Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Everything went great.....

I was on my stomach and the tumor was easy to access.  Two needles for the markers they wanted in.  Only two two horrible jabs, but I did not move but my hands just stretched out.  They asked if I was okay and if I needed more drugs after the first and I asked how many more.  "One."  "No, thank you."  45 minute it was over.  The previous marker placement in 2012 was MUCH worse.

X-Rays came back good.... No holes in my lung.  I can go home. No pain meds for the way home, he knows I do not care for them.  Tylenol works if I use it.

So now it hurts like someone stabbed me very cleanly with an ice pick.......twice.  It hurts to move, it hurts to breathe too deep, t, just well, hurts.

Mason and Grant are at baseball, Ms. Anderson just picked up Nolan for the BBQ, and I am going lay here.

More later.....happy Tuesday, Ang

Monday, August 29, 2016

Tomorrow I go....

Tomorrow I go.  Check in at 6am.  Procedure at 8am. It will take between 2 and a half hours to 3.  I totally trust my doc doing it.  He has been with me for a long time.  He did my gold markers before and mentioned to Hank that he was having great success with ablation and I was a great candidate.  Several ablation procedures later, I know him, his kids, funny stories, and, well, I adore him.  Karissa too.  He thought Karissa and I were a couple, until he met Grant.  Karissa, I think, is his favorite.  In one of my first appointments he said, "I have the needle that I will be putting into your chest in my pocket if you want to see it..."  Karissa was like, "I want to see it!"  I agreed, but Karissa was the star.

Here is the truth.  I don't want to go.  This is a grueling procedure.  They put me in a CT scanner.  They map my tumor on my chest, then they pull me out, place the marker, and put me back it to see if they did it well.  I am conscious.  The pain is dulled, but not gone.  I feel the pressure of them going into my chest, it hurts, and while it is not the worst pain I have ever experienced in this journey, honestly, it sucks.  Each marker is the same.  Then they send me home...beaten and bruised and told be rest and be quiet for a few days.  I do not know how you cannot.  It hurts to turn, to bend, to do anything and the stress of "did I do too much" it always there.  The markers need to "heal" in place and if you move too much the fall......

I went to acupuncture today.  I love her.  We have become friends and she connects with me on another level.  I told her I pushed back on this procedure and she told me that she feels better with the markers than without.  She explained all the things that could go wrong and how this is the best way to go.  She helped me with pain today and how to challenge it, how to deal, and how to relax during this somewhat crude procedure.  She comes from a place of feeling, not odds.  It comforts me.

Grant is taking me and Mom is getting the boys.  When I get home, the boys come home and Mason and Grant go to baseball and Ms. Anderson (Kelsey) will take Nolan to the Welcome Back BBQ.  She is not even a teacher there anymore.....and I cry.  How lucky am I?!?!  Meals start to come on the 31st, and my boys will be watched over on he first day of school by my beloved teachers.  I am so blessed - like really, I am not just saying that because for those of you who really know me, I would not say anything I did not mean!!!!  So, life goes on.  My last day of summer was today.  We picked veges from the garden that I will offer to people bringing us dinner, we played volleyball while waiting for my acupuncturist to eat lunch on my demand, and we lived by the river, playing hockey, being in the carpool lane, going to Fred Meyer, and laughing.  This is all I ever wanted and I love it....enough to do the rest.

Happy Monday/Tuesday, Ang

Friday, August 26, 2016

One Heck of a Day....

