A Little Levity

Anne and I were in McDonald’s grabbing a hot chocolate before our last errand on that last day. It was the week before Valentine’s Day so the place was decorated with pink and red hearts.

They were all lopsided and I couldn’t help but making the connection! I took a picture to illustrate and then another one to make the relationship more clear. Yep, fits perfectly.

photo 3(I have to insert a funny memory that probably prompted me connecting the dots this way. Years ago, when Laura was 2 or 3 years old, we celebrated her birthday with everything pink. Pink lemonade, pink ice cream, and even pink mashed potatoes! There were also pink and white heart-shaped balloons which I hung from the chandelier in the dining room. Sometime after the party, we were eating another meal at the table and Uncle Dunc looked up at the balloons that were losing their air and shape. He commented on their similarity to the female anatomy, sort of sagging. We could barely stop laughing through the rest of the meal!)

This week I take the next step in correcting some of the disproportion of my anatomy. The implant is supposed to be a bit softer and slightly “lower” on my chest. They still won’t match, but they’ll be closer. Later this spring, we’ll add the other kind of “levity” to the left side.


Surgery–removing the expander and inserting an implant–is tomorrow at 10 a.m. Please pray for a smooth recovery and NO complications. (I don’t have time for any additional problems.) I’ll do my part by religiously obeying my post-op instructions.


In the meantime, I’m enjoying the sick humor of all of this. Gotta take what you can get.

Come What May

I ended my post about trusting God in the midst of timing that seemed crazy with the words, “Come what may.” I really hesitated before writing those words. My fingers hovered over the keys for awhile and even after I wrote the words I considered deleting them. But it felt like an issue of faith to me so I left them in.

In my mind that “Come what may” had more to do with the uncertainties about surgery and the MRI or about our new grandson. I wasn’t going to worry about the details, but I’ve learned to expect the unexpected in life. I thought that in a month or so I might have a glimpse of what that “Come what may” might turn out to be.

I had no idea of the surprise that was coming or how quickly it came.

James called us on Sunday to let us know that they were considering changing their wedding date to April 5, 2014, eight weeks from now. We had a conversation with Anne later that day and emails that went back and forth between us. They sought the counsel of various mentors there and in the end decided that is what they are going to do.

While John, Lizi and I will be able to be at the wedding, Laura and her family will not be able to attend so soon after the new baby. Johnny is probably going to opt to go at a later date. And I will miss most of the wedding planning and preparations. This feels like another loss to me, coming on top of a year of difficult losses, so I have to admit that I am not handling it well. I am still trying to trust God and looking for his grace in the midst of my raw emotions.

I am going to keep putting one foot in front of the other, “doing the next thing” as Elisabeth Elliott once advised. I finished working for a bit and will be getting ready for surgery next Tuesday. I visited the midwife with Laura and baby today and I’m knitting baby things in anticipation of that wonderful event. I know less than I did last week and have more stresses on my mind than before, but I am also resigned to my place on the sidelines watching and waiting to see how it all comes together.

I am reminded of a Christmas letter I wrote in 1991, which turned into Anne’s birth announcement. I imagined a nice little family gathered together by the fireplace, mom’s hands busy with some quilting, Dad reading, the children quietly playing together. I then admitted that was NOT our family in 1991.  (That alternative reality has been played out over and over, with increasing intensity many times.) I compared our real life to my then current quilt project; crazy trips to the store, mistakes, seam ripping, hurried sewing sessions and inevitable messes. In spite of all that, I finished a pink and blue baby quilt and was able to wrap it around my new daughter just a few days before Christmas. There won’t be a literal quilt to wrap around James and Anne come April (even I’m not crazy enough to attempt that) but we will find a way to share in their excitement and joy, wrapping them in our love and prayers.

Please feel free to pray with us. I especially pray the words of Philippians 1:9-11: “that [their] love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that [they] may be able discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the praise and glory of God.”




Timing is Everything

Awhile ago, I posted a blog called God Knew. In it, I was reveling in the hindsight of God’s timing in our family’s life. As I looked back over the past couple of years, I was touched by how various events had worked together for our good, even sad and unpleasant circumstances. In particular, I thought the arrival of a new grandbaby this March would be perfectly timed.

I’m still hoping that God Knows, when I can’t yet see. From my vantage point, the timing is extremely complicated but I’m really hoping that God has this all worked out and is just waiting to show me the unfolding of His plan (not mine.)

