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I've been sick with a wretched cough for nearly 2 weeks.  I have eaten so much soup and want to remember them for the next time the germs catch up with me.  These are from restaurants that deliver via Doordash, GrubHub or Foodler, or available by sweet-talking Hubby into picking up for me.  

Greek Corner - Avegolemono chicken lemon rice soup
India Palace - spicy chicken soup
Au Bon Pain - chicken noodle soup
Pandan Leaf - Thai chicken coconut milk soup
Asian House - Thai rice chowder
Mary Chung's - suan la chow show - spicy pork wontons soup with bean sprouts
Panera - French onion soup
Flour - beef chili (do not buy this again) 
Genki Ya - Miso soup 
Dumpling House - chicken corn soup 

Just Crust in Harvard Square has soups but I didn't make it there this time. 

Other soothing concoctions: 
The Neighborhood - The Cream of Wheat is soupy and comforting
Mary Chung's Yu Shiang Eggplant with shredded chicken has a spicy sauce that feels great on a sore throat and opens the sinuses

Here's to better health in the days ahead! 

-B



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I hope the last day of 2011 is going well for you and you are ready for a brand new year tomorrow!  It hardly seems like winter - no snow and temps above freezing continue to make us wonder if winter as we know it will ever arrive.  How was your holiday?  
 
I've been on vacation since Dec. 21 so I hardly know what day of the week it is, but the internet seems determined to remind me that the year is ending!  I can't wrap my head around much of a '"year in review" exercise except to say "I am healthy!  Hooray!"  I had my first post-treatment mammogram last week, and it is NORMAL!  Such a relief.  I would like to avoid doctors and hospitals in 2012!  

I've done "not much" on my vacation.  We did some shopping to prep for Christmas (I hate shopping!) but cut way back on presents per family agreement.  We had a quiet Christmas with my family at my sister's house, making it a fun day for my niece.  
 
We saw childhood friends visiting on their way home to PA from a family visit in Maine.  
 
Neil and I did take a wonderful day trip to the beaches on the South Shore.  They are beautiful in winter, with gorgeous waves and no crowds!  We had a delicious dinner at the Mill Wharf in Scituate harbor with one of the best risottos I've ever tasted - shrimp, scallion and cheese! 
 
Neil is on new medication that has made him much more functional and pleasant lately.  Hooray!  He's been working on audio projects and helped me around the condo this week!  
 
My mom is doing well, been out visiting people from her church who need some cheer.  

I am looking forward to working on Theatre@First's "Pride and Prejudice" being performed in March, and having a normal life in ways I didn't in 2010.  
 
I found someone else to make a good wish, author Neil Gaiman:
 
"..I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind."
 
Happy New Year!
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Here are four new photos of my hair, six months after I finished chemo.  There were two big changes in the past month that I noticed about 10 days ago, and people started commenting on this week: I can part it and it finally covers my ears!  The pics are a little fuzzy, but you can get see what's going on.  


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 I decided I'd rather be in Philadelphia this weekend!  Heh.

Tuesday afternoon, one of my grad student workers asked for Friday off so he and his wife could road trip to Philly.  I joked, "Sure!  If you take me with you..."  And he replied seriously, "Sure, come on along!"   I said,"Really?   Wouldn't that be weird?"  He said, "No!  It'll be fun!"  My best pal from college lives there, I've been wanting to see her, and dying to get out of town after being stuck here for a year, and here was a very cheap way to go!  The stars aligned to make this trip possible - they were going, I didn't have anything scheduled, my friend was home and found me a very elegant (and cheap) B&B 3 blocks from her house, and I had already arranged to have Friday off from work.. so away I went!

ROAD TRIP! 
We took off about 12:30 pm, rolled along to the big rest stop on the Garden State in Montvale, NJ by 4 pm, then cruised through downtown Philly about 7:30 pm.  The Occupy Philly folks were camped out near City Hall!  Beautiful fall day for a road trip!  I sat in the back.  Such a luxury not to have to drive or fly!  

