Donna in Hollywoodland

The blog from Los Angeles and Hollywood by Donna Grayson

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Birthday Party Culver City Hotel

Karie, who runs Film , had a birthday party tonight at The Culver City Hotel .

There were about 25 people who came to have dinner. As I sat at the table, I had ended up across from two men.
So I thought, well, this could be a fun evening now.
As the evening progressed, I figured out that the two guys were a couple.
So I spent my Saturday night at a Birthday Party, in a romatic hotel, talking to a nice Gay couple.
So much for my excitement for the evening.

I ordered a Chinese Chicken Salad for dinner, and sparkling mineral water. I really wanted to try one of the desserts, so I took a chance and ordered something I have never had before. White Chocolate Profiteroles.
It took them a while to make their way to me. And they contained Ice Cream, which I don't really eat - hey, I didn't like ice cream back when I used to eat alot of diary.
So the Profiteroles were just okay. And I kept forgetting what they were called. Someone would ask "What is that?"
And I couldn't remember the name. They should call them by something easier.
As I drove home, I kept tasting the Profiteroles. Too much Ice Cream, yuck.

Culver City Hotel
Culver City Hotel

Wacko Los Feliz

I had planned on a pretty relaxing day. All I did in the morning was run to The Library .
Then I came home and was typing away on the computer, trying to get my blog updated.

Some of my volunteer friends called me. They weren't that far from my house. They were in Los Feliz. And one friend had some pictures from the Award Night on a CD to give me.
So I hopped in the car, and drove over to Wacko on Hollywood Blvd, near Vermont Ave.

I kept getting lost, because my friends weren't sure of the address. They told me to just look for the Big Eyes on the building.

Wacko Los Feliz

I had mainly driven over there to pick up the CD. But thats when I realized I needed to buy a birthday present for the party I was going to tonight. I got the Birthday Girl, an old fashioned cigar box with a Victorian scene on it, and I filled it
with square candles and soaps.

There are so many items in that store, it was hard to stop shopping. I could have done some serious damage to my bank account.
Lots of fun stuff.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Weird Things at Ralphs

Once I was finished with my volunteer thing, I was very hungry. But I am very picky about what I will eat and I wanted to get a Meal. Not munchies. So by the time I left I was starving. Organic is out of the question right now due to my lack of planning, and the time of night. Wild Oats Market had already closed for the night. And stopping off at a Fast Food place, is now totally out of the question.
(There have been a couple of times I have stopped at El Pollo Loco because I had no other choice. But thats the absolute last choice as far as fast food goes.)

Since I didn't see any cafes open along Wilshire Blvd as I drove home, I figured I would have to run into a Supermarket.
I ended up at the Ralphs on La Brea near Beverly Blvd.
And that late at night, there was alot of stuff going on in the grocery store.

I picked up a sandwich, and I was in line waiting to pay.
The young couple behind me were having a conversation.
The girl was looking at tabloid magazines. "Oh, I have to get this, I have to see what Britney Spears baby looks like."
The guy replied "It looks like every other baby !"

I was just standing there thinking how right he was - when I heard a huge argument happening behind me.

Standing there, was a little skinny woman, holding about 10 cans of cat food.
She was yelling: "Just because you own a Bentley - it doesn't give you the right to block the fire lane !"

The object of her anger, was a tall, slim black man. In a turtleneck sweater that has some sparkly threads in it. His hair was closely cut in a hip style, and he was wearing earrings. He was obviously of Money.
He was buying liquor and beer.

He yelled back at her "Mind your own business, you lonely little Cat lady ! Go home to your Cats !"

She replied "What if there is a fire or emergency! Your car is in the fire lane ! You think you're special ? Who do you think you are ?"

The tall black man got out of his check-out line and walked toward her.
"Who do I think I am ? Yes, I am Special. I am a Child of the Most High God. And God is my Father and I am richly blessed. Yes, I am very special."

The woman in front of me rolled her eyes and made a comment about how she was special too.

I almost died of embarrassment. I hate it when Christians set such bad examples and claim that its okay with God that they do it.

I wanted to say "Well, I am glad Jesus didn't act like you - or the world would really be in trouble."

