Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas!

I can't say that I have anything to say but..............Merry Christmas!!!!  May you and your have the greatest and peaceful of Christmases!!!!  Love, Angie, Grant, Mason and Nolan

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Someone asked me the other day

how many Christmases since Nolan has been born have your been off treatment.  Well, this is his forth Christmas and this is the second Christmas I have been out of treatment since he was born.  So, 50% of the Christmases that he has been alive, I have been sick.  Pretty bad odds for a little one, but when I look at the Christmas album, we sure did a lot and they sure seemed happy....  So, here is an update.  I saw the esophagus doc and after interviewing and examining me he said, "Well, since you probably want to focus on the holidays the next few weeks and I think the odds of this being a problem (translation...the veins in my lower esophagus bursting and me bleeding out due to the high amount of blood thinners I am on) is pretty minimal, why don't we wait until after Christmas?"  ENOUGH SAID.  BUT, I had to get "permission" from Hank.  Hank said, "If he said so, I think you can wait, MERRY CHRISTMAS!"  I returned the email in seconds with, "Happy Hanukkah!" Like SEE YA!!!  Poor oncologists...they really get the shaft cause I ain't going to the building for nothin' until my appointment to get a scope down my throat which is scheduled on December 29th.  So, truly, I have been enjoying the holiday season.  There was a little snafu with a possible refinance, but that is over.  We didn't do it because get this.....we can't get a better rate than we have because.....now wait for it.....this is FRICKIN' classic......we don't owe enough money.  We can't get a loan to redo our bathrooms because of the "current state of the banking industry".  So, 16 years ago, when Grant and I had NO ASSETS, NO LIFE INSURANCE, etc. they qualified us for a bazillion dollars for a home loan.  Of course, that was Washington Mutual who now is out of business and the largest banking failure in the 21st century, but nevermind.  Now that we have back up and a good chance I am going to kick it and leave a bunch of money to Grant, they don't want anything to do with us.  GOTTA LOVE IT.  So, no bathrooms, no refinance, and WHATEVER.  I have bigger problems!  So, besides that, life has been great and almost too busy.  I think my eyes were bigger than my energy.  For example, last weekend, I had us fully booked with holiday fun and by Sunday at 1, I was done for.  Like in my PJs at 1pm, done for.  So, if I don't show up for something, forgive me, I am not used to this being healthy thing.  Oh, I should tell you two things....one, when I was meeting with the esophagus guy, he was like, "Your counts are low (meaning blood).  They should have bounced back by now.  Do you feel tired?"  I was like, "Oh, look at my crit (sp)."  He replies, "Yeah, that is good.  That is why you don't feel tired, but..."  Quickly, I interject, 'Yeah, but my crit is good!"  Funny part....I don't even know what a 'crit' is!!!!!!!  WHEW, dodged that one.  Seriously, you can't say do this after Christmas and then start talking about something else that could screw up my holiday.  Nope...don't gonna happen!  Serpentine, serpentine, serpentine!  Also, funny Nolan story, so I am walking to school with Nolan to pick up Mason and Mia and he is going on about how he is saving his money for a pirate ship, cannon, and gun.  He said, "Mommy, I can't quite afford the cannon, so I think I will just get the ship and gun."  I thought about it and said, "Well Nolan, Mommy and Daddy don't have a gun and we haven't really needed one.  Plus, used pirate ships come usually fully equipped with cannons.  And if you have cannons you can probably get the bad guys, so that they don't get on the ship and then you don't need a gun."  "Really Mommy?"  "I think so, but I have never been a pirate."  "Good idea Mommy!"  Long pause.  "Mommy, when I am done being a pirate at the end of the day (Nolan thinks pirates have shift work and that it is like 8-5 and then you go home to your family - I know - hilarious and I can't tell him different!), I am going to come home to you.  Carter (his best friend) will live next door with his family.  But I will come home."  "Okay, Nolan."  "See, Mommy, pirate ladies are not very pretty and you are, so I am coming home to you."  Sweet moment, but don't get comfortable with it - this is NOLAN we are talking about.  Short Pause.  "Well, thank you Nolan.  That was nic..."  Nolan interrupts, "But not when you are yelling.  You are VERY ugly when you are yelling."  Yep, there it is.....another "teachable moment" I get do deal with.  Exhale.  "So, Nolan, have we not talked about why Mommy yells?"  No lie.....you can hear Nolan roll his eyes and say, "Yes MUMMMY!"  And, we continue off to school......  Happy Wednesday, Ang

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I am fine...really!

Hey, I am starting to get the "haven't seen anything on the blog for a while", phone hang ups as not to bother me, and call waiting going but no message.  I know I haven't gotten back to people and for that I am sorry.  I am doing great.  I see the liver guy on Friday for my first appointment and then we will probably scope sometime after that.  It is too soon to know if anything is a problem, so I am just rolling with that.  Things are busy and I am on the phone a lot (why I don't click over many times) with long distance mortgage lenders (yes, we might be refinancing, but it is a long shot), insurance, etc.  I am fine....I am actually lovin' life and having fun getting ready for Mason's birthday and Christmas!!!  Thank you for all the love, Ang

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Scan this morning; results already?

GREAT NEWS - No growth anywhere.  So, my little three spots remain three little spots and I have just bought some more time to get to cyberknife with software which they should be done installing by now and starting to test!  This also means that I have the holidays.....OMG, that feels so good.....there is something that Hank wants to physically see me about.  Something about my liver, but that is not new...I can't remember what he said cause I was basking in the holidays without chemo.  I made an appointment for Tuesday of next week to go over whatever he said.....I have the holidays........YIPPEE!!  So, I can trash my backup schedule of doing chemo and which weeks would "work"...I don't even know how much time he is giving me until my next scan....and frankly I don't care - I HAVE THE HOLIDAYS!!!!!!  More next week - love, Ang

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sometimes, I am completely astonished....

Right now, it is because of the weather.  Yeah, it is cold, but it is BEAUTIFUL and since I don't have a cold sensitivity because of chemo, I am lovin' it.  The colors are amazing and I am so...happy, like real genuine happy.  Another is who I hear from on my blog.  Wow, never thought I would see, talk, type to, any of those people again, but it is nice to see their names on my blog.  The last is my family and friends .  I had no idea what cool people I know and now that I can track and remember things better is it really sinking in.  Not just what they do for me, but how they think and what they believe.  I think I finally became a cool kid.  And, if I am not, I sure as hell think I am!!!!!  :)  Have a great week!  Love, Ang

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

So, my status has not changed from the last

video
but I have been to NYC since then!  So, much seemed to have happened since the 17th of October.  Nolan somehow understands that he was frozen (as an embryo) because he said to me the other day in the truck, "Mommy, remember when I was laughing at you when YOU were in kindergarten?"  I replied in a blahsay (sp) way, "Nolan, you were not alive then.."  "Yes, I was!  I was in the freezer!"  Crap, I really shouldn't have read my pregnancy journal to him QUITE yet.  Soccer season is over and Grant successfully coached two teams - WHEW!  Nolan has turned into quite the soccer player.  See attached video.  He is actually stomping on a grasshopper during a corner kick.  Yes, that is him scoring also.  :)  Mason is turning 13, I mean 7 soon, and REFUSES to let me touch him at school, but I force him to acknowledge me.  Since when has my parenting technique equaled "dude"????  And then when I think my scan is on the 17th of this month and I either continue like this until they are ready for me in cyberknife, or I do chemo light until cyberknife, or I end up going back into chemo, I really do just push it from my mind.  I still have one trip to go and lots of minutes NOT to worry about it.  Funny thing keeps coming back to me from when I was on my trip with Grant for our anniversary.  We do "High Point, Low Point" of the previous year.  I know what my Low Point was.  It was when I planned my funeral in detail and appointed a group of three people to execute my plan.  What got me in this was the unbelievable number of High Points I had in spite of my "condition."  How can life to so happy and so sad?  I guess it has a funny way of showing you that, sometimes, the path is hard but the nuggets you get along the way are precious.  Happy Wednesday, Ang

Monday, October 17, 2011

Results of Friday

Well, turns out I was neither in trouble or brilliant, BUT I got all that I wanted.  I am the first on the table for Cyberknife with the software (meaning no markers in my lungs), but they need one month to install it and 2 and a half months to test it.  So, we are buying time.  How Hank wants to handle that is that I get ALL my trips, but right after my last one in mid November, I have to go in for a PET/CT.  It I am stable, we wait.  If there are more, I am probably back in chemo, BUT if they stay to three and just get bigger, we will buy time by doing chemo light which isn't so bad.  So, there is a chance that I could have the holidays W/O chemo  or on a light chemo and that would be just fine by me!  Happy Monday, Ang

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I may lose more weigh than on chemo...

I used to eat breakfast.  In fact, I really like breakfast; however, now, by the time I get to breakfast, Nolan has gotten a hold of the kitchen and is doing his daily recipe.  (I have limited him to one a day.)  Recipes with Nolan will not only curb your appetite, they eliminate it.  For example, today, he made flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and egg yolk.  Okay, that wasn't so bad, but then he added rubbed sage, soy sauce, salt, baking powder and whipped cream.  Then, he required me to beat the egg white into stiff peaks (he actually said, "Stiff, not soft Mommy.") and put it in the frig until tomorrow for waffles.  We are currently simmering the flour, soy sauce, sage, cinnamon, salt , sugars, baking powder, and whipped cream on "2" for 51 minutes.  If this is how chefs are born, I have a new found respect for their mothers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

So, that was interesting!