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The mental picture that I have is of planets and other heavenly bodies careening around space while I wait for all the stars to line up. There is, of course, the upcoming birth of a grandson, officially due March 3rd, but predicted at any time between now and March 12. (See our Squares predictions made last Tuesday night when we were celebrating–early–Laura’s birthday. The winner gets a gift card to a restaurant.) There is also my Dad’s move, scheduled sometime near the beginning of March. And there is my trip to New Zealand, April 17.


Then there are some crazy asteroids: We had decided to do my reconstruction in two parts because a follow up MRI is needed to check on a teeny, tiny area of concern that radiologists noted on the left breast last February. It wasn’t enough to warrant a double mastectomy, just observation. I went to have the follow up MRI last August, only to learn that it couldn’t be done until my expander is taken out. So radiation and expansion had to follow. I still hoped to have the surgery done in January but that didn’t happen. Then, I thought I’d just wait and do everything after my trip to New Zealand, but my oncologist didn’t agree. So now we are trying to figure out how to get the first surgery (and MRI) done well before the trip. The complicating factor is that they want me “doing nothing” for 2 weeks after surgery and not lifting more than five pounds for six weeks. I’m pretty sure my new grandbaby is going to weigh more than five pounds and any post-operative packing at my Dad’s house is out of the question.

I finished my last fill yesterday and scheduled surgery for February 18th, the earliest date possible. I don’t know how it will fit into the big picture but I needed to get the ball rolling and then hope it all works out fine. Ideally, Laura’s baby won’t come until two weeks after surgery (though at 37 weeks I am not sure she would agree with that plan at this point. I’m rooting for February 28th, Laura’s 30th birthday, even though that means she will win the gift card.)

I wish life weren’t this way. I wish it could be a lot tidier, that events would come one at a time, in orderly procession. I want to savor this new grandbaby and help Laura transition to life with two children. I want to have time with my Dad and be of some help in his transition to a new home. I want to look forward to being with Anne, assisting with the wedding plans. I want my surgeries done and over, this whole cancer year put behind me. I want to be able to work and pay off my bills. (Another interesting timing factor: John and I are currently going through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.)

Dad’s favorite slogan in life is: “Relax, God in in control!” That is what we’re all trying to do in the midst of this. It’s a reminder I need day by day. I’m reminded of all the things that did work out well and trusting this near-future to His control. You’d think I’d have learned that by now. So here is my conclusion: Timing really isn’t everything. Even if things don’t come together as I hope, God is still in control. I’m going to try to relax in that truth. Come what may.

photo 2-1P.S. Anne left Thursday and landed in New Zealand on Saturday. Having Kellen with us either distracted me or eased the pain of saying goodbye. It was a little weird tracking her flight overnight and waking up in the morning knowing she still had six hours of flight time left. How do they keep those planes up there so long? James picked her up and they spent the day at a beach (!) She will start back to work on Tuesday and begin the process of settling back in.




Decisions, decisions.

Last Thursday morning my Dad and I both were given decisions to make. Decisions with a deadline. Life altering decisions. Dad said yes; I said no.

My dad visited Woodhaven, a senior community with all levels of housing and care. He and my mom had looked at moving to assisted living in November, but the decision had been postponed by mom’s final illness and Dad’s sense that he could manage for awhile in their condo. On Thursday my brother, sister-in-law and Dad re-visted the issue and the facility, checking out the independent living apartments that fit my Dad’s current level of need. They were told there was a 1-bedroom apartment available by March 1st. That was a little sooner than Dad planned on moving, but since there are only four such apartments in the complex, it is unknown when another might be available. He had until Monday to decide.

At my Thursday appointment with the oncologist, I was once again encouraged to sign up for a trial of a medication called Everolimus. It is currently given to patients with kidney cancer that has metastasized but is being researched as an adjunctive medication for breast cancer patients with increased risk of recurrence. We weren’t even sure that I still qualified for the study. My doctor said she’d figure that out and let me know before I spent any time agonizing over the decision.

While I was writing my last blog, a report of my appointment, I received an email from Dr. Cobleigh stating that I was no longer eligible. My response was glee! I really didn’t want to do the study and I was happy not to have to decide.

