Saturday, July 7, 2018

It has been a while, so grab and coffee or a drink.....

So, when I left you, I was driving the SECOND rental car of the SECOND accident that WAS NOT MY FAULT, ending the school year, and trying to get in all my cyber knife appointments in BEFORE my bucket list trip to the Baltic's.  So, here is what happened.  I hung up on GEICO twice.  LOL.  They were the other insured and started tell me a week after I had gotten everything taken care with my insurance company, "...that I needed to just listen to them, so that I know what I needed to do next."  Which turned out to be a lot of things for me to do because they wanted to switch the claim over to them with their discounts.  I told them I was not going to do any of it as I have to have a car and if I waited around for them, my kids would not go to school for a week.  They didn't like my answer and told me what I needed to do, so I hung up on them.  Apparently, that was a big deal.  They were shocked and called me back, in which, I hung up on them again.  Then, they called my insurance company and complained about me.  Apparently Generation X's are not used to not being listened to even if their perspective to the customer is INSANE.  See, I am almost 50 and I decided I am not listening to anyone that is going to give me more work ESPECIALLY a 28 year old telling me to listen to what I need to do.  In addition, my medical insurance company's third party administrator that "helps" approve treatment stalled the process so much that I was not able to do a single treatment before I left.  HOWEVER, the clinic was able to set up all my pre-treatment appointments and I was able to start LITERALLY the day I got home.  INSURANCE - awesome.

So, school ended on the the 21st of June.  My brother and sister in law were here for most of June and helped me pick up and drop off the boys all month.  Jane and I even saw some movies for cheap.  I also ended cleaning like a freak show.  I always clean before treatment, but this was over the top.  I got out the rug doctor and literally cleaned EVERY PIECE OF CLOTH in my house - carpet, stairs, couches, seat covers, EVERYTHING.  Smart?  No.  Freshening?  Sure!  I also cut open my foot to the point of having to buy new shoes for the trip, but that is my ridiculousness, nothing else.  The only places not touched were the boys room and my study.  Too bad for them.....not me, I don't care and there was too much to move.....they and I have too much crap.

So, lots of pawns in the game changed in June.  I mean that in the nicest of ways.  Insurance - car and medical, school, etc.  For example, towards the end of school while I am listening to my boys complain about their schools, I say, "Well, you can go back.  I asked for a year and I would be TOTALLY MORE CONVENIENT FOR ME FOR YOU TO GO TO NEELY AND MILL CREEK.  I will transfer you tomorrow."  They both looked at me stunned.....pause....stunned.....pause.....and then it was just like the movie Trading Places where the two old guys say, "William (Eddie Murphy), you can leave us now and never see us again....." and William says, "No, I believe I can hang with you guys for a while....."  No more complaining and everyone is on board with next year.  Do I hate driving them every darn day - YES.  Have I LOVED their experience - YES.  So, I drive them every damn day and hope that my brother and sister in law visit more often!

Then, off we go to the Baltic's!  First to Newark and then to Stockholm.  My kids had never been to Europe and never experienced bad jet lag.  Hawaii is one thing, but it is 3 hours at most and it is HAWAII after all.  Toronto was always to our advantage, so we never really suffered there.  North Carolina and Boston the same.  I tried to help them through it, but to no avail.  There is only so much you can do.  So, my family, Mom and Donna went.  We were supposed to have rooms next to each other so that we could share a balcony, but at the last minute they changed my Mom and Donna's room to the other side of the ship.  When called they said our travel agent did it.  WHAT?  Lisa would never do that.  In addition, we wanted to get the 6:30 dining time, which we were never able to get before the cruise and then we could get something like it with "free style dinning" which we researched a ton, but then were told that we had to register for it before we left port (with all our research how did we not know this?!?!?!).  When we asked, it was 20 mins after we left port.  We asked again, and were never responded to.  In addition, we discovered that there was no one in the room beside us that my Mom and Aunt were suppose to have.  No lie.  The room was vacant all week and we could prove it.  So, the cruise line that I always wanted to go on, that spoke to me in all marketing ways, well, SUCKS.  IT IS ROYAL CARIBBEAN.   The tours were good, the Indian food was amazing in at the buffet since we were banished from the dining room, and there pasty chef was worth following to the end of the earth.  They should get different jobs where they can be appreciated.  Also the staff for our room and at the buffet were exceptional - they should also jump cruise lines.  AFTER THAT - THEY SUCK.  DON'T GO ON THEM - THEY LIE, AND THEY IGNORE THE FIRST TIME CRUISER, BUT THEY PAY A LOT OF ATTENTION TO RUDE TOUR GROUPS.  Bad Royal Caribbean.  You have no idea what an enemy you have made.

In any case, we had a good time.  Can't keep a good group down, but seriously, we wanted to go to Cuba and there was a great itinerary to Cuba with Royal Caribbean and I dumped it.  They were that horrible to us from an administration point of view.  Too bad - even if they gave us a great deal, I wouldn't go.  It is too much money to risk and not feel valued.  I worked in Administration for years.  If I ever treated anyone like this I would be ashamed (and in my early years I did, but never repeated the mistake).

