Friday, November 30, 2007

November Ends, Awareness Doesn't

Today is the last day of Pancreatic Awareness Month. But, I hope that awareness about this lethal disease doesn't continue to sit on the back burner.

  • By this time next year approximately 33,000 Americans will be diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. Depending on the extent of the tumor at the time of diagnosis, the prognosis is generally regarded as poor, with few victims still alive five years after diagnosis, and complete remission still extremely rare.
  • Early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is difficult because the symptoms are so non-specific and varied. Common symptoms include: pain in the upper abdomen that typically radiates to the back and is relieved by leaning forward, loss of appetite, significant weight loss and painless jaundice. All of these symptoms can have multiple other causes. Therefore, pancreatic cancer is often not diagnosed until it is advanced.
  • Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include: age, male gender, African ethnicity, smoking, diets high in meat, obesity, history of diabetes or chronic pancreatitis, family history, gingivitis & periodontal disease.
  • Treatment of pancreatic cancer depends on the stage of the cancer.
  • Prognosis. Patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer typically have a poor prognosis partly because the cancer usually causes no symptoms early on, leading to metastatic disease at time of diagnosis. Median survival from diagnosis is around 3 to 6 months; 5-year survival is much less than 5%. With 32,180 new diagnoses in the United States every year, and 31,800 deaths, mortality approaches 99%, giving pancreatic cancer the highest fatality rate of all cancers and the fourth highest cancer killer in the United States among both men and women. (Souce:

How YOU can help raise awareness:

Click HERE . Folks this is a scary & dangerous disease. NO ONE is safe... the youngest diagnosed victim was AGE 7. My mom, diagnosed at age 57, had NONE of the risk factors mentioned above. I ENCOURAGE everyone reading this blog to encourage your congressmen & women to support cancer funding ESPECIALLY pancreatic research funding to help diagnosis early. It's so easy... here's how.

Even CELEBRITIES aren't immune. Here are some famous people who have suffered from pancreatic cancer.

  • Jack Benny (1894-1974) - famous comedian & radio, television and film actor
  • Lillian Gordon Carer (1898-1983)- mother of President Jimmy Carter
  • Joan Crawford (1905-1977)- Academy Award winning actress and named one of the Greatest Female Actresses of All Time by the American Film Institute
  • Fred Gwynne (1926-1993)- actor who played Herman Munster from The Munsters
  • Fiorello LaGuardia (1882-1947)- three term Mayor of New York City and namsake of LaGuardia Airport
  • Michael Landon (1936-1991)- actor best know as Charles Ingalls from Little House on the Prarie & Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza
  • Henry Mancini (1924-1994)- Academy Award winning composer, conductor & arranger. Most famous for The Pink Panther
  • Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007)- famous Italian tenor opera singer... more recently known in modern music as one of The Three Tenors
  • Donna Reed (1921-1986)- famous actress & star of The Donna Reed Show. This time of year we'll see her as Mary Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pizza Face