So, Grant and I returned from a short trip to Galiano Island for our anniversary. I crossed the border (Galiano is one of the Gulf Islands on the Canada side...) with my new passport. It was the perfect getaway. Grant and I haven't been somewhere that sleepy since getting a flat tire in the "little car" in Tahis which is a wickedly long story that I tell WAY better than Grant does - stupid Karst topography! Anyway, we had a great time. The food (when it was available) was EXCELLENT, the hikes breathtaking, and the kayak trip amazing but only after the safety orientation that freaked me out so badly, I escaped before we did the dock dismount screaming, "Yes, I have sunscreen!" (very thorough orientation) and promptly ran into a boat in the harbor. I was fine after my mental readjustment of, "S..T, I am GOOD at this and I have bigger problems than F.....N sea kayaking!" :) Monday morning, I got the call with the plan. It started with, "You have been the topic of conversation with lots of people the last few days....after discussing it with all of them both Friday and today, we have decided that (basically) to do nothing because general radiation had a higher probability for doing more harm than if we waited to see if 1) they grew or 2) they spread. Now, I know that hearing, "Do nothing for three months" may sound scary, but I actually get it. See, there is a kind of art form to this and if, say they did general radiation and something then popped up very close to that area later, we could do more damage than good, and we could be SCREWED. That is why they originally wanted to do Cyberknife because it is WAY more accurate and, still dealing with the collateral damage that I have from my pelvic radiation, I get it. He explained it so much that I actually stopped him and said, "Four and a half years ago I wouldn't have understood this, but remember I have had pelvic radiation. I know what you are saying." Now, you may remember from my last post, he didn't want to do cyberknife because there would have to be too many markers put in for three spots in my left lung and there was too much of a chance of a hole in my lung, BUT there is software out there that can do it WITHOUT markers but the physicists are not ready yet....well, listen up....SOOOOO I said, "You know, I have been thinking a lot about this too, and I actually have some thoughts. May I share? "Absolutely!" "Okay, I get that we do nothing, but I was on chemo light..blah...blah...blah..and it worked on my lungs taking away all the spots. My life was actually okay on this, so how about I work with Hank, but I think I could buy some time using that or waiting, whatever Hank thinks, but in the meantime would it be at all possible for me to meet the physicists to talk to them, help them, whatever to get to the place where they are comfortable with the software, the "marker" issue then is gone (no lung leakage), and then we can do cyberknife? I know this may be out of bounds for a patient, and not possible, but if I were able to "be real" it may help, but I don't want to be presumptuous...." Pause because he pauses a fair amount. "I think it is an excellent plan. Better than ours." Pause. Pause again. (I am doing something between an imaginary high five and cheerleader jump - silently, or course.) "Okay....so....where do we go.....I will talk to the docs with this plan, but you have to see Hank this week and discuss this with him....and I will talk to my physicists and, either the idea of you wanting to meet them or if you do, this will be good." "I don't mean to be pushy, but I am interested and sometimes interest motivates." "Yes, it does Angie - excellent." I meet with Hank on Friday at 3:20.....God, I hope I am not in trouble, but it is all I got and my Mamma (and Pappa) taught me to use what I got (legally of course). Love, Ang P.S. By the way, they have all concluded that the "spot" in my right side is so stable that it is most likely and believe that it is scar tissue. Angie 1 Cancer 3; more to come...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

To Cyber or not to cyber....

I am going to write this today, but I am not sure how it will come off. I had a very good appointment. I like the doc very much and please know that my intention is to pro tray an accurate account from my perspective, but these appointments can be very complex and while I follow most of it, I cannot always remember the words that they use and I certainly cannot spell them, so here we go.....I met with the Cyberknife doc yesterday. I got there at 10 for my appointment and I saw him at around 10:50 - that is like lighting, so I was impressed. He had clearly gone over my medical records and understood my case well. He reviewed it with me. Do they they know how upsetting that is? It is like reliving it....."You must have been diagnosed right after your second child was born? That must have been rough. And metastasized cancer at that...wow, you have really been through it."...."Yes, when I received your file, it is on its third volume and lays flat at about 6 inches tall. When I think that every single piece of paper represents a day in the hospital, it reminds me how much you have been through." I have learned to separate myself from this dialog. I can speak about it like it was not really me. It is the only way I have figured out how to deal with it. So, now we get into the appointment..."textbook theory says that we should treat this with a more systemic approach (meaning chemo) because we don't know if tumors feed other/new tumors or if it was always there and we couldn't see it, have you ever been told that?"...."in your case, you have done so well with alternative forms and after lung surgery, you were in remission for over a year which would lead me to believe that this could have the same result, but it is hard to know"....."if we can do no harm, that would be the best, but your case is interesting because we usually don't treat three spots at a time" (yep that is right THREE)....."There just are not a lot of cases like yours. You are so young." AND that is where I stopped him....."Yes, yes, and I am still alive." "Yes, and in good shape. Your lungs don't wheeze and you don't experience shortness or breath (am I supposed to?), you look very well (am I supposed to look like crap?) and after everything you have been through (ENOUGH ALREADY!)....." (Trail off onto another thought). So, here is the skinny....he doesn't know if cyberknife is the way to go. I have three teeny tiny spots in my left lung. One in each lobe which explains to me why my surgeon said he would do too much damage. They are not close together - where did I get that from!?!?!? I also have a slightly larger spot on my right that apparently has been there for a while, but does not light up on the PET. Because cyberknife uses gold marker to track the tumor, that would be markers in three spots in my left lung which means there is a 50% chance of a phemothorax (air leakage out of my lung). I was like, "Been there and done that. I can do it." He looked at me like I had six heads and said, "Yes, but I don't want to." Can I say, whimpy???? Apparently, there is software that will allow the machine to do it WITHOUT markers, but the physicists that do that part "are not comfortable" with it yet......I was like, "With that personality type, they never will be. Give them a deadline and tell them I am coming!" Apparently, it doesn't work that way at Swedish. WHATEVER. So, now my case is going up against the tumor board on Friday morning to discuss this. His immediate thought was that we would do general radiation, but he is not sure whether we should do all three spots at the same time or not, but they are small so I could probably handle the radiation......yadda yadda yadda." As for the left, he is thinking about treating it. It may be a "Do Three, Get One Free" deal. I am not sure. He went over all the possible things that could go wrong and honestly, they have NOTHING on radiation to my ASS. When I reminded him of that, he was like, "Well, yeah there is that...you have been through it. (Really - more of that?)Here is the good news, "None of these (spots) are life threatening right now, so we have some time. We will come up with the best treatment options with the highest probability of success with the least amount of risk, discomfort, pain,......" So, Monday he will call me (I asked him not to call me Friday) and tell me the plan which will not really be the plan, it will be what tests I need to sign up for so that they can research whatever initial plan they discuss on Friday, only to be changed possibly....this could take some time, and secretly, I am hoping it take to about November 14th. As for this weekend, I am going to enjoy my anniversary with my husband. Seventeen years on Sunday. Happy weekend, Ang

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ready for tomorrow...

So, my consult is tomorrow for cyberknife. When I have told people that I am going to do cyberknife and they either have me spell it or they say, "Wha?" I just tell them it is the last of cancer treatments that I have NOT done and I don't want to leave any stone unturned - y'know, like my Mom and turkey recipes. I am excited for tomorrow. I have seen cyberknife in action through my cancer buddy, but I have never done it myself. I hope that this works. On the home front, my life is blissfully normal. I have even felt that I can take another kid on afterschool for care - I know, am I high??? No, I adore her and if she needs it, I am ready for it. Also, the aftermarket third row seat for my Explorer is coming soon! Which makes me feel like a real mom with drop offs and pick ups and carpools and everything that I want. Now, if I can just survive Nolan recipes that he makes up in his head of oil, water, dill weed, Johnny's seasoning salt, cinnamon, etc.......Love, Ang

Friday, September 30, 2011

And the treatment is Cyberknife!

Yeah - I don't have to do chemo - YEAH! I will fill you in more when I do. My oncologist say that the cyberknife guys were "salivating" over wanting to treat me - so, hey, what is a girl to do!?!?!?! I meet with them on Wednesday the 5th....more to come.....Happy weekend, Ang

