Monday, December 24, 2007

We made it!

The stockings are hung and stuffed, the presents are by the tree and the "BIG BIG CAR" is in the garage waiting for two little boys to get up tomorrow. I am exhausted, but it is the good kind. I made it to Christmas in style, but I know that I did not get here alone. Many helped with the house, wrapping, shopping, food, housework, the list goes on and on. Thank you......this moment means to the world to me. I can't wait until tomorrow. Merry Christmas everyone!!!! Love, Ang

Thursday, December 20, 2007


It has been a long but wonderful day!!! I am done with radiation. After the glorious last treatment, lots of hugs, and butt wiggles, I went upstairs to see my oncologist for my marching orders. When he saw me, he said, "You have done amazingly well with these two treatments and now you need a rest." I am thinking - what is doing poorly?!?!?! That must really stink!!!! Then I thought - WAIT did he say rest??? So, I asked, "What do you mean rest?" He replied with, "Well, you have been at this for a while and everyone needs a rest, so we will start on January 7th." I was like, "No, we discussed December 31st." He looked at me, tilted his head, and said, "I know you think you have done very well and your blood is in good shape, and you have done well, but your body needs a rest. We will start on the 7th" I was like, "But..." "The 7th m'dear." F-I-N-E. So, I start again on the 7th. I left the building and realized that I have more than two weeks.....a two week vacation from cancer. That sounds pretty darn good like a surprise Christmas gift that you didn't see coming. Merry Christmas to ME!!!! Love, Ang

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Better today....

Two days, two treatments, and chemo pills run out tomorrow.......I can SEE IT!!! Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. Funny story....people at work used to use the phrase "This too shall pass" and I would always add " a bad bowel movement." If I had only known!!!!!! Love, Ang

Monday, December 17, 2007

Home Stretch

Well, the healing isn't going as quickly as I would have liked, it is better than before. Today was a bad day, so bad I could not stop shivering, I was nauseous, and weak. What I find now is what I was warned about by past patients. The last week drags on, you find yourself discouraged and depressed, and you start not caring about anything else but finishing. To top it off, fatigue is at its worst. With the mix, I find myself fighting to stay positive and just wishing this was just all over. And then I see my boys wrestling with their Dad and smile. I remember him (Grant) telling me this will all be over soon and a distant memory someday........someday. I want someday here now. Opps there is the timer, got to take my chemo pills.......someday this will all be a distant memory. 3 treatments, 3 days, and 2 more days of pill chemo. Here is to the 20th, Ang

Friday, December 14, 2007

Let the healing begin!!!

So, today was good. No radiation in the back - only on the sides, yippee!!! With any luck, I will be normal by Christmas. Funny story - I was visiting Bob yesterday in treatment and I met this older gentleman with stomach and esophagus (is that right?) cancer. We were talking about side effects during radiation and he said he was able to eat, poop, etc. and I responded with, "Then I would say to you, 'I am feeling nothing for ya!!!!'" He laughed hard because really it is all about poop. It should be noted that previous to that conversation Bob thought I should get a poop Christmas ornament and his wife suggested I could make one out of raisins!!!!! Yeah, maybe I will skip that one!!!! Happy holiday weekend, Ang

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The quiet one....

So, today wasn't so great and I was in a great deal of pain. This just stinks. The good news is tomorrow is the last day of the "full meal deal" and the last five treatments they back off a bit - THANK GOODNESS! Anyhoo, there has been this young woman in the waiting room for maybe a couple of weeks now. She always looks confident with a little scared mixed in. I have quietly said hello to her and she politely says it back. I think she is a bit younger than I am and she comes with her Mom everyday. Her Mom is flat out scared. Well, today she initiated the hello, sat right next to me and said, "I had my first chemo yesterday and I was high as a kite! I think I need all that advice you gave that other woman last week. Do you mind?" I looked at her like, "Are you kidding???? Bring it on! Somebody get me a pen and paper." So, we started chatting and the conversation went easy. Towards the end of the conversation she said, "When I first came here I thought you were here with a patient. I had no idea you were one. You are so happy, healthy looking, and have your hair, but when I overheard you tell your story I almost cried...." I stopped her there, winked, and said, "I get that a lot, but I have a happy story. I am done in March when switch to "Survivor" status. And, by the way, who says you won't be there with me?????" Her eyes darted to mine. She looked at me with those eyes six months ago. A mix of resignation, fear, fight, hope, and more fear. So I touched her arm, nodded, looked her straight in the eye, and nodded again. No words - no need. And then I got called to treatment. I told her I would see her tomorrow. She smiled and said, "Oh yeah....more tomorrow!" We smiled and then I was off to fling myself on the table. Happy Wednesday. Love, Ang

Monday, December 10, 2007

Today is turning out better than expected....

On the way home it was a beautiful day, my biscuits were still burning, but I was distracted by the sun. I opened the sunroof, cranked the heat, and changed the radio station from Christmas music to Jack FM. For those of you that know me well, you know that I am closet ACDC fan and ironically "Highway to Hell" was just coming on the radio. I cranked the volume and a trucker started laughing at me. I thought Highway to Hell was fitting for what I am going through right now, don't you? When the song was over I exited the freeway, went back to Christmas Music (Frosty the Snowman to be exact), and continued home. My moment. Yes, I know it is 40 degrees. THAT is not the point! Love, Ang

9 treatments; 11 days; 10 more days of chemo

Last Wednesday I met with my oncologist and he said, "Well, I am glad you are feeling better and your bloodwork is good, so we are going to start Xeloda." Xeloda is a pill form of chemo. It is considered a low dose of chemo compared to what I was on before radiation started. I thought, "Great, just when I get one thing figured out I have to compensate for another." I said, "Okay, let's do it. But I get Christmas week off, right?" My oncologist replied, "Yep, that is the deal." So, Wednesday through Friday went pretty well and then Saturday hit. Saturday stunk except I do have to say that I have learned to manipulate this well enough that I go to things like book club and Mason's birthday party that he was invited to. I do these things and then return home within 3 hours to the bath tub, my bed, and my couch (whichever is necessary) with my lotions, potions, and creams. The trick is that the event must be close to home in case I have to return and I must be home within 3 hours - 2 is better. Sunday was a bit better, but today looks like a bad day. The hard part is I won't be able to truly tell until about 11:00am. The worst part is that in my depression and pain this weekend I decided to dye my hair because my roots were horrible. They discontinued my color and the new color is a bit too ashy for me. So, now I am a pathetic butt burned cancer patient with a bad hair dye job. Wonderful! People keep asking me what other side effects I have....well, my fingernails always feel like they are going to rip off, I can't feel the tips of my fingers again, my feet are super sensitive, my bowels are all screwed up, I am TIRED, my butt itches CONSTANTLY, but I do not feel nauseous. So, I guess that makes me a tired, pathetic, butt itching, butt burned, appendage painful, bowel questioning, cancer patient with a bad dye job. Oh well, I got to do the things I love this weekend despite it all and I was strong enough to go through the neighborhood with my family last night and look at the Christmas lights which was a true joy for me. Mason is the cutest. He had to stop at everyone's house, sit on the curb and watch the lights......pretty adorable. 9 more treatments, 11 more days, and 10 more of can't come soon enough. Love, Ang

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Preparations

Last week, I was talking on the phone with one of my girlfriends and I started to cry. I was so tired of being sick and tired. I was fearful of not having Christmas be perfect for Mason. I didn't know how I was going to get the decorations up, the presents wrapped, Santa photos, etc. I wanted it to be perfect for him because, well, I didn't know if I was going to see Christmas a little while back and my third Christmas was the first that I remember as a child. I remember how excited my Dad was that day and on that Christmas I got what I asked for - a teddy bear. He was a big as I was and from then on he was my best friend. I wanted this Christmas to be like that for Mason (and Nolan, but let's be serious - he isn't going to remember!!) She suggested I ask some friends over to decorate and wrap gifts. I thought that was a crazy idea, but then again, I am nuts so I thought about it and called a few friends - the ones that love Christmas. I called one that loves to wrap, one that love the Christmas tree, one that just loves Christmas, and one that is a work horse. (Ladies - guess which one you are....hehehe). I pulled a lasagna from the freezer, asked one to bring a salad, and we were set. They all came and transformed my house and wrapped all my gifts. So, many times that night my eyes filled with tears, but I didn't cry. They teased me about my crazy ornaments - doesn't everyone had a pig angel?????? We laughed and chatted up a storm. The the best part was one friend was from high school, one from college, one was a old neighbor, and one was a soccer buddy, but they have all been with me for so long that they all know each other. They talked in a familiar way, enjoying each other's company. Let's face it - I do drag people together and, if they have any sense, they go with it!!!!! So, Wednesday night my house was Christmasfied, and on Thursday afternoon my Mom picked me up with the kids and we went for Santa photos. Mason and Nolan were at my folks for Tuesday and Wednesday night because Grant had to work late both nights. Wednesday and Thursday were great days, but by Thursday night I was exhausted and went to bed at 7. It was a good amazing tired.....who would have thought that all those people would have time to help me during the holidays? How lucky am I?!?!?!? Happy Friday, Ang

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

12 Treatments; 16 days

Hey - I am the same - always in pain and chanting to myself how many more days/treatments to go. I was feeling sorry for myself yesterday and I then a woman the the waiting room said, "You look so healthy - you look amazing." We started chatting and then everyone in the waiting room was chatting and I learned that the man to my right had stomach cancer. I said, "Wow, I haven't met someone with stomach cancer." He replied, "That is because they are all dead." I looked at him and we both started laughing. Only people with terminal "anything" can do that......I am still laughing......he was cool. On another note, Sunday was Mason's 3rd birthday. We did a bowling party since there were 12 adults and only 5 and a half (Nolan) kids. It was a good time and I won!!!! In fact, I pretty much spanked everyone at bowling. Secretly, that is why I wanted a bowling party. I am a bowling master at heart. Mason had a great time and that is really all that mattered. Here is a good story....Mason really wanted to be five (like his cousin). So, he just started saying he was five and showing all five fingers. I was a little concerned with this and said to him, "Mason you are three. You can't change it. It is not one of those things you can change." He looked straight at me holding up five fingers and said, "Mommy, look at my fingers. I am five!" "Okie dokie, you're five." No worries. He changed his tune by the party. Hang in there - I am trying to! Love, Ang

Friday, November 30, 2007

A bit of good news....