I have a problem. This is not a problem I faced as a child/teenager. It wasn't until I hit college that my face started to resemble the delicious pizza pie to the left. Adult acne. Uhhhh... simply typing the words sends shivers up my spine. The college years were frustrating enough to drive me use Accutane... which worked. Then I got prego with Baby #1. Wha-Bam!!! My face broke out like crazy... it was awful... it was painful... it was disgusting. Pregnancy with Baby #2 brought along another onslaught of cystic zits... ouch! Pregnancy #3 was kinder to my skin... even though I was so morning sick & sleepy I wanted to blow my brains out.... even gave The Money Maker permission to do the dirty deed for me. No... he let me lay there & suffer. In the more recent years, I've began to suffer again. I tried creams, washes, masques, prescriptions, over-the-counter meds., pricey department store cremes & scrubs, antibiotics, organic tablets under the tongue, "the pill." Actually the pill worked once for about 8 months. I thought I would marry the pharmaceutical company that manufactured that pill... but broke of the engagement when my acne returned. Since then nothing has worked. I resigned myself to trying Accutane again. I've seen the doctors... taken the pregnancy tests (it's highly dangerous to a fetus) and gotten the prescription. But I just don't know if I want to put that in my body again. I really don't need aching joints... plus, I had a dermatologist tell me once that Accutane is like a cure... either it works or it doesn't... if it "works" you should never have to do it again. So, I'm trying ANOTHER new "regimen." I researched the Internet & "adult acne" and came up with this. It's a kinder, gentler approach to face care. I've been scrubbing the fire out of my face and this "regimen" really stresses being "gentle" on your skin. I've also been researching dermatologists in my area that specialize in adult acne. I would use cow dooky on my face if they said it would work. Thank goodness I'm not single & trying to date with this face. At least all I have to put up with is my six-year-old saying "Mama... why don't you just cut those zits off?" Oh baby... if it were only that easy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Looking for Activity
It's the last week of November. Saturday is December. Where is the new batch of babies? Where are the rumors about the new batch of babies? It's all quiet on the adoption front. No news. How far will they get? I'm hoping they'll at least do another 10 days. We'll see.....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving's Over

Well, the kiddos are back in school... my mom's house is quiet... the guest bed sheets are in the wash... turkey soup is on the stove... the holiday is officially over. How was yours? Did you survive? As a kid holidays are awesome. No school... fun at grandma's house... lots of desserts... holiday survival meant escaping unspanked. Adulthood holidays are a bit more complicated.

  1. They're work. Cleaning, cooking, hosting, driving, organizing... it's an endless cycle day & night until the holiday is officially over.
  2. You have to be nice. I'm not a very "sweet" person. My sister is. My mom is. I get annoyed easily and especially during the holidays when we're forced to spend time with people that normally we would avoid. I know you have that person in your family too. Uncle Festus... Cousin Cathy... Grandpa George... each family has that person ( perhaps persons) that drive us crazy and make us want to jab our eyes out with the turkey wishbone.
  3. The kids are tired. Getting up for school this morning was no easy feat for my kiddos... they've gone balls to the wall for the past 9 days... and did NOT want to hear the buzz of the alarm this a.m... especially #3 who declared drowsily "I WISH SCHOOL WAS NEVER INVENTED!" This was after begging me last night to change school plans mid-year and asked to be home schooled. Sorry buddy... get your butt on the bus!