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wyoming Wedding Weekend

The last time I posted, I didn't mention that I was getting on a plane the next day to go to Sheridan, Wyoming for a wedding. I know - Sheridan - where the heck is Sheridan?!?!?! Get a map - no one just knows where that is unless you are from there. One of my college roommates is from there and lives there now. I have never had a reason to go there, pass through, etc. but a wedding is a pretty important event, so I thought, "Now, is the time." So, off I went with another college girlfriend. I didn't have much time to process or change gears, so I told my friends that we were NOT talking about it and definitely NOT telling the bride. It was HER weekend. We flew to Billings and drove down to Sheridan blowing into town just in time for a shower for Lisa (the bride) which was GREAT timing. I met so many people that I had heard about, but never seen. I saw her Mom who I hadn't seen in 20 years and finally met her "puppy", 92 pound Otis. We laughed, told stories, ate and had a really good time. All Lisa could say was, "This is so weird being on this side of stuff." Meaning she ain't never been the Bride. Lisa has such positive energy; a full of life sort of person. Nothing really ever gets her down and, quite frankly, even if it does, she processes through it so quickly with such perspective you hardly notice her doing it. The next day we decorated for the rehearsal dinner which was a Luau (something I always think of when I think of Wyoming). It was 15 miles out of town in the thriving metropolis of Story, WY population 848 which was more than Banner which had 40 people. I was fine until the first drive out there. See, driving in Wyoming is like driving through an animal refuge 24/7. We had to stop to let a flock of turkey cross the road and there were several deer, raccoons, and other unable to identify carcasses on the side of the road. I was fine until someone hit a deer on the way to rehearsal dinner. Some of you may remember that Grant and I have a problem with skidding through herds of deer in Montana (totalling a vehicle), hitting dear in Eastern Washington and even catapulting a deer on the way back from Anacortes, WA (totalling another vehicle!). After that, I was on high alert and followed any car, going any speed, as long as they had a bull bar. My poor girlfriend, Michelle, who was with me, just rolled her eyes. Saturday we went out to a Eaton's Dude Ranch (oldest in the States), for a "FUN RUN" that by description didn't sound like fun. Michelle got out of running because we were late. Apparently, when getting directions you have to ask what the definition of a "T" in the road is because, Hand to GOD, that was a "Y". Also, the term, "where the road ends" can mean when it changes to a different Highway number, NOT from concrete to gravel. I had a tough time with North too because, I couldn't tell where the sun came up. The sky all looked the same. No mountains or water for reference - they were all mountains and no water!!! Next time, I am buying the GPS and renting a car with a BULL BAR! We then "ran" back to get ready and out for the wedding. This unfortunately is when I had my episode (bowel). I got through the wedding which was in the woods (but luckily facilities were near by), but I was driven home, tucked into bed and left to rest until I got it together before the reception. I didn't miss anything, just realized that I probably did too much and my colon can't do all that. Imagine me being me and draggin my colon along - quite a picture right? The reception was in barn - cleanest barn I had ever seen - with the "Dawg" house next door with the Nebraska/Wyoming game on. We lit sky lanterns into the sky (during a burn ban) and everyone was asking me if this was legal. I was like, "Yes, but if it isn't, we are doing it anyway, so ENJOY!" The band was all country, and I am surprised at how many of the songs I knew! We ended the night helping Otis, yep, the dog, get home and spent the morning with Lisa's family for breakfast. Wow, they can make breakfast! I stuffed my bag full of all the boy treasures of Cowboy Country - Pop Pistols, real cowboy rope, and a real dude ranch horse shoe and back to Billings we went. They put my bag through the x-ray machine - can you imagine what that looked like???? Guns, rope and a big metal dirty horse shoe. No wonder it went through twice! I am surprised I didn't have to open it. Like Michelle says, "I don't feel any safer with them." When I got home, the boys asked if they were now real cowboys now and I say, "For sure! You got the rope!" I have been roped, lassoed, and tied. I had a very nice evening and then it started to sink in......emails were returned and I learned that Hank spoke with Grant on Friday night (who decided not to tell me until this morning - good man), that my lung surgeon says surgery is not the best option because the my spots are so small. Now, we are onto radiation oncology for cyperknife...and again, I am one step closer to chemo. I cried because I don't want to be one step closer to chemo and I think back to the weekend where I was making plans to go back to Wyoming with my boys for camping, fishing, dude ranching, and ATV fun not ever believing that I would not be there. It is nice to think that way sometimes....if only for a moment. Love, Ang

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Good news is that

I found my dill weed. Bad news is that I didn't get a clean scan. I have three small spots in my left lung that are not showing up on the PET scan, but are showing up on the CT which is a bit mysterious. I meet with my oncolgist next Thursday to discuss options. My cancer is back. I got six weeks off. More when I know it. I am numb. Love, Ang

Monday, September 19, 2011

Scan tomorrow

Nothing is "wrong", but this is my final clearance scan. I was supposed to do it right after my last treatment, but that was August and, remember, I took August off. So, when I called on August 30th to schedule, I could not get in until tomorrow, the 20th. Clearly, I have hit the "B" priority list. Sometimes that is a GOOD thing. Here is the problem.....you think you are handling everything so well, you are confident that you will have a clean scan, you have it all together, you are back and, then, like in my case, you can't find the dried dill weed that you JUST bought at the grocery store and you loose it. My cousin's son is dead, my chemo friend is BACK in chemo, I have another friend that is having major issues right now, and then, I have a scan and will I, once again, be a suck on the side of the earth? Yeah...I was a hot mess. Poor Grant didn't see it coming and I think really thought it was about dill weed. My evening ended reading to Nolan in bed and falling asleep with him. Man that kid moves a lot! I am better today, probably because I had no sleep and I haven't eaten a carb all day for prep, so I don't have the energy to be a hot mess. I will be okay either way - I am just scared. It is like PTSD....and it stinks! Love, Ang

Friday, September 16, 2011

I just got home from the second of

three funerals that my cousin and her family have to attend. She and I are cousins by marriage, so we have no blood relation, but we have known each other for something like 28 years. We were born days from one another and both are Geminis. We have a lot in common, and as with my blood relation girl cousin, she is stunning, perfectly thin, and I pale in both of their shadows. (I come from good stock, but my Dad screwed me up!) But, like both of these cousins, they are some of my greatest fans, and love me genuinely. I was at my Aunt's house for canning peaches and pears last weekend. I got there on Friday and that is when they found my cousin's eldest son. He had died under a tree as a result of a motorcycle accident. 22 years old. Navy Man. I comforted my Aunt and Uncle. I offered my help, but really all I could do is can peaches - they weren't getting any greener and my Aunt was busy. So, I did. They went to her side. I didn't feel it was appropriate for me to go so soon. I took care of the dog, made my Uncle a sandwich, and I didn't cry. I was busy....and numb. Young, healthy, just coming into his own, and poof, he is gone. I really didn't cry until I came home and saw Grant. A horrible accident. One could blame the bike, one could blame the road, but really there is nothing to blame. It is just a horrible accident and, unfortunately, the horrible accident happen to him. I saw her at the service at Mt. Tahoma National Cemetery. I didn't feel like I should interrupt her - there was so much family. So, I didn't and it wasn't until she was in the car to leave that she glanced up and saw me. She pointed directly to me and said, "You. I want to see you." She asked that I attend the gathering afterward, and, of course, I said, "If you want me there, I will." "I do." "Okay." I love her. I really do. I know that I am only the step, but we are family. At the reception, we shared words that only moms and family can share. We cried and we laughed and I was so proud of the strength and the grace that she had for all this. I pray for her to get through this, but how do you do that? How? So, as I came home with one of the bouquets because they didn't have enough space in the family's car, I initially wanted to give them to someone...anyone....but when I tried, I couldn't and for a brief moment, I felt peace. He was still here, in the flowers, in the air, comforting his Mom, Dad, and Sister. Keep the flowers and smile....... Love, Ang P.S. For those of my sick friends (which accounts for most of them), yes, my house is sparkling clean, I have canned pears, pickles, dilly beans, and called family friends for the recipes and how the canned the soup they brought me when I was sick. IT IS HOW I MOURN!!!! Logical? No. Productive? EXTREMELY!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

Last weekend, I ate a peach and the juice smooshed out the sides of my mouth, I cuddled with the kids in the morning with, of course, the smell behind the ears, I got bruised by my son, I ate three meals without substituting one with liquid shake, I ran through the sprinkler, I cleaned up the garage, I visited with neighbors, and I painted the mail kiosk in our neighborhood. As my neighbor says, "A healthy Angie is a busy Angie." It was Labor Day Weekend after all! Love, Ang

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The transition has been okay for me

but it is interesting. I am, finally, for the first time, seeing it from other people's point of view. Example one, Grant does not want to leave me or me and the kids alone. WEIRD. This was not part of our relationship and now I realize that I have "commanded" that he go away to escape me. Apparently, if I do not "command" it, he feels guiltly. This was NOT that way before cancer. Second, the vacuum cleaner seems lighter every time I use it. Third, I am not winded every time I go up the stairs. Forth, apparently, I cannot travel by car, plane, etc. by myself, or at night with or without children. It is weird also. I don't mind being babied when I feel sick. In fact, I wanted my Mommy back when she was in Las Vegas and not able to take care of me, but when I am not in treatment, I am like, "What is the big deal?" Clearly, I have made the transition to remission faster than others. Yes, I know that I can't do anything to aggrivate my heart for six months. Yes, I know that I am still considered fragile because of my immune system and the beating I took for the last 13 months. But I feel great and yes, I still have issues, but if I manage it I am fine (most of the time). It did catch up with me - staying up late, watching movies with friends, parties (at home shopping parties), life, but I am doing well, but I do know that I have changed. My memory is not what it used to be. My passport expired and I didn't know it. It prevented me from going on a very important trip. I have a contractor do some work for me that, get this, was already done. Clearly, I am not all there. My boss still thinks I am amazing and I don't know how much longer I can trick her. I am working for Grant now, and I am now concerned that my work is subpar, but I am alive and I will get better. I will travel by car BY MYSELF someday. Heck, Mom and I were talking about how Nolan is going into kindergarten next year and how I didn't know if I was going to make it to his first birthday. I guess I just took my vacation VERY seriously - the color is back in my lips, the pink is coming back to my cheeks. I know that the end of my vacation is coming, but I am not focusing on that. In fact, I am ignoring it. This is my time, with my boys, with my guy, and becoming conscious again of how really good I have it. Happy Tuesday, Ang

Friday, August 12, 2011

I haven't even thought about it.....

and then Grant and I were talking the other day and I said, "I have prepared all our meals for a week." and Grant replied, "How does that feel?". I opened my mouth to respond, but no words came out. I had so much to say.....happy, useful, content.......so I closed my mouth and my eyes filled with tears. Grant took my hand and with the boys playing in the back yard and the evening sun coming through the windows, we sat there, holding hands, thankful for the moment, letting the tears slowly melt away. Happy Friday, Ang

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Yep, that is right I am DONE!