La la la.....I go into today for my planning appointment and think everything is great.  CT done.  Back support done.  Imagining done, but........the doc in the office (who is SUPER conservative and cautious beyond reasonableness) comes in and says......, "Well, we can clearly see part of the tumor, but we cannot see the other because your liver is in the way.  (Aren't all my organs in the way?!?!?!) So, in this case, we would treat the area, but I believe that the risk of bad pneumonia is far too great, so I think we should do markers."  These are gold markers.  They hurt to put in, they are not guaranteed.  They are honestly, in my humble, but not humble opinion, not worth it over pneumonia.  I have had pneumonia like eighteen times.....seriously?!??!?!  Threatening me with pneumonia?  I would try something like cancer....opps, have that, maybe something mysterious like Guillain-Barre.  Okay. Frick.  Timeline blown again, but.....my ablation doc is also my marker doc.  He has an opening on Tuesday am.  EARLY.  I take it.  Then I have to be very quiet for three days.  Little movement etc, so that they can "heal in place".  So, then they check me on the 7th and we start a week later.  So, here is the interesting part, I have to flip everything.  I can't do anything after the markers are put in.  Then, I can for a bit.  Then, I am in treatment which I now remember the difficulty of that now being still, awake, breathing normally - what the frick is normal?!?!?!, for 55 mins without so much as more than a blink.

So, I am delayed again.....this is fine especially with the odds of 97%, like come on, I would really have to screw something up to not have those work?!?!?!?!?!

Meals are perfect.  I will need them more than ever during the markers and healing. Thank you.  

Happy Weekend, Ang

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Things that I have learned since my relapse.....

#1 - Spend more than $6 on replacement toilet seats.  I chose to go as cheap as I could and have spent $4700 in gas returning all the broken ones - okay maybe $12.  The best comment I got was at Walmart with an older woman who said, "Oh dear, we can't have you lopsided on the seat - that doesn't work.  And by the way, I don't sit on those wooden one ANYMORE, one pinched me!"  I can't make this up.  I actually think cyber knife will be easier than all the return and installs that I did with toilet seats.

#2 - Sometimes you just need time and get hammered!  Enough said.  See below.

#3 - People are amazing.  People that care for me - amazing.  I cry once a week.  My neighbors, my friends, my family, amazing.

Things that I am thankful for...

Jamberry because no matter what state I am in, I can have beautiful toes.  I do find them on the cats sometimes which may have something to do with #2.

Friends and family.....they get me.  Sometimes I need time, sometimes I need a stupid movie. Sometimes I need my lawn mowed.  See below.....

So, this weekend, I was SUPPOSED to be dropping Mason off in Kelowna for hockey camp. Because of everything, Grant and I decided that I should stay home just in case they call with an opening.  Friday Grant and Mason leave.  Friday, Beckey, a girlfriend, and I have plans to go out, but I have Nolan.  Mom takes Nolan.  I go out and do #2 - not POOP....God, look above and follow along!!!!  If God can follow this, you can too!  Oh, we also saw Bad Moms AGAIN!  We went to Mexican afterwards.  We sat in the bar, not because we had to, but because we could!  NO KIDS!  I order a Margarita as big as my head.  The guys across were funny....not weird, I was dressed in my grey t-shirt, spandex that has NEVER seen a gym and my hair is still wet.  Just a good time.  Saturday I wake up and I am like, "I drank last night.  UGH."  But there was no one to ask for breakfast, cuddle with me (which I missed, but I didn't....I am a BAD Mom.), I ate breakfast in bed, watched Netflix and petted my cats and slept with my cats until lunch with my Mom and Aunt.  Came home.  Heather, my neighbor/boss/friend/co-padre was leaving town and I am taking care of the house (I always have and I always will), she brings me dinner, dessert, extra stuff.  Okay, but she hugs me.  PAUSE.  Heather's hugs are healing, calm, sweet, and mine.  She loves me and I love her.  Dinner comes and I make pot stickers and Turkish green beans BECAUSE I CAN AND NO ONE WILL COMPLAIN!!!!!  Watch Netflix, play Clash of Clan A LOT, and sleep with my cats.  I LOVE MY CATS.  I wake up the next day and it is cool......thank God, NW people are not equipped to deal with 95 degrees two days in a row.  I get ready (spandex and a baseball cap), I go to Fred Meyer - SHOCKER! - and I come home.  I load up the car with all the stuff from the Garage Sale that I am never going to do anything with, and I ask my neighbors the Manca's, "If any one of your boys wants to make a quick $25, mow my lawn.  Please God.  I don't do that."  Trina sends John.  Okay, he is the Dad.  "Johnny, you are not mowing my lawn for free."  "I was doing mine anyway."  "Johnny, you didn't let me pay for the rug doctor repair."  "Ang, we use your Rug Doctor more than you do."  "FINE."  He edges, mows, and it is even to Grant's standard.  BRAVO.  I harvest some many zucchini, I cannot count.  If you want zucchini, it is on my porch!!!!  I have given them to EVERYONE and not will drop some at the school which I have heard from many sources is in good hands with the new principal.  Corn, beans, beats, butternut squash.  It was amazing and overwhelming.  I still need to do laundry, but that can wait.  But here is the funny part.....when Mom picked me up for lunch, she said, "So what would your Grandmother say about all this?!?!?!"  This is Virginia.  My Grandma.  The only Grandparent that was blood related too and really knew.  I know she loved me.  I know she was proud of me and she gave me good life lessons, BUT this would actually be her version of my weekend......

