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Friday, August 11, 2006

Old message from July 20th

[I sent this Cheeky Librarian message out to friends as a way to keep them up with what I was going through, before I started the blog. I am repeating it here as a way to save it, as a couple of links and book titles are worth referring to later. -th]

Here is a Cheeky Librarian* Update to let you know how things are going with me and this new road I am on. My mom made her first trip ever to Omaha last week, just in time for the rush of doctor and dentist visits as I prepare for radiation treatments. She was impressed with the amount of time that all of the health professionals gave us, particularly my radiation oncologist, the oral surgeon, and my treasured family physician (she is the very best!). I have been looking at support material for head and neck radiation side effects, and what I have been reading has led me to have daily tastings of some of my favorite things - since they may never taste as good to me again. I will still have memories and my imagination to go on, and probably smaller pants sizes as a result (grin!). While Mom was here, I took her down to the wonderful Omaha Hilton to experience the executive floor and the Old Market cuisine - I figure if kids can do "Make A Wish", I could have one too, and I wanted to travel with my mom (even if it was only 5 miles away). Thanks to the great Hilton folks and the Omaha Old Market ambience, we enjoyed the overnight stay, and truly forgot for a few hours about the cancer as we noshed on creole boiled shrimp, cream puffs, and a dinner of ribs at Famous Daves. Oh yes - the ribs and good times will be memories that I will be replaying as I get my treatments (the radiation therapist will probably wonder why I start drooling and grinning!). We even saw the stunning photos by Thomas Mangelson in his Images of Nature Store down the block from the Famous Daves . I did up a page of recent photos you may wish to check out. The pictures of me and my children are the latest, showing my new short hair cut. I was going through family photos, and realized that I am in very few of them, since I am the family photographer. I am trying to fix that - so glad that I have time to change my ways (grin!).

Some information resources that have been very helpful to me that you may wish to check out too (if there are ISBN numbers, just take them to your library and you can either locate the book or request an interlibrary loan):
-Leroy Sievers' blog on NPR: My Cancer . Today's [July 20] entry especially fits what I would like to say to you and all of my friends - I love you and thank you for your support for me & my family and interest in my cancer treatment, but I also know that you are having issues and problems too. Don't apologize for bringing them up - let me know if I can help you as you have been helping me.
-A wonderful book that a friend sent: Don't Leave Me This Way by Julia Fox Garrison. ( ISBN 0-06-112061-8) All medical centers should have this book and make it required reading - there is even a section in the back on how to have a productive visit with your doctor, and an open letter to all doctors. Ms. Garrison tells of her experiences of her stroke and rehabilitation, highlighting her strength and the reactions of the health care professionals around her assuming that she was in denial since she decided to meet this disruption to her life with humor. I have seen those "looks" on health professionals' faces, too, since I have chosen to laugh at it or because of it rather than be all somber. I love this quote found on an oral cancer support site: " A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. Herm Albright (1876 - 1944) " Humor coupled with small doses of evidence from the literature should keep me annoying folks for the next few months!
-I received a copy of the Livestrong Foundation's Survivorship Notebook thanks to a referral by another friend. It has a ton of general cancer information as well as survivor stories in it - worth sharing with my kids and husband as a way to start conversations about all this stuff that I am about to lead them into with me. Cancer is a family thing, and as a family we will heal together.
-A great book given to me by two wonderful friends and colleagues at work: Everyone's Guide to Cancer Supportive Care (ISBN 0-7407-5041-0). This one volume has been my lifeline from the start. What information it doesn't have, I have located or had sent to me by the consumer health librarians in Omaha (man, we have the best ones in the nation!).

Keep those jokes coming in the email! I have loved every message, and have printed them off to savor during the down times. THAT ought to make me stand out a bit - becoming the lady giggling to herself in waiting rooms! More later - Teri

*I decided to call these update messages the "Cheeky Librarian Update" since my cheek is involved, and the slang definition of 'cheeky' in Wikipedia probably fits me. You be the judge...


scraps said...

So how are you doing? Sunburn staying tolerable?

Teresa Hartman said...

Sunburn is increasing faster than what the doc expected, but still tolerable. Treatment with Aquaphor every day really helps! Wonderful stuff!

Michelle said...

I really like your attitude. I am a bit more pragmatic rather that humourous but that is my personality. Still I much rather look on the bright side of life and deal with the rough spots. My faith is a strong part of me, not that I necessarily believe that I will be healed, but rather that I will grow as a person through this experience. As you state it is also something that affects my whole family. They too need to know and grow through this too even the ones that no longer live at home.

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