Grant had been WONDERFUL with all the towns we did not do tours in - Helsinki, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia; Riga, Latvia, and Stockholm, Sweden. Helsinki had beautiful weather and we saw amazing things, but the most important thing I noticed was, people were orderly, but not polite.  It was weird.  So, if there was someone taking a picture, Fins just walk through it.  No waiting, no nothing.  Actually no thought at all.  I was shocked.  This town DEPENDS on tourism.  Especially from all the drunk and disorderliness I witnessed on the streets on a MONDAY morning.  They should be happy people are coming!  WEIRD.  Beautiful churches, markets, shops, etc.  I was waiting in line for the washroom.  There were two women at the front of the line involved in an intense conversation.  They continued even when there were empty stalls, then, they were so close they did not allow anyone out.  Finally, a Fin said what I imagine to be, "Hey, there are stalls and you need to get a move on!"  And they did.  Again, WEIRD.  We experienced REALLY rude behavior on the ship also.  To the point, I was using my Spanish.....Latino and all....to move the Spaniards along.  Seriously, you are going to put your three and four year old in front of me during miniature golf, play my ball, and then watch and film them while the hold up everyone?  Yeah, they did, until I started to tell them they needed to move it.  Apparently, they did not want that on the video.  Rude?  Maybe, but matched with rude.  Then, St. Petersberg.  When we got there, Grant and I had planned five tours over two days.  We wanted to do several things and you cannot leave the boat without a tour ticket or a VISA which takes months to get.  Also, I did not want an all day tour in case I did get treatment and I could not hack 11 hours of touring.   Literally, it was get up, go through immigration, tour, come back go through, what I came to know as, ex-immigration, back to the ship and repeat.....five times.  They got really used to us and we all got used to them.  Then, I stared to think about it.  Why would you check my papers back to the ship......unless, you did not want people to get out.  See in Russia, you have to carry your passport - mandatory.  So, if someone killed me, they would have me cruise pass, passport, and they could board the ship.  CREEPY.  Outside of that, I had a great time.  I tried to buy Rubles, but no one would let me.  No lie.  Dollars were accepted EVERYWHERE, but on the DL.  Very curious.  It was fun being there during FIFA. Lots of tourists, people were happy, and weather was great.  I finally got there.  "Viva Mexico, Argentina!"  I always wanted to go to St Petersberg.  My High School Spanish teacher, Mr. Carter, spoke Spanish and Russian and always took a group to Russia.  This was in the early 80s during the cold war.  I was his Spanish TA and he always told me how amazing the Metro was there and how we were really the same......now I know.  31 years later I got there.  Thank you Mr. Carter for making me want to go and I went on a Metro and Market tour just for you.  You were right - never a cleaner more efficient Metro, seriously, you can eat off the floor.  London, New York, Mexico City, and Seattle have NOTHIN' on this. NOTE:  On the last day RIGHT BEFORE OUR SHIP LEFT, we were on a tour of the Hermitage - a major art museum and the winter palace of Peter the Great.  I was the last person out of our tour.  I was helping this Asian family who had a slow Grandpa and I couldn't leave him behind.  They had gotten lost on a previous tour and I just could not have that happen again.  I was out of the museum and Mason ran up to me....."MOM!  DO YOU HAVE NOLAN?"  "No. I thought he was with your Dad."  "He is not and he is lost.  We have to find him!"  I reversed into the museum thinking this is weird.  Nolan stays with that group....I taught him that as painful as it was cause it took him FOREVER.  But I was also in a foreign country with a blonde boy that had no papers and cruise ship that was going to leave him and all I could think of was sex trade....."  I went as far back as I could and started calling him name.  Shortly there after, a young woman came up to me and told me to stop screaming.  I told her I would I had lost my son and I would not until he was found or there was some sort of plan to find him.  "Go to administration."  "Where is Administration?"  "Please stop screaming."  "Tell me where Administration is and I will."  Then I secretly (maybe not so much now) cursed her to have her child lost for longer than mine and see how it feels.  Administration was EXTREMELY helpful.  They started a plan.  That is when Grant and the tour guide showed up.  Nolan was on the bus.  Mason had misunderstood.  Everything was fine.  I apologized a million times.  Everyone was super kind and we went on.  Nolan was not sold into the sex trade and I would see him again.  My mind goes to a horrible place when it comes to kids.....I don't wish it on anyone.  My instincts were right though.....I taught him well; those who survive stay will the group.

On to Estonia.....THIS IS THE CUTEST MOST AMAZING PLACE IN THE WORLD.  GO THERE.  EAT THERE.  CONVERSE THERE.  BEST PLACE EVER.  OH, AND EAT THE BREAD!

Riga, Latvia...Not as cute as Estonia, but eat there and go to the the real market.  This is a real city.  We had the BEST lunch ever with the sweetest girl ever.  All lunches are composed with potatoes, beets and some meat with gravy and they are DELICIOUS!  But they only accept Euros and you might have to go over the menu a couple times......we translated fish soup with sausage soup which was wrong.  If you find a Business Lunch, do it.  Economical and delish!

So, after the cruise we stayed in Stockholm for three days. I loved it.  We screwed up a little because we did the hop on hop off tour for our transportation to our hotel.  Mom and Donna were NOT to pleased, but the hotel turned out to be amazing with a grocery right next.  It was still a serious walk.  We were there for the Sweden soccer game which they won.  We were walking back to the hotel and when they scored there was a cheer that reverberated through the streets or Stockholm.  It was amazing.....truly.  I am a Sweden fan forever now.  They lost today, but from now on, they are my team.  So, committed, so loyal, so normally excited.  Also, if you go......the ABBA and Vasa Museum are a must!  Except when you go to ABBA, Grant was all, "So, when did they couple swap??!?!?!"  and I was like, "That was Fleetwood Mac!"  It really took over our experience......and there was no couple swapping.....it was Fleetwood Mac......I am no expert on ABBA, but I am know there was no couple swapping!!!!!!  I was right......:) WAYNE'S COFFEE ROCKS!

