiday in Miami! This is our rescheduled Labor Day trip that was cancelled due to the bad hurricane in Florida. I only hope I can make it. I am on some medication for my newly diagnosed neurological disorder, which has to be slightly increased over time until I find the correct dosage, which I am far from as of today. But, it helps a little bit. So, we'll see. Wish me luck!

I hope you have a safe New Yearís Eve, whatever you have planned. This new year sure has to be better, for all of us, don't you think? So many disasters and problems in the world, things just have to look up, don't they? I guess we can only hope, for a bright and shining future. Me, well, I just have to concentrate on not croaking!!!! And, believe me, that takes up all my time! OK - Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2004 1:39 PM CST

So sorry but I have not had the time or energy to come back and tell you all about everything. I'll have to do it after the holiday. It will definitely be before Thursday, as we are embarking on an adventure,.....hopefully! (Right SuzieQ and Lisa?!) OK, until then, may your days be merry and bright, Bah Humbug!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004 3:29 PM CST

Hi. I have some things to tell you, but I am just so out of it today. I think I'll have to try my best to come back tomorrow and fill you in. Long story short - I saw Dr. King yesterday, and it's not good. Man, this Holiday Season sure does suck.

Thursday, December 16, 2004 3:18 PM CST

Hey there! I wanted to drop in, to let you all know I am still alive and kickin'! Trying real hard to get the dosage correct for this back pain, I think I am almost there - hallelujah! My heartfelt thanks go out to all of you that have called, signed my guest book, and told me face to face your kind thoughts and prayers. It really does help! My tentative plans are to go to Dr. King's office any day now for another shot of Lupron, hopefully it will hold the cancer from growing and spreading even further until I can set a date for the start of chemo, which will most likely happen after the cruise Steve and I, my brother Steve, my father and Rita are going on at the end of January. I am really tired out today, last night Steve, my mom, and I went to the Wellness Community's annual holiday party. It was a real fun time, but it plumb tuckered me out! We were home about 9:30, and by 10:30 I was asleep on the sofa! Steve finally woke me up at 1 am, "hey, come to bed!", so I did. Lisa, Suzette, Maryann, Kathleen, Dawn, Matt,....and everyone there, you all are too funny! I hope I don't croak by next year's party, haha!!!!!! OK, talk to you again another day.

Friday, December 10, 2004 10:27 AM CST

I am now home from my 8 day stay at the lovely Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia, resting and recuperating, with some medication from a wonderful new neurologist that I am sure will soon help this pain. Not up to any updating today, but I at least wanted to tell you that. Oh, and Dr. King has informed me that the cancer is spreading, getting much larger, but that is a story for another day. Back to the sofa for me.

Wednesday, December 1, 2004 11:58 AM CST

Hi. I'm just stopping by for a minute today, to tell you of a few things. Damn! I still need to catch you up from mid-September, October and November. I'll be so pissed off at myself if I don't get that done someday soon. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I had an appointment with my family practice doctor on Monday, and she is sending me for yet another MRI. And, tomorrow I am scheduled to see Dr. King for an exam, a blood draw and a Lupron shot. Then, I am suppose to go over to Jefferson for a pelvis/abdomen/chest CT scan, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to cancel that. There is no way I'll be able to lay on that table for the duration of the scan, let alone drink any of that awful barium stuff. Hell, I can't even get enough liquid down when I have to take a pill.

You can't imagine how excruciating this pain has gotten. Every day it changes, and by bedtime, I can barely stand up or even take one step. None of the medicines have worked so far, and next Tuesday I have an appointment, finally, with Jefferson Pain Management. This is getting to be way too much for me to bear.

So, last night, I'm laying on the couch in misery, crying from the pain as usual, and it's time for Steve to come home, around 7:30. He fixes us some dinner, and then he goes out of the room and I hear some weird noises, like things moving around and stuff but I just figure he's straightening up or something. Then, in he comes, with a wheelchair! He went to the MS Society, and got me a wheelchair! And, he decorated it for Christmas!!!!! Brand spankin' new wheelchair, straight out of the box, all mine! So then, I cried and cried because he had to go through so much trouble to get it, and that just made my pain worse so I cried more from the pain, I was a mess. But, now, I have a wheelchair!

I have to go now, these 10 minutes of typing have worn me out. Talk to you again another day. Happy Aids Awareness Day.

Sunday, November 28, 2004 12:48 PM CST

Let the Christmas shopping frenzy commence!

Friday, November 19, 2004 2:31 PM CST

I want to thank everyone for all the positive feedback, both via e-mail and on my Guest Book. I guess I am at such a low point, with all this pain and depression and whatever else, that I just needed to feel loved and/or wanted. So, again, thanks a lot. By the way, Jef - just how many chins do I have???!!!! And, please, Washameep, take some classes, you really need to improve on your English, you are not in India anymore! And, a big thanks to David Hasselhoff, for taking the time out from promoting your new Spongebob Squarepants movie to jot me a line - it's neat to know I'm big in Europe! Now, I just have to conquer Japan and I'm all set! OK, then, have a good weekend. I'll begin my long and tedious back-dating sometime next week - and guess what? I have another neurological appointment at Jefferson on Monday. I'm not really sure it's the right one, but at least it's something. Later!

Monday, November 15, 2004 11:33 AM CST

Hi. Listen, I have a question for you. I have a lot of things to fill you in on, much of it may be boring, some might be interesting, or funny. I may complain, or I may rejoice. Who knows? But I need to know something. I realize that people are reading this web journal because the counter at the bottom is always moving. But, nobody ever signs my Guest Book anymore, or even e-mails me with questions or comments. (Well, some of you do, and you know who you are!!) So, I really have no feedback going on here. And I am starting to wonder if all this effort in trying to keep up with this site is in vain. Especially now when I am in so much pain and misery. So, could I get a little somethin'somethin' from ya 'all???? Thanks! Much appreciated! I honestly really enjoy doing this journal, so I hope to hear something! :-)

Monday, November 8, 2004 5:58 PM CST

Hi there. Well, Iím pretty much sure I told you about going for my MRI. But Iím also pretty sure I havenít told you the results. So, here they are, word for word:

Multiple stable signal abnormalities, consistent with demyelinating plaques in this patient with history of multiple sclerosis. No enhancing lesions are identified. New signal abnormality at the C7 level with no associated enhancement. Posterior annular tear at the C6-C7 level. Comments: MRI of the cervical and thoracic spine was performed utilizing a variety of planes and sequences with gadolinium contrast in this with a history of multiple sclerosis. Direct comparison is made to the previous study of 06/05/02. Multiple plaques are again identified within the spinal cord at the cervical and thoracic levels. No abnormal enhancement is identified. The appearance is similar to the previous study of 06/05/02. No new plaques are identified at the thoracic spine level. A new plaque is identified at the C7 level with no associated enhancement. Vertebral body heights are well maintained. Posterior annular tear is noted at the C6-C7 level.

OK, did any of that make sense to you? When I finally got in touch with Dr. Leistís office, his "assistant" Barbara could barely explain anything to me. She suggested to try the Baclofen if the Valium was not working for the pain, but other than that, all her answers to my questions were, "I donít really know.", or "I really canít say." Iíve called and called, Dr. King has called, Judi has called, and we have had no success at all! Itís incredible! I did indeed try the baclofen, but it was basically useless so I am back on the valium. Which I take several times at night to alleviate the pain, and to sleep. I am now working along with Steve and Dr. King and Judi to see a pain specialist, and maybe a Ďspineí specialist. Iíll keep you updated as best as I can. This is too much! Now, though, itís almost becoming just a way of life,Ö.pain, pain, and more pain.

I have been wanting to go back to September and continue updating you on all the stuff thatís been going on. But as you know, Iíve been pretty awful lately, and itís been hard. Also, Steve mentioned that maybe it would confuse you if I did that. You know, go from the present to the past, like in some kind of art film or something. I can see his point, but the purpose of this journal is to keep you informed of things, and to just generally document the things in my life, just in case anyone is ever interested , or I need to go back for any particular reason, to refer to something for myself or someone else. So, I will be doing it, but at this point I just canít be sure when.

Steve worked overtime all last week, and on Saturday. I guess maybe heís trying to get away from me, haha! I shouldnít laugh, though, as it partially might be true. It has really been hard around here, not only for me and this pain, but for him. I think this has been the worst on Steve, even more so than any operation or chemo or radiation. Seriously, itís bad. So, if he needs the time away, so be it. Iíll be miserable with him here, or with him not here!

All right, I canít sit here anymore. Take it easy, and Iíll talk to you again when Iím able.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004 5:29 PM CST

Just in case you guys didn't know, this is National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. So, if you are in the mood for a new furry companion, now's the time to do it! Or, if you are in the mood to make a donation to a deserving shelter, I'm sure that would be appreciated too!

Those of you who got out and voted today, good for you. I hope you have picked a winner, and I hope that winner comes through on all the promises they have made to you and the American people! For those of you who thought this election year made you feel a tad too intimidated and angry to vote, well, I applaud you too! Power to the people, of all kinds!

Monday, November 1, 2004 11:47 AM CST

Happy Dia de los Muertos!!!!! (That's Mexican Day of the Dead, in case you didn't know!)

So, dust off your loved ones bones, set up your altar, light your candles and get your sh*t together, never know just what spirits might come to pay you a visit, both today and tomorrow!

Sunday, October 31, 2004 8:38 AM CST

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004 1:09 PM CDT

Good afternoon. Iím here to tell you, I am still in pain, very woozy, and extremely fatigued. But first, some good news!

Friday, my mom picked me up and drove me to the 3:57 train, then I met Steve in Cherry Hill where we then pimped it over to Bryn Mawr and the overnight retreat sponsored by the Wellness Community. By the time we got there, it was nearly 6 pm. Karen, Shari and Kathleen were all so surprised to see us, they were certain I wouldnít make it. Surprise! Here I am! In all my pain and beauty, haha! We checked into our room, which was really nice, and then we went down to dinner, which was at 6:30. Suzette and Lisa saved us some seats, and it was nice to sit, eat and chat. There was another nice couple at our table, then a mother and daughter joined us after awhile. Funny, Suzette and I had met the mother at one of our hour-long focus groups last year, so it was nice to see her again. After dinner, we all went upstairs for a talk led by Dr. Carlson, who is in practice with Dr. King. It was interesting, I find him to be an excellent speaker. And, he answers all questions posed to him, however silly and repetitive they are, with diplomacy, patience, and ease. I know I did a lot of squirming in my seat, I was in pain and uncomfortable despite the fact I was wearing a Thermal Care heat belt. But, oh well, I wanted to be there, so there! After the talk, Suze and Lisa stopped at our room for a few minutes, and on the way there we discovered several snack stations located throughout the complex - sweet! Midnight munchies, here we come! Pretty soon, I took my Valium, but I donít know why, I kept waking up in pain. So, over to a snack station Steve went, in his PJís, brought me back some drinks and ice cream, and I took another pill, nearly around 5, so needless to say, we missed breakfast at 7, and all the morning sessions. Darn! Oh well, at least I got a little relief, and some much needed sleep. We made it down for lunch, which was served cafeteria style, and then it was upstairs for an art session with none other than Caroline Peterson. I had been looking forward to this moment for so long, and when her arms went around me in one of her famous hugs, well, I just had to ask for another! No one gives a hug as good as Caroline, I canít even explain it. Itís like, in her arms, feeling her breathing and her heartbeat, well, itís just so serene and calm and good. Very good. I hope you get to feel that some day. Everyone seemed to enjoy the 2 hours we spent with her, but I think Suzette and I liked it best. Suze pulled me across the floor on our chairs, which had wheels, and that was real fun, but the best part was when we thought we were supposed to make a circle again, and Suze pulled me across the floor and we were laughing and stuff, Ö.and we got yelled at! Right in from of everyone! Didnít bother us, it was rather funny if you ask me, but we exited the room, and had ourselves a snack and a pee break! Ever the rebels, we are! Hahahaha!

I guess the day was over around 3, and we went right home afterwards. Man, that caddy is uncomfortable, I hate that passenger seat. Once home, I laid down on the sofa, and we started to watch this movie on the Sci-fi channel, when all of a sudden I realize, itís 10:30! I slept all that time! So, I get up, take my pill, and go up to bed, waking up about 9-ish Sunday morning. I made some coffee, tried to read some Sunday paper, but then found myself back up in bed and this time I got up around 3 pm! Wow! That retreat really wore me out! Steve went out and got us a little Chinese food and I managed to eat some vegetable chow mein for dinner. Not much, but enough to satisfy Steve.

Monday, 10/ 25, which was yesterday, my nurse Vickie came over around 2:30 to draw a bunch of blood for Dr. King, including my CA 125. Then, she left my port accessed for my MRI. Steve came home from work, we ate a bit of left-over Chinese, then went up to Jefferson for the scans. Of course, I took a valium before the scan began, I canít stand being in that tube! I guess I got in and on the table by 8:25, (my appointment was actually 8:45 but the machine was free, so they let me in early), and let me tell you, it was painful! You know, you have to lie still, for long periods of time, and my scan lasted one and half hours. By the end, I was in so much pain, I had tears, of course. My technician Ben was such a nice, kind and caring man, it broke his heart to see me in pain. But, what could I do? It had to be done, and hopefully, the test will show something, or nothing, whatever, just give me some relief! Afterward, it was 10:00 when we left, we went across the street to the Wawa, and Steve bought me some ice cream. Yum! Home a little after 11, took another pill and straight up to bed.

Today, Tuesday 10/26 - The pain and discomfort is really bad, but I canít take a valium because I am waiting for one of my other nurses (Betsy) to come and de-access my port. I had to sleep with the needle all night, which was ok. But now the tape is starting to itch and she canít get here fast enough for me! Oh, Happy Birthday to Denni, you old bag, you!!!! Join the club, my friend!

One more thing before I go. The other day, when I made my clarifications as to how I was feeling, Steve thought I did a pretty good job. I did in fact leave a few things out, but I wonít even bother to tell you about them, because I think you get the picture. Right? Anyway, he did mention that he felt like it made him seem like a bum! I didnít mean for that to happen! Heís not a bum! You know that, right????? Heís so much not a bum, heís the opposite of a bum, whatever that could be! So now he says that all he hears in his head is that Christmas song, the little Drummer Boy where the chorus goes, ďPah Rum Pum Pum PumĒ, except he hears, ďBum Bum Bum Bum BumĒ!!!! Heís too much! He said, people will be saying , ďHow come Steve canít clean the littler box?Ē, so I feel compelled once again to just say this one thing about that before I go. If I hear one of the cats in the box, I immediately go and clean it. If I walk by and see something in there, itís outta there. I can not stand to have any animal waste in the box, even overnight bothers me! Seriously! I know many people who donít clean their cat boxes but maybe once a week, or every couple of days. Ewwwww! I find that to be totally gross!! Canít you smell the odor? It is awful! The entire house reeks from it. Maybe people just get use to it, I donít know. And, litter boxes in the bathroom? Oh, that is also disgusting. Especially if you go in there several times a day, and you see the box is dirty and you still leave it. Ick! Your cats walk in that disgusting stuff, then climb on your sofa, your tables, your counter tops. Ugh! I refuse to have my house smell like pets. If you ever walk into our house, and you smell cat, please please please tell me, that is one of my major peeves. OK, well, anyway, I just wanted to make sure that you knew Steve is not a bum! Poor man, gets up every day at 5, drives an hour to, and then from work, then takes care of his poor decrepit wife. Bum? I think not!

All right, again, that is all I have in me today. Give me a few days, and Iíll be back to write a little more. Peace out!

Friday, October 22, 2004 2:16 PM CDT

Hello. I wanted to drop in and tell you that I am on my way to an overnight retreat for women with gynecological cancers, sponsored by the Wellness Community of Philadelphia. I feel really horrible, but I'm going anyway because as Steve says, we can always turn around and come back home. Even my neighbors say I look horrible! Yikes! I must be bad! Anyway, I'll be back whenever I can to resume updating you on stuff. Until then, have a good weekend.

Monday, October 18, 2004 5:13 PM CDT

Ok, ok, so itís been more than a few days. You knew that would happen, didnít you? Before I begin, I have to tell you something. After overhearing several of my telephone conversations over the course of the last few days, Steve has informed me that I am downplaying the severity of the way I have been feeling lately. He says that even though I am in fact telling everyone I feel real crappy, I tend to just laugh it all off. Well, thatís just my personality. So, here is a clarification. If this is definitely an MS flare that I am experiencing, it is by far the worse ever since my initial diagnosis in 1994. I have told you time and time again about the lower back pain and discomfort. But Steve says I should make it clear just how bad it really is. OK. I canít stand in one position for more than 3, maybe 5 minutes. I canít walk, without help, for maybe,Öoh letís say, a half a block. Then, the pain is overwhelming. Sometimes I canít even make it from the living room to the bathroom, which really is not that far. Itís even hard to get to the kitchen, which is probably why I am losing so much weight. Itís not comfortable to sit, not comfortable to lie down. If by chance I wake up during the night, I canít fall back to sleep because of the pain and just the plain discomfort associated with it. During my shower every day, I get dizzy, and as soon as I get out, I have to go lie down on the bed until I recover somewhat well enough to get dressed. Then, I go down the steps to the couch, where I stay. Speaking of the stairs, I have to be really careful about them, in case I fall. Oh, and I can only go up and down them a very limited number of times a day, like, letís say, once. Bending down is terrible, and I do this numerous times throughout the day with regard to cleaning the cat box. Washing dishes? Forget it. Cooking? Forget that too. Oh, and letís not forget cleaning, is so totally filthy and disgusting here you wouldnít believe it. (NO, you can NOT come over and clean.) With the 2 cats, I have to sweep up the cat hair daily, but I honestly can not tell you the last time I did that. Or the last time I mopped the floors. Or vacuumed. Laundry just about kills me, as that requires going up and down the stairs, and bending. I wash a load. Dry it, then leave it in a lump by the bed. Then, another load on another day, which is then piled on top of the previous clean lump, and so on and so forth. We do indeed have clean clothes, they are just not getting put away,Ö.canít do it. I canít drive, and even riding as a passenger reduces me to tears. Going to the Shop Rite wipes me out for days afterwards, Iím surprised I am even able to make it home. So there, you pretty much have it. Iím sure Iíve left a few details out, but I think you get the picture. I do in fact have an appointment at Jefferson Neurology tomorrow afternoon, so maybe weíll have some answers. And maybe Iíll get some relief. Cross your fingers. Now, does that all shed some light on why exactly Iíve been so miserable these last few months?

Letís get on with it,ÖÖ

Sunday September 5th - Wow, it was very windy here today. We checked out the situation in Florida on the Weather Channel throughout the day, itís really bad. Or, so it seems to us. Yesterday, we went over to see Paul and inquire about Aunt Grace, who lives in the Vero Beach area. She boarded up things and high-tailed it out of there, to a relative I, I think Paul said, Tennessee. Glad to hear she is safe.

Monday, 9/6 - We just hung around here today, I gardened a little in the afternoon. And, I do mean, a little. I donít know if I mentioned it or not, but my mother told me she heard my friend Tina was in the hospital, but Iíve received no word on any of that yet. She said she was in intensive care, on life support, and that it might be meningitis. ???

Tuesday, 9/7 - I swear those steps at the 9th and Locust PATCO stop get bigger every time I climb them! Geez, I really thought I would pass right out today by the time I got to the top! Today my massage was with Beth, another Ďwowí hour. I met Steve afterwards and we went over to Red Sky in Old City for dinner, where we of course dined out on the sidewalk. It was ok but I couldnít wait to get off that damn hard chair! On the way home, we dropped the PT off for service, then home to watch The Real World Philadelphia on MTV. The city looked really good! (Too bad the show is so totally lame!)

Wednesday, 9/8 - Well, I had no car today so I just lazed around the house, very uncomfortable with all these odd pains. Oh, Jef, I keep meaning to tell you - - I didnít forget 8/21(How could I, haha!) Thanks for your belated Ex-Anniversary wishes! Itís just that sometimes, I feel like I am the only one who remembers silly things like that, so I just quit doing the remembering. I just wanted to make sure you knew, your call meant a lot to me! We picked the PT up from itís service visit in the evening.

Thursday, 9/9 - Oh boy it was windy today! I drove up to the NJ Transit station, the train was pretty crowded today, with screaming wailing non-stop crying bratty babies. I couldnít wait to get to Lindenwold and onto PATCO. Lucky me, only one infant followed me and the thing was relatively quiet. As the train rolled out of the Broadway station in Camden, I suddenly smelled something burning. The train then came to a lurching stop, dead on the tracks, underground in the dark tunnel, with all the lights out! Everyone began to panic. The driver made an announcement on the intercom, ďEveryone please stay calm! You must all depart the train, now! Carefully make your way towards the back of the train, and exit.Ē As she walked down the aisle, she explained to us that a fire had broken out on her console, which in turn shut down everything, and we must get off immediately. It was creepy, walking along the narrow walkway, back to the station in the dimly lit tunnel. Just like in a movie, or on tv! Another train was dispatched and in about 5 to 10 minutes, we were on our way again. Oh man, I am about sick and tired of this commuting to Philadelphia! Why oh why canít we just move there, or at least closer to there???? A rain storm had just passed through the city when I came up out of the 9th Street stop at 2:15, which was a good thing for me! At 3:00 I am in the doctorís office and in the hands of Beth, ahhhhh! Steve picked me up at 4:30 outside the hospital, and we went over to the new Citizenís Bank Park, or whatever the dumb new stadium is called. They were holding a free Eagles event, and it seemed sort of cool. Free parking, free Eagles baseball caps, soda samples,Öfree things all over the place. WYSP was there broadcasting, there were Eagles players and cheerleaders signing autographs, and on stage the Gin Blossoms performed. It was kind of fun! The place is really nice, probably the only time we will ever be going there,Öunless of course, itís free again!

Friday, 9/10 - It was sunny and pleasant today, I thought Iíd put some laundry in and take a trip to Shop Rite. What a mistake! Ouch and ouch again. Steve saved the day, though, coming home with a cool present for me. A sweet leather jacket! Itís really nice and I canít wait to wear it! What a great bargain hunter my husband is!

Sorry, but thatís all I have in me today. Bye!

Monday, October 11, 2004 5:20 PM CDT

Hi. On September 17th, I attempted to update this page with, oh, approximately 2 weeks worth of stuff. I canít remember why, but it was about 6:00 and Steve wasnít home yet. I really wanted to tell you some things, finally get an entry in for you. As you know, the last few months have been really hard on me health-wise. My normal Ďget myself togetherí time of the day is 2 pm, but it had been getting later and later. So, there I was, dressed and with some time before he got home, so I began my update. Then, after just 2 paragraphs, in he walks, and makes a statement that I had all day to be on the computer, and that he had dibs on the nighttime. Well, he was not mean or nasty, but I guess that rubbed me the wrong way, because as the days went by, it became less and less important to try to come in here and rush through an entry before he got home. Now, 6 weeks or more have passed, and I only feel worse. And, needless to say, he is due home real soon! But, I am going to try to get some days in for you, and I hope to finally get up-to-date soon. Here is where I began, on 9/17,Ö..

Well, Linda, you said youíve been checking in here to keep updated on things, and personally I think thatís really great! However, you have had it pretty easy lately, and Iím here to change all that! So, watch out, this oneís gonna be a bitch!!!

Monday, August (Yes! August!) 30th - It was crazy raining today, so I decided to drive all the way to the High Speed Line in Lindenwold for my first therapeutic massage with Doreen in Dr. Rosenzweigís office at 3:30. Steve had some things to do after work today, and I had another appointment at 6:30 so taking the train there and back seemed like the best thing to do. Once I climbed those stairs from PATCO to the street in Philly, I was totally surprised to see that it was dry as a bone there! All I can say about this massage is WOW!!! I floated back to the High Speed Line, zipped to Lindenwold, got in the car and drove to the Hamilton Mall JC Penney store where I had a cut and coloring appointment with my friend Holly. She kept it pretty much the same color, but I am so happy that she cut it short. Well, short for me! Shoulder length and layers, itís cute! Lynn, you should really like it. Oh, I talked to Dr. King this morning. My CA 125 is 4821, and she set me up for a Lupron shot on the 1st. We also talked about chemo, but weíll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Tuesday, 8/31 - Today I did laundry and paid bills, and started packing for our Labor Day weekend adventure. Itís sort of raining here, and the meteorologists are tracking a big storm in Florida, oh no! I guess Iíll tell you,ÖSuzette, Lisa, me and Steve are going down to the West Palm Beach/Ft. Lauderdale area for a long weekend! Iím really looking forward to it, for sure! Well, the big news of the day is - tonight is my momís last night of work! Yes, thatís right, she is officially retiring! I guess thatís a good thing, but Iíll have to get used to no more early morning ĎMom ReportsĒ! Also, the South Egg Harbor Pimp Daddy is back! Steve came home in the caddy!

Wednesday, September 1st - I received a call from Cindy in Dr. Kingís office, confirming my appointment tomorrow at 3:30. Well, my appointment is for today - oh no, itís going to be one of those days. I contacted Jeanette, and she assured me everything was certainly a go for today, and that my Lupron injection would be waiting down in the pharmacy. I begin to walk to the train, and my neighbor Mrs. C yells down the street, ďDo you need a ride?Ē YES! So, Paul comes out and whisks me to the station, nice! Steve meets me in Cherry Hill and we pimp it over to Hahnemann. We get to the Pharmacy, and they do not have the injection! Says my insurance had changed since I was there in March, and they didnít have my new info. Well, did you call my doctor? No, the girl says, we didnít have her info. Why didnít you call me? We didnít have your info, she says. But, I see my info right on the computer screen! One thing leads to another, and she is yelling at me, and I begin to cry. Steve was beside himself, and I couldnít believe it was happening! I can not go up to Dr. Kingís office like this, all upset and everything, so Steve goes while I sit in the lobby, and by the time he gets to the 15th floor, the girl in the pharmacy had called to tell Cindy I was nasty and rude. But wait a minute! I thought she said she didnít have my doctorís info! Geez, this girl was something else! I can not even get into it with you concerning all the things she said, and accused me of. But, she was clearly in the wrong! None-the-less, Jeannette tried everything she could to get me the Lupron, but no luck and by now I have to get over to Dr. Rosenzweigís office for my massage. I tell Steve, I want to walk over, so he goes up and has a long con-fab with Dr. King. She is livid at what happened, and ends up reporting the incident to the hospital administration. However, the girl still sticks to her story that I was the one at fault, but what I always say is what goes around comes around, I know the truth. Anyway, Iím sitting at Jefferson waiting for Doreen to come and get me, when a lady comes out and introduces herself - Dr. Rakel. She says that Dr. King called the pharmacy at Jefferson, ordered the Lupron, called her and asked her if sheíd administer it to me as a favor, and that she agreed to give it to me! Sweet!!! I go down, get the prescription, and as I go into Dr. Rakelís office to bare my hiney, in walks Steve. Perfect timing! Then, Iím off for the massage, ahhhhh! A little relief from the stress of the day! I come out, and Steve is asleep on the waiting room couch,ÖI wonder if he snored? By now, we are hungry. Heading out of the city through Chinatown, we decided to stop for a bite. We parked and walked into this Noodle House, on 10th Street I think, sit down, and notice - everything is cruddy dirty! The silverware, the glasses, dirt floating in the water! So we high-tail it out of there and across the street to one of our favorite places, Singapore Vegetarian. I guess you know, I was beat tired by the time we got home. What a way to start National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

Thursday, 9/2 - Well, it looks like Hurricane Frances is a force to be reckoned with, and I spent all afternoon on the phone with Southwest Airlines. By the end of the day, they had closed the Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach airports, our long awaited weekend adventure is off! CRAP! One good thing, our friend Ean is in Australia, so I donít have to worry about him. He lives in Hollywood. We went to the advance screening of the movie Paparazzi tonight, then we grabbed a bite to eat next door at the Pagoda Noodle Cafe. I know itís hard to believe, but I am already feeling some relief from the Lupron shot! My lower back still hurts, and one side effect from the Lupron shot has surfaced - the flu-like symptoms. But, thatís ok. Better that than this awful painful groin lump.

Friday, 9/3 - Well, itís sad to be home! We should be in sunny Florida right now! Man this hurricane is fierce. I spent the better part of the day watching the weather channel, and on the phone with Southwest again. Our flight was cancelled today, but the flight coming home on Monday had yet to be cancelled, so that effected our rescheduling of the trip. It was very tedious, very time consuming and very very frustrating. Steve came home with hoagies and we ate out on the deck. He put on a pink shirt, got out our pink tableware and we pretended we were in Florida,Ö.but it just didnít seem to cut it! Suzette and Lisa headed down to Maryland for the weekend, after all, they were packed and ready for a trip. Oh, we were packed and ready, too, by the way. But, they didnít invite us to join them, which was weird, and sort of felt like a slap in the face. Hmmmm, I guess someone had to stay home and man the phone to try and salvage the trip. And that someone happened to be, me! Hey, in hindsight, they have free weekend cell minutes, they could have take care of it! Oh well, once again, I am feeling used, and cheated out of a holiday weekend away from home. Because you know, Steve just wants to stay here and Ďdoí things. Itís hell sometimes, being such a nice person!

Saturday, 9/4 - I spent a sleepless night, worrying about this whole Florida thing. It sure would be nice to be relaxing on the beach, or even just somewhere else right about now. It sure has not been the best for me these last few weeks. The lower back pain was just that today, a pain. I wore one of those heat wraps all day, which did feel good, but thatís about all. We watched the Hurricane coverage on the weather channel all day and I checked-in with Southwest from time to time until finally at 3 pm, they cancelled our outbound flight on Monday. About 45 minutes later, our Florida adventure was re-booked, at the very same deeply discounted fare, ($49 each way!) with no additional charges or fees - we are now going for a long New Yearís weekend! How sweet is that! Our luck, though, Philadelphia will have a big blizzard, and weíll have to reschedule again! Anyway, a BIG sigh of relief, that is finally taken care of. Now, finding a hotel at a reasonable rate over the holiday and in high season! But, thatís for another day! We used our Caves drinking glasses for dinner tonight, one of my favorite Ft. Lauderdale restaurants. I had made reservations for us all there, with a free bottle of champagne to celebrate our Cancer Survivorship, I guess that perk will be gone by the time Dec./Jan. rolls around.

OK, thatís it for now, I canít stand to sit here any longer. See you in a few days!

Thursday, October 7, 2004 1:01 PM CDT

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I don't have Leukemia,
Yipeeeeee! Yahoooooooo!

Tuesday, October 5, 2004 9:48 AM CDT

Iím tired. Tired of feeling awful. Of feeling sick. Feeling totally useless. Feeling like a failure. Tired of the lower back pain and discomfort. Of the groin lump. Of the belly bloating. Tired of not being able to eat. Tired of losing all this weight. Tired of looking ugly. Tired of not being able to walk. Not being able to sit. Not being able to lie down comfortably. Not being able to drive. Tired of not being able to breathe properly. Tired of the heart palpitations. Of my right arm constantly going numb. Of my stomach hurting. Of constant vision disturbances. Of waking up no less than 2 times each night to pee. And most of all, Iím tired of crying,Öcrying every day, every night, all the time. Sorry to say, but I canít take much more of this. Draw your own conclusions. But, Iím tired,Öof it all.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004 3:35 PM CDT

Hey guys! I have not forgotten about you! I am participating in a week-long research study until Friday - I have to be there at 8 am every morning. So, needless to say, by the time I get home, I'm beat tired! So you'll just have to wait a little longer for all your catching up! See ya later!

Friday, September 24, 2004 5:05 PM CDT

Happy 16th Wedding Anniversary to us! I wonder what both the Traditional and Modern presents will be! Well, you are off the hook for the time being, this will not be my extra-long update, aren't you breathing a sigh of relief! Wednesday was my 8th and final therapeutic massage, then we had a visit with Dr. King. (The possibility of more chemo is most certainly hovering on the horizon.) Then, a movie, "Sideways" in Old City followed by a Q & A session with the director. Thursday, we spent the entire morning and afternoon at Jefferson, I had a bone scan, which much to my surprise, went pretty smoothly! Then, we attended a Wine Tasting & Poetry Reading at the Franklin Institute. Today I am just taking it easy here at home, still in constant discomfort. Steve should be home any minute. Happy Birthday Di! (You Old Bag!) And, R.I.P. Aunt Marion. (Thanks Jef for the info, mom and I would never have known since nobody called to let one of us know. Nice caring family we have, huh?)

Monday, September 20, 2004 7:42 AM CDT

Well, a miracle did not happen, and I never made it back here to bore you with an extra long update. Maybe tomorrow. (Yeah, sure!) I'm getting ready to hop on the 10:55 train to the PATCO High Speed Line, then on to the 9th & Locust stop. I have my 7th massage today at 1:30, followed by an appointment with Dr. Rosenzweig at 2:30. Then, we are going to a program at the Wellness Community at 6:30. The train schedule doesn't fit with my appointment schedule again today so I'll have about an hour and a half to fill, I'm really glad it's not raining, that would suck. OK, gotta go. Have a good one.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004 4:05 PM CDT

Good day to you! Don't get yourself too excited,...I'm not here for my long-winded and boring update on the last few weeks. I just wanted to say, that yesterday I had my 5th massage, then we were out until about 11 pm, today I am recuperating from that, tomorrow I have an early massage (12:30 pm) and some errands to run, Thursday I have a 9 am dental appointment, and then Friday I will probably spend in a lump on the sofa. So, if in the midst of all that 'excitement' I am feeling up to sitting in front of the computer in our dimly lighted office space on our awful hard-seated chair, then I'll try to come back here to update things. If not, oh well,...keep checking back! After all, miracles do happen!

Thursday, September 9, 2004 10:33 AM CDT

I know, I know! I didn't make it back here yesterday to update you, and now I am once again on my way to the train station for massage #4 in Philly. Man, it's windy here, I guess it's Hurricane Frances making an appearance in our area. Now, Hurricane Ivan has been declared a Category 5 - yikes! Is the Earth trying to get rid of us? Is Mother Nature pissed at us? Hmmmmm. Well, I can't tell you when I'll be back, but when I do get a chance, you can imagine it will be a long one! Be prepared!

Tuesday, September 7, 2004 8:47 AM CDT

Good morning to you! I'm getting ready to get on the trains to Philly for my 3rd therapeutic massage at Jefferson. I'm experiencing a lot of lower back pain and discomfort, so to say I am looking forward to it would be an understatement, for sure! I'll do my best to come back tomorrow to give you a full update on the last week. But, then again, you never know what will happen between now and tomorrow, do you?!?!?

Monday, September 6, 2004 8:59 AM CDT

Happy Labor Day!

Wednesday, September 1, 2004 8:49 AM CDT

Happy National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month! Just wanted to stop by and let you know, I'm getting ready to hop on the train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill. After speaking to Dr. King on Monday morning, she requested I come in right away. My CA 125 is up up and away, the highest it has ever been - 4821. Yes you read that right, 4821. And there is concern about my abdominal fluid, or whatever is causing me this discomfort. So, get this, I am getting another Lupron shot this afternoon. Oh well, hopefully it will do some good. This time, however, I do believe I can stay on the Premarin, but I'll update you more tomorrow, when I know more. Oh, and one last thing before I go - congratulations Mom on your retirement!

Sunday, August 29, 2004 2:23 PM CDT

Wednesday, 8/18 - I brought the mail in today and was pleasantly surprised to find an envelope from Patrick with some movie screening passes, one that was actually for tonight! So I call Steve and soon enough I am on the train to meet him after work in Cherry Hill! Ahhhh! Life on the fly! Gotta love it! (Thanks, Kenny, for the sweet ride to the train station!) We hook up with Patrick outside the Ritz East, he was sporting his Napoleon Dynamite watch, what a geek, haha! The movie was ďDanny DeckchairĒ, an Australian film. It was really cute! I totally enjoyed it, and believe it or not, Steve said it was just about the best movie he has seen in a long time! How about that! Afterwards, we went next door to the Pagoda Noodle for a snack and it was oh so good, their Jasmine Green Tea is delightful!

Thursday, 8/19 - Another movie pass in the mail today, this one for Anacondas,Ö!!!!!!! I hate snakes! The hot flashes were very intense today, I donít know how much more of this I can take. I received an e-mail from Judi in Dr. Kingís office this morning, here it is: ďDr. King, as you probably know, is on vacation this week. I did get your report from Radiology and in reviewing it I'd say that although they say there's interval enlargement of some lesions, I'd say that the enlargement is miniscule. The nodule in your left upper lobe of the lung was 8 mm (millimeters) in June and is 1 cm (centimeter) now, a difference of 2 mm which is really, really small. The other measured areas are much the same as before; no new lesions. I suspect Dr. King would call it "stable disease" but I'll put it on her desk for her to review on Monday. I did get Dr. Carlson to review your CT report and he concurs.Ē So, thatís the latest news on that front.

Friday, 8/20 - Man it is hot and humid today! Another bad night-sweat night for me, so I e-mailed Judi telling her I want to go back on the Premarin,Ö.now! And, here is her reply - ďI don't think that Dr. King will have a problem with you restarting the Premarin today but that's just me talking,...I would go ahead and resume it and if she decides that she doesn't want you to take it, I'll let you know on Monday.Ē By the time I finished reading the e-mail, I was making a bee-line to the pill bottle, one purple estrogen replacement pill, down the hatch! I made a quick afternoon trip to the Shop Rite. Steve came home from work today bearing farm market goodies, and we grilled and had dinner on the deck with a tasty glass of wine. Then, we watched the dvd ďAliens 3Ē, which was ok.

Saturday, 8/21 - It was cooler and windy this morning but it turned into a really beautiful day. We grilled once again, and then later we invited Paul over for a farm market fresh watermelon martini happy hour on the deck - it was really nice!

Sunday, 8/22 - We met Ruth, a friend of Suzette and Lisaís, at the Ritz at the Bourse for a screening of the new Johnny Depp movie called ďNeverlandĒ. Now, this is what I call an advance screening, we hear it is not opening in theaters until November! The movie stars Mr. Depp, Kate Winslet, Dustin Hoffman and Julie Christie. We had no idea what it was about, and Steve of course made a comment of it being about Michael Jackson! But, it wasnít, in fact, it was about the Neverland in Peter Pan, with fairies and everything! So, of course, I thought it was pretty good, how could it not be!!! It had fairies! Ruth, the die-hard Depp fan, really seemed to enjoy herself! It was good to see Nathan, and also, the director of the movie was on hand after the credits ran for a short question and answer session, which is a rarity at these screenings. After saying good-bye to Ruth, we walked over to Arianna, an Afghanistan restaurant in Old City, for a quick bite to eat, then home.

Monday, 8/23 - Vickie came over at 11 am to draw my CA 125 and flush the port, she was happy to see me out of my Tamoxifen funk! And very happy to hear I was back on the Premarin! Today, Suzette and I made our debut on the Lance Armstrong web site, and I guess itís pretty cool, however, they did indeed spell my name wrong which was a little distressing! I notified them and was assured it would be corrected, so weíll see! It was cool and sunny today, and I ran some errands in the pm hours. Steve grilled some salmon and we ate on the deck again, then we watched the ďAlien - ResurrectionĒ movie in the living room filled with Alien party lights that Steve strung up! Heís too funny!

Tuesday, 8/24 - The Premarin is kicking in, and Dr. King gave her official ok, what a relief! Sheís putting a new prescription in the mail right away, oh happy day! It was dark and chilly today, but I didnít care, we were off to see Prince in Philly! His 3rd and last night in town. Our seats were really good, lower level with a great view of the stage. 8:00 rolls around, and the lights go out,Öexpecting Prince to show up on the stage only to be surprise by Morris Day and the Time!!!! How cool! They played a full set, and every single person in the house was dancing and singing! Turns out, today was the release of the Purple Rain DVD, and he brought Morris and company out to celebrate the occasion! Lucky for us in Philly! (If you donít know this, there has not been any opening act on this Musicology Tour. Just Prince.) Then a short break before the Purple One himself took center stage. What a show! This man is the bomb! Then, several songs into the show, out comes Patti LaBelle! Another surprise guest! Finally at 11:45, the concert ended, and I was exhausted! Waiting to exit the parking lot, we were able to score 2 t-shirts from the bootleggers, one black and one white, for $5! At first, they were asking $10, but if you are patient enough to wait 15-20 minutes, the price always comes down! (Keep that in mind next time, SuzieQ!) On the way out of Philly, we took a swing by the new IKEA store, which was opening tomorrow morning at 9 am. If you were one of the first 100 people in line, they were giving you a free $100 Poang chair so we wanted to see if anyone was in line And, sure enough, people were camping out, it was funny! I guess it was about 1:30 when we finally got home, and yes, I was totally beat! But, I finally saw Prince, which made it all good! Oh, it was our anniversary today, but as you can see, no time for presents!

Wednesday, 8/25 - Man I was tired out, all day! Steve brought home the Anaconda video so we could see it before we went to the Anacondas screening,Ö.eeeeewwwwwww! Snakes!

Thursday, 8/26 - Happy anniversary Dad & Rita! Hey dad, I hope your idea works out, I love it!!!! Look out high seas,Öhere come the Schmolls!!!! This lower back pain is for the birds, isnít that the story of my life, though? Trading the hot flashes/night sweats for lower back pains, geez - whatís next? I took the train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill, then we went to Bistro Romano for a good pasta dinner with our favorite waiter Drew, then on to the Riverview to see Anacondas. Those snakes sure are big on that huge screen!

Friday, 8/27 - It was a really beautiful day today but that didnít diminish the discomfort of this lower back pain and the abdominal fluid swelling. I ran to Shop Rite in the late afternoon, and was in the check-out line when I just happened to look up from loading my things onto the belt to see Steve standing there! What a nice surprise! He was on his way home and decided to see if he could find me in the store! We then went home for a Chinese Happy Hour on the deck with Tak Shing City take-out food and Tsingtao Chinese beer - yum! We watched some Olympics, and the Amish in the City show before crashing for the night.

Saturday, 8/28 - My legs just donít seem to want to work for me lately, another MS symptom? Probably. I think the lower back pain is one too, but this abdominal fluid is definitely the cancer. Annoying, to say the least. Yesterday, today and tomorrow was Monster Mania in Cherry Hill, the second one. And, the second one that we missed! I just didnít feel up to all that walking, so we passed on seeing Freddy Krueger, several Jason Voorhees and a Michael Meyers, along with a slew of other sci-fi/horror actors, movies, and some bands. Oh well, maybe next year! We decided to take a ride over to Atlantic City for the Grand Opening of the new Walk Outlet Stores. They were having hourly give-aways and bands and stuff, so we went for a few hours. Long enough to not win any prizes, but I did pick up a cool pair of cheap Reebok sneakers and 2 sweet skirts from the Wilsonís outlet. We stopped at the Applebeeís for a snack before coming home to watch some Olympics sipping a watermelon margarita.

Today, the phone rang at 8 am and woke me out of the first sound sleep Iíve had in 11 months! Imagine that! The very first night I didnít wake up with night sweats, and the damn phone rings! And, to top it all off, it was a wrong number,Ö.Uncle George from Vermont! Geez! Not much going on here today, just enjoying the nice weather, and getting some things done. We have an adventure planned for the Labor Day weekend, so we are trying to prepare in advance for that. And, Iím making some watermelon slushie, like I did for our anniversary party in May. Yum! Tomorrow, I am scheduled for my first massage at Dr. Rosenzweigís office, then I have an appointment at the salon to have my hair professionally colored and cut. What color do you think I should be now? Feel free to voice your opinion! OK, talk to you again later on! (Jason, good to hear from ya!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2004 1:18 PM CDT

Hello everybody! Well, it's been a week since I've updated you on the life and times of Anna Marie Juliano. Looks like you'll just have to wait a bit more, as I am now about to get myself together to go the Prince concert tonight. Oh I can't wait! I've loved Prince since the 1979-1980 or there about. Tonight is his 3rd and last night in Philadelphia. I hope he is rested up and ready for me! You know I'll be wearing purple! So, I'll talk to you real soon, and check out the new link below - you just might see a familiar face! ( Or two, right Suzette?! )

Tuesday, August 17, 2004 6:31 PM CDT

Hi all! Well, the new pictures went up the other day, I hope you got a kick out of them! Last Monday, 8/9, I had to get up early and go over to my primary care doctorís office to pick up an insurance referral, then back home real quick because Jeff was picking me up and taking me into Philly. Seems that his Aunt Lu was due in at Wills Eye Hospital at 2:45, and he was driving her there along with his mom. My appointment with Dr. Rosenzweig was at 2:30 so it made perfect sense for me to ride with them. However, he wanted to make sure they got there in plenty of time, so he was supposed to come over here at 11:30 am to get me! I couldnít believe he wanted to get there that freakiní early, heck - the ride is really only 50 minutes or so without traffic. But who was I to argue, a ride is a ride and it beat taking 2 trains! So there I was, waiting at 11:30, then 11:45, and then finally at noon, he shows up! Anyway, the ride was lovely, it was good to spend time with Mother Long and Aunt Lu! It was 10 of 1 when we got into Center City, so I hung out in the park reading a magazine until about 2:15, then I went over to my appointment. As usual, it was good to see Dr. Rosenzweig, and he sent me home with 2 prescriptions. One for a drug called Bellamine, for the night sweats, and one for therapeutic massages! Sweet! The downside to the massage sessions is that I have to go there, twice a week for 4 consecutive weeks,Öbut Iíll give it a go! Steve picked me up at 4:30 and we went over to Bistro Romano for a nice dinner. I was pleasantly surprised to find the movie Rockstar on VH1 when we got home! I missed the ending, though, because we changed the channel to MTV and The Assistant with kooky Andy Dick. Well, it isnít like Iíve never seen the ending! Ha ha! Like, 4 times already!!!

Tuesday, 8/10 - I was once again back at my primary care doctorís office before 11 am, picking up another stupid referral. Then, it was on to Dr. Paparoneís office, where he prescribed a drug called Valtrex. Apparently, he feels like the shingles virus has a good chance of making another visit to my immune-suppressed body, so this drug should help keep it in check. For 5 days, I have to take a double dose of it, then one pill per day,..for forever! Yep. Maybe the rest of my life! From there, I ran some errands, like the bank, drug store and post office, then I had an appointment at the Health Research office where I signed up for another one of their week long dental research studies, this time it is for a mouth rinse. Oh, and this afternoon, I had a closet mishap - we have, or should I say had, a rolling clothes rack in the middle of our walk-in closet. Well, I know itís been too heavy for a long time now, but just didnít care. Today, I went to move it, and it snapped in several places and fell right on top of me,. It knocked me down, and everything landed on top of me. Oh my god, it was so so so heavy. I thought I was gonna die right then and there, and Steve would eventually find me, like the wicked witch, under a big pile of clothes! I sort of strained my back or something, so then I was grouchy! None-the-less, I managed to make a Mexican dinner tonight, all the while complaining about my back! Today in the mail, we received our sweet prize for seeing the Napoleon Dynamite movie and getting our card stamped 3 times. Itís actually quite lame, but cool in a way - itís a framed picture of Napoleon and Kip. Rita, welcome to your first ever fan club!

Wednesday, I was nauseous all day from the Valtrex, and I had a bad headache. Dr. Paparone said this would happen until my body adjusts to the medicine. So I ate saltines all damn day. It was windy and ominous outside all day. Steve brought home some Wawa shorties and McDonaldís milkshakes and we dined out on the deck.

Thursday, we were supposed to get all these major thunderstorms, but no sign of them yet. I was very distressed about Steve taking the car to work, and me having to walk to the train station, and then all around Philly to get to my CT scan appointment in the rain. So, Steve decided to just come home early from work, by noon (which meant he left work at 11 am), and we went to Philly in the Cruiser. And guess what? No rain! Wouldnít you know it! Anyway, as usual, it was a big production at Hahnemann, and mark my words, I will not be doing any more CT scans there. I am so upset by the whole ordeal, I canít even tell you about it! On the way home, we stopped at the Whitman Diner on Rt 322 in Turnersville as I was hankering for some soup and they always have killer home made soups. Today was Lima Bean - yummmmmmm!

Friday the 13th - Steve actually took the entire day off work today. We were participating in a contest in Philadelphia. It was sponsored by the Golden Nugget jewelry store on Jewelers Row. The contest was called ďGem of a Weddingí, and they were giving away all these cool prizes - a wedding or vow renewal on the spot, a cake, a photographer, a carriage ride around Philly, an overnight hotel stay, dinner for 2, a yearís supply of coffee, wedding bands, a sweet all-inclusive honeymoon getaway, and a celebrity witness to the ceremony. (Kyle Lowder, who plays Brady on the soap opera Days of Our Lives.) It was supposed to rain really hard due to the storms that were expected to hit Florida and stuff, but it didnít. We had hoped it would, because all couples were to be given a camera, and a list of clues that led to landmarks around Philadelphia. You had to take your picture at the landmark, and the first couple back with the correct photos was the winner! And, we figured, if it rained, then maybe weíd be the only ones crazy enough to show up! But, no such luck! We got there at 9:30 am, and by the start time of 11, there were 7 other couples. We got our clues and went running! We deciphered them pretty quickly, but alas, we werenít quick enough. The first couple made it back in 45 minutes, it took us over an hour. But, in the end, we got all our answers and photos correct and we came in third, earning us a $100 gift certificate to the store. Oh well! No bad for out-of-towners! Steve was disappointed because he really thought we had a chance to win, and after all, we still need that honeymoon. But the couple who won were so thrilled, it was pretty cool! We didnít stay for the wedding, though, which was scheduled for 5. Instead, we high-tailed it out of the city and went for a quick bite to eat at Hunan East in Turnersville. On the way home, we heard the big news of the day about Governor McGreevey - I say, big fíin deal! The opening ceremonies of the Olympics were tonight, to which I say once again, big fíin deal!

Saturday, we were amazed at the devastation in Florida, those poor people. I really feel bad for them. We met Suzette and Lisa for a nice lunch today at the Shore Mall, but then the day turned ugly when we went over to the Deb Shop, both me and Lisa armed with 75 cents, and no clearance shoes in sight! This afternoon, at 2 selected Philadelphia movie theaters, they were giving away Napoleon Dynamite watches when you went to see the movie. Sweet! But, we did not go, L Later that night, Steve mixed us up a chocolate martini - yum! It was the first alcoholic beverage Iíve had since way back in June! Delicious!

Sunday, 8/15 - Iím sorry to say, but this new prescription from Dr. Rosenzweig for the night sweats is just not cutting it. So, Iím taking myself off it. He also suggested I try Remifemin, but hell, that takes 30 days to start working and Iím actually well beyond fed up with these hot flashes and night sweats so to tell you the truth, Iíd really much rather go back on the dreaded Premarin - relief in a day or 2! We went out to the Home Depot and Target today, as Steve has been working on a closet project, to take the place of the garment rack that tried to kill me, then our adult beverage tonight was a cranberry peach martini, another delicious way to end the night!

Monday, August 16 - Can you believe itís been 27 years since Elvis croaked? Time flies! It rained early in the day, then the sun came out. I spent the day catching up on some laundry. Suzette, Lisa, me and Steve are departing for a weekend adventure soon, so I booked us a cool hotel today. Next is the car rental, and we should be all set! Steve mixed us up an Old City 108 martini, mmmm mmmm good!

Today, Tuesday, 8/17 - I did more laundry most of the day, where does it all come from? Now, Iím cooking a pizza with some leftover vodka sauce from a ravioli dinner I made last night. Steve has been working overtime the last few weeks, did I forget to mention that? So, itís near 7:30 and he should be home any minute. I have to go check on the pizza, so have a great day, or night, or morning, and Iíll talk to you again real soon!

Thursday, August 12, 2004 9:11 AM CDT

Good morning! I am getting ready for the trip to Philly, and the abdomen/pelvis/chest cat scans. I wanted to let you know that I probably won't be able to update you again until perhaps Monday. Today we'll be in Center City all day, tomorrow we have an adventure planned, and then it's the weekend, when we hope to maybe see Suzette & Lisa for a while on Saturday, and who knows what Sunday will bring! Oh, I apologize that the new pictures are not on the photo page yet. Steve mentioned doing them Sunday night, but I guess he got distracted! And, welcome home from your cruise, Matt and Dawn! Did you gain any weight? Haha! Have a great day, everyone, and stay dry if you are in the path of Bonnie and Charley!

Sunday, August 8, 2004 8:49 PM CDT

I have a lot of catching up to do, so Iíll start way back when, on Wednesday, July 21st. I did an entry early in the morning, so Iíll pick things up later on in the day. As the day went on, I started to feel a little better, but Iíll tell you what - my attitude still needs a major adjustment. Judi called with the word from Dr. King to cancel my lower extremity ultrasound that was scheduled for next Monday, since I am now officially off the Tamoxifen. (One of the major side effects of Tamoxifen is blood clots in the legs) She was going to put a prescription for Arimidex in the mail, but as of yet I am still on the fence about that one. You can be sure Iíll keep you posted on it - ďAs The Hormone Therapy TurnsĒ, ha ha! I spent the entire afternoon trying my damnedest to get us a car and a hotel room for our weekend adventure. See, several months ago, Southwest Airlines ran a special, $29 to select cities from Philly. Steve heard one that piqued his interest, so we booked a 3-day weekend in Manchester, NH. We have never been there, and it sounded nice, but now, with the shingles, and this Tamoxifen mess, well, letís just say the excitement has diminished. None-the-less, I pressed on with the arrangements. Man, oh man! What gives! All the rental car places were sold out! That never happened to me before, whatís up with that? Then, there are no rooms! No hotels, motels, B-n-Bís, nothing! Finally, I located 1 car, but it was $50 a day! Yikes, LA was only $15 a day! OK, no big deal, at least I found one. Then, as luck would have it, about 5 minutes before Steve comes home from work, I found the 1 lone room left in the 200 mile radius of Manchester, in Nashua. A Red Roof Inn, nearly $200 for the 2 nights! And, a smoking room at that. PU - ick. Just suck me dry, why donít you! Talking to the hotel manager, I ask, whatís going on in New Hampshire? And she says, itís NASCAR Week and everything has been sold out for 4 months now. Oh! That explains it! We had no idea what-so-ever! As I flopped on the couch in an exasperated lump, Steve strolls in carrying farm market fresh corn and fruits. We eat, and chill for the night.

Thursday, 7/22 - Well, after a short discussion last night, we decided to just cancel the whole weekend adventure. A state full of NASCAR fans didnít thrill us, especially with me feeling not so good. Southwest Airlines has a pretty lax policy on changes and refunds, so we have until next May to use the tickets or take a credit. So, I took care of that in the morning - the fact that I spent hours and hours when I didnít feel good trying to make these reservations, and then it took about a total of 5 minutes to cancel everything, really pissed me off!

Friday, 7/23 - Happy 100th birthday to the ice cream cone! We had torrential rain in the morning, and a humid, breezy afternoon. Still not feeling up to par, but I guess you knew that already. Paul was also not feeling good either and Mrs. C thought he might be hospital bound. Oh great. I got a really funny e-mail today from Suzette, saying how it wasnít like me and Steve to cancel such a fun-sounding trip. Yep! That certainly is a true statement! The South Egg Harbor Socialites, canceling an adventure? Unheard of! I honestly believe it is a combination of everything; the last 6 years, the Tamoxifen, the lost CT scans, and every other little nuisance that is sticking itís nose in my business. Oh, Rita, thanks for the Napoleon Dynamite info! Extra footage, now we have to see it again! Anyway, Steve came home tonight with Happy Meals full of Ty beanie-baby bears, and we ate on the deck. He tells me, he heard a commercial on the radio saying that the Drive-In in Vineland was having itís Grand Opening, so I look online, and sure enough, tonight was the inaugural night. Weíve been anticipating this for a long time now, so we look at each other, then we look at the clock, then we look at each other again and in a few minutes, we are in the car on our way to Vineland! I figured, what the heck, I can feel just as lousy in the car as I can in the house. The Bourne Supremacy and The Anchorman, doors open at 6, movie at dusk. Dusk? Just what the heck does that mean? On the way, right across from the Cumberland Mall, we spot a PT we recognize, itís Bill & Andrea so we beep and wave, they beep and wave back but weíre not sure if they recognized us or just did the PT beep & wave. We get to the drive-in and the line is pretty long, and steady. $6 per person, hey why didnít I hide in the back, haha! We wind our way past all the cars to a nice spot, right next to a PT Cruiser! Itís Cindy and John, what a small world! We chat it up, and I guess the movie started about 8:30-ish, and we notice another car pulling up next to us. Itís another PT,ÖBill and Andrea! Sweet! Our very own impromptu PT Cruiser Night at the Drive-In! How cool was that! Steve taped the 11 oíclock news, so when we got home, we looked to see the coverage since this was a pretty big deal for New Jersey. The reporter said that Sally Starr had been there at 6 to cut the ceremonial ribbon opening the place! Old Sally Starr! I would love to see her again, the last time, I was about 6 years old!

Saturday, 7/24 - We just hung around the house, as I am still in a slight funk. We ordered a pizza for dinner from Ernieís in the neighborhood and watched some TV. Surprise! Tremors 4 - The Legend Begins was on the Sci Fi channel - you know how much we like El Blanco and those Ass Blasters of Perfection, Nevada! Burt Gummer, weíve missed you! It was good to just sit home. We could have had free tickets to see the B52ís at Trump Plaza tonight, and also Pat Benetar tomorrow, but we said no thanks. I hope I get out of this NO mode soon!

Sunday, July 25 - Well, I actually got dressed and ready and we once again went out shopping for new cell phones. Finally, after several weeks of this, we made a decision, and the darn store didnít have any in stock! Looks like weíll have to wait until the shipment comes in during the week. Roadblocks, obstacles, detours,Ö.sick of them! Steve popped us up some mean-ass popcorn and we watched some things we had tivoíd. Yum! Oh, and we happened to catch a new commercial on MTV, ďNapoleon Goes to HollywoodĒ!

Monday, July 26 - Happy birthday to Mick Jagger! I didnít get up today until 10:30. What a bad night I had, alternately shivering, then sweating. I donít know how much more of these horrendous night sweats I can handle. The only way I can describe it to you, besides the intense heat, is this; picture yourself running through the sprinkler on your lawn, hair wet and stringy, skin glistening with water droplets. Or this; when you just get out of the shower. My entire body is drenched with sweat, I have to sleep on a towel, and even with it the mattress still gets damp. My hair is wet, my sleep is disturbed, even when I take a sleep aid. Itís been 10 months like this, Iím about to give up and start taking the magical purple premarin again. My mom is on vacation this week, so there wonít be any early morning mom reports on my cell phone. Oh SuzieQ - you were quite the poetess today! Steve and I were watching Monster House during dinner tonight, and the host Steve says to his crew as they were demolishing a room, ďYou gotta get ugly before you can look pretty!Ē and I turned to Steve and said, ďRemember that!Ē How true! Oh, Steve told me something interesting today. He heard on the radio that there is some kind of concert coming up at Great Adventure where the proceeds will be going to Ovarian Cancer. Iíll have to look into that.

Tuesday, July 27 - It was a dreary and hot day. Aunt Grace is here from Florida, visiting the neighbors. I colored my hair myself today, hoping for an instant pick-me-up, but instead it just tired me out. We had some more rain here in the greater Philadelphia area, and more flooding, and more is expected tomorrow. Thatís gotta suck for all those poor flood victims. We had movie screening passes tonight to see ďHarold & Kumar Go To White CastleĒ, and also tickets to see the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Music Center, with fireworks,Ö.but I still did not feel up to it so we passed on both things. We both sat out in the gazebo for a long time, and when we came in, we turned on the tv and I hear Beth Hart singing - I look and itís a commercial for the Olympics! Oh how cool! Beth Hartís music is in an Olympic commercial!! I was so excited I wanted to call Scott up right away and tell him we heard it, but than I realized she was performing tonight, in New Hampshire of all places, opening for Pat Benetar. It was her first night of about 4 or 5 gigs, so I decided to wait until another day to call. But, I did e-mail her manager David,Ö.it was just exciting to me!

Wednesday, 7/28 - It was rainy and dark all day, I think I heard that there was a tornado somewhere in South Jersey. OK, enough already, Mother Nature! I felt a bit better today, still no word on my CA 125 results or my lost CTís. Suzette, how sweet you have it - CT scan on Saturday, results and an office visit on Wednesday!

Thursday, 7/29 - Itís hot and humid and the sun is out. Feeling even a little bit better today, and more so every day that passes. Like I said to Lisa yesterday, how could 6 little pills, in the course of 3 days, pack such a wallop? Now, check this out - my mom is getting her new heater installed today! Lordy Lordy, itís a downright miracle! Oh, and another miracle, I heard from Judi and my CA 125 is 1817. Yes, you read that right, 1817. WOW! But, still no sign of the cat scan films. I took a ride up to the Shop Rite and was totally beat when I got back.

Friday, July 30 - Happy Birthday Jef, you old fart! When Steve got home, we took a ride over to the WJSE studio hoping to run into our friend Al. It is the 10th anniversary of 102.7 on Sunday, and we had a little gift for Al, but he wasnít there so we left it in his office Then, we grabbed a bite to eat, and went over to momís to drop off her new cell phone. We managed to find one for her and one for Steve at a store in the Cherry Hill area, which Steve picked up last night on his way home. They had to order mine, however, and it should be in next Tuesday. (They never did get them in, in our local store)

Saturday, 7/31 - Today and tomorrow was to have been Cruiserpalooza II, but Joe cancelled it and is rescheduling for sometime in September. Whatever! It will never be as good as the first, haha! We left the house early in the morning to meet Patrick and some fellow Napoleon fans at a place called Manny Brownís at the Nesheminy Mall in Ben Salem, PA, where a mixer was being held. There were free drinks and free appetizer trays, and gift bags, it was pretty cool! Thanks, Patrick, for the extra special dance party video! After the party, we went over to the theater next door for a 1:15 showing of Napoleon Dynamite, with the new ending. Even though there were only 20 or so of us in the theater, everyone still clapped as the credits rolled, and then the new footage was shown. Rita - Kip and LaFawnduh get married, and Napoleon rides in on a horse. I thought it was cute, but Steve said it was stupid! And, since today was a Blue Moon, and we thought we should do things that you only do once in a Blue Moon, we stayed for ďThe VillageĒ, and ďHarold and Kumar Go To White CastleĒ. Then, we went into Center City, parked, walked to Jefferson, went to the 3rd Floor Radiology Department, picked up yet another copy of my Ďlostí CT filmsí went back to the car, drove over to Hahnemann, went up to the 15th floor and shoved them under Dr. Kingís door with a sort of nasty note attached. Then, we stopped at the Old City Diner for a bite to eat, yummy freshly prepared grinders on this wonderfully toasted bread, then we headed home, finally! Whew! A long day! Needless to say, I was bone tired!

Sunday, August 1 - More rain and flooding in parts of NJ and PA, geez! We went over to Maynardís for the Tribute Party for Big Al Troiano. We ate and had a drink, hoping to see Uncle Phil, but he never showed. ??? We took a walk up to the beach afterwards, and I guess we were there for about an hour, it was lovely and I do so wish I could be near the beach every day. I would be such a happier person, Iím sure! And, believe it or not, I was able to breathe just fine while we were there!

Monday, 8/2 - Reading the morning paper, I saw this quote, ďItís better to face reality than live a lie.Ē I kind of liked it and thought Iíd share! Anyway, at 1:15, I got an e-mail from Judi, here it is: ďHowdy...Dr. King just returned from radiology where she reviewed the CT from TJU with the HUH CT. There has been no change in the CT of your chest since the one done at TJU according to Dr. King. JudiĒ Well, Iíll be a son of a bitch!

Tuesday, 8/3 - All is right in the world, my morning Mom Reports have begun again! I woke up to rain, oh great - Steve took the car to work today and I am not looking forward to walking to the train in the rain. But, then, surprise, it stopped by 12:15 so off I went, dry! I got of at 8th & Market at the Gallery, went in and sat down on a bench to wait an hour for Steve to pick me up at 3 for our 3:30 appointment. Sad to hear that LaToya was gone, she left for the radiology department. Dr. King surprised me with an exam, this was suppose to be only a consult, but, what could I do? No real big deal. This is the bottom line, we both agreed not to go back on any of my prior chemotherapies, she is looking into a clinical trial I just may qualify for, we discussed me going back on the premarin, talked about my Ďpepperedí lungs, and set up another set of abdomen/pelvis/chest Cat Scans for next week. I told her, no to the Arimidex, she said ďfine.í We left out of there to go to a Happy Hour in Center City, but just as we were parking, it poured. So hard, you couldnít see out the window! So, we just sat there for awhile, then decided to go across the bridge and eat in NJ. On the way out of the city, just a few blocks over, it was dry! Go figure! We had to pick my cell phone up at the Circuit City, so we ate at this wonderful place nearby the store. It is called Shin Long, in Maple Shade. Boy was it good! We had a carrot sushi roll, and I had Mustard Greens, yummy! We picked up my phone, and now we are all good to go, with T-Mobile and brand new phones. Adios Cingular! Cool! By the time we got home, I was exhausted.

Wednesday, 8/4 - As each day unfolds, my breathing is getting better, but the night sweats are still extreme, and I am still very fatigued. This Ďgripí I feel around my torso seems to be loosening somewhat, and none to soon as itís so very uncomfortable. I spent the better part of the morning fooling around with my new cell phone. It really small, and complicated! I went over to Gildaís at 4 for a Fine Arts class, which was nice but I was glad to get back home. That short drive really tired me out! Steve decided it was time to do our 14th Wedding Anniversary presents, so here goes: The traditional gifts are agate and ivory, modern is gold jewelry. For the gold jewelry, my present was this absolutely cool 14 ct gold high heeled shoe charm on a gold necklace! The agate was a little tricky. First, he presented me with a small round slab of agate stone. But, he said, he hated that so he made it his own,Öchanging it to a gate. Yes, a gate! As in, a gate to keep the cats off the steps to the second floor! Then, came the ivory. First, it was a package of Ivory soap! Then, he said he didnít want to actually get ivory because that would mean killing an elephant. So, he said, what is the opposite of Ivory? Ebony. And, Iím thinking, oh no, he got me that dumb Ebony & Ivory cd or something like that. But, No! Big surprise - it was Prince tickets to the concert in Philly on the 24th!!!!! Yeah!!!! It was a long way to go to get to the present, and I guess it was funnier the way he presented it to me, but Iím really excited! Dawn went to see him in NYC, and when she told me, I called her a bitch! Then, we went over to see Suzette, and she told me Lisa had given her Prince tickets for her birthday, and I called her a bitch! Now, Iím a bitch, hahahaha!

Thursday, 8/5 - Good luck with Big Guns #4 today, Suzette. It was a cold and dark day. As per Dr. Kingís request, I set up an appointment at my family practice office. Dr. Ruskey saw me at 4:30, we chatted and I got out of there about 6 to listen to a message on my cell phone from Steve, who said he had worked late. I called him up to see where he was, and he was about 10 minutes away, so he said, meet him at Billyís Oak Grove Inn for dinner. OK! It was kind of like a date! And, the food was absolutely delicious - I had a stuffed fresh NJ eggplant. MmmmmMmmmmGood!

Friday, 8/6 - It was chilly but sunny today. I seemed to have picked up a germ, my head is stuffy, my nose runny and my throat hurts. Does it ever end? Steve brought home Happy Meals again, we are on a mission to collect all 12 of the Beanie Babies! Sebastian Bach was at the Trocadero tonight, but yes, you guessed it, I just didnít want to go! Steve brought home the ďAliensĒ movie, and we watched it with our little stuffed alien toy. I liked this movie better than Alien. We are preparing for the new movie coming out, Alien versus Predator!

Saturday, 8/7 - We both slept until 11 oíclock this morning! Lazy bones! Well, at least I had an excuse, I took a night time cold pill. They took Mr. C away in the ambulance again today, man I canít take this! I just laid around all day in an exhausted lump on the couch. Watching silly shows on TV, I happened to flip around to the Bravo channel, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was on, which I really donít care for, but there it was again - the Olympic commercial with Beth Hart singing Delicious Surprise! I still think that is the coolest! I hope you can catch it sometime! I also had on this quirky Mel Brooks movie, and there was this line in it that was just great, I think it went something like this: ďAll life is, is just a bunch of moments. Most of them are lousy, but once in a while, you snag a good one!Ē

Sunday, oh heck, thatís today! I have noticed that the night sweats the last 2 nights have been a little less intense. Thatís good, I hope it stays that way for awhile. Tomorrow I have to go to Philly for an appointment with Dr. Rosenzweig, Tuesday I have an appointment with Dr. Paparone, and Thursday are my CTís in Philly. And, Friday we have some big plans Iíll tell you about later! So itís a busy week, and I hope Iím feeling up for it.

OK, you made it through perhaps the longest entry ever!!! Bravo to you! As a reward, there just may be some new photos for you to look at, if not today, then real soon! And, until next time, I hope you snag a good one!

Friday, August 6, 2004 4:24 PM CDT

Hello! I just wanted to tell you that everything is ok, I know it's been far too long since I promised an update. I'm finally almost out of the Tamoxifen funk, except for this overwhelming fatigue. And, the appointment with Dr. King was somewhat good, the bottom line is I'm doing another set of Cat Scans next Thursday. But, I will come back soon and bore you with all the details of what's what since my last entry. Have a great weekend, ok?

Sunday, August 1, 2004 7:17 PM CDT

I have a lot to update you on, but I'll get to that another day. We have an appointment with Dr. King on Tuesday, which should be very interesting indeed. Below are the lyrics to the latest single from one of my favorite female artists. I am convinced that she somehow got inside my head, and wrote this about me and Steve!

by Alanis Morissette

I can be an asshole of the grandest kind
I can withhold like it's going out of style
I can be the moodiest baby
And you've never met anyone
As negative as I am sometimes

I am the wisest woman you've ever met
I'm the kindest soul with whom you've connected
I have the bravest heart that you've ever seen
And you've never met anyone
As positive as I am sometimes

You see everything
You see every part
You see all my light
And you love my dark
You dig everything
Of which I'm ashamed
There's not anything to which you can't relate
And you're still here

I blame everyone else, not my own partaking
My passive aggressiveness can be devastating
I'm terrified and mistrusting
And you've never met anyone who's closed down as I am sometimes

You see everything
You see every part
You see all my light
And you love my dark
You dig everything
Of which I'm ashamed
There's not anything to which you can't relate
And you're still here

What I resist, persists, and speaks louder than I know
What I resist, you love, no matter how low or high I go

I am the funniest woman that you've ever known
I am the dullest woman that you've ever known
I am the most gorgeous woman that you've ever known
And you've never met anyone as everything as I am sometimes

You see everything
You see every part
You see all my light
And you love my dark
You dig everything
Of which I'm ashamed
There's not anything to which you can't relate
And you're still here
And you're still here
And you're still here

Wednesday, July 28, 2004 5:39 PM CDT

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,....
Tamoxifen - I'm kickin' your butt,
Now, be gone with you!

Sunday, July 25, 2004 9:38 AM CDT

The roses are dead,
The violets are too,
Tamoxifen is EVIL,
This I know to be true.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 10:56 AM CDT

Saturday, July 17th - I woke up feeling pretty crappy, I had difficulty breathing, a sore throat, chest pains, lower back pain, followed by a feeling of fatigue, and frequent urination without taking in more fluid - which is a sign of dehydration. Oh brother. Is this from the Tamoxifen? We spent the afternoon out and about, searching for a new cell phone provider and plan. We are on Cingular now, and we both hate it with a passion. Then, we got ready and went over to the Trump Marina in Atlantic City to see a 9 pm Weird Al show. Even feeling as crappy as I did, I really enjoyed it. He was great! Very energetic, and funny. Or, should I say, witty! I tell you, the man had more costume changes than Cher! What a wonderful father he must be to his year-old daughter, I bet he makes her laugh all the time! And, I was really impressed at the commitment he put into the show, since the tragic death of his parents in April of carbon monoxide poisoning in their home. That had to put some kind of damper on his tour. Steve, on the other hand, didnít care for the show at all. He couldnít hear, or should I say, clearly understand the words to the songs, so a lot of it was lost on him. But, hey, it was free, and like I always say, free is good! On the way home, just about 5 minutes from the house on Rt 30, the traffic began to slow down and soon came to a stand-still. By now, I was feeling very crappy, and could not wait to get home. I was fidgety and very short of breath, and just wanted out of the car. And, there we were, stuck in traffic! Oh man! Steve almost pulled a U-turn so we could double back and take one of the forbidden deer populated roads home, but we stuck it out a little bit longer until we were nearing a traffic light. There were orange cones all along the roadway, merging 2 lanes into 1, and then we see a small sign, ďDWI CheckpointĒ - so, thatís the hold-up! Geez! Now, we are at the light, and Steve thought fast, squeezed us through the cones and we were home in no time. 30 minutes to go less than 5 miles, yikes. Needless to say, I took a pain pill and was soon fast asleep.

Sunday - Woke up to rain, still feeling crappy but I took the Tamoxifen again anyway, with the thought that maybe my body needed a few days to adjust to the medicine. We left the house about 11:45 am to go up to Dawn & Mattís in Newtown Square, PA. They were graciously giving away their patio furniture, and we were picking it up for my mom. I had totally forgotten all about the shoobies returning home from the shore, so there we were, once again stuck in traffic. But, this time, in the big stinky truck. Stinky, you say? Yep! My in-laws have a dog, and you can sure tell! Dog hair is all over the place, and the odor is unbearable. Itís the kind of smell you can taste, if you know what I mean. Gross. I know Mike meant well, lending it to Steve, but I sure wish Steve would get his own vehicle because I canít stand this thing. Anyway, it was good to spend some time with Matt and Dawn, these two have to be one of the nicest couples we know! And, their home is gorgeous! Steve and Matt loaded up the furniture while Dawn & I chatted away, then we were off to give Suzette a quick birthday visit. (Old Bag!!!) The 3 of us sat out on the deck, Lisa came home and joined us, then their friends Dave and Ruth came over to take Suzette out for a birthday dinner. The Chief was getting hungry, and I was having such a hard time breathing and felt very fatigued, so we left out of there a little after 5. And guess what? We skipped the taping of the Wheel of Fortune in Philly. Yep, thatís how crappy I was feeling. Instead, we stopped at the Ruby Tuesday in the Deptford Mall for what had to be the absolute worst meal Iíve had in a long time. It was so bad, Iíll never go there again. From there, we went to momís to deliver her new deck-ware. She loves it! And it really looks nice with her gazebo - thanks again, Matt & Dawn! Once home, even though I didnít want to, I took my evening dose of Tamoxifen. As we were relaxing on the couch, Steve told me that he spoke to his dad today, and he was telling him about a mini van he saw that he thought Steve should go and check out. Steve said, ďIíd rather die than drive a mini van! Even if someone gave me a mini van, Iíd just take it, and drive it off a cliff.Ē

Monday, 7/19 - Well, I woke up still feeling crappy, if not crappier. The lower back pain was incredible. Vickie was due at 10 am for my CA 125 blood draw and my port flush. (Suzette, I canít emphasize enough the overall convenience and importance of a port.) I got up, took a shower and unlocked the door for her, and by the time she came I was asleep on the couch. We talked about the Tamoxifen, and the symptoms, and she said she had never seen me like this before, in all these years. Even through all the awful chemotherapies, she said my mood was always up and positive but not today. She didnít want to leave me, she felt so bad for me. I told her that I had decided not to take any more of the Tamoxifen, to see what would happen, if these things would go away or stay which would indicate a different problem altogether. She said, ďGo for it! Nobody knows your own body better than yourself!Ē I contacted Judi in Dr. Kingís office with a list of my symptoms and questions, and then promptly fell asleep. I never did hear from anyone in the office, with any answers or suggestions. We were scheduled to attend a program at the Wellness Community in Philly at 6:30. One of my doctors, Dr. Rosenzweig, was speaking. But, I couldnít even sit up in the chair, so of course we did not go. Basically, I slept all day, all evening, and all night. Great quality of life thing I have going here, huh?

Tuesday - I woke up today feeling considerably better! Oh what a surprise. I could almost breathe again, and just about all the symptoms Iíve been experiencing since Friday have gone. Well, except for the fatigue. I did hear from Judi today. She said that Dr. King wanted me to either go to my primary doctor for an evaluation, or the emergency room! Is she out of her mind? If I take the Tamoxifen, immediately get these symptoms, doesnít she see any correlation??? Shouldnít I try not taking the drug to see if in fact that just might be the cause, before I put myself through more unnecessary doctor visits and the hassle of the emergency room? Perhaps she should focus a little more on me, and what I say, and not what the Ďbooksí say. After all, I am the patient who is experiencing these things. Perhaps she should be concentrating on getting my chest CT films that were lost. Hell, itís been since June 1st! And, my lungs are what she is concerned about, where she thinks there has been more growth. So it seems logical to me that sheíd want these films ASAP, since I have in fact been complaining of breathing difficulties since May. Then again, perhaps it is time for me to find a more aggressive doctor, one who is willing to go above and beyond the standard treatment, one who wonít constantly allow me to Ďfall through the cracks.í As you can tell, I am extremely fed up, at the end of my rope, and as I told Sugar today, I am thinking that life is oh so very over rated. Why exactly is it that we all try so very hard to stay alive, when each and every day is miserable and crappy? Does it make me a coward if Iíd rather not face pain, discomfort and misery on a daily basis? Does it make me less of a woman if I am just sick and tired of dealing with all this? Itís been almost 6 years, how long must I go on like this? All I know is that things must change for me, and soon. I can not go on like this much longer. And, I wonít.

We had passes to the M. Knight Shyamalan interactive 2 hour live talk being held in King of Prussia at 9:00 tonight. We would have had to leave the house by 7 to make it to the theater in time, itís an hour and a half drive. I was still in a funk, and we decided to stay home so I could wallow in my misery some more. I felt bad for Steve, because he really wanted to go. Too bad his wife is so broken and ugly.

Wednesday, July 21st - Oh, thatís today! OK, so Iím feeling even better today. Judi says Jefferson is suppose to be sending over my films, so they are just waiting on that. And she also says that maybe Dr. King will put me on Arimidex, as per Dr. Ramirezís suggestion from when I went to MD Anderson, but she would let me know later today. Arimidex is another hormonal agent. After Arimidex, there would be another one to try - Femera. Then, ???? Tonight is another South Jersey NOCC meeting being held in Cherry Hill, but Iíve cancelled out on that. I am just not feeling up to going, more mentally than physically. It is suppose to get up into the 90ís today - but I donít care. In fact, I donít really care much about anything. We are scheduled to go away on a Southwest Airline weekend trip, and I have yet to even get us a hotel room. Iím just sick and tired of being sick and tired. Thereís nothing you can do about it, nothing for you to worry about. Maybe Iíll snap out of it, maybe not. Who knows? Who cares? Whatever.

Friday, July 16, 2004 10:22 PM CDT

Hey there! Itís me, writing to you on a gloomy, somewhat cool day here in Extreme South Jersey. The sun did indeed peek out for a bit earlier today, but now it is clouding over. I, among many other people, certainly hope that there is no more significant rainfall. Watching the 5 and 6 oíclock news Tuesday evening, I was absolutely amazed at the sheer magnitude of the flooding, and the complete devastation it brought. When Steve went along his many detours Tuesday morning as he tried to make it to work, he took a lot of pictures of the stuff he encountered, like the fallen trees, the water, and the sink holes. Watching the news, they had some of the exact same shots! Except, Steve was there first, at the crack of dawn! Darn it, he could have sold the images, hahahaha! We had tickets to the Philadelphia Orchestra Tuesday night, compliments of the Wellness Community of Philadelphia. The program was ďThe Lord of the Rings SymphonyĒ featuring Howard Shore conducting, and the Keystone State Boys Choir. They were also going to show clips of the 3 movies as they correlated to the symphony. So, that sounded pretty cool, right? But, in the end, we decided not to go. We still were not sure of the weather situation, and since it is an open-air venue and an all-weather event, we didnít want to chance it. Besides, we werenít even sure of the road conditions on the way there. Which was ok, anyway. Whatever, I said. (That has been my mood lately.)

I had dropped my Tamoxifen prescription off at the drugstore on Tuesday afternoon, and when I went back to pick it up, the pharmacist told me they had to order the pills and they would be there Wednesday afternoon. Well, Wednesday afternoon, still no prescription! They assured me, it will be there Thursday after 2 pm. Thursday, I get ready, and walk over to the Rite Aid. It is located a few blocks from the NJ Transit station, and I was taking the train to meet Steve so I thought, why not? A few extra blocks wonít kill me! And lo and behold, they did have my prescription! So I then walked over to the train station, and in no time I was rolling my way to Cherry Hill. Steve drove the Behemoth (thatís my pet name for dadís truck!) over the Ben Franklin Bridge into Old City. We have a favorite parking space that the thing fit perfectly in, we were real happy it was available! We went across the street, to a restaurant we have walked by a million times on our way to movie screenings, itís called The Pagoda, right next to the Ritz East. At first we sat outside, but it soon became too windy and we went inside for a really wonderful Chinese meal. Steve had Hawaiian Shrimp and I had Ginger & Scallion Noodles, yum! The pot of green tea was oh so tasty! After dinner, we took the walkway over the highway to Pennís Landing, for a free concert at the Great Plaza. The radio station Y100 was putting it on, and they are doing these free rock shows every Thursday in July. The bands were The Burning Brides, and Shine Down. It was pretty crowded, and a nice night, and the bands werenít half bad! We saw a couple people we knew, and had a fun time people watching all the freaks! It was over at 9, and on the way home, Steve got off in Deptford and we went to the Friendlyís for an ice cream treat, sweet!

I had to leave this entry for a while, Steve came home and we had to go out to run an errand, and drop the PT off at the dealership for some regular maintenance work. And, eat dinner! But now Iím back to finish up! I wanted to let you all know that the awful shingles have just about disappeared. The blisters have been slowly drying up, scabbing over and falling off. The intense pain has pretty much subsided, now however, in itís place is a constant itch. Which has now overtaken the pain in terms of annoyment. Annoyment? Is that even a word? Well, it is now, hahahaha!

Hey Suzette, I hope you got to take your hot air balloon ride tonight! It was windy here, I hope you had calm skies! Glad to hear your 2nd NOCC talk was a success!

So, I started taking the Tamoxifen today, 2 pills per day for 2 months is the plan. Shortly after the first pill, I felt really nauseous. I just took the second, so hopefully I wonít feel like I want to barf. Did I tell you about chemo options that we discussed at the appointment with Dr. King? Well, she said that if the Ďlostí chest CT scan reveals anything disturbing, we would have to entertain the option of chemo again, to which I replied, ďDuh!Ē But, Iíll tell you one thing, and I want to put it here so I have a record if it - I will not, I repeat, will not, do any of the drugs that I already had. What would be the point of that? None of them worked, none of them shrunk any of the cancer, maybe some of them brought my CA 125 down, but as Dr. King says, thatís just a number anyway. So, I wonít do anything Iíve already had - period, end of story. Both Dr. King and Judi are in California this week for the GOG meeting, where they talk about research and stuff. I gave them both specific instructions to come home with something new and promising for me to try!

Hey, Linda - no I did not drop a kitten off at your house! You, with a kitten????? Oh lordy lordy! Sorry to hear Charlie puffed up! My mother-in-law says the kittens are doing good at her house, and she and dad are taking good care of them. You know, if any of you want one, itís not too late!!!!

OK, I better go. Iím really tired, I donít know why but I am. Tomorrow night, we are going over to the casino to see a Weird Al Yankovic show, that should be funny! And, Sunday, we are seeing Dawn and Matt, then Suzette (itís her birthday!) and The Chief, and then we are going to be audience members in a Wheel of Fortune taping in Philly. Iíll be back to see you again next week, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 13, 2004 3:38 PM CDT

The last time I stopped by here was last Tuesday, July 6th, to tell you that we had made it safely back to New Jersey from a wild long weekend in California. So, I guess Iíll start updating you from then, and tell you about LA another time! Letís see, besides being tired out, all I can remember about last Tuesday was that Steve and I finally did anniversary presents! Wow, that was a long time after June 24th! Well, our anniversary was when the shingles hit me, and I felt real crappy. So, it was no big deal to postpone it for a while. OK, the traditional 13th wedding anniversary gift is lace, again! And the modern gift is textiles. Textiles? What on earth? Oh well! For the lace, it was a sexy black lace negligee with matching black lace panties (oooh la la!!!), and a piece of green lace fabric remnant. Steve was stumped for the textile gift, and it made him mad. So, he decided to do it his own way, and divided the word up,Öinto text and tile! For the text, he gave me a book, called ďThe Encyclopedia of Serial KillersĒ, which is way way cool! Didnít know I had that interest, did ya! Iím always watching Court TV and A & E Investigates, and crazy shows like that! Then, for the tile, he gave me this absolutely gorgeous blue marble tile piece, it is breathtaking. I donít know what Iíll do with it, but I hope I can figure out something creative! Oh, and I just remembered that Steve grilled us up some veggie dogs and we had a ďDippiní DogĒ dinner on the deck.

Wednesday, 7/7 - Man it was a hot and muggy day! We had the screening of ďMetallica, Some Kind of MonsterĒ tonight, but since Mikeís truck is far too big to park on the streets of Philly, Steve came home to get me and we drove the PT up to the Ritz at the Bourse. Steve wore his bootleg Metallica t-shirt and I wore my All Access Pass from when I worked on the G-n-R/Metallica Summer Stadium Tour in 1992. Having toured with these guys for a couple of months, seeing some of this documentary was kind of cool. However, it just dragged on and on, I was getting fidgety and bored, and I was so glad when it was over. I always liked Lars best, even though he constantly was getting hit with negativity. This movie just strengthened my beliefs, that Lars is the bomb! And, James is a big baby. On the way out, a writer from Entertainment Weekly asked me what I thought, and I said, ďUnbelievably long!Ē She wrote that down, and laughed, so if you read the review in that magazine, and you see that quote, just remember - itís mine!!!! Tonight on David Letterman, the actor who played Napoleon Dynamite (Jon Heder) was on. Hey Rita, he still looks that dorky in real life! Except that his hair is not curly.

Thursday, it was hot again! Steve took the PT Cruiser to work. Which just about killed him, heís never done that before. But it was my appointment with Dr. King, and once again, he didnít want to park the big truck in Philly. I took the train, and it was really packed. There were no seats, and I had to sit in the very last seat in the very last car! It was weird, but I discovered that there is a water cooler all the way back there! We had a little time to kill before the 3:30 appointment, so we made a stop at the Gallery, then on to see Dr. King. It freaked us both out that she had a doctor in training with her today. I really hate when that happens, because they want to know everything and you have to go over all the history, itís just a waste of time and uncomfortable to boot. Anyway, the exam went fine, but she still had not located my chest CT. The radiology department did have it, then somehow, mysteriously, it was gone. So, she will order another one sent over from Jefferson. In the meantime, we talked about me starting Tamoxifen, which you probably have heard of already, it is commonly given to breast cancer patients. Itís another hormonal agent, and the most reported side effect is blood clots in the legs, and hot flashes. I am quite familiar with the hot flashes, thatís for sure! Now I have to schedule an ultrasound of my legs so they have a baseline to compare it with if I develop any problems. As we were leaving the office, I asked Dr. King why she looked so pretty today, and she said that someone was coming in from Ladies Home Journal, or some magazine like that, to photograph her, her husband Dr. Curcillo (he is a surgeon and put my port in) and Dr. Komarnicky for some kind of gynecological cancer article. So, keep your eyes open for that, Iíd sure like to see it! From there, we went down to Front Street for the happy hour at Downeyís. Dad and Rita, you should check this one out! All kinds of munchies, and half price drinks! Then, we went over to the Ritz at the Bourse for the screening of ďGarden State.Ē For some reason, they let people in, but the theater was not opened yet, so we all stood in a line inside the theater, waiting to get in. Standing there, I started having these intense hot flashes, my arm started to hurt really bad, oh the pain was unbearable, so bad that I just started to cry! Finally, they let us in, and by now itís past the 7:30 start time. We sit and sit, and youíll get a kick out of this - we both fell asleep! I guess it was around 8 when it began. It was actually quite a good film, sort of artsy. Then, when it was over, Patrick came up front and introduced the writer/director/star, who was there for a question and answer session. His name is Zach Braff. Know him? Sure you do! He is in that t.v. show called Scrubs. It was pretty cool to hear him talk about the film, and he seems like a genuinely nice guy. Even though I was still in pain, it was enjoyable! When we got home, I took a pain pill and called it a night!

Friday, the phone rang about 9:20 am, it was Steve calling to tell me something he had heard on the radio. I was still zonked out from the pain medication, but was able to remember what he said when I finally did get up! Today in the mail, I received a dvd from the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It is from the taping I did for them earlier in the year. I guess weíll watch it sometime over the weekend, and I can see just how much of a fool I made out of myself, haha! I ran to the Shoprite in the afternoon. Geez,Ö.get a load of this! I got hit on!!!! Big time! By an oh so polite guy behind the deli counter! It was wild, I canít wait to tell Steve about it! I picked up some pre-made pizza dough at the store, and cooked a cheese pizza for dinner, which we enjoyed out on the deck under the gazebo with our cool Spencer Giftís light!

Saturday, 7/10 - We were up early, and on our way to a Multiple Sclerosis conference at the Hyatt in Philly. David Lander was the featured speaker, along with a local neurologist. David Lander? Who is that? Well, you know who he is, silly! Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley! Heís had MS for 15-20 years now, and he was really a great speaker, signing autographs and stuff too. The doctor was also very good, very informative, and the food was totally excellent. Then, to top it all off, they gave us all tickets to the Phillies game being held in the afternoon! Sweet! David was throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, which was kind of dumb, but I guess it was cool anyway. The new stadium, the Citizenís Bank Park, is really nice, sort of like our Sandcastle Stadium in Atlantic City, or Campbellís Field in Camden - the views are great and everything is still new. However, we found things to be a bit pricey,Ö$3.50 for a bottle of water. We left before the end of the 9th inning, so as to beat the mass exodus out of there. Turns out, this was a monumental game for the Phillies, their first loss of the season or something like that. Oh well, we had a good time! On the way home, we stopped at the Echelon Mall, spending a whopping $1.50 in Spencerís, and then we went to New Yongís Village for a Chinese food dinner. Between you and me, it wasnít my favorite meal, my bean curds were squishy and looked an awful like brains! The waiter noticed I wasnít eating them, and asked, ďYou no like?Ē and I said, ďNo!Ē Good thing we didnít have dessert, he probably would have spit in it, haha!

Sunday, July 11 - Happy Birthday to Mr. Corbin! Itís Free Slurpee Day at the 7-Eleven! Of course, we went to 2 of them, then a few other errands we had to run, then we had an absolutely fabulous lunch at the local Lonestar Steakhouse. Our waitress was Mallory, a really cute young girl who talked and talked and talked to us the whole time! She was sweet, but by the end of our meal we wondered if she was perhaps a bit crazy! Still out and about and in the car, I listened to a message Suzette left on my cell phone, and as per her suggestion, when we got home we watched the dvd from the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Her segment was really good, you go girl! And, if I say so myself, mine wasnít that bad either! They didnít use what I thought they would, but itís ok! When they put us up on their site, probably sometime in August, Iíll give you the link so you can check us out,Öthe big hams that we are, hahahaha!

Yesterday, it rained and rained all day. Oh goodie! I didnít have to go out and water the garden! Paul said heíd help me rig up some sprinklers someday soon, so that should be a fun day - as long as itís not too hot! Steve came home with some Jersey corn tonight, oh yum! And, some fruit, which is also yummy! Watching the 11:00 news, the big story of the day was all the rain. Some spots got over 12 inches! Streets flooded, houses were flooded, bridges washed away, it was crazy! Not around here, though, so I went to bed!

Today, itís not raining but it is still dismal. 10 am, and the phone rings. Itís Steve, and he was on his way home! What??? Turns out, all the roads leading from here to his job, were either closed, flooded, or full of sink holes! So, he couldnít get to work! He was home by 10:30, and asleep shortly after! I guess he was tired out by driving that big truck around for 4 hours non-stop! I dropped my Tamoxifen prescription off, but they canít fill it until tomorrow afternoon. I went to the Post Office, Bank, and some other errands, now Iím home to see if we will be going to the Mann Music Center tonight for an orchestra performance. Weíre not exactly sure if the weather will cooperate, and we really do not want to go in the rain. As much as we like the Philadelphia Orchestra, we prefer it to be dry! The sun has indeed peeked out a few times, but itís still iffy.

When you are done reading this, check out the photo page. Steve put up some new ones this afternoon. Notice my dreadlocks, how corny is that! (They are attached to a colorful Jamaican Hat!) The pictures are from the Captain Morganís Rum party we went to in the winter, after a screening of the movie Club Dread. Enjoy them, I guess California will pop up on that page soon!

Oh, I almost forgot, I wanted to tell you that July is American Beer Month, so I hope you will get a chance to enjoy some good American beer. And, Jef - I am still thinking about our conversation this afternoon. I hope everything works itself out, and I also hope you are feeling better - if itís not one thing, itís another - I know that oh so well! I will leave you all with this quote that I wrote down recently. I canít remember where I got it from, but I like it! ďLife is short - enjoy your skin while youíre in it!Ē

Tuesday, July 6, 2004 1:52 PM CDT

Well, hello there! We made it back home safe and sound from another one of Steve & Anna's Wild Adventures! We left early early early Thursday morning for a wicked weekend in,.....Los Angeles! We got back here last night around 11 pm, beat tired and jet lagged! So, I'll be telling you all about our adventures in the next few days. In a nutshell, we spent a day at Disneyland, a day in San Diego with Beth Hart and Melissa Etheridge, a day in Hollywood and the surrounding areas, and an awesome night of fireworks, fireworks and more fireworks. It was crazy! This Thursday is my appointment with Dr. King, we have no idea what to expect at that office visit. So, thanks again to Paul for taking care of the girls, and I'll talk to you again real soon!

Wednesday, June 30, 2004 7:49 PM CDT

Hello! Itís me, your beautiful biological weapon!!!!!! I am pleased to tell you that the pain in my right arm has greatly subsided, although I canít really tell if it is a natural progression of the illness, or all the pain medication Iím taking! Doesnít matter, I only care that it isnít hurting like hell!! The blistery bumps are still here, though, which makes me feel oh so ugly.

Tuesday morning on his way to work, Steve stopped by his parents and guess what he did? Mike and Jackie graciously agreed to take in the kittens, what a relief! So, he dropped them off with Mike, who proceeded to make a little house and living area for them, isnít that sweet of him? However, I totally hate the idea of the mother being separated from the babies. Why, you may wonder. Well, she cried for them all day, it was heartbreaking, I couldnít stand it. We tried to catch her last night, but she wanted no parts of it. Then, the daddy came up to the porch, it was so cool! We were up until nearly 1 am trying to trap them but no luck. So, tonight, we tried again, Steve rigged this cage up and, well, letís just say, around midnight it worked. He caught her! But, she was like a wild tiger, gnashing and biting the steel of the cage, and as Steve stepped back so she would calm down, she squeezed herself right out of there! We canít even begin to see how she did that, the space between the bars isnít even 2 inches! It was crazy! So then we were depressed again, I really want her to be with her babies. She was outside again today, just sitting and crying, and walking around. Oh man! We havenít given up, though, Steve has another scheme cooking, I hope it works!

Anyway, I wanted to let you know that Steve and I are indeed embarking on an Independence Day Weekend Adventure, to a foreign land of sun, palm trees, music and smog. Can you guess where we are going? Regardless, youíll find out all the details next week! I hope you all have a safe and happy 4th of July. Iíll still be sick and cranky, but Iíll be sick and cranky in new surroundings! Thanks to Paul, the girls thank you too. And, Jason, we hope you have a happy birthday. You too, Charlie Prose! I sure do miss you!!!!!! Suzette, good luck with Round #3 on Friday, Iíll be thinking about you when Iím hanginí with Mickey! And Dawn & Matt, thanks again for the sweet deal! Oh, speaking about sweet deals,Öwe heard from Patrick today and he says that Fox Searchlight Pictures wants to put our home-made T-shirts from Napoleon Dynamite up on their web site! Isnít that cool! We had to fax a release to Patrick, so Iíll keep you updated on that. OK then, bye!

Monday, June 28, 2004 12:58 AM CDT

Hi there. Iím here to fill you in on the horrible life and times of Anna and Steve Juliano. Well, itís not all horrible. Read on!

Do you remember when I said this about last Monday, June 21st? I quote: ďAnyway, I was feeling really tired today, even more so than yesterday when I felt that something just wasnít right. I canít explain it, but something felt odd. Not me, physically, but something in the universe. Hard to explain! But, I feel so drained and I canít figure it outĒ Well, I was wrong, it was me, physically. Tuesday, I woke up with this small patch of redness on the skin of my right arm, between my armpit and elbow. Didnít think too much of it, but by the time Steve got home from work, small blistery bumps appeared that looked like poison ivy. We couldnít figure out where I could have gotten poison, I was not even gardening or anything the last few days. The only thing I did was rake around some wood chips, and stake up an lily plant. Funny thing, though, there was absolutely no itching. ??????? So, I put some poison ivy medicine on it and went to bed. Well, when I woke up on Wednesday, it was much larger so I put more medicine on it and covered the area with a bandage. I also noticed some pain in my arm, and chest, but didnít really let it concern me. That was that, for now. OK, so then I take the train to Cherry Hill to meet Steve. What a ride that was! It was one of the old NJ Transit trains, clunky and bumpy! But I had a really lively conversation with Anthony, about NJ politics, and him moving to Wyoming, it was very interesting and helped to take my mind off the swaying train! Strange to see Steve in the Caddy waiting for me, even stranger was riding in that thing. It is huge, and low to the ground, so different from both the PT Cruiser and the truck. We decided to go to Bistro Romano for dinner, and as usual it was yummy, but I couldnít finish mine so I got a doggie bag and we were off to the Riverview for the 6th Napoleon Dynamite (our 5th) movie screening. We got there at 6:30, and there was already a very long line! Yikes! So we get in it, and at 7 the line starts to move, and finally we are at the front and Patrick spies us, and cracks up. Why, you wonder? Well, we missed the T-shirt give-away from last week, so I made us up our own shirts! Steveís was black with the words, ďShow Me Your Tots!Ē in silver glitter fabric paint and I drew on some tater tots with colored fabric paint. (May was, after all, the 50th birthday of the Tater Tot!) Mine was white, and I drew a yellow note paper on, with the words ďNapoleon, Donít forget to feed Tina, Love, GrandmaĒ in blue. Now, I know this does not make sense to you unless you have seen the movie, but Patrick loved it! So, we go in, and guess what? We scored more T-shirts, a duplicate from another week, and the one from last week! (There was not a new one for this week.) And, some Napoleon Dynamite lip balm. Sweet! The movie was a whole lot of fun, people were laughing and carrying on, and talking to the screen and with the actors, kind of like a Rocky Horror showing. It was cool! Afterwards, people were looking at our shirts, and saying, ďHey! I never got that one!Ē No kidding! Itís a Juliano Original! Anyway, Patrick took numerous digital pictures of us, and said he wanted to send them to the movie company, and maybe they would go up on the Napoleon Dynamite web site, so Iíll keep you posted on that - pretty exciting, hahahaha! The ride home in the Caddy was nice, so much smoother than the truck, thatís for sure. I guess I can say this now, now that we donít have the truck anymore, but you canít imagine how many times I have gotten home after the ride from Philly, and thrown up from all the bouncing and jostling around in that truck. Seriously! Over the years it has gotten so bad, like the time he brought me home from the hospital when I had the punctured lung, I thought Iíd have to go right back in the hospital, it was so jarring riding in that thing. Sorry Steve, but I say good riddance, once and for all!

Thursday, I woke up with many many more of those mysterious bumps, and I was in a lot of pain. A whole lot of pain, all up and down my right arm, from my shoulder blade to the tips of my fingers, like a lightning bolt. I also had difficulty breathing, a pain in the right side of my chest, and I had shivers as well as a feverish feeling. Crap. I called my family doctor, and after about 30 minutes on the phone, they advised me to go to the emergency room, that perhaps it could be a heart-related problem, an MS problem or something to do with the Lupron, or a combination of all of it. Well, I laid down and waited for Steve to come home, and in the end, I decided to wait it out until tomorrow.

Friday rolls around, and the rash has gotten worse, still no itching, only this unbelievable pain. However, the shortness of breath and chest pain has diminished slightly. Still, I am in no condition to take the train to meet Dad & Rita for a Boat Party, so I cancel that, and once again wait for Steve to come home. (In the meantime, I hear from Judi in Dr. Kingís office, the CA 125 is 1553 - not good at all!) When he does get here, weíre off to the emergency room, this time at the urging of Dr. King. Expecting the worse, like a long wait and bad service, we arrive, only to be pleasantly surprised at how genuinely nice the staff was at Kessler Hospital in Hammonton. There were only 2 people before us, the waiting room was empty, and we were seen by the doctor in less than 20 minutes! Soon it was determined,Ö.I have shingles! Yuck! If you donít know, shingles are a by-product of the chicken pox, and approximately 50% of people who have had chicken pox in their childhood will go on to develop shingles. It commonly is found in people who are over 50, or in people who have a compromised immune system, and is usually brought on by physical or emotional stress. Well, I am now 45, have a totally compromised immune system, and am always under physical and/or emotional stress, so what took it so long in coming, ha ha ha! The average person canít catch shingles from me, and I am not contagious to people who have had the chicken pox, but if you have not had the chicken pox, then there is a good chance I can pass the chicken pox (not shingles) along to you. And, guess what? Steve has never had the chicken pox! At least, he thinks he never had it. So, cross everything you have to cross, and hope he doesnít get it! Anyway, we left out of there with 3 different prescriptions which we went right to the drug store to fill, then home so I could curl up in a ball and cry!

