Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life is gross....

WARNING: This post is not for the weary, but it is funny or, at least, it is to me. ;) Okay, so today is the first day that I have not puked. I actually got two "meals", more like heavy snacks, down with little yogurt to get my system back to "normal". I have lost 14 pounds and if I talk, I cough, so I try not to talk. Yep, Grant is going to be happy about that one! Okay, here is where the gross begins, so don't read it if you can't hack it. Go on....shut down the can do it - you don't need to know this..... Okay, you know when you are sick, you get a very close up view of your toilet. And, when you live with three males, that can get very, well, educational. Since Sunday at 12:30am, I have been puking and it is always that first puke that you say, "God, I hope that is hot cereal." By Tuesday, I think I was just puking because when I got to the toilet it was so gross. You know, the fabulous combination of vomit, poop, pee - can they aim better?, and other things that grow in that environment. Cleaning it would are been an option if I wasn't winded going up the stairs. Wednesday was especially precious. My Mom had Nolan and she was picking up Mason from school. I had until 3:00 to rest. At 1:00, I vomited all over my bed, got the toilet and realized the bucket was downstairs so, I puked and afterward did a "special" load of laundry. As the washer was going, I drew a stiz bath and got in. Oh, here is some 40 year old and older bath etiquette. Go to the bathroom before you get in even if you (apparently) already did - more to follow. Okay, while in the bath, drain, refill, exhausted, lay back, fall asleep and in my stooper wipe my forever running nose and, yes, PUT IN THE WATER like I was in the shower. That is number two - do not confuse shower habits with bath habits. Screw it - I don't care I am getting out and I will rinse off. So, as I get out of the water, I am shocked, but then I remember, oh yeah, that is where I lose hair when I am in chemo. NICE. This is why people use bubbles. So, my Mom comes at 3:00 with the boys after taking care of Nolan all day, and finds me on the bed with no sheets, no mattress cover, and the duvet over me. (This a classic NO NO in my family. You never get on a mattress without at least the cover on it. I don't know why. I imagine it had something to do with resale LONG LONG ago.) Mom took one look at me, I told her what happened, and said, "Angie, I can stay until Grant gets home. Come on, let's make the bed (translation - let ME make the bed, you go pile yourself over there somewhere) and I would stick with showers......" Slowly on the mend, Ang P.S. I did a cursory cleaning of the toilets today and I think it was hot cereal (bath off the kitchen). ;)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Well, this sucks..

Chemo went pretty well and I even went to a party on Saturday night. I only stayed for 90 mins or so, but I showered and did my hair, so it counts! The food was great, but I thought I might pay for it that night. And I did, but then the vomiting continued into Sunday. I didn't feel badly, I would just eat, then vomit, eat, them vomit. I know, I finally figured it out and stopped eating. I thought it might be anxiety and then the fever came. It broke early Monday morning, so I thought I was on the mend. Monday I layed (sp) low with Nolan, Mason when to school, and Mom picked him up for me. Then the headache. GEESHH - can this get more sequential? When Mason got home he told me his ears hurt. I get my scope out and, yep, he has an ear infection. I make an appointment for Tuesday afternoon. Grant stayed home today to help with Nolan, take Mason to the doctor, get the rx, coach soccer practice, and take care of me. Sometime on Monday I got a cough. Mason has been fighting a cough for a while and so has my Mom. GREAT. Tuesday comes - no food in my system for now two days and I vomit. How is that possible? Time to call the oncologist. So, I call down playing everything but asking if I am missing anything. They come back with OTC cough syrup to calm the cough so that I can keep food down. Why didn't I think of that? I even have the cough syrup they recommended. I am SUCH a loser. So now, I am doing better, but not still not eating a lot actually pretty much nothing, but the fever is gone, headache gone and I can go two minutes without coughing. So, this is when I usually get mad. This is suppose to be my good week. When my good week is "taken" from me, I get really upset and wonder how much longer I can do this? I get sick to my stomach thinking about going to chemo without having some good days in between. I think am I ever going to be free of my bed? Will I ever be normal again? I know....I was normal for a whole year. I think I just have to focus on the next whole "normal" year. If it would just get here already!!!!!! ;) Love, Ang

Friday, September 24, 2010

As summer comes to an end....