We toured during the day and ate in our room at night with the help of the bar downstairs.  Then, taxi to airport and home.  After being on the tarmac for three hours in Newark, we got home late on the 4th, exhausted and colasped (sp) in our beds with little regard for any fireworks.  NOTE:  Fireworks were outlawed in Kent two years ago, so it was not really noisy.  I have no reason to be home now for the 4th, but there are thinking of reversing the law.  Doesn't every American deserve to responsibly blow stuff up on the 4th?!!?!?!  If not, I am going on vacation.

Treatment started the next day.  It was shockingly normal and familiar.  The boys are still a little messed up from jet lag, but they are working through it.  Nolan to camp next week, me in treatment until the 18th, and Mason in camp on the 22nd.

The house was blissfully normal, our cars are our own, the cats blissfully accommodating, a garage needs to be cleaned out, school stuff to purge for next year, and life to continue....2 treatments down 8 to go for this time.  Life works out sometimes....and another bucket list item checked off....

Happy Saturday,
Ang


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

When good news turns to bad and then good again....

So I met with the Doctor today and I was yet in ANOTHER new rental car.  On Friday, a car filled with very tired graveyard shift drivers decided to turn left into my Expedition.  Good news...no injuries.  Bad news, a lot of extra work and another car in the shop.

ANYWAY, I sit down with the same Doc that I had a couple years ago.  The nurses all said hi and asked about the boys....it is like that now, everywhere I go.  "Teenagers?!?!?  How is that?!?!?!"  Anyway, I digress.  The doctor comes in and gets straight down to business...."Well, I had to call Hank because his notes are awful and as we were talking, you know he has a brilliant mind, anyway, as we were talking, your six spots are at three very different stages of development.  Two are new and have never been treated, two are old from when you first came and were treated by cyberknife with the markers still in tact, and two are two small to treat.  We will just watch those.  So, I told him that I can do all of these and systemic is not necessary at this time. So, let's take a look...."  Okay pause.  While, he is looking at the pictures which I now know all too well....I feel like falling off my seat.....no one has ever said, "You get to do less."  They have said things like, "You have no cancer in your pelvis."  "So, I am out of here doc?"  "Oh no, you are riddled with it in your lungs." or
"You have no signs of live cancer in your body."  "So, am I out of here Doc?"  "No, we have to do six more treatments just to be sure."  There was the one time they said, "We saved your lower right lobe."  "Y-e-a-h....." between opiate pills - pass me a pill.  Okay, now we are back in the office, I had to have him repeat everything and he decided to treat the two new untreated spots first AND I don't need markers because they are close to my spine (which is sometimes the hardest part of the process), BUT (here is the but), he will have to treat them one at a time.  O-K-A-Y, that is it?  "What about the old ones that were treated?"  "I suspect we will just zap/hit/treat (can't remember) those in six months to a year."  We can keep doing this until someday your lungs can't take anymore or you can't handle the treatment anymore (which involves four pre appointment, five treatments and laying on a table very still for a hour - I can do that.)  But hopefully, we just keep going and someday we beat it before it beats us.  "OKAY!  When do we start I am going away at the end of June."  He asked if I wanted to wait until after, "NOPE.  NOW."  So I will have approximately 18 doctors visits before I leave.  THAT IS A LOT.  The slowest part is insurance.

On the way home, I confirmed with Hank that there was no systemic.  He said, "Sorry to disappoint..."  Funny, funny man.

I got home to my very clean yet not organized house that I have four meals being prepped for the freezer for chemo......I gleefully make lunch, send some emails, do some work and then I sit down for just a moment before I have to get Nolan.  I close my eye and take a quick nap.  I get up, hit the restroom and POW....the room starts to spin, I get really hot, I vomit, and I am exhausted.  Room still spinning.  I have somehow taken off my shirt and necklace and I am taking off my pants and sweating like crazy.......the room slows down a bit and I click in, "I can't drive.  Especially a rental car, after to two accidents and half naked.....what do I do?!?!?!"  Mom can't make it there in time, so I text a couple mom's and Cheryl's text comes back and says she can do it.  THANK GOD.  Get in bed, a try breathing exercises.  My in-laws were blowing back through town and I texted them to see if they could get Mason.  Yes.  Saved.  Now, just my meeting tonight.  I started slowly feeling better, but I was exhausted and when I asked my President what I should do, she was like, "DON'T COME IF YOU CAN'T."  I think there was probably a "you dork" in there somewhere.  I got stuff together for Grant to take up to the meeting.  Visited the in laws for a while and ate dinner and was in bed by 7:45.  Now, of course I am up and feel fine.  Probably just the stress and then relaxation from it all.

So, there is it.  Just Cyberknife.  I can do that.

Oh and wave at the Black Fusion - it is the car of the moment!!!!! And by the way, this car situation is also exactly like in 2000 when Grant hit two deer five weeks apart in each car - totaled one (not hard it was a Fiesta and we got $300 for it) and $5000 dollars on the Subaru.  This time it is me getting hit four weeks apart in each car.  It is all very confusing....so I thought I would clarify!