B&B
I checked in at La Reserve, a lovely old row house.  
www.lareservebandb.com/
This area feels like Beacon Hill.  The front door has this freaky lock the likes of which I've never seen.  You press your palm to a pad, and numbers show up.  You punch in a 4 digit code they sent with the reservation, and that opens the door.  Freaky.  I'm in the Liberty Room on the third floor, a HUGE room with a fireplace, Queen bed, three windows, a queen-sized bed and free wi-fi!  

SUPPER
I met up with my friend for a late supper at Marathon on the Square, a little bistro near Rittenhouse Square.  
eatmarathon.com/19th-and-spruce-menu/
The hostess didn't want to seat us at a table for four, even though it was 9:35 pm and they close at 10 pm.  We stood in the doorway and finally a waiter told us to sit in a booth!  He was incredibly nice and kept a close eye on us.  I enjoyed the half caesar salad, the meatloaf dinner (with spinach and mashed potatoes) and then a decadent warm banana bread pudding.  Delicious!  We had a great conversation!  Nothing like catching up with a pal...

Today is one year since I was diagnosed with cancer.  I am alive and thriving! 



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Here are a couple photos of my hair at the "five months since chemo" stage. Read more... )
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After my first excursion to a restaurant with my short hair two months ago, I wrote about being ignored by five waiters.  I had a slightly different experience last night, so in all fairness I thought I'd better write about that.  

I was out for dinner N. and a theater friend at a pub in a suburb.  We had a very chatty 20-something athletic young man as our waiter.  He talked to each of us, but was more attentive to the guys and I thought "same old, same old."  When it came time to pay the check, we were splitting it between two credit cards, so I wrote on the check how to do that.  When he saw the two cards, he asked "Split it evenly?" and I replied, "No... I wrote it out for you on the check."  He looked in the folder and said, "Awww... I was hoping for your phone number!"  and strolled away.  

The guys hooted and friend said, "Double that guy's tip!"  I sat there dumbfounded at the idea that he had just flirted with me!  No one ever flirts with me!  I'm sure it was just one of the waiter's patented lines to butter up the lady customers, but damn... it was definitely better than being ignored!  

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It's the simple things that bring such joy!  I slept in this morning.  For the first time in 6 months I didn't have to set my alarm for 7 am and wake up to give myself an injection!  I am now DONE with all treatments.  It is incredible how free I feel today!!

 
 
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Three weeks out from my last treatment, yesterday I finished running my 12th teaching conference at Harvard, the busiest days of my work year. And I marveled that my brain and body were up to doing it, in some ways better than other years. I didn't think about my health all day. My skin is finally healed and I'm more than ready to stop thinking about treatments and doctors and all that.

I debuted my new "salt & pepper" gray hair at work Monday and at a fundraiser for the Pan Mass Challenge to support cancer research on Tuesday night and am getting used to the confused then complimentary stares from people as they reconcile themselves to my new look.

As I finish this long road, I am remembering what a blessing it has been to get a weekly treat from my "chemo calendar" box! They have had such power to make to me smile or laugh and escape for awhile. I know I've made it through these ten months with flying colors due to the energy and support flowing my way from so many wonderful people. Thank you doesn't begin to convey my appreciation for all this, but I mean it from the bottom of my heart. I have told everyone I meet about this incredible series of gifts and it has reflected amazing light on our theater company!

Here's a list of the amazing treats I've gotten recently:

Origami flowers, frog, bird
Chinese fan
Kitchen towel and hot mitt with hearts
Kilban cats calendar cut ups
"Laugh" rock
Paris mon amour notepad
IOU for chocolate brownie cookies
hyrotrochoid art set
glass pig
Itti Bitty book of kitties
kaleidoscope
xmas ornament bird
shiny purple scarf
$20 Finale gift card

What an artistic, talented and whimsical crowd there is around me! I am astonished at how many of them are so perfect for me. For those of you who offered services or meals, I'll be in touch and look forward to taking advantage of them soon!

I have also received support in the form of hugs and emails and facebook or Google+ comments and cat videos! All these let me know I am part of an amazing community! Huge thanks to you for each moment you have sent good vibes in my direction!!!
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Please join me for supper Tuesday night, Aug. 22 at Flatbread's in Davis Square
http://flatbreadcompany.com/2007Home.htm

See my new "salt & pepper" hair! Help raise money to fight cancer!