As I go into the weekend, I am doing better. Managing the pain, the bleeding is done for now, and monitoring my activities. One thing that happened just today made me feel not so useless. There was a new woman at Radiation yesterday. We started chatting and she has advanced lung cancer. She was nervous because she had her first chemo yesterday. That is all it took. I quickly assured her that she would be fine, told her what to expect, and gave her my tips on what helped me get through it (complete with written list for her doc to approve). I told her, "Yes, it will be hard, but do this and it is manageable." Today, I saw her and she said to me, "Because of you, I wasn't scared of chemo." Okay, so my day was made. I finally helped someone. Bob said, "Pay it forward." So, I did. Today another woman started talking to me about her husband. He is nauseous, and will not eat." I told her Ensure Plus and Ginger Altoids. Choke down the first and carry the other EVERYWHERE. Hopefully, that will work for him this weekend. I left the waiting room today waving saying, "I am here everyday at 11:00!" like a comic says as he leaves the stage. Oh well, it was fun and it make me forget that my butt is on fire. 14 to go......20 days left....... Have a great weekend, Ang

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Yesterday was good, today not so much

Yesterday I had three doctor's appointments all around my bleeding and pain. The Radiation Oncologist told me that he didn't want to lessen the dosage because he wants me to have the best shot at the tumor never coming back. He explained that this is part of the deal and that I just need to get through it. He assured me that there will be no permanent damage, I will heal as soon as treatment is over (December 20), and all will be as it was. He asked me, "Can you do it?" I replied with, "If you tell me we have to do it, I will find a way to get through it." I then met with the Colon/Rectal Surgeon and he helped me with pain management. He was hucking samples at me left and right and told me to try everything until we find was will make it tolerable. He is great. A while back he told me he was going to do missionary work and that he may not be the one to do my surgery. I was crushed. I tried to be happy for him, but the words, "Well, that is quite inconvenient for me!" fell out of my mouth before I could stop them. Sometimes my mouth is way faster than my brain. Yesterday, I apologized for that previous comment and asked me when he was leaving. He smiled and said, "Well, a few things came up, so not until 2009." I looked at him and he said, "Yes, you are one of them." I just looked down almost started crying, but I was too happy to cry. I am truly evil, Anyhoo.....things started going downhill last night. Sometimes it all is too much and with my kids at my Mom and Dad's for a couple days, I let down and it all came out. Nerves, worries, gratitude, self pity, anger, and, of course, pain. With all the doctor's appointment, driving into Seattle twice, and stopping by Costco (yes, that was a bad choice), I realized when I got home I did too much. I was up most of the night with my bowels making me pay for it and I didn't sleep much. So, today was crap, but I went for treatment. I cried most of the way there. I got myself together to go into the building, Angela, at the front desk saw me, hugged me, and smiled. Everyone took care of me, but not too much today. I saw my oncologist afterwards and he said, "We are not starting chemo (pill form). It will make everything worse down there and I don't think you can take that right now." I replied, "If you say we have to, I will find a way to get through it." He looked me in the eye and said, "I know. Now, you let me worry about the treatment and you just get through this." And, with a smile and a hug, I slowly leave, drive home, and get to the couch. I watch TV and wonder when I will desire the food on food commercials again, answer the phone, and rest. Just now I had enough energy to blog. Don't worry, I know tomorrow will be better than today. So, if you will excuse me, I need to go write on the bathroom mirror "16" and cross out "17" in red lipstick. That is how I am getting through this - red lipstick on my bathroom mirror. When all else fails, lipstick never lets you down. Tomorrow, I will write"15" and I will be half way done. Love, Ang

Monday, November 26, 2007

Maybe there is a place for me in the medical industry!

Okay, so I went to radiation today and told them my story. They said, "Let's get you in with a nurse today!" The nurse said, "You are seeing your oncologist today." And off I go, bothering everyone with my butt issues. I don't know what bothered them most - the fact I was bleeding or the fact that I had replaced two of my meals a day with protein drinks. Oh oncologist was like, "Why are you here?" I told him the concern from downstairs and he said, "Well, we will manage the pain and talk to the radiation oncologist to see if we need to reduce the amount of radiation for a bit. As for your blood, your counts are coming up, so whatever you are eating - keep doing it. It's working." Thanks Rik for introducing me to USANA (where I get my protein drinks). So, I meet with the radiation oncologist and the colon/rectal surgeon tomorrow to see about dosage and pain management. Beside that, this is normal. Welcome to butt radiation! I just kept saying, "As long as I don't poop, I am great! Can you do something about making me not poop?" And they smile and shake their heads. One of the triage guys said that I should get my girlfriend that wrote me poetry (which I shared with the office) about my rectum to write me a poem about poop avoidance. With that, I am leave laughing my butt off and I hear them all laughing to my ears......Happy Monday, Ang

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Well, this is harder than I thought

After having a great Thanksgiving, I have been struggling ever since. It is not a constant struggle, but one that occurs every time I go to the bathroom. I love rectal cancer - it is a BLAST (literally)! When I was given the option of doing radiation instead of surgery, I jumped on it. Pooping in a bag didn't sound fun and all the people I talked to said, "Radiation? Oh, do it! It is that bad. You can drive yourself to and from treatment, you are a little sore, but it is doable." Now, I remember all of those people were Breast Cancer survivors - not rectal cancer survivors. Let me paint you a picture......radiation dries out your skin, darkens it, and makes it really sensitive. That doesn't sound bad, does it? Well, now run poop along it everyday. Yeah, that part hurts - BAD. So, while I can enjoy food now, I try not to eat. This is my reality...I choose which meal I am going to eat for the day, then I replace the other two meals with protein shakes (thank goodness I can drink them cold again since I am not on the drug that gives me the cold sensitivity anymore), I have to use suppositories every night to "disinfect" the area, sitz bath every time I poop, and rest. My thinking is that if I limit my intake, my output will dramatically reduce and I will limit my pain. Get this, none of my colorectal buddies have done radiation so I didn't get a warning on this and I didn't put two and two together before we started. Brilliant, uh?!?! Now, I do have "windows" of opportunity where I appear normal. I went to Target yesterday to get stuff for the house, complete Mason's birthday supplies, etc., but I was home within two hours just in case. I focus on 25 days until my radiation treatment ends (19 more treatments) and then I am back to what I know - chemo. My last day of treatment is the 20th of December. Yes, I will call the doctor, but I will see him on Tuesday, so I am trying to wait until then. I am hoping there is a topical treatment to dull the pain, but seriously beyond that what can they do? A girl has to poop every once and a while! Signing off while sitting on my ball, Angie

Monday, November 19, 2007


As I woke up this morning, I was thinking about Thanksgiving and all the things I have to be thankful for....I was overwhelmed. Yeah, I am not real thankful for getting cancer, but if someone had to get it, I am glad it was me. Here is why.....Grant and I have enough financial security to handle this, Grant's company has amazing health care coverage for us, I love my house, we have heat and electricity everyday so my family is comfortable, I have so many friends and family that take care of us, I have seen friends I haven't seen in years that cook and clean for me, I always have enough food for me and my family, I have friends that still give me crap, I have amazing medical care, I have amazing nurses, I have amazing doctors, I have good cars that can get me to and from all my appointments, I have reserved parking for radiation, I can still afford gas, I have two healthy, amazing, wonderful kids that make me smile everyday, I can drink cold things right now, I can eat ice cream again (that will change when I am back on chemo), I can feel the tips of my fingers again, I can feel the bottoms of my feet again, I still have hair, I still have fingernails and toenails (although they are on the edge of breaking off all the time), I can still scrapbook, I can print pictures at home, I still have a sense of humor and was laughing so hard last night it hurt, I am married to an amazing man, my youngest flirts with my Mom, my eldest insists on calling my Mom upon his return home from their house to say, "Don't worry, I be back soon. I am with Mommy and Daddy now, but I be back soon.", there is always enough food at Thanksgiving for one more, my neighbors, and the list goes on forever. So, be thankful today for all the little things that make our lives what they are. When we are born, no one promises us forever, health, happiness, or joy. We create it everyday with every moment. All we have is right now. So, if you burn the turkey, smile and call it jerky. If someone doesn't bring the stuffing, eat more potatoes. But most importantly, be thankful that you had the opportunity for both. Happy Thanksgiving week, Ang

Friday, November 16, 2007

Halloween - FINALLY!

