my weblog

Friday, March 28, 2014

It's been a lil while since I caught up on here- overall things are ok, tho' I have gotten a bit behind on messages, email, etc... of late :(

Thoughts and prayers go out to the Boston firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as those injured, in that horrific fire on Beacon Street Wednesday. The fire was just a few blocks from my home, and I pass by the fire house often. Those men and women truly are heroic, and heroes. God bless.

So did any/EVERY body's NCAA brackets get blown up by the end of the first weekend of the tournament?! Yikes, a lot of upsets; mine got shredded :(  Doing alright against the spread but won't be winning any billion dollar bracket challenge this season, dammit!

I began participation in a phase 1 clinical trial for my cancer this month. It's an oral med that I take once/day. It's been slightly rougher than any of my previous regimens (only in that all of the others were incredibly easy to tolerate) but no complaints so far. Unfortunately the cancer has progressed somewhat, within the liver as well as some spread to my lungs and to my spleen, and some lymph node involvement. And I've begun to notice some aches, nagging more than anything, but persistent. None of this has affected my day-to-day yet, and on balance I still feel pretty good- nine feet tall and bulletproof maybe? I'm not on any timetable yet but unfortunately for me things do seem to progressing in a less-than-optimal direction. Whaddya gonna do.

Despite the absolutely brutal winter we've had this year (five straight months of below-average temps, and wind... where IS that global warming Al Gore promised me?!) I've been getting out and about quite a bit, several very enjoyable dinner/drinks dates around town, topped off with the truly beautiful fur coat a certain someone special bought for me; it's kept me quite warm and toasty! (It truly is beautiful, and I was, and am, humbled to have received such a gift. Thank you, more than you know.)

Think spring!!!

"April, come she will/When streams are ripe and swelled with rain..."

Monday, February 17, 2014

Been a lil while since I updated. I'd had some trouble logging into, seems to have finally resolved...

I've been on HRT for a more than a few years now (with a 6 month cancer-related interruption a couple of years ago.) The results have been largely what I expected and anticipated, and overall I'm happy with the process. But two things that, while I was aware of them, have become more pronounced than expected. I've lost a LOT of muscle-mass, especially upper-body mass. Some of it may also be due to some weight loss since the cancer but for someone who has always (and still does!) lifted weights, done resistance work, etc... and to see little muscle gain, and loss of strength, it's been an adjustment. I look pretty toned but honestly I wouldn't mind gaining a lil more size; I see women at the gym and elsewhere who are fit yet are also more muscular than I (I'm not talking female bodybuilder muscle but fit kind of muscle.) Perhaps the cancer and chemo have played a role as well but my docs believe it is primarily due to HRT. (In fairness, I still do quite a bit of running and cardio as well, which may be keeping me leaner as well.) But it is an odd, tho' expected, outcome. The other is, well, sexual response. Again, expected but, while everything still kinda works down there, it's, well, it's a longer, more time-consuming process. Overall it's not a problem or a complaint, but it is more pronounced than I expected. Again, both of these are likely due to the time and dosages of hormones that I've been on.

A CT scan I had last month indicated progression of my cancer. There still aren't any new growths nor spread to any other organs but the existing lesions have, once again, increased in size. That, coupled with some lab #s over the past month or so, indicates that the treatment regimen I had been on since last June has apparently lost it's efficacy. We're kinda reaching the end of standard colon cancer treatment options. Later this month, pending a screening, I'll be participating in a phase 1 clinical trial for a drug under development. The main thrust of a phase 1 trial is to determine patient tolerances of the drug hopefully it will have some efficacy in controlling the disease as well. We still have one or two treatment options beyond this but my oncologist believes that this was the next best option. I trust her judgment.

It's been a pretty cold and nasty winter around these parts this year, yet between the weather, work, as well as med appointments I've been getting out locally quite a bit- some very enjoyable dinner dates (at some great places!) as well as solo, and just doing- living- as myself; it's been fun, and as the weather (hopefully!) gets better, will indulge even more! At this point just doing things, seeing people, is more important to me than any material things. It's a good mindset to have :)

"There are dreams that fly in the midnight wind/Souls that cry in the midnight wind/Lovers who try in the midnight wind/You and I in the midnight wind... "

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A brief year-in-review post...

Overall, a good year. I'm still here! The beginning of this year my oncologist wasn't sure if I'd still be around by now, let alone feeling well. I'm here, and I still feel well, ten feet tall and bulletproof even! She, and my entire medical team, have done truly great work; I owe it all to them.