But holidays are a fact-of-life and one that, despite the effort, I enjoy and look forward to. Baby #2 asked this morning how many days until Christmas Eve... "4 weeks exactly, so that's 28 days," I replied. It felt like an ETERNITY to her, where I braced myself on the inside for the whirlwind that the next 4 weeks will be... it'll fly by and leave us only to survive another holiday, hopefully with grace.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Did you get up before dawn yesterday to fight crowds & lines & angry customers? I have never been one of "those people" and I love to shop more than anybody. My sister-in-law/good friend Jenni use to be one of "those people," but then she wised up and now stays tucked warm in bed on Friday morning like me. Heck, I didn't get up until 10:00 yesterday morning. Thanksgiving is exhausting. All that cooking & salivating & eating & digesting at my mom's for lunch. Then we drive to Todd's sister's house and do it all again for supper. A double dose! So I sacrifice the zillions of bargains advertised... the ones I could start shopping for at 4:00 a.m. They'd have to give me some toys for FREE for me to get up at 3:00 to be somewhere in line by 4:00... in the dark... in the cold... tired, fat & full.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Everyday Should be Thanksgiving
I could go on & on about how much we as Americans have to be thankful for... but I gotta get in the shower & get ready to go to my mom's & help prepare for dinner at 1:00. My speech about how blessed we are would be directed mainly at myself... for I tend to take for granted what really matters. I hope you'll enjoy your day today... no matter where you are and what you're doing. I also hope that tomorrow & the next day & next month... you'll celebrate all the good things in your life. Today I'm going to be MOST thankful for my Mother. Diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer on March 6th, she has defied the statistics and continues to fight and survive this devastating disease. God continues to sustain her life... blessing us with her presence. The majority of us walk around each day cancer-free not thinking for a moment what a gift it is to go about our daily business without the complications, pain, fear, hassle, confusion and weight of a terminal illness. Those with cancer aren't spared the other hurdles life throws at us... family issues, financial problems, political unrest, natural disasters, uncertainty, business & over-scheduling... they do all we do but with a compromised immune system and weakened body.
O.K... enough... I have GOT to get in the shower. Ya'll have a great day. I'm off to eat myself into a gluttonous stooper... it's gonna be great! May we ALL (especially myself) give thanks today & every day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm Gonna be Sick
I know it's coming. I'm prepared. I'll admit it willingly. Tomorrow is going to be The Best food day of the entire year. Christmas Eve comes in a close second, but it's Thanksgiving that wins the prize in my book. Each year, I indulge myself so much that I'm sick. I'm in pain. I'm bloated & sore. I'm a gluttonous wreck. But ohhh it's so fun going down! Here's what I'm looking forward to the most:
  1. Forget the turkey... there's too many delicious sides to waste precious stomach space on turkey.
  2. Dressing. Those in the south don't eat "stuffing"... we eat dressing. It comes in many shapes & varieties, but my Mama Ree's is the best. Here's a tip... if you can cut your stuffing with a knife and put it on the plate like a block of cornbread... it's all wrong!
  3. Sweet Potato Souffle. Mama Ree wins the prize again. Tip #2... yams are NOT sweet potatoes. You gotta buy, bake & prepare REAL sweet potatoes. Mama Ree doesn't use marshmallows either... it's a heavenly combination of pecans, brown sugar, flour & butter... it's perfection on a plate.
  4. Squash Casserole. Three for three... it's Mama Ree! It's so good... so very, very good.
  5. Pumpkin Pie. You gotta eat pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving... you just gotta. I like pecan pie & chocolate pie just as much as the next big girl... but on this day nothing else will do. Oh, and throw a big dollop of my Mother's homemade whipped cream on mine!

There will be other delicious sides... green beans, grape salad, Irish potato casserole, deviled eggs... and it will taste so good I'll never want it to end. It warms up good too, but there's so many gosh darned people in our family now that leftovers are a thing of the past. So I'll have to push past grandmas & small children, barge to the front of the line & pile high the first time. And remind myself to savor each delectable bite... tuning out my children yelling from the other room "what are these green things?," "I don't like onions!," "what's THIS?," "does Grammy have chicken nuggets?" Silly children... they really don't know what's good. I hope wherever you will be tomorrow you will enjoy your meal as much as I will enjoy mine. And think of me, will you, when the day is done... I'll be lying on the couch... nauseated... scolding myself for not having more self-control and swearing to do better next year... which I won't!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What I Share with TomKat

Is is money? No.
Is it fame? No.
Is it belief in a kooky, false "religion?" Heck, no.
Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, The Money Maker & I all share the same anniversary: November 18th. We picked it first & they tagged along 11 years later. This past weekend TMM & I spent Saturday doing some early Christmas (Ho Ho Ho) shopping in Atlanta & ate dinner out at the swanky restaurant Bones in Buckhead. But you know what... I'm a loser. I am such a domesticated old timey mom that by 8:30 p.m. I'm craving comfy PJs, the TV remote & an early bedtime. Our reservations weren't until 9:00 and TMM was about to divorce me ON our anniversary 'cause I kept yawning. But gosh the food was divine. The bar made a good Mojito (my new fave drink) and we had good wine with our steak. But I will say, and it's NOT just because TMM owns it... 'Lil River Grill's creme brulee beats the socks off Bones's... any day of the week!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Did you know....