Happy Tuesday,

Ang


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Results of the PET scan

So, it is good that I got a PET scan because instead of three spots there are six.  Them call them "PET HOT".  I will be meeting with the docs at Cyberknife to see what they can do, but Hank said that we should also look at a "systemic treatment".  Systemic treatment in my era of cancer equaled chemo.  My greatest fear is to back into chemo with all the havoc on the body, "But wait...." Hank says.  There is a new therapy since you were diagnosed.  It works with your genes and is much easier on your system.  I have the words written downstairs and I should get the for you, but forgive me, I just don't want to.  I think I remember this therapy when they were talking to my Dad.  Hank said that we have all these tumor slides on file and that we should use some of those to see if this new therapy will work.  The plan:  Next week, talk to Cyberknife and then the lab will pull out old tumor slides and see if I have lived long enough to do the ONLY other therapy that I have not done in the great world of cancer.  My goal was to do them all and yet again it looks like I will.....(note the sarcasm).

I was really hoping for not this news....I told people, "I got this....I am fine....this is just a tune up." And for how hard it is for you to read....I truly sucks writing it.  Especially this week.

 And then, as always, I will be okay.  Welcome to my 24 hour pity party.

Ang

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The aftermath of My Dad's Service, being hit by a semi, our trip to Washington DC, and Life.....

When I left you, I had three spots growing in my lungs.  It required a PET, but remember you only get 3 in your lifetime and I have had 28.  Hank was fine with it.  "We need it to see if that is active cancer.  They will allow it."  I was skeptical as I have seen no many denial notices come through my mail, but they have improved the process because it was scheduled AND APPROVED.  SHOCKING.  That is Friday.  Mom is taking the boys to and from school which I am so grateful.

My Dad's service was on the 26th of April.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful service.  People came that I only knew by name, but stopped me and told me how they loved my Dad.  No surprise to me.  I loved my Dad too, but I did learn certain things......but I got to have him as my Dad.  Stories I did not tell at the funeral that some of you know are:

#1  I was YOUNG and I woke up from a bad dream.  I went to my parents bedroom and they were not there.  I went to the window in the living room and the GTO was gone.  I knew my parents were gone - the GTO was the dependable car.  I remember holding my teddy bear, turning around, sliding down the green and gold embossed couch and saying to myself, "Do I cry?  Do I lose my mind?"  I answered, "No, my parents love me WAY to much to leave me.  I should just go back to bed."  (And you wonder where my inflated sense of self came from....)  So, I did.  In the morning, I went into my parent's bedroom and asked where they went last night.  To my confusion, my Dad collapsed, like in a weird way for me.  My Mom called me over and told me that friends of ours were in a bad car accident and they did not know what to expect, but that they had to go get the kids and get them in bed.  My parents were afraid of what I might see and decided that they should leave me at home.  I asked how they were, and everyone was going to pull through.  I was okay, like that sounded TOTALLY reasonable and I was good.  My Dad was still pretty sad.  He said to me, "You know I will never leave you."  I responded with, "Yes, are you okay?"  And he with, "Promise me you know I will never leave you."  "I promise."  This was one of five promises my Dad made me make to him.  There were only five....but then six in the end.

#2  My Dad was loved by every kid every neighborhood we lived in.  When I was little, we had sleds, like with the steel runners.  If there was enough snow, my Dad would pull ALL THE NEIGHBORHOOD KIDS behind his Trail 90 which was the first "Trail Bike" he ever owned.  He always started out with me on the right.  "Varmint, remember, don't let the muffler scrap your face - IT WILL BURN IT RIGHT OFF!"  I got to tell the next people that.  Many declined.  WHATEVER!

There are more, but I need to save them for me and my boys......my Dad was a big man and a bigger father.

So, for Spring Break, we visited our friends that we made from the KOA last year.  They are "Coasties" or Coast Guard.  There were here for a year, but we had tons of fun with them, vacationed, with them, learned that eating off of paper plates ALL the time was okay (because you could compost them - we figured that out), and played with them.  They attended Mason's birthday where we made someone puke (and the still liked us), and we invited them to the Kent Christmas Tree lighting which we missed by 2 mins (and the still liked us), etc etc.  I think they need a higher bar, but WHATEVER!  Anyhoo, we got to stay on base, they were WONDERFUL TOUR GUIDES, and we have a great time playing kick ball (wow that was sad for me - my head travels faster than my feet), hanging out, side trips to Williamsburg and Jamestown, smoking meat, watching  Lacrosse, etc.  So, we get home. The plane is late, my Mom picked up pizza for us, we go to bed, I drop the kids the next day at school while Grant takes my truck in to be serviced and I am, NO LIE, rear ended by a semi.  ALL I WANTED TO DO IS GO HOME, DO LAUNDRY, AND LISTEN TO THE SILENCE OF MY HOUSE.  Two cars in front of me, semi behind.  Light turns green.  No where to go because everything is backed up, EXCEPT THE SEMI DECIDES TO GO.  HITTING THE GAS AND RAMMING ME IN THE BACK.  I hit the woman ahead of me, who hits the woman ahead of her.  Anyway, details aside, no one was injured, it could have been SO much worse and the CMax is a little tank.  I drove away, picked up my kids, and drove it to service the next day.  The cops were amazed at how well my car did. n $8000 later I got it back.

Today, I got to have lunch with an old friend and coffee with a not so old friend.  I love laughing with both of them.  Belly laughing which is the BEST!  They are SUCH a part of my history.  One I watched go through the worst part of her life (and then she watched me) and the other told me to get on board (in a VERY nice way) and help shape a part of the future (which, as a cancer patient, gave me purpose that I can never repay.) THERE KNOW WHO THEY ARE.

So, that is the update.  PET on Friday.  Scared, but pretty sure we will have to do Cyber or Ablation. Kinda hopping it is Ablation.  Have not had time to catch up with Dr. Osnis in a while.  Miss him. Just saw the Cyber folks.  Time will tell.  Only the scan knows......

