May Onco. Update

I saw my oncologist today and the lung mets seem slightly smaller but now he's concerned about an enlarged lymph node right smack dab next to my heart. (Roseanne Roseannadanna "If it's not one thing, it's anuthah!") We compared the same images from February's scans and it's a little hard to tell if it is swollen or if my position was 5 mm off from 3 months ago so a slighly different perspective is offered.

I still have no cancer related symptoms so we decided on careful observation and continued weekly Herceptin IVs for now. He did give me a very big smile when he said that the Herceptin is working. If the August scans show further enlargement we'll blast away with Taxol and keep up with the Herceptin. The Taxol would be weekly with a one week break every month and I'd have to be careful about neuropathy so I don't mind waiting until I have some symptoms that need relieving before beginning possibly debilitating treatments.

Today seemed to take forever as it was fairly crowded so I didn't get home until about 4 p.m. but I did enjoy the time as a British friend came along to talk the time away. We worked on crossword problems and laughed at trashy magazine articles and news.


A Very Sunny Day

After a very wet day yesterday, we were concerned that today's sports event at the elementary school would be postponed. The fourth graders made 101 "sunshine dolls" (teruteru bouzu http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teru_teru_bozu ) to ward off the rain and they worked a little too well. It was so sunny and hot that the teachers announced a special break halfway through the morning to get the kids out of the sun for a short time and let them drink cold barley tea in their classrooms while the spectators roasted away outside. This was a first in our eight years at that school. I'm glad I used sunscreen and wore sunglasses.

The school was divided into two teams, red and white, to play against each other. L and N were both on the white team this year, fortunately, and they lost 601 to the red team 626 points. The difference was small enough that all the kids seemed to have fun and nobody was too excited about winning or losing. Some of the events were non-competitive, like dancing or gymnastics. We're all a little tired after a long day in the sun.


Kiddy Sumo 2007

I took L and N to the Wanpaku Sumo registration tent at the local shrine at the appointed 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. After a lot of waiting around, some long speeches at the opening ceremony and some demonstrations of improper moves (using the mayor as a test dummy) the matches began. Halfway through the first grade matches I sent L off to get his mawashi, the wraparound Sumo "underwear" put on over his gym shorts. AS it was a tournament type event, each player continues until he or she loses and then they watch their friends or go off and enjoy the extra activities like catching goldfish, spinning tops, walking on stilts, making cotton candy or eating some of the special Sumo cuisine a former wrestler who runs a restaurant prepared in a huge pot under a tent.

L managed to win his first match but was pushed out of the ring after many unsuccessful attempts by his opponent to topple him in the second match. He seems to have good balance.

N went to be outfitted with some nylon sumo pants (J and M had the wraparound outfit but times are changing and the pull-on style seems more popular with girls these days) as soon as L's matches were over, but it took a long time for the 3rd graders to finish their qualifying matches so she had lots of time to play. She caught a bunch of goldfish which are now swimming in a bucket on the balcony as the crayfish L caught last spring is housed in our single aquarium. The crayfish might enjoy some sashimi, but I doubt the goldfish would enjoy sharing the same tank.

When the 4th grade girls finally did begin their matches, I got a good spot for taping it and sat to watch. N won her first match and was very pleased. Several of her friends were also participating so she seemed happy just to be their with them all. Her second match was against the running champion from last year, a willowy tall blond girl from the American school. N got in to push the girl out of the ring but the girl pushed her shoulders down and N touched the ground with her hands, losing the match. The other girl went on to become this year's champion again and I expect we'll see her next year and the year after unless her dad gets a new job somewhere else. N says she had fun and wants to go back next year, but I think it may have been the cotton candy as well.


A Little Music

We had a few days of dusty wind and then rain and I felt this way when the bright sky seemed to pour in the windows this morning.


Well into Spring

It's getting downright hot! The train to the Cancer Center runs in sort of a loop so I took the train in the longer, clockwise route instead of the usual jam-packed route this morning. It took about 15 minutes longer to reach Tsukijishijo Station, but I had a seat all the way and was able to relax after the crowded train in to Shinjuku. The treatment went well and I made it home in time to fry some noodles for S' lunch before heading off for parent-teacher conferences at the elementary school for L and N.

L and N's teachers tried hard to sandwich the difficult-to-say parts with news like "He/She is the fastest runner in the grade." or "He/She gets along well with the other classmates." L needs to work a little harder on his Chinese characters; he has trouble fitting them in the space provided and balancing the various components. N needs to slow down a little and do things one at a time; her work gets a little careless in her effort to finish first all the time.

J and M's school has returned to a three trimester system so we'll get report cards at the end of July and there won't be parent-teacher conferences until December, if then. Their school seems to cutting back on a number of things to get in enough hours of required classes. M is enjoying track and field and I'm the "parent supporter" in charge of relaying various club info to the other 7th grade moms. Fortunately, I can e-mail most of the messages on my cell phone of by computer.

We're gearing up for the annual Kiddy Sumo on the 20th, the elementary school sports day on the 26th and the junior high school sports day on June 2nd. That's a lot of rice balls...