On drug, platelets UP= breakthrough

Friday marked a first: I was one week into my new cycle on the lower dose of the trial drug, and my blood test showed the platelets moving UP from 109 to 118! I’m thrilled. Typically my platelets plummet the moment I’m back in, so if I could actually have a steadier ride then perhaps I can stay on this drug uninterrupted which might allow for some serious healing. Even up week buys me time. Yay!!!!

I forgot my phone this weekend. It was sort of fabulous! My friend Ria took a few of us on a lovely getaway for 24 hours that felt like several days to a random but cozy resort Cordevalle south of San Jose. Nothing like unscheduled time with best girlfriends. The resort was nestled against the Santa Cruz mountains unusually green and lush from the winter rains. Majestic oaks dot the hillsides circled by red tailed Hawks. After a chatty pool afternoon Susie got me settled into bed and I fell into a deep deep sleep for 2 hours. I practically heard my body say thank you for that as I woke up to pitch black, and my highlight of the trip which was walking into the adjoining room to find a roaring fire, and everyone cuddled in bed and draped over chairs, easily moving from reading and Pinterest to warm conversation. I padded in and cuddled up to Sarah for the next hour. It was divine. Only with great effort did we pull it together for dinner. The food was a bit stuck in the 90s, overpriced and too heavy. Sarah broke a garlic consumption record and took down 3 heads of roasted garlic by herself. When we returned to the rooms we found 2 pack n plays…..yes for the 2 grown women who needed beds. Apparently cot didn’t translate well. I wish I could share those pictures, but I will spare my friends! I was very slow, but did manage to hike in Sunday while they hit the tennis court. It was very satisfying to breathe deeply and feel my legs working again. Not a soul on the trail, just loads of birds and a gentle breeze.

When I was little my parents said if I was bad they would send me to Milpitas. I apologize to any fine folks who hail from that town, but I always found that very funny. And at 43, without being too bad, I actually found myself in Milpitas as Ria took us on a cultural adventure for a Vietnamese lunch. Now in the end it was not better than the wonderful meals we experience in Clement Street in SF, but it was a cultural experience. A non descript strip mall a few blocks from the freeway holds Minh’s Garden filled with local Vietnamese families of all ages. The menu was daunting with hundreds of choices and we narrowed down to fresh spring rolls and a delicious Pho with basil, lines, mung beans and mint accompanying. Juicy orange wedges topped off the meal. People watching highlights included a man with a ponytail and hair net joined by a duly decked out glamorous woman, a man with a full Elvis do, elaborately decorated leather jacket and chunky shoes, and a lot of leopard. Riding in the captain’s seat of Ria’s minivan fully reclined with a footrest was also a cultural experience. It is important to note that Ria is one of my most glamorous friends when she chooses to be and so the minivan is quite unexpected but deeply loved by all!

I find I’m sleeping deeply and quite well. And a lot! I think that can only be good for the fight. One of the biggest challenges is continuing to find the balance between accepting what could be an unfairly early death which would rob me of seeing my babies grow up and believing that I can really live with this for 20+ years. The acceptance piece is so important for it helps diminish anxiety, and yet I don’t want to take away the strong belief and possibility that fantastic new meds will keep coming and keep me thriving. I will keep working on this balance. A dear friend introduced me today to two warriors.  One is a palliative care nurse who just beat ovarian cancer. One has lived with metastatic breast cancer for 20 years and like me had her recurrence at 5 yrs. No easy ride, but how encouraging. They have embraced east and west and work with the same fabulous UCSF team. I was so energized by them.

I finished Euphoria, a fast, interesting read of historical fiction about anthropologists (Margaret mead) at the turn of the centuries. Pretty wild lives on all sides. Excellent writing which pulled me in on a low grumpy day. That is one of the great attributes of books. They can pull you into a new world. I had woken up groggy and deeply sad last Sunday and needed to wallow a bit and work through the grief. Finally I was sick of myself and decided I needed to break that rhythm so I reached for the stack of novels Anne Wade had sent me. And they did their job. Within minutes I was sucked into Euphoria and let go of my funk. Last night I delved into A Man called Ove from the same stack. It is very funny, and Ove’s curmudgeonly tendencies make me laugh out loud.

I’m also newly obsessed with Ulta which is a treasure trove for makeup and skincare. I hadn’t had time for 20 years, but now it is rather fun to play with, and per my blog entry on aging we need to do the best we can with what we have. Ulta helps! I wanted to try Jessica Alba’s ( yes gentlemen the hits Jessica Alba who is now a self made billionaire) new organic makeup line Honest which is only available on Ulta for now. Christmas in HonestFebruary when that arrived, and the Ulta “free” gift was like a stocking full of goodies. I applaud what she’s done as there are so few affordable lines that are good for you.

the photo function is acting up so I will work on a separate gallery later. Love to all, and enjoy this leap year day! Xo

i made it to my favorite outlook!
Hello springtime in SF
Professor Penley

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