that you can get strep throat AFTER you've had your tonsils out? Baby #2 had her tonsils out YEARS ago. She got off the bus yesterday complaining of a sore throat... had low grade fever and took a nap (first alarming sign that something is terribly wrong with one of my children is when they voluntarily take a nap.) Sure enough, a trip to the Doctor this morning revealed that non-tonsil throat is stricken with the painful bug. She's also the child I got pregnant with while nursing a 5 month old. She continues to do, not the impossible but, the unprobable!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ahead of the Game
I cannot believe I am actually ahead of schedule for the holidays. I ordered my Christmas cards today from Shutterfly. This is a boring post. I'm having a blah week. I need something funny to get my juices pumping... ah ha... The Office comes on tonight... that may do the trick. Anyway, Christmas is coming and one of my MOST favorite things about Christmastime is getting cards in the mail. I stalk the mailman... waiting like a jungle panther to pounce on the box once he's driven away... and devour the cards inside. I just love seeing kids growing up, new babies, wedding photos and to read news from old friends. So if you're my friend get those Christmas cards ordered, those newsletters typed up, envelopes stuffed, addressed, licked, stamped and ready to hit the post office after Thanksgiving. It's a Christmas high I'm jonesing for!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's still


Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

What is the Pancreas?
The pancreas
is a glandular organ that secretes digestive enzymes (internal secretions) and hormones (external secretions). In humans, the pancreas is a yellowish organ about 7 inches (17.8 cm) long and 1.5 inches. (3.8 cm) wide. The pancreas lies beneath the stomach and is connected to the small intestine at the duodenum. The pancreas contains enzyme producing cells that secrete two hormones. The two hormones are insulin and glucagon. Insulin and glucagon are secreted directly into the bloodstream, and together, they regulate the level of glucose in the blood. Insulin lowers the blood sugar level and increases the amount of glycogen (stored carbohydrate) in the liver. Glucagon slowly increases the blood sugar level if it falls too low. If the insulin secreting cells do not work properly, diabetes occurs.
What else does the Pancreas Do?
The pancreas produces the body's most important enzymes. The enzymes are designed to digest foods and break down starches. The pancreas also helps neutralize chyme and helps break down proteins
, fats and starch. Chyme is a thick semifluid mass of partly digested food that is passed from the stomach to the duodenum. If the pancreas is not working properly to neutralize chyme and break down proteins, fats and starch, starvation may occur.
(From The University of Iowa Department of Pediatrics... breaking it down on a kid level for non-biologists like me!)
My pancreas does two seperate jobs. The first job is to make insulin. Insulin keeps my blood sugar from going too high. The second job done by my pancreas is to make chemicals that help me digest my food. These chemicals are called enzymes and are very important! Without enzymes from the pancreas, I would probably have terrible diarrhea and maybe even starve to death.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Movie Review Monday:

Fred Claus

My girls and I found ourselves alone AGAIN this weekend and so we treated ourselves to a movie: Fred Claus. I generally like Christmas movies... Home Alone (1 & 2,) The Christmas Story (my FAVORITE,) The Santa Claus... these movies are usually light & funny & enjoyable for all. What first attracted me to Fred Claus was Vince Vaughn... tall, funny & oh so very attractive... he's a triple threat! He plays Nicholas's (a.k.a Santa) older and rebellious brother Fred. This is no contender for an Academy Award but it was as predicted... light, funny & enjoyable for all. The music was good... the set was well done... and it has some big movie players: Kevin Spacey, Kathy Bates, Rachel Weisz, Paul Giamatti who present a great holiday season option when taking the family to the movies.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Big Squeeze
I got my first mammogram today. I'll be 35 next month and I needed a "baseline" since there is an extensive history of cancer, and particularly breast cancer, that runs in my family. I made an appointment with my friend and personal mammographer, Katy, and with little time to flip through the office's Guidepost magazine she called me right back.

Here's cute Katy. She is so nice I decided to write a poem about her & how good she is to me.

Katy, oh Katy, you're as good as gold,
I hope we are friends until we're very old.
You are kind and sweet, faithful and true,
EVERYBODY needs a friend like you!

