Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hexalen®, day 1, 4th month


the fourth month supply of my cancer-killing meds

This photograph is the before

...Before I started swallowing them

two at a time, four times a day

During the next two weeks we will...

Go on walks
'hang around'
seek adventure
and take my medicine

I'm looking forward to your companionship

Bye for now

Okay, Where is the water?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

14 Days off: #13 & 14

Today ends my 14 days of no medication!

I have enjoyed this month because
I seem to be coping with the side effects better
than the two earlier months of Hexalen®
chemeotherapy capsules

Tomorrow is day #1 of 14 days of taking my medication

It is hard to believe but it is true
I have 112 capsules,
each costing about $10,
that are designed to keep the cancer in my abdominal
under control

Thursday, February 25, 2010

14 Days off: #11 & 12

Introducing Michelle NiƱa J.,

I think I was younger than 10 and was getting ready to perform in our elementary school Christmas program.

For the people who have known me some time, they will agree I love to dance

p.s. In three more days I will begin my fourth month of my Hexalen® chemotherapy capsules, aka, 'my ChemoCaps.' Fatigue will slow me down as well as an increase of sore body parts...but for today, I'm dancing ! ! ! ! !! !! ! ! ! ! ! !

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

14 Days off: #10

My great grandfather, Joseph Hugh Jeannette
1871 - 1928
Company C
U.S. Volunteer Infantry
Spanish American War

My genealogy research resulted in finding this ...three miles from where I live!

As a child all I knew was: "Joe Jeannette was born in Ireland and he was father of my grandfather, Stanley."

During the past few years, with the help of Susan, sister of my sister-in-law, I also learned about his Irish born family, his military experiences with Canadian and U.S. governments, his marriage, his son's life and early death from T.B., and Joseph's final years just 15 miles from where I'm living.

Why put all this time into learning about my ancestors? It feels good and I feel like I'm filling in the childhood family history voids. I also feel this is a gift I'm giving to my siblings and our younger generations.

P.S. The staff and volunteers at the Los Angeles Regional Family History Center behind The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has also been a valuable source of inspiration, guidance, and resources.

The photograph was taken at The Los Angeles National Cemetery

Monday, February 22, 2010

14 Days off: #9

Searching family history, (aka, genealogy) is like going back to school for a master's degree (research, research)!

Here I am as a child, living the happy life.

It was probably 1946, I had one older brother and a baby brother. Three other siblings had not yet been born.

World War II had ended when I was about one year old with the dropping of the atomic bombs in Japan, August 1945.

When my older brother was born in February 1942, black fabric covered the windows in the Los Angeles area Queen of Angels Hospital, but that was not the case in 1946 when my baby brother was born. The U.S. was not at war in 1946. Why the black fabric? So enemy planes could not see the buildings.

In 1945 President Harry Truman was in his first year in office, after the sudden death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. I'm not sure we had a T.V. at this time.

And now back to the black and white photograph. The wooden bird pin on my blouse was carved by one of the men in the Los Angeles County Rehabilitation Workshop my father managed. The photograph was taken and processed by my father who was also a professional photographer.

Have you considered writing your family history?

p.s. Next week I will resume taking my chemotherapy capsules, aka, ChemoCaps, as scheduled.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

14 Days off: #7 and 8

Before cancers #2 and #3 were diagnosed in 2008
I was passionately involved in genealogy

Discovering the lives of previously unknown relatives
learning about when and where they lived

Searching for marriage, birth, and death details
and uncovering reasons for divorce

Digging out 80-year old photographs and
planning trips to ancestors' home towns

All of this was 'put on the back burner'
until recently

I'm feeling good and hopeful that I can start planning
those trips to the plains of Kansas
the cemeteries in Denver, El Paso, and Vaughn
the libraries in Salt Lake and Lawrence


the most thrilling adventure of all
meet the cousins I never knew existed

photo: this writer as a child

Friday, February 19, 2010

14 Days off: #6

Another image from our walk

Can't write very much because 'I'm on hold'


I go through the 'hoops' to get scheduled

for an MRI

Oh my Oh my...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

14 Days off: #5

Me 'n my meds

have found some pretty interesting spaces to be

We have stopped to smell the roses

Looked at the ocean blue

Sat next to a design or two

and now

Spend this moment with you

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

14 Days off: #4

For readers who are digging out of inches of snow

there really are places that don't have it

Notice the Santa Monica Pier,

the waves breaking on the sand (top left)


of course,

my empty bottle of Hexalen chemotherapy meds

(my third month)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

14 Days off: #3

Yesterday I went to my local Apple Store for a three-hour workshop called Personal Projects.