Saturday, I woke up with a headache, I was nauseous, and the pain in my arm was absolutely incredible. I threw up the entire day, I couldnít keep anything down. The doctor said the viral medication would cause these side-effects, but to try to get the medicine in me so I could begin to heal. Well, it was so bad that Steve went to talk to the pharmacist at the drug store, and basically he said I could try some of my chemo anti-nausea drugs, but I chose to try something, er,Ö,ÖÖnatural! In the end, I managed to keep the medicine down, but I cried and cried all the day long.

Sunday, I woke up feeling a bit better, the pain was a little less, and the nausea was gone. We were scheduled to go to Hammonton with the PT Cruiser club for an event called ďRed, White, and BlueberryĒ, but of course we had to cancel. Too bad, I was looking forward to seeing everyone. Judy, was it fun??? I was able to eat some toast, and soup, and a grilled cheese sandwich. I sat outside for awhile in the afternoon, while Steve went over to help my mom put up her brand new gazebo. Then, he came home and wrangled up the kittens so Paul could take them to his vet. He couldnít get the mother, but maybe later weíll get her later.

Today, I was just waking up, still groggy from my pain medication, and the cell phone rings. Itís Steve, and itís 8:15 am, why is he calling at this weird time? Turns out, the Caddy broke down on his way to work! So he was in the Wal Mart parking lot in Hammonton, waiting for the AAA to come and tow him to his parents house! 12 years with the Toyota truck, and never a break down or a flat tire or anything - one week with the Cadillac, and it breaks down twice! Now I know free is free, but still, this free is costing time off from work, as well as additional aggravation, come on Steve, my gut reaction is,Öis it really worth it? I doubt that Iíll feel safe coming home from the doctor in Philly, or from a movie, late at night down the highway. I know itís a sweet ride, but,???? Hmmmmm. At least with a cheap used car or truck from a dealership, you get some sort of a guarantee, and there are lemon laws in New Jersey. I donít think there are ďIn-Law Lemon LawsĒ, ha ha! Is this Caddy a dud? Is this the end of the South Egg Harbor Pimp Mobile? Stay tuned! Steveís days as the South Egg Harbor Pimp Daddy may be numbered! As for me, well, today the pain has greatly diminished, but the bumps are still there, and I have about 6 more days on the medications. I donít feel good, but I donít feel nearly as bad. I have to wear a surgical glove on my right hand, because itís covered with the bumps and I donĎt want to take the chance of spreading anything by touching something that Steve may touch. Iím used to being extra precautious, from all the Quarantine Days Iíve been through with the chemo, but this is so totally hard! We arenít suppose to sleep in the same room, or use the same towels, stuff like that. Itís really difficult to be so cautious!

Anyway, that is the update on the horrible life and times of the Julianos! Oh, and Steve made it to work, in his dadís truck. And, Paul took the kittens to the vet but they are too young to spay & neuter so he had to bring them back, and we still have not caught the mother. So, we will probably have to take the babies to the humane society, which I hate the idea of because I really donít want them to be put asleep. Even though they say they donít do that, I have heard that they, in fact, do. We canít keep them, Paul canít keep them, and if we release them from the cat carriers, well, they will stay in the yard, and we canít have that either. Itís very distressing - there you go - some of the stress that caused the shingles! Ok I have to go, itís time for some medication. I hope this infection starts to go away, because Steve and I are set to embark on a July 4th Weekend Adventure. Oh, and my appointment with Dr. King is now moved to Thursday, July 8th. All right, later, guys! ( Dad & Rita, have a great time this weekend!!! )

Wednesday, June 23, 2004 12:28 AM CDT

Itís me! Iím back again, and itís only been a few days, will wonders never cease! I think I forgot to tell you something about last Friday. After we left the Echelon Mall with our 90% off treasures, as we traveled down Rt 30 on the way home, we noticed a carnival in a church parking lot. So, we stopped and walked around, and Steve won a little blue monkey at one of the games. Then, the best part, we were looking at one of the rides, a gigantic slide that you glide down on burlap bags. As we waited for someone to go down it, the dude taking the tickets said, ďGo ahead, take a ride!Ē, so we did! For free! Of course, I was still feeling the sedative, and we had to walk up all these steps to the top, but let me tell you, it was really fun! Steve and I sat side by side, the guy gave me a big push, and off we were - me, Steve and the monkey, flying down the slide! Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! It was cool!

Oh, and Sunday night, Steve mixed us up an Old City 108 Martini, man it was good! Better than theirs, if I say so myself! All my aches and pains melted right away!

Monday was a gorgeous day, sunny and about 80 degrees. Happy First Day of Summer to you! I guess by looking at the new pictures on the photo page you can tell that I lightened my hair for the summer. Itís a sort of reddish-blonde. Iíd like to go even blonder - because, they say blondes have more fun and I always feel the need for more fun! Today was the first day that Steve drove his Ďnewí wheels. Let me explain. His truck, which has over 430,000 miles on it, failed inspection in May. He had until June 30th to fix the problems and get it re-inspected. However, the problems were just too much to deal with, both from a money perspective and a logical standpoint. So, my mother-in-law told Steve, until we figured out what we were doing vehicle-wise, he could use a car she inherited from her mother when she recently passed away. Itís a Cadillac, and he picked it up on his way into work, and drove it home. Now, I am used to hearing the truck drive up every day, so I know when he gets home, but today, he walked in the house and took me by surprise! I told him, how in the world will my boyfriends all get out of the house in time if we canít hear him drive up, hahahah! Since itís a Cadillac, I now call him the South Egg Harbor Pimp Daddy! Anyway, I was feeling really tired today, even more so than yesterday when I felt that something just wasnít right. I canít explain it, but something felt odd. Not me, physically, but something in the universe. Hard to explain! But, I feel so drained and I canít figure it out.

Yesterday, LaToya called from Dr. Kingís office to confirm my appointment for Thursday. However, she had the time wrong in the computer, 1:30 instead of 3:30. I told her, no, it has to be 3:30 because of the train schedule and Steveís work schedule, but she said someone else was already booked in my time-slot. So, we changed the appointment to next Tuesday at 3:30, which she called to confirm today. No big deal to me, but apparently Dr. King is not happy about the mistake, and wants management to investigate! Yikes! Well, in all honesty, it is not the first time something like this has happened. Oh well, you gotta roll with it, I say. Then, shortly after that, I heard from Judi, Dr. Kingís nurse, and she told me that the MRI was unchanged from the last one I had in June of 2002. YEAH! That was great news, as I was certainly worried about the possibility of the cancer spreading to my brain. That would have sucked, big time! It was a hot day, but I ventured out to run some errands, and decided to make a home-made pizza for dinner to celebrate the good news. As I was preparing the ingredients, I noticed these flashing lights outside, itís an ambulance. Sorry to say, but they took Mr. Corbin away to the hospital again and itís very upsetting to me. Never-the-less, I finished preparing the pizza - I call it a Ďbaked potato pizzaí, I made the crust lightly whole wheat, with a sour cream sauce, topped with roasted garlic, butter, chives and potatoes and topped with parmesan and romano cheese. Itís getting late, and I wonder where Steve is, he didnít mention coming home much later than usual. Finally, around 7:45, heís here. We go outside under the gazebo, crack open a few beers and enjoy the pizza. It started raining, which was cool. Then, he tells me the story - the Cadillac had a problem, and there he was, pulled over on the side of the road with smoke coming out from under the hood. All these years with the truck, no accident, no problems, now the 2nd day with a Ďnewí car, and heís standing on the side of the road with the hood up! It wasnít funny then, Iím sure, as he stood there, but we got a good laugh out of it anyway!

Today, I was up early, as I was planning on taking the 10:55 am train to Cherry Hill to meet my good friend Peg. We were going to have lunch and spend the day together, then Steve would pick me up there after he got done from work. But, Peg called around 9-ish to cancel. She is on Doxil, that absolutely horrible chemo that caused me so much pain, and she woke up with a terrible side-effect. I feel so bad for her, that Doxil packs a whollup, for sure. So, Peg, I hope you start to feel better, and I hope you got the Magic Mouthwash from Dr. King. Remember - whiskey will do the trick too! Now I am just catching up on some things around here, and Iíll be taking the 3:57 train to meet Steve, we have the final showing of Napoleon Dynamite tonight. Hopefully, weíll get in! We have a surprise for Patrick, Iíll tell you about it in my next entry! OK, I must go now, I feel the need to go outside and do a kitten check - those babies are so cute - are you sure you donít want one?????? :-)

Sunday, June 20, 2004 8:59 PM CDT

Hello to you, itís Sunday night and the end of another weekend. Monday is looming darkly over me - another crappy week ahead, ha ha! Letís see,ÖTuesday , it was hot and muggy as I walked to the train station to meet Steve in Cherry Hill. I was soaked with sweat by the time I got to the station, the heat is just not agreeing with the Lupron and the MS. Once in Philly, Steve and I went to a bar/restaurant called Patou on Chestnut Street in Old City. They had a happy hour we wanted to check out, with reduced price cocktails and complimentary individual-sized pizzas. The place is very nice, ultra chic and modern, very clean and the staff is oh so friendly. We sat at the bar, ordered 2 cold beers ( a Stella Artois and a Leffe), listened to the 3 piece jazz band that was playing, and as we waited for our wood-fired pizza to arrive, it started to thunder and lightning and rain so very hard you couldnít see across the street! It came down so hard that a leak sprang from the ceiling behind the bar! Oh man! And we had to walk back to the truck in this! Oh well, Steve brought along the umbrella, and we splashed our way through the puddles to the Ritz East. It was kind of fun! Anyway, we were seeing the screening of the new Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn movie ďDodgeballĒ. We were (pleasantly) surprised to see Nathan at this one, he usually doesnít care for this type of movie. I always tease him when I hear him laugh out loud at something silly, so he passed a note to me halfway through the movie asking if I had heard him laugh yet. I didnít, but let me tell you, Steve sure did laugh it up! He totally enjoyed what he called ďthe fifth grade humor of the movie.Ē It was indeed stupid and rude and crude, but I canít say too much bad about it, the movie was ok if you like this kind of humor. It is a movie you definitely do not have to do much thinking about, just sit back and watch the silliness of Ben Stiller. We left there with a T-shirt, so how bad could it have been!

Wednesday, June 16, I found out that Paul had been admitted to the hospital again, so we planned to visit him after my MRI on Friday. I took the train again to meet Steve in Cherry Hill and once again, it was a hot and muggy walk to the station. Whew! This time, we went back to the North bar on South Street. 2 free Cherry Blossom martinis later and we were on our way to the Ritz 5 for the 5th screening of Napoleon Dynamite. We got there at the usual time, right before 7 pm. The lobby was crowded, Nathan was sitting there, and Patrick was behind a table excitedly waving his arms and talking animatedly. We got in line and soon were told, the theater was sold out! In other words, there were no more free seats! This is the very first time in all these years of advanced screenings that we didnít get a seat! And, so early! We chatted with Patrick for a few minutes, and he sent us over to the Ritz East to see the screening of White Chicks starring Shawn and Marlon Wayans, directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans. I must say, we were both disappointed, missing the Napoleon screening. We had invested so much time, it felt like a let-down to miss it. We never thought we had to be there any earlier than normal! Oh well, acknowledge and move on, I always say! White Chicks was certainly funny, with many laugh out loud moments. I guess you could sort of compare it with Dodgeball - not too much you really had to think about. Not a very deep movie at all! Several times, I laughed so hard - I was crying! When we got home, we watched the premier of the new program on AMC that I told you we may be in, Into Character. We had read in the paper that it was showing tonight, I think I told you it would be shown on Sunday the 20th. Which was still was, but now it was premiering tonight at 9:30 so we Tivoíd it and watched it when we got home. And, guess what! We made it on! Only for a brief couple of seconds, but you can see me plain as day, and if you look closely, you can see Steve too! Oh Iím such a big star, Hahahaha!

Thursday I am again on the train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill, and we went over to Downeyís on Front Street for their Happy Hour. We sat in the bar, by the open window overlooking South Street, had a couple beers and sampled their free buffet. They had chicken wings, chicken breasts, meatballs, rolls and delicious mozzarella sticks. It rained while we were in there, but stopped by the time we left. We played it safe and got over to the Ritz at the Bourse a little before 7, and thanks to Nathan, saw the advanced screening of ďThe Story of the Weeping CamelĒ. Patrick was in the lobby, and we talked about the Napoleon screening last night. He said, he opened the theater about 20 of 7 and it was full by 10 of! He said it was amazing, so for the 6th and final screening, he has ordered a larger theater, with 400 seats. We told him, weíll be there extra-early! Anyway, this movie was delightful, lovely and moving. You have to see it! It was painstakingly beautiful, a great little art film. They handed out posters, and once we got to the top of the escalator, we noticed, it was pouring rain! This weather is crazy!

Friday, June 18th - Vickie came over about 9:30 am to flush my port and draw my CA 125. She left me accessed for my brain MRI today, so hopefully someone at Jefferson will be able to de-access me. Yes, you guessed it! I am on NJ Transit again! This time, itís the 10:55 am train to Lindenwold, then PATCO High Speed Line to Center City. I get there around noon, wander around for a bit in the cheap stores on Chestnut Avenue, but itís so hot and Iím already tired so I go sit on the ledge outside Jefferson to wait for Steve, and take my sedative. Heís there about 1:30 and we go into the basement of Wills Eye Hospital for the scan. They take me in, in a pretty timely fashion, and believe it or not, it wasnít too bad! It was about 45 minutes to an hour, but it seemed like the blink of an eye! Those little pills sure do the trick! They called Betsy over to de-access me, and it was really good to see her, itís been a few years now since she was my home care nurse. We go into a room to take the needle out, and end up staying in there, just chatting and catching up! Then I remember, Steve is waiting! So, we said out good-byes and Steve and I were soon on our way out of the city. Paul came home today, so we didnít need to go over to the University of Penn Hospital to visit him. We ended up at Dad & Ritaís for a short visit, to drop off dadís Fatherís Day Squeezinís, ( ! ), and then we all went out for a bite to eat at a restaurant called the Pacific Grille. Man, was the food good at this place! Very fresh and tasty, yum! Thanks Dad & Rita! I was surprised I was able to keep my eyes open during the meal, as the sedative was still working in full force. I hope I didnít embarrass myself. Or them! Believe it or not, Steve and I stopped at the Spencer Gifts in Echelon on the way home! And yes, we did buy some more 90% off goodies! How could I resist, well-fed and drugged up!

Saturday, I woke up feeling pretty refreshed, maybe I should get a prescription for that wondrous pill, haha! It was a nice day, and we left the house in the early afternoon to go up the Garden State Parkway to Fords, NJ and a place called Vintage Vinyl. Sebastian Bach was doing an in-store signing for his new DVD called Forever Wild, and his band, the Bach Tight 5, were going to perform a few songs. Also, VH1 is doing a new show called ďI Married Sebastian BachĒ, starring his wife Maria, and they were filming some segments for that. How could we not go? Ha ha! We got there a little late and missed the band, but we heard it was a really great 5 or 6 songs. We got in line, and waited, and waited, and waited! There were lots of people there, and everyone was orderly and polite, and the store manager (Chris?) and Len were very nice. By the time we got up to chat with Sebastian and the band, I was frozen from the air conditioner, I was hungry, tired, grouchy, you name it! Then, when Sebastian saw me, he gave me a big smile and a hug, and I thought - this guy has been talking to people all day, and signing autographs for hours now, posing for pictures with fans, hamming it up for VH1, and heís still sweet and smiling and just all around nice - so what have I got to be grouchy about? We talked for a bit, he signed Steveís mannequin head (donít ask!), we talked with the band, then we were outta there! Whew what a long afternoon! Letís get some food! We stopped at a place with a gigantic sign outside that said ďEAT!Ē, so we went in, and ate! It was called Jose Tejas, and it was outstanding! Just like being in Austin,Öwood floors, margaritas, spicy food, it was yummmmmmy! On the way back down the Parkway, we stopped off at Point Pleasant for a walk on the boardwalk, playing some games in the arcade. I came home with an armful of monkeys, I love those crane machines!

Today was a gorgeous sunny day, not too warm and no rain in sight. I hope all you daddies had a nice Fatherís Day! We spent the day doing things around here, in the house and in the yard. We couldnít resist watching ourselves on Into Character again this morning, oh what hams we are!!! Thanks to AMC for our 2 seconds of fame, ha ha! Iíll be back in a few days for another update. Suzette, I hope you guys all had a nice week in Cape Cod, let me know all about it! Good luck with chemo tomorrow, Iíll be thinking about you. Iíll leave you with this - surprise,...there are some new pictures going up later tonight! Now, thatís what Iím talkiní about, quick turnaround time!

Monday, June 14, 2004 6:33 PM CDT

Hello there! Did you get a chance to check out the new pictures? Stay tuned, there should be more coming shortly!

Tuesday, I went outside to do a little gardening. It was a sunny day, but a little on the cool side and windy. I wasnít going to be able to get out in the yard for a few days, so I didnít care, as long as it wasnít raining! I did a little kitten watching, (they are so totally adorable!), and neighbor-chatting, sorry I missed you, Linda! Oh, SuzieQ, so happy to hear your good news - hiphiphooray!!!!!!!!! I guess it was about 3:00 in the afternoon, and I start to hear all these sirens,Öthe fire whistle, the fire trucks, police & ambulance sirens, and shortly after all that, I hear helicopters, and smell a weird odor in the air. Not quite smoke, but weird. I go out front, and look around and try to listen. The commotion sounded very close. Then, I notice all this pitch black smoke pouring into the sky, and how spooky it was to see the smoke completely block out the sun! Eerie! Pretty soon, there are others on the street, and we come to find out that the American Auto Salvage, down the street a bit, is on fire. Then, we hear explosions, and one was so forceful that the houses shook! Not too long into the whole event, we were told to be prepared, we might have to evacuate the neighborhood! Not because of the threat of the fire spreading, but because of the toxic fumes being emitted into the air. It was creepy, thatís for sure! I called Steve to let him know, so he wouldnít worry if he heard it on the news. Then, I stayed outside the whole time, still gardening! Hey, a little toxic fumes arenít gonna hold me down, ha ha! Steve came right home from work today, just in case we had to evacuate, but no one came around so we stayed at the old homestead. It ended up being on all the news stations, and it was well into the night before the fire was brought under control - maybe after 11 pm or thereabouts. Never a dull moment around here, thatís for sure!

Wednesday, it was oh so hot and muggy, and the smell of that fire was still very strong. I left on the 10:55 am train to Philly and man was it hot walking those streets to Hahnemann! I met with Jeannette in Dr. Kingís office about 12:30 and she accessed my port, then I went down to admissions at 12:45, then over to the new CT Department at about 1:30 to drink the banana-flavored drink for my CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis. It was nearly 10 of 2 when they brought me in for my 3 pm scan. They were happy my port was accessed, but then I donít know what happened,Öas the nurse began the dye injection, I felt this cold liquid all on my chest and neck, it was leaking! So, they all run up to me, and determined that the nurse failed to undo one of the clips. So, another nurse fixes it, the scan is underway, and Iím outta there. Back up to see Jeannette to get de-accessed, and on my way out, I popped my head in to say íhií to Dr. King. She asked me to come in and sit down. Cool! We chitty-chat for a few minutes, then she says she has something to talk to me about. Seems that the preliminary report from the head/chest CT scan came in today, and she had some concerns. It looks like there are more spots on my lungs, or else they are the same spots, just larger - she will be comparing the film with the one I did a few months ago and then sheíll let me know. But, the big news is that the doctor reading the scan saw something suspicious in my brain. The machines at Hahnemann are a bit more technologically advanced than Jefferson, and they have a larger range of Ďvisioní, so this is the first time a portion of my brain has been included in my CT scan. At first, I said to Dr. King, the spots are probably the MS lesions. She said that they very well may be,Ö.but then again, they might be the cancer spreading. It is in fact a possibility. So, you know what she said? I need an MRI of the brain! Ick! I hate those MRI machines! Not to worry, though, she gave me a prescription for valium, so I should be good to go! I left out of her office somewhat upset and down about things, but Steve met me outside at about 4:30, and we were off to another adventure in Philly. We had received an invitation to a place called the North Bar on South Street. They hold a Ladies Happy Hour every Wednesday from 5 - 11, with free Cherry Blossom Martinis for all the ladies. Yes, of course we had to go! We got there around 5:10, walk in and nobody is there! There were 2 employees setting up the bar, and when Steve asked if the kitchen was open, we were told maybe in a half hour or so. See, when you do a abdomen/pelvis CT scan, you have to fast for 5 hours, and I was hungry! So, we decided to go around the corner to Bistro Romano. Our favorite waiter, Drew, had the night off, and while I enjoyed the food and table location, I didnít care for our server. The party seated behind us asked her what she would recommend for the evening, and she said, ďPatís Steaks!Ē, which I found to be a total turn-off, and I think the people thought the same. You canít even say she meant it as a joke, because if you would have heard her voice and mannerism, it was no joke, she even punctuated her statement with, ďIím serious!Ē How rude! Drew is always so enthusiastic about everything on the menu, and the desserts as well, he was certainly missed! Anyway, weíre sitting there, and Steve says, ďAre you flashing?Ē and I say, ďDuh!Ē Now, normally, I donít even acknowledge having a hot flash. I get hot, my face flushes, and itís over in a few minutes. But, not this one. I was sweating profusely, it was dripping off me, I couldnít believe how intense it was. And, this in fact continued all throughout the night, yuck. It was unreal! After dinner, instead of going over for a quick free martini, we went right over to the Ritz 5, where we were seeing Napoleon Dynamite for the 4th time. Nathan was there, and Patrick gave us a new T-shirt. I was so uncomfortable during the movie, I was fidgety and the hot flashes were real bad, and I even fell asleep! Good thing I had already seen the movie, ha ha! So the way I felt decided it for us, and we never made it back to the North Bar for that Cherry Blossom Martini,Ö.maybe next Wednesday when we go see Napoleon Dynamite for the 5th time! On the way home, as we were crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge, there was a Riversharks ball game at Campbellís Field in Camden, and they were having fireworks, it was really cool! Actually, it was scary, too, because they were right next to the bridge, and the sparks and embers were landing on the pavement. Luckily, I donít think any landed on the cars going across. That would have sucked! When we made it home, we went on the deck for a little bit, zipped up the mosquito netting on the gazebo, and just chilled out.

June 10 - RIP Ray Charles

Friday, 6/11 - Steve took the day off from work, and we went to the Wellness Community of Philadelphiaís annual Celebration of Hope, which began at 8:15 am. The guest speaker was to have been Rosalyn Carter. However, since the death the other day of Ronald Reagan, today was declared a National Day of Mourning, and she was unable to attend. She did, however, tape a message for the event, which was very politically correct and noble of her. It was good to see some of our Wellness friends, but I have a feeling this might just be the last one of these events we attend. They seem to be going downhill each year, and this one was no exception. However, the lunch they served was really delicious! We left there about 2 pm. Dido was in town, but we never got around to getting tickets - sorry Dido, but we ďThank YouĒ for the wedding song! We eventually found our way to the Echelon Mall, where we discovered that the Spencer Gift store there has now become the clearance center just like the now-closed store in the Shore Mall was. This turned out to be a dangerous thing! 90% off makes us both weak in the knees! We finally made it home, toting 3 big bags of clearance merchandise!!!!!

Saturday, we were up and out fairly early again, as we were attending a Chrysler Event at the Philadelphia Park in Ben Salem, PA. (Home of Smarty Jones!) We got to test drive some cars, and browse the displays. They had cooking demonstrations where you got to taste the food. I tried some lamb, which wasnít very good at all! But, that is coming from a vegetarian, so you might indeed enjoy that cute little lambís flesh! And then, they were paring the food with wine and champagne, and by the time we left out of there, Steve estimated that we drank an entire bottle of wine! And, yes, I was lit! Believe it or not, after stopping at the Franklin Mills Mall in search of a souvenir penny machine, we actually went back to the Echelon Spencer Gifts! And, yes, we carted more clearance merchandise to the PT Cruiser, our transporter of treasures! We stopped at the Papa John restaurant down the street from the mall, ordered a large cheese pizza and got a free dvd with it - sweet! It was Don Juan DeMarco, one of my favorite movies. We drove home, the car smelling oh so delicious! At home, we put the disc in the dvd player and had dinner and a movie! It was 11 pm, but still, it was dinner and a movie!

Sunday, needless to say, we slept in. And I mean, slept in! Until nearly lunch time! And, I felt I could have slept all day! Oh well. We were going to go to the first Atlantic City Tattoo Arts Convention, sponsored in part by Al and WJSE, but Jason (our tattoo artist from Inkfluence in Lubbock, TX) was not there, so we decided to just hang around home. We did some things in the yard, watched the kittens play, chatted with Paul, and grilled some veggie burgers on the deck. A nice day!

Today, Iím busying myself doing a ton of things here. Suzette & Lisa, I hope you are having a sweet time in Cape Cod! Me, well, Iím dizzy and tired and I am chock full of strange little pains, oh and yes, the infamous headache that stalks me on a daily basis. My MRI is scheduled for Friday. So we shall see what awful news that brings. Tomorrow, we are going to the advance screening of ďDodgeballĒ starring our buddy Ben Stiller. Wednesday is another screening of ďNapoleon DynamiteĒ, and Nathan is giving us passes to see ďThe Story of the Weeping CamelĒ on Thursday. So as you can see, the rest of the week is pretty busy for us. Although it seems like we are always having a ton of fun, things are really not at all that good here, and in my opinion it is only getting worse. Yes, we do some cool stuff, and are constantly on the go. But, look behind all that - it is just smoke and mirrors, a big cover-up. Each and every day, I feel bad in one way or another. A headache, hot flashes, unexplained aches and pains, oh and let us not forget, the reality of the death sentence hanging over my head. The knowledge that I am most certainly croaking from this cancer. With that said, I want you to listen to me, and donít take this lightly. If there is something you want to tell me, then tell me. If there is something you want to give me, give it to me. If there is something you want from me, ask me for it. If there is something you want to do for me, do it now. Is there something you want me to do for you? Iíll do it! Seriously - the time is NOW. There is only NOW.

OK, I better go. Steve should be home soon and Iím starving! If you get the AMC channel, tune in to this show: ďInto CharacterĒ which is airing here at 9:30 pm Wednesday night. You might see some familiar faces! If you are a frequent reader of this journal, you may remember me talking about being an extra in a day-long taping at the Blue Horizon in Philly, along with Steve, Suzette and Lisa. Well, they are finally airing the episode, about a dude wanting to be Rocky Balboa. It was originally going to be shown in January, who knows what happened! But, you just might see us all! Let me know if you do!

OK, peace out!

Monday, June 7, 2004 4:30 PM CDT

Hey people! Itís me! Straight to you from a sunny day in Extreme South Jersey! Yes, the sun is finally shining, whoopee! OK, here goes,ÖÖ.

Saturday, May 29th - We were up and out of the house fairly early today, stopping at Maryís in Hammonton for breakfast before heading up the Expressway to Philly for a day at the Franklin Institute. For the month of May, selected Museums nationwide were offering free admission if you had a Fleet or Bank of America credit card. We did, so duh! We went! My general opinion of the place? If you must know,Ö.I thought it was totally and utterly boring! Yep! It held absolutely no interest for me. Steve enjoyed some of it, though, he likes to know how and why things work. Not me. If you have to press a button or turn a key to make something run, and then it runs, well - I do not care how it runs or why, only that it in fact does run! Being a holiday weekend, it really was not too crowded, which is good, as you probably already know how we feel about screaming running germy bratty kids! (haha!) One thing that was frustrating was the exhibits that were either shut down, or moved, or actually gone from the Institute, leaving nothing behind but a sign. Very odd indeed. Soon it was dinner time, so we went over to Bistro Romano for a nice meal. Before heading into the restaurant, we walked around the arts-n-craft bazaar being held at Head House Square, where I picked up the cutest little Tooth Fairy box! Dinner was great as usual, although we didnít get Drew as our waiter.

Sunday, 5/30 - Today, we were going to the 40th wedding anniversary party of Linda and Charlie. 40- wow! After I was done getting ready, I came down the stairs and noticed an odd odor in the air, kind of like a new car, a sort of plastic smell. There in the living room I was greeted by all these big heart-shaped balloons. (There were 10 all together!) When I got closer to them, oh how cute! They each had the words Flower Power, and peace signs, flowers, smiley faces, you know - Woodstock stuff, and inside each one was a tie-dyed bear, and multi-colored feathers! Steve had them hanging up and laying all over the place, it was really cool! On to the party, which was held in Mays Landing at a place called Lakeview Manor. The setting is very nice, right on the river. The food was good, the oldies band was actually very enjoyable, and it was a special treat to see a lot of the people that were there. Itís been a long time! Good job, Michelle and Alicia! When we got home, it was finally time for us to open each otherís anniversary presents. OK, this being our first, or 12th - whichever way you look at it! The gifts were linen, pearls and silk. For linen, Steve gave me these cute peace sign socks. For pearl, this gorgeous pearl and diamond necklace. And for silk, some beautiful silk shirts. Oh, and I think nylon was one, too, and for that he gave me these sweet bras! After that, we went over to visit with Paul for a bit, and we all shared a toast with Makerís Mark squeezinís - yum! Then, we went back home and watched a dvd Steve rented called ďJust MarriedĒ with Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy as we relaxed with some Purple Rain beers! Arenít anniversaries cool!

Monday, 5/31 - Happy Memorial Day! Steve of course had the day off, and we ended up sleeping really late, which was nice! I donít remember if Iíve mentioned it or not, but the headaches are beginning again. It was rainy and damp, and we didnít do much most of the day. We watched another dvd that Steve rented, called ďAnger ManagementĒ with my favorite - Adam Sandler, heís so silly! We also had some rum drinks Steve mixed up, with Captain Morgan Rum in honor of the Captain Morgan Jam on the River in Philly today.

Tuesday, June 1st - Well, here it is, June already. Right now, it doesnít feel like it, as itís still cool and rainy. June marks National Candy Month, National Menís Health Month, National Safety Month, and the first full week of the month is designated as National Stepparents Week - so, Rita, Iím sending you a great big hug!!!!! I took the train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill today, and we went to Hahnemann for my first ever CT Scans there. First, we registered at the main area a little after 2 pm, then we went up to Dr. Kingís office where Jeanette accessed my port. Then, we went back to the registration area to wait for the 3:00 neck and chest scan. There, I was told that I would be having the CT Scan in their ďMobile UnitĒ, oh brother, that didnít sound too good! Pretty soon, a dude comes to get me, and escorts me out to a trailer in the parking lot! It was borderline creepy, but after it was all over, I must say it had to be one of the best scans I have ever had! As we prepared to leave the trailer, the sky opened up and it poured down rain, it was wild! He had an umbrella, so it was ok. Back up to be de-accessed by Judi, then we were outta there - walking to the car in the sun! Crazy weather! From there, we went over to Jefferson to meet with Grace, to pick up my painting and the gift basket that Steve won. Then, we shopped at some of the dollar stores I like, and on Market Street, we passed by all these movie set trailers. I asked one of the guards what was happening, and he said they were in town shooting the upcoming Cuba Gooding movie called ďShadow BoxerĒ. We didnít stick around, though, as we had to get to a party we received an invitation for at a restaurant/bar on South Street called The Pontiac Grille. This particular place use to be a bar called JC Dobbs, and was a real dump. So, we didnít know what to expect. The party was from 7 to 9 in the bar area, with hors díouerves and an open bar followed by live music upstairs. The food was excellent, they had a table set up with munchies and 2 waitresses walking around constantly with samples of their menu. It was all so good! Honestly, the veggie sandwich especially, and the pretzel-coated mozzarella sticks were delicious! And, any drink, except top shelf, was complimentary. Sipping our drinks at the window table by the sidewalk, I hear Steve say, ďNathan!ď, and darned if it wasnít him! Didnít I just mention a few days ago how we hadnít heard from him! He and his friend didnít stay too long, well, long enough to grab some food and a drink, then they were gone! By the time we left out of there, I had 2 big martinis, and Steve had 2 big beers and a martini. We didnít go upstairs to see the bands, it was getting late and to tell you the truth, I was lit! So, we just went home. Well, you know, after you have a CT Scan, the technician always tell you to drink plenty of fluids,Öso I was just following orders, ha ha!

Wednesday, June 2nd - I again took the train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill. It was rainy again, and when I got into the truck, as if on cue, the rain came down and the wind blew, it blew so hard the truck was shaking, it was scary! Wow! We made our way over to the Italian Bistro (no, not the chain), where we had a yummy 4 cheese wood-fired pizza, and fresh cherries off the cherry tree out by the parking lot! The it was off to the Loews Theater for another screening of ďNapoleon DynamiteĒ. Patrick stamped our cards, and took them to be mailed to the movie studio so we can get our Ďsweet prizeí. He didnít know what the prize would be, we canít wait to see! We got another t-shirt and went to find a seat. Iím looking around and see a lady I recognize and as she gets closer - surprise! Itís Rita! No dad, though, he was busy with work and stuff. We all had a good time, but I donít think Rita will see this movie 3 times like we did! And, they handed out passes yet again for another screening! Our 4th - oh boy! This is surely a new movie-going adventure!

Thursday, June 3rd - Well, the rain let up some today, and I went outside to try and plant some of the goodies mom brought over at our anniversary party - petunias and snapdragons. Iím out there in the yard, and I hear this soft rustling noise. I listen, and look around, and guess what? I found some kittens! In Sherry & Johnís woodpile. Oh, they are so totally sweet! Weíve had this stray cat for awhile now, and she went and had some babies! They are as cute as can be, with those innocent big blue eyes! One is calico, one is orange, one is gray and the other is a beige color. Paul had been feeding the mother (before we knew she was a mother!), trying to get her calm enough to catch her and bring her over to the vet. This vet takes strays in and tries to find them good homes. Now, itís a family! So, Paul and I said letís keep it a secret from everyone until the babies get a little bigger. Steve and I are eating dinner, and the phone rings. Paul says, itís a secret no more, the mother was carrying the kittens and placing them outside their side door! You should see them! If you want one, or know of anyone who would give them a good home, please, let me know!

Friday, 6/4 - I am again on the train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill. Itís First Friday in Old City, and Jeffrey Margraf is having a reception at the Highwire Gallery, and a month-long showing there. The gallery used to be located right in Old City, but several months ago, it moved to Center City, near the Convention Center. But, we decided to walk around Old City a bit before we went over to see Jeff. We went into a few Galleries, and I guess we were too early for the munchies and beverages so we come out of one gallery and look across the street at what seemed to be a construction site. There is a crowd of people and lights and we say, letís check it out! Upon entering the area, we were handed a blue martini, and then we spied the food tables. Several plates of excellent little appetizers and 2 martinis later, weíre still there! Turns out, it is a new building going up, and while they indeed were showcasing a luminary artist (Warren Muller), they were also trying to sell condo units for the place, Old City 108. They were taking people up in the service elevator attached to the outside of the construction site, and yes indeedy! We went up! To the penthouse on the very top of the building, 12th floor, no walls, concrete floors, it was wild! Then, Phil took us all to the 5th floor so we could see that view, and then back down. Amazing! Of course, I want to buy one, but the price is a wee bit steep - $432,000 for a 1 bedroom, 1 Ĺ bath unit on the 3rd floor to $1,440,00 for an 11th floor 3 bedroom, 3 bath unit. Yikes! But, you do get a parking space included! Grazing the buffet once more, with our 3rd martini in hand, we chatted with our new friend Kieran for a bit, then we headed over to the Highwire Gallery. Jeff, youíve done it again - what a great space for your wonderful art! You are surely one demented artist, my friend! I really admire some of your new work, especially ďDance With Me in HeavenĒ. Whew, what a night! Once again, I came home wishing we lived in Philly!

Saturday, June 5th. We slept in today, and once again it was raining. I guess it started a short while after we got home last night. We went over to the Trump Plaza for the 8:00 pm show of the play ďSinginí in the Rain.Ē Our friend Al from WJSE and Jersey Shore Entertainment put us on his guest list, as he is one of the producers of the play. It was very enjoyable! There was singing and dancing, and even rain on stage! It was a good time, thanks Al!

Sunday, June 6th - Happy birthday to my brother Steve! And, happy 51st anniversary to Bud & Dot! It is National Cancer Survivor Day, so we went over to an event that Gildaís was sponsoring at the Hamilton Mall. We picked mom up, and I guess we got there a little after noon. They had pizza, and cake, tables of info and goodies, demonstrations of foot reflexology, reiki, floral craft, massages. There was entertainment, even Kay sang with her band. It was a nice event. I had a reiki session, oh how nice that was - I was floating when I was done! We hung with mom for a bit afterwards, then went home to get some things done, eventually we ended up at the Old Bay Restaurant and Bar in Egg Harbor. We were seated at a cozy table by the window in a semi-private area. Serenity, our hostess, was wonderful, an artist who designed all the beautiful dining tables. And our waitress Rayann was really nice. Everything was great, and just as we were enjoying our scrumptious salads, another party (of 3) was seated in our domain! Oh well! We didnít think much of it until one of the dudes began talking very loudly, and he never stopped! Gab gab gab gab gab, and all he did was brag, about this and that and everything! I wanted to smash him! But, it didnít diminish the good time we had, the food was excellent and the ambience nice despite the braggart from Arkansas. Although if you ever decide to go, it was a little pricey.

Iím waiting for Steve to come home now. I want to go outside and check on the kittens, Paul called minutes ago to tell me that he saw them eating out of the cat dish. Thatís gotta be cute so I have to go look at them! I donít think weíll be doing anything exciting tonight or tomorrow. Wednesday is my abdomen/pelvis CT scan, and another Napoleon Dynamite screening. Iíll keep you posted on things. Be on the look out for some new pictures on the photo page any day now. Oh, and if you are out and about tomorrow, Tuesday, Dunkin Donuts is having a Free Iced Coffee Day, from 10 am to 10 pm - enjoy!

Sunday, June 6, 2004 4:02 PM CDT

Happy National Cancer Survivor's Day ! ! ! ! ! !

Way to go, all you survivors out there!!!!!!

Yippeee!! Woohooooooo!!!!

Keep on survivin' ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Thursday, June 3, 2004 1:41 PM CDT

Hello!!!!!! I was hoping to spend some time here today and update you on the last week, but the sun is shining for a change, and I don't have to go jump on a train, so I've decided to go out into the yard and do some things. Sorry! I'll be back, maybe tomorrow,....before I hop on the train to First Friday in Philly! Have a good one!

Thursday, May 27, 2004 3:23 PM CDT

Hello! Itís Thursday afternoon, and the sun finally seems to be poking itís beautiful face out from behind the clouds of the last few days. I am just about ready to go meet Steve at the Lindenwold NJ Transit station. Weíre going to yet another one of our Free Birthday Dinners, this time at Pizzaria Uno in Deptford. I think after this one, we have just 1 more free meal left. Oh, free is good!

So, letís see,...Monday was our big One Year Anniversary. I had a lovely morning, reading the paper and drinking my coffee out on the deck under the cool new gazebo. I took the train and met Steve in Cherry Hill, then we went over to the Houlihanís for a nice free birthday dinner. On the ride home, we went through Cherry Hill, Turnersville, Williamstown, Mays Landing and Egg Harbor, and it was a totally intoxicating ride. Why, you ask? Well, the honey suckle plants are all in full bloom, and it was oh so fragrant! I was loving it, breathing deep and smiling. Nice! Steve, on the other hand, kept saying he couldnít smell them! Oh brother! I wonder if they makea honeysuckle candle? Iíll have to investigate that! On the way, we stopped at a Target store for a minute. It was warm and humid as we went in, and while we were shopping, we heard this incredible noise, had started to rain and thunder, wow it was something! When we came out, nothing! It had stopped, that fast! When we got home, it was dry as a bone, no rain here. However, after several minutes, it started to come down. So, Steve says, letís go out and see how the gazebo holds up to the rain. We went out and sat there for a long long time while we watched the lightening and the rain pelted everything but us! He brought out 2 ďPurple HazeĒ beers to celebrate our anniversary, it was very cool indeed!

Tuesday, I woke up from having the strangest dream. It was my dead friend Gary, telling me as he wrapped his arms around me in a big hug, that I shouldnít worry, that I wouldnít die by the holidays. He kept saying everything would be ok. That I wouldnít miss the holidays. Whatís that all about??? Anyway, I had my morning coffee and newspaper out on the deck again, but it was overcast and chilly. When Steve got home from work, we dined outside on veggie burgers and dogs, then the rain arrived again. Hey mom - mission complete, Hahahaha!

Yesterday, it rained all morning and early afternoon. Originally, my plan was to take the 12:42 train to Philly and hang around until the Celebration of Life began at 4:30. But, due to the weather, I made a last minute schedule change and met Steve in Cherry Hill on the 3:57 train. When I got off the train, there was Steve, holding up a sign, like people do at airports, that said ďThe ArtistĒ! Oh how funny was that! Then, when I got into the truck, he had a single white rose for me, isnít that nice?! We made it to the Celebration of Life at Jefferson around 5, saw Lora, walked around the exhibitor tables, ate from the seemingly never-ending horídíouerves selection and looked at all the Survivorís contributions. We ran into a bunch of people we knew; RoseAnne from the Angiostatin study, Liz, Caroline, Dr. Anne`, we entered raffles, and they even took a picture of me by my display. It was fun! Every single piece in the art exhibit was wonderful. The survivor stories were very inspiring, the whole event was awesome (as usual!),...way to go. Lora Rhodes! You are amazing! We didnít stay for Dr. Anne`ís talk, even though I absolutely adore her. Instead, we went over to the Ritz East in Old City for the second advance screening of ďNapoleon DynamiteĒ. We got another (different) T-shirt, posters, and our card got stamped - weíre one stamp away from a Ďsweet prizeí! This time, the theater was packed with young college-age kids, it was fun! The next showing is Wednesday June 3rd, in Cherry Hill which makes it very convenient for us!

Speaking of movies,...hey, Nathan - whereíve you been lately? We havenít seen or heard from you in far too long!

Oh, and Lora told me today, Steve won one of the Raffle Baskets - Sweet!

OK, now that the fluff is done, hereís the nitty gritty. I heard from Judi in Dr. Kingís office yesterday. My CA 125 is - get this - 1345!!!!!!! A big Yikes to that number! Thatís the highest itís ever been, up from the 892 of last month. So, prepare yourself, people! Who knows what lies ahead! My appointment with Dr. King isnít for another few weeks, but now it looks like Iíll be seeing her tomorrow at 9:30 am. Iíll keep ya posted.

Now,...Iím outta here!

Monday, May 24, 2004 1:35 PM CDT

Good day to you! Happy Anniversary to me and Steve! Our first, year of wedded bliss! Ha ha ha ha ha! What a difference in the weather, today it is 90 degrees, hot and sticky, last year it was windy, cold and rainy. Go figure! Oh well, it was certainly a fantastic wedding day, if I say so myself!

I think Iíll begin this entry with last Wednesday. I was taking the 3:57 train to Cherry Hill to meet Steve for dinner and a movie. Not 10 minutes before I was leaving to walk to the train station, the sky opened and it poured down raining. Oh crap! So, I had to drive over and leave the car, which I really hate to do at this particular station. The train ride was interesting, though, as I was pleasantly surprised to see one of the Assistant Conductors I had become friendly with during all the rides I took to radiation a few years ago. Itís been maybe 2 years since Iíve seen him as he changed his schedule to night time. His name is Anthony, a real nice guy, he even gave me back my ticket so the ride was free, sweet! Steve was waiting with an umbrella, and we left for Philly. Wow, the traffic was so very heavy, why was that? Who knows! I thought we would be eating in Manayunk, since that is where the movie was, but no - Steve surprised me and we went to Houlihanís on City Ave, as we had a free birthday dinner coming to us! And after all, it was my birthday! It was good, and we made it to the movie in plenty of time. The film was ďNapoleon DynamiteĒ, and what a cool movie it was. Sort of all about this geeky kid, and his friends and family. I know, thatís sounds strange, but it was really good! I would recommend this movie if you are looking for something quirky and funny. They gave out T-shirts to everyone in attendance. Speaking of attendance, this was a very diverse crowd, college kids, seniors, a Lupus group, very interesting! And, everyone erupted in clapping after the credits rolled! On the way out, a representative was handing out more free passes, to see the movie again! This is the deal, if you go see this movie at an advance screening 3 times wearing your t-shirt, and then send in a coupon they stamp at each screening, they will send you an Ďextra-specialí surprise gift! Yes, indeedy, you know what that means, donít you! We are on our way to a special gift! You know how much Steve enjoys a quest!

Thursday, 5/20, Vickie came over around noon to flush the port and draw my CA 125, so Iíll keep you posted on that. I ran out and did some errands, and Steve brought home 2 Adult Happy Meals from McDonaldís for dinner. Not very impressed, the choices all have meat except for the fruit selection, which was very unsatisfying. But, we did get pedometers as our toy, so that was pretty cool. We finally had a chance to open our birthday presents, I got another miniature Serta sheep for my collection, how cute! Suzette, how did your second round of chemo go?

Friday, I ran out to the Shop Rite to get supplies for the anniversary party we had planned for Sunday. Iím crossing my fingers that we donít get those thunderstorms we have been expecting. It was, after all, suppose to be a party on the deck. Rain, rain, stay away!

Saturday, Steve and I did some work around the yard and on the deck, and we started putting together the new item I told you we bought last week. But, it got dark so we had to resume in the morning, nothing like cutting things close! Story of our lives!

Sunday, we were up early, getting to work on the assembly project and the food, and just general straightening up. Noon-time came, and the project was complete! We now had a beautiful new gazebo on the deck, complete with mosquito netting and privacy panels! It is so totally sweet, youíve just gotta see it! We were sweaty and hot, so showers were next on our agenda, followed by food prep, and 2:00 brought my mom, followed by Dad & Rita, then Jackie and Mike. Letís get this anniversary party started! We ate, laughed, Steve grilled, we talked, we blew wedding bubbles, it was fun! Best of all, no rain! But, it really wouldnít have mattered, we had the gazebo to hide under if it had! I made a Watermelon Slush desert that turned out real yummy, and then we presented everyone with a Wedding Goody Bag full of Cruiserpalooza T-Shirts, Matri-Money Lottery Tickets, a wedding video, mini Verdi champagne bottles, and a wedding photo album. It was a good time, and later, when it was me, Steve and my mom, and it was dark as we sat under the gazebo, one of the neighbors set off fireworks! It was cool! Anniversary celebration, complete! Thank you, wonderful family, for your company, and your gifts!

Today, besides being our anniversary, it is also National Brotherís Day, so SteveO, Iím thinking about you, my brother! I am taking the 5:10 train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill. We are going to the Houlihanís again, but in Cherry Hill, not Philly, for our other free birthday dinner, which we are making our anniversary dinner! Hey, free is free, right Don?!

Do you remember in my last entry, I told you of the technical malfunction that caused me to lose what I had been typing in? Well, I knew I forgot stuff, and something else came to mind. At the wheels and Wings event, I finally got something Iíve been wanting for a long time now - - - Port Holes for the PT Cruiser! Port Holes? What the heck is that? Well, they are 3 little round port-hole decorations that are placed on the hood of the car, 3 on each side. They originally were found on the Buick car, way back when. For some reason, I just love them! They hold several personal memories for me, but I canít say Steve is at all thrilled about them! But, he gave me the go-ahead, so I purchased them from PT Warehouse and Ira put them on for me, right on the spot! Oh I was so happy, but in the back of my mind I thought Judy would be peeved at me. Well, she wasnít peeved at me, per se, as much as she was peeved at Ira, for reasons all her own. Seems like a controversy was going on behind the scenes that we were not aware of, concerning PT Warehouse, the event itself, and the price of things. Seems like everyone thought we were getting ripped off, that these port holes could have been gotten directly from the factory or something, for about $49.00 or so. Well, I am putting it here for all to see, I paid $135, and was more than happy to do so! Politics and petty differences donít effect me all that much anymore. People seem to forget,...Iím croaking! What am I suppose to do, an order, wait for a shipment, then bug Steve to install the dumb things in what little spare time he has? Sorry, but,...NO! Right here, right now, thatís what itís all about!

OK, yíall - have a good one! I donít know when Iíll be back here. Wednesday Iíll be in Philly, for the Celebration of Life. I must tell you, Iím a bit apprehensive about it. Iíve displayed my drawings and watercolors before, as well as a photo of my hand sculpture that OrthoBiotech used in their calendar, and my Peace Flag is hanging outside the Wellness Community in Philadelphia, but this feels different. The painting Iíve submitted is really unattractive, at least to me. I feel so,...vulnerable, or something. Jeffrey Margraf, how DO you do it??? OK, bye!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004 10:40 AM CDT

Ok, ok, ok, I know I have been neglecting you! Iíve been away from you far too long, so here I am - with a nice long entry. So, brace yourself and get ready for some heavy duty reading!

When I was at the computer typing in my entry on Friday, May 7th, I was just about finished going over the entire week, and then this screen pops up saying that ĎMicrosoft has encountered a problemí or something like that, and it promptly proceeded to close the page I was working on, and all my information was lost! I was pissed off! So, I had to re-type it all again, and in the time I had I could only finish a little of the entry. The stuff I told you about was not the original things I was saying, but I was totally pissed off and just trying to enter something, anything, at that point. Of course, I couldnít remember everything in the exact manner I was telling it, and now that I have read it I thought of some other things I wanted to say. Like, just how did Judy manage to hold up so well? She was so strong throughout the entire day, if it was me, I could have never done it, and would not have even tried. What an extraordinary woman she is, Bob certainly would have been proud of her! And, John - what can I say? He did an outstanding job with everything, and we are looking forward to another one of his, and Judyís events.

Being in Millville on May 1st, we missed Philadelphiaís own, Smarty Jones, win the Kentucky Derby. Did you catch it? That horse sure can run!

Did you guys hear about this? On April 30th, three thousand students at Northeast High in Philadelphia were to gather in the stands of their stadium and sit down on whoopee cushions, which were provided by Spencer Gifts. They were trying to break the Guinness record for simultaneous breaking of artificial wind. How funny is that! The current record was 1,505, set in January in England. No word yet on if they made it!

Sunday, 5/2 - It rained all day, and quite honestly, I was exhausted from Wheels and Wings. Monday, May 3rd, and I was still exhausted! And, it was still raining. Bob, you did good and the sun was shining on Saturday, but enough with this rain! Today, I woke up with this awful pain in my back, it was unbearable. The only other time I had this type of pain was when I was in Austin, TX for a South by Southwest Music Convention with my mom and my ex. Remember that, guys? I stayed in the hotel room, with ice on my back, it was awful! Back then, the neurologist I was seeing told me it was probably MS related, but of course everything at that time was attributed to the MS, as I had just been newly diagnosed. I never really had it again, that severe, until now. Tuesday, 5/4, the sun was out, and the pain was a little less severe, so I loaded up on Tylenol and went out for a bit to take care of a few things. However, as you guessed, by the time I got home, owwwww!

Wednesday, 5/5 - Happy Cinco de Mayo! I found out today that my neighbor, Mr. Corbin, (Paulís dad), was taken to the hospital on Sunday. Cross your fingers that everything works out ok. The pain in my back returned with a vengeance. When Steve got home from work, we went over to the Tropicana Casino, to a bar there called Firewaterís. They were having a Cinco de Mayo party, from 3 - 8, with Mexican beer specials and a free buffet. We got there right about 6:30, ordered up a couple beers and hit the buffet. It was ok, lots of odd looking rice and meat dishes. We got a plate, settled in at our bistro table, and just as we started to go back for seconds, they took away everything! It was only 7, what gives? Oh well, it wasnít that good anyway! From there, we walked through the casino, played some slots and a Kentucky Derby game they were having, and walked out of there with (I think ) about 25 cents in winnings!

Thursday, 5/6 - Thanks, Jef for the DVD! Itís not every day a girl gets a cool present from her ex-husbean, Ďjust becauseí! Nice! Oh, Happy National Nurses Day to all you wonderful nurses out there! When Steve got home from work, we went over to a local restaurant called Damonís for a special Friends Finale party. We were seated in the VIP area, and they gave us free appetizer plates and free soft drinks while we watched the Friends Retrospective, then the Finale. The radio station, Mix 97.3, gave out stuff all night, and yes we did indeed get a T-shirt and a hat. Did you know that an estimated 51 million people watched the show? Wow! It was the second most watched show of the year, behind the Super Bowl, which had almost 90 million viewers. The ending was ok, nothing spectacular. In fact, Steve made up his own ending, but as you may have guessed, I canít print it here!

Friday, 5/7 - I was meeting Linda, Lynn and Pat tonight for dinner at the Red Lobster. What better reason than that to do a touch up to my hair! Gray roots, be gone with you, hahaha! When I got there at 5:30, with freshly reddened hair, Linda was alone. Turns out, I was the only one coming, and you know what? That was just fine by me,Ö.that meant more Linda for me! It was a nice time, thanks again Linda - weíre looking forward to the big anniversary party! Tonight and tomorrow night, there is this big Bonnieís Reunion going on at a night club in Pennsauken. Bonnieís is the club we all use to go to back in the late 80ís, early 90ís. Denni use to come down and meet me there, and weíd have so much fun! Then, we met Steve and he would go with us, he and his friend Stan. It has long since been demolished, but the memories of the bands that played there and the good (and bad) times we all had there are real strong for a lot of people. This club was just one on a circuit of clubs we all went to, like the Cell Block and the Galaxy, which are also no longer there. So, this dude put together a big 2-night Reunion, with some of the old bands. I really wanted to go, but in the end, we decided not to. It would have been good to see some of the Ďold crowdí, and the bands, especially The Dead End Kids, but my back was still hurting and we had an early day tomorrow, and besides, the tickets were really pricey! Iíll be happy with my memories, thank you very much!

Saturday, 5/8 - We were up and out early, heading over to the Sheraton in Atlantic City for an MS conference. It was a beautiful day, and sadly to say, everyone else thought so to, and about half of the people who signed up were no-shows. Too bad, for a change the event was actually close to home! It was good, somewhat informative, and the lunch they served was tasty. They called it a Deli Platter. They put a giant plate of rolls and breads on the table, then served us each a plate of Ďfixingsí, very nice! Also, a big bowl of Caesar salad for the table. Yummy! We almost walked over to the Wilsonís Outlet, but again, my back was bothering me and it was very windy, so we called an end to the day in Atlantic City. On the way home, we stopped over my momís. Steve did a few Ďchoresí for her, and I guess we were home by 9.

Sunday, 5/9 - Happy Motherís Day! It was sunny and warm today, great weather for all you mothers out there! Since we went over my momís last night, we thought we would see Jackie, Steveís mom, today. She was going to call us around noon, and meet us at the Applebeeís in Hammonton around 2:30. So, we busied ourselves around the house while we waited. I chatted with Rita for awhile, her and dad were staying in for the day, away from the crowds - smart move! I gardened for some of the day, trying to grab some joy for myself! Steve had to fix our upstairs toilet, with a beautiful new teal-colored flapper! Noon came and went, 2 pm came and went, and finally Steve reached Jackie, and we were on for 5:00. In the meantime, Paul came over to tell us, he hit a deer - or, rather, a deer hit him - right around the corner from our house! He was very surprised, and I am very distressed. I hate those deer with a passion. He didnít get hurt., and his car is ok, and the dumb deer up and ran away. Can you tell me, where can I move that does not have such a bad deer population? I canít seem to find that information out, and I have searched it up on the internet. If you know, please tell me! Anyway, at 5:00, we were in the parking lot of Applebeeís, and finally at 6:30 Jackie and my father-in-law roll in. Oh well! It is Motherís Day, after all, she can do what she wants! Dinner was good and we had a nice time. Oh, mom, I hope your day went good, with Bud and Ted!

Monday, 5/10 - You should see my arms and face - I look like a freak, Iím peeling from that sunburn I got during Wheels and Wings! Eeeeek! Today it is hot, in the 80ís, and sunny.

Tuesday, the 11th, I could not wake up, is this the MS or the Lupron, or both? It felt like I was in a fog all day long, like my body was being held down by an unseen force, every single movement was a concentrated effort. But, the good news was that my back pain seems to have disappeared. It was hot again, in the high 80ís. Iím glad for the warm weather, but if this is how it is going to make me feel, then Iím in for one hell of a summer. Paul went into the hospital today for a quick procedure, healing thoughts go out to him and his father, who is still in the hospital.

Wednesday, 5/12 - Suzette is scheduled for her second round of chemo today, taxol & carbo, the big daddy of all ovarian cancer treatments. Kill that cancer, girlfriend! Steve sent me a text message early in the day to check out - our girl Icey is the new spokesmodel for the beer. And to think, we knew her way back when she was on Cram,Öwhoís next, my beloved Miss Pickwick? It was another hot day, and I still felt a little odd, but I had to get myself together because I needed to take the train to Philly. On May 26th, Jefferson is having their Celebration of Life event. You may (or may not!) remember that Iíve participated in this the last several years. One year I displayed my artwork from Carolineís Art/Meditation class, then I displayed a photo of me & Steve and also a photo of my hand sculpture that was used in the OrthoBiotech calendar. Well, this year I was submitting a painting. It is the one I call ďThree Sixty FiveĒ, the one that I worked on for a year. Itís really ugly, but the story behind it, painting something each and every day for one year, seems to have an uplifting cancer survivor element to it. So, there I am, lugging this big painting in the heat and wind, to the 12:42 train, then from the train to the High Speed Line, then through the streets of Philly to Jefferson where I met with Lora Rhodes at 2 pm. What a day! Anyway, I made it there, both me and the painting in one piece! I also gave her a wedding photo of Steve and I for her Wall of Survivorship. After I left her office, I made my rounds of shops on Chestnut Street, ending up at, yes, you know what Iím going to say, my favorite Dollar Store in the Gallery! Steve picked me up outside the Strawbridgeís at 4:30-ish and we headed over to the Adams Mark Hotel & Conference Center for an MS Dialogues seminar. My neurologist, Dr. Leist, was the keynote speaker. He gets funnier each time we see him give a talk! Heís surely very informative, and Iím happy heís on my care giving team. Country music star and MS patient Clay Walker was the featured guest. Last year, we went to one of these events, and he was scheduled to speak, however, they claimed at the last minute that he was stuck in an airport and couldnít make it, so he gave his talk via the telephone. So, I was convinced it was some kind of scam, and I bet Steve $1 that the same thing would happen again. Youíre on, he says! We browsed the tables, chatted with Susan and Helene from the MS Society of America, ate, listened to Dr. Leist, then the moment of truth,Ö..sure enough, there he was, Clay Walker, in the flesh! I immediately handed Steve his one dollar bill! Anyway, Clay seems like a real nice guy, very interesting to hear him talk, and when we left, they handed out MS t-shirts and an autographed photo of him. It was a good evening, and a nice day but I was beater than beat by the time we got home.

Thursday, 5/13 - I found out today that Suzie Q could not get her chemo yesterday, her platelets were too low and she will try again next Thursday. Crap! Not to worry, everything happens for a reason, right Suzette? Paul called to say he was home from the hospital, we all hope Mr. C is next. It was hot again, which Iím happy about but the tingling, numbness and fatigue, coupled with the hot flashes, yikes! Itís almost unbearable. I was planning on going over to Ocean City in the afternoon. A radio station, 97.3, was giving out free beach tags outside a bank my friend Hot Stuff works at. So, I thought, sweet! Iíd pick Steve and I up some free stuff and then surprise Don with an impromptu visit! But, sad to say, I just did not feel up to the drive, which probably shocked Don,Öafter all, Free was involved! Ha ha!

Friday, May 14 - Mr. Corbin came home today, yeah! I was planning on taking the train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill this afternoon, but I ran late trying to catch up on some errands. You see, we have to go out to dinner. Have to, you say? Why, yes! And, we have deadlines. Let me explain! Both our birthdays are in May, and some of the restaurants we patronize have given us free birthday meals, which we have to use by the end of May. So, we wanted to use one of them tonight, but it didnít work out. Looks like weíll be rushing them in later on in the month!

Saturday, 5/15 - Mom, that was sure funny about your new neighbor,Ö.or should I say - Ďmyí new neighbor, haha! It was a beautiful morning, but we heard that we were to expect horrible thunderstorms in the pm, so Steve and I went outside to do some work in and around the yard. Well, one thing led to another, the rain never came, and we ended up spending the whole damn day out there! Iíd say, 8 hours or more, yikes! We did take a break for lunch, and Steve had a wine cooler pit stop with Paul, but I truly think thatís the longest weíve ever spent together in the yard! Oh, and Steve went in the house to watch Smarty Jones win the Preakness, way to go horsie!

Sunday, 5/16 - I woke up today with a bad bad bad migraine. Steve said, ďToo much gardening!Ē He made what he calls Ďtoastapaloozaí, which always makes me feel better when Iím out of sorts. Nobody makes a better piece of toast than Steve, Iím absolutely serious! I donít know how he does it, but it sure is yummy! Several months ago, we went to a local store called Odd Job to make a purchase. They were completely sold out of the item we wanted, and told us they were expecting another shipment in the middle of May so they put our names on a waiting list. Well, we didnít place much faith in ever getting the item, when lo and behold, they called last night to say it was in and we had until Monday to pick it up! So, off we went to Cinnaminson to get our new toy, sweet! I canít tell you what it is yet, as we hope to put it together and surprise our family with it next weekend at our anniversary get-together! But donít worry, Iíll surely tell you about it, later! My brother Steve called this afternoon, it was good to hear from him, and talk to him. Iíve said this before, and Iíll say it again, about all sorts of people, but I wish we lived closer to each other! Oh, and congratulations go out to the gay and lesbian community on the wedding bell victory in the state of Massachusetts! Yippee! Today also marks a day that many people have been looking forward to. It has been 20 years since the death from lung cancer of comedian Andy Kaufman. He always said that he would fake his own death, and resurface 20 years later. So, his best friend Bob Zmuda hosted a welcome-back party that he is calling ďAndy Kaufman Dead or Alive?Ē at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. Lots of comedians and celebrities were scheduled to attend, sounds like a fun time! I wonder if Andy made it?

Monday, 5/17 - I stayed around the home front today, nothing exciting happening here!

Tuesday, 5/18 - Happy Birthday Steve!!!!!! I took the train to meet him in Cherry Hill. Oh my gosh - this train ride was unlike any other train ride I have ever had. It was so bumpy that everyoneís luggage fell off the luggage racks, people were holding on to the seats, and looking around, and sort of in a panic. It was crazy, I couldnít and still canít figure out what was happening. What made this different? Was the driver new? Drunk? Were the tracks damaged? The train older? New? Everything seemed the same by appearance,Ö.? It was plain crazy! I wanted to hurl!!!! When I got off the train, Steve was standing there waiting for me, with an umbrella because it had just started to rain, how sweet! Then, as we walked from the platform, a beautiful rainbow appeared,Öand I of course told him I ordered it for his birthday! ( Ha ha, Steve!!! ) We were going over to the Hard Rock Cafť in Philly for dinner. They send us each a card for a free ice cream sundae and a free special HRC birthday pin, so of course we had to go! Boy, this place has certainly changed over the years. They now have merchandise printed on the menu, the servers ask you if they can get you anything from the gift shop, it was a big turn off. But, the food was ok, and we enjoyed being the center of attention when our birthday sundaes came out. They made us stand on top of our chairs, asked everyone in the full restaurant for their attention, announced our names and that it was our birthdays and everyone clapped and yelled Happy Birthday! Us only children and our craving for attention, ha ha! We didnít get home until after 10, and for some reason we both were exhausted!

Today, Happy Birthday to Me!!!!!! I am now officially an old bag,Öor should I say, an older bag!!!!! Mom, thanks for the Birthday Song on my cell phone this morning,Ötoo funny!!!!! It is sort of sunny and muggy today, and once again I will be taking the train to Cherry Hill. We are going to dinner, then an advance screening of a movie called ďNapoleon DynamiteĒ in Manayunk. It seems like such a long time since weíve been to a screening! Weíll probably be eating in Manayunk, unfortunately the other free dinners we have are not there, but weíll use them next week, Iím sure!

Well, you made it to the end of my extra-long entry! Congratulations! Iíll try my best not to let this happen again! Thanks to all of you from both of us, for your birthday cards and wishes & anniversary cards and wishes! Suzette, good luck with the chemo tomorrow. Judy, I hope youíre doing ok. And, everyone, cut and paste this link: - please tell ten friends to tell ten friends today! The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on it daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman . As much as it bugs me that breast cancer gets so so so much more media attention and coverage than ovarian cancer, I think this is worth checking out. It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "donating a mammogram" for free (pink window in the middle). This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammograms in exchange for advertising. Again, please tell 10 friends to tell 10 friends, today!


Wednesday, May 12, 2004 10:13 AM CDT

I haven't forgotten about you! I'm on my way to the train station, so I'll have to come back another day. You do the same, and maybe we'll finally hook up!

Monday, May 10, 2004 12:40 AM CDT

New Pictures!!!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2004 2:57 PM CDT

Happy Mother's Day !

Friday, May 7, 2004 3:44 PM CDT

Here it is, Friday afternoon already. It has just now gotten dark and rainy out after being sunny and 80 degrees all day. Letís see, where did I leave off? Oh, I remember, the Wheels and Wings show in Millville. After we hugged the Somereve family, we went back to our PT and began to set up our tailgate display. We had 2 dozen beautiful red roses, an 8 x 10 glossy of Bob, tons of skull items, Shore Thing T-shirts, the printed lyrics to Somewhere Over the Rainbow as well as the actual song looped over and over again, which we played on the cd player all day. If I must say so myself, our Tailgate Tribute to Bob Castronova looked pretty good! Suzette and Lisa made it in around 10, and we all walked over to the main tent with John and Judy. Then, we began walking all around, looking and chatting. It was oh so good to see everyone after the long cold winter! Especially Jean and John, guys were certainly tough to get a hold of! It was a beautiful day, no rain in sight...thanks Bob! But, it was very windy and the sun was beating down. It was the kind of sun that sneaks up on you, and I say that because by the end of the day my arms and face were burnt to a crisp! We were so caught up in socializing that we barely paid attention to the other car show that was there, or even the airplanes for that matter. Pretty soon, it was trophy time. Judy of course got the Peopleís Choice Award for Bob's PT, and guess what? Suzette got the Best Stock Trophy! She wholeheartedly deserves it, there is never ever a speck of dirt on her PT! And then, we were pleasantly surprised to receive Best Tailgate! We didnít do our Tribute to win a trophy, but because we feel the loss of Bob and wanted to express that. Sweet! During the day, I noticed several people shed a tear or two as they passed by it. After the awards were all given out, some of us headed over to the host hotel so John and Judy could lavish more prizes upon us, which was a lot of fun. Thanks, Joe, for the stubbie! Then most everyone decided to go out for some dinner, but we chose to just go on home. I was beat tired, and sun burnt, and quite frankly I was afraid of the deer on the roadway on our route home. So we called it a day and I guess we rolled in at about 8 pm. If you would like to check out some pictures from the weekend, cut and paste this:

...some of the pictures are really great, wait until you see all the smiling faces!

OK, Iím sorry, but I have to go for now. Stay tuned for the next update! And, have a great weekend, whatever you have planned!

Wednesday, May 5, 2004 4:14 PM CDT

Happy Cinco de Mayo, mi amigos! Are you enjoying this unseasonable chilly May day? Those April showers we had certainly brought us May flowers, my azaleas are absolutely gorgeous! Too bad the blooms are so short-lived. Oh can you believe itís May already? Letís see, what all is going on in May? Hmmm, it seems to be National Arthritis Month, and National Book Month. This week is National Family Week, and tomorrow is National Nurses Day. Monday was World Laughers Day, and next Monday, May 10th is National Womenís Check-Up day (go to to see where women can go for screenings for many diseases such as heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and others.)

OK, Iíd like to offer an apology. I forgot to mention that last Friday, April 30th, my friend Don, better known as Hot Stuff, celebrated his 50th birthday - way to go dude! Fifty Big Ones,Ö.letís get together so I can see all those gray hairs, ha ha!

Saturday, we were up and out of here early. We went over to Millville for the Wheels and Wings show and tribute to Bob Castronova. We were a little late, I was cutting and arranging 2 dozen red roses for our tailgate display and it took longer than I thought, those bastards were thorny - ouch! We got there just in time to catch the tail end of the PT train heading into the grounds. We ended up in the third row of Cruisers, but that was ok - as youíll never guess who was smack dab in front of us - Joe, Jami, (Little) Joe and Jake Somereve!!!! We havenít see them since Cruiserpalooza, that was a great start to the day!

Ut oh! Guess what? Steve is home and we have to leave in a few minutes to go out for Cinco de Mayo. Sorry! Time flies, doesnít it! Oh well, Iíll be back as soon as I can to finish up. Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo? Weíve done it every year, for oh, maybe 10 or more years. Historically, the day marks the 1862 victory by an out-manned Mexican army over French invaders at the Battle of Puebla. But for us here in the good old US of A, it really is nothing more than another excuse to drink margaritas and eat tortilla chips! So, thatís what weíre gonna do! Talk to you again soon!

Friday, April 30, 2004 8:02 PM CDT

TGIF to you all! What a beautiful day it was today, I hope the weekend stays the same, donít you? Wednesday, I took the train to Cherry Hill, Steve picked me up and we went to the Wellness Community for an advocacy training program put on by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. They served a light dinner, followed by us all introducing ourselves. Of course, Steve had to be the highlight of the introduction process, he is just too funny! They asked us all what our relationship to cancer was, and he said, ďHi, my name is Steve, and I don't know how it happened, but somehow, I managed to marry someone with cancer!Ē, which was funny at the time he said it, and the way he said it, everybody cracked up! The meeting itself was not what I thought it would be. Yes, it was slightly interesting, but in the end, I was glad Lisa and Suzette didnít make the trip. From the meeting, which was over just before 9, we went over to the Ritz at the Bourse in Center City for a showing of ďThe Mayor of the Sunset StripĒ. We enjoyed the movie, very interesting! Ever hear of a man by the name of Rodney Bingenheimer? Well, he is a disc jockey in LA, friend and acquaintance to many many stars, and this movie was a sort of documentary of his life. I had read a lot about him over the years, and was curious about the film. It was sometimes funny, sometimes happy, sometimes sad. We were surprised to see Kim Fowley in it, we havenít heard anything about him since we saw him at a South by Southwest in Austin, TX, maybe in 1995 or so. Anyway, we were home around midnight, whew!

Thursday, I took the train again and met Steve in Atco this time. We went to the Los Amigos Restaurant for the annual Dining Out For Life night. Participating restaurants, on a designated night every year, donate a portion of all their nightly proceeds to the Aids Foundation. It use to be just a regional event, but this year it went national. Dinner was very tasty, and it was a nice way to donate to an excellent cause.

Today, I have been running errands all day, and trying to get ready for our big day tomorrow. We are going to the Wings and Wheels show in Millville, NJ. Oh how I hate these air shows! We were not even going to attend, but then this whole Bob tragedy happened, and now the event has turned into a memorial of sorts for him. Now, of course we are going, and happy to go at that. So, we are gathering some tailgate items, and cleaning the car, making sandwiches to bring and stuff like that. Iíll tell you all about it next week!

Since itís the last day of National Poetry Month, I think it would be fitting if I left you with one of my very own poems. This was published in the World Treasury of Great Poems, way back in 1980. It was the first poem I ever had published! (And you thought you know everything there was to know about me, ha ha!) So, donít laugh!

Hours of Endless

The sun sets
Pondering the words,
the music,
Solitude shrouds the stars.

The moon comes
Floating through the clouds,
the darkness,
Searching for the light.

Have a good weekend, and mom - please thank Norman for me, we canít wait to use The Book! Oh, I almost forgot, Judi from Dr. Kingís office finally called me today, 2 full weeks after my lab work. My CA 125 us up up and away again, to 892. Oh well, thatís the way it goes! Iím not gonna let it get me down,Öwell, at least, not yet! See ya!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004 1:29 PM CDT

* * * NOTE * * * If you are stumbling upon this web journal from one of the PT Cruiser sites, please go to the Ďread journal historyí section and check out the entry for Wednesday, April 7th. That is where you will find what everyone has been calling my Bob Castronova Tribute Page. Thank you for stopping by, and thanks to all who have signed my guest book with their thoughts for Bob and Judy. * * * :-) * *

Itís me again, surprise surprise! First, Iíd like to give a great big happy birthday wish to my friend Jeff, better known as Sugar or Sug Man! I hope your day at the Opera is a good one! Say Ďheyí to Joe for me!

Not much is going on around here. Iím getting ready to leave for the train to Cherry Hill. Steve and I have an Advocacy Training meeting at the Wellness Community tonight, then we have a pass for a movie at the Ritz so weíll do that after the meeting. We havenít been to a movie is a long time, well, a long time for us anyway! This movie is called ďThe Mayor of Sunset StripĒ, I think itís sort of artsy. Thatís us alright, the artsy-fartsy type!

If you look at the Links below, you will see that I have added yet another PT Cruiser-related one. There is a really nice tribute page to Bob on it, so if you are interested, check it out!

Since National Poetry month is now winding down, Iíd like to talk a few minutes today about poet Philip Larkin. This man was quite the character! He had a rampant taste for pornography, was very politically incorrect, and was said to have had 3 mistresses at the same time! Anyway, last year in Britain, the Poetry Book Society and the Poetry Library polled thousands or readers, seeking to find who were the nationís favorite poets of the last 50 years. Mr. Larkin came in first, followed by Ted Hughes (who tied for 2nd with Sylvia Plath!) and in third place was Seamus Heaney. This very same poll placed two of his poems in the Top 10; The Whitsun Weddings and Aubade. Aubade was Larkinís last major poem, published in the Times Literary Supplement in 1977, 8 years before his death in 1985. It was a common known fact that the fear of death haunted Larkin all his life. With that said, here is some of Aubade.

I work all day,
And get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four in the soundless dark,
I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see whatís really always there;
Unresting death,
A whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.

Monday, April 26, 2004 4:38 PM CDT

* * * NOTE * * * If you are stumbling upon this web journal from one of the PT Cruiser sites, please go to the Ďread journal historyí section and check out the entry for Wednesday, April 7th. That is where you will find what everyone has been calling my Bob Castronova Tribute Page. Thank you for stopping by, and thanks to all who have signed my guest book with their thoughts for Bob and Judy. * * * :-) * *

Hello! Here I am, once again with a long entry. Oh well, deal with it, ha ha ha! I think Iíll start with Tuesday, April 20th, which just so happened to be my motherís birthday. She decided to take a personal day at work, and came over our house just about 9:30 in the morning, and we took to the road for a fun filled Mother-Daughter day minutes after she arrived. Our first stop was actually our main goal for the day, the very first ever meeting of the newly formed National Ovarian Cancer Coalition of Southern New Jersey. It was being held at the Borough Hall in Haddonfield. Armed with directions and a map, we got there in plenty of time for the 11:00 am session, however, once we got to the area, we did indeed have a slight difficulty in finding the Hall. A kind stranger pointed us in the right direction, and we were soon sitting at the meeting table with Mimi, the Co-President and a cancer survivor and two other women (neither of whom were survivors). It was very interesting, and ended up lasting until nearly 1:00. I am very glad I went, and I honestly think Iíll soon be finding myself more involved in this organization. I think mom enjoyed herself, too. After we said our good-byes, mom and I strolled the main street of Haddonfield, well, actually it is Kings Highway. It was a lovely warm and sunny day. We went in and out of all the little shops, stopping for lunch at Cafť M, where we ate outside like the trendy mother-daughter duo we were! It was really good, and I recommend this place if you ever find yourself in the area. The restroom was high class, the food tasty and the service friendly. Heading home down Rt. 30, we made a stop at a big dollar store, then the Echelon Mall where mom had some birthday ice cream, then we finally came home about 7:30, both of us surprised to see Steve had beaten us to the house! Then, it was birthday present time before we called it a day. Whew, it was a long one!

Wednesday,Ömom - donít get the wrong idea but I had a killer headache that lasted all day! Steve said, ďToo much mom!Ē but it was really just the long day we had, all the driving I did and all the walking and laughing!

Thursday, Happy Earth Day! I was pleasantly greeted today by a solar powered smiley face toy that was mysteriously placed on my front porch. To whoever snuck it there, thank you, it is too cute! In the afternoon, I took the 5:10 train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill. We went to an invitation-only party thrown by the dealership in Northeast Philly where we got the PT Cruiser from. They were debuting some new models, and I was determined to finally sit in the new convertible PT Cruiser. I have thought this car was the coolest looking thing since the new convertible Beetle and the Mini Cooper, and I was really worried I would fall in love with it. So, we get there to Gary BarberaĎs Chryslerland, and they have all this food and drink, and a dj, so we eat, and eat and eat some more, it was delicious food and the desserts were incredible! A balloon artist made me a hat, and finally we checked out the Cruiser. Oh my gosh! I was sooooooo disappointed in it! I hate it! Seriously, I can not stand it. Sitting in the car, it is almost identical to ours, but even though the size of the car is the same, there is only 2 doors instead of 4, and it is very difficult to get out of the back seat. And the trunk, oh brother, the trunk just plain sucks. And sucks. And sucks again! Needless to say, Steve was very happy that I didnít like it!

Friday, I ran out to Shop Rite, isnít that just too exciting? Haha! Steve was checking out the Makerís Mark web site when he got home from work, and guess what? They put up some pictures of the weekend we spent there,Ö.and yes - we made it onto the picture page! You have to be a registered Ambassador to enter this area of the web site, so if you go to it and register, you can see our beautiful faces! In case you want to try, itís

Saturday, we were up early and out of here to attend the annual Cancer Survivor Conference being held at 8:30 am at the Inn of Penn in University City. They served a continental breakfast, which was pretty good. The keynote speaker that was scheduled for the morning cancelled at the last minute, so they brought in this guy named Mike McKinley. He is a Melanoma cancer survivor, and came all the way from Wisconsin to talk with us. He was absolutely terrific, just wonderful, probably the best speaker I have ever heard at one of these events! Sad to say, the rest of the day was not as positive! We participated in a yoga class, which was really good, however several of the other participants were just so annoying that they almost ruined it for us. Lunch was borderline tasteless, and our afternoon class based on music as a healing therapy was sort of boring. But, all in all, it was a good event, we got t-shirts and some useful information, and I talked with the NOCC/Philly people. We were out of there by 3, heading over to the Pennsauken Mart again to pick up 6 more Mystery Videos at the video store. A few of them are absolutely a mystery, with no titles or markings, and a few of them come from the movie studio and have titles, which we have never heard of. So, Iíll let you know whenever we watch them! When we got home, I was lavished with anniversary gifts by Steve, as it was the 24th, our 11th wedding anniversary! OK, here goes; the traditional gift is steel and the modern is fashion jewelry. The first gift was a hanging blue neon peace sign necklace, how appropriate! Then, he presented me with a necklace he handmade himself, itís very cool! Then, it was time for the steel, and inside a totally sweet gift bag that looks like a purse, complete with a metal handle, was a Fairy Flask! Oh, it is gorgeous! I want to use it, but Iím sure it will end up in Fairyland!

Sunday, we each did a little work in the yard, but it suddenly got really cold so I came inside! We also took a ride to the Spencer Giftís store at the Shore Mall that is closing, this week in fact, but they were almost empty so we didnít stay long! And, today Iím just doing boring laundry and stuff. Itís rainy and cold, so Iím staying in!

I guess that catches you up. Steve is working late tonight, so I was able to sit down and do this update for you. Iíll try to come back here quicker in the future, so you donít have so much to read! Now, I want to leave you with the words to a song by the band Staind. I would have to say, for several months now this song has been haunting me. I canít figure out why, I donít really like it, and I really do not care for the band. But the song just wonít leave me alone! No matter what time of the day it is, 9 times out of 10 I hear this song on my radio when Iím in the shower, or in the car. Same with my alarm clock, itís inevitable that Iíll wake up to it or hear it after one of the many times I hit the snooze button. I canít really understand why I am hearing it so much, itís hardly a new song. Hmmmm? So, Iím thinking, maybe that it is some kind of sign,Öfor me, or maybe even for you. Whatever the reason the universe keeps throwing it at me, here are the lyrics for you. If you are reading them here for the first time, maybe you can find some meaning in them. If you are in fact sick of the song, well, maybe seeing the words in print without the melody will inspire something in you. Who knows! Here they are, and Iíll be talking to you again real soon! Oh, and Iíve placed a new link at the bottom of this site, so check it out if you have a chance.

So Far Away
by Staind

This is my life,
It's not what it was before,
All these feelings
I've shared.
And these are my dreams
That I'd never lived before,
Somebody shake me 'cause I
I must be sleeping.

Now that we're here, it's so far away
All the struggle we thought was in vain.
All the mistakes, one life contained
They all finally start to go away.
Now that we're here, it's so far away
And I feel like I can face the day,
I can forgive, and I'm not ashamed
To be the person that I am today.

These are my words,
That I've never said before,
I think I'm doing okay.
And this is the smile
That I've never shown before,
Somebody shake me 'cause I
I must be sleeping.


I'm so afraid of waking,
Please don't shake me.
Afraid of waking,
Please don't shake me.


Monday, April 19, 2004 6:15 PM CDT

* * * NOTE * * * If you are stumbling upon this web journal from one of the PT Cruiser sites, please go to the Ďread journal historyí section and check out the entry for Wednesday, April 7th. That is where you will find what everyone has been calling my Bob Castronova Tribute Page. Thank you for stopping by, and thanks to all who have signed my guest book with their thoughts for Bob and Judy. * * * :-) * * *

Hello to you all! I left the previous page up for such a long time, I guess you can understand the reason why. Itís now been 2 weeks since the untimely death of our friend Bob Castronova, and I feel like itís time to get back to some normalcy. So, here goes! Brace yourself - itís a long one!

Thursday, April 8th- We left the house early in the morning, stopping after only 20 minutes or so at Maryís in Hammonton for a big breakfast to fuel ourselves for our adventure. We were heading on an Easter Weekend road trip to Lexington, Kentucky! We had really been looking forward to this trip, until the news that rocked the PT community, that is. Should we go? Should we stay? We wrestled with these questions, and in the end, as you just read, we went. We rationalized that Bob would have wanted us to go, and that Judy would most certainly be surrounded by caring friends and family, probably more than she could handle. The drive was quiet, especially between the hours of 2 & 4pm, and 6-8pm. We drove the entire way with our headlights on, though, and laughed nervously when we encountered rain, joking that now Steve had inherited Bobís rain cloud. We were told that it would take about 10 hours to Lexington, so we didnít rush, stopping for rest room breaks and snacks, once picking up some Hawaiian-flavored potato chips at a gas station convenience store. Everything about the day revolved around Bob,ÖSteve wore his skull clothing and jewelry, and every conversation eventually turned to Bob, and Judy, and all of our extended PT family. There was no escaping it, so we did not fight it, and then finally around midnight we pulled into the Hyatt Lexington. So, the trip took us about 13 hours total, up and down the rolling highways, ears popping for hours and hours. In the daylight hours, the scenery was lovely. Cows and horses, lots of them, just standing all around, and these funny little mobile homes that were perched perilously on the hillsides, hilltops, by the highway and on all the back roads, it was something to see, thatís for sure! Mom, I guess you have it good in your Beehive Park! We sat by the roaring fireplace for a few minutes, checked in, and crashed. It was a long day and tired as we were, it was not an easy sleep.

Friday, April 9th - After a restless night, we were up and out early, as we were scheduled to be at the Keeneland Race Track for the Annual Makerís Mark Mile day at the track and the Thoroughbreds & Redheads Race. Let me explain,Öwe are Ambassadors in the Makerís Mark Bourbon Club, so that is why we were in Kentucky, as they were putting on these special events to celebrate their 50th anniversary. It was a sunny day, but chilly. In the Ambassadorís line, waiting to check-in, guess what? Now, here we are, all the way from New Jersey, in an unfamiliar state where we do not know anyone. One of the girls manning the table yells out, ď Itís the wedding couple from New Jersey! We saw your wedding picture! How yaíall doiní? Welcome to Kentucky!Ē That really took us by surprise, but in hindsight, I guess we should be use to things like that by now! Just call us The South Egg Harbor Socialites, ha ha! The same thing happened in the next line as we picked up our visors and pins, and to tell you the truth, it was kind of cool! Makerís Mark had a special reserved seating area, where they were serving Makerís Mark drinks. They gave us a lesson in handicapping and stuff, which really made absolutely no sense to me. Then, the races started. We bet on every race, big $2 bets each time! I chose to pick horses that referenced Bob, such as Brilliant Light, Stormy Surprise, Promising Storm, Big Talkin Man, DEFy Logic,Öwell, you get the picture! It was pretty fun, one race in particular was very exciting - the horse was running in last place, and then all of a sudden he pulled up to win at the last minute, it was a photo finish and everyone was shouting and screaming, it was neat! In the end, we came out about $4 ahead of the game, not too bad! This Keeneland is a very interesting place, very clean and so well organized. What a great place to people watch! Extremely entertaining for us, all sorts of people were here; hippies, yuppies, white trash, rich businessmen, debutantes, rich ladies in their big frilly hats, they were all there! We got back to the room with barely enough time to change for the big Makerís Mark party at 8 being held at the Kentucky Horse Park. By now, itís getting cold, about 50 degrees. When we arrived at the party, we were surprised to see it was being held in big tents, outdoors, in the cold! Oh well! Once again, we are given a big hello at the door by Bridget who proceeds to introduce us to Emily and several of the Makerís Mark team members. Then, itís inside the tent to eat and drink and try to win some cool prizes. We didnít win anything, but we did close the place at midnight, going back to the Hyatt loaded up with some Makerís Mark souvenirs, ready for some sleep.

Saturday, we decided to get up early again, and go to a special breakfast buffet being held at Keeneland. It was only $5 per person, and although it wasnít gourmet by any means, it was still good, and we hung out there for a short while watching them walk the horses and different things. Then, we were off to another day with Makerís Mark. This time, it was at the Distillery in Loretto, about an hour and a half drive from Lexington. Ut-Oh! As we left Keeneland, we realized that we left the directions to Loretto home in NJ! No matter, I wasnít worried as Steve seems to have a knack of getting us where we have to go, he certainly has a keen sense of directions. Most times, anyway! This time was no exception, he got us there perfectly, with no problems what-so-ever. Sweet! We arrive just before the 11 am start time of the invitation-only 50th Anniversary party and are once again warmly greeted by Emily and Bridget, who by now are like old friends to us! We tour some of the facility, and recognize Karrie, who was the host at the Makerís Mark party awhile back at Moriartyís in Philly. It was nice to see her, a familiar face! We dip some bottles, and eat tea sandwiches for lunch in the tent behind the Big House on the Hill. While the blue grass band plays, we eat anniversary cake out on the lawn in the beautiful sunshine,Öman oh man, that Bill Samuels sure knows how to throw a party! (A fact we make sure to tell him at the end of the day when we had a few moments to chat. He told us that all the events were so successful due to the hard work of the Whiskey Chicks, who just so happen to be our new friends Emily and Bridget!) We met a nice family during the day who moved from the Rahway area of New Jersey to Kentucky some 15 or so years ago. They bought over a hundred acres of land, and are really happy there. Praising the low taxes, and the nice locals, and the general pleasantness of Kentucky. However, they did inform us that there was a huge problem with the deer population, so that means we will never ever move there - I hate those deer, that is what I fear the most when I am in the PT. Anyway, Iíll tell you what, by the time we get back to the hotel, we were exhausted! We rested up a little, and as I sat there reading the local newspaper, I began to smell smoke. Then, just as I notice the odor, we hear fire trucks and sirens, and they pull up next door to us, at the convention center that is attached to the Hyatt! Oh brother, never a dull moment! After all the excitement dies down, we went on a short walk through the Pedway, the walkway that connects several of the center city Lexington hotels and the businesses. Then, when we returned to the Hyatt, we sat in the lobby bar, enjoying a cold beer and a late night snack of mozzarella sticks before we turned in for the night.

Sunday, Hoppy,ÖI mean, Happy Easter! We slept in, then checked-out at noon. Today, we were driving to Washington, DC to hopefully see some of the famous cherry blossoming trees. On the way out, we once again stopped at the Kentucky Horse Park to get a souvenir squished penny, (we collect them!), as the gift shop was indeed closed when we were there the night of the Makerís Mark party. 1:30 pm, and weíre off! Back on the highways to DC! We made a stop at the Huntington, West Virginia Visitor Center, and Ken was very nice. He advised us not to go to a Cracker Barrel for dinner, instead he suggested the newly opened OíCharleys, a Tennessee-based eatery. We did indeed drive by the place, but it looked like all the other chain restaurants, and instead we went to the Cracker Barrel in Charleston, West Virginia for our Easter dinner. It was certainly interesting, to say the least. Ever been in one of these restaurants? Itís a General Store and a Down Home Restaurant. Pretty cool concept, however, they seem to be more concerned with the people in the place and less concerned about the food. It wasnít bad, just ok, pretty fairly priced, and everyone was indeed nice. In fact, our waiter Malcolm was a good source of entertainment, for me at least as he spilled some drinks at a neighboring table, which is always good for a laugh, especially since it wasnít me doing the spilling! I know what you are thinking, how cruel! Oh well, it was funny! We were back on the road at 6:28 pm, and we drove and drove and drove, taking a different route this time then when we came to Kentucky. We made a few pit stops along the way, by now itís raining on and off and it was foggy, and it just kept getting later and later. Whatís going on, we wondered? It should have taken us a shorter time to DC, we were told about 8 hours, and get this, Öwe pulled into the Washington Plaza Hotel at, are you ready? 2:02 am! Yikes! Steve was past tired, and made a bee-line to the bed once we were checked-in and parked in the underground garage. Oh, and one more thing, there was no heat in the room, and it was cccccold! Brrrrr!

Monday, April 12th - Knowing we were doing a lot of driving again today, and hoping to finally get some sleep, we arranged for a late check-out. But, even so, that did not stop the maid from banging on our door, once at 8 am, then again at 11, then at 12:30. So much for sleeping in! Whatís up with that, anyway? Isnít Housekeeping told which guests have a late check-out? If not, doesnít it make sense that they should be? Only my humble opinion! It was rainy and windy when we ventured out. We drove around a bit, but it was far too nasty to get out and do anything so we look at what was left of the Cherry Blossoms from the car. We decide to leave, and on the way out of DC we made a stop in Georgetown. Actually, we saw a good parking space, so we pulled over, and much to our surprise, we discover this truly wonderful restaurant called Mr. Smithís Pub. Our server, Dereje, was excellent. He seated us in the enclosed Garden area, it was oh so cool, rain pounding on the plastic roof, fire blazing in the stove. He made me a fresh pot of Hazelnut coffee, yum! It was just perfect, even if a Ďflyí went up Steveís nose and sent me into a giggling fit! We left there at about 3:30, and it took us 1 and Ĺ hours to travel 30 miles in the traffic! Then, it took 2 hours to get from DC to Baltimore! Yikes! Finally, we got home nearly 9:30, sick of rain and driving and traffic!

All in all, the mini-vacation was a success. Kentucky is really beautiful and they have some fabulous-looking license plates in that state. The heart of the city of Lexington is very small, but the Pedway was very cool. The shops, the Rupp Center, the abundance of horses and cows, all very cool. We were sad to see that the Tattoo Convention was coming the next weekend, sorry to miss that! And, we found this really cool radio station, called B102 - ďThe Eighties and More!Ē. It was really refreshing to hear all those Ďoldí songs, and believe it or not, we heard more Hooters this weekend in Kentucky than we ever hear locally! This was the longest road trip weíve ever been on. Well, we went to Toronto once in 1995 but that was in Steveís truck. This was definitely the most miles we put on the PT, over 1,600 I think. Whew! Steveís knee and butt were sore for days!

OK, so that brings us to Tuesday and Wednesday, the 13th & 14th. I just laid low, recovering and unpacking. I heard this strange noise in our utility room, and turns out a pipe on our heater sprung a leak, so we had to call the oil company, and they came first thing Thursday morning to take care of that. In the afternoon on Thursday, I took the 3:57 train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill. It was so windy on my way walking there that I almost turned back, I couldnít believe that wind! But I persevered, and what an odd train experience. I arrive at the station to hear a recorded message that the train will be 15 minutes late. Then, there is a recorded message to be aware of your surroundings, and report anything suspicious. OK. Then, on the train, nobody came to collect tickets, in fact, not one conductor made the rounds, during the entire ride and when I exited the train, there were still no NJ Transit people to be seen. Strange indeed. On the way to the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Steve spied the Krispy Kreme red light on, so we stopped for a free hot donut! Then, on the NOCC meeting. Suzette gave a little talk, and showed some of her documentary, and then one of her doctors gave a short talk. It was an uplifting evening, and it was good to see Dawn and Matt , and Kathleen and Mary Ann, and Dave too. When we got home, we discovered that Paul had left a treat for his Ďgirlsí in the mailbox, many thanks to him for watching them while we were away!

Friday, 4/14 - Vickie came over at 10 am to flush my port and draw my CA 125 and various other blood tests for Dr. King. Then, I ran some errands as it was a pretty nice and warm-ish day. When I got home, I roasted some peanuts for Steve, and the house smelled wonderful!

Saturday morning we were outta here early as we were attending an ovarian cancer talk at the Wellness Community by the other doctor in Dr. Kingís office, Dr. Carlson. He was very informative, and we were happy to learn a few new things. After it was over, Kathleen left to go sock shopping, Miss Queen of Socks! And, we joined Suzette & Lisa for lunch at the Salad Works. It was delicious, and we had a really great time, laughing and being silly. From there, Steve and I ended up at the Pennsauken Mart, just walking around and checking out the bargains. He found me these totally sweet handbags, one all leather, for $1 each! We went into the video store, and they were selling used videos without their covers, for $1.99 each. We found one that said it was a Promotional Video from the movie studio, and didnít have a title on it. So, we bought it, came home, made some popcorn and put it in the VCR for a Mystery Movie night! The name of the movie was Fifty/Fifty, it was made in 1994 and starred Robert Hayes and Peter Weller. Ever heard of it? We enjoyed it, something different to do!

Sunday, we went over to see Judy at her condo in Sea Bright, NJ, which is around the Asbury Park area. When we left the house, it was warm, nearly 80 degrees. We stopped at a local diner, the Pomona Diner, for a quick breakfast, then made our way up the parkway. When we pulled up and got out, it was cold! 50 degrees, what a difference being next to the beach! A few of her friends were there helping her pack some things up, throw some things out and just generally get organized. Bobís PT was in the drive way, running, like he had started it up and was going to get in it any minute. It was disconcerting! We hugged, and talked, and hugged some more. Steve helped her with Bobís computer for awhile, but the longer we stayed in that room, the eerier it got. That is where he was stricken with the fatal heart attack, and I would swear to you that he was right there with us. At one point, it got so cold, I had to leave and go upstairs, Steve soon following. We hung out, looking at pictures and talking and pretty soon it was past 10 and we had an hour and a half ride home, so we took off. It as good to be there, but odd just the same. I was extremely happy to hear that the song Judy looped over and over again at the wake was the same exact one I want sung at my services when I croak, (that is, if I have services!), ďSomewhere Over the RainbowĒ. On the way to the Parkway, we decided to grab a late night snack at the Fridayís, and Judy - on the way in, right in front of the door, was a shiny penny! I think you may be right about those pennies!

Iím sorry that this is so long, I wanted to get all the updating done in one shot! I guess Iíll end with this:

Happy Birthday wishes go out to Rita (8th), Mike (14th), Steve Corbin (16th), Granny (16th), Mother Dearest (20th) and Mary Pinto (21st).
Happy Anniversary to Jef & Dawn (2nd) and Tina & Bob (21st).
Happy National Sibling Day (10th), and Happy National Husband Appreciation Day (17th).

Oh, and whatís up with that Pope? Did you hear what he said recently? ďLife itself is more important than quality of life.Ē Well, I beg to differ! OK, later!

Wednesday, April 7, 2004 8:40 AM CDT

Monday morning, I just didnít feel right. I woke up much the same as I had been the last few months, with the sensation of an impending migraine. But somehow, something was different. These headaches usually go away once I drink my Friends-size mug of morning coffee, but not this morning. ďOh, I know,Ē I thought,Ö.Iíll pop my exercise video into the VCR, maybe the aerobic workout will energize me and make me feel somewhat better. Yes, I know what you are thinking,Öaerobic workout? OK, so Iíve been keeping that from you, for the last few weeks Iíve been doing some exercises because I find it helps with my MS symptoms. But, halfway through the video tape, all of a sudden it felt like a ton of bricks had been dropped on me. Even though I was in the middle of some serious movements and momentum, I started to feel cold as ice and I began to shiver. Strange, I thought. I managed to finish the workout, and I remember thinking that something just wasnít right, but I couldnít pin point it. I muddled through the day, and according to Steve, I tossed and turned all night. Which worried him to some extent, because he called me early Tuesday morning to see how I was feeling. Not too good, I told him, I just couldnít seem to shake this odd feeling I was having. It wasnít that I felt sick, like I had caught a germ or anything, so we attributed it to the MS. But, still,Ö.it was just to weird, yet I knew I had felt this way several times before. But, when? And, why? My mind was cloudy, I could not get warm, and my actions were slow. It almost felt like I was forgetting something, that something was missing or lost, somehow nothing was clear to me. Steve came home from work, we had dinner, and soon Steve made his way into the office and onto the computer. Iím in the living room, and out of the blue I hear Steve yelling what I thought to be, ďWhat the f --k?!?Ē The sound and tone and degree of urgency to his voice was disturbing, so I jump up and run into the office. He is staring at the computer screen and I look for myself. And, there it was, clear as a bell, plain as day, the reason for what I had been feeling since early Monday morning - Bob Castronova had succumbed to a massive heart attack,Ö.Monday morning. Bob Castronova, our good friend, husband to sweet Judy, leader of the Garden State Crew-Zers, our would-be Hawaii host, gone in an instant, in the blink of an eye. We were absolutely shocked, to say the least, and flat-out saddened. We canít even put into words how or what we feel. In that moment, my mind suddenly became clear, the fog that had shrouded my thoughts and actions was gone, but I was still shivering, now more than ever, cold to the bone. We frantically searched through several of the PT Cruiser club forums for some answers, and immediately called Judy, leaving her a message on the answering machine. It is now Wednesday morning, and after a long sleepless night I thought Iíd just come here and share these feelings and musings with you. I now know when I experienced these odd vibes previously. I realize this may sound morbid, and many of you probably will not believe me when I say it, but I know it to be true. When my grandparents died, when my best friend Gary died, when my brother Scott died, I felt those very same things. In fact, I can almost tell you the exact time Gary & Scott passed, thatís how strong the vibes were. But, enough about that. Iíd like to impart a message to all of you, and make a vow to myself - strive for no more missed opportunities. Be conscious, be mindful, pay attention, live your life, laugh hard and love hard,Öand donít let those opportunities pass you by.

- - Obituary - - ROBERT M. CASTRONOVA, 42, of SEA BRIGHT
- - Published in the Asbury Park Press 4/7/04
ROBERT M. CASTRONOVA, 42, of SEA BRIGHT, died Monday, April 5, at Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch. He was a computer programmer for AT&T, Middletown, for 15 years, and for various other companies. He was New Jersey director of the PT Cruisers Club, "Garden State Crew-zers." He was a graduate of Mount St. Michael High School, Bronx, and DeVry Technical Institute, Woodbridge. He was a devoted and loyal friend to many. Born in the Bronx, he lived in Hazlet before moving to Sea Bright 15 years ago.
He was predeceased by his parents, Angelo and Antoinette Cecere Castronova. Surviving are his wife, Judy Williams Castronova; three sisters and a brother-in-law, Carol Banks, Joanne and Bill Cooley, and Layla Lewis; a niece, Jennifer Cooley; and a nephew, Sean Cooley.
Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, with a service at 8:30 p.m. at Day Funeral Home, 361 Maple Place, Keyport. Cremation will be private.

I want to thank everyone who is reading this, for the kind words and thoughts I know you are expressing to Judy, Bobís friends and family, and of course, us. Iíd like to lighten the mood up a bit, please donít take offense at what I am now going to write. Bob had a crazy sense of humor, and when the four of us got together, we would laugh so hard, just constant big belly laughs that would leave my stomach hurting for hours. Seriously, something about the chemistry between he and Steve that was bone-rattling funny. With that in mind,Ö.Judy, I hope this will make you smile.

- - A DEF Haiku

Bob Castronova,
Sniffing panties in heaven,Ö
Better save Steve some!

An idea that is circulating in the PT Community as a tribute to Bob, that I think we can all do very easily - when you are driving your PT all this week, just keep your headlights on. Letís light up the earth for him this week so he can look down and know we are thinking of doesnít matter if you knew him or not, if you drive a PT Cruiser, then you were indirectly a part of his life. Be a part of this special tribute to a special man, and remember - in the midst of chaos is the birth of a bright shining star.

Cards and such can be sent to Judy Castronova at 18 Island View Way,
Sea Bright, NJ 07760.

And, thank you Bob, for all the smiles, the laughs, the big hugs and the wonderful memories. And thank you for being a part of our life, for bringing Judy into our hearts and for bringing us together with so many wonderful PT Cruiser owners. Peace, to you Bob, and to all who are reading this.

Monday, April 5, 2004 5:06 PM CDT

So, how was your April Foolís day? Were you a prankster, or a prankee? One of our local radio stations, the New Mix 97.3, was telling listeners all day that Donald Trump had bought the station! It actually didn't seem like much of a joke to me, why wouldn't he purchase a radio station? But, I knew right from the minute I heard it, that it was untrue. Didn't everybody else? Not much of an April Foolís joke, if you ask me! Speaking of radio stations, congratulations to Al Parinello for the nice write-up in the Atlantic City Press!

Well, here it is, April already. Time marches on, so they say! All right, ready for this? April is National Smile Month, which won't be too difficult for me to remember, especially with Steve in my life! That boy is crazy! The things he does to make me smile, I just don't know about him sometimes! Itís also National Poetry Month, so I'll probably be springing some poems on you in the next few weeks. Also, today marks the beginning of National Laugh At Work Week, whatever that means, and National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Week. I'd like to forget all about the last one, ha ha! Oh, and this month also marks the 35th year of Sesame Street - way to go, Elmo!

