A Break

I finished my IV early on Tuesday and had a few hours before my quarterly CT scan so I traipsed over to Shinbashi a few blocks away to shop at Hanamasa, a wholesale grocer, and save a little on the monthly food expenses. The CT scan technicians managed to fit me in a little earlier than my 2:30 appointment so I dragged my sacks of groceries into the changing cubicle with me and was finished by 1:30. The next two Tuesdays are national holidays so I won't have treatment or hear about the results until then unless Dr. F. finds anything he doesn't like, in which case he'll call and have me come in earlier. It's nice to have a break.

Tomorrow I plan to take the kids to the other side of Tokyo to watch M run 800 meters in a track meet if the coach deigns to accept her application to continue in the track team. The students have to sign up every year and he was giving M and two of her friends a hard time yesterday about appropriate attitudes, discouraging them from ever doing track and field again. The traditional thought, according to S, is that degrading students and telling them to quit is supposed to encourage them to try harder. Silly me, and I thought he was telling them to go home when he shouted "Go home!" to them. Sigh. The coach called last night to apologize for misjudging a situation and overreacting and asked if M and the other two girls could come in at 7:30 to discuss and resolve the situation. Hopefully peer pressure won't keep them all from throwing in the towel just yet; they're all pretty good at the sport.


More on the unexploded bomb

It seems that the bomb was never actually dropped, but that the number 1 engine of B29 T-42 (also known as Mrs. Tittymouse) of Squadron 875 was hit by flak and the plane lost its left wing, last seen going down in a spin on 04/07/1945. The bomb must have been part of the debris from that crash. An account written by a Japanese man who was a child in the neighborhood at the time describes the strong smell of gasoline and the shock of seeing the picture of a topless girl on the nose of the craft surprise that the plane was equppied with beverage dispensers offering coffee, tea or milk at a time when the Japanese military did not take indvidual soldiers' preferences into consideration even if it had been possible to offer such luxuries. He was also saddened to see how young the crew members who did not survive seemed when laid out in a row before being buried in the local temple, Empukiji, graveyard. The eleventh crew member surviced and was taken prisoner and sent to Omori POW camp and returned to the States after the war where he struggled much with PTSD.


This Week's Big News

On March 27, 2008, an unexploded 1-ton bomb thought to have been dropped in an April 7, 1945 U.S. B29 air raid was discovered buried in a neighborhood yard along the train tracks. Japan Self Defense Force experts have assured the city that there is no danger of explosion without strong impact so the yard has been cordoned off and security personnel have been dispatched to keep watch while the city informs the neighbors of disposal procedures and precautions. The city has announced plans to regulate traffic and clear a 500 meter radius of neighborhood around the bomb on May 18 for disposal of the unexploded ordnance. We're about 700 meters away but there are two stations and quite a few residences and businesses, including a 32 floor high rise apartment and two large supermarkets within the evacuation area. Apparently the Keio Line's underground train line pre-construction magnetic exploration and stories of the April 7th air raid led to the discovery. Maybe the entire neighborhood can come watch this year's city-wide kiddy sumo that day at the American School in Japan on the very far side of Chofu from anything (well outside of the 500 meter radius).


Rainy Tuesday

I left breakfast and lunch (well protected from the cat) for the kids and headed off to Tsukiji for blood work, an exam and discussion with Dr. F. and my usual full course of Herceptin, anti-nausea and anti-allergy pre-meds and Taxol with a saline chaser. We decided that as the neuropathy (numbing of my feet and hands) is not progressing and I'm not getting any rashes or other cumulative side effects, I should continue with the Taxol every three out of four treatments for the time being. Last night I spread out the CT scan images of approximately the same slice of my lungs from Oct2006, Feb2007, May2007, Oct2007 and then Jan2008 to visualize the journey so far and try to imagine how much smaller I can zap the lung tumors away with a little more Taxol. I still expect that I'll stop the Taxol sometime this spring as I don't like the side effects of the pre-meds (mainly the weight gain and sleepiness) and see that the tumors are back to their Oct2006 size (when I wouldn't have noticed them without a CT scan) and weren't taking up precious breathing space like they were from Feb2007.

The Herceptin has been effective in halting any tumor growth and I expect it will continue to do so even if I stop the Taxol. With the weekly Herceptin treatments, I could enter a stable status even if the no-evidence-of-disease NED stage is unreachable. I've been very blessed to receive support from a number of ladies in an on-line group to help me continue with the weekly treatments for the next year. Their encouragement and financial assistance has lightened my burden. I'm so relieved to know that I don't have choose between getting treatments and feeding the family.

I managed to get back in time to take L to the dentist as the dentist found two small cavities on Friday morning when I took all of the children in for a check-up and maintenance before the new school year. J's cap on her front tooth needed repair but she and her sisters had no cavities. L had one of his treated on Friday and the other today so they're done for a while. I asked my oncologist about precautions before dental work because one of my 25 year old crowns came off. I'm scheduled for next Friday morning now.

Time to tackle some of the new school year paperwork that each of the kids has brought home for me. I think we need an IN box and OUT box for each child...


New School Year

We managed to keep everyone entertained during spring break and are clearing out the desks and closets this weekend to make room for all the stuff each child will need in the new school year. I thought I was making good progress sorting clothes and putting winter things away but all of the room I made has just been filled with a big load of hand-me-downs from a German friend in the neighborhood. Her youngest son is J's age so L now has a wardrobe that will last through at least 6th grade.

We had a lot of picnic lunches to make the most of the wonderful spring weather we've been having so the kids are all looking forward to school lunches as a reprieve from onigiri (lightly salted rice balls wrapped in nori seaweed).

I traded my crossing guard duties on Tuesday with the mom who had Wednesday morning and wrote in all the class PTA meeting schedules on the calendar and I'm very ready for everybody to go back to school.