I took my flash drive with my genealogy projects, such as individual timelines, one page profiles, and calendar of relatives birth and death dates.

The Apple trainer provided assistance as needed and it was really great because there were only four of us, each working on our own projects. I have had four of these Personal Project sessions and the trainers are helping me set up and use the particular Apple programs that best suits my needs.

Now that I'm "off meds," that is, I'm on my 14-days of no ChemoCaps, life has a different twist--I'm NOT monitoring my waking hours in relation to the next dose of Hexalen capsules. Swallowing 112 chemotherapy capsules within 14-days must be done in a thoughtful and organized manner.

I'M FREE, for 11 more days!

Monday, February 15, 2010

14 Days off: #2


Presidents' Day Holiday


beautiful weather

brought out the




my empty ChemoCaps container

Sunday, February 14, 2010

14 Days off: #1

We were

'checking out each other'

during my walk on the

Santa Monica Pier

Notice the drops of water

on this resting pelican bird

If you drove west on Route 66

this is where your journey would end

I'm doing well

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hexalen®, day 14, 3rd month

Today I finished taking my

112 ChemoCaps*

-14 days of 8 capsules per day-

Tomorrow will be the first of 14 days

-no oral chemotherapy-

Who knows,

maybe I'll feel like I'm

cancer free...

at least for two weeks

* my term for oral chemotherapy capsules

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hexalen®, day 13, 3rd month

Every afternoon I take a nap in my hammock

I systematically relax areas of my body

I exhale tightness




gold healing energy

throughout my body

Part three of three
hand painted paper to be used in a collage
mixed media
February 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hexalen®, days 11 & 12, 3rd month

The Chinese Year Year


Valentine's Day



Celebrate Life

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hexalen®, day 10, 3rd month

Thanks for stopping by








Monday, February 8, 2010

Hexalen®, day 9, 3rd month

Gold has been the healing energy for me during the past two years

as I relaxed and napped in my hammock

on a daily basis, sometimes two or three times a day

Tomorrow in art therapy I will be asked to use the

three hand-painted sheets of paper

to create a collage

bye for now

Part of three of three
hand painted paper to be used in a collage
mixed media
February 2010

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hexalen®, day 8, 3rd month

Today no rain, just a bright winter sun

Billowy clouds

followed by sunset, beautiful as always

One more week of medication before I begin

the 14 days of no drugs

Just say "Yes!" to drugs!

Part of two of three
hand painted paper to be used in a collage
mixed media
February 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hexalen®, day 7, 3rd month

We have had rain and now the bright winter sun is shining

Billowy white and gray clouds

dot the afternoon sky

Time to take dose three of ChemoCaps,

bye for now

Part of one of three
hand painted paper to be used in a collage
mixed media
February 2010

Hexalen®, day 6, 3rd month

Sculpture by

Gilda Schwartz


Two Hexalen® capsules
taken four times a day

Sculpture, 2 of 4
about 1998
approx 7 x 7 inches

Ms. Schwartz's art was previously
featured on December 16, 18, 2009

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hexalen®, day 4, 3rd month

Another beautiful view of my

daily medicine-

My ChemoCaps!

p.s., Today, after Writers Workshop, seven of us decided to go out for dinner. We had such a good time, kinda like a dinner party, and realized we want to do this on a regular basis.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hexalen®, day 3, 3rd month

Say, "Hello ChemoCaps"

"Hello, and I'm glad you are visiting our blog. Michelle is creating these daily postings so you will have a better understanding of what she is doing these days.

Yesterday she visited the oncologist who is treating her for the peritoneal carcinoma.* He again identified the return of the redness in her hands and feet as Hand and Foot Syndrome. The other side effect that was discussed was the return of increased fatigue.

Blood was drawn, as usual, and it seemed pretty normal, considering the chemotherapy medicine that is going through her body.

Oh, what about the CT scan, you ask? It will probably be done in March or April.

Thanks for stopping by, and come again.

*Did you know she has two oncologist? The other one is the sarcoma specialist who is monitoring that area on her thigh where the sarcoma tumor was removed. This is also the doctor to ordered the physical therapy to improve the strength in her leg--the hamstring muscles were damaged by radiation to the upper leg.