As I finish up this round of chemo, I have been thinking a lot about summer. How I really only missed a couple things and how thankful I was to have a really great summer despite the weather and the chemo. The only two nice days - I was in chemo. NICE. We had the normal camping trips and, as usual, we got in trouble with the park ranger. This is actually a good story..... So, at Mt. Rainier campgrounds, you can bring bikes for kids to ride on. No trikes, no scooters..nothing but bikes. Well, we got in trouble last year because we brought scooters anyway. This year, Karissa and I decided to be good and we brought bikes. However, Karissa's kids brought a thing, that I don't know the name of, but you lay on your back and go under a car to fix it with. They didn't bring the big one of that, but the little wheeled cart that you put parts on and roll under the car with you. They also brought a jump rope. This is how it went - they tied the jump rope to the back of a bike, put a helmet on, and sat on the little wheeled cart. Looked like fun to me, but I was like, "How long is this going to last?" and "How many years - in a row - can we get in trouble?" Well, as our kids are WHIPPING around the campground gleefully screaming with delight other parents are looking at us like we are NUT BARS. News flash - we are NUT BARS! The ranger didn't catch us until day two. That was the funny part - this "ranger" that looked like he was twelve stopped by the kids in his golf cart and says, "Kids, this is not allowed and not safe." Get this - NOLAN counters. Not Quinn, not Grace, not Emma, not Mason, NOLAN - the 3 year old. I was going to jump in, but then I hung back thinkin' this could be fun.......and it was. Nolan looking up and explaining to the "ranger" that it was safe because they had helmets on. "It's okay! We got helmets!" The "ranger" actually started discussing it with the 3 year old negotiator and not so quickly realized that that was kinda....well, not going to work. There is no winning with Nolan. At three, he is a better attorney than most attorneys. He started looking around for the parents of this crew. I think Karissa dove behind the tent because it was pretty much me and five kids all of the sudden. Husbands gone too. I took pity on the child ranger and in my best, whatever-could-be-the-matter voice said, "They are mine. What can I do you for?" He explained to me that this was entirely unsafe and not allowed. I love it when twelve year olds tell me what to do with my kids. I told him that I would take care of it and with a "Kids - their park, their rules" the ecstatic screeching around the campground ended. If I had a picture of Nolan with his hands on his hips explaining it though it would have been perfect. But then that would have given me away with the flash and all..... hehehe We did attend the Puyallup Fair this year and we did do Mutton Bustin'. No champs this year, but Mason and Nolan got on those sheep like they owned them and their Mama was very proud of their bravery. And, after all, Mason did get second place in the tractor pull to a seven year old which I think it pretty darn good! So, all in all, it was a great summer and I was glad to have it. Here is to getting in trouble next year!!! Love, Ang

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Update - on me

Well, since I did so well on my "exam" with my colorectal surgeon saying, "I am very happy, and this is noticeably smaller", my oncologist and I decided that while we have this thing on the run, but not gone, we would give it a couple extra shots of chemo before my next scan. So, my scan has been moved to next month and I will do two more hits of chemo (not including the one I am in right now) and then we will see how this all comes out. Thought I should let you know...back to the, me