The last round was a bit hard because mentally I was done SOOOOOO long ago, but I got through it. Hank said, "Have a great month off." The nurses and pharmacy gave me a card and sparkling cider....it was really sweet, but the real hero in all of this was the nurse that got me through the last 90 mins of treatment. Some people have told me that I am the toughest broad they have ever met. They never met Jen. Simply put, she is one of my heroes. The recovery has been weird. It is like I am being fired from a job I didn't want. I am exhausted emotionally and physically, but my brain is thinking of all the things I get to do now, but my body is saying, "Not yet. Not YET. ARE YOU LISTENING!?!?!?!?" I should do more yoga. Anyway, I am on my way to having a great August, but here is the story that I promised.....Nolan and the Chef Basket.... Okay, so we don't do commercials. We Tivo (DVR) or we have DVDs and most of what we Tivo is on PBS which doesn't have "commercials". However, there is this ONE show that my boys love. It is the Magic School Bus which is on a channel with traditional commercials. So, one day, Nolan calls to me while they are watching and says, "Mommy! Mommy! You have do see this!" So, I go into the living room, Nolan rewinds the program and starts telling me about the "Amazing Chef Basket" and how we don't need pot holders, we can put it in a small drawer, we can replace three or four "bulky" kitchen items and can do the job of several things.....deep fryer, colander, strainer, etc. "From pot to plate!" he exclaims only to be followed with the Amazing Chef Knife that can cut through nails..........the kid was a walking infomercial. "Can we get one????" he pleads. I said, "Nolan, I don't like buying things off the TV, so I will look and I will try and get a better price, etc." "Okay!" he says gleefully. For three weeks he comes to me and asks, "Do we have a Chef Basket yet?" I say no, but I am looking. We look on the Internet together and I am am just REALLY HOPING THIS WILL PASS. So, one day Mason, Nolan, and I go to Walmart. Now, I go to Walmart about twice a year, not because I hate them or they are evil, they are just not convenient for me and I always seem to be there with the screaming children and the guy that is saying, "Yeah, I got it (tattoo) when I was drunk and it even hurt then...." So, I don't look for opportunities for my kids to go to Walmart. I did it on Black Friday one year at 5:00am and that took way more years off my life than cancer. Anyhoo, we enter Walmart, get the few items that I need, pass the guy with the tattoo, and are JUST about at the check out and this blood curdling scream comes from one of my children, "MOMMY!!!!!" Everyone stops, including tattoo guy, and looks at my youngest. Nolan, with pure excitement and elation screams, "THEY HAVE CHEF BASKETS!" The lady behind me says, "I think you'd be gettin' a Chef Basket today." "Yep, I reckon I will be." I reply. When in Rome..... So, we buy the Chef Basket and in truth the thing is a piece of CRAP. It doesn't hold the pasta like the commercial, it is NOT pot to plate, it barley stands up as a colander, and I paid the highest price I had seen (S&H not included). But ever time it fails, Nolan pulls out the instruction which he cannot read, points to the pictures, and tells me that I am doing it wrong. "Okay, Sharon. I am dumber than the 'As Seen On TV' product!!" WHATEVER. The battle continues, I am sure he will ultimately win and I will have a useless Chef Basket in my cupboard WITH MY COLANDER, STRAINER, AND DEEP FRYER. Love, Ang :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dazed and confused and thankful

Okay, well, it has been a long time since my last post. There are reasons, but not good ones. Part of me was busy. Part of me was done already. Part of me was struggling with how hard the last round was and it was/is a mental game to think about going back on Tuesday......BUT........then I remember how I will be done. DONE. Every week will be a "good" week. I will cook again, I will be able to track and read books again, I will not schedule illness, pack up my boys every other week, I will be able to teach my organizational course that I was asked to do last fall this fall. That is where the dazed part comes in....it is really happening.....my oncologist granted my request of August off - meaning NO APPTS THROUGH LABOR DAY. No appointments. I have never, in all the four plus years of this madness, been granted no appointments for a month. One more. Tuesday. Unhook Thursday. One more. So, here is the update. Chemo last time SUCKED. My numbers went up and my oncologist hit me as hard. He plays hard ball EVERY TIME, NO EXCEPTIONS. I knew when I saw my numbers. But let's not dwell on that. Let's talk about this week. It was really good. In fact, I just got home from a 40th birthday party. I laughed so hard I cried. The stories were awesome, the people genuine, the food amazing and I could even drink the wine. I think that is was jolted me into writing tonight. Here comes the confused part....we were a normal family today. We had no doctors appointment today. I mended, ironed, and chatted with the neighbors. I went to the store for spray paint, of course, and they were out of my color, but I had the energy to go to another store. I picked up the kids from daycare, fed them (meal delivered, so I can't take credit for that), bathed them, got ready, got the babysitter settled (Grant is on a golf overnight and, get this, I had to make him go. He was like, "I don't want to abandon you on such short notice." I looked at him and said, "Abandon? Is that what you call the last four years???"), went to the party, came home, paid the baby sitter, got ready for bed and, then, turned on the computer. And now thankful......I am thankful for everything - meals, my house, housecleaning, my family, the party tonight, my friends, my insurance, my docs, spray paint, even billing departments and chemo. For example, tomorrow I am picking up 16 meals with the money that was donated to me for filling my freezer with meals. Holy cow! What a blessing! I am convinced that I didn't get back to normal alone, how could I?!!? But I am so thankful to be back (almost) to normal and I have a frickin' awesome life. How did I get so lucky? I don't know - but I am sure glad I drew that card instead of just the rectal cancer card!!!!! Okay, so now, off to bed....I am a single parent tomorrow, but if I have time I will blog and the title will be, "Nolan and his Chef Basket". Never thought I would put those words together! Nighty night. Love, Ang

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Three things......

Sometimes I wonder how parents can sometimes be complete screw ups and still have a Big 5 kid??? Example: The day before the last day of school Mason there was a "Fun Run". Our neighborhood is one big loop, so they take the entire school and run around it. It is 1.3 miles. Now, I have NEVER, repeat NEVER, seem Mason hit full stride. The best way to explain it is that he kinda dances and prances around the soccer field and the T-ball field. Having grown up with sports (and been a track girl), frankly, it makes me nuts. I mentioned it to my Dad once and he said, "Yeah, but I saw him hit his stride once and he has a good one." I looked at Dad like he was crazy. Anyway, I prepped Mason - T-shirt, shorts, running shoes, sunscreen and extra fluids that morning. I didn't say anything but there is a run at school today - have fun! When I picked him up, I asked him about it and he told me, and I quote, "Mommy, I beat all the fifth graders, fourth graders, third graders, second graders, first graders and ALL the kindergartners. I think I was 10th in the whole school." In my head, I was like, "That is impossible" but I pulled it together and said, "Really, are you sure???" "Yep!" he replied and I said, "Okay, then you will have to tell Daddy when he gets home." And he did - in the exact same way he told me. Grant's response, "Mason, fibbing is not a good idea." "But, Dad, I did it!" Mason exclaimed and I shot Grant a look. Then we dropped it both sure that Mason was exaggerating. The next day, I got a call from school about last minute volunteer rap up and Chris said to me, "Did Mason tell you about his run yesterday?" I laughed and said, "Yeah, he said, something about beating a bunch of kids." Chris replied with, "Ang, he DID." He was seventh in the entire school." Now Chris has my complete attention. "Who beat him Chris?" "Well, lets see, some sixth graders and one teacher." My eyes close and my head falls in my hand. OMG. He was telling the truth. Chris said, "It was amazing and I think he needs to run track." NO KIDDING! I call Grant and tell him we are the worst parents in the world and all Grant can say is, "He did? Really? That is great!" I don't think he heard the "worst parent in the world part". I go to school pick up Mason. As we are leaving, kids are still saying, "Have a great summer - great run Mason!" He was like a celebrity. I got in the truck with the boys and I apologized. He said, "I told you Mom." I replied with, "I know Mason, but quite frankly, I have never seen you run fast. How was I to know?!? I am so sorry. And, by the way, how did you do it?" With a tilt of the head and his finger to his chin, "Well, I started out and then I said to myself, I have to take bigger steps. So, I did and then I just started passing everybody." Of course, why didn't I think of that? Number two - Having a terminal condition makes you think weird and it is NOT the chemo. When I returned from my colorectal appt and all was right with the world, I was pulling into the driveway and said to myself, "Well, I guess I have to clean out my (clothes) closet since I am going to be around for a while." You may think this is a normal thought, but it isn't because the premise of the thought was two fold - one, you are in treatment, so cleaning out the closet is not a big priority followed very closely by, if I die and someone will do it for me. I know, sick eh?? So, I clean it out and get rid of a fair amount of stuff including a blazer from 20 years ago that I was hanging onto because back then I was HOT. Now, total dork. Closet cleaned, clothes organized, pj bottoms that I have been looking for for 10 months found, and towels....which leads me to number three.......when Grant started the business I never expected that he would be as successful as he was in the first few years. So, I bought things in advance like sheets, towels, etc that we would need/want and it would feel like we weren't so broke. So, in cleaning out the closet I found the towels that I bought. I was supposed to give them to myself for Christmas, but I was in treatment and towels take a beating when you are in treatment because of all the washing twice of everything, so I said to myself, I will give them to myself when I am in remission. In addition, Christmas was not so dim because the business was doing well and I could distract myself with other things like blood clots in my lungs, pneumonia, you know.... But now, I said, "SCREW IT!", ripped the tags off, washed them and am thoroughly enjoying them. So, why am I telling you all this? Because they are lessons to live by....believe your little ones - they can do great things despite your obstacles, clean your closet - it makes you live now, but remember where and all the great things you have done, and USE THE FRICKIN' TOWELS!!!! Seriously, what the hell am I doing?!?!?!?! No wonder I am in therapy!!!!! Happy 4th (and Canada Day!) Love, Ang

Thursday, June 23, 2011

So, I went to see my Colorectal Surgeon today....

