Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My mole, or so we thought...

Okay, so here is one of the stories that I has been brewing for a LONG time......a while back, like October of last year, I was going to an GYN Oncologist because of some fluid that was found on an ultrasound that was in my privates (that are not very private...anymore or ever again). Many of you probably remember my physical therapy around that and that I had to get genetic testing because there is one form of colorectal cancer that is linked to uterine and ovarian cancer (which, after testing, I didn't have). Okay, so I caught you up, but one thng that came up was a "mole" down there and I mean right on my pooper. I talked about it in an earlier post and how my GYN oncologist made me go to my colorectal surgeon who then asked me, "Where is it???" and I was like, "I don't know!!!!" He and I both started laughing. I KNOW. Like I look there EVERYDAY! Anyhow, the colorectal surgeon said, "That isn't cancer. If you want it removed we can do it, but it will be a seven day recovery time." Since I was going to NC, to visit Jane and Ty, we decided against it and he reassured me it wasn't cancer. I believed it wasn't because my dermatologist said it wasn't. Yeah, I am lucky. My dermatologist gets to look there too now since I got radiation there. Will no one NOT SEE MY BUTT?!?!?! She, my dermatologist, sent over the report and everyone was happy with my "mole" not being cancer. Okay, FAST FORWARD to three weeks ago. So, I am at my dermatologist's for my annual review and she looks at my pooper and says....."What? This isn't a mole - this is......OMG....this is blue.....that is weird....why did I say it was a mole????" AND THEN IT ALL MADE SENSE TO ME. I know, me, like I am a doctor, but I said, "Dr. K_____, could it be my tattoo from radiation?" Light bulb on. It was my tattoo from radiation. Okay, so, when you go into radiation they tattoo you and line you up everyday on those tattoos making it very exact. My radiation treatment was right there and hence so was my tattoo, but my skin had so much damage in that area until now, it looked dark - LIKE A MOLE. Well, so much for my mole. No worries there. WHEW. Hey, and now I can walk into a bar and say to some tatted dude, "You think that is impressive!?!?! Try getting one on your ASS!!!!!" :) Have fun today - love, Ang P.S. My skin is perfect and my teeth are perfect too - good to know I have two perfect things!!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Last Round and Summer Adventures

Last Thursday was chemo and I did really well. Like REALLY WELL. I don't know what happened, but I was really okay. I didn't cry before I left, I didn't have a hard time going through the doors, I was mentally back. It could have been because it was Shelly's last round, and for that there is victory, maybe it was because Susie came and we (Elaine, she, and I laughed so much my sides hurt) but I think it was something else. I am not sure what, but maybe, just maybe, I can do this. My treatment recovery time was better also. I didn't vomit - I did have my bouts with being close the bathroom, but I did okay. My bloody nose is back as I have already lost the lining in my nose, my skin near my eyes and mouth are splitting due to dryness, and my tongue swells up so much I can't use my mouth guard at night, but hey it is chemo. I stayed at home on Monday alone with the kids (that is a feat), and I even went to the zoo yesterday. The zoo was the last scheduled "Angie's Summer Adventures" with Karissa and her kids. I am actually very proud of myself. I made every adventure week (outside the first which was my colonoscopy). Now, we didn't do all the things we had originally planned. For example, we passed on the hike (not much hiking with potty girl these days), and we stitched harder ones for easier ones on certain weeks, but all-in-all, I we did it. Oh, and for those of you that follow the blog with great enthusiasm and detail - Karissa's idea on the GRAND FINALE was Remlinger Farms and was a total hit! Nope, I didn't have to throw her under the bus - YEAH KARISSA! I did give her credit, although the kids really don't hear that. And for some reason, Emma (one of Karissa's twin girls) panicked like this was the last summer we were doing "summer adventures" and strongly questioned, "We are doing this next summer, right?!?!?!?!" Now, if you know Emma, that is actually a compliment. I replied with, "Yes dear, but lets be thankful for THIS summer. I have 9 months to plan next summer" with a "got it, chickie?!?!" in my voice. I also gave Quinn (Karissa's eldest boy) a small gift for all his help this summer. He was SO awesome all summer. Get this, he took my boys to the bathroom on EVERY SINGLE adventure without complaint, even offering to do it. I know like what 11 year old does that??!?!?! (Quinn knows that I am sick without all the details, but most importantly he is sensitive and kind enough to know that I need help.) He was just great all summer - no negative attitude, helped with all the kids, really, just awesome. When I was explaining why Quinn got a special gift, Grace (Karissa's other twin child) said, "So, how am I suppose to get a gift when I am a girl and can't take them to the bathroom." Karissa swooped in with, "Grace, it was more than just that Quinny has just been polite, helpful, and never complained, etc." I was thinking, "even when not getting gifts.....", but I thought it would be better to hold that one back. It was a good question and, clearly, she is a disadvantage with the bathroom thing, but now that Grace knows that gifts can happen, she will be on it next summer - don't you worry! She is smart that way - cunning girl! So, I did it. I have some stories, but I will wait for next time for that. I am just basking in the glory of accomplishment right now. I am also basking in the fact that my schedule is going back to Tuesdays for chemo starting September 7 which means I get TWO good weekends. I am going to enjoy them with all my being. I get to see Mason's first day of school, I am going to the cabin, I am going to the dentist (I love the dentist), I am working for Heather, I am going to get a massage.....I am going to live.....yeah, me. Enjoy yours, Ang

