September 12 to October 11, 2002

 

9-12-02

There is only so much the brain can absorb at one time; I am still trying to
digest everything the dr. said.  All I know is at this point I have done way
more than I ever wanted to for any illness and even after I endured all
their tortures, it seems as if the nightmare still rears its head.  I'd wake
up all last night not believing the latest scourge. It would have been nice
to get a few trouble-free years, like some of the others I know, before
being given the verdict that there is still something going on.

My sister must have gotten upset over this; I can always tell.  The rabbi calls me.  And he did this afternoon.  We had a great talk; he is dealing still [as it will always be] with his leukemia. It helped venting my confusion on him. Since he is in the same place emotionally that I am - he is in remission but always has the fear that will end.

He stressed trying to keep on a normal life, as much as possible, even
though it will mingle with depression, etc.  So yesterday we still went out
to lunch at the Greenhouse in Margate, with my former college professor [he
was dean of the science education department at Temple] - it was too late to
cancel since by the time we got off the phone with the dr., they had left
for the restaurant.  We didn't dwell on the new problem ---they were just
very supportive and promised me prayers.  There daughter worked in the
department where I got my treatment.

  Dr. Sutman has taught all over the world [India, Israel, China] and here
in N.J. [Farleigh Dickinson, Glassboro] and of course, Temple.  He wants to write a book so he and Alan had a lot to talk about. The time flew.I wouldn't have become a teacher if it weren't for him.  He got us to where we are today.

Another good omen is that the relative who claims she is related to Sliding Billy, is bearing that out. She has been emailing me and she seems to be the real thing.  I have learned that he had 2 other brothers and 3 sisters.  So I have a lot more relatives out there.  And if each can contribute some information about him, I will be able to enlarge my family history book.  We both are very excited over finding each other.

 

9-14-02

The dr. called about the PET scan on Tuesday. Very different from MRI's and CAT scans which show tumors or masses; this technology shows the cellular level.  You are injected with a radioactive glucose tracer.  Only cancer cells light up, theoretically.  Of course you know what we were hoping for after all the surgery and radiation. The surgeon called the other morning and had the final report; the scan showed a focus of dye that lit up on my right thyroid.  Definitely not good.  He said the scan is 99% wonderful and he doesn't know what to make about this finding.  It wasn't in the first PET scan taken in March before the surgery.  He said the thyroid  can normally light up a bit due to its high metabolism. For some reason,mine did not in March.

His theory is that the first time the dye was absorbed by the hughmongous mass and none to the nearby thyroid tissue so it didn't light up.  He feels that he saw nothing on the thyroid when he dissected my neck [that is why he didn't take it out].  He said my CAT scan a few weeks ago did not show anything on the thyroid.  He said I just had all that radiation in that area plus the right side wasn't the side that was involved with the mass.

My options are to do nothing and be re-scanned in 3 months to see if it is still there or gone or bigger.  He said then there is a cat-scan needle directed biopsy but feels it would be hard to find the area that lit up on the pet scan because it doesn't show on the cat scan.  He doesn't think the right area could be sampled.  And the last option would be to open my neck again and he'd rather not do that until he had more definitive answers.  He said if he knew of a definite test, he'd order it but nothing is available yet.  If they can send a man to the moon, how come there is no test?

He said the worst case scenario is this is thyroid cancer and it grows slowly anyhow.  Not what we were expecting to hear at all after the hellish radiation treatment and needless to say, you get shaken all over again.

******

Alan had a little book signing today at the Longport library and it went well.   There was a constant stream of people and it seemed as if a lot knew each other as they were coming and going.  A few people came from the radiation therapy unit I went to [the 85 year old lady who used the linear accelerator before me].  And the builder who did our patio enclosure stopped by.  When I get the photos developed, I'll send you the one of the cake - I have a piece for you, if you'd like. 

 

 A few people are right about my hdl's being good and this is more important than the cholesterol number.  And the problem is genetic [thanks Dad!]. From what I have read, it may be genetic but it can get diluted each generation, depending on your other parent's genes.   That is why for years I have not gotten too hyper about the cholesterol value.  It was good to keep busy

You are so right; Uncle and I know how lucky we are to have each other.  We could never take that for granted.  Someday that is all I could wish for you, that you find companionship and friendship with a person as wonderful.  It is very comforting at all phases of life but especially in bad times.

