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