Susan Neder

Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page


In "Ass over Tea Kettle" or How I became a Russian Gymnast! on January 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm

My first week home was fairly eventful, despite the orders from the doctors that I had to stay home and not go out in public because of my depressed immune system and their regulation of my blood readings.  The only place I could go was the hospital for the required blood work, to which I remarked that a hospital seemed like the worst place to go with a depressed immune system but they quickly corrected me. The more dangerous place to be with a less than stellar immune system is the grocery store!

It kind of makes sense when you think about it – where do people go first when they are getting sick? Yep. Just a quick trip to get chicken soup or Theraflu; little germ broadcasters, standing in the cough medicine aisle, coughing…. and who do they all see before they leave? The checkers – I never realized it, but grocery checkers probably deserve hazard pay in the winter, especially in a small town with one or two grocery stores!

Anyway, I had plenty to do at home, putting away stuff that had been dragged to Denver over the past several months. It was all piled on the dining room table for my convenience!  The doctors, and thus, many of my relatives, told me I was supposed to go home and rest and “do nothing”. Have you ever tried to ” do nothing”? Really? Unless you are an experienced Buddhist monk, it isn’t that easy, especially in a messy house. My mind tracked every new ache and pain and I even decided my hair wasn’t growing. After an hour or so of this, I worried that I might be becoming psychotic. That is another problem with being an “overthinker” like me; you analyze your own mental health and lean toward the worst case scenario so you won’t  be accused of “being in denial”.  I finally caved in and started putting things away and cleaning slowly, while verbally justifying my actions loudly to the dog and cats, who, I suspect, couldn’t care less.

The whole situation came to a head on Saturday afternoon. I was extremely miserable ( I should mention that the doctors warned me that the radiation side effects would worsen over the next couple of weeks after treatment had stopped but I hadn’t really grasped that until it happened.) and I was attempting to sit in a comfortable chair without putting any weight on my backside, a task I would challenge a Russian gymnast to attempt  successfully, with the dog and the cats lined up staring at me. Note to self – do NOT kneel backwards in a rocking recliner. A slight miscalculation in the principle of weight distribution can cause disastrous results! The dogs and cats, by the way, rather than being “Lassie” type animals who came to my rescue to see if I was okay, instead ran to the far reaches of the house and hid until they deemed it safe to reappear. At this moment, as I lay there looking at the bookcases that flank the chair, I realized that I had a lot of “inspirational” books, all of which I hated at that moment. I fantasized about bringing the wheelbarrow in and loading it with all the inspirational and positive thinking books and taking them outside and having a bonfire! I did realize that I was, perhaps, being a little snarky, so an attitude adjustment was necessary. I told myself that side effects were much less awful than the thing they were killing, and I decided that my strategy  would be to watch funny DVDs this next week and practice patience. I’ll let you know how that works out for me………


Time to Celebrate

In WAHOO! on January 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm

This past week has had several events to celebrate! The first was my birthday. I have not been a big fan of my birthday in recent years, even though I know having them is better than not having them, but this year I was really happy and grateful to have a birthday. Alessi (my 4 year old granddaughter) and I danced to “Staying Alive” at Joe’s Crabshack and I really identified with that song this year!

Another wonderful event was “HighTea” at the Brown Palace Hotel with Will and Libby. If you have never been to the Brown Palace in Denver, it is worth the trip – Will and Libby might even go with you! These were great fun, even though the side effects from radiation have been really awful – they have been narrowing the radiation area I guess, as we approach the end, but ouch! I’m not even sure emu oil could help this!

Anyway, the best event of all is a cease-fire in the “battle of the Netherlands”! Radiation is over and I get to come home! I won’t really know if this is a permanent cease-fire until mid March, but I am living in the moment these days and I am really happy to get some  of those “moments” in Pagosa. I have been told that the effects of radiation will continue for the next three weeks, but I have promised to lay low, take it easy, and behave – a small sacrifice under the circumstances. Ya-Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Emus and Other Natural Remedies

In Chemo/Radiation, Karma / Oprah / & 4-H Animals on January 17, 2011 at 8:55 am

The entire subject of natural remedies and aids to healing can really be a tangled forest of information to find your way through, as I have discovered. For example, one of my cousins, who is very knowledgeable about natural remedies, sent me an email saying that someone she knew had recommended using emu oil on the “nether regions”. EMU OIL? Where in the world do you get emu oil? The zoo, perhaps?

Another cousin of mine who is into this stuff wrote in and said that emu oil could be purchased at health food stores, or one could get their own emu and “render” it at home. I guess you could order one over the internet and have it delivered to the hotel…..First of all, though, I had to be sure what an emu actually was, other than a “crossword puzzle” animal. Sadly, animals like emus and okapis are often relegated to “3 down” or “4 across”. If they are in a zoo somewhere they are “filler animals”. Those are the animals you have to walk by to see the exciting animals – the lions and tigers and gorillas and such.  They never put all the good animals together because if they did, then they’d have half a zoo full of lonely cross-eyed antelopes and animals that look like failed genetic experiments pressed desperately up against the fences looking for human contact or escape.

