December, 2010

Although the Pain is Still There..

The Christmas season has opened.  Our church also now has beautiful decorations and we’ll celebrate Jesus’ birth in many ways until the New Year comes.

In spite of my long term sick leave from work, and though unknown intermittent pain is still in my body, I am participating in a variety of Christmas events in/out of the church and probably that’s why I am enjoying everyday.

Last Thursday, our Happiness group got together with goodies at Don and Pat’s house to sing Christmas carols.

Friday and Saturday I volunteered for our church’s 53-year-old tradition, Yule Parlor Parade.  This is a Christmas fund-raising tour visiting beautiful mansions with glorious Christmas decorations and a formal tea, bakery & gift shops, and Christmas music at the church.   The all the ticket sales will be donated to local charity groups.   The Women’s Fellowship starts preparing for this big event from summer, but we made 8000 sandwiches in two days!  The serving spirit at the church where people offer their different talents and precious time happily for others has been already demonstrated to support me but it is so amazing and inspiring.

At night we went to listen to a Christmas choir at St.Irenaeus Catholic church where Jenifer, Roy’s girlfriend , is a choir member.  There must have been more than a thousand people.  The big church was full with standing room only. Listening to Christmas hymns that were followed by big applause each time, I felt light in the midst of various depressing news in the world and my battle with cancer as well, and I was filled with the strong power of joy that Jesus was sent to us for.

On Sunday, George took out our little Christmas tree, and I took out my Christmas music book to play piano.  Being surrounded by the Christmas spirit, I am HAPPY!

Side Effects of Navelbine?

George and I discussed with the oncologist regarding my pain again today.

The pain started from around the incision and spread to my right breast and armpit.  Then it moved to the right shoulder, collar bone, and the right side of the neck.  Last week I started feeling strong throbbing pain in my right arm that always received the chemo IV.  It has calmed down, but now I have a twitching pain right below the rib cage.

The doctor said “traveling pain” didn’t sound like cancer pain.  It may be a side effect of Navelbine.  She had ordered a PET scan to make sure if it was not because of cancer, but I have been exposed to radiation through exams so many times since I found a lump in my breast and I have to have a radiation therapy after this chemotherapy, also.  I’d like to avoid radiation exposure as much as possible.  Since CT scan was clear, I decided to bet this pain was from Navelbine, and canceled the PET scan.  So let’s see.

Why I Run Fever

Though I knew chemo would affect my immune system, I have been staying up late, running a sewing machine, and going out into crowds in the rain recently.  I ran a fever yesterday after my chemo.

Every year I am tempted to make some-hand made gifts for Christmas.  I neither have good hands, nor hobby of crafts, but when Christmas is coming, beautiful projects at crafts stores look so fascinating that I cannot resist trying. I understand if I take out a sewing machine or knitting needles only once a year, nothing is easy. So why do I want to try?  I don’t know.  I spend so much time making mistakes and redoing every time and even after I finish, I usually get disappointed with the outcomes. Nevertheless, when every Christmas comes, I am trying the same things – create something – again.  Last year it was knitting and this year it is sewing.  I, who cannot learn a lesson, and repeat the same mistakes, must be a fool or stubborn.

“ I want to make x for this person and a y for that person..”  I enjoy imagining  at the craft store and got lots of fabrics.  I became a little bit smarter this year inviting Annie, who was an expert of quilting, but my 30-year-old sewing machine has misbehaved many times and I have been tackling it until midnight every day.



On top of that, I went out many times to busy malls looking for gifts in spite of the lousy cold rainy weather recently in L.A.  Yesterday, I got up with a sore throat and just what I was afraid of, after chemo, I started running a fever.

If my fever runs more than 100.5 F°, I have to go to ER, and if I have to be admitted to the hospital again, I will mess up this Christmas.  I have only done 80% of preparing gifts, I will be one of readers of Christmas passages in a Christmas Eve service at the church, and we are inviting George’s parents on Christmas day.

Listening to George saying, “ it may be easier to buy gifts.  I am concerned about you.  You should rest”, I half agreed with him, but made an excuse saying,“ It is more fun making my own.”

Now running fever and having a time pressure, I have to admit that is no more true.  My plan was shallow again!  Tylenol is helpful and I have a good appetite, so I hope I can recover and catch up for Christmas quickly.

“This Blessing is For You”

This year I met the biggest trial in my life.  Yet, being supported by so many people, I am welcoming the holy night with my beloved family, again.  In Japan my 84 year old mother will be baptized on the Christmas Eve.  Because God loves us so much that  he sent his only son as our “donor”, we now can see hope even beyond our deaths.

May  his name, Jesus, be exalted on the earth!

May peace, hope, joy, and love fill you on this Christmas and in the coming new year!

Please enjoy this beautiful site as well:  “This Blessing is For you”

Go to a Doctor

In spite of a cold, I could enjoy Christmas very much, but being concerned about me not being able to leave a Kleenex box at all, and continual coughing in bed, George said, “Go to a doctor.”  So Monday I went to an urgent care.  Being right after Christmas weekend, my appointment was  not until 7:20 pm and the urgent care was packed even to the hallway  when I got there.

As I told the doctor that I was a chemo patient, she immediately ordered a blood test  and a chest x-ray, yet fortunately my blood cell count was normal and  the x-ray was also clear.  I came home with a prescribed antibiotic.

The pain, which has been traveling all over in my body, has circled back to my chest, but since I caught a cold, I have been annoyed with running nose, cough, and a head ache rather than the pain.  If this is due to the chemo, it may continue, but I am glad that the pain is getting lesser.

I am thankful for being able to finish this turbulent year peacefully without another hospitalization because of George who has been taking super good care of me, and good medicines.