I had actually made the appointment to see him BEFORE my clean scan and I was hoping to get out of the exam, but to no avail. I was undressed from the waist down with the "drape" over me when he came in and he said, "So, what are we doing today?" and I explained that I had made the appointment before the clean scan, and I said, "So I could do without the exam, but I am thinkin' since I am here you want to see me, right?" He nods. I continue with, "All I really want to do to you is hug and kiss you, but I think that is probably inappropriate with my pants off." The nurse in the room BURST out laughing and my doc laughed and shook his head, "I agree will all that, so turn over and then you can put your pants on." He said that everything was great. I put my pants on and he came in for his hug. "I just reviewed your scan and everything looks good. What are you doing now?" he drilled. "I have three more treatments of chemo and then I am done." I replied. Then, he takes both of my arms and he says, "Not from the clutches of your doc (meaning Hank)." "No, of course, not. I have never been without seeing him every month since this started." "You know Angie, there are no guarantees. It could come back....." Okay, so clearly this is the "I don't know if I am going to see you ever again because some cancer patients don't ever come back and then...well, it is too late" speech. Remember, he was the optimistic one on the last appointment and now I am all happy and joyful and he is all, "You better come back and see me in three months or I will hunt you down like a dog." He didn't say that, but it was kinda like that. In his defense, he doesn't know me in remission. I am VERY obedient, but only to those that I need to be. Seriously, who calls and schedules there own colonoscopy three times without being reminded. Yep, me. I'll learn him. As for now, I am on cloud nine. My bum is a one way for THREE WHOLE MONTHS!!!! Number two of four chemo appointments on Monday - love, Ang

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Big 5 Kid

People keep asking me, "Is it easier to go to chemo now that you know you only have three more." Answer - yes and no. Yes, having a number and date FINALLY is amazing, but no when it comes to things like the following....On Wednesday, I was scheduled to unhook from my friendly pump. I literally was green, my pee was red, and I didn't know if I was sick or tired. Mom stops by after dropping the kids and says with a sigh, "I don't know if I should tell you this, but Mason is getting an award today at 2:00." worried that I was going to feel bad for not being there. I said, "For what?" She replied, "For being, like, I don't know, a good citizen." "The Big 5?" I respond. Mom, looking a little shifty, says, "I guess." And then I got quiet. It is 8:50am. My pump will be done around noon, then I have to get unhooked, get fluids which takes 2 hours plus waiting time......I will never make it. Mom looks at me and says, "I can have Dad (my Dad) be there." I reply with, "Mom, I am just sad. He has wanted this for months. Last fall when the first "Big 5 Red Hawk Award" came out he told me about it and only one kid per class per trimester get it. We have a magnet on the fridge that has all the "Big Five" things - 1. Keep our school a safe place 2. Make responsible choices 3. Obey all reasonable requests 4. Respect yourself and other and 5. Use good manners. I am just sad." Now, keep in mind, when you are a Mom and don't know if you are going to see your kids grow up, you do things like, scrapbook like crazy, and you have goals like, "If I can just make it to Kindergarten, then his personality and how he treats people is set (things I learned while working at Childhaven) and he will be okay - no matter what happens." So, Mom in Mom's way, said, "Okay then, Dad will go!" I surrender to that and eat my breakfast that she made me. Karissa calls later and I tell her what is going on. Man, she is like balls to the walls, "Well, if we don't do fluids, we can get up there in back in time, I will drive you, stay for the ceremony, and you will be there." "What about the kids?" "Quinn likes being in charge of his sisters after school - they will be fine." Thank God he is old enough now. "Okay, I guess, let's see how it goes." I reply weakly. She arrives, I pump empty alarm goes off, we get there, and the waiting room is PACKED. I say, "Debbie, I need to not do fluids today, and I need to get out of here ASAP." She looks at me and says, "I don't think you have an option." So, I tell her about the award ceremony, Karissa goes to Rite Aid for Gatorade, and Debbie says, "Let's see what we can do." The charge nurse come out and says, "Sounds like you have an important appointment. We will advise your doc that you are drinking what appears to be a lot of Gatorade and if you need to you can come in tomorrow for fluids." I want to cry with gratitude, but I hold it together and I am out of there is 20 mins. I look like CRAP - I am serious - GREEN, PALE, NO MAKEUP, BASEBALL CAP, CLEAN BUT THREE DAY OLD CLOTHES and I show up to the school. Dad and Nolan are there. We sit together and the kids start filing in. Mason sees me immediately. He doesn't know he is getting an award, but he also knows that I am usually in hiding until I look and feel better. He knows something is up. Then, the awards are announced. "...and for a student who acts in a kind, caring, careful and cooperative way....Mason Hainsworth." I hold Karissa's hand and lean on my Dad and then....there it is my moment......Mason turns around and looks directly at me and smiles. So proud. Goal achieved for all of us. I made it - to the assembly, to kindergarten, and to this - a kind and caring kid. Now, if I wanted to leave you with a nice story, I would stop there, but in reality, I should tell you the rest. So, the next night the boys come home from Grandma's and Grandpa's and Mason is showing Daddy his award. I take it from him when he is done to put it in my office so that it doesn't get destroyed like my boys do to things and as I am going up the stairs, Mason says, "What does cooperative mean?" I cross my eyes and tell him and say, "Do you know what 'kind, caring and careful' are????" "Yes MOTHER!!!!" Just then, Nolan passes me on the stairs pushing me out of the way, and proclaims, "I am cooberadive!!!!!" I don't respond, but my eyebrow goes up because I can't ignore that. Not in my nature. I guess I still have some work to do........Love, Ang

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

So, when Hank called tonight.....

I said, "Hankster." He said, "Angiesan - Clear." I said, "What?!?!?!? I wasn't expecting that. I was expecting, 'It is getting smaller.' " He said something like, "Well, that is what the scan said. (Like, you want to go with what you believe or the scan???) You are in complete remission." I reply with, "So, I have four more treatments on my back and I am done." He said, "Yes. Congratulations sweetie." "Thanks Hank. I will be there tomorrow and I am coming to give you a hug." "Sounds good to me." "See you tomorrow." TOMORROW AND AND 10000 more after that.........REMISSION.......Love, Ang

Sorry it has been so long....

Here is the reason I have not blogged in a while - my little computer that we used to have downstairs got a virus and died - I mean DEAD died! So, because my big computer is upstairs and because I am too old/too lazy to 1 finger type on my iPod OR go up the stairs and sit on at my computer (rather than the couch), I have not blogged as much. Now, before you start a pool to buy me a computer, my Mom, because she is my Mom, has an extra little computer that she is getting updated for me and I will be, again, in business. So, let me catch you up...this could be long so get comfy.... First, from last post, I was TERRIFED that I was dieing of liver failure before my May 31st treatment. Go to treatment TERRIFIED, tell them to knock me out first, and getter done. Almost have a panic attack at the end, but I am walked out to the car by Elaine and the nurse, Elaine telling me to do yoga breathing, get home, and I am fine. In fact, it was probably one of my better treatments. Go to unhook on June 2, my birthday, and I am a little down because my birthdays lately tend to stink. So, far I have not had them many "good Junes" or good birthdays - chalking getting a chest tube yanked out of me on my 40th as one of the worst. Then, the nurses circle me, sing "Happy Birthday", and give me a card and cupcake. WOW. I have always felt amazing care at Swedish, but that literally takes the (cup)cake! Totally changed the day for me and Grant and I enjoyed the cupcake that night. Had an okay weekend. I sent Grant away for the weekend, but I didn't schedule correctly, and I had the kids by myself for one night. I was fine psychically, but I barfed up everything for dinner about being nervous if something happened by the time Auntie Donna got here. Exhausted, hungry, and defeated I saw her. Took Mason to swim lessons, had to make and "emergency" stop at McDonald to use the facilities, went to Fred Meyer, and exhausted I got home. Dinner, bed and finally I slept because now my back up was in the study on an Aerobed. Monday I had to prep for my PET/CT scan on Tuesday. Protein and fat ALL DAY. NO CARBS. NO EATING FOR 12 hours before the scan. So, I show Donna the drill of dropping off and picking up kids on Monday for Tuesday and I leave for my scan at 7:30 for an 8:15 appointment. No food for more than 12 hours which does do well for me anyway. I get to Tukwila and it says on the reading board 94 mins to Seattle via I-5. 94. OMG. I have 40 at this point. Do all you all remember traffic on Tuesday????? There was a motivational conference at Key Arena and apparently someone decided to break down in the slow lane of North I-5 at I-90. I bail off to 599, but the junction to 99 is backed up for miles, and then I take a chance, up West Marginal to West Seattle hoping that the Harbor Island bridge is clear. It isn't. At this point, there are cars EVERYWHERE. NO ONE IS MOVING. Now, normally, I would be like, whatever, but with a PET scan they pull your meds early and they are time sensitive meaning they expire and then Swedish is out the $$$. I call and tell them I am going to be late. I ask how long do I have. Well, it will expire at 8:45. It is 8:20. Stuck with no where to go. I started to shake and cry. Slowly I get to 1st Ave. I call Grant probably 47 times thinking if I can get him into the car I can have him drive me up and then park, so I can save the time. It is 8:40. The phone rings every time, but goes to VM. Grant calls as soon as I am turning into the parking lot. It is 9:00am. His help is void. Mom was trying to help me, by looking at the cameras and watching the news during the drive and just kept saying, "Just keep going." I get to the desk and there is a new girl....great.....the security guard that I know says, "Angela, want is wrong??" I tell the new girl my name and say that I need to reschedule the scan. I am defeated. She takes my name and goes in back. I exhale thinking I just wasted VERY expensive meds, my Aunt came to watch the kids during my scan and I missed it because I was stuck in traffic. I would have rather had a heart attack. That would be a MUCH better excuse for missing it. Then, little Doris from Costa Rica comes out and says, "Anye, we can DOOO et! Do no worry! Here - sign, sign, initial, initial, sign, date, date. OK - we are done!" I ask, "How is your mother doing?" She says, "She is doing okay, now go....." (Like, she is WAY better than you are - GO!) Anita sees me on the way back and says, "Aren't you supposed to be in there?" I reply with, "I got suck in traffic..." "Oh, that motivational thing..." "Yeah, I was motivating them in my car all the way here!" She laughs. I finally sit down and my tech says, "Angie, someone showed up early and your weight was close enough so we switched the draw knowing you were late. Don't worry. You are always on time. We gotcha. What I need to you know is calm down. Like really....calm down." I said, "I could kiss you right now." She said, "That is not necessary." Did she not want a kiss or did she think I was serious??? Anyhoo, scan done. During these scans, they make you drink sugar and then shoot you up with radioactive dye. Then you sit a room by yourself for one hour - no iPod, no computer, nothing. I just sleep. Then, you get to be in a tube for 40 mins with your hands over your head and do not move AT ALL. You then get a 2 min break and in the tube again for the CT. They shoot you up with more contrast which blew out on my arm the first time and back in the tube. At 11, I get out of the tube, IV disconnected, I haven't eaten anything since 7:45 last night. I feel awesome. I just want to get out of there. I go upstairs to the pharmacy, get my shots which I have to do twice a day. THANK GOD for Rx insurance because that is $4000 dollars a month. In the car and out of there. I think I need to eat, but I don't want Starbucks. ARBY'S! I so go to Arby's get my standard order, but this time WITH fries. I stick my tougue out to the place where the old man works that didn't like me eating in my car, and say after I get my order....."Hey, old man, I am going to EAT IN MY CAR WHILE I AM DRIVING! HOW Y'LIKE THEM APPLES!!!!" Got home, collapsed in bed, and took a nap while Donna helped with Nolan. Donna went and got Mason. I just laid there. Nolan napped. Then, Grant got home. He had switched cars with Donna yesterday because she brought her truck and couldn't take kids in that and he just had to park at the train station. She had some snow tires with beautiful wheels in the back canopy which I told Grant to back into a space so that it would be to "hard" to steel them at the park and ride. Well, they didn't steel the wheels, but some three punks tried to steal her catalytic converter. They where interrupted by the security guard. They didn't get it, but we had a fair amount of work to do to rig it up so that she could get home. Grant was off to Shuck's or O'Rielly's or whatever the name is now. Dinner is late. She was supposed to go home. But by that time we were pouring a martini. My liver is apparently great, so what the hell? She stayed until today. Oh, you want the results of the SCAN???? Still waiting. I know that I will be doing chemo next week regardless, so it is not like I am sitting by the phone and Hank knows I am up to see the shrink on Thursday, so he may just want me to stop by, and OMG, without an appointment. What a day. May you all have your catalytic converters. Love, Ang