Okay, the first one shows you Mason in full costume and the next two are my favorites - my two moment......Love, Ang

Well, my Radiation Oncologist

knows me pretty well already. I met with him yesterday and told him about my nausea. He listened calmly, changed position in his chair, and then nicely said, "Fatigue isn't typical this early in the treatment of radiation, but I have experienced patients that have a lot of anxiety and adrenaline (sp) around the change in protocol. See, radiation is easy compared to chemo and with the change, people get nervous, and then about 3 treatments in start to relax and, consequently get very tired for a few days. Does this sound like you?" I looked at him and said, "Apparently, you have met me before...." I wanted to say, "SHUT UP!!!", but I thought the better of it. So, with that knowledge, I have started to relax. I slept really well last night - no vomiting thank goodness. I am also going to set up an appointment with my social worker. She is good at reframing things for me and getting me back on track. After my radiation appointment, I went up to visit my buddy Bob. I think it is HILARIOUS that I can go into the treatment center and say, "Where's Silent Bob?" and EVERYONE knows who I am talking about. We talked for a bit, laughed, I met another one of his cancer buddies, and just had a good time. He gave me a T-Shirt yesterday that has a half filled glass of water and says "Half Full" (not half empty). He said something like, "This personifies you." and I was happy for it. Sometimes I loose track....cry....wonder what this cancer has in store for me and then something happens like Bob and my T-shirt and I am remember that is just that simple - half full - nothing more, nothing less - half full. Thanks Bob. Love, Ang

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Who said radiation was a breeze?????

I guess I bought into that a little too easily. Obviously, the doc that told me that didn't think about two small children. I am so tired, my Mom is picking up the boys today and keeping them until Saturday. What would I do without my Mom and Dad? It is weird because I am usually okay until about 3:00 and then I am just done. I guess I should have paid attention to the platelet explanation.....something about having more fatigue during radiation because you have so many platelets in your pelvis as compared to the other areas of your body. Yesterday, I said to Mason, "Fine, you don't have to take a nap, but you do have to be silent and still for the next 20 mins so Mommy can take a nap." Funny part is he fell asleep for two hours and I only got 20 mins because Nolan got up. I wasn't feeling so good until I called my Mom. She told me she could take the kids, I vomited (I think it was nerves), and I went to bed at 7:30. I should just check in to the old folks home now. As for my overall health, I am doing okay. Radiation is truly easy - hop on the table and seven minutes later you are done. But, with the boys and Mason fighting naps I am struggling a bit. I guess it is hard because I was feeling so much better, I learned how to manage chemo, I was planning things with my friends, and then new protocol, my new restrictions, my new way of life. Who would have ever thought I would miss CHEMO?!?!?!?! Love, Ang

Monday, November 12, 2007

Apparently, I am not invincible

Well, rediation is going well and now I know it is working. I have felt tired, my nose has been bleeding since my last chemo treatmnet, Aunt Flo came to visit - so much for menopause due to chemotherapy, I am loosing feeling in my fingers and the bottoms of my feet, and I almost blacked out this morning. However, I was dumbfounded when I was told that we were going to hold off for a week to start oral chemo. I was like - I can do it, let's do it and my oncologist was like, "Let's talk Monday or Tuesday of next week. People need a break from this sometimes. Remember, we have been firing some heavy doses of chemo at you and with radiation this is fairly typical." He went on saying something like 80% of your platlets are in your pelvis....I stopped paying attention, so don't quote me on that one. "Fairly typical - I am not fairly typcial...." All I could think about is that I failed. So, I have spent most of the day trying to see the silver lining of "having a week off", but I am also mad that we just can keep gettin'er (sp) done! Oh well, this is for a reason. I am exhausted and I will take care of myself better this week, have other people run my errands, and sleep more. If I could just get Nolan on the new time schedule that would be great - 4:30am wake ups are brutal!!!!!!! Have a great week - Ang

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Today, Yesterday and Tuesday......

Well, radiation, at least at the beginning, is a snap AND I get a power nap. Yep, I have gotten so comfortable with the torture position I can sleep! I think there may be work for me in the CIA after this. Today, Thursday, was my first radiation appointment. Yesterday, was the dry run. The people there are so nice. They are explaining everything to me - remember they are looking at my butt. They are telling me, "Okay I am going to draw on you now. Okay, I am going to take some pictures of the drawings. Okay......etc.etc.etc." I think they are trying to protect my modesty or something. Little do they know I would now whip off my pants and show my butt to the janitor if he or she seemed to have a good reason to see it. Very sweet those people......very sweet. Some of the patients - not so much. I got the evil eye for parking in the radiation parking lot until I followed her into the treatment center smiling and saying hi to everyone. I guess she was surprised that I was a patient. I was tempted to say, "See you tomorrow!" to her, but I thought that would be cruel. You never know other people demons. So, I am getting to know a whole new group and, as usual, I am making my mark. Yesterday, I brought in a Christmas present that I bought (who it is for shall remain nameless) but it plays the music of "Low Rider". I showed it to Angela at the front desk and played it. We laughed and were dancing around. Most people in the lobby thought it was funny, but there are usually a couple of people that don't appreciate me. Too bad - I wasn't born a wall flower and I don't intend on being one now! Okay, off that rant...Tuesday, Tuesday is the day I was to talk about. So, after resting and laying low for most of of the day, I really needed to get to Fred Meyer. Not knowing what radiation would bring, I wanted to complete the boys clothes for the holidays, buy some food, and get hair dye. Where else than Fred Meyer! The problem was, I was not sure I could do it. I had not been out of the house with both boys since June. I take one or the other or I save my errands for Friday when Mason is at daycare or the weekends when Grant can take one. So, in my quandary, I decided to ask Mason. I explained my fears, my limitations, and what he would have to do if we went. You know what he said in a very sort of "CHARGE!" tone? He proclaimed, "Let's go the the store - YEAH!!!!!!" and went running for his coat. I guess I couldn't say no at that point. So, we loaded up and went. Mason was a dream. One of my limitations I explained to him was that he needed to really help Mommy. So, when I dropped, and broke, the baby food jar he immediately started saying in a very loud voice, "Hey, we need help. Mommy spilled and she needs lots of help." Sure enough, they came to help and Mason was sure to say, "Good job. Thank you. BYE BYE!!!!" He put stuff in the cart, feed Nolan Cheerios, and kept saying, "Just one more thing." Even if we had 12 more things.......wonder where he got that phrase? In any case, he was dream and we got everything we needed - even the Christmas PJs. Before I buckled him in the car, I told him how proud I was of him. He smiled from ear to ear, hugged me, and said, "You're welcome Mommy!" My boys were great and Mommy got a little bit of her confidence back. I could do it and that felt so good I could taste it. Happy Thursday, Ang

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Radiation starts tomorrow....

Well, I got the okay on radiation and I am going to start on Wednesday. If all goes well, I will also start a pill form of my chemo Monday which is a lower dose than what I was taking before. I asked why I couldn't keep doing the same chemo with radiation and the answer was, "You would die." I thought, "Well, all righty then, I guess that defeats the purpose." I was experiencing a lot of anxiety around changing the plan, getting child care organized everyday, and burdening so many people for the next little while that I started to cry yesterday and Mason saw me. He came up and said, "Mommy, are you sad? Do you need a hug?" I said yes and as he hugged me he said, "Everything is going to be alright." I replied, "Yes, it is baby. Yes, it is. Thank you." Then, he said, "Okay, I go play with Nolan now. BYE BYE!" All boy that one, but sweet and kind just like I wanted. I am so humbled by the fact that people are so willing to change their lives so that I can go to these appointments EVERY DAY (M-F) during the holidays. Coordinating all that has been so easy - thank you. Still elated by the news from Monday the 29th about not seeing any cancer on the PET, I have been doing a bit too much and the weight of it hit on Sunday. I was exhausted. I need to remember slow and steady. My Grandfather used to say that to me. "Angie," he said, "Slow and steady wins every time. Slow and steady." I miss him. I didn't pay enough attention to his advice until I got older, but he was the best Grandfather a person could have and the only relative that I had no blood relation to. HHHMMMMM.....maybe there is something to that (grin). So, off I go, starting tomorrow everyday to be zapped in the butt, lose my skin on my hands and feet - fun, and feel guilty for leaving my kids everyday, but time will pass soon enough and I will be better. I was thinking the other day about how I am going to repay all of this. I thought, "I am really good at washing cars. Maybe I can wash everyone's car? I will do one family a weekend until everyone that has helped me gets their cars washed." Then, I started counting it out and, if I did it right, I would be busy every weekend until 2010. Maybe I need to rethink that one...maybe two families a weekend - that would be 2009....and the stream of consciousness continues.......have a great day, Ang