All this talk about it being April, but you'd never guess it from the weather around here. So far, it has snowed twice, rained nearly every day and itís really cold outside. Come on Mother Nature, enough!

Saturday morning, I came downstairs to get my coffee brewing, and there, on top of the coffee pot, were 3 Bunny Fairies! Oh how cute they are! These fairies for sure will be going into Fairyland, and not the Easter storage box! Where did Steve ever find them, I asked, and he said "Dollar Tree!" Gotta love those dollar stores! We had an appointment in the afternoon to get our taxes done, and to tell you the truth, I was a bit nervous. This was our first time as husband and wife, and I didn't know what to expect. But, good thing we're so poor,Öit wasn't too bad at all! We then ran a few errands, ending up at the closing Spencerís Gifts store. Things are 40-80ff, and we found a couple of bargains but we are still looking forward to the 90ff mark!

Sunday, after setting the clocks ahead an hour on Saturday night, we had to get up early and meet Denni & Hugh in Hatboro to help them move some of their stuff to their new apartment in King of Prussia. It was cold but sunny when we left, however within minutes, the sky opened up and it began to rain, and rain, and rain. We promised them we'd help, so we continued on, and as it turned out, we just wrapped everything up in plastic bags and loaded it all into the truck. After we wiped everything off in the hallway of the apartment building, and then carried it in, we decided to go get some lunch at a deli called Michael's that is sort of in the neighborhood. Good call, guys, because it was delicious! I had a Feta Cheese Omelet that was so good, and the potatoes were excellent! Yum! When we came out, guess what? The rain had stopped and the sun was out! Figures! We left Denni & Hugh on their own, now it was on to visit Suzette. It was a little earlier than we expected, so I called her on the cell phone, and listen to this,Öshe was driving down the same street as we were, several blocks behind us! What a strange happy coincidence that was! So we pulled over and waited for her, then we followed her down the highway to her house. Or, should I say, we tried to follow her! That girl drives like the wind in her PT Cruiser! She thought we were right behind her, but it turned out to be another truck. Then, we thought we saw her take an exit, but when we got off, it wasn't her! None-the-less, we met up again at the right exit, and it was on to her house for a nice visit, with both her and her father. Heís a real character, thatís for sure! Too soon and it was time for us to go, we had to be in Cherry Hill at the Hilton at 7:00 for a ĎTelevision Preview". My father-in-law gave us the tickets to this event, which sounded interesting. The company was showing 2 half-hour television shows, complete with commercials, and we had to rate them and make comments and stuff. Plus, they were going to give out some prizes, so of course Steve wanted to go! We get there, and I guess there were about 200 people. There were no snacks or drinks, just a jug of water that the hotel provided and plastic cups. We then filled out some papers, watched the first lousy awful pilot show, didn't win anything, filled out more papers, watched the 2nd lousy awful pilot show, didn't win anything, filled out more papers, then we got to leave. It wasn't too thrilling, but I guess it was just another one of our interesting things to do! A Focus Group, without the monetary incentive - thatís not right! After we left the Hilton, we went to the Marlton Diner for some dessert and a hot chocolate, then home to bed, I was totally beat tired!

Today, I'm doing all kinds of things here. We have an Easter Weekend Adventure that we are embarking on, so I am trying to get prepared. Steve of course is working late, then he has some things to do so we are having a later than usual dinner tonight. His dad gave us an 8 pound (free from the grocery store!) turkey breast the other night, so I have that in the oven and it sure smells good! I'll try to come back before our adventure, and I'll also try to get some new pictures on this site. Until then, I'll leave you with a poem from one of Americaís premier poets, Richard Eberhart, who happens to be celebrating his 100th birthday today. Mr. Eberhard was born in Austin, Minnesota, the home of the big Spam festivals. When his mother died of cancer in 1922, he began to write poetry. This is one of his best known poems.

The Eclipse
- from Collected Poems 1930-1986

I stood out in the open cold
To see the essence of the eclipse
Which was its perfect darkness.

I stood in the cold on the porch
And could not think of anything so perfect
As manís hope of light in the face of darkness.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004 4:04 PM CST

Hey, whatís up! Itís been a cold rainy windy week here in Extreme South Jersey, and I certainly do not care for it! No sir, donít care for it at all! Where is the Spring sunshine and warmth? Grrrrrrrrrr! Anyway, let me tell you about our weekend. We left early Saturday afternoon, bound for Reading, PA. It was actually a sunny day, with a temperature of near 60 degrees. The drive was nice, I guess it took about 2 hours and 15 minutes or so. We checked into our hotel, grabbed some munchies in the restaurant, and then got ready and met some friends for drinks and what turned into some late night snacks. It was a nice evening, we met some interesting people, and ended up talking until the wee hours of the morning, like around 3:30 am! I was beat, thatís for sure! We thought we could sleep in a little on Sunday, but, no! The room across from us had kids, screaming, talking, running up and down the hallway kind of bratty kids! Oh well! We got ourselves together, ate some left-overs we brought back from our chat-fest, and went over to the River Edge to surprise Charlie Prose. He was performing an afternoon matinee show, and the look on his face when we walked in and he saw us was priceless! I think we really did surprise him! Unless, of course, Michelle told him and then I guess he did a great job of acting like he was surprised! We hung around for awhile, talking to Dennis, Marie & David and I even met an old Ďtelephone buddyí - Chris from White Star Tours. It was really nice! But, we were tired and we had a long drive ahead of us, so we left once the show started, glad to have had this opportunity. What trip to Reading would be complete without a stop at some of the Factory Outlets? So, stop we did, but not for too long. Steve absolutely abhors factory outlets that are not what he calls Ďrealí outlets. And, people, these do not seem to be Ďrealí outlets. We didnít see any good prices on the merchandise. Things seem to be the same as in Target or WalMart or Kmart. Whatís the attraction, anyway? Is it just that all the stores are in one place? The allure of Factory Outlets? I donít get it. Oh well, too bad we didn't get to hook up with you, Michelle. You work too much, girl!

Monday morning, I was up and out early, off to pick mom up at 8:30 am. We went over to Gildaís, where a bunch of us were going on an outing to the Whole Foods Market in Marlton, NJ. We were the 2nd car to arrive, Kay pulled in a few minutes later. By the time 9:30 or so rolled around, there were 15 of us. We took several cars, and once at Whole Foods, we were given an early lunch, which was very tasty. However, mom wore most of her chocolate chip cookies on her pants,Ö.geez - canít take you anywhere, huh mom! We were then led around the place on a personal tour, which sounds boring but it was really rather interesting. We had so many free samples during this tour, we were stuffed! Then, we all had some time to do a little shopping, which of course we all did! Then, back to Gildaís where we said our good-byes, then I dropped mom back at her place around 3:30, then I came home, fed the cats and stuff, then walked up to the NJ Transit station to catch the 5:05 to Cherry Hill. Steve picked me up at 6:10 and we went over to the Riverview to meet Matt & Dawn for an advanced screening of ďWalking Tallí starring Dwayne Johnson. Who the heck is Dwayne Johnson, you say? The Rock! Hey, now you know why he let Vince McMahon re-name him! And, The Rock is really an appropriate name, donít you think? Walking Tall began on an upbeat note, however in no time at all the movie did an about face, turning violent and bloody. Oh, and did I mention the scenes where The Rock is shirtless? Sweet! As I sat watching the credits roll, waiting for the lights to come up, I noticed a name that looked familiar; Buford Pusser. I turned to Steve and said, ďWhere do I know that name from?Ē, and he said, ďFrom the original movie.Ē Original movie? Huh? Then he said it was a re-make. And as he and Matt talked about it, I started to remember, and I felt like, ďDuh!Ē There were several of the Walking Tall movies, maybe 3 total, as well as a weekly television series. So now I guess weíll have to rent all the movies for a marathon of sorts! Anyway, it was real good to spend time with Matt and Dawn, even though it was only a short while. Hey Dawn, you look great, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Iíd like to take a minute here, to officially welcome Dawn into The Secret Sisterhood of the Sweet Seventy Five Cent Shoe Society! And, no Matt, just because 2 new pairs go into the house, that does not by any means signify that 2 pairs have to leave the house!!

Tuesday I was really looking forward to attending the 2nd sculpting class at Gildaís, but Kay called early in the morning and said it was once again cancelled. Second week in a row, but at least this time I didnít get all the way over there to find it out. The instructor, Eleanor, is very sick, so I do not know when the remaining 3 classes will take place. Weíll see. I had some Ďfreeí time, so I read through the weekend newspapers, and guess what? In the Sunday edition, my favorite food critic reviewed El Vez! We were just there! And he gave it a really good rating, even mentioning the photo booth where we had our pictures taken. Oh how trendy are we! Then, I talked to Sugar, and he told me he and our old friend Joe went there for dinner, the same day we went there for lunch! Meaningful coincidences, gotta love them!

Tomorrow is April Foolís Day, so keep your guard up. If I donít get back here, Happy Happy Happy 82nd Birthday wishes go out to The Chief on the 2nd. (Aka Suzetteís dad.) And also, Happy Birthday to Sebastian Bach on the 3rd, look for another appearance of his recurring character on an upcoming episode of the Gilmore Girls. Nathan gave us a heads up on a free movie tonight, ďIntermissionĒ, but we are passing on this one. Itís at the International House in University City, and itís always so crowded there, we say Ďthanks, but no thanksí to that invitation. Tonight is another episode of the Stephen King show, which Iím sure Iíll fall asleep to! Iím going to see if Steve can put up some new pictures for you to look at, you are probably bored with these ones by now! OK, later my peeps!

Friday, March 26, 2004 7:50 PM CST

TGIF! Oh lordy, what a week. Tuesday morning, just as I was getting out of the shower, the phone rang. Who else could it be but Sugar, he has such a knack for calling just as Iím getting ready to go out! I was scheduled to go to Gildaís for my 2nd sculpting class. It was a sunny day but really windy and cold, things were blowing everywhere on my way there. I knocked on the back door of Ďthe barnĎ, no answer. I went around to the front, no answer. Whatís going on? I went over to the main house, and there Gwen told me that the class was cancelled. She swore someone called me, but I never got a message. So, since I was already there, I went upstairs and dropped in on the Gildaís Quilters. Alissa was there, starting a new project with her original art work. And, even after all this time, Merry presented me with the foam form for the pillow I made! I was quite surprised, since I bought my own stuffing months ago so I could finish it! Oh well, I took it anyway, maybe Iíll make another! I didnít stay, though, as I was not really prepared to quilt. I used the free time to run a few errands, and when I got home I had the pleasure of chatting with Charlie Prose. Itís always good to talk with him. All I have to say about the conversation is this,Ö.a man and his chain saw, itís a beautiful thing!

Wednesday, I awoke with this intense feeling of an impending migraine. It has been about a week now, and it is very annoying. Itís looming over me like a rain cloud ready to burst! I took a migraine pill and went back over to Gildaís at 10 am for a Jewelry Making class. Oh what fun! We made anklets, necklaces and earrings, and I hope they have this one again. It was so cool that we all stayed an extra half hour! Well, Iím happy to report that after a week of heated negotiations, it looks like the filming of MTVís Real World will indeed be happening in Philadelphia! At 3rd & Arch in Old City, to be exact. The taping is set to last 4 Ĺ months, beginning on April 10th. You all know how much I love Old City, now the rest of the population will have a chance to fall in love with it too! Thatís not very good for me in the long run, though, Iíll probably need a new place to enjoy as soon as more people start to infiltrate the area! Philadelphia officials have been trying to get the MTV producers to choose the city for years now, since 1999. Had the city, the producers, and the unions not been able to resolve their disputes and concerns, it would have been just fine by me, because the next city in line was Austin, TX - another one of my all time favorite places! Today was our 10th wedding anniversary. I was looking forward to presents but after dinner, I sat on the sofa, and before the Stephen King show came on, I was nodding off! And pretty soon, I was out like a light, so we have to do it another day!

Thursday, youíll never guess,Ö..Steve took the entire day off from work! (He knows I have been worried about my latest scans, and I think he was trying to make the day fun, just in case Dr. King had a bomb to drop on us.) Nathan set us up with advance screening passes at 10 am for the movie ďThe PunisherĒ, based on a Marvel comic strip. It was weird, going to a movie this early, on a weekday! Iím not quite sure if this movie is suppose to be a comedy, but it certainly had a lot of laugh out loud moments! I donít think this will be for everyone, very violent. But John Travolta was a whoot! A real bad man. And, the Punisher, he was kinda hunky! They showed him in various stages of undress, which was ok with me! We chatted with Nathan for awhile after the movie, and it was even weirder when we went outside and it wasnĎt nighttime! From there, we went over to a new restaurant that Stephen Starr recently opened called El Vez. Trendy Mexican, it was all right, nothing too special. They had one of those photo booths in the center of the place where you can take your picture, and it comes out on a strip with 4 small photos. The staff then places it up on the wall for everyone to see. Yes, of course, we did it! So, if you go there, look for us on your way to the unique restrooms! After lunch, we made our way to Hahnemann for our 3:30 appointment with Dr. King. She is now on the 15th floor of the same building Dr. Komarnicky is in. The office space is nice, bigger than at Jefferson, but it is this awful celery green color, not to appealing if you ask me! She did the exam, we chatted, and then - I got my Lupron shot. Right in the ass! Ouch! She is not overly concerned with the new cancer growth. All in all, it is only a matter of a few centimeters here and there. Bottom line, (ha ha!) is that we will once again re-assess with scans and blood draws in 3 months, which brings us to the end of June. So, except for the Lupron side effects, and the MS, Iím in the clear until at least then. Maybe weíll be able to get a honeymoon in! We came home, fed the cats, and it was Anniversary Gift time! The traditional gifts are Tin and Aluminum. The Non-Traditional is going to remain a secret for the time being, because Steve said he had to have more time to pick out just the right thing! So, the first present was tin - and it was a small tin in the shape of a Green M & M, filled with home-made chocolates. Itís really cute, and Iíll use it as a purse! And, no, Jason, you canít have it! The next was aluminum - Steve made me this beautiful sculpture out of aluminum foil, a bouquet of different colored roses in a glass vase filled with aluminum Ďshardsí in the bottom - it is far too cool! Now, I canít wait to see what the non-traditional gift will be! Presents opened, it was time to go out again! We went over to the Taj to watch the Apprentice in the Oasis Bar. Al & WJSE brought in Heidi and Troy from the show, who were signing autographs and chatting with everyone. It was a cool thing, and we spent quite a bit of time with Al. He is bringing some really exciting things to Atlantic City, so stay tuned! Oh, and we also dropped the car off at the dealership for servicing. And, we stopped at the Galloway Diner on the way home for a snack of Gravy Fries and assorted appetizers! Yum!

Today, not much is happening. We are getting ready for a weekend trip, to the Factory Outlet/Amish area of Pennsylvania. Should be interesting! Sorry, Denni - but weíll help you and Hugh move to the new apartment next weekend, ok? Hey, did you guys know it was Anonymous Gift Giving Week this week? I just found out! You are suppose to give an anonymous gift to someone,Öjust because! How cool is that! So, watch out! And, Suzie Q, I hope you start to feel better soon - Doxil will surely do a number on you. Oh, yoooohooo Bob & Judy! Are you back to reality yet, now that it has been nearly a week since you returned from Hawaii? I have to go now, Penn & Teller are going to be on TLC at 9, that should be funny. OK, see you all sometime next week. Monday, mom & I will be going on a Road Trip with Gildaís, and then Steve & I, and Matt & Dawn are going to an advance screening at 7 pm, and Tuesday is (hopefully) sculpting. Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 22, 2004 9:37 AM CST

Hi! Letís begin today with last Wednesday. Steve kept hearing the new Dairy Queen commercial on the radio, where Tommy Conwell talked about the chain giving out free ice cream cones as an opening day celebration. So, he comes home and we drive over to the Mays Landing DQ to get one. Well, they were not participating. Over to the Shore Mall location, once again, they were not participating. Over to the Somers Point location, again, no free treat for us. Whatís up with that? The only thing we can figure is that it was Philadelphia area locations only, which should have been stated in the commercial. Tommy Conwell, you owe me some free ice cream cones! We decided not to even try the Absecon location, instead we thought weíd stop at the Shore Mall on the way home. Driving towards the Mall, we spy the Krispy Kreme red light on, so yes, you guessed it! We went inside for a free donut! We were determined to get something free, ha ha! Pulling into the Mall, we see signs outside, poked into the ground, advertising a big clearance sale at Spencer Gifts. This is odd, we say, because those type of signs usually indicate a store closing. Sure enough, we go inside and find tables all outside the store, all the way out into the middle of the mall, stacked with merchandise, all 40-70% off! We ask Kenneth, and he says that yes indeed, this particular store is closing! For good! Oh No! Our dirt cheap, fun gift connection, gone! Oh what ever will we do, ha ha! No more 90% off treasures! We poke around at the merchandise, and I scored a Woodland Fairy Halloween costume for just over $10, down from a sale price of $39.99. Not bad, but still not 90% off, it was the only one or I would have waited for a larger discount! Back at home, Steve mixed us up a Nutty Irishman nightcap to celebrate St. Pattyís Day.

Thursday, Steve worked late, as usual, but when he got home we headed over to the Taj to join Al & WJSE for their weekly viewing of The Apprentice. But, guess what? They didnít do it this week because it was a sort of re-cap show, where no one new was getting fired. Oh well! Steve then made the suggestion that we go somewhere new for a late dinner and we ended up at Captain Youngís Seafood on Atlantic Ave. This restaurant use to be located on the Ocean One Pier, but when it closed, they moved to this location formerly inhabited by a Chinese restaurant, across from Tonyís Baltimore Bar & Grill. When we got there, only one other table was filled, then pretty soon it was only us! The food was tasty, we both had flounder, if you are in the area, Iíd recommend this place. It was about 10:30 or so when we got home, and it was snowing!

Friday, I woke up to snow falling, but it didnít last too long. Soon the sun was beaming down and the snow had all melted. Yeah!

Saturday, as you already know, we went on our Ritaís Water Ice World Tour. First we went to breakfast at the Country Kitchen down the Pike. We began the journey about 12:30 pm at the Absecon Ritaís location, with a delicious Banana Split Cream. I really like this one, but Steve didnít. Then to Brigantine for a Wild Black Cherry, the color of our PT Cruiser. Northfield was next, for a Root Beer. Yuck! We actually had to dump this one out, it was icky. We made a quick stop at the Mall to check out the Spencerís, then home for a minute to use the bathroom. Hey, three 8 oz cups of water ice, and youíd have to pee too! Yes, thatís right. The free samples were the regular sized cups, not the small ones they have used in the past. At first, we thought this was cool, but by the end of the day, we certainly had second thoughts! Next, we drove to Landis Ave in Vineland for a refreshing Green Apple, then to Delsea Drive in Vineland for a yummy Pina Colada. We took a break for a few minutes at a new dollar store called 99 cent Dreams. It was big and bright, and yes, we spent a few dollars! Down Rt 47 to Glassboro for a Vanilla, Berlin for a Fruit Punch, and finally Hammonton for a Peach and Mint Chocolate Chip. I say finally, because it was just about 9 pm, closing time! And we had to pee again!!! Home it was, and let me just say this, I hope I donít see another Ritaís Water Ice until next Spring!!!!!

Sunday we slept in, recovering from the World Tour. I told Steve, I think I have Ritaís poisoning, but he says, no, I didnít and couldnít possibly. Seriously, I think all that sugar or something effected me, I felt queasy all day! Late in the afternoon, we rode over to Atlantic City and the Wilsonís Outlet store so I could return something that I didnít like, and then we ate a nice lunch at the Applebeeís. They imploded the Veteranís Stadium in Philly this morning. You think we would have gotten up at the crack of dawn and gone to watch it, but no, we didnít even give it much thought. Yes, we had some good times, and bad times there, some memories and stuff, but it really was no big deal to us. The news reports showed people crying and waxing nostalgic. Come on people! It was only a building! Anyway, Veteranís Stadium : 1971-2004 - RIP! Today also officially marked the one year anniversary of our countryís invasion of Iraq. Now, that to me seems like a much bigger deal than some building being reduced to a pile of rubble! Families, homes, and lives destroyed and in turmoil. Hmmmm, makes you wonder.

Well, that does it for me today. Suzette, I hope this Doxil infusion treats you better than the last one. And, thanks to all who have offered info on cruises! Much obliged! Although, Iím sorry to say that so far nothing has Ďfloated our boatí, excuse the pun. We are looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary, something a bit different than the normal cruising experience. Maybe that is the wrong approach to take, but we want to try to find something that wonít compromise our style. I know that sounds snobbish! But, hey, we have to find something that suits us, right? And if we canít find anything in our Ďallottedí time frame, oh well, then so be it. Iíve just begun to look, so I have not given up hope yet!

OK, have a good one! I probably will not be back for a few days. Tomorrow and Wednesday, I am scheduled at Gildaís, and Thursday is our appointment with Dr. King. Later!

Saturday, March 20, 2004 8:15 AM CST

Hello to you all, on this beautiful and sunny (so far!) first day of Spring! Bring it on, Mother Nature,...I'm ready for ya! I'm stopping by here today, not to give you my usual boring updates, but to pass on to you Anna & Steve's Tip For The Day!

This is it - - - - starting at noon today, Saturday, all of the Rita's Water Ice chain in the US will be giving out free sample cups of their water ice, including some interesting new flavors. Steve is in fact mapping out our Rita's Water Ice World Tour right this minute. So, what are you waiting for! GO! It's FREE, the magic word! Maybe we'll see you at one of the locations, and share a delicious FREE treat with you!

Have a great First Day of Spring, whatever you do!

Wednesday, March 17, 2004 1:41 PM CST

Happy St. Pattyís Day to you! Believe it or not, we have been getting some snow here, it began on Monday night and has been flurrying on and off since then, mixed with periods of rain and sleet, and lots of wind. Yuck! Thatís what I say - yuck!

Yesterday, I was scheduled for 1:30 at Gildaís for another 4 week sculpting class with Eleanor McKelvey. Remember her name, youíll be hearing good things about her someday! Even though I left early to get to Atlantic City in the bad weather, I was still 5 minutes late for the class. When I got there, no one else had shown up yet, and by 10 of 2 it was still just me. Cool! I guess you could say I was the proverbial Teacherís Pet for the day! It was really great, and Iím excited about the sculpture I have begun. I really hope it turns out, it is the figure of a woman, and the pose is a bit difficult so cross your fingers I can pull it off! During the class, I came up with a novel idea regarding a sculpture, which Eleanor really liked, so now it looks like she will be creating it, and that is real exciting too! When it is done, Iíll fill you all in on it - I donít want to jinx it! Class was over at 3:30, and I had signed up for another art class to begin at 6 but it was cancelled because the artist was from Philly and she was reluctant to come down due to the weather. No problem, I just came on home! As I was leaving Gildaís, a car pulled out in front of me with this bumper sticker, ďDonít Postpone Joy!Ē - oh I really like that! So, I followed it the entire way, just so I could keep saying that, over and over again like a mantra! Donít postpone joy, how appropriate!

Here is your tip for the day: Find yourself a Dairy Queen. They are giving out FREE 4 ounce ice cream cones today, all day. So, what are you waiting for! FREE ICE CREAM CONES! Looks like weíll be going out tonight for a Dairy Queen World Tour, ha ha ha !

Speaking of free things, we are pretty sure that Ritaís Water Ice is giving out Free Samples on Saturday, the first day of Spring. They do it every year, although we have not yet heard the commercial. But, I wanted to give you advance notice, just in case!

OK, so I heard from Dr. King this afternoon. My CA 125 is up to 742, and the Cat Scans show some new activity. There seems to be a new spot that is nearly 2 centimeters, and some of the other spots are slightly larger. Still inoperable, but slightly larger. Basically, even though there is new growth, the growth is very slow and technically the disease is still considered ďstableĒ. At first, we talked about going on chemo again, but in the end we both decided to go ahead with one more shot of Lupron, followed by another re-evaluation in 3 months. Iím cool with all that, and I talked to Steve a few minutes ago and he seems ok with it too. But, I told him, with the threat of chemo starting again in July, I really really really want to go on a honeymoon. So if anyone hears of a great cruise opportunity, please let me know!

That about does it for today. Suzette and Dawn, donít let these set-backs get you down. And Matt & Lisa, please stay positive and strong. Weíll all get through this crap, but we canít do it without our wonderful care givers and friends and family! Oh, Iíd like to send a special hello to Joe(y) Campbell of the Swamp Candles, good to be in touch with you, long lost Follow Me friend! See you in April?

Again, Happy St. Pattyís Day! Drink some green beer, do a little Irish jig, but please - party responsibly. Good luck finding your pot oígold! And,...remember,...donít postpone joy!

Monday, March 15, 2004 5:21 PM CST

Hello people! How've you been? Good, I hope. Me,...well, I'm about the same. I guess I'll begin today with telling you about last Monday night. Steve came home from work and asked me if I was ready to have a birthday party. Oh no! Who did I forget? I was in a panic, and he said I'd find out after dinner. OK, after dinner arrives, and he asks me if I want a beer to celebrate a birthday. I am so curious I could burst, so I said "Ok!" and he brings us each a beer. Iím waiting to see if he is going to tell me what we are celebrating, and then I look closer at the beer bottle, and there is a fairy on it. Fairy Beer, how cool is that! Then, I realize, it was the one month birthday of my fairy tattoo! Isnít he funny!

Speaking of birthdays, Atlantic City celebrated the cityís 150th birthday on March 3rd. Oh, and I also was informed by Steve that it is National Womenís History Month - so pick yourself a woman you admire, alive or dead, and find out about her!

Tuesday, I was up and out early to take care of some things, like the Post Office and bank and stuff like that. The weather was screwy all day, I even drove through some sleet and hail! I ended up at our local Kohlís Department store. Well, they sent me a coupon for 25% off anything, so of course I had to go. You would have, too, right? Man, I scored some sweet sweaters for $1.87 each, some 50 cent panties, and I spent just over $10! Not bad! I then headed over to Gildaís to attend a Floral Craft session. It was fun, we made a St. Pattyís Day topiary with carnations and shamrock decorations. Itís pretty neat! Then I stayed on for the Potluck Supper and an impromptu Aromatherapy session. I always feel funny about staying on and eating the Potluck supper food, since I have not yet brought my own item, but Kay assures me itís ok, so I did in fact eat something, but I didnít stay too long as I wanted to come home and get Steve his dinner. Yes, he is working late again all week. Oh, and congratulations to mom for surviving 2 days of Jury Duty, and for being excused!!!

Wednesday, I took the noon time trains into Philly. I had a 2:30 pm appointment at Jefferson for my abdomen/pelvis/chest Cat Scan. I got there early at 2:15, signed in and was told to take a seat over in a certain area and they would let them know I was early so maybe they could take me sooner. I sat there, waiting for my awful barium drink to arrive. And I sat there. And I sat there some more. Now it was nearly 3, and still no drink. A nice nurse noticed I had not received it yet, so she went in to the department to ask and pretty soon a girl comes out with this giant beaker of what looked like water. She started apologizing profusely, saying she was sorry but she forgot I was waiting for the drink, and since the barium takes 1 hour to go through your system, and Iíd already been there 45 minutes, she brought me something else. Gastrografen. I had this before, and it made me sick. But, I wanted to get this over and done with, so I took it. The beaker said 1000 milliliters, which Steve says is a one liter bottle. She said to drink it down and my scan would start at 3:30, as scheduled. Well, you guessed it, 3:30 came and went. And, oh this stuff was hard to drink! Awful tasting, and I almost dumped it in the plant next to me! But I didnít, and pretty soon the nice nurse came and took it from me, saying she would tell them I finished it all! I guess it was nearly 4 when they finally came to get me. Now was the part I was fearing, the needle stick in my arm. Well, it hurt a bit, but she was able to get it on the first try. OK, maybe all will be fine. Wrong! Scan went smoothly, but when they took the needle out, it hurt like hell. They put the gauze on, taped it, and sent me on my way to the waiting room to wait for my films to print. But as I am walking down the hall, I hear someone yelling, ďMiss! Miss!Ē and I turn around. Guess what? I was dripping blood all down the hallway! Eeeeewwwwww! So, back I went, while a dude applies pressure to my arm, and we clean the blood and he tapes me all up again. Back to the waiting area, and it seems to have stopped. I get my films at about 4:25, and Iím finally out of there - over 2 hours!!! I walk over to the Gallery for a short while, and Steve picks me up outside Strawbridgeís at 5:30, and we went over to the Adelphia Restaurant in Deptford for their Happy Hour. By now, I was starving, because in preparation for the Cat scans, the last time I could eat was 10:30, and I was hungry! The (free) buffet was pretty good, pastas, salads, mussels, and a big red Elmo was walking around! Whew, what a day, I couldnít wait to get home!

Thursday, I took the train to Cherry Hill. Steve picked me up and we went over to the Riverview to see the advance screening of the new Johnny Depp movie, ďSecret WindowĒ. Now, I liked it a lot, not a whole lot, but I did like it. I enjoy Stephen King, and I enjoy Johnny Depp. It had itís suspenseful moments, although itís not that scary or frightening. Just regular Stephen King weirdness.

Friday I was surprised when Steve came home and said he was not working on Saturday! Yippee! So, we both slept in, I wonít even tell you how late it was when we got up! At around 5 pm, we were planning to go to an Irish Buffet at a local restaurant, but we got caught up in VH1ís ďBands Reunitedí marathon, and got there late, just as the buffet was ending! No matter, we had some green beer and enjoyed the Bag Pipe band, then back home for an early night.

Sunday, we slept in again, and then we got ready and went out to a late breakfast at a really delicious place in Hammonton called Maryís, on Rt 206. Then we got on the Expressway and drove to Camden and the E-Center/Aquarium area. The new River Line train system to Trenton began today, so we wanted to be among the first to ride it! And, so did everyone else! Screaming crying unruly babies and kids, it was chaotic! But, we did it, then we came home!

Today I am involved in a million little things here, tomorrow Iíll be going over to Gildaís - I sure hope it does not snow like I just heard predicted on the news! Vickie came over this morning to draw my CA 125 and flush the port. So, I should know the results by the end of the week - Iíll keep ya posted! Ok, I better go get some dinner for Steve ready! Bye for now!

Wednesday, March 10, 2004 7:43 AM CST

It is cold, and rainy, and windy here,...just think - we could have been in Hawaii right now!!! Oh well, everything happens for a reason, right? Can't figure this reason out, though! Anyway, I am getting ready to go to Philly for my Cat Scans. I'll take the 12:42 train(s), I have to be at the radiology department at 2:30, the scan is at 3:30. This will probably be the last scan I have at Jefferson, since Dr. King has moved over to Hahnemann - I'll be bringing copies of the films with me, so that Hahnemann will have something to compare with for the future scans I have there. A bad thing about today,...I can't get my port accessed since Dr. King is no longer on staff at Jefferson. So, be sure and come back here in a day or 2 to hear my horror story regarding that aspect of the day! OK, gotta go!

Monday, March 8, 2004 6:20 PM CST

Hey there! Well, here I am on this cold dark day, looks like our warm weather streak is just about over for awhile. Oh well, it wonít be too long now, and weíll all be complaining how hot it is, right? Ha Ha!

I forgot to mention this on Wednesday when I wrote my last entry - Happy Birthday to my nurse Vickie! Youíll always be older than me, girl! Not by much, but still older!

Thursday, March 4th, I took the train to Cherry Hill to meet Steve. It was a beautiful day and the walk to the station was really nice. Before meeting Dad and Rita at the Loews Theater, we stopped for a quick bite to eat, then it was off to see ďHidalgoĒ. Once we were seated, the sponsoring radio station began to give out their prizes. First he put out some posters for people to come up and take. Then the dude asked people to come down with something that would prove their ancestry, like a birth certificate, or something. Well, we joked how Steve should go down and show his tattoo and say he was Chinese,Öand after egging on from Dad & Rita, he did. And, darned if he didnít get a prize pack! It was funny, the radio guy got a kick out of it, and Dad & Rita didnít realize they had a Chinese son-in-law! Then, he asked for people to come down if they had anything cowboy-related. So, Steve gives me this card he had in his wallet that had a Ďsheriffísí star on it, so down I went, it worked, and I got the very last prize pack! Sweet! So, we got t-shirts, cdís, plastic coffee mugs, mouse pads, a key chain, not too shabby! Anyway, on to the movie! None of us really knew anything about this film, and I must say, we were all surprised to find out that Hidalgo was not the name of the lead character in the film, but of the horse he rode. Who, I guess you could say, shared top billing with actor Viggo Mortensen. We all enjoyed the movie, the soundtrack was pretty and some of the shots were absolutely stunning. It was a long movie, and we could tell it was nearing the conclusion, when all of a sudden, the film stopped and you could see it actually burning up on the screen! Oh no! We were so close to the ending! About 10 restless minutes later, they had another copy up and running, and we all got to see the end, whew! (Hey Dad, good going, scoring those abandoned posters!) If you havenít already heard, Hidalgo is based on a true story, about a man named Frank T. Hopkins who was among other things, an identity thief and a Ďtall tale tellerí. The movie does not touch on these subjects, however. It spins the yarn of how Frank and his horse Hidalgo win a horse race across the Sahara desert. Making this the very first Middle East Western! You all know Viggo Mortensen from his recent role in the Lord of the Rings movies. But here are some interesting facts I bet you didnít know - He was once married, for 10 years, to punk rocker Exene Cervenka of the band ďXĒ, and they have a 16 year old son named Henry. And, Viggo liked the horse who played Hidalgo so much, that after he was done filming the movie, he bought the horse! Oh, and Mr. Mortensen does not have any t.v.ís in his house. Yikes, how does he do that! And one last mention of Thursday,ÖI colored my hair again myself in the morning, and once again, no one noticed!

Friday, I was up early and on the train(s) to Philly as I had a 3:30 appointment to participate in a research focus group on Oral Mucositis. This subject hit home with me, you may remember all the problems with mouth sores I had last January and February due to the Doxil I was on. Suzette was there, and we had a good session and a nice visit! Steve picked me up afterwards, and we went over to Old City for First Friday. It was a lot of fun! We went around to all the galleries, eating all kinds of goodies such as crackers-n-cheese, caviar, sushi, veggies, chips and pretzels, and wine and soda. We strolled the streets and had a perfectly lovely time! And, no, I didnít buy anything! Not one thing comes even close to Jeffrey Margraffís painting!!!!

Saturday, it was rainy and cold. ( Happy Birthday to Dr, King! Another person who will always be older than me, if only by a few months! ) We were up and out early, attending an MS conference at the National Constitution Center in Philly. My neurologist, Dr. Leist, was the featured speaker. It was really nice, they gave us vouchers for lunch, and we got to tour the Center. I found it completely and utterly boring, but I guess if you like that sort of stuff, it was pretty cool. We got home around 4, took a nap, then went off to Atlantic City and the Casbah Lounge at the Taj Mahal. Our friend Al Parinello, owner and CEO of Jersey Shore Entertainment/WJSE 102.7 FM had graciously put us on his guest list to attend a DVD release party for Gina Gershon and her movie ďPrey For Rock & RollĒ. She was going to be performing with a band, Girls Against Boys, and this sounded interesting to me! I wore my new tattoo-baring leather mini-skirt, oooh la la! We really hate this club, it is suppose to be sort of high class, but the people are always rude and obnoxious, and the floor is so sticky it is gross. And, it is far too smoky! But, we had a good time, we saw Al, and met some nice people from Australia. The band was good, but in my opinion, Gina looks and acts much better than she sings! She sort of has a punk style, similar to Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders but not nearly as good. We got a dvd, and they had posters but we didnít want to carry that around all night. (Sorry SuzieQ, I wanted to get one for you but I didnít!) Oh, and I had one martini, and got totally bombed! It was funny! Then, we got hungry so at 2:00 in the morning, we are sitting on a ledge in the casino, eating an absolutely wonderful egg sandwich that we discovered at this little store near the elevators to the parking garage - $1.59! At a casino! Sweet!

Sunday, I guess you know what I am going to say,Ö.we slept in! Until nearly noon! Then, we went out and ran some errands, (oh Steve, how funny was WalMart!!!) It was near dinner time, so we decided to go somewhere we have never been - Sharon Zengís Buffet at the English Creek Shopping Center. Oh, YUM! It cost $12.99 per person, and the food was really tasty. Very unique Chinese items, heavy on the seafood. King Crab legs, Snow crab legs, tons of shrimp dishes, and even a sushi bar with 2 sushi chefs making all orders for you while you wait and watch. It was so very good, and guess what? We were there for 2 hours! Yes, we ate for 2 hours straight, and Steve noted later that we barely talked to each other the whole time! Oink!

Today, it is still raining, and chilly, Oh, I already said that, didnít I? Steve is once again working late this week, and Iíve been doing laundry and stuff. I just canít get myself together today, I am so tired, I havenít felt this tired in a long time. And, Iím very tingly, and have been for a few months now. Maybe I am letting the anniversary of my brother Scottís death get to me, I donít know. Oh well! At least Iím not at Jury Duty, right mom? Yep, my mom is serving on Jury Duty, and she hates it! Has to drive into Atlantic City, and that just is not her cup of tea! Hey, no big deal mom! Itíll be over before you know it!

Iím wondering how Bob and Judy made out on their big flight to Hawaii on Saturday. Lucky dogs, I sure wish we had been able to swing it and go with them. I know Iíll be looking forward to them returning on the 21st, and telling us about everything we missed!

Hey, did any of you guys see the new Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson movie, Starsky & Hutch? I read somewhere that those two are the new Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin of Generation X-tasy - I thought that was clever!

Oh, and one more thing to evidence to you that my brain is like a sieve,ÖI forgot to mention that Tuesday March 2nd was the 100th anniversary of Theodor Geiselís birth. Who is Theodor Geisel? Why, Dr. Seuss, of course! He passed away of cancer in 1991, after writing 44 books during his career. If you have any interest in him or his work, check out these fun web sites:,, and So, in honor of Dr. Seuss, Iíll leave you with this from One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish:

If you never did,
You should,
These things are fun,
And fun is good!

Wednesday, March 3, 2004 1:12 PM CST

Ok, I guess I should first explain the new pictures. The first one is Jason Berryman applying the Ďstencilí of his original artwork to my tummy, the first step to the process of getting inked. Thatís the outline of the vine to the left, heís putting on the fairy. The next one is my favorite,...Steve getting his ankle tattoo. Check out that face! HaHa! And the third one is right before we left for the Mardi Gras Party.

Sunday was Leap Day, and sadly to say, I ran out of my Ruta Maya coffee beans, my little taste of Austin Texas oh how I will miss you! We decided to treat the day as an extra bonus day, and sort of goof off. A new Applebeeís restaurant opened in Atlantic City a few days ago, so we thought, letís go over for lunch. On the way, we stopped to return a DVD to Jason and deliver a basket of frogs to his mom, Anne. Sorry to hear of your operation, Anne, but glad that it looks like you caught it early! It was such a beautiful day, we only needed a light jacket. It was sunny, but even with all that brightness, sorry Jef but we didnít even see you by the Home Depot! Applebeeís was ok, but I think we had the worst seats in the place and I was sure Steve was going to have something spilled on him. But, he didnít, and from the restaurant, we took a walk around the new shopping area they are building near the Convention Center, which is where the Applebeeís is. Itís called The Marketplace, and is billed as Outlet Stores. And people, we surely discovered a good one. Itís a Wilsonís Leather Outlet Store!!! Whoopeee! I must have spent an hour trying things on, you canít believe the prices. I came out of there with some very cool stuff, wait until you see! Steve even bought something for himself, lordy lordy! Back at home, Steve made us a nightcap, called ďLeap Year CocktailĒ, which was pretty tasty!

Monday, and March comes in like a lamb,Öoh no, that means it will go out like a lion, right? March is National Kidney Month. Itís also National Colon Cancer Awareness month. Did you check out their Ďlogoí yet? I am putting a website below for you to check out, the logo is a blue star insignia - cool! But of course I like it, my thing when I was younger was a star - in fact, in High School, my nickname was ďStarĒ, or ďEstrellaĒ which is Spanish for star. (Iím not sure if I spelled that right!) Anyway, check it out! Tonight, Steve made another Leap Year nightcap called a Grasshopper, which was also pretty tasty and a wonderful green color.

Super Tuesday brought my mom over for a visit, which was nice! We live so close but rarely see each other, she says she needs an appointment to see me, ha ha!

Today, it is still real nice outside, mild and sunny. But they say rain is on the way, maybe tomorrow and Friday. Hey, better than snow! Suzette and Mom, it was good to hear your cell phone messages this morning! I was a little bummed out for awhile early on. Steve and I were going to attend the Annual Share Holderís Meeting of Disney, which is being held today in Center City, Philly. But, late last night, Steve decided to be responsible and go to work instead of the meeting. I was a bit disappointed, but I have been listening to it over the web so that is somewhat interesting. But, really, Iíd rather be there! Again, Steve is working late this week, I donít expect him home until 7:30 or so tonight. One good thing, he isnít working Saturday, as we are attending an MS Conference in Philly.

I think that about does it for today. Tomorrow we are going to the advance screening of ďHidalgoĒ in Cherry Hill, where we are meeting Dad & Rita. Then Friday, I am participating in another cancer-related Focus Group in Philly. (See ya there, SuzieQ!) So, Iíll probably talk to you again sometime next week. Have a good one! Oh, and also check out our friend Ean's website!

Monday, March 1, 2004 9:42 PM CST

New Pictures!!!!!

Saturday, February 28, 2004 12:47 AM CST

The sun is out today, and it is real nice outside. So, enjoy the spring flower border - who knows when it will turn to something dark and wintry again!

Tuesday, Steve worked late, but even so, we managed to get over to Ventnor for a free showing of "Welcome to Mooseport". The movie was sponsored by a local Century 21 office, and the theater was packed. No wonder, it was Free! Every time we saw the preview for this film, I would turn to Steve and say, "no!" because neither one of us can stand Maura Tierny, and Ray Romano is just so monotonous. But it surprised me how enjoyable the movie actually was. I wouldn't go so far as to recommend it, but it was light and somewhat funny, a good television movie. When we got home, it was Anniversary present time! Yippee! OK, let's see - the gifts were china, pottery, leather, and willow. Yes, willow! How crazy is that! Anyway, Steve combined the china and the pottery, getting me a pottery vase & trinket box that was made in China! For the leather, well, he just couldn't decide. He handed me 2 suede coats, 2 leather skirts and 1 suede skirt from Wilson's! So, now I have to decide which item to keep, I can't possibly accept them all! The leather skirt is cute, black, and low cut to a sort of sloping 'v' in the front to showcase the tattoo! I think that one is a keeper! Then, for the willow, he had a little difficulty with this weird gift, and he ended up choosing Willow Bark hair spray from Bath & Body Works! That Steve! He's something else, isn't he?

Wednesday I had to get up super early again, for the last full day of the dental research study I participated in 2 weeks ago. The first thing I do when I get up is turn my cell phone on and listen to my "Mom Report". It was 7 am, and imagine my surprise when I heard the time on mom's message - 6:54 am! I just missed your call, mom! Man, you had a long and tiring night. The study was a fun day, we watched "The Iron Giant" and the 2nd Matrix movie, and the food was delicious - egg salad and tuna wraps, yum! Later on, I took the 5:10 pm train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill, and we went to the Riverview Theater in Philly for the advance screening of "Club Dread". When we got there, the parking lots were nearly full, and the news vans were all over the place. What the heck, we thought, then we realized, they weren't there for Club Dread, but for The Passion of the Christ. Walking into the theater, we were approached by a representative of Captain Morgan's Rum, and he handed us some free drink tickets and told us about a party immediately following the movie to celebrate the release of the film. OK, cool! When we sat down, some long-haired dude dressed like Captain Morgan came in followed by 2 Morganettes, and the girls handed out passes to get into the bar for the party, and more free drink coupons. Sweet! There were also movie posters too. The movie was funny, a stupid kind of mindless funny. I can't imagine Nathan liking it at all! When it was over, we sure enough found ourselves over at McFadden's on 4th Street, where we joined Captain Morgan, the stiletto-heeled Morganettes, (yes, SuzieQ, I thought of you!), and Tommy Conwell for a very interesting party. Free Captain Morgan rum drinks flowed from 9 until 11, tons of stuff was given away, there was a contest, and even a band. Whew! By the time we left out of there, man oh man I was LIT! In addition to 3 free drinks each, we had tasted several rum samples, and we got hats with dreadlocks on them, movie soundtrack cd's, keychains, a tube top, 4 souvenir Captain Morgan glasses, but sorry to say we did not get any of the t-shirts. Oh well! It was fun! Maybe you'll see some photos of the party one of these days!

Thursday I had to run out to the dental research office for one more time, for about 30 minutes, then the study was over. Good thing, too, as I am quite sick of citrus flavored breath mint strips!

Last night, get a load of this! You all should know by now how much I love Beth Hart. Well, earlier in the week I found out she was opening for Ziggy Marley at the Electric Factory tonight. One thing led to another, and first her manager Dave, then her husband Scott called me, and when Steve got home, we were on our way to the venue! We got an excellent parking spot, picked our tickets up at the door, along with 2 VIP passes, and made our way inside. Steve was photographing Beth so he had his camera bag and gear. You should have seen the security at the show! Amazing! The girl took nearly everything out of my purse, and tried to take my pen, saying that they do not allow pens into the concerts anymore! Isn't that something, but I guess a pen could be used as a weapon, right? They thoroughly searched Steve's bag, too, taking his water, but it was ok, and nobody else seemed to mind either. Walking through the door, I was handed a "Free Mumia" leaflet! Oh brother, it's going to be one of those crowds! Tables of environmental causes and stuff, dread locked dudes and gals, and lots of suspicious smelling smoke, it was interesting! Even though we were there early, we got in just as Beth took the stage, so I found a spot to watch her and Steve went up to the photo pit. Man, this chick is GOOOOOOOD! I was worried that this particular group of people would not be responsive to her music, but they were really digging it, yelling and clapping. Unfortunately, the set was just way too short, maybe 5 songs. I could listen to her all night, that's for sure! I found Steve and we went backstage where we met some really nice and enthusiastic fans of Beth, waiting to meet her. Scott came out and got us some drinks, and we hung out there with various crew members and band members while the next band, Spearhead, took the stage. In a bit, Scott comes over and says, "Come with me!", so we follow him into Beth's dressing room, where we proceeded to hang out with her for a little bit! Isn't that just sweeeeeeeet! A guy from her record label was there with his wife, but they soon left and it was just the 4 of us. Let me tell you, Scott and Beth are some of the nicest people we have ever met, seriously. Again, maybe someday soon you will see some photos! Then, before we knew it, they had to go - schedules to keep, places to be, and things like that! So, we went back into the VIP room, then we left, before Ziggy took the stage. Why, you may ask? Well, we went there to see Beth, (mission accomplished!), and it was really crowded by now, and our parking meter was running out, so we chose to leave early for a change! Wow, what a night!

Today, Steve is working again, so I am here just doing odds and ends. Mom, I laughed out loud at your Mom Report this morning, was way too funny! Yes, we'll make an appointment, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh, and thank you Maryann and Kathleen, we love the digital pictures! Talk to you all later, have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 24, 2004 4:40 PM CST

Well hello there! Happy Fat Tuesday to you!

I guess I'll start this entry off with Saturday. We left for Philly in the early afternoon, checking into the Wyndham Franklin Hotel in Center City. Funny thing,...I got the room here off of Priceline. If you are familiar with that service, you do not get to choose the hotel, it is a random process. Turns out, this is where the Tattoo Convention was held the other weekend! Memmmmmmmmories! Anyway, once in our room, we knew right away that this was not our favorite hotel, the Marriott on New Year's Eve was much nicer. Not that it was awful or anything, it was ok! A cool thing - we could see the PT Cruiser from our 19th floor window, neat! Before we knew it, we were dressed in our Mardi Gras partyin' outfits and in a taxi, on our way to our big party. Once again, Pat & Al outdid themselves. New Orleans-style food, music and dancing, games and contests, and more food. Oh, and beads! The first necklace I received was a topless figure of a girl with flashing lights in her boobs! Steve's was a topless girl with the words "Show Your Tits" on it,...oh mom, you would have cracked up! ( Remember that time in Wildwood! ) We ate and danced and mingled. Our only complaint was that it sure seemed to be awfully smoky. By the end of the night, we had handfuls of beads,....and yes I did indeed flash a little! Matter-of-fact, I even wore a "nipple shield" sort of like the one Janet Jackson made famous on Super Bowl Sunday. Except mine was made out of rhinestones. Hey - it was after all a Mardi Gras party! Oh, and I most certainly showed off the tattoo! I guess it was a little after 2 when we left out of there, it took so long to hail a taxi that when we finally did, someone else jumped into it! That was a shock! But we braved the cold a little longer, chatting with the other people in the street, and another one came along. Brrrrrrrr! By the time we got back to the hotel, it was nearly 3:30 and we were both beat!

Sunday, (happy birthday Grandpop!), we got a late check-out, leaving the hotel shortly after 1 pm. We went down to the Gallery for a little while, of course stopping at my favorite Dollar Store. Yes, we indeed spent some money there! (I love that place!) Then, we went over to one of our favorite restaurants, Bistro Romano. Dinner was delicious, and our favorite waiter Drew was there so that was nice. The pasta dishes there are so large that I had to take some of mine home in a doggie bag. Oh great, I thought, lunch! After dinner, we then went over to the Prince Music Theater to attend a Black History event. See, I told you we would make one! Getting out of the car, a homeless man came over begging for money, so guess what? I gave him my leftovers! Enjoy, dude! (There goes my lunch!)This event was put on by local filmmaker Michael Dennis, and seems to be an ongoing series of African American films he bills as "Reelblack Presents", which he began in December. Tonight, he was showing the 1975 movie "Let's Do It Again" starring Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitier and Jimmy JJ Walker, preceded by an ultra-rare tv special from 1973 called "Stevie Wonder's Visions". Oh, did I mention, it was free? And it was very cool, actually extremely cool. The entire night was full of give-aways and interesting trivia. Yes, Steve won a dvd, titled "Coffey" starring Pam Grier. By the time we were heading home, we both were saying how nice the weekend had been, sort of like a mini-vacation. Thanks to Paul, for taking care of the cats! Back home, even though it was nearly midnight, Steve mixed us up a "Cosmo" nightcap, in honor of the ending of Sex in the City on HBO!

Monday, I was up and out early, and over to Gilda's. Kay had organized a special meeting with the Jersey Shore Medical Center Ovarian Cancer Support Group, and she had invited me to join them. It was nice, I think there were about 13 ladies who came down from Monmouth County, which is just about an hour away. After the meeting,....and yes, Suzette, I had to talk!....we all had a nice lunch and I guess I got home nearly 4 pm. A longer day than I planned! But, these women were absolutely incredible, truly amazing. They have taken the Support Group theory to an entirely different level. You can't imagine how loving, caring and sensitive to each other's needs these ladies are. I am in awe of them. Never have I seen a support group this devoted to each other. Bravo, girls! Maybe our paths will cross again! I hope you those of you who went, had a good time at the Borgata!

Right now, I am waiting for Steve to come home, then we will be heading out to a movie. A local real estate firm has rented out a theater in Ventnor, and invited some people to come see "Welcome to Mooseport" starring Ray Romano. So, we are going, actually somewhere close by to see a movie - that's just odd! It is snowing in some parts of Pennsylvania right now, and raining in Philly and New Jersey. Yuck! But I heard earlier that the weekend may get close to 60 degrees, wow! Today is our 9 month wedding anniversary, I do not know what Steve has in store for me, but you know that I will come back and tell you what it was! Hey Suzette, I hope your first Doxil treatment went smoothly - even though I hated that one because of the nasty side-effects, it sure is a pretty color, isn't it?!

I'm going to try to get Steve to put on some new pictures soon, maybe over the weekend. All right, I better get a move on. Be talking to you again soon!

Friday, February 20, 2004 8:11 AM CST

Good morning to you! ( Or, afternoon, or evening! ) It's dreary here today, but a bit warmer, we are expecting temperatures in the upper 40's by the afternoon, that's much better indeed! Let's see, where did I leave off? Hmmmmm, it snowed all night Tuesday, a wet, fluffy snow. I don't know if I mentioned it recently, but I've been having trouble sleeping again, and I can feel a migraine coming on - and Tuesday night was no exception. It didn't have anything to do with the latest news from Dr. King, it's just the normal stuff. Now, back to the snow! Steve wanted to go sledding late Tuesday night, but I just didn't feel up to it. I guess we should have, waking up to it Wednesday morning,...everything was so beautiful! White and glistening, sweet! But by the early afternoon, it had all started to melt, and I walked to the NJ Transit station to get on the 5:10 pm train to go meet Steve in Cherry Hill. We went to Manayunk for an advance screening of "EuroTrip". This is a silly teen movie, but it had it's funny moments, and Matt Damon makes an unusual appearance in it. The theater was not crowded at all, which was good! It was mostly college kids, which was surprising because this theater usually attracts black people, I don't know why but it does. No disrespect there, but it's odd! I had a bad headache from the moment we got there, but it pretty much subsided by the time we got home. Thursday, I was pleasantly surprised to wake up migraine-free! Yeah!

Today, I am going to go out to run some errands, and then I think we are actually staying home tonight. Steve must be bushed, working late all week again. I am happy to report he is not working tomorrow! We have accepted an invitation to attend a Mardi Gras party in Philly, so we will be spending the night in Center City and coming back sometime on Sunday. A nice little weekend! This party is being thrown by the same couple who had the Halloween and New Year's Eve party that we went to. So, it should be a good time! This is our first Mardi Gras party ever,...and my nurse Vickie says she can't wait to see how many beads I get, ha ha ha ha! I'll be sure to tell you all about it!

I also wanted to let you know that I made my appointment with Dr. King, it is for March 23rd. Now I just have to schedule my CAT scans. ( Suzette - please let me know what happens with Doc McHugh today! )

That about does it for now. Oh, did you know this? Today is "Hoodie-Hoo" Day. What the heck does that mean, you ask? Well, you are supposed to go outdoors and yell "Hoodie-Hoo!!!!" to chase winter away! So, go - go now!!!!!! No more winter!!!!!! Hoodie-Hooooooooooooooo!

Tuesday, February 17, 2004 5:09 PM CST

Hi, it's me! Did you have a nice Valentine's Day? Well, Steve worked so we held off on any plans, which turned out to be a good thing, as my tattoo was really bothering me. Since I got it on Sunday the 8th, the area around it had been sort of slightly swelled, and the last few days it had been itching around the tattoo. Not the actual tattoo, just around it. No big deal, really, just the normal healing process I think. Well, Saturday, the swelling was noticeably worse, and the itching was driving me crazy! So, in the end, we stayed home so I could keep my baggy sweat pants on and apply my assorted creams! How romantic was that, ha ha!!!! We did manage to exchange gifts, though, I gave Steve a jeweled monkey wine bottle stopper, and he left his gift for me on top of the coffee maker so I'd see it first thing when I got up. It was a pair of Joe Boxer flannel pj's with a design of a coffee cup and saucer surrounded by croissants, 2 small bags of gourmet flavored coffee, and a big bag of flaky freshly baked croissants! Nice! So, there you go mom, nothing exciting! Everyone was wondering what we would do, it being our first Valentine's Day as a married couple, but it just didn't seem that big of a thing to us. Oh well! After all, we have been together nearly 12 years! Just another day!!

Sunday, the swelling was actually much less, and the itching also. So, I was determined to put some pants on,...and I did! Then, we went out to a local winery, Renault, to check out a promotion they were having for the weekend. It was a wine tasting & tour, with chocolates. The tour was nice, and the tasting even better. I lost count of how many tiny cups of wine we tasted, along with little chocolate morsels, but by the time we left out of there, I was lit! And, we managed to discover a Cream Sherry we liked a lot, and we met a nice couple from the Vineland area. But the best part was that I was out of the house, first time since I got inked!!!!

Monday, Happy President's Day! We left the house early for our noon time reservation at Morimoto. Upon entering the restaurant, I immediately felt a sense of peacefulness and tranquility. We were seated at a table for two by the wall, and I was able to look at and appreciate the entire place. The lighting was very swank, the curviness of the ceiling and the decorating touches created a kind of smooth sexy flow. It was neat! Although, the lamp on the table looked like some kind of sex toy, which was really funny! Anyway, our server Heidi was excellent, if you go there, be sure to ask for her! She thought we looked similar, and kept calling me her sister, I think it was the hair. We ordered an appetizer, a Spicy Tuna Sushi Roll and let me tell you - it was the absolute best Sushi Roll I have ever tasted. Oh Yum! I liked it much more than Steve, he doesn't care for raw seafood, or squishy things, but he did eat some. It was incredible,...if you are a fan of sushi, then I recommend you try to go here sometime. For our entrees, Steve had a beef dish that came in a gigantic bowl, with rice and I had a Char dish with rice & veggies. It was so very good, the service excellent, the rest rooms very interesting, and the people were wonderful. Too bad Morimoto himself was not there. Now, are goal is to actually have dinner there when he is cooking, imagine Morimoto creating your meal - wow! From there, we proceeded on our annual Mall journey, going to the Exton Square Mall outside of Philly. Well, while we did indeed find some bargains, this was not one of our favorite malls. It was ok, better than some we have been to, but it just was not that exciting. Steve managed to discover 2 very cool handbags for cheap, and we found a pair of cool boots for $3. Oh, also, we happened into a wine store, Chadds Ford Winery, and came home with 2 bottles of their wine (which of course we taste-tested first!). All in all, it was a good day, and I guess we got home about 9-ish, which really wasn't too bad.

Last night on the news, they were predicting a 40% chance of snow for South Jersey, 1-3 inches, and 4-6 inches for Extreme South Jersey. Today, I ran to the Post Office and the market, and while the clouds did indeed look ominous, the sky behind them was the bluest of blue, hardly looking like snow. But, when I turned on the 6:00 news a while ago, the weatherman said it had already been snowing in Cape May for almost an hour and it was well on the way to our area, probably by 8. Crap! Well, at least Suzette and Lisa got to Florida and had a little taste of nice weather!

Today, I heard from Judi in Dr. King's office. The news was not good, sorry to say. My CA 125 came back and it has risen considerably. From 509 to 699. We had been optimistic about the Lupron since the number had actually been going down, but in all honesty we have been expecting this. Come on, think about it,....tumors throughout my abdomen, and no chemo! Nothing is really changing from our original plan. More CAT scans, another CA 125, and a visit to Dr. King, (we expect either another Lupron shot, or more chemo), sometime in March - I have to call there tomorrow to set things up. In fact, I have been trying for the last 2 months to make my appointment, but the whole entire office has moved from Jefferson to Hahnemann, and they are not yet set up to make appointments on the new computer system, so they have been telling me to call back. Not this time, though! Judi says, call now! OK, I will, and I'll be sure to fill you in on what happens.

I guess I better go now, and try to get some dinner together. Yes, Steve is working late again all week, but not Saturday as we have some plans. (More on that later!).
And, mom, if you are reading this - please please please call Senn,...they are calling me to see why you are not calling them back. They have someone ready to come over and give you the estimate, so just give Betty a call.

All right, I have to go put some cream on the tattoo,'s much better today, almost totally healed and no swelling or itching. And, I still love it. Good thing, right? Ha Ha! OK - Bye!

Friday, February 13, 2004 5:14 PM CST

Well, here it is, Friday the 13th!!!! So far, it has been a good day for me. Vickie came over at 10:30 this morning to draw my CA 125 and flush my port. Paul stopped by for a visit and Sugar dropped off some Valentine Treats for me and Steve. Now, I'm just waiting for Steve to come home so we can have a nice dinner,...I'm making a fresh loaf of French bread from scratch and serving it with Shrimp Linguini Alfredo. I hope it turns out! He has to work again tomorrow, on Valentine's Day no less, so all our plans are still up in the air. The tattoo is starting to flake and itch, but otherwise it's looking and feeling pretty much ok! Vickie was really surprised to see it!

Yesterday, (Thursday 2/12), Sugar came over around 11 am and spent the day here, until 4 pm. He had to tell me all about his 18 days in Florida,...his 'journey of self-discovery', as he so eloquently put it! It was great to spend some quality time with him, but to tell you the truth, I was worn out by the time he left! Steve brought home some take-out food, that's how exhausted I was! Suzette and Lisa left out of Philadelphia International Airport at 8 pm, bound for Orlando for a long weekend. They deserve this mini-vacation, I wish we had been able to join them! Guys, I really enjoyed that video - we can't believe you used so much footage of the wedding! Sweet!

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine's Day. Did you know that an estimated one billion Valentine's Day cards are sent annually? Yikes! And, guess who the Greeting Card Association says buys nearly 85f that billion? Give up? Women, of course!

Also, have a safe President's Day on Monday, I know most of you will have off of work. Steve and I are going on our annual shopping trek to some mall we have never been to. We have not decided which one yet, but I'm sure it will be interesting! We have lunch reservations at a restaurant I have wanted to go to since it opened, it's called Morimoto. Yes, that's right, it's Iron Chef Morimoto's restaurant that Stephen Starr opened a while back in Philly. Man, it's tough to get a dinner reservation, they are booked up months in advance. It has been difficult for us to go, since I want to try his sushi and stuff and being on chemo, well,...eating that type of food is not really a good idea. So, we thought we'd try lunch since Steve has the day off, even though there is no guarantee that Chef Morimoto will be there. We'll see! Wish us luck!

OK, have a good one. And, mom - congrats on the happy ending to the Social Security adventure, maybe we can get that heater,... :-)

Oh, and a big happy birthday goes out to Alicia - I miss talking to you, girl! It's about time I met that baby of yours!

Tuesday, February 10, 2004 11:18 AM CST

O U C H ! ! ! ! ! OK, now that I've said that, (more on it later!), Courtney Love says in her new song, "Did you miss me?" Well, not to worry, here I am on this bright sunny and not as bitterly cold as it has been Tuesday morning. I hope I can remember some things to tell you!

I guess I'll begin with Wednesday, January 28th. Nathan offered us some passes to the advance screening of "The Girl Next Door", which we thought looked cute in the previews. It was totally freezing out, the ground was snow and ice-covered, but we braved it anyway and headed to University City and a theater we have never been to, The Bridge Cinema de Lux. What a cool place! The screening was very un-crowded, which is how we like it! And, the movie was actually pretty good. All about high school kids, and a porn star. No, it's not raunchy at all, it's really a teen movie done slightly different than the normal, with a positive message and everything! And, the soundtrack was absolutely killer - how can you go wrong with an Echo & the Bunnymen song!!! Thanks, Nathan!

Thursday was uneventful, except that it was a little depressing for us, as we had been scheduled to go to Los Angeles for a long weekend. However, the airline contacted us several months ago with a change of flight times that we were not happy with, so we had to ultimately reschedule the mini-vacation until July. Oh well! Something to look forward to in the heat of summer I guess!

Saturday, February 1st arrives, marking the beginning of Black History Month. I am noticing lots of festivities all around the region, celebrating this with singing and dancing and lots of information. Maybe we'll end up attending something, who knows!

Super Bowl Sunday, it's the Carolina Panthers vs the New England Patriots, and the annual "We Don't Care About the Super Bowl Party" at Anna & Steve's. You can see in the picture who came over, ( Nathan actually ventured out of Philly into Extreme South Jersey, lordy lordy! ), and I think everyone had a good time. We had lots of food and drink, and prizes, it was fun! Oh, mom - sorry to hear you missed the Great Super Bowl Half-Time Booby Show! It was no big deal, really, 'cause in my opinion, if you've seen one, you've seen 'em all! ( Ha Ha! )

Monday, February 3rd, groundhog day and the dumb thing sees his shadow - more winter! Today I began my week-long research study at the Health Research firm. My report time every day is 8:15, yikes! It was a good day, pastries for breakfast and wraps & sandwiches & salads for lunch. We are testing a new flavor of breath mint strips, and helping to choose the correct dosage. On my way home, I stopped at the Value City department store to look at some sheets Steve & I were interested in, and scored myself a really sweet $98 black crocheted Kenneth Cole top for $1.50!!!! The Bargain Queen strikes again!

Tuesday, the study went well again, but the weather was yucky - rainy and windy. And, I woke up with a slight migraine, but I expected that - it always happens when I set my alarm to get up early! Wednesday, as I was arriving at the Research facility, I noticed an ambulance leaving the parking lot, and a police car in front of the office. A woman outside was advising the people walking up to be extremely careful. Seems like one of our group slipped and fell on some black ice in the lot. Later on, we found out she broke her ankle in 2 places and badly sprained her wrist, I smell a lawsuit? We all watched "Finding Nemo" today to occupy our time, it was very hard to follow it in a room full of 46 people who are talking and laughing, but it seemed like a pretty good movie, one that I'd like to see with Steve. By the time I got home, I was feeling the migraine again, and I was really tired. Sorry Linda that I didn't feel up to joining you, Lynn, Kathy & Pat at the Olive Garden. Have a good time in Laughlin! Give Charlie a hug for me. It was early to bed for me, after a giant mug of echinacea tea and a Tylenol! But, I didn't sleep for very long, as it was raining 'ice balls', as mom said. It sure was noisy on the skylights!

Thursday morning and I am so sick of pastries! Mom's mobile home park was in the news again today, there was a fire and the trailer across the way from her burnt down. Oh brother! We watched "Chicago", but once again, it was hard to concentrate on it. We got out early today, and wait until you hear this - I walked to the train station in 35 degree weather, took the 3:57 pm and met Steve in Cherry Hill. From there, we went to the Wyndham Hotel in Center City to attend a celebrity roast for Philadelphia Eddie. Don't know who Philadelphia Eddie is? Well, he's a really big 'celebrity' in the tattoo world, owns several shops in Philly, has a great reputation, everyone loves him, and so on and so forth. I had entered a contest put on by the Philadelphia City Paper, and apparently I won! So, they gave me 2 tickets to this roast, which included dinner. It was very interesting, to say the least. My food was very good, they gave me a vegetarian platter with a stuffed portabello mushroom, yummy! Steve, however, didn't quite care for his chicken. We met some really nice people from Queens, NY, but to tell you the truth, we left before the event ended because everyone on the 'roast panel' was drunk and rambling on and on, I couldn't take it! And, everyone seemed to be chain smoking and I couldn't stand that either! But, all in all, it was really cool. Included with our Roast tickets were passes to the Tattoo Arts Convention, which ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So, you can assume what that meant, right? Yes,....we went back! Read on!

Friday, the last day of my week-long study, and "National Wear Red for Women Day". ( Visit to receive a free heart health tool kit. ) More pastries, another nice lunch, and "The Matrix" on the VCR. It was rainy all day, and night, I brought home some Arby's food and we had a beef-n-beer happy hour for dinner before deciding not to go to Philly to check out the Convention. It was just too miserable, and Steve had to work on Saturday.

But,....after Steve got home Saturday afternoon, we did indeed go over to the Wyndham. How exciting it was, to look around the convention floor at all the tattoo artists, their booths, and their work. There were contests, and bands, and there was a nice buffet. I have to say something, this group of people were so totally nice, polite and friendly! I know it is not the reputation that tattooed and pierced people have, but it was true. There was no pushing and shoving, no one was overly drunk and obnoxious, nobody was rude or insensitive - it was refreshing! We chose not to attend the after party at Tattooed Moms in Old City, instead coming home at about midnight.

Which brings me to Sunday. We were up and out early, because in our journeys yesterday, we met some interesting people. One being a dude by the name of Jason Berryman, owner of Inkfluence Tattoo in Lubbock, Texas. He was going to create an original drawing for me of an idea I had for a tattoo. So, we get there, and he shows me the picture, we change a few things and pretty soon I am lying on my back on top of 3 chairs, getting a tattoo on my belly! Yep, a tattoo! On my belly!!!!!! OUCH!!!!! Let me first tell you one thing; you can't believe how nervous Steve was! At the breakfast table before we left for the convention, he told me of his concerns, and I was really amazed at just how nervous he was! Even more amazing was the fact that I was not even the slightest bit nervous. Until we got there and we were waiting for Jason to finalize the sketch. Then, as he prepared his inks, I realized just what I was doing, and it kicked it! None-the-less, I did it, and oh boy it hurt like hell! His booth was on the end of a row, and people were constantly walking by and looking, standing to watch and talk to us, and in general everyone couldn't believe I was getting tattooed on my stomach - one of the most sensitive spots! But you know what? Every day of the last 18 years, ever since my original diagnosis, the resulting hysterectomy and the following second-look surgery, I have hated the scar it left. Every single day, I have hated the scar. It's ugly and I have always been self-conscious of it. 18 years is a long time to harbor hate. Hate is such a strong emotion. A strong negative emotion. Well, no more! I now have a green vine with purple flowers, and a red-haired fairy with translucent wings! Sweet! Thanks Jason Berryman & Inkfluence!!!! Now I have love! During the 2 hours it took to complete, I kept hearing 2 voices in my head. One was Caroline, telling me to 'Breathe!', and the other was Tina, cursing!!! I alternately was sweating, and then shivering, all the while tensing up through my whole entire body and my entire being. Steve, of course, took pictures, so you will see them once he downloads the digital camera. I still can't quite believe I did it! But, the best part was this - after I was done, Steve got one too! Yes, he got a small black Chinese character tattooed on the inside of his ankle! His took about 5 minutes total time, all the while he was wincing and making faces and grabbing onto things to help with the pain! It was priceless! Yes, I got pictures of that, too! Lordy lordy, what a day! We hung out there until nearly 7, then we ventured home, stopping at a Ruby Tuesday's for dinner. I was worn out by the time we got home, that's for sure!

Steve is working late again this week. That sucks, but it's ok. Yesterday and today, I'm just hanging out here. I am not supposed to wear pants, as they might harm the tattoo. So I have to wear loose clothing for about a week, (Jason Berryman suggested wearing a muu-muu!), and apply lotion to the ink and in maybe 2 weeks or so, it should be beautiful! I can't wait to show it off! Jason, you once told me that after a person gets their first tattoo, they are certain to want another. Well, I can tell you this right now, not this person!

All right, that about does it for today. Have a good one!

Tuesday, February 3, 2004 8:53 PM CST

Steve put up some new pictures, so check them out. I'm too tired to add an entry, sorry about that, but I'm doing a week-long research study and my start time each morning this week is 8:15. So I'm beat. Later!

Wednesday, January 28, 2004 3:06 PM CST

Hello! Still bitter and mean here in Extreme South Jersey. So, I guess I'll begin this update with something I forgot about last Friday. I dyed my own hair! Usually Steve does it, but this is the 3rd time I've attempted to do it myself. I guess I'm doing ok because nobody has said anything, Steve included. Unless, of course, everyone is just being polite, ha ha!

Saturday, 1/24: Well well well, what do you know, Steve did not work today! We mainly just hung around the house, but we did make a short 'sale' run to some local stores, then home for a hot homemade garlic whole wheat pizza topped with Monterey Jack cheese. Oh, and washed down with Golden Monkey beer. Hey, it is after all, the Year of the Monkey! It being our 8th wedding anniversary, Steve once again made his monthly gift presentation. Let's see if I can get this right, the modern & traditional gifts are as follows: ceramic/pottery, linen, lace and bronze. My presents were a ceramic planter with a cow motif, tie-dyed sheets, a lacy Frederick's of Hollywood undergarment and a bronze Buddha. He's too funny! Then, we watched the dvd of "The Ring", which Jason lent to us. He really hyped this movie, saying it was the scariest film he has ever seen. Jason! What's up with that??? B-O-R-I-N-G!!!! Sorry, but, come on!

Sunday, we got up early and made our way out into the bitter cold, to Chinatown in Philly for the Chinese New Year Celebration. It began at 11:45 in the streets, ending up at the Trocadero for an day full of festivities. Well, we got there just before 11:30, and didn't find a place to park until nearly 12:45! Lots were full, meters were taken, it was nerve wracking! Suzette, you never would have made it! We did stop during that time for some gas, but still, that was a long hunt! So, in the end, while we did indeed miss standing there on the street watching the parade go by, we actually saw parts of it as we were driving around! In the heated car, not on the cold street so I guess it was better that way! It was cool, with all the firecrackers, the Chinese Lion Dances and the music. The local news stations were there, and the Philly Phanatic. Inside the Troc, there were vendors and free drinks and food. The food was too meaty for us, though; roast duck, roast pork, General Tso's chicken. They did have one tofu dish, but all in all it was yuckky! Except for Chef Joseph Poon's watermelon carving demonstration and tasting. We tried a Bubble Tea from the Zen Tea House. Did you ever have it? Ours was very flavorful, Green Apple, but it's too much like snot! All that tapioca in your straw, it was very interesting. There were performances on the stage all throughout the afternoon, and cake,...lots of cake! Happy Year of the Monkey! May fortune and wealth be yours!

It snowed all Sunday night into Monday, and my scheduled week-long research study was postponed until next week. No matter! Hopefully, the weather will be somewhat better by then. Linda and Alicia were scheduled to leave for Florida today, I hope they made it! Oh, congratulations mom on your big 41 cent raise!

Tuesday we were hit with freezing rain, sleet and ice all day and into the night. Steve actually got off work early today. Seems like the area where he works lost power due to some downed wires. So, the place closed for the day. He came home in the late afternoon to find me crawling around in the attic, trying to organize our ever-growing Christmas stuff. I was happy to see him, he helped me with all the heavy boxes! We had an early dinner for a change, then settled in to watch Sebastian Bach on the Gilmore Girls. I didn't care for his hair style in the show, and what's up with that show anyway? It is really annoying, and I'm glad we don't watch it! Did you all catch the first episode of the new season of the Osbournes?

Tonight, we had a free class to attend at the local Boscov's, but early this morning, Nathan invited us out to a movie screening. It was a tough decision, but we cancelled the class and now we are going up to Philly, in all the ice and cold! Oh, the things we do when something FREE is dangled in front of us!!

Have I told you of the terrible sadness I have been experiencing? The oppressive fatigue? If not, then I guess I just did! Is it the Lupron? The weather? Who knows, but I hope it goes away soon.

And, now a message for you, mom. We don't understand why you won't get this heater problem fixed. Stop using lack of money as an excuse to live without heat. Would you be comfortable if it was me? Do you realize the danger of what you are doing? Propane, and flames,....don't mix. There is absolutely no reason for you go on without heat in the house - order the heater, the money will come. Trust me. So, I am saying it here - you can have all our wedding money, all our cruise money, just get the damn heater. If you blow up or burn down the trailer, then you'll have nothing. We can't make you do it, but sometimes I wonder,...who is the mother and who is the daughter.

OK, off to the movies!

Friday, January 23, 2004 4:05 PM CST

TGIF! It's still cold, and we are expecting snow this weekend, starting Sunday and continuing into Monday, maybe 6 or more inches. Joy! I'll keep you posted on all that happy (NOT!) stuff!

Let's see,....Tuesday, (Happy Birthday Dad!), I woke up with a migraine but I had to get up early and get going, to an 11 am appointment at the Health Research office. I am beginning a week long research study with them and this was my initial visit. Afterwards, I ran some errands and got home just in time to grab a snack with Steve before we headed to Old City for the advance screening of "Butterfly Effect" with Ashton Kutcher. We also had passes for "Win a Date With Tad Hamilton", which looked really silly. The trailers for Butterfly Effect seemed pretty interesting, at least to me, but Nathan thought they both stunk - however he did say that this one stunk a little less that the other! So, there we were, sitting there, minding our business, and the movie starts. 10 minutes into it, these 2 girls came in all loud and everything, and of course they sat next to me. And, proceeded to talk to the screen, and each other, and on their cell phones. I can't even hear the movie, and I say to her, (nicely), "Are you going to talk through the whole movie?" And she says, "Yes." I say, "Well, thank you for sitting next to me," And she says, "You're welcome." Imagine that! There really was nowhere else to move, unless we wanted to sit apart. So, I had to grin and bear it. Well, after a bit, the chick did tone it down a little, and when they left, she said "You two have a great night." Oh, how annoying! I did manage to enjoy the movie, though, despite her best efforts. I actually liked it. It's all about a sort of time travel. In fact, I am still thinking about parts of it. I hear it got bad reviews, and that's too bad - although that should make Nathan feel good! Hey, we got a hat and posters, so how bad could it be, ha ha!

Wednesday I awoke with another migraine. It sucked, but again I had some things to do and once I got through them, I flopped on the couch for some tea (thanks mom, Vanilla Hazelnut - interesting flavor for a tea!) and a nap. Sorry Linda, that I could not make your dinner. Another time, ok?

Thursday, the migraine was fading but now my neck and shoulders were aching. Happy Chinese Year of the Monkey to you all! The temperature got up to near 40 degrees, but that was only for the day. Jeff called me from the Fort Lauderdale beach, the bum! And, I also heard from Jef - if any of you guys are watching The Apprentice on t.v., pay attention to the episode when Donald Trump has fired everyone and there are 4 contestants left. They filmed it at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, and Jef may have gotten some face and voice time! Dog! Also, I got the good news today from Suzette that her documentary will be airing soon. I have placed a link below for you to read all about it,...congratulations girlfriend!!!!

I am sitting here, shivering. It's just too cold! Hey, you know what? I found out something interesting today. Do you like to eat salmon? We do, it's tasty! Did you realize that farmed salmon is injected with dye to make it have the coppery flesh tone of wild salmon? I did not know that. I'm not aware that this practice causes any danger when eaten, but still, it's something to think about.

I guess that's all for now. Stay warm if it's cold where you are,....drink lots of hot chocolate, or have a martini,....or better yet, have a chocolate martini! Should warm you right up, ha ha! I'll leave you with this excerpt from a poem titled "Grief" by Louise Erdrich.

Sometimes you have to take your own hand
as though you were a lost child
and bring yourself stumbling
home over twisted ice.

Monday, January 19, 2004 5:04 PM CST

It's still really cold here. I couldn't even go outside today to get the newspaper or put the recycling cans away, the steps and walkway, and the sidewalk are all covered with ice. Knowing me, I'd slip and fall, so I stayed inside. Steve will just have to bring in the paper and put the cans away! He's working late again, and probably will all week, except tomorrow when we have a movie screening. Saturday evening when he got home from work, he gave me a present - a whistle on a big ring. He says it's for the train rides, so I feel a little safer when I am surrounded by creeps! Then, he gave me a flannel shirt - how romantic, ha ha!

Sunday, we both slept late, and didn't even finish breakfast until nearly 1:30! Then, we went over to see my mom for awhile. Steve did a few 'chores' for her, then we came home to watch some of the Eagles game. They were stinking so bad that we switched to The Surreal Life for a bit, then back to see the Eagles lose. Oh well!

Today is Martin Luther King Day. It is the day that Jeff and I call "The Fifi & Francois Movie Marathon Day". However, since he is in warm and sunny Florida, once again it has been postponed! I say once again because each and every year, my chemo schedule has interfered with our plans. Movie Marathon Day? Fifi & Francois? Has she gone crazy? Let me explain! Years ago, we use to work together. So, we would have MLK day off. We decided to spend the day every year in Philly going from one movie to another, until we got tired, hungry or both. That explains the Movie Marathon. We also use to attend the Philadelphia Orchestra concerts at the Mann Music Center frequently in the summer months, bringing along a picnic and spreading out a blanket on the lawn for the evening. One year, they held a contest in July on Bastille Day for the most creative picnic theme. Bastille Day is sort of a French Independence Day holiday. So, we did everything up in Red, White & Blue, including the food, and Jeff pretended to be an artist painting me, the model. We dressed the part, and spoke with a French accent, it was really fun! We had French food and wine, hoping to win the prize which was a roundtrip vacation for 2 to Paris. The local news was there filming, there were photographers and celebrity judges. At the end of the judging, they came to us and said they were having such a hard time with their decision, that we were one of the contenders for the prize and then they just chatted with us for a few minutes. We were so nervous, but when the time came, we didn't win after all. Darn! Amazingly the judges came to us after the concert and told us how close it was,...we were certainly bummed, but we had a great time anyway. So, that is where the names of Fifi & Francois came in to play, the judges needed names for our Artist & Model theme, and they were the first ones to come to our minds. I know, that was a long story to get to the point!

Congratulations Suzette & Lisa, on getting your Florida reservations! You dogs! And, thanks mom, the soup was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! Dad, if I don't get back here tomorrow (Tuesday) - Happy Happy Birthday to you! Also, everyone listen up,...Sebastian Bach makes his second appearance on The Gilmore Girls Tuesday the 27th, so if you are into that show, or him, watch it! Oh, and Jason, thanks so much for the big belly laugh this morning - you are too funny!

Saturday, January 17, 2004 12:49 AM CST

Happy weekend to you! And Happy 33rd birthday to Bob Ritchie, aka Kid Rock. Steve is working today, which stinks but oh well. He pretty much worked late every night during the week, too, and will probably do it again next week. Good thing I'm not the suspicious type, ha ha! It is bright and sunny out, and near 30 degrees - quite a bit different than the last few days. The snow started falling on Wednesday night and it has proceeded to get colder and colder each day, record lows I think - zero degrees yesterday, now that's what I call chilly! When the snow stopped sometime Thursday morning, not much had accumulated, which is a good thing. I spent a lot of time on the computer in the afternoon, there was a web cast of a concert by Beth Hart, live from Holland (Amsterdam) that lasted a little over 1 and 1/2 hours, and I watched the whole thing! I love her, and if you would like to check her out, I've added a link to her web site below. You can listen to some of her songs from the new album she recently released, I recommend playing "Leave the Light On". It's not one of my favorite songs, but she sings this one line with so much passion that it gives me goose bumps, the lyric is "I'm not that sad, but I'm sad enough." I feel that way, many times. I think you'll see what I mean, even if you don't care for her. She also does this song, it might be called "Broken & Ugly", which sounds like I could have written it! That's me sometimes, feeling broken and ugly!

Well, the record low temperatures yesterday kept me in the house, which was just fine with me! I bundled myself up in my thermal undies and flannels, and I got through it! I absolutely hate the cold weather. Always have, always will. The good news of the day - - Jeannette from Dr. King's office called to tell me my CA 125 came down again! A miracle! From 550 to 509! It isn't much, but not being on chemo or radiation makes the decrease even sweeter. Then, a short while after I got the news, I found out that Suzette's CA 125 also came down,...from 369 to 304! Woooohooooo! You go girl! In fact, wooooohoooooo for both of us!!!!

That about wraps my entry up for today. Stay warm and remember; you can't take back words that are spoken, you can't un-ring a bell.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004 5:09 PM CST

Hey, y'all! How's it going? Great, I hope! Last Friday, (after Vickie came over to draw my CA 125 blood test and flush my port), just as I told you I might, I went out to run some errands. It was sooooo cold that I did one thing, and only one thing, then came home! I really hate this weather. And that extremely strong emotion got me to thinking,...just why do I stay around here if I dislike it so much?

Saturday 1/10 - For the last few days, I had been hearing this weird sort of hissing sound in our utility room. I couldn't figure it out, and just passed it off as being associated with the cold snap, and the oil burner/hot water heater running more than usual. Well, of course, this is my life you are reading about, and things do not go that easily around here! Steve discovered a slow leak in the air volume control gadget of our oil burner resulting in a giant puddle of water and ice in our crawlspace. At least 2 full days of water had leaked, and Steve had to run to the plumbing store, and crawl around under the house in the cold and wet. Not a good start to the day, that's for sure! Ahhhhh, the joys of home ownership!

Sunday was the Big Eagles Football Game! And, they won, woooohoooo! I know Suzette is very happy about that! We watched it in surround sound, and the new Tivo made it even sweeter. Neither one of us really cares about sporting events, unless of course it's the Lumberjack Olympics, or the Log Rolling or Chainsaw competitions. But, I just can't explain it, something about stopping the action of the live tv broadcast whenever we wanted to, and instantaneously replaying parts of the game at will made it a lot more interesting to us! This Tivo gives a whole new perspective to watching television! And, can any of you tell me about that dreadlocked Green Bay Packers player? Just curious! Hey, Jason, this game sure was a chubby-chasers dream!

Yesterday, Steve did not work overtime. Instead, he came home and we went to the Ritz East in Philly for the advance screening of the new Ben Stiller/Jennifer Anniston movie "Along Came Polly". We've seen the previews for this one, and it looked light-hearted and funny. When we got to the theater, there was a line outside! Who would have thought that! For this movie! And in the cold! It was packed, but we managed to get good seats, and surprisingly, no one coughed or sneezed around us. They gave out posters, and hats, which we got, and T-shirts, which we didn't get. Steve ran into our friend Michael, and after the movie we ran into Nathan who had misplaced his hat. You should have seen him, all dressed up with a suit jacket and tie - sharp, dude! And, believe it or not, he actually liked the movie! I didn't think he would, it's silly funny and not chock full of exceptional acting.

Today, I went out to the Shop Rite, the post office and the bank. The news last night called for snow starting at around 1 pm, so I wanted to make sure I got some things done. Oh it's still ccccccold! I'm making vegetarian chili for dinner tonight, with corn muffins - just the thing for a cold winter day! It has not yet started to snow, I spoke to my mom earlier and she heard around 8:00, 5 to 7 inches. Ick!

Now, I just want to talk about a few things, ok? The Lance Armstrong people really made me feel strong the other day, it was a very positive and uplifting experience. I don't tend to give it much thought, but do you realize that I am an 18 year ovarian cancer survivor? And, get this - now in my 6th year since the recurrence? Yikes!

Oh, this Lupron is a crazy thing! For instance, last Wednesday, the hot flashes were coming fast and furious, more than I ever think I had in one day. Then, Thursday, I didn't even have a single one until ER came on, around 10 pm. Wacky! Monday and part of Tuesday of this week, I experienced this stabbing back pain, like a jab of electricity poking me over and over again, growing progressively more intense as Monday wore on, then abruptly stopping yesterday in the afternoon. Today, all seems fine, far!

I spoke to Sugar today. He is leaving tomorrow for Florida for 18 days. Sweet! Did you know that in 2003, there were 25 fatal airliner crashes in the entire world, killing 677 people? Seems like a large amount, doesn't it? Well, get a load of this: by comparison, vehicle fatalities in the United States alone kill about 820 people a week. A week! Food for thought.

I also would like to tell you, I am getting freaked out by all these 'meaningful coincidences' I seem to be having. For instance, last week, I bought a little gift for my friend Ean. I got home, put my packages down, took my coat off and the phone rang. It was Ean. I jot myself a little note so I would remember to write about what happened, come in, turn the computer on, and I receive an e-mail from Deepak Chopra, talking about just that very thing. I've always been very receptive to stuff like that, intuition and all, but lately it has become extra strong. I'm not complaining, just freaking! (Haha!)

Well, that about does it for today. I'll leave you with a portion of a poem by the late Lorine Niedecker;

In every part of every living thing
is stuff that once was rock.
In blood the minerals
of the rock.

Thursday, January 8, 2004 4:22 PM CST

Brrrrrrr! It sure is c-c-c-c-cold here! They are predicting snow for tomorrow morning, euwwwwwwwwwwww! It is only about 20 degrees out there right now, can you see me shivering? Besides the weather, this year has began on a pretty good note. Monday, it was sunny and quite warm for January, around 60 degrees. I walked over and took the train to Cherry Hill where Steve picked me up and we crossed the bridge to the Loews Hotel in Philly for a cocktail party put on by the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It was a really nice get-together. We met some cool cancer survivors, from Tampa, Florida and North Jersey. We ate a ton of delicious hors d'oeuvres, and drank martinis & beer, sweet! From there, we went to the closing FAO Schwartz store in the King of Prussia Mall, but the discounts were still too high for us! Then we went across the street to see the latest Matrix movie on the IMAX screen. Over the weekend, Jason had come over and lent us the first 2 Matrix movies, so we would be prepared when we used our Free Pass. Well, in the paper, the movie was listed as showing at 10:20. Yikes, we thought, this was going to be a late night. We get there, and the dude behind the counter says, "You want these tickets for tomorrow morning?" Tomorrow morning??? Oh no! The time was 10:20 am! The paper didn't specify it was 10:20 in the morning! Crap! So, we get in the car and head home! Just as well, as we were both tired anyway!

This is what I have to say about Tuesday: Hello, my name is Anna Marie and I have an addiction! An addiction to the yearly Target 90ff Holiday Merchandise Sale! Enough said!

On Wednesday, I decided to cook up a nice dinner for Steve and I, he has been working overtime and I wanted him to have a nice hot meal when he got home. No problem there, but mom, wait until you hear what I did! I set a burner cover on fire! Yes, yet again, another chicken burner cover, blackened to a crisp!

Yesterday, the weather took a turn for the worse. The 50 and 60 degree days plummeted to a high of about 30 or so. I was scheduled to do a video shoot for the Lance Armstrong Foundation at the Loews Hotel in Philly at 2:30, which meant I had to walk to the Egg Harbor City train station, then once in Philly - 4 blocks to the hotel. It was bitterly cold and very windy, and Steve offered to leave work a bit earlier than he anticipated and pick me up so I wouldn't have to brave the elements. Isn't that just like him! He didn't want me to be too windblown for the Cancer Survivor interview I was doing, but I told him that maybe having frostbite on top of everything else would make my story more interesting! OK, so I had to get to NJ Transit in town, and I was not relishing the thought of leaving the car there, and it was just too cold for a delicate flower like me (ha ha!) to walk. I called over to the neighbors, and Paul graciously offered to drive me to the station. Oh what a relief! Can I ever say enough good things about this family? I don't think so! Once in Cherry Hill, Steve whisked me to the Loews and I went upstairs to find the Lance Armstrong Foundation crew while he parked the car. I was a bit early, but Randall came out to chat, taking me over to the business center to show me some other survivor stories that are on their web site so I would get a feel for what they were doing. By now, Steve is inside with us, and the appointment before me was almost finished. Soon, it's 2:30 and time for my 45 minutes of camera time. Well, 45 minutes turned into an hour and a half! We did a lot of laughing and talking about Austin, TX, lots of questions and answers, a few sound bites and some still photography shots. All-in-all, I thought the things I said were boring. Tiffany called me an inspiration, and Randall, Will and the camera man whose name escapes me at the moment, all agreed. Suzette says the same thing, but I just don't get it. Oh well, maybe someday I'll see it too! Just as I was leaving, right about 4:00, Suzette showed up for her 4:30 taping, and I know - the Ham that she is, her session was excellent, and I can't wait to see it! They said the project may be completed in March. This group of people are traveling the country on behalf of Lance Armstrong, documenting Cancer Survivor's stories to be used on their web site. They only use about 3 minutes of the entire interview, and they also write a short blurb. Not everyone that they interview will make the cut, so even if I don't, I still was happy to have the opportunity to do it! We left out of there into the cold night and made our way to this unique Italian restaurant for dinner. I am not sure if I am spelling it right, but it is Buca de Peppo in the Cherry Hill area. Dad and Rita told us about it, and it was right near the Target that we just had to stop in to grab some last minute 90ff holiday items - see, I told you I had a problem, ha ha! Anyway, this restaurant was cool. They take you to your table through the kitchen, so you sort of get a tour of what goes on back there. And there is also a table right smack dab in the kitchen that seats about 8 people, neat! Then, there are different rooms in the building, one being the Pope Room, another the Sinatra Room. We got the Velvet Room, with velvet paintings on the wall. They serve their food Family Style, and they were heavy on the meat items, but the waitress helped us out a bit and we got some ravioli and manicotti. It was yummy! When we got our check, we noticed an interesting saying printed on the receipt, "Even if a man has everything, he still has to eat!" Cute! From there, we came home, stomachs full.

It was just too cold to go out anywhere today even though I have a ton of errands to run. Maybe tomorrow. (Yeah, sure!) Vickie is scheduled to come over for my CA 125 blood draw and port flush, then we'll see if it's snowing or not, or just plain too cold. I have to go now, I'm making a whole wheat garlic & tomato crust pizza with a 4 cheese topping for dinner as Steve is once again working late. See ya another day!

Friday, January 2, 2004 3:23 PM CST

Happy New Year to you! Let's get right to it, journal re-cap! The last week or so has been pretty much a blur to me, but I'll do my best to try and remember some stuff for you!

Sunday, 12/21: The Atlantic City Press ran an article on people who shun traditional Christmas trees in favor of what they termed an "Alterna-Tree", and yes, you guessed it - they wrote about some of our trees throughout the years, and printed a picture of the one Steve drew on the wall with soft pastels! It was funny! This year, our Alterna-Tree was a curtain I bought last December at the local Boscov's store - white lace with the image of a Christmas tree woven into it, with holes for the lights to be inserted into. It was really cool looking to me last year, and a new idea. Or so I thought! They were everywhere this year, stores and in catalogs! Oh well! I was on the cutting edge - last year! We actually bought our 2004 Christmas tree on Black Friday, so we'll see what happens when Christmas rolls around again!

Monday, 12/22, we had an advance screening in Manayunk for the new Sean Penn movie "21 Grams", which I really wanted to see. But we decided to be responsible and stay home and work on getting the house together for the holidays. It was a tough decision, but we did manage to whip the place into shape, which we could never have done if we went to the movie. And, wouldn't you know it, the darn thing got a 4 star review!

Christmas Eve was upon us once again, and we had our annual get-together. It was really nice this year; Denni & Hugh, Jason & Anne, Mom, Jeff. Lots of laughter and fun, Denni and Hugh stayed until after midnight! And then, once on the road, Denni discovered she had left her handbag here, and they had to drive back (about 20 minutes or so), sounds like something I would do, right mom? Anyway, this was our first unveiling of the new Fairyland Art Gallery, the Tavern, and the new furniture. Everyone seemed to like the work we've been doing, which was nice to hear. Anne brought over some killer homemade fudge, yum! I wore my Christmas PJ's, you probably know that wearing your jammies out is all the rage so I wanted to be trendy, even though I was still in my own home! Oh well, I was after all waiting for Santa! Now, are you ready for this? It was not only Christmas Eve, but our 7th anniversary as well, so Steve made a big presentation out of giving me my anniversary gifts. I can't remember which was the traditional and which was the non traditional gifts, but here they were: Copper - a copper pipe from the Home Depot that he engraved a happy face on; Desk Set - 2 fancy schmancy Pierre Cardin pen/pencil desk sets; and Wool - a gigantic stuffed Serta Counting Sheep! (You can see this on the photo page with me and Denni.) That boy is certifiably crazy! What a night, I guess it was about 2-ish before we finally got to bed, still no sign of Santa!

We slept in until almost 9 on Christmas day, had coffee and cookies and then I started right in on getting the turkey ready for dinner. Before I knew it, it was time to set the table and stuff, and we hadn't even gotten a chance to open our presents to each other. No big deal, we'll just do it later. So, I'm carrying the butter dish from the kitchen to the dining room table, and I happen to glance out the front door. Someone was walking by the house, which is rare on this street, so I look closer, saying "Who the hell is walking down the street?" and you'll never believe it but it was my brother Steve (from Austin, TX)! I scream, Steve runs into the dining room, and in a matter of seconds my brother is in the house and we hug and hug and hug some more! What a surprise! Dad and Rita sure did a good job keeping that a secret! Except, I came to later find out the Linda & Charlie knew, but that's ok! Oh how cool was that! We set another place at the table, the first time we had a full 8 people and the first time our entire immediate family was together! Sweet! Dinner was over all too soon, then dessert thanks Rita!), then we retired to the new living area and opened presents and just enjoyed each others company. Then we showed everyone the wedding video that we got from Suzette & Lisa, which they all seemed to enjoy. It was really special, with Steve being there and all! By the time everyone left, we were exhausted and never even got around to opening our presents!

Friday, the 26th, we slept late and then we finally opened out presents! Santa was very good to us! Then, a little later on in the evening, Paul came over and we had an impromptu Happy Hour at the Tavern, with the featured drink being a 'sweet dirty martini', yummy!

Saturday we slept late, again, then we went over to Dad & Rita's so we could spend some more time with my brother. We went out to a restaurant called Ventura's for a nice meal together, (that is where the picture on the photo page was taken, after we had gotten done eating and were about to leave the restaurant), then Steve, Steve and I decided to see if we could catch a movie. Yes, you read that right, my husband was actually going to pay for a movie! It was 8 o'clock or so, and there wasn't really much to do so that seemed like a good idea. So we asked my brother what movie he'd like to see and you'll never guess what he said. The new Lord of the Rings! Yikes! Good thing we had seen the first 2, but to be honest with you, neither one of us really wanted to see this one, let alone pay for it! But, things happen for a reason, and off we went! We got to the theater just as the previews were running, and by the time the over 3 hour movie was done, we all were wondering,...what's up with all the gay overtones????? Not a totally bad movie, but we are sure glad this trilogy is over!

Sunday, we slept late yet again, and just hung around here. Relaxing, you could say! On Monday, 12/29, I spent the day catching up on laundry, and we had leftovers for dinner. Steve left today to go back to Austin, I still can't believe Dad & Rita did that! Tuesday, I went out for the afternoon and ran errands, then we had Quesadillas for dinner.

Wednesday, 12/31: Mom came over for a visit in the afternoon, then she took me over to the train. I met Steve in Cherry Hill, and we drove over to the Marriott in Philly. We were really lucky to get a metered parking spot on 12th Street, right at the hotel. And, even better, the meters were free for the evening, and for New Year's day - Sweet! We checked in, had a snack, got ready and took a taxi over to our party. You should have seen us, we looked mighty spiffy if I say so myself! Steve all in black, of course, and me in my burgundy satin oriental print mini-dress, stockings & high heels! Oh, and my new black velour cape that Santa brought me. What a party this was! Everyone was dressed up and looking beautiful, the food was excellent (roasted salmon, prime rib, wild mushroom & cheese ravioli & then a full breakfast spread to name a few things for you!), the dj was pretty good, all in all a very exciting night! We ate, we danced, we toasted the New Year in with champagne, and before we knew it, it was around 2 am and time to wind the party down. Taxi back to the Marriott, hanging in the lobby for a bit with all the partying people, then up to bed about 3:30 or so - man those Marriott beds are sure comfortable, like sleeping on a cloud! We had a late check-out, 2 pm, so we slept in, had coffee and fresh baked mini-bundt cakes that Steve went across the street to get, and then we got ready and headed out onto the streets for the Mummers Parade. Oh what fun! People everywhere! The weather was wonderful, I'd say around 50 degrees and sunny. We walked all around, stopping to watch whenever the Mummers strutted by, and eventually we ended up at the Italian Bistro on Broad Street for some food, then back out on the street for a bit. But, now it was getting colder and dark, so we decided to call it a day. We did contemplate going to the Convention Center to view the indoor Mummer activity, but we passed on that, instead we thought that might be better to do if the weather was bad. We were home by 7, I guess, and just flopped on the sofa watching a Jessica Simpson/Nick Lachay "Newlyweds" marathon, had a beer and called it a night! Today, I'm doing laundry and bills, and stuff, waiting for Steve to come home so we can have dinner - I think we are having another Happy Hour at the Tavern tonight, I can tell already that this is going to be a different sort of year for us!

OK, I hope you had a safe, fun and happy end to 2003 and beginning of 2004! Always remember, things happen for a reason,....and keep yourself open to all possibilities!

Wednesday, December 31, 2003 1:05 PM CST

Well, I thought I would have enough time to come here and update you on the last week or so,....but I'm sorry to say, it ain't gonna happen! Ha Ha! I am now waiting for my mom to come over - after we visit for a little bit, she will be driving me to the train. I'll be meeting Steve in Cherry Hill, and then we are off on a New Year's Adventure in Philly! Going to a private party, staying overnight at the Marriott in Center City, and then perhaps seeing the Mummers on New Years Day. So,.....I'll be back as soon as I can, to tell you all about the last week of 2003, and the beginning of 2004! Have a safe and fun-filled one!

Sunday, December 28, 2003 8:23 PM CST

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New Photo Alert ! ! ! !

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Wednesday, December 24, 2003 9:30 AM CST

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Merry Christmas to you!

May your holiday be happy and full of wonderful surprises!

We wish peace and joy to you, your family, and your friends.

May health and prosperity follow you into the new year!