Anyway, thanks to the internet, it was not too hard to determine, although one of my older cousins who is here keeping me company swore it had hooves and fur and spit and guarded cattle ( she is from Texas and a lot of things in Texas fit that description). I did think briefly about getting an emu and tying it to the bushes in back of the hotel courtyard and having it voluntarily drip oil into small blue bottles from under its wing or somewhere. Then I saw a vision of Mike Neder’s face when he heard about my emu, and I quickly discarded that idea. I also was afraid that “rendering” might mean something more drastic and I have ENOUGH barnyard karma as it is! A couple of my nieces have emailed me some sources for the oil which sounds much easier, so I think I will get some – I am fascinated by emu oil now – I just hope it comes in a bottle that says “no emus were injured in the collection of this oil”.


In You want to put that WHERE? on January 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm

New Year’s day I woke up with what I thought was a stiff neck (Dr. Mom strikes again!)

I busily ignored it, until the afternoon, when Cindy informed me that my neck was swollen on the side. I managed to get away with ignoring that, also, until the evening, when Cindy said that it was now swollen and red, to which I breezily replied “why don’t we see what it looks like tomorrow and then if we have to, we can call the doctor then”. Cindy’s response was to cross her arms over her chest and stare at me like an angry owl until I weakly added “well, it is a holiday and hate to bother him…..” no response from Cindy – not even a blink – “but I guess we could call if you really think we should…..”.

She was already dialing the phone number. Of course, he said I had to go the the ER ( I was starting to pout) because it could be a blood clot. A BLOOD CLOT? IN MY NECK? YIKES! Those things are even scarier than cancer, so I almost knocked everyone down in my rush to get to the car – the ER is not where you usually want to spend New Years UNLESS a blood clot is involved, in which case it seems like the PERFECT place to be, all of a sudden!

When we arrived this very nice woman did an ultrasound on my neck and as I lay there I could not help thinking about that movie, “My big Fat Greek Wedding” where that crazy old lady told a group of people that doctors had found the skeletal remains of her twin in her neck. I really did not want to laugh, because laughing when waiting to see if you have a blood clot seemed inappropriate, but I could tell Cindy was having the same thought because she did ask the woman if she could tell if it was a boy or a girl – thank goodness the woman had a sense of humor!  Anyway, they found a clot and put me on blood thinners and let me go home, but not before they casually informed me that I would be giving myself shots in my stomach everyday for a while. WHAT? ME? STOMACH? ARE THEY KIDDING? Nope. Not kidding. Me, a huge baby about shots even at my age, had to learn to do this. The shot does not hurt, by the way, just stings a little, once I got past the paralysis of actually sticking myself – one more hurdle gotten over.

What will they think of next?

Divine Hats, Darling!

In Power of Love on January 4, 2011 at 9:34 pm

When I got home from the hospital the other day I had a box waiting for me from “Happy Trails”. The girls from “Happy Trails” sent me the most spectacular hat for Christmas! It is black with green feathers, and is DIVINE! Thank you so much! You are all brilliant buyers, which is why your store is so fabulous!



Winter Wonderland:

In In the "Clink" on January 1, 2011 at 7:39 pm

You know, the oncology floor in the hospital is not always the happiest floor in the hospital. Having said that, we did manage to leave them laughing the other day. It seems that stuff just happens to us a lot – not stuff we intend – just things that occur by accident. The best thing that happened to us in my short stay was that my daughter, Emily, accidentally dropped a large jar of cornstarch in the bathroom.

When it hit the floor, it exploded upward, coating the walls, floor and every surface. It was breathtakingly awful and after it happened, we just stood there and stared at each other in horror. If you are a “clean nut”, which both Emily and I are, it was beyond shocking! It was kind of like blowing up an egg in the microwave. I don’t know if any of you have ever done that, but my mother did it once and it was so awful she just wanted to throw the microwave away! Anyway, we did not know what to do. We were still standing there, slack-jawed, when one of the nurses walked in.

She was also stunned at first; cornstarch is the consistency of baby powder and it sticks to everything.Then she started laughing, which set us off, also. She said it looked like a winter wonderland and said it was great of us to bring the snow with us as a decoration. She told all the other nurses, who also loved it, and kept trailing in to look at it like it was a holiday light display. I was afraid the cleaning crew would quit on the spot when they saw it, but the nurses assured us that they had cleaned up much worse so not to worry. You just never know when or where you will find the Christmas spirit popping up!