Monthly Archives: May 2013

T Off

Cancer knows no holidays.  Even, somewhat ironically, Memorial Day.  So here we are doing the T thing, round 2 of twelve.

One of the good things about SCCA is that it is near REI.  So we went there first and got some stuff we needed.  Everyone else was there, too.

Then lunch at a funky place called The Lunchbox Experiment.  Essentially a burger joint with a bar, spiked milkshakes and experimental menu items that change every week.  This week’s theme was Arrested Development.

Loretta liked it so much she got it all over her sweater.  She’s so delicate.


Now she’s getting the drugs.

We are hopeful that the T will be easier.  Everyone says it should be and the last round seemed to bear that out.

Fingers crossed.

The night before

Ahhh, the night before chemo.  The creeping anxiety of knowing what is to come the next day.  The love /hate relationship with the drugs (and radiation when the time comes) that make me feel bad but will ultimately keep me healthy.  I call them “insurance.”   My take on this whole cancer thing is that I am cancer free.  It was all removed during surgery.  The chemo and radiation are just “insurance” to a long and healthy life.   So while there is the creeping anxiety, there is also the certainty of that long and healthy life that comes with each chemo and radiation treatment.

Two for T

Yesterday* Loretta started the “T” phase of her chemotherapy program.  This one is Taxol (“T” in the AC T program**).  The really interesting thing is that taxol was first sourced from the bark of the Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia) which was first collected from trees in the Gifford Pinochot National Forest when Loretta was a little more than 1 year old.  She might have hiked past those very trees around Mt. Rainier and Mt Adams while training people to climb Mt Rainier.

Anyway, she gets to go to SCCA once a week for the next 11 weeks.  This is only the first day after her infusion so it is a little early to say for sure, but it looks like this one will be easier on her than the AC was.  Her oncologist thought that she had the maximum dose of AC that she could have tolerated without having dire (“catastrophic” was his word) affects.  The good news is that if the drugs work (and they do) then they did their job very well in Loretta.  Hopefully she will not have as difficult a time and will have a chance to heal a little.  The effects of taxol are cumulative, though, so it is likely to get harder as the treatment progresses.

So why “Two for T”?  The best part about this infusion was that Fiona got to go and support her mom.  That was good for both of them.  They look so peaceful, the two of them, with their phones and shoes on in bed:


*Sorry that this post is so late.  It was another long day and I just couldn’t do a post justice once we got home.

**It is really called paclitaxel but that just doesn’t sound as good as taxol.  And ACT is easier to say than ACP.  Try it.

AAB Spinathon continued…

I want to personally thank all who gave to the Arms Around Bainbridge Spin a Thon.   AAB goal was to raise $10,000 and they raised over $17,000!  I was able to ride for a bit (as you saw from earlier pictures) and meet several of the current AAB recipients.  There were over 40 raffle items given away and I was lucky enough to have won one; a bottle of wine and a gift certificate to Black Bird Bakery.  It felt good to be back on the bike.  I hope to start teaching again in June.

Today starts the new chemo regime.  Here’s hoping I keep my fingernails and feeling in my fingers and toes!  We will keep you updated as the day progresses.

As always, thank you all for the love and support you have shown me and my family these past few months.

AAB Spinathon

Loretta and Team Loretta are at the Arms Around Bainbridge Spinathon where they helped to raise more than $16k!  They were hoping to raise $10k.  You can learn more about AAB here.  Team Loretta has awesome T-shirts featuring this blog’s logo art.  We’re so proud.  And proud of being part of this very worthwhile event.

Here are some of the team members:


And Loretta on one of the new bikes for the first time:


The Lorettatron 5000

Introducing the Lorettatron 5000, the latest and greatest Loretta What-If engine ever conceived.

To see the Lorettatron 5000 go here:  There is also a link in the menu of this blog so you can get there whenever you feel like taking a spin in the Lorettatron 5000.

It contains a big file so it might take a while for it to open.  Be patient.  I hope you enjoy it.  I certainly enjoyed* making it.

There is a help link in the lower right corner if you need some pointers.  Click “Reconfigure” to get it started.

Let us know what you think.


*I busted out laughing several times while making this.  Maybe I’m just not very stable.

Loretta’s Last AC Cycle

Hello Fellow Loretta Fans!

Loretta had her last AC chemo infusion on Monday, 6 May.  The effects of the four rounds are cumulative so this latest cycle is the worst (assuming you discount the whole going to the hospital due to life-threatening neutropenia).  The last couple of days were the worst for her.  She doesn’t have any energy and tasks that used to be easy are draining.  The good news is that historically she starts to feel better starting on day 5 (today) and gets better each day after that.  And she is starting to feel better.

The good (great!) news is that she is done with the AC.  The not-so-good is that she still has a long road with the “T” rounds starting in a little more than a week.  We don’t know how she’ll fair with that set of drugs.  It’ll be faster cycles, too, since she will get an infusion every week.  Then it’s more surgery and radiation.  One day at a time…..

There are a couple of things that amaze me about this whole process:

  1. She is incredibly strong emotionally.  She has her moments when things seem a little too tough but those moments are few and far between and pass quickly.  I’ve known her for more than thirty three years and I’m still amazed at her ability to exude grace and dignity.
  2. Her web of friends and family are an incredible resource for her.  So many people – even people she has never personally met – are helping her through this.  She (we) are truly blessed to have such a wonderful group of people behind her.  I can feel comfortable going to Seattle every day knowing that you are all out there ready to help.

Her brother was here the last week (thanks Ed!) and our daughter is here starting tomorrow for two weeks.  And many of you are here at a moment’s notice.  We really couldn’t ask for more.

Thank you all.

As a little tribute to Loretta and to celebrate the end of the third phase of her treatment, I’ve been working on a little project which I will introduce in another post.  I hope you all like it.


Are we crazy?

Scott and I were just hanging out around between chemo sessions and thought “What more can we add to our lives.  Why, let’s buy a house, update it and move in at the end of July”.  So we did.  We bought a townhouse/condo in Harbor Square with the most amazing view of Mt Rainier, Eagle Harbor, and the Puget Sound.

It is an end unit with loads of beautiful light.  We love living at Harbor Square and were thrilled when this unit came on the market on Wednesday.  We made an offer on Thursday and signed the papers on Friday.  Are we a little bit crazy, probably.  But, we didn’t want to miss this opportunity to live in an ideal location with a fabulous view.