Steve & Anna Marie

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Friday, December 19, 2003 3:55 PM CST

Hello, hello! Miss me? I suppose I should catch you up. Saturday morning, Steve & I were up and out of the house by 6 am in the morning. Strawbridge was giving away $15 gift cards, so you know we had to have some! Oh let me tell you, it was so cold standing out in that line, but Suzette,'ll be happy to know - no snotsicles! It was really crowded, the lines were really long, so we only got 2 gift cards this time rather than our usual 4 or 6! Then, we went and used them, and came home to once again be joined by the Remodeling Fairy for the day. With one of the gift cards, we bought a Quesadilla maker, which I have been wanting for awhile now. It was on sale, then with the gift card we paid only $3.17 for it! Sweet! So, I unpacked it, and that's what we had for lunch, bean & cheese quesadillas - yum! Sunday, it rained and rained and rained all day. Our fairy spent the day here again, and I must say it has been an absolute pleasure having him here! More quesadillas for lunch, oh the thrill of a new toy! The final episode of the current Survivor show was on. Now, we have not really been watching the show, maybe we've seen parts of 2 of them. But, we donned our Survivor hats, and sat down to watch the final moments. I'm sure glad that liar didn't win, using his poor granny like that was awful! But, Steve said it was good strategy. Oh well, I'm glad that girl won, she was cool. Monday rolled around and guess what? My mom is on vacation for the week, so that means no Mom Reports in the morning! Oh what will I do!!!! The fairy visited us again, I think his contribution to the remodeling job is done for now. Tuesday I was up and out early as I had my final appointment of the dental research study I was participating in. From there, I went over to Gilda's for what I once again thought would be my final quilting session. But, no! Merry once again did not have the last piece of material I needed to finish, so she had me start yet another project! I really did not want to, but I had gone all the way over to Atlantic City and it seemed silly to leave so I did start something. But, this time, I think I'll do some of it at home! Wednesday, I drove over to the train station at 6:00 so I could meet Steve in Cherry Hill. We had movie passes, and Steve has been working overtime all week so it seemed like the logical thing to do, or else we would miss the movie. It was dark and cold, so that is why I drove. I really do not like to leave the car there, but I took the chance. Well, nothing happened to the car, but me,, that's another story. It was sleeting, and very windy & cold, so I had to stand inside the shelter to wait for the train. There was this guy there, drinking beer and smoking, and he kept trying to talk to me. He told me all this creepy stuff, where he lived, all about his pregnant fiance`, and how he was a male escort - I was sort of trapped there, and I kind of had to listen to him. He even started touching me on the shoulder, but I backed away as best as I could. My hand was right on my cell phone, that's for sure. One other person finally came inside, but he hid in the corner, ignoring us. I was never so happy to hear the train whistle! Thankfully, he was going to Atlantic City, I just about ran onto the train! Anyway, the movie was the highlight of the night. It was "Big Fish", and people, go see it when it comes to the theater. It stars Ewan MacGregor, Albert Finney, Jessica Lange and a bunch of others. Oh I totally enjoyed this film! The theater was packed, with a different kind of person than the usual movie goers we see at these screenings. More of a hip crowd, if you know what I mean! Big Fish is a Tim Burton film, and you could really tell. Very imaginative scenes and wonderful color. I cried and cried and cried, my shirt was soaking wet by the time we left the Ritz Five! It's all about a young man and the relationship he has with his father. A 'must see' movie, if you ask me! Thursday, Paul so kindly drove me to the train station so I could catch the 12:42 train to Philly. I got there at 2, and went straight to the Gallery Mall until it was time to walk over to Dr. King's office for my 4 pm appointment. I first had to stop by the Jefferson pharmacy to pick up my Lupron. It was a mad house there, people coughing and sneezing, and to top things off, they couldn't find my prescription. So I had to wait and wait and wait some more, until the head pharmacist finally called Dr. King. Turns out, nobody ever called it into them! So, I spent a half an hour with all those germy people, oh brother! Steve met me there at 4, and up we went to the appointment. All looks stable, just as she said the other day. Nothing has gotten bigger, or smaller, and there is nothing new. Yeah! Then, I got the shot in my ass, ouch! This will be the last time I see Dr. King at Jefferson. She, and the entire office, are moving over to Hahnemann, in the same building that Dr. Komarnicky is in. I have mixed feelings about this. I like the drive to that Hospital, and they have free parking, but the walk from the train is much longer, and it's farther from all my favorite shopping haunts. Oh well, I'll deal with it! From there, we went over to Chinatown, where we met Suzette. Lisa, Matt and Dawn for dinner at the Cherry Street Vegetarian Restaurant. Mmmm Mmmmm Good! This place serves 'mock' meat dishes, and everything was tasty. I especially liked the soup, an asparagus based broth with mushrooms. I'm not too sure about the Lotus Buns,...or, 'tits' as Matt & Steve were calling them! Maybe you'll get to see a picture of Suzette, wearing them! A nice night with wonderful people, just what we all needed in this hectic holiday season!

Today, I ran out to take care of a few errands, and now I am waiting for Steve to come home so we can cook us up some veggie burgers. I hope you all have a good weekend, they say this is the busiest shopping weekend of the year so be careful if you go to the stores,...careful of the people around you and of the drivers on the roadways. And, if any of you get the Atlantic City Press, pay attention to the Sunday Edition, there just may be a small mention of someone you know in it! Jingle Bells to you!

Friday, December 12, 2003 5:56 PM CST

TGIF to everyone! Well, the annual holiday party at the Wellness Community was really nice, as usual. I did end up walking to the train, and actually it wasn't as bad as I had expected it to be. Yes, it was windy and chilly and muddy, but still it wasn't all that awful. However, when I got to the Cherry Hill stop, Steve was nowhere to be seen! This has never happened before, he usually is parked right there waiting for me! I didn't panic, though, as it was by now raining very hard so I thought he might have some sort of traffic delay. Five minutes go by, and here he comes! Turns out, he ran into the Home Depot that is next to the train station! Anyway, like I said, the party was real nice. The food was excellent as usual, and the people there are just wonderful. Kathleen, I absolutely love the kooky gift! Dawn and Matt, it's always good to see you guys! Suzette & Lisa brought The Chief (Suze's dad), and although I missed seeing them on the way in, the Peace Flags we made in Caroline's art class were strung up outside. Now, we'll have to go back there in the daytime to look at them! Mid-way through the party, I realized,...hey - I wasn't grouchy anymore! Good friends and good food, I guess that's the secret! As we left the festivities around 8:30, bringing up the rear as usual, Suzette & Lisa gave me a little something they brought back from Austin - specially roasted coffee beans from our favorite coffee house, Ruya Maya! Sweet! Oh, the truck smelled so good on the way home!

Thursday, the rain was pounding on the skylights all morning, and I woke up once again with the feeling of an impending headache. Nothing a hot steaming French Pressed cup of Ruta Maya coffee couldn't cure! Man, it was so good! My mom, in her 'mom report' on my cell phone, was too funny, she said it was raining so hard,...raining not only cats and dogs but pigs, cows, you name it! Ha Ha! But, finally the rain stopped, the sun came out, and well, I had errands to run so I went out for a bit, ending up visiting mom for awhile. (Glad you like the reindeer! You didn't see me put it there?) Steve worked late, so we ended up having a late dinner of hoagies that I made, and then some fresh baked goodies from Bertha,...thanks Bertha!

Today, there's that darn headache again. I tried something new, many thanks to the Atlantic City Press Fairy, and hallelujah, it's gone! I stayed in doing 'chores' and stuff, and now Steve is working on part of his remodeling project. I heard on the news that we might get more snow this weekend, yuk!

Now I want to tell you about something I read recently. There is a group called The Compassionate Friends, ( / (877) 969-0010) that sponsor an annual Worldwide Candle Lighting. Let me explain what that is. On Sunday December 14th, families around the world will light candles in memory of a child who died. It could be a premature infant or a grown son or daughter, it doesn't matter the circumstance,...the message they are trying to promote is the same - remembrance for families who are bereaved. Doesn't that sound nice? The candle-lighting is set for 7 pm in each time zone. Hundreds of organized lightings are scheduled to take place at sites across America, including some Hard Rock Cafes. If you can't find one, or get to one, I have an idea. Let's all participate! Light a candle in your home!

Have a great weekend, wherever your path leads you!

Wednesday, December 10, 2003 1:38 PM CST

Hello to you, hope you are well today. I'm about to leave for the train to go to the annual Wellness Community of Philadelphia Holiday Party. This event is always a fun time, but quite honestly I am not at all looking forward to the train ride. Well, actually, it's not the ride I'm concerned with, just the getting to the station part. I hate to leave the car there, as I always observe broken glass in the parking area and that's kind of scary. And, it's cold and rainy and windy, and the ground is muddy and snow covered so the walk there today would be not at all pleasant. Oh well. Just another day in my life.

Can you tell, I woke up a bit grouchy today. I don't know why, but I am.

Yesterday was a good day. It was sunny and not too cold. I ran a few errands in the morning, then I went to Gilda's for my final Sculpting Class. What fun that 4 weeks with Eleanor was! And, my sculpture isn't all that bad, either. I call it "Goddess Waving", and she's pretty sweet! After the class, I went to my annual mammogram,...Linda,....did you read that? Ha Ha! Then, when Steve got home, we went to Philly for the advance screening of "Stuck On You", starring Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Cher & Meryl Streep. Well, you'll never guess this but before the movie when the radio station gives out prizes, they usually just ask trivia questions, or pick a ticket out of a hat. But, this time, they had a game, and Steve & I entered! The movie is about conjoined twins, and they gave out a giant T-Shirt which contestants had to get into, then putt a golf ball on a mini-green to get a hole-in-one for a prize! It was fun! We didn't win, but we all got prizes anyway. I had wanted to see this movie, the previews looked cleverly funny. Well, halfway through it, I knew Nathan would hate it. (Because, I was liking it, and we always differ on our opinions!) I was laughing out loud, it was so silly funny, but don't get me wrong, it's no award winning movie, that's for sure! I guess we got home around 11, and we had a late night snack of Snow Day Cupcakes!

I want to give you all a heads-up - one of my absolute favorite performers is on The Sharon Osbourne Show tomorrow (Thursday). Her name is Beth Hart, and she is totally fantastic! Check her out and see for yourself, I wouldn't lie to you!

OK, I must go, I'll talk to you again soon. And, don't forget, check out the new link I have added below, click on it and vote! (Thanks for doing it, mom!)

Monday, December 8, 2003 6:10 PM CST

Friday, we did indeed go over to the Taj Mahal Casino for the Holiday Party our friend Al threw at the Hard Rock Cafe. He brought a band over from Australia, Dead Day Sun. They were pretty good, not just the songs you hear on the radio, but most all of the set was good. Listening to them talk only made me miss our friend Ean, who just happens to be in sunny Florida where it is warm and free of snow. Anyway, the party was nice, a little more low key than Al's usual parties, but I guess that was due to the rainy, windy and cold weather. I actually woke up to snow-covered skylights, but the snow tapered off in the early afternoon, and turned to rain. It sure is cold!

Saturday, we were scheduled to join the Garden State Crew-Zers on a PT event to the Cream Ridge Winery in the Ocean County area, but once again, we woke up to snow, and lots of it, so the event was postponed until Sunday, when the weather was expected to be better. We really wanted to go on this one, as it marks the one-year anniversary of the first PT Cruiser event Bob & Judy put together, but sadly we have a prior commitment tomorrow. Oh well. Steve and I amused ourselves during the day by making cupcakes. It was Steve's first time at baking them, and it was really fun! He got very creative with the tube of icing, that's for sure! For dinner, we had Spicy Tortillas to fend off the cold, and then we finally watched the tape of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. And, guess what? We actually saw ourselves, cool! Suzette and Lisa are due back from their Big Texas Adventure today, I wonder if their flight was delayed or even cancelled?

Sunday, no more snow, hooray! It was bright and sunny, but very cold. I woke up to a really cool song on the radio by a band called Little John & The East Side Boys, "Get Low" is the name of the tune. Remember when I told you my 'song of the moment' was "One Thing" by Finger Eleven? Well, I still like it, but since October I've really been digging "Hey Ya" by Outkast. Yeah, I know, does everyone else, ha ha! But it's just so bouncy and full of energy, how can you not like it? Steve spent the day working on a major home remodelling project, with a little help from a Jack-of-All-Trades Fairy, who shall remain nameless! Wait until you see it, sorry but for now it is a secret! Tonight is the Annual DeBella de Ball in Philly, but we decided once again not to attend. They got really boring there for awhile. This year, Eddie Money was the guest, so that may have been cool, but still, we weren't that interested. Today marks the first day of the Charlie Prose Christmas Show over at Bally's Casino,...go if you get the chance! Oh, Happy Birthday to Lisa!

Today, I stayed home, and although it is another bright sunny day, it's just too cold to venture out! I have a list of things to do, but I'll take care of it all tomorrow. Suzette, Day Number One,.....mark it off the calender! Let's show that cancer who's the boss! Believe it or not, I heard from Dr. King today. My scans show that the disease is 'stable', and this is a real shocker - my CA 125 is down, way down, to 550! It was 755 last month. My first thought was that the reading is incorrect, but I guess we'll discuss it more at our appointment on the 18th, where I am now definately getting the Lupron shot. Unless Dr. Ramirez from MD Anderson has another opinion, as he also is receiving the reports from the scans.

Steve is working overtime tonight, so that is why I am able to get this update done for you! Time to go get dinner started. And, don't forget, check out the new link I have added below, click on it and vote! Later!

Friday, December 5, 2003 3:32 PM CST

Hello, from your favorite Cruiserpalooza Bride & Groom,.......and Santa!

Thanksgiving Day, 11/27 - Can you believe, we had to set our alarms for 3 am! Weeedoggies! We did it, though, leaving the house at 4:45 am to take part in the 84th edition of the 6 ABC/Boscov's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia. We checked-in at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Center City at about 5:30, ate pastries, changed into our 'costume' and reported for duty on the street by our T-Rex balloon at 6:15 am. When we left the house, the temperature was already in the 30's, quite a difference from last year when it was still only 18 degrees when we arrived in Philly! We were bundled up so much that by the time it came to holding our designated strings, we were both hot. So, we took off some of our layers, Steve ran it all back to the car, and soon we were off down the streets of Philly, T-Rex in tow! No snotsicles this year, yeah! Prior to our departure, Chubby Checker and Kelly Ripa did a tv interview by T-Rex, which was cool. He's looking pretty good, and she is just as beautiful in person. Kim Delaney's float was behind us. As we went down the street, everyone was chanting "spin it!", which they do to all the balloons. Except, we were cautioned that this balloon was very difficult to spin due to its size and shape, and the long tail, so our captain suggested that we refrain from indulging the spectators. But, pretty soon everyone began 'boo-ing' us, so our captain said, what the heck, go ahead and spin but be very careful. Well, guess what? Just as we thought, the tail got caught on a street light, and POP! A big hole, air escaping, oh boy! Our captain quickly repaired the damage with duct tape, and we were good to go,....but no more spinning for us! When it was finally our turn in front of the live broadcast cameras, we made T-Rex 'eat' the parade mascot, Major Drumstick, it was funny! Then, we were done for the day after we deflated the balloon. They served us all lunch and took us back to the Crowne Plaza by bus - what a beautiful day it turned out to be,...sunny and in the low 60's, now watch - next year it will snow 3 feet, ha ha! On the way home, we stopped at a K-Mart, they are always open on Thanksgiving but there wasn't really anything that interested us, except for a cool Care Bears lunch box for a whopping $2! We also stopped at a WaWa where Steve picked us up a Smore's Pie, yummy! You have to try this snack! At home, we put up some Christmas lights, took a short nap, and headed over to Al's Office Tavern. They had said they would be serving a turkey dinner with all the trimmings, starting at 4 pm. We got there at about 5, and no one else was there except for Jennifer the bartender. The sign outside said that dinner was now at 5, so we ordered a beer, and waited and waited,..we could smell the food cooking and we were getting hungry, but she soon told us that the time had been changed yet again to 7. Crap! We were just too tired to wait it out. So, we left at about 6-ish after eating several bowls of popcorn. So, that was our Thanksgiving, early to rise, then early to bed!

Black Friday, once again we were up before sunrise - hey, we had early bird freebies and deals to get, ha ha! We eventually ended up in Cherry Hill after scoring some free things and a few good bargains, eating breakfast at the local Friendly's. After breakfast, we went to the mall,...Sugar, you should have seen the greeter in the Abercrombie store - shirtless and hunky! It was another nice day, weather-wise. Once home, we kind of just flopped, we were both beat tired again! Early to bed again, as neither one of us could keep our eyes open!

Black Saturday saw us up not so early, making our way on our traditional trek to a mall we have never been to. This year, it was the Staten Island Mall in Staten Island, New York. It was chilly out today, but sunny. I guess it took about an hour and a half to get there, and the first thing we did was visit Santa. Steve had this bright idea to have our annual holiday photo with Santa taken with us in our wedding clothes. So,.....we ended up changing in the car and walking through the JC Penney store and part of the mall in our Cruiserpalooza wedding outfits! At first I was a bit self-conscious, but as people stared and pointed and said things like, "Look! A bride and groom!", and some girls really liked my Hot Topic dress, it all turned good! Santa and his elves sure got a kick out of it! So, I hope you all like the picture! Santa giving the peace sign, sweet! Leave it to Steve! After changing back into our regular clothes, we had an excellent lunch at the Chevy's in the mall, wonderful Mexican food. I guess we ended up getting home around 11-ish,...once again tired but toting some nice gifts even though everything we saw, we wanted for ourselves!

On Sunday, 11/30, I don't think we did much of anything, I can't really remember. But, I do remember that I made a really tasty pizza for dinner; a cracked pepper and potato crust with the edges stuffed with crumbled feta cheese. I spread on some olive oil and topped one side with baby clams and the other with pepperoni, then tossed a blend of 3 cheeses on top. Mmmm mmmmm mmmmm!

Monday, 12/1, World Aids Day - Oh I can't believe it's December! Where does the time go? I took the 10:55 am train to Philly where I had an hour to kill before I had to go to Bodine Infusion to get my port accessed. It was sunny, not too cold, which was good. So, I went to the dollar store, then Bodine, then I walked over to the CT Department for my 1:00 abdomen/chest/pelvis Cat Scan. I had to drink that nasty barium solution but now it's actually flavored so that was different. Not nice, but different! Surprisingly, the nurse de-accessed me so I didn't have to go back to the Infusion Center, but alas, I had left my stuff there so I had to go back anyway. Oh well! You live and learn! Steve picked me up at 4:30 outside of Strawbridge's and we went to Bistro Romano for dinner. It was Pasta Night, but we opted for appetizers and a Caesar Salad prepared table-side by our favorite waiter Drew. It was totally yummy! Even yummier was the dessert we got - white chocolate mousse in an edible dark chocolate bowl with sponge cake and caramel,....go there and enjoy this before it's gone!

I began the day on Tuesday going to an appointment where I started a 2-week tooth whitening research study, then I headed over to Atlantic City where I participated in my 3rd sculpting class at Gilda's. Man, it was so windy and bitter cold when I got out, Steve said there were snow squalls all over the area throughout the day, but we didn't get any here.

Happy 55th Birthday to Ozzy Osbourne on Wednesday 12/3! I wonder how he celebrated the day? Me, ...well, I did some laundry!

Oh man, was it ever cold on Thursday,....brrrrrrrrrr! I took the train to Bodine Infusion again, where my port was accessed and my CA 125 was drawn, then over to the CT Department where at 2:00 I had my neck Cat Scan done, Theresa de-accessed me again, and I was off to the Gallery. Again, Steve picked me up at 4:30 and we went over to the Adelphia Restaurant in Deptford, NJ for a quick bite to eat, then across the street to the Mall for a few minutes, and then home to watch ER. The last episode, where Dr. Romano got squashed by the helicopter really disturbed me, even though I wanted him to leave the show. Yes, I wanted him gone, but not squashed! So, I was hoping for some closure, but I'm not too sure I really got any.

Today, I woke up to rain and snow. Looks like winter has reared its ugly head! Tonight, we are planning on going over to the Taj Mahal Casino where our friend Al from WJSE radio is throwing his annual holiday party at the Hard Rock Cafe. It doesn't really start until around 9 or 10, so I hope we both can make it, ha ha!

Now, I have some messages to relay -

Peg, I hope you and Russ had a safe trip to Seattle. How did everything go with the new baby? Did you do what you promised and wear masks on the plane? Inquiring minds want to know!

Suzette and Lisa, I hope your trip to Texas was a lot of fun! Too bad you are coming back to such crappy weather,...don't you wish you could just stay in Austin a bit longer? Can't wait to hear all about it!

Tina, I do hope you are coping with your latest set-back. Know that Fabio Jr and I are sending good thoughts your way.

And, lastly,....Greg "Demon" Banks, sure did give us a scare! Listening to the news on the radio last evening while we were navigating through rush-hour traffic, imagine our surprise when we heard that a "Gregory Banks is suspected of killing his estranged wife" in North Jersey! Yikes! It sure did sound like your circumstance, but now I know it wasn't after seeing his picture. And, I never really thought you would be capable of murder,...but then again, well, you never know! We stopped in to see you a few weeks ago, but you weren't there, and I called you the day before Thanksgiving but you were off. We'll hook up again soon, I hope!

Oh, and Happy Birthday Julie!!!!!!

OK, that's all folks - have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 30, 2003 5:08 PM CST

Hello, from your favorite Cruiserpalooza Bride & Groom,.......and Santa!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003 2:54 PM CST

Hello to you all on this Thanksgiving Eve! I have a cornucopia full of things to update you on, so get ready! I think I'll begin with Friday, November 14. Happy Birthday to Michelle! It was the 11 year anniversary of our first date, but we really didn't go overboard with the celebration. Actually, we ended up at the Hamilton Mall, where we had a nice dinner at the Ruby Tuesday. Saturday, Steve spent the day with his dad, where they both worked on Steve's truck. Oh, how manly! We received our assignment in the mail for the annual Boscov's/Channel 6 ABC Thanksgiving Day Parade,...we are now officially T-Rex balloon handlers! I sure hope it's not as cold as last year! Sunday, we finally picked up the PT Cruiser at the dealer, where we had taken it for routine servicing. We had a quick lunch at the new Quiznos that recently opened up in Mays Landing, then we came home and raked leaves all day. I had blisters on my hands even though I wore gloves, and my whole body ached! Our yard is so small, where did all those leaves come from! Monday, 11/17, I took the early train to Cherry Hill, where my friend Peg picked me up. We headed over to the lab so she could get her blood work done, then we spent a perfectly lovely day at her house. We chatted and had lunch, she made us the best salad I've had in a long time, seriously! It was so good, green olives are a sure fire way to my heart! Steve came over after work, Peg's husband Russ joined us and we hung out a little while more until it was time for us to head on over to Manayunk for the advance screening of "Gothika". We got to the theater about 15 minutes earlier than normal, and were surprised to see a very long line already formed outside the theater. Luckily, our seats weren't too bad, and I really enjoyed the movie. Halle Berry was pretty good, and I liked the story line but Steve wasn't too thrilled. There was one scene that still pops up in my mind, it was very disturbing, not scary or anything, just disturbing. And, just where does the title of Gothika come from?? By the time we got home, I was totally beat! It was a long day, but such a treat to see Peg. You can't believe what a wonderful woman she is, and I consider it a privilege to know her.

Tuesday the 18th, I was up extra early, and out of the house at 7:30 am. I drove to the PATCO High Speed Line in Lindenwold and took the train to Center City where I participated in a focus group regarding a drug you might have heard of called Neulasta. It lasted 50 minutes, and then I got back on the train, and drove home from Lindenwold. I was only home for a few minutes before I had to leave and go over to Gilda's where I signed up for a sculpting class at 1:30. On the way to Atlantic City, I was pleasantly surprised to see the face of my boss & dear friend Charlie Prose big as life on a billboard! Wow, I can't believe it's time for the Christmas Show already, Charlie! Sculpting was pretty cool, not what I expected. Our sculpting medium is a type of wax, and it's very interesting to work with. The project we all began will take us 4 classes total, what an artist I'll be someday! When I got home, I went next door to find Paul home from the hospital - yeah! Wednesday, it was very very windy. The last few days have been pretty nice, unseasonably warm. My mom told me that the wind and rain early in the morning made her feel like Mary Poppins! I took the train again, Steve picked me up in Cherry Hill and we went to the Manayunk Diner for dinner. Oh Denni, you should have seen the dessert we shared, this big tall hunk of chocolaty cheesecake with chocolate sauce and whipped cream, yummmm! We then went next door for the advance screening of "Bad Santa" starring Billy Bob Thornton. What a movie! I guess you could call it a black comedy, some parts of it were so funny, and others were really sad. The kid in this movie was fantastic! I recommend this one, if you have a twisted sense of humor!

Thursday, before I go any further, was the Annual Great American Smokeout. Now, I know better than to think all you smoking friends and relatives of mine participated. But, here are some things for you to think about. Lung cancer kills about 160,000 Americans every year, more than any other malignancy. An interesting fact, lung cancer seems to be dropping among men, but increasing among women. Unlike so many other cancers, lung cancer has a known major cause; tobacco. 90f lung cancer victims smoke. Did you know that each cigarette contains more than 4000 chemicals? Secondhand smoke is accountable for an estimated 3000 lung cancer deaths each year. The key to surviving lung cancer is detection. Cancerous cells are present in your lungs long before the disease ever causes symptoms. There are several Cat Scans that can detect any abnormalities. If you smoke, get one! A CT Scan is no big thing, trust me. And, if undetected, lung cancer most assuredly will spread, the other lung, the liver, brain, bones and the lymph glands. If found, then you know what happens next; surgery, chemotherapy, radiation. So, the best thing to do? Stop smoking! Duh! Before I leave this subject, read these warning signs - a cough that persists and worsens, blood in the sputum, chest pain, shortness of breath or wheezing, repeated attacks of bronchitis or pneumonia, hoarseness, swelling of the neck and face, loss of appetite or weight, unusual fatigue. I know that I have mentioned November is National Care Givers Awareness Month, but it also happens to be National Lung Cancer Awareness Month, so there - I've raised your awareness.

OK, so on Thursday I once again took the train to Cherry Hill, and Steve & I went over to Moriart'y Bar & Restaurant in Center City for a private party sponsored by Maker's Mark Bourbon. It was really a good time. There were free drinks, free food, and tons of giveaways. Sweet! We met some really nice people and saw some familiar faces from the other 2 parties we have attended. Sorry you weren't able to make it, Michael! One couple recently got an apartment in the Victor Building in Camden,...I'm so jealous!

Saturday, we were up very very early to go to our local Kohl's store as they were giving out $15 gift cards to the first 500 people. Yes, we scored 3, and used them all! Later in the day, our neighbor John was cutting down some tree limbs, and guess what? One big giant one fell on our roof! I was in the bathroom peeing ( ! ) and it really scared me! So, that took up some unexpected time in the afternoon, as Steve helped him remove it, and replace some shingles and stuff. Never a dull moment here in South Egg Harbor! Then, during all the commotion, the Chaise piece to our new furniture grouping arrived! And, the delivery guys barely spoke any English, it sounded like they were Swedish or something, but now we have the heat and massage - sweet! Thanks to our friend Al Parinello (owner of the WJSE 102.7 radio station), we went over (as his guests) to the Borgata Casino & Spa in Atlantic City to see the Korn concert scheduled for 8 pm. We thought this was unusual, a 'heavy' show at a casino. Well, the show was great, Korn sure does rock, but the Borgata was unimpressive to us both. They had no idea how to get all the people to the sold-out show inside, it took an hour and a half with the line snaking through the casino, it was so frustrating and not very conducive to the mood of an already antsy crowd. Funny, it took 1 & 1/2 hours to get everyone in, and the band played for about an hour, and the tickets were over $40! Oh well. Afterwards, there was this drunk guy passed out in the lobby (they serve liquor there, bad idea at a concert like this!), I really thought he was dead. The paramedics stayed with him for a long time, and finally he moved, it was fascinating to watch! Exiting the Borgata, we were pleasantly surprised that they were not charging for parking, $5 saved, oh yeah!

Sunday, we went up to Hatboro to Denni & Hugh's house for a bit, then we went over to join some fellow PT owners in the Hatboro Holiday Parade. It was really cool! Denni rode in the parade with us, we had a lot of fun waving to everyone and laughing. It was a nice surprise to see Joe and Laura, in Laura's car for a change! Everyone decorated their cars for Christmas, it was cool. Santa and Mrs. Claus were there, ho ho ho! We then all went to the Bennigan's for dinner, where Hugh joined us. It was good, but another long day and I was exhausted! Thanks to Tammy for including us! On the way home, we did something we rarely ever do, we stopped at a local bar for a nitecap! Al's Office Tavern, and it was really fun, we met a few nice people and the beer ended up being free, what more could you ask for! On a sad note, we returned home to find that Steveís grandmother passed away early in the morning after a long illness. Jackie, Iím glad you got to be with her in the end. She was a very special lady, and will be missed.

Monday, 11/24, I woke up with a migraine, I have been getting these headaches for a few weeks now, but this one was the worst. It was another unseasonably warm day, and despite the headache, I had errands to go out and do. It also was out 6 month anniversary, and you know what that means,...presents! OK, the traditional 6th anniversary gifts are sweets and iron, the modern gift is wood. Well, Steve said he spent all his 'wood' money on the guitar! So, this time, he gave me a small wooden knick-knack adorned with a fairy. For the iron, he gave me this iron birdhouse in the shape of a purse from the garden center at Frank's. And, for the sweets, well, Rita, wait until you hear this! He went to Bayard's Chocolate House! This place makes all their own chocolates, and Steve had them make up a gift basket, oh YUM! And, he also picked up some Pumpkin Fudge, oh is it ever GOOD!

Yesterday, I went over to Gilda's where I divided my time between the Quilting Class and Sculpting. I should be done my quilting project at the next class, I would have been done yesterday but they were missing the supply I needed. Sculpting was good again, my project is starting to take shape, I hope it turns out! Sitting in sculpting, Kay (one of the facilitators) came over from the other building, and she says, "Anna, is this yours?" Now, mom, I know you'll laugh - she was holding my purse! I left it in Quilting! Oh well! When Steve got home, we went over to the Ritz 5 in Old City for the advance screening of "The Missing", Ron Howard's new movie starring Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett. Good movie, really good. I was surprised I liked it so much, as the commercials are so very annoying. We also had passes to see "Timeline" but I'm glad we chose this one. The only bad thing was someone sitting near us that absolutely stunk! Denni, remember that time in Pittsburgh, when that dude stunk up our hotel room so bad? It was exactly the same stink - P U!

Today, I woke up with an even worse migraine, Steve was 8 minutes late getting to work because he gave me a wonderful head massage and brought me some medicine. It's pretty much gone, at least for now. I hope it doesn't come back in the morning, we have to be in Philly at 6 am. So, if you tune into the Parade, look for the T-Rex balloon, and know that 2 of the people holding the strings are us!

Before I leave you today, I just want to say something. If you call our house and hang up, either on the answering machine or when I answer, remember this - all it takes is caller i.d. or star69 to know who you are. And, I do know, believe me. What could be more annoying than that? Well, many things, but anyway, please either talk or leave a message, it's just common courtesy.

All right - have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!! Travel safe, and be sure to eat and drink sensibly! See ya next time! In closing, the two things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving,,...and now.

Monday, November 24, 2003 9:20 AM CST

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Update,......coming soon!!!!!!


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Wednesday, November 19, 2003 2:01 PM CST

Hello everyone! I thought I'd have time to update you today, but of course I don't! I am on my way to the train, so in the meantime, check out the new photo page. The first one is me on Halloween, as The Black Widow. The second is the last day of the Art sessions at the Wellness Community, I am standing next to Caroline as she holds up Steve's peace flag so he can take the group picture. And the third, well, it's self-explanatory! OK, gotta run!

Friday, November 14, 2003 4:36 PM CST

Hello everyone, welcome to the start of another weekend! Nothing much has been going on here the last few days. Mainly, I've been trying to dig myself out from under the mess of the last 5 years! You can't believe how unmanageable things have become around here. Seriously, it's just an awful situation. My Granny is probably rolling in her grave! My kitchen has never been this filthy, and the entire house is so dusty and cluttered (except for around the new living room furniture!) that I can't stand it anymore. So, I've taken action now while I still am feeling somewhat fine. We've been pretty much staying home at night, except for last night when we went out on a scavenger hunt for a pair of tickets to see Bon Jovi tape their new DVD over at the new Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. We were unsuccessful, but the location of those tickets came to me this morning, and wouldn't you know it, I didn't have a car! We dropped the PT off at the dealership for service last night, darn! And, turns out, I was right about where they were found, by some dude at about 8:30 am. Oh well!

We were planning on going to New York City tomorrow to see one of my favorite bands, the Genitorturers (check them out at - very hardcore and nasty!), and we were also going to spend the night up there. I was really looking forward to seeing all the New York freaks at the show. But, we changed our minds the other night, instead we opted to stay close to home and try to accomplish some things. I've seem them plenty of times, but this did seem perfect,...NYC on a Saturday night at a club we've never been to! Another oh well.

Yesterday and today, it has been very windy, in NJ, PA, and in fact, just about everywhere. It's crazy! I've never before in my life experienced so much windy weather, it's very odd. It's like the earth is trying to shake free all the trees and buildings.

Today Steve & I are celebrating the 11 year anniversary of our first date together. Imagine that! Eleven freakin' years! Honestly, it doesn't seem that long, and I can only hope for 11 more years. Or, 12 more years, 15 more years, heck - a lifetime! I think we'll be going out for dinner, nothing fancy, as we have to go over and pick the PT up, and do a few other things.

I hope you have a good weekend, and Paul - I hope you get to come home soon. Suzette & Lisa, don't worry about the new chemo - it will all work out in the end. I am, however, slightly worried about you guys flying in an airplane while you are on chemo, Suze - that makes me real paranoid. And finally, I'd like to wish a very very happy birthday to my mother-in-law, Jackie - I hope you are safe and well in Rhode Island, say hello to me`mere!

Tuesday, November 11, 2003 4:16 PM CST

Hey there! Friday night we cleared away everything in the living room to make way for the delivery from Raymour & Flanigan, and with the wood parquet flooring it started to look like a dance floor of a club. Yes, you guessed it,....we danced and danced around, it was so funny! Bright and early at 8 am Saturday morning, our brand new furniture was delivered! Minus one piece that we had to special order, but still, it's here! I thought Steve would pass out from the reality of it all, ha ha! Saturday night, we celebrated with a beer and homemade pizza which we ate off of our new Levitz Clearance Center coffee table, while sitting on the floor - no eating on the new furniture! (Duh!) Did you catch any of the eclipse? It was cold out, but we were able to view it from our window so that was nice! Sunday morning, (Happy Birthday Tina!!!!), we went to breakfast at the Country Kitchen, down the street from our house. The owner, Anna, steered Steve towards some special pumpkin pancakes, and I ordered the Gas House Eggs, which she served to me on Texas Toast, oh it was yummy! We had to take care of some errands, and soon we were home and it was time for Tarzan on the WB,...which by the way, is getting cancelled - crap! Oh, Welcome Home Dad & Rita, can't wait to hear all about your latest cruise! Monday, after Steve got home from work, we went out on a quest which we began on Sunday. I am looking for a specific gift for someone for Christmas, and we just can't find it! Every store is out of it! So, we made a run to Berlin to once again look for the item, but no luck. So, sorry to the recipient, hopefully I'll catch another sale before Christmas! We had some dinner at a restaurant called Moby Dick (it was ok - we tried an appetizer of Crab Balls, which was the highlight of the meal), then home to have some tea and sit on the beautiful furniture! Today, I woke up and noticed that it was a tad bit colder in the house than it should be, and we also had no hot water. What now? We were out of heating oil! I called the company, and they came over within the hour, so that crisis was solved! Brrrr!

I seemed to have forgotten to tell you something funny from last week. Well, I did, after all, have a lot of things to try to remember to tell you, right?! Anyway, last Tuesday night, Steve mixed us up a Blackberry Liqueur night cap, in honor of the re-election of Philadelphia mayor John Street. (If you live locally, or heard of the 'bug' in his office, you'll know what the blackberry stands for!)

Oh, and speaking of last Tuesday,...I just found this out last night. I missed the episode of the Gilmore Girls that Sebastian Bach was on! It aired Tuesday night, so if any of you ever hear of it being re-run, please let me know!

I guess by now you have all seen the newest pictures that Steve put up on the photo page. If not, take a look, because new ones are on the way, any day now!

I haven't really talked about the medical stuff that has been happening lately. It's so much an every day part of my life that sometimes I just don't think to mention it. With that said,.....things are starting to get ugly around here! (Ha Ha!) Headaches have become a fairly normal occurrence. The night sweats are very intense, and the hot flashes are now unpredictable and very frequent. I've had some bone pain, but that seems to be over with. Also, I've experienced difficulty breathing, but that too seems to have passed. I asked Steve last night if I've had any noticeable mood swings, but he says, "No, you're good!", which is nice for him I guess! Dr. King's nurse Judi let me know today that my CA 125 is 755, which is still stable. The next step is some CAT Scans which I have scheduled for December 1st and 4th, then we will go from there. If all looks the same, I anticipate another Lupron shot on 12/18. There you have it!

Paul was admitted to a hospital in Philly yesterday, he is experiencing some heart troubles. So, once again, I'm asking everyone to send some healing vibes out into the universe for him so that he can get well and come home soon.

That about does it for today. Like I mentioned before, check back from time to time for some new pictures, you never know what Steve will surprise us with! Bye! Happy Veteran's Day!

Friday, November 7, 2003 3:42 PM CST

Oh my gosh! I can't believe it's been this long since I've updated this darn thing! OK, well, here we go,...I hope you're ready for a good long read!

Tuesday, October 28th was a dark, dreary and rainy day. I went over to Gilda's Club for another Quilting session. This time, it was just myself, another lady (Effie) and Merry the instructor. Sweet! One-on-one quality attention, and now my project is nearly completed. Merry will be in Hawaii the next scheduled class, but her assistant Bea will take her place, and I'm looking forward to it once again! I picked up hoagies on the way home, and then Steve & I went to a 10 pm advance screening of the re-released Alien movie. I never saw the original, and if I did, well then I totally forgot it. I couldn't quite understand all the excitement about this movie, but Steve explained how it was one of the first of it's kind when it came out all those years ago. Still, b-o-r-i-n-g! It was after 1 am when we got home, but it was cool, it's a rare thing that these screenings are so late and it's really rather nice!

Wednesday I was up early and out to Gilda's once again for a Foot Reflexology session at 10:30 am. It was raining again, and I had a slight migraine (again) but I went anyway, and man was I glad! Pam, the reflexologist, took my headache away and made me feel generally pretty good. And, I met some really nice people there (Hi Barbara & Alan!). Then, imagine my surprise when Kay announced that we were all welcome to stay for lunch! It was delicious, and I left out of there with a smile on my face! After I got home, the rain had somewhat stopped and I walked over to to the train station to ride to Cherry Hill to meet Steve. We went to Houlihan's again, then to The Wellness Community for our Art with Caroline. Another satisfying evening there, but I would expect nothing less from Caroline!

Thursday, Dad & Rita left on a 10 day cruise,...must be nice, ha ha! It was an absolutely beautiful day, and I had planned to go to Shoprite, but as I was gathering my coupons, a news alert came on the TV regarding the collapse of the new Tropicana Hotel & Casino parking garage. What a tragedy, and I was captivated by the coverage for a little bit. Turns out, one of our neighbor's relatives was one of the 4 dead, so our sympathies go out to them. When Steve got home, we went out for dinner to a little restaurant in the Towne of Smithville where we had a very interesting thing - a Baked Ziti Pizza,....yum! And yes, I did indeed make it to Shoprite!

Another beautiful day on Friday, perfect for Halloween trick-or-treating. I went out and did some errands, then took the train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill where we went to dinner and then to a store that was closing, (Drug Emporium) to see if we could get any bargains! Of course, we did! And if you hadn't guessed it by now, we did not give out any candy to the little ghouls and goblins.

Saturday again was another beautiful day. We did some things around here, then went to Philly for a Halloween costume party. Yes, that's right, we actually dressed up! The second time on all our years together! Up until the early afternoon, we each had an idea of what we wanted to be, but then as the day progressed, we both changed our minds! Oh well! It worked out anyway. I went as a Black Widow, and Steve was the Dead Husband. It was a fun party, we had champagne, we danced and ate some really good food. (Check out some of the items on the menu for the night: Dead Man's Grill, Intestines & Cheese, Body Parts and Worms, Shredded Fingers, Poison Leaf Salad, Sweetened Dog Teeth, Leaky Brains!) We saw a lot of cool costumes there. One girl was dressed like a Green M & M, she was cute! There were far too many pirates, which was Steve's original plan. I'm glad he changed his mind! Thanks to Pat for another interesting evening! It was a late night for us, we rolled in at about 3:30 am, oh boy! I was worried about getting a migraine, so I took some medicine as a preventative measure.

Sunday, believe it or not, we had to get up fairly early, (no migraine!) as we had to go get our flu shots. Ouch! From there, we came home to meet Jason and his mom Anne. We were moving our sofa over to mom's and Jason was kind enough to help Steve with the move. It was real good to see Anne, and Jason even though he won't let me hug him! Jason, I don't have cooties! :-) Anyway, mom, I'm glad you like the sofa, it looks good in the beehive!

Monday, another sunny and warm day. I took the 12:42 train to Center City where I met Suzette. She picked me up in her beautiful PT Cruiser, and we made our way over to 17th & Arch to participate in a cancer research group for a company called Focus Point. They paid us for our time, and provided free parking, but we weren't all that cool with having someone else drive the Cruiser, so Suze drove around a bit looking for alternative parking. Without going into details, let's just say the search was interesting, right Suze?!!!! The topic was chemotherapy, and soon it was over, each of us clutching our check as we went down to meet Steve. He drove Suze back to her car, and we then headed over to New Jersey for the last few hours of the Drug Emporium closing sale. What a scene! Most of what was left was crap, as you can imagine, but it was crap we needed! Ha Ha! Whatever you could fit into a big shopping cart was $25, and whatever you could fit into one of those small plastic carry-alls was $5. Needless to say, we stuffed all the crap we could ( ! ) into that small thing - it was too funny! From there, we stopped at the Dairy Queen for a deeelicious Pumpkin Pie Blizzard. Oh, yum! If you haven't tried this yet, what are you waiting for! Go!

Tuesday, November 4th and all is right with the world once again, 'mom reports' have resumed! Vacation over! I spent the day making some preparations for our weekend furniture delivery. It's sort of overwhelming, but I think in the end it will be worth it.

Wednesday started out rainy, but then the sun came out and it got really warm and humid. I took the train to Center City, where I had my CA 125 drawn and my port flushed. What a change in the weather from South Jersey to Philly; it was chilly, dark and ominous. I did a little shopping until Steve picked me up outside of Strawbridges, and we once again went to Houlihan's for a light dinner before our final session with Caroline. We were disappointed to find out our favorite waiter Vincent had left. Back out into the car, and down came the rain! Caroline delayed our class for 10 minutes to give everyone ample time to get there in the bad weather, and once again, it was a very satisfying evening. I was sad to see it end, but so very happy to have had the chance to participate! We made a group Peace Flag, to be hung outside on the grounds of the Wellness Community. It turned out very beautiful, if I say so myself!

Yesterday, I spent the morning doing a little painting in anticipation of the new furniture. Then, I headed over to Gilda's. The special guest of the evening was Christine Pirello, Emmy Award-winning host of 'Christina Cooks' on PBS. She cooked us all a 'Feast Without the Beast' holiday meal, and man was it oh so yummy! She brought along with her singer/songwriter Jon Michaels to provide some after-dinner entertainment. The local Channel 40 news was there to film a bit of it, but unfortunately I did not get in the shots! Too bad Steve had to miss this, it was really nice.

Today I am once again preparing for the furniture delivery, scheduled between 7 am and 1 pm tomorrow. Yikes! Seems like we have far too much left to do before the stuff comes, but I guess it will work out. After all, doesn't it always? That will probably pretty much consume our weekend. See, we're not just bringing in new furniture, we're actually doing some major changes as well. Of course, you can guess that Steve's not too happy about all the added work, but I'm sure he'll love the outcome!

I hope you got through this extra long entry ok! Have a good weekend, whatever you do!

Tuesday, November 4, 2003 3:02 PM CST

No, I haven't forgotten all about you! I wanted to try and add an entry today, but unfortunately it's just not gonna happen. Tomorrow either as I have to go to the Infusion Center in Philly on the 12:42 pm train for my CA 125 and port flush. Maybe Thursday, before I go to Gilda's, but then again, who knows. Not to worry, though, because once I finally do manage to update you, you can expect a long long long one! Toodles!

Happy National Caregiver's Month!

Sunday, November 2, 2003 11:35 AM CST

Happy National Caregivers Month ! ! ! !

Friday, October 31, 2003 11:38 AM CST

HAPPY HALLOWEEN ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Monday, October 27, 2003 4:44 PM CST

Happy Halloween Week to everyone! Before the month is over, I wanted to tell you, I just found out that October is also Children's Health Month and this week is Massage Therapy Week,..will it ever end, ha ha! Ok, let's start this entry with our 5th anniversary last Friday. We decided to go out for dinner, to an Italian restaurant in Atco called Maplewood IV. It was pretty good, pasta is always usually yummy. There was a fortune teller there giving readings, but I didn't feel like waiting around for a turn, oh well, maybe next time! Now, let's talk presents! Traditionally, the 5th wedding anniversary gift is wood, and the modern is silverware. So, for silverware, Steve gave me a serving spoon which he personally engraved with a special tool he had just bought. That's pretty cool, right? Well, are you ready for this one? For the wood, you'll never guess in a million years what it was. Give up? First, he handed me a Spanish guitar! Yes, that's right! A Spanish guitar! He knows how much I enjoy Spanish music, so he thought I might like to learn! But, that's not all. He also gave me a beautiful red starter acoustic guitar, complete with extra strings and a case, and some other stuff all in a box! I couldn't believe it! He said, that was the only thing that came to mind when he found out it was wood - and he actually got the guitars 2 weeks before I wrote in this journal that maybe I'd take up guitar after I learn quilting! I tell you, he and I are so in synch, my mom says, we are not 2 peas in a pod, but 1 pea in a pod! And, the reason for 2 guitars, he couldn't make up his mind between them, so he got both! Now I can't wait to learn, maybe I can talk them over at Gilda's House into finding someone to teach guitar to us poor cancer patients!

We pretty much stayed home this weekend. There was an Addams Family Marathon both days, from late afternoon until 10 pm, which was really cool. I love Gomez & Morticia, and I see me and Steve in them and the things they say and do. And of course, I really love Cousin Itt! Saturday, we received so many sale circulars from furniture stores, I thought Steve's head would pop off! But, luckily, there was absolutely nothing in them to compare with our new Raymour & Flanigan sectional.

Sunday, Happy Birthday to Denni! Did you remember to turn your clocks back? We ended up going out for dinner to this totally sweet place in Williamstown called the Creole Cafe. It is Cajun food, and mighty tasty! Then, we came home and watched the new Tarzan show on the WB station. Have any of you been watching this? Oooh la la! I must say, I'm enjoying it! I think the actor who plays Tarzan is on the Sharon Osbourne Show sometime this week. Steve mixed us up a Pumpkin Pie martini, pretty delicious! Dad, I think you'd like this one!

Today, I am sending Happy Anniversary wishes to Denni & Hugh! Why can't we live closer to you guys! I had to go out and run some errands, which I just did not want to do, because it's raining. You know, I didn't want to melt, ha ha! Tomorrow is quilting at Gilda's, which I'm looking forward to. Then, we have an advance screening of the re-released movie 'Alien', which should be pretty cool since it is a 10 pm showing. I've never seen the original, so I won't have anything to compare it to, it will all be new to me!

I'll close this entry today with a few things. First, Paul was in the hospital for a few days, and he's not feeling that well even though he is indeed back home. So, please send your healing thoughts out into the universe for him, ok? Secondly, I've recently discovered that if you put a pinch of salt along with your coffee in the basket before you brew it, the taste changes ever so slightly, and it's really rather good! Give it a try, but remember, just a pinch! And, last, please stop sending me all those e-mails referencing God. My reason for doing so isn't anybody's business, but I delete them. All of them. Sorry! I appreciate that you thought of me, but I don't particularly glean anything from them. Religion of any kind should not be forced onto the unwilling, until they are in fact willing. Thanks! OK then,...later! Oh, and mom, I'm lost without my early morning Mom reports! (She's on vacation!) Oh yes, another thing - check back again later, I think Steve is going to put up some new pictures real soon!

Friday, October 24, 2003 3:06 PM CDT

Well, we did it! We finally decided on furniture. But, first, Gilda's Club,.....

Steve attended the New Member Meeting last night, which I guess he found interesting enough. Petie is a sweetheart, and Atlantic City is so much more convenient than Fairmount Park in Philly. I attended my first support group there, called 'Been There Done That'. This seemed the perfect group for me to join in, because as you all know, I certainly have been there and done that! The group is led by a very nice young girl by the name of Shelly, and it consisted of her, me, and another woman by the name of Sandy. Wow! Not what I expected! Such a small group, I certainly was not going to get away with not sharing, that's a given. So, I just went with it, and for nearly 2 hours, we talked and laughed and even though that sounds like it was a lot of fun, I was glad when it was over! Sandy is a nice enough lady, a breast cancer survivor,...but this being Gilda's Club, well, I was hoping to be with other ovarian cancer survivors. Generally speaking, the cancer survivor's journey is basically the same from cancer to cancer, but then again, it isn't the same. And, I think I would be more comfortable,.........well,.....truthfully,......not going to this one again! I hope that doesn't sound rude, or offensive, but if it's just the 3 of us at the next meeting, tell me, just what else could there be left for me to talk about? I gave my history, the story of my life, so-to-speak, and as I don't really care to share all my feelings and concerns,...well,,....? Well, anyway, all in all we had a nice time there, and I am really looking forward to next Tuesday and Quilting. I'm also thinking of checking out the Thursday afternoon yoga classes, but we'll see about that later. A high point of the evening came when we discovered an area filled with hats, scarves, a wig and a purse, all there for Gilda's Club members to have for free - donated by an area boutique. Well, quite naturally, Steve chose the purse for me, and although it is not my style, it's cute!

We rushed over to Raymour & Flanigan afterwards, it was nearly 8:15 when we left Atlantic City and we were afraid it would be too late to meet with Greg before the store's closing time of 9 pm. When we got there, we found out they were closing at 10 because of the special sale they were having. And, it was actually pretty busy there! We sat on the furniture, chatted with Greg, and then, we decided to just get it. So, pretty soon, we'll be lounging on a new 4 piece blue Berkline sectional with a sleeper sofa, recliner & a chaise with heat and massage. Fancy! Way above our budget, but, what the heck, right? Greg won us over, with a sale price and his charming personality. (Like I said before, all you single girls, you better go over there and check this dude out!!!!) I guess it was nearly 10:30 when we left the store, at one point the lights all went out, it was funny! Now, Steve feels sick to his stomach, ha ha! That's always his reaction when we spend money!!!!

Well, today is our 5th anniversary. I have no idea what will be in store when Steve gets home, but you know I'll certainly be back as soon as I can to fill you in! Have a great weekend, and I'll talk to you soon.

Thursday, October 23, 2003 2:59 PM CDT

Hello to you all on this cold almost wintry day. Monday night, we enjoyed another Pasta Night at Bistro Romano, yum yum yum! You MUST go there! (But make sure it's a Monday for $9.95 pasta or a Tuesday for $13.95 lobster!)

Tuesday, I actually went grocery shopping, oh lordy lordy! It was a beautiful sunny and warm day, so I really didn't mind going to the store. (Happy 3rd anniversary, Judy & Bob!) Oh, and I went to the Macy's One Day Preview Sale, from 10 am to 1 pm, and scored myself a cute little summer outfit (a top & matching pants) for a whopping $5.98! (Originally $104!)I hope I don't croak before I get to wear it, ha ha!

Wednesday,...Happy Birthday to Paul! I took the train to Cherry Hill, what a trip that was. First, it was cold and rainy and windy on my walk to the station. Somewhere between the Hammonton & Atco stop, the train screeched to a halt. Things & people went flying, the train sat there for a few minutes and abruptly took off again, with no explanation of what just happened. Then, just out of the Atco station, a man decided to have a heart attack on the next car down, people were freaking out, running and hollering, it was crazy for a few minutes until he took his medicine. Then, people got off in Lindenwold thinking it was Cherry Hill so we had to wait for them to re-board. And then, once in Cherry Hill, everyone got off, thinking it was 30th Street Station in Philly! It was one hell of a ride, yes it was! I've just about had my fill of these train trips. We stopped at the Houlihan's on City Line for a quick bite before heading over to the Wellness Community for our 4th Art session. What fun! This time, we did a walking meditation. Steve didn't have a chance to fall asleep during this one, ha ha! Walking meditation is not one of my favorites, but it was ok. Tonight, we played with clay, which I really enjoy. The session went a little past the 9:00 end time, so we got home nearly 11. I was so beat,...I've been experiencing another side effect of the Lupron, which is bone pain. It's been waking me up at night, along with the night hot flashes. The pain first started in my left wrist, then it was in my left ankle, then my left knee, and during Art I felt it in my left hip bone. It is a really strange pain, not constant but very sharp sort-of stabs. I am meaning to call Dr. King about it tomorrow, just to let her know. Hey, don't get me wrong, all of the side effects so far have been much easier to tolerate than chemo, that's for sure!

I had a hard time waking up today, I felt like I could have just stayed in bed all day. I am so very tired, but don't worry about me, it's probably just the MS or some side effect, or something! Tonight, when Steve gets home, we are going over to Gilda's Club in Atlantic City. Steve is attending a New Member Meeting, and I am joining in a group called Been There Done That. Then we will be heading over to Raymour & Flanigan to see Greg about the furniture grouping we have been looking at. They are having a big sale today, called Friends & Family, we'll see what happens!

I guess that about wraps it up for today. Oh, wait a minute, I forgot! Did you know that October is also Fire Safety Month? Wildlife Refuge Month? Geez, where do they get these things from! October is crowded with stuff to raise our awareness! I did buy some Edy's Ice Cream the other day, it's a pink sherbet called Berry Rainbow, and I think the purchase helps the Breast Cancer group somehow. All right, I'll see you again, real soon! And, Suzette, try not to panic, ok?

Monday, October 20, 2003 9:27 AM CDT

Brrrr! It's a chilly, but sunny, fall day here in Extreme South Jersey. I hope you all had a great weekend. Ours started out Friday night, when I took the train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill. We were going to take a chance that tickets would be released at the last minute to the sold-out Comedy Central show featuring Dave Attell and Lewis Black. It had been dismal and cloudy all day, and the rain finally started as we made our way over the Ben Franklin Bridge to Philly. We drove over to the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, and how sweet it was to get a parking spot at a meter directly across from the Theater. We thought this might be a good sign, but at 5:45 the guy at the box office said, sorry but there were no tickets. :-( But, he said check back in about an hour or so. OK, we'll do some window shopping and look for somewhere to get something to eat. The rain began coming down a bit harder, so we decided on going to this little tavern in the alley next to the theater for some dinner. I remembered this place from years ago, and I knew that the entertainers and their crew members often stopped in there for a drink or some food. Surprisingly, it was pretty good! Back across the street to check for tickets again, expecting to be disappointed (we had a Plan B all ready to go!), but guess what? The lady had some tickets! Sweet! Steve fed the meter, and I picked myself up off the ground, we actually paid for tickets,....ouch!!!! :-) 3rd row right orchestra, nice! It was a really good show, 2 comedians came on before Lewis Black took the stage, and he was funny as ever. Then, Insomniac's Dave Attell, and he wasn't as funny as I thought he would be, but it was great none-the-less. Several times during the over 2 hour show, I was in tears, which is always a good thing at a comedy show! We left out of there about 10:30, and we were home after midnight, 12:30-ish.

Saturday, (Happy Birthday to Gary, and Happy Anniversary to Granny & Pop!), we both slept late. We did some things around here, then Steve got the idea that we should do one last furniture outing. So, out we went, eventually ending up back at our Raymour & Flanigan to check in with Greg. We now have an appointment with him Thursday night so we'll see what happens! Looks like we have pretty much decided on that particular (blue) sectional grouping. It's been a difficult decision, between this one, and another darker blue one at a Boscov's furniture store. Stay tuned! Oh, and get this - have you ever seen girls carrying those tacky tote bags, with the ugly pictures on the sides? They have been all the rage for nearly a year now. Guess what? I bought one! That in itself is no big deal, but it wasn't even on clearance!!! Lordy lordy! I just couldn't pass it up, it has a bunch of states and cities all over it, all places that Steve & I have been to,...Texas, South Beach, Chicago,'s really ugly but I needed it - bad! Ha Ha! What's up with that? Paying full price for show tickets, $15 for a purse, new furniture??? We must be crazy! Anyway, we rolled in nearly ten pm, too late to go over to Millville and join some of our PT friends, in town to attend an event at Wheaton Village on Sunday.

Sunday, we stayed around here, covered the deck furniture and stuff like that. Guess what I did??? I raked leaves! Yikes, that's hard work!!!! But, the County came around with the leaf sucker this morning, and sucked up all my leaves, so that was pretty good timing, wouldn't you say! Today I am once again taking the train to Cherry Hill, we have a dinner reservation at the Bistro Romano for their $9.95 pasta night, yum! So, until next time, have a good one!

Friday, October 17, 2003 9:28 AM CDT

Good morning to you! It's a dark and dreary day here in Extreme South Jersey, with forecasts of impending rain. Of course, because last night, we talked about me taking the train to Cherry Hill again today, then heading over to Upper Darby & the Tower Theater for a comedy show. That plan is not set in stone yet, we'll see how the day progresses!

I forgot to tell you something about Sunday - I woke up with an extremely bad headache, borderline migraine. I took some medicine, and as you can see by my previous entry from Wednesday, I managed to get myself together good enough to try and show my beautiful face on tv! I knew the migraine was coming, as I could feel it for the past week or so, but it always seems to pop up on the worst possible day! I actually woke up with the pre-migraine feeling again today, crap!

Man, it was windy Wednesday when I walked to the train! We grabbed a bite to eat at the Houlihan's again before we were scheduled at the Wellness Community. We tried an interesting appetizer - Blue Cheese Chips, which are home made potato chips topped with crumbled blue cheese. It was pretty good, but could have been better. The art session was excellent again. We did a gentle yoga exercise, a body scan meditation, and of course, we made art. During the meditation, as we were laying on the floor, Steve fell asleep! It was funny! Or, at least, it was to me! He wasn't the only one, though, but the others also snored! And, after we all had gotten up and were rolling our yoga mats to put them away, he still was asleep but I guess he heard the commotion and finally he got up,...ha ha!

Yesterday was Linda's birthday, so Happy Birthday to you Linda! And, Lynn too! Hope you both had a good day. Steve brought some hoagies home, from a place called Lee's Hoagie House which is located in Marlton, NJ. They were celebrating 50 years of business at all their Philadelphia area locations, and were giving out 50 cent American Hoagies with a coupon from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sweet! Tell you what, it sure was a tasty hoagie! After we ate, we went over and picked up our brand new shoe chair, it is so cute, wait until you see it! Then, we were all set to relax a bit and tune into Friends, and then ER, but guess what? The network decided to put re-runs on because of some stupid baseball game! The only night we actually sit down to watch tv! Oh well, it's just tv, right?

Oh, and yesterday I got a call from Dr. King. My CA 125 is stable, at 728. The last one I did for her was 736, and the one I did in Houston was 545. We think that either MD Anderson has more sophisticated technology and that is why it was lower, or it was a mistake. Either way, stable is a good thing, as that is the whole idea behind doing the Lupron shots.

OK, gotta go! Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2003 1:13 PM CDT

Oh man, it's windy today! The newscaster says the wind gusts are reported at 50 miles per hour - yikes! It started out last night, with rain and wind. Tell you one thing, I am not looking forward to the walk to the train station today, that's for sure! Tonight is the 3rd week of our Art as a Way of Knowing program at the Wellness Community, so Steve will pick me up in Cherry Hill. That is, if the train doesn't blow away, ha ha!

Now, before I forget, not only is October National Breast Cancer Month, but it is also National Popcorn Month. Did you know that Americans consume 17 billion quarts of popcorn a year? Wow! And, here in the Philadelphia area, it is Mural Arts Month. I know I have mentioned this before, but Philly had the most beautiful murals. I'll be walking along the street, then, boom! A mural! Or, we'll be driving, turn the corner, and boom! A mural! Check out the new site I've added below, to see for yourself. Oh, and also, Steve told me that it's also National Billiards Month. Whew! A busy month!

So,....where to begin? Thursday night, we went out for a bite to eat, and stopped by the Raymour & Flanigan store to ask our salesman Greg a few questions. I call him "Demon" because he's always scheming & bending the rules a tad bit to help his customers out, kind of like the devil, or something. He's funny! And, very nice. Any single ladies out there, he's lookin' for love! So, drive on over to the Mays Landing store, and check him out, ha ha! Maybe he'll give us a discount,...!!!!!! Friday night, we went over to the grand opening of a new discount liquor store down the street from us, then called it an early night as we had big plans for the weekend. Read on!

Saturday, we were up early, heading over to the Liquor Store grand opening again, free T-shirts and key chain bottle openers. From there, we went to Cherry Hill, for the Grand Opening celebration of the new Liberty Bell Bank. This was a fitting thing to do, since the Liberty Bell in Philly was moved to a new location on Thursday! They had food, drinks, a Mummers string band, and giveaways. It was fun! From there, we went furniture shopping in the area. We located another Kensington store, and they had fresh baked, still warm from the oven, cookies, yum! We ended up back home, at the Raymour & Flanagan store where Steve had another question for Demon, then we made a frivolous purchase at another store, which we pick up tomorrow night. It's so cool, and I've been wanting it for years now - it's a High Heeled Shoe Chair! Wait until you see it! We didn't get back home until nearly 9:30 pm. Our friend Dawn was hosting an Oldies Dance Party tonight outside of Philly, but unfortunately it was too late to make it. I really wanted to go, too. Oh, Steve said I had my first official mood swing today,...oh no!

Sunday was National Coming Out Day, or Pridefest, whatever you want to call it. We had plans to meet Jeff in Philly, to hang out and party, but something else came up. We were called to be extras in a television shoot in Philly! It was at the Legendary Blue Horizon on North Broad Street, where they hold boxing matches. The start time was 12:30, and Suzette & Lisa met us there. I knew what was in store for the day, because I've been an extra before. But I don't think Steve, Suze and Lisa were prepared for all the sitting around and waiting, and re-shooting the scenes! And, the smoke, man, they had the smoke machines going all day, p-u! They left early, I guess around 5:30 or so, but we stuck it out, until the shoot ended at about 7:30. Wow, what a long day! But, they fed us snacks all day, and pizza at the finish. It was fun! The whole thing is this: It's a new reality series that will premier on the AMC channel in January. This was the 2nd episode, and currently the title of the series is "Movie Mission", which they hope to air on Wednesday nights. Apparently, they take a person with a movie fantasy, and re-create a favorite scene in that movie for them. In this one, the dude, Nate, loved the movie Rocky. So, this was a re-creation of the boxing match in the movie. It was cool! And, I'm pretty sure you'll see at least one of us during the hour long show! So, make a note of it, and check it out when it comes on! When we got our pizza after the shoot, we took it out on the steps to eat. I'm sitting there, Steve is standing, and these 2 black ladies come over and start 'rapping' to Steve. He's lovin' it, chatting them up! But, I'm just sitting there! Anyway, pretty soon, one of the ladies goes back into the club they came out of, and the other one finally sees me, and starts talking to me. What a trip she was! Wanted us to go back into the club with her, said she'd make sure we had a good time!!! No - we did not! We left, can ask Suze & Jeff, because I called both of them from the cell phone! We thought we still might be able to hook up with Jeff, but I was way too tired,...imagine that! I guess it was about 10 when we got home.

Monday was Columbus Day. Steve was one of the people who had to work, but a lot of people had the day off. I took the train to Cherry Hill, and we went to have a pizza, one of our odd yearly traditions! Then, we went to the advance screening of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". When this movie originally came out in 1974, it was instantly one of my favorites, in fact, I even have it on a Beta tape! This version was just as good, very tense and still scary! Some of the scenes were so beautifully filmed, I give it a big thumbs up if you like this type of movie. I won a shirt & a cd, and we got some shot glasses with the movie logo on them. Sweet! Then, Steve mixed us up a "Leatherface" nightcap when we got home!

Now, yesterday at Gilda's Club was really sort of fun! People, quilting is hard! Cutting and measuring, and sewing,....yikes! But I think I like it, and can't wait to finish my project! There were 2 other women, and a married couple. The dude was so funny! He never used a sewing machine before, but he dove right in and he actually was the best one out of all of us! Looking forward to the next session, as I am now officially a "Gilda's Quilter"!

I'll leave you with this today, new favorite song. It's by a band called Finger Eleven, and the title is "One Thing" - I like it not because it's the greatest song of all time, but because it conjures up some really good memories for me. Memories of a time when my house was always filled with musicians, their instruments, and their incredible voices and talents. I didn't appreciate it then, (right, Jef?), but at times, I do realize how much I miss that. Maybe I'll take up the guitar next, after quilting, that is!

Tuesday, October 14, 2003 11:10 AM CDT

Hello there! Yes, it's me! So sorry that I've been neglectful. When was the last time I updated you? Was it Thursday? Oh, no matter, I'm here now! Unfortunately, I don't have the time to tell you all about our adventures since last week. What I can tell you is this, I am now just moments away from leaving our house to go to Gilda's House in Atlantic City. Yes, Linda, if you are reading this, I am going to the Quilting Session. Feel free to laugh, but I really want to learn! During our 'Ladies Dinner' last Tuesday night, Linda just got the biggest kick out of me wanting to quilt, I don't know why but she laughed and laughed and said she just couldn't see me quilting. Hmmmmmpf,....I'll show you, Linda! :-) Ok - so sorry, but I have to go. I will do my best to stop by here tomorrow before I leave for our Art program at the Wellness Community. I can't promise, but I will indeed try.

Thursday, October 9, 2003 1:06 PM CDT

Here I am, Little Anna Sunshine, ha ha ha! Time for your daily dose of,! I'm trying to be very upbeat today, as it is National Depression Screening Day, and I don't want the Depression Police knocking at my door!

I guess I should start with Saturday, October 4th. After Steve finally woke up from his Rip Van Winkle sleep, we decided to go out for a bite to eat, and then, miracle of all miracles, furniture shopping. How he so readily agreed to that is beyond me, but I just went with it! We drove out to the Sweetwater Casino for what we thought would be lunch. It turned out, it was already dinner time there at this restaurant, at 3 pm! Oh well. For those of you not from this area, don't be fooled by the name, there is no casino in sight! Just a restaurant & gift shop on the Mullica River with a boat dock and a sort of small boardwalk. I have lived around here all my life, and everyone has always raved about this place. Many years ago, maybe 15 or so, was the last time I was there, and I remember it as being an ok place. Man, how times have changed. It was AWFUL! The view was nice from the dining area, and the staff was friendly enough, but the food - ugh! There were flies everywhere, which certainly does not make for a pleasant dining experience. Silverware was dirty, chair cushions were dirty, floor was dirty. I shudder to think of what the restrooms were like! The menu was pretty pricey, so we thought that the food would redeem these bad qualities. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! They don't serve baked potatoes until after 5, so instead they substituted a stuffed twice-baked potato. OK, sounded good, but we were oh so mistaken. I ordered crab cakes, dull boring and mushy. They arrived with a cup of frozen solid seafood cocktail sauce. The plate was watery from the vegetables, also obviously once frozen, and the potato, well, obviously once frozen again. Steve had a chicken parmesan dish, and oh yes, frozen! It was terrible! Do not go there! Thumbs down! From there, we stopped at mom's for a few minutes, then on to shop for some new furniture. We saw one piece that we both liked a lot, and I'm pleasantly surprised to say that Steve seemed to really be getting into the process!

Sunday, we got up early and went over to Brigantine to a restaurant called The Pirates Den, for a totally delicious breakfast, yum! Thumbs up to this place! From there, guess where we went???? Furniture shopping! Wow! 2 days in a row! What a fun day we had - one of the stores, called Kensington, has a sort of Snack Hut in the middle. Customers are free to help themselves to fresh baked cookies, fresh popped corn, coffee, soft drinks and freshly squeezed orange juice! How sweet is that? Too bad they didn't have one thing we liked! But, we pretty much decided to go there whenever we can and pretend to shop, and scarf down some snacks, ha ha! Another place, Raymour & Flanigan, served us ice cold sodas, nice! By the time we got home, I was furnitured-out, know, tired and grouchy and sick of furniture! But, we seemed to have had it narrowed down to 3 sectional groupings. The bad thing about each one is that it will be a 6 to 8 week wait until delivery, which plain sucks! Oh well, we'll see what this weekend brings!

Monday I woke up with a headache, so that stunk. Tuesday, the same, but I had a million errands to run so I tried to not let it bother me. Linda, Lynn & I had one of our 'ladies night out' dinners scheduled, and Linda had left me a few messages over the past couple of days, telling me to expect a special 'mystery guest'. Ooooh! Who could it be! When I arrived at the Olive Garden, Linda was already waiting, and soon Lynn came in but no Mystery Guest. ? So, we went in, sat down, ordered appetizers and they ordered a bottle of wine, and still no Mystery Guest. By now, I am really curious, and constantly guessing as to who it is. Then, I feel these arms go around me and it's none other than Jeff! Linda invited Sugman! This is a nice surprise, and at first I'm a little confused as to why a man is in our 'ladies' time, but then I just laugh! Jeff is so one of us girls, it's just too cool! It was a really good time, thank you Charlie! Steve was out when I got home, you'll never guess where he was. At one of the furniture stores, asking some questions! We sat down to watch tv, and he says the funniest thing. We're talking about the furniture, and the different features each one offers. One had heat and massage, one has an electric recliner. Then, he says, we should seriously think about paying the extra money for these things, as, and I quote, "We're not getting any younger!" Well, coming from Steve, this was just oh so funny! Next thing we know, Boris Karloff's Frankenstein is about to begin on the Turner Classic Movie channel, and we watch it wearing our Boris Karloff Frankenstein T-shirts! It was followed by The Bride of Frankenstein, and then Son of Frankenstein, but we were both too tired, so we taped it! Hey, after all, it is just about Halloween time, right?

Wednesday, I wake up with another headache, (Linda, I bet you did, too! Big grin!!!!), each one is getting worse than the one before it, a sure sign of an impending migraine. Yuck. We had advance screening passes to the new Quentin Tarantino movie, Kill Bill, but this was our 2nd night of Art with Caroline Peterson, and we weren't about to miss that! (Nathan did a funny review of the movie, I'm not sure if it's on his site or not, but if you have a minute, check it out, if it's there, it's hilarious!) I took the train and went to Bodine for a 2 pm CA 125 blood draw and port flush. Then, I walked all around the city, it was a beautiful day. My plan was to shop at Strawbridges until Steve picked me up, but it was just so nice walking around to all the shops on the street, that I only got 15 minutes in at Strawbridges! So, I didn't use my special discount coupons, or anything! Bummer! We went over to the Houlihan's on City Line for a quick bite before the Wellness Community. I was really anticipating having their Grilled Cheese with Granny Apple Slices sandwich, but guess what Suzette? It's off the menu! Crap! The food was good anyway, I had a spinach & cheese pizza-type dish, and Steve a turkey sandwich on a croissant. Then, over to TWCP for another satisfying session in the Art as a Way of Knowing program. This time, Steve played with markers, no pastel dust!

It's gorgeous out today, and I think I am going to go out into the garden for a little bit, just to tidy up and stuff. We may go look again at one of the furniture pieces we liked tonight, but I'm not sure about that yet. Oh, I'd like to share something with you. This morning, I had the most wonderful cup of yogurt, you must try it! Stonyfield Farms Organic Lowfat Caramel Underground. YUM! And, I'd also like to tell you, Caring Bridge is doing some maintenance and technical stuff, starting at 3 pm Saturday the 11th. They advise that it may take up to 72 hours, so if you stop by here and have any problems, don't say I didn't warn you! That about does it for today - see ya!

Wednesday, October 8, 2003 11:04 AM CDT

Good day to you! I wanted to add a new journal entry today to fill you in on some things, but as usual, time has gotten away from me. I am now minutes away from leaving for the train. I have a CA 125 scheduled for 2 pm, and a port flush, at Jefferson. Steve will pick me up in Center City at 4:30 and we'll head on over to the Wellness Community for our 2nd Art session with Caroline, and I can't wait! I'll try my best to come back here tomorrow, so please, have patience with me! :-) Later!

Saturday, October 4, 2003 10:06 AM CDT

Good morning! I'm just sitting here at the computer, killing time until Steve gets up. Suzette, you wondered how he had the stamina to get up so early for work, then do all those late-night things during the week,...well, now he's catching up! Snoozin' away! That's ok, he deserves to sleep in. So far, it looks like a beautiful sunny day, but I heard that later on we are going to get some rain. Which sounds about right, as Bob is doing another Krispy Kreme PT Cruiser event today! And, as you all know, he has a perpetual rain cloud over his head, right Judy?!

Wednesday, I took the train to Cherry Hill to meet Steve, which took a creepy turn when one of the guys I regularly see at the station handed me a picture that he drew for me while we all were waiting for the train to arrive. I usually have very little, if anything, to say to the other people, and even less eye contact. So, this was certainly creepy! Steve picked me up and we went to the Wellness Community for Caroline Peterson's "Art as a Way of Knowing" program. It was the first in a 6 week series, and I was so looking forward to it! Steve, on the other hand,...well, he is a very creative person, but I think in the long run he just went along to support me! You have to 'share' at these things, and neither one of us enjoys that aspect of it. But the night was really great, I loved it! Everyone in the group is really nice, and we actually know 2 of the other participants,...Joelle and Kathleen. We drew and painted, it was fun! Steve got a little carried away with the soft pastels, you should have seen him - he was absolutely covered in pastel dust! On his face, his hat, his shirt, his hands, his pants, even his shoes. The bad thing about it was that the dust all got in his eyes, so no matter how funny he looked all 'pastelled up', how could I laugh when he was in so much discomfort? Oh well, now I can laugh, as it's over and done with! I'm looking forward to the session next week, but not the visit to the train station.

I don't really have anything else to say to you today. I feel much better now that I'm not taking the Effexor. Steve, my Mood Meter, says that my mood is ok so far. Whew! And the hot flashes/night sweats are still tolerable. Cross those fingers! I do have some Sebastian Bach gossip for you - not only has he started another band (the Bach Tight Five), but he has now graduated from VH1 show host and the Broadway stage to a recurring role on the t.v. show The Gilmore Girls, acting opposite Sally Struthers. You go, boy! A curse on all who bad mouthed you during your Skid Row days!

OK - I'll talk to you sometime next week, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 1, 2003 12:58 AM CDT

Hey! Here I am with your recap of the last few days. Saturday night, I decided to begin taking the Effexor pill that Dr. King prescribed for me, to help with the mood swings and hot flashes. I'm beginning to get night-time hot flashes, or night sweats as they are called. My mood has been pretty good, but she told me to begin taking it right away, before there was any change in my mood, so I said, what the heck. Bad decision! I was up all night, sick to my stomach. Yuck! Anyway, Sunday, we woke up to rain, but made the decision to go to the PT gathering at the Krispy Kreme in Brick, NJ. Our plan was to hang out for awhile, then cruise on over to Cherry Hill for the last day of the Monster Mania, and maybe meet Kane Hodder. When we arrived, a little after 9 am, it was still raining. We joined everyone inside, ate some free hot-from-the-line donuts, and before we knew it, the rain had stopped so we all ventured outside to talk, (congratulations Lou!!!) and finally we ended up over at the TGI Fridays for lunch. Originally, Bob was planning on bar-b-qeuing at a nearby park, but the threat of more rain caused him to re-schedule the event to next Saturday - so if you have a PT Cruiser, drive on over there! After everyone left, Bob & Judy took us over to show us the park, and by the time we left, it was too late to go meet Kane. Oh well, I guess that was the way it was meant to be! Oh, and Steve's assessment of the beloved Krispy Kreme donut? "It's just an f-in' donut!"

I took another Effexor Sunday night, and luckily I did not throw up during the night, but I did however wake up several times feeling queasy and sick. Monday, I just didn't feel right, like I was floating, like everything was a dream, it is so odd. No night sweats, though, but I'm not sure which I would prefer, the flashes, or the sick/floating feeling? I hate not being in control! Drugs are bad! I planned to go grocery shopping and errand running but a little after 10, I received a text message on my cell phone from Steve, "CALL YOUR MOTHER!!", immediately followed by another, "HOSTAGE SITUATION IN POMONA!". So, I call her and yes, she indeed heard some gunshots earlier in the morning, but didn't know of anything else that was going on. Matter of fact, she says, there are a lot of sirens, and helicopters. Hmmmm? Soon enough, we come to find out, there had been a shooting at a tavern up the street from her, and a man was possibly holding a woman hostage in a trailer at the camp ground adjacent to my mom's mobile home park! Lordy Lordy! It's now all over the news on tv, and on the radio, it was crazy! Everyone was calling me, and her, to make sure she was ok. She was, so finally, I ventured out to the grocery store, but not before I tried to get into the park to see her. No such luck! No one could get in, or out! Police, medics, FBI, news reporters, you name it - they were there! People even had lawn chairs set up around the perimeter, just watching! At one point, they evacuated many of the residents, for fear of a bomb. This was really nerve wracking and stressful, more to me than her. Oh brother, this went on all day, into the night, until finally mom had to go to work. The police let her out, so at least I knew she was safe for awhile. She got a big kick out of it all, and called to tell me about the porta-potties that were set up along the street! While she was at work, they evacuated the residents again, let them back in, then evacuated them all once again. Man, I'm glad she was at work! By morning, it seemed to be over,...4 people dead, 2 wounded. Did you read about it in the news papers?

Tuesday morning I woke up still feeling weird from another Effexor pill, but at least I didn't throw up. I took the train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill, then we went over to Manayunk for dinner. We ate at an organic restaurant called Sonoma. It was ok, nothing spectacular. I got a kick out of something; they claim to be 'all organic', however they placed a bottle of Heinz ketchup on the table. Shouldn't they have had an organic brand? Just an observation! Then, we went over to the movie theater for the screening of the new Denzel Washington movie, "Out of Time". What's the big deal about Denzel? Man oh man, the ladies in the house sure had high praise for him, that's for sure! Not a bad movie, somewhat predictable, it's always an experience watching a movie in a theater full of black people. I hope that's not a too politically incorrect term! They sure love to talk, and make loud comments to the screen, and laugh at the most inappropriate times! Makes for a unique time! They made it seem like the movie was more of a comedy than a dramatic/action type picture. Oh well, it was ok, some tense scenes, nothing too complicated, but I was still floating so I didn't care! We came home to vote for Michael Tearson on the last day of the radio poll. We're pretty sure Couzin Ed will win, even with his illegal tactics, which I'm too mad about to explain. Michael has been a dj in the Philadelphia area for what, 30 years? He deserves an award, damn it!

Today is the start of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so expect to be bombarded by that in the media. I wish they treated Ovarian Cancer the same way,...maybe some day. I'll be leaving shortly to once again take the train to Cherry Hill, where Steve will meet me and we will go over to the Wellness Community in Philly. We signed up for a 6 week program led by none other than Caroline Peterson, "Art as a Way of Knowing", and I am so looking forward to it! Oh, and by the way, I did not take the Effexor last night, to hell with it! Let's see what happens without it.

Talk to you again another day!

Tuesday, September 30, 2003 2:03 PM CDT

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
I'm on my way to the train,
Sorry,...but there's no time to update you!

Saturday, September 27, 2003 9:09 PM CDT

Hello to everyone. I am making a special entry today. I'll begin with yesterday (Friday). I was all dressed and ready to walk to the train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill, when I decided to check the e-mails one last time. Good thing, too, because I noticed a message from the organizers of the Monster Mania horror convention we were going to. Kane Hodder had cancelled his appearance for the night! Crap! So, I text messaged Steve at work real quick, and we decided that I'd stay home, and we'd skip going to the Con. :-( I was really looking forward to meeting my favorite Jason Voorhees! Oh well. Now, how were we going to fill the void in our night? (Ha Ha!) When Steve got home, we said, hey! Let's go over to Maynard's in Margate and see Big Al,...we haven't been there since his 77th birthday party in August. He wasn't feeling all that well then, and was actually in the hospital and unable to even be at the party thrown in his honor. Maybe he'd be there, feeling much better. OK! Let's go! We get there, walk up to the door, and we were absolutely floored. There was a sign on the door, saying that 'due to the death of Big Al, the benefit planned for the evening was cancelled until a later date.' Oh no! This was a real shock to us, and we just stood there, in silence. Finally, we went in, ordered up a couple Harps, ate some food, and just did what everyone else in the place was doing,...looking at all the pictures of Al, and the beautiful flowers that were arriving. It was very sad. Then, as we were just about to leave, Uncle Phil came in so of course we had to talk to him for awhile. We left out of there just feeling,....well, you know, just feeling feelings. Al Troiano was such a nice kind and caring man. We weren't exactly friends, we were never invited over to his house for dinner, never taken out on his boat, heck - he might not have even known our names. But, he knew who we were, treated us with respect and kindness, always had a smile and a handshake, a kiss and a hug. This man had a big heart. He will be missed.

Today, I woke up with a mild migraine. We talked about going to spend the day at the Monster Mania, as we were told that Kane indeed would be there both Saturday and Sunday, but it was such a beautiful day that instead we rode down to Wildwood to say hello to all our friends at the PT Cruiser event on the boardwalk called Wild Thang. It was good to see everyone,...Mark (our wedding ring bearer), Gary & Lou, Joe & Laura, Ira & Susan, Maggie, Plumetta, Bill & Andrea, John, Greg, Tammy & Lori, Bill & Anne, Peggy & Mr. Brite, Betty Boop, and just everyone! I'm not really good with names, so excuse me if I left you out! We hung out on the boardwalk for a bit, played some games, (yes, mom, Steve won a couple things from the crane machine!), then we joined everyone at the hotel where we hung out some more. And, guess what? A glass etcher was there, and believe it or not, I convinced Steve to get a small design etched into our rear side windows! It sort of matches the wedding bells that Howie painted on for our wedding. It a swirly free hand doodle, in gold, and it's pretty sharp! By now, though, I was getting tired and hungry, so we grabbed some dinner at the Pizza Hut down the street, and came home. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Kane? Krispy Kremes? We'll just have to wait and see!

There you have it, a Saturday night entry. I just felt the need to tell you about Big Al. Look at the photo page, Steve put up one new picture. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! And, many thanks to all who are voting for Michael Tearson! Tonight, at 10 pm, he passed Couzin Ed! Keep voting, the deadline is Tuesday. Good night!

Thursday, September 25, 2003 3:25 PM CDT

Here it is! Your Anniversary Present Update!

OK, according to Steve, the Traditional 4th Wedding Anniversary Gifts are:
#1 - Fruit (yes, fruit! What's up with that?!)
#2 - Silk
#3 - Linen
The Modern Gift is:
#1 - Appliance

Ready? Here we go! First, on the coffee maker in the morning, he put a Homie Bride & Groom. I know I've mentioned this before, but both of us love those Homies! On 9/11, he put a Patriotic Homie on the coffee maker, it's a cute surprise to find one there in the morning! But, the Bride & Groom was really cute! OK, he gets home, we eat dinner, then the gifts come out. First, fresh fruit from the farmers market. Then, a beautiful silk slip from Victoria's Secret, all wrapped pretty with a silk bow. This was followed by a new blankie from the Linen department of Boscov's, with a monkey design (don't ask!!). And what I thought was last, a 4 slice 'wide-slot' toaster, which I must say, we really need. (You know how people tease newlyweds, because the happy couple always gets more than one toaster as a wedding gift? Well, we got none! And, we needed one, ha ha!)

Well, I thought the appliance was the last gift, but just minutes ago, the door bell rings, and it's an FTD delivery - a dozen red roses, each one inscribed in gold with the words "Happy Anniversary"! I call Steve right away, and say, what's going on? He says, they were supposed to be delivered yesterday, and yep - flowers were indeed #4 on the Traditional 4th Wedding Anniversary gift list! He is just too much!!!!!!!!!They are absolutely Gorgeous!!!!

On the health front, I am still experiencing muscle aches and a few hot flashes. Oh, and the headache, but that is actually subsiding a bit. I also seem to be having chills, too, which is weird.

I have to go now, I have a lot of voting to do for Michael. Couzin Ed took a GIGANTIC lead this afternoon, and I have to try and catch him up! If you don't hear from me in a few days, don't panic. I am taking the train to Cherry Hill tomorrow to meet Steve and we are going to a Horror Convention, I can't wait! Kane Hodder will be there, know, my favorite Jason Voorhees! :-) Then, on Saturday there is a PT Cruiser event we may attend in Wildwood, and Sunday is full of things we wanted to do but haven't actually committed to yet. Hopefully my mood won't swing while we are at any of these places! Have a good one, and vote vote vote for Michael Tearson!

Wednesday, September 24, 2003 4:23 PM CDT

Yesterday, the rain did indeed stop by mid-afternoon, so I got myself on the train to go meet Steve in Cherry Hill. Earlier in the day, I turned on the news, and was surprised to see that nearby where Steve works, there had been a twister that toppled trees and tore roofs off of buildings! I panicked until I heard from him. Hey, Peg,...I hope you and Russ weren't in its path! From there, we went back over to Bistro Romano, for their $13.95 Lobster Night. We were so happy with the Pasta Night last Monday, that we, or should I say 'I', had high hopes. We got a nice little table for 2, and both of us decided to order the lobster. I don't know why Steve did, because he doesn't care for it, but oh well, he did! Soon after our salads arrived, a table near us filled up with a family with several little ones in tow. Oh boy! When those things weren't kicking the chairs or tables, dropping dinnerware and causing general mayhem, they were crying at the top of their lungs. I can honestly say they ruined the experience for me, and I wasn't even grouchy from the lack of Premarin! The lobsters arrived, and I tore right into mine but Steve just sat and stared at his. He just stared, and stared, and poked at it from time to time. Finally, I couldn't take it any more so I started to 'unwrap' it for him. In the end, guess what? He ate my side of pasta and gave me nearly his whole lobster! I tell you what, that was fine by me! From there, we went up to the AMC Neshemany to finally see "Jeepers Creepers 2", remember when we went to the screening and the film broke? Well, I liked it! The Creeper is still not all that scary, but the movie did indeed have some parts that were innovative and suspenseful. Looks like there could be a #3 in the works!

Today, I once again woke up (very late!!!) with muscle aches and a headache that still won't go away. I must tell you, I am very surprised at something. Today is my 7th day off the Premarin, and I can honestly say that today I only noticed 2 hot flashes so far. Interesting, since the Lupron shot brings with it a side effect of severe hot flashes. I hope it stays this way, and that this is not the 'calm before the storm', so to speak. I took some trash out to the can earlier, and Bud (Paul's dad) was outside, and he says, "Someone's in a good mood!" and I say, "Why do you say that?" and he says, "You're singing!" How funny is that? Singing! I'm supposed to be grouchy, damn it! Ha Ha! Anyway, Rite Aid did indeed get my prescription for me this afternoon, so I have that in case I need it, it is Effexor which will be to control the hot flashes and to control the mood swings.

All right, people,.....I'll say it again - Vote Vote Vote for Michael Tearson, as many times a day as you can! Couzin Ed is so far ahead, let's help Michael to win! I know the web site says you are permitted to vote only once a day, but I'm sure you can figure out a way to get around that! OK, there you have it - oh, and Happy Birthday Di! And, Toni Mae, too! And, is our 4th Anniversary, so I'll let you know what kind of present my husband gives me tonight! Now, go outside and enjoy what's left of this beautiful day!

Tuesday, September 23, 2003 10:13 AM CDT

It's rainy, dark and dreary today here in Extreme South Jersey. So, let that set the tone for this entry! Yesterday, I took NJ Transit & PATCO into Philly for my 2 appointments. Steve was going to meet me there at Dr. Rosenzweig's office. Imagine my surprise when I came up out of the lower region of the High Speed Line to find Steve waiting for me! Cool! We then made our way up the 2nd set of stairs and out onto the streets of Philly. First, we stopped at the Jefferson Pharmacy to pick up the Lupron, then up to see Dr. Rosenzweig. I do so enjoy my visits with him, he is so very attentive and chock full of information. With regard to managing the side effects of no Premarin and the Lupron shots, he had several suggestions. One is an experimental drug which reduces the amount of copper in your body. (It seems like copper has something to do with tumor growth). Another being thrice weekly Mistletoe injections, a treatment used widely in Germany for cancer therapy. (He has mentioned this one to me several times in the past). And of course, he wants to build my resistance up with supplements which I fully expected. Even though we could have spent more time with him, it was time to get next door to see Dr. King. We talked for a long time, then Nivia gave me the Lupron shot. Ouch! My butt!!!!! Actually, it wasn't all that bad, Nivia has such a gentle touch and manner and it was over in a matter of a minute or so. Back to chat with Dr. King, and out we went armed with several prescriptions and another appointment date set up for December. We were planning on grabbing a bite to eat after the appointments, then catching a movie with a pass we have. But, almost immediately I began to feel muscle aches all throughout my body, and the hot flashes came fast and furious. Up until now, the hot flashes were barely noticeable, (I have been off the Premarin since last Thursday), but now the Lupron was kicking in, and mighty quick! So, we decided to just go eat, at Mexican Post in Old City (yum!), then home to drop some prescriptions off. Needless to say, I took a Tylenol PM, and off to dreamland for me!

Today, I woke up with a major headache, (not a migraine), body aches and hot flashes. I'll go out in a little bit to pick up the prescriptions we dropped off last night. Believe it or not, they didn't have one of them in the pharmacy, and they had to special order it! I hope they have it today, it is for the hot flashes and mood swings. I think Steve hopes they have it much more than I do, ha ha!

The plan today is for me to take the train to Cherry Hill, then we'll go to Philly for dinner & a movie, but with this rain and my general crappiness, well, that just might change. Time will tell, I guess!

OK, that's all I have for you today. Happy Anniversary to my mother-in-law and father-in-law! And, vote vote vote for Michael Tearson,...Couzin Ed is gaining a big lead and we can't let this happen!

Monday, September 22, 2003 8:06 AM CDT

Good morning to you! What a gorgeous weekend we had here in Extreme South Jersey! Steve came home from work on Friday evening not feeling too well, so we just kind of took it easy the last 2 days. Which is a good thing, he needs to rest up and recharge, if you ask me! He did manage to morph into "Stefan,...Hair Colorist Extraordinaire"! Yes, we once again changed my hair color, from my summer Light Reddish Blonde called 'Apricot' to a fall color called Luscious Mango, which is a 'brilliant copper'. It's not too bad, but I don't think I'll keep this one too long, it's a really bright and brassy red, nice for fall but then comes a winter color. Any suggestions?

Did you watch the Miss America Pageant? I like to watch it, mainly the beginning when all the girls come out and are introduced one by one. That's when I pick my favorite to win, and the one I think the judges will choose. Well, Steve & I picked a lot of the same girls this time, and the one I picked as the judges favorite is the girl who won! Miss Florida. I knew right away, at first sight, that they would like her. We had 3 favorites,...her, Miss Maryland, and Miss California. I really wanted to see Miss California win, but sad to say she placed 5th, and Miss Maryland 3rd I think. I think they should let me be a judge next year!

I'm now going to get ready for my train rides to Philly. I am seeing Dr. Rosenzweig at 2, and then Dr. King at 3. Yikes, my first Lupron shot! Oh well, it can't be that bad, can it? Today marks the 5th day I've been off the Premarin. And I'm surprised but I haven't really had that many hot flashes. And my mood, well, let's just say it hasn't been all that great the last few months so we haven't really noticed any changes there either! Cross your fingers that I can maintain!

OK, I'll talk to you again soon. Remember to keep voting for Michael Tearson in the radio poll,...don't let Cousin Ed win this thing!!!!

Friday, September 19, 2003 1:36 PM CDT

Ahoy matey! Well well well, we weathered Tropical Storm Isabel, which was downgraded sometime yesterday from Hurricane status. More about that later in this entry. Today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. What the heck, you say? Yes, it's a real day but as you already know, it has yet to catch on! Check out the web site at if you want to know more! Now, walk the plank, matey! And get that parrot off your shoulder!

I want to give you a glimpse of the wonderful man I married. Wednesday, he calls me up and says he'll be late coming home from work. OK, no problem! He arrives at 8:15 pm, toting a K-Mart bag. It seems that when he was in the store in Moorestown, over the loudspeaker an announcement was made - take an additional 75 percent off all clearance merchandise. So, guessed it! He spent a whopping $14 and came home with a giant bag of stuff! And, most of it was for me! How sweet is that! I know it's just a small, sort of wacky thing, but I didn't even care what was in the bag, it was just the fact that he was thinking of me that was so great! And, the fact that he saved a big bunch of money too! I don't need a big diamond ring, no siree-bob - give me a bag of clearance items any day, and I'm happy!

Thursday, (yesterday) we were registered at the Kimmel Cancer Center's 2nd Annual Survivorship Conference held in the Jefferson Alumni Hall in Philly. Check-in was to have started at 3:30, and the conference at 4. I, of course, was planning on taking the train. Right about noon, when I was going to pop in here and tell you all what was happening, Jeff knocked at the door. So, I never got a chance to update this page yesterday, but the good news is that he drove me to the train station! It had not started raining yet, but it was getting mighty windy as I waited for the train to pull in at 12:42. NJ Transit continued in it's weirdness, as I soon discovered the train car to be full of loud people, just talking and laughing like they were home in their own house with no regard for their fellow passengers. Oh man, they were so loud I was getting a headache! Finally, on the 2nd stop in Atco, almost all of them got off, and guess what? We all started clapping! It was too funny! The rest of them got off in Lindenwold with me and I hoped they weren't getting on PATCO. They didn't and I arrived in Philly at 2 in peace! I had an hour and a half to kill so I decided to go down to Chestnut Street and browse the shops. I had tried earlier to connect with my friend Peg, who just so happened to have an appointment with Dr. King, but that didn't work out. Anyway, I scored myself some cool velvet leggings for $1! Nice! The wind was whipping, and it started raining about 3:10 so I thought I would head over to the conference site. It was so strange, the streets of Philly were practically deserted, and it was a pleasure walking around, even in the wind and rain. I got to the Hall, checked-in with Lora, and went in to wait for Dr. Rosenzweig's session. Very informative! Afterwards, it was time for dinner and the Keynote speaker. Steve joined me there, just as Dr. Rosenzweig was talking to me, setting up an appointment to see me in his office, he wants to help me with the Lupron so I'll be seeing him at 2 pm Monday, right before my time with Dr. King at 3. Cool. We ate, and I met a real nice lady at our table who is also seeing Dr. King, her name is Peg and she lives in Center City, at 3rd and Race, I think she said. After dinner, we went to the last session, this time we chose Mindfulness Meditation with Caroline Peterson, oh it was good to see her,...she gives really good hugs! We end up afterwards in the lobby, just chatting and looking out the big glass windows at the storm, and BOOM! A loud noise, and then a woman screaming and crying. A poor little old lady fell down the steps, it was very disturbing. Everyone rushed to help her, and Lora was right by her side the entire time until the ambulance came. But, get this, the hospital is one block away, one street over, and they took over 10 minutes to get there! Yikes, the poor lady. I hope she's ok. Anyway, we leave, and are driving down the street when I point out to Steve that there was a new sushi place right by the apartment I had during radiation that first time in the fall, and guess what happens next? I see Rosina walking down the street! Steve stops right in the middle of the street and beeps, and she runs over, what a coincidence! She said, she had a sudden craving for sushi, and was in the middle of packing for a trip (today to Dallas) so she looked really bad, but she said to herself, "Who will I see running down the block for sushi?" Why, ME of course, silly Rosina!!! It was so good to see her, she is a real gem of a lady.

OK, so now, we head home. As we got nearer and nearer to our exit off the Expressway, we noticed it getting more windy and rainy. Once in Hammonton, it's so dark and we realize that there is no power. Tree limbs and branches were everywhere and then the road is blocked by police cars, a tree had fallen across the street. We cut through some side streets, and it was like a disaster area, no electricity, fallen trees and debris everywhere. And I'm noticing that my ears are popping, like there's a weird pressure in my head or something. We finally make our way back to the White Horse Pike but several blocks down, more police and another detour! Same thing, limbs, trees, darkness, oh it was creepy! Again, back out to Rt 30 and we finally make it to Egg Harbor, Rounding our corner, whew! We have electricity, but the scene at our neighbors Mark and Chrissys' house was incredible. Downed trees and limbs, oh boy! What to expect at our house? Not to worry, all was ok! Just a few small branches and lots of leaves. Oh man, was it windy! The sound was like a train coming through. But, here we all are today, safe and sound. It is so sunny and beautiful, but there is still a great deal of wind.

Not too much is going on this weekend, we have several irons in the fire, so to speak, but no definite plans. The Miss America Pageant Parade is going on as scheduled tonight but I don't know if we will go or not. Maybe I'll be able to come back here over the weekend and finally tell you about Houston.

Below, in addition to the links to Merry's Houston pictures and Nathan's Review Page, (Nathan, "Lost in Translation" is getting 4 star reviews!), I have listed the America's Best Radio Poll site. Please, click on it, choose Philadelphia, and vote for our friend Michael Tearson! Vote often, several times a day if you can! He deserves to win! Thanks! And, see you again real soon!

Wednesday, September 17, 2003 11:38 AM CDT

Good afternoon to you all, on this, the afternoon of the day before Hurricane Isabel is due to hit our area. Batten down the hatches, mi amigos!

Remember last week when I told you we went to a restaurant in Manayunk called "Carmella's"? Well, there is a local food critic by the name of Craig LaBan, whom I adore! His reviews are usually right on. Anyway, in the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer, he reviewed Carmella's, isn't that a coincidence? He rates the restaurants on a Bell scale, from zero to four bells, 4 being the best. Well, guess what? He rated Carmella's No Bells! Zero! Nada! Oh my! He did mention, however, that the highlight of one of his visits was the Italian Nacho dish, which I told you we enjoyed ourselves. So, you heard it here first, I think I scooped Mr. LaBan, ha ha!

Monday, I took the train to Cherry Hill. It started to rain as I began walking to the station, but that was ok. Let me tell you, this was most certainly a weird train ride. The train was making these loud noises, and each time it pulled into a station, there was a giant gap between the train and the sidewalk, the people on the train were just plain weird, everything about the ride was just weird. When I got to Cherry Hill, it poured down rain, so I opened my umbrella, and it even opened all weird, so weird that it's now in the trash! Then, on the way into Philly, the road we take was closed due to flooding, so that was weird too, But what wasn't weird was this restaurant we discovered. It's called Bistro Romano, at 120 Lombard Street. Man, what a nice experience, definitely not weird. The restaurant itself is very interesting, dark and candle lit, the servers and staff really friendly, but best of all, the food was excellent! And it so happened to be Pasta Night, all pasta dishes were just $9.95 for a complete dinner. Sweet! We were stuffed when we left, and I was toting a doggie bag, so Suzette, expect to bring one home with you if you and Lisa go! By the time we were done, the rain had stopped, and we went over to the Ritz 5 to see the advance screening of the new Bill Murray movie, Lost in Translation. Now I know you're thinking, Bill Murray, hmmmm, must be a funny movie. Well, NO! It's not. I had been hearing a lot of buzz about the film, critics saying that he should get some sort of award or nomination for his role, so I was curious to see it. In my opinion, this was a good film! I enjoyed almost every minute of it, but once out in the lobby of the theater, Nathan and some other in attendance disagreed, some even passionately! All I have to say is this, there was no blood shed, no guns, no knives, nobody died, it was very calm and quiet and your guts didn't get twisted in knots from being scared. How refreshing! And, there were free posters!

We did, however, get into a detailed discussion with Nathan regarding the "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" movie. We found several mistakes in the reviews we read, including his. So, when he asked what I thought of his review, well, you know me, I had to tell him! It distressed him greatly because he said he got his facts directly from the Press Kit. Aha! That explains why all the film critics wrote the same mis-statements. See, sometimes it pays to do movie marathons prior to seeing a sequel! Nearly 7 years has passed since the previous installment, and these critics either never saw Desperado, or had forgotten all about it. So, how can you blame them if they got it wrong! Nathan couldn't believe that the publicity department would mislead the critics like that with lies and misrepresentation of facts. But, I've been thinking a lot about this topic the last few days, with regard to my own life. People lie all the time. Be it a blatant lie, a little white lie, an embellishment, a fib; whatever you want to call it,'s wrong! And you know what? Taking it from my own experience, the liar always, and I mean always, gets caught. I might not tell you that I know you told an untruth, but I find out, more often than you realize. Steve and I talk about it, and file the knowledge away for the future. There's no good reason to lie. Rationalize it all you want, but there isn't. And, there's certainly no time in my life for them. So, think twice about laying one on me,...and keep in mind, I tend to discover them in the most innocent of ways. Oooooh, I'm ranting - cool!

I heard from Dr. King yesterday, and I go on Monday to see her, and get my first shot of Lupron. Oh boy - here we go!

I'll leave you today with Happy Birthday wishes going out to Bob Camp, go take a long birthday spin on your new motorcycle! And if you have a few minutes, check out the 2 new web sites I listed below - one is some Houston pictures courtesy of Merry "Retro" Wise, and the other is Nathan's Movie Reviews. Now, I must go tie down our new deck furniture! Adios!

Sunday, September 14, 2003 6:27 PM CDT

Well, apparently I misled you on Thursday when I said I would 'talk to you tomorrow', meaning Friday. Sorry! I guess I owe you an explanation, so here goes!

Thursday, as we all know, was the anniversary of 09/11. When Steve came home, in the spirit of things, he suggested we go out for dinner to a local restaurant called "The Great America Pub & Grille". So, we did! We each wore our stars & stripes shirts, and ordered the quintessential All-American food - burgers, mine being a veggie burger of course! When we got home, we were talking about the upcoming weekend, and the things we had planned. Which included a PT Cruiser event on Saturday, and the Walk for the Whisper on Sunday. As I headed up the stairs, Steve stops me and says he had a great idea for the PT Cruiser event, but it was a shame that he hadn't thought of it sooner. Hand out Ovarian Cancer Awareness pins to everyone! Now, where are we going to get them with one day left before the event? Geez Steve! So, Friday, I woke up with an idea, and off to the local JoAnne Fabric store to secure some supplies, the craft store and several dollar stores. When Steve got home from work, he found me busy hand-making Ovarian Cancer ribbon buttons. I was cutting the teal ribbon, then sewing each one onto a safety pin. Watching me do this, he came up with an even better way of assembling the pins, and we toiled together for a few hours, making about 100 or more pins! Man, Steve and his ideas! Needless to say, this took up my entire day, so my whole 'list of things to do' went right down the crapper!