Just before I went to bed, I got another email from her telling me to disregard the first email because I was, after all, still eligible. (I won’t tell you what I said when I read that.) I asked more questions about the statistics and more details about the timing. It turns out that I would be eligible until this Wednesday, so I too had a deadline for making my decision. If I were to participate in the study, I needed to be seen downtown by Wednesday to sign the consent forms and have labs drawn. About a week or two later I would begin the trial with a first examination and medications. I would need to record taking the medications, side effects, etc, and talk weekly with the coordinator as well as continue to have appointments at Rush throughout the year.

The next morning I printed the consent forms and spent awhile reading over the 21 page document, writing notes and questions in the margins. I asked for more details about the follow up visits and mapped out the year to see if the visits could fit with baby, travel and wedding plans. They most likely could.

So I spent the weekend weighing the pros and cons. There was really one big PRO and one big CON, plus a few additional points in favor of either option. The PRO, of course, would be the potential benefit of decreasing my risk factors. In numbers, it could decrease my current 42% to 20% but those were only potential numbers. They needed to be modulated by 1) the fact that the researchers only hope that the study proves this benefit, and 2) the 50% chance I would have of being given a placebo. I never took statistics, but that seemed like it moved the numbers down to something closer to 10%. (And interestingly enough, the initial risk somehow started out at 88% before treatment, which meant 12% chance of no recurrence before chemo and radiation.) Another pro would be increased surveillance over the next year. Another valid (though not high on my list at this particular juncture) pro would be contributing to breast cancer research.

The big CON, though, is side effects. I’d showed the study earlier to my primary care doctor and to the pharmacist at work. Both had commented on the “high side effect profile.” My oncologist kept reminding me that they could “manage” the side effects, by decreasing the dosage or discontinuing my participation in the trial, but I kept thinking that the side effects would have to be experienced before they could be managed. I wasn’t sure I was willing to even risk the experience. I’d gone through all that chemo without getting dreaded mouth sores, did I want to risk that now? Anemia, increased risk of infections, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, bruising, electrolyte imbalance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, etc. And these weren’t just potential side effects, they were listed under the heading of “Likely.” (All the other side effect lists had either 1-2 or a handful of ones under the heading of “Likely” and most under “Less Likely.” Everolimus had 25 side effects listed in the “Likely” category.)

Smaller cons were the mirror image of the smaller pros. Yes, I’d have more surveillance, but it would also mean more appointments, more trips downtown. I’d just spent one year aggressively treating the cancer. Did I want to spend the next one in a similar way?

I went back and forth all weekend, but what it finally boiled down to was that THIS year is already full of some pretty special events. I’ve got a new grandbaby waiting to make his appearance in March and a ticket to New Zealand in April. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (though I have two more surgeries to go.) I’m finally feeling good. I’d come up to the brink of making a “yes” decision (kicking and fighting all the way) and then I’d think of having to deal with any of the side effects in the next 2 months. The pros just couldn’t push me over that hurdle.

So I wrote an email to my oncologist and the trial coordinator declining to participate in the study. I told them that I’d struggled with the decision and gave them my final reasons. I was happy and relieved when my oncologist shot back “It makes perfect sense, Chris.”

I debated whether to include my faith arguments in that email. Because that was also a large part of my decision making process. In all the numbers, no one can calculate how prayer effects the outcome. People have prayed for my complete healing through the chemo and radiation treatments. Though I can’t claim to know that those prayers have been answered, I believe in the power of God and in prayer at least enough to assume that it is very possible. I am willing to believe so until proven otherwise. I do think that I could have chosen either option (trial or no trial) and still have been trusting God for the final outcome, but there was a small part of me that wanted to demonstrate faith in this way. (It was probably the same small part of me that hesitated to do the trial in the first place.)

When Dad and I were faced with out decisions on Thursday, I began praying for peace. I could tell my Dad was nervous about the decision and I knew I would struggle back and forth until I’d decided. I’m still struggling a bit with his decision, and I imagine that he will struggle a bit with mine. I also think we’re both experiencing some relief at having made our decisions.

Decisions, decisions.


Anniversaries or The Year I Didn’t Lose

Yesterday I posted my monthly hair report, celebrating five months from the end of chemo. Earlier this year I followed Chiagal, a blog of a much younger gal who posted weekly updates on her post chemo regrowth. I decided once a month would be adequate after observing what seemed like a painfully slow process. So I try to get pictures on the 22nd of each month and write something fitting.

