Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Scan Today - Results Tomorrow

I am about to go for my CT scan at 10:30 today. It should take about 3 mins. Three minutes. Last night, I woke up and started thinking about how I would stress out about tests in high school and college. I would think that I didn't study enough or, if I just asked the prof a few more questions I would understand the basis of the theory more, etc. This test I cannot study for, I cannot prep for, I cannot ask questions about. There is no extra credit, no way to improve my score. The funny thing is I am not stressed about it. I am anxious - I want to know if I do well TODAY, but that ain't going to happen. No matter what you do those people won't give you an inch - they are like international spies! They give you NADA, ZERO. I don't even try to charm them anymore - it is USELESS and I am charming (when I want to be)! Oh well, one day at a time and one test at a time. Thank you for all the good wishes, phone calls, emails, cards, and hugs. I am going to do my best today - it is all I got. Love, Ang

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Coming out of it and looking forward to next week

Well, I am coming out of this again and looking forward to another good week. Boys are coming home this afternoon of which I am so thankful. Next Tuesday, I will have my first CT scan since diagnosis. This is the earliest that we can know progress and, as I have been advised, we may not get much news but we are going to try anyway. Wednesday I meet with the oncologist to talk about next steps. While I am hopeful, I am scared to death. I so badly want good news. Time will tell, but for now, I look forward to seeing my boys, hearing about their adventures at Grandma and Grandpa's, smelling behind their ears, and seeing the sun come through their hair. Well, back to washing EVERYTHING.... Have a great day - mine is shaping up to be - Love, Ang

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

How is it that...

I can walk into a doctor's office without an appointment and in a moment be seen? How is it that I can be known by name and people come off of their lunch break to see how they can help me? How is it that I, a normal girl that grew up in South King County, can command the attention of so many doctors, nurses, assistants? How lucky am I to have them - I lucky we all are to have them. Today, on my way to get unhooked from my cancer wand, I was in tremendous pain. No nausea - pain. I stopped my the colon rectal clinic where I was first diagnosed and asked advice of what I should do. Reanna came off of her break to see me. She scheduled me for 30 minutes later, and it was done. I went downstairs to unhook where one nurse got me the perfect temperature water, one nurse unhooked me, and back upstairs where I saw the doctor. The staff asked me about camping (obviously, they are following the blog) and asked about my boys. I saw the doc, got an rx, and was on my way. Because I am a cancer patient, I can get all my rxs right in the same building. Five minutes after turning in the rx I was back in the car and going home to my comfy couch. I felt more taken care of than Oprah. Seriously, is there anything better than that? Yep, there is....dinner was just delivered and I am not nauseous! Thank you to all the people that made my life a little easier today. Love, Ang

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sarah's Help Calendar Update

For those of you that want to get on the calendar, Sarah's email address has changed to sarah_09@comcast.net. You can also reach her at 206-244-3566 if you prefer. I want to take the opportunity to say thank you. I have seen people that I haven't seen in years and some I have never met. They come willing to vacuum my floors, dust, clean my kitchen, and yes, even my toilets. Truth be told, I cry every time I get the calendar. I cry because I am sad that they have to do it for me, joyful that they willing, and amazed that after all the years of butting into people business knowing now that it wasn't completely unwelcome.....smile. Thank you, Ang