Saturday, we were up early, and I threw together a box of Ovarian Cancer Awareness items, along with the pins, which I ended up putting in a glass fishbowl that I decorated with teal ribbon. Off to Shore Thing 111, in Sea Bright, NJ. What a fun day! Tons of beautiful PT Cruisers, in a park-like setting right on the beach, sweet! And, it didn't rain! It rained everywhere else, all around us, but not on us - it must have been the mojo of the rain ponchos that Bob & Judy put in our gift bags! This time, armed with our Ovarian swag, we set up our tailgate and entered the contest. It looked pretty good, if I say so myself! It was a great afternoon, spent with nice people and great cars, and soon it was time for the winners to be announced. We all gathered around Bob & Judy, and clapped as each name was called. Then, Bob says,..."We have created a new category, for people who don't have anything on their cars yet! So, the 1st place winner in the category of 'Cleanest Shiniest Stock PT' goes to Steve & Anna!" What a surprise! We usually have the dirtiest PT on the grounds, but Steve just so happened to wash it on Friday evening, in the rain no less! So, we actually won our first Trophy! Well, that's not really true, we did get one at Cruiserpalooza, but it wasn't actually for the car, I guess it was more for getting married than anything else! After the trophies and prizes were given out, we all drove down through the island, and then over to a local restaurant for a private dinner. Wow, the food was really tasty - my fish was oh so fresh and Steve's pasta excellent. More prizes and games and stuff and yes, we actually won a prize in one of the raffles; a toy Panel PT, cute! After everyone had left, we went over Bob & Judy's house for a few minutes, then over to the Red Roof Inn to meet up with everyone else, just to hang, but by now I was exhausted, so we left there at about 9, and of course I fell asleep on the 1 1/2 hour ride home! Once home, we noticed, I had sunburn on my face, damn that overcast beach weather!

Today, we were up early once again. Jeff came over at 10, and we went to the Ovarian Cancer Walk for the Whisper in Fairmount Park, by Boat House Row and the Art Museum, in Philly. We checked-in, visited the vendor tables, grabbed some fruit and water, and ran into Suzette, Lisa, Matt, Dawn, Ruth, and Sue. Jeff spotted some people he knew as well, and soon it was time for the program to start. They had all of us survivors go up and stand behind the speaker, behind the podium and in front of everyone. Me, or course, was the only one not wearing the Ovarian Cancer Survivor Teal T-shirt. Oh no, I was wearing a bright red Wonder Woman T-shirt, talk about sticking out like a sore thumb! Anyway, tv crews and newspapers were there so we now have to watch the news tonight to see if any of us made it on screen! Dawn Stensland from Fox News spoke, as well as the local NOCC people, and several survivors told their own personal stories. Then, we all went outside for a group survivor photograph. Once that was done, a string band and Mummers led the walk, followed by all of us survivors, each holding a teal balloon. It was a nice walk, I met a sweet girl by the name of Laci, and you'll never believe this but we left Suzette and her gang in the dust! But, by the time we reached then end, I was hot, sweaty, tired and thirsty! Back inside to the air conditioning for me! We got some water, sat down and noticed that it had started pouring outside, so we all chatted for awhile, then made our way out and on our separate ways. Nice day! Great cause! Maybe, just maybe, I'll see some of you guys there next year!

This week looks like it's going to be another busy one. So far, we have one movie screening, and a cancer event on Thursday in Philly. Maybe even the Miss America Parade in Atlantic City Friday night, but we're not sure about that yet. Jeff is meeting some of his friends there and has invited us to join them, and Gilda's Club is also being represented there. So, we'll see. Therefore, I can't promise when I'll be back here again, since I'll probably be spending the better part of tomorrow doing all the things I needed to do on Friday! ( And, I hope to hear from Dr. King. ) To hold you over, Steve put up some new pictures on the photo page, and as you know, he captioned them as well. So, enjoy! Talk to you later!

Thursday, September 11, 2003 4:01 PM CDT

Hello to you all on this solemn day of reflection and hope. Please, if you haven't done so already, just take a moment to think back on the events of 9/11/01, fast forwarding through the last 2 years to the present, and then send your strong positive vibes out into the universe, with a vision of love and peace for all.

Last night, in an effort to enhance our mini movie-marathon by furthering the Mexican theme, we decided to go to a Mexican restaurant that we went to several years ago. The name of it was the Arroyo Grille, in Manayunk. I was wearing a pair of jeans made in Mexico, and in honor of Austin director Robert Rodriguez, I was carrying my Texas Flag hand bag. When we got to the restaurant, we found it to be re-named to Carmella's, and now it was Italian! Then I remembered, that is where Suzette, Lisa, Dawn and Rosemary recently went, and Suzette said it was pretty good. So, we decided to try it out, and proceeded to make the most out if it, actually creating Mexican from the Italian. You see, they just happened to have on their menu "Italian Chips & Salsa", which I must say, were absolutely deeelicious! Chips made out of tri-colored pasta, fried and covered with a creamy alfredo sauce and chopped tomatoes and onions, yum! And we had Caesar Salads,...Caesar is sort of a Mexican name, right? On to the movie, and let me just say this - why are people so rude??? I'm not off the premarin yet, but people are most certainly starting to annoy me! Not only did a mess of people arrive about 10 minutes into the movie, creating minor disturbances as they tried to find seats, but several in attendance proceeded to eat the food they snuck into the theater, throughout the entire movie,...unwrapping sandwiches from paper wrappers, crinkling chip bags, popping soda cans open, you name it, it was annoying. Then, 2 people came past us and sat next to me, then one of them made a call on his cell phone. The person on the other end was so loud, I finally tapped him on the shoulder, and he slinked out into the lobby. But, then his friend got a call, which he took, talking for a few minutes. The other guy came back, walked by us and managing to once again step on me, grabbed his friend and then they left the theater. Steve later told me, they were from one of the radio stations hosting the movie, 103.9 The Beat, and that the 2nd guy was a blind dj. Well, being blind does not excuse him from being rude, does it? Now, on to the movie! The story sort of continued from the last one, Desperado, but then it sort of didn't. Parts of it were so confusing, and since it has been 7 years since Desperado, Antonio Banderas looked fat and wrinkly, and his hair was much shorter. While Selma Hayek was indeed beautiful, her hair was different, and she was barely in the movie. Johnny Depp was ok, but over all, this movie was a bomb, and Nathan sent me his review by e-mail today and it looks like he was also confused. Too bad, I had high hopes for Robert Rodriguez! Upon returning home, we had ourselves a nite cap of Agavero Tequila Liqueur, which is so good that I am totally sad that we finished off the bottle last night! A friend of ours gave it to us, he found it in Mexico and said that it is not available in the US. Darn! It is toooooo gooooood!

Today I am doing laundry and things of that nature. It looks like Steve was able to get rid of the computer virus we had, but not after nearly 500 plus e-mails.

Now, I'd like to air a grievance I have. Ready? OK, you really think that by making a wish and then forwarding e-mails to 1,2,4,6,10, however many people the message requires will actually bring you good luck, or money, or anything like that? Have you yet to see a video pop up after you forward the required amount of e-mails? Have you no better way to spend your time? Is your life so dull and unfulfilling that you feel the need to participate in these empty mind games? Please please please do not send me any more! I am a prime example that they do not work! Do you see my luck changing? Do you see my health improving? Do you see my life improving? Do you see my wishes coming true? OK, that's all I have to say on that matter,....please use your common sense before sending those e-mails to all your friends, co-workers and family!

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 10, 2003 12:43 AM CDT

Don't worry! I haven't forgotten about you! :-D Man, can you believe it's Wednesday already? Better yet, can you believe it's September already? Geeez, time sure is flying, but let me tell you, I'm really not having all that much fun!

Anyway, I wanted to make sure I made the effort to add an entry here today. I don't have the time to tell you all about Houston, so that has to wait until another day. But I will tell you about the last few days here at home. Sunday, we kind of just decompressed here at home. Steve mowed the lawn and stuff like that, and I made a tasty pizza. (Garlic & herb wheat dough topped with extra sharp cheddar cheese and a crust stuffed with pepperoni & cheese, yummy!) We invited Paul over and we ate on the deck and shared a few beers, it was really a nice afternoon/evening, and a great way to end the weekend. I spent some time afterwards opening the weeks-worth of mail, and some interesting movie screening passes arrived, one being the new Antonio Banderas/Selma Hayek/Johnny Depp movie "Once Upon a Time in Mexico", which sounded cool. Looking through some of the weeks newspapers, I read that this movie was actually the 3rd in a series by Austin film maker Robert Rodriguez, director of the Spy Kids movies. I told this to Steve, and within minutes we were off to the video store to rent the first 2! We then watched the first movie called "El Mariachi", which was from 1992. Interesting movie set in Mexico, very violent but even with all the violence I still nodded off during several parts of it!

Monday, I heard the news about the death of Warren Zevon. It made me real sad to hear this, and you'll understand why when you read my Houston entry. RIP Mr. Zevon. I talked to Dr. King early in the day, she was happy to hear about MD Anderson and is anxiously awaiting a letter from Dr. Ramirez, then we will proceed with his recommendations. My nurse Vickie came over at 11:30 in the morning to flush my port, then I went out to run some errands in the afternoon. We had no milk or bread and things of that nature, so I ran out, then came home to begin to unpack. When Steve got home, we had dinner and watched the 2nd movie in our mini-marathon, called "Desperado", from 1995 and starring Antonio Banderas and Selma Hayak, the continuing El Mariachi saga. This time, I stayed awake! Must have been Antonio and his long black sexy hair! Or, Selma Hayek with her long black sexy hair,...who knows!

Tuesday, I finished unpacking and general straightening up, and when Steve came home we went down the highway and over the bridge to Old City to see the advanced screening of "Cabin Fever". I thought this movie, from the previews, was going to be real scary. But, I don't think scary is the correct word. It was sometimes frightening, sometimes witty and funny, sometimes predictable, and sometimes tense. For the first 10 or 15 minutes of the film, I was trying to figure out how I recognized one of the main characters, and then I realized, it was an actor who played the character Sean in the tv sitcom "Boy Meets World", and brother was this a total turnaround from that job! Nathan was there, and I'm curious to see his review,...he was laughing uncontrollably at some parts, it's always funny to see him get carried away like that! We had some ice cream when we got home, and checked our e-mails and guess what? We seem to have gotten a computer virus. We keep receiving the same 11 e-mails over and over again, maybe 400 of them so far. And, dad, one of them is yours, so I hope you don't have the virus. Crap!

Today, I was up semi-early, out of the house and on my way to and back from Macy's before noon. They had a 1-Day Sale, and I wanted to pick something up for Steve, for an anniversary present. I hope he doesn't read this, ha ha! This afternoon, I am taking the train to Cherry Hill, and we are heading over to Manayunk for dinner, then on to the Manayunk Theater for part three of the El Mariachi movie marathon, "Once Upon A Time in Mexico".

That brings you up to speed on this week so far. I promise, I will be back to tell you about Texas and the wonderful MD Anderson oasis in Houston. See ya!

Sunday, September 7, 2003 7:04 PM CDT

I just wanted to drop in here real quick to tell you that we made it home from Houston safely, rolling into South Egg Harbor about 11:30 PM last night. I'll have to return another time to fill you in on things, so check back again sometime soon! Later!

Thursday, September 4, 2003 7:09 PM CDT

Howdy pardners! I'm back, coming atcha from Houston, y'all! It's raining, with thunder and wicked lightning, but today was overall a beautiful, (but HOT) day. We went to the Houston Zoo, which was sort of cool, they have an aquarium there, hence the fishie border!

OK, real quick. Here's the deal - We had an appointment at 3:00 this afternoon with Dr. Ramirez, but as it happened, he was stuck in surgery and asked us to come back at 5:15. So, we went down to the cafeteria for some dinner. They were having "Caribbean Day", one of the many fun things that they do here. We ordered up some Island Food,...jerk chicken and fried catfish, then went back up to the 9th floor to see the doctor. Without going into too much detail, I am after all using the free computer services of MD Anderson and I have a 30 minute time limit, Dr. King was basically right with regard to the fact that there really is not much out there for me. With that said, Dr. Ramirez and the team here at MDA have devised a plan for me. It does not involve chemo - yippee! They did a CA 125 on Tuesday, which was 545. Down! But, that may be due to the sophistication of their technology. He wants me to try Hormone Therapy. And you know what that means???? I have to go off the Premarin!! Remember when I tried that before? Jason, I know you'll want to stay away from me, ha ha! He wants me to try a Luprin injection, which I will get once every 3 months, along with CT scans to track the progression or non-progression of the disease. That is the treatment he suggests at this particular time. Is that too vague? I really won't know much more about the drug until later when we research it, but it supresses tumor growth. Which is good, because there is evidence of it all over my abdomen/pelvis region, as well as my lungs. Unfortunately, there is no chemo for me, and an operation to remove the mass is not really feasible due to all the other disease that is evident. And there are no clinical trials that would be of any benefit to me or that I would even qualify for right now. So, that's about it.

I hope this all made sense. I am at an unfamiliar computer in a room full of strangers, and I have no spell-check! But Steve is here, so all is well in the world! OK, gotta go. When we get back, I"ll return to update you on some of the things we did. See ya'll later!

Tuesday, September 2, 2003 3:02 PM CDT

Hello all! I am now at MD Anderson, and have had my first visit with Dr. Ramirez and Dr. Apte. More on that later! I am now scheduled to see them again at 3:00 on Thursday afternoon, to see if they can help me. We are wandering around MD Anderson, and came across this wonderful Learning Center. They have books and computers, and just some great stuff, and a great staff. So, here is an update, all the way from Houston! Talk to you later! ( Oh, and yes - it is raining, on and off! )

Sunday, August 31, 2003 7:12 AM CDT

Hi there! Well, here I am, at 8:12 AM Sunday morning, waiting for my coffee to brew. Today we will be packing and getting ready for our trip to Houston. I just had to come here to tell you something, if you haven't already heard. Last night, we were watching the weather channel to get a better idea of what kind of conditions to expect in Houston. I have been tracking the weather for several weeks now, and for the most part, besides some rainy and cloudy days, it has been sunny to partly sunny, and hot - in the 90's. But last night, things changed! It seems like there is a tropical storm brewing, which has been named Grace, and it is heading towards the Gulf Coast of Texas. Which is where we are going! Gale force winds, heavy rain, and a threat of tornado activity! I don't know whether to say "Cool!" or "Crap!" Doesn't it figure? After years of thinking about going to MD Anderson, when I finally do get to go, something comes along and puts an obstacle in my path! Like Gilda would say, "It's always something!", and boy was she right! So let's hope that our flight isn't delayed, and the trip rescheduled. And, don't worry about us,...worrying does not help us, it does not change anything, and it is a big waste of time and energy. Instead, send positive thoughts out into the universe, for warm sunny Houston days! But one thing is for sure, I will most certainly be packing umbrellas!

That's about it for now, I'll be back when we return from Texas. Have a good week, and dad & Rita, happy belated anniversary! Suzette and Lisa, I hope your BBQ and Game Night was fun yesterday, and that the rain didn't ruin it, sorry we didn't make it! Last night, we had also planned on going to see the New York Metropolitan Opera perform 'Lucia Di Lammermoor' at Cooper River Park in Camden, part of their annual Concerts in the Park series, but a storm blew through with rain, thunder and lightning so I'm sure it was cancelled. The rain date is tonight, but we most likely will not go, as we have to get up early for the long drive to the Baltimore/Washington airport. Oh, and remember, Monday September 1st is the beginning of National Ovarian Cancer Month, so make a donation, or join the Walk for the Whisper in Philly - every little bit helps. Bye!

Friday, August 29, 2003 2:23 PM CDT

Happy Friday to you! Are you ready for your long holiday weekend? Whatever you are planning on doing, I wish you a safe and happy time!

Last night, we went to the United Artists Riverview to see a 7:30 advance screening of "Jeepers Creepers 2". They put us all in the last theater down the long hallway, so that alone helped to get me in the "Oh, I hope to be scared!" mood. The movie starts, and it's about 30 minutes into it, establishing all the characters and getting glimpses of the bad guy, and all of a sudden, the film stops! And, all you see on the screen is this blob, and it looks like the film is burning! Cool! The lights come on, then go down, then come on again and I guess it was about 8:30 by the time a representative came to the front of the theater and said they can't repair it, and please pick up a voucher for a free movie as you exit the theater. Well, that was a good thing, but I was getting into the movie, and now I have to see it! What happens next? Who gets killed? Who lives? How does it end? I need to know! ( I'm sure we'll go back to see it! ) We talked with Nathan outside for awhile, and he was voicing his 'hate' of "The Medallion", and he was so funny! He headed off to see "Marci X", while we stayed for "Lara Croft". I was surprised that it wasn't as awful as I thought it would be! The first one nearly put me to sleep! We got home around 1:30 am - man was I tired. How does Steve do it, sleeping for a few hours and going to work a full day? Suzette, so far I have not seen him leap tall buildings in a single bound, but you never know what the future holds!!!!

Today, I did indeed make our Houston room reservation. No, it isn't free! Hey, I did my best, and managed to get us a really great rate at an "All Suite" hotel right across the street from MD Anderson. Free Deluxe Continental Breakfast, and a free Manager's Reception (in other words, a happy hour) in the evening so at least something is free, ha ha!

Now, I am going out into the yard for a little while, for only the second time this summer that I have gardened. Hey, I deserve it! I wish I could spend more time out there.

Today is the first day of the 2 week Fringe Festival in Philly, but we're not going, probably not until the week we get back. Last year was so much fun, and that is when I fell in love with Jeffrey Margraf's Now We're All Dead painting, so Steve is a little leery of going! Not to worry, though, as we will be in Houston on First Friday/Fringe!

Ok, see ya! Jason, I can't wait to hear all about your KISS/Aerosmith adventure tonight! Bye!

Thursday, August 28, 2003 12:07 AM CDT

Hey there! I'm here to fill in the gaps of the past few days. Monday night, I took the train to Lindenwold where Steve picked me up and we went to one of our new favorite places, McDonnel's Bar & Grille. They have a Mexican Happy Hour on Mondays, and it was good, buffet with a great salad, stuffed shells and hamburgers. They also run drink specials, ($2 Coronas & Margaritas, & Tequila shots), and $1 quesedillas, tacos and nachos with cheese. So, all in all, we spent $7 and we were totally stuffed! From there, we went over to Wiggins Park in Camden, which is right between the Tweeter Center and the NJ State Aquarium. There was a free concert by the Havana instrumentalist band "!Cubanismo!". We brought our lawn chairs and parked ourselves to the left of the stage and oh what a beautiful night! The music was great, Cuban jazz, and during one song they told everyone to stand up, and proceeded to give us a Mambo dance lesson! It was fun, we were dancing and dancing and laughing, but let me tell you, it sure did tire me out! We were home about 11, and I made a bee line to bed!

Tuesday, I began my day with a "Back-Up Anniversary Present" from Steve. The skirt and jacket he gave me over the weekend just did not work for me, so he gave me something else! He's too much! The gift is a beautiful light blue suede purse with embroidered flowers and a braided handle. Nice! No problem with that 'fitting'! Suzette & Lisa came down in the morning and we went over to Gilda's Place in Atlantic City. Jeff met us there, and we spent a lovely hour and a half with Petie and another (breast) cancer survivor, just chatting and touring the facility. It's a really great place, and I am truly looking forward to going back there real soon. I wish Suze and Lisa lived closer so we all could go! From there, we went to a restaurant in Atlantic City called Mexico for a tasty Mexican lunch. It was really good, totally authentic Mexican cooking, and I recommend it if you are ever in the area. (We all thank you Jeff, for your generosity!!!!!) After lunch, he left for home, and us girls dropped in on my mom for a short visit, then we went back to Egg Harbor. What a nice day! Suzette and Lisa even got to meet Paul, he came outside to smoke a cigarette while we were out on the deck and of course I had to introduce everyone! (I'm so glad his eye surgery went well! Although, he was on some painkillers, so I hope he remembers meeting them!) After they went home, I checked my answering machine, and long story short,.......Southwest Airlines is flying me and Steve, for FREE, to Houston! SWEET!!!!!!! But, the only down side to it is that we have to fly out of the Baltimore/Washington airport. That's 2 1/2 hours away from us so we'll have to figure that out. (Anyone want to volunteer to take us? Ha Ha!) Anyway, this was really a good day! Steve and I ended the night by watching the dvd "Scary Movie #2", because as you know, #3 is coming out soon and we must be prepared!

Wednesday, I spent most of the day doing things around here, and researching lodging options for Houston. MD Anderson is having trouble getting my original pathology slides from 1986, so we had to deal with that, with faxes and calls, then I made a run to the grocery store. Kristin, I enjoyed our short talk, and I wish I could see you belly dance!

Today, I began the day with a call from MD Anderson again. Now, they want me to bring my actual CAT scan films with me when I come. What? More calls and faxes, and in the end, Jefferson is going to Fed Ex them to Houston. Geez! So, I've been on the phone calling hotels and it doesn't look like I'll have a problem getting one for next week. Now, I just have to choose one, so I guess I will review them with Steve tonight, and make the reservation tomorrow. Oh, and regarding tonight, we are going to the advance screening of "Jeepers Creepers 2", I hope it's scary! And if I'm not too tired, we may stay for a double feature, "Lara Croft Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life", but we'll see about that!

That about does it! I've got mucho work to do! Sayonara!

Monday, August 25, 2003 8:52 AM CDT

I thought I'd check in with you this morning, before I got caught up in the telephone-tag game with regard to Houston. That's what I did on Friday, talking to various people about the flight, and about housing while we're there. I'll spare you any of the details until I know for sure what's going on, which hopefully will be by mid-week.

Saturday, I whipped up some homemade hamburger rolls and we grilled some veggie burgers for a nice dinner on the deck. Then, we watched a movie Steve rented, "Lara Croft - Tomb Raider", in anticipation of seeing the sequel called "Lara Croft Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life", which we have passes to. Steve made us an extremely tasty watermelon martini, which was good because the movie was boring!

Sunday, we were up and out early, joining the Garden State Crew-zers at 9 am just down the road in the town of Smithville for a PT Cruiser car show and meet & greet that was sponsored by the Snap On Tool people. It was a really beautiful sunny and pleasant day. We parked off to the side of all the PT's, because as you know, we never win a prize! So, we just go to socialize. I guess there were about 40 PT's there, some that we have never seen before that were really cool looking. One had a fish tank in the back surrounding the stereo speakers, and when the music was on, little fake fish moved like they were swimming,...neat! This car also had these sweet spinning hub caps, and a pretty paint job with matching glass etching, nice! Gary, it's always a pleasure to see you, and Andrea - you and your crew are always so funny! We had a great lunch at Fred & Ethel's Tavern with Bob & Judy Castronova. Bob, another fine event you put on! And, Judy, I love the angel, I'll carry it with me everyday, that's for sure! We got home around 4, I was totally exhausted, We grilled up some veggie dogs, and had a late dinner on the deck. Then, we hung out with the neighbors for a little while but I was cold so it was back home for us where Steve mixed up another tasty watermelon martini. Then, he presented me with an anniversary present. It was our 3rd! According to his "Anniversary Book", both the traditional and modern 3rd wedding anniversary gift is leather. So, he visited Wilson's, and gave me a gorgeous beige-colored skirt with front laces, and a camouflage print vest-type jacket. I'll have to try them on today, I hope they fit!

OK, let me go now as I have a ton of things to do before I catch the train to meet Steve in Lindenwold. We're going to a Mexican dinner and concert tonight so I'll tell you all about that another day. But, not tomorrow, as Suzette & Lisa are coming down, and we are planning to spend the day in Atlantic City, at Gilda's Place. So, I'll talk to you in a few days. Hopefully, I'll have some Houston news by then!

Oh, and Paul and Dot, you guys went far above and beyond being good neighbors and friends.

Thursday, August 21, 2003 1:59 PM CDT

Saturday, August 16th, I woke up with a pretty bad, near migraine headache. I saw it coming for the last week or two, and man it really hit me on Saturday morning, and I had to lay down several times throughout the day. We were scheduled to go to a party, but I really did not want to go out. After many Excedrin for Migraine pills, we did indeed attend the party. It was at our friend Pat's house in Philly, and it was a costume party. The theme for the night was "Woodstock", so I guess, how could we not go? Yes, we dressed up, and all in all it was a fun night. We were told many times over that we had the best costumes of the party, but sad to say, there was no prize. :-( Besides being a very interesting party, it also was a very late night for us, we didn't get home until about 3:30 am! I took some more Migraine pills before I went to sleep, and Sunday I didn't feel too bad, just tired and wiped out, which was to be expected!

Monday, I was in the Housewife Mode all day, doing basic cleaning and neglected stuff like that. I received a call from MD Anderson in the early evening - the representative actually wanted me to come next Tuesday, the 26th. I said, "No!" as I didn't feel I could make the arrangements in time. So, we set my appointment up for Tuesday, September 2nd, which happens to be the day after Labor Day, probably even harder to get a flight out there but we shall see. Steve made us some fresh watermelon martinis after dinner, YUM!

Tuesday, I took the trains into Philly. I got there about 2 pm, and had an hour and a half to kill so I window-shopped Chestnut Street, then met Steve at Dr. King's at 3:30. She did a pelvic exam, then we had our 'consult'. According to the recent CAT Scans, my neck is clear of tumor activity, thank you Dr. Komarnicky! But, the abdomen/pelvis is another story altogether. I seem to have 2 spots that were not there in December. One being approximately 2 inches in size, the other a bit smaller. So, in essence, I now have tumor activity going on, not just the 'questionable' cancerous spots/nodes that have been there all these years. And, now there is also a new twist to consider - since I was on chemo for 7 months this year, and the node developed into a tumor during that time, I now have 'chemo resistant cancer', which is not a good thing. Bottom line is this; At the present time there is no chemo for me to try - I have tried them all, some even 2-3 times. While it is possible to give some other chemo drugs a try, they are not specifically for ovarian cancer, and may do more harm than good. These are Navelbine, Taxotere, and possibly one of the Platinum-based chemotherapy drugs. Or, Dr. King said she could operate to remove the 2 inch node, and look around at the same time, then we'd go from there. That's that, my friends. She is very happy that I am going to MD Anderson, and is anxious to hear what they have to say about things. Keep in mind, I have always told you that the expected survival rate for me was 5 years,....and guess what! It's almost been 5 years.

After the appointment, we went over to the Hilton on Dock Street for their Fondue Happy Hour. Do not, I repeat, do not, attend this one. It was about the worst happy hour we have ever been to! One beer cost as much as a six-pack, and the fondue was just a pot of melted cheese with a ladle, and a big wicker basket of broken up soft pretzels! Suzette said it was an "Un-Happy Hour"! From there we went over to the Riverview where we saw the advance screening of Jackie Chan's new movie, "The Medallion". I like Jackie Chan, but this movie was very different than his others. Not that is was bad, just different. Weird special effects, and things of that nature. But, maybe it was also what happened at Dr. King's office that was getting in the way of my enjoyment of the movie. Whatever it was, we rode home in silence, and I took a Tylenol PM and went right to bed.

Wednesday, I slept late and was drinking my morning coffee and reading the Philadelphia Inquirer article about my dad ( ! ) when the doorbell rang. It was Sugar, holding a big beautiful bouquet of fuchsia gladiolas! A nice surprise, but I was still groggy, and in my jammies! Oh well! He stayed for only a little bit, as he was on his way to visit some friends in New Hope. Suzette also called, and we talked for awhile, I think we both needed a little pep talk! When I got myself together, I made some calls, trying to get a flight out to Houston over the Labor Day weekend. Oh my, I can see this is going to be very frustrating. Luckily, I have discovered several companies that help cancer patients make arrangements to get to their treatment destinations, so I talked to a few people to try to get the ball rolling and then left to catch the 3:57 train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill. Enough stress for the day! We went to Coopers Bar & Grille in the Cherry Hill Hilton for dinner (Entertainment Book Discount!) and from there we went over to the Neshaminy AMC 24 Theater (Philly area) to see,........Jason vs Freddy!!!! What can I say - I liked it! Freddy was still as goofy as ever, and much uglier. And, Jason,...well, Jason was just as scary as ever, even if it isn't Kane Hodder in the Jason costume! Jason took a mean beating, this dude is like the Energizer Bunny, he just keeps living! But, I have a question for all you Nightmare on Elm Street buffs - I thought Freddy was vulnerable once he was in the real world? Can't he be killed once he's out of the dream? Anyway, it was good, and maybe we got home around 11:30 or so. (Sorry, Jackie, but Steve didn't get your message until then.)

Today, Thursday 8/21, I have been on the phone for the better part of the day trying to get to Houston. If worse comes to worse, I'll have to change my appointment date for one of the following Tuesdays. Or, we'll have to drive, which Steve is not crazy about. I am pursuing 3 companies that may offer free travel, one that is offering us great flights at a cost of $500 per ticket, and another with stinky flights at $285 per ticket. Oh, did I tell you about MD Anderson? All their new patient consultations are on a Tuesday, and they decide if they want the patient to do any testing, then they meet with the patient again on Thursday with a plan of attack. Then, you go from there. They technically could ask you to stay longer, for testing or treatment or something, so they say to plan on staying a minimum of 3 to 5 days. I am actually looking forward to it, once I find a way to get there, and a place to stay,...and especially if I can work out a way to see my brother.

That is about it for today. I think that catches you up on things. A few messages;
Mom, I'm a little jealous of those "Dog Reports", ha ha!
Jef - Happy Old Anniversary!!!!!!
Dot, thanks for all your help today! Like I've always said, you guys are the BEST neighbors! Oh, and Happy Belated Birthday!
Suzette, don't worry about those numbers but if you do, try Tylenol PM!
.....see ya!

Wednesday, August 20, 2003 12:22 AM CDT

Well, I'm sorry to say but I don't have any time to update you today on things. Without going into detail, and risking sending you into a panic, my CT scans showed evidence of a small tumor in my abdomen/pelvis. In a nutshell, that's that. Also, I have an appointment with MD Anderson, so I have to make those arrangements - which will be tricky since it falls on traveling on Labor Day weekend. So, I have to go now but I will try to come back tomorrow to alleviate your minds with my full story! Until then, ciao`! And, Suzette, stay strong - for the both of us!

Tuesday, August 19, 2003 11:12 AM CDT

On my way to see Dr. King - I'll be back tomorrow with your complete update!

Saturday, August 16, 2003 4:05 PM CDT

Well, well, well, what do you know! A Saturday Update! Let's see, what can I tell you? Hmmmm, I must be having a Senior Moment or something! Oh, I know! Wednesday night we watched Nightmare on Elm Street #6 - Freddy's Dead, The Final Nightmare. Now that I am seeing it with a new perspective, I rather enjoyed it! Thursday I spent the better part of the afternoon at the Division of Motor Vehicles, renewing my drivers license, now that was surely a fun time, NOT! I was so frazzled that Steve stopped at McDonald's on his way home from work and got us a couple of Fillet O' Fish sandwiches. Then, we watched the last of the Elm Street movies, Wes Craven's A New Nightmare. It was ok, but I'm glad they're over! Yesterday, Freddy vs Jason opened, and no, we didn't go see it but I read all the reviews. They weren't pretty, but that is to be expected. The general consensus is that Kane Hodder made a better Jason, and even without seeing the new guy who is playing Jason, I probably will have to agree,...I loved Kane Hodder's Jason! Anyway, I'm sure we'll go see it soon, we better after watching all those silly Freddy movies! We celebrated the movie by downing a Fire Water shot in our Friday the 13th shooter glasses. Today it is raining and dismal, but we are now getting ready to go to a party in Philly so that should brighten up the day a bit. Hey, congratulations to my mom on her job promotion,....Technical Technician? What the heck does that mean, ha ha!

I'm glad everyone is enjoying this last batch of pictures on the photo page. It's like my mom says,'s the little things that bring us happiness!

Hey, have you gotten a chance to see the planet Mars? The last 2 nights, it has been clear and the moon and Mars are really beautiful to look at. So, check it out!

Ok, see ya next week!

Wednesday, August 13, 2003 11:10 AM CDT

So, last night we were enjoying dinner; 2 personal-sized pizzas I made with whole wheat dough - one was roasted potato (yeah, I know, it sounds awful but it was pretty tasty!) and the other was barbequed chicken. I guess it was about 6:45 pm. The door bell rings and Steve goes out to see who the f**k it was (as he says!), and it's the telephone repairman! Believe that? I had given up on them coming but there he was, surprise surprise! He was up the pole, down the pole, at our outside box, at the main box down the street,...and by 9:45, yes, 9:45, he finally fixed the problem! It was indeed a crossed line, as well as a short in one of the wires, so now we should be A-OK. Whew! One of life's little problems solved! And, for FREE!

Did anyone catch the Bewitched episode on TV Land last night that featured actress Mercedes Mc Cambridge in the role of Endora's old friend & enemy Carlotta? She was the voice of the demon in The Exorcist,...a truly scary movie! ( Sorry Freddy! )

Also, did you see the Season Finale of The Osbournes??? Pretty clever, if I say so myself!

I forgot to tell you something funny that happened yesterday morning. Well, at the time, it wasn't funny, it was downright disturbing. I came downstairs and went out to the kitchen to make my coffee, and I noticed the front door was open slightly, and Steve's house keys were laying on the floor in the dining room. I thought, oh no! Freddy got him!!!! But, Steve was somehow distracted and didn't come back to lock the door on his way to work. No big deal, but it freaked me out just the same!

Dudes, guess what? I received a call from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston this morning. Looks like I've begun the process of arranging an appointment! Sweet! I'll keep you posted, and you keep your fingers crossed for me.

If you haven't seen them yet, check out the new photos that Steve put up late last night. The first one is Suzette, the B101 Bee (Buzzbee), me and Lisa taken at the 10th Birthday Party at the Wellness Community. Hey Suzette, just what the heck are you looking at??? The other 2 are from the Balloon Festival, and of course they have been captioned by Steve.

OK, that's it for today, later!

Tuesday, August 12, 2003 11:53 AM CDT

Well, thanks to Steve for putting up the wedding photo,....and thanks to Kristin for taking it! If you look closely at my bouquet, right between the silver PT Cruiser and the blue PT Cruiser, you can see a teal-colored National Ovarian Cancer Society pin peeking out. I couldn't get married without that, now could I, ha ha! Also, at the rear end of the yellow Woody PT you might be able to notice a cloth hankie of my granny's that is folded into a rose, because of course I had to have her with me as well. OK, enough of that!

Last night, we had passes to the advance screening of a teen skateboarding movie called "Grind" that was showing in Manayunk, but we decided not to do it and instead we watched "Nightmare on Elm Street #5 - Dream Child." It really wasn't that good, or scary, and some of it just didn't make sense. Then, it occurred to me,...maybe I'm missing the point. Maybe these Freddy movies weren't even made to be scary. Maybe they were meant to be campy and humorous instead. I mean, really, how can you be afraid of a rubber-legged goofy man spouting off one-liners like he was a stand-up doing a show at Caroline's in New York? I don't know, maybe I just don't get it but Freddy is a big yawn to me. I think Steve said there are 2 more we have to see, then the big new movie, Freddy vs Jason. As of today, we don't have any advance screening passes, and it opens on Friday - oh well! Guess we'll have to pay like everyone else! ( Jason [Michel, not Voorhees!], want to go? )

Today, our area has broken the record - we have had 17 consecutive days of rainfall; the previous record was 16 days. It should end on Thursday, if the weather report is correct. I hope so, I could stand to do some gardening.

I am now waiting for the phone company to come and check our phone lines outside the house. They said that the repairman would be here between 8 & 10 am, and guess what? It's 1:12 pm and I am still waiting! But, I didn't expect anything different!

I'll talk to you again soon, and Paul, I hope your operation went smoothly and you can now see just how beautiful I am, ha ha!

Monday, August 11, 2003 3:16 PM CDT

As ReRun use to say,..."Hey Hey Hey!" How are you doing today? Me, well, I have aches and pains and general crappiness, but what am I gonna do, right? Time marches on, the sun will come out tomorrow, blah blah blah,...oh speaking of the sun, just where is it???? I think we have hit a record today of the most days in a row of rain. My luck, as soon as I go back on chemo, the most beautiful days of the summer will be upon us, our cruise will arrive in the mail from RC & Mary, and we'll win the lottery! Ha Ha! On second thought, I can handle winning the lottery on ANY day!!!!

Friday night, we went over to Caesars in Atlantic City for a 10:00 comedy show featuring Louis Black and Richard Jeni. Steve won the tickets from a radio station, which made forking over the $4 parking fee better to swallow. We arrived in plenty of time to be seated, but there was a long line at the box office, apparently there was some sort of problem, and we waited, and waited, and waited some more and finally the line started to move. We actually were ushered in and seated several minutes into the show, oh well, serves us right for cutting it so close! We had pretty good seats, which surprised us, right in the center, mid-level. As usual, Richard Jeni was very funny - I really enjoy his humor. But, have I missed something all these years???? Is he gay??? Just curious, he really struck me that way, and I never noticed it before. It doesn't matter though, he's still one of my favorite comedians. Louis Black was,....well, let me just say this,....F@#*ing hilarious, you F@#*er! Man, he uses the F-word liberally, but it was so so so funny! Not in a derogative way at all. His expressions and gestures were so over the top that half the time I didn't even care what he was saying, just looking at him was funny! So, (for the moment) now he is one of my top 3 comedians, #1 is Dave Attell, #2 is Richard Jeni and #3 is Louis Black. Oh, Charlie Prose, please don't be mad! You are #1 in a category all by yourself!!!! It was a good night, but I was really tired when we got home, like you didn't already know that!

Saturday we got up early because we were on a mission. Strawbridge's was giving out free $15 gift cards to the first 300 people in each store at 9 am, off to Deptford Mall we went, got our gift cards then went over to Echelon Mall for some more! Then, we had some lunch and proceeded to spend them, hahahahaha! On the way home, we stopped at the Blockbuster video store for the next Freddy movie, and they were having their Customer Appreciation day,...a petting zoo, WZXL radio station doing a live broadcast, free hot dogs, soda and nachos. Cool! More free stuff! We are working on a wedding-related project, so that took up most of our evening, and we ran out of time and didn't get to watch Freddy.

Yesterday, we did some responsible things around here, and also worked on our project. We had plans to go over to the Sand Castle Stadium in Atlantic City for the afternoon Diamond Dig baseball game, which we try to do every year. But, the weather just did not cooperate. It rained, on and off all day and I decided I didn't want to deal with that just for the opportunity to dig in the dirt for a diamond. Imagine that! Oh well! Alicia, I hope Ella's christening didn't get rained out! Later on, though, we did manage to watch "A Nightmare on Elm Street #4 - Dream Master", which we thought was ok,.....but I still feel no scare factor from Freddy. Steve seems to think the dream sequences in #3 & #4 were really good, very suspenseful, and I tend to agree but I still want to be scared! We ended the night with a martini Steve mixed up, a Key Lime Pie, which was really good. Green and tart in a crushed graham cracker-rimmed glass. Mmmmmm mmmmm mmmm mmm mmm!

Today, I have been busy around here, I have so much to catch up on before whatever happens next (chemo or whatever) that I don't know what to get into first so I have a million things started but nothing is getting finished! Oh boy! So, I better go and get myself together before my husband comes home! See ya later!

Friday, August 8, 2003 4:22 PM CDT

Man, did you get that awful lightning and thunder storm at around 3 am Wednesday morning? Woke me up out of a dead sleep, it was so severe and creepy and if you ask me, it was much more scary than that silly old Freddy Krueger! Wednesday, I went out and ran some errands in the afternoon, you can't believe how difficult it was for me to do it. Driving was so strenuous, and even walking was a task, just putting one foot in front of the other was a chore. Steve and I were planning on having dinner out on the deck, but no luck with that plan as the rain came down, hard, so we had to eat inside. We need some kind of covering over the deck, like an awning or a roof of some sort. What good is this new furniture if we can't even enjoy it? I know, Suzette,......tell Whitey to come on over, ha ha! Steve brought home the Nightmare on Elm Street 3 - Dream Warriors dvd so we watched that. I must admit, it was better than #2, maybe even better than #1, but I still think Jason Voorhees can kick Freddy's butt!

Thursday, as you know, I took the trains into Philly. First, I went to Bodine to get my port accessed, then I went over to the 10 Main building for my neck CAT Scan, which was over in a matter of minutes. Then, back to Bodine to be de-accessed. So far the rain had held off, just a light drizzle was falling, not even enough to warrant opening the umbrella. I guess I was done by 2:45, which was pretty cool because my appointment wasn't even until 2:45, surprisingly they took me early and I got done early,....time to go shopping! Off to The Gallery I went, armed with Strawbridge's coupons but I just couldn't find anything to buy! Imagine that! I did, however, score a pair of red sandals at the K-Mart for $5, and a cute purse in the Dollar Store! So, it was not a lost cause! Steve picked me up at Strawbridge's on the corner of 8th & Market, and we crossed the bridge to New Jersey to meet our friend Michael (Tearson) at his house. We hung there for a bit, but I was starving. I had not eaten since 9:30 in the morning, you aren't supposed to have food 5 hours before the scan, and Michael was starving too. He suggested going to a Thai restaurant, which was more than fine by me. He told us where it was, and much to our surprise, it was one of our favorite Thai places! In separate cars, we drove over to Som Sak in Voorhees, for a wonderful dinner with a good friend. Michael Tearson is a very interesting and intelligent person, and we are happy to have him in our circle of quirky peeps! After dinner, we were either going to join Michael at Cooper River Park in Camden for a free concert by an Austin band, Asleep at the Wheel, or we were going to go to an outdoor performance of the play The Odd Couple, featuring some local radio personalities, in the town of Haddonfield. But when we came out of Som Sak, it was pouring! So we all decided to bag the outdoor events, and we bid goodbye to Michael. In the car, Steve looked at me and said, "Well, we have a movie pass for a screening tonight, want to see if we can make it?", and of course I said, "OK!" and off we were, back to Philly! We did make it, just in time! And, the funny thing, it was not even raining there, or in Camden for that matter, which was where we had all wanted to go. Oh well, go figure! The movie was "Camp", put out by Danny DeVito's Jersey Films. Before it even started, we noticed that the theater was filled with young, and I mean young, gay boys. We knew nothing about this film, but now we were assuming it was gay-related! And, it was - all about a performing arts camp for Broadway-Bound kids. Most of which were gay. It was really pretty funny! The gay kids in the theater where hooting and hollering, and clapping throughout the movie, generally having a good time. The advertisers gave out posters, too, which everyone always likes. When we came out, it was raining cats and dogs! So, off we went, home - I was so very tired, it was a long day!

Today, I've been trying to do things around here but I woke up with a migraine and things have not gotten much better since then. I feel like I weigh a ton, and I keep dropping things, (like my fork last night at dinner, that was embarrassing), and I have some difficulty breathing. That is something I have felt for a few weeks, and I believe these are all MS related. Just another suckky day here in Extreme South Jersey! We are still having phone problems, so have patience with us on that. Oh, and by now, you should have all received your Wedding Thank You Notes. My mom called to tell me that hers had a postage due of 12 cents. What??? Steve took them right to the Post Office where they weighed them and declared the regular stamp was ok. So, I apologize if you had to pay any postage due,...these Thank You notes have been nothing but trouble for us!!! :-)

I also want to take a minute to express a 'beef' I have, regarding e-mails that are forwarded to me. Please, please, please, please, take a few minutes to 'clean up' the e-mail before you forward it. Not just to me, but to anyone. How annoying is it to click on the message, only to have to click again and again, and even again just to see the original e-mail that you are tying to forward. I don't care to see all the other recipients and their e-mail addresses, all the way down the line through how ever many people it has traveled to, to get to me. Just delete all that info, save the body of the message, and then forward it! How hard can that be?

OK, that's my rant for the day! Tonight, we are going over to Caesar's Casino for a late (10:00) show of comedian Richard Jeni. Steve won the tickets off the radio the other night, maybe it was Tuesday night. Richard Jeni is one of my favorite comedians, so it should be a fun night, even though I really don't feel like going out.

OK, there you have it! I probably won't be back until next week, so have a good weekend! I'm hoping Steve will be able to put some new pictures up on the photo page, so stay tuned for that announcement. And, Suzette, hold on tight, don't fall out of the birthday balloon!

Thursday, August 7, 2003 11:08 AM CDT

On my way to the train station, once again, for a 2:45 pm Neck CAT Scan. So far, it isn't raining, but it sure does look ominous. Don't worry, I have my umbrella, just in case I get caught in another downpour! Talk to you tomorrow,....

Tuesday, August 5, 2003 4:17 PM CDT

Are you ready for your re-cap? Here goes!!!!!!!.........

Wednesday night, I lit one of the 90% off candles we recently scored (48 cents!) at the Spencer Gift's store, and we sat down to watch "A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 - Freddy's Revenge", the second in our movie marathon. Well, that candle must have been very powerful, because I fell asleep halfway through the movie! Steve noticed me snoozing, and stopped the dvd for another night. So, it was either the candle that put me to sleep, or Freddy, I'm not quite sure but I'd bet that it had a lot to do with Freddy. That dude just doesn't 'hold a candle' to Michael Meyers or Jason Voorhees, that's for certain!

Thursday night, when Steve got home from work, we went down the street to a Thai restaurant that had recently opened. We, or should I say - I - really enjoy ethnic food, and we wanted to go to this one before it had a chance to close, which a lot of places around here do! It is called Orchids Cafe, and it was really cute,...clean, nicely decorated and friendly people. I had Flame Roasted Rainbow Trout seasoned with garlic and tamarind chili sauce on the side. Steve had Stir Fried Chicken Curry. Both dishes were tasty, and I wish they had coupons - we'd be more than happy to go here again! From there, we drove over to Atlantic City for a special week-long "Lights of Freedom" show on the boardwalk at the Taj Mahal. This thing was being heavily hyped for a few weeks now, and it was free, so we figured, why not - let's go! It was overcast and sort of rainy, but that was the weather all week, and we went anyway. It was a light show, set to Bruce Springsteen music, and it lasted about 20-25 minutes. We came away from it wondering, why all the hype? It was ok, but just ok. Maybe the low hanging clouds did a disservice to it, but,....not impressed! We decided to walk the boardwalk a bit, and we discovered this Dollar Store that had all kinds of neat stuff, and then Steve won a stuffed crab from a crane machine - it's so cute, with this big grin on it's crabby face! So, that was our big night on the town in Atlantic City! (Did you know that parking went up, from $2 to $4? Bear that in mind on your next AC visit!)

All week long, I have been feeling extremely tired, and Friday was no exception. Not being on the chemo, I am definitely experiencing more MS symptoms. That sucks, but I am slowly beginning to adapt once again to it. We finished watching the Freddy movie, and man, there was absolutely no scare factor there. Boooo! 2 thumbs down!

Saturday, August 2nd, can you believe it's August already? Geez! Anyway, we attended an MS conference at the Adams Mark Hotel in Philly. But first, we made a stop at the WYSP van outside a GNC store near the hotel to see what kind of goodies they had for us. Steve had heard that they were giving out tickets to the NJ State Aquarium, but no luck - we got a dumb Trim Spa T-shirt! Oh well! The aquarium is boring anyway, right Jason? The conference was pretty crowded, many more people in wheelchairs than we've ever noticed at these functions. They had some new info for us, (cognitive dysfunction is now highly recognized as an MS symptom,...oh boy! That, combined with Chemo Brain,...I'm in for it now!), and tons of munchies, and the featured doctor was very interesting but Steve said I can't change doctors yet again just because I liked his presentation. ( That has happened, twice! ) We'll see about that, ha ha! Country music star Clay Walker was to have been the celebrity guest speaker. We are not familiar with him, but he has 12 #1 hits, his new one being "I have Questions" off his 9th recording due out this summer. As per the pamphlet we received in our packets, he was diagnosed with MS in 1996. To introduce him, they played a video on 2 giant screens that pretty much said the same exact stuff that was in the darn pamphlet, boring! The video ended, and the announcer said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please put your hands together to welcome Clay Walker!", and then, nothing! We all looked around, and listened, but nothing! Then, we hear a voice say, "Hello?" and it's Clay Walker, supposedly calling from the Detroit airport, where he was stranded, or so he said. I am sorry, but I don't buy that stranded at the airport excuse! He talked for about 10 minutes, once again covering the same things that were in the pamphlet and on the video, and then he took 2 questions from the audience, which if I say so myself, were pretty stupid. The answers were in the pamphlet, and the video! Oh brother, enough to make my head pop off! He went on to end the 'teleconference' by saying that in his 10 years of performing, he has never once missed a show until today, and he was heartbroken and wished there was something he could do. Well, dude, why don't you come to Philly/NJ and give all of us MS peeps a free concert? How about a complimentary CD? Something, anything! The whole thing was so seamless and easy, it was very hard for me to believe that this wasn't already planned, that he was never intending to be here in Philly for the conference. I told Steve, I'm going online and checking out his schedule! ( I have not done it yet! ) A question & answer session with the doctor followed, and we were surprised that there were actually some good ones. In general, this seminar was boring, as usual. Can't the organizers try for once to put some pizzazz into these things? It's always blah blah blah blah blah, come on,....mix things up a little! Well, to their credit, they did hold a raffle, giving out some prizes at the end, this is something we've never seen and it was nice, even though we didn't win!

Afterwards, we went to the hotel restaurant, Appleby's where we met Denni & Hugh. This place is not one in the Applebee's chain, but that was ok - we had coupons! ( Thanks Mom! ) The food was good, at least me and Denni, and Steve thought so. Hugh, on the other hand, was not as satisfied, but I didn't care, it was the company that mattered to me more than the food! From there, we went into Center City for a show at the Wilma Theater. Wait until you hear! We saw "Puppetry of the Penis"!!!!! Billed as "The Ancient Australian Art of Genital Origami", this show was hysterical! We had 4th row seats, so our view was, ummmm, good, maybe a little tooo good, but they also had a BIG screen, just in case you felt the need to see a REALLY BIG penis! The night started out with a comedian named Danielle, who was on the recent tv show called Last Comic Standing. She was pretty funny, and I guess after about 20 minutes or so, out came Lincoln Davies and Daniel Lewry, the penis puppeteers. What a riot, we laughed and laughed as they twisted and turned their privates, all the while telling jokes, and even involving a female audience member. It was soooo funny! And, just in case you're wondering, NO! Steve HAS NOT tried any of the maneuvers,....yet!!! :-)

Sunday we went over to Maynard's in Margate for Big Al's annual Birthday Party - his 77th this year! They were serving $1 beers, free burgers & hot dogs and the regular menu outside, and inside they had a roasted pig - ewwwww! We hung out in the Starlight Garden, listening to the band "The Chatterband", and finally we spotted Uncle Phil. This time, though, he had a video camera instead of his usual camera, and he told us that Al was sick, in the hospital, and he was recording a video birthday card for him. Of course, we gave him a contribution! According to Uncle Phil, Al has been sick, on and off, for 8 months now. So, send some good wishes his way, he is a wonderful man who has done a lot of good things around here. Happy Birthday Big Al, and Get Well Soon! Back home, we relaxed with one of Steve's special martini's - made with chocolate chip liqueur, and crushed graham crackers around the rim - yum!

Yesterday, (Monday), I took the train(s) into Philly for a 2 pm abdomen/chest/pelvis CAT Scan. It was hot and muggy so I decided to wear a cute sundress Steve had bought me when the local Bradlees went out of business a few years back. I get to the PATCO stop, and walk up the stairs to the street, and BOOM! Rain poured down, wind blew, it was freaky! Even though I had an umbrella, by the time I went the 3 blocks to the Bodine Infusion Center to get my port accessed, I was absolutely soaked! My sandals were squishing as I walked, my dress was dripping water, they actually had to get towels and mop up after me! Oh well, everyone got a good laugh! Ro had no problems with my port, and I was off to 10 Main for the appointment where I had to drink the barium stuff, yuk! Now, when I came out of there, about 3:30 or so, it was sunny! No sign of rain! Just my luck, ha ha! Back to be de-accessed, then I walked to my favorite Dollar Store where I bought some cool little cotton bras. Don't laugh - you can't beat them, for a buck! Then I went to meet Steve and when I got into the truck, he says to me, "It's a good thing you're pretty!", and I say, "What??" and he says, "Well, you are, after all, wearing a moo-moo!" Ha Ha! The sundress is not form fitting, so he said it was a moo-moo, and I know you don't spell it that way but that was how he was saying it! Since I had not eaten since 9 am due to the test, we ended up at a restaurant called McDonnel's Tavern, somewhere in New Jersey, near Turnersville maybe. We had intended to use an Entertainment discount, but once inside, we found out they were having a Mexican Night and a free Happy Hour Buffet, so we ordered drinks, ate some free buffet and sampled some of their $1 nachos and quesedillas. Mmmmm Mmmmm! Dinner, for $5 It was pretty cool, so nice that we talked about going back next Monday!

Today, I am so tired again, but I tried to be productive and do laundry and stuff like that. Tomorrow I plan on going out to do some errands, if I can get myself together. Now, I know this is a long entry, so thank you for sticking it out! You brave soul, you! I'll try not to let so much time lapse between my updates, but you never know what will happen, now do you? Ok, that's all, for now! Oh, and by the way, if you have been trying to reach us by telephone, we are experiencing technical difficulties - our service always seems to be disrupted whenever it rains a lot, and rain it has - every day. So, don't freak out! E-mail us, or try again another time!

Monday, August 4, 2003 11:08 AM CDT

Good day to you! I was hoping to do an update to this journal today, but I have run out of time. Why, you might ask? Well, I am leaving in a few minutes to take the train(s) into Philly for the first of 2 scheduled CAT Scans. Today is the abdomen/chest/pelvis. So, I'll try to come back tomorrow and fill you in on what's what,....have a nice one!

Wednesday, July 30, 2003 3:48 PM CDT

Welcome back, to me! Oh lordy, where do I begin? Let's see,...last Thursday was our 2 month wedding anniversary. Do you remember Steve taking it into his hands to make sure I see 50 wedding anniversaries? Well, listen to this! Traditionally, the second wedding anniversary gift is cotton/calico/straw, and the modern gift is china. Steve covered all his bases with his presents; a cotton Wonder Woman t-shirt with matching panties, made in China, a drinking straw, and a calico stuffed horse made in, you guessed it, China. He is too much! I made him an anniversary pizza, which I tried to shape into a number 2, but that didn't work so it was a normal round shape. It was a whole wheat cracked pepper and garlic crust with a blend of Italian cheeses on top. Yummy!

Friday, Steve took a half a day at work, and we drove up to Readington, NJ to join Bob and Judy Castronova and the Garden State Crew-zers at the Balloon Festival. It took us about 2 1/2 hours to get there, but just as we got across the street from the hotel, we made a wrong turn and took a slight half hour detour, a scenic route, as Steve says! Not to worry, though, as we arrived at the designated meeting place in plenty of time for all of us PT Cruisers to 'parade' to the Solberg Airport and the festival. There was some confusion when we arrived, and we were crammed into this tight little space on the side of the stage, but it was ok since not all of the participating Cruisers had arrived on Friday night. If so, we would not have fit, that's for sure! It was really nice, we all set up chairs in the field next to the cars and the stage, and talked and visited, waiting for Dickie Betts to go on stage. Some of us walked around the grounds, checking out the vendors and food, and watching as some of the balloons took flight - neat! Pretty soon, it was dark and the band came on as we all danced and sang, it was a good show. Then, immediately after the band went off-stage, BOOM! Fireworks lit up the sky! Oh, and they were fantastic. Just when you thought it was the big grand finale, surprise! More explosions and colors in the night sky, one man in the crowd said they were the 'never ending fireworks', and he was right, they seemed to go on forever! Afterwards, we alll cruised back to our hotels, trying to stay together, but that proved difficult since there was this big traffic jam on the highway as 4 lanes were merged into 1 - it was a mess! We all hung in the parking lot of the Marriott for a while, then it was off to bed as we had an early start time on Saturday.

Saturday, we were up and out early, but not as early as we had all thought. Originally, we were to meet at 5:30-6 am, but this was moved to 7:30-8 am, which was just fine and dandy with us! Once again, we all cruised in together, and this time we had the space on the field that we were supposed to have, to the right of the stage, not all crammed in like last night. It was so cool, 135 PT Cruisers, all sitting there together! We had a long day ahead of us, and it was hot with the sun beating down so Steve set up our gazebo, with the help of Armando, Sally, Julie and Lorenzo. Man, that was a smart move, for sure. After slathering on the sun screen, we mingled with all the PT peeps and walked around to see the vendors, scoring some free stuff along the way, (t-shirts, a photo of us, an umbrella, tastycakes, cracker jacks, drink samples, things like that), and Steve even won a contest at the Snapple booth - he had to chug a Snapple, which was funny to watch! But, he won, a cute little Snapple tooth brush holder and soap dish! It was so hot, and we walked around so much that I was really starting to feel it. Not being on chemo, the MS starts to act up, and act up it did. Several times, I felt like I was going to pass right out, honestly! Everything started to spin, it was interesting to say the least! But, I made it, and around 3 pm Bob & Judy were handing out the coveted car show prizes for several different categories, like Best Tailgate Display, Best Engine, and so on. No! We didn't win anything! Shortly after the prize give-aways, many of the PT People began to leave. 2 bands played during the afternoon, and at dusk the balloons took off. What a sight that was! They floated over us and all the PT's, just hovering there in mid air, it was really cool! No, I did not go for a balloon ride, although they were offered to us at a discount. However, their discount was still well over $100, and I didn't feel like shelling out that kind of money! Later on, they offered a tethered ride, which lasted for about 3 minutes, for $15, but that line was long and I didn't want to deal with that either. At 8 pm, Foreigner with Lou Gramm took the stage. Everyone seemed to really enjoy them, but Steve and I were cracking up when we saw Lou Gramm, he hasn't aged well at all! They sounded ok, though, even if he was straining his voice for most of the songs. After the concert, there was one more contest for Best Neon display, which we actually took part in using a single neon wand on our dash. No! We didn't win! Then, some of the balloons put on a glow show, which was pretty to see. After that, we all made our way back to the hotel, taking a different route so as not to get caught up in that traffic jam again. Once there, we again hung out in the parking lot. Now I guess it was about midnight, and I was oh so tired. But, we stayed, talking to everyone,... Ira & Susan, then just Bob and Judy, I swear I almost passed right out a few times, I felt the ground go soft under my feet and I thought, oh brother, this is it. I don't know how, but I managed to hold it together, and when Judy said, "OK, time to wrap it up", I could have kissed her! Ha Ha! Anyway, we went back to the room and ate some of the snacks we had gotten for free during the day, took showers to wash away the sun screen and dirt, and I was out like a light!

Sunday, needless to say, we both slept in, checking out at noon to find a nice little gift tied to the car from Plumetta - how sweet! For those of you who don't know, Plumetta is the Purple PT Fairy! (She loves to wear her fairy wings, how cool is that!) We stopped at a nice little local restaurant on the way to the highway for lunch, I had a portobella mushroom sandwich which was very tasty. Halfway down the parkway, we pulled into the Freehold Raceway Mall for a short break, ( ! ), and I guess we got home around 5 pm or so. Many thanks to Paul for taking care of Pearlie and Fannie.

Monday, and Tuesday as well, I just could not get myself together. I felt so run down and tired. Monday morning, I put the filter in the basket of the coffee pot, poured in the water and proceeded to brew myself a nice hot pot of,...water! I forgot to put the coffee into the filter basket! That's how out of it I was! Monday night, Steve rented the dvd "A Nightmare on Elm Street" and we officially began our Elm Street Marathon in preparation for the upcoming new movie "Freddy vs Jason". We're silly like that! Last night, we went to the Ritz East in Old City to see the last installment in the American Pie trilogy, "American Wedding". This movie was actually pretty funny, in a moronic sort of way. Everyone laughed out loud for a majority of the screening. We walked away with some posters, and Nathan was there, giving us a pass to a screening tonight of "Un Femme de Menage", or "The Housekeeper". Unfortunately, we can't go because Steve is working late tonight. Oh well! He'll probably bring home the next Elm Street movie. I went up to the farm market this afternoon and got a dozen ears of fresh-picked corn, so I'll be cooking some of that for dinner tonight, the Corbin's say it's really good.

Ok, time to go, but before I do,.........Ean, I hope you had a very good birthday on Monday - BIG kiss! And, Jef - Happy Birthday to you today, old ex-husbean you!

Monday, July 28, 2003 4:29 PM CDT

Sorry, but I don't feel like updating this site today,....we spent the weekend in Readington, NJ at the Balloon Fest with over 100 other PT Cruisers - and I'm BEAT! So, give me some time to chill, and check back again later. :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2003 2:13 PM CDT

Buenos dias, amigo! I had planned on adding an entry here yesterday, but, besides being strapped for time, I was just too bummed out to do it. You might be wondering, "Too bummed out? Why on earth is she bummed out? She has a nice house, a great car, brand new deck furniture, and the most wonderful husband in the universe,..what's going on here?" Well, read on.

Tuesday I had planned to take the noon-time train to meet my dad in Cherry Hill so we could spend some nice quality time together. Originally, he and Rita were going to take me for a ride in their boat, but the weather just was not cooperating. So, here I am, holding my purse and house keys, actually turning the front door knob to leave when the phone rings. Thinking it mught be dad or Rita, I foolishly answered it, and it was Judi from Dr. King's office. Well, that alone sent my heart to the floor, but then she proceeds to tell me - my CA 125 has risen. Yes, you read that right, it is now up to 736, from 495, and that's not good. Not having much time to talk, after all, I was on my way to the train, she briefly spelled out the new plan for my life - I am now off the Gemzar, and facing 2 impending CAT scans followed by an office visit with Dr. King to decide where to go from here. CRAP. It is true what they say, that your life can change in the blink of an eye. Before I had to hang up, she said that Dr. King may be considering the breast cancer drug called Taxotere, but that she hadn't decided yet. (You may remember that Gemzar is actually a lung cancer drug.) Needless to say, that surely put a damper on my mood, but I was determined to have a nice day with dad and Rita. And, that I indeed did! Dad picked me up at the station, and we went back to his house where Rita was waiting and we spent the day chatting, eating snacks and watching a video of their latest cruise, it was great. Then, we piled into the car and went to Charlie Brown's restaurant in Maple Shade for their Lobsterfest. YUM! A 1 1/2 pound lobster, 8 mussels, corn on the cob, new potatoes and a frozen margarita, oh it was tasty! :-) I had been bugging Steve to take me to Maine for a lobster, and dad said it was probably better to go 8 minutes to Maple Shade than 8 hours to Maine! Hey, have any of you ever heard your father say the word 'penis'? Well, mine did during dinner, it was so funny! Even Rita said it! Now, don't get the wrong idea, there is a play going on in Philly that I want to see called "Puppetry of the Penis", and that was what the conversation was about. Still, it's pretty funny to hear parents say 'penis'!

Wednesday, I spent the day on the computer, researching Taxotere and looking around for new ovarian treatments and stuff. Taxotere does not thrill me, and there really isn't anything out there that is new and promising. Today, I am about to go research the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX. I have been thinking of going there for over a year now so maybe now is the time to do it. Pretty soon my computer time ran out, though, as I had a train to catch once again. I met Steve in Cherry Hill, and we went over to the Wellness Community for their 10th Birthday Party. They served food, and birthday cake, and local singer/songwriter/cancer survivor Lauren Hart performed a few songs. We also got to do an art project on T-shirts they gave out to us all. Suzette and Lisa were there, as well as many others we know from TWCP, and Suzette even went up on stage to show off her T-shirt. Which was ok by me because she claimed that one of her stick-figure drawings sporting red hair was me! Brad,....oh, I mean Steve, and I had a nice time and as we were leaving Suzette & Lisa handed me a bag with a gift in it. I said, "Why a gift?" and Suzette said, "Because I love ya!" and I said, "Ooooh, I like being loved, I want everyone to love me! More gifts! Ha Ha!" Anyway, it was a box of Fairy Magic. Cool! It includes a book, sparkling fairy dust, a wand, and a set of fairy wings. I love it! I was playing with the wand today and now I am covered in glitter!

Today, I am running around doing a million things all at once, yes - it's one of those days. I can't seem to focus on any one thing, but hopefully I can get at least a few things done. We have weekend plans that begin tomorrow afternoon, so you probably will not hear from me until next week sometime. No chemo on Monday, so maybe I'll return then to brighten your day. ( ! ) Have a great weekend, buenos noches! (And, Happy Birthday to Mick Jagger on Saturday,, that's a really old bag, ha ha!)

Monday, July 21, 2003 3:17 PM CDT

Hello everyone! I hope you had a great weekend. Mine was very interesting, if I say so myself. Friday night, we were able to catch up with Tremors The Series. Well, actually, I was out doing things all day, (like my CA 125 test where I had a small problem, it took really long to get my blood to fill the 2 tubes, it was creepy), and got home about 7:30, Steve got home even later, about 8:30, so I missed the very beginning of the show, and Steve saw about the last 15 minutes. But, Burt Gummer, we can indeed say we saw it!

Saturday, we made the trek down to Baltimore for the day in search of some soft shell crabs. Oooh the traffic in the opposite direction was wicked. We hit a few slow spots but overall it wasn't too bad, taking about 3 hours instead of just over 2. No worries! It was a beautiful day, and Inner Harbor was bustling. We drove around, (yikes, so much construction going on), and walked around, (too many people!), then went on a 30 minute motorized boat ride which was kind of cool. The last time we were there, many years ago, we took a paddle boat out for a spin so this time we wanted to do something different. After that, we went to the Atlantic Restaurant on Boston street for dinner. Steve called around to the area restaurants trying to find the elusive soft shell, and this was one of 2 places that had them. And what a good choice it was, the food was super excellent! YUM! Every bite was sensational, mmmm mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm mmmmm! We sat outside, oh so trendy again, right next to this beautiful pond, it was really nice. I bet you can't guess what I am going to say next! There was another restaurant in the same complex, called,.....The Austin Grille!!!!! A mexican place, and they had live bands playing in celebration of just getting a wind-powered generator, neat! I can't seem to get away from the Austin references, now, can I? On the way down, we heard a commercial on the radio for Hammerjack's. This place use to be a big rock club for many years, until turning into a dance club maybe 4-5 years ago. Denni & I use to go there, a lot! Steve and his friend Stan, too. We saw some good bands there,...Skid Row, Vince Neil, the Bullet Boys, to name a few, and had lots of fun. So the commercial piqued our interest. Seems like they were having a grand opening of sorts, on behalf of Hammerjack's return to rock. Yeah! The dj said, get there between 7 & 8 for $5 entrance and other special stuff, so we thought, sure, why not? After dinner, we headed on over to Hammerjack's, but wait,...we couldn't find it! We drove around and around, even asking directions twice and getting 2 different sets of directions. Finally, we saw the all too familiar Hammerjack's sign, but something was just not right. Nothing seemed familiar, and Steve asked one of the bouncers who said that it was a new location. We thought we were going crazy! We hung outside for awhile, because, #1 - we missed the 8:00 deadline! and #2 - we wanted to check out the clientele. The people entering the club certainly were not like the rock people who use to frequent Hammerjack's, that's for sure. So,....we decided to keep our memories from the 'old days', and head on down the highway to New Jersey! Sounds like we've turned into Old Fuddyduddies, but that's not the case at all! We just wish we could find a place with 'our kind of people' again, the Cell Block, Bonnies, even the Galaxy. Oh well! Home around 1 am for a big bowl of ice cream to top off the night!

Sunday, we went out to pick up our deck furniture from Sears. On the way, the Big Black Hole of the Spencer Gift's 90% Off Sale once again sucked us in! Oh man! We made our biggest 90% off purchase ever, $3.99! WoW! When we got home, we put the furniture together and had dinner in style out on the deck, it felt really weird! It's like we are turning into normal people, or something, ha ha! The neighbors shot off some fireworks at 9:30 in the school yard, so that was fun but it really wears on my nerves when the sparks come shooting so close to those Corbin boys. I guess we were creating a disturbance, because the cops came! Now, who in this neighborhood would complain to the police? Very interesting question on all our minds.

Today, I am trying to get some things done here. We had our heater serviced and cleaned, so I've had a man in the utility room all afternoon. ( ! ) Steve says we are going to have Martinis on the deck tonight, I can't wait! An interesting martini fact; did you know that a Minneapolis bar sells a six-gallon martini at a cost of $195? Now, that's a BIG martini! Talk to you later!

Friday, July 18, 2003 12:28 AM CDT

What is going on here????? Can you believe it????? Yes, it's me, again! I just stopped by to say, from one old bag to an even older bag,....happy birthday Suzette! And, Ean, good luck with the new girl! I can't wait to hear all the details! The Orchestra last night was really nice. We saw some other Wellness Community people, and made friends with a woman who was fiercly protective of her personal space, how funny was that! I brought along a picnic of Guacamole Chips and rice & bean tortillas, after all, was a Spanish concert! I'm on my way out now to take care of some long overdue errands, have a splendid weekend!

Thursday, July 17, 2003 3:22 PM CDT

Hello again, for the third day in a row! Aren't you the lucky one, haha! Yesterday was another hot day, the walk to the train station was stifling! Once there, though, I met a really nice boy toting a guitar on his way to Atco to jam with his friends on his day off as a cook at the local diner. I think he said his name was Frank, but I can't remember. The train was really full, I actually had to sit with someone, which I didn't care for because, after all, it was indeed a quarantine day for me. Yes, today marks the 4th day I have gone out, all 4 days have been quarantine. Screw it, I say! Time to live a little! (Of course, if I catch a germ, I won't be so full of bravado, ha ha!) We arrived in Manayunk with some time to kill, so we strolled Main Street and decided to eat dinner at Thomas's Bar & Restaurant. The oh so trendy people that we are, we sat outside eating al fresco and people watching, it was really fun! We discovered that on Wednesday many of the Manayunk merchants and restaurants offer special $4 promotions and discounts. This restaurant had several $4 drink and appetizer specials, and the waitress informed us that the Bistro Fare on the menu was half price. So, we ordered up a $4 flounder appetizer, and Steve got the Shrimp and Crab Ceasar Salad and I got the Thomas's Crab Cake. All was delicious, oh so tasty! And, even sweeter was the bill, we got to be trendy and cool all for just over $20, including beverages and tip! Sweet! I hope all our movies are in Manayunk on a Wednesday from now on!

Our movie was an art film by the name of "Garage Days". The theater was pretty light on people, which was good considering the whole quarantine thing. They handed us a raffle tickect as we entered, and yes, you guessed it, Steve won a prize! ( T-shirt, cd ) The movie started out slowly, but gained some momentum as it went on, and I actually really enjoyed it. It's set in Australia, which made me think of Ean, who I had just called in the afternoon. It's about a band, which is always interesting to me. But, more importantly, it's about relationships and serious stuff like that. If you like this type of movie, go see this one, very enjoyable.

Tonight, we are once again going to the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Music Center. And, I will not be forgetting the tickets!!! Tonight the program is called "Spanish Sunset" featuring Pepe Romero on guitar, and the Spanish Guitar Quartet The Romeros, as well as conductor Roberto Minczuk. I love Spanish music and am really looking forward to it. No Suzette & Lisa this time, though. I don't think the Orchestra is Suzette's cup of tea! Give her a rock band any day, ha ha!

That's all I have for you, enjoy your evening! And Suzette, I'm so glad I made you laugh yesterday! How's the Chief doing?

Wednesday, July 16, 2003 1:18 PM CDT

Well, well, well, here I am again, 2 days in a row - it's a miracle! The traffic last evening on the way to the Mann Music Center was pretty bad, and there was an awful accident so that slowed it down. But, we finally made it, picnic basket & blanket in hand. We get out of the car and start walking to the entrance and Steve says "You might as well get out the tickets now,", and I say, "Tickets? I thought you had them." He says, "I don't have them," I say, "Either do I!" Oh no! We forgot the dumb tickets! This has never happened to us before, and even though it wasn't funny, it was funny! Suzette & Lisa are in waiting for us, what should we do? Turns out, the kind dude at the gate just let us in anyway, so if you ever want to go sit on the lawn for this summer series of Orchestra shows, just go up any way! Don't even worry about tickets, ha ha! We found Suzette & Lisa with no problem, ate some food, chatted and soon the music started. John Williams was the conductor, and the program title was "Saluting the Silver Screen". It was all music from the movies, which was pretty cool, but what we didn't realize was that John Williams actually wrote all the music we were hearing, as well as countless other movie scores that everyone recognizes. Neat! Intermission came, and Suzette & Lisa had to go, so we were left alone in a sea of lawn sitters, was it crowded! The second half of the program was nice, and Mr. Williams actually came out to do 3 encores, which I can never remember seeing at the Orchestra before. The last selection was the theme for the Channel 6 Action News broadcast, how funny was that! Then, there were fireworks, they were ok, nothing spectacular but it was the only fireworks we have seen this year, so they were ok by me! I guess it was midnight by the time we got home. A nice relaxing night, even with the ticket scare!

I am about to leave to catch the train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill again, we have another movie in Manayunk tonight. But, before I leave, I want to say a little something. If you are upset that you have not yet received a Thank You note from us for a wedding gift you graciously and generously gave to us, well, please - get over it! That's right, get over it! Since the wedding, the past 7 1/2 weeks have been filled with 4 weeks of chemo, 2 weeks of fighting infections, and just general day-to-day crappiness. These things have quite naturally slowed me down a bit. Not something your average every day Bride has to deal with. Rest assured, we certainly appreciated your gift. If it was a check, we cashed it. If it was cash, we spent it. If it was something we could use, we used it. If it was liquor, we drank it. If it was food, we ate it. If it was a book, we read it. You get the picture,, there you have it - your 'unofficial' Thank You note. Oh, and for the record, the 'traditional' ones have indeed been written, addressed and stamped, we are just waiting for one final detail before they get sent out. If you ask me, given the current circumstances, I've done pretty good! So, cut me a break and as Axl rose says, have a little patience! ( As Steve says, how did we get sucked into doing something Traditional when we had such a Non Traditional wedding? Go figure! )

OK, I'm outta here!

Tuesday, July 15, 2003 3:05 PM CDT

Greetings, guests! I'm here to tell you all about the last few days, and believe it or not, it's not much gloom and doom, ha ha! Friday night, when Steve got home, we went out to a nearby 7-Eleven for a free slurpee, and joy of all joys, ( ! ) , they also had free donuts, yum! From there, we made a quick stop at the local Boscov store as they were having a special sale on patio furniture. No luck there, but we did spend far too much time at the Spencer Gift's store, another one of their 90% off sales - oh boy! We then went over to the III Brothers for a delicious white pizza. By the time we got home, we realized we had missed Tremors the Series, oh no! We're sorry Burt!

Saturday we got up fairly early and met some fellow PT-ers in Vineland at a meet and greet. I guess about 12 Cruisers were there, and for the first time we were the only Cranberry one! Check this out, the minute we got out of the car, one of the ladies yells "Are you the couple that got married in New York?" - how cool is that! We're PT Celebrities! And, not only that, but we received our first issue of PT Cruiser Quarterly today, and yours truly is in it! This group of cruiser people were really nice, as they have all been since we have started going to these events. Several of them are also going to the big Balloon Festival at the end of the month, and we had met some of them at the Wheels and Wings air show in May. One of them, a really nice guy who had just flown out to Detroit to buy his PT, threw me for a loop when we realized we knew a lot of the same people, my ex-husband! ( Yes, Jef, he remembers some funny things about the early 70's when you use to drive his Beetle, and wear your army jacket and have long hair! Says he is friends with Bruce. ) Too bad I actually forget his name, maybe it was John? Anyway, it was a beautiful sunny day and we had a good time.

In the mail on Friday, we received several movie screening passes. One was for the new Spy Kids 3D movie. We had seen the first Spy Kids, but not Spy Kids 2, so Steve rented it on his way home from work on Friday, and Saturday night we planned to watch it. But not before going to Sears and finally breaking down and buying new deck furniture. I can't believe we did it, but it is about time! All our furniture is redwood, and was either given to us second hand or acquired castoffs from the generous rich people of Stone Harbor and Avalon. Steve says, he can't understand it - it seems like since we got married, all we do is spend money! Ha Ha! Anyway, we finally settled down to watch the movie, it was ok, nothing special, but what was special is that it was filmed in none other than Austin, TX! Then, when we were done watching all the extra stuff on the dvd, what comes on the tv but a show on the food network about "Eating Around Texas", or something like that! And, they were featuring a barbeque place just south of,...yes,....Austin! Hey, what's going on here??????????

Sunday, Steve worked on the deck some more, staining and sealing it, wow - it really looks good! The new furniture will look great on it! ( We don't get it until the end of the week. )

Monday, it rained most of the day, and was gloomy and chilly. I took the train to meet Steve in Cherry Hill, and we went over to Manayunk for the Spy Kids 3D movie screening. Before the movie, we went next door to the Manayunk Diner for dinner, not bad food but the portions are way too big! At the movie, they gave out posters, and we had to wear 3D glasses, which I hate, I get so discombobulated! I was pleasantly surprised to see Nathan there, he usually doesn't stray from Center City! Anyway, Steve thinks the movie was silly, but for a kids movie, I thought it was ok. I do think, however, that the story line has veered way too far from the original Spy Kids movie, and now I am curious what Nathan will say in his review. Once again, though, it was filmed in beautiful Austin, TX! All this Austin stuff is now seeming to be a bit more than just a small sign, it's downright clobbering me over the head! I have a feeling we will be going there, that's for sure! Maybe that's where we will honeymoon, as we have yet to receive our cruise from RC & Mary.

Today, I took my very last pill for this stupid germ I have. Man, this medication has been brutal. The pill I just finished is called Cipro, know, the anthrax one. It is very very hard on the stomach, and I hated it, but it did seem to work so that was a good thing. I am now going to go out to the kitchen and rustle up a picnic dinner. Why? Well, Karen from the Wellness Community sent us some tickets for tonight's performance of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Music Center, so we are meeting Suzette & Lisa there for some nice music, food and also fireworks. Catch ya later!

Friday, July 11, 2003 4:19 PM CDT

Another peek into the life and times of Anna Juliano! Yesterday (Thursday) I felt very very poorly. Let me explain. Since the 'Lip Incident', I have also been dealing with another problem that I chose not to share with you. This particular problem involved painful burning while urinating, among other things. So, you can see why I chose not to share! Yesterday, these symptoms came on strong with a vengeance, and I was totally miserable. Called Family Doctor, couldn't get her. Finally, as she always does, Dr. King (and Judi) came through for me. Steve took me to the only place with a still-open Out-Patient Lab, which was Kessler Memorial Hospital in Hammonton, where I did some tests for Dr. King. We had never been to this hospital before. It's very small and we weren't sure what to expect. But, a wonderful lady named Libby took care of me, and when we left out of there, we were both happy to have had the chance to visit this nice place. A funny thing, know how hospitals are always landscaped real nice, pretty flowers and trees and stuff? Well, Hammonton being the Blueberry Capital of the World, they are landscaped with blueberry bushes! Cool! Then it was off to the pharmacy for some drugs that Dr. King prescribed, then back home to wallow in my misery yet again. :-)

That was yesterday. Since taking the medication Dr. King chose for me, I am feeling much better. (See mom,....going to the doctor can be a GOOD thing.) I seem to have some sort of bacterium in my system, that's what the preliminary test says, now she is just waiting for the complete results to come back. So, hopefully the drugs will knock it out of me. (One of the drugs makes me pee the most beautiful yellow red orange color, I almost want to paint with it!) Now I am just hoping the lips stay normal. I told Steve last night, I don't want to do any more chemo for awhile. But, that just could have been because I felt so bad, we'll see what the future does to my outlook!

Today is 7/11 and do you know what that means???? All the 7 Eleven stores are giving out free slurpees all day - - - so what are you waiting for, go get one! We, of course, are embarking on a "7 Eleven World Tour" tonight!

There you have it, more tales of misery and woe from yours truly. See you another day! Oh, and Happy 71st Birthday to Bud Corbin! (I hope you feel better, Paul.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2003 3:57 PM CDT

So here begins your recap,.....

Saturday, July 5th: My lips were still really red and swollen, and very itchy, but maybe a little bit better than yesterday. Steve spent most of the day power washing the deck again, man he's working hard at that! It's really starting to look nice again. Now, we just need new deck furniture! Suzette & Lisa came over for a visit in the afternoon. They were going to the George Carlin show at one of the casinos in Atlantic City, and we were right on the way so what more perfect excuse could we have to visit! I made a cheese pizza and we ate out on the newly washed deck, it was nice. And, Lisa, you were right, my lips did indeed deflate a bit while you were here, amazing! Must have been the good company, ha ha! Later on in the evening, we went over to visit with Paul for awhile, having a beer and generally just shooting the shit ( ! ),...oh Paul, your Uncle Cotton and the Corn Squeezin's memory was so funny! Great story!!!! By the time we got home, maybe 11:30 or so, well, believe it or not, my lips were even better, yippee!

Sunday 7/6: My lips were nearly normal sized but still very red and itchy. Steve, well, he spent most of the day power washing again! I think he's hooked! He finished the deck, then did the front porch and some of our sidewalk and driveway. And it was so so so hot out, I don't know how he managed to do it. Hey Hot Stuff, did you get to watch the afternoon Wizard of Oz movie and related programs? We didn't, because we had Pearl Jam tickets. Taking into consideration that the Atlantic City Expressway would most likely be gridlocked with people returning from the July 4th holiday, we decided to go up the White Horse Pike ( Rt. 30 ) to Lindenwold, and take the High Speed Line into Camden. The fare is only $1.30 each way, for a total of $5.20 which is well below the $15 parking lot fee at the Tweeter Center. But, to make it even sweeter, we found $1.25 on the floor of the station, so it was even cheaper, ha ha! We had brought along a beach towel, since we had lawn seats. I think this was the first time we ever had these 'seats'. Guess what? They don't allow you to bring in any towels or blankets. So, we stashed it in some bushes, hoping to get it later when we came out. Kim from WYSP wanted me to look for her, she wanted to meet us and say hello, but we couldn't find her. Oh well! We scored a nice spot on the lawn and sat down on our jackets, which wasn't so bad. The opening band, the Buzzcocks, were EXCELLENT!!!! I loved them, they played exactly how I like a band to play, one song after another, no breaks or between-song talking that you never understand anyway, and the drummer pounded the beat so consistently, it was a hard driving set that I totally enjoyed - someone, please buy me a Buzzcocks CD!!!! Pearl Jam also was pretty good, and I was really happy to have finally seen them perform. Eddie Vedder's voice is so emotional, even though some of their songs are dopey. They actually came out for 2 encores, and I was pleasantly surprised when Eddie actually said "Thank you, New Jersey!" instead of the usual "Thank you Philadelphia" that we hear bands say here at the Tweeter Center in Camden, NJ. Our overall rating (1-10) of the lawn seating was about a 5. There was a spattering of annoying people, and of course there were the usual drunken fools, but it really was ok. Hey, don't get me wrong, I don't want to make a habit out of it! On the way back to the train, we went to pick up our beach towel from the bushes, and it was gone! So were all the others that were stashed there, too, but not to worry - we replaced it with another that was left in a pile outside the gates! As we started walking along the street, it began to rain lightly, and by the time we got on the train, it was coming down fairly hard. Back to Lindenwold to drive home in the pouring rain and lightning, it was wild - trash cans, tree limbs and leaves all over the road, crazy! It really must have come down hard! It was nearly 1 am when we got home, and Jason - I highly recommend doing it this way when you go see KISS, it was so much less stressful, and cheaper!

Monday, 7/7: Well, my lips are pretty much back to normal. Vickie came over about 12:30, everything went smoothly and she was out about 2-ish. When Steve came home from work, he grilled us up some Tomato-Basil Veggie Burgers, yum! Suzette, check this out - you know those Guacamole chips we are all crazy about? He put some in a foil pouch, with some cheese, and grilled that too, and it was tasty! Later on, we were watching the Food Network on tv, and what do you think comes on? Another Austin, Texas reference. That's the 3rd one, and I feel it is definitely a sign of some sort - it always seems like things come in threes, so I'm ready - - - - Austin, here I come!!!!!!

Tuesday, 7/8: Did nothing much, just flopped around all day. It's another hot one, and I had the air conditioner on all day, and all night for that matter.

Today, I am feeling the worst, as I always do on a Wednesday. My lips are looking good, now they are just dry and wrinkly. Let's hope it doesn't happen any more. It's hot again today, but a nice breeze is blowing. I am hoping that tomorrow will be a better day, all the way around. Oh, I'd like to take a moment to clarify something for you with regard to quarantine. My "quarantine" period begins on the 7th day after my chemo infusion, and lasts until the 10th. So, it's the 7th-10th day after chemo. If chemo is Monday, then it is the following Monday through Thursday. Ok? It's not really that difficult to understand!

So there you have it, an update on my miserable life! Until next time, have a good one!

Tuesday, July 8, 2003 3:22 PM CDT

Sorry, people, but I am just not up to doing an entry today. Don't worry, though, everything is fine. I'm just wiped out. So, check back later tomorrow, ok?

Friday, July 4, 2003 4:16 PM CDT

Happy Independence Day! I know that you all are aware of the Founding Fathers, and the Declaration of Independence, but did you know that today marks the 150th birthday of the potato chip? Who doesn't love a good potato chip? (Especially those Guacamole ones, right Suzette & Lisa?) July 4th is one of the top four potato-chip consuming holidays, along with Labor Day, Super Bowl Sunday and New Year's Eve. In honor of the potato chip's birthday, check out the US Potato Board's web site at,....oh man, now I'm getting hungry!

So, let's see, what can I tell you about today? Hmmmm. Tuesday, while I was a chemo-filled lump on the sofa, WYSP radio called and left a message on our answering machine for me. So, on Wednesday, I called the girl back, and guess what? They had read the Philadelphia Inquirer article on us and the wedding, and because we mentioned their radio station, they gave me 2 tickets to the Pearl Jam show this coming Sunday! Sweet! I have loved Eddie Vedder and the band since Jef first played a Sony music sampler with "Alive" on it, way back in maybe 1990. Yet, I have never seen them, so this was a nice surprise. However, now I am going with these awful big ugly fat lips. Maybe I'll get lucky and they will deflate by then.

Thursday, I spent the day just being miserable, still feeling the chemo, and of course the BIG lips that seem to be getting even bigger than they were during wedding week. They are so huge, my top lip is actually touching my nose! They are red, itchy, and oozing. It's gross. I put a call in to my family doctor's office, and she finally called back around 6-ish. She was happy to hear that Dr. King had called in the prescription for me, and she seems to think that somehow the outbreaks are chemo-related. (Chemo in general, not specifically Gemzar.) Well, duh! Now, if only Dr. King would admit this! However, she says there really isn't much that can be done for this type of episode, except going off chemo which of course she did not recommend. And, surprisingly enough, I don't really want to go off it. But, I will if this keeps happening. Perhaps it's time to suggest to Dr. King that I go for some more CAT scans, to see exactly where we are with regard to tumor activity. We'll see. Right now, I just have to get through this, and hope that it doesn't happen again next week. Which would SUCK. Steve made some yummy grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, and we watched Dave Attell on Comedy Central, he was in Austin this week, cool!

Today, it is beautiful out, a nice breeze is blowing and everyone is outside enjoying the holiday. Except me. I'm hiding inside the stupid house with my, as Steve says, clown lips. I had wanted to go to Cooper River Park in Pennsauken tonight for the free Dave Mason/Cheap Trick concert followed by fireworks, but I'm too embarrassed to be seen like this. And, besides how I look, I am contagious so I guess I shouldn't go out, right? Steve is outside right now power washing the deck, (thanks John!), and I just got done watching Trading Spaces on TLC, and guess what? They were in Austin! I told this to Steve, and he says, "Oh boy, I guess that means we have to go there now!" And of course I said, "Yep!" Oh how I would love to go see my brother Steve.

That's all I have for you on this holiday, just another crappy day for me. Oh, mom, your Spinkster Reports sure are funny, they really brighten up my mornings!

Wednesday, July 2, 2003 7:10 PM CDT

So, here it is, Wednesday night, and guess what? I am miserable! Why, you ask? Well, today, besides being the day I feel the worst after chemo, my lips began to itch,....and by the end of the day they started to blow up again, just like right before the wedding. Can you believe that? It being after hours, I could only get an answering machine at my Family doctor's office, so Steve called up Dr. King and she graciously agreed to call in a prescription for me so I could get some medicine tonight. But, I have to get in touch with my Family doctor tomorrow. Which probably means an office visit. Oh brother. Am I the only one who realizes that after 7 months of chemotherapy, my resistance is very low? I'll tell you something right now, if this continues to happen, I most certainly will not complete the rest of these Gemzar treatments, that's for sure. OK, that's my bitching and moaning for today,...stayed tuned for more, haha!

Oh, and Happy Birthday Charlie Prose,....I miss you!

Tuesday, July 1, 2003 12:47 AM CDT

Here is your day-after-chemo report. Sean arrived at 11 am yesterday with my Gemzar, toting a box of Tender Vittles cat food. His poor old cat of 17 years died, so that was sad. Vickie got here around 11:30, and was out of here about 1:30. Everything went well, no unexpected surprises, whew! So now I am in my after-chemo funk. Not feeling all that bad today, but I know from the past infusions that tomorrow will be my worst day.

OK, that's all for today. Stay cool in the summer heat! And, Happy Birthday Jason! Happy Birthday Lemon-Joe Long!

Saturday, June 28, 2003 6:09 PM CDT

Can you believe it's Saturday already? Where does the damn time go??? Let's see,....Tuesday I gardened, and it really wasn't too bad out there in the heat. I managed to get quite a lot done, but there is still way more I need to tend to. Oh well, I'll get to it someday! Now, let me tell you about Tuesday night! It was the one month anniversary of our wedding. Now, you may remember me telling you about going to our neighbors ( Dot & Bud ) 50th wedding anniversary party. Well, at this party, a nice old gentleman came over and congratulated us on our wedding. I said to him, "Thanks!" And, then he says to us, "But, I don't really think you two will make it to 50 years!" I couldn't believe I heard that come out of his mouth, I really didn't think he knew my medical situation or anything, and then he keeps talking, "What I mean by that is, two are already middle-aged!" Well, I cracked up, it was so funny! Steve being younger than me and all, and not nearly middle-aged. It was funny to me! But, apparently it bothered Steve,...and now Tuesday night he presented me with anniversary gifts. I said, "What's going on?" and he says, "I am going to make sure you see a 50th wedding anniversary!" So, now it seems, we will be celebrating our wedding anniversary each and every month, as Steve says a 50th wedding anniversary does not have to be 50 YEARS, just 50 wedding anniversaries! OK, that's fine by me, a girl can never have enough presents showered upon her! But, that means I have to also GIVE presents, oh boy! I think you might know this already, but we have always given each other a gift each month on the anniversary of our first date, we've done this for almost 11 years now, never missing a month. Now, this! Anyway, Steve says the traditional 1st wedding anniversary gift is paper, so he gave me a ream of paper! And the modern gift equivalent is a clock. So, he gave me a Tinkerbell watch. He's so crazy! But, isn't that sweet? Who else but Steve would be thinking like this? :-)

Wednesday, I went out and ran some errands, nothing too exciting. I was surprised, I wasn't sore from gardening at all! On Thursday, I was suppose to go over to the Trump Marina to see Dr. Chopra, he was appearing as part of the LPGA golf events. But, it all fell through at the last minute, and instead Sugar came over and we just hung out here together for a while, then we went out for a nice lunch. He dropped me off at the train station and I met Steve in Cherry HIll. We went over to the Cherry Hill Mall for a bit, we had about an hour to kill before we went to see Sinbad with the passes we had gotten at the Baskin Robbins over the weekend. Get this; we were walking through the mall, on our way to the food court, and a young guy dressed all in black, looking like he came straight from Hot Topic, came over to me and asked me if I wanted to fill out a survey that would take about 10 minutes. I said 'No thanks", and kept walking but then he said "You'll get a free hair brush, and $5." Well, yes, of course I went with him! It was a focus group with me and an interviewer in a small room with the 2-way glass wall, about 10 minutes worth of questions about this hairbrush display they had set up in the room, and soon I had five bucks in my hand, and a hairbrush! Cool! Anyway, the Sinbad movie was ok, Brad Pitt is the voice of Sinbad. I was really surprised, usually these animated kids movies make me cry, but not this time! Radio Disney was there, giving out gift bags full of candy, yummy! When that was over, guess what? We walked across the hall and snuck into The Hulk! That was also an ok movie, but the beginning was way too slow and boring, and I just couldn't understand something - when he turned from a plain ordinary man into this gigantic green momster, then back to an ordinary man again, how come his clothes also shrank with him? His clothes aren't infected with the 'hulk-gene', what's the deal with that? Anyway, I guess it was about 12:30 when we got home, I was beat! But of course you knew that!

Friday, I spent the day running errands again, including a trip to the supermarket in preparation of the upcoming chemo week. Burt Gummer on tv, and a nightcap of FireWater in honor of the last few 90-plus degree days. Today, we got up and went to the Cherry Hill Mall again, Michelle Branch was there giving a free concert and then she signed autographs. Boy, the place was full of little girly girls, Steve was loving it! From there, we went to the Italian Bistro for lunch, then home.

And, there's your re-cap! I will return again later, enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tuesday, June 24, 2003 11:02 AM CDT

Hello! Happy One Month Wedding Anniversary to me!!!!! ( Oh, and Steve! ) It looks like it's going to be a scorcher of a day today, and all I have to say is,'s about time! The weather reports all say that the next few days will be up in the 90's somewhere, so today I think I'll try to go out in the garden for a bit. Yes, I know it's hot, but with all the rain and my chemo schedule, I have not gotten out in the yard at all, and it really looks like a jungle - I kid you not! So, here's a quick re-cap for you, then, I'm outta here!

Friday, 6/20: It's the return of Burt Gummer, El Blanco and Ass Blasters on Tremors, 8:00 pm on the Sci Fi channel. We've been looking forward to this, but wish it was back on at 9 instead. The new Harry Potter book came out at 12:01 am, and we toyed with the idea of joining in the midnight festivities but decided not to do it. Instead, in honor of the Hulk movie opening, we stayed home and celebrated with green melon shooters in our Hulk shot glasses.

Saturday, 6/21: Happy 1st Day of Summer, the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year! We had some things to do this afternoon, and on the way to run our errands, we stopped at the Maplewood restaurant in Hammonton for a delicious lunch. After we were errand-free, we made our way up to Philly, to Suzette and Lisa's house for their Game Night party. Oh, what fun! Real old-fashioned board games, out on their deck, snacks, drinks, it was great! They have some real nice friends, a nice house in a nice neighborhood - 2 PT Cruisers parked in the driveway, sweet! But, I must say, we did not get home until 3 in the morning, yikes! Who would have thought Game Night would turn out to be such a wild time, haha!

Sunday, 6/22: Surprisingly, we were both up pretty early, considering our late night. Reading the morning paper, I saw that the Basking Robbins in Marlton was giving away free passes to the new Sinbad movie (Brad Pitt is the voice of Sinbad), so guess what? Yes, we got dressed, and drove up there to be in the store at noon for passes! This usually does not happen, passes being given away in New Jersey, so how could we not go? ( HaHa!) And, the movie is in NJ also, which is good. After we scored our passes, we went over to a restaurant called Copperfields for their Brunch Buffet, which was ok, and from there we made a stop at the Pennsauken Mart, then it was home for a nap! It drizzled on and off all day, and it was a little cool out. Nothing much went on in the evening, still tired out from our big Game Night ( Heeeheeee! ) so we watched some tv,...Chuck Wollery's Naturally Stoned, and the new Snoop Dogg show on MTV. Then, early to bed.

Monday, 6/23: Happy Anniversary Angie & Jim!!! It was a pretty nice warm and sunny day, and I walked down to take the 12:42 train to Philly, where at 2:00 I got off at 9th & Locust and strolled around,! Our appointment wasn't until 4, so I went into one of our favorite dollar stores, and eventually made my way to Lord and Taylors, then back down Chestnut hitting the discount stores along the way to Jefferson. Steve met me there about 10 of 4, we went up and almost went right in. Everyone wanted to hear all about the wedding, and they want to see pictures, but as of yet we really don't have any. Kristen hasn't sent us the proofs yet, and everyone had digital cameras so they are the only ones we have seen so far. Except for Suzette and Lisa's, which are really good. Especially the 5 x 7 they made for us, that's really special! Anyway, the appointment went well, Dr, King thinks my idea of 2 weeks on-2 weeks off is ok, she's pleased with the number going down again, and we agreed that instead of coming once a month to see her, we will now come every other month, which is good because I told her - she's getting too expensive for me! So far, I have done 8 infusions, or 4 rounds. She wants me to try another 4 rounds, as we watch the CA 125 number. OK, it's all good, (chemo Monday the 30th and Monday 7/7) and we were out of there in record time. From there, we stopped by the Wow Man store on South Street again. The real name of the store is Imagine, just in case you ever want to go! Then, we headed to a restaurant called Tin Alley Grille on the way home. They had sent us each a discount card for our birthdays, so we decided to use it and have a nice dinner, then we came home,....I was beat!

So, that's that! I'm going to go grab a bite to eat, then head out into the hot air to garden, cross your fingers I don't get another tick! Hey, Jason - I must tell you, I am totally enjoying your Denver Adventure,...your writing style just blows my journal away! I can't wait to hear your final installment today! Adios Amigos!

Thursday, June 19, 2003 2:25 PM CDT

Good day to you! It rained again, all night and all morning, but now the sun is finally poking through and that sure is a mood brightener. Thinking about all the stuff I wrote yesterday, it occurred to me that there, of course, were a few things I forgot. Like, I failed to say HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all you daddies out there, especially to my own dad Harry and my new father-in-law Mike. So, forgive me for the oversight, and I hope everyone had a great day on Sunday! I also didn't mention that Steve grilled us up some fresh salmon on Sunday, which was yummy. And, I forgot to tell you,....I had my first tick bite of the season. I can't explain just how I got the tick, but Tuesday morning, there it was, on my ankle. The only time I was outside was Saturday at the yard sale, and Monday going to Philly. (And, I had tall boots on then, so it couldn't have been that day.) There is no way that teeny tiny tick was on me since Saturday! I am at a loss to explain it, but anyway, so far no bulls-eye mark so this time I think I am safe from another bout of Lyme Disease!

Congratulations to Jason, he left today for a vacation in beautiful Denver, Colorado! I wish him a safe journey, and a fun time! Which reminds me,...I never did tell you about our Denver trip last year,....hmmmmmm, I guess I'll be doing that real soon - so you can thank Jason for the inspiration!

I have a consumer tip for you today: Do not, I repeat, do not, buy any Bumble Bee brand canned crab meat. I opened a can up today to make a crab salad sandwich, and the quality of the meat is totally awful - I spent half an hour picking out shells. Yuck! I realize you will inevitably get shells in those processed cans of crab meat, but this was terrible. I would have rather caught my own damn crab and picked out the meat myself!

OK, some good news - :-D - Judi from Dr. King's office got in touch with me this morning. My CA 125 results came in, and guess what? Down again! The magic number this time is 495. I know, it's not that drastic of a drop as it has been, but it is still a drop and that makes me happy. Last week, Steve predicted that starting with this one, the number would be coming down much slower, and he was correct. It's all right with me, though, I guess it just means that I'll need more treatments than I had hoped, but we'll see, as things are always subject to change. My next appointment with Dr. King is on Monday. That is, if she makes it back from her vacation in London!

And, now, what you've all been waiting for,...the thrilling conclusion of the wedding saga of the year. Enjoy, and be sure to check out the new photos when you are done!

Steve and Anna - A Wedding Story

Sunday, May 25th: Oh man, it was still raining! Some of us met again in the Ramada lobby, then we joined the others at the Farm for our group drive to the original Woodstock site and parade through town. We all really had a good time doing this, what a great photo opportunity, and the rain actually stopped for a long time. Back at the Farm, we took part in another group photo, and now many people are beginning to leave for home. We, of course, stayed until the bitter end, eating, talking, and hanging out with Jeryl. Howie, (Mr. Pinstripe) gave us a wonderful gift - he painted our very first customization on the Cruiser. You'll never guess what it was. Give up????? Wedding bells!!!! I LOVE them, they are on the back and look soooooo cool! Pretty soon, it was just the Somereve's, RC, Mary and us who were still there. We all troop back to the Ramada, and Joe installed the new grill onto our car. Yes, Steve helped, and of course RC supervised! It's a real beauty, it changes the whole look of the Cruiser, and now we actually feel like we belong! It's about 5-6:00 by now, and they all left for home, RC & Mary in one Cruiser, Joe & Little Joe in another Cruiser, and Jami and Jake One-Shoe in Jami's car. We had chosen to stay the extra night, which everyone got a big kick out of. It seems like every single person in our group that stayed at the Ramada Limited had some sort of problem. Several people, RC & Mary included, even had to change rooms. We really did not have a problem,....yet, that is.

Back in the room, we notice that the maid did not re-stock our in-room coffee supplies. We decided to go for a drive around as it was still light out and the rain had stopped. On the way out, Steve stopped at the front desk for the coffee supplies, and they would only give him the pouch of coffee; no cups, no sugar, no creamer, no stirrer, nothing but the coffee. OK, we figure, now it's our turn for problems! We did some sightseeing and before we knew it, we were back at Buster's. It was just as yummy as the first night, and Tara the waitress remembered us, and even remembered what I had ordered on Friday! We met the owner, Maryanne, who was very nice. They all knew that there had been a wedding in town, and were surprised to find out it was us. We stayed there a long time, just chatting, but then you know I was getting tired so back to the Ramada we went.

