Iceland Cometh and the Life Preserver

Successfully finished week one of chemo without a lot of trouble except for fatigue which never completely goes away. Oh how I wish it would! I have felt like I have the flu off and on. And… I woke up early Saturday morning with a terrible pain in my upper right chest. It was worse laying down than when I was upright. I experimented with this until I inadvertently woke up Tim-Blanket and he asked “What the heck are you doing?” What, a girl can’t have fun in bed at 6:00 AM?  The pain continued all morning until an alarm bell went off in my head that it could be something serious, like a blood clot. With that I called my oncologist, at home, on his cell, on a Saturday. Yeah. I really don’t want to be that patient–the one you regret giving your cell number to. I was home alone which rarely happens these days. Dr. Steve reassured me, after asking a hundred questions, and advised Motrin or I would have to go to the ER —the last place he wants me to be (ME TOO!!!) It did the trick. I still have the pain in my chest wall but the Motrin is working.

Several of you have asked and been surprised that I am continuing to work full time. I feel I have to keep going because the time will come, hopefully a long time from now, when I may be too sick to work and the choice won’t be mine. I still love spending my days with adolescents and moving at the sound of a bell ringing, eating café food, laughing at the silliness that teenagers bring to the table.

This week Shannon and Lisa, my work wives, purchased Alex and Ani bracelets for themselves and me with a life preserver! We are now Team Life Preserver. Such a thoughtful and cool idea. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love jewelry. Every piece I have reminds me of something or someone that I love. A few weeks ago Kelsey and Bridget gave me a necklace with a feather and my niece, Gina,  gave me a pendant that says “Faith”. Each thing comforts and reminds me of the circle of support I am lucky to have. Years ago, when my friend Donna was dying of breast cancer, she had the presence of mind to bag up and give away her jewelry to her many siblings and friends in the weeks before she died. I will never forget that and how kind and generous it was to share her life with others even at her lowest hour. Totems–we need them!


Part of my wonderful Bigelow/Grand Rapids family (Ross, Gina and the boys) were able to come visit after a brief scare about possible strep throat. Tim, Kelsey and Bridget stepped up their entertaining game big time while I rested at home. The Aquarium, Gillette Stadium, 5 Witts, Sam Adams Brewery, Old Ironsides—they managed quite a lot without my supervision, go figure.  I was able to join them at the Science Museum–how cool is the Theater of Electricity? Actually way cool because you get to sit down for 45 minutes!  Next it was the Duck Boats with Liam and Logan ( my 8 year old twin grand nephews) steering the boat! We arrived safely back to dry land and dinner in the North End. Okay, I ‘m tired just writing about this.

Poor Diana called last night to check in and I was in grumpy cat mode after a particularly lousy day and several lab screw ups. It happens people. Not all sweetness and light in cancer land.

Iceland looms in our minds. We are scheduled to leave Saturday night for a week. Dr. Steve says we can’t go until he sees my blood counts on Friday. Really? You are going to tantalize us to the very end? Tim is very confident we are going but I haven’t seen him pack a single thing. Not sure what that means but maybe I will get my suitcase out tomorrow and pretend it’s happening.

Lastly, I have decided to conclude my blogs with the titles of my favorite songs. Why? Why the heck not? If you have read this far you may as well stay with me.

This week: “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks, my personal anthem


Barbara, Tim -Blanket, Lasagna Bridget and RN Kelsey


  1. As my father loves to say (and laugh every time) “packing is overrated!” Bill and I will keep our fingers crossed. We are thinking of you and Tim as we begin the work of getting the sailboat ready for the summer and imagining drinks in Mattapoisett harbor after a day of sailing with you guys (or just drinks in the harbor!) I’m reminded so much of how we all fell more in love as friends on that trip so many years ago. I’m also so glad your support network of friends and doctors is wide and solid, kind of like a life preserver. On that note I will tell you one of my favorite songs, The Look of Love, Diana Krall rendition is so great. Are you using Spotify? Such a great way to look up and hear old songs and albums. Sending good vibes…love, Carla

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey!
    The pics of the boys, et al, looked great. So glad you could spend some time with them.
    You are forever in our thoughts and prayers, along with Zbridget, Keksey, and of course, my Linus brother Blanket! If you can think of ANYTHING we can do from Grand Rapids to make your life easier, happier, less stressful, please just tell me! Marietta and I are awaiting instructions! We love you a ton!
    🎀❤️💜💛💚💙💟🎶 ICELAND!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Actually way cook because you get to sit down for 45 minutes” cracked me up while reading. Sounds like a long day and yes grumpiness is allowed!

    What do you do for work? And I think it’s great you still do!

    and I always wondered if doctors meant it when they said call day or night…wonder if he meant it lol

    Beautiful bracelet. Very thoughtful. Glad you ha e such great people by your side.


    1. I am the high school psychologist at OAHS!
      My doctor gets peeved when I don’t call him and thinks if I see another doctor that I am cheating on him,


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