Saturday, December 29, 2012


Saturday October 31, 1992

Up and slow getting ready. Frank takes a day off from the rental house. I still have pressure in my neck and chest from the medication. I tire easily.

We go to Gary's in the afternoon. I organized the garage cupboard and took all the beer out to give to Gary.

I fix fried potatoes, fish and brocoflower and I eat very well. I'm tired though so Frank answers the door as all the children come to trick or treat. Gary and Maria bring the boys, two of their friends and their mom to visit about 9:00.

So glad Mom's stomach ache seems to have subsided and she is able to eat without pain. Frank is a saint for taking care of Mom, working on the rental houses, and now answering the door to trick-or-treaters.

No Square Dancing Tonight

Friday October 30, 1992

Up at 8:00 feeling pretty good. I finish the last 2 loads of wash.

Karen King calls to say a group of our square dance friends are going dancing in Northridge tonight. I would love to go but my energy level is still very low, and my chest still hurts.

We have a nice dinner and watch a couple of rented movies.

Stomach Ache

Thursday October 29, 1992

Awoke at 7:30 feeling a bit better. Decided some toast and scrambled eggs might taste good and it did, but it gave me a stomach ache. When lunchtime came, I still had the stomach ache, but ate a little anyway.

My new washer and dryer arrive about 2:30. Frank has come home to supervise. All goes well.

I do 2 loads of wash. Frank goes back to Newbury Park. I put a pork roast in the oven. By dinnertime I still have a stomach ache, but my chest ache is much improved.

Joan Larson calls and we have a great visit talking about our kemo pumps.

I wish I knew what is causing my stomach ache. What next?

I Had My Nightgown Ready

Wednesday October 28, 1992

I'm awake from 4 a.m. Can't sleep. Worried about what is wrong with me. I get up at 7 a.m. to begin to get ready to leave at 9 for Kaiser Hollywood and Dr. Semrad.

We arrive early but the nurse calls me right away to take blood from my catheter, but she can't get any so tries a saline flush, but when she draws it back, she gets a huge blood clot. She's excited and she and another nurse agree they've never seen anything like it. They need Dr. Semrad.

Dr. Semrad decides the catheter has come out of the vein so all the medicine has been going into my lung area, which could account for my discomfort. He must pull out my catheter and tube. He will schedule me for next Tuesday to try again. He says this is only the second one he's ever seen come out. I'm relieved to know what's wrong with me. Doctor says I should feel better in 3 days. I had my nightgown in the car. I was ready for a hospital stay.

I'm disappointed that I will lose a week and have to go through the minor surgery again, plus getting used to the pump. But it's nice to have a few days off the pump to feel free again. I should have a nice weekend.

We stop and have a nice lunch at Eggs & Things. I relax all day, talk on the phone. We have a light dinner and watch TV. I needed to share what had happened, called Frank's mom and Chris. My mom called me so I had plenty of outlets.

I'm glad that Mom felt free of the pump, but I was mostly concerned that she had now gone several months without any chemo treatments.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Feeling Terrible

Tuesday October 27, 1992

I awake feeling terrible. Decide to stay in bed today. I can't stay awake. Sleep most of the morning.

Frank makes an appointment for me at the local clinic at 2:30. At 2:30 he takes me. They seem real concerned. They run all kinds of tests including chest x-rays, EKG and blood tests. At 5 p.m. I'm finally sent home. I'll take all the test information to Dr. Semrad tomorrow, my weekly visit for my pump.

I eat a little dinner. Gary comes by to pick up Joe's birthday present.

I'm in bed at 10:00, still feeling terrible.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gary's Birthday

Monday October 26, 1992 Gary's Birthday

Not feeling well. I call Dr. Semrad. Up and dressed though. My chest still hurts. Dr. Semrad calls in a prescription for antibiotics. I lay around all day. Carol calls and we make a date to go to dinner at her house November 21.

Gary and Maria come over after they go out to dinner so we can wish Gary a Happy Birthday. Frank has bought 1/2 gallon of ice cream to celebrate. We all have some. Gary has brought me some pizza. I eat 2 for dinner. I feel bad and go to bed when they leave.

Is it my new kemo pump causing me to feel bad? I wonder.

My brother Gary is 36 years old this day. Does Mom wonder whether she will be around for his 37th?

Pressure In My Chest

Sunday October 25, 1992

During the night I awoke with a strange feeling of pressure in my chest, shoulders and neck and head. When I awake I still have it but manage to get up and dressed and go with Frank to the valley to look at carpet, and new washer and dryer at Sears.

I'm taking pain pills all day and even manage to go to the craft fair at the park and at 5 p.m. we are at Dick and Gayle's for a video of our Colorado trip and dinner with 10 of our friends. We enjoy and stay until 8:30.

