Archive for December 21st, 2008


December 21, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice!

We’re snowed in, with the most snow that we remember having since we moved out here.

Last weekend, we flew down to Northern California to visit family on our usual quickie Christmas visit (I didn’t get to go last year because of the chemo). The weather forecast had indicated that snow and ice were going to arrive soon after we left Portland, so we made sure we had the chains in the car and headed off to the airport.

We had a lovely visit, and got to see parents and siblings on both sides, and meet the newest member of the family, our grandniece – what an adorable little girl! And we’ve got a grandnephew due the last week in December, so we’re excited about that, too ;-}

We flew home Sunday afternoon, arriving into PDX around 3:30, with the promised ice and snow awaiting us. By the time I had stopped at the Columbia Sportswear outlet and bought myself a new jacket, Brian picked up the checked bag, and we rode the shuttle out to the parking lot, it was nearly dark. We decided to start out without chains, and made it nearly home before we ran into any difficulties. After discussing the best route through the back streets, we decided to take the exit prior to our normal exit, because it has a slight downward slope at the top (whereas our usual exit has a bit of an upward slope at the top); our goal was to keep moving as much as possible, and only stop when absolutely necessary. After having to u-turn to get away from a line of stuck cars and go another way, we ran into the same problem on our second-choice route; and as we started out on our third-choice route (the one with the worst hills), we saw the line of cars that had been moving just 30 seconds prior come to a dead stop as the lead car slid sideways and stopped. Argh! Brian almost pulled over to put on the chains, but we were only about a mile from home, and I said “Just go around them, there’s nobody coming the other way”, so we made it around and home without the dreaded chain installation – yay!

But more snow fell that night, so I ended up working from home for three days – Thursday morning I was able to get the car out due to a thaw, and took the MINI over to get studded snow tires. Worked in the office Thursday and Friday. I had a grocery delivery scheduled for Friday evening, but Safeway called and cancelled. Did they try to reschedule? No – just cancel. You can bet they’re on *my* shit-list! So yesterday I had to drive over to Freddie’s and pick up groceries, and picked up some snow boots and some new flannel sheets as well. By the time I came out, the car had more than 1/4-inch of snow on it. It snowed heavily all afternoon and evening, and we now have around 3″ – 4″.

Robin loves snow, at least the powdery kind – he lays right down and starts poking his nose into it, romps through it, and makes snow dog-angels – unfortunately, I couldn’t get to the camera while he was playing, or I’d post a picture. Here’s a picture of him in our *last* batch of snow:

Snow gives me the runs!

Snow gives me the runs!

Jumping for joy ;-}

Jumping for joy ;-}

This is so cool!

This is so cool!

What he doesn’t like is when the top of the snow gets crunchy. There’s about a 1/2-inch layer on top now that has solidified, and he mostly breaks through, but sometimes slides. And we’re going to have to shovel out his little yard – there’s a drift that comes up to his chest that he has to jump over to get in and out. At least with the fenced-off area we don’t have to “watch out where the Shelties go” – and Robin is the only one who eats snow, so I think we’re safe on that count ;-}

My port-a-cath (chemo port) incisions are healing well, although they’re kind of itchy, even nearly two weeks later. The surgeon did manage to implant it on the right side, so at least I don’t have to worry about the increased risk of lymphedema in my left arm. I will find out how the port works when I go in for my first chemo in January – sometimes they will allow inflow but draws don’t work. Last time I was fortunate enough that it worked both in and out, but really, as long as it lets the chemo in, I can deal with arm-sticks for the blood draws.

For the most part I’m feeling pretty well, although I do seem to have some residual fatigue, presumably the dregs of the radiation fatigue. There’s some tightness in the radiation-treated area, but I try to do my stretches and massage regularly to keep it from building up scar tissue. I saw the radiation oncologist for my first post-treatment follow-up, and she was pleased at how well the burns have faded. There’s still a bit of darker color and a little bit of peeling, but other than that, you can’t tell what it has been through.

Like the rest of the Northwest, we’re in for more nasty weather – today is supposed to be freezing rain, and it isn’t supposed to warm up until Christmas Eve. Hope you all are keeping warm and safe, as well!

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December 2008
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