Monday, Memorial Day, May 26th: We slept a little late today, me a lit longer than Steve, of course! The hotel barely had any guests last night, but wouldn't you know it - they actually put people right next to us. 3/4 of the hotel is empty, and you put someone next door? This couple were 'loud talkers' who liked their tv. Then, after Steve had fallen asleep, they decided to keep me awake by having a very loud romp in the hay! I almost wanted to applaud when they were done! Naturally, Steve slept through the whole thing! Anyway, Steve - wonderful husband that he is (!), went down to the lobby to get me a coffee and maybe a bagel. He toasted some bagels, buttered a muffin, made a couple cups of coffee, and was about to leave the lobby to come back to the room when the desk clerk stopped him and said "Nothing can be taken to your room." Steve says, "Are you kidding me?" Another employee says, "You must eat it here." So, Steve gets an attitude and just left it all there on the counter! Another minor problem for us! Isn't that silly of them, they are the ones that failed to give us our coffee in the first place! Technically, we were on our honeymoon, and the Ramada knew we had just gotten married, and we can't bring a lousy muffin and coffee back to the room? Go figure! Anyway, we get ready, load the car in the rain, check out of that hell hole and go up the street to the Miss Monticello Diner for a hearty breakfast with nice people. Then, it's homeward bound. We made a few stops along the way; a couple of malls, a rest stop and I guess it was about 9 pm when we finally rolled in. We get out of the car and walk up the steps and, BOOM! Fireworks were exploding at the end of our street! How cool - a welcome home celebration for the bride and groom! (Actually it was Memorial Day fireworks, but we can pretend, can't we?) Then, guess what: Steve picks me up and carries me across the threshold, how romantic! I love this bride stuff! We go in to find that my mom had left us 2 dozen white and pink roses on the dining room table, and a 'Welcome Home Mr. & Mrs.' banner on the bar, how nice! The cats, on the other hand, were perfectly happy being taken care of by Uncle Paul, and barely even blinked an eye when we walked in!

So, there you have it, my recollection of Cruiserpalooza, the wedding, and our homecoming. I am quite sure I have forgotten some things, maybe even gotten some small details slightly wrong, (though I hope not!), but I think you get the idea. 05/24/03 - The Best Day of My Life! Our sincere thanks to all involved, we couldn't have, even wouldn't have, done it without you! We met so many interesting and wonderful people, I can't possibly write about them all; like Plumetta, the Purple PT Fairy, and Dart, the PT Hippie. Jami Somereve worked so hard, right alongside Joe, she was the absolute heart and soul of Cruiserpalooza. And, Mary, you are forever my 'sister'. And, Mark, a man who so freely shows his emotions, you will always be special to us. You guys have heard the saying, that "so-and so would give you the shirt off his back", right? Well, we made an observation this weekend - RC Autorino would not give you the shirt off his back, instead - he would go out and buy you a brand new one. Joe Somereve, on the other hand, would be sitting quietly on the side, trying to fix up the old shirt! We can't thank you all enough, and we can never repay you all for the joy and happiness you gave to us. Cloud Nine, that's where we are, and we will remain, for a long time to come.

I'd also like to give a special thank you to someone who is no longer with us, my mom's best friend Carole. She would have been very proud of me, my PT Cruiser Bridal Bouquets not only held up during the trip, they looked good and were a big hit. So, thank you for all those lessons, and all your patience during them. :-) I know she must have been smiling down on us from heaven!

Now, check out the 3 pictures Steve put up and captioned last night. Someday, we'll put up a few Wedding photos from Kristin's collection. And, thank you for reading this, it really was the best day of my life!

Wednesday, June 18, 2003 4:10 PM CDT

Let's catch up!

Friday, I felt good enough to run out to the Shop Rite, but by the time I got back home, I was already "going down hill" as Steve says, so he stopped and got us a big bag of McDonald's food! Those fries sure did hit the spot, even though they are not as tasty as they use to be. Then, we spent the evening getting ready for the Community Yard Sale on Saturday. We really didn't have too much stuff to take, and we were not even sure it was still going to be held as rain was indeed in the forecast. And, rain it did, all darn night. It rained so hard that I was actually frightened by the intensity of it. But, by the 6:30 am set-up time, it had stopped, so,.....

Saturday, we got ourselves and our stuff together, loaded the truck and the Cruiser, and off we went to the Municipal Complex. It was a little chilly, and overcast, and very very buggy, but both the vendor and customer turnout was surprisingly good. We actually got rid of nearly everything, we only had 2 small boxes of things to tote back home, sweet! Oh, mom - get a load of this, Steve even threw something away that he didn't want to bring back with us! (A lamp) That's a first! And, mom, the annoying lady never showed up, and there were 2 people walking around in the umbrella hat! The ladies who were set up next to us were really nice. We both had bought the same Gazebo on sale at the Rita Aid, so Steve helped them set theirs up, then he put up ours, it really turned out to be a pretty cool thing to have once the sun came out. Not more than 5 minutes after Steve was through setting it up, and we're sitting there admiring it, and I hear a "splat",....I look up and guess what? A damn bird crapped all over the brand new thing! The funny part of it was that if the gazebo had not been up, it would have landed right smack on my head! Haha, it's funny now, but it wouldn't have been then! The ladies got a kick out of it, though, and they said it was a sure sign of good luck. Whatever! Anyway, our profit for the day was a big $38.40! Hey, don't laugh! That's not too bad considering we sold almost everything for 10 cents per item! We got back home about 3:30, showered, changed, and went out for a bite to eat at the Capri Restaurant in the Shore Mall. This place has THE best garlic bread, totally yummy! After dinner, we did a little shopping at the Spencer Gifts store, a big 90% off sale, hey - you can't beat that! Stomachs full, pockets empty (!), we headed home and of course I was exhausted so off to bed it was!

Sunday, I slept in, until 11-ish, and quite frankly I felt as though I could have stayed in bed longer! It has been warm and humid the last few days, well into the 80's, so Steve installed the air conditioner in the bedroom today. In the afternoon, I paid a visit to Steve's Salon for a hot new color, "Apricot", a sort of light reddish blonde. I think this might be the lightest color I've been so far, seems like a great summer color, and if I say so myself, it looks pretty nice!

Monday, I walked down and took the 12:42 train into Philly. Paul offered to drive me there, but I wanted to walk, imagine that! I got off at the Gallery (8th & Market), window-shopped a bit and then headed out onto the streets of the city to walk over to Hahnemann at 15th & Broad for my 3:00 appointment with Dr. Komarnicky. Steve met me there, and it was like old home week when we got into the office, it was nice to see everyone again and of course they were all full of wedding congratulations! Can never get enough of that! ( :-D ) The good news is that she thinks the cancerous node in my neck is gone, and that whatever we still feel there is only scar tissue. Which, is exactly what I thought, so that's 2 tumors she has zapped from me, way to go, Dr. Komarnicky! I only wish the rest of me could get radiated, then I'd be soooooooooo happy! It was about 5 when we got out of there. Looking around us at all the cars, we decided to avoid the rush hour traffic into New Jersey and go get some dinner. We ended up down near South Street at a New Orleans-style resuatrant called Cafe Nola. We each tried one of their specials, Steve had crab ravioli and I had red snapper with a crawfish etoufe` over rice with garlic sauted vegetables. The food was ok, but I must warn you if you ever decide to go to this particular restaurant; the word 'special' does not mean cheaper! This is one of those places that does not write the price of the item on the Specials board, and this time we didn't ask. That was a bad thing, we were both surprised at just how much the entrees cost! Oh well, you live and learn! We walked around South Street for a while, stopping in one of the shops that we call "The Wow Man Store", it has lots of tie-dyed items and quirky things. Then, we were homeward bound. Whew, it seemed like a long day!

Yesterday, I went to the lab and had my blood drawn for Dr. King, you know - the CA 125 and CBC and stuff. Unfortunately, it was a bleeder of a stick, but there was no pain involved, which was good. I came home, and then walked to the station to take the 3:57 train to Cherry Hill, where Steve picked me up. I had an appointment at a research facility on City Line Avenue in Philly to participate in a discussion panel regarding a new treament for ovarian cancer. We met Suzette there, and soon she & I left Steve to amuse himself while we were in the group from 6 to 8. There were some sandwiches and drinks, and the informal discussion got underway with 6 of us in attendance. I thought it was going to be about something entirely new, but it turned out to be regarding the drug Topotecan,....yikes - I HATED this drug! We all had to evaluate advertisements for the drug. Actually, disregarding the subject matter, it was a really good time! (Especially that added incentive, right Suzette?) The 3 of us went over to the Houlihans afterwards to get some munchies and just chill out. They have some interesting food there, especially tasty sounding is their grilled cheese sandwich with granny smith apple slices, I really want to try that sometime! (Hey, Suzette, I wonder if those 'free' salads are always on the menu, hahahaha!) We were home by 11, and yes sireee, I was beat!

Today, I just could not wake up. It rained again all night, and most of today. I am fighting a migraine, which stinks, and I just do not feel like doing anything. So, I just threw some flour into the bread machine and I'll be making a pizza for dinner. It's a relatively easy thing to whip up, and Steve just loves pizza. So that's about it for your recap of the last few days. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of "Steve and Anna's Wedding Story"!

Tuesday, June 17, 2003 12:06 AM CDT

Hey! It's me! I wanted to be able to update you on the last few days, (hectic!), and to add some pictures, but there just does not seem to be time. Yesterday, I had to take the noon-time train to Philly for a 3 PM appointment with Dr. Komarnicky, a follow-up visit for all that radiation in the fall (a good report, details to follow!), and right now I am on my way to the lab to do the blood work for Dr. King, then I'll be train-bound, to Philly once again - Suzette & I are participating in an ovarian cancer research panel. Soooooooooooooo, I will try my best to get back here sometime tomorrow to fill you in on everything. In the meantime, enjoy your day!

Thursday, June 12, 2003 6:46 PM CDT

Hello! It's Thursday night, and Steve is outside spraying bees that have been boring into the wood on our house, up by the roof. This happens every year, the bees are so big, it'a amazing. He was just up on the ladder, 2 stories high, oh lordy - I thought I was going to be a widow! So, to take my mind off it, I thought I'd come by here real quick to give you an update. I am still feeling slightly crappy from Monday's chemo, but actually not as bad as I felt this time last week. So, that's good, and I hope to feel even better tomorrow. I think I have maybe one more installment of our Wedding Saga to tell you about, but I'm too tired to do it now. I'll finish it up in the next few days, and we will try to put some new pictures up here also. Four, maybe - one on this Home Page and 3 on the Photo Page, but we'll see how it goes!

OK,...Dad & Rita, I hope you are having fun on your cruise, and Mom, I hope you are feeling better. And, I hope everyone has a safe Friday the 13th - watch out for black cats and ladders, and of course Jason Voorhees!

Monday, June 9, 2003 3:04 PM CDT

Man, Saturday, it rained and rained and rained so hard it was like a monsoon! I'm starting to think it will never stop being rainy and dark and gloomy. I had hoped to maybe get out somewhere during the day, for a little while at least but it just rained so darn hard that we stayed put. Sunday, the rain finally stopped but it was still dark and gloomy. Well, no rain - at least that's a start - so we ventured out to breakfast hoping to see our local waitress friend "Bill". Turns out she had the day off, but Harley ridin' owner Anna was there, which was just as nice. The restaurant was full of "Red Hat Ladies", it was cool! Not too long ago, we saw a bunch of "Purple Hat Ladies" leaving a restaurant,, I want to be a "Hat Lady"! From there we went to the Hamilton Mall for a while, then to Shop Rite for milk & bread, then home again, home again, jiggedy jig! Today, Vickie came over around 1 to give me my Gemzar. Once again, she went right to the task of accessing my port and you'll never believe it, (oh, yes you will!), but it actually gave her a hard time for a minute, but then she got that sweet red blood return in the syringe, whew! No problems, and she was out about 2:30-2:45. There is a Crow marathon on the Sci Fi channel today, so we watched some of that, I just love Eric & Shelley! We tried to get The Crow wedding rings, but they didn't make our sizes - that's ok because we absolutely love the ones we did end up getting, thanks Joe! I just put some flour and ingredients into the bread machine, I'm going to make hot dog and hamburger rolls for dinner, we have some veggie burgers and dogs and since the sun is actually out I thought it would be nice to grill! Well, Steve will be doing the grilling, I hope he doesn't mind!

I read this quote from Marilyn vos Savant yesterday, I thought I'd share it with you, it's interesting! "When you're in a good mood, bring up the past. When you're in a bad mood, stick to the present. And when you're not feeling emotional at all, it's time to talk about the future."

All right, a little bit more!....

Steve and Anna, Highway 42 Re-visited

I left off this wedding tale when it had begun to rain again on Saturday evening, and everyone was leaving the Farm. Well, let me just back-track from there for a minute. After the first dance, the toast and the cake cutting, we posed for some formal-type pictures for Kristin. One of these was with us and the Justice of the Peace. Now, I had never met this man, until I was standing in front of him. Steve, on the other hand, met him briefly right before the ceremony. So, we are all standing there, and suddenly Steve becomes excited. "Did you tell her?", he says to the Justice of the Peace. And I say, "Tell me what?". Steve says, trying to keep a straight face, "This is Mr. Yit!". Oh no! As in, Yit's Auto Body?? Now, I am formally introduced to Mr. & Mrs. Isaac Kantrowitz, or better known as Mr. & Mrs. Yit! No kidding! Oh what a wild coincidence. Mrs. K then proceeds to tell me, that, yes, they are indeed the Yits, that the name Yit is actually Hebrew for Isaac, and that they did indeed own Yit's Auto Body for many years until selling it about 10 years ago. Lordy, lordy, this could only happen to us! The name Yit gave us so much joy the day before, and now we had just been married by Mr. Yit, and Mrs. Yit was my own personal flasher! Hahahahaha! Cool!

Then, while we were under the cover of the tent as it started to rain again, we noticed a commotion out on the grass. People were suddenly converging on one particular PT Cruiser, and talking loudly and waving their hands and we wonder what is going on. Oh, you will never guess. Gary,..Gary of all people, locked his key in the Cruiser!!! Oh my gosh, I couldn't believe it! Gary, who just an hour or so earlier prevented me from doing just that! It was quite a while later when a policeman showed up to help, and all you PT Cruiser owners reading this, a slim jim will not work when you lock yourself out of the car. The hero of the evening was a coat hanger, causing only minimal damage to the poor Cruiser, maximum damage to Gary's ego! He took all the ribbing in stride, though, and it was good to see the PT people pulling together to help him.

Anyway, back on track. After Gary was through entertaining us, ( ! ), a bunch of us then drove down to the stage area, parked in the grass and watched the bands play in the downpour. It was really coming down, but that didn't stop Little Joe from playing the maracas on stage with Mojo, nor did it stop Joe from actually singing lead on one of the Door's songs, oh - such a talented family, those Somereve's! It was getting late, and the band was almost done their set. I was getting sleepy just sitting there in the car in the rain, so we decide to leave. On the way back to the Ramada, we notice lots of PT's parked at the other hotels. We realize it's raining, and we all had a long day, but Steve says, "It's Saturday night, we just got married, let's party!". We arrive back at the hotel, chat with some people just pulling into the parking lot, (Ira & Susan, DJ Rich, the band 14 Feet), and then we forge through the rain to unload some things back into the room. We get in, take off our muddy shoes, pee, ( ! ), grab a Red Fusion, (Thanks RC!), sit down, and BOOM! Steve announces, "I'm beat!!". Well, now you know that if he's beat, I'm 10 times more beat than him, within minutes, I'm in my (flannel) jammies and we are both out like a light!!!! There you have it, my exciting wedding night! :-) be continued, once again!

Friday, June 6, 2003 4:19 PM CDT

Hello Family & Friends! Happy Birthday to my brother Steve,....I miss you, and Austin and the big beautiful Texas sky, and all the great restaurants and funky clubs and interesting people,....but, most of all - you, my brother! Today I am feeling a slight bit better, I am actually dressed, even though I'm in sweatpants, and I actually have sneakers on instead of slippers. Will wonders ever cease, haha! OK, the story continues!........

Steve & Anna's Big Fat PT Cruiser Wedding!

Saturday, May 24th: It's my wedding day!!! I wake up and my lips are totally back to normal, hip hip hooray! That's the good news, the bad news; it's still raining! Some people say that this is a sign of good luck. Hmmmmm,.....oh well, I'll take all the good luck I can get, any way I can get it! The first thing we do is go down to the lobby for the Ramada Limited's version of a continental breakfast. Yuck! Frozen corn & blueberry muffins, (and I mean, still actually frozen!), bagels, juice, coffee, cereal,...all icky. We hung out in the tiny lobby for a short while with our fellow PT-ers, and a nice well dressed lady comes up to us, introduced herself, and said she and her family might come to the wedding. Cool! But, what's going on here, we wonder, and it comes to our attention that RC had met her earlier and told her all about the weekend, and she was very interested, so it looks like we may have some outsiders, haha! She tells me that her family is in town for a funeral, but that it was a happy, not sad, occasion. (Oh, in case I forget later on in my story telling, they never showed up!) Soon, we were all off to the Farm for the group breakfast, ahhhh, real food! Once again, how cool it was to drive up in a PT parade to see all the other PT's parked in the grass, all shiny and pretty (even in the rain!). We ate, and talked, and watched the all girl New Jersey based band Small City Groove perform their set. (Thanks for the cd!) Still, no Suzette & Lisa, and we are getting really worried. We both notice that Joe is going around selling raffle tickets, but we really didn't pay too much mind to it, then he announces that he wants everyone to come down to the stage area for the drawings. OK, off we go! We stand in the rain as he, Jami and Mark (from the PT Owners Club) pick the winning tickets. Hey, way to go, Mary! Then, Joe says, "Would the Bride & Groom please come up onto the stage?" Of course we will, we don't even question why. We're standing there, halfway listening to Joe & Mark talk, making faces out into the crowd, and all of a sudden one of them is talking about the Bride and Groom 50/50 drawing. Naturally, that gets our full attention, we didn't know that this was one of the drawings and now we are looking at them, and wondering what is going on. Well, guess what? Instead of holding the raffle where the Bride & Groom share the 'pot' with the winner, they have decided to give us the whole entire amount! This took both of us totally by surprise, and everyone was clapping and cheering, and we were all hugging each other, and, well, that was it for me, I started to cry and cry and cry. But, that wasn't all. There were 2 more prizes left, which they gave us as well! Oh my gosh! We couldn't believe it! Jami quickly loaded the items into her car for the drive back up the hill, so I didn't even know what the gifts were until much later, but one was 2 Flame Headlamp Covers, and the other was a brand new Grill for the front of the Cruiser - SWEET! Everyone is leaving the area now, and we realize that it's nearly 1:00, still no sign of Suzette & Lisa. We were scheduled to meet with the Justice of the Peace at 2 and needed to go back to the Ramada for our clothes, the bouquets and stuff. So, off we drive and wouldn't you know it, the local police force was doing the 'click it or ticket' safety checks! Oh no! Move it along, I have a wedding to get to!!

Needless to say, we were a slight bit late, pulling in to the Farm about 2:30. We still had to change and meet with the Justice of the Peace before the scheduled 3:00 ceremony, we're feeling the pressure, and are about to get out into the mud and rain when guess what? It's Suzette & Lisa! Whew, what a relief! RC tells us that the Justice of the Peace is also late as Mary whisks us, along with Kristin, into Roy & Jeryl's house to get ready. Steve goes one way, and us girls go another. Mary & I get changed as Kristin snaps some pictures and Zack, (Roy & Jeryl's son) serenades us by playing some nice wedding music by Mozart on the piano. How cute! I'm ready and about to go downstairs, but we discover Steve is there in the kitchen with the Justice of the Peace and his wife, and RC, and then Mary, signing the official marriage papers, so I have to wait until it's safe to decend. Duh, he can't see me before the wedding! Zack continues to play, but he's getting restless and bored, and then Steve is out the door. We all end up out on the front porch, waiting for the signal. We all notice at the same time that the rain has stopped! Wow! And, we also notice that it seems like the ceremony has been moved from down on the stage, to up in a tent by the vendors. That's ok, just so it goes off as planned, and he says "I do!", haha! Jami is decorating the tent with colored wedding bells, and oh no! I see Steve, fringes swaying in the breeze. Quick, hide me before he glances up here and sees me! The Justice of the Peace's wife throws open her long black coat to shield me from prying eyes, and it's so funny! She's standing there, like a flasher! Hahaha! My own personal flasher, well, this is too funny! Kristin is taking pictures, and I lifted my dress up to flash her, and I realize,...I didn't have a garter! I yell this out, and Jeryl shouts, "I know! I have one! And, I even know exactly where it is!" She runs into the house and in literally a matter of minutes, she is back and holding a garter, the one she wore in 1977! This is just too cool! Mary slips it on me , and we go over the "something old", (originally this was going to be Mary ( ! ), but Jeryl gave me an old 1947 quarter to slip into my bra!), "something new", (my dress, shoes, bouquet), "something borrowed", (the garter), "something blue", (a blue PT in my bouquet),...looks like all my bases have been covered! Joe had graciously agreed to give the bride away, and I am so honored by that! He will be driving us up to the altar in his PT, so we are waiting for him to arrive with the bridal chariot. The signal comes, and we all go back into the house and out the side door to the driveway, and here he comes, red light flashing on top of the Cruiser! Hey, still no rain! He escorts Mary into the car, then me, and I tip-toe through the mud holding my dress thigh high. :-) We drive up to the sounds of the Wedding March on the PA, and I see Lorenzo with his video camera. There's Suzette with hers, and everyone is looking at us, cameras pointed. Joe helps Mary out, then me, and off we go, Mary first and me following right behind, holding onto Joe's arm for dear life! I look around at everyone, then my eyes land on Steve, oh my!!!! He looked so handsome! Somehow I've floated to the altar, and the Justice of the Peace says, "Who gives this woman in matrimony", or something like that, and Joe says, "I do," and then there we are, me and Steve, face to face, and I have to keep saying to myself, "I will not cry, I will not cry, I will not cry." Most of the ceremony is a blur to me, but I can remember vividly the word 'plight' (plight???), and Steve saying something about "pull my finger," during the exchanging of the rings. Oh, and I remember the rings falling off the official Remote Controlled PT Cruiser Ring Bearer! (Mark, that was too funny!) But, I honestly can not say that I remember the words, "I now pronounce you man and wife." They must have been said, because everyone started clapping, and we were kissing and hugging, and everyone was snapping pictures! Wow, now I guess it was over! Or, should I say, it was just beginning, haha! Oh, and by the way, the 'I will not cry' mantra absolutely did not work! Earlier, I had told Kristin, please do not film me if I am crying, and in mid-cry I happened to spot her in the crowd and guess what? Her camera was poised, bad girl! Later on, I found out that she herself shed a tear or two, where was the camera pointed then I ask? Haha!

After the ceremony, we posed for some pictures as the PT Cruiser decorated cake was brought out. Then, we were told it was time for our first dance as husband and wife, and "Thank You" by Dido comes on over the sound system,...DJ Rich Moriera rocks! Nice!!!! I wish she could have been there in person, but this was just perfect none-the-less! After the dance, RC did a toast, we cut the cake, and then it was time for more pictures as RC gave out some trophys. You'll never believe this, but we actually got one, our first PT Cruiser event trophy, joy!

By now, I'm getting cold, even though the rain has by some miracle held off, and my shoes and dress were getting really muddy. Mary & I go back in the house to change, then when I got back out, it was Steve's turn to get comfortable. I was hanging out by the car, putting things in and looking for my coat. Gary (Mr. Lou) comes up and we chat and somehow the car key lands on top of some stuff piled on the back seat as I put my coat on. Gary notices this, and says, "Hey, don't forget your keys,...I'd hate to see you lock them in the car." So, I pick them up, put them in my pocket and Steve is back so we go over with the others for the group dinner. Now, guess what? It is starting to rain again! So, some of us go over to Joe & Jami's tent to eat. People filter in and out to chat, and Suzette & Lisa come in to say they are splitting soon. Little Joe comes in, and wants to show me something on the grounds, so I go off with him for a few minutes to look at this giant statue of a man lying in the field. Then he wants to show me this really cool fort Zack made out of red plastic coke bottle trays and by now it is pouring down rain. He gives me his baseball cap to wear, how sweet! Then, Steve comes around the corner and says, "Hey dude! I've only been married a few hours, and already you're tryin' to steal my wife!" We head back to the tent as Suzette & Lisa are leaving. Lots of people are leaving now, as it is really starting to rain pretty hard. But, of course,....we stay! be continued!

Thursday, June 5, 2003 3:10 PM CDT

Hello, greetings from the Three C's Central; Cancer, Chemo & Crappy. And, man, am I ever crappy. Tuesday evening, after dinner, I flopped on the sofa, and from there on in, I just can not seem to wake up. I am so so so so tired, it's unbelievable. I can barely keep my eyes open, and it's very annoying. Steve says that everything, including the chemo, is catching up to me all at once, and I guess he has a point. Still, I hate how I feel. Many thanks and hugs go to Suzette & Lisa, though, for pulling me out of the chemo-dumps with their wonderful photographs! And, to Kristin, too, surely worked some magic with your camera, who would have thought a sick old girl like me could appear to be a half-way decent bride! And, Steve, whoa baby! Handsome!!!! I checked out the Cruiserpalooza site earlier today, and there is another (4th) photo link to the festivities,....but there are no pictures of the wedding - what's up with that? ( ! ) Well, today, besides being tired, I have this uncontrolable craving for chocolate, so naturally, Linda - I am thinking of you! (Send me some baby photos!) O.K.,....are you ready? Here we go!!!!!!

Steve & Anna's Most Excellent Wedding!

Friday, May 23rd: We got up early today, but not too early, and the first thing I noticed was that my lips had deflated! Wow! They just seem to be slightly red and moderately itchy, oh yeah! We loaded some things into the car last night, but believe it or not, we still had to pack our suitcases, and some last minute things into the PT. Originally we had wanted to be out of the house by 9 AM, but I had a difficult time figuring out a way to transport the wedding bouquets. I used miniature PT Cruisers on stems instead of flowers in my design, and they were heavy as well as awkward, and I was afraid that they wouldn't travel well. It was time consuming, but with Steve's help, we finally ended up placing each bouquet in a coffee can, then the can went into a cardboard storage box, and then we surrounded it all with old towels! Hey, I didn't want all my tedious hot glue gunning to be a waste of time, haha! We began our journey to Bethel at about 11 AM, not too far off schedule. It rained on and off all the way up the Garden State Parkway, and we stopped at one rest area for a bathroom and snack break before heading onto the NY highway that would take us to Yasgurs Farm. It was nearly 3 PM when we arrived in Sullivan County, so we decided to go right to the Ramada Limited in Monticello and check-in to our room first. As we pulled into the hotel parking lot, we saw several other PT's, neat! We got out to go into the lobby, and up drives Joe! What a coincidence! We chat with him, and the owner of 'Casper', getting directions to the site before we go to check-in. Our 2nd floor room was adequate, small with a little 'fridge, no closet but at least it didn't stink! (We've had that problem before!) We unloaded the car in the rain, and ventured out for the short 15 minute drive to Cruiserpalooza in the neighboring town of Bethel. Down the winding road we went, talking and laughing, and suddenly we realize that it seems like too much time has passed - hey, are we lost??? (Or, as Steve says,..."Did we take the scenic route?"!) So, we decide to turn around at the next convenient spot, which happened to be 'Yit's Auto Body'. Well, I can't explain why, and no disrespect intended, but this got us to laughing hysterically. We had never heard the word 'Yit' before, and soon everything became 'Yit's this' and 'Yit's that', I guess you had to be there but it was really funny to us! Finally, around 4:30 or so, we pull up to the soggy muddy Cruiserpalooza site. We were actually surprised at just how many PT's were parked out in the field, especially in all that pouring rain. There was even a band playing on the stage, how cool was that! We said our hello's to RC, Mary, Jami and some of the others that were hanging around in the tented check-in area. They told us that Suzette & Lisa were there, so we took a drive around the field looking for them, but they were nowhere to be found. Soon, someone suggests going out for a bite to eat, as it's raining pretty darn hard, so off we go down the road, a parade of wet hungry PT Cruisers! We end up at a place called Buster's Restaurant, maybe 5 minutes away. This was most certainly fine by me. The day we came up for our marriage license, we had stopped there for some lunch, but they were closed. It looked interesting to me, a down-home sort of place, right on the lake with a pretty view. We all sit down at the picnic bench tables and soon we were all talking and drinking and eating, one big happy Cruiser family! I really enjoyed the food, especially their 'fixin's bar'. RC ordered the Gator Tail appetizer, I made an ugly face when Mary tasted it, and guess what she said? "Tastes like chicken!", haha! We're all laughing and taking pictures and getting to know each other and soon it was time to go. Some of the people left and went back to their hotel rooms, and some of us went back to the Farm. It was still raining steadily, but the bands were still giving it their all, so we joined some of the other die-hard PT'ers parked on the grass in front of the stage, and sat there in the storm enjoying the music! Instead of clapping, we would all honk our horns and flash our lights, it was fun! Mojo was the last band scheduled for the night, a Doors cover band, and if you like that sort of music, then I guess they were actually pretty good. I had a difficult time with lead singer Alex's Brazillian accent, but other than that, they put on a good show depite the cruel weather conditions. Maybe 3 to 4 songs into the set, we decided to leave. You know why? Duh! I was beat tired!!!! And, I needed my beauty rest, I had a wedding to go to in a few short hours! be continued!

Tuesday, June 3, 2003 3:49 PM CDT

First off today, I'd like to tell you of something that is happening in South Jersey tomorrow. Silent auctions, health screenings and children's activities will highlight the American Heart Association's 31st annual Heart Day at Ponzio's Diner on Rt 70 in Cherry Hill. The event, open to the public from 11 am to 8 pm, is designed to raise awareness of automated external defibrillators and heart-disease issues, and raise money for the American Heart Association. Nearly 946,000 Americans died of heart disease and stroke in 2000, according to the association, and heart disease affects an estimated 61.8 million Americans. For more information about Heart Day, visit or call (856)546-5600.

Yesterday, Vickie was running a little late, she was originally due to come over around noon, but she couldn't make it until a little after one. That's ok by me! When she arrived, you should have seen her! She was looking especially lovely,...that's not to say she isn't always a beautiful woman! But, this day was different, I noticed she had gotten a haircut, and was wearing make-up and lipstick, and sporting form-fitting bone colored pants and a tight little flowery T-top - you go girl! I almost couldn't take my eyes off her the entire time she was here! (Now, now! Don't get any ideas!) But, on to business. When she gets here, the first things she does for about 10 minutes or so is get everything prepared for the infusion; she gets out the supplies, hooks everything to the i.v. pole, primes all the tubings, things like that. Not this time! She went straight for the port needle kit, and immediately prepared to do the stick. When it was time to insert the needle, well, we were both a little nervous. We both took a deep breath, I turned my head away and closed my eyes tight, and then I hear Vickie say, "We have blood! Bright red beautiful blood!" and we both heave a sigh of relief! Whew! Now, let's hope it holds out again for next Monday! Everything went smoothly, we talked all about the wedding (of course!) and she was done and out of here around 3. I got all my usual first-day-of-chemo side effects; the intense feet tingles, the tight feeling in my wrists, the difficulty breathing, and another new thing, a sort of weird uncomfortableness in my belly that didn't really last too long. All in all, a good night, and Steve did not work overtime! Something did happen, though, that I just have to mention! Steve will probably be mad that I am saying it, as he did the last time a similar thing occurred, but hey - he'll get over it! Last night, at around 11 pm, the phone rang! As I mentioned before, this is highly unusual for us, and ultimately it is a "bad" call. We really didn't mind this time, though, as we were both still up, and it was a friend of his just wanting to chat. But, I said to him, "What? Am I a magnate for late night calls on chemo day?" I wonder, don't people have a concept of time? Oh well! No big deal, this time anyway, hahahaha! So, we had a late nite snack of cake and ice cream, and off to bed for me.

Today, (Tuesday), I woke up feeling all right except that tight wrist side effect was still there. Odd, it usually is gone by the morning, but it did in fact diminish as the day went on. Anyway, I wanted to stay in bed all day,...we have these T-shirt sheets (Cotton Jersey Knit) that are so soft and confortable that it was just so nice to be in them. But I didn't stay there, as you can see! Today is my good day, tomorrow I am expecting to feel a little worse so I wanted to get this update in. As Suzette says, "Cancer, chemo, crappy!", and I am entering the crappy phase! Talk to you later!

Monday, June 2, 2003 9:48 AM CDT

Good morning! I'm sorry to say that once again, I won't be able to tell you about our Wedding Adventures yet, nurse Vickie is due to come over shortly so I don't really have enough time. But don't worry, I'll make time this week, for some photos too, so check back again in a few days!

Thursday night we did indeed go out to dinner, to Shifali Fine Indian Cuisine in Absecon. It was very tasty, I really enjoy Indian food. (Thanks to Dr. Chopra's influence!)

Friday, May 30th,...happy anniversary to Linda and Charlie! Steve took a vacation day today so we could attend the Wellness Community's Celebration of Hope. The day started off on a weird note,...I had set the coffee pot to automatically brew my coffee early in the morning, and when I went to pour it, well, I had forgotten to actually put the coffee in the basket so I had a nice steaming pot of hot water! Duh! Anyway, we got there and were about to sign in when Karen came over to hug and congratulate us,...and tell us that everyone from the Wellness Community had seen the article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, we didn't really expect that but then she told us that Suzette had also e-mailed the online link to them, throughout the day it wasn't a surprise anymore when people kept coming up to us and saying something! It was neat! The speakers were pretty good, Zora Brown in the early morning, followed by Jeremy Geffen, MD from Vero Beach, FL. I found him very interesting, and I smell a trip to his Cancer and Research Center in the future. Cokie Roberts was the celebrity speaker, and man oh man, did I find her talk absolutely boring! Then, the day ended with a drumming and meditation workshop, which we skipped. We didn't want to get caught in Shore traffic, as it actually turned into a nice sunny day. On the way home, we made a quick stop at the Deptford Mall to return some items, and while we were walking through, we looked in the Deb Shop, where Steve bought me a pair of brown boots for a whopping 75 cents! My husband, the big spender, hahahaha! Then, as we neared home, we stopped at a bar/restaurant called Al's Office Tavern. We drive by this place all the time, it has been several different things over the years, and we had never stopped in. Recently they have been rennovating the building so we were curious as it looked like it was open for business. We joined the other people at the bar, ordered up a draft beer, and soon Jennifer the Waitress brought us all trays of wings and fried calamari, and popcorn. Happy Hour! I can honestly tell you, squid is not a favorite thing of mine but Steve didn't mind it. (This was the first time we had ever tried it.)

Saturday, it rained on and off all day. We spent the morning and afternoon trying to get some things done, going to the bank to change my name on my accounts, cool! We also had lunch at the Pizzaria Uno, as they sent me a birthday card with a coupon for a free birthday pizza, so of course we had to go! Then, in the evening, we went to Mr. & Mrs. Corbin's 'surprise' 50th anniversary party. I highlighted the word 'surprise' because I don't think anyone could ever pull a surprise on Dot Corbin! We had a really good time - Paul, Steve, Kenny and Bill did a great job. Dot & Bud renewed their wedding vows, the food was delicious, and there was a dj and open bar. And, one of the wait staff turned out to be someone I had worked with at Collective Federal Bank, which was kind of cool. (Carol from Personnel.) When dinner was done, and it came time for dancing, the dj made an announcement,..."Now, we'd like to call the newlyweds Steve & Anna Juliano up to the dance floor!" and we couldn't believe it! Everyone just assumed he was calling for Bud & Dot, but, no! It was us! (Don't worry, neighbors, we will get you back, haha!) So, the dj played the song "Thank You" by Dido, which was the song we danced to at the Cruiserpalooza wedding, and we danced all alone on the dance floor,..then the party really started. There was dancing, and drinking, and I even joined in the conga line and that was real funny. In front of me was this little old man, I'm not sure who he was but I couldn't even keep up with him! I was sweating and out of breath, but he wasn't, he even stayed on the dance floor for the next couple of songs, wow! By the end of the night, I had had 3 martinis, and I guess you know that I went right to bed when we got home!

Sunday, June 1st: Happy National Cancer Survivor Day!!!! Dad & Rita came over, we picked up mom and went over to the Atlantic City Medical Center's Survivor Day celebration. It was raining, and windy and chilly, but they had a big tent set up so at least we were partially dry! It was a good time, they held raffles, and had some good food, and Dad & I got a really cool picture taken of us together, it was nice. They also had a hula dancing demonstration, but none of us had the courage to join in! There was a dj, and one older couple was just dancing and dancing, you should have seen them go! I'll tell you what, though, by the end of the day, I was just so tired out, I guess from everything going on over the last 2 - 3 weeks, and like I said before, I was actually looking forward to chemo today, a chance for us to rest up!

Paul was just at the door, with some Anniversary cake from the party Saturday night, so I went out to say hi to the neighbors and Aunt Grace. They have Tigger (aka Stinky) on a leash, it's really cute! Ok, that's about all I have for you today, cross your fingers, and everything else, that my port doesn't give us any problems this afternoon. Bye!

Thursday, May 29, 2003 3:43 PM CDT

Today, I spent the day being responsible,...imagine that! I made a trip to the grocery store, and I ended up spending almost 2 hours there. Just wandering around like I had nothing better to do! And, to top it all off, I managed to forget a few things, duh!

I think I am still on Cloud Nine, from all the festivities of the weekend in Bethel. I can't seem to concentrate on anything, I just keep thinking about everything that happened. And, to make matters worse, or better - depending on how you look at it - Judi (Dr. King's nurse) informed me this morning that my CA 125 has come down yet again! SWEET!!!!!!! It's now 559, down from 693. I can't believe it! Wahoooo! So in a way, I am looking forward to the chemo treatment on Monday, I want this number to keep going down, down, down!

Steve called me earlier, wanting to know if I might like to go out for dinner tonight. We always like to try to get one in before chemo comes around and I'm not feeling well, and/or I'm in quarantine. And we are pretty much booked up for the next few days; tomorrow we are spending the day at the Wellness Community's "Celebration of Hope" for cancer survivors, Saturday we have a breakfast scheduled with one of our favorite local waitresses, 'Bill', Saturday night is a 'surprise' 50th wedding anniversary party/dinner for the Corbin's, and Sunday we are attending the Atlantic City Medical Center's cancer survivor day with mom, dad & Rita. Then, chemo on Monday. So, dinner tonight might be nice!

I thought I would be able to begin my "Wedding Story" for you today, but like I said, I'm floating up in the clouds somewhere, even more so now that I got the good CA 125 news, so you'll have to forgive me for not doing it yet again. There is, however, another photo link on the Cruiserpalooza web site, so now there are 3 people who have posted their digital pictures of the weekend. There are a few more out there in cyberspace, and as soon as I locate them again, I'll let you know. We looked at a few last night, but then I got so tired that now I can't remember where to find them! But, they are all pretty cool, aren't they? (Oh, how vain!)

OK, I probably won't be back for a few days, so - see ya later!

Wednesday, May 28, 2003 4:25 PM CDT

Hi, it's me again! My blood test yesterday went smoothly, no surprises like excess bleeding all over everything, or pain. In fact, when I got there, I noticed that my regular technician was not in the office and I began to feel a slight bit worried. But, my worries were unfounded, the 'new girl' was just fine and I was out of there in a flash with a Garfield bandaid. Today, it's gloomy and rainy again, and I've been trying to get the laundry done and other menial tasks like that.

Well, I want to start telling you all about the Cruiserpalooza weekend, and the wedding. But, I just don't know where to begin! So many cool things happened over the course of Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, that I am feeling overwhelmed. I know that sounds silly, but it's the truth. So, I've decided to let you know that there are a couple of links on the web site that will take you to some photographs of the weekend. (Thanks Jeanne & John, Gary and Lou!) That should tide you over until I can get my thoughts together and tell you about everything!

Steve is working some overtime today, he did yesterday, too. The Corbin's were over for a short visit last evening, and they got a big kick out of that. Our first day home as a married couple, and Steve worked overtime! Mr. Corbin says, "OK, what's her name?!" It was funny, then Paul says to tell Steve, "Congratulations! And,...'another one bites the dust!' HaHa!"

Today is my brother Scott's birthday, so Scott, wherever you are, I know you are looking down on me and smiling about all the craziness in my life! I'm sad that you aren't here to share it with me.

OK, check out the Cruiserpalooza digital pics, and I'll be talking to you later. Have a good one!

Tuesday, May 27, 2003 9:01 AM CDT

Well, hello there! It's official,.......Steve didn't run away on one of the beautiful Yasgur's Farm horses, and I didn't get cold feet, (although they were wet from the rain, and I did get a little nauseous!),....we are now Mr. & Mrs.! Even though it rained and rained and rained some more, we had a great weekend in Bethel, NY. I guess it was around 9 PM when we got home last night. And, as you might have thought, I was, and still am, beat tired! Today I have to go get some blood work done for Dr. King, unpack and stuff, and just generally decompress from the whole ordeal. But, I just wanted you to know we were home, everything went wonderfully, and I'll be back here real soon to tell you all about it!

Thursday, May 22, 2003 5:08 PM CDT

Hello! Hmmmmm, let's see, where did I leave off? Oh, I remember, me bitching about my big fat lips! How could I forget, haha! OK, well, Monday night, Steve brought home some of my favorite Chinese food for dinner, then he lavished me with birthday presents. Remember that Homie Hopper he got me, that I had so much trouble putting together? Well, he got me another model kit - a PT Cruiser! It's almost our color, too, which is very unusual to find. You can bet that I'll tell you all about it when I assemble the thing! He also gave me this absolutely gorgeous suede skirt and jacket, it's awesome and I can't wait to wear it! (Maybe on our honeymoon cruise!) I spent Tuesday putting some finishing touches on Mary's bouquet, then I began mine. I seemed to have spent a lot of time on the phone, with wedding and birthday well-wishers, and then when Steve came home we headed up to Philly for the advanced screening of the new Jim Carrey movie, "Bruce Almighty". But first, before the movie,...we had a meeting with a photographer from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Bonnie Weller. A reporter from the newspaper was doing a story on me, Steve and the wedding, and he wanted some photos. So, she took a bunch, of us with the car, and of Mary's bouquet, it was really a fun, and funny, time. She was in the middle of the street shooting and cars were coming, and she didn't care! She was great, trying not to focus on my fat lips, even though she said I looked beautiful! Silly girl! Anyway, the movie was pretty good. Actually, the first half was very funny, the stupid kind of funny, but then the second half turned into a love story, and of course it had a message. Overall, though, it was ok. Nathan was there, but he didn't seem to even notice my big lips! After the movie, we met with the reporter, Michael Vitez. What a nice guy! We had a great interview over some sodas and a decaf latte, then I guess it was almost midnite when we got home. Whew, I was beat!

Yesterday, I finished my bouquet, and made a flower garland for my hair which actually turned out pretty cute! I also logged a lot of phone time in, today too. The big news today was that the article ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer, in the South Jersey section. Thanks Michael, and Bonnie, it was really cool! I've been trying to get ready for the weekend, but as of yet I am still not packed. I just can't seem to find a bra to go with my dress. I told my neighbors, Mr. & Mrs. Corbin and Paul, about my dilemma this morning, and Mr. Corbin said, "Woodstock? Isn't that the time when all the ladies were burning their bras?" and I said, "Yes! Problem solved!" No bra! (So, if you are attending Cruiserpalooza, don't look too closely, haha!) I am also going through my e-mails today, have you noticed a lot of spam lately? I got one that said they could enlarge my penis, a full 3 inches! Imagine that! (Jef asked me, is that width, or girth? Leave it to Jef!) Oh, and my lips are starting to deflate! Yeah! Thank you for sending me all that positive healing energy! Now, concentrate on keeping the rain away from Bethel, NY on Saturday afternoon!

So, this is my last entry as a single girl! Can you believe that? Denni, I know you can't! Pretty soon, we'll be on our way to a 3-day weekend of peace, love, music, PT Cruisers, and a wedding, of course! We both hope you have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. This is the weekend that traditionally marks the beginning of the summer season. For us, it really does mark a beginning. (Or, as Steve says, "The beginning of the end", haha!) Until next week, stay groovy, all you flower children!

Monday, May 19, 2003 4:34 PM CDT

Happy Birthday, me!!!!!!!! Before I tell you how my big birthday has gone down, let me pick up where I left off last week.

Thursday, 5/15: You already know how nervous I was about the whole port scare, right? Well, I failed to mention my biggest concern about the entire episode - the actual going out on Monday into the big bad world of germs. If you have been following this journal, then you will realize that Monday thru Thursday (the 12th-15th)is my "quarantine" period, and I am so paranoid of catching something this close to the wedding. So far, so good, though,...knock on wood! With that said, I had an appointment this morning at 10 am to have my hair colored and trimmed. I went to the JC Penney Salon to see my friend Holly. I met Holly back in 1988 when I had completed my first 20 months of chemo, and I have seen her off and on since then. She trimmed off my ugly ends and gave me a nice auburn color. After I left there, I decided to run a few more errands, you know, pick up some last minute things at the craft stores. I turned from the Mall parking lot onto the highway, and the traffic lights were all out! Driving along, very slowly of course, I noticed that the stores and the gas stations were all dark and odd looking, and there were no cars in the parking lots. What's going on? I arrived at the AC Moore, and all the employes in all the stores in the area were outside saying they were closed, no electricity. So, home I went! I did a few things and then decided to try the stores again, and yes, they were all back open, I wonder what happened, was really eerie, like the twilight zone or something. Weird. Did any of you get to see the eclipse? It was far too cloudy here, but the 11:00 news showed a picture from their sister station in Miami and it was just beautiful. Ean, did you catch it?

Friday, May 16: Today it was rainy and windy, and when it wasn't raining, it was dark and windy. I worked on Mary's bouquet most of the afternoon, I really enjoy doing these kinds of things! And, this idea Steve & I had is really unique, and it surely has taxed my imagination, to say the least. I guess it took me about an hour to figure out exactly how I could make it work, and now that I have, watch out! I hope I don't get carried away! I'll show you pictures after the wedding, I want the bouquets to be a surprise! By the end of the day, you should have seen me, I was covered in glue from the glue gun, man - it was everywhere! Anyway, when Steve came home, we decided to go over to Maynard's for Happy Hour. We still had not told Big Al or Uncle Phil about the wedding, and this would be our last chance. Well, neither of them were there, but as we sat there at our table, I happened to look up at their lighted scrolling marquee sign and guess what? Scrolling across in big red letters was, "Happy Birthday Steve (5/18) and Anna Marie (5/19) Juliano, and congratulations on the upcoming nuptuals!!" How cool was that! Sweet! The food was pretty good; penne with white clam sauce, ziti & meatballs and smoked mozzarella & spinach ravioli. I was so excited about seeing our names in lights that I even had a beer!

Saturday, 5/17: We were up way early to attend the 11th Annual Wheels & Wings Air Show in Millville, NJ with the NJ Cruizers PT Club. It was cold, and windy, and drizzly but they said the show would go on rain or shine, so off we went. Bob was expecting about 160 PT Cruisers, but just about 80 showed up. Not too bad, considering the weather. (Judy, steer clear of those nasty pot holes!!!) We walked around, chatting with all the PT people and checking out their customizations. They had another car show going on, with vintage and unusual cars but we didn't go over and look, it was just too cold, and windy! We saw a Fiero there, and wondered if it was my old one, but we never did walk over to see. A bunch of different kinds of airplanes were almost constantly flying around overhead, the big draw was this rocket-powered one, and the US Navy Blue Angels. We don't quite care for this type of event, it's noisy and you always hear of someone crashing, but thankfully, no one did! The PT Cruiser Club held some raffles and some contests, but you know we didn't have a chance to win! Some of those Cruisers were beautiful, there was one done up in a Bonnie & Clyde theme, it was great! We set up in the Tailgate catagory, with a Bride & Groom theme. Everyone thought it was real cute, but we actually left before the winners were announced - I was tired, and cold so we stopped at the Bob Evans down the street and had some bottomless cups of hot chocolate, and then came home. I had woken up with this weird puffiness in the left hand corner of my lip, and thought I might be getting a cold sore or something, so I wanted to go home and rest.

Sunday, 5/18: Happy Birthday to my sweet husband-to-be, Steve!! Today, I woke up with more of my lips all puffy and itchy, oh no! What is happening? It was like an allergic reaction or something, and we spent lots of time today trying to go over everything I did during the last week so we could try to pinpoint what was wrong. But, we really couldn't, I am always so careful about things, it's a mystery. Anyway, Steve wanted pizza for his birthday dinner, and man, was it good - garlic and bacon, and no, I did not make it, it came from Ernie's around the corner! Joe called us up this evening, and we talked all about Cruiserpalooza and the wedding and stuff, then I called it an early night.

Monday, oh - that's today! Well, I woke up and my lips were totally puffed out, I couldn't even close them, and they itched something fierce. Oh brother, what next. Steve says, I look like Pamela Anderson, but I think it looks like I have fish lips! So, I decide, I better call my family doctor, who was not in the office today, but one of the other doctors in the practice said to come in at noon, and just hang out until she could see me. That I did, and about 5 of 1, Dr. Ruskey called me in. It wasn't too long before she told me, I have a highly contagious viral infection, and it would probably be 5 to 7 days before the puffiness goes down! Oh No! And it could be 3 to 5 days before I am considered non-contagious. She wanted to prescribe some medicine for me, but she wanted to check with Dr. King first. When she had Dr. King on the phone, she said "Dr. King wants to talk to you," and when I took the phone, all I could hear was Dr. King laughing! "Only you!" she said. And, she's right. I am about the least stressed bride around, but now this, fishy Pamela Anderson lips for my wedding! I can't believe, I've waited nearly 11 years to marry this man, and now I might not even be able to kiss my husband at the altar! So, I am going to ask each and every one of you to just send all the positive energy and thoughts you can muster my way, to help un-puff my poor lips! Dr. Ruskey gave me a prescription, and some general pointers, and after I got the prescription filled, I came home to pout. Then, after I pouted a bit, (it's not so much fun when you pout alone, so I'll do it again as soon as Steve comes home, haha!), then I began working on my wedding bouquet. I finished Mary's yesterday, well...,just about, I think I might add a few more finishing touches but mostly it's done. I hope she likes it! I took a break from it to come down and let you know all this, because once I get involved in a crafty type project, I really get involved, and I didn't want you to think I was being neglectful of this journal! So, that is how I have spent my birthday so far. Oh, woe is me, poor pitiful me, blah blah blah, me me me, was that for an only child spoiled brat?

OK, my hot glue gun is on, unattended, upstairs, so I better get going. Stay tuned for more of "The Puffed-Lip Infectous Bride" saga!

Wednesday, May 14, 2003 5:37 PM CDT

Hello! Steve is outside washing the PT, so I thought I'd pop in here and begin to update you on the last week. I think I'll start with,......

Friday, May 9th: I am beginning here because the truth of the matter is, I can't even remember what I did on Thursday! I have an excuse, though, and it's called "chemo brain" and it is a real medical diagnosis. Basically, it's forgetfulness caused by years of chemotherapy. And, I have it, for sure. But, on to Friday. I was feeling pretty good, and getting ready to go out and do a few things when, bang! I stubbed the baby toe on my left foot, really hard, so hard I just fell to the floor and cried! Ouch, it hurt! But, I had too many things to do, so I acknowledged it and moved on. I went to the craft stores (I'm designing my wedding bouquet, and Mary's), and the grocery store. By the time I got home, I was limping and in a lot of pain. When I showed my toe to Steve, we both thought I had broken it, it was swollen and purple and blue and I couldn't move it,....ow! Oh well, just something else for me to complain about, haha! Anyway, Tremors wasn't on again for the 2nd week in a row. Turns out that they only made 6 episodes, which aired already, and now the Sci Fi channel is saying new episodes are coming in June. Can't wait!

Saturday, May 10th - We were up and out of the house early today, much too early for me. You see, Strawbridge's was giving out $15 gift cards to the first 300 people in their stores so of course we had to go! While we were there, I found the perfect wedding shoe, but they didn't have my size, so we ended up going to 4 different Strawbridges in an effort to get this shoe, but no luck. We did, however, get a couple of good bargains with our gift cards, you'll probably see a picture of all our stuff on the photo page someday! After that, we headed down the Turnpike to Freehold, NJ and the Freehold Raceway. They were having their annual Opening Day 10 cent Day at the racetrack. We went last year and it was fun so we thought, what the heck, let's go! Hot dogs, sodas, chips and coffee were all 10 cents, can't beat that! And, we won a whopping $10.90!!!! We'll put that away for a honeymoon, haha! Anyway, from there, we went across the street to the Raceway Mall, and on the way home we stopped at the Monmouth Mall, finally getting home to watch the return of Headbangers Ball on MTV2. Oh, how Denni and I use to love that show! This time, it is hosted by Metallica. By the time it was over, I was most certainly beat and my toe was throbbing.

Sunday, May 11th: Happy Mother's Day!!!!!!! We slept in, and when we got up, Steve realized that there was one Strawbridge store that we missed yesterday, you know what that meant. Yes, we got in the car and went there, and guess what? They had the shoe, in my size!!!!! And, it's perfect with my dress, cool! It's macrame`, how Woodstock-y! When we got home, we dropped the car off at the dealership for some scheduled maintenance and just chilled out for the night. Do you believe it got up to 82 degrees out today? I hope it's not that hot on the 24th, I'll roast in my long sleeve velvet Hot Topic dress!

Monday, May 12th: Happy Anniversary to Alicia & Greg!!! Today I took the train(s) into Philly for my 2:00 appointment at the Bodine Infusion Center. It was really windy out, I had to put my hair in a pony tail so the wind wouldn't blow it off my head, haha! Man, was I nervous about this, because if the nurses couldn't get a blood return from my port, then I was scheduled for a Port Study at 3:00, which I was not looking forward to. Luck was with me, though, when Chris accessed the port and all that beautiful blood flowed into the tubing! What a relief! She gave me the best wedding present, a blood return! So, the Port Study was cancelled, and I was off to meet Steve outside before he parked the truck. We decided to grab some lunch, at a place we've always looked at called Oh! Shea's on Samson Street. The food was pretty good, but their music selection was even better. From there, we went over to the Wellness Community where we met Suzette & Lisa before the program for the evening began. Suzette does a cable access t.v. show, and she's doing a segment with me, so we filmed a little bit, then went down to the Barn for the "Patient Active Guide for Living With Ovarian Cancer". The speaker was a doctor from the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Christina Chu. She was pretty good, but we really didn't learn anything different than what Dr. King teaches us. We didn't hang around too long afterwards, I was tired and my toe was still hurting, although I was feeling pretty good about the whole port thing. :-) No operation to interfere with the wedding! :-)

Tuesday, May 13th: Today is the long anticipated launching of Splash! (Dad & Rita's boat). Boy, I was busy, busy, busy all day. On the phone, and doing lots of household and wedding things. We went and picked the PT up at the service department, there must be a lot of pollen there because the car was covered in yellow! Yesterday and today I woke up with the beginning of a migraine, so tonight I decided to take a sleeping pill, as this usually helps to thwart the headache before it develops into a full blown migraine.

Today, I slept a little later than normal, and was pleasantly woken up by Tina on the phone, it was good to talk to her. No migraine, yeah! It has been another one of those go-go-go days, and before I knew it, Steve was home. Where does the time go??????? Well, that about does it for today. Talk to you again, real soon! Oh, and by the way, my toe is almost back to normal, but it still hurts!

Tuesday, May 13, 2003 3:33 PM CDT

Hey there! No, I haven't forgotten all about you, just seems like there aren't enough hours in the day! Unfortunately, I don't have enough time to update you on all that has gone on since my last entry on Wednesday, but I will say this,.................... port is NOT broken!!!!!!!!!! Yeah! Yippeeeeee! Whew, that's a BIG relief.

So, that's what I will leave you with today, I'll be back as soon as I can to fill you in on things here at the home of the bride -n- groom! Later!

Wednesday, May 7, 2003 3:21 PM CDT

Hello, here I am again to give you the 'woe is me' report. Monday, Vickie came over around noon for the Gemzar treatment. All was going along quite smoothly, until it was time to actually access my port. She put the needle in, flushed in some saline, then tried to get a blood return. Nothing. (You must get a blood return in the tubing before chemo can be administered.) She tried again, nothing. And again, nothing. So, she took out the needle, got another chemo kit, and stuck me for the 2nd time. Flush, no return. Flush, no return. She felt bad, I felt even worse. Why was this happening? Doesn't my port know I am on a very important wedding schedule? No chemo today would just ruin my entire planned wedding schedule! She called the home infusion office, they said to call Dr. King. She called Dr. King's office, and the nurse Jeannette told her to just give it to me in my arm. While I hated the idea of that, I was bound and determined to get this chemo over and done with! So, reluctantly, Vickie set to the task of finding a vein. By now, I was nervous, I was cold, and I was scared, all my tiny veins retreated into my arm, making it even harder for Vickie. But, she managed to find one, in the crook of my arm, and it didn't even hurt. But the difficult part of it all came after the needle was actually in because it was in such a spot that I could not move, even the slightest bit, and the infusion was over an hour and a half long! Oh boy! But, she put my arm on a pillow, and we tried not to talk so that the Italian side of me, with all the hand and arm gestures, stayed calm! Whew, we got through it, but now I have to deal with the fact that my port may be broken. Oh brother, what next? So, I have to go up to Philly on Monday afternoon, during a quarantine day. First I'll go to the infusion center to see if one of those nurses can get a blood return through the port. If not, I have to go upstairs for what they call a 'port study', where they inject dye in the port and see exactly what is going on, which will take about an hour to an hour and a half. Crap! If there is indeed something wrong with the port, well, you know what that means, right? An operation. That certainly does not fit into my wedding plans.

So, yesterday I just did my usual day-after-chemo mope around here. Troy (Detroit), MI based K-Mart Corporation announced that they were emerging from their 15 month Chapter 11 bankruptcy, after closing 600 stores. Well, that's good news, Steve just loves K-Mart! Also, in Detroit, there were all these underground explosions that hurled manhole covers several stories into the air - maybe it was just KISS getting ready for their tour, haha!

Today, I feel a bit better, but still not good. 16 days and a bunch of hours until the big day! Cross your fingers that I actually make it to Bethel!!!!

Sunday, May 4, 2003 6:37 PM CDT

It's Sunday night, or chemo eve, and I'm so tired you wouldn't believe it! Let me fill you in on the last couple of days. Friday I ran to the Shop Rite to get a few things for the upcoming treatment week. When Steve got home, we decided to go to Chi Chi's, as they were having a pre-Cinco-de-Mayo celebration, beginning with a happy hour from 5-7, with drink specials and a free Mexican buffet. We got there fully expecting it to be very crowded, but no, it wasn't. We got a great table, ordered up 2 half-price margatitas and headed to the buffet. Man, the margarita was huge, the waitress said it was 23 ounces, wow! It was pretty good too, and yes, it went right to my head! The food was also pretty good, and when our drinks were done, we went across the parking lot and into the Shore Mall for a few minutes until it was time to go home to watch Tremors. Back out at the car, we walked up and noticed this big black plastic bag next to the passenger side door. We both were mad that someone would leave their trash next to the Cruiser, but when we approached the bag, it was full of those balloons that you shape into things, so we threw it in the back of the car to play with when we got home! We got home at exactly 9 and guess what? No Tremors! Oh man! We could have stayed out, haha! But the night was not lost, we still had balloon animals to play with!

Saturday, May 3rd. Congratulations to Philip & Candice Voss - I hope your wedding day was wonderful,....Angie, I want to see some pictures! We went out in the afternoon, just taking care of some things, some wedding-related errands and stuff like that, and we ended up at the Echelon Mall. We actually lucked into this bargain, some items we were purchasing were actually one penny each! One stinkin' cent, it was crazy! It was the second annual Free Comic Book Day, and it just so happened that the comic book store in the mall was participating and giving out free ones, so we stopped there to get some. That's pretty cool, something different, but I guess not too many people knew about it because there were still lots of comics left. Oh well, not everyone enjoys Free like we do! Before we had left for the day I put some ingredients in the bread machine, so we had fresh dough when we got home a little after 9, and I rolled us out a pizza, yum! Then, Steve mixed us up a couple of mint juleps, in honor of the Kentucky Derby,....not my favorite drink, it tasted like cough syrup!

Today, (Sunday), we got up early and went over to the Ocean City Boardwalk for the Annual MS Walk. Last year it was at the Atlantic City Boardwalk, and we got there late, and came in dead last. This time we got there early, ate some munchies and walked, and walked and walked some more. It was chilly, but the sun was out and it was actually a really nice walk. At the 2 mile mark, they had water and snacks and then we started back, another 2 miles, but this time we were walking with the wind in our faces. Man, that makes it so much harder! My little ears and nose was freezing! I happened to look down for a minute, and mom, guess what? Steve did it again! He had on 2 different shoes!!!!!! I just started cracking up, I was laughing so hard I was crying, and I had to go over to the railing and stop walking until I calmed down! He had on two different shoes, oh how funny is that! Anyway, they had another snack stop along the way, then back at the starting point they were serving lunch. (Hot dogs & chips & cookies & juice) We discovered a new flavor of potato chip that is absolutely yummy - salt-n-pepper chips, mmmmmmm mmmmmmm mmmmmm! Since we were already in Ocean City, we decided to take a drive over to Avalon/Stone Harbor since it was such a nice day. Too bad we didn't bring along any kites! There was a small street festival going on, which we stopped at for a while, and did some more walking, ow my achin' legs! I guess we finally made it back home around 4 or 5, what a long day! I'll tell you what, I am so tired, that if Mick Jagger came in and with his proper British accent said, "Beautiful Anna Marie, I want to take you away from all of this, but you must come with me right now this very minute," well, I can guarantee you I wouldn't have the strength to go! Not that I would actually go anyway, but that's another story, haha! For dinner tonight I broiled some fresh Tilapia fillet, a lemon, garlic & butter recipe. It was really good, our first time having this particular type of fish. We'd both like to have it again, very tasty.

Ok, that catches you up on everything. Chemo tomorrow, Vickie is coming at noon. Then, Anna's Cantina will be serving up a special Cinco-de-Mayo Fajita Feast, minus the Corona since I don't think a beer will mix too well with the chemo! Talk about nausea!

Gizmo, rest in peace - you old attack cat!

........and now, the conclusion of our Detroit Adventure,....

Sunday, July 7th, 2002: We decided to get breakfast in the hotel restaurant, Baron's Steakhouse. We ordered, steak and eggs of course, and then all of a sudden the fire alarm goes off. We think it's just a test or a mistake but no, it's for real and they are telling us we must go outside! Oh, how exciting! It really was a false alarm, and everyone's food was cold, but it was still exciting! We spent the afternoon walking around Chene Park, which was a few blocks away, and soon enough it was time to get ready and go to the airport. We called on a favorite cabbie from several of our many cab rides over the past few days. His name is Carter, and he is very entertaining. He wanted to take us over the bridge or through the tunnel yesterday to the casino in Windsor, Ontario, Canada but we didn't do it because you need so much i.d. to get into Canada and it just seemed like a pain in the butt. I guess it took about 45 minutes to get to the airport, and he showed us some of the touristy sights along the way, such as the Giant Tire by the highway, and some landmarks and other things. He also showed us some of the nice areas on the outskirts of Detroit, towns like Cherry Hill, or Pleasantville, which is probably where everyone lives instead of the actual city of Detroit. Then, before you know it, Spirit Airlines had us back home, safe and sound, and clearly not wanting to go back to Detroit! After we were home for awhile, and started telling people we had gone for a weekend, they would all laugh, and say, "How'd you like it?" with sort of a grin on their faces, and Steve would always say a rude and crude comment that I can't really say here! But, Jason, we still think you should go,....KISS in Detroit sounds like a totally cool adventure! In fact, we'd even consider going again, if the price was right! ( Free????? )

Thursday, May 1, 2003 4:38 PM CDT

Hello! It's May 1st, May Day - time to dance around the May Pole, haha! Also, many communities today took part in what is known as National Day of Prayer, when at noon millions united on their knees to pray for our troops, our leaders and our nation. The President is speaking this evening, so we'll see how effective this group prayer was in the short term.

It's warm and humid out today, and I feel pretty much the same as I did yesterday - various aches and pains and complaints, and tired. Nothing new, which I guess is good. I'm going to continue now with our Detroit story, and Jason - don't give up so easily,...why don't you just go anyway? We've gone to many concerts far from home without any tickets, there are many ways to get them, come on - KISS, in Detroit????? How fun is that!! Sounds like a great experience to me!

Saturday, July 6th, 2002 - It was beautiful when we got up; bright, sunny and warm. We decided to take a cab to the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, which was, as you can guess, boring. But, mom, you'll get a big kick out of this - I left my jacket in the cab!!! But, luckily Steve had his cell phone. He called the company and they sent the driver right back, he hadn't gotten too far away yet. Good for me, right?! After we were done there, we took yet another cab ride down to the center of the city, where we picked up some tickets for a 2 1/2 hour river boat tour. We always enjoy these types of tours. So, we're sitting at a picnic table in the little park area by the river waiting for the boat to load, and Steve goes to get us a couple of sodas. He's gone maybe 10 minutes total, and during that time, 2 African-American dudes and a lady come sit down at the table and one of the dudes says to me, "Hey Miss Red, where's the action?" I say, "What?" "Where's the action? You givin' any action?" Oh my gosh! It's 1:00 in the afternoon, and he thinks I'm a hooker!! I couldn't help myself, and I just started to laugh and he says, "Well, if you aren't giving any action, how about coming to work for me, Miss Red?" Now, I really didn't panic at what was happening, there were lots of people around and Steve should be back in a minute, but I just couldn't believe it! Sure enough, Steve strolls up and I say "Let's go!" and we head over to the boat where I fill him in on what just happened. We laughed and laughed! Anyway, the boat tour was nice, and afterward we decided to ride the monorail around just to take a look at the city from above. What a disappointment! Empty buildings, broken windows, boarded up homes and offices, and right smack in the middle of all this is a beautiful new open air stadium! Go figure! From the monorail, we then hopped on a bus to attend Detroit's annual "Comerica Taste Fest", a street festival with bands, and local restaurants offering a 'taste' of what they serve. The bus ride there was certainly an experience, people were drunk and disorderly, and we passed one of the clubs we had wanted to go to last night,...and we were glad we didn't go. The area was really slummy. In fact, all of the city of Detroit seems to be just one big slum. Anyway, the festival was very crowded, it was hot, and the lines were long but we managed to taste a few good things. We thought we'd top off our food tasting with some ice cream. I decided to wait in the shade of a tree, about ten feet from Steve while he stood in line. I'm standing there, and this African American guy comes up to me and tells me how beautiful I am. Oh no, I think, here we go again! He keeps talking, and lightly touching my bare arms, and I try to will Steve back to me with the ice cream, what is taking him so long? I finally get this dude to leave, telling him my husband is on his way back and finally Steve walks up with the ice cream and I say, "Let's go!" and Steve says, "Oh no! Not again!" We leave the area, find a place to sit down and I tell him what happened, and now he pretty much hates Detroit! Having had enough of the Taste Fest, we decide to go back to the hotel, so we once again wait for the bus. Also waiting were these 2 very old pimps, it was funny,....they were wearing spiffy suits and hats, they had canes and they were walkin' the walk, talkin' the talk! And they were really up there in age, too, it was wild! We got off the bus at the Ren Center, and cabbed it back to the Omni. At the hotel, they had held a wedding earlier, we saw them setting it all up on Friday, and the reception was going strong in a tent right outside our window. So, of course we had to watch things for awhile, we had the perfect vantage point! It was a really nice looking wedding party, and the dj was jammin'! We liked the music so much that we started dancing, and we danced and danced and pretty soon we had our own Soul Train line going - it was the most fun we had so far! By now, it's late, and dark, and we were beat, so Steve goes down to the bar and scored us some late nite munchies, and then I was out like a light!

All right, Steve's home so I'll tell you about our last day in lovely Detroit another time, maybe tomorrow. Have a good one!

Wednesday, April 30, 2003 1:15 PM CDT

So,.......what do you think? This is one of the new features Caring Bridge has added for us authors. We can now have a photo on our Home Page, which is pretty cool. A few more new things are in the works, and you can be assured I'll try them when they become available! This picture was taken on Easter Monday when we visited the Cruiserpalooza site in Bethel. It's not as good as the one of Joe that he has on the Cruiserpalooza site, but, oh well! Last night Steve also posted 2 new pictures on the photo page, so check them out. He has been the one to caption them lately, but this time I think I'll also add my own 2 cents!

Today is Wednesday, April 30th,....Happy Birthday Hot Stuff!!!!!!!!!!! It's a beautiful sunny and pleasant day, I took a walk around the yard and the lilac tree just bloomed, oh - it smells so good! I don't feel too bad today, much better than yesterday. Thanks to RC and his gift of liquid Melatonin, I got a really good night of sleep last night, I didn't get out of bed until nearly 10 this morning!

Before I forget, I wanted to tell you of something funny Steve & I discovered during our appointment with Dr. King. There is a magazine called "Coping with Cancer" that we always pick up when we are there. Flipping through it, we came across this advertisement for "Chemo Countdown Charm Jewelry", which sounds like a neat idea, but after reading it, we just laughed. It's a charm bracelet, where you 'add a charm per treatment on the road to recovery' - oh my gosh, can you imagine what mine would look like after 8 different drugs and nearly 5 years of treatment!!!!! Steve says it should be that you remove one charm after each treatment until you are down to nothing, but to me that doesn't sound right either. None-the-less, the thought of me with my arm weighed down by a charm bracelet was pretty funny!

Now, as inspired by Jason, our Detroit Vacation!

July 4th & 5th, 2002: There was a free Peter Frampton concert at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken, along with fireworks, so we began the 4th of July weekend with that. But, this meant that we only got a few hours sleep before we had to get up and be at the Atlantic City Airport by 4:30 am for our scheduled 6:30 am flight. I guess the airport security screening and the flight went smoothly, because I don't remember either! We arrived at the Detroit airport a little after 8 am. We had decided not to rent a car, figuring Detroit had a decent public transportation system. I mean, after all, we thought Detroit was a major city, right? So, we trudged out to the bus stop for the hour long drive to our hotel. We were the only passengers on the bus for a while and our driver was crazy! She was very talkative, even stopping the bus once so she could jump out and get herself some coffee and donuts! The bus soon began to fill up. We enjoyed the scenery along the way and before we knew it, we were in the city and once again the only ones on the bus! She asked us exactly where we were going, we said, "The Omni Riverview Hotel," and she says her route didn't go there but she'd take us a couple of blocks from it if we wanted. Great! But, she kept getting farther and farther from the center of the city and we were thinking, this right? Finally, she drops us off, and we head toward the water and sure enough, a few streets away is the Omni. Well, we were too early for check-in but they let us stow our luggage, and we decided to go look for some breakfast, and assess our situation. You see, the description of this particular hotel on their official web site said it was located 'just minutes from all major attractions in the city', actually saying it was within walking distance. What???? Far, far off in the distance we could see the city! So, after we ate at the IHOP up the street, we decided to walk there ourselves and guess what? It took exactly one hour! One freakin' hour! Who's idea of walking distance is that? Oh, but the things we saw on the walk - scads of broken liquor bottles, abandoned buildings, bums, filth, dirt - yuk! The main building in town is the home of GM Motors, called the Renaissance Center, so we walked around in there for a bit, and then we took a cab back, no more hiking for us, that's for sure! We checked-in, and our room was really nice, in fact, the entire hotel was. But, we soon discovered that the opulent first impression was deceiving. We were missing the pot to our in-room coffee maker, the alarm clock was awol, we had no trash cans and there were a slew of ants in the bathroom! Oh well, a call to the front desk remedied the situation, no big deal! Our room had a wonderful view of the river and Canada. We went down and explored the hotel and private grounds, then once back in the room, I flopped on the extra comfy bed and promptly fell asleep! We had absolutely no agenda for the weekend, so when we (yes, Steve fell asleep too!) woke up and got ourselves together, we looked through the local entertainment newspapers and found a couple of interesting clubs that looked worth checking out. But, to get there, we had to call a cab, and guess what? We waited, and waited, and waited for over an hour but the cab never showed up! We notified the front desk and they called another company who arrived right away, and he dropped us off in front of the Renaissance Center at a place called Tom's Oyster Bar. This was good, because we were hungry by now. We ordered up some appetizers and a Tom's Oyster Bar brand beer, then we headed out into the Detroit night. At this point, we really didn't feel like searching for the clubs we had read about earlier, so we walked down the street a few blocks to the Greektown Casino. It was kind of cool, similar to Atlantic City, with lots of nice looking restaurants,...and man, it was midnight and it was packed! But, the neighborhood was so seedy. We played some nickel machines, big spenders that we are, and eventually caught a cab back to the hotel,...calling an end to a very long day!

OK, more tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 29, 2003 4:24 PM CDT

Well, here it is, the afternoon of the day after chemo, one more infusion to go before my big 3 week break. It can't come soon enough, let me tell you. Today I am tired and tingly and I'm having difficulty breathing, but these things are nothing new and Dr. King is aware of them. Now let's talk about something good!

Sunday, I bet you didn't know this but it was KISS guitarist Ace Frehley's birthday! (Jason, I know you knew that!) Anyway, we drove 2 hours up the Parkway and joined the Garden State Crew-Zers in Lyndhurst, NJ at an afternoon gathering of PT Cruisers in the parking lot of Medieval Times. Those of you familiar with the area, it is right near the Meadowlands/Continental Arena complex. The whole thing was organized by Bob & Judy Castronova, who did a great job, I must say! After we all checked out each others Cruisers, (well, no one actually checked out our stock Cruiser!), we went inside the castle-like structure for their Dinner & Tournament. It was pretty cool, decorated all medieval and everything, and they had everyone wear paper crowns on our heads. It was really crowded, and we were lucky to get some of the best seats in the house, a private booth with an excellent view. This is how the event is described: "Come with us on a magical journey to the middle ages. Return to a time when valiant knights battled to become the personal champion to the king. Enjoy the wonders of our castle and satisfy your appetite with a feast hearty enough for the richest of kings. Come back with us to Medieval Times!" Before the actual theater doors opened, everyone just milled around looking at the small shops and kiosks that were set up. There was a bar and also a 'torture chamber' that was an extra admission charge, so we didn't go in that! Finally inside and seated, it was apparent that this was going to be an authentic feast, there was pewter tableware but no silverware and the lighting was very dim! The show began and it was neat with fog and horses and narration. Soon, drinks were served and dinner began as the show continued on. Garlic bread was first, then vegetable soup was ladled into our bowl but you had to sip it right out of the bowl. Next, this huge piece of roasted chicken was plopped onto our plates, followed by a spare rib, then an herb-roasted potato. All with no knife or fork! It was wild! Me, a vegetarian, with all this meat piled on my plate! It didn't matter, though, the whole experience was what we were there for. Dinner was followed by coffee and a pastry, and then after all the battling and stuff, the show was over. It was quite cool, though we thought it was slightly pricey. We made our way out as the cast mingled with the crowd. One of the knights was eying me up and winking, Steve got a kick out of it! Back in the parking lot, we hung around a bit and Bob held a raffle for some cool prizes, (I won some car wax!), then everyone drove off as Steve and I & and Bob & Judy stayed behind. We must have talked and laughed in that parking lot for a long time because it was after 9 when we finally hit the road, and the show was out by 7! None-the-less, it was a good time with good people, and we will be seeing some of them again at Cruiserpalooza.

Monday April 28th - Happy birthday to my Sugar! It was also Saddam Hussein's birthday, which kind of ranks right up there with my mom sharing a birthday with Hitler and the anniversary of the Columbine shootings. Vickie came over about 12:30 for the Gemzar treatment, all went smoothly and she was out of here by 2, I bet she didn't even close her car door and I was already flopped on the couch! I did manage to get up and make a catfish casserole for dinner, sounds gross, doesn't it? But it wasn't too bad! And, basically, I just flopped all night. My feet were sooooo tingly, but that happens on each infusion day, just for the one day is it that intense. I had a pretty sleepless night last night, too, but I didn't take anything to sleep. I probably will tonight, though.

Today was pretty warm out, and sunny but we had a rain shower a while ago and it seems to be cooling down. April weather, go figure! But, my dogwoods are beginning to bloom, and my beautiful azaleas are just raring to go, any day now. This is my favorite part of the spring, when everything blooms. Today, Ben & Jerry's ice cream was giving out free ice cream cones at select area stores - darn! I can't go! :-( Oh, well, maybe one of you can go in my place!

I'm sure there won't be much going on here for the next few days. Our friend Jason told us last night that he was entertaining the idea of flying to Detroit in August to catch a KISS concert. That got me to thinking,....I never told you of our Detroit trip last year. Well, now I will, maybe starting tomorrow! So, you can thank Jason if I bore you, haha!

All right, time to go, thanks for visiting!

Saturday, April 26, 2003 4:24 PM CDT

Greetings, one and all! My apologies that I did not get a chance to come here yesterday and fill you in on my visit with Dr. King, but you know how it goes! I'm here now, so let's begin.

Thursday, I took the 3:03 pm train to Cherry Hill where Steve picked me up and we went to Philly for our 4:30 appointment with Dr. King. As I had expected, she was very excited that my number is coming down, and again, as expected, my next chemo schedule was agreed on to be Monday April 28th and Monday May 5th, followed by not the usual one week break between treatments, but a 3 week break!!!! Yeah! So, that means I'll have about 2 weeks of feeling sort of good before the wedding, great news! It means I'll have almost 2 weeks to get wedding stuff taken care of, not the usual months and months that your normal bride would have. But, oh well, I'm far from your normal bride, haha! While we were at the desk prior to leaving her office, in walks Dr. Rosenzweig, who saw us as he was leaving his office next door. He came in to say hello which was a real coincidence, as I have been thinking about him alot lately. We talked about his new hours and maybe I'll pop in to see him someday soon. After that, we went to Old City where we had a nice dinner at a restaurant we have walked by so many times but never went in, called The Mexican Post. It is a combination bar/restaurant, pretty small, smoky and crowded but the food was very enjoyable. (Mom, cut out your Entertainment coupon, I have a feeling we can use it!) Even though it was still considered a quarantine day, we walked over to the Ritz 5 for an advance screening of the Dustin Hoffman/Edward Burns new movie "Confidence". We've let too many movie passes go by, I was having withdrawal, haha! The movie sort of had a Memento feel to it, and it was kind of confusing in the beginning, and boring at times. Overall, it was ok,...just ok, nothing spectacular, nothing awful,...just ok. But what was not ok was, when we got back to the truck, we had a parking ticket!!!! 1/2 hour over the time limit! Oh well, I guess that's not bad - all these years we've been coming to Philly! When we got home, I brewed us each up a hot mug of Echinacea Tea to help ward off any germs ( ! ) and Steve poured us some Tequila, ole`!

Yesterday (Friday) I had ten million things to do,, post office, craft store, grocery, and things like that, I was out all day and totally exhausted when I got home. Steve even beat me home! Needless to say, the sweetheart that Steve is, he offered to take me out for dinner. Now, you know I wasn't going to say 'no', and soon we were at the Bombay Indian Restaurant. It was yummy! I just love sweet lassi! We were home in time for Burt Gummer and "Tremors- the Series", then I took a sleeping pill and off to bed it was. I've been waking up with the beginnings of a migraine for the last week or so, and I have been having trouble sleeping as well so hence the sleeping pill. Just knock me out and I'll be ok, haha!

Today we are just hanging around here getting some domestic crap done, oh how fun - ha! Caring Bridge has added a new feature, which you will be noticing on this page soon, and they have notified all the journal authors of more cool things that are in the works. And, hopefully, you will see some new pictures on my photo page in the next few days, but I'll tell you first so you don't go clicking on that page for no reason. All right, that's it for now, remember, chemo on Monday - ick!

Thursday, April 24, 2003 12:47 AM CDT

Twenty nine days, fourteen hours and 33 minutes until the big day!!!!! Four weeks, one month, it doesn't matter how you say it! The time, it is just flying by! :-)

Yesterday, I got some good news from Dr. King's nurse, Judi - my CA 125 is down yet again! 693, down from 852, how sweet is that! The drop was not as big this time, but it is a drop none-the-less! Steve brought a big bunch of flowers home for me last night, how nice! We had a movie screening pass for "Identity", but in lieu of the stupid quarantine, we decided not to take the chance. I wouldn't want to get a germ, this close to May 24th!

I am on my way to the train soon, Steve is picking me up in Cherry Hill as we have an appointment with Dr. King. If all looks good to her, chemo will be next Monday and the following Monday, then some time off for the wedding. I'll let you know tomorrow what happens.

I guess that's all for today. It's very bright and sunny out, but it is actually chilly. Good, now I can wear that distressed leather coat Steve found at the K-Mart for $4 before I have to put it away until the fall! Later, dudes!

Tuesday, April 22, 2003 3:57 PM CDT

Originally posted on 4/22 @ 3:57 PM CDT - slightly revised on 4/23.

Welcome back to my journal, I am finally here to update you! It's been a long and crazy few days, so here we go!

Friday 4/18 - Steve got off in the early afternoon today so he went over to my dad's to help him get his boat ready to be put back into the water for another season. Too bad it was cold and windy, they were most certainly freezing while Rita & I were warm and content in our respective homes! When he got home, we decided to go over to Maynard's for Big Al's Friday night Happy Hour. It wasn't too crowded, and let me tell you, the food was excellent, (spinach ravioli in a cream sauce, penne pasta with shrimp & clams, ziti & meatballs, rolls) and DJ Doug was spinning some good tunes. He even played The A's "A Woman's Got the Power", so you know he gets my endorsement! Not my favorite A's song, but cool none-the-less! We were hoping to see Uncle Phil there, but he never showed up, Al either, so we called it an early night.

Saturday 4/19 - I visited Steve's Salon early in the day so he could re-redden my curly locks ( ! ), then we headed out for a full day of running errands and stuff. Not much to report except we made a super bargain of a purchase of some wedding-related merchandise, which was a nice surprise.

Easter Sunday 4/20 - Since it was also my mom's birthday, we made a stop over to her place with some lunch, of her favorite things, a McDonalds Fillet-o'Fish sandwich! We ate and opened presents, (Jason, I love the drawing you did on her wall!), then we were off to Poughkeepsie, NY to hook up with our best man and maid of honor, RC & Mary. We took the Garden State Parkway up to New York, and at one of the rest stops I spotted these cool mood rings. I showed them to Steve and we decided to try them on, and if we found ones that fit, we were going to get them as wedding rings. Doesn't that sound so Woodstock-y? The good news is that they were selling for 2/$6, which is so "us", but the bad news is they didn't have Steve's size. Oh well, I guess it wasn't meant to be, something better is probably right around the corner! It was about 6:30 when we got to RC & Mary's, after a short scenic route detour. They showed us around their beautiful home, and Joe (the Cruiserpalooza organizer)and his son Joe stopped by, then the 4 of us went out for some dinner. When we got back, Joe, his wife Jami and their younger son brought over some dessert and we had apple pie & coffee. After they left, we all sat there, "shooting the shit" as my grandpop would have said, until the wee hours of the morning. I could have sat there all night, just talking and listening, but Mary was the voice of reason and we all went to bed around 2 am.

Monday 4/21 - Happy Birthday to Mary! Happy Anniversary to Bob & Tina! We all were up early, and Joe soon was ringing the doorbell. Mary stayed home while the 4 of us hopped in one of the 4 Cruisers in the driveway ( ! ) and drove into the city for the event of the day - the marriage license! No problem, and all too soon we had our paperwork, and a gift bag from the clerk, our first wedding present! It was hysterical when we opened it, a pink plastic bag called "The Newlywed Kit" full of Excedrin, Tide laundry detergent samples, deoderant, Pepto Bismol! We laughed and laughed! Back at the house, we hung around talking and laughing, we laughed so much these 2 days, my face hurt! Oh, and I showed them the dress I found at the Hot Topic store, and they all seemed to love it, especially Mary, so I guess I can now announce that I have my official wedding dress, lordy lordy! Steve & I have an uncanny knack of meeting the most wonderful people, and these fine folks are certainly no exception. I believe with all my heart that we have met for a reason, and we are both very happy to call them friends. We reluctantly left out of there in the early afternoon, and armed with directions from Joe & RC, we made it to the Cruiserpalooza site in Bethel. What an interesting little town! The owners of the site were not there, but we did meet a nice guy named Paul who was outside one of the buildings just jamming on his guitar. The most beautiful horses were running wild on the property, and there was a really cute and friendly weiner-dog running around with a much bigger mutt-like dog. It was cool! Of course we took lots of digital pictures so if any turned out you may be seeing several soon. We started the 4 hour trek back home down the highway, stopping for lunch on the way and I guess it was about 8:30 when we got in. Thank you very much, Paul and Mrs. Corbin, for taking care of Pearlie & Fannie! It is very much appreciated!

Today, Tuesday 4/22 - Happy Earth Day to you! The first Official Earth Day was in 1970, 33 years ago, wow! I had to go out today to do a few things, yes - I know - I am in my quarantine period as of yesterday, including today, tomorrow and Thursday, but I only have a certain number of days to get a ton of things done before the big day, which is now 31 days away. Oh boy! So, I promise I will be extremely extremely carefull if I have to venture out any more. But you must understand, with chemo and all, the time I actually feel half-way decent is few and far between. Paul, I am happy you came through your surgery with flying colors, but you better be taking it easy for the next week or so. I know it's frustrating, believe me I know, but you must have patience. OK, Steve should be home soon, and I have no idea what I'm going to feed him! I'll talk to you later, have a good one!

Thursday, April 17, 2003 5:32 PM CDT

Welcome to another day in the life of the future Mrs. Steve Juliano. Not much has been going on around here, still recovering from the Gemzar treatment on Monday,...very tired and generally feeling wiped out. I have not been sleeping well for maybe the last 2 weeks or so, I had to take a sleeping pill twice so far just to get through the night. But I guess in the grand scheme of things, that's not so bad.

I hope you were able to get your taxes out by midnight Tuesday. An interesting fact: The Gettysburg Address runs about 270 words, the Declaration of Independence has 1,337 words, and the Holy Bible runs about 773,000 words. But, our income tax code runs about 7 million words, and is still growing! (Hey Tax Dude Joe, now I know why you are so busy during tax time!)

Wednesday came and went, but I'd like to take this time to say Happy Birthday to my ex-neighbor Steve,...and to my Granny, who would have been 88 years old.

Tuesday and Wednesday were both gorgeous days here in Extreme South Jersey, hitting the 80 degree mark. I was able to get outside for about half an hour yesterday, just walking around the yard and checking things out. It was beautiful! But as the night wore on, it started to get chilly, and the wind kicked up. Oh, that wind! It was bad, let me tell you, blowing and howling all night. I had to chase the trash cans down the street 3 times before noon today, but I have given up, I don't really care where they have blown to. The wind has not let up yet, I just heard on the news that the gusts are 45 miles per hour. I hope Steve doesn't mind collecting the wind-blown trash cans from wherever they have landed!

This afternoon, mom came over for awhile, we had a nice lunch and she helped me decorate 96 bottles of wedding bubbles. 36 more days, dudes!!!!!

I guess that's about all for now. Tomorrow, I am scheduled for my CA 125 so wish me luck with that. If I don't make it back here, have a safe and happy Easter,...and Happy "Easter Sunday" Birthday Mom! Oh, and Steve, just because you ignore something, that does not mean it will go away.

Monday, April 14, 2003 1:34 PM CDT

My nurse Vickie left out of here awhile ago, another infusion of cancer eating gemzar is now happily coursing through my veins. Whew, glad that's over for a bit.

Saturday, we were up and out of here early to attend the 7th annual Cancer Survivors Conference in Philly. It was raining, and miserable and cold when we left. Registration began at 8:30 and events ran until 3. It was a long day, that's for sure, but it was nice to be there and see some familiar faces. Our friends Suzette & Lisa made it for lunch and the afternoon sessions, it's the first time we have seen them since last fall at the overnight Gynecological Cancer Retreat sponsored by the Wellness Community of Philadelphia. Suzette has a PT Cruiser, and loves it as much as I love ours, cool! Going to the car, the sun was out and it was warm, sweet! The temperature gauge in the car said 71 degrees! What a pleasant and welcome change. From there, we of course stopped,....where????? At the closing K-Mart!!!!! How could we not go? It was the last day or two and I wanted to see just how the store looked in its final days. There wasn't too much left to purchase, and surprisingly the store was in pretty good shape, not as much disarray as I expected, and well, yes we did spend a few bucks! From there, we made a stop at one of our favorite restaurants, the Royal Mandarin Chinese & Sushi Bar in Deptford, NJ. I've been craving something we first had in Boulder, Colorado for a long time now, and this is the place to get it. Edamame` is the dish, it's soy bean pods, slightly cooked and served with salt. You draw the pod between your teeth and sort of squeeze the bean out into your mouth, it sounds gross but they are really tasty! Needless to say, I was totally exhausted when we got home!

Sunday, we spent the day doing a few things around here. The sun was out again and we thought we might drive down to Avalon/Stone Harbor to go to the beach, but it actually was too chilly. :-( For dinner, I made a wonderful new salmon recipe I picked up at the seafood counter at Shop Rite. Steve really liked it, which is pretty rare! So, I'd like to share it with you:

Salmon With Grapefruit Essence
(Try this tangy and delicious way
to prepare salmon tonight!)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
Easy Recipe:
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 (8 oz) salmon fillet
Cajun seasoning
1/2 grapefruit
Easy Steps:
1) Heat olive oil in saute` pan
2) Pat fillets dry with paper towels. Sprinkle salmon with cajun seasoning and place skin side up in pan.
3) Cook 4 to 5 minutes and then turn. Squeeze grapefruit juice over fillet.
4) Continue to cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Avoid overcooking. Serves 2.
Per Serving: 267 calories, 5g carbohydrate, 24g protein, 16g fat, 69mg cholesterol, 653mg sodium.

I hope you try it, and enjoy it as much as we did! We then watched TLC's Trading Spaces with Andy Dick and Sara Rue (I think that's her name), then we tuned in to E! for the Anna Nicole Show, which is really going downhill. Steve prepared us some Caramel Apple night caps, and off to bed it was.

This morning, right before chemo, I went over to Paul's house for a minute. He got a new cat from the Humane Society on Saturday, so I wanted to meet him. His name is Tigger, but it seems like we will all be calling him Stinky. He's 9 months old and oh he's really pretty. White with orange markings, I'll try to get a digital picture of him so you can meet Stinky too.

Right now I am really thirsty and tired and my feet are super tingly. The sun is shining but I think it's a bit chilly. They say that tomorrow and Wednesday will hit the 80 degree mark, maybe I'll feel well enough to putz around in the garden for awhile, who knows. Today thru Thursday is my 4 day quarantine period.

I want to tell you, we got a new answering machine on Friday, so that's a relief! Now I can snooze away the afternoon in peace, haha!

Oh, today is the 50th anniversary of the marshmallow Peep! Only a week until Easter,....and 39 days until you know what!!!! :-)

I won't have much to say for the next few days, so enjoy the nice weather if you have it too and I'll see ya later!

Happy Birthday to my future father-in-law, Mike!!!!!!!!! Hope you have a great day!

Friday, April 11, 2003 7:48 PM CDT

Hello! It's Friday night and I have a few minutes before "Tremors - The Series" comes on, so I thought I'd stop by and give you a quick update. Yes, I am still feeling out of sorts, and yes, the weather is still out of sorts. It's been raining now for so many days, I think we'll need to build an ark soon! Yesterday, mom came over for a visit in the afternoon. I think I might have found a dress to wear for the wedding, but I'm just not sure. So, mom was my biased opinion because I can't try it on for Steve, I think that would be bad luck, wouldn't it? Anyway, mom seemed to really like it, so I'm thinking it might be a winner. However, Joe, if you are reading this, I'd still like to see your mother's dress, ok? We had a pass for the advanced screening of the new Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson movie last night (Anger Management) but naturally we did not go. I was sad because you know how much I like Adam Sandler! We also have a pass for the advanced screening of Deepak Chopra's son Gotham Chopra's movie "Bulletproof Monk" on Monday, but once again, no can do - it's chemo day. :-( Oh well. I noticed last night that I have some new Guest Book signers, and Dave, because of the Psalm you suggested, Steve got his Bible out and read it to me, it was like we had the Steve Juliano Gospel Hour right here in Extreme South Jersey! It was cool, now he wants to do it every night! Well, I guess I had better go for now. Hopefully I'll be able to get some quality sleep tonight, as we are registered tomorrow for a Cancer Survivor Conference in Philly and we have to get up early. I hope I feel well enough to go, we always enjoy those events. OK, talk to you in a few days, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 9, 2003 4:01 PM CDT

Did not sleep well again last night, but when I finally did get to sleep, I couldn't wake up! I nearly slept the day away, and just now finally got a shower and got dressed. I seriously think I will be back on the sofa very soon, that's for sure. It's like a ton of bricks is weighing me down. Anyway, it rained all night, and it is still raining. It's cold and dark and dismal, which is certainly exactly how I feel. The good news is, the phone has not rang once all day, :-).

Tuesday, April 8, 2003 4:14 PM CDT

Happy Birthday, Rita! I hope you (and Dad) are having a wonderful day, you certainly deserve it!

Congratulations to Alicia and Greg on the birth of Ella Marie on Sunday! I know Granny Linda and Grandpop Charlie are very happy right about now!

Chemo yesterday was uneventful. Vickie got here a little after 11 am, she was running late due to the snow and sleet storm we had throughout the morning. Yes, that's right, snow and sleet in April! It was ugly. She left shortly after 1, until next Monday. I flopped around all afternoon, the tingling in my feet was very intense, and the nausea a little more prominent than the last 2 Gemzar infusions. Also I experienced this weird feeling of tightness in my right wrist, very hard to explain, which by bedtime had also happened to my left wrist. It was really odd. Last month I did in fact have a sort of bone pain in my right wrist, so I wasn't too alarmed about this side-effect. I woke up several times during the night, and each time, this feeling in my wrists seemed to diminish slightly, and by the time I got up it was gone. The steroids didn't seem to have the same effect on me this time, either, in other words, I am not at all energetic from them today. Oh well, I guess it was silly not to think it would get harder with each treatment. It has been dark and dreary outside all day, and it looks cold but I have not ventured out there except to open the door and grab the mail from the box. I guess the state of the weather has also effected the state of my mood, I think maybe I am a litttle grouchy. Watch out, Steve!

To the person who called here last night at midnight - how dare you! What were you thinking? Did you really think we'd be up, and on a chemo day to boot? Your call certainly was not an emergency, you could have called earlier I'm sure. And, then to call again at 6:36 am? Steve is up at 5 - 5:30 every morning and out of here by 6:15 am, you can't expect to call at midnight to try to make a plan with him for something he has to do on his way to work! Did you know, he actually unplugged the phone so you wouldn't bug us again during the night? He plugged it back in right before he left the house - big mistake. After a virtually sleepless night, you woke me up out of a sound sleep at 6:36 am, the ringing of the phone and the sound of your voice on the answering machine was too much for me. Then, when I came downstairs after unsuccessfully trying to get back to sleep, you still were causing me distress. You apparently did not hang up your phone properly, so my line was out of service, and to top it all off, this had somehow caused my answering machine to run and run and run until it burned itself out. I guess it was about 8:30 when I got a dial tone again, so I guess it was then that you discovered that your phone had not been hung up. Now, we have no answering machine. I can not get it to work. So, thank you for that minor inconvenience. If anyone calls us and we do not answer after about 4 or 5 rings, please just try again later, I apologize. I also want people to realize, that if the phone rings at such an odd hour, it really freaks me out. My mom works at night, so calls any time from midnight to 6 - 7 am always cause me concern. Please bear this in mind the next time you get the urge to call us during those hours and it is not an emergency, use some common sense! And, to the person who placed these calls, please do not, and I repeat, do not, use my Guest Book to reply to this rant of mine. E-mail me, or call me,....but not at midnight or 6:36 am.

OK, now that that's out of my system, (I told you I was grouchy!),.....45 days!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2003 8:01 PM CDT

It's Sunday night, and I hope you remembered to set your clocks ahead last night. We, of course, did not remember, duh! Friday night's dvd viewing of Zoolander was pretty funny, but not as funny as Goldmember, that's for sure. Then we watched Tremors, Burt Gummer rocks! Saturday, we were going to try to get together with RC and Mary but that didn't work out, so we went to,.............the K-Mart closing sale! Yep, we went again, and yep, we spent more money!!! Now the clothing is 90% off, and this time I scored 2 pairs of shoes, 75 cents for stars & stripes sneakers and $1.50 for black mary janes, sweet! The best deal of all was a coat Steve found, brown distressed leather with cream colored fleece trim for a whopping $4.00!! It was originally $79.99, on sale for $40.00, minus 90%. I can't wait to wear it! Steve even got himself some stuff, that's very unusual! This time we bought a few things for gifts, so watch out you lucky recipients of el-cheapo items, hahahaha! Today we were going to go down to Washington DC to see the cherry blossoms, but we got up too late and when we found out what the time really was, well, the day was already half over. So we just hung out here getting some things done in anticipation of the chemo week we'll be facing. One of those things was - - get ready - - - new pictures on the photo page! About time, right? So, check them out, and I'll talk to you sometime during the week. Bye!

Friday, April 4, 2003 3:50 PM CST

Hello! It's Friday afternoon,...dreary, cold and rainy - ick! Hey Mother Nature, it's April, so get with the program and give me some warm weather!

Oh, and speaking of it being April, you know what that means? It's National Poetry Month, so why don't you go and jot something down, get a little creative and express yourself!

When I left you on Wednesday, I told you that Steve had rented a movie for us to watch. Well, wait until you hear this! The movie was "Austin Powers - Goldmember". Now, bear in mind that Steve likes to really 'get into' things sometimes, and this time turned out to be no exception. Ready? Here goes! He put out a poster of Mini-Me, he then surprised me with an Austin Powers blanket-throw, he served us Fat Bastard brand white chardonnay wine in glasses sitting on Austin Powers drink coasters, (Yes! There really is Fat Bastard wine, go get some, it's not too bad!) and he put out our Fat Bastard wacky wobbler so he could watch the movie too! And if that wasn't enough, he poured us each a shot of Goldschlager,...."Gold"-schlager, get it? Anyway, we found some parts of this movie absolutely hysterical, (Bertha, you were so right!), and several times we had to stop the dvd and go back and view the scene over and over again! Austin Powers even drove a Homie Hopper, so of course we had to get my Homie Hopper out and play with it as Austin was driving his, oh my gosh we are so dorky! Anyway, by the time the movie was over, we had finished the entire bottle of wine and the shots and people let me tell you, I was looped! But we had so much fun, laughing so hard, (who wouldn't laugh at Fat Bastard and farts???), that I really didn't notice just how drunk I was until I woke up yesterday morning. Owwww my aching head!

Hangover or not, I had to get myself together for our appointment with Dr. King. Steve came home to pick me up, I was going to take the train but it was the last day of my 'quarantine' so we felt it best that I didn't put myself in that position with all the germy snotty and sneezing people (!) in such an enclosed space. We get there and they take me right in, we thought that was a good sign, but of course it wasn't as we proceeded to wait 45 minutes for her to come in. Nothing to report, the exam was routine, but she had not received my CA 125 back from the lab yet. Crap! She promised to get it and told me to call the office today, so we left out of there with chemo scheduled again for Monday. From there, we paid Rita & Dad a short visit. (Hi Oink-ita!). Oh I surely do not like that rush hour traffic around the Cherry Hill area, I don't know how people can do that, day in and day out. It was especially brutal with the remnants of that darn hangover! Anyway, we ended up at a restaurant called Tin Alley Grille, they have a Thursday night special, "2 can dine for $12.99" which was pretty good, and then I guess we were home about 9:30. There was a message on the answering machine, and it was Dr. King. You should have heard her voice, it was like she was bursting, all excited and everything. She was able to get my CA 125 after we left the office, and guess what? Drum roll please!!!!! It is down! It is now 852 (1125 last time). She thinks we are on the right track, so of course I'll do some more of this Gemzar,...well, at least until the next CA 125 results! I'll do one on Monday, then again the following Monday, then I'll have a week off. So, that's my good news! YAY!

Steve should be home soon, tonight we are watching the "Zoolander" dvd. I don't think he has a theme night planned for that, but then again you never know! We met Ben Stiller at a party in NYC several years ago, so now we always call him Steve's 'buddy'.

OK,, then, have a great weekend and I'll talk to you sometime next week. Thanks for visiting! And, Ean, it was good to hear your voice last night!

Wednesday, April 2, 2003 3:34 PM CST

Happy Wednesday to you! It was a pretty day here in Extreme South Jersey, I even went outside and walked among my daffodols and crocus flowers, my forsythia is ablaze in yellow, nice! I was worried that Monday nights snowfall would hurt the newly growing beauties, but thankfully it didn't. Yes, that's right, we actually had snow flurries, and it was cold, brrrrrrr.

So,...did you pull any good April Fool's jokes yesterday? All was quiet here in the land of Quarantine. We had movie passes to see the new Vin Diesel movie but we were good and stayed home. Imagine that!

Today, people across the country are observing National Day of Hope for abused children. The goal of this day is to raise public awareness so that each of us will have the power to help an abused child if we so choose. Did you know that on a typical day, 3 children in the United States will die as a result of child abuse in the home? Did you know that a report of known or suspected child abuse or neglect will be made to authorities every 10 seconds? However, most people who witness an actual incident of child abuse will not report it. Please, people, if you see something - do something. There is a 24 hour hotline where all calls are anonymous and confidential, it is: Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline (800) 422-4453. You can also visit: for additional ways to participate. Share the light of hope for abused children!

It has recently been brought to my attention that many of the people who are visiting my journal do not know how to reach me via the US Postal Service. I was informed that, in light of recent developments, "people who won't be attending the wedding may wish to send you and Steve a card or greeting." So, at the risk of appearing selfish, here is an address you can use, for a limited time: Steve & Anna Juliano, PO Box 1116, Pomona, NJ 08240-1116. We'll look forward to hearing from you, haha!

Tomorrow we have an appointment with Dr. King. I don't expect that I'll have anything much to report to you, as it is more or less just a routine visit between chemo treatments. I will, however, find out my CA 125 from Monday, so let's hope it came down. (Did I tell you the nurse had to stick me twice, ouch, and I am now black & blue?) Tomorrow also happens to be Sebastian Bach's birthday, so Happy Birthday in advance, Baz!

Steve rented us a movie to watch tonight, I'm not sure what it will be but you know I'll give you my thoughts on it, haha! So, I must go now and rustle together some dinner. Oh, and Jackie - your poem is beautiful! Thanks for the 'tips', but we have already been using that hand sanitizer for years now. And, what's all that about stains? Have I ever mentioned having that problem? I don't think so, but thanks for the info anyway! In closing,......51 more days!!!!!!!