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=212855268762848

This is a joint benefit for four people who rode in the Pan Mass Challenge. For the whole day, $1.75 from every small pizza and $3.50 from every large pizza will be donated to their rides. There will also be raffle items and a couple of bowling lanes that you can use for a donation. Come by during the day or after work. Dine in OR take out, it all benefits the PMC - supporting the Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. We hope you are able to make it!

To learn more, please see: http://www.pmc.org/

You can also donate at http://www.pmc.org/profile/WF0026

Please support Theatre@First denizen Wendy Fields, who rode in my honor!

Done!

Aug. 4th, 2011 12:49 pm
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I finished radiation treatments this morning!

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xkcd is at it again.



First I giggled. Then I was sad that he knows someone pretty well that has breast cancer, but happy for her that he does. Then I was amazed that he makes the crap they do to you sound cool! Thanks, Randall!

New shoes

Jul. 21st, 2011 03:08 pm
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I bought new shoes today!

http://www.zappos.com/dansko-professional-black-tooled

These are the first shoes I've bought in three years. I am just not into shoes.

There's a nifty General Store at Mass General Hospital. They were having a big sale today on Dansko clogs, which changed the price from unaffordable to ridiculously expensive but worth it. And I figure I deserve a treat.

I haven't had clogs since high school, but all the nurses and my theater peeps swear by them for comfort and durability. I've been needing something I can slip on and off. And they have a lifetime warranty. If anything goes wrong with them, take them in and they give you a new pair!

I put them on and walked all the way to the Red Line and then to work. Whee!
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Does it make sense to report when there is nothing to report? I suppose it is good to say I feel fine.
I continue to marvel at how lucky I have been, blessed to be able to carry on with most of my life.

Finished with the 4th week of radiation, 19 zaps done, 11 to go. Two more weeks. Tired of going to MGH every day, but pressing on. N. has been such a trooper, getting up without complaint to drive me over there! No side effects except for a slightly tan breast. Definitely falls into the "so what?!" category. Having a lovely time talking with other patients and their drivers in the waiting room. Even handed out theater business cards! Starting to think about what I will do with "the rest of my life" after treatment.

The past two weeks have been quiet. Not much going on at work. Had a good 4th. Tried lots of new restaurants. Had quality time with mom and niece and theater friends.

I've had a great time exploring Google + and loving it. Please join me over there - let me know if you need an invite.

Have a great weekend!
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The daily grind of radiation treatment process is wearing on me, so I am taking a few moments to remember what a blessing it is to get a weekly treat from my "chemo calendar" box! They have such power to make to me smile or laugh and escape for awhile.

Only 2.5 weeks until I am done with treatment! I will probably have side effects after that, but at least the doctors won't be making me worse every day. I know I've made it this far mainly due to the energy and support flowing my way from so many wonderful people. Thank you doesn't begin to convey my appreciation for all this, but I mean it from the bottom of my heart.

Here's a list of the amazing treats I've gotten recently:

Hairless LOLCat
Duckie keyring and panda card
Barnes & Noble gift card
Quilt post card and balloon helicopter
A Shelley Macaskill original painting of a kitty cat
Lucky paper crane
Snappy sushi gift card
3 mix music CDs
CD of music to inspire positive thinking
XKCD cartoon about the power of science in the healing process
Sparkling kitty notecards
Homemade cookies and soup/casserole coupon
A Rachel Mello original framed artwork
1 hr Major Massage coupon
"Colonel's Brandon's Diary" book

What an artistic, talented and whimsical crowd there is around me! I am astonished at how many of them are so perfect for me.

I have also received support in the form of hugs and emails and facebook or Google+ comments and cat videos! All these let me know I am part of an amazing community! Huge thanks to you for each moment you have sent good vibes in my direction!!!
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Greetings from sunny Cambridge! I don't have to work again until Tuesday, so I am feeling mighty fine. Our weather has been gorgeous this week - mid 70's, not humid, clear and breezy. Yay!