Camping - The Result

Camping was as good as it could be. It only rained hard at night and never got too cold. Mason had the BEST time following around the other kids. We went with two other families. We were evenly matched with six adults and six kids until the kid from the next campspot came over! Things went as smoothly and the kids were great. Mason slept well at night. No nap on Saturday - way too excited. The best story of the weekend was about the kids. Our campsite was on a hill. One of the older kids (8 years old) decided that he could ride Mason's trike down onto the road, bank right, then bank left, and continue down the road holding his feet out straight at trike mach speed. All the other kids ran after him screaming with delight! Okay, as a parent, I went to see all of this, evaluate it, and decided that it must stop. Cars on the road were driving way too fast, I didn't have a helmet, and we didn't even own one of the kids. So, I ran down the hill and told them all to "STOP!" I fully intended to put an end to all of it and then I saw all their faces. I looked at each one and they were so excited and elated. I flashed back to when I was a kid and how everyone loved it when my Dad came out to "play" with us. He always pushed the limits. This is probably why I have so many scars, three fake teeth, and a fair amount of stitches. He used to pull us on sled behind the motorbike, no helmets (are you kidding?) and only told us, "When I stop, point away from the muffler. It will burn you bad." That was Dad's safety orientation. It was a blast and I never hit the muffler! So, back to the moment, all the kids looking at me and quietly waiting. I said, "Okay, if we are going to do this we take turns and I will block the road from cars. Got it?" They all cheered and ran up the hill. So, there was the next hour of my life walking up and down the hill following screaming children racing on a trike built for a two year old. Adults came out to watch them and loved how excited they were. Other parents came by to go the bathroom. The kids liked what they saw and I asked if their kid wanted a turn and they flatly said, "No." It was official, I was my Dad and we were the talk of the campground. Towards the end most of the kids lost interest and moved all to other things like bunny chasing, getting ready for dinner, etc. But one dedicated rider, Grace, continued. She got the road down so well and she was ripping down that hill faster than any of them. It was just her and me in the end. On the last trip, she got off the trike, looked at me and said, "THAT WAS S-W-E-E-T!" She is five. She made it all worth it. We walked up the hill for the last time. I carried the trike and told her we were done because we needed to get ready for dinner and I was exhausted. She said, "Okay Angie." On the way up, she told me how she figured out how to get the most speed out of the hill and how she believed she went faster than anyone else. I told her she did and she grinned ear to ear. Sunday we got home and I did all the things I needed to to be ready for Chemo Monday which included a lot of resting, sits (sp) baths, and moving slow. It was perfect not because of me, but because I came home to a vacuumed and dusted house, flowers in the dining room, and dinner ready to cook. Grant was amazing and our neighbor noticed that we only mowed the front lawn, but he did the back. Yep, we survived this because of everyone around us. Thank you. I will tell you about my appointment today later....I think I can finally get back to bed now. Have a great Tuesday - Ang

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Okay, so it is against my better judgement, but the plans were made months ago and I am too stubborn not to go. So, with restrictions in hand, we are going camping this weekend. Jane and I are hard at work getting ready so that I am not exhausted before we get there. It is easy car camping, but with two in diapers and one on bottles it is a bit of a trick! This is my good weekend. I go into chemo on Monday the 23rd and I should manage it better this time. I was emailing with a current patient and told him that I was trying not to use the anti nausea pills. His response was very nice, but it was like, "So, what are you saving them for - you next life????" Point made. So, I will be depending on those more next week and see if life is better. I am sure it will be! The ironic part about taking them is that they constipate me. What sort of a joke is that?!?!?!?! I should be okay. I will just take them with at stool softener chaser!!!! The next step is coming soon also. The week of the 30th, I go in for my CT scan and see what we do next. I am hopeful. On my good weeks, I am feeling better than I have in ages. I know that sounds crazy, but giving you a glimpse into life last May and my situation now without too many gross details, there is no more blood, I don't have to worry about taking extra underwear with me all the time, and I am no longer feeling anemic. See before, when I thought this was just hemorrhoids and having two kids - it was cancer and cancer sucks, but chemo (while sucky) gives me good weeks and that is all I can ask for. Some people have asked for more details on the symptoms that I experienced. If you are one of these people, please email or call me directly. I would be happy to share with you. I just can't do it on a public blog - I still have a couple boundaries left - lucky for most of you!!!! Have great weekend - love, Ang

Sunday, July 15, 2007

This weekend

Well, Friday stunk for lots of reasons, but I really just felt pooped on. Ironic with rectal cancer don'tyathink???? But Saturday.....Saturday was good. It normally wouldn't be considered good, but it was. I felt good, my hair looked great, and it was a BEAUTIFUL day. (Note of the hair - You know how when you have a hair appointment and that day your hair looks great so you cancel the hair appointment and then it looks like crap until your next haircut that you can't get an appointment for until you look like a total freak? SOLUTION - Threaten your hair that you are going to shave it off. It is working for me! Anyway, I digress.) So, it is a beautiful day, I feel good, my hair is still here, and have an eye appointment because I have been having some problems since chemo with my contacts. I decide that I am going to go by myself to the appointment. Grant is still recovering and Jane offered to help out so I could go. So, off I go.....the appointment went well. I got some options, and I looked, just looked, at new glasses. Mine are 10 year old - little dated to say the LEAST! I kept putting glasses off thinking that with being pregnant and all that I should wait in case my eyesight changes. It never did - such luck. And now with chemo, should I really invest?!?!?! (Please don't answer that.) Anyway, I digress again. So, I am driving up and I start to drive a little too fast in Grant's car, I roll down all the windows, open the sunroof, turn on the AC full blast, and cranked up the stereo. You are thinking, "Wow, you look like an OLD TEENAGER." I was and it was FUN! I did the same on the way home. I drove by the market and smelled all the market smells, I yelled at stupid drivers, and I sang to the radio. I got home at about 2:00 starving so I ate ALL of the remaining Mac and Cheese that was delivered the day before and took a rest until the kids got up. We finished the day with an impromptu dinner at the neighbors with crab and salmon - AWESOME! It would have been perfect it Nolan would have only gotten up once that night, but he didn't. Oh well, I guess I will have to settle on almost perfect. :) Today we went to Thomas the Tank Engine at the Snoqualmie Railway Museum. Nolan stayed with auntie Jane and it was just Mason, Grant and I. Mason did awesome. He loves Thomas. We have it on video, bought the "professional photos", temporary tattoos, and all. I let Mason touch Thomas - he felt so special. I was so proud of him. He waited in line so many times, played nicely with others, and followed directions beautifully. Two great days together - my son's face when he touched Thomas - priceless.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Doing a lot better today