Monday, May 30, 2011

What a difference a "good" week makes.

So, after having chemo, eating clams (which we have established is NOT a good idea for me), and then having chemo, I was explaining so weird things that were going with me to my oncologist. He, of course, wanted to see me. I, of course, went. By the time I got there, I was CONVINCED that I was having liver failure. My oncologist listened to me, he ran blood tests and a urine analysis, he offered to postpone chemo on the 31st, etc. He showed me my blood work for the last hundred years and he taught me how to read my blood work. These things I have NEVER been interested in doing until now. And, then, in the kindest of voices he said, "We can do all of these things, but I cannot advise you to change treatment unless there is some objective evidence that there is something wrong." Translated - "You are psycho and absolutely FINE." But, I felt REALLY loved while being psycho and fine. So, I went home, talked to Grant, thought about it, and decided that I was fine physically. All the sudden, my anxiety went away, my pains went away, and I was free to enjoy the rest of my life. And, I did. This weekend was great - I did almost nothing, y'know, for me. But we worked as a family, I went to a play with my Mom and Aunt, Grant did an amazing job on the yard - it looks amazing, I cleaned a little bit, I took the boys to swim lessons BY MYSELF, and we even got to have a play date with some neighbors where the Moms slipped away and went shopping to the Nordstrom sale to be a personal shopper for my neighbor - a role I LOVE. I got flowers and Copper River Salmon from my boys. This really was a banner weekend. Do I want to go to chemo tomorrow? No. Can I go to chemo tomorrow and not worry about liver failure to the point that I am having a martini now? Yes. I always need to remember that this time I year is hard for me. This is when I was diagnosed, this is when I loss Bob, and, now, I lost another fighter. I only knew her through her blogs and email, but she was a true fighter. Oh well, I will NOT think of that tomorrow. Tomorrow is about rallying. Tomorrow is about fighting for my position. Tomorrow my love/hate relationship with chemo continues. Here is to having a great holiday weekend, Ang

Friday, May 20, 2011

Update

Well, this last round was a little rough. It probably didn't help that I had bowel problems going into the round (like for the entire GOOD week between chemos) Turns out clams were NOT a good idea. Then this morning Grant says to me, "Are you going to be talking to your oncologist this week?" "No, why?" "Well, the last few times you have come home your complexion is dark and green and yellow." I guess I am going to call the oncologist! I am coming out and hoping to have a good weekend. I did a stupid thing on chemo this time. I actually googled "colostomy". This is NOT a good idea (even though I know half of you are now going to google it!). I just wanted to see and I should have left it alone. So, as I come down off of that visual and as the anti-depressants start to take there effect, I think I was a vandal in a previous life, because, as usual, I am looking to spray paint something...I better hurry before the sun goes away. Hangin' in, Ang

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cannon Beach

So, a long time ago when we all thought I would be done with all this chemo crap, I planned a Mother's Day weekend for my family and my Mom and Dad at Cannon Beach. Cannon Beach has always been a magical place for me. I never spent too much time there, but I can tell you that right after Mason's embryo transfer Grant and I went there for three nights. Then, for Nolan's, we did the same thing and the place we stayed even gave us the same room. So, to go back on Mother's Day after everything that has happened, was, shall we say cathartic. I have to say though, you can imagine my attitude in going. I was depressed, tired, not feeling the greatest and the weather report was for rain all weekend, but Monday was supposed to be okay. The boys were ANNOYING in the car, a Prius tried to side swipe us (yes, I drive an Explorer, but I am not a tree hater!), and it was POURING RAIN when we got there. We had a house on the beach so we unpacked and got comfortable pretty fast - gas fireplace ON! Then Sunday came....60 sunny clear. Low tide was at 10:44 so that Haystack Rock was just short of PERFECT. We played with Hermit crabs, sea stars, sea slugs, and sea enemies (SP). We flew kites in the afternoon, and played with remote control cars. The kids had ice cream and I even ate clams. At the end of the day I was exhausted, had a little tiny sunburn on my forehead, and very, very, happy. It not only was the best Mother's Day of my Mom career, but probably one of the best days of my life. Monday was more of the same and as we were going home, we listened to Car Talk and music from my iPod. Yes, you guessed it! I got a new stereo in my car and we finally got the rear view mirror stuck up there again. It still shakes and rattles at 60 mph but it is technically up. When I plugged my iPod in it seemed stuck on Grant and my song. I was trying to get off of it, but it wouldn't go, so I decided to just listen to it. It is a great song. It is "See What the Day Brings" by Brad. I know. You NEVER heard of them. I hadn't either. Grant found it years ago and he didn't buy the CD for that song. When we got home, I went to Fred Meyer and "Over the Rainbow" by IZ was playing over the intercom and finally just looked up and said, "FINE! I hear you!" I looked down smiling not sure anybody saw that. Great, now, I am talking to the ceiling! BEST MOTHER'S DAY EVER! (Shrink appointment Friday at 9!) Love, Ang

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It used to be when I didn't post things were fine.

Well, not really this time. I have gotten a lot of news and not so much of it was what I wanted to hear. First, I finally talked to my surgeon and he told me that he was able to take 99% of the tumor, but he had to leave he rest because he would have punctured the vagina wall. Now, he is optimistic that, with continued chemotherapy, the 1% may be taken care of, so we need to just see how it goes. If it does not, there will be no choice but a full and permanent colostomy with no possibility for reconstruction. So, while I am spinning on the continued chemotherapy and on the permanent colostomy, I am thinking how much longer do you expect me to do chemo? I asked my oncologist, "Will I ever be in remission again?" and I know he wanted to say yes, but I actually saw him catch himself and said, "It is my most sincerest wish." After all the times we thought I would be done, I am not. SPIN. During this last week when I was feeling particularly awful, I couldn't see my benefit to society. I know....just stay with me.... I know I contribute a fair amount to Swedish hospital, but I am a "crap or get off the pot" sort of gal and translated to this situation (I know - translated??? Hilarious, eh?) it is "die or get better already!" If I die, the life insurance pays off, the house and all our debt would be gone. Grant would have money for college for the boys and my job, in a way, would be done. More importantly, Grant, the boys, my family, and my friends would be free of this. The down side - I don't get to see my boys grow up which really sometimes is the only thing that gets me up. No more sunrises, no more moments, no more smelling behind their ears. And then slowly, I start to feel better. Slowly, I remember everything to be thankful for. Slowly, I remember that I want to be here. Slowly, I remember, that am I am on the right track. Slowly, I remember, that I could be in remission again - just a little longer. So, here is to lookin' for that rope that says, "CALL Psychiatrist!" The call will go in early next week. I will be okay...I always am. This is the mind game of cancer. Loves, Ang