 

9-16-02

We are starting to look for a dr. to read the PET scan as a 2nd and 3rd
opinion.  We are requesting an appointment at the imaging center, to sit
with a radiologist and have him show it to us and explain it all.  And we
are trying are damdest to find some better technique, in case it is a
tumor - like freezing it [NY Times last week], gene therapy, cut off the
blood supply to the t umor, a trial drug, interleukin - 12, anything.  Just
not radiation or chemo ---puleeze. No luck yet - one company doesn't do
drugs for the neck, only liver.  Another company isn't taking on any new
projects. Swell.

 

We spoke to 2 of the radiation oncologists today and they both feel that the lit-up area COULD be nothing [or, as they hedge their bets, it could be something].  Isn't it wonderful.  They say they know my neck so well after all my visits to them [almost intimately] and they are doubting and hoping it isn't any problem.   They want to see me in 3 weeks and maybe they will arrange another CAT scan to check me over sooner.  They said to trust their experience and they have seen this type of thing before and sometimes it doesn't light up again.  So put that circle around me and let it protect me.

 

You really did well - fasting.  I made it 15-16 hours and then had to eat.
I made dinner for Art and Marcie.  It wasn't too hard; it was good to direct
my energy that way and keep very busy.  I made an hors d'oerve that I had
promised them awhile ago ---it was my mother's recipe.  It is little hot
dogs in a ketchup and beer sauce and you put them on  rye.  It
doesn't sound too terribly good but it is delicious.  Somehow the flavors
meld.  Try it sometime. We had fresh melons and I made an un-challah [it was
the challah dough but I made it in a loaf; I ran out of energy and didn't
feel like doing all the braiding].  And we had turkey and fresh green beans
and Cranbury sauce and potato skins and stuffing. For dessert, we made fresh
chocolate ice cream and amaretto cake. What pigs.  I ate only a little of
most things.

RE those angiotensin drugs, freezing tumors, gene therapy, etc.  We spoke to
2 of the radiation oncologists today and they both feel that those types of
treatments are more futuristic and last resort.  But I will still keep
probing the medicos [after all, they make their money by burning you to an
ash].    They said that IF 'this' turned into something significant that
needed treatment, they'd consider one of those radioactive capsules to
implant in me [HAHAHA - sounds like 'baby' radiation compared to what I
had].

They seemed more optimistic than I feel by saying that the lit-up area COULD be nothing [or, as they hedge their bets, it could be something].   They say they know my neck so well after all my visits to them [almost intimately] and they are doubting and hoping it isn't any problem. They want to see me in 3 weeks and maybe I can ask them if they will arrange another CAT scan or ultrasound or MRI to check me over sooner.  They said to trust their experience and they have seen this type of thing before and sometimes it doesn't light up again when they check it out.  So keep those prayers coming; yours should work ---you're the one who finished the fast.

That is an interesting take - jealousy, never thought of it.  It is so important to get a neutral opinion, like in this case.  I just assumed they were true friends and why would they be jealous.  Geez - they can have the cancer too.

 

9-17-02

It is odd; afterwards I told Alan that it was so easy to talk to you but
yesterday an old friend called and I just couldn't handle his conversation
at all so I turned him over to Alan.  He meant well, thinking he was being
sympathetic, but he was actually minimizing my  problem.  When I started to
explain about the PET scan findings, he tossed it off, cheerfully, and said,
"Remember I survived thyroid cancer; they gave me a radioactive capsule."

 

Yes, I was excused for jury duty. Can you imagine trying to sit in a
courtroom the way we feel.  I'd hear half of the testimony and nod off.

The  right derriere isn't any better and once in a while the vibration is in
my thighs now, instead.

 

A friend suggested that I keep my mind busy, during the wait, so we are doing more work on the Foundation we have started [Foundation for Thymic Cancer Research].   We're going to have to feel our way through this one - it is all new to us.  After we get all the forms and paperwork over with, maybe that will coincide with my brain being freed up to actually do some of the work we want to do, instead of filling in IRS and government documents. Today we had to find members to sit on the board and get them to sign letters that we have to send back to the IRS.  We asked my surgeon and some other professional-medical types, including Herbie and our friend Bonnie who is a lawyer. They  all say yes, and that they are honored.  We are so touched. Someday we'll plan a fundraiser but for now, the profit from Alan's novel goes into the account.