Happy Wednesday,
Ang




Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Well, last Monday's scan

was cancelled because insurance denied the my preferred location that I have been going to for 11 years because it was out of network all the sudden.  It is four floors down from Hank and in the Swedish Cancer Center?!?!?!  So, it was rescheduled to Hospital Radiology which is fine - been there before.  They were like, "Do you know where we are?"  "You are next to IR 4th Floor and, let me guess - SW elevators?"  "Yes, just past IR."  The nurse that preregistered for me was like, "Angela, I know you.....just bring your insurance card and id....the rest of this is redundant...."  I laughed to myself.  Really?!?!?  After 11/12 years, someone FINALLY said that out loud!

Good news, everything OUTSIDE my lungs is stable.  Okay news, three spots that have been on watch are a bigger and we need a PET.  Need to know if they are inflamed or active cancer.  The PET will be a fight, after all, I am now 25 over the lifetime max, but it anyone can argue it, it is Hank.  He just wears on you with his nagging quiet perseverance.  In truth, I was particularly nervous about this one.  In perfect time (every 18 months or so), I seem to need treatment.  I asked if he could guess what I would do ablation, cyberknife, or surgery (this one is unlikely).  And, of course, he did not answer, but said, "Well, you have done it all, so it won't be new if it is anything at all.  Talk soon." "Yep, thanks Hank."  That was 6:37am this morning.

So there it is, more tests, to see if we need to do something.  It seems mild in comparison to two of my dear friends.  If you could add Robin to your prayers, he is in chemo now and the chemo is working, BUT he is the great fun of all the side effects.  Also, Barb.  She is the hockey Mom I met.  Not going great and in the hospital for the foreseeable future.  Having trouble with chemo.  Retaining fluid that must be drained off.  So, you see I didn't say, "Bad News" anywhere in my post, because I am not the one with it.  Pray and worry for them.  Now that I know what we are doing, I got this one.  It is like an old winter hat you never liked but your Mom made you wear.  You just WAIT for spring.

Be well, Ang

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

New post and a new day.....

Life moves along as it does.  Mom and I finally agreed on an obit and we submitted it.  Things are a lot different these days than before and, sadly, the Spokesman Review is the most technologically  advanced program there is.  LOL.  So, it will run this Sunday in the Spokesman Review, but it is super questionable in the News Tribune or Seattle Times.  The most important stuff is that his service is April 26th at 10am.  There will be an "after party" because that is how my Dad would like to say it, but it will not be given out until at the ceremony.  The service will be at Tahoma, so arrive early.  It is a quick ceremony.  Be late and miss it.  That was actually my Dad to a tee.  We showed up early to every party, funeral, celebration, wedding, baptism, etc. and we were the last to leave.

I clearly did not look at my own schedule.....I have super busy that week....but I will be there fully. Dad knows that.  Everyone has been wonderful.  It is so hard to plan this especially on your own, but Tahoma has been beautiful.  The Army has walked me through what they will do and God Bless them.  I cried, but I wipe the tears and move ahead.

A long time ago, I was almost out the door to go to the bar at Gonzaga.  It was Thursday night after all and the phone rang.  One of my roommates said, "Ang, it is your Dad - you got to take this......."  I did, of course, and I told everyone to go on.  Of course, in Catholic Tradition, one BIG BOY (Basketball Player), stayed behind to escort me to the bar.  My Dad was on the phone.....sobbing.....he had been on a hunting trip and they found an overturned car with a dead body inside.  He went to the closest house and it was their son.  Their only son.  He not only broke horrible news to them, he knew how precious life was.  Mom was in Mexico.  I was at school in Spokane (surrounded by his extended family).  I was 21 and probably didn't handle it well, but I was like, "Daddy, I am good.  I have good friends.  I even have a friend here to escort me to stuff tonight.  I am good."  And I always was.  My Dad had prepared me for many things - this too.  Poor Aunt Donna, she called me the next day and was like, "Is your Dad having a breakdown?!?!"

So, here is how my life is going.  On the way back from skiing in BC, I played out road trip list and when Tim McGraw sang, "Be Humble and Kind" he referenced, "Visit you Grandpa as much as you can"....SERIOUSLY. I sobbed.  No one got it so it was fine, but crap, REALLY.

In any case, Science Fair is going on at Nolan's school.  He has been accepted into the hi-cap program.  Mason is doing well...so smart and independent.

I promised you a Mason story, so here goes........Mason has been thrown in "like" a couple times.  Luckily, he talks to me about it.  I know that will end, but I am so thankful for if it now and so fearful when one of his friends googles my name and finds this......  In any case, I have given him advice which I think is real and good, but he has to live it.  And then there was this one moment that I will not give too much detail, but a girl that Mason likes hugged him.  It wasn't a normal hug.  It was a hug that showed that Mason could care for her and she would trust him.  My Mom was there and we have traveled a fair ways to see this game and I said, "Mom....."  "Yes, Angie, I miss a lot, but I am not missing this.  He is turning to a man."  Part of me died, but part of me was thankful.  I had done it.  There was a good girl that cared for him and he would care for forever.  That is a tough thing to see as a Mom, yet my Dad always said, "Bears runs their cubs up a tree and then walk away.  They hear there cries, but the continue to walk away.  How hard is that?!?!  But, I guess, it is the only way they can learn."

Daddy this is hard......thank you....I love you....and I miss you......

Ang


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Yes, I am still on this side of the grass......

Many people have left me messages - especially those not on Facebook, to say.....You okay?  You still on this side of the grass?  Well, yes, I am......unfortunate for you....