"Grant was barely out of town before Angela dropped Nolan off at my poor Son's house (Keith).  You know he is struggling especially with Sharon and you boyfriend in Wisconsin!   (My Mom has never had a boyfriend - and least of all in Wisconsin.)  They she was off to the bars and inappropriate movie with her friends!  The next day she did NOTHING except get her neighbors husband to mow her lawn.  There MUST be something between them - probably violating some commandment!"

......despite it all, I have had a weekend off, where honestly, I was wondering what to, but in the end......I enjoyed EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!!!!

Happy Sunday, Ang

Friday, August 19, 2016

Marching orders....

So, I got the call from the scheduler.  She could get me in on Friday the 26th.  Heart sinks.  "Is that the earliest appointment?"  "Yes." "Okay, so what is involved in the appointment?"  "Well, I understand that you are a go getter, so we have scheduled EVERYTHING in that day.  You will know if you need markers, you will know when you can start treatment, etc."  Okay, so I cannot complain, but my treatment is tentatively scheduled for Sept 1st, 2nd, 6th, 7th, and 8th.  FRICK.  September 1st is the first day of school.  I have never missed one and considering I was supposed to miss all of them, it hurt.  "They will never remember...."  "It will be fine....they know the drill...."  "I can be there....."   Pause.......exhale....pause...., but I am their Mom and while I am a pretty bad Mom, they know certain things.......I love them....I will fight for them.....I will protect them.....I will be their greatest ally....I will be the one they call in trouble, but I will not be there.  FRICK.  Mason is prepared.  He told me, "We do what we have to do."  He is eleven.  What eleven-year-old does that in America?  Maybe other countries, but not here.  But I guess, "We do what we have to do."

Sad, but proud,


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Update.....Slower than I wanted, but that is my life....

Today.....today I get a voicemail that we got insurance confirmation.  That is five/six business days from when we started.  I was then told in the voicemail that I would receive a call from the scheduler to schedule everything.  Encoded....my timeline is blown.  I will never get treatment scheduled the week before school is in and I will be in treatment during their first days of school.  Frick.  That has happened before.  I will miss the Welcome BBQ.  I will miss the drop off, but it will be okay because I have a great survival rate of this.  The school had contacted me and because of all the turn over they were like, "So, you do the welcome BBQ?"  and I was like, "No, I am sorry, my President term ended July 1 and I left great notes, also I am in cancer treatment right now, so I cannot commit." The new staff was lovely, but honestly, I am burnt out from last year and if we get no admin support, we are out.  No spirit wear, no science night, no shirts, no spirit, no Scholastic News, no nothing.  I think that is sad, but it is the reality.  You do not work for free forever and I loved it, but when it was a communal sport.