But I didn't want to get involved. It only two months since my surgery, and I didn't want to risk my health.

As I left the grocery store, I saw it. In the Fire Lane, right outside the door of the Ralphs Market, was a big, huge, fancy Bentley Auto.
What do those things cost ? Like 150,000 or thereabouts ?
Its so sad that someone can have so much material wealth, and so little disregard for his fellow human beings, public safety and the law.
Then mis-using God's name on top of it - thats the worse of it all.

Party volunteer

I have never volunteered over at The Aero Theatre in Santa Monica. Its the new, second location for the American Cinematheque in Santa Monica. Its a little far for me, since I live in Hollywood. Especially on a work night.

Tonight Donald Sutherland was speaking after a screening of his new movie, Pride and Prejudice.
And there was going to be a party and mixer before the movie.
So I decided to leave work early and drive out to Santa Monica.
I really like Donald Sutherland as an actor, so I wanted the chance to see him in person.

It was really fun volunteering there. The Aero has a homey, comfortable feel to it. Its very much the "Neighborhood Theatre" in Santa Monica. I think alot of the people who attend the screenings there, can walk right from their homes. So it struck me
as a very friendly place.

The munchies for the party were supplied by Wild Oats Market ,
which is right across the street.

Donald Sutherland came to the mixer. I saw the photographers taking alot of pictures of him. Here are some of the pics on Wire Image .

Since the event was sold out, I was very busy. I was with the Ticket Takers at the front door most of the night.
They asked me to pass out a flyer, with Donald Sutherlands's biography on it. It was kind of the Program for the evening.

The funniest thing that happened was some young girls came up. They said they were Mr. Sutherland's guests. The Ticket Takers all looked at eachother with questionable glances.
Then one of the girls said "He's our Grandfather."
We were like "Oh, sure, come on in."

It was a really fun evening.

And I managed to hold up okay, even tho it was my second day of radiation treatment. I had plenty of energy during the evening.
I didn't really feel that tired until the very end of the evening.

Second Radiation Treatment

I took a late lunch. I ate right before I left for the hospital. I had alittle fruit juice before I went in.
The technicians did the same thing to me as yesterday.
No wooziness. No problem.
I didn't feel anything this time. It was like I hadn't even had a radiation treatment.

When I told the technicians about the wooziness, they said something about the emotional upset of my first treatment causing hypoglycemia problems.
The emotional upset??? What about 180 Rads of Radiation aimed at one part of my body ? I think that would be enough cause for my pancreas to go wacko on me. My pancreas senses there is radiation, and it just went bizerk. Resulting in my wooziness.
Geesh, they just chalk it up to "emotional upset".

My doctor did see me. He ordered some blood tests. Just to make sure it wasn't Anemia, or my thyroid.
I felt good that he ordered that.
He mentioned that chemotherapy is sometimes done after radiation, tho usually its the other way around.
I said "No, chemotherapy is not an option."
Then I told him "Don't worry, after this is over, I am going to follow-up. Maybe I will go to City of Hope to see about getting into a clinical study. Or maybe I will see a holistic doctor."
My radiation doctor spoke up "No, don't see a holistic doctor. You'll only waste your money, and it won't work."
I just looked at him. I told him about all the people on the internet that I have found who are using holistic medicine for their breast cancer.
And I said "I wish medical doctors knew about alternative medicine, as well as traditional, then we could have the best of both worlds."
I was trying to plant a seed in his mind, so that he would be more open minded.

He started up about how chemotherapy drugs came from plants and trees. And how they had to synthesize them because they would ruin the forests if they had to use natural sources. So thats why they are synthesized versions of natural medications
from plants.
Ok... first..this is a waste of time, we aren't getting anywhere.
And second, just because its a plant, doesn't mean I should put it in my body.

After I was done with him, I ran over to see my Breast Surgeon. Everything is fine. She is happy I am having radiation.
And I don't have to see her for another two months.
Thank heavens, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Radiation Time

My first thought at waking up today was "I don't want to kill my breast tissue."
I thought it right as my eyes opened, and I lay there.
But I know I have to have the radiation to kill any cancer cells that might still be in my left breast.
Without the radiation, I stand a 50% chance of getting cancer in that breast again.
I call it "my deal with the Devil". I didn't want a mastectomy, I wanted to keep my breast - so that meant a lumpectomy with radiation.