So, life was goin' along and the boys were adjusting to new schools, and I was adjusting to driving and in the car 3 hours a day.  Grant's business was doing better, we were going on a family cruise in December since the Alaska Cruise went so well and then, my Dad started coughing during meals. Mom and I thought it was weird and she scheduled an appointment with the doc.  One thing lead to another and, when one of my appointments canceled I decided to show up to my Dad's appointment.  I had a weird feeling.....my Mom has not had to take care of many old people and I thought.....what if they bring out the DNR form???  She had never dealt with this.  I had a few times.  And there is was, "He cannot take anything by mouth."  DNR form in tact.  Doctors covering the butts and trying to help us at the same time.  My Mom was stunned.  I had to help her through every question and I also challenged all the docs.  I was never putting my Dad in the hospital the day before Thanksgiving with this.  That is crap.  He was able to eat.  So we changed his diet.  Doctors did not comply but they let me.  Dad went home.  In December, he got a feeding tube.  He was treated at Judson Park for a while and then Mom and I got trained on the feeding tube and we took him home.  It was exhausting, but he loved being home with the dog.  Then one Friday night he pulled out his feeding tube.  THIS WAS ACTUALLY weird.  He was so careful with it for a month.  We went to the ER at 6pm on a Friday night.  They saw us at 11:00 pm and started firing off questions to us.  CLEARLY, THEY DO NOT KNOW WHO I AM.......I gave them a look and started to speak and they were all quiet.  CLEARLY, THEY ARE TEACHABLE.  My mom had put the tube back in at the house, but unfortunately it did not go where it needed to.  Talk about a trouper!  At that point, my Dad never left the hospital.  He was too weak to do another feeding tube surgery.  They met with him and that one thing that God gives us all is that one moment of clarity......he had it then and they explained everything to him and he said, in his pre dementia state, "I am done."  He knew I didn't want that to be the answer.  We would have had the same chemo, but his would have been easier.....new developments and all.  I had to respect his decision, but I gave all the doctor's a bit of hell for taking so long...  It would not be me if I did not.  My Dad was cared for at St Joe's in Tacoma until he went to Hospice Care in Tacoma. He passed on the 16th of January.  We got to have a great weekend with him and Nolan watched Ride Along II with him the weekend before he died, in his bed, with all the favorite foods (which he coughed up), and my Dad loved it.  Mom was with him the rest of the weekend and when they said my Dad would probably be gone in the next 24/48 hours, I spoke to him from my Mom Cell phone because Nolan was sick and Mason and Grant were at a Hockey Tournament.  I said things to him I had never said.  I said, "I was proud of him and that is why I kept his name.  It wasn't out of disrespect for Grant, but respect for him."  Mom said, "Ang, he heard you.  He tired to get out of bed.  He heard you."  Nolan, my brave second boy, spoke to him too.  I ended with I would be there in the morning.  Morning never came.  At 5:30am on January 16th, he died.  I am sure he did it because he did not want me to come.  His Mom and him were very into, "This is YOUR life.  You take care of your own."  What they don't get, they were my own.  Life has been interesting since......planning a funeral for him is hard and easy.  I think I have it down.  Mom doesn't want to deal until the day.  I know we need to wait for the roads to be clear to Eastern Washington and all that plays in in my head is, "Prop me up against the jute box, when I die....."  The funniest thing that I think has happened is that when Mom, Donna (Mom's sister), and I were all together after his death we talked about our most vivid memory.  Mine - I was turning 10 and he and I LOVED the San Juans.  We went up to Anacortes and there was a small craft advisory, but my Dad turned to me and said, "Let's go now!  We will get out favorite camping spot!"  I was like, "Sure!"  Let's remember....this is how my family rolled....I knew NO DIFFERENT!  As we were going, I was hanging on to the seat, my dog was barfing in his kennel, we were taking on water and Dad was actually getting the life preservers out.....  I thought, "Nine years, that is a good run.  Didn't think I would make it this long...."  My Aunt made mention of a time on our trip IN THE SAME BOAT TO.  ALASKA where she thought we were all going to die...FYI - I was 2 and potty trained for the trip........there was no toilet.....Mom flew us home when we got to Alaska.......and then my Mom said, "I was never really afraid.  I never though we would die......"  Donna and I were like, "BECAUSE YOU FLEW US HOME FROM ALASKA!!!!"  Dad came home by himself.....

So there it is, I am digging out from ignoring EVERYTHING during my Dad illness.  The boys and Grant are doing well, and Mom is adjusting.  Insurance for the cruise was amazing and kind.  We will rebook in the future, after all, "Dad wanted us to go....."

It sure was nice to get away for skiing to Big White.  My family needed it and we found out again, how amazing life can be.

Next time....Mason and moments....

Friday, September 29, 2017

Test results in 10-14 days....or 3.....

I got a phone call today from Kyle, my docs nurses assistant.  He said, "The doctor is not in today, but he sent an urgent message to you and Dr. Kaplan (my oncologist)."

I pull over the car.  I just dropped the kids.  SHIT.

"Good news!  The polyp was precancerous.  He said you would want to know TODAY, so I am calling."

I wanted to say, "Kyle, could you deliver good news any worse?!?!?!  Start with precancerous and then tell me everything else."  BUT, I didn't.  He is young, I will learn him.  We scheduled a follow up appointment, I told him to have a good weekend, and we hung up.

I exhaled and then I cried like I had wanted to all week.  Well, not entirely because my chest is still a little sore, but I still looked like a hot mess, so I think it worked.