 

I can get a 2nd reading of the PET scan at HUP but first my radiation oncologist wanted to see the films so we took them there. That sounds like a simple sentence but noooooo!  The practice I have been going to just split up.  I liked all 4 of the drs.  But the one dr. I started with [the one from Sloan Kettering] is now not associated with Shore Memorial hospital that is closer to us and where I went for treatment. So to go 'TO the hospital today'  meant going to Galloway township, to A.C. Mainland Division, his new office on Jimmie Leeds Road.  Very complicated situation. Nasty break-up.  I will see him in 3 weeks and maybe he will order an ultrasound or cat scan sooner.  ].    

 But thyroid cancer, as the surgeon suggested, actually isn't the worst case scenario; the radiation oncologist said the worst would be my aggressive thymic tissue carcinoma had spred over to the right side. Yikes.  No reprieve from the news they are giving me.

 

 She invited us for dessert this summer, for the first time.  It was in the middle of the summer when I was so wiped out and couldn't really go out past 7:00 OR 7:30 because I would just get exhausted and need to sleep.  She knew this - everyone knew.  If I was someplace at 8:30, I'd try to sit another half hour or so since it didn't take any more momentum.  But I couldn't leave the house at that time; it was too difficult to move by that point.  Anyway, sue called about 7:30 saying they had just gotten off the beach - she was 'trying to get it all in before she went back to work.'  I definitely wasn't the one she should have complained about this to - I did not want to hear such a 'hard luck' story at that point [I'd have given anything to have one half day like the many most people had every day on the beach].  She hadn't showered or had dinner yet so they wouldn't be ready for hours.  We said that would be too late. When I told people they thought this was so inconsiderate; if you invite someone then you be there. She could have tried to accommodate just for ONE night and gotten off the beach a little earlier.  When people say, how can they help, it is tiny little courtesies like this that helps someone that is sick not feel abandoned.

 

9-18-02

We can't imagine how you can listen to people telling you their problems - when we are sure, from our recent experiences, that some must be meaningless and insignificant compared to what you are going through.  Your tongue must have a hole in it from biting it so often.

 

Another lady was complaining to me how her husband will get implanted with a radioactive substance to take care of his prostate cancer.  They were lucky enough to have a lot of options offered to him in his treatment since a lot of research has been done on this type of cancer. Of course, I am very jealous because the medical field has basically nothing on ectopic thymic cancer.

 

Then she really went over the top with a 30 minute whining how her husband can't touch their twin grandsons for a while due to the radioactivity.  He will have no side affects - only get better to see the kids grow up.  And she is carrying on about a week of being on the opposite side of the room.

 

You must have a lot of stories too, I realized, when you told me about your friend sending you the article. All I can say, is the longer it goes on, the more stories you collect. A book is in order!  Most people are wonderful though and it only a few, thank goodness.

 

9-19-02


You'll love this.  The imaging center is like a brick wall.  I called to
make a time to go over to the actual PET and the girl said they 'don't do
that here.'  I asked for a CD ---same answer.  I have other routes to take
to do this but don't even know if I want to expend the energy or use the
contacts right now.  It would be easy to go over the little twerp's head.
And I know people and drs. that have connections there. There are so many
things to deal with in the course of a day and I don't even know if I need
to see it [it won't change anything].

Alan thinks I should have my next PET scan up there.

The radiation oncologist is a sweet guy throughout this whole thing.  He
called last night and told us about a patient he had that 'lit' up in the
groin on the PET and so they did a needle biopsy that was fine - no cancer.
And remember Lucille's Pet lit up her remaining breast and it was nothing
after they scared the merde out of her for days.

With regards to me, he said, "If the focus that lit up is anything, God only
knows."  He suggests waiting a little and then re-peating and he added,
"Honest to God, I know about the waiting."  It helps when your dr. says
sympathetic words and he relates.  He said the purpose of his treatment was
to heal me so I could get out there and just enjoy my life again.  It was
nice talking to him.  But we all know that I am not out of the woods yet.

So I try to enjoy the simple wonders of each day - a day without choking and
wheezing [like in the heart of the treatments], talking, eating, respite
from the pain of the esophagitis and trachitis.   I can't look ahead yet
because my brain stops at the barrier, ''will I be here next year.''  If I
look back at the summer and what the siege brought, I get upset.

The battle against the barking dog went up a notch today.  I am a  program into action. First, though I knew it would be a waste of time, I asked her very nicely and she seemed put out.  She said no one complains - all the neighbors pet him and feed him.  I tried to tell her I got bad news from the dr. and have been trying to rest and the barking has invaded our house.  She purposely left the bitch out longer. 