And now that the radiation is starting, I was depressed. As I got ready for work this morning, I kept apologizing to my left breast. "I'm sorry I have to do this to you. I don't want to. But I have to."
Then ... I would get mad. It was my Breasts own fault - its the one who turned on Me, and gave me cancer in the first place - so it deserves to have radiation done to it.
I swear it was the weirdest psychological discussion I have ever had with myself.

At 2pm, I left the office to drive the Radiation Dept in Glendale. I listened to one of the meditation tapes on my way over.
I was so nervous. I asked alot of questions.
It is 90 rads, aimed at my left breast from the right angle. About 30 seconds.
And 90 rads aimed at my left breast from the left angle. About 40 seconds.
A total of 180 Rads, 5 days a week - about 5 and a half weeks - a total of 28 treatments.

I am probably raised a good 4 feet in the air, up on the table. There are about 2 or 3 technicians with me. And they always leave together to go into the other room to press the button to start the radiation therapy. I am sure this is for the hospitals own protection, but it made me feel good that they were double-checking eachother.

Its just the Xray machine being aimed at me. You don't feel anything.
But it was freaky. I tried to meditate while the little buzzer was buzzing for 30 seconds, then 40 seconds.
I wasn't very good at it. I panicked alittle.

Afterwards, I went into the bathroom so I could apply my Aloe Vera gel before I got dressed.
I felt alittle woozy. Kind of faint. It was weird.

The Social Worker wanted to talk to me. We went into a private room, so we could discuss my emotional outlook on things.
As I was talking to her, I would have little periods of feeling faint. I asked her about it.
She said, no people don't usually get tired on their first treatment.
I kept chugging my bottled water.

I figured fresh air would do me good. And I told the social worker that I needed to get back to work.
I was woozy.

I sat in the courtyard, eating a Pear. According to Chinese Medicine, pears help remove heat from your body. They are good to eat when having radiation.

Then half-way through the Pear - I felt better. Then I realized it.
I am hypoglycemic.
I ate lunch at 12:30.
I had my radiation, close to 3pm and I hadn't eaten after lunch.
I needed sugar. And the pear did the trick.
No more woozy feeling.

Then driving, I said "You know - all this holistic stuff I am doing. I need something to really fix things. I need Coffee Bean !"
There is a Coffee Bean on the first floor of the building where I work. And I never buy anything there. Its so expensive.
And some people buy something there every day. Thats alot of money.
well, guess what - If I am having radiation 5 days a week - then I can have Coffee Bean 5 days a week.
I don't care right now if Diary products are off my diet. The Radiation seems more of a mental and emotional thing for me right now. I deserve to be good to myself. And I am having a treat. Today it was a Decaf Latte and a Chocolate Twist.
Just what I needed... just what the doctor ordered. It really helped to calm me down.

The Heart of Christianity

I just started to read The Heart of Christianity by Marcus J. Borg.
Though I don't agree with everything the author says, he has some interesting insights.

"We come from God. When we are young, we remember.
But as we grow up and learn about this world, we forget about the One from whom we came, and in whom we live."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

And even More Doctor Crap

Dr. Grumpy - the oncologist whose office kept rescheduling me, called me while I was at work.
I told him I was at work, and could only talk briefly. Once he got started on the phone, I couldn't get him off. He was like a Used Car Salesman.
He said "You canceled and I was worried about you."
I said "I didn't cancel, you kept rescheduling. I got the blood test results from my Breast Surgeon."

Then what followed went from the Doctor saying he was very, very worried and acting all sad. To the doctor being mad and aggressive and telling me I was in "Grave, Grave Danger" if I didn't get the chemotherapy.
He insisted he never said that the chemotherapy could harm my one and only kidney.
I answered "Thats not what you said in your office."
He insisted "Yes, I did - I never said the chemo would cause your one kidney harm."
I insisted "Oh, yes you did. You said I could become so dehydrated I could risk renal failure."
I hate it when doctors lie.

