Dragging a bit, but hanging in here

I've had a busy week consulting people about jobs and about planning for the future as it looks like I need to contribute more financially. No specific plans have been made as I am still in the information gathering stage. Frugal yet nutritious recipes would be welcome.

My Cancer Center guardian angel fellow survivor brought me some delicious inari sushi she'd made so I enjoyed lunch during my IV yesterday and came home after a quick trip to the market to pick up some sushi egg omelets paid for and requested by a downstairs neighbor. Oysters, with which I've had some bad gastrointestinal reactions a long time ago, were being marketed nearby and I had a sudden revelation "Hey! I bet I could eat oysters on Tuesdays with all the anti-nausea and steroids I get for the chemo..." I didn't try it out though. Just a weird idea that came to mind.

I did find a cheap turkey at the poultry wholesaler so we'll have a turkey dinner on Saturday and turkey fajitas and turkey noodle soup later in the week. Something to look forward to.


OK, who was the last person out of the bath?

Our family follows the Japanese custom of using one big, deep tub of hot water for all of our baths each night. The actual washing is done outside of the bathtub and we soak up to our necks in relaxing hot water. A little hot water is added along the way if it cools down too much and each person lats the next person know that the bath is free when they emerge in their pajamas. When the kids were all small, it was easy to toss them all in at one time and do sort of a factory automation version of shampoo, shampoo, shampoo, shampoo, rinse, rinse, rinse, rinse, soap, soap, soap, soap, scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub, splash, splash... but now they're all big enough to enjoy relaxing on their own in the tub. The last person is expected to replace a roll-over cover we have to keep the water warm in case S wants to take a bath after he comes home or to keep condensation down. I can use the water for laundry the next day if it is still fresh enough.

This morning I heard a big splash and some sneezes from the bathroom as I was getting breakfast ready. I rushed over to see what it could be to find Koro swimming around in circles in last night's bathwater. She'd jumped up to where she must have expected the hard cover only to dive in to the bathtub. What a surprised but not angry look she had on her face. She seemed quite happy to be scooped out and wrapped in a towel. I should have checked that the top was on last night but I got tired of waiting for everyone to finish up and I went to bed earlier than the last couple of bathers. Once the toddlers are big, it's easy to let one's guard down. Wet cat!


Another Good Day

I figured out the mystery of the woman who gave me lunch last week. Her name isn't Chiyoko after all but Mariko. I'd planned to bring her some persimmon bars that I'd baked without sugar but the kids liked them so much that there weren't enough left. Also, I made them with butter instead of oil and Mariko is avoiding dairy products. Today she brought me more genmai rice balls and a tangerine for lunch, some pretty pickled onions and peppers in a jar, some more rice for dinner and a tupperware box with potato salad and broccoli for dinner. We chatted and her children are my age, but in Kyushuu, one married with a child and the other a nun in a Trappist order, busy baking Christmas goodies this month.

It looks like the Tuesday crowd is getting to know me; a man and his wife waiting their turn (his probably) for a blood draw smiled and told me to keep up the positive attitude and enjoy all those children of mine. The wife had been talking with my new friend Mariko. It seems like a lot of people smile in my direction there and I wonder if my wig might be askew sometimes. I usually smile back anyway. I'm getting used to seeing some of the same faces and I'm sure they remember me.

My monthly exam with Dr. F. was as thorough as ever and things are well. He scheduled me for the next season's round of scans and tests all the way through April so I could get into the system before it gets all crowded. I asked about changing the Christmas I.V. to the 28th as it is a waste to not keep blasting away and I'll have January 1st off, giving me a 2 week break from Taxol anyway.


Yay! Grr! Ack! and Beyond

Monday was the annual foreign wives cookie exchange and the large container full of lemon bars I baked on Sunday night evolved into two containers of a delightful variety homemade cookies from a dozen or so other wives and moms. The kids were quite impressed with the beautiful creations but didn't hesitate to enjoy munching away at the delicious treats.

Tuesday I made sure that two out of four were awake and sitting at the breakfast table before I headed off to Tsukiji. I got a seat on the train (yay!) and arrived in time to check in at the machines which accept our plastic Cancer Center cards and print out our itinerary for the day (yay!). Then I discovered I'd brought the wrong bag with me and that I didn't have my plastic card (Grrr!) so I had to wait until the manned reception desk opened at 8:30 a.m. to check in. I expected this to delay treatment a bit as I couldn't go for the blood tests until after that and I'd end up having to wait a little longer to check in at the chemo room. Oh well, what's a few extra hours of reading time before treatment starts...

The nice lady at the reception counter was able to re-issue a card, print out my schedule and send me on my way upstairs very efficiently. As I read my schedule on the escalator, I saw that I didn't have a blood test scheduled after all (Yay!, I get enough of them and they're always well within the safe limits to get treatment anyway.) I was able to advance directly to the oncology nurse station right when my doctor was walking by to his office. He looked around to see that the usual nurse was busy out back and asked me and another of his patients to hand him our files so he could send us on our way upstairs to the chemo room. (Yay! Back on schedule again!).

The other woman was dressed flowingly in muted oranges and bright pink and stood out as much as I did in the sea of grey, brown and black. She announced to me "Chiyoko went to the mission school." I assumed she meant herself, as sometimes people refer to themselves using their first names (but not much after elementary school). Her husband is/was and artist and she gave me a copy of a painting he had done of Mary. She said the original was currently on tour. We registered upstairs and headed back to the lobby to pay our bills before the late morning / early afternoon congestion at the cashier's counter. A gentleman of 70 or so was headed to the escalator too and he made a nice gesture and told us "After you" in English with a pleasant smile. My new friend Chiyoko was quite excited as in her 76 years she'd never received such treatment or so she said as she gave the man a huge smile and thanked him. I think is was our brighter colors and my blond wig that gave him a few smiles.

I went to the ATM so get some cash to pay at the counter only to find that the credit card bill for last months groceries had been deducted from the account yesterday and I had to shuffle funds from several accounts to get enough cash for the payment. (Ack!) This took a little more time than expected but I was able to hand in my paperwork and pay before heading back upstairs.

We sat together and talked while we waited for the bills and Chiyoko-san said she's on the same treatment as mine now but that she'd had full brain radiation (gamma knife) recently for the metastases to her brain. She seemed to be doing very well. She disappeared somewhere as I was paying my bill only to reappear back upstairs, outside the chemo room with some rice balls she'd taken from her lunch box to wrap in paper towels and offer to me for my lunch. We were each called by the nurses then so I thanked her for lunch and went to my reclining chair for my full course. She was on her Herceptin only day so she finished and left before I did although I was done by 12 (yay! so early!). I expect I'll see her next Tuesday too.

I walked to Ginza again to get a little exercise, catch a different train back to Shinjuku and save a few yen and I was home before 2 p.m. Today I'll go update the bank books and see why I haven't heard from city hall about September's reimbursement.