How is it that when I don't believe I have the strength to do this someone sends me an email, card, or posts a message that tells me I do? As they say in the South, "All y'all must know something that sometime I can't see." This week was the fastest turn around time I have had. I am still very tired, but the nausea is subsiding. Today, a very close family friend is bringing my Grandma over to see me for lunch and my boys are coming home. A few of you may be confused on why my boys can't be with me on my chemo weeks. Here is a brief explanation. There are all different types of chemo especially designed for each type cancer. I am on one of the stronger doses of chemo for rectal cancer because it has spread to my lungs. When I go into chemo, I am given several drugs including antacids, steroids, anti nausea, etc. When, I leave chemo there is a tube of chemo that is attached to my port. The chemo operates on body heat and goes into my body over a two day period. So, having a chemo "wand" attached to me with a little surgical tubing is not conducive to taking care of little ones. If Nolan (Mr. Grabby) were to pull on the tubing and it came out, it would be considered a bio hazard. I would have to clamp it off, and go to the hospital immediately. Remember, these are toxic chemicals. Another thing that was recommended was that I wash all my clothing, sheets, towels, etc. that I have used during chemo twice before the boys come home. This, again, it simply because they are so little. Nolan turns five months on Monday. So, today, I am completely showered and washing everything twice, so that Nolan can nuzzle me, Mason can wrestle me, and I can be the Mom they know. Okay, back to the washer. Have a great day - I will, Ang

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Owed to my husband

Monday was a pretty good day. Chemo went well. I had my normal entourage of people. Heck, I am there for four hours, I might as well have a line up of visitors! Tuesday went really well as I am learning how to negotiate my side effects. Grant left my lunch selections out on the counter for me to warm up so that I didn't have to touch anything cold. However, this morning I am back to my nausea and fatigue. I slept forever last night and woke up only to curb the nausea and then back to bed. Anyhoo, what I wanted to say today is about my husband, Grant. How lucky I was to meet him 15 years ago. A blind date. After all this time, longer than most marriages last, he still is the best decision I ever made. He has been such a trooper through all of this. He was the one that told me I had cancer. He went to every appointment, tracked everything that each doctor said, held my hand, held me while I cried, and still had the energy to say, "We will get through this." Since diagnosis and being the planner that I am, I have gone through every scenario. If I die soon, if I die later, and if I don't die of this. He has listened to them all and closes all our conversations with, "It is what it is and we will get through this." Now, during the next story remember - I am planner, a daughter of a business man, and a business major. I run our family like a business - finances and all. So, one day, I said to him that it would economically advantageous for the family if I died before our life insurance is up for renewal (which is in seven years). That way, Grant would have enough money to not work or start a part-time business, the boys could have a full time nanny, go to private school, he could afford a house cleaner, only need one car, and wouldn't the expense of me. I say this because once the life insurance is up for renewal I am assuming there is NO WAY they are going to renew me. Grant patiently listened to all of this - my rational, my reasoning, etc. He didn't get upset, he didn't tell me to stop, he just listened. When I was done, he calmly said, "I think I would like to go with the other plan of being without life insurance and having you." I retorted with, "But...." and he just gave me the look of "conversation over." And, I shut up (don't be so shocked!). Yep, he is the best decision I ever made.......

Monday, July 9, 2007

The best weekend yet.

This weekend was awesome. Saturday, I got to visit with my baby group - just the moms. They cleaned my house (better than I do), they brought me chocolate, flowers, food, and clothes. The clothes are the most classic part. They are lounge around clothes, but with v-necks so I can wear them to chemo. So, now I will be a fashion plate at chemo. It helps if you look good while you are attached to your portable IV cocktail! Then, my aunt came over with Thai food, and my neighbor gave me my "before-you-go-to-chemo foot massage" with essential oils. Yesterday, I went to the zoo with my family and had an amazing time. Mason saw the animal program for the first time - he was so excited - clapping and participating like a real little person! Nolan fought sleep, but fell asleep in my arms somewhere in the Savannah section. Everyone napped when we got home (including me) and dinner was a combination of leftovers that I put together cause the cold sensitivity wore off. I actually had a coke WITH ICE!!!!! It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good. I also stopped by a fellow scrapbookers house and picked up some cancer hats when my hair falls out. She gave me a book to read. In the intro it says, "With friends like this I cannot fail." I didn't get past the intro. So, off I go with Mom to Chemo in my cute clothes, courage bracelet (gift), hair still on my head, and my bag full of great books. I am meeting another cancer survivor friend at chemo and she will bring me home. She makes me laugh, laugh, laugh!!!! So, in spite of it being a Chemo Day, it is ramping up to be a good day. Remember with friends like this I cannot fail, Ang