At the same time, I am with my parents and working through their stuff.  They have done an amazing job, but sometimes my Dad is, well, disappointing.  He is impatient, judgmental, and harsh.  I blow it off, but I am not sure my kids can.  On the flip side.....My Grandparents 75% by marriage and not blood, had so many patience with me.  Loved me.  Disciplined me and saw me through that sometimes I yearn for that with my boys.  I hope as we get the garage cleaned out and the Pontiac in action that will change, but I have me doubts.

The meal train is wonderful, but it may need to be shifted, as I may not have treatment then.  I have tons of options for driving me to treatment which I do not need, but they want to do and I am not going to say no, because in reality, it is nice to have someone there with you.

More updates to follow..

Thank you forever...happy Wednesday,


Thursday, August 11, 2016

And then there was Good News...

Okay recap.....3cm tumor in my right lower lobe.  This spot was COMPLETELY stable for over a year and went from NOTHING to 3cm from the March scan to now.  When my cancer comes back it comes back fast.  My rectal tumor did the same thing - gone for years and then between scans went so crazy that I had to get on the table face down fast.  So, here we are again and Hank will probably never let me five months again between scans....that is cancer, when you just get comfortable it sneaks up on you.

I waited all night for a call from the Cyberknife docs on Tuesday.  No one called.  I emailed Hank and he said, wait until tomorrow (Wednesday) and if not call them.  At 8:15 on Wednesday, a schedulers called and said, "I was supposed to call you yesterday and the only spot we have today is 9:25.  You are in Kent, you probably can't make it."  "YES, YES, I can."  Shower off hot mess, dress, pull back wet hair, walk in at 9:26.  I wanted to get there because then if they say no, I have to go to ablation, radiation, etc. etc. etc. and I just want a plan.  I was ready for the "tour of treatment", being told I am amazing, your journey is incredible, you look great (really the bar is so very low), you are so young, I was expecting someone older, Hank admires you so much, Hank is amazing, can you summarize your experience because I could not get through your entire file,  yada yada yada.....thank you, that is nice, very kind, CAN WE JUST FRICKIN' GET DOWN TO THE BRASS TACKS AND TELL ME WHETHER YOU CAN FIX THIS OR NOT?!??!?!  Truly, it is all very nice, but I just need the plan.

So, with my my anxiety NOT in check, the nurse comes in.  "Well, we haven't seen you in a long time! (HUG)  You look great!"  She is a real sweatheart and that she remembered me is nice.  Vitals (BP high - y'think!?!?!), weight, go over the main items, "Okay, the doc will be in.  You will like him."

Doc enters.  Very nice man, late 30s early 40s.  Kind and gentle.  He asks me couple questions and then goes to the computer, "Hank, probably showed you the pictures."  "No, it was too early.  We called for it to be read."  He points to it and I am like, "That thing is m------r f---------g HUGE!"  Luckily, the words stayed in my head instead of bouncing out of my mouth as they very commonly do.  And then it comes, "Cyberknife is the perfect treatment for this procedure.  It was made for this tumor.  Success rate will be in the high 90.  We will mark off your spine, so no implantation of markers (which is the part that hurts).  I am in a little trouble with the front because the insurance is not all figured out yet, but we will do that this week, next week planning, and the following week treatment - just five."  The words washed over me.  The plan is done.  Exhale and exhaustion slowly set in.  We talk a little more and I learned he has three kids under four and I was like, "WOW, you were busy."  (Unfortunately, those words DID fall out of my mouth....)  He laughed and said, "The are all in-vitro."  "MINE TOO!"  Chat, chat, chat and then I pushed him to his next appointment, "You don't have time for this.....GO!"  "I see why Hank likes you."  "GO!"

This week - I do nothing and emails, letters, and opinions fly between docs and insurance.
Next week - planning sessions and mock treatment to see that the machine is programmed properly.
Week of the 22nd - Treatment one hour laying a table with no breaks while a laser moves around my body marking off my spine and hits every single cell in that m------r f--------g tumor.  BYE BYE!!