It's been a good week for me. Still no ill effects from the daily radiation other than being aggravated at having to get up early and schlepp over there every morning! The valet parking dudes are super nice, even though I am not using their services. I actually spoke with two other patients yesterday. That is a first through the entire process. I see the same people every morning, and often we are fidgeting while they are late coming to get us, so it makes it easier to chat. It's minor chitchat but makes it feel more personable. "Gym Teacher Gal" (who could be a banker for all I know, but she shows up in slinky sweats and works on her iPad) spoke to me about them running late and how could they get so far behind by 8:15 am? Then "Mr. nice guy (with the Brain Tumor?) in a wheelchair" and his wife spoke to me about how much the schedule varies. I ran into someone from work on the sidewalk while dressed in my hospital garb, but she didn't make a big deal out of it.

After all the excitement on Monday, the rest of this week has been pretty quiet. I don't have any work to do, as everyone is away. One afternoon it was me and my student receptionist, out of 15 people! I did try to get ahead on various projects, and wrote emails to my student workers who are away for the summer, and heard back from D.C., Milwaukee, Ohio and Uganda! It's so fun to get email from Africa. :)

Our house cleaners were in, so I have a clean place to start off the long weekend. Maybe it will inspire me to do more de-cluttering.

I saw the Somerville fireworks from my balcony last night - a great way to start the holiday! Hope you have a fabulous weekend celebrating Canada Day or Independence Day or whatever suits your fancy!
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I'm finished with treatment #5 of 30. Only 25 to go!

I haven't had any ill effects yet.

Here's a spiffy photo of the machine they use to zap me with lasers. I finally got the techs to tell me what things are called. The machine is a linear accelerator. Sounds sciencey, huh? The techs call it "linac" for short. The thing that swings around me is called a gantry and the round bit is a collinator. It was invented at Stanford in 1957.



This is what I see when it's over my face:



Contrary to these photos, I don't see any green lines/lasers and my machine is light blue.
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To promote healing while I'm in radiation treatment, they want me to eat a lot of protein, like 80g or more a day. So I am looking around for foods that are high in protein but not too high in fat. Have any favorites foods, snacks or meals that pack 20g or more of protein?
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It's dreary in Cambridge. In typical New England weather fashion, it was bright and sunny when I got up, raining for a while, and now it's gray. Please let it go back to sunshine soon! It has been mostly cool 60's, which I appreciate and is good for not sweating in the theater.

My health

I felt great this week! My brain worked much better. As it improved, I realize how bad it's been and how clueless I was about it. Sorry if you've been affected by my lack of brain! I can see the edges now - they are getting closer to normal but not there yet. It's like pizza dough that shrinks in from the side of the pan. You have to push it back out to the edges, but not tear it. And then push some more.

I had several triumphs at work - I asked the right question in a meeting that got everyone talking and giving each other good ideas, found a creative way to track registrations for summer seminars to relieve the senior staff of that burden, and stepped in to help my boss finish two huge projects when a co-worker called in sick two days in a row. I even helped calm a senior staffer prepping for gall bladder surgery.

Next Monday I start daily radiation treatment. They'll zap me with lasers every weekday for six weeks to fry any stray cancer cells. I tried to balance figuring out the logistics with "not thinking about it - la la la." The radiation oncology staff range from not very helpful to aggravating, so that is freaking me out a bit. But I am trying to maintain my upbeat demeanor. Maybe I will glow! Or come out with a super power!

Theater

I spent five nights at the theater this week! I love the theater.

Four nights I was unexpectedly enthralled by "Equus." I sent a lot of theater emails - thanking or reminding house volunteers, and answering inquiries coming in from the web site such as how to get tickets, how long is the show, how can I get involved, or the more complicated "Can I bring my teenager to this show?"

I watched auditions for the next "Bare Bones" staged reading, "Two for The Seesaw." It was a privilege to see so many talented actors, each with a different take on the characters, any of whom could fill the roles.

The monthly steering committee meeting sailed along well, and I was elected President again.

Dining

The highlight of the week was discovering the yummy brunch at the Olde Magoun Saloon on Medford Street in Somerville.
http://www.magounssaloon.com/menu.aspx
They open at 10 am. The street parking is easy, or you can pop into the CVS lot. No line - it was empty! They make their own Bloody Mary Mix that is fiercely spicy and delicious. The bartender has a beautiful Irish accent and waits tables. The prices are low - everything under $10! I had the Irish breakfast. N. enjoyed a huge ham & cheese and egg sandwich - brought half of it home.