Friday, September 17, 2010

Survey and Great News

Okay, so when you live this long with a "terminal" condition, researchers like to talk to you and, well, I love to talk, so it is a win win. My last call was last week. They asked me the same questions - lifestyle, eating habits, exercise, and the emotional stuff. For example, "Are you depressed some of the time, most of the time, a little, not at all?" Most of my answers go like this - a little, not much, NO!, that is crazy - life is terminal!, SERIOUSLY?!?! And then the dreaded "support" questions come. The support questions always are hard for me because I again realize how many people support me to do what I do......and I choke up. A LOT. Are there people to take you your appointments? Do you feel like you can ask someone to help you out? Do you have the financial resources to "afford" your condition? Do people bring you food? Do you have adequate child care? Do you have a supportive partner? Now, let's step back....these calls are scheduled calls that take 45 mins to an hour. I complete them in 35 mins, but then, by now, I should be a pro. Before I get on these calls, I typically refocus my brain to NOT CRY during the support questions. Sometimes that is in addition to a wee bit of wine if I can stomach it or medication. When I get off the call I am so grateful for my situation and then I cry. Not for myself, but for the person to says, "No, I don't have someone to drive me, feed my family, or help out. I don't have adequate child care, friends, or a supportive partner." Exhale. Breathe. Pray. Pray for them, be grateful for me, and try to feel the feeling rather than use humor to hide it. On my last call, I said, "You know, I think people are like, 'God! Will she be cured or die already - I am sick of bringing her food!'" Just to clarify, yes mother, that comment was VERY timely and appropriate in our conversation. Mind you, she (my Mom) will march into a school and slam everybody for what is wrong with a lunch, but she is concerned about my sarcasm with a research associate. I know, but I digress. I do love her so. Anyway, when we ended the call it ended with, "Angela, it was great talking to you again, we will talk again soon - you know, you are REALLY lucky." And I ended it with, "And you don't even know on how many levels." Click. Cry. Breathe. Exhale. Wine. Cry. Move on. Okay, let's shift gears..... Here is the great news. I got to see my colorectal surgeon and get an exam WITH HIS INTERN, but that is not the great news. The great news is that my RECTAL lesion is "considerably smaller" and he is "very happy." Chemo is working - thank God - again, it is working - thank GOD. Happy weekend - love to you all and again, thank you for your love, your support and for making my life possible. I couldn't do it without you. Love, Ang