But today I am celebrating a completely different anniversary: One year ago today I went for that first check on the lump I’d found. I’d taken an appointment with a different doctor, but my own doctor happened to be a patient in my office earlier that day. I told her I was coming in to see her partner but when I got to the office, she’d rearranged the schedule so that I could see her. She examined me and didn’t think it was overly concerning but ordered a diagnostic mammogram (includes ultrasound) “just to be sure.” The next time I talked to her, she was calling me to give me the bad news from the biopsy. It wasn’t easy news to pass on as it surprised her more than it did me. (I was in on the biopsy so my suspicions had been heightened.) I’ll be noting the anniversary of the diagnosis in another ten days or so, February 7th.

Today, I happened to be “celebrating” with a follow up appointment at the Oncology office in Oak Park, where all my chemo was done. This is a slightly late 3-month follow up, my first real post-treatment appointment. I went with a long list of questions in my I-Phone and discussed them at length with the nurse practitioner. Basically I can say I am “disease free”, not cured. They do not do much follow up testing because the studies have shown that symptoms appear within months of positive tests and the treatment and outcomes are the same. I will, of course, have regular check ups and mammograms. We also discussed a timetable for the reconstruction, deciding to do it in two parts so that I can get an MRI done in between. I will likely schedule the first part, exchanging the expander for the implant (a fairly simple procedure) sometime in March and the follow up surgery in May.

I’m working around two wonderful events: Our second grandson is due March 1, 2014. And I bought myself a ticket to New Zealand for two weeks, April 17-May 1 🙂 I will be spending time with James (and Anne) and his family over Easter and then helping Anne (and James) get wedding details in place.

A year ago my biggest concern was having to spend a whole year of my life treating the cancer. I had just made a lot of other plans for the year and didn’t want them all sidetracked, but I knew that I was looking at a long road of treatment ahead of me. My calendar would be wiped clean and filled, instead, with doctor appointments, surgeries, possible chemo and radiation. I hated that, feeling like a whole year would be “lost” or “wasted.” I did spend a whole year in treatment and I’m not even quite done yet. But it certainly doesn’t feel like a lost or wasted year.

It wasn’t the year I would have chosen, but it was a pretty incredible year. I feel like I found my voice in writing and speaking my faith. I have felt the wonderful support of friends and family. I’ve experienced a whole lot of new things and can empathize better than ever with my patients and others undergoing life-threatening illness. I’ve learned that some of my deepest fears were groundless. (And also to have a deep respect for emotions as they are. Even if my fears were misguided, no one was going to talk me out of them ahead of time. That valley of shadows is something I needed to go through. But there is something pretty cool about coming out the other side and realizing I am still very much okay.) I have seen God’s hand in many details and have observed answers to prayer. I have tasted many helpings of God’s grace.

Things Guys Get (and Don’t Get)

Many years ago I wiped down a steamy bathroom mirror with a towel and was amazed at how easy it was to clean a mirror that way. I told my family about it that night and Johnny dryly quipped, “Guess we don’t have to worry about women taking over the world.” There are just some things that guys seem to know–or learn–automatically. I guess wiping down a steamy mirror is one of them.

For years I’ve watched John comb all his hair forward and then comb it back into place. I never got that–until now. I still don’t know why it works, but I find that I have to do the same thing if I want my hair to lay right.


photoWhat it looks like out of the shower …and after grooming.





My hair keeps getting thicker and a little longer. Now I have to worry about bed head and hat head, washing my hair more often to keep it looking good. It’s starting to look a little shaggy and maybe starting to curl in some places. I can’t really tell yet if those are curls or what. (I am still hoping for post-chemo curls.) It is still incredibly soft so I don’t want to put products in it. I also do not want spiky hair so I’m not really sure what to do with it in the in-between stage. Even if I have to wash it more, it dries and styles quickly.

photo-1People keep telling me that I should keep it short. I’m quite relieved that it looks better than I expected at this point, but not at all sure about keeping it short. (These pictures aren’t helping much. I think it looks better in the mirror than in photos.) I’m trying to enjoy all the stages in between and just have fun with it.

Back to the guys. They seem to be able to tie ties and figure out mechanical things better than me. Sometimes they can open jars that I can’t. But there are plenty of things they don’t “get” too.

For example, John has been “mystified” (his word) the past few weeks by the focus on shopping for a wedding dress. I have found that hilarious. What could be more obvious than a bride-to-be looking for her dress during a brief time home with her mom, sisters, and friends? Suffice it to say, we’ve ignored him and carried on with our quest, which was successfully completed this week. We found “The Dress” this week, only $200 over budget (which was pretty low for starters.) We ended up finding it at the same salon where we purchased Laura’s dress eight years ago. That was kind of fun.


photo-6I’m not allowed to post pictures of the dress, of course, so here are some cropped views of Annie and the dress. Use your imagination.