Monday, August 16, 2010


Remember in my last post where I said that I was checking out this weekend camping? Well, I really did check out. As soon as we hit Mt Rainer National Park, my sick stomach went away, my anxiety melted away, and I was, well, me. Not worrying about my schedule, how is it going to work when Mason is in Kindergarten, how will my parents cope with driving him to and from, how hard will be be on Nolan without his brother, etc. I forgot it all. We went with Karissa and her family. It was a pretty lazy weekend and even though I had a few bad hours where I was close to the campsite and closer to the bathroom, we had a great weekend. Grant even took the rain fly off the tent (which is like an act of GOD - it is like he needs to always have the rain fly on and I am like, "Really? This weekend? Really?") and I got to just look up at the trees because the top of our tent is all screen. There is actually no better place in the world then in our tent on my air mattress with all of our sleeping bags, blankets, etc protecting me from the great outdoors (ground, rocks, tree roots, etc.), but being in the great outdoors looking up at the sky. I was just there - no worries, no cell phone, no hospital, no doctors, no Kindergarten, nothing. Nolan and I spent a long time looking up, talking about the shapes of the branches, what there story was, and how life was going to be for them. Don't really know how he got there, but hey, I went with it. When Jane was here, she read an article on the importance of "forgetting". We talked about it a lot and what it meant for both of us. I was so checked out that when I came home, I just started doing my thing. I got tired, but rested and then kept going. This morning, I thought nothing of taking Africa to the vet for her teeth cleaning, taking the boys to Joannes to pick up a couple thing Jane and I talked about, and then going to Old Navy to get jeans for Mason. (ALL of his jeans have a hole in the right knee, not the left, all on the right. He is also past the point of accepting patches on his pants. He used to love them - now, NOT GONNA HAPPEN. Whatever!) I got home exhausted, but I wasn't nervous, or anxious, or anything, I was just me. I even started thinking about dinner......like what I was going to make and then I saw a cooler at my front porch and I was like, "OMG, it is Monday and dinner is already here." I totally forgot. Good thing Jill was on top of it, with a cooler and everything. She even brought what I thought about having. Now, that is WEIRD. Well done Jill - you are now clairvoyant!!! So, what do I think about all of this? I think I need to forget more. Let go. Hang it up. Forgetaboutit. How do I plan on doing that? Well, being the type of planning/project manager person that I am, I am going to reinstate "No cancer days" where I don't talk about it, I don't blog about it, I don't do anything with it. It really worked last time. So, if you call me and want to talk about, I may have to tell you that I can't. If you come by and want to talk about it, I may just change the subject. I need to forget. The blog is good for that. I can put my feelings down and then I am done. People can see them if they want and if there is no new post, please assume that everything is fine, that I am just forgetting, or perfectly happy being with my boys and trying to suck every last minute out of summer. If I am in chemo that week, assume that I am sick for at least four days usually more like six. I love the emails that people send, I love to posts to the blog, I love the visits when people drop off food or clean. The part that is hard is when my phone calls and conversations are dominated by cancer. That exhausts me. I know that people are curious, they want to know, help, etc., and I can talk about it for hours - there is a lot to it! When I go somewhere and all I do is talk about cancer, I leave feeling defeated like I don't know anything about the real world - their world, but everyone knows everything about my butt and, worse that "it" is winning by dominating my life. And that I just cannot tolerate. So, here is to NOT talking about cancer, here is to the blog being my engine, and here is to forgetting more!!!! Happy Monday, Ang