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Back in the Rabbit Hole

When I was very, very little my Mom read to me the full version of Alice in Wonderland. I don't remember much of the book other than thinking to myself something like, "This is very strange and I am not sure it is age appropriate." But that was the kinda kid I was - my poor parents. What I do remember was curling up under the blanket to read it. I remember the smell of my Mom and how warm she was. So, as I curled up next to Nolan last night, he had Alice in Wonderland - the short version. He was at the rabbit hole part (no he can't read, but he is REALLY good and looking at pictures) and finally I was inspired to come back to my reality. Odd that is was from Alice in Wonderland, so grab your blanket (or coffee) this could be a long one. In my last post, I talked about being normal and enjoying my break which ended on the 18th. My break was FABULOUS. I mean F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. My house was running like a fine tune machine, and I did too much and I got tired and when the rear view mirror of the truck fell off for the last time, the LCD stopped working on the stereo (so you have NO IDEA what you are listening to), the light went out of the tachometer (which it is very questionable on why one would use a tachometer on an automatic transmission truck), and the door to the laundry room broke (again), I was done and luckily went to Maui the next day. Grant and I slept and ate our way through the island. Maui was great - 86 and sunny EVERYDAY. We drank Mai Tai's by the pool, snorkeled with turtles, played, talked, and did very little work. We got into one fight, but that was over ice cream, so really how bad could life be? I was free of the burden of everyday life and, quite frankly, my life. My anxiety was pretty much gone. Grant had it now because of snorkeling - he gets nervous in the water. In one bay, this Nature Conservationist gave us a lecture before we went in the water about where to go, don't use sunscreen, and how VERY HARD IT WAS TO GET TO WHAT TO SEE. I was like (in my head), "Dude, SHUT UP!" and formulating my discussion with Grant silently. Grant looked at me with his "look" and I said, "The white boat isn't that far. It is a calm bay - look at it. The sunscreen we use doesn't have the ingredient that is bleaching coral. (I am married to an Environmental Engineer. I actually do proactively do this stuff.) And look out there , see the 80 year old with the noodle underneath him? He is out there, so you can too." Grant nodded, we went, and he did great. In fact, he was so fired up, he was researching sunscreen for the next four hours, he found a "turtle beach" that we went to the next day that was ROUGH and I was thinking, "And you were nervous about yesterday????" He is a complicated man sometimes. Anyhoo....I had my moments that I remembered the clock was ticking. We got through them. We got home, went to the T-ball Jamboree, visited with family, and got ready for the 18th. Monday morning went well. I drove in with Elaine and we were laughing, I got out of the car and went in the first doors, went through the second doors and stopped. Angie, who works at the front, saw me. I must have given her the Grant "look". Gently, she hugged me and I told her I was back for chemo and she said, "Okay sweetie, I will be thinking of you." Up the stairs, check in, labs, game face, nurses, waiting for the doc, doc comes in, we start discussing what we are going to do, he turns to the computer with me a little behind him and the list of my meds and pre meds pops up on the screen. It fills the entire screen. He almost merrily goes down the list, murmuring about my labs and less of this and my counts are still a little down, but okay, and then he turns to me and says, "Okay!" and then "okay......." I was silent, and the tears were streaming down my face, he is looking for the Kleenex box and I say, "I am okay. I am just mourning my break. I was a really good one." He responds, "You needed a good break." I wipe the tears away and go upstairs to treatment. Treatment went well, I had to listen to the iPod, I shook just a little, I was doing pretty well, and then they gave me a new pump. An automatic pump. I told the nurse that I wasn't sure I could do that - the change threw me, but after a call to the doc and some time with it, I put it on. It was much quieter than other auto pumps but there is no hiding this thing. Can I look any sicker? You get it with a fanny pack or shoulder strap - fabulous. I took both and in the end it was fine. What was nice was that you know EXACTLY when it is done. That is pretty cool, but at night you can hear it dispense and that is really uncool. On unhook day, I was a mess. Karissa was making me laugh, but it was hard. The nurse made me go see my oncologist and, as I sat there, I started to cry again.......my oncologist walked in and said, "How goes the fight?" I was blurted out, "My Mom thinks it is hormonal!" (I was taken off my hormone replacement after surgery because of where I put the hormones. Yeah, up there, so I have had no hormones for a month. Now, for those of you that are scared of the hormone replacement, really, step back, think about my situation, and remember it is not a very big fish. Kinda like when I was in Maui eating TONS of Ahi and thinking, "Radiation? Who cares? I glow REGULARLY!") My oncologist turns and says, "Hey, your Mom may just be right this time!" (My Mom asks him questions regularly that he shoots down in a very nice way.) So, down to the pharmacy for hormones. Karissa and I wait. The CHILD behind the counter says, "Do you come here regularly because I can't find your insurance information." Okay, remember, I JUST got done with chemo, mentally I am DOWN the rabbit hole, I want to cry AGAIN, I am feeling guilty for all the people that take care of me, and I say, "Yes, I do and you should have it." "Are you sure????" she replies. And seriously, if Karissa wasn't there I probably would have said, "OMG this is the CANCER Pharmacy???? I DON'T HAVE CANCER!!! WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?!? SORRY TO BOTHER YOU." But I didn't. She then said, "Oh....there you are....I still don't have your insurance info.....looks like we have you a discount on your last Rx." I said, "That is interesting because I came in two weeks ago for a $3,700 monthly Rx that I got for $12. That is quite a discount." I gave her the card and she got my Rx without sharing anymore. I got home, I took my pills, cried, saw Mason, cried, talked to Grant, cried...you get the picture. In fact, I cried so much that Mason wrote about it in his story at school the next day right after the sentence, "I was so excited to see my Mom and Dad." What do you think that made me do??? YOU GOT IT!!! And with a thud and a large puff of dust, I hit the bottom of the rabbit hole...making myself eat anything, crying, voices in my head of me apologizing to my Mom for having to spend her retirement taking care of my kids and her saying, "Angie, what would you do if one of the boys was sick?", looking at the rear view mirror on the floor of the passenger side of the car, not being able to close the laundry room door, and exhale......letting myself feel the bottom again and grabbing onto the memories of my break when I could taste food like the first really good piece of fruit from summer when the fruit juices spill out of your mouth, down your hand, onto ground as you jump away from it. LONG PAUSE. As I wake up out of this fog, I check myself (I know - you are like, "FINALLY!"). I realize that in my rabbit hole I have a lot of ropes coming down on me - doctors, friends, food, help calendars, prayers, breaks, and family. Up we go again...... Forever thankful love, Ang

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Last Weekend

Last Saturday, I looked at Grant the way that I look at my kids. You know how you can look at your kids and you know if they are hungry, tired, or sick? Well, that is what I did to Grant. He was exhausted. The guy has a bit goin' on. Let's see - he has a company with his buddy, they have the great problem of having a lot of work, he is Mason's T-ball coach, and he is the husband of a cancer patient (that is me JUST in case you didn't remember). Here is the good part about....but first, dial back a couple months with me.....past my disappointment about my margins.........past my guilt for not being strong enough to do regular chemo and doing chemo light.....past my disappointment that I am not DONE yet.....January.....blot clots in my lungs....blood thinners.....we continued were monitoring my butt and doing chemo for the last bit in my lungs. Then, the allergic reaction, chemo light, the clear lung scan but growth in my butt....pneumonia in my lungs.....pleurisy......more growth in my butt.....docs change focus from lungs to butt. Butt operated on, butt "cured". Docs lose interest in my butt, refocus to my lungs. Remember, I need two clear scans to be excused from treatment. So, while I continue to heal from my surgery which is going quite well actually, I get a break from it all AND the weird part is back in December I booked a trip to Maui for this month. I asked permission from my oncologist and he said, "I can work around that." All I have talked about is Maui with Grant. So, while my oncologist was refocusing on my lungs, I was making sure he remembered my trip with Grant WITHOUT kids and "healthy". So, a couple weeks ago we are talking and I say, "Okay, so I assume we are going back to chemo to finish up the lungs (and now it can't hurt whatever remains in my butt)." He replies, "Yes, if the transanal works, we can start chemo on the 18th, (Note: That is after I come home from Maui - well done!) if not, the 25th. I love it when he remembers my vacation schedule! I will be back on full blown chemo with the pump for two days, but my premeds will be reworked so that I don't have another allergic reaction. Also, I am not allowed to do chemo is my oncologist is out, on vacation, etc. He wants to be in the building when I am doing this because of what happened in January. When I stopped by his office after my filter removal surgery, I said, "Okay, remember, I am now on a 2+ week vacation to "heal" and I will start chemo on the 18th." He said, "But what will I do without you?!?!?! I am going to miss you." I gave him two gluten free chocolate chip cookies and said, "Here, these should help, but I gotta say, I ain't gonna miss you even though I am fond of you." (smile) Hug. BYE BYE! Okay, back to last weekend. I haven't had any procedure since Thursday the 31st of March and I am not scheduled for anything until the 18th. Because I have been off chemo, my energy is coming back. I got over a cold by MYSELF - no drugs. I have gone to PTA meetings, Kent School District Budget meetings, bookclub, etc. But last Saturday, my Grant needed me. There is a switch. So, I gave him the weekend off. I took the kids on work errands and a family event on Saturday, I took them on family errands on Sunday, I covered for Grant to nap and rest. By the end of the weekend, he felt a lot better and I felt, well, fine. I cooked a turkey (I wasn't kidding when I said I needed to clean out the freezer!). The house smelled of my cooking, the car never got cool because we were buzzing around, I started looking forward to Mason's spring break from school because we could go to the zoo and the Pacific Science Center and I wasn't scared to do it by MYSELF. No anti anxiety pills. No worries. No, well, complicating factors that a terminal illness brings. At the end of the weekend, I asked Grant how he felt and he said, "Guilty." I kissed his head and replied, "I don't want you to feel guilty. I want you to feel better. Just think - this is what it is like for normal folks." Realizing, we both have NO idea what the term 'normal folks' means anymore, we kinda went, "Uh." So, am I past my disappointment of my margins? Yes and you want to know why? Because I got last weekend, I have this week with my boys, I got pajama day today, and I get Maui with Grant. Translation - I got NOW. The 18th will come soon enough, so for the next little while I am going to try and take a break from my condition. T-ball has started, Grant and I are going to Maui for four nights, etc. The freezer is getting cleaned out, and I am packing it back up with easy things during my next go around. Life normal - as long as I can have it. Until the 18th then........Love, Ang

