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 go.....me

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 Mason.......it 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