Thank you for all the love, comments, calls, hugs, and my mom coming over to let me cry while I was holding two phones.  Thank God the boys are off at camp and I have a plan, Thank God Mason will be at Hockey Camp during my treatment because he doesn't handle it very well, Nolan.....Nolan will want to go to the appointment and make all sorts of shooting sounds as sound effects for the machine.  And Thank God for doing everything in my world to keep my appointment.  I was listening (albeit defiantly, but listening).

Many people have mentioned food and help and I think I will be okay.  Mom can take Nolan when I go to treatment and, honestly, there are no side effects.  I may be a little tired and a little nauseous because the laser might hit my liver, but that is it.  And, as usual, I am cleaning my house because that is what I do when it comes back and my carpets are drying as I write.

But, in the off chance you still want to bringing me dinner, I won't say no.....five meals, Monday - Friday week of the 22nd.  Lara Castillo is doing the meal planning email her at  lhosford446@comcast.net.

Love you guys....

Happy Thursday,


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Summer and the bump....

Summer has really been amazing.  We bought a travel trailer - I know - we are "those" people now.  But see, I was always, "those" people.  I liked being those people. We purchased it in late June have have gone on two weekend trips and one full week trip since.  We have plans for Christmas and for Spring Break.  The boys love it.  I love it - but I have to say that is a VERY EXPENSIVE TOILET. And not one I am willing to give up.  Grant has all sorts of plans and so do I.  The boys just love their bunks, their storage, and the fact that I can prepare all their meals unlike road trips.  We store it at my parents and I have to say my Dad is super helpful with charging the batteries, filling the water, etc. He didn't like my first parking of the trailer claiming it was not straight.  I have done better since...apparently.  WHATEVER.  Basketball camp - DONE.  Lacrosse Camp - DONE. Neighborhood Garage Sale where the boys sold there stuff - I did a great job except for Nolan bringing home a six foot cut out of Homer Simpson with his earnings!!!!  OMG - help me!!!  And now, the boys are off to overnight camp this week and I was supposed to be on a sailboat somewhere near Desolation Sound about now, but that was not in the cards for me.  I first was concerned when they scheduled my scan...I was like, "....but if Keith and Deb go, that will be the week."  And, well, it was the week, but the alternator on the boat went out.  No Keith and Deb and sailing.  Then, I had another offer to do something fun and POW, that failed too.  Cancer scan still trumps.  I wanted to cancel it, but at my core, I knew I needed to go.  I was not scared.  I was terrified.  My cancer was back and I knew it.  I showed up late because of bizarre traffic, but we called and they knew.  I got there, did the scan, had tubes out of my arm for lunch and then to blood work.  I actually got to do blood work with, and I say this graciously because truly - I LOVE ALL OF THEM, my favorite nurse.  She is also the nurse that I was with when I tried to die.  The one that would not give me back my glasses because she was crying.  She blames the room....O-K-A-Y.  LOL!  We laughed I asked about her kids in complete detail and she was like, "OMG, how do you remember that?!?!?!"  Chemo/Shemo, you remember what you want.  Then, up to Hank.  NO RESULTS were in, but I had gone to the bathroom 47 times already.  The appointments were too close, but it is me and he makes calls, and they answer and they read the scan early because it is me and I am so loved.  Tumor, right left lobe.  One that we never worried about has grown 3cm in since March.  Other stuff - blah blah blah.  I say that because there is always blah, blah, blah, but my cancer had been gone for more than a year and now it is back.  Blah, Blah, Blah, is stuff I can deal with.  So, the phones start going, and the appointments start being scheduled.  We start with Cyberknife, then to ablation, trying to avoid chemo because my body is still recovering from chemo.  Hank said, "This is just a bump.  You know we will always have to monitor this.  Your tumors show up every once and a while."  I take off my glasses.  I cry a little, he hugs me and says, "If you don't have these, when will I see you?!?!?!"  I smile.  We hug again.  What would I do without him?  The journey continues.....bump.