Friday, August 13, 2010

Update - Me

Yesterday I had a bunch of appointments and one was with my new colorectal surgeon. I am one of those lucky cancer patients where you can see a tumor site from the outside. Yes, "lucky" is relative. After three chemo appointments, my original tumor site has not changed. That is good. We don't know if it has killed the cancer, but we know that it isn't any bigger because of a thorough exam yesterday. YEAH/yeah. I am happy about it, don't get me wrong, but do I sometimes wish I got a cancer where they can't "feel" it?? You bet! So, the plan now is to do three more treatments of chemo, then do a PET scan and see where we are at. My oncologist was like, "So far so good!" Spare me if I am not as excited as he is, but at least I know what I am doing from now through the end of September. What I think is funny is I am like, "So, when are we going to fillet me like a fish and get'r done?" and they just look at me like, "There is no right answer." I am like, "Yeah, there is. Cut is out - I can be ready like tomorrow....." And they look at me with a mix of, "Wow, nice to have someone so willing to do whatever...." What they don't know is that I am having a harder time going through the chemo center doors. I know - I should be thankful, but it is darn hard. I will get through it - I have to just keep my eye on the prize. What is the prize?? Well, life, but I like to be more specific.......it is 10 years from now tearing my hair out with two teenage sons threatening that I am going to make them drive an Orange Gremlin if they don't shape up (I would do it too!).....the prize is going to Hawaii for a month (Kauai for three weeks in Hanalei Bay renting a house and the Big Island for one week to see the volcanos), Europe the summer before Mason starts working as a family, Kentucky with my Mom and Aunt, an cruise of Greece or Alaska or Scandinavia to St. Petersburg - I am not picky or anything, the Ol' Lahaina Luau on Maui with Grant (someday Honey we will get to Hawaii again for an anniversary. NOTE: Our anniversaries since cancer have been ruled my chemo. Looks like this one will be too. Except last year, we went to visit Jane and Tyrus. I know like WHAT!??!?! Technical failure on that one! I think airfare was cheap....), etc. So, I need to really focus on the prize, fight my hatred of chemo because, after all, I am here because of chemo, and move on, move through, and keep going. I can do - I know I can. Enjoy the sun this weekend! Love, Ang

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Big Big Day

So, today is chemo day and I am trying to get the boys out the door without bothering Grant because Grant has the biggest meeting of CRETE's history today at 1:30. So, I am trying to not have a breakdown before chemo until after he leaves. The kids are in the car and he comes over to me, tells me I am going to do great, I tell him he is going to do great, he kisses my forehead and the tears run down my face. Mason sees and he starts crying. Nolan, as usual, is, "YEAH, we are going to Grandma's after school!" I comfort Mason and he is fine. So, I come in and start getting ready. I have a few things to do and I get the call......(Grant) "It is camping week at school and we forgot to bring Mason's sleeping bag. If you put it out I can swing it by tomorrow." He sounds defeated - Grant hates disappointing Mason like that. I reply with, "No, Jane I and I can swing it by on the way to chemo. Don't worry. I can take care of this." "Oh, great!" with relief in his voice. "Can you surprise him with his lantern also (battery operated)?" "Sure - absolutely." Think about this - I have chemo and Grant has the biggest contract meeting today that will determine whether or not he is just a guy with a shingle hanging out his door (getting by) or a guy with a company that has a future and all we can think about is whether Mason's is the blue sleeping bag or the red one. (They switch all the time and you can't keep it straight!) So, if you happen to read this, can you send out some good karma for Grant/say a little prayer for him/whatever. Whatever happens it will be just fine, but he wants it SOOOOOOOOOOO badly, and, in turn, I want it for him too. What a day and it is only 8:30! Ang

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Just too much.....

So, I have been going along with Jane here. We have gone on summer adventures, I have told Grant to go play golf, I went to my aunt's cabin with the boys and Jane to give Grant a break, I helped with the neighborhood BBQ, etc. etc. etc. I am exhausted. Please don't get me wrong - people are helping me. Without the dinners and Jane, I think I would be dead, not just tired, dead tired. What I realized (with Jane's help), is that I am trying to be me. Active, constantly moving, taking care of everyone......but me. Then Nolan steps in being Nolan. Testing boundaries, testing me, testing Jane, and I LOOSE IT. I am going around with Jane is only here for a couple weeks - so let Grant play and rest, let Mom and Dad rest, so that we can go again. Karissa is busy with three out of school - she needs a rest from me. Problem is - I am not resting. I am having fun, trying to get everything done before Jane leaves and it is actually working against me. GO FIGURE. The cabin was easy - Donna brought everything. All I had to do is get there.....which was okay, but it was the lack of sleep putting two kids back in their sleeping bags, on different schedules because one napped and one didn't, etc and me getting 5 hours or sleep that killed it. Jane offered, but I wanted to be the one that put Nolan back in his sleeping bag. The trip back was hard because Mason got car sick three times. Poor thing - what five year old can grab a ziploc, open it, puke in it, zip it up and continue driving?!?!?! Y'know - it is like, I hadn't LET GO. I did today and Jane did awesome. I still have a little to do before tomorrow hits, but we hit our stride and today is blissful. Nolan in check. I hate cancer. I hate that I have to be sick for days, I hate that it take the precious summer from me, I hate that my friends and family are held hostage with it because of me, I hate that it wins (sometimes). But now, that wouldn't be counting my blessings would it.....because if I turn it around, I wouldn't appreciate my health, I wouldn't have ever known what it is like to be loved THIS MUCH, I would have never know how much I love summer, how badly I love life, and how beautiful life really is.....even with cancer. Jane is taking me to chemo tomorrow....we will have TONS of visit time there. I will miss that girl, but cancer gave me another summer with her. Love, Ang