I made considerably more me time this year, in all of my walks of life; reconnected with many old friends, met and saw some new friends as well, and have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them all! I hit several new/different restaurants and drinking establishments this year, even developed a liking for wine! At this point in my life I am totally comfortable with and enjoying going anywhere; while I have no illusions about my beauty (but to be fair I'm not totally homely... at least I don't think so!) I really have no problem going out anywhere; again, while maybe not stunning I can and do pretty much blend in as a typical 40-something woman, which is what I've sought. (Either that, or people are simply kind to the Poor Cancer Girl!) There are still a few folks, from all of my walks of life, that I hope to see in the coming year but socially, this has been a pretty good year for me, finally made/took a lil more time to socialize with good people more often! And one more thing on that note; I've been blessed my entire life to know and to be surrounded by so many truly good people- I appreciate you all, more than you know :)

Been struggling a bit ATS this season; I'm still in the black (barely) but college hoops haven't been as kind to me so far as they often are, I usually do quite well, especially in early-season, November/December, games. Not so much this season. Need to do a lil more homework and research... Pats are in the playoffs yet again- yay! A truly great coaching job by Bill Belichick, with so much player turnover and several injuries to key players, on both sides of the ball, and a great job from players stepping up. The only team I truly fear in the playoffs is Denver; Peyton Manning is playing like he did 10 years ago, and they are just pretty solid in all three phases of the game. Go Pats!...  My workouts have, on balance, been good (got in a decent last-run-of 2013 this morning) but I could still stand to step them up a but more in the coming year. I hope to increase my running mileage and pace, hit cardio @ the gym a little more intensely, resistance-training I could actually stand to gain a slight amount of muscle mass, always improve my muscle tone, and I need to mix it up a lil more, change my routines a bit. My weight is fine. I can seem a lil over-the-top re. my workouts but they help on several levels- first, they simply make me feel normal, doing things that I did before I was diagnosed with cancer; second, I like to think that working out is keeping me strong as I deal with the cancer, better able to withstand treatment as well as the disease itself; third, working out helps keep me fit so that I look better in clothes, etc... Yeah, vanity plays a role!

I don't know what the coming year holds for me. This spring will be three years since I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer; the five-year survival rate for CRC is 8%, so I'm obviously aware that I'm further long into all of this, that time may be- heck, is- running down a bit. Hopefully I'll be writing one of these this time next year! I still feel well and, for as long as possible, intend to keep doing what I'm doing, living my life as I always have for as long as possible, while making/taking evermore me time, to see and share and spend time with the many great people in my life.

Best wishes to all!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Christmas (or, for the politically correct, "holiday") season is upon us! While we- fortunately- haven't had the winter blast and snow that other parts of the country have received we're having a few flurries today, whitening things up just a lil bit, making it look a lil more Christmasy! I have much to be thankful for as the year winds down; first and foremost, that I'm still here! And still feeling well. And I know I've said it before, but it's true, and this time of year (as well as my health issues) makes it more relevant; I've truly been blessed throughout my life to have been surrounded by soooooooooo many good people! Family, friends, romantic interests, neighbors, co-workers, from all of my walks of life, they've all made, and continue to make, my life journey an enjoyable and fulfilling one. They fill me with humility and a tremendous sense of gratitude. I cannot thank them- including some of you here!- enough.