Good afternoon to you! I'm starting this entry off by saying that last Monday was like a big black hole for me. I forgot to tell you so many things about that day, I don't know why. One thing I remembered but didn't enter here was that Steve came home with a present for me,...a cute little brown purse! If you aren't aware of this, I have a handbag fetish! (and a sometime shoe fetish, and I'm sure there are other fetishes I can't think of right now!) So, if he wants to see me smile, viola! A purse will do it every time!

Anyway, my large sized Roswell/Tremors-inspired pizza Thursday night was a big hit, I think it was one of my best ever, only 1 slice was left over. Yum! I made it through the first movie, which was from 7 to 9 pm, but the 2nd movie, well, lets just say I missed several parts of it! I even think I snored but we won't go there, haha! It was no big deal though, as I had in fact seen the movie before so I kind of knew what was going on.

Friday was the Tremors Series premiere, with 2 episodes that aired, one at 9 and one at 10 but there was no way I could keep my eyes open for the second one, Steve either for that matter, so he taped it for another day when we are awake!

Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day so we decided to go out and goof off. We ran some errands, and just got on the road and drove, looking for a place to eat lunch. We ended up at Harper's Pub in the Berlin area, across from the Clementon Amusement Park. The food was pretty good, and by now it was raining lightly. From there we ended up at the K-Mart in Pennsauken. Several K-Marts are closing around here; 2 in Philly and 2 in South Jersey. I had read in the newspaper that it was the last 2 weeks, so we decided to go see if I could spend some money. And, guess what???? I did!!!! I couldn't help it, all their clothing was 50 to 80% off the lowest ticketed price, and soon I had so many things in my arms that I asked Steve to go get a cart. I couldn't believe it! We were there for almost 2 hours, me in the clothing department for most of the time, and I was sweating and tired but I just had to get me those bargains! I ended up with 30 assorted items, ranging in price from 20 cents to $2.20, it was amazing! My total bill came to just under $31.00 - now you know, I don't need any of these things, but I had to have them, haha! Shirts for 20 and 40 and 60 cents, 2 corderoy jackets for $2.20 each, a Joe Boxer sweater for $1.20, 3 purses for $1.00, yikes,...I am burnt out on shopping for awhile! When we got home, we had a big bowl of ice cream to calm down, heeeheeee!

Sunday was cloudy and rainy all day so we stayed home and just chilled out, I was really tired. (Gee, I wonder why?) I had gotten some fresh swordfish at the market on Friday so I made Swordfish Piccata for dinner, which turned out pretty tasty. We ended the night with a deeeelicious chocolate martini while we watched the Anna Nicole Show.

Today, Monday, I was happy to wake up headache-free. I failed to mention (it's that forgetful thing again) that the last few days I have been fighting one of those migraines I am prone to getting. I told Steve, it must have been his martini remedy! Anyway, no chemo today, yay! But, I did have to go out, even though today is the start of another 4-day quarantine period. I needed to go for my CA 125 blood test for Dr. King, as I have an appointment with her on Thursday. So, I did that, and stopped at the Target real quick, and the dollar store too, but I was real careful not to get near germy people, and to not touch things, and I washed my hands as soon as I got home. You don't realize just how many things you take for granted in your every day life until you have to become so totally aware of certain things that really shouldn't be so important. But, I must be aware of these things, I have a wedding coming up in 53 days!

I guess that's all I have to say for today, unless of course I have forgotten something and need to come back to tell you! See ya later! :-)

Thursday, March 27, 2003 2:47 PM CST

Hello there, General Hospital is on and I find myself not in the least bit interested today so I came in here to give you a quick update. Yesterday, I was very tired and queasier than I think I should have been. Today the fatigue is continuing, it feels like a ton of bricks is on top of me, holding me down. But, oh well, like my friend Lynn always says, "This too shall pass."

I forgot to tell you something in my last entry. Friday night on the Sci Fi channel, there is a new series starting that we have been eagerly anticipating for months now. The 2 hour premier of "Tremors - The Series" is finally here! So, you know what that means, don't you? Tremors Marathon! Tonight at 7 Sci Fi is showing "Tremors 2", then at 9 is "Tremors 3", but, you might ask, what about the original "Tremors" that started it all? Well, what do you think,...Steve rented it and we watched it Monday night! Now, don't scratch your head in wonderment, we really aren't fanatical about Tremors, it just always seemed like those darn movies were constantly popping up on the Sci Fi channel, it started to become a joke to us but now, well, who knows, we might just have found another t.v. show to add to our weekly schedule! (Sand Worms of the world, unite!)If it sticks to the Friday night time-slot, that would be cool as the only shows we like that night are Pet Star and of course Cheaters. It sounds like we watch a lot of t.v., doesn't it? But, really, we don't. With chemo in the picture, and fatigue and nausea and quarantine, well, yes then we do find ourselves watching more tv. I am even making one of my special pizzas for the occasion, a bacon (for Kevin Bacon) and garlic (sort of worm-like!) with a hot sauce crust (in honor of Roswell which is on at 6) and a ring of cheddar cheese around the outside just because we like cheddar cheese! (And I stole the idea from Pizza Hut and their "gold" pizza that they advertised! Shhhhh!)

OK, I guess I better go, I hope I have the strength to roll out my dough! The sun is still shining and it seems like it was nice out again today. Yesterday I even went outside and walked around the yard - all the little daffodils are going to bloom any day now! (Jef,...push the little daisies!) I will leave you today with a helpful kitchen tip - I have fallen in love with a new seasoning and I must share it with you. It is called Nature's Seasoning Blend by Morton. It is so good, I sprinkle it on everything! It has salt, pepper, sugar, parsley, celery seed, garlic, and more and it is very tasty, go get yourself some!!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2003 4:30 PM CST

Thursday 3/20: Well, what do you know, we did indeed make it to Rita's Water Ice for their 1st day of Spring free water ice giveaway! We drove up to Hammonton, I had Papaya and Steve had Blueberry. It was refreshing and yummy even though it was cold and raining cats & dogs. All it took was one look between us, and we soon found ourselves in the next closest Rita's Water Ice parking lot in Absecon where we each had a Cappucino Cream. What a tasty flavor! Free is a good thing! :-)

Friday 3/21: Today I lost the most hair so far since the chemo began in January, it just came out by the handfull. You might not notice it, but we can tell the difference. If this continues, I will most certainly be a bald bride. I wonder, you think I could convince Steve to join me in baldness??? I highly doubt he would shave his head for the wedding, but you never know, he's always full of surprises! It was sunny and pleasant today, so I ventured out to the Shop Rite in the afternoon. I was only in the store for an hour or so, and when I came out, everything was wet and there were these gigantic puddles all over the place. It was apparent there must have been a downpour, and it was chilly. When I switched on the evening news, the big regional story of the day was the marble-sized hailstones that fell unexpectantly from the sky. Cool, but I missed it!

Saturday, 3/22: I woke up to the warm sunlight pouring in the skylights and the little birdies were just chirp chirp chirping away outside. Little dudes, I love this part of springtime, but come on, a girl needs her beauty rest! When I finally had enough serenading for the morning, I stood up and that's when I noticed something that took the pizazz right out of the day - my pillow was covered in hair. So, I did the only thing I could think of, and I woke Steve up out of a sound sleep to show him. I asked him if he'd still marry me if I was bald. He gave me a smile and a big thumbs up sign. Then, I said, "Hey! I know! How about you go bald too?", and he gave me the thumbs up sign again - Cool! We just hung around the house today, I had gotten some fresh catfish at the store yesterday so I made us a delicious broiled lemon pepper catfish dinner. After dinner, I sat down to put together a model car kit Steve had gotten me for our anniversary on the 14th. (Yes, we celebrate monthly the anniversary of our 1st date, oh how romantic!) It is a Homie Hopper. Do you know what Homies are? They are little figures, of homies in the hood, that you get for 50 cents out of those vending machines you see outside stores. Oh, I just love those guys! We have a collection that grows by the day! Anyway, this model car said on the box that it was for ages 5 and up. Well, let me tell you, it took me so long to put the darn thing together, I was frustrated and sweating and I had to take apart one step of it three times before I got it right! Age 5? Maybe age 50, haha! Anyway, we played with it a little after I finished, it has hopping action, and the head lights/tail lights light up, it's neat! After that fiasco, we watched a movie Steve rented called "Pootie Tang" with Chris Rock. I remember this movie getting bad reviews, and I can surely see why. Even though I generally find him very funny, this was really a bomb. However, there were some catch phrases in the movie that I'm sure we will be repeating over the next week or so!

Sunday 3/23: This afternoon, we got ourselves together, and went up to the Merriam Theater in Philly to see "Jesus Christ Superstar". We had front row tickets, which was a first for us, at least in the theater realm. It was so cool, I couldn't believe it. We could see everything, and the band was right below us which we thought might make for overbearing loudness, but we were surprised that it was just perfect. Listen, I don't care what the local Philly reveiwer said, Sebastian Bach rocked! He was so good, though he did have some trouble with the lower notes, he more than made up for it when he wailed away. In a way, it was sort of creepy seeing him play the part of Jesus! This was the last show at this venue, but we didn't even stay for any party or after-show get together. Instead, we went around the block to Bertucci's for a late dinner. We enjoyed one of our favorite things off their menu - a hummus dish on a bed of wild greens that comes with these absolutely wonderful warm fresh baked breadsticks. I guess we were home by about 11, and yes, I was beat tired!

Monday 3/24: Today is the start of National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Week, so, get to it! The delivery person from Jefferson, Sean, came over early this morning to deliver my supplies for my 2nd Gemzar treatment and a new i.v. pole, and Vickie (my home care nurse) got here about 12:45 or so. It was good to see her again, and I guess she left out of here a little after 3. Today also starts a 4-day quarantine period where I shouldn't be in crowds or near people or eat outside food, know, because of the germs and all since my immune system is at a low point. So, stay away until Friday! This is a Germ Free Zone!

Tuesday 3/25: Oh, that's today! Well, the steroids kicked in and I spent the day doing laundry. But now I can feel myself going downhill, so I'm going to end this entry for today. Mom, please don't start to nag me about changing the pictures, we'll get around to it one of these days. Some exciting news from Caring Bridge, they have given us authors the use of 50 more backgrounds/borders to chose from when we update our pages, look out!

Monday, March 24, 2003 11:14 AM CST

Steve came to me the other day with a thought, and I believe he has a point. He thinks it is a good idea if I put a brief re-cap of sorts here for all the wonderful new people who have just recently discovered my journal. I began this diary on March 19, 2001, and that certainly is way too much for anyone to catch up on. So, here goes! In one sentence; I have terminal recurrent ovarian cancer, (originally diagnosed in 1986 with the recurrence in 1998), and Multiple Sclerosis. Basically, this journal, made possible by the kind folks at Caring Bridge, is about all the medical stuff that I go through and an insight into how my main man Steve and I have been dealing with it all this time, as well as a spattering of all the silly little things that happen in our daily lives. So, feel free to take the time to begin at the beginning, (Yikes!), or just jump right in - either way, I am happy to have you here!

Thursday, March 20, 2003 10:00 AM CST

Good morning, everyone! It's raining here in South Egg Harbor on this long-awaited first day of Spring. I for one am so happy that winter is nearly over,...did you guys hear about the snow they just got in the Denver area? Yikes, 5 foot snow drifts - as much as Steve & I enjoyed Denver, neither one of us would ever want to deal with that nastiness!

By now, you are probably aware that Steve & I enjoy scoring free things ( :-D ), so I'd like to share with you something that has become one of our yearly traditions. Today, Rita's Water Ice is giving out free samples of their regular size water ices, all day long, to celebrate the first day of Spring. So, there you have it, an insiders tip on something free! I'm not sure if I'll be able to get out to visit a Rita's because as you may suspect, 3 days after chemo and I'm still not feeling all that great. But, we'll see. There are 2 in close proximity to our house, maybe about 10 miles from here, hopefully I'll be able to tolerate the ride in the car. OK, now, go! Find a Rita's and enjoy a free water ice!

Today also marks the completion of an art project I began last year on the first day of Spring. I bought a canvas from the art store, some oil paints and brushes, and vowed to paint one thing onto the canvas each and every day for the entire year. And, I did it! Every day, I painted something, whatever I felt that day, whatever color or brush stroke, or blob, and quite frankly it's not that attractive, but I just felt the need to try to incorporate art into my life on a daily basis. On my darkest days, I painted; on my happy days, there was yellow and purple; on days I was rushing to the train for radiation, I painted; cold snowy rainy days were blacks and gray. And, even though it is not much to look at, I am very proud of myself and the effort I made! Yes, that's me, patting myself on the back, haha!

I guess the big story of the day is the war. I will be keeping the t.v off today, which I normally do at least until the soaps come on, I guess the coverage will interrupt them throughout the afternoon, right? Anyway, last night we chose to watch the first episode of the new season of South Park instead of the empty sky over Baghdad. Today, rather than sending good and positive thoughts to me and my plight, perhaps you should direct them to all the people involved in this conflict.

Thanks for visiting my journal today. I'm going to go have myself a toasted raisin bagel with butter and honey (thanks Uncle Tom!), and maybe take a nap - I am so very tired! I'll talk to you again real soon, and enjoy your Rita's Water Ice!

( ( ( 64 Days and counting!!!! ) ) )

Tuesday, March 18, 2003 2:19 PM CST

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Here I am today, and I am just as surprised as you. My nurse Chris #2 said yesterday that from the steroid infusion I received I would feel somewhat good today, and she was right. But, in the next breath she also warned me that tomorrow would be another story altogether. Oh well! I guess you can't have it all!

Friday 3/14 - Our friend Ean stopped by this morning on his way to a new home in the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida area. I wasn't expecting him until around 10, but what do you know, he called around 8:30, nearly at the house! I made a mad dash to the shower and then he was here! We had coffee and cookies, and a great visit, (Ean, those photos of you at age 18 were wild!), and way too soon he was on the road, trailing his little U-Haul behind him. Even though we didn't see Ean that often, we will surely miss him. He most certainly is one of the nicest guys we have the pleasure of knowing. When Steve got home, we decided to go out to dinner, at a local Mays Landing restaurant called Ye Old Mill Street Pub. It was really good, I had one of the specials they were featuring, Baked Cod, and let me tell you, I have never seen a piece of fish on my plate that was so big before. This thing was huge! It nearly hung off the plate and was about 2 inches thick! Needless to say, I got a doggie bag for that sucker!

Saturday 3/15 - It was beautiful and sunny and warm, so we decided to go out and do a few things. We stopped at the A.C. Moore craft store and Mary - if you are reading this - we picked up some wedding bubbles. Doesn't that seem appropriate for a Woodstock wedding? And, Steve came up with a really good idea to decorate the little bottles,...who says he isn't excited! It was nearly 70 degrees out still when we got home, so Steve fired up the grill and cooked some fresh salmon, YUM! (Sorry, Joanne but I do enjoy seafood!) A sad note to the gorgeous day, Fred had to be put to sleep today, that cat will be missed by us all. R.I.P Fred. Later on in the evening, Steve mixed us each up an Appletini, and Dad it was good! Then, we had a big bowl of ice cream, at this rate I'll surely gain back those pounds I lost during my Great Mouth Sore Soup Fest!

Sunday 3/16 - We couldn't believe it, 70 degrees again! So, we once more went out for a ride, this time we took the trip down to Stone Harbor & Avalon just to take in the sights. No, we didn't fly kites or have a picnic, not this time anyway! When we got home, I took a walk around the yard, and all the crocus are out, and the daffodils are starting to push up, cool!

Monday 3/17 - Happy Saint Patrick's Day! As I said yesterday, Steve came home from work early and we went up to Bodine Infusion. On the Atlantic City Expressway, we were just driving along when we both noticed that as cars passed us, little sand particles were being thrown onto the windshield. No big deal, we thought, it was just from the sand on the road from the snowstorms. But not too long after that, what happens but a big rock comes crashing onto the windshield. I let out a gasp, and Steve shook his head but fortunately the darn thing didn't leave any kind of mark that I could see, Whew! We certainly did not want to deal with that right now! When we got to Philly, parking was tough so Steve dropped me off and I went in at about 2:05. They started me about 2:15 and I guess we were out of there around 4:30. It should not have taken that long, but there was a delay in my chemo being mixed and sent down. It didn't matter much to me, even though it is not my favorite place to be.

I know that with all the cancer talk flying around on this journal you may forget that I also have MS (I certainly don't!). One of my day to day MS symptoms is neuropathy, tingling & numbness of varying degrees (daily) in my hands and (mostly) my feet. Well, this Gemzar has a side effect of tingling feet, so I was double tingly. It's sort of an interesting feeling. Steve likes to do all he can to make me feel better, so he gave me a foot massage, for maybe over an hour - it was heaven! Oh, and I heard from Dr. Chopra via e-mail, he sends me his love and good energies! And, we missed the speech President Bush gave last night, we instead were watching Whammy on the Game Show Network, but we did hear about it on the news at 11 - now we are on Orange Alert again. Hmmmmm.

Today - OK, now I would like to take this time to make an announcement. We hope no one gets an attitude about this! We understand that some of our family and friends have been talking or thinking about giving a party or other get-together after the Big Day. We do not, and I repeat, DO NOT, want anything like that. We both realize that this occasion is special to some of you, and a cause for celebration, and even though it will indeed be a milestone for the both of us, in reality it is 'just another day' to us. In other words, we have been together for 10-plus years, nothing is really changing in our day to day lives except my last name. I mean, we've always had the commitment and the piece of paper will not change anything one way or another. Please, don't take this the wrong way! Instead, just wish us well! (And, send money! HaHa, only kidding) Honestly, if there was to be a party, Steve has informed me that he will walk out and leave me there, and you wouldn't want just the bride at a wedding celebration, would you? Because you know, married or not, I'll surely stay!! Party? Yay! But, seriously, if you have already made a solid plan, just tell us and we will be willing to discuss it. But otherwise, please please please respect us, no parties! What can I say - we're going non-traditional, all the way!

I know this is a pretty long entry today, thank you for sticking it out! Now, I'll leave you with a thought. Try to find some joy in each and every day of your life. Just one little thing that gives you joy. It could be anything; a great cup of coffee, watching your favorite t.v. show or a movie on dvd, having a chat with a friend, sending a note to a relative, smiling at a stranger - you get the idea, any little thing. It's easy! Try it! I have no problems with this,....I have Steve! :-) Joy is a wonderful thing, you'll see!

Monday, March 17, 2003 11:33 AM CST

Hey there! Happy St. Patrick's Day to you,...are you wearin' the green? I wanted to fill you in on the last couple of days, it seems like I have a lot to tell you and I don't exactly know why, heck, it's just been a few days! Anyway, I won't be doing that today, as I am running late. I've spent the entire morning trying to cram a million and one things into the small amount of time I have. I decided on Friday to give the Gemzar a try, and I have to be in Philly at 2:00 for my first infusion. Steve is coming home and going with me, I originally wanted to take the train and meet him somewhere so he didn't have to take as much time off from work, but he didn't want me to be uncomfortable coming home in his truck after the chemo, isn't that considerate of him? He's so sweet sometimes! I will get the Gemzar today and next Monday, then I will have a week off. If we can remember correctly, the side effects of this particular drug last about 3 - 4 days, so I most likely will not be back here for a few days. I'll try to do the update as soon as I can. In the meantime,....67 days and counting!!!!!! :-) :-)

Thursday, March 13, 2003 2:37 PM CST

Hello friends and family! The sun is out and I'm feeling pretty good, so here I am to brighten your day, hahahaha!

Tuesday afternoon, mom came to pick me up and take me to the train. We had a nice little visit, (I made her stay away during my Doxil side-effects), and she was really funny. She says not only is her head spinning from the wedding announcement, but her whole body is spinning as well! Anyway, Steve picked me up at the Cherry Hill station and we went over to the Red Lobster to meet Dad & Rita, and much to our suprprise, we beat them there! Red Lobster was having a Happy Hour, specially priced Vox martinis with a souvenier glass and a free buffet so we grabbed the last piece of standing room only space we could find and chowed down! Dad got an Appletini, Steve had a Buttertini, I had a White Chocolate Martini and Rita had a glass of red wine,...which I must say went right to her head! :-) (Sorry Rita, I had to tell!!!) The food was really tasty, too, a wide assortment of constantly re-filled items - we wouldn't mind doing that again! Then, we sat down at a table and had some 'real' food,...a lobster pizza - yum! By the time we got home, I was beat tired! (And stuffed, too much food!)

Yesterday, Linda came over and picked me up and we went to Hammonton where we met Lynn for dinner at a fairly new restaurant called Comuso's (I think that's the name!). The food was very good there, but I enjoyed the company so much more! From there, we stopped at Lynn's house for awhile, then it was home and as usual, I was beat tired!!!

Today, I'm just doing some things around here, and soon I'll be heading over to pick the pictures up from Jason that he so kindly scanned for me. Again, thanks Jason!

Tomorrow morning, our friend Ean is coming over for coffee,...yikes, that sounds early, doesn't it? Oh well! He is driving down to his new home in Florida, too bad Steve is going to miss the visit. I guess that means we'll just have to go down there so Steve can visit with Ean at his new place! Haha!

All right, I better go. Talk to you soon!

Tuesday, March 11, 2003 1:24 PM CST

Hello all! I'm waiting for my mother to come over, so I thought I'd pop in here and say 'hey'! Nothing much to report since my last entry. Steve and I spent the weekend running all over taking care of little errands. We also stopped over Charlie & Linda's for a short while, which was nice! ( Charlie - Steve might just take you up on your vintage tuxedo offer! )Mom is taking me to the train today, then Steve will pick me up in Cherry Hill and then we are headed over to the Red Lobster to meet Dad & Rita. The sun has been trying to poke out all day today, but I just looked out the window and much to my surprise, it is snowing! Yes, we have flurries swirling around, yuk!

All right, I guess I have teased you enough in my last couple of entries. OK - here it is - my BIG announcement! Drum roll, please!!!!!! It is official,.........Steve and I are getting married! You read that right! We are tying the knot, getting hitched, any way you want to look at it! May 24th is the big day, 3:00 in the afternoon, at a PT Cruiser Club event called Cruiserpalooza in Bethel, NY at the site of the original Woodstock festival. (How cool is that!!!) Yikes! That seems so soon, doesn't it? Oh well, like I always say, if it's not one thing, it's another! So, there it is! We are telling everyone, the date is set, the plans are being made, and I said to Steve the other day, "I guess there's no backing out now!" and of course he had something sassy to say, "Yeah, you can watch me back out, back out of the driveway and take off!" Haha!

I have to go now, mom should be here very shortly. I'll talk to you again sometime soon.

Friday, March 7, 2003 8:48 PM CST

Well, here it is, nearly 10 pm, can you believe I'm actually doing an entry this late at night? Yesterday was a real emotional roller coaster for me. First, as I mentioned in my last entry, I sort of received a confirmation regarding an announcement I'll be making soon, which was real exciting. Then it was off to see Dr. King, which just plain sucks! (Sorry Dr. King!) Basically, my latest CA 125 went up to 1125. Eeeeeek! There aren't too many options left to me at this point. She is highly recommending I go back on a drug I've already been on twice, called Gemzar. It didn't really help before, why do we think it might now??? She also mentioned a drug called Navelbine, which I need to research further but it sounds nasty. Bottom line is I need to start something soon, she wants it to be Monday, but I doubt that will happen. So we left out of there feeling just as crappy as we did when we got there. We ended up at the Spaghetti Warehouse for dinner, then we went over to the Ritz East for the advance screening of the new Bruce Willis movie, "Tears of the Sun." When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I told Steve, "No!", I really was not interested. But, we had the ticket, and we were already in the city so I said, "Ok, what the hell," and we went, Steve toting ear plugs! I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. I'm not going to sit here and rave about it, but it was not as bad as I thought. Yes, it was loud, and bloody, and violent, and of course good people die, and yes of course there is sort of a love story that happens. All things considered, if you like a good war pic, then this one is for you. I am at a loss, however, to explain the title of the movie. I guess we got home about 11-ish, and what a pretty drive home we had. It had rained and sleeted earlier in the day, and the water was frozen on all the trees and shrubs, just glistening and shiny like a fairy tale! A couple Butterfinger hot chocolates, and it was off to bed. Today, I had some things to take care of, like grocery shopping, although along the way to the store I discovered a big clearance sale at Kohl's and spent a whopping $22 on a bunch of sweaters! A girl can never have too many sweaters!

That's all I have for you today. I probably won't be back until sometime next week, so have a good weekend, whatever you do.

Oh, and brother Scott, I miss you, and think of you all the time,....RIP.

Thursday, March 6, 2003 11:45 AM CST

Hello everyone! It's a cold and rainy day here in Extreme South Jersey, and I am getting ready for my appointment with Dr. King. Steve should be home from work any minute now. A short recap of the last few days,...

Tuesday March 4th - Happy Fat Tuesday! I was so very tired today, I guess it was from all the excitement of being in Jason's Kiss bedroom yesterday, haha! Seriously, I was beat tired, I didn't even get out of my jammies until nearly 4 pm! Yikes. Anyway, my mouth still hurt, but I was determined to eat real food for dinner, so in honor of Mardi Gras, I made some New Orleans Style Garlic & Herb Rice but in the end it proved to be too spicy for me to handle. When we sat down to watch "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here", Steve whipped up some Hurricane drinks, yummy! I surely was able to get that down!

Wednesday, March 5th - I went out today to take care of a few errands,, stuff like that, but I'm still so tired. Boy that Doxil packed a punch. Congratulations to Cris Judd - King of the Jungle!! We're both happy he won, J-Lo, what were you thinking divorcing him????????

Thursday, March 6th - Oh, that's today! Well, let's start out by saying Happy Birthday to Dr. King,...for the next 2 months, you will be older than me - you old bag you! Today, our friend Ean is making the long 24 hour flight home from Australia, where he has been for the last month visiting his family and friends and doing a little d.j.-ing. He will be back in Weehawkin for about a week, then he moves to sunny Florida, way to go Ean! I'd also like to take this time to welcome any new visitors to this site. I know it's a lot to take in for people who don't know me, but I hope you find something of interest here. And, I look forward to meeting you all! There is an announcement coming very soon, that some of you will already know (yes, that's you, all you PT Cruiser Club members!), but please don't spill the beans just yet!

Well all right then, it's time for me to go. I'll be back as soon as I can with my doctor report. Ciao`!

Monday, March 3, 2003 4:27 PM CST

Friday, 2/28 - Well, today was the first day that I didn't cry from morning to night! Don't get excited, though, because that does not mean I wasn't in pain. It just means the pain was not as severe. Steve was so sweet, he brought me home a beautiful brightly colored bouquet of flowers, "For being such a trooper," he said! Of course, I had to have another creamy soup for dinner, but this time I wasn't in as much pain so I looked over at Steve to check out exactly what he had made for himself. Well, Rita, guess what? He was eating a jar of peanut butter!!!! Sitting right there, with a spoon and the jar, it was so funny but I couldn't laugh too hard because it hurt!

Saturday, 3/1 - Today, I was just so tired of being in pain and in the house so Steve took me out for awhile. I loaded up on a double dose of Aleve and mouth medicines, and off to the Cumberland Mall we went. Yes, I was indeed uncomfortable for most of the day, but it was really nice to just get out. And yes, I am still on the creamy soup diet, but tonight Steve kept the creaminess going in a slightly different fashion,.....he made us a Bailey's Irish Creme nightcap! Oh boy, it burned but I managed to go to sleep without a pill!

Sunday, 3/2 - Well, I was determined today to start to eat some 'real' food, so for breakfast I whipped up a scrambled tofu egg. It was a little difficult to eat, but I took my time and got through it, yay! Jason came over in the afternoon for a short visit. (Thanks for your kindness and generosity - too bad our computer is still in the ice age!!!) For dinner tonight, it was mashed potatoes, I'm moving on up! Oh, and we had a glass of wine (ouch!), and another pill-free night!

Monday, 3/3 - This morning, I actually fried up an egg. It really hurt to eat it, but last week this time I couldn't even take a sip of water without crying. I had to go out to the lab for my blood test for Dr. King today, you know, the CA 125 and a few others, so I ran a few errands as well. Post office, bread, gas,....oh, and I spent some time in another man's bedroom. Yes, that's right! But, don't panic mom, it was Jason!!! He is doing us a favor and scanning some pictures for us, and I was in there checking out his Kiss Shrine. The boy loves Kiss, he could open up a store with all the bands merchandise he has! Cool! Steve is working late tonight, we have an appointment with Dr. King on Thursday afternoon so he is making up the time he will lose. I'm going to make some pasta for dinner, I know it's going to hurt but I can't take any more soup!!!!

Thursday, February 27, 2003 3:48 PM CST

Wednesday, 2/26 - Well, today I was just so so so tired, I could barely stay awake. My eyelids just seemed so heavy, and my legs have this weird discomfort about them. I am still in pain from my mouth, and generally in a low mood. It started to snow again here in late afternoon/early evening, oh boy. We had movie screening passes (Yes, Don - FREE!) for tonight to see the art film "The Safety of Objects" starring Glenn Close & Dermot Mulroney but of course we didn't go. Instead, Steve whipped me up a cheddar cheese soup and we watched "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Outta Here!". Is anyone watching this reality show? It's pretty funny! I hope Cris wins.

Thursday, 2/27 - Today I had such a hard time waking up, and I only took 1 Tylenol PM last night. This fatigue is overbearing, but at least if I am sleeping then I don't feel the pain, right? As I went to the kitchen to make my coffee, I noticed the answering machine had one message on it. That's funny, I didn't hear the phone ring, I must have really been out of it. So, I listened to it, and, YIPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!! It was Dr. King, and apparently Steve had called her early this morning to tell her of my distress, and she is pulling me off the Doxil. Let's all breathe a big sigh of relief!!!! She wants me to call her, but I can't talk yet so I don't have anything else to tell you about that. But, that is good enough for me right now, no more Doxil - Yay!

The snow last night wasn't too bad, just a 'dusting' as they call it, but we are expecting more tonight and tomorrow, maybe another 8 inches - yuk. I managed to get dressed and I ran out to the market like one of those crazy people and got milk and some more creamy soups. Now I am going to take my shoes off and flop until Steve comes home to once again take care of me.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003 4:13 PM CST

* * * * DISCLAIMER ! ! ! * * * *
Please, do not read too much more into what I am about to say than there really is. Remember, above all, this journal is a place where I come to tell you what's going on, share my thoughts and feelings, and to express myself. Please bear that in mind.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Tuesday, 2/25 - Well, last night Steve strained out the potato chunks from a can of creamy potato & broccoli soup for me, then we had a yummy strawberry banana smoothie. I was able to eat both, between my crying jags, that is. I can not stand this pain. Never in my life have I experienced this severeness of pain in my mouth. (Steve says I am a pain in his ASS, but I think that's a little different, haha!)Again last night, we decided it would be best for me to take another sleeping pill so I could get through the night relatively pain-free. As Steve got the pill out of the bottle, I said to him, "Would it be ok if I just took the entire bottle so I can croak now and get it over with?" And, he said, "Yes, go ahead."

As you can see, I didn't, but that doesn't mean I wasn't tempted. So, here I am, Day #6 of pain, making it close to 3 solid weeks of discomfort since the Doxil infusion. Which gives me approximately 1 week of feeling relatively good before the next one. Quite frankly, I'm close to throwing in the towel. I think I've reached my limit.

On a lighter note, my thanks to all the new signers of my guest book,....hey Bruce - I have no clue what you are saying but it sure looks pretty!!!! And also, thank you to mom and Peg for the ideas to help alleviate my pain, I am always open to suggestions, especially fun was the one from Linda regarding swishing with alcohol! Jim Beam to the rescue, haha!

Monday, February 24, 2003 3:24 PM CST

What you've all been waiting for, a day-to-day update.

Sunday 2/16 - It snowed and snowed and snowed all day. It's really pretty, but enough is enough.

Monday 2/17 - Presidents Day, and no shopping bargains for anyone as everything is closed and cars are not allowed on any of the streets or highways in the tri-state area. Except for emergency vehicles and plows and volunteers bringing the nurses to the hospital, which Steve did not choose to do this year. He opted to stay home and take care of me, oh how sweet!

Tuesday 2/18 - Still feeling poorly, and the mouth sores are beginning to appear, ouch. Everyone is slowly beginning to dig themselves out, it's safe to say we got about 2 feet of snow.

Wednesday 2/19 - Well, the sun is out but that does nothing to make me feel any better. I can't believe how many of the mouth ulcers are appearing, this sucks.

Thursday 2/20 - Today, I venture out to do the blood test Dr. King had scheduled for me to do on Tuesday. Too bad, I just didn't feel like doing it then, and really did not feel like doing it today but I guess it has to be done. Stopped at the grocery store, then home to have some nice hot tomato soup for dinner but this turned out to be a big mistake as the acidity made my mouth hurt like hell.

Friday 2/21 - Just flopped around the house all day, did a little laundry but my mouth hurts too bad to concentrate on anything other than crying.

Saturday 2/22 - I had a really nice wake-up call from Linda this morning, it's always good to talk to her. But, this time it was hard to even talk, my mouth HURTS. It hurts so bad I have to take a sleeping pill each night, and even that doesn't work, the pain still wakes me up. Nothing works, not the medicine, not the sleeping pills, nothing. I just want to cry and cry. And to top it off, it rained all day and night. Oh, I didn't forget, even in all my misery - happy birthday Grandpop!

Sunday 2/23 - Another painful and sleepless night, man oh man you should have seen the lightning we had, scary! I managed to get up and get dressed, and Steve and I attended a lecture by a local author regarding cancer, it was sort of boring but that just might have been because I was in sheer and utter discomfort. Steve has been real good about it, as usual, making me pudding and jello and creamy soups. But still, all I want to do is cry. Several months ago, we were notified that we may be randomly chosen to be seat-fillers at tonight's Grammys in New York, but even though at the time I was really excited about it, I was totally happy that we were not picked. I would have been really miserable. It's hard when you can't eat, drink, talk or smile. That's the hardest, the smiling part, because Steve is so funny, he makes me laugh all the time but it just hurts so bad that all I do is cry. (Congratulations to Kathy & Joe on scoring a Grammy!)

Monday 2/24 - I took a new sleeping pill last night, which seemed to work better than the others,...I only woke up briefly one time. But today, oh brother, my mouth is so sore that yep you guessed it, I have been crying and crying and crying all damn day. I don't think I can ever drink enough water to replace what I've lost through all these tears.

So, that about winds it up for today. Sorry to bring ya down, but, hey - that's my life!

Saturday, February 15, 2003 6:05 PM CST

After yesterdays mini-rant, I thought you'd like something lighter, check out the new photographs. (Thanks, Steve!)

Well, it snowed again last night, maybe an inch or 2, and Sunday night we are expected to get 8 to 10 inches more. Steve has off on Monday so that means we'll be snowed in together, oh how romantic!

I'd also like to bring you up to speed on my CA 125 results. In October it was 763, December it was 958, in January 4 days prior to the first chemo it was 889 and this month four days prior to the 2nd treatment it went up to 1058. Yep, that's right, it went up after the first Doxil. So that gave me a little attitude about the drug but Dr. King insists that one of the properties of the Doxil is that it can take up to 4 treatments to show any results. So, you heard it here first, if there are no results in 4 treatments, I'm done with this crappy Doxil, mark my words! At this point, I really don't think I'll ever get down to the zero to 35 normal range for the CA 125. Seems hopeless to me. Oh well,...

All right then, I'll see you again sometime next week. Hope you all had a nice Valentine's Day, and if you go out on Monday, be sure to grab yourself some good President's Day sales! And, Aunt Marion, get well soon!

Friday, February 14, 2003 3:30 PM CST

Happy Valentine's Day to you all, and Happy President's Day weekend, too! I didn't do cards this year, and in fact, I didn't even get Steve a present. So, I put some ingredients in the bread machine and I am planning on making him a heart-shaped pizza for dinner. It's hard to be romantic when chemo gets in the way.

Did any of you see President Bush's speech to the FBI this afternoon? Well, I did, only because it interrupted the Soap Operas! Anyway, whether you agree or disagree with him, what is happening in the world right now is our new reality. My little life drama that you come here to read about hardly seems worth writing anymore, with all that is going on around us. Duct tape? Plastic sheeting? Bottled water? Smallpox vaccines? Huh??????? I wonder, why do I even bother trying to get well in an environment such as this?

And while I am on the subject, here is something else I have often thought about. After the events of 9/11, a small baby-boom was reported in the news media. You know, couples wanting to be closer together and all that. But, why on earth would anyone in their right mind choose to bring a baby into this world after the tragedy we as a nation suffered? What sense is there in that? What are these people thinking? "Oh, we've just been attacked by terrorists, war is on the horizon - hey, I know! Let's have a baby!" I just have to shake my head in disbelief! Are people really so selfish that they need to feel some sort of sick sense of accomplishment by having a baby? Is it that they think that maybe their child will by some miracle be the one to 'save the world'? (That is, if there is even a world left to save!) Do they feel like they have some kind of duty to complete 'the circle of life', and that by doing so, life will surely go on? Steve has some strong viewpoints on having children, some of which I agree with and some I don't. He says that babies are nothing more than possessions. And that the majority of people have them for purely selfish reasons that have more to do with themselves than with the child. In times like these, can anyone tell me what justifies bringing an innocent life into a world immersed in turmoil? Remember,...9/11, yellow alert, anthrax, bombing, orange alert, duct tape, plastic sheeting. Just curious.

In closing, I would like to share with you excerpts from 2 poems I read today in the newspaper. One is from the poem "Night on the Island" by Pablo Neruda:
I have slept with you
All night long while
The dark earth spins
With the living and the dead,
And on waking suddenly
In the midst of the shadow
My arm encircled your waist.
Neither night nor sleep
Could separate us.
Isn't that beautiful? Poetry is one of my favorite things, and I'm going to make it a point to get some of this poets work. The next one is kind of funny, from Margaret Atwood and it comes from a poem called "You Fit Into Me":
You fit into me
Like a hook into an eye
A fish hook
An open eye.
Ha Ha! I like that one! So, now I'd like to leave you today with one of my poems:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
My hair is coming out by the handfull,
Dr. King - I think I'm sort of mad at you.

Thursday, February 13, 2003 8:20 AM CST

This chemo sucks, and sucks, and sucks, and sucks, and sucks. Oh,....and did I mention - it SUCKS!

Tueday, February 4, 2003 4:38 PM CST

Hey there! I just got back from the Shop Rite, stocking up on comfort foods in preparation for the upcoming 2 weeks of chemo side-effects and reactions. Ick, my next treatment, #2, is scheduled for Thursday. I have to be at Dr. King's office at 12:30, then I'll go downstairs to the infusion center for the chemo. Steve is going to take the entire day off this time, since the train schedule just doesn't work out with this particular appointment time. Oh well, another week that we'll be in the poor house!

So, let's get on with a recap since my last entry. You'll notice yet another new graphic, courtesy of Caring Bridge. There is one more, sort of patriotic, that I'll try another time. I thought this one would be appropriate, given the circumstances of the Shuttle disaster. :-(

Well, Happy Black History Month, Happy Chinese New Year, and Happy Groundhog's Day (he saw his shadow - another 6 weeks of winter in store!). Not all that much is going on down here in "extreme Southern New Jersey", as the Philly news is now calling us. With this chemo, I'm not suppose to have any alcohol, and I really have not wanted any. But, Saturday night, Steve whipped us up this egg nog, to die for! It was absolutely delicious, he calls it a "Nipple Nog". (He made it using the ingredients of a "Dirty Nipple" drink.) Yum!

Sunday morning, we got up bright and early, and drove to the box office of the Merriam Theater in Philly. Why? Well, tickets went on sale at 10:00 for Jesus Christ Superstar. No, I'm not turning religious or anything! Sebastian Bach is playing Jesus, and as you know, I love his work on the theater stage. So much more than with his Skid Row days, although Denni & I did see them on several occasions! Oh boy, you will never guess,....we got front row seats! SWEET! Not in the center section, but stage right, the first 2 seats in the row. I CAN"T WAIT!!!! We chose the last show of the run, March 23rd, at 6:30. Should be interesting! From there, we stopped at a Red Lobster on the way home for some lunch, made a pit stop at home for about an hour, then we were on our way to Weehawkin, NJ (the last exit on the turnpike before NYC) to attend a surprise party for our friend Ean. He left today to spend a month in Australia, where he is from, and when he returns he will be moving almost immediately to the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Florida area. So, his housemate Erik got some of his friends to come over for an informal going away get-together starting at 6 pm. I hate the drive up to that part of the state, but once we were there, I got over it! We had never been to Weehawkin before, and let me tell you, what a view. There is a long winding scenic road and area along the water where you can see New York, it's really beautiful. It's almost like you could reach out and touch it! Ean & Erik watched the events of 9/11 unfold from there, that must have been surreal. Anyway, the party was a huge success, Ean was surprised, and very happy to see everyone. We had met some of this group at Ean's birthday gathering on the beach this summer, and I just want to say here for all to read, there couldn't be a nicer bunch of people! I'm very happy to have had the chance to meet all of them, and I hope we can stay in touch even without the common thread of Ean. There was food and music and interesting conversation, but alas, we had to leave around 9:30 due to the long 2 hour plus ride home. You know, I was tired and stuff! I guess we got home about 11:30, had a hot chocolate, then off to bed!

Yesterday, I ran out to do some errands for most of the afternoon, including some blood tests for Dr. King, and when Steve got home, he decided that we needed to celebrate Chinese New Year, the Year of the Sheep, or Ram if you so desire to call it. So he went out and got us some take-out Chinese and I set the table with all our chinese-themed plates, we had green tea, and even some sake`, although I realize that sake` is Japanese but the bottle matched all our dinnerware! And, guess what? When he got back home with the food, they got my order wrong and sweet thing that Steve is, he went right back out to get the right food! :-) Then, as a night cap, he made us another Nipple Nog!

Like I said already, today I went to the grocery store. I have to make sure I have enough mashed potato ingredients! (That's what I crave during chemo.) Tonight, I'm making one of my famous home-made pizzas, and maybe we'll have a beer. Tomorrow I have to start wearing loose clothing and eating & drinking differently, and to tell you the truth, I am not looking forward to the treatment and the subsequent down time. Oh well, just keep hoping that this works, at least somewhat.

OK, that is all I have for you today. Please don't be concerned if I don't come back here for awhile. I'll do an entry as soon as I feel up to it. In the meantime, I am going to try and get Steve to put up a few new pictures, if he has any time left over after taking care of me, that is! (haha!) C-ya!

Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 04:33 PM (CST)

Will miracles never cease, I am again, twice in one week, wahoooo! HaHa! Check out the new background of smiley faces that Caring Bridge is offering, isn't it cute? Don't expect to see it too much, though, you know how I'm usually in a dark and awful mood!

Well, it's snowing out, I guess it's been coming down since very early this morning. It doesn't seem to be sticking but it is slippery and the visibility is bad. Steve had to go over to Jefferson Pharmacy in Philly after work today to pick me up a prescription so I'm a little concerned about him getting home. He'll probably be a little later than usual, he likes to rescue people in the snow who are in distress. Sometimes I think he goes out of his way to find people he can help! I guess you are wondering, why all the way to Philly for a prescription? Well, it is for something that is made only by Jefferson pharmacists, the ingredients are not readily available in your neighborbood pharmacy.

Last night, Steve came home from work, got changed, and we went over to Philly for a Makers Mark bourbon event. You may remember that we attended one of these last year at a restaurant called Top Dog in Cherry Hill. This time, the man in charge of Makers Mark himself, Bill Samuels, hosted the party. He was in town giving a lecture at Wharton College and decided to host a get-together with some of his local 'Ambassadors', which we are. (Dad, I thought we might see you there!) It was held in an ultra trendy Stephen Starr owned restaurant/bar called POD, located in the University City area. I've wanted to go there since it opened awhile ago, and this was the perfect chance. It started at 7, and we were there on time, however, it took us forever to find a parking space. Once inside, it was cool. The place is decorated in a sort of futuristic motif, kind of right out of a Clockwork Orange, or Star Trek, with minimalistic colors and wide open spaces, plastic-type chairs and benches, odd-ball restrooms, and a sushi bar that has a conveyor belt that serves you your order. There are also several 'pods' where you sit, enclosed, in a pod. These pods are bathed in light, and you can change the color to whatever you want, it's really neat! We met Bill Samuels right away, he got us some drinks, (me, a soda!) and we mingled and before you know it, there was our friend Michael Tearson. We all hung out for a bit, just talking and stuff, and by about 9:00, both Bill & Michael, and some of the others, had decided to leave. But, we stayed. Hey, we were hungry! We weren't sure if there would be food at this event like there was at Top Dog. (There wasn't!) So, what started out as a free event, quickly turned into something else! Like, a $30 something else, haha! We were escorted to a 'mini' table that was set into the wall below a street level window, and we proceeded to order a few appetizers. They were certainly yummy, and our waitress was funny, she kept wanting to beat Steve over the head with her serving tray! Anyway, we left out of there, and walked back to the car, and we were right smack on the edges of a police event. There was crime scene tape roping off a section of the block and the street, 5 or 6 police vans and cars, 2 ambulances, photographers, even a victim laying on the curb, it was wild! We had no idea what was going on, but I did remember seeing the Channel 6 news van drive by our window at POD. We watched for a bit but then we had to move it along, but only after we saw all these little markers of some sort on the ground, Steve speculated they were marking out bullets or something! Hmmmmm, wonder what that was all about. I didn't see anything in the paper today, or on the news yet, so who knows.

OK, I gotta go now, Roswell is coming on! Bye!

Monday, January 27, 2003 at 03:42 PM (CST)

Well, well, well! Here I am, finally! I tried to log onto the 'author update' section of this journal last Thursday, but try as I may, I just wasn't able to access the page. Technical difficulties at Caring Bridge, I guess. So, I said, "Screw it", (I learned that term from my mom, haha!)and copped an attitude. Imagine that, me, attitude! Anyway, I thought I'd try again today, so get ready for your long awaited update!

As you know from my last entry, the side effects of the Doxil were really getting to me, they are just far too long lasting. But don't worry, if Dr. King gives me the medical go-ahead, I'll try to keep on with it. Every day I felt a slight bit better, not much, mind you. But, better none the less. Last Monday, the 20th, was my dad's birthday, Happy Birthday Dear Old Dad!!!! It was also the day my friend Jeff had an out-patient hernia operation, ouch! But, he's doing fine. I ventured out that day, to the Quest lab to do a blood test for Dr. King. No problem with the needle this time, and I was in and out of there in a flash. As you can probably guess, I still have not heard from the doctor's office about any results yet. Typical. But just getting dressed, driving to the lab and coming home got me exhausted!

Wednesday, mom came over in the afternoon and drove me to the train station. I met Steve in Cherry Hill and we went over to the movie theater for a "Biker Boyz" movie event. No, I'm not into motorcycles, not the least! But, prior to the movie screening, several stars of the movie were going to be doing a 'meet and greet'. One of these people was Brendan Fehr. Did any of you ever watch the t.v. series "Roswell" on the WB network or UPN? (It is being shown again on the Sci-Fi channel now). He played a character named Michael Guerrin, a bad boy but lovable alien, and I really enjoyed the show. So, that is the reason we went. I was armed with some of the Roswell paperback books that I thought I'd get him to sign. We get there, and were directed to the screening area, and the entire lobby was full of all these bikers! All wearing their colors and jackets and leather, it was surreal! We kind of just hung out in the back, and finally they started letting us in. We get through the initial entrance, and decided to go over to the signing table before going in to get a seat. Mistake! First thing, Brendan was no where to be seen. We sort of just observed for awhile, then made our way (me - disappointed!) to the theater door. But, when we got there, they had roped it off, the theater was full to capacity! Now, there I was, feeling crappy, and disappointed, after having bothered my mother and taken the train, for what? Oh man! Well, don't feel to bad for me, because, in true Steve & Anna style, we just walked into the theater next door and saw "Adaptation". And what a great movie this was, I'm sure it was way better than Biker Boyz, that's for sure! I think Merryl Streep is a fabulous actress, and even Nicholas Cage surprised me with his dual role. Good movie, I highly encourage you to see it!

The next few days, I increasingly felt better, I even went to the Shoprite on Friday, and then after I rested a little, when Steve got home we up and went over to Maynard's in Margate for Happy Hour. We haven't been there since Big Al's 76th birthday party in August, and we had heard that he was having some legal troubles. Seems that one of his employees was caught dealing drugs out of the kitchen and the state wants to take away his liquor license. We couldn't believe it when we heard this, Al Troiano is such a wonderful man and has done so many great things for his community. There is a web site you can visit if you are interested, I hope I get this right! It should be - if not let me know! We were hoping to see Al or Uncle Phil, but they never made an appearance. The food was pretty good, 4 hot trays of pastas and rice dishes. I had a rootbeer, a bit of food and guess what? Uncle Phil had made his photo collage of Al's birthday bash and once again we have a photo up on the wall! Cool! That makes our third one! By now it was about 7:30 and I was oh so tired so we headed home.

Super Bowl Sunday marked our annual get-together for people who really don't care about the Super Bowl, but in reality it sure does seem like we all were interested in the game! Denni, Hugh and Jason made it over, and we had lots of food (Denni & Hugh, the giant hoagie was delicious!) and I think we all enjoyed the company of good friends. The general opinion was that the commercials just weren't that great this year. But, Steve & I both chose the winning team, although I picked them because, one - they beat the Eagles (why don't people in New Jersey root for their own team???) and two - they have really cool shiny pants!

Believe it or not, we have movie screening passes tonight for "Final Destination II", but we are staying home. It's bitterly cold and I am still tired and a little queasy. Steve should be here any minute, so I have to go and see what I can rustle up for dinner. I'll try to be back here again in a more timely fashion. Bye!

Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 04:04 PM (CST)

To all of you who have checked back here each and every day to see if I've updated my journal, I'd like to thank you for the support you have continued to show throughout the previous days, months and years. I guess you are wondering what has been going on. Well, it has been pretty crappy around here. Our office visit with Dr. King went well, she was still apologizing for the 'miscommunication' from the other week. ( :-} ) The chemo itself went ok, I guess it took about 2 hours total. First I had to get a pre-chemo infusion of 2 different drugs, then the infusion of the Doxil. I really didn't feel too bad, and I guess I jumped the gun because it had me thinking that the entire ordeal would be a piece of cake. WRONG! Friday, I was also feeling pretty good, no nausea or anything, basically just a bit tired. But, as the days went on, each day got worse than the previous one. Now, here it is one full week after the chemo, and I STILL feel nauseous and generally awful. I won't bore you with any other side effects details, but it has not been fun. And poor Steve, he's the one who has to deal with miserable old me. Anyway, there is one good thing I feel the need to report, and that is - some of the abdominal swelling has indeed gone away! So, cross your fingers and toes, and Linda start dancing, maybe this is a good sign. ????? OK, I can't stand to be away from the comfort of my sofa and blankie, so I'll talk to you some other day when I hopefully will emerge from this chemo funk and feel a little better.

Thursday, January 09, 2003 at 11:32 AM (CST)

Here it is, Thursday about 12:30 in the afternoon. I am dressed and ready, waiting for Steve to come home. He took a half a day today so he could take me up to Philly. I have to be at Dr. King's office around 2, to meet with her and her nurse Jeannette or Judy, then I'll be going downstairs to Bodine Infusion for my 1st chemo treatment. I had my blood drawn on Monday at a local lab, was too short of notice to have my home nurse come over and use my port, so I had to go there and have it done in my arm. No matter how many times I tell people that I have trouble when I do it this way, no one seems to want to listen. The nurse had no problem finding a vein and sticking me, however, when she withdrew the needle, well - I wouldn't stop bleeding. It was messy and disgusting, I guess it took almost 15 minutes to stop it. Man oh man, will anyone ever listen to me? Anyway, all looked well with my blood as of yesterday afternoon, so here we go again. I have agreed to the Doxil treatments, I have been assured that this drug is well tolerated, and that I will have minimal to no hair loss, which is a good thing at this particular time (right RC & Mary?!!!!), but there are a few side effects and precautions I have to take, both 72 hours before and 72 hours after the infusion. With all that said, I can't promise when I'll be back to update this journal, but don't worry, you can't get rid of me that easily!

Later! (Peg, I'm thinking PINK!)

Friday, January 03, 2003 at 05:20 PM (CST)

It has been raining here since last night, rain rain rain and more rain, it's windy and cold and miserable,...doesn't that sound like the beginnings of a really good country song? Haha!

Let me tell you about the disaster of a day I had yesterday. Mom came over, and she drove us up to Dad & Rita's. It was a nice ride, and we didn't get lost or anything thanks to the map Steve drew for us, but at about one quarter of the way there, mom started with the "are we there yet" routine, I swear sometimes I wonder who is the parent and who is the child, haha! From there, dad drove us to Jefferson, and when we got to Dr. King's office we were surprised to see that Steve had beat us there. I went over to the desk to sign in and Cindy says "Ann Marie, what are you doing here? You don't have an appointment." "Yes I do," I say. "No," everyone is shaking their heads, "no you don't." WHAT THE HECK???????? Turned out, Dr. King left for the day already, and was I ever upset! I didn't understand! I just stood there, dumbfounded, with mom, Rita, dad & Steve just sitting there, wondering what is going on. In a nutshell, when Dr. King made the appointment at my last visit in November, she specifically chose this day as she was on vacation and was planning on coming into the office to do some paperwork, and she thought that would be a great time for us to talk. Well, the girls in the office never entered it in the computer, so therefore I "was not in the system." Now, right after my last appointment with Dr. Komarnicky, I faxed her the details of that visit and said I'd see her at 3 pm on January 2nd, and I called the office on Monday to make sure that Dr. King was aware I was bringing my family with me, you know, to make sure it was ok with her and to give her time to prepare. Cindy said, oh no, she won't mind, we'll see you then. OK, so, what happened? Here we all are, and no Dr. King! Cindy opened my file, and sure enough, there was the fax with the appointment written on it clear as a bell. Yet, they still forgot about me. You can't imagine how that felt. To be there with my family, ready to discuss my upcoming treatment plan, after making the arrangements to get there, after Steve took 2 hours off from work to be there, and no doctor. They paged her, she was on the train going home to take care of one of her children who had a medical emergency. Now, I understand that mistakes are made, that everyone is only human, but I am a patient of hers, I pay her to take care of me, to be the expert,...I have my own medical emergency going on with regard to my actual life and death. So many things were going through my mind, I really didn't know how to proceed. So, what I did do, with some help from dad, was request a copy of my medical file which Cindy copied some of since it was so big, she promised to finish the rest and mail it to me. She wanted me to come back this morning, but I said no so she assured me that Dr. King would call me. I know everyone in the office felt bad, but not as bad as we all felt. This was the first time I involved my family, and what a disappointment it was.

But, we all got over it, and headed out to dinner! Dad & Rita took us to a really neat Chinese Buffet, and man did we all eat ourselves silly! Steve had dessert first, second and third, he was so happy! Then we went back to their house where dad played the piano for us, then we left for home. (Oh, by the way, there is indeed a KFC on Rt 73, right past the CVS!)

We got home at about 9-ish, and the phone rang at about 9:35. Yes, it was Dr. King and she was so upset at what happened, said there was no excuse for it, she was so sorry and embarrassed by the situation, and I believed her but that doesn't take it away now, does it? We both talked to her a little while, about her ideas and some of our questions, and she said she'd call me today when she was at the office with my chart. Well, she finally called me at about 4:30 today and we talked some more. She wants to start me on a drug called Doxil, next Thursday. So, we'll see what happens. I have to get a complete blood work up first, and I'll have to go to her office to sign the release, then to Bodine for the first infusion. I agreed to it all, but I'm still not sure about it. We'll see.

OK, Steve is home from work now, so I have to go rustle up some grub. Have a great weekend, stay dry!

Wednesday, January 01, 2003 at 09:02 PM (CST)

Happy New Year to you all! Whatever you did last night, I hope you had a safe and fun time. We, on the other hand, bombed out. Let me explain,.....

Steve worked a full day, when he got home we kicked around a couple of things to do and decided to go out to a local restaurant right down the road, Goodfellows. They were having a special New Year's Eve menu, then a prize-filled balloon drop when Dick Clark dropped the ball at midnight, along with a champagne toast. As we were leaving, Paul and his family were shooting off fireworks out in the school yard, they were really cool! The restaurant was empty and the bar almost empty, it was weird. We ordered, and from there it went downhill. Half of my food was missing from the plate, and by the time the waitress came back to check on us, it was too late to ask what happened. Had I waited for her, the food would have been cold. As it stands, it was horrible. The salad was awful - I'd bet it came from a package, the lettuce was mushy and brown and everything was bitter. My mashed potatoes were obviously from a box, plain, no butter was offered. Steve said his food was absolutely tasteless,....and the meal cost us $50!!!!!! She never brought us water, and never even took away our salad plates or checked on if we needed more drinks. And, they added an 18% gratuity automatically to our bill. It was just the worst, suffice it to say, we won't be back there for dinner anytime soon. After that part of the night was over, we moved to the bar where Dick Clark was on the giant tv, our champagne toast was poured and soon it was midnight and the prize-filled balloons were dropped. Well, the champagne was disgusting, but we did score some prizes from the balloons,....a Guiness beer t-shirt, a free dessert coupon, and 2 free appetizer coupons. Looks like we will be coming back there after all,....but only because they owe us, hahaha! So, we were home at about 12:45, and Steve promptly mixed us each us a yummy chocolate martini.

Today, as I have been for the last few days, I am fighting off a headache. Believe it or not, I stayed in my pj's the entire day! I'm just so tired, and miserable, and guess what? It rained and rained and rained, and the Mummer's Parade was cancelled! I always put that darn thing on the tv. Steve hates it, so I guess that makes me want to put it on all the more, haha! Anyway, it was odd not having it on, doesn't seem like New Year's Day with out it. So, maybe that was another reason I was in a funk all day!

Tomorrow, mom is coming to get me, we are going over dad & Rita's, then heading over to Dr. King's office where Steve will meet us and we will be having our big consultation. I'll keep you posted.

Oh, and the movie we went to see the other night was "Kangaroo Jack", which was pretty silly and funny, rated PG, the theater was full of kids but we sat in the back so it was ok. After it, we snuck into the theater next door to see "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers". This was a totally miserable 3 long hours. I don't know why I would have even thought I might enjoy this movie, as I didn't much care for the first movie last year. I hated it, so much so that I told Steve, I will not go see the 3rd and final movie in the series. No way! There was only one scene in this movie that was any good, and it was all of about 2 seconds, and Steve missed it. And there was one scene that was the absolute most stupid sentence I have ever heard uttered in a serious movie, if any of you saw the movie and want to know what it was, call or e-mail me, I'd be happy to share my observance!

OK, that's it for this dreary New Year's Day. Steve put up some new photos for you to look at, and he wrote the captions which I am keeping on. #1 is of me ice skating, #2 is our wine bottle christmas tree and #3 is me last night at the bar holding our prizes. C-ya!

Monday, December 30, 2002 at 12:44 PM (CST)

Hi! I'm here this eve of New Year's Eve to give you an update from sick bay! My voice is just about back to normal, that's a big relief, how weird it's been not to have a voice. I'm barely coughing, and just a bit stuffy and sniffly. Maybe it's just about over,...cross your fingers!

Saturday afternoon, we made the long (!) drive up to Denni & Hugh's for their holiday party. It was a nice time. We got to meet many of their "sci-fi" friends, and Ken was there on a short visit home from Seattle. It's always interesting to see him! Afterwards, we stopped at Ikea, and then it was right home, I was tired out, as usual!

Yesterday, I slept and just flopped around. Steve made me an afternoon martini, and after dinner we had a beer. Trying to drown out all my pains, haha!

During the last few weeks, we've had several movie screening passes, but we ended up deciding not to attend. I felt crappy, and it was just too hectic. Well, we have another one for tonight. This time, it's in New Jersey instead of Philly, imagine that! So, I'm going to take the train and meet Steve in Cherry Hill, where the movie is. This screening is early, 6:30 instead of the usual 7:30 and I'm sorry but I forget the name of it so you'll have to wait until I come back with my review!

Well, that's about it for today. We still have no plans for New Year's eve, but don't worry - I'm sure something will present itself!

Oh, and Linda,....I am so totally upset about DearMom Pauline. I am truely sorry for your loss. You know how much I cared about her, I have many many fond memories of the times I spent with her. Please give the rest of the family my deepest condolences.

Talk to you all next year!

Friday, December 27, 2002 at 02:19 PM (CST)

WHEW! ! ! I survived Christmas, hahahahaha! Today I am feeling a slight bit better, and I can almost say that I think I'm about to finally come out of this cold, or whatever it is. I don't seem to be coughing as much, nor am I as stuffed up, but I can say that I sure am t-i-r-e-d, I feel like I could sleep all day and night and day and night again.

Our annual Christmas Eve party was really nice, mom came over, and Sugar, and Denni & Hugh, and Paul. With such a small group, it was easy to give these special people the attention they deserve. Christmas Day was even nicer. Mom, Dad, Rita, Jackie & Mike came over for dinner, which this year was a no-frills, bare bones feast. All turned out well, thanks to everyone's help, (Rita, you always do too much!), but I did disrupt things a few times due to fits of coughing. We exchanged gifts, ate and drank, and just enjoyed each others company. It was nice! The big conversation piece of both days was of course the Now We're All Dead painting! I called it "The Jeffrey Margraf One Piece Show at Steve & Anna's Cohansey Avenue Gallery", and I think it was a huge success! Anyway, for those of you who are curious, we really did not have a theme this year. However, Steve and I took a year-long winemaking course from September 2001-September 2002, so our tree reflected this. It was a tree branch with empty wine bottles sticking on the branches, with some ornaments and red lights. I guess you would have had to see it to appreciate it! (We have a 'theme' every year).

Needless to say, I was exhausted so Thursday I just took it easy. Today I am cleaning up and stuff, but I am still trying to take it easy. Tomorrow Denni & Hugh are having a holiday party, so we will be making the trip up to Hatboro, PA for that in the afternoon.

I hope everyone had a good holiday, I'll talk to you again real soon! Maybe by then, I'll be over this germ!

Monday, December 23, 2002 at 09:57 AM (CST)

Hello to all of you on this hectic morning, two days before Christmas. I am still feeling sickly, notice I didn't say crappy so I must feel a little bit better! Throat is still sore, I am still coughing and believe it or not, I still have no voice! Oh well, welcome to my world!

First things first, I heard from Dr. King on Friday. My CA 125 is up, way way up, to 958. This obviously is not a good thing, I'll let you draw your own conclusions. Needless to say, I will more than likely be bald for the 3rd time, real soon. OK, that's that.

Over the weekend, Steve and I tried to get the house together for the holiday. I don't know why, but always at Christmas-time I like to rearrange the furniture. Oh how Steve hates this! But, I promised him this would be the last year I'll do it. He just rolls his eyes! Like, "yeah, sure!" Anyway, we still don't have everything done, and we don't have our tree up yet. I just am not in the spirit of things this year. I didn't send cards, or call anyone,...well, I don't have a voice so there's one excuse! Oh well, so be it. We are having some friends over tomorrow night on Christmas Eve, and our families are coming here for Christmas dinner, it all should be interesting, to say the least!

Well, I hope Santa is good to all of you. I'll talk to you after the holiday. Oh, and I'd like to say that RC told me last night,...the name of the dude behind PT Sally in the photo is Armando, sorry dude but I just couldn't remember! Jingle bells to all!

* * * * * * * * * * * * DANIEL W. MICHEL 1936-2002 * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * R I P * * * * * * * * * * * *

Friday, December 20, 2002 at 08:26 AM (CST)

Hello people. I'm here with your update on my stinking rotten life. [ :-) ] As you are aware, I have not been feeling all that well, since about the week before Thanksgiving,...weird pains, sniffles, sneezing, fatigue, things like that. Well, Monday night, I went to bed and never fully woke up until Wednesday morning! Of course I got up to pee (!) several times, and when Steve got home from work Tuesday night he made me some mashed potatoes, but other than that, I was out like a light. I was so tired, and stuffed up, and I ached all over, oh poor pitiful me! I am coughing, sniffling, sneezing, and I have no voice, it's awful. Steve, however, likes the no voice part of it! So I guess you could say I have some kind of cold germ, and it sucks. I've been popping night time and day time cold pills like crazy and before you ask, no I have not been to my family doctor.

OK, enough of my complaining, for now anyway, heehee! I had an appointment with Dr. Komarnicky yesterday at 3 pm. As is the usual, I was planning on taking the train there, and Steve would take off a little early to meet me. Well, he surprised me, and came home after working only half a day, he didn't want me to take the train and be even more miserable, isn't that sweet? He'll make some lucky woman a great husband someday! The office visit went well, it was nice to see all the girls again, and even Angelo. Dr. Komarnicky said the node is indeed shrinking, but as was the case with the tumor she treated last year, it will probably take a full year to disappear completely. Also, the CAT Scan showed several other spots in my neck, lymph nodes that are worth keeping an eye on but that do not meet the criterea to be considered questionable yet. So, I have another follow-up visit scheduled with her in June,...Linda & Lynn, start the dance!!!! And, don't stop, dance dance dance and dance some more!!!!! Oh, and I mentioned to her my tummy pains, and she looked at me and started laughing. Huh? Then she says, she's thinking it could be an ulcer, that everything I told her describes that to a tee so she says she could tell right away but she would need to do a rectal exam! She was laughing because she knew I wouldn't go for that,....and I didn't! I barely have that pain anymore so I told her, I'll pass on that right now! But, I'm sure she'll tell Dr. King and on January 2nd I'll probably tell you OUCH!

After the appointment, well, yes, I really just wanted to go home, but there was this free thing happening that we just could not pass up. I know, call us crazy! It was called "Winterfest", an event held at the Class of 1923 indoor Ice Skating Rink at Penn, at 3130 Walnut Street near 30th Street Station and the U of P. From 5:30 to 8 pm, you could ice skate for free, skate rental was $1, and they had hot chocolate and snacks. We go, park, get our skates and man was it cold in there! It actually was warmer outside than in there! We lace up and stumble out onto the ice. Well, I chickened out and just stood at the entranceway for a few minutes talking to a nice man who dared not go on the ice either. I turn my head to talk to Steve, and he's not there! He's all the way at the end of the rink! He sees me look for him and comes back holding the railing. OK, now I go, holding the railing and his hand and he proceeds to tell me, he fell! Right on his butt while I was talking to that man,....I missed it, crud! I would have laughed so hard! We make it halfway around the rink, exit and go for some snacks and hot chocolate, enter again and boy has it gotten crowded. We make it around, go out the door, unlace the skates and we're out of there! I have not ice skated since high school, it was weird! And, then Steve says, he's NEVER ice skated before! It was sort of fun, but I can safely say I have no desire to do it again! We got in the car and came home and I went to bed, but I'm sure that doesn't surprise you!

Today it is rainy and windy but it doesn't feel too cold. I have some errands to run, which I wish I didn't but I do, so I guess I better go get in the shower. Have a nice weekend, try to stay out of the malls!

Monday, December 16, 2002 at 03:05 PM (CST)

Good afternoon everyone! I just returned home from the grocery store, man it was empty in there, I guess everyone is out Christmas shopping. Friday, Paul took me to the train station, and I was on my way to Bodine to get my port accessed for the CAT scan. Wouldn't you know it, the high speed line was running really slow, so I didn't get in to Philly until 2 pm, which was the time of my scan appointment. So I decided to go there first, check in and drink the yukky stuff, then I went over to get the needle put in. The infusion center was not nearly as busy as last week, and I was in and out in a flash. When I left the house, it was sunny and windy, now when I left Bodine to go back to the CAT scan office, it was suddenly dark and rainy, and I had no umbrella or anything! Oh no, here we go again! Anyway, the scan was interesting,....they had never dealt with injecting the dye through a port so the doctor came in and injected it manually through a needle instead of the usual tubing, very odd. And afterwards, I needed to use the rest room, but oh my gosh you wouldn't believe how nasty it was, I turned around and walked right out! This office was a different one than I usually go to, and I will not ever go back there again, that's for sure! Back over to Bodine in the wind and rain and cold, and much to my surprise, I ran into a dear friend of mine there, getting chemo. Out of respect for her privacy, I can't tell you who it was at this time, but I was both very happy to see her and her husband, but very sad and disturbed at the same time. If you are reading this, I'll be in touch soon when you're feeling a bit better. Steve met me there as I was getting de-accessed by Ro, and we were soon back out in the rain. From there, we went over to Jewelers Row, to Steven Singer Jewelers. They were having a "Happy Hour" promotion with munchies and cocktails, it was really neat. We had a bit of food, and a drink that tasted like Kool-Aid made out of Bombay Gin, and we were shown a beautiful selection of diamonds and wedding bands by John, no pressure or anything. It was pretty cool! From there we went over to the office of Cinderella Weddings in Cherry Hill to pick up our engagement photo, and it looks really good if I say so myself! Linda, I am wearing my fairy top, wait until you see it! Then, we stopped at a restaurant for some good food, I can't remember the name of it but it was some sort of Grille or something. I hadn't eaten since breakfast (except for the munchies at the jewelry store) due to the CAT scan, so I was starving! Then we went home where I promptly went to bed!

Saturday we were up and out early as we had an MS conference at the Hyatt in Philly to attend. It was sort of informative, even if one of the speakers just droned on and on. After that, we went over to the Reading Terminal Market for a bit, and ended up having a nice lunch there. On Friday, I had called my friend Denni and her mom told me she and Hugh were attending Philcon at the Marriott in Center City. Well, the Marriott is right next door to the Reading Terminal Market, so we walked over and tried to find them, but we had no luck. We called their room but they weren't there, and we walked all around the convention but they were no where to be found. Oh well, we tried!

Sunday we visited mom a little while (glad you like the loveseat!) and just did some things around here. Nothing much going on here this week, except my follow-up appointment with Dr. Komarnicky on Thursday. I'll be back again in a few days, be good!

Friday, December 13, 2002 at 10:56 AM (CST)

Happy Friday the 13th to you all! I am leaving in a matter of minutes to catch the train(s) into Philly for the dreaded CAT scan. As usual, Steve will pick me up around 4:30, I just hope the rain holds off until then!

Our Wellness Community Holiday Party on Wednesday night was really nice, the food was excellent and it was so good to see all the nice people we have met through the various programs we have attended, especially Suzette and Lisa, and "Chief". Afterwards, Steve & I went outside to check out Suzette's new Patriot Blue PT Cruiser, sweet!

From there, we went to Kohl's and K-Mart on the way home as they were open until midnite for a special holiday sale, but we didn't buy anything. So, that's either a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it! We didn't spend any money, which is good, but no one got any X-mas presents, which is a bad thing!

Oh, the Guns n' Roses riot aftermath photos can be found at this site:
- when you get to it, click on the big square '' box, then click on the 'what's new' heading.

Paul just called, offering me a ride up to the train station, how nice! Too cold to walk there, and I really hate leaving the car there so I really appreciate his offer. OK, gotta go!

Wednesday, December 11, 2002 at 02:08 PM (CST)

Here it is, a dark and rainy afternoon, and I'm about to leave for the train station. I'll be meeting Steve in Cherry Hill, and from there we are going to the Wellness Community Annual Christmas Party, which is from 6 to 8. I'm very glad it is rain and not snow, navigating through those winding roads in Fairmount Park would not be fun, I'm sure.

Monday afternoon, Paul drove me to the train station in his brand new candy apple red mustang. What a cool car! It's low like the Fiero was,...well, not quite as low, and very sporty. I knew I'd get a ride in it sooner or later! Dad & Rita met me in Cherry Hill, and we went over to Philly for my neck CAT scan. First, we had to stop at Bodine Infusion so I could get my port accessed and my CA 125 drawn, then we went around the block to the Radiology office. Once the x-ray was done, we had to go back to Bodine so I could get the needle taken out of my port, and then we were homebound. Steve actually beat us there by about 10 minutes! Anyway, that's done, now come Friday I have the rescheduled chest/pelvis/abdomen CAT scan,....will it ever end???? After we left Dad & Rita's, we had a few things to do, then decided to stop at an IHOP for a bite to eat. I must tell you, they had Pumpkin Pancakes on their 'specials' board, and they were scrumptious! Go have some, delicious!

Cinderella Weddings just called me, our 'engagement' photo is ready to be picked up so we might try and stop by on Friday to get it. Imagine that, an engagement photo and we're not even engaged! HaHa! Oh well, it was free, the magic word!

Well, it's official, the Guns n' Roses tour has been cancelled! We heard the news on the radio Monday night, and it was in the newspaper yesterday. Some of the local Philly radio stations who were involved in giving away tickets to the shows have stated that they want to enforce a G n' R ban on their stations! Too bad the other members of this new incarnation of the band have to suffer for the acts of Axl Rose. Still no real insight on what exactly happened in Philly, but Steve found a web site that has some pictures of the aftermath of the 'riot', I think it is - check it out and if that's wrong, let me know and I'll double check with him.

Gotta go, see you later!

Monday, December 09, 2002 at 07:27 AM (CST)

Friday night, we go to the First Union Center for the Guns n' Roses concert. By the time we get there, I guess I'm kind of looking forward to it. We made our way to our seats and what crappy seats they were. Well, actually, the vantage point was pretty good, it's just that they were in the second level, and the steps are so steep, and there is absolutely no leg room what-so-ever, very uncomfortable. I tell Steve, I don't think I can stay here. He gimaces, and I know he's thinking, "Well, what do you want to do?" but he doesn't say it! We watch the first band (at 7:30), locally-based CKY, then Mix Master Mike (from the Beastie Boys) came out and did his turntable thing (boring! I actually booed!). Now it's maybe 9:15, and so far I'm ok in the crappy seat, barely anyone from our row showed up so that was a plus. They said this show was sold out, but the Center was not filled up, there were tons of empty seats. Anyway, 10:00 comes, 10:15, 10:30, 10:45, no Axl. The crowd is growing restless and I guess the crew senses it, so every now and then they send out a cloud of smoke from the smoke machine and one or two bursts from the pyro bin. This appeases them for a few minutes, but geez, where the heck is the band? 11:00, no Axl. 11:15 and this crowd has had enough! One person (in the section next to us) throws a soda cup down towards the stage. And, that's all it took, because then all kinds of things were being thrown; cups, food and empty food containers, anything they could find. Then, they started trashing the floor area, throwing the chairs around, onto the sound equipment, and onto the stage. It was mayhem! Ceiling tiles were being ripped down and thrown, seats torn out, people were yelling and hollering, neat! Now, I kind of liked our seats, high enough so as to be out of range of the bad stuff that was happening, and perfect for seeing all that was going on! Steve called Action News in the middle of it, and I guess it was about 11:30 when a dude came on the PA and made the announcement that Guns n' Roses was cancelling 'due to illness'. Illness my ass! (sorry!) I know from my experience of working on their tour back in 1992 that this was almost certainly not the reason. Now I was regretting not being back stage, but in the long run I guess it wouldn't have been worth the risk (some of you will know what I mean). Anyway, we finally made it outside and to the truck safely, although a thrown bottle almost did come close to hitting me. There were fire engines, and tons of cops, and news helicopters flying all up in the sky, cool! But, you know, none of this would have happened if only the venue would have made the announcement much earlier then they did. They had us waiting there for 2 hours, and I am sure they knew long before-hand. Oh well, they paid the price for the delay, didn't they? I was a bit disappointed, I thought 10 years would have changed Axl for the better but I guess he's still up to his old tricks. We watched several news broadcasts when we got home, and on Saturday morning but they were still sticking to the 'illness' story. In Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer, they said that Axl was watching some kind of sports game on the tv and didn't want to leave it,....yep, that sounds like the old Axl I know! They had a show Sunday night at the First Union Spectrum, which was also cancelled, and neither of these dates will be made up. Oh well!
Yesterday, (Sunday), we went over to Bally's Casino in Atlantic City for a matinee Charlie Prose Show. The show was to have began at 3:30, but soon it was 3:45 and no Charlie. I thought, oh no, not another riot! (HaHa!) But, no, nothing like that happened! As usual, the show was really great. Charlie added some really funny new jokes, and David as always was superb, what a fabulous singer! It was nice to see Dennis, and Marie, and of course Linda and Charlie! Colin and Judy were there, that was a pleasant surprise, and Lynn, Bob, Peggy and her 2 kids were also there. We had a good time. Afterwards, Steve and I went over to the bar and had a martini, and let me tell you this, all my pains just melted away for the next hour or so, sweet!
Today, I am taking the train to Cherry Hill where Dad & Rita will pick me up and take me to my neck CAT scan appointment. Brrrr, it's pretty cold out so I am not looking forward to waiting for the train, but hey, no big deal!
That's about it for now. Oh, if you have a few minutes, check out my new photo page!

Friday, December 06, 2002 at 01:18 PM (CST)

Hello there! I have been trying to log onto this Caring Bridge site since yesterday to update my journal, but for some reason or another I kept getting an "error" message. It's been very frustrating, but here I am, finally! I wanted to let you all know that I did not make it to my abdomen/pelvis/chest CAT scan yesterday. It started snowing about 4 in the morning, and continued throughout the day so that really messed up my plans. Philadelphia declared a snow emergency early in the day, and the high speed line as well as NJ Transit were running way behind schedule. So, I just did not feel like dealing with all that, you know - trudging all around in the snow, and being out in the cold and stuff. Man, did it snow! I heard today that some areas around here got 7 inches - wow! I also heard that the high speed line was not able to go over the Ben Franklin bridge at one point and people were being bussed over to Philly. Glad I stayed home, I guess, but I really did want to get the test over and done with so I could maybe have some light shed on this mysterious pain in my abdomen. Oh well. I was able to reschedule it for next week,....Friday the 13th! Oooooooh!
Tonight is Guns n' Roses in Philly. I was really excited when I won the tickets, but with the way I have been feeling lately, I honestly don't care about it. Strange, huh? Those of you who know me, will shake your head in amazement. She doesn't care about Axl Rose??? Hmmmmm? Anyway, some of you will be pleasantly surprised to know that I did not, repeat - did not - pursue backstage passes. As much as I would have enjoyed re-visiting an exciting and fun-filled memory [ :-) ], I most certainly do not want to re-visit the ugly awfulness that seemed to 'follow me' home from that period. (Was that a nice way of putting it?) So, I'll cherish the good memories, check out the new and improved Axl Rose from our safe seats, and return home to let you know all about it!
Monday, I have a neck CAT scan in Philly, if there is no snow emergency, that is! Dad & Rita will be picking me up in Cherry Hill, and Steve will get me at their house.
Oh, if any of you are up between 6 and 8 am for the next 3 Saturdays, tune your radio to WMGK-FM 102.9. Our friend, local radio personality Michael Tearson is featuring vintage holiday music, plus musical ideas for Christmas shopping.
OK, that's that for now, stay warm!
( ( Happy Birthday Julie!!!! ) )

Tuesday, December 03, 2002 at 09:27 AM (CST)

Ok, where do I begin? Let's see,...last week, from Tuesday evening thru Friday morning, we had the pleasure of babysitting Fred (the cat next door), he's pretty cool! Tuesday night, we went up to Philly to see the advance screening of "Extreme Ops". Suzette, you probably would have liked this movie, it has lots of extreme sports footage in it, related to snow mostly. But the plot left something to be desired, I guess this is the type of movie you really should not try to follow or think too much about. They did give out posters, so that was a plus. We saw Nathan there, and he absolutely hated "8 Crazy Nights", said he gave it 'less than zero' stars in his review! He cracks me up, we never seem to agree!
Now is the part where I tell you I have not been feeling good. Well, you probably know that already but let me explain it to you. All last week, I had been having these strange pains in my abdomen. As the days went on, the pains became worse and now by Wednesday my abdomen was bloated and hard and it really really hurt. I didn't feel nauseous or anything like that, it was (and is) really weird. We had to go to bed early Wednesday night because we had to get up at 4 am Thursday for the parade. Well, I was in bed about 8:30, and let me tell you, what a bad night I had, the worst in a long long time. I barely slept, the pain was so bad, not only my abdomen but my back pains as well. It was truely harrible! Trooper that I am, I got up and got ready for the parade, Steve was surprised, he really thought I'd want to cancel. Not me! Ignorance is bliss, right?! Anyway, you should have seen us, all bundled up! The weather forecast said bone-chilling cold and gusty winds. I was prepared, this is what I wore: 3 thermal bottoms, 3 pairs of socks, 2 thermal tops, 1 turtleneck, a pair of leg warmers, 1 pair of jeans, 3 pairs of gloves, a scarf and a hat and sneakers, and a down jacket to top it all off. And underneath it all, I wore one of those ThermalCare heat wraps, size large so it would wrap around both my back and stomach! Yikes! Steve also brought along a couple of Foot Warm-Ups, and Hand Warm-Ups for in our shoes and gloves. We were all set, I hoped we didn't have to go to the bathroom, haha! When we left the house, it was 18 degrees, at 6:30 when we arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel staging area, it was 29 degrees, brrrrr! We got our costumes, ate some breakfast and headed out into the cold at 7:45. At first it wasn't so bad, but as we stood there with our strings, it really began to get cold. My nose was running constantly, and my fingers were so frozen I just stood there and cried! But, that was the only thing that was cold, my fingers, which I guess was a good thing. Oh, and my face was frozen too. Steve's string was at the back end (or ass, as he said) of the spider, and I had the middle foot on the left hand side of the spider. So, that meant we weren't together, which was a bummer. We soon found out, our balloon was second to last! Oh my gosh, it was going to be a long cold day! Soon, it was time for us to go, and as we made our way down the parade route, I began to warm up, especially whenever the crowd yelled "SPIN IT!" and we had to twirl the balloon around in a big circle. Let me tell you, this spinning just about made me pass out after the first few times, seriously! I finally figured out how to 'fake' it because I just couldn't do it! Steve must have known it, because I looked over at him once when they yelled at us to spin the darn thing, and he fell right down on the ground! Everyone laughed and yelled "Man down!" and we didn't have to spin, thanks Steve! Finally, we made our way to the end, (and I was actually sweating!) where it was being televised, and of course it went so fast, I doubt we were even on the t.v. broadcast. Oh well! We took the balloon to the park, deflated it and then went in to turn in our costumes and have some lunch. Since we were at the end of the parade, the Campbell's soup they were serving was almost cold, but there were plenty of sandwiches (all meat) and muffins and water, but they were all out of hot chocolate, darn! We ate and socialized a bit and before we knew it, they were making the announcement that the last bus back to the Crowne Plaza was leaving, talk about being rushed! I guess it was about 2 or 2:30 when we got home, (the temperature was now a whopping 38 degrees!) and man was I beat, my legs were so sore that all my other pains were cancelled out! I peeled myself out of my clothes, put my jammies on (!), and just camped out on the chair for the rest of the day! I had put 2 of the hand warm-up packets in my gloves for the parade, and by the end of the route, my hands were cooking, so I threw them out before we had lunch. I also put 1 in one shoe because it felt uncomfortable to me. Steve, on the other hand, put one in each of his shoes. So, when we got home, Steve takes his shoes off and I see him looking at the little packet. Just holding it and staring at it. Then, he shows it to me, and it had caught on fire! It was all scorched, and then we look at his socks, and they are scorched and burned too! Oh my gosh, we laugh and laugh, it was so funny! He went all day with burning feet and didn't even notice it! We must have laughed for a half an hour, and finally I looked at the package they came in and it clearly says not to place the packets in your shoe where Steve had put them, and it stated not to do anything overly physical! That alone made the day worth it for me! After that, neither one of us was really in the mood to make any food, so guess what our Thanksgiving dinner was? A bag of Salt and Vinegar potato chips! HaHa! I ended up taking a Tylenol PM at about 7 or 8:00, and off to bed I went! And, believe it or not, we found ourselves talking about actually doing it again next year,....are we crazy or what!
Black Friday, we were up and out for some 6 am bargains. I actually had a pretty good night after taking the pill, but the pains were still there when I woke up. We had a nice time shopping, I guess we were home by 11:30, maybe noon. We had some lunch, and again I flopped on the chair for the rest of the day! I was b-e-a-t! In bed again by 8:30-9:00.
Saturday, we made our annual trek to a mall we have never been to, to visit with Santa for our annual Christmas Photo with Santa. We have done this every year since we met, and this is our 11th photo! The mall we went to was the Woodbridge Center, in Woodbridge, NJ. It's a pretty nice mall, with a store I fell in love with called Fortunoff. But first, before we even went to Woodbridge, we had to be at the Strawbridge store in Deptford at 8 am because they were giving out free gift cards to the 1st 300 customers. By the time we left out of there, we had spent a total of $22 for merchandise worth about $220! Not too shabby!!!! Anyway, we had a nice day of shopping, and even though we did get several Christmas presents for other people, we ended up coming home with more things for us! Oh well. We ate lunch there, dinner on the way home, and we actually were home quite early, around 9:30. I pretty much went right to bed, but I guess you knew that already!
Sunday, we both slept late, got up and got ready for the MS Society's annual Holiday party. This was the first one we ever attended, it was held at a catering place in Almonesson, NJ. It was really nice. We didn't know anyone, and ended up sitting by ourselves but it was cool. The food was excellent, and I even won a door prize (Redkin hair care products). They had a dj, and karaoke, it was a good time, and we were home early, before 9 so once again I was in bed early!
Yesterday, I didn't have much energy, today either for that matter. I wanted to go out and do some things, but it's so cold and very very windy so I think I'll just stay here and relax, again! Maybe tomorrow! Thursday, I have a chest/abdomen/pelvis CAT scan scheduled in Philly, and Monday I have a neck CAT scan. I am not looking forward to the train ride, but I certainly want to know what is wrong with me. I hope it is just a germ of some kind, maybe an intestinal virus but I know that is probably unrealistic. We'll see!
OK, that catches you up on things, have a great day and I'll talk to you real soon!

Tuesday, November 26, 2002 at 01:21 PM (CST)

Hello there! Just a quick entry today. Let's see,...Friday we didn't do anything but I did watch "Cheaters" on tv, have you ever seen that show? It's so funny, I love it! Saturday we had several things in mind to do. The PT people were all meeting at Peddler's Village in PA, but we didn't go. MTV was also taping a battle of the bands at Stockton College at night, but we didn't do that either. We did go out to breakfast, though, which was different for us. I'm not sleeping well again and I'm full of various pains, and I guess my mood isn't that good either. So, we decided to stay home and try to get some things done. Everything is in disarray due to my painting projects, and we are re-arranging the rooms so we started to work on that. Sunday afternoon, Jeffrey Margraf and his wife came over with the painting. It was really exciting! The painting is huge, 5 ft 7 inches tall and 8 ft 10 inches wide. He brought it over disassembled. The canvas was rolled up like a carpet, and the frame was in pieces. So, he had to assemble the frame on the floor, then stretch the canvas onto the frame and staple-gun it to the frame. I never realized all that work went into it! He was crawling around the floor, and sweating all over the place, it was really funny! (Sorry Jeff! But, I told you I would write about it!) So, drops of sweat were falling onto the floor, and I told him I was never going to mop it again,...who knows, he may become very rich and famous someday, and I'll be able to sell the flooring for a lot of money! Genuine Jeffrey Margraf sweat! HaHa! Hey, they did it with Elvis' hair! Anyway, he & Steve hung it on the wall, and I haven't stopped looking at it since. It is so beautiful, I love it so much I can't believe it. We took a digital photo of us and it, so you can expect to see that someday soon. Yesterday I ran errands all day, and when Steve came home we went to Old City to see the advance screening of Adam Sandler's "8 Crazy Nights". It's a cartoon, and the theater was full of children. Now, I really like Adam Sandler. I think he's goofy and funny, but it became clear that the movie was not really intended for kids. I laughed out loud many times, Steve won a t-shirt, and they gave us posters. It was fun! Nathan was there, which was surprising, he usually pans these types of movies! Afterwards, we dropped the car off at the dealership as it was scheduled today for the PT Cruiser recall. Something about the fuel pump and windshield wipers, I'm not exactly sure. So, today I am without a car so I thought I would work on a project I'm creating. I have decided to cover the ceiling in fabric, and over the weekend Steve hung the hardware for me. I thought I would sew the fabric and hang it up, but when I took it out of the package, I discovered that the girl at the fabric store cut it to the wrong size! So, I called them and now I have to go back and exchange it,...geez, of course it's the day I don't have a car! Oh well, I'll have to do it tomorrow, no sweat, I'm use to delays and set-backs! Tonight, we'll be picking up the car, and going back to Philly for the advance screening of "Extreme Ops", my review to follow! If I don't come back here by Thursday, have a great Thanksgiving! Don't forget to look for us in the 6 ABC Boscov's Thanksgiving Day Parade from 8:30 am - noon. We are holding the Miss Muffett and the Spider balloon, and I hear it's going to be very very very cold! Ick! I am certainly not looking forward to that kind of weather, just cross your fingers that it doesn't rain or snow! See ya later!

Thursday, November 21, 2002 at 03:23 PM (CST)

Today is the Great American Smoke Out, I bet you thought I forgot, didn't you mother dearest? Noooooooooo way, I never forget! So, stop your puffing!

I guess I have some more catching up to do, geez - I have been quite neglectful of my journaling duties lately and I apologize for that. So let's get going. Friday I took the train to Cherry Hill where Dad & Rita picked me up. We then went over to the marina where their boat is and Steve met us there, as Dad needed to bring his canvas home to their house in Steve's truck. We ordered out some Chinese, yummy, and then from there we stopped over at Jackie and Mike's as it was Jackie's birthday. It felt like such a long day, I don't know why but I was absolutely beat.

Saturday the 16th, Steve and I took the train from Egg Harbor to Atlantic City for an MS conference. Isn't that funny! It was rainy and cold, and the train stops right at the Atlantic City Convention Center, where the event was being held, so I thought it would be perfect. And the schedule was just right, so he reluctantly agreed. Steve likes to be in control, he's so use to driving everywhere himself, and this was weird for him. Oh, get over it, I said! So we drive to the station, get our tickets and an announcement comes over the loud speaker that the train will be delayed for 20 minutes. You should have seen the look Steve shot at me! But it was ok, we still got there early. This was the first time we had been to the new AC Convention Center, and it's pretty nice. We sat at a table and were soon joined by Cathy and her newly diagnosed fiance` Jeff. The conference got a late start due to the weather, the hosts wanted to give it some extra time but the turn-out never did reach what they anticipated. Too bad because this was one of the absolute best MS gatherings we have been to, very informative. The only complaint I had was that they served lunch during an interesting speech, and that in itself was very distracting. Anyway, the train ride was a new adventure for us and much less stressful.

Monday and Tuesday I spent doing some more painting. This time I painted the living area, where the tv/stereo/fireplace and pool table are. Sugar, your brother will be happy to know I used a Martha Stewart color! (Aquilegia Yellow #E09) I took Wednesday off as of course I was achy (!) and today I put on a top coat of colorwash in a slightly darker tone. You can hardly notice the colorwash, but I wanted to try the technique anyway. (Not my favorite!) I told Steve last night, I am DONE painting this house, this is IT for me!

On the health front, I woke up about 2 am Wednesday with this sharp pain in my left leg, the same thing as what happens in my back. It kept me up all night, despite taking a Tylenol PM. The pain was so bad that by last night I was in tears so Steve dug out an old pain killer from one of my operations. I took half of one pill and it dulled the pain somewhat, so I asked for the other half. Bad move! I started to feel nauseous, and sleepy so I went to bed only to wake up this morning with a full blown migraine, I threw up and moaned and groaned but I still somehow managed to do the colorwashing, AND make it to a 2:30 mammogram! I don't know how, but I did it! I do know that I'm ready for a nap, that's for sure!

Hey, did you see any of that spectacular Leonid meteor shower? I saw one streak by the skylight right when Steve was leaving for work, but other than that, I missed it.

I don't think anything is going on here tomorrow, Saturday there is a PT Cruiser thing happening at Peddler's Village in PA, and an MTV concert taping at our local college (Stockton College) at 8 pm but I don't know if we will be doing any of that. Sunday, Jeff Margraf is coming over with "Now We're All Dead", I can't wait! So that seems to be all for now, I guess I'll talk to you sometime next week. And mom, take that cigarette out of your mouth!

Friday, November 15, 2002 at 11:22 AM (CST)

Hey, hey, hey! It's me! It's a really pretty day today here in southern New Jersey. I'm doing a bunch of things today, then I'm getting on the train to Cherry Hill to visit with Dad & Rita, Steve of course will be meeting us after he is done work. Last night, we went to see "Half Past Dead" starring Steven Seagal, Ja Rule and Morris Chestnut. First, I'd like to say that Ja Rule was actually pretty good, he has a very interesting twisted-up kind of face! But, Steven Seagal just sucks! (sorry!) You think, Steven Seagal - this should be a good action flick. Wrong! It's all guns and guns and more guns, violence, violence and more violence. Oh, and yes there is a sort of love story in there somewhere. My advice, do not go see this one. There was maybe 3 scenes worth talking about, if that. Big thumbs down!

Hey, did I mention to you that the Mock Wedding we went to on Sunday will be featured on Channel 6 some Saturday night in December? They filmed it but I can't be sure we actually got on camera. But, you know me, I'll be sure to let you know when it airs, just in case!

Speaking of television, we received our Channel 6 ABC/Boscov's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon handler assignment yesterday. We will be holding the ropes to the Spider Balloon with Miss Muffett #127. How cool is that! Our outfit is a blue jumpsuit with a green metallic wig. One person gets to be Miss Muffett, who knows, maybe I can be the lucky one to snag it! So, mark your calendar, and if you get channel 6, be sure to watch us!

Tomorrow, we are going to an MS conference in Atlantic City. Imagine that, something that is actually close to home!

I guess I should go now, have a great weekend! And, big congratulations to Paul on his brand new 2002 candy apple red Mustang - sweet!!!!! And, happy birthday wishes go out to Jackie (Steve's mom), hope it's a good one!

Wednesday, November 13, 2002 at 12:31 PM (CST)

Greetings to you, on this cold, rainy and dreary day. Let's get on with the update!

Like I said in my last entry, we didn't do anything on Halloween, but I failed to mention this, you know, Steve likes to do theme-type things, and this Halloween was no exception. He brought home "Dead Guy Ale" beer! Man, this stuff is strong! I couldn't even finish my bottle, I was out like a light!

Hmmmm, what's been happening? On the 3rd, we went and got our flu shots. Ouch, mine hurt like hell! My arm was sore and black & blue for days. On the 4th, we went to see the screening of "Femme Fatale" starring Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Antonio Banderas. There was one scene in the opening of this movie with a lesbian overtone which all the guys seemed to like a lot (isn't that right, Nathan?), but overall this film wasn't that good. Rebecca R-Stamos spent most of the 1 hour and 50 minutes in various states of undress, and Antonio Banderas was pretty boring in all scenes except for the one in which he was pretending to be gay. The following night, thanks to Nathan, we attended the screening of "Far From Heaven", which I really adored. This movie stars Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid. I was totally mesmerized by the vivid and intense colors in this film. Every single scene, every single frame, had the most wonderful color, even the darkest parts of the film were bursting with color. I think that was what I enjoyed the most. The content of the movie was almost equally as good, and much to my surprise, Julianne Moore didn't bare her breasts! Far From Heaven, a nice movie,....all about color!

On Thursday the 7th, I took the trains to Philly for a 4:00 appointment with Dr. King. There are only 2 trains that leave Egg Harbor - one at 12:42 and another at 3:03. It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to actually get to Philly if the trains are on schedule, so I had to take the 12:42 if I wanted to make it on time. So, I had to find something to do before Steve was to meet me (he was taking off at 3). I had to stop at the WYSP office to pick up my Guns 'n Roses tickets, then I was going to ---what else?---shop! I come up out of the subway stop at 8th & Market and head on my way to 5th for my tickets when I notice in the window reflection a white truck following me slowly. I look over, and it's Steve! What the heck? I go over, and he says he left work early to get me because it was so cold and he felt bad that I had to walk around the city in that kind of weather! Oh how sweet! We go get my tickets, we park and walk around the Gallery, then walk over to see Dr. King. Basically, she is sending me for some CAT scans in December, along with another CA 125, then I'll go back to see her on 1/2/03 and we'll discuss the results of the scans and blood test and decide what to do next. From there, we went down to the Riverview for an early showing of "The Transporter". I thought for sure that I would hate this movie, from the previews it just didn't seem like my cup of tea. Wrong! I really loved it! It is an action flick, with car chases and bombs and guns, with of course a little love story thrown in, and it was cool! The action scenes were unlike any I have ever seen before, very innovative and clever, oh - go see this one! On the way home, we stopped at the Jade Bar-b-que for a nice little chinese food dinner.

Now, get a load of this: On Sunday November 10th, we went to a bridal show! Yep, a freakin' bridal show! Now, don't let your imagination run away with you, we've talked about getting married for years now, but,.....well, never know! Anyway, this was put on by a company called Cinderella Weddings, and it was billed as a "Mock Wedding". It was held at Adelphia's Panathenian Room in Deptford. You had to arrive dressed like you were actually attending a wedding, and that is how the entire night was. It was really cool! The place was beautifully decorated, there was a bridal party complete with bride and groom, maid of honor, best man, flower girl, ring bearer, everything was exactly like a real wedding. Well, except that they were trying to sell their products to us, but in a very creative way. Of course, the vendors had tables around the perimeter of the room, but it was very low key. We played games, (Steve won a prize!), they had contests, they served us some amazing food and drinks, and we had a free 8x10 engagement photo taken, sweet! We came away with some really nice 'presents', like a pocket-size Love book, chocolates, a heart-shaped trinket box, a love-bird knick-knack, a satin ring-bearer pillow and these wonderful thank-you notes. And, believe it or not, Steve had a really good time! Imagine that!

Monday and Tuesday, I spent the entire day painting. Or rather, sponge-painting. I did the hallway from the dining room to fairyland, the 3 walls around fairyland, and the stairwell going upstairs. The walls were already a light green, I sponged on a color called Fiesta Aqua. It looks kind of neat, but today I am taking a rest! Now, I just have to do the living room area, and I'll be ready to take delivery of my painting from Jeffrey Margraf - oh I can't wait! I'll be trying my hand at color washing, a sort of sunflower yellow color. Wish me luck!

Tommorrow, the 14th, marks the 10 year anniversary of the first date Steve and I had. Can you believe that? We've been together for a decade! Yikes!!!!!!! 10 freakin' years, lordy lordy! The only thing we are doing, compliments of Nathan, is going to a screening of "Half Past Dead". This movie doesn't look too interesting to me, but then again, you never know!

I'll let you go for now, thanks for visiting!

Friday, November 08, 2002 at 04:56 PM (CST)

Ok, are you ready? Here goes!

Friday night, October 25th, Steve comes home a little early from work and readies the car for our night at Club Float in Mew York City. We arrive exactly on time at 8:00 to find Demetrios in the street outside of the club directing the traffic. There were already 3 other cruisers in place, one that had arrived right in front of us. This was one of those discreet NYC clubs, with no sign or name on the door, painted black and unassuming. Once Demetrios got us parked and in position, we realize we are right across from the Roseland Ballroom. Cool! We all gathered out there on the sidewalk for a while waiting for more cruisers to show up, then Cedra walked us over to the Art Cafe for a nice dinner. I had heard of this place, it's sort of a diner, and they showcase the work of artists on their walls. From there, we went into the club, and up to the 2nd floor where our private party was being held. Float has 3 floors, (we never made it to the 3rd floor), and on the first floor, the action was already going on hot and heavy - Hunkamania was performing! Sweeeeeeeeet! This is like the Chippandales, but raunchier. Steve & I watched from the balcony for a short while, (yikes! The things we saw!), then we went in to check out our party. It's a pretty cool club, several bars, a small dance floor, tons of comfy couches and pillows, and a balcony with windows overlooking the street so we could go out and check on the cars from time to time. Girls walked around handing out free drinks made with Geko Tequila and Courvosier, and of course we had to try them all, haha! We were drinking and talking and having a good old time, then Steve & I started dancing, sort of trying to do a Latin-type of dance because that was the music of the night. Well, we're swinging and swaying and he twirls me around and all of a sudden my purse flies off my shoulder, and hits Steve right in the personals! He shouts out and falls to his knees, at first I think he's kidding but he gets up and runs out to the balcony and I realize he's not kidding. Oh no! But, not to worry, pretty soon we are laughing about it, me more than him I'm sure! Well, if you read this journal regularly, you'll know that neither one of us are what you would call 'drinkers'. In fact, I think I have only seen Steve actually drunk one time, at the Alize` Manic Panic party in NYC in the summer of 2001. Until this night, that is! He was toasted, and when he gets toasted, he mingles and talks, it's really funny! Once, he got up from the couch we were sitting on, and went to talk to some of the women in our party. While he was gone, 2 nice looking guys come over, sat down next to me and struck up a conversation with me. We've been here about 2 hours by now, the exotic dancing show was over and the first floor was now ruled by a dance-beat driven dj and our party suddenly seemed to be getting crowded. Here comes the best part, turns out, these 2 guys were Hunkamania performers! Aren't I lucky! But, wouldn't you know it, Steve comes back, they find out he's with me so they politely left, darn! Steve mingles some more, and I finally find him out on the balcony talking with the nicest man, Bruce, who was there with Geko tequila. Let me tell you, this man was so sweet, and very interesting to talk to. Looking outside, we noticed that is was raining really hard, and even with all the rain, there was a line of people waiting to get in Float, this line was so long we couldn't even see the end of it! And, the cover to get in was $25! Man, that's some people desperate to party here! Anyway, it's now well past midnight, maybe near 1 am and the judging is about to begin so we all trudge outside. Now, I know we won't win anything, so I begin to bribe the judges,..with Skull Pops! It doesn't work, but we had a lot of fun anyway! Demetrios was soaking wet, I was afraid he'd catch his death of cold so of course I was scolding him. After the judging, we all said our goodbyes, and posed for group pictures as this was the last event in the Fiesta PT promotion. We had the longest trip home, but guess what? We decided to stay! Back inside we go as everyone else heads home. We hung out, sitting in the private area as go-go girls danced in cages around us, and finally we thought it best to go home, and man, was that ride hard! It was rainy and dark and nasty and we were tired and sweaty and we smelled like smoke, but we made it home safe and sound. I can't believe we did it, we rolled in at 7:30 in the morning. :-) Oh, we're so bad! It's safe to say that we slept the entire day away! But, it was so much fun and we met some really nice people that I hope we stay in touch with, and we've come away with some excellent ideas in our head regarding Niagara Falls, isn't that right RC and Mary?