We argued and He argued.
I said "You are not going to get anywhere with me. You need to respect my decision."
Then he would get Nice for a few minutes talking about respecting me. Then he would get all aggressive telling me that I was ruining my health.

I said "Even if I were going to ever get chemotherapy - you would never be my doctor."
Then I asked him, "Why didn't you call me and give me the results of my blood tests over the phone ? You had them sitting on your desk, and you kept rescheduling my appointment."
His response was "You didn't ask for the results over the phone."
I said "Thats unacceptable. You had the results, and you kept rescheduling me. You should have called me with the test results."

I finally got him off the phone by saying point blank: "I want you to leave me alone."

Then I had to apologize to the co-workers in my office who had to over-hear the entire conversation.

Doctor Crap

The Radiology Dept. called me to come in today.
I was all emotionally ready to start the Radiation treatments.
Now they need more X-rays.
Something about xrays to confirm that their alignment of the radition beam is okay.

I was all prepared. I had my bag with my Aloe Vera gel, and my pear to eat. I had almonds this morning. I didn't take my vitamins, just like I was told. And I had an inspirational book with me. I was Ready.

The technician greats me "We aren't starting your radiaion today. We need more Xrays."

How many more Xrays do these people need ? I'm gonna start glowing in the dark.

So that was it. Drive to Glendale. Get more Xrays. Drive back to work in Hollywood.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Breast Cancer Health Links

It dawned on me, that I have not taken the time to post my links to some of the websites I have found regarding Breast Cancer and Health. Most of them are related to Alternative Medicine for Breast Cancer.
I see the doctors so often - I like that I can look on the internet, and get some other ideas.

Breast Cancer Choices the Amazon-L mailing list for alternative breast health
Swallows Complementary Therapies mailing list for complementary breast health
Breast Cancer - Traditional Chinese Medicine
Healing Cancer Naturally
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Dr. Andrew Weil
Cancer Tutor
Wellness Community in West Los Angeles
Alternative Breast Cancer Yahoo Group
Alternative Medicine Yahoo Group
Alternative Answers Yahoo Group
Breast Cancer Yahoo Group

Monday, October 24, 2005

Waiting for Radiation

Ok, I told the radiation doctors that once my yearly Award Ceremony Volunteer commitment was done, then I was ready to start my 5 weeks of radiation treatments.
So I am waiting... and waiting ..
and listening to self help tapes and reading religious books. I am trying to get into a good head-space for the Radiation treatments. I want to be calm and not stressed out.

I have been listening to tapes:

Meditation for Optimum Health: How to Use Mindfulness and Breathing to Heal Your Body and Refresh Your Mind

Self-Healing With Guided Imagery: How to Use the Power of Your Mind to Heal Your Body

Prescriptions for Living : Inspirational Lessons for a Joyful, Loving Life

One of the changes I am trying to make - I want to learn to meditate. It always seems that living in wacky Hollywood, I want to be out and about where all the fun stuff is happening. But I really want to learn to sit still, and relax.

And Meditation seems harder than Prayer for me. With prayer, I can rattle on and on about what I need and what I want God to do. But learning to just sit, and meditate, and listen for God's voice or an inner voice - ugh, thats hard. My mind keeps bringing up all the things on my schedule to do. This is something I need to work on. Its a big learning process for me.

On one of the Andrew Weil CDs, they talked about Meditation being something like watching a movie.
Hey - now, thats something I can relate to.
It is having that deep concentration like when you watch a movie.
You forget about the people around you. You forget you are in a movie theatre, and you forget there are seats and an aisle.
And you are transported into only what is happening on the screen.
That is like a solid meditation.
To be that Focused.
I wonder if I will ever get there.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Notes from Hollywood Presbyterian Church

Hollywood Presbyterian , the 11 am service:

Let the peace of Christ rule ... Let the word of Christ richly dwell in you.
The Peace of Christ rules over your mind and your Health.

The Devil wants to discourage and divide.

Colossians 1:19 - Peace of God, Relationships restored on God's terms

Having received Peace - we need to give it away.

Forgive as the Lord Forgave you. This is the way to Peace. Don't withhold forgiveness. Don't let it build up in your heart.
Ask Christ to bring peace.

"Forgiveness is the currency of God's kingdom" - quote from
John Wimber


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