Over the years I've read, and occasionally still read, blogs, journals, articles, etc... by and about trans folks. One thing that has always saddened me, and at times has irked me as well, is the amount of anguish, self-pity, victimhood, just plain unhappiness expressed in so many items. The "why me" "woes is me" "no one understands or accepts me" "being trans is such a burden" mindsets. While almost all of my trans friends seem to be reasonably happy and secure in their lives and themselves, I don't minimize some of the more legitimate complaints. Violence is unacceptable; harassment and the like are also wrong. I understand that folks may find themselves with unaccepting family, spouses, etc... But at some point folks have to take ownership of themselves, their lives. Time spent wallowing in self-pity, in a the-whole-world-is-against-me/no one cares or understands me mindset is time that could be far more productively spent on efforts to change/improve one's circumstances. I've had stage IV colon cancer for the past 2 1/2 years, a far more onerous affliction than being transgender. I've been on hormone therapy for 4+ years now but due to my illness, SRS is out of the equation.While I hope that it's not the case, the more likely thing is that I won't be around this time next year. I suppose I could sit around and bemoan my fate, wallow and moan and whine about how unfair it is. But that won't change or improve things, make life more pleasant, tolerable, enjoyable, for myself or for those around me. Whether it is transgenderism, or any life challenge, it seems there are three potential courses to take: actively work to change/improve/create the situation, the life, one seeks; make accommodations with the challenge to allow it to fit into the framework of one's current life; wallow, whine, moan, throw in the towel and give it up. While there is much we cannot control in our lives, we can control how we choose to respond to life's challenges- whine, or win!
A few items of interest...
The 20 Things You Need To Let Go To Be Happy  Everyone has one common goal in life: to achieve true happiness. The biggest factor holding us back from achieving our dreams is, simply and sadly, our own selves. We put limitations on ourselves everyday, whether intentionally or unintentionally. There are so many ways we can alleviate these restraints. Remember, life can either be something you embrace or something you hide from. Stop making things complicated and just live your life. It would be so much simpler and more enjoyable if we learned to just release certain limitations.
How To Recognize “Big A**” Opportunities  Entrepreneurs have one thing in common: the ability to see and seize opportunities when others don't.
Male or Female? Why a Cell's Sex Matters
How Squinching Will Make You Look Good In Photos I seldom take a good picture :( 
11 Transgender Stars Weigh In on Trans Images in Entertainment  Some interesting- and refreshing- takes on the subject.
5 rules for a perfect first kiss  Just in time for mistletoe season!

Monday, November 11, 2013

No Whiners!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

The Velvet Underground & Nico - Sunday Morning

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I've said it countless times in the past but it's true- October is the absolutely most gorgeous month in New England! And this October has been especially beautiful, with great weather, some warm days, some cool days. Fall has always been the season that I've felt most alive, and this fall- so far!- hasn't disappointed! (And I'm not even talking about the Red Sox... yet ;) )

Speaking of alive I received pretty good news on my most recent CT scan, which I had earlier this week. Virtually unchanged from my last one in July; no progression, no spread to other organs, no new tumors on my liver, the existing tumors haven't increased in size. Good! My oncologist wants to continue on my current regimen for awhile longer, wring as much efficacy as we can out of it. Beyond that she thinks that we might want to consider chemoembolization; while I don't have liver cancer per se (I had/have colon cancer that spread to my liver) where my cancer, the tumors, etc... are confined to my liver she spoke with folks who do that procedure and they said that it may well be worth doing. It may be a lil painful, and would involve a 2-day in-patient stay followed by a week or so of some down time (for me) and then do it again in about a month but it does show some promise. Beyond that there is also a trial involving immunotherapy (a sort of hot area of research in cancer treatment currently) that looks like it may commence in February or March- apparently she thinks I'll still be around then! ;) 

This mid-month has been pretty busy for me, haven't had a lot of free time recently but that should be easing up this week, with more leeway to my schedule again- whew! I haven't been out too much recently but am looking forward to doing so as time once again permits, meeting up with some good, good people again! :)  Bust out the fall wardrobe, plus I've been picking up a few odds and ends...

It's been a very lackluster season for me against the spread so far, ugh. While ahead, I haven't done nearly as, um, well as I've done in seasons past. Hopefully the latter part of football season, combined with the start of the college basketball season, will prove more profitable... How 'bout those Red Sox?! I have one friend who is a Detroit-area native and Tigers fan- sorry, you! And a big win in game 1 of the World Series last night- go Sox! A disappointing loss by the Pats to the Jersey Jets last Sunday; yeah, I get that the pushing penalty has now become a point of emphasis amongst officials, but on a 50-something yard field goal in OT?! C'mon! Having said that the Pats do have several areas they still need to address to become more competitive as November, December, and the playoffs approach.

10 on shuffle...
Always The Sun, The Stranglers
Passion, Rod Stewart
True Believer, Aimee Mann
Runaway, The Corrs"
Soul Kitchen, The Doors
Heart And Soul, Huey Lewis and The News
Who Will Comfort Me, Melody Gardot
Driver's Seat, Sniff 'n The Tears
Tempted, Squeeze
Love Is A Rose, Linda Ronstadt

"I wanna go to an old hoedown/Long ago in a Western town/Pick me up cuz my feet are draggin'/Give me a lift and I'll hay your wagon...