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

News.....good and bad

I have been healing nicely. I am home with the kids, going to PTA meetings, Kent School district budget meetings, working a little, and sleeping HARD at night. Yes, I am probably doing more than I should, but I am staying in my restrictions and to do less would just not be me. Last night, I got the call on my pathology of my tumor. All margins were great except one. My oncologist had already called the surgeon to see what he thought. The good news is that the surgeon is optimistic that this will not be a problem but that we should watch it "just on case". The leash/noose around my neck just got a little tighter. Will I ever be DONE with this? So, it is medium news. Am I happy? Not really. Clearly, I wanted different news. I am also a little wary of these things. My tumor was not supposed to come back after the first round of chemo and radiation. It did. We thought we got it all out of my lungs after bilateral lung surgery, but it came back. And now I am supposed hope that this doesn't turn into something. You have to excuse my doubt, but there are only so many times you can be optimistic and be shot down. I did clarify what would happen if it does come back. If it does, I will have a colostomy. It is possible that it would be temporary and that the area could be reconstructed. Pause....what a frickin' process....sigh....breathe. But all that is for another day. "Keep your eye on the prize, Ang" I tell myself as I crawl into bed with Nolan just to watch him sleep. "Keep your eye on the prize." To see Nolan's next birthday, hell to see his 16th birthday! As my first colorectal surgeon said, "Ang, you will not die from this in you bum. We can fix that. It will be, and our focus has to be on, your lungs." Refocus. Readjust. Feel the leash that I doubt (at least for today) I will never shake and keep going. Big breath. Tomorrow they take the filter the put in my vein for surgery out. Minor surgery, but still surgery. I asked if we should just keep it in and the response was a long list of reasons but the one I liked was, "in some cases it can dislodge and go straight to you heart and kill you...". Okay - see you Thursday then! Why didn't they start with that one???? I will be okay. Thank you for all the calls, emails, thoughts, and prayers. If I did not get back to you, it wasn't because I didn't want to. Thank you. Oh, they are up gotta go! Love, Ang

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No complications....

We were in the 80%. Pathology comes in five days. Really loopy. Love, Ang

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thank you and I am so grateful for you....

This post is to say thank you for all the emails, phone calls, text messages, posts, etc. Many of you want to know how you can help and, well, the best thing right now is to pray, cross your fingers, do whatever you personally do, tomorrow at 11:30. I am praying that all goes well and that my surgeon is able to perform the surgery without complication. Many people have asked about the help calendar. This is always a little difficult for you because I feel that I have received so much for all of you - but if I don't respond, some of you will hunt me down and make me. Yeah, you know who you are!!!! I have decided to take a break from the food calendar until after April 15th as I am off of chemo and can do more cooking. Plus, I think there are some mystery things in my freezer we need to eat anyway. If you would like to sign up for the new food calendar, please let Sarah know. She can be reached at sarah_09@comcast.net. The kids are taken care of by my folks during this surgery, so they are covered. Lastly, Sarah mentioned to me that she would like to put together some Dinner's Ready meals for me. Dinner's Ready is a meal program where they put together meals and deliver them to your house for your freezer. I have used them in the past and they have also been gifted to me. They are tremendously convenient and well received. If you would like to contribute to that, contact Sarah. (I have a really tough time asking for this because money is involved, but I have been assured that people have previously mentioned this and I should just put a cork in it.) As for that, I am doing very well. Insurance is pre authorized, paperwork filled out, prep started, PTA meeting over, and the boys packed. It is sweet how they pack up, choose their PJs, and just get ready like this is NO BIG DEAL. I am very lucky and, tremendously thankful, for all of you. Love, Ang

Monday, March 21, 2011

My vacation from myself

This is the morning after my scrapbooking weekend. I had a wonderful time. I didn't get as much done as I wanted, but I did take time to go for walks, talk so much I have almost lost my voice, hot tub, etc. How this came about was, a friend (Bethany, who has said she never wanted to be on my blog - hehe) asked me to go on her scrapbook weekend with her group. In the scrapbooking world, this makes me a guest - not a regular. I knew only one other person and, while I have always admired and liked her, my connection with her is with Bethany. In all actuality, I really did not know if I was going to make this trip. Between surgery, chemo, and everything else that goes with the cancer roller coaster, I RSVPed a very firm MAYBE. But alas, I was able to go. On Thursday morning, I remember looking at the mountains from my car saying, "I am going THERE." Eastern Washington has always been a source of relaxation, family, and growth for me. I grew up camping and fishing there. My Aunt's cabin is there. We have extended family there and we also have connections that are as closer than family. In addition, I went to Gonzaga University in Spokane which really sealed the deal for me. When Bethany picked me up on Friday, I literally exhaled when I got in the car. We were on our way, then we then jumped into another car, and took off for the "other side". The weather got better and the passes were clear. We rolled into town, got some lunch, and checked into the bed and breakfast. It was on the hillside, with a view of the valley. The accommodations were very comfortable and the set up was great. Each person had there own six foot table which is lots of room to spread out with a view outside. The food was AMAZING. All our meals were included and I could eat it all, yeah!! While working, we chatted about girl stuff, getting kids into schools of their choice, coming of age, following our dreams in the next chapter of life, and asking advice from other women that worked in those fields. Only a few of the women knew I had cancer. The three I rode over with let me comment on it. They responded, they didn't shy away from it, but they (and this is the important part) did not dwell on it. There was no TV and I don't have a smart phone, so no Internet. I stayed up until midnight both nights - INCONCEIVABLE FOR ME. I disconnect so much from my day to day life, I almost forgot to give myself my shots. On Sunday, I packed up and my Dad came to get me. We then went to a 85th birthday party of one of our "family" at 1:00. We took the back roads, so I saw new little towns I had never seen before. I saw people at the party that I hadn't seen in over five years. It was really touching and special to spend time with them. Then, back in the car and back on I-90 where I saw for the first time the wind generators near Vantage. It was raining and foggy. They loomed in the distance, but they were, dare I say, beautiful. So, big and graceful. I was in awe just from their size. It was amazing. I got home in time to meet the boys at a hockey game for the last period and overtime. Home, quick bath, and then to bed. Grant asked me about the weekend and I told him how much fun it was, how much I disconnected, and how I would go back if an opening comes up again. And then it happened.......as I was getting ready for bed, it seemed like the weight of my cancer/life was starting to rest on my shoulders, go down my spine, into my legs. The weight was back and what is funny is that I have never felt it so physically before this moment. The preop paperwork I had to fill out, the nurse I have to call on Monday, when do I stop my blood thinners?, the ads and coupons in the Sunday paper, the COBRA insurance payment I have to make, Mason's Teacher Conference, picking up Grace so that she can babysit during the conference, getting the frig ready for when I go to surgery, dinner - oh, Thank God, dinner is coming tomorrow...the list goes on. I didn't sleep well waking up every two hours with something else to remember to do. LIFE. CANCER. LIFE. Some may ask, "Was it worth it to leave?" Oh yes, because now I know what I could feel like when I beat this for good. So, for now back to bed to cuddle with the boys before we start the day, smell behind their ears and kiss them a million times. I will get to all of it. Just one thing at a time. Surgery is Wednesday at 11:30 and, if all goes well, I will be home by 6:00pm. Love, Ang

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Set in motion....

I apologize for not posting until now. This has been a VERY long three days and I have been emotionally exhausted for a lot of it. So, here is the update...on Sunday night, I emailed my oncologist and told him that Grant and I decided to go for it, do the surgery trananally, and focus on the 80% with no complications. I received an almost immediate positive response with an "!" in it. He NEVER does that. I take it as a good sign. :) Monday morning, I left a message for my surgeon with the scheduler and said, "I am so sorry that you have to take these kind of messages, but make sure you underline and emphasize the 80% part, kay?" "Absolutely, Angie." Monday, midday, I received a call back to tell me that my surgery is going to be the 23rd of March. I was like, "Okay, he said "soon". Is that soon?" Apparently, it is. She gave me all my instructions over the phone....packet to be sent....filter to be place....no food or water day of. "Okay?" "Okay." Here we go again with "okay". Funny thing...I still had an appointment set for chemo, so I decided to cancel the chemo part, but keep my appointment with my oncologist realizing that I have not really gone through all the tests result from the last week. Tuesday, I show up at 8:27 for an 8:20 appointment. No blood work is ordered and I go and sit down. I am called back at 9:50. Clearly, it is not a good day for them already. I sit down with my oncologist and we go through all the tests....CT scan shows no cancer, but my spleen and liver are showing mild stress...onto the liver ultrasound....liver is sluggish, but everything is going in the right direction....spleen is backing up because of sluggish liver. Why? Because of chemo. Can I do anything to make it better? Nope. Will it ever get better? Probably not. This is the down side of prolonged chemotherapy. Will this ever be a problem? Don't know. Well, this is just a ray of sunshine. Let's switch subjects! Onto the the PET scan....spot locations are still there in my lungs, but they are not glowing with cancer, so after I have my butt operation and healing from it, I will be back in chemo. No light chemo anymore. That is off the table since my butt tumor started growing again. I am not sure for how long, but if the past is any indicator at LEAST four treatments. So, the bad news is I will be hitting a YEAR of treatment - my longest yet without being in remission. The good news is for some strange unexplainable reason, my surgery was scheduled after a weekend away with my girlfriend for scrapbooking (this weekend), and before, but at the end of my healing process on my butt, Maui. Maui will be the first trip Grant and I are going ALONE on for more than two nights for non-medical reasons while I am feeling WELL since Mason was born - YES MASON, not Nolan. There are a couple other things coming up too and with careful planning I may just get all those of GOOD weekends. So, I will focus on the 80%, keep all my plans in place for now, and keep on movin'. Thank you for all your prayers and thoughts - they make a difference! Love, Ang