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Halloween Part II

November 1st was Halloween Part II in my neighborhood. I was so excited. I dressed Nolan up in his Tigger outfit. He was a little annoyed with the hood, but he took it in stride. Mason was another story. He was tired from Treat or Treating at Preschool on Tuesday and out with the big kids at Karissa's on Wednesday. So, there was a fair amount of coaxing that went into getting his Tigger outfit on. (Yep, both boys were Tigger. Remember, Tigger was really popular a while back and we have a lot of hand-me-down costumes. Plus, Tigger is one of Grant's favorites so it is an easy sell on us!) I finally found the right bargaining tool and said, "If you put on your costume, you get to go to the Manca's (our neighbors)." On it went, and off we went. He didn't mess up this time since he had a lot of practice earlier in the week. (At Karissa's he said, "Happy Birthday!" at one house.) He told all the neighbors what we were doing and how many houses we had left. Grace and Sam Manca went around with us, and the funniest part was when Grace and Sam Trick or Treated at our house. Mason was a little hesitant to give them candy, but he sucked it up and did. We came home, counted our candy, took pictures (which I will get on the blog soon), and went directly to sleep. Both my Tiggers went easily and quickly dreaming of candy, jack o lanterns in the neighborhood, and pumpkins. So, really, in the end, it was the perfect Halloween for everyone. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Love, Ang

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Part 1 and Radiation Prep

Yesterday, Mason got on the phone with me and sadly said, "Mommy, I want to come home." My heart sank, but I replied in a upbeat way and said, "Sweetie, you will come tomorrow, but tonight you get to Trick or Treat with Quinn, Grace, and Emma." He squealed - yep squealed -, "HEY! I GET TO GO TRICK OR TREATING! BYE MOMMY!" So much for my heart, but he was thrilled which makes me truly happy. In talking to my parents and seeing the emailed pictures from Quinn, Grace, and Emma's Mom, Karissa, Mason had a blast. Halloween Part II is tonight because my neighborhood is about the best you can have. My neighborhood is doing it again at 6pm for me. How amazingly cool is that??? So cool. One thing I can say is, it is definitely cooler than prep for radiation. I can't even blog the details of it. One has to experience the positions of torture that they make you stay in for ridiculous amounts of time, the probes that they insert in you (remember rectal cancer!!) and then the pictures they take. NO LIE. PICTURES - LOTS OF THEM - ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?!? I can assure you, those pictures will not be "hot" on the Internet - I already asked. Anyhoo, looks like radiation will start next week, but I have to get final clearance from my Oncologist, so we will see. Get ready Mom, Karissa, and Trina, I will be hitting you up soon.....Happy Halloween!!!! Ang

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Okay, here are more details from yesterday

So, in addition to what I learned yesterday, the real mystery will be in the monitoring the heck out of me part. I will have PET scans, CT scans, and yes, I will get a rectal EVERY month. Fun! Obviously, there are being cautious and rightfully so, but the outlook is still very positive. There is, of course, a chance for surgery on the lungs and the rectum if things to not continue to be stable after chemo. Such is life living with cancer. Note the key words of "living" and "cancer". BUT THAT LEADS ME TO, I think (since I wont be pooping in a bag like tomorrow) it is time for that new set of kick ass jeans! I was holding off because 1) I went a little nuts at the CAbi party and ended up with three pairs of new pants - all long enough and butt worthy! and 2) I didn't know if I could wear butt worthy jeans with a poop bag. So, I will be going back to Jackie in TBD and saying, "Hey, I am BACK!!!!" It should be a hoot. Maybe Friday, I will call and check her schedule. It has to be Jackie! So, elated with my news, excited for the future, and happy as a clam, I am checking plane flights to North Carolina for June to see my sister-in-law and go the beach house. Something we planned last summer in spite of my diagnosis. Last note.....a story about Mason. Last weekend, we got a sitter (Sarah Larsen, of course) for Nolan and went to my girlfriends famous pumpkin carving party. A little dangerous - lots of kids and knives.....oh well, what is life without danger! When we were leaving, Grant said to Mason, "Do you want to go on the freeway or through the hood?" He replied strongly, "Through the hood Daddy!" Daddy replied with, "So, you want to see some drug deals?" Mason exclaimed to me, "Mommy!!!! We are going to see drug deals!" Okay, we shouldn't have laughed, but we were and Grant was laughing so hard he couldn't even start the car. We went through the hood and only saw a fatality car accident - darn! Then, on the next day, Mason went to he ice rink for the first time and after we were done he said, "Daddy, I was to go up there (upstairs)." Daddy replied, "Mason that is the Bar." (It is a restaurant too, but you know, Grant is Canadian.) I just looked at Grant like, "You IDIOT!" And, on cue, Mason jumped up and down saying, "Daddy, I want to go the BAR! I want to go to the BAR!" Grant, of course, laughed and all I could think is he would be going into Preschool saying something like, "We drove through the hood, saw drug deals, and then went to the bar!" G-R-E-A-T. If this doesn't get us kicked out of Christan Preschool, what will?!?!?!?! Have a great day, I will. Ang

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Most Amazing Day; Even On Chemo

I finally have a plan!!!!!! Can you believe it?!?!?!?! The planner has a plan - yippee!!!! For me that is as exciting as the news!!!!! Anyhoo, after months of not knowing even the outline of my future, I have a plan which also means I now can see the whee (sp) speck of light at the end of the tunnel. Best of all it ends before Kauai. Okay, here are some of the details.....the tumor board met and the all agreed, even my surgeon, to not do surgery. YEE HAAA! I get to keep my rectum! (Never in my wildest dreams did I think as going to say that and be THRILLED about it!) We are going to get me set up for radiation on Friday and then start sometime after that. It may take some time to get it set up and scheduled, so I have to keep my regular chemo appointment in case it takes too long. During radiation, I will also be taking a lower dose chemo in pill form everyday in addition to my 15 minute radiation appointment everyday (M-F). Of course, there are side effects, but when aren't there! My sincerest desire it to get through the holidays without having the cancer wand on during Christmas and my wish may be granted. I am faxing them all today to remind them on my wish!!!! So, after six weeks of radiation and low dose chemo, I will then return to my regular chemo for 2 to 3 months. Then, they, and I quote, "You'll be done, but we are going to watch you like hawks." I asked about Kauai on March 28th and he said, "You're going." No better words could hit my heart. "You're going." After that, I was done with the appointment mentally. I just smiled for ear to ear. My body didn't fail me like I thought in the beginning. My body respected my wishes about my beloved Kauai and got me there. Too tired to type more - emotionally spent and a very good way, Ang

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Nothing quite so perfect

Yesterday the kids were driving me nuts....Mason is just so ready for the world and wants to do everything all the time and Nolan, poor thing, is teething and, I think, in a growth spurt. I called Karissa who comes over every Wednesday since school started and helps me with the kids, house, yard, whatever and said, "Can we go somewhere today?!?!? I have to get out of the house or the kids may not make it to tomorrow!" So, we did. Simple errands like the post office, the bank, and then the beloved Target. When we got home, I put both kids down for a nap. Mason fought it all the way. The saying in our house is, "If you are up, you are happy" meaning cranky kids go to bed. Mason sobbed all the way to his room insisting, "I am happy....I am happy...." I responded with, "Saying it and it be true are different things my sweet boy. You are going for a rest." Two and a half hours later, my happy boy was back. Nolan was on schedule and all was good. I gave the kids dinner and a bath before Grant got home and then then suddenedly I was covered on the couch with the green blanket (which transforms the couch from a fire engine to a green boat), with our backpacks (two pillows) and tables (two other pillows) eating snacks. Mason has a lot of rules in this scenario. All body parts must be on the couch. Snacks are only eaten on plates and you cannot under any circumstance lay your head on your backpack. Grant entered the room and Mason said, "Daddy, you're a crab." And so it was, Daddy a crab, then a fish, and then some combination of crab and fish. We had to stay away from him until it was too exciting to get caught by the crab, pulled in the water, and tickled. Thirty minutes into the elaborate world of boats, snacks, backpacks, and fish-crab like creatures, it was time for Mason to go to bed. (Nolan had been asleep for an hour by this time.) Slowly, the crab-fish begins to crawl up the stairs and I say, "Mason the crab is getting away! Go get the crab!" He leaps off the boat, into the water, and declares the crab-fish is now a horse. He climbs on the horse's back and says, "Bye bye Mommy! I love you!" So, I ask, is there anything more precious than that? Ang

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Enjoying my week off

After last week, I am thoroughly enjoying my week off. In fact, I am not really nervous about the tumor board meeting and my fate. I just need a break from that building for a bit. I don't want to go in this week for results, I would rather wait until chemo next week to meet and talk to the oncologist. I just want this week to be me, my boys, my husband, and October. Thus far, if has been a pretty good month for my family. Last weekend was fun filled even though it was chemo week. I did however eat something that laid me out for five hours on Sunday. I don't know maybe it was the fondue Friday or the amazing smoked Cajun chicken on Saturday, but it was worth it. I have learned to negotiate it enough that I was back on track by the evening and full steam ahead on Monday. Oh, here is a note you should know, we went to the pumpkin patch on Sunday morning. At the one that we go to, there is a pumpkin sling shot where you launch small pumpkins in air trying to hit a target 100 yards away on the fly - no bouncing into the target. If you do, you win a giant pumpkin. Well, guess who hit it this year????? Yep, that would be me! The horn sounded and I wrote my name on the board of winners for the day. I figured I should be able to do it since our conpadres two kids have done it two years in a row - they are five! Of course, they had assistance, but come on!!!!! Anyhoo, Grant was a bit miffed (sp) and I didn't do much to make him feel any better. Not one of my more gracious moments, but I didn't care - I won I won I won!!! We now have a giant pumpkin on our porch and I think, if I can bull eye that what else can I do?!?!?! Enjoy your day - the victorious Ang