 

Second, it is necessary to get it on record.  The police have been  called [yesterday and today] and will continue to be called.    SO now we are drafting the letter we will send certified to her. She doesn't even know what she is about to get involved in - she has no idea as to my tenacity when something bothers me. If she only knew, she'd cooperate.  Well, she'll learn, WON'T she.

 

Guess what I am doing - making a tape of the dog; I keep the recorder by the door and it captures it all, in case we take this to a judge.

 

9-21-02

Alan may have found at Columbia university, a researcher that can make  a vaccine against your own cancer. Very complicated - AND A MAJOR OBSTACLE is I have to be tested for the HLA substance and only if I have it, can they accept me into the vaccine program.  If accepted, it would mean going up and getting the treatments and scans and staying there a lot [over a period of 5 months].

 

We are researching the entire vaccine thing. They sent me dozens of pages to sign and review about the procedures. We learned it is very risky ---the side affects are just like the other cancer treatments and of course they list you can have an allergic reaction and die.  So you don't go into this lightly. They say you can drop out anytime. With my allergies, it may not be a good idea - we will run it by all the drs.  And then some.  And hopefully,  I won't need anything anyway - just building up an arsenal of ammo.

The first thing I had to do was get to my surgeon and have him pull the block of my tissue from the surgery.  That should have been easy.  Right? Nope!

 

Here is THE shocker;  I called Dr. Kelly's office today and the P.A. that answered said that it was the Dr.'s last day at Temple Hospital and he is moving to private practice in Maryland.  It felt like my insides were pulled out.  I just spoke to him last week and he said to make an appointment and see him in November regarding this new crap in my right thyroid.   He has been with me since day 1 of this ordeal.  This man knows my neck better than anyone.

 

Also, A. Einstein Medical Center has returned our calls about a drug trial.  They have to see if the drug they are using will attack my cells [their study is for adenosquamous cells]  - I will be faxing them my detailed pathology report so they can see the cells that my tumor was comprised of. 

 

It is all so very unique.  One method kills one type of cancer cell.  It is really an education. 

 

Kelly moving comes at an emotional time and I was a mess for a few hours [couldn't even take a bite of dinner .   What compounds this dr. leaving is I called my neurologist for an appointment [a few years ago I found a wonderful one that really helped me and understood me].  Well, guess what.  He moved to Minnesota. He always used to tell me [like after last year's eye thing ---that I never come in with normal symptoms and he always is bummed out after my visits---did I drive him away]?

 

One person wrote that they couldn't come to the library book signing because they had to stay home in Cherry Hill since their son was flying in from WA.  and they wanted to stay there and have quiet time with him.  I  totally understand that.  Then I hear they were on the beach!!!!!! So much for his quiet time..  I know how you say they care but they have a very odd way of showing it;  almost to the point on non-caring.  UNLESS IT IS CONVENIENT FOR THEM AND DOESN'T TO INTERFERE WITH THEIR FUN.

 

She is out for herself and no one else.  She said the words you wrote to me many times:

    DO NOT EXPECT ANYTHING FROM ME AND YOU  WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED. I LEARNED THAT I LONG TIME AGO.

But you DO get disappointed.  All the stories you told me about Reney,
Joyce, Eileen S. and Rosalie, etc.     You said you get hurt.  Well, nothing
could hurt me like the surgery and radiation; the way people are is just a
blip.  It is a gift to learn how others are so you don't waste any amount of
the little precious time on earth caring about non-deserving ones. People
like that are a dime a dozen and why hold them near when others are yearning
to be in your life and make it brighter.

 I know you say they care but now we learn, in hard times and not good
times, that they are in a different class than the ones above or the
neighbor that endeared herself to us by sending her husband over EVERY
SUNDAY for 2 months with dinner .  Or Art and Marcie who will come and sit
with us on the beach awhile - they schlepp their things and ours to help so
I have company for a while.  Or my friend Patty in Ventnor who gets me out
for short walks.  And Dolores and Arthur [who have big problems] who said,
"Once we come up from Florida ,  we are at your disposal." No vacation
mentality - where they only think about themselves and their fun activities.
Not once did we ask for anything but they sensed and were there at the
appropriate time.  That is a dear, sweet, special friend.  They were at the
book signing. They are the same way with other people they know.