I fall asleep after talking on the phone to Donna and Chris.

Uh-oh, sounds like square dancing last night may not have been a good idea.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Of Course You Can Dance!

Saturday October 24, 1992

Awake early. Can't sleep past 5:30 a.m. since our trip, but I have a hard time staying awake after 8-8:30 p.m. Hopefully I'll get back on track soon. Then it gets worse because tonight we set our clocks back one hour so tomorrow I'll awake at 4:30 a.m.

Marty and Kathy are coming to go to dinner with us tonight at 6:15 before square dancing at 8 p.m. I'm feeling fantastic today. I get alot of little jobs done around the house and still talk on the phone all day--12 people.

We'll go dancing, but I probably won't dance with this huge 5 pound 5"x11"x3" pack on my side. It would be very awkward. We'll see.

"Of course you can dance!", our friends all insist. I put the pump in front and dance all night. I have a great time! Full of energy!

Mom was always very confident in herself and didn't care much what other people thought, but carrying around the bulky pump made her feel awkward, as it would most people. I think it is so sweet that her friends encouraged her to dance anyway, and how wonderful that she was full of energy and felt great!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Maynard House

Friday October 23, 1992

Slept most of the day yesterday and still had a pretty good night. Amazing. Awoke feeling so much better. I'm taking my other anti-nausea medicine.

We tape saran wrap on my chest and I hang the pump outside the shower on the great hook Frank made for that and I'm in the shower. It feels great after 2 days of no shower but the water gets under the saran wrap. Frank helps me flush my catheter, not so bad, and I am dressed and made up by 11 a.m.

We go to Woodland Hills to look at carpet for Maynard game room. Back in Simi we have hot turkey lunch at Millie's. I still don't have an appetite. I've lost 13 pounds in the past 3 weeks.

After resting an hour I drive myself to Maynard. Frank wants me to check it out. I'm nervous driving with my pump beside me. We bought a belt to wear it easier. We have a quiet evening at home.

Oh, I tried that trick when I had my foot in a cast. I wrapped my cast in a black garbage bag and duct taped it to my leg around the cast. How I hated taking sponge baths, but the water got underneath the plastic every time in the shower.

The Maynard Avenue house in Newbury Park was the house where Frank lived and raised his 3 children prior to Mom and Frank's marriage in 1982. After they bought a beautiful new house together, the Maynard house became a rental. The photo above was the only one I could find that was taken in the game room (converted garage) of this house. This photo was taken in 1980 at Christmas. I am 27, Mom is 46, her mother Helen is 72, and Helen's mother Amanda Johnson is 101 years old! Grandma Johnson passed away the following year, Grandma Helen died at the ripe age of 89 and Mom died when she was not yet 59. I have already outlived my mother, but can I possibly live as long as my great-grandmother Johnson? She was always very active and took a walk every afternoon until she fell and broke her hip at the age of 101. What am amazing woman! She moved to the United States when she was just 16, lived in Minnesota and then Van Nuys, California, and raised 14 children in the same house where she died in 1981.

Orange Sherbet Pushups

Thursday October 22, 1992

Didn't sleep very well, worrying about the pump laying next to me, about getting tangled in the tube or pulling it out. At 6 a.m. I am vomiting even though I took the anti-nausea medicine. I feel terrible and spend the day in bed. The Compazine suppositories work a bit better. I wash my dirty hair in the kitchen sink but that's all I accomplish.

Frank brings me toast and juice and orange sherbet pushups. I love them when I'm sick. He found them at Ralph's. Bless his heart. The only market in town that has them. At 1:30 Frank takes Joseph to the dentist for a root canal. It's 5 when he gets home.

I couldn't face changing my dressings and flushing the catheter, but finally had to do it at 11 a.m. So nervous. But with Frank's help, not too bad. Thank God for Frank! One in a million.

I have always admired the fact that no matter how poorly she felt, Mom wrote in her journal every day, something I have not been able to do. I am now in my 4th year of publishing Mom's journal that she wrote in just 2. Up until now, it has been a mostly enjoyable journey, but as she approaches her last 1/2 year of life, I know there will be more pain and suffering and it will be harder and harder to me to turn the page.

I took Compazine pills this same year during my pregnancy with Derek when I was nauseous 24/7. They didn't do a thing. I can understand that it was difficult to sleep for worrying about the tube coming out of her chest, and certainly it would be very hard to change the dressing at her surgical site and flush the catheter when she is already nauseous. Frank, you certainly are one in a million! Not too many men would make a run to the only market that carries orange sherbet pushups, take care of the rental houses, take care of a sick wife, AND spend 3-1/2 hours taking Mom's grandson to the dentist. You are amazing and I love you!