Friday, October 19, 2007

Emotional Day

If you remember, today was the day I met with the radiation oncologist and the surgeon for them to examine me and discuss next options before they discuss it amongst themselves. Well, as I suspected, the radiation oncologist believes that radiation is a good option to do especially since there is so little left in my rectal area. The surgeon wants to cut and do a complete removal because that is the safest course of action. Surgery would leave me with a colostomy meaning I would poop in a bag for the rest of my life. This doesn't always happen with colon rectal cancer. I am just one of the lucky ones that has the tumor location such that I have no option if surgery is the choice. Now, before you feel sorry for me, don't. Pooping in a bag is no big deal and if that is the trade off for being a wife, mother, daughter, niece, and friend, for a few more years, I will gladly do it. Plus, road trips would be a snap!!!!!! ;) Both of the meetings were very positive. In fact, the surgeon said, "What do you mean you haven't been doing radiation?! You mean you have done this well and come this far with only chemo?" When I responded, "Well, yeah." He sat back a bit dumbfounded and said, "Then I am not sure what to tell you - I have never seen anyone do that." So, I am now not a medical miracle, but a medical oddity because I am going apparently, "too fast". What part of, "I will be the next patient you talk about" didn't they get when I started the cancer roller coaster?!?!?!??! So, now, because of my oddness, I have qualified to be reviewed in front of the "tumor board" which I am told is the best of the best. They will choose my fate. As for me, I am trying not to focus on the poop bag or the surgeries, but on the simple change of life expectancy. Now, they refer to years, not months, but years. They now look at me and say things like if you can do chemo this well, radiation will be nothing. They share survivor stories with me about how they don't know how a person is still around, but they are and there is usually one......and I think, "There has to be one. It might as well be me." Have a great weekend. Love, Ang

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A very long day with a big surprise

I checked in at 1:50, got hooked up at 2:20, saw the oncologist at 3:30, and started treatment at about 4:30. I left at 8:30, helped an old couple return a wheelchair, and got dropped off by Elaine at 9:30. I listened to "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar between appointments to keep my focus and deal with my anger from the paper that morning. It helped, so did the other songs. I am sure I provided a certain amount of entertainment when I started dancing on the balcony outside of the treatment center. Needless to say, I was tired and a little hungry when I finally got home. This all would have been much worse if I hadn't gotten the news that I did. When I entered my oncologist's office my big question was, "Can I go to the Dentist?" You have to clear EVERYTHING through them. When he entered Elaine was telling me a story with full body description. She is the BEST story teller. Dr. Kaplan said, "I can come back if you need to finish." We all laughed and he sat down. As he sat down he said with his hand showing me the number zero, "You are normal." I was like, "WHAAAA?" He went on to explain that he got the PET results and there is no cancer in my rectum." Again, I responded with the eloquent, "WHAAAA? How can that be?" He said, "I don't know - you are just doing really well. We still have more to do because the CAT scan shows tiny nodules that we should deal with." I smiled charmingly, "So, I still have to do the rectal exams with the Radiation Oncologist and the Surgeon on Friday?????" He smiled and said, "Yes, but I won't make you do one with me today." BONUS. So, if I was just a Joe Blow person getting a PET scan I would not register as having cancer in my rectum. However, the cancer is still in my lungs. Now some people have been confused, so let me explain. I have colon rectal cancer. It started as a tumor in my rectum that went through the rectal wall to my lymph nods and spread to my lungs. I do not have lung cancer. Now, there was a new development that is not of too much concern because I have been living with it for a while. There was a little activity in my goiter on my thyroid, so we will be ultra sounding that and watching it closely. Kaplan said, "We may have to take that out, but we can deal with that later and see how it does." I defiantly have my opinions about that one, but not to deal with today. Today I rejoice in having a cancer free butt. I guess I can't say that I have butt cancer anymore - what a bummer!!!! What do I say now? Lung butt cancer? That doesn't roll of the tongue. Have a great day! I am going to the Dentist with my cancer wand one -I got cleared to go! Love, Ang

Monday, October 15, 2007

Just when I think....

I am in a good mental space there is an article in the Seattle Times that says, "Colon rectal cancer death rates down". So, I read the article and, of course, it says, "because of prescreening tools that get to the polyps before they are cancerous..... 50 years old"....blah blah blah blah blah. Nothing about me. I am the 1%. I am the one in a million. I am that oddity. And, then, I get frustrated. My condition doesn't sell newspapers. My condition doesn't speak to the masses. I don't matter. Just get screened at 50 and you will be all right. If you have family history get checked earlier and you will be all right. Me, I always got my physicals; I always respected my heath; I always was grateful for it. Me, I got cancer. I "shouldn't" of. The numbers and history weren't there. BLAH BLAH BLAH. But, then I think, the treatment is working, I have hair, I feel better than I have in months, I will beat this, and GOD HELP THE NEWSPAPERS THEN cause they are ticking off the wrong chick who is under 50, who doesn't have family history, but who is going to be the new face of colon rectal cancer - when I am well. I will show them - and I will sell papers and they won't know what hit'em. Don't worry, I am okay - just a little ticked off, but it will pass as soon as I get hooked up and get my hot chocolate for across the street from the cancer center. Opps, Nolan is up - better

Friday, October 12, 2007

Update and my Anniversary

Well, the PET scan went a lot better than expected because this new place that I went to doesn't make you drink barium and yummy "juice". You just have to drink the yummy "juice" and nothing off of the periodtic (sp) chart. So, we will see the results of that next week with the docs on Friday. Oh, and yes, my Anniversary was this week. Thirteen years. Don't think I didn't think about the "lucky" number 13. I thought, my poor husband, if it was turned around I would be running for the hills. Luckily, I got cancer and he is the better half. Grant and I did manage to get away for dinner together at Bahama Breeze thanks to Mom kicking us out of the house. I know it sound cheesy to go to Bahama Breeze, but I really wanted to go there because, as least for a moment, I felt like I was in Kauai. I had a Coconut Pineapple Martini which sounds awful unless you are in a tropical location. It was a little bit of alcohol and a lot of Pineapple juice, so perfect for me. We always do "High Point Low Point" where we discuss the best part and the worst part of the last year and what we learned from it. This year we really didn't do that. It was pretty obvious. Then, I read Grant's card which said, "Someday we will remember the year for the birth of Nolan and nothing else." I put faith in that statement - I have to. This is not the type of first year you want for your child. You want to be the main one in their life, but no such luck with Nolan. When I was struggling with Nolan's care at the beginning, I remember my girlfriend Sherry telling me about having others take care of your child. She said, "Don't worry in the end you are still their Mom and they know that." Nolan has been cared for by so many people in his short life - my Mom, Aunt Donna, Auntie Jane, Karissa, Trina, and here is the shocker - my Dad. And, just like Sherry said, he isn't confused on who Mommy is and he loves up everyone he comes across. Is it luck? Naaaaa, it is all the fabulous people around me. Have a great weekend - love, Ang

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

PET Scan tomorrow

While the insurance finally came through and we got everything scheduled. Unfortunately, everything will not happen this week. So, my PET is tomorrow and my appointments with my Colon/Rectal surgeon and Radiation Oncologist are Friday the 19th. See, I can't see the doctors until two days after the PET which would be Monday, right? Well, Monday is chemo and I really can't take two rectal exams and chemo in the same day. That would put anyone over the edge. So, I will meet with them on the 19th. They will then discuss with me, discuss with themselves, and, I imagine, have my plan on the week of the 22nd. I love how they include me in the discussion about my care. I find it hilarious. Remember, I thought I had hemorrhoids.....yep, me the MD. I just say, "You tell me what you would do if it were you, but remember, I am strong and stubborn as an ox." (Thanks Grandma!) So, there is the update, and here is the latest Mason story. Yesterday, I had his peanut butter and jelly sandwich ready for him when he arrived home after preschool. I told him to wash his hands which he refused. I told him again as he is heading for the sandwich. I told him again as he is getting on the chair. Then, I nicely redirected him to the sink where he lost his mind and started yelling, "There is a bug on my sandwich and he is going to poop on it!" I answered laughing, "I don't think we need to worry about bug poop..." Anyway, he is still alive today, so I think bug poop is on the "okay to eat list". I don't even know where he got the term, "bug poop". Oh well, the mind of a two year old. Y'gotta LOVE IT!!!!!! Love, me