We picked up Lemon Thai to eat at the back of the theater on Sunday night. I adore their chicken coconut soup and satay!

On the flip side, I got to try Posto in Davis Square for the first time. They have done an amazing update of the space. But otherwise I was not impressed. We popped in at 5:15 pm for appetizers on Monday night. The service was haphazard, when it was empty. The food unspectacular. The prices are high. I will be glad to try again if others suggest it, but won't hurry back of my own volition.

We ate at home Tuesday night - another yummy chicken caesar salad.

Thursday I had lunch at Border Cafe in Harvard Square - free chips and salsa, a delicious cup of chicken and sausage gumbo followed by the crawfish etouffee appetizer. Yum. Cheap, fast and good.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!
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Greetings from sunny, cool Cambridge! After a broiling day close to 100 yesterday, we're back in the 60's now. Much better!

I'm at the end of my third week since they stopped poisoning me, and I didn't think about my health this week! Yay! I was busy having fun begging people to usher for "Equus" and filled every slot! Whee! Work was a little nutso the first part of the week but calmed down enough that I did not feel bad about taking Thursday and Friday off.

Last Friday we had a great dinner with my sister E. and her family at Sichuan Garden in Woburn. It is delicious Chinese food for great prices, and we had one of their little dining rooms all to ourselves. The waiter disappeared about 2/3rds of the way through the meal, but the manager picked up the slack, so could get food packed up, pay and get out of there.

Saturday I had a nice visit with my mom, read her the email accumulated over the past month and watched baseball on TV. She fed me a marvelous soup and sandwich lunch. My older sister A. and G. took me out for seafood at dinner time to Court House Seafood. So fresh and delicious!

Sunday I adventured out to S. Acton Congregational Church with a co-worker and his son to hear his wife and friend of mine preach. There was a good spirit in that place. They treated me to brunch at the Arlington Diner and I gave in to the call of the eggs benedict. Yum.

N. volunteered to run sound for "Equus" when they had a last minute snafu, so he was scrambling to learn the show and transfer everything to his software. Monday and Tuesday we raced through McDonald's before he dashed to dress rehearsals.

Wednesday I had another lovely seafood dinner with A. and G. at Court House.

I got blogged about! Check out the "Why We Ride" posted by the amazing and talented Wendy, a friend who I somehow inspired to bike 190 miles to raise money for cancer research.

http://ridingforthecure.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/why-we-ride-beckie-hunter/

Thursday the "Hunter ladies" gathered to bury my dad's ashes in the beautiful Mount Auburn Cemetery. It is such a peaceful place. Dad made a hobby of looking at cemeteries in his waning years, and this is by far the best possible place he could be. We had a delicious lunch in a quiet corner of The Aegean in Watertown. I do love Greek food! I had the avegolemono soup, bite of the lamb ribs, taramosalata dip on pita and then a delicate seafood casserole with shrimp, scallops and lobster!

Now it's off to opening night for "Equus!" I can't wait to see the results of all the planning and hard work! See more at http://theatreatfirst.org

Have a great weekend! Join me at the show!
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I ate dinner at home again tonight! And it was NOT take-out or delivery from a restaurant! This is unprecedented.

Tonight I had two items:

1) Marie Callender's Creamy Chicken & Portobello Risotto $3.73
(white meat chicken, rice, mushrooms, creamy chardonnay sauce)
320 calories, 19g protein, 39g carbs, 10g fat, 2g fiber, 1g sugars
4.5 minutes in the microwave

2) Green Giant Sweet Peas and Onions $1.99
180 calories, 9g protein, 33g carbs, 0g fat, 9g fiber, 9g sugars
5 minutes in the microwave

Total cost $5.72
Calories 500

I mixed them together, and sprinkled on some parmesan cheese. It was still a little bland, but tasted alright.

So I ate less, ate better, saved money and wasn't out in some restaurant during a tornado warning. I feel so virtuous!

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