OUT WITH THE OLD ---IN WITH THE NEW!  It is time.

People that are so self-absorbed miss out on a great deal in life.  They
never get to know how good it feels to help someone - supporting each other
thru life's difficulties. I need to focus my energy on other people, especially my husband and PEOPLE THAT ARE POSITIVE FORCES.  NOT NON-EXISTENT ENTITIES.  That is my first obligation.  I have responsibilities  to focus on so  as not to be  drained of energy.  My next obligation is to stay well, physically and mentally. No one will be allowed to deprive me of one moment - life is too precious.

 

9-23-02

I am keeping a log of all the stupid comments so one day we can write a book to try to sensitize people to how to talk to cancer patients and survivors.

 Another section will be how to help out.  So many people said to me, "What can I do?"  "Ask me for anything, I'll be there."  Etc.  I had no answers in the early months but now I can think of dozens of ways people can help.

In some ways, we were lucky, we didn't need rides or help around the house.  But it is wonderful when people get on the internet and help look up various aspects of the treatments available.  An extra pair of hands helps there.  And when I was burnt at my worst, we had a wonderful neighbor who brought us dinner every Sunday for 8 weeks [and it was enough food to last all week].

The drs. are not moving for a simpler life.  We have spoken to about 3-4 Phila. doctors since Friday and they all say the same thing - it is the medical malpractice insurance in that city that is driving them out [it seems as if there are lawyers suing and winning therefore the rates go up].  One dr. at Hahneman called us this morning and said he heard that 8 drs. left Bryn Mawr Hospital , last week alone!  He said it is a mess up there.  Who is thinking about the patients here?

9-26-02

A little tired now ; we went up to Marlton today for my gyn. check-up today [a 2 1/2 hour exam!!!!!!]    The dr. was wonderful and very thorough.  He did many tests and ultrasounds on me to double check many aspects of my body and prescriptions that I am on ---we were very impressed by his care.  He suggested some follow - up visits with specialists and gave me scripts, like he examined my freckles on my chest AND BACK to be sure there is no melanoma [radiation where I got it, he said, can cause that too...WELL GEE THANKS, WONDERS NEVER END].  No gyn. ever did that before for me.  This guy is a winner.

 

 The gyn is Jerome Check [an endocrinologist and gyn].  He is at Greentree Commons in Marlton and in Elkins Park , PA.   He is very rare.  He hires techs just to do research on any patient's complicated problems = he prints out searches and looks for solutions.  When you sit there, you can see his mind working to solve your problems. Very rare.When you leave, you feel like you got the most thorough exam ever.

 

9-28-02

You made me feel good - I really hope your intuition is right [the thyroid lighting is normal].  Oh, I pray to God that is it.  So many drs. have theorized this.  A few want to compare the March Pet to the Sept. PET.  So, where is the March one ---no one has it.  A week or so of detective work did not turn it up at any hospital or dr. [isn't this fun] so we ordered a copy [and had to pay for it] and now can make appointments for the docs to look at them.  Oct. 10th the radiation oncologist will study them and on Oct. 29th the rad. onc. at Hahneman will look at the.   ******

 

We asked my surgeon and some other professional-medical types, including my radiation oncologist.  They have all said yes, and that they are honored.  We are so touched.

 

9-29-02

Yesterday we walked 2 blocks down our street to the bay and another 2 blocks down to Margate where they hold the annual Funfest [they make it a pedestrian street for the weekend with crafts and art stalls and jewelry, etc. and lots of food stands.  We met Harold for a while and talked and walked awhile.   I called ___ to say we were walking down there about 11:00 , knowing she likes to take multiple walks every day.  So she said she'd wait to 3:00   in the afternoon, when her friends were going. So I guess I am not a friend anymore.   It was not so crowded earlier in the morning when we went and it was nice to stroll and talk to people we knew.


The view of the water and boats is so relaxing in the background.  We went  home early so I could rest because friends from
Delaware were meeting us at the Wild West Virginia City buffet [we were seated in a smaller, beautiful dining room that was like a formal room on a plantation - and it was quieter there too] .  The food was the best of any of the buffets.

 

It was a wonderful getaway.  When we got in the car, I actually felt like we had been away on vacation for a while.  It was as if we were transported away from all problems and worries ---they just didn't exist for us yesterday.  When we can have fun like that, we feel there is no reason to go away on a vacation [the problems of traveling beget more problems]. 

