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


Anonymous said...

Dear Angela,

I bought the card but just could not put my thoughts into words to send it. One day I shall…

You've been on my mind ever since Deb told me. I've been able to read and keep up with you via your blog, and find it to be somehow beautiful and therapeutic. (You really should publish this some day when you are well again.)

As I read your blog, I am struck by how much support through friends and family that you have. My mom always said, "If you WANT a friend, then BE a friend." I hear myself telling my children that to this day. I think your wealth of support comes from the kind of friend you are to others--a real gift.

Right after I was diagnosed with cancer, I had to make a difficult decision about a beloved pet. I was telling our Brenda C. about it and she listened empathically, validating my feelings and recognizing the “journey” my pet was on. It helped to know that sometimes we focus on the end goal, but the WHOLE journey is as valuable. I think you talk about that journey so eloquently in your blogs. I value reading them. Your message this time has me recalling the days--when I was in the middle of adopting my daughter--that I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. (You were there for me in ways you cannot even imagine, Angela, as were my colleagues at Childhaven.)

Anyway, I, too, had to be very careful around my two-year-old daughter after thyroid ablation therapy, having to wash the toxins off of me and whatever I used. (I had to use toilet seat covers and flush the toilet three times after each use, for Pete's sake!) I remember the fear of thinking she might grow up without me, that she might forget me, or that I might miss her important milestones. I had to send my daughter (who is 10 now!) off for a while for her safety, and in the end for my own ability to focus on recovery.

I know the agony of this, Angela. I know the loneliness in the middle of the night. And eventually, I got to know the Cancer Lifeline and that cable show that plays beautiful, inspiring, spiritual music while showing majestic scenery. It soothed my soul when I knew others could not. Please know that as you focus on healing, you can call me 24/7 if you want. I know others would agree to do that as well. (We might be a little groggy at first when you call...but we will be there for you.)

So while you wax philosophical, going through all of the natural scenarios that are part of this journey, think about this: I just had another appointment last month and the doctor said, "You know, I can never say you are 'cured' because that is not a word we can use when you have had cancer. But I can say you are in a heck of a remission. Your future looks very great indeed!"

From the day I first learned I was vulnerable to cancer, I had a heightened awareness to it. But I am also aware of the value of friends and family, and of each day I have to LIVE. I have been in remission for 8-1/2 years and a handful of days now! You, too, can do this, dear Angela.

Linda P.

Anonymous said...

Angela: It was inspiring to read your blog on your devoted husband. Devotion like that is to be treasured. I think everyone that knows you would expect that you would be as deternined as you are. We all continue to check on your blogs and are always happy when you are doing well. Our thoughts and prayers are daily for you and your family. The support of your many friends says much about you. Stay strong. Charlene G.

Jennifer Burkhardt said...

Dear Angela, my Angel Friend. You are extraordinary! I follow your blog and think of you and pray for you often. You have a wonderful, warm, witty and poignant way of writing...we've got to find you an agent. You are so loved!! We all really do love you. I hope you will call on me to help at some point. I would really be honored to do something, anything -- clean, work in the yard, cook, cuddle your baby :) I think of the last time we had coffee at Benaroya Symphony Hall with Mason so cute and Nolan not even born.... It seems like a minute ago and yet so much has happened. I know that you will beat this. If there is anyone strong and courageous enough, it is you. I enjoyed your post yesterday about your amazing husband, by the way. You are such an inspiration in many ways, and now you have gone and inspired me to be less grouchy with my husband! You are going through so much and yet, appreciating him. You are Too Much :) With all this support, and being the incredible person you are...we can get through this. Your team is cheering you on (and you have a big team). I positively adore you, Angela, and send you all my best thoughts and prayers. --Jennifer and family

Anonymous said...

Hi Angie,

I've been reading your blog just about every day and have been hesitant to write for fear of not saying the "right" thing. Well, being that nothing about this situation is "right," I suppose I will just say what comes into my head and heart every time I have the gift of reading one of your entries...You are truly amazing. I am so proud of you and am here whenever and however you need me. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to have some insight into your journey and for being so willing to share something that I'm quite certain would cause many (me being on the top of the list) to go into isolation. I am honored to get in line and join the many who call you their hero. You truly inspire me and I love you.


Anonymous said...

"I thank my God everytime I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy..." ~Phil 1:3-4.

It was such a blessing to see you at the 5th Ave. theatre... to see your smile, witness your strength, and hear that laugh that I haven't heard in years :)

Sending you much love and prayers,