Anyway,that was our Big Apple Adventure! That Sunday, the 27th, we went to Philly to attend the (free) First Annual GravyFest at the First Union Spectrum. This basically was a competition for the best Italian 'gravy', and being a free event, it was packed! There were tables offering free samples of pasta, gravies, pizzas, antipasto, ice cream, desserts, cheeses, breads, and wines. They had music and clowns and contests. People were pushing and shoving, like I told Suzette, 'free' sure does bring out the worst in people! So, we ate up and we were outta there!

Monday the 28th, I began a week-long research study at the dental facility I go to in Northfield. I had to be there at 8:30 every morning, oh my goodness! 40 people were involved, and we were testing a new gel bead breath freshener, in comparison with the Listerine Breath Strips. 20 if us got the gel bead, 20 the strip. I got the bead, which was good because that was what I wanted. They fed us, and we watched movies, we played games and met new people, it was fun! But, I have to tell you, it just about killed me getting up and out that early every day. I actually had a migraine Tuesday thru Saturday, it was wicked. Paul, of course, just laughed at me! He says, he's up that early every day. Not me, man!

We didn't do anything for Halloween,...we didn't go to any party or hand out candy, I guess we just weren't into it this year.

I did hear from Dr. King, though, and my CA 125 was 763. Stable. I hate that word!

OK, this is getting long so I'll be back another day to continue filling you in on the happenings. Have a great weekend, and Tina - have a happy happy happy birthday, you old bag! HaHa!

Thursday, November 07, 2002 at 10:37 AM (CST)

On my way to the train, headed to Philly for an appointment with Dr. King. Steve of course will be meeting me there, then we are going to see "The Transporter". I'll come back tomorrow sometime to catch you up on everything. OK, later!

Tuesday, November 05, 2002 at 03:28 PM (CST)

Well, Breast Cancer Awareness Month has come to a close, and we are now a week into National Caregiver's Month,,........hats off to Steve, and all those like him who stand fast by their 'patients'! I've said this before, and I'm sure I'll say it again, I'd have given up long ago if it wasn't for him.

I've wanted to come back here and update you all on everything going on, you know - Float nightclub, my research study and everything in-between. But, I've been feeling really funky for the last few days. Since the weekend, I've been so tired that it's an effort to hold my head up! And, as usual, I have those odd pains in weird places. I am so sick of all this misery, I told Steve yesterday, maybe I'm also depressed. ????? Who knows. Anyway, I will try to make an effort to return with my stories, and movie reviews (we saw "Femme Fatale" last night and we are going to see "Far From Heaven" tonight), so stay tuned, and have, as Axl Rose sings, "just a little patience!"

Saturday, November 02, 2002 at 03:36 PM (CST)

Hey! New pictures for you to check out!

Thursday, October 31, 2002 at 06:11 AM (CST)

Hello everyone! I know I haven't been back to update this journal since last Friday, and here it is, Thursday already,....have you missed me? (haha!) I have lots to tell you, about our adventure in the Big Apple and everything but I really don't know when I will get a chance to tell you about it. You see, all this week, Monday through Friday, I am participating in a research study in Northfield and I have to leave the house at 8 am every day. Eight Freakin' O'Clock in the morning,....geeeeeeez! So by the time I get home, I am totally beat. It's pitiful! Paul called me yesterday, wondering what was going on, why I was leaving the house so early. He was amazed to see me up and out at that hour of the morning! I told him, "It's killing me!" Anyway, I didn't want you to worry about me or anything, I'll try to get back here as soon as I can. Happy Halloween! Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Friday, October 25, 2002 at 02:59 PM (CDT)

Well, it's Friday and I have quite a bit of catching up to do. Let's see,....Tuesday morning my nurse Vickie came over to draw my CA 125 test and flush my port. Then, in the afternoon I had an impromptu visit from our friend Ean, who was in the area for a prospective dj job. We had a really nice, way too short, visit. Then, Steve & I went up to Old City to the advance screening of "Ghost Ship", a nice scary movie just in time for Halloween! All in all, the movie was ok, but the absolute best part is the opening scenes, and it is for that reason I would tell you all to see this one! Other than that, it wasn't bad, not really that scary but it did have some tense moments. And, it squashed our interest in taking a cruise for awhile!

Wednesday, I woke up in such pain. Where was this pain, you ask. Well, it's the undiagnosible pain in my lower back, in the kidney area. Oh it hurt so bad! For most of the morning, I was in tears, and I had errands to run for a few hours, it was torture! At 5:00, I met Linda and Lynn at the local Olive Garden, where we had a really great visit and a nice Italian dinner. I stunk like icy hot, but they didn't seem to notice, haha! When I got home, Steve rubbed and rubbed the spots, I took a Tylenol PM and went to sleep.

Thursday I woke up feeling a bit better, but not that much. I had just finished my morning coffee, and was about to go out into the kitchen when I heard a weird noise. I sat there and listened, and it was really odd, like someone tap tap tapping on a pipe. So I sat and listened some more, as the noise fluctuated loud, soft, slow, fast. It totally freaked me out! A few minutes went by where I didn't hear it and so I dashed down the hallway and as I went past the bathroom door, there it was. Yikes! Now, this is the point where I realized that I have probably watched one too many horror movies! I was certain someone was in the bathroom, so I tiptoed into the kitchen and grabbed the biggest knife we have and stood by the front door, not exactly sure what to do. I listened, and waited, and tried to figure out what to do. Do I call the police, or the neighbors, do I run out in my jammies, but to where? So, I tiptoed to the phone and called the Corbins next door. Oh no, none of the men were home, drats! But, Dot said she would call Paul and get him to run home to check things out so I positioned myself back by the door with the knife to wait for him. And, wouldn't you know it, the noise stopped! Paul arrives, I explain it all to him and show him my weapon ( ! ), but still no noise. We wait, and wait, and he thinks I am really crazy. Then, all of a sudden, it starts again, bang bang bang! "Ha!", I say, "I am not crazy after all!" We both listen for a few minutes, and slowly Paul creeps to the bathroom, me right behind with the knife. He carefully opens the door, we still hear the noise, he steps to the shower curtain and in a flash he pulls it back. No one was there, but we immediately notice dirt falling from the fixture in the tub, you know, the thing that drains the water out if you fill the tub too full. We look closer, and decide that some kind of critter must be trapped inside the pipe. Whew, what a relief! Critters I can deal with,....Jason Voorhees or Michael Meyers or Freddy Krueger, now they are another story altogether! So, Paul unscrews the fixture and we tape a trash bag to the opening to catch the thing but darned if it didn't come out! We went out and closed the door, and sat in the dining room for a while, then went back in to check it after noticing Pearlie outside the bathroom door, trying to peek under it. The bag is off but no sign of the critter, then Paul spots it, and after several attempts, the cutest little black mouse is outside! Oh what a morning that was, 2 hours of excitement, as Paul says, "Never a dull moment here in South Egg Harbor!" I'm sure this will bring us a lot of laughs down the road!

Thursday night we went back to Old City for the screening of "The Truth About Charlie", starring Mark Wahlberg and Thandie Newton. This movie is a remake of one called "Charade" starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. This film was actually very enjoyable, the characters likeable (and hateable!), the scenery pretty and the story believable. And, I really like Mark Wahlberg, he's come a long way from being Marky Mark, and his days of underwear modeling. The original "Charade" happens to be playing at 8 pm Saturday night on the Turner Classic Movie channel, so we are looking forward to seeing it.

Tonight, we are going to New York City for another PT Cruiser event. It is the last one in this Fiesta PT promotion, and is being held at a club called Float. Steve says they have a nice web site but I don't know the address, so if you want to check it out I guess you could just search up Float Nightclub NYC. We have to leave soon in order to get there in time, since the drive time is about 2 1/2 hours. Everything is pretty much the same as last week at the 8th Floor,...dinner, drinks, judging, drinks, dancing, incentive check (!), then the long ride home. So, I must depart for now.

Oh, congratulations to my new friend Suzette. As of last night, she is the proud owner of a 2002 Patriot Blue Limited Edition PT Cruiser, go girl! And, also congratulations and best wishes go out to my friend Alicia, who I was just told is pregnant! 16 weeks, I think, man I am so out of the loop - I think I am probably the last to know! None the less, good news to hear! See you all later!

Monday, October 21, 2002 at 03:21 PM (CDT)

Hello everyone! I'm here to tell you all about Friday night and our PT Cruiser event in Philadelphia. What a fun time we had! We all met at the 8th Floor nightclub where we parked all the cruisers for display in the parking lot outside of the club. Then, we all piled into several of the cruisers, and "cruised" on over to Old City for dinner at a restaurant called Bluezette. I have wanted to go here for a long time now, and what a fantastic experience it was. We were seated in a private area at the back of the place, oh how exclusive we felt! Our waiter was really great, and the food was wonderful, I think everyone enjoyed their selections, which is unusual in a large group. Drinks were also included, and I had the most amazing "Dirty Vodka" martini, yum! After dinner, we went back to the club and were escorted to a VIP area where we mingled and watched the very cool and sexy latin dancers. Then, we all went outside and readied the cars to be judged for a big prize - a $1,400 cruise. Well, needless to say, we did not win. How could we? We do not have anything on the car that is customized, it is just 'stock', but you know us, right? We had to come up with something to make them take notice of us. So,...we borrowed a life size skeleton from Steve's mom Jackie. We put it in a leather coat, and put 3-d skull-decorated sun glasses on it, and put him in the drivers seat like he was driving, he looked pretty good! Everyone, and I mean everyone, who walked by the car had something to say about it, they all loved it! We also borrowed a smaller skeleton from Jackie, opened up the sun roof and had him sitting there, all casual and stuff, it was funny. Then, as the judges and on-lookers passed by, out of my coffin shaped purse I handed them skull pops (skull shaped lollipops, white on one side, and the color of our car on the other side.) People were loving it, and by the time we went back in after the judging, when you looked around the VIP room you would see all these people with lollipop sticks in their mouths, it was funny! PT Tom Cruiser from MA won the prize, he also won the prize at the Puerto Rican Parade a few weeks back. He deserves it, he has so much invested in his cruiser. One of these days, I'll put a picture of it here on this site. He is a really nice guy, and to tell you the truth, we met a lot of really nice people throughout the night. There is another event, the last one in this particular promotion, this Friday in NYC. I told PT Tom Cruiser to stay home this time, haha! So, it was a good time, and we were home about 2-ish. And, yes, I was beat!

We didn't really do much over the weekend. I have been fighting a migraine for the last week or so, and just kind of took it easy. I am expecting my nurse Vickie any day now, to flush my port and do another CA 125, as I am overdue. We have a couple of movie screenings this week, which I will be sure to fill you in on. And, tomorrow is Paul's birthday, but he says he stopped having them a few years ago! Hey, I can relate to that, haha! Do you guys celebrate things related to dead people? The 18th would have been my grandparent's wedding anniversary, and also the birthday of one of the best friends I ever had. So, happy anniversary to you, Granny & Grandpop, and happy birthday Gary, I miss you all very much! Steve is working late again tonight, and probably on Wednesday too. OK, take care until next time! And, thanks to all you new guest book signers! I love to see someone new checking out this silly journal!

Wednesday, October 16, 2002 at 05:38 PM (CDT)

So, yesterday I'm getting ready to go to Philly, and it's about 11:45 am when I hear a train go by. What the heck? There is no train scheduled for that time. So, I panic a little, thinking maybe NJ Transit is on a holiday schedule or something, but I continue to get ready anyway. When I get to the station, one of the other ladies waiting tells me it was a freight train, good! But, soon enough, an announcement is made over the intercom, advising us that the Philly train will be about 5 to 10 minutes late. So, I call dad to warn him and the train finally arrives about 5 of 1. Yikes, I was hoping that this wasn't a bad sign of things to come later on in the day. I get to Cherry Hill, about 10 minutes late and we're off to the hospital, where we had no problem getting a parking spot. Within minutes, I'm in the radiation room, and everyone is congratulating me on it being my last day, but I am still wary as Dr. K hasn't confirmed it yet. But, by the time treatment was over, Chris, Dan, Angelo and Chuck are insisting it's my last one, so we say our good-byes, they all sign my "cradle", and I head into the office where they take me right back to the exam room and in comes Dr. K with a big grin on her face. Yes, it's true,.....I'm done!!!!!!!! Yippeeeeeee I yell and she and Patty laugh. She tells me pretty much the same stuff she told me last year with the other tumor, that it will take about 2 - 3 months to see it shrink considerably, and almost one year for the effects of treatment to wear off, but I am still happy none-the-less! We hug, she leaves and Patty then gives me a gift - a really cute angel pin and a gold "certificate of achievement" for completing my radiation treatments, cool! Before we all left, I had to make my follow-up appointment, for December, then we were off to dad & Rita's to wait for Steve to come and get me, and hear the good news. Oh what a relief! I'm sort of free for the time being!

Today, I woke up (after sleeping late) to pounding rain on the skylights and wind howling outside. Whew, was I glad I didn't have to go to Philly! I stayed in my jammies nearly all day, talking on the phone to mom, Sugar and Ean, just taking it easy. Well, that's not completely true, I did do a few loads of laundry! Steve is working late again, so now I'm going to head to the kitchen to figure out what to cook for dinner. One of the good things about going to Philly every day was that we ate out alot, haha! But, I really don't mind cooking, I think you know that by now!

Oh, and I have a message for you, Jimmy. Thanks a bunch for allowing 'Shirley' internet access so 'she' can read my journal! You're a good friend!

That's all for today. I probably won't be back until next week, as I really don't plan on doing anything in the next few days worth telling you about. Except, of course, we have another PT Cruiser event on Friday night, which we are looking forward to. OK, bye!

Monday, October 14, 2002 at 05:29 PM (CDT)

Happy Columbus Day to you all! I just put some flour and other ingredients into the bread machine to make some fresh dough so I can make a pizza later on, as this is one of the many odd-ball traditions that Steve & I do! Just our little way of celebrating Columbus Day, with a homemade pizza!

OK, let me fill you in on the last few days. Friday was an absolute nightmare up to a certain point. It rained and rained, it was cold, and it was windy. And, I had decided to take the trains in, what a mistake! Even though Rita and Dad offered to pick me up in Cherry Hill and take me to the hospital, I told them I thought it was stupid for them to just pick me up and drop me off, if they had no other reason to be in the city. You see, Steve & I had plans to attend an overnight Gynecological/Ovarian Cancer Retreat in Philly, so it made the most sense if he picked me up there. So, I bundled up, wore a long overcoat, carried a backpack with my things and toted an umbrella. It was awful! I couldn't take the car to the train, because I didn't want to leave it there for more than the afternoon, and none of my nice neighbors were home to drive me up, and I certainly did not want to bother my mother to come all the way up here to drive me over 7, 8 blocks. I got slightly wet by the time the train came, but by the time I got to the hospital, I was wetter than wet, I was cold, and I guess you can surmise that I was miserable! Once inside the waiting room at about 2:30, I shed my wet jacket and shoes and umbrella, and soon it was time to see Dr. Komarnicky. She said that she wanted 3 more treatments, which would bring me to Tuesday, and at that time she would decide if she thought I might benefit from having 3 more "booster" treatments. Fine with me. We chatted for awhile and then I had the first of those 3 treatments. Steve had taken off work at 3, by now it is about 3:45 and I knew he should be there so I raced outside and he was just pulling up, perfect timing, now things start to look up! Check in for our retreat was between 4 and 5, we made it there to the Sugarloaf Conference Center in Bucks County about 4:45. Enough time to change into dry clothes and attend the 5:00 reception. We nibbled on some appetizers, and mingled a little, then it was time for dinner. The speaker for the evening was none other than Dr. King, and she spotted Steve during dinner and came over to our table. I wanted to surprise her, know, I wanted her to be giving her talk and look out into the audience and see me, but it was ok, she was surprised anyway! Oh, and her talk was really good. I, myself, did not learn anything new, as she already told me of the stuff she talked about. But, the other ladies in attendance were really impressed with her, I can't tell you how many people asked me for her phone number, she sure was a hit! I guess it was 10 by the time we got back to our room, and man, is it ever peaceful there, I was out like a light! Saturday was fun, we had a nice buffet breakfast, then we broke up into groups. Women with cancer went into one room, their caregivers into another, and the rest into another. My group then broke into smaller groups, and guess what? We got to do art! Yipeee! We also had to 'share', which I really don't care for, but it was fun anyway. We broke in the middle for a snack, then it was time for lunch. I found Steve out by the food, he had to do art too! But I noticed a strange thing,...we all were suppose to wear name tags, and his said Fred. Hmmmmm? Oh well. Sugarloaf wanted us all to check-out at noon, so out we all went and did that, then it was time for a buffet lunch. From there, we had a choice of 3 seminars to attend, we chose one about inspiration. Now guess what? Steve is wearing a name tag that says Bill! I guess he is having an identity crisis! At least his shoes matched, haha! From there, we all got back into one big group to attend a music therapy session. It was cool, we got to play instruments, sing, and we learned an entire song in sign language! Of course Steve thought it was dumb, but I kind of liked it! The day was over about 4:00, and I think it was a big success, both for the Wellness Community who organized the event, and for all of us who attended. This was really the first time Steve & I got to be around other women who were experiencing things similar to myself. I do have to make one statement, though. The first speaker of the program was a woman who had just celebrated her 10th year in remission. Everyone was looking to her as an inspiration, as some sort of miracle or something. But, there I was, sitting there with 4 years of suffering under my belt, with no end in sight, after 12 years in so-called remission. As Steve says, you can't get too cocky, you always have to be looking over your shoulder. Anyway, it was a positive conference, and we met some really really nice people.

From there, we drove over to the Plymouth Meeting Mall where Boscov's was having free bone density tests. I have wanted to do this for a long time now, because as you know I have been on estrogen therapy since 1986 and that is not a good thing for your bones. Well, Steve passed with flying colors, and my score was -0.2. That means that I have low bone mass, but it's pretty normal for someone in my situation and really nothing to worry about. The nurse did suggest calcium supplements, and more excercise. She mentioned more walking, I just groaned! From there, we went over to the Ikea store, how about that, Rita! We just browsed, then we headed home. I was bushed!

Sunday, we were up early again to go back to Philly, to Philadelphia Park for a Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge invitation-only event. They had games, and prizes, and you could test drive all the new cars. The weather wasn't that great, and the lines were pretty long so we didn't do any test drives but we did play some games and enter some contests. I thought they were going to have the new convertible PT Cruiser there, but they only had the new turbo - boring! From there we ended up at one of our favorite restaurants for an early dinner, Som Sak in Voorhees, yum! We were home pretty early, and I was glad.

Today, it was sunny and pretty out, but cold. I decided to drive myself in to treatment again, and it was smooth sailing. No problem parking, in and out of the radiation room, and back to Egg Harbor by 3:30. I had to go to the bank, and to pick up my new contact lenses (finally, after almost 2 months!), and a few other things, now I'm in for the night and looking forward to a hot steamy cheesy pizza, mmmm mmmmm good! Steve is working overtime tonight, he should be home around 8. Tomorrow, dad and Rita will get me in Cherry Hill, cross your fingers that it will be the last treatment for me!

Well, that's all for today. Sorry I rambled for so long!

Thursday, October 10, 2002 at 04:57 PM (CDT)

Hello. It's raining and cold and miserable here. Let's see, Monday I took the trains to treatment #2, nothing unusual to report really, Steve picked me up and we pretty much came right home. Tuesday Dad & Rita picked me up in Cherry Hill, and we were in and out of treatment #3 in a flash, on our way out of the city by 2:30. We stopped at the dock where dad keeps his boat, and Rita & I had some tea and a snack in the little shop there, kind of like '2 ladies who lunch', or something! Steve met me there and we sort of came right home again. Wednesday, I took the trains in for treatment #4, and this time they didn't even call me back until almost 3:30. By the time I was done it was nearly 4, so I called Steve and told him to just come and get me from the hospital. Partly because it had started to lightly rain, partly because I'd be cutting it close getting to our designated meeting spot, but mostly because I am just so sick and tired of walking walking and walking all over the city. This time, radiation seems to be making me more tired than last year, and this new field I am doing is giving me a sore throat every day. I really can't wait until it's done. While I was sitting in the lobby waiting for Steve, lo and behold what do I see? Well, it caused me to laugh out loud, and everyone turned to look at me,....a young man walked by, with 2 different colored sneakers on! See, Steve started a new trend! And, we all laughed at him! Finally, Steve pulled up, and we went down to South Philly for a nice dinner at the South Philly Grille on 12th Street. From there, we went over to the Riverview for an advanced screening of "The Rules of Attraction", a movie which I knew nothing about. While we were standing there in line, I happened to look up and Steve says, "Look at that guy!" and I do, and it's the very same guy from the hospital with the 2-colored sneakers! He's riding up the escalator, and we just laughed and laughed! The theater was full of college students, and once the movie started I knew why. It's all about college kids, and let me tell you, it's a pretty strange film. I don't think I could even describe it properly to you. Let's just say, it's done in a sort of Memento style, kind of backwards. It follows the lives of several people, their thoughts and feelings, and being based in college, there's plenty of sex. It was not a bad movie, just one I can't quite recommend to everyone. Actually, it was sort of good, but not everyone will "get" it.

Today, I woke up to rain and more rain. I was not looking forward to taking the trains and walking all over the creation in the rain. So, I got in the car, and drove myself there! Yep, I was a big girl today, and went there in the Cruiser! Everything went perfectly. I got there at 1:45, to find an open parking space just waiting for me, Chuck took me in for treatment #5 about 2:05 and I was back in the car about 2:25. Nice! Then, I stopped at the bank, the Hallmark store and Shop-Rite. Now, I am home and out of the rain, planning what to make for dinner. Steve says it threw his schedule all out of whack!

OK, well, tomorrow I do have to take the trains in and walk again, because we are attending an Ovarian Cancer conference, where Dr. King will be heading one of the seminars. It seems like I haven't seen her in such a long time! Anyway, I probably won't get a chance to come back here until after the weekend, so have a good one!

Monday, October 07, 2002 at 08:39 AM (CDT)

Radiation went smoothly on Friday, I was in and out of there within minutes of arriving, so I decided to walk down to the Gallery. On the way out of the hospital, I heard a voice say, "Hey! I know you!" It turned out to be the photographer from the night of Dr. Komarnicky's reception. He told me management just that morning had ordered a copy of the picture he took of me, to be put in the next newsletter! He said it should be ready in about 2 weeks, I hope I get to see it!!! I met Steve outside of Strawbridges, and guess what? I didn't even buy anything there, haha! I did, however, pick up these 2 gorgeous hand painted dinner plates at the dollar store, they are really pretty. We ended up going down to Old City for First Friday. Originally we had planned on staying only for a short while, but once there we had a really good time and ended up wandering around until nearly the end, around 8:00. We visited all the galleries, had some good food & drink, (beer, wine, soda, cheeses, crackers, chips, pretzels, sandwiches, salads, sushi) and got some interesting ideas and inspirations. And, no, not one thing was as moving to me as Jeffrey Margraf's Now We're All Dead! (Steve was happy about that, haha!)

Saturday we met Demetrios at the Silk City Diner for another cruiser event, "The Neighborhood Cruiser Parade." This time, there was only one other PT there, and what an interesting day it turned out to be. We ate, then cruised to the heart of Northern Liberties to a record store where Telemundo t.v. show host Maria de Pilar was making an in-store appearance. Latin music was blaring as the 2 PT Cruisers were on display, and she taped a segment for her show next to the cars. I don't know when it will air, so if you get that channel, someone said it might run during the 4:00-5:00 hour Monday thru Friday. From there, we 'paraded' around the block several times, then we went over to a festival in a nearby park, where we displayed the cars and Maria went up on the stage and sang and danced. Then, we were done for the day, another incentive check in our greedy little hands, haha!

Sunday we did some work in the yard and on the deck, then we picked mom up and went over to Gardner's Basin in Atlantic City to meet Dad & Rita. It was the second annual Christina Rush Foundation Angel Night, a benefit for local women with cancer. ( There was a buffet, a band, a magic show, raffles, a silent auction, it was pretty nice. The turn out was good, and we spotted Senator Gormley there, as well as ex-Atlantic City mayor Whelan, and Jim McGettigan who is running for council. And the best part was when Steve bought some raffle tickets, and won a prize! Dad and Rita, you should have stayed just a few more minutes! Well, wait a minute,....I actually think the best part was when Steve noticed that he was wearing 2 different sneakers! Oh my gosh, did I ever laugh so hard, I couldn't believe it! And mom said she already saw it but thought he was just making a fashion statement, starting a new trend! It was really funny!

Today marks treatment #2 and I'll be taking the trains in. Oh, I forgot to tell you - Dad got a really cool new piano and last week when we were there we were playing with it. You should see it, I think it's called a Clavinova. It does so many things, there are tons of sound effects, and I even played a song on it (cheating, of course, using it's lighted key system!), and Dad & Rita did some karoake, it was fun! And another thing,.....we put up some new pictures in the photo gallery, enjoy!

Friday, October 04, 2002 at 09:43 AM (CDT)

Not too much to report from yesterday. Angelo was in an exceptionally jolly mood, didn't give me any scheduling difficulties, and he was even laughing and smiling. Interesting! I ended up not getting a treatment, they just set up the machine with the new measurements and stuff. Today will be the first one, and Dr. Komarnicky said to expect maybe 10 alltogether, but we'll see as we go along. We had a nice Chinese dinner with Dad and Rita, out on their deck. It's so peaceful there amidst all the wildlife! Today I'll take the trains in and Steve will pick me up. We're thinking of going to check out First Friday in Old City tonight, but Steve is afraid to go - he doesn't want me to fall in love with any more art! But, I told him not to worry, nothing could compare with Jeffrey Margraf's "Now We're All Dead"! Tomorrow we are participating in another PT Cruiser event in Philly, called "The Neighborhood Cruiser Parade." It's from 11:30 to 3 pm and sounds like another fun day, food & goodies, and another incentive check, can't beat that! And, it's in Old City, sweet! Ok, I have to go get ready to head to the train station. Later!

Thursday, October 03, 2002 at 08:51 AM (CDT)

Tuesday and Wednesday, two gorgeous days of gardening,......woohoooooooooo! I wish I could get out there everyday, it seems like all my cares and aches and pains just melt away when I'm crawling around in the dirt. And boy, let me tell you, was I ever a mess at the end of the day. I was covered from head to toe with dirt, leaves, grass and twigs, cool! I was always the one who hated to be the least bit dirty, but in the garden I'm not happy unless I'm filthy! Of course, Steve did have to rub me down with icy hot each night, and I did walk around the house moaning and groaning as loud as I could, but it really was a great way to spend 2 days!

Today marks Treatment #1, breaktime is over! I'll be taking the train to Cherry Hill to meet Dad & Rita. I am scheduled to see the doctors today so I'll let you know what they say. I think we are all planning on having some Chinese food for dinner tonight, yum!!!!!

Ok, I'm outta here for today, have a good one!

Tuesday, October 01, 2002 at 10:21 AM (CDT)

Good morning! It's bright and sunny today, and warm so I thought I would go out and do some gardening in a little while. But, first, here I am to update you on the latest happenings. Friday night, we attended the "Wild Stunt Show" at the Society Hill Playhouse. We really didn't know what to expect, and boy were we in for a surprise! We arrived at the theater, and soon we were allowed into the small room, where a smattering of tiny tables were crowded into the space. Crazy music played and the cast began milling about, then the show started. It was largely an audience participation type event, and luckily neither one of us was chosen to go up on stage, whew! It was zany and crazy, a real hoot to watch. At one point, the cast made us all go outside and line up, then we all had to run down the alleyway next to the theater, across the street and into a park where one of them set his head on fire, then - calling himself the Human Bomb, he lit an explosive that was placed on his chest. Then it was intermission and we were able to walk back to the theater for the 2nd half, which was just as crazy as the first half. One of the guys got naked, and for a good part of one skit we got to see another one of the guys 'personals', yikes! When it was over, we got back to the car just in time for it to start to rain really really hard. Glad we didn't decide to go down to South Street!
Saturday, we just kind of did things around here, you know already that I won Guns 'n Roses tickets (YEAH!), but mostly Steve washed and waxed and detailed the car, because,.......
Sunday we were up and out of the house about 7:30 am. See, on the day of the Ovarian Cancer Walk, we returned to the car and found a flyer on the windshield. Thinking it was trash, we almost threw it out but we did read it and it was an invitation from a PT Cruiser club to join in on some of their upcoming events around the city. So, we contacted them, (hi Demetrios!) and Sunday marked our very first PT Cruiser Club event. So, we joined 6 other PT owners at the Silk City Diner where we had a nice breakfast, then we all drove to Center City where we joined in the annual Puerto Rican Parade! We were part of the Telemundo group, and we were car #3, it was so cool! People were waving and loving all the PT's, and we got on tv, it was really fun! When our group was done, we drove together to an area where we all were judged for a contest. Obviously, we didn't win, we don't have any customization or anything, but it was great to be a part of it anyway. The winner was Tom, better known as Mr. PT, from Massachusetts with his totally cool PT. He drove the parade with a teddy bear sticking out his sunroof waving to everyone, the crowd loved it! From there, we went down to a pizza place at 16th & Spring Garden for a tasty lunch, and then it was time to say good-bye to all our new PT Cruiser friends. Kim and Jason, you missed a really great day! We all received PT t-shirts, driving shirts, hats, backpacks, an incentive check, and food, not to mention newly formed friendships. A good time was had by all! I can't wait until the next one!!!!!
Monday, I had to go out and run some errands, you know,...milk, bread and the usual day-to-day living things. Today I am catching up on laundry, and as I said at the beginning, I am planning on going out into the garden, as I have really neglected it this summer. So, that's all for now, I hope you have a nice day!

Saturday, September 28, 2002 at 02:22 PM (CDT)

I am making an emergency entry today,..........
guess what?????????
I just WON * 2 tickets * to the December 6th
Guns n' Roses concert ! ! ! !
Yes, my peeps, it's the long awaited return of W. Axl Rose,
after 9 long years. Tickets went on sale at noon today for
the show at the First Union Center in Philly, and I won them
from WYSP at 3, not too bad, huh?
I am ALREADY excited ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Friday, September 27, 2002 at 09:27 AM (CDT)

Another gray and gloomy day here. The reception at Hahnemann last evening was pretty nice. Dr. Komarnicky was all dressed up, as a matter of fact, the entire staff looked really great. I am so use to seeing them in their 'scrubs'! We valet parked (free!) but what is the big deal about valet parking anyway? You have to wait for them to take your car, and you have to wait and wait for them to get it when you are ready to leave. Big waste of time if you ask me. Upon entering the lobby, wow, what a transformation! There was a 3 piece band playing, and tables with table cloths and floral arrangements, and a buffet table, certainly not the dirty drab area I see everyday! We chatted with everyone for a bit, then I took Steve on a tour 'behind the closed doors' of the radiation department. He got to see the machine and all the offices and rooms in the back. There was a photographer snapping shots and I managed to get into one of the photos in one of the treatment rooms - oh I am such a star, haha! (He kept calling me The Redhead!) We made our way back out for some food and drinks. The hors d'oeuvres looked really tasty, but by now they were out of plates so we had only napkins to use as a plate. So, that made it difficult, as a lot of the food was messy so we ate sparingly, had a drink, chatted some more, and then we were out of there and on to the Riverview for the screening of "Secretary." Maybe it was due to the rain and general bad weather, but the theater was virtually empty. Hey, that's ok with us! This movie was wild, not for everybody that's for sure. In all the ads, it is being described as "the story of a demanding boss and the woman who loves his demands." If you want to see it, I'll warn you this much, it is a very sexual movie, without the sex, if that makes any sense at all! We enjoyed it, and walked away with movie posters and stickers so what's not to like, haha! Tonight, we have (free!) tickets to a performance at the Society Hill Playhouse in Philly called "The Wild Stunt Show", brought here by the Madhouse Company of London. We have no clue as to what it is all about, except for what we've read in the paper - "Good, clean, dirty fun. A working class Monty Python, as though the 3 Stooges leapt from the t.v. screen and ran amok in the living room." Should be interesting! I'm not too sure what our weekend holds for us, we have several things available to us to do but we haven't exactly decided yet. So, I'll be back next week to fill you in. Later!

Thursday, September 26, 2002 at 01:57 PM (CDT)

Hello all. It's a rainy dreary day here in lovely South Egg Harbor, New Jersey. So, Tuesday night, we went up to see the screening of "The Tuxedo" with Jackie Chan and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Unfortunately Paul wasn't able to go with us at the last minute. He had to stay home and wait for one of his doctors to call, which incidentally, he never did. These doctors, I don't know about them! Anyway, the movie was ok, but the people in the theater were another story alltogether. Talking, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, and talking talking talking. We had to move our seats, it was so bad! I like Jackie Chan a lot so I enjoyed the part of the movie I could hear over the audience. But, the seats we moved to were under an air conditioning vent, brrrrrr! And then, the movie reel broke during a key part of the film and we had to wait until they fixed it but that was ok - half of the theater left at that point, impatient I guess! (Good for us though, it sure did get quiet!) Yesterday, I went out to run a few errands, and when I got back, the Fiero was gone! Yep, the new owner had it towed to it's new home, I'm going to miss that car! Right now, I am getting ready to take the train to Cherry Hill where Steve (not Dad & Rita!) will pick me up. Dr. Komarnicky is hosting a reception with food and stuff at Hahnemann to show off the new radiation oncology department. It figures, doesn't it, the week I have off of radiation, I am going back there anyway! Oh well! From there, we are going to the advance screening of a movie called "Secretary" starring James Spader. Review to follow, I'm sure! OK, I must depart,....oh by the way, I finally got my CA 125 result from 9/13. It was 761, or as they say, "Stable." Stable my ass! Normal is 0 to 35, I certainly don't consider 761 acceptable, even though it is nearly the same as 766 from August. There must be something that can be done to get this awfulness out of me. Hmmmmm, we'll have to work on that, won't we?

Tuesday, September 24, 2002 at 06:30 AM (CDT)

Well, it's been a full week since my last update, so I guess you know what that means, right? This is going to be a long one! OK, let's see,.....Tuesday Jeff picked me up and took me to treatment #12. Angelo and his woe-is-me scheduling difficulties managed to call me to the treatment room right at 3:00, just as Sonny got shot on General Hospital. Oh man! But, the girls (Patty & Sue) filled me in when I got back, and even Jeff seemed interested! We went straight home afterwards, as I had someone coming over to look at the Fiero. They pulled up, right on time, in a red PT Cruiser. But, they wanted to bring their mechanic over, have him work on it, and if he could get it started, they would buy it. What if the mechanic did more damage and I was not able to sell it? No,we said. And, off they went.

Wednesday, Paul happened to be outside so he took me up to the train station. He had an appointment at the hospital at 8 am and I was really surprised to see him home already. They scheduled him for a biposy on Friday the 27th, so cross your fingers for him that they discover what the problem is. Treatment #13 went fine, I was done by 3:00 so I walked up to the Gallery again, where of course I scored another bargain, a pair of Skecher loafers for $8! Steve picked me up outside and we were off to the bar at the Stadium Holiday Inn, Legends. WYSP was having a pre-Stones party there, with ticket giveaways and Don & Mike from the station were broadcasting live. We were there so early that we got a nice (free) parking space, and guess what? We got to hear the Stones do their sound check! Cool! The party was ok, very smoky and people were already getting drunk. We didn't win anything but we did have some cheese fries and a beer. Yep, I had a beer, the first time I ever had a beer at a Stones concert! Anyway, we walked over to the Vet, got our seats, and they were pretty good seats at that, in the 200 level, with other radio station winners and employees. The Pretenders were the opening act, and they played all their hits. I remember seeing them at the Tower Theater, like in 1977 or so, do you remember that too Jef? Right before the Stones came on, we noticed our new friend Michael Tearson come in and sit a few rows in front of us. Then, the show started and let me tell you, I have to say that this was by far one of the best Rolling Stones concerts I have ever seen. And, I have been to many, friend Nora & I flew out to LA once, Steve & I went to Miami & Boston and almost all the Philly ones, even when I was on chemo and bald! And, Jef & I went to a lot, too, once we took Tina and I threw up in a soda cup the entire show,...I was so sick! It is hard for me to explain why they seemed so good. They played some excellent songs, the stage was more stripped down than usual, there were no inflatables, there was less pyro, I don't know, it was just good. And, Mick Jagger sure does have some energy for being nearly 60 years old! Man, can he move, really impressive. He ran back and forth across the stage, all the while singing. Geez, I'd pass out just walking across the stage, once! And, Jason, people weren't rude or drunk or spilling beer all over the place, can you believe that? I had to pee really bad so we left during the encore so we missed the fireworks, but that was ok. We did manage to talk to Michael a few times, he was there with Ray Koob, another local radio personality. After the show, Michael did an on-site radio review outside the Vet. Needless to say, it was a late night, we got home at 2 am, and yes, I was beat!

Thursday, I walked to the train and treatment #14 went ok. I guess I went in around 3, and Angelo was there by himself. It was a little bit weird but he did his job very professionally and didn't mention the schedule at all. It was my scheduled day to see Dr. Komarnicky, and I guess it was about 3:30 when she came in, wearing a neck brace. Turns out, she has a herniated disc in her neck but she says she's ok. She told me that Friday will be my last treatment until October 3rd, when I will then come back for what she calls a "boost" for maybe 8 more days. A boost is just when they make the field smaller, in other words, the radistion beam is smaller because hopefully the tumor will continue to shrink. After we were done, I walked over to Jefferson to attend their 1st Cancer Survivorship Conference. It started at 4, but it was about 4:15 or so when I finally got there. Steve came after work, and met me there. It was great to see some of my Jefferson friends,...Caroline, Lora, Mary-Ellen. They had speakers, and served dinner, (which was horrible! Dirty silverware and coffee cups, tasteless mushy food, ick!), but overall it was a good thing. We went straight home from there, we both were exhausted!

Friday, I took the train to Cherry Hill where Dad & Rita met me and took me to treatment #15, my last for a little while! There was no one else in the waiting room, and they called me back pretty quickly, and we were out of there in record time. From there, we took a ride over to the marina where Dad & Rita have their boat, then we went back to their house where Steve picked me up. We left there, and went over to Jackie & Mikes to pick up Mike's truck. (We needed it for the yard sale tomorrow, as it is bigger than Steve's and holds much more of our precious junk!) Jackie was there, home from the hospital and looking pretty good. Mike built a pond with a fountain, and it's really nice, good work "Dad"! Then, it was home to load up the car and truck for the yard sale on Saturday.

Saturday, we were up at 5 am and over to the Galloway Township Municiple Complex at 6:30 where we met Mom and chose our spaces. We set up, and before you know it, our stuff was going, going, gone! Well, not exactly gone, but we did unload a lot of it! Jef showed up with his daughter Star, and Aunt Marian & cousin Sandy made the rounds, and I saw an old friend, Ted Ellis. But, you guessed it, by the time we got home, we were both, and Mom too, dragging. The sun was just beating down on us all day, Mom went to her van and brought us out a couple of umbrellas to keep the sun off us. It worked for me, but she ended up sunburned. Go figure! Anyway, I forgot to tell you this, but on Wednesday night, one of the men who looked at the Fiero called and said he wanted it, so he came over Saturday evening and paid for it. But, he's not picking it up right away, which is ok with us, it's been sitting there all this time! I tried to watch some of the Miss America Pageant Saturday night, but fell asleep half way through the swim suit competition. Usually, I am able to pick the winner out in the beginning of the show, but not this time, oh no, this time Steve picked her out!

Sunday, Mom and Jeff came over at 10-ish in the morning, and we were off to Philly for the 4th Annual Walk for the Whisper, the Ovarian Cancer Walk. It was a really beautiful day, and we made the rounds to all the tables, picking up goodies and stuff. Being a survivor, I got this really cute teddy bear, and we all got t-shirts. Then, the walk started, and Mom took off! She just flew down the path, you go girl! By the middle of it, I thought I would pass out, the sun was just beating down on us just like at the yard sale but we had no umbrellas this time! Last year, it was chilly and rainy so I guess that's why it seemed easier but this time it felt like it was 10 times longer! Oh well, we all made it, and Mom was sitting there waiting for us at the end, saying, "Where've you been?" HaHa! Jeff took his own car up, and went on his merry way after the walk, and we went down to Old City as I wanted to see Jeff Margraf's wonderful painting again. I called the Highwire Gallery early in the morning to make sure they were open and guess what? Jeff himself answered the phone! What a surprise! He was there showing some friends his display, cool! I was nervous about seeing the painting again, afraid that maybe I wouldn't like it as much after gushing about it the last few weeks. But, not to worry, it is still beautiful and I still absolutely love it! I was also afraid that it would have a SOLD tag on it, and I would be really disappointed and sad, but that was not the case either. I still want it, bad!!!! So, listen up people, Christmas is coming, hahahahaha! We went home from there, and let me tell you, I was looking forward to sleeping in on Monday! No train! No radiation! Yipppeeeeeeeeee!

Monday, I slept until nearly 10, ahhhhhhhhhhhh! I got up and saw a million things I needed to catch up on and you know what? I said, "forget about it!", it's the first day of Fall, I have the day free, let's just go out and do something for myself! So, I went shopping! Kohl's, Value City, the Shore Mall. And, guess what? I ended up buying something for Steve! Oh well! I stopped over Mom's for a minute, and her face is really sunburned. Ouch! Steve & I stayed home at night, watching Penn & Teller on Fear Factor. Steve calls Penn my 'boyfriend', because about 4 or 5 years ago we went to their show in Philly, and afterwards Penn kept staring at me in the lobby of the theater, while they were doing their meet-n-greet. It was funny! And, I keep seeing Teller in Philly, there is this little restaurant near Jefferson he likes to frequent but I'll keep the name a secret, haha!

Today, Tuesday, I'm staying home to get some things done. Steve, Paul and I are going to an advance screening of the new Jackie Chan movie, "The Tuxedo", tonight in Old City. So of course I'll be back with my review!

There are a couple of things I'd like to say before I go today. First:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DIANE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and, second:

Hot Stuff, the next time you find yourself driving by Lang's, just stop in, buy a big bunch of beautiful flowers, and have Jeff personally deliver them, me of course!!!!!!! HaHaHa! I miss you, and I'm happy to know you drop in here from time to time.

That's all for today, thanks for bearing with me during these trying radiation times!

Tuesday, September 17, 2002 at 08:27 AM (CDT)

Hello. Well, Friday I took the trains into Philly and it was pretty uneventful except for it was maybe the 3rd time so far that the PATCO train stopped in the middle of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Very disconcerting, to say the least. While I was in the waiting room prior to radiation, Patty (one of the nurses) brought me back to see Dr. Komarnicky & Dr. Young. Dr. Y told me that he thought the tumor was shrinking, and when Dr. K came into the room, she confirmed it - when I began treatments, the tumor was approximately 3 cm by 4 cm. Now it appears to be about 2 centimeters x 2 centimeters. So, Linda - if you are reading this, please gather everyone together and do that tumor shrinking dance again!!!! Then she told me that she decided I would be doing 1 more week of radiation, then I will have a week or two off before we begin again. So, that's that for now. Nothing to report negatively about radiation treatment #10 except that the guy in charge, Angelo, is really getting on my nerves. When I take the train in, by the time I walk over to the hospital from the train stop, it is about 2:15 - he keeps insisting I get there at 2:10, can you believe that! Yet, whenever I am early, like when I get a ride in, he never takes me in then. He is driving me crazy but the doctors and other technicians tell me not to worry about it. So, I won't! After I left there, I walked over to Jefferson, the Bodine Infusion Center, to get my CA 125 drawn and my port flushed. It was nice seeing Ro again, and Sharon. Then, I waited for Steve to pick me up. We thought we might go visit Jackie (his mom) but she wasn't felling well enough for company, so we headed on down to South Street, had a nice dinner at Abilene, then went over to catch a few acts at the Fringe Festival, then home it was, we were both beat.

Saturday and Sunday we stayed home, getting stuff down from the attic and out of the shed in preparation for the community yard sale this coming weekend. I'm selling my Fiero, so we got a few calls about that, and Steve managed to win Rolling Stones concert tickets off the radio - - - Yeah!!!!!!!!!!! "I know, it's only rock and roll, but I like it, I like it, yes I do, well I like it!"

Monday, Paul drove me to the Egg Harbor NJ Transit station, and I took the train to Cherry Hill where I met Dad & Rita, freshly home from their cruise. They dropped me off at the hospital, and I would like to note that I was really early, it was 1:45 when I sat down in the office. They didn't take me in for treatment #11 until 2:35, which was ok by me, but after I was done, that annoying Angelo came in and started on me again about my scheduled 2:15 time. He knows I am a slave to the train schedule, yet he continuously asks me what time I can be there, he is really rubbing me the wrong way and I tell you no lie when I say that if he bugs me today, I am going to slap him silly. From there I walked over to the Gallery, bought a really sweet top off the clearance rack for $3.49, then I went over to the WYSP studio to meet Steve because he had to pick up the coveted Rolling Stones tickets. Then, we went for dinner at the Wooden Nickel Steakhouse, (I had a veggie wrap!) and then we went to the Ritz 5 for a screening of "Igby Goes Down". This was a pretty good movie, starring Kieran Culkin, Susan Sarandon, Jeff Goldblum, Ryan Phillipe, Claire Danes, Amanda Peet, and I'm sure I missed some of the actors! It was better than I expected, and Nathan even liked it, oh my! Then, we came home.

I had a bad night last night, another sleepless one which I haven't had in over a month or so. I hope that doesn't come back again. But, the good news is that Jeff is picking me up at 12:30 and taking me to and from treatment, then someone is coming over later to see about buying the car. OK, then, I guess I'll go for now. See ya later!

Friday, September 13, 2002 at 07:28 AM (CDT)


We were up at 3 am, out of the house by 4:30 am, through security and at the gate by 5 am, whew! Once again, they searched Steve's bag, and made him remove his hat and his shoes, it was funny because I was the one who asked him to carry the bag! Security was extremely tight, police were everywhere and there were extra screeners, it was great. Spirit Airlines had employees roaming through the terminal just talking to all the people, and handing out pamphletts, which was nice. When we all boarded the plane, the lead stewardess was handing out American flag pins, we love presents! The flight to Orlando was smooth, and when we arrived, we handed the pilot and co-pilot a gift; a baseball cap that had an eagle and a flag and said God Bless America. We thanked them for getting us to Florida safely, and for flying on this important day. They were very appreciative of the gesture, and when we got into the terminal, we looked out into the cockpit of the plane and saw that they were waving them around, showing everyone! We caught the Alamo shuttle to get our rental car. They were the only place I could find that had no drop-off fee for picking up at one place and dropping off at another, and their rates were great. Being in Florida, I reserved a convertable, dirt cheap of course! They told us what spot it was in and oh it was sweet,...a Mitsubishi Spyder sportscar, sort of a gray/silver color with a black top. However, they could not find the key so we were delayed a little bit but soon enough we were on our way. Our first stop was at a restaurant on International Drive where we scored a breakfast buffet for $2.99! And, it was really good! From there, we went over to "our" mini-golf, Pirate's Cove, where I proceeded to beat the pants off Steve! He did manage to get a hole in one, but I still beat him bad! The workers there were amazed at what we were doing for the day, the free flight and just being there for one day. I don't think they will forget us too soon! From there, we got on the highway and started toward Fort Lauderdale. The weather so far had been dreary aand cloudy with light drizzle, but once on the road it seemed to clear up so we pulled over and put the top down. We pulled off a few times along the way, but it was hard to get Steve to stop, he was having such a good time driving this car! It was fast, too, one point he was going 100 miles an hour! A real speed demon! Then, it started to rain again but it was really wild that even with the top down, we didn't get wet at all, not one drop got into the car - I guess from the speed of the car or something but it was so cool! We made it to Fort Lauderdale with about an hour or so to spare so we drove around a bit and finally ended up at Alamo, good-bye to the fast convertable car! They searched Steve's bag again at the security checkpoint, and this time we asked what it was that seemed suspicious to them. When the dude found what it was, he held it up for us to see,...a bag of quarters and change that Steve had for the toll booths! The guy said that they couldn't tell what it was in the x-ray machine, they just couldn't figure it out so that was what all the fuss was about! From there, we grabbed a bite to eat and went to our gate to wait to board to come home. What a day! The return flight was very bumpy, we had to ride above a storm, there was lightning, and it was scary. But, the people on this flight were crazy, both the passengers and the crew. They were hooting and hollering and singing and making jokes, and drinking alcohol like I've never seen before on an airplane. It was like a big party! We arrived back at the Atlantic City airport at 10:03, and once again upon de-planing, we handed hats to the pilot and co-pilot. They were truely surprised, and told us, "God Bless You!" with big smiles on their faces! So, we paid our parking fee and walked out of the terminal and what do we see but the entire flight crew, putting all their bags and stuff into a shuttle van. And guess what? The pilots were wearing their hats! So, Steve says, "Can we get a picture?" (he had been taking pictures all day of everything we did), and the party continued! We all were talking and laughing and taking pictures, it was funny! Finally, we were on our way. Spirit Airlines Rocks!!!!!!

Day #9 of radiation was uneventful, but man oh man was I tired out! I was going to go to Philly with Jeff, but he had a full day planned for us including shopping and dinner, and I was suppose to meet with Dr. Komarnicky sfter treatment, and thought it best if we rescheduled so maybe we'll do it next week. I took the trains, and met Steve at Strawbridges. Like I said, Thursday is my scheduled day for a doctor visit, but she was so backed up that we are going to do it today. We drove up to Franklin Mills to the AMC movie theater because we had a movie pass to see "Signs". First we stopped at a restaurant called "Bugaboo Creek-The Flavor of the Canadian Rockies", because we were hungry and we thought the name sounded like it would be cool. Well, people, we were wrong! The place was full of screaming crying babies and kids, the food was borderline crappy and it was dirty. So, be warned, steer clear of this one! Now, on to the movie. Filmed in Bucks County, PA last year by Philly native M. Knight Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense), this movie seemed like it would be satisfying. Sorry to say, I found it to be a bore. My review is that it is a long boring road to nowhere. Steve on the other hand thought it to be a long road to somewhere, he said it had all the elements of a good movie; plot, aliens, and closure. The only thing I really liked about it is that M. Knight sure does get some creative shots in, very visual. By the time we got home, I was really beat and went right up to bed. Oh, Paul left us a message on the answering machine, he is home - yippee! (Oh, did I ever tell you,...I caught a ride to Philly with Mr. & Mrs. Corbin on Tuesday for day #8 of radiation, which once again went haywire - they lost my computer file just like before! Only this time, I made it out a little quicker, since they sort of knew how to compensate for the problem. Then I met Steve outside the Gallery Dollar store and we were home to prepare for Florida.)

Today is day #10 of radiation, and I will be taking the trains in. So, I have radiation, then the doctor visit, then I have to get over to Jefferson for my CA 125 blood test and port flush, where I will meet Steve. His mom had another back operation at Jefferson on Tuesday, so we will probably go up and visit her for awhile, then who knows! Maybe dinner and more Fringe Festival, if we are not too tired out. Ok, that's all for now, have a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 10, 2002 at 07:51 PM (CDT)

It is the eve of the first year anniversary of our nation's worst tragedy, the terrorist atatck. Steve and I are getting ready for our free Spirit Air flight to Orlando/Fort Lauderdale tomorrow. Thanks to our good friend Jason, Steve put up a few new pictures for you to look at. Please take a moment now, to honor all the innocent people whose lives were stolen, and to send our thoughts of peace, love, harmony and healing into the world, to all people, everywhere.

Sunday, September 08, 2002 at 10:26 AM (CDT)

Good morning! A recap of the week;

Tuesday was day #3 of radiation. I spent the morning making calls to Jefferson, trying to get a copy of my x-rays from radiation last year as requested by Dr. Young and Dr. Komarnicky. They need them, to make sure that the new radiation fields do not cross the old radiation fields, as this would cause more internal damage than necessary. I was transferred from one person to another, and when I finally hung up with the last person, I still was unsure if I was going to pick them up tomorrow or not, so we'll see. Jeff picked me up and we arrived at Drexel right around 2. After only being there for a matter of minutes, Dr.'s Komarnicky & Young brought us back to the exam room for a quick visit, as Dr. K never did get a chance to see me last week due to her emergency. Nothing to report, she just felt the node and sent me on my way and within minutes I was on the table in the treatment room and Jeff was in the waiting area with a magazine. So I'm laying there, in position, just waiting for the machine to start and I hear all this commotion outside the door, voices being raised and just general loudness. Christine comes back in and tells me to relax, they were having a problem pulling my files up on the computer. A few minutes later, she comes back in to tell me that they were going to try to enter the info manually, then she leaves again while I just lay there. Now, she's back telling me to please go outside in the hallway and have a seat. They decided it would take too long to configure everything manually, so they decided just to see if someone could figure out how to correct the problem. OK, so I sit, and I sit, and I wait and I wait, and I wait some more. Pretty soon, Chuck goes home, then Christine punches out, and I am still waiting. I did manage to sneak out to update poor Jeff as to what was going on and finally Dr. K comes in and after consulting with some other doctors and technicians, she decided to manually set the machine & measurements up herself. So, finally, I am done and I go collect Sugar, at 5:00! 3 freakin' hours, yikes! It was 5:20 when we pulled out of the parking garage to go home, whew - what a day! Jeff was such a good sport about it, and all Steve said was, "Ha! Now someone else knows the crap we always have to go through!"

Wednesday, Day #4, Dad & Rita pick me up at the Cherry Hill station and we head on over to Jefferson to pick up my x-rays. Much to our surprise, they were actually there waiting for me! Lordy lordy! We get to Drexel, and Christine came for me right away and I guess it was about 10 minutes and we were all out of there. Big difference from yesterday, I can't wait to tell Jeff! Steve picked me up at their house and on the way home we stopped at a roadside produce stand for some fresh picked Jersey corm which Steve grilled - yum! (No mom, no flaming corns this time!)

Thursday, Day #5, I took the trains in today and got off at the 12th-13th Street PATCO stop. Then I walked over to Broad and down to the hospital. They once again took me right in, and I then had a brief visit with the doctors, and was soon on my way to the Gallery where I promptly discovered the clearance aisle of K-Mart and spent a whopping $5! Steve met me outside and we went down to South Street and grabbed a bite to eat at an outside table at Jon's. We had some yummy Cajun Crawfish Bites, Pretzerellas and a delicious chocolatey cheesecake. Then we went over to the Riverview for the advance screening of "Swimfan". This movie is being billed as a teen Fatal Attraction, and that is true. I found the film to be very predictable, the editing to be bad, and the ending scene in my opinion was absolutely awful. Not a movie I would recommend, however we did leave the theater with movie posters which as I always say, is a good thing! On the way home we heard an interview with one of the stars, Shiri Appleby (from t.v.'s Roswell) talking about some of the scenes that were deleted so I guess someday when the dvd comes out, maybe these scenes will be included.

Friday, Day #6, and I once again took the trains in but this time I got out at the 15th-16th Street stop and walked down a few blocks and over to Broad to the hospital. Lori was waiting for me so I went right in, and I was out of there in record time, I wish it was like that every day! Since it was still early, I strolled down Race street and ended up at the Gallery again where I scored a beautiful sparkly fairy t-shirt for $4.99 on a clearance rack at Strawbridges - nice! Steve met me outside and we were off to Old City. The Fringe Festival is in town, from August 30 thru September 14th. We have always talked about going, but until now we never could work it into our plans. Don't know what the Fringe Festival is? Let me fill you in - all around Old City and the surrounding areas, you can find various artists and performers doing all sorts of innovative and unusual things, some for free, some for a low cost of $5 and up to $20 depending on the show. Some of these performances sounded really wild, and on the train ride I compiled a list of all the free events of the night. And, as it happened, it was also First Friday in Old city. Nearly every city across the country has a similar program, where all the Galleries stay open later than normal, some offer snacks and drinks, and they showcase a local artist, and it is the first Friday of every month - year round. OK, so we chose to attend the 5:00 performance of "Sideshow Bennie's Carnival of Wonders". For 60 minutes, this guy did gross things like hammer a nail into his face, staple a $20 bill to his forehead, chop celery on his chest with a very sharp knife, put his hand in an animal trap, sew a button to his forearm, and, well, you get the picture, right? So, at one point, he scans the audience and picks 2 girls out and one guy, and guess what? One of the girls was me! I say, "Me???" and he says "Yes, you - the redhead!" so up on stage I go. I look out into the audience and who do I see but Rosina! Hi Rosina! Bennie proceeds to lay down on a bed of nails. He instructs me and the other girl to stand on his bare chest while the dude helps to steady us. I was starting to sweat! We get off, and then he places a nail studded board face down on his chest and tells us to sit on top of it, yikes! But, he emerges from the nail sandwich without a scratch - eeeek! Can you believe, my Fringe Festival debut, and no camera! Oh well, there was a photographer from the Philadelphia Daily News shooting furiously, and she did come up and ask me my name afterwards so maybe I'll be in the paper! We chatted with Rosina for awhile, she's a trip! Then we gravitated over to the free Morningstar Farms Veggie Burger tent where we had some delicious burgers, and we were off to wander the streets catching some more performances, and checking out some of the Gallery showings. We saw a lot of interesting things, and upon entering the Highwire Gallery, I immediately was struck by one of the artists work. His name is Jeffrey Margraf and his stuff is totally cool! He has one painting called "Now We're All Dead" that I want bad! It is absolutely beautiful,...big and colorful and wonderful. It spoke to me in such a way that I have not been able to get it out of my head since seeing it. The price of the piece is $800, and you don't know how tempted I am to purchase it! Maybe I'm crazy....but I am so infatuated with it! Steve introduced himself to the artist, and I told him how much I loved it - he seemed genuinely happy to see how much I enjoyed his talent. We ate some snacks there and had some refreshments, lingering long enough for me to stare longinly at the painting for a while (!) then we walked around for a couple of hours just checking out the performances and galleries. We both were invited to participate in one performance piece called "Seven Skins" where an artist was wearing a pair of white coveralls. She invited us to then paint something on her, and at the end of the Festival on Saturday, she is going to display them on a clothesline and her partner will perform a musical piece for each coverall! Cool! At the end of the night, I felt more justified than ever in my yearning to live in Old City, I so feel like I belong there!

Saturday, both Steve and I slept until nearly 10:30, man was I beat. I just dragged around the house all day. Steve grilled some bacon and eggs for breakfast, 1:00! Paul stopped over with a big tray of baked ziti, (which we had for dinner - yum!), and filled us in on the fact that he is being admitted to the hospital on Monday. Good luck to him, I hope they are able to help him this time. Dad & Rita left on a cruise today for a week, I hope they don't eat too much, haha! We spent the evening watching a Russian Roulette marathon on the Game Show Network, sipping a fresh watermelon margarita. (Oh, how exciting! But, it seemed an appropriate way to spend the 75th anniversary of the invention of the television!)

Today, Sunday, I slept late but Steve slept even later, nearly 11:30! Good for him, he needs his rest! We have no real plans for the day, which is a good thing. I'll try to come back during the week to keep you up to date on the treatments and what-not. Ok, bye for now!

Tuesday, September 03, 2002 at 10:10 PM (CDT)

Well, the summer is officially over, and we are now 3 days into National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. The time has come for me to tell you what we did this past weekend. Are you ready? We flew Spirit Airlines - - - to Denver, Colorado! Yes, we had a wonderful weekend in The Mile High City. But, before I can tell you all about it, I need to spin the story of our trip to Detroit, so stay tuned! I'll also have to come back another day to let you know all about my radiation adventure today with Sugar, as Steve is making us a nightcap,...a watermelon martini and I can't wait to taste it, I can smell the watermelon, yum!

Friday, August 30, 2002 at 09:37 PM (CDT)

Can you believe Labor Day is here already? Man, we were just in a heat wave, and boom! It's fall! Ok, let me tell you about our private Maker's Mark bourbon party the other night. It was held at a place called Top Dog in Cherry Hill. We were told that there would be snacks, discounted Maker's Mark drinks and a few giveaways. Well, we got there shortly after the start time of 7 pm, and were at once greeted by our host Brian with a t-shirt, shot glass, stainless steel drink shaker and Maker's Mark lapel pins! Then, he tells us to go ahead and order any Maker's Mark drink we wanted as well as anything off the menu! Sweeter than sweet! By the time everyone got there, I guess there were about 15 people, we al were ordering food and drinks. There was only 1 other girl - Sue - and she was really nice, we had so much in common, I hope we see her again at another party. We met some good people, and hit it off with one in particular. His name is Michael Tearson, and he is sort of a local radio celebrity. He invited us back to his house afterwards, and yes, we went! You see, his wife died of cancer years ago, and we immediately felt a sort of kinship. I guess we were home about 11 or so, what a kickin' party it was, a great time, and I only had 1 drink, Steve had 2. (I don't quite care for bourbon.)

Thursday, (yesterday), I took the train to Cherry Hill where Dad & Rita picked me up and took me to radiation. Not a very fun or romantic thing to do on their 25th anniversary! We got there a bit early, but I didn't get in until after 2:30. They measured everything again, checked and re-checked and then I got my first treatment. We went back to Dad & Rita's, and Steve picked me up, oh it was so much nicer than the trains and all that walking around the city! We were planning on going into Atlantic City to meet up with Steve's grandmother who was visiting for the night from Rhode Island. But, we could not get in touch with her, for several hours, so we decided to go to a movie screening we had passes for, "Slap Her, She's French" was the film. It was ok, slightly funny and even afterwards we still couldn't get in touch with Me`me` so we just went home. When we got there, we had a message from Paul, yesterday when he had a doctor's appointment, they kept him in the hospital, but he called to tell us he was home. They still can not pinpoint what is wrong with him so please please please keep sending healing thoughts his way.

Today, same thing, but instead of walking, Paul drove me to the train station, and Dad & Rita picked me up in Cherry Hill. We were early again so they took me right in for my second treatment. Then the doctor wanted to meet with with me, but as we sat in the exam room, Dr. Young came in to tell us that Dr. Komarnicky was called to an emergency and would be delayed, We waited nearly a half an hour, but finally decided to go when we were told she may be longer. During my visit with Dr. Young, he mentioned that due to the placement of the tumor, I am subject to a possibility of a blood clot in my neck, yikes, they never told me that before! He told me what to look for, and also that he didn't expect for it to happen, he just wanted me to be aware. Ok, I'm aware!

Steve and I are embarking on another one of our adventures for this Labor Day weekend, and you know what? I still have not gotten around to telling you about Detroit! Oh well! I spoke to my friend Denni today, and she and her husband Hugh are coming down to Margate for the weekend, wouldn't you know it! It figures, the weekend we won't be around! So, I hope you all have a safe and happy 'holiday' weekend. I'll be back sometime early next week to tell you what we did. C/Ya!

Wednesday, August 28, 2002 at 01:52 PM (CDT)

Greetings peeps! The 9:10 train into Philly yesterday was pretty uneventful, except for this couple who sat behind me on both trains, she was sitting on his lap and they were kissing, that loud slurping and lip-smacking kissing, it was annoying but sort of funny anyway. The 10:30 ultrasound was easy, and I'm sure I said this before but I wish all my tests were that easy! The doctor came in and told me that yes indeed there was something on my thyroid, but it was very small and he was not concerned about it at all. He said Dr. King would get the report by the end of the week, and not to worry. Easier said than done, dude! From there, I went over to Dr. King's office and picked up a copy of my medical file, then I dropped something off at Dr. Rosenzweig's office, then I went to the Wendy's on the corner and had me a 99 cent sour cream & chive baked potato for lunch. One day, I'm sipping a martini and eating sushi, then the next I'm drinking bottled water and eating fast food!!!! From there I went over to the Gallery where I tried to spend some money but no luck. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining! It was nearly 2, and my appointment at Dr. Komarnicky's was at 2:45 so I thought I better start walking over there as I didn't know just how long it would take. I walked down 12th to Race, then down Race to Broad, where the hospital is located. Let me tell you up front, I don't quite care for this walk. Without going into the details, a dude followed me for a block or two, stopped, then came up behind me again. Needless to say, it was disturbing but if I plan on taking the train to radiation in the future, I guess I'll have to learn to deal with it, right? I had my phone and my pepper spray but it was creepy none-the-less. I guess I got there about 20-25 after 2 and Christine, the technician, was happy that I was early, she took me in right away. They marked me up again, this time with black magic marker, checked and re-checked their measurements, consulted with Dr. Komarnicky and Dr. Young, tattooed me (5 this time instead of 3), scheduled my next appointment, and by 3:30 I was on my way. I was meeting Steve at Strawbridges at 8th & Market, and in light of the scary walk the first time around I decided to try another way of walking there. This time, I walked down Broad to Arch, 12th to Market and over to 8th. It was a little better of a walk with regard to the creepiness factor, but I still didn't quite care for it. Steve got there at 4:30, and before I knew it we were out of the city and eating at a Chinese restaurant. We ran some errands on the way home, and I guess we got home around 9-ish. Too bad we were so late, there was a message on our answering machine from Ean - he chartered a plane and was flying into Atlantic City for the night and wanted to get together for coffee, oh well - maybe next time. And, when we opened the days mail, there was a movie screening pass, for "One Hour Photo" with Robin Williams, at 7:30! Crap! We missed that too! This radiation seems to be a great big pain in the you know what. Boy, was I beat, all that walking, my legs hurt, my feet hurt, my lungs hurt, oh whine whine whine!!!! This morning I had a follow-up optomotrist appointment at 9:45, and even though I set my alarm, I overslept and had to rush rush rush there. I am so tired, I can't believe it. I am going to go lay down for a little bit before Steve gets home. We are attending a private party tonight presented by Makers Mark bourbon, so I'll let you know how that goes! I have to go back up to Philly tommorrow for a 2:15 appointment, I think it may be the first radiation treatment - I'll let you know that too. Bye for now.

Monday, August 26, 2002 at 09:19 PM (CDT)

Saturday we completed our last day at the Bacchus School of Wine. We were there for about an hour and a half, and it culminated almost one year of schoolin'! From there, we came home, changed clothes and went on over to Caesar's Casino and the Temple Bar, hoping to end our Vox Martini Madness Week on a high (haha!) note. We arrived, and it really was not that crowded for a weekend evening, an evening that featured a free martini. We got our 'usual' seat at the beautiful marble bar, and pretty soon 'our' Vox girl came over to chat. Once our martini came, we decided we were hungry, so what do you think us super trendy peeps did? Well, we ordered sushi! Yep, sushi! It was actually really tasty, and fussy Steve actually liked it! Lordy Lordy! We left there when we were done our food and drinks, and on the way home we took a chance and stopped at Cousin's Country House, greedy dogs that we are, but even though it was 8:30, with still a half an hour to go for the free Vox promotion, the Vox girls had just run out of the drink tickets. So, we were homebound, 10 collectible martini picks and 2 Vox martini glasses richer! Sweet! 5 martinis in 4 days, that's gotta be some kind of record, for me at least!

Sunday we just hung out here, I was in a lot of discomfort with that weird stabbing pain in my back. I made some pizza dough in the bread machine, and put together a pizza that Steve, Paul and I enjoyed on the deck. Then it was Tylenol PM to the rescue, and I slept the pain away until nearly 10 this morning. Today, I waited for phone calls from the doctor, then I went to the ShopRite, how exciting! When I got home, I was struggling with the bags and stuff and when I came up the steps, there was this gorgeous plant outside my door. It was so beautiful, purple and almost fake looking. When I opened up the card, guess who it was from? Jeff-SugMan! How thoughtful, just what I needed! It's a vine, and I told Paul,...I need another trellis for it to climb! (Paul had given me a nice black metal one awhile ago, so I had to tease him!)

Tomorrow morning I have to take the 9:00 train as I have a 10:30 thyroid ultrasound scheduled at Jefferson. Then I am stopping at Dr. King's and then next door to Dr. Rosenzweig's, then I don't know what I'll do until my 2:45 appointment at Dr. Komarnicky's. I am doing what they call a "dry run", where they will be checking the measurements and things they did last week. Then, hopefully I will get my radiation schedule. Steve will be picking me up, somewhere in Philly, after he gets off from work.

OK, that's all for now, I'm tired and must go to bed!

Saturday, August 24, 2002 at 11:05 AM (CDT)

Hmmmm, where did I leave off? Let's see, Tuesday I ran some errands, and stopped by mom's for a quick visit. You should see what she's done to the trailer, her walls are really cute - you'd never know all that awful scraping and repairing was under her new paint job! She has sort of a mural going on, with trees and flowers and butterflies, cool! Wednesday morning, Steve took me to my 8:30 appointment at Drexel. We met with Dr. Young, who told me that it looks like the tumor is on my jugular vein which may explain all my recent headaches, then I was sent off to began my radiation set-up. They molded a form to my upper body, marked me up with a purple magic marker, then sent me up to get a CAT scan. They will then use this CAT scan to make a 3-D image of the tumor and surrounding area, so they can precisely direct the radiation beam. From there, we raced over to dad & Rita's, as they generously agreed to drive me home. They had to be in the Atlantic City area around 11 am - 12 noon, so it worked out well as I never would have gotten to the 9:58 train on time and the next train was at 12:13. But, let me tell you, I was beat tired when they dropped me off. Paul was outside so we chatted for awhile, and then I went in, put my jammies on and took a long nap! We had made plans to meet dad & Rita at a local restaurant called Cousin's Country House, at 6:30. It was the first day of Vox Vodka Martini Week, and this was one of the places where you could go, between 6 & 9, to get a free martini with a metal pick designed by a local Ocean City artist. Remember - we went when they did it in Philly? So, how could we not go when it was happening so close to home! When we got there, the Vox girl told us the martini would cost $1, but we never did get charged for them, cool! Dinner was really great, I had this dijon mustard covered salmon and it was done to perfection, yummmmmmmmm! And, of course the martini was great too, I mean - how could it not be, there were 4 olives! The pick showed a picture of the Steel Pier Diving Horse, it's kind of neat. The one in Philly was the Ben Franklin Bridge, also kind of neat however one of ours broke! Thursday I just hung around the house, I was still feeling really tired, and then we were off to day #2 of Vox Martini Week, this time we went to the Temple Bar at Caesar's Casino in Atlantic City. We got a great seat at the marble-topped bar, the martini was free and man was it a wicked one, it seemed to be really strong. The Vox girl told us that each city they visit gets 2,000 of the artist-designed picks to give out over the course of the week, which means about 50 per night at each place. She said they are fast becoming hot collectors items. We were hungry, but the food there was too expensive for us budget-minded poor folks (!) so we decided, hey - let's go over to another place on the Vox list. Off we go to Mojo's on Washington Avenue in Margate, a beautiful people place, haha! By now we are hungry and a little tipsy from the Temple Bar martini. We were seated at a wonderful table, on the outside deck in a sort of private area, sweet! We each got a really good salad, and they gave us a 2-page martini menu to choose our drink from. Steve had a sour apple and I had one made with Chambord liqueur, tasty but we were in fact charged $1 each. Oh well, you really can't beat that! It was so crowded there, they ran out of martini glasses at the bar and our waitress ended up giving us ours in the special Vox-engraved martini glasses. They also ran out of picks, but she tracked down the Vox girl and had her raid the stash for Friday so we got another set of martini picks! I really wanted one of the Vox candle holders, but there are still 2 more days of Vox Martini Madness to go! We were home around 11, and I went right to bed. But, I woke up at 2 am with a bad headache, and from then and all throughout Friday I was fighting off a migraine. No, I don't think it was from the martinis, because I have been fighting off the headache for about a week now. I managed to finally get a shower and get dressed by the time Steve came home, and we headed over to Maynard's Happy Hour in Margate for some free buffet. They had hamburgers, mussels in red sauce, wings and a garlicky pasta & fresh veggie dish. From there, we went next door for day #3 of Vox Martini Week, to a trendy restaurant called Tomatoes. This place was nice, big and beautiful and really suave feeling. We were directed to the back bar, where I had a Dirty Martini and Steve's came 'on the rocks'. We paid our $1 each ( :-( ), collected our picks and since it was still early we decided to walk down the street and see about getting another one, oh we are such gluttons! The other participating restaurant/bar was Steve & Cookies. When we got there, though, it seemed far to fancy for us, there were signs saying "proper attire required" and everyone was really dressed up, so we said forget about it and just headed home. Steve wanted to get dressed up and come back again on Saturday but I said no, I don't think I'd be comfortable there. Today, I don't feel too bad, although I did sleep from about 11 last night until 10 this morning. It finally rained, for most of the night, which is a good thing since we are in a drought. Steve is cooking breakfast on the grill, then we have a get-together at our wine school at 4, then yes we are once again planning on trying to go somewhere for the last day of Vox Martini Week! All in all, 5 places were participating, we have gone to 4 and I don't want to go to Steve & Cookies so we will have to visit one of the places twice. Probably either Caesar's or Cousin's since they were indeed free! OK, later to you all!

Tuesday, August 20, 2002 at 09:19 AM (CDT)

Hello. Friday night, Steve came home from work with a special surprise planned. I guess you know that my mood has not been all that pleasant recently, and one of Steve's most admirable traits is to make me feel better. So, he walked in holding a brown paper bag that smelled absolutely wonderful, and proceeded to set up an "Elvis / Chinese Happy Hour" at the bar! In the bag was take-out Chinese food and a big beautiful blue bottle of Sake`. He set everything up on the bar, and put a couple of Elvis albums on the record player, you know, in honor of the anniversary of "The King's" death in 1977. It was really cool! The food was tasty, the sake` was tasty and the music was tasty, a happy hour without loud pushing shoving rude people and smoke! Isn't he sweet? !!!!!

Saturday, we went up to the X-Games. It was really hot, so we decided to go later in the day, when we thought it wouldn't be so hot or crowded. Well, it was hot, and crowded, but we managed to get a free parking spot a few blocks from the venue, which was a good thing. We had a lot of fun last year, so we were looking forward to going. Last year, I had the apartment in Philly, so we took the subway, then had to wait in a long long line just to get in. There was tons of interactive stuff to do, tons of free give-aways, tons of free food and drink. We figured it would be the same, maybe even better this year, but we were wrong! There was no line to get in, but once inside, it was boring, all the food was closed up tight for the day, the free give-aways were few and far between and the booths that did have free stuff had lines that were just way too long. So, we left out of there with the intent to come back on Sunday earlier in the day.

Sunday, we got up and got out early to try once again for the X-Games. We forgot to take into consideration the shore traffic that was returning home, but it really wasn't too bad. Once into Philly, we couldn't believe the conjestion of cars trying to park. It was incredible, then we realized there was also a Phillies game. It was a mad house! Parking lots that were charging $7 on Saturday were now charging $20! Traffic crawled, lots were shutting down left and right as they were filled to capacity, so we just drove and drove for about an hour and a half, it was crazy! And, the line to get in the X-Games was absurd, and just when we saw a free parking spot, they announced that the place was full and they were not allowing any more people into the X-Games for the time being. Yikes! So, we decided to go over to the hospital and visit Paul. We get there, park, go in to the information desk to find him and the receptionist told us, he was released Saturday afternoon! So, we went home, what a wasted day! When we pulled up, who was sitting outside on his porch,.....Paul! We weren't mad, in fact, it was funny, and we were actually glad that he was home. But, his ordeal is not over so keep sending good thoughts his way, ok?

Yesterday, I finally heard from Rose in Dr. Komarnicky's office. I have an appointment at 8:30 am tomorrow (Wednesday) to get the machine set-up for my radiation. They do things a little different at Drexel, I have to get a CAT scan done, no dye injection which is a good thing, she said it would take about an hour, then my treatments will begin within a week. So, here we go! After that, I have to go over to Jefferson and drop off my chest x-rays to Dr. Pechet so he can be sure my lung is healing. I'm pretty sure Steve is taking me, then dropping me off at the NJ Transit train in Cherry Hill so he can go to work.

Today we have some relief from the heat wave with temperatures in the high 80's. I'm going to try to run some errands, know, I'm out of stamps, milk, and bread! So, until next time, see ya later!

Thursday, August 15, 2002 at 01:13 PM (CDT)

While I wait here for Dr. Komarnicky's office to call, a prisoner in my own home, I guess I'll give you the low-down on the movie last night. It was "The Good Girl", with Jennifer Aniston, and people, go see this one! Not quite what I expected, but I was pleasantly surprised. It made you feel sad, happy, sad, excited, depressed, and happy again, with tons of laugh out loud moments. I am very curious to read the reviews on Friday, I give it a big thumbs up. Steve, on the other hand, really didn't say too much about it but at least he didn't say that he hated it! Some of the dialogue was very clever indeed.

On the ride to Philly last night, we heard about the unfortunate death of the lead singer in Drowning Pool. He was found dead on the band's tour bus, they are on the road with Ozzfest for the summer. What a shame, these guys are very talented, and he will be missed, I'm sure. Man, this year's Ozzfest seems to be jinxed or something,...first Rage & Chris Cornell split up, then Sharon announces her battle with colon cancer, Ozzy leaves, comes back, leaves and comes back again, now this. We didn't go this year, it was on a Friday and Steve wanted to save his days off for something more important, like a doctor appointment! (Silly boy!)

Oh, speaking of Steve, he pointed out that I made a mistake on my entry the other day. The damage from radiation is on my left lung, but I told you it was the right lung. Duh on my part! I pictured looking at the x-ray, so my left lung is actually on the right side of the x-ray.

It's another hot one today, oh and speaking of hot ones,...did I ever tell you of our upcoming one-day Florida adventure? Last week, Spirit Airlines made an announcement that on September 11th, they would be offering all their flights FREE! Yep, you read that right, free! So, Steve heard it on the radio, calls me, and I get on the computer right away as it was only being offered online, one day only or until the seats were gone. It took me 2 full hours as the traffic on the site was unbelievable, but I did it! We will be flying into Orlando, renting a car and driving to Ft. Lauderdale where we will catch the Spirit home,...what a neat way to spend the day, free except for parking at the airport and the rental car. Sweet! Last year on that day, I was all the way in California, alone and lonely. But not this year. I even asked Steve if he wanted to get married down there in Florida, but he doean't want that date to be our anniversary. Understandable. But, I thought by having it as a special day, we could take a negative and turn it into a positive. Alas, he wasn't going for it! :-( HaHa!

Talk to you later, I have stuff to do. Everyone, send good thoughts to my neighbor Paul, who is in the hospital,...lucky dog - he has a private room!

Thursday, August 15, 2002 at 01:13 PM (CDT)

While I wait here for Dr. Komarnicky's office to call, a prisoner in my own home, I guess I'll give you the low-down on the movie last night. It was "The Good Girl", with Jennifer Aniston, and people, go see this one! Not quite what I expected, but I was pleasantly surprised. It made you feel sad, happy, sad, excited, depressed, and happy again, with tons of laugh out loud moments. I am very curious to read the reviews on Friday, I give it a big thumbs up. Steve, on the other hand, really didn't say too much about it but at least he didn't say that he hated it! Some of the dialogue was very clever indeed.

On the ride to Philly last night, we heard about the unfortunate death of the lead singer in Drowning Pool. He was found dead on the band's tour bus, they are on the road with Ozzfest for the summer. What a shame, these guys are very talented, and he will be missed, I'm sure. Man, this year's Ozzfest seems to be jinxed or something,...first Rage & Chris Cornell split up, then Sharon announces her battle with colon cancer, Ozzy leaves, comes back, leaves and comes back again, now this. We didn't go this year, it was on a Friday and Steve wanted to save his days off for something more important, like a doctor appointment! (Silly boy!)

Oh, speaking of Steve, he pointed out that I made a mistake on my entry the other day. The damage from radiation is on my left lung, but I told you it was the right lung. Duh on my part! I pictured looking at the x-ray, so my left lung is actually on the right side of the x-ray.

It's another hot one today, oh and speaking of hot ones,...did I ever tell you of our upcoming one-day Florida adventure? Last week, Spirit Airlines made an announcement that on September 11th, they would be offering all their flights FREE! Yep, you read that right, free! So, Steve heard it on the radio, calls me, and I get on the computer right away as it was only being offered online, one day only or until the seats were gone. It took me 2 full hours as the traffic on the site was unbelievable, but I did it! We will be flying into Orlando, renting a car and driving to Ft. Lauderdale where we will catch the Spirit home,...what a neat way to spend the day, free except for parking at the airport and the rental car. Sweet! Last year on that day, I was all the way in California, alone and lonely. But not this year. I even asked Steve if he wanted to get married down there in Florida, but he doean't want that date to be our anniversary. Understandable. But, I thought by having it as a special day, we could take a negative and turn it into a positive. Alas, he wasn't going for it! :-( HaHa!

Talk to you later, I have stuff to do. Everyone, send good thoughts to my neighbor Paul, who is in the hospital,...lucky dog - he has a private room!

Wednesday, August 14, 2002 at 01:03 PM (CDT)

I spoke with Dr. King again today, my CA 125 was 766, up from 726 but then again, that should come as no surprise to you. She has set up a thyroid ultrasound for me on the 27th, as well as a tyhroid blood study so that is that for now with regard to the thyroid problem. I am still waiting for Dr. Komarnicky's office to get back to me with my radiation schedule and details, but I am not too worried about it at this particular point in time.

Today is the 37th day of 90 degree and higher temperatures in the region, and today is the hottest day of the year so far, forcasters are expecting it to top 100. As the wicked witch on Wizard of Oz said,..."I'm melllllltiiiiingggggggggg!" So, with that in mind, mom - if you are reading this, I was going to try to come over today and see your painting project but it's just to darn hot out!

Tonight we are going to the advance screening of the new Jennifer Aniston movie, "The Good Girl". Critics are saying it is one of her best efforts, so I'll be sure to come back here with my review!

Stay cool! (Yikes, I hate to see my electric bill for this month, haha!)

Tuesday, August 13, 2002 at 06:10 PM (CDT)

Well, I finally heard from Dr. King last night, a little after 7 pm. We had a nice, productive chat. She is concerned about the, and I quote from the CAT scan report, "hypodensity in the left thyroid gland. Question whether this represents neoplasm and is related to nodal disease. Nodal disease may also be related to ovarian cancer". In other words, she is concerned whether, in addition to the new cancerous lymph node, the cancer has spread to my left thyroid gland. She says it does not show up on any prior CAT scans, and that is why it worries her. In all the chest x-rays that I have been doing, you can clearly see damage to the top of my right lung from the radiation last year. I asked her, could this be what is showing on the thyroid? She acknowledged that yes it could, but we really need to be sure. So, she gave me the go-ahead to begin the radiation, stating that the thyroid problem, if that's what is is, shouldn't hold up any treatments and can be dealt with during the therapy. She is thinking that maybe she will have me do an ultrasound of the thyroid, and maybe even another needle aspiration, to which I cringed and told her, and I quote again, "I will punch you so hard if anything goes wrong!" She laughed, said she knew I would and said she'd call me back later this week with regard to what she thinks best. First thing this morning, I called Dr. Komarnicky's office to tell her we were good-to-go, but unfortunately she was out of the office for the day. I hope to hear back from them tomorrow as to what will happen next, I will most certainly keep you posted. Since I had today "free", I ran some much needed errands, and now I am home cooking some fresh Jersey corn for dinner, oh it smells so goooooood!!! Talk to you later, I'm going to go sit in front of the air conditioner. These heat waves are brutal!

Monday, August 12, 2002 at 04:44 PM (CDT)

Hello all. Saturday afternoon we went to a Pig Roast at the Bacchus School of Wine, where we have been taking a year-long wine course. Yuk, there it was, this pig, just sitting there on the table, all gross-looking and stuff, eeeeewwwwww! But one funny thing about it, you know how when you roast a pig, you put an apple in it's mouth? Well, they had a big cork in it's mouth! Get it, a wine school, corks,...kind of clever, I guess. One of the owners, Al, had caught a big tuna so I was lucky that it was on the menu, and it was tasty if I say so myself! It was good to see Kathy & Joe, too bad we didn't get to hear her sing. Saturday night we were going to go up to Philly to a club called Shampoo, for a cd listening party for a new music movie coming out on Friday, but I was just too tired, achey and depressed to go so we stayed home. Sunday was Ean's birthday party, up the Parkway in Seabright. It took us 2 hours to get there, but it really shouldn't have, traffic was terrible in spots. The party was held on the beach, at Donovan's Reef Beach Club & Grill. It was nice, but after awhile it got so windy and I of course got cold, so we left in the early evening, around 7, before the birthday cake was brought out. It had really been too windy to eat on the beach, so we went for a light dinner down the street to an Italian place (I forget the name) where I had a really great soft-shell crab sandwich while a singer/guitarist and upright bassist played dinner music, nice! Home around 10:30, beat beat beat!

Well, here it is, 5:54 pm on Monday, and still no word from Dr. King. I called earlier, but she was in surgery and was told she'd call after 4:30, but I'm still waiting. This is my life these doctors are toying with, don't they realize that? People, be warned, I am at the end of my rope. So basically I have no plans for the week, and at this point, I really can not make any. I'm doomed to sit by the phone. If this is my destiny, then I can safely say, it sucks. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 10, 2002 at 07:32 AM (CDT)

As I said on Tuesday morning, here I am to continue the 'woe is me' saga,.....

After an uneventful train ride into the city, I went over to the Bodine Infusion Center to have my port accessed and my CA 125 drawn. From there, I went across the street for my neck CAT scan, where amazingly I encountered no problems. Next it was back to Bodine to get de-accessed, then I waited for Steve and once again it was back across the street to pick up a copy of my films. From there, we went down to South Street to a place called Copabanana for a quick bite to eat, and it was off to the Riverview for an open-ended movie pass we had for "Road to Perdition". This is a mob movie starring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman and Jude Law. It was a pretty good film, but all the actors looked really ugly. Maybe it was the lighting or the make-up, I don't know. Or maybe after all these years of glorifying mobsters on the big screen and on television, the director's point was to make it grittier or something. Who knows, but it always seemed to be raining, and dark. Well, even as predictable as Road to Perdition was, it was still a fine picture, although we did in fact discover one glaring editing mistake involving a coffee cup - so if you see the movie, let me know if you find it too!

Wednesday, I guess I didn't do anything because I can't even remember!

Thursday, I took the train(s) into Philly for my follow-up appointment with Dr. Keane - you remember, it was in his office that my lung got punctured. I was armed with the chest x-ray from Monday and the CAT scan from Tuesday. Steve met me there, and pretty soon we were in the exam room and Dr. Keane was all apologetic, still saying that this had never happened before. He explained that he still felt an operation to remove the tumor would be my best bet for over-all survival of the disease, and even though he had some concern regarding the closeness of the tumor to my lung, he said he could assemble a team to operate, however Steve & I both noticed a slight lack of confidence in his assurances. It doesn't matter, though, as I had already decided at the time this tumor was discovered that I was not going to have the operation. In fact, I only went for the aspiration to appease other people, not myself,....and look what happened, a punctured lung! Well, no more. From now on, when I say no, it's no. When I say yes, it's yes. So there! Anyway, he looked at my lung and declared the problem to be resolved. OK, then, how come I still can't breathe correctly? How come I still can't sit upright without discomfort? He had no clear answers, so we left out of there telling him I'd let him know what I decide to do next.

Early Thursday morning, I had called Dr. Komarnicky's new office to try to schedule an appointment with her to discuss radiation. Much to my surprise, her assistant Rose was able to arrange for me to come over right after Dr. Keane, so off we went to Drexel. Everyone was so nice there in that office, and very attentive. I guess it was about 4 when we finally arrived, and we didn't get out of there until 6! It was really great to see her again, it will be a year in October since she left Jefferson. Her resident, Dr. Andrew Young, was terrific, very nice, thorough, knowledgable and tolerant to our questions. Dr. Komarnicky agreed with my decision of no operation, given my history of the first 2 unsuccessful surgeries and this lung incident. She felt strongly that radiation would be the way to go, so I consented to it and she said she'd contact Dr. King on Friday and set everything up for me, to possibly begin next week. Cool, I actually felt like I had made the right decision, after wrestling with it for weeks.

From there, we went to the United Artists theater in Manayunk as we had advance screening passes for the new Vin Diesel movie, "XXX". Who is this Vin Diesel, anyway? I know he was in the Fast and the Furious, which we had passes to but for some medical reason or another we were unable to make it. There has been so much fuss about this guy, but I can barely stand to look at him, and his voice is so totally annoying. Take it from me, this is a real manly-man movie - guns, fast cars, explosions and stunts, with a tiny bit of romance thrown in to try to appeal to the ladies. Except, the romance just doesn't sizzle, I witnessed absolutely no sparks between the lead characters. Oh, and the movie was so loud, I came out of there with a colossal headache. Denni & Hugh, you really were better off not joining us! Even the audience was rude, the girl next to me talked through the whole picture, making comments about every scene, it was so annoying - and a group of theater workers plopped themselves down on the floor behind us and proceeded to talk and talk and talk. One good thing, during the trivia questions the radio station Y100 asked at the beginning, (Jason, it was all about porn!), Steve answered the first one right and won a T-shirt, and a Creed cd, sweet!

Friday, I spent the day on the phone. I had to contact Dr. Pechet for a more definitive reading of my chest x-ray but unfortunately he is out of the office until the 19th. His assistant however informed me that the report indicated to her that the problem 'was resolved'. Resolved, my ass! (oooops!). I called Dr. Keane to tell him no no no to the operation, and of my decicion regarding radiation but he was also out of the office until next week. I tried to reach Dr. King regarding the radiation, no luck there either, and I had to leave a message at Dr. Komarnicky's office as well. Just another frustrating day in 'shithole stadium', as Steve calls our house. I did manage to spend a small amount of time with my neighbors; Paul, Kenny, Steve, Steve's wife Lynn and Paul's friend Carmen, out on their porch,...drinking shots of peach schnaaps! (I only had one, though I probably could have downed the whole bottle!!!) Then, I guess it was around 5 when I got a call from Dr. Komarnicky. She did indeed talk to Dr. King, and apparently on my CAT scan from Tuesday there is something questionable showing in my thyroid that they say is also seeming to be cancerous. Dr. Keane looked at these scans and the report, and his department is Otolaryngology-head & neck surgery, and he didn't mention this. Geez, here we go again. So, Dr. Komarnicky told me that Dr. King says the radiation is ok with her, but, and that 'but' is what scares me, she is making arrangements for me to see a Thyroid Specialist by the name of Dr. Miller immediately. (This thyroid discovery is causing great concern for both Drs. King and Komarnicky). She speculated on the treatment for this type of problem, which would be a radioactive iodine injection, but didn't want to talk about it in detail because she said Dr. King would be calling me to discuss everything. So, radiation has been put on hold, and once again the decision has been made by someone else, and not me. Isn't this my life? Hmmmmmm. Well, regardless, here it is, Saturday morning and I still have not heard from Dr. King. How long do you think I'll have to wait before I know just exactly what is going on? How much more of this do you think I can take? A little hint for you,....not much more, that's for certain. So, I am in limbo again, the cancer is getting worse at a fast pace, my treatment plans have been altered and I have no idea what is going on - a real weekend killer, not to mention an attutide killer, just how does anyone expect me to keep a positive one?

Last night, despite the inner and outer turmoil of my life ( !!!!! ), we went over to the Trump Marina Deck. Sammy Hagar was there, presiding over a contest that we just had to enter. They were picking one person who would get a chance to toss a lime 20 feet into a martini glass. If they made it, they'd be $100,000 richer. If they didn't, the consolation prize was a cool $1,000. We entered, then went into the Trump Marina to have a nice chinese dinner at the Imperial Court, which was pretty tasty. We were back to the Deck around 9, and sad to say, we didn't win the chance to toss the lime, and the dude who did, didn't get it in the glass. You can see it today on as they taped the entire night for a web broadcast. Our friend Al, the owner of 102.7 was there,...looking good Al! We had one of the Cabo Wabo tequila drinks, which was yummy. We hung out a little with comedian Craig Gass from the Howard Stern show, and his girlfriend, then we left shortly after Sammy Hagar finished singing with the band. Man, he sure does look 'like a man', but the dude can still belt out a tune! We were so close to the Taj that we drove over and said hello to Ean as he dj'd at the Casbah Cafe`,...what a cool shirt he was wearing, and we were home by midnight.

Today, we are going to a pig roast, believe that! A vegetarian at a pig roast, haha! Tomorrow, Ean is throwing himself a birthday party, so we will be going to that. Who knows what next week will bring, but I predict I'll be spending a lot of time in Philly, and a lot of time being frustrated and angry. OK, later! Have a nice weekend, whatever your plans are.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002 at 08:46 AM (CDT)

Good morning! I thought I'd drop by real quick and fill you in on the last few days of my oh so exciting life, haha!

Friday, I slept and slept. Why? Well, because some bozo felt the need to call us at 4:00 in the morning, then hang up. Not once, mind you, but several times. And, I was sleeping really good up until that point, too. As Steve said, "Bastard!" (sorry for the curse word!) Friday evening, we went over to the Casbah Cafe` at the Trump Taj Mahal, where our friend Ean was dj-ing from 8 to midnight. We walked around the boardwalk for a little bit, got a bite to eat at the Stage Door Deli, then went to see Ean, which was nice. The Cafe` is located outside, overlooking the boardwalk with a nice ocean view, and he spins 'dinner music'. Then, out of nowhere, it started to rain a little bit so he went inside to contact the technical department to come and cover up the equipment. Wouldn't you know it, while he was inside, the weather turned into something fierce, the wind was blowing and all his cd's and the speakers and everything went flying! Steve manned the equipment, I caught the papers and cd's, it was crazy! The rain was pelting down, the wind was whipping, it was like something out of a movie! Needless to say, the rest of Ean's gig was cancelled, and we retired back to his room to watch some t.v.,...hey Ean, wasn't that Blind Date funny?

Saturday Steve & I went up to the Reading Terminal Market in Center City. They were having a street festival with Mummers and radio stations and contests, sponsored by the Turkey Hill Ice Cream company and from noon until 6 o'clock you could sample their new Philadelphia Style ice cream, for free. I guess we got there around 1, and by the end of the afternoon I swear we ate at least a half gallon of ice cream each, no lie! They had 8 different flavors, and we had them all! It was yummy, but it will be a long time until I want any ice cream! From there we went over to the International House for a free "Avant-Garde" movie festival at 7:00. We thought it would be a cool thing to see these experimental, innovative and different movies, but - wrong! It stunk so we left at intermission and headed over to the Prince Music Theater for a free showing and sing-a-long of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch". But, when we got there, we couldn't find the room it was showing in, and it was really cold in there, so we left and walked over to Bertucci's Brick Oven Pizzaria and had a late dinner.

Sunday, we spent the afternoon and evening over at Maynard's in Margate for Big Al Troiano's 76th birthday party. We haven't been there in months, it was good to see Big Al (he sure looks good for 76 years 'young'!) and Uncle Phil. Uncle Phil, of course, was snapping pictures all day so maybe we'll end up on the wall again. There was a guitar player this year, which was new, and they were doing karaoke, it was the first time we heard Uncle Phil sing, he's kinda good!

Monday, I had a chest x-ray in the afternoon, so I also ran some errands but was beat after an hour, so I came right home and flopped. We watched a video of "Lost in Space", and then it was off to bed for me as I had to get up early today - I have to catch the 12:42 pm train to Philly for a neck CAT scan for Dr. Keane. Steve will pick me up after work, which is a good thing as I'm sure the train ride will tire me out,...oh I'm such a delicate flower, hahahahahahahahaha!

Oh, Paul, I have a message for you from my mother,....she says she most certainly agrees - reality does indeed suck!!!!!!

OK, I'll be back sometime later in the week to continue the "woe is me" saga! Bye!

Thursday, August 01, 2002 at 02:26 PM (CDT)

Another hot one here in New Jersey, I think it's the 5th heat wave we've had so far. I sure am glad we have the air conditioners this summer!

My neighbor Paul and I would like to share with you our thought for the day:

Reality Sucks!

OK, with that said, our trip to Wildwood last night was fun. However, I must say, Wildwood sure has gone to the dogs, so to speak. I never noticed so many trashy houses and empty lots, boarded up places and closed businesses than these last 2 times we have gone. What's happening down there? Anyway, we had our 99 cent pizza and 99 cent ice cream cups, and a new treat we discovered; a zepolli for 75 cents. I am such a cheap date! A zepolli, if you are wondering, is a big hunk of fried sourdough dusted with powdered sugar. We were going to try some garlic knots, which looked good, but we were too stuffed! Oh, and Steve won 2 large prizes, a Gumby and a Pokey! We were home by midnight, and I slept pretty good without a pill or tea, cool! I told Steve, we need to go walking like that every night! I did have some minor chest pains, I guess I put too much stress on my lungs, but it went away when I sat down to rest, so all is good and today I am still feeling like yesterday, which is a bit better.

That's all for now. Paul, if you ever look at the picture, e-mail me and tell me if you laughed! And, mom, thanks for the info - I tried to use Air Life Line to get to Dr. Chopra's last year but they didn't fly that far. Catch ya later!

Wednesday, July 31, 2002 at 02:45 PM (CDT)

Feeling a little better today. I was scheduled for a neck CAT scan this afternoon in Philly, but Jefferson called me and re-scheduled it for next Tuesday. Did nothing Saturday, nothing Sunday, nothing Monday. (Hope you had a nice birthday, old ex-husbean Jef!) However, we did go to the movies Monday night, to see "Halloween - Resurrection". I love Michael Myers! Or, should I say, I hate him, he scares me so. Really, he spooks me! But we enjoyed the movie, went through a whole large tub of popcorn. Critics panned it, and Jason I don't usually agree with them either. I thought the movie did a good job with explaining the back story to Michael Myers, and just how he 'came back to life' for this sequel. And, as incredible as it seems, this movie was sort of believable. Busta Rhymes really put a hurtin' on old Mikey! Steve says the next installment in the Halloween series with probably be "Halloween - Michael Myers goes to the 'Hood." I know you'll have a good laugh if he turns out to be right! Anyway, since I'm breathing easier today, Steve just called and asked if I'd like to go down to Wildwood for some 99 cent pizza & ice cream tonight, and of course I said yes. The ocean always works wonders on me, I wish I lived in that house Julia Roberts had in the movie "Sleeping With the Enemy", now, that's my dream house for sure! Or, a Robert Johnson Igloo on the beach, he's such a cool designer.

OK, I'll be going for now. I'll leave you with this; By now you probably know I am pretty much fed up with the Jefferson Health System. For the last year, I have felt this way, unsure if I was getting the best care. During this time, I have looked on the internet for clinical trials, new treatments, and related things. Now, I am on a quest to find a new doctor and treatment facility. So, if you are feeling helpless when it comes to what you can do for me, then do this - help me in my quest! I want the BEST doctor and hospital with the most success treating recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer that has metastasized. And, I need the info, like,...yesterday! (Haha!) Seriously, I need to get treatment right away, before this tumor gets any bigger or the cancer spreads and I run out of treatment options. OK, gotta go!

Saturday, July 27, 2002 at 07:02 PM (CDT)

Hey guys, guess what? ? ? ? New pictures on the photo page, will wonders never cease, hahahaha!

Friday, July 26, 2002 at 03:15 PM (CDT)

Well, as promised I'm back with more tales of misery and woe. Oh, woe is me! Yesterday's x-rays weren't too bad, but I think the technician was flirting with me or something - he made me put on a gown even though I was not wearing a bra, just a thin shirt, and he would not allow me to tie the strings, said he needed it open. And, he made me hold my hair up on top of my head even though it is not long enough to interfere with the picture. I think he was hoping to sneak a peak, but,...wrong! Anyway, I spoke to the doctor who reads the films and makes the report, and he brought me in and kindly showed me the picture, explaining what was what. So, films in hand, I go home to wait for Steve, who left work at 2:30 to come home and get me so we could make it to the 5:15 appointment with Dr. Pechet from the Thoracic Surgery department at Jefferson. We got there in plenty of time, and arrived in the office at 5:00. I fill out my forms and we wait, and we wait, and we wait. Oh, and we wait some more. Finally, at 7:30, yes that's right,...7:30, we see the doctor. Yikes, Steve took precious time off from work, for this? I was furious, but then again, my mood this week has been generally foul. Ok, so he tells me that the pictures look virtually the same as the ones from the hospital on Tuesday, which in reality is a good thing - meaning, that my lung is not worse. Then he goes on the say how it could very well take up to 4 weeks to fully heal, for all the air to be re-absorbed into my body. If not, then I wil definitely need to have the needle inserted so that the air can be sucked out. Unless of course, it gets worse, in which case I'll end up back in the hospital with a chest tube. So, I have to be very careful for the time being, no lifting anything over 10 pounds, no running or overly strenuous activities, try not to drive for long periods of time, and stuff like that. Oh, and I can't go in an airplane, which is really bad news because we have tickets for another one of our adventures real soon. So, cross your fingers and toes and anything else you can think of that this problem fixes itself, or I'll just cry and cry and cry some more!

It was a little after 8 when we finally got out of there, and I guess we were both hungry. We decided on the spur of the moment to go to a place we had visited once before. It is (or was) called Meiji-En, a Japanese-American place on a pier at the waterfront, adjacent to the Ben Franklin Bridge. I had read in Wednesday's paper that new owners were taking over and would soon be changing the name to "Hibachi". Well, we have one of those Entertainment books, and Meiji-En was in it, you know - 'b