Anne got her visa to return to New Zealand and work for the next twelve months but when she went to purchase her return ticket home found the prices exorbitant until February 6th.  As a result, we are enjoying a couple extra, unplanned weeks with her at home. We’ve enjoyed a lot of cold snowy days spent by the fire, reading, playing games, surfing the Internet and baking. She is also packing up her childhood and high school treasures, weeding out a lot of stuff in the process. And getting a lot of doctor’s appointments in while she is still on our insurance.

One thing we both get is that it’s nice having Anne home and these are days to savor.





Of Hobbits and Hair

Last night my family tried to persuade me to stick with short hair. Although I’ve found the experience a lot more fun than I ever expected, I am not at all convinced.

photo 2-1photo 1-1At 4 months post-chemo, my hair is about an inch long. It seems perfectly straight and a medium brown in color with one little patch of grey. It is thick and soft. It is certainly easy to maintain.


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Before our dinner conversation (this occurred during Anne’s birthday supper) we’d decorated cake pops to look like Hobbit characters. After dinner, we all went to see the second episode of The Hobbit movie: The Desolation of Smaug. The dwarves had really interesting hairstyles (though certainly better than Orc hair.)

Speaking of orcs with their ghastly gashes and scars, my neck scar is finally doing better. After three fluid extractions, the surgeon put a drain in for three days and the lump finally seems to have disappeared for good. The scar still seems to “weep” a tiny bit of clear fluid on occasion, but seems okay. I have one more check up on the 24th.

Life has been pretty crazy this week. Anne and James arrived home late Tuesday night and we’ve been enjoying the fun and laughter of having them around. We’ve tried to be as relaxed as possible about our schedules so that they could catch up on badly needed rest as they are both coming off intense ministry schedules plus jet lag. But that is easier said than done at this time of year, especially with Anne’s birthday coming on the 21st. We planned a simple dinner with the family and going to see the Hobbit. While John and Anne went out to look at cameras, James and I had a great time creating a Hobbiton cake and character cake pops. John cooked a whole lobster and steak (outdoors) and we added some favorite greens including steamed artichokes. (Basically a butter meal.) The kitchen is still a disaster.

Tomorrow we are headed downtown for lunch under the Big Christmas Tree at Macy’s/Marshall Fields. This is an annual tradition for our family, one often celebrated on Anne’s birthday. And part of that tradition was always a visit to the girls’ department to try on fancy, expensive dresses (but never buy.) As Anne grew older, we wandered past the prom and wedding gowns. This year we have an appointment at the wedding salon. We’re planning to continue the tradition of looking, trying, but not buying. It should be fun.

In the next few days, I’ll post more pictures from our trip downtown and Christmas. Hopefully I’ll get some good pictures of my short “do”. We’re planning on a lot of crazy fun–and imagine that you are too. Enjoy!



This week I’ve been in and out of doctor’s offices:

I had a follow up appointment with the radiation oncologist, an that appointment seemed superfluous. I suppose I should be grateful that I really didn’t “need” to see him, that there don’t seem to be any complications of the radiation–at least ones we can see or sense at this point. He seemed eager to teach me something, so we focused on the risks and benefits of Tamoxifen and other aromatase inhibitors.

I’ve trekked to Oak Park and Dr. Nielson’s downtown office to have the lump drained three times in the last week. Each time it would fill back up over the course of the next hours or day.

This morning (4th trek) he made a small cut in the surgical site and inserted a drain/wick of iodoform gauze and stitched it in place. The idea is to keep the space drained for the next few days so that the cavity will close up and heal. We’re hoping when the drain is removed on Thursday the problem will be fixed.

After that appointment I went three floors down to visit Sheila, Dr. Kouris’ nurse, who does my bi-weekly fills. The first appointment made me late for the second one, so I had to wait a bit longer until they could fit me in.

Over the course of the last week, 24 cc have been extracted from my lump (not including the unmeasured amount from today.) 25 cc was injected into my expander today. I guess that about makes things even, though somehow it doesn’t quite add up that way.

But Anne and James are coming IN tomorrow night and that makes up for a lot of other stuff.