PRECANCER.  We got it in time.

Happy Friday,
Ang

Thursday, September 28, 2017

End of summer and other loose ends....

My summer concluded with a nine night camping trip where I was in Peshastin (sp)  for two nights, then the Disneyland of KOA's for four nights (that is where I ran over the sign that said, "Drive like your kids live here" and did donuts on the beach with the same truck!!), and then went to the BLM land for the eclipse where my kids picked up so much liter and shot gun shells that they earned $41 and $19 from everyone staying there.  The eclipse was totally worth it.  Would do it again and again...truly. 

I returned to a busy schedule and one more camping trip with friends before school started.  Lots of doctor appointments and a routine scan.  I know, I didn't blog it, trying big girl pants.  Anyway, if you read the report they have grown .1 cm, but that could be scan error.  Neither doc was concerned.  So a six week check up and a three month scan and I am good.  Hank is happy so I am happy....my platelets continue to go up.  97 now.  The normal is 150 to 500, and I have been at 67 for years, but 80 last appointment and 97 this.  Could I be turning a corner????  Yes, maybe no....another appointment was coming up also.  I visited my Gastro Doc and said, "I think something is going on down there....."  We reviewed everything and he said, "Well, I have not seen you in a while and you have not a a colonoscopy in a while, so lets to that and an endoscopy (translated..camera up the butt and down the throat).  "I know doc.  I would have come sooner, but I can only do one cancer thing at a time."  His response, "And here you are 10 years later.  It is working for you."   It was Tuesday.  But let's back up just a bit......

The boys started their new schools and are doing really well.  The first weeks were rough, but Mason has settled in.  He does not want me on campus until after the buses leave in the afternoon.  We are working on him solving his own confusing situations and asking questions.  He is mixed things up a bit, but we have worked them out and he is learning to ask "clarifying questions" because they are not going to tell him everything and it is his responsibility to learn their way.  Middle school is different, but not a terrifying as I remember it.   At first I was hurt that I was not "allowed" on campus, but now I get it.  Mason is enjoying being Mason Hainsworth.  He is not "Angie's son, Angie's eldest, the PTA President's son....", just Mason Hainsworth.  I have to let go a little so he can grow up....

Nolan cried a few times and then threw himself into every extra activity he could.  He is now a crossing guard and said, "Mom, I violated the first rule of crossing guard already, but someone had to do it!"  He directed traffic.  I asked if they fired him yet and he said, "No.", so I said, "Must have been okay then. Nolan, life is about getting done what needs to be done.  Sometimes that is a risk, but when done out of necessity and safety, you will probably never been punished."  He looked at me like, "O-k-a-y....I think I get that...., so should I do it?"  Queue eye roll.  This school is a different beast than my previous.  Children play without limited supervision because they just play.  If they have a problem they go to a teacher or the office which I have NEVER seen happen and I am there EVERY morning.  Nolan ran for Student Council so we wrote a speech.  Then he withdrew because I didn't send him with posters, pins, and donuts.  WOW....I may have to step up my game.

Grant is super busy at work and everyone is happy about that.  The boys want a dog, the cats went through a thing of peeing on our bed, I need to clean up my study, so you see, everything is normal (cats are doing great because if they were not, well, that would be sad for them).