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Canadian Thanksgiving

Technically, Canadian Thanksgiving was yesterday, but we celebrated on Sunday, so I could go scrapbooking yesterday. It has been a big two days! I cooked a little Thanksgiving dinner. Menu - Bone In Turkey Breast (seriously did you think I could handle an entire Turkey this year?), roasted asparagus, corn (yep, two veges in honor of Peter who makes like seventeen different veges for Thanksgiving), and stuffing (Stove Top - gotta love hydrogenated oils a couple times a year!). We had a bottle of Canadian wine (compliments of Rob and Jen) to add to the festivities and Mom brought dessert. We all ate at the table (except Nolan - Baby Einstein for him!). It was nice. I didn't stress about anything and my mom did ALL the dishes, so what is there to stress about? Scrapbooking yesterday was great. It was just a small group of us. We dished in a good way about what everyone has been doing. It was nice and I got a crap load done. I still got it baby - chat and pound out pages! I was exhausted in a good way when I got home and fell right asleep. Guess what, Nolan is consistently sleeping through the night and, now, his parents are too! Have a great day - did you see the sunrise? - it was AMAZING!, Ang

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Today we went to Salmon Days. It was nice because we got there right at the beginning and not a lot of people were there. Mason could watch fish for hours......I am not kidding. So much for ADHD. It is funny now because when we sit for a moment I find myself doing is looking at all the adults and asking myself, "Do they have cancer?" or "What hardships have they had?" This started with me when Grant and I couldn't have kids naturally. There was seven years of, "Why us?" We thought hardship was over when we had our two perfect babies by invitro - little did we know. Infertility actually set me up well for cancer. After fertility treatments, I became very accustomed to following directions, surrendering my schedule to the doctor's and treatment facilities, shutting up, and just doing as I am told. Seriously! My oncologist has mentioned a couple times that I am one of the best patients (in terms of following directions) that he has ever had. Yep, infertility taught me well. Truly, I am just thankful that they are there and I have good insurance. So, now, I look at everything differently and everyone. In high school and college, I thought I knew how things should be. I was so passionate about the right way to do everything. Now, I am soooooo much different. Part of it was age, part of it was experience, and part of it was realization of, "Who the heck cares what I think?" Anymore, I look at things three ways. First, does the action do harm to anyone? Is there collateral damage? If yes, don't do it. Second, never assume perspective - be kind. It is interesting how things happen. For example, I was cut in line the other day at a store. The woman said to me, "I am sick and have a doctor's appointment, so I need to cut in front of you." And she did. When I waited so long that I had to sit down, the clerk asked if I was okay and I told her that I was in chemotherapy. She was like, "And you let that woman cut????" I said, "Maybe her situation is worse." The clerk just looked at me with, "Yeah....worse....r-i-g-h-t..." Maybe she was, but the reality was I didn't have it in me to fight. Waiting was easier and kinder. And finally, does it make you and yours happy - truly happy? If yes, do it. That is it - the secrets to life. Now, go forth and be happy! I have to go drum.......yes, with makes us happy. Love, Ang

Friday, October 5, 2007

Crawling Out

Well, this round was a bit harder than the last. Don't worry...I am fine. I was just fatigued more and slept most of Tuesday and Wednesday. I couldn't find a food that I wanted to eat, so I drank Ensure and Boost to keep my strength up. Today, I actually had two small meals and feel okay. I am taxed, but not naseauous. So, the weekend looks bright despite the forecast and we will enjoy it. We are going to try and see the salmon run at Salmon days tomorrow morning and then on Sunday do a small Canadian Thanksgiving celebration, but we will see on those days. Not too much planning this weekend and that is kinda nice. I smelled fall in the air this morning when I got the paper off the porch. The leaves are starting to turn. It is really is quite beautiful, but so is every October - my favorite time of year. Enjoy, Ang

Thursday, October 4, 2007


October is my favorite month of the year. I married Grant in October. Both of our parents were married in October. Canadian Thanksgiving is in October and, of course, Halloween. When I was scheduling all my chemo appointments I saw that Halloween falls on my chemo week. The day I can't be with my kids. I didn't cry, but I was mad. Halloween without seeing Mason dressed up, no trick or treating, no fun. But then I thought, KARISSA! They have a great neighborhood for trick or treating. Mason knows them so well, for sure he will have fun. So, with one email it was set up. My Dad will take Mason to their neighborhood for trick or treating. Karissa said yes without hesitation even though we are butting into their family affair. They will have pizza, trick or treat, Mason will get bossed around by little Grace (Karissa's daughter), and all will be perfect in the world. Of course, I will not be there with him (little Grace is a great stand in), but I will have all the stories to hear the next day...and what stories they will be. How lucky we are to have such friends - how truly lucky. So, back to the laundry, my boys come home today, and I all I want is to smell behind their ears. Have a great day, Ang

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Candle Party

So, about a month and a half ago I said some of my close candling loving friends, "Hey, have you seen the new Partylite catalog??? It is amazing and I want a candle party to go to. I have a huge order and I will even make sure people are there!" So, two of my friends agreed to throw it. One, got her mom's amazing party house and her sister to do her curry salad (which I love!). So, while I am sending out the invitations, my friends throwing the party informed me that I am going to get the hostess credit. I am like, "Why - you are throwing the party???? That is stupid." They were like, "Well, that is the way it is...." I am thinking, "Who do you think you are talking too? How many years have we known each other?" I said that was ridiculous - I have cancer. I am not broke! So, I call our Partylite Consultant (the best in the world and my consultant for YEARS so if you ever need one!) and said, I don't want the money, apparently they don't want the money, and Partylite's charity of chose is the American Cancer Society. Can we give them the money???? "Great idea!" she replied and then she went on to say that she would donate two baskets for an auction with all proceeds going to ACS. She was on fire! So, it was born, my fundraising Candle party. The party was amazing. From the house, to the food, to the friends, all was in perfect order. I just walked in, ate, and laughed. Over the course of the evening, and outside orders later that week, we earned $717 for ACS. That is over $350 an hour! Pretty cool. Pretty darn cool. Who would have thought that a bunch of women, having fun, eating well, and laughing up a storm could pull that off is two hours...wait, they are my friends, of course they could! So, it looks like this may become an annual event in the fall. If you are interested, let me know and I will contact you in September for an order or an invite (whichever you can do). If you don't know Partylite, you should. They are amazing too! Hopefully, Helen's house will be available, if not Mom you are on the list! Thank you to everyone that attended, ordered, and made my little candle party more than just a ordinary Tuesday night - it was an amazing Tuesday night. Love, Ang

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Looking into innocent eyes...a funny story

Last week, when I went for my CT scan, the aide called me and another patient back at the same time. As we were walking down the LONG hallway, this young man (maybe 20 years old) looked at me with a smile and said, "What are you in for?" I looked at down at him (he was short and skinny) and said without hesitation and in a very matter-of-fact way, "Colon/Rectal Cancer. And you?" He looked crushed. He was like, "Man, I am so sorry. I didn't......" I said to him again, "And you?" He replied sheepishly with, "I fell on my bike." I started laughing inside because he was just a boy that probably started college last week and crashed his bike. I was so close to saying, "I WIN!", but I looked at him again and without words let him know it was okay. I say without words because I knew if I opened my mouth again, "I WIN!" would have come flying out and that would have devastated the poor thing. I hope I didn't scar him too badly. I don't think I he will be asking anyone every again, "What are you in for?" I am still laughing..."I fell on my bike" You have got to be flipping kidding me!?!?!??!?!?! Enjoy your Sunday, Ang

Friday, September 28, 2007


The good news is that my body continues to respond well to Chemotherapy of which I am thankful. The better news is that I am learning to manipulate it so that I can continue to do Chemotherapy. Yep, I am continuing. Here is the status - basically, the tumor in my butt is so small that they are considering it a "thickening" of the rectum. Don't get me wrong - there is still cancer down there that we have to deal with, but nothing they can call a tumor. The spots on my lungs are still there, but so small that we will not worry about them (for now). The two of the three masses on my lungs are 75% and 50% smaller from the last scan (so pretty darn small at this point). One just won't take the hint and is maintaining isn't size. There is a always one party pooper!!! So, here is what is going to happen for the next eight weeks - I will continue with Chemo every other week (10/1, 10/15, 10/29, 11/12) however, in addition to that, I will be getting a PET scan (basically a more involved CT scan), see the Radiation Oncologist, and see my Colon Rectal Surgeon all the week of October 8th to determine if we start radiation and/or surgery. Fun times! As my oncologist said, "Now is the time to ask those questions and see how we proceed." In the end, my oncologist is very pleased and, while he is not a fortune teller, he keeps talking about the "long haul" which to me translates to "you are going to be around for a while". That is all I want - to see the sunrise, go camping (when it is warm and with a functioning stove), to laugh and play, and, of course, see my boys grow up. Here is to the long haul! Thank you again for all your thoughts, prayers, food, help, karma, vibes, finger crossing and toe crossings. I depend on them - love, Ang P.S. Last night after dinner we celebrated with a mini cheese cake that my mom brought by. Mason was convinced it was my birthday so we sang happy birthday like seventeen times and ate cheese cake. Nolan, of course, can't eat cheese cake so he really didn't get it....he was memorized with Baby Beethoven.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"You are responding superbly to Chemotherapy."