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mason's First Day

So much has happened since my last post.....I had a mini vacation from chemo (changed schedules from Thursday to Tuesdays which afforded me Mason's first day of school, Labor Day Weekend and even a drink with ice in it because the side effect wore off enough). I loved my mini vacation, but on the 7th it was back to the grind. This treatment was a bit rough, but things are back to normal and I am up at 4:00am again. I have one more treatment now before my scan, but that is not why I am writing. I am writing about Mason. The last month has been nerve wracking for me. This kindergarten thing is not for the weak. There is "testing", there are supplies to be purchased that are quite specific, there are lunch boxes to be chosen, lunch items to be obtained, backpacks to be labeled, etc. I guess it was just really difficult for me because I have such a predetermined schedule that has about 72 people all going in the same direction taking care of, well, my "everything". Mason, Nolan, Grant, the yard, the house, the list goes on and on. So, the first day of school comes and we are ready - camcorder, camera, the entire family walking to school, the weather is perfect, Mason is STOKED, Nolan is confused and already missing his brother, and I am talking to Mason saying, "Okay, so you are going to meet your new teachers today. They are there for your education and your safety - listen to them - Okay? As long as they don't ask you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable, you listen to them." Now, as you know, I have already "checked" these teachers out, I have been to the school, talked to everyone I know, done all that I can before I let go of his hand and give him over to the Kent Public School System. Did I cry? No. Did I panic? No. I thought I would do both. Now, remember Mason has been in daycare one to two days a week since he was 16 months old, and here is he funny part, when I dropped him off at daycare, I never called, I never worried, I never was concerned. Mason got hurt, I would sign the form. Teachers would have meetings with me about "goals" and I would say, "Can you teach him to love learning?" I didn't care about 1 to 100 or the alphabet. I just wanted him happy to be there. To have the opportunity to learn and be taught. I trusted them completely. Maybe it was because I understood how it worked after working for a "daycare". I knew how they counted, how they kept tract, all the things they looked for, and all they things they did. But this, this was different. Now, I was giving my walking, talking, smart, kind, amazing, little boy to a system where you throw your backpack by the outside door and go play in the school yard until the bell rings - HE IS FIVE! Okay, so fast forward, he does great. He has his backpack and lunchbox, he marches up to the teachers, shakes their hand (I am not kidding), introduces himself and sits where directed in the multi purpose room. Then, after getting all the kids, for lack of a better term tagged and branded, they took them to their classrooms. It was chaos, but he just followed, giving me a kiss on the way by. He marched into his classroom, found his desk, sat down and looked........comfortable...........relaxed..........thrilled.............ready and BIG. There are people everywhere. It is noisy and confusing (for the parents). I am taller than most of the people so I can see pretty much everything that is going on. Cameras, flash, a beautiful day, my boy in school, Nolan climbing on his Dad for any bit of attention, and then the realization that I am done here and there is nothing for me to do for Mason until 2:53 when I pick him up. I don't cry, I don't even want to. I am actually so proud just looking at him, seeing him, seeing his first day of school. Grant and I look at each other and exhale. Now, this all sounds like a nice story and all, but if you have been reading my blog for a while you know that there is a cancer, here is it. At 2:53, I picked Mason up. I have Nolan with me and Mason is thrilled. He is talking 200 words a minute telling me all about school and how great it is. There is again chaos, noise, kids everywhere, buses, children crying, lost, parents, etc, but it is all silenced by these words, "But Mommy, I wasn't allowed to eat my lunch. It was rejected. We don't make good food choices." I shake my head like I am trying to get the words out of it. I get them in the car and ask for Mason's lunch box. It was full. I am frantically thinking of what just happened as Mason tells me that he had to order an "Uncrustable" (which he doesn't like nor do I - do you know what are in those????), grapes, and chocolate milk. I think, well, maybe everyone gets lunch on the first day? No, that can't be. Oh well, maybe they missed the cheese in his lunch. Wait a minute, why are they looking at his lunch? There are lunch police? No one told me there were expectations about this and, WTF?!?!?!?!, we eat better than 90% of the population!!!" (My Mom and Grandma were WAY ahead of the curve with antibiotics, hormones, organic, etc. - in the 70s - however, I do have a weakness for fries...but I digress....) Now, lets remember, I have a fair amount of steroids in my system from the cancer treatment. I get home and I am stuck in this place of "they just didn't see" to "where was the lunch expectations memo" to "how is an Uncrustable a good food choice?" etc, and then I get the phone call from the school district with a recording of essentially, "YOU OWE US MONEY FOR LUNCH." REALLY. SERIOUSLY. Let's see, I provided a perfectly good lunch, you refused to let my son eat it, you ordered him a lunch which I would not consider a good food choice, and now I have to pay for it. OMG. So, who did I call? My Mom...yep, and the hell storm that came from that was earth moving. My Mom then emailed me all the nutritional data from my lunch and from the lunch provided, she advised me that I should go back to the school, throw the lunch on the table, and demand to know what is wrong with it and demand that I am not charged for the lunch that was ordered for me. Okay, so noted. So, then I call my friends with kids in school. NO ONE has heard of this and all say, "Ang, you gotta get this worked out...this is nuts...YOU? Bad food choices for your kids???" I am like, "I KNOW!" Then, my Mom calls back, and my Dad takes the phone..."Angie, you will take care of this. They were wrong. You will smile nicely, explain, and they don't have a leg to stand on. This will all get worked out. You know you provided a good lunch." And then it happened, I started sobbing. It was more than the lunch, it was Mason now questioning all of our dinner choices. It was him believing that he was doing something wrong and if you know him, he is the best eater bar none in the five year old category. He eats well and even tells me that he needs to stop eating junk food (which he considers popcorn). I KNOW! I cried off and on to the point that Grant said, "Ang, you gotta step back." I am thinking steroids, mixed with the lack of control of my life with cancer, mixed with a Mom's desire to provide food for her child. Yeah, that is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. The next morning I take Mason to school with a packed lunch and arrive a bit early. I take an anti anxiety pill as to not verbally vomit all over the teacher and knock on his classroom door and she comes. In perfect time, I explain what happened, she apologizes to me, but more importantly to Mason, and we agreed that we will differ to "Mason has a lunch". So, within 24 hours, I went from telling Mason to listen to his teachers, to telling them, "No thank you, I have my own lunch." I am out $20 because you can't pay the school district any less for school lunches, but oh well, and thinking to myself, you know, my Mom takes care of Mason every other week and God help you, if you "reject" her lunch! ;) Love, Ang