September 26th, 2017.  I had a 1:15 check in for my colonoscopy and endoscopy.  I have prepped, starved, etc. and am ready to go.  It took FOREVER to prep and finally at 3:45 we were rolling.  The anesthesiologist came in and introduced himself to me...I had not worked with him before, but he said, "So you have had two different protocols over the last three procedures."  I looked at him and said, "Well, the last couple procedures have been good, so lets follow those."  He then said, "So, you don't know which protocol was with which procedure?"  I said, "I do, but not by date, by procedure, can you tell me of which you are speaking?"  "No."  My eyebrows go up and he shuffles through paperwork, "Here is what we are going to do...we are going to do a hybrid of yada yada yada."  I ended with, "The last two procedures had been great, to get as close to that would be great."  "Yada, yada, yada, yada."  SIDE NOTE: You know, I have been around this block a few times and when the anesthesiologist starts telling me in what order the procedures are going in they are WRONG 100% of the time, when they come in tell me how my body is going to react they are WRONG 100% of the time and when they bark at nurse right before the procedure they are just assholes.  I said a little prayer right before I went to sleep.  They did not place my mouth guard BEFORE the procedure which is always bad with me.  Here is what happened.....the procedure was supposed to be 35-45 mins.  It was over two hours.  It took FOREVER to get me out and FOREVER to get me awake.  I woke up totally nauseous which never happens to me.  More drugs for that and it takes longer.  I wake up with a huge top lip (they really should have set my mouth guard) and I am in pain - level 7.  I am rarely at a 4.  They keep asking me if I need anymore medicine.  I say no because all I want is to get out of there.  We need your vitals to get good to move you on.  FINE.  Mentally go to my happy place, slow my breathing, slow my heart rate, and BOOM, I am out.  Don't think we do not know how to manipulate that system....seriously, if you can't, your not a frequent flyer.  Next room, I can barely get dress because my body is so sore.  My calves are like rocks, but rib cage hurts so much I start to cry, but I can't cry because it moves my rib cage.  My lip feels like I have been hit in the face which hurts and I think my bar fighting days will never begin.  "Here is some juice.  Take a moment, and I will do your vitals."  REPEAT.  "Your vitals are great.  Here are your instructions.  Doctor talked to your mom.  Can I get you a wheelchair?"  "No. I will walk."  But I could barely walk.  "You sure?"  "Yep."  (I am getting the fuck out of here and you are going to watch me go...)  Home.  Can't eat.  Throat closes up.  Can't cough that is a pain of 9.  Look in my papers for pain med options.  NONE.  No pills tonight.  Grant is coaching Mason tonight.  Dawn has Nolan and her son at Flag Football.  Nolan gets home.  He tries to get me to eat jello.  I can't.  I am just in a ball on the bed, so he reads to me and I calm down.  Grant brings me a milk shake.  I get 1/4 of it down and I fall asleep.  To get in and out of bed is a nightmare, my rib cage feels like it just got out of lung surgery on both sides, my calves are still rocks and my neck is sore.  My lip is oozing all night.  The next day, my Mom takes the boys to school, Grant has to work (he worked from home on Tuesday to drop off and pick up the boys) and had a meeting that day.  It was early release also.  Mom had to take Dad to a doctor's appointment.  I picked up the kids.  I got Mason late, and then got Nolan.  On the way home, I had a coughing attack that when it stared, I slammed on the brakes.  Luckily, we were on a back road and I got to the side.  Pain 9.  Still no call from the doctor, I had taken nothing for the pain.  I got over it.  The boys were checking when the next one happened and I got to the suicide lane for that one.  Not very safe but we got home.  Called the doc.  He has a new assistant so that if you get the voicemail, you have to call back and get the main desk to find him so that he can get the message to my doc.  I have almost had it.  My doc passes by and realizes it is me.  He said, "Tell her I will call her in 10."  He does.  We talk about the procedure.  Upper GI had a couple varies.  He banded them.  Lower I had an "angry" polyp.  That is where the blood has been coming from.  Same location as all the other "tumors in my past".  He took as much as he could and he believes we got it in time.  I said, "Because we all know what it is."  "Yes...but we got it."  I tell him that I feel fine from what he did and explained everything else.  He listened and said, "I want you on.....etc."  I said, "Dr., lets face it, we are going to be doing this again, but if that anesthesiologist ever show up.  I will not let him touch me."  "That is fine and I will back you on that.  Clearly, whatever combination he chose was not the right one."  "Yes, and I am going to my High School Reunion with a FAT LIP.  Thank him for me." and he said, "Angie, with your personality, everyone will see you just as you were in High School."  I said, "I was pretty then."  He said, "That is just want I said."  We ended the conversation.  I adore him but I am making a voodoo doll of the other doc.....

Yesterday, on Facebook, did a game of "Which sentence describe your life best?"  I do all these things, and I rarely post them, but I pushed the button and it came back with, "Be the Reason Someone is Smiling."  There were pictures all the way around the sentence from my page, but what made me cry is one of the pictures was of Shelly Bulter and her family.  Shelly was one of my cancer buddies.  She passed in 2013.  All the other pics were more recent, but that one showed up.  I couldn't give it the cry it deserved because my chest hurt so much, but she was there and I needed that.  I miss her.  If you have a chance, look at it.  She had a beautiful family - still does.  Neil and the kids are doing well I have heard and I am so happy for that.

Anyway, today is better than yesterday and certainly better than two days ago.  Mom took the kids to school.  Nolan asked to go with Dawn because I think he likes her better and he has football tonight with her son, Owen.  I just have to get Mason which I think will go a lot better than yesterday and I am going to ice my frickin' lip and show up tomorrow for as long as I can handle it.  The pain is still bad in my rib cage, but I am walking fine now.

Back to Voodoo Doll Making,
Ang ;)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

My summer in a nutshell....

I have been having a great summer.  Grant's business is back on track, the boys got into the schools I requested, there have been lazy days, there was one sad, sad, thing, but I am not ready to talk about that yet, and then there was my parents garage project.

This summer the boys, my parents, and I decided that we would clean out the three bay, two carport garage.  Last summer, we sold the Camper, Trailer and Lexus Sport Coupe so there was room finally to do this.  This garage was full of my parents entire life, some things from my Dad's Mom that you just can't separate from, contents of both the Camper and the Trailer, etc.  Cat food (has not had a cat in 7 years), bird food (hasn't fed a bird in 10 years), you get my meaning.  So, let me sum this up for you in a 30 minute moment I had in the garage with everyone........

Background....my Mom and Dad had purchased selves to store things on.  It all looked okay on the shelves, but......not one box that was from a product that was that product.  For example, an electric smoker box was filled with books.  An inflatable mattress was actually a juicer.  According to my parents, these were good boxes, so they kept them and used them again.  Oh, yes, and there were Christmas ornaments in a IBM computer box.   When they could not find the ornaments last year, Mom went out and bought more.  (Queue eye roll.)

Now, all of that seems fine.  People do this.  I usually LABEL the box, but I get it.  That is why I am here helping.  BUT, I did find some boxes that were what they said they were - STORAGE BOXES.  You know the clear plastic boxes with lids that you can put things in and label them.  They were still in the correct boxes, stored on the storage shelves, right next to the "inflatable mattress" and the "electric smoker".  Really, they bought and assembled storage shelves to put storage boxes OF STORAGE BOXES on.  I just closed my eyes and shook my head, as my Mom is saying, "Well, I don't know where you got this organization thing from, really no one teaches you this stuff and you have been giving away things for years!  It was astonishing when you were a child.  Really what eight year old does that?!?!?!  (My kids.)  I was part of the war era where you kept everything just in case.............."  (Fade out.)

My summer in a nutshell.  They will NEVER live that down........

Happy Thursday,
Ang