Friday, July 6, 2007

I didn't think I was going to post this morning, but

I just had too! Lately, we have been getting up late because the boys have both had some rough nights this week. Well, last night was no exception except we did get four hours together. Nolan slept through until 4:30 when the sun was rising. Ever since I was a kid I have loved the sunrise. I love the quiet of the morning, dew on the grass, the colors in the sky, and crispness of the air. Today was a beautiful sunrise - all those things listed above and more. When I was a kid, first thing in the morning was always a good time. My Dad would kiss me on the top of the head and call me "mattress back" (seriously - it was before 6:00am - WHATEVER!), our cats/dog would be looking for attention, the house would be warming up, and the smell of strong coffee was everywhere. My mom and dad ALWAYS had coffee. The ritual was always the same no matter if we were traveling (without the cats and even without mattresses) for business, on vacation (boating, camping, or one of my Dad's "adventure" vacations), or where ever. Morning coffee, the kiss on the head, and warmth (by fire or furnace). My favorite things - things you get up for, things you do for your kids because you love them, things you look forward to on the next sunrise. There now I am done - WHEW!! Enjoy your sunrise this weekend, Ang

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Things I would have never known......

I used to let Mason watch a couple episodes of Curious George/Little Einsteins/Berenstain Bears in the morning and after his nap. Each episode was about 20 mins, so it wasn't A LOT, but enough. Then, depending on the day and time of day, we would go outside, play, or go on errands/the park whatever. I would get TONS done during that time with Nolan, email, wash, dishes, etc. and he loved it. I worked for both of us. What I didn't know is how much he actually "got it". Now, sometimes I am too tired to get tons done so I watch it with him while I am feeding Nolan or whatever. So, now I know that he knows ALL the characters on Curious George, all the hand motions on Little Einsteins, and all the cars on the Berenstain Bears. I always knew that people should read with their kids and monitor what they watched on TV. What I didn't think of was to WATCH it with him. I was happily amazed and it was REALLY CUTE! Now, I look forward to watching with him - it is actually really good stuff. AMAZING! Have a great weekend, I will - Ang

My 4th of July

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. I usually spend it with friends, but this year I decided to stay home and spend it with my family and neighbors. It was easier on my system, kept the germs to a minimum, and I didn't have to talk about cancer to those I haven't seen since diagnosis. It was like a cancer free day - it was great. Mason didn't like fireworks as much as I expected, but the wheels were definitely turning! The temperature was perfect and breeze was awesome and my mom brought all the food which was the best part. Today, I am feeling the best I have felt in a while. The sinus infection is on the way out and my hair is still on my head. We will see what tomorrow brings, but that can wait until tomorrow......

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

It is a sinus infection - fun times!

But the good news is my oncologist called in antibotics for me and I got them already. They also said they were on call tomorrow, so feel free to call. I told them I wasn't going to call and that they need boundaries! They laughed. They take very good care of me. Pretty lucky!!!! Happy 4th - Ang

Head Cold and Shawn

So, I am doing really well outside of my head cold.....it is starting to annoy me! Anyway, currently, Mason is at the park with Jane, Nolan is taking his morning nap, and I am blogging because I NO IDEA how many people read this thing regularly until I didn't post for few days! Holy cow people - I am flattered!!!! Update on the hair - I still have it. Shawn, my hairdresser, and I talk everyday when he gets out of welding class (yep welding!) about the status of my scalp, hair loss, etc. He is the most amazing guy. He is calmly walking me through this - I am so lucky to have him. He has ever offered to come to my house when, and if, it does happen. Mason would love his truck - it is HUGE and LOUD! I think it will also distract him from me getting my head shaved. Last night, was my big night out - I went to scrapbooking. I love the drive, I love the company, and I love picking up one avocado for Mason from QFC on the way home. The checker recognized me this week and say, "No bag, right?" I guess not many people buy one avocado at 10pm in Normandy Park very often! I am in good spirits this week and confident again that I will beat this. Thank you again for all the cards, email, post, etc. They give me courage and strength. Have a great day - I will, Ang