Here is an osteoporosis poster that was hanging in the room. Look what I noticed at the bottom right hand corner of the poster. I zoomed in to give you a closer look.

Ha! Lilly's name.

And finally, here I am next to the squeeze machine. For those of you who have heard bad things about mammograms... it was NO BIG DEAL... didn't hurt at all. I promise. Katy kept saying "Are you O.K.?" And I told her the squeeze was nothing compared to a 75 pound 6-year-old wrestling with you and nailing you square in the boob with his elbow. Take a couple of those shots and a 5 second sqeeze is cake! Katy then generously was brave enough to push my file to the top of the radiologist's stack and was able to tell be before I left, I was A-OK. Come back in 3 years. Hope to see you MUCH before then Katy!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Doctor is In
No, I didn't go to medical school so I'm not a real doctor... I'm a Camera Doctor. After doing some initial surgical procedures to my Canon Powershot A410 last night and getting no where, I came up to my handy-dandy computer and Googled "Canon PowerShot Troubleshooting." It is totally amazing the information you can find via Google... amazing... I'm addicted. Anyway, sure enough (good ol' Google never lets me down) the exact problem I was having popped up in the first link. I had al ready tried all the first things they suggested so it was time to dig deeper. It called for Open Camera Surgery. Out came the tiny screws. Off came the front. Off came the back. There my poor little, sand infested camera lay naked and cold on my office desk. I had all the tools necessary for the procedure... a bar-b-que basting brush (clean & dry, of course,) a blush brush (quickly cleaning on a towel) and my big mouth ready to huff & puff & bloooooooowwww and the sand away. And about the sand. One of my kiddos got that camera... I just know it. It wasn't accidently dropped in the sand. It didn't just take a tumble in a sandy beach bag. There was enough sand in that camera to build a castle with. O.K... not really, but it was NOT my fault... I smelled kiddo all over the scene! So carefully following my Internet directions I operated on my camera. That does it! Camera goes back together. Nope. Try again. I operate some more. Camera goes back together. Nope. I read my instructions again, I blow harder and brush quicker... even use a fingernail or two. Finally, third time I put it back together. Batteries in. Push on. It didn't sound pretty but the old baby worked. Wa-lah! And I'm camera ready again. I gave myself a Camera Doctor degree right on the spot... thanked Google University and put poor little Canon Powershot to bed to recover for the night.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Hot off the

RQ Press:

New Analysis

The Rumor Queen has posted her new analysis chart this morning based upon November's referral numbers. Here's what we're looking at. We're not going to know anything this year... that's a definite. But the good news is that even with a "Horrid Case" senario, we should get a referral by March and travel before summer. That means before the Olympics and that gives me great relief! As always, we have learned that the CCAA is totally unpredictable and anything could happen blowing this chart and RQ's neat, well-calculated numbers to smitherines!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Love the babies!

Click HERE to check out the new crop of adorable babies!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Officially December 8th

The CCAA updated it's site last night, confirming that the cut-off for November is December 8, 2005. I was hoping for more... but I'll certainly take over a week worth of referrals... that's more progress than we've seen in a while. Let's hope they do the same or more in December. I'm hoping... are you hoping??? Good.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Did you know???
Pancreatic Cancer has the highest mortality rate of all cancers, and remains the 4th leading cause of cancer related death among men and women in the United States and the third leading cause of cancer death among 40-59 year old men.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Phone Calls are Beginning!
We've heard rumors all week about the possibility of November's referrals being in the mail, but when I still didn't see any news late this afternoon I figured it would be Monday before we would see "THE CALLS" being made. But, I was wrong. Shocker! So far I've seen a December 5th & a December 7th family post their referral information. One got a boy... one got a girl. I suspect though, that the majority of calls will be made Monday and it also won't be until next week that we get an "official" cut-off date from the CCAA. The rumor is that this month's cut-off will be December 8, 2005. Though I was hoping for more... I'm giddy that we're now T minus 30 days!
A Trip to the Post Office turns Ugly