 

9-30-02

We certainly know how John feels because it is the
first reaction and you can't help it.  Tell him we said to try to just
concentrate that nothing is written in stone until you are thoroughly
examined; why a dr. would speculate off the wall like that aggravates me.

You are a trooper.  So is your honey. Busy yourself with exercising
regimen - you said it makes you feel better from the endorphins ...and then
you can fight with more of a  positive slant on it.  I know that it takes
the wind out of you when the drs. start that stuff and you don't even feel
like going  to the gym or anywhere else for that matter.  But if you kind of
feel ok, then doing something normal, we found, helps give you that space
you need to pull it together and think and then do what you have to.

How are we both living this at the same time?  Such a coinkydink. That
petrified feeling just bangs you in every part of the body.  We know.  We
are trying to ignore it [fat chance! right?  Until the next set of scans.]
Then you worry that you don't want them to confirm the worst. So our prayers
are with you tomorrow for the x-rays.

Today was a step back and very upsetting because I found out that the lady
that had her appointment after me and got radiation right after my turn
[for ovarian cancer], died yesterday.  She was about 70-something and
always had a smile when she came in, always had her wig just so perfect, her
make-up, cute outfits, and carrying her Jean Auel new novel. She was always
coming from breakfast or going to lunch, drove herself,  and was so busy.
It made me feel bad because I could never talk to her then since I had no
voice but Alan did the conversation for me.  She had had chemo for 4 years
but felt fine [she said].  Up to a few weeks ago, we'd bump into her in the
market and she was fine. Her daughter taught Adam in Hebrew school years and
years ago. Nancy knew her daughter.  Can't figure any of this out anymore.

 

10-02-02

Alan laughed when he read that you said he seems like a rock.  He said he
feel like a "rock, tied to the end of its rope."  Your right about beautiful
fronts.  We are still dealing with this dog issue. And he is very upset at
the route we finally had to take.

They think it is funny to stand out there and let the dog bark.  It is like
they are trying to taunt the cancer patient.  SO now I am standing at the
door holding the tape recorder where they can see me.  I do not believe in
backing off but in being in their face.  Next Alan will try to get the video
camera working.  It is  a temperamental Sony. We are disgusted by the
whole thing already and shouldn't have to live this way.  But something
strange is going on in that house because they seem to take the dog for a
walk every time I call the police so it isn't there barking when the police
pull up.

Did I tell you her son is named Damian. A lot of neighborhood parents do not
like him at all, we are finding out. He is about 6 and the other one is 2
and they both have weird ponytails that are not taken well by many people
here.  I could care less if they were decent.

If people are nice to me, I go all out with them but as soon as they cross
me, then I stop at nothing.  Bad character flaw.    She could have prevented
this whole mess by being considerate.

She keeps it outside now for long 18 hours days, has been driving away to go
on errands or work and leaves it outside, and allows it to bark from 6:30
A.M.
on, waking us.

 It got to Alan because I had a dr.'s visit the other day and it left me in
pain and I couldn't sleep well.  Of course when I finally fell asleep, the
thing was put out - barking me awake.

We tried to talk to her nicely many times and she just won't shut the thing
up. Or put it in the house.   So instead she keeps it outside longer and
doesn't reprimand it when it barks.  We have a video tape of that now.  She
just walks away when it barks --for up to 35-45 minutes.  Today was the
worst.  We sent a certified letter finally explaining what we have done and
what we plan to do.  She thinks the letter we sent is a joke.  Now she is
having her kids stand out there and scream as the dog barks, to excite it to
bark more. [she doesn't know who she is dealing with , of course, so the
tape recorder is catching it all - you can hear her instigating the kids to
yell].  It is very hard to believe there are people like this in the world,
or at least here in Longport.

   So Alan went to the police station and filed the formal complaint [we had
hoped she'd be reasonable and we wouldn't have to take it this far] - our
hearing is Oct. 24th.  It is against the law to keep a dog that "barks
habitually."  The peace and quiet of this neighborhood is being shattered
and so are my nerves. So if you have any suggestions,  for our meeting, feel
free to send them as you think of them.

We are taking a lawyer, in this situation.  This human suppository is worth
every penny.  I usually just love a good fight but not now and it upsets
Alan.  He realizes, though, she leaves us no choice at this point.  It's my
immune system versus the bastards.  Of all the lovely quiet streets in
Longport, we got this one.  I guess there is a divine purpose behind it. My
job in life ---as it has always been.

