Friday, 29 January 2010

This Week in Sahune

If you don't recognise "Nom"
you might try LOL Cats
or the Urban Dictionary.

I'm tired of waiting for summer.
Want to wear my Xmas T-Shirt.
Which dwarf do I most resemble?

Here is my indoor hat
from a site recommended by friend Rena.

Here is how it is usually perched.
Which dwarf do I most resemble?

Harry & Mio playing (honestly)

Watcha doin'?

A picture I never thought I'd see:
FloJo & Miosa sleeping together.
F has returned to trying to kill Mio.

Another picture I never thought to see.
Nala is so sick she didn't move
when Mio joined her on her rug.
Usually she leaves.
It's pyometra and she's being operated on today.
If you don't know what pyometra is, don't ask.
(Unless you have an unspayed female dog)

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


Two toenails fell off. Pas grave. I once had them all removed as a result of an infection. They grew back.

Monday, 18 January 2010

The Good News and the Bad News

The good news is that the oncologist is a lot better at reading scans than we are. Having had the disk output loaded into the hospital computer, he compared the results with my last scan. We thought the tumour had shrunk a little. In fact, it seems to have shrunk by about half. It's stil attached to my bladder, though, and "If we operate now, we'd have to take out the bladder." "I can wait," I said. So back to chemo on Wednesday.

More good news: Everything else is cleared up including the tumour on the peritoneum. Woo hoo!

Neutral news: I didn't clear up how two tumours became one, but I'll ask my other oncologist on Wednesday.

Bad news: My feet are going to fall off. With more chemo I will have more skin peeling, more pins and needles and more sore red toes. He said this wasn't "grave." O.K.

Even more good news: We stopped for lunch and did a little grocery shopping north of Valence (the departmental prefecture). They had beef for animals for 2.50€ a kilo. That's 1.14€ per pound. The cheapest I can find it in Avignon these days is 3.70€ per kilo (1.68€ per pound). Another woo hoo.

We had a leisurely drive to Lyon yesterday, a pleasant evening and excellent dinner with friends, good news at the hospital, and a leisurely drive home.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Scanner today

It's really hard to redeem a day that begins at 5:30. However, since we couldn't get to the hospital last Friday, I didn't quibble when the secretary gave me a new appointment for today at 8:15. (But be there half an hour early because it's a new year and I have to pass by Admissions.)

The roads were absolutely terrible in some places, but we managed to get to the hospital just after 8:00 -- earlier than the admissions clerk. And we managed to get to the imaging unit on time.

I had the needle inserted in my arm for the "product" (everything in France is a product: washing powder, cleaning fluid, stuff that goes in the veins, etc.) and the nurse told me I could stay dressed except for my bra. Then I got to the scanner and she said the doctor had decided to do a lavage (if you know what that is, fine; if you don't I'm not going to describe it) and I should strip and put on a hospital gown. A new first.

Clenching my buttocks as instructed, I had the scan, which took about five minutes, and was then allowed to go to the bathroom. I made three trips, but am fine now, thank you.

It took forever to get the results today. Second to arrive and didn't get the results until amost eleven. Did I mention I had to be fasting?

On the way out of the hospital, we stopped in the teeny shop and had coffee and, for me, a croissant. (Nick had eaten breakfast.) Then we went to look at a kitchen, did a little grocery shopping, had lunch and lingered over coffee reading the results.

Most of which I don't understand, but I'll get the oncologist to explain it to me on Monday. What I understand is that I am improved. The tumour, which used to be two tumours, but has grown together (last year, but I just worked that out today) is smaller. No more unidentified nodules on the lung or other parts. I think the peritoneum is clear, too, but I can't be sure about that. All other organs are normal, although it's possible that the tumour is still touching the bladder. (Conflict between what I understood the doctor to say and what I understood the written report to say.)

My guess is they won't be able to operate, yet, and I will continue chemo. But what do I know? All will be clear after Monday's trip to Lyon.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Snowbound in Provence

I knew I'd get to use that title one day.

This is the scenic view from our current living quarters. Actually, it's worse than it looks in the photograph. Yesterday I saw one tractor-trailer rig and one car. So strange on a main road. We don't have a lot in the way of snow removal equipment.

We were on the road, though. I ran out of pills and we had to get to Nyons. The further we went toward the Rhone, the worse it got. I called the hospital (which is in Montélimar and on the Rhone) and they said it wasn't worth coming; they gave me a new scanner appointment for Tuesday. Unfortunatey, the forecast says it might be as bad or worse by then.

Of course, I look at the roads and think that these people would die in Chicago, but then I remember that I had snow tires there. It was a bit skiddy yesterday and no one here is used to this sort of weather. I'm sure that if Nick didn't know what I'm like without my antidepressants, he wouldn't have gone.

Van-Ly likes it, though.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Happy New Year

and best wishes for your health, happiness and prosperity.

That's how the French say it. The French also send out new year greetings, a habit that we've adopted, preferably handwritten, a habit we have not adopted.

We were having a quiet evening at home, watching English TV -- Nick found the satellite -- when our neighbour came to the house and invited us for a drink. It's the first New Year's Eve party I've ever been to where most of the guests were between 7 and 12. They weren't drinking; they were doing fireworks. We came home, again, at 2:30, which is much too late. Been there, done that.

I have ended my book blog, 25 Words or Less on Books. (No one noticed.) There is still a link, to you can read my last review: In Praise of Slowness. Thinking slow, I decided that I enjoy my books more when I don't have to worry about counting them (which I don't seem to be able to help) or reviewing them. I can always comment here if I am impelled to do so.

Which led me to a light-bulb moment: I have an artist friend who, although she could use the money,
doesn't like doing exhibitions or even commissions. She says she enjoys painting more when she does it for herself. I finally understand, Barbara.

The thing about getting old is: you lose interest in staying up late, but you learn a lot of stuff.