Is that how you spell "superbly"? I don't know and I don't care. That was the quote from my oncologist. My 2:20 appointment started at 3:30 with me climbing the walls. Good news, lots to tell, but I am so worn out I can't do it tonight. Off to a celebratory meal of amazing left overs....details tomorrow. Love, Ang

Doing better, but nervous

So, the sinus infection is a bit better, but I had to no show on my dental appointment. Who knew I needed "clearance" from my oncologist to go to the dentist? Is there anything I can do without my oncologist? Shelly, my dental hygienist for the past gazillion years, called me last night and said, "Did you get clearance for a cleaning?" I was like, "That wasn't in the 4200 page do and don't handbook for chemo." BTW - there are a lot more don'ts than dos. When I didn't get a call back from my oncologist, I figured my clearance was DENIED. So, I will ask today, but I don't think he realizes how much I love the dentist and my dentist to be exact. I do. I totally love going to the dentist. Even my dentist thinks I am odd. She doesn't like going to the dentist!!! Go figure that one!!! Anyhoo, just another thing I am learning on the ol' C road. As for me, I am nervous. I thought I wasn't, but then I burst out into tears and started telling Grant to tell the boys that I love them more than anything. I guess it comes out one way or another.....only time will tell. Cross your fingers and toes. Love, Ang

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How quickly things change

So, this round I have been doing great. I have only had one bad day; my plan worked; things were going great, then......both boys got a cold, then Grant got a cold, and then I got a cold. The difference was the boys and Grant got better and I got a sinus infection - again. You know, I have never gotten so many sinus infections until now! In fact, I have had four my entire life! One after Mason was born, one while I was pregnant with Nolan, and two now during chemo. By 5:00pm yesterday I was taxed, by 7:00pm I was in bed and my 9:00 I was in horrible pain. All I could think about was the scan....I have to be able to go to the scan..... Come to find out, my oncologist was still working at 9:30 last night and called in a prescription for me. I finally got to sleep at about 2:00. So, while I am tired, I am going to my scans today. Mom came over this morning to help, Karissa is watching the boys later and my Mom is coming back until Grant gets home. All the help just to get me to a scan.....ridiculous but more appreciated than anyone knows. Gotta go....Ang

Monday, September 24, 2007

Camping was a bust...

Camping was COLD, Mason was missing all the friends he usually has camping, and the camp stove literally burned up. So, hot chocolate and oatmeal were done over the fire which didn't amuse Mason in the least. They got home at 10am on Sunday. So, no more camping this late in the season and we need a new camp stove. Oh and learn, I just felt bad for Grant showing up more tired than when he left and looking at me like, "We are never doing that again!" Update on my stuff....scans are scheduled for Wednesday. They are scanning my goiter too - it decided to enlarge itself enough to warrant an ultrasound - nice timing! The results meeting with the oncologist is 2:20 on Thursday. I am not really nervous, I want more to know what my schedule will be for the next couple of months. Of course, they could come back with, "You're cancer free and we are all done." That would be nice, but I am not high enough to think that that is going to happen (yet)! Love, me

Sunday, September 23, 2007


With a lot of persuading, Grant and Mason decided that they were going camping on Saturday morning. I think Grant needed a mini vacation from me and the cancer. He was like, "But you are not 100%..." and I am like, "I have Trina, John, Mom, Dad, Leslie, Heather, Karissa, Sarah, shall I go on? I think I can manage a 7 month old for one night." And I have. Last night, I put Nolan to bed and the house was so quiet. I heated up some hot chocolate, got a piece of Banana Graham Cake from my Saturday food delivery, and I sat in the living room. That day I finally had gone to my parents house for dinner. I hadn't been there since my birthday on June 2 right before my treatment started. Oh my, how the house had changed. It was babifed. What used to be temporary for the times that Mason went over was now part of the decor. The jumper in the doorway; the pack n' play with Nolan's teething toys readily accessible. Mason has a toddler bed there now and has stuff animals lined up on it. What was once a very sophisticated decor had baby sprinkled everywhere. Mom has it set up beautifully. I put Nolan in the pack 'n play and, apparently, I did something wrong. You know, my father has rules. He said, "I don't keep the box in the bed because he falls and hits his head." I am thinking, "Okay....." Then Dad was alone with Nolan. Okay, let's be clear, my Dad doesn't do babies. Yet, he was holding him, talking about changing diapers (Mason's) and playing with him. Wonders never end, do they? As I thought back on the day, I thought about Annemarie cleaning my bathrooms with me in the morning, Rondi dropping off dinner that afternoon, and Kelly picking up my Ipod to load more songs on it. The list goes on and on. At first it was hard to accept the help, you feel worthless and useless. But now, I look forward to Saturday cleaning and Dinner Drop Off. I get to see some of my favorite people and visit in a way that I wouldn't have had otherwise. All the help allows me the energy to continue to manage our finances, run errands (which means if it ain't at Target, Fred Meyer, Costco, and occasionally Safeway, I ain't getting it and quite frankly, I don't care.) and do fun things with my family. I am thankful that all of the help let's me take really good care of myself also. I am thankful for my docs, Swedish, technology, and, yes, even chemo. An interesting note, my father, God Bless him, said to me when I was first diagnosed, "We need to do all the research and find the very best - we will send you anywhere and you will see the best doctors, etc. etc. etc." My response before the help calendar, before my friends and family lined up to be counted, before the cards, before the gifts, before EVERYTHING, I replied, "My powerhouse is here. I will stay right here." I was right. Thank you - Ang

Friday, September 21, 2007


This morning I was slowly waking up. The boys had slept in and it was just before seven. I started thinking about the physical changes that have happened since chemo. I have markings on my face. It is like a pigment discoloration. I can still cover it up with makeup which brings up makeup. I am wearing less and less makeup. Part of it is because my eyes are drying out from the chemo and tearing a great deal, and part of it is that I am just too tired to care. I would rather blog, play with kids, go for a walk, etc. In addition, after chemo my skin is sensitive and sometimes itchy. My nose bleeds are not as bad as they were. I thank the humidifier for that. I even gained five pounds which I am sure was the Family Size Lays potato chips bag that I ate in its entirety - SCARY!!! When I started chemo, my oncologist said that I would go through menopause and be sterile after the treatment. As most of you know, I was never good at the fertility thing without intervention, so that one I gave up easily. My comment back on that one was, "Is this the last time I am going through menopause, because I have been through it a couple times now (infertility treatments place you in a premenopausal state), and NO woman should have to do it more than three times in their life!" Let's see what else, oh yeah, I still have my hair, which I am really grateful for now. I wasn't worried about loosing my hair before, but when I didn't I appreciated it more than ever. Anything else? Oh yeah - my stiz baths. I think I have the cleanest butt in Western Washington - maybe even the entire state. So, bigger clean butt, no makeup, chemo marks, bloody noses, and itchiness - pretty visual isn't it?!?!?! And then, with perfect timing, my husband rolls over kisses me good morning and said, "Hey hot stuff...." Apparently, he needs his eyes checked or I am the luckiest girl in the world. Yeah, I know - lucky. Have a great weekend, love, Ang

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Yesterday, I met with my oncologist to chat, get examined, and review my numbers. They were down a bit. I was a bit bummed, but then I remembered how busy I was. I had two parties (CAbi and Partylite), went to the fair, got my son ready for preschool (no small feat), went sailing all day Saturday and, oh yeah, and then, on Sunday, I had a fabulous dinner and a glass of wine not to mention rode to the restaurant with my girlfriend in her convertible with the top down. It was raining, but it was fun and Marlene said, "While you still have hair, we gonna let it blow in the wind Baby!!!!!" She is a kick and people think I am nuts..... So my numbers are down - I had fun, but I will rest more this time. I think my oncologist and colon rectal docs are a little perplexed by me. I came up with a "new plan" for my fissures that I faxed to my colon rectal doc and told my oncologist. I told them my goal was to have as many good days between rounds as possible - I want 10 out of 14, not 9, 8, 7, 6, etc. 10 or more. Non-negotiable. They both agreed to the plan smiling and shaking their heads at the same time. I am not sure what that meant, but it seemed like it was something like, "Does this chick ever give up?!?!?!" I told them when I started that I would be the patient that they talk about and I think I am. By the way, thus far, my plan is working, but lets not tease the piranha quite yet. Enjoy the sun, Ang

Monday, September 17, 2007

Chemo Day

Well, I am furiously packing up the boys and making sure everything is in order. I am telling Mason what is happening over the next few days and he is excited to start preschool tomorrow. He has decided that Gampa should take him and I told him it was better if Gamma did. He is great with the transition as long as we pack the hooded frog towel for after bath (thank you Pete and Jo!) and he is looking forward to being with my parents and Auntie Donna this week. Apparently, 10 days with Mom and Dad is enough for him! So, all in all, this is a good morning with happy kids and a general routine. I will miss seeing Mason's first day of preschool, but knowing my Mom she will tell me every detail of the day and I will be fine. Notice I didn't say Mason will be fine...I know he will. Since I was there on Friday dropping off all of his paperwork, tuition, earthquake kits message, photos for his placemat, etc. etc. etc., I am pretty comfortable that everything is in order. (Yeah, my Christmas Cards are already hand made and stamped. Those were done before Nolan was born, but we won't go into that!) Have a great week. I hope too and look forward to Thursday already. Love, Ang

Friday, September 14, 2007

Great week..