 

10-03-02

I meant to tell you that we thought we found a lawyer to represent us Oct. 24th at the hearing.  Alan was impressed by him when he heard him at one of the zoning board meetings, So we faxed all the documents to him.  A few days later he said he couldn't take the case [a conflict of interests]  So now we have everything with another attorney.  We want an attorney in on it from the beginning in case this doesn't go  well - we will nip it in the bud and file a civil suit. The current attorney wants Alan to check with the Mayor and Borough attorney to see if he represents us and then appears before the zoning board for a hearing with a resident, could Alan still hear it.  It seems that the lawyer said they would rather have Alan be able to vote on a zoning issue because he 'is a reasonable voice, intelligent, and always gives a valued opinion."  So here is a case against being smart! 

Don't worry about me; I thrive on a good fight.  Uncle doesn't like this though. We  had trouble finding a neighbor to help us at first.  But today 2 of them wrote letters that we can take with us.  They hate this neighbor because she lets the dog go on their grass and doesn't clean up all the way.  One lady hangs her wash out and if it falls she hates when it gets that merde on it.  Her husband has cancer.  The other neighbor, which I didn't know, had radiation this summer too for 8 and a half weeks and he is having the same problem with her.  When they told her to clean up [it is the law here], she yelled at them and said, "go complain to the mayor."  So she is going to be toast.

So she is making enemies which is a crucial mistake; she is not doing this wisely. And once they approached her mother, who also was nasty to them.  Three generations of ignoramuses in one household.  The 2 people are actually grateful to Alan and I for doing this.  They are much older, ill and really didn't know where to begin. So we are their ambassadors to help navigate them thru since they are VERY upset over her and didn't know where to turn.  So I guess this is my purpose in life.

 

Alan is taking your advice and drafting several agreement letters.  Our other axiom is 'be prepared, it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.'

 

Tonight we videotaped the dog jumping and barking away.  And next time I will call a friend on the phone to talk and let them hear the noise so I get even another witness.     I have been speaking to non-neighbors whose kids are in sports with hers and the feedback about these 2 kids is so bad.  One lady said she took her daughter off the team that the older son, Damien, was on because he was rough and a bully to her daughter.  Learned that at home, I guess.

 

10-04-02

She has no idea what I have planned for her; I do these things like a campaign.  Lots of research...I guess it is the scientist in me.  She  keeps the dog OUTSIDE her fence on a chain [or something].  I was mentioning this to someone and said it soon will be strong enough to break away so maybe it will run into the street and get hit.  The fellow said that if the dog is near the sidewalk, it can bark and growl at people as they walk by.  It does.  SO he said there is a 'dangerous dog act' in NJ and the fact that a dog growls at you and is menacing can be reported.  HAHAHA - so that day in court, guess who will report it. We will ask the judge to declare it as potentially dangerous.

Now for the juicy part.  When a dog is classified as a dangerous dog [please, Monsieur le Judge - let it be so], Then the owner HAS to buy special high priced insurance. Does this get better and better...or what. Chein roti et le salaud roti!!!!!! From my friend who speaks French.

The more I think about it, the more I know  why people home school and don't
want their children around kids like those  across the street.  What a
horrible influence they'd be.

A friend in Ventnor said a great comment,  "What a  wonderful example of
motherhood she is."

 

 This waste of skin doesn't have the moolah to waste on fines I am told.  I
am sure that is why  she works at Caesar's in a menial job.  And she can't
afford to send her kids to the Blessed Sacrament parochial school in Margate , that all the other parents do.

 

We went over to the police station today and talked to the chief.  He was sympathetic [both his in- laws have cancer].  He came out holding a copy of the PRESS article Alan  published.    We greased his palm with a copy of TYPE A.

 

 But something strange is going on in that house - Possibly a police scanner or friend on the force?

 

 To answer your question, Alan does the therapy on me every day. We can't stop or neck will become rigid and inflexible. The vocal cords lately have been causing a lot of hoarseness in the morning and then again at night.  So I limit talking when I feel them going.******

 

This week I have been losing large amounts of hair [the dr. will do some thyroid tests since it was radiated and may be hypo and the hair thing is a symptom].  It is always something now a days.

 

10-5-02

He said I made him feel calmer.  Whatever I said I learned from Lucille, Gail, and a few others that have this.  Medical science has so far to go ---and they should stop spending money on the space program and spend more on making patient's lives more worry-free with definitive testing. They can eat your heart out.