Yesterday I needed stamps. I thought I had some in my pocketbook, but after finding everything in there, including the kitchen sink, EXCEPT the stamps, I deemed it necessary to drive across town to the Post Office for stamps. Plus, I wanted a preview of this year's Christmas stamp collections for my mass card mailing next month. I find a parking space easily... I pick out a pretty stamp... I check out the Christmas stamps already on display... and I get in line to pay. The line is a few people deep... I'm not in a hurry... things are good. Until..... This couple walks in. He is morbidly obese, still wearing what appears to be his pajamas and walking with a cane... though he was not old. His noticeably greasy hair needed to be cut LAST November and he was unshaven. She was dressed in clothing... not as fat... and not as greasy. Things turned ugly when their SMELL followed them into the post office and parked itself behind me in line. Oh my gosh. It should be against the law to walk out of your house in a state where your body produces that kind of odor on a crisp, fairly cool, November morning. I wanted to gag. "Uhhh... that's foul," I think to myself. I inch closer to the lady in front of me.
(Oh, time out... a lady bug is crawling across my window... where is my Lilly right now?)
The man leans against the counter, spreading his self out releasing more disgusting smell into the fall air. Oh sick... remind self not to touch counter. They're talking back-n-forth... completely oblivious to how their personal hygiene is effecting their fellow postal patrons. Finally, it's my turn. I pay quickly. I even use cash and nearly holler "keep the change!" but I used a $20.00 so I didn't. I get my change and rush out the automatic doors simultaneously breathing in two lungs full of fresh, unpolluted air. I am free. I am alive. And then I'm disgusted. There is no reason for a human to smell that way. I had a male friend once who was prone to B.O.... perhaps it was genetic. He always looked nice, he always had clean hair & clothes. I guess something in his biology made him need showers more frequently than the average human. But it was more than genetics that plagued this couple. It was laziness. It was no self-pride. It was a total lack of dignity. I soaped up good this morning... still haunted by the memory of their smell. I then returned a Hannah Montana wig to Claire's and used the money to go next store & buy some perfume at Bath & Body Works.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

November is
Did you know???
Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S., yet it receives the least amount of federal research funds among the leading cancers, and little public attention.
You'll be hearing more from me throughout the month about Pancreatic Cancer and how you can help those fighting this disease.
My November Resolution

The Money Maker and I use to have big fights over a certain member of his family. I won't mention names or relation to TMM, but it was a source of constant battling. Several years ago, at Christmastime, we had a huge blow-up over this family member. I decided at that time that I would resolve not to say anything bad about this person for the entire next year... it being so close to New Year's and all. Well I kept my resolution. It's the only one I've ever kept. I was so proud of myself... it still makes me want to pat myself on the back for being such a good girl. Being November 1st, I'm going to make a November Resolution. NO REFINED SUGAR for the rest of the year. Now, I'd like to make it longer, but I want to make my resolution attainable. I'm also going to put in a couple exclusions in the contract with myself:

  • I can have my International Delights Hazelnut creamer in my daily 2 cups of coffee
  • I can have pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving Day... with my mama's homemade whipped cream on top
  • I can have a piece of my nephew Cohen's 1st birthday cake
  • I can have a piece of my mama's Red Velvet Cake on Christmas
  • I can have a piece of my own birthday cake at the end of December

I know... 5 exclusions may seem like I'm a big 'ole cheater... but if you knew how much refined sugar I am currently consuming each day it would sicken you. It sickens me. This is going to be a challenge with the 3 orange plastic pumpkins sitting full down stairs. Last night I munched on plenty... yummm those chewy sweet tarts are my favorite... oh, and Brach's candy corn... ahhh. We'll see how well I do. I'll let you know if I cheat... I promise. And if I make keep my resolution... well, I don't know... I'll have to ponder how to congratulate myself and then think of how long to extend it. Perhaps by then I'll have enough self-control not to inhale any cookie, cake, pie, milkshake, candy bar, ice cream sundae, Little Debbie, dessert menu... that walks by.