What a great week! I had some much fun. I saw friends and family, laughed, and cried, but most of all, just lived my life and loved every minute of it. Couple stories to, in my regiment of healing my fissures I take three sitz baths a day and one is during nap time. Well, Mason didn't nap very well this week, so I had to do them with him awake. So, we read books and sang songs during the 20 mins that I am confined to a bathtub. He finally asked me, "What you doing? Why you taking a bath?" I told him that mommy was sick and her bum was sore. He accepted that answer and went on. When I got out of the bath, he went behind me and said, "MOMMY! Your bum is RED!!!! You have sore bum!!!!" (It was from the water temperature - not the fissures - but funny all the same!) Second story and my moment of the week.....earlier this week the kids were not sleeping well. Mason needed to be tucked in at about 3:00 in the morning every morning and Nolan has four, count them, four teeth coming all at the same time. So, he was up two times at least a night. The good news is that the last two nights he has slept very well, only getting up once. So, this morning, Mason (who fell asleep in the living room chair last night at 7pm) slept through, but got up at 5:50. He came into our room and I lifted him into bed. Grant was already up and downstairs. Mason rested with me for a while and then we heard the coffee machine go (Grant makes me a latte every morning - yes I am super spoiled!!) and Mason said, "Mommy, Daddy is making coffee." So, there is my moment - having a good night sleep, cuddling with my eldest son, hearing the coffee grinder go, and hearing the first coos from my youngest in the other room. PRICELESS. Have a great weekend - Ang

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Fair

Okay, for all of you that thought I was crazy for going to the fair you may not understand my draw to it. See, when I was a little girl, my Grandparents showed chickens at various fairs around the state, so I spent a lot of time at the fair and a more time washing chickens. While it wasn't the funnest job around, I like the fair and have very fond memories of my Grandparents there. So, going to the fair is more than corn dogs and is about fond childhood memories and a salute to my Grandfather. Anyhoo, onto the day! We got there at 10:00am and paid for parking - wow - never did that before! CONVENIENT!!!!! We walked in the Green Gate and Mason was immediately enthralled with the semi that pulls the Budweiser Clydesdales, not the horses. He was curious about the wagon that the horses pull, but not the horses. Let's be clear - if it doesn't a motor, not interesting!!!! Between 10 and 11, we did see animals, but the tractor vendor was way more interesting than the pigs, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits, and petting barn. At 11 the rides opened. We cautiously headed over because last year Mason cried so hard they stopped both of the two rides he tried. Well, this year was VERY different. First, he wanted nothing to do with his parents and the rides. "I do it!", he said over and over again. He did them all my himself expect for the train. I told him he wasn't going by himself on the train and he had to choose one of us to go. Reluctantly, he chose my Dad. He loved the train, the cars rides, the roller coaster, and the helicopter. He wasn't fond of the floating canoe (no motor - too slow) and the space ship was too complicated. The space ship you actually control going up and down yourself. We tried to explain that to Mason but he really didn't get it. The funny part - you should have seen Grant and I trying to get him to do it while he was on the ride. Suddenly, we looked at each other and said, "We are those parents that yell how to do something to their kids constantly!!! CRAP!!!!!" By 1pm, we had eaten our corn dogs, Mason was zoned out he was so over stimulated, and we decided to call it a day. Poor Nolan - he was just carted around, however, he was fashionable. He sported full cowboy gear and cowboy hat. Everyone took a rest at home and when Grant got back from his afternoon meeting at work, Mason said, "Daddy, I had so much fun at the fair. Can we go again?" Grant is considering it but he should know that the statement started as, "I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE FAIR!!! I WANT D'TRAIN AND D'CARS!!!! Yep, a lot of coaching went into the statement and question Daddy got. Don't worry, I am not going - I am done. Once is good for me! Today I am off to preschool orientation for Mason - wow Preschool!!!!! Love, Ang

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Mom knows best

Yeah, not me. My Mom. Here is how it goes...Friday my Mom was just stopping by to see if she could help. I was still in the house. I had showered and such, but I was still complaining of pain and fatigue. She looked at me and said, "Maybe you get out of the house." I went to the bank and then I came right back saying I was too tired. I took a short nap and when I woke up I told her that I didn't think I was going to clothing party at my cousin's house that night. Mind you, I rested all week so that I could go. I have been wanting to get to one of these CAbi parties for a while now. She looked at me and said that I should go. It should be noted that my Mom has been encouraging me to rest and not go places since diagnosis so this was a marked change. I talked to her for a while and said I would think about it. Meanwhile, Leslie, my ride to the CAbi party, had instant messaged her phone number in case I needed to cancel. While I was looking for it to do that very thing - I closed out the instant message. POOF! Number gone forever. So, at 4:00, I said, maybe this is a sign that I should go. What is the harm? I can always leave early. Maybe I need to get outside like Mom said. So, scooped Nolan up and went to the backyard to dig in my garden. (Yes, I know I am not supposed to, but I am anyway - they can't take EVERYTHING away from me.) Then, Trina, my neighbor, came home. I started talking to her and she came over to help, followed my two of her kids and one from the neighborhood. Suddenly, my backyard was full of chatter and play - and I forgot all about my pain and fatigue. I felt better. Grant came home and I discussed everything with him. His solution, "You need to go to the party tonight." So, I put on my very expensive jeans, Leslie swung by to get me, and and off I went. When I got there, I started chatting and visiting, but I was thinking, "This wasn't a good idea. I am dizzy." So, I sat down, made people eat so we could get to the party part because I wasn't sure how long I could make it. During the presentation, I slowly started feeling better. Alana, my cousin, was very attentive to me and took good care of me all night. And then, in an instant, I was back. Me. I was working the room, making wise cracks, feeling great and lovin' life. I threw on the brown "cozy wrap" from the collection for effect (brown is the color of colon-rectal cancer - no joke) and went for it. Turns out that I was one of the last to leave. My cousin and Kathryn know how to throw a party. Plus, I was surrounded by family and friends. To boot, Leslie is an awesome shopper - you go girl! Yep, my Mom knew all of that and knew I would be safe and loved - good one Mom. In addition, I made all of my appointments yesterday, visited with friends local and from North Carolina and had an awesome day. Today, we are laying low (I am pooped - TIRED THAT IS!) so that we can go to the Puyallup Fair tomorrow with who else? My Mom (and Dad, but sorry Dad, Mom is the one featured today. wink). Have a great day, I will, Ang

Friday, September 7, 2007

In 10 or 20 years....

Last night as I was waiting to see if Nolan would go to sleep after being put down awake, Grant came into the bedroom where I was laying down on the bed. He had just put Mason down and sat on the bed next to me. I said something like, "I am getting nervous for the next scans. What if they aren't good?" He replied, "We will do what we have to do." I said, "It has been four months of chemo and I am tired of this." He said, "In 10 or 20 years, this will seem like nothing." I started to cry. I thought, "In 10 or 20 years....wouldn't that be great? Imagine what I could do and what my boys would be like? Imagine what adventures I/we would have." I said, "I want that (meaning 10 or 20 years) - I really want that." He said, "I know - me too." The room was dark now and we could barely see each other, but we didn't need to. And then, Mason got up, opened his door, closed it, and returned to bed to sleep. Nolan had gone to sleep too - by himself with little fuss - how the heck did that happen? The house was quiet, the sun had set, and yet I felt that something had begun.....get to 10 or 20 years. Heck, let's say 42. Have a great weekend - enjoy the sun there should be plenty of it - Ang

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Not under estimating the enemy

I got unhooked today from my chemo wand. This round is going pretty well, but I am laying really low (shrinking my field of engagement). I have a packed weekend and I want to enjoy it, so I lay low and wait. My boys come home tomorrow. Mason has a routine at my parents meaning "chores". He kennels the dogs at night and gets them up in the morning. The problem is that he now using the dog doors. Bit of a problem - does he think he is a dog????? Oh well, things could be worse and at least he will grow out of it! Enjoy your day. I am going to lay here for a while longer and then start washing. Love, me

Monday, September 3, 2007

Chemo today.....

Well, when you don't have to talk to your oncologist it goes a lot faster!!!! Anyhoo, the drive in was a breeze and the drive out was too. John and Luke took me this time since they had to work in Seattle this weekend anyway. We went to Krispy Kreme afterwards and the sign was still not on - BUMMER. Oh, don't worry - we went! Couple thoughts for today.....first, I really didn't want to go to chemo today - I just didn't wanna. I started to cry when I was saying goodbye to Nolan, but I got it together. It helped that once I got to the treatment center. I think they sensed it and very causally showed me my numbers (which I don't pay attention to) and told me that I am doing really well. I believe they used the word "poster child". My white blood cell count went up from 95 to 115. Apparently, that is good and not normal. Their "therapy" for me started light and ended thick - just like I like it. So, today was good because of John & Luke, Krispy Kreme, and the nurses acting on what I needed. Those amazing nurses what would we do without them. Last thought, last night we went to my Aunt's house in Stanwood. It was just just us, the kids, and my parents and it was really nice. Laid back - no expectations - kinda event. When Mason was eating dinner he ate entirely what we ate, and he sat next to "Pa" (Grandpa). He laughed when we all did and he made conversation. It was so cute. He was really trying to be part of the whole and my heart melted. They grow up so fast, but I caught my moment. Nolan, on the other hand, fell asleep early, got up when we got home, took a bottle at 3am, and peed all over his dad in the process. Moment.......DENIED........but we still love him! ;) Have a happy week - love, me