One lump or two?

I’ve healed well from my parotid surgery but developed an even bigger lump, a seroma, a bit lower on my neck. It is soft and spongey. I saw the surgeon on Thursday and he extracted about 8 ml of clear serous fluid.  He told me we might have to drain it a few times over the next few weeks and had me make a follow up appointment for one week.

Six hours later, it was back, nearly as large.

I went back today and he drained another 8 ml of fluid. As I write, it’s been about 5 hours and I can sense that it is filling again, though maybe more slowly. The plan is that if it fills again, the doctor will put a drain in next Thursday for about 4 days, hoping that will fix the problem.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s really no big deal, but I’m discouraged. After finally having the surgery to get rid of the first lump, it seems crazy to have to deal with another one. And then to have it fill up so quickly 🙁

On other fronts (pardon the pun) the expansion went well without pain. I felt a little achey later, but ibuprofen seemed to take care of it.

I also started taking Tamoxifen this week. Although it is pretty standard treatment for hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer, I am not comfortable with it. It works as an antagonist in breast tissue (reducing the likelihood of developing new breast cancers) but as a agonist in other tissues (increasing the risk of endometrial cancer, blood clots, etc.) It also apparently shows evidence of “reduced cognition and semantic memory scores.” Whaaaat?

I know that reading side effect warnings isn’t the best way to approach new medications, but I also believe in informed choices. It doesn’t mean I have to like the choices. I feel like it’s part of the overall plan I agreed to so I’d better stick with it.

I’m also feeling like an old house or car: you fix one thing and something else pops up. And I’m getting tired of doctors’ offices. It probably doesn’t help that I work in one.

But it’s Friday. The weekend is here and I’m going to enjoy it, lump or no lump. My goal is to clean and decorate my house, getting ready to welcome Anne and James home for Christmas on the 17th. I’ve got my Christmas letter ready and my Family Gifts ordered. (I’ve decided those are my two favorite Christmas traditions. I also wisely decided to forego sewing projects this year.)



Fill ‘er up!

I’ve had a few trips down memory lane lately. I was filling the tank of my parents’ car when I remembered back in the day when gas station attendants actually did that for you! Remember pulling in and saying, “Fill ‘er up?”

Another memory goes back to 2nd McGee, my section of the old MCW dorm at Taylor, when Marilyn–I can’t remember her last name–used to hold out the top of her shirt and sing “Fill my cup, Lord, fill it up, Lord…”

Today I go for my first “fill” after radiation.

I saw Dr. Kouris about ten days ago but opted to wait for the first fill. I was leaving from that appointment to drive to Detroit and we both agreed that it would be best to wait. My skin looks fine but the “wild card” of radiation is an unknown at this point. We can’t tell yet what it did to the chest muscle and if there is scarring of the tissues. What that means is we don’t know what will happen when we resume filling the expander.

To put it in perspective let me share a few of the details: The expander can hold up to 550 cc’s of fluid. (They come in different sizes.) It came with 50 cc’s in place and over the few weeks that we had before I started chemo, we were able to do three 50 cc fills so there is now about 200 cc in place. I never intended to have it completely filled, but had guessed that maybe we would put in another 200 cc. (I’m okay with smaller!)

So I was a little surprised when Dr. Kouris thought that we should only put in 25 cc at a time and extend the intervals to every two weeks. He thought it would be good if we could get in another 100 cc but he wasn’t even totally optimistic about that. Hmmmmm. That’s when he reminded me that radiation was a wild card.

I’m a little worried about pain. I had very little discomfort with the previous expansions but this may be a whole new ballgame as we attempt to stretch (expand) muscle hardened by radiation. By the way, someone compared the process to overdone meat, which is, after all, muscle. Mine has been “cooked” by radiation. Nice visual, huh?

Back to memory lane: I actually don’t remember pulling into gas stations too often and saying “Fill ‘er up.” I was much more likely to ask for $3-5 worth of gas, sometimes even less. That was back in the day when gas cost something like 50 cents a gallon* and we used cash to buy our gas. (Really, it’s true!) Maybe my penny pinching then was prophetic of how it would be in the future when I would be tempted to say “Fill ‘er up” again: I wasn’t concerned about a full tank then and I don’t think I will be now.

Just two bucks please.

*I thought I remembered gas being as low as 39 cents a gallon. I googled it for 1970 and found that it went as low as 36 cents to just under a dollar for a gallon of gas.