 
  10-8-02

 I know how you feel about wanting to return to normal.  That is what I call B.C. [before cancer].   Every day it is a different doctor or test or remembering to make a call or look up information or handle the insurance problem, etc.   The days are very different now - physical therapy, speech therapy, fluoride trays, take the blood pressure, etc.   When there is a week with only one [or yes...even no] doctor's appointments, I get giddy.  You long not to get undressed and put on a gown or be touched. 

 

Trying to keep Sliding Billy Watson close to me [I will mail you a 1930's article about him].  Attitude is half the battle, they say.  

 

Trying to 'get normal; we went to the beach for an hour Saturday - me looking like Nanook of the North, though.  I have to keep the radiated area covered.   I was there just to sit  and read my book. 


There are the wonderful people.  One evening, during the radiation treatments, I had enough energy to sit awhile on our patio so our very old friends, Dolores and Arthur stopped by for a dip of ice cream.  She brought Magic Shell and  chocolate 'shells' to put the ice cream in [that of course - are edible]. All to get more calories in me. She and Alan did all the talking.  I wrote an occasional note.  After a half hour, my eyes were at half-mast. But they were understanding and left so I could go lie down. 

 

Sometimes I go into this protective state where this isn't even my body experiencing this illness.  It seems as if it is someone else; it may be primitive but maybe my brain is trying to protect me somewhat.  You'd think with all we've been through we shouldn't have to pinch  ourselves to confirm that this is really happening to us. I still can't stop thinking that this is just a bad  dream that we will awaken from

 

10-11-02

We love an aggressive lawyer. She is perjuring herself and libeling [and possibly slandering] us and we will not let her off the hook on that one.  If a lawyer takes her case, we can go to the NJ BAR AND REPORT HIM FOR PARTAKING IN  a frivolous law suit.

 

Anyway, I finally was at the radiation oncologist yesterday and we left confused.  He looked at both PET scans [March and last month] and he DID SEE the spot in BOTH sets of scans, so it is not a new focus, as earlier thought.  It has been there all along. Now the question is what is it? So we will Fed Ex the films to my surgeon down in Maryland , now, [he suddenly moved from Temple ] and get a 2nd opinion. Since he was in my neck and knows it so well, maybe something will occur to him about what it could be.  So the wait begins. He wants me to get an ultrasound of the area and then a CAT scan.  And wait till December to repeat the PET scan.  He was very thorough and if any scans give measurements of the spot and it hasn't changed in size, they will be more encouraged.

 

 Also I had blood taken to see why my hair is coming out and I am getting hoarse every day, waking up with no voice. He tried to look down my throat but when he jammed the mirror down there, it was gagging [duh] and he had to stop. 

 

Get a load of this email from someone home with a cold.

 

DEAR BARBARA,
 IT IS NOT FUN BEING HOME AND HOPEFULLY ON MONDAY I WILL BE ALL BETTER  AND BACK TO WORK.

              You don't have to tell that to me-  believe me, I know how it is not fun to have to be home and sick;  'this' has lasted way too long it is now TEN months of being ill and stuck in.  It was a very lonely summer.  Very painful and like you, I longed to be  anywhere else.  I still am not 'me.'  And my body will never be how it was. Some days I can't leave the house.Or for hours I sleep or can't do anything because of problems.Or we can't make plans or have to cancel them.  The only good part about being stuck in the house in agony, is having Alan to hold me.  That made it bearable.He's a gem.

 

About naturopathy, I have used it a lot over the years [I have books I keep with each herb and what it is used for and then cross-matched with each condition and what helps].  It has to be used VERY carefully or it can be dangerous.  There are many substances that actually feed the cancer cells to grow - makes sense because the substance feeds your cells so naturally cancer cells will lap it up too.  That is why vitamins and supplements like selenium are being questioned for cancer patients.

 

Everyone's body acts differently.  Once I took red rice yeast to lower cholesterol.  It was horrible.  I got trigeminal neuralgia in my right cheek - horrible shock wave every time I tried to talk or eat.  SO THEN WE LOOKED IT UP instead of first.  It has the same substance that is in the statin drugs and I had the same reaction when I took those - mevacor, lipator, etc.

 

I am a very allergic person and don't have much luck with naturopathy.  Acupuncture backfired on me once